You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com


Jaded by ethereallie

Format: Novella
Chapters: 22
Word Count: 128,882
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Mild violence, Scenes of a sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Hermione
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Hermione/OC

First Published: 09/26/2014
Last Chapter: 03/15/2015
Last Updated: 03/15/2015

Summary:
"It's hard when you know you shouldn't hold on, and yet you're too in love to let go..." Hermione croaked. "Too in love? WAKE UP GRANGER and smell the coffee! The weasel does not love you! Because if he does, he wouldn't have cheated on you twice! " Draco hissed.


Chapter 1: Confessions
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Chapter One: Confessions

“Everything that I've been doing is all bad, I got a chick on the side with a crib and a ride. I've been telling you so many lies ain't nothing good it's all bad and I just wanna confess 'cause it's been going on so long, girl I've been doing you so wrong and I want you to know that...” (Confessions I by Usher)

oOo

Ron Weasley was sitting inside his Muggle car while waiting for her fiancé to get off work; he was browsing thru his phone when he heard a loud tap on his window. He turned to look at his side of the door and frowned; he then lowered his window and asked, “Yes?”

“Miss me?”

Ron’s eyes widen when he recognized the voice; he quickly stepped out and turned his head to look around. “What are you doing here?” he hissed.

“You’ve been ignoring me, you didn’t show up last night!”

Ron grabbed the woman’s arm and dragged her toward the back of his car; “You should not have approached me here, Hermione might see you. This is very careless and irresponsible! You need to go home, I’ll call you when the coast is clear!” he said.

The woman pulled her arm free from his grip and frowned; “Why do we have to hide it in the first place? I’m tired of hiding Ronald! I was not brought up my parents to be a kept woman! It’s either you tell her now or we should end this!” she hissed and turned to leave.

Ron grabbed her arm again; “Let’s talk later okay?”

The woman pulled her arm again and walked away.

Ronald watched her leave as he clenched his fists into tight balls.

“Ron? Who was that?”

Ron turned around and faced Hermione standing right next to his car. He pasted a smile on his face and padded towards her; “No one love, she’s just offering flyers” he replied.

Hermione smiled brightly and lifted the box that she was holding; “I bought Strawberry Cream Cake, do you think the kids will like this?” she asked.

Ron nodded; “They eat almost everything. Let’s go?” he asked.

Hermione smiled; “Lets” she replied.

Ron opened the passenger door and pulled the box away from his fiancé’s hands; “I’ll put it in the back” he offered.

Hermione smiled and nodded.

Ron closed her door and opened the one at her back; he placed the box on top of the leather seat and closed the door. He let out a huge sigh and padded towards his seat.

oOo

“Where are you going?” Hermione mumbled as she snuggled deeper into the covers.

“I just remembered that I forgot to lock my drawers inside my office, my top secret assignment is in there. Kingsley will have my hind if someone reads it” Ron explained nervously.

“Come home soon” Hermione replied sleepily.

Ron let out a sigh of relief and padded towards Hermione’s side; he planted a soft kiss on top of her curls and tucked the comforter closer to her slumbering form. “Will do love...sleep now” he mumbled.

Hermione replied with a smile.

Ron walked towards the door and pulled it open; he turned off the light and closed the door behind him. He leaned back and felt guilt eat his heart again; “I’m sorry love, I would end it tonight...I love you...” he murmured to himself.

oOo

“Didn’t think you would still show up”

Ron slumped down on a loveseat and buried his face in his palms; “Please stop it Millie...” he said.

"Did you tell the Mudblood?” Millicent Bulstrode asked.

Ron’s head snapped up and glared at the woman standing right in front of him; “DO.NOT.CALL.HER.THAT” he hissed.

Millicent studied his face and laughed; “I thought so,” she said bitterly. She then walked towards her door and pulled it open; “Get out then, I don’t want you soiling my house anymore” she said.

Ron’s ear turned red and he hastily stood up; he walked towards her and grabbed her arms. “Let’s talk, I don’t want to end it like this...” he said.

Millicent stared at his blue eyes and felt her eyes tearing up; “I can’t do this anymore...” she said stonily.

Ron squeezed her arms comfortingly; “I know, I don’t think I can too. Please let’s...let’s end this the right way...” he pleaded.

Tears began falling down her cheeks as her resolve began to crumble; she felt her knees buckle so she slumped down the ground unceremoniously; she let out a sob and buried her face in her palms.

Ron felt his heart ache as he watched Millicent collapsed right before his eyes; “Millie, don’t do this...” he half whispered.

Millicent wiped her eyes as she sniffed; she raised her head towards the man she loves and studied his pain ridden face. She felt a tiny spark of hope and decided to grasp her final straws; she half crawled towards him and kneeled; she boldly wrapped her arms around his calves and pressed her breast to him. She then lined her face into his waist and braised her chin on top of his bulging belt buckle.

Ron gasped as he felt a part of his body stir; he cleared his throat and began untanggling Millicent’s arm away from him.

Millicent held tighter and bravely brushed her mouth below his belt buckle; strategically leaning her cheeks on top of his groin.

Ron moaned as he stilled his movement.

Millicent smiled and let out a soft moan; “Please don’t leave me...” she groaned seductively.

Ron closed his eyes as he unconsciously began rubbing his front into Millicent’s face; “Hmmmnn...” he moaned.

Millicent lifted her cheeks slightly and planted a soft kiss on top of his bulge and pulled away.

Ron’s eyes snapped open.

Millicent threw him an innocent look and began snaking her idle hands towards his legs; when she reached her destination she began unbuckling his belt.

Ron let out a loud moan and decided to give in; throwing the caution into the wind.

Millicent smiled widely and hastily pulled down his pants. “I guess I won again Mudblood” she thought triumphantly.

oOo

The next day:

“Harry?”

Harry stopped riffling thru his parchments and stared at his best friend; “Yes?” he asked.

Hermione furrowed her brows and sat down on the chair right in front of his desk; “Can I ask you something? It’s about Ron...” she said.

Harry sat on his chair; “What about?” he asked.

“Do you know if Kingsley assigned him to a top secret assignment?” Hermione asked.

Harry’s brow furrowed as he leaned on his chair; “I’m not sure, but as far as Kingsley is concerned, he’s out of the country since last month. He’s been in France, as far as I know, why?” he replied.

Hermione gasped; “Oh...”

“Is something the matter Mione?” Harry asked.

Hermione sighed; “It’s just, he was—never mind” she said as she hastily stood.

Harry frowned; “Sit down Mione and tell me what’s wrong” he replied.

Hermione bit her lower lip and sat down again; she then tucked her loose curls behind her ear and cleared her throat. “It’s Ron, he left last night...he told me that he need to get back here to lock his drawers because of Kingsley’s assignment and he never came back...” she said nervously.

Harry stood up from his chair and padded towards Ron’s desk; he pulled the top drawer open and began looking thru the parchments. He then took a deep breath and faced his best friend.

Hermione looked aghast; “That’s supposed to be locked! He came here last night just to lock it. What’s inside Harry?” she asked.

Harry slumped on Ron’s chair and cleared his throat; “There’s nothing here Mione, all of these stuff are old Auror notes, flyers and nothing’s new...” he said.

Hermione frowned.

Harry then stood up and padded towards his best friend; he then grasped her shoulders and squeezed it comfortingly. “Maybe it’s nothing Mione, we don’t know why he came here last night, we both know Ron and his quirkiness...” he soothed.

Hermione thought for a moment and nodded; “I’m just being paranoid I guess...” she relented.

Harry smiled; “Do you want to grab lunch?” he asked.

Hermione smiled back; “You’re treat?” she asked.

Harry rolled his eyes; “Who else? Malfoy’s?” he teased.

Hermione slapped his arm and laughed; “Who knows!” she replied.

oOo

Ron groaned as he sleepily opened his eyes; he scratched his chest and took a deep breath.

“Morning sunshine!”

Ron’s eyes widen as he stares at Millicent standing near the door frame; he then lifted the duvet off his body and took a peak. He let out loud groan and sat up; “Buggering hell” he said.

Millicent ignored his reaction and smiled widely; “Do you want lunch?” she asked.

Ron frowned; “What do you mean lunch?” he asked.

Millicent raised her brow and crossed her arms on her chest;
“Errr...the food you eat when its noon?” she replied.

Ron’s eyes bulged out and began panicking; he ripped the covers off his body and hastily stood up. “Where is my pants and shirt?” he asked.

“It’s in the laundry, it was...dirty” Millicent replied with a knowing smile.

Ron snatched his wand from the side table and summoned his clothes; he then began dressing in a fast pace and ignored the witch who’s throwing him curious looks.

Millicent walked towards him and stood right in front of him; she grabbed his frantic hands, halting his movements. “What’s the rush? You just woke up, you have time to---“

“I don’t have time! I should not have slept here! Hermione will gut me for this!” Ron replied, cutting her off.

Millicent instantly dropped her hands and clenched it into tight fists; “It’s Hermione again...” she said.

Ron continued buttoning his pants and looked her in the eye; “I left her last night with a stupid excuse, I need to see her and explain where I have been” he said.

Millicent’s eyes brightened as she smiled widely; “You’re finally telling her about us?” she asked excitedly.

Ron immediately stilled his movements and looked away.
“Oh...” Millicent gasped.

Ron bit his lower lip and pocketed his wand; he then leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on his lover’s lips. “Thank’s for last night love, we’ll talk about this next time” he said.

Millicent sighed and kept silent.

Ron threw her an apologetic look and began walking towards the door; leaving her alone.

Millicent felt tears cloud her eyes as she collapsed on top of her bed.

oOo

Ron softly opened the office door and peaked in; he let out a sigh of relief when he saw that it was empty, he then entered and slowly walked towards his desk.

“Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in”

Ron’s head nervously snapped towards the voice and let out a smile when he saw his best friend; “Oh, it’s you, I didn’t see you there. Good Afternoon mate” he said.

Harry stared at him and frowned; “Where have you been? Mione told me that you went here last night because you have to lock your drawer?” he asked.

Ron’s face paled as he scampered towards his desk; he pulled his chair and sat. “I was out...” he replied vaguely.

Harry fixed his glasses as he leaned forward, braising his elbows on top of his desk; “It’s curious you know, because she also mentioned that Kingsley left you a top secret file when he’s not even here since last month...” he said suspiciously.

Ron avoided is gaze and chuckled nervously; “I was just making excuses, I needed to go out and I know that if I tell Hermione she would not let me so I lied...” he rambled.

Harry pretended to accept his best friend’s explanation and nodded; “So where did you go?” he asked again.

“Eerrrr...I was at The Leaky Cauldron, drinking” Ron replied.

Harry nodded again; “Oh I see, didn’t know that drinking in that pub creates huge hickeys” he said darkly.

Ron felt his face ashen as he silently cursed Millicent; he then cleared his throat and began riffling thru his drawer. “It’s not a hickey! It’s was an allergic reaction to the nut’s I ate last night, it’s just rashes” he replied.

Harry fixed him a gaze and stood up; he walked towards right in front of his best friend’s desk and leaned forward. “If I ever find out that you are cheating on Hermione with some slag, Merlin Forbid, I will kill you, best friend or not. I already stood by your side when you cheated on her with Lavender but I won’t stand for it if you’re making that stupidest mistake again. Do you understand me clearly?” he said seriously.

Ron swallowed hard and met his best friend’s gaze; “I---I’m not cheating on Hermione, these are just rashes...really” he said.

Harry eyed him for a couple of seconds and relented; “Just be sure about what you say, because if I ever catch you, you’d be living your life as a monk” he threatened.

Ron cleared his throat and nodded; “It’s clear and I couldn’t do that to Hermione...she’s my fiancé after all” he explained.

Harry eyed him for a couple of more minutes and nodded curtly; he then walked towards the door and grabbed the knob. He was about to pull open but he suddenly stopped; “Oh, before I forgot,” he said.

“What?” Ron asked nervously.

Harry turned to face him and fixed his crooked glasses; “Don’t be daft with your excuses, Hermione is not called the “brightest witch” of our age for nothing” he said.

Ron chuckled awkwardly and began fixing the books on his table; “Okay...” he replied.

Harry said nothing and stepped out of the room.

Ron let out a huge sigh of relief as he watch the door closed; he then braised his elbows on top of his desk and buried his face in his palms. “Stupid, stupid, stupid...” he croaked.

oOo

“Had a rough day?” Astoria asked as she stood from couch.

Harry let out a surprised look as he stepped out of the fire place; “I thought you were in Paris?” he asked.

Astoria smiled widely as she walked towards her husband; she then snaked her delicate hands around his neck and pressed her petite body to his. “I missed you...” she pouted.

Harry grinned and wrapped his arms around her tiny waist; “Oh sweetling, I miss you too” he cooed.

Astoria giggled and planted a soft kiss on his neck; “How was your day? You seem early and gloomy?” she asked.

Harry pulled her closer and buried his face into her neck; “It’s been a long day and Ron is driving me nuts” he said.

Astoria chuckled as she pulls away; “What happened with Ron?” she asked.

Harry sighed and began walking to the couch that her wife vacated; he then sat down and pulled Astoria on his lap. “I think he’s having an affair” he said bluntly.

Astoria’s eyes widen as she turned to face Harry; “Does Hermione know? What happened?” she asked.

Harry leaned back; “She’s suspicious, I spoke to her during lunch and I think she feels that’s something going on” he said.

Astoria bit her bottom lip and took a deep breath.

Harry studied her wife’s reaction and furrowed his brows; “Do you know something?” he asked.

Astoria pulled away and stood up; she then began pacing as she crossed her arms on her chest. “I’m not sure but I heard something while I was at Daphne’s...it’s just hearsay...”

Harry sat straight and stared at his wife; “What did you here?” he asked.

Astoria stopped and sat on top of the coffee table right in front of the couch; she gathered her hands on her lap and clasped it together. “The day I was at Daphne’s, Pansy was also there. They were both talking in the tea room when I passed by. I was about to bypass them when I heard Pansy shriek so I decided to listen to what their talking about...They mentioned that Millicent---“

“Whoah! Did you say Millicent? Millicent Bulstrode? The giant Slytherin student who woman-handled Hermione back in Hogwarts?” Harry asked, cutting Astoria off.

Astoria rolled her eyes; “Yes, that’s her. And for your information Millie has turned into a beauty after graduation. If you can see her now I bet you wouldn’t recognize her. Now, do you want me to continue?” she asked.

Harry nodded; “I’m sorry love, go on...” he said.

“Pansy mentioned that Millicent was deluded, that she’s seeing someone she wasn’t supposed to. Pansy was indignant because the person she’s seeing is...engaged to someone else...Then my sister calmed her down saying that she shouldn’t spout out nonsense because it might cause damage. Pansy shrieked again and stated that she was not spouting nonsense because she’d seen Ron at her house last night...” Astoria said.

Harry was silent.

“Harry....” Astoria called out.

Harry still kept silent.

Astoria stood and kneeled right in front of her husband; she grasped his hands in hers and squeezed it. “Love, please speak...Like what I said before, it’s just hearsay, nothing is definite. Pansy might be wrong...” she pleaded.

Harry took a deep calming breath and gritted his teeth; “You know what I’m afraid off?” he asked seriously.

“What?”

“I’m afraid that Parkinson might be right and I might end up killing the weasel” Harry said darkly.

“But Harry I don’t think that he’s capable of that, they’re engaged for Merlin sake!” Astoria reasoned out.

Harry shook his head; “He is capable, he already did it once and he will do it again. If I catch him I don’t know what I’ll do with that sodden bloody arsehole!” he hissed.

Astoria bit her lower lip; “Don’t do anything drastic, he’s still your best friend...” she said.

“He stopped being my best friend when he decided to let his fly down for another woman aside from my other best friend!” Harry said stonily.

Astoria sighed and began rubbing his hand; “Let’s think this over hmmn?”

Harry kept silent.

oOo

Hermione got off work early so she decided to drop by her fiancé’s office; she padded merrily towards the door but instantly stopped when she heard him speaking. She felt a huge smile creep into her lips as she moved closer; she leaned head on the door and listened.

“We should stop this, Hermione is getting suspicious and Harry won’t get off my back” Ron said frantically.

Hermione froze as her heart started to beat loudly inside her chest; she willed herself to step away and leave but her brain is not sending the right signals for her muscles to move.

“No, I’m not breaking up with you over the phone. I already went there last night to set things straight but you coerced me to have sex with you instead!” Ron hissed.

Hermione felt her body shake involuntarily as tears began clouding her eyes; she let out a soft sob as she felt her world crumble.

“I did not promise you anything! I already told you that I’m getting married but you still insisted that she wouldn’t know but she already has an idea! I can’t do this to her, she’s my best friend and I owe her that much” Ron replied.

Hermione’s knees buckled so she collapsed on the floor ungracefully; she buried her face into her palms as uncontrollable sobs escaped her lips.

“Granger?”

Hermione’s head instantly snapped towards the voice and felt her body ran cold; she quickly wiped her face from tears as she stood up. Her knees are still shaking but she leaned on the wall; she sniffed and cleared her throat. “M-Malfoy” she croaked.

Draco studied her appearance and raised his pale brow; “Are you alright?” he asked.

Hermione fixed her blouse and grasped her bag tighter to her body; “Errr..Yes I am. I better go...” she said while scampering away.

Draco watched her leave and furrowed his pale brows; “What in Merlin’s pant’s was that...” he asked himself. He stood there for a couple of minutes and shrugged his shoulders; he then proceeded to walk away.


Chapter 2: Bust the windows of your car
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“ I bust the windows out your car, Hey, you should be lucky that that's all I did, after five whole years of this bullshit, gave you all of me, and you played with it...” (Bust the windows of your car by Glee)

oOo

Hermione ran towards the lift and pressed the down button repeatedly; when the doors opened she yanked the railings forcefully and waited for the doors to close. When it started to descend she moved to the corner and leaned back on the wall; she rubbed her face with her palms furiously as she let out a groan. “I’m so stupid....very stupid...” she told herself over and over. When the door opened she bolted out the elevator and paced towards the Atrium; she padded towards the floo network when she heard a distinct voice calling her name.

“Hermione!”

Hermione bit her lower lip as she stopped in her tracks; she sniffed and hastily wiped her face free from tears.

“Hermione!”

She then took a deep calming breath and pasted a smile on her face; “Ginny...” she greeted.

Ginny threw herself at her best friend and hugged her tightly; “It’s been months! I missed you!” she gushed excitedly. She then pulled away with a huge smile and grasped Hermione’s arms; “How have you---why is your face is blotchy and your eyes are swollen?” she suddenly asked with a frown.

Hermione pulled away and patted Ginny’s hand; “I’m just tired. I missed you too” she replied with a weary smile.

All traces of humour instantly left Ginny’s face as she studies her best friend’s expression; “Something’s wrong with you...” she said seriously.

Hermione felt her chin wobble so she bit her lower lip to control her emotions; “I’m fine Gin, I’m just feeling a little bit under the weather, don’t mind me” she answered nervously.

Ginny shook her head; “I know you Hun, tell me what happened...” she insisted.

Hermione was about to speak when she saw a familiar ginger haired man exiting the lift; her heart jerked with pain as memories of his conversation flooded her mind. She felt her whole body stiffen as her lungs began to burn with loss of oxygen; she grasped Ginny’s hand in panic as tears run down her pale cheeks. Dark spots began dancing right in front of her eyes so she decided to bow down to take a breather; it was a wrong move, because instantly her knees buckled and she fell on the ground, unconscious.

“Hermione!” Ginny screamed in horror.


oOo

St. Mungos

“What the hell happened?”

Ginny’s head snapped towards the door; “Harry!” she exclaimed.

Harry walked towards the red haired woman and stood beside the bed; he studied his best friend’s face and turned towards Ginny; “Gin, what happened?” he asked.

“I really don’t know. We were talking for a couple of minutes and then she collapsed...” Ginny explained worriedly.

Harry sighed and sat at the foot of the bed.

“Do you know if she has any problems? Because when I saw her this afternoon, her face was blotchy and her eyes we’re swollen” Ginny asked.

“I also don’t know. We just had lunch earlier and everything seems to be alright...” Harry replied. He then surveyed the surroundings and frowned; “Where’s your brother? He’s supposed to be here” he said.

Ginny rolled her eyes and crossed her arms on top of her chest; “I don’t know where that prick is! I already sent him an owl hours ago and he’s still not here!” she replied.

Harry stood up and began pacing back and forth; he then threw Hermione a look and stared at Ginny. “Can we step out for just a minute? I need to tell you something” he said.

Ginny frowned and stood up; “Sure, what’s this about?” she asked.

Harry padded towards the door and pulled it open; “After you,” he said.

Ginny stepped out and waited for Harry.

Harry stepped out as well and closed the door behind him; “Do you want to grab some coffee?” he asked.

Ginny nodded; “Let’s go...” she replied.

Harry led her towards the cafeteria and asked her to find them a table; he then proceeded to the counter and asked for two cups of cappuccino.

Ginny searched for a table and saw a vacant one near the windows; she padded towards it and pulled a chair. She then sat down and waited for Harry.

Harry walked towards Ginny, carrying two cups of coffee; upon reaching the table, he placed the first cup right in front of her and sat down.

Ginny pulled the cup closer to her and began stirring; “So, what’s this about?” she asked.

Harry took a sip from his cup and sighed; “I think Ron is having an affair” he said bluntly.

Ginny stopped stirring and frowned; “What do you mean he’s having an affair?” she asked.

Harry leaned back on his chair and eyed his best friend’s sister; “It’s not yet confirmed but I will find out” he answered.

Ginny averted his gaze and lowered her eyes on the table; “How can he do this to Hermione again? I mean, their engaged!” she said.

“I know. I already spoke with him this afternoon, I already told him that if he’s cheating he should stop now because if I ever caught wind of what he’s doing, best friend or not, I will decapitate him” Harry said.

Ginny huffed; “You’re too kind Harry, if it was me, I’ll threaten to murder him” she said.

Harry smiled; “Still fiery, aye?” he teased.

Ginny laughed and began stirring her coffee again; “That
won’t change. By the way, how’s Astoria and Candice?” she asked.

“She took Candice to Daphne’s because won’t stop bugging us for a week that’s why Astoria gave in” Harry replied.

Ginny chuckled; “Candice is a bit handful if she wants to, I guess she got that from Daphne’s side” she said.

Harry smirked; “Now, don’t let Daphne hear you” he said. He then leaned forward and took another sip of his coffee; “How’s Anthony?” he asked.

Ginny beamed; “He’s doing fine. He’s out of the country as of the moment, some Healer conference” she replied.

Harry nodded; “You two are good together, you’re both jet setters. We hardly see you around” he complained.

Ginny chuckled; “We love exploring other countries Harry, you should try it with Torry” she suggested.

Harry thought for a couple of seconds and smiled; “That’s a brilliant idea, I will make plans for our next anniversary” he said thoughtfully.

Ginny eyed him a couple of minutes and smiled sincerely; “I’m really glad that you’re happy Harry...” she said.

Harry smiled back; “I’m glad you are too” he replied.


oOo

Hermione opened her eyes slowly and studied her surroundings; she then sat up from her bed and groaned.

“You’re awake”

Hermione turned to face the door and let out another groan;
“Please tell me I didn’t collapse in the middle of the Atrium?” she asked wearily.

Draco smirked and padded towards the bed; “I didn’t know I had that affect on you Granger. If I knew you’d faint like that, I should’ve avoided you” he teased.

Hermione leaned back on the headboard and chuckled; “You wish” she replied.

Draco moved closer and fished out his pen-light from his pocket; “I know you fainted from seeing me but please contain yourself because I need to touch you” he joked.

Hermione rolled her eyes and pouted; “Of all the Healers in St. Mungo’s, I end up with you” she murmured.

Draco feigned shock and placed his hands on top of his chest; “You hurt my feelings Granger, I happen to be on duty for your information” he replied. “Now be a good girl and move closer so I can check you properly” he added.

Hermione sighed and moved towards him; she pulled the blanket off her body and sat sideways of the bed, facing Draco. “Better?” she asked.

Draco smirked and clicked his pen-light open; he gently cupped her chin and raised it upwards. He pointed his pen light towards her eyes and studied her pupils; “Do you still feel faint?” he asked as he switched off the light.

Hermione shook her head; “No” she replied.

Draco then took the chart notes from the footboard of the bed and began scanning it; “You’re vitals are good and your blood pressure is normal. Have you been under stress lately?” he asked.

Hermione swallowed hard and felt her palms sweating; “N—nooo” she replied.

Draco stopped looking at the chart notes and studied her face; “Okay...well, if that’s the case then you can leave as soon as you’re feeling up to it” he said.

Hermione nodded.

Draco then proceeded to walk towards the door; he was about to pull it open when he stopped. “Granger?” he said.

Hermione’s head snapped towards him; “Yes?” she asked.

Draco grabbed the knob but he turned his head to face his patient; “Whatever your problem is, I know you’ll get through it. You’re not the brightest witch of our age for nothing. Keep your head held high” he said. He then pulled the door open and stepped outside, leaving her dumbfounded.

Hermione felt tears clouding up her eyes as she clutched her hands together; she then took a deep calming breath and sniffed. “You are right Malfoy, I will keep my head held high but I won’t let this go easily, Ron Weasley will be sorry” she said.


oOo

At the Nurses Station:

“Please change Mr. Robinson’s potion to the new one I just brewed and don’t forget to take it to him in time okay?” Draco instructed the nurse standing right in front of him.

“Draco?”

Draco turned and let out a huge smile; “Hey, hey, hey Mrs. Goldstein, it’s nice to see you” he greeted. He then turned towards the nurse he’s talking to and nodded; “That’s all Katie, thanks!” he said.

Ginny laughed; “I’m not Mrs. Goldstein yet, he hasn’t put a ring on it” she replied.

Draco walked closer to his friend and smiled; “I’m sure he will, just give it time” he assured her.

“If he doesn’t then I’ll put a ring on his” Ginny said while winking.

Draco laughed loudly.

“Err...Malfoy, are you Hermione’s Healer?” Harry asked.

“Potter I didn’t see you there, as a matter of fact, I am” Draco replied.

“How is she? Is she alright? Can she go home?” Harry asked.

“Slow down there, yes, she is alright and she can go home. Everything seems to be normal, but, do you know if she’s under any stress? It’s not normal for a person to collapse when everything is average you know” Draco said.

Harry cleared his throat; “I’m not sure, but we’ll talk to her. Can we go to her room? Is she awake?” he asked.

“She’s already awake, you can take her home now” Draco said.

“Thank you” Harry said. He then turned towards his other friend; “Gin?” he asked.

Ginny smiled at Draco; “It was nice seeing you Draco, I’ll tell Anthony that you said Hi” she said.

“You do that, it was nice seeing you too” Draco replied.
Ginny smiled again and pulled Harry towards the lift; “Let’s go see Hermione” she said.

Harry followed.


oOo

“I’m already here, let’s get this over with. I still need to go to St. Mungo’s” Ron said irritably.

Millicent wiped her face with stray tears as she stared at the man standing in her living room; “So that’s it? You want to finish this because she already knows? What do you think I am? A slag that opens’s her legs for any man willing?” she shrieked.

Ron rolled his eyes and huffed; “Come on, Millie! We both know from the start that this will not last because I’m getting married” he said.

Millicent sobbed and buried her face into her palms.

Ron eyed her for couple of seconds and sighed; he walked towards his lover and kneeled right in front of her. “Please don’t make this harder that it needs to be...” he whispered.

Millicent cried harder; “How---how can you say that? Do I mean so little to you?” she asked.

“You are special to me Millie; it’s just that I love Hermione and I can’t leave her...” Ron explained.

“Love?” Millicent laughed bitterly. “How can you tell me you love her when your fucking me every chance you get? Wake up Ron, you don’t love her! Because if you do we wouldn’t be in this situation! You don’t know how to love Ronald Weasley!” she added harshly.

Ron hastily stood up and felt his face redden with anger; “Stop being a bitch!” he hissed.

Millicent stood up and wiped her face angrily; “Get out of my house” she said coldly.

Ron frowned; “With pleasure” he hissed. He angrily padded the door and slammed it shut when he stepped out.

Millicent grabbed the closest vase and threw it on the door; “You will be pay you stupid weasel! Even if it’s the last thing I’d do!” she shrieked.


oOo

Harry knocked and called out his best friend’s name;

“Hermione?”

Ginny threw Harry and questioning look and frowned; she moved closer towards the door and pushed it open. She peaked inside and felt her heart felt into her stomach; “She’s gone” she said.

Harry pushed the door wider and padded inside; he walked towards the loo and knocked. “Mione are you there?” he asked. When he received no response, he pulled the door open and peered inside. “She’s not here as well” he said.

Ginny collapsed on the couch and groaned; “I will murder Ronald” she said seriously.

“Let’s go check if she went home” Harry suggested.

Ginny stood up and sighed; “I hope she’s there” she said.


oOo

Hermione sat on a wooden bench, in the park near her house; she stared at the couples walking and felt her eyes heating up with tears for the millionth time. She sniffed and clutched her hands into tight fists; she felt her engagement ring weighing her left hand so she wrenched it away. She stared at the offending diamond ring and suddenly her tears gave away.

**Flashback**

“Ron, what are we doing here? It’s midnight and I’m cold” Hermione complained.

Ron chuckled and sat on the wooden bench; “Nothing love, just needed some air...” he said nonchalantly.

Hermione glared; “You want air? We have lots of air outside my cottage!” she huffed while rubbing her arms back and forth.

Ron rolled his eyes and ignored her complaints; “Isn’t it a lovely night?” he asked.

Hermione studied her surroundings and let out sigh of defeat; “It is” she relented.

Ron eyed her for a couple of minutes and smiled; he then fished out a small velvet box inside his coat and kneeled unceremoniously on the ground.

Hermione felt her heart thud wildly as she stared wide eyed at her beau; she then felt her eyes moisten with tears as her hands fell limply at her side. “Ron...” she whispered.

Ron cleared his throat nervously and raised his open hand towards her; “Hermione, love, I’m not good with words, I love you, please marry me?” he asked lamely.

Hermione felt a pang of disappointment with his proposal but let him off the hook; she smiled widely and fell on her knees as well. She wrapped her arms around her long time best friend and whispered. “Yes, I will marry you”

**End of Flashback**

“Stupid, stupid, stupid! Even his proposal sucks!” Hermione whispered to herself. She then clutched the ring tightly in her fist as she stood up; she then paced back and forth angrily. “How can you do this to me! I’ve been loyal to you, you bastard! You’ll see! You don’t get to mess with Hermione Granger and get away with it!” she hissed. She then slumped on the wooden bench and thought hard; she ran random ideas inside her head and after a couple of minutes she smiled, she know now what to do.


oOo


Ron stormed inside of St. Mungo’s with a frantic look in his eyes; he paced towards the front desk and braised his hands on the desk. “Where is my fiancé? Where is Hermione Granger?” he asked.

The witch at the front desk was taken aback with his panic-stricken face and began riffling thru the parchments; “She’s in room 301-B but---“

Ron did not let the witch finish her sentence and ran towards the stairs, not catching the last sentence.

“---she already checked out...” The witch trailed off.

Ron reached the floor and began searching for the right room, he turned to the next corner and immediately bumped into someone.

“Bloody Buggering Hell! Watch where you’re going!”

Ron steadied his bearings and instantly felt relief when he recognized who he bumped into. “Ginny! Where is Hermione?” he asked.

Ginny snapped her heads towards the man she bumped into and felt rage seeped into her veins; “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? I HAVE OWLED YOU A COUPLE OF HOURS AGO BECAUSE YOUR FIANCE FAINTED RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY EYES! AND DON’T TELL ME YOU WERE AT WORK BECAUSE I CHECKED YOUR OFFICE AFTER THEY CARTED HERMIONE HERE!” she shouted.

Ron’s eyes bulged as he felt heat creep into his neck; “CALM DOWN GINEVRA!” he shouted back.

Ginny moved closer and pushed him; “DON’T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN! WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?” she asked.

Ron took a deep calming breath and took a step back; “I was out on duty. We have received some complaints about some store in Knockturn Alley that’s why I headed there, alright. Now, please tell me where my fiancé is” he replied.

Ginny eyed him for a couple of minutes and huffed disbelievingly; “I didn’t know your work is more important than your soon-to-be-wife!” she hissed.

Ron groaned exasperatedly.

Ginny threw him a dirty look and began walking away, leaving him without any answer.

Ron clenched his fist as he watches his sister fading back.
“She’s not here”

Ron’s head snapped towards the voice and felt his body stiffen; “Harry...where is she?” he asked.

Harry walked towards his best friend and stood right in front of him; “She already left so I suggest you find here because we don’t know where she went” he said coldly.

“But why did she leave? What---“

“If ever find out that your indiscretion has something to do with her fainting spells” Harry cut Ron’s questions’ off and let his statement hanging. He then fixed his glasses and walked away.

Ron felt his knees buckle so he slumped on the nearest bench; he buried his face into his palms and let out a loud groan. “Bloody hell!”


oOo


Hermione appeared in a dark alley and began studying the neighbourhood; she then let out sly smile when she noticed that no one is around. She then walked casually towards her ex-fiancé’s parked car and grasped her wand tightly in her wand hand. She stopped beside the passenger door and ran her fingers on it; “I’m sorry baby but your owner is a scumbag. I know you can still be fixed but I just have to do this to make me feel vindicated” she said. She then peered inside the window and frowned; she pointed her wand at the door and muttered “Allohamora”. She pulled the door open and sat on the passenger seat; she bent towards the glove compartment and fished out the paper that’s stuck in between. She read the fine prints and felt her heart drop into her stomach; “The Savoy?! He checked in last week? That son of a bitch!” she muttered angrily as tears cloud her eyes. Placing the receipt on her lap, she took out her engagement ring from her coat pocket and pointed her wand at it; she whispered “
Ferrum Vectis“. She stepped outside the car and slammed the door shut. She casted a “Muffilato” charm and weighed the crowbar in her hands; anger flared inside her chest as she lifted the heavy metal bar and smashed it hard on the windshield, creating a hug crack across. She lifted the crowbar again and slammed it repeatedly on the broken panel. Shards of glass were flying in every direction as tears pour down her pale cheeks. She paused for a couple of minutes and moved towards the front of the car; she heaved the crow bar against the smooth hood and engraved her initials with it. Once satisfied she placed the metal bar on top of it and yanked her wand from her pocket; she flicked her wand once, transfiguring the crowbar back into her engagement ring. She then pointed her wand towards the car and accioed the receipt she found. The frilly paper flew straight from the broken windshield and landed gracefully on her waiting hands. She then casted the strongest sticking charm on both paper and ring and stuck it on top of the hood. She studied it for a couple of seconds and took a deep breath; she wiped tear-stain checks with the back of her hand and took a step back. She glared at the offending items again and flicked her wand; dissaparating with a loud crack.


oOo


Theo opened his front door and studied the weasel’s ruined car; he whistled loudly and braised his hands on his waist. “I didn’t think you had it in you Granger, you put a shame to the saying, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” he mused. He took out his phone and snapped a quick picture, he chuckled to himself as he padded inside his house.


Chapter 3: Already gone
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Chapter Three: Already Gone

"Remember all the things we wanted, now all our memories, they're haunted, we were always meant to say goodbye..." (Already Gone by Kelly Clarkson)

oOo

Hermione apparated outside her cabin with a loud crack; she walked briskly towards her doorstep when she immediately stopped. She closed her eyes for a couple of seconds and let out a loud groan; "I know you're there Harry" she said.

Harry stepped out of the dark and smiled; "How did you know it was me?" he asked.

Hermione threw him a disbelieving look and huffed; "I have wards as well you know," she replied.

Harry walked towards his best friend and stood right in front of her; he eyed her for a couple of seconds and frowned. "You left the hospital without waiting for us, you know" he chastised.

Hermione winced as she scratched her nape; "You were there?" she asked.

Harry raised his brow as crossed his arms on top of his chest; "Of course I was there. Ginny sent me a patronus after she took you to St. Mungos" he answered.

Hermione froze; "Ginny? Oh Merlin! Where is she? I forgot about her!" she stammered.

Harry shook his head and chuckled; "You forgot about her alright! She was scared to her wits did you know that? That poor woman didn't know what to do when you collapsed right in front of her eyes" he said.

Hermione bit her lower lip as she fumbled with her hands; "I—I was just feeling under the weather Harry, if you see Gin, please tell her not to worry about me" she said.

Harry studied her face again; "What really happened Mione? We just had lunch and you were fine, so please, don't lie to me..." he pleaded.

Hermione felt her eyes heating up again so she opted to turn around and walked towards the door; she swished her wand and instantly the locks on her door clicked open. "Do you want to come in?" she asked.

"Yes, we need to talk" Harry replied.

Hermione pushed the door open and walked towards the couches; she flicked her wand once again and instantly bright lights illuminated the whole place. She then padded towards the couch and sat down unceremoniously. "Please sit down" she said.

Harry followed and slumped beside her.

Hermione leaned her head back and closed her eyes.

Harry waited for Hermione to speak but was only met with silence; he turned his head towards her and saw that her eyes were closed. He let out a huge sigh and sat straight; he was about to stand up to leave when he heard her mumble. "Did you say something?" he asked.

Hermione still did not open her eyes when she repeated what she said; "He's having an affair..." she said loudly.

Harry froze.

Hermione opened her eyes and stared at her other best friend; tears immediately ran down her cheeks so she hastily wiped it. She bit her lower lip and sniffed; "I—I came to your office this afternoon to surprise him but I guess I was the one who was surprised" she laughed bitterly.

Harry's face darkened as anger started bubbling inside his chest; "What did you see? Is he with somebody else inside our office?" he asked.

Hermione swallowed the lump in her throat as she looked away; "No, he was not with her. But he was talking with her..." she replied.

Harry clenched his fist tightly; "What were they talking about?" he inquired.

Tears began falling down Hermione's cheeks again as she stifled a sob; she stood up from the couch and turned towards the fire place. "He—he was with her the night he left and—and they had..." she choked out, cutting off her sentence. She sniffed loudly again and cleared her throat; "They've been at it for Merlin knows how long and I'm so so stupid not to see it. He made a fool out of me again Harry, I'm so stupid!" she shouted brokenly.

"Hermione...you're not stupid! Ron is just-"

"NO!" Hermione bellowed. She turned towards her best friend with tear stricken face and shaking hands; "You don't get to defend him Harry! He cheated on me for the second time! For the second fucking time!" she yelled.

Harry immediately stood up and walked towards Hermione; he pulled her into his chest and hugged her tightly. "No Mione, I'm not siding with him. I've already made that mistake once and I won't do it again. That son of a bitch doesn't deserve you and I swear to Merlin, he won't get off that easily!" he whispered.

Hermione cried harder as she buried her face into his chest; she encircled her shaking arms around his waist and whimpered like a lost child.

Harry began rubbing her back comfortingly as she continues to cry.

After a couple of minutes, Hermione pulled away. "I'm sorry Harry...I didn't mean to lash out on you like that..." she croaked.

Harry moved closer and began wiping the stray cheeks on her face; "It's alright...please don't cry anymore, that git doesn't deserve it" he said.

Hermione let out a small smile; "I know Harry. I also left him a big remembrance that he will never forget" she said slyly.

Harry fixed his glasses as he moved to sit down again; "What do you mean?" he asked.

Hermione also sat down and faced him; "Let's just say that he won't be using his car for a couple of months" she replied.

Harry's eyes widen as his jaw hang open.

Hermione chuckled; "Close your mouth Harry, it's not charming"

Harry snapped his mouth closed; "What did you do?" he asked.

Hermione flicked her wand and instantly a tea set levitated towards them; she leaned towards the table and began fixing them a drink. "Do you want a little fire whiskey in your tea?" she asked.

"Yes, thank you" Harry replied, still eyeing her curiously.

Hermione swished her wand again and summoned a bottle of Ogden's finest; she carefully uncapped it and began pouring a hefty amount on each cup. She placed the whiskey on the table and carefully lifted the first tea cup and handed it to Harry; "There you go" she said.

"Thank you" Harry said after accepting the drink; he started stirring it for a couple of seconds and took a small sip. "Errhhh...is this tea with fire whiskey or fire whiskey tea?" he asked while grimacing.

Hermione took a sip of her own cup and smiled; "It's good" she replied.

Harry shook his head and placed his cup on the table; "So, what did you do?" he asked again.

Hermione took a generous sip and sighed contentedly; "I love fire whiskey, it relaxes my nerves" she said.

"Hermione" Harry whined.

Hermione rolled her eyes and placed her cup on the table; she leaned back and crossed her arms on top of her chest. "Ishatteredhiscarswindshieldwithacrowbar" she mumbled.

Harry furrowed his brows and leaned forward; "What? Please speak clearer" he said.

Hermione sighed; "I shattered his car's windshield with a crow bar!" she shrieked.

Harry just stared at her, dumbfounded.

Hermione averted her gaze and stared at the furnace instead; "I also scratched my initials on the hood and glued my cheap engagement ring on it..." she added.

Harry then let out a loud laugh as he clutched his tummy.

Hermione's head snapped towards him and raised her brow; "What's funny?" she asked.

Harry kept laughing as tears began forming in the sides of his eyes; he then took off his glasses and leaned back on the couch. "Oh dear!" he exclaimed between deep breaths.

Hermione huffed; "Harry!"

Harry took a deep breath again and shook his head; "That was—that was brilliant!" he said while wiping his eyes.

Hermione bit her lower lip as she tried to stifle her smile; she leaned forward and made a grab for her cup.

Harry perched his glasses on top of his nose and cleared his throat; "YOU ARE AN AWESOME WOMAN" he said proudly.

Hermione took a sip of his tea and winced; "You are right, too much whiskey" she said.

Harry shook his head and grabbed his own cup; he took a sip of his tea and smiled. "Not that bad now" he said.

Hermione laughed; "Do you think he already saw it?" she asked.

"I doubt it, because if he did, I'm sure he'll be banging at your door by now..." Harry replied.

Hermione nodded; "You're right, I bet he's still with that slag that he took to The Savoy last week" she said bitterly.

Harry furrowed his brows as he places his cup on the table again; "What do you mean he took to The Savoy?" he asked all traces of humour gone.

Hermione huffed; "That arsehole think he's sneaky and all! I bet he didn't think that I would find the stupid receipt inside his glove compartment!" she replied.

Harry closed his eyes tightly and clenched his fist; "I think it's time that I pay him a visit" he said while standing up.

Hermione's eyes widen as she hastily stood up as well; still holding the cup she threw Harry a pleading look. "Harry, please don't—"

"No! I will not keep quiet Hermione! He's an arse and he deserves to know it!" Harry hissed.

Hermione sat down and placed the cup on the table; she then braised her elbows on top of her knees and buried her face in her palms. "I just don't want to complicate things between you and him. This is our issue Harry and as much as it pains me, you cannot hate him in behalf of me. He's still your best friend, you know" she said.

Harry huffed; "He lost that title the moment he opened his fly for another woman" he replied coldly.

Hermione peeked from her fingers and sighed; "Oh Harry, don't be like that..." she said.

Harry shook his head; "It's my decision Mione, I'll be friends with whomever I want to be friends with and he's not on my list any longer" he said.

Hermione opened her mouth to speak but was cut off when there's a loud crack outside her doorstep; she felt her heart thump wildly as her body began to shake.

Harry's head snapped towards the door and popped his knuckles; "I guess I didn't have to wait long then," he said darkly.

Knock...Knock...Knock

"Hermione love, are you there?"

Harry huffed; "Love? That arsehole has the nerve to call you love? I'll wring his freckled neck!" he hissed. He then proceeded to walk towards the door with resolve when he suddenly felt a hand holding his arm tightly.

Knock...Knock...Knock

"Harry, please...Let me deal with him first, then, you can have him after...please?" Hermione pleaded with tears in her eyes.

Harry eyed him for a couple of minutes and sighed; "Will you be alright?" he asked.

Hermione nodded furiously; "I'll be alright, I won't murder him don't worry" she said with a tight smile.

Harry took a deep calming breath and conceded; "Make sure he gets it. Don't fall for his stupid reasons Mione, please, please, use your head this time" he said.

Hermione nodded; "Okay...I'll owl you after..." she said.

Harry padded towards the fire place and scooped a heap of floo powder; he threw it on the fire place and shouted his destination. He then turned to face Hermione and asked; "Are you sure you will be okay with him alone?" he asked.

"I'll be alright Harry, thank you. Please say Hi to Torry and kiss Candice for me" Hermione said.

Harry nodded; "I'll see you then" he said. He then stepped inside the fire place and was gone almost instantly.

"Hermione! Are you there?"

Hermione closed her eyes tightly and began rolling her shoulders; "You can do this, you can't cry in front of that bastard, he's not worth the tears" she said to herself.

"Hermione!"

Hermione's eyes snapped open; "I'm here! Can you bloody wait!" she shouted. She then walked towards the door and yanked it open; "What the hell is wrong with you that you cannot wait?" she snapped.

Ron's eyes widen as he took a step back; "I—I was worried..." he replied.

Hermione glared at his ex-beau as she leaned on her door frame.

"Aren't you letting me in?" Ron asked.

Hermione crossed her arms on top of her chest and raised her brow; "Why should I?" she asked defiantly.

Ron furrowed his brows and moved closer; he then leaned forward and placed his palm on her forehead. "Are you alright?" he asked.

Hermione slapped his hand away; "Don't you dare touch me with your dirty hands" she spat.

Ron's face redden with anger as he took a step back; "What the hell is wrong you?" he demanded.

Hermione's face darkens as she stood stiffly; "How long?" she asked.

Ron felt his heart drop to his stomach; "What—what do you mean?" he asked nervously.

Hermione gazed at him for a couple of seconds and instantly burst into mirthless laughter; "Come on, Weasley. Are you that dumb? Do you want me to spell it out for you?" she hissed.

Ron leaned forward and grabbed her arms; "What is wrong with you? I don't know what you're saying!" he said.

Hermione shook his hands off her arms and took a step back; "I TOLD YOU NOT TO TOUCH ME WITH YOUR FILTHY HANDS!" she yelled.

Ron was taken aback with her anger so he kept silent.

Tears ran down Hermione's cheeks as she clenched her fists at her side; "Did you think that I won't find out that your fucking someone else? Do you think I'm that stupid?" she asked coldly.

Blood drained from Ron's face as he struggled with his words; "Hermione...love" he said lamely while moving forward.

Hermione took a step back again and instantly snatched her wand from her back pocket; she pointed it at Ron with a shaking hand. "Don't call me love, I HATE YOU! I never want to see your face near me nor my house ever again! You are a bastard and meeting you is the most unfortunate day of my life!" she yelled with so much anger.

"Hermione—let me explain...please" Ron pleaded.

"THERE'S NOTHING LEFT TO EXPLAIN! YOU DON'T GET TO HAVE THAT PRIVELEGE AFTER YOU CHEATED ON ME TWICE!" Hermione screamed wildly.

Ron took a step back as he felt his knees buckling; he grabbed the nearest iron chair and leaned on it.

"WHAT? YOU DIDN'T EXPECT ME TO FIND OUT?" Hermione said harshly.

Ron sat on the chair and braised his elbows on his knees; he lowered his eyes on the floor as he kept silent.

Hermione eyed his slumped form as her heart struggled with so much pain; she took a deep calming breath and wiped her cheeks. "Just tell me one thing..." she half whispered.

Ron's head snapped towards her and nodded dejectedly.

Hermione hugged herself tightly as she mentally prepared herself; "Was I not good enough for you?" she asked.

Ron closed his eyes tightly as he clenched his fist; tears ran down his freckled cheek as he sniffed. "You were always enough Hermione, I was just stupid..." he said.

Hermione bit her lower lip and nodded; she averted his gaze and stared at the starry night sky. "I guess—I guess it never would have worked out right if we stayed together, yes? Perhaps, we we're always meant to say goodbye..." she said sadly.

Ron's eyes widen as fear starts to grab his heart; "What—what do you mean?" he asked fearfully.

Hermione turned to face Ron; "I can't do this anymore, you can be with whomever you want to be with" she said.

"Please don't do this...We can still fix this...Please Hermione..." Ron pleaded.

"No" Hermione replied.

Ron fell down on his knees and bowed his head; "Please love, don't do this...I LOVE YOU...I LOVE YOU SO MUCH...I'm so stupid, all of them don't mean anything to me. You are the one I want...please..." he pleaded desperately.

Hermione shook her head; "No...You should go home" she said. She then moved towards her door and stepped inside. "Go home Ron...there's nothing left for you here..." she said while closing the door shut.

Ron hastily stood up and moved towards the door; he began knocking fiercely as he screamed his lungs out. "OPEN THIS DOOR HERMIONE AND LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS! PLEASE DON'T DO THIS, PLEASE!"

Hermione let out a sob as she leaned back on the closed door; she shakily flicked her wand and whispered, "Silencio". She then moved away from the door and padded towards the couches; she sat down with a sigh and grabbed the fire whiskey bottle on top of the coffee table. She uncapped it hurriedly and took a swig straight from the bottle; she closed her eyes as swallowed a heaping mouthful.

Ron leaned his forehead on the closed door as he heard her mutter a silencing spell; he felt his whole world crumble down his feet as realization sunk in. He hit his head repeatedly and only stopped when he felt dizzy; he staggered a bit but he was able to find his bearing. He then took his wand out from his robe pocket and began walking away; when he reached her porch he swished his wand to dissapparate.

oOo

"Hey guys!" Draco greeted jovially.

Theo, Gregory and Blaise's head all snapped out towards the cheery voice; "Hey" they chorused together.

Draco sat on the vacant seat right in front of his friends and furrowed his brows; "What are you guys looking at?" he asked curiously.

Blaise smiled widely as he took a swig of his beer; "You'll never guess what Theo saw this afternoon" he replied.

Draco opened a beer and leaned back on his seat; "What did you see Theo?" he asked.

Theo grabbed his phone from Gregory's hand and offered it to Draco; "Take a look" he said.

Draco grabbed the phone and stared at it; he eyed the picture and let out an appreciative whistle. "That's nasty! Whose car is that?" he asked.

"You'll never guess" Gregory snickered.

Draco rolled his eyes; "That's the purpose of me asking mate" he replied.

Blaise laughed loudly.

Theo snickered as he took a swig of his beer.

Gregory shrugged his shoulder as he looked away with a very red face.

"So? Who murdered the car? And whose car is it?" Draco asked.

"It's the Weasel's car and the murderer would be his fiancé" Theo said.

"It's ex-fiancé mate, she left his cheap engagement ring on top of the hood" Blaise pipped in. "Granger is HOT!" he added.

Draco's mouth hangs open as he digested everything he heard.

Gregory threw Draco a look and snickered; "Close your mouth Drake, it doesn't look good on you" he said.

Draco immediately closed his mouth and cleared his throat; "Err, so you mean to say, Granger murdered Weasley's car? When was this?" he asked.

Theo started playing with his beer bottle as he furrowed his brows; "It was just today, around noon, I think" he replied.

Draco leaned back on his chair and whistled again; "Oh, really? It's curious because Granger was just my patient this afternoon. I didn't know that she recover's fast..." he said absentmindedly.

Gregory huffed; "She is a mud—"

"Don't you dare finish that sentence, I don't want to hear that word" Draco snapped, cutting his friend off.

Gregory raised his hand in defeat; "I'm sorry man, it's just a habit" he said.

Theo threw Gregory a warning look and turned to the blonde man sitting right in front of him; "Granger was in the hospital?" he asked.

Draco nodded; "Yes she was. Based from the nurse who tended to her before they paged me, she collapsed in the middle of the Ministry" he replied.

Theo nodded.

"Well, that's that. Let's talk about something else, shall we?" Draco said. He then turned towards his best friend and smiled; "How's Daphne?" he asked.

Blaise smiled widely; "She's fine, she's always around kids lately. Torry, brought Candice this morning and Daphne is overjoyed because she gets to play dress up with her" he replied fondly.

"Why don't you give her a daughter mate, I'm sure Daph is dying to have a daughter" Theo pipped in.

"We were planning to, but knowing Daphne, she thinks she'll never get her figure back" Blaise said.

Draco rolled his yes; "Woman these days" he said.

Theo, Blaise and Gregory sniggered.

oOo

Ron apparated in the middle of the street with a loud pop; he was still in a daze when he passed by his car so he didn't saw the wreckage. He was about to climb towards his porch when he stepped on something that crunched under this foot. He frowned and carefully lifted his boot; he bent forward and studied it carefully. Understanding dawned on him so he immediately turned to face his car; he felt his heart drop into his stomach for the second time when he saw the rubble. He willed his legs to move so he was able to walk slowly towards his car; he stopped at its front and felt his knees buckle. He perched himself at the hood and gently traced the initial that was engraved on it; he then moved his hands towards the ring and paper on top and snatched it. He fisted the ring in his left hand as he scan the paper on his right; he then felt tears ran down his cheeks as he bowed his head in defeat. He crumpled the offending paper and let out a deep guttural sob.

Chapter 4: Happily never after
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Chapter Four: Happily never after

"Normally this would be the time that she let him talk her out of leaving but this time, without crying as she got into her car and she said no happily never after that's just ain't for me because finally I know I deserve better after all. I'll never let another teardrop fall..." (Happily Never After by Nicole Scherzinger)

oOo

Hermione slammed the empty bottle of fire whiskey on top of her table as she stood up; she clumsily padded towards her kitchen and staggered a bit when her side hit the counter. She cursed as she leaned on it and waited for her world to stop spinning; after a couple of seconds she continued her trek towards her fridge and yanked it open. She leaned forward and began rummaging it; she paused thoughtfully and stood straight. She then leaned in again and plucked a bottle of sparkling lemon water; she twisted its cap and brought the bottle to her lips. She took a couple of mouthfuls, flashing away the bitter taste of the whiskey she drank earlier; she then capped the bottle again and slammed the door shut. She walked towards the counter and pulled out one of the high chairs; she perched herself on top of it and placed her bottled water on top. She then braised her elbows on top of the counter and cradled her heavy head on her open palms; "Crookshanks! Where you?" she slurred.

A bolt of orange fur pounced on top of her coffee table and settled itself on it.

Hermione yawned; "I'm here. Come here kitty cat!" she cooed.

Crookshanks leapt off the table and ran towards her drunken Mistress; the belly dragging feline reached her Mistress's foot and began clawing at her leg, asking for Hermione to lift him up.

Hermione turned towards her cat and began wagging her pointer finger, back and forth; "You boy are so fat that you can't drag yourself up aye?" she slurred. She sighed as she bends down; she picked her cat up and perched it on top of the counter.

Crookshanks sat up and faced his Mistress, staring at her knowingly.

Hermione moved her right hand towards her pet's ear and began scratching it fondly; "You're the only who truly loves me, kitty cat..." she said sadly.

Crookshanks leaned his head towards her Mistress's hand and closed his big yellow eyes.

Hermione smiled; "I love you too kitty cat," she murmured.

Crookshanks sunk down on his tummy and rolled on his back; begging to be petted.

Hermione chuckled at her pet's antics and began rubbing the cat's tummy; she let out a chuckle when the cat started purring. "Was I too hard on him Crook?" she asked seriously.

Crookshank purred loudly.

Hermione sighed.

oOo

"Is Hermione, okay?"

Harry dusted himself from soot as he stepped out the grate; he took off his coat and padded towards his wife. "I'm not sure" he replied while wrapping his arms around his wife's petite waist.

Astoria snaked his hands around her husband's neck and planted a soft kiss on his lips; "I hope she's okay..." she said.

Harry smiled as he rubbed his nose with hers; "She's a strong woman, I know she'll pull through" he replied.

Astoria giggled with his action as she pulled away; "Are you hungry?" she asked.

"As a matter of fact I am, I'm famished!" Harry replied.

Astoria shook her head and began walking towards their dining room; she snapped her fingers and summoned one of their elves. "Fifi" she called.

A loud crack resounded around the room as a well dressed elf appeared right in front of her Mistress; she curtseyed and beamed at her Mistress. "Fifi is here Mistress, what can I do for you?"

Astoria stared at the little elf and smiled; "Fifi, be a dear, and please serve the food I cooked. Harry and I are ready to eat" she said.

"Yes Mistress, will you be eating here or would you like me to prepare the gardens?" Fifi asked.

Astoria threw Harry a look; "What do you think love?" she asked.

Harry placed his cloak on top of the dining table and tapped his foot while thinking. "Why don't we eat at the Balcony instead? We have a nice weather tonight" he suggested.

Astoria beamed; "It's settled then" she said to Harry. She then turned towards the elf and smiled; "We'll have it in the balcony Fifi, thank you" she said.

Fifi curtseyed and vanished with a pop.

"A drink first?" Astoria asked while walking towards the bar.

Harry smiled; "Yes, please" he replied. He then walked towards the Grand Balcony and pushed the door open.

oOo

The Burrow - Ottery, St. Catchpole - Devon, England – 8:06 A.M.

"Do you want more Garlic bread?" Molly asked her daughter.

Ginny swallowed as she threw her Mum a huge smile; "I missed your home cooked meals Mum, I really do..." she said sincerely.

Molly returned her daughter's smile as she stood up; she padded towards the kitchen and flicked her wand. Instantly, two trays of perfectly baked garlic bread zoomed towards the table; she carefully plucked the huge pieces and began stacking it inside a small basket. She then walked back towards the table and gently placed it on the middle; "There you go love, now don't stuff yourself with so much bread dear, we still have Treacle tart for desert" she said fondly.

Ginny took another piece of bread from the basket and began nibbling; "I'll certainly leave room for that. How's Dad?" she asked.

Molly began stirring her tea; "Your dad is fine, he's still into Muggle stuff. He bought a new T.V. did you see it?" she asked.

Ginny took a sip of her pumpkin juice and patted her lips with a napkin; "Oh really? Did Dad buy a new DVD with it?" she asked.

Molly furrowed her brows; "I don't know what a VDD means love, but you can ask your Dad when he comes home" she replied uncertainly.

Ginny giggled; "I think I will..." she said.

Molly shook her head and took a sip of her tea again.

Ginny bit her lower lip as she leaned on her chair; "Mum?" she asked.

"Yes?"

Ginny cleared her throat and tucked a stray hair behind her ear nervously; "Has Ron been visiting lately?" she asked.

Molly placed her cup on top of table; "He visited with Hermione last week, they bought cake and spent time with the kids, why? Is something the matter?" she asked.

Ginny averted her Mum's gaze and took a sip of her juice.

"Ginny?" Molly said sternly.

Ginny averted her Mum's inquiring gaze as she cleared her throat nervously; "I—I think Hermione and Ron are having problems..." she confessed guiltily.

Molly's eyes widen; "What do you mean? Did something happen?" she asked.

Ginny took a deep breath and pursed her lips; "Harry and I think that, Ron is having an affair" she burst out.

Molly's shoulder sagged as her plump face lost its colour; "Why? How—What?" she asked incoherently.

Ginny moved closer and clasped her Mum's hands; "Mum, calm down, please..." she pleaded.

Molly sat straighter and shook her head in denial; "Ron...would never do that...I know him..." she muttered.

Ginny squeezed her Mum's hand and cleared her throat; "But he already did before, this—this isn't the first time Mum..." she admitted.

Molly furrowed her brows as she pulled away from her daughter's grasp; "What do you mean Ginevra?" she asked.

Ginny winced and braised herself; "He cheated on Hermione with another woman before and she caught him but Hermione being Hermione forgave him and took him back...Now, that prick son of yours have committed the same crime again and we're afraid that Hermione knows that's why she collapsed..." she confessed.

Molly's eyes widen; "Hermione collapsed? When? Oh my Merlin! What happened? Is she alright?" she asked frantically.

Ginny pulled away and took another sip of her juice; "She is alright Mum, she was already discharged this afternoon and Harry checked up on her" she assured the old witch.

Molly let out a sigh of relief; "Thank Merlin she's alright!" she exclaimed.

Ginny nodded.

Molly then frowned; "Why wasn't I informed about all of this before?" she spat. She then stood up and began pacing back and forth; "I cannot believe Ronald! Why in the world would he cheat on Hermione?! And he'd done it twice! I can't believe that a son of mine can be like that!" she hissed.

Ginny was about to respond but was cut off when their back door opened.

"What do you mean Ron cheated on Hermione?"

Ginny and Molly's head instantly snapped towards the back door.

Arthur fully opened the door and stepped inside their kitchen; he took off his Pandora hat and closed the door behind him. "What we're you two talking about?" he asked seriously.

Molly instantly stopped pacing and began walking towards her husband; when she reached him, she took his bag, coat and hat. "Sit down Arthur, Ginny was just telling me something that your youngest son did" she said.

Ginny threw an annoyed look at her Mum.

Arthur sat right in front of his daughter and placed his clasped hands on top of the table; "What were you saying to your Mum Ginevra? What did Ronald do?" he asked.

Ginny swallowed the lump stuck in her throat as she straightened herself in her seat; she opened and closed her mouth, still at lost on what to say.

Molly stared at her daughter's expression and shook her head; she then turned towards her husband and started explaining. "Ginevra told me here that Ron and Hermione are having problems. It seems like your youngest son is cheating on her with another woman" she explained briefly.

Arthur kept a poker face as he waited for Molly to continue.

"Hermione also collapsed in the Ministry today, it seems to me that it's also related to your son's infidelity" Molly added.

Arthur frowned but he still kept silent.

Ginny watched her father's expression and instantly felt sorry for her brother; her father is normally tolerant with their antics but when he puts on this face, he's downright scary.

Molly took a defeated breath and sat on the chair beside her husband.

Arthur shook his head and leaned back on his chair; "Where is Ronald? Have you spoken to him Molly?" he asked.

Molly shook her head; "No, I haven't. I just learned everything tonight" she answered.

Arthur then turned towards his youngest; "Is this confirmed? Are you sure that Ronald is cheating?" he asked.

Ginny's face instantly lost its colour as she began playing with the hem of her shirt; "Errr—I think so...I mean, he cheated before and –"

Arthur immediately stood up and crossed his arms on top of his chest; "Are you telling me that there is no proof then?" he asked, cutting Ginny off.

Ginny closed her mouth instantly and bowed her head; "Y—yes" she replied.

Arthur shook his head and turned towards his wife; "Owl Ronald tonight, tell him that I want to speak with him first thing in the morning tomorrow" he said.

"I will do that" Molly replied.

Arthur padded towards Ginny and planted a kiss on her bowed head; "It's nice seeing you again love, will you stay the night?" he asked.

Ginny's head snapped towards her Father and she let out a shy smile; "Can I Daddy?" she asked saccharinely.

Arthur smiled widely; "Of course love, this is your house. I'll change first then we can talk about your new escapades..." he said.

Ginny smiled; "I'd like that" she replied.

Arthur then padded towards the living room but stopped midway; he then turned his head towards his daughter and furrowed his brows. "You can also tell me why that beau of yours hasn't visited with you lately" he said thoughtfully.

oOo

Rain began to pour in heavy torrents but Ron still sat on the hood of his ruined car; his head bowed and his hands tightly clutched at his sides. It's been an hour since he left Hermione's cabin but the hurt and guilt he's feeling is still as fresh; he tilted his head upwards and instantly felt reprieve from the cascading water pelting his tear strung face.

"You'll get sick..."

Ron's head snapped towards the voice and frowned; "What are you doing here?" he spat.

Lavender bit her lower lip as she held her umbrella; she then cleared her throat and began walking away.

Ron cursed and immediately stood up; "I'm sorry Lav..." he called out.

Lavender stopped walking and turned to face her ex beau; she surveyed his car and gasped. "What—what happened to your car?" she asked.

Ron's shoulder sagged as he stared at his foot; "It's nothing..." he replied.

Lavender felt sympathy towards the red head so she walked back towards him; she then stopped at his front and offered her umbrella; "You should get inside your house, you're soaked to your bones, you might get sick" she said.

Ron shook his head as he pocketed his hands; "I deserve to be sick—no, I deserve to die" he said glumly.

Lavender's eyes widen; "Don't say that! No one deserves to die..." she chastised.

Ron sniffed; "I'm a pond scum, I should drown under the rain!" he replied.

Lavender giggled; "A pond scum lives under the water, so if you are one, you won't die" she said.

Ron threw her a confused look.

Lavender rolled her eyes and gently grabbed his right arm; she then started pulling him towards his porch.

Ron followed silently.

Lavender then pushed him towards his doorstep and stood behind him; she closed her umbrella and faces the door. "You should get inside and change your clothes..." she cajoled.

Ron stood stiff right in front of his door; doing nothing.

Lavender took a deep calming breath and brandished her wand; she pointed it towards the door and muttered an unlocking spell. When the locks clicked open she pushed the door open and continued pushing Ron inside. "RONALD WEASLEY, your bloody heavy so why don't you help yourself and get your arse inside! It's freezing out here and you being wet is not helping!" she bellowed.

Ron began walking; he padded towards his couch and sat down unceremoniously.

Lavender flicked her wand and all the lights inside the house came to life; she walked towards the stair case and summoned a huge fluffy towel. She then padded towards Ron and threw him the towel; "You should dry yourself, death due to pneumonia is a shameful death, and you survived a war after all" she said.

The towel hit Ron's face but he still remained stoic; he braised his elbows on top of his knees and buried his face in his palms.

Lavender crossed her arms on top of her chest and huffed; "Aren't you telling me what's wrong?"

Ron grunted.

Lavender walked towards the red head and sat beside him; she nudged his shoulders and waited for him to respond.

Ron took a deep calming breath and lifted his head; he turned sideways and frowned. "You're bloody annoying do you know that?" he said."

"So, I've been told" Lavender replied.

Ron rolled his eyes and began fumbling with his pocket; he then let out a defeated sigh when he cannot find his wand. He then stood up and started emptying his pocket one by one; when he reached his left pant pocket, his hand froze.

Lavender furrowed her brows; "What's wrong?" she asked.

Ron pulled out his hand hastily and cleared his throat; he then turned and started walking towards the kitchen. "Why are you here?" he asked.

"I'd like tea, thank you" Lavender replied sarcastically.

Ron huffed while opening his fridge; when he didn't find what he's looking for he went to the pantry cabinet and began rummaging its contents. "I don't have tea, if you want one, you can go home" he replied.

Lavender closed her eyes and took a deep calming breath.

Ron took a peep from the cabinet's door; "What the bloody hell are you doing?" he bellowed.

Lavender's eyes snapped open; "I'll have whatever you're having then," she replied.

Ron shook his head and resumed his search; after a couple of minutes he pulled a bottle from the cabinet and shut it close. He placed the dusty bottle on top of the counter and plucked two clean glasses from the dish rack; he then walked towards the fridge to collect some ice.

"What are we drinking?" Lavender asked.

Ron did not answer but he continued his preparation; he then placed everything in a tray and brought it back into the living room. "I'm drinking this," he said while slamming the tray on top of the wooden table.

"Stop being a jerk!" Lavender snapped.

Ron rolled his eyes and sat down beside her; he then plucked a glass from the tray and began filling it with ice. He placed the glass on top of the table and grabbed the bottle; he took off the seal and uncapped it. He then poured a hefty amount in his glass and placed the bottle back on the tray; he grasped his glass and started swirling the amber liquid with ice.

Lavender leaned forward and grasped the bottle; "Black Label? Is this a new brand of fire whiskey?" she asked curiously.

Ron took a sip from his drink and winced; "It's a Muggle drink. It was given to me by Herm—" he cut himself off.

Lavender nodded absent-mindedly and began pouring her own drink; she placed the bottle on top of the table and pulled her glass closer to her nose, she took a sniff and winced.

"If you don't want to drink it, don't waste it" Ron said.

Lavender frowned at the red head beside her and brought the glass to her lips; she took a small sip and swallowed. "It's not so bad..." she declared.

Ron let out a mirthless laugh and continued sipping his drink.

oOo

After a quarter from an hour Hermione is still pacing back and forth inside her living room; she already polished two bottles of sparkling lemon water but she still feel giddy. She padded towards the front of her fire place and braised both palms on the top ledge and bowed her head; "What the hell is wrong with you? He cheated on you and yet you still feel guilty?" she hissed to herself. After a couple of minutes of not moving, she straightened her stance and sighed; she then padded towards the coffee table and plucked her wand. She swished it and instantly her car keys flew towards her; she caught it deftly with her hands and began walking towards her front door. "I'll be back Crookshanks, I just need to clear my mind before I decide what to do" she called out to her tabby cat. She then opened her door and stepped out; she closed it behind her and started walking towards her parked car.

oOo

"Are you ready to talk yet?" Lavender asked.

Ron opened his heavy eyes as he groaned; he turned towards his side and braised his aching head in his hands. "Yer still here?" he slurred.

Lavender huffed; "Of course I'm still here" she replied.

Ron swallowed the bitter taste in his mouth; "What ya still doin here?" he asked. "I don want ya here" he added.

Lavender ignored his crass comments and started stretching her arms upwards; "Didn't know you're such a lightweight" she teased.

Ron frowned with her insult.

Lavender took her drink from the table and took sip; she then leaned her head back on the couch and yawned sleepily.

Ron turned his head sideways and started appraising the witch beside him; he raked his eyes from the witches face down towards her neck. He felt his breath hitch when he noticed that first two buttons of her blouse was open, giving him a peek of her ample bossom.

"Like what you see?"

Ron's eyes snapped towards her face and felt his face redden with embarrassment; he cleared his throat uncomfortably and averted his eyes.

Lavender leaned forward and deposited her glass on top of table; she then moved closer to the drunk wizard beside her and placed her hand on top of his knees.

"Whadya doin?" Ron stuttered.

Lavender's hand moved upwards as she let out a seductively smile; "What do you think?" she purred.

Ron moaned as he let his head fall backwards; "Stop it..." he said unconvincingly.

Lavender's smile grew wider; she moved her head closer to Ron's and planted a soft kiss on top of his ear.

Ron moaned louder and turned his face towards her.

Lavender seized the moment and planted her lips on top of his; she then started nibbling his lower lip and felt him respond.

Ron groaned and let his senses take its reign; he hauled Lavender into his lap and began running his hands on her side.

Lavender smiled in triumph as she deepened the kiss; she started raking her fingers along his hair as he pulled him closer.

Ron snaked his hands into her front and began unbuttoning her blouse; he pulled away from her lips and began trailing his lips towards her neck.

Lavender giggled and moved her neck sideways, giving him full access to her chest.

Ron popped the last button and started pulling her blouse off her shoulders while his lip's trailing the tops of her breast.

Lavender groaned with impatience so she pulled away; she peeled off her own blouse and threw it at the floor. She leaned forward again and began devouring his lips hungrily.

Ron pulled her closer and encircled his arms around her tiny waist; he then snaked it upwards and began unfastening her bra clasp sloppily.

Lavender smiled into the kiss and started grinding; she pulled a fraction and giggled. "I'm almost half naked and you're still fully dressed, isn't that unfair?" she said huskily.

Ron snapped her bra open and pulled away; he sat up straight and started unbuttoning his top. He thrust his chest towards the woman on top of his lap to free his arms from his long sleeves.

Lavender eyed him appreciatively as placed her palm on top of his bare chest; she started feeling him up and let out a breathy sigh. "You've always had nice chest" she purred.

Ron let out smile as he hastily pulled down the straps of her bra; revealing the witches plump breast. "You too love, you too" he said as he leaned forward.

Lavender moaned loudly as his lips started working its magic; she then leaned backwards and braised her palms on top of his knees, exposing her upper body.

oOo

Hermione turned on the next bend and drove on a slow phase; she surveyed her surroundings and felt pang in her chest; "Great!" she sarcastically. She then pulled over to the side of the street and turned the ignition off; she gripped the steering wheel tightly and let out deep breath. She leaned back on her seat and turned her face to the left; she peered from her window and cringed at the ruined car. "I can't believe I did that" she said to herself.

oOo

Lavender pushed herself away from Ron and moved her body off his lap; she then fell to her knees and crawled between his legs.

Ron parted his thighs widely as he smiled at Lavender drunkenly; "You want te get dirty ey?" he slurred.

Lavender ignored his taunts as she positions herself; she then leaned forward and began fumbling with his belt buckle. When she successfully unbuckled it, she pulled it off his waist and threw it on the table; she then started running her hands on his thigh but instantly stopped when she felt something. "What do you have here babe?" she asked.

Ron frowned; he then snaked his hands inside his pocket and pulled off the offending thing that stopped the witch that's kneeling in front of him. He squint his eyes, trying to identify the tiny thing in his hands.

Lavender eyes widen in surprise; she then snatched the gaudy ring from his fingers. "This ring is beautiful!" she said excitedly.

Ron scrunched his face and waved his hand dismissively; "If ye want its yers, Mi'nie threw away" he said.

Lavender beamed and slipped the band on her ring finger; instantly she felt magic ran thru her arms and immediately the ring re-sized itself to fit her finger. She smiled widely as she stared at the beautiful ring; "It's mine then," she said.

Ron ignored her and leaned his head back on the couch.

Lavender was snapped back to reality when she heard his head hitting the back of the couch; she then moved forward and popped the button of his pants, she opened his fly and began pulling his pants off.

Ron groaned as he lifted himself off the couch, helping her remove his pants.

Lavender smiled appreciatively when he saw his bulge; "I can see your excited to see me, I assumed you miss me?" she said sultrily. She then inserted her hand into notch of his boxer, grasping him gently in her hands.

Ron moaned as he thrust forward; he clutched the side of his couch as he puffed his chest. "Right there," he murmured.

oOo

Hermione finally made a decision and pushed her door open; she climbed out of her car and snapped the door shut. She straightened her blouse and took a deep calming breath; "You can do this, you can talk to him civilly" she said to herself. She then crossed the road and began walking towards his porch; she threw the ruined car a guilty look but continued on her way. When she reached the front door, she stood still; she then raised her hand to knock but immediately stopped when she noticed that the door is ajar. She felt her heartbeat accelerate as fear started eating at her gut; she swallowed the lump in her throat and padded closer to the door. She then pushed it briefly and took a step in; when she's finally inside the threshold, she felt her palms sweating when she heard unintelligible noises coming from the other part of the room. She creased her brows and began walking along the narrow hallway; when she reached the end, she instantly felt her heart drop to her stomach with what she saw.

Ron was sitting and moaning on the couch while Lavender rides him up and down happily.

Hermione's eyes then travelled down to Lavender's hand that clutching at Ron's shoulders and immediately, she felt her whole body quiver. A gut wrenching sob escaped her lips as her eyes starts to cloud with tears; she felt herself taking one step back, braising herself on the wall beside her. She covered her mouth with her shaking hand, stifling her loud painful cries. She tried to look away from the horrendous sight but her eyes won't let her; she felt every broken pieces of her heart shatter more as Ron pushed Lavender off him and began thrusting voluntarily into her. Her knees started to buckle but she held her ground; she then felt her jaws clenching into fist as anger seeps into her system. She hastily pulled the wand in her pocket and pointed it towards the coupling pair, with eyes blind with rage she muttered the first spell the came to her mind; "Engorgio en Gluten Mentula tu Puta!" she said with a loud anguished cry.

Ron fell on top of Lavender with a loud cry; he yelped with pain as Lavender tried pushing him away while shrieking.

Hermione slowly dropped her wand hand as realization of what she did hit her; she hastily wiped her cheeks from tears as she waited for their response.

Ron moaned in pain as he pushed himself off the witch on the couch; still joined, he turned his head towards the hallway and felt his face ashen with fear. "Hher—Hermione?" he stuttered.

Lavender shrieked as she tries to sit up; she turned her pain stricken face towards the other witch and started screaming on top of her lungs. "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO? UNDO THIS NOW YOU CRAZY BITCH!"

Hermione ignored the other witch and pushed away from the wall; she inserted her wand at her back pocket and began clapping her hands. "BRAVO RON, BRAVO!" she said with false bravado.

Ron started moving again to grab his button-down but was met with a loud slap on his arm from the witch under him.

"Don't move! You're stuck inside me and it hurts like hell!" Lavender shrieked.

"Shut up Lav!" Ron hissed. He grabbed the nearest throw pillow from the other couch and covered his bare chest; "It's not what you think Hermio—"

"Of course it's not!" Hermione said, cutting him off. She walked towards the couch but stood a foot away from it; "Because if I have been thinking then I wouldn't have settled for the likes of you" she said scornfully.

Ron opened his mouth but closed it.

"Ron has always been too good for you!" Lavender hissed.

Hermione's head snapped towards the other witch and stared at her darkly; "One more stupid word from your filthy mouth and you'll be facing the end of my wand" she threatened.

Lavender snapped her mouth open and crossed her arms on top of her chest, covering breast.

Ron began moving again but was faced with pain; he turned towards Hermione and threw her a pleading look. "Please love, let me explain...please undo this spell now..." he begged.

"I wouldn't move that much if I were you, because the more you move, the more ir expands and the more it would be harder to pull it out" Hermione deadpanned.

Ron's eyes widen in horror.

"Don't look too shock, we both know that you can't keep it in your pants, so I'm doing you a huge favour here, we're keeping it inside her for safe keeping" Hermione said darkly.

"Hermione please..." Ron begged again.

Hermione ignored him and turned towards the fuming witch under Ron; "The ring suites you, you know. Something cheap for someone cheap, perfect match, aye?" she said.

Lavender opened her mouth to respond but was instantly cut off when Ron nudged her hard on her legs., keeping her silent.

Hermione felt a jolt of pain with Ron's action towards the other witch and before she knew it, her right hand snapped towards his face, delivering a hard slap on his pale cheek.

Ron's head snapped sideways, leaving a very red hand mark on his face.

Lavender froze in shock, her mouth agape.

Hermione clenched her fists as new batches of tears fell down from her sombre eyes; "I hate you, I hate you so much" she spat fiercely.

Ron turned towards Hermione, his cheeks stained with tears as well. "I—I'm so sorry Hermione..." he croaked.

Hermione took a step back and began retreating towards the hallway; she quickly turned and began walking away. When she reached the middle of the hallway, still within Ron's eye range, she turned around again; "After all that has been done, I still want to thank you Lavender" she said.

Lavender peered from the couch with guilt marring her features; "W—why?" she asked.

Hermione swallowed the lump in her throat and turned her gaze towards Ron, staring him straight in the eyes; "Because you made me realize that I deserve something much better and for saving me from a happily never after with that horrible man beside you, for that I still thank you" she said.

Ron bowed his head as his shoulders shook with quiet sobs.

Lavender's eyes cloud with tears; "Hermione, I-"

"Don't" Hermione said cutting her off again. "Don't say something that we both know you don't mean. I hope you two can live peacefully with what you have done twice. I hope you two can sleep at night plagued with what you did to me. You don't deserve my forgiveness so save it" she said. She then turned towards the door and began walking away.

Chapter 5: I remember
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Chapter Five: I remember

"No one knew all the pain I went through, all the love I saved deep in my heart for you. Didn't know where I would go, where I would be. But you made me leave and plus my heart it just, kept telling me so... (I remember by Keyshia Cole)

oOo

Hermione ran towards her car while brushing away the tears that's clouding her eyes; when she reached her destination, she yanked the door open and hastily slid inside the driver seat, she then pulled the door closed and yelled at the top of her lungs. Loud sobs escaped her lips as she struggle to let air in her lungs; she then began hitting the stirring wheel with her closed fists as tears continue to cascade down her sullen cheeks.

oOo

Theo stood up and plucked his beer from the table; he drained the bottle in one go and slammed it back. "I better go," he said.

Draco also stood up and polished his own drink; "I'll also head out" he said.

Blaise threw both men an incredulous look and continued drinking his beer.

"Why are guys leaving? It's still early!" Gregory said.

Draco took his coat from the back of his chair and began shrugging it on; "I had a long day Greg, I need to sleep early because my shift starts 6 in the morning" he replied.

"I also have a date, so, I need to freshen up a bit" Theo piped in.

"You guys are no longer fun!" Gregory said petulantly.

Draco chuckled; he then began walking towards the door, with Theo on tow. He exited the establishment and pulled his coat tighter to his body. "Damn its cold!" he cursed.

Theo laughed and patted his friends back; "You're starting to show signs of aging mate!" he teased.

Draco shrugged his hands off and jokingly punched Theo on his arm; "Arse!" he said.

