Draco Malfoy paced the length of his hallway. She was coming over for dinner and although they had arranged for 8pm, he knew she'd be here at least 15 minutes early.
He was nervous.
Draco Lucius Malfoy was nervous.
Not something he'd readily admit to, but he had the distinct feeling that he was not prepared for this meeting. Date. This was not a business arrangement, this was a romantic occasion between two adults. One of whom couldn't help but currently wear a hole in the thick pile of his hallway carpet.
This was somewhat unfamiliar to the Malfoy heir. Sure, he'd dated a multitude of women in his twenty-four years, but this was Hermione Granger. She was most definitely not the average woman, and he was entirely unsure as to whether the regular tricks and flirting techniques would work.
He was well aware they had feelings for each other. Said feelings had in fact achingly manifested themselves 2 months and 19 days ago on the desk of the central boardroom of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement late one heated night. He could only thank the petty argument they'd been having for that session as well as his current predicament.
But then again, he wasn't sure if the two of them would have ever honestly admitted the truth, without some kind of catalyst to spur them on. And as such, he was particularly surprised when it had been she to suggest the two of them stay behind occasionally to finalise reports and the like.
It had struck him as unusual at the time, grateful though he was for the opportunity to spend extra time alone with the illustrious and god-damn sexy Hermione Granger.
Smugly, in retrospect, he could now see that she had been as eager for time together as he was.
They'd already crossed the social barrier only a couple of weeks after he had joined her department, albeit accompanied by various other members of the team for drinks after a particularly difficult case had finally been resolved. He distinctly remembered how her casual beauty had blown him away that night. Although he had been begrudgingly admitting her prettiness within the office to himself, seeing her relaxed and enjoying herself had struck a chord deep within him.
And her great mind was of course the only one able to keep an intelligent conversation with him, even after a few. But her sense of humour was wicked, and he had been delighted to have found someone who could match him wit for wit, sarcastic bite for bite, and it was by the call for last rounds that he had realised that there was a distinct possibility that he could quite easily fall for Hermione Granger.
And, of course, he inevitably had done - even he could see that coming. Drinks after work had become a weekly staple in the department's social calendar, with employees from outside the core team beginning to tag along, and the gatherings becoming bigger and more dynamic each week. Yet every time he had been drawn straight to her, and it seemed that she may have been towards to him.
Just over one month into his employment under her - and oh how he had burned to be under her - he had insisted on escorting a particularly tipsy Granger home, to ensure she didn't end up apparating into a different county, or perhaps the North Sea. Either way he wasn't bothered: managing to gain even more time with her, as well as guaranteeing her safety could only work in his favour.
As they had left the warm and cosy pub, he soon realised he had no idea where she lived. So he resorted to the only option he could think of – apparating them both back to his Georgian townhouse.
They had landed with a stumble, mostly on her part, into his spacious living room, her eyes widening as she took in the elegant decor of his inherited home.
'Your house, Malfoy?' She had asked him.
'Nice to know geography is still a strong point, even when intoxicated.' He had smirked. 'Now, are you able to remember your address to Floo home, or am I going to need to set up a guest room for you?'
He turned away, under the guise of pouring himself a small firewhiskey from his crystal decanter, sincerely hoping she would accept the latter of his offers. Her pause dragged out as he turned back to face her, her teeth worrying her bottom lip as she appeared very nearly torn between the two which caused it's own worrying pressure on the seam of his trousers.
'I suppose I'd better get home to feed Ros and Gil.' She had eventually murmured.
'Ros and Gil?' He queried.
'My cats,' She muttered, her attention returning to her previous study of the room she stood in, leaning on the back of one large sofa for support. 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. From Hamlet. It's a play by–'
'William Shakespeare, I know.' His smirk widening as her eyes shot to his own, taking a second to refocus properly.
'You know a Muggle playwright?'
'It can't come as that great a surprise, Granger, you already know my fondness for good quality, British literature.' Her shocked expression remained, increasing his own amusement. 'Alright, granted, Shakespeare may not have been entirely Muggle. I mean, you can't expect his knowledge of magic in A Midsummer Nights Dream, or the various spirits spanning the likes of Macbeth and your own precious Hamlet to have been completely dreamt up by a muggle, after all.'
He sipped from his glass again, watching her slump against the plump cushions, her astonishment evident on her delicate features.
'I'd never thought of it like that. I'd always just expected...' She shook her head, as if to straighten her thoughts.
