A/N: Hello. I'm so sorry about the lengthy delay in between chapters, my darlings. I've been super busy with a new job and it's probably going to stress me into an early grave, but here is a little dose of Dramione to help cure all of our ailments. I hope you like it. I can't wait to see what you think.


Chained to You

By Kittenshift17

Chapter 7: Subterfuge

Sneaking out of Malfoy's bedroom was hilarious because she had to make it look like she was sneaking, but also had every intention of actually being caught. Hermione couldn't help sniggering to herself as she crept out of the room, purposely closing the door too loudly while faking an attempt to close it softly. She purposely looked as ruffled as possible, still dressed in Malfoy's Quidditch jersey and clutching the rest of her clothing in a bundle.

A bundle she purposely dropped with a curse to draw the attention of Susan Bones where she was sitting by the fire reading a book. Hermione blushed crimson when Susan looked over and smiled in greeting before her eyes grew as wide as saucers when she realised who she was, where she'd come from, and how little she was wearing.

"Oh, my…." Susan gasped and Hermione pressed her lips together trying her very best to keep from laughing out loud at how comically shocked Susan was.

"Oh… Um… hi, Susan," Hermione said awkwardly, before purposely dropping her bra on the floor and having to dive down after it.

"Good morning, Hermione," Susan managed, soundly positively mortified and yet amused all at once.

"Listen… uh… I don't suppose I can count on you not to mention this to anyone, can I?" Hermione asked of the Hufflepuff, needing to play her part of the mortified good-girl, but also wanting to loiter for as long as possible to ensure someone more likely to gossip would open the door and spot her.

"I… of course, Hermione," Susan vowed. "I promise I won't breathe a word."

Hermione smiled awkwardly. "Thanks, Susan."

Before she could worry about needing to find some other way to prolong the walk of shame to her own room, which was right next door, the door behind her opened with a jerk.

"Granger?" Malfoy growled at her huskily, leaning in the doorway, still shirtless. He reached for the front of her jumper when she turned to face him with a loud gasp, playing the part of having been caught sneaking out.

"Malfoy?" she squeaked, eyeing him and hating the way her nethers tingled with the urge to push him back into his room and have her way with him, rumours or the risk of marriage be damned.

"I want that jersey back, woman," he warned her, smirking wickedly. "And you forgot these."

Hermione cheeks flushed for real when he held his hands out, her knickers dangling from his index finger. Right at that moment the door to Neville's room opened and a well ravished looking Tracy Davis stumbled out, similarly disrobed – indeed she was only wearing her knickers. Her eyes went wide when she spotted Hermione and Draco facing off, Hermione's knickers dangling in the space between them.

"Right," Hermione pretended to be mortified, snatching a hand for her knickers and hissing when Malfoy jerked them up out of her reach.

"You have to pay for them," he smirked at her, pretending obliviousness of Susan and Tracy.

"Just give them back, you git," Hermione hissed, jumping for them and purposely dropping her bra again in the process.

"What'll you give me for them?" Draco teased. "I think I could probably sell these for a pretty sickle. It's not every day one manages to talk a pencil-necked bookworm out of her knickers, you know. There's probably someone around here who would buy them."

"I will hex you," Hermione warned narrowing her eyes on him and reaching for the knickers again, trying very hard not to laugh.

"If I wanted to be hexed, I'd ask someone more accomplished," Draco taunted.

"Then what do you want?" Hermione snapped, stomping her foot and entirely too aware of the way Tracy was standing in the doorway of Neville's room, her hand over her mouth and her eyes huge as she watched their little scene play out.

"I think you know, Granger," Draco smirked wickedly before raking his eyes up and down her petite frame in a most lascivious way.

"Don't you think that if I'd wanted to go again, I wouldn't be sneaking out?" Hermione challenged.

"Sneaking?" he scoffed. "You might as well have stampeded a herd of hippogriffs through here with the amount of noise you were making. You wanted to get caught and be lured back in, Granger. Admit it."

