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Grazed Knees by Padfoot_Prongs
Chapter 20 : xx.
 
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xx. 

If you’d just take ten more steps to me
I won’t ever ask you again 

January twenty-fifth.
1999.

Ginny, he proposed.

“I got your letter,” Ginny said at the train station, grabbing onto Hermione’s arm, “Or, well, your note.  You couldn’t even tell me if—oh my God, you said yes!” she ended in a shriek as Hermione waggled her left hand in front of her.

It was simple, something Hermione hadn’t expected of him, but something that she immensely respected him for.  He knew her.  It was just a thin silver band with one centered diamond, not a rock, but not a pebble.  And she loved it.

“I know, can you believe it?” Hermione giggled, and Ginny just shook her head, her mouth agape.

“It’s so beautiful,” she said, grabbing Hermione’s hand and staring at the ring, “How did he do it?  Oh Merlin, tell me everything!”

“You’ll have to wait until we’re all together.  I want to tell all of you guys at the same time.  Plus, he’s practically staring holes in my back.  I just kind of ran off when I saw you.”

“You’re engaged!” Ginny squeaked, squeezing Hermione’s arm, and the brunette nodded fervently, her beam ever-present.

“I’ll be back.  Save us seats.”

She left to where Draco was glancing over at her every once in a while, only half immersed in the conversation he was holding with Blaise Zabini.  When she returned, however, he merely smiled and pulled her against him, kissing the top of her mess of curls.

Hermione took a deep breath some fifteen minutes later before sliding open the compartment door.  Ginny grinned wildly as the couple entered, and Hermione smiled a nervous, small smile that instantly quieted everyone.

“Hey guys,” she greeted, pulling Draco behind her as they went to sit opposite Ginny and Harry, “So, we kind of have some news.”

“I knew it.  I knew this would happen!” Ron exclaimed, already standing up.

“Ronald!” Ginny shouted, facing him, “Sit back down.  She hasn’t even spoken.”

“You’re pregnant, aren’t you?  I told you he would fucking change you!”

“Ron!” Hermione yelled, gathering his attention, “I’m not pregnant.”

“That implies they’ve had sex, Ron.  How do you feel about that?” Harry teased, and Ron just glared angrily at him.

“Well?” Ron demanded, crossing his arms.

“We’re,” Hermione paused, looking over at Draco nervously, and he just smiled.

“We’re engaged,” he said for her, never taking his eyes away from hers.

“Guys!” Anna shrieked, “That’s so exciting!  Oh my goodness!  You totally knew before me,” she turned on Ginny, who just nodded.

“Hermione, come on, you have to tell us how it happened,” Ginny pleaded as Harry smirked.

“Congratulations, guys,” he said softly, and Hermione just smiled gratefully at him.

“Well, that’s a lot better,” Ron sighed, “I’m sorry, ‘Mione.  I didn’t mean to freak out.”

“It’s okay.”

When she paused, Ginny kicked her shin, and she just glared before beginning, “Well, we were in Venice, and there’s this bridge, the Bridge of Sighs.  One side is a holding cell and the other is an execution sight, or, at least, that’s what it used to be.  Prisoners would take their last breath as they crossed the bridge, hence its name.  However, according to this one,” she said, smiling over at Draco, “If you kiss under the bridge, your love is supposed to be everlasting.  And so, he proposed, under the bridge.”

Ginny and Anna let out collective gasps, and, for the next little while, Hermione showed off her ring, discussed small details of the wedding that they’d already come up with, and it wasn’t until they were getting off the train that Draco finally approached Harry.

“I actually have a question for you,” he said, drawing Harry aside, “I know this is going to seem kind of weird, but you mean a lot to Hermione, more than you’ll ever know, and I will be forever grateful for your acceptance of our relationship, for even giving me a chance.  Thank you, Harry.”

Harry went to speak, but Draco swiftly cut him off, “I’d like you to be one of my groomsmen.  As I’m sure you’ve figured, Hermione will be asking Ginny and Anna, though she’ll also be asking Pansy.  You’d be alongside Blaise and Theodore.”

