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By: Gryffindorgirl153

Chapter Twenty One

Pansy sighed heavily, sauntering through the dark, paved streets of London. She had been wandering around aimlessly for about an hour in counting, in attempt to rid her body of the anger that accumulated in her system hours ago. The only sound that broke through the heavy silence was her four inch leather boots slapping along the pavement with every step. Throughout her years as a woman, she found that she immensely enjoyed the sound of her heels clicking against the ground. It was one of her favorite things about being a woman- to have the privilege of creating such alleviating sounds with a pair of leather boots. She brought her black coat closer to her body and shook her hair away from her head. The cold night chill strangely brought Pansy a sense of comfort, but it wasn’t enough to shake her mind from her previous conversation with Miranda.

From years of taking care of someone as careless as Draco, Pansy learned the values of trust and friendship. After years of standing by his side as one of his most trusted friend, she grew to understand just how stubborn and steadfast he could be. She understood that Draco trusted her; having had entrusted his life in her hands in more than several occasions. Perhaps this was the reason as to why she found it so difficult to go against what Draco desired the most. Pansy understood the difference between what's right, and what had to be done. The right thing to do was to allow him to live in ignorant bliss, despite what happens to his job, his life or his family. On the other hand, there was the critical matter at hand- what had to be done. She knew his family would suffer if he chooses to act upon his own decisions. She knew the consequences his father would have to face if Draco chooses the less moral choice.

She released a heavy, exaggerated breath, and turned a corner- all the while, she continued deliberating over Miranda's 'brilliant' idea. Most shops and restaurants were already closed, leaving the sidewalks of London dark and almost empty. Pansy turned another corner giving her feet free reign for the night. She could hear a nagging voice in her head, reminding her of her boyfriend who would be worried if she didn't return home soon. However, no matter how many times she thought of Theodore, she couldn’t push the belligerent voice- that seemingly split her brain in half, out of her head.

Recalling her previous meeting with Miranda, a grimace fought its way onto Pansy's pretty face, distorting her lips. The moment she walked through the door of her flat, there was a familiar brown owl perched outside the closest window, loudly tapping against the clear, dirt-grimed glass. A Malfoy owl delivered a letter from Narcissa Malfoy, requesting her presence as soon as possible. Despite the tiredness that devoured her bones, she immediately traveled to the manor via the floor powder network, hoping that the current 'emergency' was not anything serious. Upon arriving in the manor, Pansy was immediately greeted by a broken Miranda. She immediately recognized the dark shade that covered the skin under her eyes to be smeared mascara that managed to stain her skin.

Once her eyes landed on Miranda, Pansy immediately regretted choosing the latter of her debate before leaving her flat- before she decided to fulfill Narcissa's urgent request. Following a short conversation that painfully consisted of counterproductive small talk, Miranda immediately brought up her proposal. Narcissa appeared to be in compliance with Miranda's thoughts, believing that it was best for both Hermione and Draco if they were separated for a given period of time. Disregarding the discreetly hidden insinuations in Miranda's offer, Pansy couldn't help but agree to the logical reasoning behind it. With Hermione away from Draco for a while, he would be able to focus on fixing the damage he managed to cause in the span of a couple of mere months, in order to keep his fathers' company under the Malfoy name. Both Lucius and Narcissa would also be able to see their son at his prime; succeeding in what should have been his months ago.

However, there was always the latter. Although Hermione's leave would logically fix their current dilemmas, Pansy couldn't bring herself to make the ultimate decision that would alter both Draco and Hermione's lives for the next year. With all the heartbreak Draco had to endure for the past few years of his life, taking Hermione away from him would border the line of cruelty.

Suddenly hating herself, Pansy’s face broke out in anger before she quickly apparated away from the dark street and into Draco and Hermione's flat.


The steady breathing of Hermione alone, was enough to set Draco down from his high. Contently laying beside her, his eyes never growing weary from staring at Hermione, Draco felt at peace. Never in his life has he felt happier than he does now. It was an uncanny concept for Draco- how one girl managed to make his entire world appear happier. Ever since Miranda, he had evaded relying on a woman for happiness or company, with Pansy being the only exception. The wounds that Miranda inflicted on him once upon a time were healed- patched up by something better; stronger.

He stared at her, his eyes moving across her face once again, enamored by every single feature. He could never get enough of her. He couldn’t help but realize how Hermione was nothing like Miranda. Every single thing about Hermione contradicted Miranda’s persona in so many ways. His heart swelled as he thought about how long he has waited for someone like her- for someone he would want to spend the rest of his life with. With Miranda, it seemed almost impossible to ignore the dubious feelings he harboured- which explains why he had never asked for Miranda’s hand in marriage. On the contrary, there was Hermione, who liberated any signs of doubt and the feeling of emptiness from Draco’s mind, replacing these ideas with a permanent, unchanging substitute: Hermione is the only woman for Draco. She was his soul mate; his other half-the missing piece of the puzzle, the night to his day, the moon to the stars, the peanut butter to his jelly-she was his one and only. Never had he been so certain of anything in his life. It was an imperceptible feeling- one that Draco couldn’t get a complete hold of. Nonetheless, he appreciated and welcomed the love that had grown for Hermione without a single question.

Hermione's shirt was left forgotten and discarded on the floor, while Draco's white button up shirt rest on Hermione's petite form. The couple lay facing one another, their foreheads slightly touching. Draco's arm was draped affectionately over Hermione's waist, while her arm rested over his-tracing light circles over his skin. The silence roamed over the couple for about twenty minutes, neither of them willing to break it.

