Part 4 of 4: Valentine.

Hermione had entered her room alone and surprised at the mess, discovering a sleeping towhead in her bed. Papers fluttered through the slight breeze, yellowed curling parchments covering every part of her floor. Hermione walked closer to Malfoy's prone form, his white blonde locks plastered to his forehead, the covers kicked back.

She saw the envelope lying in plain view; her curiosity peaked at what Malfoy could possibly write to her. She ripped open the envelope from the end, feeling something thick and thin. She pulled out the letter and the photograph together, reading the letter first before looking at the picture. Hermione's lips thinned as she read each word, her eyes blinking rapidly, her breathing constricted. She tried so hard not to cry, but when she looked at the picture, she couldn't help the tears that escaped.

Draco's head raised, and while he stared with his gray eyes at Hermione, she stepped on the pieces of her journal (I'll make him pay later) and laid down next to him. He kissed her lips, while her tears made his cheeks wet. They whispered for forgiveness to each other; they placed their lips on each other's bare skin, absorbing the heat, the pain.

They made love to each other, side by side, eyes locked.

So it had been the way it had been before. But as much contentment, as much happiness they seemed to be filled with, it didn't seem to ever be enough: the silent nods of agreement or raised eyebrows or secret touches. His taunts were still as rude as ever, though Hermione had learned (and relearned) to ignore his catcalls, his references to dirty blood. On many occasions, she still brought out her wand, and a ghost of a smirk appeared on her lips, reminiscent of his, almost joking as if to say: if only they knew.

But in the privacy of their bedroom, they stayed close, as if trying to alleviate the time they had wasted. Their touches still incited a heat of passion coiling inside of them, and even while they spoke, they were always close – whether it be physically or emotionally. They were beginning to show tenderness that they did not want to acknowledge. They did not want to believe that their feelings were deeper than they had at first imagined them to be.

Graduation day was looming closer.

As per custom, the Head Boy and Girl were to concoct a speech for their fellow graduating peers. This year, the seventh years would stay a day later than the rest of the Hogwarts' body, preparing to don themselves their House colors for the last time. Some nights Hermione and Draco would sit huddled next to each other or across each other, testing certain phrases for the speeches. They even challenged each other's writing abilities, laughing and poking fun.

He would waggle his eyebrows at her unintentional innuendoes while she would be crying from mirth and clutching her sides as he purposely spoke his speech with sexual references. And she would squeal when he picked her up or leaned over her on their couch, his pelvis in between her legs. They had spent most of their nights together: on the floor, on the couch, in his bed, in her bed…

Finally, the day before graduation had arrived. Hermione and Draco promised to each other that they would spend their last night together in the confines of their room. They just had to figure out a way to get out of their own House's parties.

They were both in precarious situations – Gryffindor's Golden Trio was expected to stay together, to provide hope and assurance to the side of the Light. The House of Slytherin, contrary to popular belief, would have to do the same. Malfoy would allow them their five minutes of pleasure as children before they were let free to make their choice to be a soldier for their Side.

Hermione's back was pressed against the portrait of their Common Room, Draco's left hand buried in her hair, his right circled around her waist to bring her closer. Both of Hermione's legs were wrapped around Draco's waist, her heels pressing him harder against her. She was panting against his ear while his lips were on her neck. Her breasts were pressed against his chest, and Draco knew that it would take some time before he would be able to walk normally to the Slytherin dungeons.

"Draco, Draco, I really have to go! Harry and Ron would worry about me if I don't show up on time!" Hermione squealed, her body squirming against him.

"They'll worry about you if you don't show up fifteen minutes early." His reply was muffled against her hair and both of his hands settled on her hips. Wrenching his face away from her curls, "The more you do that, the more that I'm not going to allow you to leave."

"Oh, now I need your permission?" Right on cue, Hermione's temper flared, and she stopped wriggling, pushing him away so that she could see his face. Her brow was furrowed, and she looked ready to swing into a full tirade before Draco dropped her and swooped down and caught her lips in a kiss.

"Just kidding, sweet," he grinned at her before swatting her lightly on the bum. "Go on, go on, we wouldn't want your precious friends to hurt themselves so soon."

Hermione had turned before he had finished speaking and she was almost out the portrait. When he finished, she glanced over her shoulder with an indecipherable look clouding her face. Another second and her brown hair disappeared from sight.

Draco let the portrait close shut and waited for five minutes before languidly heading down toward the dungeons.

