By Leah

Chapter 15


As her eyes scanned the crowded room from her corner Pansy Parkinson couldn't help the smile that twisted across her glossed lips. By far, this had to be one of -if not the- greatest nights of her life.

Sure, everything had started off terribly enough with that shrew McGonagall harping at her about her choice in clothing for nearly a quarter of an hour. Then things continued to take a down hill tumble when she had to watch her fiance twirl Granger around the Great Hall twice with that condemnable expression akin to longing so plainly evident on his face. But, oh God, did the night redeem itself two hundred fold when -in a spectacular burst of stupidity that left her awestruck- Ronald Weasley actually had the gall to propose to Granger.

Not only just propose to her, but call the witch on stage and propose to her. Merlin, when that idiot decided to make a public fool of himself he pulled out all the stops.

From there the good times just continued to roll.

Granger, faced with a surprise proposal and all of the eyes of her soon-to-be graduating peers on her, said yes.

It was like Christmas all over again!

Of course the Hall erupted into applause, everyone apparently too wrapped up in the joyful idea of the moment to notice that the future Mrs. was turning a splendid shade of green. Everyone except for Pansy that is, who was giddy with glee as her eyes danced from Granger's terrified face to Draco's livid one. 'Well it's about damn time their little bubble was burst.'

Pansy was pulled out of her head for a moment when some moron without a self-preservation instinct started hollering for the happy couple to kiss.


Even from her distance Pansy could see the look of murder that flashed through Granger's eyes. That poor bloke had best pray she hadn't been able to spot him in the crowd.

Pansy's eyes darted to Draco only to catch a glimpse of his back as he stormed from the Hall. In her opinion he couldn't have picked a better time, at least he was lucky enough not to have to witness that sloppy and (even Pansy had to wince) slobbery excuse for a kiss that Weasley smashed onto unsuspecting Granger's mouth.

God, it was all just too good to be true, and the icing on the cake: she didn't have to lift a finger for this to come about. Weasley went out of his way to solve all of her problems for her! Godness, she'd have to send the dummy a thank you package.

The kiss lasted for less than five seconds before McGonagall swooped in to admonish the display in front of faculty and students. Granger looked as if she was going to hug the woman and Pansy couldn't help but wonder how none of these people who were so close to her could miss all of the emotions that flit across her face plain as day announcing to the world that she was distressed and trapped.

Gryffindors really were dense as doors.

Weasley tugged her off the stage and Pansy began to push her way through the other students to get a little closer to the happy couple. She remained a few feet away from the group of congratulators that circled them, but close enough to see the look of shock that seemed to be stuck on Granger's pale face as she stared down listlessly at Weasley's arm that held her waist in a death grip.

The scene was almost pitiable... but far more amusing.

Before Weasley could pull his shell-shocked new bride to be out of the Hall with the rest of the crowd of well wishers the mini-Weasel, whose face was now a splendid shade that matched her hair almost perfectly, cut between them and if looks could kill the girl would have sent her brother six feet under in a heartbeat.

"Hermione is coming with me Ronald." Her voice was crisp and Pansy swore she heard that same tone come out of the girl's mother's mouth on more than one occasion. She held up a hand to stop whatever comment her brother was about to make and sent him a glare that would make the strongest of men flinch back from the diminutive girl.

She grabbed onto Granger's wrist and tugged her out of Weasley's hold and in a flash of red hair strode out of the Hall, pushing through the crowd with ease. Pansy could only smirk as she heard Granger mumble a thank you to the girl as they moved past her.

Her smirk widened to a grin as she spotted her long time lackey Millicent lingering over by a table of food. 'There's a shock.' With a roll of her eyes she made her way over to the female version of Goyle and tugged her out of the Hall. The night was still long from over.

More than anything Ginny wished she could disown Ronald. Right. Bloody. Now.

What a brainless... Merlin there wasn't a noun out there that did him justice!

There was no way she could have stayed in the same womb that he had once occupied.

She nearly growled as yet another set of idiots descended on she and Hermione to extend their congratulations. Were they bloody blind! Couldn't these people who had gone to school with Hermione for seven damn years see the girl was on the brink of a damn breakdown? They could take their congratulations and shove them so far-

"Ginny," she pulled herself out of her thoughts and looked to the girl whose wrist she still held in an iron grip, "Thanks."

They climbed a flight of stairs and she slowly loosened her grip on her arm. "Anytime." Her words were clipped and she was sure she looked the picture of anger but hopefully Hermione knew her rage was directed at her dimwitted brother and not her.

Ginny let out a soft puff of air and willed herself to calm down. "Ronald Bilius Weasley is a damn git of a man Hermione, none of this nonsense should have happened and if he had two bloody brain cells to rub together he would have realized that he could have done nothing more idiotic than that!" She threw her hands up and let out a sound somewhere between a groan and a growl. "I mean really, on stage! On the bloody stage! Does he even know the meaning of tact?"

Hermione couldn't help the small smile at Ginny's antics. "It's fine Ginny, what's done is done. I'm not blameless in this mess either."

Ginny rolled her eyes and let out a snort, "Well that much is undeniable. I believe I've earned the right to say "I told you so" a thousand times over." They turned down a deserted corridor, the Fat Lady's portrait just a few feet away. "But now we need to figure out how to fix this...unless you plan on-"

"Congratulations Granger!" A particularly high pitched voice all but screamed down the near empty hallway, cutting off whatever Ginny was about to say. Both girls turned to face the two Slytherins leering at them a few feet away.

Ginny's hand flew back to Hermione's wrist as she pulled her a step behind her all the while letting loose enough expletives to make a sailor blush. "There are an awful lot of other hallways in this castle Parkinson, can't you find somewhere else to graze?" She snapped, not giving Hermione the time to argue.

Pansy turned a cold glare to Ginny, "I was not speaking to you Weasley." Her glossed lip twitched at the corner. "The poor really do need to learn when to hold their tongues."

Ginny's eye's darkened dangerously and she surely would have lunged for the girl if Hermione had not held out an arm to bar her way, "What do you want Parkinson?"

Pansy's pink heels clicked loudly on the stone as she sauntered towards Hermione and Ginny, her lips spreading into a too-wide smile. "I just wanted to congratulate you on your engagement Granger. It's not everyday a girl gets proposed to by a man of such...low class. And still accepts!"

Ginny's face filled with a rush of red at the Slytherin's saccharine words, her hand instinctively darted to her wand. "And it's not everyday a Slytherin whore gets hexed into a coma." Her teeth were so tightly clenched it was a miracle the words were coherent. "So unless you really are a glutton for punishment, I suggest you ask your hound," she nodded to Millicent "to herd you back to your cage. Now."

