Draco Malfoy was no stranger to the stench currently being emitted by Ron Weasley. It was the kind of smell that left you gasping for air, even with a strong Cleansing Spell to counteract it, or a Bubble Head Charm to shield you from it. Unfortunately, Draco's wand was currently confiscated – and given who'd taken it, he worried he'd never get it back – so he couldn't do anything about it.
Draco had been working alongside Ron and the famous Harry Potter for almost a year now, and he now knew more about the ginger and scar face than he'd cared to know about any girl he'd ever dated. They were best friends, all three of them – there were some things you couldn't share without ending up liking each other, and a month of wandless survival training, alone in the wilds together, was one of them. They hadn't lost a case since the department head had put them together; they were junior Aurors, but for their age, the three had racked up more successful missions in the past six months than most Aurors did in a year. They were on a winning streak, and well on their way to becoming full-fledged Aurors – until now.
And the reason for their setback: Hermione Granger. She was a pest, a know-it-all swot, and much to Draco's chagrin, well aware of his attraction to her and not above using it to get what she wanted from him.
And what she wanted, it seemed, was to humiliate and use him in debasing and lascivious ways.
Which brought Draco back to his current dilemma – Ron's stinking feet. Draco and Ron were sitting in the office of the Head of the Auror Department, waiting for their boss to appear, and the ginger had decided now was the right time to torture his blond friend with his disgusting bodily functions.
Draco watched Ron, screwing up his nose in distaste as the Auror issued boots came off those clown feet slowly – if only to draw out his suffering – as the ginger winced in pain. Brand new boots and moth eaten socks didn't mix well – and Ron was rotten at Cushioning Charms. It was enough to make anyone gag – just one whiff of those bad boys after a full day's work garbed in his official Auror robes, and Ron's boots could clear a room in three seconds flat.
Still, he was Draco's mate – his best mate, even if he had made friends with Potter first – and mates didn't hex each other simply for smelling bad. Technically. He resisted the urge to send the wandless magic he'd been practising Ron's way, and settled for holding the sleeve of his Auror uniform over his mouth and nose.
"Know any fragrance or cleaning charms?" Ron asked hopefully.
Draco shook his head. If he did, he'd have used them on the ginger a dozen times by now. "You just stink, Weasley, pure and simple."
Ron poked his tongue out. "Lavender's going to kill me this time; I forgot to cast an Impervius on these boots." He picked up one of the boots and held it at arm's length, examining it. "I think I've ruined them."
"That's what you get for stepping in Troll shit."
Despite the lecture that was undoubtedly waiting him at home, Ron laughed. "At least the socks aren't ruined."
Ron sniffed his socks tentatively. "They don't smell so bad."
"They smell like you; that's bad enough."
"Blah." Ron stuck out his tongue again.
"At least Hermione isn't going to rag on me."
"Don't remind me: that witch has it in for me."
"You two are so alike it's scary," Ron said absent-mindedly, pulling out his wand and aiming it at his socks (ignoring the persistent odour of his new boots). "Scourgify." The stench seemed to lessen slightly, but Ron screwed up his nose, obviously trying to think of something stronger to cast.
Draco raised an eyebrow at him, surprised. He didn't see any similarity between him and Granger – he was charming, and she was intolerable. "How so?"
Ron frowned, trying to think; again, his mind just came up blank. He had always been more of a show-and-tell kind of person anyway. He grabbed his newly Scourgified socks, sliding them over his hands like they were puppets, and held them outward, mocking his friend as he made the left sock puppet talk in a slightly high-pitched voice. "Hi, I'm Draco Malfoy. Me, me this and me, me that. I'm better than you."
Ron just smirked, and continued with the right sock puppet this time. "Hi, I'm Hermione Granger. No you can't do this, no you can't do that. I'm smarter than you."
Draco laughed, shook his head, and then coughed, his eyes bugging out of his head, as Ron slapped the sock puppets together and started making kissing sounds.
"I love you, Draco. I love you more, Hermione. I want you so bad." Ron pulled a face. "Mm…give me some sugar, yeah, like that… I knew you wanted me, ugh! I've wanted to do this to you for years…"
"All right, stop it." The commanding voice made them both jump and Ron put his socks away, red-faced.
The Head of the Auror Department, Gawain Robards, strode into the room; Harry trailed behind him (an unabashed grin on his face), closely followed by Hermione Granger.
Hermione's eyes immediately fell on Draco, and her lips quirked into a teasing smirk. Really, he was a bad influence on her – ever since the first time she'd mocked his smirk with one of her own, and he'd surreptitiously rearranged himself in his Auror robes, she'd enjoyed the effect she had on him. Draco's claim that her position in the Magical Law Enforcement had gone to her head was rubbish; her power over his libido, however, was indeed a trip. She couldn't help herself around him.
She let her gaze trail deliberately over his body, ignoring the other men in the room (as they rolled their eyes at her), and licked her lips. Draco's breath came out ragged, and he closed his eyes.
She exhaled deeply, a little exasperated.
"How many times have I had to reprimand you now?" she asked, pretending to check the incident report Harry had silently handed to her.
