'I don't just want to be a footnote in someone else's happiness,'

Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet, Fall Out Boy

She held Witch Weekly close to her face, trying to see if Romilda was right or not about her assertions in her column that week.

The photo alongside the article was of Draco Malfoy, standing inside some illicit shop in Knockturn Alley, looking back and forth as if he knew he was being watched, which he was by a reporter through the window. Slowly, he was handed a long, slim bottle over the counter from the ageing proprietor, which he quickly tucked into his robe pocket.

Hermione wondered if it really was a fertility potion that he was buying for his wife of five years, Astoria Malfoy nee Greengrass. She knew she shouldn't be bothered – what was Malfoy's business to her? – but she was.

She slapped the magazine down on her desk and sat back in her seat, surveying the empty and polished floor outside of her open office door.

She'd been working in the Department of Mysteries for six years as their go-between to the rest of the Ministry, doing all sorts of exciting things such as filing and making sure that there was always a fresh cup of tea handy for anyone who wanted it. She'd been looking after the Unspeakables for longer than she cared to remember, greasing the wheels, making sure their clashing personalities didn't keep everything from running smoothly, and...it was boring.

Hermione had only taken the job in the first place because she wanted to be out from under the public's eye, away from the harsh scrutiny that came with the fall of Voldemort and her very public break-up with Ron a few weeks later.

It had been murder getting her life to the quiet, orderly state it was in, and she didn't want to jeopardise that, not by seeking a more thrilling job or...anything else.

She Banished the magazine, and instead of obsessing she merely read through some files neatly stacked on a far corner of her desk, trying to forget that pleased smile playing about Draco Malfoy's lips as he pocketed that fertility potion.

"You always do this," Harry said, eyes narrowed. "Every Thursday night. We never know where you go."

"I've been going to my book club for years, Harry," Hermione sniffed, helping Ginny clear up after their dinner-for-three in Grimmauld Place.

"You know, I've been thinking about coming with you," Ginny said nonchalantly, eyeing the curly-haired witch from the corner of her eye as she set the dishes to wash themselves.

Hermione kept her tinge of panic well under wraps. "Come if you want. It does require actually reading the books though, Ginny."

"Oh." The red-head's suspicious look faded and she turned out a disappointed moue. "Well, I do have a lot on my hands with Quidditch and the kids and everything. Probably better I don't go. Not as big a reader as you, anyway."

Oh, she had no idea.

Hermione smiled and turned back to Harry, who still didn't look appeased as she picked up her stack of bound books for this particular night's meeting.

"You could be dating instead, Hermione."

Those dreaded words, how she hated them – especially the 'd' one. She didn't date. End of.

"I'm happy," she told Harry, making a bee-line for the front hall, him following after her, and waving goodbye to Ginny. "Give the boys my love, won't you?"

Harry grunted and reluctantly let Hermione leave. "Alright. See you soon."

Hermione waved over her shoulder as she made her way down the street and into a small side-alley. She Apparated to her weekly Thursday appointment with a muffled crack, not stopping her stride.

She appeared as she always did, in the hallway of the luxurious Muggle hotel, book-strap dangling from her fingers at her side. There were no other doors along the dark wood-panelled corridor, except for the one at the very end.

She took in the gilded '10' screwed to the door with a practised eye, before knocking.

He always liked to play it this way, like they'd never met like this before.

No footsteps sounded before the door swung open and Hermione raised her eyebrow at the man in the doorway.

"Already put up the Silencing Charms, I see," she said.

Draco's cool, silver eyes slid over her. "When don't I?"

"Well, there was that one time that woman came banging on the door–"

"Your memory, Granger, is unforgivably faultless." He pulled her inside. "You're lucky you're also an unbelievably good shag, or I wouldn't be able to put up with it."

Hermione ignored him. She'd had much practise at bouncing the remarks that stung the most off of her in the seven years they had been seeing each other. After becoming Head Boy and Head Girl in their do-over of a seventh year, sharing the same tower and bathroom for all four full terms, they had more than put their past behind them.

Their secret affair had always remained just that – secret. The main reason being Malfoy Sr. and Draco's loyalty to him. Lucius would find Draco a wife and Draco would do his duty and marry the woman, which he had.

But that did not mean he had to be faithful. Hermione was his mistress for all intents and purposes, and despite the grimy feeling that sometimes overcame her being with a married man, she couldn't give him up.

It was a strange sort of relationship, especially when it was so obvious to Hermione that it was unequal – she was willing to risk all for Draco, even put her personal life aside just to have him, but he wasn't willing to give up anything except every Thursday night to sleep with her.

He led her to the bed, closing the door behind her.

"I've been here before," she told him and the hand on her back, guiding her.

"Mm." His arms closed around her from behind, face pressed into her hair. "Yes, but you know how I like to play this game. Like you're still the prudish, virginal Gryffindor you were back then, come for a taste of something different."

"I wasn't virginal," she said, and it was true, she wasn't – Viktor had taken that particular 'gift' in the holidays leading up to her last year at Hogwarts; a chance meeting after her break-up with Ron and a final hurrah before the Bulgarian had left England for good.

Draco ignored her. She knew it was because he liked to think he was the first one to touch her, to teach her, and, in a way, he was. She'd never let a man in like she had let in Draco. Harry and Ron were all well and good, friends to the end and adventures and all that, but she'd never given herself over to anyone like she had the platinum blonde taking her off her skirt at that moment.

Her blouse left her too after a few more practised tugs, leaving her in just her skin.

"You know," he mouthed against her neck, "I wonder sometimes whether you ever wear your knickers, or if this is just for me."

She didn't bother saying anything. He should've known by now that she did nearly everything for him.

A beautiful skirt in a shop window in Diagon Alley – would Draco like it on her? A fabulous new book in Flourish and Blotts – would Draco want it as a gift? A sale on fingerless gloves in Quality Quidditch Supplies – did Draco need some new ones?

With her swirling thoughts and terrible week, she decided just to have it done as quickly as possible. She had never thought that before, never considered just getting it over with. She needed her taste of him to get her through another few days, and a part of her worried that their long affair was steadily coming to a close.

The final straw tickling her tired body at that moment was the potion Draco had been seen buying. An affair with a married man in a loveless marriage was one thing, but an affair with a father? Hermione knew the man kissing the nape of her neck and lowering her to the bed better than most – possibly anyone – and she knew that if he became a father, he would love that child, no matter the mother or the situation.

And she couldn't be a part of that – she couldn't knowingly come between Draco and his child.

Hermione knew full well that Draco – sweet, cunning, delicious Draco, with his silvery-blonde head between her thighs and his fingers stroking her spine at that very moment – didn't love her like she loved him. She'd known the moment he'd told her of his father's plans for him after school, regarding Astoria, and she had, at first, paid no heed.

Hermione had naively thought that she could convince him that his father wasn't always right, and what they had could be special. But once the wedding was planned and the date finalised, she'd finally understood that she could either lump it or leave it.

And she'd lumped it, every day, knowing she didn't want anyone else but him, and that her life would go on hold all because she couldn't give him up.

His mouth on her neck brought her back to the land of the living, out of her own foggy head, and he whispered things, as he always did, as he gently slid inside of her.

Draco knew she liked it this way, from behind, so he could catch the perfect angle, but just at that moment she was glad he couldn't see her face and the way it was screwed up to ward off tears.

She enjoyed him that night, thoroughly, his body taking her to those well-explored heights, but it was all tinged with sadness. She lay beneath him, pensive, sighing at the feel of his broad cock pressing into her soft pussy.

Hermione savoured the sight of him above her, undone, a few strands of his shortened hair sticking to his damp forehead, his eyes on hers, his smooth lips shaping a few gasped words, his Adam's apple bobbing, his Quidditch-honed muscles pressing against her soft body, taking her higher, and his one scar, from her, just above his left arse cheek.

She smiled at the memory of their first encounter in their shared dormitory, an all-out Hex-war raging at first, until a spell of hers rebounded and caused a gilded quill to fly off of a desk and lodge itself firmly in his backside.

Hermione, once more returning from her memories, brushed her fingertips over the thin line, remembering its feel.

Draco's smile was sinful. "I deserved it after that Pig-Snout Hex."

Hermione laughed as he buried his head into the crook of her neck, nipping her skin and angling his hips just so until she wasn't laughing anymore and she cried out as she came around him, breaking apart until she felt like tiny pieces of sand ready to be washed away by the sea.

Draco's release was always as satisfying as her own to her, and when he came inside of her, holding onto her, shivering at the sensations running away with him, she smiled and held him back just as tightly, muttering some nonsensical rubbish about not having as much stamina as he used to. It made him laugh (her intended effect,) and they relaxed.

He rolled away after a few moments, as he always did, to lie on his back, looking up at the high ceiling, a strange sort of smile on his lips, a secret one.

Hermione absently wondered what he was thinking, whether it was about his wife and the sex they had, the child that, judging by that report, would be made with the help of fertility potion, or whether he was just...content. She hoped it was the latter.

"Here," she murmured, Summoning a small book from between the decoys she had brought with her and landing it on Draco's bare chest.

He glanced down and lifted it up, before a more familiar smile turned his lips. "You remembered."

"When don't I?" She parroted his earlier words, turning on her side in the warm sheets to look at the front cover of Wilhelm Woodvard's Ultimate Quidditch Manual. "It's signed, too."

Draco's expression was joyous. "But it's so old! Woodvard's been dead for so long, and...thank you, Hermione."

It wasn't often he dropped the H-word on her, and she grinned. "You're welcome."

"How did you get it?"

Ah, the dreaded question she had hoped to avoid. But Draco's gaze was unwavering and she knew she couldn't wriggle out of it.

"I remember how you said you couldn't find it here or in France, so I pulled a couple of strings with an old friend," she told him, omitting a few details that Draco immediately saw right through.

His bright expression suddenly turned stormy. "Which friend?"

"Does it matter?"

"It does if it turns out to be that bearded bastard you left in Bulgaria."

She held her ground. "Yes, it was Viktor I owled."

Draco threw the book down between them on the bed. "Fuck! Why is it always him, Hermione?"

"What do you mean always?" She asked, bewildered and clutching the bedcovers to her chest.

Draco growled, pushing his hand through his hair. "You go to him with everything."

"I do not!" She defended, sitting up, brimming with anger. "I've only spoken to him twice in three years and both times were for you!"

His eyes flashed. "I didn't ask you to speak to him! I didn't even ask for those presents!"

Hermione glared. "So you're saying you'd rather I'd take back that ancient broomstick you fawn over so much? And what about this?" She gestured to the leather-bound book on the bed. "Would you rather I took this back, even though I know you love this as well?"

Draco stared at her. "You know I'm not saying that. I'm just saying I'd rather you–"

"No, I don't know that," she told him harshly, standing and scrambling around for her clothes. "I don't know why you're always so against everything I choose to do! It's my life, Draco! Mine! Not yours! You've got no say."

He watched her from the bed, looking a little taken aback. "No say? What are you trying to tell me, Granger?"

"I'm trying to tell you," she muttered, tackling the fastening of her skirt and buttons of her blouse, "that...you need to tell me things, Draco–"

"Tell you things?" He repeated indignantly. "Granger, I've told you things I've never told another fucking soul. I've poured my bloody heart out to you on more than one occasion!"

"You need to tell me things," she repeated, "so I know where I stand."

He shook his head, obviously puzzled. "What–"

She gathered her things, standing there at the foot of the bed, holding herself together just barely.

"We agreed, Draco." Hermione knew she sounded on the verge of tears, because she was. "We agreed when you married Astoria that you would let me know if we ever couldn't be together like this any more."

His face turned angry as he clenched his fists in the bed sheets. "Has she confronted you? If she has, I'll–"

"We agreed," she said again, and Draco's expression turned frustrated.

"Yes, Granger, we did, but that's never going to happen. I only agreed for your peace of mind in the first place. You know that–"

"What about the baby?" She interrupted him, and his expression turned blank.

"Baby? What baby?"

Anyone else would wonder if they had it wrong, but Hermione knew Draco well. His confusion was carefully constructed, his blankness a mere mask rather than an actual expression.

It broke her heart.

Was he really not concerned how she would fare with his impending fatherhood? Did he really think they could simply carry on as if she were nothing more than a...than a...

"Am I a whore to you?" She asked, and the tears broke free as her voice did the same on that one particular word. "I know you used to want to be this way, like this with me, but are you...are you doing it now just for the sake of it?"

Hermione couldn't look up for a moment as she composed herself, but when she did his expression rivalled anything she had ever seen of his faded dark side.

"This is about Astoria, isn't it?" He flew from the bed, his voice demanding, striding towards her in all his bare glory. "What has she said to you?"

Hermione threw out her hand to stop him. "No, it's not her. It's... I know, Draco. I know about the potion."

In a blind moment of panic it seemed like he was about to deny any knowledge of any potion, but as he stared at Hermione's tear-streaked expression he seemed to crack, and he lifelessly fell onto the end of the bed to sit with his head in his hands.

"I'm sorry, Hermione. I'm...I'm sorry I couldn't tell you. I'm a fucking coward."

She sniffled. "You're not a coward, Draco, you could just never choose a side."

He glanced up at her, eyes unfamiliarly glossy to Hermione even as he frowned at her. "But if you knew, why did you..." His eyes flickered back to the mussed sheets of the bed.

"One last time seemed like a good goodbye," she told him, pulling the shrunken magazine from her book pile and resizing it before throwing it at his feet.

It was already open on the right page, and Draco, looking confused, picked it up as Hermione turned for the door.

"It's all in there if you want to see. Romilda's easy to shut up. I just wish... I wish you could have told me yourself. I wouldn't have begrudged you a child, Draco. I'll...I'll see you around."

She knew she wouldn't, knew she would go straight home and disable every Ward admitting him and his lines of communication entrance, and so she Apparated, ignoring the sudden stumbling she heard behind her and the urgent bark of 'No, Hermione, wait!'

Luna sat across from her, hands planted primly on the desk. "We all just wanted to see if you're alright, Hermione."

Hermione smiled at the long-time Unspeakable under her care. Luna had joined the office the same time Hermione had.

"I'm fine," she told the blonde witch. "Just a bit of a bug."

Luna hadn't always been a friend of Hermione's – in fact, she can distinctly remember all those times she'd thought Lovegood was just as loony as everyone else had said – but after Harry's friendship with the witch and working with her for so many years, Hermione was proud to say she'd finally seen past the strange exterior and found the calm, level-headed, clever witch that Harry had seen all those years ago at school.

Luna smiled softly. "Well, we all sort of heard your fight with Auror Parker on the way into work..."

Hermione rolled her eyes at the memory of that morning. "He was being such a...such a..."

"I know." Luna nodded. "We get it all the time. Just don't let him bother you."

"Oh, he always makes scathing remarks about this job or the office, but I just..."

"Snapped. We know." Luna stood. "Let me know if you need anything for this...bug thing."

Hermione was about to tell her that a bug didn't necessarily mean a bug, but the other witch was gone before she could say anything and Hermione was left contemplating her irrational mood swing that morning...and her early-morning dash to the toilet.

She knew she couldn't be pregnant, because...well, she had always used two contraceptive spells with Draco, just to be sure, and there hadn't been another man in her life since the end of their affair over a month ago.

He'd tried to contact her, but she hadn't given in to the little voice in her head telling her that he was sorry, and he'd make it up to her, and that they could just go on as they were before...because they couldn't.

A whistling noise snapped Hermione out of her reverie and she saw a thick, colourful, and shiny paper plane come hurtling towards her through her open office door. It landed on her desk with a sharp slap, before unfolding itself and revealing the latest Witch Weekly gossip.

She didn't touch it at first, because she'd only ever read the magazine once – Draco and his shady potion buying catching her eye at the news kiosk all those weeks ago – and she certainly didn't have a standing order. She wasn't sure that Witch Weekly even did an office delivery service.

But, once again, the big news caught her eye and she couldn't help but open the glossy pages.


A new bachelor on the horizon?

By Romilda Vane

'No,' he says. 'I'm firmly taken.'

And who is this witch we ask! Well, he won't spill the Bertie Bott's on that particular piece of gossip, but he does say that his secret girlfriend is 'the greatest witch he's ever met.' Boo!

So, I ask him whether we'll see them together any time soon.

'Hopefully,' he says. 'If she forgives me for being a colossal turd.'

What witch wouldn't forgive the very wealthy and influential Draco Malfoy? This is the man whose silver tongue is as well known as his broomstick techniques, and we all know I don't mean Quidditch!

I say, with the certainty of every witch in the country behind me, don't come forward, mystery woman, and let some of us other girls have a go!

Hermione was out of her chair before she even registered reading the last sentence of Romilda's tripe.

A sharp crack, and Hermione arrived within the Wards of Malfoy Manor, far past the passageways of pruned hedges and the entrance gate where peacocks once preened. Draco had told her he'd 'gotten rid of the rotten, pecking bastards' as soon as Lucius and Narcissa had given the manor house to him and chosen a smaller holding for themselves.

She stood at the bottom step leading up to the grand, open front doors, a small wrinkled head just visible inside.

Taking a fortifying breath and unconsciously tightening her grip on the magazine in her hand, Hermione mounted the flawless grey stone steps and came knee-to-face with a young, bug-eyed House Elf.

"Master Draco awaits you, Missy Hermione," he squeaked, his fine white pillowcase rippling as he darted off, Hermione presumably meant to follow.

She trailed him to the back garden, where she found Draco, sharply dressed, sat at a black trellis table, magically pouring tea. The Elf left with one wave from his master.

"I didn't know if I should come here or not," she said, not moving the few scant inches to the empty seat obviously awaiting her.

"And I knew you would," he replied, kicking out the seat towards her with his foot.

Hermione took her place gingerly, and as she drew near she saw a tell-tale shimmer beneath his eyes.

"Are you...wearing a Glamour?" She asked, ignoring the cup of steaming tea he set down in front of her.

"Of course I am, Granger," he muttered. "I look like shit from all the late-night whisky. I wasn't going to invite you over for tea and make-up sex looking like one of those wild, weeping banshees you see in Regulation."

She threw the magazine at him, and he caught it just as it hit his chest.

His lip quirked. "Thought it'd get your attention. You don't know how long it took me to persuade Potter to memo that to you."


"What other self-righteous bastard do you know that would dress a man down when he'd already been kicked in the balls by the woman he loves?"

Hermione lost her patience. "Explain."

"Tea first," he said, nudging her saucer, and she reluctantly brought the cup to her lips. "Thanks for coming." She gave him a no-nonsense look. "Alright, alright. Well, I lied to you. A bit."


"But not about what you think!" He rubbed his temple. "You had me so bloody confused. At first I was jealous and I thought you wanted to be with Krum, then I thought Astoria had threatened you, then I thought you knew about what I'd done, but Astoria coming to see you seemed more plausible, and then...then you said it outright, that you knew, and I'm so sorry, Hermione. I never meant to hurt you. But you have it all wrong."

She watched him carefully, and she could find no outright sign of deception. In fact, his eyes, though Glamoured, were the sincerest she'd ever seen them, and his expression was clear of any of the masks or walls she had seen before.

"Go on."

He sighed at her push to continue, like a weight had been lifted. "I did go to Knockturn Alley that day, like Romilda said, and it was a fertility potion, but for the love of Merlin, Hermione, you have to believe me, I never intended to give it to Astoria."

"Then who?"

He stared at her a little. "Well, not to completely disavow you of this notion you have that you don't mean anything to me, but you're the only woman I've slept with since I was nineteen."

Hermione put her teacup back in its saucer with a clatter. "Me? Why would you possibly want to give me a potion like that?"

"I thought it was the only way," he said sincerely. "I wanted to get out, out of that vicious cycle, that marriage, and I thought the only way to do that was to make you need me."

She almost blurted out that she did need him, but instead she asked far more pertinent questions.

"Why would that help? Why did you want to leave?"

"I fucking love you, Granger," he told her instantly, his silver eyes flashing hotly as he abandoned his own tea in favour of leaning over the table toward her. "I love you and you were just so bloody immovable, always happy to meet up and to shag but nothing more! I wanted you to need me, so we could be together, just like we always wanted."

"I wanted," she corrected. "You never wanted more, Draco. Ever. You went along with what your father told you to do and you... Wait." She felt like she'd been struck in the head by a Beater. "You love me?"

"Of course I do." He reached across the table for her hand, gripping it tightly. "I've loved you for years."

"Then why..."

"I didn't think you felt the same, and then after I had that bloody brilliant brainwave of taking that potion to try and knock you up, I thought you knew and you were angry that I'd try something so–"


Draco growled in exasperation. "What are you not getting here, Granger? I bought a potion, I drank it, I tried to make my...you know, seed...super strong, to knock you up, and then I thought you had found out and you were mad, but you went through with it, and then as you left, I read that fucking article and I knew you thought I was trying to have a baby with Astoria. Granger...Hermione, I've never even kissed her."

"I thought..."

Draco frowned. "Yes, well, we already know you thought wrong and that I did something stupid and underhanded. Astoria knew I didn't love her and I was only doing it to keep my father happy, among other reasons."

Hermione was reeling. "But what does Harry have to do with any of this?"

"I don't know if you've noticed, but you very decidedly shut me out of your life, Granger, and considering I wouldn't go to Weasley even if I was on my deathbed, I decided that Potter was my best bet." He grinned. "I told him we were making the beast with two backs for years – should have seen his face – and that he had to help me get you back because I'd fucked it all up. He Hexed me up and down the Ministry of course, but once he'd calmed down he let me explain. I finally got him to memo that interview I did to you today."

"Did you tell him about the potion?"

"Gods, no, Granger! I'm not fucking suicidal."

She swallowed. "What if it worked?"

He mirrored her. "I didn't really think that far ahead. I sort of assumed we'd still be together, you'd come crying, and then we'd send Astoria packing and live happily ever after."

Hermione closed her eyes and put her palm to her forehead. "Malfoy, you really are the most monumental prat."

"Yes, well, we can trade insults until the dragons come home. Do you want me to do a Diagnostic?"

She nodded, eyes tightly shut. She knew when he'd done it nonetheless.

"Ah," he said.


"Well, depends if you want to look at this as a good or bad thing."

She frowned at him. "Malfoy, you impregnated me through two Contraceptive Charms, you treated me like some slimy little mistress for years–"

"Yes," he said. "But don't forget about the 'I love you' bit. That's the most important part."

And she suddenly burst into tears.

Hermione tried to hide her face, but soon enough she found herself on Malfoy's lap and her hands were pried from her tear-streaked cheeks.

"I can't stand it when you cry," he told her softly. "What's wrong?"

"I'm...I'm...I'm so hormonal!" His eyebrow twitched cockily. "That means emotional, you prat!"


Hermione turned on his lap, sniffling. "Do you really love me?"

He nodded warily, as if her hormones were about to reach out and strangle him – not a bad thing to be wary of really with a very capable, pregnant witch so close to his most prized private parts.

"I love you, too," she told him. "But I'm also really mad."

Draco smiled. "I know. I wouldn't expect any less from the woman I chose to be the mother of my child. It wasn't just a bargaining chip thing though, Hermione – I really want this."

"You're lucky I do too, or you'd have lost a few important appendages by now, Draco."

In one swoop, he lifted her off of his lap and stood to take them both inside and upstairs, where she'd never been before.

"Can we get to the make-up sex part now?" He asked, cocking his eyebrow in a very dashing way.

Hermione nodded against his shoulder. "Be gentle. I'm tender."

His expression transformed into something far softer. "I'm sorry."

"I know." She glanced up. "Don't expect me not to have some kind of retaliation planned though, Malfoy."

"Wouldn't dream of it, darling Granger."

They passed through beautiful hallways, gilded doors, up marble stairs, until they reached an open room full of colour and silks and a huge sky-blue bed.

Draco laid her down carefully, like he always did, and Hermione suddenly saw all the things she'd missed – the conversations, the gifts, the touches, and the...tenderness.

"I really do love you, Hermione," he said somewhere near her collarbone, kissing her as he rid her of her skirt and jumper, parting the blouse beneath.

"Underwear," he commented, and Hermione shrugged.

"I didn't think..."

"I know," Draco said, and this time he seemed sad. "You really believed it was over." He kissed her hard. "I'm never letting you go, Granger. You're mine and don't bloody forget it."

A sudden thought broke into her head as Draco revealed and kissed her tender breasts.

"Uh, Draco, have you...really thought this through?" She asked. "What about your father?"

He shushed her, kissing his way down her stomach. "Shut up, Granger. I don't want to talk about my father at a time like this, and, anyway, he can go ride a hippogriff for all I care. I'm finally happy. Besides, I'm giving him the grandchild he's always wanted."

Hermione laughed even as she hit him. He divested her of the rest of her clothes and him of his own, before lowering his smiling mouth to the soft curls of her pussy. One hard lick of her clit and she was his, crying out for him to fill her like he always did so well.

When they were spent, Draco's head resting against Hermione's damp breast, he finally spoke again.

"Not that I'm complaining, but why on earth would you take me back, Granger?"

She jiggled with laughter, causing Draco to growl a little lustfully. "I've been in love with you for years, Draco. We've had our arguments, and even though this takes the biscuit, well, I've never been able to stay mad at you for long."

He ran a fingertip across her hip, looking thoughtful. "You said you wouldn't begrudge me a child."

"I wouldn't've, though I'm glad it's turned out this way," she said.

He brought his face to hers, kissing her gently. "Circe, Granger, I thought you just liked having something secret, something casual after all that bullshit with Weasley, but you really would have given up everything for me, wouldn't you?"

She nodded and he kissed her even harder.

Draco smirked once they had broken away. "We've wasted so much time with fucking misunderstandings, so I want to make this absolutely clear – I am going to marry you, we are going to have a whole flock of little know-it-all blondes, and you...are going to tell Potter you're pregnant, because I don't think he'll be too pleased with me."

He ducked her slap and caught her hand.

"Or," Hermione said, smiling, "We could get Romilda to print something as a cop-out."

"Finally," he mock-groaned. "Some Slytherin-like thinking."

"No, it's just lazy."

"One and the same, I say, Granger."

"Can you stop calling me that if we're meant to be getting married and settling down?"

"No. Never. You'll be little, frizzy-haired Granger to me 'til the day you die."

"No, I'll be frizzy-haired Malfoy."

"Oh, now, I like that."