Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Okay, so I loved writing Monster in the Parasol so much that I decided to make it a series. I'm not going to promise anything as I still have my two epic DA fics on the go (and the summer prompts at raisinghell to work on!), but whenever the urge strikes me, I might drop something. Big props to QOTSA for having such awesome song titles that I can't help but continue the theme. Oh, and I do apologise if something pops into my head that isn't SB/HG. I feel that the Draco story will have to be told at some time or other, so expect snippets of DM/HG from time to time.
Better Living Through Chemistry
The charcoal BMW pulled up to the curb in a rather restrained fashion, appearing as you would expect any dull, muggle businessman's car to appear. A handsome, although disheveled man stepped out from an alleyway and approached, hesitating as he looked through the windscreen at the driver. After a moment he continued forward and opened the passenger door.
"Hello, Sirius," the cool voice of the driver sent a chill down the man's spine.
"I wasn't expecting you, I thought they would send someone a little older." He matched her tone and looked at her out of the corner of his eye.
She laughed throatily and put the car in gear, driving off smoothly toward the centre of London.
"So you're working for the ministry, huh? Bit green to be driving the executive wheels aren't you?" He turned his head and looked directly at the witch in the drivers seat. She sat back with her leg up on the seat, head leaned back and eyes closed.
"Stop being a dick, Sirius." Nothing save her lips moved.
Sirius frowned and opened his mouth, but at the last minuted bit back the snappy comeback. She seemed like she wouldn't take his smart comments with the same resignation she once did.
Hermione snapped open her eyes and reached for the stereo, flicking on a disc and he was relieved at the break in the uncomfortable silence.
"How long have I been gone?"
She flicked her eyes toward him and started to speak, thinking better of it she snapped her mouth shut and sighed. "There will be a full debriefing when we get back to the ministry." She sat back in the seat stiffly and this time kept her hands on the wheel, making an attempt to at least appear normal to the muggles.
"Come on, Hermione. It's me! I'm not going to tell anyone you blabbed."
"It's not that simple. I don't have clearance and you've been gone a long time. You might get a bit of a shock."
"Well, clearly I've been gone a while! You're driving around in a magically enhanced Beemer with more blue backlight's than I've seen in the dodgiest of strip clubs and listening to metal!" Do you think I honestly think I think I've been floating in nothingness for a couple of days?" His voice had reached a rather high number of decibels and Hermione winced.
"Just chill, Sirius." She sighed and flopped back in her seat. He grunted and turned to look out the window at the slushy January snow on the footpath.
"You're looking good," he mumbled.
"Pardon?" She turned her head sharply and held a guarded expression. Sirius barked a laugh.
"Still can't take a compliment, I see?" She relaxed slightly at his predictable retort. "Hot, actually. That suit really does make your tits loo-"
"Could you be any more disgustingly inappropriate?" She lifted her lip in a sneer and held up her hand to stop his retort. "Just shut up. It's great to have you back and all but really, I am no longer in any doubt as to whether or not it is actually you. No one else could possibly work up the guts to be that vulgar off the bat."
Sirius snapped his mouth shut and kept it that way until they reached the alleyway that lead to the ministry car park. Hermione drove down the magically appearing ramp and onto a platform that lowered the car down to a depth at which Sirius was slightly uncomfortable being. She shut off the engine and motioned for him to step out. He did, and shivered at the damp air in the warehouse.
She led him through a maze of endless corridors and elevators, finally stopping at a nondescript brown door stamped with a utilitarian authorized personnel only. After muttering an incantation and waving her wand in a series of complex flicks and twirls, she turned the handle and led him into a dingy waiting room.
"Sit." She motioned to a row of uncomfortable looking chairs along the side of the room. He raised an eyebrow and took the seat in the middle. A few moments of silence later and a door opened opposite him, a tall black man entering the room.
"Aaah, the ever elusive Mister Black. Good to see you again, my friend." Sirius broke into a wide grin.
"Kingsley! What a pleasure to be greeted at last by a friendly face." The other man laughed wryly and looked sideways at Hermione.
"Yes, Miss Granger does tend to be rather prickly when faced with wizards who have suddenly come back from the dead." He motioned for Sirius to get to his feet, shaking his hand vigorously when he stood. "Come, we have much to discuss."
"Sir, if you don't mind I will take my leave. I have some paperwork to complete on the Dostesky case," Hermione said in a manner that suggested it wasn't a question.
"Certainly, Miss Granger. I will memo you when we are ready for you to take Mister Black here to his hotel."
"Thank you, sir." She nodded curtly and opened the door Kingsley had entered through a few moments earlier. Sirius sighed heavily.
"Well, lets get this over with, shall we?"
"So, as you can see, Miranda Vitilenko has been through a number of muggle airports this year, which normally wouldn't raise any alarms if it weren't for her husband's ties to the remaining Russian death eaters. We suspect that..."
