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Chapter 3

The First Hurdle

"You may now kiss the bride."

However the groom and bride hadn't waited for permission from the vicar, as soon as they heard 'I now pronounce you husband and wife', both Draco and Hermione was already leaning forward arms outstretched reaching for each other. Their arms wrapping around the other in a tight embrace. Lips were soon locked in a kiss that could only be called passionate.

The moment their lips met everything else faded for them, for it was as if they were alone in the world. Their lips moved together, their tongues danced- it was almost x-rated- especially with them being in a church and had over a hundred eyes of family and friends on them.

They continued kissing passionately as cheers and jeers burst out around them. Draco lifted his head and looked around them. He grinned sheepishly. "I guess I forgot where I was for a moment," he murmured softly to her.

Hermione's laughing brown eyes met his. "Me too," she returned with a girlish giggle. Had she ever been this happy? If so, she couldn't remember it. Draco fulfilled her every want and need. He completed her.

Draco placed his forehead against Hermione's gazing into her eyes. Now that they were married neither seemed to be in any hurry to move. They just enjoyed the closeness of each other, the closeness of being married. "I love you, Mrs. Malfoy," he whispered to her with all the loving feelings in him.

"I love you too, Mr. Malfoy," she said throwing her arms around his neck and giving him another heated kiss.

Again it was the spectators laughing and clapping that drew them apart. Pink tinged Hermione's cheeks as she remembered where they were. She sighed. Draco could always make her forget reality.

Draco still grinning widely held his hand out to her. "Come on, wife," he said to her and she placed her hand so trustingly into his and together they walked back up the aisle. How they made it, one could only guess, for they only had eyes for each other.

Their leisure walk up the aisle had them thinking of the night ahead of them. They both were looking forward to it. They could each tell what the other was thinking without any words- and that was- that they had to get through the wedding reception first. After that they could slip quietly out and return to their flat where they would consummate their marriage.

Just thinking about that had Hermione thinking about all the other times that they had consummated their relationship. She practically giggled as she remembered the first time they shared a bed. It hadn't been the best- not the sex, that had been great- but they both had been nervous and anxious. Draco being nervous had somehow made her feel better about it, although her movements had still been jerky and hesitant.

Now, after all this time she could hardly believe that they were married. It had taken them a long time and many hurdles to get here, but she wouldn't change it for anything. Every little bump in their relationship had been a learning curve for them. She was sure that marriage would bring them even more, she was looking forward to it.

In the foyer the newly married couple took their spot by the front door of the church and waited as their family and friends formed a line to offer them their congratulations after which they would head over to the Malfoy Manor for the reception.


Hermione leaned against the wall silently watching as her husband danced with his mother. She smiled as she thought of her husband. Draco was her husband. Who would have thought it? After they had been enemies for so long it was hard to believe that they were now married. It was funny really, the two of them had been enemies longer than they had been a couple. How ironic was that?

Hermione shook her head at the wonder of it. Life was full of surprises, that was for sure, and God, sure did work in mysterious ways. No one, least of all her, would have expected that she would have fallen for Draco with the speed of light, nor him for her, but they had.

Another smile followed as she thought of that first kiss. It was with that kiss that an attraction began for her. After that it was only a matter of days before that attraction gave way to lust, then finally to love.

However, for Draco, she suspected it had taken longer or maybe he just fought it harder. She remembered him being more shocked by their kiss than she had been. Deep down, she had secretly known that there was something there that would eventually find a way out, so she wasn't surprised by it. Worried, concerned about it, yes, but not surprised.

What had surprised her was how fast the hatred had melted in her- one day she hated him with a passion, the next minute she was attracted to him. It puzzled her that a kiss given in a moment of comfort should be so perfect, so intense that it had melted the hatred away in one clean sweep. She wasn't sure what there was about Draco and his kisses that attracted her, but he had something that she (and a lot of other females) couldn't resist.

At first she hated it and she had fought it too, but she soon came to realize that fighting it was a losing battle. She knew that one kiss wasn't going to be enough, within days she realized that she wanted more.

