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Thank Me Later by dream_BIG
Chapter 1 : Of Unfair Slits and Swooping Backs
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 37


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There comes a time in every person’s life when things start to go to complete and utter shit.

 

“Fucking no.

 

“This has to be a mistake.”

 

Mine came on the very first day of my job as an Auror. The exam results had come out three weeks ago – I passed with flying colors – and the board had spent a lot of time and effort assembling pairs. Partners, basically. Two people who were so well matched in both the mental and physical exams that they’d be virtually unstoppable together.

 



Walking into the office today, I came to the conclusion that every member on the board was experiencing a particularly strong bout of stupidity on that day.


Because who did they choose as my partner?


Rose Weasley. Rose bloody Weasley. I didn’t even know she was in Auror school! I thought she’d be a librarian or something!


This is total bullocks. Bullocks. Bullocks. Bullocks.


“What are you even doing here?” I asked incredulously, dropping my bag onto the ground.


“I can be wherever the hell I want –” she started indignantly, but I had no time for one of her inevitable rants on Merlin-knows-what.


“You’re supposed to be working some desk job at the Ministry –”


Desk job?!”


“ – forever alone with an abundance of cats –”


Forever alone?!”


“ – because they’re the only ones that could ever love you –”


“I’m allergic to cats!”


“ – not…not here!” I finished, undeterred by her incredulous repeating of my words.


“Fuck you, Malfoy,” she spat, looking cross. Good.


“Oh, please don’t ever put me through that,” I muttered.


She fumed for a couple of moments, breathing heavily through her nose as she glared at me, cheeks flushed and hair starting to crackle slightly. She seemed to be contemplating the best way to disembowel me with a sharpened toothbrush. Many years of experiencing her glare had rendered me basically immune to the fear response it elicited.


Basically immune. I do value my life, thanks.


“I’m asking for a partner change,” she finally announced tightly, swinging her bag over her shoulder and stalking towards the door.


“Thank you!” I called mockingly after her, and she raised a middle finger without bothering to turn around.


She really warms the cockles of my heart with her charming personality.


*
“You’re still here.”


“No shit.”


“…Where’s your new partner?”


“Looking at him.”


“But I’m your old partner.”


“You’re my permanent partner.”


“You’re kidding.”


“I don’t kid.”


Yeah, her facial structure definitely goes with that statement. I sighed and slumped backwards on my chair, looking up at her with a slightly disgusted expression on my face. She wasn’t exactly jumping for joy as she stared back.


“You could always drop out?” I offered hopefully.


She sneered. “You could always drop dead?”


I shrugged and smirked. “Not my thing.”


“Shut up, then, before I make it ‘your thing’,” she responded through gritted teeth, slamming her bag onto her desk and sitting down roughly.


So, here’s the thing about Weasley and Me: we’ve never gotten along. Seriously. Never. The first thing she said to me was “Well you’re awful and I hate you!”


Granted, it was because the first thing I ever said to her was “Your hair’s awful.”


In my defense, I was eleven and her hair really was awful. It hasn’t changed much, really, except now she’s better at making it look like it’s done that way on purpose, because in Weasley-World, a head full of obnoxiously orange, wild curls is appealing. In the real world…well, okay, maybe to some guys it is. Whatever floats your boat, man. If you like your women looking like Ginger Neanderthals then go for it, you know? I mean, it’s Weasley, so close enough.


In school, we sort of had this implied-yet-never-totally-declared rivalry with each other. We’d do this thing where we’d always try to outdo the other. She’d get a full score on her Transfig exam. I’d brew a potion perfectly. She joined the Gryffindor Quidditch Team as Seeker. I became the Slytherin Seeker. We then proceeded to kick each other’s arses as many times as possible.


To be honest, I was seriously glad when graduation finally rolled around and I didn’t always have to keep one eye on Weasley to make sure she wasn’t getting too much better than me. It was starting to get old, fast, and I was happy to be done with it. To be done with her.


But oh yeah. Can’t do that. She’s my Auror partner.


Merlin has a very bad sense of humor.


“You know what this means, don’t you?” she asked suddenly, and I blinked in surprise before glancing over at her with my eyebrows raised in question.


“We’re going to have to see each other every day,” she whispered. “Every fucking day. Every waking minute of every day.”


“Don’t get too excited. I’m not going to be around when you’re in the loo or whatever. I don’t need that kind of mental damage, Weasley,” I shot back.


Her snitch-shaped paperweight found a new place on the center of my chest after that comment. Left a lovely bruise behind.


Violent GingerBitch.


*


“Is it safe?”


“You’re funny, dad,” Weasley piped up dryly before I could open my mouth and ask (quite rudely) who the fuck had the lack of brain capacity to ask that at our doorway.
Good thing I didn’t get all that out, though, because Ron Weasley would probably dismember me. Publicly. There’d be popcorn and everything.


“Morning, Rosie!” he said cheerfully, walking in and plopping down onto the only piece of furniture we’d used to decorate our office apart from the provided desks and chairs.


She grunted. Lovely.


“And a good morning to you as well, Mr. Malfoy,” he added jovially. He’d taken a strange liking to me after I might have accidentally found my fist in a Quidditch Teammate’s jaw during a certain Quidditch Match when the little prick knocked out Al for no reason whatsoever.


