Disclaimer: I do not own any Harry Potter characters because they all belong to my hero, the amazing woman, JK Rowling.
A/N: I'm jumping on timelines, so memories and flashbacks are italicized and placed in bold letters, just to prevent confusion.
"Just So You Know"
When Hermione Granger was younger, her mother told her: "Dear, if the time comes that you needed to choose between the man you love more and the man who loves you more, always choose the one who loves you more. The hearts of men are complicated, but fixed in such a way that a mere girl can never change. Once they love someone, it would never change. The hearts of girls, otherwise, can be altered somehow. Love her, give her roses, give her the world, and she'll eventually love you back. Someday, you'll understand…"
She waited so hard for the time that she would understand, but she guessed she never would.
She stared at her reflection in mirror. The years had indeed been so good to her. Long gone was the bucktoothed petite girl with a bushy hair and freckled face. Her every angle now screamed elegance and exquisiteness. She was wearing a beautiful one-piece, strapless, white gown with corset closure. The bodice was embellished with an elegant lace that adorned the dropped waist and surrounded the hem of the tulle. Ruched tulle was seen across the bust and a classy emerald green ribbon accented her waist. Her hair made her look like a goddess as the elegant curls were alluringly swept into a classic sophisticated loose updo.
She was literally glowing.
She was beautiful just like her groom-to-be had always told her.
Blaise had never failed to appreciate her. He had always been vocal on his adoration to her. He would call her beautiful in the morning even if her wild curls would once again be appearing and would make her look as if she'd been hit by a lightning. He would call her stunning whenever she would wear those beautiful expensive gowns he'd bought for her to wear on their weekend dinner dates. He would always tell her she's sexy every night whenever she would wear those gorgeous night gowns he'd bought for her. She was basically pampered. She could trip and throw herself into a cake but he'd still call her beautiful in every language. She couldn't even count the times or remember all the moments he'd told her over and over again how perfect she was. It was as if he'd let her know about it every possible second he could get the chance but it was ironic that all she could think about was that particular compliment she'd received from his best friend two years ago…
"You look… uhm… good, Granger. Just so you know."
Yes, it was nothing compared to all the thousands of compliments she'd received, but it was the most genuine and… the most powerful. She remembered each stroke of emotion that was etched into his perfectly sculpted face the moment they had bumped into Berlin two years ago. From the minute his eyes had met hers, there was approval and appreciation, then a little smirk that indicated playfulness. Seconds later the playfulness turned into bewilderment as if he'd recognized something, then his eyes had widened and a surprise expression filled his feature. She would never forget the very moment when blood had suddenly filled his pale cheeks. It was… very cute. That part was her favorite in recalling that memory of hers. She didn't even need a pensive to replay it. It was more vivid than anything else. Sometimes, she'd dream of it, but would always wake up guiltily staring at Blaise's beautiful contented feature next to hers.
Draco Malfoy gave out a heavy sigh as he fixed the tie of his tuxedo. This was it. This was the day his best friend had dreamt of for so long. He'd finally marry the girl of his dreams. Draco Malfoy had always been a selfish man, but what was there to be selfish about when the woman you've secretly loved was completely content and happy with the man who saved your life?
The war had ruined his life. His father had received the kiss in Azkaban and this was the cause why his mother had lost her sanity and was permanently placed into St. Mungus. Draco thought he had nothing to live for. Every night he got drunk and spent his money on different women. He had tried all vices and had been involved in a lot of illegal alliances. It was amazing that the very day he decided to die, was also the day he was going to live again…
He was drunk on the streets of London. He wanted more excitement. His vices had been quite boring lately. The women were no different, either. He wanted to experience something more. He was only nineteen but it seemed that he had lived a hundred years… a hundred years of pure shit. He laughed out loud as he stared at the glowing lights of the metropolis.
Yes, it seemed he had experienced everything, except to die… to die and just forget everything. There was nothing much to remember anyway. It was better this way. It was better to just sleep forever.
He had been staring at his wand, ready to utter the curse that would end all these suffering when a hand had suddenly tapped his shoulder.
"Draco? Draco Malfoy?"
Four years later after that night, there was no question who Draco Malfoy was. Draco Malfoy was the name that every man had been envious of. It was the name that every woman had been dying to be with. Getting up was honestly a struggle, but it was because of Blaise Zabini and his mother that had always been there for him all throughout his foolhardiness that he had somehow managed to build a great name for himself. Blaise and his mother had been able to assist him in raising the Malfoy business that was left to him by fusing them on the Zabini industry. It was fortunate that no matter how he had thrown galleons and galleons of money away with his vices before, his volts in Gringgotts seemed to never empty. He had then realized how rich and truly powerful he was with all those money. Through his best friend's help, at the age of twenty three, he had become The Draco Malfoy, the rich, respected, powerful man who had been Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly's favorite topic.
He was on a business trip at Berlin when he had first met her once again. Blaise was the one who was in charge of some of their businesses in Berlin and had already been there for about a year and had asked Draco to come and help him with certain matters. Draco had bumped into her inside a restaurant.
At first he didn't recognize her. He was even planning on flirting with her thinking that she was another one of those really gorgeous high class females in the place and all he could honestly think about was that, damn, she was beautiful. It was only when he realized that she was actually Hermione Granger that all of the planned words of flirtation had fled out of his mind. He was utterly shocked to the core. For the first time, Draco Malfoy, couldn't find his voice.
She was the first one to speak. Her smile was contagious, he needed to say something or look more foolish than he already did.
"You look… uhm… good, Granger. Just so you know."
That was, perhaps, the most embarrassing moment of his life. How could he say she just looked good? She didn't just look good, she was stunning! She was wearing a blue sophisticated dress. Her hair still curly, but they were shiny and had looked seductive and classy at the same time as it was being tied elegantly into a loose updo.
