Chapter 1 : 1000 Herbs and Remedies
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“Granger?” I froze mid crawl and felt my body tense. He was there. Right behind me; probably getting an eyeful of my ass in my pencil skirt. And there I was on the floor, on my hands and knees just how he always thought us ‘mudbloods’ should be.
“Hello Malfoy.” I said in a small embarrassed voice, still too humiliated to even be able to move off the floor. I hoped he would just leave, make a comment and leave please.
“What are you doing on the floor?” His perfect Malfoy drawl questioned. He sounded curious though, not pompous.
I wanted to say ‘trying to stay away from you,’ but I didn’t. Instead I picked out the first book I could get my hands on and finally stood up, still facing away from the blonde.
“Just looking for this.” I held the book in the air so he could see, still keeping my back facing him. He grabbed the book out of my hand and I involuntarily turned around, anger boiling inside me. “Oh my…”
Holy hell he was gorgeous. Just stepped out of a magazine photo shoot gorgeous. We hadn’t seen each other in about 10 years since the war. I went my way with my friends and he went his with his, if he had any.
And now here he was in all his delicious gloriousness. His physique was outstanding… large muscular arms, he was taller than the last time I saw him, his abs were barely hidden by his plain white t-shirt. The angles of his face were sharper but soft somehow, his lips full, pouty and pink. His blonde locks fell a bit above his ears and swept across the endless bluish grey pools that were his eyes.
I couldn’t take my focus off his eyes which were gazing right back into mine. I wanted to reach out and brush away the hair that dared to shield his bluish orbs from me. I had never gotten a good look at them, we were always at war with each other; had no time to stare into my enemies eyes.
We must have stood there for 5 minutes without a word between us, it was like time stopped. Neither averted our gaze until someone cleared their throat and I broke our trance.
“Excuse me miss, do you have ‘1000 Herbs and Remedies’?” And old lady addressed me.
“Um, yes. Yes I do. If you’ll come with me I’ll bring you to it.” I started to move down the aisle, the old woman following me. Before I turned a corner I looked back to see Malfoy gazing after me, an unreadable expression on his face… curiosity, confusion? I didn’t know.
When I was done helping the little old lady I ventured back to the aisle where I left Malfoy. He wasn’t there, but the book he had grabbed from me was lying on the floor.
“Git.” I whispered and squatted down to pick up the discarded book. As I did I noticed a piece of parchment was tucked underneath it, still lying on the floor. I tentatively picked it up and read.
Leaky Cauldron. 9 pm.
“You’re going right?” Ginny questioned excitedly after I gave her the note to read that night. I had immediately owled Ginny when I got home and she flooed over ASAP.
“What? Are you crazy? Of course I’m not going.” I huffed and walked to my kitchen to get a glass of water. Draco Malfoy wanted me to meet him for what… drinks? Was he insane?
“Give me one bloody good reason as to why not.” My best friend crossed her arms over her very large belly. Harry and Ginny were pregnant with their 3rd child after being married a year after the war.
“I can give you several. It’s Draco Malfoy. I was tortured and almost killed in front of his eyes. He made our lives a living hell in school. He’s an arrogant, git who only thinks of himself. He let Death Eat-”
“Ok, ok. I get it.” Ginny threw her arms in the air and waddled over to my couch. “But let’s face it Hermione. The war ended 10 years ago. Have you heard anything bad about any of the Malfoy’s since then?”
I started pacing in front of my fireplace. “Well, no. But-”
“And was Draco rude to you in any way today?” She cut me off.
“Again, no. But how does that make up for what I went through with him?” I turned toward her and furrowed my brows.
“It doesn’t. Maybe he wants to apologize… or maybe he saw something he liked today.” Ginny winked at me and I snorted.
“Yeah Gin. The only thing he may have liked was a full view of my ass as I crawled across the floor to escape him like an idiot.”
“Well, that’s a start.” She laughed at me. “Come on Hermione. You can’t tell me you aren’t at least a teensy bit curious as to why he wants to meet with you tonight.”
“Fine. I’m curious. I’m more curious than I have been about anything in the last 7 years. Ugh, why Ginny? Why do I feel the need to go and see what he wants?” I flopped down onto the couch beside her.
