All the usual disclaimers: I own nothing and these characters aren't mine.
Definition per healthline dot com:
Demisexuality: a sexual orientation where people only experience sexual attraction to folks that they have close emotional connections with.
In the Heat
Hermione Granger unlocked her hotel room with a sigh. The door opened to a room that was far more luxurious than she would have ever booked for herself. However, that was a perk of her job. One of the few things she was actually allowed to share with her friends and family since she'd become an Unspeakable.
Unspeakables did not travel often for work except for an annual conference between the various European Ministries and Magical businesses. This year it was being held in Paris. Her supervisor, Dora Rockburn, had submitted her name to be a speaker for the session titled Time Turners and their Affects on Brain Function and Long-Term Memory. Being that she happened to technically be both an Unspeakable and a trained muggle psychologist, it was a rare time where she actually published research that made even the most minute findings from the Department of Mysteries become public.
Curiosity had bloomed when it was announced and she was added to the conference schedule. Needless to say, the session ran half an hour over due to all of the questions lobbed her way and she'd spent another hour afterwards speaking with people one on one.
Now she was just thankful to be done with it and have the evening to herself. No colleagues. No random questions from the French Minister trying to gain, unsuccessfully, insight into just what the British Unspeakables were truly doing with time. As if she'd ever tell him even if she could. And no men trying to flirt with her under the guise of pretending to be interested in her research.
As she was a speaker, she'd been given a room on the top floor. The bed was larger than her modest one at home. And with the attached kitchenette and seating area, she could probably fit her entire flat inside this hotel room. She wasn't poor by any means but extravagance wasn't her thing.
Her body still felt tense as it always did after a long day of talking and interacting with strangers. The man at the front desk told her when she checked in that she would have access to a private hot tub on the roof that guests apparently rarely used. Her back aching from standing in heels afternoon, she changed into her swim suit and slipped on the fluffy complimentary robe.
The hallway was quiet when she slipped into the lift. It was a short ride to the top floor and once she arrived, she found that man had been right. There wasn't a single soul on the roof of the hotel.
Hermione walked to the edge of the roof's railing and peered down at the streets below. She could hear street music and the lights of the city. The patio seating of the nearby restaurants were full. The sight made her smile. Better for them all to be out on the town and more time to herself.
She slipped the soft robe from her shoulders and folded it neatly on the nearby table. Being that it was a wizarding hotel, she could technically call for room service here on the roof if she chose. The thought was appealing, too. A nice quiet meal under the stars and no nosy friends or family wondering why she was alone or when she'd settle down.
She dipped a foot into the water to test it and after finding the heat pleasant, she walked down the steps and took a seat against the wall. She sighed and rested her head back, closing her eyes.
Her parents didn't understand why she remained alone, or why she preferred it even. She'd dated Ron for hardly even a year after the war before everything fizzled out naturally. It was for the best. They were better friends and he was very happy with Luna and their two kids.
Ginny finally stopped setting her up on those disastrous blind dates years ago when she found a reason to reject nearly all of them after only a couple of dates. Hermione tried to explain. Tried to make her understand that she couldn't force a connection where there wasn't one and she was able to tell almost immediately when she wasn't going to be able to develop feelings for the man.
It was like a sort of switch in her brain, and these days it had cobwebs around it because now that no one was pressing her hand, she didn't even bother to try.
Sometimes she'd wondered if she was broken. If the war had damaged her internally in a way she didn't understand. She'd even been tempted to offer herself as a research subject for the Unspeakables studying love. Perhaps they'd be able to figure her out.
Physical attraction was one thing. She could objectively look at a man and admit if she found him attractive. But emotional attraction and even more so, sexual attraction, were something else entirely. She wasn't someone who could go on a few dates and then end up in bed. That was fine for anyone else and she didn't judge. She just couldn't do it herself. The spark of interest wasn't there. She needed to feel something in her chest before she even had the urge.
Granted, she'd gotten close with Ron. There was an emotional attachment on top of her physical attraction to him. Somehow when it came time to fool around and take things further, she just…couldn't. It didn't feel right. It didn't entice her to continue.
But Ron was good and while at first he didn't seem to understand, he didn't press. As he watched her date after their breakup, he finally got it.
