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Compulsion

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She is obsessed with him.

Obsessed.

She cannot stop thinking about him.

Dreaming about him.

Seeing him everywhere she goes.

He is in the library when she walks in - head down, sitting in that same seat he’s always sitting in, headphones in, ignoring the world around him. Ignoring her - and it drives her insane. That he will not look up. Will not acknowledge her existence when he is all she can think about.

She doesn't even know his name.

But she knows he is her’s. Knows with every ounce of her being that the pull she feels - that tugs her towards him every single day is because he is her Alpha and she is his Omega. She is lucky that she has not experienced a heat yet, that she has not experienced that unbearable fever that will rob her of her faculties and leave her merciless to the attentions of any Alpha who wishes to dip his dick into her wet, welcoming, eager cunt.

She is lucky.

But not that lucky apparently.

Because Harry does know him and Hermione almost vomits when her best friend, an alpha, introduces her to his boyfriend - her alpha- and this is terrible, horrific, nightmare inducing and she is going to be si-

“Hermione.” He says, hand extended, eyes glittering with amusement and her hands are sweaty and she has to wipe them subtly on the side of her jumper before she can shake hands with the boy, no man , that shes been thinking about every night as she presses her hand against her cunt and twitches her fingers against her clit and-

How can he not know who she is?

How can he not know that he is hers and she is his?

“Nice to meet you,” she chokes out.

“You too,” he smirks, throwing his arm around Harry’s shoulder and pulling her best friend into him. “Harry’s told me all about you.”

She looks away just as he begins to rub tiny circles with his thumb against Harry’s shoulder and she swallows heavily, dipping her head in acknowledgement.

“Wish I could say the same.” She whispers.


 

She leaves London for a year.

Everything is too hard and monotonous and Malfoy has a fantastic french villa he is all but happy to let her use whilst he stays home to take care of his sick mother while his promiscuous father pretends nothing is wrong. She loves him all the more for the fact that he does not ask her why she is running away and does not question her when he visits and finds her sobbing over her laptop and does not say a word when he takes her into his arms and kisses her and she mumbles the name “Tom” against his lips and-

She loves him.

And she wishes that that were enough for her, for him; but he deserves better and so when he brings the younger Greengrass sister to visit one afternoon she smiles and grins and laughs because she is happy for him.

Happy that he has found his mate. That he will no longer feel the burn of an impossible itch beneath his skin as he fucks his fiance because she is his.

And so she leaves.

And goes home.

Alone.


 

“I missed you,” Harry says, wrapping her in his arms and pressing his lips against her forehead and she sighs and relaxes into him because she missed him too more than she knew and thought was possible and she is happy to see him.

He is her best friend.

“I missed you too” she murmurs into his neck as she steps back from him and slides into the booth of the three broomsticks and sips at her glass of Chardonnay. “How have you been?” She swallows. “Hows’,” She wrings her hands and looks up at him, “Tom?”

He blinks at her and shrugs as he takes a sip of his beer, knuckles rapping against the tabletop as he looks around the room. “Fine. I think.” Hermione blinks at him as his words and their meaning register. “I haven’t seen him in a few months not since we bro- ahh here she is,” he says standing from the table and then he is wrapping his arms around the older Greengrass sister, Daphne, and she is smiling, dimpling up at Harry and it is so obvious to Hermione who she is.

“It’s so nice to see you,” Daphne says and it is nice to see her - lovely, wonderful- Hermione is ecstatic.

She stands from the table and grins at the Blonde as she wraps her arms around her and smirks at Harry over her shoulder. “I bet you can’t wait to be related to Malfoy.”

Harry spits his drink out and Hermione almost chokes she laughs so hard at the look on his face.


 

She does not go to her usual hangouts.

She does not tempt herself.

He knew who she was - he must have - and did nothing.

Did nothing to keep her for himself and so she will not give him the opportunity to do so again.

Even though it feels like a knife is ripping through her soul everyday and it feels like her jaw will break with how forced her smiles feel and when her heat strikes forces her to lock herself in her apartment so that no one can manipulate her into fucking them - into giving herself to them - she curses and cries and fucking whines for him as her traitorous mind reminds her just who exactly could make her feel better. Make her feel whole.

From thinking about what it would feel like to be wrapped up in his arms. To feel him pressed against her. It’s worse during her heat, normally she can grit her teeth and force herself to think of someone, something else but not then.

Not when her body is screaming for her alpha to take care of her. To thrust his cock inside of her and knot her as he throbs inside of her, filling her with his come as he tweaks her nipples between his fingers and tells her what a good girl she is. As he marks her not only with his come but with his teeth - teeth that bite into the flesh of her neck and mark her as his.

It’s this thought, to her great shame, that has her shattering beneath her own hand almost every night before she falls asleep sobbing.


 

“Are you ok?” Draco asks. He is looking at her in the reflection of the mirror as she sits on the edge of his bed, fiddling with the hem of her dress as he struggles to fix his tie and -

“I’m fine.” She smirks up at him. “Are you?”

“Fuck off.”

She laughs and stands from the bed and approaches him, taking the tie from his hand and wrapping it around his neck before tying it for him. “You look very handsome,” she murmurs, toying with the lapels of his shirt. “Astoria is very lucky.”

He takes a shuddering breath and nods and then he is smirking at her. “I know.”

“Malfoy. Granger. Hurry up in there. The time for your illicit affair to end has come.”

Hermione laughs as Draco scowls. She presses a kiss against the corner of his mouth and sighs into his neck. “I’ll see you later. Good luck.”

“I’m a Malfoy. I don’t need luck.”

She leaves the room and rolls her eyes at Theo, Draco’s best man, as she passes him and his lecherous wink. He is handsome and a nice distraction and if he is just the right amount of smug later she might let him take her home and fuck her against her dresser as he watches her shatter around his cock in the mirror because without a doubt Theodore Nott is the kind of man who enjoys that sort of thing and would enjoy doing very few things more that breaking her beneath him.

She thinks she might let him.

She is so distracted by her thoughts that she does not pay attention as she makes her way towards her seat. And it is only when she settles into it and accidently ghosts her hands over her neighbours that she realises just who else is in attendance for Malfoy’s wedding.

“Granger right?” He says and Hermione wants to cry because this is unfair and ridiculous and how could she have been such an idiot as to think that Draco would not - Oh she is going to kill the smarmy bastard when she sees him next but only after he has wed his bride because Narcissa has worked herself into a tizzy over this wedding and she will not do anything to upset the woman who has treated her like one of her own over the years.

