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This book was automatically created by FLAG on October 17th, 2012, based on content retrieved from The content in this book is copyrighted by CajunWitch or their authorised agent(s). All rights are reserved except where explicitly stated otherwise. This story was first published on April 23rd, 2012, and was last updated on August 11th, 2012. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated - please email any bugs, problems, feature requests etc. to

Table of Contents
Summary 1. Chapter 1 2. Chapter 2 3. Chapter 3 4. Chapter 4 5. Chapter 5 6. Chapter 6 7. Chapter 7 8. Chapter 8 9. Chapter 9 10. Chapter 10


The war's over, but Bellatrix still haunts Hermione's dreams until a new friend helps her overcome this. Of course Draco comes into Hermione's life. Neither one wants a relationship, so why not be friends that occasionally sleep together? This could only lead to disaster! Drama, Drama A/U, OOC


Chapter 1
Yesterday's Just a Memory Chapter One Disclaimer:I own nothing relating to Harry Potter! A/N: This will start out as a Ronione, but it will end as a Dramione. I wanted to try a different approach. Warning: LEMONS Hermione Granger winced as she stood inside Hogwarts castle. She, Harry Potter, and Ron Weasley had come back to the school after spending most of the school year hunting for Horcruxes. The Battle of Hogwarts was on and the school was being viciously attacked by the Death Eaters and all of the other beings that had also sided with the evil Lord Voldemort, believing his empty promises. Harry had gone away from the castle for a final showdown with Lord Voldemort. Hermione and Ron had stayed behind, defending Hogwarts with all of their friends and Ron's family. When it was all over and Harry had prevailed over Voldemort, everyone was relieved that the nightmare was finally over. Was it? The next few weeks after the war was over, everyone was preoccupied with reuniting with their families and grieving for loved ones lost. Hermione found herself growing closer to Ron as she comforted him as he mourned over the loss of his brother Fred. She had always harbored a crush on Ron and as the days went by, they turned to each other for solace with handholding, and hugging that turned into long snogging sessions. Ron wanted to go further, but much to his disappointment, Hermione always stopped him when he tried to put his hands in her pants. Hermione had been staying at The Burrow, the Weasley's home, since the war ended. She had nowhere else to go. Before the war, she had thought that by performing the "obliviate" spell on her parents, she was doing the right thing. It was for their own safety. Hermione had even seen to her parents moving to Australia and having new identities. When the war had ended, she immediately went to Australia and brought her parents' home. When they returned, she restored their memories and her parents were very angry with her when they found out what Hermione had done. She decided that they needed to cool down and maybe it was best if she stayed away from home for a while. Hermione wanted to go back, but she didn't know how she would handle it if her parents were still angry. Harry approached her

about this. "Hermione, it's not going to go away. You need to take care of this," Harry said gently. "I know Harry, but I'm afraid. I don't know what I'll do if they're still so upset with me," Hermione sobbed. Harry took Hermione gently by the shoulders. "Hermione, look at me! Your parents love you. You've been gone for a month, you need to sit down with them and explain what happened." "You're right Harry. I need to face them. I miss them so much," Hermione replied as she scratched her left forearm. Harry pushed up the sleeve of the long-sleeved T-shirt Hermione was wearing and grimaced. "It's still there. I can't believe the healers aren't able to get rid of it." Hermione sighed and looked down at the crude tattoo that was imbedded in her forearm by the dagger of the now deceased Death Eater witch Bellatrix Lestrange. "I know, I guess I'll just wear long sleeves until I can figure out a way to get rid of it or find someone who can." Harry, Hermione, and Ron had been captured by snatchers and when the snatchers had realized who Harry was, the trio was brought to Malfoy Manor. It was there that Bellatrix, diabolical cunt from hell, had tortured Hermione by carving the word "mudblood" on her arm. It was definitely one of the best days of Hermione's life when Molly Weasley, Ron's mother, ended that bitch's life when the evil whore tried to kill Ginny Weasley, her only daughter. "If anyone can figure it out, it's you," Harry said and smiled. "Thanks Harry. I'll leave tomorrow morning and I'll send an owl to let you know how it goes. Huh, I might be back here. I won't be surprised if they want to disown me," Hermione said sadly. "Something tells me your parents will forgive you. Come on Hermione, you're the perfect daughter. You've never done anything wrong or given them reasons not to trust you," Harry replied and hugged her. Hermione returned the hug as a thought crossed her mind. She was about to do something that would give her parents a reason not to trust her. Hermione was ready to have sex. She had made a decision that she was going to go to Ron tonight and give herself to him. It astounded her that even when the war was going on and

she had witnessed so many atrocities, she sometimes wondered in the back of her mind if she was going to die a virgin. Ginny had confided in Hermione that she and Harry had finally had sex the week before. Hermione knew that she was probably the last of her friends that still had her virginity. That wasn't the only reason she wanted to lose her virginity; she was curious to know what all the fuss was about. The last few times when she and Ron had a snogging session, it was harder for her to stop. She liked the tingly feelings she would get as Ron gently caressed her, but yet was afraid to take it to the next level. Ginny assured her that it was fantastic and she felt so much closer to Harry. Hermione was ready to take that step with Ron. It was a little after 10 p.m. that evening when Hermione went to Ron's bedroom. The house was quiet and almost everyone was asleep. Harry had snuck into Ginny's room and they were having their fun. Hermione took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and walked into Ron's bedroom. Ron was still up, reading a Quidditch magazine. It was a warm evening, so he was clad only in boxer shorts. Hermione's breath caught when she realized how much Ron had filled out. His shoulders were broader and his abdomen was lean and nicely muscled. He only had a small amount of chest hair, which she liked. Hairy men were not Hermione's thing! When Ron noticed her come in, he put the magazine aside and gulped. He knew something was different about Hermione tonight. Instead of her usual sleepwear of a T-shirt and shorts, she was wearing a short white, sleeveless cotton lace gown that only reached her mid-thigh. Her hair fell in smooth waves instead of its usual frizz, softly framing her face. For a moment, Ron wondered if he was dreaming of a beautiful angel, but that passed when Hermione slipped into the bed with him and began to kiss him. Ron responded and kissed her back gently. He was a little shocked when she pressed against him, but quickly got over it. He lightly brushed his hand over her breasts, and when she didn't object, he put his hand under her gown and inhaled sharply when he touched her bare breasts. He loved how soft her skin was and oh, she smelled so good. They continued to kiss, and then Ron stopped, pulling back. Hermione looked at him, wondering if she had done something wrong. Ron smiled at her and started to remove her gown. She let him take it off and he put it aside. Ron stared at her for what seemed like a lifetime. "What, is anything wrong?" Hermione asked softly. "No, no love. You are so lovely Hermione. Are you sure you want to do this? We can wait," Ron said. "I'm ready Ron, I want to be with you," Hermione replied and kissed him, pressing against him and loving the way her bare breasts felt against his hard chest.

That was all Ron needed to hear. He sure wasn't expecting this tonight. He started to kiss her neck and made his way to her breasts, paying equal amounts of attention to each one. He loved how Hermione's breasts were perfect; they were just the right size and fit in his mouth, as he lightly grazed them with his tongue. Hermione ran her fingers in his slightly shaggy red hair as he did this, it was a wonderful feeling. She moved her hands down to the waistband of his boxers and reached inside, touching his very erect penis. Hermione almost gulped when she realized how big he was and wondered if he was going to fit inside of her. Ron gave her a surprised look when she touched him there. That was the first time she ever did and it felt exquisite. He moved away from her and removed his boxer shorts, and then returned to her breasts. Hermione felt his erection moving over her panties and she moved her hips up to rub against him. Ron started to kiss her on the mouth again and this time his kisses were harder and a little more demanding. They were both excited and the anticipation was building. He looked at Hermione hesitantly as his hands lingered on the waistband of her panties. Hermione nodded and Ron removed them. "Hermione, I mean it, we can stop now. Don't get me wrong, this is the best night of my life, but I don't want you to do something you'll regret," Ron said. "Ron, I want to. I want to you to be my first," Hermione replied. Ron kissed her again and positioned himself at her entrance. He pushed gently and was met with resistance. With some fumbling, he managed to thrust a little harder and broke through. He stopped when he saw Hermione give a small gasp and a few tears leaked from her eyes. She shook her head. "Don't stop, I knew it was going to hurt, but it's supposed to get better," Hermione whispered. "Okay love, but stop me if you're uncomfortable," Ron whispered back. He started to thrust slowly, loving the way she felt. It was his first time too and he couldn't imagine it with anyone else. He had come close to having sex with Lavender Brown in their sixth year at Hogwarts, but they never did. He was so happy it was with Hermione. It was painful at first, but as Ron thrust gently into her, Hermione started to move her hips with his. Ron closed his eyes in ecstasy when she did this. It didn't take long for him to spill his seed into her. Hermione was grateful she had thought to perform a contraceptive spell before she went to him. That would have been great, getting pregnant her first time having sex!

Ron slipped out of her and lay beside her. Hermione performed a quick cleaning spell, a little dismayed to see the blood on Ron's sheets. He pulled her to him and kissed her lightly on the forehead, staring at her in amazement. "Merlin Hermione, that was incredible!" Ron said. "I thought so too Ron, I enjoyed it," Hermione replied, blushing lightly. Ron pulled his boxers on and Hermione slipped into her nightgown and panties. He pulled her back to him and she rested her head on his chest. They fell asleep as Ron lightly stroked her hair. Hermione woke up during the night, needing to go to the bathroom. She slipped out of the bed as quietly as she could so she wouldn't disturb Ron, who was snoring softly. As her feet touched the floor, she got the sense that something wasn't right. She thought she heard a woman cackling. As she pondered how ridiculous this was, she felt two hands that were as cold as ice grab her ankles and pull her under the bed. She couldn't scream, for the wind was knocked out of her. She found herself face to face with Bellatrix Lestrange. "You'll never get rid of me, I will haunt you forever you miserable mudblood!" Bellatrix screamed her breath hot and stinking of rotting flesh. She had on the same black dress she had died in, but it was tattered and filthy. Hermione felt herself trying to scream, but nothing would come out. Finally, she was able to catch her breath. She began to scream and pound at Bellatrix, the evil witch only laughing at her feeble attempts to fend her off. Next thing Hermione knew, she woke up with Ron holding her arms and giving her a concerned look. "Hermione, wake up, wake up. You must be having a nightmare!" Ron said softly. Hermione was breathing heavily and when she realized she was with Ron, she started to cry. She told him about the dream and he held her until her tears subsided and she was able to sleep again. Ron knew she had been suffering from nightmares, hell they all did after the war, but this was the first time Hermione had one so vivid and realistic. He wished he knew some way to get rid of the nightmares. At about 2 a.m., Draco Malfoy woke up in cold sweat in his bedroom at Malfoy Manor. He had just had the most awful dream about his aunt Bellatrix. The nightmares had started slowly after the war had ended, but they were becoming more frequent and intense in the last week or so. When they first started, he'd only see Bellatrix from a distance, but as the dreams progressed, she would come closer

and in this last one, Draco actually felt her touch him. He shuddered involuntarily when he thought about how cold her hands were and that laugh of hers, it was so disturbing. She was his aunt, but she had been a miserable excuse of a human being. The woman had been the epitome of evil when she was on earth and now she was haunting his dreams. Draco decided he was going to have to research his family's extensive library to find a way to get rid of these disturbing reveries. He made his way to the bathroom connected to his bedroom. When the light came on, he couldn't believe how haggard he looked when he saw his reflection in the mirror over the lavatory. The war had really taken a toll on him, as he took in the bags under his eyes and his paler than usual face. He ran cold water and splashed it on his face. He took a piss and went back to his bed, falling into a fitful sleep, but thankfully he didn't dream about Bellatrix again. Things were tense in the Malfoy household, to say the least. Draco and his parents, Lucius and Narcissa were awaiting trial for their roles in the war. They had no idea what fate was had in store for them. They had been one of the most respected family's and always on the social scene in the wizarding world. Their previous life was gone, most of their friends were dead and the ones that were still there wanted nothing to do with them. Draco felt fortunate that he still had the friendship of Blaise Zabini and Pansy Parkinson. They weren't awaiting trial like him, but they were finding it difficult to get their lives back on track after the war. The roles were reversed; instead of them looking down on the half-bloods and muggleborns with scorn, they were now looked down upon. Draco kept up a strong, stoic appearance for his parents, but inside he was barely holding it together. It had to get better, he thought. Shit, when one has hit bottom like this, the only way to go was up. The next morning, Hermione awoke to find Molly Weasley had prepared a huge breakfast. She knew Hermione was going back home and hoped all went well with her parents. Molly watched as a look passed between Hermione and Ron. She was pretty sure that the relationship between her son and the young woman had been taken to another level. Molly wasn't upset; she knew that the war had taken its toll on everyone and if this was a way for them to deal with it, so be it. She also loved Hermione and knew Ron could do much worse, like that Lavender trollop! After breakfast, Hermione went to Ginny's room and packed up her belongings. She looked around, wishing she could stay, but she knew she had to face her parents. Ron came up from behind and wrapped his arms around her, as he moved her hair aside and kissed her on the nape of the neck. Hermione signed and leaned back into him. "I think your mum knows," Hermione said.
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"I think so too, but she isn't upset. She loves you Hermione and so do I," Ron replied, as he turned Hermione around to face him. Hermione lightly brushed his unshaven cheek and kissed him. "I love you too Ron, I always have." They walked together to the floo where everyone was gathered to see Hermione off. Her friends hugged her and made sure that she could always count on them to be there for her. Molly held her close and whispered softly to her. "Thank you for being there for Ron. He seems to be in better spirits. Take care and I hope all goes well with your parents. They'll come around, you'll see." "Thank you Mrs. Weasley. I hope you're right. Well, I suppose I should be going. Thank you again for letting me stay here," Hermione replied. "Anytime dear, we love having you," Molly said and smiled, as she wiped away a few tears. Ron held Hermione's hands and kissed her one more time before she left. "I can go with you if you like." "No Ron, this is something I have to do alone. I love you," Hermione said as she stepped into the floo. "I love you, Hermione," Ron said as Hermione called out her home address and disappeared. Hermione made it back home within minutes and tentatively walked into the living room where her parents were sitting on the couch, talking quietly. She took a deep breath and began to speak. "Mum, dad, I was hoping we could talk." Her parents looked up, startled to see Hermione there. Her mother rose from the couch, followed by her father. They both went to Hermione and pulled her into their arms. "Oh Hermione dear, we're so happy you came back. We've been in agony since you left. We were so shocked and didn't understand, but we never gave you a chance to explain, can you forgive us?" Mrs. Granger said, tears rolling down her
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face, as she held Hermione. "Forgive you? I'm the one that needs to ask forgiveness for what I did, but it was the only way to keep you safe," Hermione sobbed, but relieved that she was back in her parents' good graces. Hermione sat with her parents and started from the beginning of she, Harry, and Ron's quest for Horcruxes to the war ending. She told them about the horrors they had witnessed and showed them her scar. When Hermione was accepted into Hogwarts, the Grangers were thrilled, but had no idea what type of world their only child was going into. After hearing all this about a war and people losing their lives, even though the evil one, Lord Voldemort, was gone, they weren't sure if they wanted Hermione to return to that world. Maybe she needed to live in the muggle world for a while. As the days went by, Hermione was able to repair her fractured relationship with her parents. She owled her friends at The Burrow and let them know everything was going well. She missed Ron so much, but her parents needed her with them. Days turned into weeks as Hermione helped them reestablish their dental practice and get their lives back to normal. While they had been gone, the mail had accumulated and Hermione had quite a few letters from muggle universities. All the time Hermione had attended Hogwarts; she had also kept up with her muggle school studies and had managed to graduate, along with earning quite a few college credits. She wasn't only the brightest witch of her age; she was also quite a scholar in muggle education. One day, Hermione received a letter from Hogwarts. The letter stated that the school was going to allow Hermione to complete the year she had missed. She loved Hogwarts, but being home with her parents made her realize something. As much as she missed her friends and the school, she decided it would be in her best interest to remain in the muggle world for a time. Since she'd been home, the nightmares had subsided. As she thought about this, she made the decision to attend the University of London to earn a degree in Biology. When she figured out the college credits she had already earned, she only had to attend a year-and-a-half of school to attain her degree. She had always been interested in the medical field and once she had her degree, she'd apply to a medical school. Mr. and Mrs. Granger were thrilled when she told them of her plans. They helped Hermione get everything she needed and before she knew it, she was enrolled at the university. School was going to start at the end of August and Hermione was excited. It was almost the end of July and Hermione asked her parents if it was okay to go to The Burrow and visit her friends. They had been sending owls back and forth, but
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it wasn't the same as being face to face, of course. Her parents were hesitant, but agreed. They knew she missed her friends. When Hermione arrived at The Burrow, she was greeted by Ron, who grabbed her in a bear hug. Hermione squealed with joy as he swung her around. "I've missed you so much! I'm glad you're finally here," Ron said excitedly. Ginny and Harry walked into the scene, grinning at each other as they watched Hermione and Ron. They looked so happy together. Later that evening, Hermione found out that Ginny was going to finish her last year at Hogwarts. She was thrilled to learn that Harry and Ron were accepted into the Auror's program and were going to be starting in September. When she told them about her plans, everyone seemed excited except for Ron. When Hermione and Ron were alone in his room, they discussed her decision. "Hermione, are you sure you want to do this? Why don't you go back to Hogwarts with Gin, you love it there," Ron said. "I've made my decision Ron. I think it'll be better for me at a muggle university. As much as I love the wizarding world, I think I need a break from it," Hermione replied. "So I guess you want a break from me too?" Ron asked in a sharp tone. "Where is that coming from Ron? We can still be together. You and Harry will be at the Ministry and living in London, we'll be able to see each other," Hermione said, confused at how Ron was acting. "I can't explain it Hermione. I feel like you've changed. I thought we wanted the same things out of life and you were going to stay here. How are we supposed to stay together if you're in the muggle world and I'm in the wizarding world?" Ron asked sadly. "Ron, you've known me since we were eleven years old. We'll probably be seeing each other all the time when you and Harry move into Grimmauld Place. You'll get sick of seeing me, I'll be there so often," Hermione replied and smiled. "I guess I was feeling lonely since you left to be with your parents. Hermione, I've missed you so much," Ron said as he pulled her close and kissed her deeply.
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Hermione melted into his arms and kissed him back. She had missed him too and she couldn't wait to have another go at him. Apparently Ron felt the same way, for within minutes their clothes were off. She giggled as Ron nuzzled her neck. She soon began to gasp as he inserted one finger in her and rubbed her clit with his thumb. "Do you like that?" Ron asked as he kissed her neck. "Oh Merlin, yes! Don't stop," Hermione panted. No man had ever touched her so intimately and it felt incredible. The most extraordinary feeling started to flood through her and she felt it all the way to her toes. Ron had just given her first orgasm. So this was what all the big fuss was about, she thought. "Wow, I was able to make you come? Brilliant," Ron said as he rolled over and pulled Hermione on top of him. She got a devilish glint in her eyes and started planting tiny kisses, working her way down his chest. Ron's breath caught when he noticed where she was heading. When Hermione took him into his mouth, he almost lost it. She lightly licked his penis and then slowly took him into her mouth, applying a small amount of pressure as she sucked. Ron groaned in pleasure; no witch had ever gone down on him. He had gotten a few handjobs from Lavender, but that was it. This was truly a night of firsts for him and Hermione. Ron stopped her because he was about to come. As good as her mouth felt, he really wanted to be inside of Hermione. She was about to climb off of him, but Ron shook his head and positioned her on his cock. Hermione slowly lowered herself down; she was still adjusting to his girth. Ron closed his eyes and reveled in how good and tight her pussy felt. She loved the way his strong hands gripped her hips and moved her along with his thrusts. Hermione closed her eyes and enjoyed the ride. Ron opened his eyes and watched Hermione. She has no idea how incredibly sexy and gorgeous she is, he thought. He sat up and moved his hands, so he could wrap his arms around her. He kissed her deeply as he continued to thrust into her. Hermione moaned into his mouth and that was when he lost control, and his hot seed spilled into her. He let himself fall against his pillow and Hermione collapsed on his chest. "I must say this was what they call 'mind-blowing' sex," Ron said as he caught his breath. "I think I agree," Hermione answered and kissed him. She moved off of him and did a cleaning charm. She was about to dress, when Ron stopped her. "Let's sleep in the raw, I want to feel you against me," Ron said.
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Hermione dropped her clothes and snuggled up against him. Within minutes, they had fallen asleep. At about 2 a.m. the next morning, Hermione awakened because her mouth was dry. As she climbed out of the bed to get a glass of water, she started having a peculiar feeling. Sure enough, as soon as her feet hit the floor, there was Bellatrix standing in the corner of Ron's bedroom, looking hideous as usual, the smell of rotting flesh more pungent than ever. Even though it was in the middle of the summer and the room was warm, Hermione could see her breath. The temperature had dropped to about 50 degrees and she could feel goosebumps breaking out on her exposed skin. She closed her eyes, chanting to herself, "you aren't real, you aren't real." When she opened her eyes, Bellatrix was right in front of her and she screamed, "Oh, but I am real! I'll always be a part of you mudblood!" Ron awakened when Hermione started to scream and thrash about wildly in the bed, as if she was trying to push someone off of her. It took him a few minutes, but he was finally able to wake her up and calm her down. Ron held her as she told him about the nightmare. Hermione really thought she was past this; she hadn't had any nightmares since the last time she was at The Burrow. This one was worse than ever. Draco woke up with a start at about 2 a.m. He had another nightmare about Bellatrix. It had been weeks since he had one and he thought that they had ceased. What prompted him to have one this morning, he had no idea. Draco couldn't get back to sleep, so he grabbed the book he was reading about dreams. He decided to sit in a wingback chair positioned near one of his bedroom windows. He tried to read, but he couldn't concentrate, so he let his thoughts drift. Earlier that month, he had received a letter from Hogwarts. He was going to be given the chance to finish school. He didn't want to go back, but his parents felt it would be in his best interest to do it. They felt that it was a sign that things were looking up if Hogwarts was willing to forget about the past and move on. Draco was upset at first, but then felt better about it when he found out that Blaise and Pansy were also returning to Hogwarts. Hermione stayed for a few more days at The Burrow and had more nightmares involving Bellatrix. She and Ron were closer than ever and they made plans to meet up in London before she started school and he began his Auror training. Hermione felt that their lives were getting back on track and starting to heal from the mental and physical wounds inflicted by the war. She only wished she knew of a way to get rid of the nightmares and the scar. College was quite a change of pace for Hermione. She eagerly jumped back into
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the mode of attending classes and strove to excel at all of them. On weekends, she could be found at Grimmauld Place with Ron. Harry usually went to Hogsmeade to spend the weekends with Ginny, unless he and Ron had a special assignment. Hermione couldn't put her finger on it. She didn't have any nightmares when she was at her parents' home, but yet when she spent the night with Ron at Grimmauld Place, Bellatrix returned with a vengeance. Could it be that Bellatrix could only infiltrate her mind when she was in an enchanted area? Draco was surprised at how well everything was going since he returned to Hogwarts. At first, most of the students were wary of him, but when they saw that he kept to himself and the superior attitude he always seemed to carry around in the previous years was gone, they accepted him. He, along with Blaise and Pansy, had even begun to forge friendships with students from other houses. Draco couldn't believe it when he and Ginny Weasley spoke for almost an hour about Quidditch. She was actually quite nice and easygoing. He thought about all the years he wasted listening to his father's drivel about muggles and tainted purebloods. Draco had definitely missed out on making great friends, but he was determined to turn that around. This was going to be his best year at Hogwarts. Draco thought the nightmares about Bellatrix had ceased when he started at Hogwarts, but for some reason, he couldn't figure out why, the bad dreams would return on weekends. He started to research different books to cease this madness, but so far had come up with nothing. Professor McGonagall had even given him permission to look in the Restricted Section of the library, but he couldn't find anything. At first Draco thought his aunt might have left behind Horcruxes, but if that was the case, Molly Weasley wouldn't have been able to kill her so easily. There was some other dark magic at work here and he was going to have to figure it out before he lost his mind. Hermione had made a friend at the university. Thalia Campos was from Colombia, but was studying at the University of London because she wanted to apply to their Royal Veterinary College when she earned her degree. Animals had always fascinated her, especially growing up with a father who trained racehorses. When she was a teenager, she had started working with a local veterinarian in her town and was hooked. She was also multilingual, speaking Spanish, French, Portuguese, and perfect English, with a slight accent. Thalia was such a character. Vivacious, along with looking like the actress Sofia Vergara, Hermione was a bit intimidated when she first met the Latina beauty. Thalia was beautiful and all the guys in class seemed to be obsessed with her. Hermione dismissed her as a mindless twit. This all changed when she and Hermione became lab partners. Much to Hermione's surprise, she and Thalia hit it
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off immediately, when Hermione realized underneath the beauty was a very sharp mind, maybe even more intelligent than Hermione's! The young women had a few of the same classes, so they became study partners. Thalia was a few years older than Hermione and had been attending the university for the previous three years. She was amazed when she found out that she and Hermione were going to graduate at the same time. To Thalia, it was refreshing to find someone as young as Hermione who wasn't a complete airhead and just wanted to party. Thalia and Hermione shared the same values and worked hard to keep high grade point averages. One evening after cramming for an extremely difficult test, Hermione ended up spending the night at Thalia's apartment. It was then that Hermione found out something else about Thalia and that was probably another reason the young women got along so well. That night, Hermione was going to go home, but Thalia insisted that it was too late and she could sleep on the futon in the living room. Hermione had let her parents know she was staying at Thalia's and not long after she made the phone call, she fell asleep. Hermione found her sleep disrupted again at about 2 a.m. She sat up in the futon and tears ran down her face, she knew Bellatrix was there in Thalia's apartment. The temperature dropped in the room and Hermione could see her breath, just like all the previous nightmares. She heard the distinct cackle of the demonic bitch and it seemed to be coming from the ceiling. Sure enough, Bellatrix was hovering over the futon, staring at Hermione with her crazed, beady eyes. She dropped closer and closer to Hermione. Hermione was frozen in place, breathing heavily. Bellatrix laughed again and screamed, "I'll always find you, filthy mudblood! You'll never be able to stop me!" As Hermione felt Bellatrix's hot, rank breath, she was able to scream and started to punch at Bellatrix. Bellatrix looked shocked when Hermione actually made contact with her. Hermione caught this and screamed back, "That's right bitch! I can fight back now, you're getting weaker!" She even managed to pull out a chunk of Bellatrix's corkscrew curly hair. "You mudblood bitch! How dare you pull out my crowning glory!" Bellatrix exclaimed with rage. This went on for what seemed like ages, when all of a sudden, lights came on and Thalia was calming Hermione down.
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"Hermione, wake up! What the hell girl! Who're you fighting with?" Thalia asked as Hermione settled down. "Thalia, thank goodness it's you. You wouldn't believe the bad dream I was having," Hermione replied, breathing heavily. "I think I have some idea. What's in your hand?" Thalia asked, and then gasped when she saw that it was a clump of curly hair. "Shit, Hermione, I know that's not your hair or mine, where did this come from?" "I know you are going to think I've gone mad, but I think I pulled it off of the person I was fighting with in the nightmare," Hermione said hesitantly, waiting for Thalia's reaction. "I don't think you're crazy Hermione. I just want to know one thing, when were you going to let me know you're Hermione Granger of The Golden Trio?" Thalia asked calmly, watching Hermione with her green eyes. "Huh, what do you mean? I don't know what you're talking about," Hermione replied nervously, wondering how she was going to explain this to her friend. Thalia patted her hand and sat down beside Hermione on the futon. "Calm down my friend, I think I need to explain. Before I came to this university, I attended Republic Wizard/Witch International School in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I'm a witch too." Hermione nodded. "How did you know about me? This is great, I wondered about you too! Let's face it, asking someone outright if she's a witch when you first meet her probably wouldn't go over so well!" "Tell me about it! When you started classes, I couldn't believe it when I heard your name! I thought that there was no way the Hermione Granger would be attending school here. Have you noticed I have plenty of acquaintances, but you're the only person I actually hang out with? I have to be careful, the majority of muggles would have us committed," Thalia answered and laughed. "Thalia, there's so much I can discuss with you. A lot has happened at Hogwarts and our world this past year," Hermione said. "I know, thank Merlin the war ended. You and your friends are legends at my school in Brazil. You have no idea how thankful the wizarding world is to all of you. I don't want to imagine what would've happened if Voldemort succeeded. Do you want
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to tell me about your dream?" Thalia asked gently. "I keep dreaming about one of Voldemort's minions, Bellatrix Lestrange. She's dead, as a matter of fact, Ronald Weasley's mother killed her. I can't understand how she keeps haunting me in my dreams. Thalia, they feel so real and it's so scary. I can't believe I actually pulled out some of hair," Hermione said as she looked at the clump of hair with disgust. "Did she do that to your arm?" Thalia asked as she looked at the "mudblood" scar exposed on Hermione's arm. "Yes, that was Bellatrix's handiwork. I can't get rid of it, I've tried everything. A Disillusionment charm only lasts for about an hour, same as when I try camouflaging it with a muggle cosmetic concealer. The scar looks worse when I try to cover it up so I can never wear short sleeves," Hermione said. "So that's why I always see you with a long-sleeve shirt. Let me take a closer look at this," Thalia said as she pulled Hermoine's arm towards her. The scar was red and raised when Thalia lightly touched it. It felt very warm, as if it was infected. "This might be a longshot Hermione, but my grandfather might be able to help you with this. He's considered to be a very powerful wizard in his village in Colombia." "Thalia, at this point I'm ready to try anything. I've seen all of the healers here and no one can help me. The dark magic Bellatrix left behind is just too powerful," Hermione replied with a grimace. "I tell you what. We have a fall break coming up in a few weeks. I was planning on going home. Why don't you come with me and we'll see if my abuelo Abraham can help you," Thalia said. "You'd be willing to do that for me?" Hermione asked. "Sure, we're friends aren't we?" Thalia asked and smiled. "Yeah, but I don't want to impose on you and your family," Hermione replied. "Hermione, I wouldn't have extended the offer if I thought that! Chill loca chica! Seriously, these dreams of yours look like nothing to play with, especially if you're bringing back physical matter! Let me check the calendar to see how long we have before the fall break," Thalia said. Thalia went to her room and grabbed her iPhone. She looked at her calendar as
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she walked back to the living room and nodded. "Looks like you only have to put up with those nightmares for about two more weeks. I think it'd be worth your while to see if my abuelo can get rid of it." "I'll have to let my parents know, but I'm sure they'll be okay with it. Thalia, at this point I'm willing to try anything. Thank you so much," Hermione said and hugged her friend. "You're welcome Amiga. Now that all this has been put on the table, why don't you tell me what's going on with you and Ronald Weasley. I don't think I can go to sleep after all this," Thalia said and laughed. Hermione and Thalia talked until the next morning. She told Thalia all about Ron and Thalia told her about her boyfriend back home, Lazaro. By the time they were done, the sun had come out and it was time to head to their classes. The young women had hardly slept, but they were so exhilarated from all they had discovered about each other, it didn't matter. Mr. and Mrs. Granger had met Thalia a few times and were thrilled that Hermione was going to get the opportunity to travel to Colombia. They thought that Thalia was a great role model for their daughter and had no idea the young woman was a witch. Hermione was excited about the upcoming trip and even if Thalia's abuelo couldn't help her, she still appreciated Thalia being courteous enough to invite her to her home. Hermione's enthusiasm for the trip was somewhat dampened by Ron's reaction when she had arrived at Grimmauld Place to spend the night with him. "Blimey Hermione, why do you have to go to some other country? I thought you were going to spend your break with me," Ron said, a bit ticked off. "Ron, did you listen to anything I said? Thalia thinks her grandfather can help me with the nightmares and maybe even get rid of this disgusting scar," Hermione replied, her mouth set in a flat line as she rolled up her shirt sleeve to remind Ron the scar hadn't gone away. "Fine Hermione, do what you want to do, you will anyway. You don't care about me, you have your precious university and your little school chums, the hell with Ron," Ron said sulkily. "What's with the attitude Ron? I spend time with you anytime I can. Excuse the hell out of me if I'm in study groups for upcoming exams. I want to do well, this is
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my future," Hermione said a little sharply. "Maybe we need to take a break Hermione. I've been doing some thinking and it just seems like we want different things out of life," Ron replied, not looking at her directly. Hermione's eyes narrowed. "A break? I thought we were on the same page and things were fine between us. Guess I was wrong. You want a break? Let's start now. I'm going home. I hope you enjoy your break!" Ron watched openmouthed as Hermione walked out of Grimmauld Place and never looked back. He couldn't believe he'd been so stupid. He meant to tell Hermione he wanted to take a break the next morning. Shit, now he missed a chance to sleep with her before she left for Colombia. Oh well, he thought as he undressed to step into the shower. The night was young and maybe he'd meet up with that cute babe he met earlier in the week in Diagon Alley. Her name was Sherry and she worked in Madame Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. Ron and Harry had gone in to get fitted for Auror's robes and Sherry had taken their measurements. As he thought about the way she had flirtatiously used her wand to get close to his nether regions, he found himself hardening. He felt a little guilty about Hermione, but he had done nothing wrong. Now that she'd agreed to take a break, he could do whatever he wanted. Hermione was totally pissed at Ron, but she didn't let thoughts about him get in the way of her studies. Before she knew it, it was time for her trip with Thalia. They left Heathrow Airport and flew to Bogot, Colombia. From there, a taxi took the young women to Thalia's town, Caquet. When they arrived at Thalia's home, the taxi turned into a long driveway, which ended at a palatial estate. A beautiful home 3-story home, whitewashed set with 4 Doric columns stood there amidst lush landscaping and fountains. Hermione looked at Thalia in shock. "I had no idea you lived in a mansion!" Thalia laughed at Hermione's reaction to the beautiful home. "Yeah, because that isn't where I live! This is Mr. and Mrs. Torres' home. They own all of this, and my father trains their horses. Our home is out back, closer to the horse barn. Look there's my parents and brothers!" The taxi came to a stop and as soon as Hermione and Thalia paid the driver and stepped out, they were enthusiastically greeted by Thalia's family. Thalia's father and two brothers grabbed the young women's bags from the taxi and they started to walk towards their home.
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The Campos made Hermione feel very welcome and she was glad that she had come. She could see where Thalia got her warmth and kind manners. The young women settled into Thalia's bedroom and unpacked their belongings. Thalia's mother Carmelita knocked on the door to let them know dinner was ready. As they ate, Hermione found out that Gaspar, Thalia's father, had been training racehorses for almost 30 years. Thalia's younger brothers, Noe and Pasqual, who were 9 and 11 years old, worked with their father and hoped to follow in his footsteps. They attended the wizard school in Brazil, but loved the horses. After dinner, Mr. Campos showed Hermione around the stables. She couldn't get over how beautiful and well-maintained the horses were. They were Arabian thoroughbreds, some of the fastest horses in the world. When Hermione and Thalia settled in for the evening, Hermione let her friend know how much she enjoyed meeting her family and that she loved their home. "Thank you Hermione, I'm so glad you decided to come back with me. Hey, I've been meaning to ask you something. Did anything happen before we left? You seem a little out of sorts," Thalia remarked. "You know me too well. It's Ron. He got mad at me because I was coming here. He decided we needed a 'break' from each other. I have no idea where that came from. I thought everything was fine between us," Hermione replied. Thalia's eyes narrowed. "Hermione, I don't like the sound of this. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but sounds like your boy is up to something. Like maybe seeing someone else." Hermione's heart sank. She had wondered about that too and hearing Thalia say she suspected the same thing really hit home. "I don't know what I would do if Ron found someone else. I hate to think that's the reason he wanted a break. Ugh, why can't guys just say what's on their mind!" "Because they're cavemen Hermione. Look, I'm sorry. I think I may have spoken out of turn. I'm just basing my opinion on what you've told me about Ron. But one more thing, don't you think he's a little controlling? I mean, didn't he want you to go back for another year at Hogwarts instead of the muggle university?" Thalia asked. "Yeah, but I don't think he was trying to control me. Ron just wanted us to be in the same environment. It is more difficult to see each other with me in the muggle world, but we managed, or at least I thought we did," Hermione said thoughtfully. Was Ron controlling? The more Hermione thought about it, little things cropped up. Like they always had to do whatever Ron planned, if she wanted to do something
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different, he bitched and whined about it until she gave in. Maybe there was something to what Thalia said. "Look, let's get to bed. I shouldn't have brought that up about Ron. It's really none of my business Hermione. Sometimes my mouth gets ahead of my brain!" Thalia said. "It's fine Thalia, I'm glad you spoke your mind. To be honest, I've been having the same thoughts as you, but I hate thinking about it," Hermione replied. "It'll all work out Amiga. Your Ron will probably be waiting for you with flowers and apologies when we get back," Thalia said reassuringly, but something told her that wouldn't be the case. The whole "take a break" from each other scenario didn't sit well with her. She felt Hermione's heart was going to be broken. "Thanks Thalia. Hey, what time are we getting up tomorrow?" Hermione asked. "5 a.m., because my abuelo lives 3 hours away from here. He's anxious to meet you and he told me that the spirits let him know that you'd be coming. We'll probably be there for most of the day and we might end up spending the night, so make sure you bring a change of clothes," Thalia answered. "Got ya. Goodnight," Hermione said as she switched off the lamp beside her bed. "Goodnight to you too," Thalia said and smiled as she also switched off her lamp. The young women set off early the next morning in a Jeep Thalia borrowed from her father's employers. Abuelo Abraham lived on an unpaved road and Thalia wanted to make sure they had reliable transportation in case the roads would be muddy. Three hours later, they arrived at a small, wooden home, really a shack, with a tin roof. There wasn't a blade of grass to be found. Chickens were everywhere and a small burro was tied to a fence post. Hermione wondered if they were in the right place. Was this really where a powerful wizard lived? All that changed when Thalia's abuelo came out to greet them. "Thalia, bonita cara! It's been way too long nia, how's school? Ah, this has to be Ms. Granger. It is so good to finally meet you. Come, we will get started," Abraham said with a heavy accent as he hugged Thalia and then shook Hermione's hand. Hermione couldn't explain it, but when she shook Abraham's hand and looked into
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his eyes, she saw safety there and a feeling of calm settled within her. He reminded her of Professor Dumbledore, her old Headmaster at Hogwarts. Abraham led them into his home, which looked very humble on the outside, but was very spacious and comfortable on the inside. Thalia would tell Hermione later that Abraham had enchanted his home to deter thieves from entering it, since his home was so secluded. The elderly man explained everything to Hermione. He was going to hypnotize her and enter her mind. What it amounted to was that Abraham was going to seek out Bellatrix and drive her away from the recesses of Hermione's mind. He looked at the scar on Hermione's arm and grimaced. This was very dark magic indeed, he thought. Abraham was going to do everything in his power to help Hermione. It would be his way of thanking her for all that she did in the war that led to the demise of Lord Voldemort. He shuddered when he thought about what would've happened to the world if Voldemort had succeeded. Thalia watched in fascination as Hermione fell into a deep sleep. Her abuelo spoke softly, reciting different spells in Spanish. All at once, he fell into a deep trance and stared into the distance. Abraham was in a dark place. He had never in his life felt so much wickedness. He began to hear a high-pitched cackle in the distance. He tensed up and knew it was Bellatrix. When she noticed him, she stopped and snorted. "What's this? Where's the mudblood? What do you think you're going to do old man?" "I'll be taking Ms. Granger's place, you filthy chupacabra! I'm here to banish you where you belong!" Abraham bellowed. As he took in the horrible sight of Bellatrix and her rotting clothes, along with her foul odor of death, he wondered how these nightmares didn't push Hermione over the edge. This made Abraham even more determined to get rid of Bellatrix. Bellatrix let out the most awful, spine-curdling laugh. "I'm feeling generous tonight old man. Go back to where you belong and give me the mudblood!" "I'm afraid I can't do that," Abraham said as he lifted his wand and began the banishing spells. The dead witch and the elderly wizard began tossing many spells and hexes at each other. At one point, Abraham was afraid he had gotten in over his head, but
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much to his relief, Bellatrix started to weaken. He saved his most powerful spell for last and this was what finally did Bellatrix in. For the first and he hoped the last time, Abraham performed the Mephistopholean Curse. Bellatrix screamed in agony as she realized what occurred. Hideous misshapen demons appeared out of nowhere and latched onto her. This was the end of Bellatrix, she had been banished to hell and would never enter anyone's dreams ever again. Thalia breathed a sigh of relief when her abuelo woke up from his trance after 8 long hours. When he smiled at her, she knew he had succeeded. He said a few words and Hermione stirred and opened her eyes. She blinked and looked at Abraham, and then Thalia. "I'm ready to do this whenever you are," Hermione said, not realizing she'd been hypnotized for all that time. "It's done Amiga! Wow, look at your arm!" Thalia exclaimed. Hermione gasped. The scar was gone. Thank Merlin for Thalia for bringing her to Abraham. Hermione didn't know how she'd ever repay the man. This was beyond her wildest expectations. She couldn't wait to show her parents and friends! The young women ended up spending the night at Abraham's. They spent the next day with him and he reassured Hermione that he wanted no kind of payment from her. He was satisfied that he was able to get rid of someone as diabolical as Bellatrix. Abraham stood outside of his "enchanted" shack and waved to Hermione and Thalia as they left in the late afternoon. He was still tired from what he had done the day before, but he was in good spirits. He went inside his home and to his bedroom. As Abraham fell asleep he thought about Hermione Granger. She was a special witch, she needed a good powerful wizard at her side. It sure wasn't that redheaded one he kept seeing in his visions, Abraham thought to himself and chuckled. Draco woke up one morning at Hogwarts with an immense feeling of relief. The past few weeks had been very promising. In a surprising turn of events, Harry Potter had spoken up for him and his parents when they went to trial. All of the charges were dropped against him and his mother. Lucius, his father, had to pay a hefty fine and spend a few weeks on house arrest, but that was a small price compared to being faced with a stint in Azkaban, or worse, the Dementor's Kiss. His parents planned on selling Malfoy Manor and moving to their villa in Italy. Draco planned on moving there with him when he finished at Hogwarts.
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But the relief he felt came from a dream. In the dream, he saw an elderly, Hispanic man. The man gave him a kind smile and told him that everything was going to be fine. Draco couldn't describe it, but as the man spoke to him and looked into his eyes, he felt so peaceful. As Draco analyzed the dream, one other aspect popped up. For some reason, Hermione Granger was in the dream too, smiling and it looked as if she was with the elderly man. What the hell was that all about, Draco thought. The last time he had seen Granger was here at Hogwarts after the demise of Voldemort. He hadn't seen her since then. Why would she pop up in his dream? A/N: Hope you liked it! A little departure from what I usually write, but I like where this is going.

