See. I told you this story would be done before September 20th 2015.
What a journey. (I'll make a speech at the end).
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
"So are you dating the snake yet?"
I sighed. Every day for a month Ron and Harry had asked me this question. Whether or not it was in person, by post, or through Ginny, I got asked this every damn day. And every single time I'd say the same thing:
"Excellent question. Please ask again tomorrow."
Harry rolled his eyes. Ginny swatted his arm.
The four of us were sitting in my kitchen. It was late in August, and we were all having breakfast at my house. I had cooked crepes.
Thanks Jean for teaching me that one.
"I don't understand," Harry said. "Are you in love with the tosser?"
"Yes. We've covered this."
"Then why aren't you bloody dating him?" Ron grumbled. We all shot him a look. He shrugged defensively. "The suspense is killing me."
"It's complicated," I muttered, falling into my seat and taking a bite of my crepe. "He had to make a lot of things up to me."
"Has he yet?" Harry asked, taking a sip of orange juice. "I mean, you've seen him almost every day. I still don't know how you two have gotten around the Prophet."
"Easy," I answered. "We come here. I don't quite fancy being splashed across the front page of the paper quite yet."
"Quite yet," Ron muttered. "So you are planning on dating him?"
"If he proves that he has changed."
"What else can the bastard do?" Harry chuckled. "I mean, I'm not on his side or anything, but he's really been putting in his part. This place reeks of flowers."
I flinched. "I thought I had gotten rid of them all."
Ginny smiled. "Not that easy when he brings a dozen red roses each day."
"I'm not going to forgive him based on the quantity of flowers he gets me."
"And you shouldn't," Ron said through a mouth of food. "The bastard needs to show that he cares about your emotions."
"Bit thick coming from you."
Ron gulped down a piece of crepe and smiled. "But I'm not trying to get into your pants."
And it didn't seem like Draco was trying to get into my pants either. Our relationship for a month had been strictly platonic. He had become the perfect guy friend. We hung out every day. He would ask how work was going, cook dinner sometimes, and always make sure that I was having a good time. He seemed so calm all the time and so focused, like everything depended on my happiness. I had never really seen him like this, not really. He was putting real effort in, like nothing I thought he could ever do. Nothing he said really mattered because he was really trying. That along showed me that I was worth it to him. It showed me that he wanted this to work, that he was trying to right his wrongs. And he was doing a damn good job, at least at making things up to me.
"He's been trying, you guys," I said quietly. "He's been fully respecting my boundaries. I've been calling all the shots. He's hasn't run back into the safety of pureblood society. He's really trying to stick this one out."
"You say all that like it's a bad thing," Harry remarked, wrapping his arm around Ginny.
"Yeah," his girlfriend piped in. "Isn't this exactly what you wanted?"
"Yes," I winced slightly. "And no. Sort of."
Ron rolled his eyes. "Please be vaguer. Accept the challenge."
Ginny smacked the back of his head for me.
"It's just," I trailed off, trying to find the right words. "One of the things I love about Draco is how he takes charge. He's always one hundred percent in. But for the past month, he's just been very passive. I know it's because he's letting me set the boundaries and make the calls. He wants me to know that he respects me like that, but it's bloody annoying. I kind of just want him to call it quits and snog me against the wall."
The boys made a face while Ginny chuckled.
"Blaise's party is tonight, right?" she pointed out. "That might be a good opportunity to…er… get the aggression back."
"I just want to make sure that I don't jump back into it because I want him and not because I want him."
Harry made a strange face. I raised an eyebrow. "Yes Mr. Potter?
He gave a little smirk. "Remember right at the beginning of the year, when we had just met you at the train station?"
"I remember this occurring, yes."
He chuckled. "We told you how great you looked after the summer, and how we'd have to curse the boys off you. You just laughed us off and said that's me, hitting the books and nothing else. You were quite wrong, turns out."
I grimaced. "Oh Harry Potter. That is nowhere near the most interesting thing I've been wrong about this year."
"Hermione Granger, if you have sex in my house I will never forgive you ever."
I rolled my eyes. "Blaise, for Merlin's sake. All I said was that I missed the take charge Draco. I said nothing about having sex with the guy."
"No, Granger. You may not have said it directly, but that's sure as hell what you meant."
Blaise was sitting on my bed. His party started in two hours, and I still hadn't decided what to wear.
I held up a short black dress. "Too slutty?"
I threw it back down.
