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The Proposal by D i a

Format: Novel
Chapters: 28
Word Count: 69,392
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, General, Romance
Characters: Harry, Hermione, Molly, Draco, Ginny, OC
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Draco/OC, Hermione/OC

First Published: 06/21/2007
Last Chapter: 01/04/2008
Last Updated: 01/11/2008

Summary:
N e w B a n n e r | b y | m e



One day Draco appears out of the blue. He proposes to her, but she can't figure out if he does it just for the money he says he'll inherit if he marries a muggle. 
And even if that's the case, is that reason enough for her to accept his proposal?
DOBBY AWARD FINALIST FOR BEST NOVEL LENGHT

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Chapter 1: Chapter 1
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A/N: Before you start reading I just want to say a few things. Firstly if you think that either Draco or Hermione are acting out of character I ask you to remember that it has been seven years since they last saw each other and that they are adults now, furthermore they have both seen a lot in their lives and have therefor grown since HBP. 
Secondly, I'll say that even though this story is now complete I still appreciate reviews very much, so please comment.
Okay, I think that was all for now. Thanks 




It had been another of those days. One of those days, where she had been working overtime at her job at the Ministry of Magic trying to climb up the career latter but not seeming to get anywhere. One of those days where she had been trying to get her boss Amanda Wickly to remember her name and another one of those days where she hadn’t gotten anywhere at all.


This wasn’t what she had expected working for the Ministry to be like when she first applied for the job just after graduating from Hogwarts as Head Girl and top student of the year. In the real world it didn’t matter that she had gotten the good grades, all the real world cared about was how much money one had. And she didn’t have much.


So now she was sitting in her usual coffee shop with her usual cup of tea in her usual gloomy mood after work a cold Tuesday afternoon in January.


“Will you marry me?” a voice suddenly said behind her and she turned around to see who was talking. Draco Malfoy was standing right behind her and clearly asking her.


“WHAT?!” was her only response.


“You heard me, will you marry me?” Malfoy asked again and slower this time like she was too dumb to understand a normal question.


Normally she was very bright, but for every galleon in the world she couldn’t understand why Draco Malfoy her long time enemy was standing behind her in the half filled Mary’s Coffee shop asking her to marry him when she hadn’t seen him the almost seven years that had passed since they left Hogwarts.


“Why?” she couldn’t help but ask. He wasn’t the marrying type, and definitively not the type to marry a mudblood as he used to call her. And they hadn’t seen or talked to each other in seven years.

His grey eyes narrowed as he sat down beside her.


“I need a mistress at Malfoy Manor,” he simply said, sounding very business like, “So? Will you marry me?” he asked again.


“NO!” she cried in horror making some of the other customers stare at the young couple.


He smirked.


“I though you would say so.”


If eyes could kill he would have dropped dead, but unfortunately for her, they didn’t and he remained alive.


“But before you turn down my offer; I want you to know what you are saying no to,” he continued. She couldn’t believe his nerve, first he asked her to marry him and now he wouldn’t understand that she was declining.


“First off all,” he said just as she opened her mouth to ask him to leave, “I have a Manor, a quite large Manor.”


She had never seen Malfoy Manor, but often heard of it. It was said to be one of the most expensive and large Manors in Great Britain with over thirty rooms, including a ballroom, it was three stories high, and attached to the manor lay a forest and a large lake. It was said that the Malfoys owned the land in a fifteen-mile radii of the manor itself, so it was quite a grand affair.

But to him she pretended she didn’t know this.


“Yes I’m sure your little shack is lovely, but hardly a reason to make me marry you.”


“Well good thing I wasn’t finished then,” he smirked and made her really want to hit him.


“Also by marrying me you’ll get the very prestigious Malfoy name, which will get you in everywhere and provide you with enormous power without ever having to lift as much as a finger.”


That was right she knew, ever since they were first years Malfoy had been able to manipulate everyone just by saying his name or maybe mentioning his fathers, then all obstacles were out of the way, he could do whatever he wanted because of that name. That name was pure power. She tried to focus on the fact that the name also was an equal to one of the most evil wizard families in the history of magic, a family who didn’t need to think about other people and who didn’t care about them anyway, they had had enough in themselves and their fancy friends with whom they shared no real bond other than their blood and their money. She didn’t want to be associated with that lot.


“Like I would want a name that reeks of blood and evil.”


He looked around in the shop, which was only halfway filled and then looked back at her.


“Some say evil, others say powerful,” came the solemn reply.


“Oh, stop trying to be poetic, I’ve known you since you were eleven and you aren’t exactly a nice acquaintance.”


He just smirked and ignored her insult.


“Then there is the money,” he continued to list the benefits of marriage, “The Malfoy family is worth approximately seventy million galleons, and for a girl who gets two galleons per hour, that’s a lot of money.”


She was almost fuming, how did he know what her salary was? And why was he trying so hard to convince her to marry him by listing all his assets?


“I don’t need your money,” she said coldly and tried to act tuff even though she knew what she could do with all that money. First there was the loan she had put up to pay for her apartment and the Weasley family who deserved the money more than anyone in the whole world for they had always been the sweetest, warmest family and they didn’t care about your blood. There was so much she could do with seventy million galleons and so many people she could help to get a better life.


“Oh I think you do,” Malfoy said, “after all you are still paying back on that loan on your apartment.”


Again she felt the urge to smack him in the middle of his pretty features. How dared he come tempt her with money, power and a marriage she knew would never work out? They were too different and all the money in the world couldn’t change the fact that he was a Malfoy and she was a muggleborn.


“I need more than just money to go into matrimony with you,” she said and stared into her almost empty teacup.


“I know that,” he said and was quiet for a bit waiting for her to say something. She shifted her stare from the teacup to the window. On the street people hurried by on their way home from work not noticing her or Draco sitting just on the other side of the glass separating them from the rest of the world.


“What more do I get if marrying you?” she finally asked sounding defeated. He cleared his throat.


“The most well equipped library in Britain.”


She looked up in surprise. Never had she pictured Malfoy as the kind of person who read. But if he wasn’t he wouldn’t have a good library and she was somehow completely sure he was telling the truth. Before her eyes she saw a grand library with shelves from floor to ceiling with ancient books on mystic languages, small and large in all the colours of the world. All that wisdom she always wanted to tap into but didn’t have to chance to see because many of the most powerful books were in private hands and not to be seen if not a close friend of the family owning them.


It was easy for him to lure her in with his books it was common knowledge that she loved books more than anything.


Why was he so clever?


“And?” she asked letting him know she expected another reason.


“What more can you possibly ask for?” he asked frustrated.


“Love? Closeness? Safety?” she answered in a low voice. He was right; it seemed almost greedy to ask for more than what he had already offered her. But the emotions were missing.


“Malfoys don’t love. Closeness disappears in time anyway and no-one are ever really safe,” he blurted.


“Malfoys must learn to love if Malfoys wants to marry Grangers,” she quietly said turning away from him intensity burning in her brown eyes.


“What if Malfoys promised to learn to care about Grangers, would Grangers then marry Malfoys?”


She turned to him again and looked him in the eyes trying to figure out if he meant it seriously.


“I don’t know.”


The silence came back and spread between them, the muffled conversations 
from the other tables suddenly sounding much louder. She played with a lock of her hair thinking hard. He sat patiently waiting.


“What’s in it for you anyway?” she finally asked voicing the real issue, “What do you get from marrying me?”


He didn’t seemed to be surprised that she asked him that, and she was pleased he didn’t, at least he hadn’t underestimated her.


“What’s in it for me...” he repeated the question as if he was thinking about whether it was wise to tell her or not.


“If I marry you I’ll first off all get a lady of Malfoy Manor and avoid all questions about why I haven’t married yet.”


That made sense but she knew it couldn’t be the only reason, if he just wanted a wife he could have stopped some random person on the streets, many would be easy to persuade into matrimony with the view of being multi millionaire.


“Secondly I would get a wife with a mind of her own and not some snotty little spoiled princess who hasn’t got a sensible thought in her little ugly head.”

She was impressed, he wanted someone opinionated and strong, not a Pansy Parkinson, the girl he always hung out with back in school.


“So very noble of you,” she remarked, “now tell me the real reason.”


He looked angrily at her, but answered her question: “I’ll inherit about thirteen million galleons from a second cousin, but only if I marry a muggleborn. That crazy bastard has a cruel sense of humour, making me do this.”


She laughed hearing this, and she also felt a bit surprised that he had referred to her as a muggleborn and not a mudblood as he used to call her back in school.


“You’re supposed to marry a muggleborn and you went to me....”


“How many other muggleborns worthy of me do you think I know?” he said sarcastically.

She was surprised that he though her worthy of him, but still she wasn’t sure that was basis enough to marry him, on the other hand it was not like she had a boyfriends or anything. She had been single ever since she broke with Ron just before the three of them defeated Voldemort. After that she hadn’t had the extra space in her head that needed be there to have a real relationship. Besides that she simply worked too much.


“Are you even sure about what you are getting yourself into? Marriage isn’t just piece of cake,” Hermione said but he shook his head.


“I though about that before asking. I’m not dumb enough just to jump into matrimony without thinking first.”


The whole situation hit her as completely and utterly absurd. She laughed hysterically at him and at herself for even considering marrying the ferret. And she was considering it even though she knew her friends might not.... Okay probably would not understand her reasons, but she found it very difficult to resist the urge just to say yes.


She put her hand to her forehead.


“Malfoy I have to think about this before answering. Sorry.”


He nodded. He couldn’t expect her to just drop everything and run away to marry the worst enemy of her schooldays.

She got up and gathered her things. Then she stood for a moment looking at the man who had just proposed to her.


He looked at her and took something from his pocket.


“Here,” he gave her the little jewellery box which she knew contained an engagement ring.


“Take this, and if I see you here tomorrow wearing it I know it’s a yes, if not, it’ll find it’s way back to me.” She nodded, accepted the box and left the shop with a lot on her mind.






A/N: I absolutely love reviews, so please be a nice reader and leave me one. Thanks!

Chapter 2: Chapter 2
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Her apartment was quiet when she entered but after living alone for seven years it didn’t bother her any longer, she was used to the silence.


In the small living room Mimpfy, her grey-striped cat sat on the windowsill looking out over the streets of London. The weather was bad as usual, it was foggy and sometimes the rain poured down all day. Most days she couldn’t even see the building cross the street, it was one of those days. She put out the food-bowl for Mimpfy and filled fresh water in.


But her heart wasn’t in it. All she could do was to think of Draco’s proposal. It had so many benefits and very little downs. With a name like Malfoy she wouldn’t have to work a slave job for her annoying boss Amanda or live in a tiny apartment that cost her almost two thirds of her monthly salary. She would be free to do whatever she wanted. Live the life she always wanted and be the witch she always wanted to be. 

Quietly she strode back and forth in the narrow hallway leading from the kitchen to the bedroom. Back and forth. She needed to make this decision, he wanted an answer by tomorrow and it was only fair that she would have one by then.


She stopped midway in the hall and turned to look at the photos on the wall. Photos of her along with Harry and Ron at Hogwarts, at the Burrow and other places smiling. Would they understand? Could she ask them for advice?

She decided that she had to if they simply couldn’t accept it then she would turn down Draco’s proposal.


Glad that she finally had made some kind of decision she headed to the living room where her fireplace would take her to Harry’s apartment.

 


He was sitting on the couch with his legs up reading a book when she arrived, but closed it and stood up to greet her as she stepped into his living room.


“Hi Harry,” she smiled and he smiled back and offered her to take a seat.

She seated herself in the comfy chair by the fire facing the green velvet couch where Harry sat down again. His apartment looked a little messy, there were books lying in piles on the floor and papers spread all over the couch, but she knew he worked a lot to on his auror training and all that so he probably didn’t have the time to clean that often.


“So,” he said, “What brings you here?”


It didn’t surprise her that he had sensed she was there for a reason. She closed her eyes for a second trying to calm herself. Explaining was more difficult than she had thought.


“I wanted your advice on something.”


He sent her a questioning glance she usually made all decisions herself.


“Okay,” he said and muffled his hair just like everyone had said his father James used to do.


“I have been proposed to,” she admitted and he looked at her with wide eyes.


“I didn’t know you had a boyfriend.”


“I don’t. And it came completely out of the blue, but it’s has a lot of advantages and I’m seriously considering to say yes,” she explained.

He didn't answer right away chewing the end of his pencil thoughtfully


“If I marry this guy I will have part in a fortune of about seventy million galleons plus a Manor and a good name.”


Harry looked even more surprised.


“Who is this guy?!” he asked.


Hermione went quiet; this was the most difficult part.


“Draco Malfoy,” she whispered.


“Could you repeat that?” Harry asked, “I thought I just heard you say that Malfoy asked you to marry him” he grinned. She looked down and his smile faded.


“He did.”


“WHAT! WHY!?” he started pacing up and down the floor, looking confused and not noticing that he was stepping on some of his notes that had fallen of the couch as he got up from it.


“Because he will inherit a lot of money if he marries a mudblood and I was the only one he found worthy.” He stopped and turned to her.


“And now you are asking me for advice?”


She nodded. He sat down on the armrest of her chair.


“I can’t make the decision for you. Marry Malfoy if you want, I trust you can take care of yourself.”


That was an extremely mature answer that she actually hadn’t expected to get from him. She had expected the confusion and the surprise but not this. Not the sudden sensibility. She had expected him to advice her to decline.

She smiled at him; “Thanks Harry”.

He smiled back: “For what?”


“For not telling me that I’m completely insane and should be taken to Sct. Mungos immediately.”

 


Later that evening she lay awake in her bed still thinking. What if she married Malfoy and they tried to kill each other after living together for a while? There was no assurance that they could even get along, let alone live together. They didn’t know each other that well and it had been several years since they were in school together. How much had he changed over the past seven years? How much had she changed? Could they make it work, would they have to sleep in the same bed, should she talk to a lawyer? 

All the thoughts were playing in her head making one big mess and she had no idea what to do or how to sort them out. Being Mrs. Malfoy would definitively make a lot of things easier, but which things would be harder, and were the advantages larger than the disadvantages? She twisted and turned through the night only sleeping in short periods interrupted by strange dreams, guilty thoughts and crazy ones too.


At two thirty she got up and went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. 

Outside the fog was still lying suffocating all noises. She stood in her small nightgown with bare feet on the cold wooden floor. The kitchen was so small that there was barely room enough for a one-person table and a chair but it had a large window and on the windowsill she had placed a few plants trying to light up the atmosphere of the boring grey room that had no personality at all. But it was also just a room she used to keep her kettle and teacups in. 

With a sight she thought that it had been a long time since she had actually lived in her apartment, most of the time it felt like she was just sleeping there, but it had nothing to do with her as a person.


Often she had considered to re-decorate, but then Amanda had called and she was off to work before she could set any of her decorating plans in action. There were so many things she had thought she wanted to do but over time it just didn’t seem like she had the time and energy to make then plans reality. With Draco’s money maybe she could?


With her cup in one hand and Mimpfy in the other she walked back into her bedroom and lay down again eyes wide open.


Could she only decide if it was madness to accept or madness to decline, no matter what she did it would be the wrong choice. It would be insane to decline seventy million galleons and it would be completely insane to marry the ferret.


She wasn’t getting anywhere.


After lying down for about five minutes she got up again and went to get her coat in the hallway. From her left pocket she took the little jewellery box Draco had given her earlier. She hadn’t opened it yet. She hadn’t dared open it. Now she put it on her nightstand and lay down on her bed again.


She still couldn’t sleep and it felt like the box was daring her to open it. She reached out and pushed it out of her sight behind the pile of books she always kept beside her bed. She still couldn’t find peace and again she got out of bed and went into the kitchen to get a glass of water.


More time passed twisting and turning. Suddenly her small bedroom seemed claustrophobic and her normally peaceful looking picture of water lilies on the opposite wall seemed scary and nightmarish. She hid her head under her duvet but it didn’t help, she knew that the box was waiting for her to open it and it wouldn’t let her rest in peace before she had.


Finally when her alarm clock shoved fifteen minutes past five in the morning she pushed back her duvet, turned on the light and quickly with a sudden feeling of urgency opened the box with a little plop. Inside the dark green velvet box she found green silk surrounding an elegant silver ring with several bright green emeralds. It was beautiful but clearly came from a Slytherin family. Green and silver. 

Now the box was open she picked up the ring examining it closely. Inside it she found that an inscription was engraved in the silver: Malfoy.


It was an old piece of family jewellery!  


Thinking the word family suddenly a new thought hit her; What happened with Draco’s parents? She thought she remembered something about Narcissa being killed in the final war and she knew for sure Lucius was dead because Ron had sent a bodylock curse after him and Lucius had stepped aside trying to avoid it but instead stepped in front of Bellatrix’ killing curse and had died. But what about Narcissa, had she really died and if not how did she feel about Draco’s proposal?


None of these thoughts were helping her so finally she got up for the twentieth time that night, found a light sleeping potion in her bathroom cabinet, and swallowed enough to make her sleep for two hours. At least then she would get two whole hours of sleep that night.

 


That morning her head was clear, she had made her decision and was happy about it, no more twisting and turning.


She got up, made tea and got dressed feeling happier than she had in a long time, finally she had had the chance to make a real decision and even though it had cost her a night of sleep she had had something real to think about, she was alive she could do things.


For the first time in a long time she had the energy to sing in the shower and even though it didn’t sound very well and her neighbour banged on the wall to make her stop, it still made her feel happy inside.


Not even Amanda could get her down that day, because she was floating around in her own little bubble not noticing the world around her.

She couldn’t wait to see Malfoy’s face when she told him. 
He would be surprised, very surprised. 






A/N: Thank you to those who reviewed chapter one, I hope you'll do the same with chapter two and for those who didn't; now is your chance to tell me what you think!
And yes, reviews - especially constructive ones - sometimes makes the next chapter appear a little faster...

In case you need something new and funny to read check out the story called 'Off limits!' by the hilarious author Green, who is also a fantastic friend and reviewer!


Chapter 3: Chapter 3
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Time seemed to fly at the office and she got a lot of work off hand. She was surprisingly energetic when she considering the fact that she had only gotten about two hours of real sleep. But as the clock started to move closer to five where she was officially off, she also started to get a little nervous. Who knew how he would take it? Even though she was nervous she was still determined, and was keeping to her decision; now was not the time to back out.


The few blocks she had to walk to come to the coffee shop seemed endless, it usually only took about three minutes and it probably only took three minutes that day too, but it felt a lot longer. 

When she got closer she could see that Draco was sitting at a table near the window, the same table as they had been sitting at the day before. She wondered how long he had waited. He didn’t seem impatient though, but maybe that was because he knew it wouldn’t help his position. She wouldn’t let anyone push her into doing something she didn’t think was right at the moment. 


The café was warm and she noticed that there were fresh flowers on the tables and it smelled deliciously of pie. Did it always smell that nice? She asked herself and concluded that she just hadn’t noticed before. As the door opened Draco turned around to face her and she walk over to him freeing herself of the coat and scarf and put it on the back of the chair.


“Hello Malfoy,” she said and he nodded in response as she sat down beside him. He looked closely at her apparently noticing the hint of makeup on her face and the natural rose on her cheeks from walking in the foggy air outside.


Then he saw her finger and his eyes went wide.


On her left ring finger was the ring he had given her the day before. It sparkled in the light of the shop and spoke it own very clear language.

She had chosen to accept his proposal. 
They were getting married.


“So Mrs. Malfoy-to-be, can I buy you some tea?” he asked as if nothing was out of the ordinary.


“Yes, you may,” she answered with a happy smile.

It was the strangest of situations she felt, she was about to marry the ferret and was actually looking forward to it. Or maybe more like looking forward to marry the ferret’s library. It was a pro forma marriage and with a lot of benefits to it.


A quite awkward silence followed, now the practical matters were out of the way the two of them didn’t really know what to say to each other, it had been a long time since they were in school together and none of them really knew what the other had been up to in the meantime or if the other had changed. 

She had no idea what Malfoy was thinking, he had always been hard to read and that hadn’t changed over the years he was still a mask of perfection that she couldn’t look beyond.


Since none of them knew what to say they just sat looking at each other waiting for the tea to arrive. Draco had always been a handsome boy and as a man he was still quite nice looking with pretty features, the same handsome grey eyes as always and the pale blond hair that was his signature. Over the years he had become a little less boyish and his face now looked grown up and serious instead of gloomy and evil like in his younger days. He was still as well dressed as always. She couldn’t help but admire his tasteful choice of clothing, classic black that suited him perfectly. 

She knew many boys with horrible sense of fashion, like for example Ron had had no idea what was nice and what wasn’t. It was a nightmare to try to teach him that orange-and-purple striped ties weren’t pretty at all. Maybe it was because he had grown up with a wizard family that he had no idea how to dress properly.


Mary, the owner of the shop, came over with their tea and as she put the teacups on the table she noticed Hermione’s new ring.


“What a pretty ring,” she said with a warm smile, she knew Hermione well.


“Yes, Draco got it for me, were engaged,” she said tasting how the word felt in her mouth. The only thing that she could think of was, strange.


“Congratulations!” Mary replied her smile growing wider, “It was about time you found yourself a pretty young man to share your life with. But dears then you shouldn’t just have tea, I can make you a nice cake, would you like that?”


The two of them looked at each other, then Draco nodded and said: “That would be very nice of you.”


She smirked as she looked at him and he sent her a what-did-you-expect glance.


“You have matured since we left school that’s all.”


“Yeah,” he said sarcastically, “Not having my father looking over my shoulder all the time does help at lot.” She laughed; Lucius hadn’t exactly been the most pleasant person to be around. Luckily she hadn’t met him more than a few times and not for very long except from the times he had tried to kill her or her friends or the other way around. She wondered if that could be a problem in the future but decided it probably wouldn’t be since it didn’t sound very much like Draco had liked his father either.      


“Ehm...” he said after another moment of silence and eyed Mary, who was standing at the counter making an extraordinarily tasty looking cake for them.


“Should we like... celebrate?” he asked in a funny voice. She hadn’t thought about that yet.


“Well we probably should....” she answered it was a part of getting married, wasn’t it?


“Perhaps, I could buy you dinner?” he suggested and she nodded, dinner was nice.


 

After eating Mary’s fancy happy engagement cake they left for Hermione’s apartment so she could change before going to some upper-class restaurant where Draco had reserved a table for two. Her clothes weren’t fit for a fancy dinner and she didn’t want to feel too much out of place at the restaurant. 

After walking up the stair to the fifth floor she unlocked the door and invited Draco inside.


“Feel free to look around, I’ll be back in a minute,” she said leaving him in the living room and heading for her bedroom. Looking at the contents of her closet she yelled to Draco.


“How fancy is this restaurant exactly?”


She wasn’t sure she had anything fancy enough most of her clothes were practical items with no colour and big comfort.


“Quite fancy,” he yelled back. She gritted her teeth and went into the living room.


“How fancy exactly is ‘quite fancy’?” she asked again and looked at him with her hands on her hips.


He sent her a smug grin: “Do you want me to pick an outfit for you?” She sent him another of her death-stares.


“It’s okay, I’ll just take a look at your closet,” he said following her back into the small bedroom. She was glad her apartment was at least properly cleaned if not the prettiest place on earth, or else she would have been ashamed of bringing Draco in, because he was used to something much more grand than a two room apartment the size of a small broom closet.


“God Granger, do you even know what the word colour means?!” he cried as he took a look at her closet. She sent him an evil stare.


“Well...The Secret Garden is a quite elegant restaurant so this definitively won’t do,” he said as he examined her closet closer going through all her everyday clothing. Then he came to the fancy end of her wardrobe. Finally he picked out a dress and held it out to her with a satisfied smile.


“What!? I have only worn that dress once and that was at my cousins wedding where I was the brides maid!” she exclaimed as she saw the bright pink dress he held out to her. It was the most elegant piece of clothing she owned. It was light and fluffy, and had broad straps and a wide skirt down to her knees.


“It’s perfect so just wear it Granger,” he said coolly and left her to change. 

She did as she was told and also added a little makeup and a nice hair-do. Then she came into the living room to get Draco so they could leave. He was sitting on her sofa like he belonged there with a book in his hands reading.


“Shall we?” she asked and he rose to her side and they went to get their coats. It was almost impossible for the two of them to be in the hall at the same time, but they managed to get their coats on without hitting each other too badly and left for the restaurant.


“Now we are engaged and all I must say you like real nice in that dress,” he said as they walked beside each other down the stairs, she smiled. Maybe this marriage wasn’t complete insanity after all, she though. If the ferret tried to be civil then she could be most civil too.


“Thank you Draco you too look fairly handsome,” she replied politely.


As they came out on the street Draco offered his arm and she took it grinning slightly, being with Malfoy was definitively different than being with Ron or Harry or any other boy she had ever been with.


 

At first the restaurant had been a bit of a shock for her. It was extremely extravagant and decorated like its name, like a secret garden. Every table were sitting in it’s own little world separated by big plants that looked exactly like trees just fitted to be inside and between the tree trunks were smaller plants so all the tables were completely undisturbed and isolated from the others. 
The tables were set with elegant white and silver, candles and white flowers and in the air soared white shiny bubbles that lighted the room in an almost dreamlike way. It was truly magical both figuratively and literally and she couldn’t believe her own eyes when they entered, it was just amazing, and awestruck she didn’t speak for approximately fifteen minutes, just stared at the beautiful scenery around her. 

Draco ended up having to order for her too because she didn’t seem to be able to find her voice. Besides that she didn’t understand a word of what was on the menu, because it was all in some strange language that she didn’t know of.            


“This place is fantastic!” she finally said smiling goofily at the man opposite her.


“Thought you might like it,” he answered and unfolded his napkin as the waiter arrived with the first course. It didn’t look familiar, but when she asked Draco he explained to her that it was some kind of pancake with salmon and spinach. When their plates had been taken away Hermione said: 

“I guess we should settle some of the practical details now?”

He nodded.


“What about finding a wedding-date?” she asked looking him in the eyes questioningly.


“Do you want to wait a while before marrying or is it okay to do it soon?”


“Mind as well get it over with, there is no meaning in waiting,” she replied business-like.


“How about this weekend?” he asked checking his calendar. She found hers too this weekend was open as all her weekends were up until the time, when Amanda asked her to work at the office.


“That’s fine with me,” she answered and made a note in the calendar that said getting married, remind Amanda that I will not be able to work.


“What time?” was the next question and they agreed that Draco would take to the priest and set a time, then call her back to make the final arrangements. She noted that too. Then she put her calendar next to her plate.


“Do you want a fancy dress too or shall we make it casual?” his question came a little absent-minded. She considered it for a moment. She never really pictured herself in a wedding-dress and hadn’t thought of buying one before he asked her if she wanted to. It was a difficult question; on one hand she didn’t want to make that big a deal of it, after all it was only a pro forma marriage, but on the other hand it would be really nice to stand there in a big fluffy dress that all her family would admire. 

Well, they hadn’t actually talked about whether they should invite their families or they should just make it a totally private ceremony.


“No...I don’t think I’ll be necessary,” she ended up answering to Draco’s obvious surprise.


“You don’t?” he asked with a lifted eyebrow and she shook her head. Then he said something that completely surprised her.


“Hermione, I think you should have a dress. You won’t get the million galleon wedding with friends and family so the least I can give you is a proper dress and knowing the contents of your closet, you need one!”


Then she shut up and agreed to let him take her dress-shopping one of the upcoming days. That ferret was a strange person she thought to herself with a chuckle as she pictured the two of them running around in a muggle wedding store looking for that big poofy dress. Funny thought.


“Then Friday morning I’ll send a carriage to fetch all your stuff and move it to the manor,” he continued their planning.


The process lasted through the main course too and they discussed a lot of different things like where they were going to eat after the ceremony, if they should go on a honeymoon, whether Hermione wanted the room with view over the garden or the one next to the library and so on until they reached the final question; the terms of their relationship and not just the business part of the matter.


“You now,” Hermione said, “This is strictly pro forma and I will let you do whatever you want to with whomever you want to, as long as you don’t invite any brainless blondes to dine with us.”


He grinned at her last comment: “Deal!”


“This is just a juridical marriage with no strings attached, you are still free to go, just not to marry,” Hermione concluded and they smiled in unison. This was a good deal with many benefits for the both of them.


The waiter brought in the final course a delicate dessert made of ice cream and chocolate and along with that a bottle of champagne to celebrate with. Draco poured some into their glasses and held up his to make a toast.


“To our upcoming marriage.”

And she repeated: “To our upcoming marriage.”






A/N: Thank you Mary for looking this through and giving me some comments about it and thank you Green for just being a great writer and friend.

So? You think Hermione made the right decision? Well, no matter what it's too late now...
Still, I would like to know what you think of it and if you have any questions I'll gladly explain any detail that caught your eye, just use the little review-box below and I'll be very happy.


Chapter 4: Chapter 4
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The next day Hermione enjoyed the silence at work since her co-worker Mary was in New Zealand there was no one to talk all the time and that really helped a lot on her general mood and made her more effective.


She sat at her desk all morning writing rapports, but it didn’t bother her as much as it could have, because now she knew she had the option to just quit if she wanted to. With a husband who had a fortune of seventy million galleons she didn’t have to work if she didn’t wish to, and she planned on telling Amanda that as soon as possible, but first she needed to finish the rapport and clean out her desk. 

It had become quit a mess over the last month where she had been working overtime almost every day. Paper was piled up all over and underneath it were old teacups and messages that she had already forgotten. 
She found her garbage bin and threw it all out, if any important notes were there she would find out later but there probably wasn’t, her job wasn’t very important so she didn’t get any real important tasks to do.


After cleaning out and putting all the teacups out in the staff kitchen to be washed she felt much better, it was such a relief to finally be able to see her desk again and she really hated mess.


Amanda also noticed the change when she came back from her meeting with the minister of magic and came over to chat with Hermione.


“I see you’ve cleaned out,” the tall blonde witch said and leaned on Hermione’s desk with a coffee cup in one hand.


“Yes I felt like it,” Hermione answered and threw out another stack of useless papers.


Amanda didn’t seem to know what to say to her, but that didn’t exactly surprise Hermione, after all Amanda had never bothered to actually got to know her. Ever since the first day she stepped into this office Amanda had just treated her like some assistant without a name or a personality and when Amanda had her annoying girl-talks with Mary, Hermione wasn’t included. 

In that particular case when it came to girl-talks she was happy she wasn’t included though, girl-talk was just boring.


“Now I have you,” Hermione then said, “I just want to tell you that I will not be able to work this Saturday.”


Amanda looked a bit confused behind her fake glasses.


“You are not supposed to work on Saturdays.”


Hermione sent her a death glare that made the other witch shrink a couple of inches.


“I know, but somehow I always end up doing so anyway.”


Amanda looked offended, but couldn’t really say anything against it though, it was the truth.


“Anyways...” Hermione said cheerfully, “I’m getting married Saturday so don’t count on seeing me.” Then she walked out to the kitchen leaving Amanda behind speechless.


But it didn’t last long before Amanda’s prying personality made her follow Hermione to ask more questions.


“So who is the lucky guy?” she asked trying to build up some confidence between the two of them but failing miserably.


“Draco Malfoy,” Hermione answered matter-of-factly and continued to pour water over the teacups where the tea had had time to dry and was now stuck inside the cup.


The Draco Malfoy?!” Amanda cried in surprise.


“Yes the Draco Malfoy,” Hermione rolled her eyes.


“I didn’t know you knew Mr. Malfoy.”


“Well obviously I do or else we probably wouldn’t be engaged now would we?”


That shut her up for a brief moment while she digested this new information she had been presented with.


“So how come you didn’t invite your co-workers to the wedding?” Amanda asked and tried to sound casual but really ended up sounding very jealous. A devil came up in Hermione as she answered: “Because I don’t like my co-workers.”


Amanda didn’t speak to her again that day.


 

Ten minutes to five she received a note from Draco saying that he would pick her up and take her dress shopping, he had also spoken with the priest and they should set the time and place for the ceremony. She smiled to herself, finally a person who didn’t just sit around waiting for others to make decisions!


At precisely five o’clock Draco appeared in the doorway wearing the sign that all visitors got when they entered on his it said ‘Draco Malfoy – here to pick up Hermione Granger’. The look on Amanda’s face when he walked in was priceless. She looked like she had just swallowed a couple of lemons; apparently she hadn’t believed Hermione earlier when she told her that they were engaged. Hermione just smirked at her as she took her coat and left with Draco by her side, stupid fake hag.

 


Together they apparated to the nearest bridal store Magical Dresses for All Occasions in Diagon Alley where a cheerful looking young witch received them and followed them to the dressing rooms where the sales witch and Draco left her to try on the dresses they brought her. 

The shop was all light pink and beautifully decorated with bows and dresses all over. Never in her life had she seen so many dresses in one place, they were everywhere in every spot of the room was beautiful dresses just waiting to be tried on.


The day before she had said that she didn’t want the fancy dress, but standing surrounded by thousands of pretty gowns made her want one badly, or at least want to try some of them on. They were just so pretty all of them, how could she resist putting some of them on and seeing how she would look in them?


Luckily she didn’t have to resist. The young sales witch who was named Selina kept bringing her dresses and putting them on a hanger just outside her dressing room so she could try them.


The first was a plain white dress with embroidered top and thin straps that looked pretty on the hanger but not on her, besides that wasn’t what she was looking for.


The next was a slim dress with long thin sleeves that shoved of her shoulders and neckline, then a huge poofy, strapless dress with a skirt like a bell, but Draco didn’t like that one.


Selina brought her an antique dress with long sleeves, lace all over and an enormous bow on the back.


“I look like an idiot in this,” she said as she walked out of the dressing room to show the other two the dress. Draco smirked and said: “Well, pretty much yes.” And she went back in to try on the next dress.


She was a critical nature and didn’t just accept some random dress; she wanted the perfect one. One that complimented her figure and her colours but it took time to find the right one and she probably tried on a hundred dresses and only chose about six she wanted to try again.


After two hours she felt like she had tried on half the store, but she had narrowed it down to only six dresses and after a second try she was able to narrow it further down to only two different ones. A poofy dress with a low-cut back and halter neck with pearl embroideries on the top and a slim dress with quite a deep v-neck that fitted her body perfectly.


“You were actually quite quick to narrow it down,” Draco said as they stood trying to decide between the last two, “I’d expected it to take an eternity, most girls do.”


She stroked her hand over the fabric of the halter neck dress and smiled while she noticed that she had been doing that a lot lately.


“I don’t have the patience to use five hours to pick one dress,” she answered.


