Daniel Tompkinson , the infamous sponsor that had affected both Draco and Hermione's lives so much recently had been watching the competition without any of the competitors knowing it. Draco and Hermione were told that he had been impressed with them and that he wanted to see them before they went home. Draco had asked if he could go and speak to him alone first so that he could put his request to him about helping getting his business back. Hermione was waiting anxiously for him to come back.
She felt elated from their win - the cash amount was fantastic and it would be such a huge boost to her savings. She knew that she was beginning to get near to a substantial amount of money and now there was a light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.
She was quite nervous about meeting their sponsor because neither she or Draco had any inclination to make dancing a career but she'd decided to tell him that she definitely wanted to continue competing and could he help with that. She glanced up at the clock - Draco had been a while and she hoped that this didn't mean it was bad news. Even them winning the competition didn't guarantee that Daniel would be willing (or able) to help Draco with his problem. She rubbed her head anxiously and realised that her action was very similar to Draco's own when he was upset. His actions earlier, kissing her in front of a theatre full of people, had made her feel weak at the knees because she knew it meant something.
The door burst open, breaking into her thoughts and she stared at him, trying to judge his demeanour. He was very good at keeping his face a blank canvas and she couldn't tell how it had gone.
"Well? What did he say? Will he help you?" she fired questions at Draco who came over and pushed her down into a seat. "Why are you sitting me down? Is it bad news?"
"No, but you do need to listen to me and let me finish without interrupting," Draco said, pulling a seat up to hers to face her.
"Why? You're scaring me," Hermione's eyes searched his face anxiously.
"Don't be silly. I told him about what had happened and asked if he could help in anyway," Draco started to explain, his piercing, grey eyes on her face. "He's a really nice man, Hermione. He listened and asked lots of questions, he was great. He can help me, Hermione."
"Wait - let me finish. He suggested that he use his various companies to buy my shares back and then stage a takeover when he has accumulated enough."
"No - I didn't want that," Draco sighed. "If I'm going to get my company back then I want the satisfaction of doing it myself and I know it's petty but I want to be able to rub Griff's nose in it when I do! So I asked Daniel if there was any other way and there is." Draco stopped speaking and this time Hermione said nothing because she knew him so well now that she could tell this was the part that wasn't going to be good news. "The other way involves me setting up several new, small companies and buying the shares gradually myself. It will take longer because my companies won't have the buying power even with Daniel's backing, but I could still do it." She saw Draco bite his lip and she knew this was the bad news right now. "But there is a chance that Griff could trace my connection to the companies if I buy them too quicly and draw his attention so the only way to buy the shares relatively quickly is for my companies to be set up abroad..." Draco's voice trailed off and he looked at her anxiously. Hermione stared back, unable to comprehend his words for a moment.
"How long for?" her voice was just above a whisper and she had that horrible, sick, tight feeling back in her stomach.
"A year." Draco's eyes had left hers and he was staring down at his feet.
"A year?" Hermione heard her voice break but she didn't care because no matter how bad the news she'd been imagining this was worse. She'd just found him and now she was going to lose him. If he went away for that long then they didn't stand a chance. "Oh, Draco..."
"I know - it's awful. You're reacting exactly how I did," Draco went to take her hand but she moved it away. It wasn't his fault but she felt hurt and upset. "Daniel could see I was upset so I explained why."
Hermione felt her breath catch. "What did you say?"
"I told him about you...about us - everything about us - about school and us being partnered and about now. He knew about now obviously as he had watched me kiss you earlier. I also told him about your idea and how you'd failed to apply for the scholarship and why."
"You told him that? You didn't say you were going to tell him that!"
"I knew you'd tell me not to so I just didn't mention it," Draco gave a little grin but she couldn't return it because she didn't want her school if Draco wasn't going to be here with her. Right now she couldn't see her having the enthusiasm to do anything without him.