"You can't force that sort of thing, Hermione. You shouldn't feel like you have to," he would say with a smile, usually right before stuffing something in his mouth.
A few years ago, Ginny bought her a gift in hopes of helping her. She didn't have to heart to tell her that it wasn't her body that was the problem. She could fantisize and often sought physical relief on her own. But scratching her own itch and actually feeling something for someone else enough to partake wasn't the same.
And so, she remained single, convinced that the right man would either come along eventually or not at all. It wasn't a terrible life to live comfortably and alone. She had her work and her friends and family. It was a good life all the same.
She was so relaxed that she didn't hear the ding of the lift, nor the doors opening to the rooftop.
Hermione's eyes flew wide and the knee-jerk response to reach for her wand still tucked in her robe was instant, a lingering affect of the war that had never left her ten years down the line.
"Malfoy," she said, though it sounded more like a question.
Draco Malfoy stood at the edge of the hot tub. He was similarly dressed in his own hotel robe, though he'd neglected to tie the thing. It meant that his toned torso was on full display and directly in her line of sight.
Draco cleared his throat and she met his gaze early enough to realize he seemed to be having trouble deciding on where to focus. She sunk just a little further into the water so that her breasts were not on full display. She silently cursed Ginny and her insisting that she purchase this white two-piece swimsuit. It might as well have been underwear honestly.
"My apologies, Granger. The front desk told me this is rarely used."
She reorganized her expression so as to offer a small smile to communicate that he had no reason to apologize. They were on good terms, or at least that had been until Christmas six months ago.
"He told me the same."
He nodded and began to turn. "I can go."
Stubbornness and an innate sense of curiosity which both had assisted in her being sorted into her house were likely what drove her to say it.
"You can stay."
He turned back and for a moment his gaze dropped below the water. However, he swallowed and carefully removed his robe before he rested it next to hers on the table.
"Only if you're sure."
She shrugged. "You stay on your side and I'll stay on mine."
His grey trunks weren't socially inappropriate by any means but they were far better than those sloppy, too long things that Harry and Ron wore when they all went with their friends and families to the beach last summer.
She tried not to focus on the faint line of hair which began just below his navel and disappeared below his waistband. Although, everything else was a distraction also. He'd grown into his features since their youth and his shoulders were wide, his muscles defined. He could have walked right off of a magazine cover really. The fact that he was still unmarried boggled most people's minds, especially when after his reputation began to recover, he regularly appeared on Witch Weekly's annual most eligible bachelor list.
Draco ran his palms over the top of the bubbling water, his eyes trained on the sight. "I attended your lecture earlier."
Hermione scoffed, though it lacked the venom from when they were children. "It wasn't a lecture. It was…" She stopped when she realized that she'd been the only speaker. He was smirking when she glanced at him. "Okay, fine, I suppose it was lecture-like."
Draco chuckled quietly and dropped his arms under the water. "I'm calling it a lecture."
"I'm curious to know why you chose to attend. If I recall correctly, mine was at the same time as the International Magical Business Coordination Committee. I believe they were speaking about import and export laws. Shouldn't that be of more interest for you?"
After the war, his parents' assets had been seized while the Wizengamot assessed their role in the war. Turncoat or not, they were guilty of many things. The fact that probation and a five year house arrest sentence were the only retribution they suffered was shocking to many. Draco had been absolved of most major accusations lobbed against him, and though he'd been made to pay a hefty reparation, his parents assets had eventually been turned over to him.
The papers liked to gossip about Lucius Malfoy's rage at his only son selling off some of the businesses he'd spent years building, lying and cheating in order to do so. As far as she knew, his parents still lived at the manor but kept to themselves despite their house arrest being completed. He now ran his own potion company which sold internationally.
"I'm aware of the latest updates. I thought I'd use the time to explore other curiosities."
Draco was like a mad millionaire. Successful in business, his free time was reportedly spent exploring his hobbies.
"And you're interested in the cross-section of time and muggle psychology?"
His smirk no longer made him look like a bully. Instead, she found it charming. Her blood heated a little and she had to look away because his stare was doing strange things to her.
