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The Moon in Gemini

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Hermione sipped scalding hot tea as she pushed her way around other Ministry workers outside the lifts. The meeting was on level nine and she was late — she hadn’t even had time to strain her tea. Little flecks of bitter leaves were in every sip, making it a truly undesirable drink. The teacup was one of Mary’s, a hideous pink floral that she’d settled for because her own cup was missing somewhere in her paper-stacked office and she’d been too rushed to cast a summoning charm for it. Caffeine was more necessary than ever.

It was the day before Valentine’s Day, and the entire Ministry was decorated for the vapid holiday. Worse than last year or the year before because this year there would be a party atop the roof promptly at five. It was “for morale,” according to Kingsley, and the decorating committee had a vast budget. It made her question the Ministry’s priorities. Because the cupids firing arrows at her, the sugary sweetness on the air, and the sickly pinks just turned her stomach. Come Monday it would all be gone and she could go back to navigating the neutral halls without worrying that there was a balloon about to burst from above and cover her in confetti hearts. She’d spent an hour the night before removing them from her hair. Crookshanks had batted a few of them across the floor. Chasing them into corners and under her bed.

Today she’d worn it in a braid that curled over her shoulder. A few spirals had come free around her face. While her colleagues wore red and pink and sequins on their robes to feel festive, she’d opted for a black rollneck jumper dress and sheer black stockings beneath her favorite blue robes. They were a periwinkle, like her Yule Ball dress. The color she gravitated towards whenever she needed to feel her best. Hermione needed to look exceptionally professional for her meeting with Auror Robards and the head unspeakable, a witch or wizard so revered and secretive she did not even know their name.

The Department of Mysteries still unsettled her, even after all these years, but she at least knew her way around now. For the most part. The black marble floor looked like still water but it would never calm her the way a craggy sea did. The torches along the walls lit everything with a blue haze. The flames spelled to glow cool. She went through the first sequence of doors, nodding hello to Pavarti Patil outside the Love room. Her fellow Gryffindor had used her aptitude for love potions and reading the stars to connect soulmates or whatever divination rot she was on about these days to get a job there as an unspeakable studying Love. They’d had lunch a few times but it was mostly stilted conversation. And that was before Pavarti had started dating Ron.

Hermione had just taken another gulp of too-hot tea when she collided with someone cutting a corner too close. And her piping Yorkshire with a splash of milk and one sugar sloshed from its pink floral teacup and onto the pristine black robes of a very pissed off wizard.

“What the fuck! Who—You.”

Oh no, she thought. Because she knew that voice. Would have known who it was even if he’d been silenced, because only Draco Malfoy would wear velvet robes lined with silk, clasped with a silver snake.

“Sorry,” she said, more to the emerald eye of his house sigil than to him. The tea was seeping into the fabric of his robes and he lazily cast a spell to dry himself and remove the stain.

“Do you typically cast a boiling charm on your tea or only when wielding it as a weapon?”

“I said I was sorry, I didn’t see you—”

“How many times do I have to tell you to keep that bushy head up, Granger?”

“At least once more, Malfoy. If you’ll excuse me,” she meant to step around him but he crowded her. The broad line of his shoulders blocking her from the hallway she needed. “I don’t have time for this, I’m late enough as it is.”

“And your time is more valuable than mine?” He retorted, brushing a hand over the front of his robes and smoothing invisible wrinkles. “I’m headed to the same meeting. Why don’t you go first. If you happen to lose your footing again I at least want the space to move around you. Lest I become covered in whatever swill you drink a second time.”

She rolled her eyes and pushed past him, quickening her pace. The length of his stride kept him close behind her, and she could smell his earthy cologne. She glanced in her teacup, hoping for one last desperate sip of caffeine, only to find muddy tea leaves.

In a distinct pattern she’d seen ten years before.

 


 

Draco lifted the hatch for Trelawney’s tower classroom and let it slam behind him, not thinking about who might be following him. It was a round, stuffy room full of pillows and little tables and the cloying scent of incense mixed with cheap tea. The professor was an old bat with thick glasses and a voice duller than tarnished brass. He’d written his mother of the inadequacies of his third year instructors. From shabby Professor Lupin to that oaf Hagrid and their full of shit divination teacher.

