Hermione flooed home from St Mungo's, looking forward to spending the rest of the day with her boyfriend. She'd spent all morning starting the process of looking into specialising, and she was keen to share her news with Draco. Since she first mentioned the idea, just after he was stabbed, Draco had been encouraging her to look into specialising if it was what she'd set her heart on doing. It had taken her a few weeks, but finally she'd now put her plan in motion.
Kicking off her shoes in the hallway and hanging up her jacket, Hermione headed into the living room. She found Draco lying on the large sofa, a book in his hand while the radio was quietly playing classical music. Hermione paused for a moment in the doorway, just appreciating the sight of her boyfriend being fit and healthy. It had been three weeks since Draco was stabbed, and he was practically back to normal. He was on the mildest pain relief potion available, and he'd returned to work the previous week. Of course, Hermione was still making sure that he took things easily, but she was satisfied his injury had healed perfectly.
"Hey, gorgeous," Draco said, looking up and smiling at his girlfriend. "Are you all sorted?"
"Yep," Hermione replied. "Everything is in place. I'll be transferring permanently to paediatrics, and of course I'll have to take a few more exams before I can really specialise."
"Of course you need to take exams," Draco chuckled as Hermione joined him on the sofa. "I think part of the appeal is the exams you now have to take. Just think of those hours of studying you can indulge in."
"I'm not doing this to take exams," Hermione replied, pouting at her boyfriend.
"Of course you're not, sweetheart," Draco soothed, taking hold of Hermione's hand and pulling her down on the sofa, so she was lying beside him. "I know you just want to excel in your career."
"I just thought it would be nice to work in one area," Hermione said, getting herself comfortable beside her boyfriend. "Although can you believe Juliette just said I was broody when I mentioned wanting to work with children."
"Are you?" Draco asked.
"What, feeling broody?" Hermione questioned with a slight smile.
"Yeah," Draco replied. "Have you thought about children?"
"I have," Hermione admitted. Truth be told, Hermione had been thinking about kids a lot since Juliette had first mentioned them. "Have you ever thought about them?"
"I might have done," Draco admitted. "I can just picture a lovely little baby with your warm brown eyes and wild curls."
"Funny, in my head I can picture a baby with your silky blond hair and grey eyes."
"It looks like we'll just have to have a couple of kids, one to take after me, and one to take after you."
"Or we could just have one that's the perfect blend of us both," Hermione suggested with a smile. "But I really do think this is a conversation for us to have in a couple of years. Right now, I'm just enjoying it being the two of us."
"It is pretty good," Draco replied, giving Hermione a wide smile. "And there's plenty of things we can do since there's just the two of us."
"Like what?" Hermione asked.
"Like making love on the sofa in the middle of the day," Draco responded as his hand slid under Hermione's top and caressed her soft skin.
"You're wicked," Hermione laughed as she pressed her lips against Draco's.
"And don't you love it," He muttered against Hermione's lips.
Hermione responded by slipping her hand under Draco's shirt, running her nails down his torso. As always with the couple, once they started to get frisky, it didn't take long for things to escalate. Within five minutes, Draco's shirt had been removed and Hermione's top was wide open, revealing her flimsy purple bra. Draco's hand had just slid down to unzip Hermione's skirt when there was a knock on the door.
"Leave it," Draco said, dropping his head to Hermione's breasts.
Hermione was more than happy to ignore the door as she was thoroughly enjoying Draco's ministrations. Plunging her hand in between them, she turned her attention to Draco's zipper, ignoring the door as someone knocked on it yet again. However as the knocking continued, Hermione reluctantly tore herself away from Draco.
"I really should get that," Hermione grumbled. "Whoever it is doesn't sound like they're going away."
"Whoever it is, I'm going to bloody kill them," Draco groaned.
"I'll get rid of them," Hermione vowed as she got up and hastily fasted her top. "Stay right here, and I'll be back so we can pick up from here."
"Hurry up, I get impatient," Draco called as Hermione exited the room, pulling the door shut behind her.
Hermione hurried over to the door, ready to quickly get rid of whoever had interrupted them as quickly as possible. However, when she opened the door she found Harry and Ron standing on the doorstep. Since they hadn't arranged to meet up, Hermione could only assume they were visiting on official business, she just hoped it finally some good news.
"Please tell me you've got something," Hermione said to the pair.
"We've got something," Harry answered with a slight smile. "Is Malfoy here?"
"He's in the front room, come on in," Hermione said, pulling open the door and allowing the pair into the hallway.
"Em, Hermione," Ron muttered with a slight blush. "Your top isn't fastened properly."
