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Chapter 1 : Cabin Fever
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Author's Note: This is a lengthy one, a new type of accomplishment for me. It was intented to be a one-shot, but I just couldn't squeeze it all in. I don't know how well a 20,000ish word one-shot would go over but for my taste it's a bit much.
Thank you for choosing to read 'Lockdown'. Enjoy!
“What? Is that what you think?”
“Well, it's just that you've got us this far. What's the harm in a little bump over the hill?”
“How dare you ask such a thing! It's not enough for me, as Head Girl, to have to sit there, knowing that you are cheating? You have to tack on asking me to endanger my own academic career for the benefit of the two of you?”
Hermione Granger was livid. Only the two hopeless boys she called best friends would gather enough gull to inquire after such a request. They had had months to prepare for these exams. It was now the end of March, leaving less than a month until N.E.W.T's took place, and finally Harry and Ron had realized the dangers of the failure they had placed in their own path.
“'Mione, please!” Ron whined indignantly, “We practically never ask you for anything. It'll be just this once.”
A snort erupted from deep within Hermione's throat. “Just this once, hmm?”
Harry and Ron nodded like eager puppies, begging to be walked, as they believed Hermione to be weakening.
“Absolutely. Just this one teeny little time.” Harry pleaded with his hands bunched together under his chin in a subtle and silent prayer.
Hermione suddenly crossed her arms one over the other in front of her chest, glaring at the two as an icy veneer washed over her face. “So, I'm assuming that my knowledge of Devil's Snare that saved our lives in first year; the brewing of Polyjuice Potion for your little Malfoy obsession in second; the timeturner law abuse I participated in to save Sirius in third; the Ministry break-in in fifth, those don't count as anything? I'm sure you would have done just peachy without me.”
Harry lifted his eyebrows in surprise at her sarcasm. Was she really angry toward them for suggesting a little unethical help? He closed his eyes and mentally smacked himself. This was Hermione they were dealing with. Of course she'd be furious.
“I can't believe this. I'm leaving to Hogsmeade.” Pursing her lips, Hermione huffed in irritation and grabbed her coat off a nearby chair in the commonroom, venturing to the portrait.
“Hermione, the carriages won't even arrive for another thirty minutes. It's freezing outside.” Ron pipped in, trying to divert her attention and convince her to stay.
“I don't care, I'll wait. It's much too hot in this sodding tower anyway.”
Harry and Ron's eyes met for a moment, exchanging skeptical looks.
“But, it's like the dead of winter out there. And it's March!” Harry commented in bewildered confusion.
“Yeah, I mean look at the three of us. We're all wearing Mum's thick, ugly, wool Christmas sweaters! They're the only things that are warm enough up here. Trust me when I say I, personally, wouldn't wear mine for any other reason then frostbite protection.”
Hermione rolled her eyes while gritting her teeth. “So, throw another log on the fire and Incendio the bloody piss out of it. Burn the place down for all I care.” As usual they had exaggerated every point of their argument until what was left made little, to no sense.
She was sweating. What other proof did they need to justify her body temperature? As she drew a hand up to her forehead to wipe drops of sweat away, Hermione sighed in discomfort at the blazing skin on her face.
Anger always seemed to rial an extreme reaction out of her body.
“Now, I've said I'm leaving. I have a lot of shopping to do while Hogwarts permits it. The shops aren't open for very long today as it's Good Friday, a holiday. I have to get moving. Excuse me.”
“Well, then wait!” Harry interjected, jumping into action to slide on his nearby boots. “We'll come with you.”
She had had enough. The frustration she felt had amplified and now her whole body began to quack. It felt like a hand was gripping her lungs, squeezing all of the oxygen from her. She loved the boys, most of the time, but right now they made her want to scream.
“No. You know what? You won't.” Hermione spat, pulling on her gloves and hat, “I'm going to town on my own. Without either of you,” she added as Ron stepped forward to address her. “It's the Easter holiday and I plan on having a relaxing few days away from schoolwork. You two, on the other hand, need to utilize this time to the best of your abilities and study, because I refuse to tolerate cheats on Ministry examinations. It is my duty as Head Girl. Get to work!” With that, the irritated witch flung on her peacoat and stomped past the Fat Lady's open portrait.
“So I take that as a 'no'? No help?” Ron called after her, oblivious to the honey-eyed girl's mood.
Harry cocked his head to the side and gawked at his freckled friend. “Seriously?”
It was much colder than she had expected as Hermione stepped over the Entrance Hall threshold and through the doors, out into the wind and sleet. It had been one of the coldest springs in the History of the United Kingdom, magical or otherwise.
Pulling her coat tighter, and placing a hand on her hat to keep it down over her ears, she made her way quickly to the carriage stop outside the grounds. The heat from her anger had vanished long before she reached her destination, only to have to stand there and wait alone in the chilling air.
She had been hard on Harry and Ron, she had now come to realize so. Yet, even after seven years of magical education the two of them still hadn't managed to master even the basics of study preparation. They had to learn. Now or never. She was doing the right thing, even if she was beginning to feel like a horrid friend. Hopefully they hadn't taken it to heart.
Ever-so-slowly, Hermione's knees began to knock and her teeth to chatter. It really was much too frigid to stand there without cover for the next fifteen minutes. What had she been thinking to abandon the warmth of the commonroom and the sweat that accompanied it? She would welcome such discomfort now.
Hopping up and down and running on the spot seemed to just barely keep her blood from solidifying in this deep freeze. She needed some sort of shelter from the piercing wind and the wet snow that left her feet soaking. Her eyes began to roam her surroundings until they came upon a large tree with limp branches on the other side of the carriage path. The ground looked dry underneath it and the branches could possibly act as a wall against the wind.
A thankful smile slid onto her cold-chapped lips and the young witch bound across the road with glee. It was amazing what held the power to lift spirits.
Hermione pushed a branch aside and dusted the loose snow from her shoulders and hat. Venturing into the tiny makeshift shelter, which was insulated in snow, she settled herself against the bark with a deep sigh. She was now content to wait without complaint.
