Word Count: ~2900
Pairing(s): Draco/Hermione, Ron/Hermione
Warnings: adult language, sexual situations, and past infidelity (on Ron’s part)
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Prompt: “Next time I'll be braver, I’ll be my own saviour” from “Turning Tables” by Adele.
Summary: Hermione has wasted too many years in a dysfunctional relationship with Ron. Now that she’s single, she’s making it her mission to be stronger and refuses to settle for just any bloke, especially not any arrogant blond co-workers. If only Malfoy wasn’t so damn attractive and persistent.
7 years. 2,555 days. 61,320 hours. 3,679,200 minutes. That’s how much time Hermione had lost, how much time she had wasted, invested on a relationship that she was foolish enough to believe would last forever. And that’s not even counting the three years she spent pining after that freckled git before he even noticed her. How could she have been so stupid? Think of all the time she could have spent reading or researching rather than wasting her time on hopeless matters of the heart.
Her parents had raised her better than that. Hermione had taught herself better than that. She was always a smart girl—the brightest witch in her year the professors had named her—perhaps even of her time. Not that Hermione was a braggart or anything, but one must give credit when credit is due. Yet, somewhere between saving the world and finally leaving Ron, Hermione lost her way. Of course, she knew that she deserved better than him—that she deserved to be treated with respect and not abandoned for days at a time without a word, or to have her boyfriend come home reeking of smoke and regret. It was so hard to let go, but at the same time, it had been the single best decision of her life.
“Mione are you awake?”
“Hmm?” Hermione said after a beat, pretending to be asleep.
“I-erm...are you okay? I thought I heard—”
Hermione sighed and closed her eyes, holding back her tears. “It’s nothing, Ron. Go back to sleep.”
“Ron?” Hermione whispered, not even seconds later, but the only sound that greeted her was loud snoring and a cold back. Hermione threw her legs around Ron’s back and snuggled in closer, ignoring the smell of cheap perfume and stale firewhiskey.
This game of indifference had gone on for far too long. And enough was enough. Tomorrow Hermione was going to leave him. Tomorrow she was going to stand up for herself and be braver. But not tonight. Tonight she was going to soak in the smell of him, savour the sweetness that used to drive her over the edge and attempt to let go of her first love, her only love, her childhood. Yes, tonight she was going to drown underneath the stars and be haunted by the empty promises of yesterdays. And a life that could never be.
7 months. 21 days. 4 hours and 37 minutes. It had been exactly that long since Hermione had been alone, since Hermione had started her new life. Not that she was counting or anything. But for the first time in years, Hermione could not have been happier. Of course, it was lonely and incredibly painful at first, but right now, she was thankful for finally coming to her senses, thankful that she no longer depended on a man. For the most part anyway. She held a wonderful job at the Ministry in research just as she had always dreamt of doing and was even earning a decent living; the only problem was that a certain arrogant, blond git kept proving to be a distraction for her.
For the past 6 months, Malfoy had been working in her same department. When he was first hired, Hermione thought that it was a cruel joke—that as always, the universe was against her. However, she couldn’t have been more wrong. As much as it pained her to admit this, Malfoy was good at his job, damned good at his job really, and he had been civil towards her, friendly even. For the first few months, she tried to ignore him the best she could, avoid him as often as possible, especially since half of the other department employees, women and men alike, were fawning all over him and falling at his feet. Yes, the git was attractive with his blond hair, high cheekbones, and smoky grey eyes, but she was certain that he was still a foul, little cockroach just as he had been during school. He had to be.
Well, foul cockroach or not, Hermione had failed in her efforts of ignoring Malfoy, spectacularly so. And for the past two months, she had been shagging him in secret, usually at the office. But that had been mistake. A huge mistake that was over now. She was no longer going to sleep with Malfoy no matter what. It was completely unprofessional.
“Miss Granger? Miss Granger?” Marie, Hermione’s assistant, tapped her on the shoulder and smiled. She was one of those people who always had a smile on her face even when she was delivering bad news. Frankly, Hermione found it disturbing, but there was nothing she could do about it. Marie did her job well enough and Hermione was the only witch who had her own assistant, so how could she possibly complain. It didn’t seem right.
“Yes, Ms Parker?” Hermione raised an eyebrow at her assistant and frowned. She might only be a year younger than her, but it was important that Marie understand the hierarchy in the office—and more importantly, that she understand her place in relation to Hermione, who was her boss after all. Professionalism is always a must.
“Dray-co,” Marie said, looking at the floor in an attempt to hide her blush. “I mean...Mr Malfoy has requested your presence. He said to meet him in 10 minutes.”
Hermione chewed on the quill she had been twirling in her fingers and sighed. That was so like Draco. No, not Draco, Malfoy...giving orders as if he ran the place when in fact he held a position underneath hers. Or at least equal to it in ranking.
“Is that all?” Hermione asked, trying not to give away her annoyance at Malfoy’s request.
