This was my 2019 Dramione-Duet Fic Exchange Fest (dramione-duet . livejournal . com) entry. The fest is over and reveals are out, so now I can post this for you here. This fanfic is finished. It is multiple chapters, which will be updated once a week until the end.
Fest Exchange Partnet: "frumpologist"
Prompts for the fest: Friends-To-Lovers, Forced Proximity, Quidditch-Either playing or watching, The beginning of a relationship, Era-Any (I chose Post-Hogwarts, EWE), Rating-Any (I chose 'Mature')
To my exchange partner: I tried to incorporate as many of your prompts as possible. I hope you enjoy! XOXO
Thank you to my splendiferous beta, ladysashi! Once more, you rode to the rescue and I am eternally grateful for your friendship. Without you, I would be an error-ridden mess! :)
And finally, many, MANY thanks to Ningloreth, the fest's awe-inspiring moderator! Dramione-Duet has been running for 11 long years and has continued to generate interest AND to produce high-quality fics for our OTP ship - you are Super Woman for pulling it all together and keep us all on track, and we are extremely lucky to have you in this fandom, m'lady!
DISCLAIMER: "Harry Potter" is the property of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. This fanfiction was written entirely for fun, not for profit, and no copyright infringement is intended.
TIMELINE: Post-Hogwarts, EWE.
MAIN CHARACTERS FEATURED: Hermione Granger x Draco Malfoy
SECONDARY CHARACTERS FEATURED: Mrs. & Mr. Granger
SUMMARY: Some girls got hearts and love and body positivity and an everlasting supply of chocolates. Some girls got…Quidditch tickets. Hermione Granger's about to meet the temptation of her life: a man who wants to give her all of the above.
RATING: NC-17 (explicit)
WARNINGS: Body image issues & bullying surrounding the issue by parental figures; Food porn; Explicit sex
Her mother was at her again.
"Your hips look wider, Hermione. Have you gained weight again?"
Hermione slanted a quick look her father's way to see what he might add to the conversation—something hopeful along the lines of, 'mind your own business, dear', but the man simply raised his newspaper higher and pretended not to have heard.
"No, Mum. I haven't gained weight. It's your imagination."
It wasn't, but this had become her default response anytime her mother opened her mouth lately. Yes, Hermione had gained about two stone in the years since leaving the war behind, but it certainly wasn't the woman's place to so rudely comment.
Besides, Hermione had needed to gain that kind of poundage, as she'd nearly starved to death during that final year of camping in the wilds, when Ron and Harry had eaten the lion's share of the canned stores she'd packed away for their escape. Back then she'd dropped down into double-digit range, dangerously unhealthy to the point of looking like a prisoner of war who'd been intentionally starved, and her organs had suffered something terrible for it. As had her general well-being; she fought off several bouts of flu in succession for almost the entire winter of 1998. It had taken years for her immune system to start functioning properly again and for her body to get back up to its proper weight.
…And surpass it.
But that was really not her mum's place to criticize. Hermione was an adult, and no longer needed parental guidance. It was her battle to wage to keep it within acceptable limits.
"Well, this has been fun," she lied as she quickly finished up the breakfast her father had made and gathered up her purse to make a hasty exit from her childhood home. "I have to go, though. Ron and Harry are having their first game of the season today, and they arranged for me to be in the special V.I.P. box to watch the action up close. I promised I'd be there to see them kick-off their new positions."
Her mother seemed disconcerted that she'd leave within only two hours of arriving this time. "Oh, well, don't you want to-"
"Maybe next time," she offered and hurriedly kissed her parents on their cheeks and said her goodbyes. "I'll bring treats!"
"Don't bother," her mother called back as she rushed for the front door. "You know we don't eat sweets."
A parting shot, as usual, and it found its mark.
As Hermione quickly paced down the walkway away from their house, she felt nothing but relief, despite how rudely she'd behaved. She loved her parents, but honestly, they pushed her patience to its bounds and her mother… The woman knew how to wound with verbal barbs that stung long after they'd been tripped.
At least she would have a full stomach going into today's hours-long Quidditch spectating event, and needn't worry about engaging in 'boredom snacking', which was responsible for the weight on her hips. She'd just bring a book to keep her mind busy, and if she was really lucky, things would be tied up by dinner.
Oh, the things one did for friendship!
Vaguely, just before she Disapparated to head for home, she wondered who else had nabbed themselves a seat in the exclusive V.I.P. box. Would it be anyone she knew from the old days, or just a bunch of stuffy old wizards and witches engaging in a bit of sports betting?
