Hello lovelies! If you haven't read my story, "High", you should probably do so before continuing to read this even though this could technically be a stand-alone fic. I had no plans to continue the story "High," until RavingRebel221 made the best case for why I should that I've ever heard. This is proof that your comments really can make a difference for authors.
RavingRebel221, this story is dedicated to you :)
Hermione attempted to be objective as she studied herself in the mirror. She looked alright, but was it enough for Her Majesty, Narcissa Malfoy?
She had applied a bit of mascara, tamed her curls, and put on a little black wrap dress. She hadn't worn it since Remus and Tonks's funeral, but she supposed it wouldn't look out of place at a nice dinner. It fit her well now that she had filled out a bit since the Prolonged Camping Trip from Hell.
She had never felt so grateful for anything as when McGonagall informed her that as Head Girl she would have her own room. Living with boys for an extended amount of time was a rude awakening. Unshowered teenaged males could be a species into themselves. Sure, her friends might have thrown hissy fits once they realized Hermione would not give them the password to her Common Room so they could come and go as they pleased, but she did not budge. Dammit, she had spent a year sharing a cramped space with three teenage boys, all of whom had varying opinions concerning hygiene, and she had earned this. This space was her own. Her palace. No boys allowed unless she bloody well said so.
Draco especially whined quite spectacularly at her insistence that the password remain secret. "But what if I want to surprise you by waiting naked for you in your bed?" Hermione had rolled her eyes at that. After all, with or without a private Head Girl suite, the two had always found ways to be alone. They spent a significant amount of time during sixth year attached at the genitals despite Draco damn near killing himself trying to play the dutiful Death Eater. Hell, even when they were living in a tent with Harry and Ron, they still managed to shag like bunnies as often as possible.
And even though Draco didn't have the password to her Common Room, he still spent nearly every night in her bed. It turned out that neither of them could sleep without the other. Hermione would have been annoyed by that fact if Draco didn't make such a fantastic snuggle-buddy. She didn't like to think that she needed him lying next to her just to get a good night's sleep.
She was interrupted from her self-examination by a frantic knock on her door. Said knocker was none other than one of the formerly Unshowered Boys—the black-haired one—who gave her a new appreciation for solitude. "Harry," she said. "What's up?"
He cocked his head in confusion. "You look nice," he said.
"Thanks. What do you need?"
"I just asked Ginny to marry me."
You could have knocked her over with a feather. "Wow. I mean…I didn't even know you two were considering marriage," she said.
"We're not. She said no."
Hermione blinked rapidly. How was this possible? Ginny was crazy about Harry. "And…are you okay with that?"
"I think so. I mean, I guess I should clarify that she didn't really say 'no'. It was more of a 'not right now' kind of thing."
"Well, Harry, you can't really blame her. She's seventeen-years-old."
"I know. I just…," he sighed. "I'm not exactly sure you'd understand because you didn't have to go through this with Malfoy, but being on the run last year away from her…I just want to be with her as much as I can now. I missed her so much the entire time."
Hermione nodded. "Yes, I know. Remember, I walked in on you once when you were 'missing her so much.'"
Harry's eyes narrowed. "One time, Hermione. That happened one time. How many times did I walk in on you and Malfoy shagging?"
Harry's question was rhetorical. He didn't need reminding of those three fatal incidents. Three times. It was three times that Harry walked in on Malfoy and Hermione going at it while they were on their Horcrux hunt.
The first time was in the showerless loo all four of them shared with each other. Harry absent-mindedly pulled the curtain to the room back and flinched at the scene before him. Malfoy was leaning against the wall, eyes squinted shut, alternating between moaning incoherently and biting his lip. His hands were fisted in Hermione's hair and her lips were wrapped tightly around Malfoy's cock. Harry nearly dry-heaved at the sight. When Malfoy's eyes shot open, he scowled in agitation and swung his head sharply to the side in a gesture which communicated, "Hey, do you mind? I'm kind of getting my dick sucked by your best friend, who you love like a sister, right now." Harry swiftly fled the scene and cursed providence for seeing fit to bestow the fortune upon Malfoy of all people that he should still get to enjoy blow jobs in his day-to-day life whilst they were all in mortal peril, and Harry was forced to satisfy his urges by wanking like some bloody peasant. It simply was not fair. Worst of all, Harry suspected that if the two were seeking more exotic locations, such as the loo, for their trysts, then his own room probably wasn't too far down on the list.