Pansy shot Ginny a withering glare and let out a "hmph" before she turned on her pink heel. "I still have to get mine and Draco's wedding things, so hopefully we'll see each other at Madame Milkins." She called over her shoulder. "Though I doubt it, I don't believe they carry second hand items there." Her shrill laugh echoed through the stone halls and Hermione had to grab onto Ginny's arm to keep her from going after the girl.

"I promise you Hermione," Ginny mumbled, "no one would miss her."

"Leave them be Ginny, she's only doing this to make herself feel even better." Hermione let out a sigh, her first tear of the night slowly rolled down her cheek. "She got what she wanted, whatever her plan was, it worked."

Ginny scoffed before she pulled Hermione into a consoling hug, her eye's still trained on the shrinking backs of the two girls. "She only got Malfoy because my brother decided to throw sanity out the door, Hermione. Between her and Bulstrode there isn't enough brain power to light a candle, let alone think up a plan of any sort."

"Ron...are you- uh- are you sure that was a good idea?" Harry looked around nervously. He knew he was doing the right thing, after all he was a friend to both Ron and Hermione but Merlin, this was one Hell of an awkward subject to discuss.

"C'mon mate," Ron slapped his hand on Harry's shoulder jovially. "She said yes!" He nearly had to shout over the music in the Gryffindor Common Room. The fact that the soon to be bride was nowhere to be found was easily forgotten in the late night festivities, but Harry was sure he had seen Hermione and Ginny sneak through the portrait hole a few moments ago and head to the girls dormitories.

He let out a deep sigh and ran a hand through his already disheveled hair, Ginny definitely owed him for this. "You did put her on the spot a little Ron, don't you think you may have... forced her decision."

"I did not!" The red head cried out indignantly.

Harry couldn't help but look heaven ward before replying. "Ron, you pulled her onstage and proposed to her in front of our whole year, some underclassmen and teachers."

Ron gave his friend a look that clearly said he thought he was a little barmy. "It's called being romantic, Harry. I know Hermione, she loved it."

Harry knew this was a losing argument, after all he had seven years worth of experience with Ron's hard headed behavior. "Just ask her again, in private next time."

The boy chuckled but shrugged, "If it'll make you feel better Harry, I will." He sent Harry a grin so wide it made him almost feel bad for relaying his concerns. "But I guarantee the answer will be the same mate."

Harry couldn't help but sigh as he walked away, some times Ron simply amazed him.

"Well, this is just lovely." The crunch of heels on broken glass shattered the silence of the room. The portrait door creaked shut followed by a haughty sniff. "I hope these theatrics aren't for that mudblood, Draco." More glass crunched under Pansy's feet, the noise tracing her path towards him.

Draco practically growled as she advanced further. "Get out Parkinson."

His clipped words only amused her. "Come now Drakey," She cooed as she stepped around the debris that once was a bookcase. "She is just a little mudblood. Behavior such as this," she gestured to the remains of his room where nearly everything had been demolished save for the chair the brooding boy occupied, "is quite... unbecoming."

His eyes remained locked on her as she came to a stand in front of him. "Just imagine what Lucius would say were he here to see this." She tisked softly as she slowly made her way behind him, looking more and more like a snake watching her prey. "How sad." Her arms slid down his chest as she lowered her lips so close to his ear he could hear the smack of her lip-gloss each time her lips parted. "Something like this would surely shame the Malfoy name, hm?"

Her arms slid away and her feet began to crunch a trail to the remains of his bed. His gaze locked onto her as she strolled past him.

The harpy was testing her bounds tonight.

She let out another tisk and pulled out her wand before she puffed out a disappointed sigh. "Reparo." The shattered shards of wood joined and rebuilt themselves, goose-feathers flew across the room in flocks followed by torn sheets of satin and cotton.

"That's better." Pansy dusted a few left over feathers off the dark green comforter before she sat comfortably at the foot of the bed. Her eyes traveled to Draco, her laughing brown locked with his tumultuous gray. It was obvious that he was beyond furious, the air around him practically crackled with the intensity of his rage and she was well aware of the thin line she toed carelessly. The thought made her lips twitch up into a smirk.

She broke eye contact and dropped back onto his bed, her grin remained in place as she gazed at the green canopy. "I suppose I should be insulted." She heard the shuffle of fabric and crunch of glass as Draco stood but didn't bother to sit up.

"After-all, my future husband is infatuated with another woman." She continued, "But I still find it hard to find anything other than amusement from the situation when the other woman is a sodding mu-"

"Didn't I tell you to leave Parkinson?" The chilled words cutting her off.

Pansy sighed and propped herself up on her elbows. Her eyes rolled over Draco's tense frame standing less than a foot away. "Why, Draco?" Her voice dropped back to a patronizing coo. "I am your fiancee. Isn't it my job to comfort you in moments of need?" Her lips twitched up into a full smile unable to hide the laughter in her voice.

"Leave Parkinson." His words were clipped as he tried to reign in his rage. She sat up and feigned a pout.

"But Drakey-"

"LEAVE!" His arm whipped up from his side and gripped onto her forearm before he easily pulled her to her feet. His darkened eyes bore into her before he roughly shoved her back against the wall. She let out a squeak as the exposed flesh of her arms and legs were scratched by the small pieces of glass that still clung to the plaster.

One of his hands seized hers and pinned them to one side while his free hand slammed onto the wall to the right of her face, successfully trapping her. His face inches away, his livid gray eyes bore into her's with an insistence that left the girl speechless.

For the briefest of moments Pansy felt a tingle in her abdomen, the feeling of what could have only been described as fear. For the slightest of instances, she worried that maybe, just maybe, she had finally pushed the boy too far.

But only for an instance.

"Watch yourself Malfoy," She spat, her eyes flashed dangerously, "you don't know what I'm capable of."

His lip twitched up into an almost predatory smirk. "But you know exactly what I'm capable of."

She ignored the re-emergence of the panic in her stomach and snorted, "You wouldn't dare do a thing to me Draco." She fixed his with her best pretentious glare. "I've chosen to overlook your... involvement with Granger. However I don't think I can keep this transgression to myself any longer." Her lips curled into a lofty smile. "I wonder what your mother's reaction would be to such devastating news about her betrothed heir."

"Go ahead," His eyes challenged her, successfully removing the victorious look she held and replacing it with a confused one. "However, I doubt she would care too much from the grave."

Her jaw dropped and her eyes widened. "Liar!" She hissed.

He had to be lying, the news would have been all over the Wizarding world if someone as influential as Narcissa Malfoy had died. Surely, even if Draco had attempted to keep it a secret it would have leaked out somewhere. She told her self that there was no way, absolutely no way the woman wasn't still alive. But the unbroken look of pure vindictive pleasure on Malfoy's face even after her accusation, did little to quell the bubble of apprehension that formed in the pit of her stomach.

