Story History: Originally written for the Dramione Couples Remix fest over at LiveJournal, which concluded on Oct. 17, 2011. My chosen couple was Adam & Eve, though the story is about as reverent as something not very reverent at all. :)
Warnings: Alcohol consumption, heavy-duty snogging and groping, sexual overtones, and some slightly tongue-in-cheek references to bible stories
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and concepts contained within are the intellectual property of J.K. Rowling, trademarked and copyrighted by Bloomsbury Publishing, Scholastic Inc., and Warner Bros. Entertainment and are used without permission. No profit is being made from the use of these characters and concepts. Infringement is not intended.
Author's Notes: Thanks to my good friend, rzzmg, who tickled my muse with a wonderful prompt when I was floundering, and also for the sassy banner she made me. View it at http:/ / i848(dot)photobucket(dot)com /albums /ab49 /UnseenLibrarian_ook /Official%20Banners / TheDevilIsInTheCocktails-ba1(dot)jpg [remove spaces and (dots) to view.])
THE DEVIL IS IN THE COCKTAILS
Aurors: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Draco Malfoy, Susan Bones.
Creature Keepers: Luna Lovegood, Rolf Scamander, Millicent Bulstrode, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Hermione Granger
Bartender/Landlady: Hannah Abbott
* A&E—D&H—A&E—D&H—A&E *
The Leaky Cauldron, Friday, 24 August 2001
"Ron, stop it," Hermione faux-admonished, bolder than usual. The two Dolohov Cocktails she'd imbibed so far this evening had left her feeling frisky. "Malfoy can't help it if he can't tell the difference between bitter and brown ale. His aristocratic palate is apparently more refined."
"Yeah, for fruity, girly drinks," Ron snorted, grinning widely.
Steel daggers met her mocking gaze.
She smirked in challenge at her secret crush, loving the way they'd always clashed with fire and ice. If she couldn't shag Draco into the floorboards as she wanted, she'd pick a fight with him instead. It's what worked best between them, after all, being universally doomed to opposition as they were. Physically, he was Yin to her Yang, pureblood opposed to her Muggle-born, old money versus her working-class background. He was the "Chauvinist Adam" to her "Feminist Eve"... and she loved throwing the fact that she was better than him in just about everything - from magic to politics - in his face.
Last autumn, she and her co-workers from the Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures (they called themselves "Creature Keepers" to save their breath) had met the younger Aurors after work for drinks at the Leaky Cauldron. Ron and Harry had instigated the first dual departmental gathering, and it had quickly turned into a monthly tradition. It had surprised Hermione to see Draco Malfoy in attendance, since she had seen him only in passing after the war, but his fellow Aurors Harry, Ron, and Neville had invited him to join them. It seemed that during their few years of working together to bring down renegade Death Eaters, they had all developed new respect for Malfoy – Ron grudgingly, Harry good-naturedly, and Neville with a great deal of surprise. Malfoy treated them with respect in return. They now trusted their former enemy and more or less considered him a friend.
During that very first night out, she'd been shaken to her core as she realized, in the middle of one of their arguments, that Auror training had provided Malfoy with a hard, lean adult male's body, letting him cut a very attractive figure in his uniform. This threw her off-kilter. She had always known he was intelligent. He'd been close behind her academically at Hogwarts and he had become the Auror Office's resident expert on potions and poisons. Now, seeing his broad shoulders and muscular chest under his snug, green shirt, her heart had started thumping hard and fast. Sweet Merlin, he was smart and handsomely built. Distracted into tipsy incoherency, she had lost their debate spectacularly.
She refused to let that happen again.
In all of their subsequent gatherings, everyone, Aurors and Creature Keepers alike, got along surprisingly well – everyone except Hermione and Malfoy. On the contrary, her relationship with the arrogant blond had only grown more antagonistic as she suppressed her growing attraction for the prat. They constantly traded barbs and snarky comments, each trying to out-do the other in proving the depth of their intelligence and worldly knowledge.