A tiny smile immediately formed on Hermione's face as Draco shifted on the bed and moved closer to her, resting his chin on the top of her head. He tucked her closer to him, protectively wrapping his arm around her. As she lay beside him, wrapped in his arms, Hermione recognized what she had been missing all her life. There was so much of Draco that she wished she could keep forever, and it scared her more than anything. After several weeks of living with him, she had come to the point where living without Draco was no longer an option to choose from.

His heartbeat rhythmically thumped against his chest, allowing Hermione to indulge in the consistent drumming. She smiled again, her ears tuning into the pulsation of his chest, memorizing the distinct rhythm.

Draco’s earlier words knocked against Hermione’s brain, pushing themselves inside, searching for a response. Earlier that evening, they had been left unanswered- the only response being her lips latching onto his for the second time that night. Deciding her answer, she let out a small breath and stared up at his neck. “I don’t think I can live without you either.” Her voice was below a whisper, almost mingling in with their steady breaths, and loud heartbeats. However, Draco heard the words that composed her tiny tone. “I can’t,”

If his heart had a face, it’d be smiling childishly from ear to ear. His face mimicked the feeling in his heart, and smiled widely as he bent down- kissing Hermione softly on the lips. For the first time in his life, Draco was able to enjoy the experience of kissing Hermione freely- simply because he wanted to. He was allowed to, without the need of a legitimate excuse. He smiled to himself, and kissed her once more, marveling at the softness of his lips.

A hurried knock on the door broke the couple from their thoughts. Draco groaned in annoyance and sat up slowly, keeping his arm affectionately wrapped around Hermione as she too, picked herself up to a sitting position. They both turned to look at their bedroom door, silently wondering who could possibly be visiting them at this ungodly hour. Hermione frowned. "Who could that be?" she whispered. To appease their curiosity, Draco grudgingly strode out of bed and stumbled to the door as he quickly pulled his jeans on. Meanwhile Hermione stayed seated on the disheveled sheets, running a hand through her wild, ruffled hair. She looked at the empty space on the bed beside her, and silently wished that Draco hadn't left.

He had just finished buttoning his jeans when he opened his bedroom door, coming face to face with a flushed Pansy Parkinson. "Pansy," he stated, sounding slightly relieved. He frowned, leaning against the door, partially irritated that Pansy forced him out of bed, and away from Hermione. Her hair was slightly tousled, windswept from the harsh winds outside. "What are you doing here?" he questioned, glancing at the clock. "It's nearly midnight."

Pansy rolled her eyes, and strode into the room, her heels clicking loudly behind her. “I’m glad you can tell the time, Draco.” She retorted sarcastically as she walked in. A look of surprise immediately found her face upon seeing Hermione sitting on his bed, wearing only Draco’s white, crisp shirt. When she turned back to Draco, Pansy smirked knowingly, and slyly commented, "I seem to have interrupted something."

In response to Pansy's comment, Hermione blushed furiously. "Hello Pansy," She smiled sheepishly, looking away to hide the blush that spread to her cheeks.

"Good evening, Hermione." Pansy grinned, enjoying the torment she was succeeding on inflicting. "Glad to know that someone enjoyed themselves tonight." her amused grin was still plastered on her face.

Draco grimaced as he picked up a discarded plain white undershirt from the floor. "What are you doing here?" he asked exasperatedly, leaning against his dresser and crossing his arms in front of him. "I'm guessing that you didn't come here in the middle of the night to have a nice chat over a cup of tea."

"Don't get smart with me, Draco." Pansy scolded, strangely resembling an irritated Narcissa Malfoy. "Hermione, would it be okay if I spoke to Draco alone?" she asked, glancing apprehensively towards Hermione.

Understanding, she hurriedly walked out of bed. "I need a shower anyway. Would you like anything Pansy?" she asked politely, stopping briefly by the door. "A cup of tea perhaps?"

Pansy chuckled and shook her head before saying, "No, thank you." she immediately turned to Draco once Hermione left the room. "You should sit." she began slowly, secretly fearing his reaction. She decided to break the news down on him slowly in order to cushion a rough fall. "You're not going to like what I have to tell you."

Draco immediately frowned, and fell back against the edge of his bed. "What's going on?" he questioned cautiously. "Have you done something illegal again? You didn't kill anyone, did you Pansy?"

"What? No! I tell you that I'm about to tell you something you won't like, and you immediately come to the conclusion that I killed someone?" she demanded incredulously, suddenly feeling like her and Draco were back in Hogwarts again. Pansy stood before him, biting her lip and suddenly finding herself wishing that she had in fact, killed someone- and that was the news she had to tell Draco.

Draco shrugged nonchalantly. "Now, what's so important that it can’t wait till morning?"

She sighed, and sat down on the other side of the bed. "Miranda had a little chat with your mother today." she began, biting her lip again. From out in the hallway, she could hear Hermione humming loudly as she walked into the second bathroom. Hearing Hermione's loud humming- a sign of blissful happiness, Pansy found it more and more difficult to tell Draco what had to be done. She noticed the immediate stiffness of Draco’s body upon the mention of her name, and she knew that Miranda was the last person Draco wanted to hear about tonight. "She had this offer, and your mother seems to be in agreement with her. She's going to be trying her best to get you to agree to it as well."

"And what's this offer of hers?" he inquired skeptically. "And where do you come in?" Pansy could sense the new found anger that tore through Draco's calm demeanor.

