Summary: There were some nights when she needed him so much that she couldn't sleep, think, breathe. - Hermione falls in love with a married Draco.
Coupling: Hermione/Draco; slight Draco/Astoria, and Ron/Pansy
Warnings: Affair themed, language, slight sexual content.
Status - Sequel to "Curiosity." Part one of two.
Disclaimer: If I owned it, it would have been canon. The quotes are based off of those from the BBC website on "Being a Mistress" and the song belongs to Trapt.
I was sick of restrictions
Sick of the boundaries
About to close the door
Such a lack of conviction
No real connection
What should I settle for
But you caught my attention
You built on the tension
Don't get emotionally involved and don't fall in love
Hermione had always had terrible luck with her love life. She had spent so many years fooling herself over wizards who had never truly cared for her the way she wanted – the way she needed – the way she cared for them. She longed for the day when she could find someone who wouldn't leave her feeling so incomplete. Most days, though, she could push the thought to the depths of her mind, put on a smile, and work her way through the day. She rolled her eyes and tried to ignore the witches who spent all their time trying to impress wizards, because there were simply far more important things she could put her efforts to.
But there were some nights, the ones when she was cold and alone in her bed, that she wanted someone so much that she ached. There were some nights when she needed him so much that she couldn't sleep, think, breathe.
Those nights, however, were scarce and far in between. Most nights, Hermione would work herself so exhausted that she wouldn't have time to worry about foolish things, like wizards.
Being a mistress only suits women who are not looking for commitment in a relationship
It had all happened when she had been uncharacteristically smashed (Ron had just left her and gotten engaged to Pansy Parkinson, after all). She had just been sitting alone at the bar, when he had appeared. The night blurred together and it had somehow led to her sleeping with him not once, but twice. The first had been a drunken mistake. The second hadn't. It had been foolish, rash, and completely out of character, but she had had something she needed to prove – they both had.
Hermione had left the moment they were done.
It had been a bit odd to say the least, Malfoy watching her as she had gathered her belongings. If her sudden departure so soon had bothered him, he had said nothing about it. She felt no guilt at leaving without a word. There had been no reason to. There were no feelings between them, she didn't love him (Merlin, she didn't even like him) – he was simply a means to an end for, as she was for him. They had just used each other. The deed had been done and they had been free to move on with their lives with as little interaction as before.
It had only taken a week before he had sent her another note – another portkey – with another date and time.
That had been nearly seven months ago and Hermione had seen him a total of twelve times since then.
He was always the one who made contact, a different owl coming to her window every time, carrying a portkey and a letter that only read a date and time. It was always an open invitation – her choice to come or not – but she always went. She hadn't planned on it at first. They had done what they had set out to do; there was no need to see each other anymore. But the idea had poked at her from the depths of her mind and she had found herself oddly tempted. And despite everything logical that told her that it was a bad idea (again), she had allowed herself to indulge in her temptation.
Hermione had never expected how comfortable she would grow of him over the months.
She had quickly learned that she could spend hours with him without realizing how much time had passed. She wasn't exactly sure when it had happened, much less how, but she found herself surprisingly pleased about it. It was refreshing to be able to speak to someone about something she had read without having to slow down and explain things, or worse, watch their eyes glaze over as she talked. Because while she and Draco didn't always agree (okay, they rarely ever agreed), his views always had intelligent reasoning behind them and they had spent hours debating them at times. And, without realizing it, Hermione had begun to let her guard down.
When she did realize it, she thought little of it. It wasn't as if she were about to fall in love with him. She had no intention of forming an actual relationship with him. She was still Hermione Granger, he was still Draco Malfoy, and there were some things that never did changed.
Don't assume that you need to be faithful to him
Every month on the third Saturday at exactly eleven forty-five, Hermione would apparate to her parents' home to have lunch with them. It was always a comfortable meeting with nothing more than small talk as her parents had limited knowledge about the Wizarding World and thus most of the more important aspects of her life. Still, she always enjoyed it not only because it allowed her a chance to see her parents, but also because it gave her a chance to escape her friends' "advice" that she needed to date again. (She knew they meant well, but she was comfortable with her current status and their insistence did get annoying.)
So when her mother mentioned that she had run into a neighborhood boy who had just returned from school for Christmas and asked about her, Hermione was more than slightly surprised.
"It has been sometime since things ended between you and Ronald, darling." Her mother explained, passing her father the salt. "You would like Thomas. He's a very intelligent boy."
"He's working on a degree in law." Her father spoke for the first time since her mother had mentioned Thomas. "You might find you have some things in common."
(It was on the tip of her tongue to point out to her father that studying Muggle Law and working at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement were different as the sun and the moon, but decided against it.)
"All we're asking is to meet him once. You can decide where it goes from there."
In the end Hermione couldn't deny her parents and phoned the Muggle boy to make plans to meet with him over coffee.
Thomas, as it turned out, was indeed all that her mother had promised. Smart, well mannered, and – a brunette, close to six foot with hazel eyes – very attractive. She found it easier to converse with him than she had originally expected. They spent at least two hours reminiscing childhood memories and discussing their current lives (although her answers were significantly more vague than his). He drove her home and walked her to her door. He kissed her on the cheek and phoned her the very next day, as he had promised.
Hermione, however, didn't meet him for a second date. She was too busy with her work and it was unreasonable for her to see someone outside of the Wizarding World. There was too much for her to hide and her knowledge was becoming increasingly limited on the Muggle World. It was completely impractical.
And it had absolutely nothing to do with the blonde wizard she was seeing the following weekend.
Don't talk about his wife
For all his time spent skulking around Hogwarts in sixth year, Draco was horrible at sneaking up on people. He was quiet and quick, but the hairs on the back of her neck always prickled when he got close to her. (She had brought it up to him once. The annoying git had smirked and said, "It's hard to go unnoticed when you're as handsome as I am, darling." She had rolled her eyes and never brought it up again.)
So she wasn't in the slightest bit startled when she heard his voice behind her. "Why doesn't it surprise me that, of all the possible places, I'd find you in my library?"
Hermione didn't look up from her book. "You wouldn't have to find me if you didn't sleep in so. Being the only one awake in a bed is rather boring, you know." She almost shrugged. Honestly, she meant little by her words. Nine months had passed since the Ron and Pansy's engagement part and she had long since grown accustomed to his late sleeping patterns.
Usually he would make some remark back and they would have a playful quarrel until one of them grew bored. This time, however, he ignored her comment. "Have you ever been to France?"
Finally marking her place in her book, Hermione looked up at the blonde. He leaned against a bookshelf, arms crossed, wearing only a pair of boxers and an open robe. "Once; the summer after second year with my parents. Why?"
"I'll take that as a no then."
"Well, if you mean Wizarding France, then no; Muggle France was quite fascinating, however."
Draco moved from his spot against the bookshelf and walked closer to her. "I'm sure." He continued before she could even open her mouth. "I have an estate there, but we rarely go; the Malfoy name doesn't have much power in France." He took a seat in a chair near hers. "But I'm supposed to meet a few clients there the month after next. Would you be interested?"
She was silent for a moment. "And what about Astoria?" Hermione asked, suddenly slightly irritated and Draco's usual smug demeanor fell for a hint of a moment.
It was the first time that either of them had actually mentioned the other woman (which, really, was a rather odd thing to consider her given Hermione's position in the whole thing), but it wasn't something she could avoid now. If Astoria was also to go to France with Draco, there was no doubt in her mind that Hermione would be the one alone. And while she had been wanting to go to France again for some time now – she hadn't had any reason to take off of work – she needed to know where this particular reason stood. She refused to take vacation time to hide in the corner until Draco seemed fit to see her. She was not some common tart.
If her question upset him, Draco shrugged it off easily enough. "She hates France." He explained. "Like I said, neither the Malfoy nor the Greengrass names have much power there." He furred his brow slightly, an obvious sign of his annoyance, but there was a smug look in his eyes that clearly betrayed him. "It's rather annoying, you know. Hardly anyone recognizes us."
The weight of Draco's words did not escape Hermione. Hardly anyone recognizes us.
No one really knew him in France, at least not the way they did in England. They would be able to go out in public without worrying about being on the front page of the Prophet the next morning. And he had obviously been before, so Draco would be a perfect guide to see Wizarding France. He would know what sites were worth seeing, what restaurants were worth visiting, what events were worth the effort. He probably spoke French quite a bit better than she (because while she knew some, she was nowhere near capable of casual communication).
Hermione found herself growing excited about the whole thing.
"So?" Draco broke her thoughts. His voice clearly stated his impatience.
She didn't let him see her excitement, of course. "Hm, I'll have to see. I'd have to take time off from the Ministry."
He scowled. "We both know you've probably accumulated quite a bit of vacation time that you've never so much as thought of touching."
"Yes, but it is rather short notice."
"Granger…" He glared at her. Draco had this horrible habit of wanting things when he wanted them. She supposed it was one of the perks of being born an only child in such a wealthy Pureblood family. He probably hadn't the slightest idea of what it meant to wait for something.
She fought a smirk. She'd go, of course, but that didn't mean she couldn't teach him some patience first.
He will constantly be comparing you with his wife
The weekends Hermione saw Draco were often scarce and far in between. She had long grown accustomed to missing those days (those were the days she was doing what no one thought her capable of – it made perfect sense, logically) and most days, she could suppress it. Most days she could go her whole day with few thoughts of the youngest Malfoy. But every now and then – the days would get too long, the people too irritating, the moments too difficult – and it would hit her harder than she ever imagine it could. And Hermione would need those weekends more than she ever thought she needed anything.
The day of Ron and Pansy's wedding was definitely one of those days.
(It was the day that, for most of her life, she had never imagined possible. But despite everything that stood fundamentally wrong with it, it actually happened.)
Hermione went, of course. Her relationship with Ron might not have ended on the best of terms, but he was one of her closest friends and had been for years. And while she still wasn't fully sold on Pansy Parkinson, she had moved on from the Weasley boy in order to keep their friendship. She had even helped to plan the wedding. (Although she hadn't realized she had been doing it until Ginny pointed it out to her a couple of months ago, but she could hardly help it. When Mrs. Parkinson, who was still bitter over her daughter marrying a "blood traitor", had neglected the planning, Hermione had taken over without giving it a second thought.)
It hadn't started as one of those days.
In fact, it had started on a rather good foot. She had arrived early – wearing a pair of soft pink dress robes and her hair (courtesy of a few bottles of Sleekeazy's Hair Potion) pulled into a bun – to make sure things were in proper order. Surprisingly enough, things had been fairly under control. She had only had to correct one flower arrangement, deal with Pansy's bridesmaids (all Pureblood Slytherins, of course) twice, and calm Ron down thrice (though she left him to Harry after that).
With less than an hour until the ceremony, Hermione was in the middle of trying to keep a bored Bill and George from pulling a prank on an already nervous Ron, when she caught a glimpse of blonde hair out of the corner of her eye. At first she thought it was Daphne Greengrass-Nott coming to complain (again) to someone about something ridiculous. (Honestly, was Hermione the only one there who could go an hour without losing her mind?) Instead, she found a pair of matching blondes entering the seating area, an expression on their faces so arrogant that it could only belong to a Malfoy.
