Title:Day To Day
Author: Kitty Neko
Series: Harry Potter
Summary: No one ever warned Hermione that everyday life could be so… monotonous.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter.
Don’t worry about tomorrow – today will probably do you in.
As mortifying as having a wet dream about her former enemy was, Hermione decided not to dwell on it.
It was just a dream, after all, she told herself while splashing her face with cold water in the ladies’ room. A silly, stupid dream. One that she would never act out. Never! So what was the point in getting all worked up about it?
Besides, she had probably only had that dream because she had been thinking about sex a lot lately and it had worked itself into her subconscious. As for Draco Malfoy being in it… well, that was just chance. He was the last person she had seen before she fell asleep, so it was only natural that he be on her mind as well.
Hermione dried her face on a rough paper towel and then blanched at her reflection in the mirror. Sweet Merlin! Her hair was a mess. That was perhaps the first moment she was relieved that she worked in a room where no one could see her.
There really was a bright side to everything.
“Granger!” The always grumpy voice of her boss barked at her as soon as she exited the bathroom.
For one terrifying moment, Hermione was positive that Draco had told him about her falling asleep on the job and had already concocted several different ways to end the blond man’s life without getting caught, when Les barked another order at her. “I have a job for you – follow me!”
Hermione obediently fell into step behind him, only to be led to her own office. “This room is a mess!” Les exclaimed, pointing out the obvious. The filing cabinets were filled to the brim, even with their expansion charms, and some even refused to stay shut. It was something she had pointed out to him once when she just started her job and didn’t yet know about his explosive temper. He had brushed her off back then (i.e. yelled at her), so she wondered why he cared so much now.
“The entire ministry is going to be having inspections next week, and I refuse to have even the filing room of my department get a bad report. I don’t know how you even find anything in this dump!” His double chin wobbled, and he glared at her with tiny, beady eyes.
Hermione was sorely tempted to point out that it was like this when she started, and that the fact she was able to locate anything was a sign of her extreme competence, but she held her tongue.
“Clean it up!” Les yelled, a tiny speck of spittle hitting Hermione in the face. “Box up all the files from over 100 years ago and take them down to the basement for storage! You have a week to get this crap in order!”
Hermione felt her jaw go slack. Did he have any idea just how many files were in that room? There was no way she would be able to get that done in a week!
“A week, Granger!” Les cut her off, leaving no room for discussion. He stomped out of the filing room and past Draco’s desk to get to his own large office, and slammed the door with a bang.
Hermione’s heart was pounding with disbelief. That man was either insane or just incredibly evil. He needed to be sent to St. Mungo’s!
No, she thought sadly while staring at the filing cabinets with depressed resignation. It was her that was going to need St. Mungo’s after this.
Hermione felt someone staring at her and turned to look out her open door. Sure enough, Draco Malfoy had his gaze fixed on her. He didn’t look away when she made eye contact either. He simply raised an eyebrow.
“What?” she asked, extremely irritated and half-hoping that he would pick a fight so she could relieve some of her stress.
Draco just shook his head. “Nothing. You might want to get started.”
Hermione slammed the door shut so hard, the cabinets shook.
A few hours in and Hermione was still on the first drawer. It appeared that she would be putting in a lot of overtime this week.
She was using her wand to levitate all the files in that particular drawer so she could look through them easier, when her door swung open and hit her on the back of the head. The pain immediately caused her to lose concentration and the levitating files scattered all over the room.
Hermione clutched her aching head and stared at the mess with morbid fascination.
Draco cleared his throat, bringing her attention to him. She kept her face carefully blank. “I didn’t see you there.” He said by way of explanation, not sounding the least bit sorry.
“That’s why you should knock!” Hermione growled, feeling something inside her snap. Something had been bothering her all day, and she wanted some answers. “Why didn’t you tell Les about me falling asleep this morning?” She asked bluntly. He may have fired her, and she wouldn’t have been stuck doing this stupid assignment.
The corner of Draco’s mouth twitched. “Because he would have fired you and it would be me stuck doing this instead of you. There’s nothing I hate more than filing.”
Hermione’s mouth dropped open, leaving her to gape like a fish. He was evil. Pure evil.
“You have a message from Weasley,” Draco continued, as if he hadn’t just admitted in delighting in her misery. Which, of course, he hadn’t said outright, but it was implied.
Draco held out a small piece of parchment to Hermione and she took it, all the while glaring at him and hoping he would spontaneously combust. He would be gone, and her files would be sure to catch on fire, thus becoming gone themselves. Two birds with one stone!
Mission accomplished, Draco went back to his desk – leaving her door open, of course. Hermione closed it with her foot and unfolded the piece of parchment. A short message was written in Ron’s messy scroll.