He sent her a flat look, "Oh yes Parkinson, that's exactly something I would lie about."

"I haven't heard so much as a rumor of this Malfoy. And you know full well that would have been in every newspaper from here to Australia!" She snarled and attempted to buck herself free of his hold, she needed to owl her mother immediately.

Draco easily held her to the wall and pushed his body more firmly against hers. "Now dear," He drawled in a near loving coo, "You gravely underestimate the silence money can buy. Allow me be the first to tell you, Narcissa Malfoy is dead." He fixed her with a frigid glare. "And with her death, our contract is voided."

Pansy sputtered out a jumbled unintelligible retort. Her heart beat so furiously she was sure it was trying to release itself from the confines of her chest.

"I'm afraid I didn't catch that, darling." Draco's words were laced with a malicious laughter. It had taken much too long for the girl to receive retribution for her everything she had done, so he fully intended on enjoying every second of her misery.

"Release me." She ground out.

His lips twitched into a smile at the emergence of her composure. "But I thought you were planning on comforting me in my time of need, Pansy." He released her hands with a shove and pushed himself off of her. "You can't just leave your ex-fiancee like this."

A crack echoed off the walls as her hand connected with the side of his face. Her hit barely had enough force to turn his head, but still his eyes flashed with bubbling rage. "You still lose Draco." She brushed past him, ignoring the undiluted fury that rolled off of him. "You know as well as I do she's still going to marry Weasley. She will stand by a promise to the end, it's just her nature."

Her heels crunched a path to the portrait door. "In the end you're still going to be alone and bitter while she has a family to love and care for. So don't think for a second that you've won anything but more loneliness." She pulled open the door.

"Pansy," His voice cut through the silence like a knife. "Tell yourself whatever you want, but if I ever see you anywhere near her I assure you I can and will make you regret it."

Her heels crunched and the door closed with a slam.

"I swear, you look fine." Lavender sighed and slapped away Hermione's hand as she went to fidget with her scarlet graduation robes for the umpteenth time that morning. "Besides the ceremony is in 20 minutes. This is as good as you're going to get under that time limit."

Hermione sent her former dorm mate a flat look in the mirror. "Thanks Lavender, I appreciate it."

The girl failed to notice the sarcasm and continued on with a wave of the hand. "I'm sure if we don't get down there soon McGonagall is going to have a cow. And I don't want to be on her bad side today. I heard she gets very emotional at graduation. This girl who graduated our fourth yea-"

"You can go down without me." Hermione interrupted, the girl was a gossip to the end. "I'll only be a minute."

Lavender sent her a dubious look. "Fine, but if the old bag gets mad, don't count on me for help." She huffed and headed for the exit to the Gryffindor Girls dorm.

"Duly noted." Hermione muttered.

"Oh, and Hermione," Lavender paused at the door, one foot already crossed the threshold. "I know we haven't been close, and we've had our...differences in the past," Hermione could practically hear her chewing on her lip nervously, "But I still...well... good luck, you know...with Ron and everything." The door clicked shut before Hermione could respond.

She appreciated the sentiment, but she didn't need to focus on the events of last night nor did she plan on doing so at all today. The frantic preparations for Graduation had enabled her to temporarily forget everything that went on between herself, Ron and Draco, but of course Lavender's words brought back the memories she had spent all day suppressing.

God, she had sex with him! And then agreed to marry Ron not even a day later. She was sure she was in the running for Slag of the Year award.

Yet what had bothered her the most wasn't the fact that she had cheated on Ron, the boy who she had dreamed about marrying for years, it was the look on Draco's face when she said "yes." She wished he would have just come out and yelled, screamed, thrown a typical Malfoy tantrum right there in the Hall. Anything would have been better than that look of complete betrayal in his eyes.

Her feet nearly carried her off the stage to him, but the rest of her body was frozen in place. Then he was gone, and she was left to spend the night sobbing into Ginny's shoulder. It hadn't been until the early hours of the morning that she finally found rest.

She shook her head to bring herself back to reality. There was no point in doting on the past, if there had ever been a time when she could have had a future with Malfoy it had long since past.

She had made her commitment and so had he. She was going to get married to Ron, and he to Pansy.

What they had last night was a sweet dream but it wasn't something that could survive in the light of day; there was just too much holding them apart and she had come to realize that. Surely so had he.

She let out a small sigh and gave herself one last once over in the mirror. "It's finally time."

"What!" Draco wrenched open the entrance to the Head's dorm and sent an angry glower to the green robed boy on the other side.

Zabini smirked devilishly and dropped his still raised fist. "Happy Graduation, Malfoy!" He practically yelled as his other hand lifted a bottle of Firewhiskey to Draco's scowling face. "It's time for our last illegal drinks of adolescence my friend."

Blaise shoved past Draco's stiff form and invited himself into the Common Room purposefully ignoring the look of pure irritation the other boy's face. He really needed to work on mastering the use of other expressions besides scowling.

"Zabini," Draco slammed the door shut and rounded on the boy, "For future reference, when I do not answer the door on your first knock it in no way means that you should- or are welcomed to- stand outside for five minutes pounding down the damned frame until the portrait who inhabits it comes looking for me." He dropped down onto the chair across from the other boy. "I assure you I knew full well it was you out there and I was in fact choosing to ignore you."

Blaise lazily flicked his wand and conjured two glasses. "As chipper as usual I see."

"I assure you this sort of cheer is only reserved for your visits, Zabini."

"Your pleasantries overwhelm me." He filled the glasses with the whiskey and slid one to Draco. "We've only got twenty minutes before adulthood my friend, so stop the sulking and share a toast with your best mate."

"I'm afraid I don't see anyone matching that description nearby Zabini."

Blaise arched a dark brow. "That was quite weak Malfoy, I've come to expect a certain level of asshole comments from you and I'm sad to say I'm somewhat disappointed. Does this decrease in your natural charm have anything to do with Granger and Weasley?"

Draco nearly growled at his friend. He was nowhere near in a mood to deal with Blaise and these pseudo-psychiatry sessions he was so fond of having. "I'm not going to sit here and discuss my feelings with you like a bloody ponce Zabini. So either you make the toast or get out."

Blaise shrugged and raised his glass, obviously Malfoy was in a foul mood and it was threatening the alcohol related joy he was feeling. 'Buzz-kill.' "A toast to you Draco, for finally liberating your testies from the clawed hold of Parkinson. May they hang freely for years to come." Blaise chuckled and downed the shot, ignoring the dark look on Draco's face.

"Tactful as always Zabini." Draco mumbled before he gulped the contents of the glass. "She told you then?"