She took a breath and continued. "Your mother seems to think that I'm the only one that can convince you to allow it. However, I'm not so sure that I'd be of much help this time," It honestly broke her heart to have to be the one to set off the bomb to Draco's healing heart. She felt as though she was telling a little boy that his favorite toy has been ripped into shreds and he would never see it again. "Draco, please promise me that you'll think about this calmly and rationally, and that you won't rip my head off after you hear this." The last time Pansy had been this worried over Draco's reaction, was back in their Hogwarts days, when their only problems were school work, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends.

He chuckled softly. "Pansy, just spit it out. Tell me what it is." his lighthearted tone tore Pansy even more, and she was sure that the heartache she felt for her friends would be nothing compared to what they would feel later on.

"Draco, Miranda and your mother believe that the only way to fix this," she took a breath, feeling her heart pump wildly in her chest. "Is if Hermione stayed... away for a while."

He stared at her with a look of confusion. For a small fragment of a second, Pansy saw the little boy that she met when she was a child. She saw the frightened little boy that had a wall of steel built around his heart, preventing anyone from reaching his core. She caught the familiar look of heartbreak that swamped his eyes for months after Miranda abandoned all of them. Pansy was suddenly thankful that the small little boy she once knew allowed her to walk right into his life, and settle down in the depths of his heart. And now, she had to break it. "This isn’t fair," she sighed, looking away from him. "They want her to leave." she induced more clearly. They want Hermione to spend about a year abroad, or anywhere else that’s far away from London. They think that's the only way to make your lives easier. Your mum knew that you'd never agree to it if she asked you."

Draco stayed quiet. He couldn't believe what Pansy was asking of him. He had just found Hermione, and now they wanted him to let her go. "Pansy, I can’t do that." he finally spoke, staring down at his clenched fists. "You can’t ask me to do that. I won't allow it."

"Draco, you know more than anything that your mum or Miranda won't give up until Hermione's on a plane, flying to wherever they decide to send her." she reasoned, placing a hand on his. "Maybe this is the only way," she whispered. "You know that Hermione would be willing to do this too, if she knew about it of course. This is why I wanted to speak to you alone. I wanted this to be your choice."

"The only way she's getting on a plane and leaving London, is if I'm going with her." he snapped furiously, glaring at Pansy. "We'll find another way- there's always another way."

She bit her lip. "Think of your father. You know, he's still trying to convince the committee that you're a suitable candidate to take over the company?" A flash of assorted came across Draco's face, but quickly left. "He still believes in you."

A cynical laugh came from Draco. “My father doesn’t believe in me. He just wants to keep it under our name." he replied dryly. "You can tell my mother that Hermione's staying right here with me."

"Miranda managed to convince her father to help. Although, I doubt she even asked- not that she needs go. That man can never say no to her." Pansy shook her head once she realized how far she was beginning to stray from the subject. "He's the Minister for Magic, Draco. It's practically promised that this will all go away, and you will be managing your fathers company. The public and the committee just need to see that you're willing to take things more seriously. If you’re going to show them that you’re serious- you can’t have Hermione by your side. For the time being."

Draco abruptly stood up, clearly angered. "Are you agreeing with this?" he demanded, glaring at her. "Is that why you're here? To try and convince me to send Hermione off for a bloody year?" Pansy winced at the sound of his voice.

"I'm just trying to protect you, Draco." Pansy retorted furiously. "But you're making it so goddamn difficult! Do you honestly think," she began, before Draco could begin to say anything else. She glared at him indignantly, angry that he would even think that she wanted this to happen. "That I’d be happy to watch her go? That I'm doing all of this just so I can rejoice at the sight of your misery once Hermione's gone? It was hell when I picked up your pieces when Miranda left." her voice turned soft, but Draco knew better than to believe she was no longer angry. "That's not something I want to have to go through again."

Draco slumped back against the wall adjacent to the bathroom, in defeat. He carelessly pounded his fist against the plaster and dropped his head down. "She's not leaving." he grounded out, not lifting his gaze. "I'm telling you right now, I'm not letting her lave."

He heard Pansy sigh, followed by her heels clicking loudly against the floor. She stopped in front of him, and placed her hand on his arm. "I'm your best friend." She reminded him. "I don't find it pleasant when you're downright miserable. You're also not the only one who has grown to love her. Just think about what I said. You best make your decision before your mother gets a hold of Hermione." After a simple, thankful look from Draco, Pansy walked out of his bedroom slowly. Almost instantly, Draco could hear Hermione and Pansy's voice breaking through the silence of their flat.

Slowly, Draco plopped down on the side of the bed, and buried his head in his hands. With Hermione gone, would he be able to live normally, and take on his own responsibilities? He believed that Hermione was someone he needed by his side, everyday, until the end of time. He had just recently made up his mind that he wouldn’t be able to function properly without Hermione- and now, they wanted to take her away from him? They were forcing him to choose, between the girl he needed, and his family, who seemingly needed him.

Draco angrily gripped the thick bedspread and hauled it over his head, forcing it to fly across the room. He could hear Pansy and Hermione saying their goodbyes from the living room, and Draco felt angry tears welling up in his eyes. His chest constricted painfully, shooting a familiar feeling of pain throughout his body. He irrationally drew his fist back, and forced it into the closest wall, hoping that it would relieve him of his anger. Draco's bones cracked upon impact, and he could feel blood pouring from his knuckles. With an angry cry, he reached over to the side table, and began throwing anything he could get his hands on. He grabbed the alarm clock, forcibly chucking it at the wall directly in front of him. He ripped the lampshade out of its socket and viciously threw it as well. The porcelain base shattered upon impact with the wall, just as Hermione slowly opened the bedroom door.

