Title: Ways In Which Hermione Granger Could Have Ended Up With Draco Malfoy
Author: Edie
Rating: R, for sexual situations and swearing.
Summary: Draco and Hermione like to think up other ways in which they could have started dating. One-shot. 3401 words.
Warning: Unapologetically fluffy. Found this floating around my computer and thought I'd finish it. No spoilers.
Disclaimer: Not mine! J.K. Rowling owns everything!

Ways In Which Hermione Granger Could Have Ended Up With Draco Malfoy

"Seventh year and you're Head Girl," Draco stated, spooning up behind her and dropping his hand to trace an idle pattern over the top of her knickers- the black lacy pair, his absolute favourite.

"Naturally you're Head Boy," Hermione returned. She wiggled her bum backwards and smirked into the darkness when she found just what she was looking for. Draco exhaled into her hair and tugged her closer.

"Naturally," he purred, elbowing the blankets lower so that they in no way hindered his knicker related progress, "Who else would it go to? But as I was saying, we're Heads and my! Could it be that we share a common room?"

"Could it be?" she echoed, trying to move his hand where she wanted it.

He slipped it lower, knuckles brushing against the soft skin hidden just underneath, and his voice was rough as he continued. "Of course, silly. Let's say for the purpose of this story that I'm on my way down to breakfast. I've always liked a good breakfast, you know. Anyway, on this particular morning, there you are! All stretched out on the couch in nothing but your knickers, black lacy ones like these, legs spread and-"

Hermione scrunched her face up and tried to roll over but he gripped her hip before she had a chance. "My knickers? Why am I on the couch in our common room wearing nothing but that? Make it realistic, Draco."

"Play along, Hermione," he mimicked, "You want me, that's why. So as I was saying-"

Hermione had always been persistent in the face of something she didn't entirely hold with. "Yes but you want me too, right? Why aren't you prancing around in your underthings?"

She could practically hear his eyes roll. "Fine. Have it your way. I'm on my way down to breakfast in my underthings, even though that makes no sense, and lo and behold! There you are, also clad in pretty nothings, staring at me with unfettered longing. You'll be smirking and you'll say, 'My! Is that Draco Malfoy, the most attractive boy in all of Hogwarts? Seduce me, you wicked wicked man!'"

She wasn't entirely sure that was realistic either but, as his fingers had finally found their target and his tongue had always been so talented against her neck, she was willing to let that one go in order to see how Draco and Hermione as Heads played out. Reality was boring stuff anyway.

Or, reality was bloody well embarrassing. Nobody liked to hear a story about how two not-quite-enemies-but-not-quite-friends had gotten sloshed the Christmas following the end of the war and had spent the whole evening humping like bunnies. Nobody liked to tell a story where one's most vivid recollection wasn't the sex at all but how cold the toilet seat in Draco's flat had felt against her cheek as she had become rather disgustingly reacquainted with Ginny's amazing turkey dinner.

For that matter, who liked to think of Seventh Year at all when it hadn't even been spent at Hogwarts? She had finished her education by correspondence; so had he. If only war made for a romantic backdrop.

Give her the Head Girl story any day.

When Hermione was stringing garland and singing off-key Christmas carols like some jolly old nutcase, Draco Malfoy whipped out his collection of nutcrackers and positioned them in strategic locations around their flat. Privately- oh hell, who was he even kidding? Publicly, loudly, in rooms filled to the brim with people- he was completely embarrassed by the fact that he lived in a flat (a dingy old rundown flat too. Class, children, that's what it was lacking) but he placed the nutcrackers by the doorway and near their fireplace like they were protecting the bloody place.

To a casual observer, it might look like he was helping; like he was down with the Christmas spirit. In truth, he resented all of Hermione's little customs. He detested being dragged first to Harry and Ginny's and then to Ron and Pansy's to co-decorate their places. In truth, Draco Malfoy couldn't stand Christmas (surprised? And this coming for the selfish git that he was). In truth, he was strategically placing nutcrackers because he was an arse and he knew they scared the shit out of Hermione with their open mouths and evil painted on mustaches.

Hermione smiled at his efforts; pretended like she liked them by commenting off-handedly on the sheer size of his collection. If he hadn't been watching her with a sick sort of shrewdness, he would have missed her shudder.