The last time she'd seen Draco Malfoy, he'd been sitting before the Wizengamot, a dried husk of a boy with a bent back and a heartsick stare. Meek of voice, repentant, he'd bowed before the might of strict, but impartial government intent upon reforming him of his "evil ways".
Eight years and a heavy-handed Ministry probation later, and he was back to being a little devil of their youth with an impish grin, and grey eyes that winked with mischief. Not maliciousness, however, and therein lie the difference.
Well, that and how he'd grown into his looks…
"How did you get in here?" Hermione demanded, gracing him with a scowl and a suspicious glare.
Thus far, no one else had shown up to claim the two seats to either side of her, and as the time for kick-off neared, she'd begun to believe that no one else had bought a box seat this season. For a few minutes there, she'd imagined enjoying the benefits of such a place all by her onesies. The quiet would have allowed for some serious reading to get done!
But then she'd gotten a box mate.
"The same as you, I suspect," he replied with nary a care for her glowering. "Purchased a season V.I.P. ticket."
Well, she hadn't purchased her ticket, per se, although it had been a compensation of sorts…
To her surprise, Malfoy offered her the polite opportunity to partake of whatever was in the paper bag he carried. An olive branch, she supposed.
She made a face, knowing how damaging sweets were to the teeth. Her dentist father had been on about that fact for all of her life and she'd done a damnable job of limiting access to please him.
"No, thank you, however."
He gave a casual shrug, as if you say, 'your loss'.
Things between them grew awkward after that as neither seemed willing to speak to the other. Hermione fidgeted in her chair, trying to get comfortable by extending the leg rest and readjusting the pillow behind her head as she leaned back to wait for the show to start. Her boredom soon overtook her, though. Rather than reach for one of the books in her charmed bag, she decided to just lie there and take in her surroundings.
The private box was exactly as stated: closed off from the rest of the enthusiasts outside. A well-constructed, enclosed wooden structure, it sat high up in a tower on the edge of the pitch, overlooking the exact middle of the field. A wide glass window in front, reinforced with magic to be indestructible, allowed an unimpeded view of the action, while minimizing the noise coming from outside. A speaker set high up on the wall allowed the attendees to hear the play-by-play action as called out by the official commentator when turned on, and a sign on the wall showcased the current score, which was set to Puddlemere United="0", Wimbourne Wasps="0" in preparation for today's match. In the corner was a private restroom with a toilet, a sink, and a shower, so the box's spectators wouldn't have to use the common privacy down below, and a house-elf had been assigned to attend to the needs of the box's exclusive guests.
Unlike the common bench seats that encircled the arena, the box was equipped with five side-by-side recliners draped in dark brown suede and which shared arms. Pillows and blankets were also supplied in case games carried on for days at a time or the V.I.P. guests wanted greater comfort.
Currently, Malfoy had his elbow up on her arm rest.
"Could you scooch over a seat, if you're staying?" she requested with a negligent wave towards the empty seat to his left. "I prefer to utilize both arm rests when I'm sitting."
Malfoy stopped with a pear drop half way to his mouth and he stared at her, his expression considering. When his lips turned with a smirk, she knew he was going to make this day as difficult for her as possible. "Sorry, my ticket is specifically assigned to this seat for the season," he said with smug satisfaction. "Guess we're to be close neighbours for the next few months, Granger."
When she opened her mouth to lodge a protest, he slyly cut her off.
"You wouldn't want me stealing another bloke's seat, would you? That would be just rude."
She glared at him, onto his game. "As if that's ever bothered you before."
His eyes crinkled with amusement as his smile widened. "Then tell me how would that work? Am I to say, 'Sorry, old chum, but the lady with the wild hair, the one hogging up the coveted center seat in the box just needed the extra room for her weary arms' and shove him off?"
"He'd probably be the first in your life to ever deem you chivalrous," she countered with dry humour, "and reward you with a big bag of Licorice Allsorts to accommodate your horrific suffering."
He laughed at her quip, and to her surprise, it was an honest and good sound.
"Ooh, we're definitely having fun this year, you and me," he predicted and settled back into his chair.
He put his arm back up on their shared arm rest, claiming it his territory.
"We'll just see about that," she warned him and reached into his bag to grab a handful of pear drops, determined to make him just as miserable as she felt.
TO BE CONTINUED...
I'm working diligently on updates to my W.I.P.s, but hope you'll consider giving this a read and a review in the meantime!