Past / Present / Future - Chapter 27 - neilistic - Harry Potter (2024)

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Without a shadow of a doubt, all three of Hermione’s sheets were to the wind, and it felt marvellous.

She had in no way forgotten the ICW’s decision to continue being as progressive as mouldering gargoyles. As the hour grew later, and the gin to tonic ratio increased under Maxim’s hand - she didn’t care.

Anyone who saw her would’ve seen a witch at ease - she’d shed the robe with the power shoulders, and was wearing a scooped white t-shirt with her business trousers. Apparently overworked, her hair tie broke at some point, and her hair tumbled free, spilling down her shoulders.

Draco was still with her, showing every sign that he wanted to be. There were soft points of colour on his cheeks and his eyes were shining like mercury. He too, was drunk. They’d been speaking easily, about everything, but nothing of substance. They were together, and that was substantial enough. She felt like they were in the Pensieve again; a place where they were real, and everything else was just an inconsequential echo. The background to their story

So, she asked a question that had been on her mind for weeks. She dropped her voice low so they could speak about Unspeakable things, and Draco leaned in to hear. He was close enough to sniff but that was a drunk thought that she would ignore.

“What happened to the Pensieve?”

Draco paused, and then with a superior smirk he tapped his straight nose with his index finger.

“All in time,” he said cryptically.

Annoyance had her leaning back and scrunching up her nose. Maybe she would ensure he indulged in a few more drinks, and she would ask again… if she was capable of asking after that much liquor. She was already wobbly enough that her mind easily distracted her with something else.

“I’ve been meaning to show you something.” Hermione started this new topic of conversation, stifling a hiccup. She dug in her bag, and eventually summoned what she was looking for. A piece of paper fluttered into her outstretched fingers like a butterfly. She smoothed the Prophet article, and slid it across the table towards him.

“Did you see that?”

Draco’s eyes scanned the page and widened ever so slightly in delight.

Scarlet Woman? Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy's Love Fest

“Clearly not. If I had, I would have framed it immediately.” He started to read. “‘It is well known that Miss Granger has left a number of wizards desolate and destitute after she used her considerable magical gifts to seduce them for influence and information…’. Granger, you dark horse, I never knew.”

“You did,” Hermione tapped her finger on the paper. “It clearly states you were my next victim.”

He kept reading, in the manner of a child opening a Christmas gift. “So it does. Everything makes sense now, I’ve been under your spell this entire time.”

Draco can’t’ve just said what she thought he said. Offhand. Nope.

“Don’t know where I found the time for all that seduction with the six days a week, ten hours a day schedule,” she snorted.

“One can always make time for seduction, Granger.”

Hermione still had enough wits to completely disregard Draco’s flirtatious voice, but it was a near thing. She looked at the flickering candle in the orange jar rather than at a face that was too beautiful to cope with. What was the time? Once they had nothing but time, and maybe she’d wasted it.

But. “What am I going to do now?” she asked him, feeling wretched all of a sudden. Her often volatile emotions were scattered like leaves in the wind.

“Hmm, unsure. Career decisions are not best made on a Friday night at the pub.” Draco sipped thoughtfully.

“I disagree,” said Hermione. “But okay.”

“Can I keep this?” He waved the article and was already tucking it into the wallet that was a gift from her.

“Of course.” Seeing that he was carrying the wallet made her feel a tiny bit giddy, but also reminded her of Hong Kong which was... complicated.

Hermione was just contemplating another drink, when a tall figure stood over them holding a full pint.

“Dean!” Hermione greeted excitedly. Dean Thomas smiled widely at her. His hair was styled into twists and he'd not bothered to look like anything but a trendy Muggle. He wore a royal blue bomber jacket over a hooded sweatshirt - and brand new shiny trainers on his feet.

“Alright, Hermione?” Dean's eyes irresistibly moved across the table to Draco. It was immediately apparent that Dean approached both to say hello and to check on her. Draco, for his part, looked peaceable enough except for his raised eyebrow.

“Thomas,” Draco nodded.

“Malfoy,” Dean said, with considerably more ice in his tone.

“Sit, sit!” Hermione patted the booth next to her. “I haven't seen you in ages.”

Dean sat in the perfect position to stare down Draco. He turned his head to Hermione and his smile lit back up.

“You're looking fit! Why weren't you at Halloween?”

“Working,” Hermione grimaced. And Ron. “Did anything interesting happen?”

“Luna's back in town. And George spiked Seamus with a Love Potion that made him start singing Greensleeves to Daphne.”

“Greengrass?” Draco cut in. Astoria's sister.

