Disclaimer: This is a work of FanFiction using characters from the Harry Potter world, trademarked by none other than J.K. Rowling. Other names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products solely of my imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Warnings: Marriage/Adult Fic / OOC / Debatable AU / Fluffy / Profanity / Explicit sexual content

Timeline: Post-Hogwarts / EWE

PLEASE READ THIS NOTE IF YOU'VE READ THIS BEFORE: Because I assure you, you haven't. It's been revised completely, but still following the same story line. This is a story of love and misunderstanding in marriage, how communication should be a priority. And If you're wondering, no, I've never been married. Haha! Please enjoy!

Thank you so much to the awesome beta whose pen name is Rose Davis for looking over this fic!


PROLOGUE

November 1999

A handful of students had returned to Hogwarts after the battle to finish their education. Everyone was surprised to find that Draco Malfoy was one of them. It was awkward but according to their educational ranks, they were always thrown in each other's company. Both were not happy about those circumstances.

Three months since the start of the school year, in the middle of November, Hermione Granger stumbled upon Draco Malfoy in a dark alcove in the library absolutely shit-faced, with a half empty bottle of firewhiskey.

"Malfoy?" she asked tentatively.

He turned his head and groaned when he saw who it was. "Granger," he moaned. "Go away. Stop torturing me. Leave me alone. Please."

She pursed her lips. Torturing him? What? "You're going to get in trouble if Filch catches you with that."

"Fuck Filch. I don't give a shit about Filch. I'm eighteen years old; I can drink whenever and wherever the bloody hell I want."

She cringed at his crude language. He was worse than Ronald! "Malfoy, please," she whispered. She wasn't sure why she was actually doing this. He deserved to get caught. But no, she didn't really feel that way. He made mistakes in the past and he was already paying for it - by openly being shunned by the entire student body, by being treated by the professors with cold civility and by being haunted by his own demons inside his head. She knew. She'd been observing him since the start of the year. He was miserable and was slowly being eaten alive by those demons called regrets. Sometimes she wanted to reach out to him, tell him it was okay, that everyone makes mistakes.

"Why do you care?" he snarled, waving the bottle at her.

"I don't know." she admitted.

"Go," he barked out. "Go, Granger."

"You're inebriated. You need my help..." she hesitated. "Drinking alcohol will not solve any of your problems, you know."

He let out a bitter, short laugh. "You don't know shit about problems. Always so good and noble, I can't imagine you having any difficulty in life as long as you follow the rules, do whatever you think is helping mankind and keeping your legs closed."

She gasped. "That was uncalled for, Malfoy."

To her surprise, he winced. "Sorry. As you can see: I'm pissed." He suddenly smiled goofily at her, leaning forward a little bit. "It's almost curfew, Granger. What are you doing up and about?"

She shook her head. "I was doing some last minute studying before the weekend and you know that curfew doesn't apply to us."

"I know but you're always one to follow the rules, aren't you?"

If he only knew, she thought and fought back a smile.

"That's what I like about you..." he was saying.

She gaped at him. "What did you say?"

"I said that's what I like about you. Everyone sees you as ridiculously priggish but I like you just the way you are." He shrugged.

He's going to hate himself in the morning. "Come on, Malfoy. You need to lay off the alcohol now. You're talking nonsense."

He tilted the tip of the bottle to his lips and drank a large amount. "No," he slurred when he was finished. "You're a muggleborn. You're in Gryffindor. You're friends with Pothead and the Weasel army. You're very annoying, too righteous, a know-it-all and a bloody teacher's pet. You'd lick their asses if they asked you to, wouldn't you? You know, you're the worst of the lot- "

She gulped back the tears. She heard all of this before from countless people - most of the time from her friends even - but that didn't mean it hurt any less. "Good night, Malfoy." she said softly and turned on her heel.

"...I just don't get why I still want you after all this time."

She froze. "What did you say?"

"I wanted you ever since I saw you at the Yule Ball. I want you in every way possible. I want you to be mine. I want to be yours. I- "

She fled the library, her cheeks a deep shade of red. She would pretend that none of this ever happened. He's inebriated and he didn't know what he was saying.


December 1999

It was very awkward since that night. She avoided him at all costs which was pretty difficult since they had all their classes together. She would always sit at the front knowing that he always sit at the back. At the Great Hall during mealtimes, she would look up from her plate only to catch him looking at her with an intense expression on his face.

She was helpless when she found herself in a group of four in class for a project in Ancient Runes. She was unnerved because she noticed he was staring intently at her but he never spoke a word.

"You know, Malfoy," Thoreau Asher from Ravenclaw said. "We expect your cooperation or I'll make sure you'll get a T."

Hermione braced herself for an argument but he just said stoically, "I will."

The Ravenclaw student snorted. "As if. No one trusts you because you're a Death Ea- "

"Shut up," she interrupted harshly.

"I don't need you to fight my battles for me, Granger," Draco snapped. He turned to Thoreau. "You speak to me that way again and I'll show you how much of a bloody Death Eater I can be." He jumped to his feet and abruptly left the classroom, leaving their other classmates to stare after the open doorway and the professor shouting after him to come back.

After a quick decision, Hermione also jumped to her feet and approached the professor. "May I be excused, Professor? I just- " she stopped speaking and just ran out the door.

"Malfoy!" she called out to him as she ran as fast as she can so she can catch up to him. That wizard could really walk fast. "Malfoy, wait up!"

"Leave me alone!"

"No way," she wheezed. "Please. Wait for me."

She thought he was going to continue ignoring her.

Instead, he did as she asked.

Everything they've ever known had changed that afternoon.

Because when she caught up to him and he faced her - he kissed her.

And she let him.

Why, she wasn't sure nor was he. It just... happened. Whether it was supposed to or not. It did.

They crossed a line and there was no going back. Despite all her misgivings about him, she decided to go ahead and get to know him. There were things she needed to know and things she wanted to know. It was difficult - he didn't want her to pry but she was stubborn. She pushed and pushed until he cracked.

Tears swimming in his eyes but not falling, he managed to confess to her everything. He actually wanted to be Death Eater because he liked their reputation being feared by many. He wanted that power over the people. He wanted to live up to his father's expectations. He also thought that being a Death Eater gave immunity from being killed by Voldemort. Never had he been so wrong. The summer after fifth year, when his father was still locked in Azkaban, Draco took the Dark Mark to protect him and his mother.

Hermione knew why he did these things during sixth year. Harry already had told her. She felt compassion for him then. But hearing it from Draco's point of view, made her want to cry for him but she didn't. Instead, he drew her in his arms. When he finished telling her about it, he was crying and soaking her shoulder.

Draco Malfoy was just misunderstood, she realized that evening.

After that, she noticed a significant change in him. He was more relaxed, his smiles that were rare became frequent and he started to stand up for himself. Some students still harassed him about his being a Death Eater but instead of threatening them in retaliation like he did Thoreau Asher from Ravenclaw, he would just tell them to back off and sometimes he would just ignore them.

She started to spend most of her free time with him. And just like she had in the beginning, she soothed their misgivings about Draco Malfoy. He didn't make it hard for the others as well. He didn't have to prove himself to anyone really, but his desire to prove to everyone who's anyone in their lives that he was deserving of Hermione and vice versa were greater.


June 2000

Hermione found herself very much in love with him by the end of the year.

"I don't deserve you," was his somber response when she told him for the very first time. "I really don't. But I'm a selfish bloke so I'm going to keep you with me even when you meet the one who really deserves you. I might kill him when you do." He smiled suddenly. "I love you so much and I hate the fact that I sound so bloody cheesy, but Merlin knows how much I need you in my life. Don't leave me, okay?"

"I won't," she promised.

"Do you remember that night in the library?"

"Yes."

"I wasn't drunk that night. It was a leftover bottle and I only had two sips when you found me."

"What?" she gasped.

"Since you clearly thought I was drunk, I decided to say those things. I wanted to see how you would react. If you reacted the way I had expected you to, I would have finished that bottle, seduced Astoria Greengrass and ask her to marry me." He paused and took a deep breath. "I asked you, 'why do you care?' and you said, 'I don't know', I knew then that I've got a chance. You don't hate me and I set out to prove myself to you. I'm not the same person."

"I know that. I've known it all along," she told him softly, reaching out to cup his cheek. "I've always known there's a reason for your attitude. I just didn't think it would be that. I thought you hated me because I was muggleborn, bested you in everything - at least academic wise."

He grinned at her. "Well, that too."

"I'm glad I found you that night," she murmured, leaning forward so she could brush her lips against his. "I've always been curious about you. I think that's why I stayed for a little while."

He shifted and pulled her to him so she was straddling his thighs. She locked her legs around his waist automatically. "I think you were curious about this," he whispered as he grinded his pelvis against her.

"You were too," she gasped, laughing a little.

He grinned roguishly. "Always. I'm a male. I've always been curious. Have I told you why I chose you?"

"Yes. I'm the prim and proper student from Gryffindor and a muggleborn. Forbidden, Untouchable, that's what you said." She smiled seductively. "Not so untouchable now though, right?"

"Oh no," he replied quickly, his hands coming to rest on her ass and squeezed. "Definitely not."

They stayed that way for a while, just relishing at the intimacy of their position while Draco marveled in her confession. He had been telling her that he loved her occasionally but it was only that day that she returned his sentiments vocally.

"Don't break me," she whispered in his ear. "I love you."

"I love you too," he returned gently, urging her to meet his eyes. "And I won't. I swear I won't."

He sealed it with a kiss.


May 2006

"I can't do this, Draco," Hermione said desperately, because she was losing the battle. "I really, really can't."

"You can. You have to."

"But- "

Draco shushed her with a quick, hard kiss on the lips. "Baby, I love you so much. That's not going to change any time soon. I don't want to wake up one day and find that you're not there when I wake up in the morning because when something goes wrong, if - when - we do this, we don't have to worry because we're going to be stuck together for life. I want you, all of you, every bloody day." He laughed, almost giddily. "And I don't want to call you Granger anymore."

Hermione sighed. She knew it was a lost cause. She actually wanted the same things as he. "On one condition, Draco Malfoy... I get to keep my name."

His jaw dropped in shock. "I'm an old-fashioned wizard, Hermione. You're going to have my name."

"I'll go by Hermione Jean Granger Malfoy."

"You want to hyphenate?" He cringed.

"No hyphenation, Draco." She grinned at him. "I'll use both names."

He grinned back his relief at her. "So? Are we going to do this?"

"Okay," she laughed.

His heart skipped a beat. "Really?" He wrapped his arms around her and twirled her around, making her squeal in surprise.

"Really," she gasped after he put her down safely on the ground. "Let's just do it before I change my mind."

"Hey." He shot her a fake glare. "If you did, I know how to convince you." His hand slithered between them and cupped her underneath her skirt. "You love this too much. You're addicted."

"You corrupted me," she moaned, not even bothering to deny it. He was right about it anyway. "Oh. Draco. Stop... we'll continue this later. Let's get married now."

His hand left her abruptly. "We'll get you a dress and I'll find a dress robe on the way. I contacted a friend from Beauxbatons who works at the French Ministry of Magic. She'll draw up the contract. She told me it will take two hours. It'll be ready by the time we get there."

"Good Godric," she murmured but she was smiling. "I love you."

"I love you too." He whirled her around and pushed her towards the bathroom in their hotel room but not before swatting her backside. "Now get your pretty little ass ready for our impromptu wedding."


July 2008

"He hasn't left you yet?" was Hermione's mother-in-law's greeting when she opened the door to the penthouse apartment she shared with Draco in London.

"Draco's not here," Hermione replied stiffly. "He sent me a note earlier today saying he's working late tonight."

"He's working alright... but I doubt it had anything to do with his job." Narcissa smirked, looking very much like Draco at that moment.

"Are you implying that Draco's working some other..." Hermione glared at the older woman when she realized what was being implied. "Draco will never cheat on me. And really, you think so lowly of your son?"

"Never!" Narcissa sounded indignant. "I'm convinced that Draco's finally come to his senses and found a woman who is actually deserving of him."

"We had a binding ceremony," she reminded her softly. "It cannot be undone. You know that. You and Lucius had the same type of marriage ceremony."

"There are ways- "

"Need I remind you, Narcissa Malfoy, that any type of Dark Arts is totally illegal now. Unless you want to find yourself locked up for some years in Azkaban?" She glared at Narcissa. "I should know. I work at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement now." She paused. "Please just stop this right now. It's been years, Narcissa. Aren't you getting tired of all this nonsense?"

Narcissa glared at her and whipped out her wand.

For a minute, Hermione thought she was going to curse her.

"Draco is not really working," she told Hermione coolly. "He's with his childhood friend, Lacey Hurst. Ask him about her. They've been seeing each other almost every day. If I'm not mistaken..." Narcissa pointedly glanced at the wall clock above Hermione's head. "They're probably on their way to her home now."

She then disapparated, smirking again.

That evil woman! Hermione's hand found a figurine and she threw it on the wall opposite her. She fought to calm herself, her breaths deep and harsh.

"I'm sorry, baby," she spoke, her hand stroking her still flat stomach. Tears flooded her eyes. She let it fall. "I don't mean to cry... but your father's family hates me. It hurts," she gasped at how much truth there was to her words. "But your Daddy will protect me and you. Especially you. Remember that, okay?"

Suddenly, she felt exhausted. It had been a long day at the Ministry but she was used to it. It was the confrontation with Narcissa that left her weary, added to her pregnancy condition. She wanted to wait up for Draco... because she'd only found out that she was pregnant earlier today. Three muggle pregnancy tests confirmed it. They'd been trying to get pregnant for a year now. She knew that Draco would be ecstatic, she guessed, probably more than she was.

Her thoughts drifted to Narcissa's claims.

Lacey Hurst, was it?

What am I thinking? No, no. Of course Narcissa's lying. Draco wouldn't dare. He knew she'd kill him if he did.

Don't break me, she'd told him eight years ago.

I won't. I swear I won't, he'd vowed.

She believed in him.

Although... it's been about two weeks when he started to come home late. He had never done that before. Since they both worked at the Ministry of Magic, they naturally had lunch together. But whenever she came to his office, he had already gone and without a note. Hermione found it odd but he must be really dedicated to his post since he was aiming for a promotion that year so she just brushed it off. She would see him later at home anyway, she figured... but then he also worked late every night. She blamed it on Percy Weasley who was Draco's boss and also always a pain in the butt. Percy was probably overworking her poor husband. So what if they hadn't had sex in those two weeks? Dry spells happen to married couples all the time...

"It's nothing," she assured herself. Despite the early hour, she climbed into bed and was asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow.

Later that night, she awoke when the bed dipped beside her.

"Draco," she murmured sleepily.

"Hey, baby," he replied. "Go back to sleep."

"...'kay."

She felt his arm go around her and gently he pulled her to him until her back was snug against his chest. She sighed. "You smell so good..." Draco whispered.

As if automatically, she sniffed him as well. "You don't. You smell like firewhiskey and..." she paused, "roses." She frowned, suddenly awake. She turned around and faced him.

His eyes were closed and his mouth was parted slightly.

"By the way, I'm pregnant," she grumbled and turned around again, presenting her back to him, evening moving away from his hold. He smelled foul, offensive to her nose, making her want to puke her guts out. Pregnancy does that to a woman. She wished he'd taken the time to shower before he got into bed with her. Why the hell would he smell like roses? "I hate roses," she muttered and shifted to face him again. "I miss you, Draco." Her hand moved up to caress his chest.

"Stop, Lacey..." he mumbled, his eyes still closed. "I'm worn out."

The pain was instant, so intense that she couldn't breathe. Did he just say Lacey? The Lacey? "Oh my God," she cried helplessly as she jumped out of their bed. The sight of him was breaking her apart. It was unexplainable. She had never felt such emotional pain before. She walked in the darkness of the bedroom, out into the hall.

Running away never solved anything. She knew that. She didn't know what else to do.

So she just left.