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Universal Truths

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"You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever. "

Draco carefully closed the door of the Porsche and performed the usual protective wards on the car before making his way up the steps to the flat.

A light rain started and London seemed to hum around him as he unlocked the door, the darkening streets alive with foot traffic and sound. But he felt disconnected from the energetic scene. He wondered when he'd feel normal again—when he'd be able to take simple joy in a brisk drive on a smooth road, like he'd used to do.

Maybe never. Uplifting thought.

He stepped through the doorway—home again—sighed and hung his damp coat, then walked down the hall to his bedroom, intending to get rid of his suit in favor of something more comfortable for sitting around and feeling sorry for himself.

He shook his head, the corner of his mouth turning down. Sad bastard. But it did feel like the end of something. He unbuttoned his shirt and stepped out of his shoes. 'A chapter in his life'? Sounded trite, but accurate. He pulled a soft t-shirt over his head and opened a bureau drawer—jeans or joggers? Jeans. He buttoned them—they were still a bit loose.

He felt very empty somehow. All tasks done and the dust settled. What now? What now indeed.

Well, he gave an impatient shake of his head, it was almost bloody Christmas. Astoria would be home for winter break soon. Daphne wanted her to come to Paris and Lucretia had mentioned spending the holiday together at the Chateau, but was he ready to go back to Provence?

Provence. He dropped down on his bed and flopped back, staring at the ceiling.

She pushed away from the rock and swam toward him, sun glinting off her water-slicked hair, eyes alight with mischief.

"What do you think you're doing?" He held his hands out in a protective posture as she came closer.

She didn't speak, but instead dove under and was gone for a beat, then two. He stood motionless, still grinning, the sun hot on his shoulders. Waiting.

Suddenly a surge from behind him, a slow slide up his back, arms snaking around his waist, lips at his neck. He laughed and turned, met the lips, which held the hint of a smile…

"Caught," she murmured.

"Yes."

Draco shook his head again; Christmas in Paris was always lovely. Or maybe they'd ski. Courchevel?

He pushed up off the bed and drifted out of his bedroom to the drinks cart and splashed something very old and rare into a glass. He clearly needed it tonight. Lifting the crystal to his lips he sipped, letting the sweet burn warm his chest. Treacle, fig and a light smokiness… He rolled the second sip around his mouth more slowly, concentrating and savouring. There was definitely a greenness there too, maybe cut grass or clover? He swallowed and raised the glass to his lips again—but was interrupted by a brisk knocking at the flat door.

His brows drew together. Who the hell could that be? Theo? An emergency? It was late for anyone else. He went swiftly down the hall and pulled open the door with a jerk, half frightened by what could be on the other side.

Hermione.

His breath seemed to leave him.

Hermione was at his door. At his flat. In what looked like pyjamas—and trainers? A scroll clutched in her hand. Droplets of rain sparkling in her hair.

Fear gripped him, "What…?" He couldn't seem to actually speak.

She stepped inside and closed the door behind her, her dark eyes staying on his. "I know what you did."

He stepped back, wary, realisation beginning to dawn.

She moved forward, closer to him. "I know what you did. I know it was you. I know what you did for the Weasleys. And for Harry."

Now he understood fully. Anger flared and he felt his face set. He turned suddenly and walked down the hall, gripping his glass tightly.

"I thought Charlie Weasley was a man of his word. Or was it Hamish?" he tossed over his shoulder. He could hear her following him as he passed into the sitting room. He went to the dark window and looked out, keeping his back to her. Not sure he could face her.

"No, no!" she was saying, still moving behind him. He could see her reflected in the glass. "It was Ron. He got drunk tonight and blurted it out. I made Charlie tell me it all after that. I was already suspicious… It didn't add up."

Draco drank deeply, not tasting anything other than the burn of alcohol now.

"I know— I know you wanted to see Jack put away. But the money, Draco? Your money? You didn't have to do that." He saw her look down and then back up. "So, I wanted to thank you." Her voice started soft, but then strengthened, "...for the Weasleys—for all of us."

Draco felt a ripple of pain. She was here to thank him. Of course. To make things right. To fulfill an obligation. Just what he'd thought would bloody happen. He looked down and shook his head, despair teasing at the corners of his mind. But then his aunt's voice flitted in too, "...maybe making things right is part of the way she loves."

Openness, Draco.

He turned. Met her eyes.

"Surely you must know— " He shook his head. "Surely you must know... that I did it for you." He stepped away from the window and put down his glass, held her gaze, breathed. "Because I love you. Have loved you. So if you thank me for anyone, let it be for yourself alone."

Her eyes widened and her lips parted. He saw her hand reach out, but now that he'd started he couldn't stop. He needed to know.

"Don't play with me, Hermione. If you feel the same as you did in France, if we are truly over," his voice broke, "then tell me now so that I can try to move on."

She moved to him and her face was stricken. He saw tears in her eyes. "My feelings haven't changed at all." He felt his heart drop, but she must have seen it on his face because she rushed on, words tumbling over each other. "I loved you then. I love you now. I will love you… I think, always. I'm so sorry for doubting you." She reached out again, "I have missed you." The last ended on a sob.

He blinked—waited a bare moment while his whole world shifted on its axis —before closing the distance between them and pulling her into his arms. She grasped him tightly and buried her face against his chest, murmuring his name between soft I love you's. His hand went to her hair and his cheek to the top of her head. He felt her breathe and her heart beat and it was all so dear to him. He took a deep shuddering breath and she looked up. He saw real happiness in her face, and wonder. He felt it reflected in his.

His hands slid around to frame her face. "I love you too, Hermione," he whispered again.

The most beautiful smile bloomed over her features. He saw his whole future in it.

"So much," she said, then reached up and her lips touched his, soft and smiling at first, but quickly becoming searching, urgent. He felt an intoxicating joy at touching her—in her scent, the silk of her hair, the feel of the pads of her fingers on his skin.

He shifted and deepened the kiss, wanting more of her, all of her. His hands roved her body and his tongue teased at hers. She responded in kind, and soon he was lost completely.

Somehow he picked her up, brought her to his bed, laid her on it gently. Somehow they were skin to skin and he was experiencing her, consuming her. Somehow he was inside of her and it was a claiming—he of her, yes, but she of him too. Of each other. He felt her teeth on his neck and a whispered word in his ear, "mine…"

"Yes," he agreed. "Yours."

Forever.

And afterward, when they lay silently, and her fingers were sipping through his hair in the old, perfect way, he moved his head to her chest and listened to the strong steady beat of her heart and knew in his bones that it also, was his.

~oOo~

Hermione watched her finger brush over Draco's smooth skin, tracing the planes and curves of his chest and arm. He sighed with his eyes closed, a slight smile lifting his mouth.

She moved over him and lowered her lips to his. She couldn't resist—she didn't have to. She kissed him slowly and lazily, exploring and tasting. His hand swept up her back and neck to hold her in place as he returned her ardor, his tongue wicked on hers.

"Mmm," she murmured after a bit, and reluctantly broke away.

He looked a question at her. Why did you stop?

She twiddled with the blanket and glanced down. She could so easily lose herself in him and in the thrilling feeling of being loved, and in love. She could spend days touching his skin and breathing into his neck. Tasting his lips and feeling the aching slide of him inside of her, where he belonged. She could forget everything else in that. But there were things that needed to be said. Things she specifically needed to say—that he deserved to hear.

So she looked up and took a deep breath, "I wanted to talk…"

He lifted his brows, shifting up on the stack of pillows and lacing his hands behind his head, face serious. She sat up too, pulling the blanket with her and crossing her legs.

"I want to tell you that I'm sorry." She held his gaze and tried to keep her voice steady. This was more difficult than she'd thought it would be, bringing up these old hurts. "For not trusting you. For thinking the worst of you." She felt moisture in her eyes and a lump in her throat. She looked down again.

His finger caressed under her chin, tilted her face up. "You don't have to apologise." His eyes were soft with a vulnerability she'd never seen before.

"I do. I was so wrong. Jonnie, Jack Wickham—even Harry and the scheme. I came to realise that over the last few months. Your letter started it."

"That letter, Gods!" he snorted. "Fifteen pages and not one word of apology or explanation of how I felt— "

"No, no!" she put her hand out. "Its effect on me was profound. And besides, I think we're both rather different people now."

