Friday

French Cabana

Draco Malfoy lay on his back, ankles crossed and one hand behind his head. Periodically, the steal eyes trained on the ceiling would flicker to the clock on the bed table, decoding the numbers. 10:00. 10:02. 10:15. He sighed and turned away, toward the window. The wait was infuriating.

Draco tried to close his eyes, but found this too to be of no aid. Beautiful English countryside met his gaze through the frosted glass, glazed with snow and sparkling in the lunar light. It was cold out there... cold everywhere. Draco lay silently, save his breathing, pondering the temperature. Alone.

This wasn't the first time. It had become almost habitual for him to eat dinner and retreat to bed alone. Often falling asleep before she even made it inside. She would always be there in the morning, however. Perky and spry, ready with breakfast and a good morning kiss. Tomorrow would be the same. And the next day... the only time they ever spent together was on the weekend, and even then there was hardly any intimacy.

True, he couldn't blame this entirely on her. Draco knew for a fact that, should he wait for her, she wouldn't object to a bedtime bonding session... providing it wasn't too late. Should she arrive home post midnight, there was a good chance she'd turn away, but any earlier and standings leaned toward yes.

It hadn't always been this way. Early on in their relationship, they couldn't keep their hands off each other. Draco, in particular. She had often commented that, if their daily agenda depended only on him, Draco would have kept them in bed all day.

Draco gave a small smile at this and tried again to close his eyes. They reopened once the pleasant memories ceased.

She'd gotten a job. He'd told her she didn't have to... his salary was more than enough to support the two of them, plus anyone else who might come along. They'd fought. It'd been one of the few major fights that blazed in Technicolor memories. In the end, Draco had decided that, if it made her happy, she could strap on her stilettos and become a flight attendant. If he'd known that meant he'd never see her again... he might have been a bit more persistent.

11:07. 11:12. Draco sighed again and shifted so the clock's reflection was not visible in the window. She was getting persistently later. She would always be home before eleven, unless she specifically specified a time. The last week or so, however... Last night she'd come to bed around 12:30, with skin like ice and a flush in her cheeks. After falling asleep, she had unceremoniously cuddled against him, seeking warmth, and Draco had awoken with an icy start. He held her close and kept her warm, pulling the extra blankets from the bottom of the bed over her huddled frame, although suspicions were rising. This was certainly a new installment. She'd never come home an inch from death before.

Pulling the linens up to his chin, Draco buried his face in darkness. He tried to remember what things were like all those years ago, when he had hated her and everything she stood for. It had become his life mission to destroy the aura that was she, and he had nearly succeeded.

She had become head girl in seventh year, as everyone knew she would be. Draco, however, did not shower her with praise. He framed her. Well, partially. She had participated in the act, but not in the extent he made it out to be. Some fellow classmates had snuck out of the castle for a late- night Hogsmeade visit with their girlfriends, and had persuaded her not to tell. Well, blackmailed was more like it, but she agreed nonetheless, as they were friends. Draco, on the other hand, was not so openhanded. He'd ratted on them in a second, and conveniently added that she had been in on the entire thing. This, in turn, left her friendless and without authority. Whether her friends believed that she had tattled or not, Draco didn't know, as they were expelled and shipped overseas to America, girlfriends and all. And she cried.

Somehow, the former head girl had found out about his trick, and Draco was confronted. After a good ten minutes of high volume bad mouthing, which was very uncharacteristic, she had sunk to the floor and cried. In a fairy tale, Draco might have comforted her, but, on the contrary, he'd left her in tears with nothing more than a simple laugh and discourteous comment.

