This was my second entry for the 2013 DramioneLove Spring-Summer Fest (dramionelove . livejournal . com). The fest is long over and reveals are out, so now I can post this for you here. This fanfic is a one-shot. Here was the prompt I worked from:
Prompt: #20 - "April showers bring May flowers." Draco's had a rough time recently and needs something to brighten up his dreary life. He notices Hermione and how she's usually happy and he wants to adopt her attitude.
Thank you to Ladysashi for her quick beta work, and excellent advice regarding the ending of this story! Thank you to The Gourmet Cupcake Company, Lola's Cupcakes, and Bea's of Bloomsbury – I borrowed heavily from their cupcake recipes for this fic. I hope you enjoy the story!
DISCLAIMER: "Harry Potter" is the property of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. This fanfiction was written entirely for fun, not for profit, and no copyright infringement is intended.
TIMELINE: Post-Hogwarts, EWE (year: 2003).
MAIN CHARACTERS FEATURED (alphabetical order, last name): Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy
SUMMARY: Flatmates, but not lovers. Draco wants to change that fact, but he's a man with too many vices, and not enough bravery to jump the puddles of his miserable life to get the girl he wants. How is it that "April showers" can possibly bring "May flowers" in his and Hermione's case, given the black marks against him and the fact she's got some 'mystery man' she's pining for anyway?
RATING: NC-17 (MA)
WARNINGS: Explicit profanity, References to nudity and voyeurism, Implied het sex, Characters a bit OOC for the sake of the plot, Fluffy HEA
It's the humming that gets to him.
The incessant, chirpy, winsome smiling he can overlook, but the happy, out of tune humming... It drives him spare - especially suspecting both are born from her having had a fantastic evening out with her recurring 'mystery date' the night before.
As the spring rain pelts the windows of their shared flat today, its splat-splat-splat is a harsh, unwelcome sound that grates on Draco's nerves as much as the smiling and the humming. The bad weather doesn't faze Hermione Granger in the least, though. She continues to nearly dance around the kitchen in a state of demented elation, preparing her morning tea and fixing her fluffy eggs, dressed in tiny, tight pyjamas that leave little to the imagination.
"Are you sure you don't want me to make you anything?" she asks him for the second time, her wide, brown eyes filled with a touch of friendly concern.
Seated at their small kitchen table, Draco shrugs and sips-sips-sips his black, sweetened coffee, saying nothing. He's always noncommittal after waking up to face a new day, mostly because all he can think about for the first hour or two after shaking off sleep is morning sex, the type that's slow and easy, filled with tender kisses and sly touches. He's a lazy, pleasure-seeking creature by nature, and starting the day off with a round of love making and an orgasm appeals to the hedonist within.
Plus, having all the blood in your body pool in your groin tends to make a man's brain slow, hence his impartiality on the matter of breakfast.
Besides, he's irritated with her. He knows what the smile and the humming mean when coupled with a night out on the town. It's the third such night in three weeks she's had, so he suspects she's meeting with someone in secret.
He's annoyed with her and displeased with himself for caring too much in the first place.
She opens the fridge and pulls out the carton of eggs. "I'll take that as a 'yes', then."
Nothing ever seems to discourage her, not even his indifference, feigned or not.
The truth is Draco secretly wants to be that happy. He'd never tell his flatmate that, but he wants it deep down in the marrow of his bones. He wants to wake up every morning as she does, with an attitude that lights up a room and the courage to face the day. He wants to quit smoking, stop seeking answers in meaningless sex with complete strangers, and most of all, he wants to stop watching Hermione Granger everywhere she goes. He wants to finally tell her how he feels about her.
Being a congenital coward with a surly disposition, however, he could never pull such a thing off.
"You should come out with me today," she offers as she cracks an egg into the pan and whisks it with a wave of her wand. "We could go puddle jumping."
He takes a bigger swig of coffee, staring at her nicely rounded bum.
As if sensing his inappropriate ogling, she turns about quite suddenly. "Have you ever puddle splashed?" An adorable crease appears in the centre of her forehead. "It's something Muggle children do, a game of sorts. Have you tried it?"
He sniffs with disdain and takes a drag on his cancer stick. "No. Why would I?"
That sexy grin of hers reappears. "It would muddy you up." She turns back to her cooking. "If anyone needed such a thing, it's you."
