Hanging by a moment
Zabini Manor - Italy:
"Blaise, you daft prick get the bloody hell up!"
"Go away!" Blaise grumbled as he burrowed deeper under the comforter.
Theo stomped towards the bed and unceremoniously yanked the comforter off his sulking friend, "Get up or I swear to Merlin, I will hex your bollocks off!"
He turned to his side and covered his face with his arm, "What the bloody hell do you want?"
Theo folded his arms on top of his chest, "Your Mum called me and told me you've been drowning yourself in fire whiskey, what happened?" he demanded.
"She's exaggerating, I only had a few bottles - I'm okay, now go away and let me sleep."
"There are 5 empty bottles on the floor, that's a lot," Theo said.
"Stop asking me, I'm not going to answer your questions," he said petulantly before covering his head with a pillow.
Theo sat at the foot of the bed and crossed his legs, "Draco is back, did you know? The prat finally showed his arse after 4 sodding years and didn't have the decency to tell us," he huffed.
'Wish he didn't come back at all," he grumbled.
"What did you say?"
He tore the pillow off his face and sat up, "Nothing."
Theo turned towards him, "We have to see the prat," he said.
"I already saw him last night, why don't you go see him yourself."
Theo cocked his head to the side, confusion evident on his face, "What? Where? And why do you sound pissed?"
He rolled out of the bed, "The reunion, the one you ditched," he replied curtly. He then hefted himself up and started making his way towards the loo, his whole body humming with a combination of anger and annoyance.
"I didn't know he's going to be there. Did you take Granger with you?"
"Yeah," he replied before he disappeared from view.
"What the hell is wrong with you, mate? You're acting kind of weird," Theo called out.
"Nothing is wrong, Theo, so just drop it."
"Okay I'll drop it, for now. Go take a shower and meet me downstairs, your house elves prepared breakfast."
He stood under the warm cascading waters and braced his hands on the wall, "Fine, be there in a few," he called out.
He closed his eyes and titled his face towards the shower, "Fuck."
Hermione opened her eyes and slowly took in her surroundings, "How did you -"
"Ginny - do you like it?" he asked.
"I love it!" she exclaimed. She then turned around to face him, "Thank you for this, Dray. This means so much to me," she said earnestly.
"You're welcome. I know how you always miss them and how much you love this place, I'm glad you like it."
She stood on her tiptoes and pressed her lips to his cheek, "Thank you again," she repeated. She then threw him a megawatt smile, "Are you ready to meet my parents?"
He was tethering over the edge with how nervous he was feeling, but he didn't let it show on his face. He eased into his cool mask of nonchalance and made sure to smile extra big. He caught her hand with his and laced their fingers together, and just like magic, he felt himself relax. "I already met them," he said.
Her brows furrowed with confusion, "What do you mean?"
He threw her a smile as he steered her towards the driveway, "We're not playing 20 questions, Granger."
"Draco, come on, what do you mean?"
He ignored her question and pushed the door bell once, "Don't fret, you'll find out in a few minutes," he replied with a wink.
The door was flung open, revealing a very happy looking Anne Granger. "Baby! You made it!" she exclaimed and opened her arms wide for a hug.
She automatically pulled her hand away and walked into Anne's arms," Mum, I've missed you," she replied with an ear-splitting grin.
Anne hugged her tightly, "I've missed you too," she replied with the same enthusiasm as her daughters.
Hermione planted a kiss on her Mum's cheek, "Where's Dad?"
"Out to buy whipped cream, but he'll be back in a few," Anne replied. Her eyes then strayed towards him, "Draco, I'm so happy to see you again, darling. Thank you for making do with your promise," she said with a pleased smile.
He returned the smile, "Of course, you're very much welcome," he replied politely.
"Hush, come on here and give me a big hug," Anne demanded before opening her arms like what she did for Hermione.
Hermione's eyes shone with happiness as moved to the side to give him space.
He walked into her arms and gave Anne a brief hug.