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Chapter 2
Yesterday's Just a Memory Chapter Two Disclaimer:I do not own anything related to Harry Potter:-D Hermione enjoyed the rest of her break with Thalia and her family. She met Thalia's boyfriend, Lazaro Salcedo, whom Hermione liked very much. He was very handsome, with dark brown hair and eyes, and a lightly tanned complexion. Hermione sometimes liked comparing people to celebrities and Lazaro reminded her of the muggle actor Benjamin Bratt. He and Thalia made such a cute couple; she was just over 5 feet tall and Lazaro towered over her at 6'1. Thalia had to stand on her tiptoes to kiss him. Hermione had gone out to the dinner with them and loved their interaction. They had been together a little over two years. Lazaro was also a wizard and a horse trainer like Thalia's father, but he owned a small farm with horses and cattle. Thalia told Hermione that he hoped to one day have a horse farm as large as her father's employers and that she hoped to open a veterinary clinic in their town. Thalia and Lazaro planned on getting married as soon as she finished veterinary school. She received the surprise of her life when Lazaro proposed to her the night before she and Hermione were scheduled to return to London. Hermione would never forget the look of genuine shock on Thalia's face when Lazaro presented her with a ring in front of her family and his. Hermione sat on the side and watched as the families congratulated the ecstatic couple. She felt fortunate to be included in such a happy event. Hermione began to realize many things on this fateful trip. She felt like she had a new lease on life since Abraham was able to exorcise Bellatrix. Hermione now slept better than ever and it was as if she was more aware of what was happening around her. After being around the horses and visiting Lazaro's farm where she and Thalia witnessed the birth of a calf, Hermione decided she wanted to enter the field of veterinary science too. Some people would've been grossed out by a cow giving birth, but not Hermione. She thought the whole process was fascinating and loved the way the cow took to her calf right away. It touched her to see how much love the animal showed for her newborn. When she told Thalia what she decided, her friend was thrilled to bits.
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"This is awesome, Hermione. We'll become doctors together!" Thalia exclaimed. "I hope so Thalia, I haven't even applied to the school yet," Hermione chuckled. "Don't be silly, with your grades you're a shoo-in," Thalia replied and smiled. "Thalia, I don't know how to thank you for all this. You're making me see everything in a whole new light," Hermione said. "You're welcome Hermione. I think it's no accident you and I became friends. Abuelo Abraham definitely believes that. He always said everything happens for a reason," Thalia said. "I can totally see that. Thank Merlin we became friends or else I'd still be stuck with a hideous scar and horrible dreams!" Hermione said and gave a rueful smile. "Yeah, I think you'll be okay now Amiga. I got your back," Thalia replied and playfully punched her on the arm. "Same here Thalia, as far as I'm concerned, you're my friend for life," Hermione said. "Without a doubt Hermione, after what I saw you and Abuelo Abraham go through, we are absolutely friends for life," Thalia replied. The young women went into Thalia's parents' home and started to pack their belongings. It was almost time to return to London. Before turning in for the evening, Hermione took a walk around the lovely property. The evening air was crisp and cool, perfect for a leisurely stroll. She took one last look at the horses and hugged herself. She was so excited for her future; she wondered how Ron was doing. While Hermione was away, Ron spent all of his time with Sherry, the seamstress at Madame Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. She was so exciting and fun; Sherry was a lot like Lavender Brown. Ron liked that she hung on to his every word, unlike Hermione. Hermione was so wrapped up in her studying sometimes and didn't seem to have time for him. Sherry was so impressed that he was training to become an Auror; she made Ron feel like he was such a stud. Deep down Ron knew being with Sherry was wrong, but hey, he and Hermione were on a break. He didn't know what she was doing in Colombia; she might've been humping every man who crossed her path. His conscience began to bother him
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though; he knew it was highly unlikely Hermione would ever cheat on him. While Harry was in Hogsmeade with Ginny, Ron had brought Sherry back to Grimmauld Place. They had sex in the living room, his bedroom, the hall, and in the shower. He loved how spontaneous Sherry was, Hermione would never do the things Sherry did. However, this wasn't enough for Ron; he still wanted Hermione. He knew that she was going to be returning from her trip soon. He figured he'd be able to cajole her so he'd be back in her good graces. Ron smiled to himself; he was going to have the best of both worlds: Hermione was his princess and Sherry was his whore. The school semester seemed to fly by when Hermione and Thalia returned to school. It was a hectic pace with finals, but Hermione was happy. She and Ron's break was officially over. He apologized for the way he acted before she had left for Colombia. Hermione was so relieved that she and Thalia's suspicions about Ron seeing someone else was wrong. Thalia was glad for her friend, but she still didn't trust the ginger wizard. She felt that he was hiding something. Ron didn't like Thalia at all. Since she and Hermione became friends, Hermione started to change. It was gradual at first; Hermione would show up at Grimmauld Place wearing a touch of lipstick and mascara. Ron liked Hermione to look natural, but it seemed like every time he saw her she was wearing more makeup. Hermione's clothes were another issue too. Now that the scar was gone, she was wearing tighter and more revealing clothes. Ron had almost had a heart attack when he saw what Hermione was wearing the past weekend. They were getting ready to go out to dinner and she had removed her coat to make a quick trip to the loo. When Ron saw the fitted pink sweater dress she wore, he blew his top. "What do you think you're wearing?" Ron asked snidely. "Do you like it? Thalia and I went shopping and she insisted I get this," Hermione said and smiled. She didn't catch the tone of his voice. "No, I don't like it. Since when do you dress this way? Are you trying to look like a tramp? I like you in slacks and a plain sweater, that's more your style. How about you take off some of that makeup too? You don't need all of that junk on your face," Ron scoffed. Hermione rushed to the bathroom so he wouldn't see the tears running down her cheeks. She only wanted to look special for Ron tonight. It had been some time since they had gone out on an actual date. She had felt so good about herself when Thalia gushed about how pretty she looked in the dress. Why did Ron hate it? Hermione washed the makeup off and removed the pink dress. She performed the Accio spell and retrieved a pair of black slacks and a loose fitting white sweater, along with a
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pair of sensible black flats from her closet at home. She pulled her hair back in a ponytail and walked out of the bathroom. When Ron saw her, his face lit up. "Now there's my Hermione. Come on babe, we better get a move on or we'll be late." Hermione only nodded and walked to the floo with him. Did Ron really think she looked like a tramp just because she wanted to wear a fitted dress? They met Harry and Ginny at a new restaurant that had opened in Hogsmeade. She saw that Ginny had on a dress similar to the one she had been wearing. Hermione also noticed that Harry couldn't take his eyes off of Ginny and only gave her appreciative looks. Why couldn't Ron look at her that way? After dinner, Ron pounced on her as soon as they made it back to Grimmauld Place. Hermione let him undress her and lead her to his bedroom. She really didn't want to sleep with him, but she knew Ron would become agitated and accuse her of being with other men if she resisted his advances. Hermione went through the motions, pretending to enjoy having her breasts roughly fondled and his tongue shoved in her mouth. She winced as Ron entered her before she was ready. After thrusting for a few minutes, he was finally done. He rolled off to his side of the bed and gave her a quick kiss on the forehead. Hermione did a quick cleaning charm and started to dress. Ron gave her a confused look. "Where do you think you're going?" Hermione thought quickly. She hated to lie, but she just couldn't bear spending the night with him. She felt ugly and used. "I promised my mother I'd help her catch up on paperwork at their office tomorrow, so I need to get home." "Can't it wait? I want to snuggle with my 'Mione," Ron replied sappily. "No, I really have to go. I promised Mum I'd be there," Hermione said hoping he couldn't tell she was lying. "Well okay, I suppose I'll manage. I'll see you next weekend," Ron answered. "Sure, goodnight," Hermione said and started to walk out. "Hey, aren't you forgetting something?" Ron called out. Hermione went to his side of the bed and kissed him. Ron pulled her to him and kissed her deeply, running his hands under her sweater.
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"Sure I can't convince you to stay?" Ron asked in a husky voice. "I have to go Ronald," Hermione said as she disentangled herself from him. She gave him a small smile and waved as she walked out. Ron waved back and fell back on his pillow. Within minutes he was asleep. "What? You didn't even wear the dress? Why?" Thalia asked her face scrunched up in confusion. Hermione was at her apartment and they were taking a break from studying. "Ron told me I looked like a tramp," Hermione replied, feeling ashamed. They were having this discussion because Thalia had asked about her date with Ron. She couldn't believe what Hermione was telling her. "That fucking insecure prick! You know what it was don't you? You looked too good in that dress, Hermione. He's afraid of other guys showing interest in you," Thalia said firmly. "Come on Thalia, Ron has nothing to worry about. No other guys have shown interest in me," Hermione said and laughed a little. "Oh really? Have you looked in the mirror lately chica? You got it going on girl!" Thalia stated. "I don't know Thalia. Ron made me feel like crap the other night. I even removed my makeup," Hermione answered. "Hermione, you're not his property! You're a grown woman, don't let some man tell you what you can or can't wear! Ooh, this makes me so mad! I hate when a mediocre man like Ron Weasley tries to take down a beautiful, intelligent woman like you. You're better than this Hermione, you deserve better," Thalia said fervently, as she proceeded to add a few Spanish curse words. "Thalia, no other guys have shown any interest in me. Let's face it, Ron's the only one," Hermione said dejectedly. "I know one guy who is very interested in you," Thalia said smugly. "You're pulling my leg. Who?" Hermione asked, amused. "You know Patrick Milner?" Thalia asked.
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"The tall, blonde blue-eyed rugby star in our chemistry class? Who doesn't know him; he always has an entourage of girls. So, what about him?" Hermione asked, not understanding where Thalia was going with this. "Hermione, he was asking me about you the other day. He wanted to know if you were dating anyone," Thalia said as her eyes sparkled. "Yeah right. I've spoken to him a few times and he always wants to borrow my notes. That's all it is," Hermione replied. "Patrick has the highest average in the class Amiga; he doesn't need your notes! He's using your notes as an excuse to talk to you. I'm telling you, the boy is hot for you," Thalia teased. "You're nuts," Hermione said and rolled her eyes. "Maybe, but I know Patrick is crushing on you big time. Hermione, I worry about your relationship with Ron. He's so damn controlling, that's not healthy. I mean, do you love him? Let me put it this way. Could you see yourself spending the rest of your life with him?" Thalia asked as she looked at Hermione. Hermione thought about this for a moment. "I'd be lying if I told you I haven't been asking myself that question for the past few weeks. I think it's time I had a heart-to-heart with Ron." "I think that would be wise. You can't go on like this Hermione," Thalia said gently. Draco was in a great mood. He had passed all of him mid-term exams at Hogwarts with flying colors. He had the top grades now that Hermione Granger was no longer there. He knew from Ginny that Granger had opted not to come back to Hogwarts and was attending a muggle university. He also found out that she was dating Ron the Weasel, but that was no big surprise. Granger was always making "cow eyes" at the Weasel especially when he was dating Lavender Brown. It was a bit pathetic actually. Sometimes Draco thought back to the time when Bellatrix had tortured Granger at Malfoy Manor. He regretted that he hadn't done more and tried to help her, but he was so freaked out and scared back then. Draco knew if he had pulled any kind of stunt, Bellatrix would've killed him and probably Granger too. Also, the nightmares of Bellatrix ceased since he saw the Hispanic gentleman and Granger in a dream. He still didn't get what that was all about. Whatever, all he knew was the nightmares were gone. Things were changing for the better. He had even asked someone out on a date, Astoria Greengrass. She was two years younger than Draco
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and had always seemed a tad mousy, but this year at Hogwarts, Astoria had blossomed and Draco noticed. She had agreed to accompany him to Hogsmeade and he was looking forward to their outing. Hermione and Thalia were doing the "happy dance" because they had passed all their finals with perfect grades. This was great news because they had to stay on top to get accepted into the veterinary program for it was extremely competitive. "What do you say we get gussied up and hit the town? After all that stress and studying, I'm ready to cut loose and party!" Thalia exclaimed. As usual, she and Hermione were hanging out at her apartment. "Another time Thalia? I feel bad that I've been neglecting Ron while we were studying for finals. I think I'm going to surprise him when he comes home from work tonight. What?" Hermione asked when she saw the look of disappointment on Thalia's face. "Did you ever talk to him about the way he's been treating you?" Thalia asked pointedly. "I will, it just isn't the right time. His Auror training is getting real intense and I've been so busy with finals," Hermione answered. "I'm sorry Hermione, I just can't stand to see you being treated like a doormat. You know me, I don't hold my tongue. I'm also bummed you don't want to go out, so I guess I'll watch the telly and enjoy a pint of chocolate chip ice cream," Thalia said and squeezed Hermione's arm gently. "I know you're just looking out for me Thalia. Things are going better with Ron and me," Hermione said. "Okay, sweetie. But I still think you should blow him off and come out tonight," Thalia said and laughed. "You're a bad influence. Look, I'm going to take off. I'll talk to you tomorrow," Hermione laughed and hugged her friend. "Have fun, but I think you'd have more fun with me chica!" Bye," Thalia said as she waved and watched Hermione leave. Hermione headed over to Grimmauld Place and let herself in. She was alone because Harry and Ron were still at the Ministry. They were going to be returning in
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the next hour or so. Hermione looked around and scrunched her face. The place was a bit of a pigsty and smelled like dirty laundry. She did a bit of light housekeeping with her wand and the house looked much better. Hermione entered Ron's bedroom and gave a chuckle when she saw the bed hadn't been made. What did she expect? Mrs. Weasley was always scolding Ron about that when he lived at home. Fluffing the pillows and tightening the fitted sheet, Hermione proceeded to pull the comforter up to make the bed look tidy and neat. She could've used her wand, but she liked making a bed the muggle way. While she did this, she imagined what it was going to be like whenever she and Ron were married and had a home of their own. As she did this, something fell and brushed against her feet. She gave a start, thinking it was some sort of insect, but upon closer examination, it was a pair of underwear. A red and black lace thong to be more exact, definitely not Hermione's panties. She carefully picked up the panties with her thumb and forefinger, disgusted by the sight. Hermione threw the thong onto the bed and went into the bathroom to wash her hands. Her heart pounding and so many thoughts racing through her head, she went into the living room and sat down. Unless he was a cross-dresser, Ron was cheating on her. Hermione wasn't sure what she should do. Should she wait for him to come back so she could confront him? She couldn't believe it; she did everything Ron wanted, she gave herself to him. Why wasn't it enough? As she was processing all of this, Harry arrived. "Hermione, what a surprise! How are you? How did finals go?" Harry asked as he walked up to her and gave her a hug. Hermione hugged her dear friend back. "Finals went well, how ar-," Hermione's voice broke and she started to cry. "Hey, now. What's the matter, did something happen?" Harry asked as he pulled back from Hermione and looked at her. "You can say that. Where's Ron?" Hermione growled through her tears. "Ron said something about having to run a few errands in Diagon Alley tonight, he should be home soon. Is this about him?" Harry asked a little shocked at Hermione's tone. Hermione nodded sadly. "I want to show you something," she told Harry and led him to Ron's bedroom. When they arrived at the door, Hermione pointed to the thong on the bed. "Do you know anything about this?"
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When she saw the look of shock on Harry's face, she knew he had no idea. "Hermione, no wonder you're so upset. Shit, I don't know who the owner of that underwear is. We've been so busy with the Auror training and whenever I have free time I spend it with Ginny. I'm so sorry, I assumed Ron was with you when he'd go out." Now Hermione was getting pissed. "Hold on, when would Ron go out? He told me you and him were working late at the Ministry. Ron said it was to learn new spells." "Hermione, we never work late, we're in training. The training is intense, but we're only there from 8-5. I'd like to know what that git has been up to. I can't believe Ron's been lying to you all this time!" Harry said indignantly. "I'm going to get to the bottom of this Harry. Ron and I are so over! I can't believe the shit I put up with for him. Look, I can't stay here. I'm so upset, I'm liable to hex his testicles off if I see him! I'm going to leave now and cool off. I'm just in a state of shock, he's been lying to me all this time," Hermione said as she shook her head in disbelief. "I'm liable to hex a few body parts of his myself. I'm kidding," Harry said when he saw Hermione making a face at him. "It's not me he has to worry about, wait until Ginny and Mrs. Weasley get a hold of him." In spite of being upset, Hermione had to laugh at Harry's last comment. "Merlin, you're so right Harry. I hadn't thought about that. Just don't let Ron know that I was here." "My lips are sealed. What do you want to do about the thong?" Harry asked and made a face. "Just get rid of it and let me put the bedding back the way it was," Hermione replied as she flicked her wand and performed a "disarray" spell. She was too revolted to touch the bedding, no telling what had gone on there in her absence. "Gladly," Harry said and immediately the offending thong disappeared. "Where are you going?" "Well, since I'm a free woman, I'm going to my friend Thalia's apartment and apologize to her. I'm hoping she still wants to hang out with me tonight after I blew her off for that prick!" Hermione answered. "Sounds like a plan. Look Hermione, are you sure you're okay? You know I'm here
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for you, right?" Harry said. "I know Harry. Thank you for getting rid of those nasty undies. Damn it to hell, I am so pissed off right now. I'm going, remember I was never here," Hermione reminded Harry. "I never saw you, have fun tonight," Harry said and smiled. "Oh I intend to Harry," Hermione said and gave a tight smile as she left in the floo. Ron had done some idiotic shit in the past, but this was the stupidest thing ever. He and Harry were good friends, but Harry didn't care for what Ron did to Hermione. That was a low blow. What the hell was Ron's problem? He and Hermione seemed to be on the right track when they first got together, but Harry had noticed changes in Ron and they weren't good. It was as if the Auror position was going to Ron's head and all of a sudden, Ron seemed to think he was Merlin's gift to women. Right then it hit Harry. He knew who the thong belonged to, as a matter of fact, he was certain it belonged to the salesgirl at Madame Malkin's. The flirtation between Ron and Sherry hadn't gone unnoticed by Harry when they were at the store, but he never would've imagined Ron would cheat on Hermione, especially with a floozy like that. Thalia was engrossed in a romantic comedy when someone rang the buzzer at her door. When she went to see who was there, she was shocked to see Hermione. "Hermione, did you forget something? Whoa, what happened?" Thalia asked as she let Hermione in and saw the look on her face. Hermione told her friend about the thong and the lies Ron had been telling about having to work late. "So that's the whole sordid story. I came by to apologize for putting Ron before you, and to see if you still wanted to go out to celebrate. I understand if you don't want to go." "Girl please. The night is still young; let's get dressed and hit the town. Anywhere in particular you'd like to go?" Thalia asked as a slow smile spread. "Yeah, let's check out Diagon Alley and see if Ron and Miss Thong are there," Hermione said mischievously. "You read my mind! This is going to be so much fun," Thalia said gleefully and giggled.
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Half-an-hour passed and they were ready to go. Taking one last look in the full-length mirror in Thalia's bedroom, Hermione turned to her, patting her hair nervously. "Are you sure I look okay?" Hermione asked. "Yesss! You look amazing. I love the way your hair came out," Thalia said and smiled. They had tried out a new hair straightening product Hermione had picked up in Colombia. Hermione's wavy brown hair now was tamed and fell in smooth waves down her back. Since it was a very cold December evening, the young women wore dark blue skinny jeans tucked into black suede boots. Hermione wore a tight fitting long-sleeve mock-wrap top in light peach. Thalia opted for a tight black sweater with a deep V-neck. She was definitely not looking for a man, as she made sure anyone who approached her saw the engagement ring. She just liked to dress nicely and was a confident young woman. She and Lazaro never had trust issues, Lazaro knew that she loved him and only him, as he did her. Thalia applied Hermione's makeup and she loved the way Thalia made up her face. She didn't have on much, but the little bit she Thalia applied really made her eyes and lips stand out. They left Thalia's apartment and headed to Diagon Alley. When they arrived, they decided to have a drink at The Leaky Cauldron. There was no sign of Ron there, so they took a walk around Diagon Alley. Thalia always knew it was there, but this was her first time visiting it. Hermione gave her a tour and they agreed Flourish and Botts was by far the best store. As the young women made their way around, they received many admiring glances from wizards, young and old. "Well, I guess he isn't here, we probably missed him," Hermione remarked. The redhead was nowhere to be found. "Wait a second, who's that coming out of Madame Malkin's" Thalia replied as she spotted Ron walking out of the store with a blonde curly-haired harlot. She was wearing more makeup than Hermione and Thalia combined and her pants were so tight, she had a camel toe. She was hanging onto Ron like she was a passenger on the sinking Titanic and he was a lifesaver. Ron had a goofy grin on his face, obviously enjoying the attention. Hermione stared for a few seconds, wondering if she was seeing things. "I don't know whether to laugh or hex the crap out of him. That tramp he's with looks like a
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damn cartoon character. Fuck it, I'm going over there." "I'm right behind you sista!" Thalia replied excitedly. This was going to be so much fun! Hermione and Thalia were almost face to face with Ron and Sherry when he noticed. Ron gulped a few times when he saw the fury in Hermione's eyes. How the bloody hell was he going to explain this? "Hi Ron! Funny running into you here, I guess you didn't have to work late tonight," Hermione said with false enthusiasm. Before he could answer, Sherry spoke up. "Ronnikins never has to work late; he always comes here as soon as he's done. Isn't that right pumpkin? He's training to be one of those Aurors, you know. He's so adorable! How do you know each other?" "Oh Ronnikins and I go way back. By the way, I'm Hermione Granger and this is my friend, Thalia Campos. And you are?" Hermione asked, enjoying making Ron squirm. She had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing at Sherry's squeaky babyish voice. "Where are my manners? My name is Sherry Sage. It's so nice to finally meet friends of Ronnikins! He never wants to go out, he always wants to keep me all to himself," Sherry said as she giggled and squeezed Ron's bicep. Ron looked as if he wanted to find a hole in the ground and disappear in it. "Sherry Sage, what a lovely name. Well, we just wanted to say hello. You lovebirds get on with your evening. Ronnikins, it was good seeing you. You and Sherry have fun," Hermione said, her words dripping with sarcasm. Sherry was too daft to catch it, but Ron did. He knew he was fucked. "Nice seeing you too," Ron mumbled, looking at the ground. Sherry kept grinning at Hermione and Thalia, not noticing how uncomfortable Ron was. "It was nice meeting you gals. Hey, if you ever need anything at Madame Malkins, make sure you ask for me, Sherry! I aim to please," Sherry said bursting in a fit of giggles again. "Sure Sherry, bye. Nice seeing you again Ron," Thalia said as she led Hermione away. As soon as they turned the corner, both young women burst with laughter. "Damn, I almost peed in my pants when you called him Ronnikins! Hermione, how
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did you manage to keep a straight face?" Thalia said, holding her stomach because she was laughing so hard. "Thalia, I can't explain it. I guess because it was so obvious Sherry is so clueless. She really believes they are in a relationship. I couldn't have imagined a better scenario. Ron would go for someone like that, she reminded me of this girl he dated at Hogwarts!" Hermione said in between bouts of laughter. "I'm so glad we can laugh about this. Are you going to be okay?" Thalia asked as she wiped her eyes of the tears that had formed from laughing. "I was really upset earlier, but after seeing this, I think I came out the winner in this situation. Sure it hurt, but it didn't affect me all that much seeing him with Sherry. I think I felt relieved. I can finally admit to myself that we we're growing apart. I guess I always thought Ron was the only one for me the whole time we were at Hogwarts. Thalia, he was my first and you know something, I don't regret it. We'd been through so much together, it felt right at the time to lose our virginity to each other too," Hermione said. "I totally understand that. I'm sorry it ended like this, but maybe that's how it's supposed to be. Hermione, I always wondered how you two ended up together. You're so driven and intelligent and Ron's, I'm just going to come out and say it, goofy!" Thalia exclaimed. "I guess the war does strange things to people. He really changed since he started the Auror program. When we were first together, he was so gentle and sweet. That's the person I fell for and held in my heart the whole time we were in school. This Ron I saw tonight is a stranger. We've really drifted apart," Hermione said thoughtfully. "Well look on the bright side, at least we know Sherry will aim to please us if we need anything at Madam Malkin's," Thalia tried to say with a straight face, but started to giggle. "Do you believe that shit? I was like 'really Ron' when she said that! Did you see all the makeup piled on her face and her clothes? Compared to that, I looked like a slut?" Hermione said incredulously and started to laugh. "Yeah, how about that! She had on enough lipstick to ice a cake! Are you ready to get out of here? I think our muggle classmates are at a bar downtown. It's early, we can probably still catch them there," Thalia said. They young women were giddy as they left Diagon Alley and made their way to the
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sports bar Thalia had mentioned. Sure enough, when they walked in, they were greeted by most of their classmates who were also celebrating passing their finals. Patrick Milner was there and his face lit up when he saw Hermione. She and Thalia had taken a seat near their friends and had ordered their drinks. Patrick made his way over to them. "Thalia, Hermione, glad you could make it! Can I get you ladies anything to drink?" Patrick asked. "You're too late! We just placed our order," Thalia said and pouted prettily. "No worries, I'll just have the waitress put it on my tab. How's that?" Patrick asked and flashed a megawatt smile. "That'll work Patrick, thank you. How did your finals go?" Thalia asked. Thalia kicked Hermione under the table and nudged her closer to Patrick. Hermione made a face at her and smiled politely at Patrick. "It was rough going with the rugby schedule and all, but I did well. I know you two aced everything. Hermione, I heard you had the highest score in chemistry. I'm going to have to step it up next semester. I like the competition," Patrick said flirtingly. Merlin, Thalia was right! Patrick Milner was flirting with her. As these thoughts ran through Hermione's head, she decided to flirt back. "Well, you can always look at my notes," Hermione replied and smiled. Thalia watched Hermione and Patrick get to know each other and had to fight to keep a smug smile off of her face. Hopefully Hermione finally realized that redheaded bastard didn't deserve her. Hermione and Thalia's classmates were happy that they had joined them. They always thought Hermione was a bit standoffish, but after tonight they realized she was actually quite witty and fun to be around. They also noticed the flirtation between her and Patrick. Tongues were wagging and a few young women in the group were disappointed to see Patrick was interested in Hermione. When the evening ended, Patrick asked Hermione if he could call her. "Hermione, could I get your number? Maybe we could go out to dinner sometime
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and compare chemistry notes," Patrick said, flashing that gorgeous smile again. "Sure, that sounds like fun, but how about we leave the notes at home and just have dinner," Hermione replied and laughed. She told Patrick her number and he programmed it into his phone. "Thank you Hermione. I really enjoyed talking to you tonight. I'll call you," Patrick said and kissed her on the cheek. He waved as he walked out of the bar with his friends. As soon as he was out of earshot, Thalia started up. "Uh-huh, Ron's the only guy interested in you. What was that?" "Okay, you were right. Patrick really is adorable! I've never dated a muggle before, I think I'm going to like it," Hermione replied and grinned. "What's not to like when the muggle looks like Patrick! I'm so excited for you; I can't wait for him to call you. I think it'll be good for you to date other guys," Thalia said. Hermione nodded in agreement. This evening had started out so horribly, she couldn't believe it ended on such a good note. Her life was definitely changing for the better. Draco was frustrated. He and Astoria Greengrass' date had gone well and when they returned, she gave him a chaste kiss. This stirred something in Draco; he hadn't had sex since the war had begun and to be honest, hadn't even thought about it at the time because he was too worried about Voldemort killing him and his family. Now that he was getting his life back on track, he was to put it simply, horny. Draco had lost his virginity to Pansy Parkinson the summer before their sixth year at Hogwarts. Pansy had comforted him when his father had been sent to Azkaban and one thing had led to another. They had tried dating, but made a mutual decision that they were better off being friends. When he was on his date in Hogsmeade, he saw Pansy holding hands with a guy from Ravenclaw. Draco was taken aback by this, but when he saw how happy she looked, he was glad for Pansy. He inwardly groaned when he saw that his erection was not going to go away, so he decided to relieve himself in the shower. Draco stripped and entered the stall. He let the warm water fall over his body and closed his eyes as he started to stroke his hard member. As he began to stroke his cock, he thought about Astoria with her lips around it, but for some reason this didn't excite him. He started to imagine having sex with Pansy, but he frowned as he kept seeing an image of her with her new
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boyfriend. This was not working. All of a sudden, Granger's face of all women, popped up. Draco was shocked to realize this was exciting him and a fantasy started to evolve. Granger slowly walked up to him and Draco watched the sway of her hips through half-closed eyes. She stopped in front of him and began to unbutton his shirt, looking into his eyes. "I know you've always wanted this Malfoy," Granger said softly. "You know you want it too Granger," Draco replied as he shrugged his shirt off and ripped hers off not caring about the buttons popping off. She wasn't wearing a bra and he almost gasped when he saw her pert, exposed breasts. He bent his head and took one pink nipple in his mouth, sucking gently. Granger ran her hands in his hair and threw her head back and moaned. It was music to Draco's ears. He moved up and found her lips, kissing her roughly and passionately, while running his hands over her body. Granger ran her hands on his chiseled chest and moved down, unbuckling his belt on his trousers, and then unfastening them. Draco quickly removed his trousers and kicked them to the side. He and Granger were only in their underwear. Granger ran her hand over his cock still enclosed in silk boxers. He closed his eyes at her touch; it was exquisite. Granger backed away from him and walked over to the bed. She positioned herself on her back and opened her legs, spreading her glistening pussy, so Draco could see how wet she was for him. "What are you waiting for Malfoy? Come over here and give me what I'm dying for," Granger said huskily. As Draco imagined this, he came with the most intense orgasm ever. As he caught his breath and cleaned himself off, he was bewildered. A sexual fantasy about Granger? Where the hell did that come from? He had never viewed the muggleborn witch in that manner; she was always such an irritating know-it-all while they were at Hogwarts. Granted he had a grudging respect for her role in the war, but Draco never had an urge to want to have sex with her. His mind was playing tricks on him that's all. He just needed to get laid, that's all. Hermione enjoyed her break from school. She spent time with her parents and went on a few dates with Patrick. Patrick was easy to get along with and Hermione enjoyed spending time with him. She enjoyed snogging sessions with him, he was a great kisser. But the last date, Patrick pushed to go a little further. Hermione was
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relieved that he didn't get upset when she stopped him. It was too soon to get involved in a sexual relationship. Christmas went well despite a little tension because Hermione opted not to visit The Burrow for obvious reasons. She was so happy when Ginny and Harry met her in London and they were able to have lunch. Ginny was still pissed off at Ron and her brother was avoiding her with good reason. It wasn't a good thing to have Ginny Weasley mad at you and having a Bat Bogey hex thrown your way whenever she saw you. Hermione was afraid that maybe there would be tension between her and Ginny because of the breakup, but Ginny supported Hermione. She thought Ron was a complete git and couldn't believe it when he brought Sherry to The Burrow. Ginny and Harry had even met Patrick and they were impressed with Hermione's new muggle friend. When Ginny and Hermione were alone, Ginny brought up something weird. "Hermione, if I tell you something, do you promise not to hex me?" Ginny asked hesitantly. "Gin, I can't possibly imagine what you would want to tell me that would make me want to do that," Hermione replied and laughed. "Let me guess, Sherry's pregnant?" Hermione said and snickered. "No, it's nothing about Ron's new slag or should I say Ronnikins! It's about Patrick," Ginny said. "What about Patrick? Don't tell me he has a girlfriend or something," Hermione said and rolled her eyes. "Hermione, doesn't he remind you of someone you knew at Hogwarts?" Ginny asked and watched Hermione's reaction. "Not at all Gin. Who were you thinking of?" Hermione asked. "I'm just going to say it. Draco Malfoy," Ginny replied and grimaced. "Hell no! Malfoy? Are you kidding me? Patrick looks nothing like that arse!" Hermione exclaimed. "Well, Patrick's hair is a little darker and his eyes are blue. I think Malfoy's eyes are gray, but other than that, the resemblance is almost uncanny," Ginny said. "Thanks a lot Gin! I hadn't thought about Malfoy since the war ended. Blech,
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thanks for putting that image in my mind!" Hermione answered, but had a small smile. "I shouldn't have brought it up, I'm sorry," Ginny said, but started to laugh. "It's okay Gin. I have to admit Malfoy wasn't that bad looking, but that nasty attitude! As long as Patrick doesn't exhibit Malfoy's atrocious traits, I'll never see a resemblance between him and Malfoy," Hermione stated. Ginny and Hermione went on to discuss other things, but what Ginny said stuck in Hermione's head. Could it be she was subconsciously attracted to Malfoy? Hermione mentally rolled her eyes; there was no chance of that. Even after all what Ron had done to her, Malfoy was still a bigger git in her mind. Leave it to Ginny to come up with such a crazy notion. A/N: Yeah, Ron screwed it up. Hope you all enjoy this chapter. It'll probably take some time before Draco and Hermione actually interact, but they'll be thinking of each other! As always, thank you for the reviews and alerts

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Chapter 3
Chapter 3 Thalia had gone home for the holidays, but returned a few days before she and Hermione were scheduled to start the next semester of school. As she was about to enter her apartment, there was a notice on her door stating that there were 2 bedroom apartments in her complex that were open for rent. Thalia got an idea; Hermione was coming over later, so Thalia would run it by her. "Hey chica! How were the holidays?" Thalia greeted Hermione as she stepped back to let her in the apartment. "The holidays were great. How was home and Lazaro?" Hermione asked as she hugged her friend. "Lazaro was fantastic, let's just say he showed me how much he missed me every night I spent with him!" Thalia said mischievously and giggled. "Thalia, you're incorrigible! I'm glad you had fun, it's been quiet here without you," Hermione replied and smiled. "What about you, did you see Patrick? How's that going?" Thalia asked. "We went out a few times. It was getting a little hot and heavy, but I stopped him. Thalia, it's too soon to get involved with someone sexually. I refuse to jump into bed with Patrick. He was nice about it, but I know he was frustrated," Hermione said. "Jeez, you just went out with Patrick a few times and he wants sex? What is with guys?" Thalia asked and rolled her eyes. "I know huh? Horny bastards. I think I'm going to give up on Patrick and just men in general for now. Patrick is okay and really easy on the eyes, but I think I need some time to heal from breaking it off with Ron," Hermione answered. She didn't mention this to Thalia, but she kept thinking about Ginny's comment that Patrick resembled Draco Malfoy. Hermione wondered if maybe this was another reason she was cooling it with Patrick. "Well, you know what's best, honey. Prince Charming will come for you one day," Thalia teased.
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"Please, after what I went through with 'Ronnikins' I don't have much faith in fairytale romances," Hermione scoffed. "Don't ever give up on the fairytale, amiga! You're still young and have time. I know you'll meet someone who's just as wonderful as you are," Thalia said and smiled. "You always know the right thing to say. Thanks Thalia," Hermione said and smiled back. "Yeah, because if you weren't wonderful, I wouldn't be asking if you wanted to move in with me," Thalia said. "What? You want me to move in with you? I've wanted to move out from my parents' home. They're great and don't mind me living there, but I'm anxious to be on my own. But where would I sleep? You have only one bedroom," Hermione replied. "I know, but a two-bedroom apartment has opened up and I thought it would be great to be roommates. It would work out since it looks like we'll have the same school schedule and we can study," Thalia stated. "That sounds really good, but there's only one problem. I need to find a job. I'm pretty sure my parents would help me with the deposit and the first month's rent, but after that I'll need to take care of it. Any suggestions?" Hermione asked, wondering if she would actually be able to make this happen. "I need to find a job too. I don't want to start delving into my savings. I was working at that muggle coffee shop as a barista but the owner started giving me crap about my hours, so I told him to shove it. Do you think there are any openings anywhere in Diagon Alley?" Thalia asked. "There's only one way to find out. Ready to go out and get a job?" Hermione asked. "Sure, lead the way," Thalia laughed as they walked out of the apartment. The young women made their way to Diagon Alley which was only a few blocks away from Thalia's apartment complex. They both rolled their eyes when they saw the "Help Wanted" sign at Madam Malkin's. No way did they want to work with Sherry. They were able to fill out applications at a few of the restaurants and Flourish and Botts, but were told that no one was hiring at the moment.
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"I guess this was a waste of time, all the positions are filled," Hermione said, feeling disappointed. "I know. Maybe there are job openings near the university. We can try that," Thalia said, not wanting to give up so easily. "I suppose so," Hermione replied as they were starting to make their way out of Diagon Alley. "Wait a second, we didn't apply here. Look, it's a new restaurant and bar opening up," Thalia said excitedly. "Gene's: A Quidditch Sports Bar & Grill, this might be interesting," Thalia added as she read the sign on over the front entrance. "Look at this. There's a sign saying they're hiring bar and wait staff. Cool, management is conducting onsite interviews today! Thalia, I think this is a sign. Do you want to check it out?" Hermione asked, eyes shining. "Most definitely. I believe this is a sign too, come on let's see what this is all about," Thalia said as she walked to the front entrance. 45 minutes later the young women walked out of the establishment, giddy with excitement. After listening to their backgrounds, Gene Donovan, the owner, hired both of them as waitresses. He agreed to work with their school schedules. Training would start the next day. They would be working mostly weekends and some weeknights, but Thalia said it was worth it because those were prime times to earn good tips. Gene was a muggleborn Irish wizard. He was in his early 50's, with thinning blond hair and a beard, and kind, twinkling green eyes. Gene was a short, stocky powerfully built man, having worked as a bouncer for years in wizard bars in Ireland. He was a very reasonable person, with the utmost respect for his fellow human beings, but was not a man one would want to cross. A perpetual bachelor, Gene was quite the ladies' man, he loved women. He just couldn't decide on one he wanted to spend his life with! While Voldemort was in power, Gene had fought with Ireland's underground resistance. When the evil wizard was defeated and killed, he returned to London and decided to make his dream of owning a sports bar a reality. He had always envisioned a Quidditch sports bar with Quidditch memorabilia decorating the walls. Gene had amassed quite a collection from different Quidditch teams throughout the years, so adorning the walls wasn't going to be a problem. Gene was hoping to attract a young crowd, in the 20-30 year old range, along with older adults. So he was pleased to hire two lovelies like Hermione and Thalia,
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attractive and capable waitresses were always a plus. He was also hoping his establishment was going to be a draw for the Quidditch teams in the area too. Gene knew he was going out on a limb starting a new business, but it seemed to work well in the muggle world, so why not in Diagon Alley. Early one morning, Blaise Zabini was walking past Draco's dorm room, when he was startled by a groan coming from inside. What was Draco's problem, Blaise thought; didn't he ever hear of silencing spells? Wanting to save his friend from embarrassment, he ducked into the room and cast a quick silencing spell. When he was done, he was about to walk out, but then Draco uttered something that caught his attention. Blaise smirked with amusement as he watched Draco move restlessly in his bed, murmuring, "Oh yeah, Granger, yeah babe, ooh you feel so good." What was this, Draco Malfoy having an erotic dream about Hermione Granger? Blaise walked out of Draco's dorm, laughing and shaking his head with amusement. He was definitely going to store that one in his brain so he could fuck with Draco's head later. Mr. and Mrs. Granger weren't too pleased at first with their daughter wanting to move out, but they relented when they realized Hermione was not a little girl anymore. She was a young woman and needed to find her place in life. They were very pleased with the great marks she received from the muggle university and they were glad that Hermione was taking on adult responsibilities such as taking on a job and living on her own. In the past few months, Mr. and Mrs. Granger had gotten to know Thalia and were fond of the pleasant Latina. They were relieved that Hermione chose to stay in London. The next week was a whirlwind of activity. Hermione and Thalia trained with Gene's more seasoned wait staff and they were able to get the hang of it. Gene planned on serving a mix of muggle/wizard food and drinks. The young women had to commit all of the menu items to memory, so they would be able to answer any questions from customers. Their uniforms consisted of a fitted V-neck Kelly green T-shirt with "Gene's" printed on it in script lettering and fitted black shorts that hit about mid-thigh. Gene had researched Hooters and didn't care for their skimpy uniforms. His wait staff would look respectable. The following week Gene opened up on a Wednesday to serve the lunch crowd. He wanted to "test the waters" and was anxious to see what the reaction would be. By the end of the day, Gene and his staff was exhausted, but exhilarated by the positive response. Hermione and Thalia had stopped by after their classes that day and were amazed at all of the people that were there. There was even a line forming outside, as customers waited for available tables. The young women looked at each other and smiled nervously. They were going to have their work cut out for them when they
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started their first shift on Friday night. Earlier on that same Wednesday, Blaise had checked out of Hogwarts for the day since he had an appointment with his mother's attorneys at the Ministry. His mother was signing over a few of the many properties she owned throughout Great Britain to him. When they were done, it was almost noon, so Ms. Zabini asked Blaise if he wanted to have lunch. "Sure mother, what did you have in mind," Blaise asked. "Well Lisbeth Reynolds said that there's a new restaurant opening in Diagon Alley today. Something about a Quidditch sports bar. Not really my thing, but I thought maybe you might like it," Ms. Zabini replied. "That sounds fine. Never heard of a Quidditch sports bar," Blaise said and shrugged. He really didn't care where they went, as long as the food was good. He was famished. Blaise and his mother were so surprised at how much they enjoyed their meal and the atmosphere at Gene's. A mixture of popular muggle and wizard music softly played in the background and the food was good. Ms. Zabini, used to eating in 5-star establishments, enjoyed her grilled chicken salad. Blaise chose a cheeseburger and fries, savoring every bite. He had grown to enjoy muggle food when he traveled in the summers with his mother. He couldn't wait to tell his friends about this place. When he and Ms. Zabini were done, they walked around the restaurant, admiring Gene's collection of Quidditch memorabilia. Gene noticed them and went over to greet them personally. Blaise and his mother told him how much they liked the food and that they would definitely be back. When Blaise and his mother were about to leave, a framed poster next to the exit caught his eye. The poster was titled "Gene's Staff" and had portraits of them with their names printed underneath. Blaise couldn't believe it when he saw Hermione Granger's picture there. She was listed as a member of the wait staff. He wondered when she was working because he hadn't seen her during the lunch hour. Blaise noticed the waitress who'd served him and his mother walking by, so he stopped her. "Excuse me, but can you tell me when Hermione Granger is working? She and I were schoolmates. I'd love to drop by to tell her hello," Blaise said and flashed the waitress a heart-melting smile. "Sure, let me check the schedule. I'll be right back," Rhonda, the waitress
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answered. What a hottie, she thought as she walked back to the kitchen. Hermione could thank her later for letting that hunk know her schedule. Rhonda returned and let Blaise know that Hermione was working the dinner shifts on Friday and Saturday night. Blaise thanked her and a plan began to form in his mind. This was going to be so much fun, he thought. He exited the restaurant with his mother. Blaise couldn't wait to get back to Hogwarts so he could put his devious little plan into action. Hermione patted her hair nervously as she took one quick look in the mirror before she and Thalia headed out of the door. They were about to leave their apartment to start their first shift at Gene's. "Ready?" Thalia asked and smiled at her friend. Taking a deep breath, Hermione smiled and answered, "Ready as I'll ever be, let's do this." Their first night working at Gene's was unbelievably busy. Gene's was a hit with the wizarding community and word was spreading fast. Hermione and Thalia stayed busy for their whole shift, with only a few 5-minute breaks here and there. They were tired at the end of the night, but happy. The tips were unbelievable; the young women figured they'd done their jobs well judging by the generous amounts they received. They made sure they gave a share to their busboys, Gary and Lance. It was a hectic evening, but worth it. Hermione was grateful for the black trainers she wore. They were still comfortable at the end of the shift, even though she had stayed on her feet. If Gene's business was always like this, she and Thalia would have no problem with paying rent and living expenses. At Blaise's insistence, Draco went home with him for the weekend. 7th years were allowed to do this at Hogwarts. Draco had never taken advantage of it since his parents were in Italy. He was also getting tired of the monotony of going to Hogsmeade with Astoria. Their relationship, it one could call it that was going at an agonizingly slow pace. Astoria would only let him kiss her and if he tried to go further, like trying to put his hand up her blouse, she stopped him. Draco needed a willing witch to satisfy him. The fantasies of Granger were getting more intense; he dreamt or pleasured himself thinking about her almost every night. Draco couldn't understand it; he'd never been attracted to the bushy-haired witch. For Merlin's sake, he hadn't even seen her since the war ended. He figured all he'd need to get Granger out of his head was to see her with the Weasel. Such a repulsive thought, Draco thought to himself and shuddered. Draco was glad no one knew about his thoughts and dreams about Granger. That would totally devastate his reputation as
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a coldblooded Slytherin. Draco inwardly rolled his eyes as Blaise went on about the new Quidditch sports bar in Diagon Alley for the millionth time. It was Saturday morning and the young men were having breakfast at Blaise's home. Draco sipped his orange juice and listened to his friend. "Dray, you wouldn't believe the Quidditch memorabilia in this place and the food is pretty good too. We need to go there tonight, you won't regret it," Blaise said, his eyes lighting up. "Dude, quit gushing like a girl. Fine I'll go if you'll stop going on about it," Draco replied in a bored tone. "I'm telling you, you'll love it. And did I mention, there's some cute witches working there too," Blaise said and winked. "I could use a diversion," Draco said. "I take it things are still moving at a snail's pace with Astoria?" Blaise asked, raising his eyebrows. "You have no idea, I feel like I'm wasting my time. Maybe I should look for a new plaything," Draco smirked. "Perhaps you should my friend. Tonight might provide an opportunity for you to do just that," Blaise answered, eyes twinkling with mischief. This was going to be awesome, Blaise thought. He couldn't wait to see Draco squirm when he saw who was working there. Saturday morning, Hermione reflected on the night before and her meeting with Patrick earlier in the week. She was so happy to be working; while she was there she focused on her job and nothing else. The Tuesday before, Patrick had called to ask her out. She met him for coffee and told him that she wanted to concentrate on her schooling, plus adjust to her new job and living arrangements, so she really didn't have time for a relationship. Patrick took it well, gave her a kiss on the cheek when Hermione said they could still be friends, and merrily went on his way. She was relieved that Patrick was okay with it, she truly wasn't ready to start seeing someone else. As Hermione watched Patrick leave, an image of Draco Malfoy popped up in her mind. Ginny's comment about Patrick looking like that git popped up in her mind, but Hermione quickly pushed the thought away. Who cared about Malfoy? She hadn't seen him since the war ended and as far as she was concerned,
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it could stay that way. Would she ever find someone she could love and trust? Hermione wasn't pining for Ron, but it still stung a little when she thought about him cheating on her with Sherry. She knew she would be okay and was comforted by the thought of having supportive friends like Ginny and Thalia. Hermione and Thalia relieved Gene's afternoon crew at 5:00 p.m. Saturday evening. The crew was relieved to see them and was happy to hand the young women and the rest of the evening crew the reins. They said that business had been nonstop since the lunch hour and it didn't look like it was letting up, especially since members of the Chudley Cannons had just walked in. The loud and brash, but jolly teammates took up three tables and started ordering rounds of beer. Gene greeted them heartily and went to speak to Hermione and Thalia. "Are you lasses okay to work these tables? These guys are ready to drink and might get a little rowdy. If you have any problems, just give a signal to Doug or me," Gene said. Doug was the bouncer working that evening. At 6'4, with his light brown hair in a crew cut and almost black eyes, the powerfully built and fit wizard was an imposing presence, but behind that exterior, he had a heart of gold like Gene. During training, Hermione and Thalia had met his wife Genie and their 5 year old son, Leo. Doug was so gentle with his family, but turned into an imposing giant if trouble reared its ugly head at Gene's. The young women saw this for themselves when a wizard buzzed on too many Firewhiskies decided to grab the breast of a waitress. Doug walked up to him, smiled and with one large hand, picked up the wizard by his collar and threw him out of the front entrance. The rest of the customers cheered and liked knowing that Gene was not going to let things get out of hand at his establishment. "We should be fine Gene. I think Thalia and I can handle this," Hermione replied and smiled. "I agree with Hermione, we'll take care of it. It's reassuring knowing you and Doug are our backup," Thalia said and chuckled. "Aw, shucks. You gals are going to be okay," Gene said and winked as they walked over to the table of teammates. Everything went well with the Chudley Cannons. The guys were well-behaved and even sang the team song with Gene and Doug. Hermione and Thalia couldn't believe two hours had passed when the men finally left, either going home or off to another bar. Some of the teammates had flirted with the young women, but Thalia made sure they saw her engagement ring and Hermione politely blew them off. They were shocked by the generous tip the guys had left for them. The evening was starting off
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well. Blaise, Draco, and Theo Nott took the floo network from Blaise's house to Diagon Alley. Theo decided to hang out with his friends that evening. He hadn't returned to Hogwarts, instead taking a position with the Ministry in the Department of International Magic Cooperation. Unbeknownst to many, Theo was multilingual and this is what landed him a job with this department. He had been on a mission in Lithuania for the past month and had just returned. He was looking forward to spending time with his friends. "So where are we going again?" Theo asked as he walked with Blaise and Draco through The Leaky Cauldron. "Blaise is all worked up for this new Quidditch sports bar that just opened," Draco said drily. "Oh, I've heard some of my coworkers talking about it yesterday. It's called Gene's right?" Theo asked. "Yes it is. My mother and I went during the week. The food is great and the witches waitressing aren't too bad either, if you get my drift," Blaise replied and winked. "I hear you my friend. I could use some action, it's been way too long," Theo said. "What's up with that? Did you and Darcy Ullia split up?" Draco asked. Before the war, Theo had started dating Darcy, a pureblooded witch from London, who chose to attend Beauxbatons instead of Hogwarts. Everyone in the pureblooded community was sure they were going to get married after the war. "You didn't know? It was right before the holidays, I was all set to give her an engagement ring and she broke it off with me. Giving me some crap about 'it's her, not me.' I asked if there was someone else and she denied it. Next thing I know she's engaged to Dean Thomas. I'm not making that mistake again. I'm a single man and I intend on staying that way for a while. If a fine-looking witch comes my way, we'll shag and that's it. No more commitments for me," Theo answered. "That's a really beautiful sentiment Theo, tugs at the old heartstrings. Heard this in a muggle movie once, 'I like women I like all kinds of women I especially like women I don't know very well!' let's go see what is waiting for us men!" Blaise exclaimed and high-fived Theo.
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"Yeah, that's my new motto!" Theo said excitedly as he high-fived Blaise back. "What is with the muggle bullshit? Whatever, let's go see about this place Blaise won't shut his yap about," Draco said sarcastically and rolled his eyes. The young men finally reached Gene's and walked in. They were greeted by the hostess that evening, Paula, a young, pretty brunette green-eyed witch who was a reserve chaser with the Holyhead Harpies Quidditch team. She was working at Gene's part-time until she could become a regular player on the team. Paula was very fit and the guys didn't miss the opportunity to stare at her ass as she led them to a table. Blaise walked ahead of Draco and Theo, looking back at them with a smirk seeming to say, "I told you so." As they took their seats, the Weird Sisters song that had been playing finished and "6 Underground" by the Sneaker Pimps came on. Draco never really listened to muggle music, but he found himself strangely drawn to the lyrics of the song and the woman's hypnotic vocals. He noticed HER, the one who had been haunting his dreams and fantasies, as he listened to the song. Take me down, 6 underground, The ground beneath your feet, Laid out low, nothing to go Nowhere a way to meet I've got a head full of drought, Down here, so faroff losing out Round here, Overground, watch this space, I'm open to falling from grace At this point, Hermione felt someone staring at her and gave a start when she realized it was Draco Malfoy. He was sitting at a table in her station with two other Slytherin gits, Blaise Zabini and Theo Nott. That was all she needed tonight and of course she was going to have to be their waitress. Taking a deep breath, she squared her shoulders and made her way to their table to take their order. If they
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gave her any shit she knew she could call on Gene or Doug. Draco caught himself and looked down at the menu in front of him when Hermione met his gaze. Shit, she's coming to our table, Draco thought to himself. He hoped to Merlin his friends wouldn't notice how unnerving this was for him. This didn't go unnoticed by Blaise; he was so enjoying his friend's normally unflappable demeanor coming undone at the sight of Hermione Granger. What was behind Draco's newfound obsession with a witch he vehemently disliked all of their years at Hogwarts? Blaise had to admit that Granger definitely looked better than she did when they were in school. She actually had quite the scrumptious little body now that it wasn't hidden beneath school robes. Her breasts were a little too small for his tastes, but they did look quite pert. What the hell, now he was having thoughts about Granger too, thought Blaise. Maybe Draco was on to something. Nott was seated facing Draco and Blaise so he didn't see Hermione until she walked up to their table. Merlin's bollocks, Hermione Granger has turned into quite a fox, Theo thought as he looked her up and down. The hell with all that mudblood and pureblood bullshit, pussy was pussy as far as he was concerned. "Good evening, welcome to Gene's. How are you? Would you like to start with drinks?" Hermione asked, trying to keep it as professional as possible. Why were those wankers staring at her? Did she have something stuck in her teeth? "I'm great. How are you Ms. Granger? I think to start off, we'd like 3 pints of Guinness on tap," Blaise replied as he gave her an appraising look. "I'm doing well, thank you. I'll be right back with your beers," Hermione said and left the table. Good Godric, that was awkward, she thought. Calm me down, bring it round Too way high off your street I can see like nothing else In me you're better than I wannabe Don't think 'cos I understand, I care, don't think 'cos I'm talking we're friends, Overground, watch this space,
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I'm open to falling from grace "Damn Blaise, Granger is all grown up! Did you know she worked here?" Theo asked. "No, I had come here earlier in the week with mother and thought it was a cool place. I had no idea Granger worked here," Blaise replied, lying smoothly. He didn't want Draco to figure out he knew about his little obsession with Granger. "Hey Draco, what did you think of Granger? Hot huh?" Theo asked and waggled his eyebrows. "I really didn't notice Theo. I just wondered why a member of illustrious Golden Trio is working as a waitress. You'd think if Granger is as great as everyone says she is she would've procured a position at the Ministry," Draco replied snottily. In all honesty, Draco thought Granger looked beautiful with her thick hair pulled back in a high ponytail. Her fitted black shorts complemented her softly curved hips and cute bottom. She had smallish tits, but Draco liked that. More than a mouthful was too much if you asked him. Granger would do very nicely but he'd never let his friends know. He'd never live that one down. "Well in Granger's defense I heard she was offered many positions, but turned them down. I was told she's attending a muggle university and wants to become a muggle animal healer. Oh, I have good office gossip. She was dating Weasley and broke up with him when she caught him with some harlot who works at Madam Malkin's," Theo said lowly so only his friends could hear. "Is that dipshit Weasley with Sherry from Madam Malkin's? Blonde hair, big tits, and the most annoying voice ever," Blaise asked. "Yeah that's an apt description of the broad he brought to the Ministry's Yule party. Why do you ask?" Theo said. Blaise started laughing and couldn't stop. When he regained his composure, he told his friends that Sherry had given him a blowjob in one of the dressing rooms when he went to pick up his school robes a few months ago. Draco laughed along with his friends, but he wondered how Granger felt when she caught Weasley with such a whore. Weasley was dumber than Draco thought. How could he do that to someone like Granger? As Hermione was getting the beers from the bar, Thalia sidled up beside her.
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"For a moment there, I thought that white-haired guy at your table was Patrick, but then it hit me Patrick is a muggle and there's no way he'd be here! Do you know those guys? They look close to your age," Thalia asked. "Yes, unfortunately I do know them. They were in the same year as me in Hogwarts and are the biggest gits imaginable. That white-haired rat is Bellatrix's nephew Draco Malfoy," Hermione replied with disdain. "Shit, I'm sorry Hermione. Hey, do you want me take over that table?" Thalia asked, concerned for her friend. "Thanks, but I'll take care of it. I know if they give me any crap I just have to signal to Doug or Gene," Hermione said with a rueful smile. "I know you're tough chica, but I'm here if you need me," Thalia said and smiled as she walked to the kitchen to retrieve an order. Hermione smiled to herself as she placed the 3 mugs of Guinness on a tray. Here goes nothing, she thought as she walked back to the Slytherin's table. Much to her relief, the Slytherins didn't give Hermione any trouble. The young men ordered a few appetizers and a few more rounds of beer. They left after about an hour and actually left a decent tip for her. When they left, Blaise and Theo even told her goodbye and thanked her. Malfoy only nodded towards her as he walked out with his friends. When Hermione was serving them she could feel his cold gray eyes assessing her every move, but she just thought he was probably hoping she would drop something or mess up their order. She was shocked that he hadn't made any disparaging comments. Maybe the obnoxious git had matured since the war. Be that as it may, Hermione was glad that he was gone. Hermione and Thalia worked until closing and were so happy to get home to their apartment. Their shift stayed busy and they stayed on their feet. Hermione took a quick shower, pulled on a soft, cotton short-sleeved nightgown and went to bed. As she fluffed up her pillow and pulled the comforter around her, she thought about how blissful it was to be in her own bed. She soon gave in to her exhaustion and fell asleep. Sweet Merlin, his lips were so soft and it was sheer delight when his tongue danced with hers in her mouth. She ran her hands through his silky hair and he moaned softly. He moved away from her mouth, kissing her neck and moving down to her breasts. He took his time caressing each one, lovingly suckling lightly on each nipple. She sighed with pleasure as pinpoints of desire shot down her body. His
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touch was exquisite. He smiled when he heard her sighs and started to kiss her stomach and then moved his head between her thighs. He gave her a devilish smile as he kissed the inside of her thighs and moved to his ultimate destination. As his tongue lightly flicked her clit, she thought she was going to lose her mind, it was such an exquisite feeling. He inserted one of his long fingers into her and fingered her gently. When he felt that she was close to climaxing, he inserted another finger and pushed them in and out of her at a frantic pace and buried his face into her. What followed for her was the most earth shattering orgasm she had ever experienced. She thought she was going to lose her mind as she shuddered with pleasure. When she tried to pull away because the feeling of his tongue and fingers in her was getting too intense, he grabbed her hips and wouldn't let her go. When she finally came down from the orgasm, he let her go. He moved back up until they were face to face. "If my fingers and tongue can do that to you, can you imagine what my cock will do when it's inside of your delectable pussy," he whispered in her ear as he nibbled it. At this point, Hermione woke up. What an intense dream she had! She couldn't believe she dreamed of Malfoy going down on her! It actually felt real. When this thought entered her head, Hermione realized she was naked. Her nightgown and panties were on the floor. She slid out of bed and grabbed her clothes. She went to the bathroom and flipped the light switch. As she looked in the mirror, she was horrified to see her lips looked plumped up as if they had been kissed. She was also shocked to see that she was very wet down there. What the hell just happened? Hermione had never experienced something like this. She cleaned herself up and put her clothes back on. She went back to her bedroom and made sure that there weren't any weird spells that had been cast. As she waved her wand around, all of the wards she had placed previously were still there. This was definitely one of the strangest things that had ever happened to her. Draco woke up in the middle of the night at Blaise's house. He had been having the most incredible dream. He had eaten out Granger and made her scream. As he came out of his slumber, he was startled to see he was completely naked. His pajama bottoms and boxers were on the floor. He got out of the bed, picked up his clothing, and went into the adjoining bathroom of his bedroom. His penis was very erect and standing at attention. It was not going away anytime soon, so he cast a silencing charm as he began to stroke. Draco replayed the amazing dream he had just had and came quickly. It was the most bizarre thing, but it was as if he could still taste Granger. This was undeniably different from the usual dreams he had about him and Granger. This felt real. Could it be because he finally saw Granger this past evening? This was all very extraordinary. Draco had never come across
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something like this. This was getting to be too much. For Merlin's sake, he hadn't even spoken to Granger and she barely looked at him. There was no way in hell she was attracted to him. Draco was pretty sure Granger would always hate him especially after what happened with her and Bellatrix at Malfoy Manor. If only there was some way he could let her know how sorry he was and that Bellatrix had given him hell too. He was going to have to make it a point to research this odd dream state once he returned to Hogwarts. A/N: It's just been one thing after another this week! I'm done with finals, yay! Sorry it's taking so long for an update, but I'm still debating where I want to take this Dramione! Hugs and kisses for the reviews and alerts, appreciate it