She also acknowledged that had she not been upset about Ron that kiss would never had happened. She wondered if she should send a thank you note to Ron now. Not that Ron would have been aware of the fact that his breaking up with her had led to Draco and her first kiss. She wondered what Ron would say if he knew. She grinned and then giggled. That kiss served a lot of purposes. It comforted, it taught, it encouraged. It was with that kiss that she learned just why Draco was so popular with the ladies. He was, after all, a great kisser.

Hermione remembered the feeling she had felt when he- not her- ended the kiss.

Flashback begins:

Draco pulled back from the kiss, his surprise clearly evident on his face. Bewilderment filled his bluish-grey eyes as he gazed at her as if he'd never seen her before. And maybe he hadn't. He certainly never seen her like this before. He shook his head trying to clear the cobwebs out of it.

Hermione laid back on the couch clearly dazed. How had she gotten in this position? Draco must have pushed her down during their kiss, but she couldn't remember him doing so. She sat upright, straightening her blouse, it was then that she noticed the top few buttons had come undone, she buttoned them with hands that trembled. Her eyes still clouded with desire she could barely focus. All she knew was that she no longer had contact with him and she felt that loss to her very soul.

Draco continued to gaze at her. He didn't know what to do, what to say, but he knew that something had to be said. "I'm sorry," he murmured in a voice laden with emotion. He stood and walked to the far side of the room, as if to put as much distance as possible between them. If he thought distance would help with his confusion, he had been wrong. He was still astonished at what had happened. There was a picture of a famous Quidditch player on the wall and he stood staring at it as if it were an important part of history. The player was unknown to him, but then Quidditch wasn't an interest of his, not anymore. In fact, if he was honest it never had been, it had only ever been a way to get at Potter. "I shouldn't have done that," he added softly.

So softly that Hermione almost didn't hear him, but she had heard him and she gave a sad smile at his words. What was he sorry for, she wondered? Intruding on her distress? Butting into her business? Kissing her senseless? She shook her head. She didn't want him to be sorry for that kiss. He had no reason to be sorry. None at all, if anyone was to blame it was her, it had been her fault. She had kissed him.

The kiss hadn't been long, but it had been one of the best that she had received. That had surprised her as well as the fact that she had wanted the kiss from the moment she had felt his lips on hers, she had wanted it. That it hadn't been planned didn't necessarily mean that she didn't want to continue to kiss him. That kiss had brought something alive within her. Something that she hadn't known existed.

Now she was sadden that he felt the need to apologize for it, but that he apologized at all threw her for a loop. Draco wasn't one to apologize for anything, yet he not only apologized for kissing her but he'd gone as far as admitting he shouldn't have done it to begin with.

Wow! She thought surprised. What was happening to the world? But reality had to intrude at some point and it did with a vengeance.

Had she really thought that he'd want to kiss her? She would have laughed if it hadn't been so sad. A Malfoy kissing a Granger and a mudblood at that. What a fool she was. It had been no big deal to him. Just a pity kiss, she silently acknowledged now. It was her own fault. Hadn't she practically thrown herself at him?

Hermione stood. "Hey, it's no big deal," she lied. If he was going to treat it as if it was no big deal, she would too. She even faked a smile. "I'm okay, now," she murmured heading off toward the stairs. She wasn't as strong as she hoped and wanted to get to her room before she broke down.

"Hey, Granger," Draco called to her halting her progress.

Hermione paused and turned to look questioningly at him. She tried not to get her hopes up, but she couldn't help but wonder if he had changed his mind and was going to ask her to stay. "Yes?"

Draco hesitated. He wasn't sure why he called after her. He wasn't sure what he was going to say, but just didn't want her to leave yet. What was happening to him, he wondered briefly? Why did he have this sudden urge to be in her company? "What was it that had you upset?"

Hermione frowned. She should have known better. He had made his choice and there was no changing it. All he wanted was to know what upset her. How could she tell him that Ron had broken up with her? And only after eight months. She couldn't tell him, he'd only laugh. "Oh, it was nothing of importance," she told him down playing it.

Draco pursed his lips thoughtfully. "It was important enough to make you cry?" he pressed.

She shrugged. She might as well tell him, he'd only keep pressing until she did tell him. "It was just that Ron sent me a letter," she told him remembering how happy she was to get the owl.

Draco frowned. Why would a letter from Ron upset her? Weren't they friends? "So?" he questioned puzzled.

