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Hermione walked through the hall towards the elevator slowly. She was in a fancy hotel with chandeliers hanging from the ceilings and gold tinged moulding along the wall. It was a bit too gaudy for her taste, which was most definitely more demure. Stepping foot into the empty mirrored elevator she caught sight of herself. She pressed the button labelled with the number nine. Her hair, a frizzy mess as per although it had settled down in her adulthood, was frizzing at the top. She patted it down and sighed realizing her attempt was useless. She puckered a bit in the mirror examining the sheer gloss on her lips. Her light-weight cardigan was a tad bit wrinkled along the side, but so was the hem on her black dress. She had rushed to get out of her flat earlier in the morning, she wanted to avoid Ron before he was out of the bathroom. Hermione felt guilty for feeling that way, but things had turned upside down quickly in their relationship. She knew from the start that he had been wrong for her, she complied as a means to give it a chance. Her small crush and slight obsession with Ron had wavered after the war. It was as though a flame had gone out within her. She was 23 years old now and decided to take a step back from the Magical World. She worked a small job in a Muggle bookshop to get away from the attention she received in the Wizarding World; even now it was unbearable. Being referred to as part of the Golden Trio got old fast. She didn’t have an identity, she was just ‘Harry Potter’s Brainy Best Friend’ or ‘The Brightest Witch of Her Age’. At first it was flattering and she was well aware that it could’ve been worse; she just wanted to be herself. She wanted a name. She just wanted to be Hermione Granger. One person could give her that and his name wasn’t Ronald Weasley.

The blond haired man glanced quickly at the clock on the mantel of the fireplace. Two more minutes before it was eight – she wasn’t going to come. His leg bounced as he waited anxiously for the familiar click of the door unlocking. His throat felt dry as he swallowed, his hand automatically reached for the glass of whiskey beside him. A small burn went down his throat as he gulped the drink down. Muggles had weak taste. He chuckled.

‘What’s so funny?’

He froze and turned to face the door. She was there. She was dressed differently from what he was used to. No Muggle blue jeans or a t-shirt with a logo. No jumper matched with neutral slacks. This had to have been the second time – or third, he wasn’t sure now – that he had seen her in a dress. It was a simple black dress that cut off at her knees, but he could see the silhouette of her body. Oh God, he could see that tiny waist, those shapely hips and the legs that held her up. Her dress, of course, didn’t show off any cleavage. Prim and proper Hermione Granger.

‘Who said anything was funny, Granger?’ he replied.

She approached him cautiously before taking a seat in the armchair beside him. ‘I heard you laugh when I came in. Usually when one laughs-’

‘Granger, spare me the incessant small talk.’ Malfoy held his hand up with a slight grimace on his face. ‘You know for a fact that that’s not why you’re here.’

‘Oh?’ she said. ‘I’m still not quite sure why I’m here.’

He smirked. ‘Yes you do. Don’t pretend you haven’t found yourself in this situation before.’

Hermione’s hands shook as she folded them. She hoped to the Gods that he didn’t notice. Her heart was pounding and it was as though she could hear her hair crackling as it frizzed because she was starting to sweat slightly. Why did I come, she thought. You know why you came. Stop pretending as though you’re innocent, another voice rang in her head. Shut up. Shut up.

‘It would seem Hermione Granger is at a loss for words.’

She cleared her throat. ‘I’m being honest when I say I haven’t a clue why I’m here, Malfoy.’

Liar.

‘You do know that when you lie your hands start to go into conniptions?’

She felt her fingers twisting and glanced down at them. Shit.

‘I-’

‘Weaselbee still not giving you what you want.’

She felt her face turning red. ‘How dare-’

‘I dare, Granger. Trust me when I say that I dare.’

He stood abruptly placing his glass on the table. He shrugged off his blazer and let it fall onto the beige carpet. Malfoy started to unbutton his cuffs before Hermione spoke.

‘I need to leave him,’ she said staring up into his grey eyes. ‘This is wrong. I can’t keep doing this to him.’

‘Granger,’ he said as he dropped down to his knees, shimmying his way in between her legs with his hands atop her thighs. ‘Don’t start this ‘Woe is Me’ charade before I even touch you.’

‘Fuck you, Malfoy,’ Hermione replied with a stony glare.

She continued to glare as he pushed her cardigan off exposing her arms and shoulders. His eyes flickered down her body and back up to her face. She could see the lust starting to pool in his eyes. The dilation of those grey eyes that she had come to know several months ago. Maybe it had been a year now. She didn’t care because she could feel his hands moving up her thighs and under her dress until he stopped to brush a hand along her crotch. She breathed in deeply and saw him smirk.

‘No knickers, Miss ‘I-Don’t-Know-Why-I’m-Here’. Really?’ he murmured quietly, his hands continuing up her dress and stopping at her waist. ‘Get up.’

She stood nervously following his command. She couldn’t look at him and vowed to keep her eyes set on the fireplace. She could hear the rustling of his shirt and she felt the material land close to her feet.

‘Take the dress off.’

His voice came from the armchair he was sitting in when she first saw him. She nodded and her sweaty hands unzipped the back of her dress. She let it fall down her body and pool at her feet before taking a few awkward steps out of it. Her shoes made her wobble. Gods, why did I wear these. The air wasn’t cold, but her nipples hardened instantly. She could feel his eyes glued to her back, burning a hole into her ass.

‘You can turn around,’ he said when he felt her hesitate. ‘You know I don’t bite…hard anyway.’

She shuddered briefly before turning to face him. She started to kick her shoes off and he shook his head.

‘Leave them on until I say otherwise.’

How Ronald Weasley could neglect such a perfect piece of ass was unfathomable to him. He knew the wanker had been cheating on Hermione for more than a year now with some tart named Eloise Harrington. They never discussed it and he wasn’t sure if Hermione even knew. She had to be observant enough to realise what was going on. Weasley wasn’t smart enough to deceive her. Hermione was still standing a few feet away from him biting on her lip.

His finger beckoned at her. ‘Come here.’

Hermione was hyper aware of the way her body moved. She could feel her thighs rubbing together, the moisture between them making the walk uncomfortable. The soft bounce of her breasts each time she took a step. The jiggle of her ass because of the stupid heels. She could see Malfoy licking his lips with his focus on her chest before he eyed the trimmed brown patch of hair between her legs. She flushed.

‘Don’t be so modest,’ he said, unbuckling the belt around his now tightened trousers. ‘You know how much I adore this delectable body of yours.’

When he had first said that to her she had thought he was kidding. When the disbelief wore off she noticed the look on his face. He was being serious. Her body was average at most. She could treat it much better, but she couldn’t stop herself from having a slice of cake or an extra serving of trifle. She was fighting a losing battle with a pear shaped body. It all went down to her ass anyway.

‘You know it has very little to do with modesty,’ she retorted.

‘Then what is it?’ Malfoy raised an eyebrow.

Hermione straddled him, keeping her hands on his shoulders. His fingers trailed their way down her calves to the heel of her foot before pushing off her shoes, they fell with a muffled thud.

‘The fact that you look at me as though I’m the most beautiful woman,’ she whispered into his ear, her curly hair tickling the side of his face.

Malfoy could smell her now. Cinnamon mixing with the musk seeping from between her legs. He could feel the heat emanating from her body through his pants. Her small hands burning his skin. His cock twitched.

‘You are beautiful,’ he replied brushing a few strands from her face. ‘Some people are just too dense to see it.’

His alabaster skin seemed to glow in the dim lighting. She would be lying if she said that a compliment from Malfoy didn’t boost her ego. Women fell all over themselves whenever they were around him. His perfect ski slope nose and cheekbones that male models would die for made it hard not to find him attractive. His broad shoulders and firm torso were another added bonus. His legs usually hid underneath his trousers, but they were just as toned as the rest of his body. His eyes were her favourite though. The stormy mix of light blue and grey made her body shiver.

She closed her eyes as he kissed a trail from her collarbone up to her neck, sucking hard on the skin making blood rush up to her head and a shock travel down to her crotch. She ground down on him and felt the hardness covered by his trousers. He groaned.

‘You’re so beautiful,’ he murmured along the corner of her mouth before her lips were on his.

Hermione felt her face grow hotter and any resolve she had disappeared quickly. She moaned into his mouth as his tongue wrapped around hers. His lips were perfect. The warmth of his mouth made Hermione feel as though she was on fire. His hand met the juncture between her legs. She was so wet, her fluids were smeared onto his trousers. His finger dipped into her being sucked greedily by her walls. She moaned again as she ground herself against the heel of his palm stimulating her clit. Malfoy’s kiss was aggressive. She could feel the growl rumbling in his chest as he controlled the kiss. Controlled her body. He was sucking on her bottom lip, nibbling it until he broke the kiss and withdrew his hand. Hermione tried to catch her breath, her chest heaving slightly. Malfoy wanted to make the night last. He didn’t know when he would see her again. If at all. He didn’t want to have a one off in an armchair rutting into her like a schoolboy.

‘The bed.’

He held onto her waist as her feet found the floor. Her stomach was tight, her muscles clenched as though they were strained. Her core was burning as she padded her way to the bedroom taking in the opulent wooden headboard and perfectly made sheets. They looked crisp and were soft to the touch as she ran her hand down the duvet. It was a typical hotel bedroom with two nightstands on each side of the bed. There was a flat screen TV placed within the wall and a complimentary tea set on one of the dressers. She was startled when she felt two hands grab hold of her bottom.

‘Malfoy!’

‘I recall mentioning the bed, not studying the contents of the room.’

She could feel his cock pressing up against her backside as his hands cupped her breasts, he bit into the side of her neck leaving a mark that she would have to glamour when she went home. He guided her to the bed slowly, still keeping his body against her. Her knees hit the edge of the mattress and she caught herself on her hands before falling face first. She looked over her shoulder to see Malfoy massaging both of her ass cheeks seemingly contemplating something. She felt the sting of the smack before the noise echoed through the room. Her body jerked. She bit her tongue to stop herself from screaming out. He smacked her again, enjoying the pink hand print on her skin.

‘Did you miss me?’ he asked, licking the shell of her ear with his fingers moving down her stomach to her cunt.

He massaged the outer lips gently, waiting for her reply. Hermione’s body was tense now. She tried shifting her hips to get more pressure where she needed it, he pushed her head down gently and he wrapped his arm around her waist to keep her still. She whimpered.

‘Yes,’ she said, her voice cracked. ‘I missed you.’

‘Are you sure it was me and not my cock?’

He pushed her thighs apart with his knee allowing his length to slide along the slit between her legs. She shuddered as the head of his cock brushed against her clit.

‘Both,’ she moaned.

‘Should I make you beg for it?’

Hermione shook her head, her hair knotting as it rubbed against the duvet. As desperate as she was for him she didn’t want to voice her desperation aloud for him to hear. It made this meeting all the more real for her. Which was hilarious in itself because they were almost hitting a year since this ‘affair’ had started.

‘Tsk tsk. Thinking too much aren’t you?’ Malfoy could practically hear the synapses in her brain making connections.

‘Please…’

His cock was sliding vigorously between her legs because of her arousal. With every stroke she could feel herself getting closer to the edge. Her legs started to twitch and her breath became a staccato. He loved watching her fall apart because it was all of his doing. She looked like a goddess with the sheen across her forehead and along her back. He watched her ass grind against him for more friction and a blush started to stain her cheeks, the telltale signs of her orgasm approaching. Weasley was such a twat.

‘You’re about to come aren’t you, Granger,’ he purred.

She grunted in response. Malfoy’s arm shot out to grasp a fist full of her hair pulling her head up and curving her back.

‘Answer me,’ he said into her ear, his breath hot on her skin.

Her head was too muddled. She was so close.

‘I’m going to back away if I don’t get an answer,’ he threatened, angling himself away so she could stop grinding onto him.

Her fist clenched in frustration as the tension in her stomach increased.

‘If you’re not going to fuck me I might as well take what I can get.’

He grinned. ‘So now you’re telling me you’re a selfish tart.’

She scowled. ‘Why can’t you just cooperate?’

‘I should ask you the same,’ he replied as he loosened his grip on her hair, dragging his hands along her sides and spanning her waist. ‘You know, I always did enjoy annoying the piss out of you.’

‘Because you’re an insufferable prat.’

She couldn’t believe he stopped her to talk about how he enjoyed being annoying. He was being annoying right now.

‘I’m annoying you, aren’t I?’

‘Gods…if this is what happens when I refuse to beg—’

‘It is.’

She turned her head to glare at him. The glare was unsuccessful because of the evident heat in her eyes. He was so annoying.

‘Fine.’

He watched her hand move towards the juncture between her thighs. A small moan escaped her lips.

‘Draco…’

He froze. He could only see the length of her arm moving slightly, but he knew what she was doing. The use of his first name and the fact that she was trying to get herself off were two things Hermione knew he couldn’t resist. He felt even harder than he had before if that was physically possible. He groaned loudly as he positioned himself at her entrance and thrust into her. He could feel her walls clenching around him. He could hear her trying to gasp for air as he set a slow pace. She convulsed quickly with a drawn out moan, her hands splayed out onto the sheets. He threaded his fingers through them hunching over her.

‘You really are a selfish tart.’

She was in another world. Her legs were trembling and she was sweaty. She could feel her hair sticking to the back of her neck and she wasn’t listening to a word Malfoy was saying. She could only focus on the delicious thrusts Malfoy was laying into her body. She could stay like this forever. Listening to him pant over her. Feeling his hips snapping into her. The way he fucked her was like nothing she had experienced before. She could hear how wet she was now. His cock was hitting the perfect spot that reignited the approach of another orgasm.

‘Oh Gods…Yesssss you bastard.’

He watched her ass ripple every time he hit bottom, the small jerk of her body as she absorbed the impact of his thrusts. He could fuck her all day if he had the restraint. Even now he was struggling to keep his orgasm at bay. Her fingers were gripping his tightly, his hand was starting to feel numb. He didn’t really care. He could only focus on how snug she was. How hot she was. The ripples that were massaging his cock begging him to just let go. His grunts became more audible and he could hear himself sounding like the animal he was as he ravaged her body.

‘Do you know how bloody mad I feel whenever I fuck you?’

His words barely registered. The generic smell of the sheets were replaced with her scent. Her mascara was smeared along one side of her face. She felt like she couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think. She could only feel. He knew how to manipulate her body and how to drive her into sensory overload. She just needed a few more thrusts and she knew she’d be tumbling off the edge again. She couldn’t stop the moans or the various swear words from spilling out of her mouth. Her filter was gone and Malfoy felt like he was in Heaven. Of course he’d fucked a line-up of women, but none of them could hold a candle to Hermione. If he had ever known that such a composed woman could turn into a puddle of passion if you stoked the fire correctly he would’ve tried to sleep with her earlier on. His mistake. And suddenly he pulled out, a soft squelching sound rang in his ears. He looked down at the creamy gloss coating his length. Hermione’s legs slid out from under her stretching out as she tried to catch her breath. Malfoy held onto her waist, turned her over and smirked when he saw the smear on one side of her face. He watched her take in deep breaths. Her chest was splotched pink and her waist had red marks in the shape of his fingertips embedded onto her skin. Her body was still quivering. He covered her body with his and rolled them over so she was straddling his hips. She stared at him.

‘You know what I want,’ he whispered leaning up to steal a brief kiss.

She ran her hands down his chest and over his stomach before brushing her fingertips along the thatch of ash blond hair to grip his cock. She rose a little and sank down onto him slowly. Her eyes fluttered shut as she bit into the side of her cheek. She swirled her hips experimentally eliciting a groan from Malfoy. As she started to move he could feel her thighs begin to quake against him. Every time she sank down onto him surrounding him in her heat he had to stop his inevitable release. Just seeing her bounce on top of him with her breasts hypnotizing him with each jerk…he wasn’t going to be able to last as long as he wanted. Her head was tilted back now and she could see stars even though her eyes were still shut. Malfoy was starting to reciprocate with his thrusts setting a pace she couldn’t manage on her own. She felt so deliciously full and she knew she would be coming soon as Malfoy pinched her nipples. Her moans were back to being passionately loud. Her entire body was shaking now and Malfoy watched her fingers erratically rub her clit.

‘Fuck, Hermione,’ he managed to hiss as he kneaded her breasts. ‘You’re fucking beautiful. Riding me with your hand between your legs.’

The shuddering had started. The flow of unintelligible words was relentless. She was trying to suck him dry with every squeeze and contraction that her orgasm brought on. The pressure was so unbearable.

‘Yes. Fuck yes,’ he moaned as he thrust into her for a final time as his release surged through him.

They laid in the middle of the bed quietly with Hermione atop him for several minutes. The cramping in her legs had started. This was her punishment for ignoring an exercise regime. She couldn’t be arsed until her body gave her signals to let her know about the neglect it was going through. Like now. Her head was resting on Malfoy’s chest listening to the thud of his heart beat that had finally slowed. She knew she must smell like pine needles and sandalwood at this point. If she was honest she didn’t want to leave, but this wasn’t her life. It was pathetic that she couldn’t find it within herself to tell Ron to fuck off. Everyone expected her to stay with Ron except for Ginny. And most likely Malfoy. She sighed.

‘A knut for your thoughts?’ Malfoy asked.

Hermione brushed her hair back and angled herself upwards to rest on her elbows. She met his cool grey eyes and thought about her answer.

‘If I…left Ron, how do you think you’d feel?’

‘Ecstatic. He’s a tosser,’ he smirked.

‘I’m being serious.’

His eyebrow rose. ‘As am I.’

‘I can’t believe this,’ she muttered before breaking eye contact and rolling over onto the other side of the bed.

Chapter Text

‘I can’t believe this,’ she muttered before breaking eye contact and rolling over onto the other side of the bed.

Malfoy studied her curiously.

‘Does this make you feel guilty?’

‘No,’ she responded. ‘The only inkling of guilt I have is based on the fact that I’ve kept up this sham of a relationship for so long.’

‘Why are you still with him?’

She groaned internally. Leave it to Malfoy to ask the hard hitting questions she didn’t want to answer. She’d asked herself the same question before she’d ever slept with Malfoy. She still had the same answer.

‘I don’t know.’

Malfoy scoffed. He couldn’t believe that was a serious answer.

‘Really? Hermione Granger fulltime Know-It-All doesn’t have a response. That’s rich. Merlin have mercy on us all.’

‘Fuck you, Malfoy. I’ve really tried to think this through logically. It’s more complicated that you think.’

‘And the complication is…’

‘I don’t want to cause a rift between our friends and families. I know it’s hard for you to wrap your head around because you’re an arsehole who hates almost everyone. I care.’

‘Too much it seems.’

Hermione frowned as she sat up. Maybe Malfoy had a point about how she cared too much. Wasn’t it illogical to continue a relationship with Ron when her feelings had faded away? If they had ever gotten to the point where he’d propose to her she would definitely turn him down. Perhaps that was what she was waiting for? A moment where she wouldn’t have to start up that dreaded conversation. She was a pathetic excuse of a human being. At this point in their relationship there was no sense of comfort, only the reality of routine. They hardly talked to one another about anything except their jobs. Hell, when they ate dinner with each other, which was a rarity, she couldn’t even look at him. He never pressed up against her in their bed anymore pestering her for sex. There was no intimacy between them anymore, not even the small pecks or I Love You’s seemed to mask the fact that they’d turned into strangers. Hermione didn’t know him anymore. She didn’t want to. He used to seem so sweet and innocent to her. My, how times had changed. She was too consumed with the idea of what everyone else thought or what their expectations were. Wasn’t that the reason she had tried to detach herself away from the Wizarding World? She wasn’t making any damn sense.

‘Christ, what is wrong with me?’

‘Do you really want me to answer that?’

Hermione shot daggers with her eyes. ‘No!’

She stood to make her way to the bathroom while tying up her hair in a bun, it helped her concentrate on her thoughts without being bothered by tendrils of hair constantly tickling the back of her neck. It seemed like ages now that she had become so comfortable walking around naked which is why she didn’t try to shy away when she saw Malfoy’s eyes studying her. She felt a small throb start in her lower stomach.

‘Stop it!’ Hermione hissed.

Malfoy smiled. It was still astonishing to her that he could smile at all. After being around the git for years and only seeing a smirk it was refreshing to see a genuine smile that reached his eyes and brightened up his entire face. She sounded like a lovesick ninny. Too bad she couldn’t say anything positive about the way she currently looked. She examined the black smear around her eye in the mirror before reaching for a toothbrush.

‘You look like a pervert when you smile like that, you know?’ she called out from the bathroom.

‘Really?’ Malfoy asked. ‘That cuts me deep, Granger.’

‘Oh, shut up,’ she replied with her head stuck out of the door frame and a tooth brush lodged into the side of her mouth. ‘I cannot even think of one thing I could say that could hurt you.’

She wasn’t exactly right. He could think of at least one thing she could say that might hurt him. Still, he smiled and pretended otherwise even though she was hidden away in the bathroom rinsing out her mouth. He had started this…arrangement with the thought that he would be using Granger for good pussy. Somehow he had developed feelings for her. A girl had never made him feel anxious because there was a possibility that she could stand him up. Never had Draco Malfoy been stood up. It was almost laughable when he sat in that hotel room until midnight a few months ago. He watched the sunset alone. Went through a bottle of wine alone. He went home slightly drunk to find an owl waiting for him at the window. ‘I’m sorry, something came up last minute. Hope you didn’t stay long. HG’ No, of course not, he had only wasted 16 hours of the day sitting around like a knob. He supposed that he should be thankful that he hadn’t had any feelings of jealously when it came to her relationship with Ron. Anyone with eyes could see that their relationship had completely fallen apart. Hermione and Malfoy avoided each other when they were outside in the ‘Real World’, as she liked to call it, but the times when he did see her interacting with others she looked miserable. It was so clear to him when he looked into her eyes, took in the forced mannerisms, the cold body language and the out of character inflections in her voice. It was strange. Almost as though he was seeing another person. They were all so fucking thick to be fooled by her. She was a horrible liar. There was only one time when she had noticed him, she was with that Weasley girl. For once she didn’t look like she had a grey cloud looming over her, he was seeing her for who she was. Her amber eyes caught the light showing off the darker ring around her iris and he noticed she was looking directly at him with a smile on her face. He wondered if he should ignore her, but then he felt his head nod acknowledging her. It was all over so fast like it almost didn’t happen.

Hermione was back in the bedroom with a fluffy bath robe on. Malfoy hadn’t moved from his spot. His eyes were closed and his face was relaxed. Sometimes he really did have the face of an angel, only because his face was so painfully perfect. She wanted to kiss a trial along his face until she steeled herself and tried to push the thought away. She couldn’t imagine Malfoy accepting any form of blatant affection after sex. Really, she wasn’t affectionate anyway. At least she hadn’t been with Ron. Malfoy’s eyes opened then as if he knew she was staring at him. Hermione turned away and started to look around for her discarded clothes.

‘Are you leaving now?’

‘No,’ she smiled while pulling out her shrunken purse out of her cardigan pocket. ‘I thought we could catch some dinner.’

‘You…what?’

He watched Hermione pull out sheer black underwear from her purse. She shimmied it on. He’d never seen this pair before. He figured he hadn’t seen the majority of her underwear collection but these ones were intriguing. There was a small rounded shape on the back of her underwear almost like a keyhole with a small bow above it. It accentuated the dip in her ass.

‘You’d better turn around if you want to leave this room,’ he murmured.

Hermione blushed slightly before stepping in her dress.

‘I need help zipping up,’ she said as her head turned to meet his eyes.

She felt Malfoy behind her in an instant, she hadn’t even heard him get out of the bed. His hands ran down her sides before he pulled the zipper up to close her dress. Goosebumps broke out on her arms as she felt his breath brush past her neck.

‘I don’t need dinner,’ he whispered. ‘You’re a treat.’

‘Didn’t your mother ever tell you that dessert came last? Or were you bratty enough to manipulate her into giving you your dessert first thing?’

His chuckle was breathy. ‘Now, now. You don’t want to bring my mother into this conversation, Granger. But if you must know, I can be very convincing when it matters.’

Of course she knew how convincing he could be. Who could really convince her it was a good idea to have sex at work like she was a hormonal teenager? How else could she explain the desecration of the book shelves? Rutting up against one another in a less frequented section close to the back where they were covered sufficiently from unsuspecting eyes. Who really wanted to see the book shop girl being fucked six ways from Sunday? She had had to go through the surveillance footage and tamper with it before her supervisor thought she was some hussy making a few extra dollars on the side sleeping with customers.

‘Trust me when I say that I’m well aware of your talent.’

‘Naturally,’ he remarked as he stepped away to find his belongings. ‘You’ve gotten off easy this time, Granger. You’re lucky your stomach grumbles as loud as it does. I don’t want to be the cause of your starvation.’

She felt her face burn in embarrassment, she didn’t even notice her stomach growling. Only a prat would point that out. She put her cardigan on.

‘I suppose you’ve ventured out into Muggle London before.’

‘Not really. Except for that time some silly woman took me to a place called Mickey Donalds.’

Hermione giggled. ‘Really? Mickey Donalds. I haven’t heard of that one yet.’

‘It left a lot to be desired so you aren’t missing out are you. Actually, on second thought, the chips were better than the ones we used to get in the Great Hall.’

Hermione stared at him in disbelief. Draco Malfoy was talking about enjoying chips from McDonalds? She had to get the hell out of here.

‘I didn’t know you were such a chip aficionado, Malfoy,’ she said with a huge grin on her face.

‘Sod off.’

