The clock read 5:54. She peered around her flat to make sure she wasn’t forgetting anything. Malfoy had said in the letter to dress up and so that she did – but not too much because she didn’t want to be over or underdressed to whatever he was taking her to, so she had decided to wear a knee-length black dress; it had two thin pieces that went over her shoulders like the straps of a tank top and was very average. It did not hug her curves and it did not make her body look like a boys, it tucked in at the waist and that was all. She had also put on nude nylons and black heels to go with it – nothing too fancy. Before getting ready she had eaten soup and a sandwich because she wasn’t sure if this was a meal or not and it was better safe than sorry, especially with Draco Malfoy. She clicked the toe of her right high heel on the floor as she waited beside the door. It was 5:59. She went to sit down on her couch and noticed some orange hair in a ball by the table – shedding. Hermione sighed. “Kitty, kitty, kitty,” she purred. She heard a meow and Crookshanks sauntered towards her from the bedroom. His orange fur now had some grey streaks and his eye sight was going, poor thing. Crookshanks was seventeen this year but was still doing remarkably well for his age.
“I would pick you up but I can’t get your lovely orange fur on my dress,” Hermione told her cat as she petted him from the top of his head to the tip of his tail. He purred in appreciation and Hermione had to hold him back from rubbing against her leg as she continued to pet his long, well-groomed fur. A knock sounded on her door and Crookshanks let out a horrid meow, immediately upset. “Shh.” She told him as she went to the front door and opened it. Malfoy stood there in black suit, Crookshanks still sitting by the couch she had been sitting on looking absolutely miserable.
“Looks like we’ll match,” He said in reference to her black dress. He glanced behind her and his mouth shrivelled in disgust at the sight of Crookshanks. “What in Merlin’s name is that beast?”
Crookshanks hissed and made his way back down the hallway towards the bedroom with an air of displeasure.
“That is my cat!” Hermione told him angrily. Ever since she had gotten him people had being calling him ugly, until they got to know him at least, then they called him the smartest of his kind which was funny because that is what people called her. “And his name is Crookshanks.”
Draco looked at her, his face still twisted as it was when he first saw the cat. “Not exactly the prettiest cat, is he?”
“He’s the smartest cat you’ll find!” Hermione spat. “Want to know what I find interesting? That he’s helped the Wizarding community more than you yourself have!”
The man smirked. “Oh, what did it do? Kill Voldemort just by looking at him? I wouldn’t be surprised, with a face like that and all.”
Hermione huffed and stepped through the door, past him, slamming it closed behind her and locking it with a flick of her wand. “Lead the way, oh-so-witty-one.” She told him.
He smiled. “Gladly.” He placed his hand on her shoulder and in a moment they were apparating, the pull at Hermiones stomach familiar to her. They landed on their feet outside a tall, classy-looking building. It had a red carpet outside and two guards standing by the door. He placed his hand on the top of her back and guided her to the doors. “Draco Malfoy.” He told the guards. They nodded and he led Hermione inside and into an elevator like that at the Ministry. He clicked a button and they rode upwards.
“I ate before I came.” She told him as they stepped out into what looked like a posh, wizarding restaurant.
Draco led her passed the tables. “That’s good, because I wasn’t planning on feeding you.” Hermione looked up at him but his eyes were trained forward. He was half a head taller than she was and she was by no means short. He wasn’t freakishly tall, though, either. She was just above the average height for females and he was just above the average height for males. “It’s great to see you take such an interest in me.” He told her in reply to her staring. She immediately looked away, her cheeks going pink. She would have thought up a reply if there was one to give but she was at a loss for words. They walked out onto a balcony; it was overlooking wizarding London and was completely deserted besides Malfoy and herself. It was chilly and Hermione had to stop herself from shivering or rubbing her arms to keep warm. They stood in silence before Draco interrupted it.
“I read the afternoon paper,” he told her, smirking. “And I see you don’t quite love me ten stars! Imagine that.”
Hermione groaned. “I can’t believe they actually put that in the paper.”
“Maybe just don’t open your mouth around reporters anymore.”
Hermione stared at him and then spoke, “That’s a little hard since I am one.” Draco did not answer and Hermione continued. “So what did you bring me here to talk about?” Just as Hermione said that a waiter came out onto the balcony holding an empty tray.
“We would like two jagertee cocktails, under the name Malfoy.” He told the waiter who nodded. Two cocktail glasses filled with a deep crimson liquid appeared. The waiter handed the first one to Draco who handed it to Hermione, and took the second for himself. Draco nodded curtly at the waiter who walked off of the balcony and back into the building to sell alcohol to the other customers.
Hermione stared down at the intoxicating liquid which sat in her hand, steam coming off of it and warming her palm. She wasn’t used to cocktails never mind warm ones. She could feel Draco watching her as she stared down at the drink, unsure whether or not to take a sip. She was freezing but she didn’t like the idea of taking alcohol from a Malfoy.
