Chapter image by moriarty@TDA
Hermione had an extremely tough day at work, between stacks upon stacks of late paperwork and constant congratulations on her engagement. All such congratulatory remarks were more shocked and curious than actually well-wishing and it made Hermione exhausted.
Almost as the working day was over, Draco popped his head into her office. “Hey you, wanna grab a bite to eat?” he grinned at her
Hermione stared at him in shock. Had Draco Malfoy actually smiled at her? She shook herself and quickly replied in the affirmative. Following Draco out, he apparated them to a small diner.
Holding the door open for Hermione, Draco then put his arm under her elbow and steered her towards a small booth in the corner of the restaurant. Once they both had slid into opposite sides of the booths, Draco asked her “How was your day?”
Hermione smiled at him “Well, not great actually. Between huge amounts of paper, I think about fifty people congratulated me while looking at me like I had lost my mind… Is it really that
unbelievable that we would get married?”
Draco laughed slightly “I know exactly what you mean, my day was more or less the same. And yes, I do believe people really do not believe that we would ever be together, I mean we hated each other for years and years.”
“Well, yes that’s true, but we’ve both changed so much. We don’t hate each other anymore, do we?” Hermione asked, toying with her paper napkin.
“No, I don’t hate you at all. It’s been a really long time. Since sixth year at Hogwarts, I regret so many things that I did, you’ll never fully understand how much I regret treating you the way that I did. I’ll never be able to make it up to you Hermione.” Draco put his head into his hands.
“Draco, stop.” Hermione leaned forward and pulled Draco’s hands into hers, “I do not hate you, and you are making it up to me- you’re saving my life for Merlin’s sake!”
Draco conceded and soon the waitress came to take their order. After eating their dinner, they apparated home, both immediately going to bed, dragging their feet with tiredness.
The next day- a Saturday dawned rainy and gloomy. Rising from his bed, Draco made his way into the bathroom he had claimed. After getting a shower, he made his way into the kitchen and slowly started making batter for waffles, as he didn’t know where all the ingredients were. After finishing the batter, we cast a quick spell that a friend had taught him, turning the batter into beautiful Belgian waffles.
Hermione stumbled into the kitchen, still in her pajamas and came upon the sight of Draco piling two plates with waffles covered in ice cream and strawberries. “MMM.” Hermione moaned as she pulled herself up onto a stool. Quickly tucking into their breakfasts, they hardly heard the knock on the door.
Draco, even though he remained shirtless after his shower, walked to open the door. Pulling the door open, he looked at a small dark haired witch, a taller blonde witch, and a tall but slightly chubby auburn haired wizard. “uhh, Mi.. We have some company sweetheart!” Draco yelled.
Hermione dashed out of the kitchen, upon seeing their guests she gasped “Oh dear, I’m so sorry I completely forgot about the interviews- I’ll go get cleaned up, just a few minutes!”
Draco turned to the small group “I apologize, we were having a lazy morning- I’ll go get cleaned up and we’ll be right out.” Walking into their bedroom he almost ran into a very frazzled Hermione. He grabbed her shoulders and forced her to look up at him. “Relax. You just get ready and I will deal with getting the rest of the house ready.”
Hermione smiled at him gratefully and ran into her closet. Draco sighed and cast a quick spell at their separate beds- drawing them together into one King size bed. Then after casting a few spells to neaten up the room, Draco walked into the closet that Hermione had disappeared into and pulled on a pair of slacks and a burgundy jersey.
Hermione then dashed by him “Where are my shoes, where are my shoes?!” Draco walked towards her shoe rack, plucking what he knew to be her favourite pair of mocassins he waggled them in the air after coughing slightly.
Hermione plucked the shoes out of his hand, pulling them on and then rushing out the door again. Draco watched her leave, admiring her figure in slim fitting jeans and an athletic looking sweater.
Draco soon sauntered out of their bedroom as Hermione was pouring their guests tea, a smile plastered on her face. “Hey love, why don’t we get this interview started?”