She swallows and tilts her head in his direction and squints at him because fuck him if he thinks he can just notice her now and that she will fall at his feet with no repercussions for how he has treated her in the past.

“Tom?”

Chapter Text

“I didn’t know you’d be here,” he says, his eyes flitting across her face and down her person but then he’s turning away from her to face the front again and Hermione frowns at him. At his tone, because there is something amiss, something she is missing altogether and -

“I wouldn’t have come if I’d know you were going to be here.” He continues and she flinches. Her head jerks back without any conscious thought as though he has slapped her. She thinks it might have hurt less if he had.

She looks away from him, blinking rapidly to prevent tears from ruining her makeup as she turns to the front and clenches her jaw. “I’m sorry,” she grits out. “I didn’t realise my presence offended you so much.”

She presses her hand against her sternum and takes a deep breath because it hurts - it hurts so fucking much and this right here is why she left Britain in the first place. Because this pain is too much to bear. This rejection is - it is not fair. Not fair that it is only her that must feel like this.

“What?” He asks startled and she can see - from the corner of her eye -  that he has turned to look at her but she will not give him the satisfaction of looking him in the eye. She has already thought of every single reason and excuse about why he does not want her. She is not so much of a masochist as to endure him telling her himself.

But he does not get a chance to speak again, not to her, because the band has started to play and she can see that Narcissa is ushering the final few guests into their seats and -

“Theo!” She says, snatching a hold of Draco’s best man as he walks past her. He looks down at the hand she has wrapped around his wrist, his face twisted in a sneer until he sees her face and then, then he does something that surprises Hermione. And if it surprises her she can only imagine how Tom must be feeling because his eyes flit from her face to Tom’s and back to hers and his face changes. There's a smirk tugging at his lips and then he’s settling into the seat beside her, one arm wrapping around her shoulders in the process and sliding his fingers through hers until they’re linked.

She cannot stop looking at their hands because what the actual fuck and - she doesn’t even get the chance to jerk her hand from his grip before he is pressing his lips against the shell of her ear and breathing the words, “just go with it,” against them and suddenly every hair on her body is standing to attention and goosebumps are erupting along her skin and Hermione Granger realises in the moment that she looks up at Theodore Nott and he grins at her and squeezes her hand that he is an Alpha too, not hers no but someone who could look after her if she chose to let him - like she was considering only twenty minutes ago anyway.

She nods minutely, leans into his embrace and looks back at her Alpha. “Theo, Tom. Tom, Theo.”

“Nott.”

“Riddle.”

This is something else she is missing, there is something connecting these two men she is sandwiched between but then everyone is standing and Draco is looking between her and Theo, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion as to why he is with her and not him but then the music is playing and Astoria is moving up the aisle and-


 

“Are you having a good time?” Harry asks and Hermione shrugs and smirks as she watches Genevieve Greengrass drag her new son in law around the dance floor as though he were a ragdoll. Harry hasn’t noticed and Hermione can’t wait for his wedding to Daphne so that she can watch the Greengrass Matriarch do the same thing to him.

“I’m fine.” She mumbles into her quickly depleting glass of champagne, shooting him a small smile - that quickly turns into a grin - when both Greengrass sisters (though technically Astoria is a Malfoy now) appear beside them.

“Congratulations,” She grins at Astoria, taking the younger girls hand in hers and beaming at her. “You look beautiful. I’m so happy for you.”

Astoria smiles back and suddenly launches herself forward, wrapping her arms around Hermione neck, who looks at Daphne from the corner of her eye. But her friend is just laughing and tugging Harry away and -

“Astoria,” she nudges gently, glancing around her quickly before she pulls the young bride aside. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

“You’re crying,” Hermione replies, crossing her arms and lifting an eyebrow at her.

Astoria, huffs, a shaky little laugh that immediately sets Hermione’s worries to rest. “I’m just so happy that you’re here for Draco.”

“Of course I’m here for him. It’s his wedding day -”

“And that you’re not angry with m-”

“Astoria,” she laughs, “Why would I be angry with you?”

She blinks up at her. “Well weren’t you-”

“No. No. No.”

“But-”

“Did we have some sort of relationship? Yes. Was it anything more than one friend helping out another? No.” She drains the remainder of her drink and sets the glass down on the window ledge behind her. “Draco is a very good friend Astoria. And I was, and still am incredibly happy for the pair of you.”

“Thank you,” Astoria murmurs but Hermione is already walking away.

“Don’t worry about it,” she says, turning her head to look back at the bride over her shoulder and walking straight into another guest. “Oh God I’m so sor-”

“Not to worry Granger,” Theo smirks down at her, taking her hand in his and effortlessly pulling her into a waltz around the dancefloor. There are more than a dozen other couples surrounding them as he weaves them across the dancefloor and no one is paying any attention to them.

Probably why he lets the palm of his hand rest at the top of her bum.

Probably why she leans into his body and lets him.

That and the champagne of course.

Nothing to do with how she can see Riddle, from the corner of her eye, moving about the dance floor with some red headed chit on his arm even as he glares at her.

“Are you having a good time?” Theo asks, mumbling against the shell of her ear as he dips his head down. She looks up at him. He is very tall. And handsome. With dark hair and green eyes and -

She is struck with two realisations in quick succession.

One. He looks like Tom.

Two. Although they are both tall, dark, handsome, he is not her mate . Not her Alpha.

She hums and wraps her arms around his neck, stepping into him so that there is barely a few millimetres between them. She can feel her nipples pressing insistently against the thin satin of her dress. She wonders if Theo can feel them pressing into his chest?

“Better now I suppose,” she smirks up at him. “You?”

“It’s fine I suppose,” he replies narrowing her eyes at her as she scrapes her fingernails along the small patch of skin at the back of his neck. Granger!” He growls, warns and she looks up at him from beneath her lashes knowing that she looks coquettish and innocent but that the way she is tugging her bottom lip between her teeth is anything but.

“Yes?” She simpers up at him, tugging the hair at the nape of his neck between her fingers.

“Stop that.”

“What?” She asks as she presses herself completely into him and his breath hitches and if he couldn't feel her nipples pressing into him before he can now and -

“You’re playing with fire sweetheart. I will burn you.” He grumbles, moving both his hands to her hips, pressing his prominent erection against her stomach and nudging his nose along the column of her throat grazing her scent glands in the process and she shivers beneath him and suddenly it doesn’t matter that this is Draco’s wedding and that this is Draco’s best friend and that he is not her alpha because he is hard and heavy against her and she is oh so ready for him - she can feel the copious amount of slick between her thighs -  to take her upstairs and show her a good time.

