Chapter Sixteen – The Love

Hermione felt him directly behind her as she tried unlocking her front door, her hand shaking so badly, she could hardly get the key into the lock. She tried to take a few calming breaths without making it be obvious to him what she was doing but that didn't seem to help. Her heart felt as if it was lodged in her throat, fluttering there, and her stomach was clenched tightly like a fist. She didn't know what to think. She didn't know what would happen once they entered her flat but she was scared, nervous and excited all at the same time to find out.

She finally was able to unlock the door and stepped inside, immediately reaching over and flipping on the small lamp on the table in the hallway. A soft glow filled the alcove and Marcus stepped in behind her, closing the door once again after him. Without her having to ask him, he began to help her take the wings she still wore from off her back and she looked back at him from over her shoulder, finding his eyes staring at her intently. His fingers brushed across her back, left bare from the deep V cut of the dress and she felt herself shivering from his touch.

"Do you want something to drink?" She asked him softly, slowly turning around to face him.

Marcus stared at her for a moment and then shook his head. He couldn't take his eyes off of her. Bathed in the soft glow of the lamp, she looked beautiful, ethereal in a way, and he could not look away from her. How had he ever been able to walk away from her in the first place? He couldn't believe that he would be stupid enough to choose anything over her. He just hoped that it wasn't too late. Everything was up to Hermione now. He could talk until he was blue in the face but if she still rejected him, there wasn't anything he could do about it.

Hermione moved past him, carefully resting her wings in one of the armchairs then sitting down on one end of the couch, careful not to wrinkle her dress. Marcus paused for a moment and then followed, leaving his jacket and shoes on. Just in case. It didn't escape him that he was dressed in black and she in white. She was pure, good and sweet and he was the darkness in her life who had hurt her and had crawled back for a second chance.

"You look beautiful tonight, Hermione," he said, staring at her, wanting so bad to reach out and touch her.

Her cheeks flushed and she glanced away from him for a moment before looking back at him, her heart pounding in her chest, steady like a drum. "Everyone was telling me that tonight but… Hearing it from you is the first time I believe it." She shook her head slightly. "I have no idea why."

He didn't know what to say to that. He kept looking at her, not able to look away. He felt like he was going to be sick. He had to say something to her. He had so much to say and yet, none of it seemed sufficient enough for her ears.

He sighed deeply, running a hand through his hair, roughly rubbing his scalp before he stood up, feeling as if he was trying to leap from his skin. He turned and looked down at her as she looked up at him and he crouched down in front of her, finally reaching out and resting his hands on her hips. She didn't tense like he thought she would and he took that to be a very good sign.

"I can't promise you that I won't ever hurt you again. I can't promise that I won't piss you off or make you scream at me or make you cry," he said. "I'm not going to turn into some big talker and you're definitely going to be the talkative one out of us. I'm not always going to tell you what I'm thinking or feeling and if something is bothering me, I probably won't sit down and talk to you about it. People are always going to look at us and wonder why the hell you are with someone like me. But I can promise you one thing."

Hermione felt tears glass over in her eyes and her heart fluttered up into her throat. She stared at him, a smile forming on her lips as she looked at him. "What?" She whispered, her voice hoarse.

Marcus leaned closer to her, his thumbs beginning to draw circles on her hips. "I love you," he whispered back. "I've done a lot of bad things in life, Hermione, but you… you're the best thing that's ever happened to me and I don't know what I'll do if I lose you again. I can't lose you again. I love you too much to ever walk away again."

She stared at him. "Marcus… I want to believe you-"

"Then believe me. Please." He was not above pleading. He was not above doing anything if it meant getting her back.

"You hurt me, Marcus. So much and I… You broke my heart and were going to marry another women-"

"But I didn't," he interrupted again. "I don't think I was ever going to marry her. I could never bring myself to ask her. Every time I even thought about asking her, it made me sick because all I wanted to do was go and find you and ask you."

She didn't say anything. She didn't know what to say. She loved him. She wanted to forgive him. But there was still that strand of self-doubt imbedded into her mind. She couldn't just forget what he had done to her. She heard what he was saying and she could hear the sincerity in his words but… what would keep her from breaking her heart again? He had done it so easily the last time without a second thought. He could do it again if she gave her heart over to him again.

She wanted to be with him. So much. She had missed so much but… she didn't know if she could do this again. She loved him. She had never stopped. No matter what had happened, it seemed she was completely incapable of not loving Marcus Flint. He was the one for her. She knew he was. She was meant to be with him. But she was frightened by it all. He had made the announcement in the paper as to his feelings for her and if that wasn't a grand gesture, she didn't know what was and she wanted to believe him; wanted to believe in him.

