As soon as Hermione’s portkey had arrived on South American soil, she felt a heavy weight lift off of her shoulders. No one on earth, save the woman at the International Portkey Office, knew she was here. She was blissfully off the radar, telling her friends only that she was out of the country and to expect her back in two weeks.
Three weeks ago, she spun a globe and her finger landed in the ocean, just a breath away from Cartagena, Colombia. She had owled the Portkey office that afternoon and began researching different places to stay. She rented one of those charming little city villas with a beautiful view of colored buildings and stunning architecture.
She was in desperate need of a holiday.
Her post-Hogwarts education had led to Beauxbatons where she studied heavily in Wizard Law and Care of Fantastical Beasts. It had become her passion over the past several years and one that she had become fanatical over.
Secondary schooling wasn’t necessary to secure a position in the wizarding world, but it didn’t hurt. And Hermione had felt jilted by her final years of Hogwarts. She hadn’t spent nearly as much time as she should in her studies and an extra two years studying in Paris, was far from a nightmare in her eyes.
But school was now, regrettably, over. She had passed her final examination with outstanding scores and secured a position in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures at the Ministry and would be beginning at the end of the month.
The real world with all it’s tediousness called to her and if she was honest, she longed for it. She had experienced more adventure in her short almost 21 years than most could claim in a lifetime.
She found a cozy flat in Wizarding London and looked forward to moving into it upon her return. She would be close to an adorable cafe and tiny bookshop that she had already patronized a time or two before deciding on that location. She had been lucky in finding a few hidden gems already, including a 1st Edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that she had snatched up so quickly she must have looked like she found a sack of galleons hidden in the stacks.
As a loud honk screamed in the streets, she was brought abruptly back to the present.
Cartagena was alive with movement, the colors and the people decorated the city so beautifully that it took her breath away. Women were carrying baskets of fruit on their heads and a beautiful cobblestone walkway wrapped neatly around each building.
She wasn’t quite dressed for vacation yet, still in her denims, trainers and a Beauxbaton’s shirt she had thrown on this morning. She let Ginny help pack her bag and she had taken some creative liberties by coloring it up with some of her more beautiful and loud pieces that Hermione was desperately lacking.
Hermione found the address she had been hunting for and lifted her hands to her brow to block the sun as she appraised the building.
The entire building was painted a bright fuschia and the balconies were a deep emerald, one for almost each window. She never would have paired the two shades together, but along with all the brightness of the rest of the city, it was truly stunning. There was a thick blanket of vines reaching from each balcony, never ceasing as it jumped from window to window.
She took a deep breath and could smell the traditional Colombian cuisine she had been reading about. She had already made a list of all the foods she thought she might enjoy so she wouldn’t be overwhelmed at a restaurant.
She stepped under the shade of the second floor balcony and found a small buzzer next to the orange door. She rang it and stepped back, her eyes darting up the road to take in every moment.
A few short moments later and the front door was opening widely, a short and colorful woman with a bright red scarf tied over her hair stepped out into the sun with her.
“¿Hola, como puedo ayudarte?” the woman asked with a small smile and a short raise of her brow.
Hermione had meant to cast her Translation Charm before she knocked but had been distracted by the new sights of the city.
“Oh, err-- Ayudar? To help?” she scrunched up half her face as she tried to remember some of her basic spanish from pre-Hogwarts. She had considered walking around the corner and casting the spell and then returning, “Oh! I know,” she reached into her bag and groaned.
Undetectable Extension Charm at work. She tried not to be too conspicuous as she rummaged around the giant bag that looked to this woman’s eyes like a satchel, smiling at her every few seconds as she frantically hunted. Her fingers wrapped around the tiny spanish translation book that she had packed and sighed in relief, yanking it out.
An umbrella fell out on the ground between them, one that could have never fit in her small crossbody bag and Hermione let out a nervous laugh and tucked it under her shoulder.
“Right, um, Yo soy Hermione Granger. I have… let’s see… um,” she laughed awkwardly again, flipping through the pages of her tiny book, “¿Habla Inglés?.
“No,” the woman's lips tightened and wrinkled, she was losing patience with Hermione and that made her heart start to quicken.
“Tengo un reservation? I’m staying here! Si! Si!” she found a page she might find useful, “dormir por… por… two weeks?,” she shrugged and grimaced trying to come off as a clueless tourist and not a bumbling ignorant Englishwoman.
“Senora Carmen! ¿Cómo estás hoy? ¿Esta mujer te está molestando?”
Hermione turned when she recognized a voice from her childhood and with a furrowed brow her eyes landed on the last person in the world she had expected to see here in Colombia.
“Dr-Draco Malfoy?” she looked around nervously, unaware of what was actually going on, “What on earth are you doing here?” she snapped the book shut she was holding and tucked a stray curl behind her ear.
“I’m here on business, Granger,” he said with a neutral expression, “and I happen to come across you harassing sweet Senora Carmen here.”
Draco leaned in to kiss Senora Carmen on both cheeks and the old woman brightened.
“¿Qué quiere esta chica? Ella está siendo extraña. ¿La conoces?” the woman spoke to Draco in a hushed voice and Hermione, while she couldn’t translate her words, seemed to easily pick up on the tone. She bristled.
“Malfoy, would you please tell this woman that I have made a reservation under Granger and am staying in her villa for the next 2 weeks? I… I’ve forgotten my translator,” she hoped he would understand.
Malfoy rolled his eyes and spoke quietly to the woman.
She hadn’t seen Malfoy in quite some time, years actually. He had gotten taller or maybe it was because he wasn’t always lurking that made him appear taller. He was wearing a white linen shirt with the first few buttons undone and light gray trousers. He looked far too casual to be attending to business but then Hermione noticed the tie and suit jacket draped over his arm.
