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(A/N: Hey people! I'm back from my spring break earlier than expected, so lucky you! Your getting this sooner. I couldn't leave you hanging for an entire week now, could I? I love all of you! Thank you so much for all the reviews! Now sit back, relax, and enjoy.)

She loved him. The word love was so foreign to Draco. He almost never heard it at all while he was growing up. If his father ever heard his mother saying she loved him, he would scream and yell that Malfoy’s love no one and she was babying him. But Hermione had said it. She loved him. She knew his bad family history, she knew of his jealous tendencies, and she loved him. Salty tears stung his eyes as he fought them back. No one had ever shown him as much affection in his entire life as Hermione had in a few months. He didn’t sleep that night. For hours he just laid there staring at her like she was crazy to be in love with him. And maybe she was, he didn’t know. After all, she had done some crazy things before. “I love her, I love her, I love her…” They were the three words that haunted him that night. He was afraid to tell her, even though he knew she loved him back. “I’m not good enough for her.” He thought. “But she picked me, out of all the blokes she could have had, she picked me.” He argued with himself. He looked out the window and saw the sun just barely coming up. He felt something stir beside him.

Hermione let her eyes flicker open and she yawned. She stretched her arms up high above her head and let out a content groan. “What time is it?” she asked. Draco looked at the bedside table clock.

“5:21 AM.” He announced kissing her on the forehead.

“You’re up early.” Hermione said.

“So are you.” Draco retorted.

“Yes, but I actually slept last night. You know, I didn’t sleep well once while you were gone. I guess you’ve grown on me.” She said lightheartedly. “So, are you going to tell me what the ‘mystery business’ was about?”

“Oh, it was just family stuff. I had to read my father’s Will.” He said his face tightening at the mention of his father.

“Oh.” She said softly. She decided to try and lighten the mood. “Oh hey, guess what? Rebecca wants us to dance the tango in the spring recital! I think it will be fun, and plus, we get out of dance class with everyone else to practice. What do you think? Do you want to do it?” she asked excitedly.

“Sure. When do we start practicing? It’s not until after winter holiday right?”

“No, it’s in winter and they call it ‘spring recital’ just for the fun of it. Yeah, it’s after the holidays. Which reminds me, we have another meeting with the prefects this afternoon about the Christmas Ball.”

“Okay, well I need to talk to Dumbledore about something so I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

“What? You just got back here and you’re leaving me again? I don’t think so Draco Malfoy. I demand that you stay here and snog me senseless.” Hermione pouted. Draco took one look at her with her legs folded under her and in his shirt pushing out her bottom lip and laughed at her. He bent and kissed her on the cheek.

“I’ll be back soon, I promise.” He said walking towards the door.

“But Draco, its 5:30 in the morning. Do you really need to bother him at this hour? Why don’t you just come back to bed? No offence Sweets, but you look like a train hit you.”

“Yes, it is that important. Don’t worry, I’m fine.” He said. Just before he was about to leave, he turned at tossed something at Hermione. “I almost forgot, this is for you.” She caught it and opened her palm.

“A sea shell?” She examined it carefully. “Draco, why did you get me a sea shell? Where did you get me a sea shell?” She looked up quizzically at him, but he had already gone. Placing it delicately on the nightstand, she pulled the covers back over her head, determined to sleep a few more hours to pass the time.

Draco walked down to Dumbledore’s office and racked his brain for the password. “Cockroach cluster?” he tried. Nothing happened. “Fizzing wizbees?” Still nothing. And as if someone had switched the light on, he remembered. “Bernie Bots every flavored beans,” He said. “Ear wax flavor.” He was granted access and approached the heavy oak door that separated him from Dumbledore’s office. He took a deep breath and knocked loudly.

“Come in.” Dumbledore said from the other side. Draco turned the golden doorknob and pushed the door open.

