a/n: I want to thank Anne, Jackie and all the girls at Snapely Things for helping me through this project. Hopefully I have gotten it right the first time. Chapter graphic by Elissandranne. Banner by Jackie.
Three young witches stood together in a small apartment, strewn across the bed were many dresses. The brunette one had picked them up one by one to hold before in front of a long mirror before discarding each one. The late afternoon sun peeked through the half opened curtains and cast a bright warmth into the room.
“This is hopeless Ginny! I have nothing
to wear! I don't even want to go out tonight. You know how I hate Valentine's Day.” Hermione Granger said to her red headed best mate from Hogwarts' days. Their blonde haired friend Luna again went to the closet and pulled out a blue cocktail dress and handed it to Hermione.
“Hermione just this one last time,” Ginny pleaded with her. Hermione groaned with resignation before standing in front of her reflection, the pale blue at least highlighting her skin. Guess this one will do,
she thought and slid the dress over her head.
“The last five guys you tried to fix me up with didn't work Ginny, why is this one so different?” Hermione asked Ginevra Weasley-Potter. “Both you and Luna may have chosen your blokes with care, but for me they have all been so wrong!”
“This one I feel is perfect for you,” Luna said with a smile and all three girls stood before the mirror, “I think the tanabo will approve of this one.”
“Tanabo?” Both Ginny and Hermione looked at the dreamy Ravenclaw in puzzlement. Having known her for over twelve years they thought they had heard all the weirdness she could dream up, obviously they were wrong.
“Yes the tanabo, you know them. They are Cupid's helpers, they pick out your perfect mate. This one has been marked by them just for you.” Luna looked them like they should have known that. She could see them surrounding Hermione right at that moment, and wondered why the other girls couldn't.
“Uh sure Luna, will he have an arrow in his right or left butt cheek?” Hermione asked her and Ginny hid her giggles behind her hand. They loved Luna to pieces, but sometimes they just couldn't figure her out.
“No Hermione- you'll know when you see him,” Luna turned to gaze out the window and her hands rubbed the small bulge of her stomach. They could hear her voice melodically mumble to her unborn, and Hermione often wondered who the child would take after. She hoped disparately the father.
“Against my better judgement- I'll do this one last time. I just wish you both understood I'm as happy as you both are, even though I am alone. Not everyone was made for marriage.” Hermione threw up her hands in defeat. She knew she hadn't truly been honest with them, and watching Luna talk to the baby in her stomach brought a longing she had thought she had tucked away.
So now here she was in the Three Broomsticks awaiting the blind date Ginny and Luna had come up with for her. They had both been happily married since the end of the War, Ginny to Harry and Luna to Ron. She had been the one to break it off with Ron, but she still had felt hurt he had moved on so quickly. But it had taken her very little time to figure out that it had been the right decision, for the love shown in their eyes was true. Plus Luna had dealt better with all the Quidditch talk. Quidditch
Hermione had spent the last five years since Voldemort and his minions had been routed working on her Potions mastery and just enjoying life. She did accept the occasion date but had never found the one that made her heart sing. Sure she had loved Ron, but like with Harry she had realized it was more of a brother-sister type.
But now they all had decided that she had been alone too long and wanted her to be as happy as them. Couldn't they understand that her studies made her happy? She had done her internship under the expert tutelage of Severus Snape, who was still as snarky and nasty as he had ever been. She now worked at Hogwarts as the new Potions professor. Minerva had tried for years to get Snape to return after his pardon, but he had refused. Instead he had offered Hermione up as the perfect replacement for him once he had signed off her papers making her one of the few Muggleborn certified Potions mistresses.
Hermione's fingers nervously rubbed against the silk of her pale blue dress and wondered just who the heck the Weasley wives had picked out for her. She flicked her wrist to look at the watch on it and saw it was ten minutes till her 'date' arrived. She'd give it maybe an hour, get through at least dinner before gracefully giving her regrets and leaving. She pulled the pin out of her pocket book and fastened it to the front of her dress, her 'contact' item Ginny had pressed on her for this night. It was small silver ferret, and it reminded her too much of the past. Wonder if Ginny knew that?
Hermione thought with a shake of her head.
It was Valentine's Day, and five years ago she had given her heart away. Tomorrow would be the anniversary to the end of what had been the bloodiest battle in the wizarding history, The Final Battle.
The couples that been together that night had all drifted off to find comfort and she had been left alone to her books. Hermione had known what they all had been doing, and she had to swallow the twinge of jealousy back before burying her nose in her book. She had been just as afraid as the others, just as worried but had no one to take away that fear. And for once, Hermione found reading a cold substitute for life.
Then he had come into room, looking just as lonely and as lost as she had felt. He had changed from prat he had been in school, and they had made an uneasy friendship after she and Ron had parted. He had filled up a hole in her heart, but she had been afraid to push beyond the friends barrier they had forged until that night. He had sat down next to her, and they had begun to talk. His arms had wrapped around her when her thoughts had made her cry. Then he had kissed her. She still blushed when she remembered her husky sounding 'Don't stop,' when he had hesitated on the buttons of her blouse. Both of them had craved a closeness, and the fear of what was to come had finally broke through the barrier into a passioned filled night. They both had made promises, but the cold light of day had not seen them fulfilled.
“Granger?” A familiar voice broke into her thoughts, and she winced. How humiliating! Could tonight get any worse?!
She thought with a small audible groan.
“Malfoy? Hello, I'm just waiting on a friend,” Hermione said, hoping he'd leave before whoever
showed up. Malfoy snickered softly and pulled a small pin from his pocket, an exact match for hers.
“Oh Merlin!” Hermione's laughter sounded through the room. She wanted to kick herself, for a month ago she had told Ginny finally what had happened that night. Cupid's little helpers my eye!