Yet someone else was not.
“Do you mind, Granger?” came a drawl that was the signature of only one person. “You're contaminating my tree with your filthy blood.”
The cheery smile drained from Hermione's face with the blink of an eye. It was amazing what held the power to break spirits as well. Why was God so cruel to her? She slumped down against the wood even further, pulling her knitted hat over her face in frustration.
“I see you're dirty and deaf. How unfortunate for you.”
With a load groan, Hermione pushed off of the tree and glanced around the corner. There, Draco Malfoy stood lounging against the bark with a hot cup of cocoa in his gloved hands, and a knowing smirk on his face.
“Sod off, Ferret.” she grumbled, as her stomach simultaneously did so as well. That hot drink was teasing her. She had skipped breakfast to get away from Harry and Ron. Now she regretted it, for Malfoy's cocoa looked like food for the kings and she was but a peasant. Hermione scrunched her face at the irony of her analogy. Of course Malfoy did think himself a king and her even lower than peasantry.
“Oh, testy. Did someone forget to feed the angry beast within, Mudblood?” Malfoy smirked, hearing the indignant rumble of her stomach as he swished his hot cup's contents for a better mixture. “I must say that seems to be a very good idea on your part.”
Hermione couldn't help but wonder where he was taking this. So, crossing her arms over her chest, she leaned into the tree glaring quizzically at him.
“You really should have cut back on the food a little earlier. You're getting quite a fat ass, there, Granger.” Voluntarily, he shuttered for effect as he made to take a sip of his beverage, mumbling into his cup. “But I guess now is as good a time as any. Save some food for the poor Weasel and Orphan Boy Pott-”
With a hefty thump, Malfoy let out a yelp of surprise and pain. A large, hard snowball had struck him in the face as he drank, spilling hot cocoa all over his features, hair and front.
Hermione was seething. His remarks were lower than low. If he wanted to play dirty so would she. A growl of irritation settled in her throat like an angry cat as she flung a tree branch out of her way and began venturing back to the carriage stop. She could hear him cursing the day she walked into his perfect life and to her surprise a wicked smile of triumph played at the corners of her rosy-red lips.
The carriages were finally arriving, as were a few early students. Placing herself in a waiting line, Hermione eventually was offered a seat within one, of which she accepted with relief. She would be sharing her ride to town with Dean Thomas and Hannah Abbott, two people who could effectively counter-balance her encounter with the snake, Malfoy.
Just as the carriages door was swinging to latch shut and a jolt of motion took hold, snowballs began to pelt the side and back windows. Hermione craned her neck to view the source of the cause, finding that her suspicions were spot on.
Malfoy stood stationary, furious behind the carriage as his two cronies, Crabbe and Goyle, ran pathetically after them with arm loads of little white weapons.
Hermione laughed, along with Dean and Hannah, at the reaction she had evicted from the Slytherin bad boy. With a large grin on her face, she turned to look directly at him, waving condescendingly as McGonagall appeared at his side and set a hand on his shoulder disapprovingly. Sitting back, Hermione grinned to herself and turned, beginning to converse with the two others she was riding with, as the carriage traveled out of reach and around a bend.
The wind chill in Hogsmeade was substantially less than that on the wide open Hogwarts grounds. None-the-less, Hermione was forced to bundle up to endure the duration of the shopping trip. She said her farewells to Dean and Hannah and pulled out a list she had placed in her pocket the night before, as not to forget anything.
First on the docket, three rolls of fresh parchment, and a new raven feather quill. Hermione mused to herself as she stowed the list away once more. These things would only require one stop. So, buttoning up her peacoat, the smart witch venture onto High Street in search of her destination.
As she strolled up the way, her eyes finally caught a small wooden sign that was swaying routinely in the breeze. Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop, one of her few sanctuaries away from the Hogwarts Library. With a giggle of childish excitement, Hermione held her hat and quickly journeyed over to the snow dusted door. As she pushed it open, a tiny bell rang, indicating she had entered. Upon instinct the witch inhaled the smell only sweet to her; fresh parchment, various breeds of bird feather quills and the staining scent of spilled ink.
In no time flat she had found everything she deemed necessary for pick up at this store. She had been here so many times before that she could find anything they carried blindfolded. After paying for her purchases, which included a new pot of ink - which she couldn't resist the aroma of - Hermione reluctantly exited the shop racking her brain as to what to shop for next.
Resorting back to her list, she decided to make her way over to Dervish & Banges. She had mailed a book of hers to the store for repairs as the bindings were fraying and falling loose.
This errand took less time than anticipated, for as she stepped through the door the old desk clerk was already on the case. He had seen her walking down the snowy street and bustled through his shelves in the 'pick-up' section.
“Ah, Miss Granger. Delighted!” the man spoke gleefully as he rushed back with a package in his hands.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Rothebart. How's business as usual?” Hermione inquired politely as she removed her gloves and stowed them inside her large pocket.
“Oh, wonderful. Can't complain you know. Everyone breaks and wears things out ever now and then, which means more creative projects - but in your case it only seems to ever be books - and in turn, more galleons for me!” he smiled, chipper as a squirrel with a tree full of acorns. “And my Dear, for the umpteenth time, do call me Jeb.” With a wink at Hermione's giggle, Jebadias Rothebart set the package on the counter for the young bookworm to take.
“Alright, Jeb, how much will it be?” Hermione asked after the cost.
Swatting her away, the desk clerk indicated no charge.
“But I couldn't possibly! Mr. Rothebart - Jeb, that - I can't let you do that.”
With a hearty laugh, Jeb replied, “Of course you can. Call it an early graduation gift for one of my best costumers. Either that or a very very late Christmas gift.” He scrunched his face in a childlike way to prod yet another giggle from Hermione as he rounded his counter and came to see her out.
Hermione dug in her pocket where her gloves were placed as she turned around and gave the aging man a friendly hug goodbye. She took his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. Jebadias had been like a grandfather away from the muggle world for her. He was special and she was always glad to see he was happy.
