Author's Note: Hello, my lovelies! I know you're all expecting an update for "A Timely Romance," and I promise that that will come soon, but the muses just wouldn't leave me alone. I'm a big fan of the Vampire Diaries on the CW and while watching an episode today I heard a quote that immediately sparked a Dramione fic idea in my head. So I set to work, and five hours later, here I am with a completed 6,000 word one-shot. I hope you enjoy it, and let me know what you think!
P.S. I don't own Harry Potter or the Vampire Diaries.
"It's not just that she makes him a better person, and she does, but he changes her too. Draco challenges her, surprises her, he makes her question her life, beliefs. Ron is different, his love is pure, and he'll always be good for her. Draco is either the best thing for her or the worst."
It's not just that she makes him a better person, and she does…
The press had a field day when they went out on their first date. The headline of the Prophet the next morning read "Gryffindor War Heroine Dates Slytherin Alleged Death Eater—Love Potion, Confundus Charm, or Star-Crossed Lovers?" Their families and friends surely didn't take it well, either. Out of all of her friends, Harry took it the best. He had seen Draco the past two years, even worked side by side with him in the Auror department on a few missions. And he had expected something to come of the pair's antagonistic bantering which had lately become more and more flirtatious. He saw how Draco's whole demeanor changed whenever she was in the same room. The worry lines in his forehead eased, his laughter became less forced. For a moment, he forgot his past—who he was, what he had done—and became a man very much interested in a woman he could never have.
At first, this interest manifested itself in insults that rivaled their Hogwarts days. He would call her a frizzy-haired Muggleborn—never Mudblood, for he had not uttered that word since he watched it get carved into her arm by his demented Aunt Bella—who had a stick shoved so far up her bum there was no hope of ever extricating it. And she would call him a pure-blood supremist who would shag anything with two legs. Neither of them really meant it.
Slowly, the insults became less and less frequent, although they argued just as much. They would argue about anything and everything. Hermione would say one thing, and Draco would say the exact opposite just to annoy her. Harry once even heard them literally arguing about apples and oranges. He still remembers the first time he ever heard them agree on anything. He, Draco, Hermione, Ron, Kingsley, and some other Aurors were all sitting around a conference table in the Auror Department of the Ministry of Magic and were discussing new intelligence that had just been discovered about a nest of Death Eaters hiding out in the small wizarding village of Tinworth.
Ron was the first to speak up. "Well, what are we all sitting around here for? Kingsley, how soon can we leave?"
"Don't be ridiculous, Ronald," Hermione asserted, "We can't leave until we have a plan and special ops team of highly trained Aurors."
"Highly trained aurors?" Ron scoffed, "We have the three of us," he said, purposely ignoring Draco's presence, "Harry defeated bloody Voldemort. How much more highly trained can we get?"
"I'm just saying that we have no idea what we're walking into. We can't just burst into their hideout with our wands raised and expect everything to go okay. Harry, tell him." Hermione looked at Harry expectantly.
"I dunno, Hermione," Harry replied, "I mean, Ron does have a point. Besides, the longer we wait, the more likely the Death Eaters are to move to a new location."
Draco spoke up, "You lot are bloody idiots. How you managed to defeat Voldemort I'll never know. Granger here is the only one with ounce of sense. If you do not take the time to form a plan and a strategy with a team of aurors, not just the bloody Golden Trio, you have no idea what you're running into. There could be twenty Death Eaters holing up in there just waiting to take Saint Potter and do Merlin knows what to him for killing their master."
Ron, with his quick temper as always, rose to his feet and shouted at Draco, "I bet you would love for us to do that, wouldn't you? For us to spend days making a plan so you'll have enough time to run tell your little Death Eater friends. You may have the Ministry fooled, Malfoy, but not me. Once a Death Eater always a Death Eater, you filthy—"
Ron let out a garbled noise as his tongue was suddenly stuck to the top of his mouth as the result of a Langlock spell being cast. Everyone looked in shock at Hermione who was now standing with her wand raised.
"That is quite enough, Ronald. Malfoy has proven himself time and again over the past year and has saved both of our lives during missions. He's no more Death Eater than you are."
Hermione sat down with a huff, as everyone stared at her incredulously, especially Draco. Two impossibilities had just occurred in the last half hour. Draco had agreed with Hermione on something, and Hermione stood up for Draco. That was the moment Harry began to suspect.