He replaced his glass on the sideboard, resigning himself to her own need to get home. 'Come on then Granger, let's get you over to the Floo, can't have Hamlet's aides waiting all night for you.'
She heaved herself to her feet, swaying just slightly as she poked him in the chest. 'This conversation is not over, Draco Malfoy...'
'I'm sure it's not.' He smirked again, taking a hold of the finger assaulting an attack on his person, pulling her against him in an effort to hold her steady. Or so he told himself, at least.
'I'm serious! This needs a proper discussion.' She continued, as he unwillingly carried her across the large room to the ornate marble fireplace set against one wall, hoping against hope that she would notice neither his reluctance or the pressure building within him below his italian leather belt.
The firewhiskey had given him a minor boost of confidence, as he reached for a delicate silver box set on the mantle piece. "So, hhow about we make sure we both get to lunch on time on Monday? Then we can exhaust this conversation topic as much as your heart desires.'
'Lunch?' Her eyes sparked as a sly grin slid across her face. 'You're on.'
He smiled in response, a genuine smile, without a trace of his usual asinine smirk,
'Now, you'd better get back to your furry two. Merlin can only hope that you keep them in better shape than that shoe-brush you used to own.' He joked, as she swatted at him, accompanied by another unsteady sway.
She stuck her tongue out at him and took a handful of the powder, before throwing it into the large fireplace.
'Lunch. Monday.' She repeated his promise, stepping towards the grate. At the last moment, she changed her mind and closed the short gap between him to press her lips against his smooth cheek. 'Don't you forget.'
And with that she had stepped into the emerald flames and back to her own home, leaving him dazed with an ache that would have to suffice being soothed in a cold shower before bed.
It wasn't long before their lunch arrangement became regular, with them both skipping off at half past one precisely every other day to engage in animated discussions and debates.
She had been in a hectic state one afternoon, with an important presentation to give thrown at her at the last moment, when he insisted she take an hour out of the madness for food.
They had made it all the way to the Ministry cafeteria when her breathing had finally slowed and she had visibly calmed, only to begin the swift spiral back into hysteria when she realised she had left her purse back in the office.
Happy to do so, Draco had hushed her protests and paid for her meal, and moved their trays over to their regular table despite her muttered grumbling. She had barely picked at her food when he placed a hand over her fidgeting fingers that tapped a steady rhythm on the table, telling her he wouldn't let her return to the office if she didn't get some kind of nourishment to keep her going.
He could have sworn he heard her mute a sharp inhalation at (he hoped) the physical interaction, but kept his hand covering hers until she met his eyes and nodded. He smiled at her and went back to his own lunch, falling into easy conversation with her as they always did, although she seemed hesitant, distracted.
He quickly put it down to her impending deadline until she'd slipped so far into distraction that she didn't hear a particular teasing remark, one that should have drawn an instant retort.
'Granger, please, stop fretting. You'll be fine with this, you know you will.'
'But there's far too much to do. I can't understand how Kingsley expects me to give this presentation tomorrow morning, with only a day's notice! It's completely unreasonable. I don't know what he's thinking.'
'So bring a couple of others in on it. Watkins and Rogers are sat twiddling their thumbs this week, give them something to do.'
'Out of the question. They're sat idle because I can barely trust them to do the most menial of jobs.'
'Then find someone competent. Refine the art of delegation.'
She had fallen silent as he cleaned up the last of his apple pie, ready to return back to the frenzy of their floor.
'Stay with me?' She had blurted out. 'Tonight, I mean. In the office. To finish this pitch? It was just an idea. I'm sure you have plans. Sorry, shouldn't have asked.'
He watched her mumble in embarrassment, a pretty blush creeping up her throat.
'Of course I will.' He'd interrupted her rambling. 'I'm surprised you didn't ask straight away.'
'Well, you know. You might have had things to do.'
'Not at all. I live for work. Can't get enough of this place.' His trademark smirk in place, he wondered how he could discreetly cancel the date Blaise had arranged for him that evening. 'Besides, you wouldn't have been able to go much further without my expertise.'
Her blush softened slightly, but remained heating her cheeks as she repeatedly thanked him for his help.
He hadn't really wanted to take the blonde... whatever her name was, out tonight anyway.
It hadn't been long before these kinds of deadlines seemed to appear more and more frequently in her agenda, and so their late nights at the Ministry had become a regular recurrence.
