Hermione threw her purse in the chair. Her hair, which had been pulled back in a messy bun, she let out and turned around to face her over-protective friends.
"'Mione, you're overreacting about this." Harry tried to tell her. She stared at him wide-eyed and huffed.
"Are you kidding me? I'm on a date for Merlin's sake, and you two show up and start a fight! Honestly, how old are you?"
"You didn't want to go home with that guy."
"That's not the point, Ronald. The real point is, is that neither you nor you," She pointed to Harry. "Had the right to be there. I could've handled myself."
"Yeah, the fright on your face sure proved that..." Ron muttered. Hermione cut her eyes dangerously at him and crossed her arms.
"And what's that supposed to mean? You think I'm weak?"
"I think what he's trying to say," Harry said gently. "Is that you're...not used to dealing with people like that."
"Oh really? Well, maybe I should date a Death Eater next and quite possibly you'll think I'll be able to deal with the situation."
"And what would you do? Throw at him the book you've been doing your latest research in?"
"Ron," Harry said warningly, seeing the look in Hermione's eyes, but it was too late. She was already growing redder by the second. She nodded and took a deep breath.
"Is that what you really think, Ron? Is that what I'm only good for? Doing the behind the scenes work while you and Harry perform all the heroics?"
"All I'm saying is that you're a passive woman!" Ron told her. "Face the fact that you're stuck behind a book all day. You don't know how to deal with rough people out there. You don't go out, you don't drink...you're naive to the world and Harry and I worry about you."
Hermione couldn't believe her ears. So this was what her friends thought of her. She clenched her teeth and took up her purse that she threw onto the sofa.
"I am not some hermit crab. And I am not some delicate little china doll!" She snapped at them. She headed towards the door and could hear Harry in the background sniping at Ron.
"'Mione, where are you going?" Harry asked her.
"To prove you wrong,"
Hermione disapparated once outside of the flat door. She didn't have a set idea on where she was going, but eventually settled on going to a small pub on the outskirts of London. She looked around her and shuddered. She wasn't properly dressed for being near the riverside where the temperature dropped at terrible temperatures. As she stared to the left and right, she realized how dark outside was. A closer look and she could see the wicked smiles of men on the street who were sizing her up and down. Hermione gulped and heard Ron's words in her ears. Getting her rage and courage back, she headed across the street to the pub.
"I don't go out, he says. I'm naive to the world, he says. Humph, I'll show him. Harry too,"
Hermione walked into the pub and suddenly wished she had chosen a better place. Most of the people there were men. Most of those men were vulgar and shameless. And most of those vulgar and shameless men were drunk. But, against her better judgment, she went up to the bar and sat on one of the stools.
"Whaddya want?" The bartender asked her. She was slightly taken aback by his rude way of asking her but she acknowledged him with a small smile. "Whaddya want, Missus? Hurry up, I've got others waitin'."
Hermione struggled hard trying to figure out what exactly she wanted. Honest and truly, she never really drank alcohol. With the exception of celebrations, alcohol didn't pass her lips and when it did, it was usually champagne, something she was sure she wouldn't find at the pub she was sitting in. So, she called for the first thing that came to her mind and of which she had seen Harry and Ron down in one gulp on more than one occasion:
"I'll have a shot of firewhiskey." She said boldy. The bartender cocked a brow at her and hesitated in giving her what she asked for. She could hear some snicker from the men behind her and supposed that a they had never seen a woman call for such a "heavy" drink.
A second or two later the bartender came back and gave her the shot of firewhiskey she had called for. Hermione stared at the shot glass in her hand and forced the control of her face so she didn't show her disgust. The smell was unbearable. She shuddered at the thought of the fowl thing swimming down her throat and lingering until it passed through her system. She was thinking about dashing out of the pub, leaving the alcoholic beverage on the table and taking a walk by the river until she was ready to go home, but the bartender had his eyes on her.
"'Evening, Charlie." A voice sounded from behind her. Hermione tensed up, closed her eyes, and prayed to Merlin that it wasn't who she was thinking it was. However, when the said person took a seat beside her, she knew she couldn't possibly be that lucky.
"Granger?" Draco said bemused. He tilted his head to the left to see her better and still couldn't believe his eyes. "What's Miss Goody Goody doing in a rough place like this? And with a drink, no less..?"
