Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the associated characters. I am merely borrowing them for my own amusement and make no money off this writing.
Summary: Draco broke her heart two years ago, and now he's back… on her wedding night.
"Hate the sinner but love the sin."
Aimee Mann, 'High on Sunday 51'
Sex with Draco Malfoy was perhaps the best thing that Hermione Granger had found in her adult life. And it was damned sinful of her to enjoy it. She knew that his alliances had been murky during the war, that, though he was cleared of all charges, there were most likely a few bodies decaying somewhere in a forest due to him.
But it didn't matter. Draco's touch made her stomach flutter and her pupils dilate and her heart race – all those things that women swear by as major love indicators, she had them. With the wrong man.
In a little under thirteen hours, twelve minutes, and thirty, twenty-nine, twenty-eight seconds… she would be marrying Ron. Who was, she admitted, a dear man. Best of friends through all the battles, the ups and downs… but never passionate lovers. Hermione fiddled with a pen on her notepad as she watched the fire dwindle down. The shadows cast her features in sharp relief, a frown tugging at her almost too full bottom lip as she sank deeper into memories.
She was sure that she'd kissed him first. She remembered that vividly: New Years Eve three years ago.
It'd been the countdown. Mere seconds of a year counted away by a group of Hogwarts graduates, teachers, families. She'd had a bit too much to drink, Hermione admitted to herself ruefully, a flush tinting her cheeks as she recalled the familiar light-headed euphoria of Firewhiskey. One second her arm had been on Harry's, jumping as they counted with the room, and then the noise exploded, and she turned right into Draco's arms.
She could remember that he'd been surprised, to see who had landed in his arms. She'd laughed, because she was happy, ecstatic, overwhelmingly joyfully: one full year with no whispers of Voldemort, no mysterious deaths… And she'd kissed him. Leaned in to see if his smirking lips tasted as sour as she'd always thought they would.
He tasted like cloves and cinnamon and Firewhiskey. The kiss had started a burning at her lips, all the way down to her toes as her arms wrapped around his neck. Draco had let her kiss him, he'd even cautiously wrapped his arms around her until Harry had pulled her away, off to find some more drink, or Ron, or something… that she couldn't remember.
The rest of the night had been a blur of colours and flashes; pictures, laughter, merry-making of the century, she had imagined…
A vivid snapshot of her and Draco was the next definite thing in her mind. She'd walked out to the back to get some fresh air; she'd never seen Harry's house so packed before. Draco's arms had pulled her snug against his chest before she could so much as squeak. "I think we have some unfinished business, Ms. Granger." Hermione sighed at the memory. He'd been so handsome, bathed in moonlight, the joy of a new year chasing the chill, with the help of Firewhiskey. Everything was perfect. The way his hands had slid down her back, the little kisses at her jaw and neck...
Hermione squirmed in her chair as vague flashes from the rest of the evening flashed in her mind. Pale skin, tracing fingertips and explorative lips… oh yes, she would never forget such a night as that.
And it hadn't stopped there. For a year on and off they'd had… something. Draco had never put a word to it, and Hermione was afraid to. The minute she put a word to it, he'd run. He didn't want commitment, and especially not to her, of all people. One of the trio, the Gryffindor Princess; how did Draco ever manage to fall into bed with her anyhow? So it had gone on, with Harry and Ron unaware.
Hermione had brought it up eventually, and regretted it. Ever since she'd brought up 'dating' and other such notions, Draco had been cold to her. Ice cold, in fact. Like the colour of his eyes when he was angry. Two years later, and here she was, making perhaps the biggest mistake in her life… marrying a man she didn't, and probably wouldn't, love.
But what did she have left? Ron had proposed to her and to spite Draco (who'd been sitting not so far away at the dinner party with yet another gorgeous blonde on his arm), she'd said yes. Which irrational part of her mind had taken hold at that point? Jealousy, spite, and anger had led her here, and now she was stuck. Her pride wouldn't let her out of the agreement, and not after seeing the approving looks from all her friends. Everyone had been whispering about her and Ron since third year, she knew. And now it was finally coming true.
Glancing around her flat with a melancholy mood, she stood up to pace. Perhaps this was the before the wedding nerves? Ginny had said that she'd felt a little ill at the prospect of marrying Harry, so… Biting her bottom lip, Hermione pushed her hair back from her eyes.
The knock at the door startled her out of her thinking. Muttering about the time of night (but secretly being thankful for any sort of distraction she could get), Hermione made her way to the door, unlocking it and pulling it open. Her jaw about dropped when she caught sight of the man on the other side.
A bedraggled Draco Malfoy watched her warily, looking as if he half-expected her to pull out a rolling pin and bash him with it. When he checked to make sure she had no rolling pin or wand, his eyes wandered back up to her face.
"I heard you're getting married."
"You heard right." Her temper immediately flared at his tone. Hermione leaned on the door, forcing it a little more closed as she glanced him over. He looked terrible. Purple marks were pronounced under his eyes and his shirt hung badly on him, as if it was a size too big. "Was there something you wanted at this god-awful hour?"
Draco was silent for a second, taking in her defensive posture. Her arms were crossed, and she was leaning back, as if at any moment she'd slam the door on him. "You."