The second time, Harry needed something from the room that Hermione and Malfoy shared. Naively assuming the two were out scouting for food, he came in unannounced while Hermione was straddling Malfoy's hips, riding him, while Malfoy, balls deep in her, cooed words of hot encouragement and placed his hands on her hips so he could better bounce her up and down on him. Harry immediately shut his eyes and guffawed in embarrassment, throwing an arm dramatically over his face to shield him from the repellant scene. Malfoy was furious. He immediately shot up, pulled a blanket over Hermione to hide her from Harry's sight, and screamed, "What the fuck are you doing? Get out of here, Potter!" Harry contemplated Obliviating himself.
The third time, Harry got to share the moment with Ron. In an effort to repress the two prior memories, Harry failed to learn the vital lesson of Announce Your Presence Before Entering A Room Because Apparently Nowhere is Safe. He and Ron drudged down to the pond on a water run and were stunned to find it already occupied. This time, Malfoy took Hermione from behind, sucking on her neck while one hand cupped her breast and pinched her nipple, and the other disappeared under the water, presumably rubbing her clit, while he pounded into her. Hermione's head was thrown back on Malfoy's shoulder, begging for him to go harder. Harry immediately fused his eyes shut, shouted expletives, and began bumbling around to escape the scene so belligerently, that he fell over on a bush. It would have been hilariously cartoonish if it hadn't been just five brands of DAMMIT! Ron, on the other hand, couldn't tear his eyes from the scene and appeared to be rooted to the spot. Upon realizing they had yet again been caught, Hermione sunk into the water to hide herself, blushing furiously. Malfoy, on the other hand, not appreciating the unwelcome interruption of his impending orgasm, jumped out of the water and charged at Ron, all the while fully nude, shouting, "I'll fucking kill you, Weasel, you pervert!" Ron seemed to regain consciousness at the sight of a naked Malfoy bounding towards him with murder in his eyes, livid from the fact that his least favorite person in the world just denied him the opportunity to finish his shag, which he was very much enjoying up until that point. Ron ran screaming through the woods from the potentially homicidal blond.
All in all, it was one of the better interactions between the two boys.
Hermione couldn't look Harry or Ron in the eye for a week. Malfoy and Ron were at each other's throats more than usual. Eventually, Hermione, being the most sensible one of the bunch, sat all her boys down and had a little chat about "coexistence."
Now, being reminded of those three humiliating instances, Hermione narrowed her eyes dangerously at Harry. "You should have learned to bloody knock."
Harry scoffed. "Believe me, I fucking know. No one regrets it more than me that I learned that lesson too late." He cleared his throat and adopted a clipped, professional voice. "I just feel that maybe you and Malfoy could have made more of an effort to keep it in your pants or at least be more discreet."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "I feel that your efforts to put the blame on us are misguided and butt-headish."
Harry laughed. It was an old habit from their camping days during the Horcrux hunt. The evening Hermione called a group meeting and determined that some ground rules had become necessary for them all to live harmoniously, she came up with the idea that anytime one of them felt strongly about something, instead of yelling at each other, they should preface the thought with "I feel," and they would all be forced to listen to it.
Some of them took to it more easily than others. For the next few days, Malfoy and Ron used the new technique as a way to passively-aggressively rip one another apart. One morning, when Ron's spoon kept missing his mouth due to Hermione's decision to wear a particularly short pair of shorts while doing dishes, Draco nearly threw his mug full of hot coffee at the red-headed wizard. "I feel that if Weasel doesn't stop leering at my girlfriend like he's picturing her naked, I'm going to beat the ugly out of him!" And so on, and so forth.