“That's right,” Dean replied curtly.

It was uncomfortable to say the least. Dean had of course been imprisoned in the cellar-cum-dungeon at Malfoy Manor, which wasn't an easy thing to forgive and forget. Hermione wondered if Dean read the Prophet.

Draco, to his credit, stayed as calm as an empty cathedral.

Hermione made an attempt to clear the heavy, acrimonious air hanging over the table. “Dean, I hope that you understand I would not be sitting with Draco if I believed he would curse me the moment I turn my back on him. That he is choosing to sit with me at all should also tell you about where his beliefs sit now.”

“Run out of Pureblood girls, have you?” Dean remarked.

A tiny spark of anger flickered over Draco's face but it was extinguished by the blandness of Occlumency. Ah.

When Hermione glared, Dean appeared to back down. “Yeah alright mate, Hermione's the understanding sort and who am I to argue?” He sighed a bit. “Just weird seeing you together.”

“We're not together,” Hermione said quickly.

“I mean in the same booth,” Dean looked at her, confused. Her denial was more incriminating than saying nothing would have been.

Draco blinked, and then said, “Can I buy you a drink, Thomas?”

“I've got one here.”

Draco was definitely squashing down his irritation. “A shot then.”

“Fine,” Dean said.

Draco looked at her. “Granger?”

“Er probably should… water.”

Draco returned with a round on a tray - amber liquid in bulbous glasses instead of shots. There was also a tall glass of water, set off to the side like a mildly offensive afterthought.

“They had Ogden's 25 year old, so I got that. Your bartender friend made me pay though.”

“You must not be his type, mate.” The ‘mate’ from Dean was around 10% more friendly than before, as he accepted the aged Firewhiskey from Draco.

“Wear your miniskirt next time.” Hermione grinned into her drink, which was not even close to water. “Show off those gams.”

Dean looked between the two of them, eyebrows raised. “Sounds like a tale.”

“Confidential, though,” Hermione said.

“I think it's safe enough to tell Thomas that you came second to me in a sexiest legs competition,” said Draco.

“Ahhh,” said Dean. “Only ‘cause I didn't enter.”

The conversation started to drip, then flow. It was strange and wonderful. Dean was hardly a gossip, but it was impossible that the story of this interaction wouldn't spread. It wasn't like The Naughty Mermaid was a private place, regardless. After a very long day, Hermione found she didn't much care what people thought of their trio.

Draco was plying Dean with drinks, Dean was telling Draco about football and Draco seemed torn between interest and derision.

“...And then what?” Draco asked.

“Ball goes into the back of the net and that's a goal, innit?”

“Does it explode?”

“Come off it!”


“Why would it explode?” Dean spluttered.

“Well it would add some excitement to an otherwise dry spectacle, wouldn't you agree?”

Dean was fascinated by Draco's job as an Unspeakable, but even alcohol didn't loosen his lips. Dean sheepishly shared that he recently opened a tattoo studio with another Muggle-born artist - ‘Ink Wizard’ was not far from The Naughty's current location, catering to both Magical and Non-magical folk.

“Dean that's… that's really… beautiful,” Hermione found herself saying, mortified as she needed to wipe away a tear.

“Oh um… cheers,” Dean said uncomfortably. “You don't need to cry, or nothing though.”

“It's just that you're living so beautifully in both worlds.” She grabbed his hand and wrung it. “I'm so so glad you don't have to choose.”

“She's had a rough day,” Draco explained when he saw Dean's confusion, and concern for her mental acuity. He patted her hand patronisingly. “So, you said your shop was close, Thomas?” He was obviously changing the topic, and Hermione was glad to steer her thinking away from the meeting and the vote again.

“Near the market, yeah. Come check it out sometime.” He seemed thoughtful. “We can probably go there now, if you like. I was just thinking of heading out for a kebab.”

It was very nearly midnight.

“Ooh yes, can we?” said Hermione readily. She felt adventurous and didn't want the night to end.

“Kebab or studio?” Dean asked.

“Kebab then studio,” Draco clarified, pointing a decisive finger gun at Dean, and another at Hermione.


Maxim winked at Hermione as she left as part of her unlikely triad. Outside, winter had well and truly arrived, and they all bundled back up in their warm clothes to head into frigid midnight. On his third try, Draco wrapped the three of them in a near-tropical warming charm. They emerged into Muggle Brixton, under pools of street light. Being Friday, there were people about engaging in Friday night type activities.

“Shall we walk?” Dean asked. He was on a bit of a lean. Or maybe Hermione was the one on a lean. He seemed to notice she was slightly more angled than she might normally be, and offered his arm for her to take. She gladly slid her arm through his and pinned herself to his side.

