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Cracks by llyralen

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 2,060
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Substance Use or Abuse

Genres: General, Humor, Romance
Characters: Hermione, Draco
Pairings: Draco/Hermione

First Published: 06/06/2010
Last Chapter: 06/09/2010
Last Updated: 06/09/2010

Summary:


Age chips and cracks the world you once believed until all is gone and you live in a new world entirely. They were far from who they used to be in Hogwarts. And now the cracks have shattered away and they realize that they've grown up. Everybody grows up.

Welcome to the new world.

A Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger story.


Chapter 1: Ironic
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Author's Note: The only Dramione you'd probably ever read from me. In my defense, it is because there is only the possiblity of romance in this senario and not the existence of it :) I will maintain that till my dying breath! Enjoy!

Standard Disclaimer:
JK owns all.







CRACKS
also known as Ironic





The only word that came to mind as she shook Draco Malfoy’s hand was: ironic. The fact that she’d been working with him for the past year was even more so. Who would have thought that they would be working for the same side for once in their lives? Draco Malfoy working for Hermione Granger. Or rather, working with. This was after all Theodore Nott’s campaign. Not theirs. They were nothing but little people who did the grunt work in order to get the man into the Minister of Magic’s office.

Again, ironic was the only word Hermione could think of.

To his credit, Draco was being very professional. Not once did he make a snide remark or bring up anything regarding her past. It was all strictly business. Confidentiality agreements. Publicity. Press releases. Out of court settlements. Battlefield strategy. He didn’t say a word unless it had something to do with Theo’s campaign. And as campaign manager, Hermione could do nothing but reply to his statements, comment on his observations and occasionally agree with his suggestions. It was all very ironic.

Half the day had passed and the office was almost stripped of any living being. They were alone in the conference room with nothing but miles and miles of parchment and take away they’d ordered to get them passed the night.

They were both tired, eyes red from all the reading they’d managed to finish, knuckles sore from all the notes they had to write and all the documents that they’d signed. For her own sanity, Hermione had to take off her glasses and take a long deep breath. It reminded her that she was still human and not a worker drone.

“Tired?” Draco grumbled from behind his own pile of work. “Could use a smoke myself but Nott needs these by tomorrow and we can’t have him looking like an idiot against Palmer.”

Draco took his wand and conjured another cup of coffee for Hermione. “Just keep going. You can sleep when he’s got the damn job.”

Hermione had to laugh. Had the situations been reversed with him taking out a cigarette and lighting up in the middle of all that needed to be done, she would have said the exact same words. But the situations were not reversed. They were exactly as they are. Hermione needing a bit of rest and Draco being the slave driver of the pair.

She shoved the cup back to him. “I don’t need coffee. What I really need is a bit of a lie down. Honestly, Malfoy! We must be masochists, don’t you think? Spending a perfectly good Friday evening with the same person we spend every Friday with, doing the same job, having the same cold take away and denying ourselves the vices that we’ve so rightfully earned. Isn’t that the very definition of insanity? Repeating the same actions over and over again, expecting different results?”

“I’m not expecting different results.” Draco tried to ignore her.

“Well you’re expecting we’ll finish these before dawn and that certainly hasn’t happened to date, and I doubt it will happen today!” Hermione raised a challenging eyebrow. Every Friday, they deluded themselves into thinking that maybe they’d finish it all earlier if they didn’t stop working. No rest. No sleep. No alcohol. No smoke. But has it ever happened?

He knew the answer to that.

Finally, he sighed. Draco put down the quill and leaned back on his chair. He groaned in relief as he ran his hands down his face as if it could wash the sleep out. “Suppose you’re right. I cancelled dinner plans for this. And for what? A favor? This is one hell of a favor I’m doing that bastard. Hell, I don’t even know why I’m working so hard for him. God knows how much work ethic I have.”

“Could it possibly be because you actually believe that Theo is the right man for the job? The best man, even?”

Draco laughed. “Idealism is for interns, Granger. You should know that. Proper grown-ups like us know that picking the next Minister is just like picking whether or not you want the Devil or Satan to take charge. You know they’re probably the same but one just sounds better than the other.”

“Spoken like a true image consultant.”

“The card says political consultant. I’d rather you not muck up the title I get paid for.”

“Oh please Malfoy. We’re all image consultants here. Just trying to make our man look good in front of the press and the rest of the world.”

Hermione was certainly no idealist. She knew that Theo wasn’t perfect. He had numerous detractors in the Wizenagamot, the Prophet and the rest of the Ministry. A lot of people thought he was hard. Too hard for the public. Most of the polls agreed that he seemed very harsh yet distant. They thought of him as distant and calculating. Hard to trust and even harder to talk to. Hard to persuade and hard to peg down. An iceberg with a good platform. But as a campaign manager, Hermione’s job was to play up his strengths. Every statement he made, he kept. Every side he went on, he was loyal to. Hard-headed to fault and rarely admitted mistakes. Even if it was for the good if his campaign, he remained an obstinate prick and refused to back down of what he’d already committed to.

That was what the British people needed to see. Well a softened version of it, rather.

Her eyes drew back to the paperwork. The things she needed to do to get their man in office. She sighed. Why couldn’t she have been a dentist like her parents wanted? People were always better under Novocain.

