A/N: I don't think there's anything I can say that would excuse me not updating for so long. I've tried several times and I'd always come up with literally nothing. I never thought of quitting this, no matter how inconsistent of a writer I am, but it was so hard to come up with something good without my conscience screaming: "IT IS OOC, IT WOULD NEVER WORK!" Anyway, to those of you who are still sticking around – thank you so much for being faithful readers. I hope this makes up the 5 months or so of no update (I cringed at the number, Jesus). So, yes, I really hope you enjoy it because I won't have too many chapters before the fic ends! Reviews are always welcomed and lovely.
Long, elegant fingers continuously drummed against the mahogany surface of the desk, grey eyes narrowed into two slits. It was rare for Draco Malfoy to be impatient, especially since he was so used to getting whatever he wanted at the right and precise time, but Hermione Granger wasn't as cooperative as he had hoped her to be, it seemed. It'd been a week since he'd last heard from her. One whole week without even managing to sneak a glance in her direction, no matter how many times he had used used his work as an excuse to walk by her office. If he didn't know her as well as he did, he'd have doubted she even came to work at all. She was avoiding him, that had to be it. Granger was avoiding him, and he didn't like it at all.
Naturally, he told her he would be patient and wait. Naturally, that was a lie. He despised the time away from her, despised not being able to shove her against the wall and fuck her into oblivion, because he was as lost in her as she was in him. And it took a lot for him to acknowledge it.
Draco sighed in annoyance and looked down at the papers in front of him, knowing he had some work to finish up before going to bed. If nothing, this helped in distracting him for a moment. Maybe tomorrow she would come. Maybe tomorrow it would all be over.
A soft knock on the door snapped him out of his thoughts and he let out a small hiss at the interruption, guessing who it might be.
His tone was sharp and fast, cutting the air with its force.
Astoria walked in wearing nothing but a long, silky robe, her blonde hair – usually straight and cascading down her back – pulled into a messy bun. It irritated him, how it was so perfect even then. No frizz, no annoying curls that could choke him whenever he'd accidentally fall asleep next to her, no… personality. So bland. Empty.
"Draco, are you coming to bed?" Astoria asked with a raised eyebrow, the tone very much accusatory.
"I'm working, I'll be there when I'm done," he drawled and looked down at the papers, quickly signing his name below the large embedded 'M' on the contract.
"You're always working," she hissed, walking further into the room and stopping in front of his desk.
"And you're spending the money, so what exactly is the problem here?"
"Stop that! You—stop acting like you—like—"
"Astoria, stop fucking stuttering, I don't have time for this."
"You don't have time for anything!" she cried out, pointing an accusatory finger in his direction.
Draco took a deep breath and slowly rose from his seat, putting his palms flat against the cold surface. He was sick and tired of having this argument every bloody day; sick of her inane questions, her shallow personality, her need to study every single thing he did. What the fuck had gotten into him when he'd decided to marry her? It was a mistake.
"I have time for things that actually matter to me."
He knew it was harsh, knew he had crossed the line when she took a sharp intake of breath and a step backwards, her cold eyes widened in surprise. He could feel the weight of his wedding ring suddenly, scorching his finger, begging to be freed, and Draco clenched his jaw and pushed himself up until he was standing right opposite of her, his face void of all emotions. It always seemed to end like this, their little fights and bickering. Whenever he'd fight Granger, he'd enjoy it; he'd taunt her until he got the needed reaction and then he'd break her until she was under him, begging for more, pleading with him to touch her. It was exhilarating and he wanted to taste it again, if only for a fleeting moment. Every part of his body was missing her presence and the agitation from that only made him more determined to stay away from his wife for the time being.
"You—you bastard! I'm tired of this marriage, this farce! I'm so sick of you—"
"The feeling's mutual."
"—and I know that you wouldn't even blink if I were to leave—"
"How observing you are."
"—but I won't give you the satisfaction!" Astoria ended on a scream, the rage visible on her face as she struggled to breathe properly.
Draco studied her with nothing but a raised eyebrow, his face perfectly calm. He took the wand standing next to his papers and slowly put it in his belt, adjusting his clothing. He had to get out, he needed to see her. Since when was Draco Malfoy understanding of other people's wishes, especially Granger's? That was how they worked—she would tell him to comply and act nicely and he wouldn't. He never did. He wasn't about to start now.
"Where are you going?" Astoria squeaked, taken aback when Draco rounded the table and walked towards the Apparition point set up in his study. He said nothing and only looked at her with a cold expression on his face, his lips turning into a sneer.
"Away. Anywhere is better than having to stay here and listen to you bitch."
"Draco, I—" her tone was much softer now and she walked up to him and bit her lip, visibly changing her attitude. This was exactly what he hated about her. Whenever she'd sense him slipping away she'd act like nothing had happened, like they didn't have a problem that needed solving, only so she could keep up her appearance and good image. Wrong. She was wrong.
"I'll be back once you're calmer and less annoying."
With his thoughts finally out in the open, Draco was gone, relieved that he didn't have to stay in her suffocating presence even for one more moment. He was going to visit Granger and he didn't care if he ran into Weasley himself. This torture would end tonight.
