Disclaimer: The characters and canon situations in the following story belong solely to JK Rowling, Scholastic and WB. I am not making any money from the publishing or writing of this story.
WARNING: Lemon and Lime
KittyNeko: Epilogue? What epilogue?
Any idiot can face a crisis – it's this day to day living that wears you out. – Anton Chekhov
Every day was the same. Day in and day out she went through the same motions, getting up, going to work, coming home, eating, bathing, sleeping. It hardly every varied.
Hermione supposed she should have been grateful – and she was! – really. This was exactly what she, Harry, Ron, and the rest of the Wizarding community had fought so hard to achieve; the right to live without the threat of imminent death hanging over their heads at every moment.
Still, she had always thought that normal life would be a bit more… eventful. It wasn't that she expected every day to be chock full of excitement, but it was only a little over a year since Voldemort fell, and she already seemed to have settled into a rut.
Nineteen years old and already in a rut.
Hermione punched in her time card and walked into the tiny storage closet full of filing cabinets that was supposed to be her office. Already a pile of papers sat in her in-box, waiting for her to file.
Not for the first time, Hermione questioned her choice not to finish her seventh year at Hogwarts. Sure, she had managed to get a job in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures as a research assistant, the way she had always wanted. Of course, she had assumed that meant she was going to do research. Apparently not. Instead, she spent most of her time filing and the rest of the time with mindless paperwork.
Even though she was part of the Golden Trio who helped defeat Voldemort, she was still technically a dropout who never took the NEWTS and getting a higher position was out of the question at this time. She would have to work hard, fighting tooth and nail, to get to a higher position.
Still, she Hermione Granger! Up to the challenge and sure she would be able to dazzle the higher ups with her brains and capability! Full of energy and raring to go!
A year of being stuck in the filing room had finally managed to dampen her spirits. How was she ever supposed to be able to show off her capabilities if her most challenging task entailed alphabetizing?
Her pay was pretty pathetic too – barely over minimum wage.
Deciding that it was pointless to waste time, Hermione grabbed the first paper at the top of the large pile and began filing.
She was trying to stay positive, honestly. No one likes someone who can only see the negative aspects of their life and constantly bitch about them. And she most certainly did have things to be grateful for.
Her relationship with Ron Weasley was still going strong. In fact, they were living in a small apartment together without any wedding plans in sight, much to Hermione's relief. She really did love Ron, but she wasn't ready for that step and he eventually agreed with her. Despite Molly's Weasley's protests and sermons about 'cow' 'milk' and 'free', Ron and Hermione had ultimately done what they thought best. It made the most sense to move in together – neither of them was making enough money to live alone.
Ron's net pay had since gone up considerably. He went into business with George and they had managed to get Weasley's Wizard Wheezes up and running on all cylinders once again. Hermione was truly happy and proud for her boyfriend, but there was also that little niggling of envy at the back of her mind. It wasn't that he made more money, or even that he was more successful. It had more to do with the fact that he genuinely enjoyed his job and couldn't wait to go every day, whereas she was finding it increasingly difficult to get out of bed every morning.
No need to point out the obvious again, but she was Hermione Granger! Where was her drive? Her need to put in a hard day's work?
She felt pointless and expendable – two things she was not familiar with, nor did she care for.
Ron wasn't the only one who was enjoying his professional life. Harry was in the middle of training to be an official Auror (despite also being a dropout. Bitter? No!) Ginny had recently gotten an offer to play for the Holyhead Harpies, Luna was working for the Quibbler, and even Neville had the job of his dreams. Only Hermione seemed miserable.
Hermione jumped so hard at the unexpected voice in her office that she dropped the papers she was holding and they scattered all over the floor. She was unable to contain a growl of frustration that bubbled up in her throat. Great. Now she would have to re-alphabetize those.
The intruder simply lifted a pale eyebrow at her obvious distress. It was then that she decided to take out a bit of her frustrations on him.
"Malfoy!" she snapped. "Haven't you ever heard of knocking?!"
Draco's eyes never left her as he took a half step backward, rapped the back of his knuckles on her open door once, and moved to her desk to deposit more papers on her in-box.
"Les sent more filing for you. Enjoy," he said, walking away with a smirk on his face.
"You could at least shut the door!" Hermione snarled at his retreating back, knowing that it would have no affect on him. Still, the simple act made her feel slightly better.