It was totally an accident, though, because it’s not like Al’s one of my best mates. And I definitely don’t care about his personal well-being. I’m a Slytherin. We hate everyone.


“That,” I muttered, shooting a scathing glare at Weasley, “is a matter of opinion.”


“Great,” he said, looking between the two of us briefly before getting up, “Right. Harry will be in later to give you your first assignment. I won’t. I enjoy life.”


Weasley and I looked up from our paperwork simultaneously. I’m sure neither of us looked particularly impressed.


“And I’m gone,” he muttered.


True to his best mate’s word, Harry Potter arrived about ten minutes later.


“Is it safe?”


“Okay, that’s seriously not funny!” Weasley barked, snapping her quill in half.


No, this is great. I am thrilled that my Auror Partner is possibly the most unstable female on the face of the planet.


He was still chuckling as he walked through the door, holding a thick manila envelope that did not hold promising things for my future. Especially if said future involved Weasley. Which it did. I’m a dead man.


“First assignment,” he said eagerly, tapping the envelope, “excited?”


“No.”


“Not really.”


“Great!” his smile looked forced, “so I’ll make this quick and I’ll go back to safety and you guys can plan out how you want to do this.”


Neither of us responded. Weasley had her foot placed on her chair. She was fiddling with the laces on her brown leather boots.


“You both are still rookies, and I really didn’t want to give you this assignment, but…we’re short on Aurors right now since all the creature attacks and… look. Okay. You need to work together,” Mr. Potter said in a low, rushed voice, green eyes solemn, “I don’t care about your past. I don’t. Neither will anyone else. People will notice that you can’t work together and they will use it against you. This is not Hogwarts. This is the real world. One slip, and you die. So you will cooperate.”


Insert dramatic pause and exchanged glance. Blue eyes filtering with slight panic.

 
I looked away fast, before she could read the same thing in my eyes.


“Do you understand me?” he finished quietly.


“Yes.”


“Got it.”
“I’m glad we had this talk,” he said, tossing the envelope on Weasley’s desk and getting up. “Good luck.”


I let out a sharp sigh of displeasure before getting up and crossing over to Weasley’s desk to look at the notes. I wondered briefly if I’d be able to see past her hair at all.


“Oh, and guys?” Mr. Potter asked, popping his head back in. We looked up, and he grinned. “Don’t die, yeah? Your parents would kill me. Cheers!”


And with that extremely tactful statement, he waltzed out the door.


Is it too late to change professions?


“Alright, Malfoy,” Weasley sighed, reaching towards the envelope, “let’s do this.”


Turns out her hair is not as crazy as I’d previously remembered. I could see everything.


*


“No, no. Are you trying to get us killed? We can’t do that!” she cried, grabbing the notebook from my hands and crossing out the sentence so roughly that the ink splattered on her face a little. I didn’t bother telling her because she was really irritating me, and seeing her with those droplets of ink along her jaw reminded me so much of school that I actually got a bit nostalgic for the many times we fought in the library and got kicked out.


Ah, Pincy. I do miss that old bat.


“Then what do you propose?” I asked through gritted teeth, snatching the notebook back and ripping out the page entirely. I crumpled it up into a ball and it joined the many other failed ideas on the floor behind me. Weasley huffed and rolled over onto her back, holding the pages over her face.


“There has to be a tactful way to do this,” she murmured.


“Let me see that.” I leaned over and took the paper from her hand, and she watched me thoughtfully upside-down as I read through it, propped up on one hand. I didn’t even realize I was hovering over her until she let out a sigh and the paper fluttered in my hand. There was a brief moment of silence while I read.


Then – a giggle and the paper fluttered again.


Ladies and gentlemen, the valedictorian of our graduating class.


“Are you kidding me,” I said flatly, moving the paper so I could look down at her. She gave me a cheeky grin. I have to say, I’ve never seen this one before. Usually it’s glares and sickly-sweet smiles before she inflicts harm upon my general self.


She has dimples. Huh.


“I enjoy your irritation,” she said, rolling over onto her stomach and reaching past me for another stack of papers. I flopped down on the floor so that our heads were next to each other but our legs faced in different directions.


“Don’t turn your face towards me,” I warned.


“I’m rolling my eyes at you, Malfoy.”


“Guess how many fucks I give about your eye-roll, Weasley.”


She turned her face towards me anyway. But it was to bite my ear. Not in the kinky way. In the ‘I hope you get rabies, bitch’ kind of way that is only something that Weasley would do.


“Ouch, you fucking psycho! You belong in an institution!”


*


In the end, Weasley decided that YOLO so we should totally just wing it.


I was wrong when I said Weasley is an anal git who requires everything to be precise and perfect in order to match her prissy need for order in life. This girl is actually a raging mental bint who needs to set her priorities straight because I am quite positive that we are going to die.


“Look, stop hyperventilating. I thought you enjoyed this sort of thing,” she said crossly.


“Are you – are you insane?!” I asked in a strangled voice, “first of all, I’m not fucking hyperventilating. Second – no, you absolute nutter, I don’t actually enjoy risking my neck! I’m not a masochist!”


“Ooh, big word,” Weasley drawled, rolling her eyes, “relax, Malfoy. I have it figured out.”


“Oh, yeah. That’s reassuring.”


“Trust me.”


