A Bloody Banter
Hermione looked around, remembering the last time she had visited this place with her parents on their summer vacation when she was around 7. Usually she would not allow herself to remember her parents, but this time, just the mere sight, smell and sounds were able to take her back to a time when everything was simple and normal, when she was happy, when there was no war impending.
As she looked around the bustling streets, with everyone pushing each other trying to get about their lives, she felt a certain sadness seep in. These muggles were all so innocent and oblivious to what was unfolding in their parallel world. It was undoubtedly going to be a very, very messy war.
All of a sudden, she was swooped into a dark alleyway, the vice-like grip on her arms and the sudden motion causing her to yelp.
"What the hell, Malfoy!"
"I should be asking you the same! You think you can just apparate us onto the streets of New York, in front of bloody muggles!"
Hermione glared up at Draco, her brown orbs burning into his grey ones. From her proximity to him, she noticed he smelt rather different, he smelt more…spicy.
And she liked it.
It was not until Draco dropped her arm did she notice he was holding her for that long, and the sudden loss of warmth from his hand caused her to shiver.
"Well, it was the quickest and safest way to get here." Hermione huffed, straightening out her shirt and tidying her hair.
"Well, here we are. Now what?"
Draco casually leaned against the wall of the alley, his arms folded, and just his mere stance made Hermione blush a little for, she could not believe she was actually admitting this, but he actually looked rather sexy in that position, wisps of his blonde hair falling over his eyes. Though he was clad in his typical black suit, she could still see the faint outline of his muscles on his arms, slim but toned, especially with his arms folded like that.
"Gosh Malfoy, must I do all the thinking around here?" She snapped, more so to cover up her complete lack of discretion in checking Malfoy out.
Checking Malfoy out?
Checking. Malfoy. OUT?
Even the mere notion would have made her laugh weeks ago.
Blimey, what was going on with her?!
"Of course, isn't that how this thing works. You do the thinking, I do the acting."
It was so hard for Hermione to argue with him when he was against the wall like that, head bowed slightly so he was looking at her through those blonde lashes, effortlessly looking so goddamn good.
"Excuse me, but who was the one who actually got the First Coin? It looks like I'm the one who's doing all the work around here!" She protested, crossing her arms to match his pose, shifting tersely from side to side.
"And who was the one who actually got us closer to finding out where the Second coin is?"
Hermione wanted to argue, to snap back, to say something to counter him. She really hated not having something to back up an argument, but before she could even reply, Malfoy pushed himself off the wall and walked over to her.
"Exactly, now, are we done trying to prove which one is the better partner? Because the answer is pretty clear."
He was inches from her, smirking down at her with a mischievous glint in his eyes that Hermione wanted to smack out of him, yet at the same time, found so endearing and seductive.
And then Malfoy did something which made Hermione freeze.
Slowly, his tongue came out and he skilfully licked his lips, glancing down at her lips before his eyes darted back up to meet hers, that killer smirk reappearing mere seconds later.
Hermione could feel warmth settle in the pit of her stomach as she watched him, her eyes stuck on those rosy lips which reminded her of when she could feel them on her own. How they moved against hers, so gentle but so powerful as well, causing a storm to rage inside of her. With him doing that tiny little action, all she wanted to do was to fling her arms around his strong shoulders and attack those perfect lips with her own, to feel his hands on her, to feel his skin on hers….
Suddenly, Hermione's mind went back into focus and her eyes snapped up to his, noticing how he was still smirking at her, that naughty glimmer still ever-so-present in his eyes.
And then she realised what he was doing, what game he was playing
And she was certainly not going to let him win.
"Oh Malfoy, if ever the day comes when you're not so smug, cocky, lazy, vile and useless, maybe, just maybe, you'll be the better partner."
As she spoke, she inched closer and closer to him, until her lips were barely touching his, all the while speaking in the sultriest voice she could muster. And just as she spoke the last word, she noticed his lips twitch a little, and that was her cue.
Just like that, she stepped away, leaving Draco a little breathless, and a little angry.
Satisfied with how much she had annoyed Malfoy, Hermione peered out of the alleyway, clutching her little bag of useful items, as she liked to call it, thinking of what to do.
"How are we going to find Peter Grimgory?" She muttered to herself, wracking her brain to devise some sort of plan.
First, she thought of all the wizards and witches she knew who had connections in New York, but even if she knew some, they were not going to be of any help because she had no idea how to even find them.
