Chapter 1 : Hermione and Draco's POV
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18 hours, 1080 minutes and 64800 seconds has passed since Hermione found out that the man she's been in love with for two years feels the same way about her. Yes, she's over the moon about his unexpected and spontaneous confession but at the same time she can't help but be wary too. A few months ago, he was spouting about Kirsten being the one for him but after her botched confession, he broke things up and came forth with his "alleged" feelings for her. She yawned tiredly as she rolled to her side; tucking her hand under her pillow, "When did things become so complicated?" she asked herself.
"Hmmnnnnn?" Harry asked before taking a sip of his coffee.
Ginny placed a plate full of bacon and toast right in front of her fiancé, "Has the post been delivered yet?"
Placing the Daily Prophet on the table, Harry grabbed his fork, "No, why?"
Ginny sat down on the adjacent chair, "I'm waiting for Hermione's owl, we're supposed to meet for brunch but I haven't heard from her so I don't know if we're still on."
"Is that why you're not eating?" Harry asked.
Ginny took a sip of her orange juice, "Yep, she's taking me to Muggle London" she replied somewhat giddily.
Harry chuckled, "I see."
The fireplace burst into to life - followed by a loud fit of coughing.
Ginny shot up from her perch, her seat toppling back with a loud thud, "She's here!"
"How on earth do you know that?" Harry asked with a raised brow.
Picking up the chair from the floor, Ginny threw him a look, "Wards, silly."
"Ginny? Harry? I'm here!"
Ginny grinned cheekily, "Told you it was her" she whispered. "We're in the kitchen!"
Harry blinked a couple of times before shaking his head, "You're hanging out with Hermione too much, you're putting wards everywhere."
"I heard that Harry James Potter!"
Harry winced, "You're not supposed to,"
"Don't mind him Mione, he's just being - you know, him."
Narrowing his eyes playfully, Harry turned his face towards his fiancé, "I heard that Ginerva."
Ginny frowned, "Stop calling me that!"
"Whoa! It's too early for that" Hermione said. She then shoved her hands inside her pockets, "You ready to go?" she asked.
"Yep" Ginny replied. She leaned forward and planted a chaste kiss on Harry's cheek, "See you later" she said.
Before Ginny can pull away, Harry grabbed her chin, kissing her properly.
Hermione waited for the couple to break apart, but when Harry didn't show any sign of letting Ginny go, she cleared her throat loudly. "Can you guys break it up? You have a lot of time to do that later and I'm here for Merlin's sake!"
Harry planted a resounding kiss on Ginny's lips before letting her go, "Now, that's a proper see you later kiss, don't you think?" he asked smugly.
"Y-yeah" Ginny replied, clearly flustered with what just happened.
Hermione let out a puff of air, "Gin, why don't you go get yourself ready and I'll wait for you here" she suggested.
Ginny seem to snap out of her kiss induced stupor, "Be back in 10" she said before scurrying away.
"Really Harry?" Hermione drawled as she sat down on the chair Ginny vacated.
Harry smirked, "Good morn-" he paused, his eyes narrowing. "You look like shit,"
"Thank you for pointing out the obvious" Hermione snapped.
Harry shifted on his seat, "What happened to you?" he asked seriously.
"I didn't sleep well last night,"
Hermione let out defeated sigh, "I ran into Draco yesterday,"
"Do you want me to beat him to a bloody pulp? I can take him, you know" Harry offered as he took a sip of his coffee.
"He told me he's in love with me,"
Harry felt his drink go down the wrong pipe, making him cough and sputter.
Hermione grabbed the napkin from the side of his plate, handing it to him quietly.
Harry accepted it, his eyes wide as he wiped his mouth, "HE WHAT?"
"No need to shout Harry, I'm sitting beside you" Hermione said.
"It's alright," Hermione replied. She braced her elbow on the table, her face cradled by her hand, "I can't believe it Harry, he told me he's in love with me-" she paused and cleared her throat. "Me, his unofficial wing woman - he just told me he's been in love with me and he's just too stupid and scared to accept it."
Placing the napkin on top of the table, Harry met her eyes, "And you don't believe it?" he asked calmly.
"Can you blame me?"
Hermione moved her eyes to the crystal vase filled with lilacs, her other hand drawing circles on the table cloth; "I'm feeling torn, I know I'm happy because Merlin knows I've waited this to finally happen but come on, is that really possible? I mean, he's Draco Malfoy and I'm Hermione Granger..."
Harry quirked a brow, "So? I'm Harry Potter and I'm about to marry Ginny Weasley."
Hermione wrinkled her nose, "You know what I mean Harry..."
"You know what I really think?"
"I think you're scared too"
Hermione threw him an indignant look, "I'm the one who admitted my feelings first, I don't think that counts as being scared."
Harry rolled his eyes, "You were back into a corner Hermione, I'm quite sure you wouldn't have blurted it out if Draco didn't corner you."
"It's the same thing!" Hermione whined. "I was the one with the botched confession, I was the one who's been laughed at-"
"And you're the one who's trying hard to convince yourself that he's lying because you don't want to be hurt again if by chance he doesn't mean it" Harry said, cutting her off.
Hermione pursed her lips, her eyes straying towards the vase again.
Sighing, Harry scooted his chair closer. He moved his arm around her shoulders, tucking her to his side. "I know that you're scared and Draco is by no means the beacon of truth but he's your also best friend - that should count for something, right?"
"Besides, I've known that bloke for years and I don't think he throws those three words lightly, heck - I don't even know if he ever said I love you to anyone, well, aside from his Mum of course - everybody knows he's a Mama's boy."
Harry smiled, "Give it shot Mione, it's about time you find happiness too."
"What if it doesn't work?" Hermione asked softly.
"What if it does?" Harry countered.
"I just don't want to lose him as a friend..."
"Avoiding him and not taking his confession seriously will," Harry replied. He squeezed her shoulder comfortingly before pulling his arm away, "Believe me, you don't want to go that route."
"He did tell that he won't leave me be - not until I believe him" Hermione said while worrying her bottom lip.
"Then let him convince you," Harry said. "You don't have to jump into the love wagon just because he told you he loves you - make him work for it, get to know him more..."
Hermione seem to mull over Harry's words for a moment before nodding, "Yeah, I think I'll do that - it's a good idea."
"Brilliant!" Harry smirked. "I've always wanted to see how Malfoy looks when he's whipped and grovelling"
Harry and Hermione both turned around and saw Ginny standing by the door frame, "I'll tell you later" the later replied.
"Okay," Ginny replied. "Ready to go? I'm starving."
"Yep," Hermione replied. She planted a chaste kiss on Harry's cheek, "Thank you" she whispered before standing up.
"Welcome," Harry replied. He then moved his eyes towards his fiancé, "No goodbye kiss for me?" he asked with a pout.
Ginny blew him a kiss, "See you later love!" she chirped before turning on her heels.
"Fine, enjoy you two!" Harry called out.
"We will" Hermione replied before following Ginny.
"'Cause all I know is we said, "Hello." and your eyes look like coming home. All I know is a simple name, everything has changed. All I know is you held the door, you'll be mine and I'll be yours. All I know since yesterday is everything has changed..."
Ginny folded her arms on top of the table, "Are you giving him a chance then?"
Cupping the warm mug with her hands, Hermione met Ginny's eyes, "I want too..." she admitted.
Ginny grinned widely, "That's my girl."
Hermione returned the smile, "He did tell me that he will do everything to prove his love for me and knowing Draco, he'll stick to me like glue - leaving me no choice, really."
