Hermione stared at her desk, papers covering the entire surface. Sighing, she started organizing the files, placing them in her cabinet for the morning. She didn't mind staying late; Crookshanks was always grumpy if he didn't get fed on time but her work never seemed to stop. Working in the Ministry meant long hours, and very little reward. That didn't bother Hermione though, knowing her work was making the muggle world safer was good enough. Figuring she was alone in the building, as it was well past the work day, she began humming an old muggle tune as she worked. Looking at her desk again, and then at the clock hovering on the wall, decided that the little she had cleaned up was good enough. Hermione sighed and grabbed her coat, heading toward her office door. Just as she put her hand on her door knob, the knob turned and the door opened. Taking her by surprise, she let out a small squeak and jumped back, nearly tripping on her coat stand. She looked up, and there stood a tall blond man, seemingly equally surprised at the brown eyed woman standing mere feet from him.

"I'm sorry, Granger, I didn't realize you were still here." His grey eyes stared directly into hers, unwavering.

"Oh, Malfoy, I was just leaving," she sputtered, his striking grey eyes, unwavering, made her heart flutter. "Did you need something?" She was growing more frustrated with the effect that Malfoy's presence had on her. He had certainly gotten more attractive since they had left school, which Hermione thought was ridiculous since he had always been the best looking boy in their year. Even his foul mouth and poor attitude couldn't rob him of his good looks.

"Oh, yeah, Kinglsey said that you had the file for the cursed jewelry they found in Ireland, I was hoping I could take a look? It may help me with my case." Malfoy's eyes, still unwavering, seemed to glisten, the excitement of being an Auror suited him. Hermione was one of the few who had spoken up for him in his hearing, claiming him to be more than his circumstances. She was glad he had gotten out from underneath his father's grasp, finally able to be his own person.

"Oh, of course." Hermione said, stepping back, allowing Malfoy into her office. As he entered, she set her things back down in her chair and went back to her desk, searching for the files.

"You know, I never thought you'd be someone with a messy desk," the blond wizard teased, his eyes sparkling, "I always assumed you were too uptight to have anything out of place." Hermione could have sworn she saw a smile cross his face.

"Normally, it is," she huffed, glaring at the taller male, "Contrary to popular belief, I'm not always perfect." She rolled her eyes, still shuffling through papers.

"What? You mean to tell me that the Gryffindor Princess, Little Miss Know-it-all, isn't perfect?" Malfoy feigned disbelief, putting his hand on his head, miming fainting.

"I said, always, I am most of the time," Hermione shocked herself, realizing not only was she smiling at Malfoy, but could they even be friendly? After everything he put her through in school, and he's being friendly? She finally found the files, and handed them to the grey eyed man.

"Thank you, Hermione" She stopped, holding her breath. Did Draco Malfoy just call her by her first name? Nonetheless, Malfoy's voice was so smooth, Hermione was sure it would sweep her off her feet if she wasn't careful. "Do you have any plans tonight? I wanted to maybe go over these files with you, maybe grab a drink?"

Hermione bit her lip, thinking about the possible consequences of going out to dinner with Draco Malfoy. He seemed to sense her hesitation, and followed with, "It's not anything fancy, but I'll pay." He smiled again. Hermione smiled back at him, confused about who this person was, standing in front of her. He looked, smelled, and sounded like the Draco Malfoy she once knew. But the friendliness, the smiling? Hermione could only remember one time Draco Malfoy had smiled at her. That seemed like a lifetime ago, and even at his hearing when she spoke up for him, a nod of appreciation was the best she had gotten. Auror training seems to have gone well for him, Hermione couldn't help but notice his toned arms through his rolled up shirt sleeves, or how well his pants fit around his toned ass. Pushing the thoughts out of her head she heard the words come out of her mouth, "Of course, only as long as you're paying." She was smiling at her former worst enemy, and she was beyond confused.

Hermione walked with Draco into the pub, his smell almost intoxicating. She couldn't help but wonder what was going on with him, he's obviously changed, but she couldn't figure him out anymore. As they sat down on opposite sides of the booth, Draco ordered them drinks, much to Hermione's irritation, he had picked her favorite drink for her, a blend of herbal tea and fire whiskey.

"How did you know I like that?" She asked, leaning back in her booth, crossing her arms.

Draco leaned forward, turning his body towards the inside of the booth and said, "I have a good memory," winking at her as he leaned back into his seat. Hermione felt her heart flutter once again, face flushed.

