Chapter 21 : Chapter Twenty: Taking The Initiative.
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Draco leaned his head against the bathroom door, waiting for Hermione to finally emerge from the small room. He sighed loudly when the sink faucet began running. She was taking forever, and he was getting impatient. He lightly banged his head against the wood door.
“Her.” Bang. “My.” Bang. “Oh.” Bang. “Knee.” Bang.
Draco rolled his eyes at her muffled voice and pushed off of the wall. He turned to sit on the bed, resting his elbows on his thighs and tangling his fingers in his hair as he bowed his head. He had no idea what was wrong with her. He knew she could be slightly strange at times but she had never just left, only to come back again, without an explanation.
He thought back to what he said before she got up and left. Had he offended her? Draco strained his memory. He was pretty sure he had complimented her. He sighed and rubbed a hand down his face. Apparently Hermione Granger was as complicated as the rest of the female population.
The doorknob clicked and he quickly looked up, inhaling the breath that would demand an explanation. He stopped at her nervous expression.
“Sorry,” Hermione said in a soft voice, standing in the threshold and fidgeting with ends of her hair. “I just wanted to get dressed. We should go do something.”
Draco stood up. “Okay,” he said slowly, “what do you want to do?”
Hermione shrugged. “Do you need groceries? Because my flat’s pretty empty and I figured I might as well take this opportunity to stock my fridge.”
“Sure. I’ll go with you and get some stuff for myself.”
Hermione smiled. “Great.” She turned to leave the room.
Draco raised an eyebrow as he followed her out. “Where’d you get those jeans?”
Hermione looked down at herself. “I transfigured my yoga pants into them. I can only manage a lazy day for so long.”
Draco smirked and walked down the stairs with her. “You technically didn’t even manage a day.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “I feel loads better. We can spend the day doing something together.”
“Okay. So why did you just leave like that?”
“What do you mean?” Hermione asked innocently.
“I mean, you just left and then came back within ten minutes without an explanation.”
“Oh. I had to go get a change of clothes.”
Draco stopped walking and Hermione paused, as well, turning to face him. “I thought you transfigured your yoga pants?”
Hermione bit her lip. “Right. I did. I don’t know, Draco. It’s girls’ stuff.”
Draco pursed his lips. “If you say so.”
Hermione turned into the kitchen and grabbed the purse she had left on the counter before walking back to where Draco stood in the entryway. She smiled at him when he held the door open for her.
“Where do you want to go?” Draco asked, grabbing her hand.
“My neighborhood. There’s a market there I always go to for groceries.” She squeezed her fingers around his. “And maybe we can visit Teddy as well?”
“Anything you want, baby.”
He apparated the both of them to the alley next to Hermione’s building. They both looked around before stepping into the busy London street.
“It’s a few blocks down that way,” Hermione said, still holding onto Draco’s hand as she lifted their entwined fingers to point to the right.
Draco began walking, leading the way to a place he had never been before. Hermione stifled a smile. It surprised her that she wasn’t irritated by his almost overbearing masculine nature. She was so used to Ron allowing her to take the reigns of everything they did that it was foreign to her when someone didn’t expect her to do the same.
“You should have worn a jumper,” Draco chastised, frowning at the thin t-shirt she was wearing. “It’s getting cold.”
“I’m not ready to let go of summer yet,” Hermione shrugged.
The wind picked up at that moment and pushed a rush of biting air through her. She shivered.
Draco sighed and dropped Hermione’s hand in order to pull his hoodie off of himself.
“Oh, Draco. That’s not necessary,” Hermione protested.
He ignored her, pulling down his white t-shirt when it exposed his torso. “Wear it.” He handed it to her and cocked an eyebrow at her defiantly.
Hermione sighed and accepted it. “Only because you look like you’re about to kill me,” she muttered. She put her arms through it and then her head, inhaling his minty scent. She scrunched up her nose when her head popped out of the oversized garment. “I look like a five year old, don’t I?”
Draco smirked and wrapped his arm around her shoulders in order to pull her toward him. He kissed her hair. “You look cute.”
“But now you’ll get cold,” she frowned.
“I’ll be fine. Come on,” he said, grabbing her hand again.
They continued walking another two blocks until they reached a small market. There were peaches and berries adorning the windows. Flowers were placed everywhere, adding a quaint feeling to the entire shop. They pushed open the door to step inside and a bell tinkled above them. Hermione grabbed a basket.
“So many biscuits,” Draco muttered, eyeing a shelf in the entry. “Here, let me hold that.” He reached for the basket.
“I got it.”
“Hermione, don’t be difficult,” Draco snapped.
Hermione sidestepped Draco’s reach. “Why don’t you get your own basket and pick out what you want?”
Draco rolled his eyes but went to get a basket for himself nonetheless. “I don’t need much.”
“That’s surprising considering you cook all the time,” Hermione said, reaching to pick out the ripest peaches in the pile.
Draco walked past her to get to the pomegranates, kissing her shoulder as he went by.
Hermione turned her head to watch him pass her. She smiled and followed him. “Pomegranates symbolize fertility, you know.”
Draco raised his eyebrows. “You’re full of useless information, aren’t you?”
Hermione scowled and brushed past him.
Draco laughed and reached for her, wrapping his arm around her waist and nuzzling her neck. “I’m joking. Don’t be mad.”
“I’m not mad,” Hermione snapped.
Hermione struggled out of his hold and walked to the broccoli.
Draco sighed and followed her. He held a pomegranate in his hand. “So what you’re telling me is, because I like pomegranates, I should be spreading my seed?”
Hermione snorted indelicately. “Right.” She placed a bushel of broccoli in her basket.
“I mean, I’m all for it.”
“Good for you.”
Draco groaned internally. “I didn’t mean it, Hermione. I was only teasing.”
Hermione ignored him and continued on, stopping at a rack of jam. She adjusted her basket on her arm and reached for two different flavors, comparing them.
“Blackberry is much better than apricot,” Draco commented.
Hermione placed the blackberry jam back on the rack and placed the apricot jam in her basket.
Draco smirked. “Vindictive little thing, aren’t you?”
“Excuse me?” Hermione scoffed.
“I bet you don’t even like apricot jam.”
Hermione turned her nose up. “That’s none of your business.”
Draco laughed. “Look, I’m sorry I said you were full of useless information. That pomegranate thing was really interesting.”
“Shut up,” Hermione muttered.
“No, really. I didn’t know that. I learn something knew every day with you.”
“You’re so full of it,” Hermione said, walking away.
Draco sighed and followed her. “Can you just accept my apology so we can move on from this?”
Hermione stopped and turned to face him. She tapped her finger against her chin and scrunched up her face in thought. “Hmm…let me think…no.”
Draco scoffed. “Are you serious? I didn’t even mean anything by it.”
“I don’t care.”
“What’s your problem, Hermione? Seriously. I’m not going to fight over something this bloody stupid.”
“I don’t think it’s stupid,” Hermione said, turning to face him again. “I don’t appreciate you insulting my intelligence.”
Draco deflated. “Listen, I’m sorry. One million times, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just teasing you. I love that you’re a walking encyclopedia. I love that you can see a fruit and list off everything about it. I wouldn’t change that about you for anything.” Draco pushed his hair back from his eyes. “What do I have to do for you to forgive me? Should I get down on my knees and beg?”
Hermione smiled ruefully. “No, don’t be silly. I’m just a bit sensitive about it, is all. I’m sorry for being difficult.”
“You sure know how to hold a grudge,” Draco muttered.
Hermione laughed. “So I’ve been told.”
“So what else do you need?”
Hermione looked around the market. “Bread, cheese, milk, oatmeal, honey, and some more fruit.”
“I’ll get the fruit and you can go get your bread and oatmeal and we can meet by the dairy aisle.”
Hermione smiled. “Sounds like a plan.”
“What fruit do you want?” Draco asked.
“Strawberries and blueberries, please.”
Draco nodded and turned toward the berries.
Hermione grinned before turning and walking to where they kept the bread. She liked feeling like a normal couple with Draco. It was odd, but a refreshing kind of odd; a new adventure that she was embarking on. Going grocery shopping was a good way for her to calm her frantic heart from earlier. She just hoped that the day would go as planned.
Hermione looked up. She froze. Out of all the people in the world…
“I didn’t know you shop here.”
“I live a few blocks away,” Hermione replied. “What brings you to this side of London, Astoria?”
“This is my favorite little market to come to when I want to get my shopping done.”
Hermione nodded, turning and grabbing a bag of whole grain English muffins from the shelf. She turned and took in Astoria’s four-inch heels and mini dress. “Funny I’ve never seen you here before.”
Astoria shrugged, awkwardly repositioning the basket in her hand. “Oh, by the way, I’m so sorry about that horrid article in the paper. I can’t believe the nerve of those reporters.”
“You’re sorry?” Hermione asked, surprised.
“Of course. I can’t believe the things they would say to break people up. Are you and Draco okay?”
Hermione nodded. “We’re fine. Thanks.”
“Listen, Hermione,” Astoria began, Hermione’s name sounding strange on her lips. “I don’t want any bad blood between us. I mean, I want to remain friends with Draco if you’d allow it…”
Hermione frowned. This was all too weird. “I…really should be going.”
“I understand. But please, just think about it. Draco’s been a big part of my life for so long that it would be weird not having him there.”
Hermione sighed. “I mean…it’s whatever Draco wants.”
Astoria flashed her dazzling smile. “That’s fair.”
Draco turned the corner, his attention diverted by the ingredients of the jar of honey he was holding. He looked up and saw Hermione. “Sweetheart, I just walked past the honey and figured I’d grab you some. But I didn’t know which kind you preferred.”
“Raw is fine,” Hermione mumbled, grabbing the jar from his hands. “Look who I ran into.”
Draco stopped, Astoria finally catching his eye. “What the hell are you doing here?”
Astoria’s smile faltered.
“I’m sorry,” Draco said quickly. “You just took me by surprise.” He cleared his throat. “But, seriously, what are you doing here?”
“Same thing you’re doing here, I assume,” she quipped.
Draco exchanged glances with Hermione. “I’ve never known you to grocery shop a day in your life.”
Astoria brushed aside his comment. “I grocery shop all the time, Draco. Don’t be silly.” She brushed her hair behind her shoulder. “I was just telling Hermione here that I was so upset about that article.”
“Why?” Draco asked.
“Because I know how much you hate when people are in your business, especially when they’re doing nothing but defaming you.”
“Right. Okay. So, we need to be going,” Draco said quickly. He put a hand on Hermione’s back in order to propel her forward. “We have a busy schedule today.”
Astoria smiled. “Don’t forget our lunch date!”
Draco nodded in acknowledgment and waved as he pushed Hermione out of the bread aisle. They turned the corner and stood in front of a shelf adorned with cereal boxes.
“She’s oddly chipper,” Hermione whispered.
“Tell me about it,” Draco mumbled. “And did she call you Hermione?”
“Yes! It’s like the twilight zone around here. She was honestly the last person I expected to see here.”
Draco scoffed. “I know. Let’s go get the rest of the stuff so we can leave.”
“Oh! Oatmeal,” Hermione said, pointing to a shelf near them.
Draco grabbed the first box he saw and dropped it into his basket. “Come on,” he urged.
Hermione followed him to the refrigerators at the end of the aisle. She watched as Draco hurriedly grabbed a packet of mozzarella cheese and dropped it into his basket. She grabbed some cheddar and some Gouda before reaching for the milk.
“I forgot the whole grain loaf,” Hermione said quietly.
Draco looked at her and then down to her basket. He sighed. “I’ll get it.”
“No, I can go!”
Draco ignored her and turned around to go back to the aisle where Astoria had been. He silently prayed that she would be long gone.
He faltered when he saw her frowning at the same shelf of bread she was standing in front of earlier.
“You don’t eat carbs, Astoria,” he drawled.
She looked up. “I know. But I figured I’d get some for guests.”
Draco smirked and grabbed a loaf of multi-grain bread.
“So…grocery shopping with the girlfriend. Very intimate,” Astoria teased.
Draco cleared his throat. “Yeah…I’ll see you around.”
“At lunch,” she reminded. “Next week.”
Draco nodded. “Right. Bye.”
Draco turned back to where Hermione waited for him.
“Let’s go,” he said, motioning with his head.
Hermione silently followed him to the check out line. She put her basket on the counter and pulled Draco’s basket toward her as well.
“What are you doing?” Draco asked, watching Hermione rummage in her purse for her wallet.
“Paying,” she replied simply.
“Put your money away,” Draco warned.
“Do you plan on paying with galleons?” Hermione challenged.
Draco narrowed his eyes. “You did this on purpose.”
Hermione smirked. “Prove it.”
Draco shook his head and laughed. “You are so paying for this later.”
Hermione smiled sweetly at him.
“Is this all, dear?” the elderly woman at the register asked.
“Both baskets, please,” Hermione said, placing her hand on Draco’s basket as well.
The woman began emptying the baskets and punching in numbers.
“I’m paying you back,” Draco muttered.
“Just drop it, Draco.”
“You’re being annoying,” Hermione whispered.
The cashier slid Draco’s basket toward her and began picking up the contents. She held up the pomegranate and pressed in a few numbers into the register.
“Pomegranates represent fertility,” Draco said loudly.
Hermione quickly clamped a hand over her mouth to keep from laughing out loud when the older woman raised wide eyes to Draco.
“Is that so?” she said awkwardly.
Draco nodded. “I was just as surprised as you are when I heard.”
Hermione turned her head into Draco’s shoulder and began giggling.
The cashier shook her head and quickly rung up the rest of the items and bagged them. She clearly wanted them out of her market as soon as possible. Draco walked around Hermione and lifted the paper bags into his arms and waited for Hermione to pay.
Hermione smiled as she dug out the money from her wallet. She handed it to the woman and placed her wallet back in her bag. “Thank you. Have a lovely day.”
The woman pursed her lips. “You too, dear.”
Hermione turned and glared at Draco before pushing him out of the store. The door chimed again as they left.
“You are going to give me a bad reputation!” Hermione scolded. “That woman probably thinks I’m mad.”
“She had a stick up her arse, anyway.”
Hermione gasped and smacked his arm. “Draco Malfoy!”
Draco smirked. “I like it when you say my name.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “You’re so crude.”
“What? I didn’t say anything sexual. I just made a comment.”
“Right,” she laughed. “I’m sure you meant nothing by it.”
“If you want to assume that I meant that I want you screaming out my name while I touch you all over your body in bed, then so be it. It’s not my problem that you can’t get your mind out of the gutter.”
Hermione laughed and feigned offense. “Oh, you are crude!”
Draco smirked and shrugged. “I’m just making my intentions clear.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Here, let me help you with the bags.”
“I got it,” Draco said. “And I’m serious about paying you back.”
“You really don’t need to.”
“Yes I do. It physically pained me to have you pay.”
Hermione laughed. “You’re so archaic.”
“I’m a gentleman. Get used to it.”
Hermione looked down to hide her smile. She looked up again. “Let’s cross here.”
Draco looked right and then left. “Alright. Let’s go.”
They crossed the street, Hermione lightly jumping over a puddle, before stopping at the other side.
“Where do you want to go first?”
“Let’s stop at my flat and put my stuff away and then we can go to your house. Are you still up for seeing Teddy? He’s at Andromeda’s today.”
They finally reached Hermione’s building. She unlocked the door in the entrance and they climbed the stairs together.
“You have a great ass,” Draco commented lightly.
Hermione turned to look at him with wide eyes. “And you call yourself a gentleman?” she scoffed.
They finally reached Hermione’s floor. She quickly unlocked the door and stood aside to let Draco in.
“You can put the bags on the counter in the kitchen. I’ll unpack everything.”
Draco kicked off his shoes and headed straight into the kitchen and placed the bags down. Hermione made to follow him but he blocked her way in with his arm on the threshold.
“Excuse me,” Hermione said quietly. “I need to get through.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “I’m trying to seduce you.”
Hermione laughed. “By clotheslining me?”
Draco looked at him arm and quickly brought it down to his side.
“I have to put stuff away before it spoils.”
Draco sighed and stepped to the side. She smiled as she walked past him. He leaned against the entryway to the kitchen and watched her maneuver around her kitchen, opening cabinets and drawers.
“How do you feel about the way things are going?” Draco asked suddenly.
Hermione closed the refrigerator door and looked at him. “With us?”
“It’s nice,” she shrugged. “It’s like how we’ve been for the past month except without all the worrying about coming off too strong or giving the wrong impression.”
“No more games.”
Hermione smiled. “Exactly. We established that we want to try this out and now there’s no more confusion.”
Draco nodded and ran his hand through his hair. “It was weird seeing Astoria today.”
Hermione scoffed. “Tell me about it. Does she live near here?”
“What do you think?”
Hermione laughed. “Why would she want to run into me though?”
Draco shrugged. “I have no idea. She’s being bloody weird.”
“Way too pleasant.”
Hermione picked up the empty paper bag and folded it. “So you’re going to have lunch with her next week?” she asked nonchalantly.
Draco sighed. “Not if it means making you angry.”
Hermione forced a smile. “I really don’t care. I know you just want to be civil with her. I understand.”
Draco shrugged off the wall. “We’ll see how things go until then.” He walked up to her and gently touched her cheek. “Are you done fussing with the groceries?”
Hermione scrunched up her nose as he leaned in a pressed his lips against hers. “Why? What do you have in mind?”
“Maybe a tour of the flat?”
Hermione laughed. “Because you haven’t taken it upon yourself to stay the night a few times already.”
Draco smirked. “I had good reason for all of them.”
Smiling, Hermione sighed and stood on her toes for another kiss. Draco willingly obliged but was caught off guard when Hermione snaked her arms around his neck and pressed her body to his, deepening what he assumed would be an innocent kiss on the lips. Knowing what would happen if he paused for even a second, he lead Hermione back until they bumped into the kitchen counter. The shift of her body against his made him desperate for more. He growled deep in the back of his throat when she bit his lip and clawed her fingers through his hair.
He lifted her onto the counter top where she wrapped her legs around his waist. He pushed her forward until she was flush against him again. He tangled his fingers in her long, unruly hair and devoured her. She softly whimpered as his other hand skimmed roughly up her right thigh until it went underneath his hoodie and her t-shirt, expecting to feel warm skin. He stopped and pulled away, looking at her puffy lips and half-lidded eyes. He lifted his hoodie off of her and then proceeded to peel her t-shirt off. He took a step back in surprise.
“Fuck,” he breathed.
Hermione smiled shyly and shrugged.
Draco laughed without humor, the sound rough against his throat. “You’re just going to sit there in your lingerie and shrug? You had that thing on this whole time?”
Draco smirked. “You’re a sexy little thing, aren’t you?”
Hermione blushed and cleared her throat quietly. “Are you ready for that tour, Mr. Malfoy?”
Draco’s eyebrows shot up so high they practically disappeared in his hairline. He said nothing as he quickly pulled Hermione off of the kitchen counter. She gasped and tightly wrapped her arms around his neck as he carried her to her bedroom. He kicked the door open and rushed to the bed, pinning Hermione underneath him.
He kissed down the deep V of her teddy as he unbuttoned her jeans and began pushing them down her legs. He stood up and stepped back, pulling them off completely. Hermione lay on the bed with her hair scattered around her in nothing but a see-through, blush toned, lace teddy. She threw an arm over her face and brought her knees together.
“Don’t. I feel self-conscious,” she mumbled, his gaze burning into her.
Draco leaned forward and grabbed her wrist, gently pulling her arm away from her eyes. “Look at me,” he ordered in a low voice. “You’re beautiful.”
Hermione blushed and averted her gaze, her eyes landing on his Dark Mark as his left hand continued to hold her wrist.
Draco sighed and turned her face to him. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
Hermione blinked. She sat up and placed her hands on either side of his face, pulling him to her and kissing him. She tried to pour all of her excitement and desire into him through that one kiss, nipping at his lip and getting as close to him as possible.
He pulled back with eyes still closed and leaned his forehead against hers. “Right,” he breathed. “Okay.”
Hermione smiled and pushed herself farther up the bed.
Draco smirked and pulled off his shirt, throwing it to the side. He unbuttoned his pants and let them drop to the floor before sliding onto the bed next to Hermione.
Hermione smiled as he leaned in for another kiss, making his way on top of her. He kissed the corner of her mouth, her jaw, her neck, working his way to her chest. His hands ran up her thighs to her hips and then settling on her sides, lighting teasing the skin there.
She became bold.
She grabbed a fistful of his hair and forced him to meet her lips again. She kissed him roughly, pushing him against his shoulder until they flipped positions. She straddled him now, looking down at him while she sat up. She began untying the knot at the back of her neck. Draco held his breath as the two straps of fabric fluttered down like ribbons exposing her chest.
Draco sat up until he was nose to nose with Hermione. He wrapped one arm around her lower back and began lightly biting her neck.
“Oh, god,” Hermione breathed.
Draco pulled away from her neck and kissed her lips. He flipped over once again, pinning Hermione beneath him. He sat back and slid the lace teddy off of her until she was completely naked underneath him. He licked his lips and lowered his lips to her neck once again, moving to nip at her earlobe.
He pulled away from her lips and leaned his forehead against hers. Hermione panted, looking up at him through her lashes.
“Are you okay?” she asked, breathing heavily.
Draco managed a weak laugh. “I think so. I can’t wait any longer.”
“Good,” Hermione breathed.
Draco laughed and gently laid on top of her.
Hermione arched her back and closed her eyes. She heard him groan quietly next to her ear before he began moving. Draco buried his face in her neck, breathing heavily between kisses. Hermione tangled her fingers in his hair and bit his shoulder.
She kissed his shoulder where she left teeth marks and searched for his lips. He met her with ferocity, kissing her like he would never be able to kiss her again, like he could never get enough of her.
And that’s when they both felt it. Draco pushed himself up on his arms to look at her. It was too much for him. He buried his head in the crook of her neck, unable to control himself any longer. Hermione trembled once more before relaxing against the mattress with Draco breathing heavily on top of her. She gently skimmed her hand down his torso.
He pushed himself up and looked at her, nose to nose. He kissed her and pulled away. “Hi,” he said in a low, rough voice.
Hermione smiled. “Hi,” she whispered back.
Draco smiled and got up to sit at the edge of the bed. He looked back at Hermione who was still lying down. She pulled the covers around her shyly.
“We have to do that again soon.”
Hermione bit her lip and laughed. “Yes, we do.”
Draco’s expression became serious. “I have to admit something,” he said quietly.
Hermione’s heart stopped. “What?”
“I’m a cuddler. I love to cuddle after sex. I hope you’re okay with that.”
Hermione exhaled the breath she was holding and rolled her eyes. “You scared me to death!” she scolded, grabbing a pillow near her and tossing it at him.
Draco dodged the pillow and smirked. He crawled under the covers with her. He lied back and allowed Hermione to reposition herself comfortably in his arms.
Draco sighed as Hermione snuggled up against him.
“So…” Draco began.
Draco cleared his throat. “Nothing.”
Hermione smiled and leaned up on her elbow. “What? Just say what’s on your mind.”
Draco smirked. “No. Trust me. You don’t want to know.”
Hermione’s smile widened. “Yes I do! Just tell me.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “Fine. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He cleared his throat once more and ran his fingers through Hermione’s hair as it cascaded down her back. “Was that the best sex you’ve ever had or what?”
“Oh, Draco,” Hermione complained, pressing her face against his chest to hide her blush.
Draco laughed and smoothed her hair down. “Okay, you don’t have to answer that. I’m just going to assume it was.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and began tracing patterns on his chest. She sighed.
Draco looked down at her. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing. I’m just thinking.”
Draco internally groaned. It was never good when Hermione began thinking. She always managed to screw things up by overanalyzing every little detail. “Should I be worried?”
Hermione smiled. “No,” she promised. “Everything’s fine.”
Draco kissed her head. “Good. If it’s no longer fine you let me know, right?”
Hermione nodded. “It’s been a long day.”
“And it’s not over yet, baby.”
The way he said that made Hermione’s stomach clench unpleasantly. She squeezed her eyes shut and silently prayed that the rest of the day would go smoothly. She was too happy, and although it was a good thing, nothing ever managed to continue happily in Hermione’s world as she came to learn first hand. But as she lay in Draco’s arms she came to realize that he had managed to right everything in her life piece by piece whether intending to do so or not, she did not know.
Pretending to be involved with him lead to true feelings developing, feelings she never thought she would acquire for Draco Malfoy. But as she continued tracing pattern after pattern on his perfectly chiseled chest, she couldn’t seem to remember the past few years of her life without him or how she ever managed to look past such an amazing human being in the first place.
“What did you think of me in school?” she asked suddenly.
Draco smiled as he recalled Hermione in her schoolgirl uniform. “I thought you were an annoying know it all,” he said simply. “But I thought you were really cute for a muggleborn.”
Hermione leaned up again and scowled at him. “What do you mean, for a muggleborn?”
Draco laughed at her affronted expression. “I mean that I was a prejudiced git and everyone knew it.”
Hermione smiled. “I thought you were awful.”
Hermione shook her head. “You couldn’t have been that bad. No one can do a complete turn around and become this wonderful individual unless they had it in them all along.”
Draco shrugged. “I don’t know. I try not to dwell on the past. I’ve done some stupid things.”
Hermione leaned forward and kissed him. She smiled slightly as she pulled back. “Nothing is unforgiveable.”
Draco blinked but said nothing.
Hermione cleared her throat and looked away. She inhaled deeply. “So should we go put your groceries away now?”
Draco groaned. “Right. I forgot about that.”
They both sat up. Draco got out of bed and found his boxer briefs. He quickly pulled them on. He bent down and picked up Hermione’s lingerie. “Er…This is all I can manage to find of yours.”
Hermione laughed. She got out of bed, dragging the covers with her. “I’ll be right back.”
Draco bent down to put on the rest of his clothes as Hermione went into the bathroom.
“Do you want to go straight to see Teddy after going to my place?” Draco called out, zipping up his pants. He grabbed his t-shirt and put it over his head.
Draco put his arms through the top and sat on the edge of the bed. He looked behind him and smirked to himself, shaking his head as a replay of what just conspired between them danced its way through his memory. He heard the door click open and he looked up.
Hermione was still covered in the bed sheet. She made her way to her closet and pulled out an oversized jumper and leggings. She looked around the room as though she was searching for an escape.
Draco rolled his eyes. “I just ravished your naked body, Hermione. You can get dressed in front of me.”
Hermione blushed but rolled her eyes nonetheless. “It’s still weird,” she muttered. “I’m just going to get dressed in the bathroom.” She took a step toward the toilet but Draco stood up.
“Just get dressed here. I’ll go wait out there.”
“I’m sorry,” Hermione groaned. “I know I’m being stupid.”
Draco walked up to her and kissed her on the corner of her mouth. “No you’re not. I’ll be in the sitting room.”
Hermione smiled bashfully as she watched Draco leave her bedroom and close the door behind him. She twisted her mouth and looked at the disheveled bed as another blush crept its way up her neck. She felt so normal, which was so very not normal considering Draco was only the second guy she had ever been intimate with. And they’d only gotten to know each other for about a month.
She put her hand to her forehead. “Oh, dear,” she muttered. She ripped the sheet off of her and threw it back on the bed and proceeded to get dressed. She pulled her hair into a low ponytail as she stepped out of the room.
Draco stood up as she approached him. “Ready to go?”
Hermione nodded and tightened her ponytail before dropping her arms. They walked into the kitchen together and both stopped. Hermione turned to look at Draco and he smirked back at her. His hoodie and her t-shirt lay scattered on the floor.
“I like when you initiate things,” Draco said, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her to his side. He kissed her neck before letting her go.
Hermione quickly picked up the offending articles of clothing. She sighed and turned to face him. “You don’t think that was too soon, do you?”
Draco suppressed the urge to roll his eyes. “No.”
“I mean, we decided to see where things go just the other day…”
“And we’ve only been getting to know each other for about a month, now.”
“And I don’t want everything going downhill from here.”
“Okay,” Draco said more forcefully. “Hermione. Stop.” He put his hands on her shoulders. “You need to stop thinking so much.”
Hermione frowned. “I’m just-
“If the next words aren’t along the lines of ‘really turned on by you’, then I don’t want to hear them. We’re doing exactly what we said we would do. We’re seeing where things go.” He ducked his head to keep eye contact with her when she lowered her gaze. “Things just happened to lead to the bedroom.”
“But now that’s over.”
“For now. Not for good. Because the more I think about what we just did the more I want to do it again.”
Hermione pursed her lips to hide her smile.
“And it’s not downhill from here,” Draco reassured her. He leaned in and pressed his lips against her forehead. He lowered his voice to a whisper and said, “It’s only going to get better.”
“I’m so glad you both stopped by,” Andromeda said, placing two cups of tea on the table, one in front of Hermione and one at the empty seat next to her.
A loud noise erupted from the other room and they both turned in time to see Draco on all fours crawling around with Teddy on his back.
“Your tea’s ready,” Andromeda called.
“Be right there,” Draco answered.
“Hey! Dragons don’t talk!” Teddy chastised.
Hermione smiled and turned back around and picked up her tea. “We missed you all.”
Andromeda smiled. She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “He’s quite amazing, isn’t he?”
Hermione blushed. She lifted her cup to her lips in order to distract from the flush of her cheeks.
“If you don’t mind me asking, dear…what ever happened with Ron?”
Hermione placed her cup down and pursed her lips. “We just grew apart. He happened to realize it before I did.”
“You both started dating again very quickly.”
Hermione shrugged. “It just happened to work out that way.” A half lie. Easy enough to tell.
Andromeda stood up when she heard Teddy shout, “Again, again!”
“No!” Andromeda admonished. “Teddy, Draco needs to come and have his tea.”
“No!” Teddy whined. “Dragons don’t drink tea!”
Draco pressed his body lower to the ground. “Time for a break, Teddy Bear. We’ll play again later.”
Teddy huffed but slid off his back anyway.
Draco stood up and dusted off his pants. He followed Andromeda into the kitchen and pulled out the seat next to Hermione. She smiled at him and he lightly touched her lower back in acknowledgment.
“I was just telling Hermione how glad I am to see you two together.”
Draco raised his eyebrows. “Thank you.”
“How are things between the two of you?”
Draco glanced at Hermione, expecting her to answer. She only shrugged.
“Things are going well, thank you.”
Andromeda smiled indulgently. “Are you always this proper?”
Draco smirked, turning his face to hide his amusement. “Yes. Always.”
Hermione snorted indelicately. “Don’t let him fool you. He’s a bit of a tosser at times.”
Draco looked at her with wide eyes. “A tosser? Hermione, I’m appalled at your language.”
Hermione laughed. “Oh, shut up.”
Andromeda covered her smile behind her hand. “You two are really quite lovely together.”
“It’s all her,” Draco said sincerely.
Hermione grinned. “Thank you.”
“How’s your mother, Draco?”
“Wonderful, thank you for asking. I saw her earlier today.”
“Will you stay for dinner?” Andromeda asked, suddenly standing up and walking to the oven. “I was going to make Shepard’s pie.”
Hermione looked to Draco. “Err…Draco?”
“I actually made dinner reservations for us for later,” he said to Hermione. He looked up at his aunt. “I’m very sorry.”
Andromeda waved his apology away. “Oh, it’s not a problem, dear. Go enjoy yourselves.”
Teddy ran into the room. “You’re leaving?”
Draco looked at his watch. “Not yet.” He motioned toward the sitting room. “Want to play Dragon again?”
Draco stood up and bent to pick up Teddy. “Have you said more than two words to your aunt today?” Draco asked.
Hermione turned in her seat. “No, I don’t believe he has. He sees you and completely forgets about me.”
Teddy’s eyes widened. “I just wanted to play. I’m sorry.”
Hermione smiled. “It’s okay, baby. Go have fun.”
“Oh!” Teddy exclaimed suddenly. “I’m going to be a ring boy for Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny!”
Hermione beamed at him. “That’s wonderful! You’re going to look so handsome in a tuxedo.”
“Could I be ring boy for you and Malfoy too?”
Draco smirked and adjusted Teddy on his hip. “Tell you what, kid. If I marry your aunt Hermione then you can officiate the wedding yourself.”
Hermione laughed when Teddy looked puzzled. “Just go play,” Hermione said.
She watched the boys leave to the other room and turned back around. Andromeda was looking at her with a gleam in her eye.
“That boy is in love with you.”
“What?” Hermione gasped. “No. We’ve only been together a little while.”
“It doesn’t matter. I know love when I see it,” Andromeda replied simply. “And that boy is definitely in love with you.”
Draco wrapped his arm around Hermione as they walked out of his aunt’s house. Draco held open the small white gate at the end of the cobblestoned path and allowed Hermione to pass. She felt him wrap the ends of her hair around his finger before letting it fall loose.
“So where are these dinner reservations?” she asked, turning to face him in the dark.
Draco licked his lips. He cleared his throat. “Err…at St. Mungo’s.”
Hermione paused. “What?”
Draco gave a small, insecure smile. “I want you to meet someone.”
“Meet someone? Who?”
“Cooper? …Your patient?” Hermione asked, realization dawning on her.
Draco nodded. “Is that okay with you?”
“Yes. Of course. But why?”
Draco shrugged and rubbed her arms, using the friction to try to warm her from the bite of the wind. “I just do.”
Hermione smiled at his sudden diffidence. “Okay, lets go. Oddly enough I’ve been craving hospital food.”
Draco smirked and grabbed her hand. With sheer will and a loud pop they both landed in front of St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
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