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A Year In The Life

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New Year’s Eve was now officially—her least favorite Holiday.

Well it had been Valentine’s Day, but that was a story for another time.

For the past six years since she’d graduated from Hogwarts and the past five Hermione had been a single witch (her relationship with Ron fizzled more than it sizzled)—Hermione had dreaded New Year’s Eve with a passion.

She’d stand there at Grimmauld Place alone in a dark corner somewhere, while everyone drank, snogged and in general had a rip-roaring brilliant time while she left as lonely as she’d arrived.

When she’d graduated from Hogwarts—a year late but still at the top of her class, her perfect NEWTS as well as being a noted War Heroine—guaranteed her any job she’d wanted in the Ministry.

But her heart had always been set on working in the Department for Magical Creatures and as such—she’d spent her first year buried in work—revising outdated House Elf laws with a singular focus that watched the questionable relationship she’d had with Ron implode like one of George’s dungbombs.

Luckily, it was a fairly amicable split and Ron had moved on quickly. Several times in fact, but he was now engaged to Luna Lovegood and as weird as it sounded—they were rather well suited.

Harry went straight into Auror training after the war, foregoing returning to Hogwarts with her and Ginny. There were a few returning eighth year’s including most of the Slytherin’s, which hadn’t been a surprise. Hermione had been made Head Girl, along with Malfoy who was Head Boy. They’d not interacted much beyond their respective duties initially—but he had made a point of apologizing sometime around Halloween that year and a tentative truce had been forged.

When he’d graduated alongside her, he went straight into Auror training. Everyone had been shocked except Harry—who had told her that Malfoy had spoken with Kingsley and had requested to be given the opportunity to go through the program. Kingsley had agreed, but when Malfoy had finished at the top of his class—no one wanted to partner with him.

So of course, Harry stepped up and stepped into being Malfoy’s partner and another truce had begun.

Except now they were rather good friends.

And Hermione had found herself these past few years being force fed a diet of Draco Malfoy at most holiday functions, whether she’d liked it or not.

Which she hadn’t at first but then...

After the war she’d found her parents and restored their memories. Their anger at her decision to take their choice had been met with pleas for understanding to no avail. She’d done everything short of showing them her memories of her time on the run and what had happened at Malfoy Manor. She’d eventually concluded it probably wouldn’t have made much difference.

They’d decided to sell their home in Hampstead Heath and had all but disowned her.

They’d remained in Australia.

She received a cursory Christmas Card signed by Richard and Helen Granger each year, but that was it.

It never ceased to break her heart a little more.

This past year had been a turning point in her professional life though. She’d been promoted to Head of her Department—youngest ever. The accolades in her professional life just made the gaping holes in her personal life that much more pronounced.

But the most surprising realization had come this time last year when she’d shown up to Harry’s annual party and noticed Malfoy standing off by himself—looking as awkward as she felt. She’d gone up to him and they’d talked a bit...which led to lunch a few weeks later.

Then dinner after that.

They’d become fast friends sometime around mid summer.

It was Yule when Hermione realized she’d started having serious feelings for the blonde wizard.

He was charming when he wanted to be. Aloof when he didn’t want to be bothered. Sarcastic when he was feeling cheeky and caring when no one was looking.

He’d made some offhanded comment Christmas Eve after one too many firewhiskey’s—that they should attend Harry’s New Year’s Eve party together and Hermione had been thrilled—until yesterday, when she heard him tell Harry in his office that he was bringing Astoria Greengrass.

And her heart cracked a bit more.

So now it was New Year’s Eve and she was staring at herself in the mirror, silently watching the tears coming down her cheeks.

She couldn’t bear another New Year’s Eve at Harry’s. Not like this.

She looked at the time and it nearing nine o’clock in the evening. Walking into her bathroom she opened a secret drawer that she kept a few emergency things in. Grabbing a piece of fever fudge and a puking pastille—she downed the offending objects and waited for them to take effect. She knew it would be about twenty minutes before Ginny would likely notice her absence and be flooing over—demanding her presence.