“Because you like to know as much as you can, especially when it concerns yourself. One question. How’d he look?” Ginny smirked as I shook my head.
I wanted to lie to her but I knew it would be no use. “Bloody gorgeous.” I grumbled.
“Well, then we are going to have to pamper you up and make you look as sexy as possible.” She grabbed my hand and pulled me to my bathroom despite my protests.
A couple of hours later we were standing in front of the full length mirror in my room staring at my startling reflection. My hair fell in soft curls down around my shoulders, my eyes were bright and framed by thick black lashes, my skin was smooth and flushed at the cheeks and my lips were a deep red.
The dress Ginny chose was a little too fancy for The Leaky Cauldron, but it was one of the few I owned so I let her play dress up on me. It was a black number that hugged my curves and stopped just above my knees. The top had 1” straps and cut to a v-neck showing off a bit of cleavage, nothing tacky. The dress was simple, but Ginny dressed it up with a pair of leopard peep toe pumps with a small red bow on top.
“Draco Malfoy, eat your heart out.” Ginny said while smiling at my reflection. She handed me my small black clutch which contained my wand; undetectable extension charm, and fastened a pair of gold hoops to my ears.
“Ginny, are you sure this isn’t too much? I mean, it’s only Malfoy and we’re going to The Leaky Cauldron. He’ll probably be wearing a pair of cutoffs and the white t-shirt from when I saw him earlier. He’s going to laugh in my face.” I started to walk toward my closet to find something more suitable but Ginny caught me and steered me out into the living room and towards the fireplace.
“No way. You look phenomenal and he is going to drop to his knees when he sees you. Show that ferret what he missed out on because he was such a git to you. This is your turn to shine Hermione, so go blind him!” She hugged me tightly after I thanked her for the confidence boost and sent me into the fireplace.
I grabbed a handful of floo powder, shouted “The Leaky Cauldron” and threw it down. I was engulfed by green flames and then thrown out of the fireplace in the bar; luckily I stuck my landing and didn’t fall flat on my face.
I moved out of the area so I wouldn’t be knocked into incase someone else was trying to arrive by floo and started my search for that infamous head of blonde hair. I spotted him easily over at the bar with a drink in his hand. It was 9:10 when I left my flat; I was surprised he was still here.
Draco Malfoy usually doesn’t wait for anything. Walking over I was on the receiving end of many stares. It felt surprisingly good to be looked at. I only ever had that because I was part of the Golden Trio, but now I assumed it was because I looked nice.
I approached Malfoy and laid a hand on his shoulder trying to get his attention. He turned for a brief moment then turned back towards the bar. My face contorted in confusion.
“Sorry Miss, but I’m waiting for a date.” He sounded annoyed.
A date? A date… this was a date? Or was he just saying that to get rid of whoever he thought was bothering him? I ran my eyes over him. He was just as dressed up as I was. He had on a pair of black slacks, black dress shoes, a blue dress shirt which was tucked into his pants and a belt. His hair was the same as earlier today which I was grateful for. It always looked awful when he slicked it back as a child. I don’t know why I was grateful for anything about Malfoy but I was. So, we were on a date. The Slytherin Prince and the Gryffindor Princess. How odd.
“Is that what this is Malfoy? A date?” I asked with a smirk in my voice.
He spun around out of his seat so fast his stool tipped over and clattered to the floor. Everyone around the bar looked over to see what the ruckus was before returning to their drinks.
Malfoy stood there letting his eyes roam over my body and I couldn’t help but feel a little proud, but also uncomfortable under his gaze. His eyes finally drifted to my face.
“You look… you look...wow.” He finally got out. I smirked a bit and went to pick up his stool. He bent down and helped. When we straightened out again I let my eyes rake over his body just as he had done mine. I had already checked him out before; this was more to see his reaction. When I reached his eyes he looked stunned and had an eyebrow quirked.
“Thanks. So do you.” His face eased into a slight smile. “So… we’re on a date?” I smirked again as his face paled and he started to fidget.