I’m making dinner tonight. Come home hungry! – Ron
Not a problem, Hermione thought with a sigh. She was going to have to skip lunch to clean up the mess she had just made.
Hermione was the last person to leave her department that day, and then she only left because she knew Ron would be waiting for her. She had barely managed to make a dent in all the files, and cold dread was settling deep in her stomach. It was just too much for one person to do alone!
She walked through the front door of her apartment and was immediately hit with the delicious smell of food. She had skipped breakfast and lunch, and her hunger pains had started to become painful.
“You’re home late!” Ron said, unusually chipper.
Hermione eyed the meat, potatoes, and other goodies on the table and her tummy rumbled in anticipation. “It’s a long story. Wow, this looks amazing! You did all this?”
“My mum helped,” Ron shrugged.
“Is this a special occasion?” Hermione asked, feeling like she was missing something.
Ron didn’t answer her question; instead, he moved to pull her chair out. “Have a seat! You don’t want it to get cold, do you?”
Hermione sat and watched as Ron served her a plate, all the while getting more and more suspicious. Sure, Ron had always attempted to be chivalrous towards her since they started dating, but it was never to this extent.
She was about to interrogate him, but he cut her off before she could say anything. “Well, dig in!”
Hermione couldn’t help herself – the food was just too distracting. Molly Weasley was many things, at the top of which, was an amazing cook.
They ate in amiable silence, until Ron attempted small talk. “How was work?” Unfortunately for him, it was the wrong topic.
Hermione swallowed the food in her mouth and sighed before telling him exactly how her day had been – minus the sex dream about Draco Malfoy. Somehow, she had the feeling he wouldn’t react well to that bit of information.
Hermione rambled on through most of dinner about Les and the evil filing cabinets of doom, only pausing to shovel more food in her mouth. She was usually a much daintier eater, but the combination of her frustration and hunger was causing her to imitate Ron’s eating habits.
She was on her second helping by the time she registered the glazed look in her boyfriend’s eyes.
“Sorry,” Hermione said sheepishly. What had happened to her manners? “How was your day?”
That seemed to do the trick. Ron’s eyes lit up as he told her about the shop and some of the new merchandise he and George were working on. Hermione squashed her growing jealousy and listened as he talked about how wonderful everything was going for him.
“And the best part,” Ron paused for effect, a twinkle in his brown eyes, “We’ve been doing so well that I’m going to be getting a raise.”
“That’s great!” Hermione exclaimed, forcing herself to be enthusiastic. It wasn’t his fault that he was the only successful one. He had rightly earned it and she was going to be properly happy for him.
“And I’ve been thinking,” Ron stopped everything he was doing so that he could look her in the eyes. Hermione suddenly got the feeling that she was about to find out exactly what this dinner was about. “We should get married.”
Her fork dropped to the table.
Hermione was in shock. It felt like the floor was falling out from under her and she couldn’t figure out why. This wasn’t the kind of reaction she was supposed to have to the man she loved, proposing to her!
All she could do was stare at him with big eyes.
“You’re surprised?” Ron sat back, a big grin on his face. Apparently, he wasn’t picking up on his girlfriend’s distress. “I know! I was too for a while, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I’m doing so well at the store and making enough money. It just feels right. I’m ready to get married and start a family!”
Hermione’s stomach flopped, making her queasy. “A family? Ron, we’re nineteen.”
Ron’s face fell slightly, finally noticing Hermione’s lackluster response to his proposal. “Yea,” he said slowly, “My mum was twenty when she had Bill.”
Hermione was turning twenty next month. The thought of having a baby already was enough to send her hyperventilating. It wasn’t just that she felt too young (although that was front and center stage in her mind), but she didn’t feel ready for it. True, no one was ever really ready for children, but something felt wrong.
She was stuck in a crappy job, with no end in sight. She wasn’t making much money and she still lived in an apartment. None of those were the ideal situations she had always had for when she got married and started a family. At the very least, she had assumed she would be well established in the career of her dreams.
“Ron,” Hermione started cautiously, trying to figure out the best way to word her concerns, “I’m not so sure about this.”
Already, his face was settling into the stubborn, stony expression he used to get when they were still at Hogwarts. She hated that look. It meant that he wasn’t going to take what she was about to stay to heart. Still, she had to try.
“I don’t think I’m ready for all that.”
Ron perked up slightly. “You mean children? We can wait a while for that.”
Her heart sank even more. Children? As in, more than one? He was already thinking that far ahead? It suddenly occurred to her that they had never talked about how many children they each wanted.