It was the night he'd popped out for takeaway and returned to find her burrowing beneath the desk, her shapely posterior very much within his sights as he re-entered the boardroom they were occupying.
'Didn't take you for the sort to end up on your knees so willingly, Granger.' He'd chuckled as he emptied the bag he'd been carrying, handing her the fork he knew she'd inevitably be needing after making her usual thorough and insistent attempt at using chopsticks.
She settled back in the chair he'd left her in, flushed and brushing her skirt down. 'I dropped a file. Papers everywhere. Prawn crackers?'
'Not too keen on the pet name there, Granger.' He'd grinned as he handed her the bag. He didn't think he'd ever smiled as much as he seemed to in her company.
She laughed, her shoulders dropping slightly as some of the tension left her. 'I'm sure I could think of plenty that would suit you far better.'
'Well, ferret's the obvious one.' She began, digging into her noodles.
'Clichéd.' He dismissed immediately.
'Alright. Slytherin Prince.' She offered.
'Statement of fact.'
'Ooh, low blow.' He winked at her. She was familiar with his close relationship with his mother, having briefly met her on one of the many occasions that Narcissa had swept into the Ministry, insisting on gracing her busy son with her presence.
'Fine. Blonde bimbo.'
'I much prefer bombshell, but whatever floats your boat.'
'How so?' She'd garbled out around a prawn ball.
'Well, your use of such a title would depend entirely on whether you'd been subjected to such 'pestering'.' He felt a tightening in his stomach, anticipation of the new turn of conversation.
'I suppose.' She conceded. 'I guess I'm just not dense enough to be the subject of the eminent Malfoy charm.'
'I resent that! I have a fine taste in women!'
'No, you have a predictable taste in women.'
'Well, if Weasley's anything to go by, I'd say you have a pretty shit taste in men.'
'And I resent that! Unfair!'
'Hardly. I spent six years having to endure his lack of intelligence and table manners.'
'It's not like you ever had to tolerate it up close and personal.'
'Oh, I'm sure you did plenty of that for the both of us.' He raised his eyebrows suggestively.
'Malfoy, I hardly think my personal relations are a suitable subject matter.' She raised her nose indignantly. Unfortunately, the rice sliding off her fork and onto her lap didn't help her point any.
'Oh, bugger.' She stood, the forkful of rice scattering across the carpet. She sighed, placing her plate on the desk they sat at as she reached for her wand to rectify the mess. 'Maybe we should call it quits for tonight.'
'Just as we were getting to the good stuff.' He snickered, clearing the empty boxes with a flick of his own wand.
'Another time, perhaps.'
'Now now, let's not make any promises we can't keep, boss.' He grinned again.
She rolled her eyes in answer, leaning forward to gather her file together, once again giving Draco a lovely view of her derriere. He realised a moment too late as he gave a murmur of approval at the sight.
'What was that?'
'Nothing.' He attempted to cover his tracks. 'Good Chinese, that's all.'
She grinned back at him, and he was certain she'd almost caught him staring.
'You. Are. Wrong!' Hermione threw her arms up in exasperation, while Draco lazily swung around in the swivel chair he occupied.
'Definitely not on this.'
'Yes, you are! Why do I always have to be the smart one?'
'I promise you, Hermione, you are very rarely the smart one when it comes to you and I.'
'And what's that supposed to mean?' Her voice turned deadly as she turned back to him, eyes flashing dangerously. He gulped in understanding that perhaps this was not the best of times to provoke her.
Attempting to keep his suave composure, he met her gaze evenly. 'Just that it's a well known fact that I could easily match you, back in the day as well as now.'
'I hardly think so.'
'Oh, too busy at the top were you, to look around at those of us constantly knocked off the top spot by your eagerness and all round over-achieving?'
She took a step towards him as he compensated by scooting back in the chair, grinning.
'Of course you were. Had something to prove, didn't you, little lion?'
Her arms dropped to her sides as her jaw fell to match. She shut her eyes as she gathered herself with gritted teeth, pinching the bridge of her nose. 'And your meaning?'
It took him a moment longer to realise she thought he'd been referring to her heritage.
He spluttered, 'Oh come on, you know I didn't mean–'
'Do I?' She spat.
'For fuck's sake Granger, we know each other better than this.'
'Maybe not as much as I thought!'
'You're an idiot to believe that.'
'Am I?' She took another step towards him. This time, Draco stood his ground.
'That was a rhetorical question.'
'Then don't ask it.'
'You are such an insufferable prat.' Another step.
