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February 15th

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Slamming the door to his flat, Draco continued the litany of self-depreciation out loud instead of in his head like he'd done the last seven hours since his encounter with Harry in the lift.

"Inconsiderate, stupid, the shittiest thing I could be doing right now. Merlin's balls and Circe's tits why did I ask him to fucking dinner the man is fresh out of a relationship. I don't even think he knows I am interested, and I took advantage of him."

The kettle slammed in a more satisfying way than the door had, rattling on the metal. He shoved his wand violently at the gas to light the fire and was granted a four foot high blaze for his trouble.

"Fuck!" he screamed as he lowered the power, shutting off the gas completely.

In all the commotion of the day, taking the time to complete his paperwork with Blaise and Weasley, on top of the normal weekly workload of wix to process and documents to file, Draco had completely forgotten one of the perks of his newfound freedom. The dampening on his wand was completely removed, and what spells he was allowed before were returned to full power, and the buzzing in his veins made him light-headed. Though he was craving a cup of tea, something warm to hold in his hands to calm his nerves, he decided to sit down. Right where he was, in the middle of his kitchen floor while the wave of lightheadedness subsided.

Furious knocking on his door startled him, almost hitting his head on the counter above. Brandishing his wand, the buzzing still in his veins, he army crawled over to his foyer, only a few feet away from the kitchen, to peek at the shoes beneath the crack: nondescript, brown, no robes swishing above. Not an Auror or his parents. Since only a few people knew where he lived, it was easy to deduce who it was, and back away enough to avoid a broken nose, as Hermione used her key to open the door.

"Draco Lucius Malfoy!" she berated, tripping over him to land with a wumph on the carpet of his living room. He winced as he heard the knee of her jeans rip. "Dammit, these are my favorite."

"Sorry, Granger," he said, the static in his veins from the aftershock of magic numbing his lips and tongue so it came out with a heavy lisp and the last r rolling around in his mouth like the purr of a motor. He used his foot to kick the door shut and then lay still.

"Look at you, you idiot, didn't you read the flier Percy gave you? I stayed late at the office to process you for nothing. Went up to your department and Lorna just looked at me like I was a ninny and said you'd gone home and I should have known you wouldn't read the bloody flier."

"What flier?"

"Oh, I'll kill him," Hermione said, scootching on her bottom over to Draco and putting her hands on his face. "I will just curse Percy if he forgot to give it to you. Each time someone with a damper on their magic is released they need to go through my team to get reacquainted. It's like jumping from your magic as a first year to an adult in two seconds and the aftershock can knock you out. And, depending on what you cast, which judging by that smoke from your kitchen towel, was fucking fire, the untamed spell can kill you!"

Draco hummed to prove he was listening to her chatter, and the feeling tickled his lips and made him start to chuckle, which tickled the rest of him until he started to laugh uncontrollably.

"Draco drink this immediately," Hermione demanded, holding a tiny vial to his lips that he drank without question. The fit of laughter, compounding upon itself, slowed to a halt when the Calming Draught took hold. "Better. Now, we need to get you to bed immediately so you can rest this off. Now that you've cast, you're going to be exhausted. Did you Apparate home?"

"No," he muttered, trying to keep his lips apart to stop the ticklish feeling. "Took the train."

Her sigh of relief relaxed him as well, the sympathetic tension dispersing. "Good, you should be recovered after just two days, then."

"Two days?" he exclaimed. Didn't he have something important happening in the or...he couldn't remember, lethargy replacing the static electricity in calming waves.

"Shh, Draco, I already told Madame Gastigan where you'd be. You need to rest."

"But tomorrow...I have to...he won't know, you have to tell him-"

Hermione cast a featherweight charm on him, he felt the sudden loss of mass and it halted his comment as his stomach went to his throat, like missing a stair step.

"No excuses, you won't even wake up for a few days at least," she said, guiding him to his bedroom and charming his pajamas on. "I'll come check on you, or send someone over to make sure you're alright and haven't burned the building down from making tea."

He felt her hand on his forehead and saw her face swim around a bit while the exhaustion sunk little tenterhooks into his muscles and drew him further into the mattress. She muttered a few other things before tucking the sheets around his body and the last thing he heard was the click of his bedroom door shutting, and wishing he'd asked her for some tea.