A black carriage stopped in front of a Scottish hotel on a crisp, autumn afternoon. Hermione Granger stepped out, holding her luggage with gloved hands. She closed the door and let out a frosty breath.
"Thank you!" she called to the thestral and dropped two knuts into the coin box. The thestral bowed its head and began to move forward, and Hermione watched till it disappeared down the street. She sighed again. Taking slow carriages like that were much more relaxing than the speedy Knight Bus. It was nice to move slow once in awhile.
Hermione walked briskly into the bright hotel. The lobby of the wizard's hotel was lavishly decorated with exquisite rugs, flowery wallpaper, and ornate furniture. The tall ceiling was bright with thousands of candles that illuminated the room, but Hermione took no time gazing at all the splendor. She immediately checked into the hotel and had her bags levitated to her room. She took the lift to her room on the 13th floor, and unlocked her door. Inside, the small bedroom was not as splendid as the lobby had been, but it was far from plain.
The loo was the first thing Hermione passed upon entering, and the single bed and night table were pushed against the left wall further in. A large glass window faced Hermione and let the sun's rays shine dimly on the beautiful Axminster rug in the middle of the room. A cooler sat in the corner of the room, stacked full. To the right was a door Hermione presumed to be the closet, and a small desk and chair along with a coat rack. Hermione removed her coat, hat, scarf, and gloves, placing the items on the rack before flopping onto her bed with a sigh.
Slow was rare for Hermione Granger nowadays. Right after the war had ended, she had finished her 7th and last year at Hogwarts and, upon graduating, had become an Auror. She had worked nonstop since then for seven years, capturing the escaped Death eaters and putting them on trial. Only the extremely lucky, like the Malfoys, got away scot-free. Now Hermione was finally taking a much-needed vacation. The brochure the Ministry had offered to pay in total for had looked absolutely relaxing. They were paying for the room, salon, the swimming pool, day spa, and even room service and all the restaurants the hotel offered. It had sounded like heaven.
A knock on her door brought Hermione out of her thoughts. She reluctantly got up and looked through the little peephole in the door and groaned. It was her partner.
'Curses to everyone who decided partnering us up was a good idea,' she thought gloomily, and opened her door.
"Yes?" she asked her fair-haired partner.
"You got here alright?" Draco Malfoy replied, and Hermione rolled her eyes.
He checked his expensive watch and looked at her again. "It's about time for tea. You want to go out? I heard of this great place near here."
Hermione sighed and agreed, pulled all her things on again, and walked past him. "I don't suppose it's a small café?" Hermione asked hopefully as they rode down the lift. The doors opened just as Malfoy scoffed.
"With someone who has as much affluence as me, I think not."
Hermione huffed in disappointment and followed Malfoy out of the hotel. They walked down the streets of Scotland in silence.
Green hills seemed to be the background of everything and Hermione found it hard to focus on where they were going. "Have you ever been to Scotland?" She asked just to make conversation, and Draco shot her an amused look.
"Besides the fact that our old school was located here, yes."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "I meant in this part of Scotland, obviously."
"Of course," he replied airily, and stopped in front of a fancy restaurant. Hermione looked down at her everyday wear.
"Aren't we a bit underdressed for this sort of thing?" she asked, and Malfoy just shook his head and opened the door for her.
"It's a nice restaurant, but the fancy dress isn't required to dine here." He stuck a hand out for Hermione's things, and she handed him her coat and scarf. "Table for two, please," he told the maître d', who nodded at a waiter. The waiter nodded back, took two menus, and led the two to a small, secluded table in the corner. Hermione sat and gazed at the people sitting and eating, all dressed casually in such a nice restaurant. It looked out of place, like seeing paupers in the Queen's castle.
The waiter came by and stopped at their table again. "Good afternoon. May I bring you something to drink?"
Draco looked at the menu, then back at the waiter. "Yes, tell me about your best wine."
"Our best wine is from South America, just in, squeezed in 1942, sir."
"All right, we'll have that, along with your tea of course."
"Are you ready to order as well?"
Draco glanced at Hermione before glancing down at his menu. "Yes, your vanilla scones and crumpets will do."
"Oh, and your pumpkin pasties," Hermione piped in, and the waiter nodded before taking the menus and leaving them. "I don't want wine," Hermione said with a frown. Malfoy just shrugged.