Gryffindor Tower cheered loudly when they saw Hermione peek into the Common Room. She smiled but broke into a real grin when she saw Harry and Ron, standing in the center, waiting for her to complete their trio. When she ran to them, knocking them over (there already was a faint stench of vodka on the boys), they hugged each other fiercely. Bringing themselves to their feet, Harry and Ron both kissed her cheeks, and turning around to the circle of people, Hermione cleared her throat.

"As Head Girl and fellow classmate – "

A couple of people laughed while Ron hugged her waist fiercely, "Aww, Hermione, I don't think we need a speech…"

"Oh, hush up, Ron!" More laughs and Hermione and Ron beamed at the crowd before Hermione began to speak again, "As I was saying before, as Head Girl and fellow classmate, all I have to say is that I wish us all the best of luck in our lives." Cheers erupted, but she raised her hand along with her voice, "And I have so much faith in everyone that I know we will all make the right decision. And now, let the party begin!"

Several hands that were holding cups were thrust into her face, and she grabbed two of them and drank. The party ensued, and she spent the rest of her time at the party laughing and smiling and holding and memorizing.

In the Slytherin common room, it was not much different, except Malfoy did not prepare a speech. He entered the room, people fell silent, and when he was given a cup, he took a sip, and raised it to the crowd: "This is what we have been waiting for, since we were born. We made it. Cheers."

His drink was downed in no time, and time flew.

Hours had passed when Malfoy stumbled into the Head Room, slicking his hair back, a lopsided grin on his face. Hermione was already waiting, he noticed, and he strode over to her prone form on the couch and scooped her into his arms.

He decided to bring her into his room and she snuggled against his chest, her eyes opening and glittering.

"Your room was always too hot for my liking, anyway," he sat her down on the bed watching her and he began to take off his clothes.

She copied his movements, and soon they were both naked. He held her hands, bringing one to press flat against his heartbeat. Hermione felt his heart thumping madly and knew that hers was the same, and she brought his hand up to hers to feel it, as well. His hand slipped down to caress her breast, his fingers rolling her nipple into a hard nub, and he bent his head to suckle. She leaned her head back, lowering herself flat on her back. She snaked an arm around his neck, bringing him down for a kiss.

"Don't go slow," she whispered. She bit her lip, her eyes searching into his.

He nodded.

They felt their hips against their own, pushing into each other. He grabbed her thighs tightly while he was on top of her, her nails digging half-moons into his back. He lifted her up so that she was partially sitting on top of him, riding him, his fingers splayed against the curve of her spine. Hermione leaned her forehead against his, brushing white strands away, and she clutched him fiercely as she moved fluidly on him. He closed his eyes, biting his bottom lip as he spilled his seed inside her.

He murmured against her temple, falling to his side.

When they spoke, their words held a hazed quality to them.

"What if we don't see each other again, Draco?"

"Must you always bring up depressing things after experiencing probably the most amazing sex you will ever have?"

Her fingers that were drawing lazy circles slapped his pectoral. "Must you always be such a prat?"

Draco laughed at her, "You know that's one of the things that you find most charming of me."

She chuckled into his chest, kissing him lightly. He turned serious, his eyes staring above her head. "I'd rather not think about tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, so on and so forth. Just…" His hand reached up to hook her curls around his fingers. "Love's alive right now, in this room, just you and me. This may – " and he dared not say what they both wished against, "It may be fleeting, but tonight, tonight is ours."

Hermione sucked in her breath, deeply before exhaling slowly. "Tonight is ours," she repeated. Draco draped his arm over her, bringing her closer to him, their bodies rising and falling in perfect synchrony. "Tonight," she kissed him, her head leaning against his shoulder, "I'm still by your side.

"You might have to leave but not tonight."

Draco grabbed his sheet and threw it on top of them, covering their bodies.

"For seven years I have walked through the Great Hall, regarding Hogwarts as my second home. For seven years, I have sat with my peers, regarding them as my second family. And as we have all grown older, we will be under our own jurisdiction, and the time will come for us to make our own decisions, the guidance from others rare. It is time for us to embrace what we believe in, what is rooted in our hearts. As long as we have the confidence to follow our dreams, nothing can stop us from achieving our goals…"

"Now is the time to show the world what we are capable of; now we can fully show the world our upbringing and education. As is the case, we are what we are, and we have choices that we must choose carefully…"

Their speeches were over and as Malfoy let the last word of his speech linger, the audience erupted in applause, his parents clapping and smiling faintly at him. Hermione was staring over at her own parents, wiping their tears and beaming. It was customary for the Head Boy to escort the Head Girl down the stairs, and her hand was rather stiff as he held onto her fingers, approaching their parents.

