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DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to the wonderfully talented JK Rowling. I own the plot. Nothing more.


At 6pm, Hermione stood in front of her fireplace. She was dressed casually in jeans and a red blouse. She had left her hair loose around her shoulders. She threw a long cloak around her shoulders, to protect her clothes. She hated floo travel. With a trembling hand, she tossed some floo powder into the fire. Green flames shot up and Hermione stepped into the fire before she had a chance to change her mind, saying in a firm voice, “Malfoy Manor”.


Draco knocked back a fire whiskey to help calm his nerves. He laughed at himself. He was nervous about having diner with Hermione Granger! A lot had changed in six years, although even at school she always had the power to unnerve him. She was intelligent, brave and a powerful witch. Their little altercations and fights had always left him strangely shaken. When her temper was up, sometimes he actually felt afraid. He also knew that he liked getting her irritability going. There was something so satisfying in driving a person that mad, and so he had kept flinging insults, just to see how far he could push her, even if it did earn him a smack in the face.

Now, however, he felt bad for all the terrible things he had said to her, and loath as he was to want to bring up the past, he vowed to apologise. He had to start somewhere.

A chiming from the lounge room told him she was arriving. Draco looked around, cursing. Nothing was ready. With a flick of his wand he set the table, and with another flick he had the food in the kitchen preparing itself. Standing, he straightened his shirt and smoothed down his hair, trying desperately to subdue the butterflies in his stomach, before turning towards the lounge room.

Hermione was standing on the hearth, brushing floo dust from her hair. She pulled her cloak off.

“I’ll take that,” Draco said, striding fully into the room. She handed him her cloak, gazing around in awe. He chuckled slightly, thinking of her cosy little flat.

“This is amazing Draco,” she commented softly, her eyes taking in the lavish surroundings. He smiled.

“It’s okay. I’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he replied, flicking his wand. Her cloak floated to the wall and hung itself up on a peg. “It’s still rather empty,” he continued, looking around.

“I like it,” Hermione said. “It’s simplistic. Just because you have all this space doesn’t mean you have to fill it.”

Draco blushed slightly, and offered her a drink. He was rather surprised when she agreed to a fire whiskey. Perhaps she’s as nervous as I am, he pondered, getting their drinks, before joining her on the lounge.

“I’ll give you a tour later, if you want,” he offered, and she nodded. They sat and drank in silence. Draco wondered what his father would say if he saw the two of them sitting there. Lucius was famous for his hatred of Muggle-borns. Draco could almost say he hated them more than he hated Harry Potter and Dumbledore. He’d be extremely disappointed in Draco for at least not trying to kill Hermione yet. That was his mission, in their final year at Hogwarts – to kill as many Mudbloods as he could. Yet somehow, when it came down to it, he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t kill anybody. He was only seventeen – he didn’t want to be a murderer. He wanted to have friends, to have fun, to be young. Sometimes, late at night, Draco would scream at his father, saying all the things we never had the courage to say when he was still alive. If there was one thing Lucius hated more than Mudbloods, more than Harry Potter, it was failure in his own son.

Draco snuck a glance at Hermione, wondering what she was thinking. He hadn’t realized how strange it would be for her, being in his house, when he had asked her to dinner. Later, he was amazed that she’d said yes. Hermione’s cheeks were flushed, and her eyes were sparkling. He was suddenly aware of how attractive she was. It was as if he was truly looking at her for the first time in his life. Perhaps, in a way, he was.

“You know,” he said at last, “I never figured you for the silent type. At Hogwarts no one seemed to be able to get you to stop talking. Now I can’t seem to get you to start. Come on Granger, you always had plenty to say to me.”

“As I recall, you had a bit to say yourself,” she replied swiftly, turning to look at him. He shifted a little in his seat under the fierce look she gave him.

“About that. I want to apologise for the things I used to say to you,” he said softly, watching her eyes widen in surprise. Finally, she sighed.