However tough skinned he had seemed, Draco was not unscathed by this episode. He had surely made her and hordes of other girls cry before... but never in front of him. And, knowing this girl, Draco couldn't help but be surprised. She was tough herself. She shared his ability to keep emotions in check... his lifelong fa├žade... and, surprisingly, his interest. Just this one display of emotion sparked the start of clicking wheels in Draco's head. There was something about the way she'd looked... crumpled on the floor like a slave... a punished child. A girl with her dreams torn apart. And, for the first time in his life, Draco felt remorse. Or, for the first time, he outwardly felt it. Draco was not all bone; he too had a skin. And eyes. He saw how much his actions tormented the innocent souls, and yes, he did occasionally feel that he'd overdone it a bit, but these feelings never lasted long. It was simply easier to brush them aside than go back and apologize.

This time, however, he was unable to do so. The gaunt figure on the cold stone floor, like a fallen angel, haunted his dreams. There wasn't a morning he didn't wake up with her name on his lips. And, eventually, it became too much. He surmised that perhaps an apology would lighten the load on his conscience, and went out in search of this girl. Evidently, the whole of the school had not taken well to the news of her misdeed, as the girl balled in a library chair was without company, but with an aura of depression. The glares Draco gained from simply walking toward her told of how her new life must be. Even Madame Pince, the librarian, gave him a strange look. It could have been, furthermore, that he was Draco Malfoy... and Draco Malfoy never, upon any circumstances, stepped within feet of a girl like her. This wasn't just anything, though. This was a matter of life or death. Well, sanity or insanity at least. As he approached, she simply stared at her blank piece of parchment, eyes glazed over and quill dripping a puddle of ink on the table.

"Granger?" he piped a tad nervously. He was new at this... it was nerve wracking. The pretty brunette at the table looked up, eyes sparking back to life. She said nothing, just stared, as if asking him his business. In turn, Draco spoke not a word, and fashioned his face with a tiny half- smile.

"What do you want, Malfoy?" she asked, but her voice was pleading, as opposed to angry. She looked utterly shameful... as if she'd given up hope on everything.

"I..." Draco started, taking a step toward her, but his voice was lost a moment later. Hermione had sighed, and stood from her chair, collecting parchment.

"I'll move if you want this table, just give me a moment to pick up..." she offered, eyes trained downward as she shoved items into her book bag. Draco was naturally surprised. When he realized she was leaving, however, he took it upon himself to stop her. Gently grabbing her wrists.

"No... that's not why I'm here. I... I wanted to..." Hermione looked up, lips still a deep frown.

"You wanted to what? Belittle me? Threaten me? Tear my life into a thousand pieces and scatter them about the seven circles of hell?" she asked, her voice never rising above normal speech, and never showing even a hint of anger. "Be my guest." Hermione wrenched her hands from his grasp and crossed her arms, head bowed, as if waiting for him to do each and every of the things she suggested. Draco shook his head, but her eyes were trained on the floor, and she didn't see. Determined to rid himself of such guilt, Draco placed a curled index finger below her chin and lifted the innocent face to meet eyes with him.

"Apologize," he finished, but Hermione didn't take it as such.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have presumed something you've already done. May I go now?" Again, her voice sounded only broken, not angered.

"No..." Draco said, meaning to correct himself, and placing a hand on her arm to keep her in place. "*I* wanted to apologize. I've gone too far this time. I'm sorry." Hermione took a breath, but it caught in the middle, rendering her speechless. She peered up at him with wide eyes, like a deer caught in the beams of a headlight. She looked almost as if she wanted to cry again. This was definitely not the reaction Draco had expected. She acted as if he'd just proposed to her, not given a simple apology. He'd expected her to scream and yell, tell him that no amount of words could repent his wrongdoings, and storm out the door. This was a bit different. He was curious.

"...what?" he asked gently, and Hermione recommenced breathing. She let a heavy exhale directly onto his wrist, which still held his hand below her chin, supporting the fragile head, and he slowly let it fall. Draco thought about repeating his final question, but then thought better of it. Did he really expect someone like her to confide in him? Did he expect anyone to? And furthermore... was he trustworthy? If he had a choice, Draco mused, he probably wouldn't confide anything in himself either. After a long, silent pause, Hermione took the tiniest of steps backward.

