(A/N - a huge THANKS to my reviewers! I hope you all enjoy this chapter, because sadly, it's the last one... *sob*)
DISCLAIMER - I am nought but the puppet master...
RECAP ‘Everything okay?’ Draco asked, kicking off his shoes and sprawling on a chair.
‘Um, yeah…’ she began, still focused on the paper, ‘Mum and Dad just want me to come home next week for the Easter holidays.’
He nodded, ‘I thought as much, what with everything that’s happened in the past couple of weeks.’
‘Hm?’ He was busy pulling some parchment and a quill out of his bag to do his homework.
She paused, ‘They want you to come too.’
Draco picked himself up off the floor and looked her in the eye. ‘They what?’
‘They want to, um, meet you…’ Hermione fiddled anxiously with the letter in her hand.
‘Why would they… oh!’ Understanding suddenly crossed Draco’s face as he thought back to the letter which had started the events of the past couple of weeks, ‘No way, Mione! No way am I going to meet your parents now!’
‘But they really want to meet you! My dad sounds so eager…’
‘Yeah, to castrate me for daring to touch his little girl!’ Draco shrieked, his hands flying to his groin at the very thought.
Actually… Hermione quickly decided that agreeing with him would not be the best plan of action. ‘Nonsense! Oh come on, Draco, after everything that’s happened you can’t go home. It’s either this or being left alone here at school for a week.’
‘I think maybe I’ll just stay here,’ He folded his arms across his chest stubbornly, ‘You know, maybe catch up on some studying and stuff.’
He looked determined not to give in. Damn his strong character. Now how do I convince him? Oh! I know! She nodded, and slowly sat on the couch. ‘Okay, Draco, it’s your decision.’ She paused a moment, before adding nonchalantly, ‘Oh, by the way, did I tell you my magic is still out?’
His head snapped in her direction. Bingo!
‘Yeah, you know how it gradually faded during my hospital stay? Well, now it’s gone completely.’ She shrugged, ‘But I suppose it’ll be nice for a change; you know, it’ll be just like it used to be at home over the holidays, just me, mum and dad, three muggles…’
She could actually see the clogs clicking in the blonde’s mind, as he shook his head, ‘Oh no! You’re not going home alone with no magic to protect you for a week, not after everything you’ve been through lately! That’s it; I’m coming with you!’
‘No, no, Draco. You don’t have to- ‘
‘Hermione, I’m coming and that’s that!’ He stood in the middle of the room, resolutely.
Aw, look at him trying to act all in charge and stuff! Bless his little cotton sockies…
‘I guess. If you’re sure…’
He nodded, ‘Yes. It’s decided. And you can’t change my mind.’ He kissed her forehead gently, before disappearing through to the kitchen.
‘I wouldn’t worry too much, Miss Granger.’
Hermione stood in McGonagall’s office, watching as the professor marked second year essays. Ah, second year… when everything was so simple… well, except for being petrified by a giant basilisk that lived in the school walls, taking the wrong polyjuice and turning into a cat, Voldemort possessing Gin to make her open the Chamber of Secrets… hmm, maybe my life has always kinda sucked… McGonagall set down her quill and looked up at her student, knowing that she was itching to say something.
‘But why hasn’t my magic returned? It’s been over a week, and Professor Dumbledore said it would be back by now!’
McGonagall sighed, ‘No, Miss Granger, he said it should be. It was just an estimation. I wouldn’t worry just yet; if your magic still hasn’t returned by the time you come back from Easter break, then we’ll send you to St Mungo’s to have someone check. Until then, just be patient.’ She returned to her marking, ‘Oh, I assume Mr Malfoy is going with you over the break?’
‘Yeah, he- wait, how did you know that?’
The older woman smiled, ‘I really didn’t think he’d let you go home alone without any magical protection. He really does care for you, Hermione.’
‘I know,’ Hermione smiled in return at the woman who had watched over her for so many years. She gathered her belongings from the chair, and with a quick goodbye, left the office and headed back to the common room.
The following Saturday, Hermione stood in the common room, pacing anxiously. ‘Draco! Would you get your arse down here! We’re going to miss the train!’