Trying to divert the conversation, she pulled out the file and handed it to the admittedly handsome man across from her. "This is all I have so far. The necklace and the ring I have figured out and removed the curses from, the bracelet is proving to be more difficult though."

She could feel Draco's eyes staring at her as she took her drink, sipping on it trying to avoid his gaze. Finally, his eyes drifted downwards to the files she had handed him. He flipped through the pages, not looking at her when he caught her by surprise, "You know, I thought you would have been a Weasley by now."

Taken back, she glared at the blond man across from her, "No, Ron and I broke it off a long time ago. The whole "world is ending" thing made us feel like we'd never get another chance at love, so we settled. We wanted different things out of life anyways. He wanted to settle down, have a family. I wanted to build my career."

"So it wasn't amicable?" Draco finally looked at her, his eyes seeming to stare into her soul.

Hermione was determined to hold his gaze, "What do you think? We really only see each other at those stupid fundraising events and charity things." Draco maintained his gaze as he took a sip of his drink.. Hermione felt her cheeks flush, "So, any lady friends for you?"

Draco narrowed his eyes, annoyed by the question. "Nope, nothing for me, unless you count one night stands," He winked at her again, and Hermione rolled her eyes at the handsome man. At least that hasn't changed, she thought, a smile creeping onto her face.

"So what's your case? How is this going to help you?" Hermione asked, leaning forward to better view the files herself. She noticed Draco's breath hitch, he turned the files to allow her a better look. Draco was painfully aware of how great her chest looked in her work attire, much more form fitting than her old Hogwarts robes.

"We are looking into a ring of international jewelry thieves, supposedly they steal the jewelry, curse it, and ship it out to muggles. These items are hopefully another piece of the puzzle." Draco regained focus, his eyes never leaving the page.

Hermione couldn't help but smile. He was always vying with her for top student in their year, she assumed it frustrated him that a muggle born could keep up with him so easily. She leaned back and took another sip of her drink, feeling the warmth of the fire whiskey. The grey eyed Auror looked back at her, his eyes bold against the light blond of his hair. Hermione couldn't stop her heart from fluttering, she had a question she was burning to ask him, though it would probably take a few more drinks for her to get there.

Draco seemed to be able to read her thoughts, "What's on your mind, princess?" Hermione rolled her eyes, slightly amused and annoyed at his teasing.

"I'm just confused," she admitted, after downing the rest of her drink for the courage she wanted, "Why are you being," she paused, unsure of the word she was looking for, "pleasant, with me? I haven't really seen you since the hearing. I know our past is complicated, but I figured that was all water under the bridge after what happened at the hearing."

Draco leaned back in his seat, his eyes drifting, searching for an answer to her question. "Do you remember when we ran into each other in the Room of Requirement?"

Hermione smiled, "Yes," Her mind drifted back to their sixth year at Hogwarts, it was a mere few weeks into the start of term, and she was already swamped with homework. She quickly grew tired of listening to Harry and Ron bicker about quidditch and their overall lack of concern with their studies. She left the Common Room and went in search of the Room of Requirement, looking for quiet solitude to focus. When she entered the Room, she was pleasantly surprised at the shape the Room had taken. It mimicked the flat her parents had rented out over summers long past, the small kitchenette to the left, a large red sofa in front of her, dividing the two rooms. She smiled fondly at the sight, and sat on the couch to begin studying. Soon, she was so lost in her studies, she almost didn't notice the door open and a boy slip in, quickly slamming the door shut. The boy hadn't noticed her, his forehead pressed into the closed door, it was obvious from the way his shoulders moved that he was crying. Hermione wasn't sure what to do, the boy obviously hadn't noticed her, and she wasn't even sure who this boy in front of her was. After a second, she moved her parchment off her lap, in an effort to get up and comfort whomever had entered the room. At the sound of the parchment, the boy whipped around, fear shining in his eyes, his wand was raised, ready for a fight. Hermione put her hands up in surrender, mouth open in shock at who stood in front of her. "Malfoy?" She asked, keeping her hands up just in case.

"What are you doing here Granger!?" He exclaimed, anger replacing the fear he had felt just moments prior. "How do you know about this place?"

"Harry found it last term," she said, "We held Dumbledore's Army here." Her arms still raised as she struggled to think of what to do.

"Get out," He said, his eyes darting around the room, as if he was looking for something. "It's not safe for you here."