"Nothing... but thank you," she mustered before taking yet another step. Draco stood rooted in his spot, watching as she backed away, as if he were liable to pounce on her and rip each shard of flesh from her body. This thought caused his stomach to lurch... but once he twisted it into something sexual, Draco's body reacted in a much different way. Hermione, once close enough, grabbed her filled bag from the table and started toward the library doors. Draco hung his head, feeling surprisingly disappointed. He didn't know what he had expected or wanted her to do... but leaving wasn't it.

Evidently, Hermione had similar ideas. She stopped before she made it ten feet away, and sighed. Draco heard, and turned around, confused and curious. Hermione was still facing away, and seemed to be shaking her head. He said nothing and simply waited for her to make a move, whether it be to leave or otherwise. Hermione seemed to know this, as, when she was good and ready, she spun around and approached him.

"Why shouldn't I tell you?" she asked, as if truthfully expecting a response.

"Are you sure you want me to answer that? The list goes on and on..." he tried, fastening a small smirk on his lips. He had done what he'd come to do. Draco Malfoy had apologized to Hermione Granger. As far as he was concerned, that cleaned his conscience. Hermione pretended as if she didn't hear anything.

"Why keep a secret when there is no possible way I could be ruined in its telling? I have no friends... no life... no ambition, nothing to strive for. It wouldn't hurt a thing, and... it would leave me unburdened while it leaves you to utter confusion."

"If that's what you think, shoot away." A queer, smug, smile crept onto Hermione's face. She gave a slight nod.

"Alright," she agreed in her calm, perpetually put out voice. "You asked for it." With that, Hermione stepped a bit forward, closing the tiny space between them, and pushing onto the balls of her feet to claim his lips with hers.

Draco was shocked, in more ways than one. First of all, a gilded adversary was kissing him. Secondly, he had just thrown her into perpetual ruin, and, first and far most, it was absolutely amazing. The kiss was everything he'd read kisses should be... a kiss written in the stars... full of warmth and passion. A kiss unlike those he had ever before experienced. Hermione, being unsurprised by her own actions, allowed herself to wind a hand into his hair and place the other on his neck. Draco did not reciprocate these actions, however. He was too busy being shocked stiff. Again, when she was good and ready, Hermione pulled away. Draco said not a word, and she smirked at the adorable look of confusion on his face.

"I hate every single aspect of you, Draco Malfoy. From the asylum worthy evils you do, to the way you stand with such arrogance, as if you're better than everyone," Hermione confided in whisper, then tilted her head slightly, as if thinking. "I have no idea why that makes me love you." With a slight shrug of her petite shoulders, she spun again and fled the library, leaving Draco with a pounding heart and tingling lips.

Either the apology itself had not eased him, or Draco was rebounded with the kiss, as Hermione Granger would not leave his mind, conscious or subconscious. He dreamed of her... and not all were as innocent as the kiss in the library. Crabbe and Goyle, who looked confused as to why their 'friend' had been speaking the name of a mudblood in subliminal ecstasy, had prodded him more than once. Draco had covered it with a lie about torturing her... and relishing her screams. This mental image had lost him his appetite for breakfast, however.

He became dependant on her. His world revolved around a Gryffindor. A beautiful Gryffindor. He planned his route to each class specifically according to hers, if for no more than the slightest chance that coincidence would allow him to view her as she walked down the hall. His seating in key classes was entirely dependant on her placing for that day. It was sometimes difficult, as Hermione had taken to sitting in the back of the classroom, meaning he could only view her sideways... but then he could see her profile, as opposed to the back of her shining auburn head.

It was sickening even to him. And he told her. He told her that his infatuation was unhealthy and distracting. Hermione had simply lifted an eyebrow.

"I'm sorry," she stated monotonously, and Draco shook his head, digging fingers into his already disheveled hair.

"No... don't be sorry..." he said, beginning to pace. "It's not your fault..."

"It isn't?" Hermione countered, sounding curious, the first emotion shown in her voice since she'd yelled that first day. Draco stopped and dropped his hands to the sides.

