A/N: I've been away from a long time right? This is an experiment for now. 2 chapters only.
Disclaimer: All recognisable characters, themes, settings belong to J. K. Rowling
It's a world and a half away where Hermione Granger once again encounters Draco Malfoy ten years after the final battle of Hogwarts.
He's much the same except for the pale stubble on his cheeks and the expensive muggle attire. He's clasping a cheap clear plastic cup filled with what looks like beer and he's sitting with a bunch of stout looking business men who are too busy wolfing down their steaming meals to notice his inattention. Malfoy raises his cup to her in acknowledgement and Hermione politely nods back. They both turn away and Hermione ignores him for the rest of her meal, turning her attention back to her hosts who are smiling and chattering to her in accented English.
Outside, the air is humid and laden with the promise of a thunderstorm. The neon lights of Hong Kong flash and the busy populace rush along their daily business. Hermione thinks of the strange coincidence of meeting him in this little mom and pop yum cha restaurant.
When she returns to her apartment later that night, Hermione considers the strange coincidence again and resolves to put it out of her mind. She mentions it briefly in her letter to Harry and Ron directly after the sentence in which she admonishes them to take care of Molly Weasley and follows it with a sentence about her lush green pot plants which now made a home for themselves on her windowsill.
Her air-conditioning hums in the background as Hermione carefully brushes out her frazzled curls which never seem to adjust to the humidity. She puts on her light cotton pyjamas, slips between her sheets and falls asleep within minutes.
Harry writes back a week later; two paragraphs about the auror mission he and Ron were assigned to – no details, just complaints – and a paragraph on how the Weasley family was faring. There is a sentence telling her how much they miss her and asking when she'd be home.
She honestly doesn't think of Draco Malfoy again.
It's typhoon season in Hong Kong when she sees him again. Hermione trudges through an immense puddle of water on the side walk in her heels as she battles to keep her umbrella open in the onslaught of gale force winds and failing miserably. She discards the tangle of silver spokes and torn black fabric in the nearest bin in downtown Hong Kong Island and resigns herself to the inevitability of a wet trip to the office.
It's only when the storm worsens and Hermione can barely see six feet in front of her own face that she gives in and ducks into the lobby of a skyscraper in which a few kind security guards had allowed pedestrians to seek shelter until the worse of the storm passes.
She's wringing a small rivulet of water from the tail of her jacket when she spots the black German sedan pull up in front of the building. There's a commotion as a security guard rushes past her and into the rain. He opens a large sturdy looking oak handle umbrella and opens the rear passenger door. Draco Malfoy steps out and nods politely to the guard and proceeds into the lobby with minimal fuss. His left pant leg becomes soaked in the onslaught of wind and rain but he remains otherwise unscathed. He spots her in the lobby and stops awkwardly beside her.
"Hello." He's husky. Like he's just been in bed or recovering from a recent bout of the cold.
"Hi." Hermione responds.
They stand silently for another second before Malfoy is turning away and striding towards the elevators. The automatic doors are being held open for him by an efficient looking secretary who steps in after him. Hermione is turned away when the doors close, she's fumbling with her phone. She's got to call the office and tell them she's running late and that the meeting may have to be postponed. They're agreeable given half the staff is also stranded elsewhere.
Her jacket is only damp by the time she pushes away from the cool marble wall of the lobby though her shoes are still uncomfortably wet. She wishes she could apparate home briefly for a hot shower but that seems inappropriate given she's already missed an entire morning of work.
She opts for a hot bath later that night, wriggling her toes in the bubbles as a workbench hovers in front of her while she lounges against the cushioned curve of the tub.
Hermione sips her beer, fingers curled around the long cool neck as she contemplates the letter she is writing to Harry and Ron. She slips a mention of Draco Malfoy directly after the sentence about the awful weather and follows it with a sentence about the wilting pot plants which made a home for themselves on her windowsill.
She signs the letter with her usual affections and gets out of the bath. The pots plants make their final journey to the bottom of her rubbish bin.
Harry writes back three days later, a paragraph about how the Weasley's are faring and two paragraphs on his summer Quidditch team consisting of their old Gryffindor housemates. Ron tacks on three sentences at the end of Harry's letter; one to complain about the end of his holidays, one to tell her he misses her and one to ask her for the spell she always used to get grass stains out of his Quidditch whites.
She thinks of Draco Malfoy again when she walks past the lobby of the building the next day but not again.