She silently looked at Draco, and at the mess he made on the other side of the room. She noticed the tears streaming down his face, along with his fists that were balled up at his sides. As his eyes settled on her worried face, Draco immediately fell back down on the bed, and dropped his head in his bloody hands.

Watching Draco break down in front of her, Hermione felt a small part of her die. Never had she seen Draco so vulnerable- so weak. For once she hoped to see his overly confident smile take over his lips. She wanted him to lift up his head with the smirk that seemed to be glued on his lips, and say something incredibly arrogant or sarcastic. But nothing happened. Draco stayed on the bed, slumped over with his head in his hands. She could see his shoulders slightly shaking, and she wondered why this affected him so.

Slowly, Hermione walked into the bathroom, and grabbed a small wash cloth and ran it under hot water. She squeezed the excess water out and walked back to Draco, kneeling before him. She carefully tugged on his arm, and began cleaning his bloody hand. "You didn’t have to punch the wall," she whispered, as she cradled his hand softly. Conjuring a roll of bandages, she began wrapping his hand in thick, beige gauze.

Once she tied it off, Hermione turned to face him. Silently, Hermione reached up, and cradled his face in his. His tears glistened against the light, and she felt her own heart break into millions of pieces. "I really wish you wouldn't cry," she whispered softly as she bore her eyes into his. Hermione was careful with her words, relinquishing a soft tone in the wake of his livid state. She was afraid of saying the wrong things, which would only result in more outraged breakdowns.

"Why not?" Draco questioned quietly.

Hermione sighed. "It hurts me." she answered simply, as if it should have been something Draco already knew. Before she knew it, Draco enveloped her into a hug. He drew her body close to his and he buried his face into her hair. His arms wrapped tightly around her and she felt safe, as usual. She held him close, her arms wrapped around his neck, playing with the ends of his hair. “I heard what you and Pansy were talking about," she whispered. “You shouldn’t be so mad at her, she means well.”

Draco pulls us up from the ground and placed her beside him on the bed. "You heard us?" he asked, surprised.

Reaching up and carefully wiping his tears from his cheek, Hermione chuckled halfheartedly. "The walls of this room don’t exactly do well to drown out your yelling." she informed him, the corners of her lips rising sympathetically. "I can understand what she's trying to tell you."

He sighed angrily, and shifted his body around to face her. "Don’t start with that." he pleaded darkly. "Don't you dare fucking start going on about that."

She shook her head. "That's not what I'm doing." She told him softly.

"Then what are you doing?" He asked her, even though he already knew what her answer would be. Draco stared at her for a moment, and then realization suddenly hit his brain, forcing him to see what Hermione truly wanted. "You want to leave, don't you?"

Hermione bit her lip, and dropped her gaze, not being able to look at Draco. "I don't want to," she began, feeling slightly guilty. "Draco," she said softly, taking his hands in hers. She twined her fingers around his, and realized how perfectly their hands fit together. "There's nothing I would want more than to stay here with you."

"Then don't leave." he told her immediately, gripping her hands tightly. "Stay here then."

She sighed heavily, finding it more and more difficult. "Draco this is beyond you and I," Hermione said. "Your parents are involved in this too- and your father more so! We can't just leave them to clean up our mess."

"There are other ways to fix this." he told her, stubbornly pulling his hands away from hers. Draco propped his elbows up on his knees and dropped his head in his hand once more. "You don't have to do this." he growled, his voice was muffled by his hands. "This is just one of Miranda's little schemes."

"It may just be a scheme, but it's one that will work." They spent the next few moments sitting in silence. Every now and then, Hermione stole short glances towards Draco, strangely flattered by how badly Draco wanted her to stay. She sighed, and moved closer, pressing herself against his back and wrapping her arms around his waist. "Draco," she began softly, feeling him relax under her touch. "Think about it," Hermione pleaded. "It works out well- you'll manage your fathers company, you'll fix everything- your parents will be happy, and when I come back, everything will be normal." As she attempted to reason with Draco, Hermione couldn't help but to see this as an opportunity to live her live, and be with Draco at the same time.

He chuckled ungraciously, and turned to look at her. "Since when were we ever normal?" Draco queried. Ever since Hermione entered his life, nothing has ever been simply normal. There would always be the sharp corners in his life he would have to walk around, the small and large changes that he eventually grew accustomed to. It was never normal with Hermione. There wasn't anything normal about an annoying, insufferable know it all barging into his life, changing everything around him, and making fall in love with her. There was never anything normal about Hermione Granger. "We're far from normal, Hermione."

She almost smiled at the sound of her name against his lips. "As normal as we can be," she corrected, feeling the tension rise slightly. "You know," she began, as she stayed seated behind him with her chin resting on his shoulders. Her arms were still around his body, and he had clasped both his had around hers tightly. "If someone had given me this chance, to go out and see the world, I would've instantly taken it without any questions." As Hermione guiltily spoke these words, she realized that they were in fact, something she's never told him before. "I wouldn't have even looked back to see what I was leaving behind. I don't think I would've even planned to come back to London once I found my way out." Draco turned around to face her, and before she knew what she was doing, she leaned forward and kissed him. "But now, I think it'll hurt me more than ever to leave."

"You don't have to go." he croaked, staring at her. "Don’t act like this is an obligation. This isn't something you have to do."

