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I'm sure you all would much rather read this chapter than listen to my lame excuse for not updating quickly enough. So without further ado, I present to you Chapter 28!





Chapter 28: Meet the Parents: Part Two 




Hermione leaned against Draco, drinking in his presence. Outside her window, the sun was just beginning to set, casting a warm glow over everything in her room. Smiling, she tilted her face upwards to meet his, and just as he was bending down for a kiss…her mother came barging into her room. 

Hermione jumped away from Draco like she had received an electric shock. “Mum!” she said in an overly loud voice. “What’re you doing in here?” 

“I was just going to tell you two that dinner will be ready in about an hour,” Mrs. Granger responded. She glanced at the two of them with a sly, knowing expression on her face. “Was I interrupting something?” she inquired innocently. 

“Oh no, of course not,” said Hermione very quickly. Her face was turning red, she knew it, and she wished she didn’t blush so easily. 

“Actually,” said Draco, deciding that he might as well take advantage of the situation, “I was just telling Hermione that I would love to help out in the kitchen, if you would like me to.” 

Hermione stared at him like she couldn’t believe her ears. “You can cook?” she said incredulously. Immediately, an image of Draco wearing a crisp white apron and a tall chef’s hat popped into her head. It was more than disconcerting. 

Draco smirked at her. “Why, yes, Granger. I can cook. Didn’t you know?” 

“When you say you can cook, you mean that you can cook with magic, right?” Hermione tried to clarify. 

“No,” said Draco, still smirking away. “I mean I can cook the Muggle way, of course. The Muggle way really is the only way, you know.” 

“But where did you learn?” Hermione still didn’t believe it. Draco Malfoy did not and could not cook! 

“I learned a few things after the—after I came back from Hogwarts,” said Draco. 

Hermione could only gape at him, while Mrs. Granger beamed. “Well then, come along, Draco dear!” said Mrs. Granger cheerfully. “I can use all the help I can get.” With that, she led him into the kitchen with a still-stunned Hermione trailing behind. 

“My specialty is steak and potatoes,” Draco was saying as he threw on the red-and-white striped apron that Mrs. Granger had handed to him. 

Hermione leaned against the doorframe as she watched Draco and her mum chatting amiably as they prepared dinner. There was a content and somewhat bemused smile on her face. Never in a million years could she ever have imagined such a scene…. 

“Something smells absolutely delicious,” said her dad, suddenly appearing at her shoulder. He peered into the kitchen. “Jane, dear, where did you learn how to cook a steak like that?” He was delighted. Steak was one of his favorite dishes, but to his dismay, it was the one thing that his wife couldn’t cook. Every time she tried, it would come out hopelessly burned. 

“Sorry dear, but I still can’t cook a steak to save my life. This is all Draco’s doing! Isn’t he marvelous?” Mrs. Granger gushed. 

“Oh?” was all Mr. Granger could say in response. 

“I hope you like steak, sir,” said Draco with utmost politeness and sincerity. 

“Er…it’s alright,” said Mr. Granger nonchalantly. 

Hermione rolled her eyes. “Daddy,” she said, “I thought steak was your favorite! You order it every time we go to that one restaurant.” 

“Really?” he said, trying to look surprised at this interesting revelation. “I…I thought I always ordered the salad.” 

This time Mrs. Granger rolled her eyes. “Robert, you despise anything that’s green and leafy.” 

“Do I?” he said sheepishly. “Well, I suppose you’re right about that, dear.” And that was the end of that conversation.

A little while later, dinner was served. Hermione and Draco sat across from each other, as did Mr. and Mrs. Granger. They each had a glass of red wine and before long everyone was feeling a bit more relaxed—even Mr. Granger. 

“As a dentist,” said Mr. Granger to Draco at one point, “I must say that you have such nice, healthy, white teeth.” 

Draco was surprised by this unexpected and somewhat unconventional compliment, but he replied smoothly, “Do you think so, Mr. Granger? I’ve always made it a point to take good care of them.” 

Hermione gave him an encouraging smile from across the table and he knew he had given the appropriate response. 

“Son, call me Robert. And yes, I think so. Don’t you agree, Jane?” said Mr. Granger amiably. 

