As she looked into Ron's big, watery, blue eyes, she knew this was it. Clad in her old-fashioned, lacy white wedding dress, she bit back a sob.
In Ron's uplifted hand was a black, velvet box – filled with promises and devotion and love.
This was it.
"I'm sorry, 'Mione. I can't do this," Ron whispered, gently placing the box on top of the dressing table.
"I know," Hermione whispered back just as softly.
He took a few steps towards her and they both shared a tight, warm hug. A familiar, tender and affectionate hug between two best friends who loved one another dearly – in a purely platonic way. It took them long enough until their supposed wedding day to finally validate it.
March 19th, the day Hermione was supposed to become Hermione Jean Granger-Weasley – the new Mrs. Weasley. The day Hermione and Ron finally mustered the courage to admit that what they felt for another was just like how a brother would feel towards a sister and vice versa. The day they called off the wedding.
The day Hermione knew that that was the way it was meant to be.
Fate was not in it for them.
Fate, as it was, decided that Ron Weasley was meant to be nothing more than Hermione's best friend.
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Of course she was truly gutted about the whole wedding-that-was-planned-for-years-being-called-of f fiasco, but she really could not fight off the feeling that the idea of marrying Ron did not feel right. At first she brushed it off as cold feet, wedding jitters and the like but the whole dreading feeling multiplied exponentially on her wedding day itself.
Somehow the idea of her being wed to Ron, having children with Ron made her want to hurl and cry simultaneously and violently. She had the same feeling of hurling-and-crying again when she looked at her reflection in the mirror and that was the exact moment she verified that the feeling she got was nowhere near wedding jitters. It was horror and reluctance. She loved Ron, but not like that.
She was just scant moments away from telling Ron to call of the wedding herself before he beat her to it.
But not all was lost; she still had Ron as her best friend. It was just that they weren't meant to be bonded in marriage, is all.
"Is your mum still upset about the wedding?" Hermione asked, picking at her ice-cream with a spoon, as she and Ginny walked around a Muggle funfair.
"Yes, but she'll get over it. She just needs time," Ginny sighed.
"It's been three years though, I'm just saying," Hermione replied.
"I know, but you know mum, she was just so excited to have you be part of the family – officially, I mean. If it's any consolation, she still wouldn't look at Ron in the eye either, even when he brought Berenice home the other day."
"I do love Ron, Gin, it's just – "
"Not in a romantic way, I know. I get it. I felt the same with Harry, that's why we never got back together after the war," Ginny nodded understandingly.
They walked around some more, stopping every now and then to play some sort of game and get cotton candy, before something caught Ginny's eye.
"Oh, look, 'Mione!" she pointed at a rather shoddy-looking tent at a far, dark corner of the fair. Hermione looked towards where her red-headed friend was pointing, and she scoffed.
"You must be joking."
"No, come on, let's go!" Ginny insisted, tugging on Hermione's sleeve.
"No, no, no! You know how I feel about tripe such as that," Hermione snarled, trying to free her sleeve, but Ginny was stronger.
"Aw, 'Mione, are you still sore about what happened during your time in Trelawney's Divination class?"
"Yes, that's why I walked out and dropped the subject, remember?" Hermione shook her head, "It's complete and utter bollocks."
Hermione was now staring at the sign in front of the tent, decorated colourfully with neon lights, and it read: Madam Lin's Fortune Telling.
"You're not dragging me in there," she protested, but Ginny ignored her.
"Come on, 'Mione, humour me," Ginny cajoled as she kept pushing her deeper into the dark, poorly-lit tent, "I'm very curious to hear what a Muggle psychic would say to you."
Despite Hermione's protest, she found herself facing a pretty middle-aged woman of Asian descent, her straight, black hair cascading down her shoulders to almost touch her lap, her heart-shaped face decorated with dark lipstick, eyes heavily lined with kohl. She was watching Hermione with a mysterious smile and an odd twinkle in her eyes.
"Sit, my dear," her voice came – a soft, velvety sound – and she accompanied her words with a wave of her heavily-accessorized hands, causing the silent tent to be filled with sounds of silver clinks.
"This is ridiculous," Hermione muttered under her breath, but after having seen the excitement etched on Ginny's face, she conceded and dropped herself heavily onto the chair opposite the woman.
