Hey all! I wrote this one-shot a couple of years ago but I'm only just now getting around to posting it. As par the course for 99% of my writing it is full of LEMONY SMUTNESS and is therefor reserved for MATURE audiences only.

That being said, enjoy and please let me know what you think!



"I hate you."


Hermione looked down at her ink-drenched books and parchment, the potions essay she'd finished only moments before now completely ruined. She'd spent the last three hours perfecting it and now she'd be up all night re-writing it. She looked up accusingly at the blonde who was smirking from his hiding place in an alcove off the library.

"Clumsy little Gryffindor," Draco Malfoy snickered.

"You tripped me!" she accused, shoving her dripping homework back into her now sopping bag.

The corner of his mouth lifted goadingly.

"Prove it."

Hermione watched the pale-haired bully disappear around the corner, turning miserably to her sodden mess. She'd barely been at Hogwarts a month and already she was the most despised first-year in the school. She had hoped when Professor McGonagall had arrived on her doorstep and explained why strange things were always happening in the Granger household that she would finally shed the cloak of alienation which always seemed to weigh heavily on her shoulders. Finally, she'd figured out why others never seemed to understand her and she was going to a school full of people just like herself.

But she was just as much a pariah here as she was at home, constantly taunted and ridiculed for not understanding wizarding customs, for her bushy hair and buck teeth, for being an insufferable know-it-all.

Biting back tears, 12-year-old Hermione Granger spent the rest of her birthday evening wiping up ink off the stone floor.



"I hate you."


He grinned, his perfect white teeth flashing.

"No more than I hate you," Malfoy replied. She made to move around him, but he blocked her way in amongst the narrow bookshelves with a sneer.

"What's wrong, Mudblood?" he sang scathingly, his bumbling bodyguards leering behind him. "Can't take a little joke?"

"The only joke I register here is your hair," Hermione snapped, lifting her chin in defiance. After dealing with his harassment all last year and the encouragement of now having two wonderful friends, she was determined to show this childish bully that she would no longer cower at his taunts. "Did you borrow some grease from Snape' nose to get it to stay like that?"

His face twisted in fury. "You'll pay for that you disgusting little -"

"Mr. Malfoy, lower your wand this instance!" Madam Pince screeched from the end of the row of books. "No magic in the library! Ten points from Slytherin!"

Hermione nearly laughed out loud at the blush which crept up his cheeks, but merely side-stepped him and his cronies and returned to her usual table, smothering giggles while she watched Malfoy being frog-marched from the library by his ear.



I hate you!


Hermione was puffing like a winded rhinoceros, the palm of her hand stinging, the world around her buzzing in her fury, the only clear image was the look of pure terror on Draco Malfoy's face as he clutched his pink cheek. Anger such as she'd never felt was surging through her veins, centered around the blonde who had made their lives miserable, who had made the kindest man she'd ever met cry over his condemned pet.

"Don't you dare call Hagrid pathetic, you foul – you evil –"


"Get off, Ron!"

Shaking away her friend Hermione whipped out her wand, pointing at the source of her ire, watching his eyes widen in horror at the fire she knew was burning in her gaze. She watched Malfoy and his buffoons retreat, her hand shaking with repressed rage. Hermione caught his eye when he glanced back and nearly faltered at the look. It was a look she'd never seen before, one which confused her. It was not disgust or loathing or mocking. She wasn't sure what it was, but it unnerved her.

She allowed her friends to steer her away, her mind whirling with uncertainty.



"I hate you!"


He sniggered. "What, Granger? All I said was nice dress!"

She turned from him with a huff, making to lose herself in the throng of students undulating to the music from the band on the stage, but a long-fingered hand caught her elbow, spinning her back around.

"C'mon, Granger, lighten up why don't you -"

"Shove it, Malfoy!" she snapped, infuriated that she couldn't even have one solitary evening of bliss. Tonight had been the most perfect night of her young life. Mooned over by a sweet (and incredibly famous) wizard, gawked at by the very people who had called her ugly for the last four years, wearing the prettiest dress robes she'd ever laid eyes on, dancing beneath a thousand candles in a magical castle - her fifteen-year-old heart was all a-twitter. But between Ron's surly attitude and now Malfoy's back-handed insults, she was getting fed-up with people trying to ruin her one night of innocent delight.

"Granger, please, I -"

Hermione faltered at the tone of his voice, her brow furrowed when she saw his aristocratic face not twisted with disdain, but open and almost…wary. He cleared his throat, his eyes shifting slightly before roving back to meet hers.

"What I meant to say was...you look -"

"Ah, there you are, Herm-own-ninny," her date called, hurrying through the crowd as quickly as his broad shoulders would allow, worrying over the goblets of punch in his hands in an effort not to spill. His eyes narrowed on Malfoy as he approached. "I haff your drink. Is this a friend of yours?"

"No!" she protested, taking her punch and glaring at Malfoy. "Not in the slightest."

Viktor glared at him. "Is he bothering you?"

"No," she lied, wondering why she did and why it came so easily as she eyed the Slytherin next to her oddly. "No, in fact he was just leaving."

Taking the hint, Malfoy pursed his lips and with a slight, polite bow, he took off, leaving Hermione baffled at his behavior.



"I hate you…"


"Yes, you keep saying that," he murmured, his lips as her ear, the ghost of his words making her shiver. "But your body seems to be telling me otherwise."

He'd hunted her down once more in the library, an all-too common occurrence as of late. Most days he'd simply stare at her until her toes curled in indignation, but some days, like this one, he would follow her among the musty shelves, striking up inane conversation or goading her with repulsive innuendos.

The last few times he'd become bolder, going so far as to brush her arm with his, to curl her hair around his finger, to lean in so close against her that she couldn't breathe…

Like now. He had her pressed against a bookshelf, the tome she'd been searching for forgotten on the floor as his body found its way perfectly in-line with hers, burning at every centimeter of connection. His aristocratic hands were trailing their way up her arms, his cheek barely brushing her own as his hips rocked ever so slightly, making her breath stutter at the ludicrous reaction she had to his ministrations.

She swallowed harshly and he responded with the quietest groan she wondered if she might have imagined it, but his hips pressed harder, suddenly finding a spot that made a jolt of pleasure sear through her body straight from her core and she gasped at the unusual and wholly delicious sensation. She bucked against him unconsciously, seeking that feeling once more, and this time his moan was more than audible.

Then his lips found hers with a force unparalleled so that she had to grab him just to stay grounded.

Hermione had no idea what he had done to her, how one second she could go from loathing the very sight of him to straining beneath him the next. She whimpered against his mouth as he led her in the unfamiliar dance, igniting her body, his hand coming up to angle her head so he could deepen the kiss, his lips coaxing hers open so he could slip inside as Krum had tried last year but been denied. She had no idea what had convinced her to allow this intrusion now, with someone she despised, rather than with a lovely man who adored her, but she was too caught up to protest.

His other hand caught her hip, angling it up so that when he pressed forward he rubbed against that delightful spot once more, sending shards of molten lava through her veins. She whimpered, standing on her tiptoes to get closer, begging him with her body to increase that friction, the feeling overwhelming. Malfoy seemed more than happy to oblige, cocking his hips against her core so that she felt every inch of his hard member through their thin cloth barriers. She keened, her fingers gripping at his hair, though she had no idea how they had gotten there - and was quickly realizing she didn't care, so long as he never stopped making her feel this way.

Gripping her thighs, Malfoy yanked her legs around his hips and she locked her ankles instinctively so as not to fall to the floor and he jammed her even harder against the shelf, a couple of books toppling behind her head, unnoticed by the pair as he had just smashed against that fiery little nub which was now screaming for attention. Sweet little noises were clamoring at the back of Hermione's throat and Malfoy reacted possessively, seemingly eager to sate her suddenly tumultuous need.

Their ragged breaths filled the air as they groped at each other starvingly, their hands and lips everywhere, Hermione completely consumed with lust for the first time in her life, the feeling more powerful than she could have ever imagined. She grasped at his shoulders desperately, rocking towards him as he thrust against her aching center, his fingers teasing the tops of her thighs beneath her skirt where he held her in place, seeming to know just where to press against to make her wild.

