A/N: This crossover has been a long time coming. One of the first crossovers I ever wrote was Hermione Granger and Baelfire | Neal Cassidy based on a #PopUpPrompt by the wonderful xxDustNight88. Here comes another crossover based on one of her prompts. The prompt contained the words: porcelain doll, midstream, and thunderstorm. The prompt also contained the quote: "There's no happy endings for me."
Hope you enjoy!
Dirty dishes sat on the edge of the sink in the kitchen. Piles of books, clothes, and papers were scattered over the drawing-room. Late into the afternoon, the heavy curtains were still pulled shut. The dusty, old look to the inside of the house would lead one to believe the house itself was suffering from a grim depression. There was a bleakness wrapped around the whole house as a shawl wrapped around a person's shoulders on a rough wintry morning.
The once pretty wallpaper was shredded and faded. There were wilted flowers in the expensive crystal vases on the counters. The house had lost its beauty that once reigned supreme when it was home to some of the greatest minds ever known. There was a mutual understanding between its history and those who inhabited the house. The belief was that no matter the problem, the weather, or what is considered to be mainstream at the time that this house would bring the troubled mind solitude.
Hermione Granger had been living in this house for some time now, alone with the memories of a time when she felt nothing could stop her from succeeding in whatever it was she put her mind to. A time when she thought anything was possible. A time that has long since passed.
Her eyes trailed over clutter scattered across the floor of her sitting room. A reminder of their last conversation before he walked out of her life, leaving her behind as though she was nothing more than a forgotten doll a child had left behind when something shinier and more exciting came around. A porcelain doll, she recalled him saying as he walked out the front door. She could remember the fight as though it had happened only yesterday.
. . . . . . . . .
"What do you expect from me, Neal?" she asked, the desperation evident in her voice as she watched him pace the length of their dining room.
Frustrated, he carded his hand through his hair as he yelled, "I don't know, Hermione!"
She crossed her arms over her chest and sighed, "Then I don't know how the hell you expect us to be able to fix this. I told you what was happening from the get-go, and you chose to ignore my warnings."
"Ever since he came back into our lives, you've been distancing yourself from me," Neal grumbled as he glared at her.
"This is about Draco?" she gasped. To be fair, she wasn't sure why that fact had surprised her. Draco was always the issue when it came to her relationship with Neal Cassidy. They fought about her ex-fiancé more than she and her ex-fiancé had fought for the entirety of their relationship.
"Of course it's about Draco. Everything always comes back to Draco. Every time his damn name comes up, you break into a million little pieces because of how broken he left you," he replied.
"You met me the day that Draco and I had broken up! Of course, I was broken. How the hell did you want me to be left?" Hermione yelled, throwing her hands up in the air before wrapping them around her stomach.
Fighting with him about the same old thing made her stomach turn, and they had been fighting a lot lately.
"You left him, Hermione. I don't know why he is such a touchy subject with you because you'll never talk about it. Then when you are upset because something reminds you of him, I'm left to pick up the damn pieces he left behind. It's not fair, Hermione," Neal huffed.
. . . . . . . .
Draco had been and would always be a touchy subject for Hermione and her relationship with Neal. It was all a matter of fate the day that she met Neal, and deep down, she knew the memories of that day would always be tied to one of the worst days of her life.
The day she left Draco at the altar.
She had called him into her dressing room a few minutes before he was planning to take his place beside the altar, where he would wait for her to walk towards him in her beautiful wedding dress. It was only moments before he would speak the magic words that would bring them together for the rest of their lives, which was exactly what would have happened. Except she had uncovered a secret, the Malfoy heir had been trying to keep hidden from her.
She needed to confront him about what he knew in regards to the prophecy before she could marry him. She was already holding a secret of her own, one that would ruin their relationship forever if Draco truly felt strongly about upholding the prophecy bestowed upon his family. She had to know how he felt about the prophecy. Especially since once she knew how he felt about his family prophecy, she had no other choice but to tell him about her secret.
She vividly recalled the many dinners that she had with Draco's family, where the hints would be dropped about producing an heir. That was something that she and Draco hadn't spoken about as a couple, let alone wanting it to discuss it with anyone else. Should they have had that conversation long before getting engaged? Absolutely, but it was a burden that Hermione was not ready to make Draco bear as well.
There were often times that Hermione could see the frustration on Draco's face when he would bring up the topic of children, and she would quickly shove the issue away by changing it to something different. It never felt like the right time, and then he finally quit trying to bring it up after yet another uncomfortable dinner with his parents.
"Obviously, this is a sensitive topic for you, and you don't want to talk about it, so I'll let you have your space about it. But you know you'll have to tell me what's going on at some point, Hermione."
That was when he stormed out the door to prepare for the ceremony. He never turned back to look if she was chasing after him, and that was the part that killed her. Had he turned around to see if she was chasing him would have shown her that whatever it was that happened to be bothering her mattered to him.
No matter what she did or said now would change his mind. As much as she wanted to tell him the truth, it would require admitting it to herself, and that was something she hadn't done since she had found out for herself. She loved him more than anything in the world, but she couldn't go into a marriage that was based on a falsehood.
They were about to promise to be there for one another in sickness and in health, and all the things that the priest would have them repeat after him. All things that Hermione would never be able to keep because she wasn't willing to tell him this one thing. She spun around quickly and saw the open window out of the corner of her eye.