They were studying tea leaves that week. Each lesson structured around the ancient practice of discerning shapes and stories from the sodden dregs of their teacups. Potter had, predictably, brought the most excitement a few days before when Trelawney proclaimed that his cup showed a visage of the Grim. Most of their peers had mundane futures in their own leaves. Even Draco’s leaves had been simple. A stack of books one day. Some sort of fluffy cloud the next. Blaise made a joke that it looked like Granger’s mess of curls. He’d swirled the cup until the image was gone.

“Ah, my dear, this is a truly fortuitous moment!” Trelawney exclaimed. She held Granger’s cup in front of her face, squinting at it from behind her thick glasses. “Have you consulted your text? What do you see?”

To her credit, Granger refrained from rolling her eyes. “Yes, Professor, I’ve consulted the text. It appears as though the leaves have settled themselves into a pile at the bottom of my cup.”

There she was, Draco thought. Much too proud to take something like divination seriously and much too intelligent to think of something interesting to make up about her tea leaves. So she’d settled for snark. It was a Slytherin response, and for a brief moment he was impressed. Before he remembered that she was just a Mudblood. Unworthy of his time or attention, according to Father. So he went back to examining his teacup and the lumpen sludge at the bottom. Keeping one ear on the conversation happening to his left.

“My dear, surely you can deduce that there is much meaning here!” Trelawney exclaimed, turning the cup so that she could show it off to the class. A few students gasped. Probably Lavender Brown and her flock of birds. Always ready to coo at their professor. Insufferable twats.

“I’m afraid my third eye isn’t as developed as yours, professor,” Granger said. “Perhaps you can enlighten me.”

“Why, Miss Granger, this shape here is a waxing gibbous moon. And right here, oh that’s the twins. But they are at arms. Two halves of a whole, but they don’t yet know it. I’m afraid you shall fall in love with a foe.” Gasping sighs from the sillier girls in the class. “A deep, true love.”

Granger laughed, and Trelawney frowned at her. “Last month you told me that I was destined for a match with a Gemini.”

“Indeed, you are. The twins in your cup confirms it.”

“Well, if I am to endure my life waiting for this passionate, intellectually stimulating match to manifest then I suppose I should get to it!” She was fucking with the professor. Draco held back a smirk. There was a gleam in her eyes that said she was enjoying it as much as he was.

“You will find that a Virgo and a Gemini create a most explosive match but one that often ends in blissful matrimony. Keep this in mind, Miss Granger. The leaves do not lie.”

“They may not lie but that doesn’t mean they’re not full of shit,” Granger whispered to herself as the professor turned to assist Longbottom.

“I wouldn’t worry about it, Hermione,” Weasley said. “Harry’s leaves say he’s going to die every other day. He’d have to be a cat to live that many lives.”

And Granger had laughed at that stupid joke.

Draco hated her.

 


 

It had been years since Hermione had last thought of Draco Malfoy as anything other than a former Death Eater. One who deserved a second chance, surely. One who had apologized to her in earnest, after the war. Other than that he’d been less than a fleeting thought. They both worked for the Ministry so she ran into him on occasion.

Granger, he’d say.

Malfoy, she’d reply.

And that was that.

Now they sat side by side at a small conference table, discussing a case that baffled the auror, cursebreaking, magical creatures, and unspeakable departments. Malfoy was an adept cursebreaker with a specialty in dark artifacts. Of bloody course he was. And she represented the magical creatures department because her boss, an ancient witch named Mildred Applebaum, had decided to take a holiday after twenty years without so much as an afternoon off. Head Auror Robards argued for his team, which included Harry, and Jezebel Bolton represented the unspeakables. She was tall and elegant, with a serene face and kind eyes.

They talked in circles. Renegade house elves were believed to be behind some rather unsavory business at Gringotts involving one of the abandoned Death Eater vaults. But the aurors hadn’t been able to prove anything and Draco and his department hadn’t found anything in the dark curses that remained in the Nott vault. Just a few piles of galleons and some heirloom jewelry cursed to maim any Muggle who touched it.

Round and round they went, sharing theories and planning next steps. By the time they’d finished it was near closing time for the Ministry. Most employees had already left for the party and the sun was long gone.

