AN: Here we are yet again, another new chapter for you! I realize some of you might question the date and how it was written, but there are enough dramatic angsty moments coming later in the story and I wanted most of the date to flow and seem like we were just looking in I guess. So bear with me please! Clumsy!
Hermione had made sure she was ready for her date with Draco at 2pm a full hour before he was supposed to arrive at the Burrow and was waiting for him in the garden. Mainly because yet again all the boys were gathered to try and give him a hard time and she wasn’t going to put him through that again.
Hearing a twig snap behind her she turned and watched as Harry made his way over to her side. He sat down beside her quietly and reached over to pick up a stray stick lying on the ground and began peeling the bark off to give him something to look at as he started talking to his very best friend.
“Hermione, can I ask you something?” Harry asked hesitantly.
“Okay Harry, what’s up?”
“Are you really okay with this whole situation? I mean it is Malfoy!” Harry said and Hermione’s stomach muscles started to clench as her eye color began to swirl when her Veela protectiveness of Malfoy began to stir.
“His name is Draco!” She said with a clear warning in her tone. Hermione fought back against the Veela side and got herself controlled. “Sorry, Harry I’m still learning to control this stuff. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of it all and was incredulous that it was him. Last night though,” she sighed, “well last night he convinced me it could and would work out fine.”
“So that’s it? He’s your mate and all is forgiven? Hermione he tormented you for years and his aunt tortured and scarred you! Don’t think I don’t know about the nightmares you’ve had since!” Harry said frustrated and then he threw the stick as a release of his tension.
“I don’t forget what he’s done and I will never forget Bellatrix and what she did either, my nightmares won’t let me! But Harry she’s dead and he’s changed and life goes on. He apologized for all of it not just the war and I’ve chosen to forgive and move forward. Even if I had the choice to not forgive him I would have because it’s sincere and he’s different.” She said confidently. “Harry, I need for you, Ron, and Gin to be behind me on this. I need my friends! I want to talk to Draco tonight about coming over to hang out with all of us this weekend.”
Harry looked at her like she was certifiable!
“No listen Harry, I stood behind you like I promised and now I’m asking you to stand with me. We can do it here since it’s my temporary home while I learn to control myself. They won’t let me go back to my own flat, rightly so, until they know I will be okay.” She said and from the look in her eyes Harry knew she meant business.
“That was below the belt ‘Mione, but you’re right I suppose you did stand with me and you never left. Alright I will try, as long as he tries to be decent as well. If he gets snarky though all bets are off! I will talk to Ginny and Ron but if you don’t mind Ginny and I would like to have the get together at our home, it’s my way of showing I trust your judgment ‘Mione.”
Just then the heard the pop of apparition beyond the boundaries and both got to their feet as Malfoy began walking towards them. Harry hugged Hermione tightly to him and then released her and shocked all of them including himself by reaching out a hand to shake Malfoy’s when he reached them.
“Malfoy.” Draco somewhat reluctantly shook his hand.
“Potter. Granger are you ready for the day?” He addressed Hermione and they were on their way.
When they landed from the apparition Hermione started into a panic attack. For the surprise date he took them straight into the grounds of Malfoy Manor! It was the place of her nightmares.
“Granger! Hermione please breathe deep and calm down.” Draco said while rubbing her back in comforting circles. When that didn’t work he reached his hands out to cup her cheeks and she looked up at him with terrified eyes.
“Hermione, she’s gone. We won but if you don’t control this she wins still. If I am your true mate then you have to face this. This is our home if we’re together and I want that to work, so I am going to show you the lovely Manor instead of the frightening Manor. I know we can’t erase what happened to you here but I hope to replace the bad memory with beautiful ones.” Draco explained seriously looking her directly in the eye. They had to get past this or it wouldn’t work with them.
“Promise you won’t leave my side and that we’ll leave if I can’t handle it anymore?” She asked.
“Done!” He said happily.
They walked around the grounds and Hermione found herself not only relaxing but enjoying the tour. They played together in a field that had wildflowers and a pond. They talked about inconsequential things as they walked hand in hand through some woods. When they got to one of the gardens Hermione knew instantly that it would be her place for privacy and alone time like the creek at the Burrow.