Hermione looked up from the untouched meal, her widened eyes panicked and dark. She wasn't really paying attention to what Ron was saying and she didn't particularly care, her thoughts occupied with someone else.
"'Mione, I know that look on you. Something's bothering you, tell me what's wrong," Ron muttered and stuffed half of the sausage in his mouth, chewing rather loudly.
Hermione bristled but didn't say much, taking a deep breath to relax. She hated how every little thing he did seemed to annoy her now. How he chewed his food, how he couldn't keep his mouth shut and went on and on about the things she didn't care about. It got so serious that even the smallest of things bothered her – how he slept, how he washed his teeth loudly–everything. It'd been a week since she'd last spoken to Harry and she hated the detachment between them. Luckily, Ron was busy enough not to have time to organize a get-together, but she was sure it wouldn't last long. She had talked to Ginny a few days ago via Floo and noticed that nothing was out of the ordinary, which proved to her that Harry hadn't said anything, but that still didn't make her feel better. She needed to vent and confess, needed to see him.
"I'm fine, Ron, really."
"I'm fine!" she snapped, glaring at him as if he'd suddenly grown another head and was twice as annoying.
"Bloody fucking hell, fine! No need to get so snippy about it," Ron muttered and shook his head, genuinely surprised by her outburst.
"I'm not being snippy, I'm just tired and not in the mood to have this conversation."
"When are you ever in the mood?" he asked, his tone accusatory and his jaw clenched.
She could feel her body tingling, almost as if preparing itself for the onslaught of truth, but she had to keep it all down. Babbling about her affair with Malfoy while they were both angry and already fighting couldn't bring anything good. Not that any other situation would.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Hermione hissed, knowing, in a way, what he wanted to say.
"That means that you're never in the mood to do anything! I asked you to go out, have dinner, do something—"
"Oh, you've clearly tried everything then, haven't you?! Tell me, Ronald, when was the last time you actually asked about my work and how it was going—"
"Not this bloody thing again—"
"YES, YES, THIS BLOODY THING. THAT IS THE PROBLEM!" Hermione cried out and pushed the chair away, getting up from the table and angrily walking into the living room. She was fuming, rage making her body shake and her hands clench into tight fists, ready to strike at any point.
Ever since her fight with Harry, she had done nothing but stress over the inevitable conversation with Ron. She hated not having anyone to talk to – why, on Earth, did she tell Draco she needed some space between them? Was it to lessen her guilt? It was ridiculous really, because he was the only one she could confide in. Harry was avoiding her and Ron as well, Ginny knew nothing about this, and Ron… he was as clueless as ever.
"You're insane, you know that! It's like you—who are you?" Ron suddenly asked, his voice much louder than before, reaching her ears before he appeared in the doorway of the room, staring at her as if she was some case for observation. It drove her up the wall.
"I don't know! I have no idea who I am, because I'm so miserable and lost in this bloody marriage!" Hermione yelled, making herself flinch at the harshness of the words.
It only seemed to make Ron's attitude worse, getting him into the state of denial automatically.
"Oh, so you're unhappy? You could have said something, you know! You could have—"
"ARE YOU THAT BLIND, RON?" Hermione screamed, the echo of it ricocheting against the walls long after it'd come out.
"Or do you just not want to see clearly? We're falling apart, this isn't working! How can you stand there and act like it's only me, when you know it's both of us! We're unhappy! We're not what we used to be, it's all different and I—I thought it was temporary, but we both see it's not!"
Ron narrowed his eyes, his chest heaving as he struggled to say something. She could see her words sinking in and despite hating the fact that she had to be so blunt, another part of her was pleased that she was getting it all out of her system. Finally.
"I have no idea what's gotten into you, but I will not discuss this now when you're obviously upset about something else—"
"For Merlin's sake, Ronald! Wake up! How can you say that, how can you—you're pretending not to see what's right under your nose! Why won't you just understand? You think just because you remembered to ask me out to dinner this week somehow makes up for all the wrongs in our relationship! You don't try, I don't try. It's not working!" Hermione exploded again, trying hard to catch her breath. She could feel the tightening in her stomach and throat as tears began to well up, but she pushed it away for now.
"No, I don't see anything, because nothing is there! We're fine, we're—this is just a phase—" he muttered hesitantly, and even Hermione could see that he was struggling to explain himself and make sense of their situation. He had nothing else to say, it seemed, so he just helplessly stared at her, the look of pity attached to his face.
You'll get through this, you'll be fine, it said, and Hermione shook her head, not ready for the final confrontation. Not until he stopped deluding himself.
He stared at her for what seemed like ages, his demeanor changing from angry to confused as time went by. The shake of her head seemed to make him realize she didn't want to drop it, so he nodded slowly, his face now more relaxed than before.
"Fine. Be that way. But I'm telling you, Hermione, I won't accept this bullshit. I'm going out, don't wait for me," he snapped, turning around and walking down the hallway. She was sure the tears would come the moment she saw his back walk out the door, but nothing happened.
"What a moron."