"Hello, how are you?" Hermione greeted, smiling politely.
"You don't like being here," the woman answered with the same mysterious smile in place.
Hermione was about to retort with a 'wow, did your psychic abilities tell you that, because I'm pretty sure an idiot could tell I don't want to be here by my facial expression', but she bit her tongue. She didn't really believe that psychics have the ability to curse people who offended them, but she didn't want to take any chances.
The only reply Hermione offered was a smile and a slight shake of her head.
"Well, now that you are here, what can I interest you with?" the woman asked.
" I don't really have questions that I need to ask … but," Hermione stopped herself mid-speech.
Oh, to hell with it, she thought.
"I just … I just want to know if there's really someone out there, for me," Hermione mumbled.
The woman tilted her head in curiosity for a moment, and Hermione rushed to explain.
"I was supposed to be married … three years ago, to my best friend. But it didn't work out because, well, as everyone says, it wasn't our fate. It was fate that brought us together as friends in the first place, fate that brought us closer throughout the years, and also fate that made us call off the wedding. The same thing that people call 'fate' helped Ron – the man I was supposed to marry – find someone else whom we are certain he is going to get married to, for real this time, and … and," she stole a glance at Ginny, and Ginny urged her to continue, "Everyone else has their own significant other, except for me. Does he really exist? Or did he die –got struck by lightning or got run over by a taxi? Just … tell me, so I don't need to worry about whether there really is something wrong with me … no one ever approaches me, no one ever takes me out on dates and … is it my destiny to live a single life, to become a spinster with ninety-seven cats? Or is there someone out there, it's just that it isn't my time yet or something like that?"
She took a deep breath after that, and calmed down. For a moment, she thought the woman would snap at her and say, 'Too many questions, I'll most definitely be charging you extra'. Hermione couldn't help it; she did always have too many questions.
The woman simply smiled her mysterious smile – Hermione resisted the urge to grab her by her shoulders and shake her violently and say, "Stop smiling like that! What do you know?! What are you not telling me?! Tell me everything, now, tell me everything!"
"My dear," she said musically, in a way that resembled Trelawney so much Hermione had to fight the urge to roll her eyes, "Do you know anything about the 'Red String of Fate'?"
Hermione nodded, "Yes, I have read about it. But it's purely legend."
"What?" Ginny interrupted all of a sudden, "What is the 'Red String of Fate'?"
The woman looked at Ginny and smiled, "When a baby is born, my dear, he or she is already connected to the important people in his or her life. The gods tied an invisible red thread around the ankle of a man and a woman, to connect those who are destined to meet, regardless of the time, place or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break."
"Oh wow," Ginny gasped, clearly impressed. "Especially lovers?"
"Especially lovers," the woman nodded, "But it is not only for lovers, a person may be tied to a few important people in his or her life. What role they play in a person's life, however, differs."
"But it is only a myth," Hermione grinned at Ginny.
"I'm afraid not, my dear," the woman answered, "All of us are connected to certain people in our lives. Those who are gifted can see the red strings."
"Impossible," Hermione laughed.
"Are you doubtful?"
"Yes, I am very doubtful about that," she answered, "There is no way in hell a person could possibly see those threads, for they don't even exist in the first place."
For a moment, the woman looked cross, but went back to her usual smile.
"I see you are a stubborn one," she said simply, "If there was a way you could see the connection you have with the important people in your life, would you want to experience it?"
Hermione scoffed, but answered with a 'yes, absolutely', only because she was confident and sure that there was no way one could see something that is non-existent.
"Give me your hand," the woman smiled.
Hermione looked at her suspiciously for a few seconds before offering her hand, all the while shaking her head at Ginny and smiling, mouthing words like 'completely stupid', 'absolute bull' and 'so stupid'. Oh well, whatever to humour Ginny then.
She turned her attention back to the woman when she let go of Hermione's hand.
"Oh, are we done?" Hermione tried to keep the amusement out of her voice, but she couldn't help it, "Are you done casting spells?"
"Yes, nothing you aren't too familiar with," she looked at Hermione, giving her a knowing look.
Hermione's smile faltered a little at the woman's statement – it was as if she knew Hermione was a witch.
"Alright then," she shrugged and stood up, rummaging her bag to look for some change, but the woman stopped her.
"I do not take money," the woman said.
