There was a knock at the heavy oak door. Draco lifted his head to look at it, forehead creasing as he tried to think who it could be.
“Come in?” He called, voice full of uncertainty.
The heavy door creaked on its hinges as it was opened. A women stepped in, her face shielded from view by a waterfall of soft caramel curls. Draco knew who it was before she even looked at him. Her soft scent hitting him in waves, coaxing feelings to the surface that he didn’t even know still existed.
“Hermione…” Her name left his lips as a stuttering breath. The woman turned, a look of mild shock taking over her features for a moment, before they softened into a smile that warmed her eyes.
“Hello, Draco.” Her voice was soft. Musical. Draco stood from the arm chair he was reading in, covering the distance between them in seconds, and wrapped the woman before him in a hug that could only ever be described as loving. Her arms wrapped around his waist in turn, and she buried her face in the crook of his neck. He basked in her presence, absorbing every little thing. The feel of her breath warming his shoulder, the soft smell of vanilla curling it’s way around him, how her body melted into his at the slightest touch and how his did exactly the same. It was perfect. Everything about this moment was perfect.
“God I’ve missed you.” He said into the top of her head, his breath disturbing a few of her curls.
“I’ve missed you too. So much it hurt.” She replied, her voice cracking slightly.
“Where’ve you been?” He asked her, his voice barely above a whisper. He felt her tense, and her breath came in a small shuddering gasp.
“I can’t... I don’t...” She tried, pulling back and meeting his gaze. Her eyes were brimming with tears, slipping down her cheeks like rain drops on a window pane. They were full of anguish, pain, confusion. Her lip was quivering and Draco just wanted to hold her against him forever until whatever this was had passed... So that’s what he did.
“Hermione, it’s alright. You don’t have to tell me.” He soothed, leading her over to the sofa in front of the fireplace. He sat and pulled her into his lap. She curled against him, head on his chest, and she slowly relaxed and nuzzled against him now and then, small sighs escaping her perfect lips. His arms wrapped around her protectively, daring anything that hid in the shadows to come near the pair.
“So...” Hermione said, making Draco jump a little. She chuckled, and Draco squirmed as the vibrations travelled through him. “What’ve you been up to today?”
He smiled. Hermione could never be fazed for long. Forever the professional. He started recalling the events of that day, talking about the filing and paper work, reading, writing, the walk he’d taken, the discussions he’d had with people. She laughed at his descriptions of certain staff he’d encountered, agreed with him about certain things and, as could only be expected, disagreed on a fair few. They laughed together and joked and played and just did what was natural. Before Draco knew it, hours had passed, and the sun was slowly setting.
“Come outside with me.” He whispered in her ear. She nodded, and they walked out onto the balcony hand in hand. They settled on a bench, curled up together under a blanket. They sat in silence and watched the sky’s transition from blue, to pink, to orange flames and, eventually, inky blackness... the only sounds being their breathing, and the occasional bird song.
“I love you, Draco... I hope you know that.” Hermione said, taking him slightly by surprise. She turned to look at him, the lamp light from the room casting shadows across her pained face. “I need to know that you know that. I don’t know why I just… I just do. I love you so, so much, and it hurt to be apart from you. I need you to know that I will always love you, no matter what happens. Tell me you understand?”
He simply pulled her closer, planting a kiss on her forehead.
“I know, Hermione. I love you too.” He murmured against her skin; and captured her lips in a soft sweet kiss. He felt the familiar tingling when it broke apart. He felt the warmth spread through his veins like a fire. He would never tire of that feeling for as long as he lived. He stifled a yawn, not wanting this day to end. There was a tingle of doubt in the back of his mind, telling him that something was wrong. Something wasn’t right. There was something that needed fixing. It was like there was a crack, a hairline fracture, splintering the moment but not enough to break it. He pushed it to the back of his mind, focusing instead on the warmth of Hermione’s hand in his. The thing that was happening right now.
“Draco, I know you’re tired.” Hermione’s amused voiced wafted through his thoughts. He smirked at her. “Come on. Bed.” She tugged on his arm and led him back into his room. He settled on the large soft bed, watching Hermione as she gathered her things. He frowned.