"I'm sure she'll enjoy your surprise for later, so loosen up, you look stiff, love," Anne whispered before pulling away.
"What are you two whispering about?" Hermione asked with a curious look.
Anne placed her arm around Hermione's shoulders, "Come on in, it's too nippy to stay outside," she said, deflecting her question.
He jammed his hands inside his pockets, "Yes, it's a little bit cold."
Hermione opened her mouth to ask more questions but was easily distracted when she was thrusted into the warm confines of her childhood home.
He threw Anne a grateful smile as he closed the door behind him.
"Why don't you two settle down and I'll get you something to drink," Anne said. She then turned her gaze towards him, "I have tea, Pepsi and juice, what do you prefer, Draco?"
"Pepsi would be fine," he replied.
"Pepsi?" Hermione asked with a quizzical look.
"Nothing, just curious," Hermione replied. "I'll get one for you, Mum?"
Anne seemed to take the cue and pointed towards the kitchen, "I'll join you, would you be okay here?"
He sat down on the couch and nodded, "I'll be fine, take your time," he replied as he relaxed back on the soft cushion.
Hermione stalked towards the fridge, "What are you making?" she asked.
"Your favorite, Strawberry short cake," Anne replied.
She grabbed two cans of Pepsi before moving towards the breakfast bar to peek from her Mum's shoulder, "I haven't had that for so long, I've missed your cooking."
"I know, sweetheart. Something's will never change."
She shifted to her Mum's side and propped herself with her elbows, her eyes fixed on cake. "I can't wait for dessert."
Anne pushed the cake tin towards her, "There, have a taste and tell me what you think."
She grinned widely as she scraped the left over cake from the side, "Let's see," she replied before popping a finger into her mouth.
"I like him."
Anne pulled the bowl of fresh strawberries towards her and started slicing it, "Draco, you two look good together."
She tore a paper towel from the roll and wiped her finger, "O - okay."
Her Mum turned her face towards her, a knowing and pleased look plastered on her face. "I know you're wondering how I know him."
"I was about to ask you that, I was side tracked," she replied while pointing towards the tin.
Anne lined the sliced strawberries on top of the cooled cake, "He showed up at our doorstep yesterday and introduced himself. And yes, shock, was an understatement," she explained with a chuckle.
She felt her eyes widen with surprise, "He did? What did Dad say?"
"Your Dad likes him too; he was impressed that he came here to introduce himself without you."
She buried her face in her palms, her cheeks burning like hot plates. "I'm so embarrassed, I have no idea he would do that, I'm sorry-"
"Don't be. Your Dad and I were happy that he did," Anne interjected, cutting her rant off.
"Hush!" Anne chided. She then paused and moved her eyes towards the living room, "I think your Dad is home, I heard the door close."
She let her hands drop and followed her Mum's gaze, "I should check on them," she said.
"Lunch would be served as soon as I'm done with the frosting."
"Okay, I'll tell them," she said. She then grabbed their drinks and made her way back to the living room. She was almost halfway when she heard her Dad's booming voice, making her pause.
"Draco, my boy! I'm glad you made it back!"
"I'm glad to be back too, Mr. Granger."
"Nonsense, call me Richard."
"That will take a lot of getting used to, but I promise to try - Richard."
A warm tingling feeling settled into the pit of her stomach, making her feel all gooey and fuzzy on the inside. She knew her Dad had a hard time adjusting to the fact that she was a full grown woman and ready to have relationships with the opposite sex. In his eyes, she was still the little girl who played piggy back ride and hopscotch with him. So hearing him interact with Draco with ease really surprised her. It was unexpected but truly pleasant. She made sure to carve down the ear splitting grin on her face before she resumed her trek. She stepped into the living room and announced her presence, "Daddy!" she squealed in her little girl's voice.
Richard Granger's head snapped towards her, his face full of delight. "Mimi, you're home!" He spread his arms open as he walked towards her, "I've missed you, my little bumpkin!" he said he wrapped her with a warm hug.
