Hermione shifted, easing her foot out from beneath her bum where it had begun to fall asleep and leaning back against the sturdy tombstone behind her instead. She looked down at her watch—ten o'clock—and then out at the graveyard in front of her, still empty and silent.
A heavy breath gusted out in obvious boredom next to her.
Make that mostly empty and silent.
Hermione gazed at the parchment in her lap and wrote down her observations, of which there were none. But she had to do something to attempt to take her mind off her very distracting, very frustrating, companion, and the ghosts she was here to observe refused to manifest, which was making for an incredibly boring night.
She wasn't sure who she was the most irked at for this whole loathsome situation: Mr Paleweather, her supervisor at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, who was a lovely person, but reminded her a little too much of Arthur Weasley—not an ideal quality in a boss—and had insisted that she spend Halloween night at a local cemetery to investigate the absurd myth that ghost activity increased on October thirty-first, despite absolutely no evidence corroborating that fact; Harry, who, after learning that Hermione received just a few (dozen) death threats in the past several weeks—which was hardly unusual— had gone over Hermione head to his boss and requested that an Auror guard be assigned to protect her until the culprit had been apprehended; or Millicent Bulstrode, the Auror guard in question who'd been assigned to Hermione's protective detail a week ago, and who'd been steadily driving Hermione up the wall ever since.
To be fair, Harry had been apologetic when he'd learned which Junior Auror had been assigned to Hermione, but apparently there wasn't anything he could do and, "She's not so bad now, really. Better Mils than Malfoy." To which, Hermione could do nothing but reluctantly agree, though it did little to improve her suffering. At least if Malfoy annoyed her, she could just punch him in the nose again—Hermione wasn't altogether sure she'd survive the experience if she tried that tactic on Millicent, who was rather more substantial than either herself or Malfoy.
Hermione hadn't ever got on with Millicent, and things hadn't much improved since Hogwarts, despite the fact that, with Millicent working with Harry now, she was around rather more than Hermione thought was strictly necessary. She could admit she hadn't exactly made much of an effort, but Hermione didn't seem to have a lot in common with the brusque and surprisingly self-assured woman Millicent had grown into. Besides, Hermione very much disliked the uncomfortable and discombobulated feelings Millicent inspired in Hermione on the few occasions they'd interacted, turning her all dry-mouthed and silly.
There was something about the way Millicent's perfectly tailored Auror robes clung to her strong frame, the fit so much better on her than it appeared on any of her colleagues, the deep burgundy making her skin glow and her dark brown eyes pop. She'd adopted a more masculine hairstyle as well since joining the Aurors, and the shaved sides and well-coiffed quiff suited her immensely, her sharp cheekbones even sharper beneath mahogany fringe. It was a bold and unapologetic look that Hermione couldn't help but envy—she'd always wished she could do something different, maybe even a little edgy, with her own mass of curls, but the frizzy texture didn't lend itself well to styling without a massive amount of effort that Hermione didn't have it in her to give.
But that wasn't the point.
The point was that something about Millicent made Hermione feel strange and off-kilter, made her stomach alternate between nervous fluttering and anxious cramps, and Hermione wasn't having it. Hermione had always prized being in control, and the wildly vacillating emotions Millicent inspired were unsettling. She could even admit that maybe said discomfort had led to her being a little more prissy and prickly than usual when in Millicent's company.
In fact, those precise words had been some of Millicent's favourite terms for Hermione over the past week as she'd dutifully followed Hermione around to protect her from harm in the case of an attack Hermione was fairly certain wouldn't ever actually come. They'd been sniping at one another all week, neither of them overly thrilled with the situation and both acting in a slightly-less-than-completely-professional manner, which was very unlike Hermione, and from what she'd heard from Harry, quite unlike Millicent as well. That knowledge actually made Hermione feel a little bit better—knowledge always did—thinking that perhaps she got under Millicent's skin as much as Millicent got under hers. It was ridiculous, and a little petty, but it didn't stop her heart from racing with exhilaration every time she made Millicent's nostrils flare and eyes flash with fire. Better spite than the other possibility for why Hermione's pulse pounded every time they verbally spared.
"Sweet Salazar, please tell me you're not really planning on spending the entire night out here in this graveyard," Millicent grumbled after another hour of exactly nothing happening. "Don't you have some fancy dress party to go to? Somewhere warm, perhaps? Or somewhere where anything—anything at all, I'm not picky—might happen?"
"Big bad Auror can't even cast a simple Warming Charm?" Hermione asked haughtily, though secretly, she quite agreed with Millicent's assessment. Hermione might have given up the ghost—quite literally—hours ago if it weren't for her pride. Millicent had heard Paleweather's request, which meant Hermione couldn't be seen giving up early, even if the whole evening was a fool's errand.
Millicent's jaw tightened at the taunt, and she grabbed her wand in a rather menacing manner, slashing it through the air in the movement for a Warming Charm. Her aggressive casting came through in the sudden wave of heat that crashed over them both, turning the icy October air sweltering. Hermione pulled at her collar and twisted her hair up into a bun as sweat began to gather at the nape of her neck. She glared at Millicent even as she squirmed against the pulse of arousal at the display of magic—she'd always been a bit of slag for powerful witches, and Millicent clearly knew her way around a wand, though word on the street was that wands didn't particularly do it for her.