Hermione looked down at her top and swore quietly when she found several buttons fastened incorrectly, and there was even a gaping gap in her shirt, showing a decent portion of her cleavage. Hastily she turned away from the two wizards, and re-fastened her top correctly.
"Sorry," She apologised as she turned back to the pair.
"No need to apologise," Harry said. "You can do what you like in your own home. We're just sorry we disturbed you."
"It's okay," Hermione replied. "I'm sure Draco won't mind since you've got news. It is good news, isn't it?"
"It is," Ron confirmed with a nod as Hermione walked over to the door that led into the living room.
Hermione pushed the door to the living room open, freezing at the sight that greeted her. Just behind her, Harry and Ron let out twin gasps of shock and she didn't need to turn around to know both wizards had averted their eyes. Because laid out on the sofa, was a very naked, very aroused Draco. In the time she'd been gone, Draco had removed the rest of his clothes and was happily reclining on the sofa, arms crossed behind his head as he waited for Hermione to return. When the door first opened, he was wearing a large, predatory grin, but it faded when he spotted the two men behind his girlfriend.
"I think you might want to get dressed, babe," Hermione said, hiding her amusement at the situation. "We've got visitors."
"So I see," Draco muttered as he got off the sofa and quickly yanked on his trousers and shirt.
"It's safe to turn round, boys," Hermione informed her friends once she was sure Draco was decent.
Slowly Harry and Ron turned back to the front room, and only once they were sure that Draco was dressed did they enter the room and take seats in the chairs Hermione gestured to. While they were settling down, Hermione walked over to the sofa and sat down next to her boyfriend on the sofa.
"Have you caught them?" Draco asked. He was aware that neither Auror would quite look him in the eye after what they'd just seen, but he wasn't overly bothered by the fact. He wasn't ashamed of his body, and it didn't bother him in the slightest that both Harry and Ron had seen just what sort of package he had.
"We're questioning a group of five youths about the muggings," Harry answered. "As we promised we went up to Hogwarts when school went back and spoke to the students. It took us a few visits, but eventually one of the boys approached us and told us he was involved in the muggings. He gave us the names of everyone involved and we're currently talking to them about the muggings and your attack."
"However, it's taking slightly longer than normal since they're all only sixteen, and need to be interviewed with an appropriate adult," Ron added.
"Sixteen," Draco repeated. "You're telling me a bunch of sixth years did this?"
"Yeah, they've just gone into sixth year," Harry replied. "It seems to have started as a joke, and escalated as the boys got a buzz out of it. And we were right about the lack of magic, they were worried about someone tracing them."
"And what about the stabbing?" Hermione asked. "That was not just a joke. Whoever had that knife, meant to hurt someone."
"We're still trying to get to the bottom of that one," Ron confessed. "The boy who first spoke to us said he knew nothing about the stabbing until he saw the fuss in the papers. Another two of the boys are also saying they didn't know about the stabbing until afterwards."
"And the other two?" Draco asked.
"Are blaming each other," Harry replied. "Those two are the ringleaders, and they're each saying that it was the other one with the knife. None of the other three can say for definite who did the mugging as apparently the other two were arguing about whose turn it was. All five will be charged with the muggings, and at the moment both of the leaders will be charged with attempted murder."
"But you can't prosecute them both for the same crime," Draco argued. He knew enough about wizarding law to know that they both couldn't be put on trial for stabbing him as only one of them had done it.
"No, but if we charge them it gives us more room to manoeuvre," Ron said. "We will get to the bottom of this and find out which one of them stabbed you."
"Although to be honest, I think they both need taking off the streets," Harry admitted. "The other three boys aren't bad kids, they were just easily led. But these other two are dangerous. Neither of them seem bothered that someone was seriously hurt and could have been killed."
"Horrible," Hermione muttered, shaking her head at the thought.
"It is," Harry agreed. "Luckily we've caught them, or else I think it could have escalated. Next time, they might not have been as lucky, next time they could have killed someone."
"I'm just glad they didn't succeed this time," Hermione said, grasping Draco's hand in hers and giving it a squeeze. Draco gave Hermione a small smile as he squeezed back, reassuring her that he was still at her side and still in one piece.
"We'll keep you informed of how the case progresses," Harry said as he and Ron got to his feet.
"Thank you," Draco said.
"We're just doing our job," Harry replied. "Besides, it's had its up side," He added, smiling at Hermione.
"Speaking of which, how do you fancy coming to The Burrow on Sunday?" Ron asked. "Malfoy as well," He added quickly, nodding at the blond. "I know the family are dying to see you, Hermione. And with it being your birthday, we thought it would be the perfect time for you to come and visit."
