I was inspired by J.K. Rowling to write this piece.
The Bully's Lover
“So, how, exactly, did Mesea lure you in?” asked Hermione.
Malfoy and Hermione had Disapparated to the south of France and were now traipsing through tall, golden fields of wheat, feeling the glaring sun on their backs and the rolling waves of heat on their dusty faces. They had been walking for two days, with little sleep and meager food, and had absolutely no idea where on earth they were headed to or even if they were headed in the right direction. With the south of France being impossibly
large, they could take up to weeks searching for Rafaezel.
“Well, er, it’s of little importance,” replied Malfoy. He suddenly stopped and sat down on a stray rock, shedding his packs and fanning himself with a few leftover pieces of stationary paper Hermione had used last week to write to Harry.
“What are you doing?” cried Hermione. “We need to continue walking otherwise we’ll never find Rafaezel and we’ll never get Zenrir back—”
“He’s really important to you, isn’t he?” interjected Malfoy.
“Zenrir. He must be really important to you.”
Hermione rolled her eyes, frustrated. “No! I mean, yes. But, no.” Hermione squeezed her eyes shut. “He’s been a valuable friend. He’s…humorous, loyal…I just…it’s not like that…we’re just…”
“So you love him.”
“No!” exclaimed Hermione. “I don’t! He’s a very trustworthy companion and…and…I would hate to lose him. Anyway, I love—” Hermione stopped short, her cheeks reddening.
Malfoy grinned humorlessly.
“It’s Potter isn’t it?”
Hermione looked away.
“I just don’t see what is so bloody attractive about him! First that Ravenclaw girl back in fourth year, then the Weasley sister, and now…you?”
“Well,” said Hermione hotly, “There’s nothing really attractive about you either. I don’t even understand why on earth you’re helping me! You hate us…me! Are you forgetting that I’m your average mudblood?”
“Hermione,” said Malfoy softly, “I never meant those things. I was on the wrong side of the battle back then.”
“Now you realize it only because Voldemort lost and Harry won.”
“No!” said Malfoy, flinching at the sound of his old master’s name. “I was forced to do many things I didn’t want to. There was so much pressure on me…”
“But you had the chance to leave. To come back to our side. You would’ve been a valuable asset—”
“My parents were on the line! If I didn’t do whatever Voldemort told me to, he would have killed them! You know what it’s like to lose your parents, Hermione. I didn’t want that to happen to them, no matter what evil things they did. They were still my parents.” His voice broke.
Hermione moved closer, placing a hand on his knee.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
Malfoy remained silent.
“C’mon, let’s just find this damned beast and get it over with.”
The hot sun soon drifted away to the gentle push of the growing night. The fields turned cold, and along with it, Hermione and Malfoy. Desperate for a little food, they decided to find a nearby farm, even if it meant risking their necks.
“There. Over there!” Hermione pointed to a small dot of light coming from an old, faded red farmhouse. They could make out figures moving inside, having their supper.
“Right, we’ll sneak around the back, and get into their barn, take some milk, maybe find some scraps from the pig trough, and then we’ll just quickly get out before—”
“Or,” interrupted Hermione, “we can knock on the front door like civilized people and not thieves.”
Malfoy looked sheepish. “Yeah, that’d probably work too.”
“Just follow my lead and don’t say anything. I’ll handle this.” She started to set off across the field that separated them from their supper.
“I hope they don’t have guns.”
As they approached the farmhouse, Hermione began to feel a sense of homesickness. She missed her parents, her friends back home, the life she had before. She missed the way Ron used to stare at her, the way Harry treated her like a queen, and the way Zenrir barked and wagged his tail. Just looking at the happy French family through the side window made tears spring to Hermione’s eyes.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” said Malfoy softly, stopping and wiping the stray tear from her cheek.
Hermione sniffed. “Just remembering everything…my parents. I mean look at them,” she stopped to gaze at the smiling children and chuckling adults. “They’re so…so happy.”
“We both lost our parents. I understand.”
Malfoy turned around and held both of Hermione’s cold hands in his strong ones.
Hermione gazed up at him, unblinking.
Slowly, in a fuzzy haze, Malfoy leaned closer to Hermione’s face, just inches away…
“Why don’t we go now,” said Hermione, abruptly breaking away. She crossed her arms and shifted her eyes to the ground.
Malfoy cleared his throat, an expression of disappointment flitting across his face. “Yeah, erm, good idea.”
Hermione walked the rest of the way in silence.
“If these people aren’t safe, wands out no matter what, all right?” said Malfoy.
A moment later, the front door opened to reveal a woman carrying a baby on her hip.
“Bonjour. Comment est-ce que je peux vous aider?” said the woman. A dark-haired man joined her side before Hermione could utter a single word.
“Er, bonjour,” said Hermione shakily. “Nous sommes perdus. Nous sommes des voyageurs. Pourrions-nous manger de la nourriture?”
“What did you say?” mouthed Malfoy.
“That we’re lost, we’re travelers, and we need some food,” Hermione mouthed back.
Malfoy gave a thumbs up.
The woman raised her eyebrows and smiled. She whispered something to her husband and he walked away.
