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Harry Potter: Stronger Than Before
Hermione Granger sat behind her desk in the Ministry of Magic as Head of the department of Magical Law Enforcement waiting for her lunch break to start. Finally the clock struck 1:00 and she got up grabbed her coat and purse and left the office getting into the lift that would take her to the atrium. Walking out of the lift it clanged shut behind her and left. She walked toward the front, but was stopped when she bumped into someone and fell backward. He helped her up and she immediately recognized him, but he didn't seem to recognize her.
"Draco?" She said excitedly. He looked at her then it dawned on him
"Merlin, I haven't seen you since graduation how are you?" she asked beaming
"I'm fine, nothing interesting happen lately but fine." He answered
"Well I guess I had better be off my lunch hour just started I'll see you around." She said and was off and out the door to her favorite café where she met Ginny and Hermione filled her in on who she had run into.
An hour later she made her way back to her office. She worked the rest of day and went home to wait for Ron to return home. Taking a bath and changing into her pajamas she sat herself on the couch and pulled a book out. At around midnight she woke to the door slamming and Ron coming in. He was, as usual, drunk. He stormed over to her obviously angry.
"What the hell were you doing with Malfoy today?" he raged.
"We're old friends Ron we were just talking" She replied calmly; it would do no good to get angry.
"Oh just talking were you?" he stormed before slapping her hard across the face. She fell to the floor clutching her cheek with tears running down her face. He grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her back into standing position.
"I forbid you from talking to him ever again!" he yelled
"You cannot forbid me from speaking to anyone Ronald Weasley!" She argued. He struck her again and she fell to the ground, but she didn't get up this time. He had knocked her unconscious. Walking into their bedroom he stripped down to his boxers and went to bed leaving Hermione to sleep on the floor of their sitting room.
The next morning she woke with a start as their door opened and Ron apparated to work. She looked at the clock and saw she was late for work. She rushed to the bathroom, took a quick shower got dressed and went put on her make-up when she saw that she had a purple bruise in the shape of a on her right cheek. She went looking through the cabinet looking for one of the many healing potions she had brewed for nights like the previous one. Finding the one that would hide the bruise, for there were no potions that would heal a one. Applying it to her face it was instantly "fixed". She finished applying her make-up and was out the door and in the Ministry in record time.
She rushed to her office and found a dozen roses there. Looking at the card she saw it was from Draco. She smiled and remembered how she had had a crush on him all through seventh year. Little did she know that he had had a crush on her as-well. Now that she thought about she had never stopped having a crush on him. And vice versa. Reading through the note she read that he wanted to have dinner with her that night. She contemplated this. She might have been married, but the love she once had for her husband had dissipated completely. Now she couldn't even say she liked him, but who could when he had treated her so badly. Harry knew how Ron treated her and had tried to stop him; earning a punch in the face and "I know how to handle my wife". Ginny even knew but dared not interfere with her brother's temper.
She quickly wrote back to Draco saying she would go to dinner with him.
A couple of hours later she got a letter from Draco filling her in on what time he would be there to get her. And so Hermione was excited for the day to end. When it finally did she rushed home to take a nice long bath. After getting out she noticed the potion she had applied to her face was still in affect so didn't apply anymore.
Walking into her closet she picked a knee-length red dress and black shoes. It was 6:30 when she was ready and Draco would be there at 6:45 so she had fifteen minutes. She quickly decided to write a note to Ron telling him she would be with Ginny then flooed to Ginny's asking her to cover for her, which she quickly agreed to do. Then she flooed back to her's and Ron's flat where the doorbell rang and she opened to find Draco. He smiled at her and she smiled back.
"Are you ready to go?" he asked
"Yes. Now let's get out of here before Ron gets home." Draco's eyebrows shot up and a look of shock or anger adorned his features.
"You're in a relationship?" He asked, sounding not at all pleased. She explained that she and Ron had married young; naïve to the hardships of marriage, and that the hard times led him to be abusive.
"I can't love him anymore Draco. He's a monster."
"I don't want to be the other man Hermione. I'm sorry. Call me if you ever leave him." With that Draco walked away leaving her speechless and more than a little hurt. He had looked angry upon hearing that Ron beats me, but had otherwise done nothing to act as if he cared.