“You’d be surprised how many young women have both the time and patience to do so,” Selina said with a laugh. It didn’t surprise her that much though, after all she had been living with Lavender and Parvarti for seven years at Hogwarts and they managed to spend two whole hours just getting ready to go down in the Great Hall and eat breakfast.


“You should try on both dresses again, then I’ll take a picture of you in both and we’ll have a look at it afterwards.” Hermione nodded and went back into the dressing room for what she felt was the thousandth time that afternoon.

 


Fifteen minutes later the newly engaged couple sat in the café next to the bridal store and had some dinner. It had taken a lot of energy to try on all those dresses, but she had made her choice and was happy about it. The pictures Selina took helped her a lot since it was difficult to see herself from all angles in the mirror but on the picture she spun and turned in front of the camera making it possible to see both the back and front of the dress and determine whether it looked good on her or not.


Seeing the photographs it only too two short minutes for her to decide that she wanted the v-neck slim-fit dress because that looked the best on her.

So now she sat tired, but happy with the big pink box containing her wedding dress beside her.


She still felt a little weird when she though about the fact that she was actually getting married in less than three days. And if she looked three days back in time her life was still empty and starting to get a little meaningless, but looking forward she now had a lot of options lying ahead all because of the bouncing ferret sitting with her.


Soon she could call herself Mrs. Malfoy and sit at her manor in her huge library and read all day. Suddenly she felt like there were several weeks till Saturday.        


 

Even though she felt like there was a lot of time till Saturday there really wasn’t. Time seemed to fly with the preparations of her moving away from London and getting married and all. She had to call her parents to let them know, and she didn’t find it easy to tell them that she was getting married not out of love, but out of convenience and so soon also. 

Her mother was a little disappointed that she didn’t get to throw her daughter that big fancy wedding that was the dream of every mother, but after two hours on the phone Hermione finally convinced her that it wasn’t a big deal, and that she did get the fancy dress after all. She didn’t have a problem with not having her family around for the wedding, most of them were a bunch of weird old people anyway, so she didn’t mind them not being there.


Her mother didn’t understand why she suddenly decided to marry this guy that her and her husband had never met, but Hermione wasn’t about to explain that it was because she used to hate the guy she was now to marry, and that she actually hadn’t seen him in the last seven years. She would never get her mother to understand that, but she wouldn’t pretend that it was her true love she was about to wed, that would be the biggest lie of her life, and she knew they would never be able to lie to her parents for the next many years.


Then her father had gotten on the phone and she had to explain it all over again. He looked at the matter a bit more practically and only asked if Draco was a nice guy, which she could only answer that he had been perfectly nice to her ever since they met again, and if he would take good care of her. To that she told him that Draco had seventy million galleons and a manor. 

Then her father was satisfied, she would be taken care of and the guy she was with was nice, that was enough for him.


Inside Hermione could only laugh at her parents and of how differently they took the news, but in these situations it was clear that women and men simply had different minds that worked differently.


Her father also asked if she wanted him and her mother to come help her pack her things for the movers on Friday, she thanked him but said no she would rather have them visit her at Malfoy Manor when she was settled. Besides she didn’t have that many thing and only her books really mattered to her the rest of the furniture she would leave for the next person to live in the apartment, in the manor she didn’t need them. 

Malfoy had told her that the manor was furnished and only if she had a strong wish to do so should she bring more furniture. She couldn’t have been happier about it, she had no desire to bring memories of that grey, lifeless hole into her new life. 
She would just leave it.
 


A/N: Thank you to all those people who reviewed the first three chapters, I'm still having quite a 'whoa'-experience because of it. I'm glad so many of you took the time to write a couple of words for me to let me know what you think of this fic, I hope you'll do the same for chapter four here.
And thank you Mary for correcting some of my less meaningfull sentences and looking the story through. 


Chapter 5: Chapter 5
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Friday came sooner than expected and soon she had packed up all her things in big boxes that sat in the middle of her living room, which now without furniture seemed more lifeless than ever. 
Mimpfy didn’t quite understand where all her things had gone, but Hermione tried to explain to the cat that they were moving out on the countryside so from now on Mimpfy would have a lot more room to play in. Hermione didn’t actually know if Draco liked cats, but she thought he probably wouldn’t mind the small grey cat being there, it wasn’t like Mimpfy ruined the furniture or anything, she just sat a lot on windowsills and looked out and once in a while came down to eat or drink. 

Cats were quiet animals that mostly didn’t bother the people living with them.

To greet the movers Hermione had to get up a little earlier than usual, but she was looking so much forward to leaving that she didn’t mind being up early, she probably wouldn’t have been able to sleep anyway because of sheer excitement.


They came precisely as all people who worked with the Malfoys had a tendency to do. She offered them a cup of coffee that they politely said no to before starting to carry her boxes down the five floors to their truck which was parked on the street just below her kitchen window.


The boxes were quite heavy, she had all her books in them and through the years she had collected a lot of them that she just couldn’t leave no matter how many books she would get access to at the manor. Her books were the ones, who helped her through all the boring days of rapport writing for Amanda and all the useless hours she spent at the office. 
They were her true companions and as good friends as Harry, Ron or Ginny would ever be.


Speaking of those Hermione was going to sleep at Ginny’s that night and then go to the manor the day after in time for the ceremony. It was some old superstition that the groom wasn’t supposed to see the bride before the wedding or they would catch bad luck. 

Hermione didn’t see how this situation could in any way be unlucky, but agreed to stay at Ginny’s for the night. It would be nice to have a real girl-talk with someone she liked to talk with, it had been a while since they had last been in the same room long enough to say hallo. They were both very busy people and had their jobs to attend to which took up a lot of their time. 

Ginny was currently working at a private hospital in London as a nurse, but she was new to the job and therefore got the annoying shifts, which made it almost impossible to see Hermione, who worked when Ginny was off.

Ginny was going to pick Hermione up after work and they would cook something in Ginny’s little kitchen and talk until two in the night.


After the movers had taken her few boxes downstairs she went to work at the office. When she arrived Amanda wasn’t there yet and she enjoyed the moments of peace until the other witch came and disturbed her with her chit-chat and other annoying things like her high heels that clicked on the floor and music that played on the radio constantly.


It was almost ten o’clock when Amanda arrived and received a disappointed stare from Hermione like the one Amanda usually sent her when she was two minutes late.


“A bit late I see,” Hermione said sarcastically and watched Amanda twitch.


“Playing boss now you finally found yourself a spouse?” Amanda tried to get back on her.


“Well with my future husbands fortune it’s not like I have to pretend I actually like you,” Hermione said and after six years let Amanda know all her frustrations about being at her job there, “I could just leave if I wanted to.”

That made Amanda white in her normally fake tan face, she hadn’t expected that Hermione would actually get spine enough to leave.


“You can’t, there is a three month notice!”


“Three month, maybe for you,” she said voice dripping with sarcasm, “but in my contract there is no notice, so, I almost don’t need to tell you that I’m leaving I could just take my things and go. Then you’d get to see how fast you could find a replacement that wouldn’t complain about your annoying behaviour. I’ll tell you, it’s not going be easy!”


It had taken her a long time to admit it, but now that it was out she felt liberated. Truth to be told she had come to hate Amanda after six years working for her, it wasn’t going to be long before she would leave her job and never come back to that part of the ministry. And she wouldn’t even be sorry.


She felt very much like just going already, but some until now unknown part of her personality wanted to wait until the moment she was badly needed and her departure would hurt the most. She laughed at herself, finally she saw the devil inside her coming out other than on a few rare occasions like the time in third year when she hit Malfoy hard on the face, times when she snuck out to help Harry and Ron and a few other times where she had suddenly acted strange. 
This time she would let the little devil get its way and be really mean to Amanda, after all if there was anyone who deserved it; it would be her.


“You’re getting a bit cocky now that you are engaged,” came the smug reply on Hermione’s speech.


“Well I can afford to be,” she smiled devilish.


“I could just fire you,” Amanda said as a final attempt to win this battle.


“Yeah, but what would it matter, you need me whether you want it or not.”

Then the quarrel was officially over and Amanda had officially lost to the last person in the world she ever thought would be over her in the hieraki.

 


Hours later she sat in Ginny’s kitchen with a glass of red-wine laughing heartily.


“You should have seen her face Gin, she so wanted to hit me!” Hermione laughed as she told the story of the argument she had had earlier that day.


“Mione, you were quite mean you know,” said Ginny and pulled a delicious lasagne out of the oven.


“Oh well, she deserved it,” Hermione kept laughing.


“And the misuse of your new position, who would have thought Malfoy would do you so much good,” Ginny placed the lasagne on the table between them and sat down on the chair with her glass. She had been quite surprised when Hermione had called her the day before to tell her of her upcoming marriage, no one had seen it coming, but she didn’t think less of her long time friend for accepting the generous offer Malfoy had presented her with, who wouldn’t want that?


In the small but nice looking, personal kitchen both girls felt at home and comfy. Ginny had excellent taste in kitchens and had decorated the small room too perfection. Maybe she had inherited some of Molly’s talent for cooking and making a home.


“Enough about my situation; how’s it going with Thomas?” Hermione asked curiously. Four moths earlier Ginny had started going out with one of the doctors, who worked at the hospital and after what Hermione had heard it was quite a hot romance, but she hadn’t actually met the famous Thomas yet, Ginny had promised her that she would soon though.


“It’s going quite well,” Ginny answered with a light blush that made her face slightly red to match the beautiful red hair that was the signature of the Weasley family. Hermione had always admired the pretty hair colour because she herself only had the bushy brown hair that didn’t seemed to be able to behave without using at least an hour to flatten it down, and she didn’t have that kind of patience.


“When do I get to see him?” she asked curiously and Ginny blushed even more.


“I don’t know, maybe when you are settled at Malfoy Manor you could invite us to dinner?”


Hermione thought that a good idea, then Ginny could get to see her new home and se would get to see Ginny’s boyfriend. They agreed on that Hermione would invite them over as soon as possible, but it was difficult to find a night where both Ginny and Thomas was off work for they both worked a lot. They were ambitious people in the beginning of their careers and had lots of shifts to advance in the system.


“Thomas works really hard to become head healer, he is so ambitious, but it makes it difficult to be together when we both work so much...” Ginny told her friend as they ate their way through the lasagne.


“Maybe you should just get married at get a private clinic out on the country?” Hermione joked, “Then Thomas could be the doctor and you could help him as a nurse.”


Both girls laughed.


“You know that wasn’t such a bad idea. But maybe I should introduce him to mum before I go into matrimony with him...” Ginny added.


“Maybe yeah,” Hermione nodded and took a sip of her wine, “I have yet to present Draco to my parents. But I think they’ll like him.”

Gin shook her head with a grin.


“Never thought I would see the day... That ferret must really have changed over the years.”


Hermione smiled and thought about it for a second. She wasn’t sure Malfoy had actually changed, he just seemed to have matured a lot and his father dying also helped a lot on him becoming more independent and grown up. She told Ginny that.


“So you don’t think he is a Death Eater?”


Hermione shook her head she didn’t know whether Draco was still into that kind of thing, but she had the feeling he wasn’t, after all he had failed to kill Dumbledore that time in sixth year when Snape ended up doing it for him that meant that he couldn’t possibly be evil to the chore.


“I don’t know Gin... I simply don’t know,” she ended up answering, “But even if he is it wouldn’t affect me that much, it’s not like we are deeply connected or anything.”


The other girl understood her point, Hermione had thought all the possibilities through before accepting, no coincidents were allowed here.    


 

The next morning Hermione felt a little groggy, her and Ginny had stayed up quite late just talking and now she woke up in an unfamiliar house on a mattress on the floor in Ginny’s living room. The first though she had in her head when she woke up was; I don’t have to work today. Finally a whole day off for the first time in almost two years. And she was getting married.


This was supposed to be her big day. The day girls waited all their life for, the day she would get to wear that fancy dress.


She wasn’t overly excited but silently looking forward to becoming Mrs. Malfoy and get the money and power that was needed for her to become something big in the wizarding world and the normal world for that matter.


From where she was lying on the floor she could faintly see her dress hanging on a hanger on the door waiting for her to get up and wear it. She felt a sense of closure now that she hadn’t even had when Voldemort was finally defeated, now she new she was going to be taken care of and a lot of worries she didn’t have to have any longer, that part of her life was over now. All that she thought about in the hour she lay on the mattress between the sofa and a small table waiting for Ginny to wake up.


“Good morning,” finally Ginny was up and stood in the doorframe and looked at her.


“Ready to get married?”


Hermione laughed and hid her head under her duvet.


“This is going to be the strangest wedding ever in the Granger family...”


“Without doubt,” Ginny replied and helped her get up from the floor.


 

The ceremony should start in the middle of the afternoon at Malfoy Manor. Together they had decided that they didn’t want to married in a church, none of them were religious, like most wizards they thought religion was a bit overrated and came with some complicated explanations on rather simple things so they had just arranged for a ministerial wizard to come out to the manor and wed them.


Hermione walked in the winter garden where the ceremony was to be held with a single pink rose in her hand and that beautiful dress they had bought only days before. Her hair was just hanging down in her normal curls with a little rose to keep it from falling down over her face. She liked the simplicity of her look.


With slow steps she walked towards the wizard in a long black robe like most wizards from the ministry and Draco who both stood near the windows in one end of the winter garden waiting for her. Draco was in a simple black robe and black tie as he stood quietly waiting for her to arrive. She could see that he liked the way she looked and she thought him very handsome too.


It was the strangest feeling walking down “the aisle”. It was both hysterically funny and yet she felt it was too much of a solemnity to laugh, but a small smiled played upon her face and in the beautiful lighting of the plant-filled room she looked like an angel just come down from heaven.


The winter garden was a pretty place, almost like a greenhouse just with real furniture and a lovely couch standing just in front of the windows so there was a view over the park-like garden which lay outside covered in fog like a mystic fantasy landscape. Malfoy Manor itself sat at the end of a long driveway with straight oaks on both sides with grass fields on both sides.


Then when she had finally reached the Manor she were overwhelmed by how intimate it seemed, just seeing it no one would believe that it had over thirty rooms and all the other things that were said about it.


It was a renaissance castle with lots of big windows built in a brownish grey material partially covered in ivy. She liked it immediately and thought that a lot of bad things could be said about Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, but they had good taste when it came to housing. Even though she knew that the Manor had belonged to one of the most evil pureblood wizard families in the history of magic she still had an instant feeling of belonging there.


She reached Draco just when the enchanted harp stopped playing and his hand closed around hers. He seemed nervous. She smiled at him to give him some confidence and apparently it helped, because the tension in his hand disappeared and they stood still together waiting for the wizard to make a move.


The plump little man said a couple of words about marriage in general, about loving and respecting each other, about being loyal and helping each other.

Hermione breathed silently and listened to the man’s words. She didn’t for a second doubt that it was the right decision she had made, she felt strong and confident and in complete control of her future.


“Will you Draco Malfoy take Hermione Jane Granger, who with you stand to be your lawfully wedded wife?” the wizard asked and stared Draco in the eyes seriously, he breathed deep before answering in his masculine voice: “I do.”


Then the wizard turned to Hermione and asked her: “Will you Hermione Jane Granger take Draco Malfoy as your lawfully wedded husband?”


This was it. 
The moment. 
She knew this was her last chance to say no, but not even for a minute did she consider doing so and her voice sounded clear and strong as she answered: “I do.”


The wizard smiled at her and as she smiled back he then said the closing words for the ceremony: “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” then he turned to Draco, “You may kiss the bride.”


He smirked but kissed her lightly on the cheek as the harp started playing again. With one final glance at the smiling wizard in black the newly wed couple left the winter garden.


 

They left for the photographer so that they could send a wedding picture along with their marriage certificate to Draco’s uncle Burge’s lawyer and get their money.


“That old man had a wicked sense of humour,” Draco said while they waited for the photographer to be finished photographing a little wizard boy on a pedestal with a little wand soaring in the air right next to his face causing major damage to the studio, but the person behind the camera didn’t seem to notice it at all, she just stood still and tried to focus. Hermione was immediately reminded of Rita Skeeter when she saw how the young photographer witch was dressed, in neon pink robe and plastic glasses with little rhinestones on the frame, horrible taste but if she could manage to both take a picture and keep her patience while dealing with the little devil babies of the wizard world, then Hermione couldn’t but admire her at least professionally.


“I believe he did... but he’s dead now isn’t he?” she asked with a smile.


“Yeah, and we have his money!”


They laughed in unison. She felt a little out of place in her pretty dress standing beside a tired mother of twins who struggled hard to keep the two little wriggling children in place and the general chaos in the atelier. But at least Draco was also well dressed like always and kept her company in his handsome robe.


“So how does it feel to be Mrs. Malfoy?” he smirked as they took their places following the witch’s instructions.


“It feels just like being Ms. Granger,” she answered, there was no difference other than in her head, and even there the difference was too subtle to determine wherein it actually lay.  


They posed with Draco’s arms around her and at least seven other poses before the photographer was satisfied, but then they also had lots of picture to show their grandchildren, the young witch who looked like Rita Skeeter said with a cheerful smile as she handed them the envelope containing the pictures.

Draco sent her a not so real smile and snatched the envelope from her hands and left the atelier dragging Hermione after him onto the streets.


“Can’t take that type of person!” he muttered as an excuse.



After a light dinner the couple apparated back to the Manor that was now her new home. She was tired after all the commotion of her wedding and now she just wanted to lie down in a comfy bed and sleep. He showed her to her room in a hurry as she was almost sleeping standing leaned against him and made sure she took of her dress before she lay down on her bed. He actually had to carry her up the stairs because she had fallen asleep in the hall and it was impossible to wake her up again.  





A/N: Thank you to those who reviewed the other chapters, may you do the same with this one, and to any newcomers; It would mean a lot to me if you took just a few minutes to tell me what you think of the story and ask any questions you might have.
This chapter might be edited a bit later, because it hasn't been looked through by Mary yet, but it shouldn't be anything big.
 


Chapter 6: Chapter 6
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The next morning she woke up wondering where on earth she was. She didn’t recognise the nice room she was lying in and the soft bed beneath her didn’t trigger her mind either.


Getting up and seeing the white under-gown she was still wearing from yesterdays wedding she remembered, but she still didn’t recognise the room. She figured she must’ve fallen asleep the night before and he had showed her to bed without waking her up.


The room was large and light, not at all how she had pictured the rooms of Malfoy manor to be and yet again she was struck by the elegant way the whole house was decorated. From the large windows she had the perfect view over the garden and the lake, and out in the horizon she could just see the forest like a big blue bunch of leaves. 

The sun was just rising bathing the scenery in a magical light and made her fall even more in love with her new surroundings than she already was.


Her own room was also very elegant with a large light-pink four-poster, a bookcase and a three-piece suite in one end to her private use. It was all done in pretty light colours with lots of air between each piece of furniture just as she liked it. At the end of the bed were her boxes with things from her old room that she had to unpack later that day.


She had just opened the one on top and found that it was the one containing half her books when she heard a light knock on her door. She turned around as Malfoy opened the door to tell her that breakfast was in ten minutes. She nodded and he disappeared again.


Not until after did she notice that he was dressed already and looked as if he had been up for long. At her nightstand she consulted the alarm clock and found that it was already past nine. She usually never slept longer than eight!

She hurried getting dressed and stepped onto the hall outside her room. For a moment she just stood there not knowing what to do.


She had no idea where the kitchen was.


Or if Malfoys even ate in the kitchen.


She quickly grew tired of just standing and decided to try and go one way, she could always go back if she didn’t find Draco. She walked left and looked in some of the rooms she found on her way. A drawing room, a living room with a large fireplace and a tiny library, but no kitchen or dinning room. When she turned around and walked back she couldn’t even find her own room again. Why does this place have to be so large? She asked herself as she looked in yet another useless room.


She completely lost orientation and was on the verge of sitting down sobbing as she heard Draco’s voice from behind.


“Here you are!”


She turned to him, her face slightly pink.


“Well I kind of ... got lost,” she explained and he smirked at her.


“It is also a quite big house you know, I might need to draw you a map.” She smiled at him, maybe that would be a good idea, just in the beginning she wouldn’t want to get lost again.


“Now, breakfast,” he said and pointed down the hallway. She followed him to the kitchen.


The kitchen was just as extravagant as the rest of the manor and on the table was two plates of freshly made pancakes. It was enough to get her mouth to water, she loved pancakes for breakfast and almost never got it at home and definitively didn’t get it when she was living by herself.


“You didn’t make these yourself, did you?” she asked her husband as they both sat down opposite each other.


“No. I don’t cook,” he answered and started eating hungrily as if he hadn’t eater for days. She took on her pancakes with almost the same expression.


Then she remembered something from when she was still in second year at Hogwarts; Dobby had been the Malfoys houseelf. Just because they had lost him it probably didn’t mean that they didn’t have a new one somewhere.


“So you have a houseelf?” she asked curiously.


“Yep, Dinny,” he answered and waited as if to see her reaction. Well he had probably heard about her organisation to better the Houseelves options in society. That was a long time ago though she had grown up and gotten less idealistic after six years at the ministry. Now she didn’t even flinch when she heard of the misuse of non-magical creatures as they were called officially.


“She had been with the family since father killed Beak, our last houseelf, just before he died,” Draco explained her. She thought that pretty interesting. If this houseelf had come to the house after Lucius had died, then the elf would reflect how Draco himself treated his personnel and not how his family was against their servants. 

Somehow she wanted to know that, she wanted to know if he was just being, well, nice to her to get the money or if he was had really grown up a bit since she had seen him last. He was after all her husband.


“Dinny!” he said in a clear voice and not seconds after the small houseelf appeared beside him with a smile and a good morning master on her lips.


“Dinny this is my wife, Hermione and you may treat her with the same respect you pay me,” he said seriously and the elf nodded and turned to Hermione.


“Welcome to Malfoy Manor,” she squeaked, “It was about time master found a companion.” Then the elf disappeard and Hermione laughed heartily at Draco’s expression. Poor guy, put in his place by a houseelf...


“She seems fond of you,” Hermione said between fits of laughter.


He shook his head before answering: “Ever since my mother died she her maternal instincts has been awoken.” She still couldn’t help laughing.

 


After breakfast he gave her a quick tour of the house to make sure she didn’t get lost again, and knowing how it was arranged it wasn’t that hard to find out how to get around.


She also showed her the grand library, which was everything she had ever dreamed of and more. First of all it was huge no doubt about it, but it was also very intimate and she felt at home immediately between all the books, which were placed on many large bookcases around the walls of the room. It was a two story room with enormous windows that covered both stories and gave an incredible view over the lake, a better view than even the one she had from her room, it was truly spectacular. 

Already when she stepped in the first time she was sure that this was going to be her favourite room of the house and she could clearly see herself sitting in there many nights studying and reading. It was simply a dream come true to finally step into that room, it was half the reason why she had even agreed to this marriage and after seeing it she wasn’t disappointed at all. It was worth it.

 


All in all her settlement at Malfoy Manor was easy. Draco wasn’t hard to live with and most of the time they did separate things anyway. Hermione kept her job at the ministry, but since she had gotten married it took up less of her precious time and she began to have real spare-time where she could do whatever she liked. Draco never asked what she was doing when she wasn’t home, and she never asked him, but they told each other where they were going almost every time or left a note in the library, where they both spent a lot of time. It was the least they could do, but they didn’t interfere with each other’s lives that much and it suited them both well, they were just getting to know each other for the first time. 

Those years at Hogwarts didn’t really count, a lot had happened since then and Hermione felt a lot older now Hogwarts seemed a mere dream from once upon a time, when she was young and innocent, too much had happened for her to remain like that.


In her short life she had seen many horrible things and survived many horrible situations that most young witches had been spared, but being who she was and being friends with Harry and Ron automatically put her in a dangerous situation, but never did the thought occur to her that she was sorry she had chosen the life she had. She knew that every move she had made had been taken of her own free will and she could have done it any other way.


The final war, as many people called it, had ended six years ago after dramatic events and loses too big to speak of, but it still came back sometimes to haunt her in her dreams, that was why she almost never spoke of that year. Neither did Harry, they both tried their hardest to move on and find out who they were without the threat of Voldemort hanging over their heads and it wasn’t always easy.


She had had to construct her new identity as a free woman and learn how to get on with her life after losing one of her best friends. That was another reason why they didn’t talk about the war. They had lost Ron during the final battle, when he was killed by Voldemort himself with an avada kedavra. Nothing less could have killed him, she though, Ron was a true fighter and a true friend to both Harry and her, they missed him a lot even after three years the guilt hadn’t gone away. 

She knew without it had ever been put into words that Harry often blamed himself for dragging his friends with him into those events, but she had assured him many a time that they chose to come with him, they could have stayed at Hogwarts for their seventh year, but they didn’t, they chose to come with him and help him destroy the evil that was slowly soaking through the wizard society like a sponge eating off all the good people in the world.  


Maybe the prophecy just said that neither Harry nor Voldemort could live as long as the other existed but Ron and Hermione felt the same way. Voldemort had to be eliminated. And so he was. But not before the good side had paid a huge prize, and some paid more than other, resulting in Ron paying the ultimate prize for their victory, his life. 

It had been horrible to see him fall slowly down to earth with his face carrying the mask of death, but somehow she thought that moment, seeing their friend lying on the ground had helped them pull up their last and truest strength and finally enabled them to defeat Voldemort forever.


 

Thinking all those thoughts made her want to contact Harry and tell him she was okay with her new life it was important that she kept contact to her friends since she didn’t have that many she needed to kept those she had close.


She found Draco in his study where he spent a lot of time reading and writing important looking letters managing the estates and so. She leaned on the doorframe after gently knocking on the wood to get his attention. He sat at his desk dressed in black as always and looked very concentrated at the letter he was writing, but he looked up as he heard her knock.


“I was thinking of inviting a few of my friends over for dinner tomorrow, would that be okay with you?” she asked curious to hear his answer. Back in Hogwarts he hadn’t exactly been the best of friends with Harry and Ginny, who knew how much that had changed over the years?


“That would be fine,” he answered, “then I’ll invite Eliza and Jonathan to come by too.” She smiled at him even though she didn’t know who neither Eliza nor Jonathan was. It sounded only fair that he also invited some of his friends.


“I’ll just call Gin and Harry now then and arrange for Dinny to make a special dinner,” she had already started planning inside her head, “Do you have any special wishes for the menu?”


He shook his head and returned to his letter while Hermione proceeded to the kitchen fireplace. As she took the floor powder the thought struck her that they really did behave like an old married couple the way they had just handled that situation. The thought both amused and scared her.

After just three weeks of marriage they already acted as if they had been together for twenty years even though there was still so much about each other they didn’t know yet.


Both Ginny and Harry immediately agreed to come by for dinner the next day. Obviously they were both very curious to see what the manor looked like and to meet Malfoy again, to see what he had become after all those years and see if he took good care of their friend.





A/N: I know this chapter is kind of a 'filler' but it's necessary, without it there would be something missing in the story.
I hope to see many nice - and constructive - reviews, and I promise the next chapter will be an important and interesting one... *evil laughter*
 

Chapter 7: Chapter 7
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A/N: First I want to point out that I do have a plan with this story, and secondly I just want to say: Please don't kill me!







As the time drew closer to dinnertime she became more and more nervous the next day. How would her friends react seeing that she really was married to Draco? How were Draco’s friends and what did they think of him marrying her?


She checked her look in the mirror for the twentieth time since she had changed for dinner. It wasn’t going to be anything formal, but she still wanted to wear at least a clean shirt and skirt. The person she saw in the mirror looked completely different from the person she had seen in her own mirror a month ago, her cheeks had gotten a new natural colour and she looked, well...happy. 

Her hair was the same bushy mess as always but with a little effort she had gotten it to sit almost nice and the smile upon her face was natural and made her look as close to pretty as she ever thought she would.


From the kitchen she could smell the delicious dinner she had prepared along with Dinny. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust Dinny to make a nice dinner, she just liked to be a part of it and it allowed her to have a little chat with Dinny about how living in the Malfoy manor was seen from the perspective of a houseelf. According to Dinny it was almost a life in luxury.


The guests had been invited to seven o’clock, but already at five to seven did the doorbell ring for the first time.


Hermione ran to the door thinking that it had to be one of Draco’s friends because neither Harry nor Ginny had ever been early, there was just too much for them to do before getting out of the door.


With one last look in the mirror assuring her that her hair looked exactly like it had done two minutes before when she last checked it, she opened the door.

Standing just outside was a man of about her age, maybe a little older with dark almost black hair, unusual blue eyes and an instant smile upon his pleasant face. She figured it had to be Jonathan, Draco’s friend.


“Hello,” she said, “Come on in.”


He stepped in as if he belonged there and took of his light coat and gave it to Dinny, who had appeared the moment she had opened the door with precisely that intention.


“Here you go Dinny,” he said as the little elf smiled at him and acknowledged him by saying Master Jonathan. When that matter was settled the two of them stood opposite one another studying the other person.


She was reassured of her first hand impression; Jonathan seemed like a pleasant person with a good sense of humour and a powerful personal magnetism. There was something irresistibly arrogant about the way he kept his back straight, she figured it had to be his chin or jaw-line that gave her that impression because it definitively wasn’t his smile, which was very warm.


“I’m Hermione,” she finally introduced herself feeling that she had to say something instead of just stare at him.


“Jonathan Green,” he shook her hand with a firm grip, “So you are Draco’s wife... interesting.”


She smiled nervously; she didn’t know what Draco had told his friend about her. Then she decided she better reply him.


“You approve of his choice?” she asked slightly flirtatious and led him into the living room, which was yet another elegant room of the Malfoy Manor decorated with white and silver.


He walked around her, examining her looks.


“Yeah, you look intelligent, I like that,” he said with a grin and she smiled at him.


Just then Draco entered the room. He looked very distinguished with a book in one hand and a serious expression on his face. That expression was replaced by a smirk when he saw his friend standing there.


“Hands of mate,” Draco said and shook Jonathans hand brotherly.


“I was just looking,” the dark-haired man said with a smirk. What Draco replied she didn’t hear because at the same moment the doorbell rang again and she went out to open.

This time it was Ginny, the famous Thomas and Harry all nicely dressed and Ginny with a big bouquet of pink roses in one hand.


“For the hostess,” she said smiling and Hermione made a gesture inviting them inside.

They all shook hands and Ginny introduced her to Thomas who was looking very average, but very nice. Even if I hadn’t known he was a doctor that would have been my first guess, Hermione though as she saw him properly. He had that air of trustworthiness and calm that most healers had. Thomas explained that it was lucky she had chosen exactly this day for her little come together, because it was the first night in two weeks where both him and Ginny was off work at the same time.


She guided them into the living room to meet Draco and Jonathan.

She could easily see that Harry didn’t like Draco, but that he tried to keep an open mind because he didn’t know how his former enemy had changed over the last seven years. There was nothing but politeness between the two of them and Ginny went as far as to compliment Draco on his beautiful house, a compliment which Draco accepted gracefully furthermore he said that he was glad they were able to be there that night.


Hermione felt pleased that they all at least tried to get along and make it a pleasant evening. She couldn’t help but smile when she saw how awkward Draco felt as he offered the guests to mix a drink for them, he clearly wasn’t used to being the host, but he did very well. And when she left to open the door for the last guest of the evening she noticed him standing engaged in a conversation with Thomas about the private hospital where the latter worked while Ginny and Harry small-talked with Jonathan.


Elizabeth was quite a surprise. Hermione didn’t know exactly what she had imagined Elizabeth would look like, but she definitively hadn’t imagined this beautiful naturally blonde girl with grey eyes and exquisite taste in clothing. If I try to look up ‘elegance’ in the dictionary, I’m sure it’ll show me a picture of her, she thought as she stared at the beauty before her. There was also something powerful about her air and Hermione instantly knew Eliza was aristocracy. 


Elizabeth gave Dinny her coat and extended her hand.


Hermione introduced herself.


“I’m Hermione, Draco’s wife.”


Elizabeth smiled and said with a funny face: “I’m Elizabeth, Draco’s girlfriend.”

If Elizabeth had expected her to be surprised, then Hermione was going to disappoint her badly. Draco hadn’t said anything about having a girlfriend, but Hermione had had the feeling that there was someone special to him. She didn’t mind. And Elizabeth seemed like an intelligent person who didn’t play games or was after his money, so Hermione approved of his choice of partner, not that she had anything to say in the matter.


“Oh well, I was convinced he had one so it’s not that big a surprise,” Hermione said studying the other woman who seemed to do the same.


“So you are okay with Draco and me?” Elizabeth asked and Hermione thought that very descent of her.


“Yes I am. Are you okay with Draco and me?” she then asked. Elizabeth looked like a powerful enemy in case she suddenly began to feel jealous and decided to eliminate Hermione. The other witch nodded confidently.


“He told me his reasons for marrying already before he proposed to you,” she explained sounding very reasonable. Hermione figured that Eliza’s relationship with Draco had been going on for a long time and had given Elizabeth the confidence in their alliance so she didn’t feel threatened by Hermione.


“I’m glad he did, our marriage means nothing to your relationship so...” she let that last sentence hang in midair for a moment waiting to see if Elizabeth had anything to say to it, apparently she didn’t and the two witches walked into the living room together.


Afterwards she was a little surprised of how easily it had gone with the two of them. 
It could have been a lot worse.


 

At the dinner table the conversation went naturally Ginny asked about the wedding and Hermione explained a few details to her, Jonathan seemed interested in Harry’s auror training and the two were engaged in a very deep conversation about it all the way throughout the first course. 


It felt good to have her friends around again and she was glad they could see that she was happy and comfy in her new position. She knew they had been a bit worried even though they hadn’t said anything to her, but now the had the opportunity to see with their own eyes that she was perfectly happy with her new living arrangements.


She probably shouldn’t tell them about Elizabeth right away though. She laughed to herself thinking about what Ginny would say if she knew that Draco’s girlfriends was sitting right next to Draco’s wife talking peacefully in Draco and Hermione’s living room.


“Why are you laughing?” Jonathan asked her with a wide smile from across the small table sitting between the two armchairs where they were seated.


“Oh not from any particular reason,” she said and winked at him making a discreet gesture towards Elizabeth. He nodded grinning, he understood why.


“It is a little strange huh?” he asked and leaned in to hear her better.


“Don’t know what my friends would say if they knew, I was just trying to imagine that,” she explained making a face.


“Well you people take the expression ‘The one and only’ a bit to serious I might say.”


She didn’t quite understand what he meant with ‘you people’ and she asked him to explain.


“If I’m not mistaken,” he carefully said and pointed at Harry who was currently talking to Ginny and Thomas, “That is Harry Potter and that is Ginevra Weasley.” She nodded most people knew them for their part in the destroying of Voldemort.