'And you're a jumped-up bookworm who can't get past old prejudices.'
'You bastard.' She was level with him now.
'Didn't claim to be anything else.'
'You are so frustrating.'
'As are you.' He straightened in his seat, meeting her steely gaze dead on.
She leaned forward, placing her palms on the armrests of his chair, practically nose-to-nose with him.
'Don't presume to know so much about me Malfoy.'
'I'm sure I know much more about you than you realise Granger.' His breathing shallowed, he could almost taste her lips.
'Oh?' She tilted her head in a dangerous gesture as he continued.
'I know you're stubborn as all hell.'
She glared in such a way that made him unsure where he was going with this.
'I know that you don't really believe I think that way anymore.' She looked down, guilt momentarily flitting across her face.
'And I know you can feel this sexual tension just as much as I can.' He could see the flash in her eyes as his forwardness shocked her, her intake of breath evidence of her surprise.
Before he could continue, however, she had astonished them both by leaning closer and pressing her lips solidly against his.
The disbelief stunned him for a moment, but he soon recovered and began kissing her back with more fervour than he'd ever known. And suddenly he was standing, with one hand raised to the back of her neck and one to grip her tightly at the waist as her own fingers went straight to tousle his hair.
'Granger.' He murmured against her skin as his lips trailed across her jawline, her breath coming in little gasps that did nothing to alleviate the heat pooling in his stomach as he hardened.
One of her hands drifted down his chest and lower, lower, - oh Merlin, lower - as he continued his ministrations on that one spot just where her neck met her shoulder.
He'd hardly noticed she'd unbuttoned his shirt along the way until her fingers were there pressed against his hot skin, feeling along his waistband, dipping beneath the elastic.
He'd immediately set about unbuttoning her own blouse as their lips met again, breathy moans escaping her as her eyes closed.
With a hand against the backs of her thighs and one around her waist he lifted her onto the edge of the desk and pressed against her, slipping up her back to the clasp of her bra - red, of course it had to be red.
He traced down to her breasts, outlining a rosy nipple with his tongue as her fingers fumbled with his belt buckle and her sighs became moans. He couldn't help a satisfied smirk as an undeniable 'Draco...' slipped from her lips.
With his belt finally free, his trousers dropped and her hand went straight to work freeing him from his underwear, his manhood hot, hard and ready - so ready for her - as she steadied herself against his shoulder, eyes wide and bright.
He brushed his hands up her thighs, raising her skirt higher, higher, around her hips as he grazed against her heat for the first time. A murmur escaped her lips as he traced her with his thumb, her mismatched underwear bringing him nothing but delight beneath the unnatural strobe lighting of the boardroom.
He dipped beneath the fabric finding her as pulsingly ready for him as he was for her. She pushed him away slightly, his bitter disappointment at leaving the warmth between her thighs telling him he needed this, needed her, far more than he would ever willingly admit.
To his surprise and utter relief she leaned back, hooking her thumbs beneath the waistband of her knickers and shimmied them down her legs - a task he couldn't have been more enthusiastic in helping with.
And finally, finally, there was nothing in their way, nothing between them, nothing that could have brought him more joy in the world when he stepped back between her legs and entered her warmth, her whole body embracing him as she cried out, her eagerness and ecstasy joining with his own.
It hadn't been long before they both found their end, he was a little embarrassed to admit. Having dreamt up this fantasy a multitude of times alone, in the darkness of his grand bedroom, hand wrapped tightly around his member, he had concocted a plethora of orgasms and positions for them to enjoy but all seemed to fade away at this bliss of being with her, within her, being responsible for her pleasure, seeing her eyes light, her cries becoming louder, as they raced further, further towards that euphoria.
Collapsed on the boardroom table, her body pressed beneath his, she'd finally regained her breath when she pulled away, her hand covering her mouth, her eyes lit this time in horror.
'Draco, I...' She pulled herself from beneath him, the absence of her warmth an aching loss for him. Pushing off from the table she turned away, retrieving her underwear as she began chucking random pieces of paper towards her bag, already charmed to organise her work while she hastily buttoned her shirt. 'That shouldn't have... I'm sorry... We should... I have to... I need to go.'
And with that, she abandoned the room leaving an entirely astounded and near-naked Draco staring after her.
'So to conclude today's meeting, just a couple of reminders - Phil, I need those papers on my desk by the end of the day, and Padma we'll continue in my office at 3pm. Any questions?'