She exhaled raggedly against his lips when his fingers stole between them, brushing ever so lightly against that aching flesh, making her jerk harshly in his arms. He swallowed her surprise and continued to work her mouth as he rubbed her outside her soaking panties, not allowing her to shove him away with embarrassment, instead growling in obvious pleasure at his findings.

"So wet," he murmured between kisses. "So damn responsive. Merlin, Granger…"

Suddenly he was shoving the sodden fabric aside, his fingers skimming her folds as she practically crawled up his body in confusion and shock and desire. She should be screaming at him to stop, fighting him, protesting, but instead she was pulling him closer, pressing against his digits as they explored her, begging him to keep making her feel these things, to release that pressure that was building like a dam inside her. On a groan, one of those wily fingers pressed inside her tight sheath and she bucked harshly, crying out against his mouth as he muffled her response.

She hadn't realized she'd managed to knock them away from the bookshelf until he was shoving her back against it, his finger pumping within her as he swore over and over, nipping, biting, sucking at her lips and jaw and neck, his thumb brushing over that bundle of nerves and sending jolts of electricity through her while she heaved against him, craving more, begging for it.

"Merlin, you're so tight," he growled in response to her demand. "I don't know if I should -"

"Please, gods!"

She didn't know what exactly she was begging for, but he cursed and gave it to her, tucking another finger in with the first and increasing the pressure, stretching her deliciously, her head falling back as he suckled the tendons there, pumping her madly as her body wound like a spring, so tight she thought she might -

"Let it go, that's it," he coached, his fingers suddenly crooking within her and she gasped harshly, that coil breaking free and shattering its tight bonds, breaking her open, her body spasming in the destruction of the corporeal world. Malfoy swallowed her screams, working her through it, his fingers easing as her body relaxed, the spinning righting itself gradually, leaving Hermione shuddering in the aftermath.

She panted as awareness slowly melted back into place and she took stock of her situation. One hand was twisted violently in Malfoy's flaxen hair at the base of his neck, her other hand clutching the shelf behind her head, the tops of her shoulders pressed against the bookcase, Malfoy supporting the lower half of her body where her merciless rearing had thrust him away. He held her upright with one strong arm around her lower back, his other hand still buried between her legs, his sweaty forehead pressed against her shoulder.

Icy fingers of dread slid down her spine and seeped along her veins as she realized what had just occurred. She swallowed dryly, remembering how that seemingly innocent gesture had started this whole thing.

"Did I – did I just…"

"Fuck, yes," Malfoy growled, raising his head to take her lips once more but she squealed in revulsion and shoved him away with more strength than either of them anticipated, sending him tumbling into the bookcase across from them.

"What did you – why did you – we shouldn't have –"

"Granger -"

"Don't you dare touch me!" she snarled, backing away in disgust, stumbling in her haste. "I hate you!"

His face fell, curling before smoothing into his usual mask of indifference. As she took another step back the sounds of the library suddenly rang in her ears, alerting her to the fact that Malfoy had placed a Silencing Spell around them. She shivered at the knowledge that his imposition on her person had been premeditated and she burned with mortification and ire.

Shaking her head in self-loathing, Hermione ran from their hidden corner, not even bothering to grab her bag as she shot straight for the blissfully cool corridors before a sob burst from her lips.



"I hate you…"


"I hate you more."


Hermione hissed as fingers slid into her tight passage without resistance, her body arching against his, his teeth finding the crux of her shoulder and neck. They both made sounds of pleasure at the contact, forgetting, for one moment, their mutual loathing in favor of release. Hermione had fought so hard to ignore the beautiful prat ever since the day he taught her just how wonderful her body could feel, but it was a losing battle. When they'd run into each other on patrol, literally, it hadn't taken more than the span of a heartbeat before Hermione was launching herself into his arms and Malfoy was dragging her into a deserted classroom. He'd shoved her against a broken desk which wobbled precariously with each harried movement, but both were too overcome to attempt to relocate.

Now, Hermione humped his hand shamelessly, working for that pinnacle he had shown her, racing for that glorious feeling which had left her tingling for hours afterwards. This time she would feel no regret, she told herself. This time she would take greedily and leave all complications out of this primitive need for release.

A low moan was wrested from her throat as Malfoy worked those fingers against her upper wall, kneading that bundle of nerves she hadn't truly believed existed. He pressed her vehemently back, the desk rocking dangerously, the palm of his hand rubbing from her sternum to pelvis, then back up, dragging her sweater with the movement. Hermione assisted him wordlessly, his fingers never slowing, her world growing hazy as Malfoy ripped her Oxford, buttons flying, her breasts heaving in the cold night air. When he cupped one slight mound they both groaned and her bra was quickly shoved down so that his mouth could devour one taut nipple while his fingers tweaked the other.

Hermione writhed in sweet torment, her legs wrapped around the blonde, pressing him closer, that peak growing nearer, spiking as his thumb found her hood, her fingers grasping at his shoulder, at the wood beneath her, frantic, begging.

"Oh, gods."

"That's right, come for me," he growled, his eyes nearly black with lust as he looked up into her gaze. She felt her eyelids flutter as his hands jerked her higher but he pinched her nipple harshly, demanding her attention. "Look right at me, Granger. Look at me when you come, know that it's me who brought you there. Come for me."

It was too much, she was powerless to stop the devastating crescendo, her eyes locked on Malfoy's as it hit, her back snapping, and when she couldn't keep her eyes open any longer he took her lips so that she would know, so that she wouldn't forget.

As she came down his movements slowed against her sensitive flesh, easing out only to bring them to his lips, making Hermione's brows rise in shock. He groaned as he sucked off her juices, his heavy-lidded eyes burning straight through her.

"I can't wait to taste you."

"To – what?"

He chuckled at her innocent exclamation, brushing her sweaty hair out of her eyes.

"Oh, Granger, the many pleasures of the flesh you've to learn," he snickered, though for once he didn't sound condescending. He leaned forward and nibbled on her lip, basking in her still-quickened breaths. "I so look forward to teaching you."



"I hate you!"


Hermione backed down the empty corridor knowing there was no one around, that everyone was outside bathing in the warm sun or flying around the Quidditch pitch without a care in the world. No one was standing on the fifth floor waiting to rescue Hermione Granger as her heart went into palpitations and was likely to fall into cardiac arrest at any moment.

"I didn't know, I swear -!"

"You nearly got me killed!" she cried hysterically, the sting of tears that were so close to the surface this past week welling once more. "You nearly got Harry killed, and Ron, and Ginny, and Luna, and Neville! You KILLED my best friend's godfather!"

"I wasn't there!"

"But your father was," she snarled unfairly, taking another step away from him, seeing red. "You led us straight to him! Him and your twisted aunt! She murdered her own kin, would have murdered the lot of us if she had it her way! And it was all because of you!"


"DON'T LIE!" she choked on a sob, the vision of him blurring behind her pain, both internal and external. "You knew exactly what would happen if we found out Sirius wasn't there!"

"I don't know what you're -"

"You led Umbridge straight to us!" she accused, her words dripping in detestation of the boy standing before her. "You nearly let that disgusting woman torture your classmate! You would have just stood by and watched!"

At this he did not protest and her eyes cleared enough to see his jaw clench.

"Admit it! You had a wand, you could have stopped her, but you did nothing!"

"What was I supposed to do? Duel her?" he roared, his cheeks flaming defensively. "I would have been expelled!"

"Better than watch an innocent child being tortured!" she cried accusingly. When he made to protest, she cut him off.

"What if it had been me?"

Whatever Malfoy had been about to say dissolved on his tongue and his face fell in dismay. He looked away for a moment before facing her once more, his mask securely in place.

"Granger -"

"What. If. It. Had. Been. Me? Would you have stopped her?"

When he didn't reply, she snorted softly, shaking her head in disgust.

"That's what I thought." Her words were hard, grating, filled with loathing. "Give your father my regards and tell him better luck next time."

With one last hate-filled look, Hermione turned on her heel and left Malfoy speechless in the corridor, a single sprig of rue crushed in his fist.



"I hate you."


This time, he said it first.

Hermione whipped around as Malfoy slammed the compartment door shut, locking it without breaking her gaze. Myriad emotions roiled within her, but as she opened her mouth to reply, Malfoy cut her off.

"No, you don't get to speak, not this time," he snapped, stepping towards her as she backed into the window, fields flying behind her as they made their way towards the highlands once more. "This time, you're going to listen."