“Oh yes,” said Mrs. Granger, nodding vigorously. “Have you ever had braces, Draco?” 

It should have been a simple yes or no answer, but Draco was stuck on this one. He looked to Hermione for help. She shook her head almost imperceptibly. 

“No, I’ve never had braces,” said Draco, hoping that was the right answer. He wondered what in Merlin’s name braces were. They sounded painful to him. 

“You were blessed with perfect teeth, then,” Mr. Granger affirmed. “Unlike our darling Hermione here. Her teeth might look nice now, but before they looked like—” 

“Yes, Daddy, we all know what my teeth used to look like,” said Hermione, interrupting before her well-intentioned father accidentally embarrassed her—which incidentally happened quite often. 

Draco smiled at her faintly. She knew what he was thinking of—an incident that happened in fourth year. He had shot a curse at Harry, but it had hit Hermione instead, causing her two front teeth to grow frighteningly large. Ironically, after a hasty visit to Madame Pomfrey, that incident had actually led her to straighter teeth for the future. 

“Well, dear, they’re straight now, and that’s all that matters,” said Mrs. Granger, sensing that they had touched upon a sensitive subject, for Hermione at least. 

“Right,” said Hermione, taking another sip of wine. 

“By the way, Draco, this steak is delicious,” Mr. Granger added. “It’s good to know that Hermione will be in good hands.” 

“What do you mean?” said Hermione and Draco at the exact same time. They glanced at each other, and then at Mr. Granger for the explanation that was sure to come. 

“Hermione, darling, you know you can’t cook at all. You’re lucky to have Draco here—it means you won’t go hungry,” said Mr. Granger as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. 

“Oh,” said Hermione, slightly insulted that her dad was under the impression that she was unable to feed herself. Grudgingly, she had to admit that it was somewhat true though—her mother had unfortunately failed to pass on the cooking gene. 

“Hermione, I thought you were good at everything—other than flying, of course,” said Draco, a hint of a smirk on his face. “You can’t cook?” 

“I can make cereal!” said Hermione defensively. Then she added, in a defeated tone. “And…that’s about the extent of my cooking capabilities, sadly.” 

Draco laughed, as did Mr. and Mrs. Granger. After a short pause, Hermione joined in too. When the laughter died down, they ate in silence for a few moments, but it was a comfortable silence. 

“I’ll go get the dessert,” said Mrs. Granger, rising from the table. “I baked some lemon meringue pie this afternoon.” She headed into the kitchen. 

“That’s my favorite dessert!” Mr. Granger declared. 

“And mine,” said Hermione, grinning. 

Draco smiled, but he remained silent. He happened to hate lemons. 

Mrs. Granger waltzed back into the dining room, pie in hand. “I hope you like lemon meringue pie, dear,” she said as she cut a slice for Draco. 

“Oh,” said Draco, somewhat dismayed as he noted how especially huge his slice was. “Well, I’ve only had it once before, when my mum decided to use me as a test subject for her recipes.” 

“Oh, your mother likes to cook too?” said Mrs. Granger with great interest. 

“She likes to bake,” said Draco, nodding. 

“Maybe she and I could exchange recipes one day!” said Mrs. Granger. 

Draco hesitated, and then smiled. “You know, Jane, I think she’ll like that.” He glanced around the table, waiting until everyone had been served a slice of pie before picking up his fork. 

Mrs. Granger looked at him expectantly. He hastily took a tiny bite, chewed, and swallowed. “It’s delicious,” he said, throwing in a charming smile to make it seem even more convincing. To his relief, Mr. and Mrs. Granger bought his answer, although Hermione was looking at him suspiciously. He pretended to eat for the next ten minutes, and then when no one was looking, he used his wand—held under the table, of course—to Vanish it. 

“I’m absolutely stuffed,” Mr. Granger announced when he finished his pie, setting down his fork. “Thank you for the wonderful meal, Jane…and Draco.” 

“I’m glad you liked it,” said Draco, inclining his head in a polite gesture. He looked around the table, noting the numerous dirty dishes that were just waiting to be washed. “I’ll wash the dishes,” he offered right away. 