From that moment, their arguments and insults decreased dramatically, turning into debates and playful bantering. As before, they rarely agreed on anything, but now they discussed it with one another, enlightened each other on differing viewpoints. At times, Harry thought, they argued just for the sake of arguing because they were a perfect intellectual match. They met each other's verbal spars with equal ferocity, yet each seemed to enjoy their debates. Harry often saw one or the other leaving the argument with a subtle smile on their face, regardless if they won or lost.
Both began to slowly change little by little, but Harry noticed the biggest change in Draco. His whole personality took a turn for the better. Don't get him wrong though, Draco was still a giant git, but Harry began to view that git as more and more of a friend. Their friendship, while nowhere near the level of his and Ron's, grew much stronger when the two of them, along with Hermione (Ron was busy helping George in the joke shop at the time), began working together every day on a two-month long mission. They still referred to each Potter and Malfoy, but they had become unlikely friends.
The close quarters significantly strengthened Hermione and Draco's relationship as well. Harry would often spot the two of them sitting around the campfire late at night, talking about countless topics, sometimes arguing, other times laughing. Once, Harry awoke in the middle of the night and ventured outside his tent to get some fresh air when he saw the two of them sitting next to each other on a nearby log. He began to listen to what they were saying.
"You're kidding me, right?" Hermione laughed, "There's no way you had a crush on me in fourth year. You were an awful little git to me."
Draco smiled sheepishly. "I was overcompensating. I was rude to you because I liked you. Besides, you just looked so pretty at the Yule Ball."
"And what's your excuse now?" Hermione questioned.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Well, you're still a rude little git, so what's your excuse now?" she replied, without malice.
"That, my dear Granger, is because you are so much fun to tease," he responded with a grin on his face.
Hermione hit him playfully as Harry tiptoed back to his tent. Yes, something was definitely going on there.
It was only two days later when they were ambushed by a group of rogue Death Eaters. Spells were flying everywhere. Harry, Draco, and Hermione were all back to back, taking on multiple Death Eaters each. They had disarmed and stunned all but two when one of the Death Eaters cast a spell at Hermione. She didn't even see the spell coming until it was too late to block it, but suddenly she was pushed to the ground as Draco took the brunt of the spell to his head and was knocked unconscious. Harry stunned the remaining Death Eaters quite quickly and Hermione apparated the three of them to St. Mungo's. The healers quickly placed Draco on a stretcher and rushed him into the back with a crying Hermione running behind them.
Harry shook his head, thinking over everything that had just happened. If someone had told him when he was at Hogwarts that Draco Malfoy would become of his good friends, or that Draco would take a spell to the head to stop Hermione from getting hurt, he would have called them mad. Hermione was changing Draco into a better person…
But he changes her, too.
Pansy was working in her office at the National British Wizarding Museum as the lead historian when she received an owl telling her of Draco's injury. She flooed from work to St. Mungo's immediately and rushed to the fourth floor to the spell damage ward. There she saw Hermione Granger, the Gryffindor golden girl, arguing with a Mediwitch.
"You don't understand. I need to get in to see him immediately," Hermione pleaded.
"Mr. Malfoy is very seriously injured and needs rest. You can return at normal visiting hours," the mediwitch responded, pointing to a sign posted nearby with the visiting hours listed.
"I'm Hermione Granger, one of the head aurors in the ministry. Surely you can make an exception," she pleaded.
"Come back at 7 o'clock," the witch responded.
"Oh for Merlin's sake," Hermione muttered, then grasped her wand a little tightly and whispered, "Confundus."
The Mediwitch's eyes glazed over as the spell took effect.
Hermione whispered, "You are going to go let me see Draco. You will not make me adhere to normal visiting hours. You will not tell anyone what has happened here. Go back to your desk, and do your job."
The mediwitch abruptly turned around and walked straight back to her desk and began filing papers.
Pansy sauntered up to Hermione.
"Well, well, well…did I just see Hermione Granger—the patron saint of all things holy—use an unforgiveable?" Pansy sneered.
"Yes, and if I were you, I'd keep my mouth shut about it, Parkinson. In case you don't know, I was the one that caused the word 'sneak' to be written in boils across Marietta Edgecomb's forehead in fifth year. Last I heard, they had yet to find the counter curse for it," Hermione warned.