"That might be a bit of a stretch though I'll admit that I did find it fascinating. I mostly just wanted to hear you speak. You don't do these sorts of things all that often."
Her heart was hammering in her chest when she met his eyes again. Blast him for doing this to her.
"No, I don't particularly care for these things. My work uniform doesn't typically include heels or a skirt. I find it constricting to dress for business."
A blonde brow crept up his forehead. "Dare I ask, what does Hermione Granger wear to conduct her top secret Unspeakable research?"
She huffed. "It's not all that interesting, whatever it is you're imagining. No one visits the Department of Mysteries voluntarily and for meetings I obviously dress for business. I can wear what I want which usually consists of jeans and my Doc Martens. I spend a considerable amount of time experimenting in a controlled environment. I need reliable footwear and comfortable clothes."
Draco's mouth curled into a grin. The effect was devastating in that wet your knickers sort of way.
"I think that's the most you've ever told me about your work."
She shrugged. "It's the most I can tell anyone."
Silence enveloped them like a warm blanket. She kept her eyes on the bubbles rising to the surface of the water, trying her damndest to forget he was even here. It was impossible though. There was no way to ignore Draco Malfoy's presence, just like there was no way to ignore the fact that she'd stupidly thought he was intending to court her last year.
She'd not told anyone because it was ludicrous at best. He'd requested her professional help in researching the effects a new ingredient for a memory potion had on the user, memory and time being her expertise. He applied for the research grant and the Ministry granted it, thereby also granting him access to her time on business hours.
He wasn't allowed inside her office of course and so they met after hours to discuss her findings as it pertained to his potion. The fact that he'd specifically requested her hadn't gone unnoticed. He claimed it was because she was the best and if his potion was to make it to market before the holidays, he needed the best. Prior to the project, they'd only really spoken in passing at various Ministry functions open to the public.
What the public didn't know was that Draco Malfoy didn't date. Out of all the pureblood traditions he chose to let go of in order to move forward, courting his intended bride was apparently not one of them. The information had been slipped in while discussing current events and his eventual naming in the most eligible bachelor list for the sixth year in a row. He'd scoffed and rolled his eyes at the mention of the list, calling it ridiculous and shallow.
However, the fact that he'd begun to take up most of her evenings and sometimes even her weekends had not gone unnoticed by her friends. She continued to insist that it was business. Ninety percent of those dinner meetings had been spent hashing out research and him asking questions. Only about ten percent consisted of conversation related to anything more personal.
But something unexpected had happened. The lock inside her chest that kept her emotions in check began to loosen. Through the tiniest crack, they flowed loose and began to morph her perception of him. She began to look forward to their dinners. She found him in her thoughts at the most odd of times, especially when alone at night.
It was Blaise Zabini who first made her question it. He ran into her, quite literally, at Flourish and Blott's one Saturday, and made some quip about being surprised not to find Draco trailing behind her down the aisles of books. He'd also said that she was all Draco had been talking about then. When he outright questioned if they were together, she'd blanched. What an absurd idea, she'd said.
But then one night Draco escorted her home after a particularly long dinner where she'd had to persuade him not to rush his potion to market too soon. He'd become frustrated over the inconsistent amount of time the potion lasted but she insisted she could help him peg it down and figure out how to make it consistent. Time was her speciality after all.
It was on her doorstep where he'd leaned in and kissed her. The sound she made when he sucked her bottom lip still embarrassed her today when she thought about it. She'd been shocked but those emotions that had been warring in her chest allowed it, welcomed it. Draco had pressed her back against her door and her only response had been to twist her hands in his shirt and tie, pulled him closing as they snogged right there at her door.
When they pulled away, she'd apologized for accidentally biting his lip, admitting despite her embarrassment that it had been literally years since she'd kissed a man. He'd only smiled before he leaned in for more of her.
But despite those feelings in her chest and her mind beginning to warm to the idea of something more between them, something serious, it was the one and only time he kissed her.
Two days later she made a breakthrough with the ingredients in his potion. It was the same day that the Daily Prophet plastered two separate pictures on its front page. A headshot of Draco and a paparazzi shot of Astoria Greengrass on the cover, and an article speculating about their families making a match between them.
