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Chapter 1 : Chapter 1 & 2
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“I congratulate you, the biggest class to graduate since, The Fall. The witches and wizards who will bring about the future. The class of 2002. And, now, before you toss those hats and leave our grounds, for what many of you may be the last time, let’s hear from your class valedictorian. The first student in over 250 years to graduate with a 4.75 GPA, the pride of the Education department, of American Wizarding University, of New York City, and indeed the wizarding world, Ms. Hermione Jane Granger.”
Okay, here we go she thought to herself.
As the applause erupted around her, she stood and slowly made her way to the podium. Outwardly Hermione was calm, composed, serene even. But, on the inside she quaked and prayed to not fall apart. She quickly and nervously tossed her long auburn curls away from her face and allowed her light brown eyes to glance quickly over the crowd. Then she smiled at the University officials, shook hands with the President, and turned to search out the faces of the people who could always ease her fears.
She smiled. It wasn’t hard to find them. On the side of the stadium they sat together, a small group, with many red heads reflecting the sun, all with faces shining with tears of pride and love, the people who held her heart. She didn’t know how they had done it, many she knew couldn’t possibly afford it, but here they were. For her. It humbled her. She addressed the crowd, but hoped they knew her words were for them, her family, her friends, her support.
“Esteemed witches, wizards, friends, family, teachers, fellow graduates and students. I have wracked my brain for the past few weeks and wondered what to say today. I know many of you may laugh to think the always talkative, opinionated me would not have something ready, but there you have it,” she laughed at herself as a soft wave of laughter slid across the crowd.
“I have thought about this day and planned for this for what seems like my entire life. But, as the reality has slowly sunk in, and the future that I dreamed of for so long is now here, all I can think to say is thank you. Thank each and every one of you for every day of the past twenty two years. Five years ago I didn’t think it would happen. As we fought for all we held dear, lost people we loved, and lived in such abject fear, I honestly didn’t believe I would make it to stand in front of you today and say that. But, here we are. I know many valedictory speeches are about what the world should expect from us, and what we should expect from it, but I don’t know what to tell you. I honestly don’t know what to expect. If I have learned nothing else in the past twelve years, it is to expect the unexpected.”
Again a ripple of laughter flowed over her and she felt warmed by the radiant smiles flashed up at her.
“So, here is what I have come up with to commemorate this most important day. Thank you to our families, be they muggle or magical, for loving and supporting us to get us to this day. Thank you to our many teachers, professors, and counselors for educating us and helping us to think and focus on more than just yesterday or today. For helping us ponder and plan for the future. Thank you to our comrades in arms. That is, those who struggled, fought, lived or...or,” her voice hitched a bit with the unshed tears she bravely swallowed, “or died to get us here, alive and living without fear, to seek a bright new future.”
She took a moment to breathe as she saw the many handkerchiefs dabbing at fallen tears throughout the crowd. She closed her eyes and allowed the names of those she had lost flit across her mind. Dumbledore, Snape, Sirius, Fred, Moody, Remus, Tonks, Bones, Dobby and so many more.
Raising her head she smiled and continued, “And, last, thank you to you, our friends. It is said that you can’t choose your family, but you can, your friends. I sometimes wonder if that shouldn’t be changed to you can choose your family of friends. Because for each of us here today, that is what you have been. Our family. Thank you for being there for us in the darkest and happiest of times. For being shoulders to lean on, study partners, roommates, and fellow miscreants, as needed. So, before I say my last congratulations to the class of 2002 please allow me one more personal set of thank yous. I know many of you would expect it, so it comes as no surprise that I take this time to thank a few people of my own. Mom and Dad, my cousin Shelley, the entire Weasley family, Ms. Georgina “Snoop” Handlecark, Minerva, and finally the three people without whom I wouldn’t be here today, Mr. Ronald B. Weasley, Ms. Ginevra Weasley Potter, and Mr. Harry James Potter. For more than I could ever list here today, thank you. I love you all.”
The crowd, upon hearing the names of the people who had led the charge in freeing them from over thirty years of fear, oppression and pain, erupted in loud cheers. It was several minutes before the quiet reigned again and most missed the kiss she blew softly in her friends’ direction.
