Disclaimer: I own none of these characters. I just use them for own amusement and often make them do things JK Rowling would hate me for. Alas I thank her for letting me have my fun. I make no money off these stories. It's purely entertainment and no copyright infringement is intended.

Summary: Post war. Hermione is 23, young and carefree. At least in her spare time. She leads a double life, hiding her true self from her friends and colleagues at work. Deep inside, she's still struggling over the aftermath of the war, the loss of her parents, and a failed romance with Ron. She meets up with someone she didn't expect to meet, who is also fighting their own post war demons. None other than Draco Malfoy. What will happen between them? Can two enemies come together or will they still bear grudges over the past?

Authors note: This story is somewhat similar to another story I started but sadly lost the muse and did not finish. I wanted to tell a somewhat darker tale about loss and self destruction and finding oneself when the world as you once knew it no longer exists. I wanted a story about two people who are in pain and self loathing, coming together in mutual self destruction. I know it might sound terribly depressing, but I do like a happy ending. But I think these two characters need to work for it. So this story is what I really wanted to write. It won't leave my head, so I hope I can stop letting the romantic in me take over and do the story the proper justice. Rated M for a reason. No actual smut, but plenty of sexual situations. Mentions of rough sex and non consensual sex, but no actual non-con takes place. Bad language, drinking, smoking. It's a dark world, but I still believe in redemption. And that's what this story is ultimately about. Lyrics by Alanis Morissette.


Like any uncharted territory
I must seem greatly intriguing
You speak of my love like
You have experienced love like mine before
But this is not allowed
You're uninvited
An unfortunate slight

It was a Friday night and the club in London was jumping with young bodies, drinking too much, and moving to the beat of the music. It was cramped and noisy and the air was stuffy and smoky. Hermione was drinking tequila shots at a table of young men who had seen her pass by and invited her to sit with them. Back in her youth, she was a somewhat shy girl when it came to boys. She was inexperienced and nervous and self conscious of her appearance. She'd never felt particularly desirable to the opposite sex, even despite her short relationship with an international Quidditch star, Victor Krum. He could have had any girl he wanted back then, and he'd chosen her. It had bolstered her ego a bit, but it didn't last long. She went back to feeling plain and boring once he left her life. It hadn't helped that she had been in love with Ron for ages and he did nothing about it except at times ignore her or be mean to her or find some other girl to be with. It had taken them what seemed eons to her, to finally admit their feelings and make a go at things. But it had ended badly. She was emotionally unavailable and he was frustrated with her throughout most of their nine month relationship. But that had been over a long time ago. Ron had moved on, and she had moved into another world where none of her friends were invited to go. They all thought she spent her evenings reading books and petting her cat, while sipping tea under a blanket on her couch. What they didn't know was that Hermione was living a secret life as a party girl. She would drink herself senseless most evenings, sometimes go home with a stranger. She was self destructing inside, but she was determined to enjoy the ride.

And now she was sitting with this group of blokes, all of them urging her to drink more and more, all of them wondering which on of them she'd take home tonight. But Hermione was growing bored of them and their conversations. They were dull to her and while they were all at least marginally attractive, they didn't hold her interest. She stood up from the table.

"Sorry boys, it's time for me to move along," she announced to them somewhat drunkenly.

"Wait, no. We just bought you five shots. The least you can do it stay and chat with us," one of them said as he stood and grabbed her arm.

"Afraid not. I mean, the geo political ramifications of global warming? This is the conversation material you lot are interested in? And they used to call me a nerd in school," she scoffed.

"Just sit down. We'll talk about something else. We thought perhaps you'd be impressed by our huge intellect but we can dumb it down for you if it's going over your head," another one said.

"Dumb it down? Do you think I'm a daft bimbo? I can understand the conversation, I just don't care. Now let me go," she said, wrenching her arm free.

Another stood up and tried to grab her arm again. "Look, we're just having fun. Sit a spell longer. Have another shot."

Just then a blonde man walked up and forcibly removed the man's hand from Hermione's arm and shoved him back.

"You heard the lady, she wants to go. So piss off and leave her alone," he said angrily.

Hermione reeled around and came face to face with her rescuer. She was in shock at first and didn't even know what to say. It was Draco Malfoy.

"Malfoy?" she asked incredulously.

"You're welcome, Granger. Now come with me," he said trying to grab her arm, just as the other men had done. She wrenched it free.

"Don't touch me," she spat at him angrily.

"Look I just saved your ass. Do you want to sit with these losers or do you want me to get you away from them?" Draco asked impatiently.

She thought for a moment and looked down at the table of eager looking faces staring back at her, awaiting her decision. "Alright, we're going," she conceded. Then she called out to the table of blokes she'd been sitting with, "thanks for the shots!" And then she walked away through the crowd being led by her former school enemy and constant thorn in her side. Once they were a safe distance away from the table she pulled her arm free again.

"What exactly are you doing? I could have handled myself," she informed him haughtily.

"Look, I just saved you from a probable gang rape, so a little thanks would be nice," he told her. "What are you thinking sitting with a table full of hormone addled drunk men, allowing them to pour shots down your throat. How did you think that scenario would end?"

"Oh please. I had it under control. It's not as if I don't do this nearly every night of my life. And what the hell are you doing here anyway?" she asked him.

"I'm drinking. What the hell else would I be doing here? I come here all the time too," he informed her.

"I've never seen you. In fact, I haven't seen you since the trials."

"Yeah? Well I keep a low profile. Can I get you a drink?" he wondered.

"No, I don't want a drink from you. I hate you. Just go away. You did your one good deed for your lifetime. You can go now."

"Fine. Be that way. I'm not your enemy anymore. If I was, I would have let you flounder in that situation and wouldn't have stepped in."

"So what, we should be best friends now? I think I'll pass," she said, digging in her purse for a cigarette.

Draco saw her fish the cigarette out and he held up a lighter for her. She just stared at him for a second, then she sighed and accepted the light.

"Could I bum one?" he asked her curiously.

"Bum a smoke? What, are your money bags empty now? Can't afford your own pack?"

"No, I just ran out. I can afford them. Do you want me to pay you for one?" he asked with irritation.

She fished in her purse and threw the cigarette at him. "Here, just take it. Now sod off."

"Since when do you smoke anyway? A prissy little goody two shoes like you should be off trying to cure cancer instead of sucking down smokes," he remarked.

"What do you care? I'm not a prissy little good two shoes. Don't pretend like you know me. You never did," she said, blowing smoke in his face.

"Yeah, well you didn't know me either."

"Well, I don't care to. So either sod off or I'm finding someplace else to stand," she informed him.

"Fine. I'll leave. I don't know what I was thinking stepping in back there. It might have been fun to watch them cart you out of this club off to god knows where. Maybe you would have deserved it," he spat, as he turned on his heel and walked away through the crowd.

That pissed her off. She went running after him and grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him around.

"Deserved it? You think I deserved to be violated?" she asked angrily.

"According to you, you had it all under control, so I'm sure you would have been fine. Why are you following me when you told me to sod off?"

"No woman deserves that. But of course you're a pig, so you'd probably get a thrill from knowing I was hurt."

"Get out of my face, mudblood. I'm done talking to you. You're on your own. I don't care what happens to you. Call it a moment of insanity, me trying to help you. But I'm over it," he said angrily as he marched away from her.

"Mudblood? You think that hurts my feelings? It doesn't anymore! I don't care. I don't care about any of it!" she shouted after him, but he was already lost in the crowd.

She had no idea why seeing him again had rattled her so much. Maybe it was because he had been trying to save her. It was weird. And he looked so different. He wasn't clean shaven and his hair was messy and he was in jeans and t-shirt. He looked just like every other Muggle in the club and not a posh high society wizard. He seemed different at first, but it was obvious he hadn't changed. Mudblood. That stupid word. His favorite for her. Why had he bothered to save her tonight? It was clear he still thought she was scum. And it went both ways. She still thought he was scum too. Good riddance to bad rubbish, she thought to herself as she made her way to the bar to get another drink. She wanted to forget she ever saw Draco Malfoy at all. Stupid pureblood snobbish prick.

She sat and drank alone for awhile, until another man approached her. It was almost inevitable in a club like this. A pretty girl drinking alone, was never alone for long. Everyone was looking to get lucky, including her. She just hadn't found the right one yet tonight. But maybe this one would be the lucky guy.

