Howdy, ya'll! Just a quick excerpt update! This is probably very crappily written, considering that it's one in the morning and I'm working off about 4 hours of sleep, but ya'll will deal.

This is for brieabdcheese, who requested another excerpt! Hope you enjoy!

Hermione found that it was much easier to forget his negative qualities when Tom did those little things that often made her want to melt into a pile of mush on the tile floor.

Of course, it wasn't as though she had expected, when walking into Madam Levesque's office that morning, to be barraged with a sea of roses and, in familiar elegant script, a card addressed to her wishing her the happiest of birthdays. It almost made up for his absence.


For three weeks, Tom had been overseas with Harry and Seamus Finnegan sorting out a problem with a few unruly American dark wizards who had taken to attacking Muggle elementary schools. As noble as the cause was, Hermione could not help but feel a trickle of self-pity as she glumly looked down at the card, wishing more than anything that he could be there in person to deliver it.

"Oh good Lord, Miz Granger! I don't care 'ow much you're little boyfriend loves you, 'e must stop covering my office in zis-zis-outrage!" Hermione barely refrained from rolling her eyes as she whirled to face her boss, the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and, in Hermione's opinion, the only woman who could give Umbridge herself a run for her money in terms of vileness, Madam Levesque. She was a french woman who had taken over two years before Hermione had graduated and seemed to care more about ruining her life then actually regulating and controlling magical creatures. As her assistant, Hermione could do little to defy her without being put out of a job.

"I'm sorry, Madam." she forced out as politely as she could. "Tom just goes a bit overboard on my birthday-it's sort of his staple."

Madam Levesque feigned a sympathetic look which was ruined when she scrunched up her nose in disdain. "Oui, well, please do inform dear Tom zat I am not inclined to deal well with frivolity!" Before Hermione could argue, the woman shoved a large stack of paper's into her arms. 'I want zose filed by ze time I return from my meeting-and have zis mess cleaned up as well!" Without another word she turned on her heel-rather dramatically, Hermione thought-and stormed out of the office, slamming the door behind her.

She let out a frustrated huff, dropping the papers onto the desk and plopping down tiredly into the chair. Wearily, her eyes swiveled up to the clock which hung above the door.


Hermione groaned, her head coming down hard on the wood of the desk.

It was going to be a long day.

The former-Gryffindor found the little library that had been hastily shoved into a corner in Diagon Alley to be one of the most relaxing places she had ever come across. She had worked there for over a year after graduation before the Ministry had picked her up. Tom had been a little harder to convince; he had only joined faculty five months previous, and did so begrudgingly. He had only agreed because Harry had been going on countless dangerous missions and Hermione was constantly worrying that he and Ron were in danger. After months of enduring this, Tom finally shut her up by suggesting that he just go watch over them himself.

Now, though, Hermione was beginning to regret her nagging. She had always assumed that Tom could take care of himself; after all, she had never come across a wizard as powerful as he. But now, with almost a months time apart from him, she couldn't help but be fearful...

She shook her head quickly, clearing these pessimistic thoughts from her head and turning back to her book. She was Hermione Granger, for Merlin's sake! She took no stock in moping about and pitying herself just because her boyfriend was gone for a few weeks. She wasn't one of those girls-

"Oi, 'Mione!"

Her brown eyes shot towards the direction of the familiar voice; Dean Thomas was waving at her from between two book cases. She hurried to her feet, enveloping him in a tight hug.

"Dean! How've you been? It's been...quite a while, hasn't it?"

The handsome boy-man, now, she supposed-gave her a roguish grin. "Over a year, I reckon. I've been well. Just mucking about and all. Still attached to those books, I see." He nodded towards the novel in her hand and she subconsciously slipped it behind her back.

"Yes, well. Some things don't change."

He seemed to sense a weight in her words, and he nodded solemnly. "No, they don't." He agreed. An uncertain silence loomed between the two of them for a moment before he broke it. "How're Harry and Ron then? And Tom-you two're still together, aren't you?"