Whether it be through connections or generous money donations, Draco had somehow managed to get a job as Les's secretary. The job was about as low on the totem pole as hers and Hermione was surprised that he had taken the position on begin with. Though on further reflection, his family name had been dragged through the mud in recent years and he had to start somewhere.
Les was Draco and Hermione's boss, but as secretary, Draco was a bit of a go-between them. Really, the person Hermione had the most contact with every day was Draco.
On the other hand, Les was much too busy to give her orders directly. As such, she hardly ever saw him except when he came down to bitch at her for pulling the wrong files, despite the fact that it wasn't her fault his handwriting was illegible.
She sometimes wondered if he did it on purpose when he was having a crummy day, just so he would have someone to yell at. It wouldn't surprise her.
That was another lovely part of her job. She had to deal with Draco Malfoy on a daily basis. Their exchanges were never long and were very similar to what had just transpired. They never actually got into fights, but Hermione was ashamed to admit that when she was arguing with him, it was the most she ever felt like her old self. He brought out a side of her that she missed.
Even though Draco's job was full of as many trivial tasks as hers, Hermione couldn't help being a tad bit envious. At least he wasn't stuck in a cell of a room and got to talk to people occasionally. Hermione's only social time was lunch, and that wasn't much unless one of her friends was actually able to meet her somewhere.
It was a sad day when Hermione Granger ended up jealous of Draco Malfoy. It was then and there that she vowed to do something to change her life, bring some kind of passion or excitement into it. One way or the other.
The only way that seemed feasible at the moment was in her relationship with Ron. Well, that was as good a place to start as any.
Hermione stared at the clock from her spot on the couch and sighed. It was already 1:00 a.m. and Ron still wasn't home. He had flooed hours ago to tell her that they were crazy busy at the store, and he was going to have to stay late.
"Not a problem," she had replied, secretly thrilled that she was going to have a little extra time to get things prepared. She was making a feast of a dinner and had even broken out the sexy lingerie Ginny had bought her as a joke. She had plans to seduce him and have madly passionate sex. That was at nine.
At eleven, she figured he had ended up staying late to close the register and clean. That was understandable. He really was stepping up to the plate by helping George run that place.
1:30 and the food on the table was almost as cold as her libido.
She refused to admit defeat and go to sleep though, more to find out why he was out so late than her whim to bring passion into her life.
It was at 2 o'clock that he walked through the doors, slightly unsteady on his feet and reeking of cigarette smoke.
"Hermione?" his voice came out confused, upon spotting his girlfriend sitting ramrod straight on the sofa and giving him the stink eye. "What are you doing still up?"
"Waiting for you," she answered simply. "I made dinner." She gestured to the kitchen where you could see the table full of food.
"Oh, Merlin, I'm sorry, Hermione," Ron said, coming over to her. He sat down next to her, so he wasn't towering over her. "George and I went to get a bite to eat and a few drinks after we closed. I knew you had to be at work by eight tomorrow, so I didn't think you would still be awake. I'm so sorry."
Ron put his arm around her and Hermione allowed herself to lean into his warm embrace. That made sense. It wasn't like she cooked dinner every day or something. She usually just went to bed before him when he closed the shop. How would he know any different if she didn't tell him?
"It's alright," she finally said, meaning it. She felt a bit foolish, in the end. Way to really take charge of her life.
After a few seconds, something occurred to Ron. "What are you wearing?"
Hermione felt herself blush, and buried her face in his smoky robes. "It's nothing."
"Were you going to jump me?" he asked, humor in his voice.
When Hermione didn't answer, he simply chuckled and grabbed her chin, pulling her into a kiss. Despite that he tasted like fire whisky and she was no longer in the mood, she let Ron kiss her and then carry her to bed where they made love. Just like always.
The late night caught up to Hermione the next day and she found herself rushing to work without even running a brush through her flyaway hair.
So the plan had failed. Oh well. At least she had sex, even if it wasn't exactly passionate and was bordering on vanilla. It was still something.
Her sleep-deprived body disagreed.
"Granger." Draco's voice stopped her as she passed by his desk on the way to her cell.
"What?" She snapped, sorely in need of her morning coffee.
Draco seemed unaffected by her sunny disposition and simply handed her a small piece of parchment. "Les wants you to pull these files first thing. Just bring them to me."
Not trusting her mouth to be civil, Hermione grabbed the paper and retreated to her office.
"Oh, and Granger?" Draco's voice called after her, bringing her to a halt. "There's this great invention called a hairbrush. You might want to look into getting one."