Standing to her full height of five feet five inches and smiling at the crowd, she said, “So, please stand class of 2002 and grab those tassels.” She waited until all 172 students were on their feet, their brilliant smiles aimed at her.
“I charge you, my fellow graduates, to keep the last thirty years in mind as we forge the new history. Keep the pains, prejudices and horrors in the back of your minds, but in the past, as we all aim for a better tomorrow. Strive for peace, seek your own excellence and never believe in the impossible. Congratulations class of 2002. We did it!”
With that, she crossed the tassel of her own cap to her left side and beamed as her classmates followed suit.
The University President then stepped forward and placing his wand to his throat to amplify his voice, yelled over the growing thunder of cheering, “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the American Wizarding University class of 2002. Go forth and make us proud!”
Hermione finally allowed the tears of joy she had held back to fall, as she watched the caps flying in the air. She had done it. She had survived. She, and her friends, had beaten every odd and come through. With one last look and wave to her friends and family she allowed herself to be swept into the throng of celebratory hugs and congratulations.
‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’
“Well roomie, this is it, huh?” Georgina asked a bit sadly as she broke off the last of piece of tape from the box she had been filling.
Hermione glanced around the apartment full of boxes and tape and sighed, “Yeah I guess it is.”
“What time do you have to leave for your graduation party?”
“I have another few minutes,” Hermione said as she sat on the box closest to her. She looked across the room to her roommate and closest friend of the past four years and remembered.
‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’
“No freakin’ way!”
Hermione jumped and fell over the box she had just put down upon hearing the feminine screech from behind her. Before she could right herself she saw a hand reach out to help her up and heard the voice continue.
“I can’t believe it. I mean I saw the name on the school forms, but I honestly didn’t believe it. The one and only, Hermione Granger, my roommate?! Seriously! This is so cool! I wrote so many articles on you and your friends. It’s like I have known you forever. Things over here weren’t near as bad as over there in the thick of things, so I had the time to write and research a lot. I mean, come on, you’re like a living legend! And, now I get to room with you?! This is so un-freakin’-believable.”
Hermione stepped back from the tiny, exuberant woman in front of her and smiled a little.
“I think legend is a bit much, but whatever. I guess I don’t have to introduce myself, and uh, I guess you are Georgina?”
“Snoop,” the dark haired girl smiled.
“Huh? I didn’t look through any of your things, I promise!” Hermione quickly defended herself.
The bright blue eyes flashed with mirth as Georgina giggled, “No, no, no. That’s my nickname. Snoop. I write articles for newspapers and magazines. And, I have had quite a few printed in other papers, even national ones. Nothing you would have read over there in England though. I’m hoping to write for AWUs, too.”
“Oh,” Hermione laughed with her. “Well, my friends call me...”
“Mione, I don’t know where you expect to put all these darn books! This school of yours has to have less of them in their whole library!” an exasperated deep voice interrupted them from behind a high mound of books.
“Stop complaining and move, this chair is heavy, man!” another low voice said from outside the door.
The third more feminine voice reprimanded them both as the three people entered the tiny apartment, “Like Mione needs to hear you two prats complain all day. Sheesh! Give it a rest. She’s nervous enough already with a new school, a new damn country and a roommate she doesn’t even know. Now shut up and move!”
“Hi guys,” Hermione laughed. “Ron just drop them there and I will get it all straight later. Harry that chair can go over by the window in my room. And, everyone, allow me to introduce my flatma…er roommate, Georgina “Snoop” Handlecark. Snoop, these are my friends, Harry, Ron and Ginny.”
She watched as Harry smiled a quick, “Hi,” as he continued on into Hermione’s room to put down the huge papasan chair he held.
Ginny waved from behind Ron and gave a cheery hello.
Ron dropped the books he had been holding and straightened to smile down at Snoop. He smiled as he held out his hand to shake hers and opened his mouth to say hello.
But, he was interrupted by her squeak of, “Holy, Moses!”
“Uh, no, Ron,” he blushed.
‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’
Thinking back Hermione laughed under her breath as she recalled that day over 4 years ago and how nervous Snoop had been to meet Ron. It had amazed all four of them a little, that she had had a crush on him and not Harry, the more famous and traditionally cute of the two men, but she had. And, now, remembering back on it all, Hermione smiled to herself as she recalled the pale face and round eyes of Snoop, as she finally touched hands with the man that would now, in only a week, be her husband.
“So,” she asked bringing herself back to the present, “what’s wrong?”
“I don’t know, HG. I mean, nothing really, I guess. It’s just so weird, you know. In under a month there’s been so much change, you know? Just a while ago we were cramming, now we’re graduates. Then, I marry Ron next week and have to live with a boy forever.” She laughed a little as she continued, “And, you off to start your summer teaching internship, so far away!” A tear slid down her face as she began to crumble to the sofa.
Hermione rushed over to her, “Listen, change is good, right? I mean, yeah you have to live with Ron, how you will and why you would want to I will never figure out, but whatever,” she laughed. “But, it’s not like any of these changes are bad ones. And, what do you mean far away? My new place is like 3 blocks, ten minutes, from your new flat, er apartment, at most. And, we will be working near each other.”
“I know, I’m being silly, it’s just, you know, you’ve been here with me for what seems like forever. We’ve been through so much together. I don’t know what I am going to do when I can’t just call you from across the room. I’m going to miss the, what do I call it, normal, I guess.”
“I know,” Hermione breathed softly, “I will, too. But, it’s not like we can’t apparate as fast as we can call each other,” she giggled. “And, once you get back from your honeymoon, we’ll see just as much of each other.”
“You’re right, HG. I just hate change you know,” Snoop laughed.
“Well, if things didn’t continue to change, you would have nothing to write about,” Hermione laughed as they hugged.
Both women finished their packing and gathered their things to floo to their respective family celebrations.
“I’ll see you at my parents’ house around seven, right?” Hermione asked as she prepared to step into the flames.
“Yep. My parents and brother just want a little time with me before we head over there. Phil is so excited. He keeps going on and on about getting to use his international wizardport for the first time.”
“Okay, see you then. Have fun.”
With that, Hermione tossed in the floo powder, followed by a pre-stamped page from her own, well used wizardport and shouted out, “International, London, Granger Home.”
With a smile and a wave she was off.
‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’
The party had been a smashing success. People she had only corresponded with by post or owl for the past four years had shown up to congratulate her. And, she had gotten to spend some extra time with her two godchildren, Teddy, son of Tonks and Remus, but officially adopted and raised by Harry and Ginny, along with their own two children. And, Luna’s daughter, her own partial namesake, Jane. It never ceased to amaze her how big her family had grown in such a short time.
After all the food was eaten, presents were opened and appreciated, and the older group of muggles and wizards had left for home, she disappeared to her old room and sat for a while. She heard the voices of those she loved a floor below and sent one last thanks up to the powers that be for allowing them all to make it to this day.
She then stood, looked into the mirror above her dresser and told herself, “Okay, Hermione, here we go. Onto the future. Time to grow up for real this time. No more studying, no more hiding. Time to live!”
With that she returned to her friends and the party. It was well past 4 am when she fell out of her new fireplace in her first New York City new apartment and stumbled over to her bed to pass out.
‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’
The following week passed quickly as she set up her new place and prepared for her friends’ wedding. Before she knew it, Friday night had arrived and with it, the bachelorette party. She and Ginny had planned the night with great care. Ginny, being married young, a mother and commuting to school, hadn’t had the luxury of a real college life. Georgina and Ron had gotten together so quickly and easily that they hadn’t ventured out too often. With him working at the Ministry in England and her in school in the US, they had spent as much of their precious time together time away from others. And, Hermione, ever the studious one, hadn’t really thought too much about the partying aspect of being at a large university. She had been more than content to spend her evenings and other free time reading, watching TV, or spending time with her friends. It had been a very rare thing for them to venture out to a bar or club. With that in mind, Ginny had suggested going out dancing and Hermione had agreed. A night clubbing with friends would be a perfect way to celebrate their new lives.
