Prompt: "All I Want For Christmas"

Title: Waiting

Author: Empath Apathique

Word Count: 5,074

Disclaimer: I'm not JKR, so no, I don't own Harry. Don't sue me.

Rating: PG–PG-13. I think.

Warnings: None, really. Some talk of ravishing, but nothing heavy.

Summary: "She didn't exactly know why she'd taken the glass from him, but she was pretty sure it had something to do with the fact that she always found it easier to talk to Draco when she had a drink in her hand. It was probably because alcohol tended to make her forget that he was an arse. And that she was in love with him anyway." D/Hr

Author's Note: I know this is a little late for Christmas, but that isn't to be helped. Written for the dhrxmasfic community at livejournal. Much love to my excellent beta, luckei1, who made this story awesome.

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Hermione threw open the large French doors that led to the veranda on the back of Malfoy Manor, stumbling outside into the courtyard when she missed the last step. She blushed, faintly; however, there was no one around to see her misstep.

It'd been a startlingly fair winter. She hadn't even bothered with grabbing her cloak before stepping out of the manor. There she stood out on the deck in nothing but the thin black dress she'd worn to the gathering, her arms and back nearly completely exposed to the elements. She looked up into the night sky and marveled at how odd it was to have such a warm Christmas. Distantly, she reminded herself that she could get sick, though Hermione couldn't bring herself to care. A breeze blew by, causing gooseflesh to break out on her skin. The rational part of her mind pointed out again that she could get sick, but Hermione ignored it and welcomed the chill, which helped to lessen the heat that had been building within her since the party had begun.

She spun around in a circle, her dress fanning out around her in an arc of silken material. She tilted her face heavenward as she watched the tiny flurries of snow fall from the grey, grey sky that reminded her so much of his eyes. But Hermione was reminded of him everywhere, in everything, so that wasn't so odd. She looked down at the champagne flute in her hand and then quickly downed the rest of its contents, eager to feel that heat within her again. Where the hell was that stupid man, anyway?

Probably still in the manor with his date twisted around him as if she were a snake strangling its next meal. Hermione didn't find the description to be too far off point. Her name was Lola, and she was tall and French and had hair so naturally red that Ron's brows had risen to his hairline when he'd first seen her. Hermione had met her once before, about a month ago, and they'd hated each other from the word hello. Lola even had the nerve to make a comment to Hermione about "staying away from her man." Hermione told her that she could do what she pleased—with whomever she pleased, to which Lola had replied with a scathing look before flipping her hair over her shoulder and stomping away from the equally furious brunette.

Hermione had promised herself to spend as much time with Draco as possible, however with the merger agreements between Malfoy Industries and a big French pharmaceutical company coming to a close, and he hadn't had much time to spend with her at all. Any free time he had, he spent with Lola. Hermione shouldn't have been angry; she knew it was one of the business-only kind of things that Draco pulled often. The owner of the pharmaceutical company was the bawd's father. It was underhanded and mean on Draco's part, but what better way to get into the old man's good graces than by having his daughter report all the fantastique things about her new boyfriend?

She hated that he was such an arse. She hated that she understood him anyway.

Prior to the merger, they spent a lot of time together—they ate lunch together, went to shows, watched Grey's Anatomy and Lost on the telly in her flat; they did friend things. Hermione had merely planned to insinuate to Lola that there would be more occasions of harmless hanging out. Should Lola believe they were not so harmless, well, then so be it and no harm done. To Hermione's displeasure however, it was not to be.

Truth be told, Hermione hadn't had much time for Draco, either. A series of talks between the Prime Minister of England and the Minister of Magic had been occurring off and on for the past year or so, and now that things were getting heated, the head of the Department of Muggle Relations—i.e. her—was expected to do this and to do that to ensure things went as smooth as everyone hoped for. She had seen Draco no more than two times this month, and then only in passing in the halls of the Ministry while he was there conducting his affairs. The last time she'd seen him before tonight had been three weeks before.