Jeb watched as she exited the shop with her package in hand. If ever he had had a granddaughter he would have wanted her to be just like Miss Granger.
As he drew his hand up to wave, the same hand Hermione given a squeeze, the desk clerk noticed his fingers were curled around something. As he stroked his white beard and unraveled his palm, he realized she would not take no for an answer. There in the creases of his hand lay many shinning galleons, more than she needed to have paid. He couldn't help but chuckle at the warmth of her good heart.
All of Hermione's pressing shopping was now done, and the sunlit hours of the day were ever-so-slowly fading. After Wandering through Zonko's Joke Shop for apology gifts for Harry and Ron, she found herself repelled by the many hair-brained products the shop offered, that other students just seemed to eat up. She had almost had her face chewed on by something called a Nose-Biting Teacup and didn't even dare go near the Fanged Frisbees or Dungbombs – Which Ron always found particularly enjoyable to toss at the Slytherins. Hermione wrinkled her nose. The shop had had one too many explode within it and now the wooden walls held the stench permanently. The section of Stink Pellets wasn't helping matters much either.
Now rushing along, she just decided Self-Shuffling Playing Cards and a Fake Wand each would suffice.
Bursting back out on the street, Hermione inhaled a fresh, clean, crisp breath of air, and exhaled with relief. “Never again.” she muttered as she headed for Honeydukes for something sweet that could offset the terror she had endured in the last shop. Their 'jokes' sure left her with a bad taste in her mouth.
The Sweetshop was slowly emptying as many students were now off to get a bite to eat at the Three Broomsticks before returning to the castle. She found herself having no problem selecting a candy of her choice, purchasing it and exiting without being overcrowded. Off to the Shrieking Shack she went as she licked away at a small lollipop that was every color of the rainbow.
The shack still frightened most as it stood there atop a hill, crooked and weathered with age and abuse. To Hermione it was a symbol that represented significant memories in the past, some of which took place well before even her, Harry's and Ron's time.
As she ate away at her candy that had been her only nourishment for the day and reminisced about the past, Hermione found herself growing rather thirsty. Reluctantly stashing the lollipop back into it's rapper, her sore feet slowly carried her back to the center of High Street.
Following everyone else's example, The brown-haired witch wandered over to the Three Broomsticks in search of a Butterbeer to quench her thirst and grab a meal. Yet, just as she wrapped her fingers around the door handle, she felt curiosity nipping at her. Turning her head to look down the rest of the street, her eyes found the Hog's Head Tavern. The swinging sign of a decapitated warthog should have detoured her at once, but instead, the opposite effects occurred. Hermione's hand dropped from the door handle to the over-populated restaurant and her feet followed her eyes to the door of the shady tavern.
What was the harm? She was now seventeen and thereby legal in the wizarding world. The least she could do was check it out.
The old paint-chipped door creaked as she pushed it open. Looking around, she found it busier than she had thought it ever was. No one paid her any mind as she slunk to a booth table in the far back and set her shopping backs beside her as company in the large seat.
Suddenly, out of the hazy smoke the room held, came a scantily clad waitress with too much makeup caked onto her beautiful face. She was chewing a piece of gum obnoxiously as she took Hermione's order. The Head Girl had debated with herself on whether she ought to give the legal life a try or just stick with a Butterbeer. But as she looked around at the other patrons and their drinks, Hermione realized that something as light as Butterbeer would never be permitted on such a menu.
The legal life it was, then. “Um, yes I'll try – have a, let see...”
“Well make up your bloody soddin' mind, Girlie. I got lots more customers than just the likes of you. I got to make meself a living, don't I? So hurry it up!”
“Red currant rum.” Hermione blurted, surprised not only by the fierce language of her waitress, but the voice and manners of speaking that came from her mouth. What had happened to such a gorgeous woman to turn her into – well, that?
“Alright. Be back in a jiff, I will.” The woman's words were peppy and energized, yet her body language and drawling voice indicated otherwise.
Hermione had never felt so out of place in the tavern as her drink arrived in a less than clean mug. It was a safer bet than none to steer clear of ordering any food in a joint like this. Who knew how and by whom it would be prepared.
“Drink up!” the condescending waitress ordered as she walked away without a second glance.
The discomfort was heavy on her shoulders as she sat alone, and soon she found herself sipping her rum deeply and much too quickly. It was surprisingly filling and tastier than she expected alcohol to be.
Across the pub and out of sight to Hermione's wandering eyes sat a group of students parallel to her age. Yet, she wouldn't have dared sit with them even if she had seen their full table.
“Look at him in his tight trousers. He can lean away from my any day of the week.” Pansy Parkinson growled enticingly towards a man standing at the nearby bar who must have been close to twice her age.
“Pans, you're repulsive. Do you realize that you're not at a table full of gossiping girls?” Blaise Zabini questioned with disgust. “I don't recall you even having but one friend that was a girl, ever.”
Draco Malfoy laughed sarcastically. With his arm around his dark-hair girlfriend, he gave her a dominating squeeze. “That's true, Pansy. Now, time to put the blinders on, because I hate to tell you that your boyfriend is sitting right next to you.” With a finger pointing at himself, Draco indicated who she should have her eyes set on. “Don't want to start a fight now, do you?”
Pansy laughed half-heartedly at their teasing. She had never been any good at monogamous relationships. How very drab and uneventful they were. Yet, Draco was a catch for the ages. Money, good looks, a very stylized family and of course money. All very crucial aspects surrounding success.
Draco knew he could have done much better than Pansy, and always wished he would challenge the fact, but his father had other plans. And at this point in the Dark Lord's slow rise back to power, Draco dared not disobey anyone within his ranks, thus including his father.
He needed a break to take a breath and relax. Unlacing his grip on Pansy, Draco downed the last few drops of his drink, pushed away from the table and notified his two comrades that a bathroom break was in order.