"Alright, yes... yes it is." Hermione laughed and approached him, beginning to run her fingers through his hair. Draco looked confused. "What are you doing?" he said, nearly a whisper, aware of her closeness.

"Fixing your hair," she said softly, as if it were as normal as buttering bread. "You look like you've been mauled by a rather large dog." At this, her lips perked into a smile, and Draco hoped it wasn't because she was imagining him BEING mauled.

"Why don't you hate me?" Draco asked in such a way that it surprised even him. Hermione stopped in her smoothing and met his gaze, falling back onto flat feet. There was a mild pause before she forced herself to answer, tearing her eyes from his.

"I...I don't know. I've asked myself the same question a hundred times."

"You should."

"I don't."

"I want..." Draco started, but stopped himself, bringing a hand to her face to again lift her eyes. He chuckled softly. "Now would be a great time to say something witty about how beautiful you are... but I've never been good at that sort of rubbish." Hermione turned away for a moment, blushing slightly, then brought her smiling eyes back to his face.

"You were saying... you want?" she reminded him, and Draco exhaled. Something seemed to have taken over that he simply couldn't stop.

"I want to taste you again." Hermione's smile grew a fraction.

"Are you asking permission?" Draco seemed to think about this, then laughed a bit.

"I think so, yes..." Hermione barely waited for his answer before she pushed herself up again and met his lips. Draco, unlike the previous time, embraced both the kiss and the kisser, pulling Hermione against him with the hand on her back, and digging the other into her hair. Hermione, this time, kept her hands on his chest as she tried to fight the raging war between their tongues. Draco hadn't kissed back last time, and she was obviously a bit taken aback by this newfound skill. When they broke apart, breathing slightly labored, Hermione smiled.

"Granted."

-----

Draco rolled over to view the clock when he heard the front door open. 12:03. He heard what sounded like keys on the table, then footsteps until a dark figure walked past his doorway and into the one across the way; the bathroom. Thinking better of telling her he'd stayed up and daydreamed about their past, Draco turned back toward the window. It wasn't ten minutes later that the light in the bathroom audibly clicked off and Hermione made her way into the bedroom. It was obvious she was trying to stay quiet, and she even sat slowly on the bed, as if any less care would wake her husband. Draco would have felt loved, had it not been so incredibly late. She probably didn't want him knowing she was just getting home.

Hermione gently lifted the sheets and crawled beneath them, careful not to touch the man beside her. However, she was not careful enough, as her petite foot briefly touched the back of his shin as she curled herself into a ball. Draco inhaled sharply. She was cold again. He could feel her shivering, although she was nearly a foot away. Without thinking, he lifted himself onto his elbows and turned toward her. She seemed even colder than the night before... her lips tinted a crimson violet. Draco frowned deeply and turned his hips as to face her. Hermione felt this movement and opened her eyes, looking up at him. She gave a guilty smile and tried to keep the shiver from her voice.

"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I didn't mean to wake you." Draco shook his head and gathered her into his arms.

"You didn't," he assured, rubbing her back, and Hermione cuddled into him. "What happened? You're freezing..."She gave a short laugh.

"It's cold outside," was her only response. "I'm sorry I'm so late, Draco... the plane was delayed an hour... it was snowing hard in Albany."

"So you got in at nine... you still should have been home by ten thirty, tops." Hermione nodded.

"But I was driving slower than usual... and I picked up the dry cleaning."

"Oh," Draco offered, although he honestly didn't think it'd take an hour and a half for dry cleaning. Fifteen minutes, maybe, if delayed... and another fifteen for traffic and careful driving. Eleven. There was an unoccupied hour there...

"Why?" Hermione asked, breaking his train of thoughts. "Where did you think I went?" she didn't sound at all nervous or suspicion-worthy. In fact, she seemed quite content, cuddling and smiling with her body pressed to his.

"I don't know..." Draco admitted, "I was just wondering... I missed you." Hermione smiled and kissed his chest through the thin t-shirt he wore.