“You are Gryffindors, taking honour and chivalry very seriously.”

Again she nodded, he was right.


“And I take it you were in Slytherin?” she asked as politely as possible, she was still very loyal to her house, even after graduating the competition between Gryffindor and Slytherin still remained though to a less extent than when they were all gathered inside the walls of Hogwarts.


He laughed at her: “As a matter of fact I wasn’t.”

That surprised her a lot even though she had no memory of him being there when she was in school but on the other hand, she had no idea how old he was, and he could’ve been graduating in her early years at the school.


“You weren’t?”


“No. To tell you the truth I didn’t even go to Hogwarts,” he leaned even more so the rest of the party was unable to hear him, “I went to Rosings Academy”.


“What is Rosings?” she asked, never had she heard of it before and she had read all about the magical institutions in Europe and even read about some of the bigger ones world wide.


“Exactly!” he grinned and she smiled back.


“So was it a good school?” she asked before realising that she was actually flirting unrestrainedly with this man, he seemed to like it!

She was surprised with herself, she had never been the flirtatious type or the kind of girl to talk easily to boys she didn’t know, of course Harry and Ron had been different, she had known them since infancy and they shared a special bond. Her relationship with boys was mostly like the one between siblings nothing sexual. 

Maybe it was because men always seemed to think she wasn’t interested in a relationship just because she didn’t come on to them right away.


“Rosings was a perfectly good school, but not very known and not very prestigious.” 


“Did you like it there?” she then asked trying to find something to say. Now she had found a liking in flirting with him and acknowledged the fact that she actually was, she found it difficult to come up with something to say. It was much easier to just flirt unknowingly.


“That depends on what you mean with the word ‘like’.”

Now she became shy all of a sudden but Jonathan seemed to find that amusing.


“I got kicked out during my fifth year there.”


“Really?!” he certainly wasn’t like any other guy she had ever talked with, kicked out of school, you almost had to murder your headmaster to be expelled!


“You shocked?” he asked grinning.


She ignored the question and asked a new one instead; what he had done to get kicked out?


He didn’t seem like he wanted to answer the question because he started to talk about his fat, old headmistress instead. She had been very prejudiced and had hated him almost from the moment he entered the school because he had started his first day off with telling her that he thought she was a fat old cow and he would take pleasure in breaking every single school rule. And so he had done. Every rule from the one regarding not running in the hallways all the way up to some of the bigger crimes like breaking the strict dress-code by walking around the school completely naked except from a tie, staying in the girls rooms at night, harass teachers and get into massive fights and battles by wand, ending in him hurting one of his friends so much that a two week hospital stay was required.


“Why on earth did you do all that?” she asked him acting as Hermione as always.


With a melodramatic gesture he said: “I was a misunderstood teenager in distress desperately trying to catch the attention of my parents and in serious need of love.”


She hmf’ed at him and mumbled something that sounded like ‘more in need of a serious spanking’. He heard her comment without trouble, but he wasn’t offended and laughed widely.


“You are quite right!”

 


All in all it was a successful evening and everybody seemed to have a good time. Ginny and Thomas both left a little early since they had to work shifts the next morning and not long after Harry also returned to home, the auror training took a lot of his energy and he needed to be well rested when he got up in the mornings. Then Eliza and Draco left to have a little privacy in Draco’s personal room and left Hermione and Jonathan alone in the living room with each other as the only company. That caused an awkward silence and Jonathan was just about to get up and go home when Hermione finally found the courage to say a few word to him.


“It’s okay if you stay a while longer.”


He hesitated a bit but then sat down again awaiting her next move, the room suddenly felt smaller even though there logically had to be more space now the rest of the party had left.


“Ehm...Hmm...Do you wanna see the library?” she asked in lack of better comments and afterwards slapped herself mentally repeatedly for asking such a stupid question. Of course he already knew what the library looked like, he was Draco’s friend and had been at the Manor many times before she came into the picture. He couldn’t have avoided seeing it somewhere along the way.  How could she ask such a stupid question?


“By the pained expression on your face I can tell that you have by now found out that I have already

visited the library several times, but I would gladly escort you there if you would feel better in your natural environment,” he said and made her even more confused, but somehow she got up and followed him down the hall. He was right she thought; I would feel better in my natural environment.




A/N: Please leave a review for me with a little constructive critisism or at least tell me if I now is a good time to run and hide...

Chapter 8: Chapter 8
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None of them came down until late next morning, they had both been up past their usual bedtime and it was a weekend so they didn’t have work. Hermione had enjoyed the luxury of just lying in her bed for an hour not having to do anything or even get up. 

She had been thinking about the night before and a little about Jonathan, well a lot about Jonathan. Actually she had by the time she got up been thinking so much about him that she firstly felt like a teenager again and secondly was wondering if it was possible for one’s brain to overheat because of excessive thinking. She was twenty-three years old for crying out loud! She should be way past the years of teenage crushes.


“You and Jon surely seemed to hit it off,” was Draco’s first comment, as she came into the kitchen and with that he completely ruined the good effect of a cold bath she had just taken to kick a curtain person out of her head.


“I could say the same about you and Eliza,” she sat down opposite him and unfolded the newspaper. He looked kind of guiltily at her.


“Yeah about that, would you’ve liked me to tell you first?”

She thought it very considerate of him to ask her but she shook his head and said: “That would have been to state the obvious.”


“Is it that clear?” he sounded surprised, but well it was difficult to see oneself as others saw one.


“Crystal,” she said distant minded already focusing on the article she was reading leaving Draco with a puzzled look on his pale face.


This was a very typical conversation for the two of them, none of them were very chatty so this was how most meals went and besides meals they didn’t really meet, the manor was quite large so there wasn’t much room for them to bump into each other during the day. Hermione spent every spare minute at the library exploring and reading, she loved it there it was so peaceful and she always knew she was among companions.


 

The next Tuesday Hermione left the office early to go shopping in Diagon Alley, she hadn’t really gotten to use any of her new money yet and she wanted to try what it was like to walk around not having to consider if the dress was too expensive for her and really just be able to buy things because she felt like it and not because it was necessary. 

She had never been a very impulsive buyer and the whole shopping experience hadn’t been her thing, but now she was willing to try.

When she left though the guest entrance and came up into the fresh air she felt happy. It was a beautiful day with sunshine and only a light breeze perfect to shop in. In Diagon Alley there were a lot of people who obviously had had the same idea as she had and witches and wizards were all over. She decided to start with an ice cream. 

With the cone in her hand she sat down on a bench and watched the scenery before her. She found it amusing to look at all the stressful mothers who were trying to control their kids at the same time as they handled several parcels and some also an owl or toad. Once in a while she saw people she knew from work and from school and at a time she was sure she saw Eliza walk down the street with another young witch by her side, presumably a sister judging by the distinct resemblance.   


She finished her ice cream and wondered where to start her shopping. Well she could always start in Flourish and Blotts. As the bell rung and she stepped into the bookshop she felt the familiar atmosphere and immediately relaxed. She knew bookshops and felt confident in them since she was used to spending a lot of time there. 

She waved at Blotts, the shop-owner who was currently standing behind the counter. The two of them knew each other quite well because of her many visits throughout the last couple of years where she had been living in London.

For a while she randomly strolled up and down the shelves just to see if she found anything new and interesting. She only found a couple of antique travelling novels written by a Noelle Niwitch. As she came to the counter to pay, Blotts congratulated her on her marriage and she stared at him in surprise.


“How did you know?” she asked and took her wallet from her purse. Now it was Blotts turn to act surprised: “Hermione, most of the wizarding community knows, Malfoy is a known family, besides it was in the Dialy Prophet.”

Once again she had underestimated the power of the Malfoy name.


“I should have known that...” she mumbled to herself and placed a few galleons on the counter for the books.


“I hear that there is a great library at the Malfoy Manor?” Blotts said curiously.


She nodded: “The biggest in Britain as a matter of fact. Two stories high and filled to the brim with valuable books.”


Soon they were as so often before engaged in a conversation about books. That was one of the things she liked about books, even though there was about fifty years between the two of them they could forget that completely when talking about books. When it came to books age didn’t matter and as long as you had a few intelligent words to say most book-people would let you in without questions. 

She told Blotts about the collection of early middle-age poetry she had found in a distant corner of the large library and he offered to come out to the Manor and have a look at it sometime. He had not only a professional, but also a personal interest in antique books and this was a chance of a lifetime if he could get to visit the Malfoy library with its famous collection, and before she left the store they had agreed on a date where he would come see the collection.


She was just looking through some dresses in The Witch and the Wardrobe when she bumped into Jonathan. The Witch and the Wardrobe was a fancy store with a lot of red and pink everywhere and it was only woman’s clothes so it surprised her to see him there.


“What are you doing here?” was her first question as he came into hearing range.


“Just trying to find a gift for Liz, it’s her birthday on Monday,” he answered with his usual smile all over his face. He seemed to smile every time she saw him...


“Oh,” came the reply, “Well...what are you getting her?”

She couldn’t imagine what he could give the beautiful woman that she didn’t already posses. 


“I have no idea!” he winked, “Just looking around for inspiration. I’ll probably end up giving her the same as the past two years...”


“And that would be?”


He looked really embarrassed and his cheeks turned slightly pink as he answered: “A twin set.”


She laughed.


“To me Eliza didn’t seem like the person who wears a twin-set.”


He leaned in and stood closer to her. She figured that at least his body language showed that he liked her.


“She doesn’t. I could have sworn I once saw her houseelf Maurie in one of the sets I gave her.”


Hermione laughed again, why did she keep laughing in his company? It wasn’t like he was that funny, she just didn’t seem to be able to help it.


“Do you want me to help you find a proper gift to her?” Hermione politely asked only slightly considering the fact that she was going out of her way to be with him a little longer.


“YES! Thank you, you’re my saviour!” he immediately said and was almost about to hug her in gratitude, “and you are sure it wont get in the way of your own shopping?”


She shook her head, said she had just been looking around anyway.


 

During the weekend Draco had politely asked her if she would attend to Eliza’s birthday party with him as his wife. She of course answered him that she would love to. Well she would have said that no matter what.


She was curious to see the rest of his friends, now she had been so surprised about Eliza and Jonathan.


“I understand if you would rather stay home,” he almost gently said to her from the other side of the sofa in the library, “I know it’s a kinda strange situation with Eliza being my official girlfriend and you being my wife...”


She just shook her head she knew that both Elizabeth and herself was okay with the situation, so it didn’t really matter.


Suddenly the man across her started laughing. It was a strange noise that she hadn’t often heard before, he rarely laughed out loud only smirked or sometimes smiled. It was somehow a pleasant sound to hear especially because she had only heard it a few times before.


“What is so funny?” she asked.


He barely had breath enough to be able to speak but between cries of laughed he finally managed to say: “I’m asking my wife to my girlfriends birthday!”


 

The party was one of those where everybody knew everybody, but Draco tried really hard to introduce her to his friends and she knew Jonathan, who was more than willing to follow her around and small-talk with the wizards present.


It was held in an elegant restaurant somewhere in the back streets of London, and Hermione suspected that it was a all-wizard restaurant judging my the moving pictures and the clearly magical atmosphere.


It was a little dark inside and there was a lot of dark furniture, she didn’t feel completely safe in that company, but with Jonathan by her side she managed to be polite towards all the ex-Death Eaters, she was surrounded by. She could just see that they weren’t all good wizards by the way they moved around in small cliques and talked low-voiced with one another. They were also all dressed in black, long-sleeved robes that would cover their dark marks.


Even though it was a birthday party the atmosphere was somewhat sombre and she thought it probably wasn’t here that the whole party would erupt in Happy Birthday any minute. 


After making a round to say hallo to everyone she and Draco pulled back into a discreet corner.


“These are your friends?” she asked almost hostile, but not loud enough for anybody to hear. He put his hand over her mouth so she couldn’t speak and pushed her further back into the shadows.


“You have to watch what you say in this company,” he said hoarsely and looked intensely into her eyes making sure she understood every word.


“They could easily kill you and the rest of the room wouldn’t even flinch.”

She began to be a bit scared. Of course she had faced dark wizards before and even fought a couple of them but she had always had someone she trusted near her, it had never been a single-mission. Now she stood as probably the only ‘good’ person in a room full of Death Eaters.


“You just make sure to stay close to Jon or me all the time okay?”

She nodded and he removed this hand again.


“But if all these people want nothing but a chance to kill me why am I here?” she whispered, she knew it wasn’t the most diplomatic thing to ask but she had to know.


“You are my wife. And I don’t want my ... society... to think you are a weakling they can just play with,” he tried to explain.


“I still don’t understand,” she whispered back and held tight onto his hand, so tight that his wedding ring cut into her delicate flesh, but she needed the protection that the closeness would give her.


“I brought you because that shows that you aren’t afraid of them.”


She slowly shook her head. She was.


“You have some explaining to do when we get home...”


For the first time since she met Draco again she began to wonder what had happened in his life during those years since Hogwarts. What exactly had he been up to?


She knew only little of his actions since he hadn’t been in the frontline during the war, at least not anywhere near Ron, Harry and her.

 


Eliza liked the present Hermione and Jonathan had bought her and thanked them almost warmly for the kind thoughts.


“And I who was expecting a twin set,” she smiled to the two of them as they were standing at the gift table. The birthday child, or rather woman was wearing a long classy black dress, which complemented her pale skin and blonde hair to perfection. The dress had clung to Eliza’s every curve without being slutty and the single light pink rose tied to her shoulder only made it even more suitable for her.


Hermione almost felt a little boring compared to Elizabeth in her quite plain dark blue frock, but on the other hand she always felt boring compared to classic beauties.


“I had a little help picking out your gift this year,” Jonathan answered and winked at Hermione.


Again she noticed how Jonathan seemed extremely cheerful compared to the rest of the party. He was joking with her and flashing his dazzling smile when all the other wizards just stood anonymously talking to each other.

She couldn’t really decide if he fit in perfectly as everyone’s little brother or he just didn’t know them that well and didn’t care if he was the odd one out. He reminded her a little of the stories she had heard of Harry’s godfather Sirius when he had been young.


“Thank you Hermione, that was very sweet of you,” the hostess gracefully replied and bowed her head.


“You’re welcome.”


“And now,” Jonathan said, “You can admit that you hated the twin-sets and gave them to your houseelves!”


Eliza kept her face straight as she answered: “I loved your gifts.”


“Ha!” Jonathan replied sarcastically, “cut it out; you thought they were hideous and so they were!”


“This is what happens when people know you too well,” Hermione said to Eliza who smiled back and nodded in agreement.


“Jon and I have known each other since we were born.”


“You did?” Hermione asked to make the other woman tell more.


“Yes, Jon’s family were our closest neighbours. Our parents adored each other,” Eliza continued and rolled her eyes, “Jon and I just strongly disliked each other, but now I have learned to love him like a brother, sometimes a very annoying one who gives lousy gifts, but still a brother.”


“Yeah I love you too Liz,” Jonathan said with a smirk.


“I know you do,” she answered looking completely neutral even though Jonathan had just very subtly and probably out of old habit insulted her.

 


The evening slowly went by and Hermione survived the strange glances and disapproving of her company as she handled Amanda’s behaviour at work, by ignoring what she didn’t wish to see and setting up a professional, neutral face. It worked quite well for her and she hoped the wizards didn’t notice her constant bodyguard Jonathan, who kept near her all though the evening always with a smile and a witty comment to spare especially for her. It warmed her heart the way she knew that at least two people cared for her, Jonathan and Draco.


If it hadn’t been for them she probably would have escaped as soon as possible from the horrible people present. They weren’t nice, not even towards each other and she nowhere near understood their ‘humour’ if it even deserved to be called so.


The only sort of entertainment offered was a wizard’s duel between a low witch with completely white skin, black hair and a possessed look in her wild eyes and an middle-aged man with yellow teeth and a look like a vampire. During the ten minutes the duel lasted the two of them threw out more nasty curses than she had heard during her seven years at Hogwarts and that included the Weasley Bothers inventive tricks and the Marauders creative curses.


It ended when the little witch had to be carried out from the party on a stretcher and transported to St. Mungos.


On the way out she managed to say a few words even though she had a broken nose and a sprained wrist: “I’ll get you next time Humpfrey!”

The vampire looking man just laughed at her while the rest of the party smiled wickedly.


Hermione felt clearly that she didn’t belong there at all.





A/N: I hope you've all recovered from the shock I gave you in the last chapter and are now ready to leave me a review for this one.
Thank you for reading!


Chapter 9: Chapter 9
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“Care to explain exactly what you have been doing for the past five years?” Hermione asked almost before they had opened their own front door and taken off their coats.


She had spent half the night wondering what on earth her husband was doing with that lot and why he was still on friendly terms with them. Who were ‘them’ anyway?


“In the library if you please?” Draco suggested and led her into the large room.


With a flick of his wand he lit the fire in the fireplace and summoned a tray with tea and cookies to the table. She sighted loudly before settling into one of the soft chairs in front of the burning fire. It seemed calming to be staring into the quiet flames licking the wood with orange tongues of heat.


They gave her peace in her mind for a while and she didn’t notice Draco pulling up a chair to sit beside her. His face was unreadable.


He cleared his throat to make her look at him and she did. He looked as handsome as ever in the faint light of the fire and a few candles around them, his blonde hair shone like gold and his eyes seemed like deep lakes, deep enough for her to drown in.


“What is it that you want to know?” he asked softly.


She shook her head, now she had the chance she barely knew where to begin.


“Who were those people?” she ended up asking with a haunted expression in her brown eyes.


Draco breathed in deeply: “They are the remaining Death Eaters and their offspring plus a few loose connections. Mostly British pureblood aristocracy.”

She nodded, that much she had figured out herself, but she needed to hear it from him. Only he knew the whole truth.


“And what does that make you?” she ventured asking, but not without a curtain shakiness in her voice. They looked each other in the eyes intensely for several minutes. She doubted he would answer and somehow she wasn’t even sure she wanted to know.


 A little piece of the conversation she had had with Ginny just before she got married popped into her head again:

“So you don’t think he is a Death Eater?” Ginny had asked

Hermione had shaken her head, she hadn’t known whether Draco was still into that kind of thing but she had had the feeling he wasn’t.

 “I don’t know Gin... I simply don’t know,” she had ended up answering, “But even if he is it wouldn’t affect me that much, it’s not like we are deeply connected or anything.”


It was only two months ago she had said those words, but already now she knew she had been wrong. She couldn’t go on being with this man without knowing who he really was, what he had done. But back when she first spoke them she had been convinced that it didn’t matter at all because they were only married out of convenience. She had been completely wrong, no matter how convenient their marriage was there were also feelings involved even if it was only feelings of mutual respect and friendship.


Without breaking the deep silence between them Draco slowly rolled up his left sleeve exposing his arm. She stared at it blankly for a minute, didn’t know what to say and removed her glance to look at the clock. It was long past twelve. Then she looked back at the Dark mark on his arm and answered her own question: “A Death Eater.”


She couldn’t see what he felt, if only he hadn’t been so unreadable. Was he sorry she knew? Was she sorry she knew? Inside her head it was just one big mess at the moment, so she just kept asking more questions and figured she would sort it all out later.


“Are they your friends?”


He shrugged his shoulder.


“It’s complicated...”


Her expression became pained she wanted an explanation so badly; she needed to figure him out, to know what those horrible personas were to him.


“Explain it to me!” she demanded and made him look into her eyes.


“They are acquaintances who the Malfoy family has been associated with since my fathers young days. All Death Eaters and all aware of my history as a such.”


His words came out slowly as if he had to search his brain to find the right ones. This was clearly not something he was used to talking about, but apparently he felt like he owed it to his wife to at least try. When he had mentioned his father an expression came upon his face as had he tasted something foul, a look of pure disgust.


“They have all watched me fail my task, but I know too much for them to kick me out of their society. Like it is said; keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”


“So what about Eliza and Jonathan?” Hermione also wanted to know. After all they had been at the party so they had to be Death Eaters like Draco and the rest of the lot. But could she really believe that Jonathan the sweet, fun, intelligent man could be evil? And beautiful Elizabeth?


Hermione thought that Eliza had to be a Death Eater too since she was the one giving the party and therefore the one deciding which guests to invite, how could she not be one of them? Logically she had to be, but still Hermione couldn’t believe she was, the other woman simply seemed to clean to be a such.


“Eliza,” Draco started. He seemed to be having trouble finding the words.


“Eliza is the daughter of one of the most powerful evil wizards of our time. If people called my father Voldemort’s right hand, Eliza’s would be his left.”

Draco went quiet again but she noticed that he hadn’t actually answered her question about whether Eliza was a Death Eater.


“But Eliza was very young when the war was raging, only fourteen and much too young to serve the cause… she never received her dark mark.”

Hermione didn’t know if she should feel relieved or not. Even though her husband hadn’t said anything she had the feeling that Eliza would have gotten the mark had she only been a couple of years older. But the history of the pureblood aristocracy was far from simple and she didn’t know if it was common for the daughters of powerful wizards to become like their fathers or if they were just supposed to be pretty trophy wives for other powerful dark wizards. How did these things work?


She would rather spend her time wondering about the details of aristocratic life than ask the thing she truly wanted to know; what about Jonathan? She was afraid he would turn out to be dark just like Eliza had. She scolded herself for being so naïve and was surprised that she had been. How could she still believe in the general goodness of other people after fighting almost a year in a war where no one could be trusted? And even the people she thought she could trust had in some cases turned out to be evil. But she had to know now.


“And Jonathan?” she dreaded the answer more than she would have imagined, but it wasn’t an option not to ask.


“Jonathan is my best friend,” he simply said looking even more mysterious than ever as he sat in the shadows of the library. “I don’t have many friends and I don’t easily let people into my confidence. He is the one I’ve got.”

He also seemed to be avoiding the question and she sensed it was because he didn’t want to tell her the answer. Only when her glance became more and more begging did he speak up, but she could see he didn’t want to.


“He is also a Death Eater,” as soon as the words came out he seemed to regret saying them. Softly she started crying. She hadn’t been aware that it meant so much to her, that Jonathan meant so much to her. But now that she knew the truth it hurt her more than she could possibly imagine. More than it had when Draco had revealed himself a Death Eater just a few minutes before and Draco was after all her husband, with him it just hadn’t come as such a surprise. Jonathan seemed so good! Like a fun young man…


She had thought she finally could release herself from the war and it’s aftermath and now she found herself wrapped even more into it all. Could Voldemort never let her go? It had been seven years and she had been so convinced she was over the whole thing and now she was almost drowning in it again, it was all just too much to handle.


She hadn’t realised that Draco had gotten up from his chair, but suddenly she found him kneeling on the floor in front of her holding her hand tightly.


“He is a Death Eater, he has the dark mark tattooed on his arm, but he was never a devoted dark wizard.”


Draco tried to comfort her, but it didn’t seem to help her much she still cried like someone had just turned on a water tap and didn’t know how to turn it off again. 


“Jon was nineteen when he got it and he was under heavy pressure from his entire family to accept the offer of becoming one of Voldemorts trusted men. They saw him as a failure because he was kicked out of school and spent all his time fooling around with young ladies and doing all sorts of dangerous stuff, and they almost forced him to finally do something to make him worth their respect. So he did it.”


It didn’t make her cry less, but somehow at least she could understand his actions and maybe try to forgive him for being what he was.


“And I in my young stupidity and infatuation with the dark arts followed.”

He wasn’t crying but there was a deep intensity in his eyes that burned with the passion of the young man he could have been if he hadn’t made all the wrong choices for all the wrong reasons. She couldn’t resist putting her hand on his cheek in a loving gesture. Maybe she did love him? At least she 
understood part of him.


“I paid a price for my stupidity, but it’s a long story and you seem tired,” he said getting up; her hand fell down her side.


“I think it’s better if you tell me the whole story now,” she said in a low voice and he turned around to look at her again. Slowly he seated himself again.

She had stopped crying when he started talking.


He told her what he had been up to from the day he fled Hogwarts along with Snape after trying – and failing – to kill Dumbledore. They had been on the run for a couple of weeks before ministerial wizards captured Draco and had put him in Azkaban where he had remained for two years until his lawyer finally managed to get him out paying a big amount of galleons to the Ministry of Magic. He shouldn’t have been placed there because he was so young, but the ministry apparently saw him as a great danger to the wizard society and bended the rules so they could keep Draco captured even against their own laws. It had taken a lot of time and a bit of blackmail towards the minister of magic to get him out, but finally after two years his lawyer succeeded. 

After getting out he stayed at the manor as much as possible dreading other people and mostly dreading his own memories and the nightmares that often plagued him. The dementors of Azkaban were hard to escape even when out of their reach. It was first when he met Elizabeth half a year later through Jonathan that he started to get out a little again and regained his usual confidence. She had been very young, but they had both felt a clear attraction and soon after they were an item. Going out in society again also meant that he had to see all the former Death Eaters and remain relatively loyal to them.

Those years in Azkaban had matured him more than he had ever thought possible, it had been a rough experience and it had changed him, possibly to the better.


All this was told in an impersonal voice as if he tried to distance himself of his past mistakes, but it was his life and he had to claim to it. It was to late to undo the past and the past was what determined who he was. He had to share it with her, owed it to her.


“I’m glad you told me,” she finally said after they had been quiet for a while when he was finished telling his story. He nodded almost invisibly.

She couldn’t tell if he was sorry he told her, his face was unreadable as always.


“Maybe I’m glad I did,” he said and abruptly left the library leaving her alone with the flames and her many thoughts.  


 

Hermione didn’t see him next morning before she left for work. They had been up for quite long the evening before and she though he probably wanted to sleep in so she didn’t wake him up. In the kitchen she ate a quick breakfast and left a note besides his plate explaining that she had gone to work. She felt a deeper connection to her husband now that she knew the whole story and because of that new connection she felt obligated to tell him where she was going and show him that she trusted him.


She had to trust him even though he was a Death Eater. Surprisingly she found that she actually did trust him. He had been nice to her and he had trusted her enough to tell her what he had been doing. Seven years is a long time and a person could change many times in seven years she decided.

It again made her wonder what the war had done to her after so quickly deciding that a Death Eater as a husband wasn’t a problem at all.


Had she lost faith in the goodness of man or had she lost faith in evil being really evil? She knew there was more to people than what was shown on the outside and evil wasn’t just evil, it was more detailed than that. Everybody had relations and even the meanest men in the world could have a family somewhere that loved them and would miss them when they were gone.


Why couldn’t the world just be like when she was seven years old and sitting on her father’s lab listening to fairytales? In the fairytales the prince was always good and the witch was always evil, it was as simple as that and no ethics had to be considered, no laws, no ministerial wizards…it was just good versus evil in that ancient old battle that good always won in the books, but never in reality. Even with Voldemort dead could they really say they had won the war with so many loses? 
Could they consider it a victory when the Weasleys had lost two sons?


If the world had only been black and white things would have been so much easier. 

There would have been no Elizabeths, daughters of pure evil but still sweet and beautiful. 

There would have been no Jonathans forced to choose a life as a dark wizard because of a stupid mark on his arm that his family wanted him to have. 

No Draco’s with complicated pasts and complicated presents. 

And no Hermione’s caught in the middle of all this mess.


But there was one part of her weird life she could change and she was determined to do that immediately.

 





A/N: So this was kind of an important chapter, hope that explained some things.
Now when you review (you were going to review, right?) could you please write what country you're from? I'm curious, but it's completely optional of course.
Thank you to the people who helped me with this, especially thanks to you Mus who has been there all the way, and been very supportive.


Chapter 10: Chapter 10
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]





Amanda was sitting at her desk doing paperwork when she arrived at the office. Now that Hermione had finally made up her mind she didn’t waste any time but went straight to Amanda.


“I’m quitting,” she said calmly and watched Amanda’s face turn red and surprised.


“But you can’t quit now! We’re in the middle of our Easter count. We need you to write the rapports!” she shrieked holding her pen so thigh that it broke in two.


“Yeah because you’d never dream of doing those yourself would you?” Hermione asked coldly.


Amanda’s normal tan was fading to an unhealthy looking pale yellow, as she stared speechlessly at the young woman before her that she just a couple of months before had been able to bully into doing whatever she wanted.


“Then what are you going to do now?” Amanda asked after taking a minute to calm herself down.


“No that it is any of your business but I’m thinking of opening a library someday,” Hermione answered with a dreamy look in her eyes.


This was an idea she had always had in the back of her head, but never had the finances to live out. Ever since she first leaned the magic of reading when she was five years old and visiting her grandparents on the countryside and her grandfather had shown her his private library filled to the brim with books he had collected through the years on his visits to various places and on his trips to London. He had let her take some of the books down from their shelves and read out pieces and bits for her before teaching her the alphabet. Before she went home that summer she had leaned all the letters and could read easy sentences without trouble. 


After that she had always had a special love of books, a love that not many others understood, a world of her own.


“Good luck,” the comment was dripping with sarcasm, but Hermione did hear it, she was lost in her own dreams and the glimpse of dark hair she had just seen pass by her window.


Before Amanda could say anything more Hermione was already out in the hallway with long steps striding towards the tall figure she could see heading down the hall.


She restrained herself and tried hard not to shout down the hall after him, but instead walk slowly and calmly until she caught up with him.


She couldn’t. 
She was just too happy, too glad to be rid of her pointless job and in too good a mood to be restrained and adult.


She broke into a run.


She snuck up behind Jonathan and placed her hands over his eyes.


“Guess who,” she laughed feeling extremely childish.


“Well judging by the softness of the hands it aint my second cousin Ingolf,” Jonathan smirked.


“Nope, it’s not. Guess again!”


“Liz would never do something like this,” he mumbled as much to himself as to amuse Hermione, “and neither would my mother. Trixie from last night?”


“You’re awful,” she flirted, “but wrong again.”

He held up his hands and covered hers with them.


“Whoever you are beautiful stranger, you do have nice hands,” he flirted back.


“Do you give up?” she laughed.


“I never give up,” he said and in one quick movement turned around and captured her in a soft hug.


“Besides; I knew it was you from the beginning!”


His smile was a wide as hers, and she could smell his faint cologne standing so close to him. As always there was a glint of warmness in his blue eyes.

She had always considered blue eyes rather cold, but now she had gotten to know Jonathan that had changed radically, he had proved her wrong even though she didn’t like to admit it.


“What are you doing inhere?” she asked and tried to ignore the fact that he hadn’t let go of her waist yet.


“Just checking in on my best friends wife…” he winked, “Nah I had an appointment with the minister of the sports department. I thought it was about time I got myself a real job and so I was here for an interview.”


She hadn’t actually known much of what he was doing for a living before now, but it didn’t surprise her much that he applied for a job in the sports section; Draco and him had spent several hours discussing quidditch when he had last visited and she assumed it was just a boy-thing to be obsessed with sports. She herself had never taken much interest in it besides the school quidditch matches and even then she had mostly seen them because of Ron and Harry, who both played on the Gryffindorr team.


“Did you get it?” she asked politely as the two of them started to walk aimlessly down the hall.


“Yup,” he answered with a boy-ish smile.


“We should celebrate!” she exclaimed, the dark conversation she had had with Draco had temporarily disappeared. There was room for nothing but complete happiness in her at the moment.


“I’ll buy you lunch if it’s okay with Amanda that you leave the office?” he offered. He knew a little about Amanda from one of their previous conversations and knew how strict she could be sometimes.


“Well…I don’t think Amanda’s going to be a problem any longer,” Hermione casually replied, but she couldn’t hide the satisfied smile that still played upon her lips.


“You didn’t!” he almost yelled and hugged her again.


She was a little surprised by this sudden display of emotions and physical contact; he normally wasn’t the type who needed to be very close, but for all the galleons in the world she couldn’t say that she didn’t like it.


“Well, now we definitively need to celebrate!” he said and the two of them headed towards the door together.


 

First four hours later when Jonathan dropped her off at Malfoy Manor after having lunch and ice cream in Diagon Alley did she think about how the two of them had acted towards each other on the hallway in the ministry and what someone passing by would have thought about their relationship. 
She just hoped that Amanda hadn’t been around, because she would surely go out and spread rumour instantly if she thought she saw something interesting.


Amanda loved gossip almost more than she enjoyed being a bossy annoying person with a tendency to hear irritating music on the radio. She didn’t want the rumour that she was cheating on Draco to spread in the ministry and that could easily happen if Amanda found out how she truly felt about Jonathan.


Even though it had been several hours she still felt the rush of happiness from when she told Amanda that she was quitting, she was happy about that decision and she knew her friends would think she had done the right thing. 

She though she had, that job had never done her any good and would never do so even if she had continued to work there for thirty years there was no future in it.


She was looking forward to telling Draco, but somehow she felt that he wouldn’t be very surprised that she had done it. He knew how she felt about that job.


“Draco?!” she called after checking the drawing room and kitchen without finding him there. It was a little pointless calling his name in a house this size, but sometimes she forgot that she wasn’t back in her broom-closet-size apartment. He wouldn’t be able to hear her if she called from the hall and he was sitting in the library or somewhere on the other side of the house.


“Dinny?”


The houseelf appeared immediately.


“Do you know where Draco is?” she asked knowing it was a huge luxury to call the houseelf instead of looking for him herself but, it was just so easy getting used to having Dinny around and to have someone to help out all the time.


“Master is in his room,” Dinny answered with a hint of a curtsey that Hermione had yet to convince the elf she didn’t need to perform.


“Thank you. And how is dinner coming along?”

She asked already on her way up the stairs with her bag in one hand.


“It is to be very delicious Mrs. Malfoy,” the elf stated and disappeared. At least Dinny felt free to run the house as she wished and Hermione figured she had probably disturbed the elf in the middle of something important. With a mental note to remember not to disturb the elf while cooking, which seemed to be the elf’s favourite job she preceded up the staircase.

She was used to stairs from her old place and the liked the subtle grandness of the central staircase.

 


With a quiet knock on the doorframe she entered Draco’s bedroom. It wasn’t a place she came very often since they weren’t intimately involved they had no reason to stay in each others bedrooms, but the few times she was in there it always surprised her how a room could reflect the personality of the person living in it as much as this room reflected his.


It was a large partly circular room in the eastern part of the manor with a view over the forest, which was about to burst out in a cascade of green leaves in the early spring. The windowsills were wide which made it possible to sit in the window on the large soft green pillows laid there for the purpose. The bed was large with light green linen and placed as far away from the door as possible to maintain the privacy of the room. Just inside the door there was a soft chaise long and a fireplace where the fire was burning heating the room to a comfortable temperature and spread a dim light that bathed the room in strange shadows, but made it seem nice and safe. 