Blaise scoffed, "She told anything unlucky enough to cross her path. She came bounding into the Common Room last night wailing so loud you would think something was after her, then she started raving to anything that moved about how you betrayed her with 'that big haired mudblood whore!.' I'm sure by now even Snape knows the sordid details of your love life." He paused and gave Draco a sidelong glance before refilling their glasses. "Which begs the question, what are you planning on doing about the whole Granger situation?"

Draco sent him a particularly icy glare before grabbing the glass and downing it without preamble. "There's nothing to be done about the whole "Granger situation," as you put it. She has -on more than one occasion- made it clear that Weasley's feelings are much more important to her than any future with me. So she can stay with the weasel and spend the rest of her days in some homely hovel amassing an army of red haired dunderheads and enjoy her remaining years of misery for all I care."

"Well, it's good to see that you're handling this whole thing maturely." Blaise sent him a dry look and refilled his glass.

Draco leaned back into the couch and swallowed his whiskey. "Well, in a matter of hours none of this is going to be a problem. I got a letter from one of the board members this morning, there have been quite a bit of funds leaking from one of the overseas branches of the company. Dumbledor's going to have a floo channel opened for me after graduation."

Blaise let out a low whistle. "And they expect you to take care of it? I always thought there was some sort of training that went along with these things, or do they just hand over billion galleon businesses now-a-days?"

"Since I was old enough to walk my father has been training me to take over the company in the event of his untimely demise. It's a Malfoy tradition to have the heir prepared to take over as early as possible." Draco sent him a smug look, "So while you're in University wasting time for the next 4 years, I'll be running my own business."

"Oh yes, work... such a terrible thing to hold over my head, Malfoy. How I envy you." He let out a melodramatic sigh. "But I'm sure even you can find some poor deluded girl over there who can deal with a basketcase such as yourself."

Draco scoffed. "I'm not trying to find another stupid bird to tie myself to Zabini, I just got rid of Pansy."

"Come now Drake, the only way to get over one witch is to find another." He sent his friend a sly smirk. "I'm sure there must be at least one smart little witch who can put up with your temper and that atrocity of a personality as well as Granger has. You've got the proper bait to lure them all in with, you're young, rich, handsome, well to do-"

"Zabini..." Draco's face scrunched into a disgusted sneer, "Are you flirting with me?"

Blaise sputtered and choked on a breath. "Malfoy, there is no way in this world or any other that you could ever hope to be good enough for me. So erase such thoughts from that shiny little head of yours."

Draco scoffed and poured himself another drink. "Delude yourself all you want Zabini, we all know that I'm out of your league."

"Well," Blaise flicked his wand and magicked Draco's glass into his hand before it could reach his lips. "This has been a thoroughly disturbing conversation and I do believe that you don't need any more liquor in your system. So I think it's best we join our fellow graduates downstairs." Blaise downed the stolen glass of liquor before pulling himself off the couch. "So when can we expect your return to jolly ol' England?"

Draco also got to his feet and flicked off a few piece of lint from his dark robes before making his way to the door with Blaise following suite. "I don't think I will be coming back." He didn't turn to see the falter in his friend's step as he made his way through the portrait door, nodding automatically to Kyara. "There's nothing to keep me in this rain soaked country, and the company's headquarters will be where the owner is, not the other way."

Blaise let out a slow sigh and shook his head. "Well, would you care for a travel companion?" He grinned in a half hearted way.

"Zabini, one of the perks of leaving this God awful nation is getting to leave you behind with it." Draco sent him one of his Slytherin smirks over his shoulder. "But, I do have a favor to ask..." He stopped at the head of the stairs before the grand wooden doors leading to the grounds where the ceremony was to be held, already they could hear the hum of conversation from outside.

The Italian came to a stop besides his long time friend, "I am not surprised."

Draco pulled his pale hand out of his pant pocket and held out a silver trinket for Blaise. "Make sure it returns to it's proper owner..." His voice wavered with unease. "Please."

Blaise looked down at the piece of jewelry and let out another sigh, "Of course."

Draco's eyes rolled heavenward for the umpteenth time as McGonagall continued her seemingly endless speech about only Merlin knew what.

All of the other professors had managed to make their speeches short and somewhat bearable. For Merlin's sake, even the oaf Hagrid managed to cough out some garbled form of a farewell behind his wild man beard and through his pint sized tears in under five minutes and Dumbledor got out his congratulations and good luck's out in a stunning three minutes.

But this woman-! God, centuries had passed.

She really should take a lesson from Snape- bless his icy heart- he knew proper speech procedure for these things.

Eleven words: "Somehow you lot managed to scrape by, I congratulate your mediocrity." Truly brilliant man.

Draco was pulled from his wandering thoughts by the roar of applause, his eyes automatically jumped to the stage where it appeared McGonagall had finally (Finally!) stepped down. He even felt the sudden urge to applaud but the urge died quickly when he saw Granger attempting to wobble her way to the podium to deliver her Head Girl speech.

Seriously, was there no justice in the world? Exactly who was the brilliant fellow who decided the order of speeches for this thing? Was he unaware of the plague of narcolepsy that would surely ensue from having McGonagall and Granger speak back to back.

God, the girl couldn't give a one word answer to a yes or no question if the life of her so called cat hung in the balance.

Draco was practically livid that some loon had deemed this a good idea. 'Probably Dumbledor acting on one of his more sadistic whims.' Then again, the sudden surge of fury could have had something to do with the fact that not even a full 24 hours ago he had engaged in some stellar sexual acts with the long winded girl only to have her accept the proposal of another ('completely inferior in every imaginable and conceivable way')man.

His focused on her every move as she reached the podium, nearly letting out a scoff when he took note of the ridiculously high heels that she teetered on so precariously. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the Weaselette had to have something to do with that. At least the rest of her had remained as unspectacular, mousy and bushy-haired as she normally appeared as opposed to the fiery little minx she turned into the previous night at the dance.

He couldn't help but be a little happy about that. As shallow as it may sound he knew if she were to.. "doll" herself up a bit the familiar feelings of anger he held towards her and her oaf boyfriend may give way to something more akin to that of jealousy and never would he allow himself to be jealous of Ronald Weasley. Anger, disgust and loathing, now those were feeling he would direct towards the other man in spades, but jealousy? He saved that for those few who were actually better than him.

Of course he had yet to encounter anyone who could accomplish such a feat.

She cleared her throat and he was pulled back to reality as she began her speech. "Good afternoon professors, Headmaster, parents and my fellow graduates." Her voice shook nervously and her couldn't help the undignified snort. The girl made it a point to spend seven years traipsing after Potter on a near daily basis to hunt dark wizards, battle maniacal geniuses and whatever other nonsense Gryffindors believed logical and this -a simple little speech- was what had her quaking in her ridiculous heels.