Draco sipped his lukewarm coffee and tried not to look too guilty as he stepped in at the back of boardroom.
'Nice of you to join us, Mr. Malfoy.' He looked up, surprise clouding his face as he took in her icy glare. 'Anything of worth to add?'
'No. Sorry, Granger. I was-'
'Not the time for excuses. Thank you everybody, meeting adjourned.'
He drained the last of his cup as he waited for the rest of his department to leave the room, before approaching the head of the table where she was gathering her things.
'Granger, I'm sorry I missed most of the meeting, I-'
'It's fine, Malfoy, but I expect you to have caught up on what you missed before lunchtime today. There are a twenty-seven new projects underway, and you've pretty much just missed the boat.' She juggled a couple of stacks in her arms while trying to swing a bag over her shoulder.
'Here, let me take some of that.' He offered, reaching over.
'I'm fine. I suggest you get back to your office, you've a lot of catching up to do.' She brushed past him.
'Have I missed something?' He stepped out of her way, struggling to understand her behaviour.
'Yes, quite a lot, I've already said-'
'No, I mean here, between... us...' He tried to catch her gaze while she seemed to be concentrating on everything around the room but him.
'I'm not sure what you mean. Now I really must get on.'
He stopped her with a hand on her elbow. 'Seriously, Granger, why the frosty attitude? You've been avoiding me for days and you weren't at the pub the other night. I've had enough. What's going on?'
She finally looked up and met his gaze with a sigh.
'Nothing. It's fine. I'm just under a lot of pressure right now.' She shifted her files and moved towards the door again before she stopped again. 'By the way, you missed a visitor this morning. I didn't catch her name but she said she had a special appointment with you so I'm sure she'll be back.'
'A visitor? Not my mother again? I do keep telling her to stop dropping in like that but you know what she's like...'
'No, Malfoy. She most definitely was not your mother.' And with a wry smile that didn't quite reach her eyes, Hermione Granger left a very baffled Draco Malfoy alone in the boardroom.
Draco slumped in his desk chair behind a pile of papers that seemed to have quite a determination not to stay on his desk. A tapping at his door gave him a distraction he could only be grateful for.
'Yes?' He was greeted by the Departmental Administration Assistant - a young chap, fresh out of Hogwarts. 'Collins, is it?'
'Yes, sir. Owl came for you, sir.'
'Thank you. Much appreciated.' Draco took the sealed envelope and on closing the door, ripped into it.
Do hope you enjoyed the present I sent over to you this morning. I know it's been a while for you.
Back on the hippogriff though, eh? Drinks tomorrow night at mine, then we'll hit the town.
'Present?' An overwhelming sense of dread filled him as he recalled Hermione's words from earlier.
As he looked up from his desk, directly across from him draped over a huge tome on Magical Law vs. Muggle Law he spotted a Billywig-blue pair of barely-there knickers.
'Oh Merlin, oh Merlin, no.'
He leapt up from his desk to rip them off the bookshelf as another knock sounded at his door.
Stuffing the lacy undergarment into his pocket he reached for the door.
'Malfoy.' Hermione Granger was stood the other side. He stepped back to let her past and into his modest office.
'I wanted to apologise for my behaviour earlier. It wasn't... best practice. And for that, I'm sorry.' She stated, formal and unemotional.
'No, no problem at all, you don't have anything to apologise for.' He stammered, trying not to draw attention to his pocket at all, the fabric within feeling like a lead weight.
She leant back against his desk and put her head in her hands. 'No, I am sorry, really. This past couple of weeks have been nothing but intense and I took it out on you. I really shouldn't have. You've been nothing but polite since... Well. Since the incident.'
'The incident in the boardroom. The mistake. Whatever you want to call it.'
'The mistake?' He could hardly believe what he was hearing. A moment of pure bliss, and she was calling it a mistake?
Suddenly she straightened, cheeks flushed, eyes narrowed. 'Yes. Well, thank you for your time, Malfoy. I see you have other matters to attend to.'
She gestured at his hips as she marched over to the door, shutting it firmly behind her without a backwards glance. He looked down.
And Merlin how he wished he hadn't.
The sapphire-blue scrap of underwear was undeniably peeking out from his Parisian suit trousers.
'For she's a jolly good fellow! And so say all of us!'
The cheers echoed around the pub as almost the entirety of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement had turned out to congratulate Hermione Granger on her announcement of running for Minister at the end of Kingsley Shacklebolt's term.
