"I love you, I have loved you all along, and I forgive you, for being away for far too long..." -Nickelback "Far Away"
“Are you sure?” Hermione asked Ginny as they sat through the train ride the next day.
“Yeah,” Ginny nodded. “We’ve never had a Gryffindor New Year’s Party before because we always got back from break later. But this year, for some reason, we’re back for New Years.”
“So you’re saying you want me to come to the Gryffindor common room for the party tomorrow night?” Hermione asked. Sure, she wanted to go, but her excitement over the whole event was dulled by trying to figure out what to do about Draco Malfoy.
“Yes,” Ginny leaned over and shook Hermione so hard that she felt her teeth click. “Come on.”
“Okay, okay,” Hermione had to smile at her friend’s insistence. “But stop shaking me.”
Ginny sat back and blushed, going as red as her hair. “Sorry. I just got kind of excited.”
At that moment, Harry and Ron walked into the compartment. They were carrying armfuls of candy from the trolley. “Hey, Girls,” Harry grinned boyishly and set his candy down next to him and then sat down next to Ginny, gathering her into his arms. “Want some?”
Ginny looked doubtfully at the candy. “Harry, you’re ridiculous.”
He just smirked and leaned over and began snogging her. Hermione looked at Ron who turned away, disgusted. Hermione simply was jealous. She wasn’t about to start making out with Ron because that would just be weird. No. The truth of the matter was that she really missed Draco. She never thought it would’ve been possible, but it was true.
“Um, Hello....” Ron said, finally fed up. “I don’t really want to see you snogging my sister, Harry.”
They pulled apart, smiled at each other and then both blushed as they turned back to their friends.
“Sorry,” they mumbled at the same time.
Hermione had to admit that it was nice to be back at Hogwarts. While she had been gone, she had missed the smells of the musty old hallways and the sounds of pictures talking to each other. Surprisingly, she hadn’t gotten any homework over the break, and she missed being busy, especially because it took her mind off of Draco.
That day, they didn’t have any class because they didn’t get back to school until nearly supper time. They would start class on the next day, December thirty first, which luckily turned out to be a Friday.
Dinner was amazing as usual. There were about six different kinds of meat, different things to drink and a huge variety of dessert. By the time Hermione was finished eating and the Great Hall was clearing so people could go to bed, Hermione was stuffed. She was actually feeling pretty well, despite the fact that she wasn’t looking forward to the fact that she had to go back up to her dormitory with Draco.
“Just hurry up there and lock yourself in your room before Malfoy shows up,” Ginny said wisely.
“It’s Draco,” Hermione said, slightly annoyed.
“Draco,” Ginny grinned and rolled her eyes fondly. “Whatever. Same difference.”
Hermione gave her a quizzical look.
“You really do love him, don’t you?” Ginny asked softly.
“I do,” Hermione nodded and then turned right where Ginny, Harry, and Ron had to turn left. As she left them, she didn’t catch Harry’s knowing look.
Fortunately, Draco wasn’t inside the dorm when she walked in. She cautiously went to take a bath with lavender scent and bubbles. It was really nice and warmed the chill she had gotten from walking outside in the cold, late December air. Once she was done, she brushed her teeth, slipped on her fleece pajamas and then walked across the common room to her room, locked the door, and fell asleep as her head hit the pillow.
Draco did not return to the common room for a long time after dinner that first night back at Hogwarts. During the train ride, he had ridden by himself in the Head compartment, since Hermione was nowhere to be found the entire time. Once he had gotten to the school, he had been accosted by his friends and Pansy, asking about his vacation.
After dinner, he had been invited to a pre-New Years’ party in the Slytherin common room. There had been loads of alcohol and butterbeer available. He didn’t let himself drink too much, but just enough to take the edge off of his anxiety and pain. His anxiety about Hermione was dulled and heightened by the process of thinking and planning what he was going to do to get her back.
By the time he stumbled drunkenly into his dorm’s common room, he didn’t make it any farther than the couch before he fell asleep.
The next morning, Hermione dressed and slipped out the door to breakfast before Draco awoke. She didn’t know why she was avoiding him, she wasn’t quite sure what she was scared about, but she did know that she wasn’t ready to face him yet. She knew it would happen eventually, but as for now, she could mull over it.
She had giggled slightly when she saw that Draco was asleep on the couch, lying spread eagle with his blond hair falling in his eyes and his mouth hanging open. She wondered what he had done the night before to make it so he couldn’t even reach his bed. She shook her head and left the room, loping down to breakfast.
The entire day, the kids barely made it through. Everyone was anxiously talking about their House’s New Year’s party. The teachers even seemed pre-occupied and Hermione wondered if perhaps they were planning something as well. Finally, before the last period of the day, Dumbledore cancelled the last class because no one was focusing. Even the Slytherins wanted to kiss him for that.