"Seven years ago, we entered this school as wide eyed first years, terrified and awed by the new experiences laid at our feet. Within these halls we grew as students, wizards and people. Here we conquered not only our fears or classroom trials, we conquered our doubt as well.

"For seven years, we had a break from normal, we had a daily dose of the extraordinary. We all took a step outside of the everyday and it was hard -we struggled- but today is proof of all those years of work, of hardship, of friendship and adventure. We came out at the end and even though we started separate; Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin we leave as one. The Hogwarts Graduating Class of '98. Congratulations guys, we've earned it."

'Damn Ginny and these bloody shoes!' Hermione let out a deep breath as she wobbled her way back to her front row seat among her fellow Gryffindors. Merlin, she was glad to be done with that speech, but more than anything she was ecstatic she managed to make her way from her seat to the stage and back again without tumbling onto her face in those God awful harlot heels she let Ginny talk her into.

"Confidence booster," she couldn't help but snort at the memory of the other girl's words as she held up the shoes earlier that morning. Yeah right, the only thing the shoes accomplished was make her less worried about embarrassing herself through the speech and more worried about embarrassing herself by falling on her bum. This and that bloody Halloween costume were just two more reasons why Ginny was never allowed in her wardrobe again.

She sighed softly and stamped down the urge to run her hand over her face, instead she turned her attention to the stage and out of her thoughts just in time to hear Malfoy greeting the staff and parents. She noted, with some envy, that the boy looked as impeccable and unshaken as ever, despite the events of the prior night. It was pretty damn annoying that he was always so bloody calm and confident. Even on graduation day he practically oozed irksome sureness.

Maybe she was a little jealous of his ability to weather nearly any storm of b.s. without a hair out of place while she had been a bundle of anxiety and nerves but she would be damned if she ever let him know as much.

"For hundreds of years Hogwarts has stood as both a school and home to thousands of adolescent witches and wizards. These walls have witnessed decades of change, lifetimes of memory and I'm proud to say that for seven years I was allowed to create many memories of my own within these walls as well."

Hermione nearly groaned aloud when he paused to send a wink to a group of Ravenclaw girls in the front row. 'Pig.'

"For seven years I was challenged to exceed expectations, we all were. For seven years we all struggled not only to define ourselves as capable witches and wizards but to define ourselves as people as well. Behind the safety of these walls we were allowed to stumble, fall and pull ourselves up, learning new lessons with each trip. The road to where we are now was hard for each of us and even though we've all received scars and bruises along the way, those only help to prove that we deserve this.

"We may be leaving this castle behind, but never leave behind the memories that shaped us and help us grow from bumbling first years to the people we are today. So congratulations."

'Dammit, even his speech was perfect too!'

The next day flew by in a teary blur of farewells and well wishes and before Hermione noticed she was already on her way back to London from Hogwarts for the final time.

It was almost eerie how silent the train compartment was as the three friends sat together on their last ride home. Ginny had stepped out to say goodbye to some girls in her year and Hermione found herself wishing for the girl to hurry back and provide some relief from the suffocating silence that allowed her mind to run wild.

Ron's hand was clasped around her's, his fingers playing aimlessly with her's. He had promised to get her a ring to fill the bare spot on her hand when they returned home, she had nodded and forced a smile. But now, staring down at their interlaced hands in the silence of the compartment, she couldn't help but allow her mind to focus on her impending nuptials.

She was going to be married.

And to Ronald Weasley.

It had been her dream to be in a relationship with him for years and in the past -when things were a lot simpler- maybe she had wished to marry him also. But now that she was staring a lifetime with him in the face, it felt so surreal. She kept believing that this was just like the beginning of every other summer, she would go home with her parents, visit Ron, Harry and Ginny at the Burrow, maybe see some of her few remaining muggle friends. But now, it was finally setting in that that wasn't true.

She had a wedding to plan -a future to plan- with Ron. He would be with her forever as more than just a friend or boyfriend. She would see him everyday, go to sleep with him each night and wake up next to him each morning. Their bond would have to grow deeper than that of friendship, he was to be her life long lover and companion. He was to be her husband.

God, the word never held so much weight before. It was almost suffocating. The more she thought, the thicker she felt the air she inhaled become. She looked to Harry who was staring sightlessly out the window lost in his own thoughts, then to Ron who seemed to be nodding off next to her. Finally, her eyes landed on their still connected hands, her bare ring finger peeking up at her.

It wasn't right. She knew it, she had known it.

It wasn't meant to be him. And maybe it wasn't meant to be Malfoy either but she had never allowed herself to give in completely and find out.

Her legs acted before her mind had fully put thought behind what she was doing. She was out of her seat, the jerk of her hand jarring Ron from his light slumber, she could feel Harry's eyes on her. She offered them no explanation before she was out the door and striding through the aisles of the train.

She would explain things to Ron later, apologize for being such a terrible person, stringing him along and even worse for cheating on him. She would think about the consequences of her actions another time, berate herself for her lack of judgment and beat herself up for doing this to those around her who cared for her. But right now logical thought be damned, she was running on raw emotion and her few remaining shreds of Gryffindor courage.

Her body was in control not her overly analytical mind and right now she was going to find Draco Malfoy.

She was nearly to the back of the train when a hand grabbed her wrist. "Hermione-" She didn't bother sparing Ginny a glance before she pulled her hand from her's.

"I don't have time right now Gin-"

Her eyes flashed with worry. "But-"

"I have to go." Hermione strode off without a backwards glance, she couldn't be distracted now lest she was given more time to think about the insane task before her.

She didn't have to travel much farther before she caught sight of a familiar face and without preamble she pushed open the compartment door, undaunted by the three surprised pairs of eyes that turned to her.

"Hermione!" The Italian boy smiled brightly and stood.

She faltered for a moment. "Er..Hello Zabini."

He shook his head and made a tutting noise. "Hermione, we're all adults now, you can call me Blaise."


"Now then," He slung an arm around her shoulders, ignoring the wide eyed stare she turned on him or the looks Crabbe and Goyle sent their way. "Since we are now full fledged adults and as such are not bound by that old Gryffindor, Slytherin rivalry can you please answer me this: just how close do you think that lovely little fiery red head friend of yours is with Potter."

She stamped down the urge to laugh and settled for a small grin. "Are you...drunk?"

"Unfortunately only slightly so, but I assure you I am trying my hardest to remedy that. Care for a shot?" He motioned into his previously occupied seat in the compartment where she could now see a near empty bottle of Firewhiskey peaking out from under his discarded robe.

She gaped at the boy for a moment before shaking her head. "Thanks but no thanks."