His voice was low, dangerous, quivering with the fury she saw blazing in his eyes. Fury he had every right to and though Hermione wanted to defend herself, she swallowed her pride and clenched her jaw against the oncoming tirade.

"I had no fucking idea what was going on that night," he growled dangerously, his fists clenched so tightly she worried for the tiny, delicate bones in his hand.

"It was all just a big fucking game to me." He shook his head, a look of horrible self-loathing crossing his face. "Tag up with Umbridge, get a shiny, stupid badge, watch you three writhe as I deducted house points and forced you into detention. Umbridge said jump, I said 'how high.' Just as I did that night. Catch Potty and you in some ridiculous scheme and gloat over the hundreds of cauldrons you'd be forced to scrub. It was stupid, it was juvenile, but how the fuck was I supposed to know what you were up to?"

Hermione ached to comment, but held her tongue, knowing he needed to say his piece. She could see how much that night was eating him up inside and she wanted to go to him, so much…

Once she'd calmed down she'd realized that in all likelihood, Malfoy hadn't had any clue about his father's plans to abduct the prophecy. He was only a child; what were the chances that his father had written him to tell him Voldemort's plans? She could remember with perfect clarity the look on his face as she'd blamed him for Sirius' death. He hadn't been sneering then, he hadn't hidden beneath his typical aloof exterior; he'd been open, raw, much like he looked right now.

Malfoy shook his head again, unable to bear the sight of her for a moment longer, the back of his hand scrubbing the revulsion from his mouth before he was able to speak. "Here I am, a foolish fucking child, sleeping soundly in my bed while my father is trying to murder my classmates!While my lover is dueling fucking Death Eaters and trying to escape the fucking Dark Lord!"

Her heart stuttered at his words. Lover? Is that how he saw her?

His lost eyes finally met hers again, the look in them so haunting she nearly crumpled beneath the weight. His words were so quiet, it seemed as if that same weight was bearing down on his vocal cords, straining his speech. "I didn't know, Granger. All these years, watching you three, hearing about it but never really seeing, never really knowing… And then you were in the hospital wing, half dead, my father's in fucking Azkaban, the Dark Lord is back, and the look in Potter's eyes…"

He rubbed his face roughly as if to erase the image, his hands coming up to link behind his head, Hermione's eyes flicking to his covered forearm, wondering…

"It's fucking real now, Granger." His voice was gravelly as his hands fell, his eyes hard as they bored into hers, decimating her with his words. "I fucking get it. I'm in this now as much as you and you can go on loathing me all you want because you can never understand how much I fucking hate you. But you have to know that night…that night I didn't know. I do now."

She jerked as he turned on his heel and whipped from the room, slamming the door behind him and leaving her heart in tatters in his wake.



"I hate you."


"I hate you more."


His hands were everywhere, ripping at her clothes, at her sanity. Hermione didn't care anymore, she'd given up the fight. It seemed as if her young life was just one battle after another and she refused to let this be yet another.

She tore at the buttons of his shirt, eager to feel him for the first time, rejoicing when it was just as wonderful as she'd imagined. Already he was tearing down her skirt, her shirt and sweater in shreds on the floor. His haste was as intoxicating as his lips which never left hers, his fingers flying to his shirt to tear that as well, his hands yanking off his belt and helping her shove his trousers to the floor. They struggled out of their shoes, stumbling until Malfoy heaved her up and lowered them gently to the floor, his strong arms maneuvering her as if she weighed nothing. Hermione keened at this display of masculinity and pulled his lips tighter against hers.

His mouth roved down her neck to her collarbone, hot breath licking her sensitive flesh while his warm hands spanned her sides, taking in her form before sliding back down past her hips over her thighs which were still locked around him, hitching her tighter against his erection causing them both to groan.

"Gods, but I want you," he growled. Hermione's heart caught for just a moment, but her decision was already made.

"Take me."

Draco stilled in his quest towards her nipple, his head tilting up so that his grey eyes could melt her with their intensity.

"You're sure?"

Hermione said nothing but grabbed his hair and crashed his lips against hers, allowing him to take away her choice, to consume her, to make her forget their fucked-up world and fucked-up lives and fucked-up affair. She didn't want to think about anything but how good his hands felt on her, how hot his mouth was against her skin, how crazy with need he could make her.

He didn't disappoint, his hands and lips now ravenous against her, ripping at that last barrier between them, her knickers in tatters to join their other ruined clothing. The cold stones against her back were rough as he hooked her legs and angled her hips just so, leaning down with a grin. Hermione quickly realized what he was about to do, her protests dying on a moan as he licked her from entrance to hood, his groan of appreciation reverberating against her sensitive flesh. She jerked as he flicked the tip of his tongue against her nub, bolts of lightning snapping through her with each brush, her hips whipping up when he sealed his lips over her and sucked - the sensation unbelievable. She squirmed and squealed, her fingers in his hair, on the flagstone, her hips lashing against him.

"Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes…" she chanted as his fingers eased their way into her dripping core, the pressure shoving her higher, her fingers gripping her own hair in disbelief that her body could feel something as mind-blowing as this. His fingers worked faster, curling into what she now knew was a straight shot to her undoing.

The world cracked like a bat against a Bludger, her body snapping as wave after wave of euphoria crashed through her, but he didn't stop, a third finger slipping in with the other two, stretching her and making her moan. He slowed his ministrations slightly to allow her to accommodate, but he soon had her hurtling towards her second orgasm, hot on the heels of the first, his wonderful tongue never slowing.

As it broke over her he eased himself up, his lips catching her hip, her ribs, the underside of her breast, stopping to suckle her nipple before taking her mouth once more, his fingers still rocking inside her. Hermione reached down, suddenly curious, and found his erection bobbing just above her. He hissed as her hand curled around him and she suddenly realized why he'd moved to three fingers.

"It won't fit!" she cried suddenly, wrenching her mouth away from his to stare up at him in disbelief. Draco burst out laughing at her innocent exclamation, his entire face lighting in his mirth.

"I assure you, it'll fit," he chuckled, brushing her hair aside and pulling her face back to him when she tried to look away, embarrassed. "Don't; I'm not making fun of you."

For the first time in her life, Hermione believed him. His expression was not one of mockery when she finally chanced a peek at him, but of joy.

"It's quite the compliment," he insisted, leaning forward to pluck at her lips, his hips moving against her fist, encouraging her to explore further. "We'll take it slow. If you want me to stop, I will."

She shook her head wordlessly and he kissed her again, his fingers moving in time with her hand. He soon had her building back up, their bodies rocking together, her free hand gripping at him, urging him on.

He slipped his fingers from her, using the generous liquid there to rub over his engorged head before situating himself between her thighs, angling for her entrance. He looked up at her then, his eyes dark, watching her as he pressed forward, stretching her far more than his fingers ever could, the pressure blissful and tight. Hermione's jaw fell open in incredulity of the deliciously intense sensations, the corner of Malfoy's mouth quirking in response even as his brow was furrowed in deliberation. He moved deeper and she let out a cracked whimper to which he instantly stilled but she shook her head, knowing he'd thought he'd hurt her.

"No, don't stop," she begged breathlessly, eager to feel more, to understand. He smirked and it was beautiful, his face a mask of steely concentration as he joined their bodies, his lips parting, his lids lowering, his head falling back as he cursed lowly.

"Gods, you feel bloody perfect."

He stilled once he was fully seated inside her and they looked at each other for a long moment, an understanding passing between them, their bodies as one, and it was suddenly very apparent that this was far more than a simple act of lust.

"I hate you," Hermione whispered, a nervous smile grazing her face. Malfoy grinned back, his fingers tightening on her hips.

"I hate you more."

He leaned over her, one elbow propping by her head, his hand in her hair as he took her lips, easing out of her slowly, sinking back in, rocking their bodies together as Hermione moaned in bliss. She could never have imagined it feeling like this, so intense, so fulfilling. Every movement was like a wave of fire, igniting her senses as never before.

