Under three dimly lit candles and softly beaming light of the full moon shining down through the window against the tan complexion of her petite face, a particular witch stared down at her hands where she held letters sent directly from her husband's mum.
Dearest Hermione Granger,
A small note gripped by the beak of an owl had scrawled in fancy calligraphy.
I recently found a stack of letters Draco had sent to me throughout your youth. I send you these letters containing your name. Perhaps you would fancy a peek to read them out of curiosity.
Hermione untied the box of letters from the foot of the owl, the box feeling light in her hands. It didn't take the brightest witch of her age long to realize her husband's mum had a featherlight charm casted on the box.
Hermione sifted through the letters, making sure to keep them in the order they were originally placed in case they were sorted chronologically. And they were. With the first envelope dating back to the first week of her first year at Hogwarts, she knew what to expect how the first few years of letters would be concerning her. After all, they never did see eye to eye back in those days.
However, that didn't diminish the curiosity of what was written by her husband.
What was Draco's young mind like? Was it all just air and hatred for her and her two friends in his brain like she had assumed back then? When was the turning point of new perspectives? How did he think of her towards the end of Hogwarts?
Opening the first letter, Hermione endured the entire night reading every single note Draco had written to his mother from their Hogwarts years:
November 1st, 1991
Hogwarts is amazing— most of the time. It's only the first night and I already can't sleep. That's why I'm writing this letter now. No mother, I'm not homesick. Only wusses get homesick the first day. Also the stupid giant squid keeps staring at me through the glass and I swear it wants to break through and eat me. Why can't Dumbledore cast it away? It's eye is humongous.
The food was good. There was a lot, the whole table was filled to the edge just like at home. There were also ghosts, just like you said. All the first years were so scared, but I felt so powerful because I got to act like I've seen them before. Crabbe and Goyle kept asking why I didn't flinch when Headless Nick tipped his head over.
Crabbe and Goyle are absolute nimwits. They can't stop touching things! The amount of times they keep touching the walls like a secret door would pop up is embarrassing. It's like they haven't seen a bloody wall before. Anyway, it's whatever. They're the only friends I have right now.
Do you remember Harry Potter? The one who survived You-Know-Who's special curse? He's here now, and he's in my year. Everyone kept flocking around him like he's a celebrity. I don't get it, he's just living! I should also be flocked around like a celebrity because I'm living too! This isn't fair. And the Weasleys, feeling so proud they're friends with him and have him sorted in their house. It's pathetic.
Oh this one girl as well, Hermynee Granger? I'm not sure how to spell it, but it looks as equally funny as it sounds. Anyway, she won't shut up! Always talking in her swot-ish, know-it-all tone that makes my ears bleed across the room. And she's always at the library! Everywhere at the library! When I want to sit by the cool window, she's there! When I want to sit on the table far behind the library, she's always there! I despise it. I want her to leave! I bet my entire Gringotts vault she has no friends. And guess what house she's in?
A bloody Gryffindor.
Anyway, I hope you're doing well mum.
Expect a letter every week,
There was a small tilt to Hermione's lips as she read his constant complaints. There were a few more letters afterwards but hardly ever mentioned her. He did add her name every once in awhile, but the next letter that revolved mostly about her was written the next few months after the first letter.
January 21st, 1992
The week is bland. No flavor. I'm just very annoyed.
Granger is the most insufferable girl I have ever met. She won't shut up at all! She would do the world a favor if she did, no one wants to see her hideous beaver teeth as she talks. I bet Potter and Weasley don't want to either and secretly talks about how horrid it is. No amount of chattering would dull those buck teeth.
She doesn't know when to put her hands down. Doesn't know when it's not her turn to answer the questions. She always has to sit like a meerkat and raise her arm like a flagpole begging for attention. Speaking of flagpoles, I wouldn't even touch her with one. She doesn't have a sense of fashion— Merlin, where is the taste? She makes every witch and wizard go blind upon simply looking at her. How does someone possibly live like that? Her family must be cursed.
She still lives in the library. I have my own area now and made sure she knew not to sit there. She still bloody sits there anyway. I took care of it.
