Yay! I can share this Valentine's fic with you now! This was my first official group prompt, and I couldn't be more proud it came from Strictly Dramione.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, and I will not make a profit from this story.
Prompt: Hogwarts. Draco and Hermione as professors. "Will you ever let go of the past, Granger? I'm not that little boy anymore. People can change."
Synopsis: Draco Malfoy never realized how pretty Hermione Granger's smile actually was until she bumped into him again. Now, he can't get her out of his head, but she isn't falling for his charm. What will he do to show her he isn't the same boy he was back in Hogwarts?
A/N: Beta: DayDreamer1123
"Another Day" from RENT
Although Draco is Mimi and Hermione is Roger... haha..
Draco Malfoy never intended to catch 'feelings' when he joined Hogwarts' exclusive list of wayward wizards and witches, also known as professors, when he was twenty-five years old. No, if anything he applied himself to be the new Flying instructor to get away from the wretchedness of 'love' and 'infatuation'; Astoria Greengrass had given him the boot nearly a year and a half ago after a lengthy engagement, all because he might have been eyeing a pretty Armenian witch at their Portkey stop in Tuscany to look at wedding venues.
It wasn't as if he hadn't loved Astoria, but… she just was so boring. Her ideals on the subject muggles were generous enough, but she found no interest in his alchemy research, didn't want to learn about Wizard's chess, and teased him when he said he'd one day like to teach Potions (if the slot ever opened back up again.) So, really, whose fault could it have been when he flirted with others? Not his, for sure.
Although, the shagging of said Armenian witch two weeks after his dropped engagement had been lackluster… her screams were more like an Irish banshee and her movements that of a dead fish. Really, it was the one thing she had in common with Astoria. But best believe, when the papers found out, they had a field day. It's why Draco retreated to the stone walls of Hogwarts, in hopes of laying low and regaining some of his composure from what they called the illicit scandal'-even though he'd been a single man! Not that anyone cared to ask him...
No, the Potions Professor position hadn't been open for some while now, but Madam Hooch had been up for retirement, and Draco took anything he could to get away. If he were being completely honest with himself, he didn't agree with his parents when they told him the position of Flying Instructor was 'beneath him.' There was a rush when he flew high into the air to help the Quidditch players during practice, and teaching eleven-year-olds how to properly mount a broom was surprisingly refreshing. They didn't know who he was, what affiliations he had with the war, and had absolutely no idea of his previous run-ins with Neville Longbottom, the Herbology professor, and Granger, who joined to teach Ancient Runes shortly after Draco's arrival. His students knew nothing about his past, but it didn't stop the other two from remembering.
Even still, Draco wasn't able to shake the rupture of forgotten emotions the day Professor Hermione Granger bumped into him on her way to visit Hagrid, still the gamekeeper. It was after lessons on a brisk Friday afternoon, when the air hung thick with the scent of Autumn, and the leaves were already dying amidst the trees. Halloween slowly approached, two weeks off still, and on this most auspicious of days, Professor Granger carried two pumpkins in her slender arms while marching downhill at a quickened pace. Draco was walking up, away from the Quidditch pitch, and had his nose in a book: a biography of Celestina Warbeck.
The two, being themselves, were too busy caught up in their own dealings to notice each other, and it came with great surprise as Professor Granger stumbled over a rock, skittering with fumbling feet down the hill, quicker now, directly in Draco's direction. If he looked up, he would have noticed. However, ifs are not whens, and so the blond professor carried about on his daily routine, not noticing until something firm and hairy landed in his arms, against his chest, with a THUMP. Two following THUMPS were heard tumbling behind him, (the pumpkins, but we'll get to them in a moment). For now, Draco concentrated on the something-or rather someone-leaned against his chest, two hands pressed firmly into his pectorals and a chin against his collarbone.
The hair, it turned out, came from Professor Granger's poofy mane of untamable brown locks, now tickling the base of Draco's chin and the tip of his nose.
