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Hello everyone! Thanks to the amazing staff, the queue has cleared and I can present to you the highly anticipated (thanks to that nasty cliffhanger at the end of the last chapter :P) chapter seventeen… Enjoy!

Chapter Seventeen: Snow Day: Part Two 

The coldness of the air surrounding them, the sound of the wind rushing around them, and the entire world seemed to disappear as soon as her lips met his. She may have initiated the kiss, but soon, after a moment of shock, he took over, pressing his lips firmly to hers. She felt like her mind had been wiped blank. She couldn't think rationally anymore.

Her hands had found their way up his chest and were now clasped behind his neck, pulling him closer still. His hands were tangled in her hair, setting her nerve endings on fire. She gasped for breath, and still he kissed her like she had never been kissed before.

At last Hermione had to pull away, completely dazed and out of breath. Draco, unwilling to let go of her just yet, left a trail of kisses from her mouth down to her neck, finding a sensitive spot right by her left ear that made her shiver again, though this time it was not because of the cold.

At last she realized that his touch sent waves of pleasure, not disgust, though her body. At last she admitted she was attracted to him. And at last she succumbed to the fact that she was already halfway to completely falling in love with him. And now she wanted him to kiss her again.

"Hermione," he said, pulling away without letting go of her. He tenderly moved his fingers through her hair and touched her face, making it rather difficult for her to breathe properly.

She finally opened her eyes. Chocolate brown met molten silver, and the world disappeared again. "Draco," she said finally. "Draco." How very right it felt to say his name like that.

A flurry of snowflakes whirled through the air. Some of them settled on her eyelashes for a second or two before melting away. She was still staring at him, unable to look away from his intent, unreadable gaze.

"When did this happen?" she said softly. "How?"

He gently placed a finger on her lips, stopping her from speculating any further. "Don't think. Not now." She smiled, and he replaced his finger with his mouth, drawing her close to him for another kiss.

"Draco. What are you doing?" Hermione asked, trying not to laugh.

It was hard to keep her face straight when he was shuffling around in the snow, attempting to make his skis point in the right direction. A second later he had fallen over backwards. His skis snapped off.

This was the third time it had happened. They hadn't even begun to actually ski down the slope yet. Hermione could only imagine how many times he would fall. A peal of laughter escaped her.

"It's not funny, Hermione," he said from his splayed position on the ground.

She stopped laughing, but she couldn't help but smile. Every time he called her Hermione, it made her feel elated inside.

"Do you need help?" she asked sweetly, standing over him.

He looked at her innocently and held out his hand. "Thank you, Hermione."

There it was again. It was almost like he was making up for lost time.

She took his hand, but instead of pulling him up, he swiftly pulled her down on top of him.

"Draco, how are you going to learn to ski like this?" she said, trying to wriggle away.

He efficiently trapped her with his arms, and she stopped trying to escape for a moment. He took advantage of this and deftly turned over so that she was now the one lying on the snow-covered ground.

"I'm cold," Hermione complained, looking away from his face, which was a mere inch away. "Let me up."

"I don't think so," he replied before kissing her forehead and then her nose and finally full on the mouth.

"Mmm." Hermione halfheartedly struggled to push him off. She marveled at how comfortable she was with his touch.

"Still cold?" he asked, whispering into her ear.

"No." She smiled at him. "Let's get back to skiing, shall we?"

Draco looked down at the beautiful face smiling up at him and drank in the sight. Never in a million years would he have imagined that it'd be possible for the two of them to feel something other than hatred towards each other. But it was happening. He could feel it. It was stirring in his heart. It scared him a little, but he loved what was happening between them. He could only hope that whatever it was, it would continue to grow. That much he was certain of.

After letting his mind wander for a few seconds, he turned his attention back to Hermione. She was still smiling at him. His heart skipped a beat or two.

He jumped up to his feet and pulled her up too. He carefully brushed the snow out of her hair, a gesture that made Hermione wonder if he had always been that sweet.

"Okay," she said, switching into her role as a ski instructor once more. "Put on your skis again, Draco."

"Do I have to?" he said, pouting like an insolent schoolboy.

"Yes, you do. I am determined to get you down this slope at least once," said Hermione. The steely glint in her eyes told him that she was completely serious, and that there was no backing out of this.

"I can walk," he tried, even as he put on his skis for the fourth time. Or was it the fifth? He had lost track of how many times they had come off.

Hermione ignored him. "Ready?" she asked. Her skis were strapped on and ready to go.

"I suppose," he grumbled, feeling like a penguin with overly large feet.

"Great!" she beamed. She watched him, amused, as he cautiously edged toward the slope. At least this time he was facing the right way. "Now, slowly push off--"

Draco used the funny sticks that Hermione had given him and slid into the snow, slowly gaining speed. Amazing! He had gone at least a couple of yards without falling over. He was so preoccupied with the fact that he was still standing that he didn't realize how quickly he had accelerated. He was now skiing down the mountainside at an alarming speed. Trees and snow whooshed past him.

"I said slowly, Draco!" called Hermione, gliding behind him.

"I can't stop!" he yelled, panicking, looking around for her.

"Don't look back!" Hermione shrieked. "Watch out for that--"

He swerved to the left, narrowing avoiding a tree. In the process, he fell over onto his side, sending a shower of snow onto Hermione, who had skidded to a stop beside him.

"Draco?" she said, prodding him gently.

