Written for the Joys of Arranged Marriages Challenge! Obviously, I'm no JKRowling. But I hope ya'll enjoy! P.S. Huge shout out to MrsBates93 for betaing this.

Chapter 3

Hermione was quiet, unsure of what to say. She collapsed into a chair, unable to fully process everything that had just happened.

She was married. Married. Her, Hermione Jean Granger, a seventeen year old Muggle-born witch, was now married to one of the most prestigious Pureblood families.

Her eyes flicked towards Malfoy. He was staring at her, a sad look on his face. He opened his mouth to say something, but closed it quickly. It seemed he didn't know what to say either.

Hermione had no idea what sort of situation he was in at the moment, or what exactly she had just thrown herself into. What was his life like now that Voldemort was out in the open? His father was there at the Ministry; no doubt he was one of the Dark Lord's biggest followers. It was no surprise that Malfoy would be forced to follow in the same footsteps.

She would just have to help him through it, whatever the cost. That's what she had signed up for; at least it's what she thinks she's signed up for.

"I'm sorry."

The words were whispered so quietly Hermione almost didn't hear them. Looking up, her eyes met cool steel grey ones. "Pardon?" she said, staring at him intently.

"I'm so sorry," he said. His eyes were pleading, as if begging her to believe him.

"Malfoy, I-" Hermione started, but he cut her off.


She was confused.

"My name is Draco. We're married now, so I think we should call each other by our first names."

Hermione was surprised. He was actually being cordial. She found herself nodding. "You're right, Draco, we should call each other by our first names."

He half smiled. "I'm always right Hermione," he said, an air of cockiness in his words.

Hermione almost laughed. There was the Malfoy she had always known.

"But thank you, Hermione, you didn't have to do this for me, but you did. And words can't describe how much I appreciate it," he said, looking at her. He moved towards her, taking a seat in the chair next to her.

Hermione was quiet. "I'm afraid," she whispered.

Draco nodded. "I'm afraid too, but at least we have each other now."

Hermione nodded.

"I'll keep you safe," he promised.

Reaching over, Hermione held his hand. "I don't know what sort of situation we're in now, but I promise you, Draco, we'll make it through this together, alright?"

He smiled. "You have such faith."

"While you have none," she said, her eyes filled with pity.

Draco laughed dryly. "No, I don't suppose I do. My life has made me cynical."

Hermione was silent. Life had made all of them cynical. The War was tearing people apart. Looking up, she saw him lost in his own thoughts. "What happens now?"

Draco bit his lip. "You'll stay here, at the Castle. It'll be safer this way. The Dark Lord doesn't know about this, but I'm sure he'll figure it out sooner or later, and then you'll be in trouble. But until then, I'll keep you safe. I'll have to return to the Manor, and do terrible things for that vicious man." Draco shuddered. "But when school starts, we'll stay together."

The door to the office opened, and everyone returned.

"When Tom finds out what has happened, you will have to prove your loyalty remains to him, despite your allegiances to Hermione," Dumbledore said, taking his seat.

Draco nodded. "I have a plan, if that is the case."

Dumbledore nodded, his face grim. Turning to Hermione, he asked, "Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to aid Draco, and the Order?"

Hermione nodded. "Until my last breath." The promise in her voice was strong and unwavering. She knew that her life had just become very dangerous, and she was willing to play her part in the War.

Dumbledore nodded. "Very well, Narcissa and Draco, the two of you may return to the Manor. You're both welcome in the Castle at any time."

Narcissa nodded. "I'll see you at home Draco." Standing, she left the office with Severus.

Hermione stood. "I'll walk Draco to the front gate."

Dumbledore nodded. Tonks stepped forward. "I'll follow the two of you in my animagus form."

Hermione nodded, realizing that she was going to be watched for the remainder of the War.

Hermione and Draco left the office and walked through the corridors. "You didn't have to walk me out you know."

Hermione nodded. "I know, I just wanted to talk to you for a bit longer."

Draco grinned at her. "Well, what did you want to talk to me about?"

"Nothing too serious, just light conversation. You are my husband now, and I don't know anything about you."

Draco nodded, she was right. "Well, ask away."

Hermione nodded. "What's your favorite color?"

Draco laughed, "Really Granger?"

She elbowed him in the chest. "It's Malfoy now, and yes, I'm serious. I barely know you, apart from the fact that you used to bully me."

"Alright, and I'm sorry about that by the way. But to answer your question, my favorite color is dark blue."

"Really?" Hermione asked, raising her eyebrows. "Not Slytherin green?"

He chuckled, shaking his head. "Not really, the colour gets suffocating after a while. Blue is calming, like the ocean."

Hermione nodded. "I like the color lilac."

Draco nodded. "What's your favorite flower?"

Hermione pursed her lips. "Well, I like lilacs, and tulips are nice too for that matter." She was quiet for a moment, "What's your favorite time of the year?"

"New Year's, a time for new beginnings and hope. It's really just like any other day of the year, but people give it so much hype, it becomes exciting." He cast a glance towards Hermione. Her eyes were on the path ahead of them, completely oblivious to the hatred of the outside world. She was innocent and pure. When he pictured the good in the world, it was always her face.

"I like Christmas, with all the presents and good cheer, and the time spent with family," Hermione said, a smile on her face.

Draco frowned. "We never celebrated Christmas at the Manor."

Hermione stopped walking. "Are you serious?"

Draco nodded, turning to look at her. "I didn't have a happy childhood Hermione; I don't know what else you want me to say."

Hermione shocked both herself and Draco by throwing her arms around him. She hugged him tightly. "I'm sorry," she whispered.

Draco hugged her back. No one had ever hugged him like this before. No one had ever given him affection without wanting something in return.

Draco pulled away, coughing quietly. Hermione looked up at him, her cheeks light pink.

"Well, Hermione, I'm actually at the gate, so I have to go."

Hermione nodded, unsure of where that bout of affection had come from. "Be careful," she said, her eyes full of worry.

He looked at her, a small smile gracing his lips. "I'll be fine. I'll keep in touch."

Hermione watched as he stepped through the gates and disapparated.

"He'll be alright," Tonks said from behind her.

Hermione nodded. "I suppose."

"Come on; let's get you settled into your room," Tonks said as she guided Hermione back towards the castle.