“I know, I couldn’t believe it either,” Hermione laughed, as she cradled the phone to her ear with her shoulder, while cutting up celery. “He was so different, Ginny,” she continued. “He really has matured since school.”
She opened her mouth in shock, as she sprinkled the celery pieces in her salad bowl. “Ginny!” she exclaimed. “I can’t believe you said that. Oh, don’t give me that pregnancy hormones crap,” she laughed. “Harry will be home sooner than you think.”
She nodded, as she mixed in the salad dressing. “Okay, hun, I will talk to you later. What? No, he hasn’t owled me yet,” she rolled her eyes. “Honestly, I don’t even expect him to. I think he was just kind of saying it. What? Yes, fine, I will let you know if he does,” she smiled, shaking her head. “Ginny, stop that! What would Harry say if he heard you saying that? Just go take a nice long bath, or perhaps maybe even a cold shower,” she laughed. “Okay, I’m really going now. Give James a kiss for me. Bye.”
She chuckled, as she hung up the phone. She grabbed her salad off the counter and moved toward the sitting room. She sat on her couch and picked up the book she was almost finished reading. As she ate in silence and read, she heard a light tap on the window. She looked over and saw an owl waiting to come inside, with a parchment tied to its leg.
She quickly moved toward the window and opened it up, allowing the owl entry. She took the parchment off its leg and quickly opened it up, knowing that the bird was waiting for a response.
Okay, pick your jaw up off the floor now. I told you I would contact you. You didn’t believe me, did you? Well, I guess I could understand that. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed talking with you earlier today. Amazing that it has taken us fourteen years, a war, and me moving away, to finally act civil toward each other.
If you were really sincere about meeting up with me again, then how does tomorrow night look? My wife and in-laws are going to the movies, and even though I have finally grown accustomed to those muggle films, I just can’t seem to tolerate sitting through another singing one.
I really would like to see you again. I feel like we have so much time to make up for. Please let me know as soon as you can. I do hope you are free.
She smiled at his letter, shaking her head in disbelief. He was definitely right about her not believing he would write to her. She grabbed her quill off the desk and quickly wrote her response.
Okay, it’s true. My jaw did drop when I saw your letter. I felt the same way about our conversation. I was expecting it to be awkward, or something, but it wasn’t. I guess people do change, as they grow older. And we both certainly have done that.
Yes, I am free tomorrow night and would love to meet up with you again. Just let me know when and where and I’ll be there.
See you tomorrow,
She tied the response to the owl’s leg and watched it fly off into the nighttime sky. She smiled, as she returned to her salad and book, excited for tomorrow. She suddenly felt her stomach drop, as she realized what she had done. Wait, did I just agree to go on a date with Malfoy?
The next night, Hermione, wearing fitted jeans and a pink top, walked toward the coffee shop where they had first met. She was a bit relieved when he suggested this place to meet. Coffee was a lot less intimate than dinner, making it much easier for two married people to meet up and talk, without any questioning stares.
She entered the shop, scanning the tables and spotting him sitting over at a table for two, reading a magazine. She moved toward the table and smiled, when he looked up from the magazine and saw her approaching.
“Hey,” he smiled, putting down the magazine.
“Sorry I’m late,” she apologized, as she sat down across from him.
He smirked, “So, we’re starting the apologies now?”
She chuckled, as the waiter dropped off two drinks. She furrowed her eyebrows at the drinks and then looked over at Draco. He saw her confusion and laughed. “I ordered already. Caramel Latte, right?” he asked, handing her one of the drinks.
“You remembered?” she asked, slightly amused.
He shrugged, as he took a sip of his own drink. “So, tell me. What’s been happening around here since I’ve left?” he asked.
“Oh, well, just the usual parties in the streets and burning rituals in front of Malfoy Manor,” she teased.
“Right,” he rolled his eyes. “I know you all missed us.”
She chuckled. “So, tell me, why did you really move away?”
“What numbered rumor are you on?” he smirked.
“Seven,” she smiled.
“Damn, I’m only on five,” he winked. “Honestly, my parents just believed it would be safer for us. After the Death Eaters learned about mother’s lie to the Dark Lord, and also witnessing my parents’ noninvolvement in the fight, we were soon targets for them.”
“I’m sorry,” she frowned. “It must be difficult to live in fear all the time.”
“Yeah, but father has been working with the Ministry, trying to help them find the remaining Death Eaters,” he stated. “I’m sure you’re already aware of that, though.”
She smiled and nodded. “So, what made you decide to become a Healer?” she asked.
“Well, it was either that or a Hit Wizard.”
She rolled her eyes, “Yeah right, a Hit Wizard.”
“No, seriously,” he expressed. “I had almost passed all of my tests, before I quit.”
“I had no idea,” she said in amazement. “What made you quit?”
He suddenly became quiet, as he stared down at his beverage. He began playing with the lid, not ready to explain it just yet. “It’s complicated,” he finally said, as he looked back up.