Hermione blamed the lack of caffeine in her system for what came out of her mouth next. "Maybe I'll just borrow the one you have shoved up your ass." She slammed the door on his surprised laughter.
Her mood didn't improve when she was alone in the safety of her office. Apparently, someone had seen fit to fill her in-box with so much paper that the stack was as tall as her. It was going to be a long day.
Not quite sure where to begin, Hermione flopped down on her hard chair and sighed. She wasn't exactly sure why she did it, but something told her to put her head on the table for a couple minutes to relieve her headache. It was just a couple minutes, after all.
She fell asleep.
"What do you want, Malfoy? I'm busy. I don't have time to deal with you." There was a mountain of papers waiting for her to put them in their special files. As she looked at the pile, it only seemed to expand until it reached the ceiling. Great. Now she would never finish.
"I don't care," he said, his tall form looming over her. Hermione took a step backward and hit the side of her desk. Her office wasn't very big, after all.
"What are you doing?" Hermione asked, annoyance overtaking her fear. She had so much work to do and he was wasting her time! Papers! They were eagerly waiting for her! Demanding she file them!
"Giving you what you want." He said and shoved her shoulder, not hard enough to hurt her, but enough so that she had to steady herself against the desk once again.
"And what is it that I want?" Hermione asked, her curiosity getting the better of her once again.
He didn't answer, instead his mouth twisted in a half-smirk. That was the last thought she had before that same mouth was covering hers, hot and wet, and completely unyielding.
Hermione made a noise in the back of her throat and even she wasn't sure if it was one of protest, or of encouragement.
Draco, of course, considered it encouragement. He gripped the back of her thighs and lifted her onto her desk, her butt bumping into the in-box and sending its contents to fall over the room like confetti.
Pretty, she thought absently.
Draco's mouth left her lips to attack her throat in such a way that had her panting. He was relentless – she knew it would leave marks and somehow didn't care.
His hot hands ran up and down her legs, pushing her sensible black skirt up her thighs, and yanking her button up shirt out of the waistband. Hermione tried to undo her own buttons, but he shoved her hands away. He promptly grabbed the flaps and ripped her shirt open, the buttons flying around the room. Her blouse hung at her sides in tattered ruins.
Slightly annoyed ad the destruction of her clothes, she decided to repay the favor and did the same thing to his shirt. She was surprised at how good it felt and then she was free to run her hands over the muscled planes of his torso.
It didn't last long, however, because Draco had pushed up her flimsy bra and clamped his mouth over her nipple, sucking harshly. Hermione cried out in surprise at how unusually sensitive she was. He pinched her other nipple between his forefinger and thumb hard enough to make her cry out in pain.
Not one to be upstaged, Hermione grabbed a fistful of his pale locks and yanked so hard, his head jerked backward.
"Oh, Granger," he said, his voice deep and sending shivers up and down her spine, "You're going to regret that."
"I doubt it," Hermione answered, reaching for his belt buckle.
Free from the zipper of his pants, Draco leaned into her against the table, his lips finding her again. He pushed her knickers to the side and positioned himself against her waiting entrance. Hermione had never wanted something so much in her life and she rocked her hips, pushing the tip of his penis inside her.
That was the last bit of encouragement he needed before he sank inside her, filling a need she hadn't even been aware she had.
He pounded into her again and again, the sound of slick flesh filling the small room. A tension was slowly building deep in her belly, and she wanted to – no, needed to – release it.
She was almost there.
Just a bit more.
She was almost there. Just a bit more.
"For the love of Merlin, Granger! Wake up!"
Hermione sat up so fast, she almost gave herself whiplash. As it was, she knocked her in-box and the pile of papers went flying all over the room.
She blinked in confusion, trying to figure out what was going on, but the falling papers brought a very unwelcome memory with them. Her dream came to her memory with full force. It was so vivid; she could have sworn it had just happened. As it was, her knickers were even still wet.
Mortified beyond words, Hermione glanced at Draco, and looked away quickly. How could she ever look him in the face again after a dream like that?
"Did you get those files Les wanted pulled?" he asked, oblivious to her witch's shame.
"Uh, no," Hermione answered, avoiding his eyes. She pushed her chair back and got on her feet. "I have to, uh, go to the ladies room."
And she ran out of her office, not looking back.
KittyNeko: That's it for chapter one! I'd love to know what you think!