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Chapter 5 : Chasing White Ferrets
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“So Miss Granger,”
“Please, call me Hermione.”
“Hermione, you are twenty one, correct?”
“Actually, I’m twenty.”
I took a sip of ice water from my glass, and then set it carefully back down in front of me. A few of the side conversations died off as everyone tuned in to listen to Mr. Eughlar question me. Personally, I thought that last question was a bit of a cheap shot, since he knew perfectly well how old I was, he just wanted to announce it in front of my entire staff. I felt my spine stiffen from the tension in the room. The first dinner had been a lighthearted and entertaining event until Edward Eughlar decided to prod his shiny nose into my personal life. For the last fifteen minutes he had been asking me insignificant questions about my family, where I grew up, what my favorite book was, and if I thought the construction on the castle would take long, but now he was purposefully beginning to ask more controversial questions that the wizarding newspapers had been pressing about for weeks.
“Ah yes, you are quite the spring chicken, aren’t you? Well, no matter if you can get the job done. And you do have a bit of teaching experience from running that tutoring program back in your Hogwarts days, don’t you?”
“Well it wasn’t really a program more as just a one time thing. It was only one student, and he just needed a little boost in Transfiguration.”
“Oh,” Professor Eughlar tutted, shaking his head slightly. “Now that’s a shame. Do you have any idea how to control a class Miss Granger?”
“It’s Hermione, and yes, I do. I helped my dear friend Harry Potter organize and train a few select classmates for Dumbledore’s Army, or the D.A. as we called it. I can hold the attention of the class just fine.”
He scoffed perversely.
“Oh it is not a lack of attention that I am talking about.” His eyes wandered to places where my eyes certainly were NOT located, and my grip on my cloth napkin tightened.
“You will pardon me for asking you to refrain from looking at me in such a manner Mr. Eughlar.”
“And here I thought you were insisting upon first names, and yet you addressed me with my surname. You are quite the indecisive one Miss Granger.”
“I beg you Sir, do not try my patience. And indecisiveness is a quality that I in fact lack.”
“Such lovely etiquette for such a young lady! I’m surprised your parents taught you manners at all, they were muggles were they not?”
That is it!
I stood up abruptly, my chair screeching shrilly as it was propelled backwards. Out of my peripheral vision I saw Draco stand too, but I kept my attention on Mr. Eughlar. If only looks could kill, this man would be down in the dungeons of hell.
“The blood of my parents is not your concern, and I highly recommend restraining yourself from voicing whatever opinions you have of my age and ancestry before you find yourself without employment.” I said in a deathly frigid voice. Somewhere down the length of the table, a fork was dropped and landing noisily on the golden plate in front of it, breaking the uncomfortably stiff silence that blanketed the Great Hall. I looked down at the table in front of me and deposited the crinkled napkin that I had been wringing on top of my forgotten plate of food. Glancing shyly at the shocked staff, I quietly bid them good night.
“If you would please excuse me, I think I am going to retire to my own chambers now. I wish you all a pleasant night’s sleep.” I left the hall as quickly and as silently as I could, and I could hear the stunned murmurs and whispers picking up again as I shut the door behind me. I leaned against one of the double doors, one hand fingering my golden locket from my father, and the other hand covering my mouth. I stood there and let the initial shock of the spectacle I had just made pass.
The door I wasn’t propped against opened with a soft click, and Draco squeezed through, looking down the corridors on the left and right, supposedly, for me. I coughed gently to let him know I was next to him. He turned and looked at me, not saying anything, but communicating with me wordlessly. I chucked.
“I know, he’s a total arse.” I said, voicing what we had both been thinking.
“Are you still angry?”
“You’re bloody well right I am. It's something that I would have expected from you,” I tossed him a quick glace. “No offence.”
“None taken. I know what you mean.”
There was silence for a while as we both just stood there, before Draco took hold of my upper arm and gave it a little tug.
“Come on, I’ll walk you up.”
“Okay, but first we need to make a pit stop.”
“After you,” He waited for me to lead the way. I made my way down to the kitchens with Draco following on my heels. Opening up the portrait, we stepped inside where the house elves were busy cleaning up after the dinner they had just prepared. Pinkey spotted us at the doorway and immediately rushed to greet us.
“What can Pinkey do for Miss Hermione and friend?”
