Toxic @rubberduckiez
Hot & Cold

I’m lovin it…

Draco sat on the stool in his office, staring down at his notes and then over at the empty cauldron. He had made some progress, but had once again hit a roadblock. He was unsure of where to go from here. It had been over two weeks since he had come clean to Blaise and Theo about Olivia.

And she had barely spoken to him during that time. And the more she didn’t speak to him or check up on him, the more Draco found himself missing it. Which only added to the conflict already coursing through him.

It got to the point where Draco wondered if Wood had forbidden her from speaking to him, but he quickly dismissed that, feeling Olivia wasn’t the sort to let any man dictate who she did or didn’t speak too. She had more than proven she could stand on her own two feet.

And speaking of the stupid jock, nearly every other day, Olivia got another bouquet of flowers from him. Or he popped by to take her to lunch or pick her up for dinner. It was clearly nauseating, seeing how hard he was trying. Even if Wood didn’t come by the office or send anything, Draco would be forced to see another photograph of the couple in the news, though Olivia always attempted to cover her face and appeared uncomfortable in just about every one.

But outside that, things appeared to be blissfully happy for the two, at least from what Draco could tell, which only left him feeling even more frustrated. Which in turn, kept him thoroughly distracted from his research.

He needed to get over himself and Olivia De Loughrey and fast.

“You going to lunch?” Blaise asked, stepping into his doorway. Draco looked over at him and then down at his notes.

“Go ahead. I think I’m close to something here,” Draco said. Blaise sighed and nodded, before turning and leaving him.

Gradually all the noise in the office died out as everyone filed out for their lunch hour. Draco had lied, of course - he wasn’t on the cusp of anything - but he knew Blaise would want to talk about his admission and Draco just wasn’t in the mood.

“You’re not going out?”

Draco’s heart nearly stopped as he turned, seeing Olivia standing there, a look of concern on her face.

“Ehm, no. Got some work here,” Draco said, pointing at his work table.

“Ah, I see,” Olivia said. She didn’t move, rather just stood there a few moments.

“Actually, I could use some help,” Draco said, surprised at how soft his voice was. Olivia’s eyes widened as though the last thing she expected was for Draco to ask her for something. She walked in, her heels clicking against the stone floor as she looked over his notes.

She was so close to him that he could smell her perfume - it was the same thing she had worn that night at the bar and for a moment, it took him back. But once again, he stopped himself from going there.

She’s happily dating Oliver Wood. And she’s your boss… it can’t happen, he mentally reminded himself.

“How long have you been stuck?” she asked, glancing up at him, her brow furrowed. She then went back to studying his notes.

“Few days,” he admitted. Olivia looked up at him. “Two weeks.” A faint smile came over her face as she rolled up her sleeves and then reached for a quill. “Still trying to figure out where exactly I went wrong the last time… even though you basically showed me.”

“Well… I could see how you could make the wrong calculations. You didn’t take into consideration how the amount would react to this… this… and this,” she said, circling a few things. “But if you adjust all by… this much, you should… yea, that should work.” She wrote a few more things down and then backed away, allowing him to look over her work.

“Seems sound,” he admitted, glancing at her. He then looked towards the door. “Wood not coming today?”

“No, he’s held up at practice,” Olivia said. She then took a deep breath, her lips pursed slightly. “And well… I feel like I owe you an apology… I want to apologize for… well, the party and match. What he said to you. I’m not sure what got into him. I haven’t told him about that night. Figured it wasn’t any of his business. And it’s still… really new and all.”

“I… that’s fine… if you want to tell him,” Draco said, then wondering if that would be a colossal mistake. But he couldn’t take it back now. “I mean… he is your boyfriend and all. I’m just… one night.”

“And my subordinate. We work together. The last thing I need is him worrying about something that isn’t there,” Olivia said.

“Right,” Draco said, turning back to his notes, managing to hide the fact that her comment had stung. “How did you handle everything with Flint?”

“Told him the truth - that you happened to be there when Flint made a pass at me. But I didn’t know that we would be working together at the time. Everything else… well, didn’t want to get into that right now. As I said,” she replied. Draco nodded.

“You think you could help me put this together?” Draco asked. Olivia stared at him a few moments and then smiled.

“Sure,” she said, walking over to grab an apron off a hook on the wall and putting it on. Draco watched her, causing her to stop. “Just in case we screwed up the calculations again.”

