Disclaimer: JKR owns anything that is obviously hers. I own the rest.
Characters: Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger
Genres: Angst, Post-Hogwarts, Romance
Warnings: None? :P Unbetaed.
Overall Rating: PG-13
Summary: Sometimes happily ever after doesn't last as long as you want it to...
Extra Note: I missed doing things the way I used to. Writing something in a few hours and then posting it the same day without thinking too much about editing. I also felt like I had been so mean to Draco lately that I needed to prove that it can be the other way around. ;) This is the shortest piece I ever did.
Length: Ficlet, 1,826 words.
”I want to break up.”
Lightning could indeed strike from a clear sky. Hermione’s body and mind just seemed to freeze and she was standing there like some wax mannequin in the middle of Diagon bloody Alley, a polite smile that she couldn’t seem to get rid of on her face.
“Oh. I see,” she finally managed.
“Is that all?” Draco asked, frowning down at her.
“What do you want me to do?” she countered without any heat. She was much too dazed for heat. “Break down and cry?”
“Well… yeah. That would be something.”
You said you loved me. It hasn’t even been a week since you said it the last time! It’s not my fault if you can’t see how hard I’m crying… “Well, that’s quite sadistic, even for you,” she quietly replied.
He ran his hand through his hair. She had always liked his hair. It was so straight and…shiny. “I don’t—I mean…this is hard for me too, you know.”
Then why are you doing this to me? Why are you throwing everything we had away? Here, of all places? “I know.”
“Things haven’t been right for a while. I just want…I want it to stop.”
His words were piercing her heart. She had tried so hard, gone out of her way, to make it work. And he just wanted it to stop.
Rather absent-mindedly she was glad that she hadn’t picked up his Christmas present yet. No need to now. Money saved and all that.
How could she think about money now? He was breaking up with her!
“I understand,” she heard herself say.
“I still want us to be friends,” he said a little bit hesitantly. “I still care about you.”
She stared at him. She couldn’t seem to stop staring at him.
“Hermione?” he asked, looking a little bit insecure.
This was funny in itself. She could hardly remember him being insecure even when he had been pursuing her. Of course, he’d gotten her in the end so there had been no need. It took breaking up to make him insecure. Wasn’t that sort of funny?
“What?” he looked baffled as if he honestly had expected her to say yes.
“No, I don’t think we could be friends.”
His forehead crinkled and the corners of his mouth drew down in a frown. “You’re still friends with Weasley. Or is it that it’s only possible when you are the one to break it off?”
“Ron and I were friends before. You and I were never friends. We never will be.”
“Wasn’t there friendship in there somewhere? Caring? Or was it just—” He seemed unable to finish the sentence, to put words to his ugly thoughts.
“If you don’t understand why I can’t be your friend, then I imagine that was all it was,” she replied, and then, feeling they had said everything that needed to be said, turned around and walked away.
Safely home in her own flat, Hermione closed the door very quietly behind her.
She was lucky she still had her flat. Draco had wanted her to give it up and move in with him months ago, but she had hesitated, unwilling to give up this little corner of independence. She had her friends and her job and her flat. Everything else had been overtaken by Draco Malfoy and his money and rather overshadowing personality.
Without her flat she would have had to go back to his place. There just weren’t enough words in the English language to describe how relieved she was that she could avoid that. She still had some things there, but she was sure she could get Ginny or someone to pick it up. Or maybe he could pay someone to bring it over.
She didn’t doubt that she would have to see him again at some point. The wizarding world wasn’t a terrible large place and Draco always seemed to have a hand in everything. She just…couldn’t at the moment. Not now. Not yet.
Still feeling a bit unreal, she went to her desk and got out the two tickets. She guessed she wouldn’t be needing these. Draco had just mentioned that he might want to go to that Ministry function and she’d thought…well, she’d thought he meant with her.
Pinning down a note, she attached them to her owl and sent him off. Harry and Ginny would have fun going.
Then she went into her bedroom and cried.
“It’s not that we’re not glad for the tickets, but, well, I thought you were going,” Ginny said.
“Oh, why’s that?”
Hermione took a deep breath. She had to tell them sometime. Telling Ginny was her cop-out. Telling Harry and Ron would be more difficult and she sort of hoped Ginny would spare her of doing so. That was why she was now sitting in Ginny and Harry’s small kitchen, looking at the other woman. “We…broke up.”
Ginny just stared at her for a second, but then she blinked. “Why would you do such a thing, Hermione? After everything?”
“I didn’t,” Hermione murmured.
“You mean, he—” Ginny cut off and did some more blinking. “I don’t get it.”