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Chapter 4
Yesterday's Just a Memory Chapter 4 "Wasn't Gene's great?" Blaise asked the next morning while they were having breakfast. "Sure, it was a real treat getting to see Granger," Draco replied sarcastically and smirked. "Come on now, it wasn't that bad. You have to admit Granger looks good," Blaise said eager to hear Draco's response. "I suppose if you're into witches who aren't purebloods, she's okay," Draco answered in what he hoped was a nonchalant tone. If Blaise had the slightest inkling that he was interested in Granger, Draco knew he'd never live it down. "Are you still on about that pureblood crap? Theo and I have moved past that, I think you can too," Blaise said huffily. "Really Blaise, how would your mother feel if you brought Hermione Granger home for tea?" Draco asked mockingly. "I think my mum would be thrilled to meet a member of The Golden Trio. That'll never happen because even though Granger is as cute as can be, she's not my type. However, Theo is really interested. He wants to go back to Gene's next weekend to see if he can ask Granger out. Do you want to come and witness Theo possibly getting his balls hexed off as he attempts this?" Blaise asked with a wicked smile. Draco actually felt a sinking feeling in his stomach when Blaise said Theo wanted to ask Granger out. Why should that concern him? "I'll have to check my schedule for next weekend." Blaise snorted. "Please! Check your schedule for what? Another cold shower after Astoria rejects your advances AGAIN? Just say you're coming and we'll work on finding you a real woman." "Well since you're so subtle, you talked me into it. Gene's it is next weekend,"
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Draco answered, hoping he sounded bored and disinterested. Good thing Blaise wasn't skilled in Legilimency because he would've had a field day with the images of Granger Draco now had running in his head. That dream the night before was pretty freaking incredible, he thought. Draco wondered if he would have another wonderfully, realistic dream like that again. Blaise was thoroughly relishing Draco's reaction to going back to Gene's. He saw the way Draco was staring at Granger when they were at the bar the night before. He also caught the look of disappointment on Draco's face when he told him Theo wanted to ask Granger out. Why wouldn't Draco just admit he was attracted to Granger? Blaise was determined to get it out of his friend one way or another. When Hermione woke up the next morning, she was still a bit shaken by the dream of Malfoy the night before. She was brooding about this over a cup of tea when Thalia walked into the kitchen. "Good morning. You look like you're giving something a lot of thought," Thalia commented. "I'm sorry, it's just that I had the craziest dream last night," Hermione replied. "Don't tell me Bellatrix is back!" Thalia said, looking worried. "No, no your abuelo Abraham took care of that. This was different. Jeez, I don't even know how to explain it, it's kind of embarrassing," Hermione said, her face reddening. "Look at your face! Who's the guy you dreamt about and what were you doing?" Thalia asked as she grabbed a cup of coffee and sat across from Hermione. "Nothing gets by you! Thalia, this was no ordinary dream and it felt so real. I'm just going to come out and say it. I dreamt Malfoy went down on me and I enjoyed it! For Godric's sake, I was naked when I woke up! Have you ever experienced something like that?" Hermione asked, her eyes widening. "Shit, Malfoy? The white-haired Patrick lookalike? That's so funny. I can't say I've ever had a dream like that! Maybe you two have repressed feelings for each other and the dream was triggered by seeing each other last night," Thalia replied as she took a sip of coffee and looked at Hermione over the side of the mug. "I don't think so! I detest Malfoy and he feels the same way about me. It'll be a cold day in hell before I'd even hold that bastard's hand let alone do something as
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intimate as that with him," Hermione said heatedly. "Whoa chica! I was only joking. Look, I'll talk to my abuelo and we'll figure out if there's a reasonable explanation for you to have such an extreme dream, especially with someone you dislike so intensely," Thalia said. "I didn't mean to react like that Thalia. If you'd only know how awful Malfoy was to my friends and me at Hogwarts. I know people can change, but he was such a git! Even if he was the last man on Earth, I wouldn't come within 5 centimeters of him!" Hermione huffed indignantly. "We'll figure it out, don't stress," Thalia replied. She hid her smile behind her coffee cup. It was interesting to see Hermione's heated reaction to Malfoy. Perhaps this was a case of "the lady doth protest too much, methinks." Blaise and Draco returned to Hogwarts that afternoon. The young men caught up on a few homework assignments that were due and then went down to the Great Hall for dinner. Blaise observed as Astoria talked Draco's ear off about her shopping trip with her mother. Draco looked distracted and only nodded at different intervals. He almost looked irritated, as if Astoria was intruding on his thoughts. "Draco! Have you heard a word I've said?" Astoria asked feeling a bit perturbed. Draco put his fork down and turned to her. "Yes, I've heard all about the stupendous dressing gowns that you and your mother found for a song," he answered as he fought the urge to roll his eyes. "Well, you looked like your mind was somewhere else. Okay, let me tell you about the shoes!" Astoria chattered on. Blaise watched this exchange with amusement. He pondered if Astoria knew she was going to be replaced soon. That girl better give up that booty if she wanted to hold onto Draco, Blaise reasoned. Then again, that might not be enough for Draco. His friend sure didn't look at Astoria the way he was looking at Hermione Granger the night before. Oh yeah, there's something in the air, Blaise thought to himself and hid his smile. Hermione and Thalia's week went by quickly with school and a few shifts at Gene's. On weekdays, it wasn't as rushed, so this provided the young women with an opportunity to learn bartending skills. Gene trained all of his wait staff to work behind the bar in case they were ever shorthanded. Hermione was reminded of Potions class at Hogwarts as she and Thalia learned to mix the different drinks. She
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loved making the shots in the test tubes and her favorite one was a Butterfinger. It consisted of butterscotch schnapps and Bailey's Irish Cream, a very sweet concoction that went down smoothly, but if one wasn't careful, could produce a hangover from hell the next day. The test tube shots were becoming a popular item at Gene's. When Hermione and Thalia arrived for their shift Friday night, Gene's was packed! Gene rushed up to the two of them as soon as they walked in. "I'm glad to see you two! Hermione, do you think you could work the bar with Stuart tonight? Zane called in sick, the bastard," Gene said, red-faced and looking flustered. "Sure, Gene. I'll punch in and get over there," Hermione replied and looked at Thalia as she widened her eyes and bit her bottom lip. She had worked during the week when there were only a few patrons at the bar. Every stool was taken this evening. Hermione hoped she wouldn't disappoint Gene. "Go get'em chica, you got this," Thalia said and gave Hermione a reassuring pat on the back as they walked to the time clock in the kitchen. The girls punched in and put away their handbags. They grabbed their aprons from their lockers, tied them on and went out to face the crowd. Hermione met Stuart behind the bar and he gave her a grateful look. "You're such a welcome sight! It's been nonstop since I started my shift. Do you want to grab one end of the bar and I'll work the other?" Stuart asked. "Whatever works Stuart, you know this better than me," Hermione laughed nervously. "You'll be fine Hermione. I asked Gene for you to help me tonight when Zane called in. I know you can handle it," Stuart said and smiled. "Thanks Stuart. I hope I don't disappoint you," Hermione replied and smiled back. She liked Stuart, he was so easygoing and fun to work with. Stuart Flanagan was Gene's 25-year-old nephew from Boston, Massachusetts. Stuart's mother Siobhan was Gene's older sister. Siobhan had met Stuart's father Matthew Flanagan, when she was visiting friends in Boston. She fell in love with Matthew, married him, and ended up staying in Boston where they raised Stuart and his sister Emily. Stuart was handsome and charming, with close-cropped spiky brown hair and the same
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twinkling green eyes as his Uncle Gene. He stood about 6'1 and was broad-shouldered with a muscular physique. Many witches started to frequent Gene's whenever he was working the bar, hoping to catch the fetching American wizard's eye. Hermione had heard from the other waitresses that Stuart had come to work for his uncle because he was coming off of a bad breakup. He was engaged to a girl he'd been dating for 4 years. One month before their wedding, he found out that she'd been seeing his best friend behind his back and was pregnant for him. When Gene offered him the job a few weeks after this mishap, Stuart didn't have to think twice. Being in London spared him having to see his ex-fiance pregnant with his best friend's child. Although he flirted with the women who came in at Gene's, it was to be sociable; he had no interest in dating anyone for now. His ex left a bad taste in his mouth when it came to relationships. As the evening progressed, Hermione had her head down as she prepared mixed drinks for a couple at her end of the bar, so she never saw Harry and Ron walk in. "So this is where you've been hiding," Harry said as he walked up to the bar. "Hey Harry, how are you? I haven't been hiding," Hermione replied over the music. She was so glad to see Harry. "I have to bring these drinks to the couple over there, but I'll be right back. What can I get you?" "Two Killian Reds please," Harry answered. "Why do you need two? Ugh, why did I even bother to ask? Why did you bring him here?" Hermione scrunched her face in disgust as she saw Ron weaving his way through the crowd. She slammed the bottles of beer on the bar and pushed them towards Harry, as she grimaced and walked away to bring her customers their drinks. "What's her problem?" Ron asked as he took a sip of his beer and watched Hermione walk away. "I can't believe you're asking me that. I told you we shouldn't have come here. You knew Hermione was working tonight," Harry replied. "Exactly my friend. I'm going to get Hermione back. All I have to do is apologize profusely and beg her forgiveness; she'll be like putty in my hands," Ron said smugly.
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"I don't think it's going to be that easy. Hermione is still pissed and I'll be shocked she even manages a civil conversation with you. You really are a piece of work, you know that? I mean Sherry just broke up with you yesterday and you're already trying to get back with Hermione. You can't treat women like that," Harry said with a disgusted look. "Harry, I know I made a bad decision when I started seeing Sherry. I tell you, I was relieved when she broke it off. Listening to that whiny voice day in and out made me realize how much I missed 'Mione. You'll see mate, she'll come around," Ron said. "Whatever, but when the hexes start flying, you're on your own," Harry replied as he took a sip of his beer as he shook his head at the audacity of his friend. At that moment, Blaise, Draco, and Theo walked in. Theo spotted Hermione behind the bar and made a beeline for three empty stools which happened to be next to Harry and Ron. Theo sat next to Harry and greeted him enthusiastically. Never friends in school because of the House rivalry, they put their differences aside and had gotten to know each other since they both worked at the Ministry. "Harry, how's it hanging? Ronald Weasley, what's up!" Theo exclaimed over the music. "Hey Theo, it's all good mate. What brings you here this fine evening?" Harry asked as they shook hands. Harry nodded cordially at Blaise and Draco. They nodded back. Ron only lifted his head and gave a small, fake smile. He couldn't stand those Slytherin gits and almost asked Harry if he wanted to leave, but he didn't want to miss a chance to try to talk to Hermione, so he endured the Slytherins invading his space. Watching from the corner of his eye, Draco looked at Hermione at the other end of the bar. She was talking to a couple and threw her head back in laughter. She looks so beautiful, Draco thought. Her hair was pulled back in a long fishtail braid down her back, so he could really see her face since her bushy hair wasn't in the way. Hermione's makeup was very light, but accentuated her best features. Draco admired her tanned and toned legs in the shorts she wore. He wondered how they would feel wrapped around his waist. Damn it to hell, he needed to quit having these thoughts. This was Granger after all!
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Hermione fought the urge to roll her eyes when she saw the 3 Slytherins seated next to Harry and Ron. That was all she needed tonight, but this was her job and she couldn't be rude, so she walked up to them to take their order. She also couldn't stop thinking about that dream she had of Malfoy. He had filled out and grown a few inches taller. Malfoy looked nice tonight in jeans and a fitted light blue V-neck t-shirt. He didn't look as stiff as he did in their 6th year when he only wore black suits. He was a good-looking sonofabitch too. Man, she needed to put this out of her head, this was Malfoy! "Good evening, welcome back to Gene's. What can I get you?" Hermione asked, trying to be as pleasant as possible. "Good evening to you lovely Ms. Granger. I'll have a Killian's like my friend Harry here," Theo replied jovially. He felt a slight twitch in his pants as he looked her over. Granger was looking good. "What can I get you, Blaise, Draco?" Hermione asked and looked at them expectantly. What was with Theo Nott saying she was lovely, she thought. He never even looked at her when they were at Hogwarts. Draco's heart gave a small lurch when she actually called him by his first name. "I'll have a Guinness on tap," he said, hoping he didn't sound nervous. He could swear she looked at him strangely, but he was probably imagining things. Don't think about that last dream, he thought. Merlin, he could still taste her. "I'll have a Guinness too, Hermione," Blaise replied. "Sounds good. I'll be right back with your drinks," Hermione said and started to walk away, when Ron stopped her. "We need to talk," Ron said as he gave her an intense stare. "There's nothing to talk about Ronald. I need to get back to work, excuse me," Hermione replied in a dismissive tone. She wished he'd get a clue and fuck off. Ron watched her walk away with a dark look on his face. How dare she talk to him in such a manner. Hermione should be grateful he wanted to get back with her. He was the best thing that ever happened to that girl, who else was she going to get? He didn't like her attitude or the fact that she was now living with Thalia. As far as he was concerned, Thalia was a bad influence. When Hermione would get back with him, he was going to have her cut ties with her new friend.
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Draco took in this scene with interest. Huh, the Weasel was trying to get back in Granger's good graces. Things must not have worked out with him and the skank from Madame Malkin's. Granger would be a fool to get back with the Weasel. Blaise took in what was happening around him. Man, Draco had it bad. He couldn't take his eyes off of Granger and if he wasn't mistaken, Granger was checking Draco out too. As for Ron Weasley, he needed to stop while he was ahead. Granger would be nuts to take him back, especially after he'd been with Miss Blowjob Queen, Sherry. What a fascinating evening this was turning out to be, Blaise thought happily. Stuart grinned at Hermione as she filled two steins with Guinness. He knew she would've done well behind the bar. "Everything going okay?" he asked. "Just peachy," Hermione replied and chuckled. "Oh man, I love this song!" Stuart said and started to sing along with The Smithereens, "A Girl Like You." Hermione laughed as he started to sing the lyrics to her. Stuart better stick to his bartending job, she thought, as he wailed, "just to win the love of a girl like yoooouuuuu!" She grabbed the two steins of Guinness and the bottle of Killian's, making her way back to the other end of the bar. Stuart was too funny. Who did that bastard behind the bar think he was, singing to his girl that way, thought Ron. That was another thing he'd have to discuss with Hermione, this job, along with Thalia was going to have to go if they were going to be a couple again. Draco got a funny feeling as he watched the friendly banter between Hermione and the other bartender. They seemed to have a good rapport, Granger seemed carefree and lighthearted as she laughed when he sang that muggle song to her. Was he feeling a twinge of jealousy? Hermione gave Theo his Killian's and set Blaise's stein of beer in front of him. When she was about to place Draco's beer down on the bar, he reached up to grab it and grazed her hand with his as he took the stein from her. Hermione felt a small jolt as they touched. She was shocked to see Draco staring at her with his searing gray eyes. Shit, did he feel that too, she thought. "Thank you," Draco said and actually smiled.
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"You're welcome," Hermione replied softly and went to serve another customer. This was so unnerving. Malfoy smiling? This was going to be one strange evening. This little exchange didn't go unnoticed by Ron. He hoped he wasn't being too obvious watching Malfoy attempting to flirt with his girl. As if Hermione would even give Malfoy the time of day. Although it did catch Ron off-guard to see that Hermione didn't seem upset by Malfoy's actions. Yes, this job had to go when he and Hermione would get back together. Hermione inwardly groaned because the test tube shots were in the cooler in front of Ron. She needed two strawberry shortcake shots for the customer she was serving. Taking a deep breath, she went to the cooler and grabbed what she needed. She cringed when she heard Ron's voice. "There you are! I think you're trying to avoid me Hermione. Come on, I just need a few minutes," Ron pleaded. Turning to look at him, Hermione took a deep breath. "Ronald, there is nothing to talk about. If you haven't noticed, I don't have a few minutes to spare, the place is jumping and I'm busy. Just send an owl and maybe I'll reply," she replied and started to turn away to go back to her customer. Ron turned three shades of red and reached out across the bar, grabbing Hermione's arm. "You will not turn your back to me or speak to me in such a tone! Maybe you'll reply to my owl? Look, I want you back. Why don't you stop kidding yourself thinking you can make it at a muggle school? You shouldn't be working at a place like this either, it isn't ladylike!" "Release. Me. Now." Hermione said her voice deadly. At that moment, Doug the bouncer walked up. "Sir, you heard the young lady. Let her go," Doug said in a calm manner, but his eyes looked deadly. "Who the hell are you to tell me what to do with my girlfriend? Hermione if you know what is good for you, you'll leave this dump and come with me!" Ron exclaimed. "Get it through your thick skull Ronald Weasley! You and I are finished. Where do you get off thinking you can just walk back into my life? Would you do me and yourself a favor by getting out of here? You're causing a scene and it's quite embarrassing," Hermione hissed. Customers were staring, along with Gene and
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Thalia giving her concerned looks. "Sir, please exit the premises quietly or I'll be happy to remove you by force if necessary," Doug replied with a small smile, but his eyes still had a deadly gleam. It would give him great pleasure to take someone as obnoxious as this bastard down a few notches. What was Hermione thinking dating a git like that? "This isn't over, you'll come crawling back," Ron snarled at Hermione. He knew he couldn't take on Doug, so he walked out of the bar, giving the other patrons dirty looks as they stared. "Hermione, I'm so sorry. I had no idea he was going to pull something like this. I don't know what's come over Ron. I better go check on him. Are you going to be okay?" Harry asked with a concerned look on his face. "Harry, there's no need to apologize, you have nothing to do with Ron and me. I'll be fine, go see about him. I don't know what his problem is either. I just know that I don't want him in my life, especially after his little dalliance with Sherry. I can't get over how arrogant Ron has become!" Hermione said in disbelief, shaking her head. "Take care; I'll try to keep Ron in line. This is a nice place, I'll have to bring Gin when you're working," Harry replied, smiling as he stood up to leave. "I'd like that. Take care too and don't be a stranger," Hermione said smiling as she squeezed Harry's hand. She watched as Harry smiled back and exited the bar. Leave it to Ron to ruin a simple evening out. Stuart had been busy with his end of the bar, so he only witnessed Ron storming out of the bar. He noticed Hermione seemed a little shaken, but she started to tend to her customers again. Stuart wondered if the redhead was a jealous ex-boyfriend. Hermione seemed like a level-headed and decent chick, what was she doing with an asshole like that, Stuart thought. He put that thought out of his head and went back to work. He was glad that Doug made that dude leave. His Uncle Gene didn't need trash like that in his bar. Hermione brought Theo another Killian's. As she was about to step away, he stopped her. "Everything alright Granger?" Theo asked with a concerned look. Blaise fought the urge to roll his eyes as he watched Theo making his move on an unsuspecting Granger. He nudged Draco and motioned over to Theo with his eyes. Blaise mouthed "This should be good." Draco watched this with great awareness. Was Theo going to succeed in getting
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Granger to go out with him? He had to admit that this was a good move on Theo's part. Granger was vulnerable after that scene with The Weasel. A big part of him hoped Granger wouldn't be stupid enough to fall victim to Theo's charms. "I'm good Theo, thanks for asking. I can't believe the nerve of Ron. I better get back to work. Blaise, Draco, do you need refills?" Hermione asked. Blaise and Draco raised their empty steins, grinning. Hermione smiled at them and picked up the steins. She left and returned with fresh drinks for all of them. As she placed Theo's Killian's in front of him, he spoke. "Hermione, I know you and I weren't really friends in school, but I'd like to change that. The Ministry is having a fundraising ball next Saturday. Would you be my date?" Theo asked. Hermione was taken aback by this. Theo Nott was asking her for a date? There must be something in those Killian's, she thought. "Theo, you're asking me out?" she asked hesitantly. "Yes, I am. I think we'd have a nice time. What do you say?" Theo asked looking at Hermione with an expectant expression. "That's very nice of you to think of me, but I'm really busy with school and working. Maybe some other time, when I have a break," Hermione said lightly. She truly had no interest in going on a date with Theo Nott, but she wanted to let him down gently. "Sure, no problem. Thought I'd ask seeing that you're single," Theo said and chucked. Damn, this sucked he'd really been looking forward to getting into Hermione's knickers. Blaise and Draco would never let him live this one down. Shot down by the pretty Gryffindor. As luck would have it, as he thought about this, Bon Jovi's song "Blaze of Glory" was playing. You ask me if I know love And what it's like to sing songs in the rain? Well, I've seen love come I've seen it shot down I've seen it die in vain
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Shot down in a blaze of glory (Down) Take me now but know the truth But I'm going down in a blaze of glory "Dammmnnn Theo, this muggle song should be your new theme! That's so fucking funny," Blaise laughed. "It's not that funny, prick! Shut the hell up, Hermione said maybe we can go out when she has a break, she didn't shoot me down completely," Theo retorted. "I don't know dude, I think she was trying to be nice about it. After that little tiff she had with the Weasel, Granger probably isn't too thrilled about dating," Draco said. "Well, I'm ready to get out of here. Maybe I'll get lucky at one of the muggle nightclubs," Theo said. "That sounds good to me, I'll go check out the muggle babes," Blaise said. "I don't know, I think I'll finish my beer and head back to your house Blaise. I'm not in the mood for a loud club," Draco replied. Blaise gave him a long and searching look, but didn't say anything. "Are you sure? It's easy pickings at these clubs. Even Theo manages to score." Theo gave Blaise a dirty look and rolled his eyes. "Are we going or not?" "Yeah, don't get your knickers in a twist. Dray, I'll see you later. Don't do anything I wouldn't do!" Blaise said with a mischievous gleam in his eyes. He knew what Draco was up to. He wondered if his friend would have better luck with Granger than Theo did. The two young men left money on the bar and left. Hermione noticed them leaving and was surprised Draco was still there. She noticed that his stein was almost empty, so she went to him to see if he wanted another beer. "Do you want a refill?" Hermione asked.
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"Yes, I'll take one more," Draco replied. As she was about to walk away, he spoke again. "Hermione, I never had the chance to tell you how sorry I was for everything. I mean, what my aunt did to you and for the nasty things I said and did at Hogwarts." Hermione stopped in her tracks and looked at him with her warm brown eyes. "Wow, I never expected to hear that from you. To be honest, I wondered if you were the same as you always were at Hogwarts. I think the war changed all of us, hopefully for the better. I'd like it if we could be friends Draco." Draco loved the way she said his name. "I'd like that too. Friends?" Draco said as he smiled and extended his right hand. He couldn't believe this was happening. Hermione smiled back and shook his hand. "Friends it is. I'll be right back with that beer." Okay, what just happened, she thought. She actually made peace with Draco Malfoy. This was turning out to be one peculiar evening. He drank one more beer, and then Draco left for the evening, happier than he had been in quite a while. He told Hermione goodbye, liking the way she smiled at him and waved. He was definitely going to be back the following weekend and as of that moment, he didn't care if Blaise gave him shit for it. There was something about Hermione Granger, she captured something within him, and Draco couldn't explain it. When the bar shut down at 2 a.m., Thalia sidled up to Hermione as they cleaned the tables. "What was up tonight with you and the men? Don't think I didn't notice you and Mr. Malfoy chitchatting. After that dream you told me about, I'd say you're very well acquainted. Girl and what was the deal with Ronnikins? He didn't look too happy when Doug made him leave!" "Don't remind me about that crazy dream! It was the weirdest thing Thalia, Draco apologized to me and asked if we could be friends! I was so shocked, but I told him yes. As for Ronnikins, do you believe that git wanted to get back with me? The nerve!" Hermione exclaimed. "Remember what I told you about people changing Hermione. Maybe you and Draco will become great friends. On the other hand, regarding Ronnikins and judging by how red his face was when he left, I guess you aren't reuniting!" Thalia chuckled. "You got that right sista! I don't know what the hell Ron was thinking. We are done, kaput!" Hermione replied.
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"Yeah, I don't think he'll be stupid enough to try to mess with you over here again. Doug handled that very well," Thalia said and chuckled. Hermione laughed with her friend and they went back to their cleaning duties. As they finished up and clocked out, she couldn't stop thinking about Draco Malfoy. There was something vulnerable and sweet about him, Hermione found herself intrigued by this. She was actually looking forward to seeing him the following weekend. Draco returned to Blaise's home and walked into an empty house. Blaise's mother was off jet-setting with a boyfriend and Blaise was still out with Theo. He was glad for the silence; he could really go over what took place that evening. Seeing Hermione Granger in person and making peace with her was more than Draco ever hoped for. He really felt that he and Hermione were kindred spirits; he couldn't wait to explore this more. Draco stripped down to his boxers and went to bed. He grabbed a pillow and hugged it close, imagining he was holding Hermione. He fell asleep feeling very content. When Hermione and Thalia returned home, Hermione followed her usual routine of showering and going to bed. After the exhausting and eventful evening at work, it didn't take long for her to fall asleep. They faced each other in the bed. He caressed her cheek and she placed her hand over his, as she sighed happily. Brown eyes stared into gray eyes; they were both so happy to be there and to have finally found each other. He moved closer to her face and she knew he was going to kiss her. As she waited those few blissful seconds, someone or something sat on the bed in an abrupt manner. Suddenly, he was wrenched away from her and she was alone. What the hell? Where did he go? Draco was pissed! He was having the most amazing dream about being with Hermione and Blaise ruined it. Blaise stumbled into his room and collapsed on the bed, drunkenly telling him about the good shag he'd just had with a waitress from the nightclub. "Zabini, can you tell me about it in the morning? Thanks a lot for waking me up, you wanker," Draco snarled. "Excuuusse me! Fine! I'll get to my room and maybe I'll tell you all about it, if I'm feeling generous. Always wanting to rain on my parade!" Blaise said as he slurred a little and swayed as he walked out of the bedroom. Blaise and his muggle sayings, Draco thought to himself. He closed the door when
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Blaise walked out and locked it. He hoped he could fall asleep again and get back to the amazing dream he was having about Hermione. It felt so real, Draco could almost feel her hands on his, and he could even smell the soft scent of the vanilla and lavender lotion she used. Hermione woke up suddenly, clutching her pillow to her. What was happening? She was dreaming about Draco again and it seemed so real. Did she really smell the clean and spicy aroma of the aftershave Draco was wearing when she spoke to him earlier? She pondered if this dream would've been as intense as the last one if they hadn't been interrupted. This was getting so bizarre. It was possible Thalia was on to something, because Hermione had no dreams of Draco since that last one, until she saw him this past evening. Maybe seeing each other did trigger these dreams. Over breakfast the following morning, Hermione told Thalia about the dream. "That's really something that you had another one about Draco, Hermione. I wonder why it was interrupted. This is weird because my abuelo came to me in a dream last night. I had contacted him earlier in the week about your steamy dream and he said he'd research it and get back to me," Thalia said. "Thalia, you didn't tell your abuelo about Draco going down on me?" Hermione asked in a worried tone. She'd be mortified if anyone besides Thalia knew about it. "Come on, you know me better than that! I'd never tell my abuelo something like that. I just said it was very realistic. I left out the sex part and you waking up naked," Thalia laughed. "Thank Merlin; you can't imagine how embarrassed I was even though I was alone. Well, what did he have to say?" Hermione asked. "Abraham said what you had was a 'dulces sueos. When you translate it to English, it means sweet dreams. He claims that the other person in the dream is experiencing the same thing as you are, so Draco is probably freaking out too. Abraham said it's because there's some connection between you and it's never been explored," Thalia replied, interested to see what Hermione's reaction was going to be. "Shit, so if Abraham is right, Draco felt all this too. Oh Thalia, I don't know if I'll even be able to look at him if he comes into Gene's again!" Hermione said, covering her face. "Look Hermione, just be cool if and when Draco comes to Gene's and you're
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working. He probably has no idea what's going on and is just as confused as you were. He probably thinks it's just a strange dream," Thalia said. "I never thought I'd be saying this, but I enjoyed talking to him last night. It was great to see Draco Malfoy actually smile. He was always so cold and mean-spirited at Hogwarts. Maybe the dreams signify that we'll become good friends," Hermione said. "Hmm, maybe so," Thalia said and gave a knowing smirk. "What's that supposed to mean?" Hermione asked and giggled. "Maybe you and Draco are meant to be more than friends, considering the content of your dreams," Thalia said. "I don't know about that Thalia. I think the whole wizarding world would stand still if Draco and I ever got together. Purebloods like the Malfoys and muggleborns like me don't have relationships, that's just the way it is," Hermione said simply. "I think the war changed a lot of things, especially that purebloods should only marry purebloods. I believe blood status is a thing of the past. I'm a half-blood and Lazaro is muggleborn. His blood status never crossed my mind or my parents. It was never an issue, Lazaro is a good man and that's all that should matter," Thalia replied. "Be that as it may, I don't see it happening with Draco and me. Maybe we'll be friends, but that's as far as it'll go," Hermione said. They started to study for a biology quiz and the Draco discussion was momentarily forgotten. Although, during the day Hermione couldn't help thinking about if Abraham was right and there was some sort of bond between her and Draco. She mentally shook her head and decided to concentrate on studying for her exam. A relationship was the last thing she needed. Draco was having a rather unremarkable week at Hogwarts until Thursday afternoon. He was sitting with Blaise in the Slytherin common room. They were going over an Ancient Runes paper that was due. Astoria burst in and strode over to Draco, stopping in front of him. Draco looked up at her, wondering what she wanted. "Did you need something Astoria?" Draco asked, perturbed because she interrupted his train of thought.
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"I sure do. Can we talk?" Astoria asked huffily. "Yeah, go ahead, but can you make it short? Blaise and I really need to get back to this paper," Draco said in a distracted manner. "Yeah, okay. I'll make it real short Draco Malfoy! You and I are finished! I'm tired of you ignoring me. Jordan Hastings has asked me out and I accepted. He knows how to treat a lady!" Astoria exclaimed. There were other Slytherins in the common room and they couldn't wait to see how Draco Malfoy was going to react to this outburst. His temper was legendary. They braced themselves for the hexes that were surely going to fly. "I hope Jordan makes you very happy Astoria. Is that all?" Draco asked calmly. Jordan Hastings was a Slytherin who was in the same year as Astoria. Draco wondered if she thought he was going to beg her not to break up with him. If anything he was relieved, because he had been thinking of a way to break it off with her. This relationship if you could call it that was going nowhere. "Ooooh you are so damn infuriating! Yes, that's all, I hope you're happy!" Astoria growled as she stomped away. Draco only shrugged and went back to working on his paper with Blaise. "So where were we before that little interruption?" Draco asked Blaise and smirked. Blaise only chuckled and shook his head as they picked up where they had left off. Their Slytherin classmates went back to what they were doing, amazed that Draco Malfoy was so cool and detached. Draco was considered to be an insufferable prick by almost all of Hogwarts before the war; even quite a few Slytherins shared that opinion. He had really changed since the war, they thought and certainly for the better. Friday night arrived and Hermione was in a great mood. She and Thalia had aced their exam. When they arrived to start their shift at Gene's, Gene was there to greet them as soon as they walked in. "Hermione, could you please work the bar with Stuart tonight? We had to let Zane go, he was missing way too much work. I'd appreciate it if you could help me out until I can find a replacement," Gene Said. "No problem Gene. I enjoy working with Stuart," Hermione replied. She had really enjoyed bartending the weekend before.
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"Great, I'm glad to hear that. Thanks, I knew I could count on you," Gene said and smiled. The young women followed their usual routine of clocking in and putting away their handbags. Hermione met Stuart behind the bar and Thalia went off to take care of her station of tables. Stuart gave Hermione a huge smile when he saw her. "Awesome to see we're going to work together again! Do you want to do the same thing we did before, you take that end of the bar and I'll work this one?" Stuart asked. "That's fine Stuart. It worked out well last weekend, let's stick to it," Hermione replied. As the evening progressed, Hermione and Stuart stayed busy. Every seat at the bar was taken plus they filled all of the drink orders for the wait staff. Hermione never noticed Draco and Blaise walk in. They were lucky to grab two stools at the bar that had just been vacated. Hermione was grabbing a few test tube shots out of the cooler, and when she looked up, Draco was smiling at her. She smiled back at him and Blaise. "Hi, I'll be right back to take your order. Let me get these shots to that group of ladies over there," Hermione said. "Sure, we're in no hurry," Draco said amicably. Blaise looked at his friend and knew he had been right all along. Draco Malfoy had fallen for Granger. No wonder he wasn't upset when Astoria broke up with him. Hermione came back and took their order. When she brought their steins of Guinness, Draco asked her about the test tube shots. "I've been wondering what those things were. They seem to be very popular," Draco said as he savored the taste of the ice cold beer. "They're shots of different mixes of liquor. They're very sweet and go down well, but don't drink too many because they pack a wallop," Hermione said and chuckled. "Really? Blaise, are you game for a shot? Which one do you suggest we do?" Draco asked.
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"I like the Butterfinger shots. Do you and Blaise want to try it?" Hermione asked. "Why not? I was curious as to what those test tubes contained too," Blaise admitted. "Okay, here they are," Hermione said as she pulled two Butterfinger shots from the cooler and handed one to each of the young men. "Do we just drink it all at once?" Draco asked hesitantly. He'd never done shots before. Hermione nodded and smiled. "Wolf it down." Draco and Blaise looked at each other and drank their shots at the same time. "Huh, that wasn't so bad. A little sweet, but it went down smoothly," Blaise said as he laid the empty test tube on the bar. "I have to agree, I liked it. Thanks for the suggestion Hermione," Draco said. "Anytime. Let me know if you want another. I'm going to check on my other customers," Hermione said as she started walking to the end of the bar. For the next few months, Draco started going to Gene's every Friday and Saturday night. Sometimes he was with Blaise and Theo, but it was getting to where he started to come in by himself. He looked forward to seeing Hermione. They settled into an easy and comfortable friendship. Hermione ended up taking the fired bartender Zane's job. She found that she enjoyed bartending more than waitressing. This also gave her more of a chance to get to know Draco better. She couldn't believe how quickly the time had passed. It was now May, she and Thalia were done with their spring semester of schooling. As usual, they both did extremely well. Gene gave Hermione and Thalia the weekend off after they were done with the semester; he knew how stressed the young women were from working and studying for finals. Thalia decided to go home to Colombia for a few days. She had wanted Hermione to go with her, but Hermione wanted to spend time with her parents. With work and school, she only saw them sporadically. Hermione had dinner with her parents on Friday night and went back home with them. She liked the freedom of living with Thalia, but as she settled into her old
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bedroom, she decided she missed being at home. She woke up the next morning and had breakfast with her parents. They were thrilled with her grades at the university. Mr. and Mrs. Granger had been a bit apprehensive when Hermione had moved out, but they realized how responsible she was. They couldn't ask for a better daughter. Her parents were attending a cocktail party that evening, so Hermione decided to go back to her apartment. As she walked into the empty apartment, Hermione felt a little lost. It was so quiet without Thalia. She wasn't sure what she was going to do with herself, it felt weird to not have anything to do on Saturday night. Hermione decided to have Chinese food delivered and watch movies. As she grabbed a menu from the kitchen, she was startled by a loud tapping noise. When she looked, there was a huge black owl at the kitchen window. Hermione opened the window to let it in. She didn't have any owl treats, so she gave the bird breakfast cereal. It pecked suspiciously at the cereal at first, but then the bird decided it liked it and chirped happily. She took the message it carried and was shocked to see it was from Draco. Hermione, I hope all is well. I went to Gene's last night and you weren't working. Stuart told me that you had the weekend off. If you aren't busy, I was thinking as you muggles like to say, we could "hang out." Let me know if you'd like to have dinner or something along those lines. D. Her breath and her heart seemed to skip a few beats as she read the letter. She was touched that Draco had gone to Gene's looking for her. He was enjoying their friendship as much as she was. Hermione wrote back on the same sheet of paper: Draco, I'd be glad to "hang out." I was planning on staying in at my apartment. It seems like forever that I actually sat down and watched a movie. You're welcome to come over. Here's my address. H. Hermione gave the message to the owl and watched as it flew off. She wondered if Draco was going to come over. About an hour later, the owl returned. She nervously opened the letter as she gave the bird more cereal.
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Hermione, I'll be there in one hour. Looking forward to it, as long as we aren't watching some sappy romantic muggle movie. D. Draco, You might be surprised and actually like it! See you soon. H. She smiled to herself as she gave the message back to the owl and it flew off. Hermione looked at the clock and saw that it was 4:05 p.m. She stripped off her pajamas and headed to the bathroom for a quick shower. When she was done, she dried off and lightly applied her favorite lavender and vanilla body lotion. Grabbing a pair of plain white cotton bikini knickers and matching bra from her chest of drawers, she quickly put these on as she surveyed the clothes in her closet. It hit her; why was she stressing about what she was going to wear? She and Draco were only friends, it didn't matter what she was wearing. She closed the closet doors and went back to her chest of drawers, pulling out a soft, comfortable peach colored T-shirt and a pair of black cotton shorts. As she put on her clothes, she thought about how nice it was not to worry about how she looked around Draco. As she walked out of her bedroom, there was a knock at the door. Checking the peephole, she saw Draco holding up a six-pack of Guinness beer and grinning. Laughing, Hermione opened the door and let him in. "I was so surprised to get your note. Are you sure you don't have anything more exciting to do tonight?" Hermione asked. "Not at all, sometimes it's nice to just chill," Draco replied and smiled. "I'm impressed with your use of muggle terminology," Hermione chucked. Merlin he looks so good tonight she thought as she watched Draco walk into the kitchen so he could put his beer in the refrigerator. He was wearing a fitted black T-shirt and jeans with Nike trainers. It still took some getting used to seeing Draco Malfoy in muggle attire. "I think it's from hanging out with you and Blaise," Draco laughed.
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"I was thinking of ordering Chinese food and I have a few DVDs stacked on the end table. Since you're me guest, I'll let you pick the first movie," Hermione said. "Chinese food sounds great and I'm so honored I get to choose the movie," Draco replied as he walked over to the stack. "While you're looking, I'll order the food. Is there anything in particular you'd like?" Hermione asked. Yes, you naked and underneath me on your bed, Draco thought. Man, he was going to have to control this! "I trust you with food, surprise me," he answered. "Cool deal, I'll be right back," Hermione said as she walked to the kitchen. Draco looked through the movies and one really caught his interest. It was called "Pretty Woman" of all things. There was a quite fetching muggle actress on the cover. He stared to laugh as he read some of the taglines from the movie: Who knew it was so much fun to be a hooker? She walked off the street, into his life and stole his heart. "What's so funny?" Hermione asked, smiling as she walked into the living room. "This movie! I know I'm probably going to regret it, because it is probably sappy as all hell, but my curiosity got the best of me," Draco answered as he smirked and held up the DVD. "Oh one of my all-time favorites! I think you'll be pleasantly surprised Draco Malfoy. You're going to love it," Hermione said and smirked back. "We'll see. I just like that the woman is a prostitute," Draco laughed. Hermione rolled her eyes and took the DVD from him. She placed it in the DVD player and picked up the remote control, pressing PLAY. Draco watched this, fascinated with muggle technology. He and Hermione settled on the couch and started to watch the movie. When the Chinese food arrived 30 minutes later, Draco was almost sorry that Hermione paused the movie to get the food. He was really getting into this muggle movie. Hermione couldn't get over how much Draco seemed to be enjoying eating out of
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the white takeout containers, drinking beer out of the bottle, and watching a muggle movie with her. Every once in a while, he'd look over at her and smile. It melted her heart. Draco never would've imagined he would love "hanging out" so much. He liked watching Hermione as she silently recited most of the lines of the movie. It was apparent that she had watched it many times. She had told him earlier that this was a classic "chick flick." He found himself feeling sad when the main characters of the movie, Edward and Vivian parted ways, then he was jubilant when Edward found Vivian again and declared his love for her. Vivian got her fairytale. "Well? What did you think?" Hermione asked at end of the movie. She grabbed the remote, pressing STOP and removed the disc from the DVD player. "You got me! I liked it even it was a sappy girl's movie," Draco said and laughed. Hermione laughed too and fell back on the couch. She wagged her pointing finger at him and said "Got ya!" "Hey, tell me something. Do all of you girls want the proverbial 'fairytale'?" Draco asked as he took a sip of his beer. Hermione thought about this for a few seconds before she replied. "I suppose it would be nice if life would play out like a romantic comedy, where the main characters end up together, cue the happy feel-good song," she said and laughed, but then a thoughtful look came over her face. "I think most women deep down want the 'fairytale' but we know that isn't realistic. I just wish relationships wouldn't have to be so complicated and emotional." "What do you mean by that?" Draco asked, intrigued by where this conversation was going. "I guess I wonder if a guy and girl could be intimate and not have to be emotionally involved," Hermione blurted out, but then immediately regretted it. What was he going to think? "Really? I think I know where you're going with this. Sometimes I wonder why sex between two consenting adults couldn't be like a game of Quidditch," Draco mused. "A game of Quidditch? Okay I have to hear this, please explain," Hermione replied and looked amused.
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"Yeah, to me sex is like Quidditch. It's a physical act. Why can't sex be like that, just a game? You play it and when it ends, everyone shakes hands and gets on with their lives. No complications, emotions, or guilt involved," Draco said simply. He braced himself for Hermione's reaction. Surely this was going to send her over the edge. Hermione took another swig of her beer and contemplated this. "Draco, you might be on to something. Maybe this is the alcohol talking, but I miss sex. The thing I don't miss is the relationship crap that went with it when I was with Ron. With school and work, I don't have the time or energy to devote to a relationship. Do you really think it'd be possible to make something like that work?" Whoa, she was actually considering his crazy reasoning, Draco thought. "Yes, I do think it could work with two reasonable and intelligent adults. What about you and me? I'm not looking for a girlfriend, hell you know what went down with Astoria. Your time with the Weasel was a disaster. How about you and me play Quidditch?" "I don't know Draco. It's one thing to discuss this, but to go through with it? I like what we have now; don't you think sex would complicate things?" Hermione asked hesitantly. What was she getting herself into? "Look, think about it. You are the last person I ever thought would become one of my best friends. I like you as a friend and I think we are both level-headed enough to make this work," Draco said, lying through his teeth. He definitely liked Hermione more than a friend, but he knew she'd never see him that way, so he was going to take whatever she was willing to give. "Let's say we do this. It would be no relationship bullshit, no emotions, just sex?" Hermione asked. "Yes, whatever happens, we stay friends," Draco replied. "This is so crazy. Okay, I'll play Quidditch with you. One thing Draco Malfoy-this stays between you and me. If I hear you've been blabbing about this to your friends, you'll be sorry!" Hermione growled, her brown eyes flashing. "No problem Hermione! I like the way you look when you get pissed," Draco teased. "That sounds emotional Draco, cut that shit out," Hermione said with a serious look but then burst into a fit of giggles.
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Draco couldn't help himself. She looked so adorable, he had to kiss her. Hermione stopped giggling when he came closer to her. She bit her lip as he looked at her before covering her lips with his in a soft, sweet kiss. Draco pulled away from her and smiled. "I hope you didn't mind," he said. "No, that was fine. It was nice," Hermione replied as she leaned towards him, surprising Draco by kissing him. They made out for a few minutes on the couch. Hermione had her small hands on his broad shoulders at first, but then she soon had them wound in his soft hair. Draco kept his hands on her waist, but he ached to touch her breasts. He was in ecstasy, this was way better than the dream, to have her in his arms. Hermione loved the way Draco kissed, she knew she was probably going to regret this later, but she wanted him so badly. They pulled away from each other and didn't say anything for a few seconds. Finally Hermione spoke. "Do you want to take this to the bedroom?" "Yes, we can play Quidditch in there," Draco replied lightheartedly, but inside he was nervous as hell. This was beyond his wildest dreams. When they reached Hermione's bedroom, she switched on the light. They began to undress, taking in each other's bodies. Draco was in amazing shape, with defined abdominal muscles and biceps. His legs were nicely muscled too, probably from playing Quidditch. She fought to keep her eyes from widening as she got a look at his penis. Draco's was probably a good 3 inches longer than Ron's and wider. Draco watched Hermione as she removed her bra and panties. He took in her small, but perfectly rounded breasts. He couldn't wait to get his mouth on them. She was perfect, soft skin with a flat tummy and nicely rounded hips. What the fuck was the Weasel thinking when he cheated on her, Draco thought. They made their way to Hermione's bed and sat on the side. Hermione pushed to the middle of the bed and Draco reclined beside her. He gently grasped her by the waist and pulled her to him. They started kissing again as she ran her hands over his arms, while he ran his hands over her smooth curves. Draco began to kiss her neck and moved his mouth down to her breasts. He ran his tongue lightly over the pink-tipped nipples, loving the way Hermione gasped as he did this. He took one of her breasts in his mouth while he teased the other one's nipple with his tongue. He alternated between them for a few minutes and then he moved back up to kiss
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Hermione again. All Hermione could think was how much better Draco was in bed than Ron! Draco knew what he was doing. She moved her hands over his chest and slowly moved them down. She ran one hand over his penis, liking the way Draco hissed when she did this. He grinned at her and kissed her hard. He moved his hand down to her soft folds and inserted one finger, pushing it in and out slowly. Hermione gasped again when she felt his long finger in her. As he did this, he gently rubbed her clit. "Do you like that?" Draco asked softly. "Yes, I do," Hermione whispered back, as her breath caught. She was very close to climaxing when he pulled his fingers away. Draco gave her a mischievous smile. "I'm not letting you come yet." "You are such a g-," Hermione had started to say, but was stopped when Draco slowly entered her. She had to adjust to his girth and when she did, the sensation of having him inside of her was like nothing she had ever felt before. She started to move with him and meet his thrusts. Hermione was so tight; it took every bit of self-control Draco had not to blow his load right then and there. He'd slept with Pansy and a few other witches, but his experiences with them didn't come close to this. Draco loved the way she moved with him and the way her eyes were tightly she shut as she lightly bit down on her bottom lip. When he was about to reach his orgasm, he began to kiss her again. Hermione wrapped her legs around his waist and he ground himself into her. He couldn't hold it in any longer and he came, groaning loudly. As Hermione felt the bursts of his cum shooting into her, she came too. This was so incredible they thought simultaneously. Draco gently eased out of her and laid back on one side of Hermione's queen-sized bed, as he caught his breath. He looked over at Hermione as she came down from her orgasm. A strand of her hair had fallen over her face and he longed to push it away, but he didn't. She really had no idea of how gorgeous she was. Hermione sat up and looked at him. "This was great Draco, thanks. You were right, we can do this without the lovey-dovey crap. Nice game." "Shall we shake on it and call it an evening?" Draco said as he sat up and extended his right hand.
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Hermione laughed and shook his hand. She then got out of the bed and began to pick her discarded clothes up from the floor. Draco watched as she entered the bathroom and shut the door. "Hey, what are you doing?" he asked. "I'm going to take a quick shower. If you're ready to go, you can let yourself out," Hermione called out from behind the door. She knew this was a bit crass, but she wanted to keep up with the terms of their agreement. Draco slipped out of the bed and picked up his clothes. He walked to the bathroom door. "I guess I'll see you at Gene's nest weekend." "Yes, that's where I'll be. Have a good week at school," Hermione said over the din of the running water. "Thanks, see you later," Draco replied. He'd been hoping that Hermione would've asked him to join her in the shower, but maybe it was better that he didn't. As he dressed, he wondered when or if they were going to do this again. When he was done, he left her apartment, locking the door behind him. This had to be the best, yet strangest night of his life. He made love to Hermione Granger. He hoped he hadn't gotten in over his head by entering into this crazy agreement with her. As he left the apartment building and looked for a place to apparate safely, he knew that he had. Hermione heard Draco leave and was sad that he was gone. She'd wanted nothing more than to stay in bed with him and snuggle, but that was not part of the agreement. If this happened again, would she be able to let her head overrule her heart like she did this evening? It was still difficult to fathom she and Draco had made love. So much for her telling Thalia that she wouldn't go anywhere near Draco even if he was the last man on earth. A/N: I know, I know. I'm moving a little slowly with this one. I was inspired by the movie "Friends with Benefits" and decided to add a Dramione twist to it. Hope you like it