Hermione's eyelids were growing heavy and her breathing slow as she finished off the goblet of Firewhisky that had followed twice after her red currant rum. Alcohol was a marvelous thing. She now felt light as a bubble and happier than ever. A stupid grin emerged on her face as she put the goblet to her lips again and tipped, only remembering seconds before she had finished it off. The glass was empty so she took to the activity of spying at the warped room through the bottom of her cup.
Everything around her now held such significance now, but it was extraordinary how quickly she found her train of thought would change.
Setting the glass back onto the surface of the table, Hermione decided that a nap seemed like a good idea. The Head Girl couldn't show her face back at the school drunk. The anarchy that would cause! So, kicking her legs up onto her booth seat, Hermione draped her shed coat over her body and closed her eyes.
She was asleep so soon that she hadn't even heard the warning for last calls twenty minutes later before the tavern closed for the holiday.
Pansy rolled up her sleeve and glanced at her wrist watch then up to Blaise's mildly drunken face. It was closing time and the Hog's Head was emptying.
“Blaise, what do you say we wait for dear Draco outside?” she purred, an undeniable idea formulating in her head.
Blaise nodded, grabbed his coat and followed suit as Pansy led the way to the street. It was true that he had had one too many to drink, yet that didn't make him oblivious to Pansy's intentions.
As both of them emerged into the snow, it took the witch no time flat to drag Blaise into an alley and commence a snogging.
“This is our little secret. No telling Drakie.” she murmured into his ear as they came up for breath.
He nodded again with a hungry look in his eyes. Draco had always been one of his best and closest friends, but he knew what he was getting into when he entered a relationship with Parkinson. She made herself fair game.
Draco zipped up his pants in one swift movement as he traveled to the sink to wash his hands in water that was brown as mud. It probably would have been smarter to refrain from washing his hands at all. After drying them on his slacks he made his way to the door and pulled. It did not open.
“Stupid old bloody building!” Draco swore quietly as he tugged at the handle again and again. It had given him a little spot of trouble as he entered but nothing like this. The tavern was almost in contending shape with the Shrieking Shack, what with is creaks and cracks, chipped paint and rotting floor boards.
Why was it that he and the other Slytherins chose the tavern over the Three Broomsticks again? This place was a hole.
Finally, with one ferocious reef on the door, it flew open, snapping one of the rusted hinges off the frame. Draco tumbled back into the wall, cursing hideously as he push off of it and clambered around the half hung door.
Shock and a surge of panic rushed through his body as he lifted his head to find that not only had Pansy and Blaise abandoned him, but the entire pub was now vacant. Spinning around, Draco looked back through the destroyed bathroom entrance he had come from. How long had he been in there?
Suddenly, a quick thump and a groan erupted from the far back corner. Scanning his eyes over the tables and chairs he noticed someone rising from a booth seat with a hand to their forehead.
Draco slowly paced forward with his eyes locked on the person he had now come to notice was a girl. Taking two more large steps, he narrowed his eyes trying to pierce the lingering smog that occupied the tavern. His feet stopped and his eyes widened.
Hermione let a groggy noise pass through her parted lips as she held her head in her hands. “Not so loud.” she whined in pain. “Who's there?”
Draco reared onto his heels and ran an aggressive hand through his blond locks in disbelief. “Bloody hell!”
“Malfoy! Where is everyone else?” she asked groaned hoarsely in defeat, looking up through the smoke to the last person she wanted to see.
Throwing himself into a nearby chair he answered her angrily, “Gone. Everyone's left.”
With the booze still slinking through her system, Hermione jumped up throwing on her coat, gathered her things and began to make her way to the door. “We best be on our way then. Don't want to hold anyone up with closing.”
Malfoy glared at her idiocy. “No, Mudblood. Gone. Take a look around, do you see any bar staff left?”
Hermione glanced at him in irritation and then to the bar as he gestured. “No.”
“Exactly. It's just you and I. There's no one else.”
“Well no, that can't be right. They would double check that everyone had left before they did. They have to.” Her breath constricted in her throat as she looked toward the door once more. There, hanging in the small grimy window of it was a business sign turned to 'closed'. She began to panic as claustrophobia washed over her. Hermione whimpered, dropping her shopping bags and running to the door. With one pull, reality finally set in. “We're locked in!”
“Groundbreaking discovery, Dr. Mudblood. Did you even see any of the tenders in this place? They could care less if they found you dead and bloody on top of the bar, let alone on a booth seat or stuck in the bathroom.” Draco drawled as the witch slid down the door hopelessly, going on about how this couldn't be happening, not with him, not now- the Easter holiday. She was now banging her head on the door and pounding the floor with her fist.
“I'm stuck here for who knows how many nights with Malfoy. Why? I'm a good person-”
Draco rolled his eyes and let out a growl of agitation. “I need a drink.”
As he wandered behind the bar, carefully scoping the abundance of liquor, he noticed that Hermione was quieting down. There was no more banging and pouting. He exhaled with relief, it was about time.
He never looked up and over the bar once as he slowly concocted a beverage. His main focus was to get drunk enough to forget that the mudblood was there for he had a feeling they weren't getting out of this dump anytime soon.
As Malfoy took his drink in hand and ventured a move out from behind the bar, he noticed that Hermione had fallen stony quiet. Looking in her direction reluctantly, he found her glancing at him in confusion.
“How did you get here?”
Draco furrowed his eyebrows and rolled his eyes. “The carriages, like everyone else, and then I used two marvelous contraptions called 'feet' to take me to here, right here. Amazing isn't it?”
Hermione couldn't have laughed less at his bad tempered humor as she tried to make her question clearer. “No, Ferret. How did you convince McGonagall to let you come to the village today after she clearly caught you acting out at me?”
Draco smirked, that insufferable Malfoy trademark. “McGonagall caught me at nothing.”
Hermione frowned as he went on.
“You see, Mudblood, I'm a quick thinker and a very convincing actor. All I had to do was tell her that Crabbe and Goyle where the ones acting out and that as a Slytherin Prefect I was above all of that. Seeing as I, myself, never took part in actually throwing a snowball, my story was plausible. Crabbe and Goyle, being as dull and moronic as they both are, could not comprehend the situation enough to object in time.”