She sent her results via owl, effectively closing his research project, and immediately took a vacation with her parents to Spain just before the Christmas holidays. She returned a week later and after one owl from him requesting to take her to dinner as a thank you for her hard work, which she ignored, she'd not directly spoken to him since.
She hated the way those feelings surfaced again in his presence. As if they'd not really been chained but just lying dormant below the surface until the right trigger returned.
Hermione looked up and realized that in her stupor, he'd managed to shift closer. He was no longer across from her but adjacent and merely an arm's length away.
"Are we ever going to talk about it?" Draco asked suddenly.
Her heart jumped to her throat and glanced at him warily. "Pardon? What are you referring to exactly?"
Draco snorted and he shook his head before he angled his body in the water to face her. "You know bloody well what, Granger. I kissed you and a couple of days later you owl me that you've concluded our research before skipping town for a week. I invited you to dinner, hoping to talk but you ignored me. I'm a lot of things but I'm not so weak as to fall on my knees if a woman isn't interested in me."
He splashed the water with a hand and when his eyes slid back to hers, they were molten stone. "How the hell did you expect a bloke to recover so quickly when you practically snogged his soul from his body? You took my bloody heart and stomped on it. Did you expect me to come back for more? Was it some attempt to make me pay for all the things I said and did when we were children? Because I didn't think you were so petty as to hold a grudge for ten years, claiming to have forgiven me and accepting my previous apology."
Hermione squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head. "What on earth are you on about, Draco?"
He shifted closer, slinging his arm along the edge of the hot tub as he loomed near. "Your mind fascinates me. Did you really think we needed so many business dinners to accomplish anything? I just wanted to hear you talk. I swear, I get off on it. You're like a fucking drug—so complicated and intense. And your kiss—" He reached up and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Kissing you was almost better than sex. I can't imagine what making love to you is actually like."
Hermione swallowed, realizing belatedly that her throat had gone dry during his little tirade. Her heart was beating like the blades of a helicopter.
"Did you not see the Prophet article? The one about you and Astoria Greengrass?"
Confusion painted his features before understanding finally dawned on him. He laughed, a low humorless sound. "That? That's what made you run for the hills from me? Honestly, Hermione, that was just her mother's poor attempt to pressure my family's hand."
She squinted, confused and lost. "You mean to say her mother planted that information in an effort to pressure you?"
"Precisely. My mother has zero intention of matching me with Astoria. She can't stand her mother and thinks even less of her father. You don't want to know what she thinks of Astoria herself. They merely want my money and to secure their bloodline since they only have daughters."
She blinked and she had to look away from him. His gaze was too intense. "And your mother wouldn't balk against me?"
He lifted his hand from the water and placed it against her cheek, urging her to look at him. She shivered from the warmth and moisture both.
"She'd about shit herself if I brought you home, but not for the reasons you likely think. My father is a shell of the man he was. He protests hardly anything anymore. My mother—my mother thinks you're brilliant and frankly, anyone who goes to the lengths you did to help her son puts them in her select circle. If I chose you, she'd have herself a coronary just from the relief alone."
Hermione was pretty sure it was him who leaned in first. The heat of his body hovered near and practically engulfed her when his lips pressed against her mouth. Her body felt like it was on fire as he teased her lips with gentle nips and sucks until she finally found her will to move. She lifted both of her hands to cup his face and tilted her head to deepen the kiss.
Both of Draco's hands lifted from the water and he turned to press them to the edge of the hot tub on either side of her. Every hot press of his tongue and lips spread that feeling in her chest through her extremities. It went to her toes and back until she felt something else, something she only felt alone and with her private fantasies, between her legs. Shock bubbled up and she lowered her hands to press them against his wet chest.
Draco pulled back, panting and his eyes wild. "Fuck," he breathed. "I clearly forgot how good you are at that."
Hermione felt her skin heat from his compliment and she looked down at her hands against his skin. Gentle fingertips lifted her chin to meet his eyes.
"It's the emotion you put into it." He shook his head. "Almost like it's more than just a kiss for you."
