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.
You can’t please everyone. But it is possible to make ’em all mad at the same time.
The unease carried with Hermione into the next morning, and it was no wonder – when she got out of the bath that night, Ron was already in bed with his back turned toward her. He spoke to her in the morning, but it was short and forced.
In order to avoid the awkwardness, Hermione had dressed quickly and headed off to work almost an hour early. It was probably for the best; she needed as much time as possible to get those files organized anyway.
When she got to the Ministry, only a few early risers were trickling in. She was unsurprised to note that she was the first one in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.
However, it allowed her to take full advantage of uninterrupted filing time. Since it didn’t require a whole lot of brain power, Hermione’s mind wandered to the previous night.
Was she absolutely, positively sure that she had made the right choice?
It killed her to see how hurt Ron was, but that couldn’t be helped. Logic was her oldest friend, and it had convinced her that it was bad timing. Even her gut instinct (which she didn’t care to solely rely on) had screamed that she wasn’t ready. There was only a tiny corner of her heart that was telling her that this was a potentially disastrous mistake. She loved Ron, why not marry him?
She just couldn’t. She wasn’t the type of girl to throw away all her hopes and dreams to be with the one she loved. She simply wasn’t engineered that way.
In fact, saying no to Ron’s proposal was the most Hermione-like thing she had done in a long time. Back in her Hogwarts days, she had always done what she thought was right; even if it meant that she would incur the wrath of her friends. A prime example of that was the Firebolt incident. To this day, she still believed she had made the right decision.
She had lost sight of that somewhere along the way, in the quest to defeat Voldemort. She had allowed Harry to be their leader, because that was just the way it was supposed to go. It was a little difficult because, while she wasn’t exactly leader material (her bossy attitude had the tendency to make people resent her), she most certainly wasn’t a follower.
She had stuck to her guns, and it felt empowering!
Hermione had been working for two hours, when she heard her door open behind her. There was no knock, so she figured it would be Draco. It didn’t matter how many times she yelled at him, she seriously doubted he would ever bother knocking.
Yup. At least he had the decency to open the door slower and not give her a concussion this time.
“You really need to get a better opening line,” Hermione responded.
Draco simply arched a pale eyebrow at her. “But I was under the impression you didn’t much like my nickname for you.” Hermione narrowed her eyes, but he continued before she had time to say anything. “Les wants these files in an hour.”
Hermione’s annoyance at the person invading her office was automatically forgotten when she glanced at the parchment he held outstretched toward her. She snatched the parchment from his hands quickly. “Are you kidding? This is way more than usual!”
Draco simply shrugged his shoulders as if to say ‘not my problem’ and went back to his desk. Her door remained open.
Hermione stared at the impossible list of files, as well as all the filing cabinets she still had to go through, and seethed. There was no way! It was not humanly possible – even with magic.
Tired of being walked over, Hermione slammed the parchment on her desk and left her office. She stomped past Draco’s desk and over to Les’s office, ignoring the curious look Draco was giving her. She was tempted not to knock, but knew that it might put Les on the defensive. Hermione tapped her knuckles on the door twice and opened it before her boss could answer.
“Malfoy!” Les snapped, not looking up from what he was doing. “I thought I told you not to bother me.”
“Sir,” Hermione said by way of greeting.
Les’s head snapped up. He was unaccustomed to Hermione visiting his office. She couldn’t blame him; usually she avoided it like the plague.
“Is this important, Granger? I’m busy!” he snapped.
“It is if you want that filing room to ever get organized,” Hermione replied, her voice unwavering.
Les fixed a level gaze on Hermione, but she refused to cower. Instead, she held her head up high. She watched as his round face gradually turned a darker shade of red.
“I don’t have time for this, Granger,” he growled through clenched teeth. Hermione wasn’t sure what it was about that day, but she wasn’t the slightest bit intimidated by his attempts to frighten her. In fact, he was beginning to look more and more like a small child throwing a temper tantrum.