As the Headmaster announced their feast to be over, students were milling around, talking to their parents or running to the rooms to say goodbye for once and for all to their beloved school.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione stood in the center, watching Malfoy, Parkinson, Zabini, Crabbe, Goyle, and Nott approach them. Soon, Neville and Seamus were by the trio's side.

"Today is the last day we can spend in this…haven," Malfoy's lip curled at his last word, everyone's faces set in grim determination.

"Actually, Malfoy, today is the last day someone will save your hide," Ron quipped, moving slightly forward. Their hands were jammed into their pockets, clutching their wands.

"I don't need anyone to save me, Weasley, unlike you," Malfoy glanced at Harry and let his eyes remain on Hermione before flicking back to Ron. Ron's ears flamed, but no one else said a word.

"Is there any other reason for you annoying us with your presence?" Harry spoke with a tired voice, his words low that the people standing across from him had to strain to hear.

Malfoy pushed his shoulders back, his back straight. He extended his hand. "This will most likely be the last time that I will ever be this close to you, Potter. And I expect you to fight without holding anything back."

Harry stared at Malfoy's hand, studying it. Malfoy clenched his teeth until Harry grabbed on and shook. "I never will, and I never did."

Hermione looked at Malfoy, her gaze cool and unemotional. "Time to run back to your Father, Malfoy. I can see him beckoning." She grabbed Harry and Ron's arms, and Malfoy and his crew turned as well, their backs to each other.

Malfoy and Hermione saw each other one last time before they said their goodbyes. He grabbed her face roughly, snogging her as if there was nothing else that mattered in the world.

She was crying, and Draco knew that nothing he did would comfort her. He couldn't even comfort himself. So he let her cry, and he felt himself crying, his eyelids scrunched tightly shut so that she wouldn't see. Another kiss, and he pulled back, trying to swallow the lodge in his throat. Hermione didn't even bother trying to hide it. She clung to him, sobbing onto his shoulder, her arms wrapped around his neck. He held her tightly, if only for a few more seconds, before disentangling from her grip.

Draco rubbed her arms soothingly and planted a kiss on the crown of her head. "Hermione, there isn't anything that I can give you to make you remember that what we had…have between us was…for lack of a better word, real. I have no ring for you, no necklace, nothing for you to remember me by. Hopefully this is enough, hopefully…" He trailed off, not knowing what else to say. He kissed her lightly, before letting her stare at his retreating back.

That was the last time they saw each other for Lord knows how long.

To them it was years, it was a millennia before they saw each other. Really, it was only a matter of months, but Hermione had stopped counting the days. Malfoy never bothered counting, desperate to save himself.

When they finally saw each other again, they were stumbling across a field of dead bodies. Hermione was bent over, trying to keep someone alive before she felt someone's wand tip pressed against her temple. She bit her lip and closed her eyes. She dared not move.

"Get up," someone whispered harshly. She slowly rose to her feet, her side partially visible. "Face me." She faced him, her eyes trying to look defiantly into the hooded figure. There was a slight stiffening from the person who was holding the wand.

"Hermione Granger."

Hermione knew that voice, knew that voice from childhood, from her dreams. She felt a rush of blood surging against her ears. "Draco Malfoy."

"It's been a long time," he had dropped his wand and lowered his hood. His hair shone like a beacon, and he stepped back five paces.

Hermione stepped back another five paces, her head held high. "Yes. It's been very long." She stuck her hand into her pocket, bringing out her own wand. He did nothing when she pointed it straight at him.

He smiled ruefully, and Hermione's vision became slightly blurry when she began to tear.

"At least we weren't alone."

"We still have each other."

Hermione's arm shook and she wanted to put it down, but he urged her to keep it up. Just two simple words and they wouldn't have to fight anymore. They wouldn't have to…

They stared straight into each other's eyes, wanting nothing more than to see if they still knew each other exactly as they had when they were sharing a school, when they were sharing a room, when their lives were so intimately connected.

"When I count to three.

"One…

"Two…

"Three…"

They both breathed deeply before green light flashed from the tips of their wands.

Finished 7:03pm, July 17, 2005.

Edited November 22, 2005.

Excerpts from Various Notes Strewn Around the Bedroom has currently been nominated during Round 4 at Dangerous Liaisons( www dot impervius dot org slash dangerous slash awards slash )for the "I Never Really Loved You Anyway" Award (Best Drama/Angst) and "Why Didn't I Think of That" Award (Most Original Plot).

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