A/n: So I screwed up and only now realized that the story was actually missing a chapter (which was the previous one to this) so if you're an "old" reader and are reading this chapter, the ending is the same, a scene was just missing from when Hermione and Cho go to the "Dragon's Den" which can be found in Chapter Eight
And while I have your attention: I have a new story out! It's of the smutty variety. It is marked as complete (for now), but it will be continued in future so if you're interested, feel free to check my profile :)
Hermione woke up to find Draco lying on his stomach, his nose pressed into her shoulder and his arm thrown casually across her waist. She beamed, knowing she must have looked delirious but not caring a jot. She reached over to smooth his hair.
Long lashes cast shadows across his prominent cheekbones and his lips were pulled at the corners in a tell-tale smile. He was certainly less serious in sleep; practically angelic.
Lightly kissing his cheek which had just a hint of stubble, Hermione laughed quietly at the small groan he puffed out. Suddenly, he was awake. Very awake.
A head rush hit Hermione as she was flipped over to straddle him. Those mercury eyes, beneath long lashes, met hers as he slowly licked his lips.
One hand fiddled with his hair, almost sheepishly as if he wasn't prepared to look so undone, whilst the other treading lower in a barely there caress of his fingertips, creating a conflict of not even caring because we're going to do it again anyway. She shivered at that reminder, the harsh whisper he pressed against her ear when she tried to compose herself after the first round by locating where he had thrown her underwear.
She didn't need an O.W.L. in Divination to foretell the tender caress of his fingertips would lead to more –
Yeah, Hermione Granger may not kiss on the first date (lie) and, sure, she may not sleep with someone on the third, but the fourth date was completely fair game. She was a healer, not a nun.
"Sleep well?" she asked as a sleepy sort of smile spread across his face, along with another lick of that delicious lower lip.
"Mmm, you're up early."
Moving slightly backwards over his abdomen to nudge a certain appendage that was poking her from behind, she retorted, "Apparently I'm not the only one."
"You're naked and on top of me," he replied in kind, "forgive my dick for approving of the view."
"Mmm, I assume that means I should take it as a compliment?"
That hand of his, moving slowly from her sternum down to the apex of her legs, made Hermione bite her lip as he applied more pressure to his intended destination. That sultry voice murmured, "The best kind."
It didn't take much more for round eight(!) to happen, and the fact that neither of them made an attempt to get up carried the suggestion that round nine would probably –definitely – follow. Maybe after a nap, though, Hermione thought as she lay with her chest against his. Draco's hand caressed her bare back with long, lazy patterns.
"Have work today?" he asked, pressing a kiss against her shoulder.
There was that smirk. "Good girl."
She snorted. "That was honestly a coincidence."
"All the better, even the Fates wanted us to get lucky."
Hermione thumped him playfully on the shoulder before running her palms over the plane of his chest. Placing one hand over the other, she propped her chin on top before looking up to observe him.
His head and neck were supported by a couple of pillows, defining the muscles in his chest, neck, and shoulders; his hair was still a mess and his lips plump and slightly red from their amorous activity. Draco returned her look with undisguised appreciation. "I'm not busy today."
"Mmm, that's good. You must still be tired from yesterday."
Draco raised a brow as if to say "and you aren't?" and she instantly reddened. "Not from this! I mean with the research you helped me with and your Quidditch practice!"
"Well, you were on rotations, researched, attended a board meeting, convinced them you were right, and then this, so really, being not-tired is simply the only way to keep up with you," he teased.
"Does it bother you, though?"
"That I'm doing all this when, a month from now, you'll be off season? I mean, my schedule isn't going to change much and now that they want me to oversee the protocols with the Quidditch medical staff…"
"Granger, I promise I won't annoy you when I'm bored."
"That's not what I mean."
He considered her, trying to decipher what she couldn't say without it sounding…arrogant and awful. Besides her last boyfriend cheating on her, the demise of her previous relationships weren't much better. Each one had a problem with her dedication to her work and the fact that, more often than not, she was more successful than they were (not that she could help it, especially as she had no desire to 'stay at a level' so they would feel better about themselves). This was something Draco was starting to understand himself.
"Quidditch is simply a means to an end," he began, "I don't need the money I earn as a player, or from sponsors. If my mother had her way, I'd be at home managing the family estates and the charities we established after the war. It's really just a way to keep me from becoming a hermit. It doesn't matter that I won't be as busy with the season ends, Granger. I know you'll still be swamped with work, I get that. We'll make do with whatever time we get, alright?"