“Oh,” she said. She could feel the sudden tension and decided to change topics. “So, you don’t like musicals?”
He laughed, as his body relaxed. “Definitely not, but Astoria is crazy about them, so I always get dragged to them.”
“I know what you mean,” she sighed. “Ron is always taking me to go see Quidditch games.”
“You don’t like Quidditch?” he asked in shock.
She shook her head, “Never did.”
“Wow,” he laughed, before he stopped and smiled over at her.
“What?” she asked, noticing his smile toward her.
“It’s just so weird to be learning all these things about you,” he replied. “I really had no idea who you were in school.”
“That’s not true. You knew I was a Mudblood,” she smirked.
He groaned, as he leaned back in his chair. “I was waiting for you to throw that in my face. What’s the statute of limitations on apologies?’
“Fifteen years,” she smiled.
“Good, I can just get it in under the wire,” he smirked.
“Well, I guess it’s my turn to apologize, then,” she commented.
“What do you have to apologize for?”
“Third year,” she sheepishly responded.
He furrowed his eyebrows, as he tried to remember. “Third year? What happened in third year?” he began asking himself, when suddenly his eyes opened wide. “You smacked me,” he exclaimed.
She blushed, as she looked away. “I was as shocked as you were,” she said. “I couldn’t believe I did that.”
“I could,” he shrugged. “I really did deserve it. I was a real prat in school.”
“That’s true,” she agreed.
The two continued to talk about school, their friends and married life. The hours passed, yet neither even took notice. They were absorbed in their conversation, wanting to keep talking as much as they could.
Their waiter suddenly walked over, breaking them from conversation. “Excuse me, but we need to close now.”
Hermione raised her eyebrows, as she glanced toward the clock on the back wall. “Oh my goodness,” she gasped. “I can’t believe how late it is.”
Draco furrowed his eyebrows, as he took out his pocket watch. “We’ve been talking for four hours?” he exclaimed.
They apologized to the waiter, as they stood up, looking around the empty coffee shop. Hermione felt a blush creep up on her face, as they walked outside. It was a lot darker now and the streets were mostly empty. The two awkwardly stood in front of the shop, not sure how to end their little date.
“Well, this was really fun, Draco,” Hermione said first, needing to break the silence. “I’m glad we bumped into each other yesterday.”
“Me too,” he smiled, before looking down the empty streets. “How are you getting home?”
“Well, I was going to walk,” she answered, “but it’s rather late, so I think I’ll just Apparate.”
Draco took out his pocket watch and looked at the time again. “Where do you live?” he asked, looking over at her.
“I’m two blocks away,” she replied. “Why?”
He shrugged, “I could walk you there, if you want.”
She chewed on her bottom lip, not sure if that was such a good idea. She felt her stomach turn, but decided to ignore it. “Are you sure? I mean it is pretty late and I don’t want your wife to worry.”
“What’s another ten minutes?” he smirked.
She nodded, as they began walking down the sidewalk. For the first time that night, they fell into an awkward silence. Neither knew what to say next, as they continued walking down the street. Hermione felt her heart rapidly beating, as her brain was also in overdrive.
Suddenly, she felt his hand slip into hers. She nervously looked over at him and saw him glance toward three men standing off to the side. He gripped her hand tighter, as they passed the men. When they turned the corner, he looked over at her and smiled, seeing her confused expression. “First lesson I learned when training to become a Hit Wizard,” he began. “Always stay close, when walking down the streets at night.”
Her body relaxed, remembering the three guys they had passed. “Good thing I’m walking with you, then,” she smiled, feeling him tighten his grip on her hand.
They were almost to her building now, as they still held hands, knowing their night was coming to an end. “Hermione, I…I really want to see you again,” Draco suddenly said, as he continued looking forward, nervous to meet her eyes.
“Draco,” she sighed, as she continued staring forward as well, “I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.”
He sighed, knowing she was right. “It’s just, I’ve never…” he stopped, as he took a deep breath. “Nevermind.”
She nodded, glad he didn’t say any more. She then stopped, as they reached the front of her building. “This is me,” she explained, not yet releasing her hand from his.
He looked up at the building and then toward her. “So, I guess this is it,” he whispered.
She glanced down at their joined hands, feeling her stomach drop. She suddenly realized how much she didn’t want to let go. She slowly looked up, meeting his curious blue eyes. “You know we can’t,” she finally said.
“I know,” he nodded.
“We’re both married.”
“You’re leaving in two days,” she continued.
“And you know these feelings will eventually just go away,” she finished.
He shook his head, as he brought their hands up and kissed hers, staring into her eyes. “I don’t know,” he softly whispered, before releasing her hand. “Night, Hermione.”
“Goodnight, Draco,” she whispered, as she turned and started walking up the steps to the entrance of her building.
She suddenly felt a tug on her hand and when she turned around, he stepped in closer, crashing his lips on hers. She tried to back away, but her heart pushed her forward. A few seconds later, without saying a word, he released his hold on her, quickly turned on his heel and Disapparated.
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