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Chapter 26 : Chapter Twenty-Five: Drunken Confessions.
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“This is just my luck, isn’t it?” Draco slurred. “Just my bloody luck. My girlfriend is possibly trying to get back with her stupid ginger-haired ex, my ex is knocked up by my stupid arse…my mother is going to kill me. She’s going to literally kill me.” He stared blankly ahead of him.
Blaise laughed and shook his head. “Oh, she is going to kill you, bring you back to life in order to marry Astoria, and then kill you again.”
“This is a horrible, horrible nightmare. It has to be.”
Blaise shrugged. “Just imagine the blonde little bundle of joy that you’re going to have in roughly six months.”
Draco’s eye began to fill with tears. “I’m so drunk,” he mumbled. “So, so drunk.”
“What are you going to tell Granger?”
Draco blinked away the tears and turned his blurry attention to his best friend. “I’m not going to tell her anything. I need to talk to Astoria first.”
“In hopes of what? That she’s going to just let you live your life with Granger while she has your baby?”
“She makes me so miserable,” Draco moaned. “I can’t spend the rest of my life with her Blaise! That’s why I broke up with her to begin with!”
“You’re kind of shit out of luck, mate!” Blaise exclaimed. “You really have no choice. You have too much riding on this.”
“Hermione is going to be so embarrassed. She’s going to be a laughing stock. I can’t let that happen,” Draco slurred, trying to get to his feet. “I have to protect her from this.”
Blaise stood up faster than Draco and tried to steady him. “How exactly do you plan on doing that? She’ll find out sooner or later and I really think she’d prefer hearing it from you than Witch Weekly.”
Draco swatted Blaise’s hand away. “I hate you. You’re always right.”
Blaise sighed. “I wish you’d remember that in the morning.”
They both froze when they heard the front door open.
“Draco? Are you here?”
Blaise and Draco turned wide-eyes to one another. “Shit. It’s Hermione.”
“Act sober,” Blaise whispered, slapping Draco lightly on the cheeks.
“I am sober,” he slurred.
Blaise took a step back. “Your breath says otherwise, mate.”
Draco groaned as Hermione walked into Draco’s study. She stopped in her tracks. “Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were here, Blaise…I’ll leave you two alone.”
“I was just leaving,” Blaise said, holding out a hand. He turned back to Draco and grabbed him by the collar, pulling him close. “Just talk to her,” he whispered. “Tell her the truth.”
Draco nodded and waved him off. “Yeah, yeah. Go on.”
Blaise shook his head, turning to leave. “I’ll let myself out. Go easy on him, Granger.”
Hermione pursed her lips, confused. “Bye, Blaise…” She turned wary eyes back on Draco. “Hi…”
“I thought I said I didn’t want to see you tonight.”
Hermione sighed. “I know. But I just had a bad feeling and I thought it would be better if we talked this out. I’m so sorry, Draco. I really messed up.”
“You did,” Draco nodded. “You lied to me, Hermione.”
Hermione took a step forward. “I know. I know and I’m so sorry. I wish I could go back and redo everything.”
Draco closed his eyes and shook his head. “I, too, wish I could go back and redo things. But I can’t. Nobody can. But that’s life. You have to live with the mistakes you make. And, trust me Granger, every mistake has a consequence. Life long consequences…bittersweet consequences...”
Hermione stayed quiet, not wanting to disturb Draco’s sudden pensiveness.
“You know what I mean when I say bittersweet? It’s like…it’s like something you’ve wanted so badly for so long but you couldn’t have…but then, when you finally have it, the timing is so bloody off. Or you get it with the wrong person. Everything is wrong. This is so wrong.”
“What?” she asked in a panic. She crossed the length of the room until she was directly in front of him. “I’m a bit lost with what you’re saying but Draco this isn’t wrong! Nothing has ever felt more right to me in my life…Draco, please, just let me expl— oh my god. Are you drunk?”
Draco hiccupped. “A bit.”
Hermione took a step back in alarm. “I didn’t realize you were.”
“I was upset,” he shrugged. “But listen. I’m really too intoxicated to have this conversation right now. I need to either sleep or vomit. Possibly both.”