"Mmm... I missed you too." Draco debated whether or not to continue conversation, but Hermione choose the route only moments later when her delicate and feminine snores sounded softly. Draco sighed and kissed the top of her head. He hoped his nagging suspicions were wrong. He'd kill the bastard that touched his girl.

------

"Where are you?" Draco called into his cellular phone as he drove home from his law firm and attempted to hear Hermione through the static. Damn muggle devices.

"Ott-wa," was the response she gave back, broken by fizz.

"Canada? I thought..."

"Change o-lans. A trainee -ot sick." Draco sighed.

"What does that have to do with you?"

"Mandatory. I-orry."

"When do you get in?" he asked, ignoring her apology. Hermione was blessed with a clear space long enough to explain.

"Tomorrow morning, I have to transfer to Paris tonight."

"What?"

"I'm sorry Draco, really... I couldn't do anything..."

"Yes you can, you could've told your boss to shove it and come home. We aren't hard up, love, why do you feel you have to do this?"

"Because I was told to. I'll get fired..."

"Who cares, you don't need that job..."

"But I want it, Draco. I love this job... I don't mind a little extra work," she said and a bit of static broke off her ending. Draco sighed.

"I know..." He could almost hear her smile.

"I'll call you tonight, I- ot to go," she promised, voice only mildly broken. "I love-ou." He smiled.

"I love you too."

---

Draco sat cross-legged on his bed, tapping the cover of his novel. He'd tried reading, but of course, his thoughts were plagued with Hermione. First she comes home later and later... then starts showing up freezing cold, with no explanation to her whereabouts... and now she's stuck overnight in Paris. Something didn't add up. She was hiding something... and Draco, being a man and devoted husband, went right to infidelities. As he waited for her to call, he pondered a mental list of possible accomplices. It takes two to two-time.

Of course, this task proved futile, as there were hundreds of thousands of men she met daily whom he would never know about. And she was a stewardess. He himself wouldn't deny pinching the bum of a few in his day. It wouldn't be difficult to join the mile-high club without him.

The phone rang, breaking the sneer from his face.

"Hello?"

"Hey Drakey," replied the voice of his fallen angel, and he sighed slightly. At least she hadn't called at two o'clock in the morning. "Did I tell you I'm sorry yet? Because I am..." He allowed her the privilege of a slight chuckle as he lay back on his bed.

"I know. It's not your fault..."

"You're not angry with me?" she sounded pleading, as if she were begging him to forgive her.

"Of course not. How's Paris?" he asked to change the subject. He really had no care on the well being of the world's most romantic city...

"Oh it's fine," Hermione said blandly. "We should come sometime, I'd like to go sightseeing."

"You haven't?" Draco asked. He was slightly surprised. At the very least, he expected her to sight-shopping. It WAS Paris, after all.

"No... I'm exhausted. I flew for thirteen hours today; oversees twice. And you wouldn't believe how many couples I caught in the bathrooms on the Paris flight... honeymooners, I'd imagine. Then there was this one old man who wanted thirteen pillows. I have no idea why, but it took me forever to find that many... there were other passengers on the plane as well..." Draco smiled to himself as he listened to her mindless drivel. It was fine with him just to hear her talk. "I did spend an hour by the hotel pool, though," she admitted. "The cabana boys here are just scrumptious." Draco's face turned cold.

"Cabana boys?"

"Yep. One in particular. I ordered a second daiquiri just to hear him say 'yez'mam' again," she said with a giggle. "And you know I can't have more than one daiquiri..."

"Really," Draco wondered stiffly, and Hermione mumbled a response. "And what was the name, address, and social security number of this cabana boy?" Hermione laughed.

"I'm not sure, but I know his name was Jerry... and I also know that I'm nearly old enough to be his mother."

"Wait... what?" She laughed again.

"Honestly, Draco... he was about thirteen I think. Bit of a gap from 29, don't you think?" Draco let out a shaky sigh. Hermione's carefree tone turned serious. "What, you didn't believe me, did you?" Thinking quick, Draco answered without hesitance.