"Why is this so damn complicated?" I moaned, falling backwards onto the bed.
"It's not," Blaise chuckled. "You're making it complicated by being a Gryffindor about it. You love the guy. The guy has spent a month showing you that he cares. Just fuck him already. Not in my house though. Never in my house."
"I'm not sure," I whispered, staring hard at the ceiling.
Blaise sighed and lay down next to me.
"I understand why you're hesitating at rushing back into things with him," he said quietly, taking my hand and holding it.
"It's good that someone does."
"I do," Blaise said. "I know you really, really well. What happened the last time you jumped into things with him? You know, when you told him that you were in love with him."
"He told me he loved me," I mumbled. "And that he was still marrying Astoria."
"There we go," Blaise chuckled. "You're scared. You don't want to get hurt again. It's completely understandable. It's human. But it's not the same situation. Nowhere close. He's not going to run away again. He lost you once, 'Mione. Merlin help him he isn't going to do it again."
I stayed quiet for a few moments. "How do you always know me better than I know myself?"
"Easy. I can read you like a book and I've seen you naked. What else could I possibly know?"
I slapped him without hesitation.
He laughed and sat up. "If you're done being violent, I think I have a solution to your problem."
"Which one?" I muttered.
Blaise scooted off the bed and walked over to my closet. He reached in and fumbled around for a moment or so. Then, he pulled something out. After several seconds, my face burst into a smile.
"Merlin, Blaise. I think you might be a genius."
I was rushing around last minute, trying to find the final piece of my outfit. I checked under my bed, at the bottom of my closet, and across the bathroom counter. At least, opening the top drawer of my dresser, I found it. I took my hair and wrapped it in a knot, sticking my butterfly pin in.
It was just at that moment that I heard a knock on the door. Taking several calming breaths, I walked over and opened it slowly.
He looked dazzling, as he always did. Dressed in a black suit, he had no tie and had left his white shirt unbuttoned a bit. I almost lost my resolve right then and there.
But no matter what I thought of him, it had nothing on his reaction to my outfit. I smirked. Thanks Blaise.
"My little Slytherin Princess," he whispered, his eyes trailing my body painfully slowly.
I was wearing a dress I had never worn, but had bought on a limb earlier this month when Blaise had tried to introduce me to designer fashion. It was strapless, with a corset right below the bust. The entire thing was black, but covered in dark green lace. It went to about mid-thigh. The silver heels I had paired it with made me look like the perfect Slytherin girlfriend.
But under the green I would always be a lioness.
"Are you ready to go?" He asked, his eyes still running over me.
"Yes," I replied, holding out my hand. He looked a little surprised, but took it without hesitation. This was the first physical contact we'd had in a month. It sent little bolts of electricity through my body.
Draco apparated us to Blaise's flat. We landed on the doorstep. The door was already open, with noise trailing out. I took the first step up, feeling Draco's hand on the small of my back.
"Hermione! Draco!" Blaise shouted, upon seeing us enter. He was chatting with Luna and a few people from the ministry who I'd seen around. He bounded over to us, pulling his girlfriend by the hand.
"Hey Blaise," I smirked. He sent me a wink.
"Hi darling," he said. He turned to Draco and stuck out his hand. "Nice to see you, mate."
"Likewise," Draco said. I gave them both a little smile.
"Well, it's simple," Blaise chuckled. "Buffet's over there. Drink and eat as much as you want. And Hermione, remember what I said earlier."
I felt my cheeks go red. "Got it. Thanks Blaise."
He sent me another wink. "Anytime."
He and Luna headed back to those two ministry workers. Draco turned to me and raised an eyebrow.
"What did Blaise say earlier?"
The blush on my face could attract a radar. "Nothing worth repeating."
He looked confused, but accepted it. "What do you want to do?"
I bit my lip. "I don't know. What do you want?"
He shrugged. "Let's mingle."
And mingle we did.
And after two hours of straight mingling, I couldn't take it anymore. We had talked to everyone at the party. We had chatted, we had laughed, and we had FUCKING DONE NOTHING OURSELVES. The most Draco had done all night was his hand on my back.
I escaped from Draco under the pretense of needing to visit the washroom. Instead, I made my way to the buffet. Getting a plate, I piled it sky high with totes, chicken, and anything else I could see. I headed to the kitchen and sat down at the table.
And began to eat.