That night, Hermione got herself a little dressed up. For the party, she was wearing a pair of new jeans and a black off-the-shoulder sweater shirt. Her honey brown hair was curled and flowing down her shoulders and once again, she had perfected her make up. She looked beautiful and she felt poised and prepared for anything.
The party was fun and Hermione even felt herself relax. No one was entirely so because they were all anxiously counting down the hours til midnight.
Hermione drank a few butterbeers to calm herself down and then finally, someone said that it was five minutes to midnight. Everyone began to talk excitedly and Hermione even felt herself opening up a little bit to the laughter and fun that was going on around her.
In one corner, there was a game of wizarding chess, in another, a game of Exploding Snap. Most people were just mingling in little groups, drinking, flirting, laughing. Everyone was at least a little bit tipsy.
Two minutes went by and then one more. All of a sudden, everyone heard the portrait hole open up, and who should’ve appeared but Draco Malfoy. His blond hair was falling in his face like it had been that morning, but he was instead looking pretty casual in a pair of jeans and a white tee shirt. He walked into the room confidently, but his eyes belied the arrogance that his body showed. He looked nervous, as if he was in enemy territory.
He was in enemy territory.
The room went silent and they all stared at him. Pretty soon, there were some people that began to whisper back and forth to each other. Hermione knew they were all wondering why he was here, in Gryffindor territory. Even she was wondering why he was there.
And then the countdown began. Draco’s eyes found hers and he walked purposefully over to her, ignoring everyone staring at him. “What are you doing here?” Hermione asked nervously, as everyone around her was saying “one”.
And then, admist magical fireworks, and screams and shouts, bringing in the New Year, Draco pulled her close and kissed her. Everyone was shocked when this happened, but Hermione didn’t care. She had missed him so much and it felt good to kiss him again. She let herself get caught up in the moment and wrapped her arms around his neck. He squeezed her more tightly and kissed her passionately.
When they pulled apart, he said. “I’m sorry.”
Hermione began to cry. “I forgive you.”
And then, she felt someone grab Draco from her and she saw a fist fly across his face. She looked up to see who his assailant was and found that it was Ron. “What the bloody hell are you doing in here, Malfoy?”
Draco just glared at him, as his nose bled freely.
“This is Gryffindor territory,” Dean Thomas said coldly. “Get out.”
“I’m apologizing to my girlfriend,” Draco hoisted himself up off the ground. “Do you mind?”
Everyone looked at Hermione, shocked. “You’re dating HIM?!”
Hermione looked up at Draco and smiled. “Yes, I am.”
“But, Hermione,” Seamus Finnigan gasped. “He’s the enemy.”
“How’d you get in here?” Ron asked, grabbing Draco’s shirt.
Draco brought his hand around and punched Ron in the head. “Get off me, you blood traitor. Harry let me in.”
Harry, who was holding Ginny, and simply watching the goings on, smiled. “It’s true.”
“But, Harry!” Ron said. “He’s the enemy.”
“No, he’s not,” Harry shook his head and walked over to Draco, whose nose was still bleeding freely. “He might not be my friend... Yet.... but he’s a good man.”
“He’s brainwashed him, too!” Ron pointed a finger at his best friend.
Draco raised an amused eyebrow. “I might be powerful, Weasley- I mean, Ron, but I can’t brainwash anybody.”
“But you’re a Death Eater,” Ron said accusingly.
“I’m actually not,” Draco said. “I might be one from a line of Death Eaters, but I myself, am not, and do not intend to be a Death Eater.”
Half of the Gryffindor House was gaping at him. A Malfoy who didn’t go bad? What ploy was this?
“Prove it,” Neville Longbottom spoke up bravely. “Prove that you’re not going to go bad.”
Draco looked down at his watch and sighed regretfully. “Unfortunately, Longbottom, it’s getting rather late. Hermione here is getting ever more tired and I have to escort her back to the dormitory.
“But don’t worry, Longbottom,” Draco winked at him and gave him a lazy smile. “You’ll see. You’ll all see.”
As Draco escorted Hermione from the Gryffindor common room, he turned to Harry and said. “Thanks, Pot- I mean, Harry,” he grinned apologetically. “That’ll take some getting used to.
“But you’re not so bad. I think there’s hope for you yet.”
Ginny and Harry smiled at them. “You’re not so bad yourself, Mal- I mean, Draco. Take good care of her.”
“I will,” he kissed the top of Hermione’s head. “I will.”
Hermione and Draco returned to their dormitory only to find candles lit all over, and a beautiful scent filling the room. There were roses in vases on almost every surface. Hermione let go of Draco’s hand and walked on into the kitchen where there was a fancy table set for two, with champagne and some roast turkey.