“Entré, entrez! Bienvenue! Nouse sommes les Duponts,” said the woman, still smiling widely. The baby wailed.
“I’m taking that as a ‘welcome to our home’.” said Malfoy, crossing the threshold, following the woman. She set the baby down carefully on a chair and hurried into the kitchen.
The farmhouse was beautifully decorated. Thick Persian rugs covered the floor, windows partly covered with warm brown shades, an inviting fireplace, wonderfully painted walls, and comforting rooms complete with mahogany furnishings.
“Their home is beautiful! It reminds me of our cabin—” Hermione stopped, realizing she was speaking English, and turned to Malfoy. “Perhaps we should still speak French…”
“It’s all right,” said the woman, coming through the door again, this time holding a pot of steaming soup. “I speak a bit of broken English here and there myself.” She smiled warmly.
Malfoy raised his eyebrows and smiled. “Bon!”
After a hearty meal of soup, bread, and fresh cheese, Hermione, Malfoy, and the Duponts gathered around the crackling fireplace and a platter of fancy French pastries.
“We only bring these out when we have special guests, isn’t that right, little Olivier?” She tickled the babies peachy cheek and smiled.
“So how did you learn English?” asked Hermione. She reached for a strawberry and brought it to her lips.
Mrs. Dupont smiled and looked at her husband.
“Well, it was when I met Harry, back when we were, ah, twenty. He had an English major and, uh, we went from there!” She clapped her hands lightly and beamed at her husband. Mr. Dupont barely noticed and reached for a slightly browned circular French pastry. When he crunched down on it, a thick yellow paste squirted from the side and slowly dripped onto the collar of his workshirt. Hermione and Malfoy watched, disgusted, as the yellow slug made its way lower and lower—
“Bertrand! You silly thing, you got custard over your shirt! Go change, dear, immediately!” said Mrs. Dupont, shooing her husband out of the room.
“Er, did you just call your husband Bertrand? I thought his name was Harry, Mrs. Dupont,” said Hermione, narrowing her eyes. Hermione slid her eyes over to Malfoy, and silently placed her fingers on the hilt of her wand.
Mrs. Dupont clapped a hand over her mouth and widened her eyes. “Oh my, did I say that? Bertrand was my late husband. Died of automobile accident. Don’t mention it to Harry. He doesn’t need to know under all the stress he is in right now.”
“Stress?” asked Malfoy, with one suspicious eyebrow still arched. “What stress?”
“Our farm,” sighed Mrs. Dupont sadly. “The landowners want to use this place as another construction site for some townhouses. Townhouses! Can you imagine townhouses out in this beautiful stretch of land? It would completely ruin the beauty of it. I swore to my old mum that I would raise my children on this land until they are full grown! So my dear old Harry is working to save our farm,” Mrs. Dupont lowered her voice. “That is why he did not speak much at supper. I apologize.”
Hermione loosened her grip on her wand and relaxed. Malfoy did the same.
She smiled. “It’s quite all right, Mrs. Dupont. We hardly noticed.”
The rest of the night flew by, with hot cups of tea passed around and stories traded. Hermione decided not to say who they really were, just in case it could be used against them later. Hermione quickly created fake profiles, saying that they were a recently married couple, broke, and lost. Mrs. Dupont filled their mugs, nodding and smiling at such seemingly innocent young love. Malfoy surprisingly spun a beautiful story about the day they met.
“We were at the university, the same class actually,” Malfoy smiled. “And when she walked into the classroom, I knew it…I just knew she was one.”
He snuck a peek at Hermione.
“But, when I tried talking to her, she just laughed and walked off. So, day after day, I tried again and again to get her attention. I did so many pathetic things, from flowers to tap-dancing. You name it. Finally, it was one night, actually,” Malfoy threaded his hands through Hermione’s. Slightly flinching, she smiled. “When we were at the class, alone, because apparently nobody had showed up, and we started talking…and talking…and talking! I found out that you just…you just need to break through her shell to get inside of her.” Malfoy stared into Hermione’s eyes. “I think I really understand her now.”
After a uncomfortable few moments of silence Mrs. Dupont mistook for true love, Hermione broke the eye contact, and looked to the ground, swallowing nervously. Somehow, inside, she felt something twist, churn, then change. She felt as if some part of her was slipping away and a new part was taking its place. Suddenly, she felt freer and open. Her limbs felt weightless.
“Yes,” she said a little breathlessly. “That’s, um, how we met.”
Mrs. Dupont clapped her hands, her eyes twinkling merrily. “That’s so beautiful…” Mrs. Dupont wiped the tears that were trickling from the corners of her eyes and beamed.
“More tea?” She offered.
Hermione shook her head. “No thank you, we really should be going now. Long day ahead of us tomorrow.”
“No, no, you should stay here,” said Mrs. Dupont. When Hermione protested, Mrs. Dupont stuck her hands on her hips and did a striking impression of Mrs. Weasley.
So, they stayed in the extra room in the back of the house, facing the morning sun. When Malfoy offered to sleep on the floor, Hermione had a sudden flashback of Ron doing the same thing back at Grimauld Place.