"Oh? Then what do you want in return?" Hermione asked.
"Simply to help those in need, and to answer questions that are asked," she answered briskly.
With that, the woman stood up and walked into another opening in the tent, and never came back.
Hermione and Ginny left the fair – Ginny unnecessarily excited about the whole thing and Hermione commenting that she didn't see any strings after the 'spell' was cast, so there, it doesn't exist.
x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x.
Hermione stared intently at her right ankle when she woke up the next day.
And she blinked a couple of times just to be sure.
There were goddamned red strings tied around her ankle.
She tried to touch it, to tug it but her fingers just seemed to go through it. Even after casting spells on it, it refused to go away.
After she let the knowledge that the legend was true sink in, she studied the threads for a bit.
There were seven of them, all tied around Hermione's ankle but most of them leading to different directions, save for the last two, bunched up together – almost tangled, but they were nonetheless, in the same direction.
Deciding to throw caution to the wind and lead herself into a merry little adventure, she set about finding the people whose ankles were tied to the other ends of the threads.
x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x. x.x.x.x.x.x.x.
The first one, obviously, had to be Harry Potter.
It made sense. He was the first true friend Hermione ever had, and he stuck with her through thick and thin, even through the perils of death. He was always on her side, the very definition of the brother Hermione never had and would have love to have, and she loved him dearly and he loved her as much. Of course he had to be one of the most important people in her life. Even without the string she would have known.
The second one was, again, obviously, Ron Weasley.
Despite their almost unsteady friendship and the on-again-off-again relationship they had up until three years ago, she knew he would always be there as her other best friend. They grew up together, along with Harry, and she never would have traded that for anything else in the world. They were still best friends – Ron was engaged to someone else and Hermione had never been happier for him.
The third was Ginny Weasley.
That went without saying. She had always been that one girl Hermione could relate to so much, the one Hermione could ask for girl advice from (also, makeup tips) and the one sees as much as see sees Harry and Ron.
The fourth and fifth were her parents.
After finding out who the five most important people were, she sat down and thought for a bit. She had all the people she would ever need right here, all known and close to her –
So who are the other two?
"Ah, Granger, what brings you here?" a silky voice came, after the door was opened.
She was rooted to her spot, unable to move, immobile.
Today was the day she decided to find out the other two people were. It had been quite the travel, all the way to the end of Wizarding London, and this is where the strings led her to. On the doorstep of a very expensive-looking townhouse.
Right on the doorstep of one Draco Malfoy.
And then she looked down at Malfoy's feet, to find that the other end of her string was indeed, tied to his right ankle.
"Well, I, Malfoy, I … umm, how are you?" she asked, still looking down at his ankle.
"Shall I leave you two alone then?" Malfoy drawled.
Hermione immediately looked up and realized that she had been addressing Malfoy's right foot.
"I am sorry, but … there must be some kind of mistake," she spluttered.
"What is it that you want, Granger?" he pressed, getting more and more irritated by the second.
"I just … I …" she struggled to find the words, but she was cut off immediately at the sight that came a few seconds later, and latched itself onto Malfoy's left leg.
Hermione stared at the boy, appearing to be around five or six years old, who looked just like a miniature version of Draco Malfoy, what with the striking blond hair and the grey eyes.
And Hermione's eyes almost bulged out of their sockets when she realized that the last string was tied to the little boy's right ankle.
"Dad," the boy whispered, "Who is that?"
"Just an acquaintance from when I was in school," he answered shortly. "Scorpius, say hello to Miss Granger."
"Hello, Miss Granger," he said confidently, apparently inheriting it from his father.
"Hello there, Scorpius. Pleased to meet you," Hermione answered with a smile.
"Now, why don't you continue your drawings and I will come in a bit," he said, ruffling the toddler's hair a little bit, before the boy ran off enthusiastically.
"Bye, Miss Granger!" he yelled, and soon after, the sound of a door slamming followed.
And then there was a pregnant silence.
Malfoy cleared his throat.
"So, Granger, care to tell me why is it that you decided to visit me out of the blue?"
"I'm sorry, but I think I'm here by mistake … I am so sorry to have disturbed you and your wife -"
"O-oh," Hermione swallowed, totally unsure of how to go about this, "I am sorry to have interrupted you and your son, then."
"You've yet to tell me why you're here, Granger."