She deserves a good time.

“Prove it then” she smirks up at him and he blinks down at her, obviously shocked by how serious she is but she is already slipping her hand into his and tugging him across the dancefloor and up the stairs towards the room Narcissa escorted her to earlier on in the day as hers never giving him a chance to change his mind.

To leave her high and well, not dry but, unsatisfied.

She steps into the room and stands at the foot of her bed - the bed she sleeps in every time she stays here but as never had anyone else in - and stares at him.

He is staring just as hard at her.

“You’re sure?” He manages to rasp out. “You’re not just in heat and need someone to take care of you?”

“I can take care of myself during my heat thank you very much,” she huffs, rolling her eyes and slipping the straps of her rose gold dress off of her shoulders and stepping out of it as the fabric pools around her feet and leaves her in nothing but the high heeled stilettos she forced herself into earlier that day and the tiny scrap of nude lace between her legs. She thumbs her nipples and groans at her own touch as her eyes flutter shut. She cannot wait to feel his skin against hers and her eyes snap open when she feels his hand stroke the curve of her breast.

“Oh sweetheart,” he mumbles as his eyes drift over her near naked body. “You are in so much trouble.”

 

Chapter Text

“Oh sweetheart,” he mumbles as his eyes drift over her near naked body. “You are in so much trouble.”


 

“What,” she groans, her head falling back as he circles her, teases her with the tips of his fingers, as he trails them across her skin and she can feel the tips of her hair tickling her lower back. “What are you going to do with me?”

“What do you want me to do with you?” He taunts. She glares at him.

“Don’t tease me.”

“You like being teased,” he murmurs, pinching one perky, pebbled nipple between his thumb and his forefinger as though to prove his point and she shudders and resists the urge to press her wrists together, press her glands together and relieve some of the pressure she can feel building inside of her - feel slipping along the inside of her thighs.

“Theo-”

“Draco told me all about how much you like to be teased.” He’s stroking her skin now. She can feel the blunt edges of his neatly trimmed fingernails against her stomach. Can feel his breath ghosting against the back of her neck. “Told me what a good girl you were for him.”

She shudders at his words - those and the fact that he’s stepped up behind her now and is cupping her cloth covered cunt with the palm of his hand. Is pressing the heel said  hand against her clit and nudging his nose along the column of her neck and -

“He wouldn’t,” she rasps, leaning into him and biting back a whimper when he slips two fingers beneath the tiny scrap of lace between her legs and slides them through her folds.

He scrapes his teeth across her neck gland and she jolts in his arms but he’s holding her against him - tight - the thumb and forefinger of his left hand tugging at her nipple and she can’t move, can’t do anything other than whimper and writhe in his arms as he slides a third finger into her cunt and continues to stretch her.

“Good girl,” he coo’s and Oh God, she’s going to fucking murder him if he doesn’t let her come within the next few seconds. “You’re so tight Granger,” he murmurs. She can feel him crooking those three fingers inside of her, nudging that elusive spongy spot inside of her that she’s always had trouble finding by herself and - “You’re right that Malfoy didn’t tell me what a tease you were.”

She knows this. Draco is her best friend and all the times they’ve fucked - all the times she’s gone to him - have been when she’d been at her lowest and she’d begged him to make her feel pretty - to make her feel worthwhile. He had of course, every single time, and it was one of the reasons she loved him so much. Because he’d never judged her for it, never expected her to reciprocate or held it against her in any way.

“I’ve always been able to spot a slut,” he grunts and he’s fucking her with his fingers properly now, and shes so fucking wet that the noise coming between her legs is obscene and then he’s nipping at her neck and telling her to “come like a good little slut” and shes gone, shaking in his arms as her cunt convulses around his fingers and -

“God I can’t wait to fuck you,” he groans, kissing the damp skin of her neck as he scoops her into his arms and carries her towards the bed.


 

“Are we going to talk about that little display earlier or-” She’s lying on the bed now, looking up at him as he strips.


“What display?” Theo asks, arching an eyebrow at her even as he tears his shirt up over his head. Hermione can’t help but bite her lip at how good he looks shirtless. How that V along his hips has her clenching her thighs together in an attempt to regain at least a modicum of her self respect.

She leans up on her elbows and watches him shuck his shoes, socks and his trousers until he’s left in nothing but his boxer briefs - his cock making an impressive showing of trying to escape the tight space, the tip of him edging over the band - and she’s wondering why the hell she’s using her tongue to speak instead of using it to make him lose control.

She tilts her head and narrows her eyes at him because she is not some meek doll like omega who needs a man to swoop in and save her from a conversation - especially not a conversation with her Alpha - not that he knows that of course - but still. The principle is the same. “You know exactly what I’m talking about?”

“You have an issue with how I interrupted you and Riddle?”

“No.”

“Then I don’t see what there is to talk about,” he smirks, dropping to his knees and gently prying her legs apart by the knees. “Fuck me Granger but you do look like perfection,” he murmurs, skimming his hands up and down her legs, never taking his eyes off the apex of them where she knows her underwear are completely drenched and he can probably make out the folds of her bare cunt. He nudges his nose along her right calf, inhaling her and pressing a chaste kiss to the inside of her knee and she groans even as she reaches a hand forward, wraps it in his hair and tugs his head up so that he’s looking at her face rather than her crotch.

“It was rude.”

Now he’s the one narrowing his eyes up at her and his hands still on her hips, his thumbs hooked under the flimsy waistband of lace that is doing a terrible job of protecting her modesty.

“Granger!” He growls. “If you want to talk about Riddle while I’m trying to fuck you into the mattress I won’t be happy about it but I’ll certainly go and get him for you. God knows he loves talking about himself. I’m certain he’d love nothing more than to come up here and do it with you.”

She can’t help herself, she snorts. Because she knows Tom Riddle - her alpha - would rather do absolutely anything other than come up here and do it with her.

She shakes her head and then drops back off her elbows until shes flat on the bed and staring at the ceiling. “Sorry,” she mumbles. She hears his sigh and before she can stop him he’s crawling up the bed and leaning over her and -

“No. I’m sorry,” he says and she blinks up at him because she can feel him, thick and hard and heavy and leaking pre-come against her stomach and he must have removed his boxers wen she wasn’t looking but he’s stroking a wayward curl from her face and looking at her like she’s the most precious thing in the world and her glands are pulsing and her cunt is aching and she fucking despises Tom Riddle more than anything because why is every other man in her life so much nicer and better for her than that absolute tool of an alpha who biology has deemed worthy of her.