“It’s not going to kill you, Granger.” She heard him say. “It’s a common cocktail, not usually served at high class places such as this. Thought it would be less odd for you, but I see that I was wrong. You look like you’ve never touched a cocktail in your life.”
Hermione swallowed. “I- I haven’t actually. I’ve had alcohol, though.”
“Let me guess, wine, champagne and fire whiskey?”
Hermione shook her head. “I’ve never tried fire whiskey. And I’ve had butterbeer-“
“Obviously you’ve had butterbeer,” Draco said in a bored tone. “But it has such a low concentration of alcohol it doesn’t count. It’s more like a fizzy drink than anything else.” Hermione shrugged, she felt wrong standing on a balcony in the company of Draco Malfoy with a cocktail in her hand – be it a common one or not. She sloshed the liquid around while Malfoy took a hardy sip.
“Try it, Granger. I paid for it so the least you can do is take a sip.”
Her eyes went to Malfoy as she steered the cup towards her mouth.
“That’s a crystal glass you have in your hand, you know. And I ordered jagertee because it was made to warm you even more than the average alcohol, your shivering was rather obvious. It tastes good and I’m positive you’ll like it. A little alcohol never hurt anyone.”
Hermione put her lips on the rim of the crystal glass and tipped it ever so slightly so that the steaming crimson liquid poured between her lips. It tasted like a mixture of butterscotch and vanilla and had a bit of a bite to it. With one sip Hermione could feel her insides warm as it went through her. “What is this made of?” Hermione asked.
“Black tea and red wine,” he told her. “There are some spices and other flavours mixed in.”
“Why is it called jagertee?” She asked as she took another sip. She couldn’t tell if she liked it or not, and she heard Malfoy snort as she took another drink.
“I told you it was good,” He said. “And it’s an Austrian drink. It means hunter tea and is for warming oneself.” She nodded as he spoke and set her cup down on the railing. Her entire body was heated from the liquid, and the taste lingered on her tongue. “But enough about your drink, I wouldn’t have ordered it if I had known it would take this long for you to get acquainted with it. So anyway, someone’s been trying to get into my mail.”
Hermione looked at the man before her in shock. “What do you mean?”
“I mean exactly what I said. Someone is trying to hijack my mail. That letter you sent was already opened when it reached me and I doubt you ripped open your own envelope.” He paused to take a drink out of his own cup. “And so I’m guessing someone is trying to get yours as well. That’s why it’s no longer safe to send mail.”
“So we have to keep… Seeing each other?” Hermione wasn’t going to pretend she liked the idea of going off with Malfoy every other night.
He racked his hand through his hair. “I hate it as much as you do.”
“You don’t appear to…” Hermione mumbled.
Malfoy looked up at her, raising his eyebrows. “What are you talking about? I’m the one who’s suffering the most out of this!”
“Excuse me, what?” Hermione exclaimed. “How are you suffering the most?” Both Hermione andDraco were easy to set off in terms of anger.
“How do you think? I have to be engaged to bookworm, frizzy haired Hermione Granger!”
Hermione took a step back, her cheeks scarlet. “Oh, and I’m just having a blast being your fiancée! I look like a traitor to everyone you do realize! And at least it makes you look like an okay person being engaged to me! At least now the public doesn’t think of you as a complete brooding fool!”
Malfoy didn’t answer right away which made Hermione think he was furious at her words. “Granger,” He said instead, his tone rather calm. “You do realize I got voted number one on the eligible bachelor section in Witches Weekly last month and they even went as far as to do a follow up story and a biography about me.” He smirked.
Hermione blinked. That self centered git!
“Women love the brooding types,” He continued. “Not that you would know anything about that seeing as the last man you dated was Weasley. How many years ago was that again? Six?”
“Four, actually.” Hermione countered him, but not with her usual spark. Four years did seem like rather a lot but she wasn’t about to admit it to him, he had no business meddling in her affairs. She was only twenty five and had plenty of time to find someone, she told herself reassuringly.
“Oh. Right. Sorry about that. Four whole years single and I’m guessing not by choice.” Draco threw what he said at her the same why he called her ‘mudblood’ back in school. Hermione took a step toward him, anger coursing through her.
“You have no right to- to-“ She was furious, just the sight of Malfoy made her want to vomit. Her hands itched to hit him but she wasn’t a fool and knew now was definitely not the time to play back their third year, so instead she grabbed her jagertee off of the railing and downed the contents in a single gulp. She regretted it the second she performed the careless act. Her mouth felt like someone had set it on fire, and her insides burned as the fluid took its course. Hermione could feel her eyes water and her nose flare, she wanted to puke and for real this time. She could hear Malfoy laughing from beside her as she just flung her head over the railing, her hands holding the thick metal bar so tightly her knuckles shone white. “Git.” She growled. She had had no idea that this is what the drink would do if swallowed whole!