"My arm feels numb," he said, his voice muffled.

"Maybe we should take a break," she suggested. "How does hot chocolate sound?"

"It sounds wonderful," he said, still a little dazed from his fall. He rolled over onto his back.

Hermione was suddenly reminded of something that she used to do when she was little. To Draco's surprise, she lay down on the snow beside him and began moving her arms and legs around.

"May I ask what in the name of Merlin are you doing?" he said, in a polite tone so he wouldn't offend her.

"I'm making snow angels," she said, looking and sounding so happy that Draco just had to do it too.

"Well, this is rather fun," he said after a while, amused.

"Isn't it?" said Hermione, laughing. "Wait. Don't tell me you've never done this before."

He shook his head. "My parents never told me to go play in the snow in the winter. The closest I've ever come to doing anything like this is ice skating."

"Oh," said Hermione. Another idea came to her. "So you've never made a snowman either?"

"Of course I have," he said, suddenly remembering one of the happier days of his youth. "At Hogwarts. Christmas holidays. I stayed behind one of those years; I think it was second year. Anyway, Blaise and I made a snowman. We modeled it after Snape."

Hermione laughed out loud, trying to imagine a twelve-year-old Draco building a Snape-shaped snowman. "Did you do it by magic or the normal way?"

He scoffed. "Magic, of course."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Then it doesn't count. Here, let me show how the proper way to make a snowman." She got onto her knees and began sculpting a snowball, rolling it around. She traced a path around Draco, because he was still lying on the ground, watching her amusedly. The ball of snow steadily grew larger until it was a decent size.

"Help me make another one," she said, leaning against the one she had made, resting.

"It's a lot quicker if I just use my wand," he said. "And a lot better. That one is rather lumpy; I don't think people will be able to distinguish it as a snowman." He ducked as Hermione hit him on the arm.

"All right, all right, I'll do it." He grinned at her, placating her, and then got to work.

Hermione watched him struggle for a little while before starting on the head. Soon, the basic structure of their snowman had been constructed.

"It may be lumpy," she said, tilting her head to the side as though she was inspecting a piece of art, "but it has character, don't you think?"

"You're right," Draco agreed. "Now what?"

Hermione pulled out her wand.

"Hey, I thought magic wasn't allowed."

"I know. But unless you're willing to freeze and give the snowman your hat and scarf, then I'm going to conjure something for him to wear."

Draco watched as she conjured a red-and-green striped scarf and a matching hat. "Hermione," he said, interrupting her when she was about to give the snowman a pair of arms and a face. "It's not Christmas yet."

"I know," she said, grinning. "The red stands for me, and the green represents you." She finished her handiwork and stepped back to admire their creation.

"Ah," he said. "Symbolism. How clever."

"Thank you," said Hermione, beaming at him. For a second she wondered what Harry and Ron would do if they could see how she flirted with their former worst enemy. Remembering that it wouldn't do them well to dwell on whatever had transpired between them in the past, she shook that thought away. A new idea floated into her mind, and a sly grin appeared on her face. She bent down and scooped up a ball of snow.

Draco, who had been watching her the entire time, noting the changes in her facial expression, suddenly realized what she was intending to do. He began backing away.

"Where are you going?" Hermione called out innocently.

"Away from--" he began to say, only to be stopped by a snowball that Hermione had expertly flung at him.

Hermione laughed out loud and quickly began gathering more snowballs to add to her arsenal. "Aren't you going to fight back?" she said teasingly, whipping more snowballs at him.

"Alright, but remember--you asked for it!" He ducked behind the snowman and attempted to retaliate, only to find that Hermione was very good at dodging whatever he threw at her.

SPLAT! A snowball hit him in the shoulder as he unwisely emerged from his hiding place. Before he could come to his senses, another one grazed his head, drenching his hair. He reached up to inspect the damage.

Hermione was bent over double, laughing. "Did I mess up your hair, Draco?"

"This means war, Hermione!" he shouted. His threat was somewhat diminished by the broad grin on his face. He hadn't had this much fun since as long as he could remember.

Hermione danced around in the snow, avoiding every flying snowball that came her way while chucking snow back at him.

At last Draco gave up and put his hands up in the air. "I surrender! Truce!"

Hermione threw one last snowball, hit her target, and then accepted his surrender. "You need to learn a thing or two about snowball fights," she said, smiling brightly.

"I know," Draco answered, brushing the snow off his coat. He smiled back, thinking about how wonderful it would be if someday, the two of them could make their way back to this exact snow-covered mountaintop. He was about to say this out loud when he realized what his words could imply, and instead kept it to himself.

Suddenly she yawned.

"Tired, Granger?" he said gently. He walked over to her and wrapped his arms around her.

Hermione leaned into his embrace, faintly registering the use of her surname. Only now, it seemed more like a term of endearment. "Let's go get some of that hot chocolate, shall we?"

"I'll Apparate us there. Hold on tight."

"I already am."

"Then let's get out of this cold." And he turned on his heel, Apparating them out of Australia and back home to London.

Okay, now that you’ve read this chapter, I can admit that I was slightly nervous about putting it up. Is their relationship going too fast? Was it too fluffy? Please review! Oh, and sorry I'm taking so long to answer reviews from the last chapter--I've just been really busy. In fact, I'm supposed to be doing homework right now, but I'm on HPFF instead. ^_^
Yours till the Erumpent horn explodes,
Queen Luna

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