"Professor…" he drawled, raising one relaxed eyebrow in a teasing way. "I'm unfamiliar with this custom of greeting. Is it a muggle one?"
Her reply was full of embarrassment with a hint of contempt as she replied, "Believe it or not, Professor Malfoy, not everyone is looking to greet you as they walk by." She pushed against his chest and leaned up-they were still on a slanted hill, making it difficult for her to find her footing again as she looked beyond his shoulders. Her pumpkins were still tumbling down the mountainside, bits of broken shell lingering along the way.
"Pity," he replied, "I'm enjoyable company."
"I find that difficult to believe- My pumpkins!" she cried, looking at them in forlorn disheartenment.
Draco pocketed his book inside his robes and placed one hand, and then the other, on her shoulders to pry her off of him completely. After she found a stable stance, he smirked and said, "It's your own fault, Granger. Why in Merlin's name would you carry the pumpkins downhill when you could just as well levitate them?"
A stern glare crossed her face, and her body tensed in his presence, perhaps automatically. He remembered her doing it quite a bit in their youth, but they weren't children anymore, and he was a far cry from the twat he was back in school. Though, he'd never admit that out loud to her. After all, appearances were still in order.
"Not that it's any of your concern, Professor, but I was trying to get some exercise in."
Exercise? Draco couldn't help but let his eyes trail down her baggy excuse for robes, noting the lack of filling out she managed within them. Hmm, she didn't look as if she needed to lose weight. "So you take a few jogs up and down the staircases. There's no need to make a fool of yourself carrying pumpkins downhill in this wind, Granger."
"That's Professor Granger," she corrected, tucking some of her curly frizz behind her ear. "Professionalism is key."
Draco couldn't help it. Words were his forte. "What's key is managing to carry pumpkins downhill without dropping them." He meant it as a tease, not in malice like in his youth, but he still hadn't mastered the craft of differentiating the two. And Granger hadn't mastered the craft of trying to separate them at all.
Her lips turned down. "Well, seems some things never change, do they?"
"I figure you would have done some growing up after Hogwarts, but being here again must bring it out of you."
"Bring what out of me?" he sneered, eyebrows knitting together.
Draco had been called many things in his youth. Bully. Twat. Asshat. No one had ever put the terms so eloquently into a synonym before. Not only did it impress him-it also insulted him.
"Tyrant?" he repeated, "That seems completely called for considering I just saved your sorry arse from plummeting down this hillside like your precious pumpkins."
"Well, how else am I supposed to label you when after you do you berate me for doing things the old-fashioned way?"
"How about logical?" He quirked his other eyebrow now-the one that said he meant business. "Merlin's hat, Granger. Learn to say thank you."
"For what? For charging into me?"
"Charging into you!? I-" he bit down on his tongue and closed his eyes, concentrating on counting backward from ten. It was a trick he picked up in therapy, after the war, to calm himself. His temper used to get the best of him (it still did sometimes) but he had a sense of humility to attain if he were to remain the Flying Instructor here at Hogwarts. Even if Hermione Granger managed to get under his skin in the most annoying of ways. "I was simply walking along, minding my own damn business, reading my book when you decided to throw all common sense out the window and carry two large pumpkins downhill by yourself-"
"-Oh, please, change the record." Professor Granger crossed her arms and blew a loose strand of hair out of her eyes. "I'm not one of your twiddling fangirls, Professor Malfoy. You'll find no sympathy here from me."
"As if I'd want your sympathy," he scoffed. They stood at a crossroad of stubbornness, both too prideful to cross the line in the sand and admit to their own involvement. It was only then, in the heat of the argument, that Draco Malfoy noticed something rather peculiar about Professor Granger: there was a twinkling spark in her eyes as she glared at him. A spark of fire lit from a passionate debate -something he didn't realize he was craving until it ran smack dab into him and dropped pumpkins. How interesting… she was so riled up over something so trivial… Why was she so sensitive? Draco cleared his throat and felt his anger disperse almost immediately. "Why were you carrying pumpkins, anyway?"