Hermione leaned back in her chair and tuned out the wizard reading the report she had written, not bothering with an attempt feigning interest. Her mind was currently occupied with the prospect of breaking the news of Sirius' return to Harry. He had taken a long time to truly get over his godfathers death and although Hermione knew that he would be thrilled to have him back, thoughts of Harry's romanticized view of the man concerned her to no end.
She also admitted to herself somewhat reluctantly that Sirius was occupying her thoughts for an entirely different reason. His good looks were rather more alluring than she remembered, perhaps due to the ten years that had passed since the last time they had met. She knew he looked exactly the same as the day he had fallen through the veil, but age and her taste in men had finally caught up. And boy did she want a taste.
Looking across the table she caught the eye of her partner and rolled her eyes. Draco Malfoy had been working on the case with her for over a year and the briefing appeared to be boring him almost as much as her. He poked his tongue out at her and waggled his eyebrows and she stifled a giggle.
Half an hour later she finally left the briefing room, herself and Draco having been given the less than thrilling assignment of posing as muggle security officers at Charles De Gaulle airport. Draco had made yet more faces when the assignments had been announced and motioned for Hermione to follow him as they left the room.
"Looking forward to seeing me in uniform, Malfoy? I bet the idea of that shapeless blazer is giving you plenty of filthy thoughts." She smirked at his slightly outraged expression.
"Granger, what would make you think a shapeless blazer would turn me on? You know I'm a legs man." She laughed and tugged him into his office.
"So, anyway I suppose you've heard the news?"
Draco nodded. He crossed his legs and leaned against his desk, hands gripping the edge. "I take it you've been given the job of minding him?"
"Yes and no. Kingsley seems to think he'll be fine on his own once we get him a new wand. I shouldn't think it will take up much of my time. Besides, we don't head to Paris until Sunday." She sat on the desk next to him, swinging her legs so her heels hit the solid wood. "That's plenty of time to get him somewhere to live and it's not like he needs a job."
"How's he looking?"
She let out a deep breath through her nose.
"That bad, huh?"
Hermione snorted. "If you call bad sex on legs, then yeah." Draco chuckled.
"I will never understand why it took getting married to turn you into a man eater."
"Love and sex aren't exclusive, as you are well aware Draco 'fucks anything remotely feminine looking' Malfoy." He whacked her over the head with his day planner and she gave him a peck on the cheek. "Gotta go, Kingsley sent me a memo ten minutes ago to go and help sort out Sirius."
Draco grabbed her wrist as she hopped of the desk, pulling her to him sharply. She took in a sharp breath as his arms wrapped around her waist tightly. His lips moved to her ear and nipped lightly on the lobe, tongue darting out to soothe it afterward. She made a needy sound in the back of her throat and attempted to turn her head to meet his lips with hers but found herself suddenly devoid of his contact. He walked around his desk and stood behind the chair rocking gently gripping the back rest and giving her a wink.
"Night, Granger. Don't do anything I wouldn't do." She rolled her eyes and strolled aloofly out of the office tossing a parting insult over her shoulder as she left.
Draco threw a pinching hex and she grabbed her butt and giggled, hurriedly heading down the corridor.
"Here you go," the beige door swung open to reveal a bland room with a television, bed and night stand. Sirius made a face and walked in, not bothering to take off his shoes as he flopped on the bed face down.
"Mphthngs ffft brrrn"
"Pardon? Would you like to remove your face from the pillow before talking or were you planning on casting a reverse muffling spell with your non-existent wand?" He lifted his head in an exaggerated manner and flopped it back down so his cheek now rested against the pillow.
"Everything's so brown." He grimaced again but visibly brightened a moment later and sat up. His face fell immediately, however when he realized that the room really did only contain a bed, a nightstand, and a television. "What, no minibar?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. "You're only going to be here for a couple of days max. Tomorrow I've been given the enthralling task of helping you find somewhere to live. God help me." She dropped a bag on the floor that contained some clothes one of the ministry lackeys had retrieved for him and turned toward the hallway.
"Hermione, wait." She paused, hand on the door handle. Sirius stood and closed the small distance between them, taking her in a tight embrace. "It's good to be back."
Hermione returned the hug, nuzzling his chest gently. "It's good to have you back," she murmured. After a moment she disentangled herself from his embrace and opened the door. "I'll see you tomorrow."
He followed her to the hallway and she turned to face him, a lopsided smile crossing her lips. He ruffled her hair and leaned forward, giving her a peck on the forehead.
She chuckled and turned back toward the elevator, and he could have sworn he noticed a sway in her hips that hadn't been there earlier in the day. He watched her as she pushed the button to go down and stepped through the sliding door, turning to face him. She winked.
He gave her a saucy grin back and liked his lips, and as the doors slid closed he could have sworn he saw her do the same.