I Know What I Like
Chapter Title: 1/1
Characters: Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger
Summary: Draco Malfoy knows what he likes, he just isn't sure that he can get her. (DM/HG)
Draco Malfoy had been called many things during his life – arrogant, git, prat, obnoxious, evil, sexy, sinister, sneaky, intelligent, snarky, and sly. But no one had EVER accused him of being indecisive. He was just the opposite, in fact. Draco Malfoy knew what he liked, knew what he wanted, and would do whatever was necessary to attain it.
One thing that Draco liked was speed. He like speed because he knew that good things never lasted. He believed you needed to take what you wanted, when you wanted it, as fast as you could. If you were too slow or waited around for someone to offer it, you would end up with nothing. Therefore, when he flew on his broom, he didn't take leisurely rides to gaze at the stars or admire the scenery. He flew fast. He flew fast enough that his face got wind burned and the ground blurred beneath him. His need to go fast was the primary reason he had been such a good seeker in school. He wasn't scared by speed. He desired it; he sought it out.
He liked speed in the people he talked with too. Crabbe, Goyle, and Pansy had all eventually bored him because they couldn't keep up in conversations. He liked talking to people who could respond quickly to his observations, people who could keep him on his toes and not let his mind grow lazy. His desire for quick-witted companions was one of the main reasons he had sought out Hermione Granger after Snape had convinced him to join the Order of the Phoenix. He remembered from Hogwarts her ability to bitingly and intelligently reply to his insults. She never stammered out some lame response to his bullying like Longbottom or Weasley.
Hermione had not immediately welcomed Draco as a conversational companion. She had found it difficult to move beyond his schoolyard taunts and discuss anything in a normal manner. Therefore, to get his fast-paced conversation fix, Draco had taken to disagreeing with everything that she said. If Hermione said that it was a nice day, he complained that it was too hot or too cold or too wet. If she recommended strengthening the wards around Grimmauld Place, he claimed that her time would be better spent figuring out where Voldemort was hiding. And just as Draco had expected, as soon as questioned Hermione's judgment, she would engaged him in a heated and sharp debate.
Eventually, Hermione had broken. "Why do you keep contradicting everything I say!" she'd yelled at Draco one evening.
"It is really quite simple, Granger," he'd replied with a smirk. "Unlike the dimwits you typically spend your time with, I require intelligent and clever conversation to keep from going mad. There is no way that Potter or one of Weasleys can provide it, so by default that leaves you or the werewolf. And, while Lupin has better manners than you, I'm allergic to fleas."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "You consider arguing with me all the time a means to acquire intelligent conversation? Believe it or not, but being purposely disagreeable is not going to get me to engage you in a thoughtful discussion."
Draco raised an eyebrow and just looked at her for moment, as if he was waiting for her to figure something out. When she refused to acknowledge his unspoken point, he gave her a patronizing smile. "Granger, you rise to the bait every time. All I have to do is suggest that you are wrong and you will defend, justify and explain whatever you are talking about. We both know that once you get started talking you won't stop as long as I continue to question your judgment and analysis. Before you know it, voila, we are having a discussion."
"They aren't discussions," she growled. "They are fights."
"If you don't draw your wand it isn't a fight."
Hermione opened her mouth to argue with him, but realized that verbally sparring with Draco would prove him right. She decided that the only way to have any peace and to get Draco to maybe agree with her was to stop ignoring him. "Fine," she grumbled. "What do you want to talk about?
Draco smirked. Merlin, he liked winning. "Let's discuss the Ministry's inability to hire and train Aurors fast enough to keep pace with the recruitment of Death Eaters."
Draco liked believing in what he wanted to do. When he was rude, stand-offish, and cutting it was because he could not tolerate to be surrounded by idiots. When he stopped making disparaging remarks about the Weasleys, it was because that seemed the fastest way to convince them that his every action did not need to be monitored. If he was a Death Eater one day and member of the Order the next, it was only because unlike his father or many of his former housemates, he could recognize a losing cause. Theodore Nott and Blaise Zabini could cram it up their asses if they thought he'd switched sides out of shame or to earn the fucking Golden Trio's respect.
Hermione heard a crash in the hallway. When she rushed out of her room, she saw Draco standing in front of a broken mirror. The knuckles of his right hand were bloody.
"What in the hell did you do?" she hissed at him.
"I like the sound of breaking glass."
Hermione looked at him like he had gone crazy. "I don't believe you."
"Then, why did you ask, Granger?" he sneered.
"Grow up, Malfoy," she spat back.
When he didn't respond, Hermione was immediately struck by just how much Draco had grown up. He had been forced to really. His father was in Azkaban, no one had heard from his mother since the night of Dumbledore's death, most of his housemates viewed him as traitor or a coward, and he certainly wasn't beloved by the members of the Order either. More than anyone else she knew, he was all alone with no one to look at for him or take care of him. Impulsively, she grabbed his cut hand and whispered a healing spell. "It is okay to talk about what your feeling, Malfoy. Bottling everything up until it comes out like this," she tilted her head toward the mirror, "is dangerous."
