Chapter Thirty-One: Sunday Afternoon

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: bunnyhops and CoquetteKitten.

 

The afternoon passed in a series of group activities interspersed with somewhat private moments. These transitions were enough to keep Hermione and Draco fluctuating between relaxed conversation and almost comic sexual tension. The walk had been a benevolent idea as far as Ginny’s nefarious scheme went. It allowed them to hold hands, talk quietly, but not much else.

 

They trailed behind the others along the lakeside path. Draco had draped his arm over Hermione’s shoulder, and she leaned against his side. She’d noticed that, since Friday night’s visit, her wizard had worked assiduously to keep his hands (and hers) out of troublesome places.   She found that she was disappointed in this development but unsurprised – Draco was a wizard with principles.

 

Something about that train of thought triggered a question. “Draco, are my feelings for you all my own, or are they being manipulated by the family magic? They feel so genuine, but I never would have thought I’d fall- I mean, I never would have thought I’d have such strong emotions for anyone so quickly.”

 

“There’s no magic involved – just us.”

 

“That’s nice to know. When, ummm, when did you know? Lucius told me he recognized me years ago, when I was twelve. But what about you?”

 

“He told me that day in Diagon Alley what you were – he said something like, ‘she’s bespoke…’ But he didn’t finish the thought. And the covenant within me was aware of you constantly when we got to school, but I didn’t realize what that meant to me until fourth year.”

 

“Was there someone else?” Why does that thought bother me so?

 

“What? No, you misunderstand, Hermione. You were the first witch I ever saw as a woman. On the train platform that year, after summer holiday, it was as though I was seeing you for the first time. You were The One. I began noticing everything about you, thinking about you, dreaming about you . . . “

 

She gave his side a tender squeeze and thought how childish her crush on Ron seemed in comparison to Draco’s described feelings. He went on, “And those thoughts and dreams – they kept me going when things were at their worst.”

 

“You mean your spying during the war?” Thinking of her wizards and what they must have gone through during those dark years sent a surge of protectiveness through her being. I will never let them suffer again.

 

“Actually, I meant having to watch you get chased by that Bulgarian thug, and wondering what you were doing with him.”

 

She would have smiled, but her wizard was in earnest.  “Oh, Draco! I can’t believe I never noticed you. Then again, I didn’t notice boys much at all until very recently. You know, I didn’t,” here she looked up at him shyly, “I didn’t do anything with Viktor. He tried to kiss me the night of the Yule Ball, but it didn’t feel right, and I told him I wasn’t ready for those kinds of things. I really did give you my first kiss.”

 

“What about the Weasel? You two were close, and you had feelings for him for quite a long time. Perhaps you didn’t kiss him, but . . . ”

 

She could tell by Draco’s tone and tense body that he was trying to hide his animosity toward the two wizards, and she smiled to herself. I think I like jealous Draco. “That’s true, although what those exact feelings were I have no idea now. I never even thought about doing the kinds of things with him that you and I have done. We did hold hands a few times,” she added with a laugh, “but his were sweaty.”

 

Draco paused, causing her to stop as well. The others were ahead by quite a ways, giving an illusion of privacy to the moment. He turned to her and wrapped his long, strong arms around her tightly, leaning to speak into her ear. “And what about these two wizards to whom you’re bound?”

 

She wriggled her arms out from his strong hold to curl them around his neck, combing her fingers through his soft hair. “They don’t have sweaty hands.”

 

He chuckled against her neck, where he was plying her skin with soft, wet kisses. “Not what I meant, little witch.”

 

“I know exactly what you meant, and if you think that I’m going to hand-feed your ego you’re mistaken. For one thing, you bite. And for- ooooh, don’t stop what you’re doing.”

 

Of course, Ginny picked that moment to double back and interrupt. Hermione found herself dragged out of Draco’s arms and held hostage for some time between the girls. Harry gave her an apologetic smile and fell behind with her wizard.

 

“You are diabolically evil, Ginevra Weasley. That’s twice now that you’ve interrupted us!”

 

“ ‘Mione,” the redhead responded in feigned innocence, “I only did what you asked me!”

 

“Yes, when I was confused beforehand! And you know I’ve changed my mind since then, don’t you!”

 

Ginny grinned. “Fred and George did this to me and Harry at the Burrow the first time we visited as an official couple. Now I can see why – it’s awfully fun. Besides,” here she gave a pitiful mock-pout, “I never see you any more. Is it wrong to want to spend time with my friend?”

 

“Oh, you!” Even though it was meant in jest, Hermione saw the truth in it. She thought about how much differently her mealtimes and evenings were spent now, and how helpful her friends had been recently. “I know I’ve been saying this repeatedly, but thank you for all you’ve done for me since all . . . this.

 

“We’d do anything for you, Hermione,” chirped Luna sweetly. She’d been flitting back and forth between the conversation and looking for her blessed odderknocks. She added, “And you really shouldn’t let Ginny’s fun interfere with what you and Draco want to do. Just remember that we won’t mind you performing intimate acts in front of us.”