His hair was cropped short but the top of it still had a little length and the fringe was dusting over his forehead. She hadn’t remembered it being so white, she always thought it kind of a putrid yellowy blonde, but here in the South American sun it was practically glowing.
The woman looked sadly at Hermione as Draco spoke and then retreated into her home leaving the door open.
“What’s going on?” Hermione crossed her arms and her foot turned out, a nasty habit.
“How have you been Granger? I see the South American heat does a number on your mane,” he narrowed his eyes at her and his lip curled up as he took in her wild locks.
“You’ve always been such a git,” she snarled and without thinking wrapped her hair up into a messy knot on the top of her head.
Senora Carmen emerged and dropped a key into Draco’s hand and Draco smiled warmly at her, “Gracias, Senora Carmen,” he purred.
“Si! Gracias!” Hermione called after as she slammed the door behind her, Draco chuckled under breath.
“Why are you harassing me?” She held out her hand for a key.
“Harassing? We have a much different definition of the word, I’m afraid. I would think saving you on the street corner of a foreign land to be quite chivalrous,” Draco held the key back, just past arm's length of Hermione.
“Thank you for your help, Malfoy ,” she all but snarled, “Key.”
Hermione cocked her head to the side and pursed her lips, waiting.
“Now, that’s hardly polite. Mother would be clutching the family pearls if she heard a young women speaking in such a way.”
She made a quick hand movement to snatch the keys but Malfoy was quicker and yanked them back.
“Uh, uh, uh,” he chided, “Come on, Granger… just one little ‘please’?” he gave her a slimy, condescending smile.
She grit her teeth, “please,” she said through a tight jaw.
Draco flung her key in the air, tossing it high so that she had to peer into the mid-afternoon sun to try and retrieve them. She failed and they bounced into a sewer grate.
She mumbled a, “stupid-son-of-a--” as she kneeled over by the grate and surreptitiously brought her wand out of her pocket.
“Adios, Granger! Disfruta tu tiempo en Columbia!” he called over his shoulder as he disappeared into the crowds.
She accio’d the key quickly and stood wiping off her knees.
What were the odds of Draco bleeding Malfoy showing up to rescue her on a street in Cartagena. She closed her eyes and inhaled sharply through her nose, held it for 4 seconds and then let out a cleansing breath through her mouth. A trick she had learned from Madame Bernard at Beauxbatons.
She looked to the flight of stairs tucked next to the entry and took them up, glancing down at her key which read 4A.
By the time she had reached the top floor she was panting like she had just run several miles. This slightly embarrassed her but was quickly shelved due to her excitement of entering her villa.
As she turned the key and the door swung open, she was far from disappointed. The room was bathed in the same rich jewel tones that adorned the streets and it all felt somehow simultaneously modern and historic. She wandered from the updated kitchen to the living room with its beautiful upholstery.
She kicked off her shoes and let her feet sink into the plush rug. Directly in front of her were two large doors that led to the first of her private balconies and overlooked the bustle of the city below.
She walked onto the terrace and let her hands slide along the railing. She wondered if she should get some takeaway for dinner tonight or if it was perhaps a night to travel into town and explore.
She returned into the villa and walked towards the master suite, which housed a massive four poster king size bed with lovely white mosquito netting hanging from the top. The sheets were white and fluffy and she couldn’t stop herself from crawling into the middle and spreading her arms and legs as far as they could go, trying to reach the corners of the bed without luck.
She took out a small magical camera and turned it so she was taking a photo of herself, her wild hair splayed out all around her on the white duvet and a grin stretching across her freckled face.
The photo printed out of the bottom of the camera immediately and she set it on the nightstand to finish it’s exposure.
She kicked her feet quickly up and down and squealed. Just then she noticed the giant window leading to her second balcony, this time off the other side of the building on a quieter street.
There was a giant lounging chair and the sun was hitting the balcony so perfectly she thought she might get a bit of sun this afternoon.
Finally she visited her master bath, which was over-indulgent with a giant claw foot tub that looked almost big enough for Hagrid to have a soak in. Everything was white in here and the pieces of the room seemed to be dipped in gold.
She walked back into the master room and reached into her crossbody bag, she felt the handle of her luggage and lifted it with a grunt.
Her mother had always taught her to unpack her suitcase if she was staying anywhere more than a single night. So she took her time to unpack her toiletries and hang up her clothes.
At the bottom of her luggage she found a small pink bag and her brows furrowed. Inside she found a card and something was lightly wrapped in pink tissue.
You’ve never been one for luck but your hard work has paid off and it’s time to GET LUCKY! Enjoy your holiday ;)
Hermione’s brows pulled together and she unwrapped the small package. She gave a half scoff - half laugh when she realized it was a few pieces of lingerie.
“GINNY WEASLEY!” she scolded from half a world away. She shoved it back in its bag, then back in the luggage and closed the luggage up. She then pushed it towards the closet and slammed the doors.
“Now what?” she said to herself. This was quite possibly the first time she didn’t have school or war to worry about and she felt… empty handed. She sighed and looked towards the balcony and shrugged.
She moved quickly to change into the modest bikini she had packed and grabbed her large sunhat.
Before she began changing, a parrot knocked on the window.
She was confused for the briefest of moments before she remembered she had ordered the bird from the local magical aviary.
She wanted to send word to her friends that she had arrived safely and thought of the picture on her nightstand. She picked it up and was about to scrawl a note on it when she had a better idea.
