Disclaimer: In its use of intellectual property and characters belonging to JK Rowling, Warner Bros, Bloomsbury Publishing, et cetera, this work of fiction is intended to be transformative commentary on the original. No profit is being made from this work.
Draco woke up with a pounding headache and an aching back. He had a distinctly vague recollection of mass amounts of alcohol, a letter, and watching the fire in his study. Yesterday had been "one of those days," the kind that ended in a drunken stumble to his bedroom and regret at letting himself remember, so he wasn't surprised that he had a hangover. It would be easy to have one of the house elves concoct a hangover potion for him, but there were some mornings when he didn't want it. In some small corner of his mind, he knew that if he punished himself for selflessly giving in, maybe it wouldn't happen again. It never worked.
He grabbed his wand off the bedside table and his robe from the chair in front of the fireplace. It was made of black silk, the Malfoy crest embroidered over the left breast, and it felt like heaven. He slipped his wand into the pocket, but left the robe to hang open. It wasn't like there was anyone around to see his bare chest and pajama bottoms anyway, he thought bitterly. The Manor was empty save for him.
When he reached his study, it was to find the fire stoked and a tray on his desk with the hangover potion he refused to take, tea, his breakfast, and that day's edition of the Daily Prophet. So the elves knew what he had been up to last night. Not hard when he had left two empty bottles of Ogden's Finest sitting on the table next to his favorite chair. They were gone now, which meant that one of the elves had cleaned his study.
Walking over to his desk, he popped a slice of banana into his mouth as he tried to puzzle over the fuzzy parts that were his memories of the previous night. He remembered being at the Ministry for work and seeing her there. She was everywhere, really. It surprised him, what with all the talk of the upcoming wedding, he figured she'd be out finishing up the planning. Merlin knew how organized she could be, to the point of obsession.
He'd found out about the wedding that day, and once he knew, he couldn't avoid it. It seemed that everyone at the Ministry was talking about it. Between that and seeing her every time he turned around, he had thrown himself headlong into his work. He stayed late working on finishing up paperwork and taken an afterhours meeting simply to distract him from her constant presence. By the time he'd gotten home, he'd headed straight into his study with barked orders to the head house elf, Bitzey, that he not be disturbed for the remainder of the evening. Then things started to get a little blurry.
He felt like he'd always known something would get in their way, that their relationship just wouldn't survive. Keeping things hidden certainly didn't help, but he didn't think that would have been their downfall. She may be insufferable, but she is the most headstrong woman he'd ever met, and he never thought she'd give up so easily. Then again, he never thought she'd be getting married less than a year later, but that should be none of his concern. She should be none of his concern.
He remembered drinking and staring into the fire. That wasn't any different than what he'd done half of the nights since she'd left. No, it was the vague memory of writing a letter to her that was stumping him now, especially since this supposed letter wasn't on his desk anymore. After all this time, what could he possibly have to say to her? If he had written the letter (and he wasn't even sure that he had), he was sure he wouldn't have been stupid enough to send it. He probably just burned it in the fire, like he wanted to with all his other memories of her.
With that settled in his mind, he picked up the Daily Prophet and his cup of tea, settling in for his breakfast. He had hours before he was expected anywhere. It was a picture of him standing behind his desk, tea cup in one hand and the Prophet held up to his face, that Hermione Granger stormed into. Her eyes were blazing, she was breathing hard, and Blitzey was following at her heels, trying to offer her a cup of tea, admonish her for breaking in on Master, and apologizing to Master for the intrusion all in the same breath. He blinked a few times at her over the top of the paper, utterly shocked. He hadn't even felt the wards activate.
He noticed that she was flushed and breathing heavily. She looked livid.
"Draco Malfoy, how dare you," she seethed. He only blinked at her, and this seemed to make her even more upset. "How dare you presume that I even want to speak to you ever again!"
"What the devil are you on about, woman?"
"ARGH!" she screamed quite loudly, causing him to flinch and reach for the hangover potion. It would appear that he would need to have his wits about him with this witch in his house, on the rampage.
"This, Malfoy! What the fuck is this?!" she yelled, holding up her fist. His stomach dropped when he saw the parchment clenched in her hand.
"Oh, bloody hell..." He was an idiot. He closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose and hoping that the hangover potion would hurry up and do its job already.
"Did you really think that this would change anything?" she demanded, her voice rising in pitch with each syllable.
It was all flooding back to him as the hangover potion took effect. He could remember writing the two sentences clearly, sending his owl out in the middle of the night. He should be thanking Merlin that she had waited until morning before storming in and ruining his day, week, month, year.
It was then he noticed the deep red dress she had on, pins sticking out at regular intervals along the sides. He assumed it would be breathtaking once it had been altered to fit, but right now, with her chest heaving the way it was, he was more worried about the whole thing falling apart. Much as he'd like to see that, he was wise enough to realize that it wasn't the best thing for either of them in that moment.
"What's with the dress?" He blurted this out before he could even think about stopping himself, and he mentally chided himself for distracting her from her anger. He knew she hated that.
"If you must know, I was at a fitting for the wedding. Your owl interrupted the seamstress and ripped the wedding dress. It's a mess," she bit out, obviously blaming him for his owl's misbehaviors.
"Pity about the dress," he muttered, and it was obvious to both of them that he didn't mean it. He immediately regretted it when he saw her building back up to the rage she'd felt only moments before.
"This is entirely inappropriate and must stop, Malfoy. I can't take it anymore," she said, balling up the letter and throwing it onto the desk in front of him. He dropped the Prophet and scooped up the letter with lightning fast reflexes, causing her to jump slightly. She'd always been taken off guard with his Seeker-like reflexes and though he never told her, he always secretly liked catching her off guard.
With her senses brought back to her, she gave Draco a scathing look and spun around, whisking herself out the door. He looked down at the two sentences, written a little sloppily in his own handwriting, and he winced. He really was an idiot.
Call off the wedding. I'm not done with you.
Only drunk could he have thought this would work. She'd proven to him time and again that she did not respond at all well to being told what to do by anyone, let alone him. He found a perverse pleasure in the fact that her wedding dress was ruined, but there was a niggling at the back of his mind. What dress was she wearing, if not the dress?
He Apparated to the front door and managed to put himself directly in front of her as she stormed through the foyer. She squeaked, momentarily taken aback, before trying to shift her path around him. Lightning fast, he grabbed her wrist and pulled her around and towards him, hauling her into the first floor sitting room.
"What's with the red dress, Granger?" he snarled, tightening his grip on her wrist. When she didn't answer quickly enough, he leaned in closer to her, causing her to flinch, and asked again, a warning tone to his voice. "I asked you what the dress is about."
"It's for the wedding, now can you please let me go? I'd like to leave and never come back."
"No, Granger, I don't think I'll be letting you go until you explain to me what's going on, exactly."
"I'm sure you're not threatening me, Malfoy, because I can assure you that it won't work. There's absolutely nothing you can say that can make me change my mind about you," she said, looking over his shoulder to the wall behind him. He smirked at her, feeling genuine amusement at her words.
"Now we both know that's not true, love," he whispered, his voice gliding over her like the silk of her dress. He watched as her eyes squeezed shut and she fought to breathe normally. When the flush in her cheeks started to fade, her eyes open and focused back on him, the blaze back in them, but she didn't say anything. And then it dawned on him.
"You little minx! It's not your wedding!" He threw her hand away from him and crossed the room, needing to be as far from her as he could get. "You let me believe it was your wedding! Tell me, were you trying to make me jealous?"
She gave him a wry grin. "Whether I was or not, appears to have worked."
He let out a quiet scream and felt a grim sense of satisfaction at her flinch when he threw a glass vase against the wall. He listened as the glass tinkered its way along the floor. It brought back memories of the last time they had been in this room, their last fight, the last vase he had broken against that wall. Some things just never changed.
"Malfoy... It doesn't matter. It's Harry and Ginny's wedding, but that doesn't change anything," she told him, looking tired and defeated. He decided he didn't like it, it didn't suit her. But he caused that, he did that. For what seemed like the millionth time that day, he was reminded of what an idiot he was.
"No, it changes everything," he replied with conviction.
He was halfway across the room before he was even aware that he'd decided to move. It took him a few scant seconds to cross the entire sitting room and crowd her. In that deep down place, the part of him that only she had ever known, he was pleased when her eyes widened too late and she took a few steps backwards. He watched in satisfaction as she backed into the wall and tried to push herself through it. He stepped right up to her, the air pushing her hair back with the speed of his movements. Her eyes flashed, but not in fear. He was fairly certain it was determination.
With all the fluid and grace that was bred into him, he swooped down and captured her lips with his as he slammed his hands against the wall on either side of her, trapping her against him. He was disappointed that she didn't put up much of a fight, but pleased when she kissed him back in that way that made him breathless and thoughtless. She caught the material of his shirt in her fists, tugging at it as he ran his tongue across her bottom lip roughly. She hesitated for a moment and he rocked his hips into her, knowing what that did to her. Her mouth opened and he let out a groan as he felt her breath invade his mouth, hot and wet.
As he tried to slip his tongue into her mouth, she pushed back hard on his chest. To say he was caught off guard would be an understatement, and he bit his tongue as he staggered backwards. She was breathing heavily, her skin flushed and her eyes wide. She looked positively livid and he felt his breath catch at the look on her face. Her anger never failed to turn him on and he cursed himself at his reaction to it this time.
"You can't do that," she said, and he felt a stirring within him at the way she could barely talk between the gulps of air she was taking in. He noticed that her lips were swollen and red, and the stirring continued without any regard to the situation he was in.
"I know. You think I don't know that?" he bit out, and his lips were swollen, too. His body rocked towards her and he had to fight the urge to close the gap again. Her eyes widened, and she turned on the spot, blasting straight through his wards as she Apparated through them with a loud pop.
He let out a groan of frustration and stalked back to his study, intent on finding a new bottle of Ogden's and shutting himself away for the day. He wasn't going to get any work done.
Ginny Weasley was done. With her dress, her seamstress, her fiancé, her best friend. But especially with the directions that had been dropped off to her the previous night via owl. She didn't recognize the owl or the handwriting, but it had seemed important, and so the morning had found her trampling through Muggle London with only a piss-poor set of directions to guide her.
The fights to get what she wanted – the cake, the flowers, the dress – were tiring, but expected. That bloody owl, though, ruining the dress right after she had convinced her mother to let her wear it. She could kill that bloody bird.
She rounded the corner, counting the doors as she walked. She had no clue where she was headed or who she was meeting, but she knew it had something to do with her wedding and she'd be damned if she let another thing go wrong. She'd let too much slip out of her control and she was taking it back, once and for all. She was going to get what she wanted, and that was that – her mother be damned. She entered the fourth building through the unmarked, cream colored door.