The tall blonde rushed down the stairs, hauling a large mahogany trunk behind him, ‘Sorry! I slept in…’
‘I’m not surprised,’ Hermione quirked her eyebrow, ‘you had a busy night. But so did I, and I still managed to get up on time!’
He rolled his eyes, and picked up her trunk, before heading out of the portrait hole, Hermione following him down to the entrance hall, where a large group of students gathered. A frantic Flitwick and a rather miserable Snape ushered them out to the carriages. A large number of the students petted the thestrals before climbing into their respective carriages. Hermione smiled sadly. It was rather disheartening to see such a large group of children touched by death, but at least now the dark days of Voldemort were over. She petted her carriage’s thestral, before clambering through the rickety wooden door. Soon, the carriage drew to a halt, and the couple boarded the Hogwarts Express, settling into a compartment with Ron, Harry and Ginny, who were going to the Burrow.
They filled most of the trip with games of exploding snap and wizard’s chess, until they were almost home.
‘So, Draco, meeting the parents, huh? Nervous?’ Harry grinned wickedly at the already nervous boy.
‘No,’ Draco tried to answer nonchalantly, but his fingers were grasping Hermione’s thigh, ‘Why would I be?’
Harry, Ron and Ginny shared a look which was a bit too evil for Hermione’s liking, especially when Ron met Draco’s eye and began, ‘Because you’re the man who, uh, deflowered their baby girl…’
Hermione stifled a whimper as Draco’s fingers dug deeper into her skin in fear, ‘But they won’t be that mad, will they? I mean, it had to happen sometime…’
Draco gave the raven haired boy a questioning glance, but he was too busy glaring at Ron, ‘Harry?’
‘Don’t ask,’ he groaned in reply, ‘But just think yourself lucky Mione’s an only child, and doesn’t have six older brothers.’
Ron snorted with laughter, pointing at Harry, ‘Oh, the look on your face as you ran across the garden in your boxers! It was priceless!’
Harry’s ears tinged pink, and he slumped down in his seat with an indignant ‘hmph’, staring out of the window and ignoring the two laughing redheads.
Hermione felt Draco’s body stiffen, and she knew he too was thinking about his previous run-ins with the Weasley twins. How would her own father react? Oh well, I guess we’ll find out soon enough…
The train slowed as it pulled into platform nine and three quarters. After saying their goodbyes to the other three, Hermione and Draco passed through the barrier onto platform ten of King’s Cross station. Draco looked around, before nudging Hermione and pointing at a man and woman standing by the ticket machine. ‘Is that your parents?’
Hermione nodded, ‘How did you know?’
Draco laughed, and held up one of Hermione’s almost-curls. ‘I’d recognise that hair anywhere!’
She swatted his arm playfully, and glanced at her parents. Her mother’s hair was almost identical, only a few shades darker, and a lot thinner due to her cancer treatments. ‘Come on, I’ll introduce you.’
Hermione dragged a hesitant Draco toward her parents, as he hauled both trunks. ‘Mum, Dad, thi-‘ She was cut off as her mother darted forward and enveloped her in a suffocating embrace.
‘Oh, Mione, sweetie! I’m so glad you’re okay! I can’t believe you did that! Never scare us like that again!’ she scolded her daughter.
The younger girl managed to pry herself out from the hug, only to have her father do the same thing. After a moment, she squirmed away, ‘I have to breathe, dad!’
He laughed. It’s so nice to see them laughing again…
Hermione turned to see Draco standing awkwardly a few metres away. She strode over and took his hand gently, ‘Come on, they won’t bite…’ I hope… ‘Mum, dad, this is Draco Malfoy, my boyfriend.’
Now, it’s not as though she had expected them to welcome him with open arms and insist that he called them mum and dad, but she certainly hadn’t been anticipating the expressions of utter horror on their faces as they looked at him clearly for the first time.
‘Uh, hi…’ he said nervously.
Mrs Granger grasped her husband’s hand, ‘He looks just like…’
Hermione’s heart sank. How could I not think he’d be a reminder of Lucius? Damn. ‘Mum, dad, I know he looks a lot like the man who kidnapped you… but, well, that’s because…’ Come on, Hermione, just say it, ‘well, that’s because he’s his son.’
