Disclaimer- I do not own Harry Potter. J.K does. I am just a humble fan writing a little fan fiction about my favorite couple!

Chapter beta'ed by the wonderful jessirose85.

CHAPTER THREE

Love does not take offense and is not resentful…

It was a good thing that her reflexes were exemplary even though she had never played any quiddictch, thought Hermione triumphantly as she watched the angry red welts form on Malfoy's right cheek.

"What did you do that for?" he bellowed.

Hermione could not believe her ears. "What did I… you just groped my chest, you big oaf! How dare you touch me like that?"

"I just wanted to show you what good reflexes you have! You could make a great chaser!" he cried.

Hermione was stunned. " Malfoy, I always knew you were a lousy pureblood git, but I never thought you were such a pervert!'

"Don't flatter yourself, Granger," he spat, "mudbloods really don't appeal to me much. But if you don't get your butt off of me right now I will show you exactly how perverted I can get!."

"All right! And consider this our last encounter. I never want to see your ghastly face again and I if do, I promise I will burn down all that stupid white hair on your head to the last strand and make sure you can never grow it back!." Hermione threw at him viciously, trying to get up awkwardly form his stupid, deliciously hard body. Regretfully she noticed that he was hiding at least six packs under that shirt. Just as she put her hands on his chest to heave herself up, he grabbed a fistful of her hair and brought her face an inch form his mouth, staring into her eyes hungrily.

It was instinctive. She couldn't have helped it even if she had been one step from death. Because the moment she felt his cool breath on her face, she leaned forward, inhaling his sweet, delicious scent, one that made her mouth water.

It was all the encouragement Draco needed to roll her over, pin her down on the ground with his body and slam his lips to hers.

Somewhere in her fuzzy brain, Hermione realized that she was hellishly enjoying the feel of Draco Malfoy's tongue thrusting inside her mouth in an erotic dance, suckling her lower lips, nipping at place with his teeth. All the time his hand was fixed in her hair, the other clasped around her arms above her head so that she was completely at his mercy, while he kept her mouth firmly in place as he plundered her inside. With a shock, she also realized that she was kissing him back just as fiercely, engaging in a wild battle of lips. Blood boiled under her skin, burning her lips where he touched them. It really was no wonder that she was trembling all over. She gasped in dismay when he suddenly pulled off.

"This is the punishment you get for insulting my hair, Granger," he whispered in a dark voice. "You really don't have to be mean just because I have nice hair and you don't!"

Hermione shook her head and pushed herself away from him, feeling a little giddy as she went vertical.

"Malfoy, what's wrong with you tonight?" she asked sadly, "Why are you forgetting? I am mudblood Granger, you are pureblood Malfoy. I am Gryffindor, you are Slytherin, I am good you are veil. You hate me remember? Now please just let me go home and let's forget tonight ever happened so that the world can go back to its right order."

She was about to turn on her feet to dissapperate when he called to her, "Granger, I just need a bloody favor! Why can't you do this for me?"

She turned to him and looked into his eyes piercingly, "We have years of histoy, Malfoy. How can you expect to just forget everything and help you?"

He grabbed her shoulders and shook her slightly, "Because, you are all those things that I am not. You will do what's right and you won't let anything get in the way. Just hear me out alright?"

"Okay, Malfoy. Tell me why I should help you."

"I am tired of all the darkness in my life. I have had enough of dark arts and stupid prejudices shadowing my life for so long. I am sick of being forced to do what is expected of all the time. My mother saved Potter's life and saved us for a lifetime in Azkaban but people still look at me as a former death eater. It makes me want to throw up every time someone passes me by and crunches up their faces in disapproval."

He turned his back to her abruptly, staring up at the sky, his tone now a mere whisper, "I am so fucking sick of being afraid to fall asleep at night because I don't want to see Dumbledore in my nightmares, offering to help me even when I am a second from finishing him off."

Hermione felt her heart go out to him. There was absolutely no doubt that he was telling the truth. The slump of his shoulders, the pain in his voice was enough to tell her that Draco Malfoy was suffering. While they had all moved on after the war, Malfoy was stuck in the past horrors. He was repenting. And he had just reminded her that even Dumbledore had wanted to save the soul of the sixteen year old boy forced to perform murder for the sake of saving his family. But every day, this very soul that Dumbledore had tried to save was getting ripped apart by memories of Malfoy's dark past, the traces of which stained his present and made his future look so bleak. And how had she missed the fact that he too was all alone on Valentine's Day, needy and lonely, just like her?