"What will you do, though?"
He shrugged. "What I always do. I come up with new formulas for the potions we use on the sidelines. Now that I've tested them for myself, I know what the problems are."
"You…you made the potions?"
"A few of them," he admitted, "the medical staff has always been incompetent. When I first started out, no one on the BQA wanted to listen to me about doing anything to improve it. Only recently they've allowed the use of my potions."
"But it's not like this was your first year on the pitch."
"Granger," he began tiredly, "I may have money and I may be a popular player, but I'm still that kid that became a Death Eater at seventeen. Why do you think I became a Quidditch player at all? It was the only job I could get."
She stared at him in shock, as if she was seeing someone else entirely. "The only job?"
"If I was happy to sit on my arse with my Gringotts account, it would be a different story, but I saw firsthand the destruction that came from the war and I wanted to do my part to rebuild it." And they wouldn't let him, Hermione thought soberly.
"So you used Quidditch to do that?"
"Built the stadium with Blaise and a few others from school that ended up on the same boat as me - Pucey, Nott, Greengrass. It was a way to resurrect our family's credibility; to start projects, and actually do something useful for society. As it is, even the charities we start have to be founded by proxy because the magical community won't touch us," he said.
"So, if they didn't stop you," she asked tentatively, "what would you be doing?"
He smiled warily. "Perhaps a job like yours; having to heal myself during the war and finding creative ways to cure 'punishments' was morbidly fascinating; better than being his errand -"
"Hold on!" Hermione interrupted him, sitting up slightly. "You can heal yourself?"
"Then why the hell do you keep going to St Mungo's?"
"Well the first time wasn't a choice," he replied sheepishly, "they didn't tell you I was knocked out cold before I got there. When I woke up I was surrounded by healers."
"Residents," she corrected quickly.
Remembering her intense dislike of them, he smirked. "After that, it was just an excuse to see you."
"Was that why you never came in with anything worse than a nose bleed?"
He shrugged. "I knew you would hate wasting magic on something as mundane as a broken hand -"
"Back up," she halted. "You broke your hand?"
"That's why you didn't hear from me the week after Christmas," he replied, wincing. "I couldn't exactly write since I had to grow it back, and it didn't help that my mother had already accepted an invitation on my behalf for Boxing Day."
"I…I didn't even notice you were favoring one hand when we were together," she said, baffled.
"I didn't want you to worry."
Hermione deadpanned, "You idiot."
There was a hint of a smile. "I can hear affection in that."
"Oh love, don't be angry," he crooned, "I'll make it up to you."
"How?" she huffed, even as his fingers skated to her lower back.
"Have dinner with me."
"And you think food will fix this?" she retorted, although this was hardly a betrayal and food solved most everything in Hermione's book.
"It fixed Christmas."
"Let me make it up to you," he insisted, peppering her face with persistent kisses. She laughed out loud, squirming to escape his tickles.
Neither of them heard the bedroom door open.
"Darling, are you finally awa – oh!"
"I was wrong," Hermione muttered, "food won't fix this."
Draco reached over to squeeze her hand. "It'll be fine."
It would not be fine. Hermione was sitting in yesterday's clothes, staring down at her ballet flats, about to have tea with the woman who walked in on them earlier.
If this bothered the Malfoy matriarch, however, she didn't show it and simply poured the tea.
Hermione huffed to herself; this was not how she envisaged her day off. Her plan involved shagging Draco Malfoy – a lot. She looked up to notice Narcissa Malfoy observing her. It's not my fault your son's a great fucking shag, lady!
"So, Miss Granger," she began, seemingly suppressing her smile, "how long have you been seeing my son?"
Hermione cleared her throat. "About…a month now?"
"Oh dear, that would explain why you were so broody a few weeks ago," Narcissa commented, turning to Draco.
"Mother -" he warned.
"I thought he needed company, Miss Granger, so I arranged a few dates for him. You must forgive me, I didn't know about you at all," and, at that, she shot her son an annoyed look. When Draco had no reply to this, his mother continued, "So you're serious then?"
"Mother, can you just stop?"
"Oh darling," she dismissed him with a wave of her hand. "You've been pining over her since you were in school, forgive me for being curious."
It was his turn to look embarrassed as he glanced at her from the corner of his eye. "I have not."