"I'm Jason. And you are?" the man asked as he sat down next to her at the bar.

"I'm Hermione."

"Hermione? That's a beautiful name. Very unique. Can I get you a drink?"


Jason signaled the barkeep and indicated a new drink for the lady as well as himself. And they sat there making small talk the best they could over the loud thumping music. Hermione stood up and leaned over to him.

"I need to go to the loo. I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere," she smiled at him, thinking he really could be a keeper. At least for the night. She didn't want to lose his interest but after all those tequila shots and vodka tonics, her bladder was about to burst.

She did her business and checked her face in the mirror. Her makeup was much more severe than she'd wear at work. Sometimes at work, she wore none at all. Her friends would probably never even recognize this girl in the tight minidress and high heels and the black eyeliner. And when she stared in the mirror, she almost didn't recognize herself either. She glared at the mirror for a moment, well aware she was a drunken mess, but then she put on her fake smile and fluffed up her hair and walked out of the loo and back towards Jason, who was still sitting there waiting for her. She sat back down.

"Miss me?" she asked coyly.

"Most definitely. I got you another vodka tonic while you were away," he said indicating the fresh glass.

She smiled and lifted it to her lips when suddenly someone stepped in and flung the glass out of her hand and it went crashing to the floor, breaking all over the place.

"What the bloody hell?" Hermione shouted confusedly as she looked up to stare Draco in the face again. "What are you doing?" she shouted at him.

"Ask him. He knows why I did it," Draco said, staring Jason down with one his famous almighty sneers.

"I don't know what this wanker is on about. Who the hell is he? Do you know him?" Jason asked.

"Yes, I know him. And I already told him to leave me alone once tonight. What is your bloody problem?" she asked standing and getting in his face. If it wasn't a Muggle nightclub her wand would be at his throat by now just like old times.

"I'm saving your sorry little ass, yet again. I watched this asshole put something in your drink. He drugged it," Draco informed her.

"Drugged it?" Then she looked at Jason. "You drugged it?"

"I didn't do that! He's lying!" he stood up and faced Draco and he gave him a deadly look.

"Don't look at me like that, you fucking wannabe rapist. I watched you do it. Empty your pockets. Show her your stash. Surely you brought more than one little packet with you?" Draco challenged him.

"I'm not emptying my bloody pockets. Fuck off!"

"No, you fuck off. You leave this girl alone now," Draco hissed at him.

"Malfoy, go away! Why are you doing this?" Hermione cried.

"I'm helping you, you daft bint. He drugged you. I saw it. Why would I lie?" Draco asked her.

"Because you're an asshole. Lying is what you do best. I'd say it looks like you're trying to ruin my evening, not save me. You're no bloody hero," she spat at him.

Draco grabbed Jason and forcibly rooted through his pockets until he pulled out a little plastic baggie filled with some sort of white powder residue. He held it up.

"What do you think this is, huh? A baggie of cold remedy? Baking soda? It's fucking drugs." He threw the baggie on the bar and stormed off through the crowd again. Hermione just looked at the baggie and then back at Jason.

"I thought you were nice," she whispered sadly.

"He's lying. That's not drugs."

"Then what is it?"

Jason thought for a moment, but he knew he'd been caught out. "Alright, it was just a little something to loosen you up. That's all. I thought you'd be into it."

She slapped him hard across the face and shoved him back. "You asshole! If I wanted drugs, I would have asked for them. I can't believe this! You're disgusting!"

She turned around and ran through the crowd to get away from him. She felt like bursting into tears because she couldn't believe she'd been so stupid. She'd been coming to these clubs for a long time now and she knew never to leave a drink unattended. It was in the mental rule book she'd drilled in her head after reading numerous stories of girls being drugged and violated. But she hadn't been thinking. And what the hell was Draco doing spying on her anyway? How did he see this happen? And why did he step in yet again and save her? She spied him over in the corner at a table talking to some girl. She marched over, not caring if she was ruining his game, because God knows, he'd ruined hers twice tonight. Even if he did actually help her, that didn't matter. She marched up to the table and stood with her hands on her hips.

"So what are you tonight? My guardian angel? Why were you watching the guy I was with?" she asked him.