He shrugged lazily. "So... do you think I have a chance? With the little Weasley I mean."

Hermione scoffed. "Perhaps that of a snowball's in hell."

He made a tutting noise and feigned a look of hurt but she could see the mirth that remained in his eyes. "I had feared as much, but I am a persistent man." He sent her a wink. "Now to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?"

Hermione glanced behind him at the other occupants of the cabin before dropping her voice to a near whisper. "Do you know where Malfoy is? I've been through nearly the entire train an-" Blaise held up a hand to silence her and gently ushered her out of the compartment by her elbow, closing the door behind him on Crabbe and Goyle's curious eyes.

"Hermione," He let out a small puff of air, the joy fading from his eyes as a more compassionate look took them over. "Draco had to leave yesterday-"


"He had special arrangements made with Dumbledor." He continued. "He had to attend to some urgent business at one of his father's companies."

She nodded slowly, "So, he's already back in London? Can you give me his address, I need to speak with him about a very import-"

"Hermione, he's not in London." He had never been fond of doing someone else's dirty work and Blaise couldn't help but curse his long time friend at the moment. He took a deep breath and decided to just get it all out in one go. "The company is based in Russia...and he has no plans of returning."

"Oh." It was almost as if Blaise had delivered a blow straight to her gut when the words reached her ears, yet the only response she could possibly think of was "Oh." Her mind was reeling and that annoying suffocating feeling was coming back.

Russia. He moved to Russia?

"He left me this," Blaise's voice drew her back to reality. "I'm guessing it belongs to you." He riffled through his pants pocket for a moment before he pulled out a silver charm bracelet.

Draco's Christmas present.

She accepted it mutely, her mind not really taking note of what it was. "For what it's worth," Blaise began, his voice sounding as remorseful as she felt. "I really am sorry. I thought things would have worked out... differently." She offered him a weak smile that she was sure looked more like a grimace before she turned on her heel and strode back down the isle without a farewell.

She was too late. He was gone for good and she was left looking like a fool behind him.

She was too lost in her head to take note of her surroundings until a warm hand grasped her elbow and gently tugged her into an empty compartment.

"Hermione-" Ginny broke off, unsure of what to say exactly.

"He left..." Hermione stated as calmly as if Ginny had asked her the weather. "Merlin, I'm such a damn idiot." Her eyes remained locked onto the red carpeting of the compartment. "To- to think that Malfoy and I could-" Tears pricked the corners of her eyes but she blinked them away.

"I was trying to tell you before you went to look for him, but you wouldn't stop and-" Ginny shifted uncomfortably before her. "I'm just so sorry Hermione. I-I don't know what to say."

"It's not your fault Gin," She sent her friend a watery smile. "Can you just give me a minute though."

Ginny nodded and slid open the door. "I'll go get Crookshanks, we should be arriving soon." The door slid shut with a small bang and Hermione was left alone with her thoughts once more.

She glanced down at the bracelet that she still held firmly in her hand. There were two new charms added, a snowflake and a heart. They were probably what was in the box he had attempted to give her on Valentines day. The thought made her scoff. God, she was an idiot for thinking that maybe they could have worked out.

Maybe this was a sign. Not that she believed in that sort of nonsense, but it just seemed a bit too coincidental. She had always made it a point to think through all of her actions and they had all worked out in her favor. But with Malfoy she threw rational thought out the window and look where it got her, alone and trying desperately not to cry. It was bloody pathetic.

"There you are!" She jerked out of her reverie and turned to the opened door where Ron stood with a wide grin on his face, she had been too wrapped up in her thoughts of self-pity to even hear the door opening. "I've been looking everywhere for you. We're about to be back home." He took a seat across from her and closed the door behind him.


"Wait." He held up a hand to stop whatever she was about to say. "Harry sa- I was thinking maybe I didn't do this right the first time and maybe I kinda... put you on the spot." One hand reached up to brush through his bright red hair before he took both of her hands in his larger ones and leaned forward, his grin still in place.

"What are you-"

"I just want to make sure this gets done properly." He mumbled, cutting her off again. "We've been through a lot together Hermione and not everything has been fun or easy between us, but I know that you're the woman I'm meant to spend the rest of my life with. I love you Hermione Granger, so...will you marry me?"

Ginny's blue heels clicked loudly as she paced through the still kitchen of the Burrow. She wrung her hands nervously and glanced between the window and the enchanted grandfather clock, both of which assured her that all of her family and friends were safely home. So far it seemed everything was right on schedule and even from inside she could hear the loud din of conversation from the yard.

She temporarily stopped her pacing to steady her mounting nerves with a deep breath, her hands unconsciously wiping sweat onto her blue bridesmaid dress. She couldn't help but be happy that -as shocking as it may sound- Hermione had more fashion sense than Fleur... when it came to picking wedding colors at least. She let out her breath in a huff and resisted the urge to run her hand through her hair. The last thing she wanted was to have to get another touch up from her overly frustrated mother now.

"Ok," She gasped another quick breath and turned to face the forgotten woman in the kitchen.

"Are you calm now Ginny?" Hermione asked with no small bit of sarcasm. "I understand how stressful this can be for you."

Ginny sent her a half hearted glare, "Oh sod off Hermione, I'm not against a hex just because it's your wedding day."

Hermione scoffed, "Molly would be on you before you even had time to draw your wand." They shared a smile at the thought.

Silence reigned in the room once again and they both heard the echo of someone's laughter from outside. "It's almost time Hermione," Ginny's eyes glanced at her friend's hands that were currently clutching tightly to the sides of her pearl gown. "Are you sure about this?"

Hermione's lips twitched up into a small smile that crinkled the skin around her eyes. "More than anything."

Ginny's lips parted into a wide grin, "Alright then." her eyes darted from Hermione's hair to shoes in a quick once over. She looked positively radiant in the sleeveless gown and after all of the painstaking months spent searching for it she better have.

The young bride had definitely matured a lot in the three years since her graduation from Hogwarts. After finishing her second year of the healer training program at Saint Mungo's just four months ago, she finally deemed it time to call an end to her prolonged engagement with Ron.

"OK, " Ginny grabbed Hermione and pulled her into a tight hug, "I just had to do that." She muttered when they parted, her hands immediately flying to her eyes to wipe away the accumulation of moisture. "Now then, lets get this show started!"

"What?" The outraged bellow resounded through the empty halls of the Burrow, originating from Ron's fourth floor bedroom. "What do you mean?" Ron's heated blue eyed glare fixed itself on the younger girl standing in his doorway.

"I meant what I said Ronald." Ginny began, her temper also flaring up to match her brother's. "Hermione. Is. Gone." It took nearly all of her willpower to keep her voice even. "In other words: she is not present, missing, absent, alluding detection, away from here. Is that a good enough explanation for you Ronald?"