I felt a bit bad though. But you never heard this from me.
This is it for the week,
Hermione frowned. Of course, she didn't remember this specific time he 'took care of it' but she did remember all the others where he'd insult her to no end. She was past this though, and she had already forgiven him long ago for his idiotic, bigoted behavior especially when he came over years later to apologize profusely and told her he would do anything to rectify the past.
And look where they are now.
October 14th, 1992
I got into the team!
I mean, surely you already know. But in case you haven't heard the news, I'm the new Quidditch seeker! Father bought my own broom! And my team as well. Now prissy Potter isn't the only one who can flaunt his Nimbus 2000 everywhere he walks.
The Mudblood did it again though. She stood up for Potter and said I don't have talent. So what if father bought me my broom? I'm still better than Potter! I told her to stuff it and called her all the names father said she was. I couldn't help it, she was aggravating. And father said that all mudbloods should know their place. Father must be proud of me.
She cried though. It was loud and wet. It was annoying.
I don't like it,
"Ouch," Hermione mumbled after reading that letter, frowning heavily. It still hurt reminiscing her past, especially that era of her life.
December 9th, 1992
Have you heard? There's a basilisk on the loose. I have a feeling Potter had something to do with it, after all he and his two minions always get into trouble. It's quite funny actually. I'm safe mum, no need to worry.
Anyway, a few days ago I made an astounding discovery. Did you know Goyle could read? Or was it Crabbe? I'm not sure, their stupidity makes me confused on who's who. Whatever, but one of them could read and I couldn't be more amazed. I asked one of them to read a book for me, but they refused and claimed they couldn't.
They really couldn't. I'm sure they're just pretending.
Actually, they lack brain cells to even know how to properly 'pretend' so I doubt so.
Anyway, back to the basilisk.
Hermione Granger got petrified by the basilisk. She had it coming. Call it karma for stealing my library seat every bloody time. I wanted to see her in the Hospital Wing to see how utterly ridiculous she looked as a victim of petrification. However, I didn't want Madam Pomfrey or any other witness seeing me sneak into the room just to sneak a gander at her. They might think I care for her.
Hah! Caring for the mudblood, that's a good joke.
Good news though, I received an O in Uncle Severus's extremely hard quizzes. But I also tied with someone else. You guessed it, Hermione bloody Granger. I promise to finally get a score higher than hers at some point.
I will make you and father proud,
Hermione realized a pattern that a lot of his letters consisted of complaining and insults mixed with his excitement and accomplishments. There were only a handful that lacked a single insult towards someone.
There were a lot of letters where Draco promised to prove his worth to his parents, making her heart crack just a bit at the effort put to make them proud regardless of his own beliefs and happiness. A few letters later, she was reading his letters from third year:
November 7th, 1993
Today was the worst day of my life. I loathed it. I wish it never happened.
That bloody giant of a teacher Hagrid let loose his bloody chicken on me. He says it's my fault that it attacked me, I digress. He had planned it, I swear. He will pay.
Don't worry, it's not a deep scratch. I'm still alive fortunately. But it's equivalent to a deep scratch. I nearly bled to death. But not really. My arm feels numb. It's in a cast right now. It's probably the medicine that makes it feel numb and itchy. Also, in case you're wondering, I'm in the Hospital Wing as of now.
I feel the urge to sue that lump of an oaf. If you could tell father to execute this pigeon it would do a good lot. It's a danger to everyone, especially me! I could've died because of it!
Granger is watching me write this letter. She has that scowl on her face that makes her brows look bushy and wiggly like her mane of a hair. Her buck teeth is really doing nothing to make her more easy on the eyes. Hagrid assigned her to take me to the healer much to my dismay. Perhaps I can sue her too...
She just asked me why I keep looking at her. She thinks I'm writing about her. She's not wrong. Anyway, I'll end the letter here before she felt entitled to take my quill away and rip this letter to shreds.
