Chapter 28 : Loved
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Also, my apologies for the spacing of this chapter as well. I can't seem to fix it.
You finally find
You and I
Hermione, tired after the long discussion with her friends about John, the mark, and the Dark Lord, stumbled into Draco’s office, through the fireplace, with a weary expression. Once inside, she raised her eyes from the floor, and saw his door flung open, and papers laying in uncharacteristically messy heaps on the ground.
Everything was silent, and for a moment she wondered if the Greengrasses were leaving, but she remembered that wasn’t for two more days now. It didn’t look aggressive, the clutter that suddenly filled Draco’s study, but Hermione took out her wand for precaution’s sake.
Slowly making her way to the door, Hermione noticed a shadow looming over the doorway. Two of them, actually. Both long and slender, and just outside. She made sure to tread softly, making barely any sound as she crossed the marble flooring, towards whoever was waiting.
As she turned the corner, she noticed familiar faces and immediately her guard dropped. Before her were the sisters, although one of them was missing. Her heart sunk about two feet into the floor as she realized that Draco was technically missing as well, and she supposed it wasn’t a fluke.
“Hermione!” Queenie smiled a genuine sort of smile, as if the lion hearted girl was one of them. “Isn’t it great? It was all my doing, with a little help from Daph, of course.”
Hermione just stared back. Daphne was looking down at her as if she was very thoroughly disgusted that Hermione had arrived back home, and could not even bear to look at her. Her eyes look clouded, and Hermione could tell that something had happened whilst she was gone, and Daphne was taking horrible joy in it.
“What happened?” Hermione directed her question towards Queenie, probably the nicest Greengrass. “Where’s Astoria?”
“That’s it! That’s the thing." Queenie started excitedly. “You left and Draco was just sitting in his study all moodily, and Astoria was quite distressed because she really likes Draco, you see, but he wasn’t giving her a second glance.”
“And she said she would feel bad going for Draco while you’re engaged to him,” Daphne explained with a smirk. “Especially after you were so nice to her. But I said if you were a real friend you wouldn’t stand in the way of her relationship with Draco.”
“And I said,” Queenie continued. “That he totally still wants her, so we got her to go into his office. Of course Daphne and myself were listening in and he seemed mad for quite some time actually, but Astoria worked her charm and voila! We ran out of the way but they were headed to his bedroom.”
Hermione felt sick to her stomach. Queenie nodded exuberantly which only added to Hermione’s sudden illness.
“Isn’t it great?” Queenie asked with far too much enthusiasm.
“Yeah.” Hermione whispered. She put her palm to her forehead as if she had a headache. So Draco had really gotten over her.
She turned away from the Greengrass sisters without another word, and began to walk towards the staircase. She just wanted to go to the library. Read a book. Sit down.
“Oh, you’re so mischievous, Hermione!” Queenie giggled. “Going upstairs to spy on them!”
Hermione didn’t answer, only kept going with Daphne and Queenie hot on her heels. She didn’t want to spy on Astoria and Draco, and the sisters would understand that when she went to the library instead.
“Hermione, you look a tad blue.” Daphne said, once they were in the oak paneled hallway. “You’re not holding onto some secret feelings for Draco dear, are you?”
Queenie snorted and hit her sister in the side. “Stop being so rude to Hermione when she’s been nothing but kindness our entire stay.”
Daphne didn’t reply, and Hermione supposed it was because they were quickly coming to where Draco’s bedroom was. A little ways past it was the library and Hermione’s private destination. Hopefully she wouldn’t hear anything. Hopefully she could just walk by and nothing would happen.
Of course, this wasn’t what was to occur. Draco’s door flew open, the man himself appearing through the doorway in slacks and a dress shirt. He held the door open and was yelling at someone unseen to get out of his room.
He looked livid as, what Hermione knew had to be Astoria, did not exit. His lips came together in a thin line before he began yelling again. “You need to stop!”