Ron's cheeks flushed crimson as he turned an accusing eye on his sister. "And you didn't know about it until now!"

Ginny's eye's flashed and in an instant she was standing mere centimeters away from her brother, unshaken by his towering height. "Is there something you're insinuating Ronald?" Her voice dropped to a near deadly calm.

Harry's eyes shifted nervously between the two siblings, this standoff proved to be the moment he had been waiting for to make his break out of the room. It had been apparent that his presence had been forgotten the moment of Ginny's announcement, the only problem had been getting past the girl and out the door without being pulled into the soon to be epic battle that would surely ensue. He had survived enough wars for his time and the last place he wanted to be was between two of the most short tempered people he knew.

Slowly he crept out of the room and made his way down to the main floor unnoticed, quietly thanking whatever powers that be that allowed him that one lucky occurrence in his life. He was near the kitchen door when he heard an echoed yell of expletives so imaginative they could only come from the mouth of his Ginny.

With a small shake of the head he opened the door to the tented backyard where the wedding was to be held in just a few minutes. He was positive Ginny could handle her own against Ron, unfortunately that left him with the task of breaking the news to everyone waiting anxiously for the happy day to begin.

Oh, joy.

Draco groaned loudly and pulled the black sheets over his head but it still wouldn't stop the incessant pounding on his front door. Seconds passed, then a minute, two... but still the visitor was steadfast in their dedication to drive him to the point of murder.

With a noise somewhere between a growl and a groan he threw off the sheets and glanced to his nightstand clock. "For the love of Merlin's underpants!" 3:30 pm. He swung his feet onto the cold wooden floor and stomped to the door of his newly purchased flat, clad only in a pair of blue pajama pants.

Was undisturbed rest really so much to ask for?

There were very few people who knew of his return to England, as it had been only 13 hours ago and only one who knew the location of his new place of residence. After over three years away from his homeland to undertake the very tedious task of finding out the cause of disappearing company funds and then a near twenty hour flight back to England, Draco really and truely did pity the foolish man who dared to come disturb him from his much needed slumber.

He wrenched open the door, angry scowl already in place. "Zabini, you had best be on fire to be inter-" ...Oh, hell.

He hated to be caught off guard.

"I see the Malfoy manners are still firmly intact after all these years, hm Draco?"

"Granger?" He was positive he looked like a bloody fool with his jaw wide enough to catch flies but at this point he was much too tired and confused to care. And to top it all off he was sure he felt the throbbing pains in his head that signaled a migraine in the near future.

She sent him a small unsure smile, "Um... may I come in?"

His head tilted in a jerk of a nod before he stepped aside to allow her entrance. His wide eyes drank in her image like a man dying of thirst. She looked so different than when last he saw her, surely the makeup and straightened hair had something to do with it but even her body language was different. S-he seemed so unsure and cautious; two very un-Granger qualities.

"Why are you here?" The words came out much ruder than intended but the time for niceties with this woman was long since past.

Either way she brushed off his crude question and instead scanned the entry way to the large flat with feigned nonchalance. "Well, I heard that you'd just returned... and I just wanted to welcome you back to London." She could have groaned at how pathetic that excuse sounded, even to her ears, but he seemed to accept it with a slight nod.

"Care for a drink Granger? I have a feeling liquor will be a necessity for this." He walked past her and further into the apartment, she wordlessly followed him into the large kitchen. "How did you even know I was here?"

"Ginny told me, I guess she and Blaise have kept in contact after all the years." Draco nodded and fished out a bottle of Firewhiskey and two small glasses from a cabinet.

Of course Zabini would have a hand in this, after-all it wasn't like the wanker had a job and life of his own to deal with. 'He's probably sitting at home right now having a good laugh about this one.' Draco handed the glass of auburn liquid to her.

They stood silently sipping their drinks, neither knowing what to say and both wracking their brains for some topic of conversation.

Draco cleared his throat, first to break the silence. "Well you look..." His brow furrowed in confusion as his eyes roamed over her frame slowly for the second time that day. "What in the hell are you wearing anyway Granger?"

Hermione closed her eyes and inhaled deeply to stop the scathing retort on her tongue, she was dimly aware of the throbbing sensation in her head that so often accompanied a conversation with the man before her. "It's called a wedding dress, you blind prat." Well, at least that was nicer than the other reply she had in mind. "Today happens to be my wedding day."

For a moment he swore he saw red as years of suppressed rage bubbled back to the forefront of his mind. "To the Weasel?" He practically choked on a laugh. "Well congratulations Granger. And I do preemptively wish your children the best of luck finding a way to dilute that genetic booby-trap you two have set them up for." He downed the last of his drink before he brushed past her, his shoulder bumping into her's with unnecessary roughness. "Now unless you're here to extend an invitation, I'm sure the brightest witch of our age can remember her way to the door."

Hermione was left standing in the empty kitchen with her glass clutched so tightly in her hand it was a wonder it didn't break. She attempted to calm down -took deep breaths and everything- Merlin help her she was trying her hardest not to turn and throttle the mood hopping ferret. 'Oh, but he makes it so very hard.' After-all murdering the little rodent would be counter-productive and she didn't come all this way to land herself in Azkaban.

"Malfoy-" She whipped around and followed the echo of his footfalls through the large flat. Dammit she had lost the man in an apartment, did everything have to be so bloody extravagant with him! "Would you wait up!"

"No!" The petulant shout came from a room down a corridor to her left. She rolled her eyes heavenward but followed the noise further into the unbelievably large flat.

She wandered past what appeared to be his bedroom, a bathroom, a den, some other miscellaneous room and still no Malfoy. With an exasperated sigh she pulled shut another door and turned to give up, for all she knew the cretin could have had hidden rooms built into the damn monster sized flat and she wasn't in the mood to wander around looking for him for days. 'Would it really be too much to ask for him to have somewhat of a normal sized flat? I need damned bread crumbs to find my way out of this maze.'

"Granger," She whirled around at her name to find the object of her search leaning casually against the frame of another room further down the hall. "I'm pretty sure I've already told you to get out of my home. In court this can count as trespassing." He arched a brow in that careless oh-so-Malfoy way that just made her blood boil every time she was on the receiving end of it.