“Ah yes, Mr.Malfoy. I had a feeling I would be receiving a visit from you soon. Your parents’ affairs were all settled without trouble I trust?” He asked politely. Draco nodded. “Yes, I’m terribly sorry about their unfortunate fate. I do hope you are doing alright?” Draco nodded again.

“Professor, I had a small, erm…favor, to ask you.” He said uncomfortably.

“Of course. What can I do for you?”

“Well, as I’m sure you know, I disposed of my father’s house and I’m planning on residing in my mother’s estate from now on. I was wondering if there was any way I could have permission for myself and Miss Granger to visit there over Winter Holiday.”

Dumbledore tapped his long index finger to his chin and appeared to be pondering the idea. He adjusted the half moon glasses that were slipping from his nose and looked at Draco.

“Well Mr.Malfoy, I must say this, I am very pleased that you and Miss Granger have been able to set your differences aside and develop a nice friendship-”

“Relationship.” Draco corrected.

“Of course, excuse me. A nice relationship, however, while you are allowed to return home and even bring a fellow classmate with you, you must agree that there are certain…suspicions, that arise when two teenagers of the opposite sex spend the holidays alone together, unsupervised. Are you following what I am saying?”

“You are worried that Hermione is going to come back pregnant?” Draco said, trying not to laugh at his current situation. It seemed like he was about to receive a sex talk from the Headmaster. “Professor Dumbledore I can assure you that…”

“However true that your word may be, as Headmaster it is my duty to look out for the well being of my students. I cannot permit you to be with Miss Granger unsupervised for a long period of time. While you are very close to adulthood, and while I trust you to make the right decisions, the reality still stands that you are not yet adults.” Dumbledore finished.

“But Sir, that’s where I will be staying alone over the holidays. And I hate to point this out, but I will be turning eighteen just a few days before the break, and therefore I would be considered a legal adult. So, shouldn’t the decision be up to Hermione where she wants to spend her time? Seeing as I would be the adult to supervise, there shouldn’t be any problems should there?” Draco said keeping firm eye contact with Dumbledore. “Dim witted old bat,” Draco thought. “Let’s see you get yourself out of that one!” Dumbledore fidgeted slightly in his chair.

“I see… I suppose you are right. I must agree that the decision to stay with you would be entirely Miss Granger’s, and I presume that you will take good care of her?” Dumbledore raised his eyebrows at Draco.

“Yes Sir. Of course I will. Thank you Sir.” Draco rose from his seat and turned his back to the professor.

“Oh, and one more thing Mr.Malfoy. Please contact Miss Granger’s parents before your departure, should she choose to accompany you.” Draco nodded. He walked back to the common room with an extra spring in his step. He entered the common room and took the stairs by twos, getting him to Hermione twice as fast. When Draco was back in her room he saw that she had gone back to sleep, the shell he had given her placed carefully on the bedside table. He climbed on top of her and covered her with his body. Feeling the weight press into her, Hermione woke and looked up at Draco.

“Hello beautiful.” He said kissing her on the forehead.

“Hello.” She said groggily.

“Come on, get up.” Draco said getting off her and pulling her up by the arm. She moaned unhappily at him for making her leave her warm bed.

“What? Why? Are we going somewhere?” She asked quizzically.

“Yes, we are going somewhere. Come on Hermione. You don’t even need to get dressed.” He took her hand and walked her downstairs to the fireplace.

“Is this allowed? Draco I don’t think we are supposed to be going anywhere. We have a prefect meeting in just a few hours.”

“I know, I know. Don’t worry, we’ll be back in plenty of time. I just want to show you where we are going to be staying over winter holiday.”

“Wha…” She began. Draco cut her off.

“82 SEASIDE COURT, CORNWALL!” Draco shouted. They clung to each other as they sped past dozens of open fireplaces. Hermione pressed herself tightly to Draco. They stopped and Draco got out first, then extended his hand to Hermione. She took it and he helped her out of the soot. She brushed some lingering ash from her pajamas and then looked up.


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