“Why don’t we take a break Malfoy? I can’t be the only one tired, and you said you wanted a smoke. How about it?”

“Work,” he groaned, his head on the table, buried in his crooked arms. "I can’t see how you keep forgetting that.”

“We’ve been at it since this morning. If the interns deserve breaks, so do we. I’m not normally this lax, but I feel extraordinarily cheeky today. Palmer doesn’t stand a chance against Theo and five minutes outside won’t make a bit of difference.”

“You know, this is why he makes me do all the negotiations. You’re awful at it.”

After some prodding, the old stump finally gave in and Hermione lead the way to the sidewalk where they both shared a pack of Everlastings. Hermione had missed smoking. Ron hated the habit and rightfully so. It was a horrible, horrible habit. But it was something she’d picked up from years of growing up in a house of two dentists who got annual dental whitening procedures two weeks apart from each other. It couldn’t be helped. Work was the once place where she could smoke, and it was perfectly fine with her. It was helping her quit, really. Though very gradually. Glacially even.

“I’m thinking of going on the patch. This is really bad for me,” she took a nice long drag. “Very, very bad for me.”

“I know exactly what you mean. It’s horrible. But I’d rather this kill me than the drinking. I can quit drinking. It’s the cigarettes I can’t quit.”

Hermione laughed again. She knew exactly what he meant. “Story of our lives, Malfoy. Ironic,” she said out loud for the first time that day.

“Pardon?”

“I said ironic. I’ve been thinking it the whole day. Just felt like saying it out loud at least once. Don’t you think it’s ironic? That you are working with someone you use to hate for most of your school days? Someone you couldn’t even stand to be in a room with way back when?”

“Don’t flatter yourself Granger. I don’t give you that much thought. Believe me. I honestly couldn’t care less whether or not you think this is all strange or whatever you’re calling it in that head of yours. I may respect you for the sake of professionalism, but that’s about all the thought I give you in the day.”

“Honestly? Well, that does make me guilty about hating you all this time. Ashamed as I am to admit, I have never forgotten the fact that you called me a mudblood or that you teased me about my hair.”

“I seem to remember I teased you about more than your hair. How much of a know-it-all you were - or should I say, still are. Your teeth maybe. ”

“I had them fixed.”

“Still a bloody disaster. But as for the rest of it…well, we grew up Granger. That’s what people do when they get older. Every birthday you get, a little bit of maturity sets in. Hogwarts has long been over.”

“Now see? Look at that. Had you told me ten years ago that I would be talking civilly to Draco Malfoy, well I would have chucked a bloody brick at you and called you absolutely bonkers. Happy to be wrong, but its still all bonkers.”

“What? Is it because I was in Slytherin. Oh yes, we all know the reputation we got after the war. Why do you think we’re up to our elbows trying to spread good press for Theo.”

“Well Theo never had the unscrupulous past you had.”

He knew what she meant. She could tell. The whole sixth year incident. Dumbledore. The wardrobe. The Death Eaters. The Malfoy reputation was forever destroyed after that. Even after they deflected, they still couldn’t recover from their past. The stigma was still there, and in a way, after all these years, it was still there. Couldn’t be avoided.

Draco gave out a ghost of a laugh, what was more of a sneer really, and put his cigarette out. “You never stop paying for those kinds of crimes, do you now. Whatever happened to equal opportunities? No judgment. That a one-sided philosophy you Muggleborns have? I don’t take it personally, believe me. Live with it for so long that it’s basically a fact these days. But for someone who spent their whole career fighting for a level playing field, you’re being pretty hypocritical aren’t you Granger?””

“Didn’t say I was proud of it. Nothing personal Malfoy. Like you said, it’s practically fact nowadays. Theo’s lucky to have even risen up this high.”

“He worked hard. We all did. Scrub your reputation enough and you might just get rid of the scarlet letter. However, if you look closely around my shoulder, you'll catch that there's still a little smudge left. See? Best not get too friendly Granger. These things do rub off on you, you know.”

"I'll try to remember that." Hermione laughed. “And in all honesty Malfoy, I respect you for it. Climbing the ladder again. Becoming minutely respectable in your own right. Business obligations aside, I respect you Malfoy.”

“Now that’s ironic.”

Hermione smiled. “Why? Just because I’m a Gryffindor, doesn’t mean I can’t respect a Slytherin?”

“Exactly.”

“And you’re allowed to be hypocritical because you’re a Slytherin?”

“Because we’re all evil to the core and can’t be changed. Even with ten years and all that growing up,” he nodded. “Right you are Granger.”

“Best not let the press know that. I’d hate to lose my job. Making Slytherins look good is what I do best.”

For the first time that year, Draco Malfoy laughed. Not a sneer. Not a scoff. But a laugh. Hermione laughed too. There they were, two grown-ups standing in front of the Ministry of Magic, having a smoke, getting some air and laughing.

After a while, they both decided that it was time to get back to work. It was nearly dawn and they weren’t nearly finished with the paperwork.

Instead of holding out the door for her, Draco cut Hermione off and entered the building first, giving her his once trademarked smirk as he got on the lift and left her outside in the cold with one last laugh before she finally joined him.

Ironic.

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