A/N: Wow, first dramione fic! Sorry if it sucks, but here it is. Read and review!
The first time Hermione wore a red dress was during their third year—Draco remembered because he couldn't recall her ever wearing something of the likes before. It was a questionably timed trip to Hogsmeade; rain was coming down in droves intermittently, chasing everyone under awnings and into the warmth and dryness of nearby shops. This particular time, it began with a light sprinkling, the third of the day, and immediately Draco let out a monstrous sigh and dragged Blaise, his Hogsmeade partner for the day trip, towards the nearest shop just as it began pouring down rain once more.
"Shit!" yelled Blaise as he caught the first of the downpour, covering his head with his hands in a meager attempt to shelter his hair from the rain.
"Don't be so dramatic," Draco muttered and slipped into a shop he didn't bother to read the name of—if it was dry, it was good enough.
"Does it look like I can get my hair wet?" Blaise pointed to his dark curls. He was incredulous, and Draco didn't care. This entire trip had been more or less a bust, and Draco was still too damp from the first bout of rain to enjoy much of anything past their brief encounter with Dogweed and Deathcap, some Herbology shop Blaise had insisted they stop at.
Blaise tripped over something and stumbled gracefully forward, stepping on Draco's robe. With a muttered apology from Blaise and a growl of annoyance from Draco, Draco looked up around him. Shelves and shelves of books towered around him and looked placidly upon the pair of Slytherins, and Draco let out an exaggerated sigh, accompanied by a mumbled "dramatic" comment from Blaise. They were in Tomes and Scrolls. Normally the idea of being in a bookstore might intrigue Draco—he wasn't illiterate and could, on occasion, enjoy a story on his own time—but the smell of old books wasn't soothing his damp robes or his disgruntled mind, and the idea of staying in a bookshop for any longer than a minute, much less until the rain let up, was unappealing.
"Seriously Draco? Of all the shops—"
"Shut it Blaise." Draco shrugged off his wet outer robes and draped them over his arm. There was no attendant in sight, he saw with a glance across trite shop. Blaise followed suite and they began to wander the shop aimlessly, awaiting the ceasing of the rain. It pattered on the tin roof, a sound that, under different circumstances, might have been pleasing to his ear. Instead, it managed to nearly drown out the thoughts in his head with its noise.
Draco peered absentmindedly at the titles of books for so long that when he turned, he found that Blaise was not behind him and had, in fact, stopped several minutes prior to flip through a novel. With another long sigh, his third of the day, Draco stepped around another shelf, where he found, to no one's surprise, Hermione Granger sitting cross legged on the ground and reading from a thick, ancient text. Or, at least, that's what it looked like from his vantage point.
But Draco wasn't exactly intent on staring at the book—his gaze was on her. He had never seen her wear anything remotely similar to what she was wearing. It was a dress (could you call it a dress if it was on Granger? He thought she only wore frumpy pants and sweaters) with flowers on it, a sharp contrast to the actual weather outside. It fanned around her and her book, and she ran her fingers through her mass of hair absentmindedly, flipping it to the side, he was stunned by—
"Malfoy?" she had looked up at him and he nearly startled, but kept his steady demeanor in check.
"Granger." His reply was curt and smooth. She raised her eyebrows, speculating, and when she realized there was nothing suspicious about his being there, she relaxed.
"Do you need something?"
"I was just looking for a book."
"Well, if it isn't Magic in Muggles, or another book by Antony Dantoine, then it isn't here." Draco racked his brain for wizarding authors with a last name beginning with D, knotting his hand in his still-damp robe.
"I'm looking for Dzuden," he said, and when she raised her eyebrows at him once more, he added, "Velma Dzuden? Have you not heard of her?"
"Of course I've heard of her, I'm not daft," she retorted closing her book. "Do you need help finding it or something? Or is there another reason you're standing there bothering me?"