The one thing on which she would agree with Malfoy was his distaste for beer in all forms. She, too, had never developed a liking for it. Since Ron, Harry, and Ginny enjoyed going out for a pint with her on occasion, Hermione had begun drinking cider as a viable alternative to beer. She liked its apple flavor much more than beer, and an added bonus was that cider was something even Ron couldn't muck up ordering when it was his turn to buy a round. Thank goodness we broke things off. I love him, but I'd have to kill him if we got married, she thought to herself.
Truthfully, whenever the choice was available, Hermione vastly preferred selecting her drinks from the cocktail menu. Her discovery that Malfoy also chose mixed drinks over beer made her privately pleased as Rum Punch. Of course, she would not, could not, ever admit such a thing to his face, so at each month's gathering she threw out a snide comment or two about his drink preferences. He was a clever git, however, and was able to give it right back to her. He usually added a smart remark about her low tolerance for alcohol, as well, which never failed to annoy her. She longed to snog him hard and wipe that arrogant smirk off his face.
Unfortunately, though his goading was generally without much bite, Malfoy didn't seem to reciprocate her lusty feelings, so she bickered with him instead. It was a great way to work off the mounting frustration, and she absolutely loved winding him up to watch his eyes blaze and his nostrils flare.
"A Manhattan is hardly a girly drink, Weasley," Malfoy retorted, leaning back in his chair. He lifted his half-empty glass from the table.
"It's got fruit in it," observed Ron, gesturing with his pint mug.
Malfoy looked at his drink. "Why, so it does." He brought the drink up to his and Ron's eye level. "I'll take care of that. Why don't you just worry about your own cherry, Weasley?"
Ron's face turned red as the entire tableful of people started chuckling. Hermione smiled too, but she faltered, suddenly mesmerized as Malfoy looked her in the eye, raised the glass to his lips, and drained it, catching the maraschino cherry in his teeth. He sucked the fruit into his mouth with an audible "pop", long stem and all. Lips together, his jaws worked for a moment or two before he swallowed. His unwavering gaze still on Hermione, Malfoy slowly opened his mouth, revealing the cherry stem, now neatly tied into a knot, resting on his tongue. Hermione blushed furiously.
Harry, Neville, and even Ron clapped, Justin wolf-whistled, and Susan laughed. Millicent smirked and tipped her own pint mug of beer at Malfoy. "You did that faster than ever, Draco. You must be getting in a lot of practice."
Rolf Scamander, a Ravenclaw two years older than Hermione and a Creature Keeper from the Beast Division, seemed puzzled. Leaning over to look more closely from where he sat between her and Luna, he asked, "I don't follow. What's the significance of the knot?"
Luna smiled serenely. "It is said that the ability to tie a knot in a cherry stem with one's tongue indicates great prowess at kissing – and in performing oral sex." She took a sip from her own drink. "You should try it sometime, Rolf; you'd be good at it."
Her matter-of-fact response set everyone off into another round of cheers and clapping, a blushing Rolf grinning at his girlfriend. Only Hermione didn't join in. She was too busy holding her cool drink against her heated cheeks and watching Malfoy.
Was he actually flirting with me? she wondered. No, he couldn't have been. He's not interested in me that way. Is he?
Malfoy, smirking lazily, removed the knotted stem from his mouth and dropped it into his empty glass. He turned to Hermione and started to say something, but was interrupted when Hannah Abbott, new proprietor of the Leaky Cauldron, arrived at their table.
Hannah had taken over ownership of the pub that spring when old Tom finally retired. It turned out that she had been quite the party coordinator in the Hufflepuff common room, and now she was thrilled to have her own establishment to run. She was finding it challenging, however, to convince the regulars to accept the changes she was introducing. They were slow to understand that offering more to drink than just beer, mulled mead, and Firewhisky was good for business, not bad.
Hermione noticed that, to take their orders, Hannah had weaved her way through the pub's other patrons and walked around to the far end of the table where Neville sat, instead of stopping at the closer, more convenient end next to Harry. She grinned to herself, watching Neville gaze fondly at the blonde bartender. It seemed like romance was in the air.
Hannah smiled broadly at the rowdy crew as she handed out a few of her new drink menus and activated her Quick-Quotes Quill. "What will you all have this round? How did you like the Mad-Eye Moody, Luna? Want another?"
Luna nodded dreamily. "I really enjoyed the mint and liquorice combination. I'd like to try a Dementor's Kiss now, please, Hannah, so I can compare the two."