Harry rolled his eyes. "Anyway, I was kind of hoping to talk to you about the whole thing with Ginny, but you look like you're heading out."
Hermione sighed and nodded. Yes, to her eternal chagrin, she was heading out.
"Where are you going?"
Harry's eyes widened. "What? Are you dumb? You're dumb. You can't go to Malfoy Manor. Narcissa Malfoy lives there, do you know that?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. "You know, Harry. I barely agreed to go as it is. Please don't crumble what little resolve I have by telling me how barmy this is."
"Draco and I are having dinner with her," she said with a worried scowl.
Harry released a faint "Ooooohhh," and nodded his head. "So you're doing it on purpose."
"And you're worried your boyfriend's mum won't like you. Even after everything you did for her during her trial?"
"Are my parents still Muggles?" she asked.
"Then I'm still worried."
"Don't be daft. She's going to love you." The words came from the familiar, smooth drawl belonging to the handsome, blond variety of the formerly Unshowered Boy specimens. Although to his credit, Draco, being much more finicky about his hygiene and appearance than the other two Unshowered Boys, quickly discovered the merits of the Full-Body Scourgify.
Harry rolled his eyes. "You have to understand why she'd be worried."
Draco sneered. "I do understand. But my mother didn't escape the war unscathed. She doesn't care about those things as much anymore."
Hermione sighed. "What do I even talk to her about? 'Hey, Mrs. Malfoy. I'm the girl your son turned blood traitor for, thus disbanding nearly five centuries of blood purity. Care to pass the carrots?'"
Draco laughed. "My mother is nothing if not a perfect hostess. I know you're used to having to do so yourself, having two mouth-breathers for best friends, but I promise you that you won't need to concern yourself with carrying the conversation tonight."
Harry narrowed his eyes dangerously at the blond wizard. "Malfoy, I will beat the life out of you."
Draco rolled his eyes. "I feel that I would like you to bugger off right now so we can be on our way."
"Well I feel like I wasn't finished talking to Hermione about my thing, so you can kindly shove your feelings up your arse."
Hermione rolled her eyes. The animosity was really just a game the two played at this point. They'd rather Avada themselves than admit it, but after hunting Horcruxes on the road together for nearly a year, the two had actually become sort of friends.
"Fine," Draco said, folding his arms and smirking. "But we're about to start kissing, so if you don't want to witness that—"
"—Fine! Bloody fine. I'm going." Harry turned away from the entrance to head back to his own Common Room. "Oh, and Hermione," he said turning his head. "Don't worry about Narcissa Malfoy. She might be all fancy-shmancy, but you're a bad bitch. Don't forget that."
"Thanks, Harry," Hermione said, smiling.
Once Harry was safely out of sight, Draco pulled Hermione into his arms and captured her lips in a searing kiss. He smiled at her as they broke apart. "Hey," he said.
"Hi," she said, bashfully biting her lip.
He leaned back to appraise her appearance. "You look beautiful."
She dropped her chin, attempting to hide her blush. "So do you."
After several more moments of snogging, which Hermione initiated largely as a stalling tactic, the two broke for air.
"Ready to go?" Draco asked.
Hermione sighed. "I suppose."
The two arrived through the Floo of the living room at Malfoy Manor. Hermione found herself briefly in awe of the stupid amount of excess dripping from every corner of the place, but quickly quashing that thought as counterproductive to the task at hand—to make Narcissa Malfoy like her. Hermione knew she shouldn't care about the uppity pure-blood queen's opinion of her, but goddammit she was in love with the woman's son so she wanted her approval.
Draco squeezed her hand. "You alright?"
Hermione nodded. "I'm good." Her eyes nearly shot out of her head at the sudden appearance of a house elf-clad in a silky, pretty pillowcase. "Master Draco and his Miss are here," she squeaked joyfully. "The Mistress will be pleased. She asks Whimsy to bring Master Draco and pretty Miss drinks. What would Master Draco and Miss like?"
