A/N: This is the last chapter! Thank you to the wonderful dormiensa for editing it for me. She's awesome! I hope you enjoy the end of my little story. There will be a short epilogue to follow whenever I get around to finishing it. :) Happy reading!
"Malfoy? What are you doing here?" Hermione looked up in shock. She had already resigned herself to the idea that he wasn't coming to her party, and now that he was here, it kind of threw her for a loop.
Draco walked toward her, casually pulling an invitation from his pocket. Waving it in her face, he said, "I was invited, remember?" And then he smirked at her.
As Hermione looked from the invitation in his hand to that stupid smirk on his face, anger started to bubble up inside of her. Maybe it was the way he had strolled in with a slight spring to his step, as opposed to hopping across the room like a deranged Easter Bunny. Or maybe it was the twinkle in his eye that indicated he had been having a pleasant evening so far, perhaps with a leggy blonde who was not his mother, instead of an extremely bad birthday with only a bottle of vodka and an extremely handsy Tippy the Tornado for company. Or maybe it was because he held an aura of confidence about him that suggested he had never been rejected by Neville Longbottom or anyone for that matter.
Or perhaps it was the fact that he was impeccably dressed in a dark suit that probably cost more than she made in an entire year and without a single hair out of place, instead of looking like he had been unwillingly dragged from his bedroom half-naked just to spend the evening being half-molested by an extremely over-sexed Elmer Fudd. Or maybe, just maybe, it was because, even though he had implied that he might, he apparently didn't enjoy her company quite enough to show up to her birthday party on frigging time.
Whatever the reason, she was mad. And she wasn't about to let him charm his way out of it, whatever "it" was.
Hermione stood up to glare at him properly. Unfortunately, she didn't accomplish this as gracefully as she would have liked. Whether it was due to the leg-locking spell that hadn't completely worn off or the obscene amount of vodka she had consumed, she couldn't say for sure, but she stumbled forward and fell right into Draco's very strong arms. Hermione took a longer than was completely appropriate moment to breathe him in before coming to her senses and angrily shaking him off. "Yes, I do recall some sort of mix up with the invitation list," she admitted tersely. "I just didn't think you'd actually show up, is all."
Unfazed by her icy demeanor, Draco carefully put the invitation back in his pocket and replied, "Since I was invited, and you never uninvited me, I thought I might as well stop by and check out the single ladies that you assured me would be here. However, it looks like you are the only one here." He looked her up and down appraisingly, causing her to fidget and tug on the hem of her dress. Finally he said, "Nice shoes, Granger."
"They're slippers, actually," she retorted, trying her best to sound dignified despite the ridiculous, fluffy, pink bunnies on her feet. That she was able to correct him was only a small consolation.
"Hmm," said Draco, unable to hide the amusement from his expression. "The invitation indicated this shindig would be a tad more formal. Too bad it wasn't more clear. I have a smoking jacket I look dead sexy in."
Despite her determination to stay mad at him, Hermione's eyes went wide as an image of Draco Malfoy in a smoking jacket unwillingly popped into her head.
After a long moment of Hermione just staring at him, Draco cleared his throat to get her attention. When she still didn't respond, he finally said, "So, are you going to ask me to sit down, or are you just going to keep standing there gaping at me while you mentally undress me in your head?"
Snapping out of the rather vivid daydream she had been having—damn overactive imagination!—
Hermione glared at him and, letting out a harrumph, slumped down in her chair.
Taking that as an invitation, Draco removed a crisp white handkerchief from his pocket and carefully dusted off the chair next to her before sitting down. "Still fond of vodka, I see," he commented, glancing at the half-empty bottle on the table.
"I am tonight," muttered Hermione, generously pouring herself another drink.
Draco Accio'd a glass from the bar and poured one for himself. "What's the matter?" he asked somewhat mockingly. "Having a bad birthday?"
"You're late," she blurted out before she could stop herself. She didn't know why it mattered, but it did.
"I'm the first one here," said Draco pointedly.
"That shows how much you know," Hermione snapped.
"Oh, was the party really hopping earlier?" asked Draco sarcastically.