He picked up the tempo slowly, always gauging her reactions, holding her hips still as he probed deeper and deeper with each thrust. He leaned back slightly to place his thumb at her hood, working it in circles and Hermione was overcome by the sensation, his hips bucking harder to her response, mercury racing through her veins with each thrust until she was screaming, Draco shoving her roughly over the edge before impaling her fully, his mouth crashing against hers, swallowing her cries as pain mixed with ecstasy, her world spiraling out of control, his fingers so tight against her skin, his body so hot against hers, his skin so smooth beneath her nails as he rode her, destroying the last barrier between them. His hips angled, his hands tilting her pelvis so that he stroked that bundle of nerves inside her making her nearly sob with each graze. She felt so full she must surely rip, but it was the most agonizing pleasure she could ever imagine and she dragged him tighter against her body on a plea.

Suddenly his movements became rougher, jerkier, his face screwed up in pleasure. He caught her eyes as the quickening pace ripped her back up with him until they were both dangling just above that precipice, his fingers tangling with hers to drag her over with him.

"Come with me, Hermione."

Her name on his lips was all it took and they were falling, the world shattering in every sense of the word. Pleasure beyond anything she could have dreamed ripped through her and she was screaming his name, his arms gripping her so close she worried they might just melt into each other.

They came down slowly, panting, grasping. Draco eventually fell to the side with a grunt, dragging her with him. She hissed at the sting between her legs and he slowly pulled out of her, looking at her apologetically as she winced.

"It won't always hurt that much," he promised, scooping her into his side as easily as if he'd done so a hundred times before, tucking her head beneath his chin as he caught his breath. She was suddenly apprehensive now that the heat of the moment was over. Shouldn't he be throwing on his clothes and running out the door, boasting to the first person he found that he'd taken the prude Mudblood's virginity? Making a crude song about it with Peeves and passing out buttons with the shameful declaration plastered on them?

Why was he…cuddling her? Why had he been so…gentle? Considerate? He shouldn't have cared, he should have reveled in her pain, made fun of her for being such a prude. Where had Draco Malfoy gone and who was laying here in his place - playing with her fucking hair?

Hermione looked up at his ministrations incredulously and his face fell in confusion.


"You hate me."


"So why are you acting like this?"

His golden brow lifted in sagacious amusement. "Like what?"

"Like…this!" she exclaimed, gesturing to his fingers twirling in her hair, his arm wrapped possessively around her waist. He chuckled at her obvious discomfort and pressed her head back down to his chest, drawing her tighter against his side.

"For being so smart you are terribly dense sometimes."

"What is that supposed to mean?" She attempted to look back up at him in consternation but he held her stubbornly in place.

"Hush, Granger, you're ruining your own night."

"But I just -"


He cut off her protest by pulling her tighter against his body, his lips pressing softly against her temple. And only because it felt so bloody good to be touched like this, she closed her eyes and let him win...just this once.



"I hate you!"


She could see his shoulders shaking with repressed laughter and she squeezed her thighs together, trying to deter his wandering digits.

"Not my fault you couldn't dress yourself properly," he muttered, commenting on the undergarments she'd forgone in an effort to drive him mad.

It was having the opposite effect right at this moment.

"Shh!" she snapped at him and he sniggered in response, his hand rising higher on her thigh.

They were situated at the back of the potions classroom having been paired together by Slughorn. They were less than twenty minutes into their concoction and already Draco had her so strung up she could barely think.

"Two centimeters, Granger, not three," he drawled as his fingers traced the globes of her bare arse. Hermione glanced at the instructions then back to her knotgrass and cursed while Draco chuckled behind her.

"Well maybe if you would stop touching me -"

"Where's the fun in that?"

She barely bit back a moan and clutched the edge of the desk roughly as one rogue finger slipped inside her. Draco swore.

"Merlin, you're hotter than those fucking flames," he murmured, reaching over her for the jar of nettles they'd already added so that he could slide in another finger and increase the pace without drawing suspicion. Hermione's eyes darted around the room but no one was paying attention as they were all concentrated on the most difficult brew they'd ever been tasked. She sucked in a shaky breath as his fingers twisted and she had to bite her lip to stifle her pleasure as he pressed closer, his lips moving to her ear.

"I want to bend you over the desk and take you right now."

Hermione whimpered at his molten words, her nails digging into the charred wood, her knees buckling as he worked her.

"I'd spread your legs wide," he continued lowly, using his knee to urge her to do as he said, giving him more room to work, both of them moaning softly when he was able to find that sweet spot. "Shove your chest down, ingredients flying everywhere. I'd rip your shirt open so that everyone can see those amazing fucking tits."

Hermione thought she was going to die, choked sounds clawing to escape her throat at the imagery.

"I'd stand right behind you, lock eyes with Potter and Weasley as I slide into you -"

A ragged groan slipped passed her lips and she froze, looking up to see if anyone had heard but the room was filled with chatter and chopping and the clinking of bottles, the rumbles of bubbling potions. Draco chuckled again, increasing his pace, rubbing against that spot over and over, her entire body tensing as she neared her peak.

"I'd make sure everyone was watching as I thrust – into – you – so – hard – you – scream."

Hermione jerked and bit her lip against the cry that caught in her throat as his fingers drove into her at each word, the thought of him doing exactly as he said sending her spiraling.

"I'd ride you, pound you until you couldn't see or think or hear, it would all be me, and I'd make you say my name so that everyone knows."

She whimpered desperately, so close, her hips pressing back against his hand wantonly.

"Say my name."

She shook her head, mortified, her eyes still scanning the room, but he was insistent.

"Say my name."


His fingers were a flurry, her knees buckling, and then his thumb shot out to work her center and it was over.

"Say my name!"

"Draco!" she choked out softly. He bit her ear with a growl.


She did, on a tidal wave, her entire body convulsing, the iron tang of blood filling her mouth as she bit her lip to hold back her cries, quiet whimpers breaking free as Draco swore behind her.

This, finally, got someone's attention and Terry Boot looked back at them inquisitively.

"Merlin, Granger, get that bushy head out of your arse and get that knotgrass done, I'm not finishing this bloody potion by myself."

Hermione turned and glared at Draco with such ire Terry rolled his eyes and went back to work. Only she could see the mirth in his bright eyes, the bead of perspiration trickling from his temple.

"You are a fucking deviant!" she whispered scathingly, smacking at the hand which had just destroyed her. He grinned maniacally.

"Language, Granger."

"Fuck you!"

"As often as you like."



"I hate you."


Draco jerked in his chair, his elbow slipping off the library desk where his head had been resting upon it as he squinted over the miniscule writing on the tome before him. He whipped around, eyes wide, to locate the source of the noise. Hermione giggled beneath Harry's Invisibility Cloak, watching his eyebrows rise as she pulled out a chair beside him. He made to grab his wand but she got to it first and tucked it into her pocket.

"You can have that back if you're a good boy."

His eyebrows shot into his hairline, his head whipping around in his search.


"Quiet now. Aren't you supposed to be studying?"

Hermione crawled beneath the desk, scooting between his legs, pressing them apart for more room. He swore harshly.

"What the bloody hell -"

"Language, Mr. Malfoy! No talking in the library!"

"Sorry," he muttered at the passing librarian and Hermione bit back a laugh as her hands skimmed up his thighs making him hiss. She rubbed his crotch through his trousers, feeling him rising instantly beneath her palm. He swore softer this time as she eased down his zipper and unbuckled his belt, working around his hands which shoved at her. As Madam Pince tottered away floating a mound of books, Hermione slipped his half-swollen erection from its restraints despite his half-arsed attempts to dissuade her.

Having only had the briefest of occasions to feel him and play before he was sliding into her, it was intriguing therefore, to have time to look her fill, to watch him harden from her ministrations, to witness the drop of precum bead at the tip.

To adjust the invisibility cloak and lick it off and feel him jerk roughly, the chair nearly tipping with his surprised reaction, his hands having stopped fighting her to cling desperately to the edges of his chair. Hermione smiled, enjoying her power over him, and took the engorged tip into her mouth as she had thought about doing for so long.

Though she had no idea what she was doing, the choked sounds she received from above the table were more than enough to spur her on, sliding his now stiff member in and out of her mouth, adding suction which made one hand shoot down and grasp her head beneath the cloak. Hermione checked to be sure he hadn't moved it before adding her tongue to the fray.

His muffled curses were music to her ears and she picked up the pace, bobbing up and down his shaft, seeing how far she could take him, pressing him against the back of her throat which made her gag and him jerk against her.