Hermione bit her lip and stepped closer to him again. “Okay. I really just wanted to come and apologize. I was an idiot, and I’m so sorry.”
Draco shook his head. “No. No. Don’t you dare take advantage of my drunken state with your pouty lips and big brown eyes!” He tried to step away from her but tripped over a chair.
Hermione reached for him but his weight pulled them both down onto the floor. They looked at one another as Draco brushed her hair back from her forehead, tucking it behind her ear. “I hope one day we could continue this argument,” he muttered.
Hermione gave him a confused look, searching his face. “You are seriously sloshed, Draco. Come on, let me help you get ready for bed.”
“I want you to stay tonight.”
Hermione looked surprised by his invitation. She pushed herself up and sat back on the floor waiting for Draco to right himself.
She began to say something but Draco put his finger against her lips. “Don’t. Because right now I’m going to kiss you senseless and take you to bed.”
Hermione sighed and began pushing herself up onto her feet. Draco watched her with unfocused eyes. “Where are you going?” he grumbled.
“Draco, you’re just drunk. You’re still mad at me, as you have every right to be. I shouldn’t have come. I should have given you time to think like you wanted.”
“You’re going to hate me in the morning, alright? Please. Just stay.”
Hermione immediately stopped trying to walk away and frowned at him reproachfully. “Why am I going to hate you in the morning?” she asked in a low voice, truly worried for the first time in a long time.
“I’m too drunk for this conversation. Don’t overthink this and just come back here and kiss me.”
Hermione shook her head and crossed her arms. “No. I’m not going to sleep with you only to have you break up with me in the morning when you’re sober enough to control your bloody testosterone.”
Draco hiccupped. “Me? Break up with you?” He chuckled sadly. “Trust me. You don’t have to worry about that.”
Hermione stomped her foot. “Stop being so damn cryptic and just tell me what the hell is going on!”
Draco stared at the spot she had stomped on and smirked. “I’ve always loved that fire in you, Granger. Such a turn on.”
Hermione groaned and turned on her heel, leaving his office. She heard him scuffling to catch up to her, knocking clumsily into things.
“Wait, wait!” he cried, grabbing her arm.
She spun around and glared at him. “Why are you being this way? I expect you to be angry with me but this…I don’t know exactly what this is. You’re being so strange!”
“Please, don’t leave. Just stay with me. I’m so drunk. So…so…drunk.”
Hermione sighed in exasperation. “Fine. I’ll stay. But don’t think you’ll be getting off this easy in the morning.”
Draco smirked, his eyes still unfocused. “Listen, sweetheart. I’m the one who should be angry right now. Don’t think I forgot about that blasted dinner at the Bullow just because I found ou—
“The Burrow,” Hermione corrected automatically.
“I said I was sorry.”
“And I said I didn’t want to have this conversation tonight.”
Hermione sighed. “Come on then. Let’s get you to bed.”
“That’s more like it,” Draco teased, wrapping his arms around her waist and wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.
“To sleep,” Hermione laughed. “You’re too intoxicated for that. I’d feel as though I were taking advantage of you.”
“I wouldn’t mind,” he murmured against her ear.
Hermione smiled and pushed him back. “Let’s go,” she said softly. “If you’re good I’ll let you cuddle with me.”
Draco grinned back at her. “You’re so lucky I’m too drunk to come up with a comeback.”
Hermione laughed and pulled him by his hand toward the bedroom. He stumbled up the stairs and kept trying to steal kisses as she tried to get him out of his clothes.
“Draco, stop moving!”
“I knew you were playing hard to get you little vixen,” he said, moving in to try and undress her as well.
“I’m not undressing you as foreplay!” she growled, getting frustrated. “I’m trying to get you into your pajamas.” She swatted his groping hands away. “Now hold still!”
Hermione laughed, half amused and half exhausted. “You’re like a five year old.”
Draco smirked and threw himself onto the bed in nothing but his boxers. “Come cuddle with me, baby. I want to hold you.”
“You are so strange when you’re drunk,” Hermione muttered, climbing into the bed.
Draco slid underneath the duvet and immediately closed his eyes. “Come closer,” he mumbled.