"You have no idea," Hermione replied dryly, letting out an involuntary shudder.
"Well, I apologize for my lateness. There were a few things I needed to take care of before I came here. Besides, I like to make an entrance," he said, giving her a wink.
"What kind of things?" asked Hermione bluntly.
"What kind of things did you need to take care of before you could come to my party?"
"Why does it matter?" asked Draco, looking at her closely before smiling. "Were you waiting for me?"
"No!" exclaimed Hermione defensively. "I just think you're being kind of vague. Like you're hiding something."
Draco shrugged. "What can I say? I'm a man of mystery. Some women find that attractive."
"Some women are stupid and end up going out with serial killers," Hermione retorted.
Draco looked at her with an amused expression on his face. "I can assure you that none of the things I was doing involved any corpses. And if you don't believe me, you can ask Potter or that idiot he has following me."
"Oh, does Harry have someone following you?" said Hermione, pretending she didn't know.
"I couldn't even enjoy my messy eggs and crunchy toast this morning, let alone my sausage," said Draco, giving her a sideways glance.
"But you had crepes for breakfast," said Hermione without thinking.
Draco looked at her in surprise. "How did you know I had crepes?"
Realizing her mistake, Hermione stammered, "Oh, um, I didn't. You, uh, just look like a crepe kind of guy."
"That idiot is reporting to you too, isn't he?" Draco accused.
"No, of course not. Harry may have mentioned a few things," said Hermione vaguely. "I certainly didn't lose any sleep over it," she added hastily.
"Did he tell you I had dinner with my mother last night?" asked Draco, looking at her closely.
"Eventually," said Hermione a tad bitterly, remembering the very long night of reports on the mysterious leggy blonde.
"Did he tell you about our conversation?" Draco persisted.
"Harry didn't mention anything. I think Dawlish was too busy staring at your mother's legs. Why?" asked Hermione, starting to get suspicious again.
"No reason," said Draco, trying to sound offhanded.
Hermione's eyes narrowed. "Are you plotting something with your mother?"
"Don't be ridiculous," Draco scoffed. "I thought we already agreed I was using my house-elves for my nefarious plans."
"Perhaps you are recruiting your mother's house-elves as well."
"Mother is very particular about social etiquette. It's hardly proper to lend out one's elves."
"Even to her own son?"
"Especially to her son. Mother is quite adamant that I do my own dirty work."
"And is that what you were doing this morning? Dirty work?"
"I think we've already established that I was having crepes this morning."
"After the crepes. When you were meeting with Goblins. When you were going to Knockturn Alley. When you were–"
"My, my," interrupted Draco, clucking his tongue. "You certainly do seem to know an awful lot about my whereabouts. One might think you were obsessed."
"I am not obsessed. I... I just have a natural thirst for knowledge..."
"About me," Draco said, finishing her sentence for her. He leaned in closer, shrinking the gap between them. "So, tell me, Granger. Would you like me to help you quench that thirst?"
"Oh, well, er..." stammered Hermione, unconsciously picking up the Wonder Wand and fiddling with it nervously.
Glancing down at the small, pink wand in her hands, Draco asked, "Is that a..."
Hermione looked down in horror at the pleasure stick she had apparently just been fondling. Not knowing what else to do, she stuck it in her drink. "It's a drink mixer," she said quickly, swirling it in her vodka. Unfortunately, that seemed to activate the wand, and it started vibrating obnoxiously, sloshing the vodka out of her glass. Having to practically shout to be heard over the loud humming noise that the device was making, she added rather loudly, "I prefer my drinks shaken, not stirred."
Draco reached over and pulled the wand out of her drink. As he was inspecting it, lube squirted out the tip. "And how do you prefer your orgasms?" he asked, smirking.
Embarrassed, Hermione snatched the Wonder Wand out of his hand. "That is none of your business."
"I was wondering what you were doing here all by yourself on your birthday, but I guess you were just enjoying some alone time." He laughed.
Hermione scowled at him and in her anger, she unconsciously tightened her grip on the Wonder Wand. Lube squirted out the tip again, causing Draco to laugh even harder at her expense.
Not liking being laughed at, Hermione slammed the wand down on the table. "For your information, I am not alone. It just so happens that Cormac McLaggen is here."
"McLaggen? What's he doing here?" asked Draco, sounding annoyed.
"Not molesting the coat rack, that's for sure," said Hermione guiltily.
Draco gave her a funny look. "No, I mean, he wasn't on the invitation list."
Hermione looked at him curiously. "You memorized the invitation list?"
"No," said Draco quickly. "I just don't remember seeing that wanker on it, is all."
"Well, that's because he wasn't on it. Harry and Ron would have thrown a fit if they saw his name. So, Ginny invited him behind their backs."
"Why would she do that?" Draco questioned.
"Apparently Cormac is easy," Hermione admitted bitterly.
"So, it was a list to get you laid," Draco accused.
"It wasn't my idea. It was Ginny's. I am just an innocent victim in all of this."
"And are you still innocent? Or did you let McLaggen take your virginity?" Draco asked, sounding jealous.
"I told you: I am not a virgin," Hermione fumed.
Draco gave her a pitying look. "It's been five years. You may as well be."
"Oh, yeah? Well, maybe it hasn't been five years anymore. You did get to the party late," Hermione snapped.
"Where is he?"
"I think he was getting his coat." Or getting it on with his coat, she couldn't help thinking to herself.
Draco looked over toward the coat rack, and Hermione discreetly cast a Finite under the table.
Cormac immediately stumbled out from a pile of coats with his trousers hanging around his ankles. Looking around with a dazed expression on his face, his eyes finally settled on Hermione. Not bothering to pull up his trousers, he slowly walked toward her, waggling the Passion Paddle at her. "You've been a wascally wabbit, haven't you, wuv? I'm into some weird shit, too, but I can honestly say that's the first time–"
Hermione cleared her throat and nodded over at Draco.
Cormac's eyes turned on the intruder. "I see we have company," he said, not looking at all pleased about it.
Draco glared back at him.
The atmosphere suddenly got so tense that Hermione felt the need to say something. "You remember Malfoy from school, don't you?"
"No, I don't think I do," replied Cormac coldly, pulling up his trousers.
"Well, I remember you," said Draco just as coldly. "You're the one who played Quidditch like he was Confunded."
Hermione put her head in her hands and banged it against the table.
Cormac scowled. "Wait, I think I do recall something about you. You were that kid who was turned into a ferret and crawled into his friend's pants, right?"
Hermione peeked up from her hands just in time to see all of the color drain from Draco's face.
Cormac smirked. "I thought so. Now, why don't you put your little, white tail between your legs and scamper out of here. Hermione and I were in the middle of something." He plucked a splinter out of his tongue. "Something pretty kinky, apparently."
"I'm not going anywhere," said Draco adamantly. "I was invited to this party."
"Look," said Cormac patronizingly. "I'm not into threesomes with dudes. You want to Transfigure yourself into a ferret again, I might consider it. Otherwise, hit the road."
"Granger here said you were getting your coat. So, perhaps you should be the one hitting the road," Draco replied stonily.
Cormac smiled wickedly. "It seems we're at an impasse. Unless you have any ideas."
"I'll drink you for her," Draco challenged.
Hermione's head snapped up. "What!"
"I'm listening," said Cormac.
"We'll drink until one of us passes out. Last man standing wins Granger."
Hermione scowled at him. "I am a human being, not some kind of prize to be won in a stupid drinking contest."
"Deal," said Cormac, ignoring Hermione and reaching across her to shake Draco's hand. "I should probably warn you though. I've never lost a drinking contest in my life. So, no hard feelings when Hermione and I end up having sex over your unconscious body, okay?"
"And I should warn you," said Draco, his eyes flashing dangerously, "I never lose at anything."
"Oh, yeah?" Cormac smirked. "I'm pretty sure you lost your dignity that day you had your furry little adventure down under."
"And now I'm losing my patience with you," said Draco, his lips curling up into an evil smile. "I guess you really can't trust a Slytherin, can you?"