The humming starts up again.
A very un-Malfoyish snort of denial escapes him before he can take it back.
No, he's definitely not a morning person, and clearly she's shagging someone new. It's the only explanation for her ridiculous euphoria, and for his continued petulance.
Maybe his mother is right about him being a masochist, because agreeing to move in with Hermione a year ago -to not only help her share the expenses of a London flat while she pursues an advanced degree in law, but also to get out from under his mother's sharp matchmaking eye- has been a little bite of Hell for him every day. He's rich enough not to have to need to share a flat with anyone, and Hermione is wholly unobtainable, and yet he stays trapped within these four walls because even a sliver of Hermione's attention is better than nothing.
She's an addiction he can't quit, even knowing she doesn't feel the same and that these feelings he has for her will someday kill him.
He stubs out his cigarette in the ash tray and takes his empty mug to the sink. Rinsing it out, he refuses to look at her, afraid his attention with lock onto her unbound, pronounced nipples, and this time she'll catch him eye-fucking her.
"I need a shower. I'll eat the eggs when I'm done."
He doesn't thank her for her mollycoddling, as it only reminds him that she doesn't think about him the same way he thinks about her.
It reminds him that her humming and smiles aren't for him.
When he gets out of the shower, he's made the colossal mistake of assuming he'd put Hermione off earlier and that she's left the flat already. It's an error in judgment that will bite him in the arse.
Feeling a bit better after taking care of his persistent morning erection under the warm spray in his bath, he runs a fluffy, white towel over his skin and hair to dry it, tosses it into the laundry, and heads into the kitchen. He's completely starkers, limbs loose, riding the endorphin rush of a good, hard come, and suddenly famished for eggs. He hopes Hermione has remembered to cover them to keep that opportunistic furball of hers out of the pan...
Rounding the corner, he abruptly stops.
Hermione is freshly showered and dressed, waiting for him by the window seat in her Macintosh and with an umbrella big enough for two in hand.
Her eyes widen in surprise at the state she finds him in, and he notes her attention automatically drop to his hips in a beat to take him all in. Her cheeks bloom Gryffindor red, and her eyebrows shoot into her hairline at the sight of him.
The umbrella tumbles to the floor, rattling as it hits-hits-hits and rolls.
Panic strikes into the very core of Draco, freezing every muscle in his body. It's the most awkward moment of his life, even more so than when he'd lost his virginity at fifteen and had only lasted through two thrusts. How could he have been so stupid? They've lived together for a year, and this is the first time one of the rules of their living arrangement –no walking around the house without clothes on- has been broken. He's been so careful not to give her any reason to want him out, and now he's gone and buggered it all up.
"Shit! Uh," is all he can manage before Hermione is whipping around to stare out the window, giving him her back.
An embarrassing silence stretches between them lasting five seconds, six...
"I'm sorry!" they say at the same time.
He ducks back behind the wall and leans against it, his face and body a furnace as a queer flush runs through him. He intentionally bangs the back of his head in private censure, cursing under his breath.
"I'm sorry," he calls out again. "I thought you'd left."
He hears her shuffling around, but can't decipher what she's up to in the other room. "It's okay," she graciously offers. "I... I thought you might want to reconsider going out with me today, so I waited, just in case."
Draco sighs and runs a frustrated hand through his still-damp hair. "I don't want to jump puddles with you, Granger." No, he'd much rather spend the afternoon in bed with her, where it was warm and guaranteed to be unforgettable.
Her Wellies clomp-clomp-clomp loudly across their wooden floor as she approaches, and he tenses. She's unpredictable sometimes, and he's wound too tight to know how to properly react.
Thankfully, she stops on the other side of the wall from him.
"We don't have to play that childish game. It was just a joke, actually. I do need to go to Diagon Alley, to pick up some things, however," she explains, and her slightly muffled voice is right there over his shoulder. All that separates them is ten inches of sheet rock, plaster, and her clothing. "We could make a day of it together, if you wanted. I'd even agree to... to stop by Sugarplum's Sweets Shop and Quality Quidditch Supplies, if you fancied going to either place."
Denying temptation has never been Draco's strong suit, and here she is, offering up two of his favourite places in London to visit, with her on his arm.
Courage he may lack, but Draco's greed more than makes up for it.
"Sure. Just let me, um, get dressed."