Millicent smirked at Hermione, radiating smugness, her gaze calm and assessing. Hermione hoped Millicent's Kneazle-that-got-the-cream expression was do to the taunting tropical temperature she'd set, and not because she had any idea how hot and bothered her powerful casting had made Hermione. Unfortunately, judging by the wicked gleam in Millicent's eye as she began to casually undo the shiny brass buttons on her Auror uniform, revealing the emminently lickable hollow of her throat, perhaps Hermione hadn't been so lucky.
Merlin Hermione needed to get laid. It had been positively ages since the last time she'd pulled, and she was clearly starting to feel the lack if she was panting over Millicent Bulstrode. Hermione very pointedly did not allow herself to think about how the last woman she'd gone home with—the newest Harpies Beater with broom-calloused hands and close-cropped hair—bore a not-so-insignificant resemblance to the woman sat next to her. In fact, the last several of Hermione's paramours had all been of a certain type, a type that Millicent fit to a bloody T. Not that Hermione had been looking or anything.
Hermione shifted again against the ground, the seam of her trousers sliding over her just right, sending pleasurable shivers through her limbs. Millicent's hawkish gaze was intent upon her, and it only served to make the hot air even hotter, until Hermione was forced to take off her coat, leaving her in only a thin blouse that was molded tight against her slightly sweat-dampened skin. Millicent's eyes trailed lazily over her, lingering on the swell of her breasts beneath the gauzy fabric and the exposed column of Hermione's throat. Hermione shivered again, and Millicent smiled, a confident, sure spread of lips that made Hermione's cunt throb with arousal even as she sniffed and turned to peer intently out into the empty cemetery, fervently wishing a damned ghost would make an appearance and dissipate some of this ridiculous tension.
"You never answered my question," Millicent said, her voice a low rumble that rose prickles along the back of Hermione's neck.
"Hmm?" Hermione replied, almost absently, resolutely refusing to tear her gaze away from the empty night, afraid of what might happen if she did.
"Are you planning on staying out here all night? You know the rumours of increased ghost activity during Halloween are just a myth."
Hermione sighed. "Yes, of course I do. But as pointless as it may seem, it is part of my job, just like staying here all night watching me watch nothing is part of your job. Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do."
"And sometimes we get to do exactly who we'd like to do," Millicent replied.
"Who?" Hermione said with narrowed eyes as she whirled to face Millicent. Which was clearly exactly what Millicent had wanted, because her cocky grin widened.
"All right, so we have to stay out until sunrise," Millicent said easily, edging forward to lean an arm along the tombstone at Hermione's back. She smelled good, musky and spicy, not unlike the cologne that Ron had worn when they were together, the one that had always made Hermione hot under the collar. It made Hermione want to press up and stick her nose behind Millicent's ear, to nuzzle in and breathe in deep. She restrained herself. Barely.
"How focused on the cemetary do you need to be?"
Hermione blinked up at her, a little dazed. "What?"
Millicent's eyes glowed in the lantern-light, and she swallowed heavily before replying, "If we're going to be out here all night, I was wondering—hoping really—that a diversion to pass the time might be permissible." She rose a single, bushy brow and quirked her lips. "Maybe even welcome?"
Hermione's breath caught and her heart began to race at the implication. She really should be focused entirely on their surroundings, but if ghost activity really were to increase at some point, she figured it'd be pretty obvious. And she really, really wanted to find out what exactly it was Millicent was offering.
"Perhaps…" Hermione said tentatively. She licked her lips, and her stomach flipped as Millicent's eyes tracked the motion with obvious hunger. "What did you have in mind?"
Millicent huffed out a faint laugh before thick fingers made their way to the nape of Hermione's neck, tugging at her hair tie until riotous curls tumbled down around her face. Millicent wound a strand around her finger, looking at Hermione with an obvious admiration that made her heart skip a beat. And then Millicent's hands were buried in her hair, and Millicent's lips were hot against her own.
Millicent was a good kisser, her lips and tongue providing just the right amount of pressure and variety to make Hermione weak in the knees. Hermione couldn't help but respond, arching against Millicent's larger frame and sliding her hands along the buzzed sides of Millicent's head. She was fascinated by how soft the short strands were beneath her fingertips, the strange delicacy of such a bold look. Everything about Millicent was fascinating, and despite Hermione's best efforts, she was entranced.
Eventually, Millicent broke the kiss, looking, Hermione thought with no small amount of satisfaction, just as dazed as Hermione felt, as if she hadn't expected the kiss to be quite so absorbing. She cleared her throat, her gaze burning into Hermione.
"I was thinking something along the lines of that," Millicent rasped. "If you're amenable?"
Hermione was too turned-on to blush at the boldness of fooling around right out in the open in the middle of a graveyard. She knew Millicent had already cast at least a dozen protective spells and wards around them—she wouldn't be suggesting they become so distracted if she hadn't—which meant it was unlikely anybody would be able to see or hear them anyway.
Which was a good thing, because Hermione was a bit of screamer.
"You know, I rather think I am," Hermione said with a grin, running a fingertip along Millicent's thin, smiling lips. "Why don't you show me how else this mouth of yours can drive me mad, hmm?"
Millicent's responding grin was positively predatory.
"It would be my pleasure."