Extended Summary:In the aftermath of the war, old rivalries have crumbled, new, shaky friendships have been built, and the students of Hogwarts find their eighth year too dull to focus on their studies, giving rise to a fad of dares. The most recently popular amongst the female students, a night alone in the most haunted building in England—its reputation only worsened by the recent presence of Death Eaters. Hermione, fresh out of her ill-fated relationship with Ron, is the latest participant. And Draco, with no dark wizards breathing down his neck, finds himself without purpose and falls back on old grudges.


My other current HP Fanfictions:

Distractions (Dramione/Harmione/Hints of Drarry [PwP] only on AFF. Net)

Lessons in Hedonism (Draco/Hermione/Blaise [PwP] only on AFF. Net)

Nights at Malfoy Manor (Dramione/Hints of Harmione/Bits of Lumione)

The Scavengers ([AU] Dramione)

Silver Blood ([DARK FIC] Dramione/Harmione)

Teach Me (Dramione/Scormione [18 year old Scorpius])

NEW! Unnatural Magick ([AU] Harmione/Dramione in Flashbacks)

A Night Unfettered

Hermione could hear the whispers of the other girls gathered behind her. Their low, wispy voices were just audible over the dull, thudding echo of her own footsteps as she approached the recently uncovered tunnel which led into the heart of the Shrieking Shack. They thought her brave face just that—a façade—and, once she was out of sight, she'd break down in hysterical sobs and bang on the door, demanding to be let out, just as they had.

But, she reflected with a smug grin they couldn't see, she knew something about the Shrieking Shack that the girls who'd come up with this silly dare didn't.

And that was that the activity in the Shrieking Shack was harmless. But then, she was the only one of them to actually have set foot in the place before the dare had started, and she was well prepared for any banging shutter, groaning floorboard, or rattling doorknob the broken down hovel could dish out. Save for a few hours of glorified creaky-old-house noises, this was going to be the most peaceful night she'd had since their post-war term had started.

Wiping the mirthful expression from her face, she clutched at her duffel and sleeping bag as she turned her head to give the other girls one final look over her shoulder.

Behind Romilda and Pansy, the Patil twins exchanged a nervous glance. "Maybe this is a bad idea," Parvati said quietly, "What if she gets hurt?"

Pansy rolled her eyes. "Please. Look it's just a good scare, right? I did it, and Romilda went through it and came out fine, didn't you, Romilda?"

Romilda gave a wan, half-hearted smile as she plucked a long, silver lock from amidst her dark curls. "Yeah, fine. Just . . . keep your wits about, Hermione."

Hermione hid a doubtful frown. If only the other girl had realized the thin, winding ribbon of gray was more a testament to her own imagination running wild than to anything scary residing within the walls of the Shack . . . .

But Hermione wasn't going to tell her that. Wizards and witches tended to poo-poo psychology, and there was no point in embarrassing Romilda. Poor thing was still catching flack for that backfiring love potion, and only participated in things like this to distract herself from Lavender's absence in her life.

"Look, if anything actually dangerous happens, the charms will break," Pansy reminded, taking few steps forward to give Hermione a none-too-gentle shove further down the tunnel. "Go on! We'll see you in the morning. Or . . ." she paused, looking uncertain for a split-second, "sooner, should disaster strike."

"Comforting," Hermione grumbled, making another showy grab at her things before giving the girls a nod. "Well, night, then."

The Patils and Romilda gave her encouraging nods, while Pansy rolled her eyes and made a shooing gesture.

Facing forward, Hermione gave a nod of her own and continued, alone, down the dim, winding earthen corridor.

Draco's face twisted in a cold, calculating scowl as he watched Granger disappear down the tunnel, watched the other girls finally turn and walk away. This was it, his chance, finally, to get that filthy little mudblood back for all the times she'd embarrassed him.

He couldn't hear what they'd said, they were all speaking too low, but he'd overheard them earlier during dinner in the main hall discussing this idiotic dare. Heard it, and recognized what a priceless opportunity it would be—Granger was never out of the company of Scarhead and Weaslebee. Finally she was on her own, finally he would have the upper hand. True, they'd be the only ones who knew, but that would be enough; to know that every time she looked at him, she'd remember that he'd gotten one over on her.

