His Favorite Cousin

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For zaralya who wanted Adrian/Hermione, wine, a candle, and hiding beneath the bed. Hope you enjoy this one!

Originally Published: January 30, 2005

He was going to kill her.

He didn’t care if she was his favorite cousin or that his Mum would be disappointed in him for ending up in Azkaban. Pansy Parkinson Weasley was going to die. Since he had learned of her treachery, he had imagined a multitude of ways to end her life. He had quite an imagination, it would seem, though his particular favorite involved many hexes that caused her to look a bit like one of those Muggle clowns he had seen one time when his father took them to something called a circus. He rather liked the idea of Pansy looking like a silly clown before he cursed her to end her interfering, meddling life.

The flat he was currently sneaking through was, thankfully, empty. It had taken him nearly half an hour just to break through the many protective wards and he would have been unable to penetrate the defenses at all if not for his deceitful cousin’s aid. Okay, possibly not a clown but he was going to kill her. Adrian nodded emphatically at that idea, feeling a bit better planning Pansy’s murder as he made his way through Hermione Granger’s flat.

Where would they be? He only hoped he wasn’t too late. His cheeks turned a bright red at the thought of Hermione finding the package before him. He’d never live it down. The humiliation and embarrassment would haunt him for the rest of his life, which wouldn’t be too long since he’d be in Azkaban after killing Pansy. Actually, knowing Weasley’s temper, he’d probably be cursed before getting sent to prison. Either way, he at least would not have long to live with the utter mortification of Pansy’s actions.

When he had woken up that morning, he had never considered that he would spend his evening breaking into the flat of the woman he had fancied for many months. It was actually the first time he’d been to her flat and the curious part of him wanted to look around, to see if he could learn something new in an attempt to gain her elusive affection. You see, he could have just about any witch that he wanted. Except Hermione Granger. The one witch he wanted more than he’d ever wanted anything in his life and she could resist him.

It was bloody well unfair. Pansy thought it was terribly amusing, reminding him of all the witches he’d had fawning over him since he was a child and how conceited he had gotten in regards to his physical appeal to the opposite sex. She kept spouting off some nonsense about his ego finally getting the best of him and some ridiculous notion about his reputation as a flirt and commitment-phobe finally catching up with him. It was not his fault at all that no woman he’d dated had ever managed to keep his interest after the first date. And he only wished he’d shagged as many people as the gossip claimed. Reality was more along the lines of eight, all women with whom he had friendships to this day unlike many lecherous men who used woman and discarded them.

Hermione was different. She had been ever since he had run into her while shopping in Diagon Alley. He’d recognized her, of course. Anyone who read the Daily Prophet knew of Potter and the friends that had helped saved their world. She wasn’t ravishingly beautiful, though she had a natural beauty that far surpassed most women, and had no real grace or elegance to speak of, but there was something about her that had caught his attention the moment she had knocked him on his arse. Perhaps it was the warm curves of her body that had fit so perfectly against his when they toppled to the cobblestones in Diagon Alley or the fetching pink that had entered her cheeks as she’d stammered an apology for reading her book instead of watching where she was going or it could possibly have been the way she looked at him, as if she was seeing him and not just another pretty face of a wizard with whom she wished to shag like so many other women.

She had helped him to his feet, giving him a smile and apology, and then left him standing in the middle of the street with a dazed and rather unattractive expression on his face as he watched her walk away. When a week went by and he still couldn’t stop thinking about her, waxing poetic about her many attributes to his cat, Rascal, and sounding like a complete wanker, he’d seen her at Pansy’s engagement party. He’d not hesitated at all when his cousin asked him to photograph her wedding, knowing it would allow him to spend more time with the attractive and brilliant young woman who was infuriatingly able to resist his charms.

He had managed to become friends with Hermione, even as she laughed off his flirtatious overtures and rolled her eyes when he asked her out. Weasley, Potter, and Pansy thought it was ‘adorable’, his pursuit of the lovely girl they called friend. That word alone should have had him running in the opposite direction. Adrian Pucey was charming, rakish, handsome, sexy. He was not adorable nor did he wish to have his lack of success in charming a woman who was far too smart and probably too good for him a topic of discussion amidst the majority of the wedding party. Hermione, however, was still oblivious to the sincerity of his attentions.

The wedding had been a month ago. Since then, he’d managed to meet up with the saucy minx that had bewitched him several times. He no longer asked her out, not wanting to be considered obsessive or display, what was it Potter said, borderline stalker-like behavior. He was unaccustomed to rejection, certainly, but he was twenty-six and mature enough to deal with the idea that the woman he wanted to have his first (and possibly only) relationship with was not interested. Being friends with her was nice, actually. She was relaxed when he wasn’t asking her for a date, and she had the most beautiful smile he could ever remember seeing. Her laugh was amazing, warm and full of life, it made his body feel warm and he couldn’t refrain from smiling or laughing in response.

