Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by MizSphinx

Part 9 of 12

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I've been thinking that maybe it's time we meet. Tomorrow, it will be eight months since we've been sending letters to each other. Can you believe it? Spring and summer have long since flown by, now we are in autumn, and nearly a year ago, we had not known the other existed. Now, it's as if we've known each other for years. I'd really like to see you, Legolas. Tell me you feel the same way.



Yes. I'd like that very much. I've hoped for so long you'd suggest it, for I've feared your rejection had I done so earlier. When and where would you like us to meet? Would you prefer I choose a venue?



How about this Friday evening around eight at 'Fran's'? Do you know it? It's a nice little bistro with great wine, and it's a ten minute walk away from my flat. Maybe afterwards you can come over for tea? Does that sound OK?





Hermione exhaled heavily, unaware that she'd been holding her breath. She felt as if she'd just made one of the hugest decisions of her life, and that she was ill-prepared for the consequences. Conflicted, one half of her demanded she rewrite Legolas and immediately call off their meeting. It claimed that she was not ready for the reality that was Legolas. What if he was not what she had expected? After all, ignorance is bliss, and the more she delayed meeting him, the longer she could cling to her fantasies.

The other half, however, cheered her on. You've been corresponding with him for nearly a year, reasoned the imaginary spokesperson in her head, there's no sense waiting any longer. And she agreed with this logic. Why wait? They'd progressed from penfriends to pen…lovers? Yes, that, because there was hardly anything 'friendly' about their letters of late. Unless being friendly also incorporated copious use of sexual innuendos, and erotic notes…

Nevertheless, she'd sent him the request and he had accepted. Begging off now would be cowardly and discourteous. Besides, she wanted to meet him, and, likewise, he wanted to meet her. And regardless superficial thoughts such as, "What if he's hideous? What if he's old like Ginny had teased?" had sprung up in her mind, she was going to follow through with their plans and have as good a time as she possibly could.

Am I only doing this because of Lucius?

Hermione pondered this new thought. She tried to be as unbiased and as untruthful as she could with herself since denial was useless and a great waste of time and energy. Had she expedited her meeting with Legolas because of Lucius Malfoy? Possibly. Why? So that I can forget about him and move on. Why? Because he's an evil git who's been playing games with me all this time, and has moved on ever since I discovered his motives…

Was she using Legolas, then? To an extent. But she convinced herself that it wasn't as awful as it sounded, because she did fancy Legolas. It wasn't a case where Legolas was her lesser liked second choice – the one for which she was 'settling.' OK, so maybe Lucius Malfoy did evoke far more intense feelings within her, but that had a perfectly acceptable explanation: his proximity; the fact that he was present for her to see, and touch, and…and kiss

But Legolas evoked passion from her, too! And that was remarkable since they'd only corresponded through letters. Just imagine what would happen when they finally met. Sizzle! Electricity! Fireworks! She'd be so worked up that when they finally took that extra step and made love, her orgasms would be so mind-blowing she'd pass out from the intensity. She was sure of it!

So, to get back on track: it didn't really matter that Legolas was being used to distract her. He would never know. However, Lucius Malfoy seemed to have found something (or someone) to do the same. Ever since that fiasco with Draco two months ago, she'd not seen the man, which in turn further convinced her he'd been up to some deviousness. Draco was right. He was a sick bastard. He was not worth her time or her thoughts, and the quicker she forgot about his existence, the better.

As a matter of fact, during her shopping for new clothing to wear on her date – yes, a date! – with Legolas, she was going to purchase a signboard to hang on her bookshop's main window upon which she'd charm it to read: 'Lucius Malfoy, you are officially banned from this establishment. Should you step even a toe upon this property, the authorities will be immediately notified. Have a nice day!'

That'll do it.

To Hermione's great annoyance, the days preceding Friday crawled at a caterpillar's pace. She thought about her date with Legolas often, and anxiety and excitement filled her whenever she did so. She worried about her appearance being unsatisfactory, or, worse, that even though they each were like a well overflowing with words, that come Friday, their conversations would be awkward at best, dreary at worst.

What if, since they'd already spoken about any and everything under the sun, they had nothing remaining to say when they were in person? What if her 'Embarrassment Gene' kicked in? For instance: food stuck in her teeth, or laughing so hard at one of his jokes she snorted unattractively, or when she got up to use the loo, she overturned wine on his trousers, or, worse, returning from the loo, she had toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her shoe…

Her mind conjured various scenarios where her date with Legolas resulted in disaster, though she usually managed to restrain her imagination when it became too wild. She kept repeating to herself that everything was going to be fine, and that her nervousness was unwarranted. She was doing just that on Friday afternoon while replacing a few books in their correct spots on the bookshelves when the wind chime sounded.

