Chapter 24 – Moonlight

20 reviews...what can I say? Again - thank you! This is becoming a bit of a habit now, isn't it?

A few things to mention:

No, there won't be a scene with Hermione talking to Rose about her relationship with Draco. Not in this chapter, and the epilogue skips forward, so assume that she does speak to Rose after this chapter, but no-one knows that they were dating secretly previously.

Yes, lots of Ron bashing, but no, he's not going to be arrested. They had a deal, remember? And this has been my first fic...so Ron bashing was just a novelty I couldn't resist.

Yep, the is moving fast now, and this chapter skips forward a few months, as does the epilogue. Guys, I had nothing I wanted to put inbetween - and there's a summary sort of paragraph at the beginning of this one, so don't freak out too much. I just don't feel like dragging this fic on...

So here it is! I promised you some fluff...enjoy!

Another five months had passed since Hermione had moved into the Manor. She and Draco were on a strictly friends-only basis, and after the encounter with Ron and his generosity towards her – giving her a home until further notice – she and him and become even closer. She had finally managed to draw him out of his shell, she realised, and though he was still tormented at times by his son's death, and often experienced nightmares about it, Draco was a practical person and had realised that Scorpius wouldn't have wanted him to spend days in mourning. He was helping no-one. And so, as the weeks went by, life slowly but surely returned to a relative state of "normal".

"I'm home!" Hermione called out as she stepped out of the fireplace. "Got any food? I'm starving!" she said, having stayed at work late today.

No reply.

"Draco?" she called out, hurrying up to her temporary room, worried. Had remained home after the case had been solved, feeling it was better for him than working in an office environment. And if he was out, he'd never failed to notify her so she wouldn't stress about him.

Hermione ran into her bedroom to throw her bag on the floor, but stopped short. For the love of Merlin, what had he done this time?

There, laid out on her bed was the same very same dress and shoes that she had worn to the Hogwarts ball, months ago. As she neared she noticed a note on one strap of the dress:

Wear this, and put on your face, or whatever you women call it. Make sure you look pretty – can't be too hard for you. Then read this again.

- D

She sighed, wondering what he'd planned this time, and quickly slipped the dress on, pinning her hair up and swiping on some lipstick. She looked slightly rushed, she realised as she examined her reflection in the mirror, but the simple gorgeousness of her gown drew attention away from the strands of hair escaping for her clip. She picked up the note again; this time, the words had been replaced with an arrow pointing towards the window. She followed the obvious instructions and peered out into the garden, with difficulty due to the darkness. Then, all of a sudden, a quick flash of light caused a glow to rise over the entire area, and she gasped in shock at the sight before her. There, standing on the lawn in perfectly ironed robes and holding a rose in his hand was Draco Malfoy himself – his trademark smirk in all its glory. Behind him, a table was set up, covered in some sort of embroidered – very expensive looking – table cloth. Two candles were glowing gently, and she could see flowers in a vase and a meal set out on the table, a lantern hanging above, casting a splash of light over the table. The entire scene was ridiculously clichéd, but it still brought tears to her eyes.

"Sweet Merlin, Draco, what have you done?" she called down to him, laughing.

"Why don't you come on down and see for yourself?" he swept his arm towards the table, with an exaggeratedly extravagant gesture. Still smiling, she apparated in front of him, giggling at the surprised expression on his face before he managed to compose himself.

"For you, my dear." He held out the rose, but snatching it away from her outstretched hand at the last moment and tucking it behind her ear. "Take a seat." He pulled out a chair, ever the gentleman, then took his seat opposite her. "Please, do begin. I myself am simply famished." And he flicked his wand, causing a bottle of wine to pour two glasses for them. "To us." He raised his glass, before drinking.

"Draco." Hermione tried to look stern. "What have you broken this time?"

"What do you mean?" he tried to look indignant, but failed, the corners of his mouth twitching as a giveaway.

"The dress, the meal, the lights. It's all beautiful – and unbelievably cheesy – but really. I know you're trying to soften me up for some terrible news."

"Can't I simply prepare a meal for my wonderful housemate without an ulterior motive?" he asked.

"No." she replied, firmly. "Now spit it out. Quick."

He sighed, and stopped fiddling with his napkin. "Once again, you've seen right through my disguise. You clearly know how to - "

"Stop stalling and get on with it!" she laughed.

"Alright." He was suddenly serious. "The truth is that you were right Hermione."

"I KNEW IT!" at his look, she coughed embarrassedly. "Sorry. Continue."

"As I was saying," he shot a pointed look in her direction, "you were right. I do have something to tell you, but not what you have in mind." He stopped, taking a moment to gather the courage for what he was about to say. "I know, that for the past few of months I haven't been the best company - "

"That was hardly your fault!"

"But still." He said, firmly. "And I apologise for my behaviour. This time…has been difficult, for both of us. The failure of both of our marriages for one thing. And…there's Scorpius. It hurts more than you could ever imagine, Hermione...but you've made it hurt less. And I've been waiting a long time to say this; Hermione, now that we are both unmarried, there is no reason for us to be apart. Just listen," he said, desperately, "Rose and Scorpius would understand: we aren't taking advantage of this situation, but I can't help but feel this was meant to be." He was being uncharacteristically sentimental.

"Oh, Draco. You shouldn't have even needed to ask me."

"No, that's not all." He interrupted her. "I don't want this relationship to be secret anymore. I want the world to know how much I love you…and I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

"Is that a proposal?!" she was alarmed.

"No! Not at all!" he spoke, hastily. "But I do want you to live in the Manor, with me."

"What about Rose?"

"Well of course she would stay too! I do love your daughter, Hermione. And it will be difficult for her, but someday I'd like her to think of her as my own."

"That's the sweetest thing I've ever heard." She mumbled. "And you said it! What has the world come to? Oh, see, now you're making me teary!"

"Is that a yes?"

"Of course it's a yes, you silly goose!" She stood up to embrace him, and he swung her around, before kissing her gently and setting her back down.

"This is perfect." She whispered.

"Not so cheesy anymore, huh?" he teased.

"No, still unbearably so. But it's alright, because it's our cheese."

"What?!"

"That didn't make any sense, did it?" she laughed, the romantic moment broken.

"It really didn't."

"Oh well. You'll have plenty of time to work on my English now."

"Is the bookworm admitting she's not always right?"

"Eh. What can I say? Love does strange things to you."

There you go! They're back together! Yay =)

I'd love to hear what you thought of this chapter - and at 325 reviews I'll update...oh! We're at 312 reviews: GUYS! MADE IT PAST 300! THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!

Ahem. Just ignore that =P We only have the epilogue to go...

Love you all,

Tris xx