Harry couldn't suppress a shudder. "Ugh. I'm not against trying new things, but that's one mixed drink I'm going to take a pass on." Ron and Neville voiced their agreement.
The blonde Ravenclaw smiled at him. "Perhaps you should concoct a new drink yourself, Harry, and call it 'The Patronus.'"
Harry pushed up his glasses and grinned. "Now that's an idea," he agreed. "Right now, however, I'll take another Firewhisky."
Hannah's Quill scribbled down everyone's requests: Firewhisky for Harry, more beer for Ron and Millicent, a Dementor's Kiss for Luna, a Flying Dragon for Malfoy, and Dolohov Cocktails for Susan and Hermione. Justin, Rolf, and Neville all decided to try Manhattans. "Make sure the cherries have stems," added Justin, leering at Susan, who laughed. Hermione threw a balled-up cocktail napkin at him as Malfoy snorted.
Before heading to the bar, Hannah said, "It's funny that Luna suggested creating a new drink to Harry, actually, because I'm holding a contest. There will be a prize for the person who can create the best autumnal-flavored mixed drink for the Leaky Cauldron to add to its menu. I want something that will really grab customers' attention." She winked at Hermione and shot a look at Malfoy. "You have some good potioneers here in your group. Maybe you should join in the fun. The details are on the back of the menu. I'll be right back with your orders." She bustled away, her tray floating behind her, full of their empties.
Interest piqued, Hermione turned over the drink menu she was holding and read aloud:
DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO CREATE A COCKTAIL?
Enter the Leaky Cauldron's Autumnal Equinox Drink-quinox Contest!
Concoct an autumnal mixed drink of your own devising,
Give it a name,
Come to the Cauldron on the evening of September 21,
Present it to the judges for a taste test!
The winning drink will be added to the Leaky Cauldron's menu
10% of the proceeds from its sales for the next year will go
to the creator's favorite charity.
(Judges: Minister for Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt, Daily Prophet reporter Rita Skeeter, and your favorite bartender, Hannah Abbott)
"Oh, that sounds like fun! Let's do it," she exclaimed once she'd finished. "If we win, we can donate the proceeds to the Werewolf Support Services."
Her Creature Keeper co-workers nodded enthusiastically, but the Aurors all shook their heads.
"No," said Neville. "That's a good cause, but we should donate to the War Orphans Fund. They are much more in need. We've seen first-hand how many of them need help." Malfoy, Ron, Harry, and Susan agreed.
Millicent groused, "A lot more people help the orphans than they do the werewolves."
"That's because there are a lot more orphans!" Neville shot back.
Hermione sighed. "They are both worthy candidates." She tapped a finger against her lips as she mused. "Well then, our departments will just have to enter separately. If the Aurors win, their charity gets the prize money, and if we Creature Keepers are victorious, the Werewolf Support Services get an influx of funds. Is that all right with everyone?"
There was a chorus of agreement from around the table.
"I nominate Malfoy to be our department's inventor," said Ron, pointing at their Potions expert. "He knows all about potions, plus he's the fruity drink fan in our group. He'll come up with a winner for sure."
"I second that!" said Susan. The other Aurors all quickly agreed.
Malfoy rolled his eyes over the "fruity" comment but nodded once at Ron, accepting the role.
"Don't get too comfortable in the winner's circle yet, Aurors," Millicent said. She indicated Hermione with a nudge of her chin. "We have Granger, and she was top Potions student at school." She elbowed Malfoy, who was sitting next to her. "Better than Draco here."
Malfoy scoffed, "That may be true on an academic level, but I have three years practical experience. What does the bushy-haired bookworm say to that?"
Hermione bristled. "She says 'I have parents who were well-versed in social functions, who taught me all sorts of things about mixing drinks and flavors and so forth.' Game on, Malfoy!" Her brown eyes snapped at him as she spoke. He broke into a maddening smirk and had the gall to wink at her.
Hannah delivered their order right at that moment, preventing Hermione from retorting. Neville told her their plan and told her to consider both departments as entrants in the contest. Hannah was thrilled and gave him a huge hug, squishing his face into her bosom. When Neville came out for air, he was pink-faced and grinning like a fool. Hannah was pink in the cheeks too, and the men whistled and ribbed Neville as she walked away to take more orders.