"They were for Hagrid," she replied, her feathers not nearly as ruffled this time, "I promised him we could carve jack o'lanterns together."
"Let me guess. The muggle way?" he added a lightheartedness to his tone, hoping the message would come across. Somehow, it must have, because her face softened and she shrugged.
"A lot of things are fun the muggle way." Her voice drizzled with suggestiveness, and as she sauntered past him down the trail to retrieve her smashed pumpkins, Draco felt his heartbeat elevate.
He pulled out his book from his pockets, once again, but lost the focus to finish it as he headed back toward the castle. All he could think of was the snarky way in which she smiled at him just before she left.
Christmas time involved hot cocoa, Christmas trees, fairy lights, and the fresh scent of pine. It also involved one Professor Granger dangling precariously from the top of a ladder as she attempted to balance and hang a stream of Mistletoe in every corner of the Great Hall. Once again, she wasn't using her magic properly, and as Draco stepped into the hall to grab a quick snack, he saw the ladder tipping as some rowdy fourth years barrelled past it. Professor Granger screamed as the ladder tipped, but Draco had always been a quick study with his reflexes and cast a levitation charm on the falling professor just before she hit the ground.
Smirking, Draco strolled up to the gasping witch and levitated her up, closer to him. "Now, now, Professor Granger. There's no need to go falling for little ol' me."
"Put me down, Professor Malfoy," she said at once, crossing her arms while two first years giggled into their sleeves.
With a roll of his eyes, Draco scooped her up into his arms and disarmed the spell. Her weight was surprisingly light, considering he'd noticed those sensational birthing hips swinging to and from classrooms as of late. He hadn't been able to get her out of his head since Autumn, and Winter only brought about the need for companionship in him.
"You're welcome, you know," he said, still unable to find the will to set her down.
"I never said thank you," she replied breathlessly.
"Perhaps you should learn, then."
"Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" a gaggle of fifth year Gryffindors cheered. It was enough to force Draco to set her feet to the floor and release her, his cheeks dusted with pink. As of late, the thought of kissing Professor Granger was something he toyed with every time they passed in the hallways. He couldn't explain the sudden rush of adrenaline in his system whenever he met her gaze; it was as if lightning had been bottled up inside of him all these years and only struck when she tested his wits. Coming to Hogwarts to be celibate probably added to this conundrum, but he couldn't deny the attraction he had to his former nemesis in the classroom. He wondered if they might share the same kind of formidability in the bedroom.
"Well," she said, clearing her throat. "Thank you, Professor Malfoy."
"Draco-" he said at once, and catching the near desperation in his tone, he swallowed it and added, more confidently "-we're beyond formalities seeing as we grew up together."
Granger raised one daunting eyebrow and eyed him up and down. "Who are you, and what have you done with Malfoy?"
He rolled his eyes, smirking. "Very funny." He then gestured to the box of tinsel and mistletoe on the floor. "Would you care for help?"
"Oh… um. Alright." She climbed back on the ladder and placed a proper sticking charm to it before asking, "Could you hand me a mistletoe from the box, please?"
Draco did as was asked, enjoying the breathtaking view of her derriere beneath her robes. "Why are you using a ladder?" he asked.
"Well, you could just as easily levitate all of these and save yourself the trouble."
There was a huff in her voice as Granger replied, "Not all of us need to use magic for every little thing, Profes- Draco." His name never sounded more foreign than from her tongue, but he liked it all the same. "Some of us don't care to forget our heritage and where we came from. Though there are those who seem to want the muggle ways to die out," her voice was temperamental, "I like to be a beacon of hope for the students here at Hogwarts who aren't used to magic floating about everywhere. We might be magical, but we're still human."
"For some of us, magic is just as routine as your muggle customs," he replied, unaware his tone singed with contempt. But Granger caught it. Of course she would.