Within 10 minutes the beautiful macaw was headed back to London and instead of the photo on the bed, it was carrying a photo of her in the sun with a giant sun hat and the shoulders of her bikini.
“Safe and sound. See you in two weeks! -H”
She had decided that it was no night to stay in, it being her very first night and all. So after laying in the sun for almost two hours, she appraised herself in the mirror. She was already looking quite sunkissed and her freckles were far more prominent on her face.
She decided on a floral high-low dress with sleeves that fell loosely off her shoulder. She had very nearly had a panic attack as she tried it on and then almost turned around when she was half way down the stairs, but she took a deep cleansing breath and remembered that no one knew her here. She was safe to wear whatever she damn well pleased! Not that she wasn’t in London or Paris… but, well, being Hermione Granger meant something to certain people. She needed to maintain an air of modesty about her.
She had fallen in love with this dress in the small Parisian boutique and her insecurities were not going to keep her from wearing it. Although, she kept constantly tugging at the fabric trying to make more of it appear than she was able to.
On her way out the building, Senora Carmen was sitting at a small table for two outside the entry to what Hermione assumed was her home. She gave Hermione another sad smile and shook her head as Hermione looked at curiously and turned the corner. That was odd.
She found a small cafe and paused in the alley before entering, almost forgetting to cast her translation charm. She had used it a lot in Paris when she first moved, knowing only very rudimentary French at best. She was now much closer to fluent, but there were still some glaring holes and inaccuracies, especially when she was with several native speakers who spoke quickly and in colloquialisms.
The charm worked simply, changing her tongue to Spanish and theirs to English.
The cafe was dark and vibrant and there was a small dance floor in front of a tiny stage that held a beautiful Colombian woman at a microphone and a few musicians. Her voice was low and breathy and the music swam in the air around her. She could smell the salty breeze off the ocean from here and it all felt like a memory she would relive for years to come.
She sat up at the high bar stool and a local man slid a menu in front of her.
“Can I get you something to drink?” he asked kindly, she breathed a sigh of relief at understanding him.
“This is my first night in Columbia, do you have anything you suggest?”
“We have the best Refajo in all of Cartagena. One?” his tongue curled around the ‘r’ sound as he spoke.
She smiled politely and opened her mouth to answer when a familiar drawl interrupted her perfectly pleasant evening.
“Two, please,” Malfoy leaned onto the counter facing her and his right hand played with a small ring on his left.
She felt a blush spread up her jaw as she realized her shoulders were showing in front of Draco Malfoy.
“I hope you don’t expect me to pay for that,” she narrowed her eyes at him as the bartender retreated.
Malfoy rolled his eyes dramatically, “Mind if I join you?”
“Yes, actually,” she spat, agitated, as he sat down.
“You know, I don’t know why you’ve shoved your wand up your own ass--”
“Excuse me! You vile, evil--”
“Little cockroach, yea, yea… You’ve used that before, you know. Maybe think up some new material next time--”
“Oh, I can think of plenty right now--”
“If you’d have let me finish--”
“You’d have heard me say, I don’t know why you’ve shoved your wand up your own ass--”
Hermione snarled and took the drink from the bartender without the same friendly smile, bringing the straw to her lips.
“But, Potter and Weasel seem to have found that I am far more charming than you lot ever gave me credit for in school. You should get over your prejudices and stop treating me so poorly.”
Hermione began coughing violently as she choked on the carbonated drink.
He quirked an eyebrow at her and brought his drink to his lips, pinching the straw beneath his pointer finger and drinking out the glass directly.
“My, MY prejudices?! Are you barking?”
“Well, I’ve been nothing but perfectly pleasant. Helped you when you were without a translator, obtained your keys, asked to join you for dinner… I seem to have let old prejudices die, while you yet cling to yours like a dying man to his wand.”
His eyes flashed with a challenge and his lips twitched into a playful smirk but Hermione’s vision blurred as rage filled her body.
She closed her eyes, deep breath in, hold four seconds, exhale.
“Malfoy, I have no prejudice against you, as a prejudice is a pre existing opinion not based on actual fact or experience. In my first hand knowledge, I find you to be an incorrogible, spoiled, narcissitic, condescending arsehole.”
She thought that would be the end of the conversation. It certainly felt like the period at the end of a run on sentence… but he laughed. He laughed a big belly laugh and pulled the stool out next to her and sat down, raising a finger to the bartender, signaling he would like a menu.
“You may not eat with me,” she said with finality, less he decide to misinterpret her turn of phrase.
He made a show of looking over his shoulder, “Did I miss it? Do you own this bar?”
She took another deep breath and pushed it out past her lips.
She chewed on her straw, a habit of hers when she was feeling uncomfortable or feeling drunk, which she was currently experiencing both.
“What’s in this drink?” she asked with an accusatory tone at Malfoy.
“I’m not dining with you,” he took another long drink and stared at his menu.
“Why do you have to act this way?” she huffed.
“Why do you get to act so self-righteous and expect me to remain my calm and polite self?” he raised his brow at her.
“You’re obnoxious,” she rolled her eyes at him.
“Your hair is obnoxious,” he said, his voice thick with immaturity.
A laugh bubbled past her lips and her hand shot up to cover her mouth. She turned to him and his brow was perched high on his forehead and she laughed fully, throwing her head back.
“Another?” the bartender paused before them.
“Please,” Draco said, a smile playing on his lips as he watched her laugh.
“Is that honestly the best you could come up with? ‘ Your hair is obnoxious?’” she mocked.
“It’s been a long day,” he shrugged, “and your teeth are fixed now, I’m running out of things to make fun of you for.”
She blushed, from the drink, she reasoned.
