Chapter 37

After that it was smooth sailing. Well, almost.

The trial itself was over rather quickly. They let Draco off, of course, after hearing Harry's testimony. But they did question him about other Death Eaters.

He was cooperative, up until they mentioned his parents.

That made him go silent. He refused to answer anything else.

The idea of Veratiserum was brought up, but both Harry and Hermione exclaimed their outrage at the idea. With two hero's vouching for him, Draco was told to just beat it; he was in the way of real death eater trials.

Hermione wasn't even sure when Draco's parent's trials would be. Draco looked troubled as they walked away from the courtrooms, towards the Ministry's fireplaces.

"Are you alright?" She asked gently, moving close to him. He nodded slowly as she reached for his hand.

She noticed people looking as the three made their way to the floo network. Was it because of Draco? Most people knew he had been on trial…he was going to have a hard time for awhile in the Wizarding world.

It could also be because of Harry, of course. People stared openly, whispering to their companions.

Hermione found it annoying, whoever they were looking at.

As they reached the glowing green flames of the fireplaces, Harry turned to say goodbye.

Hermione jumped forward and hugged him. "Thank you, Harry."

He nodded.

"Tell Ginny I'm on for dinner this Saturday."

Harry smiled. "She'll be happy to hear it. She's sick of hanging around so many boys all the time, between her brothers and me. I think she needs her girl-friend." He nodded at Draco once as he vanished in the flames.

This left Draco and Hermione alone for long enough that she could tell at least some of the stares were, indeed, for Draco. She glared back at one couple near by them. Defiantly she leaned over and kissed Draco on the cheek just before she stepped into the flames. Draco followed, right on her heels.

***

It had been a week since the trial…

Hermione hadn't been able to find out about the older Malfoy's trial dates, but when she asked Draco about it he had shrugged.

"I love my parents…" He had said, "but what can I do to help them? I'm a former death eater, afterall."

Hermione was inclined to agree. Although it appeared the Malfoy's had gone slightly rogue near the end of the war, they had no evidence. Harry had explained at Draco's trial about his mother's help in the final battle. Maybe that would help her. Maybe.

Hermione wished she could say that her and Draco had had a real date by this point. A trip to Hogsmead, or dinner and a movie...But that hadn't happened, either. Too much publicity.

They were in the Prophet, actually. Can you believe it? The way people pay such close attention to the personal lives of the famous…

One of the closest friends of the Chosen One and a former death eater as a couple? Her little kiss at the ministry caused quite a stir. Not a front page stir, thank god, but still…

Hermione stuffed her toothbrush into her tiny handbag. There. She was all packed.

Clothes, books, a tent…check, check, check. She ran through her mental list.

She opened the bathroom door and ran downstairs.

It was the middle of the night. Their fleeing would seem more dramatic that way, she thought with a giggle. It was her plan to leave at this hour.

Ok, so they weren't really fleeing, per say. But getting out of the country and away from the stares for a while seemed like a good idea.

So, technically, yes, they were running away together.

It was actually very funny.

Hermione was excited. She hadn't had much of anything to look forward to in a long time, and this felt like it would be a fun adventure. Not a heroic, save-the-day-at-great-peril-to-yourself kind of adventure. A calm, fun adventure. With Draco. Just her, and Draco. No one staring, no disapproving-but-grudgingly-acknowledging friends…

Her parents would be coming back, though. She had made sure to remove the spells she had placed on them. It would take some getting used to…they still didn't quite remember her. They would come back to the house, and get used to that again, first. Hermione wanted to be out of the way by then. She'd worry about bringing back their memories of her after she returned. She didn't want to spring too much on them at once.

Which was her excellent excuse for running off to…well, it's a secret!…with Draco.

Draco was waiting downstairs, sitting on the couch. He rolled his eyes. "About time! I've been waiting here forever! How many books do you need, anyways?" He gave her a pretend frown. "Am I boring?"

She grinned. "Never that, that's for sure. It's just my nature to bring books."

He nodded. "Yep. A total know-it-all to the end."

"Better a know-it-all bookworm than a boring light packer."

"Hey!" He grinned.

She laughed as she checked her bag one more time to make sure she had everything she needed.

"Hermione…" Draco started.

Her head shot up. His tone had turned so serious so suddenly. "Hmm?"

"What about when we get back?"

She grinned. "I thought we were going to pretend we were running away together forever. Much more dramatic that way."