"Whoa, Granger, calm down," Pansy replied and then muttered, "Gryffindor girl's got a dark side."
Hermione sent her a smirk that looked scarily similar to Draco's.
"Merlin, that boy has had an effect on you," Pansy said, "Speaking of which, can you confund the mediwitch to let me back there, too? I really need to see him."
Hermione nodded her assent and then briefly spoke to the healer before turning around and grabbing Pansy's arm.
"We're good to go. If anyone asks, we were granted special permission from the mediwitch at the front desk to be back here because of the sensitive condition of Draco's case," Hermione said breathlessly, as she all but ran down the halls.
They finally reached Draco's room at the end of the hall, and Hermione flung the door open. Draco lay in his bed with a bandage wrapped around his head. His eyes were closed, but his breathing was steady. Hermione reached the bed in three swift steps. Looking down at him, she breathed a sigh of relief. They had told her that he was alive and hanging in there, but she needed to see with her own eyes. She pulled up a chair right beside his bed and gently took his bruised hand in hers. Ignoring Pansy, she began to speak to Draco.
"Malfoy, you're a bloody idiot."
Pansy looked at Hermione in surprise but then began to understand as Hermione continued.
"Why did you push me out of the way? God, what happened to your Slytherin save-yourself-first mentality? You were acting like a Gryffindor, Malfoy! I hope you heard that. I hope you hear everything I'm telling you. I hope what I said made you angry. Yell at me, Malfoy. Fight with me. Just do something, please."
The only response Hermione received was Draco's steady breathing.
"Gods, Malfoy," Hermione began to cry, "This is all my fault. I should have been paying more attention. I should have seen that spell coming at me. I should be laying in this bed, not you. Please just wake up, Draco."
She laid her head on his chest and began to cry in earnest, blaming herself.
"Did I just hear you call me a Gryffindor?" Draco asked with a groggy voice, his eyes fluttering open.
Hermione sat up quickly and then grabbed Draco in a vice-like hug.
"Oh thank Merlin you're alright," she said appreciatively, and then snapped, "You git, why did you have to go and save me for? Could you be any more idiotic?"
"And this is the thanks I get," he answered, "You sure know how to make a bloke feel good about himself, Granger."
But Draco wrapped his arms around Hermione who was still hugging him with all her might.
He whispered in her ear, "I'm alright, Hermione, really."
She slowly released him from her grip and looked at him incredulously, "Did you just call me by my first name?"
He grinned at her.
"Well, I heard you call me by mine so I figured I should give it a try."
They grinned at each other for a moment. Then, Draco saw Pansy standing awkwardly in the corner of the room.
"Pans, you came," Draco said, as Pansy rushed over and enveloped Draco in a hug.
"Of course I came, you big lug. My best friend goes and gets himself hexed, where else do you think I'd be?" she answered.
Draco looked around the hospital room and asked, "Where's mum? I assumed she'd be here the second she heard."
Pansy replied, "She's probably in the waiting room. They won't let people back here until three hours from now."
Draco furrowed his brow. "Then how did you two get back here?"
Hermione looked around sheepishly. "Well, you see, the thing is…I sorta confunded a mediwitch to let us back here."
Draco looked at her in shock. "You, Hermione Granger, used an unforgiveable just to come see me? I mean, I would understand Pansy or Blaise doing something like that, but you?"
"I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes," Pansy piped in.
"Alright, alright, let's not make a big deal out of this," Hermione said blushing, then replied more strongly, "Now, you get a little rest Draco while I go see if I can sneak Narcissa back here. I'm sure she's worried sick."
Pansy and Draco watched her as she left the room.
Pansy turned to Draco and said with a smile on her face, "I think you've corrupted her."
Draco challenges her…
"Absolutely not. You are not going."
They stood in his office two months after Draco's stay in St. Mungo's and one month after their first date. Draco was leaning against his desk with his arms crossed. Hermione stood on the opposite side of the room, anger etched in every feature of her face.
"You have no right to make this decision for me, Malfoy."
They had taken to using each other's last names again, except for when they were being particularly intimate. Old habits die hard.
"I have every right to make this decision, Granger," Draco shot back, "Kingsley put me in charge of this mission. That includes deciding who goes and who stays."
"They're my parents, Malfoy. Those filthy Death Eaters have them, and they're doing God knows what to them as we speak. Please, Malfoy," she pleaded.