"Oi, mate, what you got there?"

Draco started, snapping up as Hermione froze, her heart joining his cock in her throat. She heard the clap of a hand on his shoulder and saw shiny shoes to her right, her mouth still tight around his member.

"Er," was Draco's intelligent reply, nearly making her snort in amusement.

"The book," his friend elaborated. "Is that for class?"

"No, er, extra research…"

Hermione relaxed slightly. What sounded like Darius Vaisey was seemingly unaware of her presence. Payback for potions class yesterday, Hermione resumed her task, Draco's fingers instantly curling in an attempt to pull her away, but she was not to be deterred. She felt him shudder when she ran her tongue along the bulging vein before her and smirked in satisfaction.

"You alright?" Vaisey asked above her and she circled her fingers around the base of Draco's throbbing member, squeezing lightly, pumping in time with her mouth. "You look a bit peaky."

"Fine," Draco choked out. "Busy, would you excuse -"

"Oh, you found him," an unfamiliar voice joined the growing crowd. "Did you ask him about the practice schedule?"

Hermione chuckled silently when Draco groaned loudly, both from the intrusion and because she'd increased her suction, his fingers twitching against her head as he dragged her closer.

"Not yet, I was just about to -"

"Would-you-excuse-me?" Draco ground out through grit teeth, his cock jerking as she quickened her pace.

"But you've only booked one practice next week -"

"I said I'm busy," Draco snapped, his voice strained. She almost felt sorry for him.


"But what about -"

"Piss off!"

The two boys reluctantly did as they were told, obviously used to taking instructions from Draco, and he fell back against the chair, swearing, his hips thrusting in time with her motions.

"Fuck, I'm gonna -"

"That's it, Mr. Malfoy, out! I'll not have you befouling my library with that tongue!"

Draco groaned loudly as ropes of hot semen burst into the cavern of Hermione's mouth, her laughter thwarted by his salty emissions. She swallowed them down in an effort to prevent a mess, gently licking him clean as he slumped over the desktop while the matron ranted above him until she finally stomped off to find Mr. Filch to drag his "good-for-nothing-self" out of her precious library.

With a breathless curse Draco scooted back, his head slithering down the edge of the table until he could see her, one hand clinging to the ledge to hold him up, the other still wrapped in the fabric of Harry's Invisibility Cloak. His eyes glittered with mischief as she lifted the cloth enough for him to see her grinning face.

They started laughing at the same time, his angelic eyes glowing with mad glee.

"Oh Merlin, I fucking hate you Hermione Granger."





The trophy in her hand crashed through the glass case behind Draco's head. He ducked just in time, his arms covering his face to protect it from falling glass. He straightened only to whip sideways to avoid a second.

"Dammit, Hermione -!"

"It was you, admit it!"

"Hermione -"



"YES, DAMMIT!" he screamed, straightening from the deluge and striding towards her until she was backed against another awards case. The small trophy room held little protection against the murderous Slytherin and her heart skittered in fear. "It was me!"

"And Katie?" she choked out, tears welling in despair and betrayal. "Was that you?"

His face hardened, his quaking hands clenching.

"Yes. But I didn't mean-"

"What?" she sobbed raggedly. "You didn't mean what exactly?"

"It wasn't meant for them!" he thundered. "I never meant for either of them to get hurt!"

"Then who was it meant for?" she snapped, shoving him away, disgust marring her features. "That wine was supposed to go to Dumbledore! Are you trying to kill him, too?"

His face turned into a mask of steel; one she now knew well. Terror filled her every pore, dread squeezing the air from her lungs, her limbs turning to ice as she realized that she'd just inadvertently stumbled across the truth.

"Oh gods, you are…" she breathed, stumbling back away from him and pressing as hard as she could against the glass behind her, her eyes flicking towards the exit which was barred by his body. Torment filled his gaze at her actions.

"Hermione -"


He cursed, shaking his head, his mouth twisted in derision. "I don't have a choice! It's not as if I woke up this morning thinking 'gee, today feels like a good day to murder my bloody headmaster!'"

Fear slithered down her spine, both at his confession and his implication. "What are you saying?"

He snarled before grabbing his wand, ignoring her flinch, and ripping up the sleeve of his robes.

"I'm saying this!"

With a whispered charm, his unblemished skin melted into a dark image which nearly sent Hermione to her knees. She gripped the edge of the case behind her as all the blood left her head and she felt faint.


"That's right, Granger," he snapped spitefully. "You're fucking a Death Eater. How's that for a twist?"

"No," she whispered again, shaking her head, looking from the Mark to his face and back again. "No, no, that's not you, that's not you, I know you -"

"Do you?" he snarled.

"Yes! I damn well do!" she cried, tears streaking down her face, blurring the Mark even as her resolve cleared. "That's not you! This isn't you!"


"YOU'RE DRACO FUCKING MALFOY!" she screeched, marching up to him, shoving at him, knocking the stain on his arm down and staring boldly into his desperate eyes. "You held me after you took my virginity, me, a worthless Mudblood! You could have been cruel, you could have thrown it in my face, used it to hurt me, but instead you were kind and gentle and loving!"

She saw his jaw clench against her words and she grabbed his chin when he attempted to look away, yanking him back to her so he would hear every word and see the truth in her eyes.

"You chucked food at Ron all morning while he was kissing Lavender because you saw that it bothered me," she continued, her voice softer, filled with the emotion he'd welled inside her these last few months. "You tripped Zabini when he made fun of my hair, you snuck me more boomslang skin when I ran out, you helped me study for the Transfiguration test last week instead of fucking me because you knew how important it was to me!"

She saw him withering beneath her words while they only served to rile her up, her fingers tightening against his jaw. "You cried when Katie got hurt, I saw you the next morning. You were so tender when you made love to me that night I almost cried myself."

She saw his jaw twitch at the memory, attempting to look away again, but Hermione held strong, her voice breaking beneath the truth.

"You love me, me, a Mudblood," she breathed and watched him crumble, his hands gripping her arms, tears welling, lips quivering, and she knew her words rang true. "You don't believe him; you aren't one of them. Look at me Draco, tell me you aren't one of them, that you aren't like that! Tell me you know that!"

She shook him slightly in an attempt to break through the last remnants of his shattering barrier, ripping at it, tearing it to pieces.

"Say it, Draco! Tell me right now, dammit! You aren't one of them!"

She watched the tears fall, each one a lance straight through her soul. His hands rose from her shoulders to her face where her own tears resided and he thumbed them away, his fingers curling at the base of her neck.

"I'm not one of them," he croaked, his words thick, her relief palpable, her love exploding. She shuddered, tugging him down to her lips, whimpering in sweet relief when he responded desperately, showing her once more who he was.

"You're not going back," she proclaimed through grit teeth, meeting his gaze. "I won't let you. They won't touch you, not anymore."

"Hermione -"

"No!" she demanded, her nails digging into his shoulders, holding him tight. "We're going to Dumbledore; we're going to the Order -"

"You can't -"

"Don't you dare tell me what I can and cannot -"

"They'll kill my parents, Hermione!"

"We can hide them -"


He ripped away from her, stepping back, fear shrouding his gaze.

"No, I've worked too hard to keep them safe, everything I've done… They'll be killed, the minute he finds out, he has spies everywhere, here in the school -"

"No one knows about us," she soothed, stepping forward. "No one knows. I can go to Dumbledore. He's smart; he'll figure out a way -"

"No, Hermione, it's gone too far -"

"So that's it, huh?" her voice broke, tears of frustration tumbling down her cheeks. "You're just going to give in to them? Kill Dumbledore? Kill me?"

His expression turned dark. "I would never -"

"Because that's what you'll have to do, Draco!" she screeched, outraged, steadfast. "If you want to get to Dumbledore now, you'll have to go through me!"

He swore, standing her down, every inch of him hardened. "Don't do this."

"I am," she growled, drawing her wand, holding it tightly in her hand. "I've fought before and that time there were a lot more of them and a hell of a lot more trained than you. Do you really want to take your chances?"

He clenched his jaw, shaking his head in disbelief, but he didn't go for his wand.

"It's time to choose, Draco," Hermione snarled, spreading her feet, preparing to duel. "Us or them. Because you're not leaving this room a free man. Either you're coming with me – we'll protect you, take your parents into hiding, keep you safe until the end of the war – or you go back to them and I fight you to the death right here and now."