Running out of things to make fun of her for? As if it had only ever been her hair or teeth… right. She rolled her eyes again, but this time more playfully, the drink causing her guard to fall and she felt herself loosening up.
Another bubbly drink appeared and she slurped the remainder of the one in her hands, feeling the affects on her ears as they warmed and turned red.
She ordered a few Arepas, a traditional food that had made her list of pre-approved cuisines to try.
“Tamales, please,” Malfoy nodded and gave a polite half smile. He turned back to her, opening up his chest so that his elbow rested on the back of his stool, “How’s Paris?”
He knew she was in Paris?
“It’s over, actually. Exams finished just days ago, hence the reason for the holiday. I start at the Ministry in two weeks, thought I might see a small corner of the world first.”
“Where’d you get in?” he cocked his head at her, no sneer or insult waiting, just talking.
“Magical Creatures,” she smiled into her drink, proud of herself, “I’m not totally at the bottom of the food chain. Beauxbatons helped, the Headmistress gave me a sparkling recommendation,” she beamed and Draco huffed.
“Did you expect anyone in the world to give anything but a sparkling recommendation to Hermione Granger, Golden Girl?”
She ignored him, “I’ll be working with Creature Rights and working to pass real laws. Laws that will actually affect this entire class of magical beings,” she was starting to rant before she remembered it was Malfoy and he definitely did not care, “So you’re not working at the ministry? But… with the ministry?”
“I’m a freelance curse-breaker,” he said simply.
“Why not just work for the Ministry? Harry said they hire you enough,” she asked, genuinely curious.
“They can’t afford me,” he smirked, “They can only afford my rate on a case by case basis, as it were.
She scoffed. She had never once imagined doing something solely based on money.
“Typical,” she said cooly.
“What does that mean?”
“Well, it just seems very… well, very Slytherin of you. Someone who doesn’t ever have to worry about money for the rest of his days is charging an arm and a leg for his services. It’s just, well, it’s not something that I’ve ever even considered,” she turned her nose up as she looked forward.
“How incredibly noble of you, Granger,” he narrowed his eyes, “And also presumptuous, to think you know anything about my estate. I’m good at what I do, really damn good. Do you think that means I don’t deserve to be appropriately compensated?”
“It’s funny,” she squared her shoulders at him, “that you seem to think that you deserve fair wages for fair hours, but your house elves do not,” she arched an accusatory brow at him.
“And what in the fuck is that supposed to mean?” he said lowly.
“Well you’ve enslaved your house staff to work for free, denying them their freedom and their opportunity to work for wages. It’s sickening, really…” she turned her nose up at him again and signaled to the bartender for a third round of drinks.
Draco was sucking his tongue between his cheek and there was a flame behind his silver eyes that would normally have sent chills down her spine, but she had an air of confidence from the alcohol.
The bartender dropped off two more drinks and with eyes still locked on Hermione, Malfoy said, “A bottle of tequila, please. Limes and Salt as well,” Hermione gave him a look.
“I’m NOT doing tequila shots, Malfoy.”
“Let’s play a game. We used to play it all the time at Hogwarts… I’ll tell you three things and you have to spot the lie. If you guess right, I’ll take the shot. If you guess wrong, you take the shot. Deal?”
Hermione considered the proposition. It was holiday, and she had no doubt that she could read Draco Malfoy like a book.
“Deal,” she said with a smirk.
The tequila, limes, salt and two shot glasses were on the table in front of them and Draco swiftly poured about half a shot in each glass.
Draco squinted his eyes as he stared at her face.
“ 1. I have a Dark Mark on my arm. 2. I employ Free Elves and pay them far above the standard wage. 3. I became a turncoat during the war and fed information to the Order.”
Hermione very nearly laughed out loud.
Draco laughed and it sounded so very strange coming from his mouth.
“Well you obviously have the mark, Harry saw it,” she watched his face for a hint as she spoke, a tell that he gave when he said the truth, but his expression was completely neutral and he brought his drink to his lips and took a long drink, “But I know, I mean… knew, I knew Dobby,” she shook her head from the memory, “And I know the working conditions of the elves at Malfoy Manor. But I also know that it’d be a cold day in hell before you turned sides in the War… Although, it would explain why everyone got so chummy with you in recent history.”
She cocked her head from side to side and for a moment was drawn to the music from behind her. As the hour grew later, the music grew more vibrant and couples were getting up to dance together, spinning each other and laughing in the salty night air.
“You’re lying about the elves,” she said quickly, her mind made up.
He smirked and pushed the shot glass towards her.
“Not possible,” she exclaimed.
He pushed the sleeves of his button up shirt higher towards his elbows and low and behold, no mark.
“But… Harry said, he said he saw your mark!”
“Faded after You-know-who died,” Draco shrugged and pushed the shot closer.
“That’s a technicality! You still had one!”
“I said, ‘I have a Dark Mark on my arm’. Malfoy Manor also used to enslave House Elves and there was a time I wasn’t a turncoat. The tense of the fact matters here, Granger. Sorry,” he shrugged and pushed it another few inches towards her.
She growled and grabbed the shot glass, a lime and some salt. She licked the back of her hand and dumped salt on it, some of it spilling onto her lap.
She licked the salt quickly, gave a quick wince as she looked at the shot glass and then threw that back before slicing through the lime with her teeth and letting the juice chase away the bite of tequila. She did a little dance in her seat, chills running down her spine from the tequila.
“Ack! I hate tequila,” she shook her head and grabbed her bubbly drink, still trying to chase away the flavor.
“But does tequila hate you? Because that’s the only thing that truly matters,” he winked and grabbed his shot glass, downing it with no salt or lime.
