|Meus Contraho Duo
Author: Curiositykils PM
My second collection of Draco/Hermione oneshots. K to M rated as suitable and shown at the top of every chapter. Complete.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Angst - Draco M. & Hermione G. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 29,266 - Reviews: 137 - Favs: 119 - Follows: 159 - Updated: 09-11-12 - Published: 06-01-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8173127
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Stuck in an Elevator
Hermione Granger watched as the large hand of the clock struck twelve and the small hand fully slid onto the six position. Sighing, she climbed off her stool behind the counter and turned towards the till so she could gather the day's takings.
It hadn't been too busy today…but it hadn't been one of those slow days where she sat on her stool and watched the world pass her by as she willed someone to enter her bookshop. Those days the ringing silence caused to her unwillingly reflect on her life and caused her to depress into a funk so deep she wondered on what the point of it all was.
Why had she bothered to stay in England after everything that had happened? It wasn't as if anyone would miss her very much. And maybe moving to Australia and being closer to her parents would help mend the rift that she had unwittingly driven between them?
Hermione sighed again as her mind went through the useless musings she had thought of so many times before. Moving over to the hidden safe, she waved her wand and watched it slide open in order for her to gather the rest of the week's taking. The weekly trip to Gringotts every Friday night was something that she actually looked forward to.
It made her feel proud to know that she, and only she, had made her small business into a success. Yes it may not have been the most profit making business in England but she didn't care about that. All she cared about was that she was able to live comfortably and not have to rely on anyone else in order to make her way through the world.
Switching off the lights in the back storeroom, she walked back to the store front and hesitiated. It was six 'o' clock on a Friday night and whilst every other person in London had probably been counting down the hours until they got to start their weekend, Hermione was now dreading stepping out of her store in order to pull down the shutters and safely lock up.
All because of one person who she knew would be leaning against the doorway on the opposite side of the street with his arms crossed over his chest as he stared at her silently.
If she had known that Draco Malfoy was the owner of the large ominous building that sat opposite her small bookshop, she wasn't sure if she would have agreed to buy her shop on this street that she was now forced to share with him. But the fact was, that she hadn't known he had been the owner of the large black building that seemed so out of place on the other-wise normal inner city London street.
Merlin she hadn't even known it was a club, supposedly one of the best clubs in the Wizarding World, until she had signed over the papers and she was standing on her newly owned doorstep, keys in hand.
She had been too busy trying to stop herself from drowning in grief and pity by working all hours of the day to make sure the opening of her shop would be a success, that it had been a whole two weeks after she'd opened her doors to the public for the first time that she'd caught sight of him.
Even that first time he had been leaning on the doorstep, expensive black robes probably grating against the brickwork that held his weight, with his arms crossed over his now surprisingly broad chest. Even from the distance of the road, she had been able to make out his features clearly…and the way his eyes had narrowed as she'd caught sight of him.
Hermione had been struck still in shock over seeing him here, on the fringes where Wizarding London met Muggle London. Two seconds later she had quickly swivelled her head around, locked her shop and scurried down the street away from his pressing grey gaze.
Unfortunately for her, it seemed Malfoy hadn't looked to his fill. And so every night when she locked up her shop, she was forced to feel his stare prickling the short hairs on the nape of her neck all the way down the street until she turned a corner and was finally out of his view.
She had only ever spoken two words to him. He had spoken several more to her and the one exchange they'd ever had seemed to be burned into her memory.
Their short and unexpected conversation had occurred four months after she had opened her store. Business had been slowly picking up and things had been going as well as they could have in her life. When she'd stepped out of her store that night, Malfoy had already taken up his usual post and as usual, Hermione had ignored him as best as she could.
Only she didn't have much choice when she'd turned around only to nearly crash into his chest. She had gasped in a quick breath as she'd looked up to see his face. When she'd taken in a shallow inhalation, her lungs had filled with the smell of his cologne mingled with the faint scent of tobacco. The smell had seared her lungs and she had quickly stepped back before her body could betray the tenuous hold she had on it and take in a great big sniff of the enticing scent.
Long asleep areas of her body that she had long since forgotten about seemed to awaken and ping to attention in his presence.
And then he had spoken. "Hello Granger."
Hermione had managed to choke out a mumbled reply back.
And then Malfoy had gone in for the kill. "How about you join me for a drink tonight? We can catch up."