Theo chuckled as he rubbed his aching arm; "Old as you may be, you still pack a punch Malfoy" he said.

Draco puffed out his chest and stood straight; "Of course I do, you ninny!" he replied.

Theo shook his head; "Oh, I almost forgot, the manuscripts that you asked me to order in Italy has already been delivered yesterday. I was supposed to bring it with me today but I kind of forgot" he said.

Draco raised his pale brow; "Who's showing signs of aging again?" he asked.

Theo rolled his eyes; "So, are you planning on getting it today or do you want me to just owl it to your house?" he asked.

Draco thought for a couple of minutes and took a peak from his wrist watch; "I'll just get it today, I can't wait to get my hands on those ancient files" he replied excitedly.

Theo smirked; "You're turning into a book worm mate" he teased.

Draco chuckled.

"Apparate straight, okay?" Theo asked.

"I'll see you there!" Draco said.

Theo nodded and dissaparated with loud crack.

"Show off" Draco whispered. He then took his wand from his coat pocket and apparated with a pop.

oOo

"Millie?"

Millicent turned towards the fire place; "Come on in Pans!" she slurred.

Pansy stepped out of the fire place and tapped her wand on her dress, vanishing all the soot; she then padded forward the couch and braised her hands on her waist. "Are you drunk?" she asked.

Millicent smiled widely; "I'm not drunk!" she replied. She then patted the empty seat beside her; "I just had tad vodka to drink" she added.

Pansy moved towards the couch and sat down; "A little? You smell like a drunkard in Knockturn Alley!" she said distastefully while scrunching her nose.

Millicent cackled and leaned back; "I'm not!" she replied.

Pansy sighed and turned towards her friend; "What happened?" she asked concernedly.

Millicent groaned.

Pansy raised her pale brow; "Can you speak English? I don't understand groaning" she said.

Millicent turned her head towards Pansy and sighed; "He left..." she said vaguely.

"Who left?"

Millicent covered her face with her palms and began rubbing it furiously; "Ron left" she said.

Pansy kept silent, urging her friend to keep talking.

Millicent dropped her hands on her lap and sighed; "He chose the Mudblood" she spat. She then stood up and began pacing back and forth; "That fucking bastard chose that filthy blood over me! Can you believe that?" she bellowed.

Pansy leaned back on the couch and crossed her legs; "What did you expect Millie? You knew from the start that he's committed to her" she replied.

Millicent's head snapped towards Pansy and glared manically; "Are you defending them?" she asked sharply.

"Of course not!" Pansy replied. "I just want you to understand that whatever you're doing right now, the weasel is not worth all this shit" she added.

"BUT HE IS!" Millicent said while waiving her hands wildly.

" .NOT! Because if he is then he would have had the balls to break if off with Granger the first time he screwed you! Wake up Millie! He doesn't give a bloody fuck about you! You were just convenient for him!" Pansy shrieked.

Millicent strode forward and planted a loud slap towards her friends face.

Pansy's head snapped sideways.

Millicent's eyes widen as her hand froze in mid-air; "P—Pans, I didn't mean to—I'm sorry" she stuttered.

Pansy hastily stood up and clenched her fist; she turned her back to her friend and padded toward the fire place. She scooped a hefty amount of floo powder and threw it on the grate, igniting the green flames. "I forgive you for slapping me" she said stonily. She then turned again and faced her friend; "But do it again and I will hex you're stupid arse into oblivion. Weasley does not love you nor care for you, live with it!" she said. She then stepped inside and shouted her destination clearly; the fire place burst into flames and she vanished almost instantly.

Millicent felt her knees gave in, making her fall into the couch with a loud thump; she then braised her elbows on top of her knees as she combed her fingers thru her messy hair.

oOo

"Did it meet your standards?" Theo asked while leaning on the door frame of his study.

Draco flicked the last page and turned towards his friend with a huge grin; "Yes it did. This is amazing" he said.

Theo smiled and shook his head.

Draco rolled the scrolls tightly and clasped the knot close; he slid it inside his satchel and stood up. "Well, thank you mate! I better head out, I still need to wake up early" he said.

"You're welcome; now, do you want to see Granger's latest victim?" Theo asked while wiggling his brows suggestively.

Draco thought for a minute and smiled; "Lets?" he asked.

Theo chuckled; "We need to go out the front then, it's parked on the street" he said. He then turned and started walking to his front door; he pulled it open and stepped out.

Draco followed his friend and studied his surroundings, he let out an appreciative whistle; "I didn't know you live in this posh neighbourhood Theo" he teased.

Theo rolled his eyes as began walking towards the pathway; "I don't live in a posh environment, it's just a homey neighbourhood" he replied.

"Whatever you say mate" Draco said.

"The weasel's house is one house away from mine, we'll have to walk so we can have a closer look" Theo explained.

Draco followed his friend; "How did you take that picture if you're a house away?" he asked curiously.

Theo grinned widely and turned his head towards his friend; "The power of high end phones mate! It has excellent zooming capabilities!" he said.

Draco laughed.

Theo stopped mid step and furrowed his brows.

Draco stopped behind him and peered at his shoulder; "What are you looking at?" he asked.

Theo pointed his finger to a car that is parked adjacent to the ruined vehicle; "I don't recognize that car" he said.

Draco squinted; "I think there's someone inside" he observed.

Theo looked again and began walking; he crossed street in a hurry and padded towards the parked car.

Draco followed his friend silently.

Theo stopped beside the passenger seat and peered inside.

Draco stood beside Theo and peered inside as well; "Is that Granger?" he asked disbelievingly.

Theo angled his face so he can see better; he then turned towards his friend and raised both his brows; "I think it is, she looks like she's passed out" he said.

Draco nudged Theo aside and began tapping on the window; when he didn't get any response he felt his Healer instinct kick in. He ran towards the other side and began tapping loudly on the window, trying hard to rouse the woman inside.

"What in bloody Merlin's name are you doing Draco?" Theo asked loudly.

Draco snapped his head towards his friend; "She's passed out Theo, she might be in trouble if we don't help her!" he replied.

Theo's eyes widen in shock.

Draco groaned and tried tapping her window continuously with his knuckles; he then tried pulling the door handle and instantly felt relief when it clicked open. He yanked the door open and leaned forward; he gently tapped Hermione's shoulder and still got no response. He hastily snatched her hand and tried feeling her pulse; he let out a sigh of relief when he felt a faint beat.

"Is she still alive?" Theo asked behind him.

"She is, but we need to take her to St. Mungo's. Her pulse is very faint" Draco assessed.

"You can't take her there! They will suspect that we did something to her!" Theo contested.

Draco's head snapped towards his friend; "They won't! I'm a resident Healer there" he replied.

Theo crossed his hands on top of his chest; "It's your call mate, I just hope you're not mistaken" he huffed.

Draco furrowed his brows and leaned forward; he gently scooped Hermione into his arms and stepped away from the car. "Theo, can you get the wand from my satchel?" he asked.

Theo moved closer and began opening his friend's bag; when he found the wand, he plucked it and handed it to Draco. "Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked.

Draco rolled his eyes; "I swore a Healers oath Theo, need I remind you my duties?" he asked.

Theo sighed and turned his gaze towards the pale witch; "Go on then, take her to the hospital, she looks so frail" he said.

Draco nodded and flicked his wand; dissaparating with the unconscious witch in his arms.

Theo slammed the car door shut and locked it with a charm; he then walked back towards his house, scratching his head.

oOo

St. Mungo's: Spell Reversal Ward

"Well Mr. Weasley and Ms. Brown, you are lucky that your condition is not that severe because if you stayed in your house a little bit longer it would have taken days to...err...disentangle you" Healer Anderson said with a poker face.

Ron stood up from his chair and offered his hand to the doctor; "Thank you Healer Anderson" he said.

Healer Anderson also stood up and accepted his hand, shaking it in return; "You are welcome" he replied. "And oh, you need to abstain for the next couple of days because we don't want a repeat performance, your both still healing" he added.

Lavender felt her face flush so she just nodded and bolted towards the door; she hastily stepped out and composed herself.

Ron nodded and followed Lavender.

"Mr. Weasley" Healer Anderson said.

Ron turned and faced the Healer again: "Yes?" he asked.

Healer Anderson smiled awkwardly; "Congratulations on your engagement" he said.

Ron let out an awkward smile and nodded; he stepped outside the door, closing it behind him.

"Errr..." Lavender said uncertainly.

Ron's head snapped towards the woman in front of him; "Nothing happened, okay?" he said stoically.

Lavender's brow furrowed; "What do mean nothing happened?" she asked.

Ron closed his eyes as he took a deep calming breath; "We should forget everything that happened. I still need to talk with Hermione. I need that ring, so please take it off" he said crassly.

Lavender felt tears cloud her eyes but she held her ground; she gritted her teeth and hastily ripped the ring from her finger. She threw the ring at his chest and clenched her jaw; "You are an arsehole Ronald Weasley, a fucking spineless jellyfish! Granger will not take you back because you are rotten cheater!" she yelled. She then turned her back and hastily walked towards the other direction.

Ron shook his head as he bend down; he plucked the ring from the floor and walked away.

"Interesting...I thought Granger and Weasley are together? Why did Brown take off her ring? Hmmmmnnn" A voice said.

oOo

Hermione opened her eyes and instantly felt panic when she realized she's no longer inside her car; she quickly sat up and began looking around frantically.

"I'm beginning to think that you like seeing me Granger" Draco drawled.

Hermione's head snapped towards the voice; "Where am I?" she asked confusedly.

Draco stood up from the chair and padded towards the bed; "You're in my chamber, you're now my sex slave" he seriously said.

Hermione felt the corner of her lips arc up into a smile as she shook her head; "You wish" she replied.

Draco smiled and sat at the foot of her bed; "I know you're a cheapskate sometimes Granger, but sleeping inside a car? That's a little bit extreme even for your taste" he teased.

Hermione cringed as memories flood thru her mind; "I have a house Malfoy" she replied.

Draco plucked her charts from the foot of the bed and placed it on his lap; he opened it and grabbed the pen in his coat pocket. "Let's see here, you've been here twice in one day. Based on these records you fainted last night because of exhaustion and oh, you have alcohol traces in your blood stream too" he said casually.

Hermione frowned; "What do you mean last night?" she asked.

Draco signed the chart and snapped it close; he stood up and inserted it back at the foot of the bed. "You've been here since last night. Theo and I found you passed out inside your car, so I brought you here" he replied. He then took a peek from his wrist watch; "It's already 9 in the morning, you stayed overnight" he added.

Hermione groaned and fell back on the bed; she pulled the covers above her head and let out a huge sigh.

Draco moved closer and began tugging the covers; "What are you doing?" he asked curiously.

"I want to disappear and never come back!" Hermione mumbled under the covers.

Draco chuckled; "Well you can, just swish your wand and apparate, silly witch" he replied. "Oh, don't forget to check out, alright?" he added thoughtfully.

Hermione threw the covers off her face and sat up again; "Can I go?" she asked.

"Yes you can" Draco replied.

Hermione threw the blanket off her body and sat sideways on the bed; she slipped her feet in her shoes and stood up. She padded towards the comfort room and pushed the door open; before she stepped in, she looked back and smiled. "Thank you for saving me for the second time Malfoy, I appreciate it" she said sincerely.

Draco smirked; "My pleasure, well I better go. I hope I don't see you in here again anytime soon" he said.

Hermione chuckled; "I'll try" she replied.

Draco shook his head and turned his back; he walked towards the door and pulled it open, stepping out into the hallway.

Hermione entered the comfort room and closed the door behind her; she walked towards the sink and stared at the mirror that hung on top of it. She studied her pallid face and cringed; "It's a new day Hermione Granger, a new day" she said.

oOo

The Burrow - Ottery, St. Catchpole - Devon, England – 7:34 A.M

Arthur strode into the kitchen and padded towards his wife; he planted a morning kiss into her plump cheek; "Breakfast looks good love" he praised.

Molly smiled; "You should take your seat, I'll bring the food in" she said.

Arthur walked towards the dining room and pulled a chair; he sat down comfortably and seized the morning paper from the table.

"Morning dad" Ginny greeted sleepily.

Arthur turned towards his daughter and smiled; "Good morning love, sleep well?" he asked.

Ginny entered the dining room and moved towards her father; she planted a kiss on his head and pulled a chair beside him, sleep still evident in her eyes.

Molly entered the room and padded towards the table; she carefully set the food she cooked on top and sat adjacent to her husband. She then turned towards her dozing daughter and chuckled; "Ginny wake up, food is here" she said.

Ginny's eyes snapped open as she yawned; she surveyed the food on top of the table and felt her stomach rumble. "Wow Mum, I should be home more often, looks like you cooked up a feast in the kitchen, and it's just breakfast!" she said.

Molly chuckled as she grabbed the basket full of scones; she plucked a piece and passed it to Arthur. "You should come home often then and bring the beau of yours too" she said.

Ginny took a sip of her pumpkin juice and smiled; "I'll bring Anthony along next time, I'm sure he misses your home cooked meals too" she replied.

Arthur placed the paper on his lap and accepted the bread basket; he got himself a scone and passed it to Ginny; "I bet he does, you don't even know how to cook dear" he teased.

Ginny snatched the basket and blew a raspberry to her dad; "I know how to cook!" she defended.

Molly chuckled; "She knows how to fry, kippers dear?" she said.

"Thank you dear, can you please pass the eggs?" Arthur replied.

Ginny grabbed the plate from the table and passed it to her dad; she then reached for the bacon platter and began filling her plate with the crispy morsels.

Arthur took a spoonful of eggs and ate it with vigour; he then grabbed the newspaper on his lap and opened it, he scanned thru the headlines and instantly the spoon his holding on his other hand fell on his plate with a loud clank.

Molly's head snapped towards Arthur and furrowed her brows; "What's wrong Arthur?" she asked worriedly.

Ginny also stopped eating and stared at her father questioningly.

Arthur clenched his fist, crumpling the paper in his hand; "Have you owled Ronald?" he asked gravelly.

"I did but he has not yet responded" Molly replied.

"What's wrong dad?" Ginny asked.

Arthur handed the paper to his daughter as he took a deep calming breath; he leaned back on his chair and clenched his fist.

Ginny frowned and began reading thru the page; "Oh my circe!" she said with wide eyes.

"What in Merlin's name is happening? What is in the bloody paper?" Molly asked frantically.

Ginny folded the paper in half, hiding the scandalous article from her mother's prying eyes.

"Ginny?" Molly asked sternly.

Ginny opened his mouth to speak but was cut off when there's a loud crack of apparition inside their house.

"Mum? Dad?"

Molly's head instantly snapped towards the living room; "We're in the dining room Ronald" she bellowed.

Ron padded towards the dining room and let out a huge smile; "Good morning!" he said jovially.

Arthur hastily stood up from his chair and padded towards his son; he clenched his fist tightly and swung it towards his son's face, hitting him hard.

Ron fell on his arse with a split lip and confused look.

Ginny stood up from her chair as Molly shrieked.

"YOU'RE MOTHER AND I DID NOT RAISE YOU TO BE POLYGAMOUS! WHAT IN BLOODY HELL WERE YOU THINKING?" Arthur roared.

Ron nursed his jaw as he stared at his father fearfully; "I-I-" he stuttered and threw a pleading look to his mother.

Molly crossed her arm on top of her chest; "Answer your Father Ronald" she said sternly.

Ron threw a look at his sister.

Ginny averted her gaze and sat down.

"I AM TALKING TO YOU RONALD, SO ANSWER ME? WHAT DID POOR HERMIONE DO TO DESERVE YOUR SCANDALOUS INFIDELITY?" Arthur asked.

"I-it was nothing Dad...I didn't do anything...I swear" Ron lied.

Arthur walked towards Ginny and snatched the paper from her hands; he then padded towards Ronald and threw it right in front of him.

Ron grasped the paper on the floor with shaking hands; he then unfolded it and began reading the headlines. Instantly he felt his face lose its colour as fear started cloud his mind.

Golden Couple called it quits?

Ronald Weasley (War Hero) and Hermione Granger (War Heroine) has been one of the most envied couples in the Wizarding World. They have been in an ideal serious relationship for four long years and were speculated to tie the knot, sooner than later.

However, one of sources reported that yesterday, Mr. Weasley was spotted with a different woman inside St. Mungos Spell Reversal Ward. Our correspondent allegedly saw Ms. Lavender Brown (Ronald's ex girlfriend) sporting a huge engagement ring on her marriage finger upon exiting Healer Anderson's office with Mr. Weasley. Our sources also added that the couple was seen arguing resulting to Ms. Brown ripping off the "engagement ring" from her finger and throwing it at angrily at Mr. Weasley's chest.

Did the Golden couple finally called it quits resulting to Mr. Weasley proposing to another woman? How did Ms. Lavender Brown end up with Ms. Granger's engagement ring? We tried getting Ms. Granger's reaction to this news but the elusive witch has yet to speak. What's Mr. Harry Potter's reaction to his best friends break up?

Arthur took a calming breath; "What were you doing with Lavender in St. Mungos and explain to me why is she wearing Hermione's ring?" he asked.

Molly gasped.

Ginny stood up from her chair as her face started to redden with anger; "YOU ARSE! YOU CHEATED ON HERMIONE FOR THE SECOND TIME WITH THE SAME SLAG?! HOW COULD YOU!" she yelled.

Ron stood up from the floor and turned to face his sister; "I DID NOT DO SUCH THING! I LOVE HERMIONE!" he yelled back.

"Where were you when Hermione was admitted in the hospital then? I owled you to tell you that you're fiancé fainted but you never made it to the hospital. Pray tell Ronald, where were you?" Ginny said snidely.

Ron opened his mouth and closed it.

Molly let out a soft sob as tears ran down her plump cheeks; "I can't believe you would do that to Hermione...she has been nothing but a good fiancé to you...how can you—" she said.

Ron felt tears cloud his eyes so he grabbed the nearest chair; he pulled it towards him and sat down with his head bowed down.

Arthur shook his head in disappointment; he walked towards his wife and pulled her into a hug. "I don't know what caused you to act this way but your mother and I are very much disappointed. We would not blame Hermione if she does not take you back because you deserve it" he said gravely.

Ron whimpered.

oOo

Hermione apparated into her garden and began walking towards her cottage; she instantly froze in her spot when she heard noises coming from her front street. She quietly snuck behind the rose bushes and peered; she felt blood leave her face when she saw the amount of reporters camping right in front of her house. "Bloody hell!" she said to herself. She then snuck back and ran towards her back door; she swished her wand towards it and instantly felt relief when the doors swung open. She entered her house and closed the door tightly behind her; she walked towards her living room and began zapping her curtains shut. She let out a tired sigh and collapsed on her couch; leaning her head back as she closed her puffy tired eyes.

Meow...

Hermione's eyes snapped open and turned towards the floor; she smiled when she saw her familiar sitting right in front of her. "Hello Kitty Cat" she said. She then sat up and bends towards her cat; she grasped him gently under his arms and carted him towards her lap.

Crookshank began purring and started rubbing his head on her hand.

Hermione giggled and hugged the cat tighter; "I missed you too, what have you been up to?" she cooed.

Crookshanks purred loudly and jumped out of her grasp; he then padded towards the end of the sofa and sat down on top of a news paper.

"What are you doing there Crook? Come here and give me a hug...I'm sad" Hermione said.

Crookshanks ignored her Mistress and began clawing at the paper.

"Do you want me to see that?" Hermione asked.

Crookshanks continued clawing the paper.

Hermione furrowed her brows and moved closer to her cat; she then pulled out the paper under him and straightened it out. She faced her cat again; "You want me to read this eh?" she asked her cat.

Crookshanks purred.

Hermione shook her head and turned her face towards the paper; she perused the cover and felt her brow rise at the headline. Emotions started surging up inside her chest as she felt the paper crumpling within her grasp; tears started forming in her eyes but she refuse to let another tear fall for that bastard ex of hers. She sniffed loudly and threw the paper on top of her coffee table; she leaned back on the couch and rubbed her eyes.

Crookshanks padded towards her Mistress and jumped into her lap; her rubbed his head on Hermione's stomach and began purring.

Hermione smiled and began scratching her pet's ears; "I'll be okay kitty cat, don't worry...I won't cry for that bastard anymore..." she said.

Crookshanks leaned his head on her palm.

oOo

Draco appeared inside his pad and immediately took off his jacket; he padded towards the sofa but froze mid-step when he heard noises coming from his kitchen. He pulled his wand from his back pants pocket and started walking stealthily towards the kitchen; he peered from the door and let out a sigh of relief. "Hello Mother, it's nice to see you" he said.

Narcissa shrieked in surprise as she slammed the fridge door in haste.

Draco chuckled as he enters the kitchen.

Narcissa gathered her hands into her chest and faced his son; "That was not funny Draco Xavier Malfoy! You scared the wits out of me!" she chastised.

Draco shook his head and padded towards his mother; he planted a chaste kiss on her forehead and smiled. "You scared me first Mum, please tell me when you're coming over" he said.

Narcissa huffed as she crossed her arms on top of her breast; "I'm tired of owling you, you never visit" she pouted.

Draco rolled his eyes; "I was just there last week Mum, it's not that long. Where's Dad?" he asked.

Narcissa moved towards the counter and leaned back; "He's in Paris for a conference but he'll be back this weekend" she replied. "I'm hoping you can join us," she added.

Draco opened his fridge and plucked a bottle of sparkling lemon water; he uncapped it and took a swig from the bottle.

Narcissa grinned widely; "I'll take your silence as a yes" she concluded.

"As if I have a choice!" Draco quipped.

Narcissa chuckled.

"Can you ask Father to buy me some of those chocolate dipped cherries?" Draco asked thoughtfully.

Narcissa smiled slyly; "He already bought 2 boxes, you just need to get if from the Manor because I won't owl those treats."

Draco shook his head; "Slytherin through and through" he murmured.

Narcissa winked; she then walked towards one of the chairs and sat down. "Have you heard the news lately?" she asked innocently.

Draco threw the empty bottle in the waste basket and walked towards his Mother; he sat right in front of her and raised his brow. "What news?" he asked.

Narcissa placed her hands on top of her lap; "About Mr. Weasley's and Ms. Granger's break up, it's all over the paper this morning" she said.

Draco frowned; "Really? Did you read what happened?" he asked curiously.

"It seems like Ms. Brown was seen together with Mr. Weasley in St. Mungos yesterday and rumour says that she is wearing an engagement ring! Can you believe that? You work in St. Mungos, have you seen them there?" Narcissa asked curiously.

"Why are you so interested?" Draco asked while furrowing his brows.

Narcissa's eyes widened; "Of course I'm interested! Who wouldn't be? I mean, this is a big scandal! Who would've thought that Mr. Weasley can do that to respectable witch like Hermione?" she replied.

"You're first name basis with Granger?"

Narcissa huffed; "Of course I am! She has always been the head organizer of all my Charity events in the Ministry! Not that I can't blame you because you wouldn't know, you have never attended any of it" she said disdainfully.

Draco just stared, dumbfounded.

"I have grown fond of her, if you must know. I'm saddened about the news because she doesn't deserve a man like that..." she said. She then turned towards her son and eyed him meaningfully; "He needs a man that can take care of her and respect her...a man like you, I suppose" she goaded.

Draco groaned; he then stood up and padded towards the sink. He pulled his sleeves up and folded it; he turned on the tap and began washing his hands, ignoring his Mother's comment.

"She needs someone to be there for her after what happened and I feel that you're the best candidate for that" Narcissa explained with bright eyes.

Draco turned off the tap and shook off the excess water; he then grasped the towel beside the sink and began drying his hands. "Are you hearing what you're saying Mum? I think you've gone senile" he said.

"I'm not senile! I just want to help her move on!" Narcissa replied.

Draco leaned back on the sink; "She doesn't need a new man to forget the other. What she needs is "alone time", not another love affair" he said. He then crossed his arms on top of his chest in an exasperated manner; "And what makes you think that Granger will actually spare me a time of the day, and I to her?" he challenged.

Narcissa pouted and ignored his latter question; "How would you know, you're not even dating!" she said.

"I'm dating!"

"Are you talking about those bimbo's you're photographed with?" Narcissa asked while studying her nails.

"That's still dating!" Draco glared.

Narcissa sighed and stood up; she then padded towards her son and patted him on the cheek. "If that's what you call casual dallying these days then fine. I simply have to go dear, I'll try to visit Hermione as well" she said.

Draco planted a kiss on his mother's cheek; "Okay Mum, I'll see you this weekend" he said.

Narcissa smiled; she then plucked her wand from her purse.

"Oh Mum,"

"Yes dear?"

"I don't think you should visit Granger today" Draco said.

Narcissa frowned; "And why is that?" she asked.

"She was just discharged from the hospital this morning, let her rest" Draco said professionally.

Narcissa smiled mischievously; "Okay darling," she said.

Draco groaned.

oOo

"I can't take this anymore!" Hermione screeched. She then stood up from the couch and began pacing back and forth; she threw her cat an annoyed look as she hugged herself tightly. "I think I'm going insane Crook" she said helplessly.

Crookshank just stared at her Mistress for a couple of seconds and leaped out of the couch, hiding from the woman's prying eyes.

Hermione huffed; she then bit her lip and started thinking. After a couple of minutes of idle silence, she plucked her wand from the coffee table and strode towards her kitchen. Once she reached the breakfast bar, she stood still and began tapping her pointer finger on her lips; she furrowed her brows in concentration as she weighed her options. She then turned her gaze towards her Muggle appliance and instantly, a big smile blossomed from her sombre lips. She walked hastily towards her cupboards and began rummaging its contents; she pulled out a bag of flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder. She then turned towards the other cupboard and pulled out the other necessities; once satisfied, she padded towards her fridge and pulled it open, she gathered the butter, milk and eggs into her arms and closed it with a snap. She walked back towards her breakfast bar and placed the ingredients on top; she then plucked her wand from her back pocket and accioed the tools that she needed to use. "Baking it is" she murmured to herself.

oOo

The Burrow - Ottery, St. Catchpole - Devon, England – 9:07 A.M.

"Mum, I'll head out" Ginny yelled as she walked towards the front door.

Molly peered from the kitchen door and furrowed her brows; "You're leaving already?" she asked.

"I'll be back later, I just need some air, it's stuffy here"

Ron's head snapped towards his sister; he then stood up and began walking towards the door. "I'll come with you..." he said.

Ginny frowned; "Go away Ronald, I don't want to speak with you" she growled.

Ron stopped in his tracks as pain etched his bruised face.

Ginny's face softened a bit; "Look, you're my brother and I still love you even though you're a bastard-"

"Ginevra! Language!" Molly chastised.

"—but Hermione is my best friend too and I love her as well but you hurt her. You know I don't take sides but not this time,"

Ron took a step back and nodded; he then padded towards the couch and bowed his head.

Ginny sighed and turned her gaze towards her Mother; "I'll be back later Mum" she said. She then pulled the door open and stepped out, closing the door behind her.

Molly shook her head disappointedly and turned towards the kitchen, leaving her son to wallow in his guilt.

oOo

DING!

Hermione's head snapped towards her oven and immediately, she stood up; she dog-eared the novel she's reading and placed it on top of the counter. She padded towards the oven and plucked the pot holders hanging from its door; she pulled the oven open and peered inside. A triumphant smile lit up her face as she saw her creations; she then leaned forward and pulled out the cupcake trays, she carried it towards the counter and set it on top of a cooling rack. She pulled off the pot holders from her hands and threw it on the counter; she plucked her wand from her back pocket and pointed it on the cupcakes, Refrigerationem Leporem, she said and almost instantly, the cupcakes were cooled.

She then pointed her wand gingerly towards her fridge and summoned the cream cheese frosting she made earlier. She then sat on one of her high chairs and made a grab of a spatula; she grasped one of the cupcake from the tray and started slathering thick frosting on it. When satisfied, she smiled to herself and gently placed the confection on a clean plate. She was about to proceed to the next one when she heard a faint knocking on her door; her brows furrowed as she waited for the knocking to stop. When the noise didn't seize, she stood up from her perch and began walking towards her door, with wand at hand, she pulled the door open.

"Hermione!"

Hermione felt herself being enveloped into a tight hug; confusion clearly pasted into her pallid face, "Harry I can't breathe" she exclaimed.

Harry quickly pulled away but held her into arm's length; "Are you okay?" he asked earnestly.

Hermione's face softened as she squeezed her bestfriend's arm; "I'm not at the moment but I will be," she replied honestly.

Harry's face fell; he opened his mouth to speak but he closed it when no words escaped him.

"It's not your fault" Hermione said.

Harry sighed; "I still feel guilty that I let him hurt you..."

Hermione ignored the pang in her chest as she let out a small smile; "Don't feel guilty, it's already been done, let's not dwell on it anymore, I'm tired of thinking..." she admitted.

Harry pulled his best friend into a tight hug for the second time; "You deserve better love, you're right, we shouldn't dwell on the past anymore" he whispered.

Hermione returned the hug; "Thank you Harry..."

Harry pulled away and let out a bright smile; "You're house smell wonderful, what are you making?" he asked.

Hermione smiled; "I made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting" she replied.

"Can I have one?" Harry asked excitedly.

Hermione chuckled; "I already frosted one, you can taste it" she offered.

Harry beamed; he then began walking towards the kitchen, leaving Hermione in her living room.

When her best friends back was out of sight, her smile instantly vanished; she brought her shaking hands into her chest and began rubbing it soothingly. "You can't tell him what happened Hermione...he'll go ballistic" she said. She then composed herself and took a deep breath; she plastered a huge smile into her face and began padding towards the kitchen. When she reached the threshold, she raised her brow; "I see that you took liking into my cakes," she said.

Harry's head snapped towards her; "This is awesome! Where did you learn how to bake? Is it a new charm? Can you teach me?" he asked.

Hermione scoffed and crossed her arms on top of her chest; "I did not charm those for your information. I made them with my own bare hands" she said acerbically.

Harry's eyes widen; "You mean, you made this the Muggle way?" he asked.

Hermione rolled her eyes and ignored Harry's question; she then perched herself on the high chair and zapped her hands with a cleaning charm. She plucked one cupcake from the tray and resumed frosting it meticulously.

Harry ate the last morsel as he padded towards the fridge; he pulled it open and began perusing its contents. His brows furrowed and turned his head towards Hermione; "Why do you have so much alcohol in here?" he asked.

Hermione shrugged her shoulders; "I just needed to buy them, they look pretty" she replied casually.

Harry grabbed a bottle of sparkling lemon water and closed the fridge; he walked towards the counter and sat on one of the chairs, sitting right in front of his best friend. He then uncapped it and took a large swig; once satisfied, he capped it again and fixed his eyes into Hermione, studying her face.

Hermione tried to ignore Harry's inquisitive stares and continued frosting the tiny cakes; but after a couple of seconds of silence, she snapped. "Stop staring at me, it's making me uncomfortable" she quipped.

Harry sniffed and prepared himself; "I ran into Malfoy this morning" he said.

Hermione felt blood leaving her face but she continued with what she's doing; she gripped the spatula tighter as she forced a nonchalant smile on her face. "Oh...how is he?" she asked.

Harry sighed.

Hermione quickly dropped the spatula and stood up; she padded towards the sink and began rinsing her hands.

Harry turned to watch her; still not uttering anything.

Hermione shook the remaining water from her hands and braised her hands on the sink; she bowed her head as she took a deep breath.

"Hermione..."

Hermione clutched the sink tighter and felt her resolve loosen; she felt pesky tears clouding her eyes as her shoulder shook with repressed sobs.

Harry sat still.

"I—I can't do this Harry...I just can't...please don't let me do this..." Hermione whispered brokenly.

Harry stood from his perch and padded towards Hermione; he placed his hands on each shoulder and squeezed it comfortingly. "I hate to be the one to this love, but you have to let it all out...I know you already said that you don't want to talk about it but it's not alright...you don't have to be strong and hold it all in, I'm here for you..." he whispered.

Hermione turned around and faced her best friend for many years; she didn't wipe the tears running down her cheeks and stared at him directly. "I—I went to his house yesterday to—to talk things out but I saw him—"

Harry's face darkened; "What did you see?" he asked.

Hermione cried harder but she struggled to continue with what she's trying to say; "I—I saw him fucking someone else..." she said.

Fury etched Harry's face as he clenched his fist tightly; "THAT SON OF A BITCH!" he roared.

Hermione collapsed into the floor as deep guttural sobs wrecked her body; she sat herself up and leaned back on the lower cupboard, hugging her knees into her chest.

Harry began pacing back and forth; "WHO IS HE FUCKING? I'LL WRING HIS BLOODY NECK!" he spat.

Hermione sniffed; "Lavender..." she stuttered.

Harry stopped pacing and snapped his head towards Hermione; "BROWN? LAVENDER BROWN?" he asked incredulously.

Hermione cringed; "Please don't shout at me..." she whispered.

Harry cursed himself; he then moved towards Hermione and sat beside her. "I'm sorry...it's just...argh!" he said.

Hermione moved closer and leaned her head into her best friend's shoulder; "I know...that's how I felt when I saw them..." she said.

"Did—did they see you?" Harry asked.

Hermione chuckled between tears; "They saw me alright," she replied.

"What did you do?"

"I cursed them even before they got the chance to open their dirty mouths" Hermione said proudly. She then sat up straight and leaned her head back on the cupboard; she brought her palms into her face and began wiping her tear stained cheeks.

Harry's brow crinkled; "What did you curse them with?" he asked.

Hermione bit her lower lip and kept silent.

Harry nudged her; "Tell me..." he cajoled.

"The Engorgio en Gluten Mentula tu Puta curse..."

Harry burst out laughing.

Hermione let out a small smile.

Harry doubled over as he held the stitch in his side; laughing louder.

Hermione slapped Harry's back; "Stop laughing! It's not funny!" she said between smiles.

Harry took off his glasses while stifling his mirth; he then cleared his throat and took a deep breath. "YOU ARE BRILLIANT!" he praised.

Hermione shook her head.

"What? He deserved it!" Harry said. "If it was me, I would've maimed him!" he added darkly.

Hermione took a deep breath and began playing with hands nervously; "Is it—is it wrong that I still love him Harry?" she murmured.

Harry didn't answer.

Hermione's eyes began heating up again; "Because I still do...Merlin knows I still do...but I want it to stop...I want to un-love him...I want to hate him...hate him so bad that I can stop thinking what I could've done to keep him from straying...to be a better—"

"Don't finish that sentence" Harry said gravelly, cutting her off. "You've been nothing but a wonderful fiancé to him; he's the one who can't be faithful so you're not the one lacking in your relationship" he said.

Hermione sighed and wiped her eyes with her fingers; "I also know that..." she murmured.

"Did you get the chance to at least shout at that bastard before you cursed them?" Harry asked lightly.

Hermione turned her head and raised her brow; "What do you think?" she asked.

Harry grinned; "That's my girl" he said proudly.

Hermione let out a smile and leaned her head again into his shoulder, closing her weary eyes. "You know what's weird?" she asked.

Harry hummed, asking her to continue.

"That no matter how much it hurts to end what we had, my heart just kept telling me that we're never meant to last...that somehow it would have ended..." Hermione admitted.

Harry leaned his head on top of hers.

"I just hate that it ended this way...that he had to betray me and make me feel like utter shit" Hermione said.

Harry nodded.

Hermione sighed; "Do you think that it would help if I leave? Like have a vacation somewhere?" she asked.

"That would help...where do you want to go?" Harry asked.

Hermione yawned; "Paris? Belgium? Americas? Australia? Anywhere..." she replied.

Harry pursed his lips; "Do you like beaches?" he asked.

Hermione moved away and stared at her best friend; "Yes, why?" she asked curiously.

Harry smiled; "I have a perfect place in mind, but you have to trust me?" he said.

Hermione eyed him for a couple of seconds and smiled back; "Okay..."

Harry grinned mischievously.

Chapter 6: Don't speak
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Six: Don't speak

"You and me, we used to be together, everyday together always. I really feel that I'm losing my best friend, I can't believe this could be the end. It looks as though you're letting go and if it's real, well I don't want to know. Don't speak, I know just what you're saying. So please stop explaining, don't tell me cause it hurts. Don't speak, I know what you're thinking, I don't need your reasons, don't tell me cause it hurts..." (Don't speak by No Doubt)

oOo

The Burrow - Ottery, St. Catchpole - Devon, England – 11:07 A.M.

"Ronald"

Ron's head snapped up and fixed his gaze towards the voice; "Dad" he said weakly.

Arthur walked towards his youngest son and sat on the adjacent couch; he studied his bruised face and gestured towards it. "Why didn't you let your Mother heal it?" he asked.

"I deserved it" Ron replied.

Arthur leaned back on his couch; "I will not apologize for hitting you because we both know you earned it" he said.

Ron nodded.

Arthur sighed; "Can you be honest with me?" he asked.

Ron leaned forward and braised his elbows on top of his thighs; "Of course Dad, what do you want to know?" he asked.

"Why did you cheat on Hermione?" Arthur asked upfront.

Ron cringed; he buried his face into his palms, rubbing his face.

Arthur kept silent and waited for his son's response.

Ron groaned and sat straight; "To be honest, I really don't know why. I love Hermione...I love her so much..." he said helplessly.

Arthur furrowed his brows and crossed his legs; "Then why did you do it? How many times?" he asked.

"Do I really have to answer that?" Ron groaned again.

"Yes you do! Answer me truthfully!" Arthur snapped.

Ron looked away.

"Ronald" Arthur said sternly.

Ron sighed; "Three..." he murmured.

Arthur's eyes widen; "THREE? THREE TIMES?" he roared.

Ron closed his eyes and raised his hands in defence, but blow he anticipated did not come. He peered behind his hands and stared at his Father.

Arthur's fist was closed tightly as he forced himself to calm down; "When did all of this happen? You need to tell me with whom" he said through gritted teeth.

"Dad...I-"

"NO! YOU WILL ANSWER ME BEFORE I LOOSE MY TEMPER AND BEAT YOU AGAIN!" Arthur bellowed.

Ron cowered so he avoided his Father's intense gaze; "The—the first one was with Lavender...it was w-way back in Hogwarts-I didn't cheat per se because...because Hermione and I we're never official..." he trailed off.

"Tell me the most recent...philandering" Arthur said stoically.

Ron swallowed the huge lump in his throat; "The second one was with Millicent Bullstrode...she was-she was helping me find a house that-that Hermione and I can move into after we got married...it happened unexpectedly...we we're drunk and the next thing I know is that I—I woke up in her bed..." he said.

Arthur kept silent.

"The—the last one was completely an accident—it was with Lavender...it was the day that Hermione broke up with me—I was drunk and she was there...it just happened..." Ron said shamefully.

"So you're telling me that all of it started because you were drunk?" Arthur concluded.

Ron avoided his father's gaze and nodded.

Arthur stood up and shook his head disappointedly; "I think you should leave..." he said.

Ron's eyes widen and turned his gaze towards his Father; "But Dad-"

"No. I think you should leave and think about what you have done. You broke the heart of the woman who you claim you love because you simply cannot hold you liquor. You did not only do it once but multiple times, with different women. You're Mother and I cannot tolerate it, you should be ashamed of yourself" Arthur said resignedly.

Tears began clouding Ronald's eyes as the gravity of what his Dad said began sinking in.

"I am ashamed of you and you should be ashamed of yourself" Arthur said. He then turned his back and walked away.

Ron buried his face into his palms as sobs rocked his entire frame; his heart was breaking and he knows he's got nothing to blame but himself. It's too late now, even he, will not forgive himself for what he's done. He ruined the only thing that's right in his life and he deserves every bit of pain he's feeling but somehow he can't help but hope that someday his Hermione will forgive him and they can still live their happily ever after.

oOo

Potter Manor - London, England - 12:03 P.M.

"Do you think we should change the colour of the drapes Fifi? I think robin egg blue is much better, it makes the room brighter" Astoria said while tapping her wand on her arm.

The elf stared at the drapes calculatingly; she then turned towards her Mistress and beamed. "You are right, Missus!"

Astoria smiled brightly and pointed her wand on the drapes; with one quick swish, all of the drapes turned into the colour she desired.

"Redecorating, I see"

Astoria turned towards the voice and beamed; "Do you like it?" she asked.

Harry padded towards his wife and planted a soft kiss on her lips; he then turned towards the drapes and furrowed his brows, studying the changes.

Astoria bit her lip nervously as she waited for her husband's input.

"It does make the room happier" Harry said. "I like it" he said.

Astoria giggled; "Really? I thought so too!" she gushed. She then turned towards the elf; "You can go now Fifi, we can continue redecorating later!" she said.

The elf bowed and vanished with a loud crack.

"Where is our little munchkin?" Harry asked. He then padded towards the couches and sat; "I feel like I haven't seen her in ages" he said.

"Mum flooed over a couple of hours ago, it seems like their also in Paris visiting Daph, they've asked me if they can keep Candice for another night and I said yes, I hope you don't mind..." Astoria replied.

"Oh okay..." Harry replied.

Astoria smiled; "We'll have her back tomorrow love, I also miss her" she said.

"I'm sure you do" Harry replied.

Astoria then walked towards the couch and sat beside her husband; "How's your day?" she asked.

"It was okay, I ran into Malfoy this morning and he told me some interesting news" Harry replied.

"Oh, what did Draco say?" Astoria asked curiously.

Harry sighed as he leaned his head back; he then turned his face towards his wife. "He told me that Hermione was admitted to St. Mungo's again...they found her unconscious inside her car" he said.

Astoria gasped; "Is she alright? What happened?" she asked.

Harry took off his glasses and began rubbing his eyes tiredly; "It seems like she visited Ron yesterday to talk things through but she caught him having a go with another woman instead" he said darkly. "That bastard will be sorry if I ever see his philandering arse" he added.

Astoria shook her head in dismay; "Poor Hermione...I still can't believe that Ronald can do that to her..." she said. "Good thing that Draco found her, I cannot imagine what might have happened if she wasn't found..." she said while shivering.

Harry reached for his wife's hand and clutched it firmly; "Me too..." he said.

"I wish there was a way that we can somehow help her...she has always been there for us..." Astoria said.

Harry smirked; "I think there is a way we can help her..." he said.

"Really?" Astoria asked.

Harry nodded; "Yes, really. I've talked with her this morning and she mentioned that she wants to go away for awhile" he said.

"She wants to take a vacation?" Astoria asked.

"Yes and I've thought about Narcissa's offer about their beach house in Maldives" Harry said.

Astoria's eyes brightened; "That's a good idea love! I can floo Narcissa to check if her offer is still available!" she said excitedly.

"I think we should do it now. I'm not sure if Narcissa will take it kindly if we tell her that we're sending Hermione there instead of us" Harry said.

Astoria waived her hand dismissively and stood up; she walked towards the fire place and scooped a handful of powder from the bowl. She threw it on the grate and waited for the green flames to engulf the fire place, once satisfied, she called for Narcissa's private quarters.

"Astoria?"

Astoria kneeled down in front of the fire place and smiled widely; "Hello Aunt Cissy" she greeted.

"It's nice seeing you again darling, it's been weeks since we last talked. Tell me, how are you and Harry?" Narcissa asked.

"We're doing great, thank you for asking. How's you and Uncle Lu?" she asked.

Narcissa smiled; "We're both fine. Lu is currently in Paris attending a conference so I'm left to my own devices. Where's Harry?" she said.

"I'm here Narcissa" Harry said as he kneeled beside his wife.

"Looking good as usual!" Narcissa complimented. She then eyed the couple in front of her; "So, how can I be of help?" she asked.

Harry's cheeks burned bright red and began stuttering; "Errr—"

Astoria rolled her eyes with her husband's shyness; "Aunt Cissy, we're just curious if your offer about your Maldives beach house is still open?" she asked casually.

Narcissa beamed; "Of course it is! Are you planning on your second honeymoon then?" she asked enthusiastically.

Harry cleared his throat; "Err—that's the thing Narcissa...we're not the ones whose planning on going there..." he said.

"Oh" Narcissa said. "Who are you sending then?" she asked curiously.

Before Harry can open his mouth and blabber further, Astoria took the initiative to explain it. "Aunt Cissy...we're planning on sending Hermione there for a short vacation. I know you are aware of her current situation and we just want her to have some time to herself..." she said.

Narcissa's face instantly fell.

Harry saw Narcissa's reaction and felt uneasiness; "But if the offer does not extend to Hermione then we'll just think of another—"

"Of course Hermione can stay there for as long as she likes" Narcissa said, cutting Harry off. "Don't misconstrue my reaction as rejection. To be honest, I feel bad for her, she doesn't deserve what Mr. Weasley did to her" she explained.

"She has indeed gone through a lot..." Harry replied.

Narcissa nodded in agreement, she then shook the depressing thought off of her head and smiled; "When are you planning to send her?" she asked.

Astoria beamed; "I actually don't have any idea," she then turned to face her husband; "Did Mione tell you?" she asked.

Harry scratched his chin while in thought; "I'm also not sure but I'll go talk to her tomorrow" he replied. "She cannot leave the country without settling her affairs first so it's safe to say that we have time" he added.

Narcissa smirked; "Wonderful! I'll have one of our house elves pop in the beach house to make sure that everything is in perfect condition! I'm sure Hermione will love it there!" she said excitedly.

Harry smiled; "Thank you so much for helping us Narcissa, this means a lot to me" he said sincerely.

Narcissa waived her hand dismissively; "Don't mention it Harry. I'm glad that I can help. Just let me know if there is anything else that I can help you with" she said.

Harry nodded; "Thank you again" he repeated.

"Thank you Aunt Cissy, you've been a great help. I'll try to drop by anytime within the week" Astoria piped in.

"That would be lovely, I'll look forward to that darling!" Narcissa said.

"See you soon!" Astoria said, she then leaned forward and severed the connection. She sat on her haunches and turned towards her husband; "That was easy!" she said.

Harry chuckled; "I was scared there for a second" he admitted.

Astoria giggled.

oOo

After a week...

"I can see that everything's packed" Harry said as he leaned on her bedroom door.

Hermione quickly turned around and stared at her best friend; she let out a tired smile as she sat at the foot of the bed. "Packing makes me tired" she complained.

Harry chuckled; "Have you settled everything with your job?" he inquired.

Hermione nodded; she then grabbed her suitcase from the side of the bed and dragged it in front of her. "I already filed for an indefinite leave and my boss was kind enough to approve it" she said.

Harry nodded; "Well that's good to hear, you can take all the time you need then..." he said.

Hermione chuckled; "I just hope I don't go bonkers with all the "me-time" I have" she joked.

Harry laughed heartily; "Astoria and I can always come with you if you need company" he offered.

Hermione raised her brow; "And what? Have you two hover around me all day? I don't think so Harry Potter" she replied. She then furrowed her brows and peered behind her friend; "By the way, where is that blonde wife of yours? I thought she'd see me off..." she pouted.

"She'll come by, she just fetched your portkey" Harry replied mischievously.

Hermione frowned; "Something tells me that you're both up to something..." she said suspiciously.

Harry fixed his glasses; "You're being silly Mione" he replied.

"I'm not being si-"

"HAAARRRYYYY...HERRRRMIOOONNNEEEEE, where are you?"

Harry winced.

"We're here Torry!" Hermione hollered.

Astoria peered behind Harry's back and let out a huge smile; she pushed Harry aside carelessly and bounded inside the room. She padded towards Hermione and sat beside her unceremoniously; she threw an arm around the brunette's shoulders and hugged her. "Are you excited?" she asked.

Hermione laughed; "Would you hate me if I say that I'm more nervous than excited?" she teased.

Astoria pouted; "You shouldn't be nervous! Harry and I thought about this very carefully and we both think that you will enjoy this place!" she said jovially.

Hermione winced; "That makes me more nervous!" she said.

"Hey! That's not fair!" Harry whined.

"Shush!" Astoria said to her husband.

Hermione shook her head; "Well, everything is already set, I can leave anytime" she said. She then turned towards Astoria and hugged her; "Thank you for doing this for me Torry...I really appreciate it..." she whispered.

Astoria returned the hug and patted Hermione's back soothingly; "You are always welcome Herms..." she replied.

Hermione felt tears cloud her eyes but she quickly wiped it; she pulled away from Astoria and threw Harry a grateful smile. "You too Potter, thank you for doing this..." she said.

Harry smiled; "It's nothing Granger" he replied.

"Oh! I almost forgot!" Astoria piped in. She then stood up and began rummaging her pocket; she pulled a small object from it and presented it to Hermione. "Here you go"

Hermione furrowed her brows and stared at the object dangling from Astoria's hands; "Really? A teardrop diamond earing for a portkey?" she asked incredulously.

Astoria giggled; "It's a 24 carat diamond Herms, so please don't lose it or the owner will have our neck" she said.

Hermione's eyes widen; "It a real diamond?" she asked.

Harry chuckled; "It's a real diamond, it costs more than this whole cabin" he teased.

Hermione swallowed hard as she accepted the small jewel, clasping it tightly in her hands.

"We are serious though, please don't lose it. It's a two way portkey, only that, can take you back home" Astoria said seriously.

Hermione frowned; "What do you mean it's the only way?" she asked.

Astoria sat beside Hermione again and faced her; "It's just for exclusivity Herms, the owner of the place you'd be staying at values their privacy very much that's why they designed that portkey as such" she explained.

Hermione opened her hand and stared at the jewel in her hands, uncertainty marring her face.

Astoria nudges Hermione; "Don't be scared love, you'd have the place to yourself and if you want to come home you can just use the portkey..." she promised.

Harry padded towards the bed and sat on Hermione's other side; "Astoria is right, don't you trust us?" he asked.

Hermione rolled her eyes; "Of course I trust you two...it's just that—"

"No buts! You are going and you will enjoy yourself. You cannot have second thoughts when all your bags are packed, you are a brave Gryffindor so act like one" Astoria chastised.

Hermione winced; she then turned towards Harry and asked; "How can you stand her again?"

Harry laughed while Astoria pouted.

"Okay...okay! I'll go!" Hermione blurted out.

Astoria smiled triumphantly; she then hugged Hermione briefly and hastily stood up. "Off we go now Harry!" she said.

Harry rolled his eyes as he threw his arms around his best friend; he hugged her tightly and planted a soft kiss on her forehead. "Enjoy your time alone and don't talk to strangers" he said.

Hermione chuckled as she nodded; "I will enjoy and I won't talk with strangers" she promised.

Harry stood up and padded towards his wife; "The portkey will activate anytime you want it to, so it's up to you" he said.

Meow...

Hermione eyes widen; "Oh no! I forgot Crookshanks!" she exclaimed worriedly.

"Don't worry about good old Crook, we'll take him with us" Harry said.

Astoria then turned towards the feline and began cooing; when the cat padded lazily towards her, she kneeled and gathered it in her arms. "We'll take care of your kitty cat Herms, I'm sure Candice will love him" she said.

Hermione smiled; she then stood up and walked towards Astoria. She kneeled down and began scratching her pet's ears; "Be good kitty cat, I'll be home soon" she said.

Crookshanks purred.

Astoria then stood; "Well, we better go" she said.

Hermione also stood and hugged Astoria one last time; "Thank you for taking care of him for me" she whispered.

"You're welcome" Astoria replied.

Hermione then pulled away and faced Harry; she threw her arms around her spectacled best friend and hugged him too. "Thank you again for doing this for me...for understanding...for staying by my side" she murmured.

Harry returned the hugged and began rubbing her back; "I'll always be here for you love, don't think about that arse anymore, you don't need him in your life...now please don't cry..." he replied.

Hermione pulled away as she sniffed; "See, no tears?" she said bravely.

Harry smiled; "That's my girl, now, we better be off" he said.

Hermione nodded.

Harry then turned to his wife; "Lets?" he asked.

Astoria nodded; "We'll see you soon Herms!" she said.

Harry plucked his wand from his coat inside pocket and wrapped his arm around his wife; "We'll see you around, have a safe trip!" he said. He then swished his wand and apparated out of his best friend's house.

Hermione watched as the two figures vanished; she let out a sigh as she sat down on her bed.

oOo

Millicent apparated inside Ron's backyard and felt triumphant when the wards accepted her without a hitch; she then walked briskly towards the back door and lifted her hand to knock. She lifted her hand but froze midway when she heard footsteps approaching her; she slowly turned around as she grasped her wand tightly in her hand.

"Bullstrode? Millicent Bullstrode?"

Millicent eyed the witch standing a few steps away from her and furrowed her brows; "Who are you? And what are you doing here?" she asked.

Lavender braised both of her hands on her waist and raised her brow; "What AM I doing here? What are YOU doing here?" she returned the question.

Millicent crossed her arms on top of her chest; "I'm here to visit Ron, how about you?" she replied.

Lavender scowled; "I'm here to visit MY boyfriend" she replied coolly.

Millicent frowned; she then walked towards Lavender and studied her from head to toe. "YOUR boyfriend? Now, don't make me laugh Brown" she said sarcastically.

Lavender's cheeks began to redden; "Do you have a problem with it?" she snapped.

Millicent began tapping her wand on her arm; "As far as I know, Ron is GRANGER's fiancé and not anyone's boyfriend" she cajoled.

Lavender instantly brandished her wand and pointed it at Millicent; "HE IS NO LONGER WITH GRANGER YOU STUPID COW! GRANGER ALREADY BROKE UP WITH HIM BECAUSE SHE CAUGHT US HAVING SEX IN THIS VERY HOUSE SO SHUT YOUR FAT MOUTH BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING!" she shouted hotly.

Millicent's facade crumbled; "What—what do you mean Granger caught you?" she asked.

"Are you deaf? I just told you" Lavender spat.

Millicent took a step back as she shook her head in denial; "Ron wouldn't—you're lying" she mumbled.

Lavender furrowed her brows; "I'm not lying Bullstrode, we slept together! What is it to you anyway? You're not—" she cut herself off when realization dawned on her. She staggered a bit but stood her ground; "Don't tell me...don't tell me you also slept with him?" she asked disbelieving.

Millicent tightened her hold on her wand and composed her face; "It's none of your business Brown" she said.

Lavender's eyes widen; "YOU DID! THAT SLIMMY BASTARD!" she roared.

Millicent sniffed; "Well I better go" she said coolly. She then began walking towards the other direction; when she reached a spot, she vanished with a loud pop.

Lavender stomped her foot as she let out an ear piercing scream.

oOo

Knock...Knock...Knock...

Hermione tore her eyes away from the novel she's reading and stood up from her bed; she padded towards the living room and stopped right in front of her door. She furrowed her brows and leaned forward; she peered through the peephole and almost instantly she felt herself reeling back.

"Hermione...please open up, I know you're in there..."

Hermione stood still as she continues to stare at her door; she felt her palms sweating as her heart started thumping wildly inside her chest.

"Hermione...please..."

Hermione leaned her forehead on the door as she tried to calm herself down; she tried pushing away the contempt and the hurt she's feeling at the back of her mind but it just keeps on resurfacing. She fisted her hands tightly as she tried to control her breathing; after a couple of minutes of silence, she finally spoke. "What are you doing here Ronald?" she asked coldly.

Ron moved closer to the door; he also leaned his forehead on it and began talking. "I just want to talk to you..." he said honestly.

"We have nothing to talk about Ronald, please leave" Hermione said through gritted teeth.

Ron closed his eyes; "Let's talk about this Mione...I-I love-..."

"Don't you dare finish that sentence Ronald" Hermione threatened. She then felt angry tears clouding her eyes as emotions started swirling inside her chest like an incoming storm.

"But I do...Merlin I do..." Ron said desperately.

"I don't bloody care about what you feel so don't tell me!" Hermione replied.

Ron began twisting the door knob; "We need to talk Hermione...please don't be that way" he begged.

Hermione clenched her fist tighter; "We have nothing to talk about! You're disgusting actions already told me everything I need to know so please stop this and go away!" she snapped.

"Let's talk...please Mione...please...I'm sorry love..." Ron sobbed; he then began pounding on the door frantically.

"No! Go away!" Hermione yelled angrily.

Ron kept pounding at the door with his fists; "Please...I love you" he begged.

"Stop it already! You've already done enough damage...stop lying, stop bloody pretending!"

"No no no...I'm not lying Hermione..."

"Please go away Ronald, don't make me hate you more than I already do...You've already broken my heart into tiny pieces, don't step on it too...Goodbye Ronald" Hermione rasped through tears.

"Hermione..." Ron sobbed again.

Tears kept running down her cheeks but she wiped it furiously; she plucked her wand from her pocket and pointed it towards the door, "Silencio", she muttered. Instantly, the loud banging stopped, she then walked towards her room and slammed her door shut; she padded towards her bed and grabbed her suitcase. She walked towards the centre of her room and stood on top of her worn out rag; she instantly plucked the portkey from her breast pocket and pointed her wand on it, "Portus", she said.

oOo

Malfoy Manor - Whiltshire, England - 2:00 P.M.

Narcissa smirked widely when she saw the jewel in her hand emit a faint blue colour; she quickly dropped it inside a small black velvet drawstring bag and pocketed it.

Lucius raised his pale brow as he watched his wife; "Is that the portkey to our beach house?" he asked.

Narcissa quickly turned towards her husband and schooled her face into nonchalance; "Of course not, whatever gave you that idea" she said too innocently.

Lucius closed the book he's reading and leaned back on his ottoman; "Why do I feel that you're up to something..." he said suspiciously.

Narcissa chuckled and waived her hand dismissively; "I'm not up to something love, you're just over thinking" she replied.

Lucius studied his wife and felt a small smile tug on his lips; "He's not going to like you meddling again, Cissa" he said.

"I'm not meddling! I just want him to find a respectable wife-"

"I got you!" Lucius cried. "You DID do something! Now tell me, what did you do?" he asked.

Narcissa pouted; she then walked towards her husband's desk and sat right in front of him. She clasped her hands together and placed it on top of her lap; "I haven't done anything...yet" she said.

Lucius rolled his eyes; "Who did you pick this time?" he asked.

Narcissa averted her husband's eyes and bit her lip.

"Narcissa..."

"Hermione Granger..."

"WHAT?" Lucius roared.

Narcissa winced; she then turned her face to her husband and furrowed her brows. "Don't tell me you're still into that rubbish blood superiority Lucius?" she asked apprehensively.

Lucius frowned; "Of course not! Don't be silly Cissa!" he snapped.

Narcissa let out a sigh of relief; "Then why the violent reaction?" she asked.

Lucius crossed his arms on top of his chest; "I trust you've heard what happened to that poor woman?" he asked.

"Of course I know!" Narcissa said. "That's the reason why I'm doing this" she added.

Lucius huffed; "We both know she doesn't need this now. What she needs is to grieve and to move on" he said.

"She also needs someone to be there for her..." Narcissa replied.

Lucius sighed as he shook his head; "Just don't tell me that I didn't warn you" he said.

Narcissa smiled; "I won't blame you, I promise" she replied.

Lucius nodded; "Okay then..." he said.

"So...you're really okay with this?" Narcissa asked.

Lucius furrowed his brows; "What do you mean?" he asked.

Narcissa moved closer to the desk and leaned her arms on top of it; "Draco and Hermione...you're not against it?" she asked carefully.

Lucius eyed his wife for a couple of minutes; "I don't see anything wrong with it because I am long past my prejudice Narcissa if that's what you're really asking" he answered tiredly.

Narcissa kept silent.

"I've dealt with Ms. Granger multiple times and I can see that she's a fine young woman; she's smart, very talented and has good breathing, she fits our son perfectly, if I daresay. But I've also learned that your son is independent and he won't take it lightly if we pry, he would think that we're controlling him again, and you know how that goes" Lucius explained.

Narcissa pouted; "But I'm not really interfering, I'll just let them spend time together, if it doesn't work out then I'll back out..." she said.

"Would you really?"

Narcissa look affronted; "Of course I will. I won't force him to do something he doesn't want to do...like you, I also learned my lesson..." she said.

"Okay then, I won't breathe a word" Lucius said.

Narcissa smiled; she then leaned forward and placed a chaste kiss on her husband's lips. "That's all I ask" she said.

Lucius smiled back; "Have you already set the wheels in motion then?" he asked curiously.

Narcissa smirked; "Not yet, but soon love, soon" she replied mischievously.

oOo

"You're next appointment has arrived Healer Malfoy"

Draco tore his eyes away from the reports his reading; "Oh, please send them in Cindy, thank you" he replied. He then stacked the parchments and placed it inside his in tray; he then took off his glasses and hooked it inside his healer robes.

The door instantly burst open as a little girl bounded inside excitedly; "Uncle Dwake!"

Draco smiled widely as he moved away from his desk; he gingerly padded towards the little girl and kneeled right in front of the toddler; "Hello sweetie, this is such a pleasant surprise" he greeted.

The little girl flung her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly; "I missssss yoouuuu!"

Draco hugged the little girl in return; "I miss you too Candice!" he said.

Astoria padded inside his office and closed it behind her; "She's been raving about seeing his Godfather ever since I picked her up" she said.

Draco cradled Candice in his arms as he stood up; he planted a soft kiss on her sticky cheek and smiled. "Hi Torry..." he greeted.

Astoria smiled; she then padded towards the chair right in front of his desk and sat down. "How have you been? You seem so busy, I had to schedule an appointment to see you" she complained.

Draco chuckled as he padded towards his chair; he then sat down and placed his God daughter on his lap. "Don't exaggerate Torry, I'm not that busy" he replied. He then turned towards Candice and nuzzled her hair; "Right Munchkin?" he cooed.

Candice started giggling as she began fumbling with his robes.

Astoria rolled her eyes; "So, how have you been? I haven't seen you lately?" she asked.

"I guess, I have been busy, I'm always on call nowadays" Draco replied while prying out his Goddaughter's hand away from his glasses.

Astoria frowned; "Why are you always on call?" she asked.

Draco successfully plucked his glasses away from Candice hand and placed it on top of his desk; he then started bouncing her on his lap, making the toddler giggle. "Because I'm the only one who doesn't have a social life, I guess?" he replied nonchalantly.

Astoria shook her head; "You should go out often you know, you're single, you should mingle!" she said.

Draco immediately stopped bouncing Candice and studied his friend carefully; "Did Mum sent you?" he asked suspiciously.

Astoria raised her brow; "Why would Aunt Cissy send me?" she asked.

"Because she's been on my case since last week" Draco replied.

Astoria huffed; "She wouldn't be in your case if you're doing something about it"

Draco gently lifted Candice off his lap and sat her on top of his desk; "I can see nothing wrong with being single Astoria, it's not like I'm sleeping around" he said.

"But it's been years!"

"And I'm still counting! I don't really have time for mingling and relationships are complicated and I already have a complicated life"

Astoria sighed; she then eyed her friend. "Is this still about...Daph?" she asked hesitantly.

Draco scowled; "Seriously!" he huffed.

Astoria averted his gaze; "Well...ever since you two separated it seems like you haven't been into a serious relationship..." she said.

Draco sighed; "It has nothing to do with Daphne, I'm long past that heartache. It's just that I haven't found the one who's worth risking and that's without lack of trying, if I daresay" he answered truthfully.

Astoria's face brightened; "Aha! So you are searching! That's what I want to hear!" she said triumphantly.

Draco shook his head in disbelief; "I can't believe you used your sister in prying information out off me!" he huffed.

Astoria laughed loudly.

Draco mumbled.

oOo

"I already blocked his schedule for a week Aunt Cissy, he can already leave anytime"

Narcissa smiled widely; "Thank you so much love! I thought it would be a problem" she replied.

"Draco has tons of unused leaves, he's superior is quite excited to let him off quickly. Seems like he's the only healer who's always on call"

Narcissa shook her head; "He seldom takes a break, this would be good for him then" she said.

"I just hope he doesn't hex me to bits when he finds out"

"Don't worry, I won't let him do such thing" Narcissa guaranteed.

"Well...when do you want him there?"

Narcissa smirked; "Tomorrow I guess? I'll just let her settle down then I'll send him right in" she replied.

"Oh..."

Narcissa stood up; "Well...I think I better go, so many things to do, so little time. I'll keep you posted about the developments, thank you again for doing this" she said.

"You're welcome. I'll see you soon!"

Narcissa swished her wand and disparated with a loud crack.

oOo

Hermione landed in the middle of the living room with a loud pop; she hastily dropped her luggage and began studying her surroundings. She felt her jaw drop when she saw the vast beach landscape outside the glass sliding doors; hastily, she walked towards it and pushed it open. "Where am I?" she asked to herself. Gingerly, she stepped into the balcony and smiled widely when she felt the warm salty sea breeze caress her face; she plucked her wand from her pocket and casted a location charm.

"NORTHERN EQUATOR - INDIAN OCEAN, MALDIVES ISLAND, UTC/GMT + 5"

Hermione gasped in awe; "I am in Maldives...WOW..." she said in wonder. She then cancelled the charm and stared out to the ocean; she felt lightness inside her chest as she bathed in her warm surroundings. "I'll no longer think about you Ronald Weasley...I'll find my true happy ending and this is the start..." she muttered to herself.


Chapter 7: Strange and beautiful
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Chapter Seven: Strange and Beautiful

"I'll put a spell on you, you'll fall asleep. I'll put a spell on you and when I wake you, I'll be the first thing you see..." (Strange & Beautiful (I'll Put A Spell On You by Aqualung)

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 5:00 P.M

After a couple minutes of staring at the ocean, Hermione felt that it's time for her to explore her temporary home, so she went back inside. Once she stepped into the threshold again, she began to admire the things that she wasn't able to appreciate when she first arrived; like the large pristine white sofa-bed in the middle of the room with cloud-like pillows, the large flat-screen LED television on the wall and the modernized light fixtures that gives the room an ethereal glow. Gingerly, she moved towards the sofa-bed and sat down; she ran her fingers on top of the cushions and let out a smile when she felt how soft it was. She then turned her gaze towards the other side of the partition of the room, with curiosity peaking, she stood again; she leisurely padded towards the other side and realized that it was the dining area that she stepped into. She marvelled at the exquisitely carved dining table and the fine detailing on each chairs; "Everything seem so fancy here, Merlin!" she said to herself.

Crack!

Hermione immediately snatched her wand from her back pocket and turned towards the sound, with her wand hand raised, she asked; "Who's there?"

"Miss!" A tiny creature yelped.

Hermione furrowed her brows and tried searching for voice; "Show yourself!" she said.

Slowly, a tiny elf appeared behind the other side of the dining table; the creature moved away from it and began to bow. "My name is Didi Mistress, I is here to serve you..."

After lowering her wand, she moved towards the elf and kneeled right in front of it. "Hi Didi, my name is Hermione, it's nice to meet you" she said with a smile.

The elf stared at her with its huge beady eyes; "Mistress is right, you is different" the elf said.

Hermione chuckled; she then furrowed her brows and started thinking. "Are you allowed to tell me who your Mistress is?" she asked.

The elf began playing with the hem of her floral dress; "I is not allowed Ms. Hermione..." the elf replied.

Hermione sighed; "Well...we can't do anything about that..." she said.

The elf straightened itself and stared at her Mistress; "Is Miss hungry? I can fix you something to eat" she offered.

Hermione stood up; she leaned her side on one of the chairs and bit her lower lip. "I'm not hungry, I just had lunch before I left, but, a fruit shake would be lovely" she said.

The elf beamed; "Yes Miss, what fruit does Miss want?"

"What fruit do you have here?"

"We have fresh coconut and mangoes" Didi replied.

Hermione thought for awhile; "I think I'll try the coconut, I haven't tried that yet" she said.

The elf smiled; "I'll make your shake Miss but where is you having it? Do you want to have it in the Lanai? The sun is about to set and you's can watch it there" she offered.

Hermione thought for a couple of seconds; "Yes, I'd like to have it there, but can you point me where the Lanai is? I'm quite lost" she admitted bashfully.

The house elf beamed; "Of course Miss, please follow me"

oOo

Potter Manor - London, England – 1:00 P.M

"Do you think Hermione has already left?" Astoria asked while playing with her sleeping daughter's hair.

Harry tore his eyes away from his book and took a peek on his wrist watch; "I'd like to think so" he replied.

Astoria nodded; "I'm just wondering..." she replied.

Harry just smiled.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 1:15 P.M

"You're wearing off the carpet dear" Lucius drawled.

Narcissa stopped pacing and turned towards her husband; "Why isn't he here yet? He's supposed to be here!" she said petulantly.

Lucius took off his reading glasses and placed it on top of the book his reading; "Did you owl him?" he asked.

"Of course I did! I even told him to come by! He needs to eat those cherries you bought!"

Lucius frowned; "Did you do something with those cherries dear?" he asked suspiciously.

Narcissa scowled; "He won't die" she replied vaguely.

Lucius brought his hands on top of his desk and clasped it; "You laced it with something then?" he asked casually.

Narcissa waived her hand dismissively.

"You're planning on acting now, aren't you?" Lucius asked.

"The sooner the better" Narcissa replied.

Lucius smirked; "You work fast love, I'm impressed" he complimented.

Narcissa smiled brightly; "I work with aim, that's why" she boasted.

Lucius chuckled; "Well, I bid you goodluck then. Let's just hope that your son doesn't get suspicious" he said.

"Mum? Dad?"

"Looks like your victim is here" Lucius observed.

Narcissa glared at her husband; "Don't you dare breathe a word!" she hissed.

Lucius threw both hands in surrender.

Narcissa let out a sigh of relief; she then composed herself and pasted a huge smile on her face. "We're in the Drawing Room love!" she bellowed.

Draco's head peered behind the door and smiled; "Hi!" he greeted. He then pushed the door open and padded inside. "I'm here" he said.

"It's nice to see you again, son" Lucius replied.

Narcissa gingerly walked towards her son and flung her arms around him; "What took you so long?" she asked.

Draco wrapped his arms around his Mother's waist and returned the hug; "Err—I've been working?" he replied.

Lucius sniggered.

Narcissa pulled away and pinched her son's both cheeks; "Don't be cheeky with me young man!" she said.

Draco pried his mother's hands away and began soothing his cheeks; "That will cost you another box of my precious cherries!" he said.

Narcissa laughed; "You can take them all love" she replied.

Lucius stood from his chair; "Why don't we go to the dining room and eat lunch, it's almost time anyway" he said.

Draco smirked; "Let's, I'm starving, I haven't eaten all day!" he said.

Narcissa turned towards her husband; "Good, after our lunch we can eat some of those delectable cherries" she said while smirking triumphantly.

Lucius rolled his eyes; "Lead the way then" he said.

oOo

Millicent appeared inside her living room with a beet-red face; she threw her clutch bag on her settee and began stumping her foot. "That sodding prick! I can't believe I wasted my time with him! Argh!" she shrieked. She angrily padded towards her fire place and scooped a copious amount of floo powder; she threw it on the grate and waited for the green flames, once satisfied, she shouted her friends address.

Pansy Parkinson's face appeared on the other side of the flames; hair wrapped in a fluffy towel and body enfolded with a silk robe. "Millie?" she asked confusedly.

"Pansy!" Millicent cried.

Pansy kneeled right in front of the fire place and furrowed his brows; "What's wrong with your face? Why is it...red?" she asked.

Millicent sat on her haunches as tears began welling in her eyes; "You are right..." she said.

Pansy frowned; "What do you mean I'm right?" she asked.

Tears began running down Millicent's cheeks as she struggled to speak; "That—that fucking arsehole...he—he...oh Pans, I can't even say it!" she cried.

Pansy's face softened; "What do you want me to say Millie?" she asked.

Millicent sniffed; "Can you—can you come here? I don't want to be alone..." she pleaded.

Pansy stared at her friend for a couple of seconds and sighed; "Alright, I'll be there. Just give me 10 minutes and I'll floo through" she said.

Millicent wiped her tears and forced out a smile; "Thank you Pans, I'll be waiting" she said.

Pansy nodded and severed the connection; she then stood up and padded towards her vanity. She plucked her mobile phone on top of it and began scrolling; once she found the number she dialled it and waited for the other person to pick up.

"Hello"

"Theo? I can't make it"

"Why? But we already planned this a week ago? Please don't bail on me Pans" Theo pleaded.

Pansy padded towards her bed and sat down; "I really want to go out with you but I can't. Millie fire-called me awhile ago, crying, she asked me to come over and I wasn't able to say no" she explained.

Theo sighed.

"I'm really sorry T, I'll make it up to you. I'll try to leave her place early so I can drop by your house, would that be alright?" Pansy bargained.

"Alright...just let me know, okay?" Theo said.

Pansy smiled; "I will, talk to you later! Ciao!" she said.

"Bye" Theo replied.

Pansy clicked off her mobile phone and placed it on top of her side table; she then took off the towel from her hair and began drying it.

oOo

The Burrow - Ottery, St. Catchpole - Devon, England – 1:30 P.M.

"There under the shrub, catch it!" Molly exclaimed.

Ginny ran towards the shrub her Mother was pointing at and crouched down; she was pushing some leaves away when she felt a sharp pain in one of her fingers. "Ouch!" she yelped. She hastily pulled her hand away and brought it right in front of her face; "The bugger just bit me!" she said.

Molly padded towards her daughter; "What happened?" she asked worriedly.

Ginny showed her bleeding thumb to her Mother; "The bloody gnome bit me!" she said disbelievingly.

Molly chuckled; "Of course it will bite you dear, you're throwing them outside our yard" she said a-matter-of-factly. She then pulled her wand from her pinafore pocket and pointed it at her daughter's finger; she casted a cleansing charm and sealed the wound. "All better" she said.

Ginny smiled at her Mother; "Thanks Mum!" she said. She was about to turn towards the shrub again but stopped when she noticed an owl flying towards their house; "Do you recognize that owl?" she asked.

Molly turned towards the incoming owl and furrowed her brows; "I don't think I ever saw that owl before" she said.

Ginny straightened her stance and stood beside her Mother; "It might be Anthony's but I'm not sure, he always used his own owl in sending me letters" she said.

The owl flew towards Molly and began flapping its wings wildly in front of her. Molly immediately raised her hand; allowing the owl to perch its claws on her arm. Once settled, she reached for the letter attached to its foot and almost instantly the bird flew away.

"Looks like it for you and Dad" Ginny observed.

Molly shrugged her shoulders; "Let's see who this is from then," she said. She tore the seal open and began straightening the paper; once pleased, she began perusing its contents. After a couple of seconds, her face lost its colour.

"Mum? What's wrong?" Ginny asked worriedly.

Molly folded the paper; "It's from Mr. and Mrs. Brown" she said.

Ginny furrowed her brows; "Lavender Brown's parents?" she asked.

Molly nodded.

"What do they want?" Ginny asked.

Molly hid the letter inside her pinafore's front pocket; "They want to talk to your Father and I, they did not say why but it looks to me that it's about what's written in the paper last week" she said.

Ginny bit her lip.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 5:15 P.M

Hermione sat comfortably on a large C-shaped settee while gazing at the setting sun; "One loves the sunset, when one is so sad" she said to herself.

"Miss, your shake is here" The elf said while placing the tall glass on top of the square table.

Hermione turned towards the elf and let out a sad smile; "Thank you Didi" she replied.

The elf studied her Mistress face; "Does Miss not like it here?" she asked worriedly.

Hermione shook her head; "No Didi, I like it here...In fact, I think I'm falling in love with this place..." she admitted.

The elf smiled; "This place is most beautiful among my Mistress's houses, this is Didi's most favourites!" she exclaimed.

Hermione smiled; she then leaned forward and grasped the shake on top of the table. "You really can't tell me who your Mistress is, right?" she asked before taking a sip from her drink.

The elf shook its head; "Didi is sorry Miss" she squeaked.

Hermione drank a couple of gulps and threw a huge smile at the elf; "This is delicious!" she exclaimed.

The elf beamed; "I is glad that you like it Miss" she replied.

Hermione took another sip of her shake before placing it back on top of the table again; she began perusing her surroundings and almost instantly her gaze fell on the left side of the Lanai when a tiny movement caught her eye. She furrowed her brows and began moving towards the edge of the settee she's sitting on; cautiously, she leaned over it and felt disbelief when she felt her fingers get wet. "Is this a swimming pool?" she asked.

"Yes Miss, that is one of the pools in this house!" Didi replied.

Hermione turned towards the elf with huge eyes; "What do you mean one of the pools? How many does this house have?" she asked.

"We only have three Miss"

Hermione swallowed hard; "Three? Why do you need three swimming pools when you have the beautiful ocean at your disposal? This is insane!" she exclaimed.

"The pools are made based from my Master's preferences Miss!" Didi squeaked.

Hermione furrowed her brows; "What do you mean?" she asked.

The elf moved towards Hermione and sat on the floor; she then pointed her crooked finger towards the cup shaped pool that framed the back and sides of the Lanai. "This pool is my Mistress's, she is very afraid of the ocean so Mistress likes this" she explained.

Hermione nodded; "Okay...how about the two other pools?" she asked.

The elf began playing with the hem of her floral dress; "The others two is the Jacuzzi and the infinity pool"

Hermione's brows rose; "You have a Jacuzzi here? But its Muggle!" she said incredulously.

Didi nodded; "The Masters is liking to infuse both Muggle and Wizard style in this house!"

"Oooookay" Hermione said.

The elf beamed; "Miss should explore the whole house, you should sees the beauty! Oh how Didi will like to guide you!"

Hermione chuckled; "I'm sure I'll need a tour, I'll get lost in this house" she replied.

Didi hastily stood up; "Didi will help Miss but first, Didi must fix Miss dinner its almost time!"

Hermione took a peek from her watch; "I haven't set the correct time in my watch yet, what is the time difference between here and London, do you know?" she asked.

The elf snapped her fingers and instantly the time in London and time in Maldives appeared right on of her.

Hermione smiled at the elf; "Why thank you Didi, I will now adjust the time in my watch" she said.

The elf smiled back; she then snapped her fingers again and almost instantly, tiny fairy lights began lighting the Lanai.

Hermione stood up and began moving towards her original perch; she sat down again and grabbed her shake. "Thank you for lighting this place Didi, it looks lovely" she said.

The elf bowed; "Didi will fix Miss her dinner, it will be ready soon"

"I'll follow you then after a couple of minutes" Hermione replied.

The snapped her fingers again and vanished with a loud crack.

Hermione took a sip of her drink and let out a huge sigh after; she then turned her gaze towards the descending sun and felt sadness claim her heart once more when its glow gave way to the sapphire night skies.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 1:54 P.M

Draco patted his lips with his napkin and leaned back on his chair; "That was excellent," he said.

Lucius began swirling his wine inside his goblet as he stared at his son; "You're not really kidding when you said you were hungry son" he said.

Draco chuckled; "I take it that you were surprised then" he asked.

Narcissa chuckled; "Don't mind your Father, he's just not used to seeing you eat so much" she replied. She then furrowed her brows and stared at her son worriedly; "Have you been eating a proper meal love? It looks to me that you lost a lot of weight ever since you moved out" she said.

Lucius rolled his eyes; "Narcissa stop babying your son, he is a grown man and he can take care of himself" he said.

Draco threw his Father a grateful look; "Dad is right Mum, I'm alright. The work load is just heavy that's why I lost some weight" he assured.

Narcissa nodded; she then grasped her goblet and took a sip of her wine.

"So, where are my cherries?" Draco asked with a huge smile.

Narcissa's eyes widen; "You want to eat them now? But I assumed you just had your fill?" she said.

Lucius sniggered; "Your son is a growing man, he has room for measly cherries" he said. He then turned towards his wife and grinned; "Why don't you let your son sample those delectable cherries darling" he drawled.

Draco took a sip of water from his glass; "I won't eat that much Mum, just a bite or two" he said.

Narcissa relented; she snapped her fingers and called for her elf.

A tiny elf appeared beside her Mistress and curtseyed; "You summoned Mistress?"

Narcissa turned towards the elf and smiled; "Hi Mimi, can you get the cherries from Paris, please" she said.

"Mimi will get those cherries right away Mistress" Mimi said, she then disappeared with a loud pop.

"Where is Didi?" Draco asked.

Narcissa waived her hand dismissively; "Didi is doing some errands for me" she replied.

Lucius muffled his laugh.

Narcissa opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted with her elf re-appearing; she turned towards the tiny creature and accepted the boxes. "Thank you Mimi, that would be all" she said.