Carrying the remaining three books with her, Hermione headed to her desk to assist the newcomer. It was Draco Malfoy.

Guilt and shame churned anew within her stomach, and she struggled to maintain eye contact with him. Trying to smile and failing miserably, she said,

"Hi, Draco. How are…err…do you…can I help you? A book?" She cleared her throat once. "Do you need a book?"

He gazed at her for a short moment, but to Hermione it felt like a thousand years. If she'd been given even the tiniest opportunity to run away and hide, she'd have taken it with head-turning speed. Gryffindor courage? She'd been lacking it of late.

"No," he finally said, his tone not very friendly, but not quite unfriendly either. "I've come to apologise, actually."

She bit the corner of her bottom lip before replying, "Draco, you don't need to apologise. It…it wasn't your fault, and if I – what are you…Draco, what are you –"

Her words were cut short for Draco had suddenly rounded her desk and grabbed her up against him. Before she could fully understand or prepare for his next move, he'd bent his head and crushed his mouth against hers. She was so shocked, she didn't move at first, but when he angled his head to the right and began forcing his tongue between her lips, Hermione's limbs began working again, and she pressed her hands against his chest and shoved him away.

She was so angry, she couldn't speak. Deeply, she inhaled and exhaled as she pressed her palm against her lips and glared at Draco.

He closed his eyes and turned away from her. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that." He turned around again, a sharp movement that whipped his robes around his ankles. He stepped towards her, and she stepped backwards, still unable to speak. "I'm sorry, Hermione. I just…I had to do it. I shouldn't have, but I've always wanted to do it. And…and…fuck. Fuck. I'm sorry." He hung his head and dragged his fingers through his hair.

Her anger rapidly dissolved, and in its place remained pity. He looked so confused and hurt; she could sympathise with him for she had felt similarly with his father. But she did not want to dwell on that.

"Stop swearing. I don't want my customers to hear," she said, dropping her hand to her side.

He looked up at her, his palms pressed against the back of his neck. "You're not upset?"

She met his gaze coolly. "Don't do it again."

His hands fell to his sides as he gazed at her. Quietly, he said, "I didn't mean to. But then, when I saw you, I remembered that evening, you…and him…" Her cheeks grew pink, he noticed. "…And I got so fu – dging…irritated. I couldn't believe he'd been the one to get you first –"

Hermione's anger was reignited. So it had been a competition! And here she'd thought Lucius had been the only one in the game, when Draco had been playing as well!

"So, all this time, you two have been competing for me?" she interrupted. "Oh my God, I can't believe this!"

Draco gave her a strange look. "That's not it. You know that."

"No, I do not." She enunciated each word with a hard finish, her face stony with outrage. "I do not know nor wish to know the twisted inner workings of a Malfoy's mind. The both of you sicken me. I think it's time you leave, Draco."

He did not move right away. He peered at her for a moment before a look of understanding graced his face.

"He hasn't told you." He shook his head ostensibly in disbelief. "He hasn't told you, and yet you still…wow, I really didn't have a chance, did I?" He shook his head again.

"Told me what?" she demanded, curious despite her anger.

"I can't believe I'm doing this," he mumbled to himself, then, dragging his hand through his hair yet again, he spoke to her, "My father fancies you. And, honestly, I think you're dense not to have seen it yourself. I mean, Granger, he visits you twice a week."

She released an indelicate snort of incredulity. "Don't be ridiculous! He only comes to buy books!"

He quirked an eyebrow at her as he went round her desk. Pausing just in front the door, he said,

"Oh, yeah? Then wouldn't you be so surprised to learn that of all the books he's purchased from you, he's yet to read any of them?"

Hermione did not get the chance to respond because someone approached her desk to purchase a book, and by the time she'd finished the transaction, Draco had already left.

She was late.

Even though she'd closed shop early at 5.30, when she got home, she'd found herself obsessively tidying up her flat – especially her bedroom – for Legolas' impending visit. She wasted ten minutes worrying whether the fuchsia bed linens were too girlish or the ivory ones too plain, another fifteen in indecision as to whether she should straighten her hair or not, and another twenty pondering the advantages of wearing trousers and comfortable underwear versus a dress and an uncomfortable g-string.

By the time she'd decided to leave her bed in its plain ivory sheets, straighten her hair partially to soften her curls, shower and dress, it was already 8.15. And now, standing just outside Fran's, dressed nicely in a raspberry coloured dress and a g-string that threatened discomfort for the rest of the night, Hermione was forty minutes late for her date with Legolas.

"Hello! Dining for one or for two?" greeted the headwaiter amiably.