She put a hand on his shoulder comfortingly, "Malfoy, you should have told me before instead of acting so crazily tonight. Even Harry would have done anything for you if he knew how you felt."

Malfoy snorted sarcastically. "Right, as if I would tell Potter all these! Get real Granger. Damnation, I shouldn't have told you either!" he said pulling a hand through his hair in frustration.

The prat, thought Hermione. "Malfoy, its okay. Let me handle Harry. I promise you will be given aurorship in no time if you qualify. Just please tell me that there will be no more nonsense about my playing quidditch."

"Sure." He shrugged.

"And don't you dare physically assault me again!" she added dangerously.

He smirked and winked at her wickedly. "Maybe not assault…Now go home, Granger, you have pestered me enough for one night. "

He left her spluttering at his retreating back. Hermione cursed under her breath and finally took flight for her home.

***

"Harry, I can't believe you are being such a pig!"

Hermione stood in Harry Potter's new office room at the Ministry, hands on her hips, and eyes blazing with anger, in a very Mrs. Weasly like manner. Harry almost cowered and gave in. Almost that is. Ron Weasly, his coward git of a best friend, quietly melted away to the very back of the large office, well away form the furious Hermione.

Harry turned to Hermione fearfully keeping his eyes on the wand in Hermione's pocket in case she suddenly brought it out and hexed him into oblivion.

"Hermione, please sit down." He tried to say calmly but his voice came out a mere squeak. "I get everything you said about Draco but you know that I can't back down from a challenge with Draco Malfoy now! It's ridiculous.

"What's ridiculous is that I am being set up by my best friend!" Hermione bellowed.

"Hermione! You were never supposed to agree to help him in the first place! I was counting on you to win my challenge with Draco!" he protested weakly.

"What bloody challenge, Harry Potter? This is about a man who wants to turn over a new leaf and instead of helping him, you challenge him and use your friend to do so?"

"I am sorry, Hermione. But my decision is final." He said. "This is Draco Malfoy for Merlin's sake. I can't just give him what he wants in a silver platter!

"Ron!" she swung her head towards the trembling figure behind her whose only response was a pitiful yelp, "Say something! Make him see some sense!"

Ron cleared his throat and came nervously forward. "Uh, err, yes, Harry, I-I think Hermione's right."

Harry threw him fierce glance to which his pathetic friend only shrugged. "I can't help you, Hermione." He said to Hermione firmly. "Draco and I have performed the unbreakable vow because he seemed to have some issues about trusting me. If you want to help him, you have to finish the task."

"Fine!" she spat, "I will do it. Draco and I are going to beat you at quidditch. You better be ready!" with that she stormed out of the office and Harry sighed in relief.

"Harry, have you gone mental?" shouted Ron now, "how could you deliberately do that to Hermione?"

"Cool it, Ron." Harry drawled, pushing his glasses up his nose and stretching languorously in his chair. "I have a plan for those two."

"What do you mean? Are you playing match maker or something?"

"Sure. Those two would make such a wonderful couple." Harry replied happily.

Ron spluttered for a second, and then stomped toward him to shake him. "Harry, you are setting up our best friend with our worst enemy? How can you do this? What is wrong with you mate?"

"Ron, listen to me before you fly off the handle like that," said Harry calmly. "Draco has really changed. He still tries to act the jerk but I saw right through him when he came to visit me. And moreover I have reason to believe he loves our Hermione."

"Bloody hell! What insanity is this?"

"I know because I heard him say so himself. After the war when we returned to Hogwarts for the NEWTS, I found him one night in front of Dumbledore's tomb. You wouldn't believe it, Ron. He went completely mental. He was crying and talking to himself, saying things like 'Dumbledore you have to forgive me' and 'I am sorry for everything'. Than he said something like if Dumbledore didn't forgive him, Hermione would never love him and he really needed Hermione to love him because he loved her so much."

Ron's eyes rounded in shock. "He really said that?"

"He did, Ron. And his wanting to become an Auror shows that he is ready to start a new life. And I want him start it with Hermione because it's high time both of them let go of the past and settle down."

Ron finally sat down on the seat opposite him and said gravely, "Harry, mate, you better be sure you are doing the right thing. Because if this goes wrong, Hermione will never forgive you."

***