Chuckling, Ginny grabbed her own mug, "He'll be hovering like there's no tomorrow, you mean."
"That he will," Hermione agreed.
Ginny took a sip of her drink, "So, when are you planning on seeing him again?"
"When school starts, I guess."
"Are you sure?"
Ginny smirked and pointed towards the door, "I don't think he agrees with your plan,"
Hermione stiffened, "He-he's here?" she gasped.
"Yes and he's heading towards us," Ginny whispered.
Ginny smiled, "Morning Draco,"
"What are you doing here?" Hermione asked softly, refusing to look at him.
"Grabbing a bite, of course" Draco replied.
"In Muggle London?" Ginny asked, eyeing the blond with amusement.
Draco shifted on his feet, "Yeah, I'm here with Theo, actually."
Turning on her seat, Hermione reluctantly stared at Draco, "You managed to drag Theo here?"
Draco smiled, "It's actually his idea," he replied.
Hermione narrowed her eyes, "I don't see him anywhere" she said while scanning the coffee shop.
Draco followed her gaze, "I think he went to the loo-there he is" he said.
"He looks a little lost" Ginny said.
Draco waved at his friend, "I'm here mate," he said loudly.
Theo turned towards their direction, "Well, what do we have here" he said with a smile.
"Morning Theo," Ginny greeted pleasantly.
Theo nodded, "Morning Ginny," he paused and turned his gaze towards the silent brunette. "Morning Hermione,"
Hermione cleared her throat, "Morning."
Theo braced his hands on his hips, "Do you mind if we join you? Looks like they have a full room today," he said.
Hermione opened her mouth to speak but Ginny beat her to it, "Of course, after all - you've shared your table with us the last time" she said.
"Thank you" Draco said courteously. He then turned towards Theo, "Let's go order food?"
Theo looked confused, "There are no servants?"
Ginny giggled while Hermione bit her bottom lip to keep herself from smiling.
"No mate, we have to go to the bar and order" Draco explained.
Theo didn't respond, he just wrinkled his nose and threw Draco a look.
Draco turned towards the table, "Do you want anything? My treat" he said with a smile.
"I'm good" Hermione replied as she averted her gaze.
"Are you sure? There's a freshly made Banoffee pie there" Draco said.
"Damn it!" Hermione thought.
Ginny studied her friend for a moment, "We'll have the pie - she's been eyeing it since we came in, thanks!"
"Great!" Draco said. He placed his arm on Theo's shoulder and started pushing him towards the counter, "We'll be right back" he said.
Hermione waited until they're out hearing range before she swatted Ginny's shoulder, "You shouldn't have said that! I'm planning on making an escape after they have settled down!"
"Why?" Ginny asked.
Hermione shifted on her seat, throwing an inconspicuous look towards the counter, "I'm not comfortable" she replied.
Ginny reached for her friend's hand, "Calm down love," she said with a soft squeeze.
"How can I calm down? He just told me he loved me and I walked out on him!"
Ginny's eyes widen in surprise, "You didn't tell me that!"
Hermione looked sheepish, "Not one of my bravest moments."
Ginny turned her face to the side and saw Theo walking back towards them, "Suck it up, they're coming back" she whispered.
Hermione sat ram-rod straight, her face instantly void of any emotions.
Theo plopped down beside Ginny, placing his coffee on top of the table, "I don't get this joint; why do customer needs to carry their own food to their table?" he asked with confusion.
"It's their way of doing things," Ginny replied.
Draco cleared his throat as he stared at the vacant seat beside Hermione, "May I?" he asked.
Hermione scooted her chair to the left, creating a wide berth between them, "Sure, go ahead" she replied.
A flash of hurt crossed Draco's eyes for a moment but he masked it with a smile. He placed the tray he's carrying on top of the table before sitting down. He grabbed the plates of desert he bought and placed it carefully right in front of the girls, "Here you go," he said.
"Where's our sandwiches?" Theo asked.
"They're heating it up, they'll serve it," Draco replied.
"Finally!" Theo exclaimed.
Ginny chuckled, "Get over it Theo, this is not a 5 star restaurant you normally eat at."
Hermione cracked a smile, "I didn't know you're a snob" she teased.
Theo's cheeks flushed with embarrassment, "I'm not a snob, its just new to me."
"You did sound like Pansy for a minute there, mate" Draco said.
Scowling, Theo kicked Draco's shin.
"Ouch!" Draco yelped.
Hermione's head snapped to the side, "What? Are you alright?" she asked, concern evident in her tone.
Draco sat straighter, a small smile curling on his lips, "I'm okay" he replied, kicking his friend back.
Theo jerked from his seat, his face twisting in pain, "Bloody hell!"
Ginny threw Hermione an amused look.
Hermione grabbed her fork, "Let's get this over with," she mumbled before stabbing her pie with enthusiasm.
Draco swallowed thickly, his eyes fixed on the mangled crust.
The brunch passed by without further incidents and Hermione was beyond pleased. She thought that the air of awkwardness between the two of them will prevent them from being in the same room but she was clearly mistaken. Yes, they didn't talk much and yes, she still can't look him in the eyes yet, but their years of friendship seem to take over and helped them cope with the tension with ease.
"Are you done yet?" Ginny asked impatiently.
Hermione flicked the lock and stepped out of the cubicle, "I'm done," she said.
Ginny grabbed her bag and made a bee line towards the door, "Let's go"
"Why are you in a hurry?" Hermione asked.
"Mum is asking me to drop by; she needs help with de-gnoming, want to help?"
Hermione wrinkled her nose, "Do I have to toss them or can I use my wand?"
"You can do whatever you please, Mum wouldn't mind" Ginny replied.
"I'll go, it's not like I have any plans today."
"Whoa! Where's the fire?"
Ginny took a step back, "I thought you guys already left?"
"Used the loo," Theo replied. He then threw Hermione a subtle look before meeting Ginny's eyes, "Let's walk out together? You know, to give them a little time" he whispered.
Ginny looked at Draco's direction and saw him staring at Hermione somewhat longingly, "Okay, let's walk fast" she said.
Theo grabbed Ginny's arm and started pulling her towards the door, "Meet you outside, I need to - err, ask Ginny something" he said hurriedly.
Hermione stared at her friends suspiciously, "Talk about what?" she called out.
"Work!" Ginny replied, her voice muffled by the closing door.
Draco fell into step with Hermione, his eyes fixed on the large glass window, "What do you think they're up to?" he asked.
"I don't know" Hermione replied before walking towards the door.
With his seeker reflex kicking in, Draco quickly made it towards the door, holding it open for Hermione.
Hermione felt her cheeks flush with Draco's sudden chivalrous behavior, "Err - thank you."
Draco smiled, "You're welcome."
Stepping out into the street, Hermione started looking for her friend's, "They walk fast"
"Yeah, weird" Draco replied. He shoved his hands inside his pockets, "Have any plans for today?" he asked.
Hermione turned her face towards him, "We're going to the Burrow" she replied. "Why?"
Draco shifted on his feet, "I thought maybe we could hang out..." he said nervously.
Hermione slowly met his gaze, her heart beating furiously inside her chest, "Draco...I still need time..."
Crest fallen, Draco nodded reluctantly, "Oh, okay"
Hermione stared into his eyes for the first time and out of nowhere, something clicked. "Coincidentally, I took exactly the same classes as you so I guess, we'll get the chance to hang out this coming sem" she blurted out.
Draco's eyes widen in surprise, his mouth hung agape.
Hermione let out a small smile, "I'll see you next week then, take care" she said before jogging towards Ginny, her heart feeling tons lighter than it has ever been in months.