Draco's eyes snapped open and he met her heated gaze angrily. Ron was right, she was like him – the feisty witch was enjoying making him squirm. Every time he dealt with her, she ended up on top, and she loved every moment of it. His wand was in her hand, and she twirled it absent-mindedly as she stared back at him, silently daring him to antagonise her.
She'd confiscated the Hawthorn wand half an hour ago before going to fetch their department head. The third infraction had been the charm.
Because the answer to her question was three times; this was the third time that he had been brought beforeher, to be tried, sentenced, and punished – three times in his short career that the annoying chit had had the authority to kick him out on his arse, and instead had teased him with her relentless sexual innuendos, Malfoy-like smirks, and abuse of power. This was her revenge.
The first time she'd taken advantage of his attraction, Draco had been muddy, bleeding, and swearing his head off. He had just had his first mock mission, and had been hit by multiple curses from another trainee after he'd insulted the git's mother, sister, and family cow because the bumbling idiot had accidentally dropped him into a pile of strategically placed Troll dung. And instead of taking him to St Mungo's or letting him shower, the department head had led him through the Ministry of Magic, treading mud and faeces across the polished floors; following his commander and chief, and his fellow trainees (ginger and scar face) to her office, Draco had known he was about to get a lecture on the proper code and conduct expected of an Auror in training from the infuriating witch.
And it burned him up inside. How dare someone in a position of such power be so infuriating and bloody gorgeous at the same time? Directly after the war, she'd dived head first into the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and quickly risen through the ranks – she now stood as the liaison between Junior Aurors and the Head of Magical Law, with the final say on all disciplinary decisions (legal or not, it seemed) concerning the trainees. She had way too much power, and a mean streak to go along with it. Unfortunately, he'd always been a bit of a masochist where the opposite sex was concerned, and being verbally slapped by the Muggle-born was almost as much of a turn on as the actual slap she'd given him back in their third year.
His punishment had fit his crime and, needless to say, he'd spent the weekend sulking, and eating ice-cream like some heartbroken teenage girl.
The second time she'd taken advantage of his attraction was after he'd fallen arse over tit chasing down a common thief on his day off; the thief had turned, and shot back, and the only thing that had saved Draco's head from hitting the cobbles of Diagon Alley was a timely Cushioning Charm sent his way by Harry. And instead of taking him to St Mungo's, his so-called friends had marched his arse into the Ministry and straight to her to fill out an incident report. Catching criminals wasn't his job – Hit Wizards were supposed to chase down criminals, and Aurors were supposed to focus on Dark Wizards. But what did Granger expect him to do, just let the masked shoplifter (who turned out to be Ernie Macmillan) run off with the newest Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes product?
His punishment had fit his crime and, needless to say, he was left with a hard-on that had taken him all night, and multiple fantasies about her, to get rid of.
The third time she'd taken advantage of his attraction to her was three minutes ago; walking into the room like she owned it, twirling his wand between her fingers and smirking like he'd just gone down on her. Merlin, he wanted to go down on her… It was again his own fault, of course. He wasn't to blame for the latest pranks between the Auror Department and Magical Law, nor the slow reaction of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad in fixing the exploding inter-departmental memos, but it didn't help his case, he supposed, that he'd just stood there and laughed. Ron was the only accidental victim – some of the memos had exploded dung over the offices of the MLE, and the ginger had stepped in it (hence that putrid smell of his).
"Malfoy?" Hermione's sweet voice snapped him out of his musings. "I asked you a question."
"Three times," he croaked and Ron chuckled.
Okay, so maybe this entire thing between them actually was his own fault for making fun of her in the first place – he'd argued with Robards over her appointment as their liaison to the law geeks loud enough to be heard in the employee cafeteria. His snide remark that she'd slept her way into the position had turned into an ugly rumour. It hadn't been true of course, but it had left him wondering why her legs were firmly shut every time a man came within three feet of her. He'd laughed at the rumour, but had it been worth it? Her revenge had him tossing and turning at night and it was getting out of hand. He wouldn't put it past her to have cast some kind of lust inducing spell on him either.
Their department head, Gawain Robards, sighed, rubbing his receding hairline. The back-and-forth between Miss Granger and Mister Malfoy was entertaining, but he'd let it go on too long and now it was giving him a headache. He had more important things to waste his time on. Potter and Weasley gave him a meaningful glance and he nodded in agreement. This was no longer their problem.
"I think I'll let you handle Mr Malfoy's punishment," he said to Miss Granger. "It's late, and my wife is waiting for me. Good-night everyone, and good luck, Mister Malfoy."
Draco ignored everyone else in the room; Ron stood up quickly, knocking back his chair, and raced after Harry and Gawain Robards. The blond's eyes were only for her as she smiled at him; a real smile, one full of silent promises rather than threats.
"I think you can help me with an issue I'm having with my work hours," she said softly. "My busy schedule hasn't left me much time to finish everything because you've added to my work load." She returned his wicked grin, handing over his wand, and sashaying out of the room. "And I do so love taking my work home."
Needless to say, Draco was getting laid tonight.