Hermione rose from her seat. "Excuse me, folks. I'm going to go freshen up. Luna, make sure no one touches my drink, okay?"
Luna nodded. "I'll make sure the nargles stay away from it."
Susan stood up and said, "I'll go with you, Hermione."
Ron rolled his eyes. "What about the rest of you ladies? Don't you all 'freshen up' in one big gaggle of girls?"
Millicent looked at him. "Weasley, are you dating anyone right now?"
Ron shook his head, eying Millicent appraisingly with a lopsided grin on his face. "Nope, I've been single for a while."
Millie nodded. "With comments like that one, I figured as much." She took a swig from her pint to a chorus of guffaws.
Ron scowled as he raised his own mug and drank deeply, but Hermione, chuckling, gave him a quick hug around the shoulders before leading the way to the hallway that led to the bathrooms.
* A&E—D&H—A&E—D&H—A&E *
A few minutes later, the two women stepped out of the ladies' room to find Malfoy, arms crossed, leaning against the wall.
"What is this, Malfoy, do you get your jollies from listening at ladies' room doors?" Hermione huffed.
His expression was serious. "Granger, I'd like to speak to you privately."
Susan glanced at Hermione, shrugged, and left the two of them behind in the hallway as she went back to the table. She looked back once before turning into the main room, and Hermione thought she saw a smile flit across Susan's face. Puzzled, she filed that away to analyze later.
She was now alone with Malfoy. Looking up into his grey eyes, she realized two things simultaneously: the first being just how tall he was now – the top of her head came just to his lips (oh, and what luscious-looking lips they were!) – and the second, that this was quite possibly the first time in their lives they were alone together. Anything could happen in this passage, right now, and no one would know. The thought sent a flash of heat sizzling through her lower belly. Get a grip, Hermione. He's not interested. Trying to remain composed, she crossed her own arms across her chest and leaned against the opposite wall, facing Malfoy.
"What is it, Malfoy? Need cocktail ideas already?"
Malfoy smiled, a predatory baring of teeth in the dim light of the hall.
"No," he said. "I want to propose a wager, just between us."
"A bet? Involving what?" Hermione was curious. "The drinks contest?"
Malfoy nodded. "Yes, Granger, the drinks contest. Our friends and colleagues seem to consider us the best, but I'd like to know who the better 'potion maker' is of the two of us. I think it is me. I'm betting that, even if neither of us wins the contest, my drink will be more popular with the judges than yours."
Hermione scoffed as she considered him, eyes narrowed. "What are the stakes?"
Malfoy pushed off from the wall he'd been lounging against and in two steps was leaning over her. His hands came up to rest against the wall on either side of her head, effectively caging her in. Her breath caught as her heart rate sped up. Bending forward, he lowered his mouth so he just barely brushed her earlobe, his warm breath caressing her skin. This close to him, Hermione could smell his pure Draco-ness. Masculine, musky, with a hint of apple and vanilla, and his scent made her mind reel. She instinctively turned into him so her nose brushed his collar, and she could barely focus on what he was whispering in her ear.
"If I win," he murmured, "you will accompany me to the Ministry's Halloween Charity Masquerade." She felt his lips curve against her ear in a smirk. "I never got the chance to dance with you at the Yule Ball, Fourth Year, and I'd like to rectify that omission."
Hermione's breath caught. Why would he make such a wager with her, his biggest antagonist? Merlin's pants, he's asking me out! She felt light-headed, overwhelmed by her racing thoughts and the closeness of this man she'd been lusting after for the past year. Just what did this mean? What is this Slytherin serpent playing at?
Embracing her courage, she replied, "I'll take that bet, Malfoy." She turned her head so that their lips were almost touching. "If you win, I will be your guest at the Halloween Masquerade. But if I win, you must prepare and take me on a picnic in a secluded and scenic place, complete with a blanket, some wine and a light lunch for both of us."
His smirk widened. "Agreed."
He pressed his lips to hers, so swiftly she almost missed it, and then stepped away from her. "There'll be no backing out now, Granger. It's been sealed with a kiss."
