Chapter 6 : Dinner with a friend.
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Hermione never knew just how amazing a shower could feel until she got back from their cave! She felt so wonderful as the water poured down on her body that she kept reaching up and tapping the showerhead with her wand to keep the water hot. As she showered she let all her stress go, the stress of taking care of Draco while he was injured, the stress of the whole situation with Draco, the stress of her job, the retreat all of it and she physically felt her muscles loosen and relax. She had promised Harry she’d go to dinner, just the two of them and she couldn’t wait, she needed time with her best friend. That thought, happy though it was, brought her back to the present and she knew she had to get out and get ready so she sighed and turned the water off.
She was just drying off when there was a knock on the bathroom door, Draco told her Harry was here and waiting. She dried her hair with her wand and threw on a pink sundress and a pair of strappy sandals and left the bathroom.
When she saw Harry she squealed and ran to hug him. She grabbed his cheeks and then started checking him for injuries and satisfying herself that he was healed correctly. He laughed at her inspection. “Hermione, it was a deep cut across the middle of my back, Jenny was amazing really, she fixed me up in no time then she took care of gathering what we needed for the night and refused to let me help, almost exactly what you would have done.” He reassured her.
“It is exactly what she did do.” Draco piped in laughing. “I had a bit of an accident myself, broken ankle. Hermione handled it amazingly, took such gentle care of me.” Hermione blushed deeply and tried to hide it by looking down.
Harry didn’t miss it and made a mental note to talk to her about it as soon as they were at dinner. “Well, if you’re ready, how bout we head out?” He suggested.
“Bye Draco, see you later.” Hermione said, and smiled at him.
Raising an eyebrow Harry held the door open for her. When it shut behind him he decided now was a good time. “What was up back there? There was definitely some energy happening between the two of you, I could feel it in the air Hermione.”
“I don’t exactly know Harry, I’m so confused. I mean, it’s Malfoy, right! Only, it’s not. Well it is, but he’s not who we used to know, he’s changed, like if we’d all met now instead of then, we’d all be really good friends, or even more.” Hermione spoke very fast, waiting for his reaction.
“I know he’s changed ‘Mione, I’ve been telling you this for ages, you refused to listen. I still didn’t expect you and him to hit it off this well, what happened during our little camping expedition between you two exactly? Oh, and by the way, I’m gonna kidnap Kingsley when we get back and make him do that fun little camp out exercise!” He grumbled.
Hermione cracked up, laughing so hard she had tears in her eyes. “Draco and I spent many hours over the last few days thinking up and discarding many plans for the same thing.”
“He is going to answer for that little exercise, I promise.” Harry laughed.
They reached the main building and went to the lounge and ordered drinks when they were seated. Harry had a firewhiskey and Hermione ordered a Strawberry Daiquiri. They both ordered steak and baked potato, and Hermione asked for asparagus with hers.
“Harry, I need to tell you something else about Draco.” Hermione said quietly. She seemed nervous to Harry, so he leaned forward and covered her hand that was on the table.
“You can tell me anything ‘Mione, you know that. You don’t have to be embarrassed.” Harry assured her.
“Alright, it seems that he and I have feelings for each other, that aren’t strictly friendly in nature. He said he’d try to be my friend, but he wasn’t sure it would be enough for him. Aww Harry, he opened up while we were out there, and the more he did, the more I wanted to know him. It’s gotten stronger as time passes. I don’t know what to do about it either.” She confessed afraid of Harry’s reaction, she looked pleadingly into his green eyes she loved.
“Well, Gin and you are the ones that usually handle these kinds of problems, because we both know I’m rubbish at them. But, I will try to help since you’re asking for advice.” Harry said.
She looked at him closely, looking for any sign that he was disgusted or angry at her, but was surprised when she found none. She furrowed her brows and looked at him.
He laughed, “Expecting a different reaction to your confession?”
“Umm, duh!” she teased back.
“Okay, here’s how I personally see it. Go with your feelings ‘Mione because your instincts are usually spot on. If you feel the change in him, and your pulled into deeper feelings, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you felt this for some guy you met at work, or at the market you wouldn’t think twice.” He told her.
“Yes Harry, but he isn’t just someone I met somewhere, it’s Malfoy and there is history.”
“Good point. I think sometimes we have to let ourselves forget the past, well not forget really, more like let it go so we can move forward. I made peace and became friendly with Draco and Blaise a long time ago. I trust both of them with my life. If I needed back up on the job, they are two of the first one’s I would call to have my back.” Harry said, pausing so she could take it all in.