The elf curtseyed again and dissapparated with a loud pop.

"Is that my cherries?" Draco asked brightly.

Narcissa smiled; "Yes it is, its two boxes you see, since you're Father and I doesn't eat much sweet, you can both take them home" she said.

"Really?" Draco asked. He then turned towards his Father; "It's all mine?" he asked.

Lucius gestured for the box with his hand; "Indeed it's yours son, please don't eat them all in one sitting" he said.

Draco smiled widely; "Of course I won't, thank you though" he replied.

Lucius nodded.

Narcissa passed the boxes to her son with a huge smile; "Here you go love, don't eat too much" she said.

Draco accepted the parcel and opened the first box on top; he studied the chocolate dipped confection and picked the first cherry from the left.

Narcissa turned towards her husband and winked triumphantly.

Lucius rolled his eyes.

Draco plucked the sweet from the box and popped it into his mouth; he chewed it with vigour and swallowed every last morsel of chocolate. "This is excellent but it has a weird after taste" he observed.

Lucius turned towards his wife and raised his brow.

Narcissa cleared her throat; "It's the same dear," she said.

Draco popped another cherry into his mouth and began chewing it slowly; he then turned towards his Mum and frowned. He was about to open his mouth to speak but was not able to utter a word because his eyes rolled at the back of his head and his vision blackened.

Narcissa immediately pointed her wand at her son and casted a stasis charm; preventing him from falling face first into the table.

Lucius clapped his hands; "You my dear are excellent!" he said jovially.

Narcissa smirked towards her husband; "He's such a smart man, he was able to tell that something's different with the taste" she said.

"He's our son, of course he's smart" Lucius said. He then grasped his goblet and took another sip; "So, now that you have your son incapacitated, what is your next step?" he asked.

Narcissa ignored her husband's question; "Do you want dessert? I think I want some cremebrulee" she said.

Lucius pointed towards his son; "Aren't you worried that he might wake up?" he asked.

Narcissa grinned mischievously; "1 cherry is for 12 hours of sleep, since he ate 2, it's safe to have dessert" she said.

Lucius laughed; "You make your house proud" he said.

Narcissa smirked.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 7:40 P.M.

"The dinner was terrific Didi" Hermione complemented while dabbing her lips with a table napkin.

Didi beamed; "Didi is please that Miss like my cooking" she said.

Hermione leaned back contentedly on her chair and sighed; "I'm so full I don't think I can walk" she said.

"Does Miss want some coffee?"

Hermione shook her head fervently; "No Didi, I don't think I have space" she said.

The elf nodded; "Does Mistress want to tour around the house then?"

Hermione smiled; "I think that's a good idea, I still don't know where to sleep tonight" she said thoughtfully.

The elf beamed; "Didi already moved your luggage to one of the rooms Miss, does Miss want to see the rooms she'll be sleeping in?" she asked.

Hermione stood up and placed the napkin on top of the table; she then began piling up her utensils on top of her plate. "We can go after I clear this up" she said.

Didi's eyes bulged as she stares at Hermione's action; "No Miss, Didi will take care of it!" she cried.

Hermione ignored the elf's reaction and carried her plate; "Where is your kitchen?" she asked.

Didi hastily snapped her fingers and instantly, the cutlery disappeared from Hermione's hand; "I is taking care of the dishes Miss, I can show you your room"

Hermione stared at her empty hands and rolled her eyes; "I can help you with those you know" she said. She then turned towards the little elf; "But since your excited, you can take me to that room" she said.

Didi flashed a triumphant smile; she then raised her hand and gestured towards the corridor that's connected to the dining room. "Didi will show you, please follow me Miss" she said. The elf began padding towards the corridor.

Hermione followed the elf.

Didi stopped on the first door from her left and turned towards Hermione; she began fiddling with the hem of her dress again and stared at Hermione nervously. "This is Missus room, Didi hopes that it is to your liking" she said. She then turned towards the door and opened it with a snap of her crooked fingers.

Hermione walked towards the door and moved closer to it; she pushed it open and peered inside. "Okay...is there any light here?" she asked.

Didi stepped into the room and snapped her fingers; instantly the light fixtures illuminated the whole room.

Hermione felt her jaw drop when she saw the whole room; "Is this—is this where I'd be sleeping at?" she asked.

Didi beamed; "Yes Miss, you're clothes are already inside the closet" she said.

Hermione took a tentative step inside the room; her eyes began to wander on the small sitting room at the base and the huge king size bed on the elevated platform behind it. She slowly pointed her finger on the sliding door on the right, a few steps away from the bed; "What is that?" she asked curiously.

"That is the walk in closet Miss, you're clothes are in there" Didi replied.

"Oh!" Hermione said. She then walked further into the room and approached the L-shaped sofa that's built in into the base of the platform; she leaned forward and ran her fingers on top of the smooth foam. She then began padding towards the two steps stairs and started climbing; once she reached the top of the platform she moved towards the bed. She sat down on top of the comforter and began bouncing up and down; "This is so soft!" she exclaimed happily.

Didi followed Hermione and beamed; "Is it to your liking Miss?" she asked.

Hermione beamed; "It is! I love this room!" she exclaimed. She then fell back on the bed and let out a contented sigh; "I still can't over the fact that you have Muggle stuff in here" she said while studying the airconditioner that's perched on the wall on top of her bed.

"Mistress had that installed because sometimes the weathers here is extreme even cooling charms don't work" Didi explained.

Hermione sat up; "Really?" she asked.

The elf nodded; "Yes Miss, the climate here is erratic" she said.

"I see" Hermione replied while stifling her yawn.

The elf noticed; "Didi will leave Miss to rest" she said.

"But we still need to tour the house" Hermione said.

"We still have tomorrow Miss, you should rest"

Hermione conceded and fell back on the bed; "Thank you Didi" she said sleepily.

"Miss is welcome" Didi squeaked. She then pointed her hand on the airconditioner and zapped it on, she dimmed the lights and dissapparated with a loud crack.

Hermione sat up again and began taking off her ballet flats; she crawled up the headboard and pushed the comforter at the bottom of the bed. She pulled one of the fluffy pillows and hugged it closer; she found her most comfortable spot and closed her tired eyes.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 7:00 P.M

Narcissa zipped the last bag; she then padded towards her sons bed and leaned forward. She gently stroked her sleeping son's cheek and smiled; "I hope you'll forgive me for this love, I just want you to be happy..." she whispered.

Lucius pushed the door open and peered inside; "Are you sending him off now?" he asked.

Narcissa sat on the bed and turned towards her husband; "I will" she replied.

Lucius padded towards his wife and furrowed his brows; "Are you crying?" he asked.

Narcissa sniffed and waived her hand dismissively; "Of course not! Don't be silly" she replied.

Lucius shook his head; "How are you sending him?" he asked.

Narcissa stood up and began rummaging her robes pocket; she plucked the small velvet drawstring bag and pulled out a diamond earring.

Lucius raised his brow; "You are aware that if you send that with him, he can use it to comeback first thing in the morning?" he asked.

"Of course I am! That's why I have Didi there, once Draco arrives, she will hide the earring from him" Narcissa replied smugly.

Lucius crossed his arms on top of his chest; "He can always order Didi to return it to him" he challenged.

Narcissa grinned; "I already ordered Didi not to follow any of his commands pertaining to leaving the place" she replied.

"How about Ms. Granger then? I'm sure she is aware that the other earring is in her disposal, she can leave anytime she pleases" Lucius asked.

Narcissa winked; "I already tinkered with the other earring, she won't be able to leave alone" she replied slyly.

Lucius raised his hands in defeat; "You are the queen of scheming my love" he said.

Narcissa laughed; "Of course I am," she replied. She then turned towards her son; "Should we send him off?" she asked.

"You get it over with, we don't want your son waking up here, Merlin knows there would be hell to pay!" Lucius said.

Narcissa nodded; "Mimi?" she called.

A tiny elf appeared with a loud pop and curtseyed; "Yes Mistress"

Narcissa pointed towards the luggage's; "Bring that to our Beach House in Maldives, Draco will be staying there" she said. T

The elf bowed; "Yes Mistress, is there anything else?"

"Once you deposited all of his things inside his room, have Didi tend to him and apparate back, okay?" Narcissa said.

"Yes Mistress" The elf curtseyed and began padding towards his young master's luggage, she held it in her crooked hands and dissapparated with a loud pop.

Narcissa turned towards her son and perched herself on the side of the bed; she leaned forward and pried Draco's hand open. Gently, she deposited the diamond earring on one of his open palms and clasped it closed; she leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on her son's forehead. "See you soon love, have a wonderful trip" she said. She then pointed her wand on his closed fist and muttered; "Portus"

A faint glow erupted from Draco's closed fist and in a matter of seconds he disappeared from his bed.

Narcissa turned towards her husband and smiled; "It has been done, let's hope for the best" she said.

Lucius nodded.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 11:12 P.M

Didi sat on the floor, waiting patiently for her young master's arrival; "Master should be here any seconds!" she said.

Blue light erupted in the middle of the room as Draco's body appeared out of thin air.

Didi hastily pointed her finger on Draco's slumbering body, gently, laying him on top of the huge sofa bed; "Young Master is here!" she said excitedly. She then padded towards Draco's sleeping form and silently pried his hands open; gingerly, she plucked the diamond earring and hid it inside her dress pocket. She pointed her finger on her young master for the second time and began levitating him towards his own room; "Didi will take you, to your room Master" she said.


Chapter 8: Just give it time
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Chapter Eight: Just give it time

"Still waters, heavy hearts, plans we make all fall apart. Disillusioned and lost in the gray, how can we fix the heart when it breaks? Don't know how much more you can take. Just give it time, it's gonna get better..." (Just give it time by Jon McLaughlin)

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 10:00 A.M

Hermione woke up with the fresh scent of coffee wafting inside her room; she yawned sleepily and stretched her arms upward. Once the kinks are gone, she threw her blankets off her body and sat up; her eyes wandering inside her room, looking for the culprit of her awakening.

"WHAT THE BLOODY HELL!"

Hermione's eyes widen upon hearing the voice; she hastily scampered towards the side of the bed and snatched her wand from the side table. "Didi?" she called out.

The tiny elf appeared right at her side and bowed; "Miss is awake, did Miss have good sleep? Did Miss see the breakfast that Didi made?" she asked brightly.

"Didi, I—I heard a voice—"

"MOTHER!"

Hermione stop mid-question and turned her gaze towards her bedroom door; she gripped her wand tightly in her hands as she stood up.

Didi winced and tried to pull on Hermione's left pant leg; "Didi is sorry Miss, but young master seems to be in a bad mood" she said apologetically.

Hermione frowned; "What do you mean young master? I thought I was alone here?" she asked suspiciously.

Didi immediately began hitting her head on the bedpost; "I am sorry Miss...Didi was not supposed to tell!" she wailed.

Hermione crouched down and pulled on the elf's shoulder, keeping her from bashing her head further.
"Stop that Didi, I forbid you to hurt yourself!" she said.

The elf stopped struggling; she turned her tear-stricken face to Hermione and sniffed; "Didi is a bad elf. Didi should punish herself" she sobbed.

"Well I am your Miss for now so you better follow what I say"

Didi sniffed again and started to look at her feet.

Hermione sat on her haunches on the floor and crossed her arms on top of her chest; "Now Didi, as you're Miss, I want you to tell me who are you referring to as young master? And how did he get here? I thought I only have access to this place for the time being?" she asked.

Didi began fumbling with her hands; she was about to answer when a loud bang resounded inside the house.

"IF THERE IS ANY ELF HERE OR GOBLIN OR WHATEVER MOTHER EMPLOYED TO TAKE CARE OF THIS BLASTED HOUSE I COMMAND YOU TO SHOW YOURSELF TO ME!"

Hermione scowled; "The young master you're referring to is quite a character, aye?" she huffed.

Didi winced; "Didi must show herself to young master, Didi is suppose to answer to her master. Please Miss, don't leave this room. Didi will go to young master" she pleaded.

Hermione stood up; "I can't let you do that alone! What if he hurts you?" she said.

Didi let out a little smile; "Don't worry for Didi Miss, young master won't hurt me. He is good" she said.

Another door slummed shut inside the house; "If that's your only basis of good, I doubt your judgement!" Hermione snapped.

"IS ANYBODY HERE? I COMMAND YOU TO SHOW YOURSELF!"

Didi threw Hermione a pleading look and snapped her fingers, disappearing right in front of her eyes.

Hermione huffed; "I better see who this young master is!" she said. She then padded towards the edge of the bed and began searching for her flats.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 6:10 AM

Lucius groaned and turned towards his wife; he moved towards her side of the bed but found that it was empty. He sleepily opened his eyes as he struggled to sit up.

"You can still have a lie in, it's still early"

Lucius turned towards the window and saw his wife standing beside it; "What are you doing up so early?" he croaked.

Narcissa turned towards her husband and smiled; "Nothing...just thinking" she replied.

Lucius yawned and leaned back on the head board; he threw a look at his wrist watch and yawned again. "Your son must be up by now" he said.

Narcissa chuckled; "I wonder what happened" she asked.

Lucius sniffed; "I'm quite sure he's throwing a hissy fit by now and sparks are flying everywhere, I just hope they won't damage our furniture's beyond repair" he said.

Narcissa grinned; "Oh how I want to see the both of them together" she gushed.

Lucius shook his head and closed his eyes.

oOo

Pansy was picking up her things in a hurried phase; she was about to open the door successfully when strong arms enveloped her waist. "Leaving without saying goodbye?" Theo asked while nuzzling her neck.

Pansy instantly stiffen; "What are you doing Nott?" she asked.

Theo stopped and pulled away; "What got into your knickers? It's still early and you're already fretting" he asked.

Pansy sighed and turned towards him; "I'm sorry Theo...I'm just not used to...use to this" she admitted.

Theo studied her face, after a couple of seconds; he pulled her towards his chest and hugged her tightly. "Well you better get used to this because I like cuddling in the morning" he said.

Pansy shyly wrapped her arms around his lean torso and buried her face into his chest; "Well I'm glad, I like cuddling too" she replied.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 10:18 A.M

Crack

Draco stopped pacing and turned towards the sound; "Didi?" he said disbelievingly. He padded towards the elf and crossed his arms on top of his chest; "What is the meaning of this? Is this the errand that Mum is talking about? Why am I here?" he asked frantically.

Didi lowered her head; "I is don't know Master" she replied.

Draco eyed the elf for a couple of minutes and felt his temper flare; he was about to lift his hand in defeat and exasperation when he felt a spell hit his back, making him topple over the sofa bed.

Hermione lowered her wand and began moving towards the stiff man; she crouched towards the elf and began checking her body for injury. "Are you alright Didi? Did the man hurt you?" she asked worriedly.

Didi's eyes widen as she began to shook her head; "No Miss, Didi not hurt. Master did not hurt Didi" she squeaked.

Hermione felt guilt gnaw at her chest when her eyes fell on the man laying face first into the sofa; she hastily pointed her wand at his back and began levitating him. She felt her jaw drop when she recognized the face of the wizard who's floating stiffly in front of her. "Malfoy?" she asked.

Draco just moved his eyes.

"Oh Merlin!" Hermione exclaimed. She gently moved him towards the sofa bed and pointed her wand at him again. "Finite Incantatum" she said.

"Granger?" Draco asked confusedly. He then felt his temper flare again so he clenched his fist tightly; "What are you doing here? What the bloody hell is going on here?" he asked furiously.

Hermione felt blood rising into her cheeks as embarrassment and indignation began pounding into her ears; "I don't know what's going on here so don't you shout-!" she yelled.

"You stupefied me! You cursed me in my own house!" Draco said cutting her off. He then stood from the sofa and began pacing; "I can't believe you have the audacity to pull your wand at me after I saved your life!" he said.

Hermione's eyes widen; "IT WAS YOUR BLOODY JOB MALFOY! I DON'T OWE YOU ANYTHING! AND WHY ARE YOU MAD AT ME? I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TO YOU! I DON'T EVEN BLOODY KNOW WHY YOU'RE HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE" she spat.

Draco stopped pacing as her words began to sink in; he turned towards the red faced Hermione and furrowed his brows. "That's what puzzles me too, how did you get here and WHY are you here? This our beach house" he said.

Hermione sniffed and crossed her arms on top of her chest; "Harry and Torry sent me here because I told them that I needed to leave London after what happened" she said.

Draco's angry face softened; he then padded towards the sofa and sat down. "Oh I see..." he replied.

Hermione took a deep calming breath; "I can leave you know...I didn't know that this place was yours" she said.

Draco shook his head as he leaned back on the sofa; he began rubbing his eyes tiredly as ire left his body. "You don't have too, I'm sorry that I screamed at you, you are welcome here" he said. He then opened his eyes and stared at her; "I was just so furious because I was sent here without my permission or my knowledge" he said resignedly.

Hermione moved towards the sofa and gestured towards the space; "Can I?" she asked.

Draco nodded.

Hermione then sat down and gathered her hands on her lap; she turned towards Draco and stared at him. "You mean you don't know how you got here?" she asked.

Draco nodded again.

Hermione furrowed her brows; "That's curious...I used a portkey to get here and I don't think there's any another way of travelling here aside that..." she said.

Draco huffed; "That's also why I'm raving mad. The last thing I remember is eating lunch with my parents and voilla, I'm here!" he said.

"Oh..." Hermione gasped.

Draco was staring pensively at the coffee table when realization dawned on him; his eyes widen as he shoot up from his perch. "The cherries! Those bloody cherries! Oh Mum just wait till I get my hands on you!" he hissed.

Hermione was taken aback by his reaction; "What do you mean cherries?" she asked.

Draco began pacing again; "My mother gave me some chocolate dipped cherries from Paris last night. When I finished the first one, there seems to be a weird after taste so I told her, but she dismissed me! I popped another one in my mouth to see if it's the same but before I even got the chance to speak my world blacked out" he said thru clenched teeth.

Hermione stared at Draco confusedly; "So, you were duped by cherries?" she clarified.

Draco stopped pacing and stared at Hermione sternly; "I was not duped by cherries, I was duped by my meddlesome Mother!" he said.

"Oh!"

Draco resumed his pacing; "I just don't understand why I'm here! If she let you use this house, why did she send me here in the first place" he asked.

Hermione began fumbling with her hands; "I really don't know the answer Malfoy..." she replied.

"I didn't think you would" Draco replied.

Hermione thought for a couple of seconds; "If portkey is the only way to come here then you must have it with you. Did you check if you have it, because Torry explicitly told me to not lose it because if I do, I can't leave" she said.

Draco stopped pacing; he turned towards Hermione and let out a wide grin. " . !" he said. He then dashed towards his room in a flash, leaving Hermione.

Hermione smiled triumphantly; she then turned her gaze towards Didi and asked. "I wonder why Narcissa sent his son here, do you know anything about this Didi?" she asked suspiciously.

Didi frantically shook her tiny head; "Didi doesn't know anything Miss" she replied.

Hermione was about to reply but was cut off with Draco appearing in the living room again; he glumly walked towards the sofa and sat down.

"Did you find it?" Hermione asked.

Draco frowned; "Mother must have planned this thoroughly, I can't find anything inside my room aside from my luggage" he said. "Luggage! She had the audacity to pack my things!" he said indignantly.

Hermione's eyes widen; "Looks like she did plan it after all!" she replied.

"I know!" Draco said. He then turned towards Didi; "If my Mum planned this all along then there is no means of leaving this place, I know for a fact that there's no way of asking Didi's help because she's my Mother's personal elf, she is bound to her" he said resignedly.

"How about my portkey?" Hermione asked.

Draco huffed; "Knowing my Mother, she might've tinkered with it to not let you leave as well" he said.

Hermione groaned; "But why would she do this!" she exasperatedly.

"I also don't know" Draco replied.

"What will happen to your job then?" Hermione asked.

Draco sighed and leaned back on the sofa; "My mother doesn't do things half way, for sure she already settled it with my boss" he replied gravely.

Hermione shook her head in disbelief; "I just can't understand why Narcissa would do this to you" she said.

"Me too" Draco replied.

oOo

Potter Manor – London, England – 10:34 A.M:

"Fifi is sorry to disturb Mistress but Mr. Weasley is at the door" Fifi said.

Astoria planted a soft kiss on Candice's head and stood up; she carried her daughter towards the play pen and lowered her down. "I'll be back munchkin, Mummy just has a visitor, be nice, okay?" she cooed.

Candice let out toothy grin; "Mummy!" she said while giggling.

Astoria gently patted her daughters head and smiled; "I'll be back" she said. She then towards the elf and furrowed her brows; "Did you let him in?" she asked.

Fifi began playing with the hem of her dress; "Fifi left him outside the foyer because Fifi doesn't know if Mistress will have him" she replied.

Astoria smirked; "Very good Fifi, I'll just go to the foyer then" she said. She then began padding towards the nursery door.

"Does Mistress want Fifi to make tea for the visitor?"

Astoria stopped and turned towards the elf; "No need Fifi, he won't be staying long" she said.

"Ruddy elf! Didn't even let me in! I'll have Harry know about this!" Ron spat furiously while pacing back and forth.

The main door flung open as Astoria stepped out of the threshold; she had her chin up as she stared at her husband's former best friend. "Ronald" she said coldly.

Ron let out a wide smile; "Torry" he greeted. He then began walking towards her and stopped at her front; he was about to hug her but Astoria took a step back.

"What do you want Ronald?" Astoria asked frostily.

Ron read her demeanour and took a step back; throwing her a pleading.. "I take it that you already knew the news then?" he resignedly said.

Astoria crossed her arms on top of her chest and crinkled her nose; "It was splattered on the Prophet, only a blind person won't see" she said.

Ron's shoulders fell as he stared at his shoes; "Harry also knows?" he asked.

Astoria sniffed; "Of course he does! He was there to clean up your mess and help Hermione pick up the pieces" she replied acidly.

Ron's head snapped towards Astoria; "So he knows where she'd gone to?" he asked hopefully.

"And if he does, pray tell, why would he tell you? You've already done enough damage, leave Hermione alone" Astoria spat.

Ron's face turned red as he clenched his fist; "Who are you to tell me to leave Hermione alone? You don't know what we've gone through so you don't have the slightest right to say those words to me, you're just Harry's wife!" he hissed.

Astoria felt her cheeks redden as her temper flare; she pulled her wand from her robe pocket and pointed it towards Ron. "I have ALL the right because I am Hermione's friend too! I may only be Harry's wife in your eyes but you are philandering scum in mine! Leave this house Ronald Weasley and don't you ever come back, you are no longer welcome!" she spat.

Ron laughed manically; "You don't own this house this is Harry's house so I will come and go as I please!" he hissed.

"I dare you then" she challenged. "Come back once Harry is here and let's see what happens!"

Ron huffed; "I will come back and you'll eat your words!" he said.

Astoria smirked; "Then by all means come back, just don't forget the fact that Hermione is also Harry's best friend and you hurt her" she said.

Ron felt a pang in his chest but he chose to ignore her biting words; he sneered at her and dissapparated with a loud pop.

Astoria shook her head in dismay.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 2:14 P.M

Draco walked inside the Lanai and stared at Hermione whose reading a book; he padded towards the couch and sat down. "Granger, you have a beautiful house in your disposal but you chose to read your book" he said.

Hermione tore her eyes away from her book and turned her gaze towards the blond man sitting a couple of inches away from her; "I like this book and I plan to finish it today" she replied.

Draco inhaled and smiled; "I like the smell of the ocean" he said.

"Are you here to make small talk Malfoy?" Hermione asked.

Draco turned his head towards her and crinkled his nose; "You always call me Malfoy" he observed.

Hermione dog-eared her novel and closed it; "Does it bother you? You call me Granger all the time," she replied.

Draco averted her gaze and began staring at the blue sky; "It doesn't, it just reminds me off school and I guess that's what I don't like" he replied.

Hermione placed her book beside her and turned towards Draco; she crossed her legs as she studied him. "You were a prat then," she said.

Draco chuckled; "Oh Hermione, you're too kind. I'm not a prat then, I was worse than that" he said.

Hermione felt a jolt inside her chest upon hearing her name from his lips; she felt her cheeks redden but blamed it on the scorching sun. "You're right, you're worst than a prat then Draco" she said nervously.

Draco's head instantly snapped towards her; staring at her intently.

Hermione uncrossed her legs and sat straight; "What?" she asked.

"I like it" Draco said.

Hermione's brow lifted; "What do you like?" she asked confusedly.

Draco smiled widely; "Hearing my name from you" he said.

Hermione's felt her cheeks heating up but she ignored it; she sat straighter and turned her gaze towards the blue horizon. "This place is really beautiful" she said, changing the topic.

Draco shook his head with a small smile painting his lips; he turned towards the vast sky and took a deep breath. "Mum bought it years ago, she always loved beaches" he replied.

Hermione closed her eyes as the warm ocean breeze caressed her face; "Narcissa has good taste" she replied.

"Don't let her hear that, her head is big enough" Draco joked.

Hermione chuckled as she opened her eyes; "I'll tell her you said that" she replied.

Draco just smiled.

oOo

Large green flames burst into the fireplace as Astoria's face illuminated through the fire; Harry's face turned towards the grate as he recognized his wife's face.

"Harry?" Astoria called out.

Harry stood from his desk and began padding towards the fireplace; he kneeled right in front of it and let out a smile. "Hey love" he greeted.

Astoria smiled; "Hi love" she replied.

"Is there anything the matter?" Harry asked.

Astoria let out a sigh; "Ron was here" she said.

Harry furrowed his brows as anger began seeping into his blood; "What did the Weasel want?" he asked.

"He knows that Hermione left" Astoria replied.

Harry swore.

Astoria crinkled her nose in disapproval.

"I'm sorry love, I can't help it" Harry said sheepishly.

Astoria's face softened; "That's okay...he was asking where Hermione went" she said while tucking a stray hair behind her right ear.

Harry frowned; "Did you tell her?" he asked.

"Of course not!" Astoria huffed. She then cleared her throat; "In fact, I told him off" she said proudly.

Harry laughed; "You are brilliant" he praised.

Astoria grinned widely and puffed her chest; "I know I am" she replied.

Harry smiled; "Well, serves him right!" he said.

"Err...love?" Astoria said.

"Hmmm?"

Astoria then winced; "He is coming back" she said.

Harry smiled darkly; "Then it's much better" he replied.

"Don't do anything that will send you to Azkaban, okay?"

"I won't" Harry promised.

Astoria let out a sigh of relief; "Moving on to another topic, what would, what would like for dinner?" she asked brightly.

Harry thought for a couple of seconds; "I think I want Indian food" he said. "Do you mind if I just buy us some take outs?" he asked.

"I don't mind, just don't forget to buy some extra Naan" Astoria said.

"Alright" Harry replied.

"And oh! Please don't forget to buy some Khe—"

"Kheer, I know love" Harry said, cutting her off.

Astoria clapped her hands excitedly; "We can eat at the Balcony again!" she said.

"Yes we can dear"

"Oh, and don't forget to buy Chicken Tikka Misala for Candice, she loves it" Astoria added.

"I won't forget that" Harry replied.

Astoria then flung out a flying kiss; "Thank you love! See you in a few hours!" she said.

Harry smile; "Okay, love you" he said.

Astoria winked; "Love you too scarboy" she said.

Harry laughed.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 3:20 P.M

"I'm hungry" Draco whined.

Hermione lowered her book and turned towards Draco; "Eat then," she replied.

Draco pouted; "I don't know what to eat" he said.

Hermione closed her book and raised her brow; "I'm sure Didi can fix you some stuff" she replied.

"Have you tried any of their delicacies here?" Draco asked.

"They have?" Hermione asked, awestruck.

"You mean, you've been here for a day and you haven't tried any of it?" Draco asked disbelievingly.

Hermione shook her head; "Didi has been preparing me English food" she said.

Draco rolled his eyes and stood up; "Wait for me here" he said. He then padded inside the house, out of Hermione's sight.

Hermione leaned back on the couch and crossed her legs; "I wonder what he's up to" she said to herself. She then plucked the book from her lap and continued reading.

After several minutes...

Draco reappeared inside the Lanai with a large grin; he moved towards the couch and sat down.

Hermione tore her eyes away from the book; "What did you do?" she asked curiously.

"I asked Didi to make us some snack" Draco replied.

"Oh" Hermione said.

Crack

Didi appeared inside the room with a huge smile; she padded towards the square table and lowered a tray laden with plates and tea pot. "Didi made snacks and drinks, please enjoy" she said. She then snapped her fingers and disappeared.

Hermione closed her book again and set it aside; she leaned forward and took a sniff. "This smells good...but what is it?" she asked inquisitively.

"This is one of my favourite delicacies here" Draco said. He then leaned forward and began setting up the saucers and forks; he placed one in front of Hermione and began serving her piece. He then lifted the saucer into his hands and offered it to Hermione.

Hermione accepted the food and smiled; she brought it close to her eyes and began studying the crescent shaped confection on the plate.

Draco smiled; he then offered her a fork and a napkin.

Hermione accepted it and began prodding the food; "This looks like a bizarrely folded pancake" she observed.

Draco took his own saucer and began cutting the food into bite size pieces; he stabbed a tiny piece with his fork and began munching it with vigour.

Hermione copied his action and took a small piece; she brought it closer to her mouth and took a sniff before eating it.

"Do you like it?" Draco asked.

Hermione chewed for a couple of seconds and swallowed; "This is good! I like it!" she said brightly.

Draco took another bite; "I thought so" he said.

Hermione began cutting it into bite size pieces; "What do you call this stuff? And I can taste coconut!" she exclaimed.

"It's called Huni Hakuru Folhi, it's made of coconut, sugar and flour" Draco explained. "It's one of their famous snacks here, and Didi makes it best" Draco said proudly.

Hermione took another bite and let out a moan.

Draco turned his gaze towards Hermione and felt his mouth drying; he cleared his throat and placed his saucer on the table. He then began pouring tea on each cup; he plucked his and took a sip.

Hermione didn't notice his reaction and continued eating.

"Hmmnnn"

"Is that tea?" Hermione asked.

Draco nodded.

Hermione then leaned forward and placed her saucer on the table; she then grasped her tea and took a tentative sip. "It tastes different" she observed.

"It is different, it's not our normal tea way back home" Draco explained.

Hermione took another sip; "It's also good, what is it called?" she said.

"Kalhu Sai" Draco replied.

Hermione took a sip again; "It's good in washing off the sweet taste of the food. I think this could go well with the desserts that Torry makes" she said.

Draco chuckled; "Astoria and her famous desserts!" he said.

Hermione laughed; "Good thing we have potions to stabilize blood sugars because if we don't, I'd be sorry for Harry" she said.

"Too true!" Draco replied with a smile.

oOo

"What are you doing here?" Ron snapped.

Lavender ignored his question and padded towards the couch; she sat herself without invitation and crossed her arms on her chest. "We need to talk" she said.

"We have nothing to talk about, please leave" Ron said stiffly.

Lavender glared; "I saw Millicent Bullstrode inside your backyard last week, are you sleeping with her as well" she asked.

Ron huffed; "It's none of your business" he hissed.

Lavender felt her face turning red as anger started bubbling inside her chest; she slowly uncrossed her arms and placed it on top of her lap, fist tightly closed. "I need to know" she said through gritted teeth.

Ron ignored her rant and took a sip of his whiskey.

"Don't be a prat, answer my question" Lavender hissed.

"Go away!" Ron replied.

Lavender hastily stood from the couch and snatched her wand from her pocket; "I'M NOT PLAYING GAMES WITH YOU RONALD WEASLEY SO YOU BETTER ANSWER ME BEFORE I SEND YOUR SORRY ARSE TO OBLIVION!" she threatened.

Ron gazed at her for a couple of minutes and burst into mirthless laughter; he then shook his head and stood up. He padded towards Lavender and closed his hands on hers; "Don't point your wand at me witch, I know you don't have the guts to hex me" he jeered.

Lavender met his gaze; "Don't you dare me!" she replied stonily.

Ron snatched the wand from her fingers and threw it at the back of the couch.

Lavender's eyes widen; she then began hitting his chest with her bare hands. "You are an arsehole!" she yelled.

Ron took several blows to his chest before he was able to get a hold of her arms, seizing it effectively. He then yanked it down, fastening it tightly by her sides. "Don't you dare hit me" he said menacingly.

Lavender snarled and began struggling again; "No wonder Hermione left you! You can't keep your prick inside your pants!"

Ron chuckled darkly; "Same as you can't close your legs love!" he retorted.

Lavender's eyes widen as tears began building up; "I hate you! I fucking hate you!" she shrieked.

Ron's grip loosened; "Get out" he said.

Lavender freed her arms from his grip and pushed him roughly; she wiped her tears from her cheeks as she angrily turned her back. She padded away from him and walked towards the back of the couch; she snatched her wand from the ground and continued walking briskly towards the open door. Once outside the threshold, she turned towards the man standing inside the living room; "I hope you rot in hell! You are nothing but a selfish bastard who doesn't deserve to be loved" she said gravely. She then turned her back once and again and charmed the door to close behind her with a loud bang.

Ron sighed as he clenched his fist; he then walked towards his seat and slumped back.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 5:44 P.M

Draco sat with Hermione inside the Lanai for another hour after their afternoon snack; he sometimes asks questions but for the rest of it, he lets her be. Hermione was on the last page of her book when Draco stood up; he walked towards border of the cup shaped pool and towered over it. He then stretched his hands upwards, eyes fixed on the setting sun; "One loves the sunset, when one is so sad" he quoted.

Hermione's eyes instantly snapped towards him in surprise; "The Little Prince?" she asked.

Draco nodded his head, still not facing her; "That's my favourite line from the book even though I don't agree with it" he said as he lowered his arms to his side.

Hermione set her book aside and stood up; she then padded towards Draco and stood beside him. She turned her gaze towards the fading sun and crossed her arms on top of her chest; "Sad people likes watching sunsets, I for one, loves it" she said.

"I know..." Draco replied.

Hermione turned her head towards Draco; "What do you mean?" she asked.

Draco still didn't turn towards her, his eyes still fixed on the horizon; "I know you are sad, that's the reason you're here" he said.

Hermione felt emotions rush inside her chest so she looked away.

"I know what happened but I won't ask you to tell me. You're here to give yourself time to heal so you will have it..." Draco said while turning his face towards the woman standing beside him.

Hermione bit her bottom lip as tears began heating up her eyes.

Draco noticed her reaction so he opted to avert his gaze; he faced the sky again and let out a deep breath. "For me, sunset is a sign of new beginnings. During the war, I've always anticipated every sunset, you know why?" he asked.

Hermione discreetly wiped the tears that escaped her eyes; "Why?" she asked.

Draco turned towards her again and met her gaze; "Because It's a promise of a better tomorrow. An assurance that no matter how hard life is at the moment you will eventually get through it, that there is a great chance that tomorrow you will be okay" he said.

Hermione's strong facade broke as tears began trailing down her cheeks; "Do you think I'll be okay tomorrow?" she asked brokenly.

Draco felt a pang inside his chest as he watches her cry; he carefully placed his arms on her shoulder and pulled her closer. "We have a couple of sunsets to go Hermione, I can't promise that it will be tomorrow but I know in time you will be okay" he said comfortingly.

Hermione let him comfort her as tears continue pouring; "It hurts...it hurts so bad..." she whimpered.

Draco began rubbing her arm up and down; "It hurts because what you feel is real..." he replied.

Hermione sniffed; "I don't want to hurt anymore..." she murmured.

"Just give it time...time is all you need..." Draco replied.

Hermione nodded.

Chapter 9: Heartbreak Warfare
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Nine: Heartbreak warfare

"Clouds of sulfur in the air, bombs are falling everywhere its heartbreak warfare. Once you want it to begin no one really ever wins it, heartbreak warfare. If you want more love why don't you say so, if you want more love why don't you say so..." (Heartbreak warfare by John Mayer)

oOo

Potter Mansion – London, England – 7:05 P.M

"Did you like your chicken munchkin?" Harry asked his daughter.

Candice nodded her head as she continued munching enthusiastically.

Astoria smiled at her daughter and turned towards her husband; "Where did you buy this food love? It's so good!" she exclaimed.

Harry took a sip of his water; "It's the new restaurant in Kensington Gardens love, they sell the best Indian food in London" he replied.

Astoria's eyes widen; "You've been to Muggle London? Why didn't you take me along?" she pouted.

Harry chuckled; "I'll take you there next weekend love, I promise" he said.

"You better! You know I like going there" Astoria replied brightly.

Harry smiled at his wife endearingly; "It still amazes me, every time you tell me that you love Muggle London" he said.

Astoria rolled her eyes; "Why? Because I'm a pureblood?" she asked.

"Purbud!" Candice repeated happily.

Harry chuckled and turned towards his daughter, pinching her chubby cheeks affectionately. "It's not that love and you know it. It's just weird seeing you mingle with Muggles" he clarified.

Astoria's face brightened; "I love seeing your Muggle heritage, it makes me know you more" she explained.

Harry turned towards his wife and smiled; he then leaned forward and planted a chaste kiss on her lips. "I love you" he whispered.

"I love you too" Astoria replied.

Crack!

Fifi appeared out of thin air and curtseyed; "Fifi is here Master and Mistress because you's have visitor" she squeaked.

Astoria threw Harry a knowing look and turned towards the elf; "Is it Ronald Weasley Fifi?" she asked.

"Yes, Mistress. Mr. Weasley is at the foyer" Fifi replied.

Harry's face hardened as his lips curled into a sneer.

Astoria noticed her husband's reaction and stood up; she then turned towards her daughter and kneeled at her side. "Are you finish love? Do you want to play with Mr. Duck?" she asked.

Candice hastily discarded her fork and turned towards her mother; she let out a high squeal and nodded her head vigorously. "Dak!" she exclaimed.

Astoria smiled and plucked her daughter from the chair; carrying her into her arms. "Say good night to Daddy first, munchkin" she said.

Harry stood up from his chair and walked towards his wife; "Daddy will be up in a few minutes Munchkin, I just need to talk with someone. I'll read your favourite story, okay?" he said.

Candice nodded; "Stowy!"

Harry smiled; he then leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on her daughter's head.

"Be gentle, love" Astoria whispered. She then turned around and began walking towards the stairs.

Harry watched his wife and daughter, disappear from the staircase before he turned towards the elf; "Fifi, you mentioned that Ronald is outside the foyer right?" he asked.

Fifi nodded vigorously; "Yes, Master. Does Master want Fifi to take Mr. Weasley to the living room?" she asked.

Harry shook his head; "That's not necessary, I'll speak with him outside. You can go now" he dismissed.

Fifi bowed; "Yes Master" she answered before vanishing again into thin air.

Harry closed his eyes tightly and clenched his fist.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 11:20 P.M

"Hermione?"

Hermione wiped her cheeks hastily before she turned towards the voice; "Is there anything you need Draco?" she croaked.

Draco studied her face and frowned; "Are you crying again?" he asked.

Hermione cleared her throat while sitting straight from the recliner; "I'm not, my eyes are just tired" she lied.

Draco stepped out into the balcony and began walking towards the railings; he stood right in front of it crossed his arms on top of his chest. He then threw a look at Hermione for a couple of seconds but quickly turned his gaze into the ebon night sky.

"What are you doing here?" Hermione asked.

"Do you know how to swim?" Draco asked off-handedly.

Hermione's brows rose in surprise; "Errr...yes?" she replied.

Draco continued gazing at the sky; "Do you want to swim?" he asked.

"Swim?" Hermione asked confusedly.

Draco turned towards her and smiled; "Yes, swim" he replied.

Hermione began rubbing her arms; "When?" she asked.

"Now"

Hermione stopped rubbing and stared at the man standing a couple of feet away from her; "But it's almost midnight" she said.

Draco smiled wider; he then began walking towards the stairs, ignoring his companion's incredulous face. He descended 2 steps down but he stopped; he turned his head towards Hermione and smirked; "Live a little Granger, life is too short" he said. He peeled his shirt off boldly and hangs it on top of the banister; he then continued his trek towards the shore that's illuminated by the pale moonlight.

Hermione stood from her perch and began walking towards the railing; she braises her hands on top of it and eyed his pale sculpted back as he walked towards the shore. "Live a little..." she whispered to herself. She then gripped it tightly and closed her eyes; "Live a little" she repeated. She then snapped her eyes open and took a deep breath; "Hey Malfoy!" she shouted.

Draco stopped in his tracks and turned towards Hermione; "Yes?" he asked.

Hermione pulled her hands from the railings and squared her shoulders; "Wait for me" she said.

Draco smiled wider and nodded.

Hermione padded towards the stairs and began descending; she then began trekking the sand until she reached Draco.

"You're swimming in those?" Draco asked while starring at her PJ's.

Hermione rolled her eyes and plucked the wand from her back pocket; she then pointed it towards her PJ's and transfigured it into one of her bikinis.

Draco's eyes widen as he stared at Hermione's outfit.

Hermione didn't notice her companion's stare as she started double checking her bikinis knots.

Draco quickly averted his gaze when he caught himself staring; he felt his cheeks redden in embarrassment so he started stretching.

"You're swimming in those?" Hermione asked while pointing at his khakis.

Draco's head snapped towards Hermione and dropped his arms; he then pulled his wand from his back pocket and started wiggling it before her eyes. "Of course not, I'll transfigure it as well" he replied.

Hermione's brows furrowed as she studied his face; "I think you need to apply some sunscreen Draco, your cheeks are so red" she said innocently.

Draco tried his best to ignore her words and pointed his wand at his khaki shorts; transfiguring it into a simple grey board shorts.

Hermione moved closer and raised her right hand; she then poked his right cheek with her pointer finger. "Does that hurt?" she asked.

Draco just blinked.

Hermione pulled her hand away; "Draco?" she said.

Draco snapped out of his trance and shook his head; "I'm fine Hermione, don't mind the redness, its normal" he replied. He then threw his wand towards the sand and began walking towards the waters.

Hermione flicked her wand and accioed two beach towels; once she had it in her hands she carefully laid both of them on top of the sand. She then flicked her wand again and summoned Draco's wand; she grasped the stick with her left hand and carefully placed it on top of their towel, joining hers.

"Aren't you coming in?" Draco asked.

Hermione turned towards Draco; "Is it cold?" she asked.

Draco began scooping water with hands; "Nope" he replied.

Hermione walked towards the shore and stood; she felt goose bumps crawl on her arms when the water kissed her feet. "It's cold!" she exclaimed.

Draco moved deeper into the waters; once his waist deep he leaned back and felt his body plunge into its icy depths.

Hermione watched his blonde head submerged into the water. After a couple of seconds and he still hasn't resurfaced, she felt worry gnaw at her chest; "Draco?" she called out. When she didn't get any response she took a step into the cold water, sinking ankle deep; "Draco?" she called out louder.

Draco is still out of sight.

Hermione walked into the water until she reached the spot where she last saw him; she began looking around with worry. "Stop making jokes, it's not funny! Where are you?" she shouted.

Draco immediately burst out of the water and stood a couple of feet away from her.

Hermione turned towards him and felt instant relief flood her chest; "What the bloody hell were you doing!?" she hissed.

Draco began rubbing his face free from salt water; he then smoothed his hair out of his face and stared at the hissing woman. "Calm down Hermione, you don't want me thinking that you actually care for me" he teased.

Hermione crossed her arms on top of her chest and huffed; "It's not funny!" she scowled.

Draco chuckled; "I'm sorry if I scared you there" he said sincerely.

Hermione just kept silent, still avoiding his gaze.

Draco began moving closer and stopped beside her; he gently poked her arm with his pointer finger and smirked. "Come on Hermione, don't be like that" he cajoled.

Hermione felt herself relenting and sighed; "Just don't do that again..." she half whispered.

Draco nodded; "I promise, I didn't mean to scare you, I was just teasing" he said.

Hermione nodded.

"You should take a dip, once your body gets used to the water it's actually warm" Draco said.

Hermione raised her brow; "Really?" she asked.

"Why don't you try it?" he said.

Hermione averted his gaze and eyed the black water uncertainly.

Draco rolled his eyes; "Seriously?" he said to himself.

Hermione turned towards her companion to ask what he said but her voice was caught inside her throat when she was hauled up into his shoulders.

Draco let out a bark of laughter as he carried her to the deeper part of the water.

Hermione began wiggling wildly, trying to loosen Draco's grip. "Put me down Malfoy!" she shrieked.

Draco ignored her protest and swatted her leg; "Stop wiggling or I'll throw you" he threatened.

Hermione's eyes widen; "You wouldn't dare!" she gasped.

Draco chuckled; "Now now Granger, don't tempt me, I might follow through my threat" he tutted.

Hermione began grasping his board shorts.

Draco froze; "Hoy! Stop doing that!" he said.

Hermione smirked; "Not a chance Malfoy, if I'm going down, you're going with me" she said.

Draco smiled evilly; "Your wish is my command then" he said. He then leaned forward and submerges face first into the water.

Hermione didn't even get the chance to scream because her body was instantly plunged into the icy waters.

oOo

Potter Mansion – London, England – 7:15 P.M

Ron's face brightened upon seeing his best friend opening their front door; "Finally! What the bloody hell is wrong with your house elf? She doesn't want to let me in!" he complained.

Harry remained passive as he stepped out of their threshold; he the closed the door behind him and stared at the man standing in their foyer.

Ron felt unease settle in his gut because Harry didn't acknowledge his sentiments; "Harry?" he asked tentatively.

Harry cleared his throat and fixed the perch of his glasses on his nose; "Ronald" he said.

Ron heard warning bells inside his head but he stifled it; "Why so formal mate?" he asked.

"Astoria told me you were here this afternoon" Harry said stiffly.

Ron frowned; "Yes I was here but your little wife didn't even invite me in" he spat.

Harry felt his jaw tighten as he tried to suppress his incoming anger; "I know, I told her to" he said.

Ron's eyes widen.

Harry plucked his wand from his pocket and began twirling it with his fingers; "Come on Ronald, do you think I would let you in my house after what you have done to my best friend?" he asked darkly.

Ron felt embarrassment and guilt gnaw at his chest; "I didn't mean to do it Harry—"

"DONT TELL ME YOU DIDN'T MEAN IT WHEN WE VERY WELL KNOW YOU DID!" Harry roared.

Ron took a step back and felt his body shaking; he nervously began fumbling with his pockets, searching for his wand.

"Accio wand!" Harry thundered.

Ron felt his face pale when he saw his wand soaring towards his best friend's hand.

Harry grabbed both wands in his hand and slipped it into his pocket; "You dare hex me inside my property Weasley?" he shouted.

Ron gulped and took another step back; "I'm not hexing you I'm just—"

"Don't you dare lie to me! I heard enough of your pathetic lies!" Harry said. He then took a step forward; "I already warned you before Ron, hurt her again and you'll get it but of course you are too busy thinking with you stupid prick!" he said.

Ron felt anger bubbling inside his chest; "Don't you think I regret it? Do you think it makes me happy seeing Hermione hurt? I love her! I was going to marry her for Merlin's sake!" he shouted.

Harry felt his body shaking with anger as he listen to Ron's words; "Love? You love her? You don't get to say those words because we all know that you don't have the capability to love anyone, you only love yourself!" he bellowed.

"Don't you dare insult me Harry because you don't know what I really feel! Not even half of it!" Ron hissed.

"I don't know how you feel? Pray tell Ronald, what do you really feel?"

Ron moved closer to the railing and braised himself; he then grasped the banister with both hands and bowed his head. "You don't know how it feels whenever she rejects me every time I try to be intimate with her! You don't know how hard it is to—"

"SEX? IS THIS ALL ABOUT SEX?" Harry asked indignantly.

Ron began opening his mouth to respond but was cut off by Harry clutching his shirt with both of his hands.

"YOU HURT YOUR FIANCE AND YOUR BEST FRIEND FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT GETTING IT?" Harry asked angrily.

Ron began struggling; trying with all his might to free himself from Harry's clutches.

Harry felt his temper slip and began pummelling Ron with his bare fist; "YOU BASTARD! YOU FUCKING BASTARD! IF THAT'S SO IMPORTANT TO YOU THEN YOU SHOULD'VE SAID SO! YOU SHOULD'VE ASKED HER AND NOT GO ABOUT FUCKING EVERY WILLING SLUT THAT COMES YOUR WAY!" he roared.

Ron began shielding his face with his arms.

Harry kept hitting him relentlessly; "YOU'RE A PATHETIC EXCUSE OF A MAN! I CAN'T BELIEVE I TREATED YOU AS BROTHER! YOU'RE STILL FULL OF SHIT!" he shouted.

Ron was groaning loudly as blood surge from the cut on his lips and brows.

"Petrificus Totalus!"

Harry froze in mid strike as Ron's bloodied prone form slumped into the floor.

Astoria hurriedly walked towards her husband and leaned forward; "I will release you from this spell but you have to promise me that you will stop this barbaric act Harry James Potter!" she said sternly.

Harry kept still.

"Oh" Astoria realized that her husband can't speak. "Blink your eyes once if you agree" she said.

Harry blinked once.

Astoria pointed her wand towards her husband; "Finite Incantatum" she whispered.

Harry fell forward but Astoria pulled him right; he then turned towards his wife and winced. "I'm sorry love, I didn't mean to—"

Astoria raised her pale brow.

Harry closed his mouth.

Astoria peered behind her husband's back and studied Ron's bloodied form; "We need to send him to St. Mungo's love, he seems passed out" she observed.

Harry ignored her assessment and began studying his swelling fist; he winced when he tried opening it.

Astoria turned her gaze towards her husband's hand; "I still can't believe that you opted to pummel him with you bare hands! That's so barbaric!" she said.

"I didn't mean to. He annoyed me with his stupid reasoning and before I know it, I'm hitting his face. It felt good" Harry said.

Astoria sighed; "Good thing I came down as soon as I can, I can't imagine what would've happened if I didn't reach you in time, you might've killed him" she said.

Harry averted his wife's gaze; emotions raging into his emerald eyes.

Astoria noticed her husband's reaction so she hastily planted a soft kiss into his lips, rectifying her previous words. "I know you wouldn't love, it's just a figure of speech" she clarified.

Harry's face softened as he gathered her into his arms; "I was so angry with him..." he mumbled.

Astoria wrapped her arms around his waist and began rubbing his back soothingly; "You have the right to be angry love..." she whispered.

Harry pulled away; "I think we should have Fifi heal him partially and have her apparate him home. He still deserves some physical pain" he said.

Astoria nodded; "Alright, we'll do that. Fifi?" she called.

The elf appeared inside the foyer; "Yes Mistress?" she squeaked.

"Please heal some of Mr. Weasleys wound and apparate him home" Astoria commanded.

Fifi nodded; "Yes Mistress" the elf bowed.

"Thank you Fifi" Astoria smiled. She then began pulling her husband's forearm; "Let's get you fixed love" she said.

Harry threw Ron a hateful look and turned towards Astoria; "Let's go..." he said.

Astoria wrapped her arm on his waist; "We'll have that fixed then you can read Candice her bed time story" she said.

Harry let out a small smile; "I'd like that..." he said.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 11:45 P.M

"I still can't believe you almost drowned me" Hermione said while sitting on wet sand by the shore.

Draco stopped studying the shell in his hands and turned towards the woman sitting beside him; "I didn't drown you Granger, you're over reacting" he said.

Hermione rolled her eyes; "But you did! You plunged me into the water without my permission" she pouted.

Draco chuckled; he then threw the shell back into the ocean and leaned back on his elbows. "I won't let you drown Granger, it's against the oath I took" he reminded her.

"It still amazes me that you've become a Healer" Hermione blurted out.

Draco raised his brow; "And why is that?" he asked.

Hermione shrugged her shoulders; "I've always portrayed you as a businessman, I guess" she said.

"A businessman?" Draco asked.

Hermione nodded; "Yes, the ones who sit behind a huge desk with pretty blonde huge bosom assistant ready at your beck and call" she said.

Draco eyed her for a couple of seconds and burst out laughing; making him fall flat on his back.

Hermione bit her lip to keep herself from joining; "What's so funny?" she asked.

Draco wiped his eyes with his hands; "That was so funny!" he said.

"Why?"

Draco sat up and began shaking his head; "Because that's what I used to do before I decided to be a Healer" he said.

Hermione's eyes widen in surprise; "Really?" she asked.

Draco nodded; "Yes Granger, I used to saunter inside Malfoy's Inc everyday and used to boss around my assistant. The only difference is, my assistant is actually a bloke" he said.

"A bloke?"

"Yes, a man. My Mother refused to keep my Father's assistant because according to her, Francine's bosom is bigger than her brains" Draco said.

Hermione giggled.

Draco smiled.

"Wow. I bet you were sad to see her go" Hermione said.

Draco looked thoughtful for a couple of minutes but shook his head; "Not really, I don't fancy re-writing every report she writes" he replied.

Hermione shook her head.

Draco then turned towards her; "Granger, I haven't asked you this but what's your work? I mean I know you work in the Ministry but it was never clear which department you're working for" he said.

"Really? I mean, I see you there often" Hermione said.

"I don't normally keep track of my school mates' record you know, it would be stalkerish" Draco said.

Hermione nodded in agreement; "Definitely stalkerish" she amended. "I actually work for Muggle relations I process papers for those who are being obliviated" she said.

"Oh"

"Yes, I know. Boring job and all, but that's my life" Hermione said.

Draco turned to look at the calm sea; "I've always pegged you to be an Auror, you know" he said.

Hermione huffed; "Everybody expected me to be one so I decided to disappoint them and sign up for a different job" she said.

Draco nodded.

Hermione leaned back on her elbows, mimicking Draco's early pose and sighed. "I guess I already had my fill of chasing criminals so I decided to take a more laid-back job" she added.

"Well, you can't be blamed"

Hermione nodded; "If you're a Healer then why are you always in the Ministry?" she asked.

Draco smiled; "I also work part time for M.L.E" he said.

Hermione furrowed her brows.

"I'm their resident Healer, I take care of Auror's who are injured during an encounter" Draco explained. "And oh, I also do their annual physical exams" he said.

"I can imagine how busy you are, you have to tend to your Ministry duties then entertain all of the other patients in St. Mungo's" Hermione surmised.

"I think that's also the reason why Mum sent me here, I haven't gotten the chance to use my leave credits, and it's been ages since I last took a leave of absence" Draco said.

"How long?" Hermione asked.

"To be honest, I can't even remember, I'm always on call" Draco said slyly.

Hermione eyed him for a couple of seconds and burst out laughing.

Draco crinkled his nose and turned towards Hermione; "Why are you laughing?" he asked.

"Looks like we're on the same page Malfoy, I can't remember the last time I had time off" Hermione admitted.

Draco smirked; "We can't help it, we're hardworking people" he said.

Hermione nodded; "We are" she replied.

Draco then let out a yawn; he then stood up and offered his hand to Hermione. "It's already late, I think it's time to retire" he said.

Hermione eyed his hand for a couple of seconds and accepted it; she let him haul her into a standing position and smiled at him. "Thank you" she said.

Draco gestured towards the towels on the sand; "Shall we?" he asked.

"We shall" Hermione replied.

oOo

The next day...

Knock...Knock...Knock

"Rise and shine Granger!" Draco hollered enthusiastically.

Hermione stirred from her slumber but covered her face with her pillow.

Knock...Knock...Knock

Hermione groaned and burrowed further into her covers, ignoring Draco's insistent knocks.

"Don't make me come in there Granger! Wake up! It's a beautiful day! I'm planning to visit town, I'm taking you with me!" Draco happily chattered outside her door.

Hermione pulled the pillow off her face and began rubbing her eyes sleepily; "Go away Malfoy!" she croaked.

"Come on Hermione! Wake up! I'm being a gracious host here! Please get dressed in 30 minutes or I'll dress you myself!" Draco warned well heartedly.

Hermione's eyes widen as she struggle to sit up; "I'm up!" she shouted.

Draco barked out a loud laugh; "See you in 30 minutes then, we'll have brunch there" he said before leaving.

Hermione sat for a couple of minutes before deciding to move; she threw the covers of her body and crawled towards the edge of the bed. She lazily stood up and began padding towards the luxurious bathroom; once inside she moved towards the porcelain sink and braised her hands on top of it. She studied her reflection for a couple of minutes and felt a soft pang inside her chest when she noticed her puffy eyes; she immediately shook her head and turned on the tap. "Don't think about it Hermione Granger, you can't think of him anymore. It's about time you start forgetting about it, it's time to stop crying" she said to herself.

Crack

Hermione eyes widen as she turned towards the sound.

"Good Morning Mistress" Didi greeted toothily.

Hermione felt relief wash through her body when she saw the tiny elf standing beside the tub; "Good morning Didi" she replied.

"Young Master Draco asked Didi to make sure you is awake" Didi said.

Hermione rolled her eyes and turned towards the sink; she placed her hands under the running water and began washing it. "Tell Mal—Draco that I'm up and running, I'll meet him after 30 minutes" she said.

"Yes Mistress" Didi said, she then bowed and vanished with a loud crack.

Once she was alone again she turned the tap off; she padded towards the nearest shelf and got herself a white fluffy towel. She then walked towards the huge bath and hung her towel on the nearest hook, she stepped inside the large glass cubicle and began peeling of her PJ's; "This will be a long day" she said to herself.

oOo

Chapter 10: Wide awake
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Chapter Ten: Wide awake

"Thunder rumbling, castles crumbling, I am trying to hold on. God knows that I tried seeing the bright side I'm not blind anymore. I wish I knew then, what I know now, wouldn't dive in, and wouldn't bow down. Gravity hurts you made it so sweet, 'til I woke up on the concrete. Falling from cloud nine, I'm crashing from the high, I'm letting go tonight, I'm wide awake..." (Wide awake by Katy Perry)

oOo

The Burrow - Ottery, St. Catchpole - Devon, England – 8:04 A.M

"What in the world happened to your face Ronald?" Molly asked aghast, as her son sauntered in.

Ron groaned and sat himself on one of the couches.

Molly hastily padded towards her son and leaned forward; she lifted his bruised face towards her and studied his bloodied eye. "I'm asking you Ronald, what happened to your face?" she asked again.

Ronald winced; "Arry..." he croaked.

Molly frowned; "I'm sorry?" she asked.

Ron sighed and moved his face away from his mother; "Harry..." he said clearly.

Molly's eyes widen in surprise; "Harry? Our Harry?" she asked.

Ron nodded.

Molly bit her lower lip and moved towards the other side of the couch; she sat down and placed her hands on her lap. "Is this about what you did to Hermione?"

Ronald kept silent.

Molly sighed; "We can't blame Harry you know, she's practically his sister" she said.

Ron didn't answer but leaned back on the couch; he inclined his head and closed his eyes. "I know" he murmured.

Molly took another look at her son and sighed; "Do you want me to fix that?" she asked gesturing towards his face.

Ron shook his head.

Molly then stood up and began padding towards the kitchen; "Have you had breakfast? Do you want me to fix something?" she asked.

"Just pumpkin juice" Ron murmured.

Molly nodded.


oOo


Rangali Island - Maldives Island – 12:02 P.M


"Draco I'm so hungry, can we eat already?" Hermione whined petulantly as she stood behind him.

Draco turned his face towards his companion; "Just give me a moment, I'll just pay for this and we can go" he said.

Hermione nodded; she then turned towards the busy streets and crossed her arms on top of her chest.

Draco shook his head and turned towards the vendor; "Shukuriyya, please keep the change" he said upon accepting the parcel. "We can go now, I'm done"

"Finally! It's sweltering hot here!" Hermione huffed.

"We're in the Pacific, of course it is hot" Draco said a matter-of-factly.

Hermione rolled her eyes; "So, where can we eat?" she asked.

Draco looked thoughtful for a couple of seconds; "What do you want to eat?" he asked.

"Anything that's considered as food will be alright" Hermione replied.

Draco surveyed his surroundings; "Anything is alright, you say?" he asked.

"Yes" Hermione replied.

Draco smirked; "Okay, let's go then" he said. He then grabbed her arm and began pulling her towards the other side of the street.

Hermione followed him silently; after a couple of minutes of silence she slowed her pace. "Err, Malfoy, why are heading towards an alley?" she asked perplexedly.

Draco turned towards her; "We need to apparate to the place I have in mind and we can't apparate in the middle of the street in broad daylight" he said.

Hermione resumed her pace; "Where are we going anyway?" she asked.

"To favourite Brunch spot here in this island" Draco replied.

"And where would that be?"

Draco stopped in front of a dark alley and began surveying his surroundings, when he was satisfied that nobody can see them; he offered his free hand to her. "We need to do side-along, we better hurry or someone might walk in on us" he said.

Hermione placed her hand in his and moved closer; she then stood beside him and took a deep breath. "Let's get this over with" she said.

Draco shook his head with an amused smile painted on his lip; "So trusting Granger, aren't you a little bit scared that I might take you somewhere else and have my wicked ways with you?" he teased.

Hermione eyed him and smirked; "I doubt that Malfoy, I don't think you'd risk your pretty ferret arse" she replied.

Draco smiled slyly; "Careful Granger, you already called me pretty there. Don't make me think that you're already falling in love with my charms" he countered.

Hermione's eyes widen as her jaw dropped.

Draco took one look at her and burst out laughing.

Hermione was about to retort when she felt a familiar tugging at her bellybutton.

Draco flicked his wand and they were off to their destination.


oOo


Brown's Cottage - Surrey, England – 9:15 A.M


"Poppet, I already spoke to Ronald's mother, she extended an invitation this afternoon for tea" Leila Brown said.

Lavender's eyes widen as her head snapped towards her mother's figure; "What do you mean Mum?" she asked.

Leila sat at the foot of her daughter's bed and crossed her legs; "I owled her yesterday and I just received confirmation this morning" she explained.

Lavender gathered her knees to her chest and leaned her chin on top of it; "Why did you that Mum? Ronald and I are through" she sulked.

Leila furrowed her brows; "What do you mean your through?"

Lavender averted her gaze and began fiddling with her blanket; "We're never seeing each other again, he's still in love with someone else" she said.

Leila waived her hand dismissively; "Nonsense! If he's still in love with her then things wouldn't have happened between the two of you" she said.

Lavender groaned as she felt her face flush in embarrassment; "MUM! Nothing happened between us!" she lied.

Leila rolled her eyes as she stood up; "I was not born yesterday Poppet" she said. She then began walking towards the door and grabbed the door knob; "Something happened between the two of you and your Dad and I won't let him renounce his responsibility easily" she said. She then turned towards her gaping daughter and let out a sly smile;
"You'll get your man Poppet, Merlin knows how long you have been carrying his torch" she said before leaving.

Lavender stared at her Mother's disappearing back with trepidation; "What did you get yourself into Lavender?" she asked herself.


oOo


Atoll Market - Conrad Ranalifinolhu Hotels and Resorts, Rangali Island, Maldives – 12:02 P.M


Hermione felt her feet hit the ground as a loud sound of apparition resounded inside a large room. She felt her arm being grabbed firmly as she gathered her bearings.

"Are you alright?" Draco asked.

"I really hate side long apparition" Hermione said.
Draco chuckled; "Look at the brighter side, next time we come here, you can apparate by yourself" he said jovially.

Hermione ignored him and began observing her surroundings; "Where are we? Where is the food?" she asked.

Draco smiled; "Food won't be served in this dingy room Granger, we have to walk to another room, and this is just their travel room you know" he said.

Hermione's eye widen; "WOW. This is not dingy at all Malfoy, this place is bigger than my room" she said in awe. "Where are we?" she asked.

Draco rolled his eyes and began tugging at her arm; "Come on, I know how hungry you are" he said while guiding her towards the double doors. He pushed it open and began ushering them both inside a grand hall; "Welcome to Conrad Ranalifinolhu Hotels and Resorts" he said proudly.

Hermione felt her jaw drop as she stared at the lavish
centrepiece; she then turned towards her companion and stared at him incredulously. "You took me here for Brunch? We're eating at Hilton Hotels?"

Draco raised his brow; "Err, yes, per se" he replied.

Hermione furrowed her brows; waiting for him to explain further.

"Well I had reservations at Atoll Market for our brunch, it's still inside the property but on the other side" Draco explained.

Hermione just blinked.

Draco tugged her arm again and began guiding her again towards the hotel's exit; "Let's go now, I'm famished" he said.

Hermione shook her head and followed his large steps; "If I had known you will take me into this kind of place I should've dressed properly" she mumbled.

Draco laughed heartily but continued leading her towards the pool area; "If I told you, then you would've thrown a fit" he replied.

Hermione huffed and ignored his comments.
Draco then turned right and halted Hermione's steps; "We're here" he said.

The door was pulled open and automatically they were greeted by a burly Asian man in pink button down shirt and black dress pants; "Welcome to Atoll Market Mr. Malfoy, we already have your table prepared if you can just follow me" he said.

"Please call me Draco, Aren. There’s no need to be formal" Draco said jovially.

Aren smiled shyly and began ushering them towards the table; once they were there, he hastily moved towards the back of the chair facing the blue landscape and pulled it, waiting for the lady to sit.

Hermione was momentarily shaken from her amazement when Draco nudged her arm; she then noticed Aren's gesture and hastily moved towards it.

Draco took the chair adjacent to her companion's seat and settled his parcel on the other chair juxtaposing his.

"Let me just get you both some refreshments and I'll be back with a server to take your orders" Aren said.

"Thank you Aren" Hermione replied.

"Thank you" Draco echoed.

Aren bowed and began walking away.

Once Aren was out of sight she turned towards Draco; "Do you come here often?" she asked.

"I do, Mum and I used to visit here often every time we're here" Draco replied.

Hermione nodded; she then began surveying her surroundings. "That explains why you’re familiar with the staff, I still can't believe you took me here to eat" she said disbelievingly.

"The food here is awesome" Draco shrugged.

Aren came back with his hands laden with a huge silver tray; he then carefully grasped the first glass and placed it in front of Hermione. "It's sweltering hot outside, this would be perfect" he said. He then turned towards Draco and served him his glass.

Draco gingerly plucked the tall glass from the table and took a sip; "Thank you Aren this is terrific" he said.

Hermione eyed the glass with interest.

Aren noticed her reaction and took it upon himself to explain; "This is fresh coconut water Ms. Granger" he said.

"Oh!" Hermione then gently lifted the glass from the table and took a long sip.

Aren smiled; he then gestured towards the waiter behind him and took a step back. "This is Seyun, he will be your server for today, he will take your order and please don't hesitate to call on me Mr—Draco, if you need anything" he said.

Draco turned towards Aren and smiled; "Thank you Aren" he said.

Aren bowed and began walking away.

Seyun took a step forward and bowed; "Good Afternoon Mr. Malfoy and Ma'am, my name is Seyun and I'll be serving you today" he said. He then carefully offered the menu and stood still.

Hermione accepted the menu and began perusing it, Draco did the same. After a couple of minutes Hermione lowered her menu and stared at Draco uncertainly. Draco understood her look and turned towards the server; "We'll have Dhon Riha, Fihunu Kukulhu and Kaliya Birinji" he said.

"Excellent choice" Seyun said while taking note.

Draco then lowered his menu and stared at Hermione; "What would you like to drink?" he asked.

Hermione thought of a couple of seconds and asked; "What did you order?"

"Tuna Curry, Roasted Chicken and Rice" Draco replied.

"I'll just have water then," Hermione replied.

Draco nodded; he then turned towards Seyun. "Add two bottled water, please" he said.

"Is there anything else Sir?" Seyun asked.

Draco turned towards the menu again; "Do you want dessert Hermione?" he asked.

Hermione bit her lip; "What do you recommend?" she asked Draco.

"How about Ambu Pudding?" Draco asked.

Hermione raised her brow; "I don't speak Maldivian Draco" she said.

"Oh" Draco said. "I'm sorry, it's basically Mango Pudding" he clarified.

"That sounds delicious"

Draco then turned towards Seyun; "We'll also have Ambu Pudding for dessert" he said while closing the menu.

Seyun cautiously gathered the menu in his hand and bowed; "We'll have your order in a few minutes, please enjoy your drinks" he said before leaving.

Hermione took a sip of his coco water; "This is the first time I tasted this and I love it" she said.

Draco copied her actions and nodded; "Just wait till you taste their cocktails, they have the best" he said.

Hermione raised her brow; "Really? Do they serve it here?" she asked curiously.

"It's early to drink Granger, we'll have boost later"

Hermione smirked; "We're not finished with this and you're asking me again for another date? My, my, Malfoy, I'm beginning to think you like me" she teased.

Draco stared at her for a couple of seconds and burst out laughing; he then placed his drink on top of the table and smiled widely. "You're still a fast learner Granger, I'm impressed" he said.

Hermione then puffed her chest out proudly; "I'm learning from the best" she said.

"You bet you are" Draco replied.


oOo


"Millie? Millie are you here?" Pansy called out.
Millicent groaned.

Pansy frowned as she stepped out of the grate; she then moved towards the huge couch and leaned forward. "What in the world are you doing down there?" she asked.

Millicent groaned again and tried hefting her upper body up; "Watyoudoinir?" she slurred.

"You're drunk again!" Pansy accused.

Millicent ignored her reaction and let her body fall back on the carpet.

Pansy braced her hands on her hips and studied her friend; she let out an exasperated sigh and pointed her wand the slumped figure. "I'll need to sober you up Millie, this would not be pleasant" she warned.

Millicent just groaned.

Pansy muttered the sobering spell and waited for its effects.

Millicent winced; "Bloody buggering hell!" she shrieked.

Pansy smirked and crossed her arms on top of her chest.

Millicent sat up and began rubbing her eyes, smearing her mascara further.

"You look like a panda, do you know?" Pansy said.
Millicent's head snapped towards her friend; "When did you arrive? What time is it?" she croaked.

Pansy began tapping her wand against her arm; "It's almost noon" she said. She then gestured towards the empty vodka bottles; "Seems like you had fun last night" she said.

Millicent hauled herself from the floor and sat down on the couch; "Please sit down Pansy, you’re making me dizzy just by standing there" she said.

Pansy obliged; she walked towards the adjacent couch and sat down.

Millicent braced her elbows on top of her knees and buried her face into her palms.

Pansy observed her best friend and sighed; "You need to stop this Millie...you're just hurting yourself..." she said.

Millicent raised her face defiantly towards Pansy; "I'm not doing anything wrong, I just indulged myself last night" she said.

Pansy crossed her legs and huffed; "Enjoying? Seems like you've been over indulging, two litre's? I think you're off you rocker" she surmised.

"Stop overreacting Pans," Millicent said. She then leaned back on her couch and sniffed; "So, what are you doing here?" she asked.

"I'm just checking on you" Pansy replied.

"You don't need to check on me you know, I'm fine" Millicent said while averting her best friend's inquisitive gaze.

"Are you really?" Pansy asked softly.

"Of course I am"

Pansy just maintained her gaze and kept silent.

"Why are you staring at me? Stop staring Pans" Millicent said.

Pansy just shrugged her shoulders.

Millicent eyed her for a couple of seconds and raised her hands in surrender; "Okay...I'm not that okay, okay!" she admitted.

"I thought so" Pansy replied. "What will you about it?" she asked.

"Honestly?"

Pansy raised her brow.

"I haven't thought about it..." Millicent said truthfully.
Pansy began fiddling with her wand again.

Millicent eyed her for a couple of seconds; "Out with it, I know you have thought about something" she said.

Pansy smirked; "You know me so well" she said.

Millicent shook her head; "We've known each other since we wore nappies of course I know your devious look" she said.

Pansy laughed.

"So?"

Pansy uncrossed her legs and leaned forward; "Well, you can hex his balls again for starters" she offered.

Millicent furrowed her brows; "What do you mean again?" she asked.

"You didn't know?" Pansy asked.

"If I knew then I wouldn't have asked" Millicent said.

Pansy rolled her eyes for the nth time; she then leaned back on the couch and crossed her arms on her chest. "Well apparently that weasel of yours was hexed so bad he had to be admitted to St. Mungo's spell ward so he can have it reversed" she said.

"Where did you hear that from?" Millicent asked.

"Tracey Davis" Pansy replied smugly.

"Where did Tracey get that news from?"

"Apparently, Tracey's younger sister is one of the interns there, she was on duty when they were brought in" Pansy said.

Millicent furrowed her brows; "What do you mean they?" she asked.

Pansy winced when she realized her slip and bit her tongue.

"Pansy..."

"He was brought in with Brown...Lavender Brown...it seems like someone hexed them to stay..err...connected..." Pansy said uncomfortably.

Millicent clenched her hands as she felt a dull pang inside her chest; she closed her eyes tightly as she tried to calm herself.

Pansy leaned forward and braced her elbows on top of her knees; "Millie? I'm sorry...I didn't mean to be insensitive..." she said

"It's alright...I had to hear it..." Millicent said.

Pansy bit her lower lip and continued staring at the woman sitting across from her.

Millicent opened her eyes and unclenched her fist; she then took a deep calming breath and stared at her best friend intensely. "The bloody weasel is going down, he'll be sorry that he cheated on me with that slag" she said. She angrily stood up and began pacing back and forth; "That's the reason why that slag was there! Argh! You fucking bastard I will kill you!" she yelled in fury.

"Oh hell..." Pansy murmured to herself.


oOo


Atoll Market - Conrad Ranalifinolhu Hotels and Resorts, Rangali Island, Maldives– 1:15 P.M


"I'm so full, I don't think I can walk" Hermione said contentedly.

Draco took a swig of his water and leaned back on his chair; "Good?" he asked.

"That was delicious! I never thought Tuna would taste good with Curry" Hermione said.

"That was my reaction when I first tried it, I always had lamb or beef" Draco replied.

"Me too, my stomach is so big..." Hermione said while patting her stomach.

Draco eyed her; "I can see" he said.

Hermione sat up straight and scowled.

"Women!" Draco exclaimed while rolling his eyes.

Hermione ignored his statement and leaned forward; she plucked her water from the table and took a sip.

"So, where do you want to go next?" Draco asked.

Hermione thought for a couple of seconds and turned her gaze
towards the vast blue horizon; "I think I want to go home" she said.

Draco noticed that she referred to their beach house as home and instantly he felt warmth inside the pit of his stomach. He hastily dismissed it and signalled for Seyun to bring him the bill.

Hermione noticed his gesture so she grabbed her bag from the chair next to hers; she zipped it open and took out her wallet.

Draco turned his head towards her and raised his brow; "What are you doing?" he asked confusedly.

"You're getting the bill right?" Hermione asked.

"Yes, I am" Draco replied.

"We'll split it then"

Draco stared at her amusedly; "Do you have Maldivian currency then?" he asked.

Hermione stopped with her fumbling; "They don't take galleon's here?" she asked.

Draco shook his head.

"You should've told me!" Hermione said.

Draco was about to answer when Seyun reached their table; he handed Draco a medium sized leather receipt holder and stood beside the table.

Draco accepted it and perused the charges; he grabbed the pen and signed his name on the dotted line. He then inserted a few bills in it and handed it back to Seyun and smiled; "Thank you Seyun" he said.

Seyun accepted it and bowed; "Thank you Mr. Malfoy and Ms. Granger. May you have a nice day" he said politely.

"Thank you Seyun" Hermione said.

Seyun bowed again and turned to leave.

Draco grabbed his parcel from the adjacent chair and stared at his companion; "Shall we?" he asked.

Hermione crossed her arms on top of her chest; blatantly ignoring Draco.

Draco eyed her for a couple of minutes and sighed; "If that really upsets you then fine, you can pay for my drink later" he compromised.

Hermione bit her lip to keep herself from smiling triumphantly; "Really?"

Draco rolled his eyes; "Really, now get up so we can rest before we hit some bars tonight!" he said while standing up.

Hermione stuffed her wallet inside her bag and zipped it up; "And you promise that this place will take galleons?" she double checked.

"Yes I promise"

Hermione stood up from her chair and threw Draco a smile; "Just making sure" she said.

Draco shook his head and began walking away.

Hermione followed him with a huge smile painted on her face.


oOo

The Burrow - Ottery, St. Catchpole - Devon, England – 1:34 P.M

Ron was sitting on a wooden swing at the back porch when

Molly spotted him; she walked towards him and stood a couple of feet away. "We need to heal your face Ronald" she said.

Ron kept silent but shook his head.

Molly moved closer and sat herself on the other side of the swing; "We need to fix it because we're expecting visitors this afternoon" she said.

"Visitors?"

Molly nodded and gathered her hands on her lap; "We received an owl from Mrs. Brown last time and your Father insisted that I respond to them. I mailed the response just this morning and I just received confirmation before you arrived. They will be expected to arrive this noon around tea time" she said.

Ron frowned; "What do they want? Did they say?" he asked.

"Leila did not go into details but your Father and I feel that it has something to do with the article in the Prophet"

Ron leaned forward and buried his face into his palms; "I'm sorry Mum, things are so messed up and it's my entire fault..." he said.

"We all make mistakes Ronald, what matters is what you will do about it" Molly said.

Ron turned his tear-stricken face towards his mother; "But I don't know what to do Mum...I don't know where to start..." he said.

Molly felt her heart break for her youngest son; she moved closer to him and placed her arms on top of his shoulders. "You're the only one who can answer that son..." she said.

Ron buried his face again into his palms and cried freely.

Molly began rubbing his back soothingly.


oOo


Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 7:02 P.M


"Didi?" Hermione said tentatively.

Didi appeared right in front of her with a loud crack; "Didi is here Mistress Hermione, what can Didi do for you?" she asked.

"Have you seen Mal—Draco?"

Didi nodded; "Master Draco is in the Lanai Mistress" she replied.

"Is he already dressed?"

"Yes Mistress" Didi squeaked.

"Okay, that will be all Didi, thank you" Hermione said kindly.

Didi bowed and disapparated with a loud crack.

Hermione then turned towards the mirror and began inspecting herself; she half turned and stared at her back. "Not too shabby Hermione, you will do" she said to herself. She then moved towards the bed and grabbed her small beaded purse; she snapped it open and tucked her wand safely inside. She sat at the edge of the bed and slipped on her 3 inch black peep toe stilettos; once satisfied she stood up from her perch and began walking towards the door.

Draco was fixing the folds of his sleeve when he heard footsteps approaching; lazily he turned towards the sound.

Hermione stood a couple of steps away from Draco; eyeing his back with admiration.

Draco felt his jaw drop when his eyes landed on the woman standing a couple of steps away from him. He felt his breath hitch inside his throat as his eyes raked Hermione's hourglass figure being hugged by a black bandage sleeveless mini dress with subtle floral print. His eyes then roamed down to her ample bosom that's partly peaking from her deep v-neckline before it travelled down to her slender legs and stiletto clad feet. "Wow" he said thought.

Hermione didn't notice Draco's perusal because she's staring at him too; she felt her cheeks redden as she noticed how his white button down shirt clung to his torso, defining his arms. She then let her gaze travel down to his boot cut dark denim jeans and brown loafers; "He looks good" she thought to herself.

"Young Master and Mistress, its already quarter passed 7" Didi squeaked.

Draco snapped of his trance and cleared his throat; "Err...Hermione, you look good" he complimented.

Hermione looked embarrassed for a couple of seconds and straightened her posture; "Thank you, you don't look bad yourself" she replied.

Draco walked towards her and offered his arms; "We need to side long again unfortunately..." he said apologetically.

Hermione gently placed her hands in his and moved closer; "Let's get over this uncomfortable part then we can party" she said.

Draco wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her to his chest; "You never fail to surprise me, I didn't know Little Ms. Bookworm is a party girl" he teased.

Hermione cuffed him playfully on the chest and smiled; "You don't know me that well Draco, apparate away" she said.

"Yes, Ma'am" Draco said.

Hermione closed her eyes tightly and buried her face into his chest.


oOo


The Burrow - Ottery, St. Catchpole - Devon, England – 3:30 P.M.


"Will you please sit down dear? You're making me dizzy" Arthur said as he watched his wife pace.

Molly stopped; "I can't help myself. I want to know why they want to speak with us!" she said.

Arthur eyed his wife tiredly and patted the seat beside him; "Come here" he said.

Molly thought for a couple of seconds before she relented; she padded towards his side and sat down.

Arthur pulled her closer and placed his arm around her shoulder; "Don't worry too much dear, I'm sure they just want to talk about what's written on the paper" he said.