“Marvellous idea, Thomas,” Draco agreed. On her other side, Draco became another link to their strange chain.

They walked about 10 minutes. A crowd of smokers outside a Muggle bar wolf whistled at them, and Draco wolf whistled back. Soon after, they walked through the middle of some sort of lovers tiff involving a girl with hula hoop-sized earrings on one side of the road, and her beau who looked like a tiny Hagrid bellowing on the other.

“‘Ere ya mate, you were ‘aving a proper look at ‘er baps you were!”

“I never, babes, I never. Tha’s me cousin, innit! Swear on me nan's grave!

“Tha's well twisted, that is. Come over ‘here, I'll bang ya right awt!”

Hermione dragged a scintillated Draco away before the fierce girl with the hoops widened her threats to include them.

Finally, they were standing in front of a small red shop front.

Abrakebabra - Home of the Magic Falafel.

Draco read the sign and made a choking noise that quickly became uncontrollable laughter.

Inside the shop, the fluorescent lights throbbed through Hermione and she decided she was quite drunk, especially when she realised that she’d been staring at the menu board for approximately a millenia.

It would be rude not to order the falafel.

“Thomas,” said Draco in an audible stage whisper. “Order for me. I’ll pay you back.” It wasn’t said as a demand, more as an SOS. Dean grinned and ordered two lamb shish kebabs with garlic and hot chilli sauce.

On white plastic chairs in the window of the shop, they ate their feast. There was the quiet, drunk contemplation of those who are experiencing something salty, greasy and flavoursome.

“This is the best thing I've ever eaten,” Draco said reverently.

“I don't think these falafel have any magical properties whatsoever,” remarked Hermione.

“I’m getting another,” said Dean.

Full to bursting, they braved the cold again, with Dean promising his shop was just around the corner.

True to his word, they arrived outside a small corner shop, part of a larger ugly brick building. The shop front was painted glossy black, with swirling white letters spelling out ‘Ink Wizard’ across the windows. A neon sign of a traditional style wizard with lightning coming out of his fingers hung in the window.

Dean opened the shop door with a key, and they all entered the space. It smelled sharply of disinfectant and warmly of vanilla. Dean flicked the lights on and illuminated the walls of meticulously drawn flash framed in black. The walls were painted teal and there were hot rod flames drawn in silver on the floor. There was also a glowing pinball machine in one corner. There was a lot to look at, but overall it was just as cool as the man who owned it.

Dean raided a mini fridge in the corner and bottles clinked as he withdrew three beers and handed them around. Hermione took the lager, knowing she absolutely did not need it. Barely drank the stuff.

“What do you reckon?” Dean asked, popping the cap off his beer with his wand. Draco was studying the pinball machine with rapt fascination.

“I've never been to a tattoo studio before… but I like it. A lot,” said Hermione. “How do magical folk know how to find you?”

“Mostly word of mouth, I'm doing a bit of marketing around the place. I do magical tattoos later at night and Muggle pieces during the day.”

“So they're different then?

“Yeah,” Dean grinned sheepishly. Off a shelf he retrieved a black album. There were photos inside - little windows showing backs and ankles and biceps… and the tattoos were moving across the peoples’ skin. A phoenix burned and rose again. A peony closed and opened. “Quicker. Proper indelible. Painless, if you want.. though some people like the pain.”

“Wow,” Hermione breathed, looking at Dean's work.

Draco wandered over and was looking over her shoulder. Close, nearly pressed against her back. Without thinking, she tilted her head back, and to the side - closer still.

“Dare you, Granger,” he purred in her ear.

“You first,” she scoffed so she wouldn’t shiver.

“Are you saying if I get a tattoo, swotty Granger will get one too?” Mock-disbelief in his voice. “Thomas, your thoughts?”

Dean took a swig and decided to play along. “I'm game.”

“How much?” asked Draco.

“A bottle of the oldest Firewhiskey you can get apiece.”

“Deal. Granger?”

“What?” she turned around.

“Thomas here is going to tattoo me, and then you,” Draco announced.

“Is that right?” she responded sarcastically. “‘Zeppelin Rules’ across the buttocks?”

“True…” Draco drawled, tapping a finger on his chin. “I suppose I will have to decide what to get.”

Dean looked mischievous. “I have flash.” He waved his wand and the static framed flash flipped over, revealing hundreds of animated pieces of inspiration on the hidden side. “Or, perhaps Hermione could choose for you?”

“Dean, are you sober enough to tattoo?” Hermione responded to this suggestion.