I didn't understand anything. Biting into a chicken leg, I considered the situation. Draco wouldn't touch me. Not even that, he wouldn't show any sort of passion towards me at all. His attempt to make things up to me had pacified him. It had taken away the all in boy I loved and replaced him with someone who was trying to please me.
No. Draco Malfoy doesn't try and please me. He tries to frustrate me. He tries to get under my skin and stay there far too long. He pushes me against doorframes and kisses me like he never wants to stop. He makes fun of my friends and is a terrible loser when it comes to exploding snap. He knows exactly who he is, even if he doesn't like it.
And he isn't a pacifist.
I kept eating.
I never knew where I stood with him, not really. And especially not now. After everything, you would think that I knew for sure that he was desperately in love with me. But how could I be sure when he didn't treat me like anything more than a close friend?
Fuck, I was in love with him. And he had put effort in to make things up. But he wasn't acting like himself at all. And what if I jumped back in, and he ran off again?
I took a massive bite out of a piece of cake.
The world was spinning around in my head. All our conversations and moments were swirling in a never-ending sea of confusion.
A sea that we were both drowning in.
"Hermione? What are you doing?"
I looked up in shock. Because of my reverie, I hadn't heard anyone come in. But Draco was standing at the other end of the table, looking at me with concern.
The most emotion he's shown all month.
I dropped my fork. "Uh…yeah…yeah I'm fine," I stuttered, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. "Just a bit peckish."
He raised an eyebrow. "A bit peckish. Really?"
I nodded hysterically.
He placed his hands on the table and leaned towards me. "Seems like you're turning into a bit of a glutton over there."
I almost choked at his comment. The shock on my face must've been evident.
I couldn't believe he had said that. That one word. Of all the things he could've said in that moment.
There we go. Game over. That was seven out of seven. Pride, lust, envy, wrath, greed, sloth and gluttony. I had completed them all in just less than a year.
I looked up and met Draco's piercing grey eyes.
It was all because of him.
All these ridiculous and awful things I had done all year were because of this bloody man who I had fallen for. The bet, his bed, dating Blaise, sleeping with Blaise, stealing the lucky potion, being incapacitated for week, and now eating my heart out. All because of Draco fucking Malfoy.
I opened my mouth to start shouting, horrified that I had managed to commit every single one of the seven deadly sins. Damn it, Draco. How could you do this to me, you absolute bastard? But before I could get the words out, something stopped me.
I could hear my own naïve voice from before. These sins couldn't be that bad. Everyone must over exaggerate them.
They couldn't be that bad.
I thought back to the things I had done.
Had any of them been truly horrible? No, not really. The worst had probably been stealing the potion. But, nothing unforgivable. Those mistakes weren't deadly.
They were human.
Blaise said something to me the morning after we slept together. A weakness is defined as something that makes you vulnerable. It's something that can destroy you. And you, Hermione Granger, are not destroyed yet.
Hell no, I wasn't.
I stood up on shaking legs. I may have committed a few sins this year. I may have committed all of them. However, that didn't make me awful. That made me fucking human. That made me a person who isn't perfect, and who won't always have the right answer.
Those sins hadn't destroyed me, had they? They had hurt, but they hadn't ruined me. In fact they had done the exact opposite.
I looked across the table at the boy I had fallen in love with.
Maybe a few mistakes wouldn't hinder us at all, I wondered. But instead, lead us to the exact moment where we could find true happiness.
His grey eyes met my brown ones.
And suddenly I was moving.
I reached over and grabbed his hand. I exited the kitchen into the hall, pulling him behind me. Heading to the end of the little corridor, I pushed open the door of Blaise's bedroom. Draco came in behind me. I shut the door after him, casting a silencing and locking charm almost simultaneously.
"Hermione?" Draco asked slowly. "What's going on?"
I turned on him. I felt nearly every part of my body shaking. But, with my eyes trained on him, I reached up to my hair and pulled out the butterfly pin.
I let it fall to the ground.
His mouth fell open.
"I don't know what happens next," I whispered, blinking rapidly. "I always used to, you know? I always knew the answer. I love answers, and I always figured them out. Easy. That's why I'm good at school. I can figure out the problem. I can solve the riddle. I can crack the code. Until this year. Until you."
"I once thought to myself that you were a question with no answer. That used to bother me, how I never knew what we were. How I never knew what I'd be getting when I got back to the common room. Even this month, I didn't know. You aren't simple, Draco. You aren't a one word answer. And I don't really want you to be."
