Draco looked at the brick wall behind the Leaky Cauldron and then he tapped the bricks in the sequence that would allow the wall to open and reveal Diagon Alley. Scorpius was nearly jumping in excitement as he did each time they got to visit the magical place. The wall moved, revealing the hustle and bustle of the street.
Draco and Scorpius walked down the street as Scorpius pulled him this way and that, wanting to show him all of the wonderful and marvelous things that he was discovering. He looked much like his father had at the age of twelve. They were both blond haired, fine boned and fair-skinned. The only difference was that Scorpius had bright blue eyes as Draco's were usually a subdued gray.
That was as far as the similarities went. Draco had not been a happy child and it had showed in the way that he had behaved towards everyone. Scorpius was everything Draco hadn't been and he was very proud that his son had turned out that way. The only negative thing that anyone could say about Scorpius was that he talked a lot. Draco attributed that to the fact that he had grown up as an only child and was simply making up for lost time.
Scorpius was exclaiming over a brand new broom, one that Draco was going to give him as a gift for doing so well his first year at Hogwarts. He was so proud of his son. He still worried about the bad influences that could be found in his life. Mainly that of his Grandfather. Lucius no longer stayed at Malfoy Manor but the times he visited during the summer were a time of dread for Draco. He knew that Scorpius was a smart boy, he was in Ravenclaw for a reason, but he still worried that Lucius might manipulate Scorpius into being someone that he wasn't.
Lucius Malfoy, after all, was a master manipulator.
However, Draco was the better father.
Scorpius was pulling Draco down the street and they were just outside of Flourish and Blotts when Draco could have sworn he'd seen her hair. He felt his heart drop to the pit of his stomach... had it really been her? Part of him desperately hoped that it was while the other part wanted it to be anyone else but her. He was scared.
He was scared that if Hermione saw him again then all of the bad feelings would resurface. Perhaps she had only befriended the letter writer and not the real person behind them. He knew it was a silly fear but a real one all the same. Maybe she would see him and feel nothing. At Hogwarts he had done so much to her and her friends that he found it hard to believe that it was easily forgiven, let alone forgotten.
He didn't want her to look at him and see who he had been.
"Father, can we go inside? Please? I just saw Rose, I knew she would be here!" Scorpius said excitedly.
"What?" Draco asked, unable to hide his surprise. He knew that Rose Weasley and Scorpius were friends, they were, after all, the same age and in the same house. That he expected to see her here was news to him.
"Well, you said that she couldn't come over and that I couldn't go over there and we haven't seen each other in ages, ages, father. So we decided to meet here today so that we can see each other. It was her idea. All she had to do was tell her little brother to ask their mother for ice cream."
Draco sighed, torn between amusement and exasperation. So this little trip had been planned for the specific purpose of them seeing each other? How sneaky of them. "Go on, I'll be inside in a minute." Scorpius needed no more bidding.
Draco stood looking in the window. He could see them now and it was her. Just as lovely as he had remembered. He saw Scorpius run up to Rose and excitedly begin talking. Hermione turned at their voices and when she saw him her eyes widened. Immediately her eyes frantically began to scan the crowd and finally they landed on him.
He was sure that his heart was going to stop.
They looked at each other for what felt like forever. He wanted to go inside and talk to her but his feet were rooted to the spot. What was he going to say? More importantly what, if anything, was she going to say? A motion caught his eye and he realized that Scorpius was motioning for him to come inside. He obviously wanted to make introductions. Draco took a deep breath and then walked inside and towards them.
The store felt unbelievably hot and Draco cursed himself for wearing black robes. If he wouldn't have felt silly doing it, he would've pulled out his wand and done a cooling charm on himself. He tried to keep his eyes on anything but her, and it was so difficult. He didn't know why her presence was affecting him in such a way. He regretted not meeting her sooner. At least then he would've had the advantage of planning out something to say.
"Father, this is Rose Weasley and her mother Mrs. Weasley, and that little boy over there is Rose's brother Hugo," Scorpius said pointing to a little red-headed boy that was sitting on the floor looking at a book.