Ron came home sober for once only to find her drinking from a bottle of wine that had been full nearly an hour before, but was now nearly empty. Meaning she was smashed and would probably do some things she would regret in the morning.
Hermione looked at Ron and stood slowly. Moving toward him seductively, she kissed him and he immediately responded by picking her up and moving them to their bedroom. There the two of them spent the night together for the first time in quite a while.
The following morning she woke up for a massive hangover and a feeling of utter dissatisfaction. Though whether the dissatisfaction was from Ron's not being Draco, his lack of sexual lure, or both she couldn't say. She got out of bed and took a long shower. She had some things to think about regarding her marriage.
By the time Hermione had finished her shower and gotten ready for the day, Ron was still sound asleep in bed. Good she thought silently slipping out of the apartment with no destination in mind. She had to figure out what to do about her Draco dilemma. On the one hand, she wanted him far more than she wanted Ron and in more than one way. On the other hand, she and Ron had been through so much together she didn't know how she could ever be responsible for wrecking that relationship. Then again Ron had pretty much already taken care of that by using her as his punching bag for the past five years.
Hermione decided to talk to Ginny about it. So she made her way to the Potter household. Upon knocking, Harry opened the door looking like he'd just rolled out of bed, which he probably had. He smiled at seeing her and pulled her into a hug.
"It's good to see you Hermione." She replied in kind and asked if Ginny was home. After finding that she was, Hermione was led to the kitchen where Ginny sat trying to feed Albus, who was being stubborn.
"Mione! What are you doing here?" She asked, clouds of worry rolling into her expression instantly.
"I'm not hurt if that's what you're implying." She grinned, "I do need your advise though." Ginny gave Harry a meaningful look causing him to mumble an 'I'll give you two some time' before exiting the room.
"So what kind of advice do you need?" Ginny asked continuing to try and get Albus to eat.
"Romantic advice." Ginny's eyebrows shot up much the same way that Draco's had the previous night. Hermione pushed that image from her head and focused on the task at hand. She told Ginny about the events that had taken place last night and for the past several days. When she finished Ginny was grinning.
"What are you looking at me like that for?"
"I'm just shocked that Draco didn't want to be the one you cheated with. He wanted you to keep your dignity or something."
"That doesn't help me on what I should do about Ron. You know I haven't loved him in a long time, I'm leaving him I just don't know how to go about doing it without making everyone angry or upset."
"Well you have kept evidence of his abuse on you right?" Hermione nodded, "Well you don't need his consent to divorce him if you provide that evidence to the head of the Wizengamot . They can give you an immediate dissolution of the marriage. Then you and Draco can live happily ever after."
"I can't just disappear from Ron's life. I think he would notice if I was no longer there."
"Of course you would tell him, he just wouldn't be able to do anything about it."
"He could beat me to death before I could get there. Or after for that matter."
"Harry and I will come with you to help you get your things, you'll tell him then and if he tries anything he won't get far."
"I don't have anywhere to stay."
"You'll stay with us of course."
"I don't want to seem so desperate to be with Draco that I left my husband so we could date."
"So wait a little while before you date him. You'll need some time to readjust anyway."
"But what about-" Ginny cut her off.
"Hermione stop trying to talk yourself out of it. If you don't leave now you could very well end up dead tomorrow." Hermione sighed.
"You're right. I'll go then. I'll floo you when it's done." Ginny nodded and stood to hug me tightly.
"Good luck." She said softly. Hermione nodded and with that she took off on her way to find the head of the Wizengamot.
Despite how easy it sounded, Hermione found herself frustrated to no end by the time she did finally find the head of the Wizengamot. His name was Lucero Stein and he lived in the middle of nowhere with little to no people knowing his location at any given time. She happened to get lucky for once that day and got him just before he was getting back in from running errands.
"Lucero Stein?" She asked approaching the old man. He looked up at her and squinted.
"Do I know you?" He asked.
"No sir, and I'm sorry to disturb you on such a day, but I have an emergency that needs to be tended to."
"Very well, come in." He opened the door and the two of them stepped inside just in time to be shielded from the sheets of rain that began to pelt the ground.
"Would you like anything to drink?" Hermione shook her head. He began making tea any way and sat down in an armchair inviting her to do the same.