Hermione corrected her slack-jawed countenance so as to not appear rude. It was house elves like this one that made it difficult for Hermione to convert even her closest friends to S.P.E.W. This starry-eyed house elf seemed so goddamned happy at the prospect of fetching her a drink that it pained her.
"I'll have a glass of the '89 Bordeaux, Whimsy, assuming we still have some lying about," Draco answered politely. He squeezed her hand again. "What would you like?"
Hermione had not the slightest clue what she wanted, other than maybe to run screaming out of this house before she had to face The Mother, so she replied simply, "The same, please."
Whimsy bowed deeply and disappeared with a pop.
Draco guided her over to the couch to have a seat while they waited for their wine. She didn't miss the slightly pained expression he wore as they passed a photograph of himself as a toddler, sandwiched in between younger and far happier versions of Lucius and Narcissa.
Hermione chased away that itchy little feeling of guilt she'd get every now and then when she thought about Lucius. She knew it was silly to blame herself. The man really had dug his own grave, with his pureblood mania and his blind acceptance of Voldemort's lunacy. Still, it didn't change the fact that he had been Draco's father. He never spoke about it and she never pushed him, but she knew that he punished himself for taking his own father's life.
"Hey," she said, rubbing his shoulder. "You okay?"
He nodded stoically. "Why wouldn't I be?"
Don't push him. He'll talk about it when he's ready.
It took Narcissa a long time after that day to forgive her son. Upon Lucius's death, Malfoy Manor technically belonged to Draco, but he refused to kick his mother out of the house, even if she wasn't speaking to him. Hermione realized coming back to Malfoy Manor wasn't easy for him either. It reminded him of the family he lost.
"It's alright to miss him, Draco."
He tensed slightly. A long moment of silence passed between them before Draco said in a voice much smaller than normal, "I know." He breathed deeply. "But the father I loved died a long time ago. Long before I…." He didn't finish his sentence.
Hermione bit her lip. "Do you ever think…maybe you regret—"
"—I'd do it again in a heartbeat, Hermione," he said with such conviction it startled her. "He wanted to kill you and that just wasn't going to happen. The price for your life was his, and I would have gladly paid it a thousand times over, do you understand?"
Hermione's breath grew shaky. She nodded as she fought the burning tears which threatened to spill. She tried not to blame herself for Draco's bouts of self-loathing because she knew it wasn't remotely her fault. But the truth was, Draco sold a part of his soul for her—a part he couldn't keep by sparing his father's life if it meant losing her. In the end, his love for her cost him his innocence. And that would always be the case.
Their intense shared moment was interrupted with the cheerful pop announcing Whimsy's arrival. "Whimsy found lots of bottles of the wine Master Draco likes. Whimsy hopes his pretty Miss will like it too," the sweet house elf said, passing Hermione a glass of black-red wine.
"Thank you," she said, accepting the glass.
"Will Master Draco be needing anything else?"
Draco shook his head. "Thank you very much, Whimsy."
Whimsy bowed again and disappeared with a pop.
Hermione flashed a smile at Draco. There was just something about a man in a suit being nice to house elves…
"What?" he asked.
"She likes you," she said with a smirk.
"Whimsy's been around since I was a boy. She's always taken good care of me."
"You're a good master," she said.
He rolled his eyes. "I will be your personal manservant for a full week if you refrain from mentioning S.P.E.W. or making any snide remarks regarding our ownership of house elves during tonight's dinner." Draco took a sip of his wine to hide the reluctant grin he was wearing which betrayed his appreciation of her approval.
Hermione opened her mouth to talk back when the doors to the room opened, and in walked a statuesque, elegant Narcissa Malfoy. "Draco, darling. Whimsy said you and Miss Granger had arrived. I hope I've not kept you waiting too long."