“Um… well, I didn’t- I mean… I don’t know.” He said quietly, looking a little sheepish. For some reason I felt my heart clench. I guess it wasn’t a date. Of course it wasn’t. How could I have been that naïve? I knew he just said it to get rid of the ‘stranger’.
“Ah.” I gave him a tight lipped smile, trying to hide my slight disappointment that I knew I shouldn’t have felt. I reminded myself ‘it’s Malfoy’ over and over in my head, but it still didn’t mask the fact that I had gotten excited when he implied that I was his date. I hadn’t really had many dates in the years after Ron and I broke up. I suppose that’s why Ginny pushed me to come tonight, just to get out of the house.
“No don’t sit.” Malfoy grabbed my arm before I could slide into the seat next to him. I looked down at his hand on my skin and breathed deeply. Why Merlin is he having this effect on me? I didn’t need this, I didn’t ask for it.
“Why not? We aren’t staying here?” I asked after calming down a bit. He slid his hand down my arm, heating my skin as he did and linked his hand with mine.
“No. We’re going somewhere else.” Malfoy smiled and started to lead me to the door. My defensive mode kicked in and I stopped in my tracks making him fumble a bit and stop to look back at me. “What?”
“You are the real Malfoy right?” I questioned the man in front of me.
“Um yeah? Where is this going?” He held onto my hand a bit tighter, not enough to cause any pain though. I took a step backward. “What’s wrong?” Malfoy looked confused and bit sad.
“Do you know who I am?” He let out a short laugh but when he realized I was serious his face turned back to confusion.
“Hermione what are you getting at?” He asked in a small voice.
Hermione. He called me Hermione. He had never done that before and now here he was calling me by my first name like he had said it a million times in the past. I looked at him in shock and he stepped toward me, his eyes looking a bit panicked.
“Why am I here?” I don’t know if I meant the question for him or myself. He took more steps forward until he was a few inches from me. He brought his free hand up and ran his fingers through my curls. It took all of my strength not to sigh and lean against his hand.
“Because I had to see you again.” He breathed out while holding my gaze. My eyebrows knitted together and he continued. “When you faced me in the bookstore today I thought you were the most breathtakingly beautiful woman I had ever seen. I knew right then and there not seeing you again wasn’t an option.” He released my hair and caressed my cheek with his thumb. This time I did sigh, because of his words and his actions.
“I don’t understand. You hate me…” I didn’t want to say it, but it had to be said. Our past still hurt me. Hell, it hurt me so much I tried to get away from him this morning on all fours even ten years later. Malfoy shook his head and looked longingly into my eyes.
“I haven’t hated you since you slapped me third year. And the only reason I was a prick to you before then was because I was jealous. Jealous of your friends, their love for you. Your family who encouraged you. Your bravery and smarts. I didn’t hate you… I admired you to the brink of self loathing. I just wanted it to be hate to take the focus off of my problems. I’m sorry Hermione…” Draco let his hand drop from my face, but still held my other in his grip.
He didn’t hate me. Did I hate him? I already knew the answer and it was no. I wanted to fall into his arms. He was right about the bookstore today. I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but I needed to see him again too. There was no way I was not coming tonight; no matter how much I tried to talk Ginny out of it. I was coming. There was an unexplainable pull towards him when I saw him today up close. And I wanted to explore it.
“So. Where are you taking me?” I asked breaking the silence that had fallen over us. His eyes found mine and a smile spread across his face. He started to lead me to the door again, this time I didn’t protest.
“How about an éclair?” Draco asked as we walked into muggle London.
“An éclair? Draco it’s almost 10 pm. Are you hungry? Didn’t you have din-” Before I could finish my sentence Draco wrapped me in his embrace and brought his face within a few inches of mine. It startled me to say the least, but I once again lost myself in those eyes. My heart was beating frantically inside my chest because of our close proximity. I had an idea of what was going to happen, but didn’t want to get my hopes up. I really wanted to taste his lips, taste him.
“Say my name again… say it.” He commanded softly as his breath fanned across my face. He pulled me tighter against him and I could feel his firm body against mine. I would never forget that feeling. It was spectacular. I hadn’t felt a man’s body in years.