How in the hell Hermione Granger turned out into this beautiful sexy swan next to him, he clearly didn't know. But the last time he had seen her was during the war and when he was a mere seventeen year old boy. Staring at her beautiful smile, he realized that indeed, it was really so long ago. The pain was so long ago… This was a beautiful beginning.
He wanted to erase that stupid statement and wanted to give this gorgeous girl more credit. Yes, he should tell her she looked stunning. He should tell her she looked really gorgeous, and that her dress fitted her perfectly. He should tell her that—"So, you two already met!" Blaise was grinning as he went near them. Hermione chuckled and went to kiss Blaise who then kissed her back happily.
Hermione smiled as she glanced at Ginny frantically going in and out of the room, ushering some of the little flower girls and bridesmaids, sometimes carrying some bouquets and shrieking at any of the males that would try to sneak in and have a look on the bride.
"Gin, I told you I should help you with that and—"
"Don't you dare stand up from that seat! Your gown might get frayed!" Ginny shrieked, motioning a hand to Hermione.
"Okay! Okay! I just—you're my maid of honor. You should let the wedding planner do this job," Hermione laughed.
"How could I know she's doing everything perfectly well if I won't check on it?" Ginny replied and was then gone for a brief second to chase one of the flower girls who had forgotten her bouquet.
Hermione laughed to herself and stared at the beautiful roses beside her vanity. She got one and placed it on her nose to inhale on its beautiful scent…
"What is this?" Hermione smiled.
"A rose," Draco shrugged as he sat beside her. They were at Zabini's summer house in Italy. The three would often stay there, whenever they would have to take care of any business in Italy.
"I know it's a rose, Draco. But why are you giving it to me?" She asked as she smelled the flower, playfully flipping her bare feet in the waters of the lake.
"You wanted a rose," he just smiled and looked over the beautiful lake. He had also taken off his slippers and dipped his feet into the waters now.
"Hmm…" Hermione just smiled and continued on playing with her new rose.
"I heard you asking Blaise about it, a while ago," he continued, now looking at her.
The sun beams made her cheeks and skin glow. He couldn't help but to stare at her beautiful neck line and collar bone. Why in the hell did she need to wear a bare shoulder dress? Her hair was carelessly tied into a messy bun, making her neck the center of attention. This girl honestly didn't know how seductive she was.
"He said he'd send me roses once he got home," she nodded as she smiled at him, staring at his ruffled thin white shirt and his gorgeous messy blonde hair.
"I just gave you the favor of not waiting any longer then," he grinned.
"Yes, well, thank you," she smiled as she looked down and inhaled the rose once more.
They were quiet for a while. There was no awkwardness… just stillness. They liked it that way. They've become too familiar with each other for so long now. They've been best friends. It was amazing how more comfortable they were with each other than they were with Blaise, who was actually the reason why they became friends in the first place.
"What the—what did you do that for?" Draco suddenly uttered, quite shocked but also smiling a little when he heard Hermione's giggles. She had just splashed him with water.
"I heard you saying to Blaise you wanted to take a good splash a while ago. I'm just giving you the favor of not waiting for my boyfriend and have your little bromance while taking a bath!" She laughed as she splashed some more water on him and ran away as fast as she could.
"What the hell—you did not just say that Granger!" Draco laughed as he ran after her.
Hermione shrieked by the time he had caught her by the waist.
"What's the matter? Can't take the fact that I'm prettier than you?" She giggled as she turned around to look at him. His hands were still gripping her waist tightly.
"Oho! Well well well, Blaise didn't just make you a spoiled little princess but he'd also shared his big ego on you!" Draco chuckled.
"Guess we'd all have to blame Draco Malfoy for sharing a bit of his ego on him and infecting me in the process!" Hermione bantered, still giggling.
Hermione shrieked when Draco had suddenly carried her, bridal style, and plunged them both into the waters of the lake.
Both laughed and splashed each other playfully. This was one of the moments they really liked. They loved to play together, like little children. Maybe it was because Hermione was an only child as well as Draco, or maybe because there was honestly more than that. Both seemed to know, but neither tried to venture it out. Complications were not necessary if both of them were happy in these tender moments.
"You're such a jealous git, Draco!" Hermione chuckled as Draco went near her again and cornered her by trapping her and placing both his hands into the huge stone behind her.
"Yes, I'm so jealous… I'm so bloody jealous because you're too damn pretty."
Both suddenly were very quiet as they stared at each other closely. The summer heat giving soft pink kisses on their cheeks. His thin white soaked shirt had been pressed into her chest. Her dress, too transparent having been fully soaked by the lake's waters, revealed her black strapless bra. She couldn't help but breath frantically as these nonstop emotions poured into her once again making her ache with this familiar longing. It was always like this, whenever they'd been too close to each other.
There were times when she'd find him still awake in the kitchen, during late nights. It was a little secret they seemed to hide from Blaise, even if there was nothing to be guilty about. All they would do was talk and have coffee but it seemed that neither one was able to open that topic with Blaise in the morning.
Sometimes, if Blaise would be late in coming home, Draco would help her prepare dinner. She'd guiltily love it every time he would place his hands into her waist and arm as if assisting her to mix something in the pan. She would tell herself over and over again that it was nothing, that he was just being his playful self, but she knew, deep down, and it made her feel very guilty, but Merlin, she loved it. She really really did.
Sometimes, she would find Draco on the couch when he would come home, too tired to even go into his bedroom. She would sit next to him and let him tell her about the things that pissed him off in the office, about his aching head and annoying reporters. She'd listen devotedly and would even make a tea for him.
The first time she had offered to give him a little massage, it was just because she felt too sorry for him because he looked really tired. After all, Blaise had often told her that her massage could make him feel better in an instant, and so she had offered Draco hoping she could at least lessen his fatigue. She could tell how Draco was a bit surprised at first, but accepted her offer anyway. It was just a massage, after all. She was just being a good friend. But that first time, clearly, wasn't the last one. It seemed that Draco had suddenly been persistent on asking her for a massage every time he went home and if Blaise wasn't around or was sleeping. There was even this one time when he asked her to "teach" him how to do it.