"I think I can manage myself, thank you very much," Draco said, but Hermione was already standing up and brushing imaginary debris from her dress. It reached down past her thighs, barely showing anything but her knees, and yet…
"It's probably over there, I bought Sprouts and Sprites the last weekend we were here, and I remember it being on the second shelf from the bottom on the shelf behind there." Hermione pointed to a stack of books and Draco looked up from the hem of her dress just in time to meet her eyes. "Why are you interested in a Herbology author?"
"I thought Blaise might appreciate her work." She shrugged in acceptance of the lie and looked back at Draco. They stared at each other for a moment, saying nothing, until Hermione shifted awkwardly and looked down at her discarded book.
"Was that all, or—"
"I didn't ask for your help, Granger," Draco scoffed, and Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Anything to get you out of my hair, Malfoy." He was already walking away from the girl in the red dress with her hands on her hips, a scowl marring his pristine features. What a twit she was!
Draco rounded the corner, finding Blaise already sitting in front of the Dzuden section. The rain had let up, Draco realized by the distinct lack of noise on the ceiling, and he pulled Blaise to his feet, murmuring a "time to go" before shoving him out the door.
Merlin, how he hated red.
"Malfoy, you prick!" Draco turned his head over his shoulder to peer at the redheaded boy behind him with a sneer.
"Something wrong, Weasel?"
"Did you take our damned foxglove?"
"No, I'm afraid you've managed to lose that all by yourself."
"Sod off," Harry said from next to Ron. "If you took it, just give it back Malfoy, we don't have time for this."
"I didn't take it, you pair of idiots, so—"
"Malfoy, could you be not horrible for a moment and just give it back?"
"You arsehole! I know you took it!"
"Weasel, maybe you should spend more time looking for what you lost than insulting me."
"If you hadn't taken it in the first place, then he wouldn't be insulting you!"
"Potter, I swear to—"
"Ronald, is this yours?" Amidst the flurry of loud and angry whispers, Hermione Granger had snuck up on them and was now holding a bundle of foxglove in her hand. She looked at the silenced boys expectantly. "Well?"
"Where was that?" Harry asked, and Hermione nodded her head towards the ground. Draco laughed and Ron let out a sigh, running his hands through his hair and lying his head on his desk.
"I told you, you probably lost—"
"Malfoy, didn't you push it off their desk?" Hermione looked at him, a small smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. Not that Draco was paying attention to her mouth, or even her for that matter—
"Granger, why can't you leave me alone? I'm trying to work, and you're exhausting me." She rolled her eyes at him and dropped the foxglove on her friends' desk. Hermione sauntered to the front of the room and handed Professor Snape a slip explaining her tardiness, and sat down in the desk next to Malfoy's, her partner a Hufflepuff named Everly. Malfoy watched her set down her books and frowned at her.
"Why is your robe buttoned up, Granger?" he asked, and he thought he saw her ears turn a little pink.
"I'm cold." She glanced at him, attempting to keep an even face. "And wasn't I distracting you from your work?"
"Please," Draco scoffed, turning back to his partner and his potions ingredients. "You could never distract me." He saw her ears turn a shade darker from the corner of his eye and she huffed, nestling herself into her chair and beginning to work.
Several minutes later, he caught himself glancing over at Hermione once again, her robe still clasped even with the rising heat of the room. She shifted, and the edge of her robe fell off her knee, exposing a glint of red from underneath—definitely not uniform.
"Granger," he drawled, but she didn't look up at him. "Granger!"
"Your robe is still buttoned."
"It is, Malfoy."
"Is that within the dress code?" She paused, her hand halfway to the cauldron before her. She turned to meet his eyes.
"Excuse me?" she asked, and he smirked. "My buttoned robe is most certainly dress code. You're allowed to be cold."
"I didn't think red was allowed, outside of your house emblem," he said, a smirk growing on his face. Hermione looked down at herself and shrugged the fallen corner of her robe back over her knee where her red dress had become exposed. Wait— had Malfoy been staring at her legs?
"Why the dress, Granger? Did you come here from somewhere? Is that why you were late?" He stared at her, smirking.