I let out an incredulous bark of laughter, and she huffed.


“We have a simple job. Infiltrate the house, grab the stolen ring, and get the hell out,” she said, as if it was as easy as it sounded.


“Yeah,” I mimicked her tone, “and Transfiguration is just waving a wooden stick and muttering bits of Latin.”


“You’re really annoying, Malfoy.”


“Weasley, they’re muggles! They don’t even know what that ring can do and if they find out we’re bloody done for,” I hissed, “so it’s not that simple.”


She rolled her eyes again. I hoped briefly that she’d get vision defects, but then I realized that if she can’t see, then I’m basically fucked. Damnit, I can’t even wish injuries upon Weasley without having repercussions to myself. Utter shit.


This is what we know. They’re filthy rich muggles, and not because they worked for it but because they’re thieves. They stole the Resurrection Stone ring from a vault in one of Shacklebolt’s muggle houses not knowing that it belongs to a Wizard but knowing that it’s pretty damn valuable because it was locked up in the first place and because it’s solid gold. They currently have it locked up in a vault at home, along with every other thing they’ve ever stolen and a whole bunch of money so it’s pretty high security. We could take it out by magic, but they’re muggles and also no one else knows the ring is actually gone…and if anyone else found out there’d be total chaos so we’re keeping this on the down low. Apparently knowing that one of the most important magical artifacts has been stolen by a mere muggle tends to throw the Wizarding community into a state of frenzy.


If we use magic, the other departments will find out…so, we’re not even allowed to use real magic. Just little spells, stuff like Lumos and Wingardium Leviosa.


Convenient, right? We think so, too.


“I know how to get in.” There was a flash of a smirk on Weasley’s face, “they’re hosting this huge fancy party tonight and there are going to be a lot of people at their house. It’ll be pretty easy to slip in. We can go from there.”


I really wanted to be all “fuck that, Weasley, here’s my super-intelligent and detailed plan on how we’re going to do this because I’m a boss and I take this Auror shit seriously” but it turns out I didn’t actually have a super-intelligent and detailed plan at all. Neither of us did.


Maybe this sort of thing just comes with experience.


Or maybe it’s always like this and I’ll most likely develop hypertension and die prematurely.


I know these thief types. They don’t give a crap about law. If you touch their shit they will kill you. And no real magic allowed so there goes the only thing we have as an advantage.


“Brilliant,” I said glumly. “I’ll pick you up at seven, Weasley. Wear something pretty. Or, you know…just…transfigure your face or something.”


She scowled and gave me a very rude hand gesture.


I grinned. Despite all this, it’s good to know that I can always mock Rose Weasley.


*


Muggle men wear the strangest formalclothing I have ever encountered. And I know this says a lot coming from a bloke who wears robes, but…seriously. Never before have I had to force myself into so many layers on my torso.


And to top it all off: there is a bow around my neck.


A bow. Like the kind of shit you find in little girls’ hair. Around my bloody neck.
If I wasn’t so secure about my testosterone levels, I’d probably refuse to step foot outside my flat.


I scowled into the mirror as I pressed my hair down again, hoping in vain that maybe this time it would lay flat like my dad’s does…but no, my hair belongs entirely to my mother. It sprung right up in a mess of curly-ish blond. Curse the Greengrass gene pool.
I gave up and glanced at the clock. Five to seven. Perfect. I pulled Weasley’s address out of my pocket and closed my eyes, concentrating hard. My room spun away and I landed on solid ground with a faint pop. Didn’t splinch anything. Love when that happens.


“Give me a minute!” she yelled from the depths of her flat as the noise of my apparating faded away. I glanced around, slightly surprised that she’d given me access directly inside her home. Usually it was considered polite to wait outside the door.


Then again, this is Weasley and me we’re talking about.


I stared around while she stumbled around her room (presumably upstairs since there were no other doors on this floor and a staircase that must lead somewhere), shocked that she’d managed to snag possibly the coolest flat I’d ever seen. It was just one really large room with a kitchen area in one corner near the back, a spiraling staircase in the corner next to it, and a sitting room occupying the rest of it. One wall was made entirely of floor to ceiling windows with an amazing view. The other was literally a bookshelf. The remaining two were made of brick.


She was panting slightly as she stepped up behind me. “Bloody shoes,” she muttered, “I’m ready to go, Malfoy.”


“Your flat is brilliant,” I said without really thinking.


She seemed surprised; she let out this shocked little laugh. “Oh. Well. Thank you. My parents wanted me to get something a little more conventional, but I loved the style and I’ve always wanted to live in muggle London…that’s why you apparated right in here, actually, because if you popped up in the middle of the hall you’d probably freak out a muggle –”


“You’re rambling.”


“I – yeah.” This was mumbled in apparent mortification.


“You do that when you’re nervous,” I affirmed, turning to look at her with a smirk at my mouth. It faltered when I caught sight of her.


Bloody hell, Weasley cleans up nice. She was dressed in a long dark blue silky dress that clung to her like water and matched her eyes, which were apparently huge and extremely blue. There was a slit up the side and she was wearing heels. Heels tend to do this extremely unfair thing that somehow makes legs look amazing because trust me, if Weasley’s legs were that long, I definitely would have noticed.


“What happened to your hair?” I finally managed blankly. It wasn’t messy. Well, it was, but somehow all the mess had been sort of swept away from her face so that only a couple of strands hung out.


“Lily happened to my hair,” she muttered, rolling her eyes. “Are you done ogling, Malfoy? We really need to get a move on.”


“I was not ogling.”


“Right. You were merely observing in a dazed sort of fashion.”


My jaw clenched and she smirked before turning towards the door. My mouth ran dry when I caught sight of the back. Shit. The dress had no back right up to above her arse. It was all creamy skin and shoulder blades and curves. And her hair was tumbling down in this mass of curls that was strangely attractive and Weasley was strangely attractive AND THIS IS ACTUALLY NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN TO ANYONE BECAUSE IT IS JUST MORALLY WRONG.


It took three seconds for my brain to function again; I steeled every last inch of Auror training I’d ever received and shut that part down completely. From now on, it was entirely clinical. Terms and rules and steps. No emotions, no response to slinky blue dresses with unfair slits and swooping backs, and definitely no more hormones.


Snap out of it, Malfoy, this is Rose Weasley. Come on, mate. Weasley. It’s just pathetic.


“How are we getting there?” I asked.


She jangled something in my general direction. I suppressed the urge to snarl at her like a wild animal.


“We drive.”


I actually laughed. “Right. Well. I can’t drive, Weasley –”


“Yes,” she said, smirking, “but I can.”


“No. No. There is just about a snowball’s chance in hell that I am getting into a car with you. Forget it.”


Weasley’s face hardened.


Uh-oh.


*


“Are we there yet?” I asked again, desperately.


“Merlin, Malfoy. Yes. We’re here. Happy now?!” she yelled, stopping the car with unnecessary force.


Land! Sweet, solid land! I unbuckled myself out of the tiny metal death-trap and stumbled out, half-ready to start kissing the ground.


“Oh, cut the dramatics ,” Weasley said from behind me, slamming her own door shut, “it wasn’t bad at all and you know it.”


Alright, so, maybe Weasley isn’t entirely horrific at driving. But there is no way I’m telling her that.


I scoffed. “Yeah. So now that the most dangerous part of the night is over with –”


“ – and if you’re done being a drama Queen, of course –”


“Let’s just go in, okay?” I snapped.


Her jaw clenched, blue eyes positively spitting fire as she handed her keys to an amused-looking man wearing a silly hat. He shot me a little cheeky grin as he slid into Weasley’s seat, and I stared bewilderingly after him as he drove off.


What in the name of confusing expressions was that about?


“Are you coming or not?” she asked impatiently, and I stepped up to her, rolling my eyes.


“So, are we going in together, or –?”


“Just don’t say anything and follow me.”


I opened my mouth indignantly (excuse me, bitch, but I’ve got a brain that works pretty well, thanks) but she’d already seized my arm and was marching determinedly up the stairs to the massive front door that opened up to an even more massive mansion. That says a lot coming from me. I grew up in a Manor. With albino peacocks in the yard. Yeah. Really. My father is a strange man.


“Good evening Mr. and Mrs…?” Another man in a funny hat met us at the door, holding strange parchment and a pen (I took muggle studies in Hogwarts. I know my shit).


“Potter,” Weasley snapped.


Well, at least Scorpius Potter sounds a whole lot better than Scorpius Weasley.


…never again. I shuddered at the thought of having Weasley tacked on as my last name. The horror.


“Ah, there you are. Welcome Mr. and Mrs. Potter!” he said warmly, and Weasley pulled me forward. That’s when I realized what had just happened.


“Everyone here thinks we’re married?” I hissed into her ear, completely disgusted. The day I marry Weasley is a day that will involve (at the very least) a zombie apocalypse and hell freezing over.


“Horrid, isn’t it?” she asked cheerfully, smiling at a couple as we walked past them. “I’d rather stick pins into my eyeballs.”


“I’d rather die,” I said truthfully, nodding at another pair of muggles.


“Charming,” she responded coldly.


“Only for you, darling,” I muttered sarcastically. “What are we doing now?”


“We are going to mingle and then slip away as discreetly as possible,” she murmured, dropping my elbow and stepping closer to me so that she could talk quietly. Her eyes took on a playful glimmer and she looked up at me from underneath her eyelashes. She’d somehow maneuvered herself so that she was perpendicular to my shoulder, at the perfect location to be close to my ear without it seeming like she was conspiring with me.


“I’m thinking that we could introduce ourselves to the hosts,” she continued, cocking her head to the side. A sultry smirk played at the corners of her red lips. Damnit, Weasley. “So that they’re not suspicious or anything. Then we could slip away.”


She blinked at me, and that’s when I realized that she’d made it look like she was flirting. And she was very good at it, too, because for a second I forgot how to swallow.


Well, two can play at this game.


“This isn’t funny,” I murmured, lifting my hand so that I could place it at the small of her back. She stiffened slightly at the contact, so I decided to fuck with her more and traced circles on her skin with the tip of my little finger.


Merlin, this is some soft skin.


“What are you doing?” she hissed.


“Having a conversation with my wife,” I replied, “what were you doing, love?”


Her eyes narrowed a little before widening again. The smile was back. “Just talking with my husband,” she replied airily, sliding her hand over my chest to opposite shoulder. She stepped in front of me, and I splayed my fingers on her back, pulling her closer. For a second we stared at each other, silently daring.


Then something caught my eye over her shoulder, and she nearly jerked her head around as well, but I stepped up before she could, letting my lips hover over her ear.

 

“They’re right behind you. Shall we?”


“Thank Merlin, I thought we’d have to dance before we got to see them.”


“No amount of therapy in this world could fix that level of mental damage,” I agreed fervently.


“At this point, love, therapy is pretty pointless anyway when it comes to the state of your mental affairs,” she quipped right away.


I was so impressed that I grinned. I must have looked right mental, hugging a ginger and smiling away at some unknown pocket of air behind her. We weren’t even dancing or anything. Literally, we were standing there, hugging.


She must have realized it the same minute I did, because she jumped away rather hurriedly, her cheeks tinged a soft red that somehow didn’t clash with her hair at all.


“Let’s go,” I said, and before she could grip my arm again (which was bloody uncomfortable, let me tell you), I grabbed her hand and politely dragged her towards the two muggles who’d been the objects of our files for the past two days. He-Thief was tall, with dark, slicked back hair and a mischievous grin. She-Thief was…downright sexy, actually. It was kind of distracting to look at her.


Note to self: do not stare directly at She-Thief. Avoid deterioration of personal intelligence at all costs.


While I’m at it, I should probably also ban Weasley from wearing slinky dresses on missions.


“Ah,” He-Thief said as soon as we approached them. His eyes lingered for a strangely long amount of time on Weasley’s face before flicking over to mine, “welcome…”
“The Potters,” Weasley supplied, a dazzling sort of smile on her face. “Rose and Scorpius Potter.”


Rule number 1 of going undercover: always use your real name to avoid getting the fuck confused out of you. Screwing up your own name is kind of a dead giveaway.


“Beautiful,” he murmured, leaning forward and taking Weasley’s hand. He then proceeded to snog the back of it like it was his job or something. Weasley looked highly scandalized. She-Thief looked mildly irritated, but strangely resigned.


“He does this with every beautiful woman he meets,” she sighed, giving me an apologetic smile. I had to choke back the laugh threatening to explode from my mouth at the prospect of Weasley being considered ‘beautiful’.


“Er – right,” I said intelligently, yanking Weasley’s hand away from his mouth through the use of her elbow. She shot me a grateful look that I pretended not to see and wiped the back of her hand off on a nearby tablecloth. I tried not to laugh at the look on He-Thief’s face.


“You have a lovely home,” Weasley piped up, inching slightly closer to me.


“Great party,” I supplied weakly.


I take furious brown-nosing to the next level.


“Thank you,” She-Thief said, “do enjoy yourselves.”


He-Thief shot Weasley a final leering wink as she turned away so I put my arm around her waist just to show him who’s boss.


(That would be me. Since I evidently married the lady he’s currently pinned his lust on.)


(Suck it, He-Thief bitch.)


Weasley stiffened at the new contact, clearly not realizing that I was only doing this for a show of male dominance and not to piss her off and/or make her uncomfortable (though both are highly enjoyable activities). Just to get back at me, she leaned up and kissed my cheek.


I nearly shuddered at that – out of disgust, of course – ugh. Weasley’s lips just made contact with my face. This is it. My life has officially gone to horseshit.


Just to piss her off, I curled my hand around her hip, squeezing slightly in what could be otherwise considered an affectionate gesture.


I could see her jaw clenching, but there was nothing she could do in a room full of people who expected us to act like a pair of lovesick newlyweds.


Point for Scorpius Malfoy.


“I hate men,” she sniffed, shooting me a look that clearly was meant to convey that this loathing was mostly because of me. I smiled cheekily at her in return.


“Trust me, most men feel the same way about you too,” I replied cheerfully.


“What about the rest of them?”


“Mentally unstable.”


Weasley decided to screw our cover and punched me in the stomach, which is a bit stupid because that general area’s been protected by a layer of muscle since I was in sixth year. Unfortunately Weasley’s gone through strenuous Auror Training and her punch managed to hurt quite a bit anyway. Freakishly strong bitch.


“Up there,” Weasley suddenly whispered, elbowing me to get my attention. I followed her gaze to a staircase that seemed to be hiding between two walls, as inconspicuous as possible in a room meant to be used purely for social activities but had to somehow lead to the rest of the house as well.


I glanced around discreetly as she steered us towards the staircase, tugging me along with her hand in mine. No one really seemed to notice us leave, though how they managed to miss the girl with the bright red hair and the bloke with the equally bright blond hair is completely beyond me. I suppose it’s true. Muggles really don’t see much at all.


We finally made it to the top: a large room with a marble floor and walls that made everything echo. Especially Weasley’s bloody shoes.


“Is it possible for you to be any louder?” I hissed at her.


“Shut up, Malfoy,” she shot back tersely, “My heels are bigger than your d–”


I clapped my hand over her mouth and pulled her against the wall behind a particularly gruesome statue of what I’m assuming was meant to be some sort of mythological beast just as a pair of servants rounded the corner. They were carrying large platters of something that smelled amazing, and I was painfully reminded that I hadn’t actually eaten anything since lunch.


Damnit. I got all dolled up in a buggering bow for these people and I didn’t even think to eat some of their undoubtedly expensive food. Stupid.


They clattered downstairs and I pulled her out from behind the statue.


“Now what?” I asked.


She shot me an irritated look. “You didn’t look over the maps?”


“I don’t do visual learning, Weasley. Don’t you remember my star charts?” I asked.

 

She’d had near anaphylactic shocks every time she looked at them in astronomy. Which just so happened to be every Wednesday night, since we were telescope partners.


Bad times.


“Awful work,” she murmured in agreement, looking slightly nauseated at the mere memory of my outstandingly horrific charts.


“Almost as awful as your Draught of Living Death,” I agreed, smirking slightly as she attempted to shove me over. We were walking briskly across the room towards two curving staircases on the other end. I assumed Weasley knew where we were going. She’d definitely be the type to memorize the maps.


“Bugger off, Malfoy, it was completely your fault –”


“It was not!”


“Come off it, you wanking piece of shit –”


“Did you just call me a wanking piece of shit?” Disbelievingly. Slightly impressed.


There was a slight pause. Then, defensively, “Yes. And it was your fault. You blew the thing up before I was done.” Another pause. “Prat.”


“You just fail to admit that you were bad at Potions,” I said calmly.


“I was not bad at Potions –!” she began furiously, but I clamped my hand over her mouth again. There were voices coming up the stairs. The stairs that we weren’t supposed to have known about. The stairs that lead to a large room with nowhere to hide except behind an ugly sculpture that we’d left about a quarter of a mile behind when we decided to venture further into said large room.


Shit.


Weasley yanked me toward the nearest wall, slamming back against it and grabbing the lapels of my jacket to pull me closer. I tried to pull away – maybe she’d just gone too far with the whole hasty let’s-hide-against-the-wall scheme of hers – but she pulled me against her again. I gulped. Turns out Weasley has breasts. I learn something new everyday.


“What are you doing?” I hissed, “I know you want me, Weasley, but right now isn’t the best time for a quick shag against the wall –”


“A newly married couple is in the middle of a room up a discreet set of stairs during the middle of a party,” she whispered, eyes flashing, “you tell me, Malfoy, what could we possibly doing up here? Playing a game of chess, perhaps?”


Sarcasm: Weasley’s natural defense against…well, everything. She’ll be attending group therapy soon to sort out all those suppressed feelings. And other general issues.


“I’m brilliant at ch –” I started stupidly, but Weasley cut me off by pressing her lips forcefully against mine. I pulled away just as quickly before I did something stupid – like kiss her back, or maybe touch her face, or run my hand up that dangerous slit AND I’M GOING TO STOP THINKING NOW – and she looked completely and thoroughly irritated.


“I have to do everything,” she grunted, grabbing my hand and putting it on her upper thigh, on the skin exposed by the slit that I most definitely was not fantasizing about earlier. She pulled a pin out of her hair and let it tumble around her shoulders, then loosened my stupid bow and tossed it on the floor. Her fingers went back to work on a couple of buttons on my shirt. Then she messed up my hair some more.


And for the finishing touch – no seriously, get this – she hopped up a bit so that she could wrap her legs around my hips – there are parts of me touching parts of Weasley that should not be touching even though there are layers of clothing between said parts – and plunged both of her hands into my hair.


“I’m going to snog you now, and you’re going to snog me back like I’m Britney Watson and you’re in sixth year again,” she muttered. And then she kissed me again.

 

Now, let me tell you something about Britney Watson. The girl is bloody gorgeous. Long legs, great rack, a whole lot of soft red hair and these really –


Wait. Shit. Shit. Watson’s hair was blonde. And I remember her being rather short. And she definitely doesn’t look like Weasley.


I’m going slightly mental.


That’s when I realized that as good as Britney Watson had been at kissing, Weasley was a whole lot better. Her tongue wasn’t even in my mouth yet but her lips moved against mine and bloody hell, it felt pretty damn good.


So I kissed her back, fingers tightening around the skin of her thigh until she let out the tiniest of moans which led to a full-on snog – my tongue in her mouth and then her tongue in my mouth and she sort of tastes like strawberries – and now my hand was somewhere around her arse and the other one was plunging through her sweet-smelling hair, and she’d somehow managed to unbutton more than half my shirt and was making my hair messier than ever.


She’d just rolled her hips against mine and I was in the middle of a rough groan when there was a surprised, “Oh!” and Weasley pushed me away so suddenly that I stumbled backwards a couple of steps.


I stared dumbly at a slightly older couple in front of me – the woman clutching her husband’s hand but her eyes somewhere around my abs – and the husband was…bloody hell, did he just wink at me?


Oh. Right. He’s smirking. Winking because I got caught snogging my extremely hot wife. The wink in straight-man-terms means ‘great catch, kid, hope you get laid later’. In not-straight-man-terms it means ‘hey there sexypants’.


I speak from experience. No, it wasn’t pleasant at all, thanks for asking.


“Sorry about that, mate,” he said, glancing at Weasley as she slipped her hand into mine. I looked down at her. There was a dark red blush spreading up her neck and to her cheeks. Kind of made me wonder where it started.


“No worries,” I said absently, and she shot me an impish grin clearly meant for our audience, but something lurched in my stomach anyway. Nausea, of course. Because Weasley’s not attractive at all.


“We’ll just head back down,” the wife added, and pulled him away.


“We’ll just stay up here,” Weasley said cheerfully, and she watched carefully as they walked away. As soon as the tops of their heads disappeared down the stairs again, she pulled her hair back away from her face and smoothed down her dress.


“Button up, Malfoy,” she said, chucking my bow at me without bothering to look. I scowled at her stupid bare back and fixed my clothes, pressing my hands against my hair a couple of times to get it to lie flatter.


“Ready?” I asked, and she nodded, flicking me a glance before doing a double take and chuckling lightly. Then she was completely up in my personal bubble again, and I almost pushed her against the wall to continue where we left off. But then I remembered that this is Weasley and Weasley makes me want to kick a puppy even though I love dogs.


“What?” I demanded loudly, and her eyes glittered with humor before she reached up and dragged her thumb across my lips. They still tingled from all that fantastic snogging.
“Lipstick,” she murmured, showing me her thumb, and shot me another one of those heart-shattering smirks (that’s next on my things about Weasley that should be outlawed, after Silk Dresses, Unfair Slits and Heels) before she applied it back to her lips again.


I had another bout of extreme nausea. Because this is Weasley and that was not hot.


“Alright,” she announced, “this time we’re running. Bet I’ll get there faster even in heels.”
“Stakes?” I asked, grinning as I took a stance.


She grinned at me. “Depends on who wins.” And then she pushed me as hard as she could and took off towards the stairs. I stumbled sideways but caught myself with a muttered curse, shooting off after her. Devious little git.


*


I won. Turns out dress shoes are still better footwear than heels. Even an idiot could tell you that, though, so there’s really no surprise that I ended up winning. Even so, Weasley was still pretty miffed. She was still mumbling furiously about it under her breath as she poked around another statue of what I’m assuming is an even uglier mythological beast than the one downstairs. I consider that a serious accomplishment.


“ – you’ll just have to wait and see my arse, this is why you never make a deal with a Slytherin, Rosie, obnoxious gits the whole lot of them…”


Or maybe she’s just pissed because I’m going to hold this over her head and she evidently hates not knowing things.


There’s a surprise. Weasley hating withheld information. That personality trait doesn’t go with her character at all.  


“Ah-ha!” she announced suddenly, and I flinched as I gave her a dirty look. She ignored me quite happily as she pressed her thumb against the eye of one of the many heads of the beast and a wall behind it slid open.


“Ancient house,” she said, beaming away at the dusty hole behind the monster, “Muggles are so cute with their secret passageways, don’t you think?”


“Totally. I love dark holes that open up into Merlin-knows-where. You’re going first, by the way.”


“And they say chivalry is dead,” she muttered, glaring at me once and stepping through. I figure that between my life and Weasley’s…mine is infinitely more important. There are a billion Weasleys in this world but only Malfoy heir. Let’s set our priorities straight: I’m clearly worth more.


Nothing seemed to be attacking Weasley, so I stepped in after her, pulling out my wand and lighting it up wordlessly. Weasley was already a couple dozen steps ahead of me, walking briskly down the narrow passageway. I scowled when my shoulders got slightly stuck. Guess I’ll be going sideways. No one looks cool scuttling sideways down a secret passageway, okay? No one.


I slid forwards slightly as there was a sudden dip in the passage, signaling that we were now going downwards. I love small underground areas.


“There’s another way down, actually,” Weasley whispered, and she skidded forward again in her stupid heels. I caught her around the waist before she fell over.


“Then why didn’t we take that one?” I asked tiredly as she shook me off and kept walking without so much as a ‘thanks for saving my face from being smushed against the ground, Malfoy, I owe you one’.


“This one’s more discreet.” Slightly apologetic pause, “And I’m mad about secret passageways.”


“So let me get this straight: I’m currently sliding sideways along an incline into an underground room because you have a secret passageway fetish.”


“We’d end up going underground anyway and ew, it is not a fetish –”


“What the hell, Weasley, next time I’m in charge.”


“Whatever,” she snapped, “Shut up, we’re almost there.”


And then she punched out the wall and stepped into an underground room. I tried not to be impressed. I really did. Just…she punched out the wall. And I’d been staring at her butt for the entire way down so I hate to admit it but that was sexy.


We emerged literally straight in the vault. These muggles really need to work on their security. This is actually too easy. The place was a bit like a museum, actually – there were glass cases that held the stuff they stole, with little plaques underneath that told the date of the robbery and such. It was so organized it made my skin crawl a bit.


“Ugh, they have labels,” Weasley announced, sounding totally disgusted. I’m going to pretend we didn’t just have the same thought process.


“Okay, before we run for it – there’s laser technology in here so that if we get too close to a glass case, the alarms are going to go off and there will be guards down here in about three minutes flat. The ring is over there, next to that obnoxiously ugly crown. We’ll smash open the cases for the crown and the ring at the same time so they don’t figure out that we stole the ring – just that we tried.”


“How –”


“I have a duplicate.”


She fished it out from between her boobs and my mouth fell slightly open. “That’s – that’s not even fair,” I said weakly, and she smirked at me, “Ready?”


I started walking towards the two cases, Weasley right behind me. We stopped – me in front of the crown, her in front of the ring – and she muttered, “On the count of three…one, two…THREE!”


I stepped forward and smashed through the glass with my elbow just as Weasley kicked through the other with her insane heel (guess they are good for something). She switched the rings and I grabbed it out of her hand before she could stick it down her dress again and zipped it into the secret inside pocket where I kept my wand. Two seconds later a pair of guards burst through the main door of the vault.


Ah. I do love punching people.


Weasley took a running start and smashed her shoe right into his face, effectively knocking him out. She landed on the balls of her feet and stumbled slightly, which the other bloke tried taking as an advantage but I’d already made my over to them. I stepped smoothly between them, deflecting his punch and knocking him out with the other hand in one motion.


We looked down at them for a couple of seconds.


“Well,” I said, “that was kind of pathetic.”


And that’s when the alarms went off.


***


There are many ways to incapacitate a man without a wand. Weasley and I were demonstrating all of them – and then some – as about fifty guards poured into the room, brandishing all sorts of shiny weapons that somehow managed to miss us (I suspect Weasley might be behind this) despite their insistence at shooting them all over the place.


I dropped as another fist flew towards my face and swung my legs around, catching him around the shins. He went down just as I jumped up and I ended with a light kick to the head. His eyes rolled back in his head just after I spun around and smashed my elbow into another man’s face. I took a short break and looked over at Weasley, who was weaving between three of them, a look of absolute glee on her face. They kept missing her and hitting each other, and I was impressed at how fast she was moving, her body in constant, fluid motion. It was actually kind of graceful, sort of like dancing.


Another man tried swinging towards my face and I absently caught his arm and twisted it around his back, letting him fall after I heard the faint pop of his shoulder dislocating. The three men managed to injure each other enough so that they lay groaning on the ground, and Weasley was facing off a slightly better fighter; she kept having to duck and dodge between his limbs. His fist clipped her shoulder and a flash of pain crossed her face. I was moving towards them before I even realized it. But instead of letting the punch stop her, she narrowed her eyes slightly and took a couple of steps backwards. The man grinned, clearly thinking that he’d won.


And that’s when Weasley darted forward and jumped into the air, catching the man’s neck between her legs. Her arms were extended outwards, and she used their momentum to spin him around by the neck. It was almost too fast to see – one second she was spinning through the air, the next she’d managed to drop to the ground and bring him with her, and by the time I got there, she was standing up and smoothing her dress back down.


“How –” was all I could manage before she flung herself at me. I barely caught her, and then she had to go twisting her body all around, feet swinging through the air just in time to catch about three more men who’d started towards us.


I dropped her and we looked at each other for a second, shocked.


“Duck,” she finally said, and my head immediately dropped down to somewhere around her sternum. There was a sickening crunching noise and I could feel the man falling to the ground behind me.


“And now we run,” I muttered, taking her hand.


She pulled off her shoes with the other and then we ran like hell.


*


I won’t get into the morbid details, but after sprinting across their lawn and some very shameless flirting on Weasley’s part to get her car back, we were finally speeding down the road back towards London. The house glittered behind us, party still in full swing. I wondered idly if the thieves had even noticed that we’d stolen something out from under their noses.


“Bloody hell,” I finally said, “I am never pulling something like that again. This thing was not worth the effort.” I held the ring up to the light in the vain hope that it would get more interesting. Even as it caught the light it continued to stay dull. Pathetic.


“Yeah, well,” Weasley muttered, glancing at the rearview mirror, “we do the dirty work no matter what. Might as well get used to it.”


“Where did you learn to fight like that?” I finally asked after about ten minutes of thrumming, awkward silence. I mean, sure, in the heat of the moment everything was fine. The acting, the flirting, the snogging...it was all a part of the plan. But afterwards, when my brain starts functioning like normal and I start thinking about it all and realizing that despite the fact that it was Weasley -- or maybe perhaps because it was Weasley -- I really, really enjoyed it. All of it.


She laughed lightly and for some reason I didn’t want to rip my eardrums out.


“Teddy and James taught me,” she said, “They’re ridiculously overprotective. Thought it would give me an edge over anyone who tried to hurt me.”


“It gives you one hell of an edge,” I said without thinking, “you’re the best fighter I’ve seen.”


“Uh. Thanks Malfoy.”


Things got weird again. Fuck.


“Yeah.”


By the time we were back in her flat, the overwhelming silence was so thick with tension I could actually feel it pressing against my eardrums. I stared idly at Weasley’s shoulder blades as she scrawled a note to the Head Auror, wondering if things were ever going to be like that again.


Also wondering why in the hell I wouldn’t mind things being like that again.


“So, I’d like to call in my favor now,” I piped up after she sent her owl off.


“What favor?”


“I won the race, remember?”


She scowled, “Okay, only because I’m --”


I hate listening to Weasley bitch, so I kissed her. It shut her up for a good five minutes, until I pulled away and she regained her mental bearings (because hell yeah, I’m that good).


“What?” she finally said.


I grinned. “I get to do that. Whenever I want.”


Her eyes narrowed but she didn’t remove her hands from around my neck, which I took as a good thing. Unless she started strangling me, in which case it would be a very, very bad thing.


“Why?” she asked suspiciously.


“Because you might be the best kisser I know.”


And that’s when she pulled my head back down and proceeded to snog me ferociously.


You know, I think I’m actually going to enjoy being an Auror.




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