Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Enjoy the story! It's just a little something I came up with during a work lull today.
"Marry me, Granger," Draco Malfoy shouted in the midst of yet another "Mudblood/spineless git" argument as they faced each other down in the Great Hall. It was their seventh and final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Seven years they spent loathing one another, hurling insults back and forth, and once Hermione Granger had even come to physical blows with Draco Malfoy. Something changed in their seventh year. The war was over, Voldemort was dead, and Draco had grown rather affectionate toward the curly-haired Gryffindor.
Hermione's breath caught in her throat and her brown eyes felt like they were likely to pop out of their sockets. Her mind was having difficulty forming words. She looked behind her to where Ron Weasley and Harry Potter stood on her right and left sides, wands at the ready to curse Malfoy if she gave them permission. A few deep breaths later she finally spat out, "You're an insufferable git." Then she promptly ran in the direction of the Heads' dormitory.
Draco watched her retreating form disappear around a bend before his vision settled back on Potter and Weasley. Their wands were still settled on him, he noticed, making him thoroughly uncomfortable. His hands raised in surrender as he backed away, his eyes never leaving them until he reached the same turn Hermione had disappeared around just minutes earlier. He took off sprinting through the halls, slowing only when a teacher past.
"Hinkypunk," he yelled at the portrait, standing there completely out of breath as it swung open to allow him entrance. He darted through, his body moving him towards the staircase on the left that would lead to her room. Something hit him square in the back. He turned to see Hermione standing behind him, then down to see the shoe that she'd thrown in his direction. "What was that for?" he asked, stooping to pick it up.
"How could you?" Her voice was just louder than a whisper to accommodate the distance she kept between them. "You might as well of just told the entire Great Hall that you've been shagging the filthy mudblood."
A glimmer of victory welled inside of her when Draco flinched at the moniker. A small sigh escaped his lips. "Can we please stop using that word?"
"You used it before," she reminded him, arms crossing over her chest.
"You're the one who insists we keep up old appearances," he countered. "Heaven forbid anyone knows we're together. I'm sure no one took that proposal seriously."
Hermione closed some of the distance between them, flopping down on the couch. "I'm tired of this," she declared, her head resting against the back of the couch as her eyes closed. She felt the cushion sag next to her, assuming Draco was now next to her. It was instinct that made her lean into him, her head now resting against his shoulder. She felt his lips press against her temple as he held her as close to his own body as closely as he could.
"When did we get like this?" Draco wondered aloud. Hermione shifted beside him, looking into his usually cold, gray eyes.
"Are you saying you want to go back to hating each other, and actually mean it?" She asked.
Draco shook his head. "I want to be able to love you in public the way I can when we're alone. I want to be able to tell these stupid girls who flirt with me that I'm taken. I want your friends and my friends to not have to wonder why we sneak off all the time. I want you, Hermione."
"And your parents, with their maniacal pureblood beliefs?" Hermione, being ever practical, questioned. "What would you tell them? What would you tell all the people who would say that I'm worthless, completely undeserving of a Malfoy, because my parents are muggles?"
"I don't want those kind of people in my life. In our life," he decided. She made a motion to interrupt, but he covered her lips with his own. Softly, slowly he deepened the kiss, allowing himself to taste her. Hermione was the first to pull away.
She sucked in a deep breath. "It's sad that it'll never be this way," she said, pulling completely out of his grasp. There was no need to look at him; Draco's eyes flashed with anger.
"Why? Why can't it be?" he questioned, his temper rising. "How many times and how many ways do I have to convince you that we can be together without consequence? Because I'll do it, just tell me."
Again, Hermione was having trouble forming words. But what was there to say? "I don't know," she finally whispered. Tears pricked at her brown eyes, and she did nothing to hold them back. "I just need time."
Draco watched as she moved away from his side and disappeared through the portrait. He would give her the time she required, that much he knew, and he'd wait forever if need be.
Hermione moved through her days a walking zombie. Draco was giving her more space than she needed; she was suddenly aware that she was unable to get through a day without him. She walked through a deserted hallway towards the Transfiguration classroom when someone bumped into her.
"Oh, look, a mudblood," Crabbe said, proud of his discovery. "Whatever shall we do with it?"
Goyle bent over to grab the book bag that had fallen with her. "Hmm, what would Draco do in this scenario?"
"Probably hex the hell out of her," Crabbe guessed, looking up and down the corridor for any sign of the staff before pointing his wand at her. "What was that one he used on her fourth year to make her teeth grow?"
Hermione's eyes widened in fear. She could remember the pain of rapidly growing teeth like it was yesterday. Goyle's meaty hand clenched around her arm, dragging her upright.
"Can't you just let me be, just this once?" she pleaded.
The boys stopped talking and turned to look at the girl struggling in Goyle's grip. They glanced back at each other and laughed.
"Now, now, Malfoy wouldn't approve of just letting you go, mudblood," Goyle sneered.
"What's this?" a fourth voice entered the scene. Hermione recognized that voice. Her head whipped around to see Draco standing behind them, Harry behind his right shoulder.
Crabbe smiled back to Draco. "She bumped into us. Only right that we punish her a bit," he said.
"She is a mudblood, after all," Goyle added.
Harry raised his wand behind Draco. "Let her go," he ordered before casting a disarming charm. The wand flew from Crabbe's hand as he released Hermione. Quickly instinct led her into Draco's waiting arms.
"Are you okay?" the blonde asked, paying no attention to the other three boys around them.
"I'm fine," she whispered, holding tightly to his robes.
The couple was in their own little world, concerned only with one another. It wasn't until Harry spoke that they broke apart. "What is going on here?"
"Draco and I," Hermione started.
"We're together," Draco declared, his lips pressed against Hermione's forehead.
"Since when?" Goyle asked.
Draco wheeled around to the two goons. "Go back to your common room. I'll deal with you later."
"Harry, I'm sorry, I was going to tell you," Hermione said when Crabbe and Goyle were gone.
"So that marriage proposal, that was serious?" Harry asked.
Hermione was saying no, just as Draco nodded his head.
"What?" Hermione exclaimed.
"I was serious," Draco confirmed. "The timing was off a bit, but I meant it."
"You're only 17," Harry pointed out. "You're far too young to get married."
"We'll wait," Hermione suggested. "We'll graduate first."
Draco nodded, his lips connecting with Hermione. "I can live with that."
"This is a terrible idea," Harry muttered, walking away.