Hermione shrugged acting as if her heart wasn't breaking. "He broke up with me," she told him. She didn't add that she had known it was going to happen. It was a feeling that she'd had. Ron and her were good friends but she had come to realize that they were too good of friends to be anything more.

Draco digested this information with a frown. "I hadn't realized that the two of you had progressed into couplehood."

Hermione walked back to him, standing beside him. "We had," she admitted smiling fondly as she remembered that day. "For all of eight months," she replied with eyes filled with sadness.

Draco looked into her eyes and felt his heart give a lurch. Her eyes were so expressive they should every emotion she was feeling. "I'm sorry," he said again.

This time Hermione knew he was apologizing for her breakup and she knew that he meant it too. "Thank you," she told him gently. "And thank you for your concern earlier," she added reaching out and touching his shoulder.

Draco frowned. "Concerned?" Did she think he was concerned about her? Well, she couldn't have been more wrong. "It isn't concern," he told her briskly. He didn't want her getting the wrong idea. He looked forcibly at her. "I just don't want your crying jig to keep me awake."

Hermione gazed at him, a secret smile forming on her lips.It was all becoming clearer to her now. Draco wasn't as bad a guy as he wanted everyone to think. It was all an act, she was sure of it. Inside that rough and tough exterior lurked a sensitive and nice guy. After all, hadn't he taken the time to comfort her despite how he felt about her. "All the same, thank you."

He frowned then shrugged. If she wanted to think that he cared about her let her, but she would soon know better. He wasn't going to change just because she brought out a little sympathy in him.

Things changed for them after that, despite the way they both fought it. They had an unspoken truce. They were polite to each other whenever they were alone in their dormitory. It was here they talked and got to know one another. Here that their friendship started to bloom. Soon they were confiding in each other, and then sharing secrets. However, outside the dormitory, they chose to ignore each other, although, Draco had stopped playing his practical jokes on her.

Couple of weeks later found Hermione still thinking about that kiss. The more she pondered it the more she wanted more. She hadn't been able to get it out of her head, much to her astonishment. She relived it every night. Had it really been as good as she thought? Or had her imagination- constantly thinking about it made it seem more so? This couldn't continue, she realized, it was too stressful for her. Even her schoolwork was suffering. Something had to be done but she had no idea what to do about it.

It was either confront him about it, or continue to ignore it altogether and ignoring it would only make it worse. She had to gather up her Gryffindor courage and confront him. Maybe he'd laugh, but there was a chance that he might be feeling the same way as she, wasn't there?

So one day, when the opportunity presented itself she approached him in the common room. He sat at the table gazing off onto space, so deep in thought he was Hermione had to wonder what he was thinking about. Was it another girl? It had to be, young men didn't stare that deeply into space if it wasn't about a girl.  Was it someone she knew?

"Draco," she called to him as she neared him. He either didn't hear her or was ignoring her. She chose to believe it was the former. "Draco," she called again, this time she was close enough to touch his shoulder. He jerked, startled.

"Oh," he cried in surprise. "Granger, I didn't hear you come in."

"Obviously," she said with a nervous smile. She hoped he didn't take offense to the word or her. Their friendship was still too new for her to take liberties with. "Is everything all right?"

He turned in his chair facing her. He seemed friendly enough, but she sensed something there in reserve. She was going to find out what it was.

"Sure," he answered quickly.

Too quickly for her to believe him. She frowned in puzzlement. Something was bothering him.and she was concerned about him. "If something is wrong you can tell me," she assured him. "I'm a good listener and I can keep a secret."

Instead of appeasing him, she succeeded in only irritating him. "Nothing is wrong," he denied vehemently. He scowled at her. Just who did she think she was? Did she think just because they had a few friendly late night conversations that it gave her the right to intrude in his life? "Granger, I have friends I can talk to. I don't need to talk to a ...." He stopped speaking when he realized what he was about to say.

Again Hermione's expressive eyes gave away her inner turmoil. They filled with pain, hurt and humiliation as his words faded away. She was a fool, she thought silently, making a great effort to hold her tears at bay. She had thought they were friends, but they couldn't have been not if he could still use words like that in regards to her.