The outlandishness of his words had caused her inner defensiveness to rise. She had let out a high pitched giggle which had morphed into a scoff before she'd narrowed her eyes at him. Her answer had been a curt, strong "No" before she'd turned her back to him and walked stiffly down the street.
As usual, his stare had burned her until she could turn the corner and escape from it. Usually her walks home made her feel peaceful but that night, her body and stomach had churned with anger, embarrassment and resentment and she'd all but stomped home, tears blurring her eyes.
Who did he think she was? They weren't in Hogwarts anymore. They were grown adults. How dare he try to taunt her by asking her out? She knew very well that he was fully aware on what had happened six months previous so what other reason did he have to ask her out than to poke fun at her.
She wasn't blind enough to not admit to herself that Malfoy was a very handsome wizard, much more handsomer than her ex-husband but the fact that he knew it and had used it to make her feel wretched made her chest hurt in pain.
It was only the next evening when she was preparing to close her shop, half an hour earlier than usual so she could avoid seeing Malfoy, that the possibility that he hadn't been playing with her entered her head.
Her hopes of not seeing him that evening had been dashed the moment she neared the front door. Through the pane of tinted blurred glass, she could make out his familiar outline in his usual position. How he had known that she'd been planning to leave early was something Hermione couldn't figure out but she couldn't very well retreat back into the store since she'd turned out all the lights. So she had gathered her courage and pulled open the door.
She had kept her gaze firmly locked on her feet as she'd fumbled with the keys. When she'd heard the loud click, she'd pushed the keys into her pocket and turned around. Her eyes had flicked upwards of their own accord and she had caught Malfoy's gaze for a millisecond before she'd hurriedly looked away in embarrassment and walked down the road. That was when she'd had the errant thought on the intention behind Malfoy's suggestion.
Twenty seconds later she had dismissed it. When she had opened her store, she had made a vow to herself that she would focus on her business and that was all. That and Crookshanks were the only things left in her life after her reality had been shattered and she wasn't about to put herself in that position of vulnerability again.
She wouldn't be enough for anyone. And that was just the way it was. Instead of becoming overcome with self-pity, something which she had been an edge away from doing, she had made a decision to re-start her life, making it so that she only needed one person to make herself happy. Herself.
And there was no way she was going to allow Draco Malfoy of all people to ruin that for her. Which was why she wasn't going to hesitate anymore. With steel in her spine and her head tilted upwards, Hermione did something that she had never done before. She walked out of her store, met Malfoy's gaze with a hard dismissing one of hers, coolly pulled the shutters in place and walked down the street in an unhurried stroll as if she didn't have a care in the world.
It was all an act…one that Malfoy may have or may not have seen through…but it was what Hermione needed to do. After all, everyone put on an act in her life, so why shouldn't she join in?
This time when she turned the corner, she didn't feel relieved to be out of Malfoy's sight, she felt gratified.
Screw Draco Malfoy and screw his games. They had no place in her life. She wouldn't let them. With a content smile on her face, Hermione headed in the direction of the Leaky Cauldron.
The crowds in Diagon Alley had been busier than Hermione had ever seen them in the last few years. The opening of George's new joke store had caused patrons to come out in full force and Hermione had been forced to duck and weave more than once in order to avoid being seen by a member of the Weasley family or even Harry.
The entire situation meant the simple stroll to Gringotts turned into an obstacle course of epic proportions and by the time she finally entered the safety of the bank's doors, she was feeling both harried and tired. Quickly making her way over to the goblin who handled her weekly deposits, she frowned at the unexpected queue she found.
Bracing herself for a long wait, Hermione's shoulders slumped as she let go of the stress and pressure she'd carried over the last five minutes on her journey here and she told herself that it would all soon be over. In under an hour she would be back home, eating whatever dinner she had prepared for herself (something quick and easy due to how she was feeling) and she would lose herself in watching a movie as Crookshanks snuggled on her lap.
Smiling tiredly in anticipation, she shuffled forward as a patron of the bank finished their business and she went over what movies she had and what she would choose for tonight's showing.
Settling on the Black Narcissus, she once again looked forward to escaping reality in the subtle banter between Sister Clodagh and Mr Dean. More importantly, the bittersweet ending meant she would be able to tell herself that any tears she might shed were due to the movie and not the jolt of seeing her once upon a time family again after so long spent away from them.
Hermione walked into the lobby of her building when she saw the doors to the elevator were just beginning to close. Rushing over, she clutched the bag of groceries she had brought since she was already in Diagon Alley, closer to her chest.