Being an only child, Hermione had always assumed she would have one – maybe two, max. However, Ron came from a big family. Was he wanting more than that? Of course he was, Hermione berated herself mentally. He may have had to grow up competing with his siblings, but he also had many great times being in such a big family. It was everything to him.
“We could get married and wait a year or so before we have children,” Ron’s face was perky again, as if he had just solved all their problems.
A year? There was no way she would have gotten very far in her job by then. A year wasn’t very much time at all. Come to think of it, she had only been dating Ron a little over a year now.
Besides, she had the sneaking suspicion that he would change his mind once they were married. That was something he did often. He would compromise with her, and then take back his part of the deal once she had already agreed. Of course, he would wait until she was in too deep to back out. It was something she had learned fairly early on in their relationship.
“Doesn’t this feel like it’s happening too fast?” Hermione asked, trying again to make her point without making him shut down on her.
“No,” Ron said bluntly. “I’m ready for this. It’s what I want.”
“But I’m not ready!” Hermione finally blurted out, unable to take it anymore.
It’s not what I want.
Ron’s face was pale, his freckles more noticeable than ever. “Why?”
Something told her that this was going to be the biggest fight the two of them had ever had. Considering how many times they fought, that was really saying something.
Still, it was her life and she wasn’t going to back down. This was something too important for her to just take. It would affect her forever! It was time to pull out her negotiating skills.
“Ron, I love you. I do. You know that. I’m just not sure I want to get married yet.” Ron’s face was blank. She couldn’t tell if her words were having an effect on him at all. “It just seems so rushed! We’re barely out of school! We have a lot of time.”
Ron said nothing, just stared at her.
“We could have a long engagement,” Hermione said, against her better judgment. She knew it probably wasn’t a good idea. It would almost certainly end the same as the promise to wait to have children would. She just couldn’t stand the way he was looking at her. It hurt.
“My mum says people who have long engagements never end up getting married. And that it’s pointless anyways. If you’re living together, you might as well be married.”
Hermione disagreed. Despite what people said, marriage changed everything. That tiny piece of paper had the tendency to make people act completely different.
Hermione and Ron may have been living together and splitting the living costs, but they still had their separate money. They had their own expenses, their own freedom.
“I’m not where I want to be in my job,” Hermione tried again.
Ron cut her off before she could elaborate. “If your job is the problem, why don’t you just quit? I’m making plenty of money to support us!”
A lump formed in Hermione’s throat. Quit? Leave something unfinished? That just didn’t seem plausible to her. The fact that he thought she was the kind of person that could, kind of bothered her. “I’ve been working my whole life so that I could have a good job,” Hermione said. Ron frowned.
“But you hate your job! So, what’s the point?”
“I don’t plan to stay at this specific job forever. I want to work my way up in the Ministry. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the Wizarding community.”
“But you already have,” Ron said, pointing out the obvious.
“Yea, I know we helped Harry defeat Voldemort. But that’s not the same. I want to change the laws, work on the fundamental issues. I’m not ready to give up all that!” She wanted to help house elves and other magical creatures. She wanted to hack down on the prejudices against muggle born witches and wizards. There was still so much she wanted to do!
“Then don’t give it up!” Ron said, raising his voice. “You can still do all that while married to me! Why are you acting like being married to me would be the end to all your dreams?”
That was a good question. She supposed it had to do with the way Ron’s family worked. She had heard once that Molly was a good student in school with a promising job offer once she graduated. Instead, she married Arthur and started having children, and her life had taken a backseat.
Hermione thought Molly was pretty amazing, but that didn’t mean it was what Hermione wanted for herself. Was that so wrong?
“No,” Ron cut her off. “All I’m hearing are excuses. I think the question is pretty simple. Do you want to marry me or not?”
It was not simple! It was one of the most important things she would ever do, and he was rushing her. Of course she wanted to marry him! Just not right now. “I do, it’s just-”
“Hermione,” Ron cut her off again, and Hermione felt like a small child being reprimanded by a parent. “It’s a yes or no question. Do you want to marry me?”
It was not a yes or no answer. Yes, she wanted to marry him. No, she didn’t want to marry him now. She was beginning to resent the fact that he was trying to make everything so black and white. He, of all people, should have realized that the world wasn’t that simple.
Anger beginning to bubble in her veins, Hermione opened her mouth to answer the question that would change the rest of her life with a simple, one-word answer.
She then went on to explain to him exactly why, and that she wanted to marry him in a few years, after she got more settled in her career. But it seemed that all Ron had heard was that two letter word.
Hermione went to take her bath that night while Ron did the dishes, feeling a great pressure on her chest and wondering if maybe she had made the wrong decision.
To Be Continued.