The students had left for the holidays. The four new professors had stayed behind with the other staff to sort things out for next term and decide on timetables. Hermione was walking on air and she actually didn't want the holidays at all. She was ready to teach! As today was their last day Hermione had spent the morning getting packed and ready. She knew that before the day was done she had to talk to Draco because she really couldn't go all holiday without him and she was finding it more and more difficult to hide her ever growing feelings. Since the Legend was over, the professor jobs offered he had been different. He seemed carefree and light hearted. Hermione could only imagine how he must be feeling because she felt liberated now that evil had been banished, how must Draco feel who had been surrounded by it all his life?

The trouble was, this new more laid back Draco was sending her emotions into overdrive. He only had to walk in the room and she had palpitations. She spent half her day gazing at him like a love sick puppy and he would have to blind if he didn't notice soon. She felt nervous about actually telling him how she felt, not because she thought he didn't care about her because she knew he did. But what she didn't know was how much. Did he want to progress their friendship into something else? Did he want to see her over the holidays? He'd said a little snippet to her before the professors positions had been announced about not wanting to take the position if Hermione wasn't with him and she tried to focus on this because it would give her the courage to tell him.

"That won't shut with half your clothes hanging out of it," Draco's voice interrupted her thoughts as he entered her bedroom. "I did knock but you didn't answer."

"Sorry! I was off on a daydream," Hermione said, examining her case which was indeed packed very badly, items hanging out around the sides.

"This really isn't how I would have imagined Hermione Granger to pack a suitcase," Draco said, pushing her out the way and opening the lid. "I would have expected it all folded perfectly, catalogued and packed according to colour and size!"

Hermione giggled, not in the least bit insulted because he was right. That was generally how she packed her case, it was just that this time her mind had been elsewhere.

"That is how I normally do it. You know me too well!" she confessed and Draco grinned at her.

"So why the relapse?"

"I don't know. My mind was off somewhere else..." Hermione answered, vaguely.

Draco stopped his attempt to close the case and looked up at her. "Somewhere else? Not somebody else I hope? You haven't got some secret crush on Corner or anything have you?"

Hermione looked back at him, her tingles were back. She took a deep breath, this was an opportunity to tell him. "Listen, Draco..." she stopped almost immediately because Draco had begun to empty her suitcase with the intention of completely repacking it and he had just pulled out a pair of skimpy knickers and was holding them in his fingers and waving them at her.

"And what are these? Far too sexy for you surely?" he teased her and she stepped forward to grab them but he raised them above his head, out of her reach.

"Draco! Put my underwear back!"

Draco ignored her and reached into the case, retrieving a lacy, red bra.

"Red? And lace? Maybe I don't know you very well at all! Just who has had the pleasure of these items then?" Draco was grinning wickedly at her and she put her hands on her hips indignantly.

"I have had the pleasure of them, no-one else! Not that it's any of your business. Now give them back to me!" she demanded but he just waved them about at her.

"See, I'm totally distracted now. I'm not sure I can concentrate on repacking for you, not with the images I now have in here," Draco pointed at his head.

Hermione grabbed her wand and waved it at him threateningly. "Give me them back or I'll hex you!"

Draco laughed. "No you won't!"

Hermione waved her wand and muttered a spell before sending it at him. She aimed it so it just missed him, on purpose. She didn't actually want to hurt him but the shocked look on his face made her laugh.

"Hermione! You can't hex me!" he said.

"Give me my underwear back then!"

Draco grinned at her for a moment then, quick as lightning he dropped her clothes and bolted over to her, grabbing her wand. He grabbed her around the waist and before she could even move an inch he had manoeuvred her on to her bed, with him on top of her holding her down.

"Draco! Get off me!" she yelled.

"Is there any other intimate items you'd care to show me?" Draco asked, wriggling his eyebrows and indicating that he clearly meant the ones she had on. Hermione should have been outraged but he was funny and she was having to hold back the giggles.

"They're white cotton, very boring," Hermione answered him back.

"Mmm. You'll need those removing quickly then..." Draco said and Hermione burst out laughing at him.

"You are the most annoying, irritating..." she began but he interrupted her.

"Why are you giggling then?"

"Because you're funny...as well as annoying and irritating."