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Chapter 5
Yesterday's Just a Memory Chapter Five There was a newly formed department at the Wizengamot at the Ministry of Magic. The Department of Post-War Legalities consisted of legal representatives, similar to muggle attorneys, to assist wizards and witches with legal issues that became prevalent after the war. One reason this department was created was to help children who'd lost their parents in the war. Unscrupulous members of the wizarding society were trying to take advantage of their youth by taking over their deceased parents' property. Their rights needed to be protected. These advocates also took care of successions, wills, and real estate issues. In the last few weeks, Draco was happier than ever. He was about to graduate from Hogwarts and he was accepted for a position in this new department. He would start training the week after graduation. His parents were glad for him, they felt that this was a positive sign that the wizarding world was beginning to heal and families like theirs, who were misled by Voldemort, were being forgiven. As a graduation gift, they purchased a small condo in London for Draco which wasn't too far from the Ministry. Draco was there every weekend. When he first moved in, his mother had come from Italy to help him purchase furnishings, linens, and all other necessities. Narcissa made sure his refrigerator and freezer was well-stocked with food. She wanted to send one of their house elves to stay with him, but Draco assured her he was going to be able to manage without an elf. When Sundays would arrive, it took everything he had to make himself go back to Hogwarts. He really enjoyed having a place to himself; he couldn't wait to live there permanently. He and Hermione hadn't slept together since that night their agreement was formed, but they still hung out. While staying at his condo, Draco could also be found at Gene's every weekend and was considered a "regular." He was getting to be good friends with Stuart, Gene, and even Doug. They had lively discussions about Quidditch. Sometimes Blaise and Theo would come in with him, but most of the time Draco was alone. When Hermione and Thalia's shift would end on Friday and Saturday nights, Draco would walk with them to their apartment. Thalia was a little shocked by this at first, but then she got used to Draco. She was pleasantly surprised to discover that he seemed to be a decent guy. Thalia was curious to know
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what the deal with him and Hermione was. She noticed Draco couldn't keep his eyes off of her friend and Hermione would look at him too when she thought no one was looking. It was after 1 a.m. one Sunday morning when Hermione and Thalia walked into their apartment. As per what had become his usual routine, Draco had walked back with them and then left to go back to his condo. As soon as he was gone, Thalia started to fire questions at Hermione. "Hermione, what is going on with you and Draco?" Thalia asked. "What do you mean? We're friends, that's all," Hermione replied and avoided looking at her friend. "Look at me. You and he have been up each other's butts ever since I returned from Columbia. Did something happen when I was gone?" Thalia asked, her woman's intuition kicking in big time. Hermione face reddened and she laughed nervously. She had never told Thalia about what had went on that very eventful weekend. "What happened? Oh hell no! You slept with him, didn't you? I can't believe you never told me!" Thalia exclaimed. "Okay, we slept together, but it was just that one time. We sort of have an agreement," Hermione said quietly. "Really? Tell me about this agreement," Thalia said carefully. What had Hermione gone and gotten herself into? "Here's the thing. I don't want to be tied down in a relationship at the moment and neither does Draco. I guess it's like an experiment of sorts. Draco said we could treat sex like a game, you know, like Quidditch," Hermione explained, not liking the sour look on Thalia's face. Thalia sat back on the couch and raised her eyebrows. "Sex like Quidditch; please enlighten me on that little gem." "Our reasoning is that like Quidditch, sex is a physical act. Why should emotions be involved? You have sex, shake hands, and get on with your day," Hermione replied, explaining this in a matter-of-fact manner or at least attempting to.
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"Hermione, for one of the smartest women I know that is a truly dumb and fucked up philosophy. Yeah, I just bet Draco came up with that. What a clever ploy to get you in bed. I can't believe you fell for it! He's only using you," Thalia said, upset. "I know what I'm getting into. Did it ever occur to you that maybe I'm using him too?" Hermione said indignantly. "No chica, the sad truth is that as far as we women have come in this world, if anyone else besides me finds out about your 'agreement' with Draco, you'll be considered a slut," Thalia said in a flat tone. "Merlin's beard, you're calling me a slut!" Hermione exclaimed, very hurt by how little Thalia thought of her. "No, no Hermione. You're the last person I would think is a slut or a puta! Maybe I need to explain it a little more clearly. What I mean is that there's a double standard at work here. Sure it's all good between you and Draco, but if his friends and yours start finding out about this, he'll be considered a stud and you'll be a stupid bitch for sleeping with him," Thalia said. "I get what you're saying Thalia, but he told me he wasn't going to tell anyone," Hermione said. Thalia rolled her eyes. "I can assure you if you're telling me about it, he's telling his friends." "We don't know that Thalia. Look, I'm a big girl I can handle it," Hermione said. "I know you're not a child Hermione, I'm only looking out for you. You're my friend and I don't want you to get hurt," Thalia said gently. "I understand. I suppose at this moment I just want you to be a friend and not judge me," Hermione said, a little sadly. "I'd never judge you chica. I'm only looking out for you. I'm always here if you need anything and I mean that," Thalia said firmly. "Thanks Thalia, I appreciate it. I'm glad we're friends. You know you can count on me too," Hermione answered. "All I ask is that you're careful and don't let Draco make an ass out of you. Maybe I'm putting my nose where it doesn't belong, but you should know by now that I
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don't hold my tongue." Hermione nodded and gave small chuckle. "Whew, after all this I'm ready for bed. I'll see you in the morning," Thalia said as she walked towards her bedroom. "Sure, good night," Hermione said as she stood up from the couch. She went into the kitchen to grab a bottle of water. As she drank, she thought about what she and Thalia discussed. Deep down she knew her friend was right, but Hermione couldn't help it. She enjoyed being with Draco and if their arrangement was part of it, she'd deal with the consequences. Before she fell asleep, Thalia reflected on this "agreement" between Hermione and Draco. She knew nothing good was going to come out of this. Someone was going to get burned and she was so afraid that it was going to be Hermione. She wanted to protect her friend, but sometimes the only way one learned was by making mistakes. Blaise and Draco were in the kitchen of Draco's condo. Draco had just given him a tour of the 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom dwelling. "Very nice Dray. Your mum did a good job decorating the place." "Thanks mate. I like it, I can't wait to graduate and live here for good," Draco replied. "I don't blame you. This is a great bachelor pad. It sucks I have a house right here in London but my mum won't let me move in until I graduate!" Blaise exclaimed. "That's harsh man! Are you still going to work with your uncle?" Draco asked. Blaise's uncle owned a wizard accounting firm. The firm worked closely with the Ministry and Gringotts. "Yes I am. I'm looking forward to it," Blaise answered. He'd always had a head for crunching numbers and after working with his uncle in the past, he felt he'd found his niche. "Good I'm glad for you. We'll probably see each other often," Draco said. "I'm sure we will since you snagged that cushy position with that new department in the Wizengamot. By the way, how did you manage that?" Blaise asked. "Believe it or not, Headmistress McGonagall recommended me for it. I thought she hated me, but I guess I was wrong," Draco replied.
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"I don't think McGonagall ever hated you. I think she knew you were between a rock and a hard place during the war. Besides with Hermione gone from Hogwarts, you have the highest GPA. That's great that McGonagall did that for you," Blaise said. "Thanks man. Do you want a beer?" Draco asked as he opened the refrigerator. "You know I'm always thirsty, thanks," Blaise answered as Draco passed a bottle of Guinness to him. He twisted off the cap and took a long swig. "Oh yeah, hits the spot. Changing the subject, what is up with you and Hermione Granger? You seemed pretty chummy the other night at Gene's." "We're friends, I like hanging out with her," Draco said as he nervously peeled off the paper label on the bottle. "Draco, it's me Blaise. You might be able to fool someone like Theo, but we've been friends for too long. What do you have going with Hermione?" Blaise asked, determined to get to the bottom to this. "I told her I wouldn't say anything. Look, you can't tell anyone about this. Do I have your word that this won't leave this room?" Draco asked. "Yeah, yeah, I swear on whatever you want," Blaise answered as he mentally crossed his fingers and nodded. Hot damn, he just knew this was going to be good. "A few weekends ago Hermione invited me to her apartment. We watched a movie, ate Chinese food, and slept together. She and I came to an agreement," Draco said. "Now this is fascinating! What kind of agreement? Damn dude, I can't believe you slept with Hermione and you're just telling me this now!" Blaise said excitedly. "We started having a discussion about not wanting to be in a relationship, but still being able to have sex. We agreed that sex could be like a game of Quidditch. Like a game, you play it and when the game is done, everyone shakes hands and it's over. No emotions, just sex and we stay friends," Draco said. Blaise slammed his hands on the counter in the kitchen. "You are my hero Draco Malfoy! That has to be one of the most innovative ways to get into a chick's knickers ever. How does this work? Do you and Granger have some sort of code? Like if you want sex, do you ask her if she wants to play Quidditch?"
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"Come on Blaise, we're not little kids with secret codes or crap like that. If it happens, it happens. We both agreed that we don't want to be involved in a relationship. I'm beginning to wonder if this was a one-time thing. I'd sure like for it to happen again though," Draco said and took a sip of his beer. "So tell me, how was it to finally bag the Gryffindor Princess?" Blaise asked and smirked. "A gentleman never tells," Draco replied and grinned. "Do you think more is going to come of this? Come on, I know you like Hermione," Blaise said. "Of course I like her, I don't sleep with women I don't like," Draco said knowing what Blaise was asking, but just wanted to be obtuse. "What happened to all of that pureblood bullshit? So it's okay to have an occasional shag with a muggleborn witch, but you won't date her?" Blaise asked challengingly. He was thinking back to the nasty comments Draco had made about Hermione when he first saw her working at Gene's. "It is what it is Blaise. Hermione's always working or at school. I've offered to take her out to dinner, but she seems to prefer staying in. After I got to know her, I realized how misguided I was in believing all the pureblood hype. When I was a small boy, I worshipped the ground my father walked on. I took everything he told me to heart, especially telling me to be proud of my pureblood roots and how much better our family was compared to muggles. I can't believe all the time I've wasted thinking that way. I feel so fortunate that Hermione is so freaking nice to me after all the shit I've done to her and her friends," Draco replied. "Draco, could you get me a tissue, I'm overcome with emotion at your little speech," Blaise said sadly, pretending to wipe away tears, but then couldn't hold it in any longer, as he snorted with laughter. "Fuck you Blaise, damn dickhead. I pour out my heart to you and you freaking laugh," Draco said angrily. "Don't get mad dude! I've never heard you speak about a female like this before. You must really care about her," Blaise said as he stopped laughing and was serious. "Yes I do care about Hermione and would like something more, but at the moment I don't think she wants to be anything more than friends. Look -this stays between
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us okay? I told her that I wouldn't tell anyone about what happened between us. I don't want her to think I betrayed her trust," Draco said with a pensive look in his eyes. Wow, Blaise thought. He'd never seen a witch get under Draco's skin like this. It was going to be worthwhile to see how this attraction to Hermione Granger would work out for his friend. Blaise would quite frankly be astounded if the Gryffindor and Slytherin would actually take on a relationship and make it public. Draco and Hermione were the last two people he'd have thought would get together, but stranger things have happened. Since Hermione and Thalia had the highest averages in their class at the university, they and other select few were given an opportunity to participate in a pre-veterinary and medical interning program which was going to take place that summer. Thalia was going to be working with a group of veterinarians at a large horse farm on the outskirts of London. Hermione was set to work with a veterinarian who lived on his own farm and took care of the livestock in a small village that was also a short distance from London. She knew the doctor's name was Emmett Hamlin, but that was it. Hermione and Thalia were scheduled to start the first week in June. They would intern Monday-Thursday, and then work at Gene's on the weekends. The young women were excited about this because they were going to get paid and this was an opportunity to actually work in their chosen profession. Feeling a little nervous on Monday morning, Hermione boarded a train at King's Cross station to head to the small village where she would begin working with Dr. Hamlin. She became even more nervous after speaking to Patrick whom she met at the station. He had managed to secure a position with a plastic surgeon whose office was in London. Patrick had no interest in animals; his goal was to be become a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California. He seemed happy to see Hermione and asked where she was interning. "I'm on my way to work with Dr. Emmett Hamlin in Chiddingstone. I don't know very much about him," Hermione said not liking the look of dismay on Patrick's face. "Patrick, why do you have that expression?" "I don't want to discourage you Hermione, but Dr. Hamlin's reputation precedes him. I'm shocked you haven't heard anything," Patrick replied. "Well, what is it Patrick? I'm about to board the train," Hermione said anxiously. "I heard he is a complete arse and no student has lasted more than a few weeks with him. Students have complained that he only wants them there to shovel horse
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shit from the stalls. I'm only repeating what I've heard, I've never met the man," Patrick replied. "That's just great. Well, here's my train. Thanks for the heads up Patrick, I hope your internship goes well," Hermione said as she let out a sigh. "Thanks Hermione. Look you're one of the smartest and brightest in our class. If anyone can get one over this crotchety old bastard, it's you," Patrick said and smiled as he walked with her to the train. "I appreciate that Patrick. I hope I last longer than a few weeks! Take care," Hermione said. "Hermione, for what it's worth I'm interested if you ever decide to date again," Patrick said with a hopeful tone. Hermione smiled and shook her head. "I appreciate it Patrick, but I'm still wrapped up with work and now I have this internship to concentrate on. Thanks anyway." As she looked at him, she could only think of Draco. There was a resemblance between the young men, but Patrick's eyes were blue, he was taller than Draco, and his skin was tanned. She sighed as she boarded her train and took a seat, waving to Patrick. Draco always seemed to creep up in her thoughts. Patrick was right. Hermione spent her first day shoveling horse shit from Dr. Hamlin's horse stable. She was tempted to use magic to make the task move faster, but she knew that wouldn't be right. When Hermione had first arrived, she greeted the doctor with an enthusiastic hello. The older man looked at her, grunted a response, and spit out tobacco juice. She was repulsed by this, but held her tongue. She had dealt with much worse during the war, she'd get through this. She wondered what the old doctor's story was. She found out that he was in his late 60s and a widower. This information was passed to her by Janine, Dr. Hamlin's receptionist in his veterinary office. Hermione was sure she'd find out more about the doctor because Janine loved to talk. Keeping a positive attitude helped Hermione get through this job and before she knew it, the days turned into weeks. Even old Dr. Hamlin who showed hardly any emotion, managed to look surprised that the young woman managed to stay that long, outlasting bigger and stronger male students who'd been sent to work with him the past few summers. Gradually, he started showing Hermione different aspects of his veterinary practice and she began assisting him at his office and when he had to go out on calls to the farms in the area.
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With this, Hermione had been counting the days until Hogwarts graduation ceremony. It was now the middle of June and she had completed two weeks with Dr. Hamlin. She was going to work her usual shift on Friday at Gene's and was taking Saturday off. Hermione planned on attending the ceremony to watch Ginny graduate and then attend a reception in Hogsmeade for all of the graduates. She knew Ron was going to be attending the festivities, but she wasn't going to let him stop her from being there for Ginny. Hermione also had to admit that she was anxious to see Draco too. She wondered how their friendship and "agreement" was going to work out once he was living permanently in London. They'd only slept together that one time; she wouldn't mind it happening again. After sleeping for a few hours after completing her Friday night shift at Gene's, Hermione woke up refreshed and excited to be going back to Hogwarts again. Thalia woke up too and helped her style her long and thick hair into a stylish updo with baby's breath woven throughout it. Hermione applied her makeup with care, bearing in mind that less was more. She smiled as she pulled her new dress over her head. She and Thalia were beyond thrilled when they hit a one-day sale at a trendy boutique and found it half-priced. The dress was cotton, a deep coral color, sleeveless with a square neckline, and the hemline was right above the knee. She slipped her feet into a pair of copper-colored slip-on wedge sandals. Thalia zipped up the back of her dress and smiled at Hermione as they looked in the mirror. "You are one hot-looking mama, chica! Ron Weasley, eat your heart out!" Thalia exclaimed. "Thanks Thalia and thanks for reminding me about Ronnikins. I really don't care what he thinks of my outfit," Hermione said and chuckled. "I know Hermione, I'm joking. You do look great. This is Draco's big day too, right?" Thalia asked. "It sure is. I'm sure his family will be there to cheer him on. Look at the time, I better get going," Hermione replied with a light tone. "Have fun chica and congratulate your friends for me. I'll miss you tonight at Gene's," Thalia said. "I will too, tell Stuart I'll make it up to him," Hermione answered. "Sure thing, now get out of here," Thalia said and laughed. Hermione left their apartment and walked over to Diagon Alley and disapparated
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to Hogwarts. Thalia went back to bed after Hermione left and felt relieved for her friend. It really did seem like Hermione sleeping with Draco was only a one-time deal. They looked to be content with being friends. She noticed that Hermione didn't have much to say when she mentioned that it was Draco's graduation day too. Thalia was glad because she didn't want to see Hermione hurt again especially after what she'd been through with Ron. Hermione made it to Hogwarts about 20 minutes before the ceremony began. The Great Hall was filled to capacity and she was afraid she wouldn't have a good seat, but thankfully Harry had saved one beside him. She thanked him as she sat down and waved to the Weasley family who were seated in the row before them. Ron pointedly ignored her for which she was grateful. Hermione fought the urge to roll her eyes as Ron made a show of nuzzling his latest slag's neck. Did he really think that she was jealous he was with someone else? Get over yourself dude, Hermione thought. Hogwarts was beautifully renovated after all of the damage from the battle that had taken place there. It was as though the interior of the castle was brighter and cheerier, even the inhabitants of the paintings seemed happier. Hermione looked around, admiring all of the changes. For a brief moment, she experienced a pang of regret for not returning to complete her last year, but shook it off as she thought about how far she had come in her studies at the university. She had one more semester to go and hopefully she would be accepted at one of the various veterinary schools she applied to. Hermione had her heart set on attending the Royal Veterinary School in London, but had applied to schools in Scotland and Grenada. On a whim, at Stuart's urging because he swore it was an awesome school; she had also applied at Tufts University's School of Veterinary Medicine too, which was located near Boston, Massachusetts. She had no intention of going to the United States, but it would be an honor to be accepted at a school there. Hermione's advisor also encouraged her to apply to a variety of schools because veterinary schools were very competitive and the open spots were limited. Hermione could only hope and pray that her good grades and professor's recommendations would be enough to get her in the Royal Veterinary School. She had her heart set on going there. The graduates started to file in and Hermione squeezed Harry's hand when she spotted Ginny. She saw Draco and he locked eyes with her, a huge smile on his face. Hermione's heart gave a small lurch and she thought Draco should smile more often; it made him even more gorgeous. Ron turned around, narrowing his eyes as he looked at her as she smiled back at Draco. Hermione had a childish urge to stick her
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tongue out at Ron and stick him the middle finger, but she didn't want to resort to that. She ignored him and focused on the ceremony. When the ceremony ended and the graduates made their way to their family and friends, Hermione was overwhelmed with all of her former classmates seeking her out. They were so happy to see her and wanted to know what was going on in her life. She was especially thrilled to see Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, glad to find out that they were a couple. She also found out that they planned on getting married the following summer. Hermione noticed Draco with his parents. Lucius and Narcissa mingled with other Slytherin parents, but seemed to be uncomfortable being back at Hogwarts. Losing the war and Voldemort dying was a humbling experience for Lucius. Hermione observed he didn't almost exude the arrogant attitude he had before the war. As she was walking out of the Great Hall with Ginny and Harry, she felt someone lightly touch her elbow. She smiled when she saw it was Draco. "Hey, are you going to the reception?" Draco asked. "Yeah, I'll probably be there for a few hours. Are you?" Hermione replied. "Yes I'll be there. Save a dance for me?" Draco said and grinned. He wondered if Hermione had any idea of how lovely she looked. He wished he could've dragged her away to an empty classroom and had his way with her. "Of course," Hermione answered and grinned back as she walked away with her friends. Narcissa watched this exchange with interest. She'd just found out a few weeks ago that Draco had broken up with the Greengrass girl. Her son seemed to be smitten with the girl he'd just spoken with. Narcissa noticed how happy and relaxed Draco was as he spoke to her. The girl looked vaguely familiar, but Narcissa had only observed her from a distance. It finally dawned on her who the girl was when she saw her leaving with Harry Potter and the Weasley girl. Hermione Granger. What was Draco up to? She decided to keep her observations to herself as Draco walked back to where she and their party were waiting. "Are you ready to go to the reception at Hogsmeade?" Draco asked his parents. "Yes, your father and I are going to stay for a few hours and then we're heading back to Italy. Will you be leaving with us dear?" Narcissa replied. "No mother, I'm going to stay and hang out with my friends for a bit. I've no idea
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when I'll see them again once we leave school. I'll be in Italy Monday" Draco said. He planned on spending a week with his parents before starting his job at the Ministry. Since the war ended, the village of Hogsmeade had a growth spurt. New businesses and new homes were being built. A huge hall opened specifically for weddings and other occasions. The Hogswarts reception was being held there and the building easily accommodated all of the students and their families. It was a catered event, with long tables set up with food and drinks, along with a chocolate fountain on one end and a butterbeer fountain on the other. Similar to the Great Hall at Hogwarts, the ceiling was enchanted to look like a starlit evening sky. Hermione looked around her and was enthralled by her surroundings. It was so good to see how happy everyone was and generally in good spirits. The new hall was wonderful she thought. As she was looking around, Headmistress McGonagall greeted her. "Ms. Granger, it is great to see you dear!" the Headmistress said and Hermione was a little shocked when the normally reserved witch pulled her into a tight hug. "It is so good to see you Prof-, I mean Headmistress McGonagall," Hermione said as she returned the hug. She and her former instructor spoke for a few minutes, with Hermione asking questions about the school and answering questions from the Headmistress about what was going on in her life. "Well, Ms. Granger, although I regret you didn't come back for your final year, I'm glad to know you're doing so well with your studies at the university. I think I'll check up on a few things here and then I'll make myself scarce so the graduates can enjoy themselves," Headmistress McGonagall said and chuckled. "Thank you Headmistress. Take care," Hermione said warmly and hugged the older witch again. "You take care also my dear. I know you'll be successful," the Headmistress said as she hugged Hermione back and then disappeared into the crowd. As Hermione reflected on her conversation with the Headmistress, Ginny interrupted her thoughts. "There you are! Come on, we have a reserved table and I promise you're nowhere
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near Ron," Ginny said as she linked arms with Hermione. Hermione only smiled and walked with her friend to the table. Once again, she fought the urge to roll her eyes when she saw Ron attacking a huge plate of food. Even his date seemed to be disgusted as she watched him shovel the food in. She took her seat and was greeted warmly by Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. They still adored Hermione despite what had occurred between her and Ron. As far as they were concerned, Ron was a complete dolt for his actions. There was also a large stage set up in the middle of the hall. Hermione watched curiously as the curtains opened to a band playing a familiar song. She smiled when she realized it was the up and coming wizard band, Heart of Patronus. The crowd went wild as they began to play. As Hermione tapped her foot to the music, she gave a start when someone spoke into her ear, asking if she wanted to dance. She laughed when she saw it was Seamus Finnegan, a fellow Gryffindor who was amongst the new graduates. Hermione nodded since the music was so loud and let Seamus lead her to the dance floor. It was a fast song called "Speedy Love" and it was one of Hermione's favorites. She closed her eyes as she danced, letting herself relax and singing along with the song. "I love this song so much!" Hermione thought as she danced. She opened her eyes and was a little dismayed to see Seamus giving her an appraising look. She was taken aback for none of the boys at Hogwarts had really paid much attention to her except for Viktor Krum in her fourth year and that sleaze Cormac McLaggen in her sixth year. Had she changed that much since her former classmates had seen her last? As she processed this, her eyes drifted over to the band and she couldn't believe it when she saw the lead guitar player was a regular at Gene's. When the song ended, he noticed Hermione on the dance floor and waved at her. The band was taking a short break, so Hermione made her way to the stage to greet him. "Marcel, I had no idea you were in Heart of Patronus! You've been holding out on Stuart and me," Hermione exclaimed. "It never came up. It's good to see you. Are you here with friends?" Marcel asked. Marcel Lymon was in his mid-20's and had been playing lead guitar since he was 10 years old. His mother was a French witch, hence his French name. She married an English wizard and Marcel grew up in a small village that wasn't too far from Hogsmeade. He'd attended a small, private wizarding boarding school near Paris, but school was never his thing. Music had always consumed him and he was beyond thrilled to actually be playing in a band that was probably going to be as big as The Weird Sisters.
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"Yes I know quite a few people that graduated today. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I can't get over this, you're so modest. Wait until I tell Stuart!" Hermione exclaimed. "Aw, it's not that big of a deal. It's nice to see you outside of Gene's. You look great," Marcel said as he looked Hermione over. He'd always thought she was attractive and she was definitely a huge reason why he was at Gene's so often. Although Marcel looked very confident when he was on the stage, he was a bit shy when he was offstage. He had wanted to ask Hermione out, but could never work up the nerve when he saw her at Gene's. She was always so busy and he hadn't wanted to bother her. He decided to take a chance at this moment. "Hermione, I've been meaning to ask you something," Marcel said hesitantly. "Okay, go ahead," Hermione replied, curious. She had always thought Marcel was cute, with his short, but shaggy black hair and bright blue eyes. He was about 5'11 and thin, but wiry. "I was wondering if you'd like to go out sometime. Maybe we could grab a coffee or tea, if you prefer," Marcel asked quickly before he'd lose his nerve. Totally not expecting this, Hermione was pleasantly surprised. "I'd like that Marcel. You can contact me by owl or call me. Do you have a phone?" Hermione couldn't believe she agreed to go out with Marcel, but there was just something so sweet and vulnerable about him. Although he was a little older, she couldn't help feeling he had an aura of innocence about him. She truly didn't want a relationship, but it wouldn't hurt to meet up with Marcel for coffee. She just couldn't turn him down as he looked at her hopefully. "Great! I do have a phone. James, our lead singer is muggleborn and he's hooked on his smartphone, so he insisted we each have one, so we could text each other about practice and recording sessions," Marcel babbled nervously. "Do you have your phone with you?" Hermione asked, thinking how adorable Marcel looked. "Sure, let me grab it. It's in my jeans pocket," Marcel replied as he reached into his pocket, pulling out his phone. "Give it to me and I'll enter my number. Call or text me and we can go out and do something. I have to warn you, my schedule is a little hectic," Hermione said.
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"I hear you, so is mine, but I'm sure we'll be able to work something out," Marcel said and smiled, feeling relaxed. He was so relieved Hermione said yes. Draco felt his heart sink as he watched this exchange. What the fuck was going on with Hermione and that grubby looking guy in the band, Draco asked himself. From where he was sitting it looked as if Hermione was giving her phone number to him. For someone who didn't want to be tied down, Hermione sure looked interested in Mister Wannabe Rock Star. The band started to play again and Hermione walked back towards her table. Draco decided to take that moment to ask her to dance. "Well hello, how about that dance you promised me?" Draco asked lightheartedly. "Draco! I was going to grab a cup of punch, but I'm okay. Let's dance," Hermione replied happily. Draco led her to the dance floor and they began moving to a fast song called "You Could Break My Heart but not My Wand." Hermione enjoyed watching Draco dance; he was so natural and smooth. She looked over to the side and tried not to laugh as Ron wiggled like a fish out of water. The sad part was the git thought he looked good and could really dance. The song ended and the band began to play a slow ballad, "All is Fair in Love." Hermione noticed that Marcel had switched to an acoustic guitar and was playing beautifully. He really was talented. Draco followed her eyes to the stage and was not too thrilled that she was watching the guy she was talking to earlier. "Hermione, did you want to take a break or do you want to continue dancing?" Draco asked. "We can continue dancing, this is a lovely song," Hermione replied as Draco took one of her hands in his and placed his other hand on her waist. When Draco touched her, Hermione was shocked to once again feel a slight tingle when they made contact. Draco felt it too and wanted nothing more than to pull her close to him, but he restrained himself. There were so many mixed signals between him and Hermione. He didn't regret the night they made love, but he wished it wouldn't have happened because of a stupid agreement. He wondered if he should tell her how he really felt, but he didn't want to be rejected, especially after seeing her flirt with this dude tonight. Draco decided to casually question her about the flirtation with the band member. "Do you know the guitar player? I noticed you chatting with him earlier," Draco
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said hoping he sounded laidback and informal, as if he was asking her about the weather or something as mundane as that. "Yes, Marcel is a regular at Gene's! I never knew he was in Heart of Patronus. I was so shocked to see him on the stage," Hermione replied. "I could imagine that was quite a shock. Is he a good friend of yours?" Draco asked in the same manner as before. "He's more of an acquaintance. When he comes in at Gene's, he's usually reserved, but polite. I was surprised when he told me hello tonight and then asked for my number!" Hermione said, not realizing that Draco was in agony. "Oh wow, that is something. Are you going to go out with him?" Draco asked, again hoping his tone of voice didn't give away his displeasure at this turn of events. "Well, we're only going to meet for coffee or tea. I told him my schedule is really hectic and he said his is too. I won't be shocked if he doesn't call. I think he's a nice guy, but I won't lose sleep if I don't hear from him," Hermione said thoughtfully. Hearing this eased Draco's mind a bit. They continued to dance and when the song ended, they went back to their respective tables. Ginny smiled and gave Hermione an appraising look when she got to the table and sat. "Well, aren't you the belle of the ball tonight. Seamus, that cutie in the band, and Draco?" Ginny commented and chuckled. Hermione smiled and felt a little self-conscious. "I only danced with them Gin. As for the "cutie" in the band, I know him from working at Gene's." "Oh really, because from here it looks like you were giving him your phone number," Ginny said teasingly. "Merlin, Gin you don't miss a thing! Marcel asked if we could meet for coffee or tea one day. I'll be surprised if it happens, he and I lead busy lives. He seems nice though," Hermione said. "I'm impressed Hermione. I'm so glad that you've moved on and didn't let my git of a brother bring you down after what he did. Do you think you'll start dating again? Draco seems to be taken with you," Ginny said and was curious to see Hermione's reaction.
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"Draco? We're just friends. I've really gotten to know him since he comes into Gene's on the weekends. Do you know he apologized to me for being such an arse to us all those years at Hogwarts? He's not so bad," Hermione replied, trying to sound nonchalant, but she could feel her cheeks reddening because she couldn't stop thinking about the night she spent with Draco. "Hermione, is there something you're not telling me?" Ginny asked noticing right away how Hermione blushed when she spoke about Draco. "What do you mean? There's nothing to tell. Draco and I are friends and that's it," Hermione answered, silently cursing for not being able to control her blushing. "Okay, you just seemed a little uncomfortable for a moment there when you mentioned Draco," Ginny said. Hermione only shrugged and smiled. "Excuse me Gin. I think I'm going to get something to drink. Do you want anything?" "No thanks, I'm good," Ginny replied as the wheels in her brain turned. She pondered why Hermione was somewhat worked up when Draco's name was brought up. As Hermione walked over to the table where the punch was set up, she saw Draco walking out with his parents. Draco saw her and mouthed, "Wait for me." What was this about, Hermione thought? She decided to wait and after a few minutes Draco walked back into the hall sans parents. He met her near the table. "I had to tell my parents goodbye. They're heading back to Italy," Draco said. "Aren't you going back with them?" Hermione asked. "No, I told them I wanted to spend more time with my friends. I'll be going there Monday to spend the week with them," Draco replied. "Hmm, well don't let me keep you from your friends," Hermione said a little playfully. Draco smirked. "You're one of my friends; maybe I want to spend time with you." Hermione laughed and bit her lower lip. "I'm probably about to head back to London. I think the party's winding down."
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"Yeah I was thinking the same thing. Maybe we could go back together, you know, so you didn't have to walk back to your apartment alone," Draco said and groaned inwardly as he watched her bite her lower lip. He wanted so badly to kiss her. "I'll take you up on that offer kind sir. Just let me tell Ginny and everyone I'm going. I'll meet you outside, 'kay?" Hermione said. "Sure, I'll see you in a few minutes," Draco replied coolly, hiding his excitement. He felt like pumping his fist in the air. Yes! She was going to leave with him. Unbeknownst to Hermione, Ginny was watching this whole exchange with Draco. She saw Draco walk out of the hall and wasn't surprised to see Hermione walking back towards their table. She didn't care how much Hermione tried to hide it, there was something going on with her and Draco Malfoy! Ginny wasn't going to push it, she figured Hermione would tell her about it when she was ready. "Gin, I'm going to head back to London. Thank you so much for inviting me and again, congratulations! Let me know when you're settled in at Grimmauld Place," Hermione said as she hugged Ginny tightly. "You're welcome 'Mione. I'm glad you came. I can't wait to move in! We'll be able to hang out more often now that I'm moving to London. Be careful going back and Hermione?" Ginny asked with a mischievous look. "What is it Gin?" Hermione asked, amused at her expression. "Be good," Ginny replied and giggled. "I don't know what's gotten into you tonight, but whatever I'll be good," Hermione laughed. She told everyone at the table goodbye except for Ron who was still giving her dirty looks. She made her way out of the hall and again, her heart beating a little faster when she saw Draco waiting for her outside. He smiled when she approached him. "Ready to head back?" Draco asked as he reached for her hand. "Yes," Hermione replied and felt herself disapparating as soon as Draco grabbed her hand. Hermione was taken aback when they disapparated into someone's home. She looked around, wondering where they were. Draco grinned at her and told her where he'd taken her.
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"Unlike your apartment building you share with muggles, mine has enchantments that enable me to disapparate from my condo," Draco said. "Oh, right. Umm, so this is your condo. It's quite charming, but fess up Draco, I know you didn't decorate this place yourself," Hermione said and chuckled. "No, I can't take credit for that. My mum took care of the decorating," Draco replied and smiled. He was so relieved that Hermione wasn't upset that he brought them back to his condo. "Wow, look at the view you have! Draco, this is incredible," Hermione gushed as she looked out of the floor to ceiling windows in the living area. Draco walked behind her, his eyes drinking in her luscious curves in the form-fitting dress she wore. He would take that view over the skyline of London any day. "It is impressive I suppose," Draco drawled. Hermione could see Draco's reflection and knew that he was standing right behind her. She turned around slowly. She saw that he had removed his dress robes and had taken off his tie. He looked good in fitted navy dress pants and crisp white dress shirt. "You would say that," she answered lightly but her stomach was in knots. Merlin, was Draco trying to seduce her? What was she so nervous about; it wasn't as if they had never slept together. Perhaps it was time for her to go. "Well thanks for escorting me back Draco. I think I'll go home." "It's early Hermione. It's a little past 8 pm. Do you want to go out to dinner? I could use some food, I didn't eat at the reception," Draco asked. He didn't want Hermione to leave. Shit, she probably noticed him leering at her and probably thinks he brought her here to take her to bed. He did, but Draco didn't just want sex, he wanted to spend time with her. Hermione scrunched her face and had a thoughtful expression. Maybe she misread Draco; perhaps he was lonely and needed company. "I really don't feel like going out again. Do you have something to eat here?" "Sure, let's check the kitchen," Draco said, feeling relieved. He was pleased that she decided to stay, even if it was only to have dinner. They went into the kitchen and were able to put together the ingredients to make sandwiches. Draco grabbed plates for him and Hermione and placed their sandwiches on them. Hermione had found a bag of crisps in a small pantry. She opened the bag and poured a few crisps on their plates. Draco opened the
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refrigerator and took out two bottles of water. He held them up and looked at Hermione. "Is water okay? There's also beer, soft drinks, and orange juice. I have milk too," Draco said as he poked around the refrigerator. "Water is fine. Come on, let's sit and eat," Hermione replied. They sat on stools at the granite bar in the kitchen. Draco laughed as Hermione told him anecdotes about working for Dr. Hamlin. They also discussed his job and Hermione's schooling. Sometimes it hit Hermione at how surreal this all was. If someone would've told her a year ago that she'd be friends with Draco Malfoy, plus sitting in his condo chatting about different aspects of their lives, she'd have thought that person was totally demented. She liked discovering this side of Draco; she had much more in common with him than she ever did with Ron. When they were done with their meal, Hermione did a cleaning spell with the plates and they put everything else away. She and Draco walked back into the living room, both of them not wanting the evening to end. "Thanks for dinner Draco, I enjoyed this. I think I'll take off now," Hermione said and smiled. "I'm glad you liked it, it was only sandwiches. I would've taken you to any restaurant in London," Draco replied. "I don't think any restaurant would've served sandwiches as good as those. I'll see you later," Hermione said, smiling as she walked towards the door. "Hermione wait. Look the thing is, I don't want to be alone tonight. It's crazy, but I guess I'm feeling sentimental. It just hit me that I'm done with Hogwarts and life is going to be so different. I'm not a carefree kid anymore, I'll have responsibilities. Am I making any sense?" Draco asked quickly, silently chastising himself for revealing so much to Hermione, but she had that effect on him. Hermione walked towards him and hugged him. "Draco, you're making perfect sense. You're right. We're not school kids anymore. We have to make our way in the world and it's intimidating. You'll be fine," she answered in a reassuring tone as she lightly rubbed his back. Draco hugged her back. "Thanks Hermione, I knew you'd understand." She felt so good in his arms. Hermione smiled and was about to pull away, but then a look
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passed between them. Draco pulled her back and began to kiss her. Merlin be damned she kissed him back. She could taste the salt from the crisps that stayed on his lips. They pulled away from each other. "Hermione, I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. I understand if you want to leave," Draco said as he looked at her with lust filled eyes. "Don't apologize Draco, just kiss me again," Hermione replied as she took the lead and grabbed the back of his head, pulling him towards her. They began kissing fervently; they couldn't get enough of each other. Hermione never noticed Draco unzipping her dress and pushing it off her shoulders, until it was around her hips. She let it fall to the floor and stepped out of it. Her shoes came off next and she proceeded to start unbuttoning Draco's shirt, urgently pushing it off of him, her lips moving to his chest as his skin was exposed. He gently gripped her chin and brought her back to face him. He looked at her with heavy-lidded eyes filled with longing and desire, taking her hand and leading her to his bedroom. Once there, Draco led Hermione to the king-sized bed in the middle of his large sleeping quarters. Hermione liked the feel of the satin sheets as she lay down and Draco moved over her. He caressed her face softly and took her lips again. Hermione felt there was something different about their lovemaking tonight. Maybe Draco really was lonely and didn't want to be alone tonight. She kissed him back and let go of her tendency to overanalyze everything. Whatever it was Draco was feeling, she was going to free her mind and take pleasure in it. With one hand, Draco undid the front clasp closure of Hermione's bra, exposing her breasts. He was kneeling between Hermione's legs and he pulled her up, so she was sitting up with him. Draco removed her bra and began to kiss and suckle her breasts. Hermione threw her head back and groaned as he lightly caught each nipple between his teeth. He picked his head up and returned to her lips, kissing her with fervent yearning. There was something powerful between him and Hermione. He wanted her so badly it scared him. As they kissed, Hermione moved to the waistband of his pants, unbuckling his belt and unfastened them. She pushed his pants along with his boxers down. Draco sat up and kicked them off. He looked into Hermione's eyes as he removed her panties. Hermione lay back on her elbows and looked back at him. Draco positioned himself between her legs, using his knees to nudge them apart so he could fit. He couldn't wait any longer and plunged into her. Hermione gasped and gripped his shoulders
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and wrapped her legs around his waist, her hips moving up to match his thrusts. Draco never took his eyes off of her face as he removed her hands from his shoulders and gently grasped them with his hands. With their hands clasped and resting on the bed, they continued to move with each other. He felt so in sync with Hermione. As he was getting close to climaxing, he blurted out, "I love-that this is happening again!" Hermione was taken aback by this outburst. For a moment, she almost thought Draco was about to say he loved her. She decided that she was too caught up in the passion and was letting her heart rule her head. "I am too Draco. Good Godric, don't stop! I'm so close," Hermione whispered sharply. Moments after that, Draco felt her walls tighten around him and watched as she bit her lip and cried out as she came. Hermione had no idea what she did to him; he couldn't hold back any longer and exploded into her. As they caught their breath, they unclasped the tight grip they had on their hands and Draco rested his head on Hermione's breast as she played with his hair. Draco closed his eyes and relished her touching his hair. He was shocked when he almost told her that he loved her. It was good thing that she was too caught up in their lovemaking to notice. After a few minutes, Hermione was trying to sit up. Draco pulled himself up and extended a hand to her. She smiled as she moved to the end of the bed and got out of it. She found her bra and was looking for her panties when Draco spoke. "Where do you think you're going?" he asked softly, but his eyes looked at her challengingly and still held desire in them. "Draco, I had no intention of spending the night with you. I need to get back," Hermione said, confused by the look in his eyes. With the grace of a large cat, Draco slid off of the bed and was beside her. "Come on, why don't you take that muggle phone of yours and send Thalia a message that you decided to stay overnight in Hogsmeade? No one needs to know you're here, it'll be our little secret," he said seductively as he pushed her hair away from her face. The updo Hermione and Thalia had slaved over earlier had fallen apart by the time she and Draco were done.
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"I don't like lying to my friend. Tonight was great, but I'm going home," Hermione replied, but could feel her resolve slipping as Draco began to kiss her again. Draco got his way in the end and Hermione stayed for the night. They made love one more time and then feel asleep. Hermione fell asleep before he did and Draco pulled her close to him as he breathed in her lavender and vanilla scent. He was going to have to do lots of soul-searching when he went to Italy. He was head over heels for Hermione Granger, but she only thought of him as a friend. Before Hermione fell asleep, she let her thoughts take over again. What the hell she was doing, she thought. She wasn't sure what to make of Draco. They had been sworn enemies before, but yet here she was in his bed. This had to be a random thing, it wasn't going to happen again. As much as Hermione had enjoyed this evening, there was no way she could ever be with Draco Malfoy. The following morning Hermione woke up before Draco did. She got out of bed as quietly as she could, so she wouldn't disturb him. She cringed when he stirred, but thankfully he didn't wake up. Hermione found her underwear and made her way to the bathroom. She closed the door and then walked over to the toilet to pee. As she peed she took in her surroundings, humoring herself as she thought that most of her and Thalia's apartment could fit in the grand bathroom. She did a silencing spell before she flushed the toilet. She washed up quickly and pulled on her underwear. Hermione opened the door softly and glanced at the bed, relieved Draco was still asleep. Hermione picked her dress up in the living room, grimacing at how wrinkled it was, but nothing an Unwrinkle charm couldn't fix. Thank goodness for magic she thought as she slipped her feet into her sandals. She felt a little guilty about leaving without waking Draco up, but she needed to get this all sorted out in her head. Slipping as quietly as she could out of his condo, Hermione finally left. She disapparated to an alley near her apartment building. As she started to walk out of the alley, she pulled her phone out of the small clutch she had with her. There were two messages, one from Thalia and one from Marcel. She opened Thalia's message first. Her friend had replied to her lie about spending the night in Hogsmeade, telling her to have a good time and that she'd see in her in the morning. As Hermione read it, she still felt guilty about lying to her friend. Marcel's message was brief, letting her know how much he enjoyed seeing her last night and of all things asking if she wanted to meet him later that morning at a coffee shop near Diagon Alley. Hermione put her phone back into her purse as she
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reached her apartment building. Hermione had never been in this position before. She had spent the night with Draco and had another guy interested in her. Why did life have to be so complicated? She liked Marcel, but couldn't stop thinking about Draco. She sighed and walked into the building, climbing the stairs to her and Thalia's apartment. She'd figure it out, she had to. What to do, what to do with my little Dramione. I'm always messing with their heads! I'm going to continue writing this story, but I'm wondering about Fanfiction enforcing the M rating. My stories would definitely be booted off the site, LOL. Thank you for reading