"Yes," she said, her face flushing in the way that it did whenever someone mentioned Tom-a habit that she hadn't been able to break in almost four years. "And they're great...they're all great. The lot of them are actually over in America right now, for the DMLE, dealing with some dark wizards that are causing quite a ruckus."

Dean shook his head disbelievingly. "Never give up, do they?" Hermione wasn't sure if he was referring to Harry and Ron, or dark wizards, so she just let out a breathy laugh, clutching her book tighter. "Well, it was great seeing you, Mione; I've got to get back to my girlfriend, she's waiting at Fortesque's."

"Great seeing you too, Dean." She gave him a final departing hug before he disappeared the way he came. She shook her head slowly, sinking back into her favorite armchair.

It was still hard for the three of them to get used to this; the fact that nobody remembered any of the events of the first and second wizarding war was mildly disturbing to the trio. As far as anyone knew, Harry was just an average-albeit wildly talented-young wizard with a penchant for dueling and Quidditch.

As she was walking home that evening, Hermione felt a bizarre sense of gratitude towards both McGonagall and Dumbledore. Had he known, upon sending them back, all that would occur between she and Tom? Had he realized, even then, the possibility that she had the capability of fixing the war in a way that no one could have anticipated?

When she got back to her flat, Hermione was only slightly alarmed to find that her door was unlocked. When she stepped inside, however, she saw a familiar jacket and tie slung across the back of the couch haphazardly. She lowered her wand, letting out a little sigh of relief. She could hear the shower running in the next room, and, half-annoyed, half-amused, she rolled her eyes.

He hasn't seen me in three weeks and the first thing he does upon return is break into my flat and use my shower.

She bustled about the kitchen, preparing a kettle of tea, and vaguely heard the shower switch off. She felt a little shiver of anticipation race down her spine as she heard Tom bumping around the bathroom, his toothbrush clattering noisily against the counter top, his toe jamming against the bath tub, his muttered curse of frustration...she smiled fondly as she poured two steaming mugs of tea.

He cleared his throat behind her, and she glanced over her shoulder at him. He was leaning against the door frame, a towel wrapped around his waist, his hair dripping wet and a Cheshire smirk upon his lips.

Merlin, his arrogance will be his undoing.

She arched a single brow at him, setting down the kettle and turning to lean against the counter. "You know, i was under the impression that you had a shower at your flat."

His smirk broadened. "I wanted to get here before you got home. I was going to have wine, but you came sooner than I'd expected."

Hermione couldn't resist it anymore; she closed the distance between the two of them and wrapped her arms around his back. He wrapped his arms around her waist, staring down at her affectionately. "I've got to report early tomorrow morning; I figured I'd get home and get some rest before-"

He didn't let her finish. In one smooth movement, his scooped her up, spinning the two of them so that her back was arched against the door frame and her legs were tied around his waist. She met his lips enthusiastically, her hands moving almost immediately to his hair.

"Doesn't the-birthday girl-get a-day-off?" He muttered in between kisses. She let out a soft gasp as he found a sensitive spot on her neck, before gently pushing him away.

"You know Levesque isn't that generous," she chided gently. "It's alright though-I don't need to be pampered." She paused. "But, for the record...the roses were amazing.'

A tint of pink flushed his cheeks as he shrugged nonchalantly. "Oh, you know, no big deal. I just thought birthdays require a little bit of effort." He said that every birthday, but never seemed to resist spoiling her when it came around the next year.

He pulled her over towards the sofa and the two of them sank down onto it, Tom with his legs on either side of her and Hermione with hers crossed Indian-style. His fingers traced patterns on the inside of her wrists, and she absently studied their laced hands. "I've heard that they're thinking of promoting you." Her gaze shot up to meet his.