When she went to pull her hand away, he gripped her fingers painfully. "You are not my keeper, Granger. I don't like anyone telling me what to do."
Hermione's eyes widened and she tried to pull away from Draco again, but he held on too tight.
"I do, however," he grinned evilly, pulling her hand down so it brushed across his crotch, "like the feeling I get when I'm holding your hand."
This time he let Hermione pull her hand away. "You're disgusting," she cried and stomped back into her bedroom.
Draco and Hermione sat at the kitchen table going over a map of Kent. "Granger, there is no bloody way that Voldemort has a Horcrux here," Draco complained, running a hand through his hair. They had been discussing for the last two hours her latest theory that the temperature drop in the Southeast part of England could be accounted for by Dementors guarding a Horcrux.
"I don't understand why you keep saying that," she complained, pointing again to a list of figures she'd complied about the average temperature of the region during the last 35 years. She and Draco had begun cooperating on mapping out possible Horcrux locations four months ago. Hermione would come up with a theory and Draco would try to debunk it. If he couldn't, then he would go on a reconnaissance mission to scout the area. If he found anything suspicious, he came back and informed the Order. "You just don't want to go look," she accused him.
"I am sick of wasting my time on wild goose hunts. Your last three theories turned out to be complete busts."
"At least I'm trying to help end this war quicker!"
"And I'm not?" Draco sneered at her. He was tired, frustrated, and completely out-of-sorts. He wanted nothing better than for her to blow up at him, so he could release some of his pent-up anger. "Just because you come up with an idea Granger, doesn't mean it's brilliant. You really need to get over yourself."
"Merlin, Malfoy, you are such a slimy git. I don't know why I agreed to work with you." Hermione replied grinding her teeth together.
"Perhaps it is because no one else can stand to listen you rattle on for more than 15 minutes at a time? Unfortunately for me, Lucius' less than fatherly qualities left me with a high tolerance for pain and egotism."
Hermione slammed her chair back, swept all her notes off the table and marched out of the room. Harry, who'd been sitting quietly at the other end of the table the entire time, just stared at Malfoy.
"Do you want something, Potter?" Draco finally asked him.
"I think you like it when she is mad at you," Harry told him.
"I like things that don't change."
Harry shook his head. "Malfoy, I would think that given your past, you would embrace change. She'd be amazingly loyal and understanding if you would give her a reason to trust you."
"Drop it, Potter," Draco snarled. "Don't you realize that the more something changes, the more it stays the same?"
Harry just shook his head and left Draco sitting alone in the kitchen.
When Draco headed up to his room 45 minutes later, he found Hermione sitting in the hallway outside his door. He sat down next her, leaning his head against the wall.
"Is working with me really that awful?" she asked him in a tone he didn't recognize.
Draco then did something that he had not done for as long as he could remember. He told her the pure, unadulterated truth. "Granger, I've liked the time we have spent together, but I could not tell you whether it's been good or bad."
Hermione chuckled slightly at this and nodded. "Well spotted."
They sat there in silence for a couple more minutes. Hermione's next question effectively dragged Draco out of his daydream. "If I can prove that the temperature hasn't fallen in East Sussex like it has in Kent, will you agree to check it out?" Hermione asked.
Standing up to enter his room, Draco shook his head as if to clear away unwanted thoughts. "Do the research and then we'll talk."
Draco had been gone for three weeks. His reconnaissance mission should not have lasted longer than 10 days. Most members of the Order believed that he had either been captured or killed. Ron and Harry figured he had gone into hiding with his mother. Hermione didn't know what to think. In spite of their discussions, debates, and fights during the last few months, she couldn't claim to really understand Draco. She knew what he thought of ministry, Voldemort, Hogwarts, the Daily Prophet, Snape, and a host of other matters, but none of that gave her any real insight into his deepest desires. Draco was a puzzle that Hermione had not yet been able to solve and she hated not being to figure things out. She reminded herself everyday that it was only wanting to understand the mystery of Draco Malfoy that had left her sleepless since his disappearance.
Upon hearing a commotion in the foyer of Grimmauld Place two days later, Hermione had looked over the railing to see a filthy and weary-looking Draco being questioned by Order members. Without even realizing what she was doing, Hermione made her way downstairs, elbowed through the people surrounding Draco, threw her arms around his neck, and promptly burst into tears.
Everyone, including Hermione, was stunned by her actions. Draco recovered first. He slung an arm around her shoulders so that he could pull her ear close to his mouth. "Merlin, Granger," he whispered so no one else could hear him. "You make me like coming back." Draco released her slightly so that she could see his leer, "I'll show you just how much I like it, when we are alone later."
With a large sniff, Hermione broke away from Draco. She wiped the tears from her face with the palm of her hand, then stated firmly for everyone in the vicinity to hear, "Sod off, Malfoy."
Without making eye contact with any of the shocked faces in the entryway, Hermione turned around and walked down the hall toward the kitchen. Had she looked back, she would have seen a broad smirk covering Draco's face.
Despite Draco's return, Hermione still tossed and turned that night. Eventually, she had risen from bed to sneak downstairs for a mug of hot chocolate. Closing the door to the room she and Ginny shared, Hermione backed quietly into the hallway then turned around and ran smack into the chest of Draco.
