Tucked away in the basement of Flourish and Blotts, where only a handful of lamps graced the room with small pools of light, Hermione lifted up a book and turned it in the light so she could read the title. The space around her was taken up by shelves and books, and where there were no shelves, books were stacked precariously on the floor and on tables.
She didn’t hear Draco come down the stairs, slowing when he saw her, and pausing to watch her put the book back and take out another. With careful steps, he walked across the floorboards covered with ancient rugs, stopping when she sighed in discontent at the shelves, the book back on the shelf. He leant against a bookcase, arms crossed, content to watch her in her happy place.
When he found her in the library of Malfoy Manor, rain was thrashing against the floor-to-ceiling windows, blurring the moonlight which fought to enter and covering the sound of his shoes against the floorboards as he walked in. Candles flickered in a few places but Hermione hadn’t lit the lamps, instead keeping to the bookcases nearest the windows where there was just enough moonlight for him to see her standing in a red evening gown.
“You look better in green,” said Draco, locking the door and walking towards her.
Hermione dropped the book which tumbled beneath a small table. She swore and wrestled with her dress so she could crouch down and pick up the book. She slid the book back onto the shelf, adjusted her mask, and smoothed out her dress.
“Nox,” she said, and the candle flames disappeared, extinguishing the remnants of warmth in the room. Draco stopped only when Hermione backed herself up against the bookcase in an attempt to gain some distance. And still she couldn’t stop herself reaching out. He closed his eyes as her fingers brushed his cheek. She undid the ribbon of his mask and lifted it from him.
Hermione put the book back on the shelf, wondering if Flourish and Blotts would ever implement a proper cataloguing system and knowing she would be secretly upset if they did. She turned to leave and caught the flash of blond hair in the lamplight.
“Draco,” she said, in surprise.
“You remember me,” he said, straightening up, “I’m touched.”
She bit her lip and shook her head, then walked away.
“Astoria has been fucking Blaise for months.”
Hermione stopped, keeping her back to Draco, unable to move even as she heard him approach. Her gaze darted around the room as her breathing sped up.
“And I know the Weasel has been seeing Lavender.”
“We all make mistakes,” she choked out.
It was too easy. Too comfortable. Hermione threw Draco’s mask to the floor and he reached behind her head to undo the ribbon holding her mask on, her bushy hair tangling in his fingers before he threw her mask aside. Music from the masquerade ball which was underway on the other side of the Manor slunk into the room and she brushed her thumb across his lips. His hands on her hips, he pulled her closer.
Hermione didn’t trust herself to turn around, to see those lips, to risk his embrace. She didn’t walk away when his hands came to rest on her hips. The golden heat of lamplight or molten silver of moonlight, Draco stared at the curve of her neck and closed his eyes, drawn in by her again and again.
They had ended up on a chaise longue. Her dress and his formal robes strewn around them, she had laughed when he demanded she keep the high heels on. The one moment of amusement in the night. Each moment she was panting, a moment he hated for it having to be stolen in the dark, and still he did everything he could to keep his name on her lips.
She wanted to run. To lose herself in the crowds of Diagon Alley.
She put her hands on his and he stifled a moan. He had missed her touch, the lightness of her fingers on him, her body against his.
“You and the Weasel broke up last year,” said Draco, taking a deep breath and wondering how long he would be able to hold onto her this time.
“Spying on me?” said Hermione, annoyed, and even more so because she wasn’t surprised.
“You don’t need another reason to hate me,” he said, shrugging, “but you’ve got one.”
He helped her get back into her dress. Anything to have his hands on her for a moment longer. She relented for a few seconds more when he kissed her neck and then she was turning away from him again. She picked up their masks while he finished getting his formal robes on.
“I know the Weasel only accompanied you to the ball as a favour,” he said, reveling in the way her hands gripped his more tightly, a confirmation he didn’t need but wanted from her nonetheless.
“Draco,” she pleaded.
He felt her hesitation and then she brought his hands across her body to the small bump which was hidden by her flowing robes. He laughed in disbelief, his fingers splaying across her as he tried to take in the sudden change in their universe.
“My spies didn’t tell me that,” he said, softly.
“No one else knows,” she said, in a rush.
“You’re a terrible liar.”
“Ginny knows,” Hermione conceded, her hands coming to a rest on top of his again. “That’s it.”
“Hermione - ”
She handed him his mask and put her own back on. She looked away as she tied the ribbon. He couldn’t keep his eyes from her. His mask still in his hand, he watched her walk away, unlocking the library door and leaving without a backward glance.
“You can’t run away this time,” she said.
“Was trying to protect you,” he said, giving up and narrowly avoiding her bushy hair as he pressed his lips to her neck. She moaned softly and he held her closer, slipping his hands under her robes and running his hands over her bump. “Come back to the Manor.” Her hands found his again and he brushed his fingers against hers. “I’ll buy books for you.” She laughed and he kissed her neck again. “Let me take you home, Hermione.”
“No stupid baby names,” she said, her voice thick.
“Not a chance,” he said.
She started to turn and he moved his arms so she could move more easily. Face to face and in his arms again, she brought her hand to his cheek, and searched his eyes. Her eyes were shining and a smile danced on her lips.
“I’ve missed you,” he said.
“Then don’t leave again.”
“What about Scorpius?” he said, only slightly alarmed when she started to cry, because her smile had grown and she was biting her lip.
“It’s a girl,” she admitted.
“Draco - ”
“Terrible name for a girl,” he said.
“You’ve been thinking about this?” she asked, curiosity getting the better of her, as she brushed her thumb across his cheek.
“A family with you?” he said. “For years.” She slipped her arms around his neck and leant against him as much as she could with her bump. He stroked her back. “Do I need to get on my knees and beg?”
“I thought Malfoys didn’t beg,” she said, her words muffled by his robes.
“I was being polite,” he said, basking in her laughter.
“Cassiopeia Malfoy?” she said, looking up, and feeling a new tension race through him.
“Are you saying yes?”
“Are you still asking?”
“Yes,” he said, in a rush. “Merlin, yes.”
“Then, yes,” she said, shakily, as she nodded. “Yes.”
He rested his forehead against hers. Deep breaths, nervous smiles, and swallowed words filled the silence, then she brought her lips to his, and they knew they were home.