“It will only take a minute, sir. Seconds even,” Hermione kept going, even though a vein was starting to pop out on his forehead. “It is impossible for me to organize all those files in a week and carry on my regular responsibilities at the same time. I need an extra set of hands. That’s it, plain and simple.”
Les stared at her, apparently torn between being surprised by her daring or just plain pissed off. “Fine.” He glared at her and then barked through the open door at his secretary. “Malfoy!”
Draco stopped what he was working on and approached the door wearily. “Sir?”
“Help Granger with the files. Now, both of you get out of my office.”
Hermione left quickly, not wanting to push her luck. Draco trailed after her, a pinched expression on his face. Hermione noticed with slight resentment that he took the time to shut the door to Les’s office.
“You did that on purpose,” he said as soon as the door had clicked shut.
Hermione attempted to look innocent. “I don’t know what you mean. How could I have known he would make you help me?” She had had a good idea, but that was neither here nor there. “Besides, I would think you would be happy about this. Just yesterday you were telling me about how filing was your favorite thing to do.” She couldn’t keep the act up, and actually grinned at him in triumph.
Draco said nothing, just scowled and brushed past her on the way to the filing room. Hermione started to follow him, but froze in her tracks. She had been so set on making him suffer a tiny bit that she had failed to see the fatal flaw in her plan.
She was going to be working in a small, secluded room with Draco Malfoy for a week.
Hermione had also conveniently forgotten that this was the same man she had a sex dream barely a day ago. Oh! And that the location for the sex dream just so happened to be her office.
It took being stuck in said office with him for this little detail to permeate her thick skull. Now she couldn’t help but have vivid flashbacks while she tried to focus on the task at hand.
It certainly didn’t help that Draco had undone a couple of the top buttons on his shirt and loosened his tie in a fit of frustration. She now had a lovely view of his collarbone and couldn’t help but sneak peaks at it every chance she got. For some reason, she had the overwhelming urge to lick into the hollow at the base of his throat.
Was the room getting hotter?
That didn’t make any sense. The temperature was controlled by cooling charms. Strange. She was starting to feel flush.
Hermione jerked out of her internal musings. She guiltily diverted her gaze from his collarbone to his face. “What?”
“What were you staring at?” he asked, not blinking. It made her uncomfortable when he did that.
“Something ugly,” Hermione said automatically and stuck her nose in the air. It was the response that Ginny always gave her brothers when they asked her that question. Apparently, Hermione had picked up on it.
“Oh really?” A strange tone slipped into his voice, one that she had never heard from him before.
Hermione didn’t say anything, but peeked over her shoulder to look at him. She practically jumped out of her skin when she realized that he was a considerable amount closer to her than when she had initially turned around.
“Are you sure…” He took a step toward her and Hermione took a step back. “…you didn’t see something you liked?”
Draco reached up and tugged on the knot of his tie gently, bringing her attention back to his throat. The corner of his mouth was tilted upward in a smirk.
Hermione was confused, to say the least. Was she dreaming again? She didn’t think so, but how could this be happening in real life? It defied all logic!
Obviously sensing that he was losing his audience, Draco took another step forward, invading Hermione’s personal space. She took an automatic step backward, but came to a halt when her back met the filing cabinet.
Draco rested his forearm on the cabinet above her head and tilted his head to the side, as if studying her. “There’s nowhere for you to go.”
Even though he wasn’t touching her, Hermione found this to be a very brave move on his part. It was the middle of the day, after all, and the door was wide open.
“I’ll scream rape,” Hermione said, suddenly inspired.
Draco’s mouth twitched. “Can’t rape the willing.”
“Hold it!” Hermione exclaimed, finally realizing what the strange tone in his voice was. It was so subtle that she had had a hard time pinpointing it. “Are you… teasing me?”
Draco dropped his arm to his side and rolled his eyes. “It certainly took you long enough. And you’re supposed to be smart.”
