Disclaimer: I do not own and did not create Harry Potter. If I did I would constantly wear Dior, Prada and Gucci. Instead my bank account ensures I content myself with Portmans, Review and Forever New.
Hello! This is my first ever attempt at writing anything that isn't in essay format and I'm very nervous! Still I have loved writing 'Changing Perceptions' over the last 10 months!
I must thank my husband who is my spelling and grammar checker (I am terrible at both) despite having no interest in Harry Potter at all.
I have also been extremely lucky that blue artemis has kindly beta'd for me! I cannot thank her enough; these past few weeks have been an invaluable learning experience.
I suppose warnings would be, a little bit of character bashing, but nothing disastrous. Some cursing and mild adult themes later on. Also there are a crazy amount of POV's, I really like them and had fun writing from different perspectives.
Oh and lastly, I did a massive second edit to this chapter before posting (I cut out a lot of unnecessary repeats). Even though I got my husband to spell/grammar check, he really wanted to get back to his 'The walking dead' marathon. I apologise for any issues that have resulted from my fiddling!
Saturday 11th November 2001, Muggle Bar, Vancouver, Canada, Marcus Flint POV
The Canadian bar he entered had quite a bit in common with the many Muggle places he had recently ventured into. It was modern and stylish, women walked around in tight pants due to the extremely cold weather affecting Vancouver, while the men sported crisp collared shirts and dark pants. He did note, however, that the chandeliers atop the high ceilings were exquisite, a rainbow of timed colour changes sparkling against the crystals. Marcus strongly suspected even his mother would be impressed, and this would be an accomplishment, as Accolade Flint was extremely hard to please, desiring only the finest.
As usual when entering a Muggle establishment, Marcus couldn't help the internal smirk against his Death Eater father, who was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in Azkaban. He assumed this was why he enjoyed frequenting such places, sticking it to his pitiful excuse of a parent, even if Henrix Flint would never know just how drastically his wayward son's opinions and views had altered over time. Oh and there was the refreshing fact that Muggles had no idea who he was. There were no dirty stares, no whispers regarding himself or his family name; if anything, the sultry looks shot his way by Muggle women were a rather good ego boost. Not that this was a big issue in the magical world either. Girls love a toned, brooding bad boy, especially a rich, Quidditch-playing bad boy. Sadly, in Marcus opinion, the Pureblood girls who wanted him were boring, conceited and desperate tarts. Moreover, their families placed inordinate amounts of pressure upon them to ensnare Wizards like Marcus by any and all means necessary. It was a sad fact, that within the old elite circles of the English Wizarding world, Marcus was presently one of the most eligible bachelors. Even after the Ministry of Magic fined the Flint family heavily for Henrix's involvement in the war. The goblins quickly realized that monetary control was more beneficial to them if kept in the vaults of the oldest families. When they were asked to provide an accounting of the vaults held there, they refused to give the Ministry of Magic correct records of gold belonging to Death-Eater's families. Instead faked itineraries of vaults, ridiculously under the correct value, were submitted to the Ministry. As a result, even though Death Eater families were ordered to pay generous 'reparations' to the Ministry of Magic for war time sufferings and losses, the Flints maintained a wealth well within the top 10 families of the English Wizarding world.
Marcus was also aware his looks had definitely advanced with age... and a little cosmetic magic. Although he wouldn't call himself a vain wizard, even Marcus had been determined to fix his monstrous teeth as soon as he left Hogwarts. Henrix, bastard that he was, refused to allow his son to get rid of the horrific things, claiming they 'identified him as a proper Flint'. That the cute receptionist at the specialist healer had somehow convinced him to also have his nose magically straightened and eyebrows modified, was completely down to his 18-year-old hormones, not vanity... and Merlin knows the amount of shit Carrow and Rosier gave him when next they saw his 'new look'.
The post war world of Wizarding Britain was difficult for those who were assumed to have been involved in the dark side. Whether true or not, members of Death Eater families who hid, refusing to take the Dark Mark, were often treated with suspicion and mistrust by the wider Wizarding community who were still in mourning. This was the group to which Marcus, his mother, and sister Clarabelle belonged. Accolade Flint nee Rosier had described to her only son how she watched during the first wizarding war as her brother Evan Rosier, her husband and brother-in-law Grantham Nott succumbed to the darkness. Although truth be told, none these men had ever been particularly pleasant, since all men were a perfect product of their privileged upbringing, deeming themselves better then all others as the heirs to three of the oldest magical families. Their pre-war personas were nothing compared to what they became later, the war changed them irreparably. By choosing to take the mark of a madman and involve themselves with the prolonged use of dark magic and evil deeds, their souls were fractured until it was no longer only those of lower birth who suffered their wrath but their own family members. Marcus thanked Merlin everyday they were not able to use the, 'we were under the Imperius Curse 'defence again after the second war ended. Accolade Flint refused to allow that terrible fate to befall her children and nephews. She ran from her husband, hiding with members of the Pucey, Rosier, Nott and Carrow families, at Pucey Hall under the Fidelius Charm as soon as it was confirmed that the Dark Lord had indeed returned.