Hermione sighed sadly, and pulled Draco back against the bed. She flicked their lights off, and the room instantaneously surrendered to the darkness. With her wet hair sprayed behind her head, Hermione laid beside Draco, facing him. "I'm not really leaving, you know." she said in an informative tone. "Just taking a short vacation."

"I'm not going to let you leave." he told her, glaring straight at her. The light from the streetlamps seeped in through the window, slightly illuminating their faces. "Unless I'm going with you, there's no way that you're getting on a bloody plane, headed away from London." he knew he sounded childish, but he didn't care. He meant every word when he told Hermione how incapable he was without her by his side. "I promise you, I'll find another way around this. Goddamnit Hermione, you're not leaving. You're going to stay here, right next to me. You're going to wake me up in the morning with your stupid, annoying reasons, and you're going to steal my ruddy coffee cream and force me to drink that load of dung you use." Hermione chuckled softly at this. "You're going to fuss over things that you've lost, and I'm the one that's going to have to find it for you. I'm going to walk into that kitchen every morning and find that you've already beaten me to the Prophet, and I won't get to read it until you leave for the day. Which I absolutely hate, by the way. Before I go to work, you're going to force me into a bleeding suit, and I'm going to ignore you like I always do. I'm going to walk into our bedroom after work and get annoyed at all your bloody knickers lying about. I'm going to fall asleep by your side every night, Hermione." he told her sternly, trapping her body in his arms. "For the rest of my life." Draco finished with a sigh.

"For the rest of your life?" Hermione questioned with a smile, feeling her heart soar with his words.

Draco frowned. "Yes, Granger," he drawled tiredly, as if it were something she should have already known. "For the rest of our loves, we'll be bickering until we're old and gray. And even then, we'll still be bickering over the stupidest things."

She smiled fondly. "I like the sound of that," she whispered, opening her eyes and staring at him.

They laid together in silence for a while. Hermione absentmindedly traced circles on Draco's neck, while he comforted her with his steady breathing. Her mind repeated his words over and over again, causing another smile to play on her lips. After long moment of silence, Draco’s voice broke through her thoughts.

"Hermione," he began with a whisper, being the first to speak.

"Hm?" was her response.

He stayed silent for a moment, delving back into his own thoughts. Marriage has been on his mind for the longest time. What reason did they have not to get married? They were already engaged, and due to be married- why not do it right? "Let's get married." Draco told her, staring straight into her eyes.

Hermione frowned. Surely he wasn't serious? "I'm sorry?"

"You heard me," he said in response, propping himself up on his elbow. Draco gazed down at her and continued. "Let's get married, as soon as possible."

She grinned, despite her words. "You're mental."

"I'm completely serious!" he exclaimed, feeling himself get more and more excited by the moment. There was nothing in the world that he wanted to do more, than to marry the woman in his arms. "If you're serious on leaving, then let me marry you first."

Hermione pondered over this for a moment. "Are you taking a piss?" she inquired seriously, suddenly feeling guilty for her vulgar language. "Are you serious?" she habitually corrected herself.

His face told her more than she needed to know. "I'm completely serious," Draco said. "We're getting married anyway." he reminded her. "We might as well just do it now. What’s the use in waiting?"

"You don't feel that this is just a bit... Sudden?" she asked hesitantly, looking away from him.

Draco in turn, frowned. "We're already engaged, Hermione," he manage to say. "Why is this coming as a shock to you?"

"No," she immediately said. "It's not that- but, well.." he glanced at Draco and noticed that he was growing angry. "This is just new," Hermione admitted sheepishly. "You and me, it's just new. Before our engagement was simply under a contract- but now, it's something more. Our feelings were never involved before."

As Hermione bit her lip, Draco stared at her. He stared at the girl in his arms and wondered why he had been lucky enough to get a girl like her to devote herself to a guy like him. It was then, when Draco realized the things they did, and didn't say to each other. The couple had skillfully maneuvered around the subject, making it easy to sway around the inevitable. However, the inevitable never, ever went way. "Hermione, there's no one in this world that I would want to spend the rest of my life with, other than you." he told her sincerely, lifting her head up to look at him. "You're already technically mine," she smiled at this. "But now, I'm asking you as a man to a woman- will you be mine, Hermione? Will you do me the honour of being my wife, forever?"

She was surprise to hear the words come out of his mouth that she hadn't even realized what he was really asking. All she could think of was that Draco was here, right in front of her, setting his heart out on a string right before her. "Draco..." she trailed off, sighing tiredly. This was going too fast- she just needed to catch her breath, and then she'd be able to give him the answer he needed.

However, her short moment of hesitation was the only answer Draco needed. He irritably untangled himself from Hermione, walked out of bed and left the bedroom without a single word.

Hermione was left on the bed, sitting up with shock. She didn't mean to hesitate. All she needed to do was think for a moment. She wanted to think about what she was giving up, even though in the back of her mind- she already knew it. Instantly, Hermione stood up and followed Draco into the kitchen, watching as he flicked the lights on and pulled out a bottle of firewhiskey from the cupboard. "You sure do drink that a lot these days," she whispered, leaning against the counter beside him.

Draco didn't respond. "Draco," she began slowly, dragging out the last syllable. "Please understand me."

“That’s just it, Hermione.” He snapped, taking a swig. “I don’t understand you. I don’t understand what you want from me. First, we have mind blowing sex, and then you tell me you can’t live without me, and then you say that you want to leave London- and now, what? You don’t even want to marry me?” Draco’s faced turned into a scowl, and he drank more of the whiskey. “What the hell do you want from me, Granger?”