She’d have a good reason for not attending.

So as luck would have it, when Hermione heard her floo go off—she was worshipping the porcelain god.

“Hermione?” Ginny’s worried voice broke through her retching as the red-head threw open her bathroom door with a thud. “Merlin! Are you sick?”

Hermione’s face, which was swollen from crying looked particularly awful and Ginny grimaced as she rushed into the kitchen to grab a ginger tonic and some ice.

“When did this happen. You were fine yesterday?” She knelt down and placed the bag of ice on Hermione’s neck.

The relieved groan from the older witch was pitiful.

“I’m not today.” Was all Hermione could get out before she heaved again, almost laughing at the look of utter disgust on Ginny’s face. “Go back to the party Gin. If this is contagious, I don’t want you to get it.”

Ginny rubbed her expanded belly with a sad nod.

“Okay, but floo me if you need anything. I’ll let Harry know.”

“Thanks. Happy New Year.”

“You too Hermione.”

Ginny stood up and with one last look of empathy, she left back to Grimmauld Place.

Hermione sighed in relief. Glad that she wouldn’t have to brave another night of frivolity and not having anyone to kiss at midnight.

Standing up shakily, she went and grabbed her wand and locked down her floo and wards. She didn’t want any more visitors tonight.

When Ginny got back to Grimmauld, Harry was waiting.

“Where’s Hermione.”

Ginny noticed Malfoy was standing with her husband, his expression impassive but he seemed interested in her answer.

Odd.

“She’s really sick. Throwing up and high fever. I debated on whether to leave her, but she told me to come home and leave her be.”

Harry’s face fell, and Ginny noticed that Draco seemed worried too.

“Maybe I should go and check up on her?” Harry lamented, while Ginny just patted his arm soothingly. Hermione and Harry were like siblings in every way but blood and for a time she’d been a bit jealous of the other witch—but had slowly come to accept the fact that Harry loved Hermione—just not in that way.

“If you need to.”

Harry nodded and went to call out Hermione’s address but the floo didn’t activate. He tried it a second and third time and then scowled before disapparating, only to come back a few moments later with an even deeper frown marring his features.

“She’s locked down her floo and wards. Stubborn witch.”

Draco chuckled and said, “Would you have expected anything else?”

Harry smiled fondly and shook his head. “Not really. Come on Malfoy...let’s get this party started. Sorry about Hermione though. I know you were looking forward to spending some time with her tonight.”

Ginny’s eyebrows lifted but Draco just shrugged indifferently, before giving his Auror partner a look of warning.

“Nothing for it now. I need to find Astoria.”

Harry nodded, and grinned as he watched the blonde saunter away.

When he turned to his wife her expression was part confused, part eager.

“Is Malfoy dating Astoria?”

Harry sighed. “Not exactly. When Lucius was sent to Azkaban after the war, he’d tried to negotiate a betrothal contract between Malfoy and Astoria which neither were thrilled about. When Lucius died, those negotiations died with him but Narcissa has been after Draco this past year to settle down and get married. I think he’s just trying to get his mum to back off.”

“And what about Hermione?”

“They’ve become rather good friends, I think. But you know Mione...she’s a tough nut to crack.”

Ginny guffawed in agreement as they headed back inside to their guests.

Back at Hermione’s apartment, she was sitting down on her couch with the television turned on watching a movie. The sound was off, but the picture kept her attention for a bit before she pulled out a box that she’d left by her chair and opened it.

Inside were the remnants of her previous life. Pictures of her upbringing during happier times. Her parents taking her ice skating, to the snow. Making gingerbread houses and celebrating the New Year as a family.

Hermione then pulled out the afterthought Christmas Cards and sighed before reaching for the last letter her parents had sent to her. As she read through the harsh words, her heart shattered a bit more.

Hermione couldn’t blame them—not really. She’d never told anyone that she had been able to restore their memories or their decision to disown her.

She didn’t want anyone’s pity after all.