 

“Errrr, the thing is, Lu, that the reason they’re called intimate acts is that most people prefer to- You know what, never mind.” She devoted her efforts to hunting imaginary creatures with her gentle friend, all the while wondering how soon might be considered appropriate to run back to her fiancé.

 

She was saved from this dilemma when the two wizards caught up with them. Draco looked at her with obvious longing, but held himself back. He’s trying to be sensitive to what I want, she reminded herself. He’s wanted to be near me for years, and now all of a sudden he knows I want to be near him, too. It must be driving him crazy. Hermione made her way to his side and drew his arm around her. “I missed you terribly. Please don’t let her drag me away again.”

 

His grip on her side tightened, and he slowed their pace so that they once again fell behind the others. “Tell me something else I don’t know about you.”

 

I want you. “I have a newfound appreciation for Quidditch, especially the uniforms.” She reached around his back to tickle his far side and yelped when he returned the gesture.

 

“The uniforms?”

 

“Well, I think you know how much I like the jerseys, but the trousers are very nice, too.” She leaned her head against the side of his chest, craning her head to watch his reactions. Walking like this with him, feeling his muscles move under her touch, was enough sensory input to send desire once again flooding through her system.

 

He looked down at her in puzzlement. “You’re not going to want to borrow my trousers, too, are you? You’d swim in them.”

 

“Oh, no – I much prefer them on you,” she replied impishly.

 

Draco raised an eyebrow and smirked. “You like the way I look in my uniform trousers. That’s good to know, Miss Granger.”

 

“Your turn.”

 

“I have a newfound appreciation for witches’ fashions, particularly on you. The dress you wore last night was unbelievable.” His hand squeezed her hip reflexively, and like that Hermione’s knickers were soaked.

 

“Unbelievably short and revealing,” she countered in a breathless sort of voice.

 

He leaned to murmur quietly, “I carried you from Ravenclaw tower to the infirmary. Believe me when I say I know how short and revealing that dress is. I can’t wait for you to wear it again.”

 

As he spoke in her ear, his hand trailed a path from her hip, up her side, and over the curve of her breast. He pulled away from her with a sigh.   “Lucius tells me conversation is the easiest way to avoid breaking these blasted rules. Clearly he’s never tried talking with you.”

 

Her curiosity flared up at the mention of Draco’s own set of rules. “Tell me another of your rules. Please?” She looked up at him expectantly.

 

Draco looked very uncomfortable, and after a long while finally said, “I am never to put you in a compromising position.”

 

“Such as on the counter in the Potions storeroom?” She asked mischievously, trying not to smile.

 

He blushed. “Such as that.”

 

“Can you tell me why? I mean, we’re getting married in a week – surely people expect us to . . . ” She raised her eyebrows meaningfully.

 

Draco chuckled. “You’re the future wife to the house of Malfoy, and as such should be afforded every sign of respect and courtesy. At least, that’s the official explanation for this rule. If you want the truth of it, I think Lucius doesn’t want anyone else to get an inappropriate glimpse of you. Neither do I, for that matter. And we certainly don’t want anything scandalous to be printed about you.”

 

“Hussy Hermione Hurries Husbands-to-Be into Hanky Panky?” she asked with a smirk.

 

“More like Frenzied Fiancé Finger Ferrrr, my sincerest apologies, Hermione.” Draco’s pale face hadn’t flamed such a deep red in several days, and he winced at his impulsive gaffe.

 

She blushed, but smiled and said, “The fact that I knew where you were going with that proves I’m not as naïve as you think.”

 

“Still, I don’t think either of us is ready to talk to each other that way.”

 

“No,” she agreed self-consciously. “Not yet. Back to your rules – both times I’ve asked you about your rules, you’ve been embarrassed to tell me, but in the end, neither is particularly embarrassing.”

 

Draco blushed again, but he smirked as well. “I think it’s more how Lucius worded them that makes me flustered around you. Once I figure out a way to say it in a less . . . ribald . . . way, it’s not so bad.”

 

“Ribald?” Her mind had got stuck on that word, and she was surprised at her body’s immediate reaction to the idea of Lucius using salacious language in reference to her. I think I want him to say naughty things to me.

 

“As I’ve said, our relationship is more fraternal than anything else. We speak to each other as brothers do.” By the intent look he was giving her, he was obviously trying to convey meaning beyond his word. Suddenly Lucius’ words from the morning before came back to her. We speak by Floo each night. She felt both shocked and aroused. Sweet Circe, I think they talk dirty about me.

 

Their forward progress had long since ceased, and Hermione was aware of a large outcropping of stone near where they stood on the footpath. As best she could, she herded him behind the natural wall and dragged him down to her level for a searing kiss.