See you during winter break,
Hermione recalled that vague memory of Draco writing with his sling on, scrawling messily as he constantly kept looking up to scowl menacingly at her. She remembered the dramatics of how he reacted to Buckbeak scratching his arm. As she read the next letter, her mirthful smile fell into a frowning pout of hurt for her younger self as Draco kept insulting her:
November 20th, 1993
That mudblood slapped me. She slapped ME!! I'm absolutely bloody infuriated right now! She has to go, she needs to be expelled. She needs to be sent to Azkaban. Mum, the stupid filthy mudblood SLAPPED ME!
Does she not know her place? She's the dirt at my feet, in what universe did she think she had the right to slap my glorious face? It hurts! It's flaming red, and her hand imprint will probably stay there for days! I cant go out in public like this! Imagine the comments Goyle and Crabbe would say. The teasing of Theo and Blaise too! Pansy would be laughing her arse off!
The mudblood kept laughing right after that slap with her stupid smug look and her eyes that shone like she was better than everyone. Her two mates were congratulating her. It's so frustrating!
So what if the pigeon is facing execution? That chicken deserves it! It's a danger to me and my arm and the rest of the student body. Father even said so himself.
I'm absolutely livid,
Reading the following letters afterwards, she stopped short to laugh at a small letter that she doubt he meant to send to his mum. It was probably an accident as it seemed a bit... mature (for lack of better words) for a thirteen year old boy to say to his mother.
Dear whoever reads this (no one, I hope),
I saw Granger today. Actually I saw GRANGERS today. TWO OF THEM. Am I going barmy? Am I sick in the head? TWO BLOODY GRANGERS.
I have to admit, Granger is a bit infuriating and not at all attractive, but damn does she smell really good whenever she walks past and despite her hair looking afro-like, it looks a bit good on her. Rarely.
But seeing two Grangers as they walked down the hill to that chicken did a whole lot to my fantasies.
Soon, Hermione reached the fourth year letters. There weren't a lot, but the ones she read seemed to show more emotion than just annoyance and anger, but still kept the same prat-ish quality.
December 25th, 1994
I attended the Yule Ball with Pansy. Her presence wasn't at all too comforting considering the idle talk and gossip she kept indulging me with. I didn't particularly care for what she had to say. She was a good dance partner though, as expected from a Pureblood witch. We knew the steps of each dance and it felt easy and smooth, just like at Pureblood galas.
But you would not believe what happened.
The entire room fell quiet when Granger walked down those steps. Her date was Krum too! How does someone so bland and appalling look decently alright tonight and catch a man like Krum, even more, the attention of the whole ball? It makes no sense. I couldn't even get angry at her for stepping on my feet when she was dancing with Krum and kept moving around the dance floor so horrifically clumsily.
Also, her teeth isn't crooked and bucked anymore. I think I had something to do with that....
Pansy slapped me for being distracted. I was not distracted!
Overall, I enjoyed the ball. The food was amazing but not so much the company,
Hermione smirked at this new revelation. Draco thought she was pretty back then? She wondered if he felt jealous.... but that was pushing it. He obviously hated her too much to feel jealous of Krum. It didn't matter anyway now.
February 24th, 1995
The second task is starting. I told you before, Potter was part of the tournament for some strange reason. I still think it's for the attention.
Anyway, Granger was in the water. She wasn't there on the bleachers and I couldn't find her owl's nest of a bushy hair anywhere. I asked Theo about it, perhaps he knew something, but he assumed I fancy her and now keeps smirking at me. That was bloody helpful and so very untrue.
I concluded she was in the water, and I'm not sure what went over me but I was complaining to Theo about how ridiculous this tournament was. I initially thought it was interesting, especially with the possibility that Potter could get injured. But apparently I kept mentioning Granger in every other complaint and that didn't help but support his mad idea that I fancy her.
I don't like the mudblood.
I'm just concerned for the well-being of a classmate.
A small, amused smile stretched across Hermione's cheeks. Draco was a real git back then, but it was clear within the few letters he had written that his mindset was ever-so-slowly changing in fourth year. Of course, his letters still contained plentiful of colorful insults towards her and her friends:
August 31st, 1995
I'm a prefect! Isn't that amazing? I've finally done it! Along with still being the legendary Slytherin seeker of this class, this year has gotten so much better than the last ones.