"And all my walls stood tall painted blue and I'll take them down, take them down and open up the door for you. And all I feel in my stomach is butterflies, the beautiful kind, making up for lost time, taking flight, making me feel right. I just wanna know you better, know you better, know you better now..."
"I'm impressed," Theo said as he plopped down on the couch.
Draco smirked, "With what?"
"How did you know that she'd be there?"
Draco sat down, lifting his feet on top of the coffee table, "They always go there every Sunday, it's their tradition" he replied smugly.
Theo rested his arms on the back of the couch, "The perks of being in love with your best friend,"
"Where have you two been?"
Both Draco and Theo turned their head to the side, "Morning Aunt Cissy" the later greeted perkily.
Narcissa braced her hands on her hips, "It's already noon Theodore," she said dryly. "I thought you two will have lunch with me; imagine my surprise when Pixie told me that you left."
Draco opened his mouth to speak but Theo beat him to it, "We met with Hermione, we had brunch"
The frown on Narcissa's lips melted into a wide grin, "You did?"
Draco let his head fall on the back of the couch, letting out a loud groan.
Theo nodded solemnly, "We did."
Moving towards the couch, Narcissa sat down next to her son, "How did it go?" she asked, eyeing Theo.
"It went pretty well, your son looks pleased" Theo replied.
"You two are too nosey for your own good!" Draco grumbled.
Narcissa swatted her son's leg, "Stop acting like that, at least tell me if she had already forgiven you for your atrocious behavior,"
Draco lifted his head, a scowl marring his features, "There's really no need for you to rub it in you know, Merlin knows I feel horrible about it."
"That you should," Theo piped in.
Draco glared at his friend, "What are you still doing here? I thought you're meeting Blaise?"
"Throwing me out after I helped you?"
"No, I'm throwing you out because you're annoying."
"Hush!" Narcissa said. "I swear, you two act like toddlers."
"A very handsome toddler" Theo said. He then thumped his hands on his thighs, "Alas! As much as I want to stay here and chat, duty calls" he said dramatically. "Make sure to see me before you leave for school, ye?"
"I'll see you next weekend then," Draco replied.
"Okay," Theo said.
"Tell your Mom I said Hi and I'll see her tomorrow," Narcissa reminded the young.
"Will do, I'll take my leave now, bye!" Theo said before walking away.
Narcissa waited for Theo to disappear from their view before turning towards her son.
Draco knew his Mother won't let him be until she gets all the details out of him, so he decided to make a run for it. He shot up from his perch and quickly skirted around the table, "I'll take a bath, I feel sticky" he said.
"But you haven't-"
"I'll talk to you later Mum!" Draco called out before disapparating on the spot.
September: Erudstrass University (First day of classes)
"You are aware that you're fidgeting, right?" Neville said as he eyed Draco with amusement.
"I'm not fidgeting," Draco replied.
"You've been running your hand through your hair for five minutes now, if you don't stop that I'm quite sure you will be bald even before you reach 30."
Draco turned towards Neville, "Why are you here again?"
Leaning back on his seat, Neville quirked his brow, "I go to this school and I share this class with you, where would I be?"
"Point taken," Draco replied.
The classroom door opened, admitting a frazzled looking Hermione. She scanned her surroundings and let out a relieved sigh when she noticed that their Professor is not in yet.
Neville lifted his hand to grab the brunette's attention, "Hermione! Over here!" he said, waving her over.
Draco snatched his bag from the seat beside him, "I saved you a seat,"
"That explains why you threw me out of that chair," Neville mused.
"Shut it!" Draco whispered.
Hermione didn't seem to hear their banter and shyly took the seat beside Draco, "Err - thanks."
Draco smiled, "You're welcome."
Neville leaned forward, "Beating the buzzer now, Hermione?" he teased.
As if on cue, Hermione's cheeks turned beet red, "I overslept," she mumbled.
"Reading a new book again?" Neville asked.
Hermione replied with a curt nod.
Draco cleared his throat as he shifted on his seat, "How have you been?" he asked.
"I'm good," Hermione replied. "How about you?"
Draco opened his mouth to speak but wasn't able to continue when the door slammed open, revealing their harried looking Professor. "Later," he mouthed.
Hermione nodded, "Okay" she replied with a small smile.
Draco felt his heart flutter inside his chest; it's been a long time since she smiled at him that way and damn if he didn't miss it. He leaned back on his chair, a large satisfied smile pasted on his lips.
Neville groaned as he stood up from his chair, "Really? A bloody essay on our first day?"
"Look at the brighter side, it's only 2 feet" Draco replied.
"It could have been worse," Hermione said.
"I have a free period and I'm heading to the cafeteria to grab something to drink, you guys want to come with me?" Neville asked.
"I could use some coffee," Hermione replied.
"Draco?" Neville asked.
"Sure," Draco replied, his eyes straying towards Hermione. "You don't mind?"
Hermione smiled, "No, I don't."
Draco felt the familiar flutter inside his chest, making his lips curl up into smile.
The day passed by like a breeze and both Draco and Hermione were able to maintain the civility between them. They shared most of their classes, which surprised Draco to the core. When she told him that they'll be taking the same course, he didn't think that she meant all of them. Maybe their time apart really did help; he just hopes that she hasn't moved on because he sure as hell hasn't.
"Why are you standing there?"
Turning around, Draco saw Hermione standing behind him, "Waiting for you," he replied.
Hermione quirked a brow, "You were?" she asked.
Draco adjusted the strap of his bag on his shoulder, "I am,"
"Err - why?" Hermione asked.
"I was wondering if you want to grab dinner with me," Draco paused, an unsure look crossing his normally confident features. "That is, if you are free..."
Hermione studied his face for a moment, her lips curling into a small smile. "You buying?"
Draco grinned even before he can stop himself, "I'll buy a whole bloody restaurant if that means I get to eat dinner with you,"
Hermione rolled her eyes, "Why do I feel like you actually meant that?" she asked as she started walking.
"Because I do," Draco replied.
"Don't even think about it."
"You're still a prick!" Hermione huffed.
"And you're still beautiful as ever" Draco replied.
Hermione ignored his statement and just focused on climbing down the stairs.
Draco caught a glimpse of her flushed cheeks, "Yep, we're back on track" he thought smugly.
Draco popped the last bite of his Panini into his mouth, "I've missed this stuff,"
"It's not as good like the ones they make in Italy," Hermione replied before taking a sip of her red iced tea.
"But it's good too," Draco replied.
She smiled, "Good to know you're enjoying it."
"I am," he said. He then leaned back and crossed his legs, his eyes moving towards the Paris skyline. "That's not the only thing I miss though..."
She shifted on her seat, resting her drink on her thigh, "I-I've missed this too..."
He felt his lips curling up involuntarily upon hearing her unexpected admittance. He turned on his seat, facing her directly, "You do know that it's you that I miss most, right?"
Hermione's cheek turned a tad redder, "Is this a contest of what or who we miss most?" she joked.
He chuckled, "I don't know, maybe?"
She lifted her drink and took a sip from the straw, "Nah, that would take us the whole night and we still have classes tomorrow."
"I guess you're right," He replied. "Let's talk about something else?"
"What do you want to talk about?"
Draco grabbed his drink, swirling it around to bid himself more time. He took a huge sip of his coffee before speaking again, "About us?"
Hermione tucked a stray curl behind her ear, "Go on..."
He tightened his hold on his cup, "I want a do-over" he blurted out.
Her head snapped to the side, confusion marring her features, "A what?"
Taking a deep breath, Draco met her gaze. "I want us to start over,"
"Start over?" She asked, her hands clutching the bench.