Her voice is shy when she replies with a simple, "Okay".
Draco hasn't the heart to drag her out of Flourish & Blotts, despite the fact they've been there for over an hour as she peruses the new releases. He watches her from between the stacks and the corner of his eye, as always.
She is humming and smiling again as she flips through a book on Arithmancy.
He loves her in moments like this with her concentration on the thing she treasures the most. Her face is relaxed, soft, her lips even more so. There is a gentleness that radiates from her, and it catches him once more in its web.
His heart is loud in his ears, pounding-pounding-pounding in his chest as he continues to observe the minute changes in her expression as she reads the text between her hands. Amusement, incredulity, and enlightenment change the shape of her mouth, the small flair of her nostrils, and the angle of her jaw. The effervescent bottle of her emotions brightens her gaze, dims it, and again illuminates it, dazzling in its sincerity.
From his dark corner of the room, Draco yearns for what he knows he can never have. He is the fallen man. Heaven is beyond his reach.
She drags him into Sugarplum's as their final stop, insisting on sampling the newest treats to hit the wizarding world: gourmet cupcakes and cake pops.
Upon entering, Draco sees that it's a store much like Honeyduke's: a factory of bright colour, smelling of sweet confection and childhood dreams. The left side of the store is lined with assorted hard and soft candies in clear glass jars, Acid and Blood Pops and various other lollies are arranged on shelves near the front, and chocolates of every kind are wrapped in boxes of every size against the far wall. Liquorice Wands, Sugar Quills, and miscellaneous candy –chocolate coins, wrapped taffies and butterscotches, lemon drops, Chocolate Frogs, and crystallized pineapple- are in bins near the register, labelled for a Knut or a Sickle per piece. A floor-to-ceiling Bertie Bott's display in the corner allows customers to buy their 'Every Flavour' jelly beans by the pound. There is a display behind glass at the very front of the store that is charmed to stay ever-cool, keeping the pastry product within it fresh.
Hermione heads to the glass display; she's captivated by the rows of brightly decorated cupcakes and intriguingly designed cake pops.
"They look like flowers! So many colours, and textures, and shapes. How wonderful! Look, there's one shaped like a penguin," she points through the glass.
Draco shuffle-shuffle-shuffles from the door, across the room, and to her side. He glances to where she points... and is astounded by the creativity he sees. Someone has gone through a lot of trouble to make these delicious masterpieces. There is clearly a craft baker on staff here. "Is that a pig-shaped pop?" he asks, pointing to another a row down and over, closer to him.
Hermione leans into him, looking where he's indicated. "It is!" she chuckles. "It's a cake pop in the shape of a pig. How adorable!"
He hums in agreement and his lips twitch with genuine amusement. His flatmate's enthusiasm is catching. Having her body touching his doesn't hurt his mood, either.
"'Creamsicle Dreamsicle'," she reads the tag of one giant cupcake nearby that looks big enough for two to share. "Orange and vanilla cake, vanilla cream centre, orange frosting with candied orange rinds on top. Hmmm. That sounds good."
Draco spies something even better and shakes his head. "'White Chocolate Raspberry'," he counters, stepping around her, making sure to run his hand over her shoulder and across her back as he slides past, and pointing to one cupcake further down the row. "Raspberry cake with melted white chocolate centre, and raspberry buttercream frosting, topped with a fresh raspberry."
Hermione makes an 'oooh' noise and comes back to his side, drawn by their playful banter. She does the leaning game again as she glances at his selection and ups the ante by licking her lips. "That does sound... sinful." She glances at him from the corner of her eye, a tell-tale blush colouring her face.
He comes up short as he realises in a flash that Hermione's genuinely flirting with him.
Draco has played this game before with other women. He knows how to take the initiative once he's been given a sign that things will end in his favour. Smooth lies roll naturally off his tongue when it comes to the game of sex, and he's never failed to tease a woman's knickers from her once he sets his mind to the task.
The only witch he's never been able to work up the nerve to charm has been this one standing next to him. He'd been shoved into the 'friend box' too early on after they'd met again post-Hogwarts at University, and has been locked into that mould ever since. Over the years, he's come to realise that she is too high above him to dare reach for, and yet, he's become hopelessly ensnared by her, unable to walk away.