Continuing uninterrupted with his thoughts while manoeuvring through the crowded bar, barely noticing the licentious look sent his way by a scantily clad blond; Marcus could admit to himself that his position as undisputed top chaser in Britain with a position on England's 2002 Quidditch World Cup team had slightly elevated his post war status. Part of the reason Marcus was out that night was to celebrate their considerable win in round two of the final playoffs against the Swiss team earlier that day. Still he was out by himself and not with team. He just didn't feel comfortable enough to ask anyone if they planned to celebrate.
Realising he was getting close to the four-sided island bar, Marcus pulled himself out of his thoughts and took stock of his surroundings as he unconsciously ran a large, calloused hand though his short dark brown hair. Looking toward the bar in order to judge the remaining distance, Marcus found himself suddenly stopping dead. Sitting by herself facing him although her eyes were gazing down toward a glass of amber liquid was a very pretty girl. However it was not her beauty that had stopped Marcus dead - it was her identity. Bloody Merlin, thinking about Potter's golden miscreants, what was she doing here? Was it even her? Marcus squinted in an attempt to determine if his observation was correct. He knew she had also been in Canada with the English Quidditch Team due to her job as the Department of International Magical Cooperation's representative for England's Quidditch World Cup team. He resumed walking this time around the bar trying to judge if he did know the quite obviously tipsy brunette with a head of thick curls, lovely round face with large chocolate eyes. Hermione Granger, he had thought more than once since working with her, looked a far cry from the bushy haired child he vaguely remembered walking the halls next to Harry Potter during his final Hogwarts years. As he rounded the corner of the bar she quickly downed her drink and signalled the bartender for another, clearly deep in thought and not taking notice of her surroundings at all. Perhaps he was rather drunker then he had previously thought, although he had only had four Firewhiskey's before leaving his hotel room. But still… maybe it was just a Muggle girl that looked like Hermione Granger… she was a Muggleborn after all - perhaps it was a cousin? As he walked closer, the girl seemingly realising that she was under scrutiny raised her head sideways and looked him in the eye. Surprised recognition lit her features before she smiled, then laughed, shaking her head, dark brown curls bouncing,
"Granger," he replied, taking the empty bar stool next to her, "this isn't a place I would expect to see you!"
She laughed again as she signalled for yet another drink, "What's your poison for the evening Flint?" Then she leaned closer and whispered as though part of a secret, ruining the effect however with a small giggle, "I'm drinking scotch." She looked at him, eyebrows raised. "Remember they don't know what Firewhiskey is here," she said, followed by a wink.
"Funny, Granger, how much have you had to drink? I will have whatever you are having."
"OK! Another scotch on the rocks for my friend here please," she ordered the bartender, who quickly began pouring the drink, eyeing Marcus warily. Hermione turned once again towards him a silly smile playing on her face. "And I have lost count," she flung her arms in the air, "of how much I've had to drink." She giggled before shaking her head, clearly amused at seeing him sitting beside her at a Muggle bar.
"You know, Granger - you may be shocked to see me here but I wouldn't of pegged Gryffindor's brightest-witch-of-her-age, golden princess and for a 'drink alone at bars' type." He watched as her tipsy smile fell from her face and silently cursed himself. In the time they had worked together, since England had made the Quidditch finals, they were no longer strangers. He wouldn't call them friends, but he had long ago realised that Hermione Granger was willing to let the past stay in the past, even with the child of a Death Eater, so long as proper respect was maintained.
He immediately felt bad for making her lose her previous smile and was about to apologise when she sighed.
"Well I'm not- but I am having a rather odd night so I felt the need to, ummm…" here she paused attempting to find the right wording, "…get drunk!" Her head was bobbing up and down comically.
"And I feel I'm doing a spectacular job! I should get an O in drunkenness, 10 points for Gryffindor!"
He found himself chuckling much to his shock; who would have guessed, Hermione Granger was an amusing drunk! "Is there a reason why?" The words fell from his lips before he could censor himself, as the bar tender handed over his drink. Marcus watched as Hermione contemplated his words briefly, her mind seemed to wander away for a second before returning and her brown eyes pierced his blue ones.
"Yes – but, no offence Flint, it's none of your business."
This statement made him laugh outright, an emotion that only those close to him ever saw often. "Touché Granger." He was surprised at the relief he felt when she again smiled at his response.