“Well fancy dinner anyhow?” Draco asked and pondered what Ginny had been thinking. She worked at Malfoy Industries as his secretary and had asked him to do this, for she had an old friend who was dateless on Valentine's Day. He hadn't wanted to, but Severus had been there and for what ever reason came into his former professor's head, he had actually encouraged him to play along. So now here he was in a dinner bar with the witch that had broken his heart five years ago to the night. He definitely smelled a set up.
“What can it hurt?” Hermione answered and he sat in the booth beside her. She felt his knee brush against hers when he scooted closer beside her in the round seat. It took every nerve in her body not to move it, betraying she noticed it. Ginny you are in a world of pain when I get home!
“Severus informs me you are now the Potions professor at Hogwarts. My congratulations on that feat.” Draco commented and felt the smallness of her knee pressed against his. He smiled inwardly and moved even closer.
“I never thought he'd recommend me for the post and I still expect him to walk to the desk during my First years' first lesson to give his small speech.” Hermione wanted to lean into him, the years apart had not weakened her desire for him. They had seen each other at small Post-War gatherings, but they had been too good at the dance of avoidance it seemed. Now being close to him once again made her body scream for more.
“Severus was a thorough teacher, what you took as unfairness-”
“Was his way of preparing us. I know that now, even Neville forgives him.” Hermione finished for him and they laughed.
“The years have treated you well Granger.” Draco said and accidentally placed his hand on hers while reaching for a menu. Hermione felt a small shock of remembrance and quickly drew her hand back. The vision of them entwined in an impassioned embrace ran through her head, and she wanted to jump up and run. She had fought that memory and it's regrets for five years now.
“I could say the same for you,” Hermione replied and let her eyes travel over him before pointing out to him what she wanted from the menu. His blond hair was shorter then it had been when they were younger, and he had filled out nicely; no longer the scrawny looking teenager he had been in their youth.
“I've grown soft sitting behind a desk, so much to fix up after the War, it hasn't given me time to even play a bit of Quidditch,” Draco said and placed their orders to the waiter standing next to them. They sat silent for a few minutes, only the sounds of the dance music filled the air around them.
“Care to dance while we wait?” Draco asked and stood up, holding his hand out to her. He noticed how her once long curly hair now framed her face and neck in an enchanting way, and he longed to run his fingers through it.
“Sure,” Hermione answered and realized how much she wanted to be in his arms again, even if it was a brief impersonal dance.
They stood up and Draco took her by the arm and led her to the dance foor, and the music changed from the upbeat song to a slow dance tune. He turned her into his arms and smiled down at her.
“Lead on,” Hermione looked up into his pale grey eyes and remembered the last time she had been his arms, five years ago tonight. She wondered if he remembered what today was.
Draco pulled her close, and she felt the hardness of his body, and it belied his statement of having grown soft. She could smell the musky scent of his cologne and laid her head on his black clad shoulder, and drifted into her memories.
“I remember,” Draco whispered in her ear and his breath tickled her lobe.
“What?” Hermione lifted her head to look up at him again and got lost in the fathomless eyes gazing down at her. She was shocked by the look of desire that filled them.
“What this night is.” Draco answered her.
“Oh,” Hermione started to pull away from his arms.
“I'm not letting you walk away this time,” Draco said holding her fast.
“I didn't walk away!” Hermione exclaimed.
“You acted as if that night had no meaning once the battle was over. You left my side for Potter and never looked back. Not one look...” Draco responded.
“Draco, you never came to me after taking Severus to St Mungo's for treatment,” Hermione looked up at him as they slowly danced, their bodies barely moving to the music.
“I couldn't just leave him! He was unconscious for three days, and the healers wouldn't even say he was going to live for two more weeks. By then the Order had you running all over Britain on scouting missions with Potter and Weasley and Lupin couldn't even find you to give you a message.” Draco touched his forehead to hers.
“I never knew you tried to contact me, and Hedwig returned with my note to you unopened. I remember burning it cause I was so upset.”
“I remember your gasps of my name, your nails down my back,” Draco said low so only she could hear, and enjoyed the look of desire that filled her eyes.
“You were gone when I woke up! I thought you regretted it; regretted us
“The only thing I regretted of that night was my lack of gentleness, you never told me I was your first,” Draco said and he remembered how he had gently kissed the tear that rolled from her eye that had come in their haste.
“Then why did you leave me to wake up alone?”
“I was summoned- you know that! I told Potter to tell you.” Draco said.
“No no... he didn't... Wait! He did say it generally to us all.” Hermione murmured in confusion. The moments just before the Battle had been chaotic, and he and Severus had been with the Death Eaters when they arrived as planned. Voldemort had turned his full ire upon the former professor at their betrayal.
“I remember your legs wrapped around me..” Draco whispered naughtily in her ear, continuing the seduction.
“I was a fool...” Hermione buried her face into his chest, the button on his shirt digging into her cheek.
“Never unless you call me one also, I should have went to you.” Draco took her chin in his hand and turned her face back up to his.
“Why didn't you?”
“The damned Malfoy pride. One night doesn't make a relationship out of a shaky friendship, and I thought...”
“I think we thought too much,” Hermione said and drew his lips to hers, and gave into five years of longing and groaned when he returned it. They stopped dancing and let their tongues dueled, not noticing the music had stopped and not noticing the crowd around them, both lost in a simple kiss.
Finally a small cough broke them apart, and they turned unfocused eyes to those around them. Hermione blushed to see most of the Weasley-Potter clan surrounding them, a wheelchair bound Severus Snape in front of them.
“It's about time my two favorite dunderheads woke up,” Snape smirked and Ginny and Luna stood next to him and smiled.
Thanks for reading, and if you have the time, please review. I love them. ~~juls