"What's it to you?"
"My, does Granger have some sort of date?" His voice rose a little, and Hermione shot him a glare. "I must say, I'm a bit surprised." He waited for her to explode, but she didn't—she smirked back.
"Maybe I did." She smiled to herself and turned back to her work. "Now, try not to be so distracted by my robes, Malfoy." He rolled his eyes and went back to work. It was subtle, but she had won this round—she knew she had. The real story was that she had not been able to properly wash her clothes (she'd forgotten) and had to resort to an old red dress of hers. it looked quite silly with knee socks and her school shoes, but if it angered Malfoy, it was worth it.
And he had definitely been looking at her legs.
It was fifth year, and the last of the latecomers were arriving from Christmas holiday at home. Hermione had come early, of course, and was in the library, of course, reading ahead on a class on ancient Wizarding Languages. She herself had coerced Professor Binns to include this work in his teaching, and she intended to know enough about the text to be able to converse with her classmates about the subject—all 6 of them.
Hermione flipped a page and felt her sleeve rustle against the paper. Her parents had gotten her a dress this year for Christmas—red, they said, like Gryffindor, but it was a bit too scarlet to properly match her house colors. She admired their thought, though. Hermione was halfway into a passage about the creation of spells from Latin language when she noticed a presence. The witch stopped and looked up, meeting the eyes of Draco Malfoy who stood in front of her with his arms crossed. His blonde hair was ruffled from the train ride home, she assumed, and he had street clothes on, much like her.
"Malfoy," she said, polite and curt. After sitting near each other for a semester of tiring History class, they had resorted to sharing notes a bit and didn't shy away from helping the other as much as they used to. She didn't exactly care for the Slytherin, but he was tolerable—for now.
"You're wearing a dress," he stated, looking down at her.
"Yes," she said, surprise evident on her face. When he said nothing, she said, "But you're wearing street clothes as well, and it isn't weird for me to be wearing them. And we aren't required to be back in uniform until tomorrow so I thought…" Hermione didn't have a thought after that. She swallowed. "I know it isn't really Gryffindor colors, but my parents try their best…" she half expected the boy in front of her to make a comment about her muggle parents, but he remained silent, which arose suspicion in her. "Malfoy?"
"Let's be partners again this semester," he stated simply, and Hermione was taken aback. He had been civil, but that statement, at least for a Malfoy, was bordering on nice. She had no idea how to take it.
"Uh… I… I suppose so? I mean, I suppose we can? Be partners?"
"I mean, I've appreciated copying your notes for the last few months and i'd like to take advantage of that again." Malfoy's sneer was back, and so was Hermione's level-headedness.
"You're such a prick, Malfoy," she said, looking back at her book. "Go find some other girl to scheme into helping you." Malfoy frowned and fell into a chair beside her, turning so she was forced to look at him.
"I don't want another girl to do my notes, Granger, I want you."
"Isn't there some Ravenclaw who can do your work for you?"
"Sadly, love, there's only you." Hermione fake gagged when he called her love and he snorted, sitting back in his seat. "Truly, Granger, there's six of us in the class and I'm not about to be stuck with some idiot who won't help me pass my OWLs." Hermione looked at him—there were seven in the class, but she didn't correct him, and frowned into his eyes. In the dim light of the library, they were a dark greenish blue, nothing really extraordinary. She knew he would pass his OWLs—his notes were just as detailed as hers, just as organized and perfected. He was lying to her, but she didn't know why. His ruffled hair kept distracting her and she wasn't able to think straight.
"So what do you say?" he prompted, leaning forward on his chair.
"You don't need any help passing, you prat. Leave me alone." He scowled at her, and was that genuine hurt in his eyes? But no, Draco Malfoy didn't get hurt.
"Please?" Hermione stared at him again, at the hair that was ruffled and misplaced and so un-Malfoyish that she got distracted again, just staring at him.