He paled. "You can't be serious -"

"Oh, I am dead fucking serious." Rage such as she'd never felt seared within her bones until she vibrated with it. "I'll not let you harm another person, not while I'm breathing. I understand if Katie and Ron were accidents, but I won't see another student hurt and I'll not let you lay a hand on Dumbledore. If you think you can beat me then by all means, draw your wand and we'll duel."

He shook his head. "Hermione, I'm not going to fight you -"

"Then are you joining our side?"

"Dammit, Hermione, you don't understand!"

"I understand perfectly fucking well, Draco!" she screamed, panting. "I understand that you are standing there defending your position in a war that is trying to kill me! You are helping a man who wants to wipe my kind from existence! I understand completely, the question is - do you?"

His jaw dropped, speechless. She watched the emotions play over his face, read some, wondered over others, all the while her resistance slipping.

"Make your choice, Draco," she choked out, her throat tight with emotion. "If you're on the side you want, then kill me and be done with it, because I'll never be with you if you are."

She watched his life crumple before his eyes, watched everything falling apart at the seams. She watched as indecision played across his face, and hurt, and fear, and anger. Her wand trembled but she tightened her grip, staring at him in resignation.

It was several long moments before he spoke, his words heavy in defeat.

"They'll die if I join you."

"They won't, we'll find a way -"

"They will." His voice was hard, leaving no room for argument. "I know they will; I always have. Which is why I've tried. But they made their choices, and if their lives are the price then so be it. They dug their graves; they can lie in them."

Her hand faltered.

"Draco, what are you saying?"

He stepped forward until he was upon her, lowering her wand, cupping her neck, tilting her head up, forcing her to witness the validity of his words upon his steely gaze.

"I'll let them die for you. I would let this whole fucking world die for you."



"I hate you."


The night and subsequent day had been a hurricane of activity. Draco had kept his word; they'd walked straight out of the trophy room to Dumbledore's office. The headmaster had looked at him with eyes swimming in delight and summoned Professor Snape. Draco talked long into the night, the accounts of his actions worse coming from his mouth. He'd looked so pained that Hermione had reached out and taken his hand, the looks on the Professor's faces comical and antithetic as night from day.

Draco had been whisked away, Hermione forced back to bed, her story that Draco had the stomach flu and she had helped him to the hospital wing during her rounds the night previous. She'd fretted in classes all day, unable to eat or pay attention, and when she was about to doze off on her chair next to Ron's bedside, the hospital wing doors flew open and he was there, haggard and tired looking as she.

He'd dragged her up to the Room of Requirement, making love to her desperately before explaining the situation. He was to pretend nothing had happened and continue to carry out his task as ordered (she shuddered at the thought of Death Eaters swarming the school) until they could come up with a decisive plan. Hermione had held him close throughout the explanation, finally tilting his head up to look at her when he grew quiet.

"I love you."

She had watched the words play over him, the first time. She hadn't realized it until the night before, but knew it was true. She wasn't sure exactly when she had fallen, somewhere between the fights and the fucking, but she had fallen hard and knew she was in for good.

He had kissed her harshly, leading to a second round of lovemaking, whispering the words over and over, a litany as their world crashed around them, more dangerous than ever.

She held him still, hours later, as the fire crackled lowly in the grate, his head upon her breast, his soft, even breathing of sleep comforting. She knew what he had given up, knew the difficulty of the choice he'd made, knew he'd done it for her.

And she would fight the entire fucking world for him.



"I hate you."


Draco rocked his hips against hers, surging deeper, panting above her as he drove her into another dimension.

"You're a liar," he gasped, biting her jaw, making her gasp.


"Say it."


"Tell me."


"Tell me again."

Hermione smirked, knowing what he wanted, purposefully withholding, waiting for his desperation.

"Tell you what?"

He growled, jerking his hips and making her gasp as he barreled to the hilt.

"Say it."

"I hate you."

"Dammit, Hermione!"

She laughed, then gasped against his mouth which took her ferociously. He needed her and he didn't mind showing her. Relenting, she dragged her mouth from his, stilling his motions, locking eyes.

"I love you."

He shuddered at her admission, his fingers digging into her skin, his head resting against hers, his eyes squeezed tight against the horrors of his world.

Pressing him back, Hermione mounted him, leaning forward to take his lips as she rode him instinctively, not knowing if she was doing it correctly, but letting her body take hold, letting it love him as she did, showing him she meant the words she said, that she would do anything to prove to him what his transformation meant to her.

When they finally reached that pinnacle, they reached it together, hands entwined, bodies writhing together, soft words wrung into the night.

She collapsed against him, sated. He stroked her hair tenderly, holding her close.

"Never forget this."

Her brow creased in confusion. "Draco, what -"

"Never forget this."



"I hate you!"


Hermione fell to the floor, the parchment which had shattered her heart clenched in her fist. An apology, a farewell, an excuse.

A lie.

It had all been a lie. Every word, every moment, it had meant nothing. He had fooled her, just as he'd fooled all the others before. He'd used her, ruined her, destroyed her.

And now he was gone, back to them, back to Him, with nothing more than a few words on parchment left on her bedside table next to her empty bed.

He'd left her, made his choice, joined Voldemort's ranks. She was alone with nothing more than the bitter disappointment of his betrayal.

She'd been a fool to think he could ever change, that he would ever be more than the molding of his youth, that he could ever see her as anything other than the worthless Mudblood he'd dubbed her.

Fool or not, she'd fallen for him. Her heart ached with the loss even as she berated herself. He was not hers to mourn. He had never been anything more than a mirage, a distraction. And now he was gone and she would focus on her task, on helping Harry, on helping the Order.

She didn't need him.


A harsh sob escaped her lips and Hermione Granger fell to her side, curling into herself, the treacherous parchment clutched in her hands, the last tie to her broken heart, a jagged reminder. She'd lost. No matter if they won this damnable war or not, she'd lost - the bitter realization slicing her through, tearing her apart. None of it mattered now that he was gone. It didn't matter if she risked her life. She had only one calling now and nothing mattered but that she saw it through.





Hermione fell back against the windowsill, clutching it desperately, her feeble legs giving out beneath her, pain shrieking through her torso at the movement and she nearly collapsed, her body still weak from torture.

"Hermione, please, lay down -"


"Hermione calm down, please -"

"Don't you dare, don't you dare -!"

"Hermione, for fuck's sake, get back in the fucking bed before you pass out!"

There - his voice - for the first time in over eight months, breaking through her, breaking her so much more than his aunt ever could, her knees finally conceding the battle. Three figures started forward and all three were knocked back by her wandless magic, her anger undulating over the room, barreling them over in a wave of fury.

"Don't you touch me!" she shrieked brokenly, hating her weakness, wishing she could stand him down properly, her hazy mind clamoring for stability.

"Hermione, please, we'll leave, please - just calm down," Harry pled, struggling to his feet along with the other two. "Please, you're hurt, I'm begging you, just calm -"

"Don't you tell me -"

"You have every right to be angry," he allowed, his hands up in surrender. "I'm not arguing that, none of us are. We're just worried, please, just get back into bed."

"You bring him in here," she croaked, swaying, her eyes working to focus on the blonde hair still settled on the floor. "And you expect me to calm down? After everything -"

"You weren't supposed to be awake," Harry said meekly, flinching as if he knew his words were a mistake upon uttering them.

"Not supposed to be awake?" she cried. "So, were you never going to tell me you brought this lying, treacherous sack of shit into my death room?"

"Hermione, c'mon," Ron plead from near the door. "You know we'd never -"

"You'd never what, exactly?" she screeched. "Betray my trust? Bring this worthless -"

"Hermione -"


She screamed it so loudly her throat cracked, throbbing in pain, her body folding harder into the hardwood, the entire room spinning. She had no idea where she was or what was happening, only that he was here and he needed to leave so she could figure out what was going on and what -

She gasped suddenly, all three men darting forward before stopping suddenly at the reminder of her unhinged lashings. Everything came back to her at once - the Snatchers, the Manor, Bellatrix, Draco -

Hermione lifted her head to see the same eyes she'd found between the black curls, the last thing she'd seen before she'd passed out from the agony, utter revulsion written on every line of her face.