"Sorry, but Hermione and I have plans for the weekend," Draco answered quickly, before his girlfriend could answer.
"We do?" Hermione turned to Draco with a frown.
"Let me rephrase that, I have plans to whisk my gorgeous girlfriend away for the weekend to celebrate her birthday," Draco corrected. "See, another benefit of it just being the two of us. Sex in the middle of the day, and impromptu weekends away."
"You're taking me away for the weekend?" Hermione asked, unable to stop the smile that broke out across her lips. "Where to?"
"It's a surprise," Draco replied. "The whole thing was actually supposed to be a surprise."
"Sorry," Ron apologised.
"It's okay," Draco said with a shrug.
"Maybe we can arrange for the pair of you to visit us another weekend," Harry suggested.
"Yeah," Hermione answered with a nod, even though she wasn't quite sure it would be happening any time soon.
In the last three weeks, Hermione had seen Harry and Ron a couple of times. She'd even seen Ginny as the redhead had turned up on their last outing and after a quick apology to Hermione, proceeded to pretend as though she hadn't spent over three years ignoring her. However, Harry and Ron hadn't been able to brush things off as easily as Ginny and they'd struggled to re-connect with Hermione. Truth be told, Hermione also struggled to re-connect with the pair.
Ironically things were slightly easier with Ron. Hermione could partially understand why Ron hadn't wanted to remain friends following their break-up. Their break-up hadn't been pretty and without the break, they would have likely both said things they would be able to take back. However, with time apart things weren't as raw and they were both able to look back on their relationship and admit it was never going to work between them. Although, despite being able to lay some ghosts to rest, they was still the natural tension that existed between them as a result of them being exes. Because of their past relationship, things would always be slightly weird between them, and Hermione knew they'd never manage to become more than casual friends. The close bond they'd shared back in school was gone.
Hermione's close bond with Harry had also gone, albeit for different reasons. While Hermione had been able to understand part of Ron's reaction following their break-up, she couldn't quite get over Harry abandoning her. She'd managed to forgive him for his actions, but there was a part of her resented the fact that he'd just brushed her aside so easily. He could have been like George, who'd kept in contact with her, but instead he'd ignored her just like Ron. To Hermione that said that Harry hadn't cared for her the way she'd always thought he had. Because of that, she was reluctant to really allow Harry back into her heart, and like with Ron she thought the best they could manage was casual friends.
Hermione was pleased she had the pair back in her life, and she was happy to call them friends, but that was as far as it went. No longer were they the first port of call when something vital happened in her life. No longer were they her best friends, who she knew would stand by her whatever life threw at her. For the important things in life, she had Draco. He was the number one person in her life, and that was the way it was going to stay. Harry and Ron may have been back in her life, but they'd lost the valued positions of best friends. After everything that had happened, they were merely a couple of friends, and they should be grateful that Hermione even allowed them that much. Luckily for them, Hermione was the forgiving sort, and she'd given them a second chance, just like she'd done with Draco.
The only difference between her forgiving Harry and Ron for abandoning her and forgiving Draco for his past actions was that her friends had both done something Draco had never done. They'd broken her heart, and Hermione wasn't giving them a second chance with that. Her heart was now closed to the two former Gryffindors, and it rested safely in the embrace of her Slytherin wizard. Draco was now the keeper of her heart, and Hermione was confident he would never break it. With him, her heart was safe, and Hermione was the happiest she'd ever been in her life.
A/N – Thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing – as always it's greatly appreciated.
I just want to announce that this will be my last story for a while as I'm going to take a break. I will be publishing Children and Where we Belong as scheduled, but there'll be no new stories or collection pieces for the next few weeks.
After the fuss on Where we Belong, and an incident with this story I feel I need a break. As I've said on numerous occasions, I have no problems with people not liking a story or even just part of a story. (It's not as though I like everything I read – either on this site or with real books). I love hearing what people have to say about my stories, and I'm always interested in their opinions (and theories in mystery stories). I even welcome constructive criticism as it helps me become a better writer. However, just lately I've felt as though I've had more than my fair share of rude, condescending reviews – and especially reviews where people think they have the right to tell me how to write my stories.
I don't want to stop publishing on this site completely as I have so many lovely, loyal supporters who seem to get genuine enjoyment from my stories. However, I feel I need a break before the negativity gets too much and I end up walking away from publishing on here for good. So, I'm going to take a step back for a few weeks before I return with fresh stories and new collection pieces.
In the meantime, thanks for all the great support I've received since I've started to publish on this site (which far outweighs the negative comments I've had). I'll be back soon, but for now thank you for reading.