"I … I …" she quickly thought of a reason, "I came here to thank you for the letter of apology you sent me."
A regal eyebrow arched up.
"I sent you that letter years ago, Granger," he replied, "And if my memory serves me correctly, you even wrote back, thanking me for that."
"I know, but … you know, I felt that it would be better to, umm, to say it face-to-face."
"Okay …" he said slowly.
"So, yes. Yes. That's it. Thank you, Malfoy. And what a handsome son you have. I'm glad you're well."
And before Malfoy could say anything to that, she said goodbye and Disapparated.
The absolute nerve of this woman! Hermione thought as she watched the clairvoyant – the same one she went to at the fair, the one she was now facing – the one that was currently laughing so hard her sides almost split.
Hermione had returned to the same tent at the fair after her encounter with Malfoy, to inform the woman that she had sorely been mistaken – that the red strings of fate had sorely been mistaken – only to have the woman start laughing hysterically.
"What's so funny?" Hermione snarled.
"You, my dear! You are absolutely hilarious!" she answered, wiping a tear from her eye.
"And which part, pray tell, was so funny?" Hermione asked through gritted teeth.
"Everything you just said, dear!" she said, and laughed a little.
"But I am right; the red strings got two people wrong! They're mistaken. It's invalid."
"Now, tell me, my dear … besides the other two, did the strings get the others wrong?"
"Well, no –"
"Then there is undeniably no way the gods could be wrong about the last two. You simply have not discovered what role they are going to play in your life."
"But – but it's Malfoy!"
"I know, dishy-looking, isn't he?" the woman's perpetually-mysterious smile was replaced with a cheeky and dreamy one this time.
"Wha – you know?"
"Of course I know. I know and see everything," the woman replied as if commenting on the weather.
"But … but this is impossible. You've got two wrong."
"Not I. Fate. And Fate is never wrong."
"This time it is!" Hermione screeched.
"No," the woman said, sipping on her tea.
"Yes, it is. You must have doctored the spell, somehow."
"Oh, my dear. I know better than to be underhanded."
"Remember, Hermione Jean Granger," the woman said, and Hermione's mouth immediately snapped shut at the fact that the woman knew her full name when she had never revealed it to her, "Remember that there is nowhere you can be that is not where you are meant to be. What's meant to be will always find a way. That is fate."
"Take off the spell, please," Hermione said quietly, and held out her hand.
"If you insist," she shrugged gracefully, "But lifting the spell isn't going to change your fate in any way at all. You now know who is connected to you, and there is no avoiding it."
Hermione tuned her out. She made a mental note to prove this woman wrong once and for all.
She just needed to take the spell off and avoid Malfoy and … and …
"You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it," the woman said nonchalantly, as if she had read Hermione's mind.
Hermione gritted her teeth in annoyance.
It was just bloody coincidence that she had met Malfoy – surely the clairvoyant tampered with the spell a little, to get back at Hermione for being rude, she supposed.
"And remember, there is always a thin line between coincidence and fate."
Rolling her eyes, Hermione stomped out of the tent and left for home.
No. She cannot be connected to Malfoy in any way, at all. It was impossible.
Just … no.
Things got stranger after that.
"Oh! Excuse me!" Hermione quickly regained her footing and held the person she had bumped into at the Ministry by the shoulders, "I am so sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going."
"Evidently," a voice answered a voice that was too cool to be friendly, but too polite to be cold.
Hermione groaned inwardly.
"Malfoy," she said, and she quickly let go of his shoulders.
"Granger," he nodded.
He was dressed in an immaculate business suit, looking as polished as ever, stormy grey eyes looking back at her.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, a bit too rudely than intended.
"I'm here to see my solicitor," he answered, ignoring her discourteous tone.
"Oh … is – is everything alright?" she blurted, despite herself, surprising Malfoy.
Malfoy's eyes narrowed a little in confusion.
"All is well, Granger, thank you for asking. It's just that my gold-digger of an ex-wife is still trying to get some of the Malfoy fortune after all these years."
"Ah, I see … I, umm, well, I hope everything will go smoothly then," she responded.
"Yes, well, thank you."
And then they stood quietly.
"Well … best be going. See you, Malfoy!" she said and walked out of the Ministry to get home.