“I just think he’s a self righteous, pretentious arsehole who doesn’t deserve the attentions of a pretty girl,” he shrugs and oh good God she is so fucked because Theo Nott is funny and handsome and right and if she was his omega she’d be begging him to mark her.

Instead she bites her lip and slips her hand between them until it’s wrapped around the length of him and he’s groaning and his eyes are black and his nostrils are flaring and he’s looking between them, watching her stroke the length of him in her dainty palm, watching her slick her thumb with his pre-come and circle the head of his cock with it.

“That’s fair,” she mutters. She can feel him growing impossibly harder in her grip and when she strokes the length of him again she can feel his knot starting to form at the base of his cock and she shudders at the thought of how that, how he’s, going to feel inside of her.

“Fuck,” he moans, bringing his hand up to her face and cupping her jaw. She licks at his thumb and then she’s sucking it into her mouth - she loves having a dick in her mouth. It’s one of her favourite things - knowing that even though she’s the one on her knees in a submissive position that she holds all of the power. He glares at her and lets his thumb fall from his mouth when she nips the pad of his thumb for the second time. “Why don’t you like him?” He pants and she smirks because she can tell it’s taking all of his control not to just thrust into her and forget all about this conversation but she simply shrugs and averts her eyes as she continues to stroke him - his cock really is so very pretty and she really can’t wait for him to fuck her with it.

Her cunt and her throat.

“Oh you know. Same really. Pretentious arsehole. Snob. Completely up himself.”

He snorts and dips his head to press his lips against hers and she can feel him smirking. “Can we stop talking about him now?” He asks and shes nodding and then he’s stroking her skin and nipping her gland with his teeth and cupping her tits and brushing his thumbs over her nipples and goosebumps have erupted all over her skin.

“Please Theo,” she whines, arching up into him and he’s nodding and tearing the lace from between her legs and lifting one of her legs onto his shoulder and taking himself in hand as he presses himself between her folds and then he’s in her and she’s gone, lost to the pleasure of feeling so full and he’s pulling her up and into his lap and her legs are wrapping around his waist and her head is pressed into the crook of his neck and she’s so fucking full, he’s so fucking thick and she can feel his knot pressing against her cunt and she nips at his gland right as he tangles a hand in her hair and pulls her head back so he can look at her.

“Oh you perfect fucking girl,” he murmurs right before he kisses her, his hands on her hips as he lifts her and works her over his cock until she is nothing but a shaking mess in his arms.

Chapter Text

She wakes up with her face pressed against his chest, leg thrown over his hip and her fingers entwined with his. She whines and feels more slick coat the inside of her thighs when she remembers the previous night and then his hand is in her hair, tilting her head up to look at him and his eyes are dark and-

“Hi.”

“Morning.”

She swallows and shudders when she feels the fingertips of his other hand brushing along her bare thigh. “Theo,” She warns, her skin already incredibly warm, “don’t.”

“Why not?” He asks, ignoring her and moving his hand up and over her curves until he’s cupping one breast and tugging the nipple between his thumb and forefinger. “You like it.”

“I know,” she whines, arching into him and swinging one leg over him so that she's straddling him instead. She can feel his cock pressed up against her bare cunt and takes the opportunity to rut against him, to tease him like he’s teasing her. Her glands are throbbing. “But we don’t have time.”

“The breakfast.” He laments, dropping his hand from her body and his head back against the pillows. “Do we have to?”

Hermione snorts above him and grins when he groans at the tiny movement before she quickly hops off of him and begins to make her way towards the adjoining ensuite. All she can smell is sex and slick and come and -

“Are you coming?” She asks him, turning her head over her shoulder as she enters the bathroom and she knows she looks good as his eyes rake over her. She can’t help but smirk when he practically lunges from the bed after her.

She feels him come up behind her as she turns the shower on and whilst Theo complains about the hot water, Hermione barely notices it, especially not with his hands cupping her tits and thumbing her nipples like that.

“Do you want me to come?” He asks, sliding his hard prick between her arse cheeks.

She shrugs, glancing over her shoulder and offering him a smirk. “Maybe.”

His hands slip down her torso and rest on her hips as he presses her forward against the shower wall and slides his dick between her legs now. Hermione whines when she feels the tip press against her clit and this time she tips her head back against his shoulder and begs “please.”

She can feel his answering grin pressing into her neck.


When Draco had told her that Narcissa had organised a breakfast - a celebratory brunch really - for the morning after the wedding just before he and Astoria took off for their honeymoon she’d thought it a fantastic idea. A chance for her to reconnect with her friends and Narcissa without worrying about, well, anything really. 

That was of course before she’d spent the night wrapped around the best man and let him distract her from the painful reality that was everyday life. She couldn’t help but watch him now as he stood with Draco and laughed quietly. She felt herself flush when his eyes snapped to her and she suddenly found herself incredibly interested in the blueberries atop her yogurt.

“What are we blushing about?” Astoria asks as she drops into the empty seat beside Hermione and digs into her poached eggs with fervour. Hermione startles and squeaks at the sudden appearance of the bride.

“Nothing.” She mumbles, refusing to meet the other womans knowing eyes.

“Ahh ha. And it has nothing to do with the best man?”

Hermione opens her mouth to refute Astoria’s question when she catches sight of the redhead, the one that had spent the previous evening wrapped around Tom, approaching their table, her grin getting wider as she does whilst Hermione is sure she herself is getting drastically paler.

“Astoria!” She squeals and Hermione swallows the lump in her throat. She doesn’t know this girl and the girl can’t possibly know her either - so why on earth had she thought she was approaching to speak to her?

“Ginny.” Astoria grins, jumping up from her breakfast and embracing the young woman. Obviously a friend. “I’m so glad you could come. How are you?” She asks as she drops back into her seat and nudges Ginny into the empty chair on her other side. “How are you and Tom getting on?” She murmurs lowly, smirking at her friend whose own smirk has Hermione standing suddenly from the table. 

“Sorry,” she mumbles when she knocks the table in her haste to get away from them.

She has to get away from them. She can’t possibly listen to this ‘Ginny’  brag about all the sex she’s had with her alpha the previous night - regardless of how much sex Hermione had herself with Theo.

“You alright there Hermione?” Astoria chuckles and Hermione nods avoiding her eye.