"Or maybe we're the same, but we understand each other better?" He half smiled at her and she puffed out a small laugh.

"Maybe that's it."

He regarded her for a moment and then tilted his head, his eyes glinting silver in the low light. "Come here. I don't like you so far away."

She laughed softly again. There were about two inches separating them. But she also happily went—shifting around so that she was also lying against the pillows, her head on his chest and her legs intertwined with his. She resumed stroking the smooth expanse of his skin just over his heart.

"But you do know that you're a wonderful person, Draco?"

He snorted.

She looked up and smacked her hand lightly against him. "I'm serious! You do so much for so many. When I saw The Meadows… And the Integration Centre. I don't think I truly understood until then." Her hand slid up to his neck and she stroked his jaw with her thumb. He squeezed her closer and reached down to kiss her.

They were occupied that way for several moments until he eventually broke the contact, saying a bit breathlessly, "Thank you, but I think you may be biased. Or perhaps blinded by my shocking abilities as a lover."

She rolled her eyes and started to speak, but he talked over her, the humour in his face fading to something more serious. "But thank you. You're also incredible. And if we're doing this right now. Then I have some things to say too."

"You really don't…" He stopped her with a look and she went quiet.

"What I want to say is that I'm sorry for not letting you in—and for being an autocratic wanker at times. I don't really have an explanation as to why I'm that way." He shrugged. "I was raised to be selfish and cold and there have been a lot of years of making decisions without much regard for opinions or feelings other than my own. I suppose my therapy staff at The Meadows would also say something about 'defense mechanisms'."

Hermione nodded and he reached out to stroke a curl away from her face.

"But I'm trying to change. Trying bloody hard. I ambushed Astoria, Daphne and Theo and made them listen to me talk about my feelings."

"I wondered…" Hermione murmured. "A few things Theo said…"

"Yes, well." He shifted and looked away then looked back, his expression sombre. "And then the hiding. The idea that I was hiding us."

"Oh no Draco, please." Hermione felt real distress. "I was so wrong to say that. I was angry and hurt."

"I know. But still. Let me say this." She nodded slowly. "While I was never trying to hide you, I wasn't clear either. Your words have rung in my ears so many times in the last few months, 'had you been more open.'

Hermione began shaking her head but he kept on, "No. You were right. I should have been clear. That I wanted you by my side—that I was, am, proud to have you with me in every way."

Hermione felt a tear start down her cheek—and she couldn't speak, could only nod. He reached out and brushed the tear with the pad of his thumb.

"You have changed me, Hermione. Being with you has made me a better person. And made me want to keep being better."

"Me too," she whispered, resting her chin on his chest and watching him.

He looked down at her and suddenly his eyes were fierce and focused. He took her hand and spoke, low and intense. "Because this is it for me, Hermione. I realised that the last few months. I love you and I will never stop. And sooner rather than later I'll ask you to marry me, so that we'll never be apart again."

Hermione's throat constricted again but she managed to choke out, "Same." She touched her temple to his chest and smiled into the dim light of the bedroom, basking in a happiness, a belonging more profound than any she'd ever felt before. She heard him sigh and felt his fingers in her hair.

Then after a minute she looked up again, feeling mischievous. "So. Was that a proposal?"

He laughed and his brows flicked up, "Not quite. You'll know when I propose to you."

She rose and put her lips very close to his, "Or maybe I'll ask you."

"My modern woman," he breathed, then kissed her deeply.

She leaned into the kiss, slipping her tongue into his mouth and sliding one leg over his torso so that she was straddling him. He groaned and swept his hands up her sides, resting them around her waist. She felt him hard against her and began moving with a rhythm that was familiar and yet endlessly exciting.

His hands went to her breasts and she gasped, arching her back into the exquisite sensation of being touched by him again. And when he pulled a nipple into his mouth, she shifted to slip over him, and slid his full length into her soft passage.

"Gods, Hermione" he groaned against her skin, his fingers spasming.

"Yes," she hissed, throwing her head back and giving in utterly.

~oOo~

Draco groaned and rolled over. He didn't think he'd ever been more sexually satisfied— even after their first night together.

She laughed softly, seeming to catch his meaning, and he smiled lazily at her. "You'll be the death of me, woman."

"Mmm, but what a lovely way to go." She dipped her head and nipped at the skin of his neck. Shockingly, his cock twitched again. She nibbled lower and he pulled back to watch her.

"Why; are you hungry, Hermione?" His smirk emerged.

"Actually," her head popped up and she looked around quizzically. "I am. Starving in fact. I left the Weasleys' before dinner and wasn't even able to drink a cup of tea before I ran out to come here."

"Well come on. Let's see what we've got. I know Daph was here until yesterday so there's bound to be something." He got up and slipped on his jeans, but didn't bother with a shirt.

"I'll just be a moment," she said.

He nodded and padded down to the kitchen, taking the time to be a bit stunned at the turn this night, his life, had taken. Happiness flooded him and he stood in place and grinned at nothing like a complete idiot.

Her step sounded behind him and he pivoted to catch her in his arms and kiss her yet again. She responded enthusiastically, running her nails up his bare back in a way that made him growl into her ear.

She laughed and pulled a little bit back. "You know, I really like this look," her eyes skimmed lasciviously over his chest and down lower.

He grinned, "and I like yours." He pulled at the hem of her boxy flannel top. "What are we calling it, 'sexy granny'?"

She looked up at him for a beat and then swatted him, hard, on the arm. "It was cold in my flat!" She hit him again, "wanker!"

He laughed and grabbed her wrists, then went in for another deep kiss. "They're actually lovely. A testament to how you can look beautiful in anything."

"Nice try, Malfoy," she mumbled against him, "now make me something to eat."

"Yes, let's get some food in you." He smiled and dropped her wrists, then opened the refrigerator. "Eggs, gruyere, chives, two bottles of good Pinot Blanc, and some very nice Parisian chocolate. Yes it's clear that Daphne has been here. Probably with that French boyfriend of hers. Although, he'll have to get to know her better. She hates chocolate."

Hermione laughed. "Then she won't mind if we eat it all."

"She won't and we will." He pivoted to the hob, ingredients in his hands, "but it looks like omelette is on the menu first."

"Ooh, lovely," Hermione said, coming up behind him. "And shall I pour us some of this wine?"

"Please." Draco busied himself with bowls and pans and mixing tools then accepted a cold glass with a kiss.

Hermione settled at the kitchen island with her own glass. "Draco,"

"Yes, my love?"

"When did you fall in love with me?"

He glanced up to the perfectly beautiful sight of her haloed in the soft kitchen light, hair a bit wild, lower lip caught under her teeth. He knew there was a time when he hadn't loved her, but it seemed so improbable now.

He thought back. "It's been coming on so gradually… I don't quite know. I definitely fell in lust with you at Theo's: probably that very first day when you were parading your perfect arse up the hill in front of my car."

She made a face.

"What?" he threw his hands up in mock innocence, "you have a truly outstanding arse!"

She rolled her eyes. "Where is the Jaguar by the way. Is it here?" her gaze turned avid.

"It is not here. I drove my Porsche today."

"Ohh, a Porsche. What type?"

"1988 Carrerra."

"Color?"

"Black."

"Mmm, the Jaguar is black."

He looked at her with an amused grin, "yes it is."

She swept a very arresting look up at him from under her eyelashes. A look he felt would probably get her anything she wanted for the rest of their days. "May I drive it?"

He slid the finished omelette onto a plate and put it down in front of her, "You may. You may have precisely anything you want from me."

She took a huge bite and smiled at him as she chewed.

"Delicious." She reached out and touched his arm as he walked by.

"Glad you like it. And back to your question. Love… " He crossed his arms and leaned against the counter. "I think that day at the park had something to do with it."

Her eyes grew warm and she sighed, "that day at the park. So lovely. One of the best days. And I agree it may have started there." She took a sip of wine.

"Although, I think the night I came to the cottage, when I was so tired and you fed me soup. That was the night I realised it, although it took me a couple of days to name it." It struck him that until today he would have said it took until too late.

She nodded. "Our last good night—until this one, of course," her smile beamed up at him.

