Hermione stood in the middle of her bedroom, bottom lip caught between her teeth as she took in the carnage around her. She wasn't sure where exactly she'd gone wrong this evening, but somewhere between leaving work and now, she'd lost the plot.
She wasn't sure why this was so difficult. She didn't care about things like this. Hermione Granger championed the underdog: the house elves, the werewolves, the Muggle born witches and wizards of the world. Every morning she put on business robes and marched off to the Ministry, ready to unceasingly demand rights and protections for those who were looked down upon.
She did not spend hours fussing over her curls and deciding what to wear.
Her eyes again swept over the mess that was her room. Work robes in every color lay discarded on her bed, some having slipped off the mattress and onto the plush rug beneath. The lone Muggle cocktail dress she owned was crumpled in the corner, thrown in a moment of panic when she had wondered just what the bloody hell she had been thinking. Blouses and trousers were abandoned on the floor, and she just stared at it all, overwhelmed by her complete inability to make up her mind.
It was only Harry's birthday party, for Merlin's sake. They'd booked the backroom of the Leaky to celebrate, doing it up proper with cake and presents and alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol. There was nothing to be nervous about. It was just their friends, maybe a few Order members, and some of the Ron and Harry's Auror co-workers.
And Draco Malfoy. The smart mouthed little ferret.
Hermione groaned and flopped down onto her bed, disregarding the pile of clothes that now lay wrinkling under her. She flung her right arm over her face, hiding her eyes in the crook of her elbow. Malfoy. She just didn't think she had the energy to avoid him all night.
Maybe she just wouldn't go. If she stayed home she could stop worrying about what to wear, plus she wouldn't have to spend her evening evading all of her and Malfoy's well-meaning friends. It wasn't like it was Harry's actual birthday tonight anyway. She would just stop by Number Twelve tomorrow for tea, bearing apologies and treacle tart. Everyone knew she was a workaholic and never left the Ministry on time. She would just let them all assume she got stuck on some new project.
Her bedroom door flew open, slamming against the opposite wall with a loud crack. Hermione shot upright in her bed and frantically reached for her wand on her side table with her right hand, while her left fumbled with her discarded robes in a futile effort to cover herself.
"I knew it. I knew it! I knew you'd be sitting here at home trying to get out of Harry's party. Harry . Your best friend ."
"Merlin's saggy sack, Ginevra! Give a girl some warning before you barge into her flat. I'm only in my knickers!"
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Tits and arse. Nothing I don't have myself. Though yours are a bit curvier than mine." She eyed Hermione up and down, her eyebrows waggling.
Hermione threw the closest bit of cloth she could reach at her friend, and held her arm across her chest in half-hearted modesty. "Why are you here?"
Ginny walked further into the room, kicking her way through the piles of clothing on the floor. "Don't play dumb. You know exactly why I'm here. To make sure you get to the Leaky and don't somehow talk yourself out of going. You're already twenty minutes late."
"Of course I'm coming to Harry's party. I would never miss it," she lied, pretending that she hadn't, in fact, been contemplating that very thing moments before. "I just can't find anything to wear."
Ginny snorted and drew her wand, flicking the wooden length at the clothing around the room. She clicked her tongue and hummed as she considered each piece, sending everything she was dissatisfied with back to the depths of the wardrobe.
"Are you sure that's the only reason you were languishing on your bed? It doesn't really have to do with a certain blond haired Slytherin, does it?"
Hermione groaned and fell back onto her bed, refusing to say anything. There was no point. She had had this conversation with Ginny, and with Harry, and with Ron multiple times before. There was no stopping them once they got started. Like crups with a bone.
"I don't understand why you and Malfoy can't just get along. He's worked with Harry and Ron for going on five years now. He's been Ron's partner for the last three. They're best mates! He's changed." Ginny turned back towards Hermione and softened her voice. "He's a good guy, Hermione. He's done a lot for the war orphans and for rebuilding Hogwarts. He does everything he can to help hunt dark wizards. I'm not saying you have to be best friends with him, but I just want to be able to have the two of you in the same room together. To have you both with me and Harry and Ron and the rest of our friends, celebrating our lives together. I hate that one of you always feels the need to leave early or come late or, even worse, not even show up in an effort to avoid each other."
Hermione stayed quiet. She didn't think Malfoy had changed, she knew he had. He was the bloody new golden boy of the post-Voldemort era. He held charity balls at the now refurbished Malfoy Manor. He spent his weekends at celebrity Quidditch games raising money for the spell ward at St Mungos. He had even been the first pure-blood to free all of his house elves, paying those who chose to stay a weekly salary. Draco Malfoy was bloody-fucking-perfect.