Then she thought of doing so the muggle way and looking up the address book, perhaps asking around. But New York was huge, and it was too dangerous to start talking to muggles, and besides, his daughter already revealed that he did not want his location revealed, which all the more made it unlikely to find him that easily.
Then she thought of some charm, some spell, something that could maybe lead them to him, or at least closer to finding out where he lived. There had to be something she could do, she was a witch for crying out loud, with magical abilities. Finding a person should not have to be that hard.
As all these thoughts raced through a mind, they were disrupted when she felt a warm finger on her bottom lip, holding it gently.
"Stop it Granger, your lip's bleeding!"
Only then did Hermione realise that she was chewing and biting her lip, which she only did when she was in very serious thought. She could taste the metallic liquid, and then she could feel it being swiped off her lip as Malfoy carefully rubbed away the blood with his thumb.
Hermione was, once again, frozen.
That seemed to be happening a lot lately.
She could only just look at the prejudiced Slytherin Pureblood in front of her, currently wiping away her blood with his thumb, so tenderly touching her lips, so gently holding her chin, so fondly looking at her.
It was as if all the air had been sucked out of her. As if she had been drained of all consciousness, for the only thing on her mind at the moment was how good it felt to have Draco rubbing her lip like that.
When he was done, he finally pulled away his hand, taking out a handkerchief and rubbing away the blood on his thumb, her blood.
The whole thing actually only happened in a mere 5 seconds, but it felt like forever to Hermione as she still tried to contemplate what had just happened. She was experiencing the same confusion and light-headedness she felt when he had kissed her, and she did not like this feeling of not knowing what was going on at all.
"Right, um," Draco awkwardly cleared his throat, perhaps realising the absurdity of his actions, "so, what, um, what're we going to do?"
It took Hermione a proper 10 seconds to snap out of her little daze and register what he had said, "Um, well the only thing I can think off is looking up an address book, but I highly doubt we would be able to find him."
"It's a start."
Draco was about to walk away, but Hermione could not stop herself, and before she could even decipher what she was doing, she had reached out and grabbed his arm.
He stopped, and turned around, glancing down at the hand on his arm before directing his gaze at the witch before him.
Hermione immediately pulled away, rubbing her hands together as she swallowed.
Goodness, why was she acting like this? So shy, so insecure. This was definitely not the normal Hermione.
"I-I was just, um," Hermione quickly pulled herself together, straightening her back and looking at him firmly, " I was just going to ask, why did you do that?"
Draco was most certainly not ready for that question. He was not expecting it, neither did he have a proper answer.
"Do what?" He felt like smacking himself for acting so thick, but that was honestly the only answer he could come up with.
Merlin's beard, why was he acting like this? So nervous, so shifty. This was definitely not the normal Draco.
"You know perfectly well what I'm talking about." For some reason, Hermione sounded defensive, rather provocative actually, and she didn't even know why. It was not like he did something to harm her or anything.
"Granger, more than half the time, I don't know what you're talking about. So, pray tell, what do you mean?"
"Great job Draco, you've just buried a deeper hole for yourself." Draco berated himself in his mind.
Hermione huffed and pointed to her bottom lip, "You wiped away my blood."
It felt rather strange to say it, but it was literally what Malfoy did, and there was no point beating around the bush.
Draco shifted his weight onto his other foot, refusing to glance down to her lips.
This was aggravating Hermione, she hated not having straightforward answers.
"So, why did you do that?"
"Your lip was bleeding, I helped. Blimey Granger, a simple thank you would have sufficed you know. Now enough questions, we have more important stuff to do."
Draco was about to turn back around, but Hermione could not let him get away that easily.
"You had a handkerchief," Draco groaned internally, wishing he had never even done that stupid, impulsive action in the first place.
"Yet you used your finger. You used your bare finger to wipe away my blood. Why? Why would you do that, especially when you just see me as a M-Mudblood."
Draco sighed, and Hermione held her breath, awaiting his answer. She was expecting some sort of catty remark, or a derogatory answer, perhaps another insult, perhaps saying it was an impulsive action and that was why he immediately cleaned off his thumb. But what he said next, she was definitely not expecting.
"I don't see you as just a Mudblood."
Draco walked a step closer, looking into her deep, brown, puzzled eyes, and then whispered very softly.
"I see you as a very, very, very," With each word, he inched closer, and Hermione realised he was doing to her what she did to him.
His lips were a hairline away.
She could feel his warm breath on her mouth, his nose brushing hers slightly.
She closed her eyes, awaiting that sweet sensation of his lips.
And just like that, Draco stepped away, leaving Hermione a little breathless, and a little angry.