He turned and started down the hall. "May the best potioneer win. Game on, Hermione." With that, he was around the corner and gone.
Hermione, her lips tingling, stood there unmoving for several minutes. He used my first name, and he kissed me. Is he really attracted to me, after all, or is he just trying to unsettle me?
It wasn't until Harry came looking for her that she regained her senses. He told her Malfoy had paid his part of the tab and then had Disapparated home. Had something bad happened between them?
She shook her head and assured him all was well. Accepting her word, Harry led the way back to the table where they proceeded to finish their drinks. The lively group of friends spent the rest of the time dreaming up silly names for the as-yet-uncreated cocktails. Hermione joined in the fun, but in her head wheels were spinning, ceaselessly churning over her hallway encounter with Malfoy. The genesis of an idea for a tasty drink was forming in her mind, and she couldn't wait to flesh it out.
* A&E—D&H—A&E—D&H—A&E *
The Leaky Cauldron, Friday, 21 September 2001
Word of the Equinox Drink-quinox contest had spread through the wizarding community, thanks to word of mouth and ads in the Daily Prophet. The fact that two of the judges were the very popular Minister for Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and widely-read news reporter Rita Skeeter helped draw a crowd of young and old alike, all hoping to possibly shake a hand or be quoted in the paper. Consequently, the pub was packed to the gills on this eve of the autumnal equinox.
There were twelve contestants in all. Bill Weasley was there on behalf of Gringotts, Lee Jordan was there for Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, and most of the others were also representing businesses or institutions. A curtain had been hung across the back area of the pub with the tables arranged in one long line. The contestants were all hidden behind it, empty glasses in front of them and supplies for mixing their drinks at the ready. Everyone had had to bring their own ingredients, since Hannah didn't want to limit them to what the Leaky Cauldron had on hand. They would be given a few minutes to mix their concoctions, and then the curtains would be pulled back and the judging would commence.
Hermione and Malfoy were stationed next to each other, at the far end of the line. In honor of the occasion, she'd changed out of her work robes at the office and she was now wearing a brown satin cocktail dress. It left one shoulder bare and was gathered at the bust, wrapped tightly around her waist, and flared out again in a flirty little skirt. She felt very autumnal and quite fetching to boot.
Most of the people there were wearing seasonal colors, including oranges, russets, browns, and reds. Glancing sidelong at Malfoy, Hermione stifled a chuckle as she took in his dark green dress robes. She couldn't resist leaning over and whispering, "Malfoy, you are the only one here wearing green tonight. Don't you feel silly?"
He sniffed disdainfully, giving the rest of the contestants a cursory glance before turning his grey eyes onto her. "Silly? Hardly," he replied. "I am as autumnal in my attire as the rest of you. Haven't you ever seen an evergreen, Granger?"
Hermione gave a little groan and rolled her eyes, shaking her head at his snark.
He looked her up and down appraisingly. "You clean up well, Granger, once you leave those work robes behind." She bristled, but was startled out of her ire when she met his gaze and saw heat in its pewter depths. A sincere smile spread slowly across his face. "You look lovely," he said. "If you keep wearing dresses like that, I'll be the most-envied man attending the Halloween Masquerade."
"Thank you, Malfoy, but I hardly think a cocktail dress will be the thing to wear on the picnic you'll be preparing for me," she answered tartly, before busying herself with her drink components. She had already arranged them neatly in front of her, but she moved them around on the table to give her hands something to do. Beside her, Malfoy laughed. She ignored him.
Hermione picked up the place card in front of her spot and, with her wand, magically wrote her drink's name on it: "Eve's Appletini Twist". Following up on the idea she'd had a month ago, she had chosen apple as her main flavor for several reasons. First, she liked it a great deal herself, having consumed much cider over the last few years. She also thought it would appeal to men more than other "fruity drinks", as Ron called them, which might earn her points in the judging. However, her main reason for selecting apple was because she knew Malfoy liked the fruit, green apples in particular, having seen him eat them all the time in school. Her cheeks colored slightly as she remembered how she had learned that he even smelled of apple during their hallway conversation.
