Chapter 27 : Chapter 27
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The cold wind blowing in Hogsmeade made Hermione’s cheeks rosy and coloured Draco’s nose red as the couple walked down the street hand in hand. Hermione wore a beautiful woolen winter coat that was bottle-green, tailor-made and had once belonged to Narcissa. Draco had found it for her when they talked about the winter coming and her needing a coat where her belly would fit in, it had been stored away in his mothers old closet for years but after a dusting and a cleaning it was as good as new, and because it was made so it was only tight around her chest there would be plenty of room for the baby as her stomach grew.
With a good scarf and a pair of mittens the couple had decided to take a trip to Hogsmeade to do some of their Christmas shopping and relive all the memories from their schooldays in the city.
Even though it was just four in the afternoon it was already starting to darken around them and the Christmas lights illuminated the tiny street in a cosy way and created a light atmosphere. In every window Christmas decorations dominated the display with angels and fake snow that had been enchanted to fall down in large snowflakes.
Above their heads spruse ropes with large glowing red hearts hung across the street, and at the square a group of elf carol-singers did theirs to add to the Christmas spirit.
“I think it’s Hogsmeade weekend this weekend,” Hermione said with a smile and gestured towards a groups of students in the Hogwarts uniform who stood in line to buy hot chocolate at a little stall where a cranky witch served a cup of chocolate and a gingerbread heart for a silver sickle.
Draco nodded and examined the group closer. They were wearing the Hogwarts uniforms and yellow scarves indicating that they were Hufflepuffs.
“Ten years ago that was us,” Draco said in a distant voice and looked at the blond boy who handed a girl with pigtails and a large knitted cap a gingerbread heart while he was blushing like mad.
“Yes. And now we’re here again…” her voice trailed of and in fragments she remembered walking down the street in Hogsmeade with Ron and Harry on each side letting herself drag towards the traditional visit at Zonko’s, even though she’d rather spend her Hogsmeade weekend in the snug bookstore.
“It feels like long ago,” Draco said and looked into her eyes.
“It is long ago.”
They walked into the bookstore she had just been thinking about, as the door opened a bell chimed and the shop owner appeared behind the curtain to the back to greet them.
“Sometimes I miss it, you know being young and everything. Most of the time I’m satisfied with what I have now though,” Hermione said and traced her finger along the titles of several books in the bookcase before picking one out and lifting it off the shelf.
“It’s a long time ago,” Draco only said and came over to take a look at the book she was holding. When he had read the text on the back he nodded approvingly.
She looked at him with a silent plea for him to say more about it.
“I just like the prospect of my future better than I like the thought of my past.”
Somehow she found that easy to understand, his childhood and Hogwarts days had too many bitter notes for him to long to relive them. Hers on the other hand had been filled with more than just the fight against Voldemort, it has also had many good hours with her friends and an ocean of knowledge to learn for those who had the will to do so.
“How about this one?” Draco asked and changed the subject by holding up a book for her to look at, “Anne of Green Gables?”
“Oh, that’s a great book!” she exclaimed and remembered the time she learned to read and her grandfather helping her through the books about Anne.
“I was thinking maybe…” Draco’s voice trailed off with a goofy smile, but Hermione knew what he meant.
Later the two of them decided to have dinner at The Three Broomsticks and they left the bookstore with two large bags hovering after them at the tip of Draco’s wand.
“I have no idea where we can put all these books?” Hermione complained, but with a huge smile. They had found quite a bargain today, and it made her almost high.
“I think you’re forgetting just where you actually live,” Draco added in a dry voice, and Hermione suddenly realised that their magical house of course would adjust itself so there was room for the new books in it.
“I still can’t believe you talked me into buying the entire series of ‘Magical Magic’!”
She had only just finished the sentence as she heard a voice say her name behind her and they both turned to see who it was.
“Hermione Granger…” said the slim witch with the dark Hogwarts robes and her hair pulled tightly into a bun and looked at her curiously.
“McGonagall!” Hermione exclaimed with a smile as she greeted her old transfiguration teacher.
“How are you? It has been a long time since I’ve seen you,” the teacher asked, and if she was in any way surprised by seeing Draco standing with her she didn’t let it show at all.
Hermione happily told McGonagall that it was going very well for them, even though she didn’t have a job at the moment. She’d stopped searching for one when she became pregnant.
“You’re pregnant? Who’s the father then?” McGonagall asked with a hint of curiosity in her voice.
Hermione laughed heartily and pointed towards Draco, who first by then stepped up to her and took her hand. He had been standing in the background while the two women were talking because he didn’t really know what to say to the other woman, Hermione guessed.
Now the surprise was obvious in her old teachers eyes.
“You’re pregnant with Draco Malfoy’s baby?” it came out very un-McGonagall-ish.
“I am. We’re married,” Hermione said and for a second she almost thought her old head of house would have a heart attack right there in the middle of Hogsmeade.
“I’m sorry I’m reacting like this, I just never imagined the two of you would be able to fall in love.”
Draco made a strange ‘huff’ noise, but didn’t say anything. She didn’t want to start explaining Draco and hers long and complicated history, and she really had no idea what to say to that.
“Love,“ Draco started and made a pause before continuing, “…comes surprisingly easy sometimes.”
“I see,” McGonagall said with a funny smile and left the couple with a wave of a hand.
“Well, she was surprised to see us together,” Draco said as they both were seated at a small table in a corner at the Three Broomsticks. They both felt comfortable being there because it was a place connected with many happy memories about their Hogwarts time, even Draco seemed to enjoy being there.
