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Chapter Sixteen: Safe and sound

"Just close your eyes the sun is going down you'll be alright no one can hurt you now, come morning light you and I'll be safe and sound..." Safe and sound by Taylor Swift

oOo

Malfoy's Beach House – Maldives Island – 2:30 P.M

Hermione grabbed her luggage from her bed and made her way towards door; she pulled the door open and threw her room one last look. She stepped out into the hallway and closed the door behind her gently, walking along the familiar hallway until she reached the living room. She deposited her bag on top of the couch and pulled the small velvet drawstring bag from her jean pocket; "Didi" she called out.

Didi appeared out of the blue and smiled widely upon seeing her Mistress; "Miss called Didi?"

Hermione crouched down; "I just wanted to say goodbye before I leave."

Didi began tugging on the hem of her apron shyly; "Miss doesn't have to do that..."

Hermione smiled fondly; "But I want to and I also want to say thank you for taking good care of me" she said.

"Miss is welcome. Didi is happy to serve Miss" Didi replied bashfully.

Hermione stared at Didi for a moment before pulling her into a hug; "Thank you Didi" she said.

Didi patted Hermione's back somewhat awkwardly; "Miss is welcome" she squeaked.

Hermione chuckled and pulled away from the elf; she stood up and wiggled the drawstring bag in her hand. "Well-I have to get going now" she said.

Didi nodded; "Miss should go-Didi hopes to see Miss again" she said with a bow.

"Me too Didi" Hermione replied. She then grabbed her bag from the couch and plucked the diamond earring from the drawstring bag; "I still can't over the fact that this earring is actually a portkey" she said.

Didi let out a chuckle.

"I'll see you again Didi, take care" Hermione said before touching her wand on the earring. "Portus"

oOo

St. Mungos, London, England – 10:45 A.M.

"You're tired, go home"

Draco's eyes snapped open and saw Theo standing by his door; "Hey-I didn't hear you coming."

Theo stepped into his friend's office and closed the door behind him; he walked towards his desk and sat down on one of the chairs. "You should go home and rest mate, you're running yourself ragged"

Draco sat straighter and cleared his throat; "I'm fine,"

Theo stared at Draco with full seriousness; "I know you don't ever want to talk about it and I'll respect that but are you really okay?"

"I'm alright Theo, no need to hover like a mother hen, Merlin's knows my mother does that every damn day."

Theo let out a sigh; "I'm just worried about you, you know. You haven't been returning my owls and every time I check on you, you're always at work. You've been working 7 straight days already, don't you think it's time to take a day off or whatever you call it?"

Draco can't help but chuckle at his friend's words; "We call it time off mate," he replied. He then let out an appeasing smile; "I haven't been replying to your owls because I've been busy with my patients, I've been gone for almost a month and I needed to check on them" he explained. "Don't worry about me, I'm not about to kill myself" he joked.

"Don't even joke about it mate, it's not funny" Theo said sternly.

Draco rolled his eyes; he leaned back on his chair and crossed his legs under the table. "So-I heard, you and Pansy? I couldn't say that I didn't see that coming"

Theo leaned back on the chair and grinned; "Aunt Cissy told you?" he asked.

"Not in so many words, you two serious?" Draco asked.

"It's fairly new but yes, we are. I love her" Theo replied.

Draco's eyes widen in surprise.

Theo chuckled; "Don't look too shock, we've been at it for quite some time now-it's not as if I just met her"

Draco let out a small smile; "I'm happy for you two" he said sincerely.

"Thank you" Theo replied. He then cocked his head to the side and stared at his friend intently; "How's Maldives?"

Draco met Theo's gaze before cursing under his breath; "I can't believe my mother!" he groaned.

Theo bit his bottom lip to keep himself from smiling; "Met anyone in particular?"

Draco narrowed his eyes; "I'm not answering that" he said sternly.

"Come on! Don't leave hanging here mate!"

Draco pushed away from his table and stood up; he grabbed his wand from his desk and began walking away. "Not answering that Theo, see you around"

"You're no fun!" Theo said with pursed lips.