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Chapter 6
Yesterday's Just a Memory Chapter 6 Disclaimer:You all know I don't own anything related to Harry Potter. Draco woke up the following morning, feeling blissful and sated until he noticed one side of his bed was empty. He quickly rolled out of bed, grabbed a pair of boxers from a drawer, pulling them on as he walked out of his bedroom. He walked through his condo and realized Hermione was gone. She must've snuck out in the early hours, Draco thought dismally. He looked around the kitchen and living room, thinking she might've left a note, but there was nothing. It was if Hermione had never been there. Draco sighed and sat down heavily on his couch. This was all new to him. He was used to women chasing him, not the other way around. He got up from the couch and decided to take a shower. When he was done, he quickly packed a few things for his trip to Italy. After eating a leisurely breakfast, Draco left his apartment and headed in the direction of where Hermione and Thalia lived. He only wanted to check that Hermione had made it back okay or so he tried to convince himself. Who was he kidding? He was desperate to see her one more time before he left for Italy. Hermione tried to walk in to the apartment as quietly as possible, but it was to no avail. As soon as she walked in or crept in, she heard Thalia's voice. "Hermione, is that you?" Thalia called from the bathroom. "Yeah, I decided to come home early," Hermione called back. Thalia walked into the living room, pulling her long hair up in a loose ponytail. She smiled when she saw Hermione, but the smile faded as she gave Hermione a crooked look. "What?" Hermione asked as Thalia scrutinized her. "Girl, look at your hair! Somebody had sex last night! Don't tell me, let me guess. Were you playing "quidditch"?" Thalia asked sarcastically. "Fine! If you must know, I spent the night with Draco. I'm sorry I told you I stayed
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in Hogsmeade. I just didn't feel like listening to you tell me how wrong this is," Hermione replied and let out a sigh. "Hey chica, do what you want to do. I'm a little hurt that you felt you had to lie to me about where you really were. Why is that?" Thalia asked softly. "I don't know Thalia. I guess I know deep down that it isn't right to sleep with Draco, but he looked so lonely and down last night. I couldn't let him spend the night alone," Hermione answered as she sat down heavily on the couch. "Oh Hermione, I'm just afraid that Draco is playing you for a fool. All I ask is that you look out for yourself and don't lie to me again!" Thalia said as she plopped down beside her friend. "I won't, I promise. I have another problem," Hermione said and gave a small laugh. "What now? Please don't tell me you're knocked up!" Thalia replied with a horrified expression. "Uh, contraceptive charms, hello! You know Marcel who comes in at Gene's, tall, black hair, blue eyes?" Hermione asked. "Yeah, what's up with Marcel? I swear Hermione. You should have your own telenovela!" Thalia said and chuckled. "What's a telenovela? Wait a second, isn't that the soap operas we watched in Columbia?" Hermione asked as she picked up a throw pillow from the couch and threw it playfully at Thalia. "Exactly chica. Your life resembles one of that of the crazy female characters on those shows! I'm joking. Tell me about Marcel," Thalia laughed as she ducked away from the flying throw pillow. "Well, he was at the graduation party last night. Did you know he's in Heart of Patronus?" Hermione asked with a smile on her face. "No way! I was listening to "Speedy Love" the other day. I can't believe Marcel is in a band, he's so quiet," Thalia replied. "Anyway, we got to talking last night and he asked me out. I honestly didn't think he would've called me, but I got a text from him this morning. He wants to meet me
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this morning for coffee," Hermione said. "What am I going to do with you? I don't know what to tell you. Do you like Marcel?" Thalia asked. "I think Marcel is nice, but I'm not looking for a relationship. I don't want to lead him on," Hermione said. "Why don't you meet him and see what happens? It's only coffee. You might like him and you could stop playing "quidditch" with your little friend," Thalia said. "Ugh, stop with the quidditch references! Okay I'll go. I'll text him back now," Hermione said as she rolled her eyes and got her phone from her bag. "I tell you Hermione, when I met you, you were so quiet. Now it's never a dull moment," Thalia said and laughed. "I'm glad I entertain you Thalia. I really need to get my shit together. I'm not going to sleep with Draco again," Hermione stated. "Famous last words," Thalia said as she rose from the sofa and walked to the kitchen. Hermione only rolled her eyes at her friend's remark and texted Marcel back. Good morning! How about we meet at 10:15?-H She was a little surprised when she received a reply only a few seconds later. Sounds good, I'll see you there. Looking forward to it-M Hermione read the message and sighed again. She stood up and walked to her bedroom. Looking at her watch, she saw that it was only 8:30 a.m. She had plenty of time to get ready for her "date" with Marcel. It was only for a cup of coffee, why was she feeling so uneasy? Hermione didn't want to admit it, but it felt wrong, because she'd spent the night before with Draco. She pushed the thought aside, she didn't owe Draco anything. They both made it clear they didn't want to be in a relationship. Nothing was ever mentioned about dating other people. After showering, Hermione went to her closet, deciding what to wear. She picked out a purple tiered camisole with thin straps and a pair of sand-colored twill shorts. She went back into the bathroom to see what she could do with her hair. Looking
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into the mirror, she stuck her tongue out at her reflection and twisted her hair into a ponytail. She was definitely not putting on makeup, except for a little lip gloss. Pinching her cheeks, she took one last look at her reflection and shrugged. This was great, Hermione thought. She didn't feel as if she had to dress to impress or "doll up" her face. It's wasn't that she didn't care about her appearance, but she felt that she could look casual and be comfortable when she met Marcel. If he didn't like it, oh well. Hermione pushed her feet into a pair of black rubber flip-flops and walked into the living room. Thalia was in the living room eating cereal and watching TV. She looked over at Hermione and smiled. "You're so cute! I like that cami," Thalia said. "Thanks. I didn't want to go overboard with the clothes or makeup," Hermione said. "What you're wearing is perfect for a first date," Thalia replied. "It's not a date! I'm only meeting Marcel for coffee," Hermione said. "Okay chica, don't get all bent out of shape! Go to your "meeting." You might be surprised and actually find out Marcel is nice!" Thalia answered, amused. "Whatever, I guess I'll go now. I probably won't be long, so don't be surprised to see me soon," Hermione said and chuckled. "Whatever you say Hermione Granger, have fun," Thalia called out as Hermione walked out. Hermione waved and smiled back at her friend as she closed the door. Here goes nothing, she thought. Might as well get it over with. Marcel took a deep breath as left the apartment he shared with one of his band mates, the drummer Shane Summers. He was nervous, yet thrilled that Hermione Granger had agreed to meet him this morning. She truly was a dazzling girl; not only because of her role in the war, but just everything about her fascinated him. She was not only beautiful, but brilliant and kind too. Marcel still couldn't believe he actually worked up the nerve to ask her out. He hoped he didn't screw this up. His apartment was located in the opposite direction from Hermione's, so as he was walking to the shop where they were meeting, Hermione was coming from the
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other way. They smiled when they saw each other. "Great timing! How are you?" Hermione asked as they met. "I'm good, thanks. Maybe our clocks are synchronized and we didn't realize it," Marcel blurted out and immediately regretted it. He was always saying something weird or stupid around girls he liked. He braced himself for Hermione's reaction. Imagine his relief when she started to laugh. "Maybe they are! You're funny Marcel. I don't know about you, but I could go for a tall latte," Hermione chuckled as Marcel opened the door for her. "I never got all of those different lattes, cappuccinos. I just want a regular cup of coffee," Marcel replied and laughed. This was already going so well; Hermione was so easygoing. He felt like he could be himself around her. They ordered their drinks and as they waited for them to be prepared, they made small talk. When the drinks were ready, Marcel insisted on paying for both of them. Over Hermione's protests, he said he'd invited her, so it was his treat. Since it was a gorgeous summer day and there was a slight breeze, they took their drinks outside and sat at one of the tables set up in front of the shop. Draco was walking towards Hermione's apartment, but as he turned a corner, approaching the coffee shop near Diagon Alley, his heart dropped. He saw Hermione sitting outside with the bloke in the band from the night before. He stopped and ducked back around the corner, there was no way he could walk past the shop without Hermione seeing him. That was why she left so early; she had a date with Mr. Rock Star. How could she spend the night with him and be out with this git so soon after? Draco caught himself; he had no right to judge Hermione. He only had himself to blame for being the one to come up with their stupid agreement. She could go out with whomever she liked. As much as he tried to shrug this off, he couldn't help the little dagger of jealousy that was nicking at his heart. He turned away and went back to his apartment. With a heavy heart, he disapparated to his parents Italian villa. Hermione was shocked when she realized two hours had passed. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that Thalia was right; she did enjoy her "meeting" with Marcel. He was so laidback and easy to talk to. She laughed as he told her about some of Heart of Patronus' earlier gigs at wizarding pubs where they feared for their lives. He listened and laughed too when she told him about her experience with Dr. Hamlin. After they had finished their second refill of their drinks, Marcel realized he was going to be late for his band practice if he didn't leave right that minute.
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"Wow, where did the time go? I have to get to practice. Hermione, I really enjoyed this. Maybe when we're both free, I could take you out to dinner?" Marcel asked as he stood up. "I liked this too Marcel. I suppose you can text me and perhaps we can "synchronize" a time," Hermione replied, giggling. She couldn't believe that she was agreeing to go on a date with Marcel, but it was possible that they'd never get together considering their crazy schedules. "That's funny Ms. Granger. I like that you get my weird humor. Maybe we're on to something," Marcel said waggling his eyebrows as he chuckled. "Bye Marcel, have a good practice and enjoy your week," Hermione said, laughing and rolling her eyes good-naturedly. She rose from her chair and walked around to Marcel's side. "Have a good week too Hermione and try not to agitate Dr. Hamlin," Marcel said. At this point, he and Hermione had a moment of awkwardness. Was a hug appropriate? A kiss on the cheek? Hermione resolved this by giving Marcel a small hug. She let go and started walking towards her apartment building smiling and waving to him. Marcel watched her walk away. He felt like he was on top of the world. Hermione Granger was all that he expected and more. The Malfoy's villa situated on the waterfront of the Island of Capri was nothing short of pure elegance. The villa laid seaside right above the shoreline. There was an immense swimming pool which overlooked the sparkling Bay of Naples. Their villa consisted of nine bedrooms and baths, along with a custom, state-of-the-art modern kitchen, an extensive library, dining room, living room, and a ballroom. It may have been considered extravagant by some, but to the Malfoys, this was downsizing after living at Malfoy Manor. Draco stretched out on a poolside lounger, soaking in the sun. Here he was in the middle of what the majority of the world would consider paradise, and all he could think about was seeing Hermione with that git. As he processed this, he heard his mother approaching. Narcissa was speaking to someone, Draco didn't recognize the voice. He watched as he mother walked from the terrace towards him. She was with an older woman and a younger one he'd never seen before. "Draco, I'd like you to meet Tinsle Bradshaw and her daughter Feather. Tinsle and I were classmates at Hogwarts. She and her family will be spending a few days with us. Tinsle dear, Draco just graduated from Hogwarts," Narcissa said happily.
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Draco stood up from the lounger and removed his sunglasses. He extended his hand and greeted Ms. Bradshaw and her daughter. "How are you? It is a pleasure meeting you. It isn't often I meet my mother's school friends," Draco said politely. He couldn't believe this atrocious looking woman was his mother's friend. With her long obviously dyed blonde hair piled high on her head, small, piggish green eyes and double chin, Draco couldn't help thinking she resembled a muggle cartoon character. Tinsle was on the plump side, her arms and legs looking like sausages as they stuck out of the bright, floral one-piece bathing suit she wore. Her fat feet were stuffed into uncomfortable looking gold high-heeled sandals. "I'm just fabulous darling boy! Cissy! You didn't tell me your son was such a hunk!" Tinsle exclaimed, not in the least bit ashamed as she took in Draco's very fit and shirtless form in the low-slung swimming trunks he wore. "Oh Tinsle, stop! Yes, that's my Draco," Narcissa replied good-naturedly, but was a bit put off at how her friend was looking at her son as if he was a prime cut of meat. A coughing sound from Feather interrupted them. Tinsle gave a fake smile and turned toward her daughter. "Where are my manners? Draco, this is my daughter Feather. You two must be about the same age. Feather just finished her last year at Miss LauraBelle's School of Magic for Girls." Miss LauraBelle's was a school located somewhere in Great Britain that had only been open for the last few years. It tried to compete with the likes of Beauxbatons, but failed miserably. Nonetheless, it was still a very pretentious school and only very wealthy pureblood girls went there. "Feather? How are you? Are you enjoying your holiday?" Draco asked politely, but was counting the seconds until he could get away from the old cougar and her offspring. Feather coolly appraised Draco and extended her hand. "I'm fine thank you. My holiday has been adequate thus far." She wasn't going to make a fool of herself by gushing over Draco like her mother did, but she had to admit he was smoking hot. Before they came here, her mother told her the Malfoy's had a son close to her age. She assumed he was probably an ugly Hogwarts geek from hell. Was she ever wrong! A few more pleasantries were exchanged and then Draco beat a hasty retreat. Merlin help him for he knew that dreadful Bradshaw woman was scheming for him to take her repulsive daughter out on the town. She kept giving hints about Draco
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probably knowing his way around the island and how Feather was just dying to visit the different points of interest. Feather was so not his type. She had limp, chin-length ash blond hair and the same piggish green eyes as her mother. About the only redeeming quality Feather had was her thin physique, but Draco figured it probably wouldn't be long before she resembled her obnoxious mother. As he went up to his room, he was already thinking of excuses to get away from the villa. He found that he missed Hermione and wished she was there with him. He couldn't stop thinking about seeing her out with that guy and wondered what was going on. Draco chided himself for not having the balls to tell Hermione how he felt, but he had no idea if she only viewed him as a friend. That would be a devastating blow he wasn't sure he'd be able to handle. For now, he'd make do with being her friend and occasional sexual partner. Thankfully, the week passed by quickly and Draco managed to avoid their annoying guests. It was only on his last night there that he wasn't able to get out of going to dinner with him parents and the Bradshaws. It was Saturday evening and Draco was leaving the next morning. They dined at an exclusive 5-star restaurant at a nearby town. Draco actually enjoyed the meal since he was seated near his father and Ned Bradshaw, Tinsle's husband and Feather's father. They discussed Draco's new position at the Ministry of Magic, sports, and business. The restaurant had a small dance floor and a band began to play classics by crooners like Frank Sinatra. Since it was his last night and he was in a good mood because he was going back to London and hopefully seeing Hermione, Draco agreed to dance with Feather. Draco fought not to roll his eyes as Feather giggled when he took her hand and lightly touched her waist. They danced to "Strangers in the Night" by Frank Sinatra. Feather thought it was so romantic and Draco couldn't wait until it was over. Little did he know that a paparazzo, who made a living of selling photos of former Death Eaters, had been following him and his family for the past few days. The man had snapped pictures of Draco dancing with Feather. He knew The Daily Prophet would pay handsomely for these shots. He could imagine the headline, "Draco Malfoy Dating Socialite Feather Bradshaw?" Hermione's week had gone relatively well. She was actually getting on quite well with Dr. Hamlin. The man was a fountain of great information and an expert in his field. Hermione had managed to get on his good side and was benefiting hugely from it. What had started out to be a disappointing internship was proving to be the best thing to ever happen to her. Marcel had been sending fun, flirty texts to Hermione all week. They agreed to meet the following Sunday at the same time and at the same shop where they'd last met. Talking to Marcel was a nice diversion , but Hermione couldn't help thinking
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about Draco. She wondered how his week had gone in Italy. Draco always was present in her mind. Hermione kept replaying the last night they spent together. There was something different about Draco. It was as if he didn't want her out of his sight. She could've sworn he almost told her he loved her, but attributed it to him being in the throes of passion. No way did Draco Malfoy love her. While Draco was enduring entertaining Feather Saturday night, Blaise and Theo were out at a muggle club. For some reason or other, neither one was having much luck finding a girl for the night. They decided to call it a night and headed over to Theo's apartment to continue drinking. They were drinking Firewhiskey, so as the night progressed, their tongues became looser and the conversation turned to Draco. "Tell me something Blaise, what's up with your boy Draco and Granger? A little birdie told me that they left the graduation party together last weekend," Theo asked. "Maybe they went off to play quidditch!" Blaise replied, snickering. As soon as the remark left his mouth, he regretted it. Theo was never going to let it go. "Huh? What do you mean by that?" Theo asked, intrigued. He hadn't drunk as much as Blaise, so his mind wasn't dulled by alcohol. "Shit, did I really say that? I promised Dray I wouldn't say anything," Blaise answered in a regretful tone, but couldn't stop laughing. "The secret is out, so spill Zabini," Theo said smirking. "Okay, okay keep your knickers on. Basically, Draco and Granger are friends with benefits. You get what I'm saying?" Blaise asked. "Merlin's balls! Granger agreed to that? Draco is a genius! I still don't get what you mean about them playing quidditch," Theo replied. "Oh, that was Draco's reasoning. He said he and Granger treat sex like a game of quidditch. You play the game and when it's over, you shake hands and go home. No emotions or relationship bullshit, just sex," Blaise said and smiled. "Damn, I would've never imagined Granger was capable of something like that. I'm looking at that witch in a whole new way. She's my dream girl!" Theo replied. "Look dude. Draco cannot know I told you about his! He's not someone you want
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to piss off, you know that," Blaise said, suddenly feeling a little sober and guilty for betraying Draco's confidence. "No problem Blaise. My lips are sealed," Theo said demurely. He didn't mention Draco and Hermione again, but he filed this fascinating tidbit of info in the back of his mind. It might work to his advantage one day. He and Blaise moved on to discussing their work, but Theo couldn't stop thinking about Draco sleeping with Hermione Granger. It was so unfair Draco Malfoy always seemed to get whatever he wanted, especially a witch he had his eye on. This might come back to haunt Draco one day if he, Theo, had anything to do with it. When Sunday morning arrived, Thalia woke up before Hermione. They had completed an extremely busy shift the night before at Gene's. Thalia was a light sleeper, so she was awakened by the sound of an owl dropping off The Daily Prophet at her bedroom window. She was still sleepy as she grabbed the newspaper without looking at it and brought it to the kitchen. Thalia tossed it on the table and turned on the coffee maker. When she finally sat down to read the paper, she was jolted awake by the front page. There was a huge picture of Draco Malfoy looking quite happy dancing with some bimbo. As Thalia read the article, she found out that the bimbo was Feather Bradshaw, a pureblood socialite. Maybe Draco will start dating this stupid looking bitch and quit the "quidditch" nonsense with Hermione, Thalia thought. As she read through the rest of the paper, Hermione walked into the kitchen, yawning and rubbing her eyes. "Good morning, anything interesting in the paper?" Hermione asked. "Good morning to you sleepyhead. Oh yeah, there were a few interesting articles," Thalia replied. She was a little anxious to see what Hermione's reaction was going to be when she saw the front page. Hermione poured herself a glass of orange juice and sat with Thalia at the table. She took sip of her juice and almost spit it out when she saw the picture of Draco. "Holy shit, who's that girl? I've never seen her before," Hermione sputtered, trying to regain her composure. "Looks like some pureblood socialite. Bitch looks inbred if you ask me," Thalia replied and snickered. "That's mean Thalia! But, I have to admit her face is kind of horsey looking. I kind of feel stupid, I had no idea he was dating anyone," Hermione said as she read the story.
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"Huh, so Draco never mentioned anything about her? Are you upset?" Thalia asked because Hermione had a strange look on her face as she stared at the picture. "Who? Me? Not at all, Draco can do whatever he wants. Oh wow, her name is Feather! What kind of jacked-up name is that," Hermione answered laughing but inside she had a hollow pit forming in her stomach. She'd never admit that to Thalia, but seeing Draco with someone else really affected her and hit home that she had feelings for him that amounted to something more than friendship and casual sex. "Feather, Feather, wears leather and can probably forecast the weather," Thalia sang and giggled. "Where did that come from? Are you delirious? Maybe you need to go back to bed," Hermione chuckled. "Pfft, I'm just making fun of her name. I'm still halfway asleep though," Thalia laughed. "Well, it's almost 9:00 a.m. I need to dress, I'm meeting Marcel in about an hour," Hermione said as she pushed her chair back and rose from the table. "Okay girlie. I'm going to sit here and enjoy my coffee," Thalia said and smiled. She watched Hermione walk away and sighed inwardly. It was worse than Thalia thought. After seeing Hermione's reaction to the photo of Draco, she realized her friend had it bad for him. She hoped and prayed that this did not end badly for her friend. She had no right to be upset about Draco being with someone else, Hermione thought. She sighed as she started to get ready. It was time for her to put what happened between her and Draco in the past. Maybe it was for the best that they started seeing other people and forget about their ridiculous and unhealthy "agreement." Hermione decided to wear a blue madras print sundress with a sweetheart neckline. She pushed her feet into a pair of white flip-flops. It was warm outside and she wanted to be comfortable. Thalia whistled at her when she was about to walk out. "Aren't you all gussied up for meeting Marcel," Thalia said and smiled. "Not really, it's just a sundress. If you haven't noticed, we're in the middle of a heat wave," Hermione replied.
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"Nooo! Thanks for the weather update Dr. Granger," Thalia retorted and rolled her eyes. "Such a bitch. I'll see you later. Do you need anything while I'm out?" Hermione asked. "No, I have everything I need here except for Lazaro," Thalia said with a wistful smile. She really missed her fianc and was feeling a little homesick. "I'm glad you'll be going home for a few weeks after our internships are done," Hermione said. "I know I'm counting the days. Just about one more month to go. Hey, you better go or you'll be late," Thalia said and laughed. Hermione waved to her friend and left the apartment. When she reached the caf, Marcel was already there and had her latte waiting. Hermione smiled gratefully and sat with him at the same table they were seated at the weekend before. That same Sunday morning, Draco returned from Italy. He wanted to take the day to rest and make sure he had everything prepared for the next day when he started his new job at the Ministry of Magic. As he settled in, he heard something at his door and realized that The Daily Prophet had arrived. The supervisor of the building he lived in gave complimentary subscriptions to all tenants. Draco picked up the paper without looking at it and brought it into the kitchen. He grabbed a protein bar from the pantry and sat at the table. He was taking the wrapper off of the bar when he saw the front page of The Daily Prophet. Draco never noticed it falling to the floor because he was dumbfounded as he took in the picture of him dancing with Feather. Good Godric everyone is going to think he really is dating that dumb bint! Breakfast forgotten, Draco needed to see Hermione. She's probably seen The Daily Prophet by now. It was important for him to let Hermione know he was not seeing Feather Bradshaw. Draco disapparated to Diagon Alley, walked out of The Leaky Cauldron, and stepped out onto the streets of muggle London. As he started walking in the direction of Hermione's apartment building, he froze when he saw Hermione sitting outside of the same caf where he'd seen her the past weekend. Mr. Rock Star was seated across from her and they were chatting happily. Draco's heart sank and he quickly went back into The Leaky Cauldron before Hermione spotted him. She was out with that guy again. What made him think she would care if he was with another girl? Hermione was obviously moving on. She must truly believe it really was only about sex when they were together. Fuck, how did it come to this, Draco thought.
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He disapparated back to his condo to spend his day wallowing in misery. Hermione and Marcel had a pleasant morning, talking and enjoying their coffee. Marcel reluctantly ended their meeting because he had to go to practice, but not before asking Hermione for a date. "Hermione, my band is playing at a club in Hogsmeade next Friday night. I would love if you could come. You could hang out backstage. Our set is usually done by 11:00 pm, we would have time to go out and do something," Marcel said and mentally crossed his fingers hoping Hermione would say yes. "I don't know Marcel. I always work on Friday nights," Hermione answered, but caught the look of disappointment on Marcel's face. She was probably going to hate herself for doing this, but she didn't want to hurt Marcel's feelings. He truly was a nice guy. "I'll tell you what; let me see if I could switch to a day shift on Friday. I'll text you if I'm able to do that," Hermione replied and smiled. "Sounds good. I liked seeing you again Hermione. I hope I'll see you next Friday. Have a good week," Marcel said, not looking disappointed anymore. "You too Marcel, as soon as I find out I'll let you know. Later," Hermione said and pecked him on the cheek. Marcel was surprised by this and smiled. They waved goodbye to each other and Hermione headed off in the direction of her apartment building. Marcel watched her as she walked away, mesmerized by the movement of Hermione's cute butt. He was so pumped that things were going so well between them. He went to practice in a great mood. Surprisingly, Hermione managed to switch shifts with Lainey, a waitress who always worked the bar on the day shift at Gene's. Lainey had an appointment with a healer who was only available on Fridays, so she was grateful for switching shifts with Hermione. Hermione finished her shift and went back to her and Thalia's apartment to get ready for her first official date with Marcel. Thalia had already left to start her shift, but Hermione was going to drop by Gene's to see her friend before she disapparated to Hogsmeade. She took a quick shower and wrapped herself in an oversized, fluffy bath towel. Squeezing the excess water from her thick hair into the lavatory, she grabbed another towel and dried her hair with it. She decided to let her hair dry naturally. Hermione had found the best shampoo and conditioner to tame her normally unmanageable hair. She bought them at a beauty salon that just opened in
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Diagon Alley. With these products, her hair dried in smooth, corkscrew curls that fell gently down her back. Her hair no longer looked like she had stuck her finger in a muggle electrical outlet! Walking over to her bedroom, Hermione put on her underwear and sat at the small vanity table in the corner of the room. Deciding to take a little extra care with her makeup, Hermione did up her eyes with shades of dark purple and brown eye shadow and eyeliner, like Thalia had shown her earlier in the week. They had been experimenting with different types of makeup and both young women loved this look on Hermione. Since she was going to a nightclub, she opted to wear light wash skinny jeans and paired them with a dressy black lace crocheted trim tank top. Slipping her feet into black casual slip-ons, she took one last look in the bathroom mirror, applied glossy light red lip gloss, and headed out. She was determined to enjoy herself tonight. Let Draco have his socialite, she had someone too. Draco's first week at his new job was hectic at first, but he learned quickly and was able to adjust to the new routine by the end of the week. He still had much more to learn about his position, but so far everything was going well. His work week ended at 5 p.m. Friday, so when he was done, he headed back to his apartment. Draco was meeting Blaise and Theo at Gene's and they were planning to hit a few muggle nightclubs. He was hoping to see Hermione; he hadn't spoken to her since their last night together. Merlin, how he missed her. Draco wondered how things were going with her and the dude from Heart of Patronus. After showering quickly, Draco dried off. He grabbed a pair of dark jeans and a navy striped polo shirt from his closet. After putting on black silk boxer briefs, he put on his outfit along with a pair of black boat shoes. He truly had no idea of how terrific he looked; the dark-colored clothing offsetting his pale hair and lightly tanned skin perfectly. Taking one last look in his bathroom mirror, Draco left to meet his friends. Blaise and Theo were already seated at the bar when Draco arrived. Draco took a seat beside Blaise and looked around for Hermione. A young woman he'd never laid eyes on before set a napkin before him and asked what he wanted to drink. He ordered his usual Guinness on tap and wondered where the hell Hermione was? "She's not working tonight," Blaise said wryly and looked at Draco. "Okay, thanks for the update. I think that's kind of obvious," Draco replied sarcastically. "Yeah, why should you be worried about Granger when you have Feather
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Bradshaw," Blaise snickered. "Would you shut the hell up about that? Man, I danced with her that one time and because of that stupid news article everyone thinks we're an item," Draco growled. "Ooh, so sensitive! Well, I wonder why Granger isn't here," Blaise said. He caught Stuart's attention. "Stuart, my man, where's Granger tonight?" Stuart walked over to where the young men were sitting. "Hermione switched shifts with Lainey; she told me she has a date. Why? Do you miss her?" Stuart asked good-naturedly. "Yeah, I rather look at Granger than you, but Lainey is just as good," Blaise replied and winked at Lainey. Lainey smiled and shook her head. Boys will be boys, she thought. "Granger's going on a date? What am I, chopped treacle tart? I asked her out a few months ago and she turned me down," Theo mused. He didn't show it, but this revelation pissed him off. Hermione Granger supposedly didn't have time to date, but yet she managed to sleep with Draco and was going on a date tonight. What a stuck-up bitch, Theo thought. "Maybe Granger has something called taste," Blaise quipped to Theo. "Shut it you wanker," Theo replied as he gave Blaise a light shove. Draco's heart sank as he watched his friends. A date? Probably with what's his name. What did he expect? Hermione was great; of course someone was going to ask her out. Why couldn't he have just asked her out instead of coming up with that harebrained agreement? Draco's thoughts were interrupted when he saw Hermione walk in. Damn it to hell, why did she have to look so good, he thought as he watched her walk over to her friend Thalia. Hermione laughed as Thalia made her spin around so she could take in her full outfit. Thalia gave her a thumbs-up. The young women chatted for a few minutes and then Thalia had to return to her tables. Hermione walked over to the bar and waved to Stuart. She noticed Draco with his friends. He looks like a male model, she thought as she looked him over. A part of her wanted to go over and snog Draco senseless, but she controlled her emotions. Why did he have that effect on her? Taking a deep breath, she went over to where he was to greet him. "Draco, how are you? How was Italy?" Hermione asked lightheartedly. She smiled
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and waved to Blaise and Theo. Blaise smiled and waved back, while Theo only smirked. Hermione never noticed; she was focused on Draco. "I'm well thank you. Italy was great; it was nice to get away. How have you been doing?" Draco asked. "I've been good. Oh, how did your new job go?" Hermione asked. "I think I'm going to like it. There's quite a bit to learn, but I'm getting it," Draco replied and smiled. He wished she would stay; he even missed the sound of her voice. They chatted for a few minutes. Hermione laughed when Draco told her the story behind the photo of him and Feather, but inside it hit her like a brick wall. Draco wasn't dating Feather Bradshaw after all. For a fleeting moment, she wondered what would happen if she blew off Marcel and stayed with Draco. But her voice of reason took over. Hermione told Marcel she would be there and she wasn't one to break a commitment. "You look nice tonight, are you going somewhere?" Draco asked, fishing for information. Hermione looked better than nice; she looked scrumptious enough for him to disapparate with her and go back to his apartment to give her the shagging of her life. "Yes, I'm going to watch Heart of Patronus play in Hogsmeade. I'm not sure if you know Marcel Lymon, he's their lead guitarist. Anyway, he invited me to watch his band and then we're going out afterwards," Hermione replied. She thought she saw a look of disappointment on Draco's face, but then he was smiling. She must truly be imagining things. "Oh, so you have a date. I think I may have seen Marcel around. Sounds like fun, how long have you known him?" Draco asked, hoping he didn't sound too inquisitive. "Draco, you sound like my father. I've known Marcel for a few months, he seems to be nice. Look I better get going, have a good evening," Hermione replied, laughing. "Okay, have a nice evening. It was good seeing you Hermione," Draco said as he lightly touched her arm and looked into her eyes. Blaise nudged Theo so he could watch this interaction with Draco and Hermione. Theo's eyes narrowed as he saw the intense look Draco and Hermione shared. What
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did Draco Malfoy have that he didn't? "Thanks Draco, it was good seeing you too. Talk to you later," Hermione answered, looking away from his intense stare and trying to ignore the pleasant tingles she received as he touched her arm. Waving to Thalia and Gene as she walked out, she let out the breath she'd been holding. If she would've stayed a minute longer, it was very likely she would've said the hell with her date and stayed with Draco. Hermione made it to the club in Hogsmeade and enjoyed watching Heart of Patronus. After the band played, Marcel met her backstage. He was so excited to see her. "Did you enjoy the set? I think I was off on a few chords," Marcel said as he made a sad face. "Please Marcel, you nailed every song. You really are an amazing guitar player," Hermione answered as she smiled at him. "I just need to put away a few things and then we can be on our way. I'll be right back," Marcel said as he walked to one of the dressing rooms. Marcel came out a few minutes later and joined Hermione. "Are you ready to go? I think you're going to like this," Marcel said and grabbed Hermione's arm, disapparating them back to London before she could answer. Hermione was shocked to see that they outside of a bowling alley. Marcel saw the expression on her face. "Surprised? I thought it would be fun to do midnight bowling. I hope you're not disappointed." "Not at all, this looks like so much fun. I've never bowled before, you'll have to show me," Hermione answered happily. "Well, step right up little lady and I'll give you your first lesson," Marcel said and laughed. They had fun that night and Marcel brought Hermione home at about 3:30 am, giving her a chaste kiss on the lips before leaving. As she settled into bed, she thought about her date. Sure she had fun with Marcel, but that was it. Marcel was nice and she liked hanging out with him, but there were no sparks. As far as Hermione was concerned, she might as well have been on a date with Thalia or Harry. She hated feeling that way. Was she doomed to compare every guy she ever
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met to the explosive chemistry she shared with Draco? Despite feeling like she was in a quagmire, for the next few weeks Hermione settled into a kind of routine with Marcel. They even started meeting for dinner during the week, taking a break from their busy schedules. Marcel's kisses were getting more passionate and his hands were starting to roam, but Hermione always stopped him. She could feel that he was getting a frustrated, but he was a gentleman about it. She knew that she couldn't hold Marcel off much longer; she was going to have to make a decision. On the last day of her internship with Dr. Hamlin, Hermione was touched when the older man hugged her briefly and wished her luck with the rest of the studies. "You did well Ms. Granger, you'll be a wonderful veterinarian. Take care, I'll let you be on your way," Dr. Hamlin said as he walked back into his office. His secretary Janine raised her eyebrows and watched him walk away. As soon as the doctor was out of earshot, she turned to Hermione. "This is the first time I've ever seen Dr. Hamlin hug an intern! You must've done really well." "Really? It was a bit rough at first working with him, but it got better. I learned so much," Hermione replied. "I'm glad it worked out for you. I enjoyed meeting you dear. Good luck with your studies, I'll miss seeing you," Janine said, meaning every word. She had really grown to like Hermione. "I will too Janine, take care and keep an eye on Butterbean for me," Hermione chuckled. Butterbean was a stray orange tabby kitten she had been taking care of. She wished she could've taken Butterbean with her, but no pets were allowed in her apartment building. Janine had taken a liking to the kitten and agreed to take her home since Hermione had to leave. Hermione took the train back to London. She couldn't believe she was actually going to miss working with Dr. Hamlin. It was the end of July and school was starting in two weeks. Thalia had left for Columbia and would be staying there right up until the first day of school. The train arrived in London and Hermione went back to her empty apartment. When Hermione arrived home, she started to prepare for her date with Marcel. The decision was made; tonight she was breaking it off with him. It wasn't right to
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keep dating him; he deserved someone who wanted to be more than a good friend. She was accompanying him to a party being thrown by the daughter of a well-to-do wizard merchant. The daughter, Jaclyn "Jinx" Sanger was a huge fan of Heart of Patronus and kind of a groupie. The band let her hang around because she was always supplying them with liquor and food. She wasn't a bad looking girl, but she was excessive with the black eyeliner and mini-dresses, thinking it made her look like a hip go-go girl from the sixties, when in fact she looked like a scared raccoon most of the time. Hermione kind of felt sorry for her, wanting to take her aside and let the girl know the band was taking advantage of her, but she felt it wasn't her place. Something in Jaclyn's attitude told her this wouldn't go over very well and probably she would say Hermione was just jealous. Marcel and Hermione had been at the party for a few hours. She was so ready to go; the music was so loud and the party was getting a bit out of hand. The large living room reeked of smoke from marijuana cigarettes and lines of cocaine were being snorted off the coffee table. Hermione grimaced as she looked around her. It was time to get out of there, but Marcel was nowhere to be found. She looked around the smoke-filled room, aggravated. She walked into the hallway of the penthouse apartment and saw people going in and out of rooms. Most of the doors she tried were locked, but then she found one that opened. Hermione gasped when she opened the door and saw what could only be described as an orgy. Men and women were scattered throughout the room in various stages of undress and performing different sexual acts. She was about to close the door, when a couple in the middle of the room caught her eye. Hermione wouldn't have believed it if she wouldn't have seen it with her own two eyes. There was Marcel, naked as the day he was born, getting blown by Jinx! His eyes were closed and his head was tilted back, he never noticed Hermione standing there, but Jinx did. Without taking her mouth off of Marcel's penis, Jinx angled her head and looked right at Hermione, as if she was smiling. Seeing that, Hermione rolled her eyes and walked out of the room, closing the door behind her. She walked out of there as quickly as she could. After getting over the shock of what she had just witnessed, Hermione had to laugh as she stepped outside of the apartment building, gratefully breathing in the fresh air. Thank Merlin she'd never slept with Marcel, who knows what diseases she might've contracted! Here she was dreading having to breakup with him because she was afraid of hurting his feelings, when all this time he's probably been with Jinx! Why were men such pigs, Hermione thought. Hermione made it back to her apartment and as soon as she got in, she went to the bathroom to take a shower. She could still smell the smoke in her hair and clothes as she stripped them off. It felt so refreshing to wash it all off. As she stepped out of the shower and dried off, Hermione was so relieved to be back in her apartment and away from that raucous party. That was so not her scene, drugs and
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orgies, Good Godric! Thalia would get a good laugh when Hermione told her about the party. Not ready for bed since it was only 10 pm, Hermione went into the living room to see if there was anything worth watching on the telly. Nothing caught her interest, so she tried reading. She wasn't able to concentrate on the book either. An idea cropped up in Hermione's mind, so before she could change her mind, she grabbed a light jacket and pulled it over her sleep shorts and top. It was crazy and he probably wasn't even home, but she found herself heading to Draco's apartment. Hermione was there within a few minutes. She took a deep breath and let it out as she pressed the doorbell buzzer. She was about to turn around and head back to her apartment, when the door opened. Draco gave her a confused look. "Hermione? What are you doing here? Are you okay?" Draco asked, totally caught off guard at seeing her there. "Everything's fine Draco. Look, it was a mistake for me to come here at this time of the night. You're probably busy, I'm sure I caught you at a bad time," Hermione babbled. "Nonsense, come on in. I was catching up on some reading," Draco answered as motioned for her to enter his apartment. Hermione smiled and removed her jacket. Draco swallowed a gulp as he took in her attire. She probably had no idea of how sexy she looked in the sleep shorts she wore. He watched as she took a seat on his couch. Draco walked over and sat in a chair near the couch. He didn't want to take a chance by sitting next to her, she looked way too fetching. "So what brings you here at this time Hermione? I thought you'd be out with Marcel," Draco said casually. "Actually I was out with Marcel," Hermione began and proceeded to tell Draco about what happened at the party. Hermione was amused as she watched Draco laugh when she finished. When he caught his breath, he told her, " I didn't mean to laugh so hard, but I couldn't imagine walking in on a scene like that! You must've been mortified!" "Mortified is a good word to describe how I felt. You think you know someone and he pulls a stunt like that," Hermione stated and shook her head.
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"I'm sorry that Marcel did that to you, you must be devastated," Draco said. "Devastated? No. Believe it or not, I was going to break it off with Marcel tonight. I guess he beat me to it," Hermione chuckled. "I guess he did. Why are you here Hermione?" Draco asked quietly, holding his breath. "I can't explain it Draco, I just wanted to see you," Hermione replied looking at him. "Would it be way out of line if I kissed you?" Draco asked as he moistened his lips with his tongue. "No it wouldn't. In fact I was hoping you would," Hermione answered, not believing she said that. "Good, because I would've anyway," Draco said as he pulled her onto his lap. They made out for a few minutes and then stopped to catch their breath. Draco pushed a few stray curls away from Hermione's face and smiled at her. "Hermione, I'm going to just come out and say it, I don't want to have an agreement with you. I don't want to play 'quidditch' anymore. Would it be crazy if I told you I wanted to date you? I know we've slept together, but let's start over. I really like you." Hermione looked at him and caressed his face. Draco leaned into her touch and closed his eyes. "I don't think it's crazy at all Draco, I really like you too." "This is great, I hated seeing you with Marcel, I'm glad it's over," Draco admitted. "I can't believe all of the time we've wasted Draco. I had no idea you wanted to be more than friends with me," Hermione replied. "I didn't know you felt that way either Hermione. I'm so happy love," Draco smiled and kissed her again. They made out for a little longer and then they made a mutual decision that Hermione should return home. They decided to wait before they slept together again and just spend quality time to really get to know each other. After their friends and families got over the initial shock of Draco Malfoy and
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Hermione Granger dating, everyone accepted them as a couple except for a few like Theo Nott. His ego was still bruised because Hermione had rejected him, but he put on a fake smile whenever he was around the happy couple. He still thought about what Blaise had told him about Draco and Hermione's "quidditch" agreement. Thalia had always had misgivings about Draco, but she changed her mind when she realized how much he cared for Hermione. His face lit up when he saw Hermione and likewise when Hermione saw him. They were so happy together. With school, work, and seeing Draco, the months flew by for Hermione. Before she knew it, it was the beginning of December and time to graduate. She and Thalia had found out the month before graduation that they'd both been accepted into the Royal College of Veterinary Medicine. Hermione was also shocked when she received a fully paid scholarship from Tufts University in the United States. It was a real shame she wouldn't be able to put it to use, but she had had her heart set on staying in London. Life couldn't be better, she and Thalia were going to keep living in their apartment, work at Gene's, and attend school. Her relationship with Draco couldn't be better and Hermione knew he was the one, he was her prince. She was going to get the fairytale. Graduation day arrived, Hermione and Thalia were ecstatic. All of their family and friends had come to share the experience with them, even Thalia's abuelo Abraham. Hermione was so happy to see him. She introduced him to Draco and Abraham smiled, glad to finally meet the pale-haired young man from his dreams. Draco and Hermione were meant to be together, but something troubled Abraham. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but he felt an obstacle was coming their way. He hoped the young couple was strong enough to overcome it. Since medical school was going to start in January of the following year, Hermione had extra time on her hands. After graduation, Thalia returned with her family to Columbia and was scheduled to be back in London a few days after Christmas. Draco had asked Hermione to attend the Ministry of Magic's Yuletide Ball and when the ball was over, she was leaving with him to go to Italy to spend the Christmas holiday with Lucius and Narcissa. Hermione was nervous about this, but Draco reassured her that his parents were happy that they were dating and they were glad that she would be spending the holidays with them. Draco had a secret that no one knew about except for his mother. Narcissa had come to London a few weeks before and met with Draco to help him choose an engagement ring for Hermione. Draco planned on proposing to her in Italy. He knew Hermione would probably want to wait until she finished medical school to actually set a date, but he was all set for a long engagement. Draco wanted her to wear his ring to let the world to know Hermione was his.
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Draco returned with Hermione to her apartment after they'd had dinner with her parents. It had been a long day, but Hermione was blissfully happy. Draco pulled her against him and moved her hair to kiss the nape of her neck. Hermione put her hands over his and loved the way the feel of his lips on her skin managed to send waves of pleasure throughout her body. When they started dating, they'd agreed not to have sex, but that didn't last long. Within a week, Hermione had been back in Draco's bed. They truly couldn't keep their hands off each other. Hermione felt Draco unzip her dress and let him pull it over her head. His eyes darkened when she turned to look at him, as he took in the sight of her in a lacy black bra and thong underwear. He started to kiss her as Hermione unknotted his tie and began to unbutton his dress shirt. Draco ripped off his tie and let his shirt fall to the floor. Never breaking their kiss, she unbuckled his belt and unfastened his pants. Draco removed his shoes and kicked his pants to the side. His hands began to massage her breasts through her bra and Hermione gave a light moan while they continued to kiss. All of a sudden, Hermione pushed away from him, giggling. Draco stood in his boxers and socks, his erection making a tent in his boxers. He grinned slowly as he watched Hermione slowly back away and then make a break for her bedroom. He loved chasing her around the apartment and the best part was when he finally caught her. They finally made it to Hermione's bedroom and made love for most of the night. Draco slept over and surprised her in the morning by bringing her breakfast in bed. He knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life waking up with Hermione like this. They had never told each other "I love you," but Draco hoped to change that once they were in Italy. The Ministry of Magic's Yuletide Ball was a magnificent event. Draco wore his best dress robes and Hermione looked resplendent in a floor-skimming, single-shoulder navy gown of glittering sequins against a lace overlay. The gown was an early Christmas gift to her from Draco. Hermione didn't want to accept it at first, for she knew it was very expensive when she saw the designer label, but Draco insisted he wanted her to have it. They were a stunning couple and all eyes were upon them at the ball. Standing in the background and watching as Draco and Hermione made their entrance, was Theo Nott. He smirked as he watched Draco escort Hermione in the room. Draco Malfoy strutting around like a proud peacock, showing off his lady. It pissed him off to no end that Draco got the girl he wanted. He had something planned tonight for the happy couple. If his plan worked, this would be a night they'd never forget.
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A/N: Sorry about taking so long to post another chapter, but it's like everything was happening at once! My daughter just had swimming lessons and her dance revue, so I was busy with that. Thank you for your patience, I hope you enjoy this chapter. Thank you so much for the reviews and the alerts! Sending lots of love your way, take care-Steph

