Everyone wants to know why I love you. Even you, as we lay beside each other tonight, after I pour myself into coming up with the words that will make you mine, you still want to know. You want to know how I came to love you, after hating you for all those years. I still can't put it into words. I still don't know if I do.

Since the first year, when I first saw you, with your bush of brown hair and too-large teeth, I hated you. I hated that a Muggle-born was besting me in everything, despite the fact that I had always been taught blood was the most important thing in life. I hated that you were blissfully ignorant of most of the death glares I shot at you. I hated that you got under my skin, yet I couldn't seem to penetrate yours.

In the second year, when you inferred I had bought my way onto the Slytherin Quidditch team, and I called you a Mudblood, you took it straight to the heart. I hated that. I hated that I finally seemed to have as much an effect on you as you had on me, but unlike me, you made no effort to hide it. Everyone, including you, was too dense to see the other reason I hated you. I hated that I stopped caring that you were a Gryffindor Muggle-born, sidekick to Saint Potter. I stop caring what you were, started wanting to know who you were, and I hated this.

Third year came, and I hated you even more. When I began to lose face in front of my friends, and I could have lost my title of Slytherin Prince, I made a few half-assed comments in front of the rest of them. I hated you because you had the nerve to hit me. I hated you even more because I respected you for having the gall to hit me. I hated you the most, though, because I actually liked the feel of your hand on my cheek. I hated you because you confused me. I hated you because I didn't know what else to do.

Fourth year, and I hated you still. The Yule Ball came, and the vision of loveliness that you were was the most frightening thing that I had ever been up against. I hated that. I hated that you made me see you as a woman, rather than anything else I had labeled you as. I hated you because you humiliated me, making all those comments about being a ferret. Most of all, I hated you because of Viktor Krum. I didn't even know why this bothered me, but it did.

Fifth year, and I started to realize what I was doing. I hated that. I hated that you had shown me my self of self-denial without even meaning to. Even more, though, I hated you because the lines were drawn that year. The damn lines were drawn, directly between you and me. The line was drawn, between the sidekick of Saint Potter in the Defense Association and the spawn of the Death Eater on the Inquisitorial Side. I hated you because you were light, and I was dark. I hated you most of all because I wanted to join your side, though I would not admit it.

Sixth year, and my father was gone. I hated you for that. I hated you and your friends for taking away the closest thing I ever had to a father. Underneath it all, however, I realized what I didn't want to realize. Underneath the façade, I wanted to have you, and I would give up anything and change everything to get you. A Malfoy always wants what they can't have, and I couldn't have you. I hated that.

Seventh year, and we were the Heads together. I hated that. I hated that I was in close quarters with you, taunted by your presence, but only allowed to look and not touch. I hated that you never realized what my veiled insults were – a mask. I hated you for being so naïve. I hated you because I realized that I not only wanted you, I had fallen in love with you. I had fallen and I had fallen hard. A Malfoy never falls. For that I hated you.

We were gone from Hogwarts, and I hated you still. I hated that you were gone, and that your memory haunted me. I hated that I was driven to pursue you. I hated every moment that I spent in your presence courting you, and I hated it because I loved it, because it was intoxicating, because I simply could not get enough of you. I hated that nothing was ever enough for me. I hated that I was finally driven to ask you to be mine, forever. I hated that I wanted you all for myself.

Now you lay beside me, on our wedding night, and you ask me why I love you. And I think. I think of all the years that I hated you, blinded by the emotions that overwhelmed every time you walked past, every time you smiled, every time you blushed.

I thought that I never loved you. I assumed that I simply hated you. I never realized that to hate, you have to care, and caring for you all these years made me feel for you what I feel today, this mixture of overpowering love and lingering hate that intoxicates me every moment of my life.

Is this really love? Was it really ever hate? Am I as good a judge of my own emotions as I always thought? Maybe I never truly hated you. Maybe I still don't love you. Maybe both emotions are one and the same. Maybe it's only desire. Maybe it's jealousy.

Then I look at you, and I smile.

"Because I couldn't have you, Hermione Malfoy. I love you because I shouldn't. I love you because it was forbidden."

You smiled back at me, and snuggled closer, and in that moment, I realized that it was true; that the most enticing love is that which is forbidden. I never hated you after all. I hated that I was forbidden from having you. I loved that I was forbidden from having you. And I knew that it didn't matter in the end. Because here you are, and I have you. And I love you.