pairing: draco malfoy x hermione granger
setting: modern, non-magical, ghost au
word count: 700
Draco Malfoy was supposed to be dead.
Hermione remembers the headlines; she remembers the murder investigation, and the black crepe streamers hanging from the ceiling of the school gym, and the piteous tearful wailing that had echoed around the cemetery during his funeral. The entire spectacle had been highly dramatic—god, the number of times she’d heard the word tragedy had to have fulfilled some kind of lifetime quota—and she’d had the great misfortunate of being at the center of it all.
She’d watched him die.
She’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time—the wrong party in the wrong zip code—and she’d been the one to witness his last gasping breath, the gurgling trembling hitch in his voice as he’d whispered, “The flask—Hermione—the flask, it’s—” before he’d fallen permanently silent. The coroner’s autopsy had been inconclusive. The newspapers had suggested an overdose with enough gleeful faux-concern to make her physically ill, and the Malfoys’ publicist had released a short, fairly ominous statement about untimely accidents, and Hermione—she’d compartmentalized her suspicions and her memories and her dreams, and she’d moved on. She’d put it behind her.
Because Draco Malfoy was supposed to be dead.
Which was why it was exceedingly strange that he was currently standing in the middle of her new living room, calm and cool and casual, a smirk on his face and a bottle of Heineken in his hand—like he belonged there. Like he’d been invited.
“Granger,” he greets her, taking a long swig of beer.
She drops her carefully packed U-Haul box full of dishware. “Oh, my god.”
“No,” Malfoy disagrees, “definitely not God.”
She kicks the front door shut and blinks—once, twice, three times, even. He’s still there. “You’re—you died. I saw you.”
He squints at the ceiling fan and then hums. “Must be why I’m here,” he drawls, gesturing around her empty apartment. “Kind of a shithole, isn’t it?”
She stares at him, nonplussed and only vaguely offended. “It’s two blocks from the upper campus library.”
He snorts. “Priorities.”
“There’s a dishwasher, it’s not like I’m—wait, don’t change the subject. You’re dead. How are you—”
He cuts her off with a sigh. “It’s Halloween, Granger.”
“So,” he repeats, incredulously, “I’m. You know. A ghost.”
She wrinkles her nose. “I’m hallucinating,” she murmurs, mostly to herself. “This is a fever dream.”
Malfoy drains his beer, head tilted back and Adam’s apple bobbing. “No, it isn’t.”
She purses her lips, crossing and uncrossing her arms. “It is.”
“I’m haunting you,” he retorts. “Keep up.”
“Why are you haunting me—”
“Oh, like you’d really be my first choice.”
She flaps her hands, unaccountably stung. “Then what are you doing here?”
He narrows his eyes—just as grey and sharp and mesmerizing as they’d always been—and clears his throat. “You’re the only one who can see me.”
She gapes. “Why?”
“Because,” he replies, irritably, “you saw me die. It’s. A rule, or something, how should I know?”
She grimaces. “This is a nightmare.”
He sneers. “For both of us, I assure you.”
“What do you want?”
He pauses, gaze settling on her face with an eerie sort of intensity. He’d looked at her like that once before—when her skin had still been tingling and her pulse had still been hammering and the taste of his lips had still been lingering, soft and silky and sweet. He’d rolled his hips like he’d needed the friction and she’d gripped his shoulders like she’d needed the anchor—to the ground, to reality—and his smile, when they’d parted, had been as slow as it was sincere. She’d seen the future, that night, and it had been promising. Beautiful. Until—
“Closure,” he eventually says, tone clipped and a little hoarse. “I want closure.”
She finally steps towards him. “It’s been six months.”
“Did you—have you—” He breaks off. Clenches his jaw. “Did you find the flask? The one I drank from?”
She feels brave, suddenly. “That’s not what you wanted to ask.”
He swallows. “Someone killed me, Granger. Someone killed me, and I need you to figure out who.”