Draco chuckled as he steps out of his office, leaving his friend behind.

oOo

Malfoy Manor – Whiltshire, England – 12:15 P.M

Hermione felt her world stop so she opened her eyes; she blinked a couple times before surveying the unfamiliar surroundings. "What in Merlin's beard-"

"Hermione!"

Hermione quickly turned around and saw a familiar figure walking towards her; "Narcissa?" she asked, confusion evident in her voice.

Narcissa stopped right in front of the young witch and smiled warmly; "How was your vacation, dear?"

Hermione smiled back; "It was great-thank you so much for letting me stay there"

Narcissa waved her hand dismissively; "It was nothing-did you at least enjoy?"

"I did" Hermione replied.

"We're about to have lunch and I would love for you to join us" Narcissa said.

"I-"

"I won't take no for an answer" Narcissa said with finality. She then fell into step with Hermione and looped her arm around hers; "Come on, I'm quite sure Lucius will be happy to see you" she said.

Hermione sighed in defeat; "Okay" she said.

oOo

"You're still here?"

Draco turned around and saw his friend walking towards him; "You're also still here" he replied.

Anthony stopped right in front of his friend; "I just finished my rounds and I'm about to go home. I received an owl from Gin and she's about ready to castrate me" he said with a chuckle.

Draco grinned; "You better get your ass home then, it will be such a shame to not see little red headed Goldstein's running around"

Anthony placed his hands on his hips; "You should go home too, you know. If Tavish sees that you're still here, he might hex your ass"

Draco rolled his eyes; "I will go home, I'm just finishing up my rounds"

"Okay then" Anthony said. He then gestured towards the hallway; "I should get going then, I'll see you tomorrow" he said.

Draco nodded; "Say hi to Ginny for me"

"Will do, bye" Anthony replied.

Draco waited for Anthony to leave before letting out a tired sigh.

oOo

Potter Mansion – London, England

"Hermione will be home today, right?" Harry asked before taking a sip of his pumpkin juice.

"Yes, can you come early? We should check on her, it's been awhile since we last saw her" Astoria suggested.

Harry smiled at his wife; "That's a good idea. I'll be home early"

Astoria smiled back.

oOo

"Have you talked to him?" Pansy asked as she watches her best friend wipe her face with a towel.

Millie threw the used towel into her hamper; "No, should I?" she asked as she steps out of the room.

Pansy raised her brow; "Are you keeping it?"

Millie threw Pansy an affronted look; "Of course I'm keeping it! What kind of question is that?"

Pansy pursed her lips; "A question worth asking. Well if you're keeping his spawn then yes you should tell him."

Millie sat down on the couch and crossed her arms on top of her chest; "As if he'd care" she huffed.

Pansy narrowed her eyes; "You're having his kid, he should care. Besides, he's a Gryffindor and a Weasley, his parents will murder him if they find out that he impregnated you and ran away."

Millie pursed her lips while in thought, mulling Pansy's words.

"Don't give him a free pass Mill, Merlin knows he's had enough of that" Pansy said sternly.

"I'll think about it" Millie replied.

oOo

"Have you seen your son? I haven't been seeing him for quite some time now" Molly asked.

Arthur lowered his wand and turned towards his wife; "I just saw him at the Ministry yesterday, he looks fine to me" he replied.

Molly nodded; "At least we know that he's working and not drowning himself in fire whiskey again"

Arthur lifted his wand again and resumed mowing the lawn with a spell; "I already told him to stay away from alcohol and he's following my advice for a change"

"Good for him then" Molly replied.

oOo

Lucius put his cutlery down before plucking his wine glass from the table; "I'm happy to know that all of the furniture's are intact" he said before taking a sip of his drink.

Hermione dabbed her lips with a napkin; "Did you anticipate full chaos?"

Lucius chuckled; "With your history? I was surprised both of you managed to leave that place unscathed" he joked.

Hermione laughed; "We're both adults, we're passed that stage" she quipped.

"Here it is!" Narcissa said excitedly.