"Oh, hold the door please!" she called out as she ran over.
The bag in her hand slipped precariously and she tilted her head down and adjusted her arms around the weight in order to keep it in her grasp until she could place it on the floor of the elevator and release her grip.
As she neared the lift, she caught a glimpse of a pale hand hook over the door and she mumbled out a thank you without looking at the man. As she gratefully bent over to let the bag slide over her legs and onto the floor, she breathed out thankfully.
"Floor?" came a voice from above her still bent head.
"Four please." She replied. "Thank you." She added once again.
The elevator doors in the Muggle building where she lived, closed shut with a ping and Hermione busied herself with rearranging the contents of her bag so she would be able to lift it more easily i.e. the ends of the spring onions she had bought for tonight's quick dinner of a stir fry wouldn't tickle her cheek and nose when she hefted the bag back up again.
Hermione was glad that she was already kneeling on the carpeted floor when she elevator lurched and suddenly went pitch black otherwise she would have surely fallen over ungracefully.
For a moment, Hermione stayed still before she stood, cursing under her breath as she did so.
"It's stopped working." She said out loud to herself.
The man in the lift spoke. "Apparently."
Hermione was glad there was such darkness so the blush on her cheeks from her obvious declaration wouldn't show. Fumbling over to the wall, she jabbed her finger into the faintly lit alarm button only to be met with loud static and not the comforting voice of the buildings security guard informing her that he would have her out of the confined space in a jiffy.
Not wanting to believe that there was no-one there, Hermione pressed the button a further three times.
"Looks like we're stuck for a while."
Hermione jumped when she heard the voice and quickly retreated into her corner, not fully believing that she had for a moment, forgotten that she wasn't alone.
"Oh yes. It looks that way." She said after a brief pause.
"Are you okay?"
Hermione reeled at the question. It had been so long since anyone had ever asked her if she was okay…
"Yes, I'm fine. Don't worry, I'm not claustrophobic." She joked nervously. "Um you?" she asked.
Hermione nodded her head before realising that he wouldn't be able to see her. "Good." She said out loud before the silence rang out. "I wonder why the emergency lights aren't working. I saw Jake changing the bulb a few days ago."
"The bulb?" the man said, his voice tilting at the end of the word bulb as if he was confused.
"Do you live in the building?" she asked.
"No. I'm just visiting a friend."
"Oh that's good. Hopefully when you don't turn up they'll raise the alarm." Hermione said, relieved.
"She wasn't expecting me. It was a surprise visit."
"Oh." Hermione said as she felt her spirits dampen.
"Maybe you should scream." The man pointed out.
Hermione's heart thumped at his odd words and she retreated from him until her back dug uncomfortably into the handrail. "Excuse me?" she said. Mentally, she told herself to calm down. She had her wand somewhere in her purse and she was sure she would be able to use it effectively and explain the consequences of using magic on a Muggle to the Ministry at a later date.
"Maybe if you scream, someone might hear you."
Hermione's chest continued thumping. "Oh, of course." She cleared her throat in preparation whilst her chest slowed in relief at the suggestion.
"Um, I'm going to scream now." She said, feeling the need to point it out in case the man wanted to cover his ears. Out of the darkness she heard no movements and shrugging minutely, she took in a deep breath.
"HELLO! HELP! WE'RE STUCK IN THE ELEVATOR…HELLO?!"
She paused when she heard no reply and realised how futile it was.
"Don't worry; I'm sure you'll be rescued soon."
"Hopefully." Hermione whispered.
Neither of them spoke for a while though she heard a lot of shuffling noises coming from his direction. She felt a rush of air against her arm and realised the man had taken off his coat. She too, suddenly felt very warm. Following his edict, but in a much quieter way, she slid off her shoes and slipped her cardigan off her shoulders. That was all she could remove since she had chosen to wear a dress today.
Hermione was in the middle of dropping to the carpeted floor when the man spoke again.
"So what's your name?"
Hermione froze and stood back up, hesitating to divulge any information to this stranger in the darkness. She briefly wondered if she should lie, after all, how would he know? But something in her forced her mouth open and the truth popped out.
Her answer was met with an uncomfortable silence. "You?" she asked in a bid to break it as she slid to the floor.
"Drake?" Hermione questioned at the hesitation, something in her gut warning her to be cautious. But the whole idea going through her head was utterly absurd.
"Nice to meet you, Hermione."
