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Tainted Snitch: A Yuletide Romance

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TAINTED SNITCH: A Yuletide Romance

December 21st
4:20 PM

Sybil Trelawney muttered portents of doom as she, Lavender Brown and Luna Scamander reclined on silky pillows in the Divination Room. They were all stoned on cups of blackstar root tea and, therefore, seeing different visions on the constellation-painted ceiling. Lavender was grinning up at a sparkly image of Ron Weasley flying naked on his broomstick – thank you very much, root of the blackstar – when Trelawney’s fifteenth prophecy began.

One moment, the professor was lamenting (as she had all term) what bad luck it was to hold the Yule Ball to Christmas Eve instead of the traditional Christmas Day. The next, she was rasping in a low, spooky voice.

“Oi!” Lavender said, popping up. “That’s a real one. Accio, orb!”

A glass sphere shot from a nearby teacup into her palm with a loud slap. She cast the spell that captured Trelawney’s words in a silvery-blue swirl.

“Well,” Luna said when it was finished, and Trelawney snored. “That’s interesting.”

“Yeah,” Lavender replied, a bit dazed. “I mean, do unicorns even cry? What a sad thought. I want my naked Ron on a broomstick back.”

“Nice,” Luna said dreamily. “My vision was of naked Rolf riding a crumple-horned snorkack. Shall we share?”

“Absolutely.” Lavender took Luna’s hand and fell back onto soft pillows. She had never seen a crumple-horned snorkack before. Or a naked Rolf Scamander. Both were quite impressive.

Thank you very much, root of the blackstar!

 

December 22nd
8:30 AM

Hermione Granger loved mornings in the Great Hall. She gazed at the lively scene from her vantage point at the Head Table, sipping spiced pumpkin juice.

Normally, the room would be near-silent this close to Christmas, but for the second time in fifteen years, Hogwarts was hosting the Triwizard Tournament. Mixed amid the dark robes of Hogwarts’ students were the blue and cranberry robes of Ilvermorny of North America and the bright green of Castelobruxo of the jungles of South America. So much chatter and energy and potential. It was exciting! Anything could happen.

And fairy lights shone in the Hall’s twelve Christmas trees. And the ceiling gently snowed. And her dress for the Yule Ball was gorgeous. And she’d finally discovered the super-secret identity of the band playing the ball and felt “in the know” even though she had no idea who they were. She’d have to ask Draco. Where was he anyway? Lazy git. His tall, blond, grumpy presence was all she needed to make this morning perfect. She took a bite of blueberry bread and closed her eyes.

A moment later, the chair next to her scraped against the floor and someone collapsed into it with a grunt. She smelled strong coffee, pine needles and the faint scent of a spicy cologne that always made her dizzy. She smiled and opened her eyes, dazzled by the radiance of winter sunlight on white hair.

“Good morning, Professor Malfoy,” she practically sang.

“Gods, you sound like a sodding bird,” he groaned. “It’s a bloody awful morning, Granger.”

“Language, Malfoy.”

After two and a half years by his side at the Head Table, she knew he only became human after his second cup of coffee. She waited patiently, humming Christmas carols between bites of breakfast.

“So, Professor Granger,” he finally said. “Why so cheerful? Excited about Trelawney’s newest prophecy?”

Hermione snorted before moving onto a good scoff. “I haven’t even heard the rubbish, nor do I plan to.”

“It mentions a green dragon,” he said with a bit of a preen. Hermione glanced at his dark green jumper.

“Whatever. I’m cheerful because I finally cracked Vanya’s encryptions and know the name of the band playing the Yule Ball. That girl is brilliant. She used a standard book cipher but then reversed it and then filtered it through a Greek prism.”

“Whatever. Who’s playing the ball?” Draco asked, leaning close. His scent filled her head, clouding it like wine. His warm breath sent delicious shivers down her skin. It took her a moment to remember his question.

“Some group called Tainted Snitch,” she whispered.

“What?!” he bellowed in her ear.

“Ouch!”

“Oh, Granger,” he said with a smile that took her breath away and made her furious at the same time.

“What?”

He laughed, and she considered poking a fork up his nose. The students were starting to stare. McGonagall, too.

“Malfoy,” she warned.

“Sorry, Granger. I was just shocked.” He glanced at Vanya Witherswift – Gryffindor, Head Girl and Hogwarts’ Triwizard Champion. She had neat blonde braids and even neater pressed cuffs. “Didn’t know the bookworm had it in her.”

“What, exactly, is so shocking about Tainted Snitch?”

Draco’s gray eyes twinkled. He leaned close again – even closer - and murmured, “Come to my room tonight and find out.”

**

Hermione hadn’t always felt this way about Draco Malfoy.

For years, she’d thought he was a foul, loathsome, evil, little cockroach. She’d told him so and punched him in the nose Third Year. Then, for a few more years, after the war, she hadn’t thought about him at all. She’d gone to university, traveled and perfected her craft, with some enlightenment from the notebooks of Severus Snape, before accepting the Potions position at Hogwarts a month before her 27th birthday.

Harry had been surprised, remembering her irritation with him over the Half Blood Prince’s textbook. She’d simply come to love what Snape called the moment of change. When brewing a potion, there was always a moment, as brief as the pause between breathing in and breathing out, when ingredients became something new. Perhaps the potion turned lilac or shimmered like starlight or began to smell like lemons or leather. Whatever the outward sign, magic was the result.

“Come meet my new assistant,” Hagrid had said her first day back, leading her into the sun-dappled woods behind his hut. “Yeh won’ believe who it is, Hermione.”

And she hadn’t. Why was Draco Malfoy kneeling on the ground, arse up, before Buckbeak? And when had his arse become such a fine example of arsehood?

“He’s been down there fer twelve hours,” Hagrid said. “Buckbeak’s takin’ his sweet time, thinkin’ on it.”

In the end, it had taken twenty-two hours for Draco to earn the proud Hippogriff’s forgiveness. Six months later, he’d been promoted to full professor after a near-fatal fire crab incident. Hagrid had retired happily, spending half his time in his hut nursing dangerous baby creatures and the other half in France with Madam Maxime.

Draco took over Care of Magical Creatures as if he’d been born to it instead of the manor. He wore jumpers, corduroy trousers, sturdy boots and a long, rugged coat with patches on the elbows. He’d never looked so tall and powerful in the tailored suits he’d once favored. Now, he was thoroughly masculine, eternally windswept. He smelled of crisp air, rain and the forest. The first time Hermione had watched him tug on a pair of leather work gloves, she’d tripped and fallen into a pumpkin patch. It didn’t help that Draco was also good with students and gentle with animals. Or that he’d suddenly developed intelligence, an open mind and a sharp sense of humor.

The combination slayed Hermione. She’d fallen in love soon after falling into that pumpkin patch.

She had no idea if Draco Malfoy felt the same way.

**

“It’s black,” she said. “Really black.”

The square album cover was most intensely dark thing Hermione had ever seen. It felt heavy in her hands. When she looked away from it, she saw spots of black in the air and a fluttering at the corner of her vision. When she looked back at it, the image of a corroded snitch disappeared.

“I think they used a variation of Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder,” Draco said. They were in his room just off the Slytherin dungeons. A huge, circular window looked out on the eerie, green glow of the Black Lake. Hermione saw a tentacle rippling through the kelp.

“Is that the Giant Squid?” she asked.

“No,” Draco said, after the briefest of glances. “The Medium Squid. You know, you have to whisper the band’s name against the cover to open it.”

Hermione raised an eyebrow.

“Really. Don’t you want to enjoy such modern classics as Lick My Broomstick and Lust Dust?”

Hermione raised her other eyebrow. “You’re lying. Vanya has better judgment than that.”

“Hear for yourself.”

Skeptical, she raised the album cover to her lips and whispered, “Tainted Snitch.” She yelped as it began to vibrate – and moan. The corroded snitch reappeared and rose out of the black cover, becoming three-dimensional and pulling up the darkness like oily strands of tar. The tar became wisps of black smoke. Then, with an almost pornographic wail, the snitch flew away to God knows where, and Hermione held an ordinary record. Draco took it from her and put it on his turntable with a wicked grin.

The first song started hard and fast, with heavy drums and raucous guitar. It had a classic punk sound, like something by the Sex Pistols or the Ramones. The lead singer’s voice was bold and raw.

Lick my broomstick.
Make it slick.
My hot, hard wood is extra thick.
Touch my broomstick.
Stroke it fast.
My hot, hard wood was made to last.
Ride my broomstick.
Ride it so good.
Rub your pretty snitch
Against my hot, hard wood.
My broomstick’s my dick! Hey!
My broomstick’s my dick! Hey!
My broomstick’s my dick! Hey!
My broomstick’s my dick!

“Stop it! Stop it!” Hermione screeched. “Turn that off! What on earth was Vanya thinking?”

Third Years could be at the Yule Ball! This is a disaster! Was it too late for the planning committee to get back its deposit?

“Hey, Granger,” Draco interrupted her panic attack. “I’m not sure if you understood, but his broomstick is his dick.”

She toppled him out of his chair with a Knockback Jinx.

“And I’ll tell you what your Head Girl was thinking,” he said from the floor, laughing. “She has a crush on Hypolito like all the rest, and she wants to impress him.”

Diego Hypolito, the Castelobruxo Champion, was a gorgeous young man with tan skin, dark eyes, scarlet streaks in his black hair and tattoos. Half the panties in Hogwarts had dropped when he’d swaggered into the Great Hall with his classmates to the beat of Amazonian drums on September 1st. Vanya should know better than to fall for a bad boy and corrupt the youth of three continents in the process.

“Are all their songs this filthy?” Hermione asked.

“Well, they’ve had three hits this year,” Draco said, standing up. “Lick My Broomstick, which you’ve heard. Lust Dust, which is about the same. And Phyllis.”

“I have an aunt named Phyllis. She taught me how to knit and has seven cats.”

“Is she a stripper?”

“No!”

“Well, this one is. And the song does reference her cat. She only has one, and it’s shaved.”

“Oh, God! Shut up!”

She slung her wand at him again. Another Knockback Jinx with a side of Transfiguring his bed into a flock of chickens until midnight.

At two o’clock in the morning, after hours of research and deliberation, she’d found her solution. She wrote Draco a note and asked Hogwarts’ messenger elf, Wimsey, to deliver it.

Professor Malfoy,
You’re going to help me procure a rare potion ingredient tomorrow. What’s the best time of day to find a unicorn? And how do we make one cry without damning our eternal souls?
Regards,
Professor Granger
P.S. Does your bed still smell like chicken? Here’s hoping.

 

December 23rd
The Forbidden Forest
3:52 PM

The sun set early in Scotland so close to the winter solstice. In the depths of the Forbidden Forest, it was a fiery, orange glow shining through the ancient trees. The snow turned a soft blue-purple that sparkled in the last daylight. Draco and Hermione sat on a giant, gnarled root that had been Transfigured into a sofa. They were both bundled up in winter wear. Draco’s green wool hat had ear flaps and was lined with silvery brown fur. He looked ridiculous – and adorable.

“That snow is periwinkle,” he said out of nowhere. “The exact color of your gown at the last Yule Ball.”

“You know the word periwinkle?” Hermione asked, when really, she was thinking, You remember what I wore to the last Yule Ball? Her heart beat a little faster.

“Of course, I do,” he said. “I have an excellent vocabulary, as you will soon see.”

Whatever that meant.

“It’s just that Harry or Ron would call that color a sort of blueish-y purple-y.”

“Well, yes. They’re cretins,” Draco said before tossing more bacon out onto the snow.

“Are you sure unicorns like bacon?” she asked.

“Hagrid swears by it. And I’ve seen it work a time or two myself.”

Hermione looked down at the empty vial in her gloved hands. Draco had promised he knew a way to bring a unicorn to tears without hurting it or making it sad. Those options were unacceptable. But she had to find a way to protect the youth of Hogwarts from the foul mouth of Jackanape McCoy, the lead singer of Tainted Snitch. She’d finally listened to Phyllis out of curiosity. Merlin! She’d never be able to look at her aunt or her aunt’s seven cats again without blushing bright red.

“It’s time,” Draco whispered, standing.

“Where is it?”

“There.”

He pointed west, and Hermione saw a circle of white light in the orange sunset. The unicorn approached slowly, every silent step a wonder of grace. It was the most brilliant white that Hermione had ever seen. Whiter than snow, whiter than Lumos. Its horn spiraled up to a sharp point that shone like a diamond. Its hooves were gold. Hermione felt peace fill her soul. Why hadn’t she sought out this creature before? It was so beautiful, so noble, so pure. Then it saw the bacon and devoured the meat like an eager puppy. Hermione laughed, and the unicorn looked up at her. Its eyes were like bits of nebula, a blend of beautiful colors and glittering starlight.

“Get ready,” Draco said.

He took three, slow steps toward the unicorn, tossed his hat away and bowed low. When he rose up, he lifted his left hand high and said, “Absquatulate.”

What?

“Blunderbuss.”

Okay...

“Callipygian, collywobbles, firkin,” he added, his voice growing stronger. The unicorn tilted its head to one side.

“Gardyloo! Gazump! Gongozzle!” The unicorn tilted its head to the other side and huffed. Draco threw his other hand up into the air and shouted, “GOOM-bah!” The unicorn made a delicate, tinkling sound like a small wind chime.

“Was that... a laugh?” Hermione whispered.

“No, that was a titter, but she’ll be laughing after kerfuffle so get ready, Granger. That means get up!”

Oh, yes! She sprang up from the sofa and opened her vial as Draco launched into another set of funny words.

“Hemisemidemiquaver! Hoosegow! Hootenanny! KERFUFFLE!”

As predicted, the unicorn lost control. It shook its head back and forth and opened its mouth, revealing teeth as white as its coat. Its laughter sounded like dozens of different bells ringing in wild harmony. It gave a little prance, its golden hooves splashing up snow.

“Lollygag! Nincompoop!” Draco shouted, adding an arse wiggle with each funny word. “Pandiculation! PERIWINKLE!”

Hermione laughed with pure delight.

The unicorn must have liked that word as much as she did, or maybe it was amused by Draco’s dancing. It laughed even harder – the jubilant, musical sound echoing through the woods. It turned in a circle and reared up. Prismatic sparkles appeared at the corners of its eyes. Tears rolled down its cheeks, and fell into the air.

Arresto Momentum,” Hermione said in an urgent whisper. The teardrops fell slower, glowing like tiny opals in the twilight. With a quick string of Accios, she summoned them into her vial.

“Pettifogger! Shenanigans! Slangwhanger!”

Ten tears! Eleven! More than enough. She’d be able to make that wrinkle cream, too.

“Snollygoster! Troglodyte!”

Hermione corked her vial, and Draco concluded his strange soliloquy with the gusto of a unicorn eating bacon.

“WIDDERSHINS!”

He immediately dipped into a deep, courtly bow. Hermione did the same, a bit more awkwardly. Graceful git. He’d probably learned that at some pureblood toddler academy.

“Don’t rise until she’s quiet,” he murmured. “She likes a moment to compose herself.”

“She?”

“Of course. Hagrid named her Iris.”

They waited a moment too long. When they straightened, Iris was gone. There weren’t even any hoof prints in the snow. Just a single, radiant white rose growing alone in the darkening forest.

“You missed one,” Draco said.

Hermione looked from the rose to her vial of iridescent liquid and back again. “I’m glad I did.”

Draco didn’t answer. They stood together in the light of the magical rose. Hermione stared into Draco’s gray eyes. His pale hair gleamed like moonlight. Her pulse beat madly. She loved him, and she had to tell him, risks be damned. She was a Gryffindor. She was brave. When it began to snow, she almost laughed.

Could there be a more perfect moment for a confession? Or a kiss?

Then some nincompoop spoke and ruined it all.

“So, Granger,” Draco said. “Is your vocabulary as good as mine?”

“It is,” she sighed. The moment had passed. With a flick of her fingers, she transformed the sofa back into a tree root. “But what does callipygian mean?” She knew, of course, but she wanted to hear him tell her.

Draco grinned and said, “The quality of having an attractive arse.”

“You’re joking. There’s a word for that?”

“Absolutely. I can use it in a sentence if you like. For example, Hermione Granger has a great...
appreciation for Draco Malfoy’s callipygian assets.”

Hermione laughed, then stepped forward to needlessly brush snow off the front of his coat. “Well,” she said, gazing up at him. “That much is true.”

Draco’s eyes widened in shock. But there was more than surprise in his expression. There was desire. There was hope and expectation. The emotions were clear as crystal in his beautiful eyes. He wanted her. His pulse probably beat as wildly as hers. Did he care for her, too? Did he love her? The snow whirled around them, and the enchanting fragrance of the white rose filled the air.

It was another perfect moment.

Which meant that it wouldn’t take much for her to create yet another perfect moment at the Yule Ball tomorrow night. After all, Christmas Eve was the night of greatest hope and expectation in the entire year.

“Thank you for your assistance, Professor Malfoy,” she said blithely as she turned away. “But I’ve got a couple of tricky potions to brew. See you at the ball.”

She Disapparated in a wintry swirl and reappeared at the edge of the Forbidden Forest, near the dormant pumpkin patch she’d once toppled into. Toppled into for love! Now that she was out of Draco’s sight, she burst into an energetic happy dance, hopping and kicking and arse-wiggling all over the place with whoops of joy. He wanted her! She could tell! Yes!!

A moment later, she composed herself, not unlike a certain unicorn, and walked back to the castle to begin her work.

 

Christmas Eve, December 24th
The Grand Staircase
7:58 PM

“I look fantastic,” Hermione said, staring into the Great Mirror on a landing of the Grand Staircase.

Her reflection replied, making her voice sound like that of a dignified, Italian woman. “Yes, my dear, you do. A definite improvement over all the prostitutes flouncing down the stairs this last half hour. Scandalously short gowns. I’ve never seen so many knees, and I’ve hung here for 378 years. I was a gift from the Doge di Magia.”

“I know, Signora. You’re famous.”

Hermione’s reflection lifted its chin in a supreme preen, its eyes glowing.

She did look fantastic.

Her Yule Ball gown had been a bold red satin sheath. But in honor of Draco’s vocabulary and blueish-y purple-y snow, she had transfigured it into a periwinkle ball gown. The full skirt almost brushed the ground. The bodice hugged her curves and was embellished with tiny crystals that glittered like frost against her skin. Her normally frizzy hair had been tamed into soft curls by Sleakeasy’s Hair Potion. She’d swept it up into a loose bun and pinned it in place at the nape of her neck with a white rose. And thanks to the extra unicorn tears she’d gathered last night, her face was radiant and wrinkle-free.

Speaking of unicorn tears...

She took her lipstick out of the tiny purse looped around her wrist and refreshed the rose-pink color with care.

“Granger?”

When she glanced up at her reflection and saw him behind her, she felt the strange sensation of deja vu. The first time she’d seen him in a mirror, she’d stood alone before the Mirror of Erised. Now, she turned to face Draco Malfoy, her greatest desire.

He took her breath away.

Gone was his old coat and sexy work gloves. He wore a crisp white shirt and bowtie under black dress robes. Embroidered dragons trimmed his collar, shimmering dark green in the torchlight. He was an aristocrat again, elegant and devastatingly handsome. But unlike the young man he’d been at the last Yule Ball, his lips didn’t sneer and his eyes didn’t glare. In fact, he gazed down at her in wonder.

Bello!” the Great Mirror proclaimed in Draco’s voice.

They did not need an antique Venetian mirror giving its opinion about Malfoy’s looks, even if it was right. “Follow me,” Hermione said as she walked out of range, down to the next landing.

“That’s not the white rose, is it?” Draco asked behind her.

“Of course not,” she said, turning back. “I wouldn’t dare. It’s actually a plum. So if you get hungry later...”

“I’ll nibble your rose.”

“Why does that sound like a Tainted Snitch lyric?”

He smiled, but before he could speak, Hermione held up her hand. “No. Don’t answer that.”

Trumpets blared a fanfare, announcing the entrance of the Triwizard Champions and their dates into the Great Hall below. A moment later, the waltz began. Professors Malfoy and Granger were supposed to join the dancing with other staff. Then Hermione had planned to meet Jackanape McCoy before Tainted Snitch took the stage and do something about his filthy mouth. Instead, Draco held out his hand, palm up, and she took it. He pulled her into his embrace, his touch resting warm against her back. Understanding, she placed her other hand on his shoulder, and he swept her into the waltz.

There wasn’t much room on the landing, but he led her expertly. His eyes were the only steady thing in her spinning world, and they gazed down at her with open longing. Song blended into song, and she moved closer and rested her cheek against his chest. His heart thundered through his robes. Their steps slowed until they barely swayed. Draco’s fingers traced slowly up her spine.

“Hermione,” he whispered.

“AND NOW!” an amplified voice shouted from the Great Hall.

“Oh, no,” Hermione said, pulling away from Draco.

“THE MOMENT YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR...” It was Vanya Witherswift, Chair of the Yule Ball Planning Committee.

“THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF TONIGHT’S MYSTERY ENTERTAINER!”

“Wait!” Hermione cried out. She ran down the stairs and out a door into the swirling snow. The narrow path ran parallel to the Great Hall. Which door was it? This one? No. She chose one and burst through it, running into the dim light of a makeshift backstage. Before her eyes could adjust, she hit something hard and heard a grunt.

“Easy, luv,” a deep Scottish voice said.

“DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE?” Vanya asked. The crowd on the other side of the silver curtain cheered.

Hermione stepped back, cast a Demi-Lumos and stared up at Jackanape McCoy, the lead singer of Tainted Snitch. She’d seen photographs during her research, but they hadn’t done him justice. He was well over six feet tall and slim as a greyhound. His black mohawk added another foot to his height. His eyes were green, like Harry’s, and lined with black eyeliner, unlike Harry’s. He was pale and shirtless, wearing a studded leather jacket and tight jeans slung so low that Hermione knew his natural hair color. A magical tattoo of a corroded snitch hovered over his flat abdomen.

“You’re a hot, little minge,” Jackanape said to her with a leer. “How ‘bout a hump after the show?”

“Apologize to her,” a low, dangerous voice said behind Hermione. Fury radiated off Draco, making the air around him crackle like fireworks. The hairs on the back of Hermione’s neck stood up.

“Malfoy,” she said. “I can handle this myself.”

“I SAID, DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE?!”

As the crowd roared, Hermione reached up and pulled Jackanape McCoy down to her by the silver chain around his neck. Her lips met his in an aggressive kiss that tasted like smoke and Firewhiskey. She slid her tongue against his until he moaned, then pushed him away. Rock stars were so overrated. She hadn’t been moved in the least.

“Good luck,” she said with a smirk.

“HOGWARTS PROUDLY PRESENTS... TAINTED SNITCH!!!”

Hermione only had seconds to watch the band take the stage as the crowd went wild. One minute, Jackanape was glancing back at her, stumbling like he was drunk, his mouth smeared with pink lipstick. The next, Draco had grabbed her arm and was leading her through the darkness, rage still boiling the air around him.

“What the fuck was that, Granger?” he growled as he pressed her back against a stone wall. She gasped as he leaned close, his glare alone twenty times hotter than kissing a rock star. Smoke rose from the green dragons embroidered on his robes. She gently touched the side of his neck, and his face twisted with anguish. “I thought we... Hermione.” He gripped her shoulders hard. “You kissed him.”

“No, Draco, I hexed him. Listen.”

Tainted Snitch had opened with Lick My Broomstick.

Like my broomstick?
It likes you.
My Quidditch broom is extra quick.
Time my broomstick
With a clock
My Quidditch broom, it really rocks.
I race my broomstick,
Race it so fast.
Watch me catch the snitch
And win the game at last.
My broomstick is fast! Hey!
My broomstick is fast! Hey!
My broomstick is fast! Hey!
My broomstick is fast!

“The band hears their original song,” she explained. “But everyone else hears the edited version.”

The anger slowly left Draco’s face, and he stared down at her lips.

“The potion was in your lipstick,” he said, releasing her.

“Yes. Unicorn tears, essence of rosehips and Arabian honey were the main ingredients.” She took a mint from her bag and popped it into her mouth. Then she whipped out a handkerchief to wipe her lips clean. “But the right consistency proved difficult so I added a pinch of - ”

Draco interrupted her lecture with a laugh.

“What?” she asked.

“Trelawney’s prophecy,” he said smugly.

“What about it?”

“It came true.”

She snorted and rolled her eyes. “Impossible. That woman’s a fraud. And a drug addict. And she wears too much fringe.”

This Christmas Eve, the children shall be corrupted by a golden ball,” Draco quoted. “Only a kiss that enflames the green dragon can save their purity. Seek the tears of the unicorn.

Hermione considered the words. The golden ball was a snitch. Tainted Snitch. The tears of the unicorn... That was obvious enough. And Draco was the green dragon, green with jealousy over her kissing Jackanape. Hermione smiled. She’d made him so jealous he’d hauled her away like a caveman. How wonderful!

A second later, she frowned.

But that meant that Trelawney’s prophecy had come true. Not only that, it was spot on.

“Bloody hell,” she muttered.

“Language, Granger. What are we going to do with that mouth of yours?”

Draco’s hands were back on her shoulders, soft this time, one thumb tenderly caressing the line of her collarbone. A lovely shudder ran through her. She wanted to touch him, too, but he was so buttoned up in his formalwear. She whispered a spell that made a ruin of his bowtie, leaving its ends dangling to reveal his throat and a few gorgeous inches of hard chest. When she pressed her hand under his shirt, against his skin, he closed his eyes in an expression so close to bliss that she ached.

Hermione knew exactly what she wanted to do with that mouth of hers, and she wasn’t going to wait another moment longer.

“Kiss me,” she whispered.

When Draco opened his eyes, they blazed with desire. He pulled her against his body. She grew dizzy with want, the scent of his cologne, of him, drugging her. When his fingers gripped the nape of her neck, she gasped, and he leaned down and kissed her. Need, hot and urgent, swept through Hermione. She surrendered to it with everything inside her, grabbing Draco’s robes and opening her mouth under his. The kiss became possessive, a passionate slide of lips and tongues and frantic breath. Draco moaned, and the sound made Hermione tremble. This kiss... How could something be so desperate and searching and so right at the same time?

Because this was the moment of change. Because their kiss was a potion of perfect moments.

Beginning with the perfect moment, over two years ago, when she’d seen Draco Malfoy kneeling, arse up, before a Hippogriff.

Speaking of callipygian assets... Hermione moved her hands lower and pressed him closer.

They didn’t come up for air until Tainted Snitch was halfway through Phyllis, a nice song about a woman from Kent who liked to knit and had seven cats.

THE END