"Yes," He nodded.
"Like, Hi I'm Hermione and your Draco kind of start over?"
"No, more like I'm desperately in love with you so I'm putting all my walls down for you kind of start over."
Her mouth parted as if to talk but no words escaped her lips.
He placed his drink back on his side before moving his hand between them. Slowly, he placed in on top of her hand, "I've wasted enough time being stupid Hermione so this time, I'm putting all my cards on the table so there would be no more confusions and second guessing."
She inhaled sharply, "Okay..."
He pried her hand away from the bench and gently turned it; he slipped his fingers through the gap, lacing their fingers intimately. "This will make me sound like a pompous arse because what I'm about to say should traditionally be asked but given the fact that I'm not really traditional, I'll just jump through it," he declared boldly.
Snorting, Hermione nodded her agreement.
He tightened his hold on her, a small smile curling on his lips. "I'm wooing you Hermione Jean Granger and there's nothing you can say to me that can or will change my mind."
She quirked her brow, her eyes gleaming playfully; "Are you sure? Because you just let me pay for your meal..." she trailed off.
Draco threw her an affronted look, "But you insisted to pay for-"
"I'm just kidding!" Hermione said between giggles.
He pursed his lips, "Not funny Granger."
She squeezed his hand with a smile, "Oh come on! I can joke around too,"
He pulled their tangled hands towards his lap, pulling her body closer to his side. "And we all know how funny you are," he said dryly.
"And we all know how much you hate it when the joke is on you," She replied, her stiff body slowly sagging next to his.
"Fine, I'm a spoilt sport." He bit his bottom lip hard to keep himself from grinning widely with her actions.
"That you are," She replied.
A comfortable silence filled the air for a couple of minutes before Draco bravely rested his head on top of hers, "This okay?" he asked.
"I guess..." Hermione whispered.
Taking his luck further, he untangled their fingers to snake his arm towards her shoulders - making their stance more comfortable.
A contented sigh escaped her lips, "This feels good..." she admitted.
He grinned triumphantly, "That we can agree on,"
After a few weeks:
"Another one?" Neville asked, his eyes fixed on Draco's back.
Draco angled the flower to the left before pulling his hand away, "Yep" he replied.
Peering over his friend's shoulder, Neville braced his hands on his hips. "Tulips this week and it's her favorite color too."
"Straight from Poland," Draco replied proudly.
"Nice" Neville drawled as he plopped down on his seat. "Where is she anyway?"
"The loo," Draco said as he sat down on his chair.
"I see," Neville replied. He then shifted on his seat, facing Draco fully; "Are you a couple yet?" he asked lowly.
Draco shook his head, "Not yet," he whispered back.
Cocking his head to the side, Neville seemed puzzled. "Really? It's been weeks already..."
Leaning back on his seat, Draco stretched out his long legs, locking his ankles together. "We're getting to know each other all over again, no rush."
"Getting to know each other? You basically grew up together, what's there to know?"
Draco chuckled, "A lot of things," he replied with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
The door opened, admitting Hermione in. She checked the front desk before letting out a relieved sigh when she saw that their Professor is not there yet. Adjusting the strap of her bag on her shoulder, she made her way towards her seat, "I thought I'm already la-oh," she gasped, her eyes fixed on the lone tulip perched on her chair.
"Go on, get the pretty flower - it doesn't bite," Neville said.
The corner of Hermione's lips curled up as she turned her gaze towards Draco, "You got me a tulip," she said with a hint of awe.
Neville smirked, "Straight from Poland, I've heard."
Draco ignored Neville's jabs and met Hermione's eyes, "I did, I know it's your favorite" he replied shyly.
"Thank you" Hermione said with a large smile. She then plucked the flower from her chair before sitting down, "You do know that you don't have to get me flowers every day, right?" she said as she carefully placed his gift on her desk.
"I know that," Draco paused, his trademark grin curling on his lips. "But knowing won't stop me from getting it for you; I know how much you love them."
Hermione's cheeks turned pink, "I do love them," she admitted.
Neville scrunched his nose in mock disgust, "You two are so annoying."
"I'm sorry Neville; we didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable..." Hermione said apologetically.
Draco leaned forward, his eyes fixed on Neville, "Want me to get you a date so you can stop being cranky?"
"Bugger off Malfoy! I don't need your help!"
Hermione burst out giggling.
"Can I borrow your book?"
Hermione quirked a brow; "Why? I just saw yours yesterday"
"I lost it," Draco replied.
"You lost it?"
"Did you try summoning it?"
"Please lend me your book, I promise to handle it with utmost care."
Hermione stared at him for a couple of seconds before shaking her head, "You better," she replied as she rummaged her bag.
"I hope you don't murder me for this," Draco thought.
Plucking the book from her bag, she turned towards him. "Here you go,"
He grabbed the book from her hand before standing up, "Great, thanks!"
She threw him a confused look, "Where are you going?"
"I need to grab something from my flat."
"It's for my Mum, I was supposed to owl her a package this morning but I forgot" Draco lied.
"Oh, okay" Hermione acquiesced.
"I'll pick you up before our next class starts."
"You don't have to do that, I can meet you there."
Draco swiped his satchel from the table before leaning forward, his face dangerously close to hers. "I'm picking you up, end of, okay?"
Hermione's breath hitch with the proximity, "O-okay"
"See you in few" Draco said before turning on his heels.
Draco closed the door behind him and hastily made his way towards the already lit fireplace.
Draco kneeled right in front of the hearth, "Sorry Mum, I got caught up with something."
Narcissa beamed; "How's my future daughter-in-law doing?"
Draco felt his cheeks heating up, "Mum!"
"Fine, I'll stop teasing you" Narcissa paused. "For now" she added with a wink.
Draco lifted his hand to raise the book his holding, "I don't have much time, can we get on with it?"
Chuckling, Narcissa shifted closer to the fire; "Get your wand so I can show you the movements" she ordered.
He slipped his hand inside his pocket to pull it out; "Are you sure there's a counter charm for this?"
"Scared of what Hermione will do to you?" Narcissa teased.
Draco rolled his eyes, "Let's just get this over with."
"Told you I'll be back"
Hermione jerked forward, "Merlin Draco! You scared me!" she hissed.
Draco chuckled, "Didn't mean to scare you love," he said as he slipped back into his chair. "You should pack your things up; we have 10 minutes before our next class starts."
She checked her watch, "Where did time go?" she asked herself. She then grabbed her wand from the table and pointed it towards her things, packing everything with one flick.
"You really should teach me that spell, it's really handy" Draco said.
Hermione widened her eyes; "Wow, is Draco Malfoy finally asking me to teach him something?"
"You're lucky I love you"
Hermione chuckled, "Yep, still a spoilt sport" she said as she grabbed her jacket from the back of her chair, grumbling when the sleeve got caught on the side.
Draco took advantage of the situation and stealthily slipped the book inside her bag.
"Got it!" She said in triumph.
Draco leaned forward to grab her bag.
"What are you doing?" Hermione asked.
"Carrying your bag"
"Err - why?"
"Because I want too," Draco replied as he slipped the strap on his shoulder.
Hermione moved closer, her hand moving towards her bag; "Don't be silly, I can carry my own bag."
"I've got it" Draco said.
Hermione stared at him for a couple of seconds before throwing her hands up in defeat, "Fine! You're impossible!"
"But you still love me" Draco retorted smugly.
"I didn't say that,"
Draco smirked; "But you will and I can't wait" he said while wiggling his brows.
"Cocky as ever"
"You have no idea" Draco replied, his tone dripping with sexual innuendo.