And Hermione found herself traversing the halls of the Department of Mysteries with Malfoy. Winding through in search of the lifts to drop off her things and swallow her distaste for all things saccharine before making an appearance at the might as well have been mandatory party. Her cursed teacup stacked atop her paperwork, taunting her.

“As soon as you admit that elves are capable of vengeance, this case will move along much quicker,” he said from just behind her.

“Since when am I the holdup? If your team would simply do its job and determine the origins of the cursed objects within the vault—”

My team? Come off it. This is clearly a failure of the auror department. Putting too much trust in younger recruits. The ones out for glory.”

“If you’re insinuating that Harry is to blame or that he seeks some sort of attention for this you’re more deluded than I thought. Perhaps you should clear your mind. I hear Occlumency is good for that,” Hermione spat, quickening her pace as she opened the second door from the right, leading them into what had once been the time room. Now it was empty, save for some dust.

“I’m merely suggesting that the auror department could assign more serious investigations to more seasoned aurors. You don’t have to twist my words, Granger.”

“They twist themselves just fine without my help,” she said.

They bickered back and forth about nothing until they open the wrong door. It was a rather lavish office, not the atrium for the department. The instant she realized it, the door shimmered into the wall. Trapping them.

“Granger what have you done to the door?”

“Oh, shut up. You know I didn’t do this.” Hermione closed her eyes and focused on happy thoughts instead of the irritation that prickled her from her unwanted companion. When her patronus appeared, bouncing around her, she smiled. “Please find Harry and tell him I’m stuck in what I believe to be Unspeakable Bolton’s office with Draco Malfoy.”

“You do realize everyone will be at the party by now. Potter’s probably making the Chosen One’s rounds with his Weasley,” Malfoy said, throwing himself into the chair behind the ornate mahogany desk.

Hermione perched on the sofa to wait for her patronus. The Ministry was warded so extensively that her otter was only able to seek help from within its walls. But when it returned without a message, she began to panic. Kingsley had mentioned the lengths they’d taken to ensure a rooftop party would go unnoticed. The new wards he’d installed himself. After she tried sending it to find anyone in the building and it still returned with nothing, she cursed her luck.

“Can’t believe I’m to be stuck here for the entire evening. With you, of all people,” he said, though without the expected bite.

“Malfoy it will be a much shorter evening after you use up all of the oxygen in this room by running your mouth.”

She observed the room and its tasteful yet bare decor. There was the desk, the sofa, and a small table beside the sofa. An area rug covered the black marble floor. The walls were the same black tile as the rest of the department.

“Suppose we’ll have to pool our resources. I have some caramels in my pocket. What do you have?”

Hermione sighed. “I have a stack of paperwork and an empty teacup. Which do you propose we eat first?”

“Hilarious.”

They argued about whether it was necessary to snoop through the Unspeakable’s desk. In the end she conceded and let Malfoy open the drawers. There was a single package of crisps and half of a chocolate bar.

They fought about portion sizes and rationing until Hermione lost her appetite and claimed the sofa as hers. Malfoy did some impressive — though she would never admit it — transfiguration on the desk chair, creating a sort of lounge. They sat on opposite sides of the room, her with arms crossed, him as though he owned the very Ministry. Draped, was the word. Lording, she thought.

Hermione nursed a caffeine headache. She kept a steady stream of black tea in her bloodstream after her morning latte, and between the spilled tea and present company her temples were pulsing.

After an hour of silence and bickering, their petty squabbles turned into discussions of runic theory.

“It’s actually a workaround I discovered when I was reviewing an old edition of The Modern Wizard’s Runes. A lot of the more standard curses we encounter have the same runic origin, so by creating a sequence—”

“You’re able to discern which part of the curse is reversible?”

“Exactly. Saves me time in the field. While everyone else cycles through the common counter curses for something as simple as a stinging curse, I’ve already moved through half of the things we’re called in for in the first place,” Malfoy said.

They’d eaten the bag of crisps and half the chocolate bar.