“You don’t have to. I said some pretty nasty stuff to you as well,” she answered, and he shrugged.

“I want to. It’s all part of the new me, I guess. Trying to make up for the past.”

She smiled. “Well, in that case, apology accepted.”

He frowned. “Just like that?”

She nodded. “It’s in the past. It’s done. None of us can change what happened all those years ago, but we can try to move on. Plus, I can tell that you are sorry. You’re not the person you used to be anymore. You’re still a stuck-up, petulant, arrogant jerk; that at least has not changed. But you’re not …”

“My father,” he cut in.

“No,” she replied gently. “Is that what all this is about? Wanting to show that you’re not him?”

Draco ran his fingers through his hair. “Partly. I just lost myself, especially in those last few years of school, with Voldemort. My parents … “ he stopped and cleared his throat. “After my parents died, I had no idea who I was anymore. It was as if I didn’t have a place, a purpose. I was scared, and confused. So I left,” he said simply.

Hermione said nothing, only looked at him with those big brown eyes.

“I want to be able to start life afresh. Apologizing to you, and to Potter and Weasley, and others, is the first step. If I can do that, it’s one part of the past I have truly left behind,” he continued. “You know, I was almost jealous of you three back at school. The Golden Trio. I never really had friends. I was a Malfoy. We didn’t need friends. We needed servants, people to look up to us, to admire us, to do anything for us. But friends? I don’t think I ever tried to tell anyone how hard it was to be my father’s son,” Draco said bitterly.

“Now I understand why you got so mad when I said I felt sorry for you that night,” Hermione sighed. “I’m not sure how forgiving Ron and Harry are going to be.”

Draco shrugged. “I’m not asking them to forgive me. That’s not what I need. I just want the opportunity to be able to say it.”

“Are you asking for my help Draco?”

He looked at her swiftly. She had always been incredibly perceptive. “I guess I am. It’s hard for me to ask, especially to ask you, but yeah. I need your help with this.”

She smiled. “Then I’ll help. It won’t be easy though. They’re my best friends and I know them better than anyone. They are still so angry with you Draco, with your father, with Voldemort. Harry has lost so many people because of it all. He’s not going to forgive and forget. It’ll take time.”

“Time I have,” Draco replied, smiling sadly.

A loud ringing from the kitchen interrupted their conversation. “Dinner’s ready,” Draco said, standing. He offered Hermione his hand to help her up, and she took it without hesitation. Draco’s heart jumped into his mouth, almost suffocating him. Her skin so was soft, like silk, her fingers delicate but strong. A slow burning started in his palm and ran the length of his arm, settling in his throat. He looked at her. She was standing still with her eyes closed, breathing deeply while he held her hand. Suddenly she opened her eyes, looking up at him, and he dropped her hand, embarrassed.

“This way,” he said, ushering her towards the dining room. Dinner was magically served, and Draco and Hermione took their seats opposite one another at the long mahogany table. They ate in silence, sneaking shy glances at one another, before retiring to the lounge room again with a bottle of wine.

‘Don’t get drunk Draco. Whatever you do, don’t get drunk,’ he told himself as they sat down. He was already feeling slightly dizzy, from the fire whiskey earlier, from telling her so much and opening himself up, and from the food. Hermione sighed and patted her stomach appreciatively.

“That was great. You cooked that?”

“Surprised? I had some help,” he added, his hand slipping to caress the wand resting beside him on the lounge.

“Well, in any case, it was great, magic or not,” she said simply.

“I learnt a trick or two on my travels,” he replied, filling their glasses.

“Tell me where you went,” she demanded, sipping her wine.

“Everywhere,” he answered. “I traveled all through Europe and the Middle East. Down into Africa. Egypt was marvelous. I spent some time, a couple of months, in India. Beautiful country. They have some really interesting ideas there. I traveled through Asia next, and finally through Russia before coming home.”