She winced as her last name left his mouth. “I want you to wait for me!” She said bluntly. “I want you to let me go, and I want you to wait for me. I want you to let Miranda help you fix everything. No matter what her real intentions are, I want you to let her help you. I want you to tell me that it’s okay to live, and have you at the same time.” He continued to stare at her, angered by what she was asking of him. “Draco, I don’t want to marry you under these conditions- where all these bloody reporters and photographers are after us because we faked a marriage. If that’s what you’re going to ask of me, then my answer is no.”

"You want me to wait for you, for a year?" he eventually said, dropping his gaze to the ground. "Hermione, if you really cared for me- none of those things would matter. I would marry you even if we were in the middle of a bloody war. Why do those things matter so much? "

"Like I said," she quickly replied. "This is beyond you and me. Your family is involved in this too. And if I'm going to be a part of your family, I want to do this right."

Draco scowled again. his eyes flashing with anger when the words he wanted to hear were left unsaid. "You just want a reason to get out of here."

“It’s different now.” She took the bottle from his hands, and drank a good portion herself. She winced at the unfamiliar burning sensation of the firewhiskey traveling down her throat. “I have a reason to come back.”

"I’m still not okay with this." he retorted angrily, snatching the bottle back from Hermione.

Hermione was slightly disappointed that she failed in attempting to convince Draco that this was a good idea. “I know,” She responded softly, stepping forward and taking her face in his hands. She stared into his eyes, and silently pleaded for him to understand her. “I wish you would be though..”

“How can you even expect me to be okay with this?” he demanded, taking another swig of the whiskey. It slithered down his throat, leaving a burning sensation. “You’re leaving for a whole bloody year. You’re being selfish, Hermione.”

The world selfish slapped Hermione straight across the face, stinging tremendously. She stood in front of Draco as her arms dropped to her sides, and stared at him with disbelieving eyes. How could he possibly be calling her selfish? Her eyes slowly changed from disbelieving to a shade that was familiar to Draco- anger. He had caused and witnessed this particular rush of emotions that welled up in the depths of her eyes enough to be able to recognize it anywhere. “I’m being selfish?” she snapped coldly, glaring daggers at him. It was a mystery to Hermione how she had been feeling nothing but love for him just a moment ago, and now- all she felt was anger and hatred. “How dare you tell me that I’m being selfish- I’m doing this for you and your family you daft, insolent bastard!”

Draco snorted resentfully, and roughly slammed the empty bottle of firewhiskey on the counter. The bottom of the glass collided with a marble, and Hermione could have sworn she heard it crack slightly. “No, Granger- you’re doing this for yourself. You’re doing this because you’re finally given the chance to have what you always wanted, and even when you have me here, standing right in front of you, offering my whole fucking heart- you’re still too selfish to even think of turning away from the only chance you have to get out of London.”

She couldn’t believe the words coming out of his mouth. Had he really thought this of her? Was this how he saw this entire situation? That it was a chance for her to go live her dream, and leave him behind? “Do you honestly think that I want to leave you? That I'm doing this for my own benefit?" She practically spat. “You think that I want to be away for a whole bloody year, while you’re left here to clean up the mess that I equally made? What the hell do you take me for, Malfoy?”

“A selfish cow, that’s what.” His response was immediate, and she knew that he had been searching for a chance to call her a ‘selfish cow’. The name was simply lingering on the tip of his tongue, searching for the perfect moment to spring out and catch her by surprise. “You’re being selfish- and you know it.”

“Have you seriously not been listening to anything I’ve been saying to you for the past hour?” She shouted, obviously enraged. For a moment, Hermione felt as though Draco was the prat she met in Hogwarts- and she was the bookworm that couldn’t tolerate being in the same room as him. They were arguing as though they were children once more, leaving Hermione to feel slightly guilty from their immaturity. “Have you heard anything I’ve told you about how I felt about you, and why we have to do this? No- obviously you haven’t. Because as always, you’re too busy thinking about your own needs, and your own feelings, that you’re incapable of seeing everyone else’s! You’re a hypocrite for calling me selfish, you arsehole.”

Before she could lash out on him any more than she already has, Hermione briskly strode out of the kitchen in fury and walked into her own bedroom- slamming the bedroom door behind her. She sank down on her bed, and allowed the tears to escape the confines of her eyes. She wondered how could doing the right think feel so wrong.

About five minutes later, she heard footsteps outside her bedroom door, and from the small crack in between the bottom of the door and the floor, she could see the shadows of Draco’s footsteps lingering outside her bedroom door. Hermione watched the shadows carefully. She could see that he was pacing quickly, resulting in complaints from the floorboards due to the sudden shifting of weight. A low groan could be heard through the wooden door, and then suddenly, he was gone. The shadows retreated, followed by a door, loudly slamming shut, causing Hermione to jump slightly from where she was seated.

After she shed a few more tears, Hermione forced herself into bed. However, no matter how hard she tried, sleep never came over her. She laid in bed awake for the longest time, thinking about how much has changed within a day. For the first time, she came face to face with the long-term feelings she had been harbouring for her fiancé, realizing that they were matters that until recently, she had skillfully been pushing into the back of her mind. They were finally together, in every affectionate way possible. Though, to Hermione’s dismay, their time together only lasted a few hours, until Pansy arrived with the dreaded news. Now, she was back to sleeping in her own bedroom, only to find herself wishing that she was beside Draco instead.