“That’s quite clever. Did you take N.E.W.T. level Runes?” She remained jealous of anyone who was able to take seventh year classes. Even those who’d been at school under Voldemort’s control, in a way. She didn’t envy them the Carrows but she did envy anything they learned from the professors she admired. While she tried to keep up with her studies by the light of her wand, shivering under a thin blanket outside of a tent.

Time passed more quickly, now that they were talking.

She found herself thinking that he was funny — not in the overt way that the Weasley twins were, or in the sort of wholesome, trying just a little too hard way that Ron could be. It was a sophisticated humor. A wry tilt of his lips and a gleam in his grey eyes.

And that made her think of his jawline and the way his clothes were tailored to fit his lean muscles. He was tall, and had adopted a more Muggle hairstyle that softened his features. Fuck, she thought. Whenever she’d been close to admitting to herself that she found him handsome she’d swallow it down. In third year, just before she’d punched him. In fourth, when he’d glared at her and Krum across the Great Hall. In sixth, when he’d looked the picture of a dark prince, with purple brushed beneath his eyes and custom suits instead of the standard uniform. And all the times she saw him at work, looking at her with narrowed eyes.

“I’m bloody starving. There’s a tolerable café in this building and I’d like to test a theory,” Malfoy said. Crossing to the small table he made a show of clearing his throat. “An order for the Ministry Café. Two sandwiches, whichever are freshest, and some fruit. Coffee, Granger?” He turned to ask her and she forced her raised brows to soften.

“Yes, please. And perhaps some water.”

“There’s a bottle of Ogden’s in Draco Malfoy’s desk. I’d like that as well,” he added at the end.

“Malfoy, a summoning charm won’t work here—”

“Ah, but I didn’t use a summoning charm. This table is the exact make as the one in my boss’s office. She uses it to order whatever she likes, whenever she likes. And,” he held a finger up, then pointed to it, just as the very things he’d asked for popped into place. “I’ve always wanted to use it.”

They ate their supper, trading stories about their work and potion brewing methods they’d picked up. She’d taken her hair out of its braid, letting it be wild as she liked. Their robes long discarded in the warm office. Hermione held a glass of Ogden’s in her hand, one leg tucked beneath her on the sofa. Body turned to face Malfoy, who stretched a long arm across the backrest. Their knees almost touching.

“How many of our esteemed colleagues are sloshed by now, do you reckon?” He asked, finishing his own drink.

“If Kingsley’s as smart as I think he is, then it will have been an open bar that’s down to the gillywater and a few butterbeers, I’d imagine.”

“Do you think those bloody enchanted cupids are trying to pair people off? Using a bit of divination for the best matches?”

Hermione laughed. “Merlin, don’t start. Next you’ll say our soulmates are written in the stars.”

“Ah, but it is in the stars, Granger. Everyone knows that.”

It felt— it felt like he was flirting with her. And she wondered if she was flirting back. Sod it, she was. When had she last ran a hand through her hair, casually tousling it? Why was she thinking about his hands — how they might feel between her thighs…

He reached out and she held very still, his fingers moving one of her curls back. For a moment she thought he might lean into her and she didn’t think she could pull away if he did. Instead he wound the curl around his finger. Once. Twice. Before letting it unravel and leaving his hand to rest just behind her. She stood, pretending to stretch while her thoughts raced. Taking a measured sip of water. All while trying hopelessly to temper the feelings of want that bloomed impossibly within her.

 


 

It was his second week of Divination class with the Gryffindors. Draco was already annoyed by the near endless steps it took to get to the tower classroom. And then he’d been subjected to the professor’s repeated attentions on Harry bloody Potter. It was enough to make him boil.

While his peers gasped and reacted to the various statements Trelawney made about the boy who lived to drive him bonkers, Hermione Granger was quiet. There was hardly so much as a sneeze from a professor that didn’t interest her, and yet, she looked a cross between bored and embarrassed. A certain cringe to her expression. One that only grew when she challenged the instructor. Asking yet again about the syllabus and what sort of practical magic they’d be learning.

All of this stumped the old woman.

“My dear, the divine is something that exists within us. Though I’m afraid some of you may never truly develop a third eye. Skepticism, Miss Granger, is the enemy of our work here in this room.”

“But shouldn’t we be skeptical?” Granger challenged. “Aren’t the best scholars always questioning? Or are we to just believe in things without proof?”