"Mmmm..." Draco's face was close to hers, his eyes had darkened and she immediately recognized the change. "What did you say? I'm having trouble concentrating with all the talk of sexy lingerie...and now you're sexily pressed up against me..." he whispered, close to her ear, his hands sliding down to her hips and she had to stop herself from sighing.

"I'm being held against my will," Hermione pointed out but her voice sounded a little husky. His body was pressed against hers and it was having the usual, overwhelming affect on her.

"Mmm..." Draco breathed against her neck, his hot lips gently touching her skin. "You know that I don't have to force women into things...they're usually very willing..." He kissed her neck gently both his hands sliding under her back to pull her up against him and the little bit of self control she'd been grasping onto for days now snapped. She willingly arched against him, her hands sliding up his arms. "Hermione..." his voice came as a gasp, her name sounding amazing from his lips which were nibbling her ear and sending her crazy. Hermione could tell this was affecting Draco as much as her, his usual self control seemed to be slipping as he pressed her into the bed, his lips roaming her neck and jaw.

And suddenly, as if a bell had rung, Hermione's senses cleared and she knew she couldn't let anything happen, not before she had told him how she felt. She had never felt this urgent, overpowering need for someone before and she knew it wasn't about sex. She felt like this and gave in so easily to him because of how she emotionally felt. And now she needed more back from him, more than a quick romp on her bed. She pushed him away and Draco stopped immediately, pulling his head back, his eyes full of concern that made her melt.

"What? Are you okay?" he asked, sitting up. "You do know I don't ever expect you to do anything you don't want to...I'm sorry if I was too full on..."

"No...yes...I mean..." Hermione sat up too. She hated the look on his face, he looked mortified that he might have upset her. She took a deep breath and spoke slowly, determined to tell him. He was staring at her intently but he didn't speak. "Draco...there is nothing I would like more than to let you..." she stopped, wishing she hadn't started this sentence. She finished lamely, "hold me." Draco's eyes were deep grey and glued to hers.

"Hermione..."

"No. I need to tell you this...I can't go home for the holiday not having told you..."

Draco's face froze as he jumped to his own conclusion about what she was going to tell him.

"Hermione...listen I'm happy to do this however you want. I mean...I don't think of you as just my friend...I told you that I really like you... but if friendship is all you want then that's fine...I just want to be with you..." he looked genuinely distraught and Hermione grabbed him into a hug. When she let him go he was looking totally confused. Enough was enough, it was time.

"I don't want to just to be friends! Of course I don't want that!" Hermione's voice rose in frustration at herself. "I don't want to go home for the holidays and not see you...in fact I can't bear thinking about all that time without you..." she lowered her voice. "I get goose bumps when you walk in the room, I spent yesterday gazing at you every thirty seconds until I drove myself crazy!" She stopped and rubbed her forehead. "The truth is...I love you...I've fallen in love with you..." her voice trailed off and she bit her lip nervously. She scoured his face for his reaction because right now he was just staring at her open mouthed, blinking rapidly. Eventually he spoke.

"Wow! Bloody hell, Hermione!"

Hermione panicked. "What does that mean? I had to tell you...I know you don't feel the same but I couldn't sleep with you again without telling you...I can't let myself get any further into this if..." she didn't finish her sentence because Draco's lips came crashing down on hers, his arms grabbing her forcefully. His lips parted hers and despite her last words, she let him because he tasted and smelt like heaven. And then his lips became gentle, touching hers tenderly and that was when she began to melt into him again. He continued his feather light assault on her mouth until she began to shiver. When he pulled away his eyes were smouldering.

"You stupid woman!" he said. "Of course I feel the same. I'm utterly and totally besotted with you and I can't believe you don't know!" Hermione fell against him, letting her weeks of pent up emotion out. "I love you, Hermione Granger and what I'd really like is for you to let yourself get as far into this as possible..." he used her earlier words, twisting them. "I want you and I need you and I utterly, overwhelmingly love you."

Hermione let his words wash over her like a wave, absorbing them. Suddenly the mad, crazy year they had experienced together made sense because every part of it had lead to this moment.

So there you go - 42 chapters (!) and it's over! I always hate ending a story but I did enjoy writing it. Hope you liked it...I'm debating over an epilogue...please review one last time! Thanks for all the other reviews. Keep an eye out for my next story. Thanks! x