She loved him and she knew that she would never love someone like him. This was what she had been waiting for. For so long, she had seen her friends fall in love and go off and live happily ever after and she wanted it for herself. She wanted it with Marcus. Only with Marcus.

Marcus watched her as she was in deep thought, thinking everything through, with a sick stomach. Waiting was the worst part. If she wanted to kick him out, he wished she would just do it already and get it over with. He couldn't stand waiting, anticipating the worst to come.

She was refusing him. Her silence spoke volumes to him and he dropped his eyes to look down at the floor. He had lost her. It was too late. She was gone. She didn't want him anymore. He didn't have her and he never would again.

Why did he mess everything up? Why had he let her go in the first place? He had had her and she had been the best thing to ever happen to him. He shouldn't have pushed her away. He should have held onto her as if his life had depended upon it.

"Hermione," he choked out, his voice a tight whisper. "I'm sorry." He lifted his head to look at her again, finding her eyes set intently on him. "I love you. I want to marry you and I will spend the rest of our lives making this up to you-"

Hermione grabbed him suddenly, her hands grasping the collar of his leather jacket and tugging him towards her. Her mouth found his, kissing him hard, demanding, hungry. Marcus didn't hesitate for a second. He kissed her in return, his mouth fusing to hers, his tongue pushing past her lips and tangling with hers, making her moan as it always did. He reveled in that moan. He had missed that moan.

They both managed to stand up, their bodies pressing together, their lips never separating. They couldn't stop kissing or touching even if it their lives depended on it. Marcus lifted a hand to the back of her head and tried to figure out how her hair was being held up but the style completely alluded and Hermione laughed against his mouth as she felt his fingers struggling.

Keeping her lips to his, she reached one of her own hands back and began pulling out the bobby pins that Luna had used, freeing locks of her hair, it tumbling down her back and Marcus immediately burying his hands in it, kissing her harder, deeper.

"I need you. Marcus," she gasped breathlessly, pushing his jacket from his shoulders and down his arms, dropping it onto the floor.

They couldn't make it to the bedroom. They needed one another so desperately, there couldn't be time spared to walk the few feet to the room. Instead, Marcus guided her back to the couch, laying her down and Hermione pulling him on top of her, not wanting their bodies to be separated for even a moment. She didn't want to feel air or any space between them whatsoever.

He pushed her dress up her legs towards her waist, the pads of his fingertips rough against her smooth skin and Hermione edged her hands between them, fumbling with the button and zipper of the jeans he wore and then shoving them down past his hips. Marcus lifted his head and looked down at her, wanting to remember exactly how she looked right then. Her head was resting on the arm of the couch and her hair was spread out around her. Her lips were swollen, her cheeks were flushed and her eyelids were hooded with desire. For him. She wanted him. He hadn't lost this and he was damn sure going to make the most of this.

"I didn't bring my wand," he told her, both of their chests heaving up and down as they struggled to breathe.

"Mine's in my bedroom," she said but before he could even think of getting up to go and retrieve it, she sat up, wrapping her arms around him again and pulling him down completely on top of her again. "It's okay, Marcus. We don't need it."

He was quiet for a moment and then nodded. "We are getting married. It wouldn't really matter if we got pregnant."

Hermione stared up at him, a smile spreading across her lips. Hearing such words come out of Marcus Flint's mouth gave her such a feeling of elevated happiness in her chest that she kissed him again, still smiling against his mouth. "I meant that I went to my Muggle doctor after we started having sex and I went on birth control."

Marcus looked at her, uncertain. He knew what Muggle birth control was but he didn't understand it extensively. "So… you can't get pregnant?"

"Not until we want me to," she said and he grinned just from hearing her talk about them. Their life. Babies. They were together now. No going back. No breaking away.

Marcus pushed her legs apart a bit wider to accommodate him and then entered her with one deep thrust, making Hermione cried out his name. Finally. They were finally connected. It had been so long since he had been inside of her and now that he was in, he never wanted to leave.

A groan was ripped from deep in his throat from both the feeling of her body wrapped tightly about him and from the knowledge that she was his; that no one else had ever been given the privilege that he had right now. It didn't matter what anyone thought about them being together. It didn't matter if people disapproved of her taking him back or if people thought he wasn't good enough for her. All that mattered what how Hermione and Marcus felt for one another. All that mattered was that his name was the name she was calling out and that it was his body she was clinging to.