"This one and all the others to come," he smiled back at her. "Chocolate?"

"Mmm, yes."

He took her empty plate, set a spell to wash it, then sat down across from her.

"I loved you early on too," her eyes tracked him and her face was serious now, "but I don't think I fully appreciated you until I saw The Meadows in person."

"That day, gods," he shook his head.

She tilted her chin back and took a deep breath, "yes, that day." She reached across the counter and took his hand. "I felt so awkward to be found there that I think it came across as distaste or not wanting to see you, but that was far from the truth. I was actually devastated because I was so amazed by everything there, by what you've done. And then the idea that I'd pushed it away," she shook her head and tears welled in her eyes.

He squeezed her hand, "Don't. It's ok. It's behind us."

She nodded and looked down. "About the project, Draco…"

"Yes?"

"May I help with it?" She looked up again, suddenly seeming a tiny bit shy.

He snorted. "Well I created it for you, so yes, you can help."

"Oh good. Because I have some ideas," an eager light appeared in her eye.

"I'm sure you do," he laughed and leaned up over the counter to kiss her.

She stood up and met his lips then sat back down with a sigh. "But it's true that all of that magnified what I already felt."

"I was so happy that you got to see it." He leaned back and stretched. "Well, happy through my extreme emotional turmoil. You know Hamish narrowly avoided being hit when he came through that door calling you 'darling'"

She laughed, "I wondered…"

"It was a very good thing Charlie showed up right when he did."

'You really like Charlie." Her brows went up and her eyes danced.

"I do. First Weasley I can truthfully say that about. Oh and apparently I'm going to Romania in the Spring. Hamish strong-armed me when we were in Monaco."

She laughed, "that sounds like him. And I'm coming with you."

"Yes, you are."

She smiled, but then sobered again. "And oh god, the party. I thought I was going to dissolve into a little pile of dust and blow away."

"You looked so beautiful that night," he said softly, taking her other hand. "I couldn't take my eyes off you. I was sure everyone there could see how wretchedly in love with you I was. Am."

"Same. And when you played that song," she whispered.

He half laughed, a bit amazed he could find humour in that moment now. "Yes. Shit, Astoria, what a choice." He looked down and then up, "And when you looked at me when I was talking to Charlie. A whole vision of how we could have been flashed through my mind. It felt almost physically painful."

She got up and came around to his side of the counter, stepped between his legs and looped her arms around his neck. "We can be," she said and kissed him.

He slid his arms around her waist and his lips moved against her mouth. "We will be."

~oOo~

Hermione drew back from the tender kiss and ruffled his bright hair. Then she stepped back and took his hands, pulled him up. Her eyes made a slow trip down over the beautiful view of his bare chest tapering to the flat plane of his stomach disappearing into low-slung denim.

"Let's go sit somewhere more comfortable."

"All right," he spun her around and grabbed her from behind, then walked her out to the sitting room. She giggled as they dropped down onto the sofa, a tangle of arms and legs. He pinned her and kissed her lightly, teasingly, and she responded in kind, reveling in the sensation of his him, his skin, his delicious scent. And in her enjoyment, their lightness shifted to something deeper.

She opened her lips and licked against him, the sensual motion and his languid response restarting the heat that had barely abated. Her leg went up around his back in a slow slide and her hand tangled in the hair at his nape. He groaned and tongued deeply into her mouth, and by the time he moved down her neck to her breasts she was panting and slick with want. How she could need him again so badly, so soon... She started pushing at the waistband of her pyjamas and pants, desperate. He realised what she was doing and yanked them down with a swift motion. She was starting to tug at his flies, but he stayed her hand. Then his head went lower.

Hermione rolled her neck against the arm of the sofa as his clever tongue worked in circles around her core, the pressure and intensity seemingly perfectly calculated to fucking wreck her. She pulled at his hair, arched her back and eventually came on a long slow wave, the fourth orgasm of the night not quite as sharp as the first or second, but no less astounding. After a few seconds in which she blanked out from bliss, he made a slow slide up her body and pulled them around so she was lying on his chest.

He pulled a blanket down from the top of the sofa back to cover them and sighed. "Gods, I missed that."