“Yes, he didn’t say where. And when I asked him, he just laughed and said to just give you the message verbatim. I wasn’t sure what that word meant, so I looked it up, and then I came straight here.” Marie paused for a moment and exhaled, blowing her long fringe out of her face. “So actually,” she continued, still speaking much too quickly as she always did, “you’ll have to meet him in 5 minutes.”
Hermione pursed her lips and frowned. Be patient with your assistant, she scolded herself. Be patient with your assistant. It isn’t her fault that she is a Grade A moron. “Alright, Ms Parker,” Hermione replied through gritted teeth, “you are excused.”
Fucking Draco Malfoy.
“Granger...you’re late.” Malfoy greeted her with that same smug smile he always did and shoved her against the wall—that bastard with his perfect white teeth and dimpled cheeks. Sometimes, Hermione really hated him.
“What is that you want, Malfoy?” Hermione tried to keep her face serious and her emotions under control. Usually no one got under her skin, but Malfoy always found a way to do so.
“You know what I want,” he rasped, his eyes wide and glazed over in lust.
Hermione tugged her arm out of his grasp and scowled, sending him her most irritated look. “And you know that’s not going to happen again. It was a mistake.”
He grabbed her hand and slipped his long fingers into hers; his hands were always so warm and soft. “That’s what you said last time,” he said, leaning in closer, only inches away from her ear.
“No, I’m serious this time,” Hermione protested, struggling to remove her hand from his tight grip.
“I don’t believe you.” His voice was deep and breathy, and this time he brought his lips to her neck and started trailing kisses down it. Damn him and his Slytherin ways. Why had she ever let it slip that kissing her neck made her go weak in the knees? Closing her eyes, Hermione inhaled deeply, trying to be strong. She couldn’t let him win this battle.
“Why are you here if you’re done with me, Granger?”
“I-I...” He continued kissing her neck, sucking on it gently and expertly. “I was going to remind you in person. I know how thick you are, Malfoy. You don’t have anything in that pretty blond head of yours.”
“Is that so?” Malfoy leaned in and kissed her now—hard and demanding. His lips were soft, but the kiss was oh-so rough, causing her knees to tremble and her breath to hitch.
“Yes," she said, after they finally broke apart. Her head was fuzzy now; his kisses always made her positively dizzy.
“Well, why don’t you tell me again then and speak slowly...so I can keep up.”
Ignoring her protests, he started unbuttoning her shirt and then hiked up her skirt.
“Shhh.” He silenced her with another knee-jerking kiss. “Save the speech for later. You know you want this. And Merlin, do I want you. You have no idea what you do to me."
Hermione wanted to protest, she always had a biting remark ready, but this time, all she could do was gulp.
“Listen to me, Granger,” he whispered, his voice deep and sultry. “I’m going to push you up against this wall and fuck your brains out. Do you have any objections?” He slid a warm finger underneath her skirt, sending a deep shudder down her entire body.
Gasping, Hermione wrapped a hand in his hair and pulled him closer for her own brutal kiss. “None,” she finally groaned out, “but this is the last time, okay?”
“Whatever you say.”
As he started sucking on her neck again and wrapping her legs around his waist, Hermione couldn’t remember exactly why she had been so against this in the first place.
“Fuck, Granger, that was incredible.” Draco sent her a wicked grin and then proceeded to put on his pants and trousers that were hanging on some boxes of old paperwork. He was quite a sight with his mussed blond hair and wrinkled grey shirt that was still hanging open and showcasing his lean chest.
“I know.” Hermione leaned against the wall, pretending to flatten her hair when she was really still trying to catch her breath. “But it can’t happen again, Malfoy.” Hermione looked down at her shoes as if they were suddenly interesting. She needed to be strong, and it wasn't going to happen if she was gazing into those gorgeous grey eyes of his. “I’m quite serious this time.”
Draco shrugged and then ran a hand through his hair, messing it up further. “That’s what you say every time.”
“NO.” She looked up from her shoes and locked eyes with him. “Malfoy,” Hermione said in her most serious voice, “this isn’t right. I refuse to be one of your tarts.”
“I don’t think—”
“Let me finish. I know that you might not think of me that way, but that’s how I feel. For God’s sake we just had sex in a storage closet. And it’s not like we really like each other. It’s just sex after all.”
Draco’s eyes widened and for a moment Hermione thought she saw a flicker of pain in his usually stoic grey eyes. “I see.”
“I’m sorry, Malfoy. I just need more than this. I deserve more than this, especially after—”
“The weasel. Look,” he said, his voice cracking now and forehead creased, “I’m not the Weasel. And I do care about you. Just give me—"
But before he could continue Hermione pressed her lips against his, this time silencing him with a soft kiss. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Malfoy. It’s not your style.” She straightened out her skirt and made sure her shirt was buttoned up properly.
“I’ll see you around, Malfoy.” And without waiting for a response Hermione left him there in his post orgasmic ruffled state and completely confused.
Bloody hell, what had she just done?