He crept down the tunnel after her, footfalls soft, just far enough behind that she wouldn't spot him, should she glance back. Sneak in after her, wait for the perfect moment to scare her witless, let her see that it was he who'd just shown her to be the frightened, gibbering mess she ought to be more often in the presence of her betters, and then leave. So simple, really.

She slipped through a trap door, and—to his surprise—the door began sliding shut behind her, without aid from her. He dashed the remainder of the way and caught the door, just before it could seal shut. Pressing his ear to the meager opening, he waited for her steps to soften, gradually vanishing into the depths of the house.

A haughty grin curving his lips, Draco pushed open the trapdoor and entered the Shack. He trailed after Granger, ducking behind a thick, dusty curtain in the depressing little hovel's master bedroom as she busied herself with lighting the thick, never-melting candles the dare's previous participants had placed.

All he had to do now was wait.

Sighing happily, Hermione rolled out her sleeping bag on the floor beside the bed, settled down and unzipped her duffel. There, the only companions she needed to get her through a long, lonely night—a good book, a soft pillow and a nice, big bottle of her very special butterbeer.

She uncapped it and inhaled deeply. The smell of butterscotch masked the scent of the rum from her parent's cabinet she might have sneaked into a couple of bottles.

Smiling, she swirled the contents before taking a sip. She'd mixed it so well, she wouldn't be surprised if Madame Rosemerta, herself, begged to know her secret.

It had started out as an experiment, something to still her ever-running mind so she could get a good night's rest during exams. That had worked out quite well. But, passing hours alone with nothing but her imagination as company seemed just as good a reason to get tipsy as any.

She settled back against the side of the dusty old bed and stretched her legs out before her, crossing them at the ankles and opened her book in her lap.

The room became very quiet, very fast, punctuated infrequently by the bangs and groans from the rest of the uppity house. There'd been shuffling and zipping and page-turning—all surprisingly loud during the inactive moments. She didn't make a peep thereafter, and Draco wondered about that. Certainly, he'd put together that it had been Potter in that stupid invisibility cloak messing with him that time outside of here few years ago, and the place barely made a peep when Voldemort and his followers had been here. Therefore, he'd talked himself out of the idea of the Shack's haunting being dangerous.

But that didn't mean it wasn't, and weren't girls supposed to be afraid of these things?

Why wasn't she muttering self-soothing statements, or anything of that sort? She wasn't exploring, she was just . . . oh, bloody hell, what was she doing out there?

Peeking out from behind the curtain, he saw her lounging, reading a book and sipping butterbeer from the bottle. This was hardly the image he'd expected.

Frowning darkly at his suddenly, visibly, flawed plan, he pulled back again . . . accidentally knocking the wall with the heel of his shoe. He bit hard into his bottom lip, a pained expression flitting across his face as he held his breath, hoping she ascribed the noise to the Shack's nonsense.

Hermione whipped her head around, searching out the sound; it didn't match any of the other activity she'd heard in the house. Nothing seemed out of place, and yet, as her gaze skirted the floor, she noticed . . . . Chestnut eyes narrowing, she noiselessly set aside her book and slid her wand from her duffel.

Climbing to her feet, she inched toward the curtain. Fixing a cold, menacing grimace on her face, she raised her wand. It would be just like a Slytherin to have someone sneak in and try to scare her. Pansy probably thought consigning one of her friends to be trapped in the Shrieking Shack for the night was a small price to pay for pulling off such a prank when the target was considered the brightest witch of their age.

Reaching out, she carefully curled her fingers into the edge of the thick fabric and took a breath. She counted to three in her head and then yanked the curtain aside.

"Malfoy," her voice cracked in disbelief as she lowered her wand, despite the sore temptation to transfigure him into a rat. Not like he didn't deserve it. "What is wrong with you?"

Barely missing a beat—he might be a spoiled, cowardly prat, but he was quick on the uptake, she'd give him that—he scowled, arching a brow at her. "Me? What is wrong with you? You're in a haunted house and hear a noise and youattack it with your wand?"

She pointed at his feet, "Maybe I'd blame the haunted house for the noise if I believed curtains wear shoes."