And she wanted to shag him senseless.
It was the daftest thing. She didn't know what had come over her. One day he was the Slytherin ferret and the next he was this gorgeous specimen of wizard that made her heart beat wildly every time she caught sight of him.
When Harry and Ron had started calling him Draco, she'd taken it all in stride, happy that they had finally been able to set aside their Hogwarts house bias and start to see the world in shades of grey rather than black and white.
Then came their first group dinner. Draco was funnier than she remembered him ever being at school and he'd grown into himself, the pinched look of aristocracy maturing into the strong features of a self-assured man. She was instantly attracted to him.
And he was there with his very pretty girlfriend.
Astoria was dressed in beautiful jewel toned robes and her hair was perfectly styled. Hermione felt frumpy in comparison. It was just dinner at Harry's, so she'd thrown on clean leggings and a cozy jumper after a long day at work. Her hair was piled haphazardly on top of her head, secured only with her wand.
Her attraction to Draco and her subsequent jealousy had made her uncomfortable and she had retreated into herself. The complete ridiculousness of her reaction had made her angry with herself and she'd proceeded to snark at everything he'd said the rest of the evening.
And it had only gotten worse over time.
Draco eventually broke up with Astoria, and Hermione had a moment of hope that was quickly dashed by Witch Weekly. He was constantly photographed with a seemingly endless stream of beautiful witches. Tall. Glamorous. Pure-blood. Everything she wasn’t.
She realised that she didn't have a chance. So she tried to bury her feelings and vowed to not let anyone find out how she truly felt about Draco Malfoy.
Hermione was jolted out of her thoughts by the smack of fabric against her bare stomach.
"Put that on," Ginny commanded, hand on hips and brow raised as though she were channeling her mother. "Don't forget the shoes."
She looked down at the outfit Ginny had picked out. A pair of dark-washed, bootcut denim trousers and a deep plum silk vest top that's neckline was trimmed in cream lace. Ginny had bought her the blouse for her last birthday and while she knew it was in fashion, it was far out of her comfort zone.
"Gin, I need a bra with this."
"You're twenty-five years old, Hermione, and your boobs are nice and perky. Show them off while you still can!"
Hermione sighed and stood, stepping into the denims and pulling the shirt over her head. She felt...exposed. The outfit, along with the strappy heels Ginny shoved into her hands, was probably a little risque for the wizarding world, but at this point it was easier just to go along with her friend than to fight back. The sooner she got to the pub, the sooner she could leave. Hopefully avoiding Malfoy the entire time.
Draco noticed Hermione as soon as she stepped into the pub. It was impossible not to. The fire flared green and then she stumbled over the hearth, her heels catching awkwardly on the ancient, uneven floor of the Leaky Cauldron.
Her hair cascaded down her back and fell softly into her face at her mis-step, and her cheeks flushed in embarrassment when Longbottom reached out a hand to help steady her.
A spark of jealousy flared in Draco's chest as she threw her arms around Neville on greeting. If she ever showed a fraction of that enthusiasm at seeing him, he'd bow down to Godric Gryffindor himself. She never would though. She'd made it abundantly clear over the past few years that Hermione Granger had no time for the likes of Draco Malfoy.
He'd spent the entirety of his seventh year at Hogwarts vowing to himself and any gods that might be listening that he would become a better person if only he could somehow get out of the mess he had found himself in. He was tired of being forced into unsavory actions. He was tired of being threatened with dark curses. He was tired of being afraid. He was tired .
So when Potter had proven his position as Saviour of the Wizarding World wasn't just a fluke, he'd jumped into action. Draco had immediately started a fund for the recovery and reconstruction of Hogwarts, along with appointing monies for the well-being of war orphans. He'd signed up to become an Auror, certain he'd be turned away before even stepping foot into the ministry, but determined nevertheless to try to do something worthwhile with his life.
And he had. He'd single-handedly turned the Malfoy name into something to be proud of again. He was a well respected Auror, partnered with Ron Weasley for Merlin's sake. He was written up in the Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly on a regular basis for his charity work. He was young, handsome, successful, eligible, and oh-so-apologetic about his past, and Hermione Granger didn't give a fire crab's arse.