Hermione took the rest of the afternoon off. Normally, she would never skive off work, but this was an emergency. She had been sleeping with Malfoy for the last two months. And sleeping with him was being generous as their encounters usually involved them getting together for a quick and frantic shag. Nothing else. After the first time it happened, Hermione regretted it immensely, but somehow she kept getting sucked back in. It’s not that she even liked Malfoy, not with his pompous attitude and cocky grin, but the sex was so damn hot. Sex with Ron was never bad per se, but it was never like this. Wanton and brazen. Mind blowing. Malfoy would just slam her up against a wall and take her—fuck her until Hermione could barely remember her own name. And as much as Hermione needed to be in control of every detail of her life, sometimes, a girl just wanted to feel sexy, to be pinned down and have every ounce of her stress, pain, and frustration snogged out of her.
Ron had never been that bold. They would fuck the same way every time—him on top and her writhing below him uncomfortably. As soon as it was over, he would kiss her on the forehead, then roll over, and go to sleep. There was just no passion between them. The problem was that she never realised that until Malfoy. She never realised that she was settling. But Malfoy, God, Hermione couldn’t have feelings for Malfoy. Malfoy flirted with and probably shagged every girl in the office. And even though he had changed so much since the war, he was still an arrogant git. Definitely not boyfriend material.
No, Hermione had made the right decision by cutting things off with him. It wasn’t just sex any more. At least not for her and that was unacceptable. She had already learnt her lesson from her disaster of a relationship with Ron and wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. She needed to be brave and be her own personal saviour, not rely on a man to rescue her. Hermione was too smart for that. Much too smart for that.
Fuck. She had spent all afternoon moping around on her bed and losing herself in her twisted thoughts. It was now Friday night and she was supposed to meet Luna and Ginny for a drink, but she just wasn't up for it tonight. Quickly, she owled them to cancel, claiming that she was feeling a bit peaky and needed to stay in.
No, tonight Hermione needed some time to herself and perhaps a drink. Or two. She went in search of a bottle of wine, and once she found an old bottle that Ron had given her as a late Valentine’s day present, she didn’t even bother to search for a glass. After uncorcking the bottle, she brought it to her lips, a deep smoky red with just a hint of spice. It was rather delicious and Hermione laughed at the irony of the situation because for the first time, she wouldn’t have to scold Ron for being cheap on his wine selections.
“To me,” Hermione said, raising the bottle in a toast. It was going to be a long night, but if she was lucky she would find some answers at the bottom of this bottle.
If not, there was always tomorrow.
The next day, Hermione woke up with a splitting headache. Clearly, it hadn’t been a good idea to drink a full bottle of wine on an empty stomach. Thank God today was Saturday and Hermione didn’t have to go into the office.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
An irritating screeching filled her eardrums, which only caused her headache to worsen. What the hell was that noise? Turning over as slowly as possible, she realised that a large, tawny owl was drumming on her window. Although she didn’t recognise the owl, she let him in any way as it might be important or a notice from work.
The letter was sealed in a plain white envelope with only her name written in elegant green script on the front. The script looked familiar and caused her heart to flutter, but Hermione didn’t want to get her hopes up. After all, it could be from anyone. Lots of people have elegant handwriting.
If you give me a chance, a real chance, I can be all that you need. I’m sure of it. Enclosed is a token of my affection. And yes, I know you are a stubborn Gryffindor through and through and probably don’t believe me. I can be patient though and will continue sending you daily tokens of my affection until you agree to have dinner with me.
D. Malfoy Draco
P.S. Don’t take too long in deciding as my delicate ego can only take so much.
Hermione gazed down at the letter in front of her, reading it over several more times as if she hadn’t believed the words the first time around. After reading it for the fifth time and basically having the words memorised, she reached into the envelope and pulled out a small gold coin. As she examined it closer, the coin turned into a beautiful red rose. Merlin, she thought, running her fingers across the delicate rose. What an impressive bit of magic Malfoy must have used to achieve this. Well, then again, he had always been good at Transfigurations. She brought the rose to her nose and inhaled its sweet smell. As much as she wanted to hate him and strangle him, she couldn't help but be touched by Malfoy’s romantic gesture. Hermione had to hand it to him—the boy had style.
With the rose still in hand, she wandered her flat looking for the perfect vase to place it in. Of course, it was still too soon to accept Malfoy’s invitation. She wasn’t that easily bought by some flashy magic and a kind word, but still, the gesture had touched her heart and given her hope. If he really was serious, then perhaps things could work out for her after all. For them.
With a huge smile plastered on her face and feeling happier than she had since that first night she left Ron, she penned Malfoy a brief note.
Thank you for the rose. It is quite lovely. Unfortunately, I cannot agree to your request at this time. Ask again tomorrow.
All my best,
P.S. If you are playing me, I will hunt you down and permanently remove every single one of those blond hairs you cherish so much from your head. You’ve been warned.
As she watched her owl take off into the sky, she couldn’t help but smile again, a real smile that crinkled her eyes and warmed her heart. Yes, her life was far from perfect now, but with the promises of tomorrow and many tomorrows yet to come, things might just get better.