Molly relaxed into her husband's arms and sighed; "That's what I'm worried about..." she admitted.

Arthur sighed; "Well, we can't do anything about it now. By the way where is your son? He's supposed to be here" he asked while furrowing his brows.

"He's here dear, he's just fixing himself, I told him to look presentable—"

"I'm here Dad" Ron said.

Arthur nodded; "They should be here in the next couple of minutes—"

Knock...Knock...Knock...

Molly bolted up from the couch and stared at Ron with surprised eyes; "I thought they were flooing?" she asked.

Arthur shrugged his shoulders; "Well you better get that dear, we don't want them waiting" he said.

Molly walked towards the front door and pulled it open.

"Good Afternoon Mrs. Weasley! My name is Leila Brown and I'm
Lavender's mother"

Molly opened the door wider and pasted a large smile; "It's nice to meet you, Hello Lavender dear, please come in" she said.

Arthur and Ron stood from their perch as Molly welcomed the guest.

Molly ushered them towards the sitting room and led them towards the couches; "Please do sit down," she gestured.

Leila and Lavender sat down on the couch while Ron and Arthur followed.

Arthur sat up straight and smiled; "Its nice meeting you Mrs. Brown and Hello Lavender, we meet again" he said formally.

Leila let out a smile; "Oh please Arthur, please call me Leila, we'll be in laws soon" she said candidly.

Molly felt her jaw drop as Ron's face paled.


oOo


The Quiet Zone Bar - Conrad Ranalifinolhu Hotels and Resorts, Rangali Island, Maldives – 7:30 P.M.


"This tastes good, what do you call this again?" Hermione asked.

Draco took a nip of his drink and turned towards Hermione; "Its Alidhoo or Island Affair" he replied.

Hermione eyed the orange drink thoughtfully and took a huge gulp; "I haven't tried anything this good in years" she said.

"Well, they don't have this in London" Draco shrugged.

Hermione ignored his smart jive and continued drinking her cocktail.

"The man near the bar is eyeing you up Granger, I think you have an admirer" Draco observed while swirling his drink.

Hermione frowned and turned towards the direction that Draco gave; she met the gaze of the blond man sitting near the bar and felt her cheeks redden when he raised his glass in salute and smiled at her widely. Hermione quickly averted the man's gaze and took another sip of her drink, ignoring the gesture fully.

Draco watched his companion with fascination; "Are you blushing?" he asked.

Hermione swallowed a mouthful and cleared her throat; "Mind your own business" she snipped.

Draco smirked; "You ARE blushing!" he said.
"Stop it!"

Draco chuckled; "Don't you find him attractive?" he asked.
"I don't like blonde guys, they look gay to me" Hermione said.

Draco puffed out his chest and sat straight; "I beg your pardon? Gay?" he asked incredulously.

Hermione eyed his reaction and burst out laughing.
"What's so funny?" Draco asked.

Hermione sniffed and placed her drink on top the table; "You should've seen your reaction, it was hilarious!" she giggled.

Draco stared at her for a couple of seconds and turned his gaze towards the four empty cocktail glasses on top of the table; "Granger, I think you're drunk" he observed.

Hermione stifled her giggles and shook her head, making her curls bounce; "I'm not, I can hold my liquor" she said.

Draco looked at her amusedly and then smiled; "Do you want to dance?" he asked slyly.

Hermione threw a look at the dimly lit dance floor and turned her gaze towards her companion; "I don't think that's a good idea..." she trailed off.

"Yes you are drunk, I bet you cannot stand straight that's why you refuse to dance" Draco baited.

Hermione threw another look at the dance floor and felt her mouth go dry; she turned her gaze back towards the table and saw Draco's half empty drink. She carelessly leaned forward and plucked his glass; she brought it towards her mouth and drank it in one go.

"Hey! That's my drink!"

Hermione slammed the empty glass back on the table and stood up.

Draco watched with amusement as Hermione struggle to stand straight; "Where are you going Granger?" he asked while stifling his smile.

Hermione rolled her eyes; "I thought we're dancing?" she asked.

Draco smiled widely and stood up; he walked towards her and braced his hands around her hip, steadying her.

Hermione eyes followed his hands; "Easy now Malfoy, we don't want people thinking that we're together" she murmured.

Draco pulled her closer and smirked; "Why? You don't want to butch blondie's chances?" he teased.

Hermione huffed and snaked her arms around his neck; "I don't even want him near me, he looks creepy" she giggled.

Draco chuckled; "I like you when you’re drunk" he said.

Hermione wrinkled her nose; "Only when I'm drunk?" she asked.

Draco smiled slyly; "Why? Do you want me to like you in any other way?" he teased.

Hermione bit her bottom lip as her eyes fluttered softly; "It depends..." she said boldly.

Draco felt his heart skip a beat for a few seconds but he dismissed it as quickly as it came; he then eyed her and shook his head. "You're just drunk" he said.

Hermione pulled him closer; "I'm not drunk Draco, just a little tipsy" she said. "I thought we're going to dance?" she asked.

"I think we better go home" Draco replied.

Hermione leaned her face into the crook of his neck and took a deep breath; "You smell good" she murmured.

"You really are drunk" Draco said while untangling her arms from his neck. He then pulled her right arm and wrapped it around his waist as he secured his left arm around her shoulders. "Come on now princess, I'm taking you home" he said.

Hermione fastened her arm around his waist; "Lead the way my blondie princess" she said while giggling.

Draco rolled his eyes and began walking them towards the exit.


oOo


The Burrow - Ottery, St. Catchpole - Devon, England – 3:35 P.M.

"In laws?" Molly asked confusedly.

Lavender fidgeted in her seat as she tried to swallow the bile that rose up from her stomach.

Leila smiled widely; "Well of course! Your son will be marrying my daughter soon" she said confidently.

Ron stood abruptly from his seat with his face red in anger; "What the bloody hell is going on here Lavender?" he shouted.

Lavender bowed her head, averting his penetrative gaze.
"Don't shout at my daughter!" Leila shrieked.

Ron's head snapped towards his parents; "I'm not marrying her!" he said firmly.

Leila stood up from her perch and placed her hands on hips; "Let me make this clear for you young man, you involved my daughter in this scandal so be a MAN and take responsibility!" she said sternly.

Molly was about to open her mouth to retort but Arthur grasped her hand in his, silencing her. Arthur then cleared his throat; "Ronald, please sit down and let's talk about this" he said. He then turned his gaze towards their guest;

"I'm sorry for my son's behaviour Mrs. Brown but I beg to disagree, your daughter was included in this scandal because she is a willing participant and not because my son coerced her to, so please don't throw the blame on my son alone" he said.

Leila sat down on the couch and looked abashed; "I'm sorry

Arthur, I didn't mean to lose my temper" she said.

Ronald threw a grateful look at his father.

Arthur then turned towards Lavender and smiled at her kindly; "What can you say about this Lavender? I want to hear your opinion on this matter" he said.

Lavender's pale face turned towards Arthur nervously; she was about to open her mouth to answer but was cut off when she fastened both her hands on her mouth and hastily bolted towards the open front door.

The three occupants of the sitting room stared wide eye at her reaction; Leila came to her sense first and stood up; she was about to follow her daughter when a loud sound of retching echoed inside the house.

Arthur's eyes widen as Molly fell limp in his arms.

"Bloody buggering hell!" Ron cursed loudly.


oOo


Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 8:30 P.M.


"Didi!" Draco called out as she hauled the giggling Hermione towards the couch.

"Oooppfff" Hermione groaned but continued giggling.

"Sorry Granger" Draco winced.

Didi appeared in the middle of the sitting room and bowed; "Yes Young Master" she said.

Draco sat on the couch and tried helping Hermione to sit down properly; "Do we have sobering potion here somewhere?" he asked.

Didi peered at her Mistress with huge beady eyes; "Is Mistress Hermione alright Sir?" she asked.

"She just had a little too much to drink nothing serious" Draco replied. "So, do you have the potion handy?" he asked.

Didi shook her head; "Didi is sorry Young Master but we don't have any potions here" she squeaked.

Draco took another look at the woman sitting beside him and sighed; "Can you pop into the Manor and bring me some sobering potion and hang over potion please?" he asked.

"Of course Young Master, Didi will go to Malfoy Manor, does you need anything else Young Master?" Didi asked.

"No Didi, that would be it, thank you" Draco replied.
Didi bowed and disappeared with a snap of her finger.

Draco leaned back on the couch and closed his eyes; "Well Granger, you have to wait for your sobering potion I'm afraid" he said. He waited for a response but when he didn't get any, he assumed that she fell asleep so he kept his eyes closed. After a couple of minutes of silence he felt her moving; he opened his eyes and frowned when he heard whimpering sounds coming from her shaking body. "Hermione?" he said.

Hermione ignored his inquiry and turned her back to him; she curled up into a ball and kept crying.

Draco felt a pang inside his chest as he watched her cry; after a couple of minutes of gut retching sounds he placed his hand tentatively on her shoulder. "Hermione?" he repeated.

Hermione mumbled.

Draco moved closer; "I'm sorry I didn't hear you, what did you say?" he asked softly.

Hermione slowly turned towards Draco and stared at him with her tear stricken face; "Am I not worth it?" she asked pitifully.

"What do you mean?" Draco frowned.

"Why did he do this? Why did he leave me?"

"Argh...This is about that pathetic Weasley again" Draco thought. "There's nothing wrong with you Hermione, Weasley is just an arsehole" he said.

Hermione wiped the tears that are clouding her eyes; she pushed herself up from the couch and tried to sit straight. "No...I think there's something wrong with me...I think it's my fault..." her voice was sullen.

Draco felt ire creeping in so he decided to stand up; he walked towards the glass sliding door and stared at the dark sky. "It's not your fault Granger, like I said, he is just a wanker who cannot keep his fly closed" he said sternly.

Hermione bowed her head as sobs wrack her body; "I-I should've...I should've given him w—what-he wanted so-he did—didn't need to get it from so—somebody else-it's my fault..." she hiccupped.

Draco clenched his fist tightly; "Sex is not enough reason to stray Granger, he has hands and that should've been enough to satisfy his itch" he spat.

Hermione's sniffed as tears continue trailing down her cheeks; "But that's not enough and we both know it...I'm pathetic...a prude and frigid fiancé" she said lamely.

Draco felt his temper rise; "How many times will I tell you that it's not your fault? Your fiancé is a fucking bastard you should forget about him and move on with your life!" he hissed.

Hermione eyed sadly him for a couple of seconds; "You won't understand..." she murmured.

"What do you mean I won't understand?"

"You won't understand how hard it is to know that you shouldn't hold on, and yet you're too in love to let go..." Hermione croaked.

Draco eyed her for a couple of seconds and let out a sarcastic laugh; "Too in love? WAKE UP GRANGER and smell the coffee! The weasel does not love you! Because if he did, he wouldn't have cheated on you with some slag twice!" he hissed.

Hermione opened her mouth to speak but when she cannot find the words to say she closed it; she then buried her face into her palms and cried harder.

Draco stared at her frail form and felt guilt gnaw at his chest; he took a deep calming breath and padded towards her. He sat down beside her and moved closer; he gently pried her hands away from her face and pulled her into a comforting embrace. "I'm sorry...I didn't mean to say it that way..." he whispered.

"But—but-that's the truth...He...he didn't—he didn't love me...the—the way I love him...I-I'm so stupid...I should—I should've seen the sign...I was so blind..." Hermione whimpered.

"Great! Now I feel like an arse!" He thought. Draco moved and leaned back on the couch bringing him partly on top of his chest.

Hermione sniffled.

Draco realized that with this new position he's twisting her body in a wrong direction; he tried pulling away to make her more comfortable but Hermione won't budge. "You might curse me for this tomorrow but you leave me with no choice" he said. He leaned forward again and gently hauled the crying woman on his lap; once she's settled, he felt Hermione moved closer and buried her whimpering face further into his neck. He sighed and began rubbing her back soothingly; "Fine you can cry your heart out but make sure that this is the last time you'll cry for him. It's time to wake up from this fairytale turned nightmare you created Granger. You need to be wide awake when you face all of this; you're a Gryffindor for Merlin sake! You're supposed to be brave and loyal but this time it has to be for yourself and to yourself first, you need to let go all of this tonight, no more hiding, it's about time you start moving on princess..." he said.

Hermione's whimper lessens as she was lulled into a state of calmness with Draco's words.

Draco secured his hold on her before he leaned back on the couch; closing his eyes.


oOo




Chapter 11: The hardest part of letting go
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Eleven: The hardest part of letting go


"The hardest part's not breaking up its picking up what's left of us and piecing back a life, a life that I once knew. The hardest part's not crying but wiping off the tears, the tears that can't seem to stop falling thinking of the years we could've been. We loved, I bruised, you go, I lose, and the hardest part of letting is when your heart says no..." (The hardest part of letting go by Ricci Chan)

oOo


The Burrow - Ottery, St. Catchpole - Devon, England – 4:05 P.M.


Leila stood from the couch and smiled; "Thank you for the tea Molly and Arthur but Lav and I need to go home" she said.

Arthur stood from his perch and offered his hand; "Thank you for visiting Leila, it's our pleasure" he said politely.

Molly also stood and smiled awkwardly; "We'll talk soon" she said.

Leila nodded, she then turned towards her pale daughter; "Come on now love, your father will be arriving any minute now" she said.

Lavender stood up and nodded; she then turned her gaze towards Ron's parents and smiled shyly. "Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Weasley for having us" she said.

Ron huffed and averted his gaze.

Molly's head snapped towards her son and frowned; "Ronald" she said sternly.

Ronald cleared his throat; "Have a safe trip" he said.

Lavender nodded and turned towards her scowling mother; "Let's go now Mum, we need to go home" she said.

Leila ignored Ron's insolence and began walking towards the door; "Again thank you for having us" she said.

Lavender followed her mother awkwardly.

Leila pulled the door open and exited the threshold with a huff; she then began walking away.

Lavender threw an apologetic look at the Weasley's and followed her mother out; closing the door behind her.

Arthur let out a relieved breath and fell back on the couch; "That went well enough" he said.

Molly patted her husband's hand and turned towards her son; "I'm disappointed at you Ronald, I know that your situation with Lavender is not ideal but I expected you to at least act cordial" she reprimanded.

Ronald sniffed with disdain; "She's trying to pin the blame solely on me when her daughter is also clearly at fault. I don't know why she's insisting that I marry Lavender when everybody knows that she's not a woman of virtue herself" he said.

"That's the consequence of your irresponsibility and we can't blame her if she feels that way, Lavender is still a woman and their only child. Won't you feel the same if Ginny was in the same situation?" Arthur asked.

Ron looked abashed and averted his gaze.

"We've managed to calm Leila down for now but the storm hasn't passed yet. I'm sure she's still expecting a wedding, so I suggest you to think about what you will do if that's their decision" Molly said.

Ron let out a defeated sigh and bowed his head; "But I don't want to marry Lavender...I still want to marry Hermione..." he murmured.

Arthur frowned and stood up; "Then you should've thought about that before you got involved with somebody else. Hermione's ship has long sailed, I don't think she'll still consider you after everything that has been said and done" he said.

Ron buried his face into his palms.

Molly threw his son a pitying look and stood up; she grasped her husband's arm and squeezed it comfortingly. "Come on dear, help me make supper" she said.

Arthur nodded and pulled away from her grasp; he then turned and began walking towards their kitchen.

"Your father is still grasping the situation Ronald, give him time" Molly said.

"I know Mum..."

"Stay for supper," Molly said before walking away.


oOo


Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 12:30 A.M.


Draco opened his eyes sleepily when he felt a gentle prodding on his arm; he let out a tired yawn and eyed the woman sleeping soundly on his lap.

"Young Master?"

Draco turned towards the elf standing a few steps away from the couch; "Yes Didi?" he asked lowly.

Didi began fumbling with her hands nervously; "Didi wants to know if Master wants Didi to levitate Mistress Hermione to her room?" she half whispered.

Draco raised both brows and moved his gaze towards Hermione's curly hair; "Don't worry about Didi, I'll take her to her room, you can rest now" he murmured.

Didi bowed and began padding towards the kitchen quietly.

Draco watched as the elf sauntered away; once it's out of sight, he began patting Hermione's arm gently, coaxing her to wake up. "Granger? We have to move" he said.

Hermione groaned and began stirring.

"Come on now love, you have to wake up so we can move you to your own room" Draco murmured.

Hermione moved again but instead of waking up, she buried her face further into the crook of his neck and almost instantly she's back into a deep slumber.

Draco watched her subtle movements and let out a defeated sigh; "Well, I guess I'll have to carry you then" he said decidedly. He pulled her sleeping form closer to his chest and sat up straight from the couch; gently, he slithered his left arm at the back of her knees and moved his right arm to support her back, carrying her in bridal style. Wordlessly he stood up from the couch and began walking towards the corridors; once he reached her door he muttered a wandless unlocking charm and pushed the door open. He padded inside the semi lighted room and began moving towards the 3 steps stairs; he climbed up with no difficulty and approached her bedside. Slowly he leaned forward and lowered her limp body on top of it; he carefully pulled the comforter at the foot of the bed and began covering her up to her waist. "There you go" he said while watching her intently. After a couple of minutes of silence he decided that it’s time for him to go to bed too; lazily he walked towards the stairs and descended it, he continued his path towards the door and exited it, closing the door behind him quietly.


oOo


The Burrow - Ottery, St. Catchpole - Devon, England – 8:06 P.M.


Molly was washing the dishes when Arthur settled himself on one of the chairs inside the kitchen; "Why are you washing the dishes with your hands?" he asked.

Molly began running the plate she's scrubbing under the running water and turned her head towards her husband; "I need to do something that will take my mind off of things" she replied.

Arthur nodded; "Things has been crazy lately" he said.

Molly turned her attention back to the dishes and huffed; "More than crazy, I daresay" she said.

Arthur leaned back on his chair; "Do you really think that Mrs. Brown will push our son to marry Lavender?" he asked.

Molly placed the plate on the dish rack and switched off the tap; she then turned towards her husband while drying her hands with the hem of her apron. "I wouldn't blame her if she does, if I was in her position; I would've done the same thing if Ginny is in the predicament"

"You're right"

Molly braced her back on the sink; "It's still hard for me to accept that Hermione will not be part of this family officially, I badly wanted her to be..." she said sadly.

Arthur sighed; "Things doesn't really pan out the way we thought it would be" he said. He then frowned; "Have you heard anything from Hermione? I haven't seen her since this whole issue grew out of proportion" he asked.

"I went to her house the other day but it looks like nobody's been there for quite some time" Molly said.

Arthur's frown deepen; "Did you try asking Ginny? I'm sure Hermione would've told her if she's leaving" he suggested.

"That's actually a good idea dear, I'll owl Ginny tomorrow" Molly replied.

Arthur nodded.


oOo


Brown's Cottage - Surrey, England – 9:45 P.M.


"Do you know what's wrong with Lavender? She's been quiet and pale all evening" Steven Brown asked his wife while fluffing their pillows on their bed.

Leila that's sitting right in front of her vanity mirror turned her face towards her husband; "We went to the Weasley's today, I guess she was just overwhelmed" she replied nonchalantly.

Steven sat on the bed and frowned; "What did you do there, pray tell" he asked while crossing his arms on top of his chest.

Leila returned her gaze on the mirror and began lathering moisturizing potion on her face; "I just talked with them that's all" she replied.

"What did you talk about?"

"I just told them that their son needs to marry our daughter" Leila replied.

Steven's frown deepen; "Why did you do that Leila?" he asked appalled.

Leila's head snapped towards her husband; "What do you mean why I did that? That man needs to marry my baby! He dragged our innocent daughter into this mess and he needs to take full responsibility!" she hissed.

Steven began massaging his temples, warding the incoming headache; "Is this about what's written in the Prophet?" he asked.

"What do you think?" Leila asked sarcastically.

"It's not even a scandal Leila, It was just a sensationalize speculation of a measly reporter who happens to see our daughter together with that man. It's not enough reason to have them jump into marriage for Merlin's sake!" Steven said exasperatedly.

Leila kept silent but maintained the defiant look in her eyes.

Steven studied his wife face and shook his head in disappointment; "I'm not arguing with you tonight" he said as he lay down on the bed.

Leila turned her gaze back to the mirror and continued her nightly ritual.


oOo


Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 10:00 A.M.


Hermione woke up with the sun shining brightly at her face; she crinkled her nose and opened her eyes sleepily.

"Good morning Mistress" Didi greeted cheerfully.

Hermione swallowed the bitter taste in her mouth and pushed the comforter away from her body; "Good morning Didi" she croaked.

Didi walked towards the sliding doors that's adjacent to her Mistresses bed and pulled the drapes, effectively shutting the sun outside her balcony.

Hermione smiled thankfully at the elf and sat up; "What time is it?" she asked.

Didi turned towards her; "It's 10 in the morning Miss, does Miss Hermione want Didi to bring her breakfast inside her room?"

Hermione shook her head and began inching towards the edge of the bed; "It's okay Didi, I'll eat at the kitchen, where's Draco?" she asked.

"Young Master is lounging in the Jacuzzi Miss" Didi replied.

"Did he already have breakfast?" Hermione asked.

"Yes Miss"

"Oh, okay" Hermione said while standing up.

"What does Miss Hermione wants to eat?" Didi asked.

Hermione stared at her dress and wrinkled her nose; "I'll just have toast and tea, I'll just fix myself" she said.

Didi bowed and disappeared with a loud crack.

Hermione then faced her bed and began fixing it; after straightening the comforter and aligning the pillows, she walked towards the bathroom. Once inside, she closed the door behind her and began padding towards the sink, she stood right in front of it and studied her face in the mirror. She then let out a loud sigh as she studied her pale tear stricken face; "You already cried enough tears Hermione, it's time to really start moving on and bury the past behind you, you're done with it" she said to herself. She then let out a bright smile and grabbed her toothbrush; "The life after Ron starts today" she murmured.


Meanwhile...


Draco sat inside his Jacuzzi deep in thought; he mulled about all that happened within the days he spent in their island and he shook his head in disbelief. He still cannot bring himself to believe that the perfect "Golden Couple" already called it quits and now he's partly nursing the golden girl's broken heart. He still couldn't believe that after all the animosity and shared history between them, she'd learn to trust him and let her guard down during her most hurtful moments. It still surprises him every time she speaks to him about her feelings and situation freely, though she may not give the full detail away, she still makes sure that he grasps where she's coming from. After hearing the story he can't help but feel unbridle fury towards the weasel and his indiscretion. He may have had his fair share of lays but never it come to a point that he cheated on them with another woman.

"Enjoying your dip?"

Draco's head snapped towards the voice and felt the sides of his lip turning up into a smile; "Hey" he said.

Hermione walked towards one of the recliners and sat at the edge; she then gathered her hands on her lap and clasped it together.

Draco studied her gesture and raised his pale brow; "Is anything wrong?" he asked.

Hermione bit her bottom and lip as she felt her cheeks flush; "Err..."

Draco stared at her.

"Err...I just want to say thank you for last night..."

Draco smirked slyly; "You're welcome, just be sure that you'll go soft on me next time, I don't like it rough you know" he teased.

Hermione's gaze widen as she felt her jaw drop.

Draco stared at her for couple of seconds and let out a loud laugh.

Hermione felt her face redden with embarrassment and mortification; "You're being an arse!" she spat.

Draco shook his head as he tried to stifle his mirth; "You're so gullible Granger" he said.

Hermione took a deep calming breath; "I'll ignore your pun and still thank you for last night" she said.

Draco smiled warmly at her; "Don't worry about it, I understand" he replied.

Hermione returned the smile and stood up; "Well, I guess I'll leave you to your own devices again," she said.
"Don't you want a dip?"

Hermione scrunched her face; "I think I'll pass, it's too hot for me to swim, maybe later" she said.

Draco nodded.

Hermione began walking away.

"Granger?"

Hermione paused and turned back; "Yes?" she asked.

Draco stared at her seriously; "I'm serious about what I said last night, it's time for you to stop crying and start moving on. That arsehole doesn't deserve a single tear from you, you're too good for him" he said.

Hermione felt her heart jolt with his words but she ignored it; she then let out a smile and nodded. "Don't worry about it Malfoy, I'm working on it" she said.

Draco smiled approvingly; "Good girl, now, I'll see you later" he said.

Hermione nodded and resumed her path.

Draco watched her back disappeared from the door; he then slumped back and let the soothing bubbles massage his tired body.


oOo


Goldstein – Weasley's Flat, Birmingham, England - 7:00 A.M.


"Sweetheart, there's an owl for you at window, its Errol" Anthony called out.

Ginny sauntered inside the kitchen while rubbing her wet hair with a big fluffy towel; "Good morning love" she greeted her beau as she walked towards the window. She pulled the shutter open and leaned forward; "Good morning Errol" she said.

The owl hooted happily and offered its leg.

Ginny threw her towel on the nearest chair and began untying the letter for its leg; once she retrieved it, Errol hooted loudly and flew away.

Anthony took a sip of his coffee; "Looks like Errol is not waiting for a response" he observed.

Ginny closed the window and pulled aside some wet hair strands that's covering her eyes; "I guess so, I wonder what Mum wants" she said.

Anthony turned towards the covers and pulled another cup; he poured a hefty amount of coffee and placed it on top of the counter. "Here's your coffee love and your breakfast is warming inside the broiler, I need to go, I'm on call today" he said before draining the coffee in his mug.

Ginny placed the letter on top of the table and walked towards her beau; she snaked her hands around his neck and pulled him closer. "You're leaving now?" she pouted.

Anthony wrapped his arms around her waist and planted a soft kiss on her nose; "As much as I want to stay longer and ravish you silly, I can't because I'm on call today, Draco is on leave" he explained.

Ginny crinkled her nose; "That's new, Malfoy is on leave" she observed.

Anthony chuckled; "The man deserves a time off, he has a month long leave credits, it's about time he uses it" he said.

Ginny nodded as she began playing with her beau's hair; "I was hoping for a little romp before work but I guess we can't do that" she said sultrily.

Anthony stared at her dishevelled form for a couple of seconds and let out a coy smile; "I can spare a couple of minutes..." he said.

Ginny smiled triumphantly; "That's what I wanted to hear" she said before pulling his lips towards her waiting mouth.


oOo


"Do you know where Draco is Theo? I went to St. Mungos yesterday but I was told he's on leave" Pansy asked Theo as she sip her morning tea.

Theo lowered the newspaper he's reading; "He's on a trip" he replied.

"Oh, really? That's new" Pansy said.

Theo smiled; "I know, I guess he realized that he has a month worth of leave credits"

Pansy's eyes widen in surprise; "He has that much?" she asked.

Theo nodded; "He's a hard working bloke, never takes unnecessary leaves" he said.

Pansy snorted; "More like, he doesn't have a life" she guffawed.

"True" Theo replied. He then folded the paper and placed it on top of the table; "So tell me, how's Millie? You visited her yesterday I reckon"

Pansy's glee instantly faded as worry marred her features; "She told me she's fine but I highly doubt that..." she said.

Theo's brow furrowed; "What do you mean?" he asked before sipping his coffee.

Pansy picked up her fork and began poking the waffles on her plate; "I think she's planning something, whatever it is, I have no idea" she said.

Theo placed his cup on the table and gazed at Pansy seriously; "Whatever it is that she's planning I want you to stay out of it" he said.

Pansy frowned; "But she's my best friend and I don't want her to be in trouble" she said.

"I'm serious Pansy, I don't want you caught up with her idiosyncrasy"

Pansy opened her mouth to speak but closed it; she then threw a shy smile towards Theo and bit her bottom lip with uncertainty. "What are we Theo? You're making me confused with these statements and concern..." she asked.

Theo looked taken a back for a couple of seconds; "What do you mean what are we?" he asked.

Pansy held the fork tightly in her hands as she confronts the proverbial pink elephant in the room; "Are we in a relationship?" she asked hurriedly.

Theo studied her face; "Do you want to be?" he asked.

Pansy's eyes widen.

Theo stared at her for a couple of seconds and burst out laughing.

Pansy felt her face redden with embarrassment so she hastily stood up; she dropped her fork on her plate unceremoniously and threw her napkin at Theo; "You're an arse!" she hissed. She then pushed her chair away and began walking away.

Theo's eyes widen as he sat rooted on his chair.

Pansy moved towards the fire place and huffed indignantly; "Stupid arse! Argh!" she whispered furiously. When she reached the fire place she petulantly scooped a hefty amount of floo powder from the mantle; she threw it on the grate and shouted her destination; "Parkinson Suites". She then stepped inside the green flames and disappeared instantly.

"What the bloody hell just happened?" Theo said to himself.


oOo


Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 1:15 P.M.


"Mind if I join you?"

Draco didn't open his eyes but he bobbed his head in approval.

Hermione gingerly unwound the sarong from her hips and folded it neatly; she padded towards the recliner and placed it on top of the warm cushions. She then moved towards the Jacuzzi and stood right in front of the steps; she took off her slippers and started climbing up excitedly.

Draco lazily opened his eyes when he felt Hermione blocking his sun; he raised his head from its comfortable perch and stared at the woman standing a few feet away from him.

Hermione carefully stepped up the rim of the tub and balanced herself; once she found her equilibrium she slowly dipped her foot in the bubbling waters.

Draco's eyes raked Hermione's supple legs up to her ample bosom; he felt his breath hitch in his throat when saw how the white floral bikini clung to her luscious curves.

"Err, Draco? Why are you staring at me like that?"

Draco's eyes immediately met her confused gaze as he felt his cheeks redden in embarrassment; he cleared his throat and sat up straight. "You can't blame me, you're full of surprises Granger" he said.

Hermione stepped into the tub and immersed herself waist deep into the bubbling water; "Why?" she asked while sitting down.

"I've known you for more than 10 years and I didn't know you have that body" Draco asked with a salacious smirk.

Hermione felt her cheeks burned with his veiled compliment but she ignored it; "Because I don't display it like other women" she replied nonchalantly.

Draco spread his arms and braced it on the rim of the tub; "Well you should, you have a body that other women will kill for" he said.

Hermione lowered herself further into the water, sinking neck deep; "After what happened? I don't think so, people will think that I've gone mad after I was cheated on" she huffed.

Draco furrowed his brows; "Why do you care about what other people will think?" he asked.

Hermione sighed as she braises her nape on the rim of the tub; "I just don't want people talking about me...that is the reason why I left London..." she said before closing her eyes.

"People will always talk Hermione, that's our nature. If they are talking about you then give them something good to talk about, get out of your shell, you're a smart, sexy, pretty and available lady" Draco said.

Hermione open her left eye and smiled; "Careful there Draco, I might think that your starting to fancy me" she teased.

"Are you scared that I would?" Draco countered slyly.

Hermione opened both of her eyes and gazed into his eyes; "Why would I be scared?" she asked.

"Oh Hermione, you wouldn't say that if you know me" Draco replied.

Hermione angled her face to the side and stared at him; "You're right" she said.

Draco raised his pale brow in question.

Hermione sat up straight and crossed her arms on top of her chest; "We've been here for a couple of days already and all we talk about is my predicament, you haven't told me anything personal, just your professional side" she said.

Draco brought his arms down and began playing with the bubbling water; he averted her speculative gaze and thought for a while.

Hermione's curiosity was piqued with her companion's silence; "I'm not trying to be nosey and all but your statement is telling" she said.

"Curiosity killed the cat"

Hermione rolled her eyes; "Too bad I'm not a cat then," she replied.

Draco's face snapped towards her, his face lined with mirth; "Are you trying to be funny?" he asked.

"Do I look like I'm joking?"

"Don't think about it, it's nothing" Draco said.

Hermione eyed him sadly as she stood up; she turned her back to him and began climbing up.

Draco was taken aback with her reaction; "Why are you leaving?" he asked confusedly.

Hermione turned her head towards him; "It just a little bit unnerving that I shared most of my personal life with you but you wouldn't even give me a glimpse of yours but don't worry, I won't take it personally, I understand if you don't trust me that much" she said before hefting herself up from the tub.

Draco frowned; "You're not taking it personal but your leaving?" he said.

Hermione descended the steps and began moving towards the recliners; "I just need to think, is all" she replied.

Draco crossed his arms on top of his chest petulantly; "Okay" he said.

Hermione plucked her sarong from the cushion and tied it to her waist; she turned her back to him and began walking towards the house.

Draco uncrossed his arms when his previous companion is out of sight; he then leaned his head back at the rim of the tub, his gaze piercing into the vast blue sky.


oOo


"That's your plan?" Pansy asked.

Millicent turned towards her best friend and let out a triumphant smile; "Brilliant, isn't it?" she asked proudly.

Pansy shook her head as she burrowed deeper into her duvet; "I don't want to burst your bubble Millie but that's a little bit loony" she said.

Millicent looked appalled as she sauntered to the nearest couch; she slumped on it and pouted. "What do you mean its loony? I think it's brilliant!" she replied.

Pansy sighed; she then sat up and leaned back on her headboard; "Well for starters, you can't just tell the press that you are pregnant with the weasel's child no one will believe you because he was just spotted with Brown in St. Mungos. You also cannot pretend to be pregnant Mill's, what will you say if your stomach does not expand the way it should be when you're carrying his spawn? People will just laugh at you love and I don't want that to happen" she said.

Millicent huffed and crossed her arms on top of her chest defiantly; "You have a valid point Pans but I'm running out of ideas here! I can't let that weasel get away unscathed! He broke my heart and made me look stupid!" she sulked.
"Tell the press that he has a sexually transmitted disease that will knock him off his high horse"

Pansy and Millicent's head snapped towards the door.

Theo pushed the door open and sauntered inside the room.

Millicent thought about his suggestion and almost instantly a smile bloomed from her lips; she bolted up from her perch and moved towards Theo. She pulled him into a tight hug and patted his right cheek affectionately after; "YOU ARE BRILLIANT!" she gushed. She then turned towards her best friend and winked; "I'll be going now Pans, too many plans to make, so little time!" she said.

"But you said you'd keep me company!"

Millicent smiled; "I did but Theo is here, I'm sure you'd prefer him than me, so I'll just see you later love! Cheerio!" she said before disappearing with a loud pop.

Pansy let out at defeated sigh as she slumped back into her bed; "Go away Theo, I don't want to talk to you" she said.

Theo moved closer and stood beside her bed; "We need to talk, I think you misunderstood me" he softly said.

Pansy pulled the duvet over her head; "I understand it perfectly so please go away, I want to sleep" she replied under the covers.

Theo sat at the edge of her bed and began tugging it away; "If you understand it perfectly then why are you acting this way?" he asked.

Pansy held the covers tightly; "What do you want me to do? Jump for joy? Let go!" she hissed.

Theo shook his head and pulled the duvet away with one powerful tug.

Pansy yelped but she turned her back on him.

Theo crawled up the bed and spooned her; he wrapped his arms around her waist and buried his face into her neck. "You clearly misunderstood me love, well just to set the records straight, I want you to be my girlfriend" he murmured.

Pansy hastily pulled his arms away from her waist and turned towards Theo; "Do you mean that? Or are you just saying these things so you sleep with me again?" she asked.

Theo placed his arm back at her waist and pulled her closer; "You wound me witch, you think of me that low?" he asked.

Pansy lowered her face and bit her lower lip; "It's not that and you know it..." she replied.

Theo gently moved his hand and tilted her face towards his; "I know I haven't been forthcoming with my feelings for you and it might seem that I'm only playing around but Pansy I'm not. I'm in love with you, I've always been in love with you, I'm sorry if I haven't been clear about that" he confessed.

Pansy's eyes widen as she digests Theo's words; she felt her eyes prickling with tears so she hastily moved closer to him and buried her face into his chest.

"You're crying so I'll take that as a sign that you're happy and you feel the same way for me" Theo said with a huge smile.

Pansy sobbed as she wrapped her arms around him.

Theo closed his eyes as he relish the feeling of unbridled happiness.


oOo


Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 2:00 P.M.


Draco stood outside Hermione's door uncertainly; he thought about what she said and it somehow hit him. He didn't mean for it come out the way she interpreted it; he just doesn't like talking about his past. He let out a loud sigh and knocked on her door; "Hermione, are you in there?" he called out. When he didn't get a response, he knocked again; "It's not that I don't trust you, I just don't like talking about my past, is all" he said. When he still didn't get a response he lowered his hand; "Looks like you don't want to talk yet, I'll just leave you be for now" he said before turning his back on the door.

"Draco?"

Draco instantly turned towards the other side of the corridor; "What are you doing there?" he asked.

Hermione furrowed her brows; "I'm going to my room?" she replied confusedly.

"You mean you're not in there?"

"I'm right in front of you right now so obviously I'm not"

Draco let out a sigh of relief.

"Well if you have nothing to say then I'll be on my way now" Hermione said. She then moved towards her door and twisted the knob; she pushed it open and padded inside.

"Wait—" Draco said.

Hermione paused and turned her head towards him; "Yes?" she asked.

"We need to talk..." Draco said with a grimace.

Hermione studied his reaction; "Malf-Draco...we don't have anything to talk about, don't sweat it" she said.

Draco shook his head; "No, we need to talk. You're right, you've been open with your life and I haven't been forthcoming with mine, we're friends so I guess a little tale or two won't hurt..." he said.

Hermione felt warmth in her chest when he mentioned the word "friends"; she bit her bottom lip to stifle the smile that's tugging at the corner of her mouth. "Are you sure you want to talk about it, I'm not pressuring you or anything..." she said.

Draco raised his pale brow; "Do you honestly think you can pressure me to spill the beans Granger?" he asked.

"I can be very persuasive Malfoy" Hermione replied with a smile.

He then gestured towards her bikini clad body; "By wearing that? I don't doubt it" he said suggestively. "As much as I like seeing your delectable body in those, I prefer you wearing something else when we talk because that will distract me, big time" he said with a smirk.

Hermione felt her face redden with embarrassment when she realized that she's only wearing her bikini because she left her sarong to dry on her balcony. "Go away! I'll see you in the Lanai, just give me 30 minutes!" she said before she hastily closed the door.

Draco laughed heartily; "You never fail to amaze me Granger! I'll see you in 30" he said before padding away.


oOo


Goldstein – Weasley's Flat, Birmingham, England - 8:05 A.M.


Ginny closed the tap from the sink and shook both of her hands from excess water; she then moved towards the counter and wiped her hands dry with a towel. She was about to leave the kitchen when her eye caught the note she received early this morning; she walked towards it and opened it. Her eyes scan the note as her brows furrow; "Well that's a good question, where is Hermione" she said to herself. She then moved away from the counter and began sauntering towards their fire place; once she reached it, she scooped a hefty amount of floo powder and threw it at the grate; when the green flames erupted she called out Harry's house.

"Ginny?"

Ginny kneeled right in front of the fire place and smiled; "Good morning Torry" she greeted.

Astoria kneeled right in front of their fire place and beamed; "Good morning, how are you?" she asked.

"I'm doing great thank you for asking, I'm sorry if I fire called this early" Ginny said.

Astoria waived her hand dismissively; "It's okay, we're already up and going. How can I help you?" she asked.

Ginny sat on her haunches; "I was wondering if Harry is home" she said.

"Harry just left a couple of minutes ago, I'm sorry you missed him" Astoria replied ruefully.

Ginny's face fell; "Well it's alright, I guess I just have to call some other time" she said.

Astoria bit her lip; "Is anything wrong?" she asked.

"Well, I just received a note from Mum and she's asking me if I heard anything from Hermione. Merlin knows I've been trying to reach her for quite some time now but I can't seem to get a hold of her, I was wondering if Harry knows anything" Ginny replied.

"I do know where she is" Astoria replied.

Ginny's eyes widen as she leaned forward; "Really? Where is she? Is she alright?" she asked frantically.

"I'm sorry if we didn't tell you sooner, it must've slipped our minds with all the things that have been happening lately. Hermione is in Maldives, she left a couple of days ago. Harry and I sent her there because she told Harry that she wants to go on vacation to clear her mind" Astoria explained.

"Maldives? Do you have place there?" Ginny asked.

Astoria shook her head; "Heavens no, how I wish we had. She's staying at our friend's house" she replied.

Ginny nodded; "Oh okay, it’s good to know that she's fine" she said.

Astoria looked crest fallen; "I really feel bad that we forgot to tell you..." she said sincerely.

Ginny smiled; "Don't sweat it Torry, it's totally fine" she replied.

Astoria smiled back; "I hope I helped you" she said.

Ginny winked; "You did love, well I better go, I still need to write a quick note to Mum before I go to practice" she said.

"Alright then, don't be a stranger, please visit us soon" Astoria replied.

"Will do, give kisses to Candice for me" Ginny said.

"I will, see you soon" Astoria said.

"Cheerio!" Ginny said before cutting the connection off. She then stood up from her perch and began walking back towards the counter; "I need to write a quick then," she said to herself.


oOo


Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 8:30 A.M.


"I saw you talking to Didi last night, what is she doing here? I thought she's in Maldives with your son and Ms. Granger?" Lucius asked before taking a sip of his morning tea.

Narcissa sat down on her chair and pulled the napkin off her plate; "Draco just asked her to gather some potions" she said while spreading the napkin on her lap.

"Potions? What kind of potion?"

Narcissa turned towards her husband and let out a bright smile; "Sobering potion and Hang over potion" she replied happily.

Lucius raised his pale brow; "Why are you so happy with it?" he asked.

"Because it means that they're on their way to knowing each other much better" Narcissa replied.

"Drinking does not constitute to a relationship your hoping for love" Lucius said.

Narcissa huffed and turned her attention to the table; she grabbed a blueberry scone from the platter and began smothering it with clotted cream. "Just so you wait Lucius, just so you wait" she said.

Lucius shook his head as he began eating his bacon and eggs.


oOo


Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 2:35 P.M.


Draco was sitting comfortably on the C-shaped sofa when Hermione arrived; his eyes studied her form and let out an appreciative whistle. "I'm starting to think you're dolling up for me Hermione" he teased.

Hermione rolled her eyes as she moved closer to him; she sat at the sofa and began fanning her face with her hand. "It's too humid to wear baggy clothes" she replied.

"So you opted to wear a barely there shorts and a sleeveless baby doll top?" Draco asked.

"It's denim shorts Draco, it's not barely there" Hermione said, she then grasped the hem of her baby doll top and narrowed her eyes at him; "How do you know that this is a baby doll top...are you gay?" she asked.

Draco stared at her for a couple of seconds and burst out laughing; "Of all the things you can accuse me of, being gay is the least thing I thought you would say" he said while shaking his head.

Hermione smiled; "I know you're not, I just want to see how you'd react" she said honestly.

"Did it meet your expectations then?" Draco asked.

Hermione nodded; "You did" she replied.

Draco gazed at her; "You really do amaze me Hermione" he said.

Hermione crinkled her nose; "You always say that" she replied.

"Because that's the truth" Draco said. "Do you want something to drink?" he asked.

"Good thinking" Hermione said. She then stood up from her perch and turned her back on him.
Draco raised his brow; "Where are you going? I thought were talking?" he asked confusedly.

Hermione turned her head towards him; "I thought you want something to drink?" she asked.

"We can ask to Didi to get some drink you know"

Hermione frowned; "You know how I feel about ordering house elves" she said while fisting her hands.

"Whoa! Stow you're twitching hands Hermione, I know. I'll ask her nicely and I'm quite sure she wants to get us something, she already asked me before you arrived" Draco explained.

"Oh" Hermione said.

"Yes, Oh, so will you please come back and sit here" Draco said.

Hermione relented and began moving towards him again, sitting on her original perch.

"Didi?" Draco called.

Didi appeared with a loud crack; she bowed and stared at her Master excitedly. "What can Didi do for Master?" she asked.

Draco threw Hermione an I-told-you-so look as he smiled at his elf; "Didi, can you please get us refreshments and some snacks" he said politely.

Didi smile widely; "Yes Master, what does you want?" she asked.

"Hermione?" Draco said.

Didi turned towards her Mistress and smiled toothily; "What does Mistress want?" she asked.

"What do we have?" Hermione asked the elf.

"I can prepare anything Mistress and Master wants anything Didi can make"

Hermione pouted; "I don't know what I want, what do you suggest?" she turned towards her companion.

"Since it's hot, I think coke and some crisps" Draco said.

Hermione stared at him with surprise marring her face; "You know what coke is?" she asked incredulously.

Draco rolled his eyes; "Of course I know what coke is, so is that okay with you?" she asked.

Hermione still cannot grasp what she heard so she just nodded.

Draco shook his head and turned towards Didi; "Please brings us coke with lots of ice and crisps" he said.

"Okay Master, I'll be back" Didi said before disappearing with a loud crack.

Draco leaned back on the couch and rested his feet on top of the low coffee table; "Do you want to talk now or do you want to wait for the snacks?" he asked.

Hermione relaxed back on the couch and threw him a thoughtful look; "You really don't have to do this you know" she said gently.

"Alas! But I should".

"I don't want to make you do things that you don't want to do Draco. I've been childish when I said those things to you; you don't owe me anything at all..." Hermione said sincerely.

Draco studied her face; "You were right you know..." he said.

"Oh..."

"I've been a little bit unfair to you and I know you don't mean any harm when you asked me about my past. I've been closed off for years so it's disconcerting for me when somebody asks me about my personal life" Draco explained while staring at the horizon.

Hermione began absorbing his words; she then angled her head and gazed at him intently. "If it's really hard for you to open up, then don't..." she said.

Draco turned his head towards her; "Why the sudden change of heart? Aren't you intrigued?" he teased.

Hermione shrugged her shoulders as she leaned back on the couch, facing the horizon. "I just don't want you to think that I'm prying into your life" she said.

"Don't worry Hermione, you're not. I'm the one who's been prying ever since we came here" Draco said.

Hermione shook her head; "All those things I said to you, I said those because I wanted to. Don't think for a second that you coerced me into it" she said.

Draco nodded; "So what do you want to know?" he asked.

"You can tell me anything you want to tell me, I'll just ask you if I have any questions" Hermione replied.

Draco smirked at her; "So this will not be a question and answer type of conversation then?" he teased.

Hermione turned her face to him and blew a raspberry; "I'm not a reporter from the Daily Prophet" she said.

Draco chuckled at her antics; "That's mature Hermione, so mature" he said.

Hermione huffed; "Stop beating around the bush, start your story" she said.

"Where do you want me to start?"

Hermione thought for awhile; "Why did you imply that I should be scared of you?" she asked.

Draco closed his eyes and took a deep breath; "Because I'm not a good man Hermione" he said gravely.

Hermione stared at him, confusion mirrored her dark brown eyes; "What do you mean?" she asked.

Draco turned his head towards her and gazed into her eyes; "I killed someone" he said.

Hermione felt her breath hitch in her throat with his confession; her eyes widening in horror.

Draco studied her reaction and averted her gaze sadly; he then leaned back and dropped his head on the back of the couch.

Hermione calmed herself down as she witnesses his reaction; she cleared the lump in her throat as tried to steady her voice. "What do you mean you killed someone? Is it—is it during the war? Because if it is then—"

"It's not during the war" Draco suddenly said, cutting her sentence off.

Hermione clasped her hands tightly and placed it nervously on top of her lap; waiting for him to continue.

Draco closed his eyes as memories he once buried deep began seeping into his mind; he felt his heart beating faster as he welcome the pains of his past. "I loved her, she was the only woman I ever loved and I killed her..." he said sadly.

Hermione bit her bottom lip as panic began to set in; she clasped her hands tighter as she braced herself with his admission.

"I was in Healer Training in Ireland when I first met her; she had eyes in the deepest hue of caramel and skin as smooth as silk, she was the prettiest girl I ever laid my eyes on" Draco said.

Hermione began to relax as she listens to his words.

Draco was about to continue when Didi re-appeared with a loud crack; Didi bowed again and turned towards her Master.

"Didi brought your snacks Master, Didi will serve it now she said. She then snapped her fingers and instantly a huge tray laden with the snacks they requested appear on top of the coffee table; Didi moved towards it and began serving.

Hermione thanked Didi; she then leaned forward and grasped the tall glass of coke that Didi placed in front of her. She took a tentative sip of the icy beverage and felt her queasy stomach settle.

Draco sat straight and leaned forward; he plucked his glass and swallowed a mouthful.

"Do Master and Mistress need anything else?"

"No Didi, that's all. Thank you" Draco said politely.

Didi bowed again and disapparated with a loud crack.

Hermione leaned forward again and placed her glass on top of the coffee table; she leaned back again and crossed her legs. "Go on..." she cajoled.

Draco took another mouthful of coke and swallowed; he then leaned back and resumed his original position. "I immensely disliked her at first because she wouldn't succumb to my charms, she frustrated me and drove me up to the wall but somehow I still found her attractive" he said. He then let his face fall onto the side and gaze into Hermione's eyes; "She was also witty and headstrong, she reminded me of you sometimes" he admitted.

"Oh..."

"It took me a year to win her friendship, I had to make her see that who I really am and not who I used to be..."Draco explained. He then moved his head back, staring at the roof again; "She explained to me that the reason why she's aversive to my advances is because she heard what my family did during the war"

Hermione cleared her throat; "Is she from Ireland?" she asked.

Draco bobbed his head; "Indeed she is," he replied.

"Okay...go on,"

"We became closer and I get to know her more, she taught me a lot of things that I never thought I'd learn to embrace. You asked me a while ago why I know what coke is, well, she's the one who showed me Muggle stuff" Draco said.

Hermione's eyes widen in surprise; "Is she—is she Muggleborn?" she asked aghast.

Draco turned his gaze towards her and grinned; "As Muggleborn as you can be" he confirmed.

"Wow..."

"She was proud of whom she is and just like you, she proved me wrong on every turn" Draco said. He then sat up straight and stared directly at the horizon; "As we became much closer my feelings for her began to deepen, I was scared because I didn't want to her to be tainted with my past. She's was my best friend and I couldn’t risk her being dragged into my life, she's too good for that" he said.
Hermione followed his gaze and kept silent.

"Everything changed one afternoon though, when she accosted me..." Draco said pensively.

Hermione's head snapped towards him; "She accosted you?" she asked disbelievingly.

Draco chuckled; "She did because I was avoiding her like plague" he replied.

"What did she do?" Hermione asked curiously.

"She pulled me into an alcove and dug her wand on my throat; she shouted and threatened that she'll hex my balls off if I don't tell her what crawled up my arse and died. She told me she was sick of my attitude and demanded I tell her what she did that caused me to act as such, it made me nervous you know" Draco said.

Hermione snorted.

Draco smiled wistfully; "I was worried not because she had me at wand point, I was nervous because I know that she'd force me to admit what caused me to act that way. I played it cool and told her that I was just busy with school work but she told me that I'm full of Manticore crap" he said.
Hermione smiled.

"I expected her to curse me after all the bull I told her but she kissed me instead. I was so caught up with my feelings that I uttered the words I've been dreading to say...I admitted right there and then what I felt and miraculously, she told me she felt the same. I was in cloud nine after the incident and since then we became inseparable" Draco said.

Hermione nodded; "That was lovely..." she said with a sigh. "You seem to be taken with each other, why did you tell me that you...that you killed her?" she asked softly.

Draco's jaw tightens as pain etched his face; "It was our second year anniversary and I planned a private cruise for the both of us as a gift. She told me once before that it was her dream to sail across the Mediterranean Sea and because I love her so much, I want to cater to all her heart desires..." he said. He then placed his hands on each thigh and closed into a tight fist; "I was proposing to her that day, I wanted to ask her to be my wife. I was so excited to pop the question that I didn't see the signs of a brewing storm..." he said.

Hermione felt a lump in her throat.

Draco closed his fist tighter that his knuckles almost turned white; "We were in the middle of having dinner when the raging wind started bashing our yacht. Since I was the one sailing it I left her on the deck so I can drop the anchor and disapparate with her home..." he paused. He then bit his lip as he tried to rein his emotions; "When I-when I came back to the deck...she's no longer there and the table that's we're sitting at was thrown at the side..." he croaked as tears began slipping down his cheeks.

Hermione felt her heart break as she watch Draco bare his heart; she wanted to move closer to hold his hands but she restrained herself.

Draco hastily wiped his tears and cleared his throat; "Water was lapping at the deck as the wind continued howling. I looked for her and used everything I have in my power to find her...I was searching the deck when I...when I found her wand lying precariously at the side of the railing and but she's not there...she's gone..." he said brokenly.

Tears fall from Hermione's eyes; she couldn't fight it anymore so she moved closer. Gently she placed her trembling hand on Draco's arm, giving him a comforting squeeze; "I'm so sorry Draco..." she said.

Draco didn't seem to notice her hand; "I killed her...I'm responsible for her death...If only I'd taken proper precaution and have someone navigate the yacht for us then I wouldn't have left her all alone on the deck..." he said vacantly. "If only I wasn't cocky and self assured then she would still be with me...It's my fault..." he said.

Hermione bit her bottom lip; "Did you find her—her body?" she asked hesitantly.

Fresh batch of tears cloud his gray eyes as he bowed his head; he let out a soft sob as he shook his head slowly.

Hermione gasped.

Draco sniffed but didn't lift his head; "I—I tr—tried to-find her...because - I—I couldn't accept the fact that she was gone...I—I searched and searched for her for months but I found nothing—" he replied.

Hermione felt her heart drop to her stomach; she impulsively threw her arms around the broken man and hugged him tightly.
"No more...please..." she murmured.

Draco kept silent as tears continue to pour.


oOo


Potter Mansion – London, England – 11:45 A.M.


"Hey love" Harry greeted his wife as he stepped out of the grate.

Astoria lifted her eyes from the book she's reading; "Hey..." she replied.

Harry walked towards the loveseat she's occupying and leaned forward; he titled her face and planted a soft kiss on her lips.

Astoria's arms automatically snaked around her husband's neck and pulled him closer; she deepened the kiss pulled away after a couple of seconds.

Harry smiled; "Wow, I think I should come home early if that's how you'll be greeting me" he said cheekily.

Astoria grinned as she pulled her arms away; "Pervert" she teased.

Harry stood straight and winked at her; "Your pervert" he replied.

Astoria giggled; she then dog-eared the book she's reading and stood up. "Are you hungry? We can have an early lunch" she said.

Harry took off his cloak and hung it on his arm; "That will be great, I'm famished" he said.

Astoria rolled her eyes as she began moving; "You're always famished" she said. She then paused when she remembered Ginny's fire call this morning; "Ginny called this morning, she's asking about Hermione" she said.

"Oh shit" Harry said.

"Language!" Astoria chastised.

"I'm sorry love" Harry said sheepishly.

Astoria waived her hand dismissively; "We forgot to tell her that we sent her on vacation, I feel bad..." she said.

Harry sighed; "Don't worry love, she'll have my head not yours" he said.

Astoria chuckled; "Well good luck with that Mr. Potter" she said slyly.

"I take it that you won't be with me when I call her back?" Harry said.

Astoria winked; "I already spoke to her love, now, it's your turn" she said.

Harry rolled his eyes; "Well there's no better time than now I guess" he said.

"Lunch will be ready in 20 minutes, I'll see you then" Astoria said.

Harry nodded glumly; he then padded towards the fire place and scooped a heaping amount of powder from the mantle. "Here goes nothing..." he said.


oOo


Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 3:13 P.M.


Hermione threw Draco a culpable look; she still couldn't believe what she learned about him today. If she only knew that talking about his past would cause him so much pain then she wouldn't have forced him to talk about it. She felt bad and sorry for the man who seem so happy and strong; she feels his pain and she's still trying to absorb everything.

Draco stopped crying after a couple of minutes of silence; he pulled away from her arms and wiped the tears that marred his face. He's still reeling from the pain that her memories brought back; after all these years he didn't think that the pain will still be as sharp as the day he lost her forever.

"I'm sorry Draco...If I knew that it would cause you so much pain I wouldn't have forced you to tell me anything..." Hermione said lowly.

Draco took a deep breath; he then turned his sullen face towards Hermione and let out a small smile. "You didn't force me to speak Hermione, it was my decision. I will not lie, talking about it hurts like hell but keeping all those feelings to myself is more painful...Thank you for listening" he said.

Hermione sighed; "I guess talking about it lessens the weight of the burden" she said.

Draco nodded in agreement; "You're right" he said.

"I'm glad we talked...Now, I can say that I know you better..." Hermione said with a kind smile.

Draco returned her smile; "We can say that we're really friends now..." he replied.

Hermione beamed; "Friends" she repeated.

"Who would've thought that two jaded people will find companionship in an island thousand miles away from home" Draco said thoughtfully.

"We're two unique people, what can I say?" Hermione said.

Draco leaned forward and plucked a crisp from the bowl; "All this talking and crying made me hungry" he said before popping it into his mouth.

Hermione plucked her glass from the table and took a sip; "It made me thirsty" she said.

Draco chuckled.

After a couple of minutes of silence, Draco spoke again. "We've both been cheated on Hermione but that doesn't mean that we should stop living. Ron cheated on you with another woman and I was cheated by death, it may have been two different circumstances but it has the same results, your heart was broken into pieces and so was mine" he said seriously. "I hope that with my story you'll realize that life is too short to dwell on the things that cannot be changed. Things may not have turned the way we want them to but it doesn't mean we should stop believing that tomorrow maybe a better day" he added.

Hermione stared at Draco like she was seeing him for the first time; she felt warmth inside her chest as she listens to his words.

Draco turned his gaze towards her and smiled; "If I got through it, I'm sure as hell that you can do it, you're not the smartest witch of our age for nothing" he said.

Hermione's lips curve into a smile; "You also amaze me you know...thank you..." she said sincerely.

Draco returned her smile; "You are welcome" he replied.

"Oh..." Hermione gasped.

Draco raised his brow.

"I—I forgot to ask her name..."

Draco smiled; "I thought you'd never ask...her name is Iris..." he replied.

"Iris...a beautiful name for a beautiful girl..." Hermione said.

Draco felt a pinch in his chest but he chose to ignore it; he turned his gaze into the horizon and smiled. "A beautiful heart too" he trailed off.


oOo


A/N: I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading my story and to give credit to my new BETA: Neo :) Thank you so much for taking time to edit my work, this means a lot to me --- you're awesome! This would also be a heads-up, i'll be edit all my previous chapters in the next coming days so it wouldn't be available until it gets validated by the admin! Thanks! xOxO


Chapter 12: Today my life begins
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Chapter Twelve: Today my life begins

"Life's too short to have regrets so I'm learning now to leave it in the past and try to forget. We only have one life to live so you better make the best of it. I will break this chains that bind me happiness will find me, leave the past behind me, today my life begins..." (Today my life begins by Bruno Mars)

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 5:56 P.M.

Hermione was sitting on her balcony with her legs drawn to her chest, still reeling from everything she learned this afternoon.

"Hermione?"

Hermione was snapped out of her thoughts when she heard her name being called; she turned her head towards the sliding doors and saw Draco leaning against it.

"Didi let me in," Draco explained.

"It's alright, is something the matter?" Hermione asked.

Draco stared at her for a couple of minutes and shook his head; "Nothing..." he replied.

Hermione leaned her chin on top of her knees and hugged it closer to her chest; "I think I want a drink" she said.

Draco raised his brow; "We have some here" he replied.

Hermione shook her head; "I want to go out" she clarified.

Draco crossed his arms on top of his chest; "You want to go somewhere?" he asked.

Hermione thought for a couple of minutes; she then let her legs down and stood up. "Let's go back to the bar we went to last night" she said while walking towards him.

Draco moved away from his perch as Hermione approaches; once she's right in front of him and he moved sideways, letting her inside the room. "You want to go back to The Quiet Zone?" he asked.

Hermione passed him and began walking towards the adjacent door; once she reached her bathroom's door she stopped and turned. "Yes, a night cap, per se"

"You're aware that it's just dusk right? Too early for a night cap?"

Hermione smiled; "Live a little" she said.

Draco snorted; "You're stealing my lines!" he accused.

Hermione winked; "I'm just following your advices. Now, get your arse back to your room and dress like you mean it" she said while pushing the door open.

Draco mock saluted; "Aye aye Mi Lady!" he replied.

Hermione rolled her eyes and closed the door behind her.

oOo

"It's about time Harry Potter!"

Harry cringed; "I know, I know...I'm sorry Gin" he said sincerely.

Ginny huffed as she sat crossed legged on the floor right in front of the fire place. "You better be sorry! I had to endure Mum's relentless owls for the rest of my day!"

"I am...I really didn't mean to forget to tell you Gin, I tried flooing you earlier but nobody's answering" Harry explained.

Ginny rolled her eyes; "Of course nobody will answer! Anthony and I are both at work, you should know better" she replied.

Harry nodded as he sat on the floor; "I'm so sorry, I promise, it won't happen again" he said solemnly.

"You better keep that promise Potter, I'll hold you on to it! It's a good thing you have a charming wife and a cute kid or I would've gutted you for putting me through the ordeal!" Ginny said.

Harry smiled; "You love me too much to gut me Gin," he said.

Ginny smirked; "Confident, eh?" she said.

Harry puffed his chest; "Of course I'm confident, I'm Harry Potter" he joked.

Ginny burst out laughing.

Harry smiled; he then fixed the perch of his glass on top of his nose. "Back to Hermione, she's in Maldives we sent her there" he said.

"Yes, Torry already told me" Ginny said. She then wrinkled her nose; "But she never really told me, which friend" she said.

"We sent her to Malfoy's Beach House"

"Oh"

"Narcissa offered us a getaway for our anniversary and we haven't gotten the chance to take advantage of it, so, Torry called her and asked her if it's alright to send Hermione instead" Harry explained.

"That's nice of her" Ginny said.

Harry nodded; "I know, I didn't think that she would at first but it seems like she's quite taken with our girl" he said.

Ginny smiled; "Good for her, at least she's far away from all this mess" she said. She then frowned; "One more thing, Lavender's parents owled Mum and Dad, they want to talk about something but she did not specify. I forgot to ask Mum when we're owling, it must've slipped my mind" she said.

Harry furrowed his brows; "That's weird, I wonder what they want from Molly and Arthur" he said.

Ginny scowled; "Urgh! This is all Ron's fault! If he didn't think with his prick and remained faithful to Hermione then this wouldn't have happened! I bloody hate him right now!" she ranted.

Harry's face darkened; "I know how you feel, I feel the same for the arse" he replied.

Ginny sighed; "Well, there's really nothing to do right now. All has been said and done, I just hope that Hermione is alright, I worry for her..." she said.

"She will be fine, I guess she just needs time" Harry replied.

Ginny nodded in agreement.

"Daaaaadddddyyyyy!"

Harry's head snapped towards the voice; he let out a bright smile upon hearing tiny footsteps running towards his direction.

"I think little Candice wants her Dad back, well I won't keep you long. Thank you for letting me know" Ginny said.

Harry turned his head towards Ginny and let out a smile; "Thank you for not blowing a gasket" he said.

Ginny huffed; "You're lucky I love your girls" she said.

Harry laughed.

Ginny smiled; "I'll let you off now, I'll talk to you soon! Give my kisses to Torry and Candice! Cheerios!" she said happily.

Harry stood up from his perch; "Will do, see you soon!" he said.

Ginny waived her hand as she cut off the connection.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 6:45 P.M.

Hermione studied her hair one last time and smiled at her reflection; "Who would've thought that you'd behave in this kind of weather" she muttered to herself. She then plucked her clutch from the vanity and made sure that her wand is inside; she stepped into her wedge sandals and threw the mirror one last look.

Draco was rolling up his sleeves when he heard Hermione calling out for him; "I'm in here Hermione, just give me a sec" he hollered back.

"Okay, no rush, I'll just wait for you in the den" Hermione replied, her footsteps fading.

Draco walked towards his bureau and grabbed his cologne; he hastily poured it into his palms and began rubbing it around his neck. He then walked towards his full length mirror and stared at his reflection; "Not bad" he said to himself with a huge smirk. Once satisfied, he walked out of his bathroom and headed towards his door.

Hermione was standing before the open glass sliding door when Draco saw her; "I'm sorry I was late" he said while studying her lithe form with interest.

Hermione turned around and smiled; "It's alright, I haven't been waiting long" she replied nonchalantly.

Draco eyes raked her form and let out an appreciative whistle; "Wow Granger, you look hot" he said while eyeing her curves appreciatively under the emerald green babydoll dress that she's wearing.

Hermione raised one brow in amusement and crossed her arms under her chest, emphasizing her ample cleavage more; "You look hot too Malfoy, not too shabby" she replied.

Draco let out a hearty laugh and shook his head; "Well, shall we?" he asked while offering his hand.

Hermione placed her hand in his and stood beside him; "Lets" she replied.

oOo

"Are you sure this will be printed for tomorrow's edition?" Millicent asked excitedly.

Rita Skeeter smiled widely; "Of course it will, this is after all, one of the Golden Trio" she replied.

Millicent let out a huge smile and stood up; "It was pleasure doing business with you Ms. Skeeter and I'm looking forward for that article" she said.

"It was my pleasure Ms. Bullstrode" Rita replied.

oOo

The Quiet Zone Bar - Conrad Ranalifinolhu Hotels and Resorts, Rangali Island, Maldives – 7:14P.M.

"So, what do you want to drink?" Draco asked while eyeing his companion.

Hermione bit her lower lip as she perused the menu; "Do they serve regular drinks here? Like the one we use to have home?" she asked while lowering the menu.

"As a matter of fact they do, I'm not also in the mood for their selection tonight" Draco replied.

Hermione smiled; "Well then, let's drink the regular" she said.

Draco flagged down a waiter and smirked; "Will you be drinking something girl?" he teased.

Hermione rolled her eyes; "Is that you asking, what I'll be having?" she asked.

Draco was about to answer when a waiter stood beside their table; "Good Evening, what can I get you?" he asked pleasantly.

Draco nodded towards Hermione; "Ladies first" he said.

Hermione smiled; "Good evening, I think I'll have a shot of patron tequila and whiskey sour please" she replied.

Draco's brow rose; "Planning on getting piss drunk tonight?" he asked.

"Are you scared that you have to carry me home?"

Draco felt warmth inside his chest when she referred to the beach house as home again; he ignored it again and turned towards the waiter. "Make that two shots and please bring me whiskey on the rocks" he said.

The waiter nodded; "Is there anything else?" he asked.

Hermione thought for a couple of seconds and turned towards the waiter; "Please bring us a platter of nuts and olives too" she added. She then turned towards Draco and threw him an inquisitive look; "Is there anything else you want? It's my treat tonight" she asked.

Draco rolled his eyes; "I won't let you pay for this Granger, I don't let women pay for my drinks" he said.

"Too bad, I'm not your woman" Hermione replied. She then turned towards the waiter and smiled; "I guess that will be all, thank you" she said.

The waiter bowed and walked away.

"So, what's with the tequila shot? Are we celebrating or something?" Draco asked.

Hermione leaned back on her chair; "I guess we are..."

"Care to elaborate?"

"Nah,"

Draco huffed; "Come on, you already started it, at least finish it" he said.

Hermione felt heat creep into her cheeks so she opted to look away.

"Are you blushing?" Draco asked.

Hermione furrowed her brows; "Of course not!" she snapped.

Draco was about to tease her further when the waiter came back with a tray laden with their order; carefully he placed the drinks and platter on the table and bowed. "Please call me if you need anything else" the waiter said.

"Thank you" Hermione said to the waiter. She then pluck her shot from the table and was about to take a sip when Draco spoke.

"Now now Hermione, since we're celebrating, we should toast to it" Draco said.

"Oh right" Hermione said.

Draco lifted his shot glass and levelled it with hers; "Since you're the only one who knows what were celebrating, you should do the toast" he said.

Hermione smiled; she then clink her glass to his; "To new beginnings Malfoy" she said.

Draco smiled back; "To new beginnings Granger, cheers" he replied.

Hermione donned her shot in one go and winced; she hastily plucked the lemon wedge and bit into it.

"Too much?" Draco asked.

"That was awful" Hermione croaked.

Draco chuckled; "I'd have to give it to you Hermione, you don't drink like a girl" he said.

Hermione rolled her eyes; she then leaned forward and grabbed a handful of nuts. "I hardly drink like a girl; Harry says I'm a hard drinker. I have better tolerance with hard drinks, I can't say the same with beers and all those girly drinks though" she said.

"Then we're on the same page" Draco said while winking.

Hermione chuckled.

Draco brought his whiskey tumbler to his lips and took a sip; "What do you want to talk about?" he asked.

Hermione cleared her throat; "I actually don't know, I didn't have anything particular in mind when I asked you to go out" she said.

Draco popped some nuts into his mouth and began munching; "It seems like we already exhausted all the interesting topics" he said.

Hermione took a sip of her drink and nodded; "I guess we did" she replied. She then averted her gaze from him and peered at the woman sitting a few tables from them; she then bit her lower lip to keep from smiling.

"Why are you smiling like a loon?"

"I think you have an admirer" Hermione said with a smile.

Draco raised his brow; "Really? Where?" he asked.

Hermione shook her head and took a swig of her drink before answering; "A couple of tables from my right" she replied.

Draco plucked his tumbler from the table and sipped his drink; he then slyly took a peek towards the direction that Hermione is pointing at and saw a buxom blonde woman smiling at him seductively.

"Like what you see?" Hermione asked while swirling her drink inside her glass.

Draco turned his head towards her and shrugged his shoulders; "Nothing special about her" he said nonchalantly.

Hermione raised her brow.

Draco placed his drink on top of their table and popped a couple of olives inside his mouth; "What?" he asked after swallowing.

"Not your type?" Hermione asked.

Draco rolled his eyes; "I'm not here to pick up women Hermione," he replied.

Hermione threw him a sceptical look.

Draco shook his head; "So, when do you plan on returning?" he asked, changing the topic.

"Why? Are you getting tired of seeing me already?" Hermione teased.

Draco sighed; "You and your mouth" he said.

Hermione sighed; "I didn't mean to exasperate you tonight, I don't know what's with me. But to answer your question, I actually don't have any idea..." she said sincerely. "But if you want me to leave I can-"

"Of course not, you can stay as long as you want" Draco replied, cutting her off midsentence.

Hermione smiled; "Thank you" she replied.

"I'm just asking because I know you have work" Draco clarified.

Hermione drained her drink and placed it on top of the table; "I actually filed for indefinite leave of absence, I have a month worth of leave credits so my boss let me" she explained.

Draco chuckled; "Same here, I also don't use my credits that much that's why my manipulative Mother was able to send me here" he said.

Hermione laughed; "I still can't believe Narcissa drugged you, it's so uncharacteristic of her" she replied. "Oh, I'm ordering another drink, what do you want?" she asked.

"You haven't seen half of it, I'm telling you. She can be very manipulative if she wants too, it scares me sometimes. And yes, I want another round, but this one is on me" Draco replied while flagging their server.

Hermione began to protest but Draco shook his head; "No Hermione, my pride can all only take too much, if Mum finds out that I let you pay for two rounds she'll have my arse" Draco explained.

Hermione pursed her lips petulantly but nodded.

"Good girl" Draco said.

The waiter stood beside their table and smile pleasantly.

"Hermione?" Draco asked.

"I'll have another whiskey sour please, thank you"

The waiter nodded.

"I'll get another whiskey on the rocks, thanks" Draco said to the waiter.

The server bowed; "Is there anything else?" he asked.

Hermione shook her head.

Draco turned towards the server; "That will be all, thanks" he said.

The waiter nodded and began walking towards the bar.

"Where were we?" Draco asked.

"Your Mum being manipulative" Hermione replied.

"Oh yes, that, she is. You haven't seen her worst yet, I tell you" Draco groaned.

Hermione chuckled; "I've experienced it a time or two, but nothing severe" she replied.

Draco stared at her for a couple of seconds and burst out laughing.

Hermione stared at him confusedly.

Draco sniffed and shook his head; "You are so naive Hermione, so naive" he said.

Hermione opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted by the waiter bringing their order.

Draco immediately grabbed his tumbler and took a large swig.

"Thank you" Hermione said to the server. Once the waiter left them, she turned towards her companion again; "What's funny?" she asked.

Draco leaned back on his chair; "Curious that we ended up in the same island, eh?" he said.

Hermione furrowed her brows as she took a sip of her drink, she thought for a couple of seconds and slowly her eyes widen as realization sets in; "Oh...oh...oh Merlin"

Draco smirked and shook his head; "See what I mean?" he said.

Hermione bit her bottom lip as she grasped her glass with both hands; "That's...disturbing"

"Look, don't think about it too much. I don't want things to get awkward between us" Draco said.

Hermione felt her cheeks heating up so she cleared her throat; "You're right, let's just forget about it" she acquiesced.

Draco nodded; "Let's change the topic then, so, have you heard from Torry or Potter?" he asked.

Hermione pursed her lips; "No, I've been waiting actually. Good thing you reminded me, I should send them an owl to let them know how I'm doing" she replied.

"Errr...there's a problem there"

"What?"

Draco leaned forward and sipped his drink; "We don't have bird service here" he said.

"Oh"

"Perhaps we can ask Didi to send your letter to them" Draco suggested.

Hermione let out a sigh of relief; "That would work, I guess" she replied.

Draco smiled.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 3:54 P.M.

"That was a hard leap from him...are you sure that's what they talked about?" Narcissa asked while squeezing her hands together.

"Yes Mistress. Didi listened to them just like you instructed" The elf replied.

"How is he? Is he alright after their talk?" Narcissa asked worriedly.

"Didi is not sure Mistress, Master Draco went to his room after the talk and Didi only saw Master again when they left" Didi replied.

"I hope he's alright..." Narcissa half whispered.

"Did something happen to Draco?" Lucius asked while sitting on the opposite chair. He furrowed his brows and stared at his wife expectantly.

Narcissa opened her mouth but closed it after a couple of seconds.

Lucius frowned; "What happened to Draco, Cissy?" he repeated.

Narcissa sighed; "He talked to Hermione about...Iris..." she replied.

"Oh..." Lucius uttered with disbelief.

Narcissa leaned forward and grasped her tea with both hands.

"That's something I guess..." Lucius said.

Narcissa sipped her tea and nodded; "I think it's a big leap for him" she said.

Lucius leaned back on his chair and crossed his legs; "It is...a very huge leap indeed" he acquiesced.

Narcissa nodded.

Lucius sighed; "He didn't even tell us what happened..." he trailed off.

"Now, I'm more convinced that sending him there will be good for him. Hermione is good for him" Narcissa said.

Lucius took a deep breath and nodded in agreement; "I guess you're right love..." he said.

oOo

Green flames erupted from the huge fireplace as Pansy Parkinson sauntered out; she pointed her wand at her clothes and murmured a quick cleansing spell. "Millie? Are you here?" she called out.

"I'm in here!" Millicent grunted.

Pansy frowned as she followed her voice; she pushed her bedroom door open and peaked inside. "Don't you think it's too early for bed?" she asked her best friend.

Millicent grunted and turned her back to her best friend; she pulled her comforter above her head and buried her face into her pillow. "What do you want Pans? I'm not feeling that well"

Pansy entered the room and padded towards the bed; "Are you alright?" she asked worriedly.

"I'm fine...just hang over I guess" Millicent said gruffly.

Pansy sat at the edge of the bed and began pulling the comforter away from Millicent; "If it''s hang over then take some potion and really, you were alright earlier" she said.

Millicent groaned and sat up against the headboard; "I'm fine, I already took some potions. What do you want?" she asked tiredly.

Pansy studied her best friend's face and frowned; "You're so pale, are you sure you're alright?" she asked again.

Millicent rolled her eyes and crossed her arms on top of her chest; "I'm fine Pans, really. Don't get your knickers in a twist" she said.

Pansy huffed; she then crossed her legs and licked her lips nervously.

Millicent raised her left brow; "Is there something you want to tell me?" she asked.

Pansy cleared her throat and straightened her posture; she waited for a couple of seconds before smiling widely. "It's Theo...we are...together..." she admitted shyly.

Millicent stared at her best friend for a couple of seconds.

"Say something..."

Millicent's lips began turning up its corners; "Really?" she asked.

Pansy averted her gaze and began fidgeting with her hands; "Yes..." she half whispered.

Millicent let out a full blast smile before leaping towards Pansy; she encompassed her into a tight hug and began patting her back. "I'm so happy for you Pans! Finally!" she said.

Pansy felt tears creeping into her eyes as she wrapped her arms around her best friend; "Are you really happy for me?" she whispered.

Millicent hugged her tighter; "Of course I am...I'm so happy for you I could cry" she assured.

Pansy laughed and began pulling away; "He makes me so happy Millie...I love him..." she said.

Millicent wiped her best friend's tears and smiled; "I'm sure he loves you too so stop crying already, you're making me cry..." she softly said.

Pansy laughed again and pulled her into a tight hug; "I'm just so happy Millie..."

Millicent hugged her tighter as tears blur her own eyes; "I'm happy for you too, love. So happy" she whispered.

"You'll be happy too Mill, believe me..." Pansy whispered.

Millicent closed her eyes tightly; "I hope so..." she replied.

oOo

The Quiet Zone Bar - Conrad Ranalifinolhu Hotels and Resorts, Rangali Island, Maldives – 8:23 P.M.

"I dare you Granger" Draco baited.

Hermione rolled her eyes as she leaned back on her chair; "Whatever Malfoy" she dismissively.

Draco smirked as he shook his head; "I thought so" he said.

Hermione frowned; "What do you mean by that?" she asked.

Draco crossed his arms on top of his chest as he leaned back on his chair; "Nothing" he said nonchalantly.

Hermione eyed him; "You think I can't do it?" she asked.

Draco just shrugged his shoulders as he stares at her amusedly.

Hermione stared at him for a couple of minutes and leaned forward; she donned her drink empty and stood up. She straightened her dress and winked at him; "I'll be back sweetums" she said sassily.

Draco's jaw slackened as his eyes grew big.

Hermione ignored his dumbfounded reaction and sauntered towards the buxom blonde's table; once she reached the other table she leaned forward and began talking with the woman. After a couple of minutes, the blonde woman smiled and nodded; Hermione then smiled back and turned towards their table again with a triumphant grin. When she's half way towards him, Draco noticed the blonde woman standing up from her chair and began leaving.

"Where were we again?" Hermione asked before sitting down on her chair again.

Draco swallowed hard and stared at Hermione with blatant admiration; "What did you tell her?" he asked.

Hermione bit her bottom lip as she tried to suppress her smile; "Nothing much" she replied nonchalantly.

"Come on Granger, what did you tell the bloody woman that made her leave?" Draco asked curiously.

Hermione leaned towards the table and smiled wider; "it's between her and I" she replied.

"Tell me..." Draco coaxed while staring deep into her eyes.

Hermione felt her heart beating faster as she met his gaze; "I..." she trailed off.

Draco leaned forward, not breaking their eye contact. "You what? Tell me..." he half whispered.

"I...I told her...that I don't appreciate her eyeing...my man" Hermione whispered back.

Draco stared at her heatedly for a couple of more seconds before moving his gaze towards her lips; "Oh..." he breathed huskily.

Hermione swallowed hard; ignoring the butterflies rampaging inside her stomach.

Draco kept his gaze on her lips; "I think...I think it's time to go home now Granger..." he said.

"O-okay..." Hermione agreed breathily.

Draco turned his head towards the waiter and signalled for him to bring their bill.

Hermione let out a huge sigh of relief and turned her gaze at their table. "What was that?" she asked herself.

"Done, we should go now..." Draco said lowly.

Hermione's head snapped towards him and nodded; she stood up from her chair and straightened her dress.

Draco stood up and moved towards her; he offered his arm without saying anything.

Hermione automatically looped her arm to his and let him lead her towards the door.

oOo

Potter Mansion – London, England – 4:17 P.M.

"Have you heard anything from Hermione?" Harry asked while patting his daughter's head.

Astoria lowered her wand and turned towards her husband; "No, did you speak with her?" she asked.

Harry hauled her squirming daughter on top of his lap and threw his wife a concerned look; "Do you think she's okay?" he asked.

Astoria bit her bottom lip as she crossed her arms on top of her chest; "It's been days since she's left and we haven't heard from her, I think we should contact Aunt Cissy" she said.

Harry furrowed his brows; "We can just owl her, you know" he replied.

Astoria shook her head; "There's no bird service in Maldives and if there is it would take days before she receives our letter and responds" she replied.

"I didn't know that" Harry frowned as he bounced her daughter up and down, soothing the toddler.

"I'll floo her, just give me a second" Astoria replied. She then turned away and padded towards their study; once she reached the room, she headed straight towards the fire place and scooped a heaping amount of floo. She threw it towards the grate and waited for the flames to turn green before uttering her call destination.

"Hello dear! It's been awhile!" Narcissa immediately greeted.

Astoria kneeled right in front of their fireplace and sat on her haunches; "Hello Aunt Cissy, it's been awhile" she replied.

Narcissa moved towards the nearest loveseat and smiled before sitting; "How have you been?" she asked.

Astoria smiled; "We've been good. How's Uncle Lu?" she asked.

Narcissa rolled her eyes; "He's been...himself, I guess" she replied.

Astoria chuckled; "Tell him I said Hi" she said.

"I will...so how can I help?" Narcissa asked.

"I just want to ask you if you have any news on Hermione and if it's possible to send her a letter to ask her how she's been. It's been days and Harry and I are worried" Astoria replied.

Narcissa sat straighter and placed her hands on her lap; "I heard she's doing good. And-and yes you can send her a letter, you can send it to me and I'll ask one of our house elves to send it there" she replied rigidly.

Astoria eyed Narcissa for a couple of seconds and furrowed her brows; "What did you do Aunt Cissy?" she asked suspiciously.

Narcissa sniffed; "Whatever do you mean? I didn't do anything" she replied cautiously.

Astoria frowned; "Yes you did something, your face says it all. What did you do?" she pushed.

Narcissa eyed her for a couple of seconds before letting out a defeated sigh; "I didn't do anything wrong Torry" she replied.

"But you did something...Tell me, what did you do?"

Narcissa bit her bottom lip; "I just sent someone to keep her company while she's there..." she trailed off.

Astoria's eyes widen; she opened her mouth and tried to form sentences but nothing came out.

"Oh hush darling! I didn't send someone to kill her! I just don't want her to be lonely...is all. Nothing is wrong with a little company" Narcissa explained.

Astoria closed her eyes and let out a calming breath; "Who did you send?" she asked.

Narcissa looked away.

Astoria studied Narcissa's reaction as she felt her eyes grow wider; "Oh no...no, you didn't! Tell me you didn't!" she half shouted.

Narcissa winced.

Astoria hastily stood up and began pacing in front of the fire; "How could you Aunt Cissy! We agreed to send Hermione there so she can have a peace of mind. Draco being there would beat that purpose! Oh Merlin! What did you do?" she said agitatedly.

Narcissa immediately stood up from her chair and moved closer to the fireplace; she kneeled right in front of it and sat on her haunches. "Don't panic Astoria, Draco wouldn't do anything to hurt her. For Merlin's sake, he's a Mediwizard" she reasoned.

Astoria stopped pacing and turned to face Narcissa; "I know Draco would not hurt her! It's Hermione I'm worried about! She would think that we conspired against her!" she replied.

Narcissa let out a little smile; "I won't worry about that dear. She doesn't feel that way" she replied sheepishly.

Astoria's brow rose; "And how would you know?" she asked.

Narcissa sat straighter; "I sent Draco there without his consent...so I think he's convincing enough to let Hermione believe that there was no conspiracy behind him being there..." she said.

Astoria stared at Narcissa confusedly; "What do you mean without his consent? How can you send someone outside the country without their consent?"

Narcissa waived her hand dismissively; "Don't worry about that" she replied.

Astoria thought for a couple of seconds before her eyes widen in horror; "Did you drug him? Oh Merlin...Did you?" she asked frantically.

Narcissa look chagrined.

Astoria collapsed on her knees; "You did! How could you!? Draco will be so furious! What about his job? He has work Aunt Cissy for Merlin's sake!" she reasoned out.

Narcissa sniffed; "I took care of it, don't worry your pretty little head about it. I can handle my son and as far as he's concerned he took it well" she replied, assuring Astoria.

Astoria stared at her Aunt for a couple of seconds and let out a defeated sigh; she shook her head in disbelief and gathered her hands on top of her lap.

Narcissa sighed; "Look sweetie, I know you think I did the wrong thing here but please believe me when I say that Hermione and Draco are fine. I keep tabs on them through one of our house elves that I sent there with them. I know for sure that the two of them a getting along just fine, as a matter fact, they've gone out a couple times. Draco has been a gentleman and courteous to booth, so don't worry..." she said.

Astoria bit her bottom lip; "How is she?" she asked.

Narcissa smiled; "She's doing wonderfully based from Didi, she told me that Draco is keeping her company" she replied.

"Really?" Astoria asked.

"Yes, really. So don't worry about them" Narcissa said.

Astoria sighed; "Then I guess that's all that matters now" she replied. She then stared at her Aunt and raised her brow; "You like her that much?" she asked.

Narcissa smiled; "What do you think?" she replied.

Astoria returned her smiled and shook her head; "Draco will be so furious at you" she said.

"He will, but he'll thank me for it" Narcissa replied confidently.

Astoria let out a sigh and nodded; "Okay...there's nothing I can do about it. So, can you send a letter to Hermione from us?" she asked.

"Of course, just send me the letter and I'll have Didi hand-deliver it to Hermione"

"Okay, thank you" Astoria replied.

Narcissa stood up from her perch; "I'll talk to you soon sweetie" she said.

Astoria also stood up and nodded; "Thank you again Aunt Cissy" she said before severing the connection. She then let out a deep breath and closed her eyes; "Hope you're right Aunt Cissy...I hope you're right" she whispered to herself.

"Her ways maybe twisted but I think her intentions were good"

Astoria turned towards the door upon hearing her husband's voice; "You heard everything?" she asked.

Harry leaned on the door frame and crossed his arms on top of his chest; "I did" he replied.

"You're not mad?" Astoria threaded carefully.

"Surprisingly I'm not" Harry breathed out.

Astoria slowly walked towards her husband and stood in front of him; she stared into his eyes and angled her head. "But why? She sent Draco to Hermione...aren't you at least upset?"

Harry cocked his head; "I guess, I don't want Hermione alone there too and Draco can definitely annoy her to death to the point that she wouldn't have time to feel sorry for herself" he explained.

Astoria let out a small smile; "So you don't mind them together?" she asked.

Harry thought for a couple of seconds and leaned forward, planting a chaste kiss on his wife's lips. "I guess I don't" he replied with a smile.

Astoria moved closer and snaked her arms around Harry's neck; "You never fail to surprise me Mr. Potter" she whispered huskily.

Harry moved his arms around his wife's waist and pulled her into his chest; slowly he buried his face into her neck and began trailing soft kisses upward. "Candice is sleeping..." he whispered hoarsely.

Astoria angled her head towards the side and closed her eyes; she let out a soft moan when Harry began nipping at her pulse point. "That feels so good..."

Harry moved his hands from her waist towards her bottom; slowly, he lowered his hands again until it reached her calves.

Astoria moaned louder.

Harry groaned and hastily lifted his wife's calves, bracing it around his waist. "Wrap your legs around my waist love" he murmured between nips.

Astoria smiled; "I guess I'm getting laid after that" she murmured.

Harry paused mid-kiss and let out a loud laugh.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldvies Island – 9:00 P.M.

Draco pulled away and placed his hands on Hermione's shoulder; "You don't want to do this Hermione, you're drunk" he groaned.

Hermione smiled; "Don't be silly Draco, I know what I'm doing" she slurred huskily. She then leaned forward and looped her arms around his neck; she tilted her face towards him and bit her bottom lip. "Don't you want to kiss me?" she asked sultrily.

Draco lowered his eyes to hers as he trailed his hands towards her waist; he then let his gaze fall on her plump lips. "I just don't want you to regret anything in the morning..." he replied.

Hermione lowered her eyes towards his lips and swallowed hard; "I won't regret it..." she assured him.

"Are you sure? It's not the alcohol talking Hermione?" Draco asked lowly.

Hermione bit her bottom lip again, not taking her eyes from his lips. "I'm sure..." she replied.

Draco moved his eyes towards her eyes; "Kiss me then..." he murmured.

Hermione locked gazed with him for a couple of seconds before crossing the distance.

Chapter 13: Kiss me
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Chapter Thirteen: Kiss me

"Settle down with me, cover me up cover me in, lay down with me and hold me in your arms. And your heart's against my chest, your lips pressed to my neck, I'm falling for your eyes but they don't know me yet and feeling I forget, I'm in love now. Kiss me like you're gonna be loved, this feels like falling in love..."(Kiss me by Ed Sheeran)

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 9:15 P.M.

Draco broke their kiss and leaned his forehead against Hermione; he took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "What are we doing?" he whispered.

Hermione let out a contented sigh and closed her eyes too; "I don't know but this feels so good..." she whispered back.

Draco wrapped his arms around her tightly as he bit his bottom lip; "I know..." he replied huskily.

Hermione slowly opened her eyes and moved her face away from him; "Do you regret it?" she asked.

Draco opened his eyes and met her stare; "No I don't...do you?" he asked.

Hermione lowered her eyes towards his plump limps; "No...I don't..." she replied.

Draco slowly unwound his arms around her waist and trailed it from her arms towards her face, cupping it with both palms. "You're so beautiful..." he said.

Hermione licked and her lips and met his gaze.

Draco began rubbing his thumbs on her flushed cheeks, not breaking eye contact.

Hermione smiled shyly and bit her bottom lip again; "Do you know what I'm thinking right now?" she asked boldly.

"What?"

Hermione swallowed hard; "How much I want to kiss you again..." she whispered breathlessly.

Draco grunted and closed his eyes; "You're killing me you know?" he said.

Hermione chuckled.

Draco leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on her nose; "I want to kiss you too" he said.

Hermione let out a shaky breath as she closed her eyes; "Then kiss me..." she replied.

Draco opened his eyes again and planted another kiss on her closed eye lids; "Are you sure?" he asked again.

Hermione moaned.

Draco continued peppering kisses around her face, purposely avoiding her lips.

Hermione opened her eyes again and moved her hands towards his face; once she has his face within her grasp she leaned forward and pressed her lips against his.

Draco smiled and moved his hands towards her waist again; he wrapped his arms around her and lifted her from the floor.

Hermione squeaked between kisses but looped her arms around his neck; impulsively she wrapped her legs around his hips, anchoring herself to him.

Draco moaned louder as he grasped her legs around his hips; carefully, he navigated them towards the couch and sat down.

Hermione straddled Draco and continued kissing him.

Draco pulled her closer and wrapped his arms tightly around her waist.

oOo

Millicent hastily threw the comforter off her body and leaped off of her bed; she run towards her bathroom and kneeled right in front of her bowl. She heaved repeatedly until she felt her body go limp with the exertion; once she's sure that she won't throw up again, she hauled herself up and padded towards the sink. She opened the tap with her shaking hands and scooped water towards her mouth, rinsing the bile; once satisfied, she splashed cool water on her face and braised her hands on the sink. "What the hell just happened?" she asked herself.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 5:15 P.M

"Mistress?"

Narcissa tore her eyes away from her book and stared at the elf standing near the patio door; "Yes Mimi?" she asked.

The elf curtseyed and clasped her grubby hands together; "Mistress, there is a woman at the gates, she says that she's looking for Master Draco" she replied.

Narcissa frowned and dog-eared her novel; she placed it on top of the table and stood up. "Did she tell you who is she?" she asked.

Mimi shook her head and began squeezing her hand agitatedly; "Mimi tried, Mistress, but woman won't tell Mimi who is..." she replied.

"Let her in and bring her to the sitting room, I'll just get Lucius" Narcissa replied.

Mimi curtseyed again and disappeared with a loud crack.

"Why do you need to get me?"

Narcissa rolled her eyes upon seeing her husband lurking near the rose bushes; "Is that your new hobby now?" she asked sarcastically.

Lucius stared in confusion; "Whatever do you mean?" he asked.

Narcissa sighed; "Never mind" she replied.

Lucius walked towards his wife and stood right in front of her; "Why do you need me then?" he asked.

"Mimi just informed me that there's a woman looking for Draco" Narcissa said.

Lucius furrowed his brows; "Who is it?" he asked.

"That's what we'll find out, I told Mimi to take whoever it is to the sitting room" Narcissa replied.

Lucius nodded; "Okay, now let's go. We shouldn't let our guest waiting" he said before walking towards the house.

"Lucius..."

Lucius stopped in his tracks and turned towards his wife; "Yes?" he asked.

Narcissa began fidgeting with her hands; "Who do you think it could be?" she asked.

Lucius studied his wife's reaction and sighed; "I don't have the slightest idea love but we'll find out soon enough. So, let's go there and meet her" he said, offering his hand to her.

Narcissa took a deep breath and walked towards her husband; slowly she placed her hands in his and nodded.

Lucius squeezed her hand comfortingly; "Let's go..." he said.

Narcissa let him lead her.

oOo

Goldstein – Weasley's Flat, Birmingham, England – 5: 19 P.M.

Ginny was putting up the final touches on the cakes she's frosting when a loud knock resounded inside her flat; she huffed in annoyance as she chuck the spatula inside the mixing bowl. She wiped her hands on her apron and began padding towards the door; once she reached it, she pulled it open and met the gaze of man standing right in front of her.

"Gin..."

Ginny studied his appearance and let out a defeated sigh; "What are you doing here Ronald?" she asked exasperatedly.

Ron avoided her eyes and stared at his foot instead; "I-I just want to know if you know where Hermione is...I need to talk to her..." he replied.

"Who gave you the idea that I know where she is?" Ginny asked.

Ron met her gaze and threw her a pleading look; "Please Gin...I know you know where she is...I need to see her...I know you hate me and I don't have the right to ask you this but please Gin...please..." he begged.

Ginny took a deep breath and pulled the door wider; "Come in" she said.

Ron bowed his head as he entered her sister's flat.

Ginny ushered them towards the sitting room and gestured towards the nearest loveseat; "Sit"

Ron followed her instructions and sat down.

Ginny sat on the opposite seat and crossed her legs; "Let's be clear about something here Ronald" she said.

Ron nodded.

"I don't hate you because you are my brother and I'll always love you no matter how many times you screw up. But Hermione is the only sister I've ever known and I hate the fact that you hurt her...again." Ginny said.

Ron was about to open his mouth to explain but Ginny held up her pointer finger, gesturing for him to keep quiet.

Ginny leaned forward; "I know where Hermione is right now but I won't tell you anything because I owe it to her. She needs time Ronald, she needs time to pick up the pieces you broke twice. You have been my brother for 25 years and I stood beside you without thinking twice because I love you, but I love Hermione too, so let me be her sister just this once..."

Ron felt his eyes blur with tears so he buried his face into his palms; he then leaned forward and braised his elbows on top of his knees. "I am sorry Ginny...I'm sorry..." he sobbed.

Ginny felt her heart ache for her brother; "You should be Ronald but I'm not the one you need to apologize to. But even that has to wait too, I'm afraid..." she half whispered.

Ron shoulders shook as sobs erupted from his lips.

Ginny bit her bottom lip as she watches her brother fall apart right in front of her eyes.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 9:34 P.M.

Hermione snuggled closer into Draco's side; "I think I drank too much, my head is still fuzzy..." she groaned.

Draco chuckled and pulled her to his chest; he planted a soft kiss on her forehead and sighed. "Me too..." he replied.

Hermione buried her face into the crook of his neck and took a deep breath; "What are we doing Draco?" she whispered.

Draco began playing with the strands of her hair; "I don't know..."

Hermione pulled her face away and met his gaze; "It can't be bad right? I mean, this feels good, do you feel good?"

Draco stared into her eyes and let out a smile; "Something that feels this good can't be bad Hermione and yes it feels bloody good"

Hermione smiled; "I thought so..." she trailed off.

Draco smiled back; "Do you want to go to bed? It's late..." he said.

Hermione took a deep breath and nodded; "I guess we should" she replied.

"Okay" Draco said.

"Okay" Hermione replied.

Draco waited for a couple of minutes but Hermione remained in her position; "Err...Hermione, if we want to make it to bed I think we should move" he said.

Hermione felt her cheeks redden as she clumsily tried to sit up; "Oh, I'm sorry" she replied.

Draco chuckled as he sat up too; "No worries" he replied.

Hermione scooted at the other end of the couch and sat straight; she then tucked some of her lose curls behind her right ear and cleared her throat; "I guess I'll head to bed then..." she said.

"Good night Hermione..." Draco replied.

Hermione stood up from her perch and straightened her crumpled dress; she then plucked her heels from the floor and began walking hastily towards the corridors; "Good night Draco" she mumbled.

"Hermione?"

Hermione paused and turned her head towards Draco; "Yes?" she asked.

Draco smiled; "Don't think too much, we'll take it as it comes" he said.

Hermione found herself nodding and walking towards the dark corridor; "Take is as it comes? What does he mean by that?" she asked herself before disappearing behind her door.

Draco watches as her back disappeared from his sight; he then shook his head and stood up from the couch. "We'll take it as it comes" he repeated to himself.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 5:30 P.M

Narcissa sauntered inside her living room with her head held up high; "I'm sorry to keep you waiting" she announced.

The blonde haired lass stood up upon hearing the Matriarch voice; "Good Evening Mrs. Malfoy, I do apologize for barging in to your home like this"

Narcissa stood a couple of metres away from the blonde haired woman and studied her from head to toe; "Please sit down" she said while gesturing towards the couch.

The blonde haired woman sat down and placed her hands on her lap.

Narcissa sat down too and waited for her husband to do the same; "This is Lucius, my husband" she introduced.

"Good Evening Mr. Malfoy"

Lucius waived his hand dismissively and sat beside his wife; "Our house elf informed us that you're looking for our son, Draco. Is that right?" he asked directly.

The blonde haired woman began fidgeting with her hands; "As a matter of fact I am Sir," she replied.

Narcissa crossed her legs; "Draco doesn't normally receive visitors from women and I believe my husband and I are quite disadvantaged here because we don't know you" she said regally.

The blonde haired woman cleared her throat and straightened her posture; "I'm aware that you don't know me Mrs. Malfoy because we haven't gotten the chance to be introduced properly" she replied.

Lucius raised one pale brow; "We can rectify that tonight, who are you and what do you want from our son?" he asked.

"Is Draco here Sir?"

Lucius was about to open his mouth to respond but Narcissa beat him to it; "Our son is currently on vacation outside the country and there's no way of reaching him in the next couple of days. If you can give us your name perhaps we can mention it to him once he comes home" she said.

The blonde haired woman's face fell and bowed her head.

Lucius eyed her for a couple of minutes; "Who are you?" he asked.

The blonde woman closed her eyes and grasped her hands tightly together; "Is he-is he...married?" she asked shakily.

Narcissa's eyes widen.

Lucius leaned forward and braised his elbows on top of his knees; "Why should we answer such personal question when you refuse to tell us who you are?" he challenged.

The blonde woman opened her caramel eyes and met Lucius inquisitive gaze; "My name is Ireland Montgomery...I am Draco's girlfriend" she said.

Narcissa's face paled as Lucius stared wide eyed at the woman sitting a couple of metres from them.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 11:13 P.M.

Hermione sat up from her bed with a huff; she gathered her knees to her chest and placed her chin on top of it. "What the hell just happened?" she whispered to herself. She then took a deep calming breath and closed her eyes; "I just kissed Draco Malfoy and it felt good...really good" she groaned.

Draco stood at his veranda with his hands tucked away inside his pockets, eyes fixed at the sapphire-hued sky. He let out a deep sigh and walked towards the railings; once he reached it, he braced both hands on it. "You'll take it as it comes, there's no rush" he said to himself.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 7: 23 P.M

"Stop pacing dear, you're ruining our carpet" Narcissa said while massaging her head.

Lucius paused and turned towards his wife; "We need to tell Draco"

"I know" Narcissa replied tiredly.

Lucius tucked his hands inside his trousers and sighed; "When?" he asked.

Narcissa leaned back on the loveseat; "I don't know. I mean, what are we suppose to tell our son Lucius? "Hey love, come home because your dead girlfriend came back to life and she's asking for you?" He thought she was dead and he grieved for her Lucius! It took him years to move on and I'm so scared that if we tell him he might rush on to this without thinking" she said.

"He deserves to know Cissy, he needs to know as soon as possible. Draco will hate us if we hide this from him, we need to tell him."

Narcissa balled her fist; "We will tell him but not tonight. We also need to know if she's really the person she's claiming to be. We haven't seen Ireland Montgomery, we need to make sure first before we dump all of this to our son" she explained.

Lucius let out a defeated sigh; "Alright, we'll postpone it for a day or two that will be enough time to have her investigated. I'll contact Brown right away and have him on this, I'll tell you what he finds out" he said.

"That would be terrific love," Narcissa replied.

Lucius nodded; "I'll go talk to him now" he said before turning around and leaving his wife.

Narcissa let out another sigh and closed her eyes; "Just when everything is falling into this place, this happens" she murmured to herself.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 7:54 A.M.

Hermione blinked a few times and stretched her arms above her head; she then winced as she tried to sit up. "Bloody alcohol, I'm not drinking tequila again" she murmured to herself.

"Good Morning Miss!" Didi greeted cheerfully.

Hermione turned her head towards the voice and smiled; "Morning Didi" she replied.

Didi moved closer to the bed with her hands clasped together; "What do you want to eat for breakfast? Didi can whip up anything Miss wants!" she beamed.

Hermione threw the covers off her legs; "Is...is Draco awake yet?" she asked nervously.

Didi shook her head; "Not yet Miss, Master is still asleep" she replied.

Hermione let out a relieved sigh and swung her legs off the bed; "I'll just have orange juice and toast if that's okay," she replied.

"Okay, I'll prepare it for you! Where do you want to eat it Miss?" Didi asked again.

Hermione stood up and began walking towards the bathroom; "I'll just go the kitchen Didi, no need to set it up somewhere" she replied.

"Okay Miss," Didi replied before disapperating with a loud crack.

oOo

Draco lay in his bed with his eyes wide open; he has been awake for hours but he can't seem to make himself move. He's still reeling from what happened last night and he can't help but worry on how it will affect the interaction between him and Hermione. He knows for sure that he's beginning to like her, hell, if the chemistry after the kiss was not proof then he can't think of anything else that can prove him otherwise. Hermione was a revelation to him, she's something new and fresh and he's not opposed to getting to know her more. He can't exactly put his finger when his feelings started to change but he knows that it did and he just hopes that she feels the same way.

oOo

Hermione plopped down on one of the bar stools and braised her arms on top of the breakfast counter; "This looks amazing Didi, thank you" she said with a smile.

Didi smiled at her Mistress; "Thank you Miss, Does Miss want anything else?"

Hermione took a sip of her orange juice before shaking her head; "No Didi, that would be it, thank you again" she said.

"You are most welcome Miss," Didi said before disappearing with a loud crack.

Hermione placed her glass back on the table and stared at her plate; she grabbed her toast and began lathering it with butter.

oOo

Draco emerged from his bathroom and walked towards his door; he took a deep calming breath before placing his hand on the door knob. "Keep calm man, act natural" he said to himself. He twisted the knob and pulled the door open; he stepped out of his room and closed the door behind him. He strolled along the hallways and landed on the living room; he was about to head towards the kitchen but paused when he saw his mother's house elf standing near the couch. He crossed his arms on top of his chest and narrowed his eyes; "Mimi?"

Mimi's eyes widen upon seeing the young master; she hastily faced him and curtseyed. "Master Draco" she said with a low bow.

Draco shifted closer to the elf; "What are you doing here? Is something the matter? Did something happen to Mum or Dad?" he asked.

Mimi took a step back and shook her head vigorously; "No sir, Master and Mistress are fine. Mimi is here because Mistress sent me to give you a letter"

Draco raised his brow; "A letter?"

Mimi nodded; she then pulled out a sealed envelope from her apron's front pocket and held it towards her master.

Draco leaned forward and plucked the envelope from the elf's shaking hands; "Is there anything else?" he asked.

"No Master" Mimi replied.

Draco stared at the elf for a moment before smirking; "Can you give me my wand back?"

Mimi's eyes widen in fear; "Mistress said that if Master asks for his wand Mimi should disappear. Mimi is leaving Master" she squeaked before disappearing with a loud pop.

Draco rolled his eyes; "Typical" he said. He then focused his attention on the letter in his hands; he hastily tore off the seal and pulled out the parchment.

Draco Dearest,

How's your vacation going? I hope all is well. I just wrote to let you know that we will be sending Mimi again in two days. As much as I don't want to cut your vacation short, we would have to due to an unforeseen situation that recently risen. Don't fret about it love, your father and I are taking care of it. Enjoy your remaining days there and we'll see you in two days time.

Love,

Mother

P.S. Please tell Hermione I said Hi!

Draco furrowed his brows as he folds the parchment; "What the hell happened?" he asked himself.

"Is everything alright?"

Draco's head snapped towards his right and saw Hermione standing a couple of steps away from him holding a glass of orange juice. He shoved the parchment inside his pocket and smiled; "Hey—everything's alright" he replied.

"Are you sure? You look upset there for a moment" Hermione said.

"My mother just sent me a letter and she says Hi"

"Oh"

Draco shifted and began walking towards Hermione; "Did you have breakfast?" he asked.

Hermione felt her heart beat rapidly as Draco approaches; she swallowed hard and tried her best to act nonchalant. "Err—yeah, I had toasts" she sputtered nervously.

Draco nodded; he then stopped in front of her and stared right into her eyes. "Any regrets yet?" he asked seriously.

Hermione felt her breath hitch in her throat with Draco's proximity; she tried to open her mouth to speak but she ended up letting out a breathy gasp. She closed her mouth again and did the only thing she could at the moment, she shook her head.

Draco noticing Hermione's reaction can't help but feel elated; his heart is beating wildly inside his chest but he's doing a great job in masking it. "Good because I don't regret it too."

Hermione felt her cheeks starting to flush so she averted her gaze shyly; she swallowed hard and cleared her throat. "Err—you should go and have breakfast"

"Can you join me?" Draco asked.

Hermione licked her lips nervously; "S—sure" she replied.

Draco smiled; slowly he moved his hands towards hers and interlaced their fingers together.

Hermione bit her bottom lip as she tries hard to hold back the smile that's tugging on her lips.

Draco noticing her reaction lifted their clasped hands closer to his face; he then stared into her eyes before planting a chaste kiss at the back of her hand.

Hermione gasped as she felt butterflies storming inside her stomach; she had never once felt this with Ron and the feelings it brought is messing up with her mind. Million thoughts and questions race through her head as tries to analyze what's happening between the two of them. They have chemistry and that she can no longer deny but was it worth it? Can Draco Malfoy help heal her heart? Can two broken people learn to fix each other? Can they make it work? She then mentally chastised herself, it's too early to think that far, they only shared a kiss, it's not like he professed his undying love or she gave herself to him. She's thinking way over her head and she needs to stop.

Draco pulled his lips away and gave her hand a comforting squeeze; "I can see the wheels turning inside your head Granger."

Hermione snapped out of her stupor and cringed; "Sorry-"

Draco smiled sincerely; "Don't think about it too much, like what I said last night, we'll take it as it goes."

Hermione stared into his eyes for a moment before nodding; she then squeezed his hand back and smiled. "One day at a time" she replied.

Draco nodded; "One day at a time" he repeated.

Chapter 14: Daylight
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Chapter Fourteen: Daylight

"Here I am staring at your perfection in my arms so beautiful. The sky is getting bright, the stars are burning out, somebody slow it down. This is way too hard coz I know when the sun comes up I will leave this my last glance that will soon be memories." (Daylight by Maroon 5)

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 11:04 A.M.

"Why don't we go to the beach? I mean, we're in Maldives, aren't we suppose to enjoy the ocean and not the pool?" Draco asked as he watches Hermione emerge from the water.

Hermione wiped her face with her hand and wrinkled her nose; "But it's too hot out there, I don't want to end up being burned" she said.

"We have potions for that you know?"

Hermione rolled her eyes before hefting herself out of the water; "You can go, I wouldn't mind" she said as she walked towards one of the sun beds.

Draco smirked; "But it wouldn't be fun without you there"

Hermione plopped down and angled herself so she's facing the blonde man lounging on the other side; she grabbed her towel and began drying her arms. "Pray tell, why?"

Draco sat up and dangled his legs on the side; he leaned forward and braised his elbows on top his knees. "I think that question is rhetorical, aye?" he said while wiggling his brows suggestively.

Hermione's eyes widen as her cheeks began to blush; she threw the towel at Draco's face and averted her gaze, clearly flustered. "You're a pig!"

Draco laughed as he placed the towel on his lap.

"I'm not making out with you at the beach! That is so inappropriate!" Hermione shrieked.

"Aha! So that's the reason why you don't want to leave this place-so we can make out" Draco teased.

Hermione felt her face become redder so she shot up from her perch and began walking away without a word.

"Come on Granger! I'm only kidding!"

"Whatever Malfoy! Talk to me when your head is out of the gutter!"

Draco chuckled as he watches Hermione enter the house.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 8:01 A.M.

Theo was just dusting off the soot from his clothes when the fire place came to life again; he turned around and saw his friend emerging from the flames. "Blaise?"

Blaise stepped out of the grate and furrowed his brows; "Did Aunt Cissy owl you as well?" he asked.

Theo nodded; "Do you have any idea why?"

Blaise pointed his wand on his clothes and vanished the soot with one flick; "I also don't know, is it just us?"

"I think so"

Crack

Theo turned around and saw an elf standing a couple of steps away from him. The tiny creature curtseyed and bowed its head; "Mistress is waiting for you at the Sun Room, Mimi will take Masters there."

Blaise raised his brow as he walks towards his friend; "There's no better way to find out than the source, let's go" he said.

"Right" Theo said.

oOo

"Pansy? Are you here? Where are you?" Millicent asked frantically.

Pansy yanked her bathroom door open and peeked her head out; "Millie? Is everything alright?"

Millicent turned around and saw her friend standing behind the door; she made a bee line towards it and stared at Pansy in horror. "I need your help"

Pansy furrowed her brows upon noticing her friend's agitation; "Just give me a minute," she said before closing the door behind her.

Millicent began pacing as she fumbled with her hands anxiously.

The bathroom door opened and Pansy stepped out; "What's wrong?" she asked as she ties a knot on her robe.

Millicent stopped pacing and turned her pale face towards Pansy.

Pansy's eyes widen upon seeing tears trickling down Millicent's face; she hastily shifted closer to her friend and braised her hands on the other witch's shoulder. "Why are you crying? Did you get hurt? Tell me?"

Millicent let out a sob before dissolving into tears; she buried her face into her palms as her shoulders shook.

Pansy stared at her friend with alarm before pulling her into a hug; "Millie? You're scaring me"

Millicent didn't respond but her cries intensified.

Pansy cringed; "Calm down-Ssshhhhh" she cooed.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 8:09 A.M

"Aunt Cissy, Good morning" Theo greeted as he entered the Sun Room.

Narcissa stood from her perch and smiled; "Good Morning Theodore, thank you for coming with such a short notice"

Theo grinned as he walks towards the older witch; "You know I'd do anything for you" he replied cheekily.

Narcissa engulfed Theo into a hug; "You'd do anything for my cakes" she said.

Theo laughed as he pulls away; "That too" he said.

Narcissa turned her eyes towards the other man standing behind Theo; "Why are you just standing there? Aren't you giving your old Aunt Cissy a hug?"

Blaise smiled fondly at his best friend's mother; he walked towards her and pulled her into a tight hug. "It's been a while Aunt Cissy" he said.

Narcissa chuckled; "And whose fault is it?" she said before pulling away. She then eyed her son's best friend's and pursed her lips; "Ever since you guys grew up, you never even bother to visit your poor old Aunt Cissy anymore."

Theo looked sheepish; "I'm sorry—it's just that I've been busy with work and-"

Blaise snorted; "More like busy with Pansy"

Narcissa's eyes widen in surprise; "You and Pansy?" she asked.

Theo threw Blaise an annoyed look before smiling awkwardly at Narcissa; "Uhm-it's fairly new..."

Narcissa beamed as she claps her hands in delight; "That's good to hear! I've always known you have a soft spot for Pansy"

Theo averted his eyes as his cheeks redden; "Err-"

Blaise laughed and patted his friend's back; "We all knew mate, no need to be ashamed"

Narcissa laughed; she then gestured towards the empty chairs around the table. "Why don't you two sit down and have breakfast with me first, we can talk later" she said while sitting down.

Blaise pulled a chair and sat down; "Where's Uncle Lucius?" he asked curiously.

"He left early, he need to take care of some things"

"Where's Draco?" Theo asked as he sits down.

Narcissa smiled; "He's on vacation but he'll be back in two days time" she said.

Blaise smirked; "How did you convince him to go?"

"I have my ways" Narcissa said. She then gestured towards the food on the table; "I know you two haven't had breakfast yet so help yourselves"

Theo grabbed his napkin from the top of his plate and smiled boyishly; "You always knew how to spoil us" he said while eyeing his favourite breakfast food.

"Of course" Narcissa said before taking a sip of her morning tea.

oOo

"-And then I took the test and its freaking pink!" Millicent bawled.

Pansy closed her eyes as she rubs her temples; "Did you try it again?"

"I did it 12 times and it's always pink!"

Pansy took a deep calming breath before opening her eyes; she stood up from her perch and began walking towards her walk in closet.

"Where are you going?" Millicent asked in panic.

"I can't very well go to St. Mungos in my robe, can I?"

Millicent's eyes widen; "Why do we need to go there?"

Pansy paused and turned her face towards her friend; "We'll see a Healer"

"Can't we just call Draco? I mean he's a Healer right?"

Pansy raised her brow; "Draco is not here, he's on vacation."

Millicent pursed her lips; "Can we just call him and ask him to come back?" she asked petulantly.

"It's his first vacation in years so we will not disturb him. There are other competent Healers in St. Mungos that can check you."

"Fine."

Pansy rolled her eyes before closing the door behind her.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 8:30 A.M

Blaise furrowed his brows; "Ireland Montgomery?"

Narcissa nodded; "Yes, she came here last night and introduced herself to Lucius and I"

Theo threw Blaise a confused look; "I thought Draco's girlfriend's name is Iris?"

Blaise leaned back on his chair and crossed his arms on top of his chest; "That's what I know as well," he said. He then turned his gaze towards Narcissa; "Can you describe her Aunt Cissy? I met her once and I can still remember how she looks like" she said.

"She has caramel eyes, pale skin and she's a blonde" Narcissa said.

Blaise sighed; "It matches Iris' description"

Theo furrowed his brows in suspicion; "Why a different name then?"

"That's also what Lucius and I thought that's why I called you here. We needed confirmation about her name because as far as we know from Draco, he'd always called her Iris."

"Did you tell Draco?" Blaise asked.

Narcissa sighed as she leans back on her seat; "We haven't told him yet, we wanted to be sure first before we tell him anything but I already sent him a note, asking him to come home in two days."

Theo nodded; "Did you and Uncle Lucius hire an investigator to check on her story?"

Narcissa nodded; "Yes, he's talking to him now"

"It just doesn't make any sense, why now? I mean, Draco has been looking for her for Merlin knows how long" Blaise said with exasperation.

"Exactly my point dear, exactly my point" Narcissa said.

"There's something wrong with this picture and we will find out" Theo said.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 3:04 P.M.

"You don't have to do this to prove a point you know?" Draco said as he follows Hermione.

Hermione scoffed as she makes her way towards the beach; "I'm not proving a point, you were right. We have this wonderful beach at our disposal, why not take advantage of it."

Draco bit his bottom lip to keep himself from smirking; "It's a private beach"

Hermione paused and turned her head towards him; "Pull your head out of the gutter Malfoy" she chastised.

Draco shrugged his shoulders; "Just saying" he said.

Hermione rolled her eyes and continued her trek; once she found her spot, she neatly placed her towel on top of the warm sand and plopped down.

Draco stood beside her and stared at the witch confusedly; "We have some recliners there, why are you sitting on the sand?"

Hermione tilted her head and met Draco's gaze; she smiled teasingly before gesturing towards the spot beside her. "Live a little Malfoy, you won't die by just sitting on the sand. Come on, don't be squeamish"

Draco raised his brow; "I'm not squeamish Granger" he said before copying her actions.

Hermione lowered her shades to her eyes as she lay down on her back; "I will murder you if you don't have the potion you promised."

Draco chuckled as he sat crossed legged on his towel; "What do you need the potions for? You're pretty much covered" he teased.

Hermione turned her head to the side; "My arms and legs are exposed, they can burn" she said in a-matter-of-factly-way.

"I can't believe your sunbathing wearing a t-shirt and skimpy shorts, you'll have a very unflattering tan lines."

"You're only saying that because you want to see my bikini clad body again" Hermione said cheekily.

Draco grinned; "You have a very nice body."

Hermione giggled.

"It's true. You wore it in the pool, why not wear it where it should be worn?"

"I'm wearing it under my clothes so hush" Hermione said.

Draco's grin spread wider; "Take off your clothes then,"

"You're impossible"

"I try" Draco said smugly. He then stretched his arms upward and yawned; "I think I'll hit the water, want to join me?"

"Nope, I'm fine here" Hermione replied.

Draco stood from his perch and began tugging his shirt off, exposing his well toned chest and abs.

Hermione felt her breath hitch as her eyes rake his form under her dark shades.

Draco threw his shirt on top of his towel before turning towards at Hermione; "Are you sure you don't want to join me? The waters temp is the best at this time"

Hermione swallowed hard; "Err-you go ahead, I'll follow" she said.

"Okay" Draco replied before making his way to the shore.

Hermione hefted her upper body up and braised her elbows on the sand; she followed Draco with her eyes and watches him as he submerge himself under water. "Why do you have to have that sinful body, huh?" she asked aloud. She then let herself fall back on the towel and groaned; "You're in trouble Hermione Granger" she said.

Draco did a few laps before he decided to take a rest; he walked back to their spot and hovered above Hermione.

"You're blocking my sun Malfoy" Hermione said.

"You took off your clothes" Draco said.

"Well spotted. Now, move your arse."

Draco smirked widely before bending forward and scooping Hermione into his arms.

Hermione's eyes snapped open and began flailing her arms; "Put me down! What on earth are you doing?" she shrieked.

Draco ignored her rants and began running towards the shore.

Hermione eyes widen in horror; "Oh no—no-no you don't! You wouldn't dare!" she squealed.

Draco rolled his eyes; he held Hermione tighter to his chest as he continues his descend to the water.

Hermione wrapped her arms around Draco's neck tightly, clinging to him; "Come on Draco cut it out! Bring me back to the shore!"

Draco shook his head; "Nu-uh!"

"You will pay for this Malfoy, I'm telling you-" Hermione's rant was cut off when she felt herself being engulfed by water when Draco fell on his back, soaking them both.

Draco emerged from the water, laughing loudly as she watches Hermione sputtering.

Hermione wiped her eyes and glared at the Blonde man laughing beside her; "That was not funny!" she snapped. She shifted closer to him and began hitting him with the palm of her hands; "That was evil Malfoy!"

Draco continued laughing as he deflects Hermione's hands; he wrapped his hands around her arms and tugged her to his chest. He smiled at her playfully and stared directly into her eyes; "That was not so bad Granger, admit it, it was fun."

Hermione narrowed her eyes; "It was not fun! I ingested some bloody salty water!"

Draco's eyes strayed to Hermione's lips; "I can see that" he said huskily.

Hermione felt her heart skip a beat when she notices the change in Draco's demeanour; she licked her lips nervously and swallowed hard.

Draco slowly lowered Hermione's arms to her side and met her gaze; he then snaked his arms around her waist and pulled her closer. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking now Hermione?"

Hermione felt her cheeks flush; "Depends on what you're thinking..."

Draco lowered his face and leaned his forehead to hers, still maintaining eye contact; "I'm thinking how delectable your lips tastes like..."

Hermione bit her bottom lip to keep herself from smiling.

"How you moan when I nibbled on you lower lip..."

Hermione licked her lips.

"How you say my name when I kiss your neck..."

Hermione gasped.

"How you-"

"Draco?" Hermione said cutting him off.

"Yes?"

Hermione smiled; "Shut up and just kiss me."

Draco grinned before leaning forward and capturing Hermione's lips.

Hermione moaned as she snaked her arms around Draco's neck, pulling him closer.

Draco smiled into the kiss and wrapped his arms tighter around Hermione's waist.

oOo

St. Mungos, London England – 11:30 A.M.

"Are you sure? Can you do it again?" Millicent asked tearfully.

"She's done the test five times now Millie, I doubt the results will change" Pansy said comfortingly.

"Ms. Parkinson is right Ms. Bullstrode, the test has 100% accuracy, you are 5 weeks long" The Healer said.

Millicent burst into tears as she buried her face into her palms; "What am I suppose to do now?" she whimpered.

Pansy wrapped her arm around her friend and pulled her into a hug; "I don't know but we'll figure it out" she said.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 3:30 P.M.

Hermione popped a grape into her mouth and groaned out loud; "This is so sweet" she said.

Draco just smiled as he took a swig of his wine.

"I still can't believe you were able to arrange this" Hermione said.

"I'm a Malfoy, I can do anything I want"

Hermione rolled her eyes before plucking her wine glass beside her; "You and your huge ego."

Draco chuckled; he leaned forward and plucked a piece of cheese from the platter. He popped it into his mouth and chewed with vigour.

Hermione took a sip of her own drink as she watches Draco eat; after a couple of seconds she burst out giggling.

"What?" Draco asked.

Hermione shook her head; "You're such a snob" she said.

Draco raised a brow; "What do you mean?"

Hermione gestured towards the food between them; "Cheese platter, truffles and wine? Come on, don't tell me that doesn't scream as snob to you?"

Draco cocked his head to the side and pursed his lips; "You have a point there" he conceded.

Hermione smiled; "But that's okay, I know you're not" she amended.

"Good to know" Draco replied with a smile.

Hermione took a sip of her wine again; "So—you're flooing back to England a day after tomorrow right?" she asked.

Draco nodded; "Yes, mother told me she needs me for something but she didn't really specify." He then furrowed his brows; "It worries me though, she wouldn't normally cut this vacation if it's not important."

"Maybe it's about work."

"I hope so" Draco replied. He then shook his head to rid himself of thoughts before meeting Hermione's gaze; "How about you? How long will you be here?"

"I actually don't have any idea. What I do know though is I have to go home soon, I mean, I can't hide here forever" Hermione said with a sigh.

Draco leaned forward and gently placed his hands on top of Hermione's; "Stay here for as long as you like" he said.

"Thank you" Hermione said.

Draco squeezed her hand again before pulling it away; "Since tomorrow is my last day on this Mum imposed vacation, anything you want to do before I leave?"

Hermione bit her bottom lip; "Can we just stay here? I'm really not in the mood to explore town" she admitted.

"Okay then, we'll stay" Draco said.

Hermione smiled before taking another sip of her wine.

oOo

Brown's Cottage - Surrey, England –2:57 P.M

"Have you heard anything from Ronald?" Leila asked as she enters her daughter's room.

Lavender tore her eyes away from the book she's reading; "No, should I?" she asked, clearly confused.

"He should be talking to you about your impending marriage"

Lavender snapped her book close and glared at her mother; "He's not interested in marrying me Mum, he already made that clear the last time we saw him."

Leila crossed her arms on top of her chest and narrowed her eyes at her daughter; "He dragged our name into this scandal, he will marry you, even if I have to Imperio him!" she snapped.

Lavender shot up from her perch; "You will not do such thing Mum! I love Ronald and you will not curse him!"

Leila scoffed; "We'll see about that!" she said before turning on her heels and leaving the room in a huff.

Lavender rubbed her temples tiredly as she plops down on her bed; "What a mess you've gotten yourself into Lavender" she murmured to herself.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 7:43 P.M.

Hermione stepped out of her bathroom and made her way towards her bed; she climbed up the mattress and popped the moisturizer cap open. She squeezed a dollop on her palm and began lathering it on her warm arm; she shifted her eyes on the open balcony door and fixed her gaze on the dark starry night sky. She just asked Draco to kiss her again and it felt good, really good. Draco on the other hand seems not to mind, in fact, he looks like he enjoys it as much as she does which makes things more complicated. Are they each other's rebound after being jaded? Is there more to this? What will happen to them when they both return to England? Will they still continue with what they're doing? Or will things go back to the way it always were, ignoring each other's existence. Hermione let out a sigh; she'll never get the answers unless she asks him and that itself, is terrifying.

oOo

Draco rubbed the towel on his hair as he steps out of his balcony; he took a deep calming breath and closed his eyes. Hermione just asked him to kiss her again and it's driving him insane; it has been a long time since he felt this compelled to kiss someone and it's starting to freak him out, big time. He licked his lips and opened his eyes; "What are you doing to me Hermione Granger?" he asked himself.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 8: 34 A.M

The next day: Draco's last day

Hermione opened her eyes and felt a heavy weight settle inside her chest; Draco will be leaving tomorrow morning and she'll be alone here again. She sat up from on her bed and hugged her knees to her chest; she leaned her chin on top of it and let out deep sigh; what's wrong with her? She's not supposed to feel this way and she's not supposed to be attached but why does it feel like her heart is falling to her stomach every time the thought of him leaving crosses her mind. She let out a loud ground and buried her face into her arms; "What's wrong with you Granger!"

"Is something the matter Miss?"

Hermione's head snapped up and saw Didi standing at the foot of the bed; "Err-I'm fine Didi" she said.

"Master Draco is already awake and asked Didi to check if Miss is awake, should Didi tell Master that Miss is still sleeping?"

Hermione shook her head as she scooted to the edge of the bed; "No it's alright, I'll get up."

Didi smiled toothily; "Master Draco is cooking breakfast so Miss should hurry up to the kitchen"

Hermione paused and stared at the elf; "He's cooking? Does he even know how to cook?"

Didi nodded; "Master says he can and it looks good."

Hermione raised her brow; "We'll see about that" she said.

oOo

Draco was wiping the side of the plate when Hermione entered the kitchen; he smiled widely upon spotting the brunette and pointed towards the breakfast bar stool. "Have breakfast with me."

Hermione hopped up the stool and stared at the plates with amazement; "You cooked all these?" she asked.

"Yes" Draco said proudly.

Hermione lifted her gaze and met Draco's eyes; "I didn't know you could cook" she said.

"One of my many talents that you don't know-yet" Draco said.

Hermione felt her heart skip a beat upon hearing the word "yet", she cleared her throat as she plucks her fork beside her plate; "Now, let's see if this tastes better than it looks" she said with a smile.

Draco grabbed his own cutlery; "My Eggs Benedict are perfect Granger, I'm sure it'll keep you coming for more."

Hermione sliced the egg in half and felt her brows rose in surprise upon seeing the perfect runny yolk ooze on top of the muffin.

Draco smirked as he notices his companion's reaction; he cut a small piece of his sandwich and speared it with his fork. He lifted it from the plate and shifted it closer to Hermione's mouth; "Here, taste it" he said.

Hermione tore her eyes away from her plate and threw Draco a confused look; "Eer—I have my own plate Malfoy, remember?"

Draco ignored her words and began wiggling his fork right in front of her face; "Just open your mouth and eat this" he said.

Hermione narrowed her eyes at Draco suspiciously; "Did you put too much salt in that?" she asked.

Draco rolled her eyes; "If I wanted to kill your taste buds I would've just shoved salt in your mouth instead of bothering with cooking" he said.

Hermione thought for a moment; "Point taken" she said. She then leaned forward and obediently accepted the food that Draco is offering; she chewed for a couple of seconds before swallowing it.

Draco lowered his fork and stared at Hermione expectantly; "So?"

Hermione smiled; "Impressive Draco, really impressive" she said.

Draco smiled boyishly before cutting himself a piece; "I'm glad you liked it" he said.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 4: 13 A.M.

Narcissa opened her eyes sleepily when she felt a weight settled beside her; she turned to her side and saw her husband just getting in. "What time is it?" she croaked.

Lucius pulled the duvet to cover his legs before settling down; he turned to his side and faced her wife. "It's still early, go back to sleep, we'll talk about it later."

Narcissa scooted closer to her husband and placed her head on his chest; "Um-yeah, we'll talk later" she murmured.

Lucius hummed contentedly before closing his eyes.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 9: 00 A.M

"Don't tell me you will spend the whole day reading?" Draco asked as he plops down beside Hermione.

Hermione lifted her gaze and turned towards the Blonde sitting beside her; "What do you want to do?" she asked.

"You look cute" Draco said.

Hermione wrinkled her nose; "I'm sorry?"

"You look cute with your glasses on, I didn't know you wear one"

"I only wear it when I'm reading that's why"

"I see" Draco said. He then leaned back on the couch and furrowed his brows; "There's really nothing much to do here since we're in a secluded island, you already told me that you down want to go down town so—I'm running out of ideas" he admitted.

Hermione dog eared her novel and threw it haphazardly on top of the coffee table; "Let me think" she said.

Draco turned his head sideways and grinned widely at Hermione; "We can just make out" he said.

Hermione pulled the pillow behind her and began hitting Draco with it; "Get your head out the gutter!" she shrieked.

Draco shot up from his perch and began laughing; "I'm just teasing you Granger, no need to be violent"

Hermione threw her pillow at him and pursed her lips; "You're so annoying!"

Draco caught the pillow and hugged it to his chest; "Find me once you think of something to do" he said.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 9:24 A.M.

"Why are you up?" Narcissa asked as her husband sauntered inside the dining room.

Lucius yawned as he walks towards his wife; he leaned forward and planted a kiss on her head before sitting down. "I already slept before I came home last night that's why I'm not that tired" he replied.

"You look tired love, you should've slept in" Narcissa said.

Lucius smirked; "And keep you sitting on pins and needles until I wake up?"

Narcissa laughed; "You know me so well" she said. She then gestured towards the food; "Eat first, we have a lot to talk about" she said.

Lucius nods as he fishes out the napkin on top of his plate; "We have a lot to talk about indeed" he said.

Narcissa let out a sigh before taking a sip of her tea.

oOo

"Did you double check?" Theo asked.

Pansy rolled her eyes; "She checked 12 times and the Healer checked her 5 times, how many times do we need to check?"

Theo leaned back on his chair, clearly in a daze; "I can't believe she's pregnant!" he said incredulously.

"Tell me about it."

Theo narrowed his eyes; "Who's the father? Does she know?"

Pansy threw her beau an indignant look; "Of course she knows! Millie is not like that!"

Theo raised both of his hands in surrender; "I'm just asking, so who's the father?"

Pansy crossed her arms on top of her chest and pursed her lips; "Weasley."

"Merlin! Didn't she just publish something in the Prophet to humiliate him?"

Pansy huffed; "She did but she called Rita Skeeter to call it off when she found out that she's carrying his spawn."

Theo puffed out a breath; "I can't believe the Weasel got her pregnant. What will she do?"

"I don't know yet, she's still in shock."

"We can't blame her,"

Pansy nodded.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 12:05 P.M

"I can't think of anything to do around here" Hermione said as she approaches Draco.

Draco patted the space beside him; "Sit here and we can just talk" he said.

Hermione raised her brow; "I'm not making out with you in broad daylight" she huffed.

Draco smirked; "Now who's the one thinking about perverted thoughts? I'm asking you to just sit beside me."

Hermione pursed her lips before walking towards the couch; she plopped down on the other end, keeping distance between them. "I'm bored"

"We can always go to the beach, have you tried snorkelling? They say it's fun" Draco suggested.

Hermione wrinkled her nose; "Nah-not into fishes much"

Draco nodded; "Same here" he said. He then leaned back on the couch and lifted his feet on top of the table; "We can take a walk along the shore and talk?"

Hermione let out a small smile; "That doesn't sound bad" she said.

"Can we do it later though? It's really hot outside and I'm hungry"

"Oh! That's also what I came here for, Didi told me that lunch is ready" Hermione said as she hopped off of the couch.

Draco pulled his feet off the coffee table and stood up; "Let's eat," he said.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England –10: 45 A.M.

"So you're telling me that she is who she claims she is? She's the same Iris that Draco talked about?" Narcissa asked with wide eyes.

"Yes" Lucius replied.

"But-but she told us her name is Ireland!"

Lucius began rubbing her temples; "Iris is her childhood nickname, people call her that because it's confusing to call her Ireland when their in Ireland."

Narcissa fell back on her chair; "I can't believe this is really happening Lucius-our poor son—what will happen now?"

"I also don't know, what I found out about her is pretty solid, we just have to wait for Draco to come home so he can see her for himself."

"He will be devastated-my poor baby"

Lucius sighed; "We just have to be there for him" he said solemnly.

Narcissa buried her face into her palms.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 3:05 P.M

"It's really beautiful here," Hermione said.

Draco threw Hermione a side glance; "Yup."

Hermione continued staring ahead; "You excited to go home tomorrow?" she asked cautiously.

Draco halted in his steps and tugged on Hermione's arm, making her pause too. "We should talk about it you know, we can't keep on burying our heads in the sand."

Hermione let out a sigh before meeting Draco's gaze; "I don't know what to talk about to be honest" she admitted.

"About us-what will happen when we both go back to England."

Hermione bit her bottom lip anxiously; "What-what do you want us to be?" she asked, completely leaving the ball in Draco's court.

Draco licked his lips; "I-I want to see where this will lead us-" he paused. He then stepped closer and stared into Hermione's eyes seriously; "I know that this is not the right time to broach the topic because I know you're not ready for it-yet, all I'm saying is that I want to keep seeing you. I-I've never enjoyed anyone else's company like I did in the last couple of days and kissing you-Merlin, kissing you made me feel things I thought I'd never feel again..."

Hermione felt her heart soar upon hearing Draco's admission; she took a step closer and let out a smile. "I like kissing you too" she said.

Draco smiled back; "I can tell" he teased.

Hermione giggled; "So-we'll keep seeing each other then? We won't pretend that we can barely stand each other's presence?"

Draco took another step closer and wrapped his arms around Hermione's waist; "Ignoring each other's presence will be futile, the pull we're feeling for each other is too strong and that's already proven, don't you think?"

Hermione bit her bottom lip as she nods in agreement; "Yeah" she said.

"Don't bite you lip"

Hermione automatically let her lip go; she stared into his eyes before voicing out her fears. "I'm scared..."

Draco leaned his forehead to hers; "I'm scared too"

"It's just that-I don't know if I can do this again. I like what you make me feel but I'm scared of diving into this again...at least not yet"

"I think we're on the same page Hermione"

"Really?"

Draco pulled his face away to meet her gaze; "Yeah-you know my story"

Hermione's eyes widen in surprise; "You mean you never had anyone after—after Iris?" she asked.

Draco shook his head; "I didn't think I can-but kissing you changed that" he admitted.

Hermione felt her breath hitch in her throat.

Draco slowly snaked his right hand towards Hermione's cheek; cupping it; "No need to feel pressure Granger, I'm just being honest"

Hermione let out giggle; "No pressure, huh?"

Draco smiled; "Yeah—no pressure or whatsoever. Like what I keep on telling you, we'll see where this takes us and we'll go from there"

Hermione rested her cheek on his palm; "You're right, no need to rush into things. There's still a lot to learn about each other" she agreed.

Draco pulled Hermione into his chest and hugged her; "Yep—like if you snore when you sleep or if you're collecting hairballs" he teased.

Hermione hit Draco on his back as she laughs; "You're awful Malfoy, really awful"

"You like me anyway" Draco quipped.

"That's true."

"Good, because I like you too"

Hermione let out a full blown smile as Draco smiled contentedly.

oOo

Hermione stepped inside the house laughing with Draco in tow; they were half way through the living room when Didi appeared out of nowhere, startling them both.

Didi winced and bowed her head; "I'm sorry Master and Miss, Didi didn't mean to startle you" she apologized.

Hermione smiled at the elf; "its okay Didi" she assured.

"Didi wants to know what Master and Miss wants to eat for supper?"

Draco shrugged his shoulders; "Anything will do Didi" he replied.

Hermione thought for a moment; "Why don't I cook something for us? You made me breakfast and it's only fair that I return the favour, don't you think?"

Draco smiled; "You don't have to that, I cooked because I want to make you something special not because I want you to return the favour"

"I want to make you something special too since it's your last day here, I promise I won't poison you" Hermione said.

"Are you sure?"

Hermione smiled; "Of course I'm sure" she said. She then stepped behind Draco and began pushing him towards the hallway to his room; "Go take a shower or something, I'll handle it. I'll send Didi once dinner is ready."

Draco lifted both hands in surrender; "Fine—fine" he said with a chuckle.

Hermione waited for Draco's back to disappear behind the corner before she turned towards the house elf with a smile. "Do you know Draco's favourite food?"

Didi smiled toothily; "Yes Miss and all the ingredients are here"

"Perfect"

oOo

"Everything seems to be in place" Hermione said as she pulls off her apron.

"Miss can really cook" Didi said as she stares at the food on the table.

Hermione chuckled; "My Mum always insisted that a woman needs to learn how to cook, hence, the food on the table."

Didi nodded; "Should Didi call Master Draco?"

Hermione shook her head; "Err-I'll just take a quick bath first then I'll call him myself" she said.

"Is there anything else that Miss needs?"

"No Didi, you've been a great help, thank you"

"Didi is happy to help Miss"

Hermione smiled fondly at the elf before turning on her heels and walking towards her own room.

oOo

Draco was lounging on his bed when he heard a faint knock on his door; "Come in"

Hermione peered behind the door and smiled; "Dinner is ready"

"I thought you'll send Didi for me?" Draco asked as he climbs down his bed.

"I changed my mind."

Draco made his way towards Hermione and pulled the door open; he stopped right in front of her and raked her form with his eyes. "We had the same idea I see, you look beautiful" he said.

Hermione felt her cheeks flush with the compliment; "Great minds think alike I guess, you look good too" she replied.

Draco smirked; "You sure you still want have to have dinner?" he teased.

Hermione winked sassily at Draco before turning her back on him; "Oh-you'll want to have dinner, trust me" she said.

Draco watched Hermione sashay away before shaking his head; "Minx" he murmured.

oOo

"Too much?" Hermione asked with a cringe, waiting for Draco's reaction.

Draco shifted his eyes between the dimly lit den and Hermione; "You—you did all of this? For me?" he asked quietly.

Hermione bit her bottom lip anxiously; "You don't like it? I mean it's the last day of your vacation, we might as well end it with something nice."

Draco moved towards Hermione and placed his hands on her shoulders; he pulled her closer and planted a chaste kiss on her forehead. "I love it, thank you."

Hermione tilted her head and smiled brightly; "You haven't seen the food yet" she said.

Draco smiled; "Whatever it is, I'm sure I'll love it."

Hermione stepped away from his arms and began pulling him towards the table; she pointed towards the chair and smiled. "Sit down" she said.

Draco chuckled as he follows her instruction; "I love you how you boss me around" he teased.

Hermione pulled her own chair and sat down; "You need a good doze of bossing that's why" she quipped.

Draco sat down; "So-what did you cook for me?" he asked with a huge smile.

Hermione pulled her wand from her pocket and pointed it towards the dome lids; she flicked it once and automatically, all the lids were lifted and disappeared.

Draco's eyes widen upon seeing the array of his favourite food laden right on top of the table.

Hermione smirked upon seeing his reaction.

Draco turned his gaze towards Hermione, clearly stunned; "How did you-wow" he gasped.

"I asked Didi for help so I don't take all the credit" Hermione said.

"Nobody has ever done this for me-wow-Hermione, I don't know what to say"

Hermione placed her hand on top of Draco's; "A simple thank you will do. Now, why don't we dig in before the food gets cold" she said as she pulls her hand away.

Draco grabbed Hermione's hand and squeezed it; "Thank you," he said with a grateful smile.

Hermione smiled back; "You're welcome, now eat."

"Don't mind if I do" Draco said excitedly.

oOo

Draco moaned out loudly.

Hermione giggled in delight.

Draco licked his fingers clean and let out another moan of satisfaction.

Hermione licked her lips and smiled; "How was it? Did you enjoy it?"

"You were incredible-that was-heavenly" Draco said.

Hermione chuckled; "Heavenly?"

Draco smirked; "Well there's no way to describe it, so yeah,"

Hermione grinned, clearly satisfied.

Draco leaned forward and took another piece of cupcake from the dessert tray; "As a matter of fact, it tastes so good I have to have another one" he said smugly.

Hermione grabbed her coffee cup and took a sip; "I'm glad you like it, it's actually my Grandmum's recipe."

Draco took a bite of his cupcake and lifted it to his eye level; he peered inside the small confection before swallowing. "How on earth were you able to put dark chocolate ganache inside this tiny thing?"

"It's a secret" Hermione said mischievously.

Draco shrugged his shoulders and popped half the cupcake into his mouth.

Hermione leaned back on her seat; "Did you pack your things already?"

Draco nods as he swallowed his food; "Yeah—Mum only sent me here with a couple of clothes so it's not that hard to pack" he replied before leaning forward and grabbing his coffee.

"I see" Hermione said.

Draco took a gulp of his coffee before wiping his mouth with a napkin; "You done?" he asked.

Hermione emptied her cup and placed it on top of the table; she grabbed the napkin on the table and patted her mouth. "Yeah"

Draco stood up from his perch and offered her his hand; "Let's move this outside, it's a nice evening and the stars are out" he said.

Hermione accepted his hand and stood up from her chair; "Lets" she replied.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 07:51 P.M.

"Draco will be arriving tomorrow, right?" Lucius asked his wife.

Narcissa shifted her eyes away from the fireplace and stared at her husband; "Yes"

Lucius walked towards her and sat beside her; he gathered her hands onto his lap and squeezed it comfortingly. "We'll tell him together, it wouldn't be easy but we'll do it."

Narcissa scooted closer and rested her head on Lucius shoulder; "I'm just scared-he was so broken when he thought she died. I don't want him to go through that again-not when he's finally moving on."

Lucius let out a defeated sigh; "I wish the circumstances are different love but we just have to deal with cars we've been dealt."

Narcissa closed her eyes.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island –11:07 P.M

Hermione pulled her face away from Draco as she catches her breath.

Draco planted a chaste kiss on Hermione's lips before smiling contentedly; "Are you convinced now?"

"Yeah" Hermione whispered breathily.

Draco leaned his forehead on hers and stared into Hermione's eyes; "I like you Hermione-a lot"

Hermione smiled; "I like you a lot too"

Draco smiled; he then leaned forward again and captured Hermione's lips and kissed her hungrily.

Hermione wrapped her arms around Draco's neck and shifted on her seat; she hefted herself and straddled Draco's lap.

Draco groaned as he trailed his hands along Hermione's waist, settling it on her hips.

Hermione moaned as the kiss intensified.

Draco continued kissing Hermione for a couple of more minutes before pulling away; he licked his lips as he panted.

Hermione leaned her forehead on his and caught her breath too.

"We should slow it down a bit" Draco said hoarsely.

Hermione closed her eyes as she tries to calm her breathing; "Yeah"

Draco planted another kiss on Hermione's swollen lips before lying down on his back, dragging the brunette with him.

Hermione rested her chin on top of Draco's chest and continued staring at him; "I wish you didn't have to leave so soon" she whispered.

Draco met her gaze; "Me too"

Hermione wrinkled her nose; "I think I'll have to cut short my vacation too," she said.

Draco chuckled; "I'm flattered that you can't stand not seeing my handsome face Granger but don't cut your much needed vacation short just because I'm leaving. I can wait, it's not as if I'm leaving London or anything."

Hermione felt her cheeks flush so she thumped his chest with her palm; "Not everything is about you Malfoy!"

"Oh yeah?"

Hermione started to pull away but Draco wrapped his arms around her waist tightly; "I'm just kidding" he said.

Hermione huffed; "You're an ass"

Draco chuckled; "I have my moments"

Hermione placed her cheek on top of Draco's chest and stared at the dark sky; "I also have to get back soon you know, I still have my job and my cat to come home too"

"The old orange furball you call a cat is still alive?"

"Yeah, he's staying with Harry and Torry"

"Figures, Candice must be in cloud nine, she loves animals" Draco said fondly.

Hermione chuckled; "Crooks loves her too, he doesn't like that much people though. I dated Ron for years and he never takes a liking to him."

Draco huffed; "Your cat is smart" he said.

Hermione let out a small smile; "That he is. "

Draco began rubbing circles on Hermione's back lulling her to sleep.

"Don't do that-it's making me sleepy" Hermione mumbled.

Draco ignored her complaints and continued his actions; "Sleep then" he replied.

"We can't-I can't sleep here"

"Says who?"

"But-"

"No buts Granger-we only have until daylight together before I leave for home so let's not waste it by bickering about where to sleep"

"I didn't know you like cuddling"

Draco closed his eyes; "I'm surprised with myself too, one of our firsts together" he said.

Hermione smiled as she closes her eyes; "Yeah-one of our firsts"

Chapter 15: Total eclipse of the heart
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Chapter Fifteen: Total eclipse of the heart

"Once upon a time I was falling in love but now I'm only falling apart, there's nothing I can do, a total eclipse of the heart..." Total eclipse of the heart by Sleeping at Last

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island –09:07 A.M

Hermione opened her eyes when she felt light shinning upon her face; she turned to her side and buried her face into her pillows.

"Miss is awake"

Hermione groaned; "Yes I am" she croaked. She then pulled her face away from the pillow when she remembered something, she sat up from her bed and furrowed her brows; "How did I get here?"

"Master bought Miss here when Miss fell asleep last night" Didi replied.

"Oh, I see. Where's Draco?"

"Master is waiting for Miss in the living room, Master needs to go back to London today"

Hermione let out a dejected sigh; "I know" she replied. She then scooted towards the edge of the bed and planted her feet at the floor; she hauled herself up and began walking towards the bathroom. "Tell Draco I'll be down in a minute, I'll just freshen up a bit."

Didi bowed and disapparated with a loud crack.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 5:15 A.M.

Lucius turned to his side with the intention of pulling his wife closer to him but was met with an empty space; he groggily opened his eyes and sat up from the bed. "Cissy?"

"I'm here"

Lucius shifted his gaze towards the voice and saw his wife sitting on the love seat close to the fireplace; "What are you doing? Why are you awake so early?" he asked.

"Draco is coming home today, I need to prepare something for him" Narcissa replied.

"It's too early to prepare love, come back to bed" Lucius cajoled.

Narcissa shook her head; "I can't go back to sleep-I seem to have this nervous energy surrounding me that's keeping me from resting" she admitted.

Lucius sighed; he threw the duvet off of his body and stood up from the bed. He made his way towards his distraught wife and kneeled right in front of her; "You have to relax love, I know you're nervous for today, I am too but we have to rest in order for us to be there for our son when we finally break the news, he'll need us to be there for him."

Narcissa stared at her husband's face for a moment; "You're right" she whispered.

Lucius stood up from his perch and offered his hand; "Come back to bed, we still have a couple of hours" he said.

Narcissa accepted his hand and let Lucius pull her to her feet.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island –09:31 A.M

"Will Mimi get me or will my mother send a portkey?" Draco said as he stares at the house elf.

"Mimi will be here to give you the portkey Master"

Draco rolled his eyes; "Do you know what time Mimi will be arriving?" he asked.

The tiny elf shook her head; "Didi has no idea Master"

"You're all packed" Hermione said as she enters the living room.

Draco turned towards her and smiled; "Yeah-I don't have the slightest idea when Mimi will arrive" he replied.

Hermione smiled back; "You excited to go home?"

Draco pursed his lips; "Not really, this thing Mum told me about is keeping me in pins and needles, I don't know what to expect" he admitted.

Hermione stood right in front of Draco; "I'm quite sure it's not that serious-don't worry your pretty little head about it"

Draco smirked; "You think I'm pretty?" he teased.

Hermione rolled her eyes; "You already know that" she replied.

Draco stared at Hermione for a moment before pulling her into a hug; "I will miss you Granger and I'm hoping that you'll also come home soon" he said.

Hermione wrapped her arms around Draco's waist and buried her face into the crook of his neck; "I will miss you too and yes, I'll come home as soon as I'm ready" she replied.

Crack

Hermione pulled herself away and turned her head to the side; "I think Mimi is here" she said while eyeing the new elf standing a couple of feet away from them.

Draco followed Hermione's gaze; "Yeah-that's her" he replied. "Are you here to bring the portkey?"

Mimi curtseyed before plucking a little drawstring bag from the front pocket of her apron; "Yes Master, Mimi is here to bring Master Draco back"

Hermione felt the familiar tightness inside her chest but she tried her hardest to mash it down; she swallowed the lump in her throat before letting out a smile. "I think that's your cue to leave" she said.

Draco turned towards Hermione again; "Yeah-I guess so," he replied. He then took a tentative step closer to Hermione, gazing into her eyes intently. "Can I at least have one more kiss before I get whisked away?" he asked.

Hermione shifted her gaze to the elves staring at them.

Didi noticed her Mistress's discomfort so she walked towards Mimi and disapparated with her wordlessly.

"Now we're alone" Draco whispered.

Hermione licked her lips nervously; "Yeah, we are."

Draco slowly placed his hands on Hermione's cheeks, not breaking eye contact; "Can I kiss you now?" he asked.

"I guess so..."

Draco didn't need to be told twice, he pulled Hermione's face into his and began pouring all his feelings into the kiss.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England –9:14 A.M.

"Your pacing will not help your nerves at all love, so I suggest you sit down beside me" Lucius said calmly.

Narcissa paused her halting and gnawed at her lower lip; "I can't help it Lucius! Draco will be home in a couple of seconds and I still don't know how to break this news to him!" she said with panic.

Lucius leaned back on the couch and sighed; "There's no easy way to break this news to him Cissy, either way it will hurt. As much as we want to shield him from pain, we can only do so much and I know that you know that."

Narcissa's shoulder sagged; "I just wish that things like this wouldn't have happened."

"I know love, now will you please come here and sit beside me? We'll tell him together" Lucius cajoled.

Narcissa walked towards the couch and sat down beside her husband; she placed her hands on her lap and took a deep calming breath.

Lucius placed her arm around his distraught wife's shoulders, comforting her the best way he knows how.

Narcissa leaned her head on Lucius' shoulder.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island –01:30 P.M

Hermione grabbed Draco's bag and handed it to him; "You better leave, Mimi has been waiting for you for hours now, I'm sure Narcissa needs her house elf back home" she said.

Draco pried his bag away from Hermione's hand; "She has 5 other house elves to cater to her needs, I'm quite sure she won't be missing Mimi" he replied.

"Go now, stop postponing the inevitable."

Draco leaned forward and planted a chaste kiss on Hermione's lips; "Fine. I'll see you soon?"

Hermione smiled and nodded; "You will. Say my thank you's to your parents, staying here really helped me put things back into perspective"

Draco grinned; "Let me do better, I'll take them out-without my Mum's meddling I don't think we'd have a chance to reconnect" he said.

Hermione giggled; "Yeah? Because we both know you won't spare me any time of the day"

Draco pursed his lips; "That's not true! You on the other hand, wouldn't bother looking my way" he retorted.

"Not true."

Draco smirked cheekily; "I've always known you had the hots for me Granger...you've manage to worm your way in my workplace twice already" he teased.

Hermione raised her brow; "And you just happen to land my case, every single time?"

"I'm on call, of course you'll end up with me"

Hermione huffed; "Whatever Malfoy! Haul your ass back to London, you're starting to annoy me with your pompous presence"

Draco winked; "We both know how much you'll miss my presence here, you'll just read your eyes out till you decide that you've had enough"

Hermione can't help but chuckle with his accurate assumption; she shifted closer to the snarky blonde man and turned him around. She placed her hands on his back and began pushing him towards the living room; "Enough with your delaying tactics, go now!"

Draco laughed; "Fine. Tell me you'll miss me first?"

"I'll miss you, happy now?"

"Merlin I'll miss your sarcasm"

Hermione shook her head.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England –9: 45 A.M.

Crack

Narcissa was so startled with the sound that she almost jumped from her seat; "Mimi!" she yelped.

The house elf curtseyed; "Mistress, young Master is on his way"

Narcissa eyes widen in panic; she shot up from her seat and threw her husband a look. "He's coming home! He's really coming home!"

Lucius rolled his eyes; "We already know this dear," he replied. He then turned his eyes to the elf; "He already left the Beach House?" he asked.

"Yes Master"

"Mum? Dad? Where are you?"

Lucius stood up from his perch; "We're in the study son" he replied loudly. He then pulled his wife to his side and wrapped his arm securely on her shoulders; "Calm down Cissy, take a deep breath" he ordered.

Narcissa obediently followed her husband's instruction.

The door to the study burst open admitting a beaming Draco Malfoy in; "Why are you two hiding in here? I'm expecting you standing in the foyer to greet me" he said.

Narcissa let out a nervous chuckle; "We were just about to greet you darling, how's Maldives? Did you have fun?" she asked.

Draco walked towards his parents and both engulfed them into a hug; "It was fun, thank you for drugging me with those cherries" he joked.

Lucius laughed as he patted his son's back; "Nobody does it like your Mother" he joked back.

Narcissa pulled away and planted a chaste kiss on Draco's cheeks; "I can see that you had fun" she said.

Draco rolled his eyes; "You already know that" he replied.

Lucius chuckled; "How's Ms. Granger?" he asked while guiding her wife to sit down.

Draco cleared his throat and took a seat on the opposite couch; "She's fine."

Lucius raised his brow; "Only fine?" he asked with a teasing tone.

Draco groaned; "We're not allowed to talk about it-ever" he said. He then shifted his gaze to his mother and leaned back; "So-I received your letter, what's going on?" he asked.

Narcissa averted her gaze and began fumbling with her hands anxiously; "Why don't we have lunch first? I'm a little bit hungry" she said.

Draco furrowed his brows, not liking her mother's reaction; "Why don't we talk about it first before we eat? You summoned me here in a haste, after all."

Narcissa swallowed hard; she then shifted her gaze to her husband and saw him nod subtly. She moved her eyes back to Draco and swallowed hard again; "Can-can you tell us again what happened with-Iris?"

Draco's face instantly turned serious; "Why do you want to talk about Iris?"

Narcissa opened her mouth to respond but she can't seem to compose an intelligible sentence; she turned her eyes to Lucius, silently begging for help.

"Father?" Draco asked.

Lucius cleared his throat before meeting his son's eyes directly; "We're about to tell you something but promise me first that you'll listen and let us finish, can you do that?" he asked seriously.

Draco's heart started pounding erratically inside his chest, making bile rise into his mouth; he swallowed the bitter taste and just nodded.

Lucius swallowed the lump in his throat; "Iris-she's alive and she was here two days ago."

oOo

Potter Mansion – London, England – 10:51 A.M.

"Harry!"

Harry automatically shot up from his perch and ran towards the living room; "What? What happened?" he asked while looking around the room frantically.

Astoria turned around and began waving a sealed envelope in her hand; "It's from Hermione!" she said giddily.

Harry let out relieved sigh before making his way towards his wife; "You scared me there for a minute" he complained.

Astoria giggled; "I'm sorry love, I was just so excited!"

Harry can't help but smile, he stood right in front of Astoria and plucked the letter off her hand; he then sat down on the couch and waited for his wife to sit beside him.

Astoria shifted towards the couch and plopped beside Harry; she excitedly turned to face him and stared at him expectantly. "Open it!"

Harry tore the seal open and pulled out the parchment; he quickly scanned the contents and smiled widely.

"What?" Astoria asked.

"She's coming home next week" Harry said.

Astoria's eyes widen; "Really?"

"Really!"

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England –10:52 A.M.

"Why didn't you tell me sooner? Why did you wait two days to let me know?" Draco yelled as he continue to pace like a caged animal.

Lucius sighed; "I already told you, we had to make sure that it's really her-that she's telling the truth."

Draco paused and let out deep calming breath; he placed his hands on his waist and closed his eyes. "Where-where is she?"

Narcissa stared at her son sadly; "She's staying at the Leakey Cauldron" she replied.

Draco's eye snapped open; he then stormed towards the door wordlessly, slamming it shut.

"Well-that went better than I expected" Lucius said while rubbing his temples.

Narcissa turned towards her husband and sighed.

oOo

The Leaky Cauldron – London, England –10:34 A.M.

Iris closed the book she's reading and threw it at her side table; it has been two days since she arrived at London to finally face him, two days and still no sign of Draco. Truth be told, she's scared-more than scared to see him again, not after everything that had happened, not after everything she put him through. She let out deep breath and leaned back on her pillows; she was about to close her eyes for a little shut eye but then a knock on her door prevented her from doing so. "Who could that be?" she asked herself. She then shifted towards the edge of the bed and planted her feet on the floor; she slowly made her way towards the door and pulled it open. She felt her breath hitch in her throat as her heart dropped down to her stomach; "D-Draco" she breathed out.

Draco's face instantly paled as he staggered back; she's alive-she's really alive. He felt himself lunged forward as tears pool in his eyes; he pulled Iris into his arms and buried his face in the crook of her neck. "It's really you...you're really here" he rasped out.

Iris felt tears run down her cheeks as she wraps her arms around Draco's waist; she hugged him tightly, sobs escaping her lips.

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 2:45 P.M.

Hermione took of her glasses and began rubbing her eyes tiredly; she had been reading nonstop since Draco left for London, trying her best to forget the fact that she's already missing him. "Gaaaaahhhh!" she groaned.

"Is Miss okay?"

Hermione's head snapped towards the side; "Err-I didn't notice you there" she said abashedly.

Didi just smiled.

Hermione sat straighter; "I'm okay-it's just this-book is so frustrating" she lied.

"Does Miss want anything? Didi can whip up a shake, it's hot" Didi offered.

Hermione thought for a moment; "That's actually a good idea, thank you" she said with a smile.

Didi grinned toothily; "Didi will be back" she said before disappearing with a loud crack.

Hermione leaned back on the couch and rested her head at the back; "Get a grip Mione-you're acting like a lovesick teenager" she muttered to herself.

oOo

The Leaky Cauldron – London, England –10:49 A.M.

"Here, drink this" Iris said while handing Draco a glass of fire whiskey.

Draco accepted it and took a large gulp; he winced when he felt the amber liquid slide down his throat.

Iris sat on the chair right in front of Draco and placed her clasped hands on top of the table; "Are you okay?" she asked.

Draco nodded and placed the glass on top of the table; "Yeah-thank you" he replied.

Iris licked her lips nervously; "I-I know this has been a lot to take in..."

Draco reached for Iris' hand and clasped it tightly; "I know-I'm just happy you're here" he said with a smile.

Iris swallowed hard; "I need to tell you something Draco...I need to explain why I'm actually sitting right in front of you and not-dead"

Draco gazed into Iris' eyes and felt an ominous feeling settle inside his chest; he licked his lips anxiously and cleared his throat. "Go on..."

"I-I didn't die because...I planned it"

Draco felt like he's been smacked right on the face; he hastily pulled his hand away as if he's been burned, pain etched clearly on his face. "W-what? What do you mean?"

Iris felt tears pool in her eyes but she soldiered on; "I knew you were going to propose that day and I didn't know how to tell you that I can't marry you so I ran away and disappeared..."

Draco felt the ground under him crumble as her words hit him; she planned the whole damn thing, she made him go through hell because she couldn't just say it to his face that she doesn't want to marry him. Emotions swirled around his chest; guilt, pain, longing, love-everything. His face reddens in anger and almost instantly his walls stood erect; "You put me through all of that just because you don't want to marry me? Why couldn't you just tell me?" he asked through gritted teeth.

Iris watched as Draco's eyes change from the softest of silver to stormy gray in seconds; tears ran down her cheeks as guilt gnaw at her gut. She didn't want to hurt him this way, he was her best friend-he didn't deserve what she's has done and she has been beating herself for it for years. "I-I'm sorry..." she croaked out through tears.

Draco felt his anger flare even brighter; "Sorry? That's all you have to say? You think you a simple sorry will cut it?"

Iris wiped her cheeks and tried her best to stifle her sobs; "I-I didn't mean for it to happen that way-I was supposed to talk to you after a few days to explain everything-but I got so scared-I couldn't face you after what I have done-I didn't mean for it to be that way...Draco-you have to believe me" she said desperately.

Draco let out a bitter laugh before; "You couldn't face me? Then why are you here? Let me guess, you wanted to clear your conscience?" he sneered.