And stranger still …
"Chocolate and raspberry with chopped nuts?" the girl at the counter called and Hermione stood up to get her ice-cream.
"Thank you," Hermione chirped happily as she gazed down at her sinfully great-looking ice-cream in a cup.
"You're welcome! Do come and drop by next week, we're having a half-price promotion," the girl informed.
"Yes, most definitely," she said, taking a spoonful of ice-cream and stuffing it in her mouth.
She had barely exited Florean's Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour before she ran into something hard and tall.
This time, the person grabbed her by the shoulders but her ice-cream, unfortunately, fell from her grip and onto the floor in a melting, gloopy mess.
"We need to stop meeting like this, Granger. What would people think?"
Without her permission, her heart decided to gallop like she had a shot of adrenaline.
She looked up into silvery grey eyes and she groaned.
"There, there, Granger. I'll apologize for bumping into you and consequently, knocking your ice-cream to the floor by buying you another."
That wasn't the reason why I was groaning.
She sized Malfoy up, and noticed that he wasn't alone this time. The little boy the other day was by his side, watching Hermione with curiosity.
"Well, hello there, Scorpius," Hermione smiled.
"Hello, Miss Granger," he answered politely.
"Hermione will do," Hermione chuckled.
"Hermione," he echoed, and sported a smug grin after successfully pronouncing her name right.
"Well, Granger, shall we?" came the voice of the elder Malfoy, who was holding the door open and waving a hand, beckoning her to re-enter the parlour.
"It's quite alright, Malfoy, you need not bother," she uttered, flustered by the idea of Malfoy having to buy her ice-cream, "It's just ice-cream."
"It's not just ice-cream, Hermione," protested Scorpius, "It's the very best kind! Right, Dad?"
Malfoy nodded, watching as Scorpius ran inside to choose a flavour, and then he turned to Hermione, "And it isn't a bother, really."
"No, Malfoy, I really -"
"Granger, shut your gob and just let me buy you some fucking ice-cream," Malfoy hissed, rolling his eyes.
At that moment, Hermione didn't know what she was more shocked by – the fact that Malfoy had just used an expletive, or the fact that the word had sounded like sin on his lips, or the fact that she had a sudden visual from the word exiting his mouth.
Hermione wasn't daft, nor was she stupid. She knew how attractive Malfoy was. Admittedly, she had no idea of what goes on in Malfoy's life, but after he had informed her almost two weeks ago that he was divorced, she had conveniently discovered old magazines bearing Malfoy's face on the covers with big, bold headlines such as 'MALFOY: SINGLE AND FREE', 'MALFOY, THE MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELOR', 'MALFOY BACK IN THE MARKET'.
Without much reluctance, Hermione could safely agree that people like him were created to be admired.
"While we're young, Granger," he drawled, cutting off Hermione's thoughts.
"Hermione, will you stay and eat ice-cream with us?" Scorpius looked up at her, with his grey eyes that reminded Hermione so much of his father's.
Malfoy said nothing.
"Please?" Scorpius beseeched.
"Of course, if that's alright with you, Malfoy," she glanced at Malfoy.
Malfoy shrugged gracefully and led them to a booth.
The universe never ceased to shock Hermione that day – for she had actually discovered that Scorpius was a chatty one, and Malfoy was quite a nice person to talk to and that she had actually had fun with the two Malfoys. She was reluctant to go home that day.
The strangeness continued …
I realize that I have not properly thanked you for your kind visit to my house a month ago. Allow me to buy you dinner tomorrow night, if that is alright with you.
There is no need to use such sarcasm. If you wanted to take me out for dinner, just say so.
In case you didn't notice, I did ask you. Read my first letter again, in case my words have escaped that phenomenal brain of yours.
Why, thank you. You're not so bad yourself, Malfoy, when you're not busy being a self-obsessed, arrogant twit.
And yes, dinner tomorrow night is fine.
Well it is superlatively difficult not to be a 'self-obsessed, arrogant twit' when faced with such a know-it-all Gryffindork such as yourself.
And I will pick you up at seven.
Seven it is. Where are we going, by the way? I don't need to dress up in stiflingly fancy and gaudy costumes like you normally do at dinners, do I?
No. Just wear something that is not too appalling and something that won't blind me the second I see it.
Don't worry, I will try not to blind those pretty eyes of yours.
