Happy Birthday, Icelynne!

. . . . . . . . . .

When the door bell rings it is, of course, Draco Malfoy.

Hermione sighs and opens the door and there he is, standing there with another bouquet in his hands. At least, she thinks to herself, he's changed it up this time. It's usually a bunch of something expensive and exotic, out of season and fragile. This time he's holding what looks like a bunch of half-wilted weeds.

She steps aside and lets him come it, takes the flowers from his hands and goes into her tiny kitchen to find something to put them in, see if she can salvage them before they die entirely. He follows her and leans against the door frame, watches her as she sets the bouquet on the counter and opens up cupboards looking for where she'd put the vase after she'd tossed out the dying remains of his last apology.

"I can't do this anymore," she says, bending down to look under the sink. "I'm tired of being your dirty little secret. We go out into muggle London so no one sees us, you don't take me around your friends – "

"I think you overestimate the number of friends I have."

" – you've never introduced me to your mother – "

"Who would hate you, and you know it. I'm trying to spare you the unpleasantness of that."

" – and this is just too hard." She's found an old mason jar from some pickles Ginny had made during her short-lived canning phase and pulls it out, holds it under the faucet and starts the water. "I can't take being something you hide away like a habit you're ashamed of. It's over. I'm done. Done, Draco."

He's still leaning there, watching her as she takes the flowers out of the damp newspaper he'd wrapped them in and puts them in the water, picks up the packet of seeds he'd wrapped in with them.

"What's this?"

It's wildflower seeds. A packet of mixed British wildflower seeds, easy for your home garden, or so the package reads, and it makes no sense to her whatsoever.

"I thought," he runs his hand through the hair falling into his eyes, looking more uncertain than she's ever seen him, "we could get a flat with a garden, plant those. Together."

"You want," she's speaking very slowly, wanting to be sure she understands, "to get a flat. With me. And plant a garden."

"If you want," he's staring over her shoulder at the dingy curtains in her window, not making eye contact.

"Not in muggle London?" she asks, feeling for the first time in so long a beam of hope that maybe – maybe – this wasn't the incredibly terrible, no-good, doomed idea she'd resigned herself to thinking it had to be.

"No," he looks at her, "wizarding London."

"I'm not good," she says, "at growing things."

He shrugs. "We can try?"

"Just," she carefully sets the jar in the window before she crosses over to him, "don't be upset if I kill everything."

"I won't," he wraps his arms around her as she tucks her head against his shoulder, "I promise."