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Chapter 7
Yesterday's Just a Memory Chapter 7 Disclaimer:Nothing's changed; I still do not own Harry Potter! Hermione reminded herself to breathe as she walked into the Ministry's Yuletide Ball with Draco at her side. Draco had her hand clasped in his and was smiling at her. He knew everyone was looking at them. The Gryffindor Princess and the former Death Eater, who would've imagined they'd be a couple? "Hermione, oh my goodness, your dress is die for! Draco, how are you? I haven't seen you since school ended!" Ginny exclaimed as she rushed over to the couple. "Thank you Gin. Your dress is pretty incredible too, you're beautiful," Hermione replied as Ginny enveloped her in a hug and then also hugged Draco. Ginny was also wearing a floor-length gown. It was a champagne-colored one-shoulder, asymmetrical silk charmeuse dress with a jeweled strap. It wasn't often the young women saw each other. Sometimes Ginny stopped by Gene's and they talked there, but Hermione pretty much avoided going to Grimmauld Place so she wouldn't run into Ron. "Yes, my future wife is incredible. Hermione, Draco, how are you?" Harry asked as he came up behind Ginny and wrapped his arms around her. "Doing well Harry, looks like you're doing well for yourself too. Ginny, you are lovely as always," Draco said and smiled, feeling at ease with Harry and Ginny. "Why thank you Mr. Malfoy, but your date is no slouch either," Ginny replied and smiled at Hermione. "Indeed she isn't," Draco said as he looked at Hermione with such a loving expression that it was hard for Ginny and Harry to miss it. Ginny and Harry looked at each other and smiled. They still couldn't believe Draco and Hermione were together. It was also a bit bizarre for them to see Draco gazing at Hermione that way. "Well we better make our rounds of the room, I'm sure we'll meet up later," Harry said.
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"I'm sure we will. Save me a dance later Harry," Hermione replied. "I will if Draco is willing to part with you," Harry said and winked as he and Ginny walked away. Ginny gave Hermione the thumbs-up and grinned. She really hoped Hermione would be happy with Draco, especially after what her git of a brother did. Blaise and Theo watched as Draco and Hermione made their way around the room. They had come to the ball without dates, hoping to score with the single women that were present, but so far it looked as if everyone had come with dates. This pissed Blaise off. He had been all set to ask out this cute witch who worked with him, but Theo had talked him out of it. Theo spouted all this crap about not needing dates, all of the witches at the ball would be dying to be with them, etc. Now here they were standing like two desperate wanker wallflowers. Theo kept watching the door for some reason and was concentrating on that, so he never noticed Blaise walking away from him. Blaise moved towards Draco and Hermione and greeted them. "Good evening Ms. Granger and Mr. Malfoy, you're looking as beautiful as ever Hermione," Blaise said as he took Hermione's hand and kissed it lightly. "Thank you Blaise, are you here alone?" Hermione asked, blushing because she was not expecting this from Draco's friend. "Yeah Zabini, where's your date? Wait a second, I see Nott in the corner," Draco snickered jokingly but in actuality he was none too pleased at Blaise kissing Hermione's hand. Blaise rolled his eyes at Draco and grinned at Hermione. "Nah, I'm flying solo tonight. Hmm, I spot a lovely who is all alone. I think I'll make my move. I'll catch you later," Blaise said with a devilish look as he walked over to a pretty brunette witch. Theo finally spotted the person he was waiting for. There she was, Feather Bradshaw. He'd asked her to meet him at the ball. Feather had absolutely no interest in him and only agreed to meet him because he told her Draco would be there. Feather really thought Draco was hers after they shared their dance in Italy, but to her dismay she never saw or heard from him since that night. Hopefully this
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would change tonight at the ball. Now where's that dreadful guy I'm supposed to meet, thought Feather. She saw Theo walking up to her and gave him a fake smile. This had better not be a waste of time, Feather was thinking as she walked towards Theo. "Glad you could make it. Ready to put our plan in action?' Theo asked. "Yes. Where's Draco?" Feather asked as she scanned the ballroom. All of a sudden, her eyes narrowed. "Wait just a second! You never said he'd have a date! Damn it to hell, who's that bint with him?" "Don't get your knickers in a twist, just a minor setback. Draco's date is no one, just some muggleborn witch. You should have no problem getting him away from her," Theo said smugly. "Really? Looks like she is someone to Draco. I can't believe I agreed to this. I'm out of here," Feather growled as she watched Draco nuzzling Hermione's ear and holding her close. It was quite obvious he was enamored of his date, whoever the hell she was. Theo lightly grabbed Feather's arm. "Come on, don't give up so easily. I'm telling you, we can accomplish this. Just go up to Draco like we planned and ask him to dance. If he has any sense of decency and manners, he won't turn you down. As soon as you're on the floor, I'll take care of my end of the plan." Feather jerked her arm away. "Fine. By the way, what's the deal with you and Draco's date? Do you like her or something?" "Let's just say I want to settle a score. She needs to be taken down a peg or two," Theo said darkly as he looked towards Draco and Hermione. "Who is Draco's date anyway? She looks vaguely familiar," Feather said, squinting as she looked at Hermione. "Hermione Granger rings a bell?" Theo asked. "What? No wonder I recognized her. That's just great, how am I supposed to get Draco away from the so-called 'brightest witch of our age'?" Feather replied sarcastically. "You strike me as a gal who knows how to get what she wants. You'll figure out something," Theo said and smirked. "Huh, look at that. Looks like Draco is going to
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the men's room. Why don't you follow him and catch him when he comes out? I'll go see about Hermione now that she's alone." Feather was not getting good vibes about this and wished she'd never taken part in Theo's foolish plan. She couldn't put her finger on it, but there was something about Theo Nott that made her skin crawl. He'd approached her while she was shopping in Diagon Alley. He had recognized her from the photo in The Daily Prophet. When he proposed the plan to her, she was thinking about Draco so much that it made total sense at the time, but after seeing Draco with Hermione Granger, she was having second thoughts. Despite this, she still followed Draco while Theo moved in on Hermione. Theo waited a few minutes before approaching Hermione. She was standing alone, smiling and swaying to the music. He watched as Draco walked out of the men's room and Feather made her move. Draco had a polite, but reluctant look on his face as Feather dragged him on the dance floor. Good job Feather Bradshaw, I knew you wouldn't disappoint me, Theo thought. Hermione watched as Feather danced with Draco. She was a bit perturbed by this at first, but then Draco caught her eye, giving her an apologetic look and rolled his eyes. Hermione felt better; she figured Draco was only trying to be nice to the poor girl. All of a sudden, she saw Ron in her line of vision. She braced herself for the nasty look he was sure to give her, but he only grinned and waved. Hermione hesitantly waved back. Ron was dancing with an attractive young woman she had never seen before. Huh, wonders never cease. Maybe Ron is growing up, Hermione thought. As she processed this, she took a glass of champagne from a waiter that passed by. As she sipped from it slowly, Theo Nott sidled up next to her. "Hermione, how are you this fine evening? Good to see you were able to get away from the drudgery of Gene's for a night," Theo remarked as his eyes roamed over her. Merlin, he'd like to sink his teeth into that fine rear end of hers. "I'm good and although I like being off from work, I don't consider what I do at Gene's to be drudgery," Hermione said and gave him a small smile, but was irritated by his presence. She didn't like the way he was looking at her, like a spider eyeing its prey. "Just joking, Gene's is great. Any witch would be lucky to work there. So, you and Draco, huh?" Theo asked in a jovial voice. "Yes, I'm his date tonight," Hermione answered with a tight smile. Merlin-would he just go away already, she thought.
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"Looks like he's occupied," Theo said as he nodded his head in the direction of where Draco and Feather were dancing. "Yes, Draco is dancing with someone else. Is there a point you want to make?" Hermione replied. Now she was getting aggravated. She was sick of Theo trying to play mind games with her. Was Theo deliberately trying to rile her up? "My point is that if Draco decides not to play 'quidditch' with you anymore, I'm available," Theo said as he leered suggestively at her. Hermione's first instinct at hearing this was anger, but then she decided to play dumb. Just as she had confided in Thalia about her and Draco playing "quidditch," Draco had probably told his friends too. "Why would I want to play quidditch with you Theo? I don't even like quidditch. That's so funny; I only went to the games at Hogwarts to cheer on my Gryffindor classmates," she said as she gave Theo a quizzical and amused look. Theo never expected this curve ball. Hermione was full of it; she knew exactly what he was talking about. Damn it all, she was supposed to get pissed off. "Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about! I know all about you and Draco's little agreement. I asked you out properly, but no-you prefer to be Draco Malfoy's whore!" "I can't believe you just said that!" Hermione spat and proceeded to fling her glass of champagne in Theo's face. "You bitch, you're going to pay for this," Theo growled as he grabbed a napkin from a nearby table, wiping his face dry with angry swipes. Right at that moment, Draco walked up with Feather trailing behind him. He looked at Hermione and then at Theo. "What just happened here? Hermione, why are you so upset?" he asked. "Ask Theo, he just called me your whore," Hermione said heatedly. "Nott, you better have a damn good explanation for this," Draco said with a steely voice. Theo knew he'd screwed up. As pissed off as he was, he knew he was no match for Draco. "It was all a misunderstanding. I was only kidding with Hermione, you know about you and her playing quidditch," he attempted to say jokingly.
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Feather watched this exchange and then slunk away to the exit. She didn't want to be in the middle of this fiasco anymore. If anything, Feather was a gal who knew to quit while she was ahead. There was no way she was ever going to get Draco Malfoy; he was completely caught up in Hermione Granger. Anyone with half-a-brain could see this; just by the way Draco looked at the muggleborn witch. "Nott, I want to hex your testicles off and feed them to the first rat I find, but I don't want to cause a scene in front of people I see and work with daily. The best thing you can do is get the hell away from me and Hermione," Draco said quietly, but with a deadly glare in his eyes. "I was out of line. I'm sorry Hermione, I should've never said that," Theo said as he walked to the other side of the ballroom. Hermione only glared at him and then gave Draco a rueful smile. "Thanks for getting rid of him. This probably all stemmed from me turning him down when he asked me out." "Nott is a stupid prick! He's always been competitive with me since Hogwarts. I guess he can't accept you chose the better man," Draco smirked. "I'm not mad Draco, but why did you tell him about our agreement?" Hermione asked quietly. "That's the thing, I never told Nott about it, but I did tell Blaise. I bet one night when they were drunk, Blaise slipped and told him. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to betray your confidence," Draco replied as he pulled her close to him. "It's okay. Thalia knows about it too," Hermione chuckled. "Look, how about we dance for a few songs and get out of here," Draco said as he looked down at her, smiling. "Sounds good Mr. Malfoy, lead the way," Hermione replied happily. Crisis averted, she thought. Draco and Hermione did exactly that and Hermione had a few more glasses of champagne. Draco was amused as he watched her get more and gigglier. After her fifth glass, he decided it was time to head back home. He held Hermione firmly as they disapparated back to his apartment. When they arrived, Hermione was still giggling as she kicked her high-heeled
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pumps off, letting them slam against the wall. She let herself plop down onto the couch and gazed at Draco. "Maybe I had too much champagne," she said, lightly slurring. "I think so. I'm sure your head will be spinning tomorrow morning. I have a few bottles of a hangover potion, so no worries," Draco said as he bit his lip, trying not to laugh at how inebriated Hermione was. He removed his dress robes and went to the bathroom. He took a piss, brushed his teeth, and then changed into a t-shirt and pajama bottoms. He figured by the time he would be done, Hermione would probably be asleep from the effects of the champagne. Draco grabbed a t-shirt for her to wear. He made his way to the living room, expecting Hermione to be passed out on his couch, but she wasn't there. He checked the kitchen, his bedroom, and the bathroom, but no Hermione. He saw the door to his spare bedroom was ajar and as he walked over to it, his feet hit something on the floor. Draco grinned when he saw it was Hermione's dress. What was that little minx upto, he thought as he opened the door to the spare bedroom. Hermione was lying on the bed, propped up by her elbows. She was clad only in the navy blue push-up bra and thong knickers she had worn underneath her evening gown. Gods she's beautiful, Draco thought as he took in the scene before him. She smiled seductively at him and crooked her index finger on her right hand, beckoning him to her. "What are you doing in here love? I thought you would've been asleep by now, "Draco said gently as he sat beside her on the bed. "I don't know, I thought it would be fun to be in here tonight. I'm feeling a little adventurous," Hermione replied and bit her lip. "Hmm, I think you should drink champagne more often" Draco said huskily as he pulled her to him and kissed her. She still tasted of champagne, but also a hint of peppermint. Probably one of those muggle breath mints she always carried around in a little tin, he thought. Hermione was totally uninhibited as she stretched her limbs and wrapped her legs around Draco's waist, rubbing her sex against his. Draco groaned and pulled off his shirt, kissing her again. He then smiled and looked down at her. "Someone's in the mood tonight," he chuckled and kissed her neck, as he undid the front clasp of her bra, quickly removing it, casting it aside. He began to focus his
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attention on her breasts, oh how he loved Hermione's breasts. They were just the right size and fit perfectly in his mouth. Hermione sat up and pulled his face up to hers. She took charge and began to kiss him, moving her hands down to the waistband of his pajama bottoms, pulling the pants down along with his boxers. His very stiff penis sprung out and Hermione licked her lips in anticipation. Draco involuntarily held his breath as he watched her make her way down his chest, licking him and placing small kisses, as her small hands held him at his hips. He thought he was going to lose it when she looked right at him and placed his cock in her mouth. This was much more than Draco expected tonight. He hissed out his breath and laced his fingers in her hair. He loved blowjobs, but hadn't wanted to push Hermione into giving him one until she initiated it. He didn't know if it was the champagne that made her do it, but whatever it was, it didn't matter. Hermione's warm little mouth and tongue on his dick was beyond incredible. Draco was getting really close to coming into her mouth, so he made her stop. As much as he enjoyed her mouth, he loved being inside her vagina more. But before he got to that, he decided to go down on Hermione. With a mischievous grin, he gently pushed her down on the bed. He began to remove her knickers and she lifted her hips to accommodate him. He tossed them aside and began to kiss the insides of her legs. He heard her catch her breath as he neared her vagina. With that, his eyes never leaving her face, his tongue began to lick her slit. Hermione's breath came out in small gasps. She thought she was going to lose her mind when Draco's tongue hit her clit. Draco was getting more and more turned on by her moans of pleasure. It didn't take long to bring her to the edge and when she climaxed, she actually screamed. He never stopped licking, his hands grasping her hips and holding them down, as she gyrated wildly on the bed. When he was sure she had had enough, he released her and sat back grinning, as he wiped his lips. Hermione was still breathing heavily when he entered her with one quick thrust. Draco kissed her hard, ramming his tongue into her mouth, so that she could taste herself on him. Hermione didn't care; she was so caught up in their lovemaking. Nothing mattered when she was with him. She wrapped her legs around his waist and moved with him. He held on tightly to her, never wanting this feeling to end. Draco couldn't hold back any longer and he shot his load into her. Hermione could actually feel his semen bursting into her body; he was so far up into her. Breathing heavily after this intense bout of the horizontal bop, Draco slowly pulled out of her and went to the other side of the bed. He pulled her to him, so that her head was resting on his chest. Hermione looked up at him with a small smile and reached up, kissing his nose.
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"I totally wasn't expecting this tonight," Draco said softly as he smiled down at her, stroking her hair. "Hmm maybe the champagne had something to do with it or you're just so damn irresistible, Mr. Malfoy," Hermione replied and grinned. "Mmm, come here you," Draco said as he pulled her up so that she was face to face with him. "You are the most incredible, fascinating woman Hermione Granger," he said and kissed her. Hermione gave him a drowsy smile and closed her eyes. As her breathing evened out and she slept, Draco watched her, his eyes growing heavy. He soon fell asleep too; blissfully happy with the way his life was going. When they awoke the next morning, Hermione's hangover wasn't that bad. One sip of the hangover potion and she was good to go. She and Draco's bags had already been packed and had been sent ahead to his parents' Italian villa. Hermione went into the bathroom to take what she thought was going to be a quick shower, but Draco had other plans. He got in with her and this resulted into another bout of lovemaking. When they were done, they dressed and disapparated to Italy. When Hermione arrived at the villa with Draco, she could not believe how breathtakingly lovely the villa was and the surrounding area. Sure, she'd seen pictures of the coast of Italy, but nothing prepared her for the real thing. She looked around in awe, as a house elf named Miggy brought her up to her room. Her bedroom was large and airy, decorated in calming cerulean and neutral shades, not at all what she was expecting. All of her belongings had been put away and her clothes had been neatly hung up in the closet. She strode across the tile floor and was pleased to find that she had her own bathroom. Hermione stifled a giggle as she imagined what Thalia would have to say if she saw these luxurious surroundings. There were French doors leading to a balcony that overlooked the ocean. Hermione stepped out onto it and breathed in the sea breeze. There was a chill in the air since it was the wintertime, but to her it was refreshing. She gave a start when Draco came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her. "I'm sorry love, did I startle you?" Draco murmured. "I'm okay. I just didn't hear you come in. Wow, this is pretty incredible," Hermione said as she took in the view. "You're incredible," Draco replied as he pushed her hair aside and kissed the back of her neck.
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"Draco, we just got here. I'm sure your parents are expecting us," Hermione chided, but loved the feeling of having him so close to her. "I know we better get downstairs. Do you like your room?" Draco asked. "It's superb, it was very nice of your parents to include me in their holiday plans," Hermione said. "Of course Hermione, you're my girl. I'm so glad you agreed to come," Draco stated and kissed her. Hermione smiled and took his hand as he led her out of her room. They made their way downstairs and met Narcissa at an enclosed veranda near the pool. It was close to noon and lunch was being served. Narcissa smiled when she saw Draco and Hermione walking hand-in-hand towards her. "Ms. Granger, it's nice to see you again in what I hope are better circumstances," Narcissa said as she greeted them. "It's nice to see you again Mrs. Malfoy too, thank you for having me. Please call me Hermione," Hermione answered. She had been so nervous about seeing Draco's mother again, but Narcissa looked so much more relaxed and she made Hermione feel at ease. "Call me Narcissa dear. Draco, you look good. Come and sit, we'll have a nice lunch. You can catch me up on what's going in London," Narcissa chuckled. Narcissa loved her life here in Italy, but she still missed some of the aspects of the wizarding world they used to be a part of. Maybe someday she would be able to return, but it was still too soon. Although she and her family had been cleared of the charges they faced for their involvement with Voldemort, they were still shunned by quite a few of their former friends and acquaintances. Things seemed to be looking up though, especially since the Malfoys had welcomed the Bradshaws into their home. The Bradshaws were well-regarded in the wizarding society circles and they were putting in a good word for the Malfoys, letting everyone know how much they had changed. Narcissa also had no problem with Draco dating Hermione. She was very pleased that Draco was about to become engaged to the young witch. Lunch was a pleasant affair. Narcissa enjoyed listening to Draco and Hermione tell her about what was happening in their lives. She was fascinated by the fact that Hermione was studying to be a muggle animal healer. Narcissa watched her son interact with Hermione. She'd never seen Draco so happy and at ease like he was with Hermione. As her mother, this was very gratifying. She'd been concerned about
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Draco when the war ended, he was so depressed. Now Draco was relaxed and happy. Hermione was shocked at how well lunch went and how nice Narcissa was to her. She was expecting the cold woman she always saw through the years at Hogwarts, but Narcissa was warm and kind. Hermione had wondered if Lucius was going to show up for lunch, but Narcissa said that he had a business lunch in a nearby town. He would be joining them for dinner that evening. When they finished lunch, Narcissa excused herself. She had a few errands to run. Draco and Hermione decided to take a walk on the beach. Lucius had returned from his meeting and was upstairs in the bedroom he shared with Narcissa. He removed the suit he was wearing and changed into a pair of casual slacks and a button down shirt. It was a change from the robes he normally wore, but robes would've looked out of place in this muggle community. He couldn't wait to return to the wizarding community, but he knew the time wasn't right yet. Lucius walked over to a large window overlooking the beach and grimaced. It was Draco and that Granger girl, he thought. He didn't know what kind of game Draco was playing by bringing a mudblood into his home, but he was determined to get to the bottom of it. It was one thing if Draco wanted to sow his oats by sleeping with the mudblood, but to be carrying on in public as if they were a couple was too much for Lucius to bear. Narcissa seemed accepting of it, but he wasn't. It was up to Draco to preserve the purity of the Malfoy bloodline. Lucius wasn't going to let Draco's dalliance with the mudblood ruin that. "Draco, it's so relaxing out here. I wish I could stay here forever," Hermione said and smiled. She and Draco were hand-in-hand, having taken a long walk down the beach. They were almost back at his family's villa. "You'll have to come next summer, we'll be able to swim and lay out on the beach," Draco replied and lifted her hand and brought it to her lips, kissing it softly. Hermione only smiled at him, but felt so warm and happy inside. Merlin, Draco is talking about me coming back with him next year. He is serious about us, Hermione thought. At that moment, Draco wanted so badly to tell her how much he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, but he stopped himself. He wanted to propose properly with the ring he had bought her in London. Draco wanted it to be perfect.
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The rest of the week went by quickly. Draco and Hermione enjoyed walking on the beach in the early morning and the late afternoon when the winter sun was setting. They sometimes went into the nearby town, to shop and to have lunch. Draco wanted to sneak into her bedroom at night, but Hermione would stop him. She didn't want to disrespect Lucius and Narcissa by having premarital sex in their home. Draco respected her wishes but warned her she was in for it once they returned to London. This had definitely been on the best and most relaxing holiday Hermione had ever taken. She knew a big part of it was because she was with Draco. Only one thing was bothering Hermione: Lucius Malfoy. Oh, he was nice enough, but Hermione could sense that Lucius was on edge around her, as if he didn't quite trust or understand why she was there. She could understand him having reservations about her being with Draco, after all the man had been one of Voldemort's greatest supporters. Hermione wasn't quite sure what to make of his behavior, but she was going to keep her guard up. It was the day before Christmas Eve. Draco and Narcissa had gone into town to pick up a few last-minute items for Christmas. They had asked Hermione to come along, but she had discovered the library in the house. Draco laughed softly and shook his head when he saw her sitting on the couch in the library. Her feet were curled under her and she was totally into some tome about potions. Hermione was going to put up the book and accompany Draco and his mother, but he told her to stay put and they wouldn't be long. He thought she looked adorable; he loved how serious Hermione looked as she was concentrating on the book. Hermione had been reading for about half-an-hour, so into the book she never noticed Lucius come in until he sat beside her on the couch. "Ah yes, that's one of my favorites too," Lucius drawled as Hermione looked up at him with a surprised look. "Mr. Malfoy, you caught me by surprise. I hope you don't mind me taking advantage of your library," Hermione said politely. She couldn't help wondering why Lucius was there. It bothered her a little because she was alone with him. She wished Draco and Narcissa would hurry back. "Not at all dear, I'm glad someone is actually using it, even if it is you," Lucius said with a menacing undertone. Now the bastard is going to show his true colors, Hermione thought. "Do you have a problem with me being here Mr. Malfoy?" Hermione asked pointedly. If Lucius
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thought he was going to mess with her head, he had another thing coming. She was going to get straight to the point. "Yes, in fact I do. What exactly is it you think you're going to get out of my son? What, you've slept together a few times, so you think Draco's going to marry you? I have to admit you've done well thus far; Draco seems to be quite taken with you. Well don't get used to it Ms. Granger. You're going to put a stop to this nonsense and it's going to start now. I have plans for my son and they do not involve a mudblood like you," Lucius said casually, as if he was talking about the weather or some other mundane matter. "No problem, I'll pack my bags now and let Draco know what you told me," Hermione said and as she stood up to leave, Lucius took ahold of her wrist and twisted it painfully. "What if I told you your bags are already packed and back in that hovel you share with that Colombian witch? You're going to leave now. I'll tell Draco you had to go home because of an emergency involving your parents," Lucius growled. "How do you know where I live? Have you been having me followed? You bastard, when I get back, I'm going to tell Harry you've been stalking me! You're not going to get away with this," Hermione spat. She was so angry. All of a sudden, Hermione found herself being thrown against the wall, Lucius pinning her against it by keeping a tight and agonizing grip on her wrists. Now she was really scared and regretted not having her wand. Lucius had a wild look in his eyes, like a threatened, cornered animal. "Listen and listen well, you fucking mudblood whore. As soon as I release you, you're going to get out of my house and disapparate back to London. Go ahead and tell your precious Harry Potter, you'll live to regret it. I'll make sure your parents and anyone else near and dear to you will suffer the consequences," Lucius growled menacingly. "Please don't hurt my family or friends, I'll do whatever you want," Hermione pleaded, tears rolling down her face. "No need for dirty mudblood tears, my dear. Do as I say and I will make it worth your obeying me. How does leaving London and staying out of my son's life in exchange for one million galleons sound?" Lucius replied, his eyes lighting up as if he was a game show host offering the prize of a lifetime.
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"Wh-aa-tt? You can't make me leave London. I'll stay away from Draco, but I'm scheduled to start medical school in a few weeks. I don't want your filthy money either!" Hermione exclaimed, disgusted by this point. "You just don't get it, do you? You don't have a choice in the matter. You don't have to accept my money, but it's already been wired to your account at Gringotts. I personally don't care where you go, as long as you leave London and Great Britain. Disobey me and you don't want to know the consequences. Trust me when there are still many supporters of the dark lord out there and they are all too happy to assist me, especially when it comes to dealing with a mudblood like you," Lucius said with a smug look. With that, he released Hermione and laughed as she ran from the library in tears. She found a spot to disapparate from and within seconds she was back in the apartment she shared with Thalia. Hermione was shell-shocked. She sat down in a chair, hugging her knees to her chest. She began to rock back and forth and couldn't stop shaking. What was she going to do? Slowly Hermione regained her composure and began to think rationally. She decided she needed to go to The Burrow. Harry was there spending the holidays with the Weasleys. She thought about Lucius' threats, but she knew he was no match for Harry. Harry would know what to do. Draco and Narcissa returned from town. He went into the library to let Hermione know they were back, but she wasn't there. Checking the other rooms on the first floor of the villa, Draco didn't find her. He went upstairs and knocked at her bedroom door. Not hearing a response, he opened the door and looked around. She wasn't there either. Thinking perhaps she might've decided to take a walk on the beach, he decided to go outside. As he was making his way there, he was stopped by his parents, who were in the sitting room. "Son, come in here. Your mother and I have something to tell you," Lucius said in a serious tone. "Can you give me a minute? I can't find Hermione anywhere. Did you see her?" Draco asked. "That's what we wanted to talk to you about Draco," Lucius answered. Draco noticed his mother was sitting quietly with her hands folded in her lap and her head down. What was going on? "You want to talk to me about Hermione? What is this about?" Draco asked, not liking this at all.
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"Draco, how well do you know Ms. Granger? I mean, I know you both attended Hogwarts all those years, but weren't exactly friends," Lucius drawled. "I know that Hermione is one of the kindest, smartest, most beautiful women I've ever encountered and I want to spend the rest of my life with her," Draco said with his head up. He still couldn't figure out what was going on and he wanted to find Hermione. "Hmm, you might want to sit down as I tell you this," Lucius stated in a matter of fact manner. Draco reluctantly sat down and sighed. "What is it Father?" "Don't take that tone with me boy! I just did you a favor, you should be thanking me," Lucius spat. "What did you do?" Draco asked, not really sure if he wanted to know. He had a feeling of dread. "Let's just say Ms. Granger and I had quite an interesting chat when you left. I let her know that I had plans for your future and they didn't involve her. She became a bit indignant and said she would never leave you. She changed her mind when I offered her one million galleons. She took the money and ran Draco," Lucius drawled. "No, no. Hermione would never do that. You're wrong," Draco said in disbelief. This couldn't be happening. He had planned on proposing to her on Christmas Eve. He loved her. "It's true Draco. She's gone. I'm so sorry," Narcissa said quietly. She was heartbroken for Draco, but maybe he didn't know Hermione as well as he thought. She had really liked Hermione; she was as shocked as Draco. "I have to find her. I'm going back to London," Draco said as he stood up to leave the room. "Draco, that isn't possible. You can't possibly think of leaving your mother and me to look for that abominable girl who obviously didn't care for you. She used you Draco, you should be grateful she's out of your life. You would've made a serious mistake marrying her. She's gone and it's for the best. I know you're upset but you'll thank me later for this," Lucius said gently.
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Draco sat down heavily, feeling desolate and confused. He couldn't process what was happening. How could his life take such a downward spiral in so short a time? He didn't know what to make of Hermione. The Hermione he loved and the greedy monster his father described couldn't be the same person. He couldn't believe she traded him for one million galleons. Lucius had a look of concern on his face, but inside he was celebrating. He had accomplished what he set out to do. He had gotten rid of the mudblood and Draco believed him. Draco may have had his doubts at first, but Lucius was going to work on him for the next few days. He knew how to get inside Draco's head. By the time Draco returned to London, he was going to hate Hermione Granger and wished he'd never laid eyes on her. Hermione made it to The Burrow and was immediately greeted by Ginny. "Hermione, I'm glad to see you, but what are you doing here? I thought you were in Italy with Draco," Ginny asked, looking confused. "Gin, about that. I really need to talk to Harry. Please tell me he's here," Hermione said anxiously. "Sure, I just saw him, come on," Ginny said as she led Hermione to the living room where there were sounds of conversation and laughter. Everyone greeted Hermione happily, even Ron. Hermione pasted a fake smile on her face, telling everyone hello and letting herself get enveloped in hugs. She finally made her way to Harry and pulled him aside. "We need to talk Harry. You won't believe what just happened to me," Hermione said. "Come on; let's go upstairs where it's quiet. I'm guessing something happened in Italy?" Harry asked as they climbed the stairs. Hermione nodded and continued walking with him until they made it to Ginny's bedroom. It felt so strange for Hermione to be back at The Burrow, but she felt this was her only option. She relayed to Harry everything that had transpired between her and Lucius. Harry listened quietly and didn't interrupt her. When she was done, he spoke. "I'm not surprised that Lucius Malfoy threatened you Hermione. The Auror's office has been tracking his activities for months now. He's still in contact with former
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Death Eaters, but there hasn't been anything solid to trace back to Lucius. We're trying to build a case against him but it seems that he has others do his dirty work, while he stays clean and maintains a cover in Italy," Harry said quietly. "What should I do Harry? Lucius said I needed to leave the country or else," Hermione panicked. Harry gently grabbed Hermione by her shoulders. "Listen to me. I don't want to scare you, but I wouldn't take Lucius Malfoy's threats lightly. He's dangerous Hermione. I know this is going to turn your life upside down, but it's in you and your family's best interest if you leave the country." "Harry how am I supposed to just pick up and move somewhere where I know no one? I'm going to be starting medical school with Thalia in a few weeks. I can't just up and leave," Hermione said as she tried to stifle a sob. "Hermione, what's worth more? A medical degree or your life? I can assure you Lucius Malfoy will pay for what he has done to you and others. In the meantime you need to get to a safe place. I know this isn't what you want to hear, but you're still young. You have plenty of time to go back to school," Harry said, hugging his friend. "Oh Harry, I have no idea what Draco must think of me. I'm sure Lucius is poisoning his mind as we speak. We were so happy, I still can't believe this is happening," Hermione sobbed. "We'll get through this Hermione. My main concern now is your safety. We need to get you out of London," Harry said. "What about all of that money Lucius wired into my account? I want no part of it Harry, I won't be paid off!" Hermione growled through her tears.

"Leave that to me and the Auror's office. That money can only help our case against Lucius. He's probably expecting that you'll go on some wild shopping spree. It'll really set him on edge when he realizes the money is still sitting there. You're going to be okay Hermione, I will make sure of it," Harry replied in a serious tone. Damn Lucius Malfoy to hell for putting his friend through this. That psychopath is going t Harry thought. Hermione only nodded. She was so out of her element with all this and scared to death. Within the next few days, Harry and Hermione were able to come up with a plan.
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Hermione found out that she was still able to take advantage of the full scholarship she had been awarded at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. She felt like shit for lying to Thalia, but the less her friend knew, the better off she was. Hermione told Thalia that she and Draco had broken up and she couldn't bear to be in London, risking the chance of meeting up with him, so she decided to move to Boston and would be attending school there. Thalia was immediately suspicious of all this; Hermione had been so pumped when she found out they were both accepted to the Royal College of Veterinary Medicine. Something really bad must've happened for her to change her mind so quickly. Thalia didn't like it at all, but she figured her friend had her reasons for leaving. Thankfully the lease was up on the two-bedroom apartment and Thalia was able to move back into a one-bedroom. She was going to miss Hermione. It was funny how things worked out sometimes. Hermione was shocked when she found out that Stuart was moving back to Boston. Thank Merlin; she would know someone over there. Gene was opening another location of Gene's in the magical district of Boston. Stuart was going to manage the new place for him. They couldn't believe it when they found out Hermione was going to be moving there too. Hermione's life was being turned upside down, but at least she was going to have one friend and a job in Boston. Mr. and Mrs. Granger's reaction to Hermione deciding to attend school in the States was pretty much the same as Thalia's. They were a bit suspicious of why their daughter changed her mind so suddenly, but decided Hermione had her reasons. Mrs. Granger strongly suspected it had to be because of a certain young man. She and Mr. Granger tried to convince Hermione stay in London, but it was to no avail. Hermione was determined to go. A week after Christmas, Hermione boarded a plane with Stuart and they left for Boston. Hermione was numb; she felt like she was only going through the motions. Stuart had a small home near the new location of Gene's, so Hermione was going to be staying with him until she could find a permanent place. At least this was what she thought was her plan. This all changed when they arrived in Boston. Hermione and Stuart were settling into his home, when a young woman walked in. She was very pretty, with long straight blonde hair that almost reached her waist and violet eyes. She smiled when she saw Hermione and then ran into Stuart's arms. Hermione had no idea who she was; Stuart had only mentioned the ex-girlfriend who had betrayed him. Stuart saw Hermione's confused look and led her to the living room so he could explain who this woman was. "Hermione, I'd like you to meet my wife Penny," Stuart said as he sat on the couch
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and pulled his wife to him. "Stuart, I don't understand. I had no idea you were married. Forgive me Penny, I'm a little shocked is all," Hermione replied as she looked at them. "Hermione, I've heard so much about you. I'm going to let Stuart explain everything to you. I'll be in the kitchen making dinner. It's good to finally meet you," Penny said, smiling warmly at Hermione. "Same here Penny. Stuart, I don't know how many more surprises I can take," Hermione sighed as she plopped into a recliner near the couch. "Just sit and listen. My job at Gene's was only a cover. I'm an Auror with the American Ministry of Magic. I have been working undercover to track former Death Eaters. My uncle's place is a legitimate business, but he agreed to let me work there so I could gather information. We've been tracking Lucius Malfoy and many others. I was recruited by the Ministry in London because I was the perfect operative for the job. No one, especially the former Death Eaters ever suspected I'm an Auror. To them, I was just the bartender at Gene's. I can assure you my operation was very successful. When you came to Gene and me to tell us that you were leaving, everything fell into place. My work was done in London and I was set to return home. I know what Lucius Malfoy did to you Hermione. He's not going to get away with this. I know you feel like your life will never be the same, but it was imperative that you didn't stay in London. Did you know there were former Death Eaters living in your apartment complex?" Stuart asked and waited for Hermione's response. He was prepared to answer any questions she had, he knew he had given her a shock by revealing all of this. "Stuart, give me a minute to process this. No wonder Lucius knew where I lived! Wow, you're an Auror. So, the story about you managing a new location of Gene's is all a ruse?" Hermione asked. "No, that's all true. I intend on managing my uncle's new place. I'll still be working undercover for the Ministry here. There are American wizards and witches who were Voldemort sympathizers in the States and me, along with other undercover agents keep an eye out to make sure they aren't going to stir up trouble. Sometimes I do field work like I was doing in London, but for the moment I'll be staying put in Boston. It's good to be home. I missed Penny so much," Stuart answered. "So the story floating around about you leaving Boston because of an ex-girlfriend betraying you was all fabricated? You've been married to Penny all this time?" Hermione asked and shook her head, knowing the answer.
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"That's correct. I needed a story or else my cover could've have been compromised. The only reason you're finding out about all this is because of the situation you're in. For what it's worth, I'm really sorry you have to go through all of this because of Lucius Malfoy. I know it wasn't easy leaving everything behind. Penny and I are here for you," Stuart said solemnly. "Thanks Stuart. I appreciate all you're doing. As soon as I figure everything out, I'll be out of you and Penny's hair. I feel like I'm imposing on you. I mean it's been months since you've seen you're wife and you're stuck babysitting me," Hermione said ruefully. "Hermione, it's okay. Penny is very understanding about the work I do. You stay with us as long as you like. Why don't you see about starting school and worry about the rest later? I can assure you that Penny and I don't think of you as an imposition," Stuart said gently. "You don't know how grateful I am. I don't know what I would've done without you," Hermione said. "I'm sure you would've figured out something, but I'm glad I was able to help. Come on, all of these revelations have made me hungry. Let's go see what Penny whipped up, "Stuart said happily as he stood up and went to the kitchen. Hermione smiled and followed him. There was still so much she had to do and adjust to, but she felt better knowing she had Stuart and Penny's support. Her heart still ached painfully for Draco, but she would learn to deal with it. She had no choice. In the weeks that followed, Hermione started school and worked at Gene's. She tried to stay out of Stuart and Penny's way as much as possible, but they were so nice and accommodating. They welcomed Hermione into their modest home and were glad that she was there. Hermione found she was growing closer to Penny as each day went by. Penny was fond of Hermione too. She had grown up with three sisters and they all lived far away from each other. Sure they communicated by phone and emails, but it wasn't the same as seeing your siblings every day. Hermione filled that void for Penny and she started to think of the young woman as a surrogate sister. It was the middle of January when Hermione had a cold and just couldn't shake it off. She worried that it was turning into the flu when she couldn't keep her breakfast down in the mornings. She had to run to the nearest toilet at school and throw up all the contents. By the time lunchtime arrived, she was ravenous. She was able to eat
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lunch and keep it down. This puzzled Hermione; she couldn't understand why she was so sick in the mornings and then felt fine in the afternoon. This went on for a few weeks until one Saturday morning at Stuart and Penny's. Penny watched in dismay as Hermione abruptly stood up from the kitchen table, her hand over her mouth as she raced to the bathroom. Stuart was running errands, so the two women were alone. Penny went over to the bathroom door and knocked gently. "Hermione, are you okay in there? Can I get you anything?" Penny asked softly. "I'm fine now Penny. I'll be out in a minute." Hermione held onto the sides of the toilet seat and pushed herself up. She was breathing heavily after emptying out her breakfast into the toilet. She flushed the toilet and made sure she cleaned it well, spraying it with an air sanitizer, so Penny and Stuart wouldn't contract this flu she couldn't shake off. She washed her mouth out with water and then brushed her teeth. She almost gagged while she was brushed her teeth. Hermione looked at her reflection in the mirror and sighed. She was very pale and had shadows under her eyes. When she walked out of the bathroom, Penny was still there. "I feel better. I don't know what it is Penny, I can't seem to get rid of this," Hermione said. "Hermione, can I ask you something personal?" Penny asked as she looked over Hermione, taking in how pale she looked. She hoped it wasn't what she was thinking but Hermione seemed to have all the symptoms. "Sure Penny, I have nothing to hide," Hermione replied and chuckled weakly. "When was your last period?" Penny asked. "Let me think. I know I had one last month, at the beginning of December. I haven't started for the month of January yet" Hermione answered, but then a dreadful feeling overtook her. "Oh no, Penny, this can't be happening." "Hermione stay calm. Your period is probably late because of all the stress you've been under. Look, I'm going to head over to the drugstore and pick up a home pregnancy test. You know, just to make sure," Penny said reassuringly. "Okay Penny, I'm sure it's late because of what you said," Hermione replied, but she couldn't help feeling apprehensive. Her menstrual cycle was like clockwork; she could set her watch by it that's how regular she was.
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Penny returned about half-an-hour later with the test. Hermione went into the bathroom and opened the package. She carefully read the directions and removed the test from its foil wrapper. She peed on the stick and set it down on the counter. She walked out of the bathroom and met Penny in the living room. They waited for a few minutes and then went into the bathroom to see the results. "Penny, you look. I can't do it," Hermione said as she averted her eyes. Penny walked to the counter and looked at the test stick. Sure enough, there were two lines present. Hermione was pregnant. "Hermione sweetie, there's two lines. You're pregnant." Hermione looked at the two lines in disbelief as she sunk down to the floor. This isn't real, this can't be happening, she thought. She was carrying Draco's baby. She couldn't understand; they had been so careful, always using contraceptive charms. It then hit Hermione. She must've gotten pregnant the night of the ball. When she thought back to that night, she realized that neither she nor Draco had cast the charm. Penny knelt beside her and hugged her. "You're going to be fine Hermione. It'll be okay." Hermione only nodded as tears rolled down her cheeks. She hoped Penny was right because she sure didn't feel fine. Her world was crashing down all around her. A/N: I said I'd never do it in a Dramione, but Hermione getting pregnant just felt right for this storyline! Just when she thought it couldn't get worse. Hope you enjoyed it and I'll try to get a new chapter up soon. Thank you for the reviews and alerts!