“Well, things had been rather rough lately…”
“Hermione, the bloke spent months trying to just get you to notice him.”
“I know.” It was nothing more than a whisper.
“He got between you and Ron, ruining everything that might have been.”
“To be fair, if Ron and I were meant to be, he wouldn’t have been able to break us apart.”
“Hmpf. And then he went through all the trouble of convincing everyone that he loved you.”
Hermione closed her eyes, trying to shut that particular painful memory out. It was hard to deal with such sweet perseverance meaning…nothing. “I know.”
“He even stood up to his parents, forcing them to either accept the match or cut him off.”
She swallowed. This one was even worse. “I know.”
Ginny’s eyes narrowed. “And now, eighteen months later, he’s breaking up?”
“Seventeen.” It was barely audible.
“It’s seventeen months…”
Ginny didn’t look like she appreciated the difference. “So what prompted this?”
There had been petty fights. There had been door-slamming. There had been nights where she had gone home to her flat, leaving him to sleep alone in his huge bed.
But after everything there had always been apologies and love-making.
“I don’t know,” she muttered when Ginny kept looking at her.
Maybe it was her. She swallowed, suddenly feeling an icy hand taking a hold of her heart and squeezing hard. Maybe there was just something wrong with her. Maybe she had some sort of horrible deficit that he simply couldn’t tolerate anymore. If only he’d told her, she might have tried to fix it. She could have made some changes. Why hadn’t he just asked her to make the changes?
“I’m sorry,” Ginny quietly said. “It’s all right to hurt, you know. If he just up and left then he…well, he’s just a lying bastard!”
Hermione shook her head, trying to get rid of her thoughts. “He didn’t lie.”
“Telling someone you love them and not following through is lying.”
Hermione looked down on her folded hands. Was Ginny saying that he’d never loved her? “Sometimes you just fall out of love,” she forced out, hating how subdued she was today, but knowing there was no remedy.
She couldn’t let it out. She couldn’t let it show. Nobody could know just how badly this hurt. They would pity her; pity the fool that fell in love with Draco Malfoy in the first place.
But how was she supposed to know that she would fall so much harder than him? How was she supposed to know that his words and his looks and the way he touched her wouldn’t mean anything after such a short while?
If they had ever meant anything. Now she wasn’t so sure anymore. She hated that feeling.
“Bollocks,” Ginny said, crossing her arms and leaning back. “That boy was acting as if he was in it for life. To leave before it’s even been two years?” She shook her head.
Suddenly, Hermione couldn’t take anymore. She abruptly stood. “I have to go now.”
Hermione stared at her fireplace. Her friends meant well. They really did.
“I can’t believe he’s gallivanting about town with that hussy!”
She could have lived without that knowledge. She’d seen him talking to her before and had always been self-conscious enough to be just a little bit jealous. But she’d always known he wouldn’t do that to her.
Now…she had to wonder about that, same as she had to wonder about everything else.
She looked at the time. It was ten p.m. Back before she and Draco had officially been dating, he used to always come around somewhere between ten and eleven p.m., claiming that he was lonely at night with no one to keep him company.
Ever since the break-up she had found herself eagerly, stupidly waiting for a knock on the door whenever it was that time again.
So far only silence.
Maybe he wasn’t lonely at night. Maybe he was with her and they were…were… Oh, God, I think I’m going to be sick. She clutched her stomach and curled up in her chair.
He was entitled to.
He was moving on.
It wasn’t his fault that she didn’t seem to be able to.
She hesitantly reached out to take the picture from the small table beside her. It was her favorite. The only one she hadn’t been able to let go of yet.
She softly stroked the cheek of a beaming Draco with her thumb. In the picture, he was looking at her with such adoration, such happiness.
She couldn’t believe it had ended. That this wasn’t her reality anymore.
Her vision blurred again.
Why wasn’t he coming? She would take him back! Harry had gently suggested that maybe she take matters into her own hands. She had been tempted. But she knew two things. One: Draco only felt pity and vague disgust for people begging to be taken back after they had been dumped. And two: He really didn’t love her anymore.
That didn’t prevent her from sitting around like an idiot, though. Nothing seemed to be able to prevent foolish hoping.
Because, in the end, it didn’t matter if it had been his shortcomings or her shortcomings or both their shortcomings that had ended their relationship.
She still loved him.
This wasn’t to say that she would never get over him. She knew, intellectually, that she would. The days would get easier and the nights more tolerable and then someday…there might be someone new.
But she suspected that part of her would always love him.
And he would never love her again.
All she had left were the memories and the silence.
Quietly, she put down the picture and went to bed.