“Pinkey, could I please have two boxes of our best Godiva Chocolates?”
“Yes Miss, right away Miss.”
“Two boxes? Didn’t you just eat dinner?” Draco asked in my ear. His warm breath sent an unusual shiver down my spine and made goose bumps rise on my arms, but I did my best to ignore it.
“Oh hell, make it three boxes Pinkey.” I called after her. I watched her scurry up a tall ladder to reach a cabinet at the very top. When she unlocked it, I could see pounds and pounds of assorted boxes of chocolates. Taking down three from the top of the pile, she closed the cabinet and with careful precision not to drop a single one, she hurried back down the ladder and presented me with my beloved chocolates.
Nothing comes between a girl and her chocolate, especially in moments like these.
“Is there anything Pinkey can get for Miss’s friend?” She asked Draco.
“How about a large bottle of some good red wine?”
Before either one of us could blink, another elf was there presenting it to Draco with a short bow, waiting for his appraisal.
“Perfect, thank you.”
I couldn’t help but wonder what Draco’s intention for that wine was, and if he was planning on snarfing it all in one sitting just as I had planned to do with these chocolates. We walked together up to my office, and he held my sweets as I unlocked the door, but I promptly took them back as soon as we got through. I was kicking off my shoes and didn’t notice that Draco was now hunting through my apartments searching for wine glasses. I turned around, enjoying the feeling of the plush carpet between my toes and nearly spun myself into Draco, who happened to be holding a glass of delicious looking red wine in front of my face.
Ooooooo for me?
I looked at him questioningly.
“Well go on, I’m not going to have to drink the whole bottle myself am I?” He pushed it towards me again, and I accepted it.
“What’s the special occasion? Or do you normally rummage through people’s flats and then force them to have a drink with you?”
He smirked as he made himself at home on my lounge once again.
“I wouldn’t say that I was forcing you by any means.” He said with an air of amusement in his voice. I stopped drinking my wine, mid gulp.
It’s not like I always suck down the Merlot, but after that lovely encounter with Mr. I’m-Bitter-And-Rude-Because-A-Twenty-Year-Old-Woman-Beat-Me-Out-Of-The-Headmaster-Position I could definitely use a drink or two.
“And there is no real occasion, I just thought it would be a good way to unwind after this very eventful day.” He finished.
“Cheers to that.” I walked over to where he was sitting and clinked my glass against his. Sitting down in the easy chair next to him, I balanced the box of chocolates on my lap and eagerly pulled off the lid. I chose the first one at random, and bit in to it.
I savored the rich, silky chocolate as it melted and swirled in my mouth.
“Good?” Draco asked.
“Heaven.” I squeaked out, polishing off the other half. I saw Draco extend a hand towards my chocolates, but I slapped it away.
“Mine.” I growled possessively.
“Hermione, you have three bloody boxes, let me just have one.”
I shook my head stubbornly. These were my precious delectables and I was going to stuff myself with every last one of them while I bless my father for passing down his fast metabolism to me.
“A small one?”
“A half of one?”
I put on a pensive face and cocked my head to the side.
I picked up a soft caramel filled sweet and slowly put it in my mouth, pouting my lips out in a triumphant, satisfied smirk as I chewed.
“You should know better than to mess with a man that has an unquenchable sweet tooth.”
As my eyes were closed, enjoying the sticky sweetness in my mouth, he grabbed a box from off of my lap and was running up the spiral staircase with it. When I opened my eyes again, I just caught the tail of his robes disappearing onto the second story.
“Hey!” I yelled, leaping from the chair and grabbing my wine glass. “Come back here you thief!”
I followed his footsteps up the stairs, and found him standing in the center of my spacious bedroom, giving it a good look. I blushed furiously when I saw one of my bras hanging from the lavatory door knob. I had forgotten to remove it after I finished changing for dinner. I snatched it and quickly shoved it into my desk drawer while his back was turned, hoping Draco hadn’t seen it. After that, I did a speedy scan of the room to make sure there were no more potentially embarrassing items lying around, but that seemed to be the only one.
While Draco was distracted by the view from my balcony, I pulled the box of chocolates from his slack grasp and hugged them victoriously. Realizing what I had done, he turned back to me and sighed.
“Fine Hermione, if you want to get lazy and fat, be my guest. I guess I will just have to wait around since it is only a matter of time before you gorge yourself so much that you can no longer run the school, and I will have to graciously step in and take over.”