----------

Hermione would’ve hailed a taxi, but it was Malfoy’s idea to walk. Venturing around Muggle London with Malfoy was strange, but it was better than she had expected. He seemed comfortable around the large groups of Muggles, he didn’t bat an eye. Even though it was later in the evening the streets were still as busy as ever. Hoards of people were dressed up to go to the clubs or the pubs to have a good time. They had passed by a flashy looking club that Malfoy pointed out.

‘I think I’ve been there.’

Hermione’s eyebrow rose. ‘Club Aquarium?’

He smiled. ‘Ridiculous.’

‘My cousin mentioned it had a pool inside. Is that true?’

‘Yes, which is why Blaise wanted to go in the first place.’

Several minutes passed before Hermione stopped in front of a restaurant.

‘Yes, this is the place. Nando’s!’

Malfoy looked confused. ‘Nan – who?’

She pointed towards the sign before grabbing his hand to pull him inside. It was fairly busy with a slightly long queue. He was hit with the scent of grilled chicken and a mixture of spices. He could smell chips too. It was clear to Hermione that he’d never ordered fast food. He probably didn’t understand the concept of ordering food away from a restaurant table. Now she could see his discomfort and how unsure he looked about venturing outside with her. He’d get over it eventually. She equated it to the first time she had ever seen food appear seemingly out of nowhere in the Great Hall. She’d read about it weeks before attending Hogwarts, but there was a remarkable difference between reading and actually experiencing what she had read. It was a bit funny that food appearing in the middle of a table was more normal for him than ordering food that required you to wait in a queue. Cultural differences, she thought. Two extremely different worlds.

‘Malfoy, do you see that spot over there? Just nab that table. I’ll be a moment.’

He nodded and quickly headed over to the comfy looking red upholstered booth. The lighting in the restaurant was quite dim even though there was a lamp hanging above the booth. It was oddly loud in the restaurant and there weren’t any waiters walking around taking orders from the tables. Somehow people had food being served to them. Maybe Muggles really were as innovative as Granger had said. He knew they weren’t stupid, at one time he believed they were denser than a house-elf on a good day. His father was able to control his morals and beliefs for the better part of his childhood. Of course by the time he had turned sixteen it was much harder for his father to keep any sort of hold on Draco. It was his period of rebellion. He tried not to bring up the harsh memories of the past, but sometimes they managed to bleed through the barrier he had put up. His relationship with his father was nonexistent now, not that they had had a strong relationship to begin with. There was no love lost. The only person holding them together was his mother. She was able to calm Lucius’ temper despite how stubborn he could be. He doubted his father respected him, but he didn’t care anymore. He wasn’t twelve years old vying for his father’s attention and acceptance. At least his father hadn’t tried to write Draco out of his inheritance again. The first time he had tried Narcissa hexed him so viciously he was stuck in his bed for a month. His mom was highly overprotective over Draco even though he was legally an adult. And truth be told he still lived at home in a distant part of the Manor where he didn’t have to see his parents if he didn’t want to. He knew his mom loved that he still lived at home because she could keep tabs on him. One of these days he’d move out just to be able to have a house to himself.

‘I’m glad you look less…sickly.’

Hermione shuffled herself onto the opposite side of the booth. She had ordered basic items off of the menu. She wasn’t sure what Malfoy enjoyed to eat and she decided it didn’t matter because she was sure to find out tonight.

‘Charming, Granger,’ he replied.

‘How do you like it?’ she asked while she slipped off her cardigan.

‘It’s different.’

‘Better than Mickey Donalds?’

‘Much.’

Hermione was still expecting an awkward silence to ensue between the two of them. It would’ve been easier to Apparate to their final destination. The weather in London this evening was agreeable, not too humid and not too cool. When Malfoy suggested that they walk she was a little surprised because she didn’t think he’d take the time to walk anywhere, let alone Muggle London. It was more surprising that they had managed to get along the entire time. Actually, maybe it wasn’t so surprising because they got along quite well in the bedroom. Except this was the first time they had ever gone anywhere outside of the hotel room. Out of all the possibilities Hermione would have never thought Malfoy would end up as her…lover. Hermione never thought she would be a cheater either.

‘Isn’t it a little weird that this is the first time we’ve had a meal together?’

‘Not entirely,’ he snorted. ‘You used to be paranoid about people seeing us together.’

‘True,’ she muttered.

Was this a sign of her carelessness? Was she getting too comfortable?

‘Merlin, don’t start with your bloody overthinking. I don’t think I could bear it.’

‘Malfoy, seriously think about this. I know there’s a risk. I don’t know if I care that anyone finds out or not. Of course I’d much rather confess to it myself but—‘

‘Stop,’ he said. ‘Not here. Not now.’

And that was when the waiter came with their food. He was the typical English bloke in London, Hermione guessed he had to be around their age. She didn’t pay much attention to him except for when he stated what was on the plates. She had ordered a chicken wrap for herself and a grilled chicken burger for Malfoy, they both had chips.

‘He was making moony eyes at you.’

‘What?’ she asked.

‘The waiter.’

‘What about him?’

‘He was eyeing you.’

‘Malfoy, just try the burger.’

----------

The chips were great, he hadn’t cared much for the sandwich she called a ‘burger’. Hermione looked like she enjoyed her meal, she ended up giving him the remainder of her chips. Hermione suggested that they Apparate back to the hotel, he felt too full to walk back so he obliged. Once they were at the hotel Hermione was quiet. She laid in the middle of the bed staring at him as he toed his shoes off.

‘I won’t go home tonight,’ she said quietly. ‘Will you stay?’

He nodded and climbed into the bed with her. ‘Odd…’

‘I can’t go back to the flat.’

He nodded again and left her to her thoughts.

----------

‘Be honest, do you think I’m making a mistake?’

‘No.’

Hermione felt frustrated with herself. She was supposed to make rational decisions and right now it felt like she didn’t know what she was doing. The answer should’ve been easy when Ron came home smelling like patchouli. She had brushed it off because it wasn’t unusual that he worked closely with his colleagues. It was unusual when he started coming home later in the night. She felt relieved, which was wrong. Part of her felt hurt that he thought she was thick enough to completely miss the signs that she was being cheated on. Letters that he received would incinerate once he was done reading them and he would leave minutes later blaming it on ‘the damn Ministry’. Really, what was wrong with her?

‘He’s cheating on me,’ she said turning onto her side to face Malfoy.

‘I know.’

She frowned. ‘You know?’

Malfoy sighed. ‘I didn’t want to have this conversation with you.’

‘I think I deserve to know.’

‘And you’re sure about this?’

‘Positive.’

Malfoy started off by telling her each encounter was purely a coincidence. He told her about Ron’s date at the Leaky Cauldron of all places. Ron could never pull off any amount of stealth no matter how hard he tried. Malfoy mentioned the small brushes along the woman’s wrist as Ron’s arm stretched out onto the table. How Ron’s hand would rest on the small of her back. How they held hands as they made it up the stairs towards a bedroom. Their unkempt appearance when they finally left separately. Anyone in the vicinity could have put two and two together. He had seen them again at a café called Juniper Leaves. This time they had come in after Malfoy and they were unaware of the fact that he was in the booth behind them. He knew Eloise’s prissy and grating voice.

‘Ron, you keep telling me you’re going to leave her.’

‘I know. I know. It’s just that we have so many years between us it’ll be hard to break it off. Come on Eloise, you know you can trust me.’

‘You’re right,’ she giggled. ‘I do trust you.’

‘And you know that I love you, right?’

Hermione didn’t look stunned. Or even shocked. She looked…she looked like she hadn’t heard a single word he had said.

‘Granger? Are you okay…?’

‘Never been better,’ she replied simply. ‘This isn’t a mistake.’

‘I thought you’d at least be a little hysterical.’

‘Nothing to be hysterical about. It’s obviously been over for ages.’

She wasn’t even jealous. That’s how she knew she couldn’t have cared any less. Fuck Ron. Why had she ever taken his feelings into consideration when he was blatantly cheating on her? Maybe Harry knew. Jesus, maybe Ginny knew and that’s why she had been so adamant that Hermione was better off alone. They had wasted so much time playing up this horrible farce that didn’t convince anybody. Maybe everyone knew the relationship was falling apart and they held onto their expectations in hopes that their relationship would repair itself. Why was this happening to her? Even Draco fucking Malfoy knew. Who else had known this was going on? She had been so secretive about her affair when Ron didn’t give one rat’s arse about who found out.

Hermione’s eyes narrowed. ‘Tell me something, Malfoy. Who else knows?’

‘Considering the amount of people in the Leaky Cauldron on a Friday evening, I’d say there are a lot of people who know,’ Malfoy smirked. ‘Weasley never was the inconspicuous sort was he?’

Hermione stood up and started pacing. She caught glimpse of the notepad on the nightstand and wrote two words on it. Malfoy watched her use a spell he wasn’t familiar with and the paper in the palm of her hand disappeared.

‘I’ve never heard of that spell before.’

‘Created it.’

He scoffed. ‘And this is the woman wasting away working in a Muggle bookstore?’

‘Hey! I’m not wasting away,’ she protested. ‘Does it really look like I want the attention? I can see it all on the Daily Prophet. ‘Hermione Granger, Part-Time Homewrecker, Invents a New Spell!’ Rita Skeeter would have a field day with that tripe. Gods. Can you just imagine? You’d be in it too by the way.’

‘I don’t have very much to lose do I?’ he snorted. ‘Except for my dear old father possibly going into cardiac arrest for being a blood traitor. Although I suppose my mother has already mentioned you to him.’

‘Your mother already – what?’

‘She keeps tabs on me, Granger.’

‘So, what you’re telling me is that there is a possibility that your mother just might be talking about me over dinner at Malfoy Manor?’

‘Small possibility.’

‘To your father?’

‘Unless she’s gossiping to all those other high society dogs.’

Hermione’s mouth was wide open. ‘Malfoy, please tell me this is a sick joke.’

‘Maybe,’ he murmured. ‘Keep your mouth shut it’s giving me ideas.’

‘Malfoy, please.’

‘I doubt she’s gossiping about me, Granger. I can’t be sure if she’s told my father because we don’t even look at one another.’

Now Hermione was stunned. Everyone knew that the Malfoy family wasn’t close to perfect even though Narcissa had tried her best to do damage control once the war was over. Lucius Malfoy was still head of the house, but he was hardly ever seen outside in public. For awhile the papers reported that he was gravely ill with a magical sickness Voldemort had bestowed upon his traitorous Death Eaters. It was a pathetic rumour someone had pulled out of their arse. She had never given much thought about his father even though Malfoy was basically a spitting image of him with shorter hair and a smaller nose. At Hogwarts she knew that his relationship with his father was strained, but she couldn’t imagine that they had stopped talking to one another. How was it possible that Malfoy hadn’t been disowned then? Surely Lucius Malfoy would be hard pressed to change his views on the purity of blood. Malfoy had never mentioned his family before now so she had assumed everything was fine. Obviously Malfoy didn’t look very bothered by the fact that his relationship with his father had deteriorated. Why was she putting so much thought into this?

‘I can see the wheels turning, Granger. You can stop now.’

Hermione glanced at him. ‘I just had no clue.’

‘You weren’t meant to know.’

‘I mean, why haven’t you been shunned? Shouldn’t you have been disowned?’

‘You can thank my mother for that.’

‘Ah.’

It made sense.

‘Is that all?’

‘I had no clue that Draco Malfoy was such a Mummy’s Boy.’

Chapter Text

Hermione unlocked the door to the bookstore and twisted her hair into a bun before walking in. Presently she was the only one who was fine with coming in on a bank holiday. It meant that she could avoid any gatherings with her friends and family. It also meant that the amount of customers venturing in and out would diminish as the hours went by. It was almost like a day off except she was at work. The only downside would be the fact that her mind would go into overdrive while she tried to keep herself busy. It was better than sitting around her flat with nothing to do but peruse the internet or watch some horrible reality show that killed her brain cells slowly. She hummed as she set the keys on the counter before turning the computer monitor on – the buzz of the machine was soothing. She sighed as she watched the loading screen pop up.

‘Are you avoiding me?’ Malfoy appeared beside the bookshelf advertising the newest arrivals.

Hermione choked on her gum and started coughing. ‘What the hell are you doing in here?’

‘Making you choke apparently,’ he replied with a small smirk on his mouth.

‘You don’t just appear out of thin air and frighten people like that,’ Hermione grumbled before clearing her throat and spitting her gum into the rubbish bin.

She avoided making eye contact and he watched her hands shake as she tapped on plastic buttons with letters on them. She was definitely avoiding him.

‘I thought I’d give you a nice surprise because you’re avoiding me.’

She frowned. ‘I’m not avoiding you.’

‘You won’t even look at me.’

Suddenly her eyes dark eyes connected with his and he could see the worry trying to hide beneath her stare. It was out of character. At this point he knew what was bothering her and he was going to be honest about it. Not that he was one to ever avoid honesty.

‘Are you happy now?’ her eyes shifted away from his swiftly and tried to refocus on the words she was typing.

‘I know you broke up with him.’

She was silent. The tapping paused for a moment before starting again.

‘You moved out.’

At this she scowled. ‘I never knew you were the stalking type, Malfoy.’

He scoffed. ‘Everyone knows, Granger. After the fit your beloved ginger had in the middle of Diagon Alley.’

Hermione froze. ‘That isn’t funny.’

‘Am I laughing? Am I even smiling? It’s the truth,’ he sneered.

Her eyes were shut and her fingers rose to rub her temples. She knew how idiotic Ron could be at times, especially when he was upset. What she didn’t know was that he was enough of an idiot to have a fit in broad daylight in a very public area. She didn’t need the entire world to know about her private life, but of course it would’ve been too much to ask for privacy. It was strange that she wasn’t being bombarded by messages from the media begging her to ditch her hermit status in order to be interviewed. It was even stranger that she hadn’t received any howlers from Ron’s admirers. Why couldn’t he have kept his mouth shut? The break up wasn’t as hard as she had expected. There seemed to be a mutual agreement that their relationship was falling apart and Hermione knew he wasn’t in love with her. He didn’t even have to say it. His demeanour changed when she’d started to gather all her things in the living room. He didn’t look at her as she packed her things. Didn’t say a word when she left. She stayed in a hotel that night and wrote a letter for Ginny to let her know that she’d finally left Ron. Ginny was her strongest advocate when it came to breaking up with Ron, of course she would want to know Hermione was single. Before she had gone to bed she was surprised to see an unknown brown spotted owl waiting by the windowsill. A strange sensation went through her when she recognized Ron’s handwriting. ‘I saw the mark on your neck. Stay away.

‘Fucking Ron,’ she whispered. ‘Why is this happening to me? I did the right thing and it still manages to blow up in my goddamn face.’

‘Not exactly considering I have to deliver the news to you.’

‘Shut up, Malfoy. Just shut up,’ she responded harshly. ‘God.’

Malfoy watched her pace behind the wooden counter. Her hair was down now with her hands struggling to run through it in frustration. Her lips were moving hurriedly, she was whispering to herself so he couldn’t catch what she was saying. Considering Weasley’s high profile status within the public he would’ve expected Hermione to at least receive a couple of owls annoying the hell out of her. Why Weasley was still relevant was a mystery to him. He knew she didn’t bother reading the Daily Prophet anymore. She most definitely wasn’t reading Witch Weekly either. He could just see how mortified she would be if she read the articles from the past week. Both news outlets had profiled their relationship from beginning to end with ‘exclusive’ interviews from so called reliable sources.

She sighed deeply and leaned onto the counter propping her head in her hands. ‘Is it bad?’

‘It won’t last forever, Granger.’

‘That wasn’t what I asked you. I asked if it was bad.’

Malfoy was staring at her intensely now and it was starting to make her feel uncomfortable. The way the light was hitting him made his pupils tiny as pins. It felt as though he was studying her. Maybe he was trying to determine whether or not she could handle the truth. Either way he was walking towards her and the only thing separating them was that stupid portion of wood.

‘To the general population, yes.’

That was when he saw the tears collecting in her eyes.

‘Granger. Hermione. You’re free from that wanker. Why does it matter now when the end result is clearly what you wanted?’

Hermione didn’t even know why she was starting to cry. She didn’t care about those stupid articles anyway. She didn’t care if Ron was playing the role of the bitter ex perfectly. She knew that anyone worth a damn wouldn’t believe what the articles said about her. She wasn’t even sad. She was relieved that it was over with. She just wished she had ended the relationship before she found herself interested in someone else. She was a mess. Ron was even more of a mess for being a hypocrite.

‘This is pathetic,’ she managed to utter while wiping away the moisture on her face.

‘Quite.’

Her eyes narrowed. ‘I didn’t ask you.’

‘Let me take you out,’ he said and reached out to push a curl behind her ear.

‘I’m at work if you haven’t noticed. Some of us do have to work to support ourselves you know.’

‘I run a business, Granger. I work. From what I recall you have a pretty hefty savings account as well.’

‘Yes, well-’

‘You don’t even have to be here. I saw the other shops and most of them are closed.’

‘I don’t feel like going out,’ she retorted.

‘Fine, I’ll come over.’

Malfoy had only ever come to her old flat once. Ron was away on a trip for George’s bachelor party with Harry and several other friends for the weekend. She didn’t think there was a possibility that he would be coming home and she’d decided to take her chances even if there was a risk. Incidentally, that was when the feeling of guilt first started to creep up on her. She couldn’t brush it off and pretend she wasn’t fucking someone on the side. Not just someone – Draco Malfoy. A person that Ron still loathed years after school and the War had ended. And she had fucked him in their bed, in their house without a second thought about the consequences. By the end of his visit Hermione had been hard pressed not to have memories of Malfoy whenever she walked into the kitchen, the bathroom and the living room. Nothing was sacred.

‘I moved, remember?’ Hermione asked softly.

‘Which means…’

‘Which means you don’t know where I live?’

A small smile started to form on his lips. ‘And you really think that I can’t find out where you live?’

‘Since you’ve made it your goal to stalk me I’ll see you later tonight,’ she responded, crossing her arms. ‘Goodbye, Malfoy.’

‘I forgot how pleasant you were,’ he snorted making his way around the counter.

‘Hey! This is for employees only. You’ll get me fired, you idiot.’

‘If I can fuck you behind a bookshelf and you can manage not to get fired I’m confident you won’t be fired for this. Nice try, Granger.’

She could feel her cheeks getting splotched with pink. ‘Do you really have to be so filthy?’

His hands held onto her waist and he lowered his head so their noses touched. ‘It’s what you like most about me.’

Before she could respond his lips were over hers. Fire felt like it was searing her skin and her heart was racing. She kissed him back enthusiastically and let her arms rest on his shoulders. His tongue wrapped around hers coaxing a moan from her and she pressed herself closer to him when his hands lowered to hold onto her ass. She knew he was kissing her with a purpose. There was a slow burn building in her lower stomach and the throbbing between her legs started. How long had it been since she’d seen him again? She could kiss him all day. She was beginning to overheat. Her face had to be entirely pink with swollen cherry red lips. Her thoughts stopped altogether. Malfoy broke the kiss and started suckling on her neck making her shiver.

‘Don’t you have a job to attend to, Granger?’ his voice rasped into her ear.

Hermione let go of him and tried to take a step back except he was restricting her movements. Her mouth was glistening and she bit her lip before taking a deep breath.

‘I’ll see you later on, Malfoy. Any time after 6.’

She looked up at him with questioning eyes when he still didn’t let go of her. His hands were stuck on her hips.

‘You can let go of me now…’

Malfoy shook his head and smirked. ‘No one’s here, you know. I could have you right here. Right now.’

Her hands gripped onto his in an attempt to remove them. ‘Malfoy. Please.’

‘You could at least give me a kiss goodbye.’

Hermione gave him an indignant look. ‘And that wasn’t a kiss goodbye?’

‘Another kiss goodbye.’

‘A peck,’ she hissed. ‘First, you have to let go of me.’

He held his hands up and Hermione leaned into him to place a small peck on his cheek.

‘Bye, Malfoy.’

He chuckled. ‘Goodbye, Granger.’

Malfoy disapparated and Hermione gazed at the spot he was just standing in. What was she doing?

----------

As expected the bookstore had been uneventful and Hermione ended up spending her time double checking the inventory because she knew she was the only other person who cared about it. She would’ve spent the rest of the day going through the shelves to find a book that she could read to pass time, but after Malfoy had left she found herself preoccupied with thoughts about him. She should have just accepted his invitation to go out, but he was such a prat she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. Which didn’t matter anyway because now he was coming over to her flat. She could’ve come up with an excuse about how disastrous the move had been. How cluttered it was. Malfoy would’ve seen through her lie – he knew that she couldn’t survive without any order for an extended amount of time. She could’ve said she was busy. He would’ve seen through that lie too. Why was she always so damned nervous whenever she was about to see him? It was so unbecoming. Actually, it was embarrassing. She felt too old for this and yet here she was standing around overthinking Draco Malfoy. It wasn’t like they were dating. They were just two single people having consensual sex. It was just sex. Hermione groaned. Maybe it really wasn’t just sex. Especially not after she’d broken up with Ron.

----------

Malfoy was late. Or maybe he was standing her up. She glanced at the clock for what felt like the hundredth time. The light ticking was adding to her anxiety. She couldn’t sit still and paced in front of her sofa with a glass of white wine.  Maybe he really couldn’t figure out where she lived, she thought. By the time he’d get to her flat she would be absolutely pissed and undoubtedly make a fool of herself. Hermione finally sat down and took a gulp of wine finishing off the glass before pouring some more for herself. Her hands were starting to sweat and she rubbed them along her jeans.

‘This is so ridiculous,’ she mumbled taking a sip. She was definitely starting to feel warm and fuzzy as she adjusted her knit top.

There was a rustling at her door and then a few loud knocks followed. She shot up dashing towards the door without looking into the peephole. When her eyes landed on his familiar face she let out a sigh of relief that she didn’t know she was holding in.

‘Expecting someone else?’

Her eyes widened. ‘No. No, no, no. I just thought that maybe…’

‘Maybe? What?’

‘Nothing,’ she giggled as she took his appearance in. He always looked so put together regardless of what he was wearing. He made everything look good. He was dressed fairly formal, only wearing a crisp pale blue dress shirt with some creased black trousers.

‘Are you going to invite me in or shall we chat like this for the rest of the evening?’

She blushed before taking a wobbly step back to let him in. ‘I’m sorry, please come in.’

He took in the surroundings and wasn’t the least bit surprised to see that Hermione already had her small flat put together. If a stranger had walked in they wouldn’t have known she had moved in recently. She kept the rustic beige furniture and the colourful rugs from her previous flat. He noticed that her television was smaller and so was the dining table that only had seats for two in the corner. The walls were a bare white and there were a few framed still photographs of her with what he assumed were her parents. Of course there were magical photographs of Scarhead and his betrothed smiling and hugging one another repeatedly. He glanced at the half empty bottle on the coffee table and turned to watch Hermione take a few sips.

‘Really, Granger?’

Her eyebrows rose. ‘Yes?’

‘I never took you for a drunk,’ he commented as he sat down. ‘An entire bottle of wine?’

‘Shut up,’ she slurred. ‘It wasn’t the entire bottle. I was nervous.’

This piqued his interest. ‘What could you have possibly been nervous about?’

‘You.’

‘Ah,’ he replied, a playful smirk forming. ‘I didn’t know I made you nervous.’

‘Yes, you do,’ she sniffed and sat down beside him. ‘It amuses you.’

Malfoy took the wine glass and placed it away from her reach. ‘You amuse me.’

‘I wasn’t done with that,’ she objected.

‘I want you sober, Granger,’ he said, unpinning her hair to let the chestnut curls fall around her face.

She knew she was staring at him, but she couldn’t stop. He was so appealing and he knew it. Why else would he be so arrogant? He knew that he was perfect. He knew what he did to her with that stupid face of his. His hard body. His precise hands. His stimulating lips. Her eyes were focused on those pale pink lips of his and even though they were moving she couldn’t hear a word he was saying. His lips curled into a smile and she caught herself smiling along with him.

‘You’re drunk,’ he murmured, placing his palm against her warm face. ‘We need to talk.’

‘Kiss me,’ she whispered, sensing his hesitation she shifted herself closer to him. ‘Please. We can talk later.’

He obliged. His kiss was soft on her lips and he could taste the sweet wine she’d been drinking. He let her control the kiss as her tongue plunged into his mouth aggressively and he felt the vibrations of the small whimpers she let out. She shifted again and broke the kiss to straddle him. His eyes caught hers and he saw the tell-tale signs of lust surfacing in her amber eyes. His hands started at her shoulders before trailing down her breasts and underneath her shirt. He cupped her breasts in his hands, his fingers teasing her nipples through the fabric of her silky bra.

‘Take it off,’ she muttered, letting out a soft moan. ‘Take it all off.’

She raised her arms as he pulled her shirt off revealing her golden skin and the black lace bra underneath. She giggled when he let out a groan at the sight of her. And now he was becoming aware of the bulge tightening his trousers. Hermione stood suddenly and turned away from him to unbutton her pants. She shimmied out of her jeans and he watched her backside jiggle as she kicked her pants off her feet. She was facing him again with a sly smile teasing her face.

‘Do you like what you see?’ she asked, removing her bra and tossing it aside. She kept her hands covering her nipples.

‘I’d like it even more if your breasts weren’t hidden.’

Hermione pouted. ‘It’s only fair if you’re as naked as I am.’

He unbuttoned his shirt quickly shrugging it off onto the couch. Hermione’s eyes were following his hands as he got rid of his trousers and his arousal was finally evident in his boxers. She made a humming noise when he stood to remove his boxers.

‘As I see it,’ he started, letting his gaze fall onto her. ‘You’re still wearing far too much.’

Her breasts were bare, pink nipples hardened. She kissed him gently and tugged on his lower lip, sucking it before letting go. ‘Then why don’t you do something about it, Malfoy?’

He made short work of her underwear. The band tore as he tugged them down and it fell towards her feet. Before she could step away he held onto her and turned her towards the couch.

‘Sit.’

She sat and watched him kneel in front of her. His hands gripped onto her knees opening her legs and spreading her before him. He saw the moisture seeping out of her pink flesh and his mouth watered. He could see how tense her body was; her muscles kept contracting under her skin.

‘Relax,’ he said, running his hands down her thighs and pulling her towards him to rest her legs on his shoulders.

‘I can’t,’ Hermione breathed out. ‘Not when I have your head between my legs.’

At this he chuckled and pressed wet kisses along her inner thigh. He wanted to take things slowly, but his body was trying to convince him otherwise. It would be so easy to pin Granger down and fuck her into the couch. No, he wanted her in her bed tonight. Her hand ran through his silky hair as his kisses got closer to where she wanted it most. Her body jerked slightly when his lips ghosted over her centre teasing her. His tongue licked the smooth skin around her clit and he heard a sharp gasp with a few curse words following. He delved into her slit collecting the moisture on his tongue savouring the taste that was uniquely hers. The hardness of his tongue flicked back and forth on her clit drawing a loud moan out of Hermione. Her eyes were shut now and her breathing was laboured even though he’d just started eating her out. His two fingers nudged their way inside of her with her walls clamping down on the sudden intrusion. The sucking on her clit made her legs twitch alongside his neck and he knew she was close. Her stomach was jerking and the grasp she had on his head was getting tighter. His fingers were slowly rubbing the ridged surface that added to her pleasure as she ground herself against his face.

‘Yes,’ she moaned, her hooded eyes met his. ‘Don’t stop.’

He was fixated on her face. He wanted to be able to pinpoint the exact moment that she fell apart for him. Tendrils of hair were sticking to her creased forehead and if he hadn’t known what was affecting her he would’ve guessed that she was pleading with someone. She was pleading, he supposed. With him to let her go. The twitching in her legs was intensifying and her breathing started to stutter. Hermione’s eyes were dazed now and the shuddering was making its way through her undulating body. The noises coming out of her mouth were delicious – the sharp whimpers turned into keening moans. Her walls clenched onto his fingers. He thought he’d heard her call out his name before she jerked her shuddering body from his grasp. Hermione pushed his head away from her swollen folds.

‘Too sensitive,’ she gasped, attempting to close her legs when he held onto her thighs.

Her fluids were smeared all over his mouth and chin, her hand reached over to rub the moisture off. Her feet were back on the floor and she eyed Malfoy’s erection as he gripped onto her upper arm coaxing her to stand.

‘You’re going to show me to your bedroom now, Granger.’

Her legs shook as she led him through her flat holding his hand. They turned the corner and he stepped forward to open the door. It creaked slowly, her neatly made bed coming into view in the middle of the room. Hermione turned one of the lamps on and she heard the rustling of the sheets coming into contact with a body. He was staring at her as he stroked himself knowingly, his smirk was carefully placed to goad her. Her lower stomach was pulsing again. She was mesmerised by his foreskin being tugged back and forth, hiding and exposing the tip of his cock. The tip had turned into an angry red colour with pre-cum spreading as he jerked himself off.

‘Have you become a voyeur?’ he asked hoarsely.

Her head shook in response. ‘You entice me.’

Malfoy’s eyebrows rose. ‘I know.’

Hermione had a frown on her face as she crawled onto the bed towards him. ‘You don’t always have to be so full of yourself.’

In the blink of an eye he was on top of her, his head tucked into her neck beginning to lick his way to her ear. She shivered underneath him and her arms slid down his back as her legs opened to cradle his lower half. His cock was grinding against her stomach as she angled her hips to press into him unevenly. Malfoy could sense her frustration each time she tried to grind herself against him. He steeled himself by planting a kiss on her neck and shifted so that his erection rested on her crotch. Her hand wrapped around his hardness, squeezing it and rubbing it along her wetness. He slid into her easily, small ripples massaging his length before he pulled out releasing a loud groan. He could never get sick of this. Fucking Hermione Granger and having her as a willing participant. Fingers started digging into her thighs as he tried to spread her wider pounding into her more forcefully. He felt like he was swimming in molten lava as he concentrated on swivelling his hips to cause moans to fall from her lips. She was pinching her nipples causing them to pucker and redden with each twist. The blush on her body started to spread down her chest and her breathing grew erratic with each thrust. Hermione’s clit had hardened again making the pink bud peek out from her folds and his thumb circled around it.

‘I need you to come for me again, Granger,’ he rasped breathlessly. ‘That’s it.’

And she did. A guttural moan was let out of her delicate mouth. Malfoy’s groans were growing louder, he could feel his face starting to flush. Her snug walls tightened around his cock drawing him deeper into her body. Before he knew it his hips snapped forward hitting bottom one last time and he spilled his seed inside her. His chest was heaving as he tried to catch his breath. Sweat was sliding down his back and his hair was sticking to the sides of his face. He collapsed on top of her and her arms tightened around his neck before she left a soft kiss on his shoulder. When his breathing finally slowed he rolled over to lay beside her, he rested his arm across her soft stomach.

‘You’re single now,’ he said, running his finger to dip into her belly button.

She turned to face him making a small noise in agreement. ‘No more strange rooms.’

‘No more sneaking around.’

She scoffed. ‘Does that mean you’re going to hold my hand now?’

‘I can if I want,’ he replied, raising an eyebrow at the sound of doubt in her voice. ‘Why? Do you doubt me?’

Malfoy seemed to date the same type of woman; sample size thin and conventionally pretty. Yes, their hair colours varied, except she wasn’t sure she’d ever seen a blonde on his arm. It was hard for her to forget the pretty freckled redhead, Caitriona Greene, he’d brought to one of the fundraisers the Ministry held sometime last year. Ron dragged her along against her wishes of course. Caitriona was everything she wasn’t. Tall and fit with a skin tight glittery aubergine dress that made her cleavage pop. Hermione had felt envious looking down at the navy peplum dress Ginny had lent her. None of his relationships lasted more than a couple of months and she knew that he was considered one of the most eligible bachelors regardless of his questionable past.

‘I’m not your type,’ she mumbled. ‘Really—’

‘And what, may I ask, is my type?’

‘As if you don’t know,’ she said. ‘You essentially date models.’

His mouth curled up at the corners as though he was trying to hold back a smile. ‘They were models.’

Hermione glared. ‘Of course they were models, Malfoy. You’ve proven my point perfectly. I’m not a model, nor will I ever be.’

‘The problem with the models that pursued me, mind you, was that they lacked the proper stimulation once we were out of bed,’ he started. ‘I love sex just as much as any other bloke, but realistically not everything is about sex. Surely you can understand that. I can’t date a person who can hardly keep up with the simplest of news. A person who lacks their own sense of self, who has to look to me to form their own ideology.’

‘What are you saying?’

‘What do you think I’m saying?’ he shot, his brow wrinkling as he sat up. ‘This isn’t easy for me to admit, Granger. You have everything to keep me interested. You’re opinionated, independent and intelligent. You don’t need me to boost your public relations or image. You’re not using me for my money. Although, you have been using me for sex, but I won’t fault you for that. I’ve been used for worse.’

Her fist connected with his shoulder blade, but he barely flinched. ‘Hey! You were using me too.’

‘Perhaps.’

‘Perhaps? More like—’

‘Okay, I admit that it was about fucking you at first,’ he said, holding onto her hand that was balled into a fist. ‘And now it’s not.’

‘So that’s it? Now it’s not.’

‘Yes, now it’s not,’ he repeated. ‘Are you struggling with the idea, Granger? That I find myself captivated by you? A person that I was raised to hate. A person that I did hate all those years in school. Is that making it hard for you to accept?’

‘You’re not the same person that I knew in Hogwarts, Malfoy,’ she responded softly. ‘We aren’t children anymore. We aren’t even on opposing sides. You know as well as I do that a lot has changed.’

‘What are you afraid of?’

Hermione hesitated, Malfoy’s eyes were searching her face. ‘I don’t know.’

‘I’m not asking you to marry me, you know.’

‘I know that,’ she told him, rubbing her eyes. ‘I just…don’t think it’s a good idea to go public right now.’

‘The Muggles in London don’t even know that we exist.’

He was right. They would be a fairly anonymous couple in that part of the world – except some people from their side of the world tended to frequent the same city. They would still have to be careful. Try to be as inconspicuous as possible. Was the risk higher in Muggle London? No, but the risk would still continue to exist.

‘You’re right,’ she responded. ‘But technically we’d still be sneaking around.’

‘So you’ll hide me from your little friends,’ he stated, keeping his voice steady.

‘Does this upset you?’

‘I don’t get upset, Granger. You should know that by now. My ego is intact whether or not you want to share a small portion of your life with Scarhead and his minions.’

‘Do you really blame me?’ she asked. ‘You still call Harry ‘Scarhead’ for one. It’s hard to believe that you can be nice to the rest of my friends…considering your history.’

‘I’m cordial with your beloved Potter.’

She looked at him as though he’d grown a second head. ‘You can’t possibly be serious.’

Malfoy stared at her.

‘You’re being serious.’

This was obviously news to her. They’d never really discussed their lives when they saw each other, but when they did Hermione definitely wasn’t bringing up Harry during those conversations. Her friendship with others that might still find the idea of Draco Malfoy repulsive wasn’t a hot topic. She found it hard to believe that Malfoy and Harry could be cordial to one another – Harry had never mentioned it. Although she managed to avoid discussing Malfoy altogether, now that she thought about it. Maybe Harry thought she was holding a grudge? Ron still wasn’t over the humiliation he faced when the Slytherin House had sung Weasley is Our King and he’d known that Malfoy was behind its creation. There was a chance Harry thought she shared similar views with Ron. She would have to ask Harry herself the next time she saw him.

‘And you never mentioned this to me before because…?’ she inquired.

‘It didn’t seem relevant.’

Hermione could feel a headache coming on and she knew that this was amusing to Malfoy. ‘Do you like to torture me?’

‘Are you interested in being tortured?’ he purred.

‘No!’ Hermione exclaimed. ‘But this conversation is starting to feel like torture.’

‘You wound me, Granger,’ he said as he kissed her forehead, inhaling deeply to catch the cinnamon scent clinging to her.

‘You know,’ she murmured. ‘It’s a little odd to continue calling me Granger if you plan on dating me.’

‘Will you be calling me Draco?’ he asked. ‘Passion filled moments aside.’

She glared. ‘Yes, I will, Draco. We can be mature about this, we are adults in case you haven’t noticed.’

‘I can’t say I have, Hermione,’ he chuckled.

Hermione sighed. ‘You’re incorrigible.’

‘I know.’

Chapter Text

Hermione had gone a couple of days without seeing Malfoy because he was busy trying to sort out a business deal related to a partnership with a potions company. Or at least that’s what she had gauged from the note he’d sent her late at night. Secretly she was glad. Only because she didn’t know how to move forward from the last conversation they’d had in person. She was a little stunned that Draco Malfoy of all people was actually expressing his interest in her. If someone had told her seven years ago that she’d be romantically involved with Malfoy she would’ve laughed in their faces. Hell, if someone had told her the same thing two years ago she would’ve been convinced that they were mental. And yet here she was. It was a strange position to be in and although she could admit that it wasn’t just sex anymore she wasn’t sure what it was. She’d broken the news to Ginny that she was already seeing someone – but it wasn’t serious. Yet. Ginny was genuinely happy for her and part of the reason was because she didn’t know who Hermione was currently seeing. She wanted to know all the details, but Hermione had been vague with her.

‘Do I know him?’ she asked excitedly.

Hermione feigned interest in a sheer white top. ‘Kind of.’

Ginny squealed. ‘Can I guess who he is?’

‘No,’ Hermione said rolling her eyes. ‘You’ll find out eventually.’

And hopefully it wouldn’t be on the cover of Witch Weekly before she got around to telling anyone.

‘What’s he like?’

‘He’s…different,’ Hermione started. ‘A little arrogant, but he has a sense of humour. He’s really smart. Beautiful eyes too. And the most important thing is that he isn’t a man child.’

Ginny gasped dramatically, her hand on her chest. ‘Really?! Not a man child? He should just propose right now.’

Hermione giggled. ‘Merlin. Shut up. Stop with the sarcasm.’

‘I mean, really, Hermione. That’s what’s most important to you,’ Ginny said. ‘You could at least tell me if you’ve slept with him.’

Hermione squinted at the price tag. ‘I can’t defend spending 250 quid on a top to be honest with you.’

‘No!’

A few heads turned to look at both of them. Hermione blushed and pushed Ginny into the corner behind a clothing rack to block themselves from the immediate attention they received.

‘Ginny!’ Hermione hissed.

‘No,’ Ginny whispered. ‘You haven’t already shagged him.’

Hermione looked away. ‘Well –’

‘Merlin, you did! Why didn’t you tell me?’

‘It’s not –’

‘But you said you’ve only started seeing him,’ Ginny interrupted. ‘Wow, I never thought you’d move so quickly.’

‘It’s complicated,’ Hermione said, trying to explain without giving away the fact that she’d been cheating on Ron for almost a year. ‘I don’t know.’

‘I mean, you don’t have to explain yourself to me. Just. Wow.’

‘Are you trying to imply that I should take things slower?’

‘To be frank, I was just fooling around with you. I thought you’d tell me that you’ve only snogged.’

‘Yes, well, sometimes things happen that are out of your control,’ Hermione replied. ‘And I have needs too.’

‘No, I’m not debating that. I’m happy that your needs are being met. It’s not nice to have a raging bitch as a best friend.’

Hermione smiled. ‘I feel as though I’m going to be down one best friend by the end of today.’

‘Oh, come on,’ Ginny said, swinging her arm around Hermione’s shoulder. ‘You could never leave me out to rot.’

‘You’re right,’ Hermione sighed. ‘Where would I be without you?’

‘You mean, where would your wardrobe be without me?’ Ginny asked pointing down at Hermione’s jeans. ‘Those jeans are horrid. Bootcut? Light wash?’

What?’ Hermione exclaimed. ‘They’re not that bad…they were on sale!’

‘That’s precisely why they were on sale,’ Ginny mumbled, pulling Hermione over to a pile of jeans. Ginny held out a pair of dark fitted jeans. ‘Now, try these on.’

‘You know I hate the dressing room.’

 ‘Shut up,’ Ginny’s hand flicked through the air. ‘Oh, and you still haven’t told me about your romp with your non-man child lover.’

‘Ginny!’

----------

Malfoy was drenched with paperwork he didn’t want to sort through. It was a weekend for Merlin’s sake. Part of him was wishing that this deal would just fall through so he wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore. Slug & Jiggers Apothecary had expanded a little after the War ended. After the rebuilding process they finally started to sell ready-made potions that weren’t usually in sold in large quantities. It was too good of an investment to let go of. He could’ve hired someone else to do his job and just sit around pretending he was in charge. No, he didn’t want that for himself. He wanted to prove he was capable. To who? In the past the answer would’ve been his father and as it stood they weren’t even on speaking terms. Strangely enough he was fine with that. His mother wasn’t. That was just Narcissa. She cared about family, even though hers was entirely fucked up. Maybe she was trying to overcompensate when it came to Draco and his father, he didn’t know. What he did know was that he would never have a tight knit family. Which meant that his dysfunctional family was obviously the opposite of Granger’s family considering those pictures he had seen displayed in her flat. The funny thing was that he tried to keep up with the façade of functionality within the house despite not talking to his father. Everything was almost the same. They ate meals together when he wasn’t busy, but only to please his mother. And she was pleased when the three of them sat at that long foreboding table, Narcissa and Lucius at each end with Draco in the middle.

There was a knock on the door.

‘Come in,’ he said, shuffling through several pages of a contract.

‘Someone is here to see you, Mr. Malfoy,’ his secretary Tilda Keelan stated. ‘Should I tell him to wait a few minutes to let you get sorted?’

‘Who is it?’

‘Erm – a fellow named Blaise Zabini.’

He frowned at this. Blaise had cut ties with him – along with everyone else in Britain – in his seventh year at Hogwarts. He’d left without a word, not even confiding in Pansy Parkinson. And he never resurfaced after the War was over. Draco didn’t wonder about his whereabouts after Blaise’s scathing evaluation of the direction his life was going. In retrospect he’d been right about following his father’s demands blindly and allowing Voldemort to control each of their lives by putting them in danger. At the time Draco was convinced that he’d be on the winning side. At the time he’d been a right bastard too.

‘Let him in,’ he stated gruffly. ‘And fix us something to drink.’

At this Tilda nodded walking away into the waiting area. Malfoy leaned back into his chair. What the hell was Blaise doing back in London and why was he suddenly seeking him out? He held no animosity towards him presently. No grudges were intact either. He didn’t know Blaise anymore.

‘I see not much has changed, Draco.’

Blaise was dressed in black wizard robes, the cut was just as good if not better than what he’d had made at Twilfitt and Tattings. His robes seemed to float, dragging in the scent of woodsmoke that Malfoy had become familiar with all those years they’d shared the same dormitory. Blaise sat in one of the leather armchairs. His skin was a dark cherry wood colour which led Malfoy to believe he’d been exposed to the sun regularly. He seemed a bit taller than the last time he’d seen him. Blaise’s eyes were following Tilda as she placed the firewhiskey snifters on his desk.

‘Can I get you anything else, sir?’

‘Thank you, Tilda,’ Draco waved her away. ‘I’ll let you know if we need anything.’

The click of the door shutting rang out in the room and Draco was immediately drinking down the firewhiskey. He felt the flames slide down his throat.

‘To what do I owe this pleasure, Blaise?’

‘I thought I’d visit old friends,’ he said, holding up the glass snifter. ‘Cheers.’

‘And you consider me a friend? The last time we spoke I was less than a friend to you.’

‘I said old, didn’t I?’ Blaise retorted. ‘You should’ve seen Pansy’s face when she laid eyes on me. You’d have thought she’d seen Hades.’

‘I mean, you practically are Hades to her, aren’t you? Leaving her high and dry.’

Blaise chuckled. ‘She told me something strange as well.’

Malfoy made a non-committal noise.

‘You don’t talk to each other anymore.’

‘No, we don’t.’

‘She wouldn’t tell me why,’ Blaise said, playing with the snifter, watching the dark bronze liquid swirl.

‘As expected,’ Draco muttered.

‘And I suspect you won’t either.’

‘It doesn’t matter anymore,’ Draco responded, breaking eye contact to stare at the clock. ‘Is there a particular reason why you’re here, Blaise? Or are you here to quench your thirst for gossip?’

‘She was in love with you.’

Draco rolled his eyes. ‘It wasn’t me she was in love with. She thought she loved me because I had power at the time.’

Thought you had power.’

‘Do the specifics really matter?’ Draco asked exasperatedly.

‘The specifics always matter,’ he said calmly. ‘She told me you changed.’

‘We don’t see eye to eye on the same things anymore.’

‘You’ve become a blood traitor.’

Malfoy glared at Blaise.

‘My,’ Blaise started. ‘The great Prince of Slytherin has become a Muggle lover. What does your dear old father have to say about this?’

‘My father has nothing to do with my affairs,’ Malfoy spat.

‘Your mother has him by the bollocks I see.’

Malfoy’s fists were clenching on his lap. ‘My family is of no consequence to you.’

Blaise’s arms were outstretched now, gesturing at random pieces in his office. ‘You wouldn’t have this without them.’

‘What I have or don’t have is none of your concern,’ he said through gritted teeth. ‘State your business or remove yourself from the vicinity.’

‘As I said, I’m here to visit old friends.’

‘Perhaps you’ve overstayed your current visit,’ Draco shot.

‘Your temper hasn’t changed,’ Blaise replied, setting the empty snifter back on his desk.

‘Have you been meeting ‘old friends’ to evaluate how much they’ve changed?’ Malfoy asked stonily. ‘It’s been years Blaise. Everyone has changed.’

‘I’m here for my mother’s funeral.’

Malfoy had only met his mother once at King’s Cross Station before he’d gotten on the Hogwarts Express. He was only twelve when he’d been introduced, but even he could tell why she’d gotten remarried so many times – she was beautiful in the way that made you stare long enough to be considered rude. Her skin was youthful and bronzed, her eyes were a delicious hazel and her rich auburn brown hair was wavy and long. She was dismissive. In the way she talked. In the way she looked at others. Hell, it was in her body language. He watched when she’d said goodbye to Blaise in a tone that chilled Malfoy’s bones and that was the first and last time he’d ever seen the woman.

‘Fucking hell. Blaise, I –’

‘You aren’t sorry,’ Blaise stopped him. ‘I’m not sorry. She was miserable. She made everyone’s lives miserable.’

Malfoy nodded.

‘I’ll be the only one there. She has no one,’ he muttered darkly. ‘Only me.’

Malfoy hesitated. ‘I thought she was married again.’

‘He’s gone,’ Blaise said, standing up. ‘She got the galleons she wanted.’

‘If there’s anything I can do to help,’ Malfoy said. ‘You’ll let me know, yeah?’

Blaise nodded before taking hold of the door knob. ‘Thanks for the drink, Draco.’

‘Any time, Blaise.’

And Blaise was gone. Of all the subjects Blaise could’ve brought up he wouldn’t have expected to hear that his mother had passed away. Blaise hardly mentioned her at school unless he was insulting her for being motivated by money. Other than Blaise being a pureblood he really didn’t know anything about his life outside of school. He didn’t even know his mother’s name for Merlin’s sake. It was bizarre that those he used to consider his best mates were all but strangers now. The last time Pansy had crossed his mind was when his mother mentioned her engagement party – he hadn’t been invited of course. Things between them had declined immensely after the War ended. She still stuck to the mind-set that blood purity was of utmost importance, slurs falling casually from her lips every so often.

‘Do you ever get sick of the same shit, Pansy? Mudblood this, blood traitor that. Move on.’

Her features scrunched together. ‘Move on? Move on?’

‘Move on,’ Malfoy repeated. ‘Or don’t. It was just a suggestion.’

‘They’re scum, Draco. There’s nothing to move on from.’

‘Your fucking father died for nothing,’ Malfoy hissed. ‘He fought for a jumped up psycho.’

‘The only jumped up psycho here is you,’ she said, Pansy’s light eyes darted to catch his. ‘My father died honourably.’

Malfoy scoffed. ‘I’m sure, Pansy.’

‘What the fuck happened to you?’ she asked, before walking away. ‘I thought I knew you. You’re supposed to be my friend.’

‘I grew up, Pansy. You should too.’

He’d watched her short black bob move through the crowd until she disappeared from his sight. She never contacted him afterwards. He never attempted to contact her either, there was no love lost between them. In his mind anyway. It didn’t change the fact that they’d grown up together, they just grew up and apart in different ways. Their history couldn’t keep them together anymore.

----------

Hermione sat in her cushy neon green bean bag chair. She was at her parent’s house to check up on it – they made the decision to move to Australia for the time being. The dental practice they had opened up while they were obliviated surprisingly boomed. Although they moved back to Cambridge for a bit once their memories were restored – no brain damage, thank the Gods – their former clients had moved on. They struggled to get back into the groove of things back in England until Hermione suggested possibly moving back to Australia. Her parents were quick to agree and managed to make a few phone calls explaining the name change from Wilkins to Granger. Hermione loved her parents and she was a bit gutted that she wouldn’t be seeing them as often as she thought. She was finally back in Muggle London and now her parents were leaving. Part of the reason she’d made that decision was so she could spend more time with them, the way they used to when she was home from Hogwarts. Minus the fact that she had her own flat now. It was fine. As long as her parents were happy she was happy. Judging by the emails her mum sent her frequently, pictures attached and everything, documenting the different beaches they visited, caves they explored and the campsites they discovered whenever they hiked they were enjoying themselves.

Hermione sighed as she flipped through one of their family photo albums. Her eyes scanned a few unfamiliar faces that she didn’t recognize – maybe they were friends of her parents, she wasn’t too sure. Then her eyes landed on a picture that she didn’t even remember taking. It was a magical photograph, her, Harry and Ron standing with their arms around each other, huge grins, wearing their robes inside Flourish and Blotts. It had to have been from before their second year at Hogwarts started. And then she noticed something moving in and out of the frame. Blond hair slicked back with gel. A permanent sneer. She knew that look…it was Malfoy. Hermione sniggered. She’d forgotten just how severe he looked back when they were at school together. He really did look like a spoiled brat in this candid shot, his brow furrowed and his mouth almost pouting, but not quite.

Geminio,’ she whispered, tapping her wand against the photograph making a copy. She had to show this to Malfoy, it was gold.

What wasn’t gold was the fact that she still hadn’t heard from him. Not that she’d tried to reach out to him, she didn’t want to bother him. He’d told her he was busy and she didn’t want to come across as a naggy girlfriend. Was she even his girlfriend? All he’d said was that she interested him. Maybe they were still in the dating phase? What was the dating phase? Other than Ron and Viktor she didn’t have much experience actually dating. She realized that she started sounding a lot like Parvati Patil during her boy crazy phase. It turned out that it wasn’t much of a phase at all considering the fact that she could still talk someone’s ear off about the opposite sex. The tittering that went on in their dormitory when Parvati and Lavender Brown were together was like no other. It felt like Hell on Earth. At the time it truly was Hell. Who cared about sex advice columns when you could educate yourself about the different theories surrounding numerology?

‘Bloody hell,’ she muttered to herself, shoving the photograph into her pocket. ‘I’m touched in the head.’

And that’s when a familiar eagle owl with various shades of brown and white feathers marking its body appeared at the window, a rolled piece of parchment attached to its leg. Unwrapping the note she read Malfoy’s elegant cursive scrawl.

Hermione,

Meet me in the middle of the Millennium Bridge tonight at 8. Wear a dress.

DM

She frowned. A dress? Was he trying to wind her up? She was happy that she would finally get to see him in person, but he knew she wasn’t one to dress up often so what was he trying to do? Maybe she needed to stop questioning everything and just let it be. Her anxiety levels were starting to rise by the second. She needed to calm down.

----------

Hermione was early because she couldn’t stop fidgeting around in her flat. At least when she was out in public she could keep her movements to a minimum. It had taken her forever to finally find a decent dress to wear because an obscene amount of t-shirts and sweaters had hidden everything from view. She finally came across a simple white dress with sleeves that stopped at her elbows. It had a high neckline, cinched at her waist and stuck to her hips down her thighs. Yes, it was a figure hugging dress and yes, she felt a tad uncomfortable, but it looked good in the mirror. The sun had begun to set. The sky was turning a light pink and the clouds looked like candy floss as they passed by. It was windy now and she was glad she’d made the decision to put her hair up in a ponytail – she couldn’t be arsed to style it. The beige trench coat Ginny had encouraged her to buy months ago was finally getting some use. At least the upper half of her body would stay warm. She wished she could say the same for her legs that were only being slightly protected by nude stockings. She leaned against the metal railing watching people walk past her. None of them looked familiar and her nerves eased a little.

‘You need to relax,’ a voice stated behind her.

She spun, her heel getting caught in a crack making her trip over herself. Malfoy’s hands shot out to steady her. Her head was very close to hitting his chest and she easily caught sandalwood mixed with firewhiskey when the wind blew past them. Once she found her balance he let her go and she ran her hands down the front of her coat.

‘Why do you insist on doing that?’

‘You know, a simple hi would have sufficed,’ he responded, holding his arm out.

She looked at it sceptically before holding onto it. ‘Where are we going anyway?’

‘You’ll see.’

‘I’m not very good with surprises,’ she mumbled. ‘I think it’s a control thing.’

He scoffed. ‘It is a control thing.’

The sensation of being sucked through a tube began and her vision was blurring. She held her breath and shut her eyes willing the sensation to go away. Her ears popped. Her tongue was stuck to the roof of her mouth to try to avoid getting sick all over herself. Or better yet, all over Malfoy. Of course he would apparate without warning. She should have expected him to. It ended as quickly as it had started and they were standing inside a dim and deserted lobby.

‘Merlin,’ he started. ‘You’d think that was your first time apparating.’

‘I’ll have you know that I’m usually warned beforehand when it comes to side-along apparition,’ she retorted, her hand skimming her hair checking for fly aways.

She didn’t recognize anything she saw as Malfoy maneuvered her through the lobby. She’d never been to this place before. It was minimalistic, but it was obviously expensive. Even though the lighting was dim the décor was light – the walls were beige, the sitting area had white upholstered leather seats and low silver tables. It seemed to be a restaurant, but a couple of tables and chairs had to be missing; there was too much open space. There weren’t any other diners when they finally passed by the bar across the room. The finally met, who she assumed, was the waiter. He directed them to the last booth situated in the corner. Her heels clicked along the shiny white marble flooring before stopping to remove her coat. Malfoy was watching her as per, his robes had vanished to reveal a smart charcoal suit with a navy blue tie.

‘I never knew Hermione Granger owned dresses like that,’ he said, scanning her figure quickly before making eye contact.

She sat across from him. ‘Well, I’ve never worn it before.’

‘Such a shame,’ he drawled, pouring red wine into two glasses. ‘It would’ve been wasted on that foolish ginger of yours.’

 Hermione rolled her eyes. ‘Did you bring me here to provoke me, Draco?’

‘I can provoke you anywhere. I wouldn’t choose a nice restaurant specifically to insult you.’

‘Too late,’ she muttered, taking a sip of the crimson fluid – it was a bit bold with a blackberry aftertaste.

‘I watched you on the bridge.’

She shook her head in disbelief. ‘Pardon me?’

‘You heard what I said, Hermione,’ he responded, his fingers tapping on the table.

‘So you’re going to continue stalking me then?’

‘I was observing.’

Her brow furrowed. ‘Observing what exactly? A chilly woman –‘

He interrupted. ‘Yes, I was watching a chilly woman. A chilly fidgety woman. Why do you do that?’

‘Do what?’

‘You know…’ he said, before gripping his hands and shuddering in his seat.

Hermione blushed. She did not look like that. ‘God, can you stop? I don’t look like that!’

‘You do. I suppose you just aren’t very…aware,’ he stated, a smile starting to grace his lips.

‘I am always aware.’

‘I can think of several instances in which you weren’t aware,’ he replied, his eyes darkening.

‘Stop it,’ she hissed, her head turning as a reflex to see if anyone had overheard. She’d forgotten that the restaurant was empty.

He chuckled. ‘No one is here. I thought you would appreciate that.’

It was obvious that it had to be his doing. He had the privilege to buy the entire restaurant if he wanted, how could it hurt to basically rent it for the night?

‘I do, really,’ she began. ‘What about their business? Surely they must be losing money. I don’t want to be an inconvenience.’

Malfoy sighed. ‘Do you always have to be so…considerate? I assure you, I’ve taken care of it. You don’t have to worry about that.’

‘It’s not a bad thing to be considerate.’

He partially agreed with her, but being overly considerate was a weakness that others could exploit easily if they wanted to. Hermione would be hard to manipulate. She was the exception it seemed. He tried not to pay any more attention than he needed to back when they were at school together, but even he knew she was a damn bleeding heart. Through the grapevine he’d heard about the club she started; spew or something or other was what he remembered. All he knew was that it had to do with house elves having rights. What would house elves do with rights anyway? They would still continue to do their jobs serving their masters to the best of their capabilities.

‘I suppose it’s slightly endearing.’

‘Wow,’ she retorted, rolling her eyes for the second time that night. ‘Only slightly? I’m flattered.’

‘Contrary to what you believe, I haven’t brought you here to annoy you.’

‘I remember having a conversation where you admitted that you revelled in my annoyance.’

‘I won’t deny that. This is a date,’ he explained. ‘It’s what’s normal isn’t it? Taking my girlfriend out on a date.’

Hermione’s eyes widened and her throat felt like it had been sealed off. So that was her answer. He really did consider her his girlfriend. This was very bizarre. She was officially Draco Malfoy’s girlfriend and she was actually happy about that.

‘I’m…’ Hermione stuttered trying to collect herself. ‘Yes.’

‘I thought you understood from our last conversation…’

‘I did! I mean I just wasn’t too sure, but now I know,’ she replied, using her finger to swipe at the perspiration collecting on her upper lip.

‘Hermione, I won’t force –‘

‘I want to be your girlfriend,’ she said quickly, lowering her eyes and scolding herself internally for speaking aloud before thinking. ‘Oh, Gods.’

‘You’re embarrassed,’ he acknowledged.

She gave a short nod before looking up at him again. Her nails were digging into the palm of her hand and she took a deep breath.

‘I’m sorry. I don’t usually get nervous about things like…this.’

‘I’ve noticed,’ he said, shifting in his seat. ‘Sit beside me.’

‘Er –‘

‘Please. Humour me.’

Malfoy was being polite just so she would sit beside him? She was living in a fucked up alternate universe and she had no problem with it. Her stomach was fluttering and her heart was racing. It felt like she was sitting in a sauna and it was a miracle that beads of sweat weren’t dripping down her forehead. She didn’t have to look at him to know that he was staring when she struggled to tug her dress down her thighs as she stood up.

‘You know,’ she murmured, her legs brushing up along his as she slid into the booth. ‘It’s quite rude to stare. And it doesn’t help one’s nervousness.’

‘It’s hard not to stare when you look like that,’ he responded, his thumb and index finger touched her chin and gently tilted her face upwards. ‘You look lovely.’

There it was. He was calling her beautiful again and he meant it. Those stupid eyes of his were piercing hers again and her tongue glided along her lower lip. She could’ve sworn he was about to lean in for a kiss until his attention seemed to be drawn somewhere behind her. That’s when she heard a plate being placed on the table and the waiter was explaining a dish that she didn’t care about. Malfoy was nodding now, his slim fingers moving away from her to place a napkin on his lap.

‘It’s impolite to stare and ignore the food your date has ordered for you,’ he said, breaking through her concentrated stare.

‘There was no menu,’ she told him, realizing that they’d only sat down with a bottle of wine.

‘I’ve taken care of everything,’ he replied, his head tilting towards the plates placed before them. ‘I know you like French food.’

How did he know that? She was dumbfounded when the layered pieces of aubergine, courgette, tomato and red pepper swirled on the plate came into view. And how did he know that she enjoyed ratatouille? She glanced at his plate then, cubed braised beef paired with a mix of diced carrots and roasted fingerling potatoes.

‘Daube de Boeuf?’ she uttered. ‘Ratatouille? How?’

‘I told you,’ he responded, his fork piercing the tender meat. ‘Powerful skills of observation.’

The truth was that he’d hoped that she still liked French food. It was hard not to overhear Weasley voicing his distaste about the bouillabaisse that one time in the Great Hall. Hermione had had a grimace on her face until the meal was over. Or was it because Fleur Delacour had visited their table to talk to Weaselbee? He couldn’t remember the details anymore, but he did remember her finishing the dish. He was trying to return the favour for that night they’d gone out to eat with one another. This time it was for a different reason because he wasn’t just her paramour in the illicit affair they’d started. She wasn’t going home to a man that she didn’t love anymore. Hermione was going back to her own flat where she lived alone. And now she was with a different man. It seemed out of character to see her act so nervous around him, it had to that they were spending time together outside of the bedroom. The last date he’d gone on happened just before he’d first slept with Hermione. He’d been bored out of his mind having drinks with a blonde socialite named Elena Sachs. She talked so much that all he’d done was nod and smile for the majority of their date. The women he dated were beautiful enough, but it could never go past the surface. That was his problem.

----------

‘Are you okay?’

Malfoy nodded.

‘You’ve been so quiet,’ Hermione whispered. ‘Is something wrong?’

‘No,’ he replied, rubbing his forehead. ‘Just thinking.’

Draco had apparated them back to her flat because according to him his parents would still be roaming around in the manor. She didn’t care. She thought he was just going to drop her off and leave. She’d enjoyed their meal even though it felt a little short and he had seemed preoccupied. Their date had been less nerve wracking than she’d expected and towards the end of it she was the one controlling the conversation even if Draco seemed a little withdrawn. They sat in her living room now and even though it was quiet she hadn’t felt awkward sitting in silence watching him.

‘You can sleep if you’d like,’ Hermione suggested, her shoulder shifting towards the direction of her bedroom. ‘It’s late.’

‘I’m sorry, I’ve not been the best company have I?’

Hermione put her hand on his knee. ‘You’ve been great, really.’

‘You should know that I’m not good at this,’ he stated, lifting her hand to place a kiss on her knuckles.

Hermione’s mouth twitched. ‘What?’

‘Relationships.’

‘Neither am I, as evidenced by my relationship history,’ she said. ‘Perhaps we can be horrible at it together.’

A small chuckle escaped from his lips. ‘That’s not very reassuring.’

‘It sounded better in my head,’ Hermione laughed.

A few minutes passed and Malfoy agreed to take her offer to sleep over. It was late, but it didn’t matter because he could apparate anyway. He just wanted to spend more time with her. Not that he’d told Hermione himself, but he wasn’t one to sleep over without the promise of sex. Hermione showed him the bathroom before she headed off to the bedroom to find a few extra pillows. The mess she’d made from earlier that night was still on the floor and she shoved a couple of things into the drawers in an effort to make her room presentable. She threw some pillows she found in her closet haphazardly onto the bed and pulled out one of her favourite pyjama tops – a loose turquoise t-shirt. Maybe she should wear something more appealing to his eye? She could hear Ginny in the back of her head nagging her to wear a chiffon slip to impress her date. Your date doesn’t want to shag you in casual sleepwear. It’s not even casual, I can see a hole on the front of your shirt. You’re dressing in rags! You’re hopeless, find something silky to wear.

‘Shut up!’

‘Am I interrupting something?’ Malfoy asked, standing in the doorway with his eyebrows raised.

‘No,’ Hermione said quickly, tossing the shirt into the laundry basket. ‘I was just about to change.’

‘I find it humorous that you would rather do it yourself than use a simple spell.’

Hermione shrugged. ‘Habit.’

‘I’ve read that it takes 21 days to form a new habit,’ he mentioned, vanishing his clothes to reveal a v neck undershirt and blue boxers.

‘I know. I read the same thing in a Muggle magazine,’ she answered, slightly confused that he even knew that. There wasn’t a chance that that same article could’ve made its way into a magazine or newspaper in the magical community.

‘We’ve read the same magazine then.’

He was so nonchalant about it that she didn’t know how to react. She knew that he was a different person, but when examples such as Malfoy reading a Muggle magazine popped up it always managed to amaze her.

‘I thought you were going to change,’ he drawled, interrupting her thoughts. ‘Or should I leave so you can keep your modesty?’

‘Some people just aren’t particularly comfortable changing in front of others,’ she countered. ‘There’s nothing wrong with that.’

‘There is when they look like you,’ Malfoy snorted.

Her face reddened slightly. ‘You’re the only one who thinks that.’

‘Because I’m the only one you’ve noticed. Some men – even women if you’re interested, aren’t as thick or as foolish as your ex,’ he responded, pulling the duvet back. ‘You clearly aren’t as aware as you’d like to think. I’ve seen the way they look at you.’

Hermione rolled her eyes and turned away from him. ‘It’s not all about appearance. And if I look nice it’s because I want to look nice. It won’t be for anyone else.’

Malfoy smirked. ‘Of course.’

Hermione unzipped the side of her dress and shrugged it off exposing her back. ‘It’s different changing in front of you. I know you’re studying me.’

It was the truth, he did study her. He liked to watch the way she moved. Liked to watch her reaction. Liked to find new ways to control her body. His eyes were glued to the sight of her bare back until she pushed the dress down over her hips. The cheeks of her ass were exposed more than usual in her flesh coloured knickers. Hermione bent over to pull the stockings off her legs when she caught a glimpse of Draco lounging on her bed. He held her stare before she broke it off to pull a light tank top over her head.

‘Move over,’ Hermione said at the edge of the bed. He was on her side.

‘No.’

Hermione’s eyes narrowed. ‘Fine.’

She was about to walk around the bed when his hand shot out to hold onto her wrist. He pulled her towards him. ‘You still haven’t given me my kiss.’

‘Pardon? What are you –‘

‘During dinner,’ he reminded her. ‘You were going to kiss me.’

‘Only because I thought you were!’ she said pointing at him.

‘So I’ll continue making the first move? Is that it?’

Hermione pursed her lips. ‘You don’t always make the first move.’

Her knees hit the cushy surface of the bed and she positioned herself over him, her legs on each side of his hips. Her finger drifted down the tip of his nose, running down his cupids bow to trace his lips. His mouth opened and he sucked her finger in, her finger surrounded by heat. Goose pimples rose on her arms and she finally sat on his lap, his cock was starting to harden underneath her.

Hermione leaned into him, her ponytail tickling the side of his face. ‘I’m going to give you that kiss now.’

He didn’t reply because her lips were over his. She was being gentle, her lips sucking on his. Small moans were being muffled as she tried to control him. His hands rested on the curve above her ass holding her in place. Hermione’s tongue kept tracing the inside of his lips, teasing him and he caught her tongue, forcing his into her mouth. He groaned and she started to grind her hips, her clit rubbing up against him. Her wetness was starting to spread on her underwear. A smacking noise rang out as she broke the kiss.

‘Is that what you wanted, Draco?’ she breathed out, her hips moving. She looked down at him, his eyes were shut and his lips were parted.

‘What I wanted,’ he began and groaned. ‘Was to tell you not to bother getting changed because it’ll be coming off.’

‘You’re such an arse,’ she responded, her lips latched onto his neck sucking hard. ‘You’re supposed to be asleep.’

‘It was an invitation for me to fuck you,’ he muttered, his finger tickling the edge of her knickers. ‘Don’t act like it was anything else. I’ve been thinking about this all week.’

‘And what if I really did want to sleep?’

‘You don’t,’ he replied, looking up at her. ‘Look at you.’

‘Theoretically.’

‘Then I would sleep with you,’ he said, sliding the straps of her tank top down her shoulders. ‘And only sleep. Nothing else.’

Her arms rose as her tank top was pulled to rest under her breasts. ‘How often do you just sleep over?’

‘Never.’

Her hands slid down her chest squeezing her tits and grazing her nipples. Her eyes were hooded as a jolt when went through her body. She was still grinding herself against him. Her body growing hotter. The crotch of her underwear was sticking to her. Hermione’s fingers slipped into her knickers and found the engorged nub hidden in her folds. She was so wet, her fingers sliding easily to catch the perfect angle that had her belly tightening. She could hear the puffs of breath she was inhaling and exhaling with Malfoy still beneath her. He could only see the outline of her fingers through the cotton material as they moved vigorously. Her gaze was fixated on him, he licked his lips and his hand rose to knead her breast. Her skin was hot and her pulse was fast. Her head felt heavy as it tilted back, a moan falling from her lips. Her thighs were gripping him as she moved faster. Her nipples were being pinched and it set her off. Her insides were clenching and unclenching, her stomach taut, the rest of her body shook as she gasped one last time.

‘Shit,’ she panted.

‘Off,’ Draco grumbled, tugging down on the bunched material resting on her hips. ‘Now.’

Hermione shuffled away from him, rolling onto her back and she pulled off the last two pieces of clothing she had on her body. Malfoy was in the process of removing his shirt when Hermione straddled him again to slide his boxers down his lower half. The material rubbed against his shaft and he held in a grunt. His lips connected with hers, plunging his tongue into her mouth, tracing the ridges on the roof of her mouth. Hermione felt like she couldn’t breathe as her gasp was caught between her lips. Her chest was mashed onto his, her nipples starting to harden. Her core was beginning to burn again. She shuddered and he broke the kiss holding onto her waist, guiding her to face away from him on his lap. Her hands were resting on his thighs.

‘Since you’re so eager to take your pleasure tonight,’ he rasped, lining up his cock with her entrance grabbing one round globe. ‘You won’t have a problem continuing.’

And Hermione sank down onto him, moaning as he parted her flesh in the most intimate of ways. Malfoy’s jaw clenched as her tight walls caressed him and the sensitive pink flesh slid over him. He could feel her tightening around him gliding easily as she tried to find a rhythm to get herself off, her pussy was pulling at him. Her hips angled away from him as she rose up and the puckered hole of her ass was revealed. Her hips were undulating quickly, his cock hitting bottom each time she sank down onto him. Moisture was starting to collect on his shaft, the mixing of their fluids dripping down as she rode him. He heard small whimpers as the grip of her fingers started to dig into his thighs. He coated his thumb with saliva, rubbing it onto the tight puckered ring to tease her. Her legs tensed. Her walls tightened. A surge of heat made its way to her centre. She was breathing loudly again with curse words littering each breath.

‘Fuck,’ she choked out. ‘Yes.’

Her walls were already clamping down on him before he’d finished teasing her ass. He steeled himself as the warmth and pressure around his cock became unbearable, he didn’t want to come yet. Her body stilled above him, her back was sweaty and the hair close to her nape was stuck to her. She slid off of him then, facing him and resting in between his thighs. Her fingers grazed the tip of his length and she held onto him before her hot mouth closed over him and started sucking. He moaned loudly, his hand coming to rest on the crown of her head trying to push her mouth further down his shaft. He hit the back of her throat and she gagged squeezing him. Strings of saliva from her mouth connected to his cock. Her tongue swirled around the tip making his hips jerk. Her hand wrapped around him following the movement of her head, rising and falling each time he was back in her mouth. The sight of his cock in her mouth was enough to get his blood pumping, his heart racing. Until her watery amber eyes held his, streaks of diluted black makeup mixed with tears falling down her face, made him come so hard his eyes rolled back into his head. His groan echoed in her room, his hips thrusting upwards as cum spilled onto her tongue, dribbling down the side of her mouth. Hermione stayed in between his legs and stretched out to lie on top of him. She could feel the thud of his heart beating quickly in his chest and he was still panting, his eyes shut.

Her hands wiped at her cheeks to rub away the last of her tears. ‘You really would’ve stayed to sleep?’

One eye opened. ‘You’re asking me this now, Hermione?’

‘Yes,’ she replied stubbornly. ‘Because I want to know.’

‘Bloody hell,’ he groaned out. ‘You can’t do that and then interrogate me.’

‘Well, I have. And I am.’

‘I told you I would have,’ he responded, his arm resting on her back. ‘I –’

She frowned at his hesitation. ‘You…what?’

He sighed, opening his eyes to find her staring at him. ‘I enjoy spending time with you, why wouldn’t I spend the night with you?’

Hermione smiled. ‘You’re not so bad either.’

He kissed her cheek and she rolled off of him so that he could spoon her. His arm wrapped around her waist, her head tucked underneath his chin. Hermione threaded her hand through his and her eyes drifted shut. She whispered something but he hadn’t caught what she said. Malfoy felt her breathing slow beside him before he ended up falling asleep as well.

Chapter Text

Hermione turned over in bed stretching her arm out expecting to feel a hard body beside her. It was empty. She sat up and ran her hand along the sheets. Cold. She wasn’t sure what time it was, the sky was dark outside and she could hear the small patter of rain hitting the glass. She felt confused and obviously disappointed that he had decided to disappear. So much for being okay with just sleeping together. The few times that Hermione had actually fallen asleep with Draco in the past he made it a point to notify her that he was going. It wasn’t like Draco to leave without saying something or leaving a note. He’d made his side of the bed and Hermione slipped out to finish what he’d started. She sighed when she grabbed the turquoise shirt she discarded the night before and pulled it over her head. Her legs felt strained as she made her way through the hall. Maybe sex could become her new exercise regime if she was going to be having it frequently now. Maybe it would even cut a few inches off her ghastly thighs.

‘Took you long enough,’ Malfoy said, sitting at the small dining table in the corner with two plates of toast, eggs, sausage and beans.

Hermione’s body jerked. ‘You need to stop doing that.’

Malfoy grinned. ‘You make it so easy.’

‘I though you left,’ she explained, taking a seat and poking the toast – it was still warm. ‘Where did you get this anyway?’

‘If my memory serves me correctly, you were the one who was always in a rush to leave,’ he stated, arching an eyebrow. ‘Not me.’

Hermione rubbed her nose. ‘Different circumstances.’

Malfoy hummed in response chewing on some food.

‘You still haven’t answered my question,’ Hermione reminded him as she cut into a sausage. ‘My dad always makes a full English.’

‘I made it.’

Hermione gaped. He…made it. He made it. He was reading Muggle magazines and he knew how to cook. Draco Malfoy had cooked breakfast in her kitchen. She looked over to find a few pans were still sitting on the stove.

‘My mother would always tell me it was ill-mannered to have a mouth full of food wide open,’ Draco drawled. ‘I was six.’

‘You,’ she tried to talk, but the words wouldn’t come out. ‘I don’t know what to say.’

‘I’m sure you’ll follow up with questions to know the details, so I’ll spare us both the agony and just tell you. One of the house-elves, Wido, taught me in one of the kitchens.’

Hermione tilted her head. ‘But why?’

‘Curiosity,’ he said simply. ‘I wanted to know where our food came from.’

‘Wow.’

‘Is it really that astonishing?’

‘Obviously,’ she exclaimed, her mouth muffled by some toast. ‘I can hardly talk.’

‘And you’re sure it’s not the toast you’ve shoved into your mouth?’ he asked, eyes squinting. ‘Merlin help me.’

Hermione’s eyebrows knitted together. ‘Are you judging me? I’m famished and this is actually quite good, so thank you.’

‘I saw the Ancient Runes book on your nightstand,’ he said suddenly. ‘I thought you’d separated yourself from that side of the world.’

‘Just because I’ve distanced myself doesn’t exactly mean that I don’t have the same interests, Draco.’

He nodded. Hermione had never really explained why she’d left in the first place, he assumed it was from all the attention the Golden Trio received. For months after she’d removed herself from the magical community numerous stories popped up speculating why she’d disappeared. The most notorious story being that she was pregnant and ashamed of having a child out of wedlock. Nine months passed and Hermione was still childless without an engagement ring. Until recently she wasn’t spoken of in the news at all, Ginny Weasley had managed to somehow get a gag order on all the reporters who tried to release articles full of falsehoods. They’d only managed to bypass the gag order because of a verified source that came out – it wasn’t a mystery that the source was Ronald Weasley. Malfoy had bumped into the female Weasley by pure coincidence at the Ministry of Magic, he didn’t have to talk to her to know that the purple dossier she was holding was meant for the Ministerial Wizarding Register Department – he was holding the same one. Malfoy was there to register a potent potion for healing severe scars – Severus Snape had made alterations to the original brewing instructions. It was out of place for a person like Ginevra Weasley to be down there, she was a Quidditch reporter for the Daily Prophet now. And then a few papers scattered on the floor, he caught a glimpse of Hermione’s name and the header of the file: Request for Media Related Gag Order. When Malfoy got his hands on the Daily Prophet the next day there had been no mention of Hermione Granger whatsoever. He had no idea if Hermione was even aware of the gag order. He never brought it up because it wasn’t his story to tell. Not to mention their conversations never touched on their personal lives.