"I'm sorry I bothered you," she mumbled gently and turned to head for the stairs. Hating herself for that weakness. "I only wanted to help."

Draco felt like the biggest monster there was. He stood. "I'm sorry, Hermione," he told her calling her by her first name for what had to be the first time. I didn't mean to be so abrupt. I just prefer to be alone right now."

Hermione gave another sad smile. "I understand." She didn't but she didn't want to push her luck. "But if you ever do need to talk I'm a good listener," she reminded him.

He gave a slight smile and pulled a chair out. "Here sit down." She looked at him in confusion but sat and he returned to his own chair. "Tell me what you wanted to talk about."

Hermione gave a start. Now was not the time to talk to him, especially not about that subject.  "Oh, it really wasn't important. I don't want to intrude on you."

Draco felt a shaft of guilt shift through him. She didn't want to talk to him now. Had he been to rude? He had needed space to think, but then he realized that since it had been her that he had to think about it seemed fitting to allow her into his solitude. "Now tell me what's on your mind."

"W-w-well, I-I've been thinking," she stumbled over her words. Now that she had him willing to listen she didn't know what to say. How should she approach the subject? "About that kiss we shared," she blushed as she brought it up.

Draco frowned. Hadn't they settled that matter already? "Hermione, I thought we agreed to-"

"NO," she stressed the word. "You agreed. I did not."

"Do you have any idea what you are doing? What may come from a conversation like that?" Draco asked. "I really don't think it's a good idea to think about that kiss let alone talk about it."

Hermione chewed on her lip. "Didn't you like it?" she asked hesitantly. She knew she wasn't up to his usual standards, but that kiss couldn't have been that bad.

Draco shook his head. "No, it isn't that at all." God, how did he get into situations like this? Didn't she know how good that kiss had been? It had been so good it kept him awake at night. "It's just that we come from two different worlds."

Hermione nodded. She understood where he was coming from there, but she didn't think it was anything that they couldn't overcome. "I'm muggle born and you are pureblood, I understand that. But we are all humans aren't we? We feel the same pain. Both put our pants on one leg at a time."

She made it sound so simple. Draco frowned. He didn't know what she was getting at exactly, but he knew it wasn't a good idea. "That may be true but I still don't think we should discuss it. It will only lead to trouble."

"I know you think it was a mistake, but I don't happen to share that opinion. I think it was beautiful."

"I don't think it was a mistake," Draco denied.

"You don't?" she asked with eyes wide with surprise.

Draco shook his head. "No, I don't. Hermione, but I don't think us as a couple will work. There's so much already against us."

Hermione paused. It sounded to her like he wouldn't mind being a couple, if it wasn't for their family and friends. "You mean our family and friends?" she questioned him. "They don't really matter do they?"


Draco was clearly torn. He so wanted to agree with her, but he knew what his father would do, and he couldn't put her in that kind of danger. "If it was just us, I wouldn't have a problem with it," he told her.

Hermione noticed how torn up he was, but she couldn't let the subject drop. Not if there was some way they could be together, she was going to find it. She knew they would be great together. "I think we owe it to ourselves to explore it, before we owe our family and friends."

"I can't, Hermione," Draco said with a shake of his head. "I can't deal with anymore conflict right now." This year hadn't been the best for him. "Blaise is my best friend, the only real friend I have this year. I can't miss that up."

"Okay," Hermione paused to think about it. "So we don't tell our family and friends," Hermione suggested to him. It wasn't the perfect solution,it wasn't what she wanted, but it would have to do.

He frowned. Was she suggesting that they have a secret relationship? Did she know how crazy that was? But if she was crazy then so was he, because he was considering it. "You mean keep it a secret?" he asked just so he understood.

She nodded. "It's not like it's going to go far anyway. I just can't fight this attraction anymore. It's driving me crazy." This was said with a blush that she couldn't hide.

A secret affair. "Okay," Draco shrugged. He could probably handle that. No, he knew he could handle it.

Flashback ends:

Hermione continued to grin. That was the first hurdle that they had come up against, but it hadn't been their last. Not by a long shot.

Chapter 3 up. I'm sorry about the misspelled words and grammar errors. Please read and review.

I don't own anything from Harry Potter.




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