They picked out the top three clubs in the area and were going to spend a couple of hours in each. The plan was to see how many guys they could each get to dance with them. There were about twenty girls going and they planned to hit on every male they could reach. Ginny just kept reminding them with a laugh that Harry didn’t need to know about it. They had gotten together a few weeks before and made little cards for the night that could be signed by each of the men they danced with. Then, at the end of the night, the planned to compare notes and the loser would have to pay for breakfast for everyone.
Not too wild or crazy by most people’s standards, but fun for them. When the doorbell on her apartment rang, she called out, “Coming!” as she finished putting on the last of her lipstick.
She flung the door open to see Ginny and Snoop, along with a few other women, laughingly fall through.
“You ready?” Ginny asked.
“I guess so, what do you think?” Hermione did a quick turn to show off her new outfit and was rewarded with loud whistles and clapping.
“HG! Are you wearing a miniskirt?! My, goodness, you do have legs!”
Hermione laughed with them and did a small dance, “Yes, ma’am I do. No sweats tonight. And, I just got this top today at this little muggle secondhand shop. I can’t believe someone didn’t want it.”
Their friend Beth, a muggle that Hermione and Snoop had worked with at Barnes and Noble, said, “Well, they knew it would look better on you. I mean, wow girl, ‘the girls’ look huge in that thing.”
Blushing, Hermione looked down at her very exposed cleavage and asked a bit nervously, “It’s not too much is it?”
“Oh come on, I wish I had ‘em to show off,” Beth laughed. “I mean, all you witches and not one of you can enhance a friend a little.”
Hermione handed out glasses of champagne as her friends laughed and talked around her. She heard Ginny remind them all of the rules one last time.
“Okay, so only 3 rules ladies. One, no getting so drunk you spew! Two, no cheating and counting the same guy at a different bar twice. And, three,” she directed at Hermione specifically, “no acting shy. No one says no to a dance. Be they muggle or wizard, no matter how stupid or trollish, unless they are so drunk they may puke on you, you say yes. Agreed?”
All of them agreed and raised their glasses as Hermione nodded and said, “To Georgina. May this night be a night you always remember fondly and may we all have the best time ever!”
Just before their glasses all clinked together she heard Beth laugh, “And, may Mione finally get some!”
‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’ ‘’
One muggle and one wizard club later, they were all more than a little bit tipsy as they waited in line to get into the last bar. They all had rather long lists of men, and not one could remember most of the names. They had been a sensation in both clubs, as it wasn’t often that twenty pretty girls descended on a place and tried to work their way through the entire male population.
“And, did you see that old guy she had to dance with?” Beth laughed with the group as one of the girls groaned in memory.
“Yeah, but at least he wasn’t a groper like the guy you danced with at the first club.”
Ginny and Hermione fell into each other laughing as they entered the last club. Club Wizzaro was one of the hottest spots in Manhattan. From the outside it looked like an abandoned warehouse to most muggles. But, wizards, and those muggles with The Sight could see a very happening New York City club. The decor was 1980’s American and the music ranged from the 50s to current top 40 hits. The mix of muggle and magical was shown not only in the people and the music, but also in the decorations. It was one of the few places where both sides could relax, have fun, be accepted and enjoy freely being who they were.
Hermione had already had two more drinks and added 15 more names to her list when she and Snoop headed to the bar to cool down. The crush of bodies made it hard to be heard, but they continued their conversation as best as possible.
“Any good prospects?”
Hermione rolled her eyes and laughed, “Oh please. We aren’t here for me. This is your night, remember?”
“Yeah, but it wouldn’t hurt for you to keep your eyes open. You never know who you might meet. Your very next dance could be 'the one’.”
“Yeah, right, with my past luck, he’ll be a very drunk muggle with an I-wanna-lay-a-witch thing going on. No, thank you. I don’t need some slobbering idiot all over me the rest of the night.” Hermione laughed and tried to get the attention of the bartender.
It took a few minutes, but soon she and Snoop both had new drinks and were about to head back to the dance floor to join the group. Unfortunately, an unexpected shift in the crowd and an elbow later, and Hermione found herself wearing both drinks down the front of her sparkly blue top. She screeched as the ice slid down her chest.
“Cold! Cold! Cold!” Hermione chanted as she danced in place and tried to shake the drinks from her shirt.