There weren’t much furniture in the room, but somehow it felt like Draco’s existence filled out the room more than any piece of furniture could possibly have done. The room didn’t need a couch or a desk to be furnished, the books which were spread on every surface of the room and the fact that Draco was in it, was enough and no one who ever stepped into it would feel like something was missing if it wasn’t exactly because Draco had just left.

It was beginning to darken outside and shadows that the merry fire couldn’t chase away filled the room.


Draco sat still in the window and looked out. He didn’t move as she entered, seemed to be in his own world.


He was as beautiful as always in the dim light. His hair seemed more golden than blonde and his skin lost its silver undertone when he sat there, the silver-grey eyes seemed black and bottomless. 

He was unreadable. 


He was the beautiful prince from the fairy tales who saved the princess from the dragon and didn’t stay to marry her and get half the kingdom, but rode into the sunset on his white horse to perfect to be true, to perfect to belong truly to anyone than the tale of time.


She knew her thoughts were crazy, but she also knew they were true. He didn’t belong to anyone he was the type of man that nobody could own.

He was nobody’s man.


Not hers.


Not even Elizabeth’s.


Earlier she had thought it was because he only belonged to himself because he was just a selfish brat with no more brain-cells than a cow, but now she knew that he had plenty of brain-cells and he knew exactly how to use them.

He was more intelligent than most people she knew.


Quietly she tiptoed across the floor and sat down in the window beside him with out ruining the silence. 

They could talk later.




A/N: Thanks to all those of you who reviewed earlier chapters of this story, I hope you'll do the same with this new one.

And thank you for telling me which country you're from it was very interesting and I found out that most people who review this story is American and also a few from Scandinavia. (To those who wondered; I'm from Denmark)

Now happy reviewing!  


Chapter 11: Chapter 11
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



As they got closer to Easter Hermione’s parents called her on her cell phone, which she always carried with her in case they wanted to reach her, and invited them home for Easter dinner.


“We have given you both time to settle and now we are curious to see this Draco fellow,” Hermione’s father said to her when they spoke.


“I’ll see if we have any plans for Easter and call you back,” she replied, but her father wouldn’t let her go before she had a yes or a no, he had gotten strict orders from Jane, Hermione’s mother not to let her off before she had a date. 


She ran down the stairs from her room to the first floor in order to find Draco, he was probably either in his study or in the library she told her father, who was still on the phone.


“So he reads?” her father knew more than anyone how much she loved to read herself, “Well there’s a match if I ever heard of one.”


“Yes he reads quite a lot,” she answered as she reached the bottom of the staircase and began crossing the hall, “We have the biggest private library in Britain if I haven’t told you already.”


“You have. Several times,” her father replied in a dry voice, “But that doesn’t necessarily mean that he uses it now does it?”

Her steps echoed through the hall, but instantly became quiet as she stepped into the drawing room because of the thick carpet on the floor.


“He uses it just as much as I do.”


“Not that I don’t enjoy speaking to my daughter, but have you found him soon?”


“I can hear you have never been to Malfoy Manor,” she replied dryly as she ran in zigzag around the chairs and coffee table.


“I’m here now, just a sec,” she said, as she finally reached to study and entered holding a hand over the phone.


“Draco, my parents ask if we can come by for dinner Easter Sunday?” she said and studied his face as he lifted his head from the papers he was just revising sitting behind the large desk in the early Victorian decorated study.

He nodded slowly and said in his pleasant, calm voice; “That would be nice.”

Then he returned to his papers.


“He says it’s fine with dinner on Sunday,” she told her father as she exited the room.


“Okay your mother and I will be looking forward to seeing you both. And put on some nice clothes okay honey? No dreadful brown potato sacks this time…” at the last family dinner she had just worn some of her normal clothes that she used in the office and she had never heard the end of it.


“You sound just like Draco.”


“I’m beginning to like that guy!” her father said and she laughed.


 

“I feel strange,” Draco said as the two of them walked down Fair Alley towards Hermione’s parents house and the home where she grew up. It was a straight muggle neighbourhood with square well-kept lawns and square houses. Everything looked almost painfully normal, not a single strand of grass pointed the other was than the rest of the lawn, the flowerbeds very carefully kept and the flowers matched each other in a strict pattern.


“Did you really grow up here?” he seemed like he couldn’t believe that people actually lived there in those almost doll-like houses.


“Yes I did, in that white house down at the end,” she pointed at a nice looking house with a white fence and wide patio in front, a red mailbox stood by the driveway which were laid with grey stones and flowerbeds at the sides.


“It’s nothing like the house I imagined you living in,” he said matter-of-factly.

 She was a little curious since he was a closed person he didn’t speak that much of what he imagined, and he hadn’t really known her that well before he suddenly came into her life again, so she had no idea what he thought of her background.  


She asked him what kind of house he had pictured her in.


“A library!” he said with a smirk. She laughed and pushed him in the side making him loose balance for a moment.


“You didn’t!” she exclaimed holding on to his arm to steady him again.


“Honestly I did.”


He shook his head and looked disapprovingly at the little red brick-house at their left, which had several ugly gnomes with mushrooms on their heads in the front yard.


He didn’t exactly look right among the square houses and garden gnomes, but he had made an effort to look handsome to meet her parents, and of course he did in his black clothes. It wasn’t really muggle clothes, but not wizard’s clothes either.


Because her father had asked her to she was wearing a dress for the occasion, a light green silky dress that Jonathan had given her just the day before as a ‘thank you’ for helping him buy a gift for Eliza. She had said several times that he hadn’t needed to do that and that she couldn’t accept it since it had to be quite expensive. And besides that she had nowhere to wear it, but he hadn’t listened to anything she said and insisted that she kept it.


She still doubted whether she should have accepted it, but there was no way she could make him take it back even though she had tried her hardest. Then Draco had walked into the room and she had expected him to agree with her, and tell Jonathan that she couldn’t take it, but yet again he surprised her and told her to keep it.


She had mumbled a few well-chosen words of the stupidity of men, and then just accepted the fact that she had no choice but to keep the dress.


“We’re here!” she said cheerfully as they reached the end of Fair Alley and the white fence around her childhood home.

Just as she was about to press her finger against the doorbell the door opened and revealed her mother standing there with a floral pattern apron and a big smile upon her face.


“Welcome!” she smiled and stepped aside inviting them in, “Greg is just taking the roast out of the oven.”

Inside everything was a neat as on the outside, Hermione’s mother had always kept her house nice and clean and it remained that way after Hermione moved out. Draco looked around curiously, but seemingly found everything to be proper and pretty. Even if he did find something he didn’t like it was impossible to see on his face.


“It smells delicious,” he complimented making Jane blush just as he intended.


“We’re having roast beef tonight, one of Hermione’s favourites…” Jane explained as they followed her to the kitchen where Hermione’s father was standing cutting the roast in thin slices.


“Well it looks fantastic so I can understand if she likes it.”

The small talk continued while Hermione helped put the food on the table in the living room. Everything looked exactly like before she moved out six years ago and it felt good to be home again, she hadn’t visited much when she was living in London and working at the ministry causing her to grow apart from her parents, but the minute she stepped into her old house she was Hermione Granger the Nerdy Bookworm again. And she liked it that way, never would she give up her books even if it meant that she could have been a lot more popular than she was. They were her friends.


“Honey?”


Without noticing it she had drifted of into her own world standing in front of a wall covered in family pictures in the living room. She turned around and saw her mother stand behind her with a small knowing smile upon her lips.


“We’re starting to eat now.”


 

They all ate in peace. Draco was relatively friendly and seemed to be able to talk with especially Greg. She was glad that he liked her parents, she could see that he did by the way he talked to them. If he spoke with someone he didn’t like there was an almost undetectable difference in the way his voice sounded and the language he used. He was too old and experienced to show hostility openly, but she knew him well enough to be able to hear that difference no matter how little it was. It’s incredible how much you learn about a person when you like with them, Hermione thought to herself with half a smile in her brown eyes.


But there was no sign of that little difference when he spoke to Greg about quidditch explaining how the game went, and how much it took it play it well. Men and sports!


Hermione and her mother spoke of some of the neighbours that Hermione knew, and Jane wanted to hear about the manor. Hermione had no difficulties telling about the Manor, she loved it and had quickly come to see it as her home. Even though she hadn’t lived there for very long she had a hard time imagining herself living anywhere else.


“Mother you’ll love it. It is simply the most fantastic place to live. Firstly it’s huge but it’s so beautifully decorated, and the library! I’ve never seen anything like it!”


“I can imagine you spend a great deal of time there.”


“We both do.” And then she threw herself into a longer speech about all the goods of Malfoy Manor and how she enjoyed living there ending with: “I never want to leave the place.” Then she pushed Draco lightly on the shoulder and added: “If we ever divorce, Draco will have to move out because I’m not leaving!”


They all laughed at that, except Hermione.


“I’m serious, you’re stuck with me forever Draco.”


He just smiled at her and said, “That’s okay, I have my ways.”


She shrugged: “Not sure I want to know what those are…”

    


 “You seem happy,” Jane said as she stood with her daughter in the kitchen doing the dishes after the party was finished eating the meal.


From the living room the two women could hear the voices of their husbands and how Greg was trying to explain the rules of soccer to Draco. He had a hard time getting how it all was down on earth when flying made sports so much more fun.


“I am mum, I really am,” Hermione replied with a happy sigh and stopped drying the plate she was holding for a moment. 


“And you’re in love,” her mother said, it wasn’t a question, “and not with him.”


How do mothers know these things? Hermione found herself wondering again, she had asked herself the same question many years ago when she was madly in love with Ron. She had looked herself in the mirror and couldn’t see anything. Was it just some sixth sense of mothers that immediately kicked in when their daughters fell in love?


“You’re right,” she could just as well admit it; it was impossible to keep those things hidden from Jane anyway. Besides why lie when there was nothing wrong with being in love.

Well nothing besides the fact that she was already married.


“Do you want to talk about it?” Jane asked very politely, but Hermione knew her mother was going crazy with curiosity. Jane wouldn’t press the matter though if she said that she didn’t want to talk about it.


“I don’t think I should, if I get started I might never stop talking about him again,” Hermione blushed heavily while admitting this, “He bought me this dress…”


Jane looked at it more carefully, it really was a beautiful dress and it fit Hermione’s figure very well compared to her usual ‘potato sacks’.


“He must know you quite well then…” Jane said calmly and left the kitchen.


She though of her mother’s words, Jonathan did know her pretty well. Out of all the pretty dresses in the store he had bought her the one that fitted her figure the most, and the one she fell instantly in love with.

He always seemed to know what would make her laugh, and he was generally pleasant to be with. But he was also a former Death Eater with the dark mark tattooed on his arm that was something he could never wash of no matter how good he became. He could disguise it with spells, make it not matter because he acted good, but it would never take away his past or the choices he made in it.


It was just that he had the special talent to make everything seem funny at the same time, as he knew how to be serious which was a rare gift she thought.

She sat on the kitchen table on her favourite spot just beside the stove and in front of the window thinking for a while. This was where she usually sat when she was at home and in the kitchen not cooking. Her mother used to tell her to get down and that they had chairs for sitting on, but she liked it there and that particular spot had a very fine view over the road outside and the front yard.


This was a place she had spent many nights with a book or with her father talking.


If I went away would you go with me?
The sound of the radio gently disturbed her train of thoughts but only to create a new one. If Jonathan went away, would she go away with him? Would she be willing to leave Malfoy Manor and her newfound happiness, did she really love him that much?

But he wasn’t going away, she didn’t have to face that decision, still she couldn’t help wondering if she would… 


“’Mione?” Draco had entered the kitchen and was standing just beside her with a hand on her shoulder. She smiled inside as she heard her former nickname, but didn’t object to being called by it.  

She looked at him and none of them spoke for a while, he just kept standing right beside her looking in the same direction as she did out the kitchen window.


“You used to sit here often?” he then asked softly and barely loud enough for her to hear it. She nodded: “It’s a great place if you need to think.”

He smirked she could hear it in his voice even though she couldn’t really see him very well.


“In the kitchen?”


“Yeah Ferret, in the kitchen!” she smirked back at him she couldn’t let him win all the time.


“You just had to bring up the ferret thing didn’t you mudblood?” she didn’t feel offended by the insult as much as she once would have, he didn’t mean any harm with it now.


“It just has such a nice ring to it, doesn’t it ferret,” she said and winked at him, and even though he technically couldn’t see it she had the idea that he knew she did it anyway.


“You are one very strange nerd Mrs. Malfoy,” he finished of their conversation and she laughed as the two of them went into the living room to her parents again.
 



A/N: Thank you to those who have read and reviewed this story, I hope you'll leave me a review for this chapter too.

And special thanks to Green and Pingo.


Chapter 12: Chapter 12
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Life went on in Malfoy Manor and the unlikely couple, which was as unlikely as ever, came to know each other even better during that time. You can’t live with someone and not get to know him or her.


Hermione learned that Draco liked to go for a walk before eating his breakfast when the weather was suitable for that kind of exercise; he walked a tour around his grounds for about twenty minutes and then came inside to eat with her. 

He couldn’t stand slow people but had all the patience in the world when it came to Dinny, who adored him like a son. If there was anything the master would like, Dinny would make it for him simply out of love, and not because she had to. The two of them had a strange relationship and Hermione found it extremely amusing to watch the elf and the man together. 

Dinny had no problem scolding Draco for being out to late or forgetting to wear a jacket on his morning walk. Sometimes she acted as if Draco was a teenager, and except from the fact that she called him ’master’ there was nothing insinuating that she wasn’t his real family. 


Draco learned that his wife didn’t like to be woken up, but had no problems getting up early herself and that she could sit in the library all day completely forgetting to eat or drink if no one disturbed her.


Draco had been at Elizabeth’s all day and when he came back late in the evening he could still see light in the library. He entered and found Hermione sitting in the exact same chair, as when he left her before midday. He could see on the cover that she was in the middle of the same book as she had been reading twelve hours before, as he said goodbye and left.


“Are you still sitting here?” he asked sounding surprised.


“Draco, are you back already?!” she seemed even more surprised than he had to see the other.


“Already? It’s past eleven…”


“It is?” she stared dumbfound at her wristwatch. She could only conclude that he was right, it was fifteen minutes past eleven. 


“Have you been sitting inhere all day?” he smirked.

She nodded even though she had no memory of time passing by at all; she had thought it was still somewhere around three o’clock in the afternoon.


“Have you gotten anything to eat?” he then asked and she shook her head, she had forgotten all about eating, because she had been so focused on the book in her hands. She didn’t even remember turning the light on, but she had to have done so because the lamp beside the armchair was on and it hadn’t been so the last time she checked.


Draco yelled for Dinny and the houseelf appeared with a loud ‘pop’ beside him.


“You know ‘Mione; it’s not healthy to not eat all day,” he smirked and threw himself into the chair next to hers with a satisfied sigh.


“I know smart-ass. But I’ll bet you’ve done the exact same thing once or twice,” she smirked with an inner feeling of touché. 


“Never,” he said and looked her straight in her brown eyes. She looked back without blinking.


“Bet you have.”


“Never,” he repeated. She couldn’t tell if he was lying, but she had a strong 
feeling that he was. Of what she knew of him, which was pretty much after three months in the same house, he loved reading almost as much as she did. He had to have stayed up way to long just to finish a book sometime in his life…


“Bet you have!”


“Yeah,” he smirked and smiled a dangerous smile, “What do you want to bet?”


“If I win, which I of course will, you are cooking me dinner tomorrow and you can’t use magic and Dinny can’t help you.”


“That’s no prize, you’ll lose whatever you do if I’m to cook for you,” he grinned.  He wasn’t the world’s greatest chef, and it was not like he ever practised the fine art of cooking.  


“Yeah yeah, what do you want from me if you win?”


“A daughter.”


Yet again he managed to surprise her completely, and the worst of it was that she couldn’t see if he was joking, because off his always unreadable face.


“You’ve got to be kidding!” she yelled with a horrified mine, but Draco’s face was straight as always.


“I’m not,” he said seriously. Everything went a bit black inside her head and all her thoughts mixed in one big mess. He couldn’t be serious! This wasn’t happening. It was a joke. It was a joke. It was a joke. It had to be!


“You’ve got to be kidding,” she repeated.


His face crumbled in laughter: “I…am… kidding!”

He couldn’t even sit straight because he was laughing so hard, and he had to hold on to the armrest in order to stay on the chair.


“Am…gonna…kill…you!” she mumbled in a threatening voice and sent dozens of mean glances towards her husband, who were laughing harder than ever.


“You deserve to die a most painful death!”


“Oh you should have seen your face,” Draco laughed still.


“I promise you, if you ever pull a trick like that again I’m going to slip something very nasty into your evening meal!” she said and slapped him hard across the face. It stopped him laughing so hard, but he still had a bright smirk on his face, a wide smirk next to the clear mark of a red hand on his pale cheek. He rubbed the spot. It stayed red for quite a while, but she had also put a lot of weight in the punch. It had been an instant reaction and something she did before she had time to think about it. Maybe if she had been in her right mind she wouldn’t have reacted so strongly.

 


He ended up having to cook for her, because when Dinny came with something to eat Hermione was quick and asked the houseelf if Draco had ever forgotten to eat and drink all day because he was reading. Dinny answered that he had done that several times. That meant that Draco would have to cook…


 

“Are you just going to sit there and watch?” Draco smirked the next day when to couple were both in the kitchen and he was preparing his grand ‘loser’-meal. Hermione sat on the kitchen table and watched him as he walked around and found the ingredients in the cupboards.


“No no, I’m also going to set the table,” she smiled at him, and he smirked at her just, as they usually did.


“Yeah that makes it so much better!” he said with loads of sarcasm in his voice, she just shook her head and made all her curl-like strands of hair fall down over her face.


“You could be making me nervous by sitting there so that I’ll burn your crème brûlée,” he said.


That made her laugh: “Nice try Draco, you’re supposed to burn crème brûlées.”


“And just how was I supposed to know that?” he raised an eyebrow at her.


“Perhaps by reading the recipe?”


He shook his head: “Always the smart one…” 


She laughed again it put her in a good mood to watch her husband walk around looking very un-housy as he tried to cook dinner for them. He looked somehow too dressed up to be standing in a kitchen even though he was just wearing his normal black clothes that he always wore no matter what he was doing.
She liked the classiness of the way he dressed, and the way he wore his clothes with elegance, she hoped it would rub off on her so she could get some of that air of class he had about him, but she doubted it would. No matter whom she married she would always be Hermione Granger the Bookworm on the inside, well now she was just Hermione Malfoy the Bookworm, but apparently that change of last name had done a world of difference to the rest of society. 


She was always served first anywhere she came, things that seemed impossible to anyone else she could handle in a matter of minutes. She never asked for special treatment when she was out, but somehow everybody seemed to know her name, and who she was.


The other day when she went out for lunch with Ginny there wasn’t any free tables at the café when they came. Then the manager came out and said that he would just throw out someone to make room for them. They had to leave the place because Hermione couldn’t have that on her conscience that they had gotten anyone kicked out.


When she went down the street people looked after her like she was some kind of celebrity, that made her feel very strange and the first few times it had happened she wondered if she had sat on something since they were looking at her. Before her marriage she had been able to walk down the street without anyone at all noticing her except if they were just about to walk into her, and now they were looking at her almost like they wanted to ask for her autograph.


“Draco?” he didn’t look up from the weight and the vegetables, his wrinkled nose and frown didn’t change, but she knew he was listening, “does people sometimes treat you different because of your name?”

He stopped and turned towards her, the cucumber still in his hand.


“All the time…why did anyone do something to you?” he asked but she shook her head.


“No one did anything besides treat me almost like royalty…”


He shrugged his shoulder: “It comes with the name I think. The wizarding world has no king or queen so I think a Malfoy is the closest a wizard can come to a royal.”


He had a good point. The wizard society didn’t believe in the monarchy or anything like that, of course there was always the queen of England, but she wasn’t really an insider and therefore didn’t count. From her excessive reading Hermione knew that there had only been a few witches or wizards in the official English royal family, as far as she knew only three and only one of them had lived to be more than twenty, the two first were a couple of twins in the early seventeenth century. The royal twins were executed at fifteen because one of them had by accident burned down big parts of their grandparent’s castle because of lack of magical training.


“It’s not very nice I think,” she said and meant that it wasn’t nice having people see her as royalty.  


“You’re regretting saying yes?” he asked. She couldn’t see what he felt.


“No. I just think I underestimated the power of the Malfoy name,” she sighed. He returned to his cooking project as he answered.


“We talked about that already even before you accepted.”


“I know. But it still surprised me.”




A/N: I really have the loveliest readers in here, thank you for being so generous with your reviews, I always appreciate your opinions.

And for those who're wondering when this is going to turn Dramione I suggest you read the text a little closer; maybe they aren't kissing or directly in love with each other, but in my opinion there's Dramione all the time here. Hope you understand my point:)

Thank you Green for helping me and to my protegee Pingo, I suggest you go check out both their stories!


Chapter 13: Chapter 13
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At first she had enjoyed having all that time to herself but as the months went by it became a bit boring to either be at home or go shopping for books all the time. She had had enough of being unemployed and now she wanted something to do again, something to work with.


She began looking through the Daily Prophet for job ads, hoping to find something interesting to make of her time before she went nuts at home.   

It was no fun to have all that time, but now she at least had the possibility of choosing which job she wanted, and the economy to turn down the jobs, she didn’t find interesting.


 

“Have you any idea how difficult it is to find a decent job in London?” Hermione complained as she sat on the floor by the fireplace in Ginny’s apartment with a glass of wine in one hand. Ginny was holding Thomas hand as they both sat on the sofa and the three of them had just had a delicious dinner together. Yet again Hermione admired and was a little jealous of Ginny’s excellent cooking skills.


“No. Neither of us needs another job, we’re terribly busy at the hospital,” Thomas replied.


“Thank God I don’t actually need a job at the moment,” she continued and looked deep into her glass.


The atmosphere in the room was relaxed after the couple had had a long day at work and a dinner. None of them wanted to do anything but sit and talk.


“No you’ve landed yourself into a pretty wealthy family,” Ginny laughed without bitterness, it had never seemed to bother her that the Weasleys weren’t rich and neither did it now. There were other values in that family such as loyalty and friendship. Personally Hermione also though those were better than focusing entirely on money and power. Money didn’t keep you warm on a lonely night and power offered no comfort when you were in need.


“We have enough to get through the day,” she said, put her glass beside her on the floor and stretched.

They were quiet for a while just listening to the fire that sent a mild orange glow into the room and showered them in golden light.


Ginny snuggled up closer to Thomas before she broke the silence: “Something I wondered; Is it worth it? I mean being married to Malfoy and all?”


Hermione sensed that it was something Ginny had though about a lot by the way she asked the question so precisely making sure Hermione knew exactly what she meant. Only a very few times had she thought about it herself.

She had the manor, the money and the power just like Draco had explained to her the day he proposed, but she actually felt like she had gotten more than he promised; besides the obvious things she had also gotten a better health, happiness, Jonathan and Draco himself. 

It was so much more than she had hoped when she accepted the proposal. Back then she had said yes to a big amount of money and a large manor, but in reality she had gotten herself the happiness she so lacked before and she had gotten new friends along the way. She had gotten her confidence and sense of humour back.


This she told Ginny and ended the speech: “This really has been a winning situation, I’m so glad I pulled myself together and ignored some of my pride back then…”


She didn’t want to know where in her life she would have been if she had declined five months ago, because she doubted it would be somewhere memorable. Already five months ago she had been at an extremely low point and she had no desire to relive that sad story again.


“Now all you need is the prince on the white horse,” Thomas said sleepily since it was getting closer and closer to midnight as the trio spoke.


“Well I might have him already,” she said and for her inner eye she saw Jonathan’s blue eyes smile at her.


 

One morning she got dizzy from trying to get out of bed and she began to wonder if there might be reason to stay in it for the day. She hated being sick, it was just so boring to lie in bed all day and if she was really sick she couldn’t even read without getting a headache.


I’ll just sleep half an hour longer, she thought. She had been up pretty long the previous evening, because she had found an unknown collection of French novels in a corner of the library and of course couldn’t stop reading when she got started on them.


It had been way past two when Draco, who had been up for a midnight snack, had seen that there was still light in the library and had sent her to bed with a strict mine. He must have spent to much time around Dinny, Hermione though and shook her head, just to find out that it hurt really bad to do that.

Carefully she lay back on her pillow and stared at the ceiling for a while. Her stomach hurt. Her joints hurt. And her head hurt a lot. It was like a whole crew of construction workers were hammering on the inside of it while the weird sisters were playing a concert for a crowd of angry Slytherins.


In other words, she didn’t feel well.


When she hadn’t come down for breakfast Draco came up to her room to see if she was okay, she didn’t notice this though, because she was fast asleep as he entered and stood in the doorway watching her for a good five minutes before returning downstairs. He knew that she always got up early even on weekends and when she had been up late the night before so it couldn’t be that.


She must be sick, he concluded.


 

When she woke up again the first thing she noticed was the smell of food near her face and the impact that fact had on her well-being. The nausea that she had been feeling before she fell asleep came back full force the second she smelled the toast and jam standing on a plate on her nightstand. Then she noticed the weigh on one side of her bed. 

Draco was sitting there reading the newspaper and looking extremely adult and distinguished, like a lord or someone out of a Jane Austen book.


“Please get the food away,” she pleaded and he looked up from the article he was reading.


“Dinny though you should eat something,” he answered as he got up from his rather comfortable position to remove the plate. She rolled around and settled in a less nauseating position on her stomach only to find out that it didn’t do much good to lye like that either, because now it was just her back that was hurting.


“No matter how I lye it hurts,” she groaned to Draco, who sat back down on her bed and opened the Daily Prophet again.


“If you are still like this in two days we’ll call a doctor,” he replied calmly and she groaned again. Could this possibly last two whole days or more?


“You don’t have something like a painkiller do you?” she asked and tried her best to do the puppy eyes, which didn’t seem to help. Maybe because Draco wasn’t looking at her and she was lying flat on her stomach squishing her face onto the pillow below her.


“Nope and it’s not healthy to take painkillers, they can make you addicted and then they won’t help next time you use them.”


If she had had the energy to do so she would have hit him hard on his cheek with her pillow, but as matters were she didn’t even have the required energy to turn around on her back again.       


“You are really enjoying this aren’t you?” she mumbled into her pillow, but he must’ve heard her because he answered surprisingly tender: “No, I don’t, I’m just stating the facts.”


Afterwards she though she might have fallen asleep again, because she didn’t at all remembered answering.


 

The next time she woke it was dark in her room, when she carefully opened one of her eyes a little bit she only saw the faint glow of the blazing fire and otherwise she was surrounded by complete darkness.


She had never been afraid of the darkness and now she was in too much pain to notice the long shadows at the edges of the room and around the furniture.

Her back was aching in a way that she never thought she would feel anything like. It was like it was being ripped apart, then stitched together with a sharp needle only to be torn apart again seconds after. 


She wished with all her heart that she could just fall asleep again and sleep though the pain, but the pain she so desired to rid herself off was also the one thing keeping her awake, making it impossible to think clearly. Time was moving so slowly, that she at some point wondered if the clock on her nightstand was lacking batteries or something, it simply wasn’t possible for the minutes to pass by that slowly.


As she tried to move a little and maybe even turn around and lie on the other side for a while she quickly forgot all about it when she felt how every bone in her entire body seemed to protest against that decision.


She tried counting sheep and cursed at the person who was stupid enough to imagine that one could fall asleep from counting small woollen things jumping over fences in ones mind. 


When she suddenly noticed a movement in the chair beside her bed she almost jumped in surprise. She hadn’t been aware of the fact that Draco had been sitting beside her sleeping the whole time. She wondered vaguely why he hadn’t gone into his own room to sleep.


“You sleep uncommonly still,” he said conversationally as he noticed that her eyes were open.


“It’s because it hurts like nothing I’ve ever felt before every time I move,” she said in a weak voice.


“Is it very bad?” he asked sounding a bit concerned.


“It wasn’t just for kicks that I asked for that painkiller earlier…” she responded and he seemed to calm a little when he noticed the drip of sarcasm in her voice, if she was clear enough in her head to use sarcasm when she spoke she couldn’t be dying or anything like that.


“Do you think a glass of firewhiskey would help?” he asked with a crooked smile and she tried to stare evilly at him even though it was no good doing so when lying down.


“If there is even the slightest chance that it’ll help I’ll drink it without questions.”


He got up and went downstairs to get the bottle, and she wondered again why he was still there. It was way past three in the night and he should be sleeping in his own bed, but instead he was sitting in her room keeping an eye on her and helping in his own way, just by being there and distracting her with his conversation.


He was a weird man, she concluded again, as she had done so many times before. Mostly when she had compared Draco the man to Draco the teenager she had known at Hogwarts. Sometimes she wondered if it was even possible for a person to change that much, well perhaps he hadn’t changed much when seeing the large picture, but when looking closer at the small details he certainly was different from the boy she had known and loathed at school.

 


The next couple of days her illness didn’t seem to get much better at all, she still felt the pain in her bones every time she moved and the headache was as strong as ever.


She missed Jonathan a lot, he didn’t visit in case her sickness was contagious, and that just made her days in bed even longer that she couldn’t just apparate to his apartment and kiss him like she usually did once in a while. Mostly they saw each other at least twice a week. They didn’t necessarily do something special together it was okay with both of them if they just sat together minding their own business just feeling the connection and pleasure of being with someone who they really cared about. She could spend a whole afternoon lying on his couch reading, watching the flames in the fireplace or talking to him. Just the fact that he was within reach was enough most of the time.


She didn’t doubt that this was a serious relationship even though it was under some strange circumstances with her being married and all, but that didn’t make it any less real.


Love is an addiction, she though, and I need my Jonathan fix…


 

Draco sat with her a lot of the time and read to her now that she was unable to firstly hold the book herself and secondly read for more than ten minutes without making the headache worse.


Every morning he read a few articles from the Daily Prophet to her so she could keep up with what was happening out in the world. After the defeat of Voldemort there wasn’t much going on and the news were of a more entertaining or just normal political sort, no Azkaban breakouts or death list anymore.


That was a change not worth wasting tears on. Personally Hermione thought it was very nice to open the newspaper a see a blond celebrity witch stare back at her instead of seeing a screaming, hollow-eyed criminal on the pages.  


“Do you want to hear the news?” Draco asked Friday morning as he entered her room looking as fresh and handsome as ever from his morning walk on the grounds. He pushed aside the light curtains and allowed the sunlight to shine into her room on the beautiful morning of June that she was completely unable to enjoy because of her sickness.


She shook her head lightly, her hair almost didn’t move from the motion it was dirty and stuck to her forehead from sweat. She hadn’t taken a bath in five days, and she felt miserable and filthy.


“I think it’s time to call in the professionals,” she said and he nodded, before leaving the room without further conversation.

 


Less than an hour later Draco came in again but this time he was followed by a short plump woman clinging carefully to her handbag and with flaming red hair just like her children had.


Hermione smiled weakly as she greeted Mrs. Weasley, who looked a bit uncomfortable at being at Malfoy Manor. It was no wonder Mrs. Weasley didn’t like being there; she had lived in the days where Lucius Malfoy had ruled the school and probably heard as many ugly words from that man as Hermione had heard from Draco when they were younger.


“Hermione dear?” she asked quietly as she removed her cloak and put it on the back of a chair near the bed.


“Hi, Mrs. Weasley,” she said and tried her best to sound normal but her voice had other intentions and sounded hollow instead of strong as she wanted it too.


The older lady turned to Draco and gave him a regular scolding for not calling on her before and telling that Hermione was sick. Draco just stood there and listened with the mine of a young schoolboy who knew he had done something wrong. It would have been quite funny if it wasn’t because Hermione was in no state where it felt good to laugh.


“How many sick children have you handled young man? Not many I figure,” Mrs. Weasley continued her accusing speech, “You know nothing of how to take care of an ill woman and still you didn’t fetch me or a proper doctor. Foolish, I tell you, foolish!”


“Mrs. Weasley, don’t worry he did the best he could for me,” Hermione felt it was time for her to step in and defend her husband, he had really been a great help even though he wouldn’t give her any painkillers or potions.


Mrs. Weasley didn’t listen to her, she was too busy opening windows and cleaning the room making it less messy. The breeze from the window was warm and with closer examination Hermione discovered that the weather outside was splendid, the sun shone brightly and there was only a light wind blowing from no specific direction moving the leaves on the trees and lifting her hair slightly.


It was surprising how quickly Ginny’s mother seemed to have gotten over her shyness at being in the manor, just as soon as she knew her task she put her concerns away and devoted herself to the job to be done.


“Malfoy could you run to the kitchen and get me a casserole?” she asked not noticing the panic stricken look on the man’s face, Hermione smiled faintly, he had no idea what a casserole was, but he went anyway.


“I must admit I was a tad surprised when Malfoy flooed into my kitchen,” Mrs. Weasley told Hermione as she went about setting the place in order, 

“He was probably the last person I’d expect seeing in the middle of breakfast, but when he explained that you were sick and asking for me I figured I better go find my bag and get here immediately.”


Hermione only nodded. Mrs. Weasley’s maternal instincts were one thing you could always count on beside she had raised seven children and knew exactly what to do with an ill person.


Draco came back with the casserole in one hand and Dinny at his heels.


“Good, now I can begin to brew the potion to help ease the poor girls pain, something I should have done long before,” Mrs. Weasley said and cast a side glaze towards Draco who looked guiltily down. Poor boy… Hermione though.





A/N: Now you've read the chapter it must be review-time, right? I would love to hear your opinion or answer any questions you might have, feel free to step forward, you know how to reach me.
Also check out my 'Meet the Author' topic on the forums if you have some questions for me :)


Chapter 14: Chapter 14
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After Mrs. Weasley had stepped in and made her a potion to make her feel better she began slowly to get well again. It took some time before she was well enough to get out of bed for more than an hour a day, but it went slow and steady.


Again she was glad that she didn’t have a job at the moment, she would’ve hated to disappoint her boss and keep telling that she was sick, it had been almost two weeks in bed and she still didn’t know how long it would be before she was completely over the illness.


It wasn’t all downside though; the period she had been spending all her time in bed with Draco by her side had brought the couple even closer than they had been before. Now it was completely impossible for anyone to tell that the two of them had been almost strangers just half a year ago, and they even had trouble grasping the concept themselves, where had time gone the past five months? 