"What difference does it make? I saved your ass, yet again. Don't bloody ask me why. I don't know," he sighed.

"Who is this girl? Your ex?" the girl at the table with Draco asked.

Hermione and Draco both started laughing heartily.

"His ex? Oh dream on. As if I'd have gone out with this wanker."

"Yeah, like I would have been with her," Draco scoffed.

"Well then who is she and why is she at our table?" the girl wondered.

"She's no one. Just someone I knew from long ago. She was just leaving, right Granger?"

Hermione glared at him. "Right. Have a good evening." She stalked off and left the table and just felt more confused than ever before. Why was he trying to save her all night long when it was clear he wanted nothing to do with her? Men were a puzzle and Draco's puzzle was not one she wanted to solve.

After a few more solitary drinks, Hermione left the club alone and stood outside the building just trying to keep herself steady. She was really drunk and her shoes were difficult to walk in sober. She lit up a cigarette and leaned back against the building and just closed her eyes for a minute, trying to gather her thoughts.

"Can I have a drag?" a voice asked her, breaking her out of her reverie.

"You again? Now what? Did someone poison my cigarettes?" she asked Draco.

"No. If they had, I wouldn't be asking for a drag," he informed her.

She handed over the cigarette. "Where's your new girlfriend?" she wondered.

"That bint? Not worth my time. A little daft in the head. I like smart girls," he shrugged.

"Smart girls, huh? Were you planning to take her back to your place and play Trivial Pursuit? I rather thought you were looking for someone to shag," she said nonchalantly.

He laughed slightly. "Yeah, you could say that. But she didn't strike my fancy. No loss. There are always other nights, other girls. What about you? No luck finding a man who wasn't trying to rape you?"

She glared at him. "I didn't need you to save me."

"Yes you bloody well did. Look at you. Dressed up like that? When I first saw you, I almost didn't realize it was you. You're just asking for trouble hanging around places like this alone. Don't you have any mates to go out with? Girlfriends?"

"Yes. And no. I mean, I have friends, but they don't exactly know I come to these places. It's sort of my little secret. If you don't recall, my friends are all a bit straight laced. They wouldn't understand."

"I recall your friends quite well. Hate the lot of them. Haven't you made any new ones?" Draco asked curiously.

"Afraid not. I'm sort of a lone wolf. Everyone thinks I spend my nights knitting tea cozy's. They have no idea who I really am," she admitted somewhat sadly.

"Wanna go home with me, Granger?" he asked quickly.

"What? Are you mad? Go home with you? Whatever for?" she wondered with confusion.

"You know what for. We both struck out tonight. But you do look rather ravishing in that dress. And let's face it, I'm the only guy here who didn't try to take advantage of you. Why not? It doesn't mean anything. Don't tell me you don't find me attractive," he purred, moving closer to her.

"Get away," she shoved him back. "Have you lost your mind? You want us to hook up? How drunk are you?"

He laughed. "Drunk enough. What about you? It'll be our little secret."

She thought on it for a lot longer than she ever dreamed she would. Why would she go home with Draco Malfoy? It was ludicrous. But just as he said, it would mean nothing. And he was rather attractive in those sexy low slung jeans and t-shirt. The shirt that allowed his Dark Mark to glare her right in the face, but he made no attempt at apologizing for it's existence. And she actually found it appealing in a very self destructive demented way. Shagging the enemy. It would be a new one for her. There was something appealing about how wrong it would be. And she liked doing wrong things. They gave her a rush. A rush she knew none of her friends would ever understand.

"Are you a good lover?" she asked with a raised eyebrow. "Because if you're not, don't waste my time."

He smirked at her. "I'm the best you'll ever have."

"Hmm, that's a bold statement."

"Come with me and I'll prove it to you," he said running his hand down her arm seductively.

"Alright, pretty boy. But this better be worth it. And remember, this doesn't mean anything."

"Of course not. Nothing does, does it?" he asked.

She nodded her head quietly and stomped out her cigarette. "Right. Nothing means anything these days."

"So what are we waiting for?"

She took his outstretched arm and they disappeared into the night together. He didn't live far from the club, so they just walked, or rather stumbled along together, until they reached their destination. As she stood in the lift with him going up to his apartment, she knew this was the biggest mistake she'd probably ever made. But she didn't care. It was just for fun. It was a good time. And no one would ever have to know.