For whatever reason, Draco found himself chuckling.

“Probably not a bad idea,” he said, walking over to pull one on himself.

The two set to work in mostly silence, though it wasn’t uncomfortable. They only really spoke to ask questions about ingredients, the two checking with each other before adding anything. It was far smoother than any other time that Olivia had been in his office and Draco found himself enjoying it, though part of him missed the banter just a bit.

They were chopping up roots when Draco glanced over at her.

“Any luck with the Night Heather?” he asked, wondering if she had actually looked into it. Olivia sighed heavily.

“The board said no,” she said, frowning. “But I’m tracking down some other leads…”

“You mean the black market?” Draco asked, his eyebrows rising slightly. That didn’t seem like something she would do. Perhaps there was a devious side to her. Actually, well, he already knew that. But… no. He was not about to think about that night again.

“Saving that for a last resort, but I still have some other options,” she said, tensing slightly. She glanced at him. “I’m thinking about asking my father…”

“Your father?” Draco asked, now understanding why she was tense. She nodded.

“He works in import and exports - rare and sometimes dangerous items. If anyone can get us Night Heather, it’s him. Though I don’t really like asking him for help… But it’s that, black market or trying to grow it ourselves,” she said. She then stopped, looking up. “Though… that might be a better option…”

“Isn’t it illegal to grow without a license?” Draco asked. Olivia shrugged, returning to her work.

“It’s a possibility,” she said. She then gathered up the roots, preparing to put them in the cauldron. She then stopped, frowning as she looked at the swirling liquid. “Something seems off.”

Draco looked at the cauldron, thinking that it was progressing as intended.

“We should be fine,” he countered.

“Let me double check the calculations again,” Olivia said, turning back to the notes.

“You did them yourself, shouldn’t they be perfect?” Draco asked dryly, his frustration growing slightly. They had gotten this far and he didn’t want to stop now. But at the same time, he wondered just why he was acting hostile all of a sudden towards her. Olivia shot him a look and then went back to the notes.

“Forgive me if I don’t want to be covered in muck again,” she muttered.

Draco waited a few moments and then looked around at the remaining ingredients before gathering them up.

“It’s fine,” he said, not wanting to wait any longer. He had let her take the lead far too much as it was.

“Draco, wait. If you would listen to me, I think something is missing,” she said, putting her hand up.

“If you would listen to me, I think I know my own damn potion,” he griped, not stopping. He wasn’t sure just why his hackles were up, but he felt like he needed to prove himself capable to her.

“I told you - something is off,” Olivia said, her voice a bit harsher.

“And I’m telling you - it’s fine,” Draco shot back.

“Don’t-”

But it was too late, Draco dumped in the ingredients and stirred them. The both of them froze a moment, waiting, before Olivia started backing up slightly, worried it was about to explode again. He held his breath, worried for a moment that she would be right - again.

But instead of an explosion, a puff of smoke emitted from the concoction and then it continued to simmer. Draco smiled smugly as he looked over at her.

“I told you - I know what I’m doing,” he said.

“This time,” Olivia replied. Draco frowned as he rounded on her.

“What exactly is your problem?” he asked, his anger getting the better of him. After everything over the last few weeks, he felt himself coming to his own boiling point as he scowled at her. “You take my position - something I’ve been working on for years, mind you. And then you treat me like I’m some silly first year who doesn’t know what he’s doing. I’m damn good at my job, in case you didn’t know.”

Olivia frowned at him, her eyes starting to narrow.

“Yes, I know that you’re good. But I also know that you have to be pushed if you want to be better,” she said.

Pushed? Well, he would show her pushing.

“So we’re back to that again? You’re only trying to help? That’s bollocks. You’re just trying to assert your control over me and this whole damn department!” he shouted. “We’re all sick of it, to be honest!”

Olivia huffed slightly as a haggard laugh escaped her lips.

“I’m trying to take this department to the next level, yourself included!” she shouted back, crossing her arms in front of her.

“Forgive me if I don’t believe you,” Draco snapped. “Besides, what do you have to prove? You’re no better than me! You called me a pureblood prick, but aren’t you the same?! The De Loughreys are fucking royalty in New York, yet you pretend that you’re not anything like me! That you’re above it all. We the fucking same, Liv!”