As for the name, the letter "E" in Eve was meant to represent the equinox, and the "twist" in her drink was the addition of a Fizzing Whizbee just as the cocktail was served, allowing it to fizz and foam and tingle on the tongue. The magical sweet would cause the imbiber to float a few inches out of his chair, providing (she hoped) harmless fun.
The bright green sour apple schnapps, clear vodka, and the clear, light brown apple juice were all measured out into shot glasses, and the apple slice garnish (charmed not to turn brown) and the wrapped Fizzing Whizbee were at the ready. She took a peek at Malfoy's area, trying to figure out what he planned to make. He was busily inscribing his own drink's name on his card and didn't seem to notice her looking.
His ingredients were arranged neatly in shot glasses next to hers, ready to be mixed together. He also had three full shot glasses, containing what looked like coffee liqueur, a clear, light brown liquid she couldn't readily identify, and, of all things, milk. Beside these there was a small bottle with an eyedropper which held a pink fluid of some kind; the label faced away from her so she couldn't read it. Finally, he had a small jar of maraschino cherries, presumably for garnish.
Having finished recording his drink's name: "Adam's Sinful Kiss", Malfoy positioned the place card and smirked at Hermione's inquisitive stare. "The 'A' in Adam is for 'autumnal', but I'm afraid the rest of my entry will remain a mystery to you for now, Granger." He lifted an eyebrow when he saw the name of her cocktail. "'Eve', eh? Now people are going to think we are working together." He winked.
"Did someone tell you the name of my drink, Malfoy?" she griped, suspicious at the similarity between the two monikers.
He turned wide, innocent eyes on her. "Granger! What do you take me for; a conniving cad? Don't answer that," he finished, as she opened her mouth to speak. He nudged her in an almost-friendly way with his elbow, and remained standing close to her. Her skin tingled at his proximity.
From the other side of the curtain, they heard Hannah start to speak. She thanked everyone for coming and hoped they were all as excited as she was to see what the contestants had created. "There are so many drinks; I hope we judges can stay sober enough to make our decision. Don't worry, folks, we will use straws. Hygiene is important!" she said to laughter and cheers.
"Let's get started, then. Contestants, are you ready? You will have just three minutes to put together your drinks before we draw back the curtain and start tasting. Speed is a factor in bartending, you know. On the count of three: one … two … three!"
The mixing commenced. Out of the corner of her eye, Hermione could see that Malfoy had been practicing his bartending skills at home. Concentrating on her own work but also trying to watch him surreptitiously, she poured her vodka and schnapps without any problem, but then halted. Malfoy had combined his coffee liqueur and milk to create a rich, creamy-colored liquid, and had picked up the small bottle, giving her the chance to read its label. She grabbed his arm.
"Kissing Concoction?" she hissed at him. "What are you playing at?"
Malfoy looked at her hand, then at her. "I'm mixing an Adam's Sinful Kiss, Granger. What do you think I'm doing," he drawled.
"You are putting a Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes love potion in your cocktail," Hermione squeaked. "That will make everyone smitten with you!"
Draco shook his head, smugness emanating from him. "If you had bothered to learn more about the Weasleys' love potions, you'd know that this particular one simply causes the consumer to want to kiss someone. It is a fun, flirtatious addition to my drink, to make it live up to its name, if you will."
Hermione stared at him, worry rising in her chest, the contest momentarily forgotten. Her insecurity flaring, she asked in a small voice, "Did someone slip you some of that a month ago?"
Malfoy looked genuinely confused. "What do you mean?"
"Is that why you kissed me? That has to be the reason. I thought maybe... but of course, you wouldn't do it voluntarily, would you? I saw Susan smiling as she left us, I bet she did it, or maybe it was Millicent. Is that how you got the idea to use it in the contest?"
The whispered words were tumbling out of Hermione's mouth at a furious pace, her dashed hopes that he was genuinely attracted to her making her voice catch. She felt humiliated, her eyes brimming with angry tears.
Putting down the potion, Malfoy said nothing but instead grabbed her by the arms and pulled her into him, his mouth capturing hers in a deep, hungry kiss. He held her tightly against his body, one arm wrapped snugly around her waist. He teased and nipped at her mouth with his lips, his tongue demanding entrance, and Hermione, stunned, gave in to him utterly. She allowed their tongues to tangle and taste each other as she clutched his robes and leaned into his embrace.
