365, With Love
The world should've just been one big library. Any corner you turn to could be your private solace, and nobody could disturb you. But alas, a higher power from above must've hated humans to some extent that they were literally everywhere and there was no peace whatsoever and Hermione just wants some quiet and alone time oh my god. Is it that hard to ask for?
Maybe if she isn't so brave and cheerful and intelligent and friendly, people around her will allow her a few moments of weakness. Maybe if she introduced herself long ago as emo or as someone who would periodically slash her wrists because of life's angst-ness, they will care more for her emotional welfare and accept the fact that sometimes Hermione can be a sad girl. Just think of the owl-free days, lazing-around-in-the-couch days, generally-hiding-from-the-world days that she will have been allowed access to. But she didn't, so that was the end of it.
Right now, Hermione is a sad, sad girl and people aren't leaving her alone.
It is Christmas so everybody has the right to be jolly. Harry wouldn't let Hermione work more on her research, Ron would sooner die if Hermione wasn't there to help him choose the perfect gift for his girlfriend, Molly would practically strangle her if she didn't go to the Weasley holiday dinner, and so on and so forth with the other numerous people in her life that she just wants to let it all out in the chilly, snowy air and… and forget everything. Stop pretending that she's okay. Stop trying hard to laugh at jokes people made around her. Stop trying to keep it together. Stop trying to forget the gaping hole in her chest.
Because it is hard, so hard, harder than defeating Voldemort. The matters of the heart aren't the type to be meddled with by the brain, and that is something Hermione has difficulty coming into terms with.
Especially when the "coming to terms" is being done currently with arms around legs and behind a hidden bush outside in the winter landscape. It is a scene so similar to the days of running around in the Forest of Dean with Harry for Hermione, but not that she is running from anything in this moment.
Maybe if she hugs her legs tighter to her chest the gaping hole in her would fail to exist.
Utopia has different meanings for many people. For Voldemort, it was purging the world of nearly more than half its population and leave it to the inbreeding pure-bloods. For Hermione, it was being able to hold hands with bigots such as Draco Malfoy without the fear of rejection on her part and fear of infection on the other part. Voldemort's idea was too stupid enough it lost him his life, soul and nose. Hermione's, well, was too naïve. But there's a cliché statement, "A girl can dream" Technically, she's a girl, so she can dream. (Smart logic, Hermione, she berated herself.) Dreams could come true, and that is why in a breezy, summer's day at the park, Hermione Granger has her fingers wrapped around Draco Malfoy's own.
"A funeral for the creature that died on your head, miss?"
"A rope for your neck, sir?"
Brunette and blond turns to grin at each other, and when they do, they are both shocked at how stupid their reflexes are. It is rather comical, like those in movies where two characters turn to smile at their companion and watch each other's frozen smiles slowly melt into something resembling a frown. It is those movie moments where they move to share pleasantries with a stranger, but in doing so finds out that the stranger isn't really a stranger, but a former classmate whom you hated for most of your academic life.
Witch and wizard, while staring at each other with wary eyes, instantly ruminate about their Hogwarts' days, to an alternate universe where bigotry doesn't exist, where an easy friendship between them could've been easily built. They find out later that night that with blood issues and annoying attitudes aside, Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger could exchange barbs and smile at each other afterwards.
It isn't a very ideal holiday for Hermione, but it is incredibly perfect teasing material for Draco. Hermione is very happy with single life, thank you oh so much, while Draco is still sore from his break-up with Astoria. Hence, there are pink hearts floating around in the DMLE's office where Hermione and Draco's desks are located, the result of the trick of a certain sneaky witch.
The smile they nearly did not give each other last month at the Ministry's New Year's Party is now given any minute of the day. Their barbs lengthened to not only about their physical appearances, to Hermione's clothing style to Draco's apparent hair fetish to their professionalism to Draco's masculinity. They would spend most of their vacant time together, engaging in small talk and scheming and teasing and misbehaving here and there. People would shake their heads at how childish the witch and wizard were acting, but it is refreshing and uplifting to see two kids changed by a war then reverted back to almost childish innocence; a fiery, almost prude bookworm to a witty witch with the tinkling laugh and an ex-Death Eater Jr. to a playful wizard with the roguish grin.