His mother gave him a look and, with frightening accuracy, mocked, "'You should see her hair, Father, it goes absolutely everywhere! And she thinks she's so bloody smart with her books and her perfect spellcasting! But she's terrible at Quidditch, Father, it's a disgrace!'"
"I was twelve," he defended, cheeks now tinged with colour.
"Well, I have no doubt that Draco was impressed with you even then," Narcissa interjected, having returned to her regal tones, "and respected you begrudgingly at that, even with your blood status. I must say, I'm very interested to know what he did to get your attention."
Trying to suppress her smile now, Hermione replied, "He ended up in St Mungo's."
"Oh yes, it was gushing," she nodded solemnly to Narcissa's chuckle and Draco's face palm.
Okay, maybe this wasn't so bad.
"So, are you official then?"
Scrap that. "Erm," Hermione mumbled, "we haven't exactly talked about what we're going to call…this."
Draco replied, "Boyfriend and girlfriend seems a little…"
"Immature?" Narcissa suggested.
"Strangely enough, yes," Hermione answered.
Making a 'hmm' sound, the older witch stirred her tea. "I suppose it's a good thing then that Malfoys don't 'date'." When she remained confused, Narcissa continued, "Tell me Miss Granger, has my son given it to you yet?"
You know the answer to that one, Hermione thought with a flush. Thankfully, Draco chose to answer instead, "I did, though I disabled the portkey aspect of it for the time being." Were they talking about the calling card?
Scrutinizing her, Narcissa murmured, "Hmm…I see. Well, at least this will give us time to get to know each other, Miss Granger."
"Uhm, likewise…but get to know each other for what, though?" Hermione asked in confusion.
Mother and son exchanged a look and, despite the warning in Draco's eyes, his mother elaborated, "As I said, Malfoys don't date. They court with the intention of marriage."
Hermione opened and closed her mouth.
"Disabling the portkey is my son's way of giving you an 'out', as they say. Once activated, it is an acceptance of his offer to you."
"I am," Narcissa admitted slowly, "unfamiliar with muggle courtships, Miss Granger; forgive me if it is a shock."
"It's…not actually," Hermione acknowledged, "most relationships end in separation or marriage. I've...I..."
How could she answer?
"Why are you so surprised, dear?"
Looking from Narcissa to Draco, who seemed equally curious, she continued, "A month ago, Draco was Malfoy. He was just someone I went to school with – someone who bullied me and my friends – a boy I fought a war against – a man I occasionally heard about through his prowess on the Quidditch pitch – I didn't…I didn't expect this."
"No, I don't suppose you did but life works in rather mysterious ways," Narcissa echoed in agreement.
"Mother," Draco cleared his throat, "if you don't mind, I think we should go."
Narcissa noticing Hermione's discomfort, subsequently inclined her head. "Of course, darling, I had no intention of keeping you. It was nice to meet you under proper circumstances, Miss Granger until we meet again."
"I really didn't mean for that to happen," Draco was quick to reassure her as they entered Diagon Alley.
"I sincerely hope not," Hermione replied. "Having your mother see my bare arse is not on my bucket list." He rubbed the back of his neck nervously as she probed, "Why didn't you tell me that this is what it means?" She held up the card. It had become a necessary addition since the day she received it, like the keys to her flat, her grandmother's wedding band, and her wand.
"I didn't want to scare you away."
"Draco," she began, in that explaining-something-simple-to-Harry-and-Ron tone, "I'm a Gryffindor, I do brave every day and twice on Sundays."
He paused. "So…you're fine with this?"
"I'm not so fine that you gave me something equivalent to an engagement ring without telling me." She frowned slightly. "But as to the idea of it, I'm fine with it."
"Just fine?" Draco asked, brow knitted in thought.
A smile threatened to ruin her serious expression but he saw it nonetheless and smiled back. Of course, it didn't last long. "So, what does this mean then, for us?"
"You and your labels," she teased.
"Are we dating then? Exclusively?"
Hermione replied with a dramatic sigh. "I don't make it a habit of just sleeping with anyone. Technically, though, we can't be dating because Malfoys 'don't date'."
"Then what are we?"
"You really want to know?"
"Don't torture me."
She chuckled, and standing on her toes, she pressed a kiss to his lips. "You are Draco Malfoy, and I'm Hermine Granger. For now, anyway."
The suggestion was enough to make him smile again, albeit temporarily. Honestly, why was she even bothering with this ridiculous man? "So you'd say yes."
