Chapter 1 : You know why you're here.
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sweet CI by Astoria Viana
In her short time at the Ministry of Magic, never had Hermione been so overwhelmed by her caseload. Her S.P.E.W inspired branch of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, had only recently begun to pick up speed. In part because of her constant insistence to the Minister that her organization deserved more of a priority; and partly because many muggleborns like herself, and those of the same mind began to come out and help advocating her cause. They brought to the public light many of the injustices suffered upon house elves and many other creatures by purebloods and those who kept to old magic traditions.
So it came as no real surprise to her when she received a missive reporting Draco Malfoy’s mistreatment of his own house elves. He had always been a pure blooded, pig headed snipe, so why should he ever have changed after a life altering war? Hermione sighed with irritation as she set the missive aside, and pulled a detailed form from a nearby cabinet. Just another complication in the day. Ron would go batty when she told him that night. Since their recent nuptials, Ron had become even more protective over his very independent wife, (she would not readily admit it aloud, but she loved that about him).
Still it was Hermione’s job to contact the offender, then schedule a meeting as soon as possible to notify them of their violation and the consequences. If the guilty party felt the need to continue their offensive behaviors, she would be more than happy to take more drastic measures to make her No Creature Abuse Ever statement clear.
Hermione hoped that if she were lucky, Malfoy would be want to deal with the matter in the most discreet manner possible. Of course to avoid the needless bad press, he could possibly go so far as to send an assistant as his proxy to pay off the fines and sweep the issue under the rug. Anything to avoid connecting his name to hers, as he needed no further bad attention. Though she thought that purebloods might be proud for being accused of elf abuse charges.
Being the dutiful activist she was, Hermione was determined to see to all ordeals like these herself. She would prepare all of the needed documents ahead of time, not only because she would anyway, but to make the appointment with her former classmate as painless as humanly possible. Since she had no ethical power over what came out of his foul mouth, of course.
His reply was returned as swiftly as she had sent it. He wanted to meet as soon as possible. Everything was ready and completely organized according to importance. Malfoy would be the last appointment she would take for the day. So she had enough time to make sure that she looked her best, to eliminate another thing he might try to insult. She was ready, which was good as he was supposed to be arriving in the next few minutes.
Exactly on time, there was a knock on Hermione’s office door. She looked up and could see the tall figure behind the clouded glass, then straightened her hair one last time. She told herself that it would only be as bad as she made it, and there was no reason for it to not be brisk.
“Please come in.” she called out.
The door clicked and swung open to reveal a tall, familiar, but entirely handsome blonde man. And that man was smiling at her. Not a devious smile, but a genuine happy smile.
“Close your mouth Granger, you don’t want to muck up those papers with your slime do you?” He asked with his same old snarky attitude from Hogwarts, she figured she had got her hopes up until she saw him wink.
“I, er, please take a seat Mr. Malfoy. Oh, and it’s Weasley now.” Hermione said, unsure of what Malfoy was playing at with the civility. She knew she had used her current surname in the missive.
“Don’t be bitter Hermione, that was all years ago. Don’t call me Mr. Malfoy either, we’ve known each other long enough to go by our first names.” Draco replied smoothly with no hint of sarcasm as he took one of the seats in front of her desk.
“Fine then, Draco.” She almost spat, “I have a referral for you to read and sign acknowledging your awareness. As well as a small fine of 10 Galleon since this is only your first and hopefully offense.” Hermione finished trying to keep the meeting on track.
Hermione slid the paper across the desk in his direction, along with quill and ink.
“I am sure you are aware why you are here today. A witness reported seeing you abusing your house elves, a discriminatory practice in itself, by way of curses. The matter was swiftly brought to my departments attention because of its importance and will be dealt with as such. If you do not wish to comply with our regulations, you will bee made an example of. Do you understand?” Hermione said with a serious tone. Proud that she was keeping her composure, and staying professional.
“Of course Hermione, I understand.” Draco acquiesced, “In fact I should really tell you the truth.”
Hermione was taken aback, “Truth? What truth could there be, there was a witness.”
“That I am just covering for my father. I was the witness who reported it. Because I knew it would bring me here.”
Hermione was confused. What on Earth would make him want to come to her office? Though she had a sneaking suspicion that she could grasp his meaning if she really thought about it, she did not want to admit that to herself.
“What are you getting at Malfoy?” she demanded.
“I’ve changed Hermione.” Draco stood, holding his hands out as if to show his changes, “ The war did that to me, you did that to me.”
“You’ve gone mad! Aside from this being ludicrous Malfoy, I’m married. And you have been nothing but horrible to me for all of my magical life. So whatever this joke is, I kindly suggest that you sign the paper, pay the fine, and please leave.” Hermione said with frustration.
“I won’t Hermione. Everything about me has become better because of you.” Draco exclaimed, standing from his chair, and walking around to Hermione’s side of the desk taking her hand in his.
“You don’t believe me I know, but I can make you believe me.” Draco declared.
“You have gone insane haven’t you?” Hermione asked.
She was sure that must be the case, or he had been hit by some offhand spell to be acting this way to her. If he weren’t he wouldn’t possibly be able to keep up a charade like this for so long with a straight face. When she looked at him though, his eyes told her he meant it, as did the smoothness of his voice.
“I have forgone my dark ways. I freed my house elves. I haven’t even said the ‘M’ word in more than a year, and I would never think of calling you that again. Tell me to bring you the stars and I would gladly do it! I’ll go down to the Atrium and shout at the top of my lungs that I am in love with a muggle born. A beautiful muggle born who doesn’t believe that she has stolen my heart.”