He thrust into her over and over again, Hermione's body sliding up each time their hips connected from the force. Grabbing hold of her to keep her still as much as he could, Marcus buried his face against her throat and slipped his other hand between her legs. He had barely touched her before Hermione exploded into a climax, her body arching and straining against his, her cries echoing throughout her flat, surely alerting her neighbors to what they were doing on her couch.

Pausing for just a moment to try and keep himself from coming with her, Marcus rode her through it and picked up the pace of the thrusts as he plunged into her body time and time again, driving as deep into her as he was able. Panting beneath him, Hermione struggled to breathe, her fingers gripping the back of his tee-shirt in her fists and then pushing it up, digging into his back, feeling his muscles and sweaty skin flex under her touch.

He changed the position of his hips, making Hermione shriek at the intense sensation, her fingers digging into Marcus with more force causing him to grunt and lose his rhythm for a split second before slamming home back in her body. He continued to push her towards her second orgasm. Her body was screaming for another release, her back arched, hips rising to meet his, her fingers digging into him. She wanted it whether she knew she did or not.

He listened to her moaning, felt her body around him. He was the only one who would ever see her like this. No one else was going to have her. He wouldn't let them. He wasn't going to lose her again. She was his. Always had been and she always would be.

He kissed her again, not wanting to stop. Never wanting to stop.

She came a second time and with this orgasm, she brought Marcus with her and when they were finished, they collapsed together, both trying to catch their breath.

Her eyes drifted closed and she brought her arm up across Marcus' shoulders as her other hand gently started to scratch through his hair like she knew he loved. He was heavy on top of her, but she liked the weight of him and was content to enjoy it. She had always loved Marcus lying on top of her. It made her feel safe, protected. Loved.

His breath puffed against her skin with each exhale, his hands still clutching at her hips. Her legs unwrapped from his waist, and slowly, Hermione slid them down next to his still jean-clad ones, feeling that if she moved too quickly, the after-sex spell surrounding them would be broken and she wanted to bathe in it for a bit longer.

Marcus lifted his head to look at her, his hand brushing across her cheek, sweeping some of her hair back off her face. "I love you."

She smiled, unable to keep the tears from forming in her eyes. She closed them briefly, shaking her head slightly and when she opened them again, immediately locking with his, she couldn't help but laugh slightly. She would never tire of him saying that to her. She reveled in the words, so happy, so warm.

He smiled as he listened to her laugh and then she slipped her arms around his neck, pulling him down to her, hugging him tightly.

They eventually moved from the couch into her bedroom, helping one another undress until they were both naked and soon, they were kissing again, touching and feeling the other, laying down on the bed.

Kneeling between Hermione's thighs, Marcus kissed down over her stomach until he reached between her legs. Running his hand over her inner thigh, he passed his tongue over the entire length of her lips, from her entrance up to her clit, tasting her arousal mixed with his come from earlier, and not caring although he had never gone down on another girl after he had come in her. The soft cry of pleasure that Hermione let out as he took her clit between his lips and tormented it with his tongue was reason enough for him to do it. He could do this forever for her if it was at all possible.

Sliding two fingers into her tight, wet warmth, Marcus began a steady rhythm of moving in and out of her as he sucked at her. By this point, Hermione was already moaning, her body oversensitive from their earlier round. Sensing this, Marcus pulled his hand back and he sat up kneeling in front of Hermione, stroking his now once again fully hard erection.

"Come here," he beckoned softly.

Rising onto her own knees, Hermione reached for Marcus, kissing him deeply as her hand rubbed the back of his neck. His arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her to him until she was straddling his thighs, his erection pressed against her stomach. Moving her hips forward in a rolling motion, she felt him groan into her mouth. Taking him in her hand, she led Marcus to her before sinking down on him, her body accepting his entire length.

Marcus closed his eyes and began kissing Hermione's neck and shoulder as she moved on top of him. His arms wrapped around her and one of her arms circled his neck while the other hand held onto the back of his head. Her movements were paced perfectly, not so slow as to be torturous, not so fast as to lose the intimacy of the moment. They were able to continue this for what felt like a long time, each relishing the closeness of their bodies.

When Marcus finally felt Hermione speeding up, her breathing growing erratic and her fingernails scraping over his back, he took hold of her hips and began rising hard to meet her thrusts. He watched with pleasure as she threw her head back, her eyes closed, and let out a cry as her muscles tightened around him, causing enough pressure to bring him to climax as well.