"What the hell does that mean, Malfoy?" Hermione asked indignantly.

Draco sighed, unsure of how the box worked, if someone could come through if the room wasn't showing the place where he hid the box. Or worse, if she found out what he was trying to do, what he had to do. "It means, you shouldn't come back here. Now, go!" He tried to add malice to his voice, but he was so tired, so stressed about his mission, how alone he was in it, how impossible this task seemed.

"In case you missed the tiny detail, Malfoy, but I was here first. So I'm not going anywhere." She sat down with a humph and grabbed her parchment to begin working again.

Draco sighed, unsure of what to do about the stubborn muggle-born in front of him. His views had changed since his father had left He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named into their home, and had seen what he was capable of. In his mind, they were all human. Blood status was important, of course, but throughout his years learning with Hermione, he couldn't help but think that muggleborns were just as capable. She was, as much as he hated it, best of their year in terms of grades, but almost just as important, she was kind, unafraid to stand up for what she believed in. After standing for a moment, he sat down in the comfortable chair next to the couch, his mind still reeling.

Hermione kept sneaking glances at the blonde sitting closer to her than she had ever seen. As much as she told herself her glances were to make sure that he wasn't going to attack her while she wasn't paying attention, she couldn't help but admit how attractive he was, and how confused she was about their interaction. It was the first time they had interacted where he didn't call her a Mudblood, and it seemed like he was trying to protect her from something. She tried to focus on her work,but the curiosity was killing her. "What are you trying to protect me from?" She asked finally, her words seemed loud in the silence between them.

Draco slowly looked over at the brunette witch across from him, his silver eyes met her brown ones as he thought of an answer to her question. "I can't-, It doesn't-," He struggled for the best way to answer her.

"Malfoy, I've been helping Harry fight Voldemort for years now, I'm not afraid of him." She noticed the way Draco cringed at the sound of Voldemort's name, she couldn't help but wonder if the Dark Lord had something to do with his need for the Room.

"You should be. You haven't seen what he's done to the others." Draco muttered, he glanced back up at her, her eyes soft with concern.

"I can help you, you know." She said, "I can get you protection with the Order."

"No, you can't. He'll kill my mother. What he's asked me to do - it's impossible." Draco sighed, tilting his head back, fighting back tears.

"Nothing is impossible Malfoy." Hermione said, "Here." Draco looked over at her and was shocked to see her standing beside him, handing him a glass of firewhiskey. "Tell me about it."

Draco just looked at her, "Where did you get this?" Sitting up normally so that he could take the glass.

Hermione smiled, pulling a bottle out of her bag, "Everyone's got their secrets."

"Wait, tell me yours first." Draco said. He couldn't believe Hermione, the perfect, rule-abiding person she is, would have snuck firewhiskey into Hogwarts.

"I have some friends," She said, taking a sip of her drink. "Helps with the nightmares." She couldn't look at the blonde across from her, her eyes drifting across the room. "and now it's your turn."

Draco couldn't help but stare at the brunette girl, he felt saddened by the words she had said, knowing his family had played a large role in her pain, and would continue to do so.

"That's a conversation for another time." He said, taking a sip of the drink she had handed him. It certainly was more harsh that he was used to, sneaking drinks at his house meant drinking something a little more refined.

"Fine, I'll ask you something else." Hermione said, finally looking back at the grey eyed boy. "What do you want to do with your life? Assuming we don't get murdered before we graduate." She rolled her eyes, the return of Voldemort had made her more cynical, though she couldn't share that side of her with Harry or Ron, she knew it was much more probable that one or all three of them wouldn't survive their quest to take down Voldemort.

Draco snorted into his glass, caught off guard by the level of bluntness in her statement. He took another sip before answering her. "I'd like to be a Healer. I've always been good at Potions, and it's something I can usually do alone." He didn't look at the bushy haired girl, hoping she didn't catch on to the loneliness in his voice.

"You would be a good Healer," Hermione admitted, raising her glass to the blonde, "I'll drink to that." SHe quickly downed the rest of her drink, much to Draco's surprise. He couldn't help but smile at her. She seemed so much more human than he had ever seen her. He was admittedly attracted to her brains, but the more he got to study her, the more he realized just how attractive she was. Hermione coughed harshly, the burn of the firewhiskey apparently underestimated by the witch across from him. "God, I hate this straight." She laughed, "Much better with tea." She said matter-of-factly as she poured another glass. Draco smirked, "Didn't realize you were such a connoisseur."