Hermione's face turned beet red; "Argh!" she groaned before making a bee line towards the door.
"That was brutal," Hermione said as she stepped out of the classroom.
Draco winced as he adjusted the book his carrying in his arms, "I think it's bloody mental," he mumbled.
Hermione placed her hand on her tummy, "I thought only Muggles uses cadavers, guess I was wrong."
"I don't even want to know where they obtained that body," Draco said.
Goosebumps started crawling Hermione's skin, making her shiver. "I don't think I can eat after that, is it okay if I just go back to my flat?"
He studied her for a couple of seconds before nothing, "Okay, to be honest, I feel the same way" he admitted. "Come on, I'll take you."
She shook her head, "No, I'll manage. I'll just apparate - I'll just apparate from here."
"Are you sure?"
"Yep," Hermione replied. "See you tomorrow?"
"I'm pretty sure you will," Draco replied.
She shifted on her feet, "Goodnight then."
Without second thoughts, Draco leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on her forehead. "Goodnight."
Smiling, Hermione waved goodbye before disapparating on the spot.
Draco bit his bottom lip to keep himself from grinning widely, after a couple of seconds of staring on the spot; he spun on his heels and began walking towards the other direction.
Hermione yawned loudly as she climbed on top of her bed; she snatched her bag from the floor and placed it on her lap. She unzipped it and started pulling out her things, her brows furrowed when she noticed the book that Draco borrowed from her. "That's weird," she said as she leaned back on her pillows. She pulled her knees to her chest and rested the book on top of it; she stared at it for a couple of seconds and felt a tug of compulsion to open it come out of nowhere. Frowning, she placed her hand on the cover and pried it open. She scanned the first page and almost instantly, her eyes zeroed out on her name that's been circled with emerald ink. "What the hell?" she said aghast. She turned to the next page and saw the same thing, only this time a bunch of words are encircled. A combination of annoyance and exasperation swirled inside her chest, making her puff air. She slipped her pointer finger in the middle to check if he did the same thing to the other pages, but she was met with a blank one. "Malfoy I will murder you," she said loudly. She made a move to slam the book shut but words suddenly appeared on the page, she pulled the book closer and narrowed her eyes.
"Don't kill me. This is just a simple charm that can easily be reversed so I did not destroy your book. Calm down. Get a clean parchment and start copying the circled words to decode my message - stop frowning, we both know how much you love puzzles. Love you."
She blinked a couple of times, her curiosity now piqued. She leaned forward and snatched her notebook and pen from her side table. She reclined back on her pillows, her full attention now focused on her task. "This better be good," she smiled as she starts copying the words.
You have been very patient with me and stayed by my side. You have accepted my flaws and convinced me that I can be a better version of myself. You made me believe that I deserve happiness despite of my dark past. You have opened my eyes and showed what love really is.
We may not have the perfect start but I promise to give everything I have for our perfect ending. I love you and I won't stop showing you how much until you are ready to believe me.
You're the love that I've been waiting for all my life and I'm sorry if it took my heart a while to recognize that. You are whom I'm meant to be with - my best friend, my happiness and forever love.
Hands shaking, Hermione slowly lowered the parchment. She blinked back the tears in her eyes and began reading the message again, "Oh Draco..." she whispered with reverence and overwhelming affection.
Draco furrowed his brows when he heard a loud tapping, he placed the book he's reading on his side before hopping off of his bed. He made his way towards the large window and felt a smile curl on his lips when he saw a familiar owl perched on the sill. He unlatched the lock and carefully pushed the panel open; "Hello Ophelia, how lovely it is to see you" he cooed. He lifted his hand, silently beckoning the creature closer. The owl hooted her greeting as she slowly moved closer; she rubbed her bulbous head on his palm before sticking out her left leg, offering Draco her owner's letter. He plucked the parchment from the owl's holster; "I'm sorry Ophelia, I ran out of treats yesterday so I don't have anything to feed you but I promise to buy you a box tomorrow, yeah?" he said. The owl nipped his finger affectionately before spreading its majestic wings, flying into the chilly night. Draco pulled the window down, securing the latched with one flick, he spun on his heels and made a bee line towards his bed. He plopped down on the mattress, his heart thundering inside his chest with anticipation. Slowly, he tugged the ribbon lose and unrolled the parchment.
I have read your message and I'm beyond pleased. Your words mean so much and made me understand you better now. I really don't know how to respond to such confession so I'll just borrow the lyrics of a Muggle song.
"Your love is thick and it swallowed me whole.
You're so much braver, than I give you credit for.
That's not lip service; you've already won me over, in spite of me.
Don't be alarmed if I fall head over feet and don't be surprised if I love you for all that you are, I couldn't help it - it's all your fault.
You are the bearer of unconditional things. You held your breath and the door for me.
Thanks for your patience. You're the best listener that I've ever met; you're my best friend - with benefits.
What took me so long? I've never felt this healthy before, I've never wanted something rational.
I AM AWARE NOW..."
P.S: I know how hard it is for you to put down some walls and let people in. I want you to know that all your efforts are appreciated. I may not be ready to say those 3 words yet but please know that my feelings for you remain unchanged.
Draco circumspectly folded the parchment; "Finally..." he whispered, his voice seeping with love.
"Come back and tell me why. I'm feeling like I've missed you all this time and meet me there tonight. And let me know that it's not all in my mind..."
The next day:
A large grin with a newly found swagger, that's how Draco welcomed his day. He's still on cloud nine from what he read last night and he can't wait to see the love of his life. He adjusted the bouquet of peonies in his arms as he rounded the corner; he was about to head towards their classroom but halted his steps when he noticed Hermione talking with Adam. A surge of irrational jealousy erupted from his gut, making him propel towards the couple even before he was able to think properly.
"Yeah, but I still -" Adam's voice trailed off, his brow quirking.
Draco possessively snaked his arm around Hermione's waist, "Good morning love," he said.
Hermione turned her face to the side; "Err - hi," she greeted shyly.
"Good morning Malfoy," Adam said loudly.
"Morning" Draco replied dismissively. He lifted the flowers in Hermione's view, an affectionate smile curling on his lips; "Pretty flowers for a very beautiful lady," he said.
Hermione's cheeks instantly flush, her eyes widening in surprise, "Another one?" she asked as she accepted it. "They're beautiful Draco, thank you."
"You're welcome love," Draco replied. He then pulled her closer to his side, his eyes moving towards Adam; "It's been awhile since I last saw you O'Shea, I thought you already dropped out."
"Draco!" Hermione hissed with a well aimed elbow to his ribs.
Adam didn't bat an eye with Draco's goading; "I'm sorry to disappoint you Malfoy, but I'm staying" he replied. He then folded his arms on top of his chest, a smirk plastered on his face; "I see that you've finally found your balls, eh?"
Instead of being angry, Draco smirked back; "Hell yeah," he replied.
Scowling, Hermione pulled away from Draco's side; "Stop talking about disgusting stuff like I'm not standing here," she huffed. She threw Adam a pointed look before turning on her heels; "Men!"
Draco spun on his heels; "Hermione, wait!"
Adam watched the couple, his eye twinkling with amusement. "Yep, he's definitely pussy whipped."
"Are you still upset with me?" Draco asked.
Hermione ignored him and continued reading her book.
Scooting his chair closer, Draco pouted; "Hermione..." he half-whined.
Leaning back on her chair, she turned her face towards him; "Stop being annoying, I'm reading."
Braving her wrath, he moved his hand on top of hers; "Tell me you're no longer upset with me?"