“Draco…” I sighed out before he captured my lips in a firm yet tender kiss. He was delicious. Lips smooth as ice, but warm and fulfilling. I wrapped my arms around his neck and closed my eyes as we continued the best first kiss in the history of the world. He didn’t push for more, just kept it light but passionate.
Our lips left each others when someone wolf whistled as they passed us. My eyes were still closed until his thumb brushed across my bottom lip.
“Wow.” I said quietly. I wasn’t sure he heard me until he rested his forehead against mine and breathed out a ‘yeah’ in response.
“Come on, let’s go.” Draco led me farther away from the bar once our breathing returned to normal and the shock wore off that I had just kissed Draco Malfoy. We entered an alley and I became a little suspicious. Maybe it was all a ploy to get me here so he and his ‘friends’ could do something, but the second he wrapped his arms around me again I felt safe and assured that no group of former Death Eaters awaited me.
“Ready?” He looked down at me and I gave a short nod then leaned my head against his chest waiting for the familiar sensation of apparation. Within a few seconds we landed and he led me out of an alley with an arm around my waist. I stopped in my tracks once again, realizing where we were.
“Draco…” I stepped away from him and looked on in awe at the sight in front of me. A spectacular light show was traveling its way up the ironwork of the Eiffel Tower right before my eyes. Paris. He brought me to Paris, the most romantic city in the world. I turned back to him and leapt into his arms. We laughed as he spun me around.
“You like?” He asked after he set me back on my feet.
I shook my head. “No Draco, I love. This is incredible. I can’t believe I’m here. I can’t believe I’m here with you!” He looked down after that comment. I nudged his head up with my finger. “I meant that in a good way. Look where life has brought me. This is a day I will never forget. Thank you Draco.” I stepped closer to him and raised myself on my tiptoes to plant a kiss on his lips.
He took me in his arms and buried his face in my hair. “You’re welcome Hermione. Now what do you say about that éclair?” He pulled back and smiled when I nodded. “It’s about 11 pm right now, but the city is always bustling after hours. I know the perfect bakery, let’s go.” Draco led me by the hand down a cobble stone street, the Eiffel Tower still in our view.
We arrived at a small patisserie called ‘Boulangerie Patisserie De La Tour Eiffel.’ I couldn’t hold in my excitement as Draco spoke in perfect French to the owner, an old friend. Trust the Malfoy’s to have friends in all foreign countries. He introduced me and I uttered a quiet ‘Bonjour’ before the French man grabbed me on my upper arms and kissed both of my cheeks.
After ordering an éclair, vanilla bean crème brulee, and a chocolate and raspberry crepe we set out for a bench near the tower. It was a beautiful sight. The city was still alive even though it was nearing midnight. The man sitting next to me was adorable.
“Draco, you don’t have to feed me.” I laughed as he held out a spoonful of crème brulee.
“Alright. Just trying to be a bit romantic is all.” He chuckled and put the spoon in his mouth. I brushed my hand across his cheek and he focused on my eyes.
“This is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me Draco. Thank you a million times over.” I received a smile after he swallowed and a light kiss on the lips. He tasted like vanilla; I tore the spoon away from him and dug into the decadent dessert.
“Hey, I thought you didn’t want any.” He playfully crossed his arms and pouted. I slowly brought the spoon to my lips and placed it upside down in my mouth, closed my eyes and savored every morsel. Licking the spoon as I slowly retracted it. I opened my eyes and saw Draco staring heatedly at my mouth. His eyes were dark and his lips was parted. His body was tense.
Once I put the spoon down he kissed me. He kissed me hard with so much passion I thought I’d explode. He invaded my mouth with his lush tongue, tangling it with mine. My fingers wound in his hair as his arms held me to him; the rest of our dessert forgotten.
“Come back to my place.” Draco gasped out when he broke away for air, but moved back to my mouth quickly, licking and sucking my lower lip. I moaned a ‘yes’ and before I knew it we were in an alley apparating away from the Eiffel Tower.
A/N: I do NOT own anything related to Harry Potter. Nor do I have any affiliation to Boulangerie Patisserie De La Tour Eiffel.