"Shut up, Malfoy. Finish your drink, surely you won't let me out drink you." she said, her eyes sparkling, the usual harshness from her was gone, Draco couldn't help but wonder what kind of drunk Hermione was. He tipped his head back, finishing the rest of his drink and handing her the glass for another. Their hands brushed as she handed him the glass back, their eyes locking as they touched, both blushing and quickly looking away. "So," Hermione said, putting away her parchment so as to not get firewhiskey on them, "Your turn." She sat back, crossing her legs as she did so.

Draco couldn't take his eyes off the brunette, his brain struggling to think of something to ask her. "What do you want to do with your life?" He asked finally, his heart beating fast in his chest.

"Well," Hermione said, swirling her drink, "Probably something in law, whether it be magical or muggle. I just want to help right the wrongs of the system. It's incredibly unfair for those seen as 'less-than'." She drank again, taking half the liquid in the glass in her mouth.

Draco nodded, he knew there were injustices everywhere in the wizarding world, but he never felt like he could actually do anything about it, so there was no need to try. He was struggling to keep up with the pace the witch had set, not that he was going to say no to any alcohol she put in front of him. It was a nice escape from everything that was going on.

Hermione smiled at Draco, her face starting to get flushed as she continued drinking. "Harry thinks you're a Death Eater. Are you?"

Draco's heart stopped, he hadn't been prepared for that one, although the more he thought about it, the more sense it made. "Pass." He said simply, trying to not show his unease through body language.

"So you are, but you don't like it." Hermione said nonchalantly, pouring herself yet another. Draco just stared at her, unsure of what to say. She got up, topping off Draco's glass.

The two continued to drink, asking questions, getting to know each other for the first time. By the fourth drink, Hermione had taken off her outer robes, revealing her form fitting shirt and the tiny shorts she wore underneath. Hermione felt Draco's eyes on her, "It gets so hot in the girls dorms," She said, "Don't want to overheat." Draco nodded in agreement, not sure how to respond to that, although the tightness in his pants said otherwise. It was amazing how much the robes hid, Draco never thought Hermione Granger would have a body like that. He was drunk enough that he couldn't stop his eyes from wandering to her chest, her breasts enunciated by the tight, low cut shirt she was wearing. Hermione smirked, "Eyes are up here Malfoy," She giggled at him and Draco swore he felt his heart was going to beat out of his chest, was he seriously crushing on Hermione Granger? He couldn't believe it, but the reaction his body was giving left little room for debate.

Draco coughed, shifting in his seat, "Um, you a virgin?" He asked, trying to seem nonchalant.

Hermione choked on her drink, "What?" She exclaimed, "I am not drunk enough to answer that" She grinned at the boy, her cheeks flushed from the warmth of the firewhiskey.

"So you are, you just don't like it." Draco smirked back, throwing her words back at her.

Hermione glared playfully at the blond. "Not true. Do you remember who I went to the Yule Ball with?"

Draco spat out the sip he had arrogantly taken after his comment. "You can't be serious! You fucked Victor Krum!?" Hermione shrugged, her sheepish smile made Draco's stomach flip. "Holy shit Granger, I'm impressed. Let me guess, once, maybe twice and then he left and you wrote to each other once or twice over the summer, and havent spoken since?"

Hermione nodded, finishing her drink, "That's not fair though, everyone knows you're the Slytherin Sex God. Pansy can't keep her mouth shut about anything."

Draco rolled his eyes, "That was once, obviously a mistake, but at least my reputation is good." His eyes met her brown eyes and he couldn't help but smile. "She's the most annoying girl in Hogwarts, wont leave me the fuck alone."

"Wow Malfoy, you turn into a sailor when you're drunk." Hermione giggled again, "You know, you can come sit on the couch with me, would make getting you refills easier." She avoided eye contact with him, hoping he wouldn't read too much into what she was saying, but it was obvious by how quickly he got up that he definitely did, and was interested. The two sat on opposite ends on the couch, slowly moving closer together under the pretense of being closer to the bottle. The bottle was nearly empty before Draco had the courage to turn and look at the Gryffindor next to him.

"You know," Hermione said, her words starting to slur slightly, "You Slytherins aren't half bad." She smiled softly at the blond, her eyes locked onto his.