He rolled his eyes, groaning at his oversight. "Oh, well, plan failed. I'll just be going then."

"Hang on," she called as he darted out the door.

"No time to chat, really. Have a pleasant evening doing . . . whatever it is mudbloods do," he said over his shoulder as he headed back to the cellar.

Biting back a scathing retort, she stomped down the stairs after him. "What are you doing here?"

"Isn't it obvious? I was going to scare you, but since you happen to have less sense than a toadstool, I can see why it was foolish of me to try."

"Please, you clearly realized the place isn't actually dangerous, yet you expected me to be scared?"

He didn't grace her with a response as he continued into the cellar.

"Malfoy, you moron, you can't leave."

"Oh, what? Because the house is locked with a spell?" He rolled his eyes as he produced his wand. "Have you girls been inhaling cauldron fumes, or something? This should be nothing—especially for you."

"No," she cautioned, wide-eyed, looking from his hand to the trapdoor and back. "You misunderstand, not sure why that should surprise me, you've always been a git.

He was far too irritated with his failed plan, and with her for once more being smarter than him, to listen to what she was trying to tell him.

"Even you can't be this daft! The door's not barred by a standard spell, it's—"




A brilliant flash of light sputtered from the lock, followed by a sharp cracking sound and Draco was knocked back, colliding with Hermione before they both crashed into the wall and fell.

He gave his head a shake, attempting to regain his bearings as he stared daggers at the trapdoor. All right, so perhaps he should have listened to what she'd been trying to tell him.

"I said it was charmed," she reminded in an angry whisper. "Any eighth year is far too advanced a witch or wizard to be stopped by regular spell. All possible exits have been locked with charms—layered charms—so whoever's taking the dare can't pull a fast one by sneaking out and then back in after the night's passed. Everything's sealed until sunrise, unless there's danger."

"We just got blown across the room, that's not dangerous?"

"Not when the cause is sheer stupidity, now get off me!"

Brow furrowing, Draco looked over his shoulder, only now realizing the impact—and fall—had wedged Hermione between his body and the wall. "Oh."

"Oh, he says," she grumbled as she watched him stand and dust himself off.

Of course he made no move to help her up, she noticed, rolling her eyes as she stood, as well, and gave herself a once-over for any injuries.

"I tried to warn you, but would you listen? No, no! And why? 'Cause I'm just a mudblood, right?"

"Glad we're on the same page about that," he said with that smug grin he usually reserved for his rows with Harry.

She mirrored his expression, crossing her arms beneath her breasts as she waited for the reality of their situation to set in for him. "At least this mudblood knows why the doors and windows being sealed is suddenly such a horrible thing!"

His face fell, and if she didn't know any better, she'd swear he was contemplating slapping himself on the forehead. "I'm stuck here, with you, until sunrise. That's just . . . perfect."

"Well, there's plenty of rooms, take your pick. I'm going back to my book."

Scowling, he only watched her as she turned and stalked from the cellar. Mouth pulling to one side in an angry half-frown, he trailed after her.

"What are you doing?" She asked, her tone exhausted as she climbed the stairs.

"Following you, obviously."

Hermione shook her head at him.

"I've got nothing better to do for the next several hours, have I?"

"Whatever, I'm going to ignore you."

"I was hoping for that, actually."

An hour later, they'd both managed to tune out the occasional sounds of the Shack. Hermione was well into her book, and Draco was pacing about the room. Again. He seemed to do this every few minutes, and it was beginning to wear on her nerves.

"Will you stop that?"

"Oh? I thought you said you were going to ignore me."

Looking up from her book to find him glaring at her, she said, "Turns out, ignoring you is about as easy as ignoring a tooth ache. Here," she held the bottle out to him. Maybe if he mellowed a bit, his very presence wouldn't be digging under her skin.

He only raised his eyebrows at the gesture.

"Trust me," she said, waving the bottle closer to his hand. "It's not just butterbeer," she finally admitted.

Grey eyes narrowing, he took the bottle, asking before bringing it to his lips. "What, exactly, did you to do this?"

She shrugged, waiting until he sipped. "Spiked it with muggle liquor."

He cringed, looking as though he wished he could vomit it up.