"In keeping with our acknowledgment of avoiding why we are at a Muggle bar I will refrain from asking why you are here as well. However if you are planning of participating in any type of Muggle torture, Flint, I will have to duel you and drunk or not I will win." In the awkward silence that followed her claim, Hermione's eyes went wide and she gasped placing a delicate hand over her mouth. "I am so sorry, that was horrible. Oh shit, I'm mortified... oh, Flint just because I'm having a bad day is no excuse to take it out on you. Please forgive me, I have to go."
Hermione was fumbling as she began to get up, he sat stunned for a bit trying to understand what in Merlin's name just happened and how best to respond. Her face had lost all humour and she was biting on her lower lip with a rather pretty blush staining her creamy cheeks as she franticly searched through her bag for Muggle cash. Before she could complete the action he placed a hand upon hers and bid her to sit back down.
"I'm sure you could beat me in a duel Granger, even drunk. I have no problem telling you I enjoy Muggle bars for the reasons of anonymity and rebellion against my parents."
"Umm… good…ok, nice?" was her articulate response.
Ignoring this she continued, "I still maintain I will not divulge my reasoning for being here."
Only Hermione Granger, he noted with a shake of his head, could use such fancy words drunk.
She sighed, "No doubt you will read about it tomorrow." Her melancholy seemed to increase so he opted to change the subject.
"Well it doesn't matter why you are here, let's get more drinks and take them to a billiard table - I think that's the right word? I have watched Muggles play but have never had anyone to teach me the rules, do you know how?"
He once again felt relief as she laughed, "Yes I do Flint - my uncle taught me. I'll try to go easy on you due to your," she leaned toward him again conspiratorially, and he noticed she smelled more like vanilla than the expected Scotch, "magical handicap". He shook his head smirking, glad the awkwardness had dissipated as she smiled again. They refreshed their drinks and moved toward the billiard table section of the bar.
A few hours and many more drinks later Granger had won all games much to her obvious delight and his good-natured scowls. She was regaling him with a story about an incident he vaguely remembered happening when the team played Brazil. All the while he was increasingly trying to remind himself that the beautiful girl in front of him with the legs seemingly going for ever was the Hermione Granger, Golden Trio war hero. Furthermore she was in a relationship with a fellow war hero and… had Granger always looked so good? He was trying to remember but right now her tight dark blue Muggle jeans looked amazing and her coral coloured satin ruffle blouse looked delectable against her creamy skin. Shaking his head to dispel such thoughts he blurted out the only thing he could think of to calm his mind and put it back on the right track. He mentioned her boyfriend.
"You must be excited about going home to Weasley and your friends tomorrow. I know it can be hard staying away at times."
She was evidently shocked by this statement and sucked in a deep breath. "Remember our rule of not talking about why I am drinking Flint? You are close to breaking it."
"I'm sor-" she cut off his apology by placing her hand across his mouth and slightly shook her head as cinnamon eyes locked with sky blue.
"You have no reason to be sorry - you have been a wonderful distraction for me tonight. I've enjoyed myself immensely." She paused and let out a small chuckle, "If you were a Muggle or even a stranger I would probably try and seduce you." With a small gasp and blush her eyes went wide with evident embarrassment, leaving his to stare at the floor.
He thought he had never seen anything so adorable yet seductive in his life.
"I mean" she stammered, "you are very… what I mean is… I don't… it's just you… here, I am…"
He cut her off with a small kiss, surprising himself. Her pink rosebud lips were incredibly soft as he began to pull away, worried she would be angry.
What Marcus was not prepared for was Hermione to suddenly lunge at him, reattaching herself to his lips in a possessive way. They continued kissing for a few minutes, his mind reeling and trying to process the fact that he really was kissing Hermione Granger. Marcus had a feeling deep down that he should feel guilty and that he was taking advantage, but then again he wasn't known for being a nice man. Quite the opposite really, he was also a self-confessed selfish man. He tried to reason that she was well aware of his reputation, while he desperately tried to push down the nagging thought that she was exceptionally drunk and may not be aware of her actions. Bloody Merlin, bugger his conscience, why now of all times had it decided to make an unwanted appearance? He pulled away from the beautiful woman, releasing his hands from her waist, as her previously closed eyes slowly opened.
"Granger, you're drunk, and you wouldn't be doing this if you weren't."
"Why do you say that?" Granger, it appeared, was refusing to remove her hands that had encased his neck during their short kiss, and was looking up at him with a flushed face. "I have wanted to do this all night, since I first saw you." She smiled her amazing stomach-wrenching smile again and began to pepper kisses along his jaw toward his ear.
He groaned as she whispered huskily, "I want this, I want you, I have never done this before but tonight I need to forget."