“Oh, that won’t be necessary, dear,” said Mrs. Granger quickly, making a feeble attempt to stop him. 

“I’m happy to help,” Draco insisted, stacking a few dishes in his hands and making his way toward the kitchen. 

“I’ll help you, Draco,” said Hermione, following him quickly. 

As they both entered the kitchen, they heard Mr. Granger remark, “I like this boy. He’s very nice and polite. He even offered to do the dishes—now that’s something.” 

“I perfectly agree,” said Mrs. Granger. 

“Well,” said Draco in a low murmur, “I’d say that went pretty well, don’t you think?” They were both leaning against the counter in the dark kitchen. Neither of them had bothered to turn on the lights. 

Hermione set the dishes she had been carrying into the sink and then turned around to hug him. “Thank you,” she whispered, reaching up to give him a chaste kiss. 

“For what?” he asked, reluctantly pulling away but knowing they would pick up where they left off if things went his way. 

“For being so charming,” Hermione responded, moving to the sink to turn on the tap. “You were perfect. My parents love you.” 

Draco shrugged nonchalantly. “I was just being my usual self,” he said, smirking. 

Hermione rolled her eyes and reached for the dish soap. Draco sighed impatiently, pulled out his wand, and waved it around. The dishes jumped to life and began washing themselves. 

“Must we do everything by magic?” said Hermione, sighing. 

“Now that’s how I do the dishes,” said Draco in a satisfied manner. “And to answer your question, no, but it does come in handy at times.” 

“But what should we do now, if we can’t do the dishes?” said Hermione innocently, looking up at him. 

“Oh, I think I have a few ideas,” said Draco with a smirk on his face. In one swift motion, he reached out and pulled her close to him. Hermione yelped in surprise, her hands landing on his toned chest. It took her less than a second to relax and melt into his embrace. 

“Hmm,” said Hermione, trailing a path over his chest with her fingertips. She heard the breath hitch in his throat and she knew she had gotten the effect she had been hoping for. “I don’t know. Your ideas aren’t always as brilliant as you might think they are.” 

“Oh really?” said Draco. “Is that a challenge?” 

“A challenge?” Hermione repeated, as though she had no clue what he was going on about. 

“Yes,” breathed Draco, leaning in to kiss her earlobe. “I’ll prove to you just how brilliant this particular idea of mine is.” He pulled back so his face was only mere centimeters away from hers. Hermione’s eyelids fluttered closed and she tilted her head slightly to the side. That was when he knew he had won. 

Without hesitating for another moment, he closed the small gap between her mouth and his, and he kissed her, softly at first, and then hungrily. Hermione kissed back eagerly, parting her lips to allow him more access. Her hands had found their way up his chest and around his neck. She clung to him as he kissed her deeply and passionately. She felt like she was drowning in the all the new sensations she felt whenever she was with him like this, but she didn’t mind at all, not when he was holding her and kissing her in a way that made her feel like they were the only two people in the world. 

The sudden sound of water hitting the tiled floor beneath their feet caused Hermione to reluctantly break free, gasping for air. Trying to hide her flustered, blushing face, she quickly turned around only to see the sink overflowing with soapy water. "Oh no!" she said, and moved forward to turn off the tap, but she slipped on the wet floor, colliding backwards into Draco, who had rushed forward to catch her in case she fell. The two of them ended up crashing to the floor, laughing out loud. 

"I never knew doing the dishes could be so fun," Hermione commented when the laughter finally died down. They were still sitting on the floor and leaning against the kitchen cabinets, having not bothered to get up, resting comfortably in each other's arms. 

"Hmm," said Draco absentmindedly. He gently turned her around so she was facing him. "Now, where were we?" he said in a low voice. 

"Remind me," said Hermione with a smile, and without a moment's hesitation, he proceeded to do so. 

... 