Hermione had to stop herself from trembling due to the overwhelming excitement she was suddenly feeling. She had never felt like this with Blaise, not even when they would make love. It made her so guilty, but oh, she really liked the feeling too much.
Having Draco's hands, massaging her, was the most sensual thing she'd ever experienced; she had to close her eyes and stifle a moan by biting her lower lip. She had to tell herself over and over again that there was no malice and that they were not doing anything bad. They were just two "best friends", trying to ease each others' fatigue with a good massage.
Yet, he was just too good.
He was her darkest secret and sweetest sin…
It was always like this when he would get too close to her. And right now, in this beautiful lake, he was just too close again. She could smell his familiar scent… that musky masculine fresh scent of spicy woody fragrance she'd always loved as his body pressed into hers, pushing and exciting her breasts. She couldn't help but to stare at the pair of lips in front of her, they were so soft… so near… so tempting…
Both almost jumped as they both looked up and saw Blaise' confused gaze at them.
"Where are my roses?" Hermione laughed nervously as she went out of the lake and kissed her boyfriend.
Blaise didn't seem to mind her dripping form and hugged her tightly.
"They're inside, of course. Come look," Blaise smiled as he led Hermione away, leaving Draco staring at the abandoned rose near the waters…
"Draco, man! Where the hell have you been?" Blaise spoke frantically as he ran towards Draco.
Draco almost laughed at his friend's expression. He was honestly a nervous wreck. Wedding days could do this to a person; he almost felt sorry for his best friend. Almost, until he remembered who should he really feel sorry for.
This guy here was the luckiest bloke on earth. He suddenly wanted to punch his best mate.
"You're not having cold feet, are you?" Draco asked, his eyebrow rising in appraisal as he took on Blaise' nervous form.
"Of course not, man! I want to be here! But I was just too nervous, you know. I want this to be special for her. I want everything to be perfect. I'm so nervous something will go wrong. Damn, mate. I just—"
"Whoa! Blaise! Is that a sniff I'm hearing? Trust me; I'm not the right man for this. Go find someone else who'd pat you in the back and offer you tissues!" Draco almost felt sick. He was truthfully not good at this.
"Are you kidding me? Mate, you've been there for me and Mione through everything! For two years, it had always been the three of us traveling everywhere and sharing a good laugh. We three practically lived together, man. You're like a brother to me and Mione. You've been there to patch things up when we would have our little rows. You never left us. You've been there when Hermione got this really bad flu, and you had to drag me off to focus on sending her to the hospital because I was too scared and was panicking. When I had to stay up all night in order to look for her because I was very worried, you've been there to stay up with me. I never got to keep a girl for this long, you know that. You've helped me to keep the girl of my dreams, mate. And for that, thank you so much…"
Draco just shrugged and sipped on his champagne while placing a trembling hand inside his pocket.
"I just want—" Blaise sighed, rubbing his neck tiredly.
"I know, Blaise. I won't tell…"
"I love her, mate. I love her so much. I won't be able to live without her. I'd probably kill myself if she'll leave me. And I'll never forget this, mate. I owe you."
"Blaise? Baby? Wake up," Hermione whispered while gently nudging her boyfriend.
"Mmm..." He just moaned and covered himself with a pillow.
"But you promised…" Hermione pouted, still trying to wake him up.
"Tomorrow, princess. Too sleepy," He uttered, still closing his eyes.
They were at the South beach of Jamaica. Hermione had been very excited of the fact that it had one of the most amazing sunrises in the world and she had made Blaise promise to watch it with her.
"Blaise…" She was whining now. She knew she sounded like a spoiled brat by doing this but she didn't want to miss it! She didn't want to wait for tomorrow either.
There was no answer. He was fast asleep again.
Hermione sighed and hastily went to cover her nightgown with her robe. If Blaise didn't want to share this magical moment with her, then so be it. She wasn't going to miss this moment just because she had a lazy boyfriend. She hurriedly went downstairs and was surprised when Draco was already there, sipping on his tea.
"Draco?" She frowned as she went near him.
"Where's Blaise?" He asked her as he stood up.
"Erm… He's sleeping."
"Seriously, that guy can't be a morning person even just for a day," Draco chuckled as he held her hand and led her into the doorway.
"You're not a morning person either," she reminded him. "And how did you know we were going to watch the sunrise today?"
"Heard you last night whining about it to Blaise," he shrugged.
"I was not whining! I was just trying to let him see my point," Hermione protested.
"Well, obviously, you weren't able to," Draco teased.
"But, obviously, YOU were able to," she suddenly smirked at him.
"You're too full of yourself, angel," he chuckled as he playfully pinched her chin which made her giggle.
They both then settled on sitting down on a blanket Draco had bought with him. Hermione couldn't help but smile on how he really prepared for this.
"You are a very weird woman, you know," Draco uttered as he lie down and placed both his arms behind his head, making his toned chest quite visible through his thin shirt. It was still a little dark and there was yet to be a sign of the sunrise, but the dim light seemed to highlight his toned body perfectly that Hermione had to look away.
"Well, excuse me for loving the wonders of nature," she replied as she focused her gaze in the horizon.
He smirked and sat up, staring back at her too closely.
"Stop staring at me like that! You're freaking me out!" She complained as she punched his chest lightly.
"Well, excuse me for loving the wonders of nature," he smirked at her.
"Ha. Ha. You're very original, you know," she rolled her eyes as she stared at the beautiful scope, trying to ignore the persistent butterflies inside her stomach.
"I usually am," he shrugged, making her laugh a little.
"Do you know that just before sunrise or after sunset a green flush can be seen?" She said.