Later on, when she was in the shower, Crookshanks attacked one that flanked the door. He was chewing on its tacky glued on hair when Draco came out of the kitchen. Was hissing at it and making all sorts of brassed off cat noises. He didn't bother shooing him away until Hermione came out of the loo because, honestly, the nutcrackers scared the shit out of him too.

It was late at night and Hermione was half asleep when Draco spoke up. It was always like that. He was a late night thinker, most productive in the dark (heh). This time, he was hit with a terrible moment of realization. How could he have been so blind? It was horrible, too horrible for words.

"Hermione?" he questioned, poking at the lump of sleeping girlfriend by his side, "Hermione? Are you awake? Hermione! Wake up, woman! I just had the realization of a lifetime! You are not allowed to sleep through this! Granger! It's terrible! I think I might like to commit suicide!"

Her response to the threat of his death was, "What? Draco, shut up. What time is it, you raging nutcase?"

"Late. I don't know. Perhaps after two?" He half sat up to check the clock before realizing that he hadn't dumped his life changing news on her yet and really who on earth cared about the time at a moment such as this? Dropping down next to her, he poked her arm until she rolled over. "Hermione, do you recall how I like to make poor jokes in relation to Weasley every once in awhile? You know, when the mood calls for it?"

Hermione's first reaction was to whack him with her pillow and to tell him where to go. Instead, she cracked open an eye and said patiently, "How could I forget?"

"Yes, of course. How could you?"

Draco was distracted. His discovery obviously had worked him into quite a state. He would probably turn it into a list later because that was quite simply what Draco did (he had a lot of lists. Hermione found them from time to time squirreled away in various corners of their flat. Her personal favourite was Reasons Why Hermione Is Practically A Pureblood At Least in Manners and Relationship Is Almost Therefore Okay, closely followed by Potty and the Weasel: Pros and Cons). Smiling fondly, she found his hand under the blankets.

"What is it, Draco? Some of us do have to work in the morning."

"Well," he began and she wished his tone was merely mock serious, "now that he's engaged to Pansy he won't be nearly half as poor. Bloody hell, he won't be remotely poor. He's trying to usurp me, Granger. He's a usurper!"

She would not giggle, she would not. At least this was news she could handle. An insecure Malfoy was a Malfoy she was used to. She patted his hand in a way that she hoped wasn't terribly patronizing.

"There, there, Draco. You're still richer, after all."

A moment during which he obviously debated this. Hermione couldn't blame him. Since the start of the war, Draco's financial situation had been confusing at best. He had been disinherited (to save face) and re-inherited (to save face) more times than she could count.

"You're right," Draco said slowly, "I am richer. Much richer. I am a Malfoy, for Merlin's sakes. Do you know what else?"

Oh dear. "What?"

"I'm better looking too."


"And better in bed. Pansy told me so. Or… she would have if I could have figured out how to slip that Veritaserum into her egg nog without her noticing. Bloody Slytherins, you can't pull a thing over on us."

"What?!" Hermione echoed, sitting up. She hated any sort of reminder that the two of them had been together, however superficially. It wasn't hard to think of a Christmas a few years ago when they had shown up on the doorstep of #12 Grimmauld Place, Pansy with a diamond on her finger that would have been large enough to feed the Third World a couple times over, Hermione did not doubt. It irritated her that she was irritated at all- surely she was more rational than someone prone to fits of jealousy. It eased her mind only somewhat when her past relationship (oh Merlin! What a mistake!) with Ron turned Draco into a waspish little fishwife.

Anyway. "Better in bed? Honestly, Draco. Has it ever occurred to you that you might have too much time on your hands? I know you go into the Ministry when the mood strikes you but really! Better in bed!"

His voice was petulant when he replied, "Well I am. I'm almost certain. No, scratch that. Of course I'm bloody well certain. You might as well admit it. I'm a sex god!"

Hermione snorted, purely because Draco Malfoy wasn't a sex god despite what all of the old Hogwarts gossip might have led one to believe. In fact, prior to their drunken Christmas shag, the supposed sex god had only slept with Pansy once or twice and a pretty little witch a scant few times in order to "get over" his sham of an engagement. Bloody hell, he had practically been a virgin.