Hermione only grinned, enjoying how much he'd probably just liked partaking of something muggle-related.

"Oh, get off your high horse, Malfoy," she muttered, snatching the bottle back and taking a long swig. "It's not like I'm going to tell anyone you just did that. As far as I'm concerned, you're not even here."

Draco took a long time rolling that around in his head. There was nothing to do . . . there were still hours until they could leave. There was alcohol. Even if it was muggle-brew, it would take the edge off a night of boredom locked in with Granger.

"Fine," he said with a groan, sitting cross-legged on the floor and taking the bottle back for another swig.

After several passes, he wasn't entirely certain any time had ticked by at all, until he lifted the bottle to his lips and a single drop trickled out.

He furrowed his brow as he set the bottle down beside her duffel. "You finished it."

"It was mine to finish," she pointed out, trying to focus on the printed words before her. They kept dribbling off the page. This was probably why she only ever snuck a few sips of her butterbeer-rum before bed. And her teeth felt funny.

She looked up to find Draco Malfoy tapping the tip of his wand against his nose . . . or at least, trying to, and missing.

Hermione clapped a hand over her mouth, but the giggle spilled out, regardless.

"Muggle liquor," he whispered in disdain.

Frowning thoughtfully—which made her aware of a fuzzy tingling in her lips—she set aside her book and let her head tip back against the bed. "Why did you come here?"

"To scare you, I told you," he said, putting his wand on the floor and propping his elbows on his knees to drop his chin into his palms. "No, wait . . . yeah, I did say that. Wait, didn't I?"

"You did."

He frowned, what wasn't clear about that? "So you already know."

"I mean, why did you want to scare me?"

"Oh! Well, that's a different question, now isn't it," he mused, his expression distant.

She didn't understand how he'd gotten confused. "I suppose it is. You really get thick when you drink, you know that?"

"Oh, like you could pass your OWLS right now?"

Hermione cracked a grin in spite of herself as she lifted her head. "I suppose not. You still haven't answered the question."

He met her gaze with a mystified look. "I wanted to finally have something over on you, Granger."

"Me?" Her brow furrowed and she thought perhaps she'd lost the ability to understand plain English. "I always thought Harry was the one you wasted your energy on."

"No, well, sure . . . chosen one, and all, but no. Before Voldemort returned—you know, when everything was just normal—my father was on my case, all the time, because I couldn't get better grades than you."

"Better grades than some filthly little mudblood, you mean?"

"Drilled it into my head since the end of first year." He nodded, shrugging.

"I had no idea," she said quietly.

"How could you have?" He shook his head as he glared at her, though the haze in his eyes made the expression hilariously ineffectual. "Its not like it was something I advertised."

"No, but you'd take it out on me that your father was being hard on you."

"Couldn't take it out on him, now could I?"

"Of course not, that would require showing some backbone and standing up to him."

He pursed his lips, puzzling over how he was so much more aware of the feeling in his face right now than he usually was, as he nodded. "That's fair. Bravery's never been my strong suit," he said, oddly curious as to how she saw him after everything that happened during the war.

Hermione stared at him for a long moment before speaking aloud the observation running through her head. "You're much more agreeable when alcohol is involved."

"Well, you're not such an insufferable know-it-all when alcohol is involved, so I guess that makes us even."


He offered a lopsided grin.

"I guess there could be worse things than being stuck here with you, then." She interrupted herself to let out an embarrassed giggle. "God, tell me I didn't just admit that!"

Draco's drunken, lopsided grin became smug and he nodded, winking at her. "I grow on people."

Hermione tipped her head to one side as she wondered if he realized the look he'd just given her. "Are . . . are you flirting with me?"

He shrugged, glancing out the window to see—much to his dismay—that it was still dark outside, and tried for a change of subject. "Hell, since we've been drinking muggle-stuff, what do muggles do to pass time?"

She wasn't sure if she was relieved or irritated that he didn't answer, but she wasn't going to press the matter. "You mean when they're pissed and there's nothing for entertainment?"


"They play games. Truth or Dare, spin the bottle. Though, that one is stupid, since it's just the two of us."

Had she the presence of mind she normally possessed, Hermione wouldn't have answered the question. Because her answer led, naturally, to another question. And it was something she wasn't sure she was comfortable explaining tohim, of all people.