Having not expected all the lavish furnishings inside, she stopped short in the doorway. She hadn't spent much time in Muggle London, but she knew that it typically didn't look like this. There was a very well dressed woman waiting in the middle of the room who jumped to action the moment Ginny walked in. She was divested of her coat in mere seconds, handed a glass of what might have been champagne, though she wasn't sure, and ushered into one of the side rooms. She barely had time to thank the woman before she was backing out of the room and closing the door behind her, leaving a very flustered and blustering Ginny behind.
She let out a huff, beginning to feel outraged at the lack of respect. Who were these people and how dare they treat her like this?! She breathed in deeply and squared her shoulders, prepared to yell through the closed door to that rude woman when she heard the sound of a throat being cleared.
She spun around toward the sound and choked on a gasp at the sight of Draco Malfoy standing next to a mannequin that was wearing the most beautiful wedding dress she'd ever seen. The absolute ridiculousness of the situation froze her, and she didn't know what to react to first. For his part, Malfoy just stood there with an amused smirk on his face.
"Merlin, Malfoy, you scared the bullocks out of me. What the bloody hell is going on?" she asked, fully ignoring his raised eyebrow at her awkward choice of words.
"I heard that my owl ruined your wedding dress last week. You're here so I can apologize," he replied, trying not to laugh at the incredulous look on her face.
"Apologize? You?" she managed to choke out. She felt gob smacked. What an odd week she was having. It took her a few moments before she processed the rest of what he'd said. "Wait, that was your owl?" He smirked, and despite the fact that Ginny was happily engaged and in love with her fiancé, she distinctly felt the pull that the Malfoy smirk had.
"Yes, that was my owl. I regret that the decisions I made while inebriated ruined your dress, however, it couldn't have been much of a dress if it came from Madam Malkin. As such, I've had my tailor's wife create this for you," he said, gesturing to the dress on the form next to him. Ginny's eyes widened, then narrowed within the span of three seconds. Her silence stretched, until "What is it?" came out of his mouth. He looked confused, which was a look she hadn't often seen on him. But maybe she could use this to her advantage. If Hermione was going to be stubborn, then fine. She'd get what she wanted from Malfoy.
"The polite thing to do would be to say no to you, but you ruined my wedding dress and this," she said, gesturing to the dress next to him, "…this is bloody beautiful. So, I'm going to put it on, and you're going to stay while I get fitted."
"You want me to stay?" He asked in a dead pan, convinced he'd heard her wrong.
"Oh yes, you're going to stay. I believe it's time we talked."
Draco was called back into the room ten minutes later, where he found Weasley standing on a stool in her dress. The seamstress was bustling about with a cushion full of pins. She looked busy, but Draco hadn't the faintest idea what she was doing. Weasley had a dazed look on her face, and he found himself hoping she was too stunned to keep him here any longer.
"Honestly, Malfoy, I didn't know you had it in you," she quipped in an off-handed kind of way. He thought she might say more and he waited, but she kept quiet, her eyes watching the seamstress work through the mirror. He felt uncomfortable, unsure of how to speak to this Weasley in a polite way.
"I can be… magnanimous, when the situation requires it," he responded, causing Weasley to raise an eyebrow at him. He could see the question in her expression, but he offered nothing more. He may have finally decided that he wanted Granger back, but it simply wouldn't do to tell Weasley that.
She turned back to the mirror, moving this way and that at the seamstress' behest while he stood in the corner of the room, out of the way and quiet. He didn't know what to do with himself. Here he was, in a women's boutique and apologizing to a Weasley, all so that he might have a chance with Granger at some point in the possible future. He knew what Theo would say if he ever found out.
She was quiet for a long time, long enough that he began to wonder if she remembered he was in the room. Would she notice if he just slipped out of the room?
"Don't leave," was all she said, without looking at him once. He had to chalk it up to having six brothers, the uncanny ability to know what he was thinking.
"Was there a reason I'm to stand here and watch you twirl around?" he drawled. He knew he should probably be nicer to her, for more reasons than that she was one of Granger's friends, but he hadn't been lying when he'd told her that it was habit by now.
She readjusted her skirts as the seamstress worked around her hem so that she was facing him full on, rather than peering at him through the mirror. He had rarely ever conversed with the Weaslette in any capacity, and so he was surprised at the weight her full attention held. Somehow, she managed to make him feel as if he'd just been caught by his mother trying to sneak into his father's office. He was suddenly afraid of what might come out of her mouth.
"You sent an owl to Hermione which ruined my wedding dress," she stated, and he blinked. He nodded, though he wasn't sure she wanted his affirmation. "May I assume that this means you will stop pretending like you barely know each other? Can we all finally get over this?"
It took a few minutes for her words to penetrate the fog in his mind, for him to realize what exactly it was she was saying.
"Wait, you… you know? About me and Granger? Who else knows?" he asked, cursing himself for not having noticed sooner. Ginny raised one eyebrow at him.
"Malfoy, you're a bright boy and that's a stupid question," she quipped.
"Fuck," he muttered, and she laughed outright, causing the seamstress at her feet to shoot her a glare. She ignored the woman, instead watching Malfoy through the mirrors. He couldn't imagine how she could have figured it out. He'd thought he was so very careful, and Granger always put 115% into whatever she did. Silencing charms, locking charms, and never at the Ministry (well, except for that one time…), they'd known what to avoid if they'd wanted to keep it secret. So how the bloody hell had Ginny Weasley found out?
