Chapter Fifteen:

(A/N. I know this is short and I apologize. Some questions you probably have been asking yourselves will be answered in the next chapter. Also, the appearance of Cassandra. Who I know some people have been asking for. If you guys have any requests (like say the appearance of an old character or whatever) feel free to ask. I'll definitely take it under consideration. Anyway, please keep up the reviews! )

As they walked through the gardens hand in hand, Draco suddenly turned to Hermione and stilled her.

"Would you mind hanging out here a bit? I need to go talk to your parents," Draco said softly. Hermione smiled and lay a hand on his cheek with a nod. He pulled her close and kissed her before braking away and moving back towards the house. Stepping inside he glanced around and saw Mr. Granger mixing something in a pot on the stove while Mrs. Granger set the table. As he walked in they both looked up and smiled at him.

"Hello, is there something we can help you with?" Mrs. Granger asked. Draco nodded and moved forward.

"Yes, a moment of your time, please." They shot glances at each other but both stopped what they were doing and sat at the table. Taking the empty seat offered to him he took a deep breath.

"I know that for most of Hermione's years at Hogwarts I was the meanest person to her and the cause of a lot of grief. However, this past year she has come to mean more to me than anyone in this world. She is my life, my joy, and my reason for living. In the wizarding world we come of age at 17, which I know may seem young. I know you heard at Graduation but I wanted to tell you myself. I have asked Hermione to marry me and she has agreed. This wedding won't take place, however, unless I get your blessings because I know it means so much to Hermione." A short silence filled the room as Hermione's parents looked at each other. There was surprise on their faces as well as a hint of nostalgia. Mrs. Granger turned back to Draco and picked up his hand which had been resting on the table.

"Last summer, I saw the way my daughter looked at you and it terrified me. Hermione is our only child, and it pains me to see her so grown up. You are a good man, Draco, I know you love her just as much as she loves you. I'm glad that she has found someone like you," she glanced back at her husband, "You have our blessings, Draco. Thank you for asking for it." He felt his heart swell and he stood up and embraced her. She seemed surprised but then she seemed pleased. After a few more smiles he left Hermione's parents and went to find Hermione. She was sitting on a bench watching the stars and he sat beside her. His smile faded as he saw the worried look on her face.

"Draco, I feel like I'm in a perfect garden when I'm with you. Every second I spend with you I feel like I'm sitting in the sunlight of a garden of my own making, and I can only smile. But I feel like there are hungry shadows all around. Ready to gnaw at my perfect dreamland and destroy it…Happiness is such a fickle thing…" Hermione stood up and then turned to Draco fiercely. "Tell me I'm crazy. Tell me I'm wrong!" she cried and Draco stood up quickly and came to embrace his beautiful angel. He kissed her forehead tenderly as she sobbed quietly into his arms. These things cannot be denied for long, Draco thought and he wondered when the darkness would fall on them and if they would be strong enough to survive it. Oh but the garden was tempting. He would hold on to the image of happiness and perfection just a little while longer.

"Your parents agreed to let me take your hand in marriage, Hermione," he whispered in her ear and had the pleasure of watching the sadness melt back as joy seeped into her features.

"Oh Draco!" she sighed and hugged him close. He pulled her away and kissed her roughly wishing he could banish all their troubles with this kiss. She replied eagerly, tossing her arms around his neck and pressing her body against his.

"Draco! Hermione!" Mrs. Granger's voice cut off their passionate moment and they separated reluctantly. Draco gave Hermione a wry smile and took her hand to lead her back inside. Just before they entered the circle of light that the lights from inside cast, Hermione stopped and looked back into the darkness of the night. Draco wrapped his arm around her and ushered her into the light.