Hermione sighed and put her cheek against his bare chest. She smiled when he wrapped his arms around her and pressed her against him. “If this is what it’s like when you’re angry at me then I’ll take it,” she teased.
“Shh…” Draco hushed. “I want to remember this.”
Hermione snorted delicately. She highly doubted he would remember any of this.
“Hermione…” he slurred.
“I’m so in love with you it’s killing me.”
Hermione froze, not knowing if the pounding heartbeat she was hearing was her own or Draco’s. The sound filled her ears and her head, drowning out everything around her. She finally managed to swallow past the shock of hearing those words finally coming from his mouth.
“Draco, I—” she stopped mid-sentence when Draco’s soft snores interrupted her. She shifted in order to see his face, smiling sadly when she saw the completely peaceful and comatose expression on it.
Draco groaned as he stepped into the kitchen. He found Hermione making a fry, her back to him. “Good morning,” he said cautiously.
Hermione turned around, her brilliant smile faltering. “Hi. I just thought I’d make you some greasy breakfast to cure that hangover of yours.”
“When did you get here?”
Hermione bit her lip, turning back to turn off the stove. “Erm…last night. You probably don’t remember. You were quite drunk.”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “And you stayed?”
“You asked me to.”
Draco sighed. “Well, I think you should go now. I’m still pissed at you and I have a lot on my mind I need to sort out.”
Hermione nodded and quickly walked to the kitchen door. She stopped and turned around, hesitating. “Draco…”
Draco looked up at her, his heart clenching. “Yeah?”
“You said something last night that I think we need to talk about.”
Draco froze. “Not now, Hermione. Please. I need to think it through on my own first.”
“What do you mean?”
Draco sighed, annoyed. “No offense but this whole thing with Astoria doesn’t really concern you.”
Draco stopped. “Wait…what did I say yesterday?”
“What does Astoria have anything to do with anything?” Hermione demanded.
Draco closed his eyes. “Can you just tell me what I said?”
Hermione cleared her throat. “First tell me what you’re talking about.”
“Damn it, Hermione!” Draco growled, slamming his hand on the countertop. “I don’t need this right now.”
Hermione startled, always taken by surprise when Draco showed any anger toward her. “Well I’m sorry if I’m a bit curious as to what your ex-girlfriend has to do with you telling me you’re in love with me.”
Draco blinked. “I told you that?”
Hermione’s eyes shone like flint. “You were sloshed, so I’m not really sure why I took it to heart like I did. It’s very unlike me. Let’s just forget it.”
Draco watched as she turned around and left. It took him a long moment to snap out of his daze and follow her. He ran up the stairs and found her pulling her jeans on.
Hermione turned to face him, her eyes red with unshed tears. “Don’t,” she said, her voice wavering. “Just don’t.”
“I don’t know what to say. You have no idea what I’m going through right now.”
“No, Draco, I don’t. But that’s not really my fault. Because you could easily just tell me, but you choose not to. So let’s just forget it. Forget whatever just happened. Forget what you said to me last night. Because it doesn’t matter. It didn’t mean anything.” She angrily pulled her sweater over her head.
Draco took a step forward, trying to reach out to her. He froze when he saw the fire with which she was looking at him. “It’s not fair for me to say those words to you right now.”
Hermione smiled but it didn’t reach her eyes. It did not warm her expression at all. “You don’t ever have to say those words to me. I don’t live for you.”
Draco frowned. “That’s not what I meant.”
“Listen,” Hermione sighed. “I know I don’t deserve those words, especially after yesterday. And I owe you an explanation about that as well, which I will give you when you’re ready to talk about it. I’ll leave you alone now, just like you want.”
Hermione made to walk past Draco but he grabbed her hand, stopping her. “I’m not going to break you the way Weasley did.”
Hermione laughed once as a tear finally escaped the prison of her lashes. “Ron never told me he loved me and then took it back.”
Draco dropped her hand as though she had hexed him. “That’s not fair,” he said quietly.
Hermione shrugged and wiped the tear off of her face. “I’ll get over it. Just come talk to me whenever you’re ready for my excuses.”
Draco sighed. “Hermione, it’s complicated. I just need to figure something out first.”
Draco pursed his lips and nodded. “I’ll explain everything once I actually know what the hell is going on. I promise.”