“What? Are you all right?” said Malfoy, quite concerned, when Hermione sat on the ground and covered her eyes with her hands. He slowly slid to the ground beside her and placed a hand on her arm. Starting to weep, Hermione rested her head on his shoulder.
“He did the same thing…he-he wanted me to take the…the…” Unable to continue, she shoved her head into her arms and wept silently.
“Ron?” asked Malfoy.
This time, Malfoy knew not to make some snide comment about his old red-haired school rival and instead, held Hermione to his chest, patting her head. Later, when they had separated and retreated to their beds, Hermione asked a question she could no longer keep inside of her.
“Draco?” Hermione whispered in the darkness.
She heard him stir and rustle the blankets.
“Yeah?” He said, his voice low.
“You said something…after dinner, when Mrs. Dupont asked us how we, uh, met. You said that you had to break through my shell…I just didn’t understand…didn’t understand…what you meant…” For some strange reason, she could not continue. Her throat had closed up and she felt a little faint.
Malfoy was completely silent for a few moments. Hermione held very still, trying to slow her pulsing heart.
“You have this air of…of certainness around you,” said Malfoy. “Even back then, in school, you used your smarts and knowledge as your protective shell. You hid everything…and you still do.”
Hermione felt a hot flush creep up her neck; embarrassed that Malfoy had just called her out on something. Embarrassed that Malfoy was right. She did not reply.
“Hermione?” His voice was soft and tender. The way he whispered her name…
Still, she refused to reply and feigned sleep.
After a while, she heard him turn to his side and start to snore softly. Hermione lay in the dark and stared at the faded, cracked ceiling, knowing she would have the face the music sometime. She couldn’t sit around forever and ignore the disturbing feeling she felt for this peculiar white boy. It was the same feeling Hermione carried around with her during school, when she had started to fancy Ron. It was that beautiful, giddy-like feeling she swore only girls got at adolescence. And now, she had those same feelings for Malfoy. It was odd, really, how much she once hated those ice blue eyes. And now? All the frost melted away and his eyes became her personal escape to the tropical oceans of the Bahamas.
He was warm.
Some part of Hermione’s mind wondered if she was starting to go mad. She didn’t even recognize herself anymore. First, she betrayed Ron, her husband, and had started a relationship—really, an affair—with her best friend, Harry. After Harry left, she started to feel those same feelings for Malfoy. And through all of that, Zenrir had Imprinted on her and had lusted for her! Mad, mad, crazy, insane…the words of chaos zipped through her mind at lightning speed and she felt the world twist around her. Only a few years ago, she was still innocent. She was still utterly loyal to Ron, had absolutely no feelings whatsoever for Malfoy, and would have scoffed at the idea of Hermione Granger being an adulteress. Adulteress. The word felt heavy and unnatural in her mind, but she knew it was true. She was an adulteress.
She felt as if her mind and her body had become two separate beings. Her mind was still the smart and rational, one-hundred percent Hermione Granger, whereas her body was this new creature she had never known before. Her body hungered for a man’s touch, and would not stop until her needs were satisfied. Her body was a foreign, undiscovered part of Hermione Granger, the part no one had ever seen before. It was, in some sense, much freer than the meticulously smart Hermione everyone fondly knew.
And then her thoughts drifted to Harry. Harry Potter. The Chosen One. The Boy Who Lived. She’d always buried the fact that the great Harry Potter always overshadowed her and Ron. She knew it. Ron knew it. They just chose not to show it on more occasions than one. After all, she was human. She did have feelings.
But a small part of her had always loved Harry, even from the moment they met on the Hogwarts Express when they were eleven years old. She adored the way his hair was always messy, how shy he was around girls, how he placed those charming green eyes on Cho Chang. Even during their fourth year, when Rita Skeeter proclaimed their young love in her gossipy news articles, Hermione had dismissed it quite bluntly. She knew those seemingly blunt words were fake. Faker than Rita Skeeter herself. In truth, when Hermione had read that article first thing in the morning before anyone woke up, she felt a jolty feeling of forbidden love. She understood completely that he had his mind set on Cho, but she felt those feelings anyway. She made up her mind, and decided to write off the article as complete rubbish. Inside, she was dying. After the escapade with Cho Chang, Hermione thought she could finally reveal her feelings for Harry.
But then, Ginny.
The girl Hermione grew up with and thought of as her own sister. Harry was in love with Ginny. Not Hermione. The realization had hit her like a punch one day after class. In much distress, she had skipped Ancient Runes. Later, after apologizing profusely to the professor, she made up all the work and completed all future assignments. From that moment on, she buried those feelings deep within her, in an abyss she dared not reach. And then Ron became a nice distraction. A distraction that broke her heart yet again.
But then this happened. One night changed it all. Half of her knew that Harry just missed Ginny and wanted to feel a woman sleep beside him again. The other half of her wished that Harry had true feelings for her. That he slept with her because he loved her.
Under all the pretenses of the smart, unbeatable Hermione, she knew that she was really an emotional wreck; an unstable girl who yearned for a boyfriend. If you pealed off those first layers of skin, she would be like anybody else. Normal.