"Listen, Malfoy, it doesn't matter. Truly. But she's miserable and I may have had a plan already," she stated cryptically, and actually smiled at him. He didn't know how to respond, but if the Weaslette's plans were anything like the Trio's, he wondered if he should be worried.
This was a monumentally piss poor idea.
When he'd arrived at the Burrow, there were at least two hundred people milling about inside a tent that was almost bigger than the dilapidated-looking house. Within moments of his arrival, the entirety of the guest list had turned to gape at him. Even though it was true that many of them knew of his "secret" relationship with Granger, he figured that they never would have expected to see him at the wedding of Harry Potter to Ginny Weasley.
He'd done his best to act as though the guests didn't exist, didn't matter. And they didn't, he'd reminded himself, as he'd found a seat in the back and out of the corner. If he had to sit through this – and the Weaslette still hadn't convinced him that this was the only way – then he was going to be as invisible as possible. If he was lucky, Skeeter wouldn't catch sight of him and his reputation would stay mostly intact.
The ceremony had thankfully been short. Since he hadn't heard Granger's shrieking, he'd assumed she had yet to notice him there. Dinner was an uncomfortable affair overall. Due to the late invitation, he'd had to be shoved into the seating arrangement (without Mother Weasley finding out, so he heard), and so he found himself sitting with the elderly family members who neither knew him nor cared to. The old aristocrat in him resented being seated out of the way, rather than in a place of honor, but the rest of him knew it was foolish.
Both Potter and Weasley had seen him, given curt nods as the only indication they'd seen him at all. He'd avoided as many of the immediate Weasley brood as he could, which was easily done as they seemed to be avoiding their relatives as well. So he sat at his table in the corner of the tent, with a glass of Firewhiskey and a downcast expression at his lot in life. He'd lost count of how many drinks he'd had, and he had positively no idea how he was going to get home drunk, but he simply didn't care.
He'd resolved, earlier in the night, to approach Granger during the dancing period. He'd even picked himself up from his corner and walked towards the dance floor, but it wasn't to be done. She'd danced with Weasley, and then been passed off, dance after dance, to various men. Mr. Weasley had asked for a dance, so he'd waited. Then she'd danced with Anthony Goldstein, Longbottom, Potter, Goldstein again, one of the other Weasley brothers, Goldstein again, yet another Weasley brother, and Goldstein again before he gave up and returned to his seat, a new glass of Firewhiskey in hand. If he was going to watch her dance with other men, he'd need a fair amount of alcohol to do it. By the time he'd returned to his corner, the other members of his table had all left, but he was a bit too drunk to remember that he'd been using them to hide behind.
His head was down, watching his glass intently as he swirled the amber liquid around, when he caught a blur of red in his peripheral vision. Later, he'd think that he subconsciously knew it was her. He looked up immediately to see her gliding quickly towards him, a slight frown on her face. She was looking right at him, and he knew he was in trouble.
He'd been watching the way her dress clung to her body all night, trying not to be too affected by the way the silk wrapped around her legs as she danced. The finished product was truly breathtaking, a confection of deep red silk with a structured bodice and freely flowing skirt. The bodice sat just below her breasts, the fabric covering them split from the bodice to create a deep v and teasing him with a delicious view of her cleavage. There might have been a slit in the skirt, Draco was sure he'd seen a flash of tanned thigh within the silk at some point, but he couldn't be sure that it wasn't his imagination. He tried to ignore the tightening in the area of his crotch at the way her body looked twisting around the chairs in her way.
"Malfoy, what the bloody hell are you doing here?" she demanded in her most threatening, quiet voice possible once she'd gotten close enough to be heard.
"I was invited," he said casually. For some reason, one that he couldn't explain, he didn't want her to know he was there for her.
"You shouldn't have come," she said with conviction, and he tried not to wince. "Everyone will see you, and…"
"Oh give it up, Granger. They all know," he drawled, waving his hand in a dismissive gesture. Her eyes widened even further, if that was possible, and it made her look even more like a scared house-elf. He watched her scan the room, already knowing what she would see. Dancing, laughing, a glowing bride, a doting husband. No one was paying them any attention save for one witch, Molly Weasley, who was giving them both a knowing look. Yes, all her friends knew, and no one seemed to give two shits. He was an idiot for not noticing sooner.
"Everyone knows?" she asked quietly, dropping heavily into the empty seat next to him and covering her face with her hands. He felt his eyes roll, despite his best efforts to not give into the urge, and he turned towards her.
"Yes, and the world hasn't ended. In fact, my father only threw two vases and my mother only cried for ten minutes."
"You told your parents?" her voice was small and he didn't like it. "But what about Astoria?"
"Astoria? Greengrass? What about her?" He was confused.
"The betrothal your parents set up. Only the entire wizarding world is talking about it."
Suddenly, everything made sense. All of the things that had happened to him over the past year came crashing down around him and he understood. His parents had been pushing him to get married. After Granger had run out on him in a fit of rage, they had pushed various arranged marriage proposals in his face, Astoria Greengrass among them. No wonder his mother had cried when he told her about Granger. But even with all of this evidence stacking up against them, they weren't as mad about Hermione Granger as they should have been. No, they were not nearly mad enough.
He leaned towards her, and with a hand on her back and his mouth near her ear, he whispered, "And when, since the war, have I ever done what my parents wanted, hm?"
He could feel her shiver and hear her sharp intake of breath.
