"How can you just sit still like that?" Hermione paced back and forth in the middle of the hall, anxious. The students would be there soon, first years fresh from their first trip to Hogwarts.
"It's simple. I sit down, and then I stop moving." Draco smirked at her, unable to help himself.
Shooting him a mock glare, Hermione joined him on the steps. Placing her head on his shoulder, she tucked her arm underneath his and took his hand.
"I still can't believe this is all really happening…" For so long, everything had been so bleak, and it was surreal to know they were safe, for good. "That monster is really gone, Hogwarts is fully functioning, without incident, for its second year in a row…"
"Makes you think, doesn't it? About our run at Hogwarts…everything we went through."
"Yeah…" She sighed, the sound of contentment putting Draco at peace. It was a sound he'd come to love. Her hand, the one that wasn't holding his, went from her knee to her stomach. Hermione's face changed expression to one he couldn't quite place.
"Are you alright?" He moved to kneel on the step in front of her, taking her face in his hand. Scanning her eyes, he tried to figure out what was wrong.
"Yes…it's just…" She looked away from him, knowing that she was worrying, but unsure of how to express what she wanted to say. "Tell me."
I woke up to a chill in my room. The dungeons were cold by virtue of their location, but this was worse than usual. Something was missing, and when I reached over to pull Hermione closer, I realized she wasn't there, her side of the bed empty, white sheets pulled back.
"Hermione?" I sat up, looking around to see if she'd only gotten up to get water or something. When she didn't respond, I got out of bed, pulling on a t-shirt and shoes. I walked though our quarters and into Snape's old office, now Hermione's, hoping to find her there, maybe doing some late-night work. A calendar on her desk caught my eye, and I realized why she'd gotten up, why she couldn't sleep.
It was the same every year for the past three since Voldemort had been defeated. None of us could really sleep, the nerves from the final battle reemerging on every anniversary. Hermione had it the worst, though. I went back to our room, grabbed a light jacket, and left the dungeons, knowing where I'd be able to find her. The dungeons were even colder in the hall, and quiet, but it wasn't the same silence as all those years ago, when Voldemort had control. No, this was a silence of peace, of the castle's students sleeping in their respective houses.
My footsteps echoed through the dungeons, until I reached the Great Hall, and made my way up the stairs and to the seventh floor. When I reached my destination, the blank wall stared at me, and I knew Hermione was on the other side. I need a place to hide…
The door materialized before me.
I was drifting in and out of sleep when he found me, curled up against the back wall of the broom cupboard provided by the Room of Requirement. It hadn't changed since the day he'd first kissed me, and I think the room knew that this was the cupboard I wanted every time I came. Especially tonight, today.
"Hermione?" The door opened, and Draco let in some of the light in the hallway. Concern decorated his face, as it did every year. "Are you alright?"
"You know me…I just couldn't sleep." I tried to smile at him, to reassure him that I was okay. He crouched down, taking a seat on the ground beside me. I took his hand when he did, lacing our fingers together as I placed my head on his shoulder.
"I know." What would the students think if they came across us now, Potions master and DADA professor hiding in a broom cupboard together?
I smiled, closing my eyes, wanting to fall asleep again. Draco remained silent, used to this routine.
"Was it the nightmares again?" I whispered, knowing she probably wouldn't respond. I looked down at our hands, her engagement ring reflecting a little light that came through a crack in the door. I took her silence as confirmation. "One day, they'll stop." I spoke from experience, from fighting the nightmare of Dumbledore's death, Hermione's torture, for years.
"I hope so…" She lifted her head, looking up at me. In the darkness of the cupboard, her eyes were almost back to their original color. It seemed the after effects of drinking manticore blood were more permanent than Snape had let on, her eyes only slightly darker now, red still visible in the right light. "We should probably be getting back…"
The walk to our room seemed shorter than the one to the Room of Requirement, a comfortable silence falling between us. We were used to this, the silence that accompanied our memories of the war. She knew I didn't like talking about it, and I knew there were many things she'd rather not remember. Hermione held onto my arm, her head resting against me the entire way back. Exhaustion was creeping up on us both, all the activities of the first day back at Hogwarts taking its toll.
Back in our room, we climbed back into bed. Draco held me close, his chest warm against my back, his breathing soothing me into sleep once more. I knew he had his own nightmares to deal with, his own terrible memories from the war, but he hardly let it show, too concerned for me, for my issues. His hand moved to rest on my stomach, where the baby I'd only told him about a few hours ago was forming.
In all the time we spent together, all those moments in the war, I hadn't thought we'd actually make it. I hoped of course, that he would survive, that he could start over, but I didn't think I would be around to see it. Now, in his arms, our breathing in sync, it was hard not to hope.
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