"Truth or Dare sounds fairly self-explanatory. What's 'spin the bottle?'"

Shrugging, she sat forward and grabbed the bottle, setting it on its side to display the staggeringly basic dynamics of the game. "A group sits in a circle, presumably after draining said bottle, and you spin it," she gave it a turn, speaking above the sound of glass rolling against wood, "whoever it lands on . . . you have to kiss them."

"I see," he said, watching, with raised eyebrows, as the bottle came to a stop, pointing at him.

Hermione waved dismissively with an awkward clearing of her throat—probably just the Shack playing a trick on them. "Like I said, though, you can't play with just two people," she snatched up the bottle and tossed it carelessly into her duffel . . . where it clinked against another bit of glass.

He glanced from her to the bag, his eyes narrowed. "Is that a second bottle?"

"Maybe," she whispered, her gaze roving the ceiling. "The small one. I must've forgot to take it out when I was unpacking. Damn."

"Give it here," he said, reaching for it without waiting for her response.

"Malfoy, no!" She grabbed for the bottle as he pulled it free of the bag.

Her hands resting over his, he pulled, unexpectedly forcing her forward, dragging her closer to him. He tugged again, chuckling as it pulled her into his lap.

She couldn't help breaking into a giggle to find herself face-to-face with an inebriated Draco Malfoy. "I'd say you've had quite enough," she quipped, smiling.

There was something about how close she was, something about how her breath tickled his lips as she laughed.

His face fell, his gaze on her mouth. "You're really not so insufferable when alcohol is involved."

Hermione slid her hand from his as she felt her cheeks warm, her own smile faltering. Oh, she could not be blushing because of Malfoy! And yet she was . . . and she was still in his lap, but she didn't seem to want to move.

He set the new bottle on its side next to her and gave it a spin. After a moment, he tapped a finger against it, stopping it so that it pointed to her.

"I believe the rules say I'm supposed to kiss you."

He looked so serious it tore the breath from her as she scrambled to find a response. "You, um, you technically cheated a—and . . . that bottle's full, you're supposed to play with an empty one. And I told you, you can't play with just two people."

"Oh? Is there some Drinking Game Ministry that's going to come arrest me?"

"No, of course not, don't be sil—"

Her words were cut short by his mouth covering hers. She was shocked by how soft and warm his lips felt.

Pulling away, she shook her head at him. "What are you doing?"

He gave a lazy smile. "Nothing, I'm not even here tonight, remember?"

Hermione bit her lip as his words sank in. No one knew he was here, they had hours until they could get out . . . . "You have a point."

Draco leaned close so that his mouth brushed hers as he spoke. "I know."

"We can go back to hating each other in the morning."

"I wasn't aware we had to stop," he said, gently catching her bottom lip between his teeth for a brief moment and then letting it slip free.

She reminded herself to breathe. "I suppose we can always just . . . blame it on the alcohol."

"Sounds right to me."

He parted her lips with his tongue as his hands slid down the length of her body, pulling her against him.

Shifting to straddle his lap, Hermione caught the tip of his tongue between her own tongue and her upper teeth, sucking gently on it and making him groan deep in the back of his throat. She rolled her hips, fitting herself over him through their clothing.

Breaking the kiss, he yanked his shirt up over his head. She reached for the hem of her own, but Draco beat her to it, making her giggle when he slapped away her hands.

Pulling off her shirt, he tossed it on her duffel. His gaze swept down, giving the tiniest hint of a grin at the lacy pink bra that was revealed.

"Never would have guessed mudbloods could be so modest."

"You have got to stop using that word."

"Make me." He leaned closer, lips closing around her earlobe. His teeth delicately scraped across sensitive skin again and again as his hands moved to her bra.

The feel of his warm palms sliding over her lace-covered flesh made her arch her back, moaning softly. Almost before she could stop herself, she was rocking her hips, grinding her pelvis down against his. And oh, she'd made him hard!

Draco let out a sound like a growl, running the tip of his tongue down the side of her throat. He pushed forward, driving up against her in a sharp, jerking rhythm as his teeth grazed her nipples through the flimsy pastel fabric. Very soon she was trembling, her every muscle beginning to tense and her hands balling into fists in his hair.