“The thread of fate can become tangled but it still holds. I believe someone as bright as you are must hate to lose a game of chess,” Professor Trelawney mused. “But even in a game of logic, a game of skill, there is predictability to be sure, but is there not also the unexpected? A good opponent, my dear, will perhaps be hard for someone like you to find. A pity, that things should not be easier for someone of your…intellect. The stars are there to assist you. I suggest you listen to them.”

Draco watched Granger roll her eyes. And he noticed that she hadn’t pulled quill or parchment from her school bag. As she hadn’t since the start of term. Content to watch and listen. Sizing up her opponent.

 


 

If anyone had asked her what they’d been talking about before she’d picked a fight, she wouldn’t have been able to answer. Because one minute Hermione was imagining what he could do with his hands and the next she was raising her voice with her hands on her hips.

“You’re always doing that!” She said. “Acting like you know everything but you don’t.”

“I’m a fairly quick study, Granger, and an adept researcher so even if I don’t know something it doesn’t take long for me to figure it out.”

“And what have you figured out about me then? Let’s hear it, I love to correct people as you’ve pointed out.”

“Brave little Gryffindor,” he taunted, “but where’s your bravery now? Can’t admit that you’d rather be here with me than up there with everyone else. Laughing at some stupid joke and counting the minutes until you can leave.”

“As if I’m not currently doing just that—”

“No, you’re not. You’re enjoying yourself as much as I am.”

Hermione shook her head and he moved towards her, crowding her until she was nearly pressed against the wall. “If only you were more observant,” she said. “Perhaps then you’d realize that I loathe you. Always have.”

The way he looked down the slope of his nose at her made her shiver.

“Sometimes I wonder if all this animosity is misplaced. Isn’t it a Muggle saying that the red thread between hate and love is thin?”

It was hard to think with him that close. And she wasn’t sure she wanted to think so hard anymore.

“The red thread of fate and the thin line between love and hate are two different things.”

“Correct me again, Granger,” he whispered.

“Would you stop looming over me?” She said, bringing her hands to push against his chest.

The look on his face was worth it. “Did you just push me?”

She went to push him again but he snatched her wrist. “Did you really just restrain me?”

“If you ask nicely perhaps I’ll let you go,” he said, tilting his head so that they were eye level.

The grey of his eyes darkened, fast like a thunderstorm in high summer. Rolling in without warning — but if you’d been paying attention, you would have seen it coming. And she really should have seen him coming.

“No you won’t,” she breathed, hands curled against him. Feeling the warmth and the steady beating beneath his shirt.

“No, I won’t,” he replied, the words immediately smothered by his lips against hers. It was a bruising kiss, and she snaked her hands upwards to dig her fingers into his shoulders. Scraping her short nails against his scalp while he tugged her body closer.

The wall behind her had little give against the curve of her arse but he leaned her against it anyway, lips moving until she opened her own. The taste of fire whiskey on his tongue was kindling. The path of his hand down her back, over the curve of her hip to press into her thigh was the spark.

It was difficult to hold in a moan when his teeth seized her lower lip then released it, soothing the sharp burst of pleasured pain with a sweet peck before moving to her neck. Leaving a path of hot breath across her jaw before claiming the delicate skin just beneath her ear.

The hand at her thigh bunched her dress up, and when his fingers met bare skin he pulled back just enough to look at her. They were both breathing heavily, and she held her leg tighter to his slim hip. Pushing her knee against him. When she’d pulled on the thigh-high stockings that morning it had been because they were the only ones that were clean. Now she felt like she’d just taken his knight in a game of chess.

“This dress,” he said, dragging the knitted fabric higher. “May I?”

Asking permission. Like a proper little lord. She almost laughed, to have him at her mercy. Instead she nodded.

“It’s in my way.” With a satisfied smirk he pulled it up, the fitted neck posing a bit of a problem, but she just chuckled and fluffed her hair once the dress was off. The smirk turned into parted lips as he looked down at her. Fingers tracing the lace at the top of her black stockings. He swallowed and licked his lips. Check mate.

