A/N: Greetings all, for those who have read and followed "Dramione - A Moment of Splendor" and it's sequel "Dramione - Seven years after the Splendor" I present a new FanFic. This one is more of a fluffy piece with a few plot twists with eventual Lemons, I hope you stick around for the long haul since I'm note sure how many chapters I will end up with. The flashbacks in the story are not sequential they are used to capture how Draco and Hermione's relationship developed.
Please read, follow, and review!
Disclaimer: I own nothing, all praise goes to JK Rowling.
It was a crisp, early October morning, the kind where the first embers of Autumn paint the trees shades of gold, yellow, orange and deep read. The sun was still warm but the breeze had a nip that would tickle your nose as if it were made by fairy wings.
Hermione set out for the coffee shop a couple of blocks away from her brownstone apartment. Standing on the stoop to relish in her surroundings, she hopped down the steps and padded along her way.
At the coffee shop down the street, she ordered her first pumpkin latte of the season. The sweet, spicy warm liquid swirled in her mouth and coated the back of her throat, taking away the slight chill from her body. She went back outside to sit at one of the tables. Tucking her feet under her body as she sat down on the semi comfy chair, book in one hand, coffee in the other, she slowly willed the world around her away as the words transported her mind deep within their pages.
A shadow cast over her, blocking the sunlight on the words, squinting to see the sentences she was thrown when a voice spoke to her. Familiar, but not very warm...and not cold.
"In all the bloody cities on the entire sodding planet... He trailed off as she rose her head, her eyes raising up to meet the devilish smirk.
"Draco Malfoy" she huffed... surprise and bewildered allowing a small smile to appear on her face.
"Granger" he replied a bit warmer than his opening comment.
Pulling out a chair to join her, she just eyed his figure as he smoothly sat opposite her. The years were good to him physically, a
little taller and more filled out from their Hogwarts Days... a hundred times better than after the war. He still had the same striking features, alabaster skin, pearly-blonde hair combed in a perfect gentlemen's cut. His dress was very casual, black jogging pants, and a black and white fitted long sleeve athlete shirt that just gave a hint of his muscular frame. He just removed his sunglasses to meet her softened stare. His cloud grey eyes had changed from back then. They were brighter, less tortured, and still able to mesmerize her. It was like he could see straight to her soul.
"What are you doing here...?" She asked still in awe that he was sitting across from her.
"Um.. Coffee!" pointing to his cup. Again that damn smirk on his face.
"No, jerk, what are you doing in New York? I thought you were in Paris" she quipped.
"Yes well.. I have some business here now.. I'll be here for the next 6 months or so sorting things out." he replied his eyes seemed to dazzle with amusement of her teasing tone. It took some time after the war and school but they had actually become... friends.
"Oh, Ok.. But how did you find me... Only Harry knows exactly where I am" She inquired then, slightly huffing to herself and nodding her head at the fact she presumed he was here for her... ( "Idiot" she thought to herself).
Noting her body language, he replied.
"It was sheer coincidence I assure you" he leaned in closer and said "Jeeze, Granger, it's not like I'm stalking you" then gave her a quick wink. If she wasn't looking at him at that precise moment she would have miss the glint in his eye and a half smile that flashed on his face.
Leaning back in his chair, he said. "I was out for a jog and noticed you.. I mean, I had to see for sure, but I knew it had to be you."
Her eyes went wide a bit then smaller as she tilted her head in acknowledgement, giving him an even wider smile.
"Though truth be told I miss your old hair style... What was it called, Owl nest chic." He said playfully giving her a smirk. Her expression changed, she crinkled her face and threw a wad of napkins at him. He let out an audible laugh as he deflected her napkin attack. His laugh was melodic... he didn't laugh out loud too often, but when he did it was a wonderful sound to Hermione.
"You can be such an ass" she huffed at him. She absent mindedly ran her fingers through the side of her hair and down the back of her neck, then reaching for her cup, taking a sip of her now lukewarm latte.
Hermione changed too. After leaving London three years ago, she'd cut her hair in a "pixie cut" that showed her classic facial features, her skin smooth and creamy, her brown eyes still glittered with gold flecks in the proper light. Her style of dress was more mature but suited her age. On the surface, she looked content, there was no trace of war, hurt, or loss on her face. What caught his attention, propelling him to engage her was the trade mark look she had when she was lost in a book, carelessly biting her lower lip. Those perfect, inviting pink lips. During their study periods he would watch her sitting at one of the oversized windows in the library of Hogwarts, surrounded by the soft glow of sunlight looking angelic. Loosing herself in the pages. Always gnawing at her bottom lip. Those inviting lips.
"I felt for a fresh start." She said smiling at him.
He missed that smile... He saw it more during 7th year at Hogwarts. A lot happened during that time. Ron and Harry did not return for the 7th year... However, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Ginny and a few others did as well as Draco... It was very difficult for him but... she became invaluable to him in helping him to cope with his reputation after the war. She helped him solidify the notions he had about what he was programmed to think growing up was a crock of shit. Blood status was an archaic way of thinking. During the years after the war he was able to think for himself, research, learn, grow, mature. They would often chat in the library, or banter, or argue but those conversations. The challenging conversations with her, going toe to toe with him matching wits, helped to open his eyes to see he was wrong about blood statues as well as a few other preconceived ideas.