Which was a pity. She was wickedly smart and had a biting humour that would be intensely amusing if it wasn't constantly geared towards mocking him. She was empathetic and stubborn and wasn't afraid of hard work. The way those Muggle denims hugged her hips and showed off the shape of her arse made his cock twitch beneath the cotton of his trousers. She was, unfortunately, entirely out of his league, no matter how badly he wanted her.
Draco held his tumbler up to his mouth and took a large gulp, recognising that alcohol was most likely the thing that would get him through this night.
A large hand clamped down on Draco's shoulder, causing him to lose his balance on the bar stool he was perched on. He stuck his leg out quickly to catch himself before he tumbled off.
"Prat." Draco resettled himself on his seat and glared at the red-haired man behind him.
"Might want to wipe that drool from your chin there, Malfoy," Ron said, swinging his leg over an empty barstool. "Don't want 'Mione to catch you."
Draco snorted. "Ha ha. Very funny." He set his drink down and rested his elbow on the counter. He brought his hands to his eyes and rubbed them tiredly before dragging them down his face, surreptitiously checking for any wayward saliva. "It's not like that."
"No. And even if I wanted it to be, she hates me. Bloody Hell, she usually leaves a room when I walk in." Draco's shoulders slumped, his previously imbibed alcohol adding to his growing melancholy.
"Have you apologised to her? Tried to get her to see that you've changed?" Ron took a swig from his butterbeer and turned to face Draco more fully.
Draco's frown deepened and he refused to make eye contact with Ron.
"You know I have. She just won't let me. I swear she times her day at the Ministry to avoid me. And when we do run into each other she says something snarky and then walks away before I can get a word in. The one time I managed to actually stumble an apology she just kind of stared at me and grunted before she walked away."
Ron chuckled and took another drink. "That's our Hermione!" He glanced over to where she stood talking and drinking with some of the old D.A. "She's stubborn. Annoying as hell sometimes, but it also makes her the best friend to have on your side. She always believes in you once you win her over, and she never lets you give up on yourself."
The two men sat together at the bar for a few more minutes, the silence between them comfortable. They nursed their drinks and Draco thought over what Ron had told him. Dammit, he really wanted Hermione in his corner. He wanted more from her as well, but if all she could give him was acceptance and friendship, he'd greedily take it.
The sound of her laughter suddenly floated across the room, and made goosebumps rise along his arms and the back of his neck. He looked up to see her standing with one of the Patil twins and Lavender.
"Look." Ron pointed out. "She's even getting along with Lavender tonight. She's got to be in a pretty decent mood. I'm sure the alcohol is helping. You should try to talk to her again. Ginny made her promise she wouldn't leave before midnight and she won't want to cause a scene at Harry's party. So she's not going to punch you or something again." He laughed to himself.
Draco turned red, remembering her brutal right hook from third year. He swore his cheek ached at the memory.
"Go. Talk to her. The worst she can do is walk away."
Draco considered his options. He could continue to slink around her for the foreseeable future, leaving parties early when he could tell she was uncomfortable with his presence, outright refusing invitations to Sunday dinners when he knew she would deprive herself of her friends' company if she knew he was going. Or, he could try to talk to her again. In probably one of the best chances he was going to get.
He picked up his tumbler and drained the rest of his firewhiskey.
"Okay. I'll do it."
Hermione slumped into the soft leather cushion of the corner booth with a relieved sigh. Even with the cushioning charms, her heels were atrociously uncomfortable. She'd been on her feet since she'd arrived two hours and four or so drinks ago. Her feet hurt and she was a little tipsy, but overall she was enjoying herself.
She was glad she'd decided to come. It was nice to have a night where she wasn't just sitting at home with cold take away, contemplating the Wizengamot procedures for overturning outdated and immoral creature laws. She saw a few of her friends at the Ministry when they'd cross paths in the Atrium or the canteen, but it had been so long since she'd seen the whole group together. Definitely since before last Christmas.
Ginny and Harry were right, dammit. She did need to get out more. And she would probably have to thank Ginny for being right about her outfit too. It had given her a thrill of confidence and put a little sway in her hips when she'd caught Seamus staring at her cleavage earlier. Even Lavender had begged to know where she'd bought her shirt and had managed to secure the promise of a girls' day in Muggle London to track down something similar.
Overall she felt happy. Confident. Sexy .
She just needed to sit down for a bit and regroup. Maybe reapply the cushioning charms on her shoes and drink some water before heading back out to accept Seamus's invitation to dance. She wiggled her toes as much as her shoes would allow, closing her eyes and releasing the tension in her shoulders as feeling gradually returned to her abused digits.