Marcus head was spinning and he was finding it hard to concentrate. "Granger, think about what you are saying, and think about who you're saying it to."
This made her pause her kisses just above his pulse point, causing his chest to clench with disappointment at the thought of stopping.
"You're right." She sounded horrified. "There is no way you would want me… I'm a Muggleborn and… I'm so sorry Flint, I need to leave now." She made a move to walk away but he grabbed her.
"Wait! That is not what I meant!" He was beginning to panic, needing to explain. "I want you, trust me I do. I have no prejudice against you being Muggleborn - I swear! I meant me being me, not you being you." He took a deep breath as she still refused to look at him. Curls were falling in front of her face, blocking her expression from his view. "My father was a... well - you know what the bastard did... if you were not drinking there is no way you would be kissing me! I come from the people who tried to kill you." Damn where did this bloody conscience come from? It could frankly fuck off now, before he chased her away! He watched with great trepidation as she seemed to seriously contemplate this. Her head was still turned away from him, in a terribly vulnerable stance not usually associated with the ferocious Hermione Granger. Suddenly she lifted her head to look him dead in the eye, a relieving mix of defiance and lust swimming in there depths.
"If you were the spawn of Lestrange, Dolonhov or even a Malfoy, I would probably have a problem. But even if I did fight your father I have no recollection of doing so."
His selfish side finally overcame his conscious as he decided to not inform her that his mother was the cousin of both Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy.
"Marcus, since I've worked with you, you've never said or done anything nasty to me. I refuse to judge you based on your last name... and you're really hot!" Again she went pink with embarrassment, and just as before, his lips with a will of their own descended on hers and his tongue quickly began begging for entrance.
Another five minutes of heavy snogging and he decided to risk it all. "Shall we take this elsewhere?"
Smiling, she nodded and they left the club braving the crisp night air and snow covered streets to find the nearest dark alley way before he disapparated her to his hotel room.
Marcus woke the next morning alone, in his hotel room, the bed sheet pooling around at his hips, his torso naked. Waking up alone shocked him at first, though he quickly realised it shouldn't. His head pounded with a hangover as he walked naked to the bathroom, leaning for a bit against the white porcelain basin gathering his bearings. Opening the cabinet to retrieve a vial of hangover potion and swallowing the foul tasting liquid in one large shot he felt instantly better. Next he moved to turn on the spacious black marble shower. He rested his massive, toned arms above his head against the wall leaning his head against the cool tiles as the hot water ran down the protruding muscles of his back, as he replayed the events of last night. If he hadn't observed the empty bottle of hangover potion by the desk as he entered the bathroom he may of believed that it was all a bloody strange erotic dream. But he knew this was not the case, last night he had shagged Hermione Granger, twice. And by Slytherin's questionable soul, it was bloody fantastic too. The memory of last night was smoking hot, requiring Marcus to relieve himself as he relived the encounter. Spent and satisfied, Marcus finished the shower and walked to the table located at the window overlooking breathtaking scenery of snow covered mountains, powder soft from the recent blizzard. Marcus again thanked Magic for the shielding dome over the Quidditch stadium during yesterday's match.
Absently tapping the waiting menu with his wand, his chosen breakfast instantly appeared in front of him. Marcus tucked into his bacon and eggs, his mind still on the petite brunette with tantalising curls who was frustratingly absent this morning. Marcus paused eating to grab the Daily Prophet, lying to the side of the table and found himself nearly spitting out his eggs as he read the headline on the front page:
"Trouble in Golden Trio Paradise! Exclusive photos of Weasley Affair!"
This heading was followed by a picture of Hermione and Weasley obviously taken at a formal function of some kind. Hermione looked wonderful in a deep blue strapless Muggle evening dress with Weasley in charcoal Wizarding robes with matching blue detail. Hermione's smile appeared to be a little strained as she brought her hand up to brush a loose curl from her face. She seemed uncomfortable at the evident attention from the photographer, whilst Weasley obviously loved the limelight, beaming with pride and enjoyment. Marcus watched as the photo split dramatically in two before reattaching itself, beginning the process again. This photo was followed by others of Weasley and an unremarkable blond girl in a white bath robe kissing on an apartment balcony. Weasley was standing without a shirt, his arms around the girl's waist as he kissed her neck from behind. The blond smirked from her position before she turned around and passionately embraced the Weasel. Bloody Salazar! Well that explains last night, shit! What an idiot of Weasley was to conduct an affair so publicly! In truth, Marcus had completely forgotten Hermione had a boyfriend by the time he took her home and again this morning. Last night he had been much too engaged in more pleasant activities, and this morning too busy reminiscing, to worry about idiotic boyfriends. Now though, a surprising amount of anger settled in his stomach at the thought of the Weasel and how much hurt Hermione must be presently suffering. Bastard!