Placing the items back inside the box, she levitated it to the top of her bookshelf and sipped on her ginger tea. Fortunately, she was able to take the recovery treats for George’s pranks and she felt a bit better—at least physically.

As she turned the channel the New Year’s Eve celebrations were underway and as midnight approached she grabbed her journal and tried to write down her resolutions for 2006 but after a while Hermione realized she hadn’t managed to pen a single item.

When the cheers started down the street and the clock struck midnight, she found herself writing down one thing....

If I’m still alone by this time next year...quit job and relocate, start over fresh.

She stared down at the resolution and nodded with finality.

She could do it...

She could begin again...

Unfortunately fate had other plans for 2006...

Chapter Text

New Year’s Day, Hermione woke up to a foul taste in her mouth. Groaning loudly, she pulled herself out of bed and made her way into her bathroom...brushed her teeth and relieved herself before heading for her kitchen to make a spot of tea.

Once she was situated comfortably in her favorite spot near the window, she looked out the window and smiled softly at the wisps of snowflakes flurrying to the ground. Her mind went back to the previous evening and she sighed, feeling a lone tear escaping from the corner of her eye.

Shaking her head at how ridiculous she was being, Hermione wiped the tear and vowed right then and there that she wouldn’t set herself up for anymore unrealistic expectations. She should’ve known better than to think that Draco Malfoy—Pureblood aristocrat—would ever look her way romantically. He had probably meant that they would spend the night talking as friends.

Nothing more...nothing less.

Finishing her tea, she went into her bathroom and took a nice long hot shower and got dressed in her favorite jeans and jumper. She put on her snow boots and long pea coat—grabbed a beanie, scarf and some gloves (along with her beaded bag) and made her way outside for the day.

She walked all over London. Her apartment was in Muggle London near Knightsbridge. Most of the museums were closed today, but she did manage to grab a cup of coffee and a scone and eventually found her way to the tube.

It was a bit later she was staring at her childhood home and another wave of nostalgia fell over her. Of all the things she’d wished for her life, Hermione had never believed that her parents wouldn’t have forgiven her decision to keep them safe. Placing that memory charm had nearly broken her, but she’d just wanted them to live.

Why couldn’t they see that?

She moved out of her former neighborhood and kept walking. It was nightfall before she found herself back in London proper...walking along the Thames. She stopped to admire the lights on the water and continued her trek until she reached her home sometime around ten that night.

Upon reaching her apartment building, she was surprised to see Malfoy standing outside, his expression was filled with worry. He hadn’t noticed her yet, so she cleared her throat and the relief on his face was fleeting before that mask of his came down as it always did.

“Where have you been, Granger? I came by several times today to check on you.”

She walked past him and punched in the key code to her place, not noticing he was making a mental note of said code and invited him upstairs.

“Do you think it was a good idea going out today when you were so sick last night?” He growled and she shook her head—opening her door but still not speaking.

Frankly, she was shocked to see him at all.

“I’m fine.” She finally managed to get out and by the expression on his face—she could tell he didn’t believe her one iota.

“You’re fine?”

“Obviously.” She replied as she moved into her kitchen to start some hot water for tea. “Can I offer you some tea?”

“Sure.” His voice was strained, and Hermione was at a loss as to why he was here.

Reaching for two cups, Hermione could feel Draco’s eyes boring into her but she kept quiet as she got everything together for their tea.

Once the tea pot whistled, Hermione poured the water into their cups and handed Draco his—his murmured ‘thank you’ was met with an equally quiet ‘you’re welcome.’

A few sips later, he put his tea cup down and sat back in his chair...and she could tell he was working up the courage to tell her something.

It was with sudden clarity, Hermione realized what it was.

“Congratulations.” She said with an even voice—proud of herself for not sounding the least bit emotional.

“For what?” He looked confused and she tried her best to smile kindly.

“I heard you and Astoria are seeing each other. Your Mother must be thrilled.”

Draco’s face blanched for a split second before that damn mask fell down in place again.

“I didn’t realize you knew that I brought Astoria to Harry’s last night.”

She shrugged indifferently. “I overheard you telling Harry a few days ago.”

Draco’s eyes bored into her’s, but he didn’t offer an explanation of any kind.

It was very telling.

“Ginny said you were really sick.” He said at last.

She stood up to take her cup to the sink, needing to get away from his penetrating stare.

“Yes. But I am better now so you don’t need to worry.”

“Granger...” his voice was rough but Hermione just sighed in defeat.

She couldn’t do this.

Not with him.

“Look Malfoy, I’m a bit tired from walking around London today so if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a shower and get to bed.”

She turned around and noticed he was gripping his mug tightly—his knuckles white and his jaw clenched but after a few moments he nodded and stood up.

“I’m glad you’re feeling better. How about lunch next week?”

Hermione tried her best to appear blasé as she replied back, “Sure.” Not having any intention of having lunch, dinner or anything else with Malfoy after today.

“Good.” He smirked and then asked if he could use her floo, which she allowed and as he made to leave he said firmly, “Lunch, soon.”

She just nodded, watching his grey eyes bore into her’s before he flashed away in a swirl of green flames.

When he was gone, she waved her wand and locked down her wards and closed her floo. She wasn’t due back to work until the day after tomorrow but perhaps she’d go in early.

It wasn’t as if she had anything else to do.

Chapter Text

Bloody Valentine’s Day! She really hated this holiday! In fact, it wasn’t even a real holiday! Just some ridiculous excuse to celebrate love.

What utter rubbish!

This past month, Hermione had been fairly successful in avoiding Malfoy. In fact, she’d been avoiding everyone.

As luck would have it, her third morning back he’d sent her an interdepartmental memo requesting to have lunch with her...which was his second day back after New Years and there had been a lovely article with a picture of him and Astoria that same morning, walking arm and arm around Diagon Alley the day before.

Hermione had taken one look at the offending article and threw it in her trash can...not needing to read said article.

When Malfoy’s invitation had come, she’d immediately sent back a short reply stating she was too busy but perhaps a rain check for another time.

Malfoy had sent an invitation every few days like clockwork...and each day that he’d sent one—there was another picture of him and Astoria in the Prophet.

She couldn’t help but wonder if he was trying to rub it into her face on purpose.

Over the past month, Hermione had found herself increasingly tired and lethargic. She had no appetite and had lost nearly a stone since Christmas.

Thankfully, she’d always worn robes that were a bit on the larger side so her weight loss hadn’t been too noticeable—even if her face did appear a bit sallow.

Hermione had purposefully made an appointment at St. Mungo’s today to see her healer. Pepper up potions were starting to make her heart race a bit and she didn’t want to keep taking them until she knew for sure what was going on with her.

Packing up her things and sending a few memos out before she left for the day, Hermione opened her door to find Malfoy standing there—propped up against her Assistant’s desk...talking to her.

“Hey Susan, I’m leaving for the day.”

“Okay Hermione, will I see you tomorrow?”

“Yes.” Her eyes settled on Malfoy, who was wearing his purple Auror robes and he looked simply sinful in them. She nodded politely and walked past him, wanting to groan when he fell in step with her.

His eyes were inscrutable as always, as he gave her a measured look.

“Date?” His voice was low, but his expression was stoic.

“No...appointment.”

He nodded as he continued to walk with her towards the Ministry atrium and she had to wonder if she’d imagined the relief that flashed across his face.

“Are you avoiding me?” He inquired at last, and Hermione thought she’d glimpsed for a split second—another emotion behind Malfoy’s gaze she didn’t recognize.

Shaking her head, she just smiled and said, ”Sorry. I’ve just been so busy with the Werewolf Legislation that it’s taken all my free time.”

“Even lunch?”

She shrugged as he stopped her and pulled her in front of him...his eyes clearly assessing her before that worried look fell over his face again.

“You’ve lost weight Granger.”

“A bit, but really...it’s okay. Harry can tell you how bad I was at school with eating as I was always busy studying for OWLS. Once this legislation is on the docket, I’ll be back to my old self.”

Draco nodded, but he clearly didn’t believe her.

“Lunch...tomorrow and I’m not taking ‘no’ for an answer Granger.”

Hermione swallowed, but figured she couldn’t get out of it so she just nodded and said, “Fine...tomorrow. But I do need to get going Malfoy. I’m already late for my appointment.”

“Where?”

“Seeing my Healer for my routine physical.”

“Okay.” He definitely looked relieved now, as he smiled in that boyish way of his and ran a hand through his hair. “Tomorrow. I’ll bring that curry you like?”

“Sure.”

Hermione waved as she made her way through the floo and into the main corridor at St. Mungo’s before finding herself about twenty minutes later in her Healer’s office.

Andromeda Tonks had been her Healer since she’d graduated and was the only person that she’d told about everything. Her torture, restoring her parents memories, their anger and refusal to have any contact...so when Andromeda saw her walk in...her eyes lifted in shock.

“Sit down dear. You don’t look well.”

“I haven’t been feeling myself lately.”

“Well, take off your clothes and put that gown on. We will do some tests.”

Hermione nodded and a bit over two hours later she was redressed, sitting across from Andromeda who had a serious look on her face.

“You’ve lost well over a stone Hermione. And you say you’ve been increasingly tired too? Nauseous, aches...anything like that?”

“All of the above.”

Andromeda’s expression became quite serious and Hermione felt her heart beginning to race.

“I ran a variety of scans and had your blood tested. Hermione, you have a condition called Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Are you familiar with this at all?”

Hermione’s hands were shaking as she nodded once. “A bit. It’s usually found in children but occasionally in adults—although it’s rare.”

“It is. We have some therapies here, but we honestly don’t see this too much in the Magical World. If I had to hazard a guess as to why this happened to you, it’s likely due to your experiences in the War. But I can’t be certain. Usually magic makes us quite immune to Muggle cancers but for some reason it’s not doing that with you. There is a Muggle Doctor, a squib who has some familiarity with this disease and magical biology. I took the liberty of contacting him while you were getting dressed and he can see you tomorrow at noon at his office. Here is the address.”

Andromeda handed her a piece of parchment with the information and Hermione just nodded mutely, her whole entire body numb.

She needed to do some research.

“Thank you Andromeda.”

The older witch reached for her hand and gave it an affectionate squeeze.

“Do you want me to send for Harry?”

Hermione’s eye glassed over as she shook her head in the negative.

“No, I don’t need to worry him.”

“Hermione,” Andromeda admonished, “you can’t keep doing this to yourself. You need to let people help you.”

“I’m fine, really.” She smiled shakily. “I think I just need a few days to process it all. Thank you for your help Andi.”

“Of course. If you need anything I’m only a floo call away.”

Hermione stood up a bit too quickly and grabbed for the chair...trying to get her bearings as a wave of dizziness took hold.

“Can I keep taking Pepper Up?”

“Limit yourself to one a day and only until whatever treatment you’ll be doing starts. I’d imagine you won’t be able to take much in the way of magical medicines while on Muggle treatment. I wish I had more to offer.”

“No, I understand.”

Hermione nodded one final time before making her way out of the hospital onto the Muggle side. She hailed a cab, and eventually found herself back home.

When she got inside her apartment, there was a beautiful crystal vase filled with at least two dozen red roses. Her face fell into confusion as she looked for some kind of note—but there wasn’t one.

Smelling the fragrant blooms, Hermione picked them up and placed them onto her coffee table in her living room. She stared at the flowers for a long time before realizing she needed to let Susan know that she wouldn’t be in tomorrow.

Hermione sent out her patronus with a simple message, “I won’t be in tomorrow. Can you please cancel all my appointments and let Malfoy know I won’t be able to have lunch with him. I’ll check in sometime tomorrow.”

Watching her otter swarm away, Hermione stared out into space for an interminable amount of time.

She couldn’t cry.

Shock—her body seemed to be heavy with it.

All she knew was whatever happened tomorrow her life was about to irrevocably change, and probably not for the better.

Happy Valentine’s Day indeed.