Hermione startled out of her respite at the sudden voice at her side. Dammit. She relaxed for one minute and Malfoy turned up.
"May I please sit with you?"
She looked at him for a minute, her eyebrows raised. They usually mutually ignored each other, so she was curious to see why tonight he decided to break their unspoken agreement. She didn't really want to get stuck in a conversation with him when she was feeling so happy and light, but she spotted the two tall glasses of water he held loosely in his fingertips. Her throat was feeling parched.
"This isn't a bloody cotillion, Malfoy. It's a pub. Just sit down for Merlin's sake." She gestured loosely to the seat across the table.
He ignored her hand and instead sat down next to her, blocking her in the booth between the wall and his body. He placed one of the glasses in front of her and tipped his own against its rim before he took a long swallow.
Hermione had to tear her eyes away from the column of his neck and the way his Adam's apple bobbed in his throat. She swallowed thickly and grasped her own drink. She looked at it silently for a moment, considering his motives for bringing it to her. Realising he probably wouldn't poison her in front of all their friends and half the Auror department, she mentally shrugged and took a sip.
Draco said nothing to her, but rather looked to the other side of the pub where their friends were drunkenly dancing. He seemed the epitome of cool just sitting there with his perfect posture, not one muscle twitching involuntary.
Hermione, meanwhile, was about to jump out of her skin. Underneath the thick wooden tabletop, her right leg bounced with nervous energy. Her fingers tapped out a beat on the rim of her water glass, and she couldn't help but stare at the man beside her out of the corner of her eye.
The booth seat was small enough that Malfoy's broad shoulders took up most of the space. If he shifted even an inch to his right, the starched fabric of his sleeve would brush her bare skin. Even in the Leaky's dim lighting she could make out the different shades of blond in his hair that was artfully mussed across his forehead. She wanted to run her hands through it and brush it back into place. She had to hide her hands in her lap and clench her fingers together to keep herself from reaching out for him.
She took a deep breath and was assaulted by the scent of his cologne. It was smoky and woodsy and made her dream of snuggling with him in front of a Winter fire. God's, she wanted to just rest her head against his shoulder and be cocooned in his scent. Her body leaned toward him, swayed by the image of them together.
Hermione caught herself, drawing back just in time as Draco turned his head toward her, his eyes piercing hers with their icy-blue gaze. Merlin, had he seen her sniffing at him? She would never live that down. This is why she always fucking avoided him!
Her cheeks reddened and she opened her mouth to distract him before he could comment on it.
"Are you always so bloody proper?"
Draco tilted his head to the side, with a puzzled look on his face. "Pardon?"
"You're so—" Hermione waved her hand up and down his torso, "— starched . I've never seen you in anything besides a crisp shirt and nice trousers. You're wearing a tie . To a birthday party at a pub. Don't you ever relax?"
He shifted his body slightly, angling it to face her. He took a sip from his water glass and sighed before answering.
"Does it always have to be this way between us? Can we call off the word war? Call a truce?" He ran his fingers through his hair, pushing the strands off his forehead. "Look. I know I've tried to apologise to you before and you didn't want to hear it. But I am sorry. There's no excuse for my behaviour towards you. I was a bigoted arsehole and I just want you to know—"
Hermione held up her hand, palm out. "Stop. It isn't that I don't want to hear your apology. I don't need to. You don't need to keep telling me you're sorry. I've forgiven you. I forgave you as soon as you started working with Harry and Ron. It's done. It's in the past."
She turned her attention back to the rest of the room and watched as George offered a new Wizarding Weezes product to unsuspecting guests. Now that Draco had finally gotten that apology off of his chest, she was sure their conversation was over. He'd go back to whatever it was he was doing before he sat with her, and she'd finish her water and go talk some more with the birthday boy. Cordial but still distant. The way she needed it to be. For her own sanity and libido.
"What the actual fuck , Granger?"
Her head snapped to look at him and her eyes widened in surprise at his outburst.
"If I'm forgiven, why do you refuse to be in the same room with me? Salazar's sack, I thought you hated me." He banged his fist on the table, the noise thankfully drowned out by the rest of the raucous crowd.
Hermione inwardly groaned. Dammit. This is why she stayed away from him. She turned her head and stared at the brick wall next to her, hiding her flush of embarrassment. She always somehow ended up revealing more of herself than she wanted to. What was she supposed to tell him? That she wanted to lick that bit of exposed skin on his neck? That the smell of his cologne made her want to wrap her body around his? That everytime he opened his damn mouth to say something sarcastic she wanted to laugh and shut him up by sticking her tongue down his throat?
Tied up in her thoughts, she didn't notice Draco shift closer to her until the warmth of his hand was against hers on the table. Her breath hitched at the contact.
"Granger...Hermione." He lowered his voice, the soothing baritone whispering over her ear. "Why? Why can't we just be friends?"
She closed her eyes and bit her lip, desperate to keep the words from tumbling from her mouth. I don't want to just be friends. I want more. I want you . She was so tired of constantly worrying that he would find out. That somehow she would give herself away and he would know. But what's the worst that could happen? He'd turn her down? Ignore her? They already avoided each other. It wasn't like she could lose something she'd never had.
Having him here next to her, talking to her, was so exhilarating. She felt alive. Happy. Maybe it was time to just tell him. To admit that she wanted to get to know him. She was a Gryffindor, dammit, even though she hadn't acted like much of one lately. She could ask Draco bloody Malfoy to go get dinner with her some night.
Suddenly the warmth of his hand was gone from hers and he slid out of the booth.
He hugged the woman who had appeared at the side of their table. "Stori! I wasn't sure you'd be able to make it tonight!" Draco withdrew from her embrace and gestured toward Hermione. "Astoria, you remember Hermione Granger. Granger, Astoria Greengrass."
"Yes, I remember. Hello, Astoria."
Hermione didn't even hear the other woman's response. Her ears roared with the rushing of her blood, the sound blocking out everything else around her. Stupid. Stupid . She was so stupid.
Of course he was back with Astoria. They were perfect together. If she remembered correctly the only reason they had broken up was Astoria's desire to study Charms in France and Draco had been unwilling to leave Wizarding Britain so soon after the war. They had always been in perfect harmony. His brash cockiness brought her out of her shell, and her calm nature helped him to focus and settle down. They even looked like the perfect couple. Her petite frame and long, glossy dark hair played off of his white-blond good looks as though they were meant to be together.
Hermione didn't know why she had even thought for a minute that he would be interested in more than friendship with her. She was obviously nowhere near his league; not pretty enough or pure-blooded enough to catch his attention that way.
It was good that Astoria had come and interrupted them when she did, preventing Hermione from spilling her most closely held secret. She was glad she had spoken with Draco tonight though. Glad they had buried some of the animosity. Glad she could now go back to ignoring and evading him just like she had been for the past five years. Because she couldn't just be his friend. It would be a constant reminder of what she couldn't have.
Distracted by her morose thoughts, Hermione missed what Draco said to Astoria as he kissed her cheek in farewell. She turned her head away from the sight and focused on her water glass, the droplets of condensation racing down the sides. As Draco slid back into the booth next to her, she couldn't meet his eyes.
"So, you and Astoria are back together?"
There was a beat of silence before he spoke.
"What? Me and Stori? No, that's long over. She and Longbottom have a thing, didn't you know?"
Hermione's head snapped up, her eyes going wide as she looked at Draco.
"Neville? And Astoria ? What? Since when?" She hadn't even known they knew each other, let alone were dating!
Draco laughed and stretched his arm out on the top of the booth back behind Hermione. "Since I introduced them at New Year's. She'd just moved back from France and was looking for someone to help restore the Greengrass Manor's gardens. I pointed her in Longbottom's direction." He paused a moment, looking at Hermione with his eyebrow raised. "Why? Are you jealous?"
"Jealous? Of who? Astoria? No." Hermione shook her head.
"I saw the way you hugged Longbottom earlier, I thought there might be something more there…"
"Oh, no." Hermione stumbled over the words, in a hurry to explain that she did not have feelings for Neville. "Neville is one of my dearest friends and I love him of course, but not in a romantic sense. He's just too...nice. He would let me walk all over him. I prefer men who are a little more outspoken. Someone who would argue with me and tell me I'm wrong when I need to hear it. Someone a little more—" she cringed, feeling badly for pointing to Neville and his clothing, his khaki trouser still smeared with dirt from what she assumed was the Hogwarts greenhouses and his t-shirt untucked and a size too big. "—put together than that."
Draco smirked at her and raised his left hand. He ran it from his shoulder down to his hip. "I'm more put together. Granger, are you saying you find me attractive?"
Hermione smiled back, the corner of her mouth quirking up as though she had a secret. "Shut up, Draco. You know you're pretty."