Draco stood and walked across the room to greet her with a kiss on the cheek. "Not at all, Mother." Hermione noticed how Narcissa hugged him—as though he could disappear at any moment. When they broke apart he motioned for Hermione to join them. "You remember Hermione, don't you," he said, curling an arm around her waist.
Narcissa smiled a close-lipped, polite smile and nodded her head once in Hermione's direction. "Of course. How could I forget? Though, I'm afraid this is our first proper introduction. How do you do Miss Granger?" Narcissa extended a perfectly manicured hand for Hermione to shake.
"Very well, Mrs. Malfoy. Thank you for having me in your lovely home." Hermione had to summon everything she had ever seen or read in books and movies containing "fancy people" to string together those two sentences. She suddenly felt like an utter rube when she compared herself to the impenetrably chic woman standing before her. She instinctively straightened her posture.
"But of course. It is an honor to meet you at last. Why don't we all sit down, and you and I can become better acquainted," Narcissa said, gesturing over to the couch where Draco and Hermione had been sitting earlier.
Draco put a soothing hand on the small of her back and winked at her. She felt herself blushing. Although they had been together since sixth year, she had never been able to master control over the blood vessels in her face when Draco made the effort to be extra charming towards her. It wasn't really fair. She stood no chance with him being all suave and cool and…just…overall looking the way he looked.
Conversation flowed, and Hermione found Narcissa to be strangely different than she imagined. It went beyond mere politeness. It was soon evident to Hermione that Narcissa Malfoy was going out of her way to make her feel at home, complimenting her dress and her "striking hair." At one point she made mention of the wine she and Draco were drinking and offered to send her back to school with a bottle if she liked. "Do you know much about wine, Miss Granger?"
"Please, call me Hermione. And no, I'm afraid I don't."
Narcissa smiled. "Hermione, then. And you must call me Narcissa. And don't trouble yourself now about your lack of exposure to wine. You'll soon learn."
Hermione inwardly cocked an eyebrow. What did she mean by that?
It wasn't the last time that evening Hermione got the impression that Narcissa wished to groom her for something. At one point she caught Narcissa examining both her and Draco, moving her head back and forth between the two of them before nodding her head with finality, as if she decided that they didn't look too hideous together after all. Not once that evening did the question of her parentage come up. It was all devastatingly civilized and Hermione didn't trust it for a second.
After the most perfectly prepared dinner Hermione had ever eaten, the three retired to the library for coffee. It was then that Hermione nearly lost her composure. She gulped, glancing around the room with saucer-like eyes, thinking that she had never seen anything more beautiful in her life than that library.
Draco stroked her back lovingly, smiling down on her with pride. "I thought you'd like this room," he whispered.
Narcissa assumed her Mona Lisa-esque smile. "Draco tells me you are very fond of reading, Hermione."
"Well, he would know, seeing as he used to make fun of me for it," Hermione said, her eyes immediately widening as she realized her demure, genteel demeanor had slipped. She was just so excited by the library, she let her guard down. Stupid, stupid Hermione!
Unexpectedly, Narcissa seemed to find her candor charming. She laughed prettily. "I do apologize for my son's ungentlemanly behavior toward you in the earlier years of your schooling, Hermione. Although, looking back, I must say that much of his attitude might have been motivated by admiration rather than antagonism."
How did she do that? Take a potentially awkward situation created by an undoubtedly awkward person and turn it into an opportunity to dazzle. Could that skill be taught? Where does one learn how to obtain that level of charm?
"I'm very pleased that you find our library to your liking, Hermione. I hope that you will find much use for it."
Dammit, Hermione liked her. Against all her instincts, she liked this woman. She looked at Draco who couldn't seem to stop smiling.
"Draco tells me that you are particularly fond of Hogwarts: A History. We happen to have a first edition of it somewhere in this library."
Hermione nearly threw up. "Do you really?"