"Besides, you've drastically underestimated my mother's desire for grandchildren," he offered casually, as if he wasn't talking to Hermione Granger about the possibility of his future children. But this was a much bigger deal than either of them would ever admit. She was quiet at his side, wringing her hands, in an attempt to distract him or herself, he wasn't sure. He was finding that he far preferred the fiery, passionate Hermione Granger to this quiet, unsure girl in front of him.
But he did this.
With a quiet sigh, he tossed back the remaining whiskey in his glass and stood up. He had no idea what he was going to say, but he'd be damned if it came out in front of all these people. It was one thing looking like a fool in front of her; it was a completely different game in front of everyone else. She turned wide, questioning eyes to him and he gently grasped her arm, guiding her to stand next to him. He pulled her through a gap in the tent wall and out into the moonlit backyard of the Burrow.
Never in a million years did he imagine he would ever be at the Burrow. He gave a wry smile to the darkness as he thought of the extremes he would go to for this woman- buying a wedding dress for a Weasley, attending a wedding at the Burrow, and to top it all off, he thought he might actually have to beg. Well, if he was going to disgrace himself, what was a little more humiliation, really?
He wasn't sure when everything had changed. He knew they had split because there were things he thought he wasn't willing to give up, wasn't willing to do. He figured no one would be more surprised than he was to realize that he was capable of these feelings. Except maybe Granger. She might be just as surprised as him.
He glanced back at her as they walked across the yard, but quickly turned back around at the look on her face. He hated the scared look on her face, hated himself for putting it there.
As they began to round the house, still walking away from the tent, she pulled back from him, trying to tug her arm free. He tightened his grasp, yanking her forward to a muffled protest.
"Ow, Malfoy, stop. You're hurting me."
He loosened his grip marginally with a low growl. He was annoyed at her reactions to him, and he knew what was about to happen. He could feel his annoyance bubbling up in his throat, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't stop it from pouring out of his mouth.
"Don't pretend you don't like it when I'm rough with you, Granger," he growled, softly, so as not to be heard. He cringed, though, knowing this wasn't going to help his chances at all. No wonder he had to grovel, when he was such an arse to her.
She made a sound, subconsciously he thought, deep in her throat and shoved him – hard. He was already close to the house, and he felt the breath whoosh out of him when his back collided with the wall. She continued to push against him, spewing words that could have been gibberish for all he could make them out. He registered that she was pounding against him in a vain attempt to injure him, or something else, but for the life of him, he only felt a sense of relief.
This was what he wanted. This was how he remembered Hermione Granger - fiery, loud, indignant, beautiful in her anger. With her fists banging against his chest, he finally felt like he could breathe again.
At some point, her hands loosened from their fists, and it started to feel more like she was clawing at him in an effort to get closer to him – like she was trying to crawl onto him. He gathered her to him with a muted "Yes" and he couldn't tell if she made the first move, or if he did. He would never think that it mattered.
At the touch of their lips, her eyes flew open, as if just realizing what was really happening in that moment. She pushed hard against him and he released her immediately.
"No… No, we ca… " She began breathlessly, but trailed off as she stared him down. He took a deep, grounding breath in, but said nothing. She fought to catch her breath and as she squared her shoulders and her eyes glittered with her resolve to fight, he felt a clenching in his chest. And he knew he was in trouble.
"We can't keep doing this," she state quite simply, as if it were the easiest thing in the world. But there was a waver to her voice and he knew he hadn't lost – not yet.
"Then stop fighting me."
"I will not! You think you can just strut around… "
"Strut? Really, Granger? Tell me…"
"… do strut, and you don't always get what you want, despite… "
"… know what I've had to go through, you know how hard this has been! I've worked… "
"… act like it. Oh, yes, very hard. All you've had to do is buy your redemption! Give the Ministry what they want and they're in your pocket."
"That's a dirty lie, Granger. Since when did you start fighting dirty?"
"When you taught me to."
"Yes, because Saint Potter never fought… "
"Don't even start with Harry! He's been nothing but… "
"… and let's not even start with Weasley! He's punched… "
"… because you started it. If you'd only try to… "
"… will never get along with those two, not even…"
"… lack of trying. Merlin, Granger! I can't even… "
"… even nice to them, really. It's not like you even have to see… "
"… nice to them if they won't be ni… Please, Granger, I see Potter at least… "
"… even know what the real problem is between you… "
"… just tell them already. Merlin, they already know about… "
"… keep fighting. It was your idea not to tell anyone, Malfoy! You wanted… "
"… pretending like nothing happened. Yes, Granger, I bloody well know what I said, no need to remind…"
"… why it matters now. There's nothing to tell them about, Malfoy. You made that… "
"… my idea. And need I remind you that you agreed with me! You said… "
"… expect me to say. I told you I would tell them, but you said you didn't… "
"… fight me every step of the way! Bloody hell, I was trying to fix… "
"… didn't want to fight you! I was ready and you weren't. I don't know why, but it hardly matters… "
"… yet you still fought me! Don't deny it! If I recall correctly, you… "
"… bring this up again, of course you would! But it doesn't matter, Malfoy, just because… "
"… just walked away from me! You didn't listen… "
"… sound like you were saying anything important! I don't understand why we have to do this now, it hardly… "
"… never listen to me, you just assume you already know. Bloody hell, Granger, stop saying it doesn't matter!"
"Why?! Why should it matter now?"