"Hermione, there are things you don't understand," Harry started gently, cringing at the look she gave him when she was able to lift her head.

"You," she snarled, betrayal tearing at every inch of sanity she had left. She started to get up but pitched forward, slamming into the ground unceremoniously, the men above her cursing, hurrying forward.

"Don't TOUCH ME!" she screamed, sobbing, flinching away from them, thoughts of Bellatrix bearing down on her invading her mind.

"Hermione, Merlin, please, just let us help you," Ron said from somewhere to her right, her head swimming.

"You can help me...by getting him out," she panted, not willing to look up to see him, not understanding how he was there, why he was invading her, why she was submitted to this hell when all she'd done was try so hard to do the right thing, so why was she being punished with his presence?

"Hermione, he saved your life."

She snapped her head up at this, glaring at the figure closest to her, trying to bring him into focus.

Tears poured down her face unwillingly, her voice breaking against the anguish. "Why, why are you being so cruel, what did I do -?"

"Nothing," he said vehemently, crouching, not coming nearer but coming to her level. "Hermione, look at me. Since when have we ever lied to each other?"

She clenched her jaw. They'd never lied, even when it hurt. So why would he start now when it hurt so much?

"Hermione, listen to me," he begged, his voice so painful she couldn't help but listen, every part of her programmed to alleviate his pain and therefore not able to stand it. "I know this is hard, I know you're probably confused. You don't know where you are and you woke up to quite a shock. Please, just let me explain."

Hermione swallowed, the motion intensely painful. She knew Harry was simply trying to help her - he couldn't do anything to hurt her even if he tried. She nodded reluctantly, willing for pieces to fall into place of her very vacant puzzle.

"Do you remember the Manor?"

Hermione flinched. Yes. She remembered. Vividly.

"What's the last thing you remember?"

She shivered harshly, visions of her torture coming to life before her eyes, her own screams filing her ears, the pain reverberating in her bones, tearing her muscles, she couldn't breathe -

"Dammit, give her something, a Pain Potion, anything - "

"She'll never be able to talk if we give her more -"

"I don't give a fuck, Potter! She's in pain! Give her something -"

"Don't you want her to remember -?"

"I don't want her to remember a damn thing!" Draco roared, his blurry figure pacing as she slumped even further. "I want her to forget every-fucking-thing!"

"Malfoy, come on, if she forgot then she wouldn't know..."

"I DON'T FUCKING CARE!" he screamed, bending over Harry. "It's not worth the fucking nightmares she'll endure -"

"Know what?" she grunted, pulling herself up on the edge of the bed next to her, wondering whose it was.

Harry and Draco stiffened, turning to her.

"Nothing," Draco grunted and Hermione instantly felt an anger so ferocious she was surprised she didn't set the bedclothes aflame next to her.

"Tell me," she snarled, not knowing what they were hiding, understanding nothing but her anger and pain and fear. Where was Bellatrix? Why wasn't she still being tortured to within an inch of her life?

The blonde turned away, pacing, but Harry remained where he was, crouched next to her, his face drawn in a way she'd never seen.

"It will do no good, Potter -"

"Shut up!" she snarled, her head snapping in his direction. "You don't get to speak! Not anymore!"

The room rang with her reprobation. Draco stilled in his pacing, his hands clenching, but Hermione turned away from him, back to her best friend, the one she could trust.

"Hermione, dammit, I know you're mad, but Draco saved your bloody life, the least you can do is hear him out."

Hermione jerked at this, staring at Harry as if she'd never seen him.

"Saved? He didn't save me, he left me, he watched me being tortured!"

"And then he saved you."

This time it was the voice to her right, Ron, the one person who hated Draco almost as much as she.

"What are you talking about?" she growled, rolling her gaze towards the still Slytherin. "Why would he, after everything -"

"I think it would be best if you saw," Harry said soothingly, inching towards her. Hermione met his gaze questioningly, but he simply nodded and pulled his wand from his robes. "Look for yourself."

Her hand was shaking harshly as she reached it out and took the wand, the feel of it foreign and yet comforting. She stroked the wood, looking back up into her best friend's gaze.

"Are you sure?"

He nodded. "Go back to when we were captured."

"Harry, mate, is she strong enough -"

"She can handle it," he grated out, meeting Ron's gaze. The latter must have backed down because Harry nodded to her. "Go on, Hermione. Watch everything."

She did.

She saw it all.

The fight, their struggle, watching herself lashing against her captors, cursing Harry, watched him being dragged away, their meeting with Luna and Dean and Ollivander and Griphook. She could hear her own screams, remembered vividly what it had been like on the receiving end.

Then she saw Draco releasing them, watched him inching back out into the parlor, and when she watched herself stop moving, Bellatrix reveling in it, she saw his shoulders square, witnessed the others surging onto the scene, the altercation, Bellatrix dragging her lifeless body up, using it as protection, Dobby loosening the chandelier, watching it fall, watching Draco strike, watching his spell hit, his aunt slumping, Hermione being Summoned into his arms, free from the tangle of the glass and debris. She watched him shudder, watched his grip tighten, watched him turn to the others, desperate for any way to get her out, Harry's voice screaming at him, his parents crying out, his slight hesitation, one last look at them before turning towards Harry and running with her lifeless body in his tight grip, grabbing onto Dobby, landing on the soft sand, saw Draco's back retreating, running tirelessly up the soggy hill to the small cottage beyond, screaming, begging the woman at the top to heal her, to do something, anything -

Hermione broke away, the emotions too strong to handle.

"He hasn't left your side," Harry whispered as he knew exactly where she'd drawn away from his memories. "He wouldn't listen to anyone. He hasn't spoken a word since he got you inside, not until just now when we came to check on you two. Hermione, he rescued us, gave us back our wands, gave us a chance to fight. He killed his own aunt to save you. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him."

She looked toward the enigma which had haunted her dreams every night since she'd received that note, the one claiming he didn't want her, didn't love her, that it had all been a game to get close to the Order and she'd foolishly fallen for it. It seemed so antithetical to the person standing before her, his face wracked with despair, trembling slightly as he looked down at her almost longingly.

"Leave," she finally croaked. She watched Draco stiffen, his jaw clenching, but he didn't argue, simply turned on his heel and strode for the door.

"No," she snapped, and he turned at the sound, confused. "Not you."

Hermione turned to Harry who was still crouched next to her. "I want to speak with him alone."

With a nod, Harry rose and he and Ron reluctantly left, looking back at the two as if worried things might come to blows. Hermione was unable to reassure them they wouldn't.

As soon as the door closed she rose, leaning heavily on the bedframe and wincing at her sore muscles. Draco twitched slightly as if he had to stop himself from moving towards her, but she was grateful he resisted; she didn't know if she could handle his touch yet.

He was so beautiful. It was so unfair. It hurt to look at him and remember the feel of his arms around her, his lips quirked in amusement, spouting words of love.

Turning away from him, Hermione made her way slowly to the window, looking out at the darkening sky, leaden with overstuffed clouds threatening to deluge upon the sea below. Wherever they were, it was hauntingly beautiful.

Draco didn't speak, giving her time to collect her thoughts which were rampaging painfully through her mind. One word rose above the others and when she was finally able to speak, it was the only one which emerged.


She heard his derisive scoff, saw his nervous shuffle in her periphery.

"Which part?"

"All of it," she croaked. "Why did you seek me out, why did you have to torture me so? Why did you make me fall for you, lie to me all this time only to break my heart into pieces after I did nothing but forgive you, love you? Why did you leave? And why, after all this time, did you decide to come back, to do those things... Why are you here?"

Her voice broke once more and she had to swallow back tears. He was silent for a long time before sighing.

"Hermione, I never meant to hurt you."

"You lied to me," she accused gratingly.

"You're right. I did," he said softly. "But only once."

Hermione snorted, her head hanging with the weight of the moment. "Oh, yeah? And which time was that?"

He chewed over his words, his voice thick with emotion when he found them. "I couldn't even say it to your face. I'm a coward as we both know. I couldn't stand the look in your eyes...so I wrote it down, took the easy way out. The only lie I ever told you was on that parchment I left you last summer, and fucking hell, Hermione. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do."

"Had to?" she snapped, whipping around, glaring at him. "No one forced you!"