"Didn't know that. I'm not as bookish as you are," he replied; "but that's interesting."
"I know you'll think so. You Slytherins adore the color," she laughed.
She had a beautiful laugh, he'd always noted that.
"They're optical phenomena, but usually just lasts for no more than a second or two," she continued, her eyes still fixed into the horizon.
"Amazing, don't you think?" She continued, whispering vaguely.
"How can it be that amazing when you can only enjoy it for one second or something?"
"That's what makes it special, Draco. I mean, you know… like those weird looking endangered species. Cute common birds or dogs are prettier than them, but they're being preserved more because they're vulnerable… It's just about the thought of losing them and only seeing or hearing some things once rather than hearing them a thousand times," she said as she breathed deeply into the sea breeze. Draco thought that no woman on earth could be as amazing as her.
"People usually want what they can't have," he replied, almost wistfully.
For a minute, the sun suddenly found its way into the horizon. Hermione held her breath and stared at the wondrous panorama. She absently found Draco's hand and squeezed it tightly. Soon, the sky was colored with intense red and orange hues. It was simply magnificent… She almost wanted to cry. She suddenly realized that this moment would forever be etched in her memory... the smell of the breeze, the coolness as well as warmth of the morning summer air, the sound of the waves, the beautiful hues in the wide sky, the magical horizon and Draco Malfoy's warm hand tightly clutching hers… She turned to look at Draco who was also staring at her. They held each others' gaze as a small smile graced her feature.
"Thank you for waking up for me," she whispered.
Hermione stared at the beautiful engagement ring, adoring her elegant white glove covered hand. When she was younger, her mother had always told her that being a bride would be one of the happiest days in a girl's life. She knew with all her mind that she should be happy. Blaise was the perfect boyfriend. He was everything a girl could ever want, but why wasn't enough? Why should she do the stupidest thing she ever did in her life and why couldn't she find any remorse on it? And did she really have to do it the night before her wedding day? She didn't even know what to think of herself anymore. Her reflection in the mirror screamed perfection and flawlessness but deep inside, she was a rotten mess…
"You CAN'T be serious!" Hermione laughed; staring at the tiniest dress, well, costume she'd ever seen.
"Well, the hen party pixie theme won't be pixie-like without us being pixies and sexy, you know," Ginny danced across the room. She was wearing a cute pink pixie dress with layered shortest skirt and glittered flower wings. She looked really cute, she'd give her that.
"I can't believe I actually agreed to your weird idea of having a pixie themed hen party," Hermione rolled her eyes as she sat down and examined the costume Ginny had bought for her. It was a two-piece pixie dress with very short thin, plain weave, sheer silk fabric that would flow around her thigh as a skirt. She could say it was very pretty, but it somehow neared a honeymoon lingerie… with wings. Great.
"Well, of course you did! You'll love it! I have a lot of surprises in store for you. I mean, I don't blame you for being so head-over-heels over sexy Blaise, but come to think of it, Mione! After this night, you'll be forever sleeping with one guy alone, no more break ups and random snogs or one night stands and—"
"I do not have random snogs or one night stands, Ginny! For your information, I'd been a perfectly loyal girlfriend to him," Hermione said a matter-of-factly. It was true, of course. She was completely loyal to Blaise, even if she couldn't figure out why that sentence made her feel a little guilty.
"I know, right? You're so boring!" Ginny rolled her eyes and strolled towards the huge bag she had brought earlier. Hermione almost shriek by the time Ginny had heaved out all of the cosmetics inside the bag into the large bed.
"You know what? Sometimes, I wonder if you're a promo girl selling these stuffs or something," Hermione frowned as she stared at her bed and the tons of lotions, nail polish, powders, perfumes, skin care creams, foundations, hair sprays, gels, lipsticks, lip glosses, eyebrow pencils and more she couldn't quite recognize sprawled all over her bed. Her favorite little pillow was lost somewhere. Perfect. Rolling her eyes seemed to be a habit when Ginny's around. She might want to check them with the healers if this went permanent.
Ginny then had practically dragged her and pushed her down to sit in front of her dresser.
"It's time to make you the prettiest pixie out there that even Peter Pan would trade Tinker Bell for you!"
Hours later, Hermione found herself laughing and screaming frustratingly while covering her eyes as male strippers danced around her. They were "Ginny's gift" to her. The rented club was too loud that her own screams and laughter melted away with the booming music and the loud squeals of her female guests. Ginny, literally, had been too carried away with the fact that she'd allowed her to throw a hen night for her to celebrate her last farewell to her single days.
It was a good thing she only had a glass of champagne. She knew she was a cheap drunk, so she never drinks without Blaise and Draco around. She had never really trusted herself ever since the night she and Ron had been drunk inside the Gryffindor common room when they were in sixth year. Ron was her first love and she didn't regret the fact that he was her first time, but the fact that she'd lost something so precious while being drunk was something Hermione Granger wasn't so proud of.
After that night, Hermione had sworn to herself that she'd never lose control of her drinking again. It was only when she and Blaise started dating when she'd started drinking a little more again. Blaise would always take good care of her.
After a year, when Draco settled in Berlin and went with their travels after, she was perfectly safe and pampered with her two bodyguards every time she would lose control of her drinking, Draco would be the sweetest because he would always brew her a potion in the morning and—Hermione had suddenly stood up and excuse herself to go to the restroom. She blamed the loud noise and music on messing up with her mind.
This night, all she ever thought about was Draco Malfoy.
It was even as if she was suddenly a dying person with all these flashbacks of their memories together. She had even imagined one of those cute male strippers to be Draco. She was seriously out of her mind!
Maybe it was because she was getting married tomorrow and this was her last night as a single woman?
Yes. That must be it. She refused to accept the fact that her heart ached knowing that things would be very different from now on.