Once they got inside, there was no pretense of small talk or offers of more drinks or anything resembling meaning. There was simply animalistic pawing and unzipping and grunting and moaning and writhing around in a frenzied drunken lust. Draco was rough and she was rough right back. All those years of hating each other were not lost on them. It was not a gentle coupling and things were knocked off shelves and pillows were thrown about the room, along with items of clothing and picture frames falling off tables.

"God I fucking hate you," Draco grumbled as he thrust deeply inside her.

"I hate you more," she moaned as she dug her nails into his back, leaving marks.

"Then why are you so fucking irresistible?" he asked breathlessly.

"It's because you like pain and misery," she told him as she grabbed his hair roughly and brought his lips crushing down to hers, effectively shutting him up.

"You like it too or you wouldn't be here with me," he purred into her ear as he thrust deeper and bit her neck, sending shivers to all the right places.

"Just shut up and fuck me," she moaned, trying to block out who she was really with. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore.

Once they lay on the floor spent and breathing heavily, Hermione was ready to get the hell out of there. She sat up and began searching for her clothes. Draco rolled over and watched her.

"Leaving so soon?" he asked curiously.

"Yep. Where's my dress?"

"I dunno. Over there I think," he pointed across the room.

"Remember, this meant nothing," she told him as she found her dress and zipped it up.

"Right. Nothing."

"Don't think about me when I'm gone," she informed him.

Draco laid back and put his arms behind his head. "Love, I wasn't thinking of you when you were here."

She just stared at him and despite her hardened shell of armor she felt tears prick in her eyes, but she refused to let them fall.

"Good," she said calmly as she found her shoes and pulled them on. "Thanks for the good time."

"Likewise. I trust you'll show yourself out. I'm going to bed," he said as he stretched and turned on his heel and headed down the hallway towards his bedroom, leaving her alone.

"What a fucking tosser," she muttered under her breath. But what was she expecting? A candlelit room and sweet nothings? They both said it was meaningless and they both said they hated each other. She got what she came there for. And now it was time to go. And tomorrow night, she'd probably be back out there again, playing the same game. Dead actors faking lines, everyone looking to escape lives they couldn't bear to live. Emotions had no place in that world. And she'd locked her emotions up tight for the last several years. She'd suffered too much loss to ever want to feel again. She opened up the door and skulked down the deserted hallway and back into the lift. She was out on the street in no time and proceeded to make her way home, ready to forget this night ever existed. Ready to forget that she and Draco had ever crossed paths again. In her mind, this had all been nothing but a bad dream.

She awoke in her bed the next morning and felt like death. She rolled over and looked at the clock and saw that it was nearly noon. Her trusty companion, Crookshanks, slept on the pillow next to her and she reached over and gave him a little pet before pulling the covers over head and rolling over again. She had been really drunk last night, but she remembered everything. She was kind of hoping she wouldn't. But despite her questionable drinking habits, she'd never once blacked out or forgotten what happened the night before. Perhaps because she was such a control freak, she wouldn't ever allow herself to lose that much control over herself or her mind, even when she wanted to. And she definitely wanted to erase last night from her memory banks. She'd shagged Malfoy. Her childhood tormentor. Her enemy. A man with a Dark Mark. A former Death Eater. What had she been thinking? Was it possible to obliviate yourself, she wondered? Could she perform a spell to erase the memory of him being inside her? Some sort eternal sunshine of a spotless mind, like the poem? She didn't think so. And even if she could, she'd probably screw it up like she did her parents. She obliviated them right and proper and so thoroughly, they were unrecoverable to her. No healers could reverse the effects or the fake memories she'd implanted in them. They were lost to her. She'd ruined her family with her own careless hand. Thinking she knew what was best and that she'd be able to fix them. She'd been wrong. So there she was after the war, an orphan of her own making. And even though her well meaning friends tried to comfort her and tell her it wasn't her fault, she knew they were wrong, because it was her fault. And thus began her downward spiral.