She yanked his face back to hers and savored a battle won. With black lace and her nicest knickers beneath a conservative dress. She’d stoked the fire and he pivoted, turning her before lifting her off the floor. Wrapping her legs around him instinctively. There was a loud clattering from the contents atop the desk sweeping to the floor. He pressed her against its surface, hands leaving her to remove his belt.

It would take too long, she thought greedily, to wait for him to do it, and began unbuttoning his shirt. He stood between her knees, hair a little disheveled as he looked at her. Never taking his eyes from hers as he removed the layers until they were on equal ground once more. The dark mark had faded, no longer attached to its maker. The sectumsempra scar was grotesque yet somehow beautiful. When she reached out to touch it he grabbed her hand.

“Don’t,” she said, twining her fingers with his, and leaned forward to kiss his sternum. Right where the puckered skin gathered before reaching out like vines across his torso, curling upwards towards his neck and down towards his hip bone. She dug her heel into his calf and brought him closer, twisting her fingers in his hair and claiming his mouth once more.

With a gentle nudge he folded her backwards until she lay against the wood, breathless from his kisses.

The lace of her knickers floated to the floor. He pulled her leg up, opening her while clever fingers stroked her. She’d admired his hands and the long lines of his fingers — like a pianist’s hands. Hitting all of the notes in a scale. Her eyes fluttered and when she reached for him, desperate for another kiss, he ducked from her grasp and his mouth took the place of his fingers. Delicate pressure from his tongue and soft pulls from his lips. Cradling her clit and sucking, the vibrations from a hum in his throat making her whine. One of his fingers slipped into her. Working her until she couldn’t take it, until she was burning, burning, burning — flames spreading through her until there was nothing but heat. Until she burned for him.

She gasped his name, “Draco.”

And he looked at her with reverence, pressing a kiss to the inside of her wrist. Lingering there while her pulse raced and she caught her breath.

“Hermione,” he said, voice raspy. And he said it not to get her attention — he already had that. It was because he wanted to say it. To hold the feeling of it.

The desk was cold beneath her but she was fire, crackling with heat as she shifted herself to the edge. Legs bracketing him. She pushed his trunks until he removed them, swooping to kiss her again in the process. Until she was so caught up in the way he captured her mouth that she thought she might burn through the wood. Might spark tiny fires from her fingertips.

He slid into her, a delicious stretch that brought them ever closer. Until every curve of her body pressed against him. Until their foreheads met and their breath mingled. He grabbed her hips with both hands and set a steady rhythm. She gripped him by the neck, her fingers resting at the base of his skull. The feel of him unlike anything she’d expected. For where she had once thought him cold, he was fiery — lighting every nerve. Nestled in the crook of her shoulder, he left featherlight kisses to her skin while his fingers ghosted over the lace of her bra, teasing her. Making breathy little gasps as he moved.

The slow rocking of his hips grew faster, and she arched her back, bringing her own hips to match his thrusts. Seeking another lick of wildfire through her, from her core up through her veins. He held her flush to him, briefly halting his movements to turn them and place her on the couch, draping her legs over his shoulder. The tops of her thighs against her stomach, giving a deeper angle.

She could feel it then. The way fire was catching. All it took was a single spark and fuel and oxygen. His touch was all three — he rubbed her just so, like he’d memorized her. Knew the ways she liked to be touched. Knew that she wanted his lips again, that she was close, so he repositioned them so that she could be in control. Knew to card his fingers in her hair and deepen his kiss while she came. Swallowing her sounds until he followed, making a desperate sound of his own. Kissing her like she was a prize at the end of a battle.

“You’ve done it now, Granger,” he said, pausing to look at her, absorbing everything from her flushed cheeks to where the strap of her bra had fallen down her arm. He trailed his fingers over her skin. Tracing shapes or maybe runes. Like kenaz, the torch. For passion and fire.

“What have I done?” She asked, drawing her own symbols along his spine. Feeling all the raised scars, following their path to his waist. He brushed her cheek with his nose, until her own rested beside his.

“Even if you asked nicely I don’t think I could ever let you go.”

 


 

In only their third class of the term Trelawney droned on and on about the stars and astrological signs and ideal pairs. The Gryffindor girls, minus Granger, sat at the edge of their seats. A few took diligent notes. In the seat to his left Blaise was drawing a rather impressive caricature. To his right, Pansy was doing her best to maintain a blank expression through a clenched jaw.