He looked about to argue before clenching his jaw so tightly she was surprised his molars didn't crack under the strain.

"No, no one forced me. It was my choice and my choice alone. I didn't give you a decision in the matter because I knew what it would do to you. So, I chose to leave. It was the hardest choice I've ever had to make."

"I don't understand," she sighed. "Why did you have to make it at all?"

At this he faltered. She heard a strangled sound as if he'd had to bite back a response and she turned to him, staring him down, daring him to lie to her once more.

"Hermione, it's complicated..."

"Then endeavor to un-complicate it!"

"Hermione, it wasn't his idea."

She whipped around at the voice, her eyes narrowing at her best friend.

"Harry, I thought I asked you -"

"I know, but he's too damn noble to tell you the truth so I'm going to."

Draco snorted. "Potter, noble is the last thing I am."

"But you are. You proved it. You did the right thing even though I know how much it killed you. I knew when I asked this of you, but I didn't care. I didn't realize how far it had gotten, how close... I was wrong. I never should have asked you to do it."

"Harry, what the hell are you on about?" Hermione asked shakily, knowing from the tone of his voice that she really, really didn't want to hear the words that he was about to say.

Harry turned to her, emerald eyes full of remorse, hands digging into his pockets as he had a penchant to do when he was nervous. He glanced to the ground momentarily, taking a steeling breath before looking up at her.

"I asked him to leave you."

Hermione felt as if her world had ground to a very definite halt. Every organ in her body froze in protest to the words the man she trusted more than anyone in the world was saying to her.

"Harry," she breathed, confused, infuriated. "Why...what do you...how could you? Why would you -?"

"Because I needed you more than he did," he answered flatly. "I needed you by my side when I went after the Horcruxes. I needed your knowledge, your strength. I needed you fully with me. And I knew you would never leave if you knew that Malfoy would be left behind. You were too infatuated, in the weeks following your admission of your relationship you hardly ever left his side. You fought with the Order constantly. For him, for his family, fighting to protect them. You lost sight of our true mission."

"I never -"

"You did. And I don't blame you. I remember what it was like when I was first with Ginny. The whole world seemed to fall away. What was a war when I had her in my arms? But the truth of the matter was that there was something much more important. And I couldn't get you to see that. So I went to Malfoy. I explained to him about the Horcruxes, about what we needed to do. All of us, all three of us," he said, nodding to Ron who was standing nervously in the doorway. "- knew we'd never make it through without you. We needed your brains, your skills. More than anything, I needed my best friend by my side. I needed you. And the Order needed Malfoy. We lost Snape to the Death Eaters; we no longer had any information on the inside. Malfoy was the best chance we had. So, we asked him to write to his father, to beg forgiveness, to ask to be taken back. They agreed. He went. He went for the good of the Order because he knew that both of you were needed elsewhere. He begged to be allowed to explain it to you, said that you would understand, but I had the Order on my side. I told them you would never be with us completely if your mind was stuck on Malfoy, if you were worrying about him every day, wondering if he was alright. He's been spying this entire time, giving the Order valuable information, putting himself at great risk. We are forever indebted to him. He may have made the final decision, but I'm the reason he had to make it at all. If you want to blame anyone, hate anyone, it should be me. He only wanted to protect you, wanted the best for you. I wanted the best for myself."

Hermione Granger was, for the first time, speechless.

There were so many things she wanted to say, shout, cry, rage, that they all lodged together into a knot in her throat. Betrayal rang like fire through her veins while her logical mind attempted to placate it. She didn't know which emotion to latch onto first and ended up in a strange sense of numbness, unable to speak or respond in any way, her weary body maxed out of effort. She turned from the faces of the men she loved most in the world, turned away from the roiling riot of emotions in them, and faced the sea. It seemed to understand her deeper than any person in the room.

It was several tense minutes before she was able to swallow back the bile and unravel each emotion, to compartmentalize them for later - when she was stronger, when she'd had more time to dissect each thoroughly and enact a proper response. She couldn't deal with Harry, couldn't deal with the pain he'd wreaked upon her, not yet.

"Please leave," she finally whispered, the words painful. She sensed more than heard her best friends exit, their movements silent as if they knew sound would break apart the precarious exterior she'd enacted. Draco hadn't moved a single muscle throughout the entire exchange and when she turned to him finally, his mask was dutifully in place.

"Is it true?"

There, the first sign of emotion, the small twitch that told her how hard he was hanging onto his mask, the one in his jaw that she had massaged away on numerous occasions.

He nodded.

Hermione didn't know what hurt more; that her friend's treacherous words were true or that Draco had chosen his side over hers.

"You lied to me."


"You knew I would understand and yet you lied."

"The Order thought it would be best -"

"I don't give a damn what the Order thought!" she screeched. "You have a brain of your own in there, don't you? You're capable of your own thoughts! You made the choice regardless of their excuses! You chose their side over mine!"


There was no twitch, no small sign that he was lying or that the words were uncomfortable.

"You thought it was best. You thought it was best to leave me, to break my heart, to make me hate you."



He sighed, looking suddenly tired. Haggard.

"Because it was easier for you to hate me, to force yourself to keep your mind on the mission so you didn't have to think about how much I'd hurt you, it was safer... I didn't have to worry about you spending your nights worried about me, over my safety, like I knew, like Potter knew, you would if you knew the truth. You would never have agreed to let me spy, not without a fight, a fight that may have drove discourse between you and Potter. And he was right. He needed you. You've always been there to see him through, he knows that. And he's the most important part of this war. There was no one in the world I trusted more than you to keep him safe so that he could do what he had to do to win this war. He was more important than us. I would make the same choice again if I had to."

Hermione stepped back as if he'd slapped her, his words like a physical blow as she attempted to digest them one-by-one.

"You would leave me again?"


"Right now. You would break my heart again, just to help Harry?"


"And you claim to love me?"

His mask broke at this, as it did every single time he spoke of his feelings for her, as if they were the one thing that could breach his defenses. It was so familiar, the reaction so visceral, that Hermione nearly crumpled at the rawness of his emotion.

"More than anything," he croaked.

"Not more than Harry."

"It's not just Harry," he replied desperately, finally, finally tearing down his resolve to fight back. "I'm fighting for you, for all Muggle-borns, for our future, for us -"

She strode across the room, ignoring the fire in each muscle at the harried movement, and launched herself into his arms. He was so shocked he was barely able to respond in time, catching her just as her lips crashed down against his. He'd finally said what she needed him to admit, that he had grown, that he had changed, that he'd given everything for them, for her, that he was willing to give anything for the greater good.

And she loved him even more for it.

"I hate you," she sobbed against his lips, not even realizing she was crying until she spoke.

"I know," he croaked painfully, his arms clenching her even tighter. She shook her head.

"No, you don't," she laughed sardonically. "You can't, you couldn't possibly...you're amazing, do you know that?"

He looked as if she'd Petrified him.

"Not exactly the reaction I was -"

"What happened to you?" she whispered, gazing deeply into his stormy grey eyes, the depths of which far exceeding the stormy sea beyond the window. "What happened to the Draco Malfoy I first met?"

He leaned his forehead against hers, his eyes closing against the weight of her forgiveness. "He's died piece by piece since he met you. You've shattered me. Turning me into a bloody Gryffindor -"

She giggled wetly, sniffing, her hands running through his hair as he rocked her gently.

"I think you'd look quite silly in red and gold," she grinned.

"Well, lucky for us we'll never find out," he said, running his fingers through her hair and dragging her back for another slow, soft kiss which had her heart tripping in her chest.

"I've never hated anyone as much as I hate you, Hermione Granger," he murmured. "And I've never loved anyone as desperately as I love you. I didn't know it was possible to hate someone to the point of loving them."

She smiled, kissing his nose lightly. "I believe the word for that is ambivalence."

Draco snorted. "Of course you know that. I suppose I'm going to be learning all sorts of new vocabulary, aren't I?"

"Why is that?"

"Because I plan on ambivalating with you for a very, very long time."

Hermione grinned. "That's definitely not a word."

"I just made it one. Now there's something else I'd like to make, so you better Silence this room unless you'd like your little friends to hear just how well I can ambivalate you."

Hermione laughed as he threw her on the bed and he proved just how much her could love/hate her.