“You should not have abused your power like that.” she growled in disapproval. “You're terrible.”
“Really? Because I can't see any flaw in it. I think I've done exceptionally well, in fact.” Draco began self righteously. “Here I am in Hogsmeade drinking - excerpt being trapped with you – while they serve detention scrubbing toilets for something they really had very little hand in. I have to say you're wrong. Power and I get along quite harmoniously.”
The witch glared at him resentfully until he began to casually swish his goblet's contents thoughtfully.
Draco looked down at her for a second to smirk, rubbing in his own cleverness, yet became surprised when he found her hostilities had vanished. An intrigued and very curious light was now shinning in her eyes instead.
“What is that?” she questioned timidly, her voice still holding a slight slur, leading her on a one-track thought path. Her knowledge of liquor was newborn, yet her drive and curiosity in every fact of information the world held did not diminish with booze. She wanted to know every kind and what tasted good when mixed with what, so that she would have an idea of what to order in the future. It was not alcoholism, just a burning desire for theory and philosophy. A hankering to know it all.
“It's alcohol. What did you expect in a tavern, pumpkin juice?” he spat, turning his back and walking to a table to sit and drink.
“Yes, thank you Malfoy. I'm not an idiot.” Hermione huffed back. “But what kind?”
“Scotch,” he murmured while taking a sip. “And yes you are.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and crossed her arms as she continued to lean against the door. “It's like you're bloody five.”
After a moment of hesitating, hoping that she wasn't pushing it too far, she questioned him once again. “What's it taste like?”
Draco smirked into his goblet. She really was an insufferable know-it-all. “What, you've never had a sip of scotch? Damn shame. Maybe if you had a glass on the rocks every once in a while you'd loosen up and you knickers could have a chance to un-bunch from your ass.”
“Oh, ha ha, you pureblood prat.” In a flash she was on her feet walking over to him to obtain her own answers if he wasn't going to provide so. “Let's have a sip then.” With an outstretched hand, Hermione beckoned him to pass her the goblet.
Draco looked at her with a repulsed, disbelieving smirk. “You must be joking. The last thing I will do is let a dirty mudblood sip from the same glass as I do. You think I want to contaminate my booze? Get bent, Granger. If you want scotch go and get your own glass.”
Hermione instinctively fit one hand to her hip and held firm. “I don't want a glass, I just want a sip. I have to see if I'll like it before I go and waste an entire fixed drink.” As she reached forward to try once again to obtain the beverage, Draco leaned away and held the scotch out of her reach, scrunching his face in detest as she reached over him, touching his shirt.
“Oh, don't be so dramatic! What have I even done to you?” she squawked upon seeing his disgusted face.
Draco's memory suddenly sparked at her words. What had she ever done to him, indeed.
“Give it here! Malfoy-”
“Alright, alright!” he called aggressively. “You can have a sodding sip!” Watching as a triumphantly pompous expression crossed her slightly intoxicated face, Draco held the glass out warily.
“Thank you,” Hermione said expectantly, as she came a bit closer, reaching out to take the goblet. But, just as she was about to latch onto the cup, Malfoy let it tip in his grasp and soaked her front in the pungent alcohol. Screaming in shock, she backed away with a sobering jolt. “What the hell!”
“How do you like it?” Draco chuckled at his revenge.
“I bloody hate it right now, you snake!” Hermione hissed. “I just wanted a taste!”
“I wasn't talking about the booze.” he continued with a smile.
She ignored him, knowing exactly what he was getting at. Concentrating on the cold, sticky liquid that she was now drenched in, she groaned at the feeling. “Look at my front!” Slowly, she peeled out of her scotch soaked peacoat, dropping in unceremoniously to the floor.
Draco looked at her with one eyebrow cocked. Her sweater - which was hideous as sin, and held a huge letter 'H' on in – was now completely suctioned to her, contouring her every curve. “I am.” His surprise at her hidden figure carried through into his voice.
Hermione looked up at him and away from her ugly sunshine yellow and emerald green jumper. “What the hell is that suppose to mean?”
Draco watched as she crossed her arms under her chest, which only succeeded in accentuating her bust more. “Who knew under all those revoltingly baggy sweaters that was hiding. I would have never expected such a body to be in possession of a mudblood.” To conclude his point, Draco finished off with a wink in her direction.
Hermione growled in detestation. “You make me want to vomit, you pig-headed ferret!” In one felt swoop Hermione tugged off the wet jumper, surveying just how much had soaked through to her white undershirt. She grimaced. She really wished she hadn't chosen to wear a black bra under a white top. It was now clearly visible, making her feel oddly naked in front of his wandering eyes.
“Yes, yes. Now, if you'll excuse me,” he sighed as he got up from his seat and brushed her out of the way as to seem disinterested by the sight, however strongly the contrary may have been. “I seem to be in need of another drink.” But just as he reached the bar he turned to her and tapped his temple thoughtfully. “That reminds me, what is Hermione Granger: Rule Abider doing in a tavern in the first place. Very unlike you - as is the black bustier, I might add.” A wicked smirk tugged at the corner of his lips as he focused his eyes on her blushing face.
“I'm not breaking any rules, if that's what you mean. I'm legal.” Hermione countered, regrettably throwing the cold, wet sweater back over her head to overt the snakes silver eyes.
“Oh, I know. It's just, wouldn't this look awfully bad on a Head Girl's transcript? Tisk tisk, Granger. I thought you were suppose to be a role model to the younger students, not drinking your face off, having wet t-shirt contests and passing out in a pub. That'll be fun to explain to the staff, though.” Draco jeered in delight. He was almost happy that he had been beat out for Head Boy. Too many rules and responsibilities. Not for him.
“I was just curious what the big deal was about liquor. And I didn't pass out, Malfoy!” She had chosen to ignore his other stabs for the good of her sanity.
“Oh, no?” Draco questioned, mocking consideration. “Then why exactly was it that you rose from a booth seat disoriented, with your coat on top of you? Fishing for scraps of food underneath the table were we?”