“Oh please, I would never loose my job because of my weight, which is perfectly fine thank-you-very-much. And besides, chocolate is one of the few pleasures I have left, so just stuff it and let me enjoy them you nag.”
“Touchy, touchy… you need more alcohol.” Charming my glass to keep refilling itself, he spread himself out on my bed. Fortunately, he wasn’t on my side, otherwise I would have had to beat him into submission.
“You know Draco,” I said lightly. “I’ve never been much of a drinker.” He laughed at me.
“Oh yes, I am very convinced of that.”
“I’m not!” I defended. Honestly, I wasn’t, but there was something so yummy about this wine that had me drinking it like it was pumpkin juice. “Seriously, I’m not.”
“You don’t believe me.” I replied flatly.
“No, not really.”
“Hey, this is the first time I’ve had a drink of anything since graduation. Harry, Ron, and I all did a shot of fire whiskey before the ceremony. But only one. For them it was celebratory, but for me it was more to calm my nerves. I was supposed to make a speech that day, you know.”
“Yes, I remember.”
“What Granger?” He played along.
“How good are you at wizard’s chess?”
“Not bad. Why?”
“Because I’m bored, and you still want some of these scrumptious chocolaty treats that I’m holding, judging by the way you’re looking over here.”
I saw him raise his eyebrows, but it would have been handy to have telepathy because then I could have figured out that it wasn’t the chocolate he was staring fondly at.
“Anyways,” I continued. “I have just had a stroke of genius and we are going to combine the two.”
“Yes. The coconut creams will be the pawns, the caramel chews will be the bishops, and the vanilla nougat will be the horsey thingies-”
“You mean the knights?”
“Yeah, those. And the chocolate covered maraschinos will be the castles-”
“You mean the rooks?”
“Whatever… and the dark chocolate truffles will be the queens, and the kings will be…”
I dug excitedly through the boxes of chocolate to find another piece that I hadn’t bitten into already or that was being used for another position.
“English toffee! The kings will be English toffee. And whenever you take the other players piece, you get to eat it! Get ready Malfoy, I’m going to smoke you.”
We sat cross legged on my bed, the wine finally working its way through our bodies, creating a buzzed, euphoric atmosphere. It had been a long time since I had been this lighthearted and jubilant, why hadn’t anyone thought to get me pissed drunk sooner?
Four hours later, my mind was engulfed in an alcoholic fog, and even though I could feel my mouth moving, I could scarcely hear the words that were bubbling out from between my lips. My only clue was that Draco was lying on his back next to me, laughing like I had made the biggest joke in the world. The chocolates and chess board lay forgotten at the foot of the bed in a jumbled heap.
“And then he said ‘No son of mine loses to Harry Potter’ and I was just thinking, ‘well mum must have had a steamy affair with some other demonic blond then, cause he just whipped me.’” Draco said, starting another story of his own, completely forgetting the beginning of it.
I giggled. Not because his ‘father and son’ stories were particularly funny, but because if I hadn’t been completely plastered already, I would have been getting drunk from the sound of his voice. I loved it. It was deep and smooth like silk, and had an aloof sexiness to it even when he wasn’t trying to flirt.
Must be from his upbringing.
“Soo, Draaco,” I slurred. “Isnit true yourea ninbred?”
“Pffftt- yes. And my parents were trying to set me up with my first cousin.”
I gasped loudly as I sat up, slapping him on the shoulder and staring down at him, appalled.
“Yournot as drunked as meee!! You cheatedd!” I whined. “Youu juss wanta to take avanage o’me, don you Malfoy?”
He rolled his eyes. “I just know how to hold my liquor, unlike some people.”
He grabbed a handful of my robes and pulled me back down, then rolled over so I was pinned beneath him. I squealed on the way down.
“If I wanted to take advantage of you Granger, I would have given you fire whiskey, not red wine.” He bent down and gave my neck a small nuzzle, his lips barely grazing my sensitive skin. “Besides, I don’t think you would need to be pissed in order for me to take you.”
I shoved him off of me the best I could, my head was starting to throb painfully. I turned on to my side, curled up with an obscenely large pillow, and moaned softly. Shortly after, I fell asleep and dreamt of chasing after a white ferret.
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