It had been raining for eight days straight when Hermione encounters Draco Malfoy again. Not the cool drizzle they usually receive in England but the tempestuous humid downpours of Hong Kong. She's safely ensconced in the boardroom on the 23rd floor of the skyscraper she now works in, watching the weather buffet the structure of glass and steel.
Footsteps and chatter break her contemplation of the weather and Hermione stands immediately with her colleagues, pushing back her wheeled seat and coming fully to her unimpressive height of five feet and four inches. She calmly folds her hands in front of her skirt, smiling politely as a cluster of suits stream into the glass bound room, followed shortly by Hermione's boss Mr. Conrad Tan. Beside him strides a familiar blond man, clean shaven and dressed in a subtly tailored grey suit.
Hermione is only mildly surprised to see him.
He pauses briefly in the doorway when he spots her and after a moment, acknowledges her with a brief nod which earns her a surprised look from Mr. Tan. Hermione looks resolutely at her papers as Malfoy settles into the seat at the head of the table.
The negotiations begin. They're heated and last well into the night. They break briefly for lunch then dinner. Hassled looking interns rush in and out of the boardroom carrying photocopies of the amended contracts, cups of coffee and bottles of aspirin. Malfoy's suit jacket is draped over the back of his chair by three o'clock, his shirt sleeves are rolled up by seven o'clock and when they finally come to an agreement at eleven o'clock, his hair has fallen across his forehead in casual disarray as he and Mr. Tan shake on the deal. Tan industries is a now a branch of Malfoy's empire.
Champagne is brought to the table and the two bosses and their suits toast the successful acquisition. Hermione sips the flute of chilled Dom as platters of freshly sliced sashimi and sushi arrives at the table.
From the corner of her eye, Hermione watches Draco Malfoy end the conversation with the company's vice president and stroll to her side. She politely turns to face him.
His eyes are tired, she thinks immediately as they smile faintly at each other.
"How are you?" he murmurs and Hermione realises how much she has missed the British accent.
She replies in a perfunctory way. "Well. And yourself?"
"Good. Thank you."
The conversation is interrupted by her colleague who is eager to introduce himself to the new boss. Hermione lets herself drift from the gathering when Mr. Tan signals her.
"You two are acquainted." A statement, not a question.
Hermione nods. "We were acquainted in school."
"Academic rivals," Hermione evades.
Mr. Tan appears satisfied with the answer and meanders away. The celebrations end shortly after and Hermione makes her way home from her office via the night market. On impulse she buys two goldfish which bob along in their little pocket of plastic existence in her hand until she cuts the membrane and empties them into a bowl on her windowsill.
She writes her weekly letter to Harry and Ron as she watches the goldfish explore their limited surrounds. She mentions Draco Malfoy directly after the sentence about her new pets and follows it with a complaint about the endless cloud cover and rain.
Ron writes back two weeks later. He writes a sentence informing her that he'd broken his left femur after falling from his broom trying to execute a particular move on his new Nimbus. There's a paragraph detailing George's botched attempts to heal the bone which resulted in the severing of the entire limb and the painstaking month it would take for the mediwitch at St. Mungo's to grow it back. There's two paragraphs detailing Ron's distaste at being stuck on desk duty until he regains his limb. Ginny sends her well wishes at the end of the letter.
Hermione thinks about Draco Malfoy the next day as she escapes to the empty boardroom for a quiet lunch. She fancies his scent still lingers in the seat at the head of the table where she sits and silently finishes her rice. It's warm and masculine. Hermione inhales deeply without questioning why.
Hermione encounters Draco Malfoy again while she's filled with a bittersweet sadness. It's a gloriously sunny day in Macau and the ferry across the bay from Hong Kong had left her brilliantly windswept and light.
She's in the extravagant MGM casino being dragged to and fro by a group of girlfriends celebrating her birthday. 28 years old and cocktail in hand, Hermione finds that she is enjoying herself exploring the craps tables and roulette wheels. There's a hum of drunken excitement in the air and plenty of artificial laughter but the atmosphere is good and Hermione feels good too.
Her girlfriends are shrieking with laughter over at the slot machines, checking out the attractive businessman two tables over sending them drinks. They wave at her to join them but Hermione shakes her head. She turns back to the table and signals the dealer for another card. There is a letter in her purse which weighs her down and Hermione feels no need to fight against the gravity and rise from her chair.
Later in her hotel room, Hermione kicks off her heels and surfs the TV channels. She settles on BBC world news and sips a glass of water. Her roommate is already snoring away in the next bed still dressed in a sequined cocktail dress in an eye-catching shade of gold.