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Chapter 8
Chapter Eight Disclaimer:Status unchanged, I still own nothing related to Harry Potter. Draco made sure he had everything before he left his parents villa and returned to London. He checked the bathroom, but it was clean. He walked back to his bedroom. As he was about to close his bag, a small box caught his eye. Draco sighed and sat down heavily on the bed as he tossed the box back and forth in his hands. The jewelry store had beautifully giftwrapped the box in green paper with a silver ribbon. Slytherin house colors, Hermione would've gotten a kick out of that, Draco thought. He seemed transfixed as he slowly untied the ribbon and then proceeded to remove the wrapping from the box. Opening the box, he took out the ring he and his mother had chosen so carefully. It was one of the happiest days of his life; at the time he couldn't wait to surprise Hermione with it. The ring was an open curved diamond band accentuated by a 1-carat Princess cut solitaire. The saleswoman had commented it was one of the most stunning diamonds she'd ever seen. He wondered at the time if Hermione would've thought it was too extravagant. Now he wasn't so sure since she had just traded him in for a million galleons. With a scornful look on his face, he made his way outside and walked to the beach. Taking one last look at the ring, he flung it into the sea as far as he could throw it. So much for my future. Let it be swept away by the sea as quickly as she walked out of my life, Draco thought as he walked back to the villa. Fuck all this, love is a useless emotion and probably doesn't exist for me. Deep down inside he knew that wasn't true, but this was the chip he was going to carry on his shoulders from now on. Thanks again Father. Penny continued to console Hermione and led her to her bedroom that was only two doors down from the bathroom. Hermione's sobbing had subsided, but a few tears rolled down her face. She went to her bed and curled up on it, hugging her arms to her body. Penny pulled her comforter up and tucked Hermione in, as one would a small child. "You've just had a horrible shock honey. Why don't you rest? I'll be right down the hall if you need anything, okay?" Penny said soothingly. Her heart ached for Hermione. This poor young woman had to uproot her whole life and everything she'd ever known and now this. As Penny's mother would tell her and her sisters when they were growing up, "When it rain, it pours."
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"Penny thanks for everything. I'll rest awhile and then I need to figure all this out," Hermione said quietly. Penny smiled and nodded as she walked out of the room. She closed the door softly and headed to the kitchen to start the spaghetti she was serving for lunch. As she was preparing lunch, Penny thought back on her upbringing. She was a half-blood witch, as were all her sisters. They had taken after their mother, an orphaned pureblood witch who had fallen in love with a muggle. Her father was great about his daughters being witches; he took it all in stride. Penny and her sisters had attended a wizarding school hidden in the middle of Boston and this was where she had met Stuart. They were only acquaintances and didn't date while they attended school. It wasn't until they were at a party the summer after they graduated and the sparks flew. They were inseparable after that. Thinking about this reminded Penny of how fortunate she was that Stuart's family didn't share the same prejudices as this horrible family that had driven Hermione out of London so she wouldn't date their son. Stuart's family was from a long line of purebloods, but was very easygoing and accepting. Penny felt terrible for Hermione, how was she going to handle this? Hermione tossed and turn for about fifteen minutes and then fell asleep for about four hours. When she woke up she felt better and was hungry. She went to the bathroom to relieve herself and wash her face. As she made her way to the kitchen, Penny and Stuart were having lunch. They smiled when she walked in. "Hey sleepyhead, Penny told me you weren't feeling good. Do you want some soup instead of spaghetti?" Stuart asked. "No thanks. I'll take spaghetti, it looks really good," Hermione said. She fixed her plate and sat down near Penny. She was so hungry and the spaghetti was delicious. "I hope you'll be able to keep that food down, especially after what Penny told me happened earlier," Stuart said gently. "What's that?" Hermione asked tentatively, wondering if Penny told him she was pregnant. "I hate saying this at the kitchen table, but she said you upchucked breakfast. I hope the spaghetti isn't too heavy for your stomach," Stuart replied. Hermione took a deep breath and put down her fork. "Stuart, I don't know how
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else to tell you this, so I'm just going to come out and say it. There's a reason why I've been feeling under the weather these past few weeksI'm pregnant." "What? Wait a second, how long have you known this?" Stuart asked his eyes wide with shock. "Babe, we just found out this morning. I've been noticing Hermione hasn't been able to keep her food down in the mornings for the past few weeks. I suspected that was what it was so we did a home pregnancy test and it was positive," Penny answered softly. "Holy shit Hermione. I can't believe you're pregnant for that white-haired asshole," Stuart snarled. "Stuart! Hermione loves him. It's shitty what he and his family did to her, but Draco Malfoy is the father of her baby," Penny said sharply. "I'm sorry but it just pisses me off. After all Hermione's been through she has to deal with this?" Stuart asked no one in particular, sighing as he ran his hands through his hair. "It's okay you guys. I'm still in shock over this whole thing too. My life is going to change drastically. I mean, what do I do? I have to let Draco know, right?" Hermione asked as she looked from Penny to Stuart. "Hermione, that's the last thing you want to do. I know he's the father, but his family won't take this news well. We need to keep this as quiet as possible. The less people that know the better off you'll be until we can nail Lucius Malfoy to the wall. I think I'll get extra security to watch over you when you go out," Stuart said. "How am I supposed to hide my pregnancy? I'm sure there are some charms I can do, but I don't want to risk harming the baby," Hermione said in a worried tone. She was becoming very protective of the life she had growing in her. "It'll probably be a few months before you start showing. I have boxes of maternity clothing stored in the attic. What's good is that they don't look like maternity clothes. They're pretty trendy and aren't the frumpy and frilly maternity clothes our mother had to wear back in the day. My sisters' keep giving them to me, hoping I'll give them a niece or nephew," Penny chuckled. "Penny, I don't want to take clothing that was intended for you," Hermione replied.
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"It's no problem, they're just sitting there. We'll put it to use," Penny said and smiled. Stuart contemplated this startling news and knew he was going to have to let Harry and the Auror's office know about this latest development. He didn't want to scare Hermione, but if Lucius Malfoy or one of his henchmen found out about the pregnancy, this would not bode well for Hermione and her unborn child. One Unforgivable Curse and they would both be gone from this world. This made Stuart more determined than ever to dig up as much dirt as he could on that Malfoy bastard and put him away forever. Draco returned to his job at the Ministry, kept to himself, and only spoke when someone addressed him. He felt like a robot as he went to work and then went home to his empty, quiet apartment. Blaise sometimes dropped by and would convince him to go out with him and Theo. Draco and Theo had patched their friendship after the fiasco at the ball. His friends wondered what exactly had gone down with him and Hermione. They were at The Leaky Cauldron one night and Blaise decided to ask Draco what happened between them. Blaise knew it must've been pretty bad; Draco didn't even want to set foot in Gene's. "Dray, what happened with you and Granger? You haven't been the same since you returned from Italy and she's nowhere in sight," Blaise said. "Let's just say she wasn't the person I thought she was. It's over," Draco said flatly. "Yeah, Draco what gives? You two were always up each other's arses before the holidays, I don't get it. It must've been pretty bad," Theo asked, fishing for information. He'd heard a few rumors floating around about the breakup but he wanted to hear it from Draco. "Would you two fucking gits just drop it? I said it's over and that's all there is to it. Can you just shut up about it and let me enjoy my drink in peace?" Draco said sharply. His friends were aggravating the piss out of him. Theo just couldn't let it go even as Blaise gave him a look of warning. Blaise had also been hearing rumors, but didn't want to tell Draco. "Take it easy, lighten up. I only asked because of the things I've been hearing about Granger." "What do you mean? What are people saying?" Draco asked angrily. "Well, I heard that Granger was paid off by your father to break it off with you. Is
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that true? The other rumor is that she took the money and ran off with that bartender she worked with at Gene's, you know, that American wizard," Theo stated giddily. He loved good gossip. "I wish people would mind their own fucking business and stay out of my life. I don't know where Granger is and I don't give a rat's arsehole. Good riddance I say," Draco answered, his face slightly reddening with suppressed anger as he downed his glass of Firewhiskey. He hadn't heard that Hermione had left with Stuart. What the hell? Had he been totally blind, had Hermione been screwing Stuart behind his back all this time? "Sheesh, I'm only repeating what I've heard," Theo said, feeling a tad abashed. "Well keep it to yourself, I don't care as long as I'm left alone," Draco spat as he stood up abruptly and walked over to the bar. He didn't have time to wait for the waitress; he needed his glass of Firewhiskey refilled. The alcohol made him forget, if only for a short time. Theo's revelations didn't help either. When Draco had walked over to the bar, Blaise started in on Theo. "You just don't know when to stop, do you? Don't fucking mention that crap about Granger again," Blaise said lowly and gave Theo a hard punch on his bicep. "Dude, that hurts! Damn, I didn't know Draco would get so pissy about it. Fine, I won't mention it again," Theo whined. The rest of the evening went by without incident as the young men discussed safer topics, like quidditch and work. Any mention of Hermione Granger was strictly off-limits, but both Blaise and Theo couldn't help pondering what the hell went wrong. Sure there were the rumors of Lucius paying Hermione Granger off, but they found it shocking that Granger would've agreed to such terms. After about an hour, they left from the Leaky Cauldron and went to a muggle nightclub. Draco was approached by many women, but no one struck his fancy. He went home alone and slightly inebriated. He sunk into a fitful sleep, fighting off the dreams that reminded him of what could have been. After seeing what her sisters went through during their pregnancies, Penny advised Hermione to see a doctor as soon as possible. Luckily for Hermione, there was a clinic on campus and walk-ins were accepted. Her classes on Monday were scheduled in the morning, so she had the afternoon free. She had to wait for about an hour, but then the nurse called her in and brought her to an examination room. The nurse, named Mattie, asked Hermione a few questions and when she found out Hermione had taken a home pregnancy test, she nodded and wrote a few things on
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Hermione's chart. "Hermione, the home pregnancy tests are pretty accurate, but we'll take a blood sample from you to make sure and then we'll go from there. Dr. Burgess should be in as soon as he's done with his other patient," Mattie said, smiling as she patted Hermione's arm. When Mattie left the room, she sighed. She had been working at the clinic for over 20 years. Scared, pregnant young women were a common occurrence. A lab technician came in soon after and drew blood from Hermione's arm. She looked away as the young woman inserted the long needle. When the tech was done she placed an adhesive bandage over the small puncture. She told Hermione that she would process the blood test as soon as possible. Hermione thanked her and waited anxiously for the doctor. She didn't know if she wanted to cry or scream; this was all so surreal. When Dr. Burgess knocked at the door and walked in, Hermione was shocked to see a young man not much older than her. He was African-American, completely bald, and at just over 6 ft. tall and a well- muscled frame, he looked intimidating. This first impression changed when he looked at Hermione with kind brown eyes and a dazzling smile. Dr. Burgess wore a white lab coat over a T-shirt and blue jeans. He greeted Hermione as she looked over her chart. "Hello Hermione, I'm Dr. Burgess. Mattie tells me you may be pregnant?" he asked. "Yes, I'm pretty sure I am," Hermione answered. "So, according to the chart your last cycle was in December?" Dr. Burgess asked, wanting to confirm what Mattie had taken down. Hermione nodded and Dr. Burgess kept reading. They were interrupted by a knock and it was the lab technician with the results of her blood work. Dr. Burgess looked over the report and looked at Hermione. "Well it's official, you're pregnant. Let's see if we're going by your last cycle, you're probably about 6 weeks along. Hey, hey it's going to okay, don't cry," Dr. Burgess said gently as tears started to roll down Hermione's face. He handed her a tissue. "Thanks. It's just all so overwhelming. I don't even know where to begin. I'm sorry," Hermione sobbed.
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"Don't apologize. Pregnancy is a big deal, especially if you're unprepared for it. I'm here to help. I'm assuming since you're here you don't have a regular obstetrician/gynecologist you see regularly?" Dr. Burgess asked. "No, I just moved here to attend school," Hermione answered. "I'm going to step out for a few minutes to get some information for you and samples of prenatal vitamins. I'll be right back," Dr. Burgess said as he stood up and walked out. When he returned he gave Hermione the vitamin samples and a business card. When she read the card, it had the name Dr. Miriam Burgess printed on it. This made Hermione smile and ask Dr. Burgess "Is she your wife?" "No, but we're related. She's my mom and the best OB/GYN in Boston. You'll be in good hands. I can call her office and schedule an appointment for you," Dr. Burgess answered and smiled. "I'd appreciate that," Hermione said, breathing a little easier. Dr. Burgess made her feel at ease. When Hermione left the clinic, she had an appointment the following week with Dr. Miriam Burgess. There was still so much she had to prepare for, but doing this made her feel like she was on the right track. Stuart was concerned about Hermione working at Gene's. It was a bar atmosphere, with the patrons smoking and drinking. It wasn't the best environment for an expectant mother. He smiled when he realized sometimes you never know when salvation was going to be delivered. In this case, the salvation came in the form of Dr. Maureen Benton. Dr. Benton was a witch, but she was also a scientist and Biology professor at Tufts University. As a matter of fact, Hermione had a class with her. Dr. Benton was a friend of Stuart's parents. She was a formidable woman in her mid-60s with gray hair in a pixie cut and sharp blue eyes. She usually frequented Gene's with some of her other witch and wizard friends, always conversing with Stuart and asking about his family. Stuart decided to take a chance and see if there was some way she'd be able to help Hermione. He could trust Dr. Benton with all of the details of why Hermione had to leave London because the doctor worked with his Auror's office on cases where muggle's DNA was involved. She would understand how crucial it was to keep this as quiet as possible. Stuart brought her into his office and told her about Hermione. Dr. Benton listened quietly. When Stuart was done, she let him know what she thought.
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"Stuart, I know the young lady. Ms. Granger is quite a remarkable student, probably the best I've encountered in all of my years of teaching. I'm sorry to hear that she's gotten herself into this predicament. What is it that I can do?" Dr. Benton asked. "I wanted to know if there were any positions open at the university. I think that'd be a better atmosphere considering her condition. Do you think you could help Hermione out?" Stuart asked. "I'm not teaching as many classes as I normally do, but I suppose I could use an assistant. I'll talk to her after class," Dr. Benton replied and sighed. "Thanks Mo, I knew I could count on you," Stuart replied and grinned. "You're lucky I like you, you little shit. You're the only one who can get away with calling me "Mo," Dr. Benton chuckled. Stuart laughed too and gave Dr. Benton and her friends a free round of drinks and appetizers. As Dr. Benton enjoyed her time with her friends, she found herself thinking about Hermione Granger. She knew about Hermione's involvement with the last wizarding war and how the young woman had been such an integral part of The Golden Trio. It saddened Dr. Benton to see this young woman who showed so much promise to have had her life compromised in this manner. She was going to do her best to help the young girl out. Harry knew that Draco worked at the Ministry, but thankfully he never encountered the prick. That changed one February afternoon. Harry and Ron were returning from lunch and entered one of the Ministry's elevators to take them back to the Auror's office. When they walked in they were greeted with the sight of Draco making out with a witch who was a secretary in his office. Draco looked up when he saw Harry and Ron, giving them his best smirk and then he went back to kissing the witch. Harry gave Ron a wry look and Ron rolled his eyes. They ignored Draco and were glad when the elevator stopped for their floor. "Malfoy truly is a piece of work," Ron said. "He's just doing it to try and get a rise out of us. He thinks we're probably going to go running to Hermione about seeing him with his latest slag," Harry said and chuckled. He felt like telling Ron that he was one to talk considering what he'd done to Hermione, but he kept his mouth shut. Ron seemed to have matured in the last few months. He felt terrible about what had happened to Hermione. Ron was working diligently with Harry and the other Aurors to bring Lucius Malfoy down.
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"Speaking of Hermione, have you heard anything lately?" Ron asked. "I spoke to Stuart a few weeks ago and he said she was adjusting to school and work, but that she was homesick," Harry replied, sighing. "I bet she's homesick, being uprooted like that because of Malfoy. I really hate that dude," Ron said sharply. "I know the feeling," Harry said. The two young men entered their office and went to work. They went about their duties, but they continued to think about their friend. As soon as Harry and Ron had stepped out of the elevator and the doors shut, Draco pushed the witch away from him. She gave him a hurt and surprised look. "What'd you push me away for? I thought we were going to go to your office for a little afternoon shag?" the witch asked in a whiny voice. "A shag? Are you mad? You've served your purpose, now stay the hell away from me," Draco growled. The witch backed away and stayed in one corner of the elevator, watching Draco. She knew she should've listened to her coworkers when he asked her out to lunch. They told her he only used women and treated them like shit. What made her think he was going to treat her differently? When the elevator stopped on their floor, Draco walked out as soon as the doors opened. He never looked back at the witch, but could hear her sniveling. He smirked as he walked into his office, but once the door was closed and he was seated at his desk, the smirk faded. He truly felt like a heel. He knew it was wrong to treat women in that manner, but after what he'd been through, something had died in him. He was glad Potter and Weasley saw him; let them run and tell Hermione all about it. He didn't need her; there were plenty of available women who would do anything for him. Who was he kidding? There was something these women couldn't do; they couldn't and wouldn't ever be Hermione. Hermione, after getting over the shock of being pregnant, finally felt like perhaps things were taking a turn for the better. With the help of Stuart and Dr. Benton, she was able to secure a position as a teaching assistant to Dr. Benton. At first, Hermione was a little upset that Stuart had gone behind her back to engineer this, but she realized it was for her and the baby's well-being. Stuart was right, a bar and
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grill wasn't a good environment for someone in her condition. Dr. Benton explained to Hermione who she was and Hermione was relieved to be working for someone who understood her situation. Hermione had gone to her first appointment with Dr. Miriam Burgess and was glad she did. She could see where Dr. Burgess from the university's clinic had gotten his wonderful bedside manner. His mother was very warm and friendly, Hermione immediately felt comfortable. Going by the first date of her last period, Dr. Burgess estimated Hermione's due date to be September 15th. The doctor gently reminded her that this date wasn't set in stone, a first pregnancy was unpredictable. The due date made Hermione happy because it was four days before her birthday on September 19th. When she left the office, she had a small smile on her face. She was going to be turning 20 years old and having a baby. She wished Draco was here to share this with her, but she knew that was not an option. She missed him so much and wondered if he thought of her. Hermione shook these thoughts off. It was over; she would never see Draco again. As Dr. Benton and Hermione worked together, Dr. Benton grew to admire and respect Hermione. Despite her unfortunate situation, Hermione never complained, did her work, and earned stellar grades. When Dr. Benton realized Hermione was living with Stuart and Penny, she decided to offer Hermione a place to stay. Dr. Benton lived in a spacious 4-bedroom, 3-bath colonial home near the university. She and her ex-husband had bought it when they first married. When they divorced after being married for 20 years, Dr. Benton kept the home in the divorce settlement. They had hoped to fill the home with children, but gave up after Dr. Benton suffered numerous miscarriages. She had thought about selling the house, but she just couldn't bear to part with it. The mortgage was paid, she loved the neighborhood she lived in, and it was so close to the university. Hermione was shocked and at first, didn't want to accept Dr. Benton's offer. She talked it over with Penny and Stuart. Although they never made her feel like she was an imposition, Hermione always felt as if she was intruding on the young couple's space. Stuart wasn't sure if it was such a good decision at first, but as he thought it over, there were definite advantages. Dr. Benton's home was closer to the school and the hospital. It was also in close proximity to the Auror's office. It would be easier for Stuart and the other Aurors to keep tabs on her. In early March, Hermione moved in with Dr. Benton. As she packed her few belongings from Penny and Stuart's home, she took a look around her small bedroom. She was going to miss them, but she knew that she was doing the right thing. She was still going to see the couple often. Penny insisted that Hermione sign
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up for Lamaze classes and that she'd be Hermione's coach. Stuart rolled his eyes when he found out that Penny had signed him up too, since he was going to be the "backup" if for some reason she wouldn't be able to coach Hermione. Draco had not set foot inside Gene's since Hermione left in December. It wasn't until one Friday night in March before he walked into the place again. He was meeting Blaise and Theo for a drink before they ventured off to some random club. Draco didn't even bother asking the name of the places they went too, they were all the same to him. As he walked into Gene's, his eyes were drawn to the bar, thinking that this was the place where it all began. Thankfully, his friends were seated at a table and he walked over to the join them. They ordered their drinks and conversed quietly. Draco noticed that Hermione's roommate was working and something snapped. When Thalia walked by their table, he grabbed her arm. "What the hell?" Thalia asked, pissed off. "Did you know?" Draco growled. "Know what, you white-haired cucaracha? Take your fucking hands off of me," Thalia growled back. Blaise and Theo were concerned and tried to pull Draco away from Thalia, but he pushed them away. "You knew Hermione was sleeping with Stuart, didn't you? Did she share some of her payoff with you? Probably not since you're still working here," Draco sneered. "I don't know what the hell you're talking about. Hermione would never do something so vile. I can't say the same for you. Let go of me before I sic Doug on your sorry arse," Thalia spat. Who the fuck does Draco Malfoy think he is? "Is everything okay here?" Doug asked as he walked up. He had been watching the situation from across the room. He knew Thalia was tough and usually was able to handle out of line customers without interference from him, but something about the way Draco Malfoy looked set him on edge. They young man was really angry. "It's fine Doug. Right Draco?" Thalia asked in a flat voice, her eyes narrowed. "Yeah, it's just peachy," Draco replied in a flat manner also. He felt ashamed of what he'd just done, but it was as if he couldn't help himself. Seeing Thalia stirred up all of his angry thoughts regarding Hermione.
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Thalia walked to the kitchen to check if her orders were ready and to cool down after her confrontation with Draco. The rest of the night was busy, but thankfully there were no other incidents. It wasn't until her shift ended that Thalia realized there was more to why Hermione had to leave so suddenly. She kept in touch with Hermione through emails, but they were just the usual chitchat about school and life in general. Hermione never mentioned Draco or anyone else she was dating. Why would Draco think her friend had been sleeping with Stuart and the mention of a payoff? There was no way Hermione was capable of that. Thalia needed answers and she knew just the person to ask. Harry's day at the Auror's office was about to end when he received an unexpected visitor. It was Hermione's ex-roommate, Thalia. Harry had an idea of why she was there; she probably wanted news of Hermione. He greeted Thalia and showed her to his small office. Once they were seated, Thalia started firing questions. "I'm sure I don't have to tell you why I'm here Harry. I had a confrontation about Hermione with Draco Malfoy at Gene's the other night. It's raised a few questions. Are you going to help me or just give me a load of crap?" Thalia asked directly. "What happened with Malfoy?" Harry asked, concerned. Thalia told Harry about Draco confronting her at work. Harry sighed and nodded. Thalia looked at him and raised her eyebrows, "So are you going to tell me what the hell is going on? I don't believe that Hermione was sleeping with Stuart. I would've known, believe me. I don't understand what happened, she was head over heels for Draco and I thought he felt the same way. Draco also mentioned something about a payoff." Harry knew that Thalia wouldn't leave him alone until she got answers, so he told her who Stuart really was and that Hermione had to leave London for her own safety. He also said that Hermione had never accepted any money from Lucius Malfoy. The money Lucius deposited in her Gringotts account was still sitting untouched. "I can't believe Draco just let Hermione go so easily! He never tried to go after her," Thalia replied, shaking her head. "You don't know Lucius Malfoy. He knows how to get into Draco's head. I don't believe his mother Narcissa shares his views, but Lucius is a demon. I can't believe after I saved him from going to Azkaban, he's still up to no good. Once we have enough evidence against him Lucius Malfoy will never see the light of day again,"
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Harry said. "When do you think that will happen? After Lucius is put away, will Hermione be able to come home?" Thalia asked. "Thalia, I'm hoping it's soon. Our Auror department and the American Aurors are working diligently. When we do put Lucius away, Hermione will definitely be able to return," Harry replied. "It'll probably be too late for her and Draco, but at least my friend would be home again. Harry, do you think it'd be possible for me to visit Hermione?" Thalia asked hopefully. "I know Hermione's parents are planning on visiting her soon. Maybe you could take the muggle flight with them. We'll have undercover Aurors on the plane, we're not taking any chances," Harry answered. "That would be great! I'll contact the Grangers and ask if it's okay I tag along. Thanks Harry, you've eased my mind about Hermione," Thalia said gratefully. "You're welcome Thalia. Let me know if there's anything else you need," Harry said as he walked out of his office with her. They took the elevator back to the first floor of the Ministry. Thalia turned and smiled as she waved to Harry. Harry did the same and walked over to the floo networks so he could return to Grimmauld Place. He sighed as he walked into his home. It was hard to tell when Hermione would be able to return home. Lucius and his minions were behaving and flying under the radar. It might even be a year before they could get anything solid on Malfoy and have him prosecuted. It was now mid-April and Hermione was so nervous. Her parents and Thalia were coming to visit. She was so excited and couldn't wait to see them, but she would also have to tell them about her pregnancy. She was about fifteen weeks along and wasn't showing, but she couldn't button her jeans. If anything Hermione looked like she had gained a little weight in her mid-section. She had wanted to find a nice hotel for her parents and Thalia, but Dr. Benton insisted that they stay at her home. The day finally arrived and Hermione drove to the airport. She was so thankful that her father insisted she get her driver's license when she had turned sixteen. Dr. Benton let her borrow her Toyota Highlander. As she drove down the highway, Hermione started thinking about all of the things she was going to need when the baby arrived. Always practical, she figured she could buy items for the baby a little at a time. Sometimes Hermione wondered how she was going to manage, but she'd
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cross that bridge when she'd get to it. Hermione spent a wonderful week with her parents and Thalia. She had missed them so much. Thankfully she was over the morning sickness stage of her pregnancy, so she wasn't running to the bathroom with her hand over her mouth. They were only going to be there for two more days and Hermione knew she needed to tell them about the pregnancy, but she wasn't sure when it was going to be a good time to do it. She had stuck to wearing loose T-shirts and no one seemed to notice. Or so she thought. It was a late afternoon and the sun was setting, when Dr. Benton proposed that they take a stroll around the neighborhood. They had just had dinner and were seated in Dr. Benton's sunroom. Hermione and Thalia decided that they wanted to stay and chat, so Dr. Benton and the Grangers went without them. As soon as the older adults were out of earshot, Thalia turned to Hermione. "So when were you going to tell me?" Thalia asked. "Tell you what?" Hermione asked innocently. "You can't hide from me Hermione Granger, what are you, about 4 months along?" Thalia asked in a matter-of-fact manner. "Shit Thalia. Here I am thinking I was able to conceal my pregnancy! How did you guess? I was planning on telling you and my parents tonight," Hermione replied. "Well, you've just been wearing loose-fitting clothing and you're eating like a horse. I know that's not your usual habits and you're going to think I'm crazy, but you have a little glow about you. Did you know when you left London?" Thalia asked. "No I didn't find out until January. I was throwing up and thought I had the flu until Penny had me take a pregnancy test. I think I'm just getting used to the fact that I'll be having a baby. I don't know how my parents are going to react. I know I should've told them and you sooner, but I just don't know when would be a good time. They're going to be so disappointed in me," Hermione replied, a few tears rolling down her cheeks. "I think they're going to be shocked at first, but your parents really love and care for you. I guess it's safe to say Draco doesn't know," Thalia said with a slight grimace. "No he doesn't and he never will. I plan on being a single mother and I'm going to
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stay here in the States to raise my child. I really miss home but I can't risk going back," Hermione answered sadly, but with steely determination. "My abuelo likes to say everything happens for a reason, but chica I wonder how many more reasons you're going to have to go through! You have a lot on your plate. Just know that I'm here for you. Just say the word if ever you need me and I'll drop everything. You're not alone in this," Thalia said and walked over to Hermione, pulling her friend in a tight hug. "Thanks Thalia, it means a lot to hear that from you. I feel better now that you know. I think it's going to be easier for me to tell my parents," Hermione replied. The Grangers almost fell off of their chairs when Hermione told them, but after talking it out, the initial shock began to wear off. They were going to be grandparents a little sooner than they expected. They wondered about the father of the baby, but Hermione told them that they were no longer together. She said that he wasn't going to be involved in the life of the baby either. Her parents figured this was why Hermione left London so suddenly. Perhaps by the time the baby arrive, Hermione and her young man would manage to patch things up. The Grangers truly had no idea how dire Hermione's situation was. It was June in London and Draco was in the VIP section of a muggle club. Along with Blaise and Theo, he was surrounded by a bevy of gorgeous women. He settled back in the plush leather chair he was seated in, surveying the scene around him. The women smiled and gave him appreciative look; any one of them would've gladly gone home with him. Draco just wasn't interested until he spotted one girl on the other end of club. As he stood up from his chair and walked in her direction, all he focused on were the long, brown wavy hair that fell to her waist. His heart beating fast, he walked quickly, wondering if it was really her. Alas, when Draco walked up to her, she turned and gazed at him. Of course she wasn't Hermione. This girl had a long face and nose. She also wore way too much makeup. Draco figured what the hell and asked her to dance. The young woman looked back at her friends with an amazed expression as she let Draco lead her to the dance floor. She and her friends had been admiring Draco all night. She couldn't believe he asked her to dance instead of one of her much more attractive blue-eyed blonde girlfriends. At that moment, her so-called friends were dissing her at the table, saying that Draco must be some kind of weirdo to ask her to dance instead of one of them. They were even more shocked when their friend, whose name was Lisa, left the club with the good-looking young man. Draco knew what he was doing was so wrong, but he couldn't help himself. He still missed Hermione so much no matter how much his father tried to convince him
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that she was a good for nothing mudblood. This muggle girl he picked up at the club looked nothing like Hermione, except for the hair. They made it to his apartment and began to make out. He could tell that this was no innocent he had with him, for the young woman quickly unfastened his clothes and had her dress off before he could even blink. They ended up on the sofa, in their underwear. She pulled Draco's boxers down and her panties, then guided his penis to her snatch. Draco closed his eyes; he didn't want to look at her. He began moving; trying to tune out the annoying girl's wailing and moans. It was the first time he had been with someone since Hermione, so it was quick. When his release came, he gasped out Hermione's name. He rolled off of the young woman and walked to the bathroom to clean himself off. He was disgusted at what he'd just done. Had he really been reduced to this? When he walked out, the young woman had already dressed. She looked at him angrily and said, "My name is Lisa, you twisted arsehole!" as she stormed out of the apartment. Draco didn't care as he walked over to the windows in his living room, overlooking the London skyline. He rested his head against the glass and wondered where Hermione was and if she was thinking about him. At that moment, Hermione was staring out of her bedroom window. It was June in Boston and the sun was setting. She was about twenty-two weeks along in her pregnancy. Her belly definitely had a bump and she rubbed it tenderly. She had taken to speaking to her growing belly, telling the baby how much she loved him/her. Dr. Burgess had offered to tell her the sex of the baby when she had a routine ultrasound, but Hermione didn't want to know. After she had told her parents she was pregnant, she contacted Harry and let him know too. She asked that he tell the Weasleys. Hermione trusted them and knew that her news wouldn't get back to Draco. Harry and Ginny had visited her the week before. Ginny had brought loads of gifts from her and Harry, plus some from her parents and even Ron. She was so happy when her friends and family visited, but when they left, for days afterwards she would be overcome with overwhelming feelings of homesickness and loneliness. Dr. Benton, who now insisted Hermione call her Mo, sensed this and would cheer Hermione up. Sometimes all it took was helping Mo prepare dinner and then she would meet Penny and Stuart for the Lamaze classes. She was lucky; she had good friends and something of a family here. She would never admit this to anyone, but deep in her heart she knew one person was missing, but it just wasn't possible. As she stared out at the setting sun, she thought of Draco, wondering if he ever thought of her. Hermione worked with Mo throughout the summer, since Mo taught classes during the summer term. After her fellow students got over the initial shock of seeing her growing belly, they were happy for her and wished her well. Some speculated who the father was since they never saw Hermione with anyone except Dr. Benton, but they never asked. When the summer term ended, she was about
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thirty-three weeks along and was beginning to feel sluggish. It was also a very warm summer, so the heat was a bit uncomfortable. She had gained weight, but it was mainly around her stomach, so she was pretty much what some people called "all baby." If looking at Hermione from the back, one would not realize she was pregnant until she turned around. Penny was right about the maternity clothes too. Hermione had found some really cute outfits that in no way screamed, "Look at me, I'm pregnant!" She cringed at the thought of wearing one of those T-shirts that had a huge arrow pointing to her belly and stating "Baby Under Construction." She could still remember seeing pregnant women wearing those T-shirts when she was growing up and thinking that they probably had no idea of how ridiculous they looked. Penny's sisters had good taste. There were nice blouses and plain stretchy T-shirts in a wide array of colors, along with jeans and pants. Hermione was so grateful that she didn't have to spend money on a wardrobe. That was an added expense she didn't need! Mo thought of herself as an "honorary" grandmother and helped Hermione fix a room for the baby. Sometimes Hermione liked to sit in the room, taking in all the work she and Mo had put into it. The room was decorated in a light green and cream motif, with a wall border depicting farm animals. The color scheme would work out well for a boy or a girl, Hermione thought as she sat in the glider rocker next to the crib. The crib had arrived the week before; it was a gift from her parents. Hermione was so touched when Stuart put the crib together; the cherry wood frame was lovely and complemented the dcor of the room. She smiled as she gently rocked and felt her baby move within her. It wouldn't be long before she would have her baby in her arms. The fall semester started in mid-August and Hermione resumed her classes. Her pregnancy did not hold her back, in fact it made her more determined to become a doctor. She was going to need her career to provide for her and her child. So with that in mind, Hermione went to class and maintained one of the highest GPA's in her class. By this time, she was seeing Dr. Burgess every week. As she was nearing term, Hermione had to be pre-admitted to the hospital and made sure she had a bag packed in case the baby decided to come early. She also was able to make arrangements with her professors to do her homework and exams online until she was able to return to school. It was a bit more difficult getting around, but for the most part Hermione felt good. It was now early September and she only had two more weeks until her due date of September 15th. Dr. Burgess told her as long as she felt okay, it was fine for her to attend classes and to follow her normal schedule. This was exactly what Hermione did.
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As her due date approached, Hermione's mother came to spend a few weeks with her. She wanted to be there when the baby arrived. Mr. Granger was going to come later. Hermione was so relieved that her parents were so accepting of her pregnancy. They asked a few questions about the baby's father, but Hermione told them that she was definite that he wouldn't want to be a part of the child's life. This made them sad for their daughter, but Hermione seemed to accept this, so they would too. It was two days past her due date, but Hermione wasn't too concerned. She had been having small contractions for the past few weeks, but as Dr. Burgess examined her, she still wasn't ready. On this day, in the late afternoon of September 17th, Hermione was in Mo's office at school grading papers. Mo was sitting at her desk working on a lesson plan. All of a sudden, Hermione began to feel warm liquid trickling down her leg and then it started to gush. "Mo, I think my water just broke," Hermione said nervously. Mo stood up from her desk and had her hand over her mouth. "Oh Hermione, we need to get you to the hospital! Wait for me, I'll help you up." "Mo, I'm sorry I've made such a mess," Hermione wailed a little. "Nonsense! You're having a baby! I'll have that cleared up in a jiffy," Mo chuckled and did a quick cleaning spell. "Come on, let's get to the hospital." Mo shuffled along with Hermione as they left the building and headed to Mo's vehicle. The hospital was only a few minutes away and as soon as they arrived, Hermione was taken to a room. Hermione's father had come in the day before, so as soon as Mo let them know Hermione's water had broken, her parents arrived at the hospital moments after. Penny and Stuart go there and went straight to Hermione's room. It was all so exciting; they were all anticipating the arrival of the baby! It was September 18th and about 3 in the morning in London. Draco woke up and just couldn't get back to sleep. He went into the kitchen, opened the fridge, and drank straight out of the carton of orange juice. He had a small smile as he could imagine Hermione yelling at him for not pouring the juice in a glass. He went back to his bedroom and tried to get back to sleep, but sleep eluded him. There was something amiss; he couldn't figure out what it could possibly be. Draco felt that maybe he had missed out on something important. He grabbed an appointment book sitting on an end table near his bed. He felt stupid as he thumbed through it, but he couldn't help it. As he checked the dates, everything was as it should be. At this point, he decided to try to read a book, but he couldn't concentrate. What was
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wrong with him, he thought. Draco ended up going to the living room to stare out of the window, as he had been doing the last few months. Most of the time he wondered where Hermione was and he'd be able to get to sleep but this was different. Why did he have such an overwhelming feeling of helplessness? Pray God you can cope. I stand outside this woman's work, This woman's world. Ooh, it's hard on the man, Now his part is over. Now starts the craft of the father. Hermione's contractions were coming quickly and Penny was breathing along with her. She was hooked up to a monitor and was able to hear the baby's strong heartbeat. The nurse came in to examine her and told her she was only dilated five centimeters. Hermione needed to be closer to ten centimeters before she could start pushing. The nurse reassured her that it probably wouldn't be long. The contractions were becoming more and more painful, but Hermione remembered what she had learned in the Lamaze classes and she was able to tolerate the pain. I know you have a little life in you yet. I know you have a lot of strength left. I know you have a little life in you yet. I know you have a lot of strength left. Draco began to wonder if he was going crazy. He still couldn't shake off the feeling that he should be somewhere and it involved Hermione. This was ludicrous; he hadn't seen her since she left Italy in December. It drove him up the wall that she still invaded his thoughts even knowing what she did. Draco started to feel an overwhelming feeling of sadness come over him. A lump formed in his throat and tears started to roll down his cheeks. I should be crying, but I just can't let it show.
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I should be hoping, but I can't stop thinking Of all the things I should've said, That I never said. All the things we should've done, That we never did. All the things I should've given, But I didn't. Hermione's labor was moving along steadily. After about two hours, Dr. Burgess arrived and examined her. She was at ten centimeters and it was time to start pushing. Hermione could not get over how excruciating this was. She was having very evil thoughts about Draco as she pushed, but she kept them to herself. It was a good thing Draco was nowhere around because Hermione probably would've hexed him out of the solar system. All of a sudden, Hermione started to feel faint. She could hear Penny calling her name, but it sounded as if Penny was far away. A loud beeping noise went off on the monitor, but to Hermione it sounded very distant. Dr. Burgess had a very concerned look on her face and she politely asked Penny to leave the room. They were going to have to get Hermione to an operating room. Hermione had started to lose blood and the baby's heartbeat was slowing down. Oh, darling, make it go, Make it go away. Give me these moments back. Give them back to me. Give me that little kiss. Give me your hand. Draco sat hunched over on his couch, sobbing. He felt like something terrible had happened to Hermione. He wondered if this was a horrible nightmare. If it was, he wished he'd wake up soon. He hadn't felt this awful since the war. His heart felt empty and he had such an overwhelming feeling of desolation.
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Penny watched as Hermione was taken out of her room, followed by a surgical team in scrubs. They quickly wheeled her away. A nurse told Penny that someone would come out and let the family know what was happening. Penny had never felt so helpless in all her life. Everything was going so well, but within minutes Hermione began to fade away. Please let Hermione and the baby be okay, please, please, Penny prayed silently as she walked to the waiting room. One of the nurses met Hermione's parents and friends in the waiting room. She reassured them that Hermione was in good hands. Hermione had lost quite a bit of blood, but Dr. Burgess was able to stabilize her and the baby's heartbeat was back on track. The nurse returned to the operating room. One agonizing hour later, Dr. Burgess walked into the waiting room. It was hard to tell the expression on her face. The Grangers walked up to her, along with Hermione's friends. Dr. Burgess smiled as she looked at all of them. "You'll be happy to know that at 10:10 p.m. Hermione gave birth to a 7 lb. 8 oz., 22 inch long boy. The baby is fantastic and Hermione is recovering too. I had to perform an emergency C-section and everything went well. Just give our staff a few minutes and one of the nurses will bring the baby out," Dr. Burgess said. Everyone thanked her and there was an immense feeling of relief. They couldn't wait to see Hermione's baby boy. As Dr. Burgess promised, a nurse came out with a small bundle and walked over to them. She let Mrs. Granger hold the baby first and it was love at first sight when she gazed upon her new grandson. Everyone oohed and aahed, he was a beautiful baby. Stuart looked at him and smiled. If that baby isn't for Draco Malfoy, it's for Lucius, he thought as he took in the baby boy's pale white fuzz on his head and what was probably going to be the same gray eyes as his father. It was now 5 a.m. in London. It was at this time that Draco's desolate feeling went away and he started to feel warmth spread through him. It was as if the hole Hermione had left in his heart was being filled with something he couldn't quite explain. Draco had no idea what had happened to him, but for some reason he was relieved. Why did he feel that Hermione was no longer in jeopardy? After this he was able to get back to bed and get a few hours of sleep. When he woke up, he felt refreshed. Something in his life had changed. When Hermione came to, her only concern was for her baby. Dr. Burgess was there and soothed her. The baby was brought in and Hermione was able to see her son. Her son, she thought as she was finally able to get a good look at him. She wasn't surprised when she saw how much he resembled Draco. While she was
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pregnant, she had thought over many names for a boy or a girl. She knew exactly what name she wanted as she looked at her son. She smiled and said, "Welcome to the world, Cameron Jude Granger." A/N: This is going to be quite a journey for Dramione! I used lyrics from the song "This Woman's Work" by Kate Bush. Truly amazing song with great renditions by Maxwell and a teenage girl named Hope Murphy on Britain's Got Talent. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, let me know! As always, I appreciate the reviews and alerts! Keeps me going!

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Chapter 9
Chapter Nine Disclaimer:I do not own anything related to Harry Potter. Hermione woke up at 4 a.m. to the sounds of Cameron crying. At almost two months old, Cameron would sleep 2-3 hours and then wake up to be fed or changed. Hermione walked over to his crib and picked him up. His cries subsided when he latched on to her breast. As she settled with Cameron on the glider rocker, Hermione caressed his baby soft platinum hair and inhaled his sweet baby smell. She loved him so much; her heart ached at how much he looked like Draco. Tears formed as she thought about Draco and how he should be sharing moments like these with her. She had asked Stuart if there was any possible way she could let Draco know, but Stuart had shaken his head sadly. He didn't have to spell it out for Hermione; she knew it all came down to Lucius and his threats. There was no telling what the diabolical man would be capable of if he knew he had a half-blood grandson. Hermione shuttered at the thought of anyone trying to hurt Cameron. She didn't know it was possible to love a little human being so much. From the moment she laid eyes on him, Hermione knew she would give her life if it meant saving his. Being young and healthy, Hermione recovered quickly and she was able to start attending classes again. Despite the major change in her life, she still managed to keep up with her classes and maintain a good grade point average. There was a daycare on the campus and Hermione was able to go between classes to feed Cameron. Sometimes it would get a little hectic, but with the help of her family and good friends she managed. Her mother had stayed with her for a few weeks after Cameron was born. She was able to give Hermione tips and helped her settle in with Cameron. Mr. and Mrs. Granger were totally enamored of their new grandson. They were still puzzled by Hermione's reluctance to speak about the father, but they didn't press their daughter. They hoped the day would come when Cameron would know his father. It saddened them that Hermione was raising a child on her own. Hermione was shaping up to be a wonderful mother, but Mrs. Granger still worried because her daughter sometimes seemed to have an aura of sadness about her. She'd watch as Hermione would sometimes stare into the distance with a wistful look, as if she was
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thinking of someone. Draco still thought about that night a few months before when he had felt so desolate and helpless. He didn't get it; he wasn't drunk or under the influence of any narcotics when it had all occurred. The only thing he was sure of was that it was somehow connected to Hermione, which was ridiculous. It was now close to a year since he'd last seen or heard from her. He couldn't possibly fathom what the connection could be. He and Hermione were over. Day in, day out, it was all the same for Draco. He had settled into a routine of working all week and then hitting the clubs with Blaise and Theo. He scoffed when he heard older, settled wizards telling him and his friends to enjoy being young because these were the best days of their lives. If that's the case I'd sure hate to know what the worst days are, Draco thought. Sometimes he really felt like he was only going through the motions of life. He was an empty shell of a person. Thalia was so excited. She was done with finals and was going home for the Christmas holidays. Before she'd fly back home she was going to spend a few days in Boston with Cameron and Hermione. She couldn't wait to meet the new baby; she'd only seen pictures Mr. and Mrs. Granger had taken. Hermione waited anxiously at the airport for Thalia to arrive. She smiled when she saw Thalia's waving as she made her way through the throng of people arriving at the same time. "Hey chica!" Thalia exclaimed when she reached Hermione. "You don't know how glad I am to see you. I couldn't wait for you to get here," Hermione said as she hugged her good friend. "Same here. Where's Cameron?" Thalia asked. "I left him with Mo. I didn't want to bring him around all of these people. Uh, it is cold and flu season," Hermione replied and looked at Thalia as if she should've known that. "Spoken like a true mom, c'mon let's blow this taco stand," Thalia chuckled as she linked arms with Hermione. The next few days went by way too fast. Thalia so enjoyed her time with Hermione and Cameron. She was a little worried because she wasn't sure how Hermione was going to handle a baby and school. Thalia was so impressed with Hermione's
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mothering skills and the fact that she'd adjusted to the major shift in her life. Since it was a few weeks before Christmas, they did a little shopping and brought Cameron to have his picture taken with an American Santa Claus. She and Hermione laughed as Cameron only stared in fascination at the white-bearded gentleman. The picture was adorable. Hermione said she couldn't wait to show her parents. Thalia couldn't get over how much Cameron resembled Draco. She still thought Draco was a real git, but it was a shame he couldn't be there to share all this with Hermione. In the few days she was there, the baby boy managed to capture her heart. She loved rocking him to sleep, sometimes singing Spanish lullabies from her childhood. Hermione stood at the door watching as Thalia managed to get Cameron to sleep. "You're going to be such a wonderful mother," Hermione said softly and smiled warmly. "Thanks, I used to help my mom with my brothers," Thalia whispered and smiled back as she carefully placed Cameron in his crib. Hermione set the baby monitor and they quietly walked out of the room. Mo was out with friends, so the two young women went into the kitchen and prepared a quick dinner. They chatted amicably, Thalia relaying gossip about classmates and the people they worked with at Gene's. Hermione was feeling a little sad because Thalia was leaving the next morning. She was going to miss her friend so much. How she wished she could go back to her old life and see her family and friends. Thalia noticed the sad look on Hermione's friend and patted her hand. "I know it doesn't seem like it now, but it'll get easier. Time heals all wounds and all those other clichs." Hermione managed to get out a chuckle. "I'm a little down because you're leaving tomorrow, but you always can get a laugh out of me." "I wish we could see each other more often, but that's just the way it is-for now. I hope and pray Harry and Stuart can put Lucius away for good. You and Cameron will be able to come home," Thalia said. "Do you think it's wrong to hide Cameron from Draco? I'm so torn about this. Before I gave birth I was all set to do this on my own and I didn't want Draco to know, but now I'm not sure. What am I going to do when Cameron is old enough to
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start asking questions about his father? I have to think of him and put my feelings about Draco aside," Hermione said. "Oh Hermione, I wouldn't want to be in your position. I think when the time comes you'll have it figured out. Maybe when Cameron is older, the situation will be different. There's a good possibility you'll probably be back in London. If Lucius is no longer a threat, then by all means let Draco know. If he decides he wants to be a part of Cameron's life, then it's all good. If not, you'll know that you tried and left the decision up to him," Thalia replied. "You make it sound so simple," Hermione said with a wry smile. "Hopefully one day it will be," Thalia said and sighed. She truly hoped so; Hermione and her child didn't deserve this. Draco dreaded going to Italy for the Christmas holiday, but he promised his mother. He tried to keep his visits as brief as possible, he could still feel Hermione's presence. Draco made sure that he stayed inebriated so he didn't have to think about the events that had taken place the year before. Lucius and Narcissa were having a party a few days before Christmas. It was a gathering of their friends and Lucius' "business" associates. Draco played the dutiful son; greeting the guests and was charming, telling the women how lovely they looked even though he thought they were hideous. He fixed himself a shot of Firewhiskey and wolfed it down. He drank a few more after that and sat in a corner, ignoring everyone. Feather Bradshaw tried to engage him in some inane conversation but he only had to shoot her a look of disdain and she walked away in a huff. He wanted to brood in peace, but this was soon interrupted. "Well that was rude. I don't think Feather is too happy with you," a female voice said. "Who are you and why do you think I care if Feather Bradshaw is happy with me or not?" Draco asked in a surly manner. "Just a casual observation. My name is Myla Digby," said the young woman as she came into Draco's view. Myla was the daughter of one of Lucius' business associates. She was tall and very slim, almost to the point of being too thin. Myla had waist-length jet black hair and snakelike green eyes. She was a very striking woman. She was wearing a long fitted red silk dress and stiletto heels to match. The dress was cut very low in the front and almost came down to her navel. It was a bit much for this small gathering, but Myla didn't care. She liked standing out.
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Draco appraised her and wondered why she looked familiar. It hit him. Myla was the newest face of a large wizarding cosmetics company, WonderWitch. Her face was plastered on billboards in wizarding communities and there were usually full-page ads in the Daily Prophet featuring her and their latest products. Draco had wondered who she was; Myla hadn't attended Hogwarts. Myla took a seat near Draco and they ended up drinking and talking for the rest of the evening. He found out that she had attended Miss LauraBelle's School of Magic and had been in the same class as Feather. She thought that Feather was a twit too, so she and Draco had a good laugh. Draco actually enjoyed talking to Myla and they made plans to have dinner when they returned to London. He thought that Myla seemed different from the other young women he'd been meeting. She gave off an attitude of independence, kind of like someone else Draco knew very well. Myla reminded him a little of Hermione and he wondered if that was why he asked her out to dinner. Perhaps this is a step in the right direction; maybe I'll stop thinking of Hermione so much, Draco thought. Lucius watched from across the room and smiled as he sipped his drink. Myla was exactly what Draco needed. The fetching witch would definitely divert his son's attention from the mudblood. This had all worked out to Lucius' advantage. The mudblood had heeded his warning and indeed left London. Draco needed a good pureblooded witch like Myla Digby. The Digby's bloodline was as prestigious as the Malfoy's. Draco was definitely moving in the right direction as far as he was concerned. Hermione and Cameron planned on spending Christmas Eve with Mo, Penny, and Stuart. They were having a quiet dinner at Mo's when there was a knock on the door. Hermione went to answer it and was shocked when she was greeted by her parents. She wasn't expecting to see them until after the New Year, so she was beyond thrilled. They spent the next few days with her and Cameron, and then returned to London. She had been feeling a little down for the holidays, but seeing Thalia and her parents made Hermione feel better. It had been exactly a year since she'd last seen Draco. Cameron, her friends and family managed to keep her mind off of that when they were together, but late at night or in the early morning when she woke up with Cameron, she thought of Draco. It amazed Hermione when she'd sit back and realized all she had been through in the span of only one year. Hermione started her second year of medical school in January. She continued to work as Dr. Benton's assistant and began to help out in the university's large animal clinic. She enjoyed working with horses and cattle. Hermione didn't tell anyone but
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she hoped to return home and set up her own clinic. She thought back to how much she enjoyed working with Dr. Hamlin that one summer. It wasn't that long ago, but to Hermione it felt like eons had passed since then. That was a chapter of her life that was now closed. It was now April and the semester was almost over. Unbeknownst to Hermione, there was a new secretary working in the biology department. Beryl Smith was an American witch who was a Voldemort sympathizer and despised mudbloods, but no one would ever suspect this of the seemingly mild-mannered woman. Middle-aged and mousy with thinning and graying black hair; Beryl was also plump and destined to be an old maid. She lived alone and led a quiet life. It was quiet until she was contacted by one of Lucius' minions. The man was very charming and it was easy to convince Beryl to keep an eye on Hermione. The woman observed Hermione from a distance and was to report any unusual findings to the contact in London. Beryl was disappointed. She thought that this was going to be an exciting mission for the Dark Side, but all it was so far was answering phones and pushing papers. She did as she was told and followed the Granger girl, but the girl proved to be annoyingly boring and routine. Same thing, day in, day out, Beryl thought. She wondered why the Dark Side was so interested in this unremarkable young woman. Beryl so wanted to please Layton, the man who'd recruited her to perform this task. He told her not to contact him unless she found something substantial. She wanted to find something substantial to report back, Layton was a dream! No man had ever paid attention to her before, Layton made her feel like a queen. She almost felt like giving up until Beryl found out something astounding. Hermione enjoyed school and working in the clinic, but the best part of her day was when this all ended. She happily walked over to the university's daycare and picked Cameron up. She placed him in his stroller and they made their way back to the home they shared with Mo, sometimes stopping to run a few errands. Cameron was now 8 months old and quite the handful. He had started crawling at 6 months and was supporting himself on the furniture. Hermione and Mo figured it wouldn't be long before he was walking. Before returning home, Hermione and Cameron stopped at the local grocery store. She picked up a few items to make homemade pizza along with jars of baby food. She laughed to herself when she thought about the mess Cameron made when she attempted to serve him strained green beans. Hermione smiled at him lovingly. Cameron babbled happily as they walked down the aisles of the store, looking at Hermione with an alert expression when she spoke to him. Beryl had followed them into the store and was pushing a shopping cart a few
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paces behind them. Now this was something. She wondered if the Dark Side knew the mudblood had a child. The boy was probably going to reach his first birthday in a few months. Beryl maneuvered her shopping cart near them in the produce section. She watched as Hermione showed the child different fruits and vegetables and named them. The child watched his mother and laughed loudly, his little teeth showing. Beryl thought the whole scene was endearing, but then she caught herself. This was a mudblood and her offspring; she had a mission to complete. She decided to approach them. "What a lovely child! How old is he, about 7 months?" Beryl asked with a fake smile. "Thank you, he just made 8 months," Hermione said and smiled at the older woman. She was used to being approached by strangers, mostly women, who stopped to admire Cameron. "He truly is adorable. You two have a nice evening," Beryl said with saccharine sweetness. She kept on pushing her cart and ducked into an aisle. She left the cart and exited the store. Beryl couldn't wait to get home; finally she had something to tell Layton. Lucius sat back in his chair behind his desk in his home office. His associate Layton had just given him the most astonishing news and he was quite frankly, flabbergasted. As he processed this information, he rested his chin against his hands that were pressed together, as if he was praying. Layton watched quietly, trying to gauge Lucius' reaction. After a long moment, Lucius finally spoke. "So you are telling me the mudblood has a child and this offspring is possibly my blood?" Lucius spat. "Yes Mr. Malfoy. Beryl, the American witch we recruited, was able to get photographs," Layton replied as he spread the photos for Lucius to examine. Lucius sucked in his breath when he viewed the pictures. The child was the spitting image of Draco when he was the same age. Lucius couldn't believe the child was almost a year old; something would need to be done. He wondered if the mudblood knew she was pregnant when he banished her. Probably all part of her plan to trap Draco, thought Lucius. "Are you okay Mr. Malfoy?" Layton asked. "I'm fine Layton. Thank you for the information you've provided. You and your
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American cohort have been most helpful. You may go," Lucius replied. "As you wish Mr. Malfoy, don't hesitate to contact me should you need anything more," Layton said as he walked out of the office. Lucius remained in his office, his thoughts running deep. What was Hermione Granger planning to do with her child? Lucius made a decision. He was going to pay the mudblood and her offspring a visit. There was no way she was getting away with this nonsense. He couldn't have a half blood child tainting the Malfoy bloodline. The next few weeks were a whirlwind of elaborate planning to get Lucius to the United States. It involved quite a bit of Polyjuice Potion and sheer guile. Lucius was able to charter a jet out of Italy. The Aurors had a tracking device on Lucius, but Layton managed to scramble the charms on it. It would probably last for only half-a-day, but Lucius was hoping by that time he'd be in the United States. The jet landed at a private hanger in Boston. Beryl was already there, waiting to pick up Lucius. She'd been a busy woman the last few weeks. She managed to become a part of the same circle of friends as Mo. By doing this, she was able to pick up a stray hair of Mo's that had fallen on Mo's jacket. Mo never noticed. Beryl had what she needed to make the Polyjuice Potion Mr. Malfoy had requested. She watched as the imposing man made his way to her car, grimacing at her. "Well, let's have it," Lucius said sharply. "He-re, here it is, Mr. Malfoy. It's such an honor to finally meet you," Beryl stammered as she nervously handed Lucius the bottle of Polyjuice Potion. Lucius rolled his eyes and grabbed the bottle from Beryl. "Do you have clothes? I can't possibly go dressed like this." "Yes, Mr. Malfoy. Here they are," Beryl said as he handed him a garment bag. "Aren't you the dutiful one!" Lucius said sarcastically as he looked around to make sure he and Beryl were the only ones there. When he was sure of it, he ducked into a men's restroom to make the change. Lucius grimaced as he drank the potion. He stripped off his clothes as he felt the change take over. When he looked in the mirror, there was an older woman with stylishly cropped gray hair and blue eyes staring back at him. He felt silly as he put on the shapeless purple sweater and matching broomstick skirt Beryl had brought. Lucius slipped his feet into sensible black flats and took one last look at his
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reflection, rolling his eyes again. He would have picked more stylish clothes, but this was going to have to do. The mudblood trusted this Mo person. There was no way his plan was going to fail. When Harry arrived at work, the first thing he did was check the tracking charts on the ex-cons in their district. As his eyes scanned the screen, something was off. How was it that Lucius Malfoy never moved from the same area in the last 5 hours? Was he dead? Harry immediately went to his supervisor with this information and they quickly disapparated to Italy to check this out. Harry did not like this one bit, something was off. Harry was right; when he and his supervisor arrived at the Malfoy's Italian villa, Lucius was nowhere to be found. Narcissa returned from a salon appointment while Harry was still there. Harry could tell that she was just as bewildered as they were as to where Lucius could've gone. Suddenly the same thought occurred to Harry and his supervisor at the same time. They hoped they were wrong, but they contacted the American Aurors to be on the safe side. It was a very good possibility Lucius was in Boston to go after Hermione and Cameron. They disapparated back to their office in London and from there managed to take a floo network to the American Ministry's office in Boston. It was a Friday afternoon and Hermione was done with her classes. She was at home with Cameron. Mo was out shopping with a friend, so they were alone in the house. Hermione was taking care of household chores while Cameron took a nap. She heard the front door open and was surprised that Mo was home so early. She walked out of the laundry room and made her way to the front door. "Hey Mo, did you forget something?" Hermione asked and chuckled. Something wasn't right; when Mo left earlier Hermione could've sworn she was wearing black slacks and a pink blouse. Mo wouldn't be caught dead in that shapeless purple sweater and skirt she was wearing. "No dear, I didn't forget anything. Where's the baby?" Mo asked, looking around the home. "Mo, are you okay? You don't seem like yourself," Hermione said as she scrutinized her. Mo knew Cameron would be napping at this time. As Hermione processed this, she watched with horror as Mo's face began to change right before her eyes. She couldn't believe it when there before her stood Lucius Malfoy! "Where's the baby, mudblood? Thought you could hide your offspring from me, huh? We'll see," Lucius said viciously as he pointed his wand at Hermione.
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No, no! This can't be happening, Hermione thought. She could've kicked herself for not keeping her wand with her. It was lying on the top of the dresser in Cameron's room. She decided that she'd try to reason with Lucius. "Lucius, I don't know what you're talking about. I think you need to go. I bet the Aurors are looking for you. If you go, I'll tell them you were never here." "Oh silly mudblood, fuck you and the Aurors! You don't think I'm going to allow you to disgrace my family's pureblood lineage! Now take me to the child," Lucius growled. Hermione only shook her head and decided to make a run for Cameron's room, but Lucius anticipated her move, grabbing her roughly by the arm. He delivered a hard slap to her face, cutting her cheek with a spiked skull ring he wore on his right index finger. The blow knocked the wind out of Hermione and she fell to the floor. She touched her cheek and wasn't surprised to see blood on her fingers. This couldn't be happening; there was no way in hell Lucius was getting to Cameron. How the hell did Lucius find out? Where were the Aurors, Hermione thought frantically. Lucius looked down at her, maniacally laughing. "Did you really think you could outsmart me you filthy fucking whore?" Lucius bellowed. With that, he pulled Hermione up by her hair and twisted her curls until she cried out in pain. "Now take me to the child!" Hermione had to think fast. If only she could get to her wand. As she was thinking, her eyes rested on a ceramic vase sitting on an end table. The vase was within her reach. "Okay Lucius, calm down. I'll take you to the child." "Lead the way mudblood. This will be much easier if you cooperate-," Lucius was replying in a deadly calm voice when all of a sudden, Hermione slammed the vase against the side of his head. Lucius was blindsided by this, his wand dropping from his hand as he reeled from the shock of being hit. Hermione saw her chance and grabbed his wand. She sprinted up the stairs to Cameron's room. Once she got to the room, she put a locking charm on it. She picked up Cameron, who had begun stirring after hearing the commotion downstairs. Breathing heavily and trying to catch her breath, Hermione decided to disapparate to Penny and Stuart's house. She knew Lucius could probably track her there but at least it would buy her some time. As she and Cameron departed from the house, she could hear Lucius screaming as he ran up the stairs. "You dirty fucking mudblood whore! How dare you take my wand! You are dead!"
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Hermione and Cameron arrived safely in Penny and Stuart's living room. Penny ran up to them with tears in her eyes. "Oh Hermione, you don't know how relieved I am to see you and Cam! Harry, Stuart and their teams are on their way to Mo's. They know Lucius managed to distort the tracking device. Look at your face, what did he do to you?" Penny asked softly. She didn't want to alarm Cameron. "Lucius slapped me and his ring cut my cheek. It looks worse than it is. Penny, I don't understand how Lucius found out about Cameron," Hermione replied. "They'll figure it out. Lucius has really gone too far. Hermione, this is the end of the line for Lucius," Penny said. Hermione walked over to the couch and sat with Cameron. She looked down at her son, as tears ran down her face. Thank Merlin he was safe; she couldn't bear to think of what Lucius's intentions were regarding Cameron. Was he truly that heartless and diabolical? Penny went to the bathroom to get a wet washcloth and a first-aid kit. She gently cleaned Hermione's face, glad to see that it was only a small cut and it wouldn't scar. Hermione dabbed an antibiotic cream and put a small adhesive bandage over the cut. She sat back on the couch and had to smile. Cameron had fallen asleep! Hermione felt something poking her back and remembered she had her wand and Lucius's. She placed them beside her on the sofa. Penny looked at the wands with a quizzical expression. "Why do you have two wands?" Hermione gave a small smile. "I was able to disarm Lucius with a vase and he dropped his wand. It's mine now. I hope Mo won't be upset about the vase." "Hermione, you just disarmed a psycho wizard who was trying to kill you and you're worried about a vase?" Penny asked with an incredulous expression. "I don't know what I'm thinking right now Penny. I'm just glad I was able to get Cameron out of there. I hope Harry and Stuart get Lucius," Hermione replied. Lucius tore through the all of the rooms located on the upper level of Mo's home. When he reached Cameron's room, he managed to easily undo Hermione's locking charm with wordless magic. When he walked into the room, he sneered when he saw the crib. He pulled the mattress from the crib, throwing it against the wall. He
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was livid, he couldn't believe the mudblood took his wand. He had to get it back. Where the hell did she go? Lucius was beyond angry and began to tear the room up with his bare hands. While he was destroying the room he never heard the Aurors popping into Mo's living room. Harry and Stuart heard the ruckus upstairs and made their way up the staircase while the rest of their team searched the downstairs living area. Harry thought his heart was going to beat out of his chest, he was so full of adrenaline. He was apprehensive because there hadn't been any sign of Hermione or Cameron. He hoped he and the other Aurors had made it in time. Damn Lucius Malfoy to hell, Harry thought. When the two young men made it to Cameron's room, they weren't quite sure what they were witnessing. There was Lucius Malfoy standing in the middle of the room, dressed in women's clothing. He had makeup on and it was smeared, making him look like a very garish clown. He was ripping up a small pillow and feathers were fluttering all around him. Harry immediately cast a body-binding spell and Lucius was incapacitated. Lucius fell to the floor, screaming at Harry, "You and the mudblood will pay for this! You will rue the day you tried to manipulate Lucius Malfoy!" Harry looked down at Lucius and calmly said, "Lucius pay close attention. If I were you, I'd shut the hell up. You are done; you'll never see the light of day again. Now tell me, where are Hermione and Cameron?" At this moment, a patronus of a rabbit lit up the room. Stuart grew anxious when he saw this, it was Penny's. He took out his phone and called his home. He spoke for a few moments and when he hung up, he grinned. He turned to Harry and the rest of the team who had assembled in and around the room. "Hermione and Cameron are with Penny, they're fine." Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, especially Harry. It was over; Lucius Malfoy wasn't going to be threatening anyone anymore. Stuart bent on one knee near Lucius's head. "Well, well. I'm so honored to finally meet the great Lucius Malfoy, or should I call you Lucille? That's a mighty cute outfit you have on. I bet you'll be the hottest new fish on the cellblock at Azkaban." "Shut your filthy mouth, you insolent Yankee! How dare you speak to me in such a manner!" Lucius spat.
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"Whatever Lucille, say anything you want, but your ass is toast!" Stuart chuckled and stood up. He addressed the team, "Take this subhuman garbage out of my sight and let's get Dr. Benton's house back in order." Two of the team members roughly pulled Lucius up from the floor and disapparated with him to the American Ministry. From there he would be brought straight to Azkaban. There were no more second chances for Lucius Malfoy, this truly was the end of the line for him. Harry turned to Stuart. "Did you think it would've come to this?" "To be honest Harry, I really didn't. Lucius Malfoy truly has lost his mind. How did he find out about Cameron?" Stuart asked. "We found out that Lucius's people had managed to get an American woman, Beryl Smith to help them out. She's the one who told Lucius's associate about Cameron. I can't believe he was going to kill Hermione and the baby. What the fuck is wrong is with him? All this to preserve his family's pureblood legacy?" Harry asked rhetorically as he shook his head. "Damn, I just thank Merlin Hermione was quick on her feet. Penny told me Hermione took Lucius's wand when she broke a vase over his head. She should be an Auror instead of an animal doctor," Stuart said and chuckled. He was proud of Hermione. "Yeah Hermione is pretty incredible. You know what this means, don't you?" Harry asked. Stuart nodded and smiled. "Hermione can go back home." Harry nodded back. Hermione would be able to go back to the life she had before. Maybe there was hope for her and Draco, especially since Cameron was now a part of her life. After a few hours, Hermione and Cameron were able to return to Mo's. When Mo returned that evening, she couldn't believe what happened at her home that afternoon. She listened as Hermione and Stuart relayed the story to her. When they were done, Mo hugged Hermione tightly. "I should've been here with you and Cam, thank goodness you're both okay." "Mo, we're fine. Lucius never saw Cameron. I couldn't believe Cam slept through
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the whole ordeal," Hermione chuckled. "You're safe now. Lucius Malfoy will never harm anyone again," Mo said firmly. The next few weeks went by in a blur for Draco and his mother. They were both shocked when they found out that Lucius had gone to America to kill Hermione. They couldn't understand what had set Lucius over the edge. In the brief time he and his mother were allowed to see Lucius, Draco tried to ask his father about this, but Lucius would only say "filthy mudblood" and stare at the floor. It finally hit Draco that his father was truly insane. Draco shielded his mother from the plethora of reporters whenever they left his apartment building or the Ministry. Every wizarding publication wanted the scoop on the Malfoy's. After Lucius was sent to Azkaban, Draco insisted that his mother stay with him. Narcissa eventually found a small home on the outskirts of London and settled there. They put the Italian villa up for sale; Draco had no desire to keep it. There were too many bad memories. The one constant in Draco's life was Myla Digby. They had been seeing each other since the Christmas party at the villa. When they were seen together in public, people admired at how they were a great looking couple. These people would be very shocked to find out that this couple who looked like they were made for each other was only friends. When Draco had returned to London after the Christmas holidays, he took Myla to dinner. He was taken aback when Myla told him point-blank that she wasn't interested in him romantically. "Draco I think you're great and we can be friends, but I think you should know that I'm a lesbian." "Wow, okay. I wasn't expecting to hear that," Draco stammered and chuckled. "Yeah, everyone in the industry knows. My parents do too, but they think it's just a phase and I'll grow out of it. Do you still want to be friends?" Myla asked, laughing. "You know what Myla, sure. I could use a friend," Draco said and smiled. From that point on, he and Myla hung out constantly. Draco was amazed that Myla could drink him under the table and muster louder burps than him. She would even go out with him, Blaise, and Theo. At first his friends thought that they were a couple until they were at a muggle nightclub and Myla was on the dance floor
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making out with a muggle chick. Draco explained their relationship and his friends were floored. Theo thought it was the hottest thing he'd ever seen when Myla was kissing the other girl. Theo let her know when Myla returned to their table. "Myla, anytime you want a mnage a trois I'm your man." "Theo, people in hell will be drinking ice water before that happens," Myla said drily. Blaise and Draco burst out laughing. Myla had put Theo in his place. After that night, Myla was like one of the guys and it wasn't uncommon to see her out with them. Myla had even tried to set Draco up with some of her coworkers, other models, but it never worked out. Draco couldn't believe how spacey and shallow some of the women were. When Lucius was apprehended, Draco wasn't sure Myla would want to be seen with him. He felt that Lucius had once again brought shame to the Malfoy family. Draco was relieved when this didn't seem to affect Myla and their friendship. "Draco I know you aren't like your father. You weren't the one that wanted to kill this Hermione person. I'm your friend and I'm here for you," Myla told him. "Thanks Myla, I appreciate that," Draco said as he took a sip of his beer. Myla had met him at a muggle pub near her apartment. It had been a few weeks since Lucius had been sent to Azkaban and the press had finally stopped hounding him. "Now tell me about Hermione, I know she meant something to you," Myla said and looked pointedly at Draco. Draco sighed and told her the whole story over two more rounds of beer. When he was done, he said "So that's it and I never saw her again." "That is beyond fucked up Draco. From what you've told me about her I don't think she was bought off that easily. I think your father probably scared the crap out of her. Have you tried to contact Hermione since all of this happened?" Myla asked. "No I'm afraid she doesn't want anything to do with me. It's been well over a year since we've seen each other, I'm sure she's moved on with her life," Draco replied sadly. "You need to get off your arse and go to her! You don't know if she's moved on or not. You still love her," Myla said insistently.
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Draco nodded. "It's not that easy Myla. I need to think about this." "Don't think too long, it might be too late," Myla replied. Hermione was so excited. She and Cameron were going to be able to go home! It had been almost a month since Lucius's attack and now that it was confirmed that he was in Azkaban, Hermione knew it was safe to go back to London. She was going to visit for a week, intending to find out if the Royal Veterinary College would let her transfer her credits from Tufts. There was also something else, Draco. She hoped he wanted to see her and would let her tell him her side of the story. She also wanted to prepare him for Cameron. Hermione hoped and prayed all would turn out well. She and Cameron arrived at Heathrow airport and her parents picked them up. It was the late evening, so they went straight to her parents' home and settled in. The next day Hermione had a meeting with an advisor at the Royal Veterinary College. Her mother babysat Cameron and assured Hermione to take her time. Mrs. Granger couldn't wait to bond more with her grandson. When she was done with her meeting, Hermione almost skipped out of the office. The advisor let her know that the college would be more than happy to accommodate her and looked forward to having her back for the fall semester. She headed to Thalia's apartment to share the good news with her friend. Thalia was beyond thrilled when Hermione told her. "Hermione, this is great! I'm so happy you're coming back. We'll have to check our schedules and try to have the same classes," Thalia said excitedly. "You have no idea how glad I am. I'm going to have to look for an apartment. It's all falling in place Thalia. Stuart said Gene is going to hire me back and the college has a daycare," Hermione said happily. "There's just one more thing," Thalia replied. "Draco. I see it's only 4 pm. He's still at work. I'll wait until about 5:30 before I head to his apartment. Do you think this is the right time to see him?" Hermione asked hesitantly. "I don't think there's a right or wrong time Hermione. You need to see him," Thalia answered. "What if he doesn't want to see me?" Hermione said.
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"Then it's his loss. You'll know you tried," Thalia said. The two young women continued to chat while Thalia got ready for her shift at Gene's. Hermione took a deep breath when she realized it was 5:30 pm. "I suppose it's now or never," Hermione said. "Get out of here before you lose your nerve. You'll be fine," Thalia assured her. Hermione only smiled and walked towards the door. "Wish me luck." "I always wish you luck chica. Go get him," Thalia said and smiled as she watched Hermione walk out. Hermione walked out of the apartment building and headed towards Draco's building. She was so nervous and had no idea how he was going to react. She gave herself a pep talk in her mind, preparing herself for different scenarios, but nothing prepared her for what she saw as she rounded the corner. There was Draco walking arm-in-arm with a leggy raven-haired beauty. Hermione ducked into a nearby clothing store before they could see her. She watched as they walked by, Draco and the woman seemed to be chatting happily. Draco had arrived home from work and was planning to spend a quiet evening at home. These plans changed when Myla arrived and she wanted to go out to dinner. "Come on Draco, I've been cooped up in my apartment all day. Let's grab some dinner, I'm buying," Myla pleaded. "Well in that case, let's go," Draco chuckled and let Myla lead him out. When they got onto the street, Myla linked her arm with his as they walked down the street. Draco laughed as Myla complained about an unpleasant modeling assignment. As they were walking, Draco suddenly had the most bizarre feeling. He could've sworn he saw Hermione. He stopped walking and looked behind him. Myla looked at him strangely. "What's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost." "This is crazy, but I thought I saw Hermione. My eyes must be playing tricks on me," Draco replied. "Do you want to walk back and check? Maybe it was her," Myla said.
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"I doubt it. Wishful thinking on my part I guess. Come on, let's go eat," Draco answered. Myla shrugged and they resumed their conversation. Hermione watched this exchange as she hid behind a clothing rack near the window of the store. She felt as if her heart was going to stop when she saw Draco stop and look behind him. At that moment, she was sure he had spotted her, but then he and the woman walked away. As soon as she was sure they were out of sight, Hermione exited the store. Wiping the tears from her face and blowing her nose before entering her parents' home, Hermione walked in. She was grateful that her parents didn't notice she'd been crying. Mr. Granger was bouncing Cameron on his knees and making funny faces at the baby. Hermione, in spite of feeling she had just been run over by a huge truck, had to laugh at Cameron's expression. He had cocked his head and his large gray eyes were looking at his grandfather as if he was wondering if the grown man had gone mental. Hermione acted as if nothing was amiss; she went about her usual routine of feeding, bathing, and getting Cameron to sleep. Once that was accomplished, she sat down heavily on her bed and wondered what she was going to do. What did she expect? It had been well over a year since she'd had any kind of contact with Draco. Of course he moved on. As these thoughts ran through her head, she noticed she had a text message. It was from Thalia: "Don't leave me hanging! What happened?" "Not good. I'll talk to you tomorrow." Hermione texted back and put down the phone. "I'm coming over as soon as my shift is done!" Thalia texted back. A few hours later, Thalia arrived in Hermione's room. Hermione took one look at her friend's concerned face and burst into tears. Thalia immediately went up to her and sat beside her on the bed. "What happened? Did you talk to Draco? Did that white roach hurt you?" Thalia asked with a grimace marring her pretty features. Hermione only shook her head. "I never had a chance to speak to him. He didn't even see me."
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"Why not? Did you chicken out?" Thalia asked. "I was walking towards his apartment building when he walked out with another woman. He has someone else Thalia. I can't disrupt his life this way," Hermione said, sobbing. "Ugh, that's not good. I didn't know Draco started seeing someone. Still, you need to let him know about Cameron, chica. He is the father of your child," Thalia said gently. "I don't know Thalia. Maybe I should just take Cameron and return to Boston," Hermione said. "Hermione you've faced worse than this. You can't keep running away. There's no reason to hide anymore, Lucius will never harm you again. Do it now while Cameron is still young. Maybe you and Draco will never be together, but at least Cameron will know his father. You need to think of that beautiful baby," Thalia replied as she looked over at the crib where Cameron was sleeping. "Always the voice of reason. I never would've imagined it all would've come to this. My life is such a mess," Hermione said as she held her head in hands. "Only if you let it. Pick up your head and quit feeling sorry for yourself. Your life is not a mess and this will all work out, you'll see," Thalia said and smiled. "You're right Thalia. I'm sorry you came over so late because you were worried about me. You must be exhausted," Hermione apologized, concerned for her friend. "No problem chica, I can get home in a few seconds. Are you sure you're okay? I can sleep over if you want," Thalia said. "I'm fine Thalia, go home. I feel better. It still hurts like hell to know Draco is with someone else, but I'll have to deal with it," Hermione said and sighed. "You're one of the strongest women I know, you'll be fine. I'm going to go home now. One more thing, if anything happens, please text me or call me! Don't leave me hanging chica!" Thalia answered and chuckled. "I won't and thanks again," Hermione said. Thalia waved and disapparated back to her apartment. Hermione took a quick shower in the bathroom connected to her room and changed into old shorts and a
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T-shirt. It took some time, but she finally fell asleep. New girlfriend or not, she was going to have to let Draco know he was a father. The next morning, Hermione felt a little better but there was still a pit of despair that was threatening to sink all the way down to her toes. It was going to take some time to get over Draco, but Cameron came first. She knew she had to do what was right. Hermione's parents headed over to their dental practice, so she and Cameron had the house to themselves. She fixed Cameron's breakfast and fed him. By the time they were done, they were both covered in the rice cereal and blueberries Hermione had prepared. She laughed as she picked blueberries out of hair and Cameron's. She gave him another bath, loving the way he smelled after he was freshly bathed. She placed him in a stationary baby activity center which kept him occupied while she took a quick shower. When she was done, she did a drying spell on her hair and pulled it up in a high ponytail. Hermione pulled on a pair of old khaki shorts and a lilac T-shirt. She had been having the shorts since she was a teenager and was glad to see they still fit. She was grateful that her figure returned to normal after having Cameron. Pushing her feet into flip-flops and putting on a pair of sunglasses, she and Cameron headed out to run a few errands. She placed him in his stroller and they made their way about her old neighborhood. Hermione planned on making dinner for her parents and was headed to the grocery store, but changed her mind. She knew where there was a really nice park near Thalia's apartment, so she decided to head there. She would let Cameron play before they ran errands. When they arrived at the park, Hermione brought Cameron to the baby swings, making sure he was strapped in securely. He squealed with delight as Hermione gently pushed him. It was moments like these that made everything she sacrificed worth it. Draco had been having a horrendous morning at the office. When it was time for his lunch hour, he decided that he needed to step out and breathe in fresh air. He bought a sandwich and a bottle of water from the Ministry's cafeteria and stepped out. There was a park that wasn't too far from the office so he decided to head there. Finding an empty bench near the playground area, Draco sat and took a long swig of his water. He had removed his robes before leaving the Ministry, so he was clad in a white dress shirt and tie paired with navy dress slacks. He loosened his tie and felt better. He looked around the park and smiled when he heard a baby shrieking happily at the swings as his mother pushed him. When Draco turned towards the
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sound, he dropped his bottle of water. He could swear the woman pushing the baby was Hermione. It couldn't be; he must be imagining things. Still Draco stood up and walked towards the swings. And what would she be doing with a child? Hermione never noticed as Draco walked up to them until he spoke. "Hermione? Is it really you?" Hermione stopped the swing and pushed her sunglasses on top of her head. She nodded and gave a small smile. Draco was speechless, not believing she was actually in front of him when his attention was diverted by the child. Draco looked down and really looked at the child Hermione had been pushing in the swing. His heart dropped when eyes just like his peered up at him. A/N: Okay, I finally dusted this one off, LOL. I am done with finals for the moment, so I can start wrapping this story up. Hope you enjoy the latest installment and thank you for being so patient!