"Granger, you're too emotionally involved in this. If I let you go, your emotions would get in the way of the success of the mission. You could get yourself or someone else killed. You're not going. End of discussion," Draco answered firmly.
Hermione was furious. She picked up the nearest available object, which happened to be a vase sitting on a small table and threw it at him. He dodged it by about two inches and then turned and watched it break into a hundred pieces behind his desk. He looked at her incredulously.
"Are you serious? I tell you that you can't do something, and you throw a fucking vase at me?" he shouted.
She crossed her arms indignantly.
"Fine. Have it your way then," Draco said as he picked up a book off his desk and threw it at her, smacking her in her right arm.
She screamed in outrage. "How dare you?"
"I'm not Potter or Weasel," he spat at her, "I'm not gonna roll over and let you have your way every time you don't agree with my decisions. If you push me, I'm gonna push back."
Hermione glared at him and then threw a stapler at him, hitting him on his chest. Before long objects were flying across the room, and screams could be heard throughout the entire department. Harry and Ron came running when they heard screams and now stood outside the doorway unsure what to do.
"Do you think we should go in there?" Ron asked as he watched a lamp soar across the room.
"I think it would be hazardous for our health to take a single step in that office," Harry replied.
"Yeah, I guess you're right. And Hermione seems to be holding her ground pretty well," Ron said as he watched a coffee cup bounce off Draco's head.
Harry reached in and shut the door to Draco's office while Ron cast a silencing charm. They then began to herd the crowd that had come to stare at the commotion occurring in Draco Malfoy's office.
Meanwhile, both Draco and Hermione had sunk down to the floor, leaning against Draco's desk. Both were exhausted and emotionally spent. They sat in total silence for a few minutes, before Hermione began to giggle.
"What's so funny?" Draco asked gruffly, a bruise already appearing on the side of his face.
Hermione pointed to the room and then to them. "Us. This room. All of it. We were acting like a couple of four year olds."
"Hey, you started it," Draco pointed out and then pointed to his right eye, which was rapidly swelling, "And I don't believe you have a black eye. Where'd you learn to throw like that anyways?"
"My dad," she answered, "He loves baseball. He taught me how to throw and catch as soon as I could walk."
Draco wasn't sure what baseball was but he could only imagine it involved throwing things at high speeds. The mood sobered dramatically. Hermione laid her head on Draco's shoulder.
"I'm scared," she whispered.
He wrapped his arm around her. "I know, 'Mione, I know. But's it's gonna be okay, I promise. I'm going to get your parents back, I swear."
Two days later, Hermione heard the tell-tale pop of someone apparating into her flat. Knowing only Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Draco had permission to do that, she ran out of her bedroom into her living room to see a bruised and beaten Draco with her parents, who looked shaken but otherwise okay, on either arm. She ran and hugged both of her parents, making sure they were okay, and then grasped Draco's face with both of her hands and kissed him passionately.
"You kept your promise," she whispered.
"Of course, I did," he answered softly, stroking the side of her face with his thumb.
Hermione turned around. "Mum, Dad, I'd like you to meet my boyfriend, Draco."
Hermione apparated to Draco's flat and knocked once before entering.
"I'm sorry I'm late. I got caught up at work—" she stopped abruptly, "What is that God awful smell?"
Draco emerged from the kitchen, an apron tied crookedly around his waist and flour coating his hair, carrying a pan of obviously scorched chicken. Hermione couldn't help it. She let out a giggle, before walking over to Draco.
"Merlin, what happened to you?" she asked, trying to restrain the laughter bubbling in her chest.
"This is all your fault," he replied as he dumped the chicken down the trash can.
"My fault? How on earth is this my fault? And how did this happen?" she questioned.
"Stupid Muggles. How on earth they've managed to survive so long is beyond me," he muttered as he tore off the apron.
"Draco darling, you're not making any sense. Come sit down and tell me what happened," Hermione soothed.
She guided him to the table, noticing the candles and expensive silverware already set.
"So what happened?" she asked gently.
"I tried to cook you dinner the Muggle way," Draco answered, "and I failed miserably."
"You what?" Hermione asked, obviously shocked.