"I-"

"You know what, don't answer that, I'm quite sure you'll be lying again" Draco said acerbically. He then pushed away from the table and stood up; "You're very good at that anyway-after all you made me believe that you died and that you actually loved me" he said before turning on his heels.

"I loved you" Iris said quietly.

Draco shook his head; "You don't know the meaning of that word Iris because if you do, you wouldn't have pretended to die on the man you claim to love just because you didn't want to marry him. You wouldn't have waited 3 years to show your face and make amends. You wouldn't just sit tight and watch him almost lose his mind because of so much grief and pain. You wouldn't do that Iris-you just wouldn't" he said. He clenched his fist tightly and stared at Iris directly; "I loved you and I wanted to spend my life making you happy, you were the love of my life and I thought we're on the same page" he paused and threw her a sad look. "You should've just told me that you didn't want me instead of lying about all of this-I'd rather take the sting of rejection than the pain you've caused me when I thought I lost you forever. I wished I died a million times with you that day-Merlin knows how much I blamed myself but all of it turns out to be for naught. This will be the last time I want to see your face Ireland Montgomery, because for me you already died 3 years ago. Goodbye" he said before walking away.

Iris buried her face into her palms as gut wrenching sobs escaped her lips.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England –1:32 P.M.

"Where is he? It's been 3 hours!" Narcissa said as she paced back and forth.

"He's probably talking with her" Lucius replied before taking a sip of his drink.

Narcissa paused and turned towards her husband; "I still couldn't believe this is happening, I don't understand how she can do that to our son. She faked her own death for Merlin's sake, she put Draco through all of that for nothing-how can someone who claims to love our son do that? Who does that?" she asked.

"I don't know love-I really don't know..." Lucius replied dejectedly.

Narcissa collapsed on the couch; "He was so broken when he thought she passed away-he blamed himself countless times" she then paused and narrowed her eyes. "I wish she really had died that day-I wish she never came back, if I ever saw her face again, I can't promise not to strangle the life out of her" she said darkly.

"Why do you need to sully your hands when you can just flick your wand?" Lucius asked.

Narcissa shifted her eyes towards her husband and can't help but crack a smile.

Lucius smiled back; "Feel any better?" he asked.

Narcissa was about to respond but cut herself off when she heard the floo in the grand foyer chime; she shot up from her perch and made a bee line towards the door, her husband not far behind her.

Draco stepped out of the grate and let out a defeated sigh; he's still reeling from finding out that Iris is alive and from the fact that she managed to play him like a fool. How can someone do that? How can they fake their own death and put other people into misery just because they were scared? How can someone claim they love you one day and turned their back on you the next? How can his best friend hurt him this much when all he ever did was love her? He clenched his fist tightly as tears started stinging his eyes; he took a deep calming breath and reined his emotions in.

"You're home"

Draco's eyes snapped open; he turned around and saw his parents looking at him with concern. He stared at them for a moment before speaking; "I'm sorry I shouted at you, I didn't mean it" he said.

Narcissa felt her heart go out to her little boy; she quickly ran towards him and engulfed him into a tight hug. "I'm sorry love-" she whispered.

Draco wrapped his arms tightly around her petite form and buried his face into the crook of his mother's neck; he tried his best to keep his emotions at bay but when he heard the sorrow in his mother's voice, he couldn't hold it in anymore. He felt his shoulders shook as gut wrenching sobs escaped his lips; he tightened his hold on his mother as he let all of his walls crumble.


Chapter 16: Safe and sound
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Chapter Sixteen: Safe and sound

"Just close your eyes the sun is going down you'll be alright no one can hurt you now, come morning light you and I'll be safe and sound..." Safe and sound by Taylor Swift

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 2:30 P.M

Hermione grabbed her luggage from her bed and made her way towards door; she pulled the door open and threw her room one last look. She stepped out into the hallway and closed the door behind her gently, walking along the familiar hallway until she reached the living room. She deposited her bag on top of the couch and pulled the small velvet drawstring bag from her jean pocket; "Didi" she called out.

Didi appeared out of the blue and smiled widely upon seeing her Mistress; "Miss called Didi?"

Hermione crouched down; "I just wanted to say goodbye before I leave."

Didi began tugging on the hem of her apron shyly; "Miss doesn't have to do that..."

Hermione smiled fondly; "But I want to and I also want to say thank you for taking good care of me" she said.

"Miss is welcome. Didi is happy to serve Miss" Didi replied bashfully.

Hermione stared at Didi for a moment before pulling her into a hug; "Thank you Didi" she said.

Didi patted Hermione's back somewhat awkwardly; "Miss is welcome" she squeaked.

Hermione chuckled and pulled away from the elf; she stood up and wiggled the drawstring bag in her hand. "Well-I have to get going now" she said.

Didi nodded; "Miss should go-Didi hopes to see Miss again" she said with a bow.

"Me too Didi" Hermione replied. She then grabbed her bag from the couch and plucked the diamond earring from the drawstring bag; "I still can't over the fact that this earring is actually a portkey" she said.

Didi let out a chuckle.

"I'll see you again Didi, take care" Hermione said before touching her wand on the earring. "Portus"

oOo

St. Mungos, London, England – 10:45 A.M.

"You're tired, go home"

Draco's eyes snapped open and saw Theo standing by his door; "Hey-I didn't hear you coming."

Theo stepped into his friend's office and closed the door behind him; he walked towards his desk and sat down on one of the chairs. "You should go home and rest mate, you're running yourself ragged"

Draco sat straighter and cleared his throat; "I'm fine,"

Theo stared at Draco with full seriousness; "I know you don't ever want to talk about it and I'll respect that but are you really okay?"

"I'm alright Theo, no need to hover like a mother hen, Merlin's knows my mother does that every damn day."

Theo let out a sigh; "I'm just worried about you, you know. You haven't been returning my owls and every time I check on you, you're always at work. You've been working 7 straight days already, don't you think it's time to take a day off or whatever you call it?"

Draco can't help but chuckle at his friend's words; "We call it time off mate," he replied. He then let out an appeasing smile; "I haven't been replying to your owls because I've been busy with my patients, I've been gone for almost a month and I needed to check on them" he explained. "Don't worry about me, I'm not about to kill myself" he joked.

"Don't even joke about it mate, it's not funny" Theo said sternly.

Draco rolled his eyes; he leaned back on his chair and crossed his legs under the table. "So-I heard, you and Pansy? I couldn't say that I didn't see that coming"

Theo leaned back on the chair and grinned; "Aunt Cissy told you?" he asked.

"Not in so many words, you two serious?" Draco asked.

"It's fairly new but yes, we are. I love her" Theo replied.

Draco's eyes widen in surprise.

Theo chuckled; "Don't look too shock, we've been at it for quite some time now-it's not as if I just met her"

Draco let out a small smile; "I'm happy for you two" he said sincerely.

"Thank you" Theo replied. He then cocked his head to the side and stared at his friend intently; "How's Maldives?"

Draco met Theo's gaze before cursing under his breath; "I can't believe my mother!" he groaned.

Theo bit his bottom lip to keep himself from smiling; "Met anyone in particular?"

Draco narrowed his eyes; "I'm not answering that" he said sternly.

"Come on! Don't leave hanging here mate!"

Draco pushed away from his table and stood up; he grabbed his wand from his desk and began walking away. "Not answering that Theo, see you around"

"You're no fun!" Theo said with pursed lips.

Draco chuckled as he steps out of his office, leaving his friend behind.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 12:15 P.M

Hermione felt her world stop so she opened her eyes; she blinked a couple times before surveying the unfamiliar surroundings. "What in Merlin's beard-"

"Hermione!"

Hermione quickly turned around and saw a familiar figure walking towards her; "Narcissa?" she asked, confusion evident in her voice.

Narcissa stopped right in front of the young witch and smiled warmly; "How was your vacation, dear?"

Hermione smiled back; "It was great-thank you so much for letting me stay there"

Narcissa waved her hand dismissively; "It was nothing-did you at least enjoy?"

"I did" Hermione replied.

"We're about to have lunch and I would love for you to join us" Narcissa said.

"I-"

"I won't take no for an answer" Narcissa said with finality. She then fell into step with Hermione and looped her arm around hers; "Come on, I'm quite sure Lucius will be happy to see you" she said.

Hermione sighed in defeat; "Okay" she said.

oOo

"You're still here?"

Draco turned around and saw his friend walking towards him; "You're also still here" he replied.

Anthony stopped right in front of his friend; "I just finished my rounds and I'm about to go home. I received an owl from Gin and she's about ready to castrate me" he said with a chuckle.

Draco grinned; "You better get your ass home then, it will be such a shame to not see little red headed Goldstein's running around"

Anthony placed his hands on his hips; "You should go home too, you know. If Tavish sees that you're still here, he might hex your ass"

Draco rolled his eyes; "I will go home, I'm just finishing up my rounds"

"Okay then" Anthony said. He then gestured towards the hallway; "I should get going then, I'll see you tomorrow" he said.

Draco nodded; "Say hi to Ginny for me"

"Will do, bye" Anthony replied.

Draco waited for Anthony to leave before letting out a tired sigh.

oOo

Potter Mansion – London, England

"Hermione will be home today, right?" Harry asked before taking a sip of his pumpkin juice.

"Yes, can you come early? We should check on her, it's been awhile since we last saw her" Astoria suggested.

Harry smiled at his wife; "That's a good idea. I'll be home early"

Astoria smiled back.

oOo

"Have you talked to him?" Pansy asked as she watches her best friend wipe her face with a towel.

Millie threw the used towel into her hamper; "No, should I?" she asked as she steps out of the room.

Pansy raised her brow; "Are you keeping it?"

Millie threw Pansy an affronted look; "Of course I'm keeping it! What kind of question is that?"

Pansy pursed her lips; "A question worth asking. Well if you're keeping his spawn then yes you should tell him."

Millie sat down on the couch and crossed her arms on top of her chest; "As if he'd care" she huffed.

Pansy narrowed her eyes; "You're having his kid, he should care. Besides, he's a Gryffindor and a Weasley, his parents will murder him if they find out that he impregnated you and ran away."

Millie pursed her lips while in thought, mulling Pansy's words.

"Don't give him a free pass Mill, Merlin knows he's had enough of that" Pansy said sternly.

"I'll think about it" Millie replied.

oOo

"Have you seen your son? I haven't been seeing him for quite some time now" Molly asked.

Arthur lowered his wand and turned towards his wife; "I just saw him at the Ministry yesterday, he looks fine to me" he replied.

Molly nodded; "At least we know that he's working and not drowning himself in fire whiskey again"

Arthur lifted his wand again and resumed mowing the lawn with a spell; "I already told him to stay away from alcohol and he's following my advice for a change"

"Good for him then" Molly replied.

oOo

Lucius put his cutlery down before plucking his wine glass from the table; "I'm happy to know that all of the furniture's are intact" he said before taking a sip of his drink.

Hermione dabbed her lips with a napkin; "Did you anticipate full chaos?"

Lucius chuckled; "With your history? I was surprised both of you managed to leave that place unscathed" he joked.

Hermione laughed; "We're both adults, we're passed that stage" she quipped.

"Here it is!" Narcissa said excitedly.

Hermione turned her eyes on the table and saw a huge Cherry Torte Cake that appeared in the middle; she swallowed hard and stared at it with apprehension.

Lucius stared at Hermione with amusement before shifting his eyes towards his wife; "I don't think Ms. Granger likes the dessert, love" he said.

Narcissa's brows both rose; "Don't you like cake dear?" she asked.

Hermione cleared her throat; "I-err-"

Lucius grinned at the young witch; "Don't worry-Mimi made that cake and not my wife, its safe" he said.

Narcissa cringed, clearly understanding Hermione's apprehension; "I didn't lace the cake with anything dear, I promise you that" she said earnestly.

Hermione let out sigh of relief before smiling shyly; "I didn't mean for it come out like that"

"Well you can't be blamed, Draco must've told you about the infamous cherry that duped him" Lucius said thoughtfully.

Narcissa smiled fondly at the memory before turning towards Hermione; "Tell us, did he blow a gasket when he woke up?"

Hermione giggled; "That's an understatement. I woke up with him trying to scream your house down" she replied.

Lucius laughed.

"He does have a temper" Narcissa said.

Hermione smiled; "That I know" she agreed.

"So-want to have some cake?" Lucius asked with a cheeky grin.

"Only if you have the first slice" Hermione replied.

Lucius' grin widens; "Smartest witch of your age indeed" he said.

oOo

Draco stepped out of his fire place before letting out a tired yawn; he pointed his wand on his clothes and zapped the soot off. He lazily walked towards his couch and plopped down; he leaned his head back and closed his eyes.

"Master Draco?"

Draco's eyes snapped open and lifted his head; "Didi?" He stared at the tiny elf for a second before his eyes widen; "Did something happen to Hermione?" he asked.

Didi shook her head; "Miss Hermy is fine master, Miss is at the Manor. Mistress asked Didi to tell master that you is needed there" she squeaked.

Draco shot up from his perch; "She's where?"

Didi took a step back, her eyes widening in fear; "Miss Hermy is at Malfoy Manor, master"

Draco quickly grabbed his wand from his back pocket and apparated on the spot.

oOo

"I really should be going, thank you so much for the wonderful lunch" Hermione said politely.

Lucius waved his hand dismissively; "It was nothing, we hope it helped"

Narcissa elbowed her husband and threw him a chastising look; "Forgive my husband's crassness, dear"

Hermione smiled; "It's okay." She then shifted her eyes to Lucius; "And yes, it helped. Thank you again" she said sincerely.

"You are most welcome" Lucius said.

"I better-"

"Mom? Dad? Where are you?"

"Will you look at that, seems like Draco is home" Narcissa said dramatically.

Hermione instantly felt her heart skip a beat; she missed that voice and she very much would like to see him again-not in front of his parents though.

"We're at the Sun Room, son" Lucius called out.

Hermione felt her breath hitch inside her throat when she finally laid her eyes on him for the very first time after a week; she can't help but smile at his rumpled appearance, he always looked good when he's worked up.

Draco stopped in his tracks and felt the wind get knocked out of his chest upon seeing Hermione sitting adjacent to his mother; he'd been through hell the whole week-with Iris showing up out of the blue but somehow seeing her there instantly made him feel better-way much better. "Hermione"

"Draco" Hermione said breathily.

Narcissa bit her bottom lip to keep herself from grinning widely; she shifted her gaze to her husband, conveying her message through her eyes.

Lucius cleared his throat and stood up from his perch; "Cissy dear, why don't we leave this two to catch up" he said while offering his hand.

Narcissa accepted her husband's hand and stood up; she then turned towards Hermione and smiled. "It was nice seeing you Hermione dear, don't be a stranger now" she said with a wink.

"It was nice seeing you again Ms. Granger, we'll take our leave now" Lucius said politely.

Hermione stood up; "Thank you" she said.

Draco took a side step to give way to his parents; he waited a couple of minutes before shifting his gaze back to Hermione. "Hi"

Hermione bit her bottom lip to keep from grinning widely; "Hi"

Draco smirked before walking towards the witch; "Fancy meeting you here Granger"

"You have to thank your mother for that" Hermione replied.

Draco stopped right in front of her and licked his lips; "I've missed you" he said.

"I've missed you too" Hermione replied before biting her bottom lip.

Draco lifted his hand and gently tugged at her lower lip; "Don't do that, you know how it affects me"

Hermione studied Draco's face and noticed something different; she lifted her hands and gently cupped his face. "You look different"

Draco closed his eyes and leaned his cheek on her palm; "A lot happened when I came home last week..." he admitted lowly.

Hermione's brows furrowed in concern; "Are you alright?"

Draco opened his eyes and wrapped his hands around Hermione's wrist; he stared into her caramel eyes and saw concern. "I'm alright now"

Hermione felt her cheeks redden with the intensity of his gaze; "Do-do you want to talk about it?" she asked as she lets her hands fall down.

Draco moved his hands and laced their fingers together; "Take a walk with me?"

Hermione nodded; "Okay"

Draco let out a little smile; "Come on, I'll show you the Rose Garden" he said.

oOo

"Are you sure that she's coming home today?" Harry asked as he stood in the middle of his best friend's living room.

Astoria stepped out of Hermione's room with Crookshanks in her arms; "I'm positive, you're the one who read the letter, remember?"

Harry placed his hands on his waist; "Then why is she not here yet?"

Astoria shrugged her shoulders; "It's just noon, maybe she decided to come home in a later time-that's the only explanation I can think off" she replied.

Harry furrowed his brows while in thought.

Astoria walked towards her husband and let out an appeasing smile; "I'm sure she's alright love"

Harry shifted his eyes to Astoria; "Yeah..."

oOo

"You do know that your son will not think twice about hexing us if he sees us, right?"

Narcissa's head snapped to her side; "Lower your voice!" she hissed.

Lucius rolled his eyes; "What are we doing again?"

Narcissa peered above the rose bushes to look for the couple; "We're just checking on them" she replied.

"Spying on them you mean" Lucius corrected.

"Oh hush! We both know you're also dying to know what those two are up to!"

Lucius smirked; "I already know what those two are up to"

"Don't be crass!"

Lucius laughed.

oOo

Hermione's eyes widen as she stares at Draco in disbelief; "I-I don't know what to say Draco..."

Draco turned his head to the side to meet Hermione's eyes; "Can you imagine my reaction?"

Hermione can't help but cringe; "How can someone do that?"

Draco sighed; "I also don't know" he replied. He then paused when a thought hit him; "I think we're meant to be" he said offhandedly.

Hermione threw the blonde man beside her a baffled look; "Huh?"

"We both want to live happily ever after with our best friend's but they just broke our hearts. You're a jaded bride and I'm a jilted groom, we make a perfect match, don't you think?" Draco said in a matter of factly way.

Hermione stared at Draco for a second before giggling.

Draco grinned; "What? Don't tell me you didn't think of it?"

Hermione grinned, clearly amused with Draco's analogy; "You Malfoy-are one of a kind"

"I know I am-I'm a catch" Draco said pompously.

Hermione shook her head; she then turned to Draco and faced him fully; "But seriously, are you okay?"

Draco's smile faltered; he then shifted his gaze to the setting sun and sighed; "I will be" he said truthfully.

Hermione shifted closer to Draco and leaned her head on his shoulder; "I remember a wise man once told me that a sunset is a sign of new beginnings-a promise of a better tomorrow. An assurance that no matter how hard life is at the moment you will eventually get through it" she paused and gently grasped Draco's hand in hers, lacing their fingers together. "You will be okay Draco and I'll be here for you like you've been there for me-we'll take it as it comes."

Draco felt emotions swirl inside his chest like raging storms so he closed his eyes; he leaned his head on Hermione's and tightened his hold on her hand. "Promise?"

Hermione closed her eyes and squeezed Draco's hand; "Promise" she whispered.

oOo

"Aunt Cissy?"

Narcissa kneeled right in front of her private fire place and smiled upon seeing Astoria; "How are you doing sweetheart? It's been awhile"

"We're doing fine-err-I'm sorry if I disturbed you but I just want to know if Hermione already left Maldives? Harry and I received a letter from her a couple of days ago and she told us that she'll be coming home today but we've been at her house a couple of times now and she's not there-we're getting worried"

"Oh dear! I'm so sorry I forgot to tell you! Hermione is here at the Manor" Narcissa replied.

"She's there? Why?" Astoria asked.

Narcissa sat on her hunches to be more comfortable on the carpet; "The portkey's default destination from Maldives is always here at the Manor. She arrived around lunch time so Lucius and I invited her to have lunch with us-to catch up. And then Draco arrived, I think they're still talking in the Rose Garden"

"Your meddling seems to pay off this time Aunt Cissy-I'm impressed"

Narcissa chuckled.

"Oh okay-if you happen to see her please let her know that we're looking for her and tell her to owl us?" Astoria asked.

"Of course sweetheart" Narcissa replied.

"Alright, I'll go now and tell my husband, he's getting restless with worry"

"Tell Harry not to worry, we'll make sure that Hermione reaches her home safe and sound"

"Thanks Aunt Cissy! Say hi to Uncle Luc and Draco for me"

"Okay"

"Bye!"

"Is it me or did I hear Torry's voice?" Lucius asked as he closes the door behind him.

Narcissa hefted herself up and turned towards her husband; "It's her, she's checking on Hermione" she replied. She then shifted to the couch and sat down; "Are they still talking?"

Lucius made his way towards his wife and sat down beside her; "Yes they are but I think Ms. Granger is about ready to go home, I noticed her yawning when I passed them by"

Narcissa raised her brow; "You noticed her yawning when you passed by?"

Lucius averted his gaze and stared at the fire; "Yes, I have very sharp eyes"

Narcissa giggled; "You were spying on them too, admit it!"

"I'm not!"

Narcissa bumped her shoulder with her husband's; "I won't look down on you-just admit it"

Lucius pursed his lips; "Fine. I was spying-only because I want to know what they're talking about" he admitted grudgingly.

"And pray tell, what are they talking about?"

Lucius grinned; "Sunsets"

Narcissa threw Lucius a baffled look; "Sunsets?"

"New beginnings"

Narcissa leaned back on the couch and can't help but smile a little; "My cherries actually worked"

Lucius laughed.

oOo

"You're sleepy, admit it" Draco said.

Hermione sat straighter and blinked her eyes a couple of times; "I am, the time zone difference is getting to me" she admitted.

Draco stood from his perch and offered his hand; "Let's take you home then" he said.

Hermione's stared at Draco's hand dubiously; "You're-you're taking me home?"

Draco nodded and wiggled his hand; "I am" he affirmed.

Hermione accepted his hand let Draco pull her up from her perch; "Why?"

Draco cocked his head to the side; "Because I want to"

"Okay?"

Draco tugged on Hermione's hand and pulled her closer; he gazed into her eyes. "I'm serious you know..."

Hermione sucked in a breath; "Serious about what?"

Draco snaked his hands around Hermione's waist and smiled; "About us, I want us to date" he said.

Hermione bit her bottom lip to keep herself from smiling like a loon; "Really?"

"I want to see where this goes and before those wheels begin turning inside your pretty head, I want one thing to be clear."

"What?"

Draco gazed into Hermione's eyes with full seriousness; "You are not a rebound. Iris showing up out of the blue has nothing to do with it. I already made up my mind when I left Maldives and my feelings haven't changed and-"

Hermione leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on Draco's lips, cutting him off effectively. She pulled her face away before smiling brightly; "You talk too much Malfoy"

Draco blinked a couple of times, clearly in daze with what just happened.

Hermione giggled and took step back; she trailed her hands down to Draco's hands and tugged on it. "Take me home Malfoy, I'm tired"

Draco felt a smile creep towards his lips and before he knows it, he's grinning widely. "You Granger-are full of surprises, minx" he said.

Hermione turned her face towards Draco and winked sassily.

oOo

Chapter 17: You give me something
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Chapter Seventeen: You give me something

"You give me something that makes me scared alright. This could be nothing but I'm willing to give it a try. Please give me something because someday I might call you from my heart..." You give me something by James Morrison

oOo

It had been a week since Hermione came home from her vacation and everything seems to be picking up; she's able to go back to work and fell back to her old routine effortlessly. It hasn't been an easy week though; ever since Ron found out that she's back, he's been hounding her with numerous owls and even tried apparating directly into her house, much to Hermione's annoyance. So, with the help of Harry they re-established her wards to permanently bar him off her property which send the red head into frenzy. Draco on the other hand had been perfect; they've been seeing each other almost every day since she came back from Maldives. They're budding relationship has been kept under tight wraps because they both wanted to stay inside the romance bubble they surrounded themselves when they both decided to pursue each other. They didn't want to attract unnecessary attention to the both of them because the rumours about Ron's infidelity have just died down and they didn't need another breaking news to come between them.

"I was on my way to your boss' office when I saw this man lurking along the hallways, I think he's looking for you though"

Hermione tore her eyes away from the parchment she's reading and was surprised to see Harry standing beside Draco; "What are you doing here?" she asked in disbelief.

Draco smiled sheepishly; "I was summoned to do Physicals for the new recruits and I couldn't resist checking on you."

Hermione leaned back on her chair; "Really?" she asked with a small smile.

Draco smiled back; "Really"

Harry rolled his eyes before turning around; "You guys are making me sick, I'll leave you two alone" he said before walking towards the door and closing it behind him.

Draco walked towards Hermione and sat on top of her desk, facing her fully; he then crossed his arms on top of his chest and smirked. "I totally made that up, I wasn't needed here today-I just wanted to see you"

Hermione chuckled; she then stood up from her perch and stood right in front of Draco; "Slytherin, through and through" she said.

Draco pulled his arms away from his chest and wrapped it around Hermione's waist, pulling her closer; "I missed you" he said.

Hermione smiled affectionately while wrapping her arms around his neck; "But we just had dinner last night"

"But that was last night, today is a different day" Draco quipped.

"You have a point" Hermione said thoughtfully.

Draco tightened his arms around her waist and planted a soft kiss on Hermione's forehead; "How's your day so far?"

Hermione closed her eyes; "It's hectic but I'm thriving. How about you?" she asked.

"Pretty much the same"

Hermione opened her eyes and tilted her face; "Are we still on for tonight? Astoria is excited about having us for dinner"

Draco smiled; "I wouldn't miss it for the world" he replied. He then paused and pulled his arms away; "I almost forgot"

"Forgot what?" Hermione asked.

Draco stuffed his hand inside his pocket and plucked a single white button; he placed it on top of his open palm and smiled. "I got you something"

Hermione shifted her eyes on Draco's palm and blinked a couple of times; "You got me a button?" she asked while pulling away.

"Blow" Draco instructed.

Hermione raised her brow; "Blow?"

Draco lifted his hand and levelled it closer to Hermione's lips; "Stop asking too much question and just blow" he said.

Hermione stared at Draco for a couple of seconds before leaning forward; she fixed her eyes on the button and blew. She felt her breath hitch in her throat as the button started changing before her eyes and before she knows it, she's looking at a single pink tulip. She shifted her eyes to meet Draco's and just stared at him silently.

Draco blinked a couple of times; "Don't you like it?" he asked.

Hermione shifted her eyes to the tulip; "No, I like it...it's just that-this is the first time someone gave me flowers" she admitted.

"I'm glad then" Draco said.

Hermione lifted her gaze and stared at Draco perplexedly.

Draco gently lifted Hermione's hand and wrapped it around the stem; "I'm glad because this one of our firsts, this is also the first time I gave someone flowers."

Hermione's eyes widen; "You mean you never gave her flowers?" she asked.

Draco shook his head; "Nope"

"I don't know if I should be glad or sad" Hermione said.

Draco cocked his head to the side; "Why is that?"

"Ron has been the same with me, he never gave me a single flower-he never really bought me anything come to think of it and to think I'm about to marry him" Hermione said.

Draco pursed his lips; "Are you comparing me to that scumbag?"

Hermione shifted the tulip to her nose and inhaled deeply; "Nope, you're much better" she paused before smiling widely. "Way much better"

Draco smirked; "Glad to know you've noticed" he said.

Hermione rolled her eyes.

oOo

"Weasley, we need to talk"

Ron turned around and saw Millicent standing by the door frame; "What are you doing here? We have nothing to talk about" he said with a scowl.

Millicent crossed her arms on top of her chest; "I beg to disagree, we have a lot to talk about" she said snidely.

Ron eyed Millicent for a couple of minutes, when he didn't see any sign of her conceding, he sighed; "We can't talk here, I'll go to your place tonight, we'll talk there"

"Fine. But you're not getting lucky if that's what you're thinking. We're only talking and that's it, do you get me?"

Ron rolled his eyes; "As if I'd touch you again" he murmured to himself.

Millicent narrowed her eyes; "Did you say something?"

"No I didn't, can you please leave?" Ron said forcefully.

Millicent didn't need to be told twice; she spun on her heels and began sauntering away.

"I'm really the King of good choices" Ron said sarcastically. "Bloody hell"

oOo

"Aren't you needed in St. Mungos?" Hermione asked before taking a bite of her sandwich.

Draco swallowed his food before replying; "They have more than enough Healer's there, I'm quite sure they won't miss me."

Hermione smirked; "But you're the best, you said so yourself" she teased.

Draco laughed; "They have to settle for second best for now. The best Healer in town is currently having lunch with a beautiful woman who he happens to like so much."

Hermione's cheeks started to flush so she averted her gaze, clearly speechless with Draco's words.

"You're even more beautiful when you blush"

"Stop it! You're embarrassing me!" Hermione squeaked.

Draco smiled; "I'm just stating a fact. You are beautiful and I won't stop reminding you that, you deserve to hear it."

Hermione lifted her gaze and met Draco's eyes; "Thank you" she said.

"You're welcome" Draco replied. "So...what time shall I pick you up tonight?"

"That won't be necessary, I'll apparate directly to Harry's and I'll just meet you there" Hermione said before taking a sip of her pumpkin juice.

"But I want to pick you up" Draco whined.

Hermione can't help but smile; "You are aware that you sound like a very clingy teenage girl, right?"

"Women. They complain when you don't give them attention yet they complain too if you give them so much" Draco said dramatically while rolling his eyes.

Hermione giggled.

Draco grabbed his drink and took a sip; "So, I'll just see you there, right? You're not secretly harbouring ill feelings towards me if I give into your wishes?"

"Of course not, I'm not like that-I always say what I mean, no wishy-washy for me."

Draco grinned; "Glad to know" he said.

oOo

The day progressed slower than what Hermione preferred; she had already breezed through all the latest cases and now she's just waiting for the clock to strike 5. She leaned forward and braised her arms on top of her desk; she bowed her head and hid her face in the crook of her arms. "I still have 15 minutes, might as well take a power nap" she thought.

"Sleeping while working now? Malfoy is a bad influence"

Hermione groaned but kept her head down; "Do you ever work?"

Harry chuckled as he closes the door behind him; he then made his way towards Hermione's desk and sat on the chair right in front of it. "I'm already done for the day, I just don't want to hang out inside my office and stare at Ron's stupid face while I wait for the clock to strike 5"

Hermione lifted her face and stared at Harry; "You're still not talking to him?"

Harry made a face of distaste; "Why would I?"

Hermione sighed; "He's still your best friend Harry"

Harry rolled his eyes; "Don't get started with me on this again Hermione. I already told you, he lost that title the moment he decided to cheat on you."

"But-"

"No buts, Hermione" Harry said firmly. He then puffed out his chest and raised his chin haughtily; "I'm a grown man and I make my own decisions, you cannot bully me to be friends with someone I don't want to be friends with."

Hermione can't help but chuckle at her best friend's antics; she leaned back on her chair and raised her hands in mock surrender. "Fine."

Harry leaned back on his chair and threw Hermione a look; "Never in my wildest dream did I imagine that you and Malfoy, will end up together"

Hermione raised her brow; "Who told you that we're together?"

"You aren't?" Harry asked confusedly.

Hermione slowly shook her head; "No"

Harry furrowed his brows and cleared his throat; "Then what are you?"

Hermione smirked; "Aren't you just dying to know" she teased.

"Of course I want to know so I can run a quick background check on him" Harry replied nonchalantly.

Hermione's eyes widen; "Harry Potter! You wouldn't dare!" she said, clearly aghast.

"Fine, I'll just pull out his existing files then"

"You are not doing such thing!" Hermione shrieked.

"I was just messing with you-he's on the clear" Harry said.

Hermione stared at Harry for a couple of seconds before understanding dawned on her; "Oh Merlin, you already checked didn't you?! I can't believe you!"

Harry chuckled.

"How could you?!"

Harry rolled his eyes; "I didn't do anything, relax. I didn't have to check in the first place, he's working for M.L.E, remember?"

Hermione narrowed her eyes; "You didn't do anything? Really?"

"I promise" Harry said.

Hermione leaned back on her chair as she let out a relieved sigh; "Good"

"That's a pretty flower you got there, I didn't see that this morning"

Hermione smiled shyly; "Draco gave that to me..." she trailed off, her cheeks flushing.

Harry eyed the flower with amusement; "I didn't know that he's the flower type of a bloke"

"He's not-he told me that this is the first time he actually gave one" Hermione said.

Harry shifted his eyes back to his best friend; "You really like him?"

Hermione bit her bottom lip before nodding.

"Are you happy?" Harry asked.

"Yes"

Harry smiled; "Then that's all that matters" he replied.

"Thank you..." Hermione said sincerely.

Harry thumped his hands on his thighs before standing up; "You're welcome, well-it's almost 5, I better get back. I'll see you later?" he asked.

"7 right?"

"Yep"

"I'll be there, see you later"

oOo

"Are my eyes deceiving me or are you really packing up for the day?"

Draco shrugged off his healer robes and hung it at the back of his chair; "You already have four eyes, I doubt that" he teased.

Anthony leaned sideways on the door frame; "You're not on call tonight?"

Draco chuckled; "I'm not and I'm out tomorrow" he said.

Anthony grinned; "You're taking a day off? What in Merlin's name happened to you?"

Draco shook his head as he plucks his wand from his desk; "Something good?" he replied.

Anthony's grin widens; "It's more than good, it's bloody good."

Draco laughed; "It is, why are you still here? Aren't you supposed to be out? Ginny will be leaving in a few days?" he asked.

Anthony crossed his arms on top of his chest; "I'm on my way out but I decided to swing by to confirm if what I heard was true" he said. "And yes, Ginny is leaving on Wednesday"

"Well, now that you've seen that it's true, you can now go and spend time with the love of your life"

Anthony rolled his eyes before pulling away from his perch; "If you want to get rid of me you can just say so" he said.

Draco walked towards the door and began pushing his friend out of his office; "Don't be too touchy now Goldstein," he teased.

Anthony laughed.

oOo

"Why didn't you just tell him when you went to the Ministry? It could've saved you time" Pansy said with pursed lips.

Millicent sighed as she leans back on the couch; "It's not that easy Pans" she said.

"It is, if you want it to be" Pansy said.

Millicent rolled her eyes.

"Did you tell him?" Theo asked as he enters the sitting room.

Millicent turned her gaze towards her friend; "Not yet, we'll talk tonight."

Theo wrinkled his nose; "You went to the Ministry today right? Why didn't you just tell him?"

"Not you too" Millicent groaned, clearly frustrated with her friend's reaction.

Theo sat beside his girlfriend and placed his arm at the back of couch; "He's going to your place then?" he asked.

"Yes,"

Pansy narrowed her eyes suspiciously; "You're not thinking about jumping his bones again, right? Because if you are I swear to Merlin I'll hex your ass, pregnant or not!" she warned.

Millicent threw her friend an indignant look; "Of course not!"

Pansy eyed Millicent for a couple of seconds before nodding; "Good, I'm just making sure. You've already gone through enough shit with him and sleeping with him again will complicate it even more"

"Don't you think I know that?" Millicent asked sarcastically.

Pansy shrugged her shoulders; "You're pregnant hormones might overpower your brain."

Millicent scoffed; "The only way he's getting lucky tonight is if I don't decide to castrate him on the spot."

Theo chuckled; "Keep that attitude Mill, you're almost back on track" he teased.

Millicent can't but smile at Theo's remark.

oOo

Harry waited for the green flames to subside before stepping out of their fire place; he pointed his wand on his clothes and murmured a quick cleaning spell. He then walked along the living room as he took his cloak off; "Torry?" he called out.

"In the kitchen!"

Harry threw his cloak on top of the loveseat and made his way towards the kitchen; he stopped by the door and leaned on the door frame. "Everything smells amazing here love, are you baking?"

Astoria turned around and smiled; "I am" she said.

Harry raised his brow; "But you don't know how to bake" he said.

Astoria placed her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes; "I know how to cook so that means I can bake too"

Harry shifted his eyes to their muggle oven; "It does smell good so I guess...everything is fine" he said. "What are you making anyway?"

"Strawberry cheesecake, that's Draco's favourite" Astoria replied. She then grabbed a knife and began chopping off the strawberries into pieces; "Did you remind Mione to be here by 7?"

"I did, she'll be here" Harry replied.

Astoria nodded; "Okay" she replied. She then paused and lifted her gaze towards Harry; "Can you rouse Candice from her nap and bathe her perhaps?"

"Of course" Harry replied. He then pulled away from his perch and made his way towards his wife; he stood behind her and placed his hands on her hips.

"What are you doing?" Astoria asked while leaning back.

Harry wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer to his chest; he leaned forward and placed a kiss on his wife's neck. "I'm just giving my wife a proper greeting" he said.

Astoria angled her head to the side and closed her eyes; "You keep doing that and we won't have dessert tonight"

Harry trailed his lips towards her jaw; "You can be my dessert-a very scrumptious dessert" he said huskily.

Astoria's eyes snapped open as a giggle escaped her lips; "I bet you'd want that right?"

"Uhummmnnn"

"Tell you what, if you promise to be a good boy tonight, you'll get your dessert...with whip cream on top" Astoria whispered sultrily.

Harry pulled his face away and took a step back; he rested his forehead on his wife's shoulder before groaning. "You're killing me"

Astoria turned her face to the side and planted a kiss on her husband's head; "Go now before I change my mind" she said.

Harry didn't need to be told twice; he was out of the room in a flash.

Astoria shook her head and resumed cutting the berries.

oOo

Hermione caught her bearing as she appeared right in front of her best friend's house; "I hate apparating" she murmured to herself. She then checked herself and started straightening the creases on her dress; once she's satisfied with her appearance, she made her way towards the door and knocked.

The door opened, revealing a very amused Harry; "You are aware that you can apparate inside, right?" he asked.

Hermione smiled; "I know but I want to use your front door for a change" she replied cheekily.

Harry chuckled; he then opened the door wider and stepped aside; "Come on in then," he said.

Hermione stepped inside and began checking her surroundings.

Harry closed the door behind them; "Malfoy is in the kitchen helping my wife with her cheesecake" he said, answering Hermione's unvoiced question.

Hermione turned around and threw Harry a confused look; "She made it herself?" she asked.

Harry nodded; "She did" he said somewhat anxiously.

Hermione giggled; "Your wife can cook, I'm sure the cheesecake is fine-she makes fabulous desserts"

Harry cracked a smile; "Well, you have to eat it regardless if it's fine or not. She made it especially for you guys."

"I can deal with it" Hermione replied. "Where's our little munchkin by the way?"

Harry pointed towards the kitchen; "She's there as well, I can't seem to pry her off Malfoy and-"

"Auntie Hermy!"

Hermione turned her head to side and saw her god daughter running towards her in full speed; she automatically crouched down and opened her arms. It didn't take long for the little girl to reach her; she pulled her tiny frame into her arms and scooped her from the floor. "I've missed you munchkin, give Aunt Hermy a kiss"

Candice wrapped her arms around Hermione's neck before planting a sloppy kiss on her cheek; "I miss you too" she said before giggling.

Hermione smiled widely; "You're really a darling" she said affectionately before planting a kiss on the little girl's chubby cheek, making Candice giggle.

"Are you excited to see lover boy or do you want to hang out with your handsome best friend first?"

Hermione rolled her eyes; "That's a trick question so just lead the way" she said.

"You're too smart for your own good" Harry said before leading them towards the living room.

oOo

"Where do you think you're going?" Astoria asked.

Draco smirked while wiping his hands with a dish rag; "Hermione's here" he replied.

Astoria raised her brow; "I heard her but we're not done here yet" she said while pointing towards the half decorated cheesecake.

"But I'm a guest, shouldn't I be relaxing while I wait for dinner?" Draco asked.

"You are a guest but I consider you as my family too, so-you're helping me finish decorating this cake, it's your idea" Astoria said.

"But-"

"Not buts!" Astoria said, cutting Draco's rants. "Besides, you've already spent 2 hours with her this afternoon, a couple of minutes won't kill you"

Draco raised his brow; "Your husband is a gossip-er" he said. He then plopped back on the stool and pulled the cake towards him; "Fine."

Astoria laughed.

oOo

Millicent was sitting on her couch when she noticed the flames on the hearth turn green; she stood from her perch and crossed her arms on top of her chest. "About bloody time"

Ron stepped out of the flames and dusted of the soot from his coat.

"Watch the carpet" Millicent snapped.

Ron rolled his eyes; he stepped away from the fire place but kept his distance. "What do you want to talk about?"

Millicent sat back down and leaned back on the couch; "You might want to sit down" she said.

Ron frowned; "I don't have any plans of staying long so just say what you want to say"

Millicent narrowed her eyes; "Drop the attitude, if there's someone who should be bloody pissed, it should be me and not you" she spat.

"What do you want to talk about?" Ron repeated his earlier question.

Millicent stared at Ron for a couple of seconds; "I'm pregnant and you're the father" she said bluntly.

Ron felt all the blood drain from his face as his eyes widen in shock.

oOo

"You really don't have to that Mione, you're our guest" Astoria said while watching her friend feed her daughter.

Hermione turned her gaze to Astoria and smiled; "It's okay, I missed doing this" she said.

Astoria can't help but smile at the brunette; "You really like kids, huh?" she asked.

Hermione shifted her eyes back to Candice and wiped her lips with a napkin; "Yep, especially if the kid is as cute as this little munchkin" she said fondly.

Astoria shifted her eyes to Draco and smirked; "You'd make a good mother someday" she said while eyeing the blonde man meaningfully.

Draco grabbed his glass from the table and took a sip, not giving Astoria a chance to ask him anything.

Harry noticed Draco's reaction and he can't help but be amused; he then turned his attention to his wife and smiled. "She has to find a husband first, love"

"I'm quite sure that won't be a problem" Astoria said suggestively.

"Stop talking like I'm not here" Hermione said, her cheeks starting to turn red.

"So-Malfoy, were you able to finish the physicals for the new recruits?" Harry asked.

"Yes I did" Draco lied.

Harry threw him an amused look; "Really?"

Draco cleared his throat; "Really"

"Ginny is leaving on Wednesday, have you talked to her?" Hermione asked, obviously changing the topic.

"We've been in contact but I'm planning on inviting her over before she leaves" Harry replied.

Hermione nodded; "That's a good idea. I only saw her once since I came back. Do you mind if I tag along with you guys?" she asked.

"Only if you promise to bring those little red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting" Harry said with a large grin.

Hermione laughed; "Fine, I'll make them"

"So, you're really good in baking?" Draco asked while eyeing Hermione intently.

Hermione met Draco's eyes and smiled bashfully; "I guess..."

Astoria smirked; "Have you tried her cupcakes Draco dear?" she asked.

Draco turned towards Astoria and nodded; "Yes, she baked a dozen when we're in Maldives, it was heavenly" he said with a large grin.

"What did she make?" Harry asked curiously.

"I don't know what it's called but it has chocolate ganache in the middle, I ate almost all of it" Draco replied.

Harry pursed his lips before turning towards his best friend; "How come Malfoy get's a cupcake with chocolate ganache and I only get the red velvet ones? I've been your best friend for 10 years, it's not fair" he complained.

Hermione chuckled; "I thought red velvets are your favourite?"

"I didn't know you can put chocolate in the middle!"

"Fine. I'll make you a dozen" Hermione said.

Harry grinned happily; "Thank you" he replied.

Astoria shook her head at her husband's antics; she then turned her gaze towards her little girl and saw her droopy eyes. "I think someone is sleepy"

Hermione shifted Candice on her lap and leaned forward; "Are you sleepy munchkin?" she asked.

Candice nodded.

Astoria stood up from her perch and began walking towards Hermione; "I'll take her upstairs and put her down, why don't you guys retire to the living room and I'll tell Fifi to bring coffee there" she suggested.

Hermione planted a soft kiss on her god daughter's cheek; "Good night baby girl" she cooed.

"Goo'nyt Aunt Hermy" Candice replied.

Astoria gently plucked her daughter from Hermione's lap and wrapped her arms securely around her.

Draco stood from his perch and made his way towards Astoria; he gently leaned forward and planted a kiss on the toddler's cheek. "Good night love bug"

"Goo'nyt Uncle Dwake" Candice said before burying her face into the crook of her mother's neck.

Astoria began rubbing her baby girl's back before turning towards Harry; "Help me put her down?"

Harry stood up from his perch and placed napkin on the table; "Of course" he replied. He then shifted his eyes to Hermione; "We'll be back, just give us a couple of minutes" he said.

Hermione nodded; "Go"

Astoria waited for Harry to fell into step with her before walking away.

Draco waited for the couple to step out of the dining hall before turning his gaze to Hermione; "Torry is right, you'd make a good mother someday" he said.

Hermione turned towards Draco; "Harry is right, I need to find a husband first"

Draco smiled teasingly; "Well...I've been a groom once, you know?" he said while wiggling his brows suggestively.

Hermione smirked sassily; "Careful Malfoy, I might think that you're proposing"

Draco winked; "Not yet Granger but keep your hopes up"

Hermione felt her heart skip a beat so she just smiled as a response.

oOo

"Will you stop pacing like a bloody moron? You're making me dizzy!" Millicent said while rubbing her temples.

Ron paused and turned towards Millicent; "That can't be my kid, there must be a mistake!"

Millicent glared at Ron; "Let's get one thing straight here Weasley, I don't sleep around."

Ron braised his hands on his hips; "Are you keeping it?"

"Of course I'm keeping it! I'm not killing my child just because his/her father is a spineless jellyfish! I maybe a bitch but I'm not a murderer"

Ron closed his eyes tightly as he tilted his head upwards; "What do you want me to do then?"

Millicent leaned back and crossed her legs; "I'm not marrying you, that's for sure."

Ron automatically levelled his head and stared at Millicent in surprise; "Y—you're not demanding marriage?"

Millicent wrinkled her nose in distaste; "Why would I marry someone like you? Are you insane?"

"Then what do you want?"

"Paternity acknowledgement" Millicent said casually.

Ron swallowed hard; "That's all-you just want me to acknowledge the kid?"

"Yes, you'll be at my beck and call while I'm carrying your spawn"

Ron thought for a moment; "Okay-I can do that, I guess" he said with a relived sigh.

Millicent smiled slyly; "Good" she replied. "Fun starts now, I'll make sure you regret the day you screwed me over Weasley, payback is a bitch and I'll be enjoying every minute of it" she thought snidely.

oOo

Hermione and Draco stayed at Potter Mansion for another hour before they both called it a night; they are now cuddled up on a couch inside Hermione's house, watching a movie.

Draco pulled Hermione closer to his side and began playing with some loose curls on her shoulder; "I've been thinking..." he trailed off.

"Thinking about what?" Hermione asked.

"Thinking about going public"

Hermione pulled her face away to stare at Draco; "You want to go public?"

Draco turned his face towards Hermione and met her eyes; "Yes, I want people to know that we're dating" he said.

Hermione bit her bottom lip as she considers Draco's suggestion.

"I've been thinking about it lately and the more I think about it, the more I want to do it" Draco said honestly. He shifted on his seat and faced Hermione fully; "I want to take you out on a date without sneaking around" he said. He then gently grasped her hand in his; "I want to be able to hold your hand anytime I want to" he said. He lifted her hand to his lips and planted a kiss at the back; "I want to be able to kiss you whenever the feeling strikes" he said.

Hermione squeezed Draco's hand and threw him a teasing smile; "Who would've thought that you have a romantic bone in your body, huh?"

"You haven't seen anything yet Granger" Draco said cheekily.

Hermione chuckled; she then stared into Draco's eyes with full seriousness; "You really want to do this?"

Draco shifted closer and met Hermione's eyes with the same intensity; "I want this."

Hermione blinked a couple of times before nodding her head; "Okay-we'll go public" she said.

Draco smiled before leaning forward and planting a chaste kiss on Hermione's lips; "Does this mean that I can finally call you my girlfriend?"

Hermione can't help but smile; "You haven't even asked me yet,"

Draco sat straighter and grasped both of her hands in his; "Hermione Jean Granger, will you be my girlfriend?"

Hermione sighed dramatically; "I guess I really don't have a choice now-fine, I'll be your girlfriend"

Draco laughed before tugging Hermione's hands and hefting her into his lap; "Cheeky witch! Now give your new boyfriend a proper kiss" he said.

Hermione shifted on Draco's lap to straddle him fully; she then wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned her forehead on his. "Promise me one thing?"

Draco wrapped his arms around her waist and met her eyes; "What?" he whispered.

"I'm willing to give this relationship a real try but please, don't hurt me? I don't think I can withstand another heart break..."

Draco's hold tightens; "I promise you that I won't. Can you promise me one thing as well?"

Hermione nodded; "What?"

"That you'll be honest with me all the time-that you'll tell me if my grip is too tight? I don't want you disappearing on me..."

Hermione smiled; "I promise. I'll even hex you if you don't listen and I'll-"

Draco didn't let Hermione finish; he leaned forward and pecked her on the lips. "You talk too much Granger, let's just make out-shall we? I want to make out with my-"

Hermione captured Draco's lips with hers and began kissing him like her life depends on it.

oOo

Chapter 18: Best thing I never had
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Chapter eighteen: Best thing I never had

"I used to want you so bad, I'm so through with that, 'cause honestly you turn out to be the best thing I never had and I'll always be the best thing you never had..." Best thing I never had by Beyonce

oOo

It's only been two days since Hermione and Draco decided to go public with their relationship and they've already made front page; it was not intentional though, they were just having dinner at some secluded restaurant in Diagon Alley when a reporter from the Daily Prophet spotted them. The couple didn't even notice their pictures being taken, so when they both saw the Sunday edition of the Prophet, they were both shell shocked. So now, here they are, standing inside Hermione's sitting room on a Monday morning, deciding on how they will face the world after the media frenzy.

"Are you sure about this? You really don't have to take me to work, it's not as if I can't go there alone..." Hermione asked nervously.

Draco smiled; "I'm 100% sure" he affirmed.

Hermione nodded; she then took a deep breath and squared her shoulders; "Let's go, I don't want to be late."

Draco can't help but chuckle upon noticing his girlfriend's uptight demeanor; "Loosen up love, you're just going to work not going into a war."

Hermione laughed nervously; "I know, it's just a little bit un-nerving"

Draco leaned forward and planted a kiss on Hermione's forehead; "Relax, it will be alright" he said.

"Okay"

Draco pulled Hermione to his chest and wrapped his arms securely on her waist; "Time to face the music love,"

"Apparate away" Hermione said.

oOo

Leila Brown barged inside her daughter's room unannounced and stood beside her bed; she placed her hands on her hips and stared at her daughter disapprovingly. "Parvati fire called, she wants to know if you're coming in today"

Lavender pulled the duvet over her head; "Tell her that I'm not feeling well"

Leila rolled her eyes; she then shifted closer to the bed and yanked the blanket in one swift movement.

"What are you doing?!" Lavender yelped.

Leila threw the blanket at the foot of the bed before turning her gaze back to her daughter; "You've been sulking the whole weekend, get up and just do something" she said sternly.

Lavender sat up from her bed and glared at her mother; "I'm not sulking!"

Leila placed her hands back to her hips; "You are and it's not helping your case at all"

"I don't know what you're talking about" Lavender huffed irritably.

Leila threw her daughter an unimpressed look; "Have you read the Daily Prophet?"

"No"

"You should, there are some interesting news that you might want to see."

Lavender rolled her eyes; "Just tell me what you read" she said petulantly.

Leila let out a sly smile; "Your biggest roadblock just eliminated herself voluntarily"

"What do you mean?" Lavender asked, her eyes widening with curiosity.

Leila flicked her wand; "Accio Daily Prophet" she said. She caught the zooming news paper with her hand and threw it at her daughter's lap; "Read" she ordered.

Lavender pulled the paper from her lap and unfolded it; she stared at the front page and almost instantly, her eyes grew wider. "Hermione is with Malfoy?"

"Yes."

Lavender lowered the paper on her lap; "I didn't expect that"

Leila spun on her heels and began walking towards the door; "It's time to contact the Weasley's again, I believe another tea party is due" she said.

oOo

"That wasn't so bad" Draco said as he steps into Hermione's office.

Hermione shrugs off her coat; "They're like blood hounds sniffing at our feet, I can't believe they were allowed to step foot in the Atrium when they have no business being there"

Draco closed the door behind them; "They also have Media rights, just like in the Muggle world"

Hermione moved towards her desk and placed her coat at the back of her chair; she then turned towards her beau and threw him an amused look. "How did you know that?"

Draco smirked; "How many times to I have to remind you that I'm Muggle-ized"

Hermione snorted; "Muggle-ized?"

Draco walked towards Hermione and stood right in front of her; he backed her up against her desk and caged her in by placing his hands on each side. "Yep, Muggle-ized"

Hermione felt her breath hitch in her throat with Draco's proximity; "Aren't you supposed to be at work?" she asked shakily.

Draco licked his lips; "I still have 5 minutes" he replied huskily.

Hermione's eyes instantly shifted to Draco's lips; she opened her mouth to respond but no words seem to escape her.

"Can I kiss my girlfriend goodbye?" Draco asked.

Hermione licked her lips before meeting Draco's eyes; "If you must..." she breathed out.

Draco didn't need to be told twice, he bridged the gap between them and captured Hermione's lips.

Hermione snaked her arms around Draco's neck as she smiles between the kiss.

"Hermione Granger you have some explaining to do!"

Hermione pushed Draco away and hastily turned around; she felt her cheeks grew bright red as she spotted a familiar red head standing by the door. "Ginny! I didn't even hear you come in!"

"You should be in Slytherin, you're good in sneaking up on people" Draco remarked, his voice full of amusement.

Ginny stared at Draco; "I'll take that as a compliment" she said cheekily. She then closed the door behind her and began walking towards Hermione's desk; "Why don't you get your arse to St. Mungos Draco, you only have 2 minutes left before your shift"

Draco rolled his eyes; "I know" he said. He then turned towards Hermione and planted a kiss on her forehead; "I better get going then, I'll see you later?" he asked.

Hermione nodded; "Yes" she replied.

Draco took a step back and plucked his wand from his back pocket; he turned his gaze towards Ginny and fixed her with a look. "Don't harass my girlfriend too much, I don't want her running for the hills"

Ginny rolled her eyes; "She's my best friend before she became your girlfriend, now scoot!" she said before sitting down on one of the chairs.

Draco chuckled; "Fine" he said. He then turned his face back to Hermione and winked; "See you later love," he said before apparating away.

Hermione took a deep calming breath before turning around; she let out a bashful smile at her friend before taking her seat. "I-err, sorry about that"

Ginny leaned back on her chair and crossed her legs; "You and Malfoy huh? Didn't see that coming"

"Yeah..." Hermione replied nervously. She then cleared her throat and met Ginny's eyes; "Are-are you okay with it?" she asked.

Ginny stared at Hermione seriously; "Does he make you happy?"

"He does..." Hermione replied.

Ginny cracked a large smile; "Then I'm okay with it, that's all that matters to me actually" she said.

Hermione let out the breath that she didn't know she's holding; "Thank you"

"You deserve to be happy Mione, especially, after everything that my-err-stupid brother did" Ginny said softly.

Hermione let out a small smile; "The past is the past, whatever happened between the two of us brought me to Draco so I can't say that it was all for naught" she said.

"I can't believe I'm saying this but Malfoy is good for you" Ginny breathed out, clearly in awe.

Hermione stared at Ginny for a couple of seconds before giggling.

oOo

"Look what the kneazle dragged in!" Theo said jovially.

Draco blinked a couple of times before letting out a loud groan; "What are you guys doing here? It's too early for this"

Blaise leaned back on the chair and smirked; "You and Granger eh? I can't say I didn't see that coming" he said while wiggling his brows.

Draco closed the door behind him and made his way towards his desk; "Are you guys here to interrogate me? Need I remind you that I actually need to work" he said.

"We wouldn't take much of your work time if you would just spill the beans" Theo suggested.

Draco pulled his chair and plopped down; "And why would I do that?" he asked.

"Because we're your mates" Blaise said.

Draco leaned back on his chair; "I don't kiss and tell, sorry."

"They already kissed" Theo concluded with a grin.

"It's an expression!" Draco said.

Blaise nodded in agreement; "Definitely kissed"

"Get out of my office!" Draco barked out.

Theo and Blaise shared a look before bursting out in laughter.

oOo

"Pansy!? Where are you?!" Millicent yelled loudly as she steps out of the fireplace.

"Closet!"

Millicent hastily made her way towards her friend's walk in closet and stood by the door frame; she lifted the news paper in her hand and wiggled it. "Did you know?"

Pansy met Millicent's eyes through the vanity mirror as she lathers her face with her moisturizing potion; "Know what?" she asked.

"Draco is dating Granger!"

"Yeah, I've read that" Pansy replied nonchalantly.

Millicent threw her best friend a scandalous look; "It's Mudblood Granger!"

Pansy raised her brow; "I'm aware" she replied.

"And you're okay about it?" Millicent asked, clearly aghast.

Pansy shrugged her shoulders; "Draco is old enough to date who he wants to date, it's not my place to say anything."

"But its Granger!"

Pansy turned from her seat and faced her friend; "Aren't you supposed to be elated?"

Millicent wrinkled her nose; "Elated? Why on earth should I be elated?"

Pansy smirked; "The golden trio is officially disbanded-you can wring Weasley's neck without worrying about his friend's saving his stupid arse"

Millicent thought about Pansy's words; "You actually have a good point there"

Pansy spun around to face her vanity again; "Don't you think now is the perfect time to let the Weasley's know that you're carrying their son's spawn?"

Millicent leaned sideways on the door frame, her lips curling up into a devious smile; "Bloody genius"

Pansy winked; "I know right?"

oOo

"Did you know about Hermione and Malfoy?"

Harry closed the door behind him and ignored Ron's question; he walked towards his desk and sat down on his chair.

Ron's face turned an angry shade of red; "I'm asking you a bloody question so answer me!" he bellowed.

Harry threw the red head a dark look; "I don't answer to anyone, especially to a philandering asshole like you" he said through gritted teeth.

Ron shot up from his chair; "If you don't answer me then I'll ask her myself!" he said as he strode towards the door.

Harry shot up from his chair; "Sit in your bloody chair Weasley or I'll make you" he warned.

Ron scoffed; "You don't scare me" he said.

Harry plucked his wand from his pocket and pointed at his former best friend; he flicked his wrist and muttered a spell lowly.

Ron's breath was caught in his throat as he felt himself being thrown backwards, his arse landing on the floor next to his desk.

Harry lowered his wand; "I'm telling you this only once so listen to me carefully, stay away from Hermione or I won't hesitate in hexing your stupid arse."

Ron grasped his desk and hefted himself up; "Just because you're the boy who lived doesn't mean you can get away from everything! I'm reporting this to Shacklebolt!"

"Do whatever you want, I don't give a damn" Harry spat. He then shifted away from his desk and strode towards the door; he yanked it open and stepped out, slamming it loudly behind him.

Ron dragged the chair towards him and plopped down; he braised his elbows on top of his thighs and buried his face into his palms. "Bloody buggering hell"

oOo

Molly was drinking her morning tea when she heard a faint knock on their front door; she stood up from her perch and made her way towards it. She pulled it open and stared at her unfamiliar visitor; "How may I help you?" she asked politely.

"Good Morning, I'm looking for Ronald?"

Molly pulled the door wider; "Ronald is not here, I believe he's at work" she replied.

"Oh..." Millicent lowered her gaze, making sure to let disappointment seep through her voice.

Molly stared at the young witch with concern; "I'm sorry dear, are you one of his friends? Is something the matter?"

"Bingo! Show time" Millicent thought triumphantly. She purposely let her shoulder sag as she forced her eyes to tear up; she let her chin wobble for effect before shifting her gaze to Molly. "My name is Millicent Bullstrode and I-I actually don't know how to say this but...but I'm pregnant and-and Ron's the father" she blurted out.

Molly felt the wind get knocked out of her chest as her eyes widen in shock.

oOo

Hermione was walking towards the cafeteria when she heard a familiar voice calling her name; "Great! Of all the places to meet it has to be this bloody hallway!" she thought. She then took a calming breath before turning around; "What do you want Ronald?" she asked.

Ron stopped right in front of Hermione and lifted the news paper in his grasp; "What the hell is the meaning of this?" he said through gritted teeth.

Hermione can't help but glare upon hearing his tone; "I don't owe you any explanation"

Ron crumpled the paper in his hands, his face turning red; "Why are you with Malfoy? Is he the reason why you refuse to come back to me?" he demanded.

Hermione felt her hackles rise; she narrowed her eyes at him as she clenched her fist on her side. "Is that rhetorical question? Are you really asking me that?" she asked, sarcasm oozing from her tone.

"You can't be with him-he doesn't deserve you! He's-he's a filthy Death Eater!" Ron spat.

Hermione scoffed; "Really? Name calling? What are you 12? Grow up Ronald!"

Ron scowled; "You can't date him!"

Hermione threw her ex fiancé an affronted look before shaking her head; "I'm not doing this with you" she said before turning around and walking away.

Ron lunged forward and grabbed Hermione's arm; "I'm still talking to you"

Hermione yanked her arm away instantly; "Get your filthy hands off of me!" she yelled. She then turned towards the red head and threw him a murderous look; "I don't want to talk to you so bugger off!" she sneered before storming away.

oOo

Harry stepped into the cafeteria to get himself something to eat but paused when he saw his best friend sitting alone in a corner; he made his way towards her instead and stood right in front of her table. "What did that poor sandwich did to you?"

Hermione lifted her gaze from her debauched sandwich and stared at her best friend; "I'm just imagining that this is Ron's head" she replied.

"What happened?"

Hermione placed her cutlery on top of her plate and huffed in annoyance; "He's just being a prick" she replied.

Harry pulled the chair and plopped down; he stared at Hermione seriously, his jaw clenching. "Did he talk to you?"

Hermione nodded; "He did" she replied. She then waved her hand dismissively; "It's okay, I set him right"

"I told him to stay the hell away from you, I'll wring his stupid neck if I see him" Harry said darkly.

"There's no need for that Harry" Hermione said. She then let out an appeasing smile to somehow calm her best friend down; "Have you seen Ginny? She visited me this morning" she asked, changing the topic.

Harry seem to relax; "I did, she just reminded me of our plans for tomorrow night" he replied.

"Speaking of that, I'll need to drop by Muggle London to purchase some baking stuff" Hermione said thoughtfully.

Harry instantly perked up upon hearing the word baking; "Don't forget your promise Mione, I'm still waiting for that chocolate ganache filled cupcakes!"

Hermione let out a chuckle; "That's the reason why I need to drop by the store, I need to buy more chocolates"

Harry let out a satisfied smile; "Good."

oOo

Molly placed a cup of tea right in front of Millicent before settling herself down on one of the chairs; "Have some tea dear, it will make you feel a little bit better" she said awkwardly.

Millicent let out a fake smile; "Thank you" she said.

Molly placed her hands on her lap and cleared her throat; "I will be honest with you Millicent dear, I actually don't know what to say about what you just told me-does my son know?" she asked.

Millicent took a sip of her tea; "Yes...I told him a couple of nights ago..." she replied.

"What did he say?"

"He told me that he'll be there for the baby..."

Molly threw the young witch an indignant look; "Only the baby? What about you?"

Millicent averted her gaze and sniffed loudly; she placed her tea back on the table and cleared her throat. "We-we decided that he will just take responsibility for the baby"

"But that wouldn't do! You have to get married!"

Millicent mentally cursed, her plan instantly back firing; "Err-but we don't have to...I just came here to let you know about it" she replied.

Molly shook her head defiantly; "No. I won't let my grandchild be born out of wedlock! We will talk about it" she said.

"Fuck!" Millicent thought.

oOo

"Have you heard anything from your son?" Narcissa asked.

Lucius tore his eyes away from the documents his perusing; "No, should I?"

Narcissa sat down on the chair across her husband's desk; she crossed her arms on top of her chest and pouted petulantly.

Lucius placed the parchments on top of his desk and leaned back; "What's wrong?" he asked.

Narcissa huffed with disdain; "The whole Wizarding world already knows that he and Hermione are dating, why didn't he tell us?"

Lucius furrowed his brows in confusion; "But we already know that love" he replied.

"He doesn't know that!"

"Our son is smart, I'm quite sure he knows that we know"

Narcissa huffed again; "He should at least have the decency to tell us-that brat!"

Lucius can't help but chuckle at his wife's rants.

oOo

"Poppet, are you already dressed?" Leila asked as she knocks on her daughter's room.

Lavender let out defeated sigh as she grabbed her purse from the dresser; she walked towards her door and pulled it open. "I am."

Leila studied her daughter's dress and nodded in approval; "Come now Poppet, no time to waste" she said as she began walking away.

Lavender followed her mother's lead; "Do we really have to this? Did you even owl them to let them know that we're coming?" she asked.

"No but I'm quite sure that Molly is there, she seldom leaves their house"

Lavender groaned.

oOo

Draco just finished with his consult when he heard a faint knock on his door; he furrowed his brows and began arranging his desk to clear the clutter. "Come in"

The door was pushed open as Anthony's head peeked out; "You want to grab some lunch?" he asked.

"Is it lunch already?" Draco asked, somewhat confused.

Anthony pushed the door wider and stepped inside the room; "It's already passed lunch, it's quarter passed 1, busy day?"

Draco stacked the parchments before standing up; "I already had 4 consults" he replied.

Anthony's eyes widen; "4? Are you the only Healer here?"

Draco chuckled; "Don't sweat it mate, 2 of them are Blaise and Theo"

Anthony crossed his arms on top of chest, his lips curling up to a smile; "Let me guess, they came to badger you about your new girlfriend"

Draco made his way towards Anthony and clasped him on the shoulder; "Don't think I don't know what you're up to, not telling you anything mate" he said as he steps out.

"Come on Malfoy!" Anthony groaned.

Draco laughed loudly.

oOo

Molly was handing Millicent a tissue when she heard a faint knock on their front door; "I'll be back dear, it looks like we have company" she said before standing up.

Millicent pressed the tissue on the sides of her eyes with flourish before nodding; "Go on ahead" she said.

Molly nodded before turning on her heels.

Millicent watched as Molly's back disappeared from the kitchen door before letting out a loud huff; "I can't believe she wants me to marry her stupid son! As if I'd want to associate myself with her stupid son!" she said indignantly. She then narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms on top of her chest; she began tapping her finger on her arm while in thought.

Molly stood right in front of their front door and pulled it open; she felt her heart sink upon seeing her new visitor. "Bloody buggering hell!" she thought. She took a deep calming breath before pasting a forced smile on her face; "Leila, how nice it is to see you again."

Leila smiled widely; "It's nice seeing you too" she replied. She then tugged on her daughter's arm and pulled her to her side; "I brought Lavender along and I'm thinking we can have tea while we discuss about our children's predicament, it's about time, don't you think?"

Molly felt beads of sweat form on her forehead; "I don't think this is the right time to talk about that Leila"

Leila narrowed her eyes; "What do you mean Molly?" she asked sharply.

"Something came up unexpectedly so my husband, my son and I need to talk first. We'll contact you after we've discussed things" Molly said with finality.

Leila scoffed, clearly indignant; "So, you're just expecting us to wait along the side rails while you discuss things?" she asked loudly.

"There is no need to shout" Molly replied calmly.

Lavender threw Molly an apologetic smile before tugging on her mother's arm; "I don't mind waiting Mom, I'm quite sure they'll contact us, come on."

Leila yanked her arm away from her daughter's hand and threw her a stern look; "You may not mind waiting but I do. It's their son that humiliated you and I refuse to be ignored further" she said. She then shifted her eyes back at Molly and glared; "It's already been a week, I think it's about time we talked about it, don't you think?" she insisted.

Molly opened her mouth to speak but wasn't able to do so when she heard footsteps walking towards her; she tightened her grip on the door as she cursed her son mentally.

"Is everything okay?" Millicent asked. She then peered at the door and narrowed her eyes upon seeing a familiar figure standing on the other side; "What is she doing here?" she asked.

Lavender peered behind Molly's back and recognized the witch standing inside the house; "Bullstrode?" she asked.

Millicent stood beside Molly and glared at Lavender; "In the flesh, what are you doing here?" she asked sharply.

Molly threw both witches a confused look; "You two know each other?"

Millicent sniffed haughtily; "Yes, I went to Hogwarts with her" she said.

Lavender narrowed her eyes at Millicent; "She's from Slytherin, an inspiring Death Eater if I reckon"

Millicent brandished her wand as a dark look settled on her features; "What did you call me slut?" she hissed while tapping it on her arm.

Leila threw the other witch an affronted look; "What did you just call my daughter?"

Millicent smirked tauntingly; "You didn't know? Your daughter slept with half of the male population in Hogwarts"

Molly raised her hands in an appeasing manner; "Now now ladies, let's stay calm about this there's no need for name callings, we're all adults here"

"You're defending her after what she said about my daughter? Your own future daughter in law?" Leila said indignantly.

Millicent smirked even wider; "Daughter in law? What gave you the idea that he'll marry you?"

Lavender crossed her arms on top of her chest defiantly; "Ron will marry me" she said confidently.

Millicent shook her head; "You're delusional Brown, he'll never marry you"

"And why is that?" Leila asked.

Millicent turned her gaze towards Lavender's pesky mother and met her gaze straight on; "Simple. I'm carrying his child" she said.

Molly let out a defeated sigh as she bows her head; "Ronald Weasley you have a lot of explaining to do" she thought murderously.

oOo

Ron was glumly walking along the Atrium when he heard his name being called; he halted his steps and turned around. He narrowed his eyes upon seeing Lavender striding towards him, her face murderous; "And when I thought my day couldn't get any better!" he said sarcastically.

Lavender stopped right in front of Ron; chest heaving and face a bright shade of red.

Ron narrowed his eyes as he crosses his arms on top of his chest; "What are you-"

Lavender didn't even let Ron finish his sentence; she pulled her hand back and slapped him on the face.

"WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO THAT FOR?" Ron asked thunderously.

Lavender lowered her hand and stared at Ron with spite; "YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO ASK ME THAT STUPID QUESTION? ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID?"

Ron took a step forward and grabbed Lavender's arm; "I AM NOT STUPID!" he hissed.

Lavender yanked her arm away, seething; "YOU IMPREGNANTED MILLICENT BULLSTRODE!"

Ron's eyes widen in shock; "How did you-?" he stuttered.

"You thought no one will find out?! Are you that stupid?" Lavender hissed.

Ron's temper flare upon hearing the blasted word again; "I'M NOT STUPID! STOP SAYING THAT OR MERLIN HELP ME I WILL HEX YOU!" he threatened.

Lavender scoffed; "As if you have the balls!" she said. She then took a step back and shook her head; "Hermione was right, you are nothing but a filthy rat! I can't believe I wasted my time with you, you're just a pathetic excuse of a wizard and I don't ever want to see your STUPID face again!" she said before storming away.

Ron closed his eyes as he clenches his fist tightly; he counted one to ten to calm himself down. Once he's sure that he won't murder anyone that will cross his path, he opened his eyes and regretted it almost instantly upon seeing the number of eyes staring at him. He gritted his teeth and lowered his head; he sucked in breath before bolting as fast as he can.

oOo

"Hermione...are you okay?" Harry asked as he stares at Hermione with concern. They have just witnessed the very public confrontation between Lavender and Ron and as much as he wants to strangle the weasel he needs to make sure that his best friend is okay.

Hermione turned her face towards Harry and opened her mouth to respond, she blinked a couple of times and tried her best to form an intelligible sentence but she can't seem to make herself to. She can't believe that what she just witnessed, her scumbag of an ex fiancé cheated on her with two different women and he managed to impregnate the other. She felt disgust and anger run through her veins; "That bastard" she whispered.

Harry heard alarm bells ringing so he took a step closer to Hermione; he gently grabbed her arm and squeezed it. "Calm down Mione" he said.

Hermione felt her eyes cloud with tears as myriad of emotions surge inside her chest like a raging storm; "That bastard cheated on me twice Harry-TWICE!" she yelled.

Harry pulled Hermione to his side and wrapped his arm around her shoulder; "Come on, let's go to your office...we'll talk about it there, we don't need to create another commotion here..."

Hermione clenched her fist tightly as she took a deep calming breath; "Okay..."

Harry squeezed Hermione's shoulder and began steering her towards the lifts.

oOo

Draco just closed the door to his office when he noticed a wisp of silver swirling inside his office; he turned around and watched as the patronus takes its form.

"Malfoy, this is Potter. Please drop by the Ministry after your shift, I'll be expecting you"

Draco cocked his head to the side upon hearing the cryptic message; "That's weird..." he mused.

oOo

"Can you please sit down? You're making me dizzy" Harry said as he watches his best friend pace back and forth.

Hermione halted her steps and turned her face towards Harry; "I can't believe he did this to me Harry! I can't believe I was played like a fool-TWICE!" she shrieked.

Harry's face instantly darkened; "I know and he'll pay for it" he said.

"No. You're not doing anything to him Harry, it's between Ron and I" Hermione said. She then narrowed her eyes; "As a matter of fact I should just talk to him right now" she said before storming towards the door in lightning speed.

"Hermione!" Harry yelled as he shot up from his chair.

oOo

Ron had his head buried into the crook of his arms on top of his desk when the door to their office was yanked open; he slowly lifted his face and stared at his visitor. His eyes widen when he saw who it was, he shot up from his chair and tried his best to smooth his rumpled hair; "H—hermione..."

Hermione didn't respond, she flicked her wand to lock the door before walking towards Ron's desk, her eyes burning with fury.

Ron swallowed nervously; "W-what are you doing here? I-I thought you don't want to talk to me..."

Hermione narrowed her eyes as she taps her wand on her arm; "Merlin knows I don't want to talk to you but I have to get this off my chest or I might end up castrating you the next time I see you."

"HERMIONE OPEN THIS DOOR!" Harry yelled from the outside, his fist continuously pounding on the door.

Hermione pointed her wand towards the door; "Silencio" she muttered.

Ron felt fear gnaw at his gut; "I-I think you should listen to Harry..."

"I don't think having Harry inside this room will save your cheating arse, if I were you I'd do anything to avoid him especially now."

"W-what are you saying?"

Hermione shifted closer to the desk and braised her hands on top of it; "How can you do that to me? How can you lie through your teeth and tell me that you love me when you're shagging slag's left and right?"

Ron felt a pang inside his chest upon seeing the hurt radiating from Hermione's eyes; "I-I don't know..." he choked out.

"You don't know or you didn't care?"

"I care about you Hermione, I love you" Ron replied.

Hermione pried her hands away from the desk; "Love?" she scoffed. "You don't know the meaning of that word Ronald-because if you do, you wouldn't have cheated on me twice!"

Ron felt his eyes tearing up so he bowed his head in shame; "I-didn't love any of them Hermione...I was just-they meant nothing to me..." he half whispered.

"And that should make me feel better? That it was just meaningless shags? Is that how you want me to see it Ronald?"

Ron lifted his face and met Hermione's eyes directly; "Yes."

Hermione stared at Ron's face for a moment before shaking her head, a feeling of resignation settling inside her chest. "I want to hex you so bad right now..." she admitted.

"I-I know..."

Hermione's shoulders slump as she felt the fight left her body bit by bit; "I-I just don't understand why you did that to me-I know I have my faults too but I don't think I deserved what you did to me."

Ron's tears finally made it down his cheeks; he lowered his gaze and clenched his fist. "You did nothing wrong Hermione and you didn't deserve what I did, not one bit-it was all me. I made a stupid decision and now I'm suffering the consequences of my actions..." he said. He then swallowed the lump in his throat; "I'm really sorry..."

Hermione let out defeated sigh; "I know you are but I don't think sorry will cut it this time Ron" she said softly.

Ron sniffed and nodded; "I know but I still am..."

"Can I ask you a favour?"

Ron felt his spirits lift a bit; "Anything..."

"Stay out of my life; I don't want to hear anything that you have to say so don't even bother. I'm with Draco right now and I'm happy with him, so please just respect that."

Ron felt his knees buckle so he collapsed back on his chair; "Y-you're really with Malfoy?"

"I am, so if you still care for me-even for just a tiny bit you will leave us alone" Hermione said seriously.

Ron stared at Hermione for a moment; "Are-are you in love with him?"

Hermione decided to be honest so she bit the bullet; "Not yet but I'm almost there"

"You're really happy with him?"

"Yes"

Ron ignored the writhing pain inside his chest; "Then I will"

Hermione nodded; she then spun on her heels and made her way towards the door.

"Hermione?"

Hermione halted her steps and turned her face to Ron.

Ron sucked in breath; "For whatever it's worth, I really did love you and I'm really sorry that I hurt you as much as I did. You deserve much better and I want you to be happy..."

Hermione saw a glimpse of her old best friend and can't help but feel a small pang inside her chest, she swallowed the lump in her throat; "Congratulations with the baby and be happy too" she replied. She then turned towards the door and pointed her wand at it; "Alohamora"

"What the bloody hell Hermione! Why did you lock yourself inside that bloody office with that cheating bastard?!" Harry seethed.

Hermione pushed Harry out of the office and closed the door behind her; "I just needed to get some things off my chest Harry" she replied.

Harry furrowed his brows as he studied his best friend's face; "Are you alright? Did he hurt you?" he asked worriedly.

Hermione can't help but smile at Harry; she pulled him into a hug and tucked her head under his chin. "I'm alright Harry...I actually feel much better" she admitted.

Harry wrapped his arms around Hermione's tiny form; "Are you sure you're alright?" he asked.

"Never been better..." Hermione replied. "I just had the closure I didn't think I needed from him and now I'm at peace"

"Good, because I can see your boyfriend heading this way"

Hermione pulled away and threw Harry a confused look; "Draco?"

Harry nodded; "Yeah"

Hermione turned around and saw her beau walking towards them; she turned towards Harry and narrowed her eyes. "You told him?!"

Harry threw Hermione a sheepish look; "I might've over reacted..."

"Harry Potter!" Hermione shrieked, clearly affronted by her best friend's gesture.

Draco stood right in front of Hermione and gently grasped her arm, turning her towards him; "Hey babe, what happened? Harry sent me a Patronus, is something the matter? Are you hurt?" he asked while studying her.

Hermione threw Harry a murderous look before shifting her gaze back to Draco; she let out a small smile before shaking her head. "Nothing is wrong, Harry has just gone a little bonkers" she said.

Draco raised his brow, clearly not believing Hermione's response. He then turned his eyes toward the spectacled man; "Harry?"

Harry cleared his throat and pointed towards the hallway behind him; "I-I think I should go, I just remembered that Shacklebolt need to see me for something-I'll head out now, bye!" he said hurriedly before bolting towards the other direction.

Draco turned his gaze back towards Hermione; "What's really happening here?" he asked.

Hermione tugged her arm away from Draco's grasp and interlaced their fingers instead; "Let's go to my office and I'll tell you all about it" she said.

Draco squeezed Hermione's hand; "All of it?"

Hermione smiled; "All of it" she promises.

oOo

"Millicent Bullstrode is pregnant with Ronald's child?" Arthur asked.

Molly sighed; "She is. She was here this afternoon looking for our ornery son."

Arthur clenched his fist tightly; "Is your son coming home tonight?"

"I owled him to come here after work" Molly replied.

"Good. I'd like to have a one on one talk with him, he's gone too far this time" Arthur said through gritted teeth.

Molly stared at her husband; "I don't want you hitting him again Arthur, we're not that type of parents. We will talk with him like an adult, do you understand me?"

"But-"

"No buts! Hitting him won't change anything, we will discuss this in the most civil way as possible" Molly said with finality.

Arthur recognized his wife's tone and he knows that he won't win this argument so he backed down; he closed his eyes and took a deep calming breath. "Okay."

Molly reached for her husband's arm and squeezed it; "How bad can it be, we're having new grandchild and every baby is a blessing, don t you think?"

Arthur can't argue with that logic so he just nodded; "You're right love," he replied.

Molly let out a small appeasing smile; "We'll talk with him and get through this"

oOo

"I still can't believe that Weasley managed to knock Millie up, that's hilarious and disturbing at the same time!" Draco said with wide eyes.

"Well you better believe it because it's true" Hermione replied.

Draco stared at Hermione and studied her face closely; "Are you alright?"

Hermione raised her brow; "Of course I am, why would you even ask me that question?"

Draco tugged on Hermione's hand to make her stand; he then sat on the chair she vacated and pulled Hermione on his lap. "It's just-this is just a big revelation and I know it brought back past issues for you"

Hermione can't help but smile at Draco; she gently cupped his face and ran her thumbs on his cheeks. "I will not lie, it did bring up past issues but it gave me clarity as well..."