“Just have to dash to the ladies. Not feeling so great. No! Don’t get up.” She insists when Astoria begins to stand. “I’m fine,” she says, waving off their concern and flashing both women a tight smile she escapes to the other side of the room.

Conveniently, she spots Narcissa standing beside the breakfast bar, laden down with alcohol as it is and Hermione wastes no time in quickly downing another two mimosas. She relaxes into Draco’s embrace when he slips between herself and his mother (who has, thankfully, not mentioned how unladylike her sudden alcoholism is).

“Are you ok? You look a little pale.” He mutters quietly, his lips barely moving as he smiles widely for the breakfast guests, his thumb rubbing rhythmic circles into her bare shoulder. “I swear I didn’t know he’d be here. I don’t even know why he is here.”

“I’m fine,” she says dismissively. “And he came with one of Astoria’s friends,” she replies, lifting her third mimosa to her lips. “Someone called Ginny.”

“Weasley?”

“You know her?” She asks, stunned and confused as he glances across the ballroom.

“Not really. What-” He breaks off suddenly, his face paling in the process and Hermione follows his gaze until she sees it too.

Theo and Tom only inches apart as they glare each other down. Her glass shatters on the floor before her and then she’s right on Draco’s heels as she follows him across the room and hopes no one else has noticed.

Though how anyone could miss the shove towards the door that Draco gives both men, is beyond Hermione as the four of them make their way out of the party.

“What the fuck are you two playing at?” Draco hisses as they bundle into a room across the hall. though his glare is primarily directed at Tom and Hermione can’t help but think about how much she loves him in this moment.

He;s always paid more attention to her than she deserves. More than her alpha ever has thats for sure.

Especially considering he hasn’t even noticed that she’s right there in the room though none of them have. Hermione’s not sure she can hold it against him, even though technically, he should be the only one who is bothered by her presence. 

But she knows she never would have been privy to the conversation they’re having anyway if any of them had realised she’d followed them because both Tom and Theo are ignoring Draco and arguing about her.

“What do you even care Riddle?” Theo taunts, shoving him with both hands and Jesus they really do look alike. “It’s not like she’s your girlfriend. Your Omega! Your fucking mate!”  He spits, eyes flashing and Hermione is so confused - though she appears to be the only one - because Tom’s nostrils are flaring and Draco is muttering ‘oh fuck’ under his breath and Theo’s shoulders are beginning to slouch as he begins to laugh.

 A deep belly laugh that has Hermione squinting at him in concern - Does Tom know Theo’s omega?! Did he sleep with them?! 

But then Draco is pulling him away from Tom - who looks like he’s about to deck both of them any second - and then the door is opening and knocking her forward and -

“Malfoy,” Harry begins, because of course it’s Harry, “Astoria sent me to-” he finally looks up and his eyes dance between them all and Hermione feels faint and when did her skin begin to feel like it was about to burn off. “Fuck sorry Hermione,” he mutters, catching her by the wrist and now they’re all looking at her and Hermione can see it in their eyes. 

They’re all wondering how long she's been standing there for.

How much of their conversation did they catch.

“Are you ok?” Harry asks - oblivious to the tensions of the room - as he cups her face between her hands and then his face pales. “Fuck!” He hisses.

“What is it?” Draco asks.

“Her heat,” Harry says, swallowing roughly as he clutches at her still form, ignorant of the myriad of glances occuring between the other three men, “it’s starting.”

Chapter Text

In the years that follow, Hermione always remembers this day as the one that cements Draco as the best man in her life and Astoria as the luckiest woman she knows.

“I’ll do it.”

“Will you - No you will fucking not!” Draco snarls. He takes a step between Hermione - whom is barely being held up by a bewildered Harry - and Tom.

Tom. 

Her Alpha.

Tom, her alpha, who is glaring at Draco even as his nostrils flare and his eyes slide to Hermione every few seconds. She slumps a little in Harry’s grip and flicks her eyes in Theo’s direction.

Theo isn’t her alpha but he can help her right?

She knows he’ll take care of her and stretches her hand out in his direction but -

He’s not looking at her.

He’s watching Harry.

Harry, whose eyes are flicking between all of them. “What’s going on?” He asks, stepping forward and letting Hermione slip from his grasp until she’s standing alone. She wraps her arms around herself in an effort to ward off the mild chill she feels spreading through her bones. When she takes a step in Tom’s direction Draco loses it.

“No!” He says, wrapping a hand around her wrist and tugging her into him.

“What’s going on?” Harry asks again. “Why are you all in here arguing?”

“We don’t have time for this,” Tom sighs, taking a step forward. “Hermione. Come here.”

She takes a step forward only to find herself behind Draco once again.

“Are you out of your fucking mind?” Draco yells. “She’s not going anywhere with you!”

“Why would she-” Harry trails off, his face paling as he glances between his ex and his best friend. “Oh fuck.”

Theo laughs and Hermione watches Harry turn his head to glare at him. “You knew.”

“No, actually,” he snorts. “I only found out a few minutes ago.” He rolls his shoulders and Hermione watches his tongue flick across his lips as she meets his gaze. “But it certainly is a turn up for the books.”

Hermione presses her wrists together and whines, clutching at Draco’s arm. “Please.”

“You’re all arseholes,” Draco declares, wrapping his arm around her shoulder and turning her back towards the door.

“Where are you taking her?” Theo and Tom demand.

“She’s never been with an alpha during a heat,” Draco says and watches them all pale as that information settles. “And I’ll be damned if I let either one of you help her when she can barely stand up straight, let alone decide.”

“Tom should take her,” Harry interjects and Hermione turns her head to watch her Alpha. “He’s the one who should help her.”

Draco laughs but its a harsh, grating sound and Hermione curls in closer to him. “Maybe he should have thought about going with her two years ago when he found out who she was.”

“What?!” Harry hisses, but then Draco is dragging her from the room and thrusting her into Daphne’s embrace where she promptly blacks out.


When she wakes up she’s home.

Alone.

And in absolute agony.

There’s a note slid under her bedroom door from Daphne telling her that she and Harry will be over in a few days to check on her.

She can feel her body preparing for the first wave of her heat - her bones are aching and her glands are pulsing as she stumbles to the kitchen for some water before she’s an incoherent mess of slick and pheromones. 

And even though she knows that there is no one here to help her, to settle into the nest she’ll inevitably make because she does it every time her heat hits her, she stumbles to the hot press and gathers the extra blankets and pillows in her arms, drags them into her room and then bolts the door.