The clock ticks over past midnight and the post-alcohol self-pity kicks in. She pads her way across the carpeted floor and leaves the room with her key card. She's down in the bar before she knows it, ordering a Long Island ice tea with a little pink umbrella.
Someone slips into the barstool beside hers. This doesn't surprise Hermione. It's only a little past twelve and the casino is still doing good business. She sits in silence for a long moment staring at the long fine fingers wrapped around a tumbler of whiskey.
"Penny for your thoughts?" A deep voice interrupts her musings.
Hermione's head snaps up, her eyes sharpening into focus.
"Mr. Malfoy." She straightens, aware that he is now her boss, of a sort. "What brings you to Macau?"
"Business. Contracts. The usual." He replies, slouched informally in his seat.
Hermione follows suit and abandons her rigid formal posture.
"Why are you drinking alone?"
Hermione grimaces and decides it won't hurt to tell him the truth. "Ron's getting married. To a mediwitch who regrew his leg."
Draco smiles faintly at her. "How romantic. You…are not happy?"
The ice tea is starting to go to her head as she takes a final sip and pushes away the remnants. Hermione rolls her shoulders. "I'm happy for Ron. I'm happy that he's happy. It's just so…short notice isn't it?"
"3 months." Draco says, turning back to his drink.
At her questioning look, Draco shrugs. "The Greengrass's are family friends. Astoria is Daphne's younger sister."
Later that week Hermione is soaking in her tub back at home as she writes her weekly letter. She mentions Draco Malfoy between sending her heartfelt congratulations to Ron and informing Harry of the death of one of her goldfish.
She does not receive a reply, instead a thick vellum envelope arrives sealed in crimson wax. Hermione's not surprised to see the traditionally styled wedding invitation inside announcing a date and a venue. Small amounts of tasteful white confetti float around the invitation as Hermione reads. Never one to put things off, Hermione books a portkey to London and a hotel room.
She thinks about Draco Malfoy between sips of wine. She briefly allows herself to dwell over the fall of blond hair over his eyes and those incredibly long fine fingers which held his drink. She thinks musingly that he could've been a great pianist in a past life.
As predicted, Hermione encounters Draco Malfoy at Ron's wedding. They sit at the same table at the rehearsal dinner that night, she in a subtle cream and black number, he in standard wizarding robes. She downs another glass of champagne while ignoring his gaze.
Hermione freshens herself up in the powder room – it is literally a room for ladies to powder their noses, there are no toilets in sight – and strolls reluctantly back to her table. Someone has switched the place settings. Her name sits strangely next to Draco's and he's watching her with curious eyes.
"Are you in love with him?" She's still arranging her purse on the table when he asks.
Hermione turns to him frowning. She eyes the open collar of his robes and meets his sharp gaze. "What makes you think that?" She belatedly realises that her words are running together.
He's frowning at her. "Do you usually drink like a fish?"
Hermione finds herself sneering. "Do you usually ask so many damn questions?"
He smirks and Hermione briefly sees that familiar seventeen year old boy. "Yes."
She finds that she has no smart comeback to that. Her words are becoming more and more elusive as she meets the bottom of each glass.
Further along in the evening, Hermione unwisely accepts a dance from Cormac Maclaggen. There are hands in unwelcome places and hot sticky breaths on her neck but Hermione feels too dizzy to push them off. Her motor skills are deteriorating and it's difficult just to place her feet on the dance floor.
The hands are gone an instant later. The noise and light of the ballroom fade in a burst of cool air and cigarette smoke. Hermione blinks up at the streetlight silhouetting Draco's halo of hair. He looks angry but Hermione can't bring herself to care. She leans into him, buries her nose in his unbuttoned collar and hangs on for dear life when she is side apparated.
She reappears in a sleek white bathroom and in an instant pushes away from the arms holding her up. She's retching into the toilet for a good hour as cool fingers stroke her nape. A cool towel presses to her mouth as she slumps to the floor.
Hermione allows herself to relax in the arms that carry her into the darkened bedroom lit only with filtered moonlight. She snuggles under the sheets and drowsily contemplates the man who sits on the bed next her. His face is angled towards her, light gleaming eerily off grey irises. She falls asleep as his hand reaches for her.