Draco wore a handsome set of black dress robes and his hair was slicked back (which took her a moment to absorb because every time she had seen him in the past months had been more relaxed, casual). Hermione's eyes, however, stopped their lingering when she quickly noticed the female beside him. Astoria Greengrass-Malfoy wore a set of emerald dress robes that had probably cost twice that of Hermione's rent. Her sleek hair was pulled into a perfect elegant bun (Hermione's fingers unconsciously brushed against her own hair as it suddenly seemed absurdly bushy, despite the bottles of Sleekeazy's Hair Potion she had used) and her makeup, though light, was completely flawless.
Her arm was locked with Draco's.
And suddenly, Hermione felt it in the depths of her mind (the pits of her stomach, the aches of her heart, and all that rubbish) and she just knew it was going to be one of those days.
There is no room for jealousy when you are a mistress
The wedding ceremony passed fairly smoothly (although Ron had fumbled with Pansy's ring for a few moments before he could finally get it on her finger). Pansy's bridesmaids had been as civil as they would get and the Weasley boys had not attempted to pelt the bride's guests with anything (at least not anything successful enough for her to see). It had been a beautiful ceremony, traditional enough to keep Mrs. Weasley pleased, but extravagant enough for the Parkinsons. But once the ceremony had started and she took her seat, Hermione had found it rather difficult to completely focus on Ronald and Pansy when, exactly six rows back and to the left of her, Astoria sat comfortably close to Draco.
When she thought about it, it made perfect sense for Astoria to be there. Not only was she the sister of the Maid of Honor, but Draco was a childhood friend of Pansy's (it was his invitation to the engagement party that had started all of this), so of course he would attend. Naturally Astoria would be his date; who else could he possibly bring? (Certainly not Hermione.)
She had once imagined meeting Astoria would be awkward, but manageable. Hermione knew where the two of them stood in Draco's life; Astoria was the unfaithful wife who had been forced upon him and Hermione was the one he chose (even if it was just for revenge). There was no love in any of the relationships. They were just stuck in a terrible situation and they were trying to take as much control of it as they could. Seeing Astoria should have been awkward, but completely manageable.
It wasn't at all like how she had expected it to be.
But it was rather foolish to get so worked up about the younger witch's presence. Hermione had known about her place in Draco's life from the very start (and even before that, really). She also knew that there was no love in their marriage (though if she wasn't positive, she would have been questioning it now – they were oddly comfortable with each other's presence – but she supposed they had to be to keep their image). Astoria was no threat to her relationship (and while she didn't really consider them that, she hated the term affair) with Draco. (Not that there was any reason for her to feel threatened, of course). She had known she would have to see them together at some point or another; it was rather unrealistic to believe otherwise. Actually, it was quite surprising that it had taken this long (rather, it was a miracle Astoria hadn't been at the engagement party that had started it all).
Astoria's relationship with Draco was nothing new.
It should have no effect on her.
It wasn't having an effect on her.
Once her mind was set, Hermione shook the thoughts from her head and pardoned herself from Neville, her "date", who was currently having a discussion with Professor Sprout, in order to get a drink from the bar. While the tables where the guests sat were magically set to have food appear upon order (similar to the Yule Ball in fourth year), Hermione had insisted on having a bar separate as most of the children of the guests were underage. It had been difficult for anyone to argue (though Pansy had tried), especially when Mrs. Weasley had agreed with her.
"Longbottom? I thought even you had more class than that, Granger."
Hermione wasn't surprised to hear his voice behind her (he did have this odd habit of wanting to appear behind her). "I happen to enjoy Neville's company." She turned to face him. "Besides, Malfoy, who else would you expect me to arrive with?"
Draco didn't respond directly, but a smirk tugged at his lips. To anyone else, it wouldn't have meant anything – if anything, his lack of insult would be a sign of defeat. However, she could tell from the look he was giving her exactly what and who he was thinking about. Hermione rolled her eyes and turned back to the bar, getting her and Neville's drinks. If it were even possible, Draco's smirk grew.