Harry and Ron, who probably spent just a tad bit more time with him than she did—because they were guys and guys liked to be with guys, or so said Ron—had seen him last week, and gave her the message that he was sorry he missed the performance of Hecuba that they'd planned to see together a few days before. Hermione—who'd been infuriated that he'd stood her up without having the decency to owl her that he wouldn't be able to make it—hadn't been comforted by the message. Instead, she'd felt ill, something clawing in the pit of her gut, telling her that she wasn't as important in his life as she'd originally thought.

But she'd been having her monthlies when Harry and Ron had delivered the message, so Hermione chalked up her depression to hormone imbalance.

More than the fact that she hadn't been able to put his devil-woman girlfriend in her place by doing exactly what she'd been told not to do, i.e. stay away from him, Hermione missed Draco. Hanging out with Harry and Ron too much grated on her nerves now that she was an adult; the same with Ginny. But with the ferret gone signing merger agreements and prancing around in Diagon Alley with the stupid red-headed trollop, they were all she had. She was pretty sure she'd annoyed the hell out of them. Ron had threatened to stab her to death with a quill on too many occasions the past few weeks for things to be flowing in the natural, ordered way that they usually did.

But she'd seen him today, at the Christmas party his mum hosted every year. He'd been standing with the cow and she'd approached him, and expectantly look on her face. He'd smiled at her, a little hesitant, a little guilty. He knew she was upset with him—for Hecuba, for the past month—and he gave her that look that told her he was sorry. And she forgave him, of course. It was because of the look and the smile and the two drinks she'd already had. And oh, the fact that she was in love with him. Couldn't forget that.

She needed another drink.

On second thought, she didn't. There was no way she was going to allow herself to get drunk tonight. No way.

Hermione looked down at her watch for the time, and found that it was a quarter to the hour. Again, where the hell was that man? Why was it that men always kept her waiting? Harry and Ron and Draco and all the unbelievably stupid men she'd dated over the years—they all kept her waiting for them. Perhaps that's why she would only ever be friends with Harry, and with Ron, and why she wasn't with any of the stupid men anymore. She thought about Ernie McMillan and scowled.

And, she knew, it was the reason why Draco Malfoy still wasn't hers.

But depressing thoughts aside, he'd been the one who'd told her to meet him out here; he had leaned over and whispered in her ear that he wanted to catch up on last week's Lost and to meet him out in the courtyard. And still he was late. He was probably having a quickie with Lola in one of the corridors. She felt a surge of indignation swell within her at the thought. Oh, she'd had enough of this. She was so—

"Granger?"

Oh, there he was. Hermione turned towards him, previous thoughts forgotten. She smiled at him and stepped back, back, back in order to see him better. He was dressed impeccably, of course, his dress robes fine and expensive and perfectly tailored to fit his beautiful form. She felt her breath catch in her chest and a tingle of appreciation for his gorgeousness shimmy its way through her. He could be late as much as he wanted as long as he always dressed like this. Or, better yet, in nothing at all, she thought, smirking.

And yeah, she had it bad for him. So what? That didn't change the fact that Draco Malfoy was a sexy beast she wanted to lock in her closet and keep all to herself. And she wasn't saying that because she was drunk, either. Because she wasn't, you know. She wasn't drunk. Not yet. She didn't know how many she'd had—Ron just kept shoving them into her hand—but she wasn't standing on the buffet in her knickers belting out, "I'm Every Woman" yet, so she was cool. And she'd done that before, she had; Seamus' Halloween bash two years ago wasn't something that she liked to talk about. But here she was now, a little hot, a little tipsy, but no where near drunk. No sir, Hermione Granger was straight; good. She was—

"Here." Draco handed her another glass of champagne.

Oh, dear.

She didn't exactly know why she'd taken the glass from him, but she was pretty sure it had something to do with the fact that she always found it easier to talk to Draco when she had a drink in her hand. It was probably because alcohol tended to make her forget that he was an arse. And that she was in love with him anyway.

"Merry Christmas," he said, placing her empty glass on the small table near the door. Hermione smiled, nodding back in response.