“Your turn, Granger,” he smirked and her heart did a weird little flutter. Were they flirting? Surely not.
She thought for a moment, not sure she was willing to share any of her secrets with Draco Malfoy. But the shot of tequila was making her feel alive and she wanted to chase that feeling.
“I’m a virgin. I let Viktor Krum feel me up, under the shirt, in the Hogwarts Library. Ron cheated on me while I was at Beauxbatons.”
She tried to keep a straight face but she hadn’t mastered it the way he had and a smile was playing on her lips as her shoulders started to sway to the music, her eyes darting back to the dance floor.
“You’re not a virgin.”
Hermione’s breath left her in a little puff. Damnit. He was right. She made a face.
“How’d you know?”
“I heard about you and Krum,” his lip curled up oddly, “and I know that Ron Weasley would never in a million years cheat on you.”
“You may be right there,” she sighed.
“Are you guys… together?” he asked, his voice had a strange tone to it.
“No,” she laughed, “No, that never really came of anything. One kiss during the battle, followed by an awkward hand hold and another attempted kiss where we both ended up laughing and we decided it was better to remain friends. He then started sleeping with any girl who would have him and I now would no sooner touch him with a broom handle.”
She smiled at the memory. For awhile it had hurt, so much of her childhood was spent falling in love with Ron Weasley. She had grieved the relationship that would never be. But now she knew she could look on the memories with a smile, and that’s how she knew she had moved on.
“Let’s play again,” he smiled and she nodded cautiously. She couldn’t help but feel this chemistry surging between them. It felt wrong and exciting and she didn’t want to get up and leave it just yet.
They played a few more rounds, in which Hermione learned that Draco had broken 4 bones, had been scared of heights as a child and that he lost his virginity to Millicent Bulstrode. He had shivered as he revealed that one and Hermione guessed it quickly over rapturous laughter.
During the game, Draco’s arm had come to rest over the back of her chair and Hermione was turned towards him laughing freely as he spoke.
Her eyes still darted to the dance floor and finally Draco stood and held out his hand.
“What?” she furrowed her brows as she stared at his offered hand.
“Let’s go,” he cocked his head toward the stage, “Music like this wasn’t meant to be watched,” he smirked and it reached the corners of his eyes. She hesistantly placed her hand in his and the floor swayed under her slightly as the alcohol settled into her standing form.
“I can’t dance to this,” she raised her voice over the music.
“That’s ok,” he let his arm extend to it’s full reach as she eyed him warily. He gave her a quick tug and wrapped his other arm around her waist and brought their joined hands up, his hips circling against hers, “I can.”
She laughed against his chest as he twirled her around the dance floor to the lively music. Her feet seemed to know exactly what to do as he led her through what seemed like a perfectly choreographed and yet also spontaneous dance routine. She fumbled a few times and he would help her as she laughed through her mistakes.
Their faces seemed to get closer and closer as the music changed and the couples started thinning on the dance floor.
He gave her another big twirl and she fell into his embrace.
The music shifted and a slower, more intimate song came from the young singer. In an instant the cafe seemed to dim and quiet but Draco didn’t release her after the change in tempo. His hand was low on her back and drew her closer yet, until their bodies were pressed against each other.
He paused as he waited for the beat and then when the appropriate time came he moved them in a slow and synchronized movement. A dance she had never done with steps that seemed to come so naturally to him.
She gulped as her eyes found his. They were staring down at her and she felt his grip tighten quickly and then release on her side.
“I should probably go,” she whispered.
“Me too,” he breathed over her cheek, his face coming slowly closer towards her.
“It’s getting late,” she murmured as their lips closed in, only a turn of the head from meeting for the first time.
“Yes, it is,” he agreed but didn’t move them.
She wasn’t sure who closed the distance, it was maybe both of them at the same time. Regardless, the distance had been closed and she was standing, barefoot, in a Columbian bar kissing Draco Malfoy.
Not just kissing, but kissing.
His hand that had been joined with hers had abandoned its post and found sanctuary at the nape of her neck, wrapping his long fingers in her curls and turning her head so that he might have better access to her mouth.
She gasped at the expertise of his movements, the way his arm snaked even further around her waist and brought her closer to him. His teeth nipped her bottom lip and she gasped, opening her mouth so that he might dart his tongue into meet hers. She moaned as her hands wrapped up around his neck and drew him in closer.
She was panting as the kiss regrettably ended and she took a step back, her mind not comprehending what had just happened. Draco’s chest was heaving as well and his skin was tainted pink.
“I’m s--” he started.
“Please, don’t…” she closed her eyes and took a step back, “Don’t say your sorry,” she shook her head and opened her eyes to peer up at him.
“Because, I don’t want to hear that you regret kissing me. It would just… ruin everything,” she laughed hollowly, “It’s ok if you do, but no girl wants to be kissed like that and hear that the git regrets doing so,” she gave a sort of hollow laugh.
She realized she sounded kind of ridiculous. But she’d had a perfectly lovely night, despite the odds, and she didn’t want to remember anything else.
He smirked at her and grabbed her hand twirling her once more as the music picked up again and when he snapped her body into his he lifted her and kissed her again, this time more quickly, casually… before setting her down and moving their bodies in time with the music.
After another few songs, the lights began to come up. Draco paid their tab, even after Hermione threw a fit about feminism and not needing a man to pay her way. He had responded with an eye roll and guided her, barefoot, out of the bar.
“I thought for sure you’d be a lightweight, Granger. But tonight, I have to say, you surprised me,” he smirked down at his shoes. They weren’t far from Hermione’s villa.
“The French can drink and when in Rome!” she giggled.