Hermione turned her eyes on the table and saw a huge Cherry Torte Cake that appeared in the middle; she swallowed hard and stared at it with apprehension.

Lucius stared at Hermione with amusement before shifting his eyes towards his wife; "I don't think Ms. Granger likes the dessert, love" he said.

Narcissa's brows both rose; "Don't you like cake dear?" she asked.

Hermione cleared her throat; "I-err-"

Lucius grinned at the young witch; "Don't worry-Mimi made that cake and not my wife, its safe" he said.

Narcissa cringed, clearly understanding Hermione's apprehension; "I didn't lace the cake with anything dear, I promise you that" she said earnestly.

Hermione let out sigh of relief before smiling shyly; "I didn't mean for it come out like that"

"Well you can't be blamed, Draco must've told you about the infamous cherry that duped him" Lucius said thoughtfully.

Narcissa smiled fondly at the memory before turning towards Hermione; "Tell us, did he blow a gasket when he woke up?"

Hermione giggled; "That's an understatement. I woke up with him trying to scream your house down" she replied.

Lucius laughed.

"He does have a temper" Narcissa said.

Hermione smiled; "That I know" she agreed.

"So-want to have some cake?" Lucius asked with a cheeky grin.

"Only if you have the first slice" Hermione replied.

Lucius' grin widens; "Smartest witch of your age indeed" he said.

oOo

Draco stepped out of his fire place before letting out a tired yawn; he pointed his wand on his clothes and zapped the soot off. He lazily walked towards his couch and plopped down; he leaned his head back and closed his eyes.

"Master Draco?"

Draco's eyes snapped open and lifted his head; "Didi?" He stared at the tiny elf for a second before his eyes widen; "Did something happen to Hermione?" he asked.

Didi shook her head; "Miss Hermy is fine master, Miss is at the Manor. Mistress asked Didi to tell master that you is needed there" she squeaked.

Draco shot up from his perch; "She's where?"

Didi took a step back, her eyes widening in fear; "Miss Hermy is at Malfoy Manor, master"

Draco quickly grabbed his wand from his back pocket and apparated on the spot.

oOo

"I really should be going, thank you so much for the wonderful lunch" Hermione said politely.

Lucius waved his hand dismissively; "It was nothing, we hope it helped"

Narcissa elbowed her husband and threw him a chastising look; "Forgive my husband's crassness, dear"

Hermione smiled; "It's okay." She then shifted her eyes to Lucius; "And yes, it helped. Thank you again" she said sincerely.

"You are most welcome" Lucius said.

"I better-"

"Mom? Dad? Where are you?"

"Will you look at that, seems like Draco is home" Narcissa said dramatically.

Hermione instantly felt her heart skip a beat; she missed that voice and she very much would like to see him again-not in front of his parents though.

"We're at the Sun Room, son" Lucius called out.

Hermione felt her breath hitch inside her throat when she finally laid her eyes on him for the very first time after a week; she can't help but smile at his rumpled appearance, he always looked good when he's worked up.

Draco stopped in his tracks and felt the wind get knocked out of his chest upon seeing Hermione sitting adjacent to his mother; he'd been through hell the whole week-with Iris showing up out of the blue but somehow seeing her there instantly made him feel better-way much better. "Hermione"

"Draco" Hermione said breathily.

Narcissa bit her bottom lip to keep herself from grinning widely; she shifted her gaze to her husband, conveying her message through her eyes.

Lucius cleared his throat and stood up from his perch; "Cissy dear, why don't we leave this two to catch up" he said while offering his hand.

Narcissa accepted her husband's hand and stood up; she then turned towards Hermione and smiled. "It was nice seeing you Hermione dear, don't be a stranger now" she said with a wink.

"It was nice seeing you again Ms. Granger, we'll take our leave now" Lucius said politely.

Hermione stood up; "Thank you" she said.

Draco took a side step to give way to his parents; he waited a couple of minutes before shifting his gaze back to Hermione. "Hi"

Hermione bit her bottom lip to keep from grinning widely; "Hi"

Draco smirked before walking towards the witch; "Fancy meeting you here Granger"

"You have to thank your mother for that" Hermione replied.