“You, my dear, have a certain fire to you — I sense that you were born in the spring? Perhaps the time of Aries?” Professor Trelawney said, peering up at Granger.

The know-it-all laughed. “My birthday was last week,” she said. “In the time of Virgo.”

The professor gasped, a ring-covered hand at her chest. Lavender Brown loudly exclaimed, “What is it, Professor Trelawney?”

She clutched at her many scarves and traversed the circular classroom, flipping through her stacks of star charts. “An ideal pairing for you is difficult to place though not impossible. You require a match that is intellectually stimulating and passionate. A Gemini, of course.”

Draco listened intently. It was nearly verbatim what his grandmother had told him.

“It would be more than just a good match, Miss Granger. I speak of soulmates!”

Lavender and Parvati swooned at her. “Hermione!”

“You can discern something that finite from my astrological sign?” Granger asked.

“My third eye has been opened to your future! Much can be seen in the stars and you shall learn to read them, though you’ll lack the sight that I possess.”

“Oh, Professor, I don’t expect to match your skills of the divine,” Granger said.

Trelawney didn’t seem to hear her and certainly hadn’t registered her tone. Instead she kept espousing her prediction about Granger’s future lover.

“Fate’s red thread binds you to an intellectual equal. The wheels of your minds turning, not always in the same direction but towards the same goal. Curious minds that orbit each other. And you, my dear, will always prefer a challenge to that which is easy. Comfortable and safe won’t hold your heart for long.”

It seemed as if she turned her spectacled gaze to Weasley as she said it. Comfortable and safe. Draco had to smother a laugh. Could have been describing a Cleansweep Seven.

“But the challenge of your true mate will entice you. His will be the ultimate devotion. Like a dragon guarding its treasure from thieves.”

The echo of his grandmother’s words rang through his mind.

There will be great conflict, mon petit dragon, before you can earn the most wondrous of treasures.

“Your Gemini will love you thoroughly.”

Draco looked at the table in front of him, skating his eyes over Blaise’s drawing.

“A meticulous person.”

He glanced to the table three to the left. At the wild curls and skeptical scowl of Hermione Granger.

“Fully devoted.”

 


 

Draco’s fingers were tangled in her hair, twisting it and letting his knuckles brush against her neck. She kissed his shoulder, a quiet intimacy. They’d slept entwined on the sofa, covered with his velvet robes, after whispering deep into the night about everything and nothing.

“The Ministry will open soon,” she said. “We should probably…”

He nodded, but didn’t move. Draping his leg over her hip to keep her close.

“Draco,” she said, pushing against his chest.

He scoffed and sat up, summoning their clothes wandlessly. He held out her dress, then her knickers and brassiere. “Can’t believe you’d hide something like these under your robes,” he said, holding her stockings with a dangerous smile on his lips. Ones that she now knew tasted better than any other.

As she fastened her bra and put on the rest of her clothes she couldn’t help but watch him dress. The muscles of his back disappearing beneath a fine black shirt. Hiding things beneath ones robes indeed.

She started to roll her stockings up her legs but he moved her hands, replacing them with his own. Carefully bringing the silk over her knees. Brushing her inner thighs as he smoothed the lace band into place. He moved to the other leg, moving slowly while she scarcely breathed.

Then he pulled his hands away and she inhaled, taking oxygen in and smoothing the front of her dress. A hand at the center of her chest while she caught her breath and settled the fluttering in her stomach. She stepped into her ankle boots and slipped her robes on. Moving towards the door. Someone had surely arrived to work by now. An early bird, to be sure, but soon they would be released.

“Go out with me,” he said, the words tossed casually over his shoulder while he donned his shoes.

“You want to go on a date with me?”

Draco stood and stepped in front of her. Crowding her exit. With a smooth hand he fixed the collar of her robes. Running his fingers around her throat. Pausing to feel her pulse.

“Don’t you think we’d spend half of it fighting?” She added, wetting her lips on instinct.

“Perhaps we will, Granger, but only real challenges bring rewards.” The hand at her neck tangled in her hair once more.