Hermione shrugged. “You can do whatever you want. I’m going to be late for work. I have to go.”
Draco opened his mouth to stop her, but it was mostly out of habit. So he said nothing and watched her disappear behind his bedroom door.
Draco sat behind his desk and waited for Astoria to show up to their lunch date. She was punctually late, as usual. So when a knock sounded on his office door fifteen minutes after two o’clock, he knew it was her.
“Sorry I’m late,” she apologized breezily. “I had a healer’s appointment that went longer than I expected.” She sat down and smiled at Draco. “I’m so glad we could finally do this lunch thing.”
Draco nodded, scanning her body for any signs of pregnancy. He couldn’t tell through her trench coat. “Are you cold?”
“Not really, but I figured we’d be leaving to get lunch?”
“Right,” Draco said, standing up. “Where did you have in mind?”
“Alistair’s?” she said with a charming smile.
Draco laughed. “I’m not falling for that. How about Walker’s instead?”
Astoria scowled. “Whatever.”
Draco hung up his healer’s coat on the door and pulled it open for Astoria. “I need to talk to you anyway and I’d prefer somewhere quiet.”
Astoria glanced at Draco. “What about?”
“I’ll explain later,” he whispered as he led the way outside. “Matilda, I’ll be about an hour.”
His secretary grunted at him in acknowledgement of his statement, clearly annoyed that he was still spending time with Astoria. He ignored her as he had done on every other occasion she had shown her disapproval of him seeing Astoria.
“Maybe they’ll still have our table available?” Astoria commented as they approached the restaurant.
Walker’s was an old establishment that never had a very large lunch crowd. Draco always enjoyed coming there when he needed somewhere quiet enough to be alone but not too quiet to feel lonely. Astoria had never enjoyed it because paparazzi couldn’t be bothered to stake out there for stories.
“Ah, long time no see Mr. Malfoy,” an elderly man said as he approached them. “Usual spot alright?”
Astoria beamed back at Draco. “Just like old times,” she whispered, shooting him a flirty wink.
Draco gave her a tight smile back, remembering exactly why she loved that table so much. It was secluded enough for her to run her hand up his thigh without getting caught.
The host led them to the small white-clothed table at the back of the restaurant, holding out the chair for Astoria. Draco sat and picked up his menu, trying to keep himself busy before he burst from apprehension.
“What did you want to talk about?” Astoria asked when the host had left.
Draco took a couple of deep breaths before finally putting the menu down. “Astoria…are you p—
“Hello, welcome to Walker’s. Have you been here before?” A waiter asked, completely side-lining Draco out of nowhere.
Astoria turned her attention to the waiter. “We have.”
“Can I get you started with some drinks?”
Astoria glanced at Draco. He snapped his mouth closed and cleared his throat. “Water’s fine for me.”
“Oh, you’re so boring,” she teased. “I’ll have your best white wine.”
The waiter nodded and turned to leave.
“Wine?” Draco repeated blankly.
Astoria hummed in response, perusing the menu. “I think I’ll have a salad today.”
“Astoria, you can’t have wine.”
“Why not?” she asked lightly, turning the page of her menu.
“Because it’s not good for the baby,” Draco snapped angrily.
Astoria blinked. “What baby?”
Draco clenched his jaw. “I know you’re pregnant, Astoria, so you can cut the crap.”
Astoria looked horrified. “Excuse me? Where on earth did you hear that?”
“I overheard you and Pansy last night. I came by to see Blaise.”
Astoria turned a shade paler than usual. “Oh no,” she mouthed. “Draco, please, let me explain.”
“Explain what? Are you pregnant or not?” he demanded.
“No! No, of course not!”
Draco stopped. “Why would Pansy say…”
Astoria gave him a desperate look. “Draco, please.”
Understanding dawned on him. “You two were plotting together to get me to leave Hermione. Pansy thought playing on my love of children would work.”
Astoria closed her eyes. “I was never going to do it. I told her she was mad.”
Draco pushed his chair back, the loud sound of the wood against the marble echoing around them. “She is mad. You both are.” He stood up.
Astoria watched him and her eyes began to fill with tears. “I would never have done that to you!” she cried after him.