‘We knew that already, dear,’ her father spoke up.
‘That big fellow explained it all to me,’ Mr Granger continued, ‘But we just never expected the boy to look so much like his father…’
Of course, Dumbledore sent Hagrid to tell dad what was going on, Hermione thought. ‘Yeah, he does, I guess.’
There was an awkward silence, until Draco spoke for the first time, ‘Mr Granger, Mrs Granger, I know I look like my father, but that does not mean I am like him in any other way; what he did was beyond atrocious, and I am deeply shamed to even share his name. I love your daughter more than life itself, and I would never do anything to hurt her, you have my word.’
Hermione smiled, and leaned into his body, as he wrapped an arm around her shoulder, ‘See? And I love him. He’s a good man, really he is.’
The elder Grangers shared a worried look, before turning back to the two teenagers. Mr Granger stepped forward and grabbed the trunks, ‘I guess we had better get going. The car is this way.’ The other three began to follow him, until he paused and called over his shoulder, ‘But I think the boy and I shall be having a little chat when we get home.’
Draco’s grip on Hermione tightened, and he looked at her, fear evident in his grey eyes. She tried to flash him a reassuring smile, but inside her heart was in her throat. God, please let my dad get along with Draco. Or at least not kill him. I don’t think that’s asking too much…
As the car pulled into the driveway, Hermione let out a huge breath. The hour long journey had been awkward, to say the least. After fifteen minutes of strained conversation, the car had descended into silence, each passenger looking out his or her respective window. And now, here they were, home.
‘Um, here we are, this is the flat. I know it’s a bit small, but hopefully it’ll do.’ Mrs Granger looked at her daughter, obviously sad that they were in the situation they were.
Hermione followed her mother up the stairs and inside. The flat was tiny inside, but warm and welcoming, ‘It’s lovely.’
She turned to see Draco and her father dragging the heavy trunks into the room, and dumping them behind the couch, her new bed. Wait a minute… ‘Uh, where are we going to sleep?’
Her parents exchanged a glance. ‘Well, like we said, you’re going to have to sleep on the couch in here, hun,’ her father began, ‘and, uh, the boy is going to have to sleep here in the living room too, so we were hoping you could just conjure up another bed for him?’
She shook her head, ‘Actually, I’m having some problems with my magic right now, but Draco can do it.’
‘So, you can’t do magic, but Draco can?’ Mrs Granger asked uncertainly. Hermione could tell what was running through her mind; she was going to be out here alone all night, defenceless against a competent male wizard.
‘Yeah,’ she replied, ‘But he’s not going to use it except in emergencies, are you Draco?’
He looked at her as though she was crazy, but knew better than to say anything.
Mr Granger plonked himself down on the couch, ‘Well, now that we’re home, I think it’s time for that little chat with the boy…’
‘Yes, Hermione dear, would you come and help me with something in the kitchen?’ he mother disguised the command in a question.
Draco’s hand grasped Hermione’s but she pulled it away and followed her mother into the kitchen, leaving her boyfriend alone with her father. Apparently he could easily face a psychotic wizard bent on taking over the world, but the prospect of talking to her dad scared him shitless. She saw him sit anxiously on the edge of the couch as the kitchen door swung shut, blocking them from view.
‘Dad’s not going to kill Draco, is he?’
Her mother laughed slightly as she filled the kettle, ‘No, no, dear. Your father just wants to talk to the boy.’
‘Yes, he’s just going to talk to the boy.’ Mrs Granger repeated, looking at her daughter puzzled.
Hermione shook her head, ‘His name is Draco. Not the boy.’
‘Of course.’ Mrs Granger replied, dismissively.
‘No,’ Hermione stated resolutely, ‘I mean it, mum. He means a lot to me, and I won’t have you treat him like that. What his father did was not his fault.’
Her mother put down the kettle and moved to sit at the table with her daughter. Hermione noted that she was much healthier looking than she had been before she left; the American treatment must have worked. Guess we have Draco to thank for that.
‘Honey, I’m just worried about you, that’s all.’
‘Why? I’m fine. I’m happy.’
Mrs Granger sighed, ‘But I’m worried you rushed into things with the b- Draco. I mean, you hardly know him, and you took a pretty big step with him.’