Wouldn't do to point that out however and so very diplomatically she said, "I never slept with Ron. I'm sure Pansy has no complaints and neither do I for that matter. You'll always be a sex god to me, Draco Malfoy."

He smirked and cuddled into her. "I know it's well past two, Hermione, but perhaps a demonstration is in order?"

She found his lips and smiled against them. "Perhaps. I've always been a big believer in the power of demonstration."

The next day, she would find a list entitled Reasons Why Girlfriend is Potential Sex Goddess smashed into the corner of their night table and she would smile for hours.

Draco Malfoy quite simply didn't do the marriage talk. Sure, he had done it in the past (he had been engaged to Parkinson, after all) but that was neither here nor there. There came a time in every relationship where those things were hammered out. Apparently, that time had come. Hermione had hammered the bloody stuffing out of it.

Not until he was back home, he said. No bride of his would be carried across the threshold of a flat that smelled funny. No, Malfoy brides were swept away in the grandest of traditions and he wasn't even going to think of that until the political climate cooled enough so that he could talk to his mother in ways that didn't involve anonymous owls.

Fine, she said. She didn't want to get married anyway, not now with her bookstore just taking off (Draco loved her bookstore almost as much as she did. On the days he dragged his lazy arse down to the Ministry for volunteer time, he always stopped by before she made it there and left her books that he thought might interest her). Hermione Granger had a five year plan.

Sometimes, Draco thought she was lying to him. Sometimes he'd catch her staring at Ginny's rounded belly or Pansy's not-so-impressive engagement ring and he'd find himself thinking that she didn't have a five year plan at all.

Sometimes, he'd panic simply because he wasn't panicking in the slightest.

"How about this one?" Hermione questioned, rolling on top of him and staring at him quizzically, "You are failing Potions. I, being the most intelligent witch at Hogwarts, decide to tutor you."

Draco was scandalized. So scandalized that he momentarily forgot about his mischievous eyed girlfriend practically straddling him. "Failing Potions? Are you off your bird? That was my best subject! How about you are failing Potions? How about I tutor you?"

Hermione was instantly insulted. Rolling off of him, she snapped, "Me? The only reason I would ever fail Potions would be because of that beast from hell who taught the class! My mark was higher than yours, for Merlin's sake! I could kick your arse in Potions. I'm not the one who needs tutoring."

It was almost funny in the morning. There were reasons they never managed to get their act together at Hogwarts, after all.

The first time Draco left her it had been snowing.

The real rub was that she'd found out about it on a note tucked half behind the dresser (Reasons Why Am Too Much af a Git for Relationship) and not in person. She'd fumed for hours to herself, to Crookshanks, to Ginny, but she had not cried. After all, it was hard to feel sorry for the girl who had been too oblivious to notice her boyfriend's emotional hang ups- and there had been plenty, if the sodding list was anything to go by. Hard to feel sorry for the oblivious girl who had thought her relationship was sailing along smoothly, or at least as smoothly as anything between Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy could ever sail.

The real rub for him was that he only lasted two hours before sheepishly climbing the stairs to their flat and making his entrance as quietly and sneakily as possible.

He had found her on the couch, eyes red but not overflowing, with a coffee cup in one hand and another sitting in front of her on the table. He had blinked at that.

"How did you know I'd come back?" he'd asked, hating himself for being so easy to read and hating her as well for being able to do it with such accuracy.

Hermione had held up his cursed list. "Reason #37," she had replied rather stiffly, "'Girlfriend deserves much better. Should not be such an arse. Should endeavor to love selflessly so as to be able to let her go.' I can at the very least count on the fact that you are very selfish. How far did you get before wondering if Ron would leave Pansy for me?"

"The train station," he had admitted lamely.

"I wouldn't have taken him up on it. Now sit down. Your coffee is getting cold and I find I'm quite in the mood to yell at you."

"A magic room!"

Draco's voice was loud and triumphant in the semi-darkness of their bedroom. Hermione looked up from the laundry she was folding and glanced at him. His smile was positively feral and, well, if she thought that conjuring up ways in which they could have gotten together was slightly weird when used as a prelude to delicious shagging, she was not about to admit it. She put down the socks she was in the middle of balling together and joined him on the bed.