"You just saw me a few days ago," she giggled.
"I know, but I miss you ever single day," Richard replied.
She planted a loud kiss on her Dad's cheek before pulling away, "I know, you've told me that dozens of times. And I do miss you too, every day that is," she winked.
Draco walked towards them and gently pried the cans from her hand, "Let me get that," he said.
Her Dad tucked her to his side, his cheek resting comfortably on her temple. "Thank you for keeping your promise, Draco," he said jovially.
She circled her arm around Richard's waist, "Yes, thank you for doing this," she said earnestly.
"You're welcome," Draco replied with a small smile.
"Where's your Mum?" Richard asked.
"She's in the kitchen, finishing dessert. She told me that lunch would be served in the few minutes," she replied.
"I have to take the whipping cream to her then," Richard said with a squeeze. He then let his arm drop and nudged her towards the couch, "Why don't you two sit down for a while and I'll help your Mum finish up. We'll call you once we're done, eh?"
"Do you need help with anything?" Draco piped in.
"No, we're good, I'll be back in few," Richard replied before walking towards the kitchen.
She sat beside Draco and stared at him, "You really surprised me, Dray - I don't know what to say..."
He reached for her hand and laced their fingers together, "Are you happy?"
"Good. And just to set your expectations, this is only the first part of our date - there's still more to come."
She felt heart do a cartwheel inside her chest, "T - there's more?"
He lifted her hand and planted a chaste kiss on top of it, "Yes, but please try not think about it."
She can't help but smile at his statement, "I won't."
The lunch passed by quickly and the two of them shared their first ever meal with Hermione's parents. It was half past noon when they both decided to leave, with the promise coming from Hermione that they'll visit again soon. He led her towards the secluded alley near their house and made sure that they are out of sight before he turned to face her. "Are you ready for the second part of my surprise?"
Hermione looked nervous, "I guess so," she replied.
He circled his arms around her waist and pulled her flush to his chest, "Don't look like that, I'm sure you'll enjoy this," he chided with his trademark smirk.
She took a deep calming breath, "Okay, I'm ready," she replied before burying her face into the crook of his neck.
He closed his eyes and rested his chin on top of her head, "Hold on," he said before he felt the familiar tug on his bellybutton.
Zabini Manor - Italy:
"Are we really spending this beautiful day here? Don't get me wrong, I love this place, but watching you nurse your drink all day is really not my idea of fun - you're driving me bonkers with the sulky look."
"I'm not forcing you to stay, Theo. You can leave and have fun somewhere else," Blaise replied, his eyes glued to the book he's pretending to read.
Theo leaned forward and snatched the book from his hands, "We're going out," he said as chucked the book on the table.
He narrowed his eyes in irritation, "I'm not in the mood to leave. If you don't like my company then go, I don't see anyone stopping you," he said through gritted teeth.
"I don't want to leave because I know something is bothering you and I'm worried," Theo bit back with a glare.
He felt his annoyance fizzle with Theo's statement. He knew he was just being a friend and doesn't deserve the atrocious attitude he's throwing at him in full force. He leaned back on his seat and took a deep breath, "I appreciate your concern, mate, but there's really nothing wrong with me."
Theo looked at him like he didn't believe a word he said. He crossed his arms on top of his chest and kept glaring at him. "We've known each other all our lives, Blaise. Don't insult my intelligence by lying," he spat.
He felt his cold mask of indifference crack, "You're not going to let this go, are you?"
"Hell no, so spit it out before I resort to veritaserum."
"Fine, sit down, this would be long.
Hermione opened her eyes and found herself standing in the middle of another alley, "Where are we?" she asked as she tried to pin the place.
Draco slipped his arms down but captured one of her hand with his, "You'll see," he replied.
She followed his lead, her eyes taking in her new yet familiar surroundings.
He stopped in the middle of the street, "What do you think?"