"You could easily—"
"Just do it—we'll help each other." Her eyes hadn't left his hair that looked still looked so out of place. He smirked at her. "Like what you see, Granger?"
"Merlin, just let me fix this," she muttered, and leaned forward to brush down his hair with her fingers. It was just two seconds before she sat down, but as she looked back at him, she realized they were two seconds she was going to be replaying in her head for hours. What did she just do?
Draco's face was mostly unreadable, save the shock in his eyes. She had just touched him—she had just touched him! Hermione cleared her throat and looked back at her book to hide her blush behind her curly hair.
"I'll be your partner," she got out, "but leave me to read this, okay?" What had she done? Why had she done that? He hadn't moved yet. She looked at him once her flush had faded somehat. "Do you want us to pass this class?" she asked. He just looked at her. "Then go! I need to read!" He nearly stumbled in his attempt to get up, and left the nook she was reading in in a rush. She let out a breath and put her head in her hands. Why had she touched his hair? It had been agitating her but that didn't mean she'd had to lay her hands on the bastard. Oh, Merlin, it was going to be an curious semester.
"Granger?" she popped her head up, and he was back, staring at her with a smirk. "You look nice in that dress." And he was gone.
He was sitting next to her again. Well, not exactly next to her, she was a desk over and there was a person between them—a boy that made him tap his quill in agitation with every move he made towards Granger. Their robed elbows brushed as she leaned even further down to take her diligent notes, and Draco's quill almost snapped.
"Draco," murmured Pansy next to him, hitting him with her elbow. "It's your turn." It was their early Wednesday class of Transfiguration, which the Slytherins shared with Gryffindors. It was their only class together for the next two days, and it made Draco shake with annoyance that Granger hadn't even met his eyes all week.
Draco muttered the spell and conjured a butterfly in front of him, and the dark colored thing flew up to join the array of other butterflies throughout the room. They huddled together on the ceiling, circling each other and nimbly playing through the beams above them. Pansy was looking at him, but Draco didn't meet her eyes.
He didn't know really when it had started—seeing her every day in Wizarding Languages the year before, perhaps—and while that class was atrocious, he and the witch had become almost… friendly with each other. Each day at breakfast, they each sat in the same spot and would catch each others eyes across the hall, Granger raising her eyebrows at him and Draco smirking back. Sometimes they'd tell jokes, or make faces at each other, something so elementary and childish that it made his heart soar. They were still nasty to each other on occasion—on many occasions—but they had a peacefulness that hadn't been there before. And then he began to notice things.
Her mass of hair was not, in fact, a brown bush, but curls always in a rushed disarray, sometimes piled on the top of her head with tantalizing pieces escaping and teasing him, blowing in the breeze of her soft breath. Her skin was clear and tan and beautiful, and her lips he realized he stared too often at. Sometimes, when he would say something under his breath in class, she'd try to stifle a giggle and he'd see her smile. He'd never felt warmth like what he felt when he was responsible for that smile, and he had to push down the realization that he would do almost anything to get her to smile at him.
Class was dismissed in a rush that day, and Draco focused as hard as he'd ever focused on Arithmancy in his life to distract himself from her. It overwhelmed him, she overwhelmed him, and he hated himself for it—this had to stop. His knuckles were nearly white when he saw her hair in the hallway and reached out to stop her. She looked up at him, her brown eyes confused.
"What do you want, Malfoy?" He shuddered inwardly, even though he knew her tone was rude because her friends were there (or was it?) but he stared at her evenly.
"I need a copy of your notes. I failed to pay attention because a pair of idiots wouldn't stop talking behind me." Draco looked accusingly at Ron and Harry. Hermione rolled her eyes as her friends laughed.
"I'll give them to you after dinner to copy, you arse," she said, and her voice was hard. He would have abandoned his plan had her eyes not shown her smile at him.
"Apologies, mate, for being such a distraction," said Ron, looking at him with mock sincerity. He nudged Harry. "It isn't our fault we're a pair of lookers!"
