I woke up with my head on Draco's chest, his breathing still deep from sleep. My body aches from head to toe, but I don't want to get up to face the world yet. I laid there for quite some time before I felt Draco start to rise. "Good morning love." I greeted him, placing a kiss on his chest above his heart.
"Is it really over?" I nodded against him. His voice was still rough from sleep, not the velvet tone I was used to. "We can live freely now." It was more of a statement than a question and I wondered if he was telling me or himself.
"Forever." I said. "You're kind of stuck with me, you know the whole magic bonding thing."
He grinned and rolled us over so he could kiss me. Giggling beneath him, I allowed my hands to roam his body, feeling the taut muscles beneath his skin. "I'll need my ring back. And I'll be damned if you go down there without yours on. You are mine, Mrs. Malfoy, and I want the whole world to know."
I smiled at his possessiveness. "You are mine too."
"Always." He confirmed. "Shall we face the music?"
I sighed, not wanting to leave our cocoon of happiness. Slowly we got up and showered once again, this time actually getting clean, finding the clothes some house elf had left for us, we dressed quickly. I dug around in my bag before finding the book I had charmed to hide my most precious items. I pulled the ornate silver and green ring out for Draco and then my much more simpler version.
"Allow me," a husky voice said from behind me. I faced him as he took my hand and slid the ring on my finger, his stormy eyes darker now than ever. My own trembling hands copied his actions. I wasn't nervous to be married to him, that was the best decision of my life. I was nervous to hear everyone talk behind my back about it.
"Let's go, love." He said gently. I nodded and followed him out the portrait. We made our way to the Great Hall where the bodies of the fallen had already been cleared and breakfast was being served. I looked around to find the Weasleys and Harry.
"Hermione! Draco!" Mrs. Weasley gushed as we approached. I had to stifle my giggle when she scooped Draco into a giant hug.
"Good morning, Molly." He said politely, his manners always showing through.
"Hey, mate" Harry said in between bites of food. Ginny smiled next to him, obviously just happy to have him back. Ron threw an annoyed glance at us, he had been the least happy when I told him I was getting married. Even angrier when I told him who the bloke was.
We ate our meal in peace before everyone went their ways to start helping restore the castle. Draco and I headed to the dungeons to see just how much needed to be done there.
"Drakkkkeee," a shrill voice whined from behind us. "Please tell me that it was all a lie and you're not actually married to that Mudblood slut."
Draco had her pushed against a wall with his wand in her throat. "Do not ever, call my wife that ever again. Or I. Will. End. You." He threatened. "The war is over. You lost. I suggest you lose those Pureblood standards before it gets you in trouble." He turned and wrapped his arm around me, leading me out of the dungeons.
"But we didn't check-"
"You will not go down there. It's not safe yet." He cut me off.
"I can handle myself just fine." I retorted.
He suddenly stopped and faced me. "I cannot lose you, Hermione." Then turned and began walking once again. We ran into McGonagall as we got to the third floor, looking for the others.
"Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy, your assessment?"
Draco spoke before I could, "We were verbally attacked before we even got all the way down there. I will check it out properly, once I have ascertained Hermione's safety."
She nodded, then asked "Well, how about a cuppa in the meanwhile?
We followed her to a small classroom where she conjured up a table and chairs. "You know, when Headmaster Dumbledore came and told me that I'd need to prepare a married quarters, I never expected it to be you two."
I smiled, looking over at Draco. "I honestly didn't think I'd be here either. Never did I picture myself married to a Malfoy." I smirked.
"How did you two get past your childhood rivalries and begin a courtship? If I may ask,"
Draco laced his fingers with mine as I gathered my thoughts to tell our story. "I was on vacation with my parents in France during the summer before our 6th year. My parents were at the beach, and I wanted to check out a bookstore in town, imagine my surprise when I saw him at a cafe, reading a muggle book. At first, I thought he was spying, but then he looked up and when he saw me, it was pure terror on his face."
"I was afraid it would get back to my father where I was," Draco piped in. "He thought I was with Blaise parading myself around Italy."
"Anyways," I cut back to the story.
"Granger." Malfoy bit out.
"Malfoy." I said, with equal venom. "What are you doing here?"
"I needn't explain myself to you." He said. "But if you must know, there are certain people in my home that I cannot stand."
I scoffed. "Oh right, like you don't just love Voldemort there. Bet you are at his beck and call, getting in his good graces."
I could see him tensing. "You don't know anything."
His voice was shaking. "I can't be there. I don't belong there. I can't hurt people."
"You've hurt me plenty," I retorted before I could stop myself.
His face fell. "I am sorry for my childish behavior. I no longer believe in that blood purity swill. Now, I think I'll leave you be, I've done enough damage today." He sighed before getting up and walking out of the cafe, down the street. My mind was buzzing. Was he telling the truth?
I tried in vain to forget about Malfoy and enjoy my day. The next day I purposely went to the same cafe in hopes of seeing him again. To my luck, he was in the same spot as yesterday, with a different book this time.
"Back again, Granger?" He asked, never looking up from his book.
"I have questions, like you say I'm a know-it-all" I said as I took a seat across from him. "How'd you know it was me anyways?"
"I could smell your perfume." He said simply. "You have questions."
I took that as a go ahead. "You really don't believe in everything you've been taught anymore?"
"No." he said through gritted teeth.
He sighed. "Because, I see how it's damaged my family. I see the eyes of a maniac when I look at my father. I see how you, a muggleborn, could easily surpass me in all my subjects and I've been groomed for this since I was six. You're brilliant, Hermione. You quite literally are the brightest witch of our age."
I was dumbfounded. Malfoy called me my first name. And complimented me. Holy shit.
"What changed?" His eyes grew dark and stormy and he took a ragged breath before he answered.
"Let's just say we no longer have a pure blooded muggle studies teacher."
"The Dark Lord killed her, simply because she was fascinated by muggles. That was what really drove it home." He ran a hand through his hair. "I dunno. I guess I've felt this way for a while but" he trailed off.
I had more questions, but they would have to wait. I could tell he was telling the truth. His eyes gave him away every time.
"Malfoy, you called me Hermione." I paused. "Why"
"Well, that is your name isn't it? And I figured you were more likely to help me in the future if I need it if I was somewhat cordial to you."
A waiter came by asking if we needed anything, and to my surprise Malfoy ordered me a coffee and a pastry, in fluent French.
"I hope you don't mind, I ordered you something." He mumbled, rather nervously.
"I know. I understood." I smiled. "Thank you Draco."
We sipped our coffee and talked about irrelevant things for the next hour before he asked. "Would you like to accompany me to the bookstore? I'll need a new book by tomorrow."
I could only nod, bewildered by the fact that I was willingly spending time with Draco Malfoy.