This started off as a birthday one-shot for LightofEvolution, but it ended up becoming a 3 part story.
Hope you like!
Writing prompt: Murphy's law.
Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
Draco Malfoy learns this first hand as he attempts to court Hermione Granger.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, and I won't make a profit from this story.
The first time he saw her again, it was years after the war. Five years, to be exact. She stood there, next to the fountain in the middle of Hogsmeade, failing to pass out pamphlets to floundering Hogwarts children who simply wanted to be left alone on their weekend away from the castle.
"The S.P.E.W. needs you!" she shouted, mercilessly (or more ferociously) targeting a gaggle of Hufflepuff boys attempting to make their way to Honeydukes. "With the newly constructed ordinances enforcing magical unity, now is the best time to get involved in the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare! It's up to all of us to- if you'd just stop for a moment- oh, how rude!" she exclaimed as a girl dressed in Slytherin colors gave her the bird as she walked by.
He couldn't help it; Draco Malfoy laughed into his palm, leaning against a shop window to watch the spectacle. Traveling abroad to avoid the public eye had left him with a fresh outlook on life, as well as less of a chip on his shoulder. He'd been to France, Germany, Egypt and America. He'd seen his fair share (and done quite a bit more), but there was nothing like coming home to see things, remarkably, hadn't changed all too much. At least, not when it came to Hermione Granger and her insufferable need to stick her nose in other people's agendas while forcing her own views down others' throats.
Even her hair hadn't changed, nor the freckles along the bridge of her nose. She wasn't particularly curvy; really, a plain Jane in nearly every way. But the determined look etched across her brow stirred something inside the blond he hadn't felt since his days after the battle of Hogwarts: a sense of wanting to be that. Average. Ordinary. To have everyone walk past him without a second glance. The young Draco would never have felt that way, but the older, more experienced Draco knew better. Fame wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and infamy even more so. He wondered if, just maybe, Granger would still react the way she once did to him, full of bitterness and haughty justice.
He decided to act.
Draco shoved his hands into his cloak pockets and started toward the fountain, excitement building within him. He wasn't sure why he wanted to be degraded -maybe it was because, after all the pretenses, he wanted to know someone still looked at him like a human being and not just some crummy Death Eater. His shoes clacked across the stone sidewalk as he weaved through the crowd on his mission, eyes never once leaving the witch, though she paid him no interest. She was too busy shoving pamphlets into a dwarf's hand to notice him. Draco managed to nudge right up behind her, inside her personal bubble, her frizzy curls tickling his nose when he said, "Some things never change, eh, Granger?"
She jumped, which was to be expected, but what he didn't expect was her to be so quick about spinning around, wand drawn and a battle-ready glare set across her face. It startled him so much that he stumbled back, the back of his legs hitting the fountain's edge. He knew it -could feel his legs give out from under him before he could counteract -and he prepared himself as he fell backward into the fountain, splashing water over the edge as a freezing wave washed over his face and distorted his hair. "Fuck!"
"Oh! Oh my - terribly sorry - here, let me help you-" Granger rushed to the fountain, offering out her hand -until she saw who she'd managed to unsettle. Her almond colored eyes set wide in surprise, but she retracted her hand immediately, as if it might be hexed off. "Malfoy? Is that you?"
He wasn't sure which was worse -the humiliation of the entire surrounding Hogsmeade staring at him, or the fact he had inhaled a large amount of water up his nose, and now it burned like an acidic potion. His silver-flecked eyes flickered up to her, and he said, in his most disarming drawl, "Ob-vi-ous-ly."
He expected her to offer out her hand again or apologize for scaring him out of his wits, but instead she straightened her posture and said, "What were you thinking, sneaking up on me like that?"
"What do I think I was doing?" he sneered, "Is that how you greet every person who happens to flank you from behind at a moment's notice?"
"It is when they sneak up on me."
"I wasn't sneaking. I was simply-"
FLASH! CLICK! POOF!
Draco rolled his eyes, meandering to the edge of the fountain just in time to connect eyes with an annoying newspaper photographer. He curled his fingers over the fountain's edge and scooted himself over it so that he sat on the brick seating, searching for his wand. "Brilliant. Two days back, and already I've made the papers." He watched the photographer scurry on his daily business, no doubt to make some outlandish story up, refusing to look at the facts.
"Are you alright?" Granger had the nerve to ask when he looked behind him to find his wand floating on the surface of the water. "Here, let me help."