"I was beginning to think that about you Gryffindors." Draco said, returning her smile. He leaned forward towards her, the smell of firewhiskey heavy in the air between them. Hermione tilted her head, and met him in the middle, their lips crashing together. Hermione's eyes closed, it had been too long since she had kissed anyone, much less had a kiss that felt like this. Her hand reached up, running her fingers through Malfoy's soft blond hair. Draco grabbed her waist, swiping his tongue across her lips, clearly asking for entrance. She moaned as she let him in, his tongue swirling with hers as they kissed. His grip on her waist tightened as she moaned, and he moved forward, guiding her to lay back on the couch. His mouth moved from hers to her neck, leaving feverish love bites as he crossed her neck. His other hand slid up her shirt, massaging her breast over her bra. Hermione moaned again, arching her back as his kisses moved toward her mouth again. He paused for a moment above her, looking directly into her eyes, and then kissed her again. His firm abs felt amazing as she brushed her hand across them, moving from his hair towards his pants. She undid his belt with ease, slipping her hand into his pants. She moaned again, feeling his large mard member though his underwear. Draco stopped kissing her, tilting his head back at the pleasure she was giving him. He looked back down at her leaning down to kiss her again. Hermione suddenly stopped, pulling her hand away and moving her face away from Malfoy's. "I'm sorry, Malfoy. I can't." She said, "It's not you, it just-" She stopped, unsure of how to say what she wanted to.

Draco climbed off her, smiling sadly at her, "I'm a Death Eater, and I'm supposed to hate you and now we just had a great snog and now you don't know what to do?"

Hermione looked at him and nodded, "Yeah, pretty much."

Draco snorted, "I know, I was almost there myself. I must say though, you're a much better kisser than I would have thought." He smirked at her, hoping she could hear the gentle tease in his voice.

Hermione rolled her eyes at him. "Whatever, Malfoy. If you want or need my help in the future, you know where to find me," She said as she got up, grabbing her bag. "See you around," She turned to leave, but Draco grabbed her hand.

"Thank you, Hermione."Draco said softly, kissing her hand softly. Hermione's heart stopped, Malfoy had just called her by her first name, and it made her knickers more wet than they already were. She smiled and nodded at him, unsure of what to say, turned and left, her mind reeling after what had just happened. Every time she went back to the Room of Requirement, she secretly hoped he would show up, but it seemed as though he never took her up on her offer. They simply shared stolen glances in their shared classes, neither one sure what to say to each other, neither wanting to make the first move.

Draco's shoulders relaxed. "Thank you for the files, Granger, may I keep them for the time being?"

Hermione shrugged, "Only if you help me with the bracelet." She felt herself smile at the man across from her and her heart raced. Hermione couldn't remember the last time a boy had made her feel like this. Ron had been soothing, comfortable; Draco Malfoy made her feel like she was invincible.

"Thank you for the drinks Malfoy, I'd better get going." Hermione said, conflicted about actually wanting to leave. She was frustrated with herself, annoyed with the fact that Draco Malfoy was the one eliciting these emotions from her, even after the trip down memory lane.

"Leaving so soon, princess?" Hermione could have sworn she saw a flash of sadness flicker through his eyes.

"You know how the Ministry is, one minute late and you've got a hearing on punctuality you have to attend," Hermione said, rolling her eyes.

"Then allow me to walk you home," Draco said, standing up and offering his arm to the caramel haired woman.

Hermione sighed, allowing Malfoy to help her up. She smoothed out her skirt, putting her coat on and walked out the door, Draco Malfoy on her arm.

As they approached her door, she turned to face him, "Thank you again, Malfoy." Smiling at the blond man on the step below her, "I hope the files will be helpful."

"Anytime, Granger." Draco smiled at her, his eyes lingering on her lips. "I'll see you tomorrow then? At work I mean."

Hermione felt her face blush, "Of course," She turned and unlocked her door, she glanced back at the handsome blond man, "Good night."

"Night," He replied, smiling back at the beautiful woman walking away from him. Draco wanted nothing more than to follow her into her house, to be close to her. But he knew better, she needed time. He sighed as he turned back to go to his flat. Hermione shut the door behind her, leaning up against the door, head back. She wanted nothing more than to invite him in. She knew it was a bad idea, she didn't know what would happen, but she couldn't deny the feelings she felt anymore. She sighed, making up her mind, turned and opened the door. Draco had walked a few doors down, in the direction Hermione assumed was his flat. "Draco!" Hermione called, waving her arm to get his attention. The tall blond man turned around and looked at her, a slight smirk on his face.