a/n: Thanks to Anne, Jackie, Marti, Tori and Mandy for all the times you had look over this story. You gals rock my sox. ~~juls



The bar was smoky and the sounds of many voices could be heard over the clinking of glasses and the back round music that played endlessly. Tonight's theme was Valentine's Day, and the walls were covered in pink and red hearts, and fluffy clouds and angels hung by strings from the ceiling. The wizard entered the bar, and his gray eyes taking in the decorations with distaste and walked around the tables covered with pink lace. You'd think after three years coming here on the same night with the same decorations he'd have been used to it. It just reminded him that was an emotion that ended up hurting in the end.

Draco Malfoy took a seat at the bar, and waved to the bartender and got his Ogden's. He took a sip after paying for it, and the liquor slid smoothly down his parched throat, a small burning sensation all the way down. He looked around at the other occupants of the bar and saw almost no one he knew.

That's when Draco noticed her. He hadn't seen her since they day they all had been given their Orders of Merlin, First Class and remembered the bitterness he had felt when he had read she had really gotten married to her Hogwarts' sweetheart. He also noticed she was alone, her glass was empty and she looked as miserable as he felt.

Draco downed the last of his whiskey, and raised his glass in a silent salute to his former professor as it trickled down his throat. Three years ago today Severus Snape. You were the true hero that day. He set his glass down with a small thunk and waved again for the bartender.

“Refill on mine please Tom- and one also for the witch over there.” Draco pointed towards her, paid Tom for the drinks, and walked over to the empty seat across from her and sat down.

“Hello Malfoy,” She said, sipping the drink Tom set before her. “Ogden's? How generous.” Draco noticed the sadness in her eyes, and how little her face had aged from the passage of time. The same freckle still adorned the side of her cheek and she still wore very little makeup. She had never needed it back then, and she still didn't.

“I remember a day love, when you screamed out 'Draco' in a rather heady voice.” Draco commented and smiled when her lips upturned in a faint smile of her own. Flashes of her face in the throws of passion, the sounds of her and the unfocused look of her eyes as they made love flew across his mind's eye for a brief moment. He watched her eyes once more as their color deepened as she also remembered those nights.

“How's life been treating you Draco?” She asked, a small tremor marring the flow of her voice when she said his given name. Her hand restlessly grabbed for the pack of Muggle cigarettes before her. Draco watched her hands shake slightly as she lit one and brought it to her lips.

“Same old stuff love, a little trading here, a little take over bid there. It's been a slow burn rebuilding the Malfoy name back to where it was before the War. And you? How's the husband?” Draco replied, his eyes following the cigarette from a tap on the ashtray back to the lips that still haunted his dreams at night.

“You must have missed the Daily Prophet's announcements of the past year,” Her laugh came deep from her throat. She stabbed the cigarette out viciously in the ashtray, her actions belying the calmness she portrayed.

“Skeeter still making your life hell?” Draco asked and grabbed her hand before she pulled out another cigarette. She clutched it tightly and didn't pull away as he had expected. He lifted it to his lips and kissed the back of it.

“When has she never? Our marriage and then his death made her hit list. Harry keeps reminding me to ignore her vile excuse for journalism for the bitter witch she is, but how little he knows.” Her eyes closed and her head leaned back in a sigh. His eyes greedily took in the sight of her throat, and remembered the time when he had marked her just there as his.

“How long?” Draco asked.

“Two years ago.” She sipped her drink again.

“You should have told me.”

“Didn't think you would care,” Her eyes stared into his, and he felt pulled in by the pain he saw there.

“I cared enough to walk away that day when you asked, no you pleaded with me.” Draco felt her pull her hand away, and he released it with regret.

“I loved him,” She picked up the pack of cigarettes again and gave him a slight look to gage his reaction. Draco frowned at her, but didn't stop her this time.

“Not the same way you did me,” Draco reminded her, his voice filled with the old desire that had once driven her over the edge.