"Nice to meet you too." She replied quietly.
"…Where are you?" Drake questioned.
Hermione frowned. "Excuse me?"
"Where are you? Your voice sounded far away."
"Oh. I'm sitting on the floor."
Instead of answering, she felt him drop to the floor as he settled next to her. Hermione wasn't sure if Drake knew just how close he had settled against her, his body heat was scorching her bare arm and she quickly shifted away from him.
"So what do you do?" he questioned.
"I run a bookstore…You?"
"…I run a club."
Hermione's gut instincts went haywire. "A club? What kind of club?" she demanded.
Drake chuckled. "What other kind of club is there?"
Hermione kept quiet about the book club that she oversaw in her store every Tuesday. Still unsure about "Drake" she shifted even further away.
"Are you a wizard?" she blurted out.
There was a moment of electric silence before Drake snorted. "Excuse me? Did you just ask me if I was a wizard?"
Hermione felt the burn of embarrassment tingle her cheeks once more. "Sorry…It's been a long day. I'm not thinking straight." She said.
"…If you were asking me if I believe in magic I would answer yes. Do you?"
"No." Hermione answered, hoping her answer would put an end to the dangerous conversation. Her curt answer raised the tension in the lift, causing her to wriggle against the steadily rising heat crawling up her back.
As if reading her mind, Drake spoke. "It's hot in here."
"Hmmm." Hermione replied.
Drake chuckled. "You're antsy around me."
Hermione's head flew to the side to where she imagined his head to be. She was about to let out her defensive reply when Drake continued. "Don't worry. I'm not going to attack you or anything."
Hermione swallowed at his words.
"We can just sit here in silence until someone comes to get us if you prefer. I just thought talking might help pass the time and take your mind off the situation."
Hermione melted, realising how ridiculous it was that she thought she was stuck in a lift with Malfoy. Merlin- so much for putting him out of her mind and moving on with her life. His daily staring had apparently unnerved her even more than she had first thought.
And Drake did have a slightly different voice. He sounded much friendlier that Draco had ever sounded.
"No, I'm sorry… I'd like to continue talking." She said.
"So talk. Tell me about yourself."
Now that the attention was fully on her, Hermione prickled, not wanting to talk about herself. "Why don't you talk about yourself?" she pointed out before realising how rude her tone was.
Thankfully, Drake laughed it off. "Okay, how about we start off with some simple questions. How old are you?"
Hermione settled at the non-threatening question. "Twenty-five. You?"
Hermione felt a weird jolt at knowing they were the same age.
"Do you like your job? People usually only open up a bookstore if they love reading."
"I love reading."
"Where about is your shop? Maybe I've visited?"
Hermione had a feeling that if Drake had visited her shop she would remember it. It wasn't often than twenty-four year old Muggles entered through her door. Muggles yes. Twenty-four year old Muggle males, no.
"It's on Haversham Road." She told him briefly.
"Not far from here then. That's good." Drake added the last two words as if he was talking to himself and Hermione didn't comment on the odd statement.
"Where is your club?" she asked instead.
"In West London."
Hermione let out a breath she didn't know she had been holding. "Why did you decide to open a club?"
"Why did you decide to open a bookstore?" Drake countered.
"Like I said. I enjoy reading…and I wanted to own my own business."
Hermione swallowed. "…I wanted to rely on myself. I wanted to know I could do it on my own."
"It?" Drake questioned softly.
Hermione's reply was just as soft. "Life, I suppose."
Hermione didn't reply.
"I understand what you mean about wanting to know you could rely on yourself though. I opened the club on my own because I had no choice although I imagine that you would have a family who would be happy to have helped you out if you'd asked."
The pang of hurt that hit Hermione's chest was so strong that it robbed her off her breath. When she was finally able to choke air into her lungs, she spoke. "You thought wrong."
"…Oh." Drake sounded more confused than he did sorry which didn't make sense and yet in the darkness, Hermione found herself willing to talk further.
"I-I'm not close to my family. I…did something a few years ago that I had no choice in doing but they didn't agree with my decision… Our relationship has changed since then. I still talk to them and visit them in Australia…but there's a distance there now…They look at me differently."
At her imparted barrage of information, there was silence once more in their lift…but strangely enough, it didn't feel as uncomfortable as it had before. Or maybe that was just on Hermione's side.
"Are you single?"