"I thought you were working for the Ministry." He inquired.
"I did... But..." She trailed off, a sadness took hold of her expression. She forced her eyes and smile to meet his face.
"But... " She tried to start her comment again.
"It was too much..." He finished the sentence for her.
She nodded her head in agreement.
"It was a good run but I... I just could cope with the grind any more. After the war and leaving Hogwarts, I did what was expected of me. I gave into the assumptions that people had, "brightest witch", "war hero", "Weasley girlfriend"... It was getting to be too much."
"How is old "Weasel bee" anyway... Not that I care, but I don't see him sitting across from you or is he sleeping in." He questioned dryly and took a slow drink from his cup. Half heartedly waiting for her to affirm what he already knew. She and Ron were not romantically involved but he had to hear it from her.
"No, Ron is back at the burrows with his wife and daughter." she replied.
Though he could not quite place her emotion about the subject. He faked a surprise expression, making his eye brows raise then quickly fall.
"Great another ginger sidekick in the world. He figured out how his dick works then." He bluntly stated, giving her a smug smirk.
Hermione rolled her eyes and said "Really? ... You asked."
"Yes well small talk and all... So what have you been doing?" Quickly changing the subject. He could care less about the red-headed clod.
"Well, since leaving the Ministry almost three years ago, I've moved here, I blog about little shops and eateries off the beaten path in the city and opened a book shop buying and selling rare and antique books. A far cry from the Wizarding World..." She started to trail off again.
Draco picked up on her changed tone as she mentioned the other realm. Clearing his throat to bring her back to the present. Hermione shook her head slightly, catching his eyes and readjusting her position on her chair to squarely face him, she asked.
"And what about you, I know you mentioned business brings you here, but what else is going on with you?"
Sipping the last drops of coffee... he cleared his throat again and began to tell her a bit about his dealings as a financier. Noting that after he left Hogwarts and moving to Paris with his mother they cut all ties to their lives with Lucius. They had to keep a very low profile for a while and it's taking them quite some time to rejoin the Wizard World as well as be trusted members of society again.
"It's been an uphill climb." He said in closing "But, I'm able to look in the mirror now and not feel disgusted at my reflection."
That last statement stuck in her mind. She was aware of what he had gone through back then, taking the mark, his part in the war. She knew all too well his internal torture, she remembered the night terrors, his roaring screams when his mind was between wake and sleep.
They were having one of their late night study/chat sessions in the library. Draco had nodded off during a quiet moment between them. He looked so peaceful for a few moments then suddenly he began to stir and mummer incoherently. Hermione move from her spot across from him to sit next to his side. Twisting and turning more, his eyes still closed but his face becoming more animated, he began to speak louder now.
"I have to do this" "I have to kill him" "I was chosen" rambling on "No, I don't want this" he said in a quieter tone.
Then he screamed out "MERLIN, HELP ME" his body thrashing now. It took Hermione a second to recover from his scream scaring her, she reached to touch him. He flinched and opened his eyes but they were glazed over still caught in the nightmare.
"Help me!" "He's going to kill me" "Help me!" "HELP ME!" he roared.
"Malfoy" She spoke "wake up.. your dreaming"
His eyes still unresponsive. Violently rocking his body in the chair she latched on to his shoulders and began shaking him.
"Malfoy, Wake up, WAKE UP" she screamed at him. "It's ok.. you're safe, you're safe" she kept repeating trying to steady his head so she could catch his eyes. She moved her hands from his shoulders to steady his face as he just kept shaking it side to side.
She cupped her hands on his cheeks. "Malfoy, Malfoy.. Look at me, LOOK AT ME!" "It's ok, you're ok!" She repeated.
He kept trying to shake his head. She firmly grabbed it and gave it a good shake "DRACO!" she screamed giving his head a firm shake again "Draco, look at me!" His head stilled and their eyes met. "Draco, look at me, look at me... you're ok... I promise you're ok." She softened her tone as he blinked away the last of the haunting images in his mind.
"Where.. What... what happened?" "Where are we?" his began to catch himself. In a hushed tone, gently stroking his face with her thumbs. Hermione explained that they were in the library and he nodded off. A flash of terror was on his face again as he tore his head out of her hands to see if there was anyone around to see him lose control.
"We are the only ones here" she said on a calm voice. "It's just us... It's just us." she repeated. He took a deep breath realizing she was right. He slumped down in his seat again and looked her in the eyes. Those big brown sympathetic eyes. In that instant he lost control again... reaching for her, hugging on to her body as if it were a life preserver, sobbing into her and mumbling apologies over and over.
She wrapped her arms around him and stroked his hair. Lulling him to a calm state like a mother would to a child. She gently rocked him and his grip around her only tighten for a moment. "Draco..." she said softly. "It's ok... I'm here. I'm here" she whispered.
"Granger" Draco called her name. "Granger!" he said louder. "Hermione!" using her first name to capture her mind back to the present.