“Oh my goodness Mione! I am so sorry. Crap, where’s a wand when you need one?! Let me get some napkins.”
But, before Snoop could get even a foot away, they heard a very sexy, low, accented voice say, “Allow me, ladies.”
With a flick of his wand, the drinks disappeared as if it they had never been. Snoop thanked the man in front of them and said she would get them new drinks. She drifted back to the bar and never noticed how still Hermione had gone.
Upon hearing that voice, Hermione’s breath had left her body. She barely registered the noise of the club, much less her friend stammering and leaving, as she let her eyes slowly slide up the long, lean body in front of her. Disbelief showed on her face as her eyes took in the narrow chin, perfect lips, aristocratic nose, halo of almost white hair, and finally the startling eyes, such a strange shade of blue, they almost appeared grey.
She saw the telltale smirk just before he leaned in to say in her ear, “Hello, Granger. Long time, no see, huh?”
As their eyes met once more, his cologne enveloped her senses and she heard herself say in a voice she didn’t recognize, “Malfoy?”
A smile the likes of which she had never seen on his face appeared. But, it was the sudden darkening of his eyes that captivated her. Wait! Did I just shiver over Malfoy?! Huh? Well, did I? No, I most certainly did not! Well, I did, but it was NOT a shiver of desire. Desire?! Where the heck did that come from? Man, his eyes are so smoky looking. Did they always do that? It’s so se...I WAS NOT going to say sexy. I wasn’t. I was going to say sickening. Yeah, that’s it. Were his lips always so...STOP it Hermione! He’s a jerk and a coward, remember? I mean he wasn’t a Death Eater or anything, but his family wasn’t loyal to anyone or anything but themselves. He could have at least tried to...to...to what? Yeah, to what? He was a 17 year old kid. What was he supposed to do? Fight his whole family and Voldemort? Well, we did. Harry did. But, we had each other and The Order, who did Draco really have? WAIT! Did I just call him...no, I most certainly did not! And, why is he looking at my lips? No, he’s looking lower...at my...No way! Should I stand a little straighter or would that be too obvious? And, why do I care?! I should be slapping his face. But, it’s so nice looking. He really has grown up nicely...HERMIONE, get a grip! She didn’t know how long she would have stood there transfixed had Snoop not reappeared by her side.
“Wow. Thanks again, Cutie. I can’t believe that happened. Can we buy you a drink?” she smiled up at him.
“No, thank you. It was my pleasure,” he replied casually, as his eyes bounced back and forth between the two pretty women.
Hermione finally came to her senses and stiffened. “Okay. Well, um, thanks. Bye!” she said as she grabbed Snoop’s hand and made to take off.
“Mione!” her friend admonished. “Forgive my friend, she doesn’t get out much,” she laughed.
Those eyes settled on Hermione again and she felt a blush rise on her cheeks. But, before she could defend herself, a guy interrupted them all to say, “Hey, aren’t you two part of the bridal party that’s supposed to dance with every guy here?”
“That’s us,” Snoop said with a wide smile. “And, what’s your name?”
“Bill, muggle lawyer and witch lover,” he bowed dramatically and comically before them.
Draco stiffened a little as he watched Hermione smile and laugh at the guy that had taken her eyes off of him. He stood beside her and barely registered the flirting going on around him. He hadn’t planned to go out that night at all. But, Blaise, his best friend and flat mate for the past 4 years had convinced him to go out to celebrate their new futures. Both had graduated from USWU, the United States Wizarding University, that morning and needed to blow off steam. Draco would have been happier in a smaller, more cozy bar, Blaise always wanted to party big. It was like he had to make up for all the time they had spent keeping to themselves and worrying as teens.
He had only been in the bar about ten minutes and had already lost Blaise to a small group of laughing, flirting women. Draco had planned to aim for the bar and wait it out, but his heart had slammed into his throat when he heard that voice.
It can’t be! Hermio...Granger?! Here? What’s she doing here in the US? Damn, she looks even better now than she did four years ago. And, those legs...wow. I should leave before she notices me and hexes the crap out of me. No, you stopped running remember? Coming here was your new start. A chance to finally be your own person. Maybe she’ll see the real me now, and not the scared, little hurtful boy that I was. Yeah, right. And, Potter will be Best Man at my wedding someday. Okay, seriously she needs to stop hopping up and down like that. Those things are going to bounce out of her shirt. Not that that would be a bad thing. Heh heh heh Okay, Draco, stop it. Get out of here before she sees you. Okay, must stop staring and find Blaise. Time to go.
