Even though lights still shone from every window and trees were still filled with baubles, and generally people were still merrily wishing each other happy holidays, Hermione didn’t feel very festive on Boxing Day. She’d barely made it out of the house that night. Another fight with Ron; there was always a fight with Ron.
The mark on her wrist where she was bound to him ached under the demands of her marriage. She hated it, hated him. But, she was stuck because once she’d allowed herself to be an idealist, to believe in the magic of young love conquering all.
She was a prize idiot.
What she never realized was that people change and so do their priorities. She was ambitious, determined to carve a name for herself in the wizarding world she’d helped save. He thought being a war hero bought him a lifetime of ease and wanted to coast through it without effort. They were as different as night and day.
And then she ran into Malfoy.
Boxing Day two years ago. He was married, a condition of his inheritance. She was married, a result of poor decision making. But they clicked and their magic sung whenever they’d cozy up in a dark corner of the pub. It started innocent, until it wasn’t anymore.
When she walked into the hole-in-the-wall pub in Knockturn Alley, it was crowded and noisy. Just how they liked it. She saw him easily; perfectly swept blonde hair, pointed features, and icy gray eyes watching every step she took. His lips lifted, hers too, as she carried herself forward and into their booth.
“I didn’t think you’d come,” he said by way of greeting. His arm was around her shoulders immediately as she slid next to him. “We said half six.”
No further explanation was given. They’d decided long ago to speak rarely about their significant others. Malfoy knew enough. He pulled her close and kissed the side of her head. The ache in her wrist dulled and she felt the strings around her heart vibrate with life.
“How was Christmas?” He asked her, hand gently stroking her arm.
“Horrible,” she said and cuddled further into his side. “I tried so hard to see you.”
“Mother and father wouldn’t have allowed it.” Draco smoothed her hair down, the rats nest that it was, and played with a frizzy curl. “Astoria pleases them.”
She couldn’t stop the dramatic eye roll that followed his words. Perfect Astoria, pureblood and without flaws. Hermione’s surprised they hadn’t thrown a fit that she hadn’t conceived the heir yet.
“Are you jealous, love?” She felt the smirk against her temple. “You know I don’t love her. Even if I wanted to, my soul is yours.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Her tone was petulant but she couldn’t stop it even if she wanted to. Which she didn’t. “I don’t want to talk about her, okay?”
“What’ll it be, darlings?”
A curvy waitress, decorated in golds and reds, stood at their booth with a wide smile. Hermione wished she could be so carefree, able to smile at those around her as if her life wasn’t imploding around her. Hermione took a breath and ordered a tall firewhisky while Draco ordered aged scotch.
“She thinks we’re having an affair,” Draco told her after several moments of silence. “Interesting mind, actually. She’s rooting for us.”
“Do you just listen to everyone’s thoughts, then? You know being a legilimens is a huge responsibility.”
His lips were against the soft flesh just south of her ear. He kissed her briefly and exhaled sharply through his nose when she shivered against him.
“Not everyone’s.” Draco swept her hair away from her shoulder so that he had better access to the spots that drove her wild. “I need to know who might recognize us. No need for my wife or your husband to find out what we do in the shadows.”
“Merlin, why did we let this get so complicated?”
She’s got a tall glass of firewhisky in her hand and she began to nurse it quickly. Nothing beat the sting of heat in her throat or the fuzzy feeling that took over once she emptied her glass. Draco, on the other hand, sipped his drink slowly.
“Can I see it?” Draco nuzzled his nose against her hair and the sound he made was more begging than a simple question. “I need to see it.”
“It’s not exactly in a place I can show you in a pub,” she reminded him. “You might have cast a disillusionment charm, but those are fallible, you know.”
“Oh, I remember.”
Suddenly, his fingers weren’t trailing along her arm any longer, but were dragging against her jeans from kneecap to pocket. She stole a deep breath and tried to smother the rising flush that crept from her chest to her cheeks.
They’re bonded. Unbreakable. Terrible. Cruel. Her mark for him was inside of her thigh, a birthmark that looked remarkably like a dragon whose wings moved protectively when she watched it come to life. His, well, it’s much more pronounced and more difficult to hide. Along the planes of his upper back, his mark - a playful otter swam in circles around the sinew and bone.