Draco Malfoy, meanwhile, sat in a corner nursing a near-empty glass of firewhiskey, watching the action with a sullen expression.
A red-headed auror approached his table. 'Malfoy.'
'Weasley.' He nodded.
The Gryffindor settled onto the bench next to him. 'Cheer up, might never happen.'
'Unfortunately, Weasley, I can be sure it never will.' He drained the remnants of his glass.
'Well if that's the case, we might as well get pissed.' He placed a fresh bottle in front of Draco.
'I'll drink to that.'
Ron touched his own bottle against Draco's with a clink, as Draco watched another group embrace Hermione across the room as they all raised their drinks for another chorus of cheers.
'Jealous?' Ron nodded at the group Draco had his eye on.
'That she's running for Minister? Not likely. Wouldn't want the hassle.'
'Yeah. Seems like a whole lot of bother if you ask me.'
They quietened for a moment as more people entered the pub to more whoops and whistles.
'I assume the Chosen One's arrived with the Weaslette.' Draco muttered.
'Oi, that's my sister.'
Ron grinned at Draco.
'You know, she's been under a huge amount of pressure lately.'
'No, the Golden Girl. Hermione.'
'So people keep saying.'
'They've had her under all kinds of contracts and prohibitions for the past couple of months in the lead up to her announcement.'
'I'm serious. They've vetoed all sorts of places she's not allowed to go now, things she can't be seen doing, even people she shouldn't be seen with.'
'That seems... precautionary.'
'Yeah. But I mean, you must have noticed.'
'Well yeah. We all know about your late night sessions.'
Draco spluttered his mouthful across the table. 'Excuse me?'
'Yeah, yeah. The studying for presentations, drafting new bills, takeaway, all that kind of stuff. It was all we heard about for weeks.'
Draco choked back his relief. He'd hardly expected Hermione to tell anyone about the incident as she'd dubbed it, but he was at least thankful that Ronald Weasley didn't have a detailed account, let alone any knowledge on the matter whatsoever.
Ron did however take him by surprise as he leaned in and dropped his voice, 'The thing about Hermione is, though, Malfoy, it's very easy to fall quickly and deeply. Quicker than you realise, until it's over. And then you're fucked.'
And with that, the redhead winked and left the table.
Feeling the colour drain from his cheeks at the thought of a Weasley giving him romantic advice, Draco downed the rest of his drinks and stepped out of the warmth of the pub into the misty rain.
Halfway down the street he stopped as he heard his name called out.
'Malfoy! Merlin, stop walking so fast. Malfoy!'
He turned to see Ministerial Candidate Granger hurrying along towards him, not altogether steady on her feet.
'I thought you were supposed to avoid appearing unpresentable in public now.' He caught her as she barrelled into him.
'Perhaps. But a future Minister has to be allowed let her hair down a little, surely?' She grinned up at him. He didn't return it.
'Well. The party's inside, so you'd best head back.' He righted her and gestured back the way she'd come.
'No, wait. I just wanted... I just wanted to say...'
'What, Granger? Congratulations on your announcement, I'm very happy for you.'
'You don't sound it.'
'I don't have to.'
'Well excuse me, but I don't see why you have a right to be all grumpy.'
'I don't think you're in a fit state to be seeing much right now, Granger, so off with you.'
'Unfair. You used me.'
Draco took a step back in complete disbelief.
'I used you? How on earth did you come to that conclusion, Granger? Do tell.'
She looked up at him, speechless at his reaction and clearly now uncertain on her own standpoint.
'Was it the staying endless nights helping you with your presentations that gave it away? Or was it the buying you countless lunches and dinners while you were fretting away and forgetting to eat? Because believe it or not, Granger, you were the one that ran away and insisted on calling it a mistake.'
'But...' She began, her lower lip wobbling as her cheeks flushed. 'It was a mistake.'
'Well for me, it really really wasn't.'
He stepped away from her as tears began to cloud her eyes and apparated home. He wouldn't give her the satisfaction of seeing his own rejection.
Weasley was right. He was fucked.
'So please be aware that interviews for my successor as Head of Department will be running from next week onwards. If selected for interview you will be expected to find your own cover if the interview timings conflict with your duties or prior arrangements. Any questions can be directed to me through Collins. I wish anyone applying the best of luck - it's quite a job but enormously fulfilling. And that concludes today's meeting.'
