Chapter 17 : Chapter 17
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When Draco and Hermione entered the Great Hall for breakfast the next morning holding hands, it was as though time had stopped. The students gave a collective gasp and stared shamelessly. Hermione quickly looked over her shoulder, looking for whatever had caught her classmates' attention, the empty entrance hall was all that was behind her. Then she realised, it was her and Draco causing the fuss. They had grown used to holding hands, hugging and kissing at will without a second thought. Here, at Hogwarts, no-one knew about their relationship. Or they hadn't, until a minute ago.
The whispers began as the pair walked to their seats...
"Hermione and Malfoy?"
"I thought they hated each other?"
"She can do better than him."
"What are you talking about? He's gorgeous, he could have any girl he wanted!"
Draco gripped her hand tighter, the look on his face told Hermione he was getting angry.
"Just ignore them. Trust me, they've said worse, about both of us. We'll be old news by the end of the week." She told him reassuringly.
"Hermione Granger are you making the Hogwarts headlines again?" Ginny said teasingly as Hermione and Draco sat down opposite her.
"Unfortunately. So much for a quiet year at Hogwarts." Hermione sighed.
"Is there even such a thing?" Ginny laughed while Hermione shook her head.
The returning seventh year students began to feel the pressure over the next few weeks at Hogwarts. Their lessons were definitely more difficult since returning from their Christmas holidays. All of the Professors, including Mr Weasley, had began their first lesson back with a long lecture about NEWTs. How their performances in the exams would determine the rest of their careers and lives. That they should have been revising for weeks already and should continue to do some revision most nights. That nothing, not even quidditch, should have a higher priority. After this, Hermione quickly amended her revision timetable and increased her hours in the library.
With Draco studying hard and having quidditch practice 3 nights a week, they barely had any time left to spend together. They sat together in the library and the common room revising, but most of the time they weren't speaking. Draco forced Hermione to at least take a break for a few hours every Sunday. As much as Hermione loved being in the library reading, this was her favourite time of the week. She and Draco would walk around the grounds together, he would proudly hold her hand and kiss her without caring if anyone was watching. Despite the pressure they were both under preparing for their exams, they were blissfully happy with each other.
By the time valentines day was nearing, both were determined to have a whole weekend off. A notice went up the week before to say there would be a Hogsmeade trip on the Saturday. The fourteenth was a Friday and Hermione was secretly pleased that Hogwarts was celebrating valentines day in the same way they had when Lockhart had been there. She entered the Great Hall to a sea of pink and reds, hearts and flowers. Ginny was hidden behind a huge bunch of roses and opening a pink envelope from Harry. His new owl, Godric was helping himself to her pumpkin juice.
Draco was nowhere to be seen, Hermione took her seat at the table and placed his present, a set of quidditch robes bearing the emblem and colours of his favourite team, the Falmouth Falcons, next to her.
Ginny was now reading her valentines card from Harry with a fond smile on her face, however, her happiness quickly turned to confusion.
"Hey Hermione, Harry has added a P.S. on the end of my card saying 'it's payback time', payback for what?"
Hermione shrugged and looked to the doorway to see if Draco had appeared yet, she was getting concerned.
It was time to head to her first lesson of the day, Herbology and she still had not seen her boyfriend. Fridays were her least favourite day of the school week, although she finished early due to a free period, she had no lessons with Draco. She arrived at greenhouse three in a rather bad mood. Halfway through her lesson in which they were pruning a shrivelfig plant, an owl tapped on the window in front of Hermione, she opened it and the owl landed on the bench in front of her. It was carrying a single red rose and a card that read:
Thank you for saving me.
Hermione smiled, at least she knew he hadn't forgotten it was Valentines Day. The note turned out to be one of three, she received another rose with a letter attached in Muggle Studies;
Thank you for being amazing, kind, intelligent and beautiful.
The third arrived just before lunch, during Muggle Studies;
Thank you for being mine.
When she entered the Hall at lunchtime she spotted Draco and almost ran over to him, hugging and kissing him before he had even said hello to her. She thanked him in between kisses before finally putting him down. He presented her with a dozen more red roses and a valentines card. Hermione was overjoyed, she had never felt so loved.
The 'payback' Harry had wrote a note in Ginny's card appeared at lunch time in the form of a surly, grumpy looking dwarf, dressed as Cupid. Hermione burst into a fit of giggles as she remembered the dwarf singing a Valentine to Harry from Ginny in their second year. Sure enough, the dwarf began to sing:
Her hair is as red as a hot dancing flame,
Her bat bogey hex is not very tame,
I love her, I do. Ginny, that's who,
And I'm glad that she feels the same.
Ginny's entire face was as red as her hair. The dwarf took a bow and left as those around Ginny applauded loudly.
"Oh Harry James Potter you are dead!" She grabbed her bag and stormed off, presumably to write Harry an angry letter, or worse, a howler.
After her last lesson of the day, Ancient Runes, Hermione headed to her dorm. She was planning on getting changed and then getting a head start on the homework she had been given that day. However, when she got to her room, it was clear that Draco had other plans. There was a large box on her bed, with a note attached saying:
Meet me at the room of requirement in an hour, wear this.
Inside the box was a beautiful red and gold silk halter-neck gown. Hermione beamed, Valentines day was quickly becoming her favourite day of the year.