"Haven't you done enough?" he snapped, but it was too late. She'd already accio'd his wand, cast a drying charm, along with a heating charm, and then handed his wand back to him. He raised a cautious eyebrow while taking it before saying, "Er… thanks."
"Not a problem." To his surprise, Granger smiled warmly. Almost… fondly. "I am sorry, you know. It's just… sneaking up on me… I… I don't do well with that."
"For the last time, I wasn't sneaking," he insisted, pocketing his wand. "I was…" he thought up a lie quickly, "-coming to infer about one of your pamphlets."
"Really?" she raised an eyebrow.
"Really," he challenged.
"Alright, then." She thrust her hand out, offering him one of the folded parchments. "We're having a mandatory meeting this Sunday evening. Address is on the bottom. If you attend, please bring a juice or snack."
And so, Draco took the pamphlet, as to not be caught in his own lie, and nodded once in confirmation. As if he'd actually show up, he thought. That was, until Granger's smile widened to an all out satisfied grin, setting Draco's insides on fire like she was the bloody sun. She looked so warm and inviting in the moment, and… happy. He'd managed, with such a simple promise, to make someone happy. Even if it was Granger…
"Juice or a snack… noted." He tucked the pamphlet into his pocket and turned away, leaving Granger behind. His world felt cold and dreary without her smile there to warm it up. He vowed by this time on Sunday, he would feel her warmth again.
"You showed up!" Granger greeted him as she swung open the door, a clipboard in her hand and a button on her shirt that read 'S.P.E.W.' in gaudy red lettering. Draco stood awkwardly on the bottom step, still dressed in his finer set of robes from dinner with his parents. He cleared his throat, which closed up at the sight of her dressed in muggle street clothing with bare feet.
"You look surprised," he managed, embarrassed to be put on the spotlight. He, quickly, thrust out his hand from behind his back and offered out a bag marked 'Honeydukes' on the side.
Granger, to his delight, grinned as she took the bag and admitted, "Well, just a little bit. After all, it is… you."
"You sure know how to make a guest feel welcome," he mused, smirking as his confidence grew, and he managed to slide past her through the door into a quaint looking living room with bits of mismatched furniture. On the coffee table was a meat and cheese tray, along with assortments of various juices in plastic bottles. Muggles and their oddities… It then dawned on him, "No one else is here."
"Not yet," said Granger, shutting the door. "You're actually thirty minutes early."
"I'm fifteen minutes late."
"Yes, well…" she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and crossed the living room to the attached kitchen, making a motion for Draco to follow with a wave of her hand. He did, curious at the various metal, plastic, and wooden objects around atop the counters. He recognized one as a 'microwave' from his mandatory muggle studies class in his higher education abroad, and the giant one the size of a bodybuilder was called a 'fridge'. He said as much, pointing to each muggle object and identifying it proudly. Once again, he managed to make the witch smile with his knowledge, and a pang of pride swelled within him. That was, until he got to a short, fat box under the counter with an array of buttons on its face.
"Dishwasher," Granger explained, opening it up to reveal a large compartment with racks to, presumably, set dishes into. "I'm impressed you knew so many muggle objects."
"Are you?" he smirked, leaning forward to peer into the container. "Well, that's a first. Hermione Granger: impressed by Draco Malfoy."
"Don't get cocky," she chided, setting her hands on her hips.
"So…" he leaned up straight and tucked his hands behind his back. "Why do you set your events forty-five minutes later than your event time?"
"Because Harry and Ron can never show up on time."
Bollocks. Draco knew there had to be a catch to this. "Weasley and Potter are part of your little… Spew?"
"S.P.E.W." she corrected, "And… well, no. But they come for the free food."
"Surprise, surprise. Anyone else joining us this evening?"
"Well, there's Luna Lovegood," she replied, to which Draco gave a tiny scoff, "Dean Thomas and his boyfriend, Seamus-"
"Boyfriend?" Draco cleared his throat. "That… explains a lot."
"Yes. When we were in school, Thomas used to… wink at me."
Granger hummed quietly to herself as she retrieved a bowl from a cupboard and began sifting the sweets Draco had brought into it. She didn't comment on Draco's uncomfortable confession, instead only saying, "So, you're interested in House Elf Liberation, are you?"
Shit. He'd hoped it wouldn't come to this. He'd taken the rest of the week to realize the only reason he even considered coming to this event, despite his growing anxiety, was to see her again. He couldn't explain it -it was as if something fractured in him had healed when he made her smile earlier in the week, and he wanted to believe it was because of him and not the fact he was covered head to toe in fountain water.
