Secret Romantic

After seven years of enmity, three years of nothing and two years of sharing an office (during which they became friends and he fell madly in love with her) Draco Malfoy finally kissed Hermione Granger.

It wasn't the grand, romantic affair he'd imagined so many times (not that he would ever admit to such thoughts). Instead of elegant evening attire, they both wore jeans and jumpers. There was no starlit night, no garden fragrant with roses, no sparkling water fountain. There wasn't even an ocean crashing against the shore or an unexpected summer storm.

In fact, the only water present flowed from the kitchen sink as Hermione rinsed their plates. For the first time, he'd visited her flat for a reason other than work-related research. They'd just finished a spaghetti dinner and were about to watch an old, American movie called "Some Like It Hot."

"It's hilarious," Hermione said. "Trust me."

And then she handed Draco a wet plate.

He took it, confused, unsure what she meant for him to do. He held the plate, letting it drip onto his shoes and wondering if this might have something to do with doing dishes. He'd heard that phrase before (as well as doing laundry) but he wasn't exactly sure what it meant or what Hermione expected of him. So when she handed him another plate, he took it, too, and held it against the first one and waited for illumination.

Hermione stared up at him with a wry smile, and Draco felt himself flush. Without a word, she took one of the plates and wiped it dry with a white towel embroidered with blue birds. Then she set it in a little rack (cunningly designed to hold dishes separate and upright) before handing Draco the towel. He dried the other plate, raising one eyebrow when the china squeaked at him, and set it in the clever rack as well. He then proceeded to do dishes - drying forks, knives, spoons, a bowl, a useless-looking bowl with holes in it, and two objects he suspected were a pot and a pan. Either that, or a pan and a pot.

Dish-doing was not a grand, romantic affair, but as Draco stood beside Hermione, he couldn't help but be enchanted by the lamplight on her curly hair, the perfume of soap on her skin and her delicate hands, transparently gloved in water.

Thank God, he was an Occlumens. Social disaster would ensue if Zabini, much less Parkinson, ever learned about his hidden romantic streak or the fact that Hermione Granger had made him blush or that he'd wiped her dishes with a towel. They'd called Nott "Theodora Pussywillow" and sent him knickers via owl for a year for far, far lesser crimes of sentiment.

When Draco placed the last, dry spoon in its ingenious spoon holder, he gazed down at Hermione with a smile. He expected gratitude and high praise.

Instead, her dark eyes sparkling, she called him a house-elf.

A house-elf?

Her teasing accomplished what eighteen months of unspoken desire, fierce longing and cowardice had not. It pushed Draco into taking a chance. From this moment on, everything between them would change. It would either be wonderful, or it would be ruined.

His heart thundering with fear and excitement, Draco lifted Hermione by her waist and set her on top of the countertop beside the kitchen sink. She gasped as he placed his hands on her knees, pushed her legs apart and stepped between her thighs. As his erection pressed against her jeans, a surge of dangerously addictive pleasure swept through Draco. There was no turning back. He leaned forward, risking friendship and pride, and felt Hermione's legs wrap around his hips and her arms wrap around his shoulders. He was smiling when her soft lips touched his.

There was no starlit night, no garden fragrant with roses, no sparkling water fountain. There was a kitchen sink, well-dried dishes and a Muggle refridgeramator covered with little sculptures of vegetables with eyeballs. But as Draco held Hermione close and kissed her passionately, he couldn't imagine a more romantic place in the entire world.

Not that he would ever admit to such thoughts.


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