"You didn't say anything. You were too busy people-watching anyway."
"I wasn't!" Hermione said indignantly, and Draco just smirked.
"So what are you going to do back at the hotel?"
Hermione was startled by the question. "Well, I suppose I'll just lounge about in my room and make a salon appointment," she replied, touching her frizzy hair self-consciously. Malfoy eyed it.
"It looks all right to me," he said, and Hermione dropped her hand into her lap, not knowing how to answer.
"Well," she finally said slowly, "what are you going to do?"
He shrugged. "Same as you, I suppose."
"With the salon appointment as well?" she teased with a smirk. He snorted.
"Of course. Not."
They fell silent, and Hermione began people-watching again. The waiter came by with a bottle of wine in an ice bucket, two wine glasses, a silver tea pot, two delicate tea cups on saucers, a plate of vanilla scones, crumpets, and pumpkin pasties all sitting on a levitated tray. The waiter served them, then bowed and left.
Draco smiled and took a sip of tea. "So how are you?"
"Uh, fine, I suppose," Hermione said, startled again. She took a sip of wine.
"You suppose you're fine? You don't know?" Malfoy asked, amused by her.
"No, I know I'm fine," Hermione said, scowling, and bit into a scone. Malfoy followed suit. "You must be a drunk to order wine at this hour."
"I think we're the only ones drinking wine too."
Draco raised a brow at her before taking another sip from his delicate tea cup. "This is the United Kingdom, love. We wouldn't be the only ones drinking wine in the afternoon."
Hermione took a sip of tea and wrinkled her nose. "The tea tastes very strange after drinking wine." Actually, it tasted decent, since Hermione liked wine, but she didn't feel like complimenting Malfoy's choice.
"What a pity," Draco commented, and Hermione shot him a look before finishing off her scone and imbibing the rest of her drink.
"You know we're on the 13th floor," Draco piped up.
Hermione sent him an inquiring look. "What of it?"
"Some consider the number 13 to be unlucky."
Hermione scoffed. "Unlucky. Preposterous. There's no such thing as superstition."
Draco was beginning to bore of the small talk, when Hermione sighed. "This small talk is boring me," she said, voicing his exact thoughts. "Let's just eat in silence."
"My thoughts exactly," he added, and drank the rest of his tea before gazing at Hermione again.
Hermione burst into her room with a sigh and flopped onto her bed after removing her autumn garments. Tea with Malfoy had been pleasant until he had started asking personal questions. What was with him anyway?
Hermione looked at the brochure lying on her night table, and looked at the things they offered. Four-thirty would be a perfect time for a trip to the salon. Hermione suddenly let out an enormous yawn. Something was in that little meal, making her drowsy. She set her alarm to four. It would allow her half an hour of slumber. She yawned again as she snuggled under her comforter and fell into a deep sleep.
In her sleep, she dreamt of a faceless man. She didn't know who he was, but she knew she was in love with him. His back was to her as she approached him, and she stood in front of him. A shadow covered his face, and he handed her a rose. Hermione blushed and her pulse sped up. She knew he was smiling, and he took her hand. Suddenly, the dream changed, and they were in a wedding chapel. Hermione was walking down the aisle in a beautiful white dress, smiling at her beloved who stood at the alter. She stood next to him, just staring at him as the priest droned on and on, and finally, she heard the words, "You may kiss the bride". She grinned and leant in slowly, closing her eyes. Suddenly, a loud beeping disturbed her. She stopped midway from kissing him and looked around. The beeping continued, getting louder and louder with each beep.
Hermione awoke with a start, the beeping louder now that she was conscious. She groaned and slammed the alarm clock off, sat up, and rubbed her eyes. Even if that man was faceless, she loved him, and she really wanted to meet him, whoever he was. It was a silly thought.
Draco burst into her room through the door Hermione had previously assumed to be the closet. She gasped in surprise, and Draco grinned.
"Sorry, did I wake you?" he asked, and Hermione shook her head slowly, still staring at him. "They got us adjoining rooms, you know."
Hermione groaned and dropped back onto her pillow. He closed the door and sat on her desk, playing with his wand.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, sitting up again, and Draco just smirked at his wand.
"I'm bored," he said, and Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Oh, how shall you alleviate your boredom?" she asked sarcastically, and he looked at her, still smirking.