She would be living with Blaise, staying with Blaise, having a family with Blaise… without Draco.
She wouldn't even see him just like she would always do every day because he had promised Blaise that he would do all the traveling on their business so that Blaise could stay with Hermione at the Zabini Manor. She suddenly couldn't take the fact that she wouldn't be able to see him that much again.
No more late night coffee, no more random roses, no more playful witty banters, no more carefree laughter, no more… Draco.
She was suddenly hyperventilating while her eyes suddenly chose to water. She couldn't believe how serious this was. She couldn't believe she had even accepted that ring and—what the hell? Was she insane? Of course she accepted that ring because she loved Blaise! And it was just because of the mixed smell of alcohol and cigars in the air which was why she was having a little difficulty in breathing and her eyes were just being irritated by the smoky air.
That was all!
She loved Blaise! She really did! But why was that it was okay for her, every time Blaise would be late in coming home, but then she'd always look for Draco every time he'd be late? Why was it that every time she would receive good news in her job, she'd always call Draco first? Or the times she'd have problems, she'd always find Draco instead of Blaise? She would always reason out that it was because Blaise was busy. But how about the time when Blaise was at their flat and Draco was in the middle of a very important conference, but it was still him she had called to help her? He had to abandon the new investors just to make sure she was alright. Blaise was so mad at Draco upon the news from the investors but Draco had accepted all the blame and left her out of it.
She had suddenly lost her balance and had started crying helplessly inside the restroom.
She was trembling as she sat on the floor and hugged her knees. She badly needed to talk to someone…
She needed to talk to her fiancé and make him tell her that it was very normal to feel this way before your wedding day. She needed him to reassure her that everything would be alright tomorrow. She needed to let him tell her that this was very normal. She needed him to comfort her…
Her hands were shaking as she reached inside her purse for her phone. She dialed a number, still trembling and crying loudly, her mascara was everywhere and she looked like a mess…
"H-Hello? Draco? Where are you?"
Three minutes later, the door in the restroom opened loudly with a bash.
"What the—what happened to you, Mione? Are you hurt? Huh? Are you okay?" Draco said worriedly as he frantically examined every part of her that he could see, looking for any scratches or bruises.
For Merlin's sake, the club was a chaos when he apparated outside and went in for her. Some of the drunken girls had even thrown themselves at him, thinking that he was one of those male strippers that they were currently partying with. How many male models did Ginny ordered? He honestly didn't know as they were all over the place. Clearly, that Weasley girl could overdo things.
It didn't help that by the time he went inside the restroom, Hermione was hugging her knees, crying helplessly on the floor and with nothing but a very revealing piece of clothing (if he could still call it one). Her high glass heels were carelessly discarded at the side leaving her barefooted. If he hadn't known that the theme of this party was all about pixies (roll eyes for the Weasley girl), he'd thought that someone had hurt her and thorn her clothes to pieces.
"Mione? Princess? I'm here… Ssshh… I'm here now," Draco placed his blazer over her and cradled her as she cried and buried her face into his chest while he kissed her hair.
"I'm side apparating us both, okay? I'm taking you home and—"
"No! I don't want to see Blaise right now, please!" she cried. How could she even face him? She had broken down because she was in love with his best friend.
Yes. Denying it was pointless. She had these feelings for far too long and it all came pouring down with retribution this night. She couldn't look at Blaise now. Her guilt would kill her.
"He's not home, Mione. You know we were also having our stag party tonight. He's still at the club. I just sneaked out to make sure you're okay after that phone call," Draco explained.
"Take me home then," Hermione sniffed as she wiped her tears with the back of her hand like that of a child, carelessly muddling up her mascara even more.
Draco could not understand the idea that when looking at this girl who seemed lost, filled with tears, and with her mascara all over her face… all he could ever think about was that, she was very beautiful. She was a beautiful mess, but still, beautiful…
They clearly didn't know how they ended up like this, but minutes later, they were suddenly all over the apartment, kissing and snogging each other to death.
Hermione's legs were entwined around Draco's waist as they continued kissing each other without a care in the world. Both had knocked over lamp shades, vases and some furniture as Draco was still leading the way to his bedroom, still carrying Hermione with her bare legs tangled around him like a spider.
"Damn it, Hermione! If you don't stop now, I swear to you, you will NEVER get out of this! I'll do everything in my power to let you get out now while you still can!" Draco suddenly shouted as he forced himself to stop kissing her neck and ravish her to death.
He didn't want her to regret this after. He knew damn well how he wanted her, but he was not someone who would take advantage of a very confused girl, let alone his best friend's bride-to-be.
Hermione seemed to not listen as she kissed him roughly and unbuttoned his ruffled shirt and threw it beside the bed.
"I warned you Hermione! I'm not a—"
Draco's eyes almost went out as Hermione unceremoniously took off her pixie dress and threw it on the floor, leaving her with nothing but her knickers since she wasn't wearing any bra inside.
All descent thoughts had suddenly fled Draco's mind.
What the hell?
He had never even thought this moment would ever come. He had imagined Hermione naked for so many times in his fantasies before… but here she was, vividly real, taking her clothes off for him and letting him see her and waiting for him to touch her just like what he'd always wished for.
His fantasies had never even taken justice on how beautiful she really was. He allowed his eyes to roam around her body as he took in her form… every curve, every insignificant and unnoticed beauty mark, every inch of her flushed porcelain skin… every essence of Hermione.
He wanted this woman so bad he didn't care of anyone or anything anymore.
Her pink lips were swollen due to their heavy snogging a while ago, and some of her lipstick had stained her glowing and burning cheeks. She still had stains of black tears due to her mascara. Some of her makeup had vanished but she was best looking this way as some of her little freckles on her nose were now visible… She was breathing so hard out of anticipation making her breasts move, seemingly teasing and inviting him. Everything of her had snatched every sanity that was left of him, but what had made his heartbeat stop was the look of lust and love in her dark honey colored eyes.