She turned away from him then, focusing her gaze on the gardens beyond the deck. Unlike the decorations inside the manor, the ones outside were subtle, simple. Fairy lights were dispersed liberally in the hedges and rosebushes, and the bells strung throughout the area jingled faintly—musically—with every turn of the wind. There was a sparkle every so often—sometimes here, sometimes there—that could be attributed to nothing other than magic. The decorations combined the grey sky and the slowly falling snow cast the whole area in a sort of enchantment that amazed the woman in her not-quite-drunk state. No one did Christmas like the Malfoys—that was for sure.

Draco came to stand beside her, and Hermione glanced at him out the corner of her eye, feeling nervous energy build within her gut. When was the last time she'd been this close to him? She couldn't remember. Today, of course, when he'd whispered in her ear to meet her out here, but there were too many people around then. She hadn't been able to properly pick apart the timbre of his voice or the smell of his cologne or the way his bangs had brushed against her cheek.

But that was besides the point.

"So," she said, more for the point of saying something than actually having something to say. In truth, she did have something to say, but she doubted demanding that he take her to his flat and take his time thoroughly ravishing her would go over well—especially not with Red-Hot Lola inside. The woman was probably running around like a chicken with its head cut off looking for him because he wasn't at her side. Stupid cow. Hermione held in her sigh, actually taking the time to sip her champagne instead of chugging it all down at once. It was unbelievable how thinking of the woman had the power to make her angry and depressed all at once. "How are you?"

She saw him shrug and then lift his own glass to his lips. Hermione frowned a little. Well, that wasn't good. Draco was an arse when he was sober; he was an arsehole when he was drunk. No amount of drinking on her part would help her to overlook that. And if he were drunk too then… well. She still wasn't going to forget about loving him either.

"Again, Draco, you assume that I'm psychic and can figure out what's going through that thick head of yours simply by your body language and that stupid look on your face." Yet again she was talking simply for the point of talking. The silence felt strangely loud.

"I like to think you know me well enough by now for me to not have to answer the silly pleasantries common folk entertain their companions with."

Hermione smiled. He was right, of course.

"How are you, Granger?" he asked her, so suddenly that Hermione looked at him.

"I like to think you know me well enough by now—"

"Oh, shut up," he said, his voice in the whiney, annoyed tone she heard from him often. She giggled.

"I heard about what happened with McMillan."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Did you really?" she asked dryly. Honestly, genius, who hadn't?

"Don't be a bitch."

"Stop pretending as if you don't already know the answer to that question," she countered. "My boyfriend dumped me a week before Christmas—how do you think I'm feeling, Draco?"

He didn't respond.

"I feel bloody fantastic, that's how. Freer than I've felt in months."

He let out a bark of laughter.

"Honestly," she said, turning to look at him. "I mean, I am upset, and hurt, but I… I just really don't care anymore. I wasn't in love with him, and he wasn't in love with me. Sometimes I feel as if the only reason why I feel anything at all right now is for the principle of the matter."

"Yes, of course," he rejoined, sarcastic. "How dare he dump you a week before Christmas—even though you don't care about him, and he doesn't care about you, and you really don't even care that you're not together anymore. You're angry and upset and hurt simply on principle."

"Right."

He was looking at her, she knew, and she didn't look back for the sheer fact that she knew he was, deciding to take interest in the iron railing surrounding the veranda instead.

"You're psychotic."

Hermione shrugged. "I haven't seen you in awhile," she said offhandedly, changing the subject. She didn't want to talk about Ernie the Sod. In fact, she didn't even want to talk about this. She just wanted to talk to him, to stall, to say anything. Because if she were silent for too long he would go back inside to the devil woman and she'd be all alone again.

"I've been busy."

"I know. With the merger, right?"

He nodded. "We're not quite done signing all the papers yet, but it should all be finished up soon. And then I'm going to take a mid-winter holiday lying on the beach in the Greek Isles pretending as if Malfoy Industries doesn't even exist."