He barked out a sharp laugh, then tried to control himself and stay serious. "No, really. Your parents are coming back…I can't really live here, you know…"

Hermione's heart sank. Why was he talking about this, now? She had planned on this being an exciting mad dash from reality.

He had his mansion, of course, since he had been found innocent…In fact, he had gotten back his vacation home in Canada, too, since his dear aunt Bella had kicked the bucket. So, of course he would return home. Makes perfect sense, right?

But Hermione liked living with him…she liked waking up with him…damn. All good things have to end, huh?

"Well…" she answered carefully, "I know you have to go home sometime…" She lowered her eyes. "But…I mean…I can visit you, right?" She laughed nervously. "This isn't your way of breaking up with me, right?" Yeah…that sounded real cool. Stating her actual fears while sounding like she's joking. Perfect. Great.

Draco rolled his eyes. "You really are just a self-conscious mess sometimes, you know?" He stepped towards her, trying not to meet her eyes as he grabbed her hands. "I meant…I kinda hoped…I mean, you have all those damn nice witch robes now, and if you let them just go to waste I'll take it as a personal insult, since they were a gift…"

"I still want to pay you back for those…"

He sighed. "Just shut up for a minute, ok? I'm trying to say something here. Idiot."

She smiled. He was nervous enough to resort to childish insults? He must be trying to say something nice. That was always somewhat hard for him, especially if it was sweet and mushy in any way. She found that aspect of him cute, where others may have found it annoying.

"I mean…yes, I want to go back to my house. But I was kinda hoping you go with me."

She raised her eyebrows.

"I don't mean just to stay for a while. I mean to move in…If you want!" He grinned. "Though it is a very big and very nice mansion. Yep. Not that I'm trying to bribe you into moving in, but it's reeeeally nice…"

Hermione gaped at him. She managed to control her mouth long enough to sputter, "Yeah. I mean, of course! Wouldn't want those dress robes to go to waste living here, right?" She smiled. She would live with him? Even after their "great escape?" It was too perfect. She was just waiting for the world-shaking disaster to come mess it up.

Draco reached into his pocket. "Oh, almost forgot…I want you to have this before we leave. I'll end up losing it somewhere if I'm carrying it in my robes all over the world." He pulled out a strange little gold object and put it in Hermione's hand.

She brought the object up to eye level to look at it, letting it dangle by the chain.

At first she almost grimaced, mistaking the locket for the cursed horcrux she had helped destroy. But, "destroy" being the key word, that locket was no more. She realized this was a very different locket, a much prettier one.

It was golden with an intricate designed worked into the front. When she pulled it open she found it was empty, but decorated inside with the same lovely pattern.

She looked up at Draco expectantly.

He blushed and coughed. "It's…erm, a family heirloom. Women on my father's side wore it…" he stared at the ground. "You're supposed to put your picture and the picture of who you will one day marry in it. Really old fashioned and corny, I know…It's not magic or anything, just an ordinary locket…"

Hermione stared at him, not finding the words she wanted to say. She wanted to tell him it was beautiful. She wanted to say that she was touched that he had snuck it out of his vault for her that day at Gringotts. She wanted to ask if she could put his picture in it…

She blushed. All she managed was, "Thank you. I love it."

She placed the chain around her head. Her hand automatically clutched at the locket around her neck. She couldn't stop staring at it with a stupid grin on her face.

"Come on, let's get out of here." Draco said, interrupting her daydreaming with a start.

"Right…"

He grinned. "Running away under cover of night. Very romantic, right?"

She nodded, grabbing his arm. "Very. Let's go."

The End

***

Did everyone like it? I'm very picky about endings, so I hope I did this justice!

SEQUEL WISH: Someone reviewed yesterday saying it was their birthday? Kassa Simbaa? I was teetering on whether or not to do a sequel. Since you asked for one, I guess I will do it afterall. :)

It might be a little while, since I have another fic I'm working on, but eventually I'll get to doing a sequel: Keep an eye on my profile.

I'm working on a new fic now, another Dramione. :heart:

It's about Hermione getting trapped in a painting and only Malfoy knows where's she's gone. But, being the jerk that he is, he's not about to help her out right away…until he starts to fall for her! Oh, snap!

Sound nice? There's much more to it, though. I'm not good at summaries…Please check it out on my profile! ^.^ Just click my name!

Thanks to everyone supporting me while I wrote this! All the reviews were very much appreciated! Chu!