"Er… yeah. Of course," he lied. "House elves and their… rights… and whatnot…"
Granger pulled a nearby stool up to the counter, sat down, and began to sift through the various sweets in the bowl. "Why are you really here, Malfoy?"
"Please. You and I both know you couldn't give two figs less about the rights of magical creatures." She plucked out a chocolate frog, ripped open the cardboard, and quickly bit the head off the frog to keep the magic from bringing it to 'life.' Next, she retrieved the card inside and smirked mischievously at it. "Oh, look. It's me. Do you want it?" She offered it out to him. "I could sign it for you."
"Since when did your ego match the size of your hair?"
She gave a little shrug, giggling. "I'm only teasing. No one really wants my card. It's Harry they're after…" she added as an afterthought, "It is bewildering to know your face is a prize in a sweet shop, though…"
"Poor Granger," Draco sneered in a dull tone, prying the card out of her hand to look it over. The Granger on the card smiled wistfully back at him, unaware. "Must be so difficult to be a national treasure."
Realizing her mistake, Granger reached over the table and overlapped her hand on his. Draco's insides froze, and he tilted his eyes up to her, feeling icy and warm all at once. "I'm sorry," she said, "Sometimes, I forget there are others on the opposite side of the ballpark."
"Ah." He nodded, falling silent again. The doorbell ring, much to his relief, and Granger excused herself to answer it. Draco decided, in that moment, he rather enjoyed conversations with Hermione Granger. Oh, what a different world he lived in now. He reached for an every flavored bean pack in the bowl as he watched, on schedule, as Loony Lovegood arrived, dressed in a red sash across her summer dress (which made no sense at all, considering it was Autumn); there were butterfly clips in her hair that flapped their wings every time she turned her head, and her lips were a brilliant shade of purple. All in all, she confused the Hell out of Draco, and Granger didn't look much better off.
"Luna! Glad you could make it. Can I take your… um, sash?"
"Oh, no thank you," Loony said, giving a toothy smile, "It's to keep the liver-yips from burrowing in my ear. They hate the color red, you know."
"Liver-what?" Draco couldn't help but ask, exchanging baffled glances with the pretty- no, no! Plain Granger across from him as the women approached the kitchen counter. Merlin's beard, had he not been shagged just last week by a gorgeous Ukranian witch, he would have chalked it up to sexual drive, but as it were… How could someone so ordinary be so intriguing?
"Liver-yips," answered the blonde witch, reaching into the bowl of candy to pluck out a toffee. "My father and I have been working on getting them recognized by the Ministry, but so far every letter we've sent for an audience with the Minister has been met with rejection. I suspect wrackspurts are to blame."
"Or, simply the Minister has more pressing matters on his hands rather than to talk about a species with absolutely no scientific evidence to back up their existence…" Granger trailed off, stalking over to the pantry and removing a large bottle of red wine. "Malfoy, conjure us up some glasses, would you?"
"You don't own any?" Draco grumbled.
"I meant, transfigure up some of mine into proper glasses. If I remember correctly, you were quite handy in Transfiguration…"
"It's good to see you, Draco," said Luna, as if they were old chums and not childhood acquaintances that hardly had spoken a word to each other for seven years of their life. Draco, who couldn't think of a good comeback, retreated over to the cupboards and ransacked them until he found three typical table glasses. There, he placed them on the counter and morphed them into three, elegant wine glasses with deep bulbs and long stems.
"Wine at a mandatory meeting for house elf liberation… who knew Hermione Granger was a lush?" he teased, watching her pour them all a glass.
"Not a lush," she replied, "I simply know when the occasion calls for a bit of liquid courage, and seeing us all the same room together again counts as one of those times." Granger sipped idly from her glass, glancing between the two.
"Are you two dating?" asked Luna out of the blue, causing Granger to choke on her wine as Draco, who already had a mouthful in tow, accidentally spat it back out -spraying it all over Granger's shirt. And the countertop. "Shit… sorry, Granger."
"It's alright," she said, waving her hand dismissively, even though her pretty pink shirt was now stained in burgundy. "I… um… I'll just…" she moved for her wand, but Draco was embarrassed, and an embarrassed Malfoy did not a happy camper make. He moved to wave his wand and clean up the mess, but she stopped him, putting her hand on his wand. "Really, Malfoy. I can do it myself."
Stubborn Granger. "It's my mess."
"And it's my chest!"