As her orgasm slowly subsided, Hermione let her body collapse towards Marcus, her head resting on his shoulder. It felt so good to be this close to him again, to have him back in her arms, to have him telling her he loved her, to feel okay never wanting to let him go.

It all just felt so good after having thought that she would never have this again with him. She had thought she would never have this with anyone if she couldn't have it with him.

Marcus froze completely when he felt moisture on the side of his neck and realized that Hermione was crying. "Hey. 'Mione, what is it?"

She shook her head, hugging him tighter. "Nothing."

"You're crying."

He tried to pull her just far away enough where he could look at her face but she was clinging to him, her body shaking slightly as the tears poured out.

"Did I hurt you?" He asked, tensing at the possibility but she shook her head again. He wrapped his arms around her waist, holding her. "Then tell me. What did I do?"

"I love you so much, it terrifies me," Hermione said, finally lifting her head to look at him. "I don't know what I'll do if… if you decide to leave again. I never thought I would need someone so much..."

Marcus lifted his hand, cupping the back of her head, keeping their eyes locked together. "I am never leaving again. I promise you. It took me a while but I'm here. I am completely here and now that I am, I'm not going anywhere."

Hermione stared at him. For once, there wasn't a wall there. She looked into his eyes and for the first time, she was able to see all of him. He wasn't hiding from her anymore. He wasn't keeping himself from her. He was opening up entirely to her. She had thought that she would never get through to him. He had been so good at keeping himself from her that at times, Hermione had thought him to be unreachable. But he was right there, in front of her.

"Wait here. I'll be right back," he said, gently picking her up off his lap and setting her down on the bed.

Not bothering with his clothes, he left her bedroom completely naked to go to his jacket still lying on the floor in her living room and when he returned, Hermione had gotten beneath the covers, sitting back up against the headboard. She smiled as he entered the room and he smiled in return, crawling onto the bed and sitting up on his knees in front of her.

"Before I went to go see my father tonight to tell him to piss off and before I went to go see Adrian about tomorrow's paper, I had to go to Gringotts to get something my mom put in my vault when I was younger. I never thought I would need it but…" Marcus trailed off, shaking his head slightly. "Give me your hand."

Hermione sat up, holding her hand out for him and she gasped when he dropped a small velvet box into her open palm. She stared down at it, her mouth hanging open, and then she lifted her head, staring at him. She couldn't move; couldn't breathe. The box felt as if he had just propped an anvil in her hand and it was growing heavier the longer he went without explaining it.

"You can open it if you want," Marcus smirked.

"I don't think I can move," she said with a shake of her head and he laughed – an actual laugh – before opening it for her, revealing the small yet elegant diamond ring inside. She gasped again, unable to look away from it.

"It was my mom's. It had been in her family for years and she put it in my vault for safekeeping. She always told me to give it to the girl I loved," he said then smirked, shaking his head slightly. "I thought she was out of her bleedin' mind. There was no way I was ever going to fall in love with anyone. I honestly thought I was incapable of it."

He plucked the ring out and then tossed the box aside, taking hold of her left hand. He felt her trembling but looking at her, even with her mouth still hanging open in shock, he could see the beginnings of happiness in her eyes.

"But then I found you hiding in the loo from Adrian and we danced and… I couldn't stay away from you. No matter how hard I tried, and I did try, I kept coming back because you're… what we have, it's the real thing," he said, holding her left hand. "I know I've made a lot of mistakes with you and I know that I've hurt you and that you haven't completely forgiven me all just yet, and I deserve that, but I just hope that I haven't lost you for good because I don't know what I'll do if I have."

He paused, trying to keep himself calm. He was always calm and collected. Now was not the time to lose that.

"Hermione, will you marry me?"

He poised the ring at the tip of her third finger on her left hand and stared at her, waiting, his stomach twisting and churning. He felt like he was about to throw up.

She didn't answer immediately. She was completely silent, her eyes flitting back and forth between him and the ring. He didn't know why she didn't answer him. Even if it was to turn him down and tell him that tonight had been nothing more than her getting even with him, he wished she would just open her mouth and say so. He didn't know if he could take this.

He had no idea that asking the only woman he had ever loved to marry him would be so damn nerve-wracking.

She stared up at him. "You won't regret it, will you?" When he frowned and looked at her completely confused, she swallowed the lump forming in her throat. "If I say yes… all of your money-"

"You think I care about the money anymore?" Marcus asked, his voice somewhat hard. "Hermione… I was a complete git. I never should have cared about something as fucking pointless and empty like that. I didn't realize that at the time but if I had you, I wouldn't need any money."