Hermione and the sisters just stared, and he didn’t seem to notice their presence. “You know I don’t care for you like that, and after this I doubt I ever can!” He continued. “You have to stop acting like such a child, Astoria! We’ve tried a relationship and it doesn’t work!”
The person he was talking to was speaking, but her words were inaudible to Hermione and the sisters. Draco only raised his eyebrows and pointed out the door, seemingly unimpressed with whatever her argument was.
Astoria finally walked into the hallway, with her tail between her legs. She looked up and noticed the girls just a little ways away. Tears welled in Astoria’s eyes and she immediately broke out into a run towards her friends.
Draco looked up as well, and noticed that the fight had been witnessed. He met Hermione’s eyes and the two stared at each other for a moment. He looked calm now, but his hands were still shaking with anger. He turned away suddenly, and walked back into his bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
Hermione winced at the noise. She wanted to know what he was thinking, but unthankfully he made that almost impossible.
Astoria had tears slipping down her cheeks in rapid streams, her mouth puckered and the white’s of her eyes already reddening. She flung herself into her sisters arms, who held her until finally she swallowed and took a step away. Tears, in little pools, still collecting on her cheeks.
“Oh, baby, what happened?" Queenie asked quietly, urging her sister to explain.
“Well, I was talking to him about work and stuff." Astoria began between sniffles. “And he kept telling me to go away. And then I sat on his desk and I..." She was stopped by a sob, and began to break down again.
“Come now, tell us everything." Daphne coaxed.
“If you must know, I-I pulled on his tie and I told him to stop working for once... And he didn’t. He ignored me. So I kept asking. And this went on for a while.” Astoria began shaking, and Queenie embraced her again.
Hermione simply watched as if this was the most ridiculous thing she’d ever seen. Astoria reminded her horribly of Lavender Brown in their sixth year, and Hermione decided that irritating love triangles were her lot in life.
“So I told him to come with me and he said no.” She continued. “And then I said if he just came with me, I’d leave him alone. So he followed me... And so when we were there,” She pointed to his bedroom door. “I told him to close his eyes. And he did. But he seemed kinda annoyed about it. And then I kissed him.”
Hermione could have sworn her heart had just stopped working. Queenie gasped and Daphne smiled a devilish sort of smile. Hermione wanted to cast some sort of humiliating spell on Daphne, even more than she wanted to do so to Astoria. Daphne’s prejudice and childish sneering irked her to no end.
“And then he pulled away and opened his eyes, but I kissed him again. But he pulled away again. And then I told him I want to be with him, and so I kissed him again. And he kissed back.”
Hermione cursed under her breath.
“So I thought I had gotten him back, but he pushed me away again.” Astoria started getting teary once again, and Queenie patted her back lovingly. “And he was all of a sudden angry, and he told me to go. And I asked him why I wasn’t good enough anymore and he just told me that he doesn’t love me or feel the attraction anymore.”
Astoria started sobbing again and Hermione wanted desperately to tell her to smarten up, it’s no wonder he doesn’t feel the attraction anymore, she’s a twenty four year old women acting like a pre schooler.
“And the rest you saw, I think.” She sniffled.
“Oh, honey, honey, he’s just being stupid.” Queenie held her sister yet again as Daphne kissed her forehead.
“He’s probably already regretting it.” Daphne said solemnly. “He’ll be yours one of these days, dear.”
Astoria nodded hopelessly. “Hermione, would you do me a favor? It would mean so much to me.”
Astoria pouted, and looked ridiculously saddened, so Hermione was forced to respond in the affirmative. “Okay, but what is it?”
“Could you go talk to Draco for me?” She asked. “I really hate having people being mad at me.”
Daphne suddenly broke away from her sister and looked venomously at Hermione. “I’m not sure if that’s such a-”
“Hush, Daph. I know she’ll help me.” Astoria smiled warmly at Hermione. “Won’t you?”
“You want me to talk to Draco for you?”