It didn’t feel like very long ago when Draco had stepped into Mary’s Coffee shop and proposed to her out of the blue. It didn’t feel like very long ago they had sat in that fancy restaurant and in business-like voices planned their wedding. What happened to those five months that had passed without either of them noticing?


And without noticing it a strong friendship had formed between them, they knew each other and enjoyed each others company in a way than none of them had expected when they first agreed to marry.


 

“How about chicken?” Jonathan picked up a frozen chicken wrapped in plastic from the icebox in front of him.

Hermione shook her head violently, and he put it back down with its companions in the frozen meat section of the supermarket.


“You didn’t consider deciding what to cook for me before I arrived at your apartment?” she asked and raised an eyebrow at him. He just smiled and replied: “And why would I want to do that?”


She grinned at him it was just so typical him.


“Perhaps to avoid standing in a supermarket at seven o’clock along with your date staring at the frozen meat section looking at whole chickens?” she suggested and tried not to smile to widely.  


“And why would I want to avoid that?” he continued and pointed at two lamb chops.  She shook her head again she wasn’t in the mood for lamb.


“Because it would be awkward for you to have to take your date to the supermarket and that way show her that you hadn’t planned anything at all,” she said and tried really hard to make sense and not start to laugh hysterically at the odd situation. That would probably make the old muggle lady with the floral handbag stare at her like she was some freak. 
Which the old lady actually did already so maybe her breaking out in hysteric laughter didn’t matter much.


“And why would I want to avoid that?” he joked and lifted up a pack of pork chops.

She nodded.


“Ehm,” she tried hard finding a logical argument for why he would want to avoid that.


“Besides, you look good in this lighting,” he smirked at moved on down the lane with the cart in front of him.

She followed, shaking her head.


“Does the lady want pasta with her pork chops?” he called from the lane next to her.


“That depends merely on what the gentleman can make with it?”


His dark head suddenly appeared floating behind a stack of potato bags making it seem almost as if he didn’t have a body. He said that he probably could only boil it.


She smirked at him and made a hmf-sound.


“Or I could make a really delicious Italian dish with Parmesan and fresh basil?” he suggested.


She picked up the nearest object, which turned out to be a package of toast and threw it at him. It hit him right between the eyes, but being who he was he only picked up the now slightly squished toast, and put it in the cart saying that they would have to buy it now she had so violently manhandled it.

 


When they both sat on the couch in Jonathan’s large apartment and enjoyed a glass of wine with the food later that evening she had no idea why she had thrown the toast at him.


As she snuggled up in the soft green leather sofa with Jonathans arm around her it really made no sense why she suddenly had developed some violent traits, it wasn’t the first time she had acted like this. She remembered the evening where Draco had joked about wanting a daughter if he won the bet where she had slapped him hard on the cheek afterwards.


She had to stop that. Well. It would be too expensive in toast if she kept going this way.


“Do you know,” Hermione said between bites of pasta, “That we’ve known each other for four months now?”

He looked into her eyes.


“That’s quite a while.”


She looked around in his living room, which was as always extremely clean and proper. She wondered if he spent all his time cleaning when she wasn’t there, but doubted that was the truth, he probably paid someone to do it or had a houseelf somewhere that she had just never met. His apartment was nothing like she pictured the typical male-living-alone apartment; it was modern and nicely decorated with a clear sense of style and nothing out of its place.


When she first saw it she had thought that there went her vision of him as being a new Sirius. From all the stories she had heard from Harry and people who had known Sirius when he was young, she knew he hadn’t been the kind of person who used energy on cleaning and dusting if he could in any way avoid it, but Jonathan seemed to enjoy living in a orderly place with straight lines making quite a contrast to his outgoing personality.


“Uhm, I can’t believe time has gone by so fast the past five months, ever since I met Draco again I suppose…” she trailed off not quite knowing what she actually wanted to say. His arm went around her shoulders and he put his glass on the coffee table in front of them with the other hand.


“Time moves quickly in good company,” he said and tenderly trailed the outline of her jaw with his finger. A small smile crept onto her face and lit the lights in her soft eyes even more.


“And I who thought you were the bad boy,” she said flirtatiously and watched him grin as an answer and pull her even closer. He kissed her and whispered into her ear: “Only if you want me to.”


She didn’t even blush. 
Very much. 

He was like this always and she had gotten used to that long ago, but still it sometimes surprised her that he was so direct and that he still thought it was funny to tease her like that. True she had been very inexperienced before they had started dating and it had taken some adjustment to get used to him being so straightforward with her and using that playful tone, but now she only saw it as very attracting and she felt desired when he spoke like that. It was a great feeling.


 

There is something I have forgotten, was the first thought on her mind as she woke up early the next morning. She turned over in the bed to look at the clock on Jonathan’s nightstand it was only eight thirty. She didn’t remember having any appointments today, and she had put out the fire in the fireplace in her room before she left to meet Jonathan yesterday.


It was Harry’s Birthdayparty today even though it had been almost a month since his real birthday. But she had that part of the day under control. She would show up at Harry’s place at seven brining the gift from Draco and her, Draco would apparate there himself when he was done at Eliza’s later on the afternoon and they would go in together and congratulate Harry with the twenty-fourth birthday and celebrate it with the Weasley family who were all coming by on this special occasion.


So it couldn’t be that… then what?


“You always look so sweet when you worry,” Jonathan commented rolling over so he could lie on one side and watch her lying next to him in the luxurious bed with crisp white linen and a gold headpiece. She shook her head and cringed inside by the thought of the state of her hair. She had trouble keeping it just pretty-ish when she was up and it just got worse when she was in bed and had just slept a couple of hours on it.


“And your hair looks just fine,” he said in a dry voice and stroked one of the locks on the pillow that were nearest him.


“You know me to well,” she mumbled and tried again to remember what it was that she had forgotten. It annoyed her a great deal that she simply didn’t seem to be able to remember. And she had the feeling that it was something at least semi-important.


“Care to tell me what you worry about?” he asked and wrapped his slim fingers in her hair. She slid up and rested her head on her elbow while chewing on her lower lip.


“I’m just sure that I’ve forgotten something but I can’t seem to remember what it is,” she answered and leaned forward to kiss him softly. She liked waking up at his place, his bedroom was always bathed in a beautiful light that crept through the thin white curtains and gave the room a magical glow in the mornings. 

And apart from that she also just liked the feeling of waking up next to someone. She had been alone for a long time and had of course gotten used to waking up by herself, but she still enjoyed it every time she opened her eyes and saw him lying next to her.


“Did you remember to put out the fire in your room?” he suggested and she nodded.


“In the library? Did you remember to bring the gift for Harry? And some nice clothes to wear for the occasion?” every suggesting he proposed was followed by a nod.


The fire in the library had she made sure Dinny would put out, the gift was in her weekend-bag standing at the foot end of the bed, where her dress also was in.


“Did you remember to tell Draco that the time had been changed from six to seven?” he then suggested and she nodded again. Draco had been there with her when Ginny called on them to say that it had been changed because she and Thomas didn’t get off work before six thirty.


Suddenly the thought struck her: “Now I know what it is!” she exclaimed loudly and sat up in the bed pulling the cover with her to cover her a bit.


He sent her a bright smile and asked what it was.


“I forgot to tell Draco that I was staying over night. If I hurry he might get my note before he starts on breakfast.”


She looked around for her nightgown and finally located it lying on the floor on Jonathan’s side of the bed. When she asked him to he picked up the light pink piece of silk clothing and handed it over with a smile and a comment that she really needn’t dress for his sake.


She smirked at him and pulled the gown over her head before freeing her legs of the cover.


“In the office,” he said with a lifted chin as an answer to her silent question and watched her walk barefoot out of the bedroom with the brown hair cascading down her back and the ashes of rose coloured gown floating around her like a fairy dress. He smiled to himself.


It wasn’t long before she was back in the room again looking a lot less worried than before.


“I just wrote him a quick note explaining that I was here and that he shouldn’t worry, I’d meet him at Harry’s at seven o’clock.”

He laughed at her and she sent him one of her questioning glances as she bended down to go through her bag at the end of the bed.


“It’s just like dating a teenager,” he teased, “She would also have to inform her parents where she was all the time.”


“You remember yesterday when I threw that pack of toast at you?” she asked calmly and kept rearranging the things in her bag trying to locate her hairbrush. He said yes, he clearly remembered that it hit him spot on right between his handsome eyes. She stood up again now holding the hairbrush she had finally found at the bottom of the bag.


“I think a hairbrush will do the job just as well as toast can,” she said dryly and raised an eyebrow at him, only to receive another bright smile from Jonathan.


With a one hand he gestured her to come closer to him and she stepped around the corner of the bed and over a pair of pants currently located on the wooden floor and came close enough for him to reach out and kiss her.


“Now we have two options,” he said as she pulled back, but he still held onto her hand. She awaited the options with a smile creeping onto her face.


“We could get up and make breakfast…” he made a small pause for dramatic effect and winked at her, “…or.”


She breathed in deep and with a shy look in her eyes replied: “I think that’ll be option number two.”


“Haha thought so!” he smirked and pulled her down on the bed again.




A/N: Soon there'll be trouble in paradise! (Now you go figure out what that means ;)
Of course I'd love it if you left a review, they really keep me going and make me want to update more often and improve as much as I can. Think about it; it'll only take a few minutes to make an author happy...

Thank you Green and my protegee Pingo, you're great girls both of you. I suggest you go read their stories 'Can't buy me love' and 'Only my love can call me Dray' :)


Chapter 15: Chapter 15
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Hermione was slightly flustered when she appeared on Harry’s doorstep two minutes past seven with the carefully wrapped present in her arms.


“You’re almost late,” Draco said and noticed the natural red in her cheeks and the way her hair seemed like it had hastily been thrown into the simple ponytail that looked so good on her.


“Yeah I was reading and I forgot time completely,” she excused.


“Reading…” he repeated with a suspicious undertone in his voice and threw her a side glance.


The angry look she threw him before she rung the bell said more than enough, this was not a topic open for discussion.

If she hadn’t been so stressed she probably wouldn’t have reacted like that because of a mere insinuation, but she had been running around in a panic attack for the last half an hour when she first noticed that it was getting a bit late and she ought to get ready in a hurry.


She had been busy reading a book she had found in Jonathan’s considerably smaller library and had gotten so much into it that she completely forgot time, as she always did when she was reading. Then Jonathan had entered the office where she was sitting and asked if she wasn’t supposed to be there at seven, she had said yes and he then asked if she shouldn’t get ready then because it was already six thirty and she still had to take a shower, get dressed up and apparate to Harry’s apartment.


Then she spent the next thirty-two minutes running confused around feeling stupid for forgetting time again. And she really hated being late! 

Harry opened the door with a big smile and the couple greeted him by congratulating and handing him the present with a hug.


“The others are out on the patio,” Harry said and made a gesture towards the door in the kitchen leading out to the patio that he had created for the occasion, because it surely didn’t usually have the size so that ten people could easily move on it without pushing someone over the edge from the third floor.


“Nice work you’ve done out here!” Hermione exclaimed as she saw the large patio with little coloured lights around the edge and a large table in the middle filled to the brim with delicious looking food. She wondered if he had done all that by himself.


“Yeah I got some help from Mrs. Weasley,” Harry yelled back while closing the front door.


Hermione hid a smile behind her hand and opened the door to the patio and stepped outside. It was a pretty day with sunshine and only a minimum of wind, so it was hot enough to sit outside and enjoy the lovely evening.

Mrs. And Mr. Weasley, Ginny, Thomas, the Weasley twins and Charlie were already assembled around the table each holding drinks and snacks, and as soon as the couple stepped out there they were surrounded with hugs and hellos.


Ginny pulled her inside for a private talk when she had been the whole round and said hallo to them all. Ginny’s eyes shone with a special glance that had nothing to do with Harry’s birthday and her hair seemed redder than ever in the early evening light. She pulled Hermione by the arm into the kitchen where she immediately sat on the kitchen table and said: “Harry has been in quite a dilemma about whether he should invite Jonathan…”


Hermione sensed that it wasn’t exactly why Ginny had pulled her inside, but ignored it and answered that it didn’t matter, Jon was going to Paris with Eliza for the next seven days for some family gathering anyway.


“You have a complicated life,” Ginny continued looking as if she was about to burst, but tried to keep it inside for as long as possible.


“Ginevra Molly Weasley tell me this instant what it is that you are almost bursting to say!” Hermione ordered out of impatience looking very much like Mrs. Weasley when she was scolding one of her children, which she with sons like Fred and George had done quite often.


“Okay Mom!” Ginny said teasingly, and fiddled with the hem of her light blue summer dress. She gave up quite easily Hermione thought and then concluded that it probably was something Ginny had been dying to tell her.   


“Thomas and I are moving in together!” she whispered loudly with a smile that went from one ear to another. Hermione thought that her good friend had never looked happier and healthier.


“Congratulations!” she whispered back, “When did this happen?”


“Well you know that Thomas and I both work a lot and sometimes it’s a bit difficult to get everything to fit in, so we agreed that we could just as well move in together. Then we would at least sleep in the same bed every night and have a better chance at seeing each other. Beside we spend every minute possible together anyway…”


Ginny seemed to find it really hard not to smile, and Hermione smiled with her, it was nice to see her friend happy, and she really thought that Ginny deserved all the happiness she could get.


“Tomorrow we’re moving his things to my apartment, it’s better than his is,” she continued.


“Tomorrow!?” Hermione was surprised, not that she doubted it was the right thing to do or that they would get along, it just seemed a bit sudden.


“Yeah we both figured why wait? We’ve been together for almost a year now and we still can’t get enough of each other,” she explained looking dreamily into the air in front of her probably imagining the two of them living in her apartment together.


“Well then, I’m very happy for the two of you,” Hermione replied and gave her friend a tight hug.


Next thing the two girls knew Fred had come inside and asked what was keeping them so long and dragged them with him outside again. On the way out Ginny managed to whisper to Hermione that she currently was the only one who knew and that she shouldn’t tell anyone yet.


On the patio Draco and Thomas was engaged in a deep conversation that made no sense at all to every other person in the party, but it looked like the two men enjoyed it. They were on the same wavelength, both being intellectual and ambitious.

 

As always conversation went easily over dinner, helped by the two Weasley females cooking and a couple of bottles of good wine.


They had all accepted that Hermione was married to Draco and happy about it, so there was no bigger problems there. Though none of the others really could get themselves to ask her about Jonathan, it was simply too strange for them to know that she was dating someone else while being married, and she understood them, it was a little unusual.


First when Hermione openly asked about Eliza had the rest of the party stopped feeling awkward about Jonathan and her, once she had explained to them that Eliza was Draco’s long time girlfriend.


Later that evening Thomas and Ginny also revealed their plans about moving in together. Mrs Weasley almost cried from happiness, clearly expecting a marriage soon to follow that decision, but Hermione didn’t think that was the case neither Ginny nor Thomas had the time to give a grand family wedding anytime soon.


Hermione remembered Bill and Fleur’s wedding the summer after her sixth year at Hogwarts, it had been a grand affair and it had taken them a lot of time to arrange, but that was how it was done in the Weasley family. The whole clan was invited and it had been really fun to see all those redhead assembled at one place along with Fleur’s silver-blond family and a few friends from both sides. It had been clear who was family and who was friends, just by looking at the hair colour she had been able to tell who was who.


With the schedules Ginny and Thomas had at the hospital it would be completely impossible for them to squeeze in the time to arrange a wedding like that.

 


“You seem a bit quiet tonight,” Hermione whispered to Draco later that evening after they had finished eating the fantastic feast and now just sat with their drinks and snacks around the table. It began to get darker around them, but the lights around the banister lit the patio along with lots of white candles on the table, which also set a comfortable atmosphere.


“Hmmm…I don’t know,” Draco answered hesitatingly. She was probably the only one who had noticed that fact that he didn’t speak quite as much as he usually did.


“Problems?” she asked trying to get him to talk about it, it might help. At first he shook his head but she knew him to well to fall for that, there was something bothering him.


“I just had a fight with Eliza today,” he finally said looking uncomfortable. It must have been quite a nasty fight, Hermione thought.


“What about?”


He looked deep into his firewhiskey but didn’t drink any of the golden liquor just swung his glass around watching the whiskey whirl.


“It was basically just ugly,” he started and sat quiet for a while before he continued, “I accused her of being tired of me. We’ve been together for four and a half year now.”


He stopped again trying to figure out what to say next.


“She has just been acting so grumpy the last week which is nothing like her. And then I asked her if something was wrong, she wouldn’t really tell me, but I in my stupidity pushed her to do so anyway.”


Hermione shook her head, it probably hadn’t been the best decision to push Eliza into saying it, but on the other hand if he hadn’t she would still have carried the problem inside.


“She told me…that she felt I was neglecting her because of you,” he hesitated before saying the last part.


“She thinks I’m falling in love with you.”


Hermione didn’t know what to respond to an accusation like that, and she didn’t believe there was much truth in it. Draco’s face was unreadable.


“Well…” already as the word escaped her mouth she knew it sounded lame. What was a girl supposed to say to something like that, and really it wasn’t her problem anyway. Only if Eliza became bitter and decided to eliminate her did she actually have a reason to care about it, but of course being who she was she tried to say something sensible.


“I told her that I’m not and that she was the one who seemed to have lost all interest in me. And then everything got out of hand, and we found ourselves yelling at each other ending with Eliza pushing me out the front door and slamming it shut behind me.”


That sounded nothing like the Eliza Hermione had met on various occasions. That Eliza had always seemed so calm like nothing could throw her of her balance, and now this?


“She must really have been mad at you,” Hermione commented hiding her thoughts as well as she could.


“And now she has left for France without making up with me,” he ended his retelling of the day and gulped down the contents of his glass in one mouthful.


They sat for a while close together on the patio listening to George tell a funny story about one of their customers, a boy of about seven who came in every day and bought one piece of enchanted candy, never more than one piece a day. Ginny laughed loudly and held onto Thomas’ hand tightly. Mr. And Mrs. Weasley seemed to finally have accepted that a joke shop was Fred and George’s life dream and both laughed without bitterness at the little anecdote.    


“You could apparate to France and talk to her,” Hermione suggested and he looked at her again not showing his feelings.


“I don’t think anybody here would mind…” she let the offer hang in midair, but he didn’t catch it.


“No,” he said and was silent for a long moment before repeating, “No.”   




A/N: So what do you think? Was I right when I said trouble in paradise? Leave me a review and tell me what you think; I'm always open to questions and constructive critisism:) 

And if you thought this was trouble then you just wait till chapter 17...*drumroll*

As always a big thank you to Pingo and Green!


Chapter 16: Chapter 16
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The next three days Hermione waited patiently to hear from Ginny how everything was going with her and Thomas now living in the same apartment, she knew that Ginny would call on her some time to tell some details it was just a matter of time.


Before she heard from Ginny she got a call from Paris though. Jonathan had found out that it was very practical to have a cell phone and had therefore invested in one before leaving, as he had laughingly said: Sometime he just didn’t have the patience to wait for an owl to get the message to its receiver. 

The week before he left the two of them had been phone shopping in muggle London and also bought him a designer phone with camera, mp3 and all the things that phones were supposed to have these days, even though he didn’t know how to use half of all its functions. Neither did she, she still had the old phone she bought when she moved into her apartment in London five- six years ago and it functioned well enough for her needs. 

Now they could be in touch quickly and didn’t have to wait for Solitude, Jonathan’s owl to fly all the way from Paris.


He mostly called to say that he was okay, and that he was having fun with a whole bunch of third cousins he had no idea he had before his mother had presented him for them, when they arrived the other day.


He told that it was the whole clan of his that was in Paris so his uncle who was in charge had rented the whole hotel for their disposal for seven days, and the family had somehow managed to use every room in it.

She spent a half hour on the phone with him listening to him tell anecdotes about grandmothers and second cousins, he seemed to know them all, and when she finished she almost whished that she was there too, he had made it sound so fun to be at a huge family gathering for a week, but she doubted she would have enjoyed it as much as he did.


 

Draco walked around in a very grumpy mood the days after Harry’s birthday, she knew it had something to do with Eliza and the big argument they had had before she left. Eliza hadn’t called, written or visited since then and Hermione felt like an enormous silence ruled between Draco and Eliza even though they probably both wanted to make up again. The problem was that none of them wanted to be the one apologising, they were both too proud to take the first step even though not talking to each other were killing them.


“Don’t you think you should apparate over there and talk to her?” Hermione tried and shifted to another pose on the couch avoiding looking at him and sounding as casual as she could.


He knew whom she was talking about, but pretended not to.


“Talk to who?” he asked without looking her in the eyes and flipped a page of the book in his lap carefully. She just sent him one of those glances that spoke its clear language. Stop pretending.


“No, she started it,” he said and closed his bog with a loud ‘thud’ and gave her an angry look. He was clearly aware of the fact that he sounded like a three year old.


“You’re being stubborn,” she commented with her mom-tone.


“I know,” he mumbled and exited the library with hasty steps.


 

It was quite late in the evening and Hermione just about to put out the lights and go to bed when Ginny appeared in front of her with the widest smile in the history of smiles, the girls eyes almost looked like she had a fever.


“Oh my God I’m glad you’re still up!” she started without even saying hi or anything and grabbed Hermione’s arm and pulled her into a tight hug that almost crushed her ribs.


“What happened?” Hermione asked a little out of breath and sat down on the couch again. Ginny sat next to her for a second and then stood up again to stride back and forth in front of the fire, looking extremely restless.


“I’m getting married!”


“What?!” that caught Hermione off guard, it was only two days ago that 
Thomas had moved in with Ginny and now they were getting married?


“Tomorrow!”


Hermione’s chin fell so low that she almost felt as if she had to pick it up from the floor, and she started at Ginny with eyes the size of teacups.


“What?!” she only managed to repeat.

Ginny stopped for a moment turning towards her oldest and best friend.


“We decided it two hours ago and I’ve been about to burst ever since, I’m just so happy I didn’t even think it was possible to feel like that!” then she started pacing again while filling Hermione in on the rest of the events.


“We moved all his things in yesterday and I felt like I never wanted to let him go, never wanted to let him out of my sight. We talked about it this evening and decided there was no reason at all to wait we just want to take our vows now.”


Hermione still sat completely speechless on the sofa. She didn’t have sense enough to voice her immediate opinion that it might be a little quick that the couple had decided to go into matrimony, but seeing Ginny’s eyes shine from happiness and the thought of her own marriage, which was even more rushed, she also decided it probably wasn’t her, who should tell Ginny it was too soon to get married.


“We want Draco and you to be our witnesses and we won’t tell our families anything but that we’ve gotten engaged and then we’ll take the whole family wedding thing next summer.”


The padding of Ginny’s feet on the carpet stopped, and Hermione noticed that the other woman had forgotten to put on shoes before she apparated to the manor and was therefore walking around barefoot, but Ginny didn’t seem to notice or care.


“Can you be there for us tomorrow? At five o’clock?”

Hermione finally returned to herself again and found the use of her voice.


“Of course we can, I don’t think either of us has any appointments tomorrow. And then maybe Draco can become a little happier, he has been in a foul mood since Eliza and him had a fight before she went to France…”


“Thank you!” Ginny cried and hugged her friend again.

 


As she didn’t own anything she thought worthy of her best friends wedding Hermione had went shopping in the Witch and the Wardrobe before she had to go meet Ginny and Thomas at the ministry at five.


When Hermione and Draco showed up at level four in the ministry building at five Hermione felt quite pretty in the light blue dress she had bought earlier, but as she saw the wedding couple standing nervously waiting outside the ministers office she could see that she was nothing compared to Ginny.


The bride was wearing a slim white silk dress, which looked nothing less than amazing on the redheaded girl, who had her hair hanging loose and carried a bouquet of greens with no flowers in between. Thomas was in the traditional suit and looked handsome as ever. Hermione wondered where they had managed to get a suit and the perfect wedding dress from on such short notice.


“Oh thank God you came!” the bride exclaimed as the Malfoy couple stepped into view, the girl did look a little bit nervous.


“We said we would, didn’t we?” Hermione said and calmingly stroked Ginny’s back. Ginny held tight onto her bouquet with trembling white fingers trying not to seem too nervous but failing miserably.


“I was so happy last night when we decided it and now I’m just really nervous and I just want to run home and hide under my bed like I did when I was five and wanted to avoid Fred and George…” she was rambling like a lunatic, but it seemed to make her feel better so Hermione just listened and watched Draco talk in a low voice with Thomas, who also looked at his bride a bit worriedly.


Hermione figured Draco was telling him that it was a female thing and that it was just nerves that would calm the minute the two of them stood in front of the altar.


“It’ll be okay, once you stand there and he asks the big question all your nerves have probably disappeared. Just remember that you love him,” Hermione’s words seemed to have a curtain effect because Ginny soon after stopped shaking and took Thomas’ hand.


“If it helps anything,” Draco said, “Then you look very beautiful today.”


He delivered the compliment perfectly and sincerely; it was true that she had never looked quite this good, her hair quite this shining red and her eyes quite this glazing happy before.


The door opened and the man who would wed them stepped out, Ginny and Thomas both took deep breaths and stepped into the ceremony room closely followed by Draco and Hermione.


 

The ceremony itself was short, precise and uneventful. What made those twenty minutes special was how right it felt that this couple were together and how happy they both looked.


After the formal stuff was over with the four of them went out to celebrate in the very same restaurant where Hermione and Draco had planned their wedding. It was more than perfect for an occasion like this with its special and magical atmosphere and the privacy of the tables, which was created by the trees and plants.


“Welcome to the Secret Garden Mr. and Mrs. Anchor, Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy, I’ll show you to your table,” the waiter said as the quartet entered the elegant restaurant. Ginny flinched when she heard her new last name but Hermione had gotten used to hearing Mrs. Malfoy and didn’t even think it was strange any longer. She had almost managed to forget that her name had once been ms. Granger.


“How weird is that?” Ginny whispered to Hermione with shining eyes as the waiter led them to a table at the back of the restaurant completely hidden by trees.              


“You’ll get used to it,” Hermione winked as she seated herself by Draco’s side smiling to him. He had cheered a bit up during the ceremony and the taxi ride to the restaurant, but Hermione decided to order a good bottle of wine for them just to make sure he stayed that way, a couple of glasses of wine never hurt anyone…


“What are you saying wife?” Thomas asked with a silly mine and a goofy smile. When he saw the evil look Ginny shot him he explained: “I just had to hear myself say it, it still feels a bit unreal…”


“Strange is the word Thomas, strange!” Ginny said and smiled again. Hermione remembered that feeling, she had had it too the first couple of days after the wedding when she heard people address her Mrs. Malfoy and saw her name Hermione Malfoy on envelopes addressed to her. It was weird at first but after a surprisingly short amount of time she had gotten used to it. Humans have a fantastic ability to adjust to new situations extremely quickly, she thought.


“You’re not getting second thoughts already are you?” Thomas asked with a mock concerned mine.


Ginny leaned over and kissed him before answered that she definitely wasn’t regretting.


“Marriage is a good thing,” Hermione smiled.

Her friend laughed so hard that she couldn’t even tell the rest of them why she was sitting holding her stomach and gasping for air.


It took Thomas five minutes and a glass of water to get her calmed down so much that she could actually speak in whole sentences.


“Can’t you see the irony in that?” Ginny asked, but the rest of them just looked at her like she had gone mental.


“Hermione says that marriage is a good thing, I find it ironic to hear that from a person who is currently having an affair with her husband’s best friend.”


“Well I guess it is a little funny…” Hermione laughed.       





A/N: So this was chapter 16, hope you liked it and that you'll leave me a review, I always like some feedback or constructive critisism.

I answer all reviews, but at the moment I'm a bit busy in my life so it might take a while, but of course I'll get to it as soon as I possibly can.


*Drumroll* Then next up is chapter 17 *another drumroll*


As always thank you Pingo and Green!
 

Chapter 17: Chapter 17
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: This chapter has mature content, if that offends you please be aware of that.



After dinner the party decided to go back to Ginny and Thomas’ apartment, they weren’t at all tired and wanted to celebrate some more.


“I’m calling in sick tomorrow anyway,” Ginny said as she opened the second bottle of wine and poured it into the four empty glasses standing on the coffee table next to the first bottle of wine, which the quartet had already emptied.


“We’ll take one day of honeymoon tomorrow then,” Thomas suggested and loosened his tie.


“You’ll probably get a mean hangover so you couldn’t work tomorrow anyway,” Draco added with a side-glance towards the wine and firewhiskey bottles on the table.


“Well you only get married once,” Ginny laughed and Hermione raised an eyebrow at her.


“I thought you’d decided to give a family wedding next summer.”

The two men of the party laughed and toasted by clinking their glasses.


“Well then I won’t drink there!”


Hermione hmf’ed, she didn’t really believe that, but Ginny worked so much and hard to get her career going and to be a good friend and now wife, she deserved to enjoy herself for one evening. It wasn’t like she was out partying every Friday she worked the nightshift on Fridays.


Hermione herself never drank very much either, but here she had to drink something for the festive occasion and she soon found out that she felt nicely relaxed after a couple of glasses of wine. Her tongue loosened, and she lost some of her know-it-all attitude, especially after two firewhiskeys that Draco convinced her to try. It burned its way down her throat and the first time she almost spat it back out again, but she managed to get it down and make it stay there.


“At least now I know why they call it fire-whiskey,” she coughed after swallowing the first glass.


“You really never had firewhiskey before?” Draco asked and she shook her head, “But you’re twenty three years old!” He looked dumbstruck.


“At Hogwarts I was too smart to try any of those illegal things on school grounds and after I finished school I was too busy to go out and party,” Hermione explained trying to keep a serious face. Draco still looked like he was having trouble comprehending the new information.


“Here have another!” Ginny said and poured a generous shot into Hermione’s whiskey glass. She shook her head violently she didn’t want to have another.


“Come on, I’ll drink with you,” Draco said and lifted his own glass. She still tried to fight it.


“What if we all have one?” Thomas suggested and finally they convinced her that it wasn’t so bad after all. Draco went as far as to say that it wasn’t half as bad when one had reached glass number two, it was just the first one that felt like your throat was on fire.      


After drinking the shot along with the others she found out that it had been a vicious lie, and that the second glass was possibly even worse than the first.

She slid down on the floor to sit in a more comfortable way and asked her husband with an accusing mine: “Why are you doing this to me?”


“A couple of firewhiskeys never hurt anyone,” Draco said, which very much resembled something she had thought herself about wine earlier that evening.


“Just promise me that you won’t make me drink another of those,” she asked and tried to make the puppy eyes.


He wouldn’t promise anything, and under the influence of the first two firewhiskeys he actually got her to drink and third and fourth. By then her throat was numb enough for her to swallow the drink without flinching. Luckily she wasn’t the only one drinking, the rest of the party probably had had more than she had by the time the clock reached eleven they were all kind of tipsy and their conversations started to loose all signs of adult sensibility and become more and more silly without them noticing.


Neither did they notice that the amount of empty bottles on the table was rapidly growing. Hermione only remembered that she at some point said that it was a good thing that the woman living in the apartment directly under Ginny’s was almost deaf, or they would have had complaints because of their stamping, dancing and loud singing in the middle of the night.


“On this solemn occasion,” Thomas stood up and announced, “I would like to make a toast.”


They all looked expectantly at him to see what he had to say.


“To Ginny. The most beautiful redhead east of the Irish border!”


They clinked their glasses together again and emptied them. It was a miracle that none of the glasses broke. Because of the liquor they didn’t pay attention to the fact that they were smashing their glasses against one another instead of just softly clinking them.


After Thomas toast and a quick refill Hermione got up: “I would like to bring a toast to Ginny and Thomas,” then she broke down in giggles, “and to all the things we’ll surely regret tomorrow!”


“I’ll drink to that!” Draco said dryly and swallowed the contents of his glass in one mouthful.


“Okay my turn,” it was Ginny who tried to stand up but had difficulties standing still, “To the floor that currently is moving beneath my feet.”


“You Draco,” Hermione slurred and nudged to her husband with an elbow. He slowly and carefully got to his feet, after half a bottle of firewhiskey he didn’t look quite as elegant as he usually did, his hair was falling over his face instead of staying in place and his shirt was wrinkled beyond compare.


“To all the Gryffindors of the world, you lucky wellartickulte… articulall…articulated people,” he finally finished and raised his glass. Hermione broke down in giggles again and got up to give him a kiss on the cheek. He unfortunately turned his head just before she hit his cheek and instead she ended up kissing his lips.


“’srry ‘bout that,” he said and wiped his mouth to get rid of Hermione’s red lipstick that clung to his lips as a sure proof that she had actually just kissed him, even though she hadn’t intended to do so.  


“Well we better get home now,” Hermione said followed by a loud hiccup.

Ginny hugged her again for what must have been the thirtieth time that day and the Malfoy couple flooed back to Malfoy Manor in a flash of green flames.


 

“Do we have a bottle of that vicious stuff that burns all the way down your throat?” she asked as soon as they stepped into their own hall.


“What, firewhiskey?” Draco asked and walked towards the living room only reeling a little bit.


She nodded and followed him in there and watched him search through the cabinet under the window.


“Must have left it in my room…” he mumbled to himself and gestured her to follow him up the stairs. They clung to each other both feeling slightly out of balance.


In Draco’s room he located the bottle on in the cabinet and flung himself on to the large couch pulling Hermione, who had been holding tightly onto his arm, with him.


“’srry I don’t have a glass…” he apologised, but she just took the bottle and uncorked it from her position on the couch before tipping the bottle and taking a large sip.


He laughed at her newfound boldness and took the bottle out of her hands.


“You’re much too young for this,” he teased before taking a sip himself and holding the bottle out of reach for her, she fought to get it out of his hands, but firstly his arms were longer than hers and secondly she was caught beneath him and really couldn’t move that much.


She tried to hit him on the shoulder, but it wasn’t very hard and he only smirked at her.


“Give it to me,” she demanded and tried to look strict, a difficult task when trapped beneath another person, “I’m a big girl now, I’m allowed to drink and such…”


He held it even further away from her.


“You’ll just do something stupid,” he said with another smirk and she hit him again. Then a thought struck her, that it might be an idea to change tactics.


An evil grin worthy of a true Malfoy spread across her face.


“What?” he asked with a raised eyebrow, but he didn’t get any further. 

Hermione took advantage of the fact that he was lying on top of her, and coldly kissed him while she snuck out her arm to get the bottle out of his hands while he was distracted.


What she hadn’t expected was for him to deepen the kiss and that way turning her plan against her. His lips were softer than she had expected and even though he was drunk; he was an excellent kisser managing to keep her coming back for more every time he drew back a little. 