It's been worse lately, though - absolute torture waking up every day to her smiling face, and her joyous, off-key humming, knowing her 'mystery man' is responsible for creating her happiness. It's why Draco's going through almost a pack a day now, and why he's been hitting the hardcore clubs with more frequency, and why his drinking is becoming a problem.
Now, though, he wonders if Mister Fabulous is really all that if she'll cross lines with Draco in this way.
Her discontent is Draco's gain. He'd be an utter fool not to try, wouldn't he?
Leaning down, he sets the side of his head next to hers and whispers, "We should take half a dozen back to the house and try them all."
Her cheek moves and presses against his, bringing them that much closer. "You mean to make ourselves sick on sugar and don't tell anyone, hmm?"
That hum of hers travels through his skin, vibrates against his teeth, and tickles his tongue. The sensation shoots right to his groin.
Fuck it. He's going for it.
He turns his head, so now his nose is pressed to her temple and his mouth lay right over her ear. "I want to feed them to you, one at a time."
"Do you?" She seems genuinely interested by the proposal.
He pushes harder, daring her and testing himself.
"I want to taste each one on your tongue afterwards."
She pulls her head back a fraction of an inch, and he thinks he's run his luck too hard this time. He's blown it. She's tested him and he's failed. The sinking in his guts makes him want to vomit.
Her lids flicker and she licks her lips again. "Seven, then. You can feed me one for each day of the first week," she decides, throwing him for a six. "But the week after is strictly diet food. I can't eat that much cake if I want to keep my shape, you know."
They pick out seven cupcakes and immediately head for home.
The bed squeak-squeak-squeaks under them as their moans and gasps hit a crescendo. The sheets heat, their bodies strain, their emotions meld. They transcend with the taste of strawberry frosting and each other on their sticky lips and sliding tongues.
The storm outside tapers off; the last droplets of rain splatter against his bedroom window and the wind dies down.
In the quiet of night, lying with Hermione asleep and gently snoring in his arms, Draco is the happiest he has been in his entire life.
The next morning, she's dressed in his shirt and nothing else, humming off-tune again as she stands at the kitchen counter and makes her tea and his coffee.
Naked, unconcerned now of the house rules, Draco sneaks up behind her and alters her sounds by seducing her once more. He's gentle, knowing she must be sore after having had her again just two hours earlier, as dawn broke through the grey clouds outside, but he's insatiable for her and unwilling to wait another minute.
The fact is he loves making love to Hermione Granger. It is everything he's ever fantasized it would be, and twice as sweet.
Speaking of sweet... Reaching for the pastry box left on the counter the night before, and hums as he flips the lid and randomly picks the day's treat. Smearing orange frosting all over her lips, he claims them, lick-lick-licking and sampling her, his new favourite dessert.
This is much better an addiction than smoking, he decides.
After three years, Hermione's humming doesn't bother him anymore.
In fact, Draco finds that at times he unconsciously adopts the once-irritating, now-freeing behaviour whenever the mood strikes. This is especially true after his first cup of coffee (but no longer a cigarette, as he's thrown them away), and before he and his witch hop into a shower together.
He has never asked her about her 'mystery man' from so long ago, or why she'd hummed so happily back then, but whenever she looks at him, he wants to believe the smiles and happy sounds were because she was imagining him living this reality with her someday.
"Ready?" she asks, holding her umbrella in one hand. She is decked out in her Mac again, the same clunky boots on her feet, and her hair is pulled back in a ponytail at the top of her head. His ring is the only new addition to the outfit, and it sparkles on her finger, almost as bright as her girly smile.
"I suppose," he says with a fake resigned sigh, taking her hand. The truth is he likes the mornings and the rain now, too, but it wouldn't do to let her know that. She's the type to rub it in that only she's able to corrupt his surly reputation.
So, he lets her drag-drag-drag him outside to play, feigning displeasure at the idea of getting wet, grumbling all the way.
For the rest of their lives, under her umbrella, they jump puddles together whenever they can, without any embarrassment or awkwardness or fear of muddying up their clothes. Draco hums like a fool in love with every step.
Author's Final Note:
Yes, the man Hermione was humming over was Draco, although he never knew it. She'd realised she was in love with him, and knew he had feelings for her, but was waiting for him to clue in. It's sort of implied in the story, but I received some notes after the fest was done asking me about it, so I thought I'd clarify it here.
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