Narcissa smiled. "Of course. I'll find it for you, and you can examine it yourself." She retired to the other end of the library to a case of books contained behind what appeared to be some sort of force field. Hermione supposed those must be the most rare and valuable books in the library.
Draco dropped a sweet kiss on her cheek. "She likes you," he whispered against her skin.
"You think so?" Hermione asked hopefully.
Draco nodded, smiling brightly. "I knew she would. The two of you have a lot in common."
Hermione doubted that. Though she'd concede that she liked the snooty woman more than she expected to, she didn't think that they were at all similar. "That's creepy of you," she said with a smirk.
Draco rolled his eyes. "Not like that, you bint," he said, pulling her closer and running his hands up her spine. "You're both fierce and loyal to those you love. You're both dead clever and unstoppable with a wand. And you're both women of substance."
"Sounds like you want to marry your mum," Hermione said teasingly.
Draco flushed. "No. Not my mum."
Hermione's heart stopped a beat, but she barely had time to register what he said before Narcissa arrived back on the scene levitating an obscenely large tome.
"See if you find this to your interest, Hermione," Narcissa said.
Draco looked at her with soft eyes as he guided her over to the book. Those butterflies in Hermione's stomach were going insane as he took her hand lovingly in his. There's no fucking way he meant that, is there?
Hermione couldn't even focus on the book, even if it was the book of her wet dreams. She and Draco kept exchanging shy glances and sweet, bashful smiles. When their fingers touched as they reached for a page at the same time, they each flushed hotly like virginal fourth years who hadn't yet mustered the courage to talk to one another.
Narcissa motioned over to a loveseat near the fireplace for them to sit while they had their coffee. She sat opposite them and stirred her coffee with a look of triumph gracing her otherwise glacial face. Draco fiddled with the collar on his shirt and excused himself to go to the loo.
His absence was heavily felt as Hermione was left alone with Narcissa. She smiled shyly at the older woman.
"I hope you find our home to your liking, Hermione. It is my wish, and Draco's as well, that you be comfortable here."
Hermione attempted to swallow, but found that her throat was devoid of moisture. She desperately brought her coffee to her mouth, nearly nagging on the hot liquid as it burned her esophagus on the way down.
"Are you quite alright, Hermione?" Narcissa asked.
"Yes, I'm fine," she said breathlessly. "And your home is certainly lovely, Narcissa. I'm sure I will be very comfortable here should you invite me again."
Narcissa looked at her curiously. "My dear, why would I need to invite you back? This will be your home soon as much as mine."
Unfortunately, Hermione had just taken a sip of coffee as Narcissa said that. She immediately erupted in a coughing fit, choking on her beverage as it ran down the wrong side of her throat.
"Hermione? Are you quite sure you're well?" Narcissa asked.
Hermione finally caught her breath. "I'm fine," she said, clutching her chest. "It's just that Draco and I aren't thinking of that yet."
Narcissa raised a cool blond eyebrow, reminding Hermione of her son. "But my dear, once the two of you are married, you will certainly want to move in here."
"Mother?" Draco arrived precisely in time to hear "once the two of you are married". All color drained from his face as he exchanged embarrassed glances with Hermione. "I…um…we haven't yet had that conversation, Mother."
Hermione felt she was about to pass out—or the very least that there was some elaborate joke between the Malfoys that she, the imposter, was not allowed in on.
"I assumed that the two of you were engaged by now, Draco. After all, it was months ago that I gave you my mother's ring for this girl, as you requested."
WHAAAT? No fucking way. No fucking way was any of this real.
Draco closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Did it escape your notice that she wasn't wearing said ring, Mother?"
Narcissa brushed off his cheek with regal obstinacy. "I assumed, Draco dear, that because it was a family heirloom, perhaps Hermione was uncomfortable wearing it in my presence, never having properly met me before this evening." She fixed Hermione with a (for her) warm little smile. "I do hope I've made it clear, my dear, that you need have no such apprehensions regarding my approval of your induction into our family."