"Never," Hermione said stubbornly.

She squeaked when Malfoy chuckled wickedly, her jumping having brought her into close enough reach that he looped an arm around her waist, pressing her to himself before leaning down and capturing her lips. Hermione melted. She knew she did and she hated that it wasn't just a result of putting on a show to get the word out that they'd supposedly been caught shagging. She melted against his lips when he traced her lower lip with the tip of his tongue before sweeping it into her mouth and stroking hers.

She heard the strangled sound of someone choking in shock coming from the couch where Susan was sitting and she could hear wicked laughter coming from Tracy. Hermione didn't care. And that, she suspected, might be a problem. Especially when Draco tossed her knickers over his shoulder and back into his room, his freed hand tangling into her hair while he walked backward, pulling her with him.

He kicked the door closed and pushed her up against it roughly enough to make it rattle, ensuring that Tracy and Susan would think they were shagging. Hermione didn't care. She couldn't. Her heart was racing and her whole body tingled and she was pretty sure she was making a mess on her thighs with how wet she was for him. Something he took advantage of when he curled her leg up over his hip before sliding his hand down and over her hot sex.

Hermione whined in the back of her throat, the sound swallowed as he snogged her hungrily. She knew it was trouble. She knew it was a bad idea. She knew she should be telling him to stop or they were at risk of actually committing the very act they weren't supposed to if they ever wanted to be free of each other again. When he slipped two of his fingers inside her, Hermione's head dropped back, thudding against the door as a ragged moan tore from her lips.

Malfoy took advantage of the position, lowering his lips to her neck and kissing the sweet spot below her ear.

"Gods, Malfoy," Hermione whined, not even having to act for their undoubtedly eavesdropping audience. She wanted him. She wanted him like she'd never wanted anything else in her whole life. Her body ached and throbbed with need and she rocked herself against his fingers as he pumped them in and out slowly before beckoning against the front wall of her passage and making her moan again.

He worked her over mercilessly, never letting up no matter how she squirmed. When he pressed his thumb to her clit, Hermione squealed and when he drew circles upon it, she detonated. His wicked chuckle rang with triumph as Hermione orgasmed, her whole body jerking against the door, her knees buckling and her quim pulsing. He pushed her through it, slowing his caress, but not stopping it entirely.

Hermione found her hands delving under his waistband as she tried to catch her breath, stars still sparkling behind her eyes and Malfoy's chuckle ended abruptly with a groan when she used both hands, working them in tandem, one over the other, gripping his cock and pumping up and down. He abandoned his grip on her to lean the against the door and without him holding her up, she sank to her knees, her legs too wobbly to hold her up.

She didn't even think about it before darting her tongue out and swiping it over the leaking head of his cock, gathering his taste upon her tongue. Malfoy groaned softly and Hermione tipped her head up slightly, finding his eyes half-lidded but fixed on her, just waiting to see her suck him off. Hermione blinked innocently before smirking and wrapping her lips around him, swirling her tongue over the swollen head and making him hiss in surprise.

She laved his flesh keenly, all too willing to repay the favour after he'd so skilfully brought her to orgasm. Swirling her tongue over him, Hermione slowly sank down his length until she couldn't take anymore. What she couldn't suck, she worked with her hands.

"Fucking hell, Granger," he muttered. "If I'd known you'd do this, I'd have sought you out years ago."

Hermione glanced up at him again, meeting his gaze in surprise at his words but if he was aware of saying them, it didn't show. He looked like he was experiencing the sweetest sensation of bliss he'd ever known and Hermione felt a little flush of warmth and happiness to know she must be doing something right. Bobbing her mouth over him, she worked him over slowly, sucking hard enough to hollow her cheeks on each withdrawal, and swirling her tongue as she swallowed him once more.

"Fuck," Malfoy cursed again. "Sweet fucking Salazar."