He ignored her, pushing past their waiter and ignoring the confused glance he directed at him.
“Cancel the wine,” Astoria said as she rushed after Draco. “Wait! Draco, wait!” she cried, pulling at his arm when they reached the cobble-stoned street. “Please.”
Draco stopped and turned to face her, his expression cold. “You could have ruined my life, Astoria.”
“Would having a child with me really be that dreadful?”
Draco stopped. “You know, when I actually thought you were pregnant, I was willing to give up everything for you…for the baby. It wasn’t ideal- impregnating my ex, but I was willing to take responsibility for it. But this, Astoria,” he said desperately. “I was so close to ruining everything for this. Hell, I think I already have! And for what? For a woman who would do anything to destroy my life?”
Tears were freely falling down Astoria’s face now. “I wasn’t going to do it, Draco! Pansy’s just…I just wanted you to want me again. Pansy felt the same way. She was getting a bit more desperate.”
“Obviously,” Draco muttered.
“Please believe me when I say I would have never done that to you. I care about you too much.”
Draco shook his head. “I need to go. I think I’ve officially learned my lesson now. We need to stay away from each other. For real this time.”
Astoria covered her face in her hands and began to sob.
Draco turned on his heel and left, apparating back home and back to Hermione without another look back at the past he had finally decided to leave behind.
“Amanda, is Hermione in?” Draco asked.
The pretty secretary smiled up at him. “I’m sorry, not right now. She had a last minute lunch date. She should be back soon, though, if you’d like to wait.”
“With who?” Draco asked, unable to control himself.
Amanda frowned slightly. “I’m not at liberty to say, Mr. Malfoy. I’m sorry.”
Draco nodded. “Of course. Sorry. I’ll wait.” He turned and sat down in one of the low chairs against the wall. He watched other wizarding lawyers walk past him as they dodged memos flying in the air. Almost twenty-five minutes passed before Hermione turned the corner, stopping when she saw Draco.
She walked past him and into her office, snapping the door shut behind her. Draco rolled his eyes and got up to follow her. He walked into her office and shut the door quietly behind him. Hermione was seated at her desk, shuffling her papers, and pointedly avoiding him.
“Did you have a nice lunch?” Draco asked.
She said nothing, pulling out her quill and continuing her work.
“Who did you go with?”
She continued ignoring him.
“Are you just going to pretend I don’t exist?”
“That’s the plan,” she muttered, scratching away on a document.
Draco sighed and sat down on a chair across her desk. “I have all day.”
“Did you quit your job?” she asked acidly, avoiding his gaze.
“No, but I’m willing to if it means you’ll actually look at me again.”
Hermione sighed loudly and put her quill down. She looked up at him. “What do you want, Draco?”
“I want to explain.”
Hermione shook her head. “I don’t want an explanation. I want you to leave.”
“Well, I want an explanation of yesterday. What the hell did Lovegood mean when she said he wanted you any way he could get you?”
Hermione pursed her lips. “You’re honestly doing this now? In the middle of the work day?”
Draco said nothing, waiting for her to answer his question.
She sighed, rolling her eyes. “Fine. Ron wanted to work on our relationship even if it was just friendship. And I wanted him back in my life. And so I just shoved the fact that he wanted more aside because that didn’t matter to me. I didn’t want more. But I wasn’t willing to give him up completely. And I knew you wouldn’t understand…not that I’d blame you.” She stopped and shrugged helplessly. “I really messed up. And I’m sorry.”
“But you do want him more, Hermione. You took me there to make him jealous. Friends don’t do that to one another.”
“I didn’t take you there to make him jealous. I just wanted him to see that I’m better with you. I needed him to understand that even if he did come into my life again I didn’t accept him because I was desperate or anything.”
Draco licked his lips. “He’s a little shit and I can’t stand him. I don’t want you to have anything to do with him.”
“Just like you won’t have anything to do with Astoria?” Hermione challenged, an edge to her voice.
“I’m done with her.”
Hermione nodded. “Right. Now you’re done with her. So you’ve figured it all out, have you?”
“Yes. But that’s not what we’re talking about right now. I want you to stay away from Weasley.”