Drake's question had her snapping out of her daze. She shifted once more. "Yes. I was-"
Hermione caught herself before she revealed the entire truth. It was one thing answering Drake's question and it was another thing entirely to tell him every single iota of her life story. She would only answer questions he asked.
"You were?" he hedged.
"Nothing." Hermione said. "What about you? Are you single?"
"At the moment, yes. I hope things will be changing soon."
"Oh?" she asked politely.
"Yes, the friend I was visiting. She doesn't know it yet but I have her in my sights…"
Hermione found herself shivering at Drake's possessive words. Whoever he was going after would need to watch out. Hermione had a feeling that he wouldn't stop until he got what he wanted.
"So how long have you been single?" he asked eventually.
"A while now." Hermione replied vaguely.
"Ah…" Drake said knowingly.
"What?" Hermione asked.
"Your last relationship was a serious one then…And I'm guessing from your answer that it didn't end well."
"…It didn't…but it was my fault."
Hermione physically jumped as she startled away from Drake's unexpected yell. Her heart began thumping in panic. "What! What is it? Are you okay?" Her hands came out until she found Drake's arm and she unconsciously rubbed it up and down soothingly.
"I apologise." He said gruffly. "I was just surprised by what you said. Why did you say it was your fault?" he asked angrily.
Hermione shifted uneasily at his sudden temper. "Because it was."
She hesitated before lifting her hand off Drake's arm. He caught it in his hand before she could retreat fully. How he had done it in the dark she had no idea. Although her eyes had adjusted slightly, she could only make out a faint vague blur of Drake's body.
"Explain." Drake demanded.
Hermione's uneasiness grew. "It's very hot in here isn't it?" she commented as she tried to extract her hand from Drake's. After a brief scuffle which ended in Hermione giving up trying to play nice and piercing Drake's skin with her nails, she pulled her escaped hand to her face in order to fan herself.
She could feel the sweat on her back stick to her dress.
Drake didn't relent. "Why do you think your relationship breaking down was your fault?"
"Can we just talk about something else please?" Hermione said in a voice edging towards shrillness.
She saw and felt Drake move towards her and she could only gasp before his hands had caught both of hers again.
"No. Now explain."
"Because I was married!" she shouted out in anger. "And it's my fault we're divorced because my husband was so disgusted with me that I turned him gay! There! I've said it. Is that what you wanted to hear?!"
Hermione stopped shouting when her throat closed up and her eyes clouded with tears. Her confession had her gaze blurring and her head spinning. And the only thing she could focus on was Drake's hand squeezing hers intermittently.
And then he shifted. She felt herself being pulled against him as his arms wrapped around her smaller body. Hermione had to force her teeth to grind together in order to stop herself from collapsing onto him and breaking down.
She knew she should back away. Accepting comfort from a stranger was unseemly but the fact that he was a stranger…and that he didn't know the whole sordid story made her feel safe enough that she allowed herself to burrow her head into his chest for a short moment.
His cologne smelt familiar and she couldn't quite place it but she liked it. When she felt her body responding to his hold, she stiffened and backed away until she was no longer touching her chest to his.
"I'm sorry." She whispered hoarsely, ashamed at her actions.
"You have nothing to apologise for."
"Your throat sounds hoarse." Drake commented.
Hermione wet her mouth with her dry tongue before she spoke again. "Hopefully we won't be in here much longer."
The brief silence was interrupted when Drake's stomach let out an animalistic like growl. Hermione's lips quirked upwards as Drake's arms fell from around her body and she couldn't help but let out a laugh. As humiliated as Drake might be feeling, she was glad that his need for food had broken the tension and lightened the mood.
Drake cleared his throat. "Well, I suppose you can tell that I hope we get rescued soon too."
Hermione smothered her continued giggles with one hand as she reached the other around her to see where her bag of groceries was. Most of the ingredients for her stir fry wouldn't be able to be eaten without being cooked but she had picked up a few oranges that would suffice.
Feeling the edge of the bag, she pulled it towards her. Digging in for the oranges, she pulled out the four she had bought.
"Here." She said as she dropped three oranges onto Drake's lap.
"Oh no, you don't have to." He tried to protest.
Hermione shut him down. "I'm beginning to get a little hungry too and you didn't think I was going to eat whilst you didn't, did you?"
She dug her finger into the puckered edge of the orange and peeled away the first piece of skin. The fresh citrusy smell filled the elevator and made her realise just how hungry she was. She peeled the rest of the orange eagerly, pulling a piece into her mouth and letting its juice soothe her throat.