“Draco,” Harry smiled, “Of course.  I’m just curious, what made you propose now?”

They were walking again when Draco shrugged, “There’s… there was something there, Harry, ever since October of our sixth year.  That first time I read to her, it was like something had changed.  And, I mean, it’s been over two years since then, and we’ve withstood so much already.  We were still in love throughout that year apart, and I just keep thinking back to the Black Lake, when I first found her again, the night of the battle, after everything was over, and we fit right back together, like nothing had ever happened.  It just—”

“I get it,” Harry cut him off, “I know exactly how you feel.  That first time I saw Ginny again,” he stopped, shaking his head, and Draco just nodded.

It was good to have at least someone who completely understood.

-- 

January thirty-first.
1999.

Draco placed a soft, delicate kiss on Hermione’s bare shoulder, to which she smiled happily, her face turned away from him.  He traced the hand not supporting his head over her bare stomach, up the length of her arm, and he pushed the hair away from her ear, leaning down to press his lips around her jaw, neck, and ear.  He loved nothing more than the touch of her skin, the absolute beauty of it.

He looked up as she shifted a little, bringing her hands up to press together under her head.  She backed into him a little more, wanting to be closer, to be part of him.  He watched her with warm grey eyes, sparkling with affection.  Sighing, he let his head suspend on its own, and he wound his arm underneath her before laying his head atop her own.

Her gaze reached the large bay window across from the bed, the only other thing (beside the desk) that resided within this place he’d created in the Room of Requirements.  Rain fell across the pane, decorating it with the sky’s tears.  The world outside was a sad grey, and snow still blanketed the grounds everywhere.  But the rain still fell steadily, determined to break through the mounds of white and touch the soft tickles of green.

And Draco watched this world with her, finding the ease and serenity that she did upon observing it.  He soaked in the calm of the rain, the noise of the pitter-patter of it, the sensation of imagining being wet just standing in it, letting it grace bare skin.

She had a record on that he’d never heard, a soft, melodic album that had soothed him the second it started.  Just the ambience of it alone sent shivers down his spine, brought him away from everything and pinpointed his sole attention on the beautiful brunette in front of him.  It made him tremble, made him reach and reach for her.  He cast his eyes over to it as a siren touched the beginning of one of the songs, and he smiled.  He loved this music.  He loved her.

When Draco moved his gaze back to Hermione, she had shifted again and was moving her hand slowly in the dying light of the dying sky, watching as the feeble rays of a hidden sun kissed the single diamond.  He watched it with her, smiling.  He couldn’t believe she’d said yes, that she was his.  He had been so nervous, had been so unsure of whether or not she would actually accept him, but she had, and she was his.  It made his heart swell and soar.  He could barely believe that she was his.

It was very simple, something he knew she would appreciate.  His mother had approached him with her engagement ring when he first asked them to approve, though he adamantly shook his head.  He knew Hermione, he knew what she would want, and his mother’s rock was far from that.  He’d gone shopping alone for he didn’t want anyone’s opinions; he wanted to let his heart decide.  His heart, something that Hermione had captured and would never let go. 

Draco brought her closer at this thought, letting his grey eyes slip shut as he soaked in the feel of her, the smell of her, the touch of her.  He wanted nothing more than to stay here forever, this beauty wrapped in his arms, this beauty that was his.

And so they stayed there for hours to come, and they made love once more, to the soft pitter-patter of the dying sky’s tears, to the delicate music graced with haunting ambience, and they were one.

-- 

February thirteenth.
1999.

The story of how they had met, how they had found one another, had quickly spread throughout the school, to students and teachers alike, though Hermione hadn’t realized just how many people would approach her.  Some shook their head at her, though many begged her to tell the story herself, to really show the romance that had transpired, that had grown.  She indulged a few, though it grew tiresome after a while.  And then a whisper of their engagement flittered among a few before it blossomed and everyone was talking about it.  Hermione could barely even count how many people came up and asked to see the ring, asked how he had proposed.  It was both amusing and annoying.

Quidditch finally started up again in February, and the first match was between Slytherin and Ravenclaw.  Hermione, though she was torn between rooting for both teams, sat with the Gryffindors, Ginny and Anna on either side, and the boys behind them.  The girls all chatted animatedly as they waited for the game to begin.

“So,” Ginny began quickly as the doors opened and the Ravenclaws walked out, “Harry asked me to move in with him after school.  Hermione, you are never going to believe this, but,” she paused, ecstatic-looking, “He found his parents’ old house, which was also his grandparents’.  It’s technically his, and he wants me to move in there with him.”

“No!” Hermione gasped as Anna stared on disbelievingly, “Really?  Have you seen it?”

“I haven’t.  He’s taking me over spring break.  Hermione, I can’t even believe this, can you?  A house.  And it was his parents; that will just be so amazing for him, to go back to where they lived.”

“That’s amazing, Gin.  Wow.”

“I know, I know.  Look, I want both of you to come see it with me after he takes me, okay?  Please?”

“Yea, of course,” Anna promised, “That would be awesome.  I was actually gonna ask you guys if you wouldn’t mind coming into London with me and flat-browsing.  I’m moving out of my parents’ house as soon as I can.”

“Is Ron?” Hermione asked Ginny quietly.

“I’m not sure.  He hasn’t said much about it.  I think, though, that Harry wants to let him live at the house until he gets enough on his feet to move out.  I don’t have any problem with it, he just hasn’t asked yet.”

“They’re both going to be Aurors, right?” Anna asked conversationally as the Slytherins walked out onto the field.

“They technically already have the job.  Did I tell you that, Hermione?  The Head of the Auror Department came over during winter break and told them that, if they were still interested, it didn’t matter their grades and they already had the job.  They just have to do some small training.  And!” Ginny exclaimed excitedly, “He said that once Harry had been there for a few years, he was going to retire.  You should have seen his face, the Head, I mean.  He’s so excited about finally retiring.  He started telling us all his plans,” Ginny laughed softly, “But, anyway, Harry’s going to be promoted to Head, which, apparently none of the department has a problem with.  They were going to tell you, too, but you were in Italy.”

“I’m not,” Hermione broke off as Lee Jordan overrode them, “I’m not going to be an Auror, Ginny.”

“No way!” she gasped, “Why?”

“Because she’s taking ownership of Flourish and Blotts,” Harry interrupted them, leaning forward with a smile, “Hermione, I wrote Jack, Head Auror, about it, and he said that they’d really still love to have you involved, and, after a few letters back and forth, we came up with something.  How would you like to work part-time as an Auror?  You’ll just be involved in the finer details of it, you won’t actually be doing any raids or the such, just the information side of it.”

“Really?  That sounds perfect.  And I get to stay at Flourish and Blotts?” Hermione turned to him, curious.

“Absolutely.  I don’t think you’d ever have to come into the Ministry, actually, unless, like, we direly need you.”

“You should do it, Hermione,” Ron piped up, “It sounds like a perfect fix.”

“It really does.  Harry, I’m definitely on board for that.  Let… Jack?  Let him know,” she said, nodding and smiling.

He just returned the movement before leaning back to continue his conversation with Ron.  And Hermione couldn’t help but grin for the rest of the game; everything was working out wonderfully.

--

Disclaimer: Everything recognizable belongs to J.K. Rowling.  Lyrics from Wow belong to Snow Patrol.

It took me a little while to write this chapter, but once I finally got it going, it went pretty well, so I hope you all enjoyed it.  Also!  The “ambience-ridden” and “delicate” music that I referenced in the January thirty-first scene was inspired by Jacob Golden’s sophomore album, Revenge Songs.  I didn’t put any specific songs there or lyrics because, well, it came out in 2007, but it, honestly, it really shaped that entire scene, so, if you can find it, definitely give it a listen.  He truly is something amazing, that man is.


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