He paused, about to say something so sappy, he didn't even know if his tongue could handle it. Marcus Flint did not do sappy. He suppose he would for Hermione but she would definitely be the only person to hear such words ever leave his mouth. He would do this for her and only ever her.

"If I had you, I would have absolutely everything," he said softly, staring into her eyes, lifting a hand to cup her cheek.

Those words, hearing them come from him being said with such force and conviction, that was what she had wanted to hear. She had wanted to make sure. He didn't want him to ever regret her. Him regretting choosing her would hurt just as much as him not choosing her at all.

Tears brimmed in her eyes and she smiled so happily, she was almost laughing. Marcus gave a deep sigh of relief, feeling exhausted. Hermione smiling was definitely a good sign and he allowed himself to relax a little. He still needed her to answer his question though before he could truly be at ease.

He cleared his throat nervously. "Will you?" He held the ring to her finger again. "Will you marry me?"

"Yes," she laughed, nodding her head quickly, eagerly. "Yes!"

Marcus had charmed the ring and the instant he slid it onto her finger, it fit her perfectly. She threw her arms around his neck and he grabbed her head, their lips meeting in a hard, nearly-bruising kiss. She was laughing, crying and kissing him all at the same time.

She wondered if she was dreaming. She had to be. Just hours ago, her heart was still mourning the loss of him, her body still aching with hurt, and now, he had told her he loved her – several times – and had asked her to marry him. All of it almost felt too good to be true.

Marcus Flint loved her.

Marcus Flint wanted to marry her.

Marcus Flint had chosen love over money. For Hermione Granger.

For some, it would be too hard to believe. No one would have ever thought of Marcus Flint and Hermione Granger not only meeting and being together but falling in love and getting married on top of it. They were nothing alike and yet, that turned out to be exactly what the other needed. Hermione couldn't picture herself with any other man except for Marcus.

She pulled her lips away from him and looked at the ring on her finger. "It's beautiful, Marcus. This is exactly the kind of ring I would imagine having."

"Good. Because I'm poor now," he smirked before pressing his lips to her temple. "Even if you hated it, I can't afford anything else right now."

Hermione looked at him, worry in her eyes, but she saw a twinkle in his that she had never seen before. And then he grinned. That Marcus Flint grin. She was absolutely in love with that grin. She was absolutely in love with him.

She lifted her hands and cupped his cheeks, the sharp hairs from going without shaving that day as always pricked her fingertips. He leaned down and rested his forehead to hers, their eyes locked together. She smiled faintly and he gave her one in return. He seemed different to her. More… free.

"Don't worry, Marcus. We can take care of each other now," she said softly, smiling. "I promise."

He smirked again. "Shouldn't I be making that promise to you?"

She shrugged with a laugh. "So promise me if you want."

Marcus didn't say anything at first. Instead, he continued to stare at her, his eyes searching hers intently, a hand lifting to brush some of her hair behind her ear. He kissed her softly, lighting on the lips, wrapping his arms around her and slowly guiding her onto her back, he laying on top of her. He kissed her again, over and over, as softly and gently as the first one.

He looked at her again, their noses brushing together, their eyes locked, their mouths sharing the same bit of air between them.

"I promise I will always love you, Hermione. Even if I don't say it, even if I don't always show it, I am always going to feel exactly this way for you that I feel right now," Marcus said quietly.

Hermione felt herself blush and she smiled. "Who knew you could speak so eloquently? Why, Marcus Flint."

He smirked, remembering their time in the Quidditch shop – the first day he had held her hand. He should have always held her hand. At least now, he had another chance to. "I know. I think I'm really growing as a person."

She laughed softly, sliding her arms around his shoulders. "Oh, Marcus. I love you."

He smiled, kissing her for a moment, allowing himself, for the first time in his life, to be completely and truly happy. He had never felt this before and even when he was denying it to himself, he knew that he had only ever felt it when he was with her. She had made everything so much better for him and he didn't know what he had done to get a second chance with her but he was not going to waste it. He was not going to screw this up again. Ever.

"I love you, too, Hermione. I love you more than anything. More than anything."

The End.

A/N: And with that, this story is completed. I was going to write an epilogue but I didn't want to write something so sugary sweet, it was disgusting. I think this chapter covered more than enough for the story to be ended well so please read and review and let me know what you think. Thank you so, so much for reading this story. I love Marcus/Hermione and I probably will write more stories about them in the future. I hope I have turned others into fans of them as well. Thank you, thank you, thank you.