July 11th, 2018
Author's Note: Written for an ask game on Tumblr May 2017. The prompt was Draco/Hermione and "Of all the people I could've gotten stuck in an elevator with and it just had to be you."
Draco slipped into the elevator, tugging on the end of his robe with a flourish to keep it from catching in the closing doors.
"You again," Hermione Granger said, an unamused frown adorning her lips.
"Me again," Draco replied with a smirk.
"If I didn't know any better I'd think you were following me."
"It's cute you think I find you worth following."
Her glare was cutting, but she didn't move away from him, didn't shift a muscle. Draco smirked to himself, recognizing her stance for what it was. The tension in her shoulders, her choking grasp on the scrolls in her arms, they suggested a need for control in a situation that could very quickly unravel.
"How did your meeting with the Minister go?" Draco asked, remembering her errand from their first meeting in this very elevator an hour ago on their way up to Level One.
"Splendidly," she bit out, her arms tightening around her scrolls.
"That bad, eh?"
"Well, what about you? What were you doing snooping around Level One if I was busy with the Minister?"
Draco took an infinitesimal step closer to Hermione and delighted in the panic that flashed across her face as she nearly retreated but refrained from taking a single step. She narrowed her eyes at him. I know what you're doing, her gaze said.
"Everyone knows the way to whisper into the Minister's ear is to fit yourself comfortably in the Senior Undersecretary's pocket. My meeting was more successful than yours, I'd wager."
He was amused to see her fuming, her cheeks flushed, her mouth trembling as if mumbling silent obscenities to herself. Steam practically streamed from her ears.
And then she sighed, releasing all of the pent-up aggression with her breath. Her shoulders sagged in defeat, and she nearly dropped her scrolls onto the floor.
"I've worked so hard to reach a point where I can hold an audience with the Minister, and then you come traipsing along undermining everything."
Draco shrugged and crossed his arms, displeasure tingling through his system. They had this argument about struggle and privilege too often for his liking. "Don't blame me for figuring out the system and using it to my advantage."
"You always have the advantage."
The elevator shuddered and stopped, and Draco and Hermione looked at each other in confusion. Hermione pressed the button for Level Eight and then tried several other floors when nothing happened.
"Great, as if this day could get any worse," she said, scowling. "Of all the people I could have gotten stuck in an elevator with, it just had to be you."
Draco leaned against the wall and frowned, wondering where Hermione's mood was coming from. Had her meeting been that important, and had it gone that badly?
"It's been a long time since the idea of being confined in a small space with me has been repulsive to you."
A flash of an expression Draco couldn't name crossed her face before she turned her head away.
His voice lowered, but it was firm as he said, "Talk to me."
She sighed again. "It's ridiculous, honestly. Harry and Ron keep telling me it's not, but I know it is."
She turned her brown eyes on him, wide with distress, cheeks flushing in embarrassment. "Six years ago, we won a war against a monster who wanted to wipe the world of people like me. I was even honored with an award for my service in that war. But the more involved I become in the Ministry, the higher I rise in the ranks, the more I see that old prejudices didn't die with Voldemort. I don't know how to live in this world when it makes me feel so small."
Draco's muscles tensed, his mind racing. He'd known since the beginning that her association with him bothered her more than she let on. That's why she'd kept it secret from her friends, but this, what she had just revealed, explained everything, explained why she kissed him in the darkness and shunned him in the light.
He struggled with the correct words to say to make her feel better when he knew he couldn't. Anything he said, even if he meant it with every fiber of his saved soul, could be waved away as an insincere platitude. In the mood she was in now, she would never believe him if he told her she was too good for the world she wanted so desperately to be a part of.
Not enough time had passed since the war, since their school days, since he'd aired his own prejudices proudly, for her to ever believe him if he told her how highly he held her in his esteem.
So he resorted to a tried and true method of improving her mood.
He cupped her face in his hands and she sighed for the third time, the rest of the tension leaving her body. The scrolls finally fell out of her arms, scattering around their feet, and she stood there, eyes lowered, waiting for him to make her feel better the only way he knew how.
She shuddered when his mouth covered hers, her hands clenching in the material of his robes, holding on for dear life. Her lips parted and he took advantage of their opening to nip at her lower lip and soothe it with his smooth tongue. Their bodies pressed together with practiced ease, ease that came from familiarity.
Draco had fun teasing her, and he derived some pleasure from their antagonism, which wasn't feigned in the slightest. But there was something about this moment, the moment when Hermione Granger lost her head and her control, that he savored. There was something about making her breathless, making her pant, making her beg that made him feel big.
Somewhere along the line, he began to savor more than just her body, but he knew that was crossing a line with her, so he gave her what she wanted, what she needed, and he buried his own wants and needs.
She trembled in his arms until the elevator shook and began to move.
She stepped away from him, straightening her robes as Draco did the same.
He stood as far away from her as possible, nothing but elevator music between them, as she gathered her scrolls from the floor and carefully stacked them in her arms to keep them from spilling out again.
She fixed her gaze to a spot on the elevator doors and took a deep breath to steady herself as Draco, too, steadied himself, mentally withdrawing from the situation, reclaiming the mindset he would need for interactions with her at work.
He blatantly stared at her, knowing it would unnerve her, forcing her to build her walls up higher. Draco smirked, their masks firmly in place.
The doors opened, and Hermione Granger stormed into the Atrium without another glance at Draco.
He followed, watching as her bushy hair bounced with the ferocity of her stride. Regret flowed through him for a moment before he swept it aside, suppressing it in the back of his mind with other feelings Draco refused to acknowledge.