"Engorgio," he said with a flick of his wand. Hermione's covers grew and engulfed her.
"Help! I'm drowning in my own covers!" she yelped, deciding to play along, and it got a chuckle out of Draco as he reduced her covers again. "Are you amused now?" she asked.
"Quite so," he replied with a grin as he put his wand down on the desk. Hermione just sighed and checked her clock and gasped.
"Four twenty-five! I've got a salon appointment!" she cried and quickly got up and pulled on her shoes. "You need to get out!" she said, pushing Draco out the front door, and he laughed. She quickly closed the door and shot him a look before running off to the lift. Draco looked after her and chuckled before heading to his own room.
Hermione unlocked her room and slowly walked in, feeling drained. She had spent an hour and a half at the salon as they attempted to make her hair look acceptable and manageable. And the witch that had sat next to her had talked and gossiped nonstop of things that held no importance to her, giving her a headache. 'Stupid witch,' she thought to herself, and plopped onto her bed with a groan. She looked at the door that adjoined her and Malfoy's rooms, and she huffed and charmed the door to blend perfectly into the wall on her side.
"And stay out," she murmured to an invisible Malfoy, then went and opened her window and grabbed a magazine before plopping onto her bed for a read.
Ten minutes later, Draco burst into Hermione's room through their adjoining door, panic written all over his face. "Granger!" he called from the doorway, "Come with me! Hurry!"
Hermione regarded him curiously, and frowned. "Why should I?"
Draco looked behind him, then over at her front door. He rushed in and scooped her off the bed and rushed them both into his room, shutting the door tight behind him. He dropped her onto his larger bed and turned all the Muggle locks on the door before muttering a quick "defigo." He put his wand in his wide pocket and looked behind and saw Hermione getting up and storming towards him. He quickly grabbed her and pushed her back onto his bed, holding her there. She opened her mouth to scream, but he quickly put a hand over her mouth, muffling the sound.
Hermione's eyes widened and she struggled violently to get free. Draco held firm and held her down as best he could. Hermione struggled to pull out her wand, but she had forgotten it back in her room. She reached up to pull his head away from her, when a loud bang sounded in her room. The two Aurors froze and looked at the door.
"I thought you said they'd be here!" yelled an irritated voice.
"Granger is in this hotel, somewhere."
"She's probably having sex with her traitor of a partner."
"Come on! We can't do anything about it! Wherever she is, she's bound to be here with Draco Malfoy. We'll find and search his room next."
There were no more voices, but loud blasts were heard in the room, and Hermione squeezed her eyes shut in fear. They were certainly Death eaters, and they had just destroyed her wand, those bastards.
When they finished, she opened her eyes and felt Draco stiff by her side. She turned to look at him, and when he felt her moving, he turned to look at her, accidentally bumping their noses.
He moved back and let go of her, but was too afraid to move in fear those Death eaters would hear them. They were Aurors, but they were two against several dozens.
"Why are they after us?" she whispered hoarsely.
"They're after you because you're Hermione Granger, the only Auror they can touch to get close to Harry Potter right now, and they want me because I've turned a traitor and I've been capturing most of them with you," he whispered back.
"How did you know they were coming?"
"I had gone down to get some fresh air, and I was in the lift when I saw the Death eaters storm in right when the lift closed. Of course, I was in a panic by the time I got up to my room, and I grabbed some stuff before going to get you," he whispered, and he shushed her quickly, listening for them again. In a wink, he was at the door, listening intently. "Get under the covers," he told Hermione, and she quickly obeyed.
"What about you?" she asked, but he put a finger to his lips and quickly unlocked the door as quietly as possible. He replaced his wand in his pocket, pushed the door open just a tad, and opened it wider when he saw no one.
"Granger!" he whispered harshly, motioning for her madly, and Hermione jumped out when she heard footsteps coming down the hall rapidly. She quickly joined him in her desolate and empty room, and he shut the door, his hands searching for the locks. He looked at her incredulously, and she blushed.
"I made it look like the rest of the wall so I could pretend you weren't there," she said sheepishly, and he scoffed when voices were heard in the next room. Draco reached into his pocket for his wand again. His eyes went wide when he came up empty, and he searched his other pockets in a panic. "I must've dropped my wand!" he cried furiously.