"What?" she murmured, still very much in a blissful orbit somewhere in outer space.

"Tasting you as you come."

She giggled and then came to a little sharper focus. "Do you want to?" she gestured downward and started to shift up, very much willing to continue.

"Mmm, I think I'll rest and bask in my enjoyment of that last," he said with a smile in his voice, his arms tightening to hold her in place. "After all there's no rush. And I want to be ready in case I should wake up in the middle of the night."

"I think it is the middle of the night," she laughed.

"Do you care?"

"No. I'm not tired at all. Just a little dreamy." She paused and burrowed against him. He made a contented sound and stroked her hair.

"I wouldn't mind a fire and one of those chocolates, though," he muttered after a moment, rummaging underneath them and pulling out his wand. Once he had it in hand, the flames in the sleek grate in front of them leaped to life and the chocolate box sailed across the room.

Hermione selected one. "So Daphne really doesn't like chocolate?" she asked, popping it in her mouth.

"Daft. Just like her sister," he said.

"Astoria!" It suddenly occurred to Hermione that this turn of events meant she was gaining more than just Draco and the idea zipped through her veins like Champagne bubbles.

"She's going to be rather happy when she hears about this," he drawled, seeming to pick up on her thoughts.

"When will I see her?" Hermione could hear the excitement in her own voice.

"Well Winter break starts in just over three weeks," he said.

"Of course. And Christmas!" Do you usually go to France? Or maybe you spend it with your mother…?" her voice trailed off, her mind taking a disappointed turn. If he spent Christmas with Narcissa, then she would definitely not be attending.

He snorted, "Ah no. Mother and I actually do Boxing Day. We have a very cold and civilized lunch at which we exchange exactly one gift with each other."

Hermione shuddered. "Good, because I think I'm rather in her black books."

"What do you mean?" He craned his neck so he could look at her.

"Ahhhahaha…" Hermione ate another chocolate. "She didn't tell you?"

"What? Hermione, what did she do?" He moved into a sitting position and the look of consternation on his face was actually adorable.

"She came to see me," she said, licking her fingers. "At work."

He flopped back down, "oh FUCK." His eyelids fluttered shut and his hand went to his brow. "What about?" he muttered faintly.

"She wanted to know if we were engaged. And when I told her we weren't, she wanted me to give her my word that we would never become engaged. She tried to convince me that you and Jonnie had been betrothed since birth."

Draco groaned.

"No, no it's really very amusing after the fact." Hermione smiled down at him.

"What did you do? What did you say?"

"I told her it was none of her business and kicked her out of my office."

He stared at her for a moment then lunged forward, grabbed her face in his hands and gave her a very firm kiss. "I love you so fucking much."

She laughed, but he lay back and scowled at the ceiling. "Gods, I ought to cut her out of my life."

"Well don't be hasty," she said, laying a hand on his arm.

"No. When I think that she tried to ruin this?" he gestured rather wildly.

"Well, actually I'd say her visit had the opposite effect," Hermione said softly, stroking a finger down his cheek.

"What do you mean?"

"Well at that point, after Wiltshire, I had almost totally given up on you. I thought the thing with Wickham— the association, the scandal— was too much. That you had walked away for good."

"That wasn't it at all!" he bolted up again. "I just felt so guilty when I heard what happened. I was instantly consumed with making it right."

"I know," she soothed. "I know that now. But then? I was in a bad place. And when she came to see me it was like it lit a little light of hope. Why would this information have come to her? And especially why then, after I had all but given up? Someone had put the idea in her mind. Was it you? Someone close to you?" She traced a finger down his arm. "And then I saw Theo the same afternoon and that was when I asked him to tell me as soon as he knew you were back in town. When I knew I had to try again."

He lifted his head and looked at her, "Well, blimey. Perhaps I should send her a bouquet."

She laughed. "Well, as I said, the confrontation did not end cordially. I think she'll be rather absent from your life—our life—" she felt a shy smile steal over her face as he nodded, "for a while."

"No loss there." He tapped his chin, "I wonder who in the world would have told her, though? Which one of the several people who enjoy meddling in my affairs…? Not that I'm complaining."

"Could have been Theo," Hermione ventured. "But I feel like he would have said something."

