Reconciliation and Doubts
It had already been a week since that night. The tabloids had a field day with the whole incident. So far Harry, Ron and Draco have been avoiding her. This was not easy to do, since Hermione spent a lot of time with Pansy and Ginny. Not to mention Narcissa had been inviting her to brunch almost every day. That came to an end when she bumped into Ron and Harry.
"Hermione!! What are you doing here?!" Ron exclaimed when he went into his girlfriends' house.
"I was invited Ronald." Hermione glared at him.
"Ron, are you sure that Pansy won't mind if we see the….Mione!" Harry froze in his tracks.
"Well, now that you all here I will leave you to talk. I am going to floo Ginny and invite her over." Pansy left them alone.
"Now that we are finally alone, you mind telling me why you have been avoiding me all week?" Hermione glared at her friends.
Ron turned bright red and began to stutter. Harry for his part was just staring at her. Hermione tapped her foot impatiently. After a few minutes she sighed.
"Ron, Harry please talk to me. I really hate that we have been mad at each other. I can't take being apart from you both." She sat down in one of the chairs.
"Mione, you have to understand that the news of you marrying Malfoy was a shock to us." Harry said.
"What the bloody hell are you thinking?! You can't marry Malfoy!! He is evil!!"
"He is not evil!! He helped us during the war and so did his parents! That proves that he is not evil!"
"But Mione, you have hated each other since you met. How can you marry him?" Ron whined.
"Look Mione, we can't understand why you want to marry him." She was about to interrupt but Harry held up a hand for her to stop. "But we will respect your decisions. We are your friends and we will always be here for you."
"We might not be happy about it. But you will always be our best friend. We will always look out for you. Even if we sometimes over react." Ron smiled.
"Oh. You guys are the best!" She hugged them both.
"Well, it seems that our plan worked." Pansy said from the kitchen doorway.
"It was about time too. Harry was driving me crazy." Ginny smiled.
They spent the rest of the day catching up. Hermione was really happy to have her best friends back. She enjoyed watching her friends interact with their girlfriends. Pansy and Ron looked very much in love. They did argue but they complimented each other. Ginny and Harry seemed to have an almost otherworldly understanding. They knew what the other would want without having to speak out loud. She was really happy that her friends had found their soul mates. Seeing how happy they were made her think on what she was giving up by marrying Draco. She was giving up her chance to find her true love, her soul mate.
Hermione arrived at her flat around midnight. Her head filled with questions about the agreement that she had made. She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn't notice that there was someone waiting for her.
"Where have you been? I have been waiting for you all afternoon."
Hermione whirled around and to face her intruder wand on hand. "Draco, how did you get in? What are you doing here?"
"I apparated here. I've got to admit that I am surprised that your wards let me in."
"I modified them to accept you." She said offhandedly.
"I ask again, where were you?" He scowled.
"Not that it's any of your business but, I was with my friends. Why were you waiting for me?"'
"I came to apologize for my behavior during the ball." Hermione was astonished when he said that. "I know that you might not believe me but if we want this to work we have to at least be civil to each other."
She sighed and sat down on the couch near her. "Draco, can I ask you something? What if by continuing with this sham we are missing out on finding the person that we are supposed to love? What if what we are doing is not the correct thing?"
Draco looked at the uncertainty that shown in her eyes. He had asked himself those same questions during this time they had been mad at each other. But the more he thought about it the more he became convinced that they were doing the right thing. They might never be truly happy or in love like many of their friends were but at least they would be able to do what ever they wanted. That is all they could ever hope to achieve during this pretense.
"Granger, I know that this is all part of our plan. I know what it is that we are both giving up. To be honest I have never really thought about finding love. That is just something that was never meant to be for me. The only thing I could ever hope was to find a woman that would not annoy me. Many women would kill to be in your position, but those women are only after the Malfoy fortune. I know that you are not that king of woman. I also know that you would not be happy with a man that could not challenge you intellectually. Why don't we try to get to know each other and become at least friends by the time we marry?"
They looked at each other trying to process all that Draco had said. Hermione understood that what he said was partially true. She could never be happy with a man that didn't pose a challenge to her.
"Alright, I agree with you. Let us try to get along more. And I sincerely hope we are not making a mistake."
Draco smiled. "I believe that a mistake would be for us not to do this. Even though there is no love in our proposal we are well suited."
"Well now that is out of the way. I think it would be best if you left. It is rather late and I have to get up early tomorrow." She stood up and so did he.
"Yes you are right. Would you agree to have lunch with me tomorrow?"
"Alright. You might be a prat most of the time but, I can see that we could really get along and become very good friends. Thank you Draco." She hugged him.
"You have nothing to thank me for." He hugged her back and it strangely felt right to have her in his arms. "See you tomorrow." He stepped away from her and apparated home.
Hermione sat again and began to cry. She cried for everything that she was losing. She cried for the happiness that she would never experience. For the love that she would never find. Most of all she cried for all the heartache that their pretense was going to cause. She needed to cry now and get it all out or she would not be able to keep going.
Draco got home and went to the library. Once there he sat on one of the chairs near the fireplace and thought of his talk with Granger. He looked at the fire and let silent tears fall from his eyes. He began to mumble to himself about that whole plan. About all the things that could go wrong. All the people that they could hurt with their plan. He was so distracted with his pain that he didn't notice the shadow looking at him from behind one of the bookshelves. The shadow heard everything and after a while left closing the door silently behind them.