“I’ll do what I want, Draco. And I really don’t want anything to do with him. He’s not the same person I remember him to be and I don’t want him in my life. But I’m not going to just shut him out indefinitely because you want me to.”
“You’re so damn difficult,” he snapped. He stood up and began pacing. “Why can’t you just listen for once in your life?”
Hermione leaned back in her chair. “Because I respected you enough to allow you to prance back and forth between Astoria and myself and I let it go when you asked me to. She is a person in your life. Only you could decide whether she stays or not. I expect the same courtesy I afford to you.”
“I don’t want him to be a looming presence. I want to move forward with you and I feel like he’s holding us back.”
Hermione laughed, no trace of humor in the sound. “Ronald has done no such thing. Ronald doesn’t visit me at work, doesn’t constantly hound me for lunch dates, and he sure as hell doesn’t show up to places I am wearing a mini skirt!” she yelled. “Astoria is the only person holding you back, Draco. She’s your Achilles heel. You can’t stand her yet you’re so protective of her feelings! Ron hurt me when he left me and I’ve been healing from that. But I’ve been moving on. I’ve never thought of his feelings the way you still think of Astoria’s.”
Draco stopped and sank into his chair again. Everything in him wanted to deny what Hermione had said but he couldn’t. She was right. “I’m not in love with her anymore. You know that right?”
Hermione shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know anything anymore. This entire situation with us has turned my world upside down and I’m beginning to feel as though I’m drowning. I’ve never felt so out of control in my life. I need…”
Draco looked at her, his heart sinking. “Stop. Hermione, don’t say another word. I know I really fucked up this morning when I didn’t tell you I lo—
Hermione put a hand up. “No. I don’t want to have this conversation. You need to leave, Draco. Now. I have a lot of work to do.”
“Let me at least explain what happened with Astoria.”
Hermione shook her head. “It’s none of my business.”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “How could you say that? You’re my girlfriend. This entire thing affects you.”
“If it affected me you would have told me this morning.”
Draco sighed and stood up. “I’m coming to see you when my shift is over.”
“Good luck getting past the wards.”
Draco smirked and shook his head. “You really can hold a grudge.”
“You have no idea,” she muttered.
Hermione got home from work that night completely drained. She had cried angry tears when Draco had left. He frustrated her beyond measure at times. No one had hurt her the way he had that morning. To finally admit you love someone and then hold it back is deeply unfair. She had let down her guard in such a short amount of time with him. And only recently she had realized that this deal they had made had turned her into a crazy person.
She walked into her kitchen and jumped in fright. Draco sat at her kitchen island with a teacup in his hands and a smirk on his face.
“I figured I’d get here before you put the wards up.”
She glared at him. “I thought you had work until tomorrow morning.”
He shrugged and took a sip of his tea. “I had someone cover the rest of my shift.”
“That’s highly irresponsible of you,” she said scathingly, walking to the cupboard and pulling out a teacup. She began pouring herself some tea, her back to Draco.
She heard him get off of the stool and walk up to her. He wrapped his arms around her waist, kissing her neck. “We’ve been off lately,” he mumbled against her shoulder.
She shrugged out of his arms and walked to the island, occupying the stool he had just vacated. “I honestly can’t stand you right now and if you stay we’re going to really have a fight.”
Draco smirked and leaned against the countertop, facing her. “Bring it on.”
Hermione sighed. “I’m tired. I don’t want to talk about this.”
“I thought Astoria was pregnant.”
Hermione blinked. “What?”
Draco sighed. “The reason I was acting the way I was this morning was because I thought Astoria was pregnant…with my child.”
“Yeah, I get that part. She’s not?”
Draco shook his head.
Hermione let out a deep breath. “That would have been very complicated.”
Draco snorted. “You think.”
“Why would you think that? When did you start thinking that? I was with you all day yesterday except for that part when you were with Blaise.”
He sighed. “After the dinner I went to go see Blaise. I saw the library door was open so I went toward it but I heard Pansy and Astoria talking. Pansy told Astoria to just tell me she’s pregnant.”
“Oh my god! Wait…how do you know she’s not pregnant?”
“I spoke to her today…before I came to your office. She said she wasn’t and that Pansy was just plotting per usual,” he said bitterly.