Lust and love…
Lust and love… for HIM.
She wanted HIM.
If he should die tomorrow, he'd happily accept it.
Hermione didn't know how he did it, but he was suddenly all over her, kissing, nibbling and reaching for everything that he could as she moaned his name. She couldn't help but embrace all the passion and craze he was eliciting in her and in every part of her body through his mouth and hands.
The feel of his rough hands felt too good as it caressed her soft breasts and every sensitive part of her body. She had always wondered every time he'd give her a massage before what it would be like for him touching all the sensitive parts in her but she had never expected it to be this damn good.
She suddenly realized she had only slept with two men in her lifetime, too insignificant when compared to the number of women Draco had. Yet, in the way his eyes seemed to be burning into her, she felt that each of his skilled action were not just because of the ample amount of practice he had, but because he wanted and needed her that bad.
She wanted this moment to never end.
She had never ever felt this with Ron nor Blaise, and right then, she understood why. She had loved him for far too long but she was just too stubborn. Each and every second she had ignored these feelings for years seemed to come back in great reprisal.
Her body and soul ached his touch for far too long that everything had come crashing in this very single night. The reality that she wouldn't be able to see Draco Malfoy anymore came shooting down into her throat down to her heart's very core. All rational thoughts had to take a halt and wait. What she needed now was him. The fresh and masculine smell of pines invigorating her every senses… engulfing her so overpoweringly that her own soul seemed to moan with pleasure and endless bliss.
For the very first time in her life, Hermione Granger chose to feel rather than think.
Draco woke up alone in his large messy bed. The glow of the sunbeams warming his flushed naked form. The bed covers seemed to have tangled his legs and he needed to twist a little to get rid of it that was when he realized that there was no Hermione beside him.
Had he simply dreamt about everything?
Yet, he knew in his very soul that he didn't. He could still feel the tenderness on their afterglow last night. How she whispered that she didn't want to think for a while and that they'd both sort this out tomorrow. He could still smell her fragrance… sweet floral with honey…
He knew that he'd be forever clinging into this moment. It was driving him crazy, but he knew that everything was going to be alright just as long as she'd agree with him. He tried so hard to bury these feelings before, but he was Draco Malfoy.
He knew the war and the years of struggle and healing had changed him completely, but there would and always be a part of his old self in him. He was Draco Malfoy.
Draco Malfoy always got what he wanted.
There was never a question.
He wanted Hermione.
Now, all he had to do was to talk to her about their status. He'd do everything and give up everything. Yes. He was ready to give everything up, even his best friend. Draco knew he was the villain here. He knew he would never be too proud of himself by doing this, but he was only trying to choose the lesser evil. Hermione didn't love Blaise and being married would be the biggest mistake they would both be doing. Someday, Blaise would thank him for this.
He was about to get out of bed and look for Hermione when he suddenly found a letter on the desk. It was addressed to him. He couldn't help but swallow a lump in his throat as he started to undo its tie.
I know I am being spiteful and a coward but I just can't face you right now. I've thought about what we've done and please believe me that I don't regret any of it. I've been so confused last night, but then again, maybe I've been confused for far too long. I used to think that everything in this world had a solution. I was expected to be the know-it-all after all. Yet, I've just realized that even know-at-alls are no better than the others. In fact, we're stupid enough to rely on facts and let other people think that we know everything but we honestly really don't. Now, I've just realized that doing the right thing and the best solution sometimes meant sacrificing our own happiness. I was never a selfish person. I wanted to be, but I just couldn't. I thought I could be happy if I'd just let myself be happy, but then I knew I was only fooling myself. If being happy meant breaking Blaise' heart, shattering his mother and my parents' dream for us and hurting a lot of people in the process including you, then, I'd rather be lonely. You have the most beautiful friendship with Blaise. You have a family with Mrs. Zabini. I don't want you to give them all up for me. I'm not that special, really. I'm just a girl. I'd be marrying Blaise not because I don't love you, but because he loves me more. I don't want to lengthen the damage I'd already done. Please understand.
Draco felt painful tears gracing his eyes as he crumpled the paper and threw it hastily into the floor, shouting in agony and almost ripping himself. How could one moment be so perfect collapse in just a snap?
He honestly didn't know what to do anymore. He suddenly noticed the tuxedo he'd be wearing for the big wedding this afternoon. It was hanging inside his half opened closet. He laughed at the irony of it all. How could his life be so fucked up?
"I fucked up, man! I fucked up!" He suddenly heard Blaise' trembling voice as he opened Draco's door in a loud thump.
Draco almost vomited at the sight of Blaise. All the guilt had suddenly punched him to the extent that he couldn't think straight and breathe anymore.
Blaise was a mess. He looked as if the world had just crumbled behind him. His polo from last night was as disheveled as his face. Then a shock had hit him. It was the very first time Draco had seen Blaise crying. But then again, maybe it was also the first time Blaise had seen him crying, as they were both crying pathetically, staring at each other in wide bulging eyes.
The sight couldn't even be more pathetic than what the situation already was.
What the hell happened?
Hermione made it perfectly clear that he'd still marry him, didn't she?
Was these all a sick joke?
"What the fuck happened to you?" Blaise suddenly shouted at Draco after a lengthy silence.
"Huh?" To say that Draco was confused was an understatement. Maybe he was still dreaming?
"I knew it! I knew we shouldn't have had a stag party, damn it!" Blaise was pacing frantically over the room now, looking at the discarded clothing and the mess all over Draco's room.
"B-Blaise, I can explain! Please just listen, I—"
"I know, mate! This was all Nott's fault!"
Why was he suddenly talking about Theodore Nott now? Draco was surprised he was still alive right now. This headache and confusion were enough to kill him.