"Fuck off, blithers," was Draco's response before he stalked off down the hall, leaving Hermione laughing with her friends. He realized she'd never choose him over them, but her laughter smothered his fluttering heart. Fuck them.
Dinner was awful, and he couldn't stop staring at her the entire time—she never looked his way. He ate half of a roll and nothing else, despite the confusion of his table mates. They never seemed to question his unwavering gaze towards a distant table, though, and his gaze was most definitely unwavering. His foot tapped nervously, agitatedly against the floor of the Great Hall, until finally it was deemed acceptable to leave and he raced off towards the library.
The year prior, he and Granger had had a secret spot in the library where they'd studied and somehow, no one had ever bothered them. He walked into the library and followed the Astronomy and Astrology texts all the way to the back. There was a hidden alcove just far enough past the regular reading subjects where no one ever went, past the restricted section and behind a wall of obscure texts. Draco imagined it was the very back of the library, so it had made sense that only Granger had ventured far enough back to find it. It must have been her secret place—she had only shown it to him once they had both tired of studying together silently in a hall of a hundred students. He had felt a rush of something for her, that very first time she had ever shown him it, blushingly admitting that even Ron and Harry knew nothing of it, and he could never bring himself to tell anyone else about the place, lest it ruin it for her. Merlin, damn her! Why did he care what he ruined for her?
He sat down on the top of an old desk and leaned against the wall. It was stone, meaning he must really be at the back of the castle, and the cold crept through his white shirt and into his skin, making him shiver. He knew she would come—she had to. This was their spot, and she'd seen him taking notes the entire lecture, so she must have known he'd needed to talk to her. It had been in her eyes, hadn't it? Had he been imagining the entire thing?
He inhaled sharply and sat back again, trying to relax his racing mind. What would he say to her? That he hated when she wouldn't look at him, or when she'd brush against her desk partner when it wasn't he she was brushing against? Or perhaps he'd tell her how low he felt when she acted as if she hated him in front of her friends. Absolutely not—a Malfoy had more pride than that. This feeling was absolutely ridiculous and it was consuming him, so much so that he hardly thought he would maintain his high OWL scores the year before in spite of their frequent study sessions—maybe because of them. He was going to end this, now, because perhaps if he never had to see her again, he wouldn't feel this way.
He crossed and uncrossed his legs, crossed and uncrossed his arms, and shoved over a pile of books before hastily picking them back up again, lest Granger see and think him childish. Why the fuck did he care so bloody much?
"Draco?" he looked up and there she was—brilliant and beautiful, standing in a red dress that reached just above her knees. He remembered that dress, the dress that started this all, the dress he couldn't stop picturing her in, and he stopped moving. "I've got my work here, I can just leave it here for you to copy if you don't need anything else."
He'd completely forgotten what he'd planned to say to her. She looked at him in confusion, shrugging her bag off her shoulders and setting it down on the floor. "Sorry I'm late, I was dying to get out of my uniform. My robes get so hot the first few weeks I'm back here." She let out a small laugh, still staring at him. Her eyes narrowed in confusion. "Draco?"
"Fuck it," he whispered, and Hermione barely had time to murmur a "What?" before Draco had his hands on both sides of his face and was kissing her.
"I don't really fancy being late, Granger," called Draco from outside the Gryffindor common room. He wouldn't say this to her, but he didn't really fancy standing out here alone, either. Two younger Gryffindors had already passed him—one had looked at him quizzically and been on her way, while the other had thrown him a rude "What are you doing here?" before heading on his way as well, hardly giving the eloquent Draco Malfoy time to answer in kind. He ran his hand through his hair for the fifth time in a period of ten minutes and sighed. He'd never known Granger to not be punctual, and if they were minutes away from missing the train. The two Gryffindors that had passed him must have been the last of the bunch to head out from their common room. He sighed again. "Granger, come on! We're…" he let out a low groan. "We've now missed the train. And you know how—"
"Calm down, you prat," she said from the other side of the portrait. The Fat Lady had been eyeing him suspiciously for the last few minutes and he hadn't even attempted to enter. She swung open, nearly hitting Draco as he stumbled back, and Hermione stepped out of the portrait hole. Red fabric swished around her legs, and he remembered instantly the soft feeling of that dress under his hands as he shoved her up against a wall, sliding up and down her waist and her—
"Damn you, Granger," he sighed, and she smiled and winked at him laughingly.