But, instead of listening to his brain he turned just enough to face a giggling, dripping wet Hermione Granger. The one and only woman to ever set his blood to boil. In anger, envy and in lust. The first he was sure she was well aware of, as he’d taken most of his childhood anger, aggression and pain out on her and her friends. But, the other two, he was positive she would have laughed herself silly over, if she had known. Why would she believe the hateful boy he had been would ever have wanted anything she had, much less everything she was? Despite his better intentions he had stepped forward.
He brain snapped back into focus as he heard, “..getting married tomorrow night.”
“Well, then allow me one dance with the bride-to-be,” the guy said and took Snoop’s hand.
Draco prayed Hermione had not seen the momentary panic on his face when he had thought it was her, nor the immediate relief when the guy took Snoop’s hand. He glanced down into her eyes and saw them staring back at him in shock. She had.
He blurted out the first things that came to mind. “Snoop, what a strange name.” 'Seriously, that’s the best you could come up with? Smooth, man!’
Hermione saw him actually wince and her eyes widened further as she realized that she wasn’t the only uncomfortable one.
“Um, well, that’s not really her name,” she smiled a little. But, then she straightened and challenged, “What are you doing here, Malfoy?”
Before he could answer, they were once again interrupted. This time by Beth.
“Mione!” she yelled over the crowd. “We were waiting for you to...Oh my. Hello, there. Aren’t you a tall, sexy beast!” Then she seemed to realize he was standing with her friend and grinned at Hermione. “Well, young lady, when I tell you to go find yourself a winner, boy, do you ever! Are you a model hot stuff?”
Draco laughed self-deprecatingly at himself and with the blonde with the dancer’s body in front of him, “Uh, no, but thanks.”
She whipped around and faced her friend, “Mione, now no forgetting the rules, did he ask you to dance?” Then before Hermione could answer, she turned to Draco, “Did you? ‘Cause she’s not allowed to say no to any man tonight.”
Hermione realized how that must have sounded and squeaked, “Beth!”
Beth laughed, “Oh jeez, calm down! I meant no to dancing! Of course, maybe you can persuade her to do other things later, model boy.”
Hermione prayed the floor would open up and swallow her then and there. Beth was still chattering on about them dancing together, and filling Draco in on what their night entailed. There was no graceful way out of the situation and Hermione couldn’t bring herself, even after all this time, to be outright rude to him for no reason. She tried to think of ways to get away from the two of them.
“Beth, maybe he doesn’t want to dan...”
But, she got the biggest shock of the night so far when he took her hand and said, “The Granger I know would never break the rules. Shall we?”
Hermione let herself be dragged onto the dance floor and with a moment of hesitation pulled into Draco’s arms. Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girls” blared around them and she let herself enjoy it a moment before her brain intruded.
“How on earth did this happen?” she wondered unknowingly out loud.
Draco smiled down at her and laughed, “So, you are speaking to me?”
He watched those intelligent brown eyes focus on his face and felt his gut twist. The music changed to a slower song from the early 90’s and neither seemed to think about it as they stepped closer to one another and continued to dance.
“I’m sorry, but you never answered my question, Malfoy. What are you doing here?” But, before he could answer, her other questions bubbled out, “And, why are you being so nice to me? What do you want? Where have you been all this time? Why do you look so damn yummy?” Then realizing what she had said she closed her eyes and let her head fall forward in embarrassment, “And, why am I such an idiot?”
Draco barked a laugh at her barrage of questions and then smiled devilishly at her discomfort. “Well, Hermione, let’s see. Celebrating my college graduation. Because you’re letting me. Nothing...yet. At USWU studying forensics. ‘Cause my parents were pretty people. And,” he paused to out his hand under her chin to lift her eyes to his, “unless you’ve had a lobotomy in the last four years, you could never be an idiot.”