"Because I can't breathe without you!" he bellowed. Her eyes went wide and he mentally kicked himself. This wasn't going at all how he wanted. If he was being honest with himself, he'd imagined this, and she'd been far more gracious in his head. He should have known she'd be stubborn, she was always stubborn with him. He ploughed on in an attempt to salvage the wreckage of this situation. "My equilibrium is all… mucked up when you're gone. Everything feels wrong."
"Draco, I … I don't… " she began, but fell silent. He understood the sentiment she was attempting to convey – they'd never spoken of their feelings before. Really, the idea was laughable. She shook her head, as if to clear her thoughts, squared her shoulders, and spoke again. "It's been months, Draco. Please tell me, what would you have done had this wedding truly been mine?"
"I hardly see how that matters, as it wasn't," he drawled out slowly, stalling. He felt uncomfortable in not knowing where this conversation was headed, not knowing what would happen to him, and he wasn't keen on getting there.
"Is that what you honestly think?" At this, she laughed, a short bark of laughter that he thought may have been sarcastic. "I don't believe you."
He only shrugged in reply, and he watched as her anger flared up in response. In his twisted, screwed up mind, he had this mad idea that everything would be easier if she could just get mad at him. If he yelled something that he didn't mean, he could always blame it on the heat of the moment, and wasn't he just so good at avoidance.
"Come on, Malfoy, tell me what this is all about," she said with a few jabs to his shoulder. He could feel his breathing speed up as his ire rose with each jab of her finger. She knew how much he despised being jabbed at, but she didn't let up. "Go on, tell me. Something is bothering you." Jab. "Just tell me." Jab. "What are you so afraid of?" Jab. He was beginning to think of breaking her finger clean off, just to stop the jabbing. "Just tell me already, Malfoy!"
"I cannot stand around while you dance with Anthony bloody Goldstein," he confessed, gasping the other man's name for lack of air. Her eyes went wide.
"We're only fri…"
"Yes, bloody brilliant, you're friends. How long do you really think it'll take him to realize that you're the catch, Granger? I can't just stand around and watch. It will literally kill me."
She was quiet at that, but he recognized the look on her face as her hand dropped. He could see the struggle in her eyes as she tried to understand what exactly he was trying to say, but he didn't plan on making it easy for her. He was purposefully vague, giving her a puzzle to solve so that he didn't have to say what he'd never spoken aloud. He was, after all, a Slytherin.
He took the space of time she offered to play each scenario out in his head, trying to determine what she was likely to do, likely to say. While they were … well, whatever they were, she'd been predictable. Not boring, far from it, but just predictable enough to make him feel comfortable. He always knew what to expect from her, right up until the day she'd stormed out on him and never returned. That was the first day she'd begun surprising him. Now, he found that he had no clue as to her next move, and that was more unsettling than anything else at this point.
He was still quite worked up, still trying to catch his breath and calm himself down when she finally spoke after what seemed to him an eternity of silence.
"Damnit, Draco, why didn't you ever say anything?" she asked in a slightly raised voice, and he was surprised that she still sounded angry. "Why did you make me dance around you for eight bloody months?"
"I thought you knew," he bit out, feeling defensive. "Merlin knows you're bright enough, and perceptive. I thought you'd have figured it out before I did."
"Well, obviously that wasn't the case," she snapped at him, her breath leaving her in a huff. "We could have avoided so much. I wouldn't have had to tell the bloody Ministry that I was getting married! It's going to be a nightmare to fix this." She started pacing. "Merlin, do you ever think of anyone other than yourself?"
He bristled, puffing his chest up in what he thought was a pitiful imitation of his former life. "Well it would seem I can't get you out of my head, what do you say to that?" he sneered, wanting to rile her as much as she had riled him.
"You've made a mess of this, Draco," she stated, her arms crossed over her chest. He knew her resolve was breaking, and somewhere deep inside of himself, a part of him was amazed she'd been able to hold out on him this long. He knew how devilishly handsome he looked – he'd made sure of it.
"If you'd open your bloody eyes, you'd see I'm trying to fix it!"
She shrugged her shoulders, her arms falling to her sides and her eyes to the ground between them. When she looked up at him, it was through her lashes. He felt a tightening in more than just his chest.
"Ginny's married, you can't just buy her a beautiful dress the next time you fuck this up," she mentioned offhandedly, and he felt a thrill run through him at her crude language. The accompanying look on her face was one he recognized. It was the one she'd worn the first morning she'd woken up at the Manor, the same as the one from each time she'd asked him to have dinner with Weasley. At least a dozen memories of that face flitted through his mind, and he reacted purely on instinct and memory.
His hand shot out before she could move, striking like the serpent he so often was likened to, and wrapping sinuously around her waist. She gasped as he pulled her into him with more speed than was strictly necessary, but he only wanted to hear her choke on that gasp, the sound travelling straight to his belly and curling tightly deep within him. He leaned his face in close to hers, staring straight into her slightly-glazed eyes, and he felt powerful at her dazed, open-mouthed expression.
"Maybe next time, I'll buy one for you," he uttered, delighted at the way her eyes widened yet remained glazed over. When she took in a sharp, deep breath, he closed the slight distance between them and let his lips linger at the corner of her mouth. Her eyes fluttered shut and she held perfectly still against him, waiting. When he captured her lips, fully and without reserve, she melted into him in that delicious way that would stay with him forever. Her hands found his shoulders and her lips pushed back against his, and it was so much better than he truly remembered. The way she fit against him had the ball in his core curling tighter, testing his control.