"What? We're going Holiday shopping, I needed something festive to wear. Like red." He narrowed his eyes at her and made a grab for her arm to pull her to him, but she dodged his hand. "Come on, we don't want to be late!" She began to walk towards a somewhat stable staircase.
"Granger, we've missed the train already."
"We have. Follow me."
"Why don't we just stay in?" He followed her anyways, quickening his steps to fall next to her. "I wouldn't exactly mind."
"And miss out on Hogsmeade? Never."
"I've told you, we missed the—"
"I know, now follow me." She looked at him, raising her eyebrows, a gesture he found her to do most often. "Do you trust me?"
"Perhaps." He smiled at her as she scoffed and led him down three flights of stairs and through several hallways before they ended in front of a statue.
"Follow me, and stay quiet." She slipped behind something and disappeared, and for a moment Draco stood, stunned, until a hand reached out and pulled him behind the statue. Draco let out a muffled laugh.
"If this was your plan, Granger, you could have just told me instead of sneaking around."
"Merlin, just follow me," she said, and pulled him forward once again. He braced himself to hit the wall behind the statue, but he never did, and when he opened his eyes again he found himself in a cavern lit with what he presumed to be magic torches.
"Where the fuck did you take me?" he asked, and Hermione laughed, squeezing his hand.
"Harry found this years ago, and it's the best way to sneak into Hogsmeade. He made me promise I wouldn't show anyone else, but…" she looked into his eyes and the flame from the wall cast shadows on her face. "I guess I couldn't help myself." Draco groaned as she stepped out of his grasp once again, his stomach clenching at her words.
"Come on, Malfoy." He followed close behind her, staring at the way the dress seemed shorter than it had before—much more thigh was visible, and he could hardly take his eyes off her exposed skin.
The trip was a remarkably short one, and soon she had removed a block from the ceiling and was crawling through it, beckoning for him to follow. She covered their tracks and they raced out the door, and he watched her laugh in amazement.
"I didn't know you enjoyed breaking the rules so much," he panted as she dragged him down the small cobblestone road. The snow had made the road slick, and he was careful not to let Hermione fall. Or, that's why he told himself his grip on her was so tight.
"I never really do this," she laughed, and looked up at him. Her eyes twinkled, and he felt his chest almost explode. She reached up to smooth his ruffled blonde hair, lingering on his temples and near his ears.
"I know." His voice was nearly a whisper, and he was almost unaware that they had stopped in the middle of the street. Her hands splayed down his jacket, down his chest, and around his waist so she was hugging him to her. Even through his coat, he felt the burn of her touch all over him, heating his stomach.
"Kiss me," she said, and he did—a chaste, sweet kiss on her mouth that he felt her smile under. This was why he held back, he told himself. This sort of gentleness and simplicity, that was what she wanted—"No, Draco." She laughed. "Not like that."
The next thing he knew, they were behind a brick outcropping on a building and Draco had pulled her sleeve off her shoulder and was kissing her neck, shuddering at the hitched breaths in his ear from the girl in the red dress before him. His mouth was back on hers, fervent, and her hands had made their way under his coat and were rubbing paths of fire over his shoulders and chest. She whispered his name and he almost lost the small bit of control he still had, but he realized her hands were pushing his chest back, and he broke their kiss.
"Draco," she whispered again, panting and smiling at him. "As much as I don't want to stop, I promised Harry and Ginny we'd have butterbeer with them." She smiled again and kissed his lips. "Let's go, before we both can't stop."
Oh, how he wanted that so much more than butterbeer.