Hermione Granger was having the worst day of her life! And it was her birthday for Merlin's sake!
First, she hadn't gotten any gifts or birthday wishes from any of her friends. Not even from Harry, Ron, or Ginny. In fact, it would almost seem like they were purposely avoiding her. Only yesterday, she had tried Flooing Ginny, but she said she was very busy and that she would Floo back as soon as she could. Well, it has been more than 24 hours now and she had received not one Floo call. From anyone! Not even a 'Happy birthday' singing-gram.
Honestly, all she wanted on her birthday was to spend some quality time with the people who cared about her. Only, it would seem they don't care about her after all.
She wondered what Malfoy was doing right this moment. Surely he would've have remembered her birthday. In fact, he would probably have insisted that she go out and have fun rather than walk gloomily toward her house.
Malfoy and Hermione have been in a very friendly relationship these past two years working together at the Ministry. They had lunch together almost every single day now. He had not suddenly turned into a polite gentleman mind you, no, he was still the snarky, evil, conceited bastard that he was at school. The only difference was that most of his hatred was not directed at her anymore. In fact, most of the time she would happily join his intellectual raving about the corrupt and unfair dealings of the Ministry.
She smiled, thinking about how he knew when she needed a laugh and would come up with the perfect way to make her laugh. His witty, snarky and slightly sadistic personality was so much easier to endure, and even enjoy when it was not directed at her. But he had taken a two-week mysterious leave for some important business that he would NOT tell her. Humph, what could possibly be so important that he couldn't even tell her?
She sighed, thinking of how lonely she felt without him. How much she missed him, how much she really needed him in her life and it hadn't even been a day since he left. She couldn't believe how much she had started to depend on the blond man who makes her day a little better with a smile or a wink. And now all she wanted to do was cry. But it was her birthday for Merlin's sake, and Malfoy would say she should stop this shenanigan and get her sorry arse home to drink herself 'Happy Birthday'.
She started toward her house with a little more determination in her step now. She couldn't believe she was going to take Malfoy's advice of all people. But he was right though. She should not make herself feel even worse just because Harry was too busy with work and Ginny, his wife. Ginny had a lot on her hands because of her newborn baby and Ron had to deal with Lavander, his seven-month pregnant wife.
And then she made the worst mistake of all. She tried to imagine herself with someone she would love enough to spend the rest of her life with. She felt really disturbed by the fact that she did not feel even a tiny bit awkward for thinking about having children with Malfoy of all people. Really, it should make her want to run for the hills, except now she was wearing a huge sappy grin on her face thinking about how lovely her life would be if she were to marry him.
She now thought that she had probably started having feeling for him a long time ago but it was only now that she was able to accept them, to only herself mind you. She did not fancy embarrassing herself by telling him about these kinds of things. Lord only knows he can't stand such mushy declarations. He would probably faint or worse, run as far away as possible from her to escape the clutches of things like love and marriage.
But at least she knew now why her heart started beating faster whenever he looks at her. Why she wanted to melt into a puddle of goo when he smiles at her. And especially why she saw, dreamed, and thought about him day and night. Yup, she was definitely smitten for the wonderful, amazing, magnificent, stubborn Slytherin. He had captured her heart with a smile and the strange thing was that she didn't want it back.
She hoped Malfoy was happy now; he had made her life a complete farce and he didn't even know it. Damn him, and his stormy eyes and his thoroughly kissable lips. With that thought still fresh in her mind, she said the required enchantments and unlocked the door of her house.
It was the house that her parents had bought for her in London near her work and friends. It was a sweet eighteen, coming of age, type of a gift. That way they could keep in touch with her since she would have to live in the Muggle world and she could be near her work and friends too. Too bad none of those so-called friends were here to keep in touch with. They forgot her after all, so she thought she was definitely entitled to a bit of anger at them, even though they were undeniably detained with their personal problems.
She blinked rapidly, when she opened the door, she found her vision blurred by thousands of candles floating in her house. There were only two explanations for this predicament. Either she had somehow managed to open someone else's house or someone had broken into hers. And there was only one person in the world, Wizarding or Muggle, who could manage to break into her house and live to tell the tale or in this case, place thousands of floating candles in her sitting area.
"Draco," she whispered to the seemingly empty house.
She smiled for the second time that day and stepped into her apartment, closing the door behind her. Ignoring the candles, the stacks of presents on the floor and the romantic dinner for two, she followed the trail of rose petals into her bedroom.
There, standing next to her bed, leaning over some picture of hers, was the object of most of her thoughts. He was dressed in formal black dress-robes, looking the part of the devilishly handsome man that he was. Honestly, it should be illegal for him to wear anything decent because he would put the entire collection of Wizarding Weekly's models to shame. Sweet Circe, he was making her knees week without even looking at her.
As if sensing her presence, he turned and greeted her with the most dazzling smile she had ever received from him. Merlin, if she wasn't weak in the knees already! But she had to pull herself together. Lord knows what was showing in her eyes, too much probably, but how could anyone expect her to remain calm when he was looking at her like that?
Her heart was beating so loudly that she was sure he could hear. As he strode towards her, she tried to school her features into just genuine surprise and willed her treacherous heart to calm down.
The gleam in his eyes brought her back to her surroundings and she wondered suddenly what was he doing here? Didn't he tell her just today that he was leaving right away to parts unknown, taking care of his very important business? Then why was he standing in her room making her feel like some ridiculous, tightly corseted romance heroine with low blood sugar?
"Dra-… Malf- …what-…why?" She managed to squeak out before heaving as much amount of air into her lungs as possible, to steady the million questions whizzing around in her mind.
"Hello to you too Granger." He chuckled, clearly amused at rendering her speechless and relishing in the one thing that nobody else had the wits to do to her.
"What's going on?" Her heart leaped into her throat as he drew menacingly close. She wanted to be certain that what she thought was happening was really happening and not her over-analyzing mind making it seem like what she wanted to happen. She was not to going to jump to any conclusions before he made his intentions completely clear. She was not a fool, after all.
"Well Granger, in the real world, yes even in the wizarding world, extremely handsome, incredibly intelligent and incomparably charming men, like me, try to do something nice for pretty yet annoyingly stubborn girls like you."
"Oh - " But before she could show him exactly where he could shove his charming personality, he drew in closer, making her forget everything other than the steely gray eyes that were devouring her with such intensity that she was sure she would burn from the heat.
"Happy birthday, Granger" His hot breath fanned on her cheeks, making her beet red. Next, he brought his finger near her flaming cheeks, tracing it down towards her lips and whispering, "You are beautiful with your cheeks on fire like that, did you know?"
Her lips parted as his drew near hers, stopping only two inches from hers.
"By the way, you should definitely consider publishing that diary of yours," he then continued snickering, ignoring her wide-eyed expression, "the things you wrote in there, you'd make a fortune!" The slimy, evil bastard managed to inform her without rolling onto the ground with laughter.
The nerve of him! Going through her private thoughts like that and then making a mockery out of her. It was times like these that proved to her that underneath it all he was still the conniving, evil, loathsome teenager she thought she had left at school. Oh, how he could make her want to kiss him in one moment and strangle him in the other.
He outright guffawed at the look of horror and outrage on her face, but saved himself from his cruel demise by giving her a chaste kiss on the cheek. Then, grabbing her hand he tried to lead her towards the rest of surprise.