She felt her eyes widen in shock when she caught sight of the sign posted near the street lamp, "We're in - oh my gosh!"
"Muggle London," Draco finished for her.
She turned towards him, "I - I'm speechless!"
"I know that you haven't visited this place for quite a bit," he paused with a sheepish smile. "Ginny, just in case you're wondering. I know it's not much, but I hope this is okay?"
"This is more than okay, Dray. I love it - thank you."
His shoulders seemed to sag with relief. He then tugged her closer and enveloped her in a tight hug.
"We're in the middle of the street, people are looking," she warned, her mouth muffled by the thick scarf around his neck.
"I don't care, they can stare all they want," he replied.
"Wow, he did change. He used to hate PDA's," she thought.
He kissed her forehead twice before tucking her to his side, "We better get a move on, we still have a long way to go," he said. He then started guiding her through the throngs of people, "So, do you have any place you want to visit? What's the most romantic place here?"
"The London bridge?" she suggested.
"And you're supposed to be a Muggleborn? You're as bad as me," he teased.
She pinched his waist playfully, "It's been a while since I've been here, play nice."
"Fine," he chuckled. He turned his head to the side, "Are you still afraid of heights?" he asked.
She mulled over his question for a few seconds, "It depends, I hate brooms and since we're in Muggle London, I think that's out of the table. What did you plan for us?"
A large cocky grin curled on his lips, "Something I'm 100 percent sure that you haven't tried yet."
"Let me guess, my parents?"
"Yup," he replied. He directed them towards the corner and gestured towards the large ferris wheel that came into view, "Fancy a ride with me?"
"The London Eye?" she asked.
"Yes, you won't be dangling on a stick and your feet would be firmly fixed on something solid."
She licked her lips as she eyed the large imposing structure with hesitation, "I know that - it's just," she paused and bit her lower lip.
"Come on, Granger, live a little. I heard that the view at the top is so spectacular that you would forget about the height. And I've got you, remember? I won't let anything happen to the both of us, please?"
"I - "
He stepped into her view, "Do you trust me?"
She puffed her cheeks and narrowed her eyes at him, "That's not fair."
He reached for her other hand and placed it on his chest, "Do you trust me?" he repeated, blatantly ignoring what she just said.
"Of course, I do, but I can't help but hate you right now," she pouted.
He leaned forward and planted another chaste kiss on her forehead, "You won't regret it," he promised.
She took a deep breath to calm her fried nerves, "Please do know that I won't hesitate to turn your arse into a ferret if you do something that will scare me," she said wryly.
He mock saluted, "Duly noted and consider me warned," he replied. He then tugged their joined hands and started ushering them towards the entrance.
"Aren't we supposed to buy tickets first?" she asked.
He slipped his hand inside his pocket and pulled out two tickets, "I came prepared," he said smugly.
"You really thought about this, huh?"
"Right down to a tee, now, stop stalling," he said as he handed the tickets to the woman smiling at them.
"Merlin, help me," she mumbled.
He threw his head back and laughed.
Zabini Manor - Italy:
"You have got to be kidding me!" Theo exclaimed with disbelief.
Blaise shook his head, "I wish I was, from her lips to my ear," he sighed.
"Did you confront her about this?"
He moved towards the large French door and stepped out into the veranda, "No," he replied.
He ran his finger through his hair, "I would, I just don't know how to broach the topic. I eaves dropped on their conversation, Theo, that's something frowned upon, especially by women."
"True," Theo agreed. He then shook his head, "I still can't wrap my mind around it and he kept this from us, we're his best mates for Circe sake!"
Blaise nodded, "Yeah, I thought it was joke at first, but when I saw Hermione burst into tears, I knew it happened."
Theo heaved out a sigh, "Great, now I have to whoop Drake's arse for keeping this from us! I mean, it's been what - more than 6 years and we haven't been clued in? What are we, Crabbe and Goyle?"
He folded his arms on top of his chest and fixed his eyes on the setting sun, his mouth clamped into a tight line.