"Now what is this emergency that you need tended to?" She began to explain her situation with Ron. Lucero listened to her appeal nodding as she went.
"Do you have proof of these assaults? I'm sure you're a trustworthy woman Mrs. Weasley, but it is policy to take evidence into account."
"I understand sir, and yes I do have evidence." She pulled out a photo album that was filled with photos of the injuries Ron had inflicted on her over the years. She also pulled out her journal which contained her accounts of what had happened. Sometimes she had been shaking so badly or her hand so far injured that the writing was illegible. Mr. Stein looked through the album and with each turn of the page his expression grew graver. Hermione didn't know if this was a good or bad thing. Finally he closed it and looked back up at her.
"What is the most recent assault?" She waved her hand over her face to show the still fairly fresh bruise marring her otherwise flawless skin. The old man sighed.
"You are clearly a woman who has been through far more than your share of hardship. Therefore, I will grant you your divorce. However, the office is closed today and will reopen on Monday so you will not be unwed until then. I will send you an owl with the official divorce then." Hermione beamed.
"Thank you sir!"
"No problem my dear. Just try to pick a better one next time." He grinned and Hermione couldn't help but grin back.
Hermione returned to Harry and Ginny's feeling better than she had in years. It was like the weight of the world had been lifted off of her shoulders. Now she could begin a new life; one without an abusive husband. Hopefully, it would end up being one with Draco at her side.
If anyone's excitement could compare to Hermione's, it was Ginny's. She was over the moon that she no longer had to see her best friend in such pain all the time. Ginny started talking about all the things they could now do together now that Ron was out of the picture. She insisted that she, Harry, and Hermione go and get her things immediately, and there was no denying Ginny Potter. So off they went to retrieve Hermione's belongings. What they saw and heard when they got there was took them completely by surprise though.
Upon arriving in the flat, everything seemed normal; until they heard a male moan coming from the bedroom. Hermione's initial thought was that Ron was injured and her instinct was to rush to his side and see what was wrong. She stopped herself however, and together they moved slowly toward the bedroom door. Harry pushed it open to find Ron sprawled in the bed with an unfamiliar girl straddling his lap. She was probably one of his many fans as he was a big quiditch star and it was the off season. Ron, once having realized he was being watched gasped and pushed the girl off, not that the stopped her. She just continued to enjoy herself without any notice of the three newcomers who stood by disgusted at what they saw.
"Hermione, it's not what it looks like!" Ron said desperately trying to salvage any of her trust, but he had lost all of that long ago.
"You know what Ron? I don't even care." She replied calmly. She began moving toward the closet, paying no heed to the girl on the ground.
"I'm leaving you." She stated as she pulled out her bags and began to pack her things into them.
"What do you mean you're leaving me? You're not going anywhere you ungrateful b****. I've given you everything you could ever ask for; a roof over your head, money to burn, companionship so you aren't alone for the rest of your life."
"You have given me nothing that I couldn't have provided myself with. I could afford to live on my own, and buy whatever I like, In case you've forgotten, I run an entire department in the ministry. As for companionship, I would rather die alone than have you as a companion for the rest of my life." His glare went murderous. He jumped over the end of the bed and started at Hermione with nothing but punishment in mind. Harry caught him with a full body bind before Ron could reach her. This left Ron yelling obscenities at them while Hermione finished packing all of her things. They left the flat with Ron to deal with his full body bind until it wore off.
"Is it safe for me to stay with you? Ron will come after me, I have no doubt." Hermione asked worried more for her friends' safety than her own.
"Hermione, we defeated the Dark Lord, I am fairly certain that I can take Ron." Harry reassured her. She grinned despite herself and replied:
"I don't mean to question your ability Harry, but you shouldn't underestimate his either." Again Harry reassured Hermione that he could defend his home against Ron so she let it drop. It had been too long a day for her to bother arguing this anymore. The point was, Ronald was out of her life and now she could move forward again.
_Three Months Later_
Before Hermione knew it, Christmas had approached. In the three months since she'd left Ron he had tried to attack her and those protecting her at least once every other week. He always failed, but it made Hermione feel guilty about making them have to put themselves in harm's way for her. They refused to let her live on her own though, so she remained with Harry, Ginny, and Albus.