The rest of the night flew by, much to Hermione's surprise and relief. After dinner, Mr. Granger warmed up to Draco considerably and the two of them held a long conversation that wasn’t forced at all. Mr. Granger even introduced Draco to Muggle sports (namely football) when the latter showed the slightest hint of interest in a newspaper article that was lying on the coffee table about a recent match between two fierce rivals. In return, Draco went over the basics of Quidditch with Mr. Granger, as Hermione (who couldn't play the sport and only watched it when forced or when her friends played) had failed to explain it properly in her Hogwarts days. Mr. Granger seemed fascinated by the idea of throwing balls into hoops fifty feet in the air while flying on broomsticks, and Draco promised to demonstrate in the future if they ever got the chance to do so. 

Mrs. Granger, meanwhile, doted on Draco like she was his own son (she positively adored his perfect teeth). At one point that evening, when she had managed to drag Hermione off to the side, she attempted to have a deep, heart-to-heart conversation with her daughter. Hermione had been hoping to avoid such a conversation, but now here she was. 

"So," began Mrs. Granger in a very significant voice as she scrutinized her daughter with wide eyes, "is he the one?" 

Hermione, whose Gryffindor spirit had fled, avoided her mother's gaze and responded with the classic, "What do you mean?" even though she knew perfectly well what her mum meant. And then she announced loudly that she needed to use the bathroom, even though she didn't, and hurried out of the room, leaving her mother to speculate on her own. But all in all, things were going better than Hermione had expected, and she could even relax for a moment or two. 

Later that night, however, when it was time for bed, Hermione's nerves returned with full force. "Good night," said Mrs. Granger sweetly as she and Mr. Granger left the living room where they had all been sitting and chatting. At the foot of the stairs, Mr. Granger turned around and opened his mouth like he was going to say something, but then he decided against it and allowed his wife to drag him up the stairs and "leave the two lovebirds alone." 

"Well," said Draco, clearing his throat. "It's been a long day. Shall we go to bed?" 

"Oh," said Hermione, suddenly remembering who exactly would be sleeping with her in her bed that night. "Right." Draco, who was trying not to laugh at her discomfort (he secretly found it endearing in a way), quirked an eyebrow at her. She took the cue and led the way up the stairs while trying to hide her nerves. It's not like anything's going to happen, she told herself. 

"The bathroom is right here," said Hermione, pointing. "My mum already put fresh towels on the rack. We have soap and shampoo and conditioner and toothpaste, plus an extra toothbrush if you need one. Oh, and dental floss. My parents are dentists after all. If you need anything--" 

Draco was suddenly very near her, and her nervous babbling came to a halt. She slowly backed into the wall. 

"Hermione," he said quietly, his face very close to hers, "relax." 

She closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath, and then he kissed her. It was sweet and lingering, and while it did make her heart race as usual, she felt more relaxed than she had been just a moment ago. 

"You can use the bathroom first," she offered when she opened her eyes again. She was startled to see him looking at her with such unreadable, burning intensity, but then he looked away. "Okay," he said, walking over to her bedroom. 

Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, Hermione followed him and then, while he showered and brushed his teeth, occupied her time by tidying up her room even though it was already impossibly neat. After ten minutes or so, he came back into the room with nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist. 

Hermione immediately averted her eyes. "Would it kill you to put on some clothes?" she said, even though inside she knew, if she was being truly honest with herself, that she had no problem with his current state of dress. 

Draco was full on smirking at her now. "Actually, yes," he said. 

At this, Hermione reached blindly for her pajamas and then ran from the room, slamming the bathroom door shut behind her. She showered (remembering to shave, just in case), quickly dried her hair with her wand, brushed and flossed, and slathered on some lotion. She spent a bit of time in front of the mirror, trying to make her hair look presentable, when she remembered with a huff that it hardly mattered when she was going to bed to sleep. 

Smoothing down her pajamas—the most modest set of pajamas she owned—she tentatively opened the bathroom door, tiptoed across the hall, and then entered her bedroom. Draco was already lying in bed under the covers, his hands behind his head. He was gazing at the ceiling, but looked to her when she came in. 

"Is it winter already?" he said, indicating her choice of night clothes. 

"Shut up," she told him, and then lifted the covers to climb into bed. She balked when she saw that he had swapped the towel for a pair of silk boxers and nothing else. His perfectly smooth, toned, chiseled chest—stop it! she told her brain—was completely bare.