After endless moments, Malfoy pulled away from her, slowly. His molten silver eyes bore into hers. In a low, seductive voice he said, "I kissed you a month ago because I've damn well wanted to kiss you for years, but hadn't managed to get past your ever-present friends-slash-bodyguards until then. I also wanted to kiss you just now. In fact, I want to snog you senseless. I want to kiss and taste you all over. I want to make love to you for hours. No potion has ever, ever, been a factor in my wanting you, Hermione. It's you being you that pulls at me." His eyes roved over her face. "Can you believe me?"
Looking up at him, she saw fierce determination. He meant it; he was telling the truth about wanting her. Sagging slightly in relief, she nodded at him. "Yes, I do believe you," she said, and then finally confessed, "I've wanted you for a long time, too, Malfoy."
Malfoy relaxed, his face perking up at her words. He smiled. "Let's finish our drinks, win this contest, and go somewhere more private so we can talk. Or something. All right, Granger?"
"Talking, or something, is an excellent idea," she replied. Dazed, she turned to the table with his arm still around her waist, and picked up the nearest full shot glass. She happily dumped it into her half-made cocktail.
She realized she'd made a mistake when the scent of butterscotch reached her. Chagrined, she sniffed the glass in her hand. Butterscotch schnapps? This was Mal… Draco's shot, not hers! Sure enough, the shot glass of apple juice, identical in color to the schnapps, remained on the table.
"Oh Merlin," she gasped. "Draco, I took the wrong shot! I'm so sorry," she stammered.
Malfoy glanced at her when she said his name, a small grin on his face. He was surprisingly calm considering she'd ruined both of their contest entries. He just stood there, looking at her drink glass, and then picked it up, along with a straw. Taking a sip, he rolled it around in his mouth thoughtfully.
Hermione glanced at the clock on the wall, chewing her lower lip. Oh no, we only have…
"Thirty seconds left, people!" called Hannah at that same moment.
Hermione gave a little moan. Malfoy swallowed and then murmured, "Oh, this is good. The butterscotch and apple schnapps mixed together taste like a caramel apple. Try it."
She did as he bade and was pleasantly surprised. It was delicious! Her eyes lit up. She put the glass down and carefully attached the apple slice to the rim. "Thank the Founders. We will do this together after all, agreed?"
Malfoy smirked. "Absolutely," he said.
"Okay. Quick, change the name on the card," she ordered. "Can you combine our two names into one?" She reached for the jar of cherries and extracted two with long stems, waving her wand over them.
Snorting in mock indignation, he brandished his own wand and rewrote the drink's name. He held it out for her to read: "Adam and Eve's Forbidden Fruitini."
"Brilliant," she breathed, and then showed him what she'd done with the cherries. Their stems were both knotted – to each other. He snickered appreciatively when he saw them.
With a grin, she hung the cherries on the edge of the glass opposite the apple slice garnish, just as Hannah called, "Time!"
Draco tugged Hermione close to him again. As the curtain opened, the entire bar was treated to a view of Auror Malfoy snogging the daylights out of Creature Keeper Granger.
"Oh my," said Luna, over the din of cheering attendees. "It looks like the nargles got into Hermione's drink after all."
* A&E—D&H—A&E—D&H—A&E *
Somewhere in the Caribbean, Thursday, 1 November 2001
The sand was warm and white, the ocean was a perfect blue, and the sky was cloudless. Masks and costumes (one of a pirate, the other of a sexy barmaid) were scattered carelessly around the beach. It appeared that a picnic lunch, complete with plenty of wine, had recently been consumed with gusto.
Draco and Hermione lay naked together on a blanket, protected from the sun's rays with Sunscreen Charms, drowsing in post-coital bliss. Hermione rolled and sat up to face him, one hand playing with his sweat-dampened hair.
"Thank you for the lovely picnic," she said.
Draco grinned like the Cheshire cat, eyes closed. "If what we just did is your way of thanking me, we will be picnicking again tonight, sweetness."
Hermione laughed. "You outdid yourself. Showing you my appreciation was the least I could do."