"He was the one who brought all those sluttish bints! Of course, alcohol and strippers will never mix! Man! How will I ever fix this?" Blaise resorted on his crying again. What in the name of—?
"What did you do, Blaise?"
"Bloody hell! Did you sleep with one of them?" Draco was fuming now. Here he was, breaking his heart into pieces and giving up the girl of his dreams for the man who'd just slept with a stripper. How could he even entrust Hermione to him when he could actually sleep with a random girl just because he had too much to drink?
All coherent thoughts had suddenly left Draco as his fist connected brutally into his best mate's gut. He was about to kick him into unconsciousness when Blaise had suddenly kneeled in front of him, sobbing and desperately clinging into his shirt.
"Please don't tell her, man! Please don't tell her! I think I'll die without her!" Blaise sobbed. It was the most pathetic thing he'd ever seen.
"Why did you do that shit at the first place?"
"I was scared! I was scared of the fact that I'm really going to marry her! I was afraid that maybe I'd blow it all up in the process; that I can't be perfect for her! I was scared of the new life I would be facing. I was just so confused, Draco. Please understand, mate. I love Hermione. I don't want to lose her. Please don't tell her. I'll owe you my life for this."
The aisle was perfect. It was on an outdoor ceremony. The gardens of the Zabini manor had been charmed to have an ideal climate. Stylish posts on the sides were decorated with green rose balls and organza ribbons. Red and white rose petals were scattered along the way to the white covered clothed altar with emerald green colors at the edges. Hermione could see some Fischer and Abyssian lovebirds adorning the sight, their sweet melodies adding to the beautiful atmosphere. It felt like she was in a dream. She was walking down the aisle and she could see her parents' blissful smiles. Her mother seemed to be trying to control her emotion as she dabbed a tissue on her cheeks. Mrs. Zabini was proudly but tenderly looking at her soon to be daughter-in-law. Harry and Ron were both smiling at her appreciatively. It took her some time to let them accept her travels and relationship with Blaise and Draco. Yet, everything was so different now. The importance of blood status had long been gone and was buried together with the war… Wounds and heart aches were healed and forgotten. Scars had only become mere embellishments and a reminder of survival and new chapters. Everything was perfect.
Hermione Granger had always loved perfection.
Yet, why wasn't she happy at all?
Then she realized, she wasn't looking nor walking towards the groom anymore… She was walking towards the best man, his best friend beside him. It was such an irony why the best man in a wedding ceremony was called the "best man". It was such a funny joke to her before, but right now, Hermione had suddenly found herself lost in that same paradox. She suddenly froze in the middle of the aisle as she trembled. Helpless tears were suddenly out before she could even notice it.
"I-I can't do this," she finally uttered, followed by a loud gasp among the crowd.
It was probably one of the longest moments of Hermione's life. It was as if everything had painfully slowed down. She could see the surprised faces of the crowd, the worried and confused faces of her family and friends. Ginny's eyes were bulging in shock and both her gloved hands were covering her mouth. Harry had stood up, debating whether or not to run into her rescue. Ron was rooted into his seat, clearly confused and baffled to even move.
Draco was about to run to her when Blaise had suddenly grabbed his arm and punched him in the gut. The crowd had started to scream, but Hermione's feet seemed to have forgotten its purpose. She just stayed there, rooted at the spot, aghast of what she had just witnessed.
"How could you do this? Fuck! Why did you tell her?" Blaise was too incensed as he screamed at Draco.
"Damn it! I didn't tell her!"
"What are you two talking about?" Hermione had started struggling with her gown and ran towards them while they were both detained by some of the men to stop them from killing each other.
"Hermione," Blaise uttered as he struggled to get out from Harry's grasp and went to his crying bride, "I know that—"
"You knew what happened?" Hermione asked breathlessly as she heatedly glared at Draco.
There was too much confusion, even the crowd had quieted and had looked at them with confused stares.
"What the hell is happening in here? Draco, what did you tell and not tell? Which one is which?" Mrs. Zabini had stood up from the seat she was in. Her calculating and aristocratic gaze had made the crowd seem to move aside to let her through.
"I—err…" Draco stuttered.
"I slept with another girl last night," Blaise suddenly confessed, gathering "oohs and aahs" on the crowd and leaving Hermione to stare at him in disbelief, too aghast to do or speak anything.
Blaise winced and touched his reddened face as he turned towards his enraged mother who had just slapped him in the face with a brutal force.
"How dare you! How could you ever do this to Hermione?" Mrs. Zabini screamed at his son furiously while pointing her gloved hand to his face. Her expression clearly disgraced.
"I'm so sorry…" Blaise shook his head while covering his face with a trembling hand, too ashamed to face Hermione and his own mother.
Ginny and Hermione's mother went towards the crying bride and held her tightly, while Hermione's father had his fists balled on his sides, trying to stop himself from hitting the already hurt and sobbing Blaise.
Draco felt helpless. He wanted so bad to comfort Hermione but he didn't even know if she'd let him.
"Hermione... please understand," Blaise finally spoke again, albeit desperately.
Ginny held Hermione even tighter as Blaise got nearer to her and held her hand pleadingly.
"We can work this out, baby. I did a stupid mistake. But I don't even know that girl. I was just drunk and scared. I know it's not a good excuse, but it's you that I love. That girl meant nothing to me, I swear. I love you, not her," Blaise pleaded as he squeezed her trembling hand. "I love you, Mione. Just you. I'm not in love with someone else."
"But I am…" Hermione replied quietly as she took her hand off of him.
The crowd went on another shock again; it was even like they were inside a movie house.
"W-What are you talking about?" Blaise trembled as he stared at her in disbelief.
"I slept with your best friend."
Blaise' jaw dropped at an impossible girth, followed by loud gasps among the crowd.
"And it was something, not just nothing. I am in love with him. So we can't work this out… I'm so sorry Blaise, I—" Hermione wasn't able to finish as Blaise had suddenly dived towards Draco, punching and hitting him violently.