Hermione laughed. Can I join you? she wanted to ask. Merlin knew she needed a vacation from her crazy job. Not to mention being next to him on a perfect, white-sand Greek beach.

"I really can't complain, though. All things considered, it could have been worse. Things can always be worse."

"Those are vaguely depressing words for Christmas night."

"Yes, well, it's been a vaguely depressing Christmas."

"Really?" she asked, curiosity piqued. "And why exactly is that?"

He shrugged, kicking a pebble with the toe of his shoe. "Something was just… off this year."

Yes, something was, Hermione agreed silently. You haven't fallen in love with me yet.

"This was supposed to be the year, you know? My year. In a way, I suppose, it was—at least as far as the company is concerned. It did extraordinarily well this year."

"You did extraordinarily well this year," she correctly firmly. "And in more than just your business." He looked at her and raised a brow in speculation, waiting for her to continue. "It's hard to explain, Draco, but something was different about you this year. The way you behaved, the way you moved—" She paused, a small voice in her mind reminding her that perhaps she should keep her big mouth shut. She didn't listen. She blamed it on the champagne. "Despite the rudeness, and the derision, and everything everyone claims they hate about you, you really have grown into a fine man."

There was a very awkward pause. Draco took a sip from his glass. Hermione stopped breathing. She did not just say that.

"I think, Granger," he said slowly, "that I want that in writing."

Hermione let out a sound that was a mixture of a cough, a laugh, and a gasp for breath. She saw Draco grin, and she snatched his glass out of his hand and drank the rest.

"Hey!" he protested, giving her a look when she handed him the empty glass.

"I was doing you a favor," she told him smartly. "You don't need anything else to drink."

He snorted. "Like you do?"

Hermione chose not to respond. There were a few moments of silence before she spoke again. "You never finished explaining why your Christmas was so 'vaguely depressing'."

There was brief pause before he answered. "I expect it's because I didn't get everything I wanted."

"This Christmas, or this year?"

"Both. I told you already, this was supposed to be my year. I was supposed to get everything that I had ever wanted this year. And I did, you know; I did. I got the money, the respect—" Hermione rolled her eyes. "—everything a Malfoy man should possibly want out of life. But, of course, I want more."

Hermione grinned. "Of course."

"I just kept wanting it, waiting to get it, but I didn't. As the year was winding down to a close, I kept thinking, 'okay, Draco, it hasn't happened yet, but it will. Just wait.' I kept telling myself to wait for Christmas."

"Why Christmas?" she asked, puzzled.

"Because you get things on Christmas," he said, looking at her as if she were a very misinformed child. "I thought that if I hadn't gotten it yet, then surely I would get it this morning."

"But you didn't." She was beginning to understand.

"I didn't." There was another pause. Yep, Hermione thought. This was simply another one of Draco's ill-concealed albeit very grown up temper tantrums. He was so spoiled.

"You know, Granger," he went on, "I can't remember a single Christmas that I didn't get everything that I wanted. But this year…" He sighed in a tired, distracted manner. "This year was different."

Hermione rolled her eyes at his dramatics. "Welcome to the real world, Malfoy," she said, amused. He was twenty-six-years-old yet still behaved as if her were twelve. Or two.

"You're mocking me…"

She shook her head, a small smile on her lips. "Forgive me. I don't know what came over me."

"Granger…"

"Continue, Malfoy." Perhaps she'd had a bit too much to drink tonight after all. Her head felt all fuzzy now and there was that warm heat again, traveling through her body at a rate that felt anything but natural. The chill of the wind did nothing to take the edge off; it only seemed to fan the flames. Hermione took a quick peek at Malfoy standing tall and regal beside her—his brows furrowed and his expression slightly annoyed—and felt that stupid tingle inside her again. It suddenly dawned on her that they were alone out there, the festive sounds of the party and his simpering Lola seemingly a million miles away. He could kiss her, she realized, and her cheeks colored at the thought. Oh yes, it was official; she'd had way too much to drink. Break out the karaoke machine and let her tear her dress off now—she was so drunk she was starting to think that there was a possibility of him ravishing her right there on the patio.