This was their first legitimate fight as a ‘couple’. They argued several times, but never did they resort to calling each other horrid names, and being driven to sleep in separate rooms. It was usually Draco who would be the first to swallow his pride and find Hermione after an argument to apologize for everything he’s said. He knew Hermione well enough to be absolutely certain that she wasn’t going to be the first to yield with an apology. However, as Hermione watched Draco’s shadow move back into his bedroom, she slightly felt a little piece of her heart breaking, a small little fact dawning on her for the first time. This wasn’t an issue either one of them could fix with a simple ‘I’m sorry’.

Thinking of the many things that were left unsaid that night, Hermione sighed loudly. She fought the urge to walk into his bedroom, and climb into bed with him. She wanted to tell him just how much she wanted to be with him; how she missed him already, and he was only a room away. She desperately wanted him to understand the predicament they were both in, which forces them to placate their responsibilities first, instead of their own desires. Leaving Draco was the last thing she wanted to do, but it wasn’t like her to put her own heart before her duties. She was going to be the wife of a Malfoy, and she understood everything that came along with it. More tears streamed down her face, and she angrily wiped them off as she continued thinking of several things she wanted to say to Draco at the moment.

For a while, Hermione forced herself to focus on Draco and nothing else. She didn’t want to think about what they would have to face in the future in order to be together (which seemed almost tangible). She wanted to think about him in a way that made her insides melt. She turned to her side and sighed, wondering why their paths couldn't have tangled together sooner. Maybe things would be different if they fell for each other in Hogwarts- or a year before. Maybe there wouldn't be so many responsibilities on their shoulders, which would allow them to be together liberally, without Miranda or his parents standing in between them. However, Hermione knew that real life worked with sharp corners and unearthly surprises. At any rate, she and Draco came this far, and she was determined to go all the way.


Pansy was having an extremely long, horrendous night. While she forced herself to walk further along the paved roads and towards a familiar pub, her mind continued returning on the bed that rested in her flat- the empty, inviting bed that she shared with Theodore. She thought of her warm pajamas and the delicious cup of hot chocolate that she would make herself once she arrived home. Her mind returned to her boyfriend, who was waiting for her to return, and she wanted nothing more than to climb into bed with him, and get a good night’s sleep.

Needless to say, Pansy was exhausted- extremely exhausted. There was more than enough on her mind to think about; causing her to realize just how much she detested being the middleman in Draco’s affairs. She had just caused her best friend even more pain than he could ever imagine, and she detested herself for agreeing with Miranda’s ridiculous proposal. She wanted to be able to say that she was on Draco’s side. Pansy wished to tell Draco how much she cared about him- enough to stand behind him in any matter, and to tell him how stupid and futile it would be to force the couple apart. Much to Pansy’s dismay, it was very rare for her heart to work over her mind, making it almost impossible to disagree with Miranda’s offer. And now, Pansy was on her way to envelope the open arms of anger’s wrath- knowing that it would come upon her soon or later.

The pub was dark; the only think illuminating the spacious bar was a dim light on the ceiling, and several candles on the tables. There were several muggle men crowding around the bar, their eyes absorbed in a television that hung above several bottles of liquor. There were a few women scattered around the pub, arms wrapped around various men. It was a typical night out in London.

The moment Pansy entered, she searched the crowded pub for Miranda, and found her sitting in a table by the window. She quickly wove through the crowd and several waitresses, making her way to her. "Let's get on with this." Pansy said immediately as she sat down. "I’d really like to get home as soon as possible."

"Thank you for meeting with me, Pansy." Pansy scowled as she listened to her voice, dripping with fake sweetness. "I didn't think that you would come after our meeting with Narcissa."

"That's actually why I wanted to come," she began nastily. "Miranda, I knew you were conniving, but I never thought that you would stoop down this low."

A small smirk itched its way on Miranda's face, but she fought it away. "What are you talking about, Pansy?" She asked nonchalantly, faking cluelessness. Miranda fought a smile as she scrutinized her perfectly manicured finger nails.

"Oh come off it." Pansy sneered. "You know as well as I do that your father would be willing to help the Malfoy's without Hermione there. Sure, it would make things easier, but you just had to force her out of the picture, didn't you?"

This time, Miranda smirked openly. "Pansy, I think you should know by now that I always get what I want." she told her. "And this time, it worked out perfectly. Narcissa didn't even see through the offer that I presented. With Hermione gone, Draco can focus better- isn't it just perfect?"

"Do really think that just because Hermione is gone, you can get Draco back? You've tried everything Miranda, everything. You gave him up years ago. And it's about time you deal with the consequences. You broke him- and quite frankly, I'm glad that you did. It brought him away from you and to Hermione." Pansy sat back into her seat, and the two women stared at each other with demeaning and intimidating expressions. It was a game. They were both contestants. They were on different sides of the court, and there was only one goal, and that was to defeat your opponent. However, there was only one rule-don’t let your opponent see any fear. Pansy understood how much Miranda loved the chase. She was in it for the game, but this was the one game that she was not going to win. "You know as well as I do that you’ve lost, Miranda. It’s about time you own up to it and give up." she spat menacingly. "Draco won't be leaving Hermione. He will wait for her until she returns."

To Pansy’s surprise, Miranda smirked. "Draco has never been the patient type of guy."

In response, she scoffed unpleasantly. "Oh, trust me," Pansy retorted quickly. "For Hermione, he'll wait."