“Draco please,” She opened the pack and then closed it. Draco watched her hands as they did that a few times before dropping it to the table.

“Please what? Stop reminding you that you made a noble sacrifice in marrying the git? The git who spent the last night of what could have been all of our 'Last Night' with another witch- leaving you crying?” Draco responded angrily. “Or all those other nights he spent in another's arms? How many times did he hurt you before it drove you away from him and into my arms?”

“Too many times,” She whispered.

“Not enough times for me. I fell in love with you- me, the Pureblood prat and you the Muggleborn know-it-all. Two polar opposites. I was ready to defy them all and instead you took that git for a husband.” Draco harshly replied, his hand gripping his now empty glass in a stranglehold.

“He was injured saving me! They were all looking at us when he asked, expecting- hoping- I couldn't say no!” Her eyes filled with tears at the memory, and one slowly rolled down her cheek.

“Were you happy with him at all?” Draco watched the tear's track and held his hand still from wiping it away as he had done in the past. She wasn't his anymore to comfort.

“Happy as the wife a dying wizard could be,” She said sadly.

“So you stayed with him out of pity?” Draco asked, his lips forming into a sneer.

“It wasn't pity Draco, just that he was dying, slowly and painfully from the curses. He was very ill, and we spent most of them traveling back and forth to various wizarding hospitals for cures. He needed me, his family needed me- and in the end, I can look back and know I did everything I could. I watched him for a year slowly melt away, his body decaying until death was a welcomed respite to his suffering.”

“Loyal little Gryffindor to the end,” Draco retorted.

“I've missed your snide little comments,” She replied.

“I've missed your gasps of pleasure, your moans of desire. The way your voice caught in the throes of lovemaking.” Draco pushed her for a response, an acknowledgment that she missed what she had thrown away.

“Stop-” Her eyes widened in the past memories. Draco read the desire in them.

“Why? Nothing holds you now,” Draco ran his hand up her arm and stopped to touch her cheek, his thumb caressing where the tear had been. He felt her face turn into his hand.

“The Weasleys would never understand,” Her head shook in sadness and her brown hair fell from the flimsily clasped barrette to cascade down her back.

“Hermione!” Draco said in the barest of whispers, letting her see into his heart through his pale gray eyes. Her brown ones stared into his.

“No one knew about us.”

“We were each other's dirty little secret, until that last night when our fears finally forced us to open up about how we truly felt.”

“I hurt you too much by pushing you away. I never expected you to wait.” She said as Draco drew her up from the chair and into his arms as the music changed to a slow rhythm dance tune. He felt her arms wrap around his neck and they moved to the music, pressed close together. Once again he felt the bittersweetness of their hearts beating as one.

“I'll be honest love, I tried to move on as you begged me when you told me good bye.” His lips brushed against her ear, and his warm breath tickled her lobe. Draco felt the shudder pass through her.

“I saw you in the papers with a different witch each time. It looked to me like you had succeeded.” She said with a tinge of bitterness.

“Jealous?” Draco drew back to look down at her face and she turned away.

“I was very,” Hermione admitted and felt his arms tighten around her, pressing her close to the length of him.

“I'm a proud wizard and yes it hurt like hell. At first I dated to spite you and to show you that I didn't care. But then I would take them home, and close my eyes and all I would see is you. I finally stop trying to replace what I had discovered to my dismay was irreplaceable. I wanted only you- and I couldn't have you.” He ran his hand down her back and the other threaded through her brown hair, pulling her face closer to his.

He reveled in the apple ginseng smell of her hair, the feel of her pressing against his body and the way her lips fit his perfectly as he kissed her, their tongues dancing in rhythm of the music. It was as if the years apart have never passed. He growled lowly and ground against her, and both forgot where they were.

The catcalls and whistles made them aware of their surroundings. With a great deal of reluctance, Draco broke the kiss, and Hermione's face burrowed into his chest to hide her flaming cheeks.


~tbc~


Hope you liked this. There will be one more chapter written. Thanks for reading and reviewing. ~~juls

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