"Brilliant one, you are," she said, but she was too afraid to say it with much venom. Draco dragged Hermione to a corner and pulled her flush against him. Even in the presence of danger, Hermione still blushed in their intimate position. She heard the Death eaters curse and yell obscene things about them, and she tightened her grip and buried her head into Malfoy's chest. The Death eaters blasted that room apart as the two Aurors in just the next room stood holding each other in fear, trying to disappear into the walls.
When silence ensued once again, she didn't realise she had been crying till she lifted her head. Draco waited for a good ten minutes before he left the witch to her tears and listened through the door again, then went to the front door and opened it.
Immediately, he was being sucked out into the hall, and he let out a cry as he struggled to get back in.
"Malfoy!" Hermione screamed, and ran to him. She pulled him in as he pushed himself against the wall and kicked the door closed. Draco was breathing hard from the scare in a cold sweat, and covered his eyes with his hand for a moment.
"We're pathetic without our wands!" he groaned.
"What was that?" Hermione asked as she trembled at his side.
"It's dark magic. Once you open the door, you're sucked out into the hall and mangled and killed. They must really want us dead."
"Merlin!" she groaned.
Draco looked at her with a sigh and walked over to the open window. "Don't worry, Granger. We've been in tight places before."
He meant that both figuratively and literally.
It had been their first mission together. There had been an alert of a Death eater gathering at an old, abandoned house in the middle of no where. Hermione and Draco had arrived, invisible and holding hands so they would not get lost, and had snuck in just to find the pot of gold; Death eaters everywhere. Hermione had alerted the Aurors immediately, and the alarm went off in the house. Draco whipped his head around to look at her.
"Granger! What the hell?"
"What? I alerted the Aurors!"
"And now they know we're here too!"
"Oh. OH! Merlin!"
"Granger! Come on!"
They rushed into a broom closet. It was so small that they were pushed against each other, both breathing hard in fear. A Death eater suddenly opened the door, and Hermione had to wrap her arms tight around Draco's waist to keep him from falling out and onto the Death eater. All the dark wizard had seen was an empty broom closet, and he had closed it.
Hermione couldn't move her arms from around him, and after a moment, Malfoy had reached out his hands and had accidentally touched her face, then slid his hands down slowly to her shoulders, gripping them tightly.
"What the heck are you doing?" she hissed at him, but he had only shushed her and listened till the Aurors came. They did after a moment, and then, in the chaos of battle, they escaped and fought alongside their companions, still invisible, with Malfoy's hands far in the back of Hermione' s mind.
It had been a terrible mission for the two, but it was an experience Hermione could never forget, and never wanted to forget. If she ever did something that stupid again, she'd hurt herself.
"It's a good thing this window didn't break," he said as he closed it carefully. The glass was mangled, but thankfully it wasn't broken. Hermione leant against the wall, her eyes wide and her hand in her newly-tamed hair.
"How long are we going to stay in here?" she gasped out. "How are we going to survive?"
"I grabbed all the stuff I could out of the cooler and stuffed them into my pockets," he said, pulling out a box of the leftover scones they had from tea. It seemed like such a long time ago.
"You grabbed victuals, but you couldn't grab anything else, like your wand for instance?"
Draco scowled. "Just be glad I got food for us to survive, Granger."
Hermione sighed and took the box he handed her. There were six scones still inside, and she raised her eyebrows. "We left these many scones?"
"Apparently. All the better for us, I suppose."
Hermione took a scone and handed him one as well. They both ate in silence, chewing thoughtfully. Hermione suddenly sighed and felt a wave of sleepiness fall over her. She blinked twice to try and suppress the sleepiness, but a sudden yawn interrupted her and she felt even sleepier.
"I think I'm going to sleep," she mumbled, and he chuckled, but was interrupted by a yawn as well.
"Okay. I think I'll join you."
Hermione walked to a corner of the room away from Malfoy and lay down.
"Not near me. Goodnight," she sighed, and he chuckled again.
"Goodnight, even though it's only six. Also, what was it you were saying about thirteen? No superstition there?"
"Purely coincidence. And because we're Aurors. There's definitely something in that scone," was all Hermione could say before she fell deeply asleep.
A/N: Wow, i haven't updated a new story in awhile! I hope you enjoy! Reviews are very, very much appreciated, especially in these times, for me. -LoVeDoNtHaTe