"Well, it's just that I heard you talking to Ginny the other day about how you think that things done the Muggle way are so much more heart-felt and mean so much to you and how sometimes you get aggravated that everyone is so dependent on magic all of the time, and I don't know…I just thought that I would cook you dinner and we could have a nice romantic evening. But I charred the chicken, the rice is stuck in a big glob in the pot, apple pie never even made it to the oven, and you don't even want to know what happened to the steamed vegetables. I'm sorry Hermione. I tried, I really did. I guess I just—"
His words were cut off by Hermione's lips being pressed to his.
A few moments later, she slowly pulled away and whispered to him, "That is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me."
She stood up and grabbed his hand, pulling him up as she began to lead him to the bedroom. Moments later, she was straddling him on his bed as she picked up the hem of her shirt and began pull off her top. Draco grabbed her hands.
"Are you sure?" he asked, "We don't have to do this right now, you know."
"I know that," she answered, "but I want to."
He makes her question her life, her beliefs.
"Take it back."
Hermione stood, glaring at Draco. Draco stood ten feet away looking at her incredulously. Between them stood a small house elf nervously looking from Draco to Hermione.
"Granger, don't be ridiculous," Draco said.
"You know how I feel about house elves and the injustices done to them, Malfoy. I'll not have one living here, subjugating it to slavery to me," Hermione said, crossing her arms.
The house elf spoke up anxiously, "Dottie does not mean to cause trouble, mistress Granger. Dottie only wants to help."
"You see, Malfoy? You see? Now you've got the poor thing thinking we're angry at it," Hermione said.
"Oh so now it's my fault?" Draco shouted, "My mother sends us a housewarming gift, and this is all my fault. This is so typical."
"Do you not remember S.P.E.W.? How can someone who claims to know so much about me not remember that?" Hermione shouted back.
"Spew? What the bloody hell is spew?" Draco asked confusedly.
Hermione screamed in frustration. Dottie obviously distressed, began hitting her head on the wall.
"Bad, Dottie, bad," the house elf shouted as it repeatedly hit itself on the head.
Draco rushed over there, sending Hermione a glare as he ran past her. He tenderly grabbed the house elf, stilling her hands, and held her close to his body.
"Now, now, Dottie. None of this was your fault. You are not to blame," he crooned, "Listen, Granger and I need to talk alone for a few minutes. While we talk, would you mind running a few errands for me?"
Dottie nodded emphatically. "Of course, Master Draco. Dottie would love to run errands."
"Alright, good. I need you to go to Diagon Alley and pick me up four scrolls of parchment, three new quills, and green ink. Can you do that for me?" Draco asked kindly.
Dottie nodded again.
"Good," said Draco as he handed Dottie ten galleons, "Here is more than enough to pay for the things I need. You are to spend whatever money you have left over on something for yourself. It can be anything you want, okay, Dottie? That's a good girl."
The house elf hopped out of Draco's arms and apparated with a pop.
Hermione looked at Draco, her anger dimmed but not completely gone. Draco called her over to him. She reluctantly walked over and sat down on the couch next to him.
"Granger, love, I know how you feel about house elves. I know that you think the way that wizards treat them is inhumane and basically legalized slavery. I know that you don't want a house elf living in our flat." He took her hands in his. "But Dottie is not just any house elf. Dottie has been in charge of me since I was born. She practically raised me. I know that you are very much involved in the ethical treatment of house elves, but, darling, you are going to have to accept the fact that some house elves don't want to be freed. Some are very happy serving their masters. We can give Dottie a great life. She can receive a salary and have days off and whatever you want. Things aren't always as black and white, as right and wrong as you think."
Hermione chewed on her bottom lip for a moment, thinking over everything Draco had said, before answering, "Dottie will get at least a galleon a week, more than that if it won't upset her, and she'll get two days of her choosing per week off. And we are going to make it very clear that no matter what is she ever to punish herself."
Draco smiled at her. "Thank you, 'Mione," he whispered in her ear before gently biting her ear.
She responded by putting her arms around his neck and began to kiss every inch of his neck. Their mouths met, and it was a wild tangle of limbs until Draco was straddling Hermione, his hand slipping under her shirt.
At that moment, a loud crack sounded through the flat as Dottie ran into the living room.
"Dottie has gotten everything you asked for, Master Draco," she said cheerfully.
Draco groaned and rolled off Hermione.
"Excellent timing, Dottie."
Ron is different, his love is pure, and he'll always be good for her.