“It’s been two years since I found you, Hermione.” His thumb rubbed tight circles against the denim on her thigh, moving minutely lower where it was warmer and where she desperately wanted to feel him. “Two years, and I’m forced to watch you pretend to love that-”
“Don’t, Draco.” Her voice was hoarse, pleading, as Draco snorted an unamused noise against her neck. “It’s two years more than most people get.”
“Will you leave him?” Draco’s thumb was no longer on her leg, but had traveled to the crux between her thighs. She pressed her legs together as if that would stop him. It didn’t. “If I begged, would you leave him for me?”
She could barely feel his fingers against her but still bucked toward him as if that would give her enough friction to be satisfied.
“It’s not that easy and you know it.” Because they’ve talked about it a million times in two years and there was no way to guarantee they wouldn’t destroy their magic by breaking their marriage bonds. “Ronald will never agree to it. He’d rather see me miserable than with you.”
“And Astoria would rather be dead than a divorcée.” Draco’s fingers climbed the zipper of her jeans and then popped her button open. “The room isn’t ready yet, but I want you now.”
“Draco, we can’t-” Hermione gulped as the sound of her zipper filled their small space and the waitress approached them again.
“She’ll have two more, and bring me the bottle of scotch.” He didn’t even look at the waitress, just kept his face against her neck and nibbled at her neck. “I want to see it. I need to see that you’re still mine.”
“There’s a pub filled with people.”
Why couldn’t he understand? She reached down to his hand and tried to pull it away, but he gripped her fingers tight and used hers in place of his. When the waitress brought their drinks, he tipped her a ridiculous amount and told her they were set for the evening.
“You keep your fingers there and I’ll cast so many repellant charms that the best seekers in the world wouldn’t be able to see us.” When he moved his fingers and hers didn’t leave the place he left them, he smirked triumphantly. “Good girl.”
Hermione couldn’t stop the flush of desire that ran the length of her spine. God, this was what she loved about Draco the most; he wanted her so bad he was willing to lay her flat on a table in the middle of a crowded pub and claim her in front of everyone. He was true to his word and placed several advanced charms on their booth to repel attention and restrict anyone who might look at them from knowing what they were up to.
His hand replaced hers as soon as he pocketed his wand. “Drink your whisky, love. Relax.”
She did as she was instructed and pounded back one of the two tall whiskies. His fingers moved against her knickers, drawing out a sharp gasp from her throat. The ends of his blonde hair tickled her jaw as he pressed his lips into her throat and licked and nibbled at the skin there. A brilliant haze surrounded her vision and her breathing became shallow with desperate moans.
There was no doubt he liked her like this; undone by his actions, begging for more.
“You’re so wet,” he told her as a finger slipped past the band of her underwear and found the warmth of her cunt. “I wish I could have you every night.”
She wasn’t sure what to do with her hands but they were itching to touch him. As if he knew what she was thinking - and she believed him when he promised her he’d never read her thoughts - he pushed off his suit jacket and only allowed his hand to leave her for the split second it took to remove the jacket fully from his body. Her hands found the hem of his black sweater and slid it up his torso. When her hands made contact with his hard body, his stomach clenched and his fingers dipped inside her again.
“Look around the bar,” he commanded her before sucking on a delicate piece of her skin and drawing a gasp from her. “Do you see them glancing this way as if they know something’s happening? Like they’re missing something?”
She looked and saw exactly what he meant. A hag in the corner was peering at them as if she’d witnessed Draco putting up the wards and wanted to see what they were up to. A burly man at the bar kept glancing over his shoulder. Two mates at a table kept staring at her and leaned into one another as if to discuss what they were seeing. She swallowed, because dammit, it really turned her on.
“Fucking hell, witch, you’re soaking.” He pressed harder into her and circled his thumb around her clit. When she bucked, he groaned and used his free hand to adjust his trousers. “Can I remove your bottoms?”