Pansy and Weasley had asked him to dinner last week, Hermione also attending. They’d spent most of the evening talking to each other, sharing jokes that only they understood from their lunches together or the times they had happened to meet up while shopping. Okay, so possibly Potter had been correct with the accusation of stalker-like behavior when he had first become smitten with the beautiful brunette many months ago, but Adrian had been completely confused and lost, having no idea how to handle the fact that he wanted someone who did not want him, so he had watched her whenever they were together and learned some of her habits. She knew some of his, too, which meant she had also been watching him so, really, it was not overly ‘creepy’ as Pansy had claimed the first few weeks after her engagement party.

After their dinner, Pansy had invited him for lunch and proceeded to demand to know why he had not asked Hermione out in months. She’d rolled her eyes and called him several colorful names he could only assume she had learned from that riff-raff she had married when he explained that he could only take so much rejection before she had reminded him that he’d not asked Hermione out since they’d actually gotten to know one another nearly six months ago. She seemed to believe that Hermione might very well say yes since, according to Pansy, Hermione was head over heels and fancied him something fierce. She’d given him a week to ask her out, threatening him with drastic action if he refused.

He’d believed she was nutters, offering to take her to St. Mungos to see if a stray curse during the War had scrambled her brains, and he’d ignored her ultimatum. Now, he was sneaking into Hermione’s flat, planning ways to murder the meddling spawn of his aunt, and praying that Hermione had not yet opened the package that Pansy had sent her. He had looked all over the sitting room and kitchen for the envelope containing what was supposed to be wedding photographs. Instead of pictures of Weasley and Pansy’s wedding, it was the collection of photos he had taken for himself.

They were all from the wedding preparations or taken in the park when they met for an evening stroll on Saturday afternoons. None were secretly taken nor did he have any intention of hiding and taking photos of Hermione without her knowledge. However, he still did not want her to open that folder. The very fact that he had dozens of images of her was enough to make him blush. The reality was that his feelings for Hermione, well, they were quite obvious from the photos he’d taken. Pansy had seen it when she had looked at the images when she came by his flat to collect her wedding photos.

He’d gone to get them tea, returning to find her staring at a particular photograph of Hermione he’d taken at the park. She was smiling, having just laughed at some story he’d told her regarding a Quidditch match he’d attended, and she’d looked beautiful. Instead of teasing him, as he had expected when he snatched the file from her, Pansy had just stared at him with a slight smile on her lips. Two days later, she had broken into his flat (he chose to ignore the fact that she had a key and permission to get past his wards) and stolen the folder, sending him a sweet owl at lunch letting him know his time was up and she’d taken action on his behalf.

When his search turned up empty, he took a deep breath and went into her bedroom. He noticed a rather large ugly cat lying on the bed, looking at him for a moment and giving Adrian the distinct impression he was being judged. Finally, the orange cat waved its tail before jumping off the bed and moving to rub against his foot. He scratched the top of the cat’s head before glancing around the room. He had found it! The file was on the small table beside her bed and it looked unopened. “Thank God,” he muttered as he quickly moved to retrieve the folder. Lifting the candlestick that was resting on the corner of the file, he picked it up and held it against his chest, breathing a huge sigh of relief.

He was about to leave when he heard a familiar ‘pop’ from the other room. Green eyes widening, he realized that Hermione was home, hearing her call for ‘Crookshanks’ before the cat went running. He was stuck. She was going to find him with the folder, realize he had broken into her flat, and then realize that he was in love with her. He’d be lucky if St. Mungos would be able to put him back together after she was finished hexing him. Thinking fast, he fell to the floor and crawled under the bed.

This was just bloody perfect. Could the evening get any worse? Pansy was going to pay, that was for certain. He wouldn’t kill her after all. No, instead he’d let her live and torture her daily for putting him through this misery. He was concentrating on not sneezing, the area under Hermione’s bed surprisingly free of dust but he could feel his nose twitching.

“Where did that folder go?” Hermione’s voice suddenly interrupted his concentration. Panicking, he held his breath, wishing she’d go away so he could escape. “I know I put it here last night after Pansy gave it to me. Bugger it all,” she cursed softly, the bed dipping slightly as she sat down. “It looks like they’re right, doesn’t it, Crookshanks? I’m working too much. I can’t even remember where I put the blasted photo.”

Adrian bit his lip to keep from groaning when he noticed material falling to the floor. Her robes. A soft groan escaped his lips when he saw a white shirt fall on top of the robe. She was sitting on the bed above him without her shirt. Oh bloody fucking hell, this was not good. Not good at all. He shifted on the floor, cursing the instant erection pressing against his trousers at the thought of Hermione half-naked. He was so busy trying to control his arousal that he forgot his need to sneeze.