She blinked a few times and the sound of her first name in his voice. "Uh... Sorry.. I.. umm" She stammered for a minute and the memory fade back to the corner of her mind. This was her first flash back in about 3 years. She cleared her throat and sipped that last mouthful of her cold latte.
"Where did you go? You were so lost in thought for a moment" He spoke with concern in his voice.
"Sorry." Regaining some composure. "I bet Paris is just as lovely in the Autumn."
Cocking up an eye brow he questioned. "You sure you're alright?"
"Yes!" She said with false bravado "I'm fine just still surprised that you are in, of all places, New York." She ended with a chuckle hoping to lighten the mood again.
"Are you done?" He asked, nodding to her cup.
"Yes." She affirmed.
"Good, you can walk with me now." He said with a half smile clearing their cups and her napkin arsenal.
"Well, I was going to sit here and read for awhile." She stated.
"Granger? ... Really? ... an old school chum runs in to you after all this time and you want to sit there and read instead of escorting said chum through the still unfamiliar streets of his new temporary city. I'm hurt.. appalled even. Where is that Hogwarts hospitality they taught us?" His tone oozed of sarcasm and as she looked up at him he flashed a full smile. It was like a choir of angels sang and the sunlight hit his toothy grin. 'When in the hell did Malfoy become so damn... hot'. Her thoughts trailed off as he held out his hand waiting for her to take it.
Placing her hand in his, he held on yanking her to her feet making her giggle. As she stood up he was able to get a better look at her. Still holding on to her hand he lead her out of the cafe's fenced off area making sure she was walking in front of him. She wore a red, long sleeved cable knit sweater and comfy black yoga pants that accentuated the curves of her hips and ass... Damn when did Granger get an ass like that... thank Merlin for sunglasses... Draco stopped his thoughts saying.
"Honestly, I can't believe I had to guilt you in to taking a walk with me." He teased.
"You didn't have to guilt me, you just reminded of my duty to the city's newest resident." She stated, catching his eye and both of them burst out into laughter.
Draco walked with his hand in his pockets as they reached a corner, waiting for an opportunity to cross the street, he felt her small hand slip between his arm and torso linking them together. He looked down at her as she glanced up to him smiling.
"It's so great to see you Granger." He told her, smiling back at her.
"You too Draco." she said.
After aimlessly walking the streets of the neighborhood. Bantering about everything and nothing. Hermione had pointed out some great places to grab a quick bite and great sit down places too, they even stopped at her favorite local deli to share a pastrami sandwich. At first Draco was adamant about getting his own sandwich but when he saw what the portions where, he took Hermione's advise to split one. Two pickles though.
The Autumn air started to blow colder as the sun started to set, sending a shiver down her spine.
"I can't believe we walked for so long." She said flashing him a smile. "I enjoyed myself, it was good to seeing you again."
"Well we had to walk an extra thirty minutes because of that sandwich." He teased giving her a smirk and deliberately bumping into her.
"True but it was good though." She came back. Bumping into him. They were strolling on her street, a gust of wind blew the leaves on the floor making a resettling sound. Hermione instinctively slipped her had between Draco's forearm and torso. He loved the feeling of her being near. The whole day seemed to go by as if they had never missed out on eight years.
"Do you have plans for tomorrow?" She asked, biting her bottom lip, as they stopped in front of her building. She had stepped up on one step to be eye level with Draco.
"No plans, what do you have in mind?" He answered.
"Brunch." She stated "To say welcome to the neighborhood. I make a mean Eggs Benedict."
"Will there be bacon?" He asked with a grin. Unconsciously licking the corner of his mouth... or was it deliberate.
"Of course!" She gave him a smirk "Oh and a surprise, I know you'll enjoy it. I remember your secret addiction to sweets."
"Secret?, I thought I was being quite open about it. Until I had to hide my Bertie Bott's in my robes due to the fact you would practically inhale all the marmalade ones... Bloody greedy!" He informed her with a gorgeous wink at the end.
She swung her open hand to tap his right shoulder as he tried with very little effort to deflect it. Chuckling at her then squaring himself directly in front of her.
"Give us a hug." He said in a low tone that instantly sent a tingle to the back of Hermione's neck. She wrapped her arms around his neck and snaked his arms around her waist giving her a small squeeze.
"I've missed you." He whispered in her ear and held her a little tighter.
"I've missed you too... Be here at 11 o'clock.. ok." She said a little over a whisper. Loosening her grip on him and feeling his arms unwrap from her waist. They locked eyes for a moment. Just then a stronger gust of wind blew by causing her to shudder.
"Get on with you then." he smirked at her tossing his hand in an upward direction willing her to go upstairs.
Sticking her tongue out at him. Then turning to climb up the stairs glancing over to remind him about their eleven brunch time. He waved at her one last time, pivoting on his heels and thinking to himself... She looks good... amazing even... I Love NY!
A/N : So this is chapter 1. I will try to update on a weekly biases since I have a few chapters written ahead. Reviews are welcomed! Also, I'm still working out Chapter 2 of "Dramione - Seven years after the Splendor" so look out for that update soon! - daswhoiam.