At the mention of food Hermione's stomach leaped to life in an exceptionally loud barrel roll. She hadn't eaten anything at all the whole day, except for half a lollipop. No wonder she had felt the alcohol so fast.
Draco let out a teasing chuckle. “By the sounds of all those rumbles today I'd say that's a 'no', then. You malnourished Mudblood.”
“I was just tired, Malfoy! I fell asleep for a minute or two. Leave it at that!” she spat over-zealously. He always managed to bring out the worst in her. Without a word, Hermione turned her waterlogged frame and ventured to the swinging kitchen door. If she didn't get something to eat now she'd die. And who knew what Malfoy would do with her dead body.
She shuddered at her sick thoughts. She had been stuck with him for little under an hour and already the cabin fever was setting in.
The kitchen was just as dank and dark as the rest of the building. She wouldn't have been surprised to see rats appear to nibble on the crusting food stuck to dirty left behind dishes. If she hadn't been so hungry she would have spun around and ran.
As she ventured over and opened the small icebox, Hermione noted the inedible amounts of food. If Malfoy and she were to be trapped there for any more than what was left of the weekend they may have starved or poisoned themselves to death on rotten goods.
Poking through the contents of the box, she finally came upon a molded block of cheese. Scrape away the blue fuzz and the cheese underneath would be just fine. She then continued on to look through each cupboard until, to her delight, she found a fresh package of crackers. The only fresh item this building held, bar none. Rightfully so. Soda crackers were sobering food, she knew that much. The staff had most likely gone through many packets to deal with the likes of obscene drunks.
With the obtainment of an old knife, Hermione finally left the vile kitchen to return to the room full of grimy tables. It was getting quite dark in the large and vacant space, for night had fallen. Taking out her wand, Hermione found the hearth of a crooked, crumbling fireplace and lit a bright flame. Instantly, she felt a bit better. The heat was drying her clothing and warming her skin deliciously. Setting her parcel of food on her lap, the witch held out the blade of the knife until the flames lapped around it.
Draco noticed her odd actions and the fact that she had found some food. He hadn't realized how hungry he actually was until his eyes hit the cracker package. “Oi, Granger! Where's my meal?”
Hermione ignored him for a moment as she concentrated on sterilizing the knife without burning herself.
“I'm talking to you,” Malfoy growled.
“I heard you, Malfoy.” Hermione mumbled unconcerned. “Why don't you go find something yourself?”
Draco, who had been lounging with his feet up on a table, stiffened and sat up straight in outrage. “Get it myself? Do you have any idea who you're talking to, you disrespectful Mudblood?”
“Yes. The Draco Malfoy,” she began, as he nodded in approval. “'Prince of Prats'.”
His smug smirk vanished at her sarcasm. “Don't get smart. I am Draco Malfoy, and I don't set one toe in kitchens like that. I have staff to cook for me. Now you will give me what you have immediately, you filthy Muggle.”
I don't think I will, thanks,” she countered in a relaxed tone.
“I told you you bloody cow, a Malfoy never cooks,” he spat heinously.
Hermione shrugged nonchalantly as she drew the hot knife from the fire and began carving away the mold on the cheese. “Fine. You can starve then.”
Neither said another word as Hermione nibbled away on her food and Draco watched her, brooding. His stomach and mind were not on the same page, one screaming to be fed and the other trying to hold out and act strong.
As time passed, Draco couldn't fight his insides' dying rumbles. He had to eat. Growling in defeat, the blond stood up and threw his chair over backwards to the floor, angry at his weak will power, and into the kitchen he stomped.
Hermione snorted and giggled into her hand as she chewed a dry cracker watching Draco act like a child. Everything was a competition with him.
Almost thirty minutes had passed before Malfoy finally reappeared to Hermione's eyes with half a loaf of bread and a mashed and massacred chuck of butter.
“Ah, you're alive.” Hermione noticed, slightly disappointed by the discovery. “I was growing more sure by the minute that something might have happened to you in there. Like being eaten by a giant rat.” She shrugged a sigh. “How disheartening.”
Draco shuddered at the thought of a giant rat living within these walls and ventured to sit in front of the fire. “My standards are very high and it took my a while to comb through what that vile hole held before gathering the best.”
“Bread and butter?” she chuckled incredulously.
“Well, you've seen that rubbish bin of a kitchen. If you can find one thing that's not home to millions of parasites it's gold. So, yes. Bread and butter, Granger.” Seeing that Hermione was now done with her cheese and crackers, Draco grabbed a chair, shoved her out of the way, and sat down in front of the fire. “And I'll take that,” reaching for the now charred but safe knife.
“Settling for the best,” Hermione mumbled at the ridiculousness of all of their conversations.
“A Malfoy doesn't settle.” Draco retorted proudly, as he skewered a piece of bread on the knife to toast it in the flames.
Hermione threw up her hands in mock apology, backing away to fetch her coat. Picking it off the ground, she returned to the hearth and hung it on the back of a chair near the heat to dry out.
For a long while, Hermione and Draco sat side by side in peaceful silence, watching the bread pieces toast in the fire before Draco would butter and devour them.
Every once in a while, Hermione would feel her coat, flipping it round to dry evenly. Finally, after a silent and awkward eternity, it had. The timing was impeccable as sleep began threatening to take over.
Rising from the floor and dragging her feet, Hermione drew two hard wooden chairs together in an attempt at creating a bed to sleep upon. Crawling on them, she noted that the length was much too short. She could forgive it, she was just so tired from such a trying day. With her dry peacoat in one hand, the witch swung it up, draping it on top of her body to act as a blanket for the night. She wrinkled her nose as she noticed it wreaked of alcohol and held a dry crusted feel as a result of the booze. But, what choice did she have? Even with the fire roaring next to her, the cold air was still sinking into her bones.
Draco finished eating and observed her as she nestled in to sleep. The lure of it was strong upon him as well. Leaping to his feet, he reached for his gloves and coat before tossing himself to lay on top of the table nearest the fire. He balled up his trench coat and used it as a scratchy pillow while his gloves warmed his hands.