A momentary look of fear crossed Cormac's face, but he quickly shook it off. Filling up both of their glasses, he said, "Let's drink."
Hermione angrily sat back in her chair and put her arms across her chest. "This is ridiculous and highly offensive."
"Speaking of offensive," said Draco, smirking at her, "your nipple is showing."
Hermione quickly looked down to adjust her dress, but seeing nothing amiss, looked up in time to see Draco pour something into Cormac's drink.
"I missed it," said Cormac a bit sulkily. "Guess I'll have to catch it later. Between my teeth."
"Bottom's up," said Draco, raising his glass to his lips.
"Oh, it will be," Cormac declared before downing his drink in one gulp.
Hermione watched in fascinated horror as Cormac's eyes rolled back in his head. Almost immediately, he tipped sideways and fell right out of his chair, making a thud as he hit the floor. Looking back up at Draco with her eyebrow arched, she asked, "Did you just poison Cormac McLaggen?"
Draco shrugged. "Maybe."
Hermione got a funny smile on her face. "I think I may just love you."
Draco smirked. "How much have you had to drink tonight?"
Draco Accio'd a bottle from the bar and poured her a fresh drink, adding something from a vial he had hidden in his pocket. Pushing the drink toward her, he said, "Shall we make a toast?"
Hermione looked suspiciously at the drink. "Am I going to end up flat on my back if I drink this?"
"Well, that remains to be seen, Granger. Let's just see how the night goes, shall we?" He gave her a wink.
Moody's advice echoed in her mind, but she quickly dismissed it. It was her thirtieth birthday after all, and if she was ever going to do anything truly reckless, now was the time. And besides, witnessing Draco take out Cormac like that was the biggest turn on of her life. Fuck if she was going to pass up this opportunity and wait another five years to get laid. She picked up her glass and raised it up high. "What shall we toast to?"
Draco clinked his glass to hers. "To the smartest witch of her age. Happy Birthday, Granger."
Hermione took a tentative sip and things suddenly became clearer. A lot clearer. "What is this?"
"It's Butterbeer with a sobriety potion chaser. I thought we should go into this with us both knowing what we're getting ourselves into."
She looked at him thoughtfully and then took another sip. By way of conversation, she asked, "You don't happen to have Quidditch box seats, do you?"
"Of course I do," he boasted, just like he had back at Hogwarts. "Been in the family for years. They come in quite handy during my various business dealings."
"Mmmm, I bet they do," agreed Hermione, sipping her drink. "And tell me. Do any of your business dealings have to do with rare and magical plants?"
Draco smiled at her. "Well, that is a lucrative field. I may have recently acquired a company or two that deal in such things."
"I'm curious," said Hermione, watching him closely. "Do you know anything about an odd strain of Devil's Snare that isn't affected by light?"
"Funny you should mention that," said Malfoy, his eyes twinkling a little too merrily. "One of my companies is doing research on such a plant. I put my best man on it."
"More like in it," Hermione said dryly. "What are you up to, Malfoy?"
"I don't know what you mean," said Draco, feigning innocence.
"You sabotaged my invitation list," Hermione accused. "You are the reason no one showed up to my party. Why would you do such a thing?"
Draco shrugged. "I'm wooing you. How's it going so far?" He gave her a predatory smile.
Hermione's mouth dropped open. "You're... you're what?"
"I'm wooing you," Draco repeated. "I thought this would be a good time for us to spend some alone time together. Away from your office." When she still looked at him blankly, he added, "You know, like a date."
"You bribed, threatened, tricked and endangered my friends just because you wanted to go on a date with me?" she asked incredulously.
Seeming rather pleased with himself, Draco replied, "Yep."
Hermione looked at him as if he'd gone crazy. "You know, you could have just asked me out."
"What do you think I am, a Gryffindor?" asked Draco, offended. "Slytherins scheme. That's what we do."
"Well, it seems like a lot of effort."
"Some things are worth the effort. You're worth the effort," he quietly added.
"Oh," said Hermione, not knowing what else to say.
"Besides," he continued. "You wouldn't have believed I was serious if I'd just asked."
"Well, if you would have given me some signals..." began Hermione.