"Draco . . . ." She forced the word out in a breathless whisper, a tell-tale tremor in her voice.

His mouth moved over her skin, working a path back up along the side of her throat so that his lips caressed her ear as he murmured in a low, gravelly tone, "Not an innocent one at all, are you?"

"Nor you," she whispered, rocking harder against him and grinning at how it forced him to draw a sharp breath.

"Relatively sure I never gave that impression."

"And I do?"

He smiled, sinking his teeth into his bottom lip. "Absolutely."

She nudged his face away and ducked her head, nipping at the vulnerable skin under his jaw. Her fingers trailed down his chest and the—surprisingly—lean muscles of his abdomen to unbuckle his belt.

"Well, then," he joked as she shifted back a bit, allowing herself room to undo the button and zipper of his trousers. "Should I just lay back and let you do all the work?"

Smirking, she ran the tip of her tongue across his lip as she grabbed his hands, leading them around her to the clasp on her bra. "Just like a pureblood, expecting everything handed to you on a silver platter."

"Prefer gold, actually," he quipped, unhooking the garment and pulling it from her. "But this once, I don't mind making an exception."

Feigning a scowl, she scooted out of his lap and stood, kicking off her boots and removing her jeans. Holding his gaze, she hooked her thumbs into the sides of her knickers, knowing this marked some point of no return; curious to see if he would stop her.

She inched the fabric down over her hips slowly, unsure how she felt about the flush in his cheeks as he watched her.

"Wait!" He rose up on his knees, covering her hands with his.

Hermione looked into his eyes, waiting for him to say something—to tell her this was all just a joke that'd gone too far, or call her a filthy mudblood, throw her clothes at her and demand she get dressed—but, for a breathless moment, all he did was stare up at her.

"Let me," he whispered, visibly forcing a small gulp down his throat.

She bit her lip as his suggestion, and the way he was looking at her, sent a sweet ache pulsing through her. Nodding, she withdrew her fingers.

Draco held her gaze as he slid down her knickers and let them drop to the floor around her feet, mindful to quickly snatch up the delicate material and toss it onto her bag. He inched closer, tracing the tip of a finger up the inside of her leg.

She shivered as his hand slipped between her thighs to part already, embarrassingly, moist folds. And he was still watching her, his attention trained on her face, as he stroked over that little, throbbing bundle of nerves.

"Damn, Malfoy," she murmured, rocking against his ministrations.

Cracking a grin, he said, "Back to Malfoy, are we?"

He reached out with his free hand, catching each of hers in turn and guiding them to brace against his shoulders. Sliding his finger back and forth, he worked faster—until she was trembling—gripping his shoulders as she stood on her toes, her entire body going taut.

"I think I like it better," he rubbed harder, relishing the moan that tore from her lips and the way her eyes squeezed shut as her head dropped forward, "when you call me Draco . . . at least when your say it like you did before."

She cried out, leaning into him as the orgasm crashed through her. Delicious ripples made her tremble and moan under his touch.

He rubbed faster still, giving her more and more until she was spent, her breath rushing out in short, hiccuping gasps as her body sagged forward.

She felt good, and not simply due to how beautifully hard he'd just made her come. No, even in her giddy, drunken, pleasure-dulled mind, she realized it was more than that. It was an odd sense of freedom. Draco Malfoy had no presumption of her as the perfect good girl; in fact, now that she'd shattered his perception of her as an innocent, insufferable know-it-all, she was certain he had no expectations of her. He had no notion of how she should act, or who she was supposed to be. Free wasn't even the right word, she thought, wanting to ascribe the sensation something with a lofty ring to it . . . Unfettered, yes, that worked.

Opening her eyes, she saw him grinning up at her and asked, breathless, "What?"

Placing his hands on her hips once more, he led her back to straddling his lap. "Just . . . if I'd known you'd make faces like that, I think I'd have been nicer to you all these years."

Hermione couldn't help giggling as she slid her hand into his trousers and gently grasped his length, pulling him free of his clothes. Deciding to act before either of them could have a last minute change of heart, she positioned herself over him and dropped down, crying out once more as the swift motion forced him to enter her completely.