“Yes, I know he’ll listen to you. I don’t want him upset with me.”
“Sure, I’ll go try to bring him ‘round." Hermione smiled back, and shot Daphne a smirk that would make even Lucius Malfoy himself proud, before leaving the trio and walking towards Draco’s door.
Once she was there, and out of earshot from the sisters, she put her ear close to the wood but could hear nothing from the other side. She rapped her knuckles softly on the door and waited but a moment for a reply.
“Go away!” He called hoarsely.
She knocked again, a bit louder this time. “Draco, it’s Hermione.”
Nothing came from the other side, and Hermione turned the rickety brass knob carefully, stepping into the doorway with caution. Draco was sitting in a cream upholstered chair with his face buried in his hands. His back was slack and his right temple throbbed tensely.
He did not say anything as she closed the door behind her and walked towards Draco. She sat down on the floor in front of him and watched him in silence. His elbows rested upon his knees, and she knew it was her job to be there for him now.
“I’m assuming you heard what happened.” He said quietly.
“I did,” She replied. “But I wanted to hear it from you.”
There was a pause. Hermione’s heartbeat was going incredibly slow. Usually it felt like it was going to beat right out of her chest when she sat so close to him, but the silence, and the way they were was perfect and comfortable. She could hear the quiet ticking of a clock somewhere from within his room, and she marveled for a moment on how wonderfully warm it was.
There were several green and silver objects, drapes and blankets, but for the most part his room was polished oak, and the warm oil lamps on his walls cast a beautiful, tender glow.
“Astoria kept coming onto me and I...” He trailed off.
“You pushed her away.”
Suddenly he dropped his hands from his face and stared at her with that beautiful, mysterious gaze of his. “But I let her in, Hermione. There was one kiss where I just let myself go.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Hermione chuckled. “It’s not like you were cheating or anything. And anyway, it’s done now.”
Draco started to shake his head. “No, no, no. I don’t think it will ever be done. Not with her.”
Hermione smiled again. She wanted to hold his head, stop his pain but she knew she couldn’t do that now. Not yet. “No, Draco.” She almost whispered. “I know you will find a girl and be very happy one day.”
“I’ll probably just marry Astoria.”
The room’s beautiful silence and enticing glow filled Hermione like water in a glass. She wanted Draco to feel this too. It was good that he trusted her. She felt safe with him.
“Do you still harbor feelings for her?”
“If I did I would have gone for her just now. And anyway,” Draco met her eyes. “You know my affections are employed elsewhere.”
Hermione’s cheeks began to blossom, and she quickly averted her eyes.
“I’m sorry...” He continued. “I’ve thought about it, and I couldn’t expect you to return my feelings.”
“Why do you think that?” She asked curiously, turning back to face him. He looked splendid. Tall, broad, regal, and intensely aristocratic.
“I’m spoiled, rude, and not to mention I did kill someone right in front of you.”
Hermione shivered at the memory, and averted her gaze once more.
“See? I’m horrid.”
Hermione shook her head firmly. “No you’re not. You’ve done everything for a reason.”
“Not always for noble reasons. Not like your friends and you.”
Hermione sighed and met his eyes. “It doesn’t matter. Everything has been for a reason. You have to stop dragging the past into everything.”
“And you,” He said with a small, teasing smile. “Have to stop acting like you care. It just makes the whole thing worse.”
“I do care.” Hermione gently placed her palm against his cheek, her heart nearly jumping out of her throat.
Draco pushed her hand away, his stare turning icy.
“I don’t know what you’re getting at, but you have to stop.” He ordered rather hoarsely. “It just hurts, okay? I don’t want false hope again.”
“No, Hermione, stop-”
“What if it’s not fake?”
The softness in his features vanished as if it had never been there in the first place. He looked livid and he almost shouted his reply. “Stop pretending you care!”
“I’m not pretending!”
Draco’s face contorted, as if he was worse off than he had been a few minutes ago. “But you told me you could never like me like that.”