Draco raised his hands up as though surrendering, still laughing. “Congratulations, Granger! You just proved you really are as much of a Gryffindor as your friends, not only for your surprising attempt at bravery but your pathetic, Gryffindor-grown impulsiveness.” Hermione couldn’t even retort for her head was swimming with the high amount of alcohol she had just consumed.
“Oh, and I think now is the best time to break to you the news.” He told her, a hint of amusement still in his voice. “I’m sure you got the invitation to the Hogwarts reunion. And so I took the duty upon myself to mail McGonagall and tell her that we will be arriving together as a couple in a weeks’ time like scheduled.”
Hermione, her eyes wet with unshed tears from the heat of the drink, looked from her position over the railing at the man. She made a noise that Draco had no possible way of understanding, and then added, “But why? Won’t it…” She had to stop to inhale the cold air, trying to cool off her insides. “Won’t we be done by then?”
Malfoy cocked an eyebrow. “This is going to take longer than a week, Granger.” He snorted at the prospect of only being engaged for a week, as though it was the most obvious thing. “And stay out of danger, alright? What a pain it would be for you to turn up dead somewhere. Then I’d have to go into mourning.”
“What if I don’t want to go to the reunion with you?” Hermione asked fiercely.
Malfoy sneered. “And what if I don’t want to show up with you? What we want doesn’t matter and you should have thought of that before falling through my office door. ” Hermione stood up from her hunched over position and straightened her back, she felt okay now although her skin still felt like she had been lying in the sun for several hours. “I’ll pick you up on the seventh as scheduled.” He turned to face the door.
“Wait!” Hermione said loudly. “You haven’t even told me how this is at all dangerous! You haven’t actually told me anything besides this is not safe. And engaged? Why is that what you thought up?” He turned back to face her.
“That was the only thing I could think of on such short notice. If I had been given time I could have thought up something a bit less intimate, I’m sure.”
“But you said engaged! Who thinks up engaged when a reporter falls through their door?” Hermione demanded.
Malfoy rolled his eyes. “I don’t know! That’s why I wasn’t a Ravenclaw! I’m not imaginative enough.”
Hermione narrowed her eyes at him and clenched her jaw. “Okay, fine. But how is this at all dangerous?”
“If I told you you would only be in more danger.” He smirked. “And I have no intention of telling you anything! It’s my personal affair.”
“Oh, so now you care about privacy but you didn’t when accusing me of being an old maid? And since we’re a couple now I think I have the right to know.”
He pursed his lips and threw Hermione a menacing look. “Oh, come on. We’re not a couple.”
“You’re right, that’s just a label you gave me for convenience purposes.” Hermione said sarcastically. It was hard to believe that this was the same coward who harassed her throughout her school career.
“Exactly.” He replied coldly as if to say ‘This conversation is over, Granger’. He began to walk for the door and enclosed the handle in his hand. “Now come on, I have to pay and then I’ll take you home.”
The air was cold around them, the jagertee wearing off. A cold breeze sailed through and Hermione put her arms around herself wondering why she hadn’t thought of a jacket. “I can take myself home, thanks.” She snarled in reply.
He looked her up and down. She looked small – but not in the way of height or weight, in both aspects she was rather average – and she was shivering but fire still flickered from behind her eyes. She was stubborn, that one.
“Fine, suit yourself.” Malfoy said evenly, shrugging his shoulders. “Oh, and I suggest pickle juice.”
“For the headache you’ll be receiving tomorrow morning due to all that jagertee.” The corners of his mouth curved upwards only slightly. “Be seeing you, Granger.” And with that he walked back into the restaurant, not once turning to shoot her another glance. Hermione put her hands on her stomach; undoubtedly she would feel much worse in the morning. How had she let herself drink, especially on a work night? And even worse, with Draco Malfoy? She closed her eyes and imagined her flat, landing outside of it in mere seconds. Hopefully sleep would help cushion the headache she was bound to receive come morning.
Hello everyone! Thank you so much for reading my fourth chapter. I thought it was about time to have some one on one with Draco and Hermione. I hope you liked this chapter, and please post a review below as it would be mean a lot to me. I reply to every review and as I've said I think every authors note I've had: Your reviews make my day. Also, as I said in the first chapters author note I accept criticism as long as it is constructive because I am sure it will help me learn and grow as an author. And flowery comments are lovely as well and I absolutely adore recieving them. But seriously, every review I get really motivates me to write more because it shows me that I do, in fact, have readers. Alright! Fare the well everyone. Have an amazing morning, afternoon or night - whenever it is you read this. (: