A/N: Many thanks to k_lynne317 for the beta!
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
Because the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
So I'm thinkin' about forgiveness
It was over. They were safe. Voldemort was dead. It was over.
She kept repeating the phrases in her head, hoping it would sink in. It still hadn't.
She looked around, noticing some people were crying, while others were laughing. Sadness and happiness floated through the air. It was a mixture of feelings. She felt happy too, but sad as well. She pushed the grief from her mind, focusing only on the relief that was flooding through her.
Hermione turned to Ron, her eyes full of love. He smiled at her, lacing his fingers through hers. He leant down and kissed her fully on the lips. The kiss was slow and tender, but full of passion and love.
When Ron pulled away, he noticed Hermione was crying. "What's wrong?" He had thought he had done something wrong. Maybe he had misread the signals between them?
Hermione shook her head, smiling. Ignoring the tears in her eyes, she hugged Ron tightly. "I'm just so glad the war is finally over. It's over."
Ron hugged her back tightly. "I know. We can finally be together. We can finally be happy. If you want, that is."
Hermione smiled. "Of course, Ron. I'd love that." She kissed him once more.
"Harry!" Ron shouted. Hermione turned and saw Harry coming over, Draco Malfoy trailing behind him slightly.
Hermione ran to her best friend, throwing her arms around him. She kissed him on the forehead. "Harry James Potter, I'm so proud of you!" He hugged her back.
"Hermione, I couldn't have done this without you. Thank you."
Hermione nodded, looking over his shoulder she saw Malfoy. Ron looked disgusted. "What is he doing over here?"
Hermione gave him a look that told him to shut up. Harry cleared his throat, "Just give him a chance, okay, guys?"
Hermione nodded. Ron just clutched her hand.
Malfoy cleared his throat. This was difficult for him. "Uhm, I was wondering if I could have a word with Hermione alone."
Hermione was shocked. He used her name. Her real name. It was the first time that had ever happened. She nodded her head. "Yes, I'll speak with you."
Malfoy looked relieved. "Okay."
Ron didn't let go of her hand. Hermione turned to him. "Harry trusts him, and I trust Harry. I'll be back soon anyways." She kissed him and he let go of her hand. She was surprised he let her go off with Malfoy.
Apparently, he thought the same thing. "I'm surprised Weasley let you be alone with me," he said while they walked away from the crowd.
"The war changes people I suppose," she answered. It was true. She found a spot where the two of them could sit and talk.
"Hermione, I, err, you have to understand how hard this is for me." He was struggling.
She placed her hand on his arm gently. "It's okay, Malfoy."
"Draco," he corrected. "This is going against everything my family had ever taught me, but I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for everything."
Hermione's jaw practically dropped. Malfoys never apologized. Or even spoke to Muggleborns. Yet here he was, apologizing to her. When she didn't say anything, he continued.
"I'm sorry for making fun of your grades, your hair, your teeth. I'm sorry for making fun of you because of your blood status. I know my father was wrong. I know that now. But most of all, I'm sorry for not doing a damn thing about my aunt when you were lying on the floor in my home screaming. I'm so sorry."
"Draco, I forgive you."
"Really? That easily?"
"Yes. Draco, I know you really weren't going to kill Dumbledore."
"I made all the wrong choices."
She looked at him, her eyes full of pity. "I don't think you ever had a choice."
"I have nightmares. I still hear you screaming in my sleep. It haunts me."
"Well, maybe my forgiveness will ease your mind."
"Draco, you need to forgive yourself. Until you do that, you'll never be at peace with yourself."
"Thank you, Hermione."
"Thank you, Draco."