"No, of course not."

"Hm..." she mumbled happily, as if she believed him. "Oh, I wanted to ask you... I broke the heel off one of my shoes today... do you think it'd be all right if I bought a new pair? Sneakers don't look very attractive with my uniform..."

"Why do you need to look attractive?" he asked playfully, and she mocked outrage.

"Well, for the cabana boy, of course," she shouted as if it were obvious, and Draco laughed.

"Well in that case... you can have anything you want, love. I hardly expected you to come back from a day trip to Paris empty handed and if I know you, and I think I do, I doubt you'll have only one new pair of shoes when you return either." Hermione squealed softly.

"Aw, you're the best..." she teased, and he chuckled. When the line was silent once more, Hermione sighed. "I think I'm gonna go, love... this bed is awful inviting."

"You're going to bed? At seven in the evening?" Hermione laughed.

"It's eight here... I'm so tired, and my plane home leaves in twelve hours... plus, I'll have to get up early if I want to go shopping, won't I?" Draco smiled to himself.

"I suppose so. When are you coming in?"

"We're scheduled for ten, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were later... the weather here is terrible." Draco frowned a bit, but didn't let it show in his voice.

"Alright, I'll see you at ten, then."

"Let's hope. I love you."

"I love you too... but don't hang up," he said, as if it were urgent, and Hermione sounded confused.

"What? Why?"

"Just leave it next to you... I want to listen to you fall asleep," he said, and, surprisingly, Hermione didn't laugh.

"Aw, Drakey, you big git..." she cooed. "I'll see you tomorrow..."

"No, really... I mean it." Hermione's tone became serious.

"No you don't."

"I do."

"Draco, don't be silly... this phone call has probably cost us a hundred dollars already..."

"I don't care."

"Draco..." Hermione warned. "Don't ruin this... I love you, and I'll see you tomorrow. Goodnight," she said, followed by the monotonous ring of a disconnection. Draco sighed as he let the phone rest back on the cradle.

Now he was alone with his thoughts. Cabana boy. Attractive. Paris. Being the over reactive and perpetually jealous husband he was, Draco had concluded from this that Hermione was with a twenty five year old cabana boy who had ogled her in a swimsuit, called her attractive, and was, as he spoke, wining, dining, and sleeping with her. He was teeming.

------

Draco sat in his car, in the employee section of the parking lot at Hermione's airport. His jag, which had been allowed in due to the sticker on the windshield that Hermione had placed on the off chance she needed his car, was parked two rows and three to the left of his wife's familiar Mercedes Benz. Inconspicuous, yet with the perfect view. It'd taken him hours to find her car... and even after he'd had to wait for a good spot.

Nearly on schedule, Hermione stepped out of the elevator at a quarter after ten and walked toward her car. She placed her briefcase, which was wider than most, as to accompany an extra set of clothes (but Draco had a pretty good feeling it was full to the brim with miniaturized Paris keepsakes) on the back of the car, and fished in her pocket for a cell phone. Draco, assuming she was about to call him, immediately switched the little button from ring to vibrate. As expected, in only a moment's time, the little black pill started to shake. And, he answered it.

"Yeah." Hermione visibly jumped.

"Wow, the reception is great... where are you?" Draco had to hold in a laugh.

"On my way home... Bill Harley, my latest client... wanted me to look over some medical bills..." Hermione was bobbing her head as she listened. "I've just driven past the airport, though. Are you in on time?"

"Yes, but you wouldn't believe the backup at security... I could be a few. I'll meet you home whenever I get out of this mess, alright?" Draco grit his teeth as he watched his wife blatantly lie. She had no remorse on her face whatsoever, and he felt his grip on the phone tighten.

"Sure, love," he forced out, and Hermione smiled.