"Something wrong?" he said casually with a slight tone of amusement in his voice, when she carefully lay down stiffly at his side with her eyes squeezed resolutely shut. 

"No, not at all," she said faintly. She reached over to switch off the lamp. "Good night, Draco." 

"Good night," he responded. After a silent moment or two, he rolled over and wrapped an arm securely around her waist, and she immediately felt her tensed up muscles relaxing at his touch. She snuggled in a little closer to him, and soon she was fast asleep and dreaming. 

... 

The next day flew by as well, without any major mishaps. Though Hermione and Draco couldn't spend too much time alone together in her parents' house, they seized every dishwashing opportunity there was and took full advantage of them. After every meal, they would gather up the dirty plates while trying not to show too much enthusiasm for the chore (so they didn't appear suspicious). Then they would retreat into the kitchen, shut the door, and then proceed to "wash" the dishes—although they found plenty of time to do other things too. 

Before they knew it, the visit was nearly over and it was time for them to return to Malfoy Manor to continue the Game of Love. They had just finished eating another dinner courtesy of Mrs. Granger and Draco. Hermione was in her bedroom alone, packing her suitcase and triple-checking that she did indeed have everything she needed. Using her wand, she levitated her suitcase down the stairs and set it down in the foyer by the front door. Wondering where Draco had gone off to, she wandered down the short hall, stopping short when she heard voices coming from the living room. Unable to contain her curiosity, she peered into the room to see her dad and Draco sitting on two armchairs, in deep conversation. So deep, in fact, that neither of them noticed that there was an eavesdropper lurking right outside. 

"Thank you, sir," Draco was saying sincerely. 

There was the sound of both men getting up from their seats, and Hermione saw the two of them embrace like father and son. Wondering what had just occurred, and wishing she had been able to hear more, she was about to retreat up the stairs before either of them could leave the room and spot her when Draco suddenly appeared at her side. He looked surprised to see her. 

"Hermione!" he said. The surprised expression on his face was quickly replaced by a knowing smirk. "Eavesdropping, weren't you?" 

"No, I was not," she said with a glare. "I heard nothing." It was true. She had no idea what her dad and Draco had discussed, although she had the feeling it hadn't been about football or Quidditch. 

"Hermione, darling!" said her father just then, exiting the living room as well. "I think that fancy limousine of yours just pulled up to the front." 

"Oh," said Hermione. She glanced at Draco. "Well, then, I suppose it's time for us to leave." She stepped forward to give her dad a hug. He seemed very reluctant to let her go. 

"I love you," Mr. Granger whispered into his daughter's ear so only she could hear. "I hope he makes you happy." 

"I love you too," said Hermione. She looked at her dad strangely. Something was up. Was that a tear in his eye? 

"Leaving already?" Mrs. Granger exclaimed, joining the farewell party at that moment. 

"Unfortunately," said Draco. "I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here, Jane. Thank you for letting me into your home." He obliged when Mrs. Granger held open her arms for a hug. 

"It's only been less than two days and it's like you're already part of the family," said Mrs. Granger, throwing Hermione a furtive glance as she said this. Hermione couldn't help but feel like her mother had purposefully chosen her words with extreme care. 

"It was wonderful to finally meet you both," said Draco to both Mr. and Mrs. Granger as the latter hugged her daughter. Outside, the chauffeur honked the horn impatiently. Evidently he was on a tight schedule. 

"Oh dear, you had better get going!" said Mrs. Granger, finally letting Hermione go. 

Hermione opened the front door, and she and Draco stepped outside, carrying the small amount of luggage they had brought. They paused on the steps and turned around once more to wave goodbye. 

"Take care of our daughter, Draco!" Mrs. Granger called out. 

Draco raised his hand in a salute-like wave. "I will," he said. And then he took Hermione's free hand and the two of them walked away from the house.



And there you have it! Once again, I apologize for the delay. I blame my computer this time.
I have started my senior year of high school, so unfortunately things will be getting busy for me as I start the college application process (*gulp*). I won't forget about this story though!
Please review! I always love hearing what you think. ^_^
Yours till the Wrackspurt steals your thoughts,
Queen Luna

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