Her mouth fell open but she snapped it closed nearly as quickly. How did she say that it was more than that for her. So much more. This was another reason she'd never made it very far. The older she got, the harder it was to tell someone else for fear of being rejected. That fear just cycled over and over until she'd convinced herself it was useless to even try to find someone not just who sparked that interest, but was willing to wait long enough for her to see if it was there.
Hermione swallowed again and he still hadn't moved. "I've never had sex," she blurted. Her entire face went red.
Draco stared at her but his expression didn't falter. She watched his eyes narrow before they roved over her face. It felt like an eternity under his careful scrutiny.
"It's—it's not that I don't want to. I just—I can't. I mean, I can't without emotion. You know how all of these people go on dates and then just fall into bed. I can't. It's doesn't work like that for me. I don't—if there's no emotional connection, I don't feel sexual attraction. And even then, I know I couldn't rush it. Men aren't usually very interested in someone who moves at a turtle's pace."
He blinked and leaned back slightly. "Are you saying you don't feel anything for me?"
She could feel her heart racing in her throat, threatening to come up with her lunch. "No, that's not it. I feel—I feel a lot for you but I just—you looked like you wanted—and you said make love—"
Her mind caught on that word—love—but she knew better than to make something more of it than it was. It was an expression. Another phrase akin to having sex or fucking. Sure, in her mind the context meant something specific but she wasn't foolish enough to mistake his words for her own meaning.
Draco lifted his right hand and cupped her cheek. "I did say make love, and that's what I meant. I didn't expect that you'd want that right away. You just didn't strike me as the type." He laughed to himself. "Hell, I was only hoping for more of your kisses. I'd become a monk in exchange for more of those." He stroked his thumb over her heated cheek and leaned in to press a soft kiss to her lips. "It all makes so much more sense now though. Not that I don't believe you'd be a phenomenal kisser without any emotion but it clearly makes a difference to you."
She nodded faintly. "It does."
"Then unless I'm badly misreading the signals, you feel something for me, too."
She could only nod again, too mesmerized by the look in his eyes. Like he wanted to devour her whole but also as though he knew where the boundary line was.
"Alright," he nodded.
Hermione narrowed her eyes, titling her head curiously. "Alright? That's all? I just admitted that I'm a virgin, Draco, and you're fine with it?"
His mouth quirked in a funny smile. "Yes, that's all. What's not to be fine about it?"
She huffed and welcomed the simultaneous relief and bewilderment that flooded her chest. "Because most people would find it odd that I'm knocking on thirty's door and haven't had sex before."
Draco shrugged and she almost got distracted by the breadth of his shoulders. She'd fantasized a time or two about wrapping her arms around them in the heat of the moment.
"But you've explained why. So what if you function differently from other people? I'm not some horny teenager looking for a quick shag, Hermione." He lowered his head to meet her eyes better. "And you might like to know that that's never been how I approached relationships anyway. I've been far more discriminating, and celibate for a few years now actually. I've all but admitted, and I guess I'll just say it, I'm in love with you. I'll wait for you to be ready, assuming you choose me."
The calm in her chest dissipated only to be replaced by the insistent urge to kiss him again. And so she did.
He groaned when she pressed her mouth to his, seeking entrance with her tongue. He granted it without any pause. He sunk closer in the water, pulling her to him in the middle of the hot tub where he held her on his knees. One of his hands knotted at the base of her skull where her hair was tied back in a messy bun, the other found a place at the base of her spine, dangerously closer to her rear. As she kissed him, she could tell that his fingers were itching to inch further south. She lifted one of her hands and guided him to cup her rear, silently giving permission.
Draco squeezed the firm flesh in his hand and kissed her harder. He chased after her mouth when she pulled back, gulping the steamy air around them. His hands over her back and sides left streaks of fire.
Hermione swallowed as she touched her fingertips to his swollen lips. Some primal satisfaction twisted in her gut at the sight. She'd done that to him.
"I think we could likely turn to prunes in here snogging but I have another confession." He arched a curious brow in question. "I'm starving. Can we stop for dinner?"
He stared at her for a moment before he laughed. He leaned forward and stole one last peck from her lips.
"I suppose so. I'm going to have to feed you if I want to keep you well nourished enough to keep snogging."
"As much as I wish your lips were enough, I really need to eat," she admitted. "I didn't get lunch because I was prepping for my lecture."
He smirked as he stood and turned to help her out of the tub. "So you do admit that it was a lecture then?"
Hermione scoffed and she smacked his shoulder. "You're still a prat, you know."
It was hard to be upset with him as he unfolded her robe and gently wrapped her up in it. Especially so when he cupped her head in his hands and angled her so he could lean down for another kiss.
"I'm aware," he nodded.
She watched as he slipped his own robe on and still didn't bother with tying the blasted thing.
"Did you want to eat here? Or we can go change and I can take you to dinner. There's a nice cafe just down the street."
Hermione shook her head and parked herself in one of the cushioned chairs at the table. She folded her legs under her to get comfortable, rearranging her robe in the process.
"No, I'd rather stay here with you."
His smile would have melted every heart within a ten mile radius. He took the seat opposite her and without even a wand flourish, menus appeared in front of them.
"Merlin," she muttered. "The accommodations at this hotel are beyond anything I've ever seen."
Draco smirked across the table, not even bothering to lift his menu. He lounged comfortably in his chair looking very much like a cat that got the cream. And she supposed, in a way, he had. He seemed to have gotten what he wanted at least.
"I am going to have the best time spoiling you," he said.
She bit her lip and ignored his chuckle. She'd never really been in a proper relationship since that adolescent attempt at dating with Ron. They'd still been teenagers then. Dating Draco…no, courting Draco was going to be something else entirely. Her entire body hummed at the idea of it.
After they ate and argued over who would be charging the meal to their room (he won), Draco took her hand and escorted her back to her room.
The hall was empty when they arrived at her door, and she wrapped her hands in the edges of his robe and pulled him to her for one last kiss goodnight. While still emotional, the intensity behind the kiss was different. His care for her was careful and controlled.
"How does this work exactly?" She asked when he pulled back and she fell back on her heels.
Draco ran his thumb over her cheekbone. "I forget that not everyone understands the tradition of courting. I doubt Weasley adhered to it with you."
She shook her head, only mildly stunned that he'd used Ron's actual surname and not some insulting approximation of it.
"We date in the sense that muggles would—dinner and outings—but my intentions are very clear. There's no specific time limit on it but I would say on average most courtships result in an engagement within a year, usually less if there's already some sort of established connection between the couple. Theo and Blaise for example were engaged within six months."
"I'm still surprised, pleasantly so, that their relationship was still so well accepted."
Draco nodded. "As am I. They knew what they wanted from each other. That made things much easier."
"You act like you know already much of what you need to about me."
He nodded once more. "I do. I know where you stand on your career and I don't care where we live. The only thing I don't know is your feelings on children."
Her heart kicked up again. She usually didn't worry too much about the fact that both of her best friends were married and had already started a family. She was half convinced she'd be fine not having kids anyway. She could just dote on her godchildren and be fine.
However, this now presented new possibility. Nothing was set in stone obviously but the options were clear.
Hermione swallowed. "I refuse to give birth to more than two. Do you have any idea how much stress pregnancy and birth puts on a woman's body? It's not just physical appearance you know. There's trauma and—"
He cut her off with a kiss. "The stress on your body does matter to me. Two is plenty but I'd be just as happy with one." He stepped back suddenly and she gave him a bewildered look. "Trust me. If I don't go now, I'm going to lose it. The thought of getting you pregnant is especially appealing right now while all of these emotions are fresh."
Hermione wrapped her arms around her middle, feeling the shot of heat straight to her core. No, she was't broken at all. She'd just not found her attraction for Draco Malfoy before last year.
"Goodnight," she said, and quickly slipped inside her room.
The cool air from the aircon washed over her heated skin and she shivered. After a warm shower, she slipped beneath the covers of her bed, and rested right in the middle. She imagined Draco's arms around her again and wondered what it would feel like to sleep against his chest one day.
The next morning when she opened her door to leave, she found Draco standing on the other side, his hand raised to knock. For a split second, she worried she dreamed everything from last night and that the passionate but understanding man had been a figment of her imagination.
But then he kissed her good morning and took her bag without a word, reassuring her that it had been real.