"Bye," and with that, she clicked off her phone and slipped it back into her pocket. Draco forced himself not to do anything drastic for the time being and placed his phone back on its clip. As he watched, Hermione opened the front passenger side door and tossed in her briefcase, then open the back door. Draco quirked an eyebrow as he watched her climb in. Perhaps she was waiting for someone... it wouldn't be surprising.

In about five minutes, Hermione exited the back seat, this time on the other side of the car, wearing an outfit one wouldn't want to meet a date in. She wore simple gray cotton pants and a matching hooded sweatshirt with dirty white sneakers. As he watched, she tied her hair into a ponytail and fitted a sweatband, which matched her outfit, over her forehead. Perhaps this was the new style in France? She looked more like she was going to the gym than anything.

But, her attire didn't matter. Just as he had planned to do before she had ever lied, Draco waited until his wife started her car and drove toward the exit before turning the ignition key and following behind. He followed her out of the garage and onto the street, then made sure there was a car or two between them as he continued behind for a good five miles. What surprised him, was that she was heading directly for their home. Maybe she hadn't been lying after all... perhaps she'd been through security and it had taken longer than she'd planned... and she just wanted to make sure he knew she'd be late. She'd get home almost half an hour after ten... it was possible.

This was only Draco's theory until she turned off the main road and onto a gravel path, which lead deep into the woods. Draco waited until there was traffic behind him before he followed, quickly reading the signs on the sides of the road. "Bermin's Park. Swimming area open June 12- Aug 30. Bikers welcome year-round." A picnic between lovers, perhaps? As Draco continued, he noticed one thing about Bermin's Park. There was no one there. The ticket booth was closed, the buildings broken down, with busted windows, and the food stand housing out-of-date prices. The only thing that seemed to be up kept about the park was the landscape. The hedges were trimmed the grass cut... no tree limbs fell over the long river that ran under a wooden bridge.

Forgetting about the oddly empty and deserted area surrounding, Draco turned his attention back to the task at hand; finding Hermione. As the car climbed over a small hill, which dipped into a long stretch of flat ground, Draco was able to see Hermione's car pull into a parking lot, next to a sigh marked 'Turtledove Trails'. He laughed at the sick irony and pulled his car to the side of the road, no less than a hundred feet behind her Benz. Draco left the heat on and his engine running, but closed the door very carefully before literally running down the path. He wanted to get there before the turtledoves had a chance to start walking.

Draco slowed his pace as he came up on the parking lot, and slowly peeked around the corner. He was just in time to see Hermione pull up the hood on her sweatshirt before she pointed her wand to the ground and mumbled something. Had Draco heard, he would have known the spell, but she spoke softly, as if afraid to disturb the surrounding silence. To his surprise, what looked like a pebble grew into a full-sized mountain bike he recognized as his own. As Draco watched, Hermione threw her leg over the metal beam and settled herself on the seat. In no time, she was ready to step off... but he called out to her.

"Hermione, what in the bloody blazes are you doing?" Hermione jumped slightly, but was still enough on the ground that she could steady herself. She snapped her head backward to see Draco, and furrowed her eyes in confusion.

"Draco? What are you doing here?"

"I followed you, now answer me," he demanded, looking livid as he stomped toward her.

"I...er..." Hermione said, sliding down from the seat and holding the metal bar between her legs. "Bike..." she explained, however incompletely, and Draco lifted an eyebrow. "Well, you see..." she started, holding up one finger, then stopped herself. "Wait, you WHAT?"

"I followed you. You've been disappearing until the wee hours of the morning and then refusing to tell me where you've been... what was I supposed to do?" Hermione mouthed silent words for a moment, then looked up at him.

"I... I don't know! Not that!" she paused a moment. "Wait...you thought I was..."

"Well what am I supposed to think?" Now, she was outraged.

"Well, not that!" she repeated, and Draco would have chuckled, were he not livid. "Honestly! You know me better than that... I'd think you'd know enough to trust that I would never do... that!"

"I did trust you, Hermione, I did... but that was before you lied to me."

"What? I did no such thing!"