"Bloody buggering hell!"
He chanced a glance at Theo and saw an outraged look on his face, "What?"
Theo shot up from his perch and started pacing, "Maybe Granger has something to do with Drake's sudden departure. She's the bloody reason why the prat secluded himself like a hermit for four sodding years!"
He cracked a sardonic smile, "There's no maybe, she pretty much admitted it."
"This is so complicated!"
"Don't I know it?"
Theo stopped pacing and locked gaze with him, "Do you like Granger that much?"
He felt his whole body go rigid, "Yes."
"Fuck!" Theo breathed out. He moved back to the couch and sat down with a loud plop, "Have you talked with Draco yet?"
"No, I don't think I can face him yet."
"What are your plans? Are you still set on pursuing her?"
A dead weight settled in his gut, "I haven't felt anything like this before, Theo. And I'm not about to go down without a fight, she's worth it."
"That's what I'm afraid of," Theo said dejectedly.
He moved his gaze back to the horizon, "I am too," he mumbled to himself.
"Open your eyes, Mi," Draco whispered.
Hermione shook her head and buried her face into his chest.
"So much for not being scared of heights," Draco thought with amusement. He wrapped her arms around her waist, "Hermione," he coaxed.
She tilted her face and opened her eyes, albeit grudgingly.
"I won't let anything happen to you, we're perfectly safe," he said. He then offered her an encouraging smile and gestured towards the large glass panel, "Have a look, its breath taking."
Slowly, she turned her face to the side and followed his gaze. Her grip began to loosen as she took in the view. She shifted her hand down and grabbed his before walking towards the railing.
"What do you think?"
"It's beautiful," she gasped, her eyes firmly fixed on the setting sun
He pressed his front to her back, caging her in. "Told you it was worth it."
She relaxed into his arms, "It is, this is the first time I saw London from this angle - it's magnificent."
"I take it that you like all my surprises?"
"Brilliant," he replied. He pulled her closer and brought their joined hands to her front, "Because I plan to take you to different places, we'll explore them together."
"I'd like that, but we'd have to wait for a while. I still have to tie some loose ends, remember?"
He knew that she was talking about Blaise, "I remember," he sighed.
She unclasped their hands and turned around to face him, "Don't be like that."
He stared at her and saw the same emotions he's feeling reflected in her amber eyes, "I'm sorry," he said. He lifted his hand and cupped her cheek, "I told you I'll wait for you, so I will," he said with a conciliatory smile.
She tugged his hand away and kissed it, "Thank you for being understanding and for this date," she said.
"You're welcome, but we still have one last stop."
"This is not over yet?"
"Far from it," he replied. He took a glance at her shoulder and noticed that they're almost back to the ground, "And you're about to find out where we're heading."
She turned her face to the side, "That was fast," she mumbled.
"I'm good with distraction," he replied with a wink. He pulled her towards the door and tucked her to his side, "Are you ready for your last surprise?" he asked.
She rested her head on his, "Give me your best shot, lover boy," she teased.
He steered her towards the exit, their hands swaying back and forth. "Oh, I will," he replied. He searched the street and saw the alley he was looking for, "Let's go there so we could apparate."
He made a quick scan of the area and when he's sure that they were alone, he slipped his hand inside his pocket to pull out a kerchief.
She threw him a baffled look, "What's that for?"
"I need to blindfold you, are you ready?"
She reached for the kerchief, "Green silk, how Slytherin of you," she mused.
He chuckled, "Are you done stalling? Can I put this on you?"
She rolled her eyes at him before turning around, "I'm not stalling."
He shifted closer and carefully covered her eyes with the silk cloth. He tied a secured knot at the back, but made sure that it was not too tight to make her uncomfortable. He walked right in front of her and circled her waist with his arms, pulling her closer. "Wrap your arms around my neck," he instructed.
She snaked her arms around his neck and rested her cheek on his chest.
"Are you ready?"
"Hold on tight."