From beside her, she heard Drake devour his oranges. Soon, two sighs of repletion rang through the elevator.
Hermione wasn't sure how much time had passed…possibly an hour…possibly half of that, but the next period of time passed by in the same manner as the first, minus the screaming. They kept the conversation light and Hermione learnt that like her, Drake was an only child, wasn't close with either of his parents (she had wanted to push and find out further but something had stopped her) and that both of their favourite colour was green.
Drake had gotten a strange sense of fascination and excitement when she'd admitted that, something which she didn't quite understand and so she'd ignored it.
He'd talked about the "friend" that he had been visiting, about how they hadn't always got along but how much he wanted her. Hermione would have been offended and perturbed about how Drake talked about her, as if he was going to take her regardless of what she wanted, but as the conversation progressed, she learnt how much Drake cared for this woman and how lucky she would be when Drake finally did take her.
Inevitably, the everyday questions died out and after explaining the positives of Crookshanks to a self-professed cat hater, she and Drake simply sat side by side. The air in the lift was getting unbearably hot but it only made Drake's cologne scented sweat that much more potent. Hermione found herself leaning further and further into him.
"You can sleep against my shoulder if you wish." Drake pointed out.
Hermione had been on the cusp of heavy drowsiness from the heat when he spoke and she immediately straightened her body. Drake shifted an arm around her shoulder and pulled her back down to where she had been previously falling. Her head hit his shirted shoulder and she stiffened at the impropriety when Drake squeezed once more, seemingly happy with the position.
The tension eased out of Hermione's body as she closed her eyes and relaxed into Drake's side. His arm was still around her and Hermione realised it was the first proper physical contact she'd had with another human being in so many months.
Unwanted thoughts of how isolated she had become since her divorce ran through her mind and she tried to push them away as much as she could, wanting to focus on this singular moment before the lift doors opened and reality barged back in.
"I'm not close to my parents…" Drake began speaking and Hermione' eyes popped awake. "because they're both in jail."
He spoke the words quietly and Hermione felt him tense, as if expecting her to reject his comfort now that she knew more about him. She said nothing but moved further into his side and after a moment, he continued speaking.
"They wanted me to follow in their footsteps…and I did for a while…but I realised that I couldn't."
He quietened down and when the silence spilled over, Hermione realised she wasn't going to speak further.
She didn't know whether it was the darkness or Drake's own confession, but Hermione felt the need to explain to him what had happened with her own parents. To return the trust he had given to her.
"Events were happening in my life…dangerous ones…I wanted my parents safe and so I forced them to move to Australia. I took away their mem- their choice."
"But you did it to protect them. They should have been grateful that you cared about them so much. There was no such bond like that in my family."
"I did do it to protect them but when it was safe for them to come back home, they were angry at the fact I hadn't given them a choice. They understood that I did it to protect them and they still love me…but they're angry and I don't…when I visited them they looked at me sometimes…it was as if they didn't know me anymore and they were waiting for me to do something else that would hurt them. They decided to stay in Australia instead of moving back home."
Hermione stopped as her voice broke. She cried silently and Drake said nothing other than making soothing noises. When her hiccups quietened, he spoke again.
"Tell me why you think you turned your husband gay."
Hermione burrowed her head further into his shoulder, wanting to escape from the admission she was about to make.
"He was my best friend throughout school. We went through so much together and I'd always liked him. We got married young…too young now that I think back. Things were good for the first couple of years. He's was training to become a professional sports player so he away quite a lot but he was husband…and my best friend. I thought our life was perfect. But then as his career took off, he spent more and more time away from home…and I grew resentful. When he was home, he wanted to spend time with his family which I didn't mind. I'd always been close to them but I wanted to spend time alone with him too…He stopped wanting me. I didn't understand it at the time, what had changed, but then a story broke in the paper. He was seen leaving a club with one of his team-mates…there were pictures of them kissing."
Hermione broke off as she went over that horrible day when she'd seen the pictures splayed across the front page of the Prophet. Her whole world had fallen from around her.
"He told me that he hadn't meant to hurt me. That he was confused and he'd made a mistake." Hermione scoffed. "I was such an idiot. I thought that he meant that he had been drunk but he said he shouldn't have kissed someone else when he and I were still together."
"It wasn't your fault. Someone doesn't decide they're gay overnight. I wouldn't be surprised if he'd been thinking about for a long time, since he was a teenager even."