“I know that isn’t what you were expecting to hear, and this next statement will blow you away even more. Before Ron moved to head up the American Aurors, he made friends with them as well, but he was afraid it would hurt you if he told you. So was I to be honest, which is why we neither of us said anything.” He confessed to her.
“Harry, you both should have told me, I would have dealt with it. We’ve always been honest with each other.” She whispered feeling hurt.
“You are absolutely right ‘Mione, but after what happened to you, we didn’t want to add more stress when you were trying to heal mentally.” He told her completely honest.
“Okay, but talk to me from now on, alright?” She asked.
“You bet. Now, let’s get back to what we were talking about. Personally, I have always thought Malfoy would be a good match for you based on personality, intelligence, humor and work ethics. Just had that tiny blood status issue to get out of the way.” He said laughingly and she laughed right along with him feeling much more comfortable and not because of the two Daiquiris either.
“He let all of that go, and for the last two years Ron and Blaise and I have been trying to figure out a way to get the two of you together to see if something would develop between you to be honest. We just haven’t been able to come up with a fool proof idea, or we would have done it long ago.” He said and she gasped.
“Oh, Harry! I have been torturing myself wondering if I should just let it go, not wanting to lose my friends and family!” She accused. “If you would have told me all of this a long time ago, it would have saved me a whole lot of heartache!”
He had the good grace to look uncomfortable. “I won’t apologize for trying to take care of you, or watch out for you, so don’t expect one. I won’t be the one to open old wounds if I can help it. Not after everything you stood by me through.”
“I’m sorry, Harry. I love you, you goof ball. Just next time, talk to me, okay.”
He smiled and everything was okay again, and he had cleared up most of her worries in one conversation. They moved on to him and Jennifer and how their experience went.
“Ginny will have Kingsley’s ass when she finds out that you were required to spend that many nights alone with Jenny, no matter how much she trusts you.” Hermione laughed at him.
“Oh I know, she’ll have mine too. Not looking forward to the telling to tell the truth.” He started squirming.
“Do it fast, like a band aid and maybe it’ll hurt less” she laughed at him. He rolled his eyes at her.
“So, when was the last you heard from Ron?” Harry asked her.
“He called my house before I left to come here, to give moral support. The conversation makes more sense now that we just had that conversation.” She said. “He told me to be open to Malfoy, and to let myself have fun.”
“Yep, he’s smooth. Don’t know how he landed Luna with tact that clever.” Harry shook his head laughing.
They left the lounge around ten o’clock and headed back to Hermione’s bungalow, when they got there she leaned up and kissed his cheek.
“Thank you Harry, you’ve gotten good at advice. With my parent’s both gone it’s usually Gin or Molly I go to, and I’m not sure I would have had the guts to face Molly Weasley with this one.” She said very seriously.
“You’re welcome, now go in there and tell him how you feel. Don’t worry about what any of us will think Hermione, we all just want you to be happy. If he does that for you, everyone will come around, and especially don’t worry about Ginny, she was bursting with joy when she found out the two of you were partnered up.” He said and her mouth dropped.
Harry just laughed at her and gave her a nudge towards the door and made sure she was in before turning to walk away.
When Hermione shut the door she looked around and Draco wasn’t there. So she checked the rest of the bungalow, and he wasn’t anywhere. She decided to walk down the path that lead to the beach, maybe he went to spend time by the water since he loved it as much as she did.
She came to the opening and found him like she thought she would, but she developed a major case of nerves about what she was about to do. Draco’s back was to her and she admired the way he looked in the moonlight for a minute, until he felt her eyes and turned.
“Hermione….” He started, but that is all he got out. Hermione walked straight up to him and without stopping to think any more about it she reached her arms around his neck and with one hand brought his head down and kissed him. He pulled her the rest of the way into him and took over growling low in his throat.
Draco brought his hands up to cup her cheeks as he ended the kiss so that they both got some air. “What brought this on Hermione? Not that I’m complaining, I just want to know where we stand.”
“We stand right here Draco, the past is gone now. I just want you and me, the way we are today. Who we were and what we were is gone, and I want to move forward with you and give us a try. I don’t know where it will lead us; I just know that I want to find out. If you do, that is.” She said shyly.
“Are you crazy woman? Of course I want this; I’ve wanted this for forever!” He said, and then she was in his arms again. After a good long snogging session they held each other just watching the moonlight and the water while she snuggled in his chest with his arms around her.
She was happier that she had been in what felt like forever.
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