Opening one eye to look at her, Draco replied, "Yes, well, you did accompany me to the Halloween Masquerade last night, as agreed. I had to hold up my end of the bet, didn't I?" He closed his eye again.
"Yes, you did. I'd have badgered you about it until you gave in, so I'm happy you paid up so quickly," she agreed. "I'm glad we won the Drink-quinox contest as a team," she continued, drawing patterns with her fingers on Draco's chest. "It has been so much more fun."
Draco grunted his agreement. Stretching under her touch, his hand reached to pull her down against him. He began stroking her back.
"This truly is paradise, Draco," she sighed, arching against him. "It's too bad we will be thrown out soon by the man in charge."
Draco stopped rubbing her back and looked at her. "What are you talking about? I own this island."
"Yes, but Adam and Eve were thrown out of paradise – the Garden of Eden - for eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge," Hermione said in her know-it-all voice, moving away from him towards the picnic basket to tidy up.
Draco chuffed out a laugh and closed his eyes again. "Thank you for comparing me to a god, my lovely, but we are safe. We haven't eaten the forbidden fruit."
Suddenly, he felt Hermione straddle him and something brushed his lips. Smirking, he opened his mouth, eyes still closed, expecting to taste Hermione's warm skin. Instead, his mouth was filled with juicy sweetness. Instinctively, he bit down, tasting tart green apple and sweet cherry.
Opening his eyes yet again, he found himself staring into Hermione's brown ones. She was smiling, holding both an apple slice and a cherry carefully between her teeth. Using his own teeth and tongue, he claimed the fruit from her and made quick work of it.
Smacking his lips, he kissed her hard.
"Now you've done it, sinful woman," he muttered against her mouth. "We'll be ostracized for sure."
"Oops," she said carelessly as she kissed him back, and then shrugged. "Maybe I can convince the all-powerful landlord into letting us stay."
Pulling himself up so he could reach her better, he began nibbling her neck. "You'd better start persuading, then," he remarked.
Hermione proceeded to do just that.
In 2001, the official Autumnal Equinox was on September 22.
I only drink mixed drinks, I don't mix them. I know absolutely nothing about the finer details of making a good cocktail. Shaking, blending, stirring, etc. are all mostly a blank spot on the map of my skills. Therefore, I've probably quite inaccurately portrayed the procedure for mixing cocktails. Please love me anyway.
Cocktails Mentioned in This Story:
The drinks in this story are all based on real-life cocktail recipes I found on the internet. For fun, I've included the recipes below; the Fizzing Whizbees, Kissing Concoction, and knotted cherry garnish are my own additions to the drinks to make them more magical.
The effects of the Kissing Concoction are made up for this fic. It is a WWW love potion, but JKR doesn't say exactly what it does to the consumer. I made a guess based on the name.
The cocktails are listed by their fictional names, with their actual names beside them in parentheses.
I haven't tried a single one of these except for the Appletini, which is super-yummy. I'd be curious to know how they are, so if you try one, please let me know what you think!
The Dolohov Cocktail (Russian Front)
1 oz. of Peach Schnapps
1 oz. of Vodka
1 oz. of Raspberry Cordial
2 oz. Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry for garnish
The Dementor's Kiss ( London Fog)
1 oz. of White Creme de Menthe
1 oz. of Anisette
3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
Flying Dragon (Dragonfly)
1 1/2 oz. Gin
4 oz. Ginger Ale
1 lime wedge
The Mad-Eye Moody (Glad Eye)
1 oz. of Pastis
1 oz. of Green Creme de Menthe
The "Equinox Drink-quinox" Contest Entries:
HG – Eve's Appletini Twist (Appletini)
1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Sour Apple Schnapps
Fizzing Whizbee (which makes it bubble)
1 apple slice for garnish
DM – Adam's Sinful Kiss (Butter Chocolate Bliss)
1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
1 oz Coffee Liqueur
2 oz (chilled) Milk
1 drop Kissing Concoction (sold by WWW)
1 cherry, as garnish
DM & HG's combined cocktail - Adam & Eve's Forbidden Fruitini (Caramel Apple Funtini)
1 oz vodka
1 oz Sour Apple schnapps
1 oz Butterscotch schnapps
Apple slice and two cherries, stems knotted, as garnish