Now they all sat in the living room of The Burrow exchanging gifts. Ron had refused to show up this year because he knew Hermione would be there and he knew that everyone would be on her side because by now most of the wizarding world knew he was a wife beater. Hermione was glad to still be accepted by the Weasleys after she had basically ruined their kin's life. To show her appreciation, she got everyone fairly expensive gifts. They all denied saying the object was too much, but she refused to take anything back. They would have to live with it. Mrs. Weasley had been so happy with hers and Mr. Weasley's gift (a two week paid vacation to Rome) that she cried. Hermione felt good about herself though. She was glad that she could make them all so happy.
Later, when all of the gifts had been opened and dinner had been devoured, literally, Hermione felt very lonely watching everyone with their significant other. Everyone was blissfully happy, except her. She had no one now that Ron was out of her life. Not that she would be happy tonight if she were still with him of course. By now they would have been at home where she would have been beaten for doing something he deemed wrong and left to clean herself up while he slept his eggnog off.
She had been thinking of Draco frequently of late. He was probably off gallivanting with a girl that was not her and perfectly happy doing it. He probably had never been serious about seeing her, which was why she had not yet contacted him about her separation from Ron. Though surely he knew, everyone knew. His lack of care for her did nothing to hinder her thoughts for him, much as she wished it would. Why should she care for someone to whom she meant nothing? It didn't make sense. Logically, she should not want him, but logic as she had learned, did not apply to the rules of love. That wasn't to say that she loved him, not then any way. She could love him though, given the opportunity.
A whole week later Hermione was still in a complete slump. Probably because everyone she knew was going to parties where they would happily celebrate the New Year with their other half. She was going to spend the night at home watching sappy romantic movies and eating too much ice cream. Or that was the plan at least, until Ginny stormed in and forcibly made her get ready to go to a party with herself and Harry. Hermione griped and groaned the entire time, but Ginny wouldn't give. They made it to the party where, at first, Ginny tried to get Hermione to mingle, but after a while she gave up. This left her to stand alone in the corner drinking flute after flute of wine. Finally the air got too stuffy, so she exited the room in exchange for the balcony where the air was less suffocating and cool.
It let her think without feeling like she would pass out. Mostly her thoughts were hateful ones sent in the direction of Ginny wherever she was, but then they switched to Draco. She wondered what he was up to right now, even if it didn't involve her she at least hoped he was enjoying himself more than she was.
"Avoiding the crowd too, eh?" A voice that still had the ability to send shivers up her spine said. She turned to be able to see his silvery grey eyes in the shadows. He emerged dressed in a dark suit that only served to define the paleness of his hair and skin. He looked the same as the last time she had seen him except he looked like he had not been getting enough sleep. She briefly wondered what was keeping him up. Probably his girlfriend.
"You could say that." Hermione replied softly.
"I heard you and Weasley broke it off. Or actually it was more extensive than that, but that's the gist of it." He chuckled more out of nervousness she thought.
"You heard right." She replied, not sure why he would even bring it up. Draco didn't reply then, he just moved to stand beside her and lean on the railing of balcony.
"I haven't stopped thinking about you, you know." He said so softly she barely heard. Hermione looked at him, bewildered as to why he would be thinking about her.
"Ever since you told me Weasley hit you, I've been worried about your safety. I knew if I got into it, it would just lead to a big mess that you didn't need. When I heard you two had separated, I knew you were safe and I was happy with that. I figured if you wanted to, you would contact me. When you didn't I knew you weren't interested." She almost laughed at the irony. Instead her just shook her head vigorously.
"Of course I was interested, I am interested. I didn't want to rush into anything right after breaking things off with Ron so I waited. I thought at some point you would at least contact me, when you didn't I thought you weren't interested in me." He laughed then and slid his had across the railing until it met hers.
"Well now that we're communicating, how about we try this again, starting now. Dance with me." Hermione was helpless to resist as he lead her to the center of the balcony. A slow song was playing inside and they began to move with the beat of the music. She laid her head on his chest and closed her eyes. It wasn't love, but it was blissful happiness the likes of which Hermione Granger had never known.
All too soon, the cocoon of happiness that Hermione and Draco were in was punctured by a couple of giggling intoxicated girls. They were making googly eyes at Draco who's only reaction was to tighten his hold on her waist. She couldn't help but smirk; it felt good to know that he would rather have her than two very attractive girls who could have easily been taken advantage of.