"And her wine!" Luna piped in, excited to be a part of the conversation.
"Quit being stubborn and let me clean you up." He, quickly, reached for her wand at its holster and waved it in front of her in triumph. Granger rolled her eyes, crossing her arms.
"I'll just go change."
"If you let it set, it'll stain."
"Sounds like you just want to get me out of my shirt."
If that wasn't humiliating enough, the door then swung open, revealing Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas, who only caught the last bit of the conversation and raised their eyebrows in inquisitive gestures.
"Someone wants Hermione out of her shirt?" smirked Dean as he uncurled his scarf from around his neck. His eyes set on the blond man in the kitchen, and he grinned wider. "How about the pair of you take your shirts off and give us a show?"
"Dean!" Granger shouted, chucking a chocolate frog from the bowl at him. Dean Thomas all out laughed at the paling blond prat in Hermione's kitchen and kissed Seamus on the cheek.
"Only joking, Hermione. You know I only have eyes for one man."
"Don't lie to the girl, now," Seamus rolled his eyes, "You make goo-goo eyes at every man and woman you can, whether they look back or not."
"Okay, so my heart heart is only for one guy. My eyes… they're free thinkers. What am I supposed to do? Close them every time a pretty witch or wizard walks by?"
"You could always squint," offered Luna, "That way, you only get half the effect."
"This isn't getting us anywhere," sighed Granger, pointing an accusing finger at Draco. "Give me my wand, Malfoy."
Draco stuck his nose in the air like a child. "No." Now, he knew, he was just being stubborn. But weren't all Malfoys, when push came to shove?
"Fine." She rolled her eyes. "Luna, keep an eye out for Dean, would you?"
It was then Draco realized she planned to leave him alone with the three. Out of pure unwilling to be around the trio in Hermione's living space, Draco waited until she was down the hall before excusing himself to the 'bathroom' and following swiftly behind her. He noticed the bedroom door at the back of the hall had been left partially open, which one could only assume meant someone was decent on the other side.
Oh, how wrong Draco Malfoy was.
"Granger?" he asked, knocking lightly on the door before prying it open. What he found was something he would never forget.
Hermione Granger stood in the doorway of her connected bathroom, just having peeled off the soaked shirt from over her head. Draco never knew a back could look so alluring; the way it arched as she gave a light stretch and reached back for her brassiere made his insides warm again, but in an entirely different way. She had a sensational backside as well, he noted as he stared down at her covered buttocks. Two round mounds of cheeks begging to be swatted by his hand…
Shit. He'd been caught. Granger stared, horrified, over her shoulder, arms moving instinctively to cover up her exposed front, though Draco couldn't see it.
"What do you think you're doing?" she snapped, obviously afraid to move to give away more of her captivating body to his gaze. Draco stood awkwardly in the doorway to her bedroom, glancing down at the two wands in his hands.
"I… came to give you your wand back," he lied once again.
Granger snorted indignantly in response. "Thought you'd get a peep while you did?"
"I… no." He pursed his lips as heat flooded his cheeks. "Though… I admit, it was a bonus."
"A bonus?" With one arm still covering her breasts, she used the other to reach down, pick up her brassiere, and throw it at Draco in anger only to have him catch it and smirk.
"C's? Are you sure you aren't compensating?"
"You'd know all about that, wouldn't you?"
"Have dinner with me." The words tumbled from his mouth quicker than he could retract them.
Granger stared evenly at him, her eyebrows pulling together. "Excuse me?"
"You're excused. -Now, have dinner with me," he offered again.
"I... " she blinked, soaking in his words. Then, she said, in a hushed tone, "Excuse me a moment…" Granger dashed off to the bathroom and shut the door behind her. Some moments later, she returned, dressed in a new shirt (and, presumably, a new bra as well) with her arms crossed and expression grim. "Say it again."
"No," she shook her head, "the other bit."
"Have dinner with me." He held out her brassiere between them, determination in his eyes.
"Why should I?" she asked.
Draco rolled his eyes, tossing the bra at her. As it landed on her head, he set her wand on the nightstand next to her bed and said, "I rather enjoy making you smile."
Granger lifted the bra out of her face, one of the cups still resting atop her bushy brown curls. "Do you?"
"Alright." She nodded. "Dinner."
"Wonderful." He pulled open the door to her bedroom, saying over his shoulder, "And there's no way you're a C cup." He didn't even mind when her brassiere hit the back of his head again. He only smirked.
2 more chapters. Mostly written. Will update very soon.
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