Hermione floundered for only a second before she glared at him. "You can't just walk back into my life and start making demands, Draco. It's not how life works."
Draco held her glare for a second before he seemed to deflate. His shoulders slumped a bit as he sighed, and nodded, running a hand through his disheveled hair. "You're right. But it's the truth. You've always valued the truth. So I'm giving it to you."
Hermione could only hold her glare on him for so long after his blunt comment. She sighed. "I need a drink." Leaving the door open, she flopped onto the couch, pulling her glass of wine closer. Draco quietly shut the door, making his way to the couch with his usual grace. As he took a seat neatly beside her, looking for all the world like he belonged there by her, Hermione passed him a glass.
"Thank you," he mumbled softly. Taking a drink, feeling the comforting burn down his chest, he straightened his back a little. "I couldn't sleep." Hermione snorted. He made it sound as if that explained everything that had ever happened between them; as if his grand announcement would mend and fix all the holes between them.
Finally, Hermione took a sip of the wine, letting her nerves try to settle. "I couldn't sleep for all the books in the world…" She sighed as Draco smiled faintly at her, his eyes gaining a bit of their old twinkle.
"What about?" Draco traced a finger around the rim of his cup slowly, absently.
"That I'm making the worst mistake of my life by marrying Ron." Her voice was quiet.
Silence. Draco finished his glass in record time before turning his eyes to her. His pale blonde hair glowed in the firelight. "The worst mistake of my life was letting you walk out of my flat that night." He kept his gaze on Hermione, watching as she absorbed his words.
"It was how it had to be. We didn't want the same things out of life." Hermione swallowed hard. Here she was, defending him! But, at the same time, she knew if she didn't defend his decision, and hers, she'd be admitting that perhaps Ron wasn't the best choice in the world. And she didn't need second guesses at this point.
"We can work, Hermione." Hermione closed her eyes, not wanting to see the earnest feeling in his eyes. "We're worth trying for and it was bloody dumb of me to deny it. And it would be insane for you to deny it now… I know you feel the same. I've seen it." Draco paused, trying to collect his scrambled thoughts. "When you accepted Weasley's proposal… I had to look at my life. What did I want?" He gave a small, forced laugh. "All I could think about was you. You, wearing a wedding dress, gorgeous… and untouchable. Lost to me. Couldn't stand it, Hermione. That thought has been driving me crazy for weeks. I-I need you. To breathe. I can't hold my breath anymore."
Hermione clapped her hands over her ears, and stood, pacing back and forth in front of the fire. "Two years, Draco. Two years you've been gone. Ignoring me. Breaking my heart over and over again with those eyes of yours…" Hermione swallowed hard. "And now you want me to drop my life and be with you?"
Draco wouldn't meet her eyes as he barely whispered, "Yes."
"This is a nightmare," Hermione muttered to herself as she turned back to her desk. "Only in a nightmare would any of this happen," she rationalized as she shuffled through the papers on her desk, stacking them and restacking them as her mind frantically tried to make sense of the last half hour. She squeaked, freezing as Draco's arms wrapped around her from behind.
His hands rested on her stomach as he kissed her shoulder, pulling her against his body. She relaxed immediately, as if two years hadn't passed. As if just yesterday she had woken up to his smug grey-blue eyes watching her with possessive pride. "Please tell me this is a nightmare," she begged plaintively.
"This is the best dream you've ever had, Hermione." Hermione's eyes closed as she sighed, leaning back into Draco's inviting warmth.
"He'll hate me."
"He wants you happy."
"Will we be happy?"
"Yes," Draco replied with certainty. "Forever and ever, Hermione."
"I want this one, Draco." Hermione's voice was stubborn as she crossed her arms. She was standing in the middle of an empty house, the mid-day sun lazily shining through to highlight parts of the carpet. The house had seen better days, Draco thought dryly to himself as he watched his wife.
"We can easily afford much better, Hermione. I mean, this one's almost falling apart…" He swept his hand around, taking in the cracked ceiling, the carpet that was worn bare in places, and the windows that let in more air than they held out.
"It's a fixer-upper, Draco. But I want it."
Draco sighed. He'd known what he was getting into when he married her, he really had. But somehow he hadn't thought she'd insist on buying a house so far from civilization that was crumbling around them.
"It has something… character."
Hermione's brow was furrowed, her stance proclaiming she wasn't budging on the issue. Finally, Draco nodded. "Fine." He took the few steps to close the distance between them, wrapping his arms tightly around her, "But I get to use magic to fix it."
Hermione relaxed into his hold, leaning back against him glancing over the house. "And I get to decorate it."
Draco groaned, burying his face in the crook of her neck as he imagined red and gold furniture. "You're lucky I love you."
Turning, Hermione gave him a quick kiss and smiled mischievously at him. "No, you're lucky I love you."
He couldn't help but laugh at her. It was amazing how much laughter his wife had brought into his life. "Yes, I am." Draco tightened his arms around her and pulled her back to him, kissing her a little more seriously. "Incredibly, undeniably, fantastically, amazingly… lucky."
A/N: So I tried a slightly different type of dialogue with this story. Dunno if any will notice other than me, but I like it so far. Let me know what you all think of it, if you care to. Otherwise, Happy New Year. Hope you enjoyed! ;D