Draco snorted. "I have been coming to your office every week for the last year just to spend time with you. I freed my house-elves for you."
"You freed your house-elves... for me?"
"Well, and because what you said makes sense. We're no better than they are. House-elves should have equal rights and get paid for–"
Hermione cut him off by throwing her arms around him and pressing her lips to his. It only took him a moment to catch on, and they were soon snogging like teenagers. However, just when it was getting really good, they were interrupted by the bell ringing over the door. They broke apart to see Seamus standing in the doorway holding a big bouquet of flowers.
"Hey, Hermione," said Seamus a little too exuberantly, his eyes going straight to her cleavage. "I ran into Ginny in Diagon Alley after I got the news that my divorce had come through. She mentioned that you might be–"
Not even letting him finish, Hermione whipped out her wand and hit him with a Petrificus Totalus straight to the chest. Seamus keeled over, bouquet in hand, the flowers scattering around him.
"Nice shot," Draco commented.
Hermione stared down at Seamus in shock. "I think you might be a bad influence on me."
"Is that a good thing?"
Hermione looked back up at Draco. "I'm not sure yet," she said, biting her lip.
"Maybe it's time we found out," he said huskily, leaning in to kiss her neck.
Hermione tilted her head back to give him better access. "Can I ask you something?" she said a little breathlessly.
"Mmhm," he murmured into her neck, still peppering her with kisses.
"What were you talking about with your mother?"
"I was talking about you and my intentions toward you," he whispered, tickling her ear.
"Oh?" she gasped.
"She wants to have brunch with you."
"Oh," said Hermione, a little less enthusiastically.
"Don't worry," he assured her, brushing her skin lightly with his fingertips, letting them trail down her body. "I only told her about my honorable intentions."
"Oh," she said again, much more eagerly.
He returned to kissing her, a little more vigorously this time, exploring her body and getting to know her better.
Hermione was very much enjoying his ministrations thus far and was not at all concerned that her dress had somehow ridden up past her waist and that Draco's wandering hands were just now discovering that she wasn't wearing knickers. Between the kissing and the touching, she was feeling sensations she hadn't felt in a very long time, and she was looking forward to experiencing a few new ones as well. However, she was definitely not expecting what she felt next. "Ouch!"
"What?" asked Malfoy, halting his kisses to look at her in concern.
"Something just bit me."
"Well, it wasn't me. I haven't gotten that far yet."
"Maybe it was a Love Locust," Hermione said half jokingly. At his raised eyebrow, she quickly muttered, "Or a common Sex Slug."
"Definitely the Love Locust," he murmured in her ear.
"How do you know?" she asked a little breathlessly.
"I have my sources," he said between kisses. "I heard there was an infestation here. I bribed Tom to owl Weaselette a gift certificate for a free party rental. Weasleys never can resist free stuff."
"Ginny didn't even pay for this party," said Hermione, slightly offended.
"So, you're saying that you used her to lure me here. Because you heard there was an infestation of Love Locusts?" said Hermione incredulously.
He grinned at her cockily. "Yep."
"Are you insane?"
"You do realize that Love Locusts don't exist."
"But they do," he said, running his finger up and down her thigh in tantalizing figure eights.
"How do you know?" she practically whispered.
"Because I was bitten by one," he confessed, looking deep into her eyes.
"You were?" She gulped.
"A long time ago. You just never noticed," he answered.
"Dear, Merlin," she breathed as he returned to exploring her body.
"Have you ever heard of the infestation of '99?" he asked, unzipping the back of her dress.
He smirked. "Well this one is going to put that one to shame."
Sometimes, it felt good to be bad, she thought as Malfoy kissed his way down her body until he was under the table making her bunny-clad toes curl. Leaning back in her chair, Hermione closed her eyes and smiled contentedly. Whoever thought Malfoy could be so agreeable? She supposed she would have to write Ginny that thank you note after all. A bad birthday was exactly what she needed. And with a Passion Paddle, a Wonder Wand, a giant cake with pink icing, a Love Locust infestation and around fifteen years of pent up sexual tension, this birthday had the potential to be epically bad.