“I was scared.” Hermione breathed. “I was so scared, and I made a mistake-”
Draco snorted and looked away, edging further into his seat and looking almost as if he was going to stand up and leave the room.
“So you still... like me?” She asked carefully.
“Well, it sounds ridiculous when you put it like that.”
The flicker of a smile curved up the sides of Hermione’s lips. “The feeling is mutual.”
He did stand up then, walking past where she sat on the floor, and staring at her in angry confusion. “What the hell are you getting at?!”
Hermione stood up as well, and continued in hushed tones. “I think I’ve known for a long time.”
“Hermione, stop it!”
“I just didn’t know how to respond to what I felt.” Hermione walked closer to him, and he stopped moving. His features softened and his eyes darted between hers, as if trying to read her.
Hermione watched him do this. His cool, grey eyes almost looking like that of a childs. His entire demeanor seemed almost weakened, as if he was ready to give up. Everything, all the way back to when Rueben first tried to recruit Draco lay in his eyes, which looked clear and delicate beneath his darkened brow.
All she could hear was her own heartbeat, and their breaths which lay steady and unmoving in the air around them. She needed him. She had for a while now.
Suddenly Hermione moved towards him and placed her lips gently on his. Her left hand went instinctively to his jaw, where it sat carefully against his skin.
Draco did not move for a moment. His eyes had closed just like Hermione’s, but it took him a second to realize what had happened.
Hermione moved her lips against his, waiting for him to do something, which he did almost as suddenly as she had. His right hand went to the back of her neck, and his left wrapped around her waist and pulled her to him.
His lips glided over hers passionately, as if he had been waiting for this his entire life. Her right hand was pressed against his chest as their mouths came together and pulled away.
It quickly became rather rapid, as Draco had hurried to deepen their kiss. His tongue traced over her teeth, and at one point he even bit down on her bottom lip seductively, causing her to fumble slightly. She could feel him smile against her lips, and she knew this was right. Falling into his office really hadn’t been much of a mistake, after all.
The two pulled away for air, their breaths now husky and rapid.
“I love you.” He said simply.
The words hung in the air for a moment, Hermione watching him with her bottom lip hanging open in surprise.
“No!” He quickly continued. “Not just because of this. I’ve loved you...”
“I know.” Hermione murmured.
She placed her hand gingerly over his own and smiled at him. She had never seen him look like this before and honestly it was wonderful. His expression, his eyes, his joy, all of it.
“And I love you.”
She giggled despite herself, but Draco’s demeanor only softened further.
“Thank you.” He responded. “For sticking by me when I was an ass to you, and for never losing hope in me. For waiting all those weeks ago. Just for everything, I suppose.”
“Oh, how the Malfoy heir fell.” She laughed teasingly.
“What?” He asked, confused.
“You’re getting all sentimental on me.” She told him, still smiling.
“And I think it’s high time for it.”
“Oh, I agree.”
Somehow they ended up on his bed, kissing slowly and almost desperately. Taking in all that they could. Draco, whilst grappling for air between kisses, would remind her how much he loved her, and how long he had, in his husky and regrettably stimulating voice.
Hermione, during one of those such intervals, took pure satisfaction out of the way he smiled at her, as if he was finally free. Smiling with teeth, and a kind, beautiful gleam in his eyes. She pushed him back slightly as their lips reunited, but he stopped midway and pushed her underneath instead.
Their hands holding the others, their breaths tumbling down each others throats, Hermione would have hoped that Astoria would enter. But at this moment she didn’t care. She didn’t feel any remorse or jealousy for the simple blonde creature any longer. She was okay now. She was with him now.
Draco abruptly pulled away, and held himself only inches above her. He looked into her vivid brown eyes for a short while before leaning back in and tenderly touching his lips to hers in one last display of affection, before raising himself back into a sitting position, Hermione following suite.
“I don’t want to go too fast,” He said, still slightly out of breath. “Not with you.”
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