She bit her bottom lip to keep herself from smiling, "I'm really not upset" she admitted. She then flipped her hand palm up, and laced their fingers together; "I was just being - me," she added.
He pulled their joined hand and planted a chaste kiss on top of hers, "I'm glad to hear that" he replied with a smile.
She squeezed his hand again, "Thank you for the book surprise, I love it..."
Resting his chin on their hands, he lifted his eyes to meet her gaze. "I love your surprise more."
"Really," he replied. He then lowered their hands, not breaking eye contact; "Halloween is just a week away and my Mum is planning a soiree..." he trailed off.
She smiled knowingly, "I just received my invite last night," she said.
He sat straighter, "You did?"
He licked his lips, "Can you - will you" he paused and let out a nervous chuckle. "Oh man..."
Smirking, Hermione arched her brow; "Are you asking me to be your date, Draco?" she asked with amusement.
Caught off guard with her bluntness, Draco just managed a nod; "Y-yeah..."
He seems to get a hold of his composure again, "Please say yes, I promise that I won't leave your side and I'll do my best to make it fun..."
She tilted her head, a mulling look marring her features; "What do I get out of it?"
Puffing his chest out, "Me," Draco replied pompously.
Hermione stared at him for a couple of seconds, "I don't think I'm getting a good deal out of it," she teased.
He threw her a mock affronted look, "Excuse me?"
She threw her head back and laughed.
"Will you stop fidgeting with your bloody tie!" Theo chastised.
Blaise smirked, "Leave the poor bloke alone T, you know how he wants to look pretty for his date" he teased.
"Shut it!" Draco hissed. He then moved his hand towards his coat, tugging it down; "Who invited you two again?" he asked with annoyance.
Theo slipped his hands inside his pocket, "Aunt Cissy, of course."
"We're her favorite honorary son's," Blaise piped in.
"Damn right we are," Theo said.
"I hate these types of events," Draco grumbled.
"Mate, you've been attending these things almost half of your life and you still hate it?" Blaise asked.
Theo rolled his eyes; "You're the only one who enjoys it," he replied.
Blaise brushed off the imaginary lint on his shoulder, "You only hate it because you always end up with the most boring dates" he said. He then puffed his chest proudly, "I, on the other hand is another story."
Draco snorted; "If you're into bimbo's who doesn't have two brain cells to rub then yes, you have different story" he said.
Blaise frowned; "You're just jealous."
"Speaking of dates, where's Hermione?" Theo asked.
"She's with Mum," Draco replied.
"Why?" Blaise asked.
"Mum insisted to help her with her dress," Draco replied.
"Wow, Aunt Cissy is moving fast" Blaise whistled.
"Don't I know it?" Draco replied with a smirk.
Guests already started arriving and Draco is starting to get antsy, he was strictly instructed by his Mother to greet them one by one, raising his aversion to this type of event further.
"Aren't hosts supposed to be smiling when greeting guests?"
Draco turned his face to the side; "Depends on whom I'm greeting," he replied.
Neville chuckled, "Try not to look bored at least,"
"Hard not to when you're forced to smile at people you don't even know," Draco replied.
Harry looked around, "You have two hundred guests and you're telling us you don't know them?" he asked.
Draco shrugged his shoulders, "I've heard about most of them but I really don't know them personally" he replied.
"Wow," Neville said.
Draco cocked his head to the side, "Are you two going stag tonight? No dates?" he asked.
"Gin and Hannah got themselves some drink," Harry replied nonchalantly.
Draco threw both men a look of distaste; "And you let them? You're supposed to cater to their needs, not the other way around" he chastised.
Harry stared at Draco like he's seeing him in a different light, "Hermione is doing something right after all," he said.
"Whether you believe it or not, I have some manners too" Draco said.
"Hard not to when your Mum is the queen of refinement," Neville added.
"That too," Draco agreed.
Harry opened his mouth to speak but wasn't able to do so when he spotted a familiar figure standing next to Narcissa. He moved his eyes back to the blond man standing right in front of him, a small smile curling on his lips.
"I think your date is finally ready to make an appearance," Neville said while subtly gesturing towards the stairs.
Heart racing with excitement and nervousness, Draco turned around. Slowly, he let his eyes glide through the majestic stairs, his eyes instantly finding her. He felt his breath hitch inside his throat as he took in her appearance for the first time.
"Breathe," Harry whispered with amusement.
Draco cleared his throat to hide his embarrassment; "I'm breathing" he replied.
Shrugging his shoulder, Harry smirked; "Doesn't look like you were, I thought you're going to pass out for a moment there" he said.
Neville covered his mouth to stifle his laughter but was horribly failing.
Draco threw both men a pointed look before climbing up the staircase. He slipped his hands inside his pocket to hide the shaking. He lifted his gaze up and was rewarded with a shy smile from Hermione's lips. He hastens his steps, not stopping until he reached the last one. He stood a step below her, giving him a full view of her gown clad body; "Hermione...you are...very beautiful" he breathed out.
Hermione's cheek turned tad redder, "Thank you. You look handsome too," she replied.
Narcissa cleared her throat, throwing her son an expectant look.
"You look beautiful too, Mum" Draco said.
Narcissa chuckled, "I already know that," she replied while gesturing towards Hermione's hands.
Understanding washed over Draco; he hastily pulled his hands from his pocket, extending it towards Hermione.
"Oh," Hermione gasped.
Narcissa nudged the young woman's shoulder, "Go on love,"
Hermione turned her face towards Narcissa; "But how about you?" she asked.
Narcissa waved her hand dismissively; "Don't worry about me, I can manage."
"That's her cue for us to leave so she can make her grand entrance, alone" Draco explained.
"Oh, okay" Hermione replied. She placed her hand on his, "Let's go then," she said.
Draco pulled her hand towards his lips, placing a gentlemanly kiss on top of it; "You really look beautiful, I'm the luckiest bloke tonight," he whispered.
Hermione smiled, "Thank you," she replied as she took a step down, making them on the same level.
Draco tucked her arm on the crook of his, "We'll see you later Mum," he said.
"Go on, you two have fun" Narcissa replied with a large smile.
"Thank you," Hermione replied.
Narcissa threw the couple an encouraging look before turning on her heels.
Draco moved his head closer to her ear, "Ready?" he asked, his words laced with double meaning. He needs to know if she's ready to do this with him, to finally let the whole Wizarding world know that she's his and he's hers.
Hermione took a deep breath, her eyes shining with determination; "Yes, I am."
Draco felt calmness settle inside his gut, making his smile more sincere; "Then let's," he replied.
For the first time in years, Draco found himself enjoying the soiree thrown by her Mother. He knows for a fact that it has nothing to do with the frivolity surrounding him, but more of the woman laughing with her friends.
"Earth to Malfoy"
"Huh?" Draco asked, confusion evident on his face.
Theo laughed, "Oh boy, I don't think he heard a word you said mate."
Blaise shook his head in amusement; "Figures," he mumbled.
Draco ignored his friend's comments and turned his gaze back to his date.
Theo shifted closer to Draco, "Are you guys officially together?" he asked.
"Not yet," Draco replied.
"What are you waiting for - Christmas?" Blaise asked.
"It's not that simple," Draco replied before taking a sip of his drink. "You don't get over that kind of hurt easily so I'm giving her all the time she needs - I'll wait for her" he added seriously.
"I don't want to piss on your waiting parade mate but have you tried asking her?" Theo asked.
"T is right, she looks ready to me" Blaise said while eyeing the brunette.
Draco turned his full attention back to his friend's; "You think so?"
Blaise shrugged his shoulders; "There's no harm in trying."
