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 props to bunnyhops and CoquetteKitten.
She’d reached her limit of patience and fidgeted in her chair, earning her a swat from Ginny. “’Mione, sit still or I’m going to drive one of these hairpins into you on purpose!”
The two witches were in Hermione’s room getting ready for the Ravenclaw party, and they’d been at it since their return to the castle a few hours ago. At first, Hermione had been perfectly content to follow Ginny’s bossy orders, especially when it involved borrowing the prefects’ bath to enjoy a long soak in a fragrant, bubble-filled tub. Now, though, her friend’s constant nattering had finally broken through her daydreams and she was ready to be done. She struggled to find her focus again, and concentrated on her last moments with Draco a while ago . . .
The time they’d had by lake was short, and despite the fact that they’d see each other in a few hours, Draco had pulled her into his arms for one more embrace. He’d lifted her onto the bottom step of the tower staircase, somewhat evening their height difference, and kissed her until she was dizzy. His hands, which had started at her waist, slid down over her slender hips and probably would have continued around to her bum had one not encountered her small purse and its bulging contents. He’d drawn back from her lips enough to murmur, “Still packing like a fugitive?”
“Mmm-mmm. It’s just the present Lucius gave me this morning.” She’d leaned back toward his mouth, but suddenly Draco seemed more interested in the package.
“Let me see it.”
“Why? It looks exactly like the one you gave me on Thursday.”
“I was hoping so. Wear it tonight,” he whispered in her ear as his hands went back to her hips and pulled her closer to him.
Hermione had been physically aching with desire intermittently since Lucius’ lesson in kissing early that morning. Now she was resisting the urge to pull herself flush to Draco and roll her hips against his. She thought to herself, ‘I need release. This is what Ginny meant by being needy.’ She fought against the haze that threatened to take over her brain. “I told Lucius I’d wear it for tomorrow’s visit. You’ll see it then, Draco.”
He was pulling away from her, letting his hands slide from her body. “I won’t be there; we’ve agreed he’s getting shorted on time with you. Wear it for me tonight, instead.”
“I will. Meet us here at eight o’clock?”
His answer was a trademark smirk. ‘I’m going to wipe that right off his face,’ she thought suddenly, remembering her talk with Ginny outside of Hogsmeade. Out loud, she said, “Oh, and I believe we agreed that you’d give me your jersey.”
His reaction was satisfying. Knowing she’d got the last word, Hermione held out her arm in the same imperious gesture he’d used in the field outside Hogsmeade. Draco quickly wrestled out of the piece of uniform in question and pulled it over his head. She gave a smirk of her own, slowly untying his robes and letting them slip from her shoulders to pool at her feet. She took the proffered shirt and slid it on over her clothes, noting with satisfaction that its hem fell over that of her skirt, effectively hiding it.
“Thank you. See you at eight,” she’d said, and motioned for Harry and Ginny to follow her up the stairs. When she finally dared to cast a glance over her shoulder, a few dozen steps up, her wizard was still standing where she’d left him, eyes locked on her legs.
Ginny pushed the last hairpin into place and looked at her friend in an appraising way, saying, “You’ll do.”
Hermione looked in the mirror and grinned with delight. The second gift-dress had turned out to be the complete opposite of the first. It was a strapless white dress with a frothy, above-the-knee skirt and (for her), a rather daring décolletage. It was a cunning combination of innocence and sex, and her first thought had been that it didn’t fit within the parameters of her rules. Ginny had rolled her eyes, ordered her to get dressed, and then proceeded to torture her mercilessly by pinning up her hair.
Now, in front of the mirror, her second thought was that she wanted to sit in Lucius’ lap in this dress. She remembered the way he’d traced the shoulder strap of the grey dress, and her mind’s eye saw him running his finger along the dipping front of this one, tickling the exposed skin of the inner sides of her breasts as he did so. She gave an involuntary shiver, and Ginny noticed. “Enough fantasizing about your wizards – what, you didn’t think I knew what you were doing all this time? Clear your head and put on your shoes. It’s time to meet Harry downstairs. And lengthen the chain on your necklace another inch – tonight you’ve actually got cleavage to decorate.”