His hips twitched as she moved faster, and his breath grew ragged. Hermione took her time, slowly learning his shape and figuring out how much of him she could take. She hummed a little when he shifted slightly, leaning one forearm against the door and resting his forehead upon it, the other hand dropping to tangle into her curls, his nails scraping lightly against her scalp in silent praise. She quivered, surprised by the affectionate touch and even more surprised by the surge of something she felt inside herself in response to it.

Moving her mouth slower, wanting to draw out his pleasure, Hermione tongued the slit at the head of his cock, making him gasp.

"I'm getting close," he warned her softly and Hermione opened her eyes, tilting her head to meet his gaze.

He watched her with an intensity that should've scared her, Hermione noted. He looked at her right then like he wouldn't even mind being stuck with her forever if she would just suck his cock every day for their rest of their lives. He looked at her like he wanted to find out if her other lips offered as much velvet heat. Hermione held his gaze, refusing to back down from the challenge when he licked his lips, his hand balling into a fist against the door as he reached for his self-control.

Hermione smirked around him as best she could, licking at the head again before swallowing him once more. She watched his grey eyes flare with lust and something else, his hand tightening in her hair and his hips jerking just a bit.

"Bloody hell, Granger," he groaned softly when she worked him over faster once more, bobbing her head and pushing him, wanting to watch him come undone.

He made a soft sound of warning and pleasure rolled into one when his hips jerked again before his cock twitched in her mouth. Warmth spread across her tongue and Hermione pulled back far enough not to choke or gag, swallowing what she could. Later she was sure she'd be horrified with herself over the idea of doing something so intimate with the likes of Malfoy, but right then she wanted all of it; all of him.

He pulled back from her when he was spent, his own knees appearing weak as he pushed away from the door and stumbled backward across the room to flop down on the bed. Hermione smirked when she watched him do so, sitting back on her heels and sighing as she wiped her mouth. He was breathing hard as he laid there, his pants around his ankles and his entire naked form on display to her hungry gaze.

She watched him quietly, tracing her eyes over the long, smooth lines of his body. She'd seen him naked the previous night, but it was a bit different to see him now, in the light, at ease and yet still seeming coiled with power and grace.

"Come here, Granger," he said, holding one hand out toward her without lifting his head. He made a grabby-hand gesture at her when she didn't immediately hurry over and Hermione sniggered at what a brat he was.

"You realise that both Susan and Tracy saw us, right?" Hermione confirmed, getting to her feet carefully and leaning against the door until her knees stopped quaking.

"Good," he grunted, making grabby-hands at her again until she crossed the room and took hold of his outstretched hand. He tugged her down on top of him, surprising her.

"Good?" she asked.

"We wanted people to find out, yeah?" he said without opening his eyes.

Yes, that had been the idea. Of course, it would've been better if everyone just thought they'd shagged, rather than that they'd… well, they hadn't shagged, but still. She hadn't been expecting to be pulled back into the room and fingered.

"Do I want to know where you learned to do that, Granger?" Malfoy asked, changing the subject and Hermione blushed.

"Probably not," she mumbled.

"Krum?" he guessed.

"You're not going to start some kind of pissing contest with him, are you?" Hermione asked. "I'll walk out the door and you can forget the idea of us being a couple if you're going to be a prat about my ex-boyfriend."

"He's our teacher and I'm not above reminding him that as such, he has to keep his hands to himself while I don't."

"I'll bet he's not above assigning you detention every time he catches your hands anywhere near me," Hermione muttered in retort.

"He's still got a thing for you, Granger."

Hermione sighed. "I know. I've tried to discourage it and to insist we can't be anything other than friends now, but he's rather fond of me."

"If you sucked his dick the way you just sucked mine, I can see why," he grumbled and Hermione swatted him.

"Must you be so crass?" she demanded. "I thought you'd been raised a proper gentleman!"

Malfoy smirked, opening his eyes and lifting his head enough to meet her gaze.

"I am a proper gentleman," he said. "With other likeminded people."

"Are you calling me a plebe?" Hermione growled, narrowing her eyes on him.

"My little crofter girlfriend," he taunted. "Your name is Granger, after all."

Hermione