Hermione was sitting in her office, filing paperwork, when she heard a knock at her door. She looked up to see Ron standing at her door, a big smile on her face and a book in his hands.
"Hey, Ron," she said cheerfully, "What's up?"
He walked over to her desk. "Hey 'Mione."
He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. It wasn't unusual for them to kiss each other in greeting, but it wasn't common either. It had probably been a year since the last time they had done so.
"I got you something," he said, "I stopped by Flourish and Botts after breakfast this morning to pick up that new book on the Chudley Cannons and saw this book and couldn't resist buying it for you."
He handed her the book. She gasped as she looked at it. It was the brand new special edition of Hogwarts: A History.
"Ron, I love it!" she squealed as she threw her arms around him, "Thank you!"
"It was nothing," Ron replied, obviously pleased that she loved her gift, "Hey I was wondering…would you like to grab lunch? It's been a while since we've had a chance to talk."
Hermione smiled. "Sure, Ron. Harry coming, too?"
"No, I don't think so," he answered not quite looking her in the eye, "He and Ginny are doing something or other."
"Okay, well just let me grab my coat and let Draco know what I'm doing and we can go."
At that moment, Draco entered Hermione's office. "Hi, love, I have a surprise for you."
Draco noticed Ron standing in the room.
"Weasley," he said with a curt nod.
Draco leaned over and gave Hermione a chaste kiss on the forehead before handing her his surprise.
"Oh, Draco, you got me the new edition of Hogwarts: A History. That was very sweet of you," she said appreciatively.
"Yeah, very 'sweet of you,' Malfoy, but I beat you to it. I just gave her that book right before you came in," Ron piped in smugly.
"Was your copy autographed by the author?" Malfoy smirked.
Before an argument could begin, Hermione cut in, "Now, now, boys. I love both copies of my book. One can never have too many copies of Hogwarts: A History."
Hermione sat Draco's copy down on her desk right next to Ron's copy.
"Ronald and I were just about to head out to lunch. Would you care to join us?" Hermione asked Draco, not seeing Ron's face fall when he heard the question.
"I would love to, but I can't. I have to meet with Kingsley in fifteen minutes," Draco said regrettably.
"That's alright," Hermione replied, "I'll see you tonight then?"
Draco nodded his assent and gently kissed her on her lips before walking out the door.
"Ready to go?" Hermione asked, turning to Ron.
They went to the Leaky Cauldron where they cheerfully greeted Hannah Abbott and settled down in a booth in the back corner of the pub. They talked pleasantly for a while as they ate their lunch.
"'Mione, I've been meaning to talk to you about something," Ron said.
"What is it, Ron?" Hermione asked, trying to think of what he would want to ask her.
"Do you ever think about what would have happened if we hadn't broken up?"
Hermione did not like the way this conversation was going.
"Well, I've thought about it before of course, but—"
Ron cut her off.
"So have I. Especially lately. I know that we broke up because we didn't want to damage our friendship, but the truth is, Hermione, I can't be just friends with you. I know that you're with Malfoy now, but I need you to know this. I love you. I have been your best friend since first year. We fought Voldemort and Umbridge and the Ministry together. We destroyed a horcrux together, 'Mione. Letting you go three years ago was the biggest mistake of my life. I love you, and I want you to choose me instead of him," Ron finished his speech and looked at her expectantly, hope shining on his face.
"Ron, I—" Hermione began, unsure of what to say, "Ron, I'm with Draco."
"I know that, 'Mione, but I love you, doesn't that mean anything to you? Think about it, Hermione. Can't you see our future together? We'd live in a nice big house with a library just for you. We'd have little bushy-haired ginger children running around. You'd officially be part of the Weasley family. We'd grow old together, best friends and lovers for the rest of our lives," Ron envisioned.
The sad thing was, Hermione could see all of it. She knew that Ron loved her and that she could be happy with him. She'd have the family she always wanted. It would be easy. It's what most of the Wizarding World expected to happen. But then she thought of Draco.
"Ron, I do love you," noticing Ron's now joyful expression she hurried on, "but not like that. I love you like a brother, like a best friend. I'm not in love with you."
"That would come in time," Ron said reassuringly.
"No, Ron, I don't think so," Hermione replied as gently as she could.
Ron's face began to turn red.
"Look, Hermione, I'm gonna lay this out for you," Ron began, "I can't be your friend and watch you be with Malfoy. It's too painful. You need to decide. It's either me or him. Make your choice."