Draco nuzzled his cheeks to her palms; "Yeah?"

Hermione pulled Draco's face closer to hers, locking their eyes together; "Yeah, it made me realize how lucky I am to have dodged the biggest bullet" she said. She then smiled; "I will always be the best thing he never had and I think that hurts more than any hex I can throw at him, don't you think?"

Draco blinked a couple of times before a smirk slowly crawled on his lips; "I think the sorting hat placed you in the wrong house Granger"

Hermione giggled.

Draco wrapped his arms around Hermione's waist and pulled her closer to his chest; "I'm proud of you love" he said seriously.

"I'm proud of myself too"

"I think we won't stay on the front page that long" Draco said thoughtfully.

"That we don't" Hermione replied.

"Yeah, so now what we have that out of the way...can we make out now?" Draco said while wiggling his brows suggestively.

"You don't even have to ask" Hermione said before leaning forward and claiming her beau's lips into a heated kiss.

oOo

Chapter 19: You give love a bad name
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Chapter Nineteen: You give love a bad name

"Shot through the heart and your to blame, you give love a bad name. I played my part and you played your game, you give love a bad name..." You give love a bad name by Jon Bon Jovi

oOo

"What goes around comes around and what comes up must come down" has always been the golden rule of Karma and Ron Weasley can attest to that. One upon a time, he was a decent man, a reliable best friend, a loving fiancé and a dotting son. He used to think that he has everything that any man could ever wish for but for some unfathomable reason he manage to lose it all. Now, all he has left is a bad reputation, an ex murderous best friend, an ex fiance who doesn't want to have anything to do with him and parents that will castrate him if they found out that he's having a baby out of wedlock. Karma is really a bitch and he's being slapped at every turn.

"Mom? Dad? I'm here, where are you?" Ron called out loudly.

"Kitchen" Arthur replied.

Ron swallowed hard upon hearing his father's tone; he squared his shoulders before he made his way towards the kitchen.

"Sit down Ronald, I believe we have a lot to talk about" Molly said seriously upon seeing her youngest son.

Ron stared at his parents for a moment before letting out a defeated sigh; he pulled a chair and sat down.

Arthur leaned back on his chair and clasped his hands tightly on top of the table; "Is there something you want to tell us that we should know about?" he asked too calmly.

"Yes."

oOo

"Where on earth have you been? I've been waiting for you in ages!"

Millicent stepped out of her fireplace and dusted off the soot from her cloak; "Don't you have work?"

"I do but I called in sick" Pansy replied.

Millicent snorted as she walks towards the couch; "You own the bloody business, pray tell who you called?"

Pansy waved her hand dismissively; "That's not important" she replied. She then sat straighter and stared at her best friend curiously; "So, what happened? How did the Weasley's take it?"

Millicent leaned back on the couch and began massaging her temples; "I'm not actually sure how to describe it to be honest. I, for sure managed to screw Ronald up but at the same time I can't help but feel like I did the same to myself" she admitted with a sigh.

Pansy narrowed her eyes; "Don't tell me you feel guilty because you still love that poor excuse of a man?"

Millicent threw Pansy an annoyed look; "Do you want me to explain why or would you rather speculate until your mouth foams?"

Pansy looked abashed; she cleared her throat and gestured for Millicent to continue.

"Everything was going according to plan, I was able to make Molly believe that Ronald didn't want marriage, that he only cares for the baby. I can see it in her eyes that she's 100% convinced and she's on my side" Millicent paused and scowled. "That is before Lavender Brown decided to show up and claimed that she's going to marry him."

Pansy's eyes widen in disbelief; "She wants to marry him? Why on Merlin's name does she want to do that?"

Millicent shrugged her shoulders; "I don't have the slightest idea."

"So why do you feel like you screwed yourself too?" Pansy asked.

Millicent resumed rubbing her temples; "Things got a little bit out of hand and wands are drawn" she paused. "I got carried away in taunting that slag that I accidentally blurted out that she won't be marrying Ron any time soon because I'm carrying his child. Molly seems to take it to heart and now I'm not quite sure what happens next because she told me that she'll take care of it."

"You shouldn't have said that!" Pansy hissed. "What the bloody hell were you thinking?"

Millicent threw her hands up in exasperation; "I was upset okay?! I obviously didn't think first before I opened my damn mouth! I can't let that bitch think that she's better than me!"

Pansy leaned back on the couch as she stared at her best friend grimly; "Well, congratulations, you just manage to land yourself a fiancé."

Millicent's mouth hung open as her eyes widen in shock.

oOo

"Where in Merlin's beard have you been? I've been looking for you for hours!" Leila bellowed angrily.

Lavender stepped out of the fireplace; "Ministry of magic" she deadpanned.

Leila narrowed her eyes; "Don't tell me you still talked to that hideous boy?"

Lavender scowled and met her mother's gaze; "Of course I'll talk to him! I can't let him get away without giving him a piece of my mind" she snapped.

Leila crossed her arms on top of her chest; "What did you do?"

Lavender took off her cloak and threw it on the coffee table; "I confronted him in the middle of the Atrium and screamed my lungs off" she replied while taking a seat on the couch. "I made sure to let everybody know that he's nothing but a worthless scumbag and he doesn't deserve me, then I slapped him"

Leila can't help but smirk; "We're you able to get him good?"

Lavender smiled vindictively; "Not only was I able to hit him hard, I also made sure that his ex fiancé is watching the whole bloody thing"

Leila threw her daughter an impressed look; "Looks like you didn't need any help after all."

Lavender leaned back on the couch; "I'm just getting started mom-just getting started" she said ominously.

"Let me hear it, what's your plan?"

oOo

"Malfoy just spit it out, I'm not a mind reader, you know" Hermione said.

Draco cringed; "Am I that obvious?"

Hermione chuckled; "You've been staring at me like you're about ready to piss yourself."

Draco feigned an affronted look; "Language Granger! We're in a public place"

Hermione rolled her eyes; "Just tell me what got your knickers in a twist" she said before taking a sip of her coffee.

Draco averted his eyes and began playing with the napkin; "Err—I know we haven't been dating that long but last night I received an owl from my parents-err, they asked me to invite you to have dinner at the Manor Wednesday night" he said nervously.

"That's it?"

Draco's eyes snapped up, meeting Hermione's gaze; "Yes" he replied. "BUT I understand if you don't want to-err, I can just tell them that you're busy and we can resched-"

"You will not do such thing" Hermione interjected.

Draco's eyes widen; "Huh?"

Hermione smiled; "It's okay Draco, it's just dinner and I've already shared a meal with your parents, it's nothing new."

"Really? You don't mind?"

Hermione reached for her beau's hand and gave it a soft squeeze; "I don't mind" she replied. She then pulled her hand away and smirked; "You'll be returning the favour soon, anyway" she said mischievously.

Draco raised his brow in amusement; "Is that your subtle way of telling me that you're planning on introducing me to your parents?"

"Maybe..."

Draco grinned; "Tell me the time and date, I'll be there."

Hermione smiled brightly; "That's what I want to hear."

oOo

"You can't be serious!" Ron said, his face burning red with anger and disbelief.

"Don't take that tone with us young man!" Arthur chastised. "You brought this on to yourself and not us"

"I know that but that doesn't mean that this is right!"

"We can't do anything about this Ronald and you know that" Molly said, clearly exasperated.

Ron stopped pacing and turned his face towards his parents; "What do you mean you can't do anything about it?" he asked nervously.

"Exactly what your mother just said, we can't do anything about it" Arthur said. He then leaned back on his chair and stared at his son; "It's as solid as an unbreakable vow, you have to marry Ms. Bullstrode"

"But I don't want to marry her!" Ron shouted.

"Then you should've thought about that before laying a finger on her!" Molly snapped.

Ron pulled his chair and plopped down; "I can't believe this! Who placed that bloody binding charm on us? I didn't even know it existed for Merlin's sake!"

"It's been in place for more than a decade now and every pureblood family knows about this" Arthur replied.

"How come I didn't know about this?" Ron asked. "How come you never told me? Us?"

"We didn't feel the need to, we didn't think we'd ever have to worry about telling you since you're already set on marrying Hermione at a very young age" Arthur said. He then frowned and threw his son a disappointed look; "We didn't think you will go on a debauchery spree at your fiancé's back" he said darkly.

Ron lowered his head, clearly abashed.

"I know this is hard to take but you don't have a choice, as of today you are officially betrothed to Ms. Bullstrode, we'll get in contact with her parents so we can meet them formally and start planning your wedding" Molly said.

Ron sighed gloomily; "Her parents doesn't even know about us-about this."

"Don't worry about that, the moment she acknowledged that she's carrying your child in your mother's presence, her parents were automatically notified by the charm" Arthur said.

Ron hunched forward and braised his elbows on top of his knees; he buried his face into his palms and groaned loudly. "What the bloody hell did I do?"

oOo

"I don't believe you!" Millicent yelled between tears.

Pansy huffed; "I'm not lying to you, I wish I was just messing with you but I'm not!"

Millicent buried her face into her palms, bawling loudly.

Pansy sighed; she stood up from her perch and walked towards her best friend. She sat beside her and wrapped her arm around her shaking shoulders; "I'm sorry Millie, I really am..."

"My-my life is over...I don't want to marry him..." Millicent wept.

Pansy squeezed the distraught woman's shoulder; she was about to open her mouth to say encouraging words but wasn't able to do so when she heard a loud crack of apparition.

"Miss?"

Millicent pulled her face away from her hands and stared at the tiny house elf standing by the fireplace; "Kiki?" she asked in surprise.

The house elf bowed lowly; "Kiki is sent by Master and Mistress, I is sent to tell Miss that Miss is to go to the Mansion."

Millicent turned her horror stricken face towards Pansy; "Bloody hell"

Pansy cringed; "Yeah, bloody hell"

oOo

Draco apparated directly into the living room with Hermione in his arms; "We're home" he announced.

Hermione can't help but grin at his statement; "We are"

Draco wrapped his arms tightly around Hermione and planted a soft kiss on her forehead; "I don't want to leave"

Hermione giggled; "As much as I want you here, you have to go, your Mum and Dad are waiting for you"

Draco pouted; "Can't I just owl them?"

Hermione shook her head; "Nope, you promised to meet with them for dessert"

Draco pulled away; "But you're better than any dessert in this world" he said while wiggling his brows suggestively.

Hermione laughed; she then pushed her beau away and made her way towards the couch; "Even better than chocolate dipped cherries?" she teased while sitting down.

Draco grinned widely; "Way better than that"

Hermione chuckled; "Your sweet talking won't take you anywhere Malfoy, go now."

Draco stared at Hermione for a moment before rolling his eyes; he moved towards his girlfriend and planted another kiss on her forehead; "I'll see you tomorrow, goodnight" he murmured sweetly.

"I'll see you tomorrow too, tell them I said Hi, goodnight"

Draco smiled back; "Will do" he said before disapparating with a loud crack.

Hermione leaned back on the couch and smiled dreamily; "This day is not bad after all" she mused.

oOo

Astoria slipped under the covers; "I just put Candice into bed"

"No temper tantrums?" Harry asked.

Astoria shook her head; "No, she's unusually compliant tonight"

Harry smiled; "That's new"

Astoria turned towards her husband and studied his face; "Are you planning on telling me what happened today?"

Harry's smile faltered, he then flipped to his side and braised his head with his hand; "It's Ron" he sighed.

Astoria copied her husband's pose, her brows furrowing; "What did he do?"

"What you heard before was true, he's been cheating with Millicent Bullstrode all this time"

Astoria's eyes widen incredulously; "I-I thought it was with Lavender Brown?"

Harry plopped down on his back and stared at the ceiling darkly; "I also thought so..."

"So you mean to say that he's been going around Mione's back with two women?!"

Harry sighed; "Yes"

Astoria plopped down on her back too; "That asshole!" she hissed.

Harry turned his head to the side; "My thoughts exactly."

Astoria turned her face towards Harry; "Does Mione know?" she asked worriedly.

Harry scrunched his face in disgust; "That's what pissed me off greatly"

"What happened?"

"We had to find out from Lavender, she stormed into the Ministry during lunch time and screamed her lungs off in the middle of the Atrium and slapped Ronald"

Astoria looked thoughtful; "Did she had him good at least?"

Harry cracked a smile; "I have to give it to her, that woman can make a punch look like a slap"

Astoria giggled; "Serves him right"

Harry furrowed his brows; "He deserves way more than that. If Hermione didn't lock me out of my bloody office I might've killed him with my bare hands"

"What did she do?" Astoria asked.

Harry sighed; "She stormed off into our office and locked me out. I didn't know what happened in there or what they talked about but when she came out she looks at peace"

Astoria thought for a moment; "Maybe she already found the closure she's looking for"

Harry turned his face to the side; "That's exactly what she told me"

Astoria smiled; "Good for her, at least now she can move on with Draco"

"Yeah, I hope so. She deserves to be happy after everything that she's been through" Harry said with a small smile.

oOo

"How nice of you to join us for dessert" Narcissa said jovially.

"Mum, Dad, good evening"

"We thought you'd never come, I've been waiting all day to eat that delectable chocolate mousse" Lucius drawled.

Draco rolled his eyes as he pulls a chair.

"So...how's Hermione? Is she coming on Wednesday?" Narcissa asked excitedly.

Draco turned his gaze towards his mother; "She is,"

Lucius smirked; "Let me guess, that's the reason why you're late?"

Draco returned the smirk; "It's not that it's any of your business but yes."

"Good night?" Lucius asked meaningfully.

Narcissa giggled; "Oh dear"

Draco shifted his eyes between his parents before groaning loudly; "I'm not doing this with you"

oOo

The next day:

Hermione was just checking her reflection on her mirror when she heard her fireplace burst into life; she grabbed her bag from the dresser and made her way towards the living room. "Ginny?"

"Good morning Mione" Ginny greeted somewhat glumly.

Hermione walked towards her best friend and furrowed her brows upon seeing the look on Ginny's face; "I was just on my way to work, is something the matter?"

Ginny stared at Hermione; "I heard what happened at the Ministry...are you alright?"

Hermione can't help but smile; she leaned forward and squeezed the red head's arm; "I'm fine Ginny, really, I am."

"I'm ashamed of what my baboon of a brother did-I'm sorry..."

Hermione pulled her hand away and fixed Ginny with a stern stare; "You have nothing to be sorry for, you didn't do anything wrong Gin."

"But he's still my brother and-"

"Brother is the keyword there Gin" Hermione interjected.

Ginny sighed dejectedly; "It's just-I don't know why and how he can do that to you..."

Hermione shrugged her shoulders; "I don't know and I no longer care, it's all in the past" she said dismissively. "I'm happy, that's all that matters to me now."

Ginny smiled; "Happy now with Draco?"

Hermione felt her cheeks flush but nodded none the less; "Yeah"

Ginny tugged Hermione's arm and pulled her into a hug; "You deserve to be happy, I'm glad Draco is a big part of it, he's a good man."

Hermione returned the hug; "He is a good man" she agreed.

Ginny patted Hermione's back before pulling away; "We're still on tonight right? We're still hanging out with Harry and your delicious cupcakes?"

Hermione chuckled; "Yep, we can't keep Harry away from my cupcakes"

Ginny giggled.

oOo

"Get up Ronald" Molly said while shaking her son's shoulder.

Ron groaned and burrowed further into his pillow; "I'm not going to work mom, I asked for a time off" he grumbled.

"I know that, I'm waking you up because the Bullstrode's will be here by lunch time to discuss everything" Molly replied.

Ron sprung up from his bed, his eyes wide in panic; "What?"

Molly sat herself at the side of the bed and placed her hands on her lap; "We received an owl late last night from Irina and Marcus, they requested to formally to speak with us regarding your predicament."

Ron felt the blood leave his face; "This is really happening? There's nothing you can do?" he asked desperately.

Molly shook her head sadly; "I'm afraid not, like what your father said, it's as good as an unbreakable vow."

Ron collapsed back on his bed and covered his face with his hands; "Bloody buggering hell!" he groaned.

"Ronald!"

oOo

"Don't forget to remind Hermione about our dinner on Wednesday and tell her not to bother with anything, I'll take care of it"

"Yes Mum, I wouldn't forget" Draco drawled while rolling his eyes.

Lucius folded his news paper and stared at his wife; "Your son is not daft Cissy, I'm quite sure he'll remember it"

"I know that Lucius, I simply want to remind him"

"For the nth time" Lucius and Draco said in unison.

Narcissa pursed her lips in annoyance; "Fine."

oOo

Hermione unlocked her office and stepped inside; she closed the door behind and her and made her way towards her desk. She placed her bag on top it and pulled her chair; she was about to sit down when the door burst open.

"Hermione!"

"Good morning Harry" Hermione chirped.

Harry closed the door behind him and sauntered towards Hermione's desk; he stood right in front of it and eyed her intently. "Are you okay?"

Hermione rolled her eyes as she sat down; "Of course I'm alright, what kind of question is that?"

Harry copied his best friend's action and sat down; "I just want to make sure that you're-you know okay..."

Hermione smiled; "I'm really fine, don't worry about me" she said. She then shifted her chair closer to her desk and began perusing the papers on top of it; "Ginny came by this morning, we're still on for tonight right?"

Harry grinned widely; "Of course, I wouldn't cancel it for the world"

Hermione lifted her eyes from her work and raised her brow in amusement; "You just want my cupcakes" she teased.

"Damn right you are" Harry said.

Hermione chuckled; "Well Mr. Potter, if you want me to make those yummy cupcakes for later you have to leave me alone so I can do my work"

Harry thumped his hands on his thighs and stood up; "I'll go away now"

Hermione shook her head.

oOo

Theo blinked a couple of times, his mouth wide agape.

"Say something!" Pansy shrieked.

Theo shook his head to clear his thoughts; "Wow, just wow" he breathed out.

Pansy leaned back on her chair; "I know. Everything is so screwed up right now, if I only knew that this would happen, I would've gone with her, I feel guilty."

Theo leaned forward and placed his hand on top of Pansy's; "It was not your fault love, you didn't know that she doesn't have an idea about this, hell I didn't even know it still existed!"

Pansy sighed; "Her parents summoned her last night, I'm quite sure they'll be meeting up with the Weasley's today."

Theo squeezed Pansy hand comfortingly before pulling away; "She'll be fine, Millie is a strong woman, she'll get through this."

"I hope so Theo, I hope so..."

oOo

"Are you really sure you want to do this Lav?" Parvati asked nervously. "Really sure?"

Lavender frowned; "Of course I'm sure about this! I wouldn't be here if I'm not" she snapped.

Parvati leaned back on her chair and sighed; "I just want to make sure this is what you want because Merlin knows that there's no turning back after this."

"I know that" Lavender replied. She then turned her face towards Parvati and let out a small smile; "Thank you for coming with me, I appreciate it" she said.

Parvati smiled back; "You're my best friend, of course I'll come with you."

The door burst open as Rita Skeeter sauntered inside her office; "Well, well, well-Merlin must've been looking my way right now, what do I owe this pleasant visit?"

Lavender sat straighter; "I'm here to give you an exclusive scoop, are you interested?"

Rita sat down on her chair and braised her elbows on top of the desk; she clasped hands together and rested her chin on top of it. "Pray tell Ms. Brown, a scoop about what?" she asked while staring at Lavender curiously.

Lavender grinned slyly; "The real reason behind the Weasley-Granger break up"

Rita's eyes sparkle with mischief; "I'm all ears then"

Parvati shifted her eyes between the two; "Oh Merlin" she mumbled to herself.

oOo

"Why do I feel like I'm seeing less and less of you as days goes by?"

Draco tore his eyes away from the parchment his writing on and smirked; "Is that your way of saying that you miss me?"

Anthony leaned sideways on the door frame; "No, it's my way of asking if you're putting a ring on Hermione's finger any time soon."

Draco's eyes widen as his mouth turn agape.

Anthony stared at his friend for a moment before bursting out in laughter.

Draco blinked a couple of times; "You arse!" he yelled before throwing his quill towards the other man.

Anthony deflected the quill with his hands, still chuckling; "You should've seen your face there mate, it was hilarious!"

Draco leaned back on his chair and stared at Anthony; "Not funny" he said petulantly.

Anthony pulled away from the door frame and made his way towards his friend's desk; he sat on the chair and smiled at Draco. "I'm just messing with you, stop pouting"

Draco rolled his eyes as a response.

Anthony threw Draco a curious look; "Don't tell me it hasn't crossed your mind yet"

Draco crossed his arms on top of his chest; "Aren't you just dying to know" he drawled. "Tell me, did Ginny put you up to this?"

"Of course not, why would you think that?"

Draco huffed; "Is that a trick question?"

Anthony shook his head; "You're thinking way too much about my question."

"And you're way too nosey" Draco quipped.

oOo

Millicent was pacing anxiously when her mother stepped inside her room; "Why aren't you dressed yet? We're supposed to leave in 10 minutes" Irina Bullstrode said.

Millicent turned her gaze towards her mother; "You can't do this Mother-this is insane!"

Irina narrowed her eyes at her daughter; "We didn't do this to you, you did it to yourself" she snapped.

Millicent halted her pacing; "But I don't want to marry him! You can't make me marry him!" she pleaded.

"Well you have no choice! It's either you marry him or you'll both die! How many times do we have to explain to you that the enchantment you activated is as good as unbreakable vow?"

Millicent threw her hands up; "I can't believe this!"

"Believe it. Now get dressed and meet us by the grand fireplace in 10 minutes" Irina said before walking towards the door.

Millicent closed her eyes as she clenched her fists close; "What the bloody hell am I supposed to do?"

oOo

"I never thought reading can be sexy"

Hermione tore her eyes away from the reports she's reading; "Hey, I didn't hear you come in" she said with a small smile.

Draco walked towards his girlfriend and stood beside her; "It's because your too absorbed with what you're reading" he replied before planting a kiss on her head.

Hermione tilted her face towards her beau; "What are you doing here? Don't you have work?"

Draco crossed his arms on top of his chest; "Well, I was indeed working but then I remembered promising my girlfriend that I'll have lunch with her today..."

Hermione shifted her eyes towards the clock on the wall, her eyes widening in mortification; "Oh Draco, I'm sorry! I didn't even notice the time!"

Draco chuckled; "It's okay love, don't fret"

Hermione grabbed her bag from her drawer before standing up from her chair; "Do you mind if I choose where we'll be eating today?"

Draco raised his brow; "We're not eating here?" he asked curiously.

"Nope" Hermione replied. "Do you trust me?"

Draco hopped off the desk and returned the smile; "What kind of question of that? Of course I trust you."

Hermione offered her arm and grinned widely; "Grab on to me then, I'll apparate us there."

Draco rolled his eyes; he snaked his arms around Hermione's waist and pulled the brunette towards his chest. "Apparate away"

Hermione giggled before closing her eyes and imagining their destination; "Hold tight"

Draco closed his eyes and held Hermione closer.

oOo

"It's almost time, are you ready?" Arthur asked while eyeing his son intently.

Ron closed his eyes and took a deep breath; "I don't know if I'll ever be ready" he murmured.

Arthur shifted towards Ron and clasped his shoulder; "If there's anything I could do to stop this I would but we all been backed up in a corner, we just have to learn to deal."

Ron opened his eyes, tears rolling down his ashen cheeks; "How can I be so stupid Dad? What the bloody hell is wrong with me?"

Arthur pulled his hand away and fell into step with his youngest son; he shoved his hands inside his trousers and stared at the orchard before them. "You are not stupid but your choices are."

Ron wiped his cheeks and followed his father's stare quietly.

"Ron? Arthur? They're here" Molly announced as she stepped out of the back door.

Arthur sighed before turning his face towards Ron; "Come on son, we can do this."

Ron turned towards his father; "Yeah," he replied glumly.

oOo

"Thank you Ms. Brown, it has been a pleasure talking with you" Rita Skeeter said while shaking the young woman's hand.

Lavender smirked; "It's my pleasure" she replied. "The article will be published when, again?"

Rita pulled her hand away and fixed the perch of her glasses on her nose; "I'll have it ready by Wednesday, it should be front page by then" she said with a large evil grin.

"Perfect" Lavender said. "Well, we should be going then"

Parvati didn't even spare Rita a look before making her way towards the door silently.

Lavender nodded towards the journalist before following her best friend's lead.

Rita waited for the young witches to exit her office before leaning back on her chair; she rested her elbows on the armrest and clasped her hands together. "Well, I'll be damned, who would've thought that Ron Weasley has it in him, too bad he got caught" she said gleefully.

oOo

"I forgot to tell you, I'll need to drop by Muggle London after work" Hermione said before taking the last bite of her pasta.

Draco patted his lips with a napkin; "Why?"

"I need to buy more chocolates for the cupcakes I'll be making for tonight" Hermione replied.

Draco took a sip of his drink; "Can I tag along?"

Hermione raised her brow; "You want to go with me in Muggle London?"

Draco rolled his eyes; "We're eating in a Muggle Bistro right now Hermione, going there wouldn't be different."

Hermione thought for a moment; "Good point."

Draco took a peek on his watch; "Are you done? We have to get back" he said.

Hermione emptied her glass and nodded; "Yep" she said. She then turned to her side and hailed a server; she signalled for their check before rummaging through her bag.

"What are you doing?"

"Getting my wallet"

"For what?"

Hermione plucked her wallet triumphantly; "Tadah!" she said cheerfully. "To pay for our meal of course"

Draco threw Hermione an affronted look; "You would not do such thing! I'm the man here, I'll pay for our meal."

Hermione smirked; "Pray tell, how will you do that? Do you have Muggle money?"

"Damn it!" Draco muttered lowly. "This is the first time that a woman will be paying for my meal and it's my girlfriend none the less! My mother and father will strangle me if they knew!"

Hermione giggled; "Oh hush! It's the 20th century Draco and not the 1800's, don't be so dramatic"

The server arrived and politely placed the check book on the table; he smiled at the couple before placing his hands behind him.

Hermione grabbed the check book and began perusing it; she pulled some notes from her wallet and handed it back to the server. "Here you go and thank you" she said.

"You are welcome, you both have a great day" The server replied before walking away.

Hermione shifted her gaze towards her beau; "Shall we?"

Draco pursed his lips before standing up; "You're lucky I like you" he said.

Hermione smiled widely; "Stop pouting or I'll be forced to not to like you, I hate pouty guys"

Draco offered his arm towards the brunette; "Is that so?"

"Yep"

oOo

"Millicent darling, why don't you and Ronald take a walk, you look really pale sweetheart" Marcus said while eyeing his daughter with concern.

Molly stared at the young witch before turning her gaze to her son; "Marcus is right Ronald, why don't you take Millicent for a walk along the orchard?"

Ronald was about to protest but held his tongue when he saw his father staring at him pointedly; he let out a defeated sigh before standing up. "Come on Millie, let's take a walk"

"I don't want to take a bloody walk!" Millicent hissed.

Irina turned her gaze towards her daughter and glared; "You will take a walk with Ronald, you two need to talk. We will finalize everything here, we don't need you here, so go."

Millicent eyed her mother for a moment, when she didn't see any compromise in her eyes, she sighed. She stood up from her perch and glared at the red head; "Lead the way" she said with disdain.

Ron rolled his eyes before turning on his heels; "Bloody witch" he whispered.

"Bloody Weasel" Millicent murmured.

oOo

"So-the article will be out by Wednesday?" Parvati asked while organizing the rack of clothes right in front of her.

"Yep" Lavender replied gleefully.

Parvati moved towards the stacks of boxes and braised her hands on top of it; "I can't believe that Ronald is capable of doing that..."

Lavender's face instantly turned sour; "He's nothing but a philandering weasel, I can't believe I wasted my time with him and now he will pay for it."

Parvati turned her eyes towards her best friend; "He really did cheat on Hermione with Millicent Bullstrode?"

"He did, that's why Hermione broke up with him" Lavender explained. She then sighed and shook her head; "If I only knew that he's that big of an arse, I wouldn't have jumped into bed with him"

"Speaking of that, what really happened?" Parvati asked.

Lavender pulled a chair and sat down; "I think you should sit down, this will be long"

Parvati didn't need to be told twice, she grabbed a chair and plopped down unceremoniously; "Don't leave anything behind, give me all the details."

oOo

Draco apparated them directly inside Hermione's office; "I told you we won't be late" he said smugly.

Hermione chuckled as she pulls away; "Well, I'm not late but you will be if you don't leave now."

"Cheeky witch" Draco said. He then leaned forward and planted a chaste kiss on his girlfriend's lips; "I'll go now, I'll pick you up by 4" he said.

Hermione nodded; "See you" she said.

Draco smiled before disapperating with a loud crack.

Hermione stared at the spot where Draco stood for a couple of minutes before walking towards her desk, a smile painted on her lips.

oOo

Ron turned around and stared at Millicent; "How are you?"

Millicent crossed her arms on top of her chest; "You know bloody well how I am" she snapped.

Ron sighed; "Can you stop that? I'm tired of fighting..."

Millicent raised her brow; "That's new."

Ron shifted his eyes away from the witch and fixed his gaze on the orchard before them instead; "I assume that you are aware that we can't do anything about this."

Millicent followed Ron's gaze and sighed; "Yeah."

Ron shoved his hands inside his pockets; "We'll have to get married"

"I know."

Ron turned his face towards the witch; "I'm sorry"

Millicent's eyes widen in shock, clearly taken aback with what she just heard. Slowly, she turned her face towards the red head standing beside him; "Did I hear you correctly? You're apologizing?"

Ron shifted towards Millicent and faced her fully; "Yes I am. I'm sorry for everything-for hurting you, for treating you like you never mattered, for being an arse...I'm sorry" he said sincerely.

Millicent felt her eyes sting with tears; "Don't say that if you don't mean that..."

"I mean it, I'm sorry..."

Millicent couldn't hold it anymore; she burst into tears. "Stupid hormones!" she thought.

Ron's eyes widen in panic; "Shit! Don't cry, I didn't mean to make you cry"

Millicent ignored Ron's words and continued bawling her eyes out.

Ron moved towards the distraught witch and tugged her gently to his chest; he wrapped his arms around her and patted her back awkwardly. "Shhhhhh...stop crying...it's bad for you and the baby...calm down"

Millicent buried her face into Ron's chest and grasped his shirt tails with her hands.

oOo

"Will you look at that" Irina said while staring at the couple from the window.

Molly smiled; "They're getting along just fine."

Irina turned her face towards Molly and returned the smile; "Let's start planning the wedding then," she said somewhat excitedly.

Molly chuckled.

oOo

"Something smells wonderful here"

Hermione closed the oven door before walking towards the counter; she placed the hot cupcake trays on top of a metal rack and took off her oven mitts. "Hey you, you're early"

Draco sat on one of the high chairs and smiled; "I have nothing to do in my flat so I decided to go here"

Hermione plucked her wand from her back pocket and swished it towards the tiny cakes, cooling them instantly. "You want to help me with frosting?" she asked.

"Sure"

"Thank you"

Hermione began preparing the frosting; "You'll be hanging out with Blaise and Theo tonight, right?" she asked.

"Yep" Draco replied.

"Where are you guys going again?"

Draco leaned forward and rested his arms on top of the counter; "Theo's place, we'll just grab some drinks and play some poker."

Hermione paused and raised her brow; "Poker?"

"Yes, poker, why does it seem like a surprise to you?" Draco asked.

Hermione resumed her mixing; "Nothing, it's just weird hearing you guys play something Muggle"

Draco rolled his eyes; "Times have changed Hermione, we're no longer those ignorant boys we used to be"

Hermione chuckled; "That I can attest to"

"Damn right you can" Draco said with a smirk.

oOo

"Harry, we're leaving" Astoria called out.

Harry stepped out of the bathroom and stared at his wife; "I really don't understand why you have to leave"

Astoria chuckled; "We've been through this Harry, I want you three to spend some quality time together-just like the old times and it won't be like the old times if your wife and daughter are here."

"Hermione and Ginny won't mind having you with us" Harry said with a pout.

Astoria walked towards her husband and wrapped her arms around his waist; "I know that love but next time, okay? And besides, my sister is expecting us tonight, I promised to stay with her while Blaise is out with Draco and Theo."

Harry pulled Astoria closer; "Draco won't be coming tonight?" he asked.

Astoria shook her head; "Nope, like what I said, it'll only be you Hermione and Ginny"

"What time will you be coming home? You'll be home before they leave right? Ginny would want to see you and Candice"

"Of course, well be home before 10"

Harry planted a kiss on Astoria's lips; "Okay then"

Astoria pulled away from Harry and smiled; "Make sure to leave us some cupcakes, okay?"

Harry grinned; "I'll save you both a piece"

oOo

Harry was sitting on the couch in the living room when the fireplace burst into life; he shot up from his perch and grinned widely. "It you look enough"

Ginny stepped out of the fireplace with a big smile; "Harry!"

Harry walked towards the red head and engulfed her into a bear hug; "How are you?" he asked.

Ginny patted Harry's back before pulling away; "I'm good, how about you? Where' Torry and Candice?" she asked.

"She went to Daphne's for a few hours but she'll be here before 10" Harry replied.

"I see, where's Hermione? Is she here already?"

"Nope but I'm sure she'll be here in a few, she's always punctual. Why don't you take seat first? I'll grab us some snacks and drinks"

Ginny walked towards the couch and plopped down; "You prepared snacks?"

Harry smirked; "Nope, Torry did" he replied while walking towards the kitchen.

"Thought so" Ginny replied. She was about to tease him further but wasn't able to do so when the doorbell rang loudly; "I'll get it" she said before hopping off the couch.

"Thanks!" Harry called out.

Ginny skipped her way towards the door; she pulled it open and smiled widely upon seeing her best friend standing on the other side. "Why on earth did you not just apparate inside like any normal witch"

Hermione smirked; "I'm not your average witch ginger, you should know that by now"

Ginny burst out laughing; "Oh Hermy, you're still a bucket of laughs"

Hermione rolled her eyes before lifting the box of sweets on her hands; "Can I come in now?" she asked.

Ginny side stepped; "I'm sorry, come in" she said between giggles.

Hermione entered her best friend's home and closed the door behind her; "Where's the-boy-who-lived?" she asked.

"He's fetching us some snacks and drinks, he's the-boy-who-lives-to-serve-us tonight" Ginny said.

Hermione wrinkled her nose; "Snacks? Did he cook or something?" she asked as she places the box on top of the coffee table.

"No I did not cook, Astoria made these for us so it's safe" Harry said as he walks towards the ladies, his hands laden with a tray. He placed the tray on top of the coffee table and plopped down on the floor; "Here you go"

Hermione leaned forward and stared at the food with amusement; "French Fries?"

Harry grinned widely; "Just like what they have in McDonald's"

Ginny cocked her head to the side; "McDonald's?" she asked confusedly.

Hermione and Harry shared a look before laughing.

oOo

Theo took a swig of his fire whiskey; "It's not that I don't like hanging out with you guys but what the hell are you two doing here?" he asked.

"Hanging out, what else" Blaise replied.

Theo raised a brow; "On a weeknight?"

Draco shrugged his shoulders; "Yeah, why?"

Theo shifted his gaze between Blaise and Draco, a smirk curling on his lips; "I get it, you two have been ditched by your other halves aren't you?"

Draco scoffed; "Of course not"

Blaise scowled; "Whatever gave you that idea"

Theo's smirk grew wider; "You guys have been ditched! Ha! I knew it!" he said triumphantly.

"Shut up Theo!" Draco hissed.

Blaise leaned back on the couch and took a swig of his own drink; "Where's Pansy?"

"She's with Millie, I think"

"Speaking of Millie, have you heard what happened?" Draco asked.

"That Weaselby knocked her up?" Blaise drawled.

Draco grimaced; "Yeah" he replied before taking a sip of his drink.

Theo sighed; "Pansy has been over the roof over that, Millie is driving her nuts with her bawling and incessant temper tantrums"

"And let me guess, Pansy is passing the stress to you?" Draco asked.

"Hell yeah" Theo replied. "It's annoying"

"Well, it's her fault" Blaise said.

"True" Draco replied.

Blaise turned his gaze towards Draco and smirked; "How's Granger? You guys made it to front page yesterday, how did that go?"

Draco smirked; "We're doing quite well actually, everything is good"

"You thinking about putting a ring on it?" Theo asked curiously.

"Why do people keep asking me that?" Draco asked with a sigh.

"Picture speaks louder than words mate" Blaise said.

"Exactly my point" Theo chirped.

Draco ignored his friends and began thinking; "Are we ready for that?" he thought.

oOo

"Oh Merlin! I still can't believe you did that!" Ginny wheezed between giggles.

Hermione smirked; "She deserves it! If I had my way, I would've squished her to death"

Harry chuckled; "You squished her career, that's for sure"

"She got off easily" Hermione said.

Ginny nodded; "I agree with Mione, she got off easily."

Harry popped the last bite of cupcake into his mouth; "Fine, I wouldn't win against you two anyway."

Hermione grinned; "Good boy"

Harry rolled his eyes.

Ginny smiled at her best friends; "I will miss you both very much" she said.

Hermione turned towards the red head and smiled; "Then come back soon"

"I will, don't worry" Ginny replied.

"Where are you off this time?" Harry asked.

Ginny pursed her lips in distaste; "Moscow, I hate it there, it's so cold"

"I've always wanted to visit that town" Hermione said wistfully.

"Want to come with me?" Ginny asked with a grin.

Hermione giggled; "I wish it was just that easy Gin"

"It is, take another time off" Harry suggested.

Hermione rolled her eyes; "I just came back Harry, my boss will go nuts if I tell him I'm taking time off again"

Harry wrinkled his nose; "Your boss is a moron, you should take his place"

"Harry! Mr. Digby is a nice man" Hermione said.

Harry guffawed; "I didn't say he's not a nice man Hermione, I said he's a moron, its two different things"

"I can't believe you just said that!" Hermione said indignantly.

"Hey hey, no arguing, this is my day!" Ginny intervened.

"Fine. Mr Digby is not a moron, happy?"

Hermione raised her chin haughtily; "Fine."

Ginny rolled her eyes at her friends; "Why don't we play exploding snaps? It's been a long time since I played that game"

oOo

Wednesday:

"MILLIE! WHERE ARE YOU?" Pansy yelled frantically.

Millicent peered behind her bathroom's door and scowled at her best friend; "It's too loud for screaming Pansy"

"Have you read the Prophet?" Pansy asked.

Millicent pulled the door open and stepped out of the bathroom; "Do I look like I have done anything yet?" she asked sarcastically.

Pansy narrowed her eyes; "Drop the attitude"

"I haven't read the bloody Prophet, what's wrong?"

Pansy flicked her wand; "Accio Prophet" she said. She caught the news paper with her hand and stared at Millicent gravely; "Sit down" she instructed.

Millicent rolled her eyes before sitting down on her bed; "Now what?"

Pansy threw the news paper on Millicent's lap; "Read"

oOo

"Good morning love" Lucius said as he enters the dining hall.

"Good morning to you too"

Lucius pulled a chair and sat down; "Excited for tonight, I assume" he said.

Narcissa smiled brightly; "I am."

Lucius chuckled; he then grabbed his morning paper and unfolded it. He took a sip of his coffee before turning his gaze on the front page.

oOo

"Love gone awry: The truths behind the Golden Couple's infamous break up"

It has always been a big mystery why the golden couple decided to call it quits after years of what seemed to be a perfect relationship, but ponder no more readers because a very reliable source shed a light and gave an insight about what really caused the rift between the formidable couple (Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley). Below, you will be able to read the exclusive interview and I promise that it will blow your mind away, so hold on to your seats ladies and gentlemen because it's a tale that's worth telling.

RS (Rita Skeeter): Tell us what you know, why did the relationship between this two war heroes end.

VRS (Very Reliable Source): Hermione Granger was the one who called it quits because she found out that her fiancé has been cheating on her for years.

RS (Rita Skeeter): Cheating? With whom?

VRS (Very Reliable Source): Several women actually, but Millicent Bullstrode was the straw the broke the camel's back, if I daresay.

RS (Rita Skeeter): Millicent Bullstrode? The heiress to the Bullstrode fortune?

VRS (Very Reliable Source): Yes, the bulky Death Eater wanna be from Slytherin.

RS (Rita Skeeter): A Slytherin? Who would've thought!

VRS (Very Reliable Source): I know right? And oh, he impregnated her too.

RS (Rita Skeeter): Let me get this straight, Ms. Bullstrode is pregnant with Mr. Weasley's child?

VRS (Very Reliable Source): Yes, she is.

RS (Rita Skeeter): Does Ms. Granger know? Is that the reason why she severed all ties with Mr. Weasley and jumped into the Malfoy train?

VRS (Very Reliable Source): Hermione already kicked him into the curb a month ago, I doubt that. Maybe she was just fed up with her ex fiancé's philandering ways and like what I said, he didn't only do this once but several times. Any woman in their right mind will do the same thing, he's just not worth it and I personally think that Hermione is better off with Malfoy.

RS (Rita Skeeter): Any idea who the other women are?

VRS (Very Reliable Source): (chuckles) I'm not at liberty to give out names.

RS (Rita Skeeter): I see, so what prompted you to come forward with this information?

VRS (Very Reliable Source): Justice. I want to use Ronald Weasley as an example to the whole Wizarding World. A simple reminder that no matter what your stature in life is, it does not exempt you to any rule, cheating is still cheating and there's no bloody excuse for it.

RS (Rita Skeeter): Is there anything you would like to say to the Golden Couple by chance?

VRS (Very Reliable Source): To Hermione Granger, you made the RIGHT decision, you deserve much better than that lying scumbag. Draco Malfoy is one hundred times the man Ronald Weasley could ever be, so good for you. To Ronald Weasley, Karma is a bitch and I hope your being slapped every step of the way, you only reap what you sow, too bad your too dumb to realize that.

After the long wait, we finally have the answer to the biggest conundrum that took us by storm. Cheating is the main reason why the perfect relationship fell apart. The brightest witch of our age was simply deemed not good enough to sate our war hero's expectations, hence, falling into another witch's arms, a Slytherin none the less.

As you all know, I'm not Ms. Granger's biggest fan, not even by long shot but even I feel bad for her plight as a woman. I firmly believe that nobody deserves to be treated as such, so let me tell this straight to you Mr. Ronald Weasley, you give love a bad name and oh, congratulations on your new baby.

- Rita Skeeter

oOo

"Are you alright dear?" Narcissa asked her husband upon seeing the creases on his forehead.

Lucius folded the paper and met Narcissa's gaze; "I don't think it's wise to have dinner with Hermione tonight."

Narcissa frowned; "Why?"

Lucius offered the paper to his wife; "Read this"

Narcissa pulled the paper from Lucius grasp and unfolded it; she fixed her gaze on the front page, her eyes widening upon reading the headline. "Oh my Merlin" she gasped.

oOo

Astoria was arranging the food on the table when an owl swooped in; she waited for the bird to deposit the morning paper on top of the table before feeding it with a piece of bacon. The owl hooted happily before taking off again. "Harry! Breakfast is ready!"

Harry sauntered inside the dining room with their little girl in his arms; "Look munchkin, Mommy made you sausages for breakfast"

Candice clapped her hands together; "Yey!"

Astoria walked towards her husband; "Give her to me so you can eat."

Harry shifted Candice into his wife's waiting arms before taking his seat; "Breakfast looks wonderful love" he complimented.

Astoria sat down and positioned Candice on her lap; "You can thank Fifi for that"

Harry smirked; "Too tired to cook?" he teased.

"And whose fault is it, hmmmm?" Astoria quipped.

Harry chuckled jovially; he loaded his plate with food before plucking the Prophet from his side. He unrolled the news paper before taking a sip of his coffee; he felt the warm beverage go down the wrong pipe upon reading the headline, causing him to cough and sputter.

Astoria hastily snatched a napkin and handed it to her husband; "Here you go, what's wrong?"

"Bloody hell!" Harry said before wiping his mouth. "Have you read the news paper?"

Astoria was about to tell him no but wasn't able to do so when Candice repeated Harry's words loudly before dissolving into fits of giggles.

Harry winced; "Don't ever repeat those words munchkin, it's not nice."

Candice ignored her father and continued munching on her sausage.

Astoria threw Harry a chastising look; "What's on the news?"

"See for yourself" Harry said before turning the paper towards Astoria.

Astoria leaned forward and began perusing the front page; her eyes widen in disbelief before shifting her eyes back to Harry. "What in the world is that? Who told that cow about that?"

Harry furrowed his brows; "The only person who has the biggest grudge on him aside from me and Hermione."

"Lavender Brown" Astoria breathed out.

"The one and only."

oOo

"Good morning!" Lavender chirped cheerfully.

"Morning poppet" Leila replied. "Why are you such in a good mood?"

Lavender pulled a chair and sat down; "Have you read the Prophet?"

"Not yet, why?"

Lavender smirked slyly; "Let's just say that I have a little input on today's headline."

Leila threw her daughter a curious look; she brandished her wand and summoned the paper. She caught it deftly with her right hand and unfolded it; she focused her attention on the front page and almost instantly a chuckle escaped her lips.

Lavender grinned widely; "Told you I can handle it."

Chapter 20: I choose you
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Chapter Twenty: I choose you

"There was a time when I would have believed them if they told me you could not come true, just love's illusion. But then you found me and everything changed and I believe in something again. My whole heart will be yours forever, this is a beautiful start to a lifelong love letter..." I choose you by Sara Bareilles

oOo

Draco was drinking his morning coffee when he received an unexpected visit from his mother; he wasn't surprised in the least because he knew that she will find a way to remind him about the impending dinner at the Manor in the evening. "Mother, what a pleasant surprise" he drawled.

"Have you read the Prophet?" Narcissa asked urgently.

Draco noticed his mother's worried expression; "No, why?"

Narcissa pulled a chair and sat down; "I think you should read it first" she replied.

"I don't have time to read the paper Mum, I'll be leaving in 10 minutes to pick up Hermione and apparate to work after. Just tell me what's written in the paper that dragged you all the way here."

"Rita Skeeter wrote an exclusive about Hermione and the Weasley boy"

Draco felt the coffee go down the wrong pipe, making him sputter and cough.

Narcissa cringed and handed her son a napkin; "Here you go"

Draco accepted the napkin and wiped his lips; "W-what?"

"The evil wrench didn't write much about Hermione, it was mainly about the boy and his philandering ways" Narcissa said. She then paused and wrinkled her nose; "Looks like he impregnated Irina's daughter-Millicent, if I'm not mistaken."

"It was on the paper?" Draco asked.

Narcissa nodded; "It was" she replied. "That's actually the reason why I came here, your Father and I would like to let you know that we will understand if Hermione does not want to come over for dinner."

"I would have to ask her" Draco replied. He then stood up and placed the napkin on top of the table; "I better go ahead and check on her" he said.

Narcissa also stood up from her perch; "Go on right ahead, let me know what you two decide, okay?"

"I will" Draco replied. He then leaned forward and planted a kiss on his mother's cheeks; "Goodbye Mum" he said.

oOo

"Hermione! Where are you?" Harry called out loudly.

"Kitchen!"

Harry made his way towards the kitchen and saw his best friend reading the Prophet; he mentally cursed and cautiously approached the brunette. "Err-"

Hermione lowered her paper and stared at Harry with a raised brow; "I know why your here at this hour Harry" she said dryly.

Harry adjusted his glasses and studied Hermione's face; "How are you feeling?"

Hermione folded the paper and placed it beside her plate; she grabbed her morning tea and swivelled her chair towards her best friend's direction. "Would you believe me if I tell you that I'm alright?"

"It depends actually" Harry said. He then walked towards the breakfast bar and braised his hands on the counter; "If you're telling the truth or not."

Hermione cracked a smile; "You've been my best friend for more than a decade, I'm quite sure you can tell my fibs from my truths" she challenged before taking a sip of her drink.

Harry cocked his head to the side and stared at Hermione intently; after a moment, a look of relief crossed his face. "Damn, I was worried for nothing"

Hermione giggled as she placed her cup on top of the counter; she then tapped her fingers on top of the folded paper and smiled. "For once in my life, Rita Skeeter didn't demonize me-it's a little bit disconcerting but I can't say that I'm not thrilled."

Harry chuckled; "True"

"I feel a tiny bit bad for Ron though"

Harry scoffed; "He deserved it, it's about time somebody called him off of his ways" he said. He then narrowed his eyes; "Don't tell me you still care for that bloody oaf?"

Hermione shrugged her shoulders; "Truth be told, I don't give a rat's arse about him anymore but that doesn't mean I don't feel bad for his situation-in general."

Harry threw Hermione an astounded look as a response.

Hermione rolled her eyes before hopping off of her chair; "Don't you have work to get to?" she asked she grabbed her plate and made her way towards the sink.

Harry shook his head to clear his thoughts; "Yeah, I guess I'll go now."

Hermione opened the tap and began scrubbing; "You should"

"I can wait for you"

"That won't be necessary Harry, Draco will be here in a matter of minutes"

Harry nodded; "Okay then, I'll just see you there then, have a good morning Mione"

Hermione turned her face towards Harry and smiled; "You too"

Harry plucked his wand from his pocket and disapparated with a loud pop.

Hermione closed the tap and shook off the excess water of the plate; she grabbed a dishrag and began drying it.

"Hermione love, where are you?"

Hermione smiled widely upon hearing her beau's voice; "I'm in the kitchen!"

Draco peaked from the hallway and smiled; "Morning"

"Morning" Hermione chirped. She then pulled the cupboard open and began putting away the dishes she used; "Just give me a sec I'm almost done."

"Take your time" Draco said. He then walked towards the counter and noticed a copy of the Prophet; he took a deep breath before moving his eyes towards his girlfriend; "I take it that you already saw the paper-are-are you alright?" he asked carefully.

Hermione closed the cupboard and turned towards Draco; she leaned back on the sink and cocked her head to the side. "It's funny that you ask that because Harry was just here a couple of minutes ago, asking me the same thing."

"What did you tell him?"

"That I'm okay, of course"

Draco stared at Hermione intensely; "You sure about that?"

Hermione pulled away from her perch and threw the dishrag haphazardly on the sink; she made his way towards Draco and stood right in front of him. She placed her hands on his hips and met his eyes; "I'm really okay, like what I already told Harry, I don't care about Ron anymore-whatever is written in the Prophet does not concern me anymore" she said seriously. "And besides, I have you and everyone knows your already handful" she teased.

Draco smirked; "Is that so?" he asked as he slid his arms around her waist.

"Yep"

Draco pulled her into his chest; "Does that mean you'll still want to go to dinner?"

Hermione tilted her head; "Of course, don't you want to go?"

"Of course I want too, I only asked because Mum and Dad want to make sure that your still up to it-you know, after the Prophet thing."

Hermione smiled; "That's very sweet of them but tell them I'm okay and I'll be happy to have dinner with them"

Draco leaned forward and pecked her lips lightly; "Okay, you ready to go to work?"

"Let's go."

oOo

Molly was rubbing her temples when her youngest son saw her; he descended the stairs and made his way towards her. "Mum? Are you okay?"

Molly's eyes snapped open and lifted it to meet his; she gestured towards the news paper on top of the table and sighed in defeat. "Read it."

Ron furrowed his brows; "Why?"

"Just read it Ronald, I don't have the strength to argue with you today"

Ron shifted closer to the table and grabbed it; he unfolded it and felt his blood run cold when his eyes fall on the front page.

Molly leaned back on her chair; "You have to check on Millicent, this news isn't good for her"

Ron felt his knees give in so he hastily moved towards nearest chair and sat down; "I-I can't believe this-who would do this?"

"I don't know Ronald and at this point I really don't care" Molly replied tiredly.

"I will kill that bloody bug! This is-this is wrong!"

Molly raised her brow; "Are you telling me that what's written there is not true?"

Ron snapped his mouth close.

"I thought so" Molly said. She then stood up from her perch and shook her head; "I don't know where your Father and I went wrong but there's no sense in dwelling in things we can no longer change. What we can only do now is to move on and hope for the best. Go check on your fiancé, she needs you now" she said before walking away.

Ron's hands shook as he slowly crumpled the paper in his hand; he gritted his teeth before standing up from his perch.

oOo

"This is preposterous Marcus-is there anything you can do to break the charm?" Irina huffed indignantly.

"I already told you multiple times Irina, there is nothing I can do about it" Marcus replied calmly.

"So you're just letting our daughter-our only daughter marry that scoundrel?"

"We don't have a choice and you know that. And besides, why are you so opposed on marrying those two?"

"Have you read the paper?" Irina asked.

"Yes" Marcus replied.

Irina threw her husband a disbelieving look; "And you don't care?"

Marcus sighed; "As much as it pains me, it's the truth. Millicent did have an affair with Ronald and now she's carrying his child, it's not as if we don't know this."

"But-but-"

"No buts" Marcus said sternly. "Your daughter made a mistake and it's about time that she owns up to it."

Irina sighed in defeat.

oOo

Ron flooed inside Millicent's flat and saw the witch slumped on her couch; "Millicent?"

Millicent opened her eyes and turned her head to the side; "What are you doing here?" she asked tiredly.

Ron walked towards the couch and furrowed his brows; "Are you alright?"

"I'm tired-really tired. I've been puking my guts out since 5 a.m."

Ron cringed; he sat on top of the coffee table and stared at the witch; "Morning sickness?"

Millicent rolled her eyes; "You haven't answered my question yet, what are you doing here?"

Ron placed his palms on top of his thighs and began rubbing it nervously; "Have-have you read the Prophet?"

"No, why?"

"Just don't read it...you don't need more stress"

Millicent sat up and frowned; "What happened?"

Ron sighed dejectedly; "We made front page-Rita Skeeter wrote an article about us-err-I'm quite sure that the whole Wizarding world already knows that you're pregnant..."

Millicent's eyes widen in shock; she opened and closed her mouth but no words seem to escape her lips.

"I don't know how it happened or who gave that bloody interview but I will find out" Ron said with determination.

Millicent stared at Ron for a second before bursting into tears; she buried her face into her palms as sobs escaped her lips. "My-my life-is-is ruined"

Ron cringed; he leaned forward and began patting Millicent's knee awkwardly. "Calm down, crying is bad for you..."

Millicent pulled her hands away from her face and stared at Ron with anger; "This is your fault!" she said heatedly. She grabbed a throw pillow and began hitting him repeatedly; "My life is ruined!"

Ron snatched the pillow from Millicent's grasp and threw it far away; "Bloody hell! Stop hitting me" he growled.

Millicent wiped her tears angrily; "Get out of my house!" she yelled.

Ron shot up from his perch; "With pleasure!" he hissed. He hastily pulled his wand out and disapparated with a loud crack.

"Arsehole!" Millicent cursed loudly.

oOo

"Mmmmmkay-you really have to go now or you'll be late" Hermione said as she pulled away from the kiss.

Draco pecked Hermione's lips once more before smiling; "Okay...so we're still on tonight, right?"

Hermione wiped Draco's lips with her fingers; "Yep"

"Mum will be thrilled"

Hermione giggled; "You'll be picking me up at 7, right?"

"Yep" Draco replied.

"Okay then, see you later" Hermione said with a smile.

Draco pulled his arms away from Hermione's waist; "See you later love" he said before disapparating.

oOo

"What happened?" Pansy asked as she stepped out of the fireplace.

Millicent sat up and wiped her nose; "Bloody Weasley happened" she croaked.

Pansy made her way towards the couch and sat down beside her distraught best friend; "I take it that you read the paper?"

"I'll bloody murder that two faced bitch!" Millicent seethed.

"Rita Skeeter? Why?"

Millicent turned her head to the side and glared; "Are you really asking me that question?! She dragged my name into the mud and I won't stand for it!"

Pansy rolled her eyes and leaned back; "For once in her life she wrote the truth."

Millicent scowled; "Which side are you on?"

Pansy turned to face Millicent; "I'm on your side, don't be stupid" she replied. "It's just don't get why you're so worked up about this-you made mistakes, this is one of the consequences, you just have to deal it with it."

"It's not that easy!"

"Nothing is easy Millie, you can't just expect to get a free pass after what you have done" Pansy paused and wrinkled her nose. "I'm not the mudblood's fan, not by long shot-but I hardly think she deserves what you guys did to her."

Millicent pursed her lips; "Well it happened already, I can't do anything about it!"

"Exactly my point, you can't do anything about it so just deal it with and move on. You have a new life within you, focus on taking care of yourself and your baby-it's a start."

Millicent leaned back; "Ronald was here a couple of minutes ago..."

Pansy raised her brow; "Really?"

"He was checking on me" Millicent replied meekly.

"Let me guess, you bit his head off?" Pansy asked dryly.

Millicent sighed dejectedly.

"Last time we talked, you told me that you two found an amicable way to co-exist for the sake of your baby and your sanity, what happened to the truce?"

Millicent leaned her head at the back of the couch and fixed her eyes on the ceiling; "It was actually my fault, I was so upset when I read the article so I blew a gasket" she replied. She then turned her head to the side; "Pregnancy hormones and all" she added as an explanation.

Pansy can't help but chuckle; "That's a good excuse"

Millicent cracked a smile; "I know"

"Are you planning on apologizing?" Pansy asked curiously.

Millicent turned her gaze back on the ceiling; "I haven't thought about it yet but I will consider it, he will be my husband after all."

"True."

oOo

Ron apparated directly inside his room and began pacing; he's still seething from what's written on the news paper but having Millicent throw a bitch fit about it made it much worse. He halted his steps and plopped down on his bed; he braised his elbows on top of his knees and buried his face on his palms. He knew for a fact that he got what he deserved but that doesn't mean it's easy to digest; he pulled his face away from his palms and shook his head to clear his thoughts. "There's no sense wallowing in self pity, I need to get to the bottom of this, Rita Skeeter it is."

oOo

Draco plucked his wand from his desk and turned his chair to the side; "Expecto Patronum" he muttered while swishing his wand. He leaned back and watched as his patronus take shape; he let out an appreciative smile upon seeing the majestic creature materialize before him. "Tell my Mum that Hermione and I will be at the Manor by 7:15 sharp", the creature nodded once before dissipating into thin air.

"Impressive..."

Draco's head snapped to the side and saw one of his best friends standing by the door frame; "Don't you have work or something?"

Theo stepped inside Draco's office and closed the door behind him; "I can spare my best mate a few minutes" he said as he walks towards the chair. He plopped down and smirked; "Really Drake? A dragon?"

Draco rolled his eyes; "It's not as if I can choose"

Theo leaned back; "Good point" he said. "So...how are you and Granger?"

Draco smirked; "Aren't you just dying to know"

"It was splattered all over the paper, of course I want to know."

Draco scrunched his face in disgust; "Bloody Skeeter."

"What gives? Are you guys alright?" Theo asked curiously.

Draco leaned back on his chair and stared at Theo; "We're good, I spoke with Hermione this morning and she's taking it well"

"That's good" Theo replied with a smile.

Draco smiled back; "Thanks mate" he replied. "Where's Pansy by the way?"

Theo's face turned sour; "She left to check on Millicent"

A baffled look crossed Draco's face; "At this early?"

Theo studied Draco's face for a couple of seconds before understanding dawned on him; "You don't know..."

"Don't know what?"

"Millie screwed up and now she's betrothed to Weasley"

Draco's eyes almost bulged out of its sockets; "What?"

Theo wrinkled his nose in distaste; "Her plan backfired, based from what Pansy told me, she managed to set off an old dormant pureblood binding enchantment when she acknowledged that she's carrying Weasley's spawn right in front of his mother."

Draco chuckled; "I can't believe this! How stupid can she get?"

Theo sniggered; "Pregnant hormones?"

oOo

Narcissa was trimming her rose bushes when she noticed a wisp of smoke sweep in; she turned to her side and watched as it took form.

The majestic dragon opened its mouth and Draco's voice rang loudly; "Mum, Hermione and I will be at the Manor by 7:15 sharp" the creature said before vanishing into thin air.

"Is that your son'svoice I heard?"

Narcissa turned around and saw her husband walking towards her; "It is" she replied.

Lucius stood right in front of his wife and chuckled; "Even his patronus is ostentatious" he joked.

"Says the man who has a huge stallion as a patronus"

Lucius rolled his eyes; "So, what did your son want?"

Narcissa smiled brightly; "They're coming over for dinner"

"Really?"

"Yes. I guess the news didn't deter Hermione-it's actually good you know, it shows that she's moving on with her life"

Lucius smirked; "With the help of our son, of course"

Narcissa nodded; "Indeed" she replied. She then took off her gloves and beamed; "I better get started now" she said excitedly.

oOo

"You can't go in there!"

Ron ignored the secretary's plea and made his way towards Rita Skeeter's office; he slammed the door open and pointed his wand at the unsuspecting witch. "Give me 10 reasons why I shouldn't Avada your arse"

Rita's eyes widen in shock, her face paling by the second; "Mr. W-weasley this is a pleasant surprise" she stuttered.

Ron kicked the door close and made his way towards the desk without lowering his wand; he stood right in front of Rita and leaned forward. "I will only ask you one thing and you will answer me truthfully."

Rita swallowed hard before nodding; "O-okay"

oOo

Lavender was arranging the clothes on the rack when she heard the front door of their shop open; she pasted a smile on her face before turning around. "Good after-what the bloody hell are you doing here?"

Ron glowered; "Cut the crap, I already know that you're the one behind the bloody article"

Lavender leaned back on the rack; "Brilliant, right?" she asked with a smirk.

Ron plucked his wand from his pocket and flicked it; the door instantly shut close and the clear windows began to fog, obscuring the view from the outside.

Lavender felt fear settle inside the pit of her stomach; "W-what are you doing?"

Ron stuffed his wand inside his pocket and stared at the witch seriously; "I'm here to talk"

"We don't have anything to talk about"

"I beg to disagree" Ron said. He then made his way towards the nearest chair and sat down; "Sit down, we have a lot to talk about."

Lavender crossed her arms on top of her chest petulantly; "What if I don't want to talk?"

Ron leaned back and crossed his legs; "Then you'll listen"

"What if I don't want to?" Lavender challenged.

"Tough luck love, because we're not leaving this blasted place without talking. So I suggest you sit down because I won't take bloody no for an answer"

oOo

"You done for the day?"

Hermione lifted her gaze and saw her best friend by the door; "Yep and you?"

Harry let out a puff of air and shook his head; "Nope"

"Why?"

Harry crossed his arms on top of his chest as he leans sideways on the door frame; "Stupid Weasley didn't show up today so I have to do his work."

Hermione cringed; "Ouch"

Harry rolled his eyes; "I know" he replied. "Are you going home?"

"I am" Hermione replied. "And oh, I'll be having dinner at Malfoy Manor tonight, just so you know."

Harry grinned; "Meeting the parents already?" he teased.

Hermione chuckled; "I already met them Harry, this is not the first time"

"Oooohhhh...Do I hear wedding bells?"

Hermione's cheeks flushes bright red; "Harry James Potter!"

Harry chuckled; "No need to look so flushed Mione, I'm just messing with you"

Hermione stood up and squared her shoulders; "Well it's not a funny joke!" she huffed.

Harry raised his brow; "You don't want to marry the ferret?"

Hermione's cheeks flush even brighter; "Err-well-not yet and he-he hasn't asked-and it's too early for that!" she replied. She then cleared her throat as she grabbed her bag; "And we just started dating...I don't think we're taking that step any time soon" she rationalized.

Harry just smirked; "If you say so"

Hermione stepped away from her desk and began walking towards her best friend; "I'm not kidding Harry, so stop it"

Harry pulled away from his perch and shrugged his shoulders; "Fine."

oOo

Lavender stared at Ron in shock, her mouth agape.

"Say something" Ron said.

Lavender cleared her throat, her mind still reeling with what she just heard; "You're-you're apologizing?" she asked in disbelief.

Ron nodded fervently; "I am."

Lavender peered into the red head's eyes and saw remorse and guilt; "W-why?"

Ron sighed; "Because you deserve it; because I've been an arse and took advantage of you."

Lavender bit her bottom lip as she tries to digest his words.

Ron took it as a sign to explain; "I was distraught and pissed drunk the day you found me but that doesn't excuse what I did to you. I dragged you into this and been extremely rude to you-I shouldn't have blamed you because you just tried to comfort me the best way you know how-I don't know what else to say but I'm sorry...I'm really am Lavender" he said sincerely.

A tear escaped the blonde's eyes but she hastily wiped it; "I-I don't know what prompted you to do this but I can no longer take back what I already told Rita Skeeter-what are you expecting from me?"

"Nothing-just your forgiveness" Ron admitted.

Lavender bit her wobbling bottom lip; uncertainty evident on her face.

Ron let out a small smile; "I'm not expecting you to give it right here and right now Lav, I know what I did and I know it will take time."

Lavender let out a sigh of relief; "Err-good."

Ron stood up from his perch; "Well, I better go...I'm taking too much of your time already" he said before waving his wand, revoking the charm he placed.

"Okay..."

Ron made his way towards the door and pulled it open; "See you around Lav"

"Ron?"

Ron paused and turned his face towards his old flame; "Yes?"

"Thank you for apologizing and-I'm sorry too" Lavender said with a small smile.

Ron smiled back; "You have nothing to be sorry for and you're welcome" he replied.

Lavender nodded as a response.

Ron stepped out of her shop and vanished within seconds.

Lavender leaned back on her chair as she contemplates on what just happened; she always thought that she'd never find it in her heart to forgive the red head after everything he'd done to her but hearing him say it out loud changed that. She knows that she'll learn to forgive him eventually because she's very much aware that she's at fault too but she guess for the mean time, she'll just make a vow to herself; she won't intervene with his life anymore, she won't waste more time on him and she'll definitely avoid him as much as she can. For her, Ronald Billius Weasley is just a familiar face from Hogwarts and nothing more; "Time to move on..." she whispered to herself before standing up.

oOo

"Do I smell roast beef?" Lucius asked as he steps inside the kitchen.

Narcissa turned around, a big smile lighting her face; "Indeed"

Lucius made his way towards the counter and began perusing the variety of dishes on top; "Wow"

"Do you think it's too much?" Narcissa asked as she worried her bottom lip.

"Do you have anything else cooking aside from this?"

Narcissa shook her head; "No-just the éclairs and that's it."

"Then it's not too much" Lucius replied.

Narcissa let out a sigh of relief; "Thank Merlin"

Lucius raised his brow; "You are aware that this is not the first time that Ms. Granger is dining with us, right?"

"I know that but this the first time she'll have dinner with us after that dreadful article from the Prophet...I just want her to be comfortable"

Lucius leaned forward and squeezed Narcissa's arm; "I'm quite sure everything will be fine love, she won't be joining us if she's really not up for it" he said with a small smile.

Narcissa mulled on her husband's words before nodding; "You're right" she replied.

Lucius pulled his arm, a smirk playing on his lips; "I'm always right."

oOo

Hermione was putting on some lip tint when she heard a loud pop coming from her living room; she stuffed the tube inside her purse and hastily made her way towards her waiting beau. "Draco, is that you?"

"Yes love"

Hermione peered from the hallway and saw Draco standing near the fireplace; "I hope what I'm wearing is alright..." she said timidly.

Draco turned around; he stared at her for a couple of seconds before smiling widely; "You look gorgeous"

"Thank you, you are gorgeous too"

Draco chuckled; "We sound like teenagers on their first date"

Hermione nodded; "We do."

Draco walked towards Hermione and wrapped his arms around her waist; "Are you ready to go?"

Hermione threw Draco an awkward look; "I know your Mum insisted that I shouldn't bring anything but I feel bad going there empty handed..."

Draco leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on Hermione's forehead; "Don't worry about it, I'm quite sure my Mum cooked enough food to feed a whole battalion"

Hermione giggled.

"Shall we?" Draco asked.

Hermione pecked Draco's lips; "We shall"

oOo

"Is that you Ronald?"

"Yes Mum" Ron replied as he steps out of the grate.

"You have a visitor and we're in the kitchen"

Ron furrowed his brows; "Who could it be?" he asked himself. He dusted off the soot from his clothes before making his way towards the kitchen; he peeped from the hallway and almost instantly his eyes widen in surprise. "Millicent?"

Millicent turned from her seat and let out a small conciliatory smile; "Hey..."

Ron stepped inside the kitchen and studied the witch's face; "What are you doing here?"

"Ronald! Be nice!" Molly chastised. She then stood up from her perch and smiled at her future daughter in law; "I'll leave you two to talk" she said.

Ronald sat down on the chair that his mother vacated; "Look if you're here to fight-"

"I'm sorry" Millicent blurted out.

Ron clamped his mouth shut, stunned with the witch's unanticipated apology.

Millicent took a deep breath; "I didn't mean to bite your head off when you came this morning-I was just stressed-err pregnancy hormones..."

"O-okay..."

"So-are we alright? Are we still in truce?"

Ron let out a small smile; "Yeah, I guess so..."

Millicent let out a sigh of relief; "Good" she replied. "Err-since we are okay...can I ask a favour?"

Ron raised his brow; "It depends"

"Can you get me salted caramel apples?" Millicent asked with a small smile. "With pickles on the side..."

Ron blinked a couple times before bursting out laughing.

oOo

The dinner was far from what Hermione expected and she had fun; talking with Draco's parents in a relaxed environment made her see a different facet of the couples personality-even Lucius made her laugh a couple of times and that is saying something.

"Thank you for inviting me, dinner was lovely" Hermione said politely.

Narcissa beamed; "I'm glad you enjoyed yourself dear"

Lucius smiled; "Feel free to join us anytime, you're always welcome here"

Hermione smiled back; "That's very gracious of you Mr. Malfoy, I'll keep that in mind"

Lucius threw the young witch an amused look; "Don't you think we're way past formality, Hermione?"

Hermione felt her cheeks flush in embarrassment; "Err-right"

Draco pulled Hermione to his side and wrapped his arm around her waist; "Stop making my girlfriend blush Dad, that's my job."

"Draco!" Hermione shrieked, her cheeks burning even brighter.

Narcissa chuckled; she then looped her arm around her husband's and smiled at the couple right in front of her. "Why don't you take Hermione for a walk around the Rose Garden before you take her home? My roses are in full bloom, I'm quite sure she'll love that" she suggested.

Draco smiled; "That's actually a good idea Mum"

Lucius smirked at his son; "Of course you'll think that it's a good idea, you'll have Hermione all to yourself" he teased.

Draco winked at his Father; "True"

"I'm standing right here, you know" Hermione mumbled.

"We'll take our leave now" Narcissa announced. "You both have a good night"

Hermione turned towards Narcissa and Lucius; "Good night and again, thank you for having me here"

"You are very much welcome" Lucius replied. He then placed his hand on top of his wife's hand; "Let's go now love, let's leave this two alone"

Narcissa nodded; "Lets"

"Night Mum and Dad" Draco said.

"Night love" Narcissa replied.

Lucius nodded towards his son as acknowledgement before turning around and steering his wife away.

Draco waited for a couple of seconds before shifting his gaze towards the witch in his arms; "You'll love Mum's garden"

Hermione threw her beau a curious look; "How big is her garden exactly?"

Draco grinned widely; "I'll let you decide, come on" he said before guiding her towards the French doors.

oOo

Hermione stared at the roses with awe; "This is beautiful"

Draco smiled; "It is, Mum takes her roses seriously"

Hermione nodded; "She does" she replied. She then squinted and fixed her gaze on the bushes near the gazebo; "Are those fairy lights? As in, real fairies?"

"Yep"

"Wow"

Draco stepped behind the brunette and hugged her from the back; he rested his chin on top of her head and let out a contented sigh.

Hermione leaned back on Draco's chest and placed her hands on top of his.

"Thank you for spending time with my parents, it means a lot to me..."

"You are welcome" Hermione replied. "I had fun, your Dad is hilarious and your Mum is charming as always"

Draco chuckled; "Runs in the family."

Hermione pulled away and turned around to face her beau; she placed her hands flat on his chest and met his eyes. "I know I've said this multiple times but I will say it again, thank you..."

"For what?"

Hermione let out a small smile; "For making me believe in something again-for making me this happy..." she admitted shyly.

Draco felt myriad of emotions surge inside his chest upon hearing Hermione's admission and before he can stop himself, he's blurting out the words he never thought he'd ever say again. "I love you"

Hermione felt her heart stop, her eyes widening in shock.

Draco realized what he just said and felt his face redden in embarrassment; "Oh Merlin..."

Hermione seemed to snap out of her stupor; "Did you just-"

Draco internally winced; "I did...too soon?"

"Do you mean it?" Hermione asked quietly.

Draco pulled Hermione closer and gaze into her eyes; "Yes" he replied. "I know we haven't been dating that long and it's too early for me to say the L word-I know it might scare you away but Merlin, I do Hermione...I really do love you." He then took a deep breath and continued; "I never thought I'd ever utter those words again after everything that happened to me but you-you make me feel again, you made me believe in something too-you made me believe in love..."

Hermione felt tears cloud her vision as overwhelming happiness flood her chest; "Draco..."

Draco shifted his hands towards her face and cupped it; "You make me love you Hermione Granger and I'm the luckiest bloke in the whole wide world because I get to say those words to you..."

Tears fell down Hermione's cheeks; "I love you too Draco...I've been wanting to tell you that for a very long time now-I just didn't have the courage to..." she admitted.

"You mean that? You're not only saying that because I said it?" Draco asked cautiously.

Hermione smiled through her tears; "It's true. I'm in love with you too..."

Draco's face instantly lit up; he pulled Hermione's face and captured her lips into a passionate kiss.

Hermione snaked her trembling arms around Draco's neck and hugged him tightly; she let her emotions seep through her lips, trying her best to make him feel the love that's consuming her whole body.

Draco kissed Hermione for a couple of minutes before pulling away; he rested his forehead on hers before speaking. "You have no idea how happy I am now Granger"

Hermione smiled as she closed her eyes, obviously savouring the moment; "The feeling is mutual Malfoy-it's always has been."

Draco hummed contentedly; he was about to suggest that they should go home when a thought hit him. He didn't want to ruin the perfect moment but he needs to know if this knowledge will change things for them; he braised himself before speaking again. "Love?"

Hermione opened her eyes; "Yes?"

Draco pulled his face away and cleared his throat; "I don't want to ruin the moment but I need to tell you something-I think you deserve to know this before it hits the news..."

"Know what?"

"I spoke with Theo this morning and he told me something that has to do with-the Weasel and Millicent..."

Hermione raised her brow; "What about them?"

Draco took a deep breath; "They're betrothed- Millicent accidentally set off an old dormant pureblood binding enchantment when she acknowledged that she's carrying Weasley's spawn right in front of his mother. It was not supposed to go that way but her devious plan backfired so now she's stuck with him..."

Hermione blinked a couple of times before bursting into fits of giggles; "Oh Merlin!"

Draco threw his girlfriend a worried look; "Err-"

Hermione covered her lips with her hands, stifling her mirth; after a couple of seconds she managed to control herself. "That was hilarious!"

"So-you're not upset?" Draco asked testily.

"Merlin no!" Hermione replied.

"You are not angry or anything?"

Hermione shifted closer to Draco and let out a reassuring smile; "I'm not" she said firmly. "Karma is really a bitch, eh?"

Draco cracked a smile; "Karma is only a bitch if you are."

"Good point"

Draco tightened his hold on Hermione's waist; "So-you're really not upset" he asked seriously.

Hermione shook her head; "I'm not. Thank you for telling me though...I appreciate it" she replied.

Draco pulled Hermione into a tight hug and buried his face into her curls.

"Draco?" Hermione whispered.

"Yes?"

"Ronald is just someone from the past and I no longer feel anything for him" Hermione said.

"I know..." Draco replied lowly.

"You're the one I want and if someone will ask me who I want spend forever with-I'd choose you. I love you..."

Draco felt his heart soar; "I'd choose you too and I love you..."

oOo

Chapter 21: Ever After
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Chapter Twenty One: Ever after

"And now we're slightly weathered, we're slightly worn. Our hands grip together, eye to eye through the storm, yet I still believe in ever after with you. Coz life is a pleasure with you by my side and there ain't no current in this river we can't ride, I still believe in ever after with you..." Ever after by Bonnie Bailey

oOo

"What the bloody hell are you still doing here?! You're supposed to be at Rose Cottage!"

Hermione tore her eyes away from the parchments she's perusing and stared at her best friend; "I know but I forgot to sign this."

Harry crossed his arms on top of his chest, his brows furrowing; "Did Digby put you up to this?"

"Of course not!" Hermione replied. She then turned her attention back to the last parchment and signed it; "There, I'm done."

Harry moved towards the desk and grabbed the parchment from Hermione's hands; "I've got this, I'll take this to Digby's office. You should get back before Torry and Ginny starts hunting you down with their wands drawn."

Hermione let out a shudder; "Don't remind me"f

Harry cracked a smile; "By the way, how did you manage to escape them?" he asked curiously.

"Err-I locked them out of my room, I'm quite sure they're still trying to break through my wards."

Harry laughed jovially; "Good one Mione, good one!" he praised.

Hermione smirked; "Well, I have to go. I don't want them barging in here-"

"HERMIONE JEAN GRANGER! I can't believe you!"

Harry cringed; "Too late, they managed to track you down"

Hermione sat on her desk and groaned.

Ginny stood by the door, her hands on her hips; "What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?" she yelled.

Astoria threw her husband a dirty look before shifting her eyes to the brunette; "It's your wedding day in case you have forgotten."

Hermione rolled her eyes; she then stood up from her perch and grabbed her satchel from her chair. "Calm down ladies, it's only 10-we still have 7 hours."

"That's the point! We only have 7 hours left and you bolted!" Ginny exclaimed.

"And you locked us out of your room" Astoria said with a pout.

Hermione felt guilt eat at her chest upon seeing her friend's faces; "I'm sorry...I didn't leave just to hide, it's just that I forgot to sign some important documents before I took my leave yesterday."

"Cut Hermione some slack, I'm sure she didn't mean to make you worry" Harry said. He then let out a smirk; "Though if I was marrying Malfoy, I'd think about bolting too" he teased.

"Harry James Potter!" Astoria shrieked, obviously mortified with her husband's statement.

Ginny cocked her head to the side; "What's wrong with marrying Draco? He's hot, he's rich, he's smart and not to mention he's head over heels in love with Mione."

Hermione threw the red head a smile; "I'm one lucky witch, eh?"

"He's lucky too-you're both lucky" Astoria said firmly. "Now, why don't you move your pretty little arse so we could get a move on?"

Hermione pulled away from her perch and made her way towards the door; "Make sure Mr. Digby receives the documents Harry, he's waiting for that."

"I'll hand deliver it" Harry replied.

Hermione stopped beside Harry and planted a kiss on his cheek; "Thank you and please don't be late on my wedding."

Harry pinched his best friend's cheek; "I won't, now go before Gin and my wife decides to drag you by the hair."

"Alright" Hermione replied before walking towards her friends. "Let's go"

"Finally!" Ginny and Astoria said with relief.

oOo

It has been a year since Hermione and Draco expressed their undeniable love for each other and they're ready to start the next chapter of their lives. The past year has not been easy for them, mainly because they still have a lot to learn about each other but amidst the countless fights and pseudo break ups, they made it-LOVE is stronger than their petty squabbles after all. So now, here they are, both knee deep in preparing for the most important day of their lives, the beginning of their forever so to speak. Today will be that fateful day when they join their hearts and bind their futures together; the day when Hermione Jean Granger and Draco Xavier Malfoy proves to the world that happily ever afters does exist-even for the most jaded and most broken ones.

Malfoy Manor - 10:15 A.M.

"You look really relax for someone who's getting married in a couple of hours" Blaise said as he enters his best friend's room.

Draco tore his eyes away from his book and stared at the new comer; "My Mum's nerves are palpable enough to make this Manor explode, I don't need to add my own."

"That explains the weird feeling I had when I stepped into the foyer" Blaise replied somewhat solemnly.

"I'm not imagining things after all."

Blaise chuckled; he then made his way towards Draco and sat on the opposite chaise longue. "I still can't believe your finally tying the knot"

Draco smiled; "I still can't believe she agreed to marry me."

oOo

*Flashback*

"Are you 100 percent sure that she doesn't suspect any of this?" Draco asked while pacing nervously.