Not a word was spoken between them as they readied for bed. It was going to be one hell of a long, cold night.
Draco cracked his heavy eyes open lazily as he yawned, pulling himself into the sitting position. What a terrible sleep he had endured, plagued with dreams he wish he hadn't had. The late morning beams of sunlight shone bright into the dank pub through old rickety shutters, revealing just how much dust and smoke lingered around him, even now when the doors had been closed for a night.
Rubbing his eyes with the heel of one hand, he blinked and looked to where Granger was sleeping, only to find it abandoned. In a flash he was on his feet thinking the most vindictive thoughts of her finding an escape and leaving him abandoned at the mercy of his own devices. Gliding to the shutters, Draco tugged at them, watching splinters flick off from the abuse. They were nailed shut and he noticed that there happened to be a full pane of glass behind them. She hadn't got out by window.
Turning on the spot, the blond boy surveyed the room again, wondering if he'd missed her. The place was empty, yet different in a way he couldn't peg. As he stood there, Draco wondered if the kitchen held a back door that he hadn't known about. Traveling to the kitchen door, he pushed it open and searched for an exit. There wasn't a door to be found, let alone a window.
“Granger! Where are you?”
Suddenly Draco jumped, as a loud crashing sound erupted to his left. His eyes flashed to a pantry door that had flown open as the brown haired girl backed out, surrounded in fallen pots and pans.
“What the bloody hell are you doing?” Draco asked critically upon seeing her.
Hermione looked frazzled as she spun around and stumbled out of the cookware collage. She was dawned with yellow rubber gloves and a flowery apron as she set her hands on her hips and glowered at him. “Thank you so much, you git!” she huffed sarcastically.
“What did I do?” Draco questioned unconcerned.
“I had all of these cleaned pots and pans in my arms, trying to put them away carefully when you had to barge in and call my name. You scared me half to death!”
Draco frowned at her explanation. “Well, it's not like I screamed bloody murder at you!”
“Never-the-less, now I have to rewash all of these thanks to you. Get out of here before I start throwing dishes at your face!” Hermione barked back.
“You're cleaning? Mudblood, that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.” Draco chuckled incredulously, noting that was the change he noticed when he woke. Everything was spotless.
“And why is that?” She couldn't contain the sudden curiosity.
“Do you, for even one second, think that the tavern staff are going to appreciate this, let alone even notice it? Did you not see what type of low lives work here. If anything, they'll be furious that you moved shit around on them.” Lifting an eyebrow, Draco waited for a response.
“Well, it's not like I have a whole hell of a lot else to do, Malfoy! It keeps me busy. I'd rather not have to forfeit my last few months of school and N.E.W.T test scores by being carted off to Saint Mungo's because the combination of you and cabin fever was too much for me.”
Draco couldn't hold back his insulting chuckles at Granger's woes. “Stop with the melodramatics, please.”
Hermione face was reaching the verge of tomato red from all of his insufferable comments. Cleaning was therapeutic to her, so damn what he had to say. “Out, get out!” she bellowed nastily. “Go find something to do that's as far away as this building allows you to go.”
“You, know,” Draco started, as Hermione returned to the pantry to pick up the cookware. “If you weren't so uptight I'm sure that stick up your ass would have a good chance at escape. You really are a nasty Mudblood bitch.”
“Go!” she yelled, glaring at him and pointing to the door. His insults were all the same.
Draco exited the kitchen with relief. Granger may have been a nasty Mudblood bitch, but he seemed to gravitate back to her feisty spirit. It was always entertaining. Never a dull moment with her around. It didn't help that he had dreamed about her body under his last night, either. He was lucky there hadn't been any morning evidence of such indignity. He was slowly going as insane as her.
Hermione shook her head frantically as she watched Malfoy leave her sight. He had been right. She was much too uptight, but he just brought it forth in her. It was her way of protecting herself against him. She had to be cautious, he was a Malfoy. She had to be icy towards him, the laws of physics demanded it. She had to get the dream of his chiseled body and electric touch out of her head!
With a rubber gloved hand, Hermione smacked her temple. She hated dreaming in her sleep. She would have rather fallen into black unconsciousness instead of waking with an influential idea forced into her mind against her will. It was false attraction. It was illogical for her to see Malfoy in such a way. Her goal was to stay busy and forget.
This was exactly why she had hated Divination with such a passion. There was no proof to anything, it was all about hearsay and the vision of the 'inner eye'. Though, as much as Hermione hated to admit it, she could have really used the dream interpretation rubbish right about now.
She couldn't focus any longer. She was too mystified by her own subconsciouses affections for a snake. It was impossible for her not to wonder what else it was keeping from her. With a deep sighing groan, Hermione threw off her gloves and put her head in her hands. It was too late, she was already insane.
Draco fought for a distraction from his thoughts of Hermione's body. What could possibly keep him busy in here? Roaming around lazily, Draco found his eyes falling on a stack of Hermione's shopping bags on top of a table. His eyes lit up with interest at what she had purchased, and decided that this would be his attentions occupant. Slinking over to the table, he immediately began to dig around in the bags, finding roles of parchment and ink. How boring, but what had he really expected from Granger?
Then, his hand fell upon a Zonko's bag. It took him seconds to rip into it and begin laughing an incredulous insult.
Suddenly, Hermione emerged from the kitchen with a damp cloth, intending to give the bar a clean wipe. Her vision fell onto Draco and just what it was he was occupying himself with.
“Do you mind?” she screeched in outrage. “Stay out of my things!”
Draco turned to her with the two joke wands in one hand, ignoring her previous statement. “Fake Wands, Granger? Really?”
What's wrong with a Fake Wand?” she asked with a huff.
“Oh, nothing, if you're eleven! How juvenile,”
“Well, it's not like I spend much time in that hell hole of a joke shop. Sorry! They're not for me. There gifts for Harry and Ron.” she offered, placing her thumb and forefinger in between her eyes to relieve the tension.