Well, it would've been it if wasn't for the Weasel and the Mudblood who just had to be the Gryffindor prefects. That means I'd have to see more of their horrid faces during prefect meetings. Merlin, if I was paired up with either of them for patrol, I don't think I'd survive.
Classes are starting in two days, but tomorrow I've got prefect duties. It's my responsibility- and Pansy's, to lead the first years to the Slytherin dorms and familiarize them with the castle. I hope the first years aren't too bothersome and ask me too many questions. I don't get paid to do this, not even overtime.
Hermione smiled at his excitement regardless of the slur he used against her. The way his scrawls looked fast and messy signified his excitement very clearly.
March 21st, 1996
I haven't been finding the time to write the last week given a new position I was assigned to and the extra duties that comes with it: I'm now a member of the Inquisitorial Squad, handpicked by the High Inquisitor, Professor Dolores Umbridge herself.
Frankly, and please don't tell anyone this, I'm not particularly fond of this position. Her ideals aren't reasonable, but anything to make father proud and to see the face of Potter once he gets caught forming his little anarchical group of misfits.
Granger's not at all attempting to try to not be conspicuous. She's so awful at lying. Her voice gets high pitched and her nose scrunches like a bug caught up on her nose. It's fascinating how no one knew where she was heading after lunch breaks and classes. She's obviously meeting with Potter and their rebels. And it's hilarious how she's thinking she's so good at lying.
I followed her once. She went to that dodgy Come And Go Room, though I heard from her mouth that it was a Room of Requirement. Potato, pot-ah-to. I tried sneaking in, but the door disappeared before I could, and I couldn't find a bloody way to get it to reappear.
I'll be busy trying to open this room,
Hermione's brow raised at yet another one of his confessions. He had followed her? He had knew, weeks before they were caught, that they met at the Room of Requirements? And he had done nothing about it, not even report where the location was to Umbridge.
As she recalled, Marietta Edgecomb was the one who had outed the location of the D.A.
Draco really did held his tongue about his knowledge. Did he even realize?
Biting her lip to keep herself from grinning, Hermione continued reading letters written in the next year. Aware of his past, she knew the reason why there were less letters - all of which were very curt and expressed with less joviality and emotion - during the next few years to come.
September 14th, 1996
It's Quidditch tryouts for Gryffindor. I don't give a damn about them, but I found this certain situation amusing.
As much as I despise the Mudblood, watching her preform a spell on McLaggen to purposely fail him was hilarious. I almost laughed.
But this year isn't really worth the laugh, is it?
At the last line, Hermione sighed sadly for the boy who was pulled into all of that mess too early in life.
As she read on, each letter sound more ominous and vague. He mentions a certain 'she' and 'her' quite often, and Hermione couldn't place a finger on who he was speaking about. She did hope, with a twinge in her heart, that he was talking about her.
October 18th, 1996
Task failed. I'll attempt again. It went directly onto the hands of Katie Bell. I think Potter may be onto me. Please don't tell them.
I have this nagging worry that my attempts might accidentally reach her and I wouldn't be able to do anything.
A furrow grew between her brows as she read the next letters.
December 20th, 1996
I gatecrashed Slughorn's boring party.
I saw her. Still as annoying as ever as she was being chased after that git everywhere.
Uncle Severus took me out of the party. I can't have any fun anymore apparently.
April 28th, 1997
Potter knows. He found me in the washroom.
She's smart and probably figured it out for him. She must've told him. Bloody hell.
I guess I deserve it.
June 30th 1997
I hope she's somewhere else. She's always a bit too reckless considering who she's friends with.
Hermione's eyes stung as she recollected memories of the war, remembering the harsh features on his face and the faint concern she felt for her classmate regardless of the fact that they were archenemies.
All throughout seventh year, the letters were lacking. There wasn't much to write about other than blood, sweat, tears, death, and war.
Though a few months after she was tortured in his own Manor, there was an envelope. It was a letter she gradually opened, feeling a tad bit fearful of what she might find given that it was the first letter after the war. Instead, she was pleasantly surprised.