“Alright then. Dinner tonight.” It was Valentine’s Day, she remembered. “Or maybe it will be impossible to get a reservation anywhere.”

“Eager, are we?”

“Only for a challenge,” she replied. “I’ve never liked things to be easy.”

“Lucky for you, Granger, I know a place.”

“Is that your way of saying you can buy whatever restaurant you want?”

He chuckled, warm embers against her cheek before whispering in her ear. “My flat. Eight o’clock.”

The floor must have shifted beneath her feet. That was the explanation for the way her knees buckled. “It’s a date, then,” she breathed.

“I look forward to my reward later.” He tilted her jaw and sealed the promise with a kiss that quickly escalated. Robes cast to the floor. There was something she was supposed to do. A patronus she needed to send. But it would have to wait. Draco was thorough. Meticulous. Devoted.

And Hermione wondered if she should send flowers to Sybill Trelawney.

 


                                                                                                  

It was tradition in the Black family to consult the stars during one’s thirteenth year. For Draco, this meant spending the summer before third year with his grandmother Druella. His grandfather had died the year before and his mother insisted he visit her at the chateau in France for the month of August.

“My mother was a Rosier, but she had an aptitude for astronomy, which curried high favor with my grandfather,” his mother had said before he left. “Her star charts predicted a strong match for me with your father. And she even predicted the matrimonial fates of both of my sisters, however misguided they were.”

He’d barely been listening. The Nimbus 2001 was calling to him. The grounds of the chateau were perfect for flying and he knew if he asked sweetly Grandmother would let him practice some new quidditch moves he’d been studying.

Now he’d spent his days flying with the warm summer air on his face and in the early evenings he would sit with his grandmother in her parlor, sipping chilled mint and ginger tea while she prepared him for his future. Everything from courtly manners and waltzes to ancient runes and arithmancy problems, things he wouldn’t learn at Hogwarts for at least another year. Finally, in his last week, she showed him what was written in the stars. Calculated using an ancient formula passed down from generation to generation in the Black family.

The Most Noble House of Black believed in the stars more than any other kind of magic. And his grandmother believed he was destined for an intelligent, strong, beautiful Virgo woman who could keep up with the dualities of his Gemini self. The ambition and obedience and familial care on one side and the cunning, determined, sensitive side.

“You’re much like your mother,” she said. “Nothing but the truest passion will hold your interest. I see many dalliances in your future but you’ll have to be patient.”

“Why should I be patient? I’m a Malfoy,” he huffed. “Father says he’ll get me anything I want, whenever I want it.”

“He will only hinder you here, for love is something we must succumb to on our own. There will be great conflict, mon petit dragon, before you can earn the most wondrous of treasures.”

“Am I really destined for a witch like that? A treasure?”

“You, my dearest, are a Gemini. That constellation is made of companion stars. Your namesake constellation is made of binary stars. For you, Draco, only the brightest star will serve as your mate. To orbit together through this life as equals. I’d expect it to be not just any witch. But the best and brightest. Have you met someone like that at Hogwarts?”

The beat of his heart was quick as a snitch’s wings, fluttering against his skin. Behind his eyes was curly hair and a hand raised high in the air, ready with every answer.

He tried to choose his words carefully. “What if she’s not a witch father would approve of?”

“A long time ago I chose tradition over family and lost a daughter. I’ve always regretted it.” Grandmother touched a charm on her bracelet. One for each of her daughters. “If your father takes issue with who you love he will have issue with me.”

No one crossed Druella Rosier Black. Even at thirteen years old he knew that was not a battle one could win. She looked again to her star charts, muttering about stubborn Virgos.

“She won’t make it easy for you,” she said, her face drifting into a knowing smile. “And you won’t make it easy for her, either.”

He thought about the most exciting quidditch matches he played in. How only Theo knew enough strategy to be any good at chess, so he didn’t bother to play anyone else. The thrill he got from brewing a complicated potion correctly and receiving top marks. He’d never liked things that were easy.

“Only real challenges bring rewards,” Draco said, looking at the notes his grandmother had made for him. Bright. Combative. Passionate. “And I suppose whoever she is will be worth waiting for.” And fighting with.