"And some of us are reminded on a daily basis just how out of place we are in a world like yours," she said.
With a roll of his eyes, Draco used a sticking charm to place the box on the side of the ladder. "Some of us are only offering to help, Professor." He watched her eyes drift down to his as he released the box, smirking. "See?" He noticed how her hand hovered at the top of the archway, holding up the mistletoe directly above her head. With a quirk of his eyebrows, Draco looked suggestively to the mistletoe and added, "You know, if you're ever looking for someone to carry on traditions with…"
Her eyes widened, and her face flushed; it was everything Draco wanted. He laughed, sticking his hands in his pockets and whistling as he strolled into the Great Hall, feeling more confident than he had in ages.
Toward the end of the month, it was Draco who nearly ran smack dab into Granger as she passed out sparklers to those students still at Hogwarts on New Year's Eve. Though, it wasn't by accident that the young Malfoy had managed to step in front of her and nearly drive his chest into her face. No, he planned this out from the moment he learned he and Professor Granger would be sharing New Year's Eve chaperoning in the Great Hall.
"Professor," he drawled, smirk widening as he took a handful of sparklers from her and proceeded to stand by her side, looking as if he held a fresh bouquet of flowers.
"Hello," she said casually, pushing a sparkler into the hand of a seventh year Hufflepuff as he strolled in. "Have a good Christmas?"
"One of my better ones," he admitted, excited to brag, "I visited the Zabinis and their quaint ten bedroom chateau in Venice. And you?"
"Spent some time with Harry," she said, "He and Gin are expecting their first."
"Potter with a baby," Draco scrunched his face in mock horror. "Is the world really ready for that?"
"Harry will make a fine father," Granger replied, either refusing to or not picking up on his playfulness. "And Ron's expecting his second with Padma."
Inside, Draco gave a shout of delight. Outside, he was as stoic and unmoved as the Forbidden Forest. He'd wondered, over the course of the months, if she and Weasley were still a thing; apparently, his answer was a big, fat NO. Unless she dabbled with polygamy, but Hermione Granger didn't seem the type.
"They're bound to be some ugly children, aren't they?" he laughed, thinking of Weasley's red hair with Padma's plain face.
"That's rude," she said.
"Is it?" He thought about it. "Or is it simply too difficult to admit out loud?" When he caught her withering expression, he laughed and shrugged. "No worries, Granger. I'll say it for the both of us."
She gave an exasperated sigh and turned to face him. "You'll never change, will you?" And then she breezed past him, toward the center of the Great Hall, where all the tables had been pushed to the walls to make way for the crowd of students staring up at the 'night sky' on the ceiling. It glistened with its faux stars, only a minute away from lighting up with bewitched 'fireworks'.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Draco grumbled, shoving off to follow her and weaving through the children. "Granger! Oi! What's that supposed to mean?"
"Spare me the blank face, Draco. We both know."
He stood directly behind her now, taking in the alluring scent of her perfume mixed with the scent of peppermint as he breathed in her hair. He pressed himself behind her, using the crowd of children as an excuse to do so. His free hand slipped around her waist and rested against her hip, and he listened to the sharp intake of breath from her as she struggled to remain focused on the ceiling. "Pretend I'm a gullible nitwit like your friends," he whispered into her ear. "Enlighten me."
Headmistress McGonagall, some ways off, shot a stream of yellow light into the air, and a countdown from sixty began, blaring up above.
"You constantly are putting others down in an attempt to ignore your shortcomings," she said, loud enough for him to hear but soft enough as to not bring the students into the conversation. Her hand slipped over his, trying to pry him off, but he merely weaved their fingers together and tightened his grip.
"I wasn't aware I have any shortcomings."
"And there's your arrogance. Tell me, did the word humility ever cross your vocabulary?"
"It did," he whispered against her ear, "I've found it rather a dull word, however, and choose not to use it on most occasions."
"Try all occasions," she snapped, turning her head to meet his gaze. Their noses touched as forty-five seconds glowed above them. "Just what do you think you're up to, Professor Malfoy?"