"What do you say we ditch this party?" He asked with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
"What did you have in mind?" She replied with a challenging grin.
"I was thinking we could get some dinner, maybe take a moonlit stroll through the park. Something simple."
"I had no idea you were so romantic." She teased.
"You haven't seen anything yet." So they slipped out of the party and on to the street. Despite it being nearly midnight, nearly all of the fancy restaurants were crowded. Draco paid no heed to this fact; he just led Hermione inside of one and asked for a table. It shouldn't have come as a surprise that the staff brought in another table just for him. He was the richest wizard in England after all.
Dinner was exquisite, but what made it more enjoyable was being there to eat it with Draco. The two of them never ran out of things to talk about. This made the wait staff irate of course. They had other costumers waiting to be seated, and Draco and Hermione were holding a prime location. Draco couldn't help but comment on this fact, which made Hermione giggle relentlessly. When they finally did leave, the waiters looked as if they were ready to applaud. Draco had felt enough guilt to leave a very generous tip that would surely make their waiter happy.
Following dinner they went on the previously offered midnight stroll. Draco was not shy about being physical. He grabbed her hand like it was his right. It wasn't the same way that Ron used to do it. He didn't do it to show her off to anyone, he wasn't declaring to anyone in sight that she belonged to him. No, Draco took her hand because he wanted to touch her, to be nearer to her. It sent warm tingles all through her body. They walked in silence; enjoying being together without needing to speak. There were no words to describe how happy either of them was. It was the beginning of a love that would last for eternity and beyond.
When the clock began to strike midnight they stopped and turned toward the source of the noise.
"Happy New Year." Draco said softly, he began to tilt his head toward hers. Her heart rate sped up but she managed to get out her own happy New Year wishes before their lips met. They melded together like clay. His harms slid around her waist and pulled her so tightly against him that not even air could pass between them. Her arms were around his neck with no intention of letting go or loosening. They fit together like they were made for each other by the gods themselves.
When the kiss ended, they kept on walking as if it hadn't happened at all, but the smiles on their faces said otherwise. They resumed conversation; talking about trivial things. Then, however, conversation turned more serious. They had gotten to the topic of Hermione's former husband.
"I loved him once, when I didn't know that he would turn into such a monster. I used to think he was perfect, that he could do no wrong. That obviously was a very incorrect judgment."
"You couldn't have known what he would turn into."
"I knew he had a bad temper. I just never thought he would turn it on me in a physically violent way."
"I will never hurt you Hermione." She looked up at him with a serious look.
"I know you won't Draco." He kissed the top of her head. They discussed the things that had happened during Hermione's union with Ron, and as painful as it was at some parts, it made her feel so much better. She shared things with Draco that she had never shared with anyone else. It was very cleansing, for her. After hearing about the atrocities that Hermione had seen at the hands of the one she had once loved, Draco wanted nothing more than to tear Ronald Weasley apart with his bare hands. He would even bet that he could collaborate with Potter and the two of them could do it together.
It was nearly three o'clock when Draco brought Hermione back to Harry and Ginny's house. They stood outside of the dark house, neither of them quite ready for their time together to be over. With a last kiss and promise to see each other again soon, the date was over. Hermione stepped inside and began to tip toe through the room when the lamp flicked on. Ginny sat in her party attire with an angry expression.
"Where have you been?" She sounded uncannily like her mother when she said it.
"I was with Draco." Hermione replied, a grin spread across her face at the still so fresh memories.
"Harry and I were worried sick! We though Ron had gotten to you! Did it not occur to you that there are people who will worry when they cannot find you?" It occurred to Hermione that aside from the angry face, Ginny looked like she was about to cry.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you worry." Now Hermione felt like she was going to cry. Ginny sighed.
"At least you're alright, and you finally got to spend time with your beloved." A teasing smile cracked on her face. Hermione couldn't help but laugh at her friend.
"We've been on one date Gin. I would hardly call him my beloved."
"You had a crush on him all through seventh year. And the look on your face says you're totally falling for him." Hermione felt her cheeks heat. She couldn't believe she was blushing after having just been about to cry for making her friends so worried for her safety.
