The characters and canon situations in the following story belong solely to JK Rowling, Scholastic and WB. I am not making any money from the publishing or writing of this story.
Beta cred: Palmetto Blue
Draco decided he must be dying. His entire body burned and crawled with a rash he could only feel, given that his eyes had been rendered useless by the damned oil. His mind, though, was strangely clear, and with the conviction of a man on his deathbed, he stumbled across the room to the closet. Upon reaching it he tripped and would have cracked his head on the door, but for some reason it had been left wide open; he tumbled through the doorway. Then he searched with sightless eyes and desperate hands for the ring he’d hidden so long ago.
The moment Luna returned, he resolved, he’d fall at her little bare feet and declare his eternal love regardless of her interruptions and his insecurities. First, though, he needed to find the ring. He rifled wildly through the drawer containing his handkerchiefs, sending the precisely folded squares of silk flying everywhere. For Salazar’s sake, where was the damned thing! Finally, his fingers closed around the velvet box. With a gasp of relief, he fumbled his way back towards the bed, collapsing in a heap just before he reached it.
* * *
Hermione grasped the reality of her plight the moment she resurfaced. She was alone, trapped in the reservoir, and under attack by the biggest Venomous Tentacula she’d ever seen. Also, her wand was not in her pocket. She was just considering the irony of the situation when something in the dark water brushed against her leg. Her knee-jerk reaction was just that – a frantic kicking out at whatever the hell that thing was, paired with a shrill scream.
The noise attracted the attention of the malicious plant, which began whipping its poisoned tentacles at her. And they were long – far, far longer than she’d ever have believed possible! She swam from it as quickly as she could, losing her favorite pair of heels in the process. Oh, well that’s just great, she fumed inwardly. I could very well die, AND I’ve just lost my only pair of fuck-me-now shoes!
No matter where she swam in the enormous pool, however, the Tentacula was able to reach her, so she spent a good portion of the time hiding under water. And that thing kept brushing against her leg! Always in the same spot, always just a hint of a touch. She tried to grab at it several times, but her dress kept getting in the way.
Hermione was a lot of things – brave, intelligent, resourceful – but she was also terrified of dark water and the things that might be in it. And so she alternately dove and treaded water and tried to block out everything but the fact that Neville Longbottom was surely on his way to rescue her. Oh, where was he!
* * *
Luna returned to their room to find Draco on the floor near the bed, curled into what appeared to be a large ball of misery. She couldn’t help smiling; he looked so adorable! “I’m back, my love!”
“Sweetheart, there’s something I must say to you before I die,” he groaned in a thick, scratchy voice.
“Oh, don’t be so melodramatic.” She sat and drew him close, propping his head against her chest. Then, with her free hand she stealthily reached to the nightstand, moved a few books aside, and pulled out two bottles labeled ‘Luna’s Mystery Potion’ in an elegant cursive script that looked remarkably like Draco’s. “I have the antidote.” She needn’t have worried about him noticing much of anything; Draco’s eyes were now swelled shut – in fact, his entire face was beginning to puff up. If Luna hadn’t the assurance of her star charts, she might have been alarmed!
“I love you and wa-”
She grimaced and stuck out her tongue despite his inability to see. BOOO! He could do so much better than that! So she uncorked one bottle and poured its contents into his mouth, effectively thwarting the world’s most pathetic marriage proposal.
* * *
Neville drew his wand and surged forward. “Hermione!” He paused in horror as the Venomous Tentacula came into view. Mother of magic, what kind of mutant had he brought to Hogwarts? It’d been half that size when it arrived by portkey earlier this afternoon!
“Neville! Oh, thank Godric!”
She sounded as though she’d been crying, but he didn’t dare take his eyes off the gigantic evil plant. “Are you hurt?”
At the sound of his voice, the Herbological monster turned its attentions on him. He was attempting to hex off one of its more aggressive vines when Hermione emitted another distracting shriek. “Whatever you do, don’t let it touch you,” he called over his shoulder. “Its spikes are venomous!”
“I KNOW THAT (blublublub)!” she screeched through a mouthful of water. “Just (blub) kill the damned thing and (blublub)get me out of here!”
He dodged, narrowly avoiding contact with another vine, and cursed the restricting cut of his fashionable robes. But he’d been dressing for a role-play battle, not the real thing! “Hermione, I’m going to get rid of it, but I don’t want to hit you with a hex. Go to the far edge of the pool!”
“Nooooooo, it’s too dark over there,” she sobbed. “And there’s something in the water with me!”
Neville thought hard as he battled the wily plant, wishing he were a better aim. What could possibly be in the plant pool besides his plants? He knew for a fact that Draco and Lu had been in it the previous evening, and they hadn’t noticed anything unusual. Then again, they probably wouldn’t have. “Probably just a plant root.”
She let loose another ear-splitting scream. “Oh, gods, it’s following me again! Get it (blublublub) away from me, Neville! Pleeeeeeeeasepleaseplease (blublublub)!” There was the sound of struggling in the water, followed by splashing.
The plant would have been a difficult moving target in daylight, but now, buried in the shadows of the far end of Greenhouse 6, it was formidable. It used its tentacles to shield its stem and seemed to regrow them as quickly as he sliced them off! “Working on it, sweetheart,” he called as he cast a few more slicing hexes.
* * *
Draco gagged on what was quite possibly the worst tasting potion he’d ever had the misfortune of needing. He let his head loll back on the comforting pillows of Luna’s breasts and gratefully swallowed the water she offered him. “Thank you.”
“Of course, Draco.” She stroked her fingers through his hair.
He gave a low hum of pleasure at the affectionate touch. “Did I ruin our entire evening?”
“Another dose of antidote and you should be good to go.”
“Do I have to have any more?” He already knew the answer, of course; still, the stuff was horrid – its disgusting taste was reminiscent of the odor of that potion she’d had him brew earlier in the week!
“If we’re going to have sex tonight, you do,” Luna countered in a reasonable tone. “See?” She ran a hand down his bare stomach, slipping it under the waistband of his trousers to grasp his instantly rigid member. “Your cock wants a second dose.”
He suddenly felt much better. “How soon can I take it?”
* * *
Back and forth, up and down Hermione swam, her evasive maneuvers swirling her hair and dress in a constant eddy around her. But regardless of where she went, the vines of the Venomous Tentacula whipped over the surface of the pool and found her; and regardless of how hard she kicked, that thing was never far from her side – and it continued to nudge her thigh in an almost mocking touch! She fought to keep her attention elsewhere. From beneath the water’s surface she caught muted glimpses of the battle raging above – the steady flash of her hero’s hexes, the colorful curses shouted in his deep, rough voice, and- ohgodsthereitwasagain!
And then it was over. She’d never swum so fast in her life as she did when the Venomous Tentacula finally succumbed to Neville’s onslaught. She reached the far edge of the reservoir, grabbed the lifeline of her savior’s proffered hand and all but scaled him like a tree. “Oh gods, Neville! Thankyouthankyouthankyou!” She wrapped her limbs around him in a vice-like hold and pressed her lips to his cheek in a series of feverish kisses.
No sooner had her feet cleared the low edge of the reservoir, however, than she was pried away, set down, and seized by a pair of very strong, very angry hands.
* * *
Luna turned off the shower and reached for a towel, gently swatting the large pale hand that snaked around her to do the same. “The oil might be washed off, but I’m not done nursing you back to health.”
Draco’s eyes crinkled with happiness. “Yes, Professor Lovegood.” Then his mouth quirked into a smirk that spoke of secrets and self-satisfaction.
He’s nearly ready to propose! She made quick work of rubbing him down, all the while biting back an excited smile. Being able to see the future had its downfalls, not the least of which was waiting for people to finally get around to their destinies! When his feet were dry, she remained on her knees and squirmed, suddenly torn between the desire to become his fiancée and the desire to screw his ever-living brains out. Complicated plots always turned her on so! “Look, Draco,” she murmured, eyes lifted to his, “I’m all wet, just the way you like me.”
He practically snarled, gathering two handfuls of her wet hair and urging her slowly up the length of his body so close that her face dragged along his skin. Luna took the opportunity to run her tongue from the base of his cock to his suprasternal notch, and when she stood in the tight press of his embrace, recalculating the evening’s order of events, he sealed their lips together with another needy sound. Unfortunately, his kiss was disappointingly chaste. “Damnit, sweetheart,” he groaned. “This isn’t the time for sex.”
* * *
Neville barely resisted the urge to turn the witch of his dreams over his knee. “What the bloody fuck, Hermione – you could’ve been killed! What sort of stunt were you trying to pull!”
“What sort of- Don’t you dare talk to me like that!” she sputtered, shrugging out of his grip. She jabbed a finger into his chest. “You were supposed to rescue me from that mutant plant of yours!”
There was a roaring sound in his ears, and his vision was tinged red around the edges. “I just did!” he managed to grind out between clenched teeth.
“That’s beside the point!” She jabbed him in the chest again. “Where the hell have you been!”
He glared down at her, angrier than he’d been in a very long time. “I’ll tell you where I’ve been! I’ve been hiding from that Animagus bint you invited!”
“What,” Hermione snarled, “you decided she wasn’t your brand of tart after all? And it was part of The Plan!”
“Plan?! As far as I can tell, there was no sodding plan!” He leaned down until his face was just above hers, growling, “As for Pansy and the rest, I’d never have taken up with a one of them if you hadn’t been so unattainable all these years!”
Her brown eyes narrowed to threatening slits. “Well, pardon me for not knowing you were interested, Neville! News flash: Hermione Granger reads books, not people!”
He opened his mouth to yell back-
And actually saw her, this witch he wanted to call his own. She was drenched from head to toe, curls plastered to her head and shoulders, dress running down her body like a sheer glaze, and she was breathing heavily. The heaving of her pretty breasts particularly caught his attention. And held it. He raised a hand to her chest and, with one gentle finger, traced the delicate strap of her black bra through the transparent red silk. “This is the set you bought last night.” His voice was deeper and gruffer than usual. “For me.”
“You peeked.” Hers was little more than a breathless whisper.
Neville looked down at the little waterlogged witch he loved so much. They’d bungled everything, and The Plan lay in pieces scattered who knew where around the castle, but the path to his heart’s desire was laid out before him as if illuminated from above. “Hermione.”