Soon she forgot all about firewhiskey in the storm of emotions, which were raging inside her. They pulled her down into a soft lustful dark. It felt good to surrender completely to her emotions.


This shouldn’t happen
, she thought with a sudden clarity as Draco kissed that soft spot on the left side of her neck, but the thought quickly disappeared as she found a piece of soft skin down Draco’s back and her hand moved up under his shirt, which was wrinkled enough as it was. It didn’t matter.


The two of them rolled over and she didn’t object feeling the straps of her dress being pushed down her shoulders, and before she knew it she was helping him unbutton his shirt in between kisses. 

His stomach was fantastic she noticed as the shirt was pushed of and revealed him midsection. Without hesitating she reached out and stroked the soft skin of his lower stomach with trembling fingers, wrapping her arm around it she pulled him down on top of her again. It was like this big river of feelings were flowing through her and she didn’t have time to sort them out before she was pushed under and drawn with them.


His lips found hers and all sense went out of her head completely and irreversibly. 



A/N: Okay, now I'm really nervous to hear what you think of this...Please review and let me know what you have to say about it.

Thank you Pingo, Green and Padfooty (and Mumble)


Chapter 18: Chapter 18
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Hermione slowly woke up the next morning. At first she thought that she was at Jonathans because she could feel his arm around her and his leg lying parallel with hers on the mattress. She had a mean headache that pierced though every thought she tried to think and made it almost impossible for her to get herself together to get up.


Carefully she opened one of her eyes only to shut it quickly after. It was much too light in the room, she had forgotten to draw the curtains she concluded and held her eyes shut tightly for a while before hesitatingly trying to open them again.


This time she shut them again even faster than before.


It was correct that someone was lying next to her. But it definitively wasn’t Jonathan. With the terrible hangover playing bludger with her head she had difficulties remembering what had been going on the previous evening, and especially how she had ended up in a room that wasn’t hers or Jonathans without her clothes on and someone equally naked next to her.


With a third peek the situation only got worse. In the small slid between her eyelashes she could just see the blonde hair of her husband and a piece of the couch in his room.


This is not good! she though panicky and tried to open her eyes completely. 

With a quick look around the room she concluded that they were indeed lying naked on the couch, her blue dress hopelessly wrinkled on the floor along with Draco’s pants. His shirt and tie was lying beneath her hip and on the floor she could see the firewhiskey-bottle that she faintly remember struggling to get, it was lying on its side without the cork on so the liquor had run out and formed a pool on the carpet.   


Her mind was going; oh no, oh no, oh no repeatedly but it was hard to collect herself and think straight when her head was hurting as much and she promised herself never to drink that much again, it could only end in misery. 

Most of all she wanted to close her eyes and disappear in midair, but the best she could do was get up and perhaps take a shower, get rid of the headache and calm herself down.


Carefully she tried to push of Draco’s arm so she could sneak out of the room unnoticed and try to collect her memories of the previous evening and find out who she had even ended up in this situation at all.


To remove Draco’s arm was easy enough but climbing over him proved to be a more difficult task, she was lying closer to the back of the couch and he was unknowingly trapping her behind his body. She felt very naked as she silently slid over his lean figure and picked up her dress from the floor. Her kickers she couldn’t find.


With one last glance at him lying in a sunbeam sleeping soundly she closed the door behind her.


First when she stepped into her own shower and turned on the water after swallowing two aspirins did she start crying. The running water wasn’t quite enough to cover up her loud sobs but Draco was asleep and Dinny in the kitchen so there were no one to hear it.


How could I do something so incredibly stupid?!


 

Already before she did it she knew that it was immature and stupid to leave before she had spoken with Draco, but she couldn’t stand the thought of talking to him right away. She dressed in a hurry and apparated out of the manor before anyone could get into her room.


She had no plan at all as she arrived in Diagon Alley, a moment she considered visiting Ginny and Thomas, but they were probably busy with each other or as hung-over as she was and wouldn’t be at much help in her situation. 
None of the shops were open yet as it was still relatively early in the morning and not exactly the best weather for staying outside since the sky was grey and it looked like it might start to rain any minute.


Finally she decided to go into the coffee shop she had so often visited when she worked at the ministry and have some breakfast. Her departure from the manor had been so rapid that she hadn’t even considered brining something to eat before she went out the door in a hurry.


The bell over the door jingled merrily as she entered the empty shop. It didn’t take many looked around to conclude that it hadn’t changed at all in the six months she hadn’t been there; it still had the same warm atmosphere, small comfy tables and fresh flowers on each table, Mary herself stood behind the counter as she used to with a cup of tea in front of her and her hair in a neat bun. 


“Hermione!” she exclaimed as the young woman stepped into view. Mary walked around the counter to greet Hermione with a smile and a hug.


“It’s been a while since I last saw you here,” the old lady said and led Hermione to a chair in front of the counter and started making her a cup of tea.


“Yes, I’ve been busy trying to get used to my new life,” she told and played with a napkin almost feeling a bit guilty that she hadn’t come by on one of her visits to London, after all she had spent so many hours in Mary’s Coffee shop and it had almost become her second home. What she had said wasn't entirely true anyway it hadn't taken much adjustment to get used to living at the Manor.


“Dear you look upset, is something wrong?” Mary asked as she got time to take a closer look at the girl sitting in front of her. Hermione knew that she probably didn’t look her best in a random pair of jeans and a large, soft jumper knitted from lilac yarn, a pale face and red, puffy eyes from crying. And she couldn’t even begin to explain how her hair looked. She was a mess and it wouldn’t help to deny it.


“Yeah…” she whispered and stared into the cup of hot earl grey Mary pushed towards her.


“Is it something you want to talk about?” the older lady tried to help, but Hermione shook her head. What was happened had happened and it was too late to change that now.


“Could I get a chocolate scone? I’ve really missed your scones…” Hermione said instead and Mary went in the back to fetch one for her.

A plate with the scone on and a new napkin appeared in front of her. The other napkin she had already destroyed beyond recognition.


“Are you sure you don’t want to talk about it dear?” Mary tried again, and again Hermione slowly shook her head. At least her headache was beginning to ware of because of the aspirins she had taken before she left, now she could actually move without it was hurting and it helped a little on her thoughts too.


“I’ve just done something so incredibly stupid that I can’t believe it,” she said to her scone, “and now I just need some way to fix this mess.”


And some courage to face the real issue, she thought to herself.


“Well,” Mary said patiently and sat down with her teacup next to her, “It’s always a good thing to talk about ones problems.”

Hermione sighed deep.


“One of my problems I’m not brave enough to face yet, and the other of my problems are currently in France,” she said and took another bite of the scone, that was every bit as delicious as she remembered it too bee. Too bad she really didn’t have the extra energy to truly appreciate it.


“I’m sure you’re a brave young woman, so just talk to him, right?” Mary figured out on her own that Hermione’s problems had something to do with a man.


“I will…after I’ve had another scone please?” Hermione said with a weak hopeful smile.


“All right then,” Mary said and went to get her a second scone.

 


As she exited the shop she wondered where she could go. She still didn’t posses the courage to face Draco, therefore going home was not an option. She had had the time to process events while she was eating in the shop and now she had a pretty good picture of what had happened as she and Draco came home after Ginny and Thomas wedding. 

It didn’t make the situation seem any brighter, but at least she then knew what was going on and what she had done. Her sleeping with Draco hadn’t been something she was forced to do. It had happened because both of them wanted it to at that time. She again cursed alcohols and promised herself never to touch anything alcoholic ever again. Not if this was the price she would have to pay for letting her guard down.


Why had she been drinking so much? Why hadn’t she said no after the first taste of firewhiskey?


Why’s and what if’s were floating around in her head, it was almost enough to bring back the terrible headache she had had just as she woke up.


At last she decided to apparate to France and talk to Jonathan, explain the situation before he heard any rumours and maybe rid her of some of the horrible guilt that was piling up inside her stomach.


 

In the hotel lobby she spoke to the manager and found out that the Green party was in the restaurant having breakfast. He was kind enough to show here were the restaurant was and even offered her the chance to get something to eat too. She didn’t know if he was mistaking her for one of the hotels guest or if he had just noticed she wasn’t very well.


She thanked him for his kindness and said that she just needed to find Mr. Jonathan Green.


In the restaurant it was very noisy, and she was surprised to see so many people gathered even though Jonathan had told her that it was a big family and they were almost sixty guests in Paris for the week.


It was hard to locate Jonathan because the restaurant was decorated so that most tables had some privacy and therefore she couldn’t see them all from the door. Before going inside to look for him she pulled off the lilac jumper, underneath it she was wearing a simple white t-shirt, but at least then she looked semi presentable. 

Even in her emotional state she didn’t want to enter a restaurant full of pureblood aristocracy wearing a woollen jumper and looking messy, she didn’t want to embarrass Jonathan in front of his family so she even tried to comb her hair a little with her fingers. It didn’t help much but at least she’d tried.


With a hesitating look on her face she stepped inside the double doors and took a closer look at the tables and faces around them. The first tables she passed only had old ladies and kids around them, but from the far end she could hear loud voices and figured Jonathan was probably where the centre of the party was. 


Her feeling proved to be right. At a long table surrounded by a whole crowd of younger wizards with dark robes Jonathan sat almost at the middle with a plate of eggs and bacon in front of him. He was deep into a conversation with a boy of about twenty who had a long ponytail and a pair of acid green glasses much like the ones Rita Skeeter wore back in fourth year on Hogwarts when she was chasing the trio mercilessly until Hermione had stepped into action and put a stopper to that. At least they looked fairly good on him.


As Hermione walked towards Jonathan she noticed that Elisabeth was staring deep into her teacup not talked to anyone and looking rather gloomy. Apparently Draco wasn’t the only one to be in a bad mood because of their separation.


“Jonathan, I need to talk to you,” Hermione whispered as she tapped Jonathan on the shoulder. He turned around with a surprised mine. Obviously he hadn’t expected her to show up. His surprise immediately turned to concern.


“Has something happened? Is Draco okay?”


“Somewhere else please?” she asked and he got up to follow her.


He didn’t lead her to the hotel garden, but instead took her upstairs to his room and closed the door behind them before asking her to take a seat in the light blue couch in front of the window. It was a pretty hotel room decorated in shades of blue and green, with a large flower arrangement placed about with fireplace where a sparking fire burned making it possible to floo into the room at all times, if the person had the magical key to the room of course.

He sat next to her and looked into her brown eyes with a worried look in his own dark blue ones.


“Now tell me what this is about? Not that I’m not thrilled to see you, I just didn’t expect you to show up here in France,” he said in a low voice and took her hand gently.


Hermione tried to breathe deeply, but it was hard for her to tell him that she had just cheated on him with her husband, especially because he was acting to nice towards her.


“I have no idea how to tell you this…” her voice started low and then disappeared completely.


“Please tell me, I get worried when you’re like this.”


“It would almost be easier if you weren’t so nice,” she said and inhaled deeply before she started telling what had happened. She left out the detail that it had been Ginny and Thomas’ wedding that was after all still a secret, so she just said that they had had a minor party the four of them. They had been really drunk because the others had talked her into drinking some firewhiskey along with several glasses of wine that she herself had chosen to drink. All in all she had been very drunk when they went home as had Draco, but that was mostly because he was miserable that he and Eliza still weren’t speaking to each other. 

She told that they had gotten home very late and she had asked for more firewhiskey, which he had found for her in his room. They had sat down on the couch.


There she stopped her telling for a moment to collect all the courage she had in her, all the courage that had gotten her placed in Gryffindor thirteen years ago.


Then she told what had happened next without too many details and as shortly as possible.


When there was no more to tell she sat quiet looking down on her hands waiting for his reaction. She dared only peek at him, but there was nothing to see on his face. She expected him to feel angry or hurt, it was perfectly all right for him to feel that way she had been stupid and thoughtless and she regretted it deeply.


Finally after a silence that seemed endless she could see something stirring in Jonathans face. She halfway expected an outbreak of rage but instead he started laughing. She couldn’t believe her own ears. 

Why was he laughing?!

She had expected him to yell at her and instead he sat there laughing widely and holding his stomach, he looked like a schoolboy as always when he laughed and she liked his boyish laugh very much, but she thought it was a highly inappropriate time to be laughing.


“Stop it Jonathan Melbury Green!” she said strictly and gave him a death-stare.


“Why can’t I laugh when I find it funny?”


“Because it’s not funny at all,” she said and tried to straighten the situation out in her head.


“I think its funny,” he said and smiled brightly at her, “You and Draco are some of the most faithful people I know. And I really was wondering when you’d start sliding over the boundaries between friendship and love you know, living together and all.”


She still didn’t find the situation funny, besides her and Draco weren’t sliding across any boundaries they had just been very drunk, which she also firmly informed Jonathan about.


“And besides that; don’t you find it a bit funny that you cheated on me with your husband?”


“You deserve a beating,” she said and sent him another death-stare, which he answered with a wink and yet another bright smile.  


“Hermione I trust you when you say it was a mistake, why would I waste energy on being mad at you when I can use it to show you the most romantic city in the world, Paris?”






A/N: Sorry it took me so long to update this time, but last weekend (when I wanted to update) I was out in a forest along with my bookclub without internet connection, so... Hope you forgive me ;)

This was the dreaded chapter 18, hope it was okay and that you'll leave me a review to let me know what you think. You're also welcome to ask any questions you might have or just to post your random thoughts:)

Thank you to all of you who reviewed chapter 17, I was blown away by the amount of reviews I found for that chapter, it took me three hours to answer them all! Thank you.

To my Mus; thank you for your help (and for a great day at your house, YAY)
To Pingo, also for helping me out.
And finally to my boyfriend for being sweet, supportive and for listening to me talking about fanfiction for hours.

One last thing: BEAVER!


Chapter 19: Chapter 19
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She knew that it was cowardly of her to stay with Jonathan and explore Paris, but she still felt bad about having to talk to Draco. She stayed for the day walking around on the streets of Paris holding hands with Jon. 

For long periods she even managed to forget about yesterday and just live in the moment while going up in the Eiffel Tower or sitting at a small intimate restaurant hidden deep inside the heart of fantastic Paris. As the responsible girl she was supposed to be she posted an instant note to Draco that he shouldn’t worry about her, and she would be back in the evening to talk things out.


She enjoyed being with Jonathan in Paris because she always knew that she could be herself completely around him just like she could with Ginny, Harry and Draco. Well she used to be able to be herself around Draco, but she wasn’t sure how she would feel in his company now after they had been together that way, she worried it would ruin their good relationship.


As the couple sat at a bench in the Garden of Luxembourg Hermione stared of into space thinking of Draco again.


“What are you thinking about?” Jonathan asked and squeezed her hand lightly.


“Draco, and what this is going to mean for our relationship…”she said and looked into Jonathans eyes. She loved those eyes; dark blue like a starry night and always full of warmth. He looked good as always with the park as an excellent background for his handsome features.


“I’m scared. Scared that because I made one lousy mistake our whole relationship, which I have come to appreciate a lot, will be ruined.”


He breathed in deep and took her other hand too: “Hermione I know Draco, and it wasn’t just your mistake, it was his too, and I’ll bet you that he’s very well aware of that. He loves you too, and he doesn’t want to ruin things between you two either.”


She sighed. Jonathan was probably right, but she still carried a small fear that things might not go back to normal so easily.


Jonathan smiled at her. The way he looked at her always made her feel beautiful and sexy even though she knew that she wasn’t that extraordinarily good looking. That was one of the things she liked the most about him.


“Jonathan?” she said and moved a little closer to him on the wooden bench.


“Yes?”


“I love you,” she said and pulled him towards her and into a thigh hug, it was nice just to feel the heartbeat through his t-shirt and know he was there for her. It was strange saying the words because she had never said them before to anyone she had never felt quite like this for anyone. The last time she felt something like it she had been to young to be confident that it was actually love.


“I’ve felt it for a while now and I just wanted you to know,” she said in a low voice into his ear.


“I knew already,” he said and she could hear to smile in his voice. They let go of each other enough to be able to look into the others eyes.


“I still wanted to tell you,” she smiled.


“And I hope that you know I love you too,” he said honestly and looked more sensitive than she had thought possible with a person like him.


“I know,” she whispered and pulled him towards her again, only this time to kiss him.


 

It was a very nervous Hermione who stepped in the front door a little to nine that evening. It was still light outside when she opened the door and went in, it was quiet in there and she wondered where Draco was or if he had left the house too. She pulled off the jumper and put it on the stair banister before she went into the kitchen. It was empty except for Dinny, who sat in a corner near the fire and knitted something that looked like a pair of lilac socks. It hit Hermione that they looked a lot like the jumper she had been wearing earlier.


“Dinny, do you know where Draco is?” Hermione asked and leaned on the doorframe. The elf looked up from her knitting and shook her large head so her ears flapped.


“I don’t know where Master is, but try the library,” she answered before returning her attention to the yarn in her lap.


In a trot she went up the stairs to the library door and stood quiet for a moment listening. She couldn’t hear a sound, but opened the door anyway, only to find it just as dark and abandoned as she had expected. There was no fire in the fireplace and she guessed no one had been in there all day.


Her second guess was Draco’s own room, but also that she found completely empty. 

At last she found him in a room on the top floor sitting with a crystal water flask and a glass in one hand. He was sitting on the floor next to an old record player listening to some classic music she couldn’t identify. 

She had never been much into music, though she still enjoyed listening to it sometimes.


“I didn’t know wizards had classical music,” she said and sat down beside him. He didn’t turn his head or greet her in any way, he just answered: “It’s Beethoven.” She nodded and took the glass out of his hand to have a sip.


When they looked out the window they could see the lake lying mirror blank, the tea pavilion was dark beside it and the glass of the windows reflected the last rays of the sun playing in the lake. Out in the horizon the forest spread surrounding the Malfoy property like the castle from Beauty and the Beast.


“I’m sorry I left this morning,” she said and put her hand on his shoulder.


“I was worried when I woke up and found that your knickers was in my room, but you weren’t anywhere to be found,” he sat the glass next to the flask on the wooden floor.


“I’m sorry,” she repeated and stroked her hair behind her ear.


“Where were you?” he asked and she had a hard time guessing what went on inside him, on the outside he wore his unreadable mask of perfection.


“In Paris, well first I went to London and ate breakfast in Mary’s Coffeshop, but then I apparated to Paris. I just had to talk to Jonathan.”   


Draco nodded almost unnoticeably, like that was just what he had expected from her.


“What we did was…” he started, and she finished for him: “…a mistake.”


“Not that you’re not good at …it,” he said and a faint blush crept up his cheeks as Hermione’s face grew redder, “but it was definitely a mistake.”


“Why did we have to drink that much?” she asked with her common sense now restored.  He shrugged his shoulders.


“Can we try not to let this come between us?” she asked concerned.


“We’re adults now,” he answered and she had a feeling that he hadn’t really answered her question, but let it slip without further notice, this day had already been emotional enough without having a fight with him too.


“I guess we are,” she just replied and looked out the window on the sun, which used all its last powers on making an image so beautiful that it would be forever stuck in the minds of those who saw it.


 

Even though she knew that it was none of her business she tried again to convince Draco that he should go see Eliza the next morning at breakfast. It was a task much like walking into the cave of a grizzly bear who hadn’t had a meal in five months to as much as mentioned the name Elisabeth, but Hermione felt that she had to try again. Eliza had looked so miserable when she saw her in Paris, the same way Draco had looked so often the past days. 

She could see that it was hurting both of them to be mad at each other, but if they both followed the path they were on now they would stay this way for all eternity because none of them wanted to be the one to say they were sorry, or take the first step towards becoming friends again.


After first filling him up with waffles she managed to persuade him to at least try to talk to her, like the adult he had said he was last night.


With a few encouraging words from her he apparated out of the Manor after breakfast.


She was glad he finally had pulled himself together, now she was only worried about how Eliza would react upon seeing him there in Paris and if she would be open to reason. Hermione had no idea what Draco was going to say to her, but it really wasn’t her business and the couple had to work out their own problems.


 

While he was gone Hermione caught a bad case of what her mother used to call the ‘cleaning madness’ and started dusting everything in the library with one of those feathery things. She didn’t know the name of the thing, but it worked perfectly fine when it came to removing cobwebs from ancient books, and it obviously had a spell on it so the cobwebs disappeared as soon as the duster had picked them up. 

She liked when her room was proper and things were orderly around her, but she wasn’t the person who were always seen with a vacuumcleaner, because there were just so many other things that were more interesting to do. 

She was a little ashamed to admit that it was a great relief to have Dinny around doing most of the cooking and cleaning. So much for her youth obsession with the rights of houseelves. 


Cleaning is cleansing for the soul, she remembered some old witch saying in ‘Hilda the Household-fairy’ in Witch Weekly.

It probably wasn’t true in all cases but right now it worked for her, and she got her mind of Draco, Eliza and Jonathan for a while. The spiders had almost conquered the whole library so it was about time someone stepped into action anyway.


She liked the steady work, and kept working almost until noon before she went down the latter again and took a break on the couch in front of the fire where Dinny brought her something to eat before she went back to work.

Another good thing about cleaning was that it gave her a chance to explore some of the corners of the library which she had yet to see, and on her tour round the room she found many hidden treasures which she made mental notes to check out properly at a more appropriate time.   


 

Just before dinner she heard someone enter the library she turned around and saw Draco standing at the bottom of the latter looking up at her with his grey eyes. She couldn’t tell what he felt or how his day with Eliza had been, but as he gestured her to come down, she figured he probably would tell her over dinner.


Dinny had made spaghetti and meatballs for them a simple meal, but it was very delicious and none of them were in the mood for anything fancy anyway.

Even though she was extremely curious she didn’t ask what Elisabeth had said, she knew she had to wait for him to tell her on his own.


“I went to see Eliza,” he started and placed his fork in a piece of meatball. She managed not to tell him that it was a stupid thing to say because she herself had forced him to do so.


“She was mad,” he said slowly taking his time, “She yelled. And she threw a Ming vase at the wall.”


Apparently Eliza had her violent sides even though she always seemed so calm around other people. Maybe she didn’t let her guard down as much around other people than Draco, Jonathan and perhaps her family.


“At least she didn’t throw it at you,” Hermione said accompanied by a small smile.


“Believe me; she wanted to,” he said with a cold glance towards his plate. Hermione made a face, it sounded like it had been bad.


“But it calmed her down and after that we were able to talk seriously.” 

He told her that Eliza and he had been talking almost all day and tried to sort out their relationship. They had known each other for more than four years and now were the time they both started to feel that. They had gotten used to each other - of course they loved each other, but mostly out of old habit. Eliza still felt like there was no room for her now that Draco had Hermione, and he denied it strongly even though he probably knew deep inside that it was partially true.


“We decided that we would stop being a couple for a while,” he said sounding natural like nothing was out of the ordinary. Hermione looked dumbfound. They had broken up?


“If we can live without each other it isn’t meant to be, and if we can’t…we’ll move in together sometime.”


She couldn’t believe that he could say those words and still sound like he was talking about getting a haircut or going to London for the day.


“You broke up? But why?” she asked completely confused.

He looked at her with surprise in his eyes, like he had expected her to be the first to understand.


“Either we will find out that we can’t live without each other or else we’ll find it that it’s not worth it and then no harm has been done,” he explained in a way she felt sounded almost cynical.


“I don’t understand,” she said again. It was like finding out that your parents were getting a divorce, uncomfortable and always a huge surprise that no one could ever really be properly prepared for.


“I’m sorry,” he said unreadable, “I’d expected you to.”


Then he got up and left the table leaving her alone with a half-eaten plate of spaghetti and more things on her mind than she could have whished for.  




A/N: So, what do you think? All comments, critique and random thoughs are welcome.
I've noticed that this story right now is on the favorites list of quite a lot of people, if you are one of those then please use the little review box below and tell me what made you put my story there, that would be interesting to know:)

As always thanks to Padfooty, Pingo and Green.


Chapter 20: Chapter 20
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It was a lot easier to return to their normal relationship than Hermione had thought. They were both quite willing not to talk anymore about what had happened that night and she very much liked it so. 

It was hard to know what Draco was thinking, because he was as unreadable and closed up as always. She couldn’t help but think about it sometimes when the two of them were sitting quietly eating or reading in the library, thinking about whether it actually meant something to him that they had done…that. 

And thinking about how much he remembered from that night, he had been really drunk, but so had she, and she remembered almost every detail. Quite a few times she dreamt of that night and woke up with a strange feeling of premonition, like matters hadn’t been really closed between the two of them after all. It left her confused and wishing that the dream would never come back.


Hermione also wondered if it didn’t bother him to be broken up with Elisabeth, but he never mentioned anything about missing her. It annoyed Hermione a lot more than it annoyed Draco the way the couple had broken up, but again and again she repeated to herself that it wasn’t her business, and that she should stay out of it.


She found it quite hard though.


Sometimes she wished that Draco would be a little more open, for example she had no idea whether Draco had told anyone that he and Eliza weren’t together any longer, or if they ever spoke to one another at all. And she really wanted to know, so again she repeated to herself; it’s not my business.


She couldn’t totally stay out of the case, but at least she didn’t ask Draco 
about it, in stead she talked to Jonathan.


“Do you think Draco is happy?” she asked one day and rolled over on the couch to be able to see Jonathan better. He looked at her seriously and carefully placed the bookmark where he had gotten to in the atlas.


“Why are you asking me that?” he wanted to know. She sighed and closed her on book and put it on the table next to her.


“I’m a bit worried about him. About the way he and Eliza broke up…”


“Hermione,” he got up and walked around the couch to sit down next to her on it, “Draco is a grown man, he knows what he’s doing. Does he ever seem like he regrets it to you?”


“No,” she answered without hesitation, “But I still don’t understand how they could break up so suddenly when they almost the day before seemed like the perfect couple.”


She shook her head; this made no sense!


“They seemed like the perfect couple for more than four years, maybe they just grew tired of each other,” Jonathan tried to explain while stroking her leg gently, “He’ll find the perfect one some day, and you should stop worrying about him, it’ll only give you a headache.”


“You’re probably right…” she mumbled mostly to herself and picked up the book again.


 

It was about a month and a half after the wedding when Hermione finally pulled herself together to visit Ginny and Thomas. She had been putting if off, not really sure why, but somehow she didn’t want to be confronted with anything that could remind of that evening, now that she had finally been able to forget about it most of the time.


Ginny had often send an owl with news or called on the floo-network to chat for half an hour in the evening, but Hermione had excused herself in some way and avoided longer conversations. Now she had decided it was time for her to start talking to Ginny again, she was after all Hermione’s best friend, and one of the few real friends she had. The two of them had always stuck together because they were the only girls around at the holidays at the Burrow and sometimes all those boys could be very annoying to be with all the time.


Ginny was in the kitchen when Hermione stepped out of the green flames in the fireplace, but the other woman abandoned her potato peeling to greet Hermione with a tight hug and a big smile.


“Oh Hermione you look great!” Ginny exclaimed and returned to stir in the saucer on the stove.


“Thank you, so do you. Everything going well?” she asked and sat down on a kitchen chair.


“Yes, I’m so happy,” and then Ginny started a longer speech of all the joys of marriage and how nice Thomas was to her and just the feeling of waking up next to him every morning and knowing that he was hers completely. 

Hermione was happy for her it was nice that she had found a soulmate or whatever she preferred to call it. Everyone deserves a little happiness, she thought and smiled at her friend again.    


Thomas was probably working late again, because he hadn’t come to say hello and Hermione couldn’t hear any noises indicating that he was somewhere in the apartment.


Those poor doctors had to work all the time, and it was probably a good thing that Ginny was in the same business as he was or else she wouldn’t have been able to understand why his job meant so much to him, and why he had to put so many hours into it.


Ginny was busy peeling the potatoes for dinner and she asked if Hermione was staying for dinner. Hermione shook her head and explained that Draco was expecting her to be home that evening, but she would like one of the potatoes.


“You want a potato?” Ginny asked disbelievingly and stared at her friend, who nodded.


“But they aren’t boiled yet…” Hermione could see that Ginny was confused, but she just really felt like eating a potato. Ginny handed her one, which she immediately started eating along with the M&M’s from the little glass bowl on the dinner table in front for her. She hadn’t even noticed that she had been picking out blue M&M’s all the time the two of them had been talking.

I get stranger every day she thought to herself and ate another blue covered piece of chocolate.


“Are you sure you’re all right Hermione?” Ginny asked concerned and sat down opposite her.


First Hermione nodded, then she added: “I was sick this morning but now, I’m absolutely fine.”


“And you were only sick this morning?” Ginny questioned and Hermione saw some of the professionalism Ginny always showed at work, she was after all a nurse.


“No yesterday I didn’t feel very well either, but it also disappeared by noon or so,” Hermione explained and she saw Ginny furrow her brows in concentration.


“You don’t have to worry about me Gin.”


That didn’t seem to convince the redhead and she didn’t stop her questioning before Hermione promised to see a doctor right away and find out if there was anything wrong with her, even though she highly doubted there would be. She had a strong health and beside that one time she had been sick where Mrs. Weasley had to come and cure her, she was rarely ill.


They moved on to other subjects but all through her visit Hermione noticed Ginny casting suspicious and concerned glances at her like there was something completely wrong. Hermione really wished she hadn’t done that, because she herself had been pretty sure nothing was the matter with her when she arrived but all those looks and the questions about whether she was well had made her a bit concerned too. Ginny was a professional, she should know if anything was wrong and see the signs even when regular people didn’t recognise them as being signs of illness.


Now was not a good time to get sick! Right when she was so happy with Jonathan it would ruin everything if she had to be in bed for the next two weeks doing nothing at all but think about all the great moments they could have had together if she hadn’t been bound to her bed.


Ginny told that Thomas and her had visited her parents the other day and announced their engagement and that they were getting married next summer. It hadn’t surprised her mother very much and both her parents were very happy for the young couple.


Throughout their visit and the lovely dinner Mrs. Weasley had made the two of them had tried really hard to firstly avoid telling their secret and secondly to start laughing seemingly without a reason. They had managed okay, and only broke down in hysteric laughter twice. Ginny had been able to convince the others that it was because of a prank Fred and George had just played on Bill and Fleur.


After that visit she hoped that it would get easier in time to hide the fact that they were already married.


“By next time we’ve hopefully grown up enough to not look like naughty children every time someone mentions the word wedding,” Ginny laughed and received a big smile from Hermione.


“Well I better get going if I’m to find a doctor and get home in time for dinner,” Hermione said and walked towards the fireplace after putting her chair back where it belonged.


“I glad you stopped by,” Ginny said as Hermione stepped into the fireplace and disappeared in a cloud of green flames and smoke.

 


The visit at the doctor had only been a short one, since there was not much to talk about, so Hermione returned to the manor just in time for dinner.

Dinny had prepared a huge bunch of pancakes, which awaited her as she entered the kitchen and found Draco already seated at the table with a bouquet of fresh flowers next to him. Dinny always made sure there was a comfy atmosphere in her kitchen and the flowers surely added a lot to that. 

At the current moment though Hermione wasn’t exactly in the mood to enjoy the flowers or the delicious smell of pancakes that was spreading all the way through the house. A smell she had noticed even when she first stepped inside and pulled off her light coat to put it on the hanger next to the door.


With light steps she entered the kitchen without a word of greeting.


“Draco, we need to talk,” she said with a dead serious mine as she seated herself opposite from him and smoothed down her hair and skirt. He unfolded his napkin carefully and placed it neatly by his plate before tilting his head up awaiting her explanation. His grey eyes seemed cloudy on the summer evening, but she knew he was listening. 


“I went to the doctor just now. Ginny made me,” she continued and completely ignored both her napkin and the plate of pancakes that Dinny offered her. The houseelf wasn’t happy to be dismissed without a word and proceeded to the other side of the table where Draco sat.


“Yes?” he asked and accepted the plate from the impatient houseelf and helped himself to a couple of pancakes while enduring Hermione’s disapproving look. Couldn’t he just not eat while she was trying to talk to him?


“Draco I’m pregnant!” her voice seemed calm at first but for him it was easy to hear the panic lying just beneath the surface. His hand stopped on it’s way from his plate to his mouth and stayed there hanging in midair while he tried to comprehend what she had just told him. He looked shocked for a moment before he hurriedly slid down the protecting mask of perfection.


“You’re…pregnant?” he repeated in a clear voice as if he didn’t believe her, she nodded.


“And you’re sure that you’re …pregnant?” he pronounced the word as if he had never heard it before, and she folded her hands in her lap and nodded again, this time even more animated. In his eyes she could see the struggle to sort out his emotions, but on the surface not much showed.


“That’s why I went to the doctor,” she explained her husband, who had now completely given up on eating anything and just stared at her with his grey eyes piercing. 


“Have you told Jonathan?” he asked then and tried to look formal and business like, a thing he didn’t manage that well at the moment. For the first time in his life, he couldn’t pull down the unreadable mask and cover his emotions in a haze of indifference, he tried his best but it kept slipping away from him.


“No,” was her only answer and she looked down at her hands. She was squeezing them so tightly that it made her knuckles white.


“Why not?” he requested, clearly wondering why she was telling him this before she’d told Jonathan which would have been the obvious thing to do.


“Because it’s not his,” she paused for a while and even though he started to suspect what was coming next it still hit him full force and stunned him beyond anything he had ever experienced when she continued: “It’s yours.”




A/N: You have got to have an opinion about this so please tell me what you think, or just post any ramdom thoughts or questions about this story in a review, I'd really like that :)

As always I want to thank Pingo and Green for being inspiring people and very helpful.


Chapter 21: Chapter 21
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“Wait, what do you mean it’s mine?” Draco asked and started pacing back and forth across the kitchen floor with a frantic mine.


She remained sitting on her chair squeezing her hands and looking scared, her face pale and her eyes wide open.


“You’re the father,” she said quietly and he stopped on the middle of the floor to look at her.


“It can’t be!” he cried and started pacing again. Dinny sat in the corner and looked at the couple as if they were an interesting tv-soap.


“It can’t be,” he repeated as Hermione squeezed her hands even more and watched him walk back and forth with large, scared eyes. She wondered if she had done the right thing telling him right away or if she should have waited and thought things through completely. 

He seemed completely unable to handle the information he had just been given, and it scared her to see him that way. He was always so calm, no matter what she had told him he was always composed. Always without exception.


She had been almost at the verge of tears as she first heard the words from the young witch in the white robe at Sct. Mungos Hospital where she had gone too meet her doctor ms. Mallory. She had said the exact same thing Draco was now repeating over and over again to convince himself that it wasn’t happening when she heard the news. 


Doctor Mallory didn’t have to ask many questions before she knew what the case was. Hermione was pregnant, no doubt about it.


“Are you sure?” Draco asked again and she nodded again, “And you’re completely sure that it’s …mine?” He made a small pause before he said the last word, which came out voicing a world of doubts and hopes.


She knew him well enough to know what was going on inside him, what kind of struggles he was having understanding this.


“I went to Sct. Mungos, there is no doubt it’s yours,” she answered. The magical doctor could easily see who was the father of her baby, so there was no doubt. But even without magic she would have been able to tell who the father was because that night with Draco was the only time she hadn’t used protection. It had been kind of rushed, and definitely unplanned, so in their drunken states none of them had considered to cast the pregnancy protection spell.


“I’m not sure I can handle this…” he mumbled to himself before he stormed out of the kitchen. Hermione sat completely still on her chair and looked at the empty space in the middle of the kitchen, which had just a minute before been occupied by her husband.


If he couldn’t handle this, then how was she supposed to? She was afraid too.

Never had she really considered having a baby, and if she ever thought about it then she had imagined being a mother sometime when she was twenty-eight or something - not so soon. Never in her wildest dreams would she have though she would become pregnant at twenty-four.


A baby, she couldn’t handle a baby!


Only now had she gotten her own life together but she wasn’t sure she or Draco for that matter was ready to raise a child together.

 


Draco didn’t return that evening and Hermione had no idea where he had gone. If she had been in his place she would have gone to see her best friend, but she didn’t think Draco would go to Jonathan because Jon was so deeply involved in the problem. Draco probably knew that it was up to her to tell Jon the news, even though there was nothing else in the world he would rather do than to talk to Jon at this moment.


She couldn’t imagine him sitting in a bar drinking his brains out, or at least she hoped he didn’t do that. He would have to be really down to resort to that way of dealing with his problems.


She walked around in the empty house looking into all the rooms, but never finding what she was searching for. Outside it was beginning to darken and a light breeze lifted the leaves of the oak outside the window of the piano room on the first floor where she was temporarily standing.


It was like having one of those nightmares where she was running around in a dark house looking for something, but just couldn’t find it no matter how thoroughly she searched. Every room she entered seemed dark and shallow, even her own light-coloured room had an air of something that didn’t usually linger there, a silence which filled every corner and made her restless.


She knew he wasn’t there but wished he would be.


For a moment she rested on the piano bench and opened the lid to reveal the piano keys. Lightly she brushed her fingers over the black and whites playing a silent melody in her mind.


Playing the piano wasn’t something she knew how to do, so her fingers never pressed down the keys and the music she heard was only inside her head. Still a series of light tones formed the music inside her and made her heart calm down for a while allowing her to breathe freely.


It wasn’t the end of the world. She said to herself and somehow she even managed to believe the words. A baby was a gift, a treasure to be cherished.

Her breath caught in her throat as she realized she couldn’t get rid of the baby. 
No matter how much she didn’t desire to be a mother at the current moment, she could never have the baby removed. 
No matter that it wasn’t even big enough to look like a human yet. 
No matter that it devastated her that she had to do this. 
No matter that Draco was scared out of his mind and no matter that she was too. 
This was it.


She was going to be a mother.


In surprise she pressed down on the key where her fingers lay and a single note sounded clearly through the house slowly fading out, but her decision lasted.


 

She slept surprisingly well that night, she heard Draco come home sometime around twelve, but she didn’t get up to find him, there would be plenty of time to talk in the morning. And she instinctively knew he would be ready to talk by then. By then he would have had time to process the fact that he was going to be a father.


With half a smile she thought about the evening where he had joked about wanting a daughter if he won their bet. It seemed now he might get his wish.


He said he hadn’t meant it as seriously as it came out first and he had explained that it was a joke, but she still questioned whether he was that much of an actor to sound so dead serious without meaning any of it. It was a thing she hadn’t been able to let go completely, he had sounded so sincere. Maybe she had been mistaken or reading too much into a tiny unimportant detail.


It something most girls did all the time, but still she couldn’t shake the feeling that there might have been a branch of earnestness in that request.


“Good morning.”


She opened her eyes gently and let them get used to the light in the room. He had pulled one of her comfortable chairs up and sat there in a sunbeam looking at her. By his pose she guessed he’d been sitting there for a while. Legs loosely crossed, one ankle on the opposite knee and hands together in front of his unreadable face with the piercing grey eyes upon her.


“Good morning,” she rubbed her eyes and opened them widely a couple of times trying to wake herself up a little more. It probably wasn’t just for fun he was sitting there and she wanted to be fully awake if they were to talk seriously right away.


She reached out to turn her alarm clock and figure out for how long she had been sleeping, it showed half past eight and she put it down again satisfied and turned towards Draco with a question burning in her eyes.


She wanted to know if he could accept her having a child. He sat still as a statue only his eyes moving to follow her light movements as she slowly put her legs over the edge of the bed and stood up straight in front of him. She pulled down her nightgown feeling a little too exposed in the short white dress she was wearing as she slept.


In her closet she found a fine light piece of clothing to cover her a little more before she returned to the bedside and sat down again opposite Draco.

He hadn’t moved at all, but as she sat still and looked him in the eyes he spoke softly.


“It’s your decision.”


The shadow of a smile crossed her face as she folded her hands in her lap.


“I’ll help you and support you all I can,” he continued solemnly and expressionlessly. She nodded.


“I’m going to keep it,” she said filled with wonder, like what she said had just became that much more real just because she spoke the words out loud. It didn’t alter her decision though…


“I knew you would,” he answered with a faint smirk, like he enjoyed that he could foresee what her actions might be, “And I’m proud of you,” he added to her surprise.


She sighed deep.


That part of the mess was over now, but she knew much more awaited when she’d have to tell Jonathan about her decision. It would hurt. She could feel the tears welling up in her eyes as she thought of it. She didn’t fear that he would be angry; she could handle that.


What she feared the most was that he would be hurt, she feared that she would break his heart however stupid and corny that sounded it was how she felt.


Draco had gotten up and sat down beside her on the bedside with his arm around her shoulders. She was glad he knew exactly how to comfort her.


“We can’t raise a child this way we’re living now,” she said and stared into his grey eyes with sorrow in her own brown ones. He squeezed her shoulder and sighed deep.


They both knew what she had to do now.


It wasn’t something they had ever talked about or even considered, but instinctively they both knew that this was no way of raising a child. Things had to change. They had to change. The young couple didn’t need to speak and Hermione was glad it was like that, she was afraid that it would become even more real if she said the words to her husband.


Draco was happy about the prospect of being a father she could see it in the way his small smile got an extra dimension when he was staring into the empty air in front of him. He tried to hide it from her, but she knew him to well.


“No we can’t…” he said and again didn’t manage to cover up his smile completely.

She looked at her wedding ring with a sad smile. It was still as pretty as ever, but somehow it looked like it had changed a bit. The diamond was still the same sparkling clear stone as it had always been, but the silver around it seemed to shine more with a ghostly gleam to it and the emerald in the middle was darker and more rich in it’s colour than when she first put it on her finger.

She fiddled with it a bit and rubbed the silver as to see if it would return to normal if she rubbed it hard enough. Nothing really happened.


Draco took her hand and studied the ring with great interest for a while before kissing her fingers gently and letting go of her hand again.


“It’s a very special ring,” he said.


His words didn’t make sense to her, but before she got the chance to question him further he had left her room as quietly as he had gotten in.


She took of the ring and examined it closely again. The inscription on the inside stood out more than ever; Malfoy.



A/N: I can't believe I'm already at chapter 21, this means there aren't that many chapters left. Soon this story will be over, what a scary thought...
Well, there's still at least five chapter still to go, so it's not entirely over by now, and before I end this I want to (again) say thanks to Padfooty, Pingo, Green and a very special guy, who always supports me.  

Chapter 22: Chapter 22
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Never had the apparation time from Malfoy Manor to Jonathan’s apartment in London felt so long, as the afternoon when she went to tell him about the baby she was expecting. 

She landed just outside his door with a quiet plop.

It was safe to apparate into his building because it was a straight wizarding one, and she had done so many times before, it wasn’t polite to apparate straight into people’s homes. 

She stood on his doorstep for a moment collecting all her courage before she knocked on the door with the cat-shaped doorknocker she knew he had gotten on his fifteenth birthday from Eliza.


It wasn’t long before he opened and invited her in with his usual smile, which she felt he always saved especially for her.


Maybe he sensed her distress, because he didn’t say much before they were both seated on the couch with a cup of tea each and a comforting fire I front of them.


This is even harder than when I had to tell him about Draco’s and mine little escapade with firewhiskey she thought and breathed in deep while turning towards him.


“Jonathan I’m pregnant.” She jumped straight into it knowing that it wouldn’t get easier even if she told him in polite and sugar covered phrases.


“It’s not your baby. It’s Draco’s,” she spoke in short sentences trying to get it over with as fast as possible, even though it made her sound like she had only just learned how to speak.


Jon’s blue eyes turned a deep, almost black colour she had never seen before and didn’t know what meant. She hesitated before continuing her speech but he told her firmly to go on.


“We made one lousy drunken mistake. But I can’t and I won’t get rid of it.”


“No one is asking you to,” he said and she couldn’t interpret what the tone in his voice was saying. He looked like he always did, maybe just a little less relaxed and his eyes had that strange colour, but otherwise he seemed like nothing had happened.


“But it’s not fair to the little one to raise him or her under these circumstances,” she could see that he already knew where this was leading, but he let her say all her words, and it actually comforted her in a strange way. If she never got the chance to say them, she couldn’t ever completely understand that they were real.  


“I would never offer a child a life where her mother and father was married but wasn’t together and had other boyfriends instead.”


He nodded in agreement.


“It’s confusing even for me, and I’m living this life for crying out loud.”

He nodded again as if he understood her point. She started braiding a lock of her hair just to occupy her hands while she was talking.


“It would be okay the first couple of years. The baby would be too young to understand, but when he got older he would start asking questions. How can you explain to a five year old that mummy and daddy are only married out of convenience, and that his existence really was a mistake?” a look of despair crept into her features. 

She realised that she hadn’t fully grasped the extent of problems that would come along with this child if they continued to live like they did. It suddenly hit her full force and almost drowned her with the knowledge.


Jonathan shrugged his shoulders and she figured he knew as little about child raising as she did.


“And when it gets even older? How can it ever have a normal relationship if its role models were someone like Draco and me?” she was getting herself pretty worked up, but Jonathan sat still and listened to her with a huge patience that he normally didn’t posses while she babbled on. For short moments she felt like she was standing outside looking at herself going nuts, but back in her body she couldn’t do anything about it. It was like standing on a runaway train, which kept speeding up until it would finally crash into a wall and stop in deadly silence.


“How will this child ever feel normal?” she ended and looked at Jonathan as if he had all the answers. He didn’t say anything, just kept staring at her with the unreadable expression on his face.


She sat down beside him, she hadn’t even realised that she had gotten up.


“I have never loved you more than I do right now.”


A glimpse of pain flew over his eyes, but it was there for such a short while that she wasn’t sure it had actually been there at all. She wanted to reach out for him to comfort herself, but she didn’t think she deserved any comfort for what she was about to do and therefore pulled her hand back. He hadn’t even flinched.


“Never.”


The word came out as a single tear rolled down her cheek and landed softly on her right shoulder, where the blue fabric of her t-shirt ended. At that moment she felt for the first time since she had made her decision that it might hurt her just as much as it would hurt Jonathan.


He seemed to have completely frozen.


“I love you, I really do,” she repeated. She tried to get some kind of reaction out of him, but ever since her long speech on all the abnormalities her child would suffer from if she continued her current lifestyle he hadn’t spoken or moved at all. It frightened her more than if he had hit her or yelled at her. That way he would at least have done something. It was freaking her out and it scared her more than she wanted to admit to be faced with him when he was like this.


“But we can’t continue seeing each other, or we can see each other, but just not as a couple.”


To her defence she didn’t cry as she said it, but it was dangerously close.

He closed his eyes for a second, then opened them slowly again and pointed at the door.


“The door,” he said in a strange distant voice, “is that way.”

It was a dismissal, and Hermione almost fled the apartment, with just one though in her head; I must not cry.


 

“It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever had to do.”


It was the only thing she said as she entered the manor, her hair messy and the look of despair still in her eyes. She almost ran into the library, took the nearest book and sat down in front of the fire. After finding her bookmark she opened the book and stared at the page before her. 

Draco entered in a more normal tempo. He seated himself next to her and watched her stare at her book, he knew she wasn’t reading and she knew that he knew. With patience like the angel he looked like he sat beside her more than thirty minutes without moving or saying anything. It was too big for words right now. 

It would have been easier if she could just talk about it, but she couldn’t and he didn’t push her. It never helped to force someone to talk; they would only regret their words as soon as they were spoken.


She pretended to read because it was the only thing she knew how to do at the moment, she couldn’t get sense out of them, but it gave her comfort to fell the solid frame of it between her hands. Draco stroked her arm gently and waited.


She honestly tried to read a few lines but the only full thought she could think was; I must not cry and she repeated it religiously inside her head until it was printed into her conscience as deep as if someone had carved it in stone.


At some point Draco disappeared for a moment but he returned few seconds later with a bar of chocolate in one hand, which he placed on the coffee table in front of them. She didn’t move to take a piece, or to do anything at all not even to flip a page.


Minutes passed before he reached out and broke of a piece which he offered her, at first she shook her head, but he insisted and got her to eat it eventually.

With a sad smile she looked at him.


“I appreciate this Draco, but right now I just need to be alone,” she said with a grim face.


“No you don’t,” was his comment as he took her hand and pushed the book away, “You just say that to punish yourself for what you have done.”

He was right. But after breaking Jonathan’s heart, and she felt quite sure she had done so, she didn’t feel like she deserved a kind touch and the presence of a person who loved her.


He knew her much too well, she thought with a sigh. He gently took the book from her lab, closed it and put it on the table.


Minutes passed. Afternoon turned into evening without either of them noticing or caring.


“I love him,” she finally said.


“I know you do.”


“And it was horrible to break up with him, I’ve never felt so low and so sad before, even though I knew I did the right thing for our baby.”


He was glad she was talking at last. She actually felt a little better after saying it and repeated the last part again to which he nodded solemnly: “I did the right thing for our baby.”


“You’ll be a great mother,” he smiled, and that somehow comforted her just as much as his presence did.


 

The owl tapped on her window frame until she got out of bed to open and let it in. The large grey bird soared in and sat on her outstretched arm. It had a note tied around its leg and she loosened the blue band that held it and slipped the note into her hand. The owl bowed its head gracefully and flew off into the sunrise again.


She recognised Jonathan’s mark on the envelope and sat down on the couch to read the letter.

 


Dear Hermione

I don’t know how to start this letter, I acted in a less than nice manner yesterday, but you carry your part of the fault too. I’m sad this is how it ends, I love you more than you can imagine and a lot more than I wish to.



I’m afraid we won’t speak to each other anytime in the nearest future since I’m leaving tomorrow for Russia where I am to work at the Russian Ministry of Magic as junior secretary for the minister of magical sports and games.



I hope you and Draco will be happy together and that you baby will be healthy, please don’t do anything stupid like naming him after me! I wouldn’t appreciate it.



This isn’t my longest letter or the most well written one, but it’ll have to do.



Мой самолет останавливается в России, так прощай моя любовь.


With all the love I now can’t have - Jonathan 


 

She read the note several times until she knew every word by heart. He was right it wasn’t his most well written letter but it meant something to her that she at least knew where in the world he was, but she figured that she had hurt him much deeper than she had intended by leaving him, or else he would do anything so drastic like moving out of the country. 

It wasn’t something he had ever talked about before and she imagined he had done so because of her. It made her sad that she had caused so much pain for a person whom she loved, but in this case there was no other option.


She had never known that Jonathan had connections to Russia or that he spoke Russian, but when she asked Draco, he told her that Jonathan’s mother was Russian and it was from that side of the family he had his dark hair and blue eyes.


She was glad though that the letter seemed free of bitterness except from the last line about the love he couldn’t have.


They should have known from the beginning that they could never have the fairytale ending that they might in their dreams have hoped for. Fairytales don’t come true, and you can’t bend the rules of the world no matter how much in love you are, she though with the bitterness that wasn’t present in Jonathan’s letter, but which she knew he had to feel.


Fairytales are fairytales, she thought, you live in the real world now. 




A/N: It took me a little while longer to get this chapter out than I planned but here it is, so please tell me what you think of it now, Jon is finally out the way...

Thanks to the people who always help me with this: My reviewers, Green, Pingo and Morten.


Chapter 23: Chapter 23
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Draco was a huge help the next couple of weeks when Hermione had a hard time telling her friends and family about her decision and condition, he did what he could. 

He was there if she wanted to talk and he even offered telling the news to her friends for her if she wanted him to. That offer she didn’t accept, it was something she had to do herself even though she wanted nothing more than to avoid having to tell her mother that she was pregnant with Draco’s baby and therefore leaving Jonathan. 

It was almost as hard telling others about the situation, as it had been to live through the actual break-up. She didn’t meet understanding everywhere she went; Ginny simply couldn’t understand how she could give up Jonathan. It didn’t make sense to her that Draco and Hermione didn’t think it would be fair to the baby to have to live with parents like them. 

She had a big fight with Hermione because of it; but Ginny didn’t get her way. Hermione had made a decision already when she first decided to keep the baby and she stuck to that decision religiously. Besides that it was much to late to repair the damage that had been done.


She feared that Ginny would never really understand before the day she got pregnant herself and that day was far into the future, as she and Thomas nowhere near had the time for a child.


 

The sun was setting over the silent place at the edge of the forest where the young woman was sitting with her large pregnant stomach very visible under a loose blue gown. Around her blankets were laid out for a picnic along with various foods, drinks and in the middle of it all masterpiece of a huge strawberry cheesecake. 

In the horizon a deep red sun was gliding down across the pink sky. Around her it was misty a few feet away from her like the place at the edge of the forest was the only place in the world. A light wind was lifting her damp hair from the back of her neck. The quiet was complete; everything was holding back its breath. They were all waiting for him. Waiting for the prince to arrive. The place was bathed in silence.



Out of the mist of the forest came a handsome young man with dark hair and blue eyes dressed in sapphire blue. He walked with confident steps and held his head proudly. The woman waved at him with one hand and caressed her stomach with the other. He didn’t see her even though he was looking in her direction. 

She waved and smiled at him again, but he just walked right past her without noticing the picnic set out for him or the waiting woman. As he went by she reached out and touched his leg, but he just walked on and didn’t feel her touch.


As he disappeared in the mists again the woman started crying.

 


Hermione woke up shaking in her bed and looked around in the dark with large eyes trying to shake of the nightmare. When she touched her cheek she found out that she had been crying in her sleep.


The dream she couldn’t completely remember, but she had a clear feeling that it had been about Jonathan, and her not being able to reach him.

She turned on the lamp beside her bed and chased the shadows out in the corners of her room. She couldn’t sleep right away she was completely sure of that. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to sleep at all that night because she was frightened the dream would return. 

She didn’t need to speculate about Jonathan at night too she did that all day as it was and having to face that at night too was more than she could handle.

Instead of going to sleep again she took her book from the nightstand and tried to read for a while. The book soon got to her and got her involved in its light plot and funny characters. It helped her forget all about dreams and guilt for the hour it took her to finish what had been left of it, but as soon as she laid down and put out the light she was back in the dream universe.


The dream started over again with its light atmosphere, the feeling off excitement building around her. They were all waiting for the prince to come, but when he came he didn’t notice her. He looked right through her with those blue eyes, which she loved so much. And then he was gone; swallowed by the mist. And she was alone with her tears and heartbreak. 


 

“You look tired,” Draco commented one morning about a week after the dreams started coming. He examined her closer. She shrugged her shoulders and continued whisking the sauce she was making for dinner. He’d stopped chopping the vegetables to taker a closer look at her.


“I’m not sleeping that well. Bad dreams,” she said in a tone that clearly said she didn’t want to talk about it, she whisked harder to make sure there were no lumps in the sauce, she wanted it to be perfect because her parents were coming over for dinner.


“What about?” he insisted and slowly started cutting salad leaves into thin slices.


She sighed and at the same time both wished he would stay out of her business and that she could tell him. With mechanic movements she poured the sauce into a bowl and put it aside for later.


“About Jon,” was all she said before she started to flip through ‘Magical Meals’ to check if there was anything she hadn’t thought about regarding dinner. Or just to seem busy and make him stop asking questions.


“What about him?” Draco inquired with a persistent mine. He just won’t give up! she thought and grit her teeth. With an ease she wouldn’t have expected from a three-month pregnant woman she slid up and sat on the kitchen table just beside Draco’s cutting board.


“I sit at a picnic. There’s a huge strawberry cheesecake on a blanket beside me. It’s near a forest but it’s surrounded by mist down at the earth and above I can see the sun setting. There’s no other people or anything around. My stomach is big and I’m waiting for Jon to arrive,” she told in a tired voice and fiddled with a lock of her brown hair, “but when he comes he doesn’t seem to be able to see me at all even though I wave at him and touch his leg as he passes by. I can’t get up because my stomach is weighing me down. He walks by me and disappears in the mist, just as I start crying.”


“And this dream returns every night?” he asked brows furrowed.


“Several times,” she admitted and shook her head so her hair fell down and covered her face in golden-brown locks.


“And it doesn’t help to sleep with the lights on?” he asked and she shook her head underneath all the bushy hair. She had tried that already the second night she dreamt the dream without any effect.


At the other end of the house they could hear the doorbell and the distant sound of voices, which she guessed belonged to her parents and Dinny opening the door for them.


“If this continues come and wake me up, maybe I can help?” he offered. She doubted that but she nodded anyway, it was very nice of him to offer it and she might take him up on it at some point.


 

Dinner was a quiet but comfortable affair. Jane and Greg asked about the baby clearly looking forward to becoming grandparents even though they had sounded extremely surprised when Hermione called and told them the news a couple of weeks earlier. 

They wanted to know where the baby was to be born and if Hermione had been to the doctor and check if the baby was healthy and all those things the young couple would never have thought off if it wasn’t because Jane suggested them. Hermione dryly thought that she ought to be taking notes.


“We brought a small present for the two of you,” Greg told them as they were all seated in the living room after finishing dinner and dessert.


“You didn’t have to,” Hermione automatically said as her mother pulled out the nicely wrapped present from her handbag. It was square and wrapped in light green paper with a silver bow. Slytherin colours, Hermione thought, but figured that her mother probably wasn’t aware of that. Draco and her exchanged a look they’d both noticed it.


Jane gave the present to Draco and smiled as he unwrapped the square. It contained two books: one of them was a book about being pregnant which Hermione was glad to be given, she didn’t know much about it as it was. The other was a green book with silver writing - again the young couple exchanged looks - a so-called baby book, where they could put pictures of the little one.


She was sure they both had the same thought at that moment; they wondered if their child would be in Gryffindor or Slytherin.


“Thank you,” Draco said to her parents and smirked at her while she eyed him suspiciously.     

 


The young man with the blue eyes stepped out of the mist into the little quiet place near the edge of the forest where the young woman sat on the blankets with the strawberry cheesecake. Her large pregnant stomach stood out under her light blue dress. Above her in the sky a red sun was setting in a haze of pink. 

The young man walked across the space in confident steps without noticing the woman waving at him or her light touch as he passed by her. When the mist surrounded him and he was no longer visible the woman started crying.


 


“Draco?” she whispered loudly.


The sleeping man on the bed stirred but didn’t wake up. She was standing next to his bed with her duvet under one arm and the rest of her now dried out tears still on her cheeks.


“Draco?” she repeated a little louder and he opened his eyes a little to see her standing in her nightgown looking at him with red puffy eyes. It had been a couple of days since he said that she could come to him if she had the dream again, but she had refused to even consider it the first nights, but now she was so desperate for a good nights sleep that she tried this as a last resort. It might turn out a good idea, it might turn out pointless, but she at least had to try.


“Did you dream again?” he asked at shook his blonde head as if to wake up a little. She nodded vigorously.  He seemed like he was speculating what to do for a second then padded on the bed next to him gesticulating her to lie down next to him. She spread out her duvet and crept under it wide-awake. 

She felt strange about being in his bedroom again, it was the first time she had been in there in the three months that had passed since ‘that night’. Everything looked exactly the same, but that didn’t surprise her much. He wasn’t the person to change a setting that was perfectly well as it was.


His bed was soft and comfortable and she was able to relax a little, even though it still felt weird to be lying in a ‘strangers’ bed.


He was a stranger to her like that and it felt very personal to lie next to a person when that person was asleep, people looked different when they weren’t awake.


She cast him a glance but he seemed to be sleeping again already with nothing but his head visible, everything else was covered by his duvet. She wondered if he was the type who always made sure to be covered completely.


He looks younger when he sleeps, she finally decided thoughtfully and wondered whether all people looked ten years younger when they were asleep. It was possible.


Just when she thought that now her husband was deeply asleep again did he reach out and took her hand in the darkness, she smiled to herself suddenly comforted beyond anything she would have imagined. His hand felt solid and warm in hers and he held on tightly and squeezed it once or twice before falling asleep still holding on.  


When she fell into a dreamless sleep half an hour later it was with the tiniest of smiles on her face and his hand firmly in hers.       







A/N: Hey everybody, do you see where I'm going with this? Please give me a comment/review before you leave, I'd make my day!
As always I need to thank all my lovely reviewers, and Pingo og Green, you're all great. 

Chapter 24: Chapter 24
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“Good morning beautiful,” Draco smirked as she opened her eyes next morning and found herself in Draco’s bed. This time with her clothes on though, she thought dryly.

“Good morning Draco,” she said and rubbed her eyes and looked around in the light room and remembered the last time she woke up in there. From those two she definitely preferred this time compared to the rough awakening she had last time she found her self in there.

“And here I was expecting something like ‘Good morning handsome’ but I guess one can’t have everything,” he winked at her and she hit him on the head with her pillow.

“Good morning handsome,” she said in a mock voice and he grinned at her.

He yawned and stretched with a happy smile on his face, while she just shook her head at him.

“It’s nice to wake up next to someone for once,” he said.

She did a bit of math in her head and figured out that it had been more than three months since he and Eliza had broken up and since he therefore had slept in the same bed as another person. Maybe he missed being near someone?

“Do you miss her?” she asked as politely as possible, she didn’t want to seem like she was prying even though she kind of was. He rolled over on one side and supported his head with one hand.

“I miss talking to her,” he answered truthfully and she knew that was all he was going to say about that subject. She decided that said enough; he missed having Elisabeth around but he didn’t miss the relationship part that much. That was an explanation and enough for her.

“When it’s been three months you start to get over the person,” he explained to her surprise, “three months is a long time.”

She had the feeling that he wasn’t just talking about Eliza and him but also about Jonathan and her. She hoped he was right; if she had to go more than three months feeling so bad about it and missing him so much she was afraid she would go completely nuts and then her decision would turn on her and have exactly the opposite effect than what they were trying to achieve. Then it would be bad for the baby and not good for it, as they wanted it to be.

The baby. Her baby.

Unconsciously she placed a hand on her stomach and stroked it gently. It wasn’t really showing yet but she knew the baby was growing inside her.

“They say time mends everything.”

He nodded in agreement.

 

“Hello Hermione,” a voice said from behind and she jumped like five inches up in surprise.

“Sorry,” the voice added and she turned around to say hallo to Harry.

He stood in the doorframe to the library and looked at her with his green eyes. The ruffled black hair was messier than ever.

She crawled down the ladder that had been pushed up against the shelves on the wall enabling her to reach the top ones with her dusting cloth.

Since she found out about her pregnancy she had started being slightly obsessive about cleaning everywhere, but she only shook her head when Draco pointed it out for her.

“Hi, Harry,” she greeted and gestured him to take a seat on the couch by the fire.

Outside the rain was falling, but her guest wasn’t wet so she figured he probably had apparated almost into their hall.

“Draco showed me in,” Harry told and settled in the comfortable sofa with pleasure, “He looks strangely happy at the moment.” The last part was said with a suspicious mine.

Hermione hid her smile behind a hand before she said: “He’s a father to be, what did you expect?”

He looked a bit uncomfortable when she mentioned it.

“Are you sure what you’re doing?”

She sent him an angry glance.

Why was he questioning her ability to do the right things? She had everything under control.

“Yes Harry I know what I’m doing,” she answered firmly in a way that indicated she did not exactly like to be questioned. She was twenty-five years old for crying out loud!

“I just mean, having a child with Malfoy?”

“I thought we went through all this when I first told you,” she said rather coldly and sent him her famous death glare.

He shook his head and clearly wondered whether it was safe to go on with what he had originally come to say.

After a deep breath he started.

He told her that he had just come across Draco Malfoy’s profile at the auror office earlier that day. If she knew that he had been to Azkaban for two years because the ministry considered him one of the most dangerous wizards. If she knew that he still had to report to the ministry of magic once every second year to be questioned about his actions, because they still didn’t trust him. If she knew how much money he had had to pay to get out of prison?

 

While he was talking Hermione’s face grew hotter and hotter until it reached an unhealthy shade of red when Harry finally stopped talking.

With a strength he clearly hadn’t expected her to posses she pricked his shoulder for each word she said.

“Do you have any idea how many nights he has had nightmares because of those years in Azkaban? Do you know how it feels to be there every single day for two years? Can your narrow imagination grasp what that can do to the mind of a sixteen year old?!” she shrieked watching his horrified face grow shameful.

That did not stop her from pricking his shoulder so hard that she was convinced it would leave a mark on his shoulder for weeks after, but at the moment she didn’t care. It had been okay with him when she married Draco, he had even behaved a lot more mature than she would have expected him to. Why then did he have to come now and question her like that? She knew better than anyone what had happened in Draco’s and furthermore what those events had done to him.

“Sorry, I just thought you might want to know those things before raising his child,” Harry defended himself. The rage of Hermione wasn’t a pretty sight.

“I already knew those things. You think he hasn’t told me?” she asked him sounding a lot more pulled together than she felt inside. She hated having to convince people all the time that Draco wasn’t a bad person. He had been and he had made some of the biggest mistakes of his life in that period but that was more than seven years ago, couldn’t people forget and get on with their lives?

“Will you honestly tell me that Malfoy told you that he blackmailed the minister to get out of Azkaban?” Harry asked with a small voice as a last attempt to keep his dignity intact.

“Yes,” she said coldly, “And I would appreciate it if you apologized for those accusations, or you can just leave now and not bother to come back!”

His face went pale she had never spoken to him like that before, not even when she was a teenager.  

“I’m sorry I said that, I only wanted what was best for you,” he said and added in a low voice “I hope that’s just the pregnancy hormones yelling.”

She pretended she didn’t hear the last part.

 

“Hermione,” he a said one morning, as they were both lying in his bed. After waking up and coming into his room the first four times because of the dream, he had finally gotten enough of being waken up in the middle of the night by her light footsteps and a gentle hand pushing him over and making room for Hermione by his side. He had asked her with a smirk if she shouldn’t just sleep in his room from the beginning since it would save them both a lot of sleep. She didn’t feel immediately fond of the idea, but when she entered his room at one o’clock that night for the fifth time in a row she realised that he was probably right. And she didn’t mind sleeping next to someone, it was a great comfort even though they didn’t speak at night, just to feel the warmth and presence of a person next to her.

It had felt extremely strange and a little uncomfortable the first time she came in before he went to bed and lied down beside him before he put out the light around them with his wand and placed it on his nightstand. It was odd going to sleep next to a person that wasn’t Jonathan, but it didn’t take long before she was overwhelmed by sleep and didn’t care if it was Jonathan, Draco or the pope lying next to her. The dream seemed to disappear after she started staying in his room and that helped her enormously during the daytime too.

“Yes?”

He asked if she remembered back when he asked her to marry him and she had said that he would have to learn to love her if he wanted to.

She rolled over to look into his eyes before she answered that she remembered that very clearly.

“I don’t think the problem is for me to learn to love you,“ Draco said quietly, “I think the real problem is for you to learn to love me.”

She closed her eyes and tried to sort out her feelings.

“You said Malfoys don’t love,” she replied as an attempt to buy more time.

“They don’t. I do.” Draco answered shortly.

She was angry with him, or maybe she was just angry with herself. He was right, of course he was! She had a hard time admitting that she loved him, but she had come to over the many months they had been married now. She appreciated that he cared about where she was when she wasn’t home, she liked the way he remembered what kind of books she liked and laid them out for her if he found something interesting in the library.

There are many kinds of love in the world, and her love for him was just one of them. It was nothing like the burning love she felt for Jon, nothing she had ever experienced had felt like that, but it didn’t mean that she didn’t love Draco, that she didn’t love her husband just as much as she had loved Jon, she just loved him in another way.

This was a quiet love much like the love she felt for books. And for Harry, Ginny and the Weasley family. They were always there, could comfort her or cheer her up. They didn’t ask questions she didn’t want to answer. They were her companions. And they were the ones who would be with her even after the burning heartache she felt for Jonathan at the moment was over. They would be there when she was old and sick, and they were there now she was still young and healthy.

“Malfoys must love,” she said then, “Because I am a Malfoy. And I love you.”

That was the biggest thing she had ever had to admit to herself and to another person. Both that she loved him, which she, now she had said the words, realised she had done for quite a while now, but because the love hadn’t come like it had with Jon as a sudden crush, but slowly crept up on her, she hadn’t noticed its presence before she was forced to.

And she had acknowledged the fact that she was a Malfoy.

He smiled at her just before she got up from the bed and disappeared down the hallway. She didn’t want to be in that room any longer when it made her say things like that. Somehow she didn’t feel comfortable that he knew her so well.

And somehow it just made her love him even more.





A/N: As always I appreciate your comments and critisism, so leave a review:)

Sorry I haven't answered all the reviews I have at the moment, but I'm working on that, so they'll be answered as soon as I have time.


Chapter 25: Chapter 25
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She noticed him staring at her as she went about the bedroom and drew the curtains, dusted a little and rearranged the logs in the fireplace. The book he held loosely in his lap, he didn’t read in it, only let his eyes follow her figure around the room being careful not to let her see it.


She did notice it though, the way he always seemed to have to flip a page when she looked at him even though she knew very well that he wasn’t reading at all.


His grey eyes following her wasn’t uncomfortable, just a little disturbing for her.


It was in the middle of November and outside it had been dark already at five o’clock and now at nearly eleven the darkness had only grown more intense. Hermione was happy that they had a cosy fire and a warm atmosphere in Draco’s room where they both were at the moment.


Before drawing the last curtain she stopped for a while to look out the window. The blackness was overwhelming and impossible to see beyond, like a dark blanket had covered the grounds. She had always known that the manor was rather isolated, normally she didn’t think about it, but at times like these she grasped how far out they really were. Nowhere a light could be seen, and it was nothing like last year in London, where it was never completely dark. 

In London there had always been someone wake with the lights on or some neon sign that illuminated the street with yellow and blue.


Out on the country there was only the darkness.


With a resolute move she drew the curtain and turned to face the warm light of the room and Draco’s gaze again.


“It’s dark compared to London, isn’t it?” he asked and held her eyes. Surprised that he had said what she had just been thinking she answered that he was right.


“In London there’s always light and people,” she said and sighed as she sat down beside him on the couch. Unconsciously she placed a hand on her stomach, sometime she could feel the baby kick but her doctor had told her that it was perfectly normal and that she only had reason to worry if the baby didn’t kick.


“Do you ever miss it? London I mean?”


“Never.” It was a reply she didn’t have to think about at all. Not even the first days of their marriage did she miss her tiny apartment in London, the foggy air or the crammed spaces that made the London she knew. If there was anything that had been easy to accept it was her new surroundings, from the first moment she saw the manor she had fallen in love with it and now nine months later she still hadn’t fallen out of love with it.


He smiled distant minded and stroked her stomach with light fingers. She placed her head on his shoulder and they sat in silence for a while enjoying each other’s company in their usual evening ritual.


Hermione sat with an open book in her lap looking into the dancing flames in the fireplace while Draco had his arm wrapped around her shoulder.


“Can you believe it’s almost December now?” Hermione asked in a low voice and pictured Malfoy manor covered in Christmas decorations for her inner eye. She didn’t know if the Malfoy family had any traditions around Christmas and with decorating their house, but she knew it had to be a splendid sight. With garlands around the banister in the hall, spruce on the front door with a red ribbon and a huge Christmas tree in library.


How she looked forward to celebrating the holidays in the manor. And how she looked forward to celebrating the holidays with her child next Christmas.


“I can see from the dreamy look in your eyes that you have already decorated the entire manor in red and gold,” Draco said dryly, but not without a flinch of humour in his voice.


She made a ‘humpf’ sound, but secretly she had to admit that he was right.


“I have never seen any pictures of the manor at Christmas time, so I have to imagine it all from scratch,” she said and thought that their dining room would be perfect for hosting a Christmas party, with a couple of candles and some spruce it could easily be turn into the ultimate Christmas setting.


“In fact I’ve never seen any pictures at all…” she added distant minded as continued to relocate some of the furniture in the library to make room for the tree.


“Well my father wasn’t exactly the sentimental type who took pictures at holidays and such you know,” Draco said and held her tighter for a moment. She sighed.  Wished he’d had the same safe childhood as she’d had and not the turbulent life filled with evil and fanatics.


 

The next day she walked around in the library. The lights were on everywhere even though it was still early in the afternoon, but outside the rain was pouring down and grey clouds covered the sky in a thick layer making it almost impossible for the sun to shine through.


She threw another log on the fire before sitting down in her favourite chair and snuggled up with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate on the table beside her.

She stroked the cover of Hogwarts: A History lovingly before opening it on page four hundred and seventy-nine where she had left it the night before. A piece of paper fell out of it and landed blank side up on the floor next to the armchair. 

When Hermione picked it up she saw that it wasn’t a piece of paper but a photograph. She brought it closer to her eyes and studied it closely.

It showed a wizard family standing in front of a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the hall of Malfoy Manor. The photograph was slightly faded but she could see that the tree was decorated in white and silver and sprinkled with sparkling fake snow.


In front of the tree a little family of three persons stood and looked into the camera. At first Hermione thought that it was a muggle photograph, because the wizards almost weren’t moving at all. Then suddenly the young boy of about eleven years of age flinched and received a soundless scolding from his blond father until he remained still again.


There was a clear family resemblance between the three and the parents were a handsome couple dressed in black and green wizard robes. The boy held on tight to the wand in his hand and tried his best to stand still to avoid another scolding from his father, the handsome blond wizard with the cold eyes.


On the back of the picture the date was written in small neat letters, 9th of December the year Draco had been ten years old.


The picture had been placed just where she had gotten to in the book, and she was sure Draco had placed it there, because he wanted her to see it, but not to talk about it. If he wanted to talk he would have shown her it in person instead of leaving it somewhere he knew she would find it. 

 


“Hermione, you weren’t supposed to put that picture where it can be seen,” Draco commented dryly when he walked into the living room the next day and saw the heavy picture-frame containing the picture he had given her of him and his parents.


“I kind of liked it, so I thought I’d put it up here,” Hermione answered and gesticulated towards the mantelpiece.


He shook his head and sat down beside her on the sofa and opened the Daily Prophet.


“The Malfoy family is very closed,” Hermione said, half to herself and half to her husband who looked up from the article he was reading as she said it.


“That is how it is to be wizard aristocracy. The Malfoys are a family of secrets,” he noted.


She sighed and closed the book in her hands and put it on the coffeetable next to the white sofa. With a loving glance towards the blond man on the sofa she got up and walked over to the window overlooking the garden. Even under the grey sky the grass looked as green as always, and the tea pavilion stood closed up beside the still lake. No wind was lifting the leaves of the trees as she pushed aside the light white curtain to get a better look outside.


“You have always been a man of secrets,” she said quietly as she continued to look out. Behind her the rattle of the paper told her that Draco was folding up the paper again.


“Not any longer.”


With steps to soft for her to hear them on the thick carpet he walked to her side.


“Once I had secrets, but I think you know most of them by now.”

She looked down, a small smile playing on her face.


“I never asked you to tell me your secrets.”


“I know. That’s why I told you them,” Draco said quietly and slid an arm around her waist to support her weigh. She leaned her head on his shoulder and took his hand in hers.


With a sudden clarity she remembered their wedding ceremony and the words the ministerial wizard had spoken. Forming a wholly bond of matrimony means more than just loving each other. It means trusting. It means knowing each other’s secrets. It means sharing. Sharing the burdens. Sharing the joys.


A small smiled formed on Draco’s face too and she knew he was thinking exactly the same as she was. Together they watched the sky turn black and the darkness covering everything they knew.


It was completely impossible to make out anything recognisable when the young couple turned away from the window.


“There is one last Malfoy secret I wish to share with you though,” Draco said in a solemn voice.


With a light pull of his hand she followed him out of the living room and across the hall to the library. There was a fire in the fireplace and Hermione sent a loving thought towards Dinny, who knew that the couple favoured to spend their evenings in the library.


With determined steps he led her to the right side of the library. With a slim finger he followed the titles of the books looking for a particular one. She knew the books in this section by heart and could almost mention the title of each one before his finger stroked it.


When he reached a large heavy book with the title Through Generations he stopped and let go of her hand to pull out the book. Along with it came a layer of dust.


“Could you hold this for a moment?”


She extended her hands and took the large book and put it down on the floor beside her foot. He lifted an eyebrow at her, but she just shrugged her shoulder.


The book had left a large empty space on the shelf and as Draco reached in she began to realize what was going on.


He smiled at her as he drew his hand back and the entire section of the bookcase started moving.

Like in the old movies the bookcase turned open to reveal a secret room behind it. Draco gestured for her to step inside and have a look around.

The room was square and without windows, in the enchanted fireplace an eternal fire was burning. She had read about those in one of the books in the library and guessed that was what the fire was, because Draco couldn’t have lighted it that day, judging by the layer of dust upon the key-book no one had been in there for quite a while.


On all four walls including the one they had just stepped through, which was magically closing on its own, there were shelves filled with books. In the middle of the room there was a sofa arrangement and a large desk with ink and feather pens ready.


“What is this place?” she asked and thought that it reminded her of Hogwarts.


“This is the real Malfoy library.”


“Then what do you call what’s out there? The lobby?” she raised an eyebrow at him again, but he ignored her comment.


“This is where the Malfoy Chronicles are hidden. The entire history of the Malfoy family lies inhere along with the real treasures of this family.”

She couldn’t figure out what the look in his eyes meant. Was he proud of his family?


She went around looking closer at some of the book titles.

Some of them were diaries with the owners name, birth and death-year on.


“The Malfoys have a strong tradition of writing in journals. After they pass on their private diaries are provided with the name, birth and death year of the person who wrote it and placed here along with the rest of the family’s diaries,” Draco explained, he also pointed out where his father’s diaries could be found along with those of the first known Malfoy male.


“Over here,” he then said and pointed at one of the long walls with shelves from floor to ceiling, “we have the so-called Malfoy Chronicles. This is where the head of the family writes in the faith of the family every time something important happens.“


Hermione studied them with great interest, her fingers were itching to pull down the large book with the title The Malfoy Chronicles I and just start reading immediately.


“At the moment there are forty-nine volumes of the Chronicles… And I’ve never read a single one of them,” Draco added with a dry tone in his voice. She smiled at him.


He directed her towards a corner of the room where a large box hung on the wall in between the books.


“This is where the Malfoys keep their jewellery. And this is also where I found your wedding ring.”


They looked at each other with a sort of goofy happy smile. Somehow Hermione felt a little silly, being as happy as she was, but she couldn’t help smile at the man next to her.


“This is where the Malfoys keep their biggest treasures, their biggest triumphs and their biggest shames,” Draco said, and as he finished the sentence he pointed towards two small diaries in red leather with gold writing on. Almost every other book in the room was black or dark green with silver letters, but these small ones were bright red only darkened a little by time. Gryffindor colours, Hermione thought and stepped closer.


“Saint Agatha, 1733 to 1751,” she read from the cover then turned to Draco and sent him a questioning glare.


“Was there really a saint in the Malfoy family?” she asked curiously. The Malfoys had always been associated with the dark side so she couldn’t imagine there had ever been someone that good in the family.


“As I said, the Malfoys biggest shame…” he shook his head and continued, 

“No one from this family will ever admit that we once had a saint among us.”


“Did you ever read her diaries?” Hermione asked interested.


“No I didn’t. I never read any of these books, but I know some of the stories about the Malfoy lines.”


“We could read them together?” Hermione suggested and her husband smiled at her and nodded. 




A/N: I better write a little faster from now on, we're getting closer to the end and I just want to thank all the loyal readers and reviewers, and say thank you and welcome to any newcomers, please leave me a review and tell me what you think of the story.
I appreciate all the reviews I've gotten. Before I started posting this story I would never have imagined that it would get more than a thousand reviews and I still not sure I can understand that it's true. 
Thank you to all of you who contributed to those thousand reviews they all mean a lot to me!


Chapter 26: Chapter 26
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“Then after dinner Draco and I sat down in the library and read this very interesting book together about a saint from the sixteenth century, “ Hermione eagerly told her best friend, “She was very young when she died because her father killed her with an avada kedavra in the shame of having a good person in the family.”


Hermione didn’t mention that Agatha was really from the Malfoy family or that they’ve found the book in the Malfoy Library, because those were secrets between Draco and her.


“Hermione are you sure you’re not in love with Draco?” Ginny asked curiously and received a death glare from her friend.


“Are you even listening to what I’m saying Ginny?” Hermione asked with a raised eyebrow, a habit she’s adopted lately.


“Yes I am. And you seem to be mentioning the name Draco quite a lot,” Ginny winked and Hermione shook her head in disagreement.


“I was telling you about a book I was reading!”


“A book you were reading with Draco,” Ginny looked like she was having fun, but Hermione didn’t find the situation funny at all. She felt uncomfortable being questioned like this and she couldn’t see any truth in Ginny’s insinuations.


She made a statement out of looking out the window instead of looking her best friends in the eyes. It was ridiculous to say that she was in love with Draco, it had only been a little more than two months since she had had to break up with Jonathan and she couldn’t possibly be falling for someone already. 

What a stupid thing to say.


“Face it Hermione, you talk about him a lot and any idiot can see the happiness in your eyes when you mention his name.”


Hermione didn’t answer, just stared continually out the window where she caught a glimpse of an owl flying across the sky even thought it was bright daylight. Or rather relatively bright daylight for the 1st of December where heavy grey clouds were hanging low and promising a shower of rain in a few minutes.


“You are married to the guy so it’s okay to love him,” Ginny continued, but she was talking to deaf ears.


“You don’t have to be mad at me for saying this…” Ginny tried.


Hermione closed her eyes for a second, then turned to Ginny and said: “I’m not mad Ginny. But really, now is not the right time to fall in love with Draco.”  


“Nonsense!” her friend replied immediately and grabbed her hand, “Hermione now would be the perfect time, you’re pregnant with his child and even Jon would understand.”


With abrupt movement Hermione got up from Ginny’s sofa and walked across the cosy living room. She stopped in front of the fireplace where a small fire burned and illuminated the pictures in the frames on the shelf above it.


A picture of the entire Weasley clan at Bill and Fleur’s wedding, a portrait of Hermione and Draco on their wedding day, a portrait of Harry, a picture of Ginny and Thomas.


Compared to the picture of Ginny and Thomas, who were kissing and laughing, the picture from Draco’s and her wedding seemed much like a regular muggle picture. They were both standing a little stiff in each other’s company and looking very formal compared to the close intimacy between Ginny and her husband.


Inside her head she remembered the photo she had just sent her mother the previous day along with the traditional Christmas card. It was a brand new one Ginny had taken two days earlier, and on that picture Draco had been having his arms around her and a hand solid on her stomach while smiling out to the camera along with a radiating Hermione with her hair in loose curls and a pretty white dress on to match Draco’s handsome outfit.


It was obvious that there was a great change from when their wedding photo had been taken to the other day where Ginny photographed them in the hall of Malfoy Manor for the Christmas card.


“I should be the one to know how I feel,” Hermione finally said just as much to herself as to her friend.


“Yeah, but it’s just not always that easy,” Ginny replied with a sigh.


Outside it started raining.


“I scared Ginny,” Hermione admitted with her back still turned on the other woman. It was easier to say things like this if she didn’t have to look her friend in the eyes.       


“I’m scared I’ll do something stupid. And I still don’t feel like I really closed matters with Jon. I can’t go into a new relationship if I’m still caught up with things that happened in my old one.”


Hermione could hear Ginny’s breathing close by her, but she didn’t turn around and instead she held on to the edge of the shelf with white knuckles.


“Then maybe you should apparate to Russia to talk to him?”


 

As she exited Ginny and Thomas’ apartment not long after the thought still lingered in her head. She could apparate to Moscow and try to talk to him. She wasn’t sure whether he wanted to see her, but she also felt like she had to try to talk things through, and maybe then she could have peace of mind completely.


She didn’t know how Jon’s new apartment looked so she couldn’t apparate straight to it, but by studying a picture on the internet at the public muggle library in the centre of London, she could see the street before her inner eye clear enough to apparate to it.


It was something she had only done once before, because it complicated the apparation process a great deal when apparating to an unknown destination and there was always the danger of leaving a part of herself back in the dark alley of London where she apparated from. 

The journey would also have to be taken in steps because it was difficult for her to apparate across distances that large.

She reached her destination though without leaving any parts behind and could walk down the cold unfamiliar street in one piece.


In the lit windows she saw Christmas decorations and candles, but outside the wind was howling and a thick carpet of snow covered the ground underneath her feet. Luckily she had worn her winter coat when she went to visit Ginny or she would have frozen to death.


Finding Jonathan’s street and apartment proved to be easier then she would have thought and as she firmly knocked on the door with the cat doorknocker she could hear steps inside immediately.


It had taken a deep breath for her to bring out the courage to knock on the door, but she hadn’t come to Russia for nothing and she wouldn’t feel better by knowing that she had been this close to talking to him and then hadn’t had the courage to at least knock on his door.


The doorknob moved and the door swung open to reveal the tall dark Jon standing in the middle of a small but nice hall decorated in red and gold Christmas colours.


He was shocked to see her, but he bid her inside nonetheless and didn’t slam the door in her face.


They didn’t speak a word until he had hung her coat in the hall and fixed them a cup of tea in the living room.

The room was smaller than in his last apartment, but it felt homey with little angels and elves standing on shelves and in the windows along with candles and branches of spruce.


“Hallo Hermione,” he then said sounding very serious, his eyes devoid of a smile.


“Hallo Jonathan,” she answered and lifted her teacup. The tea smelled like cinnamon.


“What brings you here?” he asked his voice slightly cold and his blue eyes much like two icicles.


She sighed and took a sip of the tea feeling the warmth spread throughout her body after the cold walk in the Russian streets.


“I wanted to talk to you.”


His face was like set in stone, he didn’t move at all and she knew that she had to keep speaking if she wanted this to turn out a conversation.


“Our last conversation ended badly and it’s been haunting me ever since. I can’t go on without trying to straighten things out between us,” she explained sincerely and with a slightly pleading look in her brown eyes.


“You were the one to break up with me. What did you expect me to do?”

She shrugged her shoulders. What had she expected?


“Jon I loved you. I still do. But I’m also obligated to my child. I guess I just hoped you’d understand that,” she answered and all the pain of the break up flooded back on her.


He stood up abruptly and walked to the window just like she had done only an hour before as she spoke with Ginny. He stood there with two little angel candlesticks illuminating his handsome features only a little bit in an orange glow with the Russian night as background. Like a beautiful picture.


“Danm it! I understood you, I always have!” he yelled and turned around, “it was never a problem for me to understand you. Everything you said that night made sense. I would have done exactly the same if I were you!”


She was surprised by his loud voice, she could se the pain in his eyes and she wanted to get up and hold him in her arms, but that wasn’t an option.


“I understand you, I understand everything you do. Always have, always will. But that didn’t make your words hurt any less. Probably it made them hurt even more.”


She was on the verge of tears and it took all her willpower to stay seated on the couch and not storm up and embrace him.


“I thought it was only in books that breaking up hurt that much, but when you said that it really did feel like I was having my heart ripped out. Do you have any idea how much that hurts?”


She nodded she had felt the pain too.


“I love you like I have never loved another girl in my entire life.”


Sorrow filled her eyes as he said those words, because she knew that they could never share that deep love he spoke off. It hurt her a lot to admit to herself that she didn’t love him that much any longer that she had been able to move on a little even when he couldn’t.


“I don’t know what to say Jon.“


“Don’t worry, I know what you’d say if you could,” he assured her with a strange voice.


“Does it help if I tell you I really thought we were going to grow old together?”


He nodded a little and she looked down at her hands, which were folded in her lap.


“Do you think we can maybe be friends some time?” she asked, but knew it was naïve to think so after their history.


“Maybe some day. But you’ll just have to give me some time to get my life straight again after you’ve turned it upside down.”


“Will you promise me that we’ll be friends some day?” she asked pleadingly.

He came over and took her hands for a second.


“I can’t promise you anything right now ‘Mione. You’ve really messed up my life, and it’s going to take some time to get it all sorted out again. But some day, yeah… I hope we can be friends.”


“Thank you Jon. This is much more than I deserve for treating you like that.”


He sighed and let go of her hands.


“I know. But for you I’ll try anyway.”




A/N: I know what I'm going to say now, right?
Please review, I love to hear what you think of how the story is progressing (and what sex you'd like/think the couple's child will be...) or if you have other kinds of critisism.

Other than that I just want to say Happy Holidays to all of my readers and reviewers:) May you enjoy the light spirit of this time of year!


Chapter 27: Chapter 27
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



The cold wind blowing in Hogsmeade made Hermione’s cheeks rosy and coloured Draco’s nose red as the couple walked down the street hand in hand. Hermione wore a beautiful woolen winter coat that was bottle-green, tailor-made and had once belonged to Narcissa. Draco had found it for her when they talked about the winter coming and her needing a coat where her belly would fit in, it had been stored away in his mothers old closet for years but after a dusting and a cleaning it was as good as new, and because it was made so it was only tight around her chest there would be plenty of room for the baby as her stomach grew.


With a good scarf and a pair of mittens the couple had decided to take a trip to Hogsmeade to do some of their Christmas shopping and relive all the memories from their schooldays in the city.


Even though it was just four in the afternoon it was already starting to darken around them and the Christmas lights illuminated the tiny street in a cosy way and created a light atmosphere. In every window Christmas decorations dominated the display with angels and fake snow that had been enchanted to fall down in large snowflakes. 

Above their heads spruse ropes with large glowing red hearts hung across the street, and at the square a group of elf carol-singers did theirs to add to the Christmas spirit.


“I think it’s Hogsmeade weekend this weekend,” Hermione said with a smile and gestured towards a groups of students in the Hogwarts uniform who stood in line to buy hot chocolate at a little stall where a cranky witch served a cup of chocolate and a gingerbread heart for a silver sickle.


Draco nodded and examined the group closer. They were wearing the Hogwarts uniforms and yellow scarves indicating that they were Hufflepuffs.


“Ten years ago that was us,” Draco said in a distant voice and looked at the blond boy who handed a girl with pigtails and a large knitted cap a gingerbread heart while he was blushing like mad.


“Yes. And now we’re here again…” her voice trailed of and in fragments she remembered walking down the street in Hogsmeade with Ron and Harry on each side letting herself drag towards the traditional visit at Zonko’s, even though she’d rather spend her Hogsmeade weekend in the snug bookstore.


“It feels like long ago,” Draco said and looked into her eyes.


“It is long ago.”


They walked into the bookstore she had just been thinking about, as the door opened a bell chimed and the shop owner appeared behind the curtain to the back to greet them.


“Sometimes I miss it, you know being young and everything. Most of the time I’m satisfied with what I have now though,” Hermione said and traced her finger along the titles of several books in the bookcase before picking one out and lifting it off the shelf.


“It’s a long time ago,” Draco only said and came over to take a look at the book she was holding. When he had read the text on the back he nodded approvingly.  


She looked at him with a silent plea for him to say more about it.


“I just like the prospect of my future better than I like the thought of my past.”


Somehow she found that easy to understand, his childhood and Hogwarts days had too many bitter notes for him to long to relive them. Hers on the other hand had been filled with more than just the fight against Voldemort, it has also had many good hours with her friends and an ocean of knowledge to learn for those who had the will to do so.


“How about this one?” Draco asked and changed the subject by holding up a book for her to look at, “Anne of Green Gables?”


“Oh, that’s a great book!” she exclaimed and remembered the time she learned to read and her grandfather helping her through the books about Anne.


“I was thinking maybe…” Draco’s voice trailed off with a goofy smile, but Hermione knew what he meant.


 

Later the two of them decided to have dinner at The Three Broomsticks and they left the bookstore with two large bags hovering after them at the tip of Draco’s wand.


“I have no idea where we can put all these books?” Hermione complained, but with a huge smile. They had found quite a bargain today, and it made her almost high.


“I think you’re forgetting just where you actually live,” Draco added in a dry voice, and Hermione suddenly realised that their magical house of course would adjust itself so there was room for the new books in it.


“I still can’t believe you talked me into buying the entire series of ‘Magical Magic’!”


She had only just finished the sentence as she heard a voice say her name behind her and they both turned to see who it was.


“Hermione Granger…” said the slim witch with the dark Hogwarts robes and her hair pulled tightly into a bun and looked at her curiously.


“McGonagall!” Hermione exclaimed with a smile as she greeted her old transfiguration teacher.


“How are you? It has been a long time since I’ve seen you,” the teacher asked, and if she was in any way surprised by seeing Draco standing with her she didn’t let it show at all.


Hermione happily told McGonagall that it was going very well for them, even though she didn’t have a job at the moment. She’d stopped searching for one when she became pregnant.


“You’re pregnant? Who’s the father then?” McGonagall asked with a hint of curiosity in her voice.


Hermione laughed heartily and pointed towards Draco, who first by then stepped up to her and took her hand. He had been standing in the background while the two women were talking because he didn’t really know what to say to the other woman, Hermione guessed. 


Now the surprise was obvious in her old teachers eyes. 


“You’re pregnant with Draco Malfoy’s baby?” it came out very un-McGonagall-ish.


“I am. We’re married,” Hermione said and for a second she almost thought her old head of house would have a heart attack right there in the middle of Hogsmeade.


“I’m sorry I’m reacting like this, I just never imagined the two of you would be able to fall in love.”


Draco made a strange ‘huff’ noise, but didn’t say anything. She didn’t want to start explaining Draco and hers long and complicated history, and she really had no idea what to say to that.


“Love,“ Draco started and made a pause before continuing, “…comes surprisingly easy sometimes.”


“I see,” McGonagall said with a funny smile and left the couple with a wave of a hand.    


 

“Well, she was surprised to see us together,” Draco said as they both were seated at a small table in a corner at the Three Broomsticks. They both felt comfortable being there because it was a place connected with many happy memories about their Hogwarts time, even Draco seemed to enjoy being there.


“Who hasn’t been?” Hermione asked and opened her menu. She skimmed down the different possibilities and was surprised to see that there wasn’t many different things to choose between. And it suddenly struck her that she had never eaten there in the years she had been at Hogwarts, and afterwards she was never in the neighbourhood long enough to want something to eat there.


“Everyone who ever heard about it,” there was a pause, then he continued, “I can’t really understand that though. We do actually have a lot in common and we’ve turned out to have a good relationship. Why is that so hard to imagine?”


She took his hand and squeezed it lightly.


“I think… it’s just because you’re Draco Malfoy and I’m Hermione Granger. We’ve always been sworn enemies and belonged to rivalling houses, I guess people just jumped to conclusions knowing that.”


“I know that, but why can’t we just love whoever we want to?” he asked with a strange emotion in his voice that Hermione couldn’t place.


“Well, we didn’t love each other when we married,” Hermione teased almost flirtatiously and winked at him. The strange look in his eyes disappeared and he answered her in a dry voice, “I’m not sure that would have changed anything anyway.”


She looked thoughtfully at him. She hadn’t thought about that.


“Even though we were in love, in everybody else’s eyes you’d still be Hermione Granger the smartest witch of our year and I’d still be Draco Malfoy bad boy extraordinaire,” he smirked as he said the last part of that, but otherwise he was serious.


She folded up her menu card and put it next to her plate, she had already decided what she wanted to eat. Draco noticed that and found his wand in his pocket. It rang softly to call the waiter as he cast the silent spell.


A young nervous looking witch with a white apron approached them to take their orders.


“I’d like the Weiner schnitzel and my wife would like the salmon, thank you,” he said and the waiter wrote it down in a hurry and asked them what they’d like to drink.


Draco’s natural authority seemed to frighten the young girl a bit, but she seemed to understand perfectly what he wanted.


She seemed a bit puzzled by the fact that Hermione didn’t talk for herself, but Hermione knew that Draco was perhaps a bit old fashioned when it came to those matters and he liked to play the old gentleman role. Besides that he already knew what she wanted to eat without her having to tell him.  


“Interesting thought,” Hermione mumbled to herself and leaned back in her chair with her hands folded across the small bump on her stomach.


“What?…Oh, about us being in love would make a difference to people?” he then asked.


She nodded deep in thoughts.


“It would have made it easier for us to explain to people why we were marrying,” he said casually.


“Yes, but would it have made it easier for us to be together?”


“Do you need it to be any easier?”


A silence followed his last question for which she didn’t know the answer. She hadn’t thought much about it, but now he brought it up it seemed to her that it hadn’t been particularly difficult to marry him. It had been strange at first and she needed some adjustment to her new way of life and to what people thought of her, and other than the doubts and concerns of her friends there had been nothing.


And now. Now she was just a bit confused.


She looked at her wedding ring, again she mused about how it seemed to be different every time she looked at it. It wasn’t huge changes, but sometimes it seemed to shine brighter or the emeralds seemed clearer than other days.


“What is it with this ring?” she asked and watched the funny expression on her husbands face.


“It’s an ancient wedding ring,” he said as if it was obvious, which it also was. 

She sent him a death glare.


“It’s story is written in one of the books in the Malfoy library.”


“Well, we’re not in the Malfoy library right now, so please just tell me what you know!” she sneered annoyed.


“I was just teasing you,” he said, but she didn’t find it funny.


“Okay, the story goes like this,” he started and told her that the ring had been made by a powerful and controlling young Malfoy wizard some time in the sixteenth century. He was the kind of person who needed to know everything about his wife. He had had a jealous nature and never treated his poor wife well because he was always suspicious that she was seeing someone else. 

So he made the ring that would show him his wife’s mood. It would be a quite boring and sparkleless ring when she wasn’t happy, but it would look a lot brighter if she were happy. And since he never treated her well the ring was always a little bland. 

Then if it suddenly turned bright the Malfoy wizard would know that his wife had found someone else. With that Draco ended the story.


Hermione shook her head. It suddenly made sense why she had thought it changed looks sometimes. She sighed.


He took her hand and stared into her eyes for a minute. She suddenly realised exactly how much she loved his grey eyes and the way they looked like clouds of fog hanging over a lake on a winter morning. They always had had an air of mystery about them, like no one really knew what was going on behind those eyes.


She smiled and watched the smile reflect on her husband’s face. Then she, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, leaned across the table and kissed him softly.


At first he seemed a bit surprised by this sudden display of emotion. She drew back and closed her eyes for a second waiting for him to react.


Then she felt the gentlest of touches along her jaw line. She opened her eyes.


“Why did you do that?” Draco asked curiously, but not madly at all and still with his hand on her face. She smiled at him.


“I did it,” she paused and bit her lip, then a broad smile spread across her face, “because it felt right.”


For a second both their glances were fixed on the little ring on her finger.


The silver was bright and the emeralds shone. 

It looked more beautiful than ever.


Then the dizzy smiling Draco leaned over to kiss her again.


“Because it feels right,” he mumbled breathlessly just before their lips touched.


It felt right.




A/N: This was the last actual chapter of the Proposal, all that's left now is an epilouge, which I'll write if I can do so without ruining the story, but I really do hope I'll manage not to do that.
Please leave a review with your thoughts, critisism or any random thing you want me to know about the story, yourself or the way I write.

I hope you enjoyed the story so far, and I'll look forward to hearing your opinions about this chapter and about the epilouge that'll be up in a week or two.

Happy New Year!


Chapter 28: Epilogue
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“Mary, could we get two cups of tea and two chocolate scones, please?” Draco asked in a clear strong voice.


Mary smiled at the young couple sitting at her best table by the window and nodded merrily. Mary’s Coffeshop was as warm and comfortable as it has always been with the small tables, which always had fresh flowers on them, and the cheerful ringing of the bell on the door every time a new customer stepped into the café.


“It was a nice idea to come in here for a cup of tea,” Hermione smiled at her husband and looked out on the busy London street outside the window.


They had just been to Sct. Mungo’s for a check up on the baby to make sure it was a healthy child. They had been walking back towards their transition point, when they came across a toy store, where Draco had insisted they went in and bought the largest toy penguin could find. It was huge and soft, there was no way it could fit into a regular shopping bag so Draco had had to carry it under his arm all the way.


Then they had crossed Mary’s and Draco had suggested they went in for a cup of tea. She thought that it had been way to long since she had stopped by Mary’s and immediately accepted the idea. 


“Yes, so I thought,” he said and they exchanged happy smiles.


“This place always felt just like home to me,” she said with a delighted sigh and looked around at the well-known tables while she smelled the delicious scent of the newly baked scones and the apple pie on the counter. The penguin was seated on the third chair by the table and Hermione chuckled inside every time she saw it. The image of Draco Malfoy, the bad boy of Hogwarts carrying a huge toy penguin was simply too hilarious.


“Here you go dears,” Mary said as she came over with their tea and scones, 

“And congratulations with the baby, I hope it’ll be as healthy as it’s parents.”

Wide smiles passed over the soon to be parents faces, Mary’s congratulations seemed as sincere as the time she congratulated them on their up coming marriage.


“As a matter of fact we were just at the hospital to have it checked and the doctor said he was just fine!” Draco proudly told the older lady.


“Oh, I’m delighted to hear that. So, it’s going to be a boy?”

Hermione nodded


“Have you decided on a name yet?”


Hermione was in the middle of taking a bite of her scone so it was Draco who answered that they had agreed on the name Damian for their son. He said it with so much pride that Hermione couldn’t help but smile again. It surprised her how much she had been doing that lately, it seemed that she just couldn’t help sitting with this goofy happy look on her face all the time.


“Well I wish you both the best of luck with parenthood,” Mary said and walked off to greet an older man, who had just stepped into the café. Hermione watched Mary help the man off his coat and down on a seat at the counter and thereafter presenting him with a cup of tea.


“Hermione?” Draco asked with a smug smile and tugged her out of her thoughts again.


“Yes Draco?” she answered suspiciously eyeing her husband’s smile.


“Will you marry me?” of all the sentences in the world he could have said, this was probably the one she had least expected him to utter. The words lingered in the air between them, but Draco sat patiently with his smug smile and waited for her reply.


She thought of the first time he had asked her that question. Back then she would never have believed that she one year later would be sitting with Draco at the exact same table – and being completely happy about it.


“You do know that we are actually married already?” she raised an eyebrow at him.


He uttered something, which slightly resembled a laughter and took her hand.


“I know that, I was there too,” he winked and gently stroked her hand and the emerald wedding ring on her finger.


“Then why do you ask again?”


Hermione sensed that he wasn’t only joking with his question. Underneath the smile there was a seriousness, which she couldn’t ignore.


“Because this time I want to marry you because I love you and not just because you’re the only muggleborn I find worthy to marry me or whatever I said back then.”


Now there was no joke in his voice.


He meant what he said. He wanted to marry her again – just because he loved her.


She didn’t say anything yet.


“This time,” he continued, “we’ll do it for the right reasons.”


He squeezed her hand and looked at the wedding ring again.


With her free hand she stroked her pregnant stomach under the blue shirt, she could feel the baby kicking through the thin fabric.


“When you asked me to marry you the first time I speculated whether it was madness to accept or madness to decline your offer,” Hermione said slowly and filled with wonder, “Now I think I have found the answer to that question.”


She kissed him gently, making him smile at her for what felt like the thousandth time that day.


“And what is the answer then?” Draco asked quietly locking her eyes with his. The love between them was so obvious that no one who looked at them could miss it.


“That it would be madness to say no to your proposal. That it would be madness not to follow my heart’s desire.”




A/N: Since this is the very last chapter of a (at least to me) long story I have decided to start a mission, and it's called Mission Impossible.

My mission is to get every single one of you who reads this to review this chapter. And hey, if you've stuck with this story since the beginning seven months ago or even just a couple of weeks or hours you must have something to say about it, right?

So please do me the honour of reviewing, I'd appreciate it very much!

For the very last time I'd also use this opportunity to say thank you to those of you who have helped, supported and inspired me while I was writing this, that means a huge thank you to all readers, reviewers, Green, Pingo, Padfooty and last but not least my boyfriend. 
THANK YOU!


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