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Chapter 10
Chapter 10 Disclaimer:I own nothing related to Harry Potter! Thank you for the reviews and alerts! Draco was the last person Hermione expected to run into at the park! She was totally unprepared for this and was speechless as he looked from her to Cameron. All she could do was look at him with a stupid smile plastered on her face. He didn't say anything for a few moments and then he finally spoke. "I-I don't even know where to start or what to believe. It's been well over a year since you dropped off the face of the earth. Where did you go? Now that I'm seeing you again, you have a child and from what I can see he's mine! How old is he? He looks like he's close to a year. Hermione, when were you going to tell me?" Draco asked, looking at her with a hurt and anguished expression. "Draco, I've wanted to tell you, but your father threatened me, my family, and my friends if I didn't stay away from you! We just returned to London a few days ago. I plan on-" Hermione was saying when she was interrupted by Draco. "Why didn't you come to me Hermione? I would've protected you from my father! There are so many things I don't understand. Why did you take the money my father offered? I don't get it. Were you screwing Stuart all that time? I bet things soured between you and him once you realized you were pregnant with my child!" Draco growled, his voice rising. Hermione had tears running down her cheeks as she unfastened Cameron from the swings. She placed him in his stroller, strapping him in. "Keep your voice down Draco, you'll scare Cameron. You and I need to sit and have a long talk. I don't know why you think I've been sleeping with Stuart. I never spent one knut of the filthy money your father wired into my Gringotts account without my consent!" Hermione said in a low voice, so she wouldn't alarm Cameron. She then turned the stroller away from Draco, she and Cameron going towards the exit of the park. "Hold on Hermione, you can't just walk away from me! You're right we do need to talk. Are you living with Thalia again?" Draco asked in more of a calm manner when he noticed Cameron's eyes looking from Hermione to him. He regretted losing his
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temper. Hermione shook her head. "No. We're staying with my parents until we can get our own place. I'll be going back to the States the day after tomorrow." Draco ran a hand through his hair and huffed. "Damn it, how did it all come to this? I have so many questions. How am we supposed to work this out if you're going back to the States?" "I'm only going back for a few days so I can pack up my belongings and move back home. I'll be starting school again in the fall and Gene has agreed to let me return to work," Hermione replied wearily and looked at Draco with a tired expression. This was not going well. "Look-how about as soon as you and the baby are settled here, we'll sit and discuss everything. I'm still trying to process all of this. Merlin, I have a son," Draco said, still not believing how his life could change within a matter of hours. The bad morning he had experienced at work was long forgotten. He really looked at Hermione at that moment and it hit him how much he still loved and cared about her. If anything, she was even more beautiful than he remembered. She looked so fragile, Draco wanted nothing more than to pull her into his arms and tell her it was going to be okay, but it was all so overwhelming. He had no idea of how Hermione felt about him. Maybe she had moved on and found someone else. Be that as it may-we have a child together and I will be a part of his life regardless if there is a new man in Hermione's life, Draco thought. "Draco, for what it's worth, I didn't want you to find out about Cameron this way. Maybe once we'll talk you'll understand the position I was in. I'll let you know when we're settled," Hermione said quietly. "Here's my card with my contact information. I still live in the same apartment building," Draco said as he handed Hermione a business card. His fingers brushed hers for a second and he could've sworn he heard her suck in her breath, but it was probably wishful thinking. "Thank you. We better get going," Hermione replied with a small smile. Of course she was aware he still lived in the same apartment building. She'd seen him exiting the building with Miss Legs. Wonder what she'll think when she finds out Draco is a father, Hermione thought, but then cast it out of her mind. She knew the position she put Draco in; she would have to accept that he'd moved on with someone else. At least he was willing to discuss everything.
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As Hermione walked away with Cameron, she couldn't help feeling underdressed. Draco looked so polished in his dress clothes; next to him she felt so ratty and drab. Seeing me like this probably makes him glad I'm no longer a part of his life, Hermione thought. She couldn't have been further from the truth. Draco watched Hermione and Cameron until they walked out of the park. He closed his eyes and clenched his hands, he still wanted her so badly, but there were so many unanswered questions. Draco needed to know exactly where they stood before he made a move. Bollocks! Hermione thought as they left the park. She glanced back and Draco was still in the same place watching her and Cameron. Her breath caught when she saw the look on his face; he looked as if he was in agony. What did she expect him to look like, the poor guy just found out he has a son. Merlin knows what he thinks of her and what was that business about her sleeping with Stuart? The rumor mill had been very busy since she went away. Draco knew there was no way he was going to be able to concentrate at work, so he let his supervisor know that he wasn't feeling well. His supervisor accepted this for Draco never missed work and was a stellar employee. Draco figured his next course of action was to speak to someone who could give him good advice on how to handle this situation. He went to visit his mother. Narcissa was tending the flowers outside of her small cottage. She loved her new place and didn't miss the dark grandeur of Malfoy Manor or the luxurious villa in Italy. This suited her and she was quite content living on her own. For years she lived under Lucius' iron hand and hated it; now she was finally free. She lived quietly, had a few friends, and enjoyed the tranquility of her new life without Lucius. Thank Merlin the Aurors knew that neither she nor Draco had taken part in Lucius' most recent crimes. These thoughts were interrupted when she heard the door of the front gate being opened. She looked up in surprise when she saw Draco coming up the cottage's cobblestone walk towards her. "Draco, what are you doing here? Is everything okay?" Narcissa asked as she put aside her gardening shears and removed her gloves. Draco looked upset. "Mother, Hermione's back," Draco replied. "Oh dear, how did you find that out?" "I saw her a few minutes ago," Draco answered.
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"Draco, what happened to make you so upset? Please tell me," Narcissa pleaded. "Mum, I have a son. He's almost a year old! How could she keep the fact that we have a child together from me?" Draco said angrily and wiped a tear at the corner of his eye. Narcissa sucked in her breath and put a hand to her chest. No wonder Draco was so upset. She regained her composure and took Draco in her arms. "Draco dear, this is quite shocking! I'm not sure why Ms. Granger would keep something of this magnitude a secret from you, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was because of your father." Draco stepped back from his mother. "That's what Hermione said. She said Father threatened to harm her and her loved ones if she didn't stay away from me! She also told me that she never touched the money Father said she accepted. What a mess, I'm so confused and I'm not sure what's real anymore." "I hate to ask this, but are you certain the child is your son?" Narcissa asked hesitantly. "I'm certain Mother. Do you know that picture of me that you keep at your bedside table? The one where I'm probably about a year old," Draco replied. "Yes it's one of my favorite pictures of you," Narcissa said. "Well Cameron is the spitting image of that picture," Draco answered and looked at his mother to see her reaction. Narcissa smiled. "Then he truly is your child. There's no mistaking the Malfoy trait of pale hair. When will you see him again?" she asked. What a revelation, Draco is a father and she's a grandmother. It wasn't exactly how Narcissa would've imagined things happening, but she was still looking forward to meeting Cameron. Draco told her about Hermione having to settle her affairs in the United States and then when she was back and established in London, they were going to discuss everything. Narcissa listened and couldn't help but admire Hermione for raising her child and staying in school. She was a little perturbed that Hermione kept Cameron away from Draco, but maybe that was something that the young girl had no control over. Narcissa knew how beastly and intimidating Lucius was. As soon as she and Cameron left the park, Hermione was able to keep her
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emotions in check and continue with her day as she planned. They went to the supermarket and she picked up the items needed to prepare dinner for her parents. When they returned home, she fed and changed Cameron, and then put him down for a nap. She started preparing dinner, hoping that would keep her mind occupied, but her thoughts kept going back to Draco. She decided she needed to talk to Thalia, so she sent her a quick text: "If you're awake, come over. You won't believe what happened today!" A minute later Hermione's phone beeped and she picked it up to read the message. "I'll be right there." As she was reading the message, she heard a 'pop' and Thalia appeared in the living room. "What happened?" Thalia asked as she walked over to the kitchen. Hermione took a deep breath. "I took Cameron to the park near your apartment and we ran into Draco." "Oh wow, how did that go?" Thalia asked as she sat down heavily on one of the stools at the kitchen counter facing Hermione. She propped her elbows on the counter and rested her chin on her clenched hands. "He was shocked and angry that I waited so long to tell him about Cameron. He also accused me of sleeping with Stuart! But he's willing to talk once Cameron and I are settled here, so I guess that's a start. I feel so bad, like I'm totally disrupting his life, especially since he has a girlfriend," Hermione replied. "You sleeping with Stuart? Where the hell did Draco hear that one? You and Draco are going to have to work something out. I'm sure he'll want to get to know his son. I know it sucks that he's dating someone. The sad part is that he probably still thinks you chose money over him. I hope he'll understand the position you were in and realizes the truth," Thalia said gently. "I'll deal with it like I've done for this past year and a half. Thalia, seeing Draco stirred up everything I feel for him. I still love him and it tore me apart to see how hurt he was when he saw Cameron," Hermione answered, as a few tears coursed down her cheeks. Thalia stood up from the stool and went over to hug her friend. "I know it hurts. It'll all work out, you'll see." Hermione smiled through her tears and hugged Thalia back. The two young
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women began to discuss school and didn't mention Draco again. Thalia stayed with Hermione until it was time to start her shift at Gene's. Not long after, Hermione's parents arrived and were pleasantly surprised to find that she had prepared dinner for them. Hermione decided not to mention her encounter with Draco to her parents just yet. She felt it would be best to tell them about Cameron's father once she and Draco had a chance to talk. She wanted to make sure she knew exactly where things stood as far as Cameron was concerned. Draco returned to his apartment after spending the afternoon with his mother. He felt better after speaking to Narcissa and was even a little hopeful that maybe he and Hermione could salvage their relationship. He had no idea if there was someone in her life, but he knew one thing; he wanted to see his son. It was going to be hard seeing and knowing Hermione was with someone else, but it had been well over a year since they had seen each other. Draco had done some things he regretted but he really thought Hermione had left him with no explanation or goodbye. He was so in love with her and it ripped him apart when she left. He planned on having a quiet evening, but then the buzzer to his apartment rang. He looked in the peephole of his front door and smiled wearily. It was Myla. Draco opened his door and let her in. "What the hell happened to you? You look like dog crap that's been stepped in a few times," Myla said matter-of-factly as she helped herself to a beer in Draco's refrigerator. "Good evening to you too Ms. Diggs, you always know the right thing to say to a friend," Draco drawled sarcastically. "I call it like I see it. Care to talk about it? Wanna beer?" Myla asked and grinned. She walked into the living room. Draco rolled his eyes and went over to the kitchen and grabbed a beer. He went over to the couch where Myla was sitting and plopped down next to her. He took a long sip of beer and began speaking. "I needed that after today. I saw Hermione." "No way! Where? Did you talk to her?" Myla asked, her eyes widening. "She was in a park near the Ministry and yes, we talked. I found out I'm a dad," Draco replied flatly.
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"Wait a second, is she pregnant? How can that kid be yours? You haven't seen her in well over a year," Myla said puzzled. "No, she was pregnant when she left. Trust me, Cameron is mine. Myla, he's almost a year old. I can't get over that she kept this from me all this time!" Draco exclaimed. "Damn Draco, no wonder you look like shit. What're you going to do?" Myla asked. "She's going back to the States for a few days. Once she and Cameron are settled back here, we're going to discuss everything. I honestly don't know what's going to happen with all of this. I still can't get over I'm someone's father," Draco said and stared straight ahead, not really focusing on anything. "That poor kid, having you as a father," Myla joked. "Go fuck yourself Myla, I don't need your wisecracks," Draco growled, but then lightly punched her in the arm. "Seriously Dray, I can't imagine what's going through your head right now. You finally see Hermione again, she has a child, and he's yours! Will I ever get to meet them?" Myla asked. "I'd love for you to meet them, but I have to wait and see. Myla I have no idea how Hermione feels about me. Seeing her today made me realize how much I still care for her even though she left. I know I'm stupid, but I still love her," Draco replied and sighed. "I don't think you're stupid Draco. Maybe she still loves you too," Myla said. "Maybe Myla, but I'm not getting my hopes up," Draco answered. They continued to drink their beers and then ordered in Indian food. After they had eaten, Myla left and made Draco to promise that he would call her if he needed anything. She didn't like to see her friend hurting. Draco reassured her that he would. When Myla was gone, Draco went into the bathroom for a shower. He stripped out of his clothes and entered the shower. He closed his eyes as the warm water flowed down on his exhausted body. He began to think of the way Hermione looked that day and was shocked to see that he had an erection. Draco began to stroke himself as he thought about the last time they had made love. It was the night of the ball and he thought about finding Hermione stripped down in his spare bedroom. It had been an intense experience and as he thought about it, he got closer to the edge. Draco
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groaned and came in spurts, as his cum shot against the wall of the shower. He finished his shower and dried off. He dressed for bed and was about to fall asleep when a thought occurred to him. When he and Hermione made love that night, he couldn't remember either one of them performing a contraception charm. That was probably the night Cameron was conceived. Hermione looked around her now empty room at Mo's house. She wanted to make sure she hadn't overlooked anything. It didn't take that long to pack, since she didn't have many belongings. Hermione was glad to be moving back to London, but she was going to miss her American friends. Mo, Penny, and Stuart promised to visit London. They told Hermione that she always had a place to stay if she ever decided to come back to Boston. They had also become very fond of Cameron and were going to miss him. "I guess that's everything," Hermione said and smiled. "I'm sure going to miss you and my little man! So is everything squared away with the Royal Veterinary College? I'm pretty sure we sent all of your transcripts," Mo said as she made funny faces at Cameron. "I'm all set for the university. Mo, I don't know how to thank you. You've made such a difference in my life and Cameron's. We're going to miss you too," Hermione said and hugged the older woman. "I loved having you. It's sure going to be quiet here. Promise me that you'll visit when you get a chance and write. I want pictures of Cam too!" Mo replied and hugged her back. "You got it. Well, there's the taxi to take us to the airport. Take care Mo. Cam and I love you. You're like a second mother to me," Hermione smiled, but had tears running. "You're the daughter I never had and I feel Cam is like mine too. Stop crying! You take care too and be sure to let me know if you need anything," Mo admonished, but she had tears too. Hermione nodded and waved as she made her way with Cameron to the waiting taxi. As the taxi sped away from Mo's home, Hermione looked back and watched until she could no longer see Mo waving. She brushed the tears away, feeling sad but excited at the same time because she was finally able to go home. This chapter of her life was closed and it was time to begin a new one. Maybe Draco will want to be a part of it; maybe not as far as she was concerned, but hopefully he wanted to be
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a part of Cameron's life. To his friends and coworkers, Draco looked calm and in control, but inside he was a bundle of nerves. It had been a few days since he'd seen Hermione and he was anxious to hear from her. He hoped she wasn't going to try and avoid him again. He always made sure to double-check his messages at work and at his apartment. Draco wasn't about to let Hermione slip away again. There was so much more now especially since he found out they have a child together. The next few days passed in a blur for Hermione. While her mother babysat Cameron, she looked at apartments. She finally found one close to the building where she used to live with Thalia. Hermione liked this apartment more. It had more room and had just been renovated, plus it was on the first floor. Her parents had wanted her and Cameron to live with them, but Hermione felt it was better that they had their own place. Her parents had extra furniture in storage; they gave Hermione a small dining table with four chairs and a loveseat. Harry and Ron met her on Saturday and helped her "move" the furniture by casting an invisibility charm and levitating it to Hermione's apartment. When they were done, Hermione fixed sandwiches and they sat at the table in the kitchen, eating and catching up. Cameron had started walking and was moving tentatively around the table. "So Ginny told me Malfoy knows about Cameron. What's going on with that?" Harry asked, taking a bite of his sandwich and looking at Hermione. Hermione sighed. "He asked me to get in touch with him once Cam and I were settled. I was going to contact him tonight. He wants to meet and discuss everything. I'm pretty sure he wants to get to know Cameron. Ron picked Cameron up and bounced him on his knee. Cameron laughed happily as Ron smiled at him. "I can't explain it Hermione. Cam looks just like Malfoy, but I think he has more of your personality traits. I don't think he'll be as big of a git as his father." Hermione and Harry looked at each other and laughed. "Ron, only you would say something like that! Draco was a git when we were younger, but he's changed," Hermione said and got a faraway look on her face. "Do you think you'll be getting back together?" Harry asked. He never told Hermione about seeing Draco with different witches at the Ministry. Harry knew deep down that Draco didn't care about the young women; it was probably his way
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of dealing with the pain of Hermione leaving. He remembered the way Draco had looked at Hermione at the ball almost two years ago. He had looked like a man in love. "I don't think so Harry. Draco and I have so many unresolved issues, plus I'm pretty sure he's dating someone," Hermione replied. "Well whatever happens, I'm here if you need anything," Harry said and patted her hand. "Same here Hermione. I'm glad we're friends again," Ron said and smiled. The young men stayed for about another hour, talking and playing with Cameron. Hermione smiled and watched her friends interact with her son. She was glad that Cameron was going to have so many positive male influences in his life. She wondered how big of a role Draco was going to want to play in his son's life. When Harry and Ron left, Hermione decided to contact Draco. Hermione took a deep breath and let it out. She dialed the cell phone number on the business card. It rang a few times and then the voicemail picked up. She left a short message, leaving her number and the address of her new apartment. The ball was now in Draco's court. Draco was in an intramural quidditch league with Blaise and Theo. They'd had a game that morning. When he'd returned to his apartment, he went straight to the shower. When he was done, he walked into the kitchen to fix something quick for lunch. He heard his phone beep and saw that he had a message. His heart began to beat faster when he wondered if it was from Hermione. As he listened to the voicemail message, he felt a mixture of nervousness and excitement building within him. Taking a deep breath and letting his nerves settle, Draco called Hermione back. "Hello," Hermione answered softly when she saw that it was Draco. "Hermione, Draco here. I was returning your call. I take it you and Cameron are back?" Draco asked. "Yes we moved in to an apartment not far from where I used to live. It's a good neighborhood," Hermione said and winced. She was rambling, but she felt so nervous talking to Draco even if it was over the phone.
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"Yeah, I figured that out by the address you left on the message. So, did you want to meet later this afternoon to talk? I can meet you somewhere near your apartment," Draco replied. "Why don't you come by our apartment at about 5:30, we can walk to the park with Cameron," Hermione suggested. "Okay, I'll do that. I'll see you later," Draco said and hung up. He closed his eyes and leaned against the wall. He couldn't wait to see Hermione and his son again, but he was still feeling a little on the edge and filled with uncertainty. "Bye," Hermione said and hung up too. She looked around the apartment, making sure everything was in place. She looked at the clock and saw that it was only 1:30 p.m. She got Cameron to take a nap and she took that time to shower quickly and let her hair dry naturally. Hermione looked through her closet and sighed. She didn't even know why she was bothering to make an effort to look nice, Draco wouldn't notice. She was sure he would want to get their discussion over with as soon as possible. He probably would be meeting his girlfriend later. It was going to be cool outside, so she opted for jeans and a lightweight pink cardigan over a white T-shirt paired with trainers. Hermione decided to keep it casual. Cameron woke up, so she fed him and decided to give him a quick bath. She dried Cam off and dressed him in a pair of jeans too with a sweatshirt, paired with brown leather hiking boots. The boots had been a going away gift from Penny and Stuart. Hermione smiled when she took in Cam's ensemble. He is just too cute, Hermione thought as she gave him a big kiss. Draco looked through his closet, sweeping the hangers back, unsure of what to wear. Why am I so nervous about this, it's not like she'll notice what I'm wearing, he thought. He finally opted for a white T-shirt and pulled a thin V-neck bluish-gray sweater over it. He grabbed jeans that were hanging near the T-shirts, slipped them on, and then pushed his feet into a pair of dock shoes. He looked at the clock and saw he had only fifteen minutes left until 5:30. Draco took one last look in the bathroom mirror to make sure his hair was in place. Satisfied, he left his flat and headed over to meet Hermione and his son. Hermione and Cameron were sitting on the floor of the living room, playing with blocks, when the doorbell rang. Cameron's mouth formed an "O" when he heard the noise. Hermione chuckled and picked him up. She was so nervous, but eager too. She answered the door and let Draco in. He smiled when he saw Cameron in Hermione's arms. It was still shocking for him to see how much his son resembled him.
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"Hey. Are you ready to go? I just have to get Cam's stroller and we can be on our way. Do you want anything to drink before we leave?" Hermione asked. "Bottled water would be good. I'll take it with me," Draco replied. "Sure, let me get that," Hermione said. She was still holding Cameron and walking to the kitchen when Draco stopped her. "I can hold him while you're getting the water, if you'd like," Draco said hesitantly. "Umm, okay. Here you go," Hermione said as she handed Cameron to Draco. Draco smiled at his son and held him, taking in his features. Hermione watched this interaction and hid her smile. Draco's smile was genuine as he took Cameron into his arms. Cameron stared up at his father and broke into a smile. She grabbed the bottles of water and placed them in the cup holders of Cameron's stroller. She had packed the diaper bag a little earlier and stored it underneath the stroller. Grabbing her keys, she looked at Draco with their son. "Ready? Cam can ride in his stroller." "Is it okay if I hold him?" Draco asked. "Sure, I'll bring the stroller in case he gets too heavy," Hermione replied. They left the apartment and walked out onto the sidewalk. It was a short distance to the park and they made it there within a few minutes. As they were walking, passersby smiled at them, admiring the lovely young couple and their son. Hermione pushed the stroller and looked at Draco. "Draco, I don't know where to begin. I can tell you exactly what happened, from the moment your father made me leave the villa until now." Draco nodded. "I'm listening." As they walked through, the park Hermione told him everything, sometimes wiping away tears, but she never stopped talking. Draco didn't interrupt her; his heart ached when he thought about how lonesome she must've been especially when she found out she was pregnant. As he listened, he knew that Hermione was telling the truth. Damn his father to hell, Draco thought. What was Lucius thinking, trying to kill Hermione and Cameron? Thank Merlin he was in Azkaban, the man was truly insane. "So here we are now. Draco I want you to be a part of Cameron's life. I know you're dating someone, I totally understand that you've moved on with your life, but we can work something out when you want to see Cameron," Hermione said when
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she was done. Draco gave her quizzical look. "What makes you think I'm dating someone?" "I have a confession. Before we met up in the park, I had gone to your apartment to talk to you and tell you about Cameron. When I was almost there, I saw you step out with a young woman with long, black hair. She's quite lovely," Hermione replied quietly and looked straight ahead. Draco began to laugh and Cameron laughed too, imitating his father. Hermione stopped pushing the stroller and looked at Draco. "Why is that so funny?" "Sometimes things aren't what they appear to be Hermione. Myla is a good friend. Trust me, there is nothing going on between us," Draco replied, still chuckling. "Really, I find that hard to believe," Hermione scoffed gently. "Hermione, she's a lesbian!" Draco said and smiled. "No! That's the last thing I was waiting to hear from you. How did you two become friends?" Hermione asked, shocked at the revelation. "Her parents were friends with mine. We met at a Christmas party at the villa and then when we returned to London, we started to hang out. Sometimes I think she's more masculine than I am," Draco reflected, still smiling. "You just never know. The sun is setting, I guess we'll start heading back to the apartment. Draco, I'm glad we had a chance to talk. Let me know when you want to see Cameron, we'll work something out," Hermione said. "I'll walk you back to the apartment. You're right, he is getting heavy. I'll put him in the stroller," Draco answered. Draco gently placed his son in the stroller and Hermione strapped him in. They began to walk back to the apartment. Hermione asked Draco about his work and this was what they discussed until they made it to her apartment building. "Thanks again Draco. I guess we'll call it a night," Hermione said and put out her hand. She wanted to hug him, but she wasn't sure how he would react. "Hermione, is it okay if I come in with you? I'm not ready to call it a night. If it's okay, I understand if you're tired," Draco said and looked into her eyes.
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Hermione's breath caught as she stared back. "No you can come in. I need to feed Cameron and get him to bed. We don't have a very exciting life, you'll be bored." "I seriously doubt that. I want to know everything about my son," Draco replied as he held the door open for Hermione so she could ease the stroller inside. I will never be bored being with you Hermione, Draco thought. They entered the apartment. When they walked in, Draco undid the straps and picked Cameron up from the stroller. As soon as he did, his face wrinkled and he looked at Hermione. "What is that smell?" Hermione walked up and sniffed. "Cameron has a poopy diaper. Come on, this will be good for what I'm assuming is your first diaper change." "I'll watch you and go from there," Draco said hesitantly. Laughing, Hermione took Cameron from him and walked to Cameron's bedroom. Draco followed her and looked around his son's room. The walls were light blue and there was a wallpaper border depicting sea animals around the perimeter of the room. He watched as Hermione placed Cameron on a changing table. Hermione expertly unsnapped the tiny blue jeans and took them off. She undid the fastenings on the diaper and made a face. "Oh Cam, this is one of the best yet," Hermione said and chuckled. Cameron looked at his mother and laughed as she grabbed a packet of baby wipes. Draco looked at the contents of the diaper and then looked at Hermione. "How did all of that come out of that little bottom?" he asked, astounded. "You'd be surprised," Hermione said wryly and chuckled. "Sure you don't want to change his diaper?" "I'll watch this time. I promise I'll do the next one," Draco smiled. "Okay, I'll remember that," Hermione teased. Draco watched as she quickly cleaned Cameron up and put a fresh diaper on. Even if it was something as mundane as a dirty diaper, he was glad to be a part of it. His heart ached and he wanted so much to tell her how much he still loved her and how he wanted to be a part of their son's life. Hermione removed the sweatshirt and dressed Cameron in all-in-one footed pajamas. As she picked him up from the changing table, she turned to smile at
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Draco. He had a strange look on his, as if he was in awe. "Is everything okay Draco?" Hermione asked. "Everything's fine Hermione. You're so good with him," Draco said and then regretted what came out of his mouth. Of course she's good with Cameron, she's his mother. He hated to sound like such a git. Hermione didn't take it that way. She only smiled and thanked him. They went back into the kitchen and Hermione fixed a bottle for Cameron. Her breast milk had dried up so he was now on formula. Draco followed them back to Cameron's room and watched as Hermione fed him. When Cameron was done, she burped him and then rocked him to sleep. Draco was fascinated as he watched Hermione place Cameron in his crib. She put her right index finger to her lips, cocked her head towards the door and they walked out. "Does he sleep through the night?" Draco asked softly. "Pretty much unless he needs his diaper changed," Hermione replied. They went into the kitchen and Hermione looked at Draco. "I hate to bring this up, but I have to ask because it's been bothering me. Why did you think I was sleeping with Stuart?" Draco sighed and shook his head. "Theo told me that was the story going around since you and Stuart left at the same time. No one had any idea that Stuart is an Auror and that he was working undercover. I'm sorry I accused you of that and that I believed that you chose money over me. I should've known better Hermione, but my father had so much power over my mind. I'll never forgive myself for doubting you." Hermione touched his arm. "Don't feel that way Draco. I can about imagine what you were going through. It's over now and we can move forward." Draco closed his eyes when he felt her touch. He opened them and looked at her. "Hermione, I never stopped loving you." "Draco, I never stopped either. Do you think we can try to make this work?" Hermione asked and looked into his eyes. "Definitely, you don't know how badly I was waiting to hear that," Draco replied and pulled her close to him, embracing her tightly and kissing her soft hair.
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Hermione returned the embrace and let the warmth envelop her. This was so much more than she expected. Draco still loved her and wanted to be a part of Cameron's life. She looked up at Draco as her raised his head and bent towards her. He kissed her softly and Hermione melted into him. It had been so long since their last kiss. They pulled apart and Draco led her to the loveseat in the living room. They sat together and talked for another two hours. When they were done, Draco decided to go back to his apartment. As much as he wanted Hermione, he didn't want to her to think he was only there to sleep with her. He wanted to show her that he was serious about getting back together and building a life with Cameron. Before he left, Draco went to Cameron's bedroom and gave his son a kiss on his cheek. Hermione walked him to the door, where Draco enveloped her in a tight hug and kissed her. "Can I call you or come by tomorrow?" Draco asked. "Sure. We're having lunch with my parents, so you can come by tomorrow afternoon. I'd like you to meet them when you're ready," Hermione said and smiled. "I'd like that. Hermione, you don't know how happy you've made me tonight. I didn't think I'd ever see you again," Draco said softly, as he caressed her cheek. "I'm not going anywhere. I love you Draco," Hermione said and looked into his eyes. "I love you Hermione. I'd like to take you out to dinner tomorrow night, a date," Draco said. "That would be nice. I'll see if my parents feel like babysitting and I'll let you know," Hermione replied. Draco nodded and smiled. He kissed her one more time and left quickly, because he knew if he would've stayed a moment longer, he wasn't going to leave. He was so relieved with the way the evening had gone and exhilarated too. Hermione was his again; he wasn't going to let anything screw it up this time. Hermione changed into pajamas and went to bed, feeling exhilarated and ecstatic. She fell into a dreamless sleep and looked forward to what the next day would bring. Everything was finally coming together. She and Cameron met her parents for lunch at their home. When they were done, Hermione sat with them in the living room and told them about reconciling with
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Cameron's father. She decided not to leave anything out; telling them the whole story of what had occurred with Lucius. Her parents were somewhat shocked and apprehensive about Hermione getting back with Draco. They were concerned that he would be as delusional as his father, but Hermione did her best to reassure them that Draco was nothing like Lucius. They agreed to babysit Cameron that evening, but they wanted to meet Draco first. Draco woke up in a great mood. He couldn't recall ever feeling so happy. He wanted his date with Hermione that evening to be perfect. Draco had so much he wanted to share with her; she had to know that she was everything to him and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her and their son. If last night was any indication, he was pretty sure Hermione felt the same way. He hated thinking about how much time they had lost being apart, but Hermione and Cameron were back in his life and that was all that mattered. He called Hermione that afternoon to let her know what time he was going to pick her up. When he heard her voice, he immediately picked up there was something hesitant in her tone. "Hermione, is everything okay? I understand if you don't want to go out," Draco said, but was disappointed. "I do want to go out Draco, but my parents want to meet you," Hermione said quickly. "I can do that Hermione. Were you afraid to ask me to meet them?" Draco asked softly. "Yes. I didn't want to seem pushy," Hermione replied. "Love you and I have a child together, I totally understand that they want to meet me. I hope your father doesn't have any muggle weapons," Draco joked. "I'm glad you're good with this. I guess I'll see you about 6 pm?" Hermione asked, relieved. "I'll be there," Draco said warmly. They spoke for a few more minutes and Hermione gave him the directions to her parents' home. She let out the breath she'd been holding and smiled. She was nervous, but was looking forward to her parents meeting Draco.
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Hermione's parents kept Cameron at home with them while she went back to her apartment to get ready. She decided to relax and take a warm bath, which was something she hadn't done since Cameron was born. She soaked in the vanilla and honeysuckle scented bubble bath, soothed by the scent. When she caught herself drifting off and the water was getting cold, Hermione decided it was time to get out. She toweled off and looked in the mirror. She experimented with different hairstyles, but decided to leave it down. Her hair fell in soft waves down her back and she pulled it away from her face, fastening her hair with a comb. Hermione applied her makeup lightly, mostly on her eyes and lips. Taking a look in the mirror, she shrugged. That was as good as it was going to get, might as well get dressed, she thought. Deciding on a long-sleeved green faux-wrap dress, Hermione slipped it on and smoothed it down. The dress accentuated her slender curves and the color complemented her complexion. She decided to pair it with a pair of black peep-toe heels. It had been ages since she had dressed up; she was always in jeans or casual pants when she was at school or running errands. She wanted to look nice for Draco and hoped she succeeded. Hermione looked at the clock and saw that it was 5:20 pm, so she headed back to her parents' home. Draco closed his eyes and took a deep breath before ringing the doorbell at the Grangers' home. He pressed it and waited a few moments. Hermione answered the door with Cameron in her arms. She smiled when she saw Draco. "Hi, I'm glad you didn't have any problems finding the house. Come in," she said. Hermione figured Draco must've liked what he saw; he couldn't keep his eyes off of her. "You gave good directions. You look amazing," Draco replied. She truly took his breath away, Merlin the way that dress hugged her body. He had no idea how he was going to keep his hands off of her tonight. These thoughts quickly disappeared when he saw Mr. and Mrs. Granger seated in the living room. Hermione introduced her parents to Draco and pleasantries were exchanged. Mr. and Mrs. Granger could not get over how much Cameron resembled his father. They spoke for a few minutes, it was a bit awkward considering they were just meeting Cameron's father for the first time. Mrs. Granger noticed the way Draco looked at Hermione. Her mother's intuition told her that this young man loved her daughter and their son. She hoped that everything would work out for Hermione. Mr. Granger was a little wary since he still thought of Hermione as his "little girl." It would take some time before he would warm up to Draco.
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Before Hermione and Draco left for the date, she went into the kitchen with her mother to make sure she had brought everything Cameron would need. Mrs. Granger smiled at her and hugged her. Hermione was a little surprised and hugged her mother back. "I'm just going to dinner Mum," Hermione joked. "I don't know what came over me dear. You look so nice, I hope you and Draco can work it all out," Mrs. Granger said. "Thanks Mum. I think Draco and I are headed in the right direction. Looks like Cam is all set. I'll pick him up as soon as soon as we're done with dinner," Hermione said softly and smiled. Mrs. Granger shook her head. "No Hermione, your father and I will keep Cam overnight. Enjoy your night out and we'll see you tomorrow." "Mum, you don't have to do that. I'll come back and get Cam," Hermione protested. "Hermione, you never take time for yourself. Have a nice time," Mrs. Granger said and pecked her on the cheek. "Thank you so much, but if you need anything I'll have my phone," Hermione advised. "I think your father and I did an okay job raising you. Cam will be fine," Mrs. Granger chuckled. Hermione smiled and they went back to the living room. She gave Cameron a kiss goodnight and waved to her parents. She smiled at Draco and they left. Draco sighed and smiled at her. "You can't imagine how nervous I was to meet your parents. I'm glad that's over!" "You did well, I think they liked you," Hermione said and laughed at how relieved he was. "I think your mum did, but your dad is a different story," Draco replied and raised his eyebrows. "You have to understand I'm his only child and a girl, he's very protective of me,"
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Hermione explained. "I get it. I'll have to work to get his approval, but you're worth it Hermione," Draco said with a serious look and kissed her. "I love you and I love Cameron, I want us to be a family." "I love you too Draco. I'm so glad you're back in my life," Hermione replied as they disapparated to a restaurant in Diagon Alley. Dinner went well and they enjoyed their meal. A band was playing and a few couples were dancing. Hermione was watching them and smiling. A slow song came on and Draco extended his hand to Hermione. He led her to the dance floor and wrapped her in his arms. They barely moved; it was as if they were the only two people in the room. Draco tilted her chin up and kissed her deeply, not caring if anyone was watching or disapproving. He wanted everyone to know he was in love with Hermione and that she was his. Hermione loved being in Draco's arms. She didn't care what anyone thought either. They finished their dance and left the restaurant. Draco took her arm and before they left, he turned to her. "Do you have to get back to pick up Cameron?" "No my parents are keeping him overnight. We can do anything you want," Hermione replied and looked into his eyes. Draco gulped, not trusting himself to speak. If he didn't get them away from there at that moment, he would end up shagging Hermione in full-view of the restaurant. They disapparated to his apartment. As soon as they were inside, they began kissing. Draco pushed her against the wall in his living room, his lips moving down to her neck. Hermione moaned and laced her fingers in his hair. He pushed up her dress and moved down, kissing her through her panties and then he pulled them down. Draco wanted her so badly and Hermione wanted him too. He quickly unbuckled his pants and pulled down his boxers, letting them pool at his feet. He had been having an erection since they left the restaurant and couldn't wait to be inside of her. Silently reciting a contraceptive charm, Draco positioned himself at her entrance and entered her slowly. Hermione groaned as she wrapped her legs around his waist. He closed his eyes as he savored how good she felt joined with him. Hermione watched as he pumped slowly into her, as his eyes opened and he looked at her with every thrust. They began kissing again and the lovemaking intensified. Draco felt his testicles tighten and his release came soon after. He cried out Hermione's name as he pushed into her. Breathing heavily, he kissed her again
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as she wiped the sweat from his brow and slowly unwound her legs from his waist. "I'm sorry that was so quick love. I needed you so badly and the way you looked in that dress was driving me crazy!" Draco said huskily. "I understand Draco, we have all night," Hermione said with a seductive smile. She enjoyed Draco taking her so quickly. They would definitely have to do that again. "I love you woman, let's get to the bedroom so I can make love to you properly," Draco said as he kicked his pants and boxers away. Hermione squealed when he picked her up and put her over his shoulder. He brought her to his bedroom and made good on his promise. They made love until the wee hours of the morning. After that night, everything began to fall into place. Within a few months, Draco had made an honest woman out of Hermione. They were married in a quiet ceremony with only family and a few friends. Hermione and Cameron moved in with Draco, they were the perfect little family. They eventually settled in a home that wasn't too far from her parents or Narcissa. It worked out very well. Narcissa doted on Cameron and loved him with all her heart. She loved how he looked so much like Draco, yet she could see something of Hermione in him. She was so happy that the young couple was able to find each other again and reconnect. She relished her new life and being a grandmother. She hoped that Draco and Hermione were going to make more grandchildren for her to spoil. Hermione graduated from veterinary school two years later and was now Dr. Granger. She went on to work in a muggle veterinary clinic in London. Draco continued to work for the Ministry. The star crossed lovers were more in love than ever, if that was possible. After graduating, Thalia moved back to Columbia and married Lazaro. Hermione was her Matron of Honor. She and Thalia stayed in touch and visited each other often. Thalia set up a veterinary clinic in her town and it was thriving. She and Lazaro went on to have two sons, Lazaro, Jr. and Miguel. Ten Years Later Draco held Hermione on the platform at King's Cross Station. He kissed away her tears. "I'm so silly Draco. I can't help it; I feel like a piece of me is going away,"
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Hermione said sadly, but tried to smile. "You're not silly love. Believe me, I want to cry too. I'm going to miss him," Draco replied as they watched the Hogwarts Express pull away from the station. It was going to be Cameron Malfoy's first year at Hogwarts. His parents had a friendly wager going as to what house he was going to be sorted in. Hermione was certain it was going to be Gryffindor, but Draco had his hopes that it would be Slytherin. Hermione wiped away the tears, smiling and waving when she saw Cameron waving to her and Draco. He looked so excited; he couldn't wait to start at Hogwarts. Cameron had inherited his mother's intelligence and his father's skills on a broom. He was going to be quite an asset for whichever house he was sorted into. Draco was going to miss Cameron, but he was proud of their son. He held out his arms for the small girl as she ran to him. Maureen Malfoy was six years old and a daddy's girl. She had run with the train, waving to her brother until he and the train were out of sight. Maureen had pale hair like Draco, but it was curly like her mother's. She also had Hermione's eyes, but that was about all she had inherited from her mother. She was mischievous and cunning like her father. Draco had no doubt that she would be sorted into Slytherin when her time to attend Hogwarts would come. Hermione smiled and looked fondly at her husband and daughter. She thought about all of the events that led them to this point. It still amazed her that she and Draco had been married for 10 years, but he still made her feel like a newlywed. One of Draco's favorite pastimes was getting naked and chasing her around the house when the children were staying with Narcissa or her parents. Although she had gone through a very bad time when she thought she'd lost Draco forever, Hermione wouldn't change a thing. She would remember the past, but would keep in mind yesterday's just a memory. Hope you enjoyed the tumultuous journey of Dramione! I have another idea brewing in my head, so I suppose I'll get started on it. Again, thank you to all of you who always read my stories, I truly cherish your support. It keeps the creativity going!

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