"To marrying you?"
He nodded expression serious.
"That's what I mean about being Hermione Granger 'for now', Draco," she explained, with more patience than she actually had. "Besides, I'm quite sure that I'm in love with you."
Instead of that devastating smile she expected, Draco looked smug instead. "I was that good, wasn't I?"
She shoved him with a snort. "Idiot."
"I'm quite sure I'm in love with you too, Hermione."
She turned so she was walking backwards. "According to your mother, you've been in love with me for ages," she teased.
"I was pining," he defended flatly, "that's different."
"Ooh, okay, I see," she trailed unconvincingly and then shaking her head in disbelief. "To think, I would never have known this if you weren't taken to St Mungo's for a Quidditch injury you could have healed yourself."
"To be fair," he said, "meeting you again covered in blood was not my first choice."
"Oh? And how would we have met again Malfoy?"
"We wouldn't," he said and she stopped walking, unable to hide the flash of hurt. "I would have gone to Avignon, as I had planned after the war, for healer training. We wouldn't have had to meet again because I would have been going with you – as a former classmate, a friend, as me? It wouldn't have mattered, I wouldn't have left your life in the first place."
It was his turn to shake his head. "I didn't think I did anything to deserve the shot at all."
"And if…you had?" Since she stood still, he came up to her and brushed a thumb across her cheek.
"If I had? By now?" Draco paused, and thought aloud, "We'd be arguing over rotations, we'd be fighting over clinical trials, we'd be complaining about the cardboard they serve at the canteen, and about who keeps hogging the on-call bed."
"And that's…that's it?"
He raised his brows. "Oh, were you waiting for the sex?"
She aimed to punch his chest, but he caught her hand, the pulse at his signet ring gentle but strong against the heart of her palm. He smiled that elusive smile of his. "We'd complain about Thursdays because that's when the Quidditch players come in with their ridiculous injuries, we'd be strategic and organize our schedules so we were never in that day, and we'd be in bed instead – research material and clothes everywhere."
"You'd deface our research for sex?" she challenged.
"What are you talking about? Such a dirty mind Granger," he said tapping her nose, "there's clothes everywhere because neither of us like laundry, which is just as well considering we're going to do it again anyway. There's the sex, you can clap now."
"You're terrible," she laughed.
"That's just your way of saying you love me too," he said, looking pleased with himself enough to let her walk away again, far enough that she had to shout, "Don't talk about Quidditch players like that, though."
"And why not?" he taunted, "Are you going to cheat on imaginary Healer Malfoy with a Quidditch player?"
"I would, but only because my Malfoy is a Quidditch player."
"So you'd cheat on me, with me?"
She shrugged, nonchalantly. "What can I say? I'd choose you in any lifetime, no matter the career."
"Minister of Magic," he proposed.
"You'd be First Lord," she corrected, and he snickered, of course, she'd be the Minister and he, her right hand. "Of course," he echoed.
"But I must say, I'm quite partial to you being a Quidditch player," Hermione said, casually.
"I just always found you attractive in your uniform, and I have it on good authority that you have a bit of a fantasy about us and that locker room."
He raised his brows. "Whose authority is this?"
She shrugged again. "The same one that had us almost shagging in it yesterday?" She smirked at the quick swipe of tongue across his lips. "Don't worry; I'm supposed to know these things."
"Oh, because Hermione Granger knows everything?" he teased and, at that, she whipped out the calling card, his family crest facing him, as she tapped it against her lips.
"Just getting to know how to speak Draco."
He neared her, but still, she smiled behind the card.
"That's important," he enquired innocently, although it didn't change that familiar light in his dark eyes, "is it?"
"Mmm," she hummed, a virtuous smile in place, "I am marrying him someday after all."
"And when would that be?"
She shrugged, and proposed humorously, "Thursday?"
A/n: *Bows* You guys have been absolutely fantastic! Thank you so much for reading, I'm so terribly grateful for the lot of you for sticking with this short, fluffy mess that was this story.
This chapter is dedicated to delightfullyscreechingtyrant for the wonderful long reviews. Reviews are love!
Huge thanks to Rachel, of course, for making my nonsense easier to digest, and to all the reviewers, followers and readers who placed this story on their favorites, you guys are golden!
I'll be posting a random little one-shot within the next week (maybe) as well as a Valentine's fic of the steamer variety so look out for that if you liked what you've seen thus far. Thank you again for reading!