"Draco," he corrected, "And why must I be up to something? Can't a chap want to hold a pretty woman close to him on New Year's Eve?"
"Yes, a chap would. You, however…"
"Me, however -what?" He challenged her to finish the sentence. "Go on."
"You're still the same as you ever were back in Hogwarts."
"You think so?"
"I know so. Strutting around. Bragging about your trips to Italy and degrading anyone who happens to be living a better life than you do."
"Like who?" he scoffed. "Weasley?"
"As a matter of fact-"
"TWENTY!" The students around them began to shout.
"Look," he said, "Just because Weasley is having a child doesn't begin to equate his life to mine, or put his above mine for that matter."
"You're alone," she pointed out, "Everyone's read about your playboy days and your failed engagement to Astoria Greengrass."
"So you believe everything you read in the tabloids? I thought that kind of thinking was beneath you, Granger."
"What's beneath me is standing so close to you as you so clearly want to… to…" she furrowed her brows, her breath tickling his lips. "Well, just what are you doing, exactly?"
"I was planning on kissing you."
"Kissing me?" she gasped. "Why on Earth would you-"
"Because I happen to find you interesting."
"Now really isn't the time for details," he rolled his eyes.
"And after you kiss me. What happens then?"
"How the bloody Hell should I know?"
"Oh, honestly. You never change, do you, Malfoy?" she jerked herself from his grip and turned toward him, face expressive with disdain.
Draco stood flabbergasted, almost appalled by her. "You think I haven't changed?"
"HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
Children began to hug and kiss all around them, but Draco could only fixate on Hermione Granger and her pretty, bushy head.
"No, Draco," she said, wiping a tear from her eye. Why was she crying? Had he caused it? "I don't think you've changed much at all." And with that, Hermione turned her back on him, staring up at the faux night sky.
Draco Malfoy sat in bed on New Year's, unable to fall asleep. He'd tossed, and he'd turned, and had even conjured up a pack of cards to play solitaire, but nothing could ease his mind.
He thought he'd changed a lot since his days back in Hogwarts.
He no longer thought muggles vile, nor their magical children. In fact, Hermione Granger was on the top of his list for most attractive muggleborn to ever have stumbled across him carrying two pumpkins at once. And while he was a playboy back in school, the past few months noticing Granger had been different; he'd been to Hogsmeade every trip, and not once did he try to land himself a bird to bed. In fact, he'd followed Granger around like a stray kitten, pretending to be interested in the same shops as she (even going so far as to purchase some expensive teas to make himself appear as a normal shopper).
Why couldn't she see how crazy she made him? Why couldn't she see the want to hold her attention that sparkled in his eyes when she appeared? Draco couldn't fully wrap his head around his adoration for the bookworm, but he knew it was there. He knew not only did he want to rip off her clothes and take her on his bed in the late hours of the night, but he wanted to peel back that rough exterior of emotion-deflecting wall she wore and get to know what was underneath. She was so guarded around him… maybe she only saw him for the ex-Death Eater he was. Was she really worth all the fuss?
As he closed his eyes and thought about her lips pulled back in a smile, he knew the answer was an unequivocal 'YES.' She was.
He'd just need to change her mind… somehow.
Valentine's Day: the most romantic day of the year. Draco supposed it was no surprise when he found Hermione Granger outside, the Sunday clouds allowing rays of light to peek through. The weather was chilly, and she was passing out knitted hats to the children, saying, "Freed elves made these hats with love. Consider sending them a Valentine today, yes?"
"And who taught them how to knit?" he asked, approaching her for the first time in weeks. The last time they'd spoken, it had been small talk, amounting to not much of anything, but it had gotten the ball rolling again on formalities.
"Me, as a matter of fact," she said with conviction, a proud smirk breaching those pretty, red-painted lips.
"Are they only for the students?" he asked.