“Hermione... Where are you going?” He sounded irritatingly child like, and he scowled to himself.
“I’ve got to go to work.” She told him slowly, shrugging her coat onto her shoulders.
“Oh... Magical Law Enforcement... Night shift... Right.” He forced a smile, beating back the urge to cry. To beg and plead with her to stay. Tell her about the itching, niggling voice in the back of his head saying that if she left, she wouldn’t come back.
“I’m sorry. I’d stay if I could. Believe me Draco. It hurts me to leave you now I’ve got you back.” She told him, coming over and sitting next to him on the bed. He curled his arms around her shoulder and planted a kiss on her cheek.
“It’s okay, I’ll just see you tomorrow, right?” He instantly brightened at the thought. She nodded.
“Yes, tomorrow. I promise.” She whispered. She smiled in turn and stood, walking towards the door. She paused after opening it, turning slightly. “I love you, Draco.”
“I love you too, Hermione.” He replied instantly. She smiled one last time before leaving, and Draco fell asleep that night, replaying the moment over and over again in his head.
Hermione woke the next morning to sunlight pouring through her open windows, her hand automatically reaching out to the space beside her. When she felt it was empty and cold, she sat up, her fuzzy, sleep clogged brain desperately trying to process why she was in bed alone. Then when she realised, the same thing that happened every morning came around again... She burst into tears. The sobs wracked her frame, and everything went suddenly and shockingly numb. She fell back into the bed and curled up on her side, the blankets bunching up around her. God knows how long passed before she could drag herself out of bed. Her morning routine passed as usual. Shower, get dressed, breakfast, Owl Ron and Harry, go to work... Then visit Draco. It broke her heart visiting Draco, even though it was the best part of her day at the same time. Most people got confused when she said she was going to visit her husband. They instantly thought he was in Azkaban or Saint Mungo's. But no. Draco was safe and secure at Malfoy Manor. Under constant watch by Narcissa, Lucius and a variety of other staff. You see, during the final battle, Draco didn’t flee with his parents. He stayed and fought by Hermione’s side, much to the Death Eaters dismay. They’d been together a year that horrifying day. Technically, they were married. They did it in secret, like Romeo and Juliet. Hermione’s anniversary gift, was a husband that couldn’t remember her.
He was crucio’d by Greyback. Crucio’d to the point of complete mental failure in the memory department. When he awoke in Saint Mungo’s, all he could remember was Hermione and his parents. Nothing else... She’d thought it a blessing, that she of all people would be remembered. But the shock came that night when she’d been woken by the bed being shaken. She’d realised a little too late that it was Draco. His body being wracked by spasms. They found out later it’d been caused by her. Draco’s mind couldn’t cope with waking and seeing her, it sent his mind into shock and the fits were caused by an information overload. It broke her heart when they told her. And the worst was yet to come.. She went to see him the next day, hoping to apologise and explain, but instead she was wrapped up in a hug so tight she thought it’d break her ribs, and asked where’d she’d been and why’d she been gone for so long. She couldn’t make sense of it, and subsequently burst into tears. He’d comforted her and said it didn’t matter, and they just talked until he got tired... and the same thing had happened every day since. They couldn’t find a way to fix it. They would never find a way to fix it. This was her life. Having her husband forget her every night, and be reminded the next morning, only to forget again... and even though it broke her heart every time it happened, she wouldn’t stop. She’d never stop. The thought of Draco in that house all alone with only his parents caused a worse pain than what she felt every morning. She loved Draco Malfoy, and if she got him back for a few hours every day, then that was enough. Because a few hours with the one you love is better than nothing at all.
As the summary says, a sequel is finally in the works and should be out soon! I always try to do my best with my Dramione's as they're my babies. Look out for Ameliorate! I've made a few changes to this which will (hopefully) hint towards a suquel, and a happy ending for the couple? We'll see! A million thank you's for all the reviews, hopefully you'll enjoy the next one just as much! xxx