Hermione beamed at him “Yes, sounds good”. They sat close together on a small red love seat, facing the interviewers who were each on their on chairs; parchment and quills at the ready. “Okay, uhhh sir? You may ask your first question, which paper are you from?” Hermione asked with a smile.
The young wizard blushed but replied quietly “I’m Euan MacGregor from the Daily Prophet. My question is `How did you first meet?’”
Draco leant forward, one hand drifting over Hermione’s knee. “I’ll answer that one, love. Well, we officially met September 1st, 1991. However I would like to say we met in the correct way on July 18th, 1998. After the ending of the second war, my mother and I were released and I happened to run into Hermione at a book shop- our relationship went from there in secret. We didn’t feel that it was appropriate to flaunt our relationship with everyone still grieving, it’s been hard hiding our feelings, but now we don’t have to” He smiled sweetly at Hermione.
Hermione put her hand on top of Draco’s, turning to the small dark haired witch she asked “And which paper are you from? And your question?”
“My name’s Verity Williams, I’m from the Quibbler and my question is ‘I think everyone knows that you two were not exactly eachother’s biggest fans… How did you get over that?”
Hermione nodded at the question “Yes, in the past Draco and I have not been friends, actually we were enemies during school… But after the war we both decided we needed to put aside old prejudices and move on with our lives. I mean, basically prejudices are what started these wars, so it’s better for everyone to let them go, it was better for us anyway” Hermione smiled happily up at Draco and he leant over and kissed her cheek.
The tall, long haired blonde witch then crossed her legs and smiled seductively at Draco “Natalie Roberts of Witch Weekly. So, Mr. Malfoy, you’ve been tied to a few very lovely ladies in your time, is it hard for you to settle down? And Ms. Granger I’m sure quite a few of our readers will be very interested to hear you are no longer interested in your long time love, Ronald Weasely.”
Draco kept a very cool composure and answered her in a very calm way “Well Ms.Roberts, I have dated a few women in my time, but to be completely honest it isn’t even an effort to settle down. I could never imagine my life without the beautiful women beside me”
Hermione then answered her question “No, I am not interested in Ron. It’s been quite a long time and we are both happier this way.” She snapped
Draco then stood up “Thank you for coming, but I’m afraid you’ll all have to leave now.” The journalists one by one shook Hermione and Draco’s hands, then exited the building. The blonde witch lingering a little longer than the rest.
When they all had finally left Hermione leaned into Draco’s side. Draco squeezed her lightly but then untangled himself from her, walking towards the kitchen.
Hermione stood alone in the living room, wondering about Draco’s change of behaviour. Sitting on a couch she started to think about how strange Draco had been acting- his mood swings and total change of attitude. Finally after mustering up the confidence Hermione strode to the kitchen “Draco. I need to ask you about your drastic behaviour… and the things you said at the club.”
Draco had his back turned towards her, his hands resting heavily on the counter. Slowly he turned, his eyes a very dark grey. “Do you really want to know?” Draco asked her
Hermione nodded her head, stepping towards him quickly.
Draco held a hand up for her to stay put. “Hermione, this is hard for me. I want you to know that it’s not about how I used to feel for you, that’s all in the past. It is about me now though. I will never be good enough for you, the things that I’ve done….. I’m ashamed Hermione, and I know that this marriage will be fake, but my feelings for you aren’t.”
Hermione gasped “Draco, I don’t even know what to say. When did you figure this out?”
Draco looked down awkwardly, rubbing his thumb over his fingernail “Well, to be honest, our first day of working together. I’ve battled so much with my emotions, I’ve tried to hide it, I could never be the one you need. I couldn’t stop though Hermione, my feelings for you are incredibly strong, and I understand that you don’t feel the same way… But could you try?”
Hermione gulped “You could be the one I need, who knows? Yes, yes I can try.”
Draco beamed at her, striding forward to envelope her in his arms “Thank you” he whispered.