It is the almost perfect picture of friendship. If only Hermione would stop noticing how beautiful Draco's hair is, or how her stomach would somersault whenever they banter, or-
But enough of that. Hermione is scheming again on her office desk on Valentine's Day. Teasing Draco is an art, and it is an art that should never tolerate imperfection. It is an art that should kick ass, and so Hermione brings Luna Lovegood to lunch with the two of them.
It wasn't supposed to be matchmaking, but the way Draco makes gooey eyes at Luna all over lunch was hilarious. Apparently, Draco isn't over his blond fetish yet. It didn't pack its bags together with Astoria. He drinks Luna's words in, taking on a pensive look that he reserves for department meetings, (much to the surprise of Hermione who never thought that Draco could stomach nonsense) and breaths in the blond girl's eccentricity.
Hermione sits in the background and watches with approving eyes. Merlin, a scowling Draco was an amusing interlude, but a Draco in love is a show.
There are love bites in the hollow of Luna's neck and shoulder, Hermione notices these as the younger witch talks about Nargles and how they are altering their composition for people in love. Luna is trying so hard to convince her that Hermione just nods her head meaningfully at the maddening blush on the other girl's cheeks.
Then when Draco stretched in his desk, arms up and neck sidewards, Hermione takes a picture of it and a blow-up is available on the DMLE's bulletin board the next day. Draco and Luna's sex life is now known.
"I just thought we had to lay it off a bit," Luna said in that dreamy voice of hers.
Hermione pauses in the process of chewing her biscuit, a very frustrating action according to her starving stomach, and frowns. "What's 'it'?"
"You know, sex. It's not very good for the Nargles. And they watch us all the time. Plus, Draco wants too much of it," Luna says with a shudder.
Hermione's mouth is gaping. Too much information, her brain registers. But something chooses to bang itself around her head. Draco wants it all the time…
All that Hermione could think of her blond wizard of a best friend is, "Merlin, that's hot."
The nights and days are getting colder and lonelier, and an itch is starting to irritate the brunette witch. Hermione is near screaming. "I just need it! Stop laughing! I hate you!" she yells at the guffawing wizard across her. Draco is hanging out in her flat for no reason at all, and Hermione wishes that there was one, and that one reason is the one poking around and making chaos in her mind.
"Okay, Hermione, have sex. Shag. Fuck. Make whoopee. Whatever," he replies in between laughs. Hermione just scowls.
"That's not what I wanted to hear," Hermione mutters while digging into her jar of cookies. There was something with the word, "I" and "me"…
She hears a snort, and she sends another derisive glare at her companion. "As a very supportive friend, I give you blessing to bang the headboard with Cormac McLaggen. Even though Merlin knows why you chose to do it with that man-whore," is what she hears next. She looks up and sees the scowl on Draco's face.
Hermione's hopes flares to life. That scowl, it has to mean something, right?
Two things are realized today in Hermione Granger's life. One, she is attracted to him (of all bloody people!) since the drunken kiss last New Year's at the Ministry. Two, she is falling in love with him.
She doesn't want to think about it, but it is happening. It is happening. She cannot look at him or talk to him or even, Merlin forbid, think about him without getting that jittery feeling in her stomach!
And he is busy making moony eyes at a witch, who isn't her.
Somehow Hermione's brittle heart disintegrates a part of itself little by little every day. Somehow she finds herself waking up still alive and wondering what the hell was happening to her life. Somehow she survives watching two people falling in love with each other in front of her and goes home to her lonely flat knowing that the other person in that two people is the one she desires, and the one who is not hers.
What a cruel, cruel world.
"I don't know. She always says she's not in the mood..."
"Maybe she really isn't in the mood," Hermione offers as a sort of sympathy to the miserable and distraught wizard in front of her. Draco sends a glare at her.
"Would you mind? This is not the time to be rational," the blonde snaps.
Hermione's eyebrows goes up at his biting remark. Draco is still glaring at her. Un-fecking-believable.
"Well, what do you want to think? That she's having an affair?"
A noncommittal shrug is all that Draco gives her, but there is the telltale downward turn of his lips and the cold, miserable vibes radiating from him. "It was just like Astoria back then..." His voice trails off as his attention does too. Hermione watches as his eyes glazes over and loses focus on the scenery outside of the window.
Hermione thinks that that it is pitiful. He is pitiful. Something stirred in her chest at the memory of that certain dumb, arrogant, insensitive, cheating blonde bitch. Then there was the heartbreaking look that Draco gave her that night...
She holds out her hand and wraps it around his. "She's not. If she is, well those Nargles better be good at it," she mutters with sympathy in her voice and on her face. She then pats his hand.