Congratulations were still be called to Hermione as the room began to empty. Having spilled his coffee on some of his papers, it took Draco a little longer to escape the room than he'd been accustomed to lately.
He'd ignored every attempt at interaction from her over the past week. He'd fed the almond pastry that had been waiting on his desk the morning after to his owl. He'd conveniently been scheduled out of the office when she'd requested a lunch meeting. And he damn well wasn't about to be left in an empty room with her any longer.
'Will you be running?'
He looked up, his heart lurching as he saw her looking directly at him. 'Possibly. Hadn't considered it.'
In truth, he'd been planning his application for Head of Department and practising interview strategy since she'd first announced her campaign for Minister. Of course, she didn't need to know that.
'Well I hope you do. Consider it.'
He'd just about given up on his papers, even a quick Scourgify didn't seem to be helping, as he picked up the pile, coffee stains and all, and made for the door.
He stopped in the doorway. Of course he stopped. He'd stop a thousand suns from burning if she'd asked.
'If I upset you the other night, I am sorry.'
'Sure.' He raised a hand to the door handle.
'Please. I just... Please, wait.'
He turned to face her.
She sighed and sat back down at the table.
'I wanted to apologise properly for my behaviour towards you for the last, I don't know, month.'
'Apology accepted.' He turned back towards the door, freedom just inches from his grasp.
And with a great sigh of his own, he once again turned back towards her and seated himself at the opposite end of the table.
'I have behaved inappropriately towards you for some time now, and I wanted to clear the air.'
He rolled his eyes. Just like Hermione Granger to be so formal.
'Don't roll your eyes at me, Draco. I'm trying to be serious here.
'Of course you're trying to be serious. You're always serious. You've been nothing but fucking serious since The Incident as you called it.'
'Well excuse me for trying to have some dignity about all of this.'
'Dignity? I think you lost that when you had your legs wrapped around my waist.' He bit back.
'How dare you! I have tried to be civil with you about this-'
'Fuck being civil, Hermione! You don't get to be high and fucking mighty about this! You've already said you'd made a mistake, it happened, we fucked, and now you've made it very clear that you want nothing more to do with me. Fine. Whatever. Move on. But don't expect me to be fucking civil with you after you completely and utterly rejected me!'
He was suddenly aware of his volume as it echoed in the panelled room. He hadn't quite meant for it to turn out like that.
It was a long pause before she found her voice.
'I didn't reject you.'
'Yes, you did.'
'You ran away and didn't speak to me for a week. And then you try and be friends again. It doesn't work that way, Granger.'
'Please just let me finish.'
She swallowed, looking around the room. 'I ran away because I hadn't intended for that to happen.'
He snorted. She glared.
'What I mean is, I hadn't intended for it to all be over that quickly. I'd been wanting to ask you... I had planned to ask you out for a drink or dinner or... something. For a while. And then in the heat of the moment... That happened, and I didn't know what to do.'
'I think you did.'
'Draco, shut up.'
'I didn't know what to do because I thought that meant it would all be over. You're Draco Malfoy; you use them and lose them. It's a well documented fact according to Witch Weekly.'
She looked at him, expecting some kind of response. He let her continue.
'I'd been building it all up in my head for so long and suddenly we were there and you were... You were... Well. I panicked. I thought that would be it, that I'd lost your friendship and companionship and all the nice things you'd said and done for me. I thought it wouldn't mean anything to you, so I left in what was admittedly not my finest hour.
'So I tried to make it not mean anything for me. I tried to forget about it and distance myself from you. And then Kingsley approached me about running for Minister and suddenly I'm swept up in this myriad of things that I have to do and even more things I'm not allowed to do and say and people I'm not allowed to be seen with. Protect the image and all that.'
'I get it, you weren't allowed to see me. Great.'
'Actually no, it wasn't like that. It was more that I wasn't to be seen staying late at work or favouring certain staff over others. And I had clearly been doing more than favouring you.' She gave a brief smile across the table to him before continuing. 'If I'm to be seen as respectable and trustworthy, then any relationship I may or may not have needs to be above board. Not sneaking around dark offices at night - the press would have a field day.
'And then I came across this woman wandering the hallways looking for you, and she was obviously a certain kind of friend, and you were late to work, and the underwear in your pocket, and I just... I couldn't deal with it. I didn't want to understand, but clearly I was right. Use them and lose them Malfoy strikes again.' The smile that she gave this time was much sadder.
'Can I speak now?'
