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Like Seeing For the First Time

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The first time she saw him was at Platform 7½ at King’s Cross Station. That, in and of itself, was not unusual. Many wizards and witches travelled out of the station to holiday across Europe and other far off places. It was a little strange seeing him in Muggle clothes -- a beautifully cut charcoal suit -- as was the fashion with the younger generation in the wizarding world these days. However, he was much more dashing and put together than most. She figured that Malfoys must always look their best, even when donning non-traditional garb.

Shrugging to herself, she chalked up seeing him as nothing more than coincidence and boarded the train with her ticket in hand. She had her own things to worry about.

When she saw him next, it was in a dining car; she almost didn’t recognize him. Had she not remember how elegantly he had been dressed, she may not have noticed him at all. He was hiding himself under a Glamour Charm, darkening his flaxen hair and turning his eyes to a dull brown.

He was purposely trying to hide, which made her think that his journey wasn’t just holiday travel after all. Her curiosity was piqued.

But for all her interest, she couldn’t spend her time following him. She changed trains in Paris, then disembarked in Strasbourg. Here, she would rent a car and drive the rest of the way as she was also trying to keep a low profile.

What she hadn’t counted on was running into Draco Malfoy a third time.

He was sitting on a bench in the middle of the car rental establishment with his elbows on his knees, and his face in his hands looking utterly dejected.

Hermione wasn’t one to believe in things like fate, but she couldn’t argue that it was strange to have seen him several times throughout the day, especially here dressed like a Muggle in a very Muggle place.

Enough was enough. She was going to find out his game. Slinging her travel bag over her shoulder, she marched purposefully toward him, then stopped and crossed her arms when she stood before him.

Sensing her presence, Malfoy raised his head, then did a double take when he realized who was staring down at him.

“Granger?!” His eyes were wide with shock and maybe just a hint of panic.

“Malfoy,” she greeted flatly.

“What are you doing here?”

“Funny, I was going to ask you the same thing.”

In a flash, the emotions in his eyes were shielded once more, and he smirked. “I asked first.”

She moved her hands to her hips. “I’m renting a car to drive on my holiday. Now, what are you doing here? Do you even know how to drive?”

Malfoy raised his chin haughtily. “Of course, I do.”

“Well, go on then. Go rent your car,” she said with a challenge in her voice.

A look of uncertainty crossed his features.

“Ha!” She chuckled. “You can’t, can you?”

“I can!” he insisted. “Or at least, I could! If I had money, that is.”

Hermione was confused. “How can you not have money? Or do you mean you didn’t exchange your Galleons for Muggle currency?”

“I had plenty of Muggle Euros, but my bag got nicked when I got off the train in Strasbourg.”

The pitiful look was back and, despite herself, Hermione actually found herself feeling kind of sorry for him.

“Can’t you… Floo your parents or--?”

“No!”

She jerked her head back at the vehemence in his response.

“What are you running away from, Malfoy?”

“I’ll tell you if you help me.”

“And why should I help you? You’ve been nothing but terrible to me since we were children.”

“You’ll help because if you don’t, the only Floo call I’ll be making is to the Daily Prophet to tell them where you are.”

It seemed as if Hermione could physically feel the blood draining from her face, yet she hopelessly tried to play it off like it didn’t bother her.

“Why would the Prophet care where I am?”

“Because everyone knows you and Weaselbee broke off your engagement, and the entire wizarding world would just die if they found out you’re heading off to holiday with your old love Viktor Krum.”

Hermione’s mouth dropped open indignantly. “I am not--”

“Well, Bulgaria is just a hop, skip, and a jump from here,” he said. She swore she could actually see his eyes glinting with mischief.

She hated him. Not only for his scheming and blackmailing, but also for the fact that he actually had managed to figure out where she was headed, although not quite the real reason. She was going to Viktor's, but only because he had offered her refuge after the very public break-up between her and Ron. There was no intention of rekindling a romance that started as a childhood crush.

Crossing her arms once more, she huffed in frustration. “Fine! I’ll help you. But I still want to know what you’re running from.”

Malfoy smirked. “It’s going to be a long ride; I guess we’ll have to talk about something.”

God, she hoped she didn’t regret this.

***

When they got in the car and on the road, it quickly became apparent to Hermione that Malfoy had been lying earlier. Based on his fascination with every button and switch in the vehicle, he had clearly never been in an automobile before. He raised and lowered the window several times; once, he even stuck his head out like an excited puppy. His seat went back and forth over and over again; and he fiddled with the radio driving Hermione to such distraction that she threatened him bodily harm if he didn’t decide on one station or turn it off.

They rode quietly for a couple hours to the soft tunes of oldies music and the hum of tires rolling along the motorway. From the corner of her eye, she could see Malfoy’s head lulling on the headrest, his eyes closed and mouth ajar.

Hermione cleared her throat loudly, and his head popped up.

“Where are we?” he asked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“Almost out of Germany.”

“This is a very roundabout way to get to your beloved Viktor.”

Hermione sighed. “Sometimes, the indirect route is the safest.”

“So, you admit you’re going to see Krum?” He sounded very pleased with himself.

“I admit to nothing until you tell me what you’re running from.”

“Ah, tit for tat! Well, I suppose I should give you something. It seems, Granger, that you and I are running from the same thing.”

She scrunched her forehead and glanced at him from the corner of her eyes quickly before staring back at the road before them. “What are you talking about?”

“Marriage,” he said matter-of-factly.

“I’m not running from marriage.”

Malfoy waved his hand. “Technicalities.”

“It’s true! My engagement didn’t work out, and I’m just taking a break from the gossipmongers.”

“Ah,” he said crossing his arms. “So, what happened with the Weasel? I’m terribly curious.”

“We were talking about you,” she diverted. “I didn’t even realize you were seeing anyone, much less engaged.”

“I didn’t know you were so interested in my life,” he countered.

“I’m not the slightest bit interested, but your escapades are well documented in the wizarding world. It’s difficult not to know what’s going on in your life.” Hermione briefly flicked a cheeky gaze his way. “So, who is she? And why don’t you want to marry her?”

“Some air-headed bint my parents decided I should 'align' myself with,” he spat bitterly. “Oh, she’s beautiful, to be sure, and a pureblood, of course. My parents wouldn’t have it any other way. But talking to a bloody owl would make for a more stimulating conversation. The thought of tying myself to her for a lifetime makes me want to fling myself off the nearest tower.”

“But… couldn’t you tell your parents you didn’t want to marry her?”

Malfoy snorted. “Are you kidding? That is not how traditional pureblood marriages work.”

“They’re arranged?” Hermione couldn’t wrap her mind around it. “That’s positively medieval!”

She could feel Malfoy staring at her, and she glanced over and her eyes caught his assessing look.

“What?” she asked self-consciously. “Why are looking at me like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like you’ve never seen me before.”

Malfoy shrugged and looked back out the window at the passing scenery. “Nothing.”

The rest of the drive was spent in silence.

***

Late that evening, as they pulled into a car park of a little inn in a small Austrian town, Hermione came to a very awkward realization.

“Malfoy?” Her voice sounded weak to her ears, and it annoyed her.

“Yeah?”

“When I planned this trip, I only budgeted for myself. I have enough extra to feed us both, but I can’t afford two rooms.”

He looked at her incredulously. “I thought you received a lot of financial rewards and compensation for being a war hero!”

Hermione rolled her eyes. “It’s not any of your business what I do with my Galleons! Besides, just because one has money doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be responsible with it.”

“Well, I don’t want to share a room with you,” Malfoy said with a huff.

“Fine!” she spat back at him. “You can sleep in the car for all I care.” With that, she slipped out from behind the wheel and slammed the car door shut behind her.

It was less than thirty seconds later that Malfoy was scrambling out behind her.

The room they procured was small, but at least it had two narrow beds. But still, it was strange to be sharing a small space with Draco Malfoy -- to see him with wet hair after a shower, his bare legs and feet crossed at the ankle as he laid atop bed in his magically cleaned undershirt and boxers, his surprisingly deep laugh as he marvelled over the wonders of television for the first time -- it all felt terribly intimate.

In an unexpected act of kindness, Malfoy had gathered her travel bag from the car. Perhaps it was a way to apologize for his outburst earlier. Or maybe it was just some kind of pureblood chivalry that dated back hundreds of years like their arranged marriages. Either way, she had thanked him.

Hermione conjured a small rope and anchored it from wall-to-wall between the two beds.

“What are you doing?“ Malfoy asked as she draped a bed sheet over it to create a curtain between them.

“Just creating a little temporary privacy.” That was what she was telling herself, anyway. Although she loathed to admit it, she also wanted to block him out because seeing him looking so oddly normal was making her feel a peculiar bit of friendliness toward him, and that made her feel uncomfortable.

Hermione took a leisurely shower and washed the grit of travel from her body. She allowed her shoulders to sag and rolled her head from side to side as the warm water hit her neck and sluiced down her back.

What a surreal day it had been. She couldn’t remember the last time she had actually seen Draco Malfoy in the flesh. Perhaps at an event for the Ministry or a charity, she wasn’t sure. She was always too enamoured with Ron or busy with Harry and Ginny and Neville to really care what Malfoy was doing.

What little she did know of him was found in the pages of the Daily Prophet or Witch Weekly. Hermione knew that he had been making efforts to atone for his sins during the war, but most seemed to be interested in his social life. Now that she knew about the arranged marriage deal, it was no wonder people were fascinated by the ladies on his arm. It was like watching royalty decide who will be the next queen.

One thing was for certain -- after just a day with Malfoy, she had spent little time thinking of her own troubles.

Ron.

Hermione wasn’t sure where things had started to go wrong with Ron Weasley. In many ways, he was still the same loyal boy that she had loved as a child. Their relationship had always been a bit on the volatile side, but as the years passed, it seemed as if they spent more time arguing than not. As children, they had school in common -- their adventures, the war -- but once all that had finished, she realized that there was little they shared. They had such different hobbies, goals, and dreams.

Their parting was amicable, but it hurt nonetheless. So, she had decided to leave for a bit, away from prying eyes and loose tongues. Viktor Krum had invited her to use his home while he was away on his Quidditch tour.

She was looking for solitude, and instead, she found Draco Malfoy.

Sighing, she rinsed the last bit of soap from her body and turned the water off. She twisted her hair in a towel like a turban and wrapped another around her body. Opening the door, she saw that Malfoy had turned the light out by his bed on the other side of her makeshift curtain. The coolness of the room caused gooseflesh to pop up on her damp skin. Tiptoeing to her bed, which was closest to the bathroom, she flicked on the lamp and dropped her towel.

Hermione searched through her bag and found a pair of knickers and slipped them up her legs. She was digging out something to sleep in when Malfoy’s voice startled her.

“You know, Granger, you have quite the figure. I never would’ve guessed.”

“Malfoy!” she screeched clutching an oversized t-shirt to her chest. Looking from her lamp to the sheet, she quickly put together that with his light turned off, he could see her silhouette through the thin cloth. Reaching over, she doused her light making the room dark.

“Argh! You little pervert!” she said between gritted teeth.

All he did was chuckle throatily in response.

***

The next morning, Hermione awoke in a foul mood. She had slept poorly, her dreams filled with unseemly images of Draco Malfoy that still left her blushing in the light of day. Damn him for his forwardness last night!

Groggily, she rolled out of bed and headed to the bathroom while rubbing her eyes. Not watching where she was going, she missed the door opening and ran right into the bare-chested object of her annoyance. Stumbling backwards, she nearly fell, but he caught her upper arms and kept her from tumbling.

She commanded her brain to say something, but all she could do was stare at his very naked and quite fit upper body.

“Um…” How eloquent, Hermione, she thought sarcastically. Sheer brilliance.

“Nice hair, Granger.”

That snapped her out of her stupor, and her eyes flashed to his. They were standing much closer than she realized, and he was giving her that look again -- the one as if he hadn’t ever seen her before -- but with a hint of teasing beneath it.

“I need to…” she trailed off and pointed to the bathroom.

He stepped back and made a little bowing gesture as if to say it was all hers. Rushing into the little room, Hermione quickly shut the door behind her and looked at herself in the mirror. Her face was flushed and her eyes were bright.

What the hell was going on? Had it been so long that her hormones were drawn to any male? Even vile snakes like Malfoy?

Turning on the cold water, she cupped some in her hands and splashed some on her face. This would not do.

After performing her morning ablutions, Hermione exited the bathroom and gratefully found her temporary roommate fully dressed. Once she was packed up and ready to go, they went to the inn’s restaurant to grab some breakfast before hitting the road.

Finally, with bellies full and bags packed, they headed to the car park to get going. Except they couldn’t seem to find the car.

“I parked it right here,” Hermione said pointing to a now very empty parking space. She turned to Malfoy. “Did you move it last night when you got my bag out?”

“No,” he insisted. “Why would I do that?”

“But you also remember it being right here, too? I’m not dreaming that, right?” she asked feeling very confused.

“Yes, it was definitely there.”

Hermione bit her lip and looked up and down the car park as she was thinking. A car just doesn’t get up and leave on it’s own. If it wasn’t here, that meant that it could’ve been towed, but it wasn’t parked illegally, so that was unlikely. So, that meant that it could’ve been stolen.

God, she was almost afraid to ask this, but she had to. “Malfoy?”

“What?”

“When you got the bags last night, did you lock the car after?”

He didn’t even have to answer. The abashed look on his face told it all. “Um…”

“Oh, Malfoy,” she whined as she dropped her face into her hands. She wasn’t a religious person, but she started silently praying for God to grant her the power to not kill him.

“It’s okay! We’ll just get another one!”

She didn’t know if she wanted to hit him or cry or maybe hit him and then cry. Or maybe she just wanted to make him cry.

“God, Malfoy, you don’t understand anything! When I rented that car, I became financially responsible for whatever happened to it. So, not only are we out of a ride that I cannot easily replace, I’m also out of a lot of money.”

“I’ll reimburse you for the car,” he promised.

Hermione looked at him as if he’d spouted another head. “With what? You’re on the run with no access to your bank accounts, remember?”

“That’s not always going to be the case, Granger. One day, I will be back where I rightfully belong, and I will remember that you helped me and make sure you’re compensated.”

“Oh joy,” she replied sardonically, “but that still doesn’t help us with our current situation. We’re both stuck in a foreign country with limited funds and no means of transportation. What now, smart guy?”

****

“This is stupid!” Hermione protested as they walked along the small two lane road. It felt like they had been walking for days, but it had really been just a couple of hours. “Not to mention potentially dangerous.”

“I saw it on one of those plays on the telly-box last night, and it worked really well.”

“Malfoy, I hate to tell you this, but most of the things you see on the telly aren’t really true. They’re just for entertainment.”

“It could work!” he insisted.

“Or we could get picked up by a serial killer and die.”

He raised a brow and looked at her over his shoulder. “Do you or do you not have a wand? I think we, as magical beings, have the advantage over simple Muggle weapons.”

The sound of a car rumbling in the distance brought his attention to the problem at hand. Turning around, he stuck his thumb out and cursed as the sporty little red car zoomed by.

“I don’t know why you’re worried about us being killed when no one seems to want to pick us up in the first place,” he grumbled.

“That’s probably because they think we’re the serial killers,” she said with a snort.

“Muggles are a paranoid lot.”

“Yes, and with good reason. And it’s not like the wizarding world doesn’t have it’s fair share of paranoia.”

Malfoy shrugged. “I’ll concede that, I suppose.” He stopped walking and wiped the sweat off his forehead. “You know, maybe we’re going about this wrong.”

“What do you mean?”

“Maybe you should be the one flagging the cars down.”

“What?!” Hermione couldn’t help but laugh. “Why?”

“You’re female -- less threatening, nice figure, got a little bit of a school matron thing going on.”

Hermione narrowed her eyes at him. “I’m not entirely sure how to take that.”

“Some men like that sort of thing you know, a bossy attitude with an innocent exterior.” He looked her up and down in a way that made her feel like he was undressing her with his eyes, then quietly said, “Miss Granger.”

She fought to keep from blushing, but she knew it was all for naught. But still, she lifted her chin proudly and ranted, “Don’t be fooled by whatever ‘innocent’ looks you proclaim that I have. I’m a modern woman, not some old-fashioned prude.”

Malfoy raised his eyebrows at her tirade and grinned widely. “Even better.”

Any answer she had to that was cut off by the sound of a vehicle coming down the motorway. Malfoy pushed Hermione to the side of the road and quickly transfigured her jeans into a cotton skirt.

She gasped at the feeling of air on her legs. “What are you doing?!”

“You’ll see!”

Finally, a lorry hauling a big trailer made its way around the bend and was heading closer toward them. Hermione stuck her thumb out and waited to see if the driver would stop. At the same moment, a big gust of wind came out of nowhere fluttering her skirt up around her thighs. Forgetting about the truck, her hands pushed the material down so she wouldn’t expose herself.

The lorry screeched to a halt, and Malfoy walked over chuckling to himself and pocketing his wand.

As soon as he was in striking distance, Hermione smacked him hard on the chest.

“Ow!”

“You arse! You did that!”

“I don’t know what you’re complaining about. He stopped didn’t he? And all you had to do was show a little leg.”

“A little…? Ugh! You’re disgusting.“ She paused at the smell coming from the trailer. “Oh look, he’s hauling swine. Perhaps you’d like to ride in the back with your own kind?”

“Haha,” he muttered sarcastically.

Hermione knew a little German which was enough to convey to the driver, whose name was Christoph, that they needed a ride. He told her that he was going nearly to the Italian border. It wasn’t exactly where she had originally intended to go, but at this point, anywhere was better than where they were.

The lorry only had two bucket seats, and Hermione was partially grateful; the idea of sitting next to the driver made her uncomfortable because he was giving her lecherous looks. However, without a place for a third person to sit, she was left with an almost equally distressing option of sitting on Malfoy’s lap. But of the two, the latter was the preferable one.

Oh, what had her life become?

Malfoy climbed aboard first, then helped her pull herself up. It was awkward trying to find a position on his lap, but they eventually worked out that if she sat sideways with her back to the door, he could at least see out the front window.

Throughout the ride, Christoph continued to glance at her and give her looks that made her squirm. There was something about those glimpses that filled her with dread. At one point, Malfoy caught on to what was happening and placed his hand on her knee and challengingly looked the driver dead in the eye.

After that, Christoph stopped looking, but Malfoy’s hand stayed.

Hermione wasn’t sure how she managed to fall asleep. Her back ached from not having proper support and Malfoy’s bony knees were digging into her backside, but somehow, exhaustion took over and she fell into a dreamless sleep.

When she awoke, her head was on Malfoy’s shoulder, and he had one arm wrapped around her back and the other hand still resting on her knee with his thumb rubbing tiny circles. The sun was bright orange and low on the horizon indicating it was late in the day.

“I think you drooled on me, Granger.”

Malfoy’s voice rumbling beneath her ear startled her upright, and she wiped her fingers around her mouth.

“You know, Granger, you’re kind of cute when you’re asleep and your mouth isn’t moving so much.”

Hermione glared at him. “I’m sure the same goes for you.”

The driver pulled off onto a dirt lane and indicated that they should get out. As the truck pulled away leaving them in a cloud of dust, Hermione noticed a sign where the truck was headed. Her heart fell.

“Oh no! An abattoir!”

Malfoy groaned. “Where did you think he was taking those pigs, Granger? On holiday?”

“I don’t know!” she cried. “I just wasn’t thinking it was a slaughterhouse.”

“You do know where bacon comes from, don’t you?” he asked sarcastically.

“Of course, I do! I’ve just never felt like an accessory to their murder before.”

Malfoy stared at her. “You are, without a doubt, the strangest girl I’ve ever met in my life.” He grabbed her hand and pulled her along like a child. “Come on. Let’s see if we can find a place to sleep before nightfall.”

***

It felt as if they had been dropped off in the middle of nowhere. For miles and miles in every direction seemed like nothing but farmland. The good news was that because it was late summer, it was easy to find fresh fruit and vegetables growing everywhere. With Aguamenti charms from their wands, they were set with food and water.

The bad news was the country roads weren’t very well travelled, and they hadn’t seen a car or a place to stay in two days.

Hermione had no problem camping out. It wasn’t her favourite thing to do, but she had spent a year roughing it with Harry and Ron, and she knew how to take care of herself.

Malfoy, on the other hand, had become even surlier than usual. There were a couple times she had contemplated getting up early and just leaving him to fend for himself. However, as much as she enjoyed that fantasy, she knew she would never actually do it.

On the third day, they began torturing themselves.

“You know what I miss?” Malfoy said. “Bathing. Spells can do an okay job getting you clean, but nothing can replace the actually luxury of a hot bath.”

Hermione’s body ached at the thought, and she literally moaned. Malfoy gave her one of those strange looks again. “A tub of hot water with lots of bubbles sound divine right now.”

“You know what I miss?” she said. “Steak.”

“Steak?!” Malfoy laughed heartily. “Weren’t you crying about pigs being slaughtered for bacon the other day? You know they do the same thing for cows so you can have steak?”

“I don’t care,” she replied shaking her head. “My body wants protein, and I’d kill a cow myself for a steak right now.”

Malfoy was laughing so hard, he was holding his sides. “I almost hope we come across a cow just so I can challenge you to that!”

“Laugh it up, blondie! When I get my steak, I’m not sharing any with you.”

He wiped the tears of mirth from his eyes. “Hey, do you think maybe we should cut across one of these fields and see if we can find a farmhouse?”

Hermione turned all the way around in a circle. Every way a field stretched for miles with no discernable end in sight. “But which way? We could walk any of these fields, but without any direction, we’d be walking blind. I think it’s safer to stick to the road. Someone may eventually pass. And if not, it has to lead somewhere.”

“I suppose,” Malfoy said with a shrug.

“Don’t lie,” she replied. “You just wanted to see if we could find a cow.”

That set off his laughter again.

***

That evening, they were both delighted to find a place to camp near an impressive lake. Without preamble, Malfoy stripped down to his boxers and ran in like a small child. Soon, he was out far enough to dunk himself under the water. He popped back up and slicked his hair back.

“Granger! Come on! The water’s actually quite warm!”

“Um…”

“Come on!” he shouted. “I thought you were a Gryffindor.”

“Turn around,” she commanded and he did as she bade.

Quickly, she stripped down to her bra and panties and rushed into the water toward him. As he had said, the water wasn’t as cool as she had expected it to be, and after days of walking, it felt refreshing to have it skim over her body.

She dived beneath the surface, and the water rushed into her ears muffling the sounds of the world around her. Kicking her legs, she made her way to where Malfoy was treading water and playfully tugged at his legs.

Hermione came back up for air and pushed her wet hair out of her eyes.

“Hey! That’s cheating!” Malfoy exclaimed. “I had my back turned; I didn’t know you were coming.”

Laughing, she said, “I guess you’ll just have to catch me then!” Fast as a hummingbird, she started swimming away from him.

“Oh, I shall have my revenge!” he called out and began chasing her.

They played a rigorous game of cat-and-mouse until exhaustion began to set in and slowing them down. Finally, Malfoy caught Hermione around the waist and pulled her to him until they were chest to chest.

“I’ve got you now,” he said. His tone was much more subdued and serious than before.

Hermione swallowed. Her heart felt like it was going to pound right out of her chest, but it wasn’t from their game. “Now that you have me, what are you going to do?”

The second his lips touched hers, Hermione went into sensory overload. The sun was lowering, and the water was cooling around them, but his body was warm and comforting. One hand was slick and strong on her back pushing her further into him, while the other was hooked on her thigh supporting one of her legs which had somehow made their way around his waist.

Her hands were on his shoulders which felt strong and sure under her fingers. His lips were soft and tender, but his tongue held promises of passion. An ache deep down in her core longed for that passion -- a passion that she hadn’t had in so long, or perhaps never.

Malfoy -- no, Draco -- carried her back to the shore. As they left the water, the lack of buoyancy made her feel heavy and unwieldy. But still, he carried her until they reached their campsite. Gently, he set her on her feet and transfigured his shirt into a sheet for them to lay upon.

At first, it seemed as if he only intended for them to continue to snog. Hermione wanted more and slid her hand over the muscles of his stomach and over the bulge in his boxers.

Draco pulled back and looked her in the eyes. “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” she replied with certainty.

Soon, he was kissing along her jaw, down the column of her neck, and removing her still sodden bra. Her nipples hardened as soon as the cool air hit them. Draco took one in his mouth and flicked his tongue over it sending a shot of desire straight between her legs. She ran her fingers through his drying hair. It was just as silky as she had always imagined it to be.

Draco lavished attention on her other nipple before trailing his mouth down the centre of her stomach, making her nerves quiver, before settling between her thighs. He pressed his face against her knickers and inhaled deeply.

“Fuck, you smell good,” he said with a growl, before pulling the cloth down her legs and tossing it aside. With gusto, he licked her like a starving man from perineum to clit leaving no part untouched. Hermione instinctively bucked her pelvis, but Draco held her in place with one hand, while two fingers on the other hand began to penetrate her.

He was stimulating her in places she didn’t even know she had.

Not knowing what to do with her hands, she began pinching her own nipples. Then, he was sucking hard on her clit and hitting that spot inside of her and her toes were curling and her muscles were twitching and she was screaming and…

“OH! MY! GOD!”

It took her several moments to catch her breath, but when she did, the first thing she noticed was Malfoy’s self-satisfied smirk.

“Merlin’s balls!” he said. “You’re full of surprises, Granger.” He looked quite pleased with the discovery.

Hermione wasn’t sure why, but there was something about him that made her feel bold.

“You haven’t even discovered the best ones yet,” she replied cheekily.

Draco raised an eyebrow. “Well, what are you waiting for? Show me.”

In a flash, he was on his back and his underwear was pushed down to his knees. She took his cock into her mouth and what wouldn’t fit, she stroked with her left hand. With her other hand, she lightly tugged at his balls.

“Bloody hell, woman!” he said tensely.

She hummed a response which just made him whimper.

Hermione kept alternating the intensity of her strokes, and occasionally, she’d lick around the head of his cock. However, he finally stopped her.

“Not that this isn’t the best blowjob of my life,” he assured her. “I just don’t want it all to end right now.”

Draco remained on his back, and she climbed over him until they were aligned and sunk down until he was filling her.

“Oh my God,” she whispered.

“Fuck, you feel good,” he said placing his hands on her waist. “So tight.”

“You feel good, too. Perfect.”

She braced her hands on his chest and started slowly rolling her hips. Leaning down, Hermione brushed her lips against Draco’s. He held her tightly against his chest and rolled them over so he was on top. This way, he had better leverage to thrust into her, but their upper bodies could stay closely connected.

And in the dying light of the day, she saw him looking at her again as if he was seeing her like he never had before. For the first time, she thought she might be looking at him in that way, too.

***

After that night, things seemed even more confusing to Hermione. Some days, it seemed as if nothing had ever happened at all. He still called her Granger, even though she sometimes slipped and called him by his first name. There was still bickering and teasing, and basically, ignoring the big elephant in the room.

If he wanted to ignore, that was fine by her. Well, not really fine, but it was something she could try to deal with.

But just when she’d start getting comfortable with pretending it didn’t happen, he’d get that look in his eyes. Then, before she knew it, he’d be kissing her as if he was a dying man, and she was the only thing that could cure what ailed him.

The back and forth was really beginning to grate on her, and she decided to confront him, but that chance never came.

They were in Verona, Italy when the wizarding world caught up with them. She laughed at the irony until she realized that the current trends included classic Muggle literature, and the Daily Prophet decided to paint her and Malfoy as forbidden lovers running away from cruel pureblood traditions.

Of course, there was also the bigger irony that she was running away from the gossip of her break-up with Ron only to be caught up in an even bigger public brouhaha with Draco Malfoy.

Clearly, the only option left was to become a hermit with no one but cats for company.

Yes, she’d be a cat lady. Crazy Granger! The cat lady!

Even as she holed up in her little flat ignoring the world, including her curious and somewhat angry friends, she couldn’t help but think of Draco. Even though she had been confused by and frustrated with him in those last few days, she knew he had been dragged back into an unfair situation of which he wanted no part. It wasn’t right to make him wed someone he barely knew just because she was of ‘good breeding.’ He wasn’t a horse, for crying out loud!

Maybe she could do something about that. Perhaps she could go to the Ministry and file a petition to--

Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock at her door.

Picking up her wand, she marched to the door. “If that’s another damn reporter, I’m going to hex them into next week,” she mumbled.

Swinging open the door, she was surprised to see that it wasn’t another damn reporter.

“Draco?” Her voice conveyed her shock. “What are you doing here?”

He leaned against the doorjamb and gave her a once over. “I was just wondering if you were free for dinner tonight?”

“But… what about your air-head?” she asked, genuinely confused.

“Oh her?” Draco shrugged. “She’s not a concern anymore,” he said casually.

Hermione’s eyes went big and round. “What did you do?!”

He shook his head in bewilderment. “Not what you’re thinking! What kind of person do you think I am?“ He huffed in annoyance. “The engagement’s been called off. That’s all!”

“Oh!”

“So, dinner?”

“Wait! What about your parents?”

“They have their own dinner plans.”

“No!” Hermione said with exasperation. “I mean, do they know that you’re here asking to take me out?”

“Yup,” he answered nonchalantly.

“And they don’t mind?”

Draco smirked. “You know all that Romeo and Juliet bollocks the Prophet has been spewing?”

“Yes.”

“Well, my dear mother and father are under the impression that if you and I are kept apart, we will off ourselves.”

Hermione chuckled. “What?”

“True story. So, you see, Granger,” he said as he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, “it’s a matter of life and death that you have dinner with me tonight.”

“Well, since our lives depend on it," she said with a smile, "I suppose I should get ready.”

***

The End