Through the huge glass windows, Hermione could see the people of London move on the sidewalks below, an endless ribbon of faceless bodies, bundled in winter coats as the early February chill hung in the air. The office was decorated in shades of whites, creams and subdued yellows which she supposed was to give the place an air of cleanliness and optimism.
But all she wanted to do was scream and it stuck in her throat. So she swallowed it and turned away from the scene.
She moved away from the window and took her seat in one of the off white leather chairs circled around the low coffee table. Draco sat in the other, fiddling with a sheet of paper, not looking at her. The therapist, a kind-faced older looking wizard sat on a similar colored sofa pushed again the wall, quick quotes quill poised in the air, though not with the same haughty air as a reporter’s, but ready to record what happened next all the same.
The wizard smiled at both of them. “As you go through the separation process, it’s important to remember why you came together in the first place.” He looked at each of there faces in turn and faltered. “ Draco, why don’t you start?”
Draco glanced at Hermione for just a second before settling his eyes firmly on the piece of paper in front of him.
“I fell in love with Hermione because she’s brilliant, and I only put it that way because I can’t think of another word that means more than brilliant. She’s always thinking, always trying to solve one problem or another, most of the time, more than one at a time. She’s never still, even when she’s sitting, she’s doing something like wiggling her foot or chewing on a pen. “ Draco stopped and lowered the paper and looked at the therapist. “ Should I keep going or is that enough?”
“Do you have more?” the older wizard prompt.
“Obviously.” Draco snapped holding up the well filled out piece of paper. The wizard made a motion for him to continue.
“Even the first time I saw her, she was problem-solving, chasing a toad down a train corridor, not watching where she was going. When she ran into me, I was actually nice to her because my mother had taught me to never offend a witch. That was the last time I said anything kind to her for a long time.” He swallowed and rubbed his forehead. “ Hermione always saw right through it though. Anyway, I fell in love with the sound of her voice. She could read me a textbook out loud and I’d still want to stay and listen. That’s a good thing because she talks, a lot, about everything. It’s all an in-depth analyst from what’s for dinner tonight to how to solve the problems of the world, which she has a list and several solutions. “
“The first time I met her mother, she hugged me and told me I was a good egg, whatever that means. Her father was less impressed but we got there. But that’s her family, not Hermione- “ he straightens the papers and scanned the rest. “ I got impatient and made a list so, I wrote: Smile, murderous hair, lack of dance and cooking skills, magical abilities, tits which just occurs to me I shouldn’t have read out loud, Ummm eyes, outspokenness and potential to be a great mother.” He folded the paper and put it on the coffee table and looked to her. “That’s all.”
His eyes were light but she could feel the walls behind them. She wanted nothing more than to crawl into the chair and buried her face against his chest and cry, but no good would come of that now.
“Thank you Draco, that was very good. Hermione? Your letter?”
She nodded and leaned over the chair to reach down to her briefcase, pulled out a folder and set the letter in front of her like a speech. Draco made a noise that was somewhere between a snort and a laugh.
She ignored it and started in. “It took me a long time to fall in love with Draco, nearly ten years of knowing each other before I could dissociate the past from who he actually is and even longer to admit I actually found him attractive. But when I did fall, I fell all at once with my whole heart. His smile won me over, not the smirk he shows to most people but his real smile, the one only a few people have seen. I love that Draco is who he is with no apologies for it. He is ambitious for the benefit of himself and his loved ones and strives for only the best for them. He values quality over quantity in all things. "
Taking a deep steadying breath in and out she carried on. " Draco rebuilt himself from nothing after the war. He paid for his own mistakes as well as his fathers and continues to try and do better. One day he will make a wonderful father of his own." She stopped and looked over at him and saw he had his eyes hidden behind his hand. Hesitating to speak the therapist motioned for her to go on.
" It's also important to note that Draco eats like a teenager and never gains an ounce and while
I love that I'm also slightly jealous. “ She laughed quietly at her own joke. “He’s also fiercely competitive as am I and some of my best memories of him have been in made up competitions between us and…I’m sorry...memories between…. I can’t do this.” She put the paper back into the folder and stuffed it back in her briefcase. “Everything else just seems so...superficial I don’t see the point.”
“Are you saying this whole thing -” Draco gestured around the room “Which was your idea that was so important we do, is superficial?”