"I'm tired. We can talk about Draco in the morning."
"You won't be leaving out any details. I expect a full report tomorrow." Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Yes mother." She teased and was hit in the back with a pillow as she made her way down the hall to her bedroom.
The romance that bloomed between Hermione and Draco within the next few weeks was one for the ages. He took her on the most amazing dates. They went on day trips to far away places, ate exotic foods, and did daring and adventurous activities; he was everything Hermione had ever wanted in anyone as was she to him. She spent most nights at his house. Most of the time, it was more because she was too tired to go to her own home than because they wanted to be intimate. Although after one particularly long night of love making, Draco was reluctant to let her return to Harry and Ginny's.
"Stay." He murmured into the skin of her neck.
"You know I can't." Ginny is already on edge all of the time when I don't come home by sunrise. If I didn't return at all she would likely become hysterical and go kill someone. I cannot be held responsible for that." He chuckled.
"Fine, but I will see you during your lunch break." Hermione grinned and kissed him once more.
"See you then." With that she was gone. Draco sighed. He really did need to just come out and say what he had been meaning to for too long now.
Hermione's work day was the same as always. There was an abundance of paper work to fill out, people to meet with, her monthly update with the minister, and then there was her lunch date with Draco. They ate at her favorite café in Diagon Alley. Between their morning and now, Draco had had a fairly eventful day. He was nearly run down by a leprechaun being chased by a little boy who wanted the gold at the end of a rainbow, he'd seen an old lady defend herself from being robbed with martial arts, among other things. It had Hermione laughing the entire time. This left Draco the perfect opportunity to say what he needed to, but he chickened out. She was the only woman who had ever made him afraid to say something. He had never cared about anyone else as much as he cared about her, and the concept was a frightening one to grasp. He ended up yet again, not telling her how he felt and they parted from lunch without her having any idea about the turmoil raging inside of him.
Hermione returned home that night to find the house empty. There was a note from Ginny on the table stating that they had gone to see a film and that they would be back later. She hadn't been alone in the house in a while so taking advantage of the privacy she decided to take a nice long bubble bath. While she was in the bath, Hermione heard a noise, then another. They were footsteps only partly muffled by the carpet. Instantly she was on high alert. If the person was someone who lived here they wouldn't be so quiet. She knew Harry made sure to make it known that he was home, and Ginny always called out when she entered. Something wasn't right. Hermione got out of the bathtub and wrapped herself in a towel. She cursed herself for not bringing her wand with her.
From her position in the bathroom, she could hear doors opening and closing. The intruder was getting closer to her hiding spot. Their shadow stopped in front of the door. The knob jiggled.
"I know you're in there Hermione." Ron's voice was soft and menacing. She was about to pay for what she had done to him, she just knew it.
"If you open the door it'll hurt less I promise." She knew better than to trust him, so she did nothing. Seconds ticked by like hours before he kicked the door in, sending splintered wood flying. Some of it stuck in her skin, stinging slightly, but otherwise she ignored it. She was more focused on the person before her. He dwarfed her in size and could easily break her. She had the upper hand in magic, but seeing as she lacked her wand, a duel was out of the question.
"Well, well; if it isn't my treacherous ex-wife. I hear you're running around with Malfoy these days. Tell me, how long were you cheating on me with him?"
"Despite what you may think Ronald, I am not a cheater. I am not like you. I honored the vows we made to each other." This only made him angry, which he punctuated with a well aimed punch to the jaw. It sent her to the ground where she hit her head on the edge of the bathtub. Somehow she remained conscious. She stood and tried to get past him, but he caught her hair and yanked her back. A clump of it was still in his grasp when her gaze focused again.
"Did you really think you could get rid of me with a piece of paper?" He laughed, "I have news for you mudblood. You will never be rid of me. I will haunt your nightmares. I will watch you cower from the world in the shadows of your mind."
The following beating was worse than any Hermione had ever received. She felt like she was on the brink of death. She wanted it, to die. She wanted to feel the sweet mercy of death that would take her pain away forever. But she couldn't do that. she couldn't just give up; not for herself or Draco or Harry and Ginny or anyone else. So she somehow got around him, to her room. She grabbed her wand and disapparated with no clear destination in mind. So she was somewhat surprised to find herself in Draco's den. The fire was burning in the fireplace and a steaming mug of butterbeer sat on the coffee table. He was home at least. She started to go look for him when the door opened. His eyes widened upon taking in the sight of her. She saw him and knew she was safe. Then everything went black.