"It's nice to meet you, Rose." He looked up at Hermione and couldn't bring himself to call her 'Mrs. Weasley'. Before he could come up with an appropriate greeting she smiled.
"It's nice to see you again, Draco." It was the first time that he had ever heard her call him by his name. Not Malfoy, but Draco. It felt odd hearing her say it. The sound of her voice sent chills through his body.
"It's nice to see you again as well." He couldn't bring himself to call her Hermione either. He had said her name so many times in his head but saying it out loud, and in her presence, was an entirely different matter. He almost wanted to revert back to just calling her Granger.
"Can we go and get ice cream together?" asked Rose looking up at her mother. Draco didn't know which answer he wanted more, a yes or a no.
"Would you like to?" asked Hermione looking up at him, he could've sworn that she knew his every thought, his every fear, his every want. He studied her face, committing to memory every single detail of her face. The arc of her eye brows, the length of her lashes. The slope of her nose, the shape and color of her lips. How in the world could he say no to her?
"Yes I would," he managed to say, much to Scorpius' delight.
They sat together at a table with an umbrella sticking out of the middle of it to provide a bit of shade. The children were playing by a fountain that sat in the center of a small square, leaving him and Hermione alone with the finished cups of ice cream. He gave her a quick glance and then turned his attention back to the fountain. The water was multicolored and would start spraying in random directions, soaking anything in its path but drying a few seconds later. Scorpius, Rose, and Hugo were having a wonderful time running away from the water, then running towards it, then screaming in glee as it hit them.
"I have enjoyed your letters. I was hoping for another one last night but having you here in person is much better," Hermione said. Draco looked over at her and couldn't help but smile. The nervousness was subsiding and being replaced with a tentative happiness. He had been waiting a whole year to see her, to talk to her, to hear her voice, and here she was. A dream come true.
He was trying to gather control over his tongue but there was so much that he wanted to tell her. So many things that he had written that he wanted her to hear. It was hard enough not to reach over the table and grab her hand and declare that he was in love with her. They were in public and their children were only a few feet away and it didn't seem like the best place to do such things.
Which lead him to thoughts of having her alone. Thoughts that he knew that he shouldn't be having but that he couldn't help.
"Thank you for writing me back all those years ago. I don't know if I can thank you enough for what you have been to me." He had told her that many times in his letters but it was something that he thought needed repeating. The fact that she had forgiven him had such an impact on him. He wasn't sure if he could ever convey how much that meant to him.
"I think that I would have regretted it for the rest of my life if I hadn't."
He wanted so badly to reach out to her. To hold her in the way that he yearned, to have her pressed close to him as he whispered that he loved her. He still didn't know what the answer to his question was. Did she love him as well? She had said that if they met in person she would tell him. Looking at her now he wasn't so sure that he knew the answer.
Draco wanted to believe that there was something in the way that she was looking at him but he couldn't be sure. Regardless of her answer he knew things between them couldn't go any farther than they already had. They were both married, she loved Ron, and the Weasley family, he knew that. He also knew that she would never leave him. He had accepted that long ago. It didn't stop him from wishing that things were different. Not a day went by that he didn't wish he could go back in time, back to Hogwarts, and find someway to become then what they were now.
He had to ask. He had to know how she really felt about him. Despite the fact that in the big scheme of things it would mean nothing it would mean everything to him just to know that he wasn't alone.
"About the question that I asked you..." he began as he felt his heart pounding loudly in his chest. "Do you have an answer?" She was quiet for a moment and he looked at her and he knew before she even said a word. Never in his life had anyone ever looked at him like that.
"Yes. The answer is yes."
Yes, I know I am a cruel, horrible, lady for ending the story there. Please do not pelt me with tomatoes. Especially rotten ones. I hope you enjoyed it. This story has been floating around in my head for a long time and it was good to let it out! If you enjoyed this story, short as it was, you might also enjoy my other Draco/Hermione fics, 'Twilight and Shadows' and 'Elusive Awakenings'.