Draco twisted his features into a thoughtful ponder before he answered. “In that case, you're justified. Those two are the epitome of 'juvenile'! Ridiculous.”
With a wind up of frustration, Hermione launched the wet cloth that was clutched in her hand and sent it whizzing just wide of Malfoy's smug nose.
Without a flinch, Malfoy returned to her shopping and resumed shuffling through it. An excited grin lit her face as he noticed a Honeydukes bag with a lollipop inside.
Hermione watched him docilely as she sighed and retrieved her cloth from the floor. No matter how many times she told him to stop it only succeeded in driving him on more.
Draco made quick work of the sticky wrapper that the lollipop was encased in, as he hadn't had any food that day as of yet. But his enthusiasm fell as he noticed that it had already been sucked on.
It was Hermione's turn to break out in a grin as she noticed Malfoy's discovery. She was very near him now and as she walked by, her hand outstretched and snatched the candy from him with a 'thank you'. Popping it in her mouth, she made her way to the bar, happily sucking away. She knew now that there was nothing in her purchases that he would take a particular interest too and relaxed and scrubbed the alcohol encrusted counter.
Irritated by his robbery, Draco turned once again to the items on the table, noticing a brown package from Dervish & Banges. Instinctively, he ripped it open to find a newly bound book. Reading could surely pass the time.
He scooped up the book and plopped down in a chair, kicking his feet up on the table. Since the book had been newly bound, the title could only be found on the inside. He flipped through the front until he found what he was looking for, letting out a groan and throwing the book on the table. “It had to be 'Hogwarts: A History' didn't it, Granger? I should have guessed it would be a bore of a read if it belonged to you.”
Hermione threw the now dirty cloth into the bar sink and ventured over to where he sat, taking the book and making her way to a booth to read. “Isn't that a shame,” she mused as she freed her mouth from the candy for a moment. On her way by the table of shopping, Hermione found the Self-Shuffling Playing Cards and tossed them to Draco without a second look.
The time passed quickly as Hermione and Draco became enveloped in their own activities. Draco had accepted the cards and had been playing a solitaire game ever since, as Hermione had now conquered almost a third of the thousand-and-a-half paged text. But the blond boy's attentions began to wander as he looked up to think of his next move and caught sight of Hermione sucking on the thick lollipop deliciously while engrossed in the words before her. No matter how badly he knew to look away, he found the urge to gaze on too magnetic to fight. He watched in an ever-growing daze as her full, red lips wrapped around the candy, her cheeks suctioning inward as she gathered the taste. She would then set the lollipop free with a small 'pop', darting her rainbow stained tongue out to lap along the sides before twirling it around and around halfway inside her pursed lips.
Draco hadn't noticed that he was still subconsciously laying down cards, continuing on with his game. He had propped his head up with an elbow on the table and hand underneath his chin, yet he looked nowhere near the table. As he continued to watch Hermione's steamy ministrations with the candy he let out an involuntary groan of longing.
Hermione jumped at the sudden noise. Tearing her eyes from the book instinctively, to look at where the sound originated from, Draco.
As the blond boy noticed just what kind of sound he had let out of his mouth, he gasped. His eyes were now fixed on Hermione's curious ones, and instead of composing himself his elbow slide along the table causing him to drop his head. In a counter action so his face would not hit the table, Malfoy threw up a knee to balance himself, wincing as it bashed into the underside of the surface.
Hermione couldn't help but chuckle. He had been caught red handed, but she wasn't about to tell him that yet. She wanted to have a little fun with him first.
Looking down to his cards, in a last ditch attempt at avoiding the witch's eyes, Malfoy noted just what kind out mess he had made of the game in his distraction. Two's were placed on jack's and ace's were set in the middle of lines instead of at the top right corner of the table.
He wanted to kick himself for his actions. What had come over him? The Mudblood now had full control of him, whether she knew it or not. It was time to make a stiff, straight drink. It was time to get drunk.
Hermione's eyes followed him secretly, catching him glancing back to her and her lollipop every so often as he made his way behind the bar and began fixing a beverage. Smiling inward, Hermione decided to toy with him a little further.
Pretending to be absentminded and engrossed in her large book once again, the young witch kicked her feet up to rest on the edge of the booth and put the lollipop back to work. Slipping it past her lush lips for a second time, she accentuated every lap and lick, sucking on the flavor unmercifully.
Draco almost overfilled his concoction as he buckled at what he was witnessing. His hand slid across the bar top when he tried to brace himself, nearly knocking the entire drink over. He would have never thought a mudblood could rise such a longing out of him. This entrapment was no good.
Draco had dark lust burning in his eyes every time he looked to her. The ugly duckling was now long gone, replaced with a goddess that knew how to play his game almost as well as he did. Granger was destroying him, this couldn't happen.
She was cracking him, she could see it clearly in his conflicted eyes, and all she had to do was eat candy. She cleared her mind and blinked in shock. Was she trying to seduce him? Did he want her to seduce him? That's when it occurred to her that being trapped in closed courters really wasn't healthy at all.
Thinking quickly to fight the urges building inside of her, Hermione set down her book and looked toward the bar. “Could I have one?”
Draco shot his eyebrows up in surprise. “One what?” One moment she had been teasing him enticingly and the next she was innocent as a sweet little girl. What was her angle?
“One of whatever it is that you're cooking up back there,” She saw his incredulous expression that screamed 'get it yourself' but before he voiced it she added, “I would do it myself, but, embarrassingly enough, I don't know how to make anything alcoholic.”
“That I believe,” Draco muttered as he ran a hand through his hair to calm his scrambled mind.
“Please,” she offered, batting her eyelashes suggestively.
Then, a thought came to Draco and a smile began to pull at his lips. If he got her drunk she would most likely pass out from being an inexperienced drinker and therefore stop wreaking havoc upon him. Either that or she would get sick, in which case all temptation to touch her would vanish.
“I guess,” he groaned, trying to sound annoyed with her, all the while patting himself on the back for his evasion of a seductive mudblood scheme. Did she know what she did to him?
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