Olivia’s nostrils flared slightly as her eyes widened and immediately Draco regretted what he had said. He knew part of her story, but only part. It was unfair of him to say anything about her family.

What’s more, he had called her Liv. It slipped out in the heat of the moment. Shit. He hoped no one had heard that.

“Get this straight, Malfoy,” she hissed, stepping closer to him. “I am trying to make you better. God, you don’t even understand the full potential of what you’re working on! The applications! But if you don’t want my help. If you think I’m being a control freak, then maybe you don’t deserve my help!” They stared at each other a few moments, neither saying anything. “And you don’t know shit about me, so stop with the fucking assumptions. Just because my father is Oliver De Loughrey doesn’t mean I had everything handed to me. I worked my ass off to get to where I am. So just… ugh.”

She turned and started towards the door before stopping and looking back at him.

“Forget it. This is… hopeless,” she said before turning and storming out. Draco could see a few others had returned from lunch and were looking into his office. He glared at them before turning around and going to his notes.

He wanted to throw something, but felt it best not to make more of a scene. He then grimaced, thinking over what she had said to him. It was true he didn’t know everything about her. But even with what he did know, he shouldn’t have brought up her background or her family when he already sensed it was a sensitive topic. Groaning, he sat down on his stool.

He hadn’t wanted to insult her or hurt her, and then he had done just that. Allowed his frustration to get the better of him and reverted to old coping mechanisms. Hurt them before they hurt you. Looking towards his office door, he knew that he needed to apologize. But not now. Not in front of everyone.

Turning back to his worktable, he decided he would wait until everyone had left for the day.

Then he would talk to her when they were alone.

~~~

Draco continued to glance out of his office door every few minutes, checking to see who was left and praying that Olivia wouldn’t leave early. It was a Friday night and for all he knew, she had another date with Wood. But thankfully, everytime he checked, Olivia was still at her desk, working her way through a pile of papers.

Finally, the last person left and he straightened his shirt and stepped out of his office, walking straight into hers.

Olivia glanced up at him and then back down at her work.

“What do you want?” she asked coldly. “Come to get more off your chest?”

“I want to… apologize,” he said. Olivia paused and sat up, fixing him in a stern glare.

“Why do you sound unsure about that?” she asked. Draco sighed and shook his head.

“I’m not so good at admitting I’m wrong,” he offered, smiling slightly. Olivia didn’t speak a few moments. “You were right before about the potion. And you are brilliant in your work. I should be listening more to you, but… I allow my ego to get in the way. I’m sorry.” She still didn’t speak. “And I shouldn’t have brought up your background… you’re right… again… I don’t know anything about you or what you’ve been through.”

Olivia remained silent a bit longer before sighing and reaching for a piece of paper, scribbling something down on it. She then stood and walked over to him, holding it out.

“Come here tomorrow at 2 p.m.” she said. Draco frowned slightly.

“Why not tonight? Big date?” he asked without thinking. Olivia narrowed her eyes and started to pull the paper back. “I’m sorry! It slipped out. I’ll work on it.” She stopped and then held the paper out to him. He took it, seeing an address written down.

Olivia then turned and walked back to her desk.

“That’s all,” she said, dismissing him. Draco nodded and then turned, walking out of the office. He glanced over his shoulder, seeing Olivia staring at the parchments, frowning slightly as though she were worried about something.

She then shook her head and got back to work. Looking back down at the paper, Draco wondered just what he was getting himself into.

1. Meet Cute 2808 0 0 2. Just One Night 3493 0 0 3. Decidedly Not a Meet Cute 3406 0 0 4. Declaring War 2787 0 0 5. Mother Dearest 3286 0 0 6. Fighting 3545 0 0 7. Deep Dive 2944 0 0 8. Jealousy 3143 0 0 9. A (Not So) Good Day 3897 0 0 10. Hot & Cold 2670 0 0 11. The Other Side 2206 0 0 12. Coming Clean 3275 0 0 13. Changes 2572 0 0 14. Floodgates 3591 0 0 15. Awkward Mistakes 3425 0 0 16. Making Decisions 3628 0 0 17. Falling For You 3194 0 0 18. And It All Goes to Hell 3039 0 0 19. To Find a Rat 3312 0 0 20. From Here on Out 4379 0 0