Astoria rolled her eyes as she crosses her arms on top of her chest; "I'm 100 percent sure."

Draco stopped pacing and stared at Astoria; "What if something goes wrong? What if-"

"We've already gone through the plan MULTIPLE times Draco and its perfect" Astoria replied. She then moved towards the agitated man and reached out to squeeze his arms; "Calm down for Merlin's sake."

Draco met Astoria's gaze and saw the truth in her words; he let out a sigh and nodded. "Alright, I'm sorry"

Astoria let her hand drop and smiled; "That's better" she said. "Now, will you sit down? You're wearing out my carpet and I just bought that."

Draco shifted towards the couch and sat down; "It's just-I don't want anything to happen, I don't have the best track record with proposing you know..." he said lowly.

Astoria felt a pang inside her chest upon hearing her best friend's warranted woes; it has only been 6 months ago since he came clean to her and told her about his "almost fiancé" and she still can't make herself believe that it actually happened to Draco. She plopped down beside him and met his eyes; "Everything will be alright, Hermione is nothing like Ireland-Iris or whatever her is name is. She loves you, really loves you and I'm sure that nothing would make her happier than to spend the rest of her life with you" she said seriously.

Draco cracked a smile; "You think so?"

Astoria smiled back; "I know so"

"Is he still panicking?"

Astoria turned around and saw her husband lurking by the door; "Nope, he's calm as the sea" she said.

"Good" Harry said as he stepped into their living room. He adjusted his daughter in his arms as he made his way towards the two; "Everything is set, I just spoke with Hermione and she just got home- she'll be here in an hour" he said while eyeing Draco.

Draco let out a sigh of relief and nodded; "Okay...thanks"

Harry smirked as he took his seat on the couch; "You don't have to be nervous you know, we all know that she'll say yes" he said.

"Yes!" Candice shrieked.

Draco can't help but smile at his god daughter; "You think Aunt Mione will say yes munchkin?"

Candice nodded gleefully; "Yes!" she repeated.

Astoria giggled; "Even my daughter thinks so"

Harry adjusted Candice on his lap; "You better get going Malfoy, Merlin knows you take hours to pimp yourself"

Draco thumped his hands on his thighs before standing up; "You're right-I guess I better get a move on"

Astoria also stood up and pulled Draco into a hug; "Remember what I told you Dray-everything will be alright" she whispered. She then pulled away and grinned; "Don't forget to owl us what happened okay? I want to know every detail!" she gushed.

"That's what girl talk is about-you'd have to ask Hermione" Draco said.

"I will definitely ask her"

Draco then shifted away from his perch; "Thank you again for helping me with this, I owe you both a lot" he said.

Harry waved his hand dismissively; "Just make my best friend happy and we're even"

Draco nodded; "I will Pot-Harry, thank you again"

Harry smirked; "Now that's something new, you calling me by my first name" he teased. "You're welcome Draco"

Draco chuckled; he then spun on his heels and made his way towards the fire place.

Harry waited for Draco to disappear through the green flames before turning his gaze towards his wife; "I still can't believe that he's asking Mione to marry him, I know it's been 6 months since they started dating but I still can't seem to wrap my mind around it" he said with amusement.

Astoria chuckled as she made his way towards her husband; she then plopped down beside him and planted a kiss on his cheek. "They're made for each other love, just like how we were meant to be"

Harry smiled; "Proposals makes you a tad hopeless romantic, I see"

"I've always been hopeless romantic, that's why I married you-remember?"

"That I can't refute"

oOo

Hermione just got off the shower when she heard her floo go off; she grabbed her wand on top of the sink and wrapped her towel tightly around her body. She pulled the door open and peered out; "Who's there?" she called out.

"Hermione? Where are you?"

Hermione let out a relieved sigh upon recognizing the shrilly voice; she stepped out of her bathroom and made her way towards the living room. "I'm here Ginny"

Ginny spun around and smiled brightly upon seeing her best friend's form; "I'm just right on time!"

Hermione threw the red head a confused look; "Err-I'm sorry?"

Ginny made her way towards Hermione and turned her around; she then urged her to walk and steered her towards the bedroom.

"What are you doing?"

Ginny rolled her eyes; "I'm here to help you prepare of course"

Hermione dug her heels on the carpet, halting their steps; she then turned her face to the side and met Ginny's eyes. "Why?"

"You're going on a double date with the Potter's and Draco right?"

Hermione raised her brow; "Yeah"

Ginny began pushing her again, making her resume her steps; "I'm bored to my wits end and I have nothing better to do with my time. So here I am, offering my services to you-you do want to look good for your man, right?" she baited.

"Yes" Hermione replied as they reached her room.

"Hook-Line-Sinker" Ginny thought gleefully. She then stepped inside and closed the door behind her with a snap; "Now, why don't you let me see what you're wearing tonight?"

oOo

"Mum! Where are you?" Draco called out loudly as he stepped out of the grate.

"I'm here love" Narcissa replied.

Draco dusted off the soot from his suit before making his way towards his mother; "Is it ready?"

Narcissa plucked a small velvet drawstring bag from the coffee table; "Yes it is" she replied. She then smiled widely as she stood up; "Didi just came back and everything is already in place" she said.

Draco stood right in front of his mother and smiled, albeit anxiously; "That's good to hear."

Narcissa proffered her hand; "Here you go"

Draco accepted the small bag; "Well...I better get going then-it's almost time."

Narcissa cupped her son's face and ran her thumb along his pale cheek lovingly; "You've really grown up, my baby boy is finally getting married..." she said tearfully.

"Mum..."

"Now is not the time Cissy, your son has a place to be" Lucius drawled as he walks towards the pair.

Narcissa pulled her hand away and sniffed; "I know, I know-forgive me, I didn't mean to be emotional."

Draco pulled his mother into a tight hug; "I love you Mum and thank you for helping me with this..." he whispered.

"I love you too" Narcissa replied. She then pulled away and wiped the stray tear that escaped her eye; "You should go now, the portkey will be activated upon wand touch" she said.

Draco let out a small smile; "Okay, wish me luck?"

Lucius wrapped his arm around his wife's waist and smiled at his son; "I hardly think you need it but good luck son, bring over our new daughter in law after, we would like to welcome her officially into the family."

"We'll both be here if everything goes according to plan" Draco said.

Narcissa chuckled; "Go now before you lose your nerves"

Draco nodded; he then opened the drawstring bag and gently plucked the familiar earring. He held it between his fingers and brought his wand tip towards it; "Bye!" he said before disappearing with a loud pop.

Narcissa brought her hands to her lips to stifle a sob; "My baby boy!"

Lucius pulled Narcissa to his chest and hugged her from the back; he planted a chaste kiss on her head before resting his chin on top of it. "We're not losing our son Cissy, in fact, we're getting a new daughter"

Narcissa leaned back on her husband's chest and placed her arms on top of his; "I know...I'm just overwhelmed and you are right, we're getting a daughter-" she paused, her body freezing in place.

Lucius felt the change in Narcissa's demeanour so he pulled away; he turned his wife around and furrowed his brows. "What happened? Are you okay?"

A small smile tugged on Narcissa's lips before it slowly bloomed into a full grown grin; "I'm getting a daughter-a DAUGHTER Lucius! I've always wanted one!" she said giddily.

Lucius blinked a couple of times before letting out a full belly laugh.

oOo

"Red is really your colour Mione, you look fabulous!" Ginny gushed.

Hermione turned her face towards her best friend and smiled somewhat awkwardly; "Really? I don't look silly?"

Ginny shook her head adamantly; "You are gorgeous and I'm super sure that Draco will have a hard time taking his eyes off of you"

Hermione felt her cheeks flush so she turned her face away; she then studied her reflection on her full length mirror and began tugging on the hem of her dress.

Ginny leaned forward and swatted Hermione's hands away; "Stop that! You're messing it up" she said. She then pointed towards the black platform stiletto heels; "Get into your shoes, it's time" she said.

Hermione nodded; she obediently walked towards her bed and sat down. She leaned forward and slipped on her shoes; "I don't think I can walk in these without magic, I might break my neck or something."

Ginny giggled; "4 inches is not that high and it makes your legs look longer, it's sexy."

Hermione rolled her eyes; she then grabbed her black purse from her side and stood up. "Time to go"

"Your meeting at Harry's place? Are you apparating or flooing?"

Hermione stared at her shoes; "I think I'll apparate, I don't want to step into the grate wearing these-I'll definitely break my neck"

Ginny nodded in agreement; "Good thinking, I myself don't think I can balance well inside the fireplace"

Hermione opened her purse and grabbed her wand; "Thank you for helping me again Gin" she said with a smile.

Ginny smiled mischievously; "My pleasure Mione, just don't forget to owl me later, okay?"

"Will do" Hermione said.

"Go now, I'll floo out"

Hermione closed her eyes and vanished with a loud crack.

"Good luck Malfoy" Ginny whispered with a grin.

oOo

"Where is she? She's supposed to be here by now" Astoria said.

"Calm down Torry, I'm quite sure she's on her way" Harry replied.

Astoria turned towards her husband; "Are you sure you're acting skills are up to par?" she asked sceptically.

Harry rolled his eyes; "I can handle a little acting, stop worrying!" he replied. "I don't even think she'll check on me after you're through with her."

"Fine."

"Mistress? Miss Hermione is here, she is waiting for you in the foyer" Fifi announced.

Astoria furrowed her brows; "I thought she's flooing?"

Harry shrugged his shoulders; "Maybe she changed her mind?" he said. "Go now and tell her"

Astoria nodded; "Okay, just sit tight, I'll be back" she said. She then walked towards the elf but when she's halfway she turned towards her husband again; "Try to look sick!" she hissed before she resumed walking.

Hermione clutch her purse in her hand as she tried straightening her dress; "Why on earth did I wear you again?" she asked herself.

"Hermione! You look fabulous!"

Hermione lifted her gaze and saw Astoria walking towards her; "Hello Torry" she said. She then cocked her head to the side; "Why aren't you dressed yet? Am I early? I swear Harry told me to be here by 7" she said.

Astoria stopped right in front of her friend and tried her best to look distressed; "Oh dear, I don't think we can join you tonight. Harry has an upset stomach and he's been in and out of the loo a couple of times already. I told him not to eat the left over Treacle tart from last night but you know how hard headed he is."

"Is he alright? Do we need to take him to St. Mungos?" Hermione asked, clearly worried for her best friend's welfare.

"He's alright, I already fed him some potion-he's just resting, he's feeling a little bit woozy" Astoria replied.

Hermione let out a sigh of relief; "That's good..."

Astoria smiled ruefully; "It's such a shame, I'm really looking forward to this double date"

"We can reschedule, I don't think Draco would mind" Hermione offered.

Astoria shook her head adamantly; "No, that won't be necessary, you're already dressed, we can just tag along next time"

"Okay..." Hermione replied. "Speaking of Draco, is he here already? He told me to meet him here"

"He flooed us a couple of minutes ago-he was trying to reach you but it looks like he missed you by seconds. He told me that his meeting ran late so he'll just meet you there" Astoria explained. She then grabbed something from her pocket and offered it to the brunette; "You'll need this, we're supposed to portkey to the location but you'll have to take it alone" she said.

Hermione accepted the pouch; "Portkey? Where are we supposed to go?"

Astoria shrugged her shoulders; "I have no idea, Draco wanted it to be a surprise for the three of us"

Hermione chuckled; "Knowing him, it'll be ostentatious-only the best for a Malfoy"

Astoria smiled widely; "Your statement can never be truer"

Hermione opened the small pouch and tipped it on her palm; she raised her brow upon seeing a sapphire stud earring. "What's with Malfoy's and expensive earrings?"

Astoria can't help but giggle at Hermione's expression; "Maybe Aunt Cissy can't wear them all that's why they just converted it into portkeys?"

"They're so rich it's nauseating."

Astoria gestured towards the sparkling earring; "It's time, you should go. It's activated by wand touch, so just tap it with your wand and you'll be whisked away to the location."

Hermione nodded; "Okay...tell Harry to feel better?"

"I will"

"Give my kisses to Candice too"

Astoria nodded; "I will, now shoo!"

Hermione chuckled; "I'm going!" she said. She then stood straighter and tapped the earring with her wand, activating the portkey.

oOo

Draco shoved his hands inside his pants and tilted his head upwards; he closed his eyes as he took a relaxing breath. "Calm down, you love her and she loves you-everything will be fine." His eyes instantly snapped open upon hearing a distinct sound of someone portkey-ing; he let out a loud gasp as his heart started thudding violently inside his chest. He pulled his hands out of his slacks and stood straighter; he tugged on his suit and made his way towards the love of his life.

Hermione blinked a couple of times, making sure that her eyes are not deceiving her; "What in the world-am I in Maldives?" she asked. She then walked towards the familiar glass sliding doors and peered outside; "I am!" she said, her eyes widening in disbelief.

Draco stepped out of his hiding place and gasped-she's breathtaking. His feisty Gryffindor Princess is wearing a scarlet body hugging sleeveless cocktail dress that's made of fine lace; she matched her sexy and sophisticated ensemble with black high heels that showcases her toned legs. Her curls were styled in a loose pony tail that's being held up by ruby studded pins, stray curls framed her face, giving emphasis to her blood red lips-red is really her colour. He stood straighter and cleared his throat; making his presence known.

Hermione felt his presence even before she heard him; she slowly turned to her side and met his gaze. "Hello love."

Draco felt his body relax so he let out a small smile; "You're gorgeous, red is really your colour."

"Thank you. You give muggle suits justice-you look really good in them" Hermione said while eyeing Draco with appreciation. Her lover is wearing a raven black suite with a white button down shirt inside, sans the tie hence few buttons were popped open; his hair is mused up in a sexy way, making him look handsomer than ever.

Draco walked towards Hermione and offered his hand; "Our dinner waits, shall we?"

Hermione placed her hand in his; "I can't believe were in Maldives again, I've missed this place."

Draco led her by the hand and steered them towards the right direction; "Yeah, it's been a while."

Hermione let her eyes roam the familiar hallways and furrowed her brows; clearly confused where he's taking her. "Err-are we going swimming or something?"

Draco chuckled; "I'd love to take a dip with you but no, we're not swimming."

"Then why are making our way towards the infinity pool? And why is it so dark here?"

Draco threw Hermione a side glance before guiding her to the stairs; "You'll just have to wait and see"

"Okay" Hermione replied before focusing her eyes on her feet.

Draco reached the top landing and helped Hermione on the last step; he swallowed thickly before speaking again. "We're here"

Hermione lifted her gaze and almost instantly her eyes widen is surprise; "Oh my."

"Do you like it?" Draco asked nervously.

"Yes, it's beautiful!" Hermione gasped out.

Draco let out a relieved sigh; "Thank Merlin" he mumbled. He then tugged on her hand and gestured towards the makeshift platform floating in the middle of the infinity pool; "Let's go."

Hermione tore her eyes away from the magical luminescent blue lights rippling under the pool water and tightened her grasp on Draco's hand; "The pathway is suspended on water by magic right? I'm wearing heels and I don't want to fall face first."

Draco smiled; "The pathway is sturdy as the ground, you don't have to worry"

Hermione smiled back; "That's good to hear" she said.

Draco pulled her hand and began ushering them towards the said pathway; he stepped into it and began leading her towards the platform. When they reached the round table; he pulled a chair for his lady and helped her sit down before moving towards his.

Hermione leaned back on her chair and stared at Draco; "What you did to this place is beautiful Draco however I can't help but wonder where your planning on sitting Astoria and Harry in all this?" she asked.

Draco threw Hermione a playful smile; "They can always float around us"

Hermione giggled.

Draco smiled; "Are you ready to eat? I'm quite famished"

"It's almost midnight here, I guess we should"

Draco flicked his fingers and automatically food appeared on their plates; "Bon a petit"

Hermione stared at her plate with amusement; "I have to learn how to do that" she said before picking up her napkin.

oOo

The night has progressed smoothly and it's almost time to set the wheels in motion; the nerves that Draco buried momentarily are making its presence known and it's making him antsy. His hands are sweaty and he can practically feel his heart jump in his throat; he grabbed his glass and took a large gulp.

Hermione who's completely oblivious to her beau's plight continued to enjoy the comfortable silence between them; she took a sip of her champagne as she stares at the starry horizon that the view offered them.

Draco sat straighter as he let his left hand fall to his side; he covertly inserted it inside his pocket and grasped the tiny velvet box inside. He pulled it out but kept it under the table; he took a deep calming breath as he reached for Hermione's left hand with his right. "Hermione?"

Hermione turned her gaze towards Draco and squeezed his hand; "Hhhhmmmnnn?"

"This is it!" Draco thought. He intertwined their fingers together as he leans forward; "I have something to say, will you listen?" he asked seriously.

Hermione's attention was caught with his seriousness; she sat straighter and stared at Draco expectantly. "Go ahead."

Draco took a deep breath before standing up; he made his way towards Hermione without letting go of her hand. He stopped by her side and kneeled on one knee; he opened his left hand and gazed into her hazel eyes.

Hermione's right hand flew to her lips as her eyes widen in shock; her heart was beating wildly inside her chest, making it hard to breath. "Oh my god!" she thought.

"I know we haven't been dating that long but I have known you almost half of my life. We don't have a very promising history but I want to change that. I love you Hermione, I guess I always have-I'd like to think that's the reason why I always pick on you when we we're kids but I'm not saying that it justifies what I did..." Draco paused and swallowed thickly. "I'm a spoiled bigoted brat and sometimes I can be selfish, I can't promise you that we won't fight because that would be preposterous. All I can promise you though is that I will always listen and agree to disagree if we don't meet eye to eye. I promise to always be there for you through thick and thin-even through the times that you don't want to see my face. And lastly, I promise to show you how much I love you for the rest of our lives if you'll let me..."

Hermione felt tears trail down her cheeks; "Oh god..."

Draco flicked the velvet box open with his thumb and presented the large emerald cut diamond ring to her; "Hermione Jean Granger, will you marry me?"

Hermione flung her arms around Draco and hugged him tightly; "Yes!"

Draco felt his heart soar with so much happiness; "I love you...thank you..." he whispered.

Hermione pulled away and wiped her cheeks with her right hand; "I love you too."

Draco gingerly plucked the ring from the box and placed it on her left ring finger; he stared at it with awe before planting a kiss on it.

Hermione impulsively cupped his face with her hands and leaned forward; "Thank you for loving me Draco, thank you for making me believe in ever afters again" she said before capturing his lips in a passionate kiss.

Didi grinned toothily as she snapped her fingers together; she let out an excited squeak before disappearing with a loud pop.

Hermione pulled her lips away from Draco as soon as she heard it; she tilted her face towards the ebon sky, a large smile playing on her lips. "Fireworks!"

Draco followed her gaze and grinned widely; "Yeah, fireworks."

*End of flashback*

"DRACO!"

Draco shook his head to clear his thoughts; "You were saying?"

"Your one love sick puppy!" Blaise accused good naturedly with a chuckle.

Draco ignored Blaise's taunts; "Where's Daphne?"

"She's downstairs, Astoria accosted her as soon as she saw us" Blaise explained. "Where's your wife to be?"

Draco smiled; "Getting ready I hope"

"Where?"

Draco threw Blaise a pensive look; "She's in the property, I think."

"Huh?" Blaise asked, clearly confused.

"Mum and Anne wanted to follow tradition so they decided to separate us for the time being-I haven't seen her in 3 days but my Mum was kind enough to let it slip that they'll be taking over Rose Cottage for the preparations."

"Aunt Cissy's private quarters near the meadows?"

"That's the one."

oOo

Rose Cottage - 12:10 P.M.

"Hermione dear, you might want to eat something, starving yourself before the ceremony starts is not ideal" Anne Granger said while staring at her daughter.

"Your mother is right pumpkin, you don't want to faint even before you get the chance to say I do to your fiancé-we don't want him throwing a temper tantrum after all" Richard Granger said with a wink.

"Daddy!"

"We love that boy dearly but we don't want to witness his infamous Malfoy temper" Anne said with a fond smile.

Hermione giggled.

"Why don't you be a good girl and eat your lunch, yeah? Mum and I will try our best to fend off Ginny and Astoria to give you a few minutes, god knows you need room to breathe."

Hermione smiled widely; "Thank you so much Daddy. I love those two a lot but they're quite handful" she admitted.

Anne leaned forward and patted her daughter's head; "Listen to you father, we'll handle it" she said. She then linked her fingers with her husband's and pulled him out of the room, closing the door behind them gently.

Hermione moved towards the chair near the bay windows and took a seat; she grabbed the napkin on top of the table and placed it on her lap. She then turned her face to the side and caught a glimpse of her wedding gown; "I'm getting married today...for real..." she said ecstatically.

*Flashback*

Hermione leaned her head on Draco's shoulder and lifted her left hand; "This ring is really beautiful...I love it" she murmured while eyeing her engagement ring with wonder.

Draco rested his head on hers; "I'm glad you love it" he replied.

Hermione let out a dreamy sigh and scooted closer to her fiancé; "Ginny is into this, right?"

"Why do you think that?"

Hermione rolled her eyes; "To answer your unvoiced question, Gin didn't rat you out-I didn't expect any of this. When I tapped on that gaudy portkey the last thing on my mind is a wedding proposal."

Draco chuckled; "Gaudy?" he asked, clearly amused.

Hermione pulled away and stared at his face; "What's with Malfoy's and jewellery portkeys?"

Draco shrugged; "I really don't know, perhaps Mum has a lot of spare jewelleries she's not using."

"That's exactly what Torry told me!" Hermione said. She then leaned back and resumed her earlier pose; "I often forget how rich you really are" she mumbled.

"My parents are rich, not me" Draco said. He then pulled her closer and nuzzled her cheek with his nose; "Let's not talk about that, it's not important" he said.

Hermione hummed contentedly; "Okay...why did you choose this place to propose? It's million miles away from home, you could've popped the question on the street and I would've said yes."

"It's just fitting-I mean, this is where it all started."

Hermione smiled; "I didn't know you were sentimental" she teased.

Draco planted a kiss on her temple; "All your doing Granger, you're too blame for this new mushiness"

"You are aware that if you marry me, you can't call me Granger anymore"

Draco grinned widely; "That's right, you'll be a Malfoy but regardless of your new last name-you will always be Granger to me..."

"Hermione Jean Malfoy, it sounds strange" Hermione said thoughtfully.

"Sounds just perfect to me"

Hermione closed her eyes; "You're right, it's perfect-we're made perfectly for each other."

"Now who's sounding mushy?" Draco teased.

Hermione giggled.

"I meant every word I said, I love you and I'll spend my life showing you just how much. Thank you for coming into my life Granger..."

Hermione felt her eyes heating up again; "I love you too Draco, thank you for making my dreams come true..."

Draco turned his face to the side and tipped Hermione's face up; he met her hazel eyes before claiming her lips.

*End of Flashback*

"Hermione?"

Hermione was jarred from her trance when she heard her name being called; she turned her head to the side and saw Ginny peering from the door. "Hey Gin"

Ginny pushed the door open; "Are you done eating? It's already quarter past 1, we should get you ready."

Hermione's eyes widen; "Oh Merlin!" she gasped. She then turned her focus on her plate and began stuffing her mouth; "Just give me 5 minutes and I'll be done" she said through mouthful of food.

Ginny shook her head as she enters the room; she moved towards the foot of the bed and sat down. "Let me guess, you were daydreaming again?" she said with a knowing smile.

Hermione felt her cheeks flush; "I'm not!"

Ginny giggled; "The blush on your cheeks says otherwise love."

Hermione averted her gaze and took a sip of her pumpkin juice; after a couple of gulps she placed it back on the table and wiped her mouth with a napkin. "I'm done."

"That was fast, are you sure you had your fill?"

Hermione placed the napkin on top of the table and nodded; "I can't eat another bite, my dress might not fit."

Ginny rolled her eyes as she stood up from her perch; "Eating a whole sandwich won't make you gain a pound, trust me, I ate 2 and my dress still fits."

"Fine but I'm really full Gin, I had a heavy breakfast-you were with me."

Ginny pursed her lips; "You just had to remind me that eh? Now I feel fat."

Hermione can't help but chuckle; "You're far from fat" she said. She then pushed away from the table and stood up; "Where's Torry?"

"Daphne just arrived, she went to the Manor to pick her up"

"I see" Hermione replied. She then walked towards the bed and grabbed her robe and towel; "I should take a quick shower before she returns, I don't want her berating me again" she joked.

Ginny laughed; "Go now."

oOo

Malfoy Manor - 4:30 P.M.

Draco was fastening his cufflinks when he heard faint knock on his door; "Come in"

The door opened and Narcissa peered in; she let out a wide smile upon seeing her son standing right in front of the full length mirror. "You look handsome love"

"Thank you" Draco replied. He then turned around to face his mother fully; "You're breathtaking as usual."

Narcissa chuckled; she then made her way towards Draco and stood right in front of him. "Everything is perfect."

Draco smirked; "I don't doubt that."

Narcissa placed her hand on his silver tie and began fixing it; "You will be married in a couple of minutes, are you nervous?"

"Will you believe if I tell you that I'm more excited than nervous?"

Narcissa moved her hands on his silver vest and began straightening it; "I believe you, a Malfoy never gets nervous"

Draco let out a full belly laugh.

Narcissa let her hands drop to her side before smiling affectionately.

"Are you ready? It's time"

Draco and Narcissa both turned towards the door and saw Lucius standing by the frame; "Yes we are" the latter replied.

Draco moved towards his bed and grabbed his coat; he walked back towards the mirror and shrugged it on.

Narcissa shifted towards her son and began fussing over him; once she's satisfied, she took a step back and studied his appearance. "The suit fits you perfectly, you look dashing"

Lucius walked towards his wife and pulled her to his side; "You and Hermione will make a stunning couple" he said with one of his rare smiles. "We'll have smart and good looking grandchildren Cissy"

"Dad!"

Narcissa clapped her hands excitedly; "Just thinking about it makes me so happy!"

Draco averted his eyes, his cheeks flushing profusely; "Let's not get ahead of ourselves, yeah? Let us marry first before you start talking about our fictitious children."

Lucius smirked; "We'll see son, we'll see."

oOo

Wedding Venue - Malfoy Grounds - 4: 45 P.M.

"You're the most beautiful bride I ever laid my eyes on-well aside from my wife of course."

Hermione turned around and saw Harry holding the tent flap open; "You're not late."

Harry released the flap as he steps in; he made his way towards his best friend and stood right in front of her. He studied her appearance before meeting her eyes; "You are one gorgeous bride and Draco is a lucky bloke" he said seriously.

Hermione smiled; "Thank you Harry"

"Am I allowed to hug you?" Harry asked with a smile. "It's just that I don't want to mess up your dress or your hair or something"

Hermione flung her arms around her best friend and pulled him into an embrace.

Harry hugged her back tightly; "Are you happy Hermione? Really happy?" he whispered.

Hermione felt her eyes heating up but she willed herself not to cry; "I am Harry...happier than I've ever been in my entire life."

"That's all I want to hear" Harry replied before pulling away. He then took a step closer to her and carefully planted a kiss on her forehead; "You are my sister and that will never change, I love you and you will always have me" he said. He then met her eyes again and smirked; "Don't hesitate to call me if Malfoy is giving you grief, I'll kick is ferrety arse" he added.

Hermione giggled; "Oh Harry!" she said. "You are and will always be my brother regardless of my surname. I love you too."

"I hope you're not stealing my son's bride"

Hermione and Harry both turned around and saw Lucius standing by the tent's entrance.

"Oh hush! Harry will do no such thing!" Narcissa said. She pushed her husband aside and stepped inside the tent; she then turned her eyes towards her future daughter in law and almost instantly her hands flew to her lips. "Oh my! You look stunning my dear, my son is one fortunate man indeed."

Lucius fell into step with his wife and stared at Hermione; "My wife is right, you are beautiful" he said.

Hermione felt her cheeks heating up; "Thank you..." she replied shyly.

Harry felt awkward while watching his best friend's in laws so he decided that it's time to make a run for it; "Err-I better check on Candice, we don't want her eating the flowers" he said with a nervous chuckle.

"Okay Harry, I'll see you there" Hermione said.

Harry nodded politely towards the Malfoy's before stepping out.

Narcissa waited for the flap to close before making her way towards Hermione; she stood right in front of the blushing bride and smiled. "Are you ready dearest?"

Hermione nodded; "I am."

Narcissa lifted her hands and cupped Hermione's cheek; "I know I have already said this before but I want to say it again-thank you for giving my son a chance in love again, thank you for making him happy."

Hermione smiled; "He gave me that chance too and I can't be anymore happier than I am now."

Narcissa smiled tearfully before pulling the brunette into a tight hug.

"Women" Lucius thought. He waited for a couple of seconds before clearing his throat loudly; "I don't mean to be rude but we have to get a move on."

Narcissa sniffed as she pulls away; "Lucius is right dearest, we should go now."

"I'll go get her parents then" Lucius said. He turned around and made his way towards the makeshift door; he was halfway out when he paused. He turned his face towards Hermione and smiled sincerely; "My son chose well, welcome to the family" he said proudly.

A full blown smile blossomed from Hermione's lips; "Thank you"

Lucius nodded before stepping out.

oOo

The colossal ground of Malfoy estate was transformed into a perfect wedding venue; Narcissa Malfoy was not kidding when she said that everything was done in perfection. The ersatz aisle was made up of light silver carpet that crawls up right to the front; the sides were lined with thin intricately carved posts that held an assortment of large purple cabbage roses, lavender hydrangeas, lily of the valley and yellow green malaysian mumps-Hermione's favourite blooms. Chairs that are wrapped in white gossamer fabric with dark purple satin girdle were placed strategically at each side, mimicking chapel pews. The wide marble like platform dominates the front which will serve us a makeshift stage for the couple; the vast field at the back that has a perfect view of the setting sun will serve as their backdrop when they exchange their vows. The whole place was arranged in a simple yet tasteful manner but it still manage to scream elegance and sophistication-something that the Malfoy family is known for.

"Time to take your place at the front mate" Blaise said.

Draco took a deep calming breath before nodding; "Okay"

Theo smirked; "Nerves finally getting to you?"

Blaise slapped the back of Theo's head with an unimpressed look.

"Bloody hell! What was that for?" Theo yelped as he rubs his head.

"You're supposed to calm him down and not rile him up" Blaise snapped.

"I'm not riling him up, it was just a question!"

Draco can't help but chuckle at his bickering mates; he shook his head as he stares at them with amusement.

"And here I was thinking that you two already matured from your childish antics" Lucius drawled.

Blaise and Theo both turned around; a chastised look both marred their faces.

Draco took pity on his friends so he decided to butt in; "Shall I take my place at the front? Is everything set?"

"That's what Mr. Zabini is here for, did he not inform you?" Lucius asked pointedly.

Blaise cleared his throat; "I just did"

"Very well, let's not waste more time, take your places"

Draco nodded; "Let's go"

oOo

"Are you ladies ready?" Richard asked.

"Almost done Daddy" Hermione said.

"Just a minute dear" Anne replied as she gently tugs the veil down.

Astoria walked towards Hermione's back and began fluffing out the trail of her gown.

Ginny leaned towards the table and grabbed her best friend's bouquet; she turned it towards her and stared at it in awe. "These are beautiful Mione-I'm planning on catching it."

Daphne threw the red head a teasing look; "Looks like someone wants to get married after you Hermione."

Hermione turned her face towards Ginny and winked; "I'll make sure to throw it towards your direction then."

Ginny's cheeks turned bright red; "It's not what I meant!"

Astoria chuckled; "You don't need a bouquet to get married, we all know it's just a matter of time before Goldstein plucks up the courage to ask you."

Ginny ignored her friend's jibes; "Cymbidium orchids, Ranunculus, Lisianthas, Cabbage roses, Hydrangeas and Scabiosa's in different shades of purple, how on earth were you able to get these beautiful flowers?"

"Narcissa's doing" Astoria replied.

Ginny moved towards Hermione and handed her the beautiful arrangement; "Here you go, love"

Hermione accepted the hand tied bouquet and smiled at her friend; "Thank you"

Anne took a step back and studied her daughter's appearance; "Now you're ready" she said with a large smile.

Daphne clapped her hands to get everybody's attention; "I can hear the quartet playing people, time to marry her off" she said before stepping out of the tent.

Astoria blew the brunette a kiss before looping her arm around Ginny's; "We'll see you in a while Mione" she said before dragging her friend away.

"Later!" Ginny called out.

Richard walked towards his daughter and offered his hand; "You look beautiful pumpkin, Draco is a very lucky bloke indeed."

Hermione placed her hand on top of her father's and squeezed it; "I love you Daddy...you'll always be the first man in my life" she half whispered.

Richard lifted Hermione's hand and placed a kiss on her knuckles; "And you will always be my little girl."

Anne sniffed loudly; "You two are making me cry" she said while dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief.

Richard chuckled; "Come on now pumpkin, we don't want your Mum ruining her makeup-she'll never forgive us."

Hermione laughed.

oOo

"Stop tugging at your coat, you're messing it up" Blaise chastised.

Draco let his hand fall limp to his side as he stood straighter; "Why is it taking too long? She didn't run off or something, right?" he asked anxiously.

Blaise placed his hand on Draco's shoulder and gave it a comforting squeeze; "Of course she won't, just relax and try to breathe, your turning really pale."

Draco closed his eyes and followed Blaise's instructions; he was on his third breath when heard it. His heart jumped to his throat as his eyes snapped open; "It's starting" he said breathlessly.

Blaise grinned widely; "It is, so smile-you're marrying the girl of your dreams mate"

Draco felt a smile tug on his lips; "I am, thanks" he replied before fixing his eyes on the aisle.

Candice appeared on the edge of the aisle grinning widely; she happily skipped her way towards the front while throwing rose petals on her path, making the crowd smile. Next came Teddy, wearing his finest charcoal suit, carrying a heart shape pillow, bearing the couple's rings.

After a couple of seconds; Daphne and Theo came into view, followed closely by Harry and Astoria. After the pairs made it to the front, Ginny appeared next, a radiant smile painted on her lips. She glided gracefully along the aisle and took her place near the platform; she turned her face towards the anxious groom and winked. "Breathe" she mouthed.

Draco shifted in his feet and followed the red head's advice; he took a deep calming breath as he patiently waited for his bride.

The guests stood up from their perch when they heard the music change; they all turned around, wanting to get the first glimpse of the Malfoy bride.

Hermione was wearing a white strapless "a" line gown with sweetheart neckline and corset closure. An asymmetrical dropped bodice that's cinched towards her left hip helped accentuate her hourglass figure. A large snowflake-like pattern made from a combination of silver threads and diamonds are embroidered intricately to give an illusion that it's holding the skirt up. The airy shimmer of Brescia Organza lends itself to softly billowing waves that gracefully move across the skirt up to her trail, giving it a whimsical look. Her long chestnut curls were tamed and styled in a side swept loose ponytail that's being held by an enchanted purple rose; her makeup was done in earth tones which gave emphasis to her glossy nude coloured lips

Draco can't help but gasp loudly when he caught sight of Hermione for the first time; he felt his heart thundering inside his chest as a large lump formed inside his throat-she is breathtaking and he can't wait to officially call her his.

Her soon to be husband looked dashing in his muggle steel grey suit; he paired it with a white button down shirt with a silver tie. A gray silk handkerchief is inserted in his left breast pocket which accentuated the modern lapel of his coat; his blonde hair was styled in a messy way that gave emphasis to his stormy eyes, making him look years younger.

Hermione felt her heart skip a beat when she laid her eyes on him; it has only been 3 days since she last saw him but she missed him dearly, no words can describe how handsome he looked at the very moment and she can't wait to officially call him hers.

Richard stopped right in front of the altar and turned towards his daughter; he gently lifted her veil and planted a soft kiss on her cheek. "Be happy."

Hermione smiled tearfully at her father; "I love you Daddy..."

"I love you too pumpkin" Richard replied with a smile.

Kingsley Shacklebolt took his place at the front; "Who gives this woman to this man?" he asked loudly.

"My wife and I, do" Richard replied clearly. He then guided Hermione's hand towards Draco's; "Take care of my baby girl Draco, I trust you" he said seriously.

"I will, thank you Sir" Draco replied.

Richard nodded; he then took a step back and made his way towards his wife.

Kingsley smiled; "Let's start the ceremony then."

Draco helped Hermione up the platform and kept her hand in his; they both turned towards the Minister and waited for him start the ceremony that will bind them together for eternity.

"We are all gathered here today to witness the binding of these two souls in matrimony; we are all here to witness the love of these two people and watch them start their lives together. The couple before me will recite their own promise of love to each other but before we listen to them I would still need to ask this question, though I know no one would dare interrupt us" Kingsley said, making the crowd chuckle.

"If anyone present is not at peace to wed this two together please speak now or forever hold your piece"

Silence...

Kingsley smiled; "Draco and Hermione please face each other, it is now time to recite your vows."

Draco took a deep breath before turning towards his lovely bride; he met her eyes and felt a smile tug on his lips. "We're finally here"

Hermione cracked a small smile; "We are."

Draco grasped her other hand; "I gave up on love a long time ago and promised myself that I'll never put myself out there again. In fact, I already made a cover story if somebody will dare ask me why I never married; I'll tell them I was too busy earning more money and simply forgot to find a wife. But then you came, in a very unconventional way, I may add; other people may call it a coincidence but we knew it's pure manipulation-but it's a type of manipulation that I don't mind and forever be grateful for" he paused to wink at his beaming mother, earning a laugh from the crowd. He shifted in his feet before continuing; "I never thought I'll learn to fall in love again after everything I've been through, heck-I never even imagined in my wildest dream that it will be with you but I guess fate has its own plan" he paused again, his face turning serious. "You came into my life and made my dead heart beat again; I was broken beyond repair but you managed to fix me with an unconditional love that I'm not even sure I deserve. You are the light in my tempestuous life-my saving grace and I can't thank you enough for the privilege of being with you." Draco swallowed thickly to clear the lump in his throat; "Today, as we stand right in front of our loved ones, I Draco Xavier Malfoy pledge my unwavering commitment and love to you. I promise to cherish you, to take care of you and to put you first in my life at all times. I may not be the perfect man but I will strive to be the man you deserve. I love you Granger and I will continue loving you until my last breath."

Hermione couldn't hold it together anymore; a sob escaped her lips as tears trek down her cheeks.

Draco squeezed her hand and gave out a comforting smile.

Hermione sniffed; "I'm sorry...I didn't mean to cry...it's just-what you said-it was beautiful and I don't know how to top that..."

Draco rolled his eyes playfully; "And we all know you will anyway" he teased, making the crowd laugh again.

Hermione chuckled; she then sniffed and cleared her throat. "Every since I was a little girl I've always believed that my prince will someday come and he'll be my first and only love. He'll sweep me off my feet with a love so real and we'll ride off the sunset in his big white horse-a love story often portrayed in Disney movies. Never did it even crossed my mind that the first love I dreamed off will hurt me beyond words and break my heart into pieces" she paused to compose herself. "You may have come into my life in a very unconventional way but your timing can never be more perfect; you helped me fix the broken pieces and made me realize that there's more to gain than hate from that experience -you showed me the silver lining that I never thought I'd see again. The road I took to get to you may have been paved with insurmountable pain but I would never regret taking it because it led me straight to you." She stood straighter and stared at him solemnly; "Today, I Hermione Jean Granger, pledge my everlasting devotion and love to you. I vow to never let go of your hand in times of doubt, to cherish you and stay by your side as your confidante, your personal cheerleader, your lover and your wife. You may not be first love maybe because your destined to my greatest, the fairy tale I once dreamed about did come true-only my prince came to me with a portkey and not a white horse" she finished with a tearful smile. "I love you Draco and I promise to love you till our very last breath."

Draco felt a tear escaped his eye but he wiped it hastily; he cleared his throat and smiled affectionately at Hermione. "I love you" he mouthed.

"I love you more" Hermione mouthed back.

"I say you two are even" Kingsley joked, earning a laugh from the crowd. He then shifted in his feet and smiled at the couple; "Please bring the rings" he instructed.

Blaise walked towards Teddy to retrieve the rings; he then moved towards Kingsley and offered it to him.

Kingsley waved his wand on top of the pillow and the rings automatically appeared on his open palm; "We will start the binding ceremony now-Draco please get the ring and place it in Hermione's left ring finger."

Draco plucked the ring and gently inserted it on Hermione's finger; "With this ring I thee wed" he said.

"Draco, do you take Hermione as your loving wife, for better or worse, through sickness and in health and till death do you part?" Kingsley asked.

"I do."

"Hermione please take the other ring and place it on Draco's left ring finger."

Hermione seized the ring and inserted it into Draco's finger; "With this ring I thee wed" she said.

"Hermione, do you take Draco as your loving husband, for better or worse, through sickness and in health and till death do you part?" Kingsley repeated.

"I do."

"Now both of you please hold each other's hand, aligning your wedding rings together" Kingsley said.

Draco grasped his wife's hand and caught her gaze.

Kingsley began waving his wand in an intricate pattern and began chanting the binding spell; thin silver light began erupting from its tip as it began looping around the couple's wrist. The light began weaving a chain as it fastens at both ends; it seeped through the couple's skin as Kingsley ended the spell. "The binding has been sealed and your souls have been intertwined, love each other like you're both destined to."

The crowd all stood up and began clapping.

"It is both my honour and privilege to present to you Mr. and Mrs Draco Malfoy; Draco my boy, you may kiss your beautiful bride, congratulations!"

Draco smiled widely and pulled Hermione to his chest; he lifted her veil and wrapped his arm around her tiny waist. "I love you Mrs. Malfoy" he murmured.

Hermione giggled and gently cupped her husband's face; "I like the sound of that, I love you too Mr. Malfoy" she replied.

Draco turned his face sideways and kissed her open palm; he then brought her face closer and kissed her senseless.

The crowd cheered wildly.

oOo

The reception is being held outside the Manor just like what Hermione wished for; Narcissa didn't shirk away from that idea and took her daughter in law's words to heart-some might say she may have gone overboard but for her, it was just right.

A grand silver marquee was erected in the same place the couple took their vows; several chandeliers hung from the ballroom like ceiling which gave out a very warm yet intimate feeling. Large round tables with comfortable chairs were scattered around the carpeted floor; it was adorned with tall crystal vases that held different blooms, emitting subtle fragrances that perfumes the night air. A large dance floor was crafted in the middle of the room to give way for the string quartet and of course for some dancing.

"This place looks awesome" Harry said with awe. "I didn't know a simple marquee can look like this."

Astoria turned towards her husband and smiled; "It's what we call magic, love."

Harry chuckled; "I know love-it's just amazing" he said.

Astoria followed Harry's gaze and nodded; "It is"

"Let's find our seats? I think we share the same table" Daphne said.

"We do, I already checked with Narcissa" Ginny replied.

Astoria turned around to face the red head; "Where's your beau?"

Ginny gestured towards the tent's entrance; "He's waiting for their boss"

Harry adjusted Candice on his arms; "Let's go, I'm excited to find out what's on the menu. I'm quite sure Narcissa went all the way with it as well."

"She did, it's a 7 course meal" Daphne piped in.

Harry's eyes widen in shock; "7 course?!"

Astoria laughed; "It was supposed to be more than that but Draco put his foot down for 7."

Ginny shook her head in amusement; "Only the best for Malfoy's, eh?"

Daphne smiled; "He got to marry Hermione, right?"

Harry nodded in agreement; "One of the best indeed."

oOo

"I know you can't get your hands off of each other but I'm afraid you have to or your guests will all starve to death."

Hermione pulled her swollen lips away from her husband and peered behind his shoulder; she felt her cheeks blush profusely when she saw who caught them. "Err-"

Draco turned his face to the side, following his wife's gaze; "Dad."

Lucius smirked; "Ready to eat real food now?"

Draco can't help but chuckle at Hermione's reaction; he squeezed her one more time before taking a step back. "We should go in there love, we don't want Mum freaking out."

Hermione buried her face into Draco's chest as she groaned loudly.

Lucius laughed; "Looks like your bride needs a couple of minutes to gather herself."

"Dad!" Hermione shrieked.

Lucius raised his hands in surrender before turning around; "I'll give you kids 5 more minutes, if you don't come out, I'll send your Mother in-she's been looking for you two for a couple of minutes now" he said as he walks away.

"We'll be there" Draco replied.

Hermione waited for a couple of seconds before pulling her face away from its hiding spot; "Is he gone?"

Draco looked down and met Hermione's inquisitive eyes; "He's gone" he replied before planting a kiss on her nose.

Hermione pulled away from Draco's arms; "I can't believe he found us and he caught us kissing!"

Draco chuckled; "He already saw us kiss love, I'm quite sure it's nothing he hasn't seen yet."

"But we're making out like teenagers! You have your hand on my arse!"

Draco reached for her buttocks and pinched it playfully.

Hermione giggled as she swatted his hands away; "Draco!"

"Our guests awaits love, let's not keep them from their food any longer" Draco said as he offers his hand out.

Hermione laced their fingers together and smiled brightly; "Let's, I'm quite famished myself."

"Same here" Draco replied before tugging on her hands.

oOo

The festivities progressed and everyone seems to be having a good time; the little program that Narcissa put together for her son and new daughter was executed efficiently, much to his mother's delight. Now that the night is almost at its end, Draco knew there's only one thing left to do. So having that in mind, he stood up from his perch and turned towards his wife; he bowed like a gentleman and offered his hand. "May I have this dance, Mrs. Malfoy?"

Hermione being caught off guard by Draco's action's let out a giggle; "It will be my pleasure, Mr. Malfoy" she replied as she puts her hand in his.

As if on cue, all eyes turned on them-the loud chattering hushing almost instantly. Ginny stood up from her seat and made her way towards the small stage; she nodded towards the quartet before grasping the microphone.

Draco planted a kiss on her hand before gently pulling her up; he led her towards the middle of the empty dance floor and wrapped his arm around her waist.

Soft music permeated the air as Ginny's voice resounded inside the whole place.

"I know that the bridges that I've burned along the way has left me with these walls and these scars that won't go away. And opening up has always been the hardest thing, until you came..."

Hermione wrapped her arms around Draco's neck as she swayed with the song; "How did you know that this is one of my favourite songs?"

Draco smiled as he tightened his arms around her; "A magician never reveals his secret."

"So lay here, beside me and don't let go. This feeling, I'm feeling is something I'll never know. And I just can't take my eyes off you..."

Hermione gazed into his eyes; "I love you Draco..." she whispered.

"I love you more..."

"And I love when you tell me that I'm pretty when I just woke up. And I love how you tease me when I'm moody and it's always enough. I'm falling fast and the truth is not I'm not scared at all, you broke my walls..."

"Is it just me or this song perfectly describes our relationship?" Draco asked.

Hermione giggled; "Caught on, have you?"

"So you love it when I tease you?" Draco asked mischievously.

"No, I love it when you tell me I'm beautiful without make up on" Hermione corrected.

Draco smiled; "You've always been beautiful to me Hermione, with or without make up on."

"Awwww, you're turning mushy on me again"

Draco chuckled; he then pulled her closer and rested his chin on top of her head. "So lay here, beside me and don't let go. This feeling, I'm feeling is something I'll never know. And I just can't take my eyes off you..."he sang along with Ginny.

"You're singing..."

"I am. You turned me into a big ball of mushiness, so shut up."

Hermione buried her face into his chest and smiled contentedly; "A big ball of mushiness that I happen to love to bits."

oOo

"Here you go Mione, everything you need is in there already" Ginny said.

Hermione zipped her dress and turned towards her best friend; "I can't thank you enough for this Gin, I love you!"

"I love too and you're welcome, just make sure you return the favour in my wedding" Ginny said with a wink.

Hermione laughed; "I'll sing and dance in your wedding if you-wait" she paused when it finally caught on to her. Her eyes darted towards Ginny's hand and saw a huge solitaire diamond ring adorning her finger; "Oh my god!"

Astoria laughed as she stood beside the newly engaged witch; "Do you agree with me now? Telling her right after Anthony proposed will have her foaming in the mouth, Narcissa will never forgive us if that actually happened."

Ginny chuckled; "Malfoy's never foam in the mouth."

Hermione ignored her friend's jibe; "When did this happen? Oh my god!"

"Calm down Mione" Ginny said. "It happened after my song number-Anthony asked me to step outside and led me towards the middle of the fields; he dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him."

Hermione couldn't contain herself any longer; she flung her arms around Ginny and pulled her into a tight hug. "I'm so happy for you Ginny! You're finally getting married!"

Ginny hugged her ecstatic friend back; "Thank you love."

"As much as I love to keep you here longer MIone, I'm afraid I can't. You have a honeymoon to go to and a husband to please" Astoria said.

Hermione pulled away from her friend, her cheeks flushing brightly.

"Oh, she's blushing, isn't it cute?" Ginny teased.

"Oh shut it!" Hermione said.

Astoria chuckled; she then pointed her wand at her friend's suitcase and vanished it. "There you go, one step closer to leaving."

oOo

"Your bag has already been sent downstairs, you're good to go" Blaise said.

Draco grabbed his jacket from his bed; "Thanks man"

"Welcome" Blaise replied.

"Where you two going again?" Theo asked.

"Well be spending a week in Maldives then we're off to Switzerland" Draco replied.

Blaise raised his brow; "Maldives? Again?"

Draco shrugged on his jacket; "Hermione wants to go back-so I'm indulging her."

"You've got to take me there, that place intrigues me" Theo said thoughtfully.

"Sure, just tell me when and I'll send you the portkey" Draco replied.

"Aunt Cissy won't mind?" Theo asked.

Draco rolled his eyes; "Are you really asking me that question Nott?"

Theo looked abashed; "Oh right, sorry"

"You done? Your parents are already waiting for you at the foyer-Hermione is already on her way down" Anthony said.

"Goldstein, you sly dog! Congratulations!" Blaise said jovially.

Draco furrowed his brows in confusion; "What happened?"

Theo smirked; "He proposed to Little Red right after her song number, they're finally engaged."

Anthony cringed; "I was planning on proposing after your wedding but hearing her sing made me throw my plans out of the window, I couldn't hold it off any longer, I'm sorry."

Draco made his way towards his friend and hugged him briefly; "You have nothing to be sorry for, congratulations!" he said while patting his back.

Anthony let out a relieved sigh; "Thank you Drake" he replied.

Blaise coughed; "You should get your arse down Draco, you don't want to make the missus wait."

"Right" Draco said. He then stepped into his loafers and made his way towards the door; "Let's go."

oOo

"Enjoy your time together love" Anne said as hugs her daughter tightly.

"I will Mum" Hermione replied.

Anne pulled away and took a step back; Richard took her place and wrapped his arm around her daughter. "Don't forget to owl us as soon as you reach Zurich, yeah?"

"I promise."

Richard pulled away and planted a kiss on her forehead; "I love you pumpkin and we'll see you real soon."

Hermione smiled widely; "I love you too Daddy and you too Mum" she said.

Richard placed his arm around his wife's shoulders; "Where's that husband of yours anyway?" he asked while looking around.

Hermione rolled her eyes; she was about to open her mouth to respond but wasn't able to do so when she saw him walking towards them. "There he is."

"I can't believe you took longer than Hermione" Narcissa chided.

Draco rolled his eyes; "I had a lot to pack."

"Of course you do, Merlin knows how much hair products you have." Lucius drawled.

Draco threw his father a side glance; "Hair products you also use."

"Touché" Lucius said with a laugh.

Narcissa took a step towards her son and hugged him tightly; "Take care of yourself and your wife" she said.

Draco returned the hug; "I will, stop worrying, we'll be fine" he whispered.

Narcissa pulled away and wiped her eyes; "I will always worry, you are my babies"

"Don't hesitate to let us know in case you need anything, okay?" Lucius reminded.

"Yes sir" Draco replied.

Lucius leaned forward and hugged his son; he patted his back and pulled away. "You should leave now."

Draco nodded; he then turned towards his wife and smiled. "You ready, love?"

"Yep"

"Come on then"

Hermione moved towards her husband and stood beside him.

Draco wrapped his arm around her tiny waist and smiled at their parents; "We'll see you in a month."

Hermione copied her husband's action and gripped his waist tightly; "See you!" she said with a cheerful wave.

A loud chorus of goodbyes were thrown the couple's way.

Draco accioed the portkey earring in his hand and they both disappeared with a loud pop.

Narcissa sniffed loudly; "I will miss them both dearly."

Anne nodded in agreement; "I will too"

"Wipe your tears ladies-they'll both be back before you know it. And besides, who knows, we might get our grandchild by then" Lucius said mischievously.

"That I'm very much looking forward to" Richard said with a grin.

oOo

Hermione opened her eyes and saw her familiar surroundings; she smiled widely before pulling away. "We're here."

Draco grinned; "We are."

Hermione shifted in her feet, clearly not sure how to proceed.

Draco took the initiative and made the first move; he scooped her into his arms and planted a chaste kiss on her lips.

Hermione giggled as she wrap her arm around his neck; "Patience is really not your virtue, eh?"

"I've been patient for a very long time love" Draco growled before he hefted her up and slung her on his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

Hermione shrieked; "Draco you great big oaf! Put me down!"

"Time to get naked Granger" Draco replied as he made his way towards their room.

Hermione giggled as she hung upside down.

"Liking the view?"

Hermione thought for a moment before following her intuition; she bit her bottom lip hard to keep herself from laughing before slapping her husband's buttocks.

Draco yelped; "Now you're going to get it!"

"I'm looking forward to it Mr. Malfoy."

Draco closed the door behind them with a kick before throwing his wife on the bed; "You'd be the death of me" he said. He then slowly made his way towards the foot of the bed and began crawling up; "Time to take our clothes off Mrs. Malfoy-I believe we have a lot of things to do" he said while wiggling his brows suggestively.

Hermione shrieked as she dove under the covers.

Draco chuckled as he followed her under.

Chapter 22: Bless the broken road
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Epilogue: Bless the broken road

"Every long lost dream led me to where you are, others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars. Pointing me on my way into your loving arms this much I know is true, that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you..." Bless the broken road by Rascal Flatts

oOo

After two years:

Draco was doing his rounds when he saw familiar faces standing by the counter; he felt his heart filled with worry as he jogged towards them. "Mum? Dad? What are you doing here?"

Lucius turned around and saw his son standing behind him; "It's Hermione."

Draco felt all the air get sucked out of his lungs as dread fill his chest; "What happened?" he asked frantically.

"We don't know, we just received a floo call from Harry and told us to come here immediately" Narcissa replied.

"Where the bloody hell is he?" Draco yelled.

"I don't know, we just got here son" Lucius replied.

"There he is" Narcissa pointed towards the hallway.

Draco turned around and saw Harry walking towards them; he didn't wait for the other wizard to reach him, he met him half way. "What the hell happened to my wife? Where is she?"

"She's gone into labor and Luna is examining her-"

Draco didn't wait for Harry to finish his sentence as he disapparated right on the spot.

Narcissa gasped; "She's having the babies!"

Lucius didn't seem to hear his wife as he stared at Harry; "She's supposed to have the babies next week, why did she go into early labor? What happened?" he asked sternly.

"Trust Lucius to be the one to figure it out-here goes nothing" Harry thought. He adjusted his glasses; "She went into labor because she spoke with someone and I think she got upset" he explained.

Lucius narrowed his eyes menacingly; "Spoke with whom?"

"Ron..."

"Ronald Weasley?" Narcissa clarified.

Harry swallowed thickly; "Yes" he replied. "Ron approached me this morning and told me that he wanted to talk to Hermione because he wanted to apologize."

"And you let him?" Narcissa asked.

Harry shook his head adamantly; "I didn't. I specifically told him to stay away from Hermione because that wouldn't bode well."

"Let me guess, he went against your wishes and still went to see her?" Lucius said dryly.

Harry nodded; "He did."

Narcissa sighed; "He should've known better" she said. "Well, there's nothing we can do now, let's just hope that everything will turn out alright."

"Where did they take her?" Lucius asked.

"Maternity ward, I'll take you there."

oOo

"Draco! Where's Draco? I want my husband!" Hermione whimpered through tears.

Luna gently wiped Hermione's forehead; "He's on his way love, Harry is getting him for you-please try to relax" she said gently.

Hermione closed her eyes as another contraction hit her hard; she let out strangled cry as she clutched her stomach. "I-I can't do this...it hurts..."

A loud crack resounded just as the door burst open, revealing a frantic Draco; he run towards the bed and began checking on her wife. "Hermione? I'm here love...I'm here..."

Hermione opened her eyes; "Draco...you're here...it hurts so much..." she cried.

Draco turned his face towards Luna; "How far long is she?"

"Her contractions are only 10 minutes apart and she's almost fully dilated; we just need to wait a couple of minutes before she can start pushing" Luna explained.

"Did you already give her some pain potions?" Draco asked.

"I did, it should take effect any second now."

Draco turned his gaze towards Hermione; "The pain should lessen any second now love...just breathe..."

Hermione followed Draco's instruction; after a few minutes, she felt a little relief. "I feel better..."

Draco can't help but smile; "That's the potion kicking in love."

"I'll leave you two but I'll be back, I just need to make sure that everything we need is being prepared" Luna said.

"Thank you Luna" Hermione said.

Luna smiled; "You're welcome Hermione" she said before leaving.

Hermione shifted on the bed and tried hard to turn to her side.

"Whoa, what are you doing?" Draco asked.

"I feel more comfortable on my side" Hermione replied.

Draco stood from his perch and assisted the struggling brunette; "Comfy?" he asked.

Hermione smiled; "Yes, thank you."

Draco sat back and stared at his wife; "You're not supposed to be in labor yet, what happened?" he asked.

Hermione looked sheepish; "Err-"

Draco raised his brow; "Out with it Granger, you're look says it all."

Hermione pursed her lips; "That's Malfoy to you Mister."

"Fine. Out with it Malfoy" Draco rephrased.

"Promise me first that you won't get mad"

"Why do I feel like I won't like this one bit?"

Hermione cringed when she felt a dull ache on her tummy; "Because you wouldn't" she replied.

Draco sighed; "I promise."

"Ron saw me today"

Draco tried his hardest to keep his face blank; "Why?"

Hermione reached for Draco's hand and laced their fingers; "He wanted to talk."

Draco gritted his teeth to keep his calm; "Did he say something to upset you? Is that the reason why you went into pre-term labor?"

Hermione shook her head so hard that she saw spots; "No."

"Tell me what happened, what did he want?"

"He just wanted to apologize for all the things he's done to me and I forgave him" Hermione said softly.

"Oh."

"It's been 2 years Draco and time already healed all the wounds. I can't be friends with him any longer but that doesn't mean I can't be cordial."

Draco lifted Hermione's hands to his lips and planted a kiss on her knuckles; "That makes you a better person love, a much better person that I am" he said.

"You're not mad that I forgave him?" Hermione asked.

Draco shook his head; "No, I'm proud" he said with a smile.

Hermione smiled widely; "Come here"

Draco leaned closer; "What?"

Hermione bridged the gap and pecked him on the lips; "I love you Draco Malfoy" she murmured.

"I love you too Hermione Malfoy" Draco replied. "If Weasel is not the reason you went into labor then what caused it?"

Hermione winced when another wave hit her; "Err-I was already having pains when you left this morning but I thought it was just gas..."

"You were having pains and you didn't tell me?" Draco asked, clearly aghast.

"Like I told you, I thought it was just gas-"

"And you still went to the Ministry! You're already on Maternity leave, what on earth did you do there? You were-"

Hermione squeezed Draco's hand hard when another contraction hit, only seconds apart; "Oh Merlin-call Luna, I think they're coming..."

Draco shot up from his perch and went at the foot of the bed; he gently lifted the blanket and began tugging her gown up.

"W-what are you doing?" Hermione panted.

"Let me check if you're fully dilated" Draco replied. "Open your legs"

Hermione clamped her legs tightly together; "NO! Call Luna"

"Come on love, I'm a Healer and I've seen it a thousands of times, now is not the time to be bashful."

Hermione shook her head; "This is different Malfoy! CALL LUNA NOW!" she screamed at the top of her lungs.

The door opened as Luna stepped in; "I'm here now Hermione, are you ready to push?"

oOo

"How long does it take to give birth? Do you reckon?" Lucius asked.

Narcissa threw her husband a indignant look; "You don't know? Where you even there when I gave birth to our son?"

"Of course I was there love but that was more than 2 decades ago, that particular memory is evading me" Lucius explained.

Narcissa huffed; "I for one cannot forget it, I was trying to push a watermelon out of my body after all" she said. "It depends, it's normally 6 hours up but Hermione is having twins, it might take longer than that."

Lucius winced.

"I came as soon as I heard, how's Hermione?" Ginny asked as she entered the waiting area.

"She's been moved to the delivery room and she's been there for 6 hours now" Astoria replied.

Ginny plopped down the empty seat beside her friend; "Is that a good thing?" she asked.

"It's normal, when I had Candice, I labored for 10 hours."

Ginny cringed; "10 hours?!"

Astoria let out small smile; "It was worth it."

Ginny was about to open her mouth to respond but wasn't able to do so when the door to the delivery room opened.

Draco stepped out of the delivery room with a large smile on his face; "They're all fine, the babies are just being cleaned and Hermione is being prepared for transport" he exclaimed happily.

Narcissa flew out of her chair and hugged her son tightly; "Thank Merlin!"

Draco patted his mother's back before pulling away; "You're now a proud grandmother of a bouncing baby boy and girl" he said.

Lucius followed his wife's lead and pulled the other man into a hug; "Congratulations son" he said jovially.

"What are their names?" Harry asked curiously.

"Scorpius Aurelian Malfoy and Cassiopeia Ariadne Malfoy" Draco said proudly.

oOo

"Where have you been? I thought you're just bringing your report to the Ministry, it's been hours" Millicent asked as she stared at her husband.

Ron took off his cloak and draped it at the back of the couch; "I spoke with Hermione" he replied.

"Why? What business do you have with the Mudblood?" Millicent asked snidely.

Ron rolled his eyes; "Stop calling Hermione that word, what are you 12 years old?"

Millicent huffed; "I will call her whatever I want to call her!" she retorted.

"Where's Maddie?" Ron asked.

"She's in her room sleeping, she's been waiting for you for hours."

Ron took a seat beside his errant wife and leaned his head at the back of the couch, closing his eyes.

Millicent licked her lips as she tries to reign down her emotions; she knew that she shouldn't feel jealous because she knew for a fact that the Mudblood won't talk to Ron but she couldn't help it. "Did she talk to you?"

A small smile crept towards Ron's lips; "She did and we're finally good-she already forgave me."

Millicent clenched her teeth, clearly not pleased; "Really? Is she planning on jumping your bones again? Do I need to file for our imminent divorce?"

Ron's eyes snapped open before turning his face towards his wife; "Are you jealous?"

Millicent shot up from her perch; "Don't be stupid! Of course I'm not" she spat. She then straightened her robe and began walking away; "I'm going to check on Maddie" she said.

Ron stood up from his perch and grabbed Millicent's arm before she had the chance to leave; "Don't do this, you have nothing to worry about" he said slowly.

"Who say's I'm worried?" Millicent asked, still not facing Ron.

Ron took a step closer to turn his wife around to face him; "Look at me."

"What?"

"Whatever happened between me and Hermione is already in the past, I wronged her-we both wronged her and she deserved every bit of apology and more" Ron explained.

Millicent sighed; "I know that..."

Ron stared into her eyes with full seriousness; "I know we started everything with the wrong foot and we made mistakes more than we could count; most people think that we shouldn't be happy because of what we did so I convinced myself I shouldn't eventhough I am. But for the first time in 2 years I felt relief; it's as if a heavy burden was lifted from my chest and I'm finally free from the cage of guilt I built for myself-I can admit it now without being afraid-I'm happy Millie, with you and Maddie."

Millicent cracked a smile; "You're happy with us?"

Ron smiled back; "Over the moon happy."

Millicent flung her arms around Ron's neck; hugging him with all her might.

Ron wrapped his arms around her waist; "We still have a long way to go but I'm willing if you are..."

"I am...I really am."

oOo

12 years later:

The years that had gone by has been nothing but fruitful for the Malfoy family; Hermione and Draco had not only been blessed with fraternal twins but two more children. Their identical twins resembled Draco's features strongly but their two youngest inherited Hermione's-a perfect combination from the couple as others might say.

"Hurry up Cadey or we'll be late!"

A petite curly blonde girl with piercing grey eyes stepped out of her room; "It's not even 9 yet Aurey, don't be so dramatic"

Scorpius rolled his eyes as he made his way towards the stairs; "It would be if you don't start hauling your trunk downstairs, Mum and Dad are already waiting for us."

Cadey huffed as she went back inside her room.

"Where's your sister?" Draco asked.

"Still fixing her stuff" Scorpius replied before skipping towards the kitchen.

Draco stood at the end of the staircase and braised his hands on his hips; "Cassiopeia Ariadne Malfoy get your pretty little bum down here! It's almost 9 and your Mum is about to have a conniption!" he yelled.

"I'm on my way Daddy just hold on a sec!"

Draco shook his head as he followed his son; "She's only 12 years old for Merlin's sake, what in the world is she packing-is that a scone with clotted cream or clotted cream with a scone? How can you eat that?" he asked while eyeing his son, distaste evident in his tone.

Scorpius took a large bite of his scone before responding; "It's good, I love clotted cream."

Draco cringed; "It's nauseating" he replied. "Stop playing with your food Alex and finish your milk."

"Draco?"

Draco turned around and saw his wife standing a couple of feet away from him, carrying their 2 year old daughter in her arms. "Yes love?"

Hermione adjusted the sleeping Serena Brielle Malfoy on her hip; "Did Mum and Dad arrive already?" she asked.

"They're not here yet but they will be any second now."

The fireplace in the living room burst to life as if on cue; signalling an arrival.

Draco smirked; "See? Right on time"

An excited chubby 5 year old boy with brown hair peered from the kitchen door; "Nana and Grandpère here?" he asked.

"Yes they are" Draco replied.

Alex squealed happily as he ran towards the living room.

"Orion Alexander! No running inside the house!" Draco called out.

"I'm sorry darlings! We didn't mean to cut it so close" Narcissa said with an apologetic smile.

"We forgot the time" Lucius said as he fell into step with his wife, his grandson safely tucked in his arms. He then surveyed his surroundings; "Where are the twins?" he asked.

"Aurey finishing his breakfast and Cadey is still upstairs packing Merlin knows what" Draco replied.

Narcissa took a peek at the wall clock; "Oh dear, it's quarter till 9, you should get going."

"Aurey, are you done eating?" Draco called out.

"Yes Dad, coming!" Scorpius replied.

"Where on earth is Cadey?" Hermione asked.

Narcissa moved towards Hermione and opened her arms; "Give her here, you should get Cassiopeia or they will miss the train."

Hermione gently transferred her daughter on her Mother in law's arms; "Thank you" she replied before briskly climbing up the stairs.

Narcissa shifted Serena in her arms; "She's gone bigger from the last time I saw her" she murmured. "What have you two been feeding our grandchildren?"

"You should be asking yourself and Dad that question Mum" Draco replied. "I swear every time any of my kid stays with you two at the Manor they come home a stone or two heavier."

Lucius planted a chaste kiss on his Alex's chubby cheek; "Spoiling them to bits is our life's mission, right darling?"

Narcissa caressed Serena cheek; "Right."

Scorpius stepped into the hallway and made his way towards his Grandparents; "Good morning Nana and Grandpère" he said politely.

"Good morning love, don't you look handsome" Narcissa said fondly.

"I'm a Malfoy Nana, it's given" Scorpius replied smugly.

"Me too!" Alex shrieked.

Lucius let out a fully belly laugh; "Oh Draco, you taught them well-just don't let Hermione hear it."

Draco winked at his sons; "I trust you heard that boys, don't let your Mummy know I taught you that, it's our little secret."

"What secret?" Hermione asked as she descends the stairs. "Did Didi send your trunk already Aurey?"

"Yes Mom."

Hermione turned her face towards her daughter; "I assume yours had been sent as well?" she asked.

"Yes Mum" Cadey replied.

"Say goodbye to your siblings and grandparents now, we only have 10 minutes to spare" Draco instructed.

Cadey moved towards her grandfather as Scorpius walked towards his grandmother; bidding their siblings goodbye.

oOo

Platform 9 ¾: Hogwarts Express

"Look after your baby brother Candice, make sure he doesn't get into trouble" Astoria said.

Candice hugged her mother tightly; "I'll keep Liam out of trouble Mum, don't worry."

Harry fixed the scarf around his son's neck; "Listen to your sister Liam and don't hesitate to owl us if you need anything, okay?"

Liam Potter nodded; "Will do Daddy" he replied with a toothy grin. "Where's Aurey?"

"I don't know mate but I'm sure they'll be here any minute now" Harry replied.

"I think that's Auntie Mione" Candice said while pointing towards the crowd.

Harry turned around; "Yep, that's them."

"Were here, we're not late!" Hermione chirped when she stopped right in front of her long time best friend.

"Did you have a hard time prying Draco away from the mirror again?" Astoria teased.

"For your information it's not my fault, it's your goddaughter's" Draco quipped.

Cadey pursed her lips, clearly not pleased; "Daddy!"

Liam turned towards Cadey and smirked; "Too bad Andrei already boarded the train Cadey, you have to wait until we reached Hogwarts before he can see you" he teased.

Cadey's face instantly flushed as red as a beet; "I don't know what you're talking about Liam" she huffed.

Draco eyed Liam; "Andrei Goldstein? Your Aunt Ginny's son?" he asked.

Liam nodded.

Draco threw her eldest daughter a stern look; "No crushes for you yet young lady-not until you're...you're 30!"

Hermione pinched Draco's side before pulling her blushing daughter to her side; "Don't listen to your Daddy, its okay to have crushes sweetheart-just don't take it seriously, you're still too young for that, do you understand?"

"Yes Mum..." Cadey replied.

A loud whistle permeated the air and almost instantly students of all ages started boarding the train.

Hermione turned towards he daughter and hugged her tightly; "I will miss you dearly Cadey, please write to me as much as possible and please take care of each other, I love you" she whispered.

"I will miss you too Mum and I promise to write to you as soon as possible, I love you too" Cadey replied tearfully.

Draco braised his hands on his son's shoulders and stared at him seriously; "You're a big man now so I expect you take care of yourself and your sister. Don't hesitate to owl us if you need anything, okay?"

"I will Dad" Scorpius replied.

Draco pulled his son into a tight hug; "I will miss you son, I love you."

"I will miss you too, love you" Scorpius replied.

Hermione let Cadey go before engulfing her eldest son into a hug; "Oh Aurey! I will miss you love!" she said through tears.

Scorpius can't help but smile; "I will miss you too Mum and I promise to look after Cadey" he said while rubbing his mother's back.

"Look after yourself too" Hermione reminded before pulling away.

Scorpius leaned forward and planted a kiss on his mother's cheek; "Will do."

Draco slowly pulled away from Cadey but kept her on arm's length; "No boys for you yet, you're still my baby, do you understand?"

Cadey nodded; "No boys"

Draco smiled; he then leaned forward and kissed his daughter's forehead. "I will miss you terribly Cadey bear, write to your old man often, eh?"

Cadey giggled upon hearing the silly nickname; "I will do Daddy" she replied.

"We have to go" Candice said before steering his little brother towards the train.

Scorpius held her sister's hand as he trailed behind their friends.

Draco wrapped his arm around Hermione's shoulders; "You kids behave and we'll you see you in a few months" he said.

"Don't forget to owl us once you've been sorted!" Astoria said.

"Stay out of trouble" Harry reminded.

"We love you!" Hermione said.

All the doors were automatically closed when the last student hopped in; the train gave out a last whistle before it started departing.

Hermione buried her face into her husband's chest as tears fell down her cheeks.

Draco pulled her tightly to his chest as he ran his hand on her back in a soothing manner; "Stop crying love, they'll be home soon" he cooed.

"I know that-I just can't stop crying, what's wrong with me?" Hermione murmured.

"It's okay Mione, I cried a bucket of tears when Candice boarded that train for the very first time—that's normal" Astoria said.

Hermione turned her face to the side, just enough to see Astoria; "Really?"

Astoria smiled; "Really."

Hermione sniffed as she pulls away from her husband's chest; she hastily wiped her cheeks and sniffed again. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cry."

Draco planted a soft kiss on Hermione's forehead before smiling; "It's okay love, no harm done" he replied. He then turned towards Harry; "I haven't seen Ginny and Anthony, were they here early?" he asked.

"They were but they didn't linger, Anthony didn't want Ginny on her feet for too long" Harry explained.

"I see" Draco replied.

"How did Ginny take it?" Hermione asked curiously.

Harry winced; "Not good"

Hermione chuckled.

Harry then moved towards his wife and wrapped his arm around her waist; "We better get going, it's the first time in almost 20 years that we had the house to ourselves" he said while wiggling his brows.

Hermione raised her brow; "Where's Albus?"

"With my Mother-in Paris" Astoria replied.

Draco chuckled; "You deported your son to Paris so you can have the house to yourselves? That's brilliant!"

Harry smirked; "I can see the wheels turning inside your head Malfoy and I say go for it."

"Damn right, I will" Draco replied.

Hermione threw her best friend and husband a confused look; "Go for what?"

"We'll see you soon Mione, bye!" Harry said before disapparating with his wife on the spot.

Hermione scoffed; "That randy little bugger didn't even have the decency to let his wife say goodbye."

"Cut the boy-who's-been-deprived a slack, 20 years is a very long time after all."

"Fine."

Draco reached for Hermione's hand and laced them together; "Mum and Dad will be keeping the little munchkin's till we pick them up, would you got out on a Muggle date with me?"

"Muggle date? In broad daylight?" Hermione asked, amusement evident in her voice.

Draco grinned; "In broad daylight" he confirmed.

"This better be good Malfoy" Hermione warned with a small smile.

Draco laughed as he tug on Hermione's hand; "No time to waste" he said giddily as he led her along the station.

Hermione shook her head with amusement.

oOo

True to his words, Draco gave Hermione a spectacular Muggle date. He took her for a stroll in Trafulgar Square and rode The Eye; he then bought her to her favourite bookstore before taking her to The Ritz Carlton for dinner. Now, he found himself standing at the lobby of the infamous hotel while waiting for his wife who's currently busy buying pastries for their parents and kids.

"Draco?"

Draco turned around and saw the person he least expected to see; "Ireland?"

Ireland Montgomery let out a small smile; "It's been awhile."

Draco returned the smile reluctantly; "It's been years."

"Don't get me wrong but what on earth are you doing here?" Ireland asked curiously.

"I'm waiting for my wife, she's buying something from the bakeshop" Draco replied.

"I see."

Draco shoved his hands inside his pockets; "How about you? What are you doing here?"

Ireland let out another smile; "I'm waiting for my husband, he took Zander to the loo" she replied.

"You're married?"

"Yes and we have a beautiful little boy too" Ireland said.

Draco's smile widens; "That's good to hear, I'm happy for you" he said sincerely.

"Thank you" Ireland replied. "I heard you have 4 kids and a beautiful wife, I'm happy for you too."

"I do. Our twins just left for Hogwarts today and the other 2 is staying with my parents so we decided to have time for ourselves."

Ireland chuckled; "Alone time is hard to come by when you have kids."

Draco nodded; "That statement can never be truer" he agreed.

Ireland peered behind Draco's shoulder and saw her husband; "Well, I should get going now" she said.

"Okay" Draco replied.

"It was nice seeing you again Draco and I'm happy to see that you're happy-you deserve it" Ireland said.

"Thank you-you too"

Ireland threw him one last smile before walking towards her family.

Draco turned around and watched her leave; a feeling of relief and happiness wafting through his chest.

"I'm sorry it took me a while-I just can't decide what to buy and there-Draco?"

Draco turned to his side and saw his wife saddled with paper bags; "Did you buy half of the store love?" he asked.

Hermione wrinkled her nose; "It's your fault, you shouldn't have left me alone there-you know it's my weakness and-"

Draco leaned forward and pressed his lips on hers, silencing her rants; after a couple of nips, he pulled away and grabbed the bags from her hands. "I love you, now let's go."

Hermione can't help but smile; "I love you too."

oOo

It was almost midnight when Hermione entered their room; she took off her robe before making her way towards the bed.

"Is Serena asleep?" Draco asked as he closes his book.

Hermione pulled the comforter up and slipped under; "Yep" she replied. She let out a loud yawn before burying her face into her pillow; "I'm so tired" she mumbled.

Draco took his reading glasses off and placed it on the side table, together with his book; he scooted towards his wife and pulled her to his chest. "Are you too tired to talk?"

Hermione tilted her face and stared at Draco; "Talk about what?" she asked.

Draco sat up and leaned back on the headboard, dragging Hermione with him; "I just realized something..."

Hermione pulled away and sat down, facing him directly; "Realized what?"

Draco looked pensive for a couple of seconds before speaking again; "That you're right."

Hermione smiled smugly; "I'm always right."

Draco just glared as a response.

Hermione giggled; "I'm sorry, I can't help it-go on, what am I right about?"

"I saw Ireland today, while I was waiting for you at the lobby."

Hermione's eyes widen; "Is she the blonde woman you were talking to?"

Draco raised his brow; "You saw that?"

Hermione nodded; "I did, she's pretty."

"You're prettier" Draco quipped.

Hermione ignored Draco's statement; "Continue, what am I right about?"

"About forgiveness..." Draco replied.

Hermione threw Draco a confused look; "You haven't forgiven her?"

Draco cleared his throat as he sat straighter; "I did but I haven't really felt that I did-does that make sense?"

"Err-I think?"

"It's just that I understand you more now when you told me that you can be happy for the Weasel" Draco said.

Hermione reached for her husband's hand and held it; "Are you telling me that you can be happy for Ireland now?" she asked with a small smile.

Draco nodded; "I always believed that she doesn't deserve to be happy after everything that she's done to me-I did forgive her when she asked me but deep down I was holding a grudge" he said truthfully. "But after seeing her today with a husband and a kid and she looked happy, I realized how wrong I was and how much your loved changed me."

"Oh Draco" Hermione said as she threw herself at her husband.

Draco buried his face into her curls; "You made me a better man and I just realized that now" he murmured.

Hermione stayed in Draco's arms for a couple of minutes before pulling away; she cupped his face with her hands and met his eyes. "Whatever happened in the past should stay in the past. We may have been deeply hurt by them but they are also the reason why our paths crossed again. You once asked me why I was able to forgive and be happy for Ron-the answer to that question is quite simple. If he didn't hurt me the way he did then I wouldn't have met you, fall in love with you and married you. There are a lot of reasons to continue hating him but I don't think it's worth it anymore, it takes a lot of effort so I decided that I'd rather think of him as my wayward Northern Star, metaphorically speaking of course."

Draco threw her a confused look; "Northern star? Why?"

Hermione smiled; "He led me to the place where I was meant to be from the start-by your side."

Draco thought for a moment before he grinned; "If the Weasel is your Northern star then Ireland can be my bloody Polaris-she led me straight to you."

"See? Not bad at all"

Draco leaned forward and hauled Hermione to his lap; "Let's stop the star talk this instant, I don't think I can think of another constellation or whatnot, I have another thing in my mind right now" he said while wiggling his brows suggestively.

Hermione cocked her head to the side; "If you can't think of another constellation, does that mean I can name our next child with a normal name?"

Draco furrowed his brows; "Next child?"

Hermione cringed when she realized her slip; "Err-"

"Are-are you?"

"I'm-I'm sorry Draco-I didn't mean to get pregnant! I swear I'm taking my potions-"

Draco didn't let his wife finish; he pressed his lips firmly on hers before gently flipping them over.

Hermione revelled in the sensation that his husband is giving her but was forced to push him away; "You're not angry?" she asked breathlessly.

Draco smiled widely; "I'm bloody happy! I love you Hermione, thank you for making me so happy!"

Hermione smiled back; "I love you Draco, you make me so happy too!" she replied.

oOo FIN oOo

A/N: And that my darlings concludes this story! :D I hope you liked it :D

Thank you again for all the reviews, follows and favourites, this story is very close to my heart and you made me all so HAPPY! :D Till next Dramione Story! Cheers! :D

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