"But it was when he'd been married to me that he finally- I pushed him. I wasn't enough."
"You're beautiful sweetheart." Drake whispered against her hair.
Hermione smiled, appreciating the sentiment but realising how useless it was. "It's pitch black and you can't even see me."
He said the words with such certainty that Hermione almost believed him for a moment.
"So that's it. You got divorced?"
Hermione nodded. "There wasn't much other choice. But oddly enough, it wasn't the fact that I was losing a husband that ended up hurting so much. With Ron away so much, I'd got used to not having him around. But he was my best friend. And I lost his family and my other best friend. Harry is married to Ron's sister."
"They blamed you?" Drake asked in an icy tone.
Hermione lifted her head and peered into the darkness. "Oh no. Ron's parents were upset that he had married me when he wasn't sure about his…feelings. But he was still their son. And when the story broke in the papers and with Ron's career taking off…they naturally stood by him. So did his sister and so did Harry. I know it sounds awful but it felt as if they were siding with him when he was the one who had lied to me…and cheated on me… and just because he was gay everything was okay."
"That doesn't make you an awful person." Drake told her. "You were right to think that. If he had been straight and cheated on you then the situation would have been very different."
Hermione felt a heavy compression lift off her chest. Finally. Finally she had found someone who understood her feelings without thinking her to be spiteful or vindictive or a whiny attention seeker. Suddenly she felt the need to unburden herself…to this one person who wouldn't judge her and find her to be lacking when compared to a World Wide famous Quidditch star.
"I was so angry throughout the whole divorce. Ron told me that I could take whatever I wanted and that made me even angrier. I know now that he felt guilty but at the time it felt as if he didn't care what he lost as long as he didn't have me as his wife anymore."
Drake shifted and lifted her so easily in order to rearrange her so that she was lying across his legs that it caused her to gasp. He merely huddled her further against his chest and Hermione gave in easily.
"I used the money to buy the bookshop." She told him.
"Do you still see him or his family?"
Hermione shook her head. "Maybe one day…I miss the Weasley's. I miss Harry. But it's still too fresh. It's only been a year."
They sat in silence for a while.
"You do believe me don't you? You're beautiful."
Drake's finger ran over the apple in her cheek before trailing down and rubbing over her lips. His touch caused Hermione to take in a deep breath and lift her head up until she was facing him. For the first time she wished she could see him. She wanted to know the colour of his skin and the colour of his eyes. She wanted to know the shape of his jaw and the slash of his eyebrows.
She wanted to remember everything because she had a feeling this one night would get her through a million more.
When she felt a warm puff of air against her lips, she held her breath and tilted her head so his lips touched hers. The kiss was soft and chaste and lasted only a few seconds before his head retreated slightly. But she knew Drake hadn't gone far and he was waiting for some sign from her.
And if she gave it then he would descend his head back down…
She was on the cusp of saying yes when the blinding light flickered on above them. Hermione's eyes immediately shut and began burning. Even with her eyes closed, the light shining behind her eyelids was too harsh after spending so long in stark darkness.
Feeling Drake's hand cupping the back of her head, she gave in to his movement as he directed her into the crook of his neck so she could close out the light. The elevator lurched back to a start and began its descent as Drake huddled his own head into her neck.
Hermione gathered her wits in the next few seconds, realising the position the two of them would be in when the doors opened and how it would look to anyone on the outside. Still with her eyes tightly screwed shut, she shifted off Drake's lap and ran her arms around blindly until she found her shoes. Slipping them on, she tried to open her eyes a hint only to have the burning sensation increase.
She climbed to her feet with her hand clamped firmly over her eyes. She heard Drake do the same.
All too soon, the lift stopped once again and the doors quickly opened. Immediately she heard voices asking if she and Drake were alright.
Hermione answered by nodding her head whilst Drake murmured vaguely. Feeling an unfamiliar hand on her arm, she was led away by a Muggle paramedic who questioned her on how she was feeling and whether she was feeling dehydrated.
Hermione forced her eyes open and though she couldn't see perfectly due to the tears, she was able to make out blurred figures. She tried to wipe the tears away but they kept on being replaced. From the other side of the lobby she heard what seemed like another paramedic shouting.
"Sir, really it'll only take a few moments. We need to make sure you're okay. You're dehydrated."
Her head snapped up. What? What was happening with Drake?