Draco is either the best thing for her or the worst.
"I hate you!" Hermione screamed as soon as Draco walked into the room.
She sat curled up on the couch in their flat. Her hair was a mess, and her mascara was running down her face. It was obvious she'd been crying for quite some time now. Draco sat down his briefcase and rushed over to her. Ignoring her outburst, Draco sat down beside her.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"You! You happened! Everything would be fine right now if you had just stayed the arrogant prat you were during school, if you hadn't become an auror, if you hadn't kissed me! But it's not! Everything's all messed up, and it's your fault," she cried.
"What did the weasel do?" Draco asked, his voice eerily calm yet hinting at fury underneath the surface.
"He—he made me ch-choose," Hermione cried, "He told me he loved me and that he wanted to get back together and have a future together. He said he couldn't be my friend and see us together. He said it was either him or you."
Draco's arms were shaking from clenching his fists so tight. How dare he hurt Hermione like that?
"What—what did you tell him?" Draco asked, hoping she couldn't hear his insecurities in his voice.
"I chose you," she said simply.
"Why?" he asked, "Why would you choose me over your best friend of ten years?"
"Because I love you," she blurted out.
It was the first time either of them had said those three words.
Draco froze. "You, you love me?" he asked.
Hermione's tears had stopped coming. She nodded her head firmly.
"Yes, I do."
Draco grabbed her face in his hands and kissed her until she could barely breathe. Then, his lips traveled down on neck, onto her chest, the whole while whispering "I love you" to her. He picked her up and carried her to the bathroom where he made love to her in the shower, and then on the floor, and then on the bed, trying to prove to her over and over again his level of love and complete adoration for her.
The next morning, Draco was out of bed at the crack of dawn. He looked over at his sleeping girlfriend and kissed her forehead before putting on clothes and heading to their fireplace. He took a deep breath; he was not going to enjoy this.
"Ron Weasley's flat," he said as quietly as he could as he threw the handful of Floo powder down.
He arrived with a jolt and burst through the apartment, not caring if Weasley heard him or not. He stormed into his bedroom and threw open the door. Ron was asleep, sprawled out on his bed.
"Get up, Weasley," Draco shouted.
Ron bolted up out of bed and grabbed his wand, clearly disoriented.
"What? What's going on?" Ron said, clearly confused.
"Here's what's going on, Weasel. I came home last night to find my girlfriend sobbing on our couch, muttering about how you made her choose between you and me. What kind of lowly piece of shit are you to ask her to choose between her boyfriend and her best friend? How could you do that to her?" Draco demanded.
Ron finally began to understand what was going on, or so he thought. "So she came to her senses then?" he asked hopefully, "She broke it off with you, and now you're here because you're angry she finally chose me over you."
"No, you prat," Draco smirked, "She told me she loved me."
Ron was astounded. "But, I thought—"
Draco couldn't help but rub it in a little more. "Well, there's the problem, isn't there? You thought. No. She told me that she loved me, and then I showed her I loved her all night long."
Ron's face turned as red as his hair. "You're a real piece of work, Malfoy. What's your game, huh? There's no way you actually love her."
"That's just it, Weasel. I do. I would do anything for her. That's why I'm here now. As much as I want to, I can't hurt you because that would upset her. But I am not going to let you hurt her either. If you love her like you say you do, you'll go to her. You will tell her that you're sorry and that you're an insecure arse and that you will do anything to earn back her friendship. I'm not going to even try to understand why, but she values your friendship. You taking that away from her crushed her, and I'll be damned if I let her cry over you even a minute longer," Draco finished.
As he walked out the door, he called out "I expect you at my flat in an hour" leaving behind a very stunned Ron Weasley.
One year later, Ron and Harry stood outside near a gazebo as they watched the couple dance in the middle of the dance floor. Hermione's white gown trailed the ground as Draco spun her around. He pulled her tight against his body and leaned over to whisper something in her ear. Hermione blushed and then began to giggle. Happiness shone all over her face.
Harry turned to Ron. "I know you don't like him, mate, but you gotta admit, he's good for her."
Ron watched the couple dance as he replied, "Yeah, I know…"
Author's Note: Well, I have to say I'm quite proud of this one-shot. I tried to keep the characters' own voices while also giving my little spin on things. I hope you enjoyed. Leave a review:)