September 18th, 1998
You might be disappointed in me, father especially. I don't give a bloody fuck anymore. The war has passed and times are deliberately improving. I've met people, made amends, and became friends with those who I never thought I'd ever be friends with in my life. If you don't agree with me, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.
As you know, I'm Head Boy. I had rather not come back to Hogwarts to finish my education, but what else can I do?
She's there. She's Head Girl. Initially, I didn't like the idea of it; I didn't want to spend a whole damned year sharing the same common room with a girl I don't want to bloody look at. But she smiled upon looking at me for the first time I managed to stare right into her eyes, and I didn't know what to comprehend at that moment.
I guess that was the starting point. We started talking more, although it felt a bit strained most times. I finally apologized to her. For everything.
Even for that time.
I still feel guilty. I wasn't even the one who hurt her, but I still feel so fucking guilty for everything that happened to her under the roof of my own Manor. The idea of her still being around me despite everything that I did to her the past seven years is astounding.
I don't know why she's lingering around me. I wonder how much damage she took to the brain to be an idiot and surround herself with someone like me. She says she doesn't care and that I shouldn't either. I don't know what she means. Shouldn't I care? It's a bit too early to say that I shouldn't care about what will happen to me - to her - if our friendship is found. They'll assume she's conspiring with the enemy.
That stubborn little bookworm still stays.
By now, you must've figured out who she is.
It's her birthday tomorrow. I want to give her something. I'm not fond of gift-giving, but I want to give her something in appreciation for her return of kindness.
If you don't approve of my associations, don't bother. I'm not listening.
The following letters made a smile permanent on her lips. There were a lot of letters now, most of them revolving around her. They find each other around the other often during their post-war seventh year, so it was reasonable how he would write plenty about her.
November 7th, 1998
We're partners for a project again. Makes sense since we're Head Boy and Head Girl so we have to do everything together. I don't mind frankly. She's infuriatingly brilliant and knows what she's doing unlike the past class partners I had.
December 11th, 1998
I'm staying at Hogwarts during the holidays. She said she'd love to go back home, but she had some sort of family dilemma. She didn't specify. I don't want her to get lonely here.
December 25th, 1998
Happy Christmas. She told me to write this and wishes you it too. She's amazing to have the will and courage to say that to you considering what happened— I mean she's Gryffindor after all.
January 29th, 1999
I have no words to describe her, mum. She's fucking amazing, intelligent, brilliant, and everything I was taught she couldn't be. How did I ever torment her? I can write a whole twenty-inch essay on all of her flaws I saw as a child and how beautiful they really are now, but that's too soppy.
You haven't heard this from me. Oh Merlin, don't ever tell her that. In fact, rip this to shreds and burn it at the fireplace. I won't hear the end of it. Actually, can I just scrap this whole letter? I probably will. But I want to write all this before my head explodes because bloody hell, she's on my mind every single day. She practically owns my thoughts. I hate it.
She sees me as a friend. It hurts just a bit, but I'd rather suffer and keep her at arms length rather than have her a wall apart.
I don't think I ever felt this way before. What is this feeling?
February 14th, 1999
I think I won at life.
There's no way someone like her could like me. Absolutely no way. It must be a prank. There is no bloody way.
She made me chocolate cake at the kitchens for Valentine's Day, tripped on air as she walked through the common room entrance door with the cake in hand, and ruined my favorite green and white shirt and my face.
How bloody romantic is that? Clumsy swot.
She likes me back though, I guess that makes up for it.
March 10th, 1999
We study at the library often, especially since she's unnecessarily panicking plenty about NEWTs. We literally have months until exams, but of course, the bloody swot has to sit at my special table and busy herself in the textbooks and study nonstop.
I would've been pissed off that she sat on my favorite seat and buried herself another home right there when I told her not to all those years ago, but strangely, I really don't mind. I like it when she's there. I'd trade telling her off in order to watch her lull herself to sleep as she studies and have her fall sleep on my shoulder any day.
April 1st, 1999
I expected her to wake up, barge into my room, and say this whole relationship was just a prank for April Fools today. Not to say that I would breakdown and cry, but I think I'd rethink my entire life if that ever happened.