Despite her eyes protesting, she forced them open wider. And when her vision finally adjusted, she swept her eyes over the lobby only to realise that Drake was no longer in the lobby with them. It was empty other than the two paramedics, a mechanic with a tool belt around his waist, the doorman and the security guard.
She needed to clarify and turned towards the paramedic hovering next to her. Taking a sip of the water offered to her, she drank it quickly before speaking. "Drake…the man I was with…he's gone?"
The paramedic nodded her head. "We can't force treatment on those who don't want it and he definitely didn't want it."
Hermione frowned as she turned back to the door, fully expecting Drake…whoever he was…whatever he looked like…to walk back in.
But he didn't and Hermione was sure if she was relieved or disappointed.
Whilst most other workers slept at nine 'o'clock on a Saturday morning, Hermione was once again outside her bookstore getting ready to open it for the day. Pulling the shutters up, she unlocked the door and stepped inside.
Her gaze immediately landed on the basket that had been placed on the counter by her stool. Looking over the basket cautiously as she walked over to it, she waved her wand over the cloth covering it to reveal any hidden curses.
When there was nothing, she slipped the tip of her wand under the cloth and shifted it over.
A basket filled with oranges. Hope began to spear through her and she lifted the folded note sat on top of the oranges with trembling fingers.
"I've seen you in the light. You're still beautiful to me. Draco."
And then underneath was another line written in black ink.
Hermione gasped in a breath as she stared disbelievingly at the note and the oranges. All the evidence that it had been Draco in the lift and not Drake…as if they were two different people…was staring at her in the face but her mind was struggling to believe it.
Certain things slid into place. Their obviousness making her feel like a fool for not putting the pieces together. His age. The fact that he ran a club. His parents being in Azkaban. But the others…and the way he had treated her.
That wasn't Draco Malfoy…Was it?
She remembered what she had told him about Ron and his reaction to her anger. Absurdly, his reaction fit him. The fact that he would understand her anger seemed obvious.
Scrunching her hand around the note, she felt the hair on the back of her neck stand once again. Taking in a deep breath and wetting her dry lips, she turned around.
Despite the early hour and the fact she had never seen Draco at this time; he had taken up his usual position on the opposite side of the street in front of his club.
It was as if there was a pull, an invisible rope tied around her stomach that was tugging and Draco held the end of it. Having no choice but to give in, she walked numbly back to her front door.
Hesitating once more before she opened it, she forced herself to follow through with the action. As the door opened, she watched Draco stand up straight and his hands shifted into his pockets nervously.
The two stared at each other silently for several long moments before Draco made the first move. He straightened his slightly hunched back, removed his hands from his pockets and bolstered himself as he began walking over to her.
And that was when Hermione made her decision of whether or not she was going to go ahead and do this. The first step was difficult, the second step less so and the third turned into a run.
She met Draco in the middle of the street and Hermione looked up at him, having no clue what to do or say.
"So Granger, are you finally agreeing to have that drink with me?"
Hermione laughed out loud, bubbles of pure happiness fizzing through her veins. She rose up on her toes.
"Yes please." She said.
And then she kissed him. And this time, the kiss wasn't so chaste.
It was beautiful.
Author's Note: Thank you to everyone who has reviewed this collection so far! This oneshot was for those who asked to read a more fluffy and sweet Draco. I hope you liked it! I'd like to direct your attention to the below link if I may.
There are a group of people reporting M rated stories that contain any hint of a lemon resulting in these stories being deleted from this site without any prior notice being given to the author. This will and probably already has, led to many authors abandoning this site in order to upload their stories elsewhere. I have to say that if this continues to occur, I will probably be following them. I began uploading my stories on this fanfiction site from a previous one due to many reasons but the main being that what I wrote wasn't censored and I wasn't made to alter my updates to fit a strict set of rules that banned scenes of a sexual nature.
In my opinion, labelling a story as M i.e. Mature, means that the reader should assume that the content contains mature themes and they should make a personal decision if they wish to continue to read on or not. After all, is it not widely presumed across readers on this site that M stories may contain sexual scenes/violence/language etc.? The site is suggesting that these stories should be removed and authors should upload such stories onto other sites. However a much easier and inconvenient alternative would be for the site to simply introduce a MA rating along with an age filter.
As most of you probably know, most of my stories are M rated and both of my Meus collections are M rated despite containing oneshots of a softer rating within them. I would hate to see them or Deceit deleted from the site and so am asking you to sign a petition whose link is below in order to stop this.
Thank you for reading and until next time, Curiositykils.