“Are you sober enough to ask me that question?” he said flippantly.

“Granger can choose for me if I choose for her.” Draco took hold of the idea and started running.

“Image and placement?” Dean asked.

“Yes,” said Draco.

“No,” said Hermione.


“Absolutely, positively, not.”


“Oh, am I?” Hermione said silkily.

“Yes. I knew you wouldn't do it. You wild-haired, utterly gutless… coward.”

Hermione's expression turned dangerous. She whirled around to stare Draco down. “I once broke into Gringotts.”

He waved a hand. “Old news.”

“I brewed Polyjuice Potion in my second year at Hogwarts.”

“Still a coward.”

Hermione hated playing to stereotypes but being called a coward inflamed her Gryffindor sensibilities.

Fine,” she hissed.

“Fine?” Draco was surprised, even though he deliberately aimed his arrow.

“I said fine.”

“Say it again.”

“Fine. I accept - but only if you get it the Muggle way. And you don't get to look until it's done.”


Unable to believe that this whole situation was happening and that the whirlwind of her day had flung her in this direction, Hermione found herself going with the inexplicable flow of life. Said flow may have been the flow of alcohol in her veins, but it still had her whispering to Dean.

Ideas ran through her mind: a red heart advertising how much Draco loved his ‘mummy’, a bouncing white ferret, ‘I love Muggles’, until…

With fluid fingers on the keyboard, Hermione used the shop computer to perform an internet search and showed Dean a picture. He bent down to hear the extra details she whispered into his ear, then used both pen and wand to draw a design. In an astonishingly short amount of time he'd come up with exactly the image that was in Hermione's head.

“It's perfect,” she told him, astounded. He winked at her.

Meanwhile, Draco was already draped over the leather table, like a lounging figure in a Greek mosaic. At some point, he had magically replenished his beer. It had to be said that Draco was a very agreeable drunk. Hermione remembered Draco and the champagne and the chaise longue and put your hands on the shelf.

“Ready,” Dean said to Hermione, rescuing her from dangerous thoughts about shelves. Needles and ink were neatly aligned on Dean’s workbench.

“Ready?” Hermione said, pointing her wand at Draco. He looked at her and she heard him say ‘Don't’ in a dark part of her mind.

In the present, he said, “You know it.”

Obscuro!” Hermione shot a blindfold over his eyes so only his curving lips were visible. While Dean disinfected using his wand, Hermione gently took the beer bottle out of Draco’s hand and started rolling up his right sleeve… her fingertips brushed warm, pale skin. His hand twitched, his fingers spreading wide at her touch. Without him watching her, she could linger on his beautiful wrists.

“As kinky as ever,” he said in a low, saucy voice. She didn't know how he knew it was her rather than Dean touching him. “I expect you to feed me beer whenever I ask.”

“Not a chance,” she shot back.

Dean placed the stencil, and when Hermione gave him the thumbs up he got to work. The buzz of the machine filled the shop.

“Ouch, Thomas, you brute!”

“Stay still. Figures you'd be a baby, Malfoy.”

“People pay you to do this to them?” Draco asked incredulously.

“My books are full until June,” Dean said, with a hint of pride.

Draco was silent for a while, as the buzz became a hum and the piece took shape. Hermione saw tension in his jaw that she wanted to smooth away, it faded as he made an effort to appear more tough.

“Lager,” he said to Hermione. And she fed him some, probably because he told her to. She didn't watch his lips, and certainly not his tongue when it flicked out to catch a stray drop. She caught herself licking her own lip.

“How did you two start being mates, anyway?” Dean asked.

“Don't you read the Prophet?” Hermione replied.

“f*ck no. But I gathered enough to know you were missing together. We were dead worried… about Hermione, that is.”

“We were in Hong Kong,” Draco said simply. "Lost track of time.”

Dean accepted the lack of an explanation. “And when did you stop being a c*nt? Or less of one, anyway?” he asked, wiping away excess ink and blood from Draco's arm.

“It was a multitude of things, probably… Not probably, definitely.” The machine started up again. “Ow! I’m sorry it wasn't sooner.”

Dean grunted in acknowledgement, and then Draco grunted back and all seemed to be well. Men.

At length, Dean finished. There was now a truly beautiful tattoo on the top of Draco’s right forearm.

“Now this is done the Muggle way - but I can use magic and heal it right away, and make it proper permanent so you can't remove it.”

“Do it,” Draco said without hesitation. And Hermione understood then that this was about a lot more than being drunk. Was he making amends to Dean, in his understated way, just as he did when he sent her her wand?