But she was an excellent actress, most of the time. No one knew what she really did with her time. They didn't know about the clubbing or the drinking or the smoking or the meaningless sex. They knew nothing of her life outside of work and the few social occasions she spent with them. The only person who wasn't entirely fooled by her act was Ron. And that was simply because he could sense a change in her and she'd shut him out emotionally. It was why their relationship failed. But he still had no idea the self destructive course her life had taken. They rarely spoke now, and when they did it was all pleasantries and nothing meaningful. Gone were the days when he was one of her closest friends and the one person she thought she couldn't live without. Even with Harry, it was different. He had his own life with Ginny, and with his work as an Auror, he was often away and they didn't have much time for each other. They'd grown somewhat distant, even if they did make an effort to remedy that whenever they both found the time. But largely Hermione had isolated herself and lived a life that her old self would never have approved of. Her old self would never have shagged Draco Malfoy of all people. But that girl she'd been was just a memory now. And Hermione wasn't sure she could ever get her back or if she even wanted to. That girl had been naïve and young and stupidly brave. Risking life and limb to save the world. She'd been idealistic and believed she could effect change and do something important with her life. That girl had been passionate about life and friendships and making the magical community a safe and happier place to live in. But now she just went through the motions. She had a job at the Ministry, but she lacked the ambition to do anything other than what was required of her. The passion had been lost. She no longer cared to make a difference. Let someone else do that job. She'd helped save the world from Voldemort and lost everything in the process. Let someone else save the world next time. She was out of the hero business. It was thankless anyway really. What did it really matter in the end when you had nothing left to go back to when all was said and done?

She finally pulled the covers off her face and forced herself out of bed. She went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Her hair was a bushy disaster and her old eyeliner was smudged and made it look like she had two black eyes. Then she noticed the bite marks on her neck and the bruises on her arms and hickeys on her breasts. She looked liked she'd been in a barroom brawl and not a roll in the hay. But she knew she gave just as good as she got. Draco probably looked like a disaster victim this morning himself. She wondered how those scratches on his back were feeling, right about now. But she shook it out of her mind and proceeded to turn on the shower and let it warm up. She sat on the toilet and just held her head in her hands. She knew she had to stop doing this to herself, but she just couldn't. It was an escape. It was her guilty pleasure. It was her deep dark secret. And somehow her secrets, while damaging, made her feel warm inside. Free. She wasn't ready to let it go yet. But as she stared at the bruises on her thighs, she did wish she could take back her ill advised hate fuck coupling with Draco. It had been a huge mistake. What if he told someone and that someone told someone and it got back to Harry or Ron or Ginny? She couldn't fathom that. But then again, would Draco brag to his friends that he'd shagged a worthless mudblood? Doubtful. He was probably just as disgusted and ashamed as she was. She hoped so anyway.

Once she was out of her shower she grabbed her wand and set about the business of healing up all the reminders of her evening that were left on her body. Gone were the bruises and bite marks and hickeys. It was the only thing she could erase. The evidence, not the memory. But it'd have to do. She got herself dressed and decided to put on her fake happy face and be a normal person for the afternoon. She'd do her shopping and maybe eat some lunch. And just bide her time until the sun set and she went back to the game she couldn't stop playing.

Draco woke up around one in the afternoon and had a splitting headache. He winced when he tried to scratch an itch on his back and realized he had open wounds on his back. His fingers came away tinged with blood. Goddamn Hermione Granger. She fucking shredded his back with her nails. But it had been worth it at the time. So very worth it. He couldn't even count the amount of times in school he wanted to grab her into some empty classroom and just fuck her senseless for the sport of it. Fuck that smug self righteousness right out of her. After she'd humiliated him by punching him in the face, he wanted to throw her against a wall and do very unmentionable things to her until she was sorry for crossing him. She lit a fire in his belly. No one had ever gotten under his skin so much except for Potter. But he never fantasized about fucking him silly. There was a disgusting thought and he shook it away. No, he'd been waiting a long time to get to Granger and last night was his lucky night. But he found he didn't get as much satisfaction from it as he hoped to. She got off on the abuse. She abused him right back. He hadn't done anything except give her pleasure and then she just bloody well waltzed out the door. She wasn't humiliated or demeaned, she didn't give a shit. It wasn't what he expected. He'd only saved her that night because he'd seen her there and wanted her for himself. It didn't hurt that he looked noble, saving her ass. But his intent wasn't exactly pure. He wanted in her good graces so he could get her home and use her up. He didn't bank on the fact that she wanted to use him up too. And he never once imagined he'd feel disgusted with himself like this. Not because he'd tried to hurt her, but because she actually succeeded in hurting him. Just a little, at least. More than he wished. But he swore he wouldn't think of her when she was gone, and he was already breaking the rules. He tried to dispel all memories and just drag his sorry ass out of bed.