Harry was ready and waiting, and they also found Draco waiting when the trio arrived at the base of the tower. She physically felt his gaze as it trailed over her body, and flushed with the knowledge that he liked what he saw. Hermione smiled self-consciously as he walked toward her. Her heart began racing.
“Hello, little witch. Care to walk across this dark castle with me?” He was looming over her in that way of his that forced her to arch her back and neck to see his face. His eyes were on the dragon charm that lay in the exposed valley between her breasts, and he was smirking smugly. She’d noticed that since this morning Draco seemed incredibly confident in their interactions, and attributed it to the success of the Quidditch match. It was very sexy.
I guess he likes where his namesake is resting tonight. “Only if I can bring along my chaperone and his scary girlfriend. Surely you understand.”
Draco raised an eyebrow and twinkled at her. “Absolutely. I’m sure I can find a way to get you all to myself at some point.”
That would be just fine with me. The aching want that had plagued her intermittently all day flared up again, and her eyes traveled slowly over her wizard, admiring the way he filled out his clothes. Draco usually favored dark-colored clothing, and wore black or dark grey trousers and jackets under his even blacker robes. Tonight he had forgone a jacket, wearing only a white button-down shirt opened at the collar and rolled up over his forearms. He had an emerald green tie knotted loosely around his neck and black robes draped over his arm. Overall, he was a study in decadent luxury and Hermione wanted nothing more than to go traipsing through any dark place alone with him.
Meanwhile, Ginny had grown impatient. “Alright, you two! Enough flirting. We have a party to attend!”
They set off at once, and twenty minutes later arrived outside the propped-open portrait door to the Ravenclaw tower. They were admitted by a sixth year and stood just inside the door to get their bearings. The normally sedate room had been darkened to allow the magical ceiling, which was similar to the one in the great hall, to provide most of the light with a constant show of meteor showers, comets, and northern lights. The effect was reminiscent of a Muggle nightclub, Hermione thought. Loud music was pulsed over a large dance floor in the center of the room, but had been magically restrained so that conversation was possible along the table-lined outer walls of the tower.
Luna saw them then, and ran to jump into Harry’s arms and whisper in his ear. He looked at her in a dazed manner, nodded, and hightailed it further into the commons without looking back.
“What was that all about?” Hermione asked Ginny.
Luna overheard and turned, smiling in her absent way. Ginny shook her head firmly, but the blonde witch seemed not to notice. “Oh! We’re giving Harry a special treat tonight, seeing as he just got his formal acceptance letter for the internship at the DMLE.”
Luna certainly looked excited, and Draco said in a friendly tone, “That’s terrific news for you all, I’m sure. What’s the surprise, Luna?”
It looked like Ginny was trying to hide her face behind her hand as she pretended to pay attention to something else as Luna happily answered, “We’re going to let Harry watch Ginny and me eat each other! It’s one of his favorite fantasies.”
There was no stock reply to use for such a statement, but Hermione did her best. “Well, errrr don’t forget to brush your teeth afterward, the both of you . . . gotta go.”
She fled, dragging a speechless Draco toward the food and drink tables, and rounded on him when they got there. “Please tell me that isn’t a common male fantasy, Draco, because it’s never going to happen for you.”
He answered without hesitation, “First of all, I won’t share, nor will Lucius. Secondly,” here he leaned down and murmured in her ear, “that practice seems like a waste of valuable resources.”
Did he just say . . . She flushed vermillion and shook her head to clear the sudden mental image of Draco’s head between her legs. “Alcohol. I need at least one drink, probably two, and a quiet corner in which to hide until my face is no longer dark red.”
Draco had the grace to say, “No one can tell that you’re blushing in his light, if that helps, and I apologize if that made you uncomfortable.”
“No you shouldn’t, and it didn’t. You should be able to say whatever you want to me. I just have a bad habit of visualizing every double entendre you make. Do you even realize when you do it?” He didn’t apologize for actually saying it – he DID mean it! What a Slytherin snake!
His smirk was answer enough, especially when he added in an undertone, “Have I told you that you look positively edible tonight?”
Even as she blushed still darker, Hermione snorted with laughter. MY Slytherin snake. I like confident Draco. But I’ll bet he’s blushing, too. “There’s been a shift in your confidence today. Does Quidditch always make you so cocky, Mr. Malfoy?”
“Absolutely. Of course, there’s a good chance my date tonight has something to do with it as well.”
She wrapped his willing arm around her and grabbed hold of his tie, hiding her burning, smiling face in his robes. Their peers had taken notice of their arrival and there was a lot of whispering and staring going on. A seventh year Hufflepuff wizard, with whom Hermione had several advanced classes, looked as though he was about to approach her, but one glance at Draco seemed to change his mind.
Several of Draco’s Slytherin friends nodded as they passed, and Vincent Crabbe winked roguishly at her after exchanging pleasantries with her wizard. She grinned back, struck by his friendliness toward her. I think he’s thought of me as Draco’s witch for a long time. She liked him even more when she heard that he and Greg Goyle were splitting the evening’s job of keeping Pansy Parkinson busy and away from Ravenclaw tower. Crabbe finished by saying, “I’m here ‘til ten if you need anything, Draco. I’ll be around.”
They had reached the tables laden with refreshments. Draco used his free hand to pick up two butterbeers – Ravenclaw wasn’t nearly as generous with the alcohol – and then steered them towards one of the tables pushed against the far wall.
Hermione took the opportunity presented by Crabbe’s leaving to ask, “Draco, why do Vince and Greg treat you the way they do?”
He looked at her as if the answer were obvious, and when she continued to look at him questioningly, said, “Their families have been allies of ours for generations. We employ them for purposes of protection. They’re . . . they’re like bodyguards,” he winced and added, “among other things.”
She chose to ignore that last part, focusing instead on the idea of the two students working for her fiancé. “So they spend their free time watching over you.”
“You as well.”
The interactions between the three wizards puzzled her. By their conversations and mannerisms, she would have assumed they were very close friends. And they were still students. How did it work? So many questions . . . “But are they your friends, or employees?”
Draco looked confused. “Of course they’re not employees yet. They’re still students. Still, the roles of our families are deeply ingrained. And when they do begin to accept payment for their services, why can’t they be both? Greg and Vince have pledged their lives to the Malfoys, in the tradition of their respective families, and after you and Lucius, they’re the most important people in the world to me. Who better to have as friends?”
“You forget that this part of your world is still new to me,” she smiled at him, shaking her head “I like it, though. I’m glad someone protects my wizards.”
Reaching an open table, Draco sank into a chair and held out his arms to her. Rolling her eyes good-naturedly, she acquiesced and sat across his legs. She felt him sigh into her hair as he drew her close. She leaned against his shoulder for a moment, watching the activity in the crowded room, noticing her ‘brother’ and his girls were nowhere in sight. Thank Merlin.
Draco was rubbing a small, soft circle over the point of her pelvic bone. “This is quite a different seating arrangement from our last party together.”
She turned to him and smiled, remembering how he’d repeated their first conversation from the Slytherin party at the match earlier in the day. My sweet snake. She kissed his cheek tenderly, replying, “I much prefer this one.”
“You really do look lovely tonight. It’s a good thing everyone knows you belong to me.” Draco moved his hand to play with her necklace at the back of her neck, raising it off her skin, and worked the chain through his fingers until he eventually held the dragon charm in his grasp.
Being his possession didn’t sound like a bad thing at all when he said it, but she responded firmly, “I hope you know that I own you, too.”
“You have since fourth year, witch,” he countered against the corner of her mouth. For a moment, Hermione was tempted to kiss him, but then she was distracted again by the goings on around her.
A thought occurred to her a while later, and she said “You do realize that I’m not always so compliant, Draco – this last week I’ve been struggling to keep up with all . . . this. Sooner or later you’re going to be introduced to the bossy, opinionated side of me.”
“I expect nothing less. Remember, I’ve been aware of you far longer than you’ve been of me. I’ve seen what a pain you can be.” The kiss he stole softened his words, and the young witch smiled against his lips.
“Perhaps we can learn to take turns being in charge.” Hermione turned her attention back to the movement around her. Her wizard was far more interested in toying with her dragon charm and murmuring in her ear than what was going on around him, and his fingers may have accidentally brushed against the lush flesh exposed by her deep neckline when she clutched his hand. He looked up with a guilty look that morphed to concern as he saw her expression. “What’s wrong, Hermione?”
She barely nodded her head towards a point across the room, and he turned slightly. There, walking towards their table, was Ron Weasley.
He looked remarkably normal for having been through the family meeting she’d envisioned. At the very least, Hermione had expected him to look upset or downhearted, and she certainly thought he’d be sporting the evidence of some hex, or maybe even a black eye. Instead, he looked as he did every other day – pale, rumpled, and slightly stupid. What could I have possibly been thinking for all those years? He’s no catch at all! She noticed the wide berth everyone gave him and the looks he was receiving. It was the first time she’d seen him at such an event alone.
Ron also looked irritated. He was making his way straight toward them through the crowd, eyes fixed on her. She felt Draco’s arm clamp her more closely to his torso as he continued to slide the dragon charm slowly back and forth on its chain near her chest. The two watched as the redhead approached their table, pulled up a chair facing them, and sat down.
“Right. So, the thing is, I need to talk to ‘Mione. Alone. Scram, Malfoy.” His tone matched his abrupt movements. He ran his eyes up and down her in a way that made her skin crawl, looked expectantly at Draco, and reached across the small table towards Hermione’s hand. “Now.”
Quickly she moved her hand away. If he looks at me that way again I’m going to hex his bits right off. Suddenly she felt a swooping sensation in her head, as if she were on a large ship altering its course at sea. She blinked several times. The whole room just tipped to the left. This has to do with him being here. Draco didn’t say anything, but his hand had dropped the charm to run slowly over the bare skin of her shoulder and upper back. Oh, for Merlin’s sake – he all but lifted his leg and peed on me.
She took advantage of her wizard’s silence. “Go away, Mr. Weasley. I have nothing to say to you.”
Ron looked shocked. “Hermione! You have no idea what I’ve just been through, and it’s all your fault! Are you leaving or not, Ferret?”
“No, I don’t think I will,” he drawled, sounding eerily like Lucius.
“Don’t- Who do you think you are, anyway? ‘Mione and me, we’ve been together for years. You show up last week out of the blue and suddenly, what – you think you own her?”
Draco’s bored tone was belied by the tense grip he still had on her. “You were together? Hermione, were you aware of that? No? And in answer to your question, yes – I do own her. Isn’t that right, little witch?”
Hermione couldn’t control the loud, almost hysterical giggle that came bursting out. There was that buzzing, pins-and-needles feeling in her brain, and she felt distinctly . . . funny. She closed her eyes for a moment. “You do. I’m all yours and Lucius’s, and no one else’s.”
She felt his hand leave her shoulder and opened her eyes to see it hovering over his wand pocket at his side. Ron snapped, “That’s the thing. You’re supposed to be a Weasley Wife – mine. You accepted the wrong stake, and now I’m to be turned away from my family. You need to make this right!”
Hermione pressed a hand to her eyes and swayed slightly, thankful for Draco’s arm around her. “Leave. I don’t have to do anything. Don’t you have some,” she tried to look at him, but her head tipped into Draco’s cheek drunkenly, ”girl to chase?” Where’s Lisa Turpin when you need her?
Draco took her by the chin and turned her head toward him. “Are you alright?”
Talking was definitely an underrated skill – she was having trouble making her tongue form the right sounds, and the result was a distinct slurred effect. “Lucius was right. I don’t think our covenant likes him this close to me.” She tried turning toward Ron again. “I really don’t like you, Ron Weasley.”
Ron was louder now, his voice cutting through the fuzziness in her brain. “Are you drunk? I’m to be disowned – this isn’t about how you feel! Merlin, ‘Mione, how can you be so selfish?!” His fist pounded down on the table.
Suddenly Draco didn’t sound so bored, and Hermione was certain if she’d been able to open her eyes she’d see that he was pointing his wand at the redhead across from them. “Enough.”
“I feel odd. Make ‘im go ‘way, Draco,” she slurred against his collar. Through the waves of vertigo, she felt Draco stand with her in his arms and begin walking. The music and moving lights in the ceiling really weren’t helping, and they must have cut across the dance floor, because she was being jostled as if they were moving through a thick crowd. Draco was arguing with someone, ordering them to get away repeatedly. He was speaking loudly and sounded very upset, and then he was calling even more loudly what sounded like Harry’s name. She drifted into a soft, puffy cloud of unconsciousness, and her last somewhat lucid thoughts were that there were an awful lot of people quite close to her, and a few of them had just recently brushed their teeth.