 

Draco eagerly kissed her back and let his hands wander over her body, finally settling one to span her arse with a firm grip. He leaned back against the rock and bent at the knees, bringing himself closer to her height. His free hand gripped her waist for a moment, ran over her stomach, and then slid upwards to palm her breast. Yes, please. Not wanting to be so many inches apart from him, Hermione moved her feet apart slightly to get around his long legs. That’s all the encouragement he needed to pull her flush against him, and for one brief second she was sure he was going to move against her aching, throbbing center as he had earlier that morning. His hand tightened around the lush, soft skin of her breast, fingers brushing against her nipple, and the sensation caused her to gasp his name against his lips. The young witch clung to her wizard’s shoulders and kissed him hungrily as he held her motionless against his body. He pulled his lips away from hers just enough to say, “I want you, Hermione.”

 

As if his own words had cut through the fog in his mind, he seemed to become aware of their position. Draco shook his head as if to clear it. He took a deep breath, kissed her once more, and then stood to his full height. Hermione whined and drew his mouth back down to hers. “I want you, too.”

Draco’s eyes were dark and glazed as he kissed her back with equal fervor. However, he kept his hands on her hips, and those hands kept her away from him. It was obvious that this was one compromising situation he was determined they escape.  “Let’s go somewhere less tempting,” he said in a rough voice as he pulled her out from their hiding spot.

 

They caught up with the others more quickly than Hermione would have liked, and not long after the group turned to head back to the picnic spot.  Draco successfully repelled the rest of Ginny’s attempts to steal Hermione away, although he kept them in the company of the others for the rest of the afternoon.   When they were finally packing up to head back to the castle, he said in an undertone of careful consideration, “Of course, the headmaster’s office is a place free of scandal. Nearly anything can happen there, if two people are in agreement.”

 

He was folding a blanket as he spoke, and at first she thought she might have imagined his words until he met her eyes with a heated look. Then he turned back to his task as if he hadn’t just simultaneously written her a blank check for compromising scenarios and been the cause of her now-soaked knickers.

 

They were back at the castle by four o’clock. At the base of Gryffindor tower, Hermione him to the back of the staircase and soundly kissed him goodbye. He drew away from her lips enough to say with twinkling eyes and an almost-smile, “Why, Miss Granger! I had no idea you felt this way about me.”

 

“Be quiet and kiss me, Mr. Malfoy,” she ordered, trying to keep a straight face.

 

He gave her a teasingly quick peck on the lips and tugged on one of her loose curls. “Pushy little witch, aren’t you?”
Hermione laughed softly just as he stole another, longer kiss.

 

Draco took the opportunity to push his tongue into her mouth and swallowed her happy sound. When her lips were swollen and her breath irregular, he straightened to look down at her. “Sit with me at breakfast in the morning? At my table?”

 

“If you’ll lunch with the Gryffindors, then yes, I will.” The act of sitting down for a meal at another house table would have been unthinkable even a few days ago, but now it was simply an opportunity to be close to Draco.

 

“If I know Lucius, there’ll be an evening visit of some sort, so we won’t have to fight over that meal.”

 

“Goodnight, Draco. Think of me later, sleeping in just your jersey.”

 

He smirked at her then, full of that confident arrogance that had been peeking out off and on since the Quidditch match, and she may have swooned a bit. “Oh, I plan to do just that. And Hermione – make sure it’s just my jersey you’re wearing tonight.”

 

As he added that last part, his hands trailed over her backside, and she blushed in comprehension. Draco just said he wants me to take my knickers off for him. Hermione swallowed thickly, nodded slowly, and firmly denied herself the impulse to jump up into his arms and wrap her legs around his waist. She may have, however, turned the tables on her wizard a bit by reaching out and running her forefinger along the front waistband of his trousers in a torturously slow motion. The fact that his eyes closed and his mouth dropped open assured her that this was the case.

 

After that he walked her back to the foot of the stairs, bowed low over her left hand, and pressed a lingering kiss to her handmark. Harry and Luna were waiting halfway up the staircase, but Ginny had waited at the bottom step, and as soon as Draco was out of earshot, she gave a blissful sigh. “Watching you two really is better than reading one of my mum’s romance novels.”

 

“I’m not sure if romantic is the right word. He just told me I’m to be knickers-free under his jersey tonight.”

 

“Maybe you should send him a pair as proof.” Ginny’s eyes gleamed wickedly. “We have time, you know.”

 

Hermione flushed and bit her lip against a nervous smile. “If you think he’d like that.”

 

Her friend looked offended for a moment, responding, “If I think? I thought we’d already established that, not only do I know what I’m doing, I’m also diabolically evil!”

 

The redhead began loudly bossing the three others around immediately as only a female Weasley could. “Luna, you’re going to have to keep Harry company until later. And Harry, don’t you dare go anywhere near your clean sheets until you take a shower – you need scrubbing after what we did this morning! And you,” here she looked at Hermione, “are going to come with me. We have a lot to get done.”

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