"Why would he wait, for something that's not even real?" Miranda snapped, glaring back at Pansy. In spite of her words, Miranda knew that anyone who knew Draco could easily pick out the falsity of the statement. Even Miranda, who didn’t want to believe it, can’t deny the fact that there was indeed, something between Hermione and Draco. However, this was Pansy she was arguing with, and there was absolutely no way that Miranda will accept defeat. So she used the only reason she could think of- the large, now blatant lie that both Hermione and Draco created. "They're under a contract marriage- it's bound to end sometime."

It was Pansy's turn to smirk, seeing right through Miranda’s words. It was now Pansy’s move, and she laughed at her thoughts, realizing how Miranda had just forced herself into a corner. "Draco and Hermione are real. They've always been real. They’re bloody in love with each other, and even you can see that! You thought that telling Hermione that Draco’s in love with her would shake her up, and force her to run?” Pansy laughed resentfully. “Oh, you thought I didn’t know? Please, Miranda- you know me better than that. Slytherin’s are cunning to the core, aren’t they?” she mused to herself with amusement. Hermione came running to me after you spoke to her, and asked me, rather bluntly might I add, if Draco was in love with her. Who else would tell her this but you? Surely Wesley wouldn’t- he seems to have gained a liking for Hermione, why would he allow her to see how Draco feels about her? Draco has never said ‘I love you’ to anyone, since you left. So who else but you, would ever say something like that to her?”

Miranda glowered at Pansy. “She did run away. She ran off- away from Draco.”

“For a moment, yes- she did.” Pansy replied evenly. “You know, I was with Draco tonight.” She smiled in amusement at the memory of Hermione and Draco basking in the aftermath of sex. “I was over at his flat, and you will never guess who was in his bed- clad in nothing but his shirt.”

Another grimaced fought its way on Miranda’s face. “Whore,” She muttered under her breath. “That little mudblood is a whore.”

“Don’t be so petty, Miranda.” Pansy snapped. “She’s Draco’s fiancé, if you remember. She has every right to sleep with him.”

Miranda glared at Pansy, and sat back in her seat. “No matter,” her calm exterior took over once more, causing Pansy to laugh bitterly. “Draco is in a vulnerable state. He has been ever since I left. Hermione was there to pick up the pieces, explaining why he’s so fond of her- enough to force himself to believe that he loves her. Once she’s gone, he’ll realize how badly he has chosen.”

“How would you know how Draco was after you left?” Pansy asked, her voice suddenly turning dark. Miranda’s sudden absence has always been a touchy subject. After Draco fell into a mess, Pansy losing control, and Blaise losing himself; their wounds were cut deep. “You never bothered writing and you left for years. Don’t you dare ever say that you know what happened after you left.”

“Look who’s being petty now,” Miranda retorted grudgingly.

Pansy stood up, and sighed heavily. With matters concerning Miranda, Pansy was incredibly worn out. Upon her return, she had done well to keep Miranda at a safe distance from her, and this spacious barrier in between them meant that Pansy no longer had to deal with Miranda’s juvenile delinquencies. This talk was just forcing more anger into her than she could handle. She wrapped her coat tighter around her body, and looked at Miranda one last time before they departed. “Listen closely, Miranda- because this better be the last time I have to fucking say this to you. I’m bloody sick and tired of having the same conversation with you over and over again. Stop being so immature! We’re adults’ now- we’re not in Hogwarts anymore. We don’t have room in our lives for your trivial schemes, and bratty, juvenile behavior. You’re the ministers’ daughter, so grow up, would you? You’re not a teenager anymore. You don’t scheme against girls that stole your bloody boyfriend. Own up to your fucking actions. It’s about time you stop messing around with them." She said through gritted teeth. "You can’t just run to daddy every single time you want something, and expect to get it. You’re not a little girl anymore. So stop acting like such a child. You gave Draco up, and you've got to deal with it."

"Yes, that’s right. We’re adults now. Adults handle things maturely. I’m handling this maturely. I’m telling you now, I won’t put up with Granger. She will go back to where ever the hell she came from." Miranda growled forebodingly. "Trust me, Pansy- I'll be getting Draco back and I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that it happens."


Authors Note: hi guys! here's the 21st chapter, as promised! this was a lot longer than it should've been, originally, but oh well. i apologize for any spelling or gramatical errors!

now, i know some of you are probably seething in your seats after reading MIranda's conversation with Pansy. you guys probably wish for her to die, right? well i'm not that mean to give miranda a happy ending with draco! i promise she'll go away by the end of the fic. xD she'll just play a major role in the last few chapters.

i was definitely about iffy about draco and hermione's attitude towards each other. i wasn't so sure how to portray it, but this seemed like the best in my mind. i didn't want them to come out all lovey dovey, yet i did want them to show some kind of emotion and likeness for one another- since that was the pooint of this entire chapter. since hermione just figured out her emotions for draco, and draco just recently openely admitted them, i didn't want them to be all over each other. i'm not really sure if i pegged this correctly..

i'd post a preview for the next one, but haven't gotten around to writing it yet D: but the next chapter should be interesting! it's draco and hermione's interview! now what do you guys think will end up happening then? especially since they're in a fight now? ;)

so enjoy! please tell me what you think :)
review! it keeps me motivated!

edit 8/27/10- hey guys. contours is currently undergoing edits. i will be going over every single chapter and i'm sorry to say that the next chapter won't be up till i'm finished. so hang tight! updates may start coming slow, since school is coming up in a week and a half and i haven't even started my summer reading assignment. D:

love, gryffindorgirl

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