"Oh, he can be quite sphinx-like when he wants to be. But no, he wouldn't have left so much to chance."

"Astoria?"

"Perhaps. An innocent line dropped in a letter…? But she's not generally that cunning. And she of all people knew the intimate details of the situation. Knew that we were most certainly not together. Maybe Jonnie? But no, she barely sees mother." He turned and looked at Hermione, his face animated, his eyes glowing a light silver. "I think it was Lucretia. Smacks of her style. She's a source mother would trust and no one is better at getting under Narcissa's skin. And she told me just a couple of days ago not to give up on you."

"Oh. Perhaps I'll send her a bouquet." Hermione touched her lips to his as he laughed softly. She pulled back and looked at him, "Well, maybe we'll never know. But I find I don't really care all that much." She slid her fingers into his hair and stroked his temples. "The result is what matters."

"Exactly." He pushed forward and kissed her deeply. Things were getting heated and Hermione's hands were moving down his body in a purposeful way when he broke the kiss and said, a bit breathlessly, "Oh and did Theo tell you about the scheme?"

"Harry's project?" She may have been a bit breathless too.

"Yes, that he's fully invested again?"

"He did tell me. We had quite a nice little meet-up. He apologised for withdrawing initially and told me he's back on board. Harry is over the moon about it."

"Excellent."

"Theo tried to claim it was Rafik who had prompted him," Hermione felt a mischievous look steal over her face, "but I figured it was really that you'd given him your permission."

He looked at her for a moment, his eyes narrowing, then his hands shot out and he started tickling her. "You little..." he laughed and she shrieked and jerked away.

"Admit it! You did!" Her laughter was punctuated by more shrieks.

He rolled them over until he was pinning her. "Maybe I did."

His eyes glinted and she grabbed his hands and stilled them. He dipped his head and kissed her with purpose. She was amazed yet again by how she responded to his touch, her legs snaking up around him and her body instinctively moving against his. For a moment, his insistent hands and heated lips made her think he was going to take things all the way, but then he pulled back, breathing heavily.

"Gods, I can't get enough of you," he said, looking rather dazed.

She reached up and stroked his face. "You can have all of me that you want."

The sweetest look came over his face and he shook his head once, then touched his forehead to hers.

"Hermione?" She didn't think she'd ever tire of hearing her name in his voice.

"Yes, my love?"

He moved his head and began kissing down her jawline and into a very sensitive spot on her neck. She arched and sighed.

"What should we do tomorrow?" This was said against her neck and she could hear and feel the smile in his voice.

Tomorrow. Yes, what an incredible thought. That she would have all her tomorrows with him. "Well we could go to the park and sit under a tree," she said.

"Lovely idea, but it's supposed to rain."

"Or I could drive the Jaguar!"

He chuckled against her skin, "you certainly could."

A thought suddenly struck her and Hermione shifted up, "Oh shit, Draco! I'm actually meant to be viewing flats tomorrow! I have six appointments and my first is at nine!"

He pulled back. "Viewing flats?"

"Harry and Ginny just got engaged and they want to strike out on their own."

"Ahh." He looked at her for a few moments, then lowered his head and began kissing her neck again. "Cancel them."

"Cancel…? What?"

"Your viewings. Cancel them."

What he was doing was very distracting and it took Hermione a bit of time to answer, "so we can spend the day together instead?"

"Well yes. And also because you'll be coming to live with me." She put her hands on the sides of his face, stilled his lips. He looked up and his eyes were very light silver. "We can live here or find somewhere new. Daph's moving to Paris permanently next month so we have the option."

Hermione felt her happiness actually rob her of speech. And in her moment of silence she saw a slight vulnerability creep into his expression by way of a small crease between his eyes.

"If you want to, that is…" he began, but she silenced him with a smacking kiss.

"Yes, yes, yes," she chanted, punctuating each word with another kiss as he began to chuckle. Hermione finished her litany with a final soft brush of her lips and then pulled back to speak from the very deepest part of her heart. "I don't want to be parted from you again. Ever."

He stopped too and looked at her. Really looked at her, his expression fathomless and tender.

"No we won't be. Ever again."

~FIN~