The voice made Hermione's heart flutter and she jumped up and let out a small squeal, the brown irises focusing on the tall dark figure standing between the living room and parlor door.
"Draco," Hermione breathed as if in a daze, unsure of whether she was just imagining him due to stress or if he was actually there.
He stared at her for a few moments, an unreadable expression gracing his features. They could do nothing but gaze upon each other, the only noise in the room their breathing and the ticking of the clock. And then, in only a few strides, Draco was right against her and his hands grabbed her wrists, pushing her back against the wall behind her. He slammed his lips down on hers and Hermione couldn't help but moan loudly, every single sense in her body exploding at the touch. He tasted like something forbidden and delightful, something one could easily get addicted to, and her hands grabbed his hair without further hesitation, pressing him closer. He was completely savage as he devoured her, teeth sinking into her skin, tongue licking her lips to open up and find hers, goading her into his mouth and making her heart skip a beat.
Every cell in her body was screaming for oxygen but it was difficult to find some, since neither of them wanted to move. Draco grunted when she bit into his lower lip and pulled on it, his hands grabbing her arse and pressing her hips so hard into his she could almost feel his hard length rubbing up against her. Hermione's eyes flew open in surprise and she whimpered as he rolled his hips into hers, their passion making her skin tingle and the tension of her body increase with each passing moment.
"Draco—" Hermione gasped when he finally dared to break the kiss, his hungry lips moving down to her neck, biting, nibbling, marking her.
She moaned and her hips snapped up to meet his in appreciation, her body desperate for a release. It felt like it'd been so long, both of them feeding off each other, demanding flesh, touch, heat, more.
"Draco…" she whined and threw her head back, her eyes fluttering closed as he hit a very sensitive spot between her neck and her shoulder, making her pussy clench in desperation to feel him inside of her.
"I fucking love when you say my name, Granger," he growled and the sound went straight to her core and brought on more warmth and energy, making it hard for her to stop him. He was groping her arse, pulling her against him as he savagely rubbed his clothed cock up and down her lower body, as desperate for release as she was. One of his hands tore her shirt apart, the buttons flying all over the room as her animalistic growl drowned out their noise.
"Missed this—fuck—so good," he was hissing against her as he grabbed her tits and pressed his chest against them, squeezing her nipples through the thin material of her bra and making Hermione pant as she hungrily pressed herself against him.
"Tell me you're mine, Granger, say it," he suddenly demanded, his free hand shoving itself into her hair and snapping her neck up until she was able to look into his eyes.
He was completely breathless and his cheeks mirrored her own with the dark blush, his hair not as elegant as it had been before he had pinned her against the wall. He looked almost demonic in his state and the desperation for her was obvious enough for Hermione to not want to stop this ever.
"I'm yours," she whispered breathlessly, feeling him shudder against her as his eyes fluttered closed. He clenched his jaw and moved his lips to hers, not kissing her, but staying close enough to taste her breath on his swollen lips. He swallowed loudly and for a moment Hermione could see his Adam's apple bobbing, suddenly feeling a strange urge to kiss it.
"Mine," he confirmed with a growl, opening his eyes to look at her. "End it. End it with him or else I'll rip his fucking face off and—"
"I want you for myself! I need you, I'm—I'm going crazy. I don't care what anyone says, I don't give a fuck about how much money I'll lose, how much respect I'll lose, end it and—"
"Draco, you have to—"
"No!" He exploded and looked at her intensely, still pressing her body against the cold surface, each intake of his mirroring an exhale of hers. They were completely synced, as if nothing else in the world made sense and fit them more than they fit each other.
"I understand that you want this over, I want it too, but Ron is—"
"I don't care! He's treating you like an idiot, like you're imagining things! I heard what he told you in the end, I was there long enough. Granger, just—"
"I know, but you don't—"
"I love you!" Draco said forcefully, making her breath hitch and her throat close up.
She stared at him with nothing but shock and surprise in her brown eyes, the steel grey insecure after the statement, his orbs frantically moving across her face as if to make sure he hadn't said anything wrong.
"I love you, I fucking love you. I can't stand this anymore; I want you like I've never wanted anything in my life. I—fuck, how do I explain this without sounding like a pathetic sap, Granger?" He murmured nervously, pulling away slightly to put some distance.
Hermione clenched her fists into his hair to stop him from moving, the sudden fluttering in her stomach much stronger than anything she'd ever felt before. She'd thought about this moment for so long, even wondered if it was possible – and now he'd said it. He loved her, he loved her.
"I love you too," she whispered and slowly kissed him, her lips turning into a shaky smile upon them breaking apart.
"Thank you, thank for you—"
"What, returning your feelings even with that awful hair of yours? It took some time, but I got over it," Draco replied with a smirk, pressing into her as if he was seeking her warmth.
She laughed and shook her head, completely oblivious to where they were. And then he kissed her again, harder than he'd ever kissed her before and Hermione forgot about who they were, their differences and pasts, his mark and her title, it was all irrelevant. For now, this was all they had - stolen kisses, forbidden love and snarky remarks, but it was all she needed. That and for someone to finally see her. Draco certainly did.