"But-but that's impossible! I've only been on a year, plus Madam Levesque was only just hired five years ago, and that's the only position in my Department above my own-"

"The Ministry recognizes the fact that you've got the second highest NEWT scores in Hogwarts history, Hermione." She shot him a dirty look, resentful towards his prominent emphasis on second. "They're not particularly concerned about your lack of experience; they've seen you work. They wouldn't give you the spot if they didn't think you could handle it. Besides, anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that Levesque hasn't done posh for the Department."

Hermione felt her face heat up at his praise. "Well, all the same...I don't know if I'll take it."

He rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Hermione, you've been harping on about how foul of a human being that Levesque is and the moment you're given an opportunity to rid yourself of her once and for all you decline it without a second thought?"

"I'm not...declining it, exactly," she argued weakly. "I'm merely...keeping my options open."

He scoffed, clenching his jaw in the way that he did when he was having a fit. "Honestly, Mione-"

"Honestly, Tom," she mimicked teasingly, leaning forward and pressing her lips to his jaw line. "You're such a little girl sometimes."

He huffed indignant, but said nothing else. However, when she leaned her head against his chest and curled up into his lap, he did not protest. "You drive me mad, you know." he told her honestly.

She snorted rather unbecomingly before absently flicking her wand, watching, half-interested, as the flames danced to life in the hearth. There was no sound for a few moments besides the crackling of the fire and the steady rise and fall of their breaths in time.

"Three years, hasn't it been?" Tom mused aloud, massaging between her shoulders. She had no trouble deciphering what he was referring to.

"Roughly," she agreed. His head bobbed, but his eyes were distant, a million miles away.

"Three years," he repeatedly quietly, this time more to himself than anyone. Whatever he was thinking about, it seemed to be causing him a great deal of anxiousness, because his teeth had not stopped gnawing on his lower lips for some time now.

"Hermione," he asked after a while, and she looked up at him. He paused, seeming to have to shape his words before he spoke them. "You aren't-you aren't afraid to take that job because you're afraid of commitment or anything, are you?"

Her eyebrows shot up before she let out a sharp laugh. "Tom-what? No, of course not!"

"Just wondering," he mumbled. "And you aren't-that is-you aren't hesitating because you're having a hard time deciding whether or not now is the right time to move into the next phase of your life, even if it means being uncertain about what it may hold? But you trust your instinct, don't you? And you know that I love you, and that we can work through whatever comes together, yeah?"

She blinked several times, having to process all that he said very slowly, before finally saying, "Tom? Are you quite alright? You sound like you're getting post-traumatic stress or something -" In the same moment, however, Tom had dropped down onto one knee and withdrawn something from his pocket.

"Marry me?"

"And it's not a problem if you are-I can see it happening to anyone who-what?"

And then his face flushed the most adorable shade of pink before his eyebrows scrunched together in a determined expression. "Merlin, Mione, you can talk the ears off a Goblin, but you never listen. I said-er-marry me?"

She sputtered for several moments, her mouth opening and closing as though it were controlled by a wire. She looked between him, on his knee in front of her, and the simple diamond that sat inside a black velvet box in his hand.

She swallowed thickly. "You're-you're asking me to marry you?"

He growled in irritation, but Hermione could see the nervousness swimming in his eyes. "Yes, Mi, don' be daft. Will you or won't you?"

Hermione's mother had always told her that a person was not capable of taking care of themselves until the age of twenty-five; therefore they were not yet suited to care not only for themselves, but for another person. Hermione was just twenty-one, and had little experience with this sort of thing, let alone-Merlin.

She finally seemed to notice that the nervousness in his eyes had-at some point-erupted into near-hysteria, and she beamed down at him, suddenly ecstatically happy. "I-oh, of course, I will, Tom!" His nervousness was instantly replaced by a shining sort of arrogance. He all but leaped to his feet and yanked her into an embrace, managing to slip the ring onto her fourth finger in the same movement.

There was not a breadth of space between their bodies as they stared at one another; Hermione seemed to glow with happiness, and Tom could not take his eyes off her face. There was something about Hermione when she was happy that was almost addictive, enchanting-

Magic. Pure magic.