Just under an hour later, Hermione was standing in front of the blank stretch of wall opposite the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy. She walked back and forwards three times thinking of Draco and the large wooden door appeared.
She entered the room that she had been in countless times, each time it had looked different. This time, it was breathtaking. Hundreds of candles were placed around the room, giving it a soft, gentle glow. A round table in the centre of the room bore more candles, golden goblets and cutlery. Standing behind it was Draco, looking heart-stoppingly handsome in another muggle suit, a gorgeous smile on his face.
"Hermione, you look perfect."
"You don't look so bad yourself." She replied with a grin. "Draco, this is amazing, it's...to much."
"Nothing is too much for you, Hermione. You deserve more than this, but this will do for now." He crossed the room and kissed her deeply, leaving her a little lightheaded. He pulled out one of the chairs at the table for her and she took a seat, he sat opposite. There was a 'pop' and Minnie appeared, wearing an apron around her middle and carrying two plates. She served them a exquisite three course meal and topped their glasses up with pumpkin juice at regular intervals.
At the end of the meal, Minnie went back to the kitchen and Draco presented Hermione with one last gift. She opened a square golden box to reveal a gold necklace. It had a thin delicate chain and a heart shaped pendant hanging from it. On one side of the pendant there was a small ruby, on the other was an emerald. Gryffindor and Slytherin side by side.
"Oh, Draco. I don't know what to say...thank you." She whispered.
He stood up, walked around to her and took the necklace out of her hands. He pulled her out of her seat and turned her around so she had her back to him. He then carefully swept her hair off her neck, fastened the necklace around her neck and placed a soft kiss on her back. She gave a sharp intake of breath at his unexpected kiss and turned to face him. Draco kissed her, softy at first and then more passionately. Hermione had never been kissed this way before. There was an urgency to his kiss, making her feel wanted and utterly desirable. His hands roamed her body, starting at her neck. They ran down her bare back and down until they met the silk of her dress again, they grabbed her hips and pulled them closer to him. Hermione gasped as they came into contact with something firm, evidence of Draco's arousal. Hermione was amazed that she had caused that effect, she had caused him to be aroused. The thought terrified her but also excited her, it made her go weak at the knees. She was processing in her head what this meant, were they about to take the next step in their relationship? Did she want to take that step? The room, with it's magical abilities, made the decision before Hermione had even thought it. Draco had pulled away and was looking over Hermione's shoulder. She turned to see what had distracted him and their dinner table had disappeared, a huge four poster bed in its place. Hermione looked back to Draco and giggled nervously.
"Did you...think of that?" He asked her.
"Not exactly, I was just...wondering..." She mumbled.
"Where this was going...I guess the room was being prepared for any...scenario." Hermione was blushing furiously.
"Hermione, we don't have to. I mean, it's up to you. I would never rush you into anything."
"I know that. I want this, I do." She said, more convincing herself than Draco. "I'm nervous, I've never...you know..." More blushing ensued.
"Me neither." He confessed. "I know there were rumours, about me and Pansy, but they weren't true. I always wanted to wait, until I was sure about the other person. I'm sure about you Hermione, I love you."
Hermione's heart was beating furiously now "I love you too." She whispered, taking his hand and leading him to the bed. They both stood awkwardly at the end of it until Draco kissed Hermione again. This time it was gentler, but the need and desire was more evident. Hermione slid Draco's jacket off his shoulders and let it fall to the floor. Her fingers fumbled with the buttons on his shirt and soon it joined the jacket on the floor, revealing Draco's pale and muscled torso. Following Hermione's lead, Draco loosened the knot of the dress at the back of Hermione's neck that was the only thing keeping it on her body. It fell to a pool at her feet, leaving her in just her underwear, her breasts bare due to the cut of the dress making her unable to wear a bra. She was more exposed than she had ever been in front of another person and yet felt completely comfortable. Any doubts she had about doing this disappeared at that moment.
Draco sat her on the end of the bed and she loosened his belt and button on his trousers. He lay her back and trailed kisses from her waist, across her chest and up to her lips, resting himself on top of her.
Soon, both were rid of their underwear and Draco was positioned at her entrance.
"Are you sure about this?" He asked her.
Was she sure about making this commitment to him, to Draco Malfoy? She looked into his grey eyes, that once were filled with nothing but hatred for her but now weren't showing any emotion other than love. Yes, she was sure. She nodded and he closed the gap between them. Hermione gasped at the unfamiliar, slightly painful feeling. Draco, waited until she was used to the new sensation and nodded, allowing him to start moving.
Draco was incredibly gentle with Hermione, asking her in between passionate kisses if she was alright.
They lay together afterwards, wrapped in the blankets, Hermione tracing patterns on Draco's chest whilst he watched her intensely. They spent the entire night together in the Room of Requirement, exploring the new side to their relationship.
Reluctantly, they left the next morning for the Hogsmeade trip. They walked back to their dorm, hand in hand, both in their clothes from the night before. The castle was empty as the staff and students were all having breakfast in the great hall...at least, that's what Hermione and Draco thought. Unfortunately for them, someone had heard them approaching the entrance to the seventh year common room, someone had heard them thanking each other for a perfect night and had hidden behind a suit of armour as they passed. When they had given the password and entered the common room, she stepped out from her hiding place.
Pansy Parkinson's expression was murderous.
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