Hermione wakes abruptly. The beside clock flashes 03:01 in blaring red numerals and it's still dark out. She fumbles around for her wand and finds it safely tucked under her pillow. She finds herself still fully dressed and briefly tries to analyse what Draco Malfoy has done for her tonight. Her thoughts are still in disarray when she apparates into the alley beside her hotel.
She's walking into the lobby when she becomes abruptly aware that she has left her purse somewhere along with her room key. It takes another half hour of sweet talking the hotel staff into letting her into her room. Hermione gets three hours of restless sleep before she is up again casting spells to cover the dark circles under her eyes. She tries again to think of that darkened bedroom and the man reaching for her. She finds her thoughts more organised but his actions no less perplexing.
The wedding is an extravagant affair. Astoria Greengrass is radiant in white and Ron looks delirious with happiness. Molly is weeping and so is Arthur though he tries his best to hide it. Draco tries to catch her eye several times but Hermione pretends she is too busy glaring at Rita Skeeter to notice.
The entire wedding party relocates to the outdoor garden reception after the nuptials conclude. Hermione finds herself in a nicely shady corner with Cormac Maclaggen. Before he can open his mouth she deals him a punch in the gut and walks away quite proud of herself.
She ignores Malfoy's smiling gaze and immerses herself in conversation with classmates she hasn't seen in an age. She plays with Lavender's son and coos at Pavarti's twins and when she feels she has done her duty, excuses herself to the open bar. She finds the bottom of several cosmopolitans before her fifth…or was it sixth is rudely snatched away.
"What are you doing?" He tips the pink drink distastefully into the ashtray as she glares at the bartender.
Hermione fights the urge to roll her eyes. "Getting quite thoroughly sloshed."
"Because you're still in love with the groom?" He persists.
Before she knows what she's doing, Hermione's hand flashes out. Draco catches her effortlessly, enclosing her hand in his before she can strike him. She blearily glares up at him and then her lips are on his. They're warm, dry and he tastes of whiskey. There is suddenly cool male skin under her fingers and the brush of silky hair on her forehead.
He pulls away briefly but Hermione doesn't want to hear what he's about to say. She tangles her fingers in the hair at his nape and pulls him back in.
They're still entangled when the garden falls away and she's back in that same bedroom which she would rather forget. There's sunlight filtering through the curtains this time and the bed is unmade. Hermione feels frantic, her dress is abrading her skin and she struggles to pull it over her head.
Draco is grasping her hands, slowing her crazed movements. He lays his lips to the dip of her collarbone, laves the skin of her throat, nips at the lobe of her ear. His body soothes her and Hermione is pleasantly relaxed when her dress finally falls to her feet. She's on the sheets a moment later and watching him undress. His fingers are slow and patient as buttons escape their enclosures and fabric parts. His belt falls to the carpeted floor with a dull thud.
He's all lean muscle and unbearable heat on top of her. His thighs rub against hers, rough, ticklish, firm. He dips his head and wets her bared breast, nipping at the sensitive inner curve.
She can't hide the shudder that rocks through her and feels those lips curl against her skin.
Fingers travel up her thigh with certainty. They dip in between, part her and Hermione is screaming, arching off the bed. Her fingers clutch for purchase on his shoulder, rake lines down his back. The fingers inside her are clever and stroke teasingly over the most sensitive part of her until she is crying and begging. She can't hear the words but they seem to please him. The fingers withdraw and her thighs are around him, drawing him back. Thick heat stretches her, he's slow, gentle and relentless.
Hermione is unbearably full. Her back is arched against him and there is a mixture of sweat – his and hers – mingling and running into her hair. They stay there, frozen in time, panting, dying, living and wanting.
Then there is terrible friction and ecstasy. It burns through the core of her and feeds the hunger.
They're entangled for hours.
The sunlight turns orange and fades from the room. Murky twilight coats her in shadows as she slips from the bed and silently dresses. Heels in hand, she makes it as far as the dining room table.
Lips and teeth graze her neck. Calloused hands are holding her hips. Hermione is pushing chairs away; she's bracing herself on the glass tabletop as she hears fabric rip. He comes into her with a single thrust and she is on her tiptoes, burning, dizzy and dazed.
Hermione wakes on his living room floor. She doesn't try for silence this time. She's dressed in his shirt when she slams the door to his apartment. He lets her go.
She is soaking in her bath a week later as she writes to Harry. She doesn't mention Draco Malfoy. She talks about the weather, her cooking classes and her co-workers. She tells him about the progress of her remaining goldfish which she has not yet named.
She thinks about him endlessly that night and the following night and doesn't try to stop.