An Act of Plagiarism

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> Hiccup.

“It will be a blood bath,” Hermione said between hiccups. “First I will rip out his heart, then I will tear out his tongue, and then I will beat him over the head with his dismembered limbs.”

>Hiccup.

“When are you going to dismember his limbs?” Harry asked.

“Oh,” she said calmly. “Between the heart and the tongue, I guess. After I beat him over the head with his dismembered limps, I mean limbs, (hiccup) I’ll have him farred and teathered.”

“Tarred and feathered,” Harry corrected.

“Exactly Mr. Potter,” Hermione said with a slight slur, pointing her finger at him.

A man at the bar had turned to watch them, listening intently as she plotted someone’s murder.

“Will he be dead by then?” Harry asked, still amused.

“Undubidid, indubulduly, um … Sure.” She said. She was too drunk to say ‘Indubitably’. She was drunk and mad as hell. She was drunk and mad as hell because of one person and one person only - Draco Mafloy. Just thinking his name left a bad taste in her mouth!

“Stupid, Draco Malfoy,” she spat. She placed her head on the table and hiccupped again. “Stop my hiccups, Harry.” She looked up at him and said, “Do drunken people really get hiccups?” Then she hiccupped again.

“Well you have,” he said laughing.

“Stupid hiccups,” she said, and then she hiccupped again, right on cue. “They’re almost as stupid as stupid, old Draco Malfoy.”

Harry patted her back and said, “I’m going to the toilet. Don’t drink anymore. I’ll take you home in a minute.” He got up from their table in the pub and left her alone. He told the server to make sure he didn’t give the pretty woman in the corner booth anymore alcohol.

Hermione was quietly singing a song about dismembering Draco Malfoy when the man over at the bar walked toward her table. Her head was still on her arm, which was on the table, and she took no notice when the man walked over and sat down.

He placed a hand on the table near hers. Assuming the man was Harry, she placed her free hand on top of it and said, “Just think how nice it would be to live in a Draco free world, Harry. No more pompous gits walking around with sticks up their arses. Well, a girl can dream.”

“It would be nice,” the man agreed.

“Yes,” she said and sighed. “At least my hiccups are gone. All my ranting and raving about murdering Draco in the first degree got rid of my hiccups.”

“Good thing, that,” he said.

She closed her eyes and said, “Ah huh.”

She was quiet a minute, then said, “Do you want to know what’s worse than Draco Malfoy?”

“What?” he asked.

“The fact that I thought I might have fallen in love with the git! Researching and writing about his family, reading every little thing I could about them, made me have a slight crush on him, which turned into love, which is now full-blown hate!” she explained.

Harry walked back to the table, saw the man sitting in his former booth, and he shook his head. Fine, it was that man’s funeral. Harry sat down at an empty table to listen.

“How could he do that to me, Harry? He knew that book was important to me. It took me six months of research, five months writing it, a month to rewrite it, editing it, and going over it with a fine-tooth comb. It was my baby! It was important to me.” She turned her head toward the wall, but kept her eyes closed. “Forget the glory and fame. Those things aren’t important to me. I just wanted to share it with everyone. I just wanted to have it published, and he said it was rubbish. He said it wasn’t good enough to wipe the dog shite from his shoes. He said no one would want to read it, and the only people who would publish it were morons and idiots!”

She started to cry. Harry stood up for a moment, to go to her, but the man at the table raised his hand to stop him.

She continued. “What hurts to the quick is that he stole it from me. If he didn’t want me to publish it under my name, fine, I told him I would use an alias! If it’s still the old blood prejudice thing, fine. But to steal it, Harry, well, that’s too far. That’s too much for me to bear. He took my idea, my hard work, my sweat, blood and even my stupid tears and he stole my book and published it under his name. And I'll never forgive him for it.”

“You could fight it,” the man said. “Sue him or something.”

“He would win. You know that. He has unlimited money, and I have nothing, not even my dignity. I always knew he hated me, but this feels like he more than hates me. It feels like he despises me with the very depths of his soul. If he wanted to kill me, it would hurt less. Take me home, Harry.” She continued to cry.

Harry came to stand beside her, and then he sat in the booth with her and pulled her into his arms. The other man stayed in the opposite booth.

“Maybe if it wasn’t about my family, I would have acted differently,” the man opposite her said.

Hermione looked beside her first, confused, and then to the man who spoke … the man sitting opposite her … right into the grey eyes of Draco Malfoy. She looked back over at Harry, then back to Draco.

Draco said, “When I first heard from people that you were digging around, trying to find out things about my family, I was incensed. I was beyond angry. I went to you, if you recall, and I asked you to stop and desist, but you said that people had a right to know the truth. I figured you wouldn’t be able to find out anything important, so I let you carry on. I always figured I could sue you for slander if you wrote a bunch of lies.”