"Malfoy," she hissed. "Why are you up and skulking around this late?"
"I like staying up all night," he smirked, backing her up against the wall and planting one hand beside her head. "The more interesting question is what are YOU doing up? Don't you know it's dangerous to be wandering around the halls with a big, bad Death Eater in residence?"
"I'm not scared of you," Hermione told him, yet she couldn't stop herself from trembling slightly.
Draco moved in closer to her and placed his right hand around her neck. Hermione stiffened until she realized he was feeling her pulse. "Then why is your heart racing, Granger?"
Hermione knew that she could not have answered him truthfully in that instant, even if Voldemort's downfall had depended upon it.
"Fuck, Granger," Draco ground out, as if in pain. "I don't pretend to know what is right or wrong, but I do know that I won't be able to leave again if I stay with you much longer."
Hermione was memorized by his closeness. She reached up to grasp his hand that still lingered on her throat. "Draco," she whispered, causing him to give a loud groan and crush his lips to hers.
When they parted several minutes later, both were breathing heavily. Hermione rested her forehead on Draco's chest, avoiding his eyes, but not releasing his hand. Neither of them was anxious to speak and perhaps ruin the intensity of what had just happened.
Draco broke first, his voice cracking with emotion, "Stay up with me until the sun rises. Help me remember why the hell I keep doing this." When she didn't immediately respond, his tone changed and he joked, "I'll even let you distract me by explaining the plot of some old muggle movie."
This time she giggled and looked up into his eyes. "Oh, you are playing unfair. You know I can't pass up an opportunity to lecture the great Draco Malfoy on Muggle culture." With a squeeze of his hand she led him downstairs. "What would you rather hear about, Casablanca or The Maltese Falcon?"
"Which one has the most death and destruction in it?" he grinned.
There was a party raging on the first floor of the Order's headquarters. Loud music, laughter, and the smell of cigarette smoke wafted up to the second floor, where Draco sat alone on his bed thinking.
Potter had finally killed Voldemort, but Draco was not sure what that meant for him. Would Lucius be released from Azkaban? Would his mother return from wherever-the-hell she was hiding? What would his parents think of his decision to work against Voldemort? What would they say about him and Granger?
Thinking about Hermione was even more confusing for Draco. What would she want now that the war was over? He wasn't even sure what they'd been doing for the few months meant. They weren't friends exactly, at least not the same way she was friends with Potter and Weasley. Yet, he was closer to her than anyone else in his life and she seemed to tolerate him. They talked, she listened to him plot, he listened to her rant, they had kissed a few times, and there had been one fantastic groping session on the sofa in the parlor before Potter had walked in on them. Draco had definitely liked that and hoped it would start happening on a regular basis, but he was unsure about what would Hermione would like.
And just as if thinking made it so, Hermione appeared at his bedroom door.
"Maaaal-Foooooy," Hermione sang. Her cheeks were flushed from drinking, she was holding two butterbeers, and Draco thought she looked sexier than he had ever seen her. "I have been given a new mission," she told him in a mock confidential voice.
"Then just as I predicted, the Order has fallen into disarray with the conclusion of the war."
She flopped down on his bed next to him and handed him a butterbeer. "Oh, someone is in a mood," she giggled. They clicked their bottles together and both took a long drink.
"So what is you mission, Granger?"
"I'm supposed to convince you to come downstairs and join the celebration."
"I have a hard time believing that in the midst of the biggest wizarding party since England won the Quidditch World Cup in 1889, people are concerned that I'm all alone and not having a good time," Draco scoffed.
"I never said they were concerned," Hermione smiled. "It is more like they are engaged in idle speculation about what you are up to."
Anyone who thought that Draco Malfoy could just let that statement go did not know him at all. "So," he asked, trying to sound off-handed, "what did they say about me?"
"Well, Fred and George think you won't come down because you are in mourning."
Draco rolled his eyes, "Of course they do."
"And Ron thinks you are up here plotting to murder us all in our beds tonight, so that you can be the new Dark Lord."
"Typical," Draco replied, now looking bored. "What about Potter?'
Hermione blushed slightly, "Um… Well, Harry thinks you are up here just waiting for me to come find you."
Draco thought it was adorable when she blushed. He wondered if she could get any redder. "Smart bloke, that best friend of yours," he winked. Apparently she could, because her cheeks flamed brighter with his flirtation.
"So you want me to escort you downstairs?" she asked, still embarrassed.
"Not really," he smirked. "I don't think I'm up for a group hug with Potter and the entire Weasley clan."
"You know," she said in a faint voice, "there are others ways to celebrate without being in a big crowd."
"Sweet Merlin, Granger. That sounds like an invitation to snog."
Hermione gave him an appraising look. "I know what I like Malfoy. I know what I like to do. And, I can be stubborn about getting what I want once I've made up mind. The only question I have is – what about you?"
Draco smirked in the way only he could and proceeded to show Hermione exactly what he liked.
Note: J.K. Rowlings gets all the credit for creating these wonderful characters. Some of the dialogue for his piece comes from Huey Lewis and the News - I Know What I Like.