She walked over to the vanity and found a piece of paper and a pen. She quickly wrote a note and pressed it to her lips, staining the paper with her lipstick. As she folded the paper up and placed it back on the vanity, the tears started to roll down her cheek. She needed to get out of here before they came to get her to walk down the aisle.
Climbing up onto the window bench, Hermione looked out the window. It was only a short drop from her room to the ground. She pushed the window the entire way open and hopped out. As her feet hit the ground, she took off running away from the church. She couldn't look back, only forward.
. . . . . . . . . .
She looked on at him in silence. All the words she could say would be looked at as useless. When he got angry, he got mean, and that was something she didn't want to fuel. She knew that staying silent could make the situation worse, but at the same, there was no making it better.
"For fuck's sake, Hermione, will you talk to me?" he cried out in frustration, carding his hands furiously through his hair and swiping them over his face. He was running out of options. There was only so much more he could take before his anger reared its nasty head.
She could only shake her head. Her voice just wasn't there. Every time she opened her mouth to speak, nothing came out. Tears just continued to roll down her face as she watched him pace. She wanted to talk to him more than anything, but try as she might, she had no voice.
It was killing her that she couldn't reveal her secret to Neal, but she wasn't sure how he would react, and that scared her. It was why she left Draco at the altar because even though he said that he would love her no matter what and his family expected, they would be a happy family with or without children. But the pressure was too much for her, and that's why she left through the window and ran away from the church.
Staring at him through tear-filled eyes, Hermione covered her face with her hands as the sadness overtook her body. All she could do was sob into her hands. She couldn't bear to look at him. She was broken, and there was no way to fix her.
Not only was her heart broken into a million little pieces, but her body was broken as well. She had been holding onto a secret for so long that she had given up all hope that anyone would ever love her once they found out what was going on with her.
Neal just stared at her shaking his head. This was getting ridiculous. He couldn't handle much more of her crying over a man that she chose to leave at the altar. From what he could tell, their relationship wasn't working out anyway, so in all reality, she was better off with him in the long run. If only she would open up to him.
Maybe if he could understand why she and Draco had ended their relationship, then he could understand why they had never been able to move on with their own relationship.
. . . . . . . .
There were often times Hermione found herself feeling lost and hopeless as she would sit and wait for Neal to return after a fight. That was the one thing that brought her reassurance. Neal always came home.
It didn't matter what they were fighting about or how long they had been going at it. When he left to go cool off, he always came back home to her. That knowledge brought her a sense of security.
Tonight, as she thought back over their fight, was the first night since he left that she started to lose hope that he would return. He had never been gone this long before. At most, he'd stay away for two or three days. This time, he had been gone for almost a week.
Curling up on the couch, Hermione let out a heavy sigh as she wrapped her around her knees, pulling them to her chest. She found comfort in her solace as she decided it was time to accept her fate. She could hear a thunderstorm approaching in the distance and smiled to herself. Closing her eyes and snuggling into the couch, Hermione drifted off to sleep.
Hermione yawned and stretched her arms over her head as she rolled onto her side. Her eyes slowly fluttered open. At first, she couldn't believe her eyes at the man she saw kneeling in front of her. Her body jolted up into a seated position as she reached out to cup his cheek gently.
"Neal," she somnolently exclaimed, smiling at him as she lowered her hand from his chin to his neck. Her fingers aimlessly toying with his hair at the base of his neck. "You came back."
"I always come back, Hermione," Neal said, placing a hand on her thigh and squeezing softly. "I just needed some time to cool off."
"I didn't think you were going to come back," Hermione whispered, resting her head onto Neal's shoulder as the tears began to roll freely down her cheek. "I thought that my brokenness had finally taken everything away from me."
Neal slid his hand up her thigh and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her into his chest. "What are you talking about, Hermione?"
"I'm broken," Hermione sobbed into his shoulder. "Because I'm broken, there's no happy endings for me. I've pushed you away, and I pushed Draco away because of it. I'm not meant to be happy. I'm meant to be alone and suffering."
Neal pulled back and looked Hermione in the eyes, reaching up to wipe a tear away from her cheek, stopping it midstream. "Does it look like you've pushed me away?"
Hermione pulled her lower lip into her mouth as she shook her head. "But that doesn't mean I'm destined for a happily ever after. I'm destined for nothing but sadness."
"Hermione," Neal said, cupping her cheek. "I know we keep having the same fight over and over again when it comes to your past, but that doesn't mean I don't love you and want to have a happily ever after with you."
Hermione closed her eyes and leaned her head into his hand, letting out a heavy sigh as a few more tears rolled down her cheeks. "I need to tell you why I left Draco at the altar."
"No, you don't," Neal reassured her. He leaned in and kissed her gently. "That was in your past, and while it may play a role in our future, it can wait. Right now, I need to remind you of all the reasons I fell in love with you."
"And why is that?" Hermione mumbled, looking up at him through tear-stained lashes.
"I met you when you were shattered from your broken engagement, and I fell in love with the woman who was found as we put the pieces back together," Neal said, brushing his thumb over her cheek.
"I love you, Baelfire," Hermione cooed, pressing her lips to his. She smiled at his surprise to the name she called him.
They were two broken souls when they first met. They had spent the last five years finding ways to put the pieces back together in a way that worked for them. The only way for them to overcome their brokenness and find their happily ever after was together.