"Security's blocked up? Don't know when I'll get out of this? Meet you home when I'm through?" Hermione looked away in shame. "So, kindly tell me what was so important and secret that you felt you needed to lie to keep me from finding out about it," Draco suggested, and Hermione glared.

"You lied too, then... if you followed me. I thought you were on your way home?"

"I had good reason!" Draco insisted, but Hermione didn't back down.

"So did I!" she countered.

"What then? I've told you mine. Where have you been sneaking off to?" Hermione felt herself grow red as the anger left her. Draco was right, of course.

"Here... I've just been bike riding... the last couple weeks," she admitted, and Draco looked confused.

"That's it?" She nodded. "Well, why didn't you just tell me that? I'd have gone with you, if you wanted to go so badly. No wonder you came home freezing."

"I didn't tell you, because you'd have asked why."

"No I wouldn't have..." Hermione laughed.

"Yes you would, that was going to be your next question," she accused, and Draco sighed.

"Well, why don't you want me to know why?" She smiled, but he just looked worried.

"I was going to tell you yesterday, but then I got overlaid... so I was planning on doing it at dinner tonight. I wanted to do it right... at the right time..."

"Tell me... what?" Hermione brought her eyes from the ground, and locked them on her husband's, smiling, anger forgotten.

"I'm pregnant, Draco."

His jaw literally dropped. Hermione giggled and popped it back up again.

"You're..." She nodded. "Really?" Hermione laughed.

"Yep. About a month and a half, but I just found out for sure on Monday. I had tests done two weeks ago, but they hadn't come in..." Hermione was cut off from her talk of details by Draco, who wrapped her in his arms and held her close.

"My god, I love you..." he whispered to her, and Hermione smiled and embraced him back, but she had no sooner sunk in that Draco pulled back. "Wait... what does that have to do with the biking?" She laughed.

"I've never been real big on exercise, but I wanted to do this right... make sure everything is perfect... and that means I have to do a little more than fetch pillows and refill drinks." Draco laughed out loud and brought a hand to her face. He was taken aback by how cold her skin already was. And she'd been planning to ride for god knows how many miles in the freezing cold? And pregnant, at that?

"Are you crazy? It's freezing!" Hermione laughed.

"If you're worried about the baby, don't be... I'm sure it's pretty warm in there."

"There're other ways to exercise, love..."

"I've never liked the gym... people always stare at you. Oh," she said, stepping over the metal beam and off her husband's bike. "I'm sorry I borrowed this... yours pedals harder than mine." Draco laughed and hugged her again.

"When I thought you were hiding something, I never expected this..." he mused to himself and Hermione gave a short 'ha'.

"Yeah, you expected me to run off to the Bahamas with a French cabana boy."

"I'm so sorry, love..."

"Don't. I'll admit there's been once or twice when I myself have wondered." Draco pulled back, eyebrow raised. Hermione smirked. "But then you say something stupid, and I think... who else would put up with that?" A large grin spread across Draco's lips, and Hermione pushed herself on her toes, unable to resist the urge to kiss him. She did so with expertise, as well... it was probably the most intimate kiss they'd shared since the conception of their first offspring.

"Wow..." Draco breathed, breath crystallizing in the air. Hermione smirked.

"I told you it was warm in there."

------

A/N: I do not own Harry Potter or:

Tell me what you thought about when you were gone and so alone

The worst is over, you can have the best of me

We got older but we're still young, we never grew out of this feeling that we won't give up

Here we lay again on two separate beds

Riding phone lines to meet a familiar voice and pictures drawn from memory.

We reflect on miscommunications and misunderstandings

And missing each other too much to have had to let go

We turn our music down and we whisper, "Say what you're thinking right now"

Jumping to conclusions made me fall away from you

I'm so glad that the truth has brought that together, me and you

We're sitting on the ground and we whisper, "Say what you're thinking out loud"

We turn our music down, we're sitting on the ground-- the next time I'm in town

We will kiss, girl

Best of Me by Starting Line

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