“Who hasn’t been?” Hermione asked and opened her menu. She skimmed down the different possibilities and was surprised to see that there wasn’t many different things to choose between. And it suddenly struck her that she had never eaten there in the years she had been at Hogwarts, and afterwards she was never in the neighbourhood long enough to want something to eat there.
“Everyone who ever heard about it,” there was a pause, then he continued, “I can’t really understand that though. We do actually have a lot in common and we’ve turned out to have a good relationship. Why is that so hard to imagine?”
She took his hand and squeezed it lightly.
“I think… it’s just because you’re Draco Malfoy and I’m Hermione Granger. We’ve always been sworn enemies and belonged to rivalling houses, I guess people just jumped to conclusions knowing that.”
“I know that, but why can’t we just love whoever we want to?” he asked with a strange emotion in his voice that Hermione couldn’t place.
“Well, we didn’t love each other when we married,” Hermione teased almost flirtatiously and winked at him. The strange look in his eyes disappeared and he answered her in a dry voice, “I’m not sure that would have changed anything anyway.”
She looked thoughtfully at him. She hadn’t thought about that.
“Even though we were in love, in everybody else’s eyes you’d still be Hermione Granger the smartest witch of our year and I’d still be Draco Malfoy bad boy extraordinaire,” he smirked as he said the last part of that, but otherwise he was serious.
She folded up her menu card and put it next to her plate, she had already decided what she wanted to eat. Draco noticed that and found his wand in his pocket. It rang softly to call the waiter as he cast the silent spell.
A young nervous looking witch with a white apron approached them to take their orders.
“I’d like the Weiner schnitzel and my wife would like the salmon, thank you,” he said and the waiter wrote it down in a hurry and asked them what they’d like to drink.
Draco’s natural authority seemed to frighten the young girl a bit, but she seemed to understand perfectly what he wanted.
She seemed a bit puzzled by the fact that Hermione didn’t talk for herself, but Hermione knew that Draco was perhaps a bit old fashioned when it came to those matters and he liked to play the old gentleman role. Besides that he already knew what she wanted to eat without her having to tell him.
“Interesting thought,” Hermione mumbled to herself and leaned back in her chair with her hands folded across the small bump on her stomach.
“What?…Oh, about us being in love would make a difference to people?” he then asked.
She nodded deep in thoughts.
“It would have made it easier for us to explain to people why we were marrying,” he said casually.
“Yes, but would it have made it easier for us to be together?”
“Do you need it to be any easier?”
A silence followed his last question for which she didn’t know the answer. She hadn’t thought much about it, but now he brought it up it seemed to her that it hadn’t been particularly difficult to marry him. It had been strange at first and she needed some adjustment to her new way of life and to what people thought of her, and other than the doubts and concerns of her friends there had been nothing.
And now. Now she was just a bit confused.
She looked at her wedding ring, again she mused about how it seemed to be different every time she looked at it. It wasn’t huge changes, but sometimes it seemed to shine brighter or the emeralds seemed clearer than other days.
“What is it with this ring?” she asked and watched the funny expression on her husbands face.
“It’s an ancient wedding ring,” he said as if it was obvious, which it also was.
She sent him a death glare.
“It’s story is written in one of the books in the Malfoy library.”
“Well, we’re not in the Malfoy library right now, so please just tell me what you know!” she sneered annoyed.
“I was just teasing you,” he said, but she didn’t find it funny.
“Okay, the story goes like this,” he started and told her that the ring had been made by a powerful and controlling young Malfoy wizard some time in the sixteenth century. He was the kind of person who needed to know everything about his wife. He had had a jealous nature and never treated his poor wife well because he was always suspicious that she was seeing someone else.
So he made the ring that would show him his wife’s mood. It would be a quite boring and sparkleless ring when she wasn’t happy, but it would look a lot brighter if she were happy. And since he never treated her well the ring was always a little bland.
Then if it suddenly turned bright the Malfoy wizard would know that his wife had found someone else. With that Draco ended the story.
Hermione shook her head. It suddenly made sense why she had thought it changed looks sometimes. She sighed.
He took her hand and stared into her eyes for a minute. She suddenly realised exactly how much she loved his grey eyes and the way they looked like clouds of fog hanging over a lake on a winter morning. They always had had an air of mystery about them, like no one really knew what was going on behind those eyes.
She smiled and watched the smile reflect on her husband’s face. Then she, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, leaned across the table and kissed him softly.
At first he seemed a bit surprised by this sudden display of emotion. She drew back and closed her eyes for a second waiting for him to react.
Then she felt the gentlest of touches along her jaw line. She opened her eyes.
“Why did you do that?” Draco asked curiously, but not madly at all and still with his hand on her face. She smiled at him.
“I did it,” she paused and bit her lip, then a broad smile spread across her face, “because it felt right.”
For a second both their glances were fixed on the little ring on her finger.
The silver was bright and the emeralds shone.
It looked more beautiful than ever.
Then the dizzy smiling Draco leaned over to kiss her again.
“Because it feels right,” he mumbled breathlessly just before their lips touched.
It felt right.
A/N: This was the last actual chapter of the Proposal, all that's left now is an epilouge, which I'll write if I can do so without ruining the story, but I really do hope I'll manage not to do that.
Please leave a review with your thoughts, critisism or any random thing you want me to know about the story, yourself or the way I write.
I hope you enjoyed the story so far, and I'll look forward to hearing your opinions about this chapter and about the epilouge that'll be up in a week or two.
Happy New Year!
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