She sneaks a peek on Draco's face, which is a bizarre mix of horror, disgust and bemusement. They both look into each other's eyes and burst into laughter.
She's spiralling downwards and she's doing nothing about it. Nothing. Everything was too sweet, too happy that she is willing to go down the drain along with it.
The sound of windows rattling is what wakes up Hermione Granger at twelve in the evening. She grabs her wand from her nightstand, grasps it tightly, and takes deep breaths. Her feet snake out under the beddings and into the carpeted floor of her bedroom. Then she tiptoes discreetly outside her bedroom and into the living room.
The wards register that it is someone she knew. Instincts tell her that the front-door wrecker on her door is someone she knows very well.
"She broke up with me."
Hermione rolls to her side and smiles at the vast expanse of white blond that she saw. She can feel her blood singing with the contentment she feels right now, something that should disturb her but her brain have locked all form of rationality away. Trying not to wake her bedmate, she slowly puts her hand up to reach up into those blond locks again and twists her fingers in them again and-
Suddenly, a pale hand shoots up and catches her wrist before she does. Hermione lets out a mock groan. She then giggles at the mock glare that two grey eyes are giving her.
"You will not have any of my hair, all right?" Draco mock-growls.
The game is on. "Why?" Hermione whines.
"Because, bushy, that's you. You deserve that bushy hair as punishment for being bloody smart and being good at almost everything"
She gasps in mock horror. "Oh Merlin, I always knew there was something sinful with how special I am," she turns to the blonde with a playful yet seductive smirk on her face. "What do I have to do for redemption?"
His pink, luscious lips smirk back. "Ancient books say that a blonde hotshot must give it to you," he whispers huskily.
Hermione's brows rise. "So...?"
He winks at her. Then two strong arms wraps around her torso and he falls simultaneously onto her. Then there he is, plunging into her again and again and again...
All Hermione can do is moan and gasp and writhe. "I need you… Oh, God…"
She doesn't mind Draco being silent during the whole ordeal.
'Twas the day of the crash and burn.
"I don't know. She's the one I'm going to marry, Hermione. I can feel it. Hey, hey… Hermione. Hermione! Hermione? Are you okay?"
She glances at the glass windows in front of her and sees her pale reflection. She immediately tries to bring blood flowing back to her face by gulping down her hot tea. Something like fire makes residence in her throat, bringing tears into her eyes.
She does it all quickly that she is fanning her face when she turns to face her best- yes, best friend. "Wow, I'm glad for you," she replies happily with a big smile on her face.
Hermione is disturbed by the concerned look on Draco's face. "Are you all right, Hermione?" he inquires.
No, you idiot. You of all people know how good I act! You of all people know how good I am at tucking myself away! Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck-
"Of course I am. The tea was still hot and I gulped it down. Silly me," she replies in a steady voice, sounding so different from herself, like someone who was really silly for introducing hot tea to their system. She doesn't sound like someone breaking apart.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the problem with Hermione Jean Granger.
"So, when is the wedding?" she smirks at Draco Malfoy as she sits down on the couch facing him. Somewhere, in a distance, she can hear the sound of her heart shattering into pieces.
The news of the Lovegood-Malfoy engagement spread like Nargles (Hermione was starting to believe in them) among the Wizarding community. It was the cover of The Quibbler for three weeks after Dra—Malfoy broke the news to her. Hermione heard that Luna's father was glad because her daughter was finally happy, but not because she was marrying a former Death Eater (Luna's father still held reservations against Dra-Malfoy's kind). Malfoy's parents were over the moon, considering that Luna was a pureblood, and a friend of Harry Potter. What great tidings to the Malfoy clan, then.
But the news of the disappearance of a brunette war heroine from the limelight didn't reach the eager ears of the community, even gossiping goats such as Rita Skeeter. The Weasleys were left to their own devices, with Harry Potter in their midst, after midnight of Christmas struck. A certain brunette witch left them, without as much as a farewell.
In a land a thousand miles away, the missing brunette witch, one Hermione Jean Granger, is currently tucked into warm blankets by a fireplace in her flat with her hand atop her flat stomach. She alone knows that in a short time, a bump would be there soon.
A note sits in Draco Malfoy's desk the day before New Year's. Written in a beautiful, flowing script, the said note says: I gave you all of it. All of my days. 365 of them, all 365, with love.
And I don't regret them.