She sucked his bottom lip between her teeth in a way that had him pulling her closer and stifling a groan. He could feel her running her tongue along it as she sucked, trying to break the hold he had on his control. His hand tightened in the fabric of her dress as his own tongue darted out to run along her upper lip and her hips rolled against him in response as she released his lip with a pop.
She was the one to push her tongue into his mouth first, and she did it with a purr and another roll of her hips. He knew that if he didn't get things in check, and fast, the night was going to be over very, very fast.
He snaked one hand up her back and into her hair, the other down her side to curl over her hip as he expertly pushed her tongue out of his mouth, following it back into her own. He held her hip hard and steady, just how she liked it, and used the hand tangled in her curls to put her right where he wanted her. He kissed her the way he knew would drive her crazy, on a path to test her own limitations.
He visited all the spots on her neck that he missed, reveling in each groan she hadn't managed to stifle. He paid special attention to the junction of her neck and shoulder, alternating between sucking and lightly soothing the skin with his tongue until she was all but panting against him. When his hand left her hip to cup her breast, she let out a deep gasp and dug her nails into his back, and he knew there would be no going back – she was his.
He pushed a knee between her legs, pushing up to rub against her core, but stopped at the light pressure of her hands pushing on his chest.
She stepped back from him, pulling out of the circle of his arms, and his eyes flew to her. He couldn't believe she was going to turn back, change her mind now. But she gave him a wicked grin that had his cock twitching at the implications. He watched dazedly as her hands grasped the fabric at her shoulders and pulled the straps of her gown down. It slipped and floated around her until it was only a pool of red at her feet. She stood in the moonlight before him in a pair of black heels, red lacy knickers, and that look which promised all manner of wicked things.
Cocking an eyebrow at him in challenge, she spun on the spot and disappeared.
"Fuck," he said hard, feeling entirely bereft. In his mind lingered the image she'd created – she'd never have a perfect body, but Merlin was she perfect to him. It only took him two shallow breaths to realize where she went, and he Apparated back to his bedroom on the third.
He arrived seconds behind her, watching as she kicked off her shoes, following as she backed towards the bed. He longed to reach out to her, see if her skin felt the same under his fingertips as he remembered in his fantasies, but he held himself back. He wanted her to burn with want for him.
Slowly, much more slowly than was necessary, he removed his jacket, depositing it on the floor behind him. He toed off his shoes and socks, yet never once took his eyes from hers. Her breath was coming faster as he divested himself of each piece of clothing, and he gave her a rogue grin at the obvious signs of her arousal. Her breathing hitched, and he felt his heartbeat race in his chest.
He'd always enjoyed looking at her, especially naked. She was usually so shy and reserved, except for here, when they did this, and then she was bold and brazen. The fire in her eyes alone could bring him to the edge and back. Standing in front of him now was no different, and despite feeling in control, he knew it was only a mirage – she could have him on his knees for her in an instant, if she wanted.
Her nipples were already hard, just from watching him take off his jacket, and she knew what was coming at this point. All he wanted to do was lean over, pinch one, lick it, suck on it, and sink himself into her warmth over and over and over again, but he held back. She hated when he took his time with her, but she deserved to wait – to squirm over it.
It took discipline to not rip his shirt open, flinging buttons everywhere, but he was meticulous, and he enjoyed the flash in her eyes each time he revealed a little more skin. As he slipped the last button out of its hole and pulled his shirttails out of his trousers, her hand shot out, fingertips running lightly down his bare chest. She lingered below his bellybutton, her gaze intense on his chest on the goose bumps that had sprouted along her path. Later, he'd wonder how his shirt had ended up across the room.
Pushing her hand away, he cocked an eyebrow at her as he popped the button on his trousers and lowered the zip. The exact desired reaction crossed her face when he peeled them away from his body – absolute, unmasked desire on her face. He had to carefully remove himself from his trousers, due to the state she'd managed to put him in, and the grimace when he caught the metal zipper against his delicate skin only managed to arouse her further. He could smell her on the air, a deep, musky, and entirely feminine smell that he dreamt about nightly.
The smell brought to mind all the dirty, naughty things they'd done, and her eyes were drawn sharply down when those memories made his cock twitch. The gleam in her eyes was enough to make him move forward the two steps that separated them and press his naked body flush against hers with a deep groan. Her eyes floated shut as her hands grabbed fistfuls of his hair, using the hold to pull his face down to her neck. He met the skin with an open mouth, his tongue dancing across her pulse as his hands settled on the small of her back.
He sucked the skin beneath his mouth hard, and the breathy moan that seemed to come from her chest elicited an involuntary thrust of his hips, rubbing his cock across the soft, smooth skin of her belly. He recognized the sparks in his belly, and if they kept this up for too much longer, he was worried the show might end far before they'd make it to the bed.
He pushed his hands lower, fingered the lace of her knickers, then plunged beneath them to grasp her arse. He couldn't stop himself from pulling her to him as he thrust again, and they exchanged shaky breaths. He pulled his face from his slow exploration of her neck, standing up straight and kissing her fiercely. Then he pushed his hands down, her knickers hooked with his thumbs, and dragged them down her curves, tortuously slow. He knelt down to help her step out of them, and it's the only piece of clothing he doesn't throw around the room. He quickly deposited them on the bedside table with full intentions on stowing them away later.