"I'd be careful with those drinks if I were you, Granger. I thought you would have given them up after the last time." It figured he would be the only one to notice how she had rarely taken more than a sip of wine in the past months. "Unless, of course, that's what you want." He picked up his own drinks and her eyes narrowed slightly. There was no doubt who the second drink was for.
"Maybe it is." The words escaped her lips before she had the chance to think, which, frankly, never happened. She was Hermione Granger. She was smart, rationale; she always thought before she spoke. It was completely out of character for her, but she had a rather hard time finding herself regretting it when he was caught by surprise for the slightest of moments. The feeling, however, faded quickly.
Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the second Malfoy getting up from her table (probably wondering what was taking her husband so long). Hermione took her drinks and left before he had the chance to reply.
She was suddenly irritated with him.
(He seemed to be having that effect on her a lot lately.)
Let him buy you presents, as it is another way of flattering his ego
Draco had this absurd notion that he needed to give her something every time they met. (Something was usually unnecessarily expensive and came in the form of jewelry.) Needless to say, Hermione had been all but ready to curse him into oblivion the first weekend he had handed her a ruby earring and necklace set. She was not some pet that needed a treat when she accomplished a trick. She was especially not some common hooker he could just pay off.
"Why can't you just take the bloody thing and be grateful?!"
"Grateful?!" She was vaguely aware of how shrill her voice was getting, but didn't particularly care at the moment. "Do you take me for a cheap slut?" She didn't bother waiting for his answer. "I'm leaving – don't expect me to come back, Malfoy!"
"Like hell you are." He growled. "I'm kicking you out, woman. Get off my property!"
Then, like the two year old he was, Malfoy pushed her off the bed, mumbling something about it being his and being cursed with ungrateful women. Hermione landed on the floor in a thud, her bushy hair falling in her face and momentarily blinding her. She heard him laughing and she pushed her hair aside to see him clutching his side on the bed above her. Eyes narrowed, she pulled on the sheets and Malfoy landed on the floor beside her.
"Bloody bitch!" He cursed and Hermione's own laughter was cut off when he knocked her flat onto the ground, pinning her.
"You arse!" She glared; he smirked in return.
It had been somewhere about that time that they had remembered that they were both still nude. Needless to say, it had been quite some time before Hermione actually left.
She had "forgotten" the jewelry when she did...only to find it had arrived via post the morning after. The cycle had continued for quite a bit of time, until Hermione had finally given in and took the blasted things with little protest.
They sat in their original boxes on her dresser, never worn.
A change in behavior, no matter how small, is an absolute give-away
Lily Luna Potter may have been Harry's daughter, but there wasn't one part of her that didn't remind Hermione of Ginny. Not only did Lily have her red hair and brown eyes, but she had also inherited the Weasley knack of ignoring the rules and getting herself in dangerous situations. It would have driven any parent insane, but Harry's hero complex certainly did not make it any easier on him. (Although Hermione thought it served him right for making her worry about him after all the stupid situations he had put himself into over the years.) So, at some point, Hermione had taken it upon herself as Lily's Godmother to occasionally accompany Harry on outings with the littlest Potter so that he could be forced to give her more freedom.
"You're it!" Lily's voice called, running away from a boy.
On that particular day when they took Lily to a Muggle park (both Ginny and Harry had agreed with Hermione that it would be good for Lily to be able to go out to play somewhere without having to worry about reporters watching her every move), Harry was absurdly quiet. It hadn't taken him long to learn that Hermione being with him was a perfect distraction from watching Lily's every move, and most days were spent with the two of the catching up while she played. However, he had been silent for most of the outing, his gaze on Lily. At first, Hermione had worried that he was making reverse progress, but though his eyes were on the girl, they were somehow distant, as if his mind were elsewhere.
"Is everything alright, Harry?" She finally asked.
"Yeah." His voice sounded far, his answer automatic; it betrayed his words.
Hermione frowned. "What is it? You can tell me." She rested her hand on his.