“Well, excuse me,” Hermione retorted, her feathers ruffled. She didn’t like being tricked and then insulted. “I didn’t recognize you without your stick.”
Draco raised a pale eyebrow. “Stick?”
“The one lodged up your backside.”
Draco snorted. “You seem to have a strange fixation with my backside. Is there something I should know?”
“Bite me,” Hermione mumbled, embarrassed.
“What’s wrong, Granger?” Draco asked, the teasing lilt back in his voice. “Did you think I was serious?”
Maybe she had. Or maybe she had wanted him to be serious. No, that was ridiculous! It was all that stupid dream’s fault.
“So-rry,” Hermione said, not sounding the least bit sorry, “But the only two tones I’ve heard in your voice until today were snarky and cowardly.”
Hermione was expecting him to take the bait of being called a coward, but he didn’t say anything. He just stared at her, not blinking again. She was starting to get really uncomfortable.
Both Hermione and Draco jumped at the loud, unexpected voice in the office. Draco took a couple shuffled steps away form Hermione, and it wasn’t until that moment that she realized he had been standing so close to her the whole time.
The new intruder in the office remained oblivious to all of this. She was far too furious.
“Weasellete,” Draco greeted the fiery redhead and was ignored.
“What is this I hear about you turning down my brother’s proposal?” Ginny demanded, her narrowed eyes locked on Hermione.
“Hi, Ginny. Lovely to see you, too,” Hermione said trying to sound flippant, but actually stalling for time. She hadn’t expected this.
“Nice try,” Ginny said, putting her hands on her hips. She knew Hermione too well to be fooled by that. “Now answer my question.”
“Do you really think this is the right time and place?” Hermione asked, desperately not looking at Draco. She knew he had to be staring at her, but she was too terrified to find out.
Ginny shrugged. “Take an early lunch then.”
“I can’t. I’m way too busy.” It was partially true but she mainly wanted to avoid Ginny and the rest of the Weasley family as long as possible. She just didn’t feel up to explaining herself to them. She wanted them to understand, but knew that it was going to be very difficult.
Ginny gave her an incredulous look as if to say she didn’t believe her, but she didn’t push the issue. “Fine. I just want to say that I think this is a big mistake. I’m not just saying this as Ron’s sister; I’m saying this as your friend.”
“I’m sorry, Ginny, but I did what I felt was right.”
Ginny frowned. “Just don’t be late tonight.” She turned to leave.
“Late?” Hermione asked, suddenly feeling that she was missing something important. “To what?”
Ginny paused. “Ron didn’t tell you?” Hermione didn’t want to tell her that Ron hadn’t said much to her, ever since she had said no to his proposal. So she didn’t say anything. When it became obvious she wasn’t going to answer, Ginny filled her in. “We’re all having dinner at Mom and Dad’s tonight.”
“Why?” How could she get out of this? All the Weasleys mad at her and in one place? She didn’t want to think about it.
Ginny’s face puckered. “It was supposed to be so you could announce your engagement, but now that that’s down the crapper…”
“Oh,” Hermione said quickly before she could continue. She didn’t want to hear anymore.
Ginny left without saying anything else, leaving Hermione to stew in her thoughts. Unfortunately, she was still not alone and the other occupant in the room seemed ready to put his two cents in.
“What’s the matter, Granger?” Draco drawled, catching her attention. “Not ready to become a Weasley breeding machine?”
“No,” Hermione said firmly and locked eyes with him. “I’m not.”
Neither of them moved for what felt like ages to Hermione. Finally, Draco’s blank stare twitched into something resembling amusement. “Fair enough.”
Two simple words, but they made Hermione feel a lot better.
Hermione sat outside the Burrow, staring at the garden and sighed a sigh that went all the way to her tired bones. It had been one of the longest days of her life.