“Wow. I’m jealous. Really. I’ve been around a few places in Europe – France, Spain, Germany and Switzerland, but never anywhere else. I’ve always wanted to go to South America though,” Hermione replied.

“Me too,” Draco answered, swallowing his wine.

“So why didn’t you, when you were traveling?” she asked.

He shrugged. “I felt like it was time to come back and start dealing with what I’d left behind.”

They were silent awhile, sitting in companionable quiet, until Draco suddenly laughed.

“You know, I traveled the Muggle way sometimes,” he said.

“What? Are you serious?” Hermione giggled.

He nodded. “Yep. I discovered one thing. I hate flying.”

At that, Hermione burst into uncontrollable laughter. “Draco Malfoy, Quidditch player extraordinaire, is afraid of flying?”

“Hey,” he said, holding up his hands in mock defense. “Brooms are fine. It’s just those, what do you call them, planes, that I don’t like.”

She laughed merrily, tipping her head back, exposing her slim white throat. Draco was suddenly struck dumb by how beautiful she was. Her eyes were sparkling; her mouth was open wide in a big smile. He simply sat and stared at her, drinking her in. She stopped laughing, bringing herself back to face him, brown eyes dancing. Without thinking, Draco leant forward and kissed her on the mouth, one hand sliding around to cup the back of her head, the other resting on her hip.

Hermione froze, the laughter caught in her throat. Draco brushed her lips gently with his own, before pulling away in shock. They sat, both hardly breathing, staring at each other with a mixture of fear, confusion and something else.

He found his voice. “Hermione, I’m so sorry. I …”

“Shut up,” she cut him off.

“I …”

“Shut up,” she said again.

They looked at each other, Draco feeling like he could drown in her eyes. He opened his mouth to speak, but she shocked him into silence, leaning forward and kissing him, hard, on the mouth, her arms going around his neck, pulling him closer to her. Draco wrapped his arms around her small waist, pressing his body as close to her as he could get.

The kiss was passionate, warm and giving. It was breathtakingly sweet, and in that kiss he felt promise, forgiveness, and hope. All the anger, all the hurt and terrible things they had done and said to one another in the past melted away in one moment.

Hermione broke away from him first, her face flushed, her eyes glazed over. He reached up and stroked her hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear.

“I have to go,” she whispered against his mouth.

Draco shook his head. “No, you don’t.”

“I do. I really do,” she whispered, disentangling herself from his arms and getting up. He let her go with a pang of regret.

“Hermione …”

“I’ll, umm, see you later okay?” she mumbled, heading for the fireplace.

The last he saw of her was her raised hand before she disappeared in a whoosh green flame. Draco lay back on the lounge, his heart pounding in his ears and a constriction in his chest.

“What the hell just happened?” he said aloud.


Hermione tumbled out of her fireplace, shaking. Imelda looked up from her place on the lounge, and meowed at her.

“Not now sweetie,” Hermione managed to say. She walked in a daze to the kitchen, rummaging in the cupboards until she found a bottle of fire whiskey. Ron had left it when he’d picked up the last of his stuff.

With trembling fingers, Hermione unscrewed the lid, and drank straight from the bottle. She swallowed, choking, and put her head on the table, one hand wrapped around the bottle.

She had just kissed Draco Malfoy! He had just kissed her! Slowly, the realization set in – she had wanted it to happen, ever since she saw him that morning in Diagon Alley. She had wanted him to kiss her, to take away all the hurt and humiliation he had inflicted on her in her life. Hermione groaned. This was not good. It was wrong in so many ways. She sat up, taking another long drink of fire whiskey. It burnt her insides, only adding to the warmth brought on by the memory of Draco’s lips against hers, his body against hers, his smell, his touch, his …

Horrified, Hermione swallowed another couple of mouthfuls of fire whiskey, before passing out with her head on the kitchen table.


~ A/N: Hope you liked it guys! Please leave a review and let me know what you think! Cheers everyone! ~

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