"You wouldn't know unless you ask mate," Theo said.
Draco emptied his glass, his mind racing with different possibilities.
"Where's your date?"
Draco jerked from his seat in surprise, "What the -"
"Don't finish that sentence, I thought you better than that" Narcissa chided as she gracefully sat beside her son.
"Then stop sneaking up on me!" Draco hissed.
"I did no such thing," Narcissa replied. "Going back to my question, where is Hermione?"
"She went to the ladies with Ginny," Draco replied.
"Oh, I see" Narcissa replied. She then shifted closer to her son, "I told Pixie to clear the Rose Garden for you," she whispered.
Draco stared at his Mother with confusion, "Err - why?"
"So that you can take her there to watch the fireworks display."
Draco quirked his brow, "I didn't know we have fireworks."
Narcissa shrugged her shoulders, "We do, tis' a season to be jolly after all,"
Draco guffawed, "You are aware that this is a Halloween Soiree and not the New Year's Ball, right?"
Narcissa sighed with exasperation, "You and your smart mouth."
"Why do you need me take her to the Rose Garden?"
Lifting her chin, Narcissa met her son's gaze directly; "I was hoping that you will end this festivity with a girlfriend..."
Draco eyes almost bulged out of its socket, "W-what?!"
"You two are perfect for each other and I think Hermione has already forgiven your-" Narcissa paused, her lips curling with distaste. "For a lack of a better word - stupidity. I think she's ready to move forward, son"
Draco seems to mull over his third encouragement for the night and felt resolve slowly blossom inside his chest. He closed his eyes and took a deep calming breath; after a moment, he patted his thigh and stood up. "Please make sure that nobody goes into the Rose Garden."
Draco returned the smile; "Wish me luck?"
Narcissa smiled mischievously; "I don't think you need it but good luck, love" she said.
"Where are we going?" Hermione asked, her voice full of curiosity.
Draco smiled roguishly; "Somewhere you'll like," he replied.
Hermione tugged on their intertwined hands; "You are aware that I'm wearing a gown and walking on damp grass will ruin it, right?"
Squeezing her hand, Draco steered them past the topiaries; "You're also a witch, I'm quite sure you can remedy that with a flick of a wand" he replied.
"Yes, let us rely on our magic alone," Hermione replied sarcastically.
"Hush," Draco softly chided.
Draco chuckled as he led her towards the last corner; "We're here," he announced.
"Oh my..." Hermione gasped.
Draco let his eyes wander around the dimly lit garden; his head nodding with approval. When his Mother told him that she took care of everything, this is not what he had in mind. The rose bushes that are in full bloom are laced with tiny fairy lights, twinkling like the stars that covered the ebon sky. Water continued gushing from the large marble fountain in the middle, changing colors every minute, mimicking the LED lights he once saw in Muggle London. The scene right in front of them doesn't match the theme inside the Manor, but it very well suited what he's about to do; "Do you like it?" he asked.
"It's very beautiful," Hermione replied. She then turned to look at him, her eyes full of question; "Why are we here Draco?" she asked softly.
Draco felt butterflies swarm inside his stomach but he managed to keep his cool; "Fireworks," he replied.
Cocking her head to the side, Hermione looked more confused. "Fireworks?"
"Mum-" Draco paused to clear the lump in his throat. "There will be Fireworks display when the clock strikes 12."
"That's a first."
"What's a first?"
"Fireworks display on Halloween," Hermione replied.
"You know how my Mum thinks," Draco said.
Hermione quirked a brow, "She wants to end the party with a bang?"
"A literal bang" Draco agreed with a chuckle.
Bunching her dress with her hands, Hermione walked towards the fountain; "Is this enchanted or you're really using LED lights?" she asked curiously.
"I'm betting on magic, we don't have electricity here" Draco replied.
"Evanesco" Hermione murmured, vanishing water droplets from the rim before sitting down.
Draco followed her lead, "Wandless magic, impressive" he said before sitting right in front of her.
"I've been practicing," Hermione admitted. She then met his gaze, "How many minutes before 12?" she asked.
Draco waved his hand, casting a non-verbal spell that will show them both the time; "15 minutes to go," he replied.
She rolled her eyes, "Show off," she mumbled.
He ignored the statement and just continued staring at her; "You really are beautiful, especially tonight" he blurted out.
Caught off guard, Hermione felt her mouth turned agape.
"You already started it - no sense dilly dallying" Draco thought. He took a deep calming breath before unceremoniously slipping down on his knees, facing Hermione directly.
"Draco!" Hermione yelped, trepidation evident in her tone. "What are you doing?"
Hands shaking and heart pounding madly inside his chest, Draco shifted closer. He reached for her hand and gathered them on top of her lap; he tilted his face to meet her eyes. "Hermione..."
"Get up -what are you doing?" Hermione asked shakily.
"Bloody hell...I'm so bloody nervous" Draco admitted.
Tugging his hand, Hermione coaxed him to stand up; "You don't have to do this - stand up..."
He shook his head, "Give me a minute..." he said, whilst gripping her hand tighter. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath; after a moment, he opened his eyes again; "I'm in love with you."
She can't help but smile; "You already told me that..." she replied.
He smiled back; "I did," he said as he shifted on his perch.
"You really should stand up, you're ruining your pants with grass stains," Hermione pointed out.
"Grass stain is the last thing I have in mind right now, Hermione"
"What's on your mind then?"
Without breaking eye contact, Draco started his piece. "I know I've hurt you countless of times and I can't be any sorrier than I am now. If only I can undoevery hurt and prevent every tear, I'd do it in a heartbeat."
"Please let me say this..."
"If I only paid more attention then I would've seen it - Merlin, I was bloody stupid" Draco said, his voice full of remorse. He lifted his hand and cupped her face with reverence; "I have been nothing but an insensitive prick to you but you still stood by me and loved me from a distance..."
Tears fell from Hermione's eyes but she kept silent.
He caught a tear and wiped it with his thumb; "I don't know how many times I've made you cry but I promise you now that this will be the last tear you'll shed for me" he said seriously.
Closing her eyes, Hermione nuzzled Draco's hand.
Draco lifted his other hand, cupping her face fully; "Open your eyes love," he mumbled.
Hermione opened her eyes, meeting his intent gaze.
"I love you, I always have. At first, I thought it was just the kind of love that friend's share but when I look back, I've realized that my feelings has definitely changed. You're moody, smart-mouthed and often times stubborn," he paused and chuckled.
"Pointing out my flaws is not helping your case, you know that right?" Hermione asked with a tinged of amusement.
Draco straightened his posture, pulling her face closer to his; "But I wouldn't want you any less," he said with conviction. The humor on his face instantly dissolved as his emotions took reign; "You're the kindest and most compassionate person I know, you help people without expecting anything in return. You love whole heartedly and forgive easily; you have the biggest heart and I can never be happier for that. I know that you already heard me say this but this is the only time my heart and mind is in agreement; you are my one Hermione - the person I've been waiting for all my life."
Hermione bit her bottom lip to keep a sob from escaping her lips.
"I know we haven't been dating that long and I still have a lot of things to prove but I don't think I can stand spending one more day without knowing that you're truly mine" Draco said.
"W-what are you asking me?" Hermione asked softly.
"This is it, buck up mate" Draco thought. He stiffened his back and kept eye contact; "Will you give me the privilege of being your boyfriend? Can you be mine?" he asked.
Hermione's eyes blurred with tears as she threw herself at him; "You don't know how many times I have imagined you asking me that question" she whispered.