When she woke again, the room she was in was dark. It reeked of cleaning supplies, medicine, and death. The bed was too firm, the sheets too stiff. This was precisely the reason why Hermione hated hospitals. She was vaguely aware that every move she hade, however miniscule, sent shooting pain through her entire body. Nevertheless, she looked around to find Draco sitting in a chair to her right. He was lost in though until she moved her hand to cover his. Then his eyes darted to her. Relief washed across his face like a flood and his hand turned over to grasp hers.
"I'm so glad you're alright." He whispered. His voice sounded hoarse like he had been yelling or crying.
"What happened?" Her voice was barely audible and scratchy from disuse.
"You showed up in my den and you looked pretty beaten up, then you just dropped. I thought you were dead for a moment. I brought you to St. Mungos and then I went to find that bastard ex husband of yours. Needless to say, he won't be bothering you anymore."
"You didn't kill him did you?" Hermione asked, astonished. Draco shook his head.
"No, but he will be having a hard time functioning normally for a while. He will also be spending quite a while in Azkaban." She sighed, glad at least that the man she loved hadn't done anything that would lead him to be punished by the law.
Suddenly, Draco's expression was grave. Hermione's relief turned to dread. His grip tightened on her hand and he looked on the brink of tears.
"There's something else. I feel like such a coward I could have prevented this." Dread was clawing its way up her throat. She couldn't speak, all she could do was wait for him to tell her.
"You were pregnant Hermione. That bastard killed the baby. I could have prevented it." He was crying now. She was in shock though. She had been pregnant? She hadn't felt any of the signs of pregnancy. How far had she been? What did he mean he would have prevented it? All of these questions were racing through her mind, but the one that came out was this;
"You couldn't have known Ron would be there tonight." She tried to console him, but it was hard to console him when she was beginning to wrap her mind around the fact that she had just lost a child she didn't know she was having.
"I could have. I am a coward. I love you Hermione, I was going to ask you to move in with me and be my wife. I was afraid to. I convinced myself you would say no and it made it harder to just suck it up and do it. If I wouldn't have been so meek you could have been with me instead of there. I could have saved our baby's life." He was speaking these words through sobs that racked his whole body. She was even more shocked now. He wanted to marry her? There was really only one thing to do now. She tilted his chin up until he was looking at her.
"Yes." She said simply. He looked confused and then self-loathing. He thought she was agreeing that this was his entire fault. She shook her head slowly.
"Yes Draco. I will marry you." He blinked a few times letting the words sink into his brain.
"Why would you want to marry me? I just ruined your entire life." She shook her head again, aware that it was making her dizzy.
"Ron ruined my entire life. If it hadn't been for him we could have been happy together a long time ago. I want to marry you because I love you, and we can try to have a baby again." Hope began to blossom in his eyes.
"You're so strong 'Mione." He said softly. He stood from his chair and leaned over to press his lips softly to hers.
_Three Years Later_
Draco wrapped his arms around Hermione from behind. She tilted her head back to look at him.
"I never thought my life could end up being so perfect." He whispered in her ear. She turned her head to see what he was looking at. Their children were running around playing with their new toys. The twins had just celebrated their second birthday. Everyone was over to celebrate with them; the Weasleys, Potters, and Draco's closest friends where all on the patio talking amongst themselves. The two of them went to join their guests. Hermione sat in her favorite rocking chair with a sigh. After just three years, she and Draco had four children; there were the twins Gabriel and Tristan, their daughter McKenna, and their youngest son Lucius, and there was another on the way.
"You've come a long way dear." Molly said softly patting her hand. Indeed she had. It seemed so many life times ago that Hermione had been married to an abusive Ronald Weasley. She still had scars though, whether mental or physical. Sometimes she still woke in the night in a cold sweat, convinced that he was coming for her. Draco was always there to comfort her though. He would wrap her in his arms and whisper that he loved her until she fell asleep again. She doubted the nightmares would ever fully go away, but in a way they reminded her that what she had been through had led her to what she had today.