She blew her nose on a napkin while he continued. “The thing was,” Draco said, “they weren’t lies. They were the truth. You wrote a fair and accurate account of my family and their participation in the war, and I think that hurt even more.”

“Then, you brought it to me to read. You said you wanted my blessing. I thought to myself, ‘what a joke’, so I almost threw it in the fire before I read it. Nevertheless, I didn’t. I read it. And I cursed the day I met you, because, damn it all to bloody hell, Granger, it was good. It was the truth, and it was so well written it haunted me for days.”

“So, the only way to stop you from having it published was to have it published myself. I bullied my way to the publishing house, forced them to publish it, and then I had a copy sent to you as the cherry on top. I wanted to hurt you. I wanted to inflict the same amount of pain on you that you had inflicted on me. I did. I’m not sorry. I’m not.”

“Bully for you, you arse,” Hermione said. She began to push on Harry, to move him from the seat beside her. “Let me up, Harry. I’ll kill him quickly, and I won’t even leave a big mess, I promise.”

Harry placed his arms around her and wouldn’t let her up. Draco stood up and said, “Let her at me, Potter. I figure I deserve it.”

“No,” Harry said. However, he did stand, and Hermione did as well, but Harry reached across her, grabbed her purse, which contained her wand, and then with his arm around her waist he said, “We’re leaving. Hermione might not have the money to take you to court, but I do. You'll be hearing from my attorney in a few days.”

“Oh really?” Draco said, following them outside of the bar. “Should I be afraid?”

When they reached the sidewalk outside, Hermione being towed by Harry, Harry turned to Draco and said, “Yes, really, and yes, you should be afraid.”

“You might want to reconsider,” Draco replied, reaching inside his jacket pocket. Harry was on his guard, removing his wand from his own pocket as soon as Malfoy reached inside his pocket, but he noticed that Malfoy merely removed a plain, wrapped package. It had been shrunken down to fit in his pocket, so Draco took out his wand, and warned, “Careful, Potter, I just need to enlarge this.” He saw Harry pocket his wand again, and he enlarged the package and handed it to Harry.

Harry handed it to Hermione. She wavered a moment, leaned against Harry, who helped her over to a low windowsill along the wall of the tavern. She sat on the windowsill and opened the package. It was her book, >her book,> with her name as author, in gold lettering. It was the sweetest thing she’d ever seen! She threw the brown paper and string on the ground and opened up the book. Opening a new book, being the first to break its spine, was one of her few joys in life, and knowing that this was HER BOOK was paramount to the best thing she had ever experienced. She only wished she wasn’t inebriated. It might feel even better.

She fingered the pages, and sure enough, her name was on the inside pages, too.

“How?” she managed to ask.

“That first book was a dummy, a decoy, a sick joke if you will. They made up one for me with my name, to send to you, as a cruel joke. I really did think you would think it was a joke. I mean, I knew you would be upset, but I never thought you think I was that low that I would steal your bloody book.” He sat beside her on the windowsill as Harry walked over to the front doors, to give them privacy.

“How was I to know?” she leveled. “After you read it, you came over to my office and started to rant and rave, and you said that only over your dead body would the book get published.”

“Was that when you started to plot my death? Murder in the first degree, I believe you called it?” Draco asked with a sly smirk.

She smiled shyly and said, “No. That just started tonight. Only under the influence did I want you dead. When I was cold-stone sober, I wanted to castrate you and stuff your ‘you-know-what’ in your arse.”

“Ouch, that doesn’t sound pleasant,” he winced. "I think I would rather be killed."

“That probably would kill you, and what did you expect, Malfoy?” she whined. "When that book arrived this morning, it knocked me on my bum. I was heartbroken, seeing my book, just exactly as I wrote it, with someone else’s name on it. Not someone else’s, but yours! It hurt more than I can express. I thought that was how you were getting back at me. I’m sorry I jumped to conclusions, but you can see where I would, can’t you?”

“Yes, I can. I’m sorry, too.” And he really was.

There was an extended silence between them, when Harry finally walked over and said, “The barman gave me some pepper-up potion.”

“Why, are you drunk?” Hermione asked.

Draco looked at Harry, laughed, and said, “Are you sure she was considered the BRIGHEST witch of our age?”

“Supposedly,” Harry said. “She’s only dim like this when she's pissed.” He walked over to Hermione and said, “It’s for you. Drink up.”

She handed the book to Draco, took the potion from Harry, and downed it quickly. She winced, made a funny face, and handed him back the glass. “Yucky.”

“You're so eloquent,” Draco said. “Did you have a ghost writer?”

“Nope, it was all me,” she said proudly.