‘No, mum, I didn’t rush into anything. I do know him. That’s why I love him. And he really does love me too, I know he does. He’ll take care of me.’ Hermione smiled as she thought of her boyfriend.
‘God knows someone has to…’ the older woman muttered, ‘But are you sure, Mione? I mean, his father-‘
‘Is nothing to do with him!’ the young witch finished, ‘How many times do I have to tell you? Look, mum, I trust him completely. Do you trust me?’
Mrs Granger nodded, ‘I guess you have to grow up sometime…’
An hour later, and Mr Granger finally emerged from his ‘little chat’ with Draco, striding into the kitchen to where the two women still sat at the table.
‘Uh, you guys finished?’ Hermione asked.
‘Okay…’ she rose slowly from her chair, ‘But is my boyfriend still in one piece?’
Her father rolled his eyes and laughed, ‘Yes, Mione, he’s fine. In fact,’ he leaned closer, so only she could hear, ‘I think we’re going to get along just fine.’
What the heck did Draco say to him? She wandered back into the living room to find the blonde boy making up a single bed he had obviously conjured into the room, as it was by now late evening.
‘Hey you! You survived!’ She wrapped her arms around his waist and leant her head on his chest.
‘Yup. Your dad’s not so scary. Well, he was at first…’
He leant his chin on top of her head, ‘Yeah. Gave me the “you hurt my daughter and I’ll castrate you slowly with a pair of rusty tweezers” speech, proceeded to show me the tweezers in question, then reminded me that after that, he’d give what was left of me to the Weasley boys, Potter, and Ginny to have some fun with. I think it was the Ginny bit that scared me most.’
She snickered into his chest, before lifting her head to look up at him. Honestly, dad…
‘You think that’s funny?’ he feigned hurt.
She stood up on her tiptoes and gently kissed his lips, although he still had to bend down for her to reach. ‘So then what happened?’
‘Well…’ he dragged it out slowly, just to torment her, ‘then he asked me what my intentions with you were.’
This should be good! ‘Uh huh… and?’
‘I was perfectly honest.’ He remarked with a straight face, ‘I told him that I planned to spend each and every night screwing you until you screamed my name in a sweaty passion over and over again.’
She swatted his arm playfully, ‘You did not!’
‘Okay, so maybe I didn’t, he was still holding the tweezers at the time’ he shuddered, ‘but I did answer his question.’
Hermione wrapped her arms around his neck, ‘So what did you tell him?’
‘Let’s just say, he saw fit not to kill me for it.’
‘But what did you say?’ By now, Hermione was desperate to know just what he had said that could turn her father around so swiftly.
Draco grinned, his grey eyes sparkling mischievously, and kissed her forehead lightly, ‘You’ll find out soon enough.’
She pouted, and reached up to pull his head down toward hers, ‘I’m sure I could force it out of you.’
He shook his head, ‘Nope. Never going to happen. Not yet, anyway.’
She trailed kisses around his lips, ‘You sure about that?’
‘Mione, after everything we’ve survived, I think I can handle this. I mean, there’s been your friends-‘
‘Your father-‘ she added.
She laughed and leant her head against his chest again, ‘I guess there’s really nothing we can’t handle now.’
He lowered his chin once more to rest on top of her head, taking in the vanilla scent of her blonde waves, ‘Nope, nothing.’
(A/N - well, that's it, people, my first ever fic - completed! *dodges rotten fruit* It had to end sometime, and I'd rather go out on a high than end up flogging a dead horse [I have totally overused that analogy lately...], but fear not, you will be hearing more from me soon; I'm not that easy to get rid of! I'd like to take this time to thank all of my reviewers, you were so loyal and sweet to me! You are what kept me writing! I was going to thank you all individually, but we'd be here for weeks, so you know who you are, and they were all appreciated! Also, thanks to Jen, my faithful bestest and unofficial beta [and the inspiration behind the boy - it's what she calls her little brother]. Moving away from this Oscar acceptance speech, I'm thinking of doing my next full length fic as either Dramione, Fredmione, or Romione. Any suggestions, peeps?
Once again, thank you for reading, you've been great, and adieu! *bows, then exits*)