Draco looked like he wanted to sink into the floor. He swallowed loudly, his Adam's apple bobbing up and down as he looked at Hermione. "Can we…um…could we have a moment, Mother?"
She nodded her head once, apparently completely non-repentant that she had said anything wrong, and left the two alone in the library.
Draco screwed his eyes shut and walked over to Hermione on the loveseat. They sat that way a long time before either said anything, although Draco had many false starts. He'd open his mouth to say something before decidedly closing it and looking away.
He finally cleared his throat. "I think it's pretty obvious that I'm out-of-this-world, crazy in love with you, Hermione."
Hermione's eyes softened. "I know. I love you too." As if there was ever a question about that.
Draco took her hands in his, stroking the soft skin and paying particular attention to the ring finger of her left hand. "I feel that I should speak my mind to you."
Hermione couldn't resist smirking at his revival of their game. "I feel you should too."
He sighed. "I feel like I don't know what to do with myself. I don't know what my future holds, or what I want to make of it. But I feel…I know that the only thing I absolutely want is for you to be in that future."
Hermione couldn't believe she was hearing this. She thought back to her conversation earlier that evening with her best friend. Never in a million years would she expect Ginny to turn down a marriage proposal from Harry, or for Draco to propose to her before they had even graduated. And she especially would not have expected to feel an overwhelming tug on her heart as she heard Draco's words. Bloody hell, she wanted to hear these things.
But it was barmy, wasn't it? They were still in school. They were too young to be thinking about this.
Draco bit his lip and continued. "I feel that in this whole wide world, the only thing I really want is to be your husband." He reached into his jacket and pulled out a flashy, yet tasteful, obviously ancient diamond ring. "I've been carrying this around for months waiting for the right moment." He looked thoughtfully at the ring, still not quite able to look Hermione in the eye.
This wasn't right. It wasn't supposed to be her. It was always supposed to be Ginny and Harry who got engaged first. They'd get married, spit out a few brats, and maybe six or seven years down the road, she'd think about getting married herself. But certainly not at nineteen!
She licked her lips. "Draco, I…"
Oh, but she did love him. And it was a really, really big, insane, never-going-to-happen-twice-in-her-life, kind of love. She knew he was it for her. So maybe it wasn't that crazy to admit that forever was inevitable with him. So why not now?
And she didn't doubt for a second Draco's feelings for her. He loved her all the way through—the bad parts and all. It wasn't just a passing infatuation of youth. This was something they could build on to create a future worth having. This was the guy she could depend on to raise children with and grow old with. The guy who would do whatever necessary to help her achieve her goals in life and believe in her every step of the way.
Holy shit. She was considering this. Not only that. She was convinced more and more every second that it was actually a good idea.
Well, damn. Who knew?
He sighed. "I know you'd rather wait until we're older. I know you value your space which is why you won't even give me the bleeding password to get into your Common Room. And obviously, I don't want to pressure you. And we don't have to get married if you don't want to. I just want to be with you Hermione, and—"
Draco looked unblinking at her for several seconds, not having quite registered yet what she just said. "Okay, but just to be clear—"
"—Yes, I'll marry you."
Draco nodded once, still gaping at her like he didn't quite believe her. "Are you sure?"
Hermione frowned at him. "Are you chickening out now?"
His face broke out into the brightest smile she'd ever seen. He could have lit up the world with that smile. "You really want to do this?"
She returned his smile and nodded. He crashed his lips into hers and kissed her with a force that rendered her breathless.
When they broke apart, they didn't stray from one another's personal space. Draco stroked her cheek and gazed into her eyes as if she was the only person in the world. "I feel that in my entire life, I've never been happier than I am in this moment," he whispered.
Hermione's face spread into a slow grin. "I feel that this is absolutely barmy." She kissed him lightly on the lips. "But I've never been more certain of anything."
Thank you all so much for reading! If you enjoyed this, check out the third (and probably final) installment of the "High" series, "The Year Neville Broke Bad."
Love you all! - Amanda