To Find You Again
“You knew,” Hermione gasped in surprise when he revealed he knew her name. Part of her felt relieved that the weight had been lifted from her shoulders. The other half wanted to know how he knew. She had been meticulous on covering up her tracks as to whom she had been.
“Of course, I knew, dear girl,” Clive acknowledged waving his hand. “I am going to be perfectly honest with you. At first, I was not sure if my assessments were correct, but I saw how well you seemed to be able to fix the slightest problem with a potion and I knew exactly who you were.” There was a small pause as the older man gave her a sincere smile. “I was always disappointed after the war when you were never given the credit you deserved. Potter and Weasley seemed to be the focus of the world and yet you should have shared in that glory.”
Hermione sighed, “When I broke things off with Ronald, the entire collection of the Order of the Phoenix seemed to pretty much close ranks around me. I knew that any plan or potion or anything, in general, would not be credited to me. It was both Harry and Ronald that received the credit. At first, I did not think much of it, but as time continued it became quite clear that any credit I would have received would have been erased.”
Draco took her hand and squeezed it in support.
“Ah yes,” Clive remembered, “your relationship with the young Malfoy was considered traitorous even though his father came to offer his help to change the tides. As a member of the Order, I had heard the stories swirling around both of you.”
“You were part of the Order?” Hermione questioned confused. “I never saw you at any of the meetings.”
“No, you would not have,” acknowledge Clive, “I was one of the spies on the field and we reported to Dumbledore prior to his death. After his death, we were directed to the core members of the Order, but as you said, they closed their ranks on you.”
“What is done is done and there is no reason to relive that part of my life,” Hermione said wanting the subject to be changed immediately. It still hurt how Ron and Harry were able to set aside years of friendship and hard work against Voldemort for petty reasons. “Since you know who I really am and who my husband is, I think you will understand my next reasoning.”
Clive looked at them uncertain of which direction the conversation would take.
“I am sorry for this, Clive,” Hermione began, looking over at Draco who nodded his support for her choice, “but Rose is in bad health and I need to withdraw from work permanently to help her through the surgery and recovery.”
Clive said nothing. He had no knowledge that Hermione’s little girl had been so ill. He knew she had been sick, but Hermione as Jean had never offered any information the girl’s health to him.
“My dear girl,” Clive began sympathetically. He reached out and took her hand and patted it comfortingly, “please take as much time. We will miss you, but I completely understand. Rose has always been the light in your life and you always did what was best for her. But, if things do change and you need a return, please come see me.”
Hermione smiled, hugging the older man. She had never been so happy right now as she had with Clive. He had always been so understanding to her plight and despite knowing who she had really been, he had not even given away to it. She owed the older man so much for everything and she told herself that she would return whether her husband approved or not.
“Thank you so much,” she whispered before withdrawing back to her husband’s side.
“Of course, dear girl,” Clive chuckled. He turned his eyes to the blond man at his favorite – former – employee and said, “You take care of her, young man. You have such a gem at your side.”
It was three hours later that Draco and Hermione found themselves detoured at Malfoy, Inc. Ensconced behind closed doors, the pair had fallen into a routine there, working together to finalize several company mergers. It had been the first time since the beginning of their marriage all those odd years ago that Draco sought his wife’s advice upon several companies he had been eyeing.
And he listened to her advice once she had skimmed over several contracts that had been placed upon his desk. She had told him while he may have looked at them as nothing more than companies to be gobbled up by his very own, they could offer him so much more especially if he continued allowing their productions upon merging. Some of them, she insisted, could be potential goldmines if he allowed them.
“If you take them,” she had told him, “then don’t dismantle them and be done with it. See what the work is, glance at the reports, and if there is something they can offer you, let them continue to stand on their own and reap the rewards of employees that could offer you more. To not do so, you take away someone’s livelihood and can potentially destroy so many lives from it.”
She glanced over at her husband and could see the wheels in his head turning from her words. She could only hope he would give them a chance. She was certain that many people would thank him for it.
Draco rose from his seat and closed the gap between them. His fingers threading into his wife’s unruly chestnut curls as he pulled her close against him. He loved this woman. He had loved her for most of his life and now that she was back in his life, he had no desire to lose her again. He wanted to own her heart and soul as he had before she had left him, and he was doing whatever he could to claim them again.
He lowered his head and claimed her lips in a soft, gentle kiss. Gods, he loved her. He had loved her ever since she had slapped him during their third year. He had never thought the girl had it in her to do something like that. He had to admit he had pushed her time and time again with name-calling and threats, but she was resilient against him. He had come to respect her and in time, he had fallen in love with her.