"Don't call me that." Hermione snapped at him. She had had enough belittling for the night, and she wasn't about to get it from him too.
"Sorry, but it's not everyday I see someone like you in a place like this." He smirked as he swiped her drink from her hand.
"Firewhiskey?" He sniffed. Hermione balled her fists and was mentally berating herself for being on the verge of small tears.
"Yes, now can you stop blooding smelling my drink and give it back to me?"
"Well someone's feisty tonight... This her second one, Charlie?"
"First," The bartender answered. "Hasn't sipped it yet."
"Not surprised there," Draco said matter-of-factly. "Give another firewhiskey. And let's toast, Granger, to a very tipsy evening."
Hermione stared at Draco who had his shot of firewhiskey in his hand and ready to tap hers for a toast. She stared at her own and could've sworn that her drink was evilly laughing at her.
"The drink won't bite."
"I know that." Hermione replied angrily as she lifted her glass. "To a very tipsy evening indeed." She told him, clanked his glass and pictured Harry and Ron downing their shot glasses, and in turn mimicking them. She closed her eyes as she did so and opened them back in utter surprise. The liquid slid down the throat and burned like mad. Her eyes were watering and there was a sharp pain in her chest. What drove her mad the most was that Draco wasn't showing any sign that he had drank his liquor though his shot glass was empty. He looked fine, and there she was practically gagging for life.
"I never thought I'd see the day that Granger would take a shot." Draco said with a smile. "Charlie, another round."
"What?" Hermione said in shock. Her throat, chest, and stomach was still screaming at her for swallowing that horrid drink, and now he was talking about getting another one? In her mind, she had proved that she wasn't a piece of glass or naive with that one shot. There was no need for another one, yet, what Draco said next changed her mind.
"We can't very well get drunk with only one shot of firewhiskey. What's the matter, Granger? Scared?"
"...Make mine a double, Charlie." She said without fear. Draco grinned in surprise and Hermione felt a tad woozy. She hadn't a clear idea what a double was, but had heard Harry and Ron say it plenty of times. When the drink was finally placed in front of her, she initiated the toast and downed her drink before Draco could get his close enough to his lips. Hermione's head started pounding the moment the liquor was all gone, and her chest was on fire. Her eyes had been closed and when she opened them, Draco was shaking his head and laughing.
"What are you laughing for?" Hermione asked, realizing that was losing a touch of reality for she had momentarily forgotten what she had asked him.
"I'm laughing at you." Draco answered honestly. "This atmosphere is far beyond you, and here you are trying to fit in. Though, I must admit that you're doing quite well."
"And I bet you fit in this atmosphere fantastically, right?"
"Perfectly... All night, every night, and you, my dear, should be stuck behind a book, not here."
"You don't think I can be just like you? Watch me." Hermione said as she tossed back her third and fourth firewhiskey consecutively as Charlie gave them to her and watched Draco's eyes pour over her as she slipped her jacket off.
"Granger," Draco warned. This was definitely not the bookworm that he knew from school. Either someone was playing a joke on him, or she was willingly walking into the lion's den, for underneath the jacket she took off and placed in his lap she was wearing a black halter dress. He had to admit she looked alluring, but then realized that the other men in the pub thought so as well.
"And how are we gentlemen doing tonight?" Hermione said with a flirtatious smile. The men were responsive in a minute. In all cruelty Draco was tempted to stay rooted where he was and watch her make a fool of herself, but as the look in the men's eyes began to be more lustful, Draco finished off his firewhiskey and walked over to her.
"Come on, Granger, let's go." Draco said as he grabbed her underneath her arm.
"No, I don't want to leave." Hermione whined, literally. She was trying to pry his hand from off of her arm and failing miserably, from either his grip being too strong or she being drunk, he wasn't too sure.
"Hey, I don't think she wants to go, pal." One of the men said. Draco rolled his eyes and lifted up a portion of his shirt to reveal his wand ready and waiting.
"You want to bet?"
"...She's all yours."
"Let's go." He said to Hermione as he dragged her out of the pub. Once fully outside, she wrenched her arm from Draco and stumbled a bit before regaining her balance. He laughed out loud and watched her walk ahead of him.
"I don't know what you're snickering about." Hermione snapped at him as she stopped and turned around to look at him.
"What? Am I not supposed to find some sort of amusement in seeing you piss drunk."