“No, I mean the letters, we said the things that are most important then why does anything else matter?”
“Merlin, Hermione.” Draco ran his finger through his hair and didn’t say anything else. Hermione looked at the therapist in confusion.
The older wizard turned his whole body towards her and steepled his finger. “Have you ever considered, that it was all the little things that lead you here?”
Anger flared in her, drying up all the sadness at once. “Little things? You think I’m here because I didn’t appreciate the little things?” she took up her briefcase from the floor and set it in her lap to make sure it was shut. “Thank you for getting me a new mug of tea when I’m reading and I don’t notice when mine has gone cold. Thank you for never stopping holding doors open for me or pulling out my chair and all that other pureblood shit you had beaten into you. Thank you for sleeping in the guest bedroom when I needed space and...oh thank you so fucking much for resisting the urge to have an extramarital affair, that was so noble of you.” She stood up and took off out of the office and down the carpet interior corridor lined with other no-named offices and to the elevator. Because the building was mixed with muggles she couldn’t just apparate home.
This building happened to host the world’s slowest moving lift. The walls hummed with electricity as the “ up” arrow lit up and chimed in slow motion. She heard feet moving coming up behind her and she didn’t even have to turn around to know who it was.
“That was dramatic. So are we done with that shit then?” his voice bit at the air as he jammed the elevator button she’d already pressed.
“No, we are not done with marriage consoling after just one and a half sessions. We just...need to skip a step or find a new approach or even a new therapist. That one seemed way too nice.”
Draco slid his hands in his coat pockets. “ Or maybe, we just need to talk between us, no mediator. “ The elevator dinged and the doors slid open in front of them.
Hermione stepped in and was finally forced to look at his face as she turned her back to the rear of the elevator. His head was dipped low and the blond fringe hung in his face in a way she hadn’t seen since the end of the war. He stood next to her but made no moves to touch her when as before, he would have gladly taken the private moment to grab her hand or slid an arm around her waist.
“We talk, we think we’re better, we make up for a few days and then we fight again worst than before and the cycle starts over.” The elevator doors closed.
“That’s just marriage though.”
“That is not just marriage. Just because you come from a family that doesn’t believe in divorce- “
“Oh don’t start this again, just because no one in my family has been properly divorced doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in it, I just think we aren’t beyond repair yet.” The elevator lurched down towards the main lobby.
“We are though. Or we were never there and now with everything...it’s just become obvious. We should have never gotten married in the first place.” Hermione pushed the lobby button rapidly, willing the machine to move faster. A few beats of silence passed and the lift jolted to a stop and the light dinged again.
“Lots of couples have miscarriages, we can work through this Hermione you just have to stop fighting me.” He didn’t look down at her but he did remove his hand closest to her from its pocket. Another wave of anger crashed through her spurring on another boost of adrenaline as she speed walked out of the opened doors.
“Not paying attention if you still think this is about the miscarriage,” she muttered just loud enough for him to hear over the harsh sound of heels slamming against the marble.
“Oh for fucks sake!” it was much too loud and people stopped at looked at him but he waved them off. Hermione didn’t slow down, weaving through people leaving him a few steps behind at all times. Once outside and the crowd thinned the caught up to her easily. They both turned the corner to the alley where they could apparate.
“Yes, Fucks sake. Go fuck Pansy Parkinson if that’s what you really want.” She mumbled again. He sidestepped around her, his long frame cutting her off.
“That is not what I want and that’s never what I wanted. I told you we came close because I wanted to be honest with you. “ he snapped, lip curling like it had in his school days. “Pansy’s my best friend and she was there for me and things got carried away. “ Hermione went to dodge around him again and he cut her off. “ That way you didn’t have to wonder like I do every time you go off to Potter’s -”
“Harry is married with children- “
“Obviously that doesn’t stop people Granger!” he held out both hands at his sides. “What do you want from me now?”
“I want to go home.” she sniffed, toeing the pavement with her shoe.
“You mean to my ancestral home that you used to be terrified of but we’ve built so much of a life in it you don’t want to live anywhere else? “
“Yes. That’s the one.”
“Fine. I’ll stay somewhere else tonight. Enjoy your giant empty house.” He disapparated.
“Fine.” she sniffed again and left for home.