She nearly scoffed and fought the urge to roll her eyes, like any court would take his word over hers. She stomped towards him, her heels clicking loudly on the polished wood. "Now see here Malfoy-"

"No, you see here Granger," He cut her off quickly, sensing the beginnings of one of those long winded, round about, high pitched rants she was so very fond of giving. "I am running on very very little sleep, I have not rested in a non-hotel bed in years. I well and truly do not care for or about your impending unholy matrimony to Potter's sidekick, nor do I desire an invitation to it. I am slowly but very, very surely getting a massive migrain -which by the way I one hundred percent accredit to your presence here- and the last, and I mean the very absolute last thing I want to hear right now is that shrill and rather harpy like wailing that comes out of your mouth whenever you are miffed at me." He paused for a breath and looked her over. Merlin, she was practically spitting mad. "So, if you insist on speaking with me, kindly keep it short and at a pitch that is not reserved solely for mandrakes. "

He almost wanted to pat himself on the back at the cleverness of his words, but he was no fool he knew that his little rant had just figuratively landed him in the den of a very angry lioness. Still he couldn't completely fight the smirk that tugged at his lips at the sight before him.

Hermione was practically burgundy with the ill-suppressed fury that glinted malevolently in her brown eyes. Her hands were planted firmly on her hips while her feet were spread shoulder width apart. All in all she had taken on that "severely pissed off woman" pose to a tee. He was sure that had her once bird's nest of hair not been gelled and, in all likelihood magicked into submission, it would have been poofed up and crackling with her rage.

Despite the fact that he too was smoldering with years of pent up jealous fury, Draco couldn't help but feel a small swelling of pride at the thought that he was possibly one of the only people who could invoke such a violent reaction out of the woman before him.

She inhaled deeply and he fought the urge to raise his arms in defense at the verbal onslaught that was brewing behind her closed lips. In retrospect maybe he had been a tad bit too loose with his tongue.

"Listen here you putrid little festering wart," Draco couldn't help but arch a brow, she had surely gotten a bit more imaginative with her insults in his absence. An influence of the Weaselette, he was sure, "I will say whatever I wish to say, whenever I wish to say it and at whatever tone I wish to say it at!" He winced slightly at the rise in her voice. Did the woman have no sympathy for his aching head? "And if that displeases you in any way, well that's just an added little bonus for me!

"Now I did not just travel all the way over here on my wedding day to listen to whatever asinine, moronic or just plain whiny things you may have to say, so kindly shut the bloody hell up and listen carefully." He opened his mouth just for the sake of being a prat, but the icy glare she shot his way made him quickly rethink his decision.

"Now then," She let out a long breath and allowed her body to sag down from the rigid stance of anger into a more docile pose. For an instance Draco swore he saw a flicker of uncertainty in her face. "Three years ago, when we were in school, you were an irksome, infuriating, self-absorbed little-"

"Enough with the adjectives Granger," He cut her off with the wave of a hand, "I get that you're insulting me."

Hermione sent him a dark look, but continued in a more subdued tone, "Well, you were an annoying little git; but you said something that's stuck with me all these years." She bit her lip nervously, "You told me that it was foolish for me to run away from everything that didn't go my way-"

"Actually Granger," He interrupted again in a bored tone but dropped his eyes to his pristine nails in an effort to ignore her glare, "I told you that not everyone would search for you when you run away from everything, because life isn't one of your little muggle movies, sometimes the right guy ex-"

"I know what you said Malfoy!" She snapped, "I was there. Now will you please let me finish?"

He huffed, "That depends on if you will continue to misquote me."

Hermione let out a strangled noise as she forced herself not to hex the man before her, surely a conversation this difficult was taking minutes off of her life. She sucked in a deep breath before continuing. "Anyway, what you had to say finally sunk in and as much as it physically pains me to say it, you were right. And so help me God if you open your mouth again I will make sure it stays shut permanently." Draco sent her a disbelieving look, but his opened mouth shut with a click of teeth.

"So, I went looking for you but I found that you had left England and no one knew when or even if you would be back. That's when I knew that the loss I felt could have been avoided if I had put aside my fears and disregarded the expectations everyone had for me." She paused and her hands twisted into the sides of her dress, crumpling the material. "I was a coward when it came to matters of the heart. I agreed to marry Ron because it's what everyone wanted, because Ron was stable, whereas you are practically a force of nature by yourself."

Her eyes dropped to the floor, but he still saw the glassy sheen of tears. "So, when Ginny came to me today and told me you returned I didn't have to give a moments thought to coming here because I'm done running, Malfoy.

"My wedding started an hour ago... and I couldn't go through with it because I just had tell you that even though you are a complete bastard and a total egomaniac with a God complex so large that some times I really think you believe yourself omnipotent, I've actually found myself missing you. And, well...and-" She looked up to him sharply, her eyes squinted into a pathetic attempt at a defiant glare. "And for some unfathomable reason I can't help but love you."

The look she sent him practically dared him to make a snarky retort. The fact that she could still manage to make a confession of love sound like a threat caused a smirk to pull at the edges of his lips. "Well it's good to see you haven't lost that fondness for long winded round about speeches, Granger." He drawled in true Malfoy fashion, but couldn't hold back the smile in his voice.

Hermione rolled her eyes heavenward, the sheen of withheld tears glimmered especially bright in the light, "This has been a very long day Malfoy and I swear I am one sarcastic comment away from-" Her empty threath was quickly muffled and cut off underneath the pressure of his warm mouth as his lips covered hers in a three year overdue kiss.

She practically fell into him as his arms snaked around her waist. "You really are just terrible at courting a man Granger." He tisked lightly into her ear after they parted, "Though somehow, your odd charm has inexplicably caused me to fall rather deeply in love with you too. My sweet little harping shrew."

She felt him smirk against the skin of her neck as he trailed little kisses up and down her flesh while his hands fiddled lightly with the back of her dress. "Stupid ferret." She whispered through her contented smile.

With a soft swish her dress slipped easily off of her frame and onto the floor. Draco stood to his full height, his eyes locking with her's and sent her one of his Malfoy smirks. "Come now Granger," He easily lifted the half naked woman out of the puddle of fabric at her feet, "Save such words for the bedroom where they rightly belong."

Hermione couldn't help but laugh at the admonishment as he carried her through the flat, all the while planting little kisses on whatever flesh his mouth could access."And what makes you think that I'm just going to sleep with you as easily as that, Malfoy?"

He scoffed loudly and rolled his eyes. "It's been over three years since last I saw you Granger and you come in here announce your devotion to me-" He ignored her indignant scoff "Looking quite amazing by the way, and expect this to go any other way?" He snorted. "And for the record my sweet banshee, I am not fond of panties or bras and I refuse to have my girlfriend wearing any such constricting garments. Especially not in my presence."

Hermione sent him a half smirk. "I'll keep that in mind Malfoy."

His eyebrows nearly shot into his hairline, "Really?"

She laughed loudly again as they crossed the threshold into his room. "Not in the slightest."

The End

Well, there you have it... but please do expect an epilogue...sooner or later