Hermione's eyes shifted around the semi-dark interior of the restaurant nervously. Per usual for a Friday night, it was filled with chatty, laughing guests, and trying to identify a familiar face would be challenging, let alone an unfamiliar one. It dawned on Hermione that she and Legolas should have agreed upon a distinguishing marker of some sort to find each other faster. She'd worn the diamond bracelet he'd sent her, though, but that would mean she'd have to position her right hand in noticeable places. Perhaps she might have to revisit her past self and wave it above her head like an overzealous student who knew the answer to every question the teacher asked…

"Er…I'm waiting for someone, but he's probably already here," said Hermione. "Can I sit by the bar?"

"Absolutely!" nodded the headwaiter.

Hoisting herself up on the high barstool proved to be a bit tricky since her dress, a sexy, knee-length piece she'd bought for an astronomical price she refused to say out loud, was slim and restricted her legs, and the soles of her stilettos skidded on the smooth, wooden flooring. Still, she managed it, and feet dangling while perched on the cushiony seat of the stool, Hermione surveyed the length of the bar with rounded, anxious eyes.

I wonder if he's here…

There were a few other occupants seated at the bar, and most were in a conversation with someone else. However, sitting at the very end by himself was a handsome brown-skinned man. Hermione eyed him hopefully, and when he glanced up at her, winked and smiled, she smiled back. Alas, she grew crestfallen when a woman with lovely auburn hair approached the man and drew him away from the bar.

She looked at her watch. 8.57.

What if he was an early bird, had arrived since minutes to eight, and believing she'd deserted him, had left? No, she didn't believe he was so impatient. After all, she'd only been thirty – ok, be honest, forty – minutes late. In any case, he'd given her a description of what he thought she looked like once, and she'd confirmed it. Her curls may not be as wild today, but certainly –

"Miss Granger?"

Hermione turned her head sharply. Surprised, "Mr Malfoy…? What are you doing here?"

Yes, really, what was a refined man like Lucius Malfoy doing in an ordinary restaurant like Fran's? He was dressed completely in Muggle clothing at that. No Wizarding robes, no fancy waistcoat, no serpent-headed cane, just a regular oxford blue dress-shirt, and trousers. The bruise around his left eye had completely disappeared, and Hermione wasn't sure which shocked her the most: his presence, or the fact that he'd obviously grown a lot more tolerant of Muggle ways.

"I came to meet someone," he said. Then he eyed her hair, the bit of cleavage on show from the curved neckline of her dress, and her exposed calves, before meeting her gaze again. He was not smiling, but the glint in his eye suggested he was very appreciative of the view. Hermione did not want to ponder on how much this pleased her.

Draco's words returned to her: My father fancies you

Rubbish. Absolute hogwash. The day Lucius Malfoy fancies me would be in an alternate universe where pigs smoked cigars, cats spoke with Russian accents, and walking outside naked was perfectly acceptable…

"Quite a coincidence, then," she said. "I've come to meet someone as well."

"Your lover?" He glanced at the bracelet on her wrist, and an unidentifiable look ghosted over his face. Biting her bottom lip, she gazed at him for a moment before looking towards the door in search of Legolas. Her eyes slid to meet his again.

"Something like that."

"Hmm. How nice."

"Funny you should say that," she replied in cool tones. "Draco came by today."

His features remained impassive. He said nothing.

"He confirmed my suspicions about you," she continued.

"And what were these suspicions?"

Her bravery began to wither beneath his persistent stare. "That you weren't very serious about…" She cleared her throat. "…About me. You were just playing me for a fool. It was all just a competition between the two of you."

For once, his impassivity broke. Frowning, "Draco said this?"

"No, but the implication was there." She lifted her chin stubbornly. "And that's not all he said."

He folded his arms. "Well, my son has been a busy gossipmonger today, hasn't he?"

She ignored him. "He said that you fancied me, and that you never read the books you buy at my bookshop."

He did not speak at once, and Hermione watched him. But it was a futile attempt to ascertain his thoughts because Lucius Malfoy was exceptionally skilled at hiding his emotions. Marble statues and ceramic sculptures couldn't even compete.

Insouciantly, he replied,

"And do you believe this?"

"No," she said quietly. "I don't believe it. You may be willing to…to…" here she fumbled to speak. "It's all fine and good if it's a few kisses or bit of a feel-up or even…a…err…quick sh-shag, but you'll never see me worthy enough to be your mate."

He stepped closer, filling her nostrils with his divine scent of lemon and rosemary. She barely restrained herself from leaning into him.

"Miss Granger, I am disappointed."

She lifted an eyebrow. "Oh? Why?"

A corner of his lips curved in the ghost of a smirk, he replied, "I am disappointed you think so lowly of yourself."

She opened her mouth, could not find words, and closed it.

He smirked fully now. "Good night, Miss Granger."

Still in shock: "Good night, Mr Malfoy."


A Harry Potter Story
by MizSphinx

Part 9 of 12

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