"Damn, Granger," he said with a groan, speaking through clenched teeth as his arms wound around her.

Arching her back, she planted her palms on his thighs, using the leverage to rock her pelvis against him. The grinding motions forced him deeper with each stroke. She let her head fall back, sinking her teeth into her bottom lip to stifle a sound of ecstasy.

He used his arms around her to aid her, pulling her more tightly to him as he dipped his head, grazing his teeth and tongue along the line of her throat.

She lifted one hand from his leg, slipping it around the back of his neck to curl her fingers into his hair. "And here," she paused, moaning as he jerked his hips against her grinding motions, thrusting into her more sharply, still. "I . . . I thought I'd get to hear you call me Hermione."

He chuckled, a fine tremor running through his muscles. "Well, unlike my first name, yours is more of a mouthful to utter in a fit of passion than your last name. But, if you insist," he ran the tip of his tongue along the pulse in the side of her throat to whisper in her ear, "Hermione."

Oh, God, her name sounded so good when he said it like that! His voice in her ear, his breath on her throat, his arms pulling her deliciously hard against him as he plunged inside her all added together and she found her body going taut over him. He was about to make her come for the second time, and he'd only get to once . . . . And she didn't feel the tiniest bit guilty for that as she forced her muscles to tense as much as she could, trying to help the orgasm along.

"Hermione," he repeated, clenching his teeth as he took over, entirely. sinking into her with hard, jerking thrusts.

She couldn't reply in kind just now, crying out wordlessly as he moved beneath her, forcing shock after shock of pleasure through her.

When it ebbed, she started grinding against him again, a pleading whimper working its way out of her throat as she whispered, "Draco."

"Now, that's better," he said, his voice low and breathy as his strokes became unsteady and frantic. "My turn."

Nodding, she once more braced both palms against his thighs, rocking her hips harder. He trembled and shuddered beneath her as he came. She aided him in it, moving until he gave one last, sharp thrust and then she slowed her motions gradually, stopping only when she was certain he was spent.

He dropped his head down against her shoulder, breathing heavily as she draped her arms loosely around his neck. For a long moment they simply listened to each other inhaling and exhaling . . . the creaking and groaning of the Shack reminding them of where they were—though neither of them could really say they were bothered by their location.

Holding him against her, he scooted to sit on the open sleeping bag and laid back.

"Going to sleep now, are we?" She asked with a smile as he pulled the top flap over them.

"If we can. I mean, does seem like a logical way to end the evening."

"I am still naked, you realize."

He cracked his usual smirk as his eyes drifted closed. "Yeah, well, if you hadn't noticed, you left my cock out, so we're sort of even."

"You say so," she murmured with a giggle—a crass pureblood, the horror of it—ignoring that this was Draco Malfoy she felt so comfortable using as a body-pillow.

Much to the surprise of both of them, by the time they thought they'd have drifted off, the room became filled with hushed conversation. Unimportant, light, no meaning to anything they were talking about, really, yet somehow that made it all the more significant.

There was no point to this night at all, Hermione realized. Tomorrow morning, she'd leave this rundown little hovel and it would be like this never happened.

Oddly, that seemed to only add to how perfect it felt.

"You weren't scared at all?" Pansy demanded, her face twisted in irritated disbelief.

Hermione shrugged, mindfully keeping her thoughts from wandering so she wouldn't blush. She'd slipped out of the Shack as soon as the sun was up, knowing the girls would be waiting for her, and she and Draco could hardly be seen leaving together.

But it wasn't until they were settled eating breakfast in the Great Hall that they'd began riddling her with questions.

"I was at first," she lied smoothly, a little thrill of pleasure rippling through her as she spotted a suddenly delightfully familiar pale-gold head pass by them.

"So," Padma asked, her voice an excited tumble of words, "was it at least fun then?"

"Oh, well, you could say that," Hermione watched Draco sit down and, from the corner of her eye she could see his expression in profile. She could tell he was listening, even more so, she could tell that he knew she was looking at him. "In fact, I wouldn't mind the chance to do it again, sometime."

That haughty, mischievous smirk curved his lips, and Draco Malfoy gave a nod so quick, so subtle, that only Hermione Granger saw it.