"I am not, as you say, piss drunk. I can see clearly. My walking-"
"Is impaired," Draco grinned.
"And I have yet to lose my state of mind." Hermione said with a raise of her chin. "As far as I'm concerned I've proven my point, and I'm ready to go home... After a small swim that is,"
Draco furrowed his brow for a moment, but then realized what she wanted to do. He saw her begin to veer away from the sidewalk and off to the river shoreline. A second later a smirk began to curl onto his lips when he saw that she was lifting up her halter dress. Draco smacked himself silly and cursed under his breath.
"Of all the moments to be sobering up," He muttered and went up to her before the dress was above her bust line. He had his hands on her forearms which forced her to let go the hem of her dress and allow it to fall back down to her knees.
"What are you doing?" Hermione asked him plainly. Draco stared at her confusedly and crossed her arms. Yes, her eyes were dilated from the alcohol, and her walking a bit abnormal, but no, like she said earlier, she hadn't lost her state of mind. She was actually planning on going skinny dipping on her own accord.
"There may be firewhiskey on your breath, but you're not drunk enough to do this." Draco told her seriously. She narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms like he had done.
"And how would you know?"
"I'm an experienced drinker, Granger. And I think you were one shot of firewhiskey short."
"...Can't you just let me have this please?" Hermione nearly begged him. Draco slowly shook his head, but soon smiled and began lifting his own shirt.
"Not by yourself, you're not."
Hermione stared wide-eyed and in disbelief as she watched Draco strip down eagerly to his boxers and then shiver from the cool air.
"It's kind of cold out here, you know. You might want to strip so we can get this over with."
It took her a couple seconds to register what was going on before she too stripped down to her under garments and was covering herself with her arms to protect herself from the cold.
"I'm definitely not drunk." Hermione chatted against the wind. "What the hell was I thinking?"
"I think you were, what was it? Trying to prove a point? But to who I wonder?" Draco smiled and grabbed her hand. He led her to the river's edge and on the count of three they both jumped into the river and felt the rush of cold go through their bones.
"Merlin, what the bloody hell was I thinking." Hermione gasped as she came up for air. She pushed back the hair that had gotten in her face and saw Draco in front of her doing the same.
"You didn't answer my question."
"And what question was that?"
"Who are you trying to prove a point to? And what point for that matter?"
Hermione wet her face and noticeably shivered. He was awaiting an answer, and it wasnt like as if she had anywhere to run to.
"Harry and Ron," She told him. "They think I'm some brittle thing and that I don't know how to handle myself."
"And getting drunk was a sure way to prove them wrong?"
"I'm not drunk, remember?" Hermione grinned. "Last time I checked, I was just sixty-five percent tipsy."
"Tipsy enough to do something you might regret tomorrow?"
"I'm a tad light-headed if that means anything."
"It means a lot."
Hermione woke up and blinked serveral times. She hadn't a clue where she was. As she sat up on what was apparently a sofa, everything came flooding back in a milisecond: river, skinny dipping, talking, kissing... Hermione quickly pulled back a blanket that was covering her and checked herself. Her clothes were there and her skin was blemish free. A chuckle from ahead of her brought her attention upward to a very amused-filled Draco.
"Making sure I haven't deflowered you, yes?" Draco asked. Hermione blushed and pushed back the blankets and stood up from the sofa.
"Sorry, waking up in strange place tends to bring that effect. Your mansion, I expect?"
He nodded and walked over to her.
"I was planning on taking you home, but then I realized that I hadn't the foggiest idea where you lived. You fell asleep soon after we got here."
"Evidence of a good time then." Hermione told him as she raised a hand to her forehead. A fierce headache was threatening to come out. "I'd better get home though. Harry and Ron are probably having a fit wondering where I am."
"Yeah, and um, maybe we could have a repeat of last night?" Draco asked subtly. "Perhaps without the skinny dipping?"
"And the firewhiskey? I'd kind of like to not have a headache tomorrow."
"Anything you say, Granger... Anything you say,"
Hermione nodded and followed Draco to his fireplace. With a bit of hesitancy and surprisingly a quick kiss from him, Hermione stepped into the fireplace and went back home to her two overprotective friends, whom she was sure would rant and express their never-ending worries in her ears.
__________________________________________________________ author's note: hey all!! hope you liked it! plz remember to leave a review and tell me what you thought about it! :)
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