Pairing: Draco Malfoy/Hermione Granger
No warnings--fluffiness and kissing and unicorns ahead
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive"
--Sir Walter Scott
Draco pointed at his badge." I am a member of the Inquisitorial Squad. I don't need to justify my actions to the likes of you." Ron and Harry tried argue, but Crabbe and Goyle had their faces squashed up up against the wall and their wand arms twisted behind their backs. "I need to interrogate Granger."
Draco had Hermione by the arm. He dragged her into Umbridge's office. "Unhand me, you brute!" she shouted. The second the door was closed, their lips met. Hermione melted against him. "So long," she sighed.
"I know," Draco whispered, "they just won't leave us alone, will they." He gave her a wry look. "Unhand me, you brute?"
"Was that a bit much?"
"Well, I know for a fact that you want me to hand you." He stroked her back slowly and softly.
Hermione looked at the kittens on the decorative plates that lined the walls of the office. One of them hissed and ran out of frame. "I don't think we're safe even here."
Draco held her so close, they could feel each breath the other took. "Hermione, Hermione, Hermione." The way he said her name, it was like a caress.
Hermione put her arms around his neck and kissed him desperately until she heard the door start to open. They jumped apart, putting a couple of meters between each other.
"What have we here?" Umbridge trilled perkily.
"I, uh, heard rumors that Dumbledore's Army was meeting again, so gave her some Veritaserum. She doesn't know anything."
Umbridge's bloated, toady face looked dubious. "Did she have enough?"
"Yes. It just turns out that Potter doesn't trust her all that much," he said with a sneer.
Umbridge smiled smugly. "How sad. Miss Granger, dear, you know that men will always look down on you because you're female, right?" Delores made a theatrically mournful sound. "Harry Potter will never confide in you the way he does with other boys. Women like us, we need to stick together."
"Uh, I know." Hermione kept her eyes averted, knowing they would give away her longing for the tall blond boy who was so close... so close...
"Run along, dear." Umbridge flapped a hand at Hermione. "I have things to do. We'll have some girl talk later."
Hermione flicked a glance at Draco as she left the office. He was staring at her the way a hungry man looked at a steak. It gave her a funny feeling in her lower stomach.
Harry and Ron were just outside. "I heard Malfoy mention giving you Veritaserum! What did they make you tell them?" Harry asked.
Uh oh. It was time to lie. Hermione was never good at coming up with stories on the spur of the moment. That one she told about the troll in second year had been a lucky fluke. "Nothing. I, uh, had some of the antidote."
"There's an antidote?" Ron asked angrily. "Why didn't you share it with us? How long have you had it?"
"There was only a little bit. I was just experimenting. It's quite tricky to make. I was lucky it actually worked. It could have turned me into a giant earwig."
"Well, I think you should make more. Just think if we'd had some earlier. If we could give everyone in the D.A. some to carry around just in case..." Harry said.
"Yeah." Ron glared. "Don't keep it all to yourself."
Hermione chewed on her fingernails as she watched her two friends walk away. Was there even an antidote for Veritaserum? Blast.
Hermione was gritty with library dust. Her fingers were sore from flipping pages. Madame Pince was giving her the gimlet eye, worried that she would nap on the books again. There were some hints about an antidote, but nothing that would help her actually brew it. Unicorn hair... moonlight... stirred by the hand of a virgin...
The last was certainly not a problem. Her relationship with Draco consisted of stolen glances, self-immolating notes, staged arguments, and perhaps a grand total of fifteen minutes of snogging. The way things were going, Hermione wouldn't have a chance to lose her virtue until her mid-fifties. Which would make her parents happy, probably.
She was about to close the book she was perusing when something caught her eye. "The first successful antidote to Veritaserum was made by the infamously mad witch Agnetha Corvus. The exact formula has mostly been suppressed by the Ministry for Magic, but it is known that the main ingredients are--" The rest of the sentence was blacked out. Hermione growled, earning a frown from the librarian.
Ron and Harry blocked her reading light. "What are you doing here instead of making more... you know," Ron asked.
"I don't have all the ingredients, yet. I need more unicorn hair. And now that Hagrid's gone..."
"This is important. We have to go into the Forbidden Forest to find some. Come on." Hermione was hauled unwillingly out of her chair and dragged from the library.
It was stuffy under the invisibility cloak, and Ron seemed to be bumping into her far more than was necessary. As they approached one of Hogwart's secret exits, Draco passed them. He paused, sniffing. "Hermione?" he called softly.
Ron and Harry froze. Hermione was about to 'accidentally' throw off the cloak, but Umbridge approached from the other direction, looking even more squat than usual in ruffled robes that were the most hideous shade of pink imaginable. "Any sign of that secret passage, dearie?" Dolores chirped.
Draco was glancing all around the corridor, looking confused. "No, I haven't seen a thing."
Umbridge patted him on the shoulder. "Well, come on, then. It's time for the Inquisitorial Squad meeting. Very important. Filch has some good ideas for conducting interrogations. Something about chains and buckets of water." She trotted off, robes billowing like a ship's sails. Draco had no choice but to follow.
"Did Malfoy smell you, 'Mione?"
"He probably recognized my shampoo. He likes to get close when he interrogates me."
"Hmph. I'll bet," Ron huffed. Hermione bit the insides of her cheeks to keep from snickering.
It was full dark when Hermione spotted a glimmer of whitest white through the trees. "I think that might be one," she breathed. "Leave me. You two are far too... testosterone-y." The boys retreated.
She moved slowly through the forest, speaking softly all the while. "I'm so sorry to bother you. It's just a small, silly request from a small, silly girl. Just a few hairs. I've gotten myself into a bit of a situation here."
When she saw the size of the unicorn, she gasped. It was a stallion, both formidable and gracile, with a silky, curly beard under its chin that matched its mane. He gazed at her with crystalline blue eyes. Her knees trembled, but she took small steps toward him.
"It's because I fell in love, you see." The unicorn pricked up his ears. "We have to hide our relationship. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at lying. A few little lies here and there, and now I'm in the middle of the Forbidden Forest at night, begging one of Creation's most mystical creatures for some of his mane hairs."
The unicorn tossed its magnificent head and walked away, golden hooves flashing in the moonlight. Hermione groaned in disappointment and turned to go. A full-throated whinny stopped her. She saw them: about ten long, perfectly white hairs waving from the trunk of a tree. The unicorn had brushed against the tree when it had walked away. She plucked each hair carefully, tucking them into an envelope.
"Thank you," she called, but she could no longer see any sign of the unicorn.