Bittersweet

"We are not in love," she said through gritted teeth. Her bushy brown hair had fallen out of its bun to curl around her face. Bright brown eyes burned by just looking at him. She was an unexpected beauty with sensuality radiating from her very being. Smart and with a quick tongue, she was also an entertaining companion. It was no wonder she was a gifted speaker in the courtrooms of the Ministry of Magic.

He sat up from the bed and picked up his shirt. It was crumpled but he didn't care. With a smirk, he recalled how she nearly tore it off from his body. He remembered how her hands burned their brand against his skin in her struggle to undress him.

"No, we're not." Draco Malfoy reaffirmed. His heart said otherwise. He pulled on his trousers and then his socks. He did everything with the beauty and grace of a cat.

She watched him while she bit her lip. He was so beautiful and intelligent that she couldn't help but fall for him. It was her fault. She loved everything that was beautiful, artistic and elusive but she got none in her husband. But she found those qualities in him. He found what he needed in her. They complemented yet they held each other back.

Hermione Granger finished buttoning her blouse and pulled on her slacks. Their time was done. She was to turn away, leave their bedroom and Disapparate from the inn. Her frown deepened as she recalled their next steps. They would not meet in public places. They would not dare address each other. They would live in their separate lives while they yearned for the next time that they would have the freedom and the time to do everything with each other.

It had surprised her that their affair had gone on for almost two years. She realized that it was what rejuvenated their tired spirits. It was what kept them together. It was what kept them sane. After one lonely night of tea and firelight, they had come together. They had been doing it ever since.

She threw a glance at him. Draco was in front of the full-length mirror and readjusting his traveling cloak. He exuded an aura that was sophisticated, glamorous and with a faint hint of danger. He was everything that she yearned for in a man. But he was also everything that could possibly destroy her.

Their eyes met. He smiled.

"I'm wondering how you inherited such good genes." She said as her cheeks burned. Genetics wasn't known in the Wizarding world. He wouldn't understand what she said, would he?

"It's because my family tried to avoid inbreeding. I'm glad I was not one of the unfortunate cousins though." Draco said as he turned away from his reflection. He was tall, handsome and with a body that must have been modeled after the sculpture of David. His white-blonde hair and green eyes conjured an image of a lion hiding in the savannah.

He's too good-looking. Damn him, she thought. "You're glad you weren't taking after the Weasleys?"

"We're not cousins anymore. We cut them off when they became blood-traitors." Draco said sharply.

She sighed. "That's the problem of pure-bloods. You're so pure you become prejudiced and outdated. Don't try to call me that foul name or I'll hex you."

Draco's cold facade broke down. He crossed the room in long strides before taking her into his arms. "I didn't want to do that. I even regret giving you that nickname. If only I wasn't so foolish."

She cupped his cheek. "You were 12. But that doesn't matter. Just don't do it at places where you know we'll be embarrassed."

"I hate seeing you in his arm," Draco whispered in her ear. His arms tightened around her. "I hate it."

She hugged him back. Her eyes welled with tears. "Don't do this. We've promised, right? We've agreed that this is all that we could have." Please, don't wish for more.

Draco kissed her hair, forehead and her lips. His hands caressed her back and her hair. There was so much beauty, grace and sensuality in Hemione. How he wished that he was the one who took her out, kissed her and made love to her every night. He would have showered her with gifts and surprises. He would have secured a happy life for her. He would have married her and given her plenty of babies for them to enjoy.

It was his fault that he waited too long. He was in love with her when he realized he could have lost her in the war. He sought her out and tried his best to find her. But when he did, he found out that she was engaged to marry her best friend and his worst enemy aside from Harry Potter. When she married that Ron Weasley, his hell began.

"It's not your fault," he said in a soothing voice. "I'm sorry."

She choked as she tried to smile. "That's a first. You're not known to apologize, Draco Malfoy."

He smiled back. "I didn't know how until I loved you. I'm just sorry that I didn't try saying those sooner."

"I love you," he repeated as he stared into her eyes. Pain, regret and love were what he saw. Those were the same things that was mirrored in his own soul. "I long for you. Don't say that we're not in love. We are. We are..."

She tried to soothe him. This was not the first time that they had parted in tears. It wasn't the first time that a little piece of her heart was ground into pieces. She wished that she could make him whole again by giving herself.

When there were only a few weeks left before her marriage, she was courted by a very mysterious admirer. She also found Draco Malfoy everywhere. He hung around her sometimes, fought verbal wars with her and annoyed her to no end. They hated each other out of old habit. Yet they didn't really have the same animosity that Draco shared with her best boy friends.

One afternoon, he asked her to have cookies with him on a bake fair and he kissed her unexpectedly when it rained. That was when she realized that she had already fallen in love with him. She couldn't eat the cookies that Ron's mother made without recalling the sweetness of chocolate on her lips, the sensation of a warm and wet body around her and the burning hunger that threatened to consume them.

It was always too late for regrets.

"Beggars cannot be choosers," he said in an attempt to make her smile. "I've got all the gold in the Wizarding world but I cannot have you. It just shows that money doesn't really make people happy."

"It's great anesthesia though. Not having enough money drives me crazy," she said with lowered eyes. She didn't want to tell him that they were suffering from money problems. She didn't want him to find out about the cold nights when Ron worked overtime and their heated arguments when there wasn't enough. She used to be happy and content. Now she wasn't so sure.

His face lit up. "Come away with me, Hermione."

"You sound like Peter Pan," she laughed. He wiped her eyes tenderly. "Where is your Neverland?"

"I'm going to make you my queen and mother of my children. I'm going to make sure that you won't be unhappy again." Draco said as he brushed the curly brown hair with his fingers. "Can't you leave him, my Hermione?"

She shook her head.

He forced a smile. "This is Neverland. This is all that we can have."

"Yes, it's all that we can have," Hermione said as she kissed him. Tears trailed down their faces and glimmered like diamonds from the firelight.

o-o-o-o

A/N: I thought that I was already over with angst. It seems that I'm not. I was a fan of Hermione+Ron but I like Draco+Hermione as well. I'd root for these two as much as I root for Draco+Ginny. XD