Thankfully, that never happened. The most she had done that day was put coloring on my shampoo. She kept laughing at me and took a picture. I nearly hexed her to oblivion. No, you will not receive this photo. I refuse to allow that.
[Insert moving picture (that she secretly slipped into the letter) of Draco in his uniform and scowling at the girl behind the camera, his hair a bright shade of Weasley orange. He lunged forward to grab at the camera, and the camera angle moved clumsily to a lower perspective of the girl laughing until tears fell. The camera fell to the floor and showed how a slightly smirking but fully scowling, red-haired Draco was on top of her with his wand threateningly pointed to her side as she laughed to death]
May 25th, 1999
We talked about futures today. She has her life set up so organized, but I don't even know what I'll be doing once I set foot outside of Hogwarts. Who would compromise a proposition to hire a former Death Eater?
She says everything will be okay, and that I'll find myself a worthy job that fits my interests. I'm not sure what I want in the future. The only certainty in my future is that she will be in it. In every single aspect of my life, I want her in it.
If she's not in it, my future won't have a direction.
June 5th, 1999
She gave me another cake for my birthday. Fortunately, she didn't accidentally throw it all over me. She was worried about her gift since I could buy anything I want and I already have everything the world makes. She's not wrong.
But she came to me with a muggle, red, stick-on gift bow on her scrunching nose and her tangled curls flying everywhere looking like a shriveled shrub of a bird's nest. She looked like she just woke up in those hideous Gryffindor socks and muggle pajamas.
She looked ridiculous.
She announced that she's my birthday present.
I think I'm in love. She's so fucking pretty. The best gift I've ever received.
Hermione couldn't control the wide smile on her face, and she laughed at the lovely letters her husband had sent. Wiping the reminiscent tears glittering her eyes, she inhaled sharply when she felt two warm arms wrapping around from behind her around her shoulders.
"Why do you look insane over here?" Draco nipped the lobe of her ear.
"Your mum sent these," Hermione lifted a random letter from the mess she had created on the office desk, giving him a better view.
"What are these?" Hermione felt his frown form against her neck, and he gasped loudly. "Bloody hell no. No, no, no! She didn't. She absolutely didn't! I told her not to! Is that...?"
"You're such a lump of sap during seventh," she laughed. "Also, did you fancy me during fourth year? Despite all those insults, you did sound like you were attracted to me."
He ignored the question, reaching forward to hold the moving picture of his Weasley-dyed hair.
"You slipped this into the letter?" Draco asked incredulously, his eyes wide as he turned her shoulders to face him eye-to-eye and waved the picture in front of her.
With a sly smirk forming deliberately across her lips, she hummed, "Apparently, I did. Your mum went hysterical when I talked to her about it."
"You- You talked to her about it?" His eyes were practically bulging out of his sockets, his cheeks tinted a slight rose color. Hermione contained another burst of laughter.
"Of course, we talk about everything."
"Merlin, remind me to obliviate the both of you after I burn all these letters," he muttered.
She merely grinned. "Perhaps we could reenact that fantasy you had in third year? The one where I had the time-turner and had a clone of me walking around. Although, I doubt you want to have two Hermione's arguing against you, but you do have that strange kink of me bossing you around in bed."
Draco's fingers curled under her chin, lifting her head firmly to look directly up at him, "You little minx."
Hermione's face gleamed as she beamed up at him, seemingly unaffected by the way his eyes darkened and the way his tongue wetted his lips, "I want to talk to you about the letters! I think it's interesting that you kept mentioning me in a lot of your letters. I want to know more about you back then! And also I want to—"
Draco leaned forward to gently press his lips against hers, tenderly holding her neck with his large palm as he drowned out her continuous blabbering about wanting to get to know his younger self more. Strangely, he felt inwardly sheepish at the idea of sharing his perspective of his childhood memories with her.
"You know what I want to do?" He whispered against her lips.
"I think I have a vague idea."
"Of course you do, my brilliant witch," and he went for the kill once again, his lips pushing and pulling against hers almost magnetically like they were made to kiss her lips and her lips only, "I love you."
She smirked before pulling her husband by the back of his neck and kissing him passionately, "I know."