When she wakes three days later she can hear movement outside of her bedroom door and takes a minute to collect herself.

Her heat wasn’t supposed to have been due for at least another week but she should have known - should have realised - that being in Tom’s presence would kickstart it.

Not that his presence at her best friend's wedding was something she could have foreseen.

After a long shower, she dresses in a pair of pyjamas, throws her hair up into a bun and unlocks her bedroom door. When she sees Harry sitting in her living room she wishes she’d just stayed there.

“Hey.” She says gently, wrapping her arms around herself as she makes her way into the room. Tears are already pooling in her eyes and she gives him a shaky smile, but he hasn’t moved from his spot at on the arm of her couch. “You should have told me,” he mutters petulantly, removing his glasses and pressing the palms of his hands into his eyes.

 Hermione snorts and stands before him, fiddling with the torn hem of her pyjama shirt. “No. I shouldn't have. It doesn’t matter anyway. He made his choice,” she says dismissively before turning to greet Daphne who’s just entered the room with a tray of tea.

“Are you ok?”

“I’m fine,” she mumbles. “Thank you for bringing me home.”

“Of course,” she replies gently before tugging Harry ontop the couch proper and settling onto his lap. 

Hermione pours the tea for them all before she realises they’re both looking at her. Well - Daphne is glancing at her whilst Harry is outright glaring. “What’s wrong now?”

Daphne clears her throat. “It’s nothing.”

But Harry - her best friend, Harry whom she’s known for almost her entire life - isn’t as generous and simply lays the truth out for her. “You slept with Nott?”

Hermione chokes on her tea. “Excuse me?”

He only continues to glare at her. “Did you know?” 

“Know what?” She asks, gripping her mug tightly.

“About Theo?”

Daphne gently nudges him. “Harry.” 

“What about him?” 

“About his mate?” He laughs, that same bitter laugh she heard from Draco just days ago. “Sorry,” he taunts, wrapping his arms around an increasingly uncomfortable Daphne. “Mates.”

She drops her cup.

“What?” She whispers.

This can't be happening. Theo can’t be, surely he wouldn’t -

“Why isn’t he with you then?” She asks, her eyes flicking between the pair of them. “Why wouldn’t he want to-”

“It’s my fault,” Daphne interjects. “We didn’t know Harry was our third until after we had already started to bond and then -” Daphne trails off and Hermione feels like a voyeur watching Harry wipe the tears that are streaming down her face away. “I didn’t do a very good job explaining my feelings about the whole thing to him and he left. Draco’s wedding was the first time I’ve, we've,” she corrects, “seen him in six months.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok,” Daphne smiles, clutching Harry’s hand. “It’s not your fault.”

“I swear I had no idea.”

“I -” she elbows Harry in the ribs, “we know.”

Harry sighs, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand as he looks up and meets Hermione’s eye. “Sorry.”

She waves off his apology but he's crossing the room anyway and falling to his knees at her feet, taking her hands from her lap and placing them in his. “I’m sorry about Tom.”

She stiffens where she sits and tugs her hand from his. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“But I do.”

Her sudden anger surprises even her. “Well of course. Whatever Harry wants he gets,” she sneers. “What do you want to know?” She demands, crossing her arms across her chest and glaring down at him. “How I knew who he was as soon as I saw him? How heartbroken I was when I found out the pair of you were together? How I had to stop myself reaching out for him every time I saw him? Your relationship is the reason I left, you know? I didn’t trust myself and you - Harry you were so happy.” She’s crying now, exhausted and weeping as she stands from the couch and, pushing a hand through her hair begins to pace in front of the open fireplace that she loved from the second she saw it. “You were so happy,” she sniffs, staring up at the ceiling. She doesn’t want to see their pity. 

“Oh Hermione,” Daphne laments before she’s standing and drawing her into her arms. Hermione doesn’t stop her, simply wraps her arms around her new friend and sobs.

“I - I had no idea,” Harry mutters.

She takes a deep breath and pulls back from Daphne. “I know. You weren’t supposed to. That’s why I left.”

“Do you know why he-” Daphne begins.

“Rejected me?” Hermione supplies, shuddering. “No.”

“I think, fuck!” Harry mutters crossing the room and pulling both women onto the couch beside him, Hermione squashed between him and Daphne. “I think I know.”

Hermione peeks up at him. “Really?”

He swallows, averting his eyes and nods jerkily. “But I don’t think it’s my place to say.”

Hermione reluctantly agrees with him.

If she’s going to find out the reason Tom has rejected her the past few years she’d rather hear it from the horse's mouth. 

“What are you going to do about Theo?” Hermione eventually asks - after Harry has poured her a new cup of tea and the empty mugs are back on the tray - glancing between Harry and Daphne.

“I don-”

“I’ll talk to him,” Harry says, his face twisting in a grimace at the thought. “He’s a stubborn fucker.”

That startles a laugh from both Hermione and Daphne.

“It’ll be ok,” Daphne murmurs and Hermiones not sure just who she’s trying to reassure.

Chapter Text

Theo is waiting for her, leaning against her front door when she returns from seeing her parents a week later.

He shuffles nervously, a bouquet of flowers hanging from one hand, a bottle of what looks to be expensive whiskey hanging in the other, and smiles weakly at her before clearing his throat.

"Hi."

Hermione feels tears pool in her eyes as she walks towards him, digging about in her bag for her keys. "You're an idiot," she murmurs, opening the door and holding it for him. When he's stepped past her, she kicks her shoes off and hangs up her coat. Theo is standing awkwardly in the doorway of her living room and she shoves him into the room and snags his gifts as she stalks past him into the kitchen and retrieves two glasses. "How do you even know where I live?" She asks reentering the room.

"Draco told me."

She nods and pours them both two fingers each before tipping her glass to his and draining the amber liquid. "You should have told me."

Theo lifts an eyebrow at her and she rolls her eyes. "Not the same. Riddle is not your best friend."

"No. He's not." He sighs and drinks his own whiskey. "I'm sorry."

"I forgive you."

"Just like that?"

"Theo," she sighs, turning on the couch to look at him. "We had sex together. It wasn't just you nor was it just me," she waves a finger between them. "We were two consenting adults who had a very good time together."

"But we won't be continuing those good times?"

Hermione snorts and nods. "Exactly."

Theo dances his fingers up her bare calf and goosebumps erupt on her skin at his touch. "Are you sure?"

"Theo," she meets his eye and tucks her legs beneath her. "You're my best friends mate."

He crosses his arms over his chest and huffs. "I don't even know him."

"Did you even give him a chance?"

He explodes in fury, jumping up from her couch and begins to pace in front of her, his arms gesticulating wildly. "Of course I didn't. He just swooped in from nowhere and took Daphne."

She rolls her eyes at him. "Took Daphne? She's not a possession."

"She was mine!" He snarls, glaring at her. Hermione swallows and looks away. She refills her glass and takes a long draught of it. She feels rather than sees Theo kneel in front of her. He gently prys the glass from her hand and presses a kiss to her knuckles. "Sorry."

She shakes her head. "It's ok. I - I understand." She looks up and meets his eye, threading her hand through his hair. "She's lucky." At Theo's confused look she goes on. "That you love her so much."

"And now we come to the crux of the problem," he murmurs, shuffling onto the sofa beside her. "You're wrong by the way. He does feel that way about you."

She bursts into laughter, vehemently shaking her head. "You're the second person to tell me that in the past week."

He groans and falls onto the sofa beside her. "Let me guess. Potter."

Hermione hums. "Wouldn't tell me anything else though," she pauses and refills both their glasses. She hasn't had anything to eat all day and can already feel the alcohol working on her. "Arsehole."

"I'll drink to that," Theo scowls but Hermione can see the corner of his mouth twitching.

They drink in silence for a little while, the only sounds echoing through Hermione's flat are coming from the London traffic outside and her cat yeowling from, presumably, her bedroom. "What are we going to do?" She murmurs eventually, peering up at him.

They'd shifted on the couch until Hermione was lying between his legs, her head resting against his abdomen as he plaited tiny strands of her hair together. Hermione couldn't help but marvel at the close friendship they'd seemed to scrape together based purely on attraction and apparently, confusion over their soulmates.

"We're going to have to speak to them."

"I don't-" she shifts onto her knees and meets Theo's eye as she grips the tails of his shirt. "Theo. I can't. Even if what you and Harry say is true and he does have some sort of feelings for me. He rejected me. For so long. I can't just-"

"A mistake."

She shakes her head but doesn't protest further. She knows the truth. She'd prove it to them all soon enough. "Daphne misses you." She says instead, trying to distract him. He snorts derisively and she smacks her palm to his chest. "Do you know how rare two mates is? It's like a nought point nought nought three percent chance. You're so lucky and you're wasting your chance to be beyond happy because what? You're not gay?"

He stops playing with her hair and blinks down at her. "Who told you that?"

Her eyebrows furrow in confusion. "Why else wouldn't you want to be with Harry?"

"I already told you. He's an arsehole."

Hermione stares blankly at him before she clambers up and off of him. She chucks the fleece blanket that lives in the ottoman in the corner of the room at him. "You're ridiculous. Go to sleep. We'll meet them for brunch in the morning. You'll be organising your bonding ceremony by the afternoon."

Theo laughs and shakes his head but he shuffles further down her couch and tosses the blanket over him.

"What about Riddle?"

She sighs and turns on her heel to look back at him. "He made me wait two years. He can wait a few more days."


He didn't have to wait a few days because when she and Theo entered the cafe she'd text harry and Daphne to meet them at, he was sitting there, a mug of black tea going tepid before him. Theo's expression drops to a scowl and Hermione stops in her tracks.

Theo asks her question for her as he drops into the seat beside his omega and scoffs, "what's he doing here?" He turns to Daphne and grins sheepishly at her. "Hello love."

Hermiones heart pangs in her chest and she chances a glance in Toms direction to find him staring right at her.

"Hermione?"

She shakes her head at Harry and hitches her bag on her shoulder. "I'm not doing this here," she says.

To Tom.

"My flats around the corner." She blinks and nods.

Her flat is around the corner too and she wonders whether it is providence or simply a coincidence that they apparently live so close to one another. He stands from the table and without saying goodbye to her friends, guides her, his hand pressed gently on the small of her back, out of the cafe and down the street in the opposite direction from whence she'd come with Theo.

They walk in silence and part of Hermione wonders whether it is a good idea to go anywhere with him before she realises that at least this way, she can leave if she wants to.

The way her palms are sweating though, tell her she'll be in no rush and when they finally make it to his flat, Tom steps aside so she can enter first and then leans against the door as he watches her shuffle nervously in front of him.

"I suppose I should apologise."

"What for?" She asks tersely, not meeting his eye.

"Hermione."

"For not acknowledging me when we first met? For choosing Harry over me? For attempting to coerce me into spending my heat with you?"

"I'm-"

"Sorry. Yes," she interrupts, glaring at him. "I know. Everyone is sorry. Poor little Hermione. Poor little omega. Loved by all except the one that matters."

"You're not being fair."

"Fair," she snorts, meeting his eyes. "Right?" She straightens her shoulders and forces herself to stand her ground. "What do you want with me?"

"I want to explain." She lifts an eyebrow.

"Is that it?"

He scowls at her and Hermione watches as he clenches, then unclenches his fists as he steps towards her.

"Fine. You want to know what I want?" He growls. Hermione swallows and jerks her head. She resists wiping her sweaty palms over her jumper as he stalks towards her.

"I want to shove you up against that wall. I want to tug those jeans down and remove your underwear with my teeth. I want to make you come on my tongue, on my fingers, on my cock," he leers, "until the only memory you have is of me." She takes a step back, her bag tumbling from her shoulder as her arms go slack. "I want to lick every inch of your skin clean of every other Alpha you've ever fucked until you can't tell where your scent ends and mines begins."

"Tom-"

"I want to make you beg for my knot. I want to give it to you."

"Alpha."

"Exactly-" he growls pressing his hands to the wall beside her head. Caging her between it and him. "Me. I'm your alpha. Me."

Hermione blinks up at him and shakes herself before promptly bursting into tears.

Chapter Text

"I can't," she heaves a breath and pushes him away.

The first time she's ever touched him.

"You can't say that," she sobs, walking away from him. "You don't just get to decide that you want me and expect me to be ok with that. You don't even know me."

"I know that when you're frustrated you tug on your hair until it's a veritable mess, plaiting and re-plaiting it until whatever problems been bothering you has been solved. I know that when you're eating revels you pick out the small, oddly shaped one-"

She gapes at him and whispers. "The raisins."

He nods. "The raisins. When you're searching for reference books you make a list, throw your hair into a bun, put your hands on your hips and then stomp off and find them alphabetically."

"How -"

"I did notice you Hermione," he sighs, sliding down the wall.

"Then why-"

"My mother was an Alpha." Hermione stares blankly at him. He's not looking at her, instead fiddling with an invisible and probably non existent piece of lint on his trouser leg.

"Ok?"

"And my father was an omega." That is surprising. And rare. "He didn't have a choice."

"A choice?" Hermione squeaks out from her spot on the floor opposite him.

He jerks his head. "She," he swallows roughly and meets her eyes. "She forced him. Rutted him until she was pregnant even though his heat had finished. Bonded him to her right there and then."

"That's-"

"Horrific," he finishes for her. "Barbaric. Rape."

She nods. "I'm sorry."

He waves her apology off, looking away. "My point is. He never had a choice and I did. I didn't want to force anyone to be with me or have someone forced on me. I chose to date Harry and then -"

"And then you met me."

"And then I met you and it was…."

"Terrible."

He shakes his head vehemently. "No. It was a revelation. But…." He trails off and takes a breath. "I wanted to be with Harry. I chose that and he chose me."

"Well you didn't really give me a chance to choose you," Hermione mutters petulantly.

"I know. And then me and Harry broke up and you were-"

"Gone." She nods, swallowing. "I ah-" she clears her throat. "I love Harry but I couldn't stay here and watch the two of you be in love."

"I get that. And I'm sorry. But you didn't even know me," - her head snaps up- "and you thought I belonged to you."

"You're my mate."

"I am. But I'm a person too."

She snorts and stands, hitching her bag on her shoulder as she smoothed the skirt of her dress down.

"Cool."

"Where are you going?"

She turns to face him. "My parents are bonded. They're the happiest people I know and watching their relationship as I grew up? That was what I wanted. I wanted my soulmate with me everyday to share my life with - the good days and the bad." She swallows. "I'm sorry about your mother. I'm sorry she took that choice away from your father, I am. But I want to be with you. And sure, I might not know you now but, I thought we would have the rest of our lives together. Plus it's not like I ever expected us to bond during my first heat. I thought we would date. But you don't see that," she laughs so she doesn't cry. "You don't want that."

"I do."

"Why? Why now?"

"Because-"

"Because you saw me with another alpha and decided."

"No-"

"Then why-"

He stands from the ground and glares at her. "If you would let me speak!"

She waves a hand in his direction and taps her foot impatiently.

"You are infuriating!" He sighs. "When me and Harry broke up I realised that I had been wrong. That I'd treated you badly and mishandled the whole situation. I could have been your friend but by the time I realised all of this you were gone and I was so ashamed Hermione," he steps towards her, slowly, "and I knew I couldn't ask Harry, risk him finding out the truth because he was my friend and I didn't want to lose him too."

"If you had just talked to me," she whispers, right as he reaches her. Tentatively he takes her hands in his and presses his thumbs to the inside of her wrists.

"I know. And I'm sorry. But I want us to try."

"To try?"

"Being friends."

She nods her head and tugs her wrists from his grip. "Of course."

"Hermione?"

She looks up and meets his eye, a dangerous task for anyone but especially for her in her weakened emotional state. She knows if he felt so inclined he could simply command her with a word and she'd be his. "What?"

"The strongest relationships are built on friendships are they not?"

She huffs a breath and nods, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. "Yeah." She pulls her coat closed, "I need some time to think?"

"Of course," he agrees, sidestepping her to unlock and open the door. "I have your number, from Harry," he clarifies at the raising of her eyebrows and she sighs. She really needs to speak to her friend. He's probably having a crisis worrying about the relationship he used to have with her Alpha. Tom walks her down the stairs until they're on the street. "I'll text you?"

She sighs and nods with a small smile, tucking her hair behind her ears. "Yeah. Text me."


She sees Draco the next day when he turns up at her flat, freshly returned from a three week honeymoon in the Caribbean.

"How are you still this pale?" Hermione teases pressing a cup of coffee into his hands.

"I lived in the shade and I do have a slight tan," he huffs.

"You're right," Hermione snorts taking a sip of her beverage, "you used to be milk bottle white and now you're peachy white."

Draco glares at her over the rim of his cup. "And here I left my newly wedded wife to check up on you? I'll leave you to it."

Hermione chucks a chocolate chip muffin at him though he gamely catches it mid air and simply smirks at her. "Arsehole."

He peels the wrapper off the baked treat and levels her with a look of such seriousness she looks away. "How are you?"

"I'm fine."

"Hermione."

"I am."

"I talked to Theo."

"Oh," she deflates and picks at her own muffin. "So you know."

"Well I know you went home with him-"

"To talk."

"And that's it?"

She glares at him. "Yes."

"And?"

She looks at him blankly. "And?"

"What did he say?"

Hermione fiddles with the loose thread hanging from the throw cushion she's had pressed against her chest since she sat down. Out of all her friends Draco is the one who has helped her the most in dealing with the emotional trauma Tom has wrecked upon her. And yet - there is something nagging at her. What Tom told her was deeply personal and if she shares it with him, with anyone, it feels as though she is betraying him.

She shrugs and takes another drink, still not meeting his eyes.

"Hermione?"

"He didn't reject me out of spite."

"Ok."

"He wants to choose me for himself."

"What?"

"He wants to get to know me. Better." She glances his way. "Date."

Draco places his mug on the coffee table between them and leans forward, studying her. "That's it? That's his excuse?" She nods. "Bullshit."

"I don't want to talk about it," she glares.

"Fine. So what," he picks his mug back up and takes a drink, trying not to wince at the bitterness. "Have you arranged a date?"

"Not yet."

"Has he text you?"

She really doesn't want to tell him that yes, he has in fact texted.

A lot.

That she spent most of last night under her duvet with her phone on charge as they text about any and everything.

Her childhood. His. What her favourite subjects at school were. What he studied at university. How she's planning on doing an internship with a humanitarian law firm that frequently works with the UN in a few weeks. How he's just completed an internship with his father's company - a company that he'll one day be CEO of.

Any and all conversation about their designations had been avoided.

Hermione was almost afraid to bring it up and shatter the tentative trust they'd built between them.

"Once or twice," she replies instead.

Draco sighs and stands, sweeping the crumbs of his muffin off of his trousers and onto her floor. He only rolls his eyes and points at the roomba he knows she'll activate as soon as he leaves. "Don't start," he rolls the muffin wrapper up and flicks it at her. "You're the one that gave me a muffin."

"I hate you," she pouts.

Draco smirks and crosses her living room to pull her into a hug and mumbles into her hair. "You love me. Don't even try to deny it."