“You mean Paris? Merlin, you are drunk,” he gave her a skeptical glare as they held hands.
“It’s a Muggle Expression. How long are you here?” she asked, swallowing thickly. Still not able to fully wrap her head around tonight’s events.
“Another week, I’d guess. The wizard who hired me has a rather… extensive collection. It’s tricky magic, I don’t foresee myself back in London before next week.”
“Where are you staying? With Madame Carmen?”
Draco barked out a laugh, “The surest way to have Senora Carmen hate you would be to give her a French title.”
Hermione groaned, recognizing her slip, “Hey, why does she keep looking at me like my cat died?”
“Oh,” he grinned, “I don’t remember exactly. I’m pretty sure it was something along the lines of you planning this trip with your fiance but he left you at the altar for a much more elderly woman and that’s why you were harassing her because she reminded you of her your ex-fiance’s new lover?” he laughed and she shoved him her mouth hanging open.
“That… that is completely preposterous!”
“I know, I honestly don’t know how I even thought of it,” he laughed again and brought her into his arms kissing her cheek.
“I had fun tonight, Granger. Even with you there,” he smirked and she shoved him again, laughing at his annoying joke.
The streets were quiet now and overhead beautiful glowing string bulbs were draped across the street they found themselves embraced in.He leaned down to kiss her again and it felt different than the ones before. It wasn’t hurried and frenzied like the first, but it wasn’t quick and playful like the rest. It was… slow and intentional. His hands drawing her face closer while her own rested on his elbows.
He pulled back and they began to walk up the flight of stairs, he led her all the way up to the fourth floor and she panicked. She wasn’t sure if he was expecting more and more importantly, she wasn’t sure she wanted to give it.
“Well, this is me, Granger,” he smirked at the door that read 4B.
“What? You’re joking,” she gaped.
“‘Afraid not,” he leaned down again and barely brushed his lips against hers, “Until next time.”
She walked into her villa and out to the balcony, she couldn’t quite believe the turn of events the night had taken.
She had started the night arguing with Malfoy and ended it kissing Draco. She laughed to herself. She had never in her life been this carefree and she had still 2 weeks left in Cartagena.
There was some music playing softly down the street somewhere and she watched as a pair of lovers walked quietly down the streets. She imagined that must be a lot like what her and Draco appeared to the outside world tonight.
She bit her bottom lip as she remembered his hands wound in her hair and his arms around her waist. She closed her eyes and remembered the feel of his chest against hers and they moved to the music.
She walked back to her kitchen and hunted for nothing in particular. Her hands feeling empty and her gut feeling alive with butterflies.
Her eyes landed on a bottle of tequila and she grinned. Without giving it much thought she wrapped her hand around the neck of the bottle and made for the front door. She paused as she caught sight of herself in the entry mirror but smiled and said, “Fuck it,” as she opened her door.
She was standing just outside Draco’s, thinking of knocking but panicking at what she would say. There must be something kind of devil-may-care that she could quip, something sexy and off hand like ‘well I found this bottle of tequila,’... no, stupid.
She was just about to second guess herself and turn around when the door whipped open and a frazzled Draco stepped out bumping straight into her and her tequila.
“Fuck, Granger. What are you doing?” he asked, startled.
“I… I was…” Now was the time, Granger. Where was your freaking wit and charm and everything else Witch Weekly swore you had, “I was, seeing if you needed a night cap.”
She lifted the bottle and peered up at him with giant innocent eyes.
He all but growled as he slammed his mouth onto hers and lifted her quickly into his villa. The door closed behind them and he lifted her effortlessly and pushed her back against it, she let out a moan and his mouth assaulted her neck and squeezed at the extra chunk on her thighs.
She threw her head to the side to allow him more access to her throat and drug her nails across his scalp, earning a moan from him against her skin. She grinned and tugged at his hair.
She wasn’t any kind of sex kitten, not by any stretch of the imagination. She wasn’t sure if it was the tequila or the country or the Draco, but she was feeling primitively sexy.
It was just like when they were dancing, he was leading her through these steps she had never dreamed of taking but they felt natural and naughty and wonderful all at once.
His hands tugged at the fabric at her chest, trying to expose more of her so that he could kiss more of her and she arched her back into him, eager to oblige.
He moved them then, with her ankles locked behind his back and his lips on her shoulders and walked straight into the Master bedroom, kicking the door shut behind him.
Hermione woke with a fuzziness in her brain.
She winced at the light streaming through the window and pulled the duvet up over her head to shield herself from it.
Her first thought was that she had too much wine with Eloise again. She had always pushed that final glass of wine on her.
But the air was different… and that wasn’t all. She was… naked.
Like a dam opening, memories of the night before flooded her consciousness.
She had argued with Draco… then she had danced with him and she slammed her palms into her eyes as she remembered kissing Draco. They had walked home and ohmygodohmygodohmygod had she actually been standing outside his door with a bottle of tequila?
She remembered more after that… his searing kiss against her neck and his expert hands grabbing and leading her into climax, her hair falling around them as she straddled him…
She wanted to escape her skin and the embarrassment. Was she in her bed? His? What on earth was he thinking right now? Would he tell everyone?
She summoned every ounce of courage and peeked over her shoulder.
She sighed. No Draco. But she then heard the rush of the shower head from the adjacent bathroom.
She peeled the covers back and realized she was, without a doubt, not in her room.
She looked on the floor for her dress and couldn’t find it.
She instead wrapped the duvet around her and let her toes dip onto the cold wood floor. She dove down to the floor and peered under the bed, no sign of her dress.
She groaned when she heard the shower turn off and steam billowed towards the mirror.