Now stop replying. My owl is getting tired.
"So what happened between you and your ex-wife, Astoria?" Hermione asked, sipping on her wine.
"It wasn't really a real marriage to begin with. It was more like a contract between my parents. I needed an heir to the Malfoy name. And Astoria, well, needed a walking bank. So right after Scorpius was born, she found some other bloke and I asked for a clean divorce. Women, of course, have other ideas," he narrowed his eyes at Hermione.
"Not all women are the same you know," Hermione narrowed her eyes back at him.
"I know, but I really don't bother now," he said casually.
"Why not?" Hermione asked, almost defensively.
"Because I think it is a waste of time, relationships and marriages. It's too much work and when it doesn't work out, it becomes very messy."
"But it's a risk you have to take, isn't it?"
"Not for me, Granger, not for me," he grinned.
Somehow, Hermione's heart ached a little at that.
And maybe it was Hermione's fate to just be friends with Draco Malfoy, after all.
"And you, what of the Weasel?" he asked, "Last I heard you were off to get married, what happened?"
"We didn't love each other like that," she smiled, "Let's just say it wasn't meant to be."
Hermione was in trouble.
She was falling, and falling and falling.
Falling in love with Draco Malfoy. Hard and fast.
After their dinner, they had been meeting consecutively, be it for tea or lunch or just to take Scorpius out to the park.
And she was in trouble because he was so goddamned unattainable – especially after he said he wouldn't want to date after his divorce.
"Shit," Hermione hissed in bed, after she came to the conclusion that she was falling in love with the git, "Double shit."
What if the clairvoyant meant that it was her fate to be pining and longing after Draco Malfoy for the rest of her life under the pretence of being really good friends?
"She's gone," Hermione muttered disbelievingly, looking at the now-empty tent where Madam Lin's Fortune Telling used to be.
The funfair was still intact and running, but it was just that one tent that was empty now.
"Good, very good," she laughed hysterically, "Excellent. Brilliant. Just flippin' fantastic!"
"Now why are you shouting to yourself, Granger?" an all-too-familiar voice called from behind.
She turned towards the source of the voice, and her heart skipped a beat.
There he was – the man Hermione was fated to meet, fated to fall in love with, but probably not fated to be with. Oh, Lord, she hated her fate at that very moment. Something had to change!
"Hermione!" Scorpius called excitedly.
"This is getting really odd," Malfoy said, "We keep bumping into each other even if we don't make appointments to meet."
"I know," Hermione laughed nervously.
"Could it be the workings of fate?" Draco chided playfully.
"You don't believe in fate," Hermione grumbled.
"True, man is the master of his destiny," he retorted.
"Dad, can I go play that shooting game?" Scorpius interrupted.
"Of course, we'll be right here."
"Fate does exist, you know," she said.
"I'm not saying it doesn't, I'm just saying that it's based purely on your own actions and choices."
"What if fate was already written for us when we were born?" Hermione argued.
Malfoy said nothing.
"Someone told me once," Hermione continued, "That there here is nowhere you can be that is not where you are meant to be."
At that, Malfoy turned to watch her, an unfathomable expression on his face.
"You know that day, when I showed up at your front door?" she blurted, not really thinking.
What are you doing, Hermione?
"I was actually there for a reason," Hermione admitted.
"Oh? Let's hear it then, I can't tell you much joy I am feeling at the fact that after so many months, you have finally decided to tell me."
"I went to see a fortune teller, right here," Hermione said, pointing at the empty tent nearby, "Right there, actually. She told me about the 'Red String of Fate'."
"I've read about that. It's a myth, isn't it?"
"No, not really. She cast a spell on me, and it gave me the ability to see the threads that were connected to me. There were seven. Harry, Ron, Ginny, my parents … and then there were two others I didn't know. So I followed the trail, and it led to you and Scorpius."
What are you doing, Hermione? What are you doing, Hermione?
Malfoy was just watching her intently as she gushed on.
"At first I thought it was just some sort of a glitch in the spell, I mean come on, how was I ever going to be connected to you? Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy? That sounds almost preposterous, don't you think?"
Malfoy let out a huff of laughter at that.
"So you came to my house on a blind chase of fate then?"
"Yes, and the clairvoyant said that you were somehow going to be important to me. It's just that I have to figure out what role you're going to play in my life."