"I already have the half the prize money..." Hermione said. "But I don't care right now." Her voice broke again. "I just don't want you to go..."
"But I can't ask you to stay because then I'm spoiling you're dream and I can't do that, especially when I understand perfectly how much it means..."
"What? What? There's no way out of this! Either I'm utterly miserable or you are!" Hermione wiped her cheek because the tears were falling silently down them now.
"I seem to remember asking you to not interrupt," Draco spoke quietly and gently and now he grabbed both her hands. "Hermione, you have your sponsorship."
"What?" Hermione whispered.
"Daniel is going to sponsor your school, he'll buy the building and help with the set up and running costs."
Hermione shook her head. "You asked him for that?"
"Of course I did."
"But Draco..." she wiped her wet cheek again, unable to deal with the amazing news he had just told her because she knew it wouldn't mean anything without Draco. "I don't want it without you."
"Say that again." Draco's voice was low and deep. His eyes had darkened and Hermione didn't seem to be able to breathe.
"I don't want my school without you." She was speaking so quietly that Draco had to lean closer to hear her.
"Wow," Draco said. "You have no idea how happy I am to hear you say that." He moved back just slightly. "This school of yours, it's going to need a Deputy Head isn't it?"
Hermione stared at him open mouthed. "I don't understand."
"A Deputy Head that could also double as the Potions teacher?" He pointed at himself.
"Isn't it funny how something that we both thought meant so much to us, actually means nothing if we're not together?" Draco gave her a wide smile. "I don't want my company back if it means losing you."
"No - you're saying that right now but if you don't try then you'll regret it and you'll hate me for stopping you."
"No I won't because I will still get it back - just a lot slower. I can stay here and buy a small company that can steadily buy Malfoy Enterprise shares. Daniels company can do the same and I can buy them off him. It will take a long time but I can still do it and in the meantime I'm sure I'll have my mind taken off it by helping my girlfriend..." he said the word very slowly and Hermione at last managed a smile, "set up her amazing school."
Hermione pulled a face. "I didn't know you had a girlfriend - maybe we shouldn't be spending so much time together." She now managed a proper grin which he returned. "Does she know you've just given up your dream to stay and help me with mine?"
"How about we start calling them our dreams? Then it won't matter who's helping who."
Hermione reached out her hand and touched Draco's cheek gently, her eyes following her fingers. "How the hell did this happen?" Draco didn't ask her what she meant because he knew. She dropped her fingers and sat back, her face serious. "Are you sure? I mean really, totally, completely sure? You promise you won't hate me? My school is not more important than your company..."
"Our school," Draco grabbed her and pulled her back to him. "Our company."
Hermione stared at him, not quite believing how fast things had suddenly moved and not even beginning to comprehend what Draco had just done for her. How could that selfish schoolboy he had once been have just delayed what he wanted by years so that her dream could become reality?
"You wanted your company back so much..." she insisted, one last time. He had to be sure. Draco opened his mouth to reply but she held up her hand. "I was on the bridge remember? I saw how much it meant to you. I saw how much you wanted it."
Draco sat back and shook his head. "A lot has changed since that night on the bridge."
"The night on the bridge I needed my company back because I hadn't got a life without it." He nodded his head at her. "Now I have."
Hermione took a final look at him before she let herself accept that he meant it and that she wasn't stealing his dream so that she could have her own. She gave a little sob and fell against him, unable to tell him how much what he had done meant to her. After a few minutes, Draco pushed her away.
"Stop blubbing, Granger!" he said. "We've just made our future together happen by winning a bloody dance competition!"
Hermione whilst still wiping her tears laughed at him because what he said was true. They had!
Aah! Totally OOC in this chapter but who cares? It is a romance after all! Hope you liked it. I know some of you will want to know about the school and what happens next but I wanted to end it here because this is how they got together. I might (not next) but someday write a follow on about the school etc because I think this story lends itself to it perfectly. For now I have another idea for a new story so I'll be back soon. x