Hermione Granger. War Heroine. Golden Girl. Butt naked in Draco Malfoy's hotel room. Fuck. My. Life.
She took a deep breath in and tried her best to put on her casual demeanor. She knew she still looked anxious and agitated but what this was the best she had.
Draco appeared through the fog of the shower with a large white towel wrapped around his waist. Her mouth went slack as she took in the details she seemed to have overlooked the night before.
His body was lean and muscular with deep dips by his hip bones. He had long lines of muscle that all lead towards that blasted towel and Hermione felt her mouth fill with saliva that she quickly swallowed.
“Morning, Granger,” he smirked as he rubbed a second towel through his hair, “Sleep ok?”
“I… I can’t find my dress…” she swallowed.
“Oh,” he let out a dry laugh and reached behind the chair in the corner and made a face as he presented it, “Well, I think it might need a Reparo… I got a little hasty. My apologies,” he threw a wicked grin at her.
“Well, I uh, I just needed something to wear home,” she flushed and stuttered.
“Granger, we have the only two apartments on the floor. You could walk across stark naked and no one would know. But do feel free to borrow my duvet,” he laughed, “Breakfast?”
“Why are you being so casual about all this?”
“Excuse me?” he narrowed his eyes and turned towards her.
“You heard me,” she gulped, hoping to sound like a lioness but coming off more like a kitten.
“You do remember having sexual intercourse with me not but 6 hours ago, correct?”
“Yes,” she hissed and turned her nose up in the air.
He seemed to laugh at her haughty expression and his offended face turned into a playful snarl.
“You remember coming, then? Not once, twice but three times?” he sauntered over to her and she felt the heat spread from her chest to her face and down between her legs.
“Draco Malfoy!” she flushed, “Grab me a robe or something!”
“What? Don’t remember moaning my name? Again and again and again? I do…”
She bit back a smile as he teased her and something felt all at once natural.
“You really are an insufferable git,” he was standing before her then and leaned down so his face was hovering just before hers.
“You didn’t seem to mind last night,” he smirked.
“And your comebacks are shit,” she laughed as he pounced on her pulling back the duvet and she laughed as if it were the most commonplace thing in the world.
She strode out to the balcony in her robe, the smell of breakfast pulling her out onto the terrace. She eyed a Daily Prophet and her eyes lit up. She hadn’t thought to have it delivered here and made a mental note to have her parrot do just that.
She snagged it and started looking through the different sections. She never received the London paper while in Paris and it was strange to see people she once again recognized in the society pages and various headlines.
“No news while on holiday,” he snatched the Prophet from her hands.
She flushed, “Not fair! Why do you get to read it?”
“I’m not on holiday, Granger. I’m here on business, remember?” he sat across from her in a matching robe and grabbed a piece of bacon from the plates between them.
She pursed her lips and bit back a smile, reaching for the bacon.
“You’re an actual, ass. You know that?”
“Because I don’t agree with you?” he replied indignantly.
“No, because you’re wrong!”
“I’m wrong for not agreeing with you. You can’t see the obvious flaw in this argument?” he snarled.
“I’m not right because I think I’m right. I’m right because I AM right!”
“You actually aren’t and by the way, ignorance looks awful on you,” he said with a sickenly sweet condescending sneer.
“AHHH!” she screamed and threw a pillow at his head which he swiftly ducked, “You ass!”
The bubbles of the bath were up to her collarbone and she was relishing in the feeling of his body behind her. His hands caressed her arms, up and down, again and again. She let her head rest on his chest and giggled as his hands moved from her arms to her breast and then gasped as the slipped down her tummy and between her legs.
“You can’t move there,” she murmured over the black and white checkered pieces.
“This game is fucking stupid,” he growled.
“Checkers is just as much fun as Chess. Some would say MORE fun,” she smiled as she hanged herself.
“Yea, THOSE people would be muggle children who have never seen a proper game of Wizard’s Chess,” he growled.
“Well, I’m not a muggle child,” she kinged herself and did a little shimmy of her shoulders, “And I HAVE seen Wizard’s Chess, I’ve actually played it in a lifesize board, and I still think it’s more fun,” she jumped him and took his piece away.
He narrowed his eyes at her, “This is why people think Muggles are lesser than Wizards.”
Her eyes snapped up to him about to light him on fire but the look on his face was playful.
“This game. This actual game is the entire reason. Wizards must have seen it or something and realized how primitive Muggles are--”
She rolled her eyes at him again, “Have I called you a prat yet today?”
“Once or twice,” his smile touched his eyes and he double jumped her. A smirk on his lips and a growl on hers.
She tied her hair up in a messy knot and leaned far over the table, studying the runes laid out. They’d been staring for hours and finally she saw a pattern.
“We’ve been looking at it backwards! Arrange them, here, yes! Just like that!” she grinned up at him. “Have you looked into Haverfield Law? There may be something with that music box having to do with it. It states that--”
“I know what it states, Granger. What I don’t know is how it is that you are going to work for sickles at a Ministry that doesn’t deserve you,” he whispered against her hair, hugging her from behind.
She hated thinking of this vacation drawing to an end. This bubble was too perfect and she wasn’t ready to head back to reality. What kind of reality could Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger share anyway.
Her chest felt heavy just thinking about it.
“I’m going to miss you,” she turned her face into his and rested her forehead on his cheek.
“I’m going to miss you too,” he replied. She felt her heart crack at his response. So he didn’t intend for this to go further.
“Can you stay with me for a few more days?” she asked bashfully, “I leave Friday.”
“Yes,” he replied simply. No further explanation or question.