Draco stopped right in front of her and licked his lips; "I've missed you" he said.

"I've missed you too" Hermione replied before biting her bottom lip.

Draco lifted his hand and gently tugged at her lower lip; "Don't do that, you know how it affects me"

Hermione studied Draco's face and noticed something different; she lifted her hands and gently cupped his face. "You look different"

Draco closed his eyes and leaned his cheek on her palm; "A lot happened when I came home last week..." he admitted lowly.

Hermione's brows furrowed in concern; "Are you alright?"

Draco opened his eyes and wrapped his hands around Hermione's wrist; he stared into her caramel eyes and saw concern. "I'm alright now"

Hermione felt her cheeks redden with the intensity of his gaze; "Do-do you want to talk about it?" she asked as she lets her hands fall down.

Draco moved his hands and laced their fingers together; "Take a walk with me?"

Hermione nodded; "Okay"

Draco let out a little smile; "Come on, I'll show you the Rose Garden" he said.

oOo

"Are you sure that she's coming home today?" Harry asked as he stood in the middle of his best friend's living room.

Astoria stepped out of Hermione's room with Crookshanks in her arms; "I'm positive, you're the one who read the letter, remember?"

Harry placed his hands on his waist; "Then why is she not here yet?"

Astoria shrugged her shoulders; "It's just noon, maybe she decided to come home in a later time-that's the only explanation I can think off" she replied.

Harry furrowed his brows while in thought.

Astoria walked towards her husband and let out an appeasing smile; "I'm sure she's alright love"

Harry shifted his eyes to Astoria; "Yeah..."

oOo

"You do know that your son will not think twice about hexing us if he sees us, right?"

Narcissa's head snapped to her side; "Lower your voice!" she hissed.

Lucius rolled his eyes; "What are we doing again?"

Narcissa peered above the rose bushes to look for the couple; "We're just checking on them" she replied.

"Spying on them you mean" Lucius corrected.

"Oh hush! We both know you're also dying to know what those two are up to!"

Lucius smirked; "I already know what those two are up to"

"Don't be crass!"

Lucius laughed.

oOo

Hermione's eyes widen as she stares at Draco in disbelief; "I-I don't know what to say Draco..."

Draco turned his head to the side to meet Hermione's eyes; "Can you imagine my reaction?"

Hermione can't help but cringe; "How can someone do that?"

Draco sighed; "I also don't know" he replied. He then paused when a thought hit him; "I think we're meant to be" he said offhandedly.

Hermione threw the blonde man beside her a baffled look; "Huh?"

"We both want to live happily ever after with our best friend's but they just broke our hearts. You're a jaded bride and I'm a jilted groom, we make a perfect match, don't you think?" Draco said in a matter of factly way.

Hermione stared at Draco for a second before giggling.

Draco grinned; "What? Don't tell me you didn't think of it?"

Hermione grinned, clearly amused with Draco's analogy; "You Malfoy-are one of a kind"

"I know I am-I'm a catch" Draco said pompously.

Hermione shook her head; she then turned to Draco and faced him fully; "But seriously, are you okay?"

Draco's smile faltered; he then shifted his gaze to the setting sun and sighed; "I will be" he said truthfully.

Hermione shifted closer to Draco and leaned her head on his shoulder; "I remember a wise man once told me that a sunset is a sign of new beginnings-a promise of a better tomorrow. An assurance that no matter how hard life is at the moment you will eventually get through it" she paused and gently grasped Draco's hand in hers, lacing their fingers together. "You will be okay Draco and I'll be here for you like you've been there for me-we'll take it as it comes."

Draco felt emotions swirl inside his chest like raging storms so he closed his eyes; he leaned his head on Hermione's and tightened his hold on her hand. "Promise?"

Hermione closed her eyes and squeezed Draco's hand; "Promise" she whispered.

oOo

"Aunt Cissy?"

Narcissa kneeled right in front of her private fire place and smiled upon seeing Astoria; "How are you doing sweetheart? It's been awhile"

"We're doing fine-err-I'm sorry if I disturbed you but I just want to know if Hermione already left Maldives? Harry and I received a letter from her a couple of days ago and she told us that she'll be coming home today but we've been at her house a couple of times now and she's not there-we're getting worried"

"Oh dear! I'm so sorry I forgot to tell you! Hermione is here at the Manor" Narcissa replied.

"She's there? Why?" Astoria asked.

Narcissa sat on her hunches to be more comfortable on the carpet; "The portkey's default destination from Maldives is always here at the Manor. She arrived around lunch time so Lucius and I invited her to have lunch with us-to catch up. And then Draco arrived, I think they're still talking in the Rose Garden"

"Your meddling seems to pay off this time Aunt Cissy-I'm impressed"

Narcissa chuckled.

"Oh okay-if you happen to see her please let her know that we're looking for her and tell her to owl us?" Astoria asked.

"Of course sweetheart" Narcissa replied.

"Alright, I'll go now and tell my husband, he's getting restless with worry"

"Tell Harry not to worry, we'll make sure that Hermione reaches her home safe and sound"

"Thanks Aunt Cissy! Say hi to Uncle Luc and Draco for me"

"Okay"

"Bye!"

"Is it me or did I hear Torry's voice?" Lucius asked as he closes the door behind him.

Narcissa hefted herself up and turned towards her husband; "It's her, she's checking on Hermione" she replied. She then shifted to the couch and sat down; "Are they still talking?"

Lucius made his way towards his wife and sat down beside her; "Yes they are but I think Ms. Granger is about ready to go home, I noticed her yawning when I passed them by"

Narcissa raised her brow; "You noticed her yawning when you passed by?"

Lucius averted his gaze and stared at the fire; "Yes, I have very sharp eyes"

Narcissa giggled; "You were spying on them too, admit it!"

"I'm not!"

Narcissa bumped her shoulder with her husband's; "I won't look down on you-just admit it"

Lucius pursed his lips; "Fine. I was spying-only because I want to know what they're talking about" he admitted grudgingly.

"And pray tell, what are they talking about?"

Lucius grinned; "Sunsets"

Narcissa threw Lucius a baffled look; "Sunsets?"

"New beginnings"

Narcissa leaned back on the couch and can't help but smile a little; "My cherries actually worked"

Lucius laughed.

oOo

"You're sleepy, admit it" Draco said.

Hermione sat straighter and blinked her eyes a couple of times; "I am, the time zone difference is getting to me" she admitted.

Draco stood from his perch and offered his hand; "Let's take you home then" he said.

Hermione's stared at Draco's hand dubiously; "You're-you're taking me home?"

Draco nodded and wiggled his hand; "I am" he affirmed.

Hermione accepted his hand let Draco pull her up from her perch; "Why?"

Draco cocked his head to the side; "Because I want to"

"Okay?"

Draco tugged on Hermione's hand and pulled her closer; he gazed into her eyes. "I'm serious you know..."

Hermione sucked in a breath; "Serious about what?"

Draco snaked his hands around Hermione's waist and smiled; "About us, I want us to date" he said.

Hermione bit her bottom lip to keep herself from smiling like a loon; "Really?"

"I want to see where this goes and before those wheels begin turning inside your pretty head, I want one thing to be clear."

"What?"

Draco gazed into Hermione's eyes with full seriousness; "You are not a rebound. Iris showing up out of the blue has nothing to do with it. I already made up my mind when I left Maldives and my feelings haven't changed and-"

Hermione leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on Draco's lips, cutting him off effectively. She pulled her face away before smiling brightly; "You talk too much Malfoy"

Draco blinked a couple of times, clearly in daze with what just happened.

Hermione giggled and took step back; she trailed her hands down to Draco's hands and tugged on it. "Take me home Malfoy, I'm tired"

Draco felt a smile creep towards his lips and before he knows it, he's grinning widely. "You Granger-are full of surprises, minx" he said.

Hermione turned her face towards Draco and winked sassily.

oOo

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