‘Do you ever think you’ll change your mind?’ he asked seriously, pushing his plate away and leaning back in the chair with his arms folded.

‘I don’t know,’ Hermione said, biting down on her lip. ‘Why do you ask?’

‘You’ve never discussed it.’

‘You never asked,’ she replied simply. 

‘I’m asking now.’

‘Well,’ she muttered, stabbing a bean. ‘I don’t know where to start.’

‘I know that you aced your NEWTs,’ he started. ‘Everyone and their mother thought you would end up working at the Ministry with Potter and Weasley. So much for Hermione Granger being predictable.’

Hermione chewed on the side of her cheek before responding. She kind of hated to talk about this topic and she hadn’t really discussed it in quite a while. The last person she’d mentioned it to was Ron and that had turned into a disaster. He kept repeating that he didn’t understand why she’d ever give up a once in a lifetime chance to be the head of the Office for House-Elf Relocation. He knew how corrupt the Ministry could be, even after the War there were still politics involved. She wasn’t interested in the complications that came with being head of a department no one would take seriously. On top of that the funds definitely weren’t being allocated fairly throughout the various departments. It was essentially a popularity contest for adults.

Hermione cleared her throat. ‘Yes, I did well enough to be offered a job at the Ministry. One of the Being divisions had a spot that opened up in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.’

Malfoy shook his head. ‘And you turned it down I’m assuming.’

‘You’re assuming correctly,’ Hermione responded softly, crossing her legs. ‘I turned it down because I didn’t feel comfortable knowing that this was the same Ministry that fucked everything up. I wasn’t going to change anything in that position. They’d just want me to sit there and shut up – I can’t do that.’

Hermione stood and piled the plates together carrying them over to the sink. ‘I could’ve gone to any university I wanted to after my NEWTs. For whatever reason I was drawn to working at that bookshop and I’ve stayed because I enjoy it there. It’s a simple job, but I get to talk to and meet some interesting people, I like that. I want my life to be quiet after all the chaos I’ve had to deal with in the past.’

Malfoy was silent as he considered her words. She was too intelligent to waste away at a bookshop, but he wasn’t going to tell her what to do. He didn’t know what she could do instead and if she wanted peace and quiet in her life who was he to tell her how to live her life?

‘You’re making the same face Harry made when I told him,’ she groaned. ‘Stop.’

‘It’s just…’

‘You think that I could be doing so much more than I am now,’ Hermione finished for him. ‘I’ve heard everything, Draco. If you think I’m a disappointment in regards to my career then I’m sorry for disappointing you.’

Malfoy scowled. ‘I don’t think you’re a disappointment. You have the potential to do anything you please. If you’re content with your life right now then so be it.’

‘What? You’re not going to offer me a job to be your secretary?’

‘Is that what you want?’ he asked warily. He didn’t mix business with pleasure.

‘I was kidding,’ she chuckled lightly. ‘Gods, I wouldn’t be that bad at it.’

‘You’d be a distraction,’ he stated.

Hermione pouted. ‘Even if I wore this shirt to work?’

‘Especially if you wore that shirt to work,’ he said quietly.

It was a large and shapeless shirt that looked a little worn out and it practically hid her figure, but he could still see the curve of her breasts jutting out. Her legs were left bare from what he could see, the shirt cut off just before her arse. If she sat at his office looking the way she did his business would crumble in front of him. He didn’t have to guess that she was entirely bare underneath and his jaw clenched. Hermione caught the glimpse of the flesh on his jaw twitch and she smiled. Ginny was wrong. Well, the Ginny that occupied her head space anyway.

‘Can I ask you something?’

Malfoy sighed. ‘Even if I said ‘no’ you’d still ask.’

‘As I was saying,’ she said, ignoring his comment. ‘Do you trust me?’

‘Do I have a reason not to trust you?’

‘Not necessarily.’

‘Meaning?’ he questioned. Malfoy was becoming intrigued by the direction this conversation was going.

‘Meaning I cheated on my previous boyfriend.’

Malfoy chuckled shaking his head. ‘Yes, I’m aware.’

‘It’s not funny!’ she mumbled. ‘You know what they say, ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater.’’

‘Who says that?’

‘It’s a Muggle saying,’ she informed him. ‘Although I’m surprised it still hasn’t made its way to the Wizarding world.’

‘So you’re saying I shouldn’t trust you because a dolt cheated on you and you proceeded to cheat on him?’

Hermione blushed. ‘It’s not that simple. It’s more complex than –’

His finger pressed against her mouth effectively shutting her up. ‘It is that simple.’

‘But –‘

‘I trust you.’

‘How can you –‘

‘For Merlin’s sake, just let me talk for a moment,’ he scowled. ‘I trust you because it’s not in your nature to betray the people in your life. I hate to say this, but you were sorted into Gryffindor for a reason. You can be loyal to a fault and although you’ve had one transgression that you seem to be apologetic for, it doesn’t mean that you’ve lost your sense of self. We make mistakes.’

Malfoy did make a valid point, even if he was slightly insulting her for being a loyal person. The only other time she felt she’d ever betrayed anyone in her life had to have been when she’d wiped her parent’s memories. And even then she’d only done it to keep them out of harm’s way. She couldn’t have lived with herself if she knew they’d died because of her association to Harry. Harry would’ve taken it just as hard.

‘Thank you,’ she replied softly.

‘Is that all? Or do you have more questions because I’d like to take a shower sometime soon.’

‘It’s a wonder that women are fascinated by you,’ she muttered.

‘They’re fascinated by what’s stored in Gringotts,’ he retorted. ‘And I suppose my good looks.’

Hermione rolled her eyes. ‘You are truly insufferable.’

----------

Malfoy had restrained himself in her presence before he’d left her flat. She was expecting him to make a move when he jumped into the shower. She was expecting him to make a move when she joined him in the shower. His hands had been all over her body as he helped her wash the soap suds off. He’d swatted her hands away when she reached for his crotch. It would’ve been so easy to trap him in her bathroom, but she didn’t because even with his erection bumping into her backside he controlled his baser urges. By the end she’d tried to do the same. It was too hard. Especially when he could kiss her the way he did, with his tongue teasing hers. So close to deepening the kiss and pressing the length of her soft body against his. And then he’d ended it. That stupid smirk ruining his face because she knew he knew how much she’d wanted him. She kept her eyes shut when he kissed her forehead telling her he’d be in touch as soon as he could. Perhaps it was a good idea that they hadn’t prolonged his stay because an hour later Ginny popped into her kitchen. Maybe she had to re-evaluate her wards soon because she didn’t feel comfortable explaining why Draco Malfoy was in her flat – naked or clothed.

‘Hey,’ Ginny said, rushing past her to dump a pile of paper on the coffee table. ‘We need to talk.’

‘What?’ Hermione questioned, she kneeled beside the table flipping a few envelopes over. ‘What is this? Why do you have my mail?’

‘Erm, about that,’ Ginny hesitated. ‘I swear I didn’t want to do this, but I had some of your mail redirected to my office.’

‘Ginny…what?’

‘After you and Ron broke up, you know. Didn’t you ever wonder why you weren’t being harassed with hate mail or howlers? Something?’

Then the pieces came together. ‘I did wonder, but part of me was hoping I was just that unimportant no one cared anymore.’

‘Delusional,’ Ginny said under her breath. ‘You can see the pile, Hermione. A lot of people care.’

‘Did you read any of it?’

‘Some of it,’ she responded. ‘That’s why I’m here. Obviously.’

The majority of the mail consisted of disparaging comments concerning Hermione’s character. Admonishing her for leaving the only man who would ever be able to love her. There were a few howlers calling her a whore and even more calling her a frigid bitch, but Ginny had already gotten rid of those. There were just two letters that had gotten her attention from the other day and she was going to ignore them until a third appeared on her desk.

‘You’ve checked these all for curses?’

‘Mhm,’ Ginny responded cheerily. ‘Learnt from the best.’

‘I don’t understand the problem then,’ Hermione said, skimming through one of the letters. ‘I did not have a clue that I’d be perpetually single after Ron, so I suppose it’s a good thing they’ve all written my future out for me.’

Ginny laughed. ‘This is supposed to be serious.’

Hermione shook her head in an effort to clear her head. ‘Tell me.’

‘I got these two really strange letters that seemed threatening? I don’t know. And then I got a third one this morning,’ she said, handing Hermione three envelopes. ‘And before you ask, no I haven’t told Harry. I haven’t told anyone.’

They were already unsealed by Ginny, the thick parchment was rough in her hands.

Watch yourself, bitch.

‘Oh, Ginny, come on!’

‘Hermione, I know, but I’ve given you the other two for a reason.’

You’re a two timing whore, leave him alone.

Hermione frowned and held the last piece of parchment.

I told you to leave him alone, he doesn’t need a Mudblood slut.

‘Hermione…’ Ginny started. ‘Are you okay?’

‘Yes, I’m fine,’ Hermione muttered, running a few spells to possibly trace where the letters had originated from.

‘I’ve already tried.’

‘I have one last spell,’ Hermione replied. ‘It’s still in its experimental stages, but it won’t hurt to try...Pervestigo.’

The parchment sizzled in Hermione’s hand and caught fire before landing on the rug.

‘Shit,’ Hermione hissed, trying to stomp the fire out with her foot.

Aguamenti,’ Ginny said, looking at Hermione with a bewildered stare. ‘Are you completely mad? I mean, I know you aren’t using your magic as often as you used to, but what in the bloody hell was that?’

‘Jesus, Gin,’ Hermione sighed. ‘I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking.’

‘Damn, right you weren’t thinking. I’m not a good healer, you know that,’ Ginny snorted. ‘And I don’t exactly want to get mum involved.’

‘It just…sizzled away,’ Hermione declared, turning her foot over to check on what she knew would turn into a blister.

‘I saw,’ Ginny responded, examining the black crusty spot on the rug. ‘This isn’t right.’

Ginny was correct. Pieces of parchment didn’t just sizzle and catch fire after running simple charms on it unless there was something to hide. At least there wasn’t a harmful curse that was concealed in the damn letter. The real question was how did this person know that she was seeing anybody if she was being careful about being seen with Malfoy? The last letter had been unsettling because of the slur that was used. And unfortunately she had to connect it with Malfoy due to the fact that he was a pureblood and she wasn’t. Someone else knew and for whatever reason they hadn’t leaked it to the press yet.

‘So what do you think?’

Hermione shrugged. ‘I don’t know what to think.’

‘What are you going to do about it?’

‘Nothing yet,’ she said, summoning a rubbish bin beside her. ‘See? I still use my magic.’

‘Yeah,’ Ginny commented. ‘Just not when it matters.’

‘Hey!’ Hermione said indignantly, tossing an envelope in Ginny’s direction and missing. ‘I just…froze in the moment.’

‘When have you ever ‘frozen’ in a moment?’ Ginny asked, dumping the letters into the bin. ‘I think you’re losing your touch.’

Hermione glared. ‘I’m not losing my touch.’

‘I’m being serious, Hermione. If someone really is after you –‘

‘I can handle it, Gin,’ she interrupted. ‘I was a part of the Golden Trio, remember?’

‘From our last conversation I thought you didn’t want me to remember.’

Hermione sighed deeply. ‘Oh, sod off.’

----------

Hermione was locking up alone tonight, it had been a slow day with one of her co-workers getting sick in one of the aisles. Thank Merlin for magic. The letters were still bothering her because she disliked not knowing who the source was and feeling as though she couldn’t do anything about it. She could mention it to Harry, but she didn’t need him worrying about her or worse yet, have her followed 24/7. Aurors could be really annoying. As of right now she didn’t need anyone breathing down her neck, if it escalated somehow then she would ask for help. She was a little thrown off that someone other than Ginny knew she was already in another relationship. It was even more troubling to know that they possibly knew she was in a relationship with Draco Malfoy. She didn’t think Draco had told anyone. Although he’d mentioned his mother knew about his private life because she kept ‘tabs on him’. Wasn’t he too old to be watched over? She supposed it was…adorable in a twisted way. His mom cared about him at least and from the way he spoke about his father, well it didn’t seem anyone cared on either side. She hadn’t seen Lucius Malfoy in years, not that she’d wanted to. And obviously Draco felt the same way if he’d felt the need to avoid inviting her over to the manor.

‘Do you always have your defences down, Hermione?’

Hermione’s tongue nudged the side of her cheek. ‘How did I know you’d pop in here?’

‘Are you saying that I’m becoming predictable?’ Malfoy questioned, appearing by her side.

‘Just had a feeling,’ she replied in a singsong voice.

‘Ah,’ he mused. ‘So I am.’

‘I’ve just been notified that I’ve lost my touch when it comes to my defensive skills.’

Malfoy scoffed. ‘It’s about time.’

‘Excuse me?’

‘Don’t try to act offended,’ Malfoy began. ‘You’ve become jumpy, which is unlike the heroine that used to be a part of the Golden Trio.’

‘Thank you, Malfoy,’ Hermione uttered, brushing her hair away from her face. ‘But when I’m not expecting something to happen, which is the complete opposite of how life was during the War, then I’m a little jumpy.’

‘That’s the problem, you’ve become indifferent.’

‘Am I supposed to be paranoid?’ she asked.

‘It’s not about paranoia, it’s about being aware of your surroundings – you used to excel in that area.’

‘You and Ginny have both got to be taking the piss,’ Hermione concluded.

Draco sneered. ‘Even your little friend Ginevra has an issue with your lack of awareness.’

Hermione walked away and headed towards the entrance trying to ignore the footsteps following her. Malfoy could be so damn annoying for no reason. Now he was doing to judge her for not being paranoid. Sorry, indifferent. She didn’t need to keep her guard up at all times – especially not in the Muggle world. She could take care of herself when it mattered and she would if it ever came to that. If Harry ended up having the exact same conversation with her she’d just consider getting new friends. Granted, Ginny actually knew how to keep her mouth shut so the chance of having such a conversation with Harry was pretty low. Too bad Ron couldn’t learn a thing or two from his younger sister.

----------

‘I suppose you’re going to ignore me for another hour?’

Hermione looked over at him. ‘I should ignore you for the rest of the night.’

‘Turn the box off.’

‘This is my routine, Malfoy,’ she said, holding out her mug. ‘Shitty television programmes and cheap wine.’

‘Turn the box off,’ he repeated.

‘No,’ she said turning up the volume and facing him. ‘It stays on.’

‘Is it necessary for you to be so stubborn?’ Draco questioned exasperatedly.

Hermione looked away and tried to focus on the scene playing out on the telly. She felt the cushion move and realised that Malfoy had gotten up. Her eyes flickered around the room, her stomach dropped. Until she saw that his robes were still folded neatly at the end of the couch. She had to admit that she was being stubborn. She still had trouble dealing with criticism at times, even if it was meant to be constructive. Maybe they both had a point about her defensive skills slightly diminishing. She had been on guard for so many years it should’ve been second nature for her to be alert at all times. When she was in danger and worrying constantly about her well-being along with the well-being of others it was easy to stay alert. She didn’t want to be paranoid, but she didn’t want to become an easy target either. If she was going to continue dating Malfoy there was a chance that her involvement within the Wizarding world would increase. She could only imagine the stories that would start leaking once the general public found out that she was dating Draco Malfoy. It would be chaos and this time around it would affect her friendships. She wasn’t planning on seeking out Ron to mend the friendship that they’d once had. She knew that despite everything that had happened he’d be quite vocal about his disgust in regard to Malfoy. Ron was aware that she’d cheated on him, but he didn’t know that she knew about Eloise. If Ron paid any attention he would figure out that it was Malfoy that left the love bite on her neck.

Hermione sighed and scooped up his robes taking them to her bedroom. She wasn’t surprised to see Draco lying in her bed in the dark. The streetlights outside her window illuminated his skin.

‘I’m sorry,’ she said softly, taking a seat at the edge of the bed.

‘You don’t need to apologise to me, Hermione.’

She groaned. ‘Why can’t you just accept my apology?’

‘Is that what you want?’ he asked.

‘Yes, it’s what I want,’ she responded. ‘Please.’

He nodded then. ‘You can be so frustratingly stubborn.’

‘I know.’

‘You were just as stubborn at Hogwarts.’

‘Thanks,’ she scoffed. ‘It’s good to know how observant you were at Hogwarts.’

‘This has nothing to do with how observant I was. It has everything to do with how loud you were with your stubbornness.’

‘I was not that loud.’

‘I assure you that you really were that loud,’ he recalled. ‘People weren’t just staring at you because you had a bushy animal stuck on the top of your head.’

‘Oh my –’

‘Immensely tragic.’

His lips were stretched out into a smile now and she found it hard to plant her fist in his face for a second time. It would’ve been so satisfying to wipe that grin off his face.

‘You are so delightful, Draco,’ Hermione crooned.

‘Now,’ he said seriously. ‘Are you going to tell me why you’ve been walking in such a bizarre manner?’

Hermione stiffened. ‘What do you mean?’

‘You know what I mean. Don’t play dumb with me.’

‘It’s –’

‘And don’t lie,’ he drawled. ‘You’re trying to stop yourself from putting pressure on your right foot.’

‘It was an accident.’

‘What type of accident?’ he asked, moving to sit beside her.

‘Well, I dropped something heavy on it.’

‘Something.’

‘It was a book,’ she replied quickly, breaking eye contact. Her hands were clasped together. Fuck. He would know she was lying.

‘Judging by your reaction to the state your hands are in, it seems I don’t have to tell you that I don’t believe you,’ he stated.

‘There was a small fire and I made the wrong decision,’ she admitted.

‘You have a wand.’

‘Thank you, Ginny.’

Draco frowned. ‘Pardon?’

‘It’s just come to my attention that you and Ginny are alike in some ways.’

‘Your foot was in the fire.’

‘Yes.’

‘And you purposely put it there.’

Hermione shrugged.

‘Are you suicidal, Hermione?’

‘What?!’ Hermione exclaimed, her face horror stricken. ‘No, I’m not! I wasn’t thinking properly is all.’

‘Did you start this fire?’

‘No, of course not.’

Draco’s fingers were pinching the bridge of his nose. ‘Tell me what happened.’

Hermione wanted to avoid this topic altogether, she didn’t really need Draco to know that she was receiving hate mail in the first place. It would sound even worse when he found out that an anonymous individual could be targeting her, sending her threatening notes that had an undetectable spell on it. He would probably overreact the same way Harry would if she’d confided in him.

Hermione sighed deeply. ‘It’s complicated.’

Draco sat there staring at her expectantly.

‘Ginny came over a little after you left,’ she began. ‘And she brought me some mail she’s been keeping at her office. There were three letters in particular that she was worried about…so I used a spell on one of them and it caught on fire. I reacted by trying to stomp it out with my foot and Ginny put it out with her wand. There. Are you satisfied?’

Draco was still, his brow beginning to furrow and his eyes narrowing. ‘Should I find this news of yours satisfactory?’

‘No,’ she mumbled.

‘Are you mental? You have a wand for a reason, Hermione! What if the fire was cursed? What would you do then?’

‘I know that, Draco. You don’t have to scold me, I’m not a child.’

‘Start using that brain of yours,’ he sneered. ‘What did the letters say?’

‘I’m not sure how they know, but I think they know about us,’ Hermione said. ‘They told me to stay away from you because I’m a Mudblood slut.’

‘Hermione,’ he faltered, his hand coming to rest on her thigh. ‘You cannot hide things from me, you need to let me know what’s going on.’

‘I know.’

‘This is dangerous.’

‘Maybe,’ she responded.

‘If a piece of parchment goes up in flame I think it’s quite easy to deduce that it is dangerous.’

‘We don’t know that yet.’                         

‘You can’t tell me that you’re going to continue being apathetic towards your defensive skills,’ Draco hissed.

‘I won’t be,’ Hermione asserted. ‘I promise.’

‘If you don’t take it seriously I will report it to Potter because I know you won’t.’

‘I take my promises seriously, Draco.’

‘Good,’ he murmured, burying his face into her neck. ‘Because if this is a threat, which it is, then we need to take it seriously.’

Hermione dragged her fingers through his silky hair and inhaled deeply. ‘We?’

‘You and I count as a ‘we’, don’t we?’

‘I suppose you’re right,’ she whispered. ‘I really did not want to tell you this.’

‘I know.’

‘I tried to trace who the sender was and that’s when it sizzled and burnt away,’ Hermione stated.

‘And you are aware that’s not normal?’ he questioned, breathing onto her skin.

‘You’ve made your point, Draco.’

‘Have I?’

The warmth from his breath was starting to distract her. A small shiver went through her body that caused her muscles to tense. The skin on her neck stretched out as she tried to lean back without tipping over, but Draco wasn’t taking the hint or he was pretending not to notice. Hermione knew it had to be the latter, he never hesitated to latch onto her neck when he had the chance.

‘Why are you doing this?’ she croaked quietly.

His arm wrapped around her waist, his fingers pressing into her. ‘What am I doing?’

‘I-I don’t know,’ she stuttered. ‘You’re…teasing me.’

‘Am I?’

His lips connected with the crook of her neck and she let out a breath that she didn’t know she was holding in. His lips suckled on the stretched skin before biting down to leave a mark. He could feel her pulse beating strongly as he soothed her skin with his tongue – she smelled like cloves tonight. He knew that there had to be a blush blooming across her chest, her neck was always so sensitive. A light breathy moan fell from her lips.

‘Why,’ she started, trying to collect her thoughts even though his mouth was latching back onto her neck. ‘Why did you ignore me this morning?’

‘I didn’t ignore you,’ he responded, placing one last kiss on her neck.

‘You ignored my…advances.’

He chuckled. ‘Your advances were pitiful.’

‘I didn’t ask for an assessment,’ she mumbled as she stood to peel off her jumper.

‘I don’t always think with my cock.’

‘Could’ve bloody fooled me,’ she said under her breath.

‘I could’ve had you any way I wanted this morning,’ he murmured seriously, his fingers deftly unbuttoned her jeans. ‘But I didn’t.’

Hermione snorted. ‘Right.’

‘I don’t know why you enjoy lying to yourself. There was nothing subtle about the way your hands lingered on my body this morning.’

Hermione blushed slightly remembering the way he slapped her hands away earlier that morning.

‘And now I see that you agree,’ he said smugly.

She knew now that he was trying to make a point this morning. He’d wanted to let her know that he wasn’t only interested in her because of sex, even though he’d told her that himself. Actions spoke louder than words she supposed.

‘I trust you,’ she said before lying back onto her bed, her head cushioned by a pillow.

Draco followed, lying down beside her and propping his head up with his elbow. He was silent yet again, searching her face and she felt an awkward smile start to form on her face. What was wrong with her? She could only imagine how stupid she looked right now.

‘You’re funny, you know,’ he stated softly.

‘Not intentionally.’

‘No, not intentionally,’ he replied, his hand hovering over the sliver of her abdomen that was exposed. ‘You are allowed to smile. It’s funny that you think you aren’t.’

‘I look idiotic,’ she blurted, immediately groaning because she had spoken without thinking. This seemed to amuse Draco.

‘You don’t look idiotic,’ he said reassuringly. ‘Your smile is pleasant.’

Hermione shook her head. It was almost like a reflex when she received compliments. Her smile didn’t bother her the way it used to when she was younger. Funnily enough Draco had been the reason why her teeth were shrunken to an acceptable size in the first place. It was ironic that he was complimenting her on it now. His finger was tracing her upper lip now.

‘Don’t fight me on this, it’s cute. You have a small freckle…right here,’ he told her, his eyes concentrating on what she knew had to be the lone freckle on her lip. ‘It stretches a bit when you smile.’

Malfoy leaned in to press his lips against hers gently. It was an innocent kiss that wasn’t meant to ignite any feelings of passion, but it ignited something else within her that she was unfamiliar with. She kissed him back, her heart thudding in her ears and her chest tightening. His hand brushed away a curl as he pulled back and placed another kiss on her forehead. She looked up at him letting a small grin relax on her face and he returned the smile settling back down beside her.

‘Do you remember what I said the first time we shagged?’

She flushed at the memory. ‘Draco –‘

‘Just repeat it, Hermione. I’m not asking you to give me details.’

‘Fine,’ she conceded. ‘You told me that I didn’t need to hide myself from you.’

‘Brilliant,’ he said, his arm coming to rest across her stomach. ‘I meant it then and I mean it now, albeit for different reasons.’

The first night they’d slept together had been a drunken mess, but she could remember every little detail. She could still feel the stubble that rubbed against her cheeks. The calloused fingers pulling at her clothing. It had to be a coincidence that they were both at a posh Muggle bar that late at night. And although Hermione had found it strange when Draco sat beside her while she tended to a chocolate martini she hadn’t told him to leave her alone. She’d been in a dark mood after another row with Ron about the extra galleons he spent. No, they were not living pay cheque to pay cheque. Yes, they had enough to survive on. It was the entire principle that they needed to divulge what the money was going towards. Especially if he was withdrawing galleons that were meant for one of the bills they needed to pay off. It was irritating to access the account only to find it drained. She had no clue what he’d used it for. He’d told her it was for ‘something important at work’, which she now knew was code for the woman he was sleeping with. Malfoy had been quiet that night, only ordering shots every few minutes. Somehow he’d convinced her to join him and they’d taken the shots together, her eyes tearing each time she swallowed down the harsh liquid. She’d lost count of how many shots she’d downed and when Malfoy tried to help her stand she’d fallen onto the bar stool cackling about how pissed she was. How she’d never gotten so pissed in her life. The room spun as Malfoy held onto her, pulling her through the crowd back into the hotel lobby that connected with the bar. Somehow he’d gotten a room for the night and as she leaned against his unwavering body she’d wondered when he’d started carrying around Muggle banknotes. The ground was starting to collapse under her feet in the elevator and Malfoy had carried her in his arms as she crooned about how good he smelled, her fingers tracing his jaw.

Malfoy was the one who placed her onto the bed, taking her shoes off and pulling the covers over her. She’d become aware of the hard body beside her – he felt so hot. He was turned away from her, his breathing wasn’t slow enough for Malfoy to be asleep. Before she knew it her fingers were tugging at the collar of his shirt and when he remained unresponsive her tongue had darted out to lick a messy trail along his neck. She remembered how stiff he became, sitting up to try to deter her. Telling her that she was too wasted. Telling her that she wasn’t thinking properly. His eyes were wide as though he was frightened of her, standing up to place space between them and repeating the word mistake over and over again. She was drunk, but she was still aware of what was happening. Maybe she wouldn’t have been so bold if she was sober, she still wanted to be close to someone. Even if that someone was Draco Malfoy. She sloppily kissed him and even though he’d had more to drink than her his moves were precise. His tongue hesitated to wrap around hers as she opened her mouth, but she didn’t care as she plundered his mouth. At one point she’d forgotten to breathe and as she gasped she felt his fingers peel away her blouse and then her slacks until she stood there in mismatched underwear. And all Malfoy did was stare. He stared and even without her inhibitions she was starting to feel uncomfortable. She’d only slept with Ron after all and he never stared. Not for this long anyway. She raised her arms in an effort to cover her breasts that were still concealed by her bra, but he stopped her, his slim fingers wrapping themselves around her wrists.

‘Granger, if you’re serious about this, you’re not to hide yourself from me. Do you understand?’

She’d nodded and relaxed her arms as his fingers found their way along her back and unclasped her bra. She shuddered in nervousness as her bra fell to the carpet.

He’d tipped her face upwards so that their eyes connected. ‘You’re sure?’

It took a moment for her to find her voice. ‘I am.’

And that was how her descent into debauchery with Draco Malfoy had started. An innocent drink at some bar she’d been introduced to by Tina Edwards, one of her co-workers. Hermione had never thought she’d meet someone she knew at the May Fair, let alone someone from the Wizarding world. She never thought she’d be capable of cheating and yet that night it had been extremely easy. So easy that she’d stopped herself from contacting Malfoy the morning after. A few weeks had passed until she’d made contact with him again and although she’d been close to cancelling she couldn’t bring herself to do it because this was the most alive she’d felt in years. It was a sad reality that she had to face after some time – she was a cheater even though it went against everything she stood for. She didn’t know if it did hurt Ron when he’d seen the mark on her neck. He wasn’t talking to her and considering the stories he was apparently leaking maybe it did. It hurt to know that he was getting on with someone else secretly and he still hadn’t admitted to that. They were so fucked up, but it was over now. Malfoy broke her train of thought when he pulled the blanket over both of their bodies. Hermione kissed his chin and turned over. Malfoy’s arm immediately wrapped around her midsection as he pulled himself closer to spoon her. She felt him bury his face into her hair.

‘You don’t have to hide, Hermione.’

Her thumb rubbed the back of his hand. ‘I know.’

‘I haven’t hidden myself from you,’ he confessed.

‘I know,’ she repeated.

She did know. He’d been surprisingly honest without her having to nag him. It was unusual to be with someone she thought would be more closed off, only for them to be quite open.

‘You said something before you fell asleep last night,’ he suddenly recalled. ‘Do you know what it was?’

Hermione shook her head. ‘No, I don’t remember saying anything.’

‘Goodnight, maybe?’ Malfoy guessed.

‘Maybe.’

‘I suppose this would be a good time to wish me goodnight properly then,’ he breathed into her hair.

‘Goodnight, Draco,’ Hermione yawned.

‘Goodnight, Hermione.’

Chapter Text

Several uneventful weeks went by and after Draco had found out about the letters he’d been reluctant to take Hermione out on another date where they could be seen. Hermione hadn’t seemed to be too bothered about the letter or the lack of creativity when it came to their dates. They’d been confined to the small space of her flat and as charming as it was he was getting a bit sick of seeing the same white walls. He hardly slept at Malfoy Manor anymore and he was starting to think about investing in a place of his own. Yes, he technically owned Malfoy Manor due to his father’s rights being stripped away, but the fact was his parents would continue living there for quite some time. He was only there to please his mother, he didn’t want her to feel like he’d abandoned her. Hermione’s assessment of him being a ‘mummy’s boy’ was true, even if she did mean for it to be insulting. He knew there was nothing wrong with adoring his mother, she’d given him his life. She’d given him unconditional love. Through the roughest moments of his life he could always rely on his mother to be there for him. She only ever wanted for him to be happy. He knew of the sacrifice she’d made when she’d lied to the Dark Lord about Potter being dead – at that point her loyalty was to Draco only. For a few years Draco knew that his mother despised his father for what he’d put them through and yet somehow she’d managed to forgive him. He would never understand. He understood forgiveness, but he couldn’t understand how his mother could forgive Lucius for all his abhorrent actions and decisions. His father almost got them killed for Merlin’s sake.

He was a spitting image of his father, but he’d be damned if he ever made the same mistakes as Lucius. Draco kept his hair short enough so people wouldn’t mistake him for his father. Not that he ventured outside very often, he was stuck in his office being driven mad by licencing and regulation issues. People hardly paid him any attention, mind you. Unless he was at a fundraising event that he wasn’t expected to attend. The look on people’s faces when he’d shown up to the Magical Diseases and Maladies fundraiser held by the Magic of Ministry had been priceless. Hermione had been there, standing close to the bar trying to stay unnoticed. He almost didn’t recognize her because her hair was straightened out and she was wearing a form fitting dress. Her face was glamoured to mess with her features, but he knew it was her because of the way her brow was wrinkled. She was annoyed. He tipped his head in acknowledgement when she caught him staring and she raised her champagne glass in response before disappearing behind the crowd. Draco knew that some of the stares he got stemmed from the rumours about his father being ill with a magical disease. It wasn’t true, Lucius Malfoy was just a recluse. He didn’t seem to care about the world around him and if Draco was honest he wouldn’t either if he had the rights of a child. His father didn’t have anything anymore, the funds in Gringotts weren’t his even if he’d deluded himself into thinking they were. In Draco’s opinion his father had gotten exactly what he deserved, he was lucky that he hadn’t been given the Dementor’s Kiss like his dear friend Nott. Draco could acknowledge that his father had given up valuable information to avoid being sent to Azkaban, but only after the Ministry had been able to prove that Lucius wasn’t under the Imperius. The reality was that his father was a coward and Draco would do well not to follow in his footsteps.

On one of the glazed pages in front of him he glanced at a dark red bricked cottage surrounded by greenery and a small moat. Maybe he could make use of one of their cottages in Lincolnshire. He’d forgotten about it until now as he flipped through a generic country home magazine Tilda had accidentally left on his desk with a few envelopes. He hadn’t been to that cottage since he was a child, his mother used to love taking him there to view the lush and colourful countryside. There was a chance that his mother used a stasis charm to preserve the cottage. She always did with the houses she loved the most. The ones she didn’t perform a stasis charm on were eventually managed by the house-elves. It didn’t matter either way, if it was decrepit he still had his magic to restore it to its former glory. He didn’t think Hermione would mind the change of location, she would most likely roll her eyes at the size of the cottage. She wasn’t one for opulent living, he thought the cottage was quite modest in comparison to the Manor. Hermione would be more inclined to disagree considering how tiny her flat was. One thing he wouldn’t understand is how a person could live life in such a frugal manner. Hermione Granger obviously had the money to buy a house if she wanted to. Hell, she could’ve purchased a penthouse in the middle of London and she’d still be living quite comfortably. When they had been locked out of Gringotts it was a decidedly negative experience. His mother had kept a large portion of money to ensure that they weren’t completely destitute, but it was the first time they’d been on a ‘budget’. Draco would be the first to admit that he lived a privileged life and he wasn’t ashamed to acknowledge that he’d been spoilt his entire life. One thing he didn’t appreciate was being called greedy and regardless of his funds being garnished for reparations he still would’ve felt inclined to donate money to places like St. Mungo’s. He had enough money to donate and continue living comfortably for the rest of his life. Anyone who said that they didn’t love having access to money was a liar. No, money could never literally buy you happiness, but it could make your life easier. A lot easier. His father’s problem was that he was greedy, he wanted money just for the sake of having money. The only time Lucius Malfoy donated money was when he knew he’d be getting something in return.

As he sorted through the small pile of envelopes he caught sight of his mother’s elegant penmanship. He sighed. His mother had sent him a letter for each day that he hadn’t spent at home. Attached with those letters were a few chocolate ganache petit fours. He’d tried to hide the tiny boxes until Hermione had managed to accept a letter while he was asleep in her bed – he’d woken up to find her cross legged on the couch sucking chocolate off her fingers with a pastel blue box settled in between her thighs. He’d groaned and snatched the letter away from her before she could make a comment. Although the look on her face had said enough. Today Draco was going to make an effort to see his mother and set a few boundaries. It wasn’t like he was the same young child who needed reassurance at Hogwarts and a small part of him knew that his mother was trying to make up for lost time. Of course his mother would set up an afternoon luncheon to try and extract whatever details she could from his life. He knew that she’d have the tiered stand placed beside him in an effort to loosen his tongue with a various selection of petit fours.  He rubbed his eyes before he wrote a quick note to accept his mother’s invitation, it wasn’t as if he had a choice in the matter anyway.

----------

Draco was early and as he’d known his mother already had those bloody petit fours out on a small and round white table. Of course he was to take a seat beside the tiered porcelain stand and wait patiently for his mother. He studied the large drawing room and noticed that his mother had changed the drapery for the floor length windows – they matched the floral seafoam wallpaper now. The furniture was the same, a pastel pink couch with a pair of armchairs in the same colour and chestnut end tables flanked on each side of the couch. The chandelier was the first thing that caught your attention if you weren’t already scrutinizing the immense size of the marble fireplace. He couldn’t blame his mother for indulging in the regency style chandelier, it looked like there were crystals floating in the air. It made the gold detailing along the edge of the ceiling and around the door glitter softly each time you made a small movement. Currently he was trying to settle down in one of the uncomfortable silk upholstered chairs that had been set out by the house-elves. Draco eyed one of the strawberry tarts and felt his mouth twitch. The strawberries were meticulously placed on the tart to give the effect of a swirl and he could tell that the crust was firm enough to handle a bite without crumbling in his hand. He was in the middle of taking a bite when his mother finally made an appearance. She seemed to float into the room with her pale purple robes swishing behind her. Her blue eyes were bright, her blonde wispy hair was pulled back into a braid and a smile was plastered onto her face when she saw him sitting at the edge of the room. His mother looked so happy he almost forgot to savour the decadence of the vanilla bean custard that had exploded in his mouth. Almost.

‘Oh, Draco,’ she started, gathering the excess of her robes so she could be seated. A few serving platters full of an assortment of finger sandwiches, scones and pastries appeared as she sat down. She snapped her fingers and a pot of tea revealed itself on the table. ‘You do know how gauche it is to start without your host.’

‘I live here too, mother,’ he replied, rubbing his fingers together to rid himself of a few remaining crumbs.

‘You wouldn’t know it with your behaviour as of late,’ she said, a perfectly arched brow rose.

Draco stopped himself from snorting. ‘I’m an adult, you know.’

‘By the state of your…neck, I’m quite aware of your adult activities.’

‘Mother, please,’ he pleaded, adjusting the collar of his shirt to try to hide the purplish-red mark.

‘Don’t ‘Mother, please’ me, Draco Malfoy,’ she lilted. ‘I didn’t raise a heathen, you could have at least had the sense to invite Miss Granger.’

‘Moth-’

‘It’s rude.’

‘It’s-’

‘It’s rude,’ she repeated, pouring some hot tea into his cup. ‘My own son, acting as though he was raised as a commoner.’

Draco cleared his throat. ‘If I could have a say in this-’

‘Dear, have a sandwich,’ she interrupted once again, placing a small white rectangular crustless sandwich onto his plate. ‘You’re looking quite gaunt.’

Draco groaned. He wondered if all mothers acted this way or if he was the only one to be cursed with an overbearing mother. Merlin, he loved the woman to death, he really did, but when she was in the mood to prove a point you’d never hear the end of it.

‘Are you afraid that I will dislike Miss Granger, Draco?’ she asked, spreading some clotted cream onto a scone. ‘I will tell you one thing, you should be honoured to be in the presence of such a bright woman. She reminds me a bit of myself.’

Draco choked on the bit of bread he was chewing on. ‘Mother, are you feeling quite alright?’

‘You always did have some trouble chewing your food properly. It’s smoked salmon, it can be a bit chewy.’

‘I don’t want to scare, Hermione,’ he said, ignoring her comment. ‘You are aware that the last time she was on our property she was tortured by Bellatrix.’

‘Of course I am aware, Draco,’ she sniffed. ‘I wasn’t born yesterday.’

‘Hence my hesitation,’ he stated. ‘And the small detail that is father.’

His mother paused for a moment and set her tea cup down. ‘He won’t be involved.’

‘I know.’

‘No one will be harmed.’

Draco scoffed. ‘I’m not so sure about that.’

‘Draco, your father would never take away my happiness.’

‘Oh, come on, Moth-’

‘He has made his mistakes,’ she said sternly. ‘And he will not repeat them for as long as we are living.’

‘You don’t have to defend him,’ Draco muttered.

‘There is nothing to defend, I’m merely stating the truth. All I want is for my only son to have a chance at true happiness. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you.’

Draco’s arm stretched out to clasp his mother’s small hand in his. ‘I know.’

Narcissa smiled at him, patting his hand softly. ‘You’re happy.’

Draco nodded. ‘I am.’

‘Now, tell me. Which house will you be moving into?’

‘Wha-’

‘I know everything,’ she said looking at him expectantly. ‘And don’t say that you’ve chosen that dreadful shed in Norfolk.’

‘Norfolk?’ he questioned in confusion. ‘No.’

‘Good,’ she beamed. ‘It only has three ensuite bathrooms, it’s useless for you. I don’t know why we have it.’

‘Mother, that’s hardly a shed.’

Narcissa’s eyes widened slightly. ‘It’s a shed for me. Is that what you want? To live in such an unsuitable house in the countryside?’

‘I was thinking about that one cottage in Lincolnshire.’

‘Yes,’ she cooed. ‘I was hoping you would say that. You loved it there as a child.’

‘I did.’

‘The cottage is in good condition, it has been preserved accordingly.’

Draco nodded. He’d expected her to ensure there wouldn’t be any deterioration on the property, she’d loved that cottage as much as he did. What he didn’t expect was the sheer nonchalance in his mother’s voice. She was relaxed as she finished her tea, that much he could tell. He’d been expecting her to be a little upset about the topic altogether, she was the one who pushed for him to stay at the Manor in the past.

‘What is it? Have I said something?’ she asked.

‘No, you haven’t. I’m just…surprised I suppose.’

‘It often takes very much to surprise you.’

‘It does, but – are you not upset?’

Narcissa frowned at this. ‘Upset?’

‘I’m leaving.’

‘Yes, well, between the time you spend in the office and at Miss Granger’s flat, which I must say is unsightly, I haven’t seen much of you have I?’

Draco made a slight noise in agreement as he polished off his smoked salmon sandwich, taking his time to chew it carefully. If his mother thought a house was a shed because it only had three ensuite bathrooms then Hermione’s flat would be considered an outhouse. What would he do with three ensuite bathrooms anyway if he was only going to be using one? Narcissa had no trouble living lavishly.

‘You will introduce me to Miss Granger properly.’

Draco sighed and then nodded. ‘I will set up the time and date.’

The corners of Narcissa’s eyes wrinkled. He knew that look. He waited for that sickly sweet tone of hers to appear.

‘Darling, perhaps –’

‘Please,’ Draco said. ‘Just allow me this one small moment of control. Please, mother.’

‘Fine,’ Narcissa conceded, adjusting the napkin on her lap. ‘All I ask is that you choose the appropriate venue.’

‘Of course.’

‘Good,’ she smiled. ‘Then that’s settled.’

The rest of the conversation pertained to gossip that Draco couldn’t have cared less about. He really didn’t want to hear about the latest engagement that had been announced within upper class society. He didn’t even know who Valérie Cousineau was even though his mother insisted that they’d been playmates as children. She certainly hadn’t gone to Hogwarts and his mother went on about how she’d attended Beauxbatons. She even went as far to admit that she’d wanted Draco to go Beauxbatons only for the idea to be declined quite harshly by his father. Narcissa had continued on about the benefits of the French language and how he’d been robbed of an exceptional education.

‘You can blame that on your father,’ she added airily before changing the subject once more.

The list of offences committed by his father never seemed to stop growing. At this point in his life he knew that it would become a never ending list. He thought briefly of the time when he’d idolised his father and scolded himself constantly for not being more like him. The moment when he’d been faced with the task to kill Dumbledore he knew that he could never be like his father. Holding out his wand, pointing it at Dumbledore and looking right into those twinkling blue eyes of his made it even clearer that he could never be Lucius Malfoy. The thought of killing anyone made him sick. How his father could do such a thing without a second thought made him worthless. Draco hadn’t seen his father at the Manor even though he had to be lurking about somewhere. His mother gave him a hug and a kiss like she always did and happily gave him another box of petit fours before he disapparated. Draco ended up in Hermione’s living room and he set the box down on Hermione’s coffee table. He removed his robes and toed off his shoes to lie down on the couch. He wondered what Hermione was doing. She would be closing up the bookshop soon if it wasn’t too busy and he wasn’t in the mood to bump into her colleague Tina or something or other again. The last time had been a mistake and Hermione seemed to enjoy watching Tina blatantly hitting on Draco. She kept touching his sides and if he hadn’t put more space between them he was sure her hands with those very long fingernails would’ve found their way to his crotch. Hermione explained that she was ‘a bit of a chav’ whatever that meant, but maybe that was why he’d had trouble understanding the words coming out of her mouth. Muggles could be so odd.

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Hermione was greeted by the sight of Draco sleeping soundly on her couch, she was careful not to wake him trying to walk without making a sound. She was tired, more than usual and it had to do with the sale they’d had at the bookshop for the past few days. As much as she loved to help people find books to purchase, she didn’t exactly enjoy being yelled at for particular books being regular price. She didn’t own the company, why would she be in charge of the pricing? And of course she couldn’t say those words to a customer. She’d bitten down on her tongue multiple times to stop herself from cursing at them. By the time her break had come around she’d wanted to come straight home and go to sleep. Sod it all. She hadn’t of course and she’d been the one to close up much later than expected. She wasn’t in the mood to make herself dinner even though she was starving – half of a croissant wasn’t much of a lunch. She decided on taking a shower to relax, it was times like these when she wished she had the luxury of a proper bathtub. The lighting in the bathroom was horrifying. Standing in front of the mirror she tugged at the skin on her face in an effort to stop the circles under her eyes from looking so sunken. Her hand ran across the top of her head and pulled a hair tie out, her hair was rough and frizzy. How was it possible to have such frizzy hair when it was in a goddamn ponytail? She sighed and turned the shower on. She peeled her clothes off quickly and tossed them into a laundry bin that she’d taken from her parent’s attic. As soon as the spray of hot water hit her skin she sighed in relief, rubbing the back of her neck to soothe some of the tension. She stood there for a few minutes with the water running its way from her scalp all the way down to her toes. She watched the condensation collect on the glass surrounding her. She heard shuffling, but she couldn’t see through the steam. She tried to rub some of it off the glass, but that only caused it to be covered by large water droplets. She could make out the shape of a figure standing in the middle of the bathroom.

‘You’re late,’ Draco’s voice rang out, a little muffled by the shower.

‘That sodding sale isn’t over yet,’ she grumbled. ‘Those people just about drove me mad.’

The shower door opened letting in some cool air, goose pimples rose along her arms and thighs.

‘And you’re about to drive me mad too,’ she burst out. ‘Shut the door!’

His eyebrows rose as he stepped into the shower and closed the door. She shook her head and squeezed water out of her hair.

‘I’m sorry. I’ve just been a bit stressed today.’

He nodded slowly. ‘Turn around.’

Hermione acquiesced. He pushed her hair to the side, his hand slid down the back of her neck. His hands placed themselves on her shoulders and his thumbs started pressing into the tight muscles. She tensed and hissed at the pressure, a sharp pain making itself known as he continued to knead. His fingers eased up, gently pulling at the skin and Hermione groaned softly. It felt so good to have her shoulders massaged this way, tiny circles running their way along her neck. Draco went on for a few more minutes until she felt herself relax, the stiffness in her back disappeared. He seemed to notice when he stopped and kissed her shoulder.

‘Thank you. That was lovely,’ she said, turning to face him.

‘You learn a thing or two when you injure yourself playing Quidditch.’

‘I would hope so,’ she remarked, thinking of the numerous injuries Harry and Ron had received due to Quidditch. Practices and matches alike.

Hermione ran a bar of soap along Draco’s torso, starting from his chest down to his abdomen. His skin funnily enough was almost the same shade of the soap collecting on his skin. She could see the green tinted veins underneath his skin. Her hands smoothed the soap suds around concealing those veins, his lean body was hard under her touch which was the opposite of what hers felt like. Draco drew some extra suds from his chest and lathered it along his arms.

‘I saw my mother today.’

‘Did you?’ she murmured, tiptoeing to rub some soap onto his neck.

‘She wants to meet you.’

Hermione paused, her eyes connecting with his. ‘She…are you sure?’

Draco smirked. ‘She was quite explicit with her request.’

‘I-I…what do I do?’

‘Definitely not that,’ he scoffed, his hands spreading soap along her back, pausing at the curve of her lower back.

‘Draco, that’s not helping.’

‘Be yourself.’

She scowled. ‘That’s really not helping.’

‘I’m being serious,’ he replied, pulling her close. ‘She’s not expecting a high society twat, if that’s what you’re thinking.’

‘And you’re sure?’ she asked, looking up at him with her brows furrowed in scepticism.

‘I’m sure,’ he said seriously. ‘I wouldn’t lie to you about this.’

‘But you’d lie to me about other things?’ she questioned jokingly.

He shook his head, a small smile tugging at his lips. ‘My mother just wants to meet the person who is making her son happy.’

‘Did you tell her that I make you happy?’

‘She doesn’t need to be told much, she’s very intuitive.’

Hermione hummed in response, pouring cinnamon scented shampoo into the palm of her hand and running it through her tresses. ‘Will it be at the Manor?’

‘It won’t.’

That was a curious response. She would expect Narcissa Malfoy to invite her to Malfoy Manor – she’d heard about the small events Narcissa held there sometimes, Lucius Malfoy never appeared of course. She wondered if the Manor looked the same as it did the last time she’d been there. From what she recalled, which wasn’t much because she’d pushed the memory from her mind, it had been quite dark and drab. It was very cold and it wasn’t just because of the draft. She remembered the stacked portraits that had been set aside in the corner by a fireplace. She remembered because it had been in her line of vision as Bellatrix had held her down. Draco’s fingers massaged her scalp, his fingers tenderly rinsing out the last remnants of the shampoo. His arm reached behind her to turn the shower off and he opened the door letting her out first. Hermione used a drying charm on her hair and handed a towel to Draco. It was kind of nice to be familiar this way, she never really indulged in taking showers with a boyfriend until recently. And at least she didn’t feel embarrassed about her nudity in the present moment, but she was sure Draco would do something to make her blush. He was very quick to dry off, not bothering to wrap the towel around himself and leaving himself completely bare. She tried not to look below the thatch of wiry dark blond hair, but she did anyway, taking a small glance – he was flaccid. Not that she was expecting him to be hard, it wasn’t exactly sexy when she looked like a banshee currently.

‘You’re allowed to look, Hermione.’

His grey eyes were unreadable as she nodded, turning and willing herself not to flush. Why was she embarrassed? This didn’t have to be an embarrassing moment. Not if she stopped thinking about it so much. Her thoughts were interrupted when she felt his arms coming to wrap themselves around her.

‘I look all the time,’ he whispered into her hair.

Hermione swallowed, her voice seeming to stick in her throat. Or maybe she just couldn’t find a proper response because she didn’t know what to say to that. She knew he looked, stared even, but it was always strange to know that a person could be that interested in her body. No one had ever voiced their interest the way Draco Malfoy did. The way he spoke about her was usually flattering. Superficiality aside he’d been very honest about his feelings concerning her, even sharing why exactly he was interested in the first place. He’d spent more time with her and even when they weren’t doing anything of consequence she found herself feeling quite happy. It was good to know that having silent moments didn’t lead to awkwardness where she had to try to fill it with nonsensical conversation. She was happy right now and it felt like it’d been such a long time since she’d felt so light. He turned her around slowly, her back making contact with the cold door. She shivered and his hands rubbed her arms.

‘Sometimes you think far too much,’ he stated.

‘I know,’ she agreed.

‘I thought about you today when I was at the office,’ he mentioned, his hands gently switched from her forearm to her waist, moving slowly stopping right under the curve of her breasts. ‘How much I wanted to have you bare like this.’

Hermione was silent. Those grey eyes pierced hers as his thumb brushed her puckered pink nipple. He was gauging her response, she knew. Trying to find that particular spot that would leave her breathless. She didn’t notice that she’d been biting down on her lip until it felt like her teeth had pierced through the skin. He bent his head and caught her nipple between his lips, rolling it in his mouth. She shuddered, trying to control the reaction her body was having. Those small tugs shooting sparks down the centre of her body.

‘Sitting on my desk, leaning back on your elbows with your pretty legs wide open,’ he muttered into her skin, his hand coming to pinch her other breast. ‘Have you ever been fucked on a desk, Hermione?’

She breathed in deeply. There were only a few times she’d been fucked outside of the bedroom and they all involved Draco. She shook her head quickly.

‘Yes or no.’

‘No,’ she whispered without meaning to. Where the hell was her voice?

‘We’ll have to rectify that,’ he said, licking both her nipples messily one last time.

The look in his eyes made it seem as though he was about to devour her, her pulse rate started to increase. He stared for a few more seconds until he nuzzled his face in the crook of her neck, breathing her in and then his tongue darted out to taste her skin. His lips were against her neck now, suckling gently without making any marks. Her eyes shut and her breath hitched. Each suck sent a small tingle to her lower stomach and she let out a small puff of air. He was pressing up against her, his body firm on hers and she could feel his erection hardening the more he crushed himself to her. His hand had reached down to grip onto her bottom, pulling her lower half towards him. She knew that it would only be a few minutes until her wetness would start to collect in between her thighs. She was tense and her legs were trembling, but Draco kept himself stuck to her neck, his breath was so hot on her skin. Hermione’s hand made its way in between their bodies, grabbing hold of his length and squeezing. He groaned into her skin, the vibrations were caught on her neck. She stroked the soft skin gently, his hips snapping forward as her hand slid downwards. Draco looked down. She followed his gaze, his eyes fixated on her hand jerking him off. She had to admit that it was an erotic sight. Her hand wrapped around him, bringing him pleasure, causing the muscles in his abdomen to tighten and his chest rising and falling unevenly. And then he gripped her wrist to stop her from continuing.

‘You really are a minx,’ he managed to grunt out, his palm pressed onto the door on the side of her head.

Hermione pouted as she looked up at him, letting go of his cock and taking her thumb into her mouth to suck off the fluids that had collected there. She moaned lightly, the salty bitterness was on her tongue. His jaw tightened and he growled. His eyes were dilated now, a small rim of grey surrounding his dark pupils. He was so still, but the veins in his neck were protruding slightly and his shoulders were stiff. She could hear his nails on the door, a small scratching noise as he clenched and unclenched his fist. He seemed to be restraining himself, his breaths short and his cheeks tinged pink. It happened in slow motion when her hand rose to touch his chest, his reflexes were fast and he held onto both of her wrists pinning them above her. His lips were crushed to hers and he bit down on her plump bottom lip, she gasped as the familiar metallic taste flooded into her mouth with his tongue. She couldn’t move in the position she was in with his legs holding her thighs shut, her hips tried to angle themselves in his direction. Hermione couldn’t breathe as he kissed her deeply, making it hard for her to do much else but accept the aggressive kisses mashing against her lips. He kissed her hard enough that she knew her lips would be as red as strawberries. He was being rough, his hands were tight around her wrists, but she didn’t care even if there would be bruising in a few hours. She moaned, but the noise was softened by Draco’s mouth. And then he stopped. His chest was heaving, his breath mingling with her own and his forehead coming to press against hers. She could feel the thin sheen of perspiration mixing together, a droplet sliding down the side of her face. Her body was practically vibrating now, her thighs felt sweaty and she knew that she had to be dripping.

‘Turn around,’ he spoke gruffly, letting go of her wrists and taking a step backwards.

Her feet felt numb, her legs shaking as she was finally able to separate them. She turned without glancing at Draco and was met with the sight of the white wooden door, the bare towel hooks shining in the light. She leant her body into the door, her hands hanging by her sides before coming to press themselves beside her head. She waited and nothing happened. She couldn’t hear anything. Her cheek made contact with the door when she tried to turn her head to look at him.

‘Don’t.’

Hermione froze.

‘Push your arse out.’

She swallowed before curving her back out, her stomach lifting away from the surface of the smooth wood. She heard a soft groan then and she wished he could see him. It was so nerve wracking to stand here with her bum on display when she knew he was watching.

‘I want you to beg me to fuck you.’

Hermione shut her eyes and bit down on her lips. She really hated when he did this. Why couldn’t he just take her? He knew she wanted him.

‘Draco,’ she started quietly. ‘I-I…please don’t make me do this.’

Draco didn’t respond. His hand smoothed down her back and then he pulled it away, his hand coming down hard on her ass. A loud smack rang out in the bathroom. Her body pushing painfully into the hard surface in front of her. She bit down on her lips even harder, gulping down the scream she knew she was about to let out. Instead it was strangled in her throat. As painful as it was there was a soft throbbing in between her legs. She had to be sick.

‘Draco,’ she tried to start again, her throat was tight now. ‘Please…take me.’

Another smack rang out, the noise was ringing in her ear. She let out a shrill noise involuntarily and held her breath, the burn seeping its way into her skin.

‘You need to speak up, Hermione,’ he said, his voice sounding closer than it was before. ‘I didn’t tell you to beg me to take you.’

‘Please,’ she choked out, trying to raise her voice and failing. ‘Please, fuck me.’

His hand was running down her back again and she shuddered. She tensed when it was pulled away once more.

‘No, please,’ she begged, her hips moving forward in an attempt to stop herself from getting spanked again. ‘I need a few seconds.’

Instead his hand slid to soothe the pain. She expected it to be an angry red colour and it stung each time his fingers made contact with her skin. He was pressing into her now, his cock wedged in between the globes of her bum. His hand came around to run its way down her abdomen and into the coarse trimmed hair between her legs. His other hand was kneading her breast and she felt like her legs were going to buckle, too much was happening.

‘Time is up,’ he breathed into her ear, grinding himself against her with his fingers seeking out that small bundle of nerves. She gasped when he started rubbing her, his fingers sliding around with ease because of how wet she was. Her leg was twitching already, her nails were trying to dig into the door to no avail. Draco stopped.

‘Please,’ Hermione said as she cleared her throat and tried to relax. ‘Fuck me.’

‘Much better.’

Those were the last words she heard as he slid his way into her without warning, her sleeve gripping at his length as he pressed into her. She couldn’t stop her walls from contracting as he held himself in place for a few minutes groaning loudly. She choked on her own moan, pushing her ass into him, pulling him deeper. She keened as he pulled out slowly, only for Draco to thrust back into her savagely hitting bottom. Her hair was wrapped around his hand, her head being tugged back as he nibbled roughly on her neck and she cried out. She was throbbing so badly, he was bumping into her g-spot perfectly and she jerked each time he did. She was on her tiptoes as he fucked her from behind, clapping noises echoing in the bathroom. The hinges on the door were creaking absorbing the shock as he thrust back into her. She was only focused on how he was making her feel. Flames felt like they were trickling down her body to meet in the centre of her pussy. She was shuddering violently as his thickness penetrated her. She didn’t know if she was breathing anymore, she was so lightheaded and her muscles were so strained. She was too hot. Her legs were shaking and struggling to hold her on the tips of her toes. Hermione could hear a loud moan, but she couldn’t tell if it was hers or his. She was vaguely aware that he was hissing some obscenities as he fucked her against the door, his hand letting go of her hair coming up to squeeze her breast and pull on the nipple. Her forehead was digging into the wood now, slightly slick with sweat and she could feel her warm breath as the door blocked it from escaping. She heard herself moan loudly. And then there it was, a few more thrusts into her willing body had her orgasming in an instant. Her cunt clenched around Draco’s cock tightly, pushing him out and her body shook. Hermione quite literally started seeing stars, blacking out and crumpling as her muscles slackened.

A minute or two later Hermione woke up on a cushy surface alone. She sat up confused, patting the duvet under her. From what she could recall the last memory she was aware of was being in the bathroom with Draco? She was just in the bathroom with Draco unless – oh Gods…did she pass out? She could remember being up against the door. She remembered coming. As if on cue Draco walked in with a sly smirk on his face, Hermione reddened and her hands immediately came up to cover her face.

‘I can’t say I’ve ever done that before.’

Well, there was her confirmation. He seriously knew how to embarrass a person. It wasn’t as though she passed out during a round of sex regularly. Merlin, that had been the first and hopefully the last. Maybe she really had stopped breathing. Draco was quick to get on top of her and she was suddenly aware that he hadn’t finished when his erection bumped into her stomach.

‘You didn’t…?’

‘It’s quite a shock when the woman you’ve been so focused on fucking has an orgasm only to topple over on the floor,’ he said matter-of-factly. ‘I’m not a degenerate.’

She shut her eyes. ‘Please, don’t repeat that. It’s embarrassing.’

‘It’s not,’ he stated reassuringly, cupping her face.

He pressed a few kisses along her cheek before capturing her lips, softly sucking on them. Her hand slid down his back to squeeze his firm buttock. She could feel his lips curving up into a smile and he broke the kiss. She stared up at him and pushed his hair away from his forehead. He rose then, sitting on his heels between her legs. She knew the flesh of her vulva had to be a dark pink and she could still feel the slickness there. Draco seemed to change his mind as he crawled toward her, placing one of her legs on his shoulders and pulling her close. He rubbed the head of his cock first, spreading some of Hermione’s wetness onto himself. She watched him sink into her, she exhaled and his lips puckered along the soft tanned skin of her calf as he growled. Her eyes drifted shut as he wound his hips into her, using calculated thrusts to elicit the exact reaction he wanted from her. Her breath got caught in her throat as he changed his movements, thrusting into her brutally, her breasts moving vigorously.

‘Look at me.’

And she did. Her eyes fluttering open to find his. His mouth was open, hard breaths escaping from those swollen lips of his. She could look at him in this way and never get tired of it she realized. The small wrinkling of his brow, the slackened jaw, the sweat collecting on his chest. He looked like he was in another world and she supposed he was because she was as well. She felt like an entirely separate being whenever she was having sex with him. It was…extraordinary to have a person control your body in the way he did – he seemed to know everything about what would set her off. She was sure his hips would shift soon so that he could push her over the edge once more. It was Hermione’s turn to groan as he started to plunge into her deeper, pushing her other leg to spread her wide open. Her eyes stayed open, but they were unfocused as she gazed up at his form plunging into her and squelching noises floated around in her bedroom. Her muscles were going rigid the longer he pounded into her. He held her leg tight so that it couldn’t jerk out of his grip and she could feel the rush of heat that made her toes curl. Her stomach tightened and finally she jolted and shuddered beneath him for the second time that night. A pathetic cry fell from her lips as she broke apart and fought to catch her breath. Her walls were convulsing around him. Sucking and tightening, trying to bring him over the edge with her. He kept going until the clenching stopped and he roared, his fingers digging into her skin as he gave her a few final rough thrusts that pushed her into the headboard.

----------

The next morning Hermione found it hard to wake up, every muscle in her body was sore. She groaned to herself when she finally swung her feet over the bed, she turned and saw Malfoy was still asleep. She inspected her body and saw the bruises she’d expected. Her wrists weren’t so bad, they was a pink ring around each of them and that would be easy to glamour. Her thighs were riddled with purplish marks and for some reason there was bruising on her chest underneath her collarbone. She definitely needed to invest in a bath someday. There wasn’t enough space to transfigure one in her bathroom. If she’d been desperate enough for one she would just take a bath in the living room. At least then she’d be able to watch some telly. Her feet made contact with the floor and she tried to stand. The strain in her legs wasn’t so severe that she couldn’t walk, but it was painful enough for her to curse the burn that would probably take a day or two to finally go away. When she was finally a few steps away from the bathroom she heard something crash in the living room.

‘Hey, Hermione.’

Hermione swore under her breath. It was Ginny. She still hadn’t gotten around to changing to wards and now she was going to suffer for it. Hermione grabbed a robe from her bathroom quickly wrapping it around herself. She tugged the sleeves down to hide the marks on her wrists.

‘Just a second, Ginny,’ she called out. ‘Just – just wait for me in there. I’m not decent.’

She heard Ginny snort. She went into her bedroom to find Draco sound asleep, he was a bit of a light sleeper she was surprised that the crashing noise hadn’t woken him. She scurried over to him and shook his shoulder, his eyes scrunched as he woke up.

‘Wha –’

Hermione’s hand clamped over his mouth. ‘I’m sorry, Ginny’s here. So you’ll have to stay quiet.’

For whatever reason he grinned and then he’d nodded, shrugging his shoulders.

‘What’s the matter, Ginny?’ Hermione said finally appearing. ‘Is it another letter?’

‘No,’ she replied nonchalantly. ‘Just haven’t heard much from you late – Merlin dancing on a bloody cracker!’

‘What?’ Hermione questioned self-consciously, turning to see what was behind her.

‘Are you in a relationship with a vampire?’ Ginny asked as she approached her, her fingers skimming Hermione’s neck. ‘I didn’t think they were your type honestly.’

‘Am I – What?! No!’ Hermione exclaimed, pulling Ginny’s hands away from her. ‘Would you stop that?’

‘You’re telling me that you haven’t noticed those bite marks along your neck?’

Hermione blushed and swore internally. Fucking Draco Malfoy. ‘I’ve just woken up, okay? I haven’t exactly been peering at myself in the mirror all morning. Trust me, you wouldn’t have seen the marks if I’d been primping myself.’

‘Wow,’ Ginny said in awe. ‘I suppose this is why I haven’t heard from you.’

‘Oh, come off it.’

‘You wouldn’t be hearing much from me either if I was looking like that in the morning,’ she retorted.

‘Oh, Gods,’ Hermione muttered under her breath. She didn’t exactly want to imagine Ginny and Harry going at it.

‘Is he here then?’

‘Ginny, please.’

‘He’s here isn’t he?’ Ginny whispered, her light brown eyes sparkling in amusement.

‘Ginny, before you ask the answer is no.’

‘Come on, Hermione,’ she begged, her hands clasped together. ‘It won’t hurt.’

‘It’ll hurt when I hex you,’ Hermione declared, folding her arms.

Ginny giggled, her eyebrows raised. ‘So I suppose you’re into bondage too?’

‘I –’ Hermione began, following Ginny’s gaze. One of her sleeves had risen. Her arms were down at her sides immediately, tugging down on those useless sleeves. ‘No. No more questions.’

‘Hermione,’ Ginny whined. ‘You’re no fun at all.’

‘It was nice to see you Ginny, please tell your mum and dad that I said hello,’ Hermione said, giving Ginny a quick hug with a pat on the back. ‘Oh, and Harry too.’

‘I don’t have to leave you know.’

‘But you will.’

Ginny smiled. ‘Enjoy being tied up, Hermione.’

The familiar crack of disapparation echoed in her flat. Hermione fell over onto the couch, her face buried in the cushion. She cursed Draco, she cursed Ginny and then she cursed herself. A small high pitched scream was muffled as she let out her embarrassment. Or perhaps it was frustration. Or both. She should’ve known that something was wrong when Draco had that stupid smile plastered onto his face.

‘You’re a piece of work, you know,’ Hermione muttered, walking into her bedroom. ‘You could’ve at least glamoured them for me.’

‘And risk the entertainment?’ he questioned in amusement.

‘Entertaining for you,’ she stated. ‘Embarrassing for me.’

‘Everything is embarrassing for you.’

She slapped his arm. ‘Not everything. Just some things.’

‘So essentially everything.’

She glared at him. ‘That’s easy for you to say. You’re never embarrassed.’

‘I just don’t care,’ he said.

Hermione snorted, but she didn’t respond. Usually Draco would be dressed by now, but she supposed that it was his weekend off. He searched her eyes for a moment before speaking.

‘I’m moving.’

Hermione shook her head in confusion. ‘What? Since when?’

‘Yesterday.’

He’d never even mentioned that he thought about moving. Not that he had to consult her about it or anything, it was just a little strange that he could make such a decision on a whim.

‘We own different properties,’ Draco clarified when she didn’t respond.

‘Ah,’ Hermione nodded. Of course he had his choice of houses, she should’ve known that.

‘I’ve needed my own place for a while now,’ he began, sitting up. ‘The tension in the house can be unbearable at times. My father lives there and we don’t talk to one another, but my mother forces us to have dinner as a family.’

‘I’m sorry,’ Hermione replied, attempting to sit cross legged and failing horribly.

‘Are you okay?’ Draco asked, raising an eyebrow at the slight whimpering noise she’d made.

‘Muscles are just a little tense.’

He smirked. ‘So I’ve finally worn you out have I?’

‘I’m not worn out,’ she denied, forcing her legs to bend while she clenched her jaw to ignore the burning sensation. ‘See? I’m fine.’

‘I’d really hate to see what you look like when you’re not fine.’

Hermione shot daggers at him as he laughed.

Chapter Text

Hermione paced around her room stepping over a few dresses she had thrown onto the floor earlier. She was supposed to be getting ready for dinner. It was only dinner. She needed to calm down. Narcissa Malfoy would be there. Dinner with Narcissa Malfoy. She tipped over in her strappy black heels and fell face down into her bed groaning loudly. Draco had told her about this dinner a week and a half ago and she still felt unprepared. She hadn’t even met the woman yet and she was already on the verge of fucking everything up. Technically she’d met Narcissa Malfoy at Madam Malkin’s, at the time Narcissa had essentially called Ron, Harry and Hermione scum. According to Draco it didn’t count as a ‘proper’ introduction and his mother probably didn’t remember the incident anyway. Hermione remembered that day clearly and she could still remember what Narcissa Malfoy looked like up close. She was undeniably beautiful. Her skin was similar to Draco’s, almost translucent and essentially flawless; she didn’t have a pore or blemish in sight. Narcissa had high cheek bones and long lashes that framed her cerulean eyes.  Her hair was long and although it was blonde it was very light, almost as white as pixie dust. In that moment Hermione had envied her for having pin straight hair that fell smoothly down her back. Hermione didn’t know how she should act, what she would talk about and even more importantly what the hell she would wear. Narcissa obviously cared about image considering the way she held herself. Maybe Narcissa would hate her anyway. Or maybe not because Draco had told her that his mother acknowledged that Hermione was the reason for his sudden happiness. This was completely different from the way Hermione had been introduced to the Weasley family – she’d grown up with them and they were practically her second family. There were no nerves when Ron had finally told his mother they were in a relationship, Mrs. Weasley approved because she already knew who Hermione was as a person. Hermione wasn’t familiar with this new scenario of meeting parents, especially not with ex-Death Eaters thrown into the mix.

‘It doesn’t have to be this complicated.’

Hermione groaned once more before rolling over. ‘That’s easy for you to say, you don’t have to meet my parents.’

‘She’s looking forward to meeting you,’ Draco stated, his hands pulling at some clothes hanging in her closet. ‘And theoretically, if I was meeting your parents I wouldn’t be this caught up in my clothing choices.’

‘See, when you make comments like that it doesn’t help soothe my nerves.’

‘Do you need a Calming Draught?’ Draco asked with a raised eyebrow.

Hermione shook her head in annoyance and sorted through some dresses on the floor. ‘Why can’t I wear robes? Your mother prefers robes, doesn’t she?’

Draco scoffed. ‘The robes you have wouldn’t be decent enough, but be my guest.’

‘And a Muggle dress is?’

‘In this case, yes.’

Hermione held out a red lace dress that was sheer along the arms and around the chest, but with enough coverage to ensure that her neckline remained modest. It was safe. She tilted her head as she pressed the dress against her body.

‘You need to lengthen it,’ Draco said smirking as he pointed at the amount of thigh showing.

‘True,’ she muttered, heading toward the nightstand to fetch her wand. Hermione lengthened the dress enough so that it covered her knees. ‘Now?’

‘Decent enough.’

Hermione pulled the dress on, being careful not to mess up her hair which had been gathered up into a bun. She was about to ask Draco to help her, but he seemed to know because he was behind her pulling the zipper up. The scent of sandalwood reached her nose as his fingers lingered on her nape before sliding down her arms. She turned to face him, a small smile teased his lips before he spoke.

‘Red suits you,’ he said softly. ‘I was going to suggest that green dress, but my mother would have found that too crass.’

She caught sight of the beaded emerald green dress that was poking out of her closet. It was floor length with capped sleeves, a high neck and a slit on the side. It wasn’t hers, it was another one of Ginny’s dresses that she hadn’t returned because Ginny had insisted she keep it ‘just in case’. There really was no point to having a dress ‘just in case’ when you stopped appearing at events.

‘What do you mean by ‘too crass’?’ Hermione asked with a confused frown on her face. The dress was appropriate. She could’ve fixed the slit easily.

Draco chuckled at this. ‘You’ve really not made the connection yet?’

‘The dress is – oh,’ Hermione started before realising the implication of the colours. ‘Slytherin green.’

‘Slytherin green, indeed,’ Draco confirmed. ‘Mother would’ve thought I was making a statement.’

Hermione rolled her eyes. ‘It’s not that serious. It’s just a dress.’

‘Paired with these it would come across as quite serious.’

Draco held his palm out, two pyramid drop earrings were resting in the centre. Hermione knew they were made out of white gold when she took a closer look – her mother was partial to white gold when it came to jewellery. No one would mistake the glittering of the earrings to be anything but diamonds. The entire front surface of the earrings had diamond pave while the other three sides were matte finished. They had to cost a fortune. Normal people wouldn’t just give away such earrings, but then again Draco Malfoy wasn’t considered a normal person. She just stared for what felt like more than a few minutes before her eyes connected with his face.

‘Draco, I couldn’t possibly –’

‘You can.’

‘No, I really can’t –’

‘You can continue being difficult,’ he stated in frustration. ‘I’ll just charm them onto your ears.’

Hermione’s eyes narrowed. ‘You will not. I have a say in what I will or will not accept.’

‘You will accept these earrings as a gift.’

A staring contest ensued. She felt as though she’d reverted back to being thirteen years old, glaring at Draco Malfoy from across the classroom during Defence Against the Dark Arts after he’d made stupid comments about Remus Lupin’s clothing. His face was blank, eyes unblinking and she wondered what exactly he was thinking because she wanted to jinx him to make boils erupt all over his face. She bit the side of her cheek as her eyes watered and then she was forced to blink.

‘I won’t accept them,’ she said, breaking the silence and crossing her arms. ‘So I suppose you’ll just have to charm them on.’

‘Of course, I wouldn’t have expected any different,’ he retorted, his wand hand swishing as he said the spell under his breath. The earrings floated out of his hand and pierced through the holes in her ears gently. ‘They’re just earrings.’

‘No, they’re just very expensive earrings.’

‘You’re the first woman I’ve ever met who has had a problem with accepting a gift.’

‘We’ve already established that I’m quite different from the women you used to surround yourself with,’ she declared. ‘And I don’t think either of them have made it far enough to meet Narcissa Malfoy.’

‘Are you getting cocky now, Hermione?’

‘It’s the truth,’ she said, raising her chin.

She believed what she was saying, but she wasn’t exactly sure if any of his previous lovers had met Narcissa Malfoy. From what he’d told her previously she didn’t expect him to tell her otherwise and when he kept silent she knew that she was right. Draco sighed, running his hand through his hair before responding.

‘Will you always act this way when I try to gift you with something nice?’

‘Nice is subjective.’

Draco groaned. ‘Let me rephrase then. Will you always act so difficult when I try to gift you with something you deem very expensive?’

‘Yes, I suppose.’

‘So you’d rather I gift you with absolutely nothing?’

‘I didn’t say that,’ she defended.

‘What are you saying exactly?’

‘It’s not often that I’m gifted with…luxurious items. I usually receive things that are inconspicuous.’

‘Sometimes you use far too many words,’ he began. ‘You could’ve just said that ginger git is cheap.’

Her mouth dropped open. ‘Draco! I wasn’t referring to him. I meant in general.’

He scoffed. ‘In general, those you surround yourself with are cheap? That’s not much better.’

‘You know that’s not what I meant,’ she snapped, walking away from him to view herself in the mirror above her dresser. ‘You can be such a bloody wanker.’

Draco appeared in the mirror behind her and she avoided eye contact with him as she brushed a few stray strands behind her ears. She had to admit that the earrings were beautiful, they complemented her dress well and she supposed if she had worn that emerald dress it would’ve been too obvious. Too bad Draco knew how to muck things up royally. Where did he get off on judging people because of how much money they had? This was the Draco Malfoy she’d known at Hogwarts.

‘Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.’

From what Hermione could see he meant the apology as he held her gaze. It wouldn’t do well to continue this row when she was supposed to meet his mother soon.

‘I don’t think less of people because of their financial status.’

Hermione’s nose scrunched up. ‘I swear that if you’d taken a Time-Turner and gone back a couple of years you would’ve heard those exact same snotty remarks in the halls at Hogwarts.’

‘I don’t doubt it,’ he replied, Hermione could sense his hesitation as he tugged at her hand lightly. ‘I apologise for being thoughtless.’

‘Good,’ Hermione said, pursing her lips before facing him again. ‘Apology accepted.’

She finally noticed that Draco wouldn’t be changing into robes either when her eyes drifted along his form. He was wearing a navy suit with a vest underneath hiding a portion of his shiny grey tie. She smoothed down a small ruffle that was starting to form beside one of the black buttons. It was a nice suit, the material was soft against her fingers. He looked a little uneasy, the side of his mouth was twitching slightly. She knew it that he couldn’t be nervous, he didn’t seem to get nervous. Ever. His Adam’s apple bobbed a few times and then she realised something. He was uncomfortable with apologising to her over what he’d said. Yes, he had uttered a sorry here and there for a minor things, but this was the first time he’d ever seriously apologised to her. She’d gone to school with him for seven years and not once had she heard the word sorry come out of his mouth.

‘I’ve accepted your apology,’ she spoke, wrapping her arms around him. ‘I know it’s…hard for you.’

‘So I’ve become an open book now?’

Hermione smiled. ‘Just a good guess.’

‘I would’ve been more of a wanker if I didn’t apologise.’

‘True.’

At least he was capable of sharing his thoughts even though he didn’t exactly expand on them. One of the main issues she’d had with Ron always came down to his unwillingness to share his emotions. It was like pulling out teeth whenever she’d try to facilitate discussions about their feelings in regards to each other. Thinking about it now made it sound clinical, but having lengthy dinners or trying to get along while they were on a date wasn’t exactly clinical. Maybe if it had been more clinical it would’ve been a lot less painful. For Christ’s sake they hadn’t even had a proper conversation about why their relationship turned into such a pile of shite. Instead of actually talking to her he obviously preferred going to the media to slander her – not that it mattered anyway because she wouldn’t be making any public appearances in the Wizarding world any time soon. She didn’t want to ruin her mood with negative thoughts, but she did miss having Ron as a friend regardless of their disagreements. Thinking back on all those memories they shared with Harry made her sad, there wasn’t anything she could do about it now. At least she still had Harry. It would’ve been such a pain in the arse to break the news that she was dating Draco Malfoy to Ron and she was sure that once he found out he’d still have a conniption about it. Not that he had the right anymore. She wondered whether or not she should tell her parents about Draco before she told her friends. They knew about the Malfoy family after Lucius had harassed Arthur Weasley in Flourish and Blotts. After the school year had ended Hermione had had to explain pureblood supremacy to her parents which wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Of course they were concerned and her mother almost suggested pulling Hermione out of Hogwarts, but Hermione had managed to reassure them that she’d be safe. Needless to say they formed a relationship with the Weasley family to ensure that they were kept up to date on all the news happening in the Wizarding world. Along with all the ‘dangerous predicaments’, as her father liked to call them, that the Trio had gotten caught up in at Hogwarts.

‘I’m surprised that you still haven’t asked me where we’re headed to.’

Hermione blinked. ‘My grave, obviously.’

‘It’s not that foreboding,’ he said, holding back a laugh as he searched her face.

‘It really is,’ she assured him. ‘I haven’t thought of where it is because I’ve been too busy trying to hold myself together before I fall apart in front of your mother.’

He seemed to find this hilarious, his stupid laugh easily falling from his mouth. She really didn’t want to smile, but seeing him close to losing it made the corners of her lips turn up.

‘This is supposed to be serious, Draco.’

‘I know, but you’ve started to do that thing that you do when you’re nervous,’ he chortled. ‘You’re in dire need of a Calming Draught.’

‘The only thing I’m in dire need of is you shutting up,’ she mused.

‘I’m confident that you’ll change your mind when we reach our final destination.’

He was quick to hook his arm around hers with a grin on his face. Before she could respond her head felt like it was being squeezed through a straw. Various blurred shapes came into view and she shut her eyes quickly. She should’ve expected him to apparate without warning once again. If she got sick all over herself she was going to kill him. No, she would torture him before she killed him. The scent of roses filled her nose as her feet finally made contact with a hard surface, his hands were on her shoulders to steady her.

‘If you ever do that again I’m cutting your bollocks off and I’m going to serve them to you in a casserole,’ she hissed, opening her eyes. ‘I swear on all that is sacred that you’ll regret that you ever lived.’

Draco swallowed and squeezed her shoulders, his eyes darting to something behind her. Before she turned she knew what to expect. This would happen to her. A situation like this always managed to find her. She could feel the blood draining from her face and she steeled herself as she turned to face the woman standing behind her. Narcissa willowy figure was revealed in aubergine robes with her light blonde hair cascading down over her shoulders. There was a ruby pendant dangling in the middle of her chest that was hard to ignore because of the paleness of her skin – the blood red gem seemed to glow. The woman before her hadn’t seemed to age at all from the last time Hermione had laid eyes on her. Her skin was still smooth and unwrinkled. Narcissa’s cheekbones were still as high as ever and her nose was perfectly straight. Hermione could feel her heart beating erratically in her chest.

‘Mrs. Malfoy,’ she blurted. ‘I am so sorry…I –’

Narcissa’s face visibly softened, her mouth almost turning into a pout. ‘Dear, it’s quite alright. I love my son, but he can be so uncouth.’

Hermione let out a nervous giggle, a smile frozen onto her face. ‘N-no, Draco’s quite –’

‘It’s very kind of you to…defend Draco, but I’m aware that his manners have simply vanished through the years. It’s a shame. He used to be such a gentleman.’

Draco groaned audibly beside Hermione. ‘Mother –’

‘This is precisely what I mean,’ she interrupted, her eyes narrowing. ‘You can’t even be bothered to greet your own mother appropriately.’

Hermione bit down on her lip to stop herself from releasing a more authentic giggle. She was watching Draco Malfoy get scolded by his mother, this was priceless. She could tell her wasn’t pleased as he tugged at the collar of his shirt even though it was perfectly in place around his neck.

‘Hello, mother,’ he bit out. ‘Pleasure to see you.’

Narcissa’s eyebrow rose at the change of his tone, but she made no comment and her eyes focused on Hermione again. ‘Miss Granger, delighted to make your acquaintance.’

‘I’m pleased to finally meet you, Mrs. Malfoy,’ she said nervously. ‘I’ve only ever heard great things about you. Oh, and thank you for those wonderful chocolate cakes you’ve sent over.’

She seriously wanted to bite her tongue just about now. She was fucking rambling, which is exactly what she didn’t want to do. Thank you for those wonderful chocolate cakes you’ve sent over? Really? She could see Draco from the corner of her eye with a smirk plastered onto his face. She groaned internally.

‘Ah, so you have a sweet tooth as well,’ Narcissa stated, her eyes scrutinising Hermione’s body. ‘Fortunately for you it doesn’t show.’

‘Erm. Thank you?’

Narcissa nodded before walking through the door way into the other room. Only then did Hermione realise that they hadn’t landed in a swanky restaurant, this had to be a house. They were standing in a hallway with moving portraits lined on each side of the wall. From the similar features within the frames the subjects had to be part of the Malfoy line. There was a window down the hall where she could see green fields and leafy trees. Draco’s arm wrapped around her waist and he guided her into the other room silently. A Venetian style chandelier came into view, the crystal trim refracting the light around the dining room. The walls were dark green with dark walnut trim along the baseboard and ceiling. A long dining table covered with a simple white table cloth came into view, there were a few candles hovering close to the middle. Narcissa was eyeing Draco intensely and Hermione heard him sigh as he left her side to pull out one of the brown leather seats at the end of the table for his mother. Hermione could still feel the smile on her face and it was starting to hurt her cheeks. Draco was gesturing for her to take a seat in one of the chairs he’d pulled out and she obliged quickly, a small blush appearing on her cheeks. It wasn’t an everyday occurrence to have a chair pulled out for her to sit in. It was an archaic gesture, but she had to admit that it was still nice.

‘I can see that Draco doesn’t do this for you.’

Hermione cleared her throat. ‘I’m sorry Mrs. Malfoy, but we aren’t exposed to formal environments very often.’

‘Please, call me Narcissa,’ she said, placing a napkin onto her lap. ‘I’m of the opinion that we should drop the formalities.’

‘Well, then I insist that you call me Hermione.’

----------

Draco was watching Hermione’s body language. She was still nervous. Her shoulders were stiff, her fingers were starting to play with the napkin in her lap and when she wasn’t smiling she was sucking on her lower lip. If he didn’t feel so sorry for her he’d be laughing. His mother had obviously picked up on it as well, which was why she let Hermione ramble on about the bookshop while they were being served cream of lemon soup. It wasn’t done out of malice. No, Narcissa Malfoy respected Hermione Granger. His mother would never use those specific words, but she’d already let it slip when she had invited Hermione for dinner. Hermione was right in her previous assessment, his mother never bothered to invite any of his previous girlfriends over. Ex-girlfriends that she wouldn’t hesitate to call ‘gold digging bints’ and as it stood Hermione was the only woman Narcissa respected enough to use her given name. Hell, they were on a first name basis now. It made him a little bit uncomfortable to see his mother absorbing information about the new books that had just arrived in a Muggle bookshop and she didn’t seem the least bit bored. She was asking enough questions to sate Hermione’s threshold for sharing knowledge with another person. There were a few interruptions on Narcissa’s side when she made comparisons between Muggle literature and Wizard literature that seemed to excite Hermione enough. Now his mother was animatedly talking about a play called Antigone and Hermione obviously couldn’t help herself when she clapped her hands together in excitement. Her nervousness was gone now and the smile on her face wasn’t strained. The way she looked was comparable to the way she acted while flipping through pages in a new book. Hermione was beautiful and it was a shame that people hadn’t let her know that more often. It wasn’t about the glitter on her lids or the artificial blush smoothed onto her cheeks. It wasn’t just about the way her amber eyes lit up or how her giggle could turn into a snort if she was amused enough. Everything about this woman was striking. Hermione knew who she was and she knew what she wanted. If he really felt like it he was sure that he could debate with her all day about the incorrect translations within Magical Hieroglyphs and Logograms: A Revised Edition II. He was also sure that Hermione could persuade him into accepting that the translations were in fact correct – with evidence to back up her claims of course.

Hermione wasn’t brought up in upper class society which should’ve been an issue for his mother. It wasn’t. Hermione was well mannered enough which shouldn’t have been a surprise to him, it was nonetheless. Narcissa obviously approved of Hermione’s perfect table manners. Even though they shared meals often it was usually a casual affair and neither of them seemed to care about etiquette. Not that either of them went about licking plates or shoving food stuffs down their throats. At this point both women were basically ignoring Draco. He didn’t feel the need to add in his opinion, he didn’t exactly excel in Greek mythology, but he knew the basic gods. Whatever his mother was discussing with complete interest was news to him. At one point Hermione’s eyes drifted over to his and she gave him a crooked smile. He wanted to see that small freckle stretch out, but her lips were painted red tonight. She was comfortable sitting there adjacent to his mother which was a feat, but this didn’t surprise him in the least. If he was honest he was proud to share Hermione with his mother. Hermione could be charming, she just didn’t know it and if she was aware she most likely wouldn’t exploit it the way Draco did. Either way it didn’t matter because she had enough charm to keep his mother absorbed. It had been so long since he’d seen his mother this energetic. She’d had visitors over at the Manor and she was always planning the next event, but it never seemed to invigorate her the way it used to. Draco knew that most of these gatherings had to do with Narcissa having an aversion to spending time alone because it made it easier to ignore any problems she had.

‘The wine, Draco.’

Draco was brought back to reality. His mother’s eyebrows had risen and Hermione had her head tilted towards the black bottle beside him. That was until Narcissa’s slender fingers held onto the bottle to pour a well-aged Cabernet Sauvignon into Hermione’s glass.

‘I must say that your hosting skills are deplorable,’ Narcissa admonished.

Draco scowled. ‘It’s impolite to intrude into a conversation.’

‘Perhaps you should tell Hermione about Septimus Cottage because you haven’t told the poor girl where you’d be bringing her,’ Narcissa stated.

‘I tried to tell her,’ Draco smirked, glancing at Hermione who was trying to pace her sips of wine before cutting into a cider glazed lamb chop.

‘It was my fault,’ Hermione admitted, awkwardly shrugging her shoulders. ‘I was a bit nervous.’

Draco scoffed. A bit nervous was an understatement. She’d said it herself, she was on the verge of falling apart. At least she’d held herself together pretty well because she hadn’t twitched herself to death.

‘It happens to the best of us,’ Narcissa replied calmly.

‘But when you say Septimus that is in reference to Septimus Malfoy, I’m assuming,’ Hermione said.

Of course Hermione would know about his ancestors. She was a wellspring of knowledge after all. This seemed to surprise Narcissa.

‘It is in fact in reference to him,’ Narcissa responded. ‘Not many people from your generation know of him, if I’m being honest there aren’t many people from my generation who know him either. I suppose I’ve underestimated you.’

‘They wouldn’t unless they’ve read The Beginnings of the Ministry of Magic,’ Hermione explained. ‘It wasn’t on our book list at Hogwarts so there’s a low chance that those in my age group are even aware of a Malfoy being so closely involved at the Ministry around the 18th century. I mean, it wasn’t outright said in the book, but it was pretty obvious that Septimus Malfoy was Unctuous Osbert’s advisor. They downplayed his influence, I’m sorry to say this, he was a huge supporter of the International Code of Wizarding Secrecy Clause 73. It wasn’t a coincidence that it passed with full support from the Wizengamot.’

Narcissa was speechless. It did seem as though his mother had underestimated Hermione’s understanding of history within the Wizarding World. Both her brows had risen enough that the loose blonde strands around her face had partially hidden them.

‘Then I don’t need to tell you that this house was a gift from Unctuous Osbert,’ Draco said, breaking the silence.

That wasn’t mentioned, but it makes sense,’ she nodded, her eyes shifting back to Narcissa awaiting a response.

‘Yes,’ Narcissa finally spoke. ‘Yes, that was simply illuminating, Hermione.’

After dinner the rest of the evening went by far too smoothly. Draco was of the opinion that it wouldn’t have been possible if anyone but Hermione Granger was involved. He didn’t know if Hermione picked up on it yet, but his mother adored her. Narcissa Malfoy didn’t give house tours and she wasn’t a touchy feely person unless she was around her family. Lo and behold his mother had shown Hermione around the cottage and she didn’t hesitate to pat Hermione’s arm or pull her into a hug. Before the flames in the brick fireplace had turned green and engulfed his mother she’d tried to set up a time for tea – Draco had interrupted to tell her he would owl her later on.

‘You’re trying to get rid of me,’ she remarked in an unaffected tone.

‘Mother, it’s late.’

‘Hermione, I will be owling you and don’t you let Draco interfere!’

Hermione giggled much to his dismay. ‘He won’t. Goodnight again, Narcissa.’

‘Draco, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you should be honoured to be in her presence. Malfoy Manor!’

Narcissa was gone and Draco groaned.

‘What did she mean by that? Has she really said that about me before?’ Hermione asked in awe, as if his mother hadn’t tended to her every need that night.

‘Do I really have to answer that?’ he snorted, taking a seat on the dark chocolate couch.

‘I’m – wow. She’s amazing.’

‘Merlin…’

Hermione frowned. ‘Shouldn’t you be happy that we’ve gotten on quite well?’

‘Hermione, I would say that you’ve gotten along very well,’ he said. ‘Much better than either of us would’ve expected.’

‘I wasn’t expecting it to be a complete disaster –’

‘I wasn’t referring to you,’ he muttered, looking up at her.

‘Oh.’

 Hermione sank down beside him and rested her head on his shoulder. He sighed. He was glad that his mother liked Hermione, he really was. What he wasn’t looking forward to were the plans that she would make for them as she tended to get carried away. Draco wanted to take things slow and if it had been up to him he would’ve waited a few more months to introduce Hermione to his mother. He hadn’t quite recovered from his mother trying to push Astoria Greengrass and him together because she was close with the Greengrass family. There really wasn’t anything remarkable about Astoria. She was conventionally pretty at least, but she was also as dumb as a pile of rocks. She’d tried a few times to seduce him when they were alone and it might’ve worked if he didn’t have to hear her whiny voice coo in his ear. He could hardly talk to her, let alone stay in the same room as her. His mother had set up dates and family get-togethers that were simply painful. Somehow her sister Daphne was even thicker than Astoria, how either of them managed to graduate from Hogwarts was a mystery. They’d gotten their looks and their lack of smarts from their mother Andra, a witch who was so utterly dull he wasn’t exactly sure what his mother had seen in her. If his mother brought up marriage again he didn’t know what he would do. The last time he’d glared enough that it shut her and then he’d fucked a few socialites to make his point that he wouldn’t be marrying anyone any time soon.

‘Is this upsetting you?’

He shook his head and leaned back. ‘No, my mother can just get carried away.’

‘She’s really different, Draco.’

Considering Hermione had last seen her in person when barmy Bellatrix was slicing and dicing away at her arm, yes his mother was very different. The fact that Hermione was willing to meet his mother in the first place was testament to Hermione’s character.

‘The War changed a lot of people,’ he stated. ‘Including her, as you’ve seen.’

‘You mean it changed everyone,’ she declared, sitting up to face him.

‘Not everyone,’ he responded softly. ‘Not my father or those who still believe in the superiority of pureblood. They still exist, Hermione.’

----------

Draco’s eyes were shut. Of course she knew that pureblood supremacists were still out there – why else would she have received those anonymous letters? It was a fact that the War did change everyone, but she wouldn’t argue with him over it. His father’s ideology hadn’t changed, but his attitude towards life had because he was never seen in public anymore. Pureblood supremacists were hardly as loud as they used to be because they could be reprimanded for hate speech among other things. No, the world wasn’t perfect, but it had changed. Narcissa Malfoy was a perfect example of this. Hermione didn’t know what to expect and if she did expect anything she would’ve expected the cold woman she met in Diagon Alley. Hermione was wrong. Narcissa had been anything but cold.

‘I enjoyed this, you know,’ she confessed. 

‘I could tell. My mother doesn’t just hug anyone either.’

Hermione smiled at this. ‘I guess I wasn’t in dire need of that Calming Draught after all.’

‘Trust me, you needed it,’ he smirked. ‘Your stuttering leaves a lot to be desired.’

‘You’re still here, aren’t you?’

‘Are you going to make this sudden cockiness of yours a habit?’

‘I should if it annoys you this much,’ she joked, pushing his shoulder.

And then he did that stupid thing he always seemed to do at the most inappropriate times. His hand enveloped hers, a little heat reaching his eyes and he licked his lips. It was distracting. His palm was hot against her skin and she tried to pull it away. His grip tightened.

‘What are you doing?’

‘You said I could hold your hand, didn’t you? You are my girlfriend after all,’ he reasoned. ‘With my mother’s approval and all.’

Hermione hesitated. ‘You want to hold my hand?’

‘I’m doing it, aren’t I?’

Hermione nodded and he threaded his fingers through hers. His nails were perfectly manicured as always, the green veins were noticeable on the backs of his hands and along his palms. Hermione was only a few shades darker than him, but when their hands were threaded together there was a stark difference. They sat there without talking, crackling from the fireplace echoed through the living room. The cottage he’d moved into was very nice – a Malfoy always had to have the best according to Narcissa. There were far too many bedrooms that would go unused because Draco would be the only one living there. How many ensuite bathrooms did one really need? The same could be said for the two kitchens that Narcissa had shown her. The kitchens were basically a dream come true. It was such a pain in the arse to find a kitchen of a decent size in her neighbourhood, granted flats didn’t exactly come with a kitchen straight out of an IKEA catalogue. The other room that had her drooling was the library and there were no words to explain the immense size of it. The archway into the room was filled with books that she didn’t recognize and when she laid her eyes on the far wall and the surrounding area she could’ve cried. It was a two story library with impeccable cherry millwork and a miniature set of stairs that lead up to the second floor. The four corners of the room had tall windows that let in natural light along with the view into the garden. This is what she imagined heaven to be like. She had to stop herself from nestling into the suede armchair in front of the black marbled fireplace.

‘You should know that my mother doesn’t give house tours either,’ he mentioned, letting go of her hand and stretching it so that her palm was open.

‘What?’ Hermione started. ‘Are you going to read my palm now, Professor Trelawney?’

Draco chuckled before tracing the line in the middle, she gave a small shudder. ‘You don’t know everything, Hermione. You could’ve learnt a little something from ovomancy.’

Hermione snorted loudly trying to ignore the tickling sensation. ‘Right. Just like I learnt something from looking into crystal ball?’

Draco smiled and shook his head bringing her palm up to his lips. It was a dry kiss, but the centre of her hand was tingling where his pink lips had been. Right now she wished she wasn’t such a shit Legilimens so that she could have just an inkling of what he was thinking. If Harry was correct about Draco being an Occlumens then it would’ve been easy for him to shut his mind from her, so it didn’t matter did it? Either way she’d never know what he was thinking. He was so hard to read most times. It wasn’t on purpose, this was just Draco. He shared enough about himself to the point where he wouldn’t be oversharing, she was glad that he shared anything at all. She thought he’d be emotionally stunted due to his lack of any real relationships in his life. He never talked about love or even really liking a person for who they were until he’d confessed that he wasn’t opposed to being in a romantic relationship with her. Would it be extremely inappropriate to ask him if he’d ever been in love before? Maybe he’d think she was implying that she was in love with him. Was she in love with him? No, not yet. She could be. And that’s what scared her. Being in love was too unpredictable and she relied on predictability. Having Draco kissing her forehead, her hands, her shoulder blades and anywhere else was starting to pull her into that emotional pool of unpredictability. The fact that he meant these kisses to represent something other than lust was making it hard for her to ignore. Holding her hand and tracing lines across it didn’t mean that he wanted to fuck her into the couch. It meant something else. It meant something more. She knew meeting Narcissa hadn’t been his idea, but he’d gone along with it anyway and that really meant something. She had to tell her friends about him soon because she didn’t know how much longer she could avoid the subject without it coming across like this relationship should be kept a secret.

‘You’ll sleep over, yeah?’ Draco surmised.

‘I’ll…yes.’

‘You seemed miles away right then.’

‘I was,’ she admitted, it was useless to lie to him about anything anymore.

‘Do you care to share?’

‘Maybe. I don’t know.’

‘Come on,’ he retorted, tucking a stray strand falling out of her bun behind her ear. ‘You trust me, remember?’

‘It’s just a question,’ she rushed. ‘And I don’t want you to think that it has an underlying meaning or that I’m implying –’

‘Hermione, just ask the question.’

‘Have you ever been in love before?’

Draco took a few seconds to answer. She was really hoping that he wouldn’t mock her.

‘I thought I was,’ he smirked. ‘But it turned out she was a Veela.’                                                

‘You are such a prat,’ she grumbled, holding onto the cushion beside her and aiming it at his face.

‘Do you always have such violent tendencies?’ he questioned after deflecting the cushion with his hand.

‘Only when it comes to you,’ she muttered.

‘If puppy love counts then the answer is yes. Otherwise, the answer is no.’

‘Who?’ she blurted out, suddenly regretting it when Draco’s eyes narrowed in her direction. ‘You don’t have to answer that.’

‘Tracey Davis.’

Hermione frowned. She would have never expected the name Tracey Davis to be the response to that question. She didn’t pay much attention to Tracey, but she never saw her around Draco. She’d been expecting Pansy Parkinson at least. It wasn’t a farfetched guess because Pansy had spent her time fawning over Draco whenever she could.

‘It was very short lived, so you can stop yourself from overthinking it,’ Draco clarified.

‘I’m not overthinking it, just to be clear,’ she replied. ‘I was expecting you to say Pansy.’

‘I’m sorry I haven’t met your expectations,’ he said coolly.

‘I mean, everyone thought you were with Pansy so –’

‘We were Slytherins. Appearances can be deceiving.’

‘Not even a bit of it was real?’

‘No.’

‘Pansy should’ve thought about becoming an actress.’

Draco’s eyebrow rose. ‘I didn’t say it wasn’t real from her side.’

‘But –’

‘Have you ever been in love, Hermione?’ Draco drawled.

He was such a bastard. She should’ve known that he would end up asking her the same question.

‘I don’t have to answer that.’

‘I’ve been accommodating,’ he stated.

‘Fine,’ she accepted. ‘I wasn’t in love. I was charmed by the idea of love, but I wasn’t in love.’

‘I know.’

Hermione rolled her eyes. ‘Why would you ask?’

‘To see if you’d admit it to yourself.’

‘You think you know everything, but –’

‘I don’t know everything,’ Draco sneered. ‘But I do know most things about you. I know that a woman like you wouldn’t continue sleeping with another man if she wasn’t lacking a connection in her life. That connection being love.’

Hermione started to play with her lace sleeve. She didn't have anything to add to the conversation, he was right. She knew was love was, but she couldn't tell anyone what being in love meant or what it felt like. Maybe she could tell them what the beginning phase felt like. Draco continued.

‘Your silence says it all, doesn’t it? Sometimes you think so loudly that I can pick up on it without meaning to. I usually don't comment, but this time I will because you seem to be blind to the facts. If I didn’t push you to ask me that question you never would have asked, would you? You’re scared for the same reasons I am and I can’t promise you anything solid. I can only tell you that I’ll try my best because that’s all I can do. I never let my happiness come from other people because it's unreasonable, but I’ve done it with you. I want to do this with you despite how illogical it all seems. It shouldn't make sense, but it does. I hold your hand because I want to. I kiss your body because I want to. It makes me happy. Waking up in the morning to have you snuggled by my chest while you look as serene as you do, that makes me happy. These are the types of thoughts that run through my head, Hermione. You don’t need to be a Legilimens, you need only ask.’