Of course, falling in love with a muggle-born witch was against the rules of pureblood society and especially was condemned by Draco’s own family, the Malfoys. Throughout generations, blood was everything. The purer the blood in wizarding society, the higher up in society you were. The Malfoys were the royals of the pureblood aristocracy. Draco had done everything in his power to try to remove any thought of a relationship with Hermione especially since his own father was among Voldemort’s Inner Circle.
But he could not get her out of his head. He loved her and he wanted nothing more than to share the rest of his life with her.
Draco had swallowed every bit of his pride to seek out his own mother. Narcissa Malfoy (nee Black) had come from a long line of purebloods. Her own family reached far into the history of the wizarding world. She was the youngest of three sisters and one of the most beautiful women. Unlike her oldest sister, Bellatrix, who had married Rodolphus Lestrange without love, Narcissa had done the opposite. She had found her match in Lucius Malfoy and she wanted the same for her own son, but she had not expected it would come in the form of a muggle-born witch.
Draco could recall there had been no disappointment in his mother’s eyes, only concern for her only son. She expressed worry that such a relationship her son sought would cause Voldemort’s head to rear in their direction.
But Draco was stubborn. He would not give up the notion of claiming Hermione Granger as his own. He wanted only her and there was nothing anyone would do to sway him.
His mother – his beautiful and wonderful mother – had promised that she would help him…she would help him gain his father’s approval and perhaps a chance to lure Lucius out of the blinding faith he held in Voldemort.
It had taken time and patience on the part of Narcissa and Draco to turn Lucius away from Voldemort’s side, but at the end of it all, it had been worth it – he had gotten his heart’s desire: Hermione Jean Granger.
Astoria Greengrass moved through the dimly lighted corridors that led directly to Draco’s office. She had been informed by the office gossip that Draco Malfoy had come to work, but that he had not come alone…that Hermione Granger had been with him.
Astoria refused to believe that Draco and Hermione had begun to repair any damage to their marriage. She could not imagine that their marriage had the ability to survive those years apart. She wanted to believe that Draco and Hermione had come to terms that their marriage – even with Rose being in the picture – had been over and that she, Astoria, had the chance to become the next future Lady Malfoy.
It had been Astoria’s dream to gain Draco’s attention and heart ever since she had set her eyes upon him during her first year. She had done everything possible with the hopes of gaining attention from him, but it had become apparent that Draco’s eyes and heart belonged only to Hermione.
Her own sister, Daphne, had tried time and time again to tell her to seek out other interested males to offer her heart to, but Astoria refused. She had been dead set on becoming Lady Malfoy.
Astoria had never given up hope of winning Draco’s affection. She tried everything whenever she had a moment in his presence to show she could be a better partner and future spouse to the heir of the Malfoy Family.
Yet, he never once a glance over. Instead, she watched from the shadows as Draco bestowed affection upon the object of his desire: Hermione Granger, the golden girl of the Golden Trio.
Astoria’s heartbreak turned to rage, and she vowed one day she would have Draco’s heart. It had taken some time, but Astoria had finally landed the dream job of a lifetime: Draco Malfoy’s assistant. It was easy from there to integrate herself into his life as she had been given access to his schedule both at home and at work.
And what better a chance to use one to put a wedge between Draco and his dear mudblood wife.
Oh, how she remembered the day, she arrived armed with several important papers that needed Draco’s attention. Unaware of whatever plan she had in mind that day, he had welcomed her into his home and room promising to glance over them once he had showered. She had learned that Granger had left earlier for a doctor’s appointment and would return shortly.
With Draco taking a shower, Astoria had put her plan into action. She had removed her clothes and jumped into bed…
…and that was exactly how Granger had found her. The look on her face had been priceless and Astoria had been victorious at that moment. She had put an end to their marriage.
She had not expected, however, to learn that Granger had been pregnant and had secretly raised the brat. What Astoria did not know was what ailed the little brat. It appeared that Granger had made sure that her own child knew next to nothing about the magic world and even more that no one within the magical community knew of the child. It was genius really.
Astoria knew that whatever ailed the girl had been enough to cause Granger to come back to seek out her estranged husband. All she needed now was to learn about the girl and then dispose of her. It would be simple enough if Gregory came through on his end.
Drawing herself from her thoughts, Astoria paused before the large looming French doors that separated her from Draco. She contemplated knocking but she saw no reason to. She reached down and placed her hand on the gilded door handle and twisted it.
What she would see only tore her heart apart –
There before her Draco and Hermione half-naked and in the throes of passion.
Astoria stumbled backward. Tears now blurring her vision. The papers she carried now laid strewn across the white marble floor. Her hand flew to her mouth to stifle the sob that threatened to erupt from her throat.
She closed the door quietly and fell to her knees sobbing. The hope she once held to gain Draco’s affection away from the mudblood was now lost.
“How could he?” She sobbed rocking herself. “Why couldn’t he see that I loved him? Why her? Why does he love her so much?”
And there would be no answer for her.