She fisted his hair, pulling him around for another mind-numbing kiss, and her other hand traveled the length of his arm to rest on his shoulder. His hands quickly found her hips, squeezed, then pushed around to her back and skimmed down to her arse. She sucked his bottom lip into her mouth, ran her tongue along it, as he hoisted her up against him. Her legs wrapped tightly around his hips, and she released his lip with a choked sound in the back of her throat as his cock brushed delicately against her pussy. He chuckled deeply and rolled his hips again, just to tease her, before climbing onto the bed and gently placing her down amidst the pillows.
She felt soft, small beneath him, and he thought he'd never get used to how it felt to be with her. Hermione Granger was a drug to which he was addicted, and these eight months of separation had brought him to the realization that there was no cure. He'd also been forced to admit to himself that he wouldn't cure himself of this addiction if his life depended on it.
The reality of finally having her beneath him again, breasts pressed to his chest, was much more sweet, more erotic, than his imagination, but this had always been true about her. She'd been predictable, yes, but always better than he'd hoped.
His mind raced as every fantasy he'd had of her in the past eight months flashed behind his eyes. He wanted them all, with her, tonight, right now, but she was having other thoughts as her legs came up and around him, knees pressing all the way up to his rib cage. His whole body jerked when the angle brought her sinfully wet pussy up to slide along his length, causing his breath to catch. His eyes opened to see the devious look in her eyes just before she rolled her hips, brushing along him again, and he felt the remnants of his control shatter.
Roughly, he grabbed the backs of her knees, forcing them to her chest as he slammed into her with a deep growl. He could feel her walls clench at him as she tried to accommodate his cock, and he let out a groan at how impossibly tight she felt. A sound escaped her that might have been a giggle or a broken moan, it didn't matter, but it evolved into a keening wail as his mouth found her pulse beating in her neck and his hips surged forward to grind against her. Fingernails dug into his shoulders and she arched against him and it was perfect.
She was impossibly wet, coating him thickly with each thrust, and the smell, Merlin. He concentrated on her breath against his ear, the bite of her fingernails sunk into his back, and prayed to Salazar that he would last long enough for her. Already the pressure was building, heat spreading out to his limbs.
His hand snaked down between them to where their bodies were joined to rub a rigid finger against the slick little bundle of nerves. Two swipes had her stuttering out, "M….Merl…..Draco…", and four more flicks for her body to lock up against him. He thrust as hard as he could into her, breathing heavily against her neck as he felt the telltale tightening in his bollocks. Pressing down hard on her clit, he grinded his finger against it as he thrust deep one more time, and it was the shaking of her thighs and tight clenching of her pussy that tore his release from deep within him. He bit down on her shoulder as he came hard inside of her.
She slowly straightened her legs out, letting them fall to the bed as her post-coital tremors continued to rock her body. He aimed his body to the side and collapsed unceremoniously, exhausted and boneless against her. He could feel his pulse returning to normal and his body struggling to balance out. She let out a small noise in her throat but didn't move. Thought returned slowly and the night replayed through his mind.
He felt her hands lightly brush over the skin of his shoulders, but he barely noticed as his mind raced over what he should have seen, should have noticed before. She was watching him expectantly, caressing him softly, and he ignored it all.
Lifting himself onto his elbow, his eyes narrowed marginally as their eyes met.
"Did you know I was going to be there?" he asked. He turned the events over and over in his mind, knowing that there was a puzzle to be solved. She smirked.
His eyebrows drew together at this. Something didn't add up.
The dress. The dancing. The indignation. The knickers.
"You were…" he began, but her fingers dancing across his scratched back were driving him to distraction. Squeezing his eyes shut, he shook his head slightly to clear it. When he opened them again, she was still smirking at him, a satisfied look that he knew well.
"You were intending to seduce me," he accused. Her fingers drifted up, up to tangle in his hair. He could feel her fingernails scratching lightly against his scalp and she gave a noncommittal Mm in response. The hand he'd left against her hip gripped her tightly and a shiver went through him at the sensation of her hands in his hair.
"You little minx."
She fisted his hair, pulling his head back so she could lick a long line from the hollow between his collarbones, over his Adam's Apple, over his jaw, and straight into his open mouth, dragging hotly across his before she pulled back.
"Shut up, Draco," she demanded, her eyes flashing with all the emotions he'd been missing. "I know there are better things you can do with your mouth."
Ginny Potter sighed. It had been a perfect day, and she wouldn't have changed a single second of it. She watched as her husband approached with a large grin on his face. The guests were all leaving, and she assumed that he was coming to collect her. They had a Portkey arranged to whisk them away on holiday in only fifteen minutes. He kissed her lightly when he reached her, offering her a positively dazzling smile.
The smile she offered back drooped when her idiot of a brother came barreling into the tent, red in the face and bellowing.
"Hermione's gone missing! I found this lying on the ground and I can't find her! She's been kidnapped…" He yelled, his eyes bulging out of his head as he waved Hermione's dress around in the air. He trailed off when all Harry and Ginny did was stare at him. "What the bloody hell is wrong with you, aren't you WORRIED?!"
Harry blinked and turned to Ginny, who grinned.
"It would seem that she and Malfoy finally made up," Ginny offered, trying not to laugh at Ron's sputtering.
"About bloody time, too," Harry replied. He grabbed Ginny's hand and pulled her from the tent, away from her gob smacked brother, off to their Portkey and their Happily Ever After.
a/n: This is an old story with a new ending, found last year in the bowels of my computer and only finished yesterday. I've done very, very minimal editing and had very minimal beta work done by Tori, so any mistakes you find are certainly mine.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this! Feedback is greatly appreciated, as I'm still quite new to writing.