“Oh dear Merlin,” Hermione chocked out, utterly stunned. “You love me?”
“For someone so smart it takes you awhile to grasp the important things.” Draco said with a soft chuckle as he lifted a hand to caress her cheek.
“This is so unexpected Draco. I don’t know what to say-.”
“Just say that you feel the same way, or could at least come around to me someday?” Draco asked hopefully.
“I, I don’t know.” Hermione replied at a loss for how to react, she was currently having a conflicted mix of emotions.
Here she was a happily married, yet somehow receiving a declaration of love from a man who ten minutes before, and all the time before that had never once shown her any sort of affection. It was one of the most obscure things to happen to her, but she would have to be dreaming to say that she wasn’t beginning to feel the same way.
“You have a life right now, I do understand that. If you could do me one kindness, to perhaps give me some hope for us in the future?” Draco asked, drawing Hermione closer.
“Anything Draco, what is it?” Hermione replied.
“Just one kiss please. That is all I ask for.” He begged, bowing his head to her hands.
Not needing to think Hermione replied, “Of course!”
Swiftly, Draco swept Hermione up into his arms kissing her full on the mouth. She gave into his embrace, unable to resist. It was one of the most breathtaking kisses she had ever experienced. Moments later they broke apart, both trying to regain their breath.
“Thank you Hermione.” Draco drawled, his eyes lingering on her lips.
Suddenly, her office door swung open, letting a Ministry memo fly in. It circled the room, as if looking for its recipient before landing in Draco’s open palm. He excused himself to read the note.
“Damn. I just have to take care of this. But I will be back as soon as I can.” Draco said, standing from her desk.
“Alright. I will be here.” Hermione smiled up at him.
“I will return soon my love.” Draco said, kissing her chastely on the cheek before going off and leaving her alone in her office once again.
Hermione sighed loudly at what a shocking whirlwind meeting that had been. Completely unplanned or expected, yet somehow she still felt it was right. No matter how wrong everyone else she knew would think it was.
As Hermione waited for his return, she busied herself with writing a letter to her husband to explain what big changes were in store for them. She knew that he wouldn’t like it, but his stubbornness would not change anything. Growing tired as she waited, it was getting late, she continued adding pages to her letter.
There was a loud wrapping noise on Hermione’s office door. She sat up abruptly from her desk, wiping the sleep from her eyes. Rather confused, she rearranged the papers on her desk unable to find her letter to Ron. Only the papers that were meant for Draco’s violation.
Again came the wrapping on her door. Quickly Hermione fixed her hair and straightened her robes.
“I’m here, do come in!” she called.
The door opened slowly revealing the same handsome tall blonde man as before. Only this one had an irritated scowl when he looked upon her, then turned back to speak in hushed tones to someone behind him.
“I know, I know. This will be quick.” Draco murmured.
“Good, I hate waiting.” A lighter feminine voice replied.
Draco entered the office, shutting the door behind him.
“Good afternoon, please have a seat.” Hermione said with a smile as he did so.
“Ugh, I would rather stand than sit in one of your filthy chairs. Had I known it was actually you I was meeting with I wouldn’t have abused those elves.” Draco said.
“Really?” Hermione asked hopeful.
“No, I just would have been more subtle about it.” He shrugged.
“Well then, let us begin.” Hermione started with caution, having a giant feeling of déjà vu.
“No need. I know how these pointless meetings go. Just show me where to sign and take the gold, because I have reservations for supper with my wife in less than an hour.” Draco said, holding out a small pouch that surely had enough gold to pay the fine plus a little extra to keep her quiet.
“Excuse me? The whole point of this is to teach you a lesson so that these poor creatures don’t have to suffer any more abuses from ignorant pure bloods like you.” Hermione seethed.
“Save it. You should have figured out by now how this works. The rich won’t be made examples of when they are the ones to support and found these ludicrous organizations like yours so that we can keep a good public image. So take the money, because if you don’t, and I hear something about this in the news, I will have your organization stuck in court so long that you won’t ever be able to help a single wretched creature.” Draco told her seriously, tossing the bag of gold on to her desk.
Hermione had to hold herself back from doing something unprofessional, like cursing him. Instead she slid the paper, quill and ink across the desk. Then picked up the pouch of gold. Draco signed it quickly before muttering ‘Mudblood’ under his breath and slamming the door behind him.
She was flustered certainly, not sure what had actually happened. It was disorienting to say the least. First Draco had been perfectly romantic, and then became his usual arrogant self. At least she had gotten what she intended done.
It was the end of her work day, so Hermione prepared to leave the office still unable to find that letter she somewhat remembered writing to Ron. Perhaps it wasn’t there, which would be fore the better, her choice to leave him would have been the biggest mistake she had ever made. Just telling Ron about what she thought had happened would be enough to probably drive him to kill Malfoy, not that Malfoy didn’t deserve it. It was something that she would have to keep to herself, even if that meant she would always wonder.
A/N: Hi, so this is my first and what I am guessing is a very shoddy attempt at a Dramione. Hope you something'd it ;) I wonder, do you get what is going on in it, and when did you figure it out? Anywho, it was written for the De-Cliche It Challenge, The Pride and Prejudice Challenge, and apparently my own challenge to see how many times I can sneak the word SWIFT into a one-shot. Also I want to thank my bestie TIna/SPEW_advocate for Hermione proofing this, as I would be incapable of writing her correctly due to hatred. Thanks for reading! Please review!