"I see," Malfoy responded.
"But you are, you and Scorpius … are important to me," she said, looking down at her shoes, "I don't know how it happened, or why. All I know is that it just did."
"Why thank you, Granger," Malfoy grinned, "I'm flattered."
Hermione rolled her eyes.
"So are you," Malfoy said firmly, but with a smile still playing on his face, "You're important to me, too. To us."
Hermione took a deep breath, her heart throbbing and she bit her lip.
"But I'm not really happy with what fate has brought me to, though," she said.
What are you doing, Hermione? What are you doing, Hermione? What are you doing, Hermione?
"You're not? Why?"
"Mainly because," she turned to Malfoy, "I'm in love with you."
Malfoy froze at that.
"And there's probably nothing I can do about it," she sighed heavily, "It's my destiny to fall in love with a man who has decided once and for all to not be involved with anybody else ever again."
"No, I'm sorry. I just had to let it out if I were to continue being friends with you. So, just … for now, please stay away from me, give me time. I'll come around," she added, "Tell Scorpius I said bye, okay?"
Then she Disapparated.
If it's meant to be, then it will happen.
Everything happens for a reason.
"Of course, was it fate that I was supposed to blurt my feelings out to Malfoy like that, all of a sudden, three days ago?" she grumbled, watching the swans at a lake near Hogsmeade swim by.
"Grumbling to yourself again, Granger?"
She shut her eyes and took a deep breath.
"What are you doing here? I told you to stay away from me," she sighed, "And how did you find me?"
"I didn't," Malfoy said and took his place next to her, both of them watching the lake, "Believe me or not, I just came out for a walk, and somehow it led me here. Does that sound familiar?"
"Kind of," she sighed again.
"That also means that we are meant to be here, at this time, at this place, regardless of circumstances, am I right?"
"Yes, something like that," Hermione nodded, resisting the urge to sigh again.
"So if I were to kiss you right now, that's because I was fated to do that, right?"
Hermione's eyes widened and she turned to look at Malfoy.
"Huh?" she asked stupidly.
"Which part did you not hear?" Malfoy turned to look at her, and grey eyes met brown.
"I did … I just … I was …" she shook her head lightly, wondering if this was a dream.
Malfoy took a few steps towards her and gripped her face with both his hands and stroked her cheek lightly.
"I'm going to kiss you now, Granger."
"Okay," Hermione said almost breathlessly.
Warm lips crashed onto hers and she let out a breath she didn't realize she was holding.
It felt like she had been waiting for this moment for an entire lifetime … going through a plethora of people, events and all that just to be at this specific time and specific place with a specific person.
She kissed back like she was starved for oxygen, and she probably was because Malfoy's kiss took her breath away.
Still, she had questions unanswered. She grudgingly wrenched her mouth away from Malfoy's.
"But … I don't understand …"
"If you hadn't left so hurriedly after your little confession three days ago, you could've heard what I was about to tell you."
Hermione blushed, but Malfoy continued, "I was going to tell you that … I always held a torch for you in Hogwarts, actually. That's why I used to pick fights with you, it was better than nothing, I thought. And it was funny how our paths would intertwine almost every time but I paid no mind to it. I thought it'll pass, eventually. So then I got married to Astoria, and then got divorced, and I wondered what would have happened if I said something to you back then. I thought I'd never get that chance ever again. And then, the very next day, just like destiny, you turned up at my door. It was so bizarre – how could you possibly turn up after I thought about you? I brushed it off as coincidence, but then we kept meeting like we did, and after the lecture you gave me about fate, I realized that there really is a fine line between coincidence and fate, really."
Hermione gaped at him.
"So, Granger, what I really think is," he said, as he stroked the side of Hermione's face, "that we're meant to be. I admit that it happened a bit later than I would have liked, but at least we are here right now. I'm afraid our 'Red String of Fate' got a little too tangled to get us together earlier."
"But we should be thankful that these things don't break, though," Hermione grinned.
"I am," he nodded, "Now be quiet, I'm trying to make up for years of lost time."
And then Draco swooped down to capture Hermione's lips in a kiss – his Hermione, his fate.
"Some things are destined to be – it just takes [a little time and] a couple of tries to get there."
- J.R. Ward, Lover Mine
Cheesy fic, I know!
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