Not only were there magical flowers and plants but Muggle ones as well she discovered to her absolute delight. Included were her two favorite flowers carnations and roses of all colors. The smell was incredible and happy and she just felt at home here. They left the flower garden and walked around the vegetable garden where Hermione was delighted at all the different veggies that could grow here in the spring and summer as Draco told her all about Narcissa’s hobby of gardening.
Then they reached the point she had been dreading, they were at a back door into the Manor. She squeezed his hand tighter unknowingly and he squeezed back to remind her she could do this. They went all through the gigantic home which is exactly what it looked and felt like now, a home. It didn’t feel that way before when she was here and she found herself feeling like she could fit in here and was enjoying not only time with her mate but surprisingly with his parents. Who could have guessed six years ago at the Ministry when they were fighting that Lucius and Hermione would be sitting at the same table laughing and joking together about all sorts of things?
After lunch Draco took her to the last place he had scheduled in his mind for the tour. It was last because it was where his nightmares always ended up, in this room where a girl with beautiful chocolate brown eyes stared at him while she screamed through her torture. A girl he should’ve had the guts to help but didn’t. He took a deep breath and opened the door and pulled her inside with him.
Instantly recognition dawned in her eyes and she turned and fled.
“Stop! Hermione wait,” He caught up to her. “We need to conquer this last and hardest part together. I am haunted by that night as well, the night I was a coward.”
“What are you talking about?” she asked confused.
“I didn’t help you that night but I wanted to and I should have and I didn’t. I was afraid of her and what she would do to me if I interfered in her fun.” He ended with disgust over what his foul Aunt had done to Hermione.
“You couldn’t have changed it Draco and I know that.”
“I haven’t been in that drawing room since that night…you know. I just figured we could face this greatest fear together and beat it. Maybe one day we can replace the horrifying memory with happy ones and turn this place into a play room for our children. Or we face it down and then seal the door to never be opened again if that is what we need.”
She reached out and took his hand as she filled her lungs with a deep pull of air and firmly began walking back to the room of her nightmares to finally conquer what Bellatrix Lestrange had done to her in there.
After they were done at the Manor Draco had side along apparated her to a small village that was full of cottages and shops. He promised her a surprise dinner and he was delivering on the promise. They were walking down the street just talking about ordinary everyday things when he suddenly stopped and Hermione looked up. Then she started cracking up!
“Oh my Godric, I never would have pictured Draco Malfoy sitting in a down home cooking American Diner!!”
“Laugh it up ‘Mione! They have amazing Meatloaf and potatoes!” He smiled at her. They were both lighter after the ordeal they had gone through together in that room.
Hermione knew that after dinner the date would be ending and was hesitant to bring up the topic that she knew had to be talked about. So she gathered her courage as they were eating.
“Draco? I need to ask you a favor.” She said and at his raised eyebrow continued, “Will you come with me this weekend to Harry and Ginny’s home? I want my friends to get to know you and vice versa. They are my best friends and will be around a lot. You need to make peace with them and they need to make peace with you.”
“Granger, I’m thinking that it’s a wish I can’t grant you. I will go with you but don’t hold out hopes that the Dynamic Duo Dunces and I will ever become friends. Maybe with the she Potter it will be okay and I will try with the other two but they have to be civil or I won’t be.” He answered honestly.
“I guess that is all I can ask for.” She smiled at him and he watched her eyes and was falling fast for Hermione Granger.
When he finally dropped her off that night, after another mind-blowing kiss goodnight, she approached Harry and Ginny and Ron the first two of which were getting ready to go home themselves.
“He’s agreed to come and be civil as long as you are all civil in return.” Hermione said. At Ron’s huff she narrowed her eyes, “If you want to remain my friend Ron Weasley you will be nice to him. Got that?” she said while poking him in the chest.
Ginny smiled and Hermione knew that she’d be just fine as Ron continued grumbling something about bouncing ferret boys and Hermione said good night to her friends and went to bed with a peaceful smile on her face. She’d worry about the meeting between her friends and her mate tomorrow.
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