He had felt her shiver slightly and almost groaned. Is she cold? Or, was it because I touched her face? Or said her name? Let’s try the name again. “So, Hermione, my turn. What are you doing here in the US? Who are these women you’re with? What have you been doing for the past four years? And, uh, why haven’t you hexed me to oblivion for touching you?”
“What do you mean, yet?” was all she could think to say.
She stopped dancing and looked up at him, “You said you didn’t want anything, yet. What did you mean yet?”
I’ve never met a woman like you and now that I have found you again, I won’t let you go. So, what I want is forever. No, Draco, not a good idea. Okay, how about, a few dates and let’s see how the wedding plans go from there? Wanna try again ‘Oh so smooth one? You. Better!’ “I was kidding,” was what actually came out.
“Oh,” she answered and began swaying again to the music. Am I seriously dancing with Draco Malfoy? Dancing with Draco Malfoy in a club in the US. And, he’s being nice to me?! Why exactly am I dancing with him? Why haven’t I hexed him? Even if he does smell delicious and look amazing. And, man his arms are unbelievable! I guess he still plays Quidditch. I never thought he would be this warm, I mean he always looked so cold. Oh my goodness, those lips. Could they be more perfect for kissing? Whoa, girl! What the heck are you thinking?! Stop that! This is Draco Malfoy. The Draco Malfoy! The bane of your existence. Then, why am I still dancing with him? Because it feels too good to stop and you know it, sister.
Draco smiled as he watched the many emotions flit across her expressive face. That had always been the problem with Gryffindors, they wore their hearts on their sleeves for all to see. And, Hermione had always been the worst liar of them all. The only person who had every believed any of her farfetched cover up stories was that lump Neville Longbottom. But, of course he had been so in awe of her that he would have believed her if she had said Hogwarts was located on the moon. Draco laughed to himself in memory.
“So, you didn’t answer my questions, Hermione,” he interrupted her thoughts. He was beginning to like that small twist in his stomach each time her eyes touched him.
“I’m sorry. What?” she asked.
“What are you doing here in the US? I mean, I get the bridal party thing, but why are you over here?”
Hermione decided to go with the flow for a while and enjoy the feeling of being held so close. “Well, actually I just graduated from AMU,” she laughed.
“Still rivals then,” he smirked down at her.
“There it is. You are really Draco Malfoy?!” she said. Then with a slight blush continued, “I mean, I thought that smirk was gone for good.”
When he laughed and gave her a quick wink, she tried to control her breathing and kept up with her explanation, “My friend and roommate, Snoop, who’s real name is Georgina, is getting married tomorrow to...”
“Weasley!?” he jumped in.
“How did you know?” she asked in amazement.
“No, coming this way,” he laughed. Then, “Wait, she’s marrying Weasley?!”
Before he could get an answer several voices erupted around them.
“Mione, there you are!”
“Still dancing with the hunk?”
“Did you feel him up?”
“Check out that butt!”
“When do I get my turn?”
“Draco Malfoy?! What fresh hell is this?!”
The last was said loudly enough to be heard over the din and he cringed at the sound of disgust in Ginny’s voice. All nineteen pairs of eyes turned on him, as the only ones he cared about slid away from his.
Snoop stopped laughing and looked worriedly at Hermione, “Mione? Where do I know that name? Malfoy...Malfoy..Wait! Tell me that’s not...”
With a sigh, Hermione stepped back and answered, “Ladies, Draco Malfoy. Drac, uh, Mal um, uh, my friends.”
Beth finally found her tongue, “That asshole kid from your high school?!”
“The same,” sniffed Ginny. “And, what did he do to you to make you dance with him, Hermione?”
As wands slowly starting to appear around him, Draco stepped back a little more from Hermione, “Uh, maybe I should, um...”
Before he could finish his sentence, Blaise bounded out of the crowd, “Draco, my man, you found the party! These beautiful ladies need us to dance with each and every...Ginny Weasley?! Hermione?! What the hell?”
“How about we take this somewhere else?” Draco sighed heavily.
Hermione was shaky, confused and getting more embarrassed by the moment. People were starting to stare and she just wanted to disappear. Without thinking Hermione blurted out, “How about we go to my place, it’s closest.”
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