Which there wasn't. Because he was him and she was her and that's all they would ever be—never a "them." For some reason, though, Hermione couldn't get that through her drunk little head. She kept stealing glances at his hands, at his lips, and prayed to God that he didn't notice.

Draco sent her a look, though Hermione wasn't sure if it was because he was being all introspective, or if he had noticed the not-so-surreptitious glances she'd been giving him and was wondering what in God's name was wrong with her. Hermione chose to believe it was because of the former.

"Draco?" she prompted, looking for anything to distract her from her thoughts.

"I'm sorry. It's just an odd feeling, you know? To know what you want and yet, after Christmas—the day when you're supposed to get everything you may possibly desire—still not have it."

Hermione marveled at the depth of his childishness. Even though he was hardly a child anymore, he was still so used to getting everything he wanted he hadn't a clue how to deal when he didn't. "You can't always get what you want, you know."

"Those words are wasted on me and you know it."

Hermione smiled to herself. It was true. "I don't know what to tell you, then."

"That isn't much help to me, now is it?" he retorted, as snippy and disagreeable as the boy he'd been all those years ago.

Hermione turned to him fully then, hands on her hips and a flash of annoyance in her eyes. "What is it that you want, anyway? Can't you just go out and buy it for yourself?"

A smirk slowly settled onto his lips. "Well, I don't know Granger. I never knew you were that kind of girl."

Her heart stopped. "What?!" Her cheeks blazed a furious shade of red. He had to be joking. He had to be joking. She wasn't drunk enough to deal with this if he wasn't—

He looked at her and smiled. "Keep your knickers on," he chuckled. "I'm joking."

Hermione breathed deeply in relief, suddenly choking on the air in some untimely expression of pain at his teasing words. And that's what was really messed up about it, you know. She'd wanted him to be joking—had silently prayed­­ for it—and yet the confirmation of her wishes nearly made her want to retch. Because, deep down, she wanted him to be serious. She was in love with him, after all.

Stupid Malfoy.

Hermione refocused on the conversation when she realized that he'd begun to walk away from her, down the patio steps and into the garden. He'd stopped a few feet away, his head cocked to the side and an eyebrow raised as he looked at her expectantly. Hermione followed him, albeit slowly, taking her time down the stairs. Her heels were way too high for her to risk breaking her neck just following him down the stairs. She didn't think she loved him that much.

They walked in silence for a few minutes before coming to a stop in front of the marble fountain at the center of the garden. They stood there, watching the water fall quietly into the pool below. They were standing next to each other, her bare arm brushing against the expensive material encasing his. Hermione gazed at his profile for a moment, then upward to the sky, once again watching the snow fall.

A gentle breeze passed through the area, sending the bells jingling and bringing Draco's scent right her way. He smelled like cologne and man and something that was just Malfoy. Something pulled deep within her at the smell and she shivered. He looked at her then, glancing down at her bare arms for only a moment before removing his expensive cloak and attempting to hand it to her.

Hermione took a step away from him, shaking her head in refusal. "Oh, no, I don't need—"

"Take it, Granger."

"But —"

He sighed in that frustrated manner that he pulled off so well and closed the space between them. He wrapped the cloak around her and Hermione nearly swooned.

He had to wrap his arms around her to get it completely on her, and be it because of his close proximity or the fact that his cloak—which carried his scent ten times better than the stupid breeze—was currently wrapped around her, surrounding her in her own personal mushroom cloud of his scent, she felt impossibly weak-kneed.

She may not have been drunk enough to deal with this, but she was definitely drunk enough to pass out, which seemed very high right now on the scale of possibilities.

Sweet Merlin, she could have died happy then.

"Thanks," she said, her voice small and a little muffled. She didn't look at him.

"You needn't blush, Granger." She cursed him to hell for noticing. "It's not that odd of a thing. I mean, given those numbskulls you seem fond of acquainting yourself with, I can see why you aren't used to such chivalrous gestures; however some of our mothers actually taught us to be gentlemen."