“Bless you,” was Hermione’s automatic response before she suddenly gasped. “Who’s there? Show yourself!”

And just when he thought things couldn’t get worse. Adrian slowly moved from under the bed, refusing to look at her as he held the folder in his hand. “I’m sorry, Hermione. I didn’t intend to break in…it’s all Pansy’s fault!”

“Adrian?” Hermione’s surprised whisper caused him to look up. She was so lovely, her eyes darting from him to the folder and back again. “Oh bloody hell. She told you, didn’t she? That meddling little wench!”

“What?” He could not even attempt to sound smooth or knowledgeable because he had no idea what she was rambling on about.

“I knew I shouldn’t trust her. Once a Slytherin, always a Slytherin. I’m telling Ron!” She had stood from the bed and was pacing, her hair free from it’s clip, framing her pretty face in unruly curls. He noticed with a bit of disappointment that she was wearing an old T-shirt and blue jeans she must have put on after removing her work clothes. She suddenly faced him, giving him a tight smile as her face turned red. “I understand how awkward this must be for you. I do apologize for Pansy telling you. Can you please give me my photograph and leave? We can pretend that nothing has changed and this never happened.”

“Your photograph?” Adrian arched a brow. “You must be mistaken. These are my private photos. Pansy stole them from my flat a couple of days ago.”

“Just give me the file, Pucey. It’s not yours.”

“It is too!” He glared at her for a moment, ignoring the fact that she looked very cute when she was flustered and stomping her foot like a spoiled child. He opened the folder, removing the photo and said, “See? It’s mine!”

“Bloody hell, you had to open it, didn’t you?” she sighed, making a face as she laughed dryly. “Great, as if my humiliation was not complete.”

“This isn’t mine,” he said softly as he stared at the image that was in his folder. It was from the wedding, a picture of him and Hermione dancing. The expression on his face was one of a besotted lover who had never seen anything so lovely as he looked at Hermione. Hermione was looking at him with a similar look, her lips curved into a shy, gentle smile as they danced slowly together. He remembered the dance, the feel of her in his arms, the reluctance of ever letting her go. In a strangled whisper, he asked, “Where did you get this?”

“Pansy took it,” Hermione sighed. “She made me a copy because she knows how I feel about you. Why can‘t the ground open up and swallow you in times like this? Bloody hell, maybe I can just obliviate you.”

“How you feel about me?” He looked at her, frowning as he reminded, “You always said no when I asked you out.”

“Of course I did.” Hermione rolled her eyes. “You weren’t interested in me. You just liked the thrill of the chase. Once I refused you a few times, you stopped asking so I know you didn’t really want me.” Her cheeks turned bright red as she realized how her words sounded and she stammered quickly, “I mean, you didn’t want to date me.”

“You stupid, silly woman,” Adrian laughed softly as everything started to make sense.

“I am not stupid! This is my flat and I think it’s time for you to go now, Pucey.” Hermione glared at him, looking very much like a spitting kitten, his lips curving into a smile as he shook his head.

“I’m not going anywhere, kitten. I think we need to talk. I noticed some wine in the kitchen. Do you have pasta? I’ll cook us some dinner while we have a nice chat.”

“You are not going to cook for me and serve me wine to get me tipsy enough to forget this is happening. And do not call me kitten! You know I loathe nicknames and especially that one.”

“You like it,” Adrian smirked. “You may hate to admit it, but you do.”

“I do not,” she crossed her arms in front of her chest and frowned at him. “It’s patronizing, condescending, and I am not a kitten.”

“You’re my kitten,” he said huskily, taking a step towards her. “This folder? It usually holds dozens of images of you that I’ve taken. Pansy told me she sent it to you since I was too scared to tell you how I feel about you. I didn’t stop asking you out because I lost interest, Hermione. I stopped because I thought you didn’t want me and had no interest in being a pest by continuing to hassle you. I’ve always wanted you. The moment you knocked me on my arse in Diagon Alley, I was yours.”

He traced her lips with his finger, looking into her eyes as he lowered his head, giving her time to protest before he kissed her. She met his lips eagerly, her fingers moving along his neck as his tongue slid into her mouth. The kiss was unlike any he’d ever experienced. Gentle, desperate, passionate. She moaned as her mouth opened beneath his, her body pressing against him as her fingers moved into his hair, pulling him closer. The picture of them dancing fell to the bed behind her as his hands moved along her back, deepening their first kiss.

Releasing her lips reluctantly, he was relieved to see that she was having difficult breathing as well. Hermione smiled at him, a shy smile full of promise and a future as she took his hand and led him to the kitchen, stopping to kiss him again halfway there. As he held her against him, her lips pressed against his, he decided that he’d have to send Pansy some flowers. His favorite cousin had always been fond of roses.

The end