The warm salt water was so foreign to Hermione and she dipped her toes in for a moment before feeling Draco’s body behind her, wrapping her in his arms and kissing her temple. She relaxed for a split second before he lifted her and ran straight into the ocean, falling backwards and taking her under with him. She thrashed coming up and splashed water at him laughing.
“Merlin’s beard, Granger. Your hair…”
She could only imagine what her mop looked like hanging wet like that, like a drowning cat clinging to it’s owners head.
“Oh, shut it, Malfoy,” she growled and he chuckled, flopping back into the ocean.
Her heart was pounding through her ribcage. She swore he could hear it rattling around in there like a bat trying to escape. She stepped out of her bathroom to find Malfoy lounging on her bed and she dropped her bathrobe.
The lingerie from Ginny turned out to be useful but she was horrified of her brazen behavior.
He paled and his jaw went slack when he took in the black lace ensemble that her best friend had chosen for her.
“Come over here,” he commanded and she squared her shoulders.
“No. You come over here,” she challenged with a raised brow.
He rolled his eyes, “Headstrong witch.”
But he rolled off the bed and moved with catlike grace over to her. She was off her feet and had her back pressed against the wall in moments as he covered her neck and breasts with wet kisses.
“Sometimes, I get to be in charge,” he murmured against her skin.
“Yes… but only because I let you,” he pulled back with a playful sneer and she giggled before kissing him again.
“Do you need to take the Portkey with me?” she’d been dreading today, a heavy knot in her chest. Today was Thursday. And they left Friday.
He rolled his eyes, “because I have a Floo set directly to Malfoy Manor set up and I prefer not to Portkey when I don’t have to. It makes me feel ill.”
He stepped away from her and the distance felt significant.
“We… We haven’t talked about… this,” she motioned at the air between them as the sun fell a little lower in the sky, “Does it end in London?”
He tensed and paused a moment.
“I don’t want it to, Granger,” he kissed her forehead, “but it’s complicated. I need to sort some things out? Can you… let me do that?” he met her gaze and she nodded.
She wasn’t sure exactly what he meant, but she knew that in whatever way she could make it work that she wanted Draco Malfoy in her future, as infuriating as he was.
Her bags were packed and she stood just outside the city by the tiny teacup next to the giant palm tree waiting for her portkey to be activated. He was with her.
“So…” she led, with no intention of finishing her sentence.
“So, I’ll owl you. Soon. Just… I have some loose ends to tie up and this damn case never got fully solved. I know it’ll be hard, getting back to reality… just give me a few days?”
“Of course,” she smiled at him.
The teacup glowed and she reached up on her tiptoes for a last kiss and he quickly moved to kiss her firmly on her forehead, his hand tightened around her upper arm and she felt her heart sink into her belly.
“Bye,” she gave him a half smile.
Hermione arrived via Porky in Diagon Alley. Not quite where she was interested in being so she quickly Apparated to outside her new flat. Her furniture had been delivered, thanks to Ron letting them in and everything else was in boxes stacked inside.
It was Friday and by Monday she would be leading legislation that would change the lives of Magical beings everywhere. She just had to clear her mind of Holiday Hermione.
She had to focus on what was right there, in front of her. Draco was not. They had made no promises, no declarations.
But when she thought back on the last two weeks, her heart panged.
She had inadvertently fallen in love with Draco. It made her feel sick for all the right and all the wrong reasons.
She stressed for days over what she could possibly say to Harry and Ron. They had come to know him from his work with the Aurors, they would understand. Of course they would...eventually.
She didn’t mention Draco as the next two days passed. She wanted to wait until he had sorted his affairs out, she imagined it wasn’t going to be easy for him either. He was going to be spitting on centuries of tradition… she just had to tell Harry and Ron.
She was flipping through her photos from the trip. A handful of images taken of the two of them in various locations around Cartagena. At the beach, in the village, in their rooms. Laughing and scowling and everywhere in between.
She must have left the portrait she took of herself when she’d first arrived on her end table, it was missing from the stack.
Crooks rubbed against her leg and she reached for the post the owl had dropped by earlier. On top was a letter in familiar scrawl from their time looking over his notes and she smiled to herself.
We need to talk. Now. Please, owl me your address.
She felt like a rock had hit her gut. The note felt… so incredibly off.
She set it aside about to write him back when her eyes fell on a portrait on the front page of the Prophet.
Her heart sank to her knees and she felt queasy.
“Malfoy and Greengrass Set the Date! The Wedding of the Decade!”
On the front was a moving picture of Malfoy kissing Astoria Greengrass's temple and her laughing to herself.
Hermione moved for the nearest wastebasket and wretched into it.
Hermione had given herself a day of wallowing and now she was ready. Ready to forget Draco Malfoy and make a change in the Wizarding World.
She straightened her jacket in the mirror and tucked a hair behind her ear. This was her day.
She floo’d to the ministry and walked out of the grate, feeling confident in her stride towards her future. But her future met the chest of Draco Malfoy and she scowled as she realized she had bumped into him.
“Get away from me, Malfoy,” she hissed as she took a step around him.
“Granger, we’ve really got to talk,” he spoke in hushed tones and looked suspiciously around him with each step.
She weaved through a dozen people before she felt his hand on her elbow, “Granger!” he shouted.
“Back off!” she hissed and whipped her wrist so that his grip failed.
“Granger,” he shouted, “ I need to talk to you.”
She turned and without a thought in her mind her hand reached up and slapped him across the cheek. Not noticing the hundreds of eyeballs on them at this very moment.
“Talk to your fiance, you fucking asshole,” she spat and made her way to the lifts. She took a deep breath in, held for four, then eight and breathed out. Draco Malfoy was not going to ruin this day.