Draco wasn't sure what was going on, but he wasn't going to question his luck. One minute Hermione had been turned away from him, shoulders and back stiff, and he was sure he'd lost any chance of getting close to her.
But now here she was, smirking and calling him pretty of all things. And, if he wasn't mistaken, she was currently fucking him with her eyes.
He had to play this cool. He could not afford to misinterpret the signs and blow this.
Hermione turned her body until she was facing him, her knees brushing the outside of his thigh. He gulped and his heart started to race. This was closer than he'd ever been to her. Closer than he ever imagined he could get.
Fuck. Fuck. She moved her hand to the top of his thigh and her thumb brushed back and forth against the cotton of his trousers. There was no misinterpreting that.
Draco moved his left hand to the top of hers, intertwining their fingers on top of his leg. He leaned closer to her and the citrus scent of her hair invaded his senses. He closed his eyes, savouring their proximity. He silently begged himself not to groan aloud.
"Granger. Do you know what my type is?" At the shake of her head, he continued. "Smart. Funny. Independent. Headstrong. Wild hair. Gorgeous."
He dropped his right arm from the back of the booth and brought it to settle behind Hermione's shoulders. His hand snaked into her curls to cup the back of her head and he slowly drew her to him. When they were just inches away from each other he stopped, waiting for her to tell him no.
Instead her eyes went to his lips and her tongue darted out to wet her own, causing them to glisten a soft petal pink. Draco closed the remaining distance between them and rested his forehead against hers. Her eyes drifted shut and she made a small noise in the back of her throat.
Draco breathed deeply. This was real. This was really happening. He took a minute and just looked at her. The way her dark eyelashes rested against her cheeks. The flush to her skin. The slight tremble of her parted lips.
He had to taste her.
He moved his hand to cup her jaw, positioning her more comfortably next to him. And finally— finally— he brushed his mouth against hers.
It was just the slightest touch. The whisper of his lips against hers. A taste of what could be. He didn't want to rush her. He wanted to make sure she was ready. To make this something that counted, not just something she would regret tomorrow morning when the alcohol was out of her system and the rosy glow of the party was far behind her.
He began to pull away, but she made a sound of distress and grabbed the back of his neck, holding him against her. She pressed her mouth more firmly against his, and suddenly his lap was full of Hermione.
She had thrown her leg over his own and sat facing him, her hips and chest tight against his body in the crowded space between booth back and table.
Draco's surprise didn't last for long, his arm wrapping fully around her to keep her safely secured to him. His tongue darted out to taste her and everything around them disappeared. There was no party, no music, no pub. Just Hermione and the way her hair tickled his face. The way her gasping breaths in between kisses caressed his skin and quickened his heartbeat. They way his cock throbbed in his trousers, straining to reach the heat he could feel emanating from her.
This was... everything. Everything he'd wanted and everything he hadn't known he could have. He was terrified that tomorrow he'd wake up and this would all have been a dream, but all he could do was focus on the woman in front of him.
A sudden whoop broke through the haze of his lust and he pulled back slightly, startled. Hermione opened her eyes and looked at him, her eyes slightly glassy and unfocused. He'd done that. He'd put that look on her face. He leaned in to kiss her again. To mark her with his taste. To get under her skin so she couldn't leave him. Couldn't forget him.
Before his lips could even touch hers, a voice shouted out from beyond their booth.
"Get a room, you two!"
There were giggles and outright laughter and what sounded like Harry muttering "Finally" under his breath.
Draco removed his arms from around Hermione's back and she smiled at him, her lips puffy and red from his attention. She pulled one leg off of his and slid ungracefully off of his lap, coming to stand next to him outside of the booth. She straightened her blouse and flipped everyone off behind her back.
Draco laughed. Merlin, he loved her attitude.
"I should get home," she said, returning her full attention to him. "Crooks gets grumpy when he doesn't get his nighttime snack."
"Crooks?" He raised his eyebrow in question.
"My cat. I should get home to him. It's late. Time to end the night."
Draco just looked at her, disappointed that the night was coming to an end, but he understood that they would play it slow. This wasn't just a one night stand. He wanted more from her. Maybe forever.
He stood to hug her goodbye and before he could reach for her she stopped him.
"Unless you want to come along."
Draco smiled and grabbed her outstretched hand. He let her pull him through the group of their friends to the fireplace where she shoved him in before following. She dropped a handful of floo powder and called out for her flat.
They were whisked away in a swirl of green flames and smoke. To Crooks. To the rest of their night. To their future.