Hermione stood up and crossed the kitchen to stand in front of him. “Draco, that’s horrible. That could have really ruined your life if you had told everyone and it ended up not being true.”
Draco scoffed. “Tell me about it. My parents would have gone mad.”
Hermione sighed and wrapped her arms around Draco. He held her against him. “I’m sorry your ex-girlfriend and friends are crazy.”
Draco laughed. “Yeah, me too. But that’s why I was so uptight earlier. I thought I was going to be a dad. I didn’t want to go down a road with you until I settled that first.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Draco shrugged. “I wanted to protect you from it. Baby, I never want to hurt you.”
“I didn’t take it back.”
Hermione looked up at him. “What?”
He cleared his throat. “I am in love with you. There’s no doubt about it. Every thought I have is you. Everything is you. I wanted to tell you at the perfect time…and this morning was not it. Well, neither was last night when I was completely sloshed,” he admitted. “But I need you to understand that.”
Hermione’s heart stopped. “I do understand,” she whispered. “I do. And Draco, I love you too.” She buried her face in his chest. “You drive me crazy and this entire situation is completely out of control, but I love you,” she mumbled, her voice muffled against him.
Draco smiled and kissed her hair. “If you ever feel like you’re drowning, I’ll save you, alright? I want to be your anchor.”
Hermione looked up at him and he kissed her lips.
“Earlier you said that you felt lost. And I know you need control and need to have your life together, and I don’t want to be the reason you feel like things are falling apart. I’m not here to wreck havoc.”
Hermione laughed. “You do wreck havoc. You came into my life and you turned everything upside down. But at the same time, you put everything back together for me, Draco. I was a mess with low self-esteem before you.”
“I put that spark back in your eyes,” Draco muttered.
Hermione raised an eyebrow. “If you say so…”
Draco smirked. “It’s something Potter told me.”
Hermione grinned mischievously. “You put the spark back in Harry’s eyes? I didn’t realize you two had a thing.”
He rolled his eyes. “Ha ha. Malfoy and Potter are shagging each other. Very funny. Like I didn’t hear that all through Hogwarts,” he snapped bitterly.
Hermione laughed. “Honestly?”
“Some people thought we were a bit obsessed with each other’s lives in school,” he explained dismissively. “But that’s besides the point.”
“What is the point?”
“The point is,” Draco began, pulling Hermione more tightly against him, “that I love everything about you and I will make it my goal to keep that spark in your eyes for the rest of my life, if I could be so lucky.”
Hermione leaned up on her toes and kissed him, wrapping her arms around his neck in order to deepen the connection. He lifted her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist, allowing him to carry her to the couch in the sitting room. He lowered them both down until her back hit the cushions and he settled himself between her legs. He kissed down her neck and smirked against her skin when she moaned in satisfaction.
Her hands found his belt buckle and she began desperately unbuckling it. He leaned back to allow her better access. His pants came undone and dropped down to his knees. Hermione pulled off her shirt, hiked her skirt up and pulled down her panties. Draco raised an eyebrow and grabbed her wrist.
“What’s the hurry, kitten?”
“I just want you so badly,” she moaned.
Draco laughed. “I just told you I love you and you want to have wild sex? Shouldn’t we be more sensual or something?”
Hermione rolled her eyes and hooked her leg around his waist, pulling him down until he was flush against her again.
“Merlin, you’re sexy,” he muttered, kissing her once more.
Hermione kissed him back, tangling her fingers in his hair and allowing him to capture her gasps and whimpers with his mouth. He tasted every inch of her, cupping her breasts as he moved with her. She bit his shoulder, his neck, his lip, and threw her head back as her entire body rocked with the force of her climax. A few moments later Draco stilled and collapsed on top of her, completely spent.
He leaned up and kissed her. “Can I stay over tonight?”
“Of course,” she murmured.
Draco sat up and pulled his pants up again.
“Do you think I’m boring?”
Draco raised an eyebrow. He looked at her. “Every sentence that comes out of your mouth keeps me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next. The look in your eyes alone keeps my heart pumping. You couldn’t be boring even if you tried.”
Hermione smiled. “Okay.”
“Why do you ask?”
She shrugged. “No reason.”
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