Harry said, “Hermione, I have to work in the morning, which is today, actually. Can I take you home now?”

“I’ll see her home, Potter,” Draco said.

“Hermione?” Harry asked, uncertain.

“Go on, Harry. I promise not to dismember him, now. Look,” she said, holding up her book, “he had my book published.”

“I see,” Harry said with a smile. “How nice.”

Harry patted Draco’s shoulder and kissed Hermione’s cheek. He handed her purse and coat to her, and then nodded his head as he left. Draco took her coat from her and helped her in the sleeves. She held her purse and her book up to her chest, as he straightened the collar. He pulled her up to his chest, by the placket of her coat. 

>Smiling at her said, he asked, “Will I get an autographed copy?”

“Only if you’re exceptionally nice to me from this moment on, Malfoy,” she said.

“Oh, I can be very, very nice, or I can be very, very naughty. I'm a Malfoy, and no one knows us better at this point, besides another Malfoy, other than you, apparently. You're the world’s leading Malfoy aficionado.” He leaned his face toward hers and said, “I’m going to kiss you now, Granger.”

“>No you’re not,” she said, smiling.

“Oh, really?” He raised one eyebrow. “Why not?” he asked with another smirk.

“Because I’m going to kiss you, instead. I can’t have you stealing my kiss, the way you stole my book, can I?” she asked. She moved from his grasp, placed her precious book and her purse on the sidewalk near their feet, and then placed her hands back on his chest. Leaning up, she knew it would be a good kiss even before it happened.

He placed his arms around her waist. She moved hers from his chest to wrap around his waist, under his coat. Slowly, he lowered his face to hers, and the rush of emotions she felt before his lips even touched hers was nothing compared to the heady emotions of when their lips finally fitted over top of each other. The kiss felt effortless, as if it was made to happen, ordered from a specialty catalog, and made to fit them exactly. This wasn’t just a first kiss, it was a kiss among kisses, the best kiss of her life, and she had a fleeting thought as his lips pressed against hers that he was the only man she would ever want to kiss from this moment on to the end of all time.

He pressed harder, with more intensity, and a tension hummed between them that started with dim desire and grew to so much more. She closed her eyes, cocked her head, and felt all the anger from earlier slide away to an unbridled passion.

>

He thought she felt like a small piece of heaven in his arms. She was lightness, happiness, and pure bliss. She was made for him. He knew it before he kissed her. He knew it before she showed him her book. It pained him that he caused her pain. That was water under the bridge, now that she was in his arms, her lips under his, her tongue gliding against his tongue.

>Nothing and no one would ever ruin this for him. Not even his own stupidity. He just wouldn’t allow it. Pulling her closer, he turned her in his arms and pushed her against the brick building, as his hands went to her face. He cupped her face in his hands as he rained small kisses all over her face.

His mouth went to the side of her neck, sending her a tingling feeling all the way down to her toes. She blew out a delicate puff of air, and then moaned. He pressed against her and said, “How much would you hate me if I asked you to come home with me? Would that be crossing the line?” He whispered each word in her ear, sending a pulse throughout her body, with each syllable, to her very core.

“Crossing what line?” she asked, seriously.

He brought his hand up to her face and said, “Did I forget to mention it? Shake my hand, Hermione; I’m your literary agent, since I found a publisher for you and all. I already got you a two book deal, with a six book contingency, and I'm only charging you ten percent of the total profit.”

She gasped, knocked his hand away, but before she could protest, his mouth lowered on hers again and he kissed her harder than before, with more feeling and more enthusiasm, if that was possible. When he lifted his head, he smiled at her slyly and said, “I think we'll have a nice working relationship.” He took her hand and bent down to pick up her things. “Now, my house or yours?”

She said, “Eight percent, Malfoy.”

“Not hardly. Most agents get fifteen, and the bloody bastards didn’t want to give us the two-book deal. I had to threaten them,” he said.

She pulled her hand from his and said, “How did you threaten them? Oh no, you didn’t blackmail them or something to force them to publish my book did you? If you did, I'll have to dream up ways to dismember and murder you again.”

“What do you take me for, Granger?” he asked, hands to heart, a contrived wounded expression on his face. “No, I merely threatened to fire the lot. You see, I own the publishing house. Therefore, you’re lucky I’m paying you a fortune, being a first time author. You won’t miss my measly twelve percent.”

He took her hand and kissed it.

“Sly one, Malfoy, but it was ten percent.”

“What can I say, my price just went up?” He smiled, placed his arms around her and said, “Hell, for your pain and suffering, my services are free. Now, let’s go make love and then we can talk about the second book. Maybe I'll even give you inspiration. How are you at writing erotica?”

She smiled and he winked at her and Disapparated them both away.

- The End -




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