She didn’t waste any time wiggling her bum as he shimmied her trousers and then her knickers down to her calves. The world swam around her as the firewhisky reminded her of its presence. It was pleasant, the awareness that her inhibitions were lowered but not actually giving a damn. She felt light and warm and unafraid of the horrible situation their soulbond put her in. It was freeing and with Draco’s attention, it was also pleasurable.
“Spread your legs a little,” he instructed her with light pressure against the inside of her thigh. She did as she was told and her face flushed when she saw the burly man at the bar staring directly at her as if he had a prime view of her cunt. She kicked the trousers off her calves, freeing herself from their restrictions.
Draco wasted no more time. His fingers played with her, spread her wide and then circled the bundle of nerves that drove her wild. She jerked her hips and tried to get him to delve inside of her, to let his long fingers hit the sensitive parts of her. But he didn’t. Instead he kept teasing her clit and sucking her neck until she was a mess of whimpers and pleas for him to give her what she desperately wanted.
“You want me to fuck you on this table?” He nipped her earlobe and dipped just the tip of his finger inside of her. She clenched and nodded. “Hermione Granger, Gryffindor Golden Girl, wants me, Draco Malfoy, Slytherin Death Eater, to put her legs over my shoulders and fuck her hard in front of a bar filled with wizards?”
A feral sound ripped itself from Hermione when Draco’s fingers finally drove into her. Quick, hard, and mercilessly in and out. Her legs stiffened as her hips tried to follow his movements and he chuckled against her throat with every frenzied thrust of her hips. His thumb left her tingling clit and pressed into the dragon mark on the inside of her thigh.
She orgasmed immediately, his name repeatedly falling from her lips while he told her what a good and filthy girl she was. Her soul preened at his praise and for the first time in months, she felt complete and sated. The dragon on her thigh tingled while the thrum of her heart vibrated wildly in her chest.
Draco didn’t allow her more than a few moments to catch her breath. He pushed his trousers and underwear down and then yanked Hermione on top of him, but instead of facing him - which was her favorite position with Draco - he kept her facing forward so that she could watch the people who were one Finite Incantatem away from watching her get fucked.
So many eyes were watching the corner that must have appeared not to exist at all. But as Draco’s hand met the small of her back and bent her forward over the table, she closed her eyes and let him guide his cock straight into her.
“This feeling will never get old,” he told her through clenched teeth.
The hiss of his pleasure caused her gut to clench; he never realized how sexy his noises were. His hand came down on her arse - a quick slap that forced her to grind down fully. She moaned and circled her hips and when Draco took her cheeks into his hands it sent a cascading flood of pleasure straight to her cunt.
“Open your eyes, Hermione.” She obeyed immediately. Her fingers curled into the table as Draco guided her movements up and down. “Watch them while I fuck you. Imagine they can see why you’re screaming.”
While Draco set the pace, it did little to keep her from speeding up. She bounced on top of him and used the table for leverage. Her knees dug into the matte material of the booth and with each of Draco’s upward thrusts she’d cry out his name.
The relentless assault lasted ages. She thought she’d die from the stimulation of it, getting so close but not finishing over and over again. It’s like he knew exactly how close she was to the edge and chose that moment to slow down. All of her noises were whimpers, alternating between his name and unintelligible puffs of air. He liked it when she was loud, she decided, because he’d call her a good girl and smack her arse. She lived for his gravelly groans each time she was impaled completely on his cock.
“Bloke at the bar,” he said, directing her gaze with a strained voice. “Look at his hand.”
She did and her eyes widened. The burly bloke at the bar was rubbing himself through his trousers while downing whatever clear poison he’d chosen for the night. Hermione moaned and sped up her pace, fucking Draco harder against the booth. It rattled under her movements and she couldn’t keep her cries quiet anymore. Her eyes squeezed shut and she bounced as fast as her hips could go.
Draco groaned deep in his throat and held on tight to her arse. “Fuck, you little minx. You love this, don’t you? The idea that he’s getting off to you fucking me? Fuck. You’re so hot. Keep fucking me, Hermione. Harder.”
His hand came down on her arse again and every muscle in her body contracted. The noise that tore its way from her was almost inhuman, guttural and desperate. Draco followed immediately, pushing her hips further down so that his cock was buried as deep as possible. He held her in place as he emptied himself inside of her. She twitched through his orgasm and let her forehead fall against the table. The cool surface was a stark difference from the heat her body was emitting.
Merlin, she hadn’t ever felt this satisfied. The soul mark on her leg pulsed lightly while the marriage bond on her wrist felt cold. Almost as if it weren’t there at all.
“Hermione?” Draco coaxed her off the table, pulled her trousers on, and guided her gently to sit next to him again. He held her whisky out and nodded at it. “Take a drink, love. You deserve it.”
As she sucked down the amber liquid, she watched as he tucked himself into his clothes and then nixed the magical barriers around them. Hermione’s eyes fell on the man at the bar; he was no longer touching himself, but had four empty glasses around him. She giggled against the lip of her glass and settled against Draco’s side as he pulled her close.
“My chest stings.” Draco rubbed an area just below his clavicle. His lips pinched as he drew a sharp breath through his nose. “How’s your wrist?”
“It’s cold.” Hermione shrugs. Each time they meet, Hermione notices the same thing; it feels as if it’s not there at all, whereas the rest of the time it burns. “Why would your chest sting? Is that normal for you?”
He shakes his head and little chunks of hair fall across his forehead. “The soulbond feels amazing. Like it’s zinging through me. I feel invincible. But, the marriage bond…”
“Do you think she knows?” Worry laced her words. If Astoria knew, it would ruin everything. “Why wouldn’t we feel the same?”
“Haven’t you researched bonds? I thought if anyone would know…”
She bit her lip. “It’s usually a sign of the bond being alive. Where mine feels cold and removed, it’s likely because my marriage is ending.”
His head snaps up and his fingers force her chin up so that she’s staring right into his eyes. “Your marriage is ending?”
She shrugs and laughs humorlessly. “It was never going to last forever, was it? It still stings every once in a while - during a fight or when there’s high emotion between him and I. But otherwise…”
“Fuck.” Draco turns away and places his elbows on the table. He runs his hands over his face and he suddenly looks so exhausted. “She’ll never leave me.”
“I’ll lose more than my inheritance if I leave her, Hermione. We’ve talked about this. Pureblood marriage bonds are-”
“I know, I know.” She sniffed. “It’s just that if Astoria isn’t happy, then why would she stay? You’ve made it quite clear to her that you don’t love her.”
“Why does Weasley stay?” Draco’s pale brows were lifted. “We made horrible decisions after the war and we have to live with it.”
“This is killing me, Draco.”
She felt it every time she walked away from him. When she had to say goodbye, her heart shattered. There were only so many times she could put it back together again.
Her head was between his hands in an instant and his gray eyes bore into hers. He held her so carefully, so lovingly that no one would ever guess he’d just fucked her into hysterics.
“If I begged, would you leave him?” Draco asked on a soft breath. His eyes snapped between hers and she smiled a little. “I can’t breathe knowing you sleep next to him every night.”
“And you don’t think-”
“I know. Hermione, I know.” He kissed her long and slow and wrapped her hair in his hands so that he could control the depth of their kiss. When he pulled away, she’s entirely disheveled by him again. “Merlin, I know. But it’s different. I don’t even sleep in the same room with her.”
She didn’t know that and she found herself feeling much lighter after hearing it. He pulled her close against his side again and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. They sat side by side and watched the patrons of the bar as they come and go. The thrum of their bond was so strong between them and Hermione enjoyed as many moments as she could steal here next to him. He seemed to do the same as neither of them made to leave until well after midnight.
“If I leave him,” she said after a long silence, pulling his attention from a dancing couple, “would you bond yourself to me? Properly seal our soul bond?”
He wets his lips. “But, you said you didn’t want-”
“I know what I said.” Hermione glances down at her wrist where the marriage bond was entirely numb. “But I think… I think I changed my mind a long time ago.”
“Yes.” There’s no hesitation. “I will bond my soul to yours, today or tomorrow or in fifty years, Hermione, yes.”
“Then I’ll leave him,” she promised him softly. Her eyes sparkled as they met his and she smiled. He returned it with his own, small smirk. “Happy Christmas, Draco.”