"I want you to be the crazy, unpredictable man that I lived with this year. I want your passion and your heart. I don't need a bloody answer. Because some questions can't be answered. They can only be asked. And you are the question I keep asking. Over and over again I will ask for you. At every chance I get, I will ask for you. You're complicated, and unforeseeable. But I don't bloody care. We're complicated. And we're unforeseeable."
"Everything about us was unforeseeable. Who could've seen us coming? Who knows what we'll be tomorrow? Or the next day? We're both a little crazy, and we make each other crazier. But more than that, we make each other better."
"You've shown me that you want to make things better. You've made things better. You probably will have to keep making things better. A month doesn't fix everything. But it's a damn good start. And you've been holding back, I know it. You don't want to push me. You don't want to overstep your boundaries."
"But that's what you do! You push me. You push me to be better, stronger, faster, smarter. You overstep your boundaries. You shouldn't have stepped into my life the way you did, but you fucking did it anyway. And I want that. I want you. Merlin, Draco, I want you."
The air in the room was completely still. He was standing in front of me, not breathing at all. His face was completely white. He wasn't moving.
He was waiting. Waiting for the signal. My signal.
I took a deep breath. "You're worth it, Draco. You're worth every hardship and every heartbreak. I'm in love with you, completely and utterly. And I hope you think I'm worth it too."
The moment the words left my lips, the atmosphere changed. The room was smaller, more intimate. The air was pulsing, the space between us filled with electricity.
The boy with the letter stood before me, watching me with a dangerous intensity. His eyes were burning ferociously, setting my skin on fire at one glance.
He always seemed to be doing that.
"I once told you," Draco whispered, taking a step forward, "that some things are universal. Music. Books. And I told you that one day I would tell you what else. Love, Granger. Love is universal. It can be felt by everyone and for everyone."
He took a deep breath. "I'm not perfect. You know that better than anyone. I'm not going to lie and say that this is going to be easy. It's not. It's going to be hard, and wrong, and we'll fight and scream. I'm not the easiest person to be around."
"But I'm in love with you. And I'll try. I'll try day in and day out to make things up to you, and to make this easier. But right now, in this moment, I'll promise you something. No matter what, no matter how hard it is, or how much it hurts, I will always make this worth it. Because you, Hermione Granger, are worth it all."
His words hit me like a battering ram, sending my heart into overdrive and my mind on a tailspin.
But I didn't care.
I took a few steps forward and pulled him towards me. Our lips met, creating an inferno, the fire which would only burn for him. We grasped at each other desperately, like long lost lovers given redemption.
I guess we kind of were.
We fell together onto Blaise's bed. In that moment, we didn't care that our friends were a few doors down. We didn't care that the Prophet would hound us the second we went outside. We didn't care about the future, or even the past.
We only cared that we were together in this moment that would last an eternity.
A little while later, I was snuggled into Draco's chest, with his arm wrapped around me. I could hear his heartbeat. It felt in sync with mine.
It had been for a while.
Draco leaned down and kissed the top of my head. I curled further into him, and found myself chuckling.
"What's funny?" he murmured.
I looked around at our clothes scattered across the floor. "Oh, Blaise is never ever going to forgive me."
But I didn't really care.
Because it had been fucking worth it.
Well that was fun.
Current stats for this story: 407 reviews, 277 favourites, 511 followers and 1 community. Those are fantastic numbers, and I only have all of you to thank.
This story has been a whirlwind for me. A lot has happened since I began writing this story, back in the summer of 2013. In preparation for the ending, I read the entire thing over again. I realized that I had written a lot of my life into this story. I'm not saying that I committed a bunch of sins and wow sex. Mainly the themes. How mistakes can lead you to happiness, how you can't always forgive someone just because you love them, and how sometimes things are inexplicably worth it.
Here are a quick couple of answers to questions I'm sure you'll have.
1) Blaise accidentally lets it slip that he was only faking dating Hermione about a year after this takes place. Draco punches him in the face. Then they move forward.
2) Blaise and Draco become best friends again. BFFs 5ever
3) Hermione buys Harry a new lucky potion and tells him the truth. He's pretty mad, but he forgives her.
4) Our main couple keeps making it worth it.
This story has been a ton of fun. Thanks for being part of the journey you guys. I'll update Seven Minutes (and finish it) at the earliest opportunity along with Love Has Its Ways. Then I think I'll dabble in some crossover.
Stay fabulous you guys. Until next time.
Oh yeah, and review ;)