Sitting back on his haunches, Draco wrapped his arms around her body, burying his face in her hair. "Please say yes, I love you so much..."
"Yes - a thousand times YES!" Hermione squealed, happiness seeping from her tone.
A succession of booms erupted from above, coloring the night sky with red and green lights.
Hermione pulled away from Draco to take a look at the spectacle above them; "Red and green?" she asked.
Draco followed her gaze; "It's very fitting don't you think?" he asked.
"Slytherin and Gryffindor" Hermione said dryly.
"Yep," Draco replied.
Rolling her eyes, Hermione stood up from her perch; "Get up boyfriend, you still owe me a dance," she said.
Draco followed suite, vanishing the grass stains from his pants with a wave of his hand; "I believe, I do" he replied. He then bowed like a gentleman and propped his hand towards her; "Can I have this dance, Milady?" he asked.
Hermione smiled as she placed her hand in his; "It will be my honor, kind Sir" she replied.
Slipping his arms around her waist, Draco pulled her to his chest.
Hermione gasped with his bold move, clearly not expecting the close proximity.
He wrapped his arms around her, his face inches away from hers; "You know, you really haven't told me how you felt..."
Following his lead, Hermione snaked her arms around his neck; "I haven't" she admitted.
"So...do you have any plans of telling me anytime soon?"
Hermione feigned a confused look; "Tell you what?" she asked.
He pinched her waist playfully; "You're too smart to play dumb, love"
She trailed her hands down to his shoulders, her eyes never leaving his; "I love you Draco...even if you're a prick sometimes."
Draco felt his heart skip a beat; "And I you, Hermione - I, you" he said.
"Now that we have that-"
Draco didn't let her finish, he bridged the gap between them and kissed her for the first time.
Narcissa was wiping the tears that managed to escape her eyes when she felt a large arm curling around her shoulders. She turned her face to the side and saw one of her son's best friend; "You saw everything?" she asked.
"It's about time those two got together" Blaise announced as he fell into step with Theo.
"I thought he would never find the balls," Theo replied.
"Language!" Narcissa chided half-heartedly.
Theo grimaced; "Sorry Aunt Cissy" he mumbled.
Blaise tried to stifle his laughter by biting his lower lip but he's miserably failing.
"I have to give it to Malfoy, he really has style" Neville said.
Harry adjusted his glasses; "I'm quite sure that's not his idea."
Hannah and Ginny giggled.
Neville shrugged his shoulders; "Who cares? What matters is that they're finally together" he said.
"Touché mate, touché" Harry said in agreement, his eyes fixed on his best friend's happy face.
"All I know is we said, "Hello." so dust off your highest hopes. All I know is pouring rain and everything has changed. All I know is a new found grace, all my days I'll know your face, all I know since yesterday is everything has changed..."
Three years later:
Three years ago, he was just my best friend - a womanizing bloke who can't seem to stay with one woman even if his life depends on it. I fell deeply in love with him despite knowing this fact and just as expected - I had my heart torn into pieces. Yes, I have survived a war and stared at death's face more than few times a normal person should, but having my heart broken for the first time is way much harder. He was the reason for the countless teardrops that fell from my eyes and I swore that he would never have that hold on me again. I avoided him and brushed all his efforts. I didn't trust him when he confessed his feelings because he laughed at mine. I gave up my hopes for him and decided to settle with friendship, but somewhere between the pushing and pulling, he managed to sneak back into my heart. I thought we would have the same ending - he would still be my saddest love song and I'll always be the girl who never learned.
But good things really do come to those who wait, he turned things around and made me believe that love always deserve a second chance.
He's no longer that reason for my tears because he keeps on making me smile. He gave me more than what I expected from him and right now, I could not ask for more.
Three years ago, she was just my best friend - a woman I categorized as untouchable. I've always put her at arm's length and did nothing that she can misconstrue. I know I felt something more than friendship for her but I pushed it aside because I didn't want to lose her as a friend. I did things I'm not really proud of; paraded different women left and right, trying my hardest to convince myself that I can find the ONE amongst them. I'm stupid enough to believe that I can really settle with something less because I don't deserve anything better because of my unsavory past.
I've already resigned to the fact that the story of us will never happen and I'm somehow fine with that. Everything was perfect between the two of us - until she rocked the boat and told me that she's in love with me. My world was instantly turned upside down and it felt like my heart was being pulled into two different directions. I was happy because she feels the same way about me but at the same time it tore me apart because I know I've truly hurt her. I was devastated when she walked away from me and avoided me for months, I was tempted to just let it go and just do my best to win her friendship back. But then, Theo and my Mum drilled some sense into me and helped me realize that I don't want to go back to how things were - I don't want to just be her best friend because I want something way more. I've worked my arse off and relentlessly pursued her, it took a while to get her to give me a chance and forgive me but it was all worth it - she was worth it.
We've come a long way and I'm at my happiest right now. She's still my best friend and the only love I will ever want. I may not have given her the perfect start but I did promise her a perfect ending. The story of us is just beginning and I can't wait for more.
"There you are! Aunt Cissy is about ready to blow a gasket and Hermione's Mum is the same."
Both Hermione and Draco turned around and saw a frazzled looking Theo; "Why?" the later asked.
Theo's eyes almost bulged out of its socket; "Are you bloody kidding me? You cannot hide on your own party!"
"We're not hiding," Hermione replied.
Draco rolled his eyes; "We're just taking some time for ourselves; it's a bloody circus out there."
Bracing his arms on his hips; Theo eyed the couple warily; "Well are you done taking time for yourselves?" he asked.
Hermione smiled apologetically; "We are," she replied as she stood up.
"Crap! The hem of your gown is soaked" Draco said.
"Now you've done it" Theo said as he took a step back. "You better fix that before going back, you don't want Aunt Cissy to see that" he said before turning on his heels.
Hermione stepped away from the fountain and started pulling the hem up; "I can't see it," she said.
"Let me," Draco said. He moved towards her and waved his hand on the trail, cleaning and drying the fabric at the same time. "There you are, good as new."
"Thank Merlin you're good at that - thank you" Hermione said.
Draco shifted closer and offered the crook of his arm; "We should go back before Mum launches a search party for us" he said.
Hermione slipped her arm around his, tugging him close; "Are you ready to face them, Mr. Malfoy?"
"I've been ready since the day you said yes to me," Draco replied. He then moved his face closer, "The real question here is, are you ready to face them Mrs. Malfoy?" he asked.
Hermione bridged the gap and planted a chaste kiss on his lips; "I wouldn't have said yes if I wasn't."
A large smile blossomed on Draco's lips; "I'm so lucky to have you - thank you for making me the happiest man on earth."
The same smile is mirrored on Hermione's face; "I'm blessed to have you too - thank you for giving me the world."
Draco pressed his lips to hers; "I love you Hermione Malfoy"
"I love you too Mr. Granger" Hermione replied with another kiss.
A/N: And that's a wrap! ^-^
When I first wrote TOMG I never thought I'd end up writing two more stories. Like what I've mentioned previously, it was only written as a whim, I really have no intention of writing a follow up but then reviews and PM's started flooding in and you know I really can't ignore nor resist you guys so tadah! Hehehehhehe!
I'm sorry for the delayed update, I was having an intense case of writers block so writing the last instalment is not as easy as writing the first two. I hope I gave justice to this last part - AGAIN, thank you all for reading my story! Your reviews, follows, favorites and PM's are the reason why I was able to finish it! :)
Love deserves second chances because nobody is perfect. We just have to learn from those mistakes and strive to do better. Cheers to more DRAMIONE stories! Thank you again lovelies! ^-^/
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