Harry finally broke his gaze on Lily and looked down at the hand. His free hand brushed against the silver of her bracelet (the first portkey Draco had given her; the only one she ever wore, because, for some reason, she couldn't bring herself to take it off). He stared at it for a moment before looking up at her and Hermione knew from the look in his eyes, she was in trouble.
"I didn't know you wore jewelry."
She resisted the urge to pull her hand back and hide the bracelet from his view. It would only make her look more suspicious, and Hermione knew from experience that a suspicious Harry was most definitely not a good thing. "I don't, not really."
"But you've been wearing that particular bracelet for some time now."
"It's just a bracelet, Harry." She kept her voice calm despite how she felt and she tried to figure out exactly when she could have slipped up. She had been sure everything had been done as discretely as possible. How could anyone – especially Harry, who tended to be a bit oblivious to things – possibly know?
"But it's not the only one, is it? Ginny mentioned to me once that she had noticed quite a bit of a collection gathering on your dresser. I didn't think anything of it then, but you've been missing from your flat some weekends too. A few weekends ago, I must have waited there for at least an hour, Hermione. You weren't there the next morning either. Ron made some joke about you being off with a wizard, but it makes sense."
Some wizard. Harry hadn't specified anyone in particular, nor did he seemed angry (slightly upset, yes, but Hermione was willing to bet that was due to her secrecy), which meant he didn't know about it being Draco. She mentally sighed.
"You've seemed happier." He added when she didn't answer. "Like how you used to be, before…"
A soft smile tugged at her lips. "Before things went wrong with Ron?" Harry was too considerate to say it.
"Yeah…" He sighed. "You've really moved on, haven't you? I mean, you're alright now?"
"Yes. It wasn't working with Ron; I just didn't want to see the signs."
Harry frowned again. "But you're my best friend, Hermione. You could have told me you met someone."
Guilt washed over her and she looked away from him. "It's…it's complicated, Harry." She bit her lip. "I'm not even sure what we are." It was close enough to the truth. "I don't want anyone to know."
"You know, the last time you said something like that was fourth year when Krum asked you to the Yule Ball."
Hermione couldn't help but smile. "I promise it's not Viktor. Besides, that's hardly the situation now."
He was silent again and it worried her. It was never a good sign when Harry didn't automatically tell her what he was thinking. She had learned it meant he was trying to figure out how best to tell her something.
He stared at Lily for another moment and she opened her mouth, but he spoke before she could. "Do you love him?"
Four simple words, but Hermione's heart skipped a beat.
She chewed at her lip, choosing her words carefully before she spoke. Finally she let out a gentle sigh. "I don't know." She didn't want to know.
For once in her life, Hermione refused to find the answer. Being in love with Draco would complicate things.
There had been no promises of love, of hope for it, when she had agreed to see him. The situation had been clear from the very start. He was married to save his family's reputation, his bloodline. He would pick the Malfoy name – pick Astoria – over her. If he had to choose, he wouldn't give Hermione a second thought. And if she were in love with him, she wasn't sure she would be able to share him. She would want him – need him – completely, because having only part of him would kill her if she loved him. And she couldn't leave him – give him up. Not now.
No, love would definitely just complicate things.
This was one cat curiosity would not kill.
You left me wanting more
Now I don't know what I can do with myself
I don't want nobody else
I let you in and you infected me
Can't get enough of you
I breathed you in and now I'm in too deep
Contagious - Trapt
Note: Sorry it took me so long to post it. This one turned out to be waaaaaaaay harder than Curiosity; I had expected this one to be the easier of the two. I had even more problems with Hermione in this one than I did in Curiosity. Sorry. I don't think I'll be writing Hermione again after this. Maybe Draco, but definitely not Hermione. I don't get in her head nearly well enough. This has also gotten to be extremely long, so I have to break it into two parts. I only have half of a scene to write and a quick edit left in the next part so I'll have it up soon. I'll post it when I get about twenty-ish reviews or in a week, which ever comes first.