He looked in the mirror and saw a stranger staring back at him. He saw a vulnerable sod who'd actually let a woman get inside his head and cause him to feel bad about himself. As if he didn't already feel bad enough. He hated himself most days. He was a screw up. Damaged goods. A pariah. After the war, he'd just run off with Mummy and Daddy and left everyone else to pick up the pieces of their shattered world. A world he'd helped try and bring down. He was no innocent. Yes, he was coerced into helping Voldemort, but if he'd been stronger, he could have resisted. Run away. Killed Voldemort himself. He could have done something. But instead he just bowed down, just like his weak helpless father, and did what he was told. That's what Malfoy's did. What they were told. And they certainly didn't question things. You just kept your mouth shut and did as you were told and acted as you were taught to act. It didn't do any good to have a mind of your own, because that wasn't tolerated. You simply followed direction, no matter who was giving it. First his father controlled his every action and move and then it became Voldemort. Draco was simply a puppet. And he only tried to protect his family. He allowed things to happen that he was appalled by and kept his mouth shut. When he was ordered to torture someone, he did it. How could he not? Was he really going to go against the Dark Lord? But Draco had had enough of that bullshit. Now he didn't answer to anyone. Or listen to anyone. He did his own thing. Sure, he still lived off his daddy's money, but he rarely graced his family with his presence. He couldn't be bothered. Too many bad memories. He still had some friends, which was a miracle. But it turned out that he wasn't the only boy just following their families orders. But he had little desire for companionship unless it was a girl he picked up from a club or a bar. He didn't want meaning, he wanted escape. And his friends were there when he had need of them, and he discarded them when he didn't. He wasn't exactly up for friend of the year. He never had been. He liked having followers, not friends. Not much had changed. To have a true friend meant opening yourself up and actually sharing your feelings. That was something he was taught never to do. Friends were for appearances sake and nothing more. A real man had no emotions. He simply existed.

But that had never really been Draco's true feelings. He'd always kept those hidden well from the general public. The only people who saw genuine emotion emanating from Draco had been a school ghost in a bathroom, Potter, and Dumbledore. The first was already dead and thus didn't even count. The second, he'd tried to silence him with a spell, but had gotten maimed by a counterspell before he could even react. And the third person, he watched him get murdered in front of his eyes and fall down dead off the astronomy tower. Either way, none of these people were talking about seeing a human side of Draco, so therefore it didn't exist. And this business with Granger didn't change that. He hadn't let her inside and never would. They'd used each other. Perhaps he wished it would have been just him using her, but in the end, what did it matter? She was gone now and he'd likely never see her again. But the pain on his back was a constant reminder. He'd have to fix himself up with a healing spell before he even attempted to set foot in a hot shower. But part of him rather liked remembering how he got the scratches. Who knew Granger was such a sadist? Or he such a masochist? No other girl had ever given it back to him the way she did. It was surprising. He thought hero types like her would be all gentle and want to float on a cloud and call it 'making love'. But not Granger. She hadn't been shocked or upset by his roughness. She simply threw it right back at him. And he secretly loved it. And that fact made him hate himself just a little bit more. He should have just left it all alone and let her get in trouble with those other men. He should have turned a blind eye and walked away. Now she was back under his skin again and it had been years since he'd actually given her a thought at all. But seeing her tarted up in that skimpy dress had gotten him going. That wasn't the bookish nerd he remembered. No, he'd misjudged her completely. And he'd apparently misjudged himself because he didn't expect to give a shit one way or the other. But he did. He wanted to see her again. God help him, but he wanted a repeat performance. He was more deranged than he even knew to want that. He raked his hands through his messy hair, grabbed his wand and began the spell to erase her fingernail marks off his back and hoped that would get her out of his mind as well.

To be continued…Please leave a review! I love hearing what my readers think. Thanks!