Dean traced his wand over Draco's forearm. And it was on his skin forever.

“I propose we cover it until Hermione has hers, yeah? Then you both can see them together?”

“Right you are,” Draco rolled down his sleeve and removed his blindfold. Hermione handed him his beer, which she'd kindly added a cooling charm too. She was slowly realising that backing out (which she had half planned to do) would be exactly as cowardly as Draco had accused her of being. She had just chosen something that would be on his skin forever.

The word forever echoed through her head, circulated in her veins.

“Well, Thomas,” said Draco, holding out his hand to shake Dean's. “You are a much better tattooist than Lord Voldemort.”

At this pronouncement, Dean choked on shock and lager, and started immediately coughing. With watering eyes, he managed to shake Draco's outstretched hand. Hermione too reeled at this flippant reference to Draco’s faded Dark Mark.

“Now, we have very important business with Granger. Obscuro.”

It took a lot of self control to not block Draco’s spell.


Hermione yelped as her legs suddenly bared. Her trousers became a short skirt which she felt with her fingers.

“A little warning!”

“Needed to see the canvas.”

Dean and Draco spoke in an undertone while Hermione nervously sipped beer. What the f*ck was she doing? What the f*ck would Draco put on her body? Surely Dean wouldn't allow him to do anything too risqué… but Dean seemed quite caught up in the joke.

A body came closer to where she was standing nervously, and guided her gently to sit and then lie on the leather table. She didn’t need sight to know that the hand on her lower back was Draco's. She’d know his presence, not to mention his scent, anywhere.

“Lie on your front,” Draco murmured in her ear and she shivered everywhere, but obeyed.

“This won't take long, Hermione,” Dean reassured her. “Magic for you.”

“Who taught you how to do this?” she asked.

“I taught myself,” Dean said. “Not many wizards out there trying to do what I am. Ready?”

No. “Yes.”

Prickling heat spread over the back of Hermione’s thigh. It hurt, like she was being momentarily scalded. For the next five minutes, Dean's wand gently tapped on her skin, creating tiny hot prickles wherever it landed.

“Done,” Dean announced. “Let me get a camera before you look. I need a record of this because f*ck me I'm much more drunk than I thought… I can't believe you nutters let me tattoo you.”

This was not a comforting statement. Hermione got off the bed, but bounced up and down on the balls of her feet, still blindfolded.

“Okay, go,” Dean said.

Hermione pulled the blindfold off her face and watched as Draco rolled up his sleeve. In the mirror Draco looked at the tattoo on his forearm - black lines and clever shading forming an osprey in flight, skimming across water. Droplets and spray dancing around him.

On the back of Hermione's leg, a full colour osprey preened his magnificent feathers and started stretching his wings.

Their faces mirrored each other's blank shock. A pair of ospreys. Then, Draco and Hermione absolutely melted into laughter.

“Did you both know?” Dean was snapping photos on a compact magical camera, he had given no hint.

“No,” Draco nearly couldn't speak. He gasped for breath. Hermione could only shake her head, doubled over as she was.

Dean lowered the camera, grinning widely at the scene in front of him. “Hermione I know the you and Ron sh*t is pretty fresh ‘n I swear I’m not judging - but you sure you two aren't shagging..?”


The fact that Draco and Hermione had unknowingly chosen matching tattoos was almost immediately accepted as normal by everyone involved.

Of course it did strike Hermione, in a drunken philosopher kind of way, that the osprey was Draco and Draco had tattooed himself on her, and she had tattooed him on himself. If Animagus were manifestations of one's soul…

It all became too deep. Probably because she was well off the deep end.

Dean checked his mobile and realised he had a number of missed calls from the person he'd been seeing. He sheepishly left to make a call and when he returned said he'd better get over to see ‘Alex’ asap. He grabbed his bomber, and showed them to the Floo he'd had installed in the back. They were all far too sozzled to apparate all their appendages to the right place.

Dean went first, after a warm hug and a warm handshake that became a back-slapping hug.

“Thanks for a truly bonkers evening,” Dean farewelled, before supplying an unfamiliar Bristol address to the Floo.

As soon as Dean left, Draco quickly said: “I want to see your house.” The words were blurted out, as if she were about to swan dive into the fire without him.

Hermione turned to him, taken aback. His bold declaration reflected in a bold chin.

“Alright,” she said. Not knowing why, and knowing exactly why.

She sprinkled powder from a old ‘World's Best Nana’ mug onto the fire and looped her arm back through Draco's, to take him to…

“2 Twayblade Lane.”

Past / Present / Future - Chapter 27 - neilistic - Harry Potter (2024)


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