At the portkey downstairs, Draco kissed the back of her hand. "I'll stop by to see you later if that's alright."
She nodded and within the blink of an eye, their portkeys activated and they were separated. She landed in her living room alone. She glanced around at her surroundings and sighed.
She spent her afternoon unpacking and cleaning—her usual for a Saturday. Although, she couldn't keep her eyes from straying to the clock over her mantle. A part of her had expected Draco to return to take her to lunch but noon passed and then one and two and three and no word from him.
It was around half past five when Ginny's head popped up in her fireplace.
"We're meeting at the Leaky Cauldron for dinner. Six o'clock."
She gave what felt like a half-hearted smile and nodded. In her mind, she wondered what exactly 'later' meant to Draco.
Regardless, she found herself at a large round booth, seated on the edge, while Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Luna were all squished together. The kids had all been dropped off with Molly and Arthur for the weekend apparently so all she was left with was a bunch of couples.
She was barely even paying attention when Ron announced, "It's twins! Can you believe it?" Luna just smiled calmly at his side, that usual dreamy look on her face.
Ginny nearly choked on her pint. "Bloody hell! That's—well that's—"
"A lot of babies at once," Harry said. He shrugged when his wife backhanded him. "What? It is? What if they're like Fred and George were? Merlin, they'll be a handful."
Hermione shot Harry a look. "I'm sure they'll be darling and Ron and Luna will be just fine." Though, honestly, Harry was probably right.
"Thanks, Hermione," Ron grinned. He stuck his tongue out at Harry.
"So, how was the conference, Hermione?" Ginny asked. She gave her a desperate look, a clear plea to redirect the conversation to anything else before Ron and Harry got into a childish metaphorical slap fight.
She drew a deep breath, wondering belatedly if she should have confided in Ginny first. But perhaps she should just wait until they'd had a first real date before telling anymore. Probably for the best.
"It was—nice. The attendance to my session was above expectations."
"I want to know about that hotel," Ron said. "I've heard the onsite restaurant is expensive but beyond compare there."
"Oh, it was good." She nodded, schooling her features. Memories of kissing Draco in the hot tub surfaced and she prayed her face didn't turn red. "Very warm for June. The heat was awful."
A partial lie. It had been heated, but not even a little bit awful.
Ginny waggled her brows. "Meet anyone interesting?"
"Merlin, there you are!"
Hermione jumped at the sound of his voice. Draco stood at the edge of their table, his short hair looking windswept over his forehead. He swept in without a word and pressed a soft kiss to her mouth.
"Well, well, well," Ginny purred. "The return of Draco Malfoy."
"I bloody knew it," Harry whispered. He just wasn't as quiet as he thought he was.
Ron's lip curled back. "I was afraid of this."
Draco helped himself sliding into the booth next to her as if he'd been invited. He smirked at her friends before focusing his attention on her.
"I sent an owl but I suppose you were already gone. My mother arrived not long after I got back. I've been trying to get away from her for hours."
Ron snickered, "Mummy's boy."
Draco shot him a glare. "I'd reconsider that quip, Weasley."
Ginny turned her head towards Harry, her shoulders shaking with concealed laughter.
Hermione could hear her wheezing, "It's funny because it's true!"
Hermione was a little overcome with Draco's presence and how easily he slid into their conversation. He must have showered recently because his cologne was fresh and she was fighting a battle she was afraid she might lose to take him by the hand to return to her flat and continue their snogging session from last night.
"Um, so Draco was at the conference."
Ginny arched a knowing brow. "Clearly. Is this—what is this?"
Draco met Hermione's eyes before he glanced about that able. "I'm getting a pint. Anyone else?"
Harry and Ron both raised their hands while Ginny and Luna shook their heads no.
"You?" Draco asked Hermione.
"I don't drink beer."
"True," he nodded. "Glass of red it is then."
He slipped from the booth as easily as he'd come and she watched him go until Ginny cleared her throat.
"Is he the one then?"
She filled her lungs with a deep breath. "I think so."
Ron snorted. "Warm for June indeed."
Thank you so much for reading. If you enjoyed this little one-shot, I hope you'll consider leaving a review.