"Bastard."

"Ah, perhaps, but at least I'm a gentleman. Always a gentleman."

Hermione grumbled a few choice obscenities under her breath. She turned and looked at him when he sighed, running a hand through his hair in obvious aggravation.

"I don't know, Granger. This has never happened to me before. When I want something, I get it—no questions asked. But this year…"

Hermione snorted. "Don't tell me that we're back on the whole presents-thing again."

"Yes, we are," he said forcefully, a little annoyed. "I didn't get everything I wanted this year and yes, I'm angry about it. Pardon me if I wasn't taught all that humility and 'being thankful for what you have' bullshit that poor people tell their children because they haven't enough money to get them everything they want."

"And why didn't your parents teach you that?" she challenged. "They seemed to teach you everything else."

"Can it, Granger. I'm not finished—"

"No," she said, cutting him off. She'd had enough of this. "I refuse to talk about this anymore. No one gets everything they want, Draco. It's a fact of life. If you haven't learned it before from your mum and your dad then you're learning it now." He scowled at her. "Stop having this complete and utter… bitchfit over it. You didn't get it, so what? Move on." They glared at each other for a moment. "You always claim that you can buy whatever you want. I've never believed you, but if it's really something that you want, then let's see you go out and buy it for yourself now."

"I already tried to," he gritted out.

"When?" she asked incredulously, refusing the urge to cross her arms and tap her foot. She was having Molly Weasley urges; bad sign.

"Oh, don't you play coy with me, Granger," he spat. "I said it not five minutes ago."

Oh, she was completely confused now. "Malfoy, what are you—"

"Would you like me to ask you again, then, you bint?" He pushed on before she could respond. "I genuinely want to know: are you that kind of girl? Would you let me wine and dine you, buy you all sorts of pretty trinkets and shoes and books and dresses and then lay with me in my bed and let me touch you as I've been dreaming of for years? Are you that kind of girl?"

"I—" Her mouth went dry, and Hermione was pretty sure she wasn't breathing again. He had not, not, not just said that. He had not

"That's what I've been craving this whole year—that's what I was waiting to receive for Christmas." Suddenly he was so much closer than Hermione remembered. He grabbed her wrist with one hand and her waist with the other, pulling her to him. Oh, lord, she was swooning. Perhaps it was a good idea he'd grabbed her; her knees buckled and he was supporting her weight completely.

"You were what was missing from the stack of presents under the tree this morning—you. Covered with nothing but a pretty red bow and a smile on your lips."

Lips—his lips. There were so close now—so close. All she had to do was lift her head ever so much and their lips would be touching.

"And I've realized that you were what I really wanted. I would've been content with simply receiving you."

She wasn't drunk enough by half.

"So tell me, Hermione—" Her name; oh, God. "—are you that kind of girl?"

She felt herself nod, and suddenly his lips were on hers, her lips were on his, and oh, my God, was he ravishing her?

Yes, a voice in her mind responded. Yes he was.

She had to remember how to think when they broke apart, her mind fuzzier than it ever had been before. Never had she thought she'd be able to get drunk off the touch of a man. But this wasn't just a man—this was Malfoy. Draco Malfoy.

He looked down at her, a wisp of white-blond hair falling into his face and the sexiest grin she'd ever seen on his lips. "How much does it cost for another kiss?"

Hermione giggled. "I don't know, Draco. I'll have to check my book."

He grinned. "Be sure to check the price to have you for the rest of the night as well."

She nodded.

"And then," he said, kissing on cheek, then the other, "check how much it costs—" the corner of her mouth, her chin "—to have you for forever."

She wasn't drunk enough for this. Wasn't drunk enough at all. And yet… and yet she seemed to be just fine in the end. Just a little hot, a little tipsy, and impossibly high off of Draco Malfoy's kisses.

So high, in fact, that it wasn't until that night while she lay atop of him in bed that she began to think of ways to break this delicious piece of news to the tall red bint he'd stood up for her. For her.

Take that, Lola.

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"Baby, all I want for Christmas is you."

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