Hermione smiled. “You planned this.”
“Oh, I hoped for it,” Draco grinned. “There’s something else that I’ve been meaning to give you for a long time but never got the chance. I’ll be right back.”
Draco returned a few moments later with a thin black, velvet box. “Merry Christmas.”
“Wait,” Hermione held up her hand. “I have something for you too.”
Hermione returned with a small black leather box. “Merry Christmas to you too.”
“I want to give you mine first,” Draco grinned and then opened the box. Inside was the most beautiful necklace she had ever seen. It was a mid-sized sapphire, surrounded by diamonds, hanging on an intricate gold chain. Hermione smiled.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispered. He moved her hair to the side so he could slip it on her. The necklace complimented her outfit and the blue complimented her light brown hair. “It must’ve cost a fortune.”
“It was money well spent,” Draco kissed her on the forehead. “You deserve it.”
Hermione slowly brought her gift up in front of him. “I’m afraid I didn’t have quite as much money to spend on you. You probably have about a dozen more that are nicer, but I just thought...”
Draco opened the box to find a beautiful alligator-skin banded watch with diamonds in the face. “I love it. It’s the nicest of the watches I have. I’m not a connisseur of fine watches, so this is special.”
“Do you really like it?” Hermione asked hopefully.
“You know I’ve been known to lie in the past,” Draco started, pulling her into his arms. “But I wouldn’t lie to you about this.
“Although, I want to tell you something before another word is spoken,” he said, bringing her over to the couch. “I want to tell you about what happened to me that night. You deserve an explanation.”
Hermione looked at him curiously. “I already told you I forgive you.”
“Please, Hermione,” Draco pleaded. “Hear me out.”
“I was scared,” Draco began shakily. “It was easy for me to be with you alone because I wasn’t around my friends or my family. And you were right, I am a coward... At the first test of trust, I ran away. I should’ve told Blaise and them right there that I loved you, but I was scared.
“Plus, I was worried about what my father would say,” Draco avoided her eyes. “I didn’t feel ready to tell my father that I didn’t want to follow in his footsteps and I still don’t. I don’t know when I will, but I want you there with me.
“I should’ve apologized to you right after it happened, but I was too scared of rejection by you,” he got quiet. “It took me forever to realize how stupid I was being. I told my grandmother about you and she affirmed to me that I had to lead my own life... I couldn’t let other people get in the way.
“I want you in my life, Hermione,” Draco said urgently. “If you need me to do anything else, I’ll do it. But I love you.”
“I love you too,” Hermione hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.
“It’s not going to be easy, you and I,” Draco smiled. “But I think we can do it.”
“I think we can too,” Hermione agreed. “But you have to start being nicer to my friends. It would be easier for the Gryffindors to be nice to you if you were nice to them.”
Draco sighed. “I guess you’re right.”
“At least to Ron, Harry, and Ginny,” Hermione crawled in his lap. “But we can talk about that later.”
“Okay,” Draco looked at his new watch that had set automatically. “It’s getting kind of late. Are you tired?”
"Yes," she said. "Should we go to bed?"
"Let's go," he smiled at her and then took her hand as he pulled her off the couch and lead her toward the bedroom.
They lay down together and their lips found each other's easily in the dark. Hermione lay down on top of him and brought her hands up his chest, resting them on either side of his head on the pillow. Suddenly, she yawned in the middle of the kiss and Draco laughed, softly kissing her forehead. "You must be really tired."
She yawned again. "I guess so. Good night, Draco."
"Bon nuit, ma chere," he said in French.
He was about to fall asleep, happier than he'd been in months, when all of a sudden he heard her voice right at his ear, for her head was resting on his bare chest. "Draco?"
"Yes, my love?" He asked.
"Will you stay with me tonight?" She asked. "I mean, you weren't really planning on going back to your room, were you?"
Draco smiled and wrapped his arms even more tightly around her, kissing her softly on the cheek, and then his lips found her ear and he leaned down to whisper. "Yes, Hermione. I will stay with you. I will stay with you tonight and always because I love you. Because that's what you do when you love someone. You stay even when it's hard.
"So sleep well, my dear," he said, feeling his eyes close. And then just before he drifted off to sleep, he managed. "For I will stay with you."
"I'll stay with you,
the walls will fall before we do
So take my hand now
we'll run forever
I'll stay with you...
A/N: Hey everyone- thanks for reading. That is officially the new ending because the other one ended on a cliffhanger and I want to open myself to writing a completely new story instead of having to do a sequel. I hope you enjoyed it and will follow me through other work, even if it's not Draco/Hermione. Thank you all,
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