"A magic room?" Cuddled up close enough so that she can rest her cheek on his shoulder while trailing her fingers up and down his chest. "What does a magic room have to do with anything?"

Draco stretched beneath her palm like a cat, shifting so that her hand had more options. Pointedly, he wiggled his hips and tried to focus her attention on his best feature (if he did say so himself anyway).

"We get locked in it, don't you see." A triumphantly lazy smile as she took the hint and snuck her hand inside his sweatpants. Her hand was warm and she made quick work of distracting him from his story.

"Locked in?" Practically purring now. She angled enough to take a nibble at his ear.

"Uhh… yes." Locked in? What the devil? Hermione's giggle jarred him back to what he was saying, only it was so hard to pay attention when she did that thing with her thumb. "We… we have to solve a riddle to get out and- fucking hell, Hermione! That's the spot, my naughty girl."

She was chewing on her lip now, shifting beside him in that way he recognized as a precursor for more. "A riddle?"

"Yes. It's very complicated. It takes all of our considerable intelligence to- oh, fuck it. Come here."

She giggled again when he grabbed the waistband of her pants and used it as leverage to haul her on top of him. Propped herself up on her elbows and shot him a wicked smile.

"How about a treasure hunt?" she suggested and he wasn't sure what she meant until her lips found the place on his neck that drove him mad. "I like this clue." She kissed him wetly downwards. "Hmm, another one… just here. What an easy map to read. Are we almost out of the room, Draco?"

Draco was immensely enjoying this version.

Hermione's lips stopped just above his sweatpants. Still grinning rakishly, she inched them down and kissed his hip before eyeing the treasure, so to speak.

"Oh! 'X' marks the spot, doesn't it? We are ever so clever."

It was awhile before her mouth was free again for speaking. Draco Malfoy thought you'd have to be absolutely crazy to leave this girl.

If it was odd to leave the girl one month only to be casually (he swore it was casual!) eyeing rings a month later, then normal never really mattered much to him anyway. Furthermore, they were not engagement rings. They were promise rings. Made the world of difference when you're a commitment phobe with daddy issues, like he was.

He chose one that was pretty, if a little plain. There were lots to choose from, of course, but all of the garish ones remind him of the one his father "suggested" Pansy Parkinson might like. For Hermione, he selected an opal, circled with tiny diamonds. The witch behind the display case told him that opals symbolized hope and he liked that very much.

When he arrived home, he offered her both the ring and a list entitled Reasons Why Girl Should Overlook Boyfriend's Git-like Tendencies. At the last moment, he was afraid that that was not enough and ran to the bedroom to hunt for Reasons Why Am In Love With Granger. What was he thinking? That was clearly the better list. More romantic, more humiliating, and all girls loved that kind of shite.

Hermione was standing in the doorway when he glanced up. He noticed that the ring was on her finger, glinting prettily in the light from their window.

"It's not polite to bolt before seeing if I'm even willing to wear your promise ring, don't you know." Draco wanted to speak; she held up her hand, eyes twinkling. "A few years after Hogwarts. I run into you at a party and am uncharacteristically smashed- Ron has just declared his affections for Pansy, after all. You are there, rather sloshed yourself. It doesn't matter about other ways in which it could have happened. There's a lot to be said for someone who holds his enemy's hair out of the loo when she is gagging up all sorts of foul things and still floos her the day after. I think I loved you then. We don't need anything else, Draco."

He felt choked up at that. Uncomfortably embarrassingly so. To hide it, he sauntered over to her and caught her left hand in his. His fingers found her new ring and he rubbed at the opal, feeling tender in a way that should only be demonstrated by prancing idiots like Weasley and Potter.

"Good story," he admitted, at a loss for a moment. Then he cleared his throat and rediscovered his inner-Malfoy. Smirked for all he was worth. "Tell me about the middle, why don't you. You recall, of course? The parts between our drunken reunion and your rather unromantic re-acquaintance with the toilets? Because I quite like that part, Hermione."

Smirking still, he tugged her in the direction of the bed. Reality wasn't so bad after all, if you were to squint and merely hold on tight.

The End.