"They were, but… it seems not many are taking them at the moment." She offered the bin of hats out to him. "Take your pick."
As Draco sorted through the crate, he muttered, "You're wrong about me, you know."
Granger tensed. "I… might have been a tad harsh on you on New Year's Eve."
"A tad?" His eyes focused on the array of reds, greens, blues, and yellows, trying to pick out a green and silver beanie that didn't look like it was made by a toddler. "You were about as abrasive as the scrub brushes used to clean the cauldrons in Potions."
"I'll admit I was harsh, but I never said I was wrong," she grumbled. Draco plucked a shoddy, emerald green hat with silver edging and, finally, met her stare. "You still walk around as if you're the bee's knees. You barate my friends any chance you get, and you tease me for sticking to my muggle customs." Her lips pursed together. "You might have filled out, and your jaw might be as chiseled as a greek statue, but you're still the Malfoy I've known all my life."
Draco had enough. With a forceful grab, he jerked the bin out of her hand, set it down next to his feet, and got right up in her personal bubble. "You think you know me, do you? Well, I've got some news for you. Listen here, insufferable know-it-all, and listen well." He stood stalk-still in front of her, allowing her to take in his daunting presence. "The reason I walk around as if I'm the bee's knees is to impress you. I barate your friends any chance I get because I'm teasing you for having such lackluster friends. And I tease you because I don't know how to act around you, and I'm flirting with you."
She blinked twice and her face softened. "Well, of course you are. I know that."
"Then why do you keep rejecting me any chance you can?" he asked. "And don't tell me it's because you aren't attracted to me. Because you just complimented my jaw, and you nearly kissed me on New Year's Eve…"
"You nearly kissed me," she corrected.
Draco shrugged. "We both nearly kissed each other." He reached up and wrapped one of her curls around his finger, entwining it. Then he gave a sigh unworthy of a Malfoy and said, quieter, "Will you ever let go of the past, Granger? I'm not that little boy anymore. People can change."
There was a pregnant silence between them. "But have you?" she asked, chewing on her lower lip.
"Only one way to find out," he said, smirking, tugging her curl to guide her face closer. "Have tea with me."
"Yes. You know, the British equivalent of coffee?"
"Honestly, Granger, asking you out on a date feels more like a chore with each passing second." He added, "That's flirtatious teasing, by the by. Incase you need me to spell it out for you." He brushed his nose against hers, closing his eyes. Waiting. "And it is Valentine's Day…"
Suddenly, the hat in his hand was ripped from him and snugged on top of his head. His eyes opened, and Hermione giggled, planting a soft, quick kiss to his lips. "Hermione," she said. "If you're going to ask me out, you might learn how to use my given name properly."
"I think Granger's become more of a term of endearment." He reached up to take the hat away, but Hermione's hand wrapped around his wrist and pulled it down to his side, weaving their fingers together.
"No. You're to wear it the entire time we have tea."
Draco groaned. "I am?"
Hermione's smile widened as she reached down, plucked up the container of hats with her free hand, and nodded. "You want to prove to me you've changed or not?"
"I thought being seen out in public with you would be a nice indicator-"
"Shove it, would you?" Hermione released his hand, placed the box in his arms, and said, "How does tea in my room sound? Right now?" She giggled, sauntering mischievously away from him. "I could show you how the muggles make tea… amongst other things."
Draco nearly dropped the box at the suggestiveness in her tone. As a student walked by, he shoved the box into his hand and said, "Hand these out, and I'll get you front row tickets to Bulgaria's Quidditch match next Friday."
The sixth year Gryffindor raised both of his eyebrows and nodded. "Er, sure, Professor Maloy. Thanks!"
But Draco heard none of it,instead abandoning the kid to follow Granger up the steps of Hogwarts, still wearing the ridiculous hat as he said, "So, about these 'other things'..."
Hope everyone enjoyed this fun one-shot! Please leave a review if you're willing and able. They tend to let me know if I've given you something worthwhile. :)