Her time at work had been filled with filing and bickering with Draco but, oddly enough, that had gone by rather quickly. It was dinner at the Weasley’s that seemed to be sucking the life out of her.
It wasn’t that anyone was being openly hostile to her, but it was like there was giant pink elephant joining them at the table and no one dared be the one to point it out.
Molly’s coolness towards Hermione and undertone of some of her comments weren’t helping either. Hermione wasn’t under any delusion that she had ever been the woman’s favorite person, but she had at least thought she had earned some respect over the years.
The way she was treating her now reminded Hermione of fourth year when Molly had thought Hermione was cheating on Harry with Krum. It was a ridiculous and laughable lie, but still the older woman had seemed to think it was true. That had hurt Hermione more than she cared to admit. Just what kind of girl did Molly think she was?
Hermione practically jumped out of her skin at the unexpected noise, but quickly cheered up when she recognized the deep timbre of that meow.
“Crookshanks!” Hermione squealed and gathered the large, ginger cat into her arms. The cat in turn immediately began purring and nuzzled his squished face against her jaw.
She sometimes forgot how much she missed having Crookshanks live with her. She had left him at the Weasley’s during the attack at Fleur and Bill’s wedding, and had since decided that he was much happier staying there. He had freedom and room to roam in a way that he never would, being stuck in a small apartment.
Still, she missed him.
Hermione knew she was being rude by hiding out like this, but she couldn’t bring herself to go back in there just yet.
“Hey, Harry,” Hermione replied, knowing the owner of that voice right away.
Sure enough, Harry Potter moved into her vision and sat down next to her. His hair was as messy as ever, but Hermione found it strangely endearing. She had had a brief crush on him in her first year, but it had gone away when her feelings for Ron grew. Still, it made her smile to think he was probably her first real crush.
Harry gave her a scrutinizing look through the lenses in his glasses and the grin slowly slid off Hermione’s face.
“What is it, Harry?”
“Hermione…” Harry trailed off, as if unsure about what he was about to say. “Why did you say no to Ron?”
Hermione sighed, and continued to stroke Crookshank’s head in an effort to relax. “Don’t tell me I have to explain myself to you too.”
“I know that you don’t quite feel ready, but Hermione,” Harry grabbed Hermione’s shoulder and squeezed lightly so she would look at him, “this is Ron we’re talking about.”
Harry stopped talking and kept staring at her. Hermione vaguely wondered if that’s all he thought it would take. “I’m very well aware of that, Harry.”
“Then, why? You two were meant to be together.”
Hermione could feel her hackles start to rise. “If you think I haven’t thought about this long and hard, you are seriously mistaken.”
“Sorry, Hermione.” Harry sounded sheepish. “It’s just, you two are my best friends and I don’t want you to be unhappy.”
Hermione stared out at the garden, not saying what she was thinking. What he really meant was that he didn’t want Ron to be unhappy. He may have always called them both his best friends, but Hermione was no fool. She knew who really came first. It had always been that way and it always would. Even though Hermione had always let Harry know that she was on his side, there had been several times when Harry took Ron’s side instead of hers.
That’s not to say that she thought she was unimportant to Harry. Not by a long shot. It was just different from how he was with Ron. Ron could betray his trust like during the Triwizard Tournament or when he abandoned them in their search for the Horcuxes, and Harry would always welcome him back. Hermione had never tested it, but she wasn’t quite sure she would receive the same treatment.
Hermione was thankfully saved from the awkward conversation by Ginny, coming to fetch her boyfriend.
“It’s time for us to go,” Ginny said, approaching them.
“Alright.” Harry got to his feet and studied Hermione from his new vantage point. “Hermione, will you at least think about it?”
Hermione pursed her lips and grunted in a noncommittal response. It was strange, but she was somewhat relieved when the two of them were gone.
She would have to go back inside soon and deal with a mopey Ron and his irate mother, but right at that second she would just enjoy the evening and purring cat on her lap.
To Be Continued.