'I had no idea about that woman - no, really. I didn't. It was an old game between Blaise and I - he was under the impression that I was... pining for something. Someone.' He raised a sardonic eyebrow.
'So he was trying to help take my mind off things. I wasn't in that morning because I'd been at the hospital all night while Millie was in labour. Goyle's now a father and he wasn't exactly coping, so I did what any friend would do and stuck around for him.'
Hermione's face dropped. He continued.
'As I wasn't there, Blaise's present as he called her, left her own present for me which I'd only just noticed when you arrived at my office. I thought it better not to open the door with it in my hands so thought I'd hidden it. And I never had a proper chance to explain. So maybe now that you're running for Minister, you might want to work on your communications.'
He stood. 'Now, if you'll excuse me.'
'No. I won't excuse you. Sit down.' She was standing.
He stared at her.
'Sit down, Malfoy.'
'I said, sit down.' She moved around the table.
'I don't want to.'
'You already did.'
'I'll do it again.'
'See you then.'
'Wear the red bra.'
And as quickly as the first time her lips were on his again, his hands on her waist and her fingers at his hairline.
'Draco.' She murmured against his lips once they'd paused for breath.
'We can't do this here.'
'We already did once.' He kissed a line along her jaw.
'I have a press conference.'
'Make them wait.'
'I'm not discussing my campaign with journalists post-sex.'
'So don't go.' He moved down to her neck.
'I have to.'
He drew back, a smile brightening her face as he pecked her on the lips once more.
'When you're Minister, I think you should change that rule.'
'Is that so?' She ran her hands up his chest, linking her fingers behind his neck.
'Well there'll be an awful lot of sex.'
'And no running off after.'
'If you say so.'
'Well alright then.' She smiled up at him, pressing her own lips to his jaw line.
'Now about dinner tonight.'
'I will be expecting an actual dinner.'
'Are you sure?'
Neither could help their own beaming smiles. Draco pressed his forehead against hers.
'So, above board?'
'You said your relationships have to be above board.'
He pressed his body against hers, holding her tightly to him. 'So.'
'I think so.'
She reached up to kiss him, gently pulling his head down to her height. 'Right, press conference to get to.'
'What if they ask?'
'About your relationship status? You know they will.'
'Let's see how tonight goes before I start saying anything to the press.'
He grinned, 'Wise move, Ministerial Candidate Granger.'
'I think so. It just means you'll really have to impress me tonight.'
'I'm certain I can do that.'
And so Draco Malfoy found himself pacing the length of his hallway in anticipation of his first real date with Hermione Granger.
Confident that they wouldn't run out of things to talk about, he'd nonetheless prepared an interesting centrepiece for table made up of Fwooper and Jobberknoll feathers just in case - as his mother had always taught him, an interesting centrepiece will always prove a talking point, even in the direst of company.
Their starter was prepared with their main course simmering away in the oven. He'd prepared a small dessert but was honestly rather hoping they wouldn't have a chance to sample it until much later as a late night snack.
Seventeen minutes to 8pm, and he could practically count down the seconds to her arrival. He checked one last time on the grandiose table in his dining room, set some gentle background music to play and headed back to the front door.
Just in time to hear a knock. He opened the door and - FLASH!
A camera bulb went off in his face, and suddenly a hundred questions were being hurled at him from the street.
'Mr. Malfoy! What's it like dating one of the Golden Trio?'
'Malfoy, over here! Did you know she was running for Minister when you proposed?'
'How can you reconcile your actions during the war with hers?'
'Is it true you had sex in a Ministry boardroom?'
'Malfoy! What's your ideal date?'
'How many kids do you want?'
He shut the door firmly against the commotion outside, leaning back to take a breather.
He quickly moved through the house, double-checking the wards and shutting and charming all the curtains, finishing up in the kitchen once more.
'Something smells good.'
He spun around, breath catching at the sight of Hermione Granger seated at his breakfast bar, hair down, wearing a red evening dress, shoes off beside her bag.
'How did you...?'
'You apparated me here once before. It was the same night you asked if I wanted to go home or stay over.'
'I remember.' He stepped towards her.
'I think I'd like to stay over tonight.'
'I'd best make up a guest room then.'
'What a gentleman.'
'I was kidding.'
'I hoped so.'
He took her into his arms and kissed her solidly.
'I still want dinner.'
'Good. I put a lot of effort into it.'
'But maybe it can wait a while?'
'Well thank goodness for stasis charms then.'