The crowd was a chaos and it was a good thing that Harry and his Aurors had controlled the situation by placing both into a body-bind curse.
It took them minutes to let the two calm down so as they could remove the body-bind. The crowd was still in a chaos as they took in the revelations. It was a good thing that the ceremony was a private one and the press was not allowed to go inside. It would be a greater scandal if this mess was covered by the media.
Ginny was trying to calm Mrs. Granger when suddenly she realized that Hermione was not at her side anymore… She looked around and found no bride in sight.
Two years later, Draco was sitting nervously inside a famous restaurant at Berlin, waiting for his best friend in whom he hadn't spoken to for a long time. After that fateful event, Draco and Blaise went on separate ways. Blaise had gone to Italy and continued on the business. Draco and him still had big amount of shares in their fused company but both tried their very best to get away from each others' paths. Whenever they were both needed in the same place, they'd both manage to transport a proxy or delegate just to be able to escape from each other. Sometimes, Blaise would even send his girlfriend, Daphne Greengrass as a representative.
Through the years, both had individually thought about their situations. Time could indeed heal, as their hatred against each other had finally melted away and turned into a longing of their wasted friendship. After all, they had been the best of friends for years no matter how they looked at it. Heart aches and pains were forgiven for a long time already, albeit they'd never had the chance or the guts to say it to each other.
It was only this time that Draco had received a letter from Blaise asking him to meet him at this particular restaurant. Draco had to cancel his appointments for this. He was very nervous, but also excited of the fact that he would meet his best friend once again. It had been two painful years of silence. He wanted his best friend back.
"Hi, mate…" Draco's head whipped around by the time he heard Blaise' voice. He was with Daphne.
Draco stood up and greeted them. They then had to endure a lengthy silence as Daphne tried her very best to carry on a conversation. It was minutes later that they both started talking. Their talk was very formal and a little casual, as they talked about their business and their future plans with it. Draco got tired of waiting and finally decided to open the topic that they've had avoided for far too long.
"Blaise," Draco said as he sighed tiredly. "It's been so long and I think that we need to put the past behind us. I've done you wrong, and I'm really sorry, mate, I just—"
"I know, mate," Blaise smiled. "It's been so long, and I've moved on so…"
Blaise held his hand for Draco and offered him a handshake. Draco smiled back and accepted it as Daphne smiled at both of them, seemingly pleased that finally, Blaise would be able to sleep soundly tonight.
"I've moved on. Yes. But clearly, you haven't," Blaise continued as he stared at Draco.
Draco didn't answer and just looked down. He had never seen Hermione since that day she had walked out of their lives, but he had never forgotten her even for just a second. He tried to look for her, but neither even her parents nor her friends knew where she was. He became desperate and sent his subjects to look for her, but what he only got was a letter. His subjects had found her living at a small cottage at the small county of Isle of Wight of the English Channel. She had told them that she wasn't ready yet to see neither him nor her parents.
Her letter said that she wanted to think over some things alone and wanted to travel the world. She had also requested him to never find her again, nor wait for her because he deserved to move on with his life. This had completely broken his heart. He tried to understand her but couldn't possibly get himself to move on. He then promised himself that he'd wait for her, even if there was no guarantee and that he might wait for a lifetime.
"I'd be lying if I tell you I've moved on, Blaise. Don't get me wrong, though. I've completely buried the past issue and hatred between us, but I don't think I'll ever get over her," Draco explained truthfully.
"I know that, mate. That's why you're here," Blaise smiled at him.
Draco frowned and only stared at him in an appraising manner. There was a strange, almost suspicious, glint on his best friend's eyes.
"Daphne here has a friend she wanted you to meet," Blaise grinned at him, as a reply for Draco's look of confusion.
Draco just chuckled and shook his head. This would never work. For the past years, a lot of women had tried to catch his attention but then, in every smile, in every laughter and in every conversation, he'd only think of one girl…
"Sorry, I'm late."
Draco's head turned by the time he had heard a voice. He could have sworn that in his lifetime, he had actually experienced to die for one second. His system seemed to have taken a halt and his breath nor heartbeat were nowhere to be found. All he could hear, see, feel, smell was… sweet floral with honey… the essence of Hermione.
If it was possible to even experience using your senses altogether with just a fragrance then Draco Malfoy could prove it.
Even for just a second or so…
This was it.
His very own green flush before the sunrise…
That's what makes it special, Draco. I mean, you know… like those weird looking endangered species. Cute common birds or dogs are prettier than them, but they're being preserved more because they're vulnerable… It's just about the thought of losing them and only seeing or hearing some things once rather than hearing them a thousand times…
She was right.
She was always right.
Smart, smart girl.
"It's nice to see you again, Malfoy," his Hermione smiled at him.
She was the first one to speak, again. Her smile was contagious, he needed to say something or look more foolish than he already did.
"You look… uhm… good, Granger. Just so you know."
- FIN -
A/N: I seriously had fun writing this, even if I don't know why I wrote it at the first place but Jesse Mcartney's song just went into my mind in a blank second before I went to sleep and suddenly; Draco, Hermione and Blaise came pouring into my mind like a hurricane and I realized I NEEDED to write a fic about them.
A million thanks to my beta AriesPrincess-Slyffindor for having the patience to tidy up this incredibly long one shot of mine.
I also have a few pictures posted at photobucket for you to visualize some of the outfits and look I've featured here. It includes:
Hermione's complete look during her first meeting with Draco at Berlin
Hermione's complete look at the second meeting at Berlin
Ginny's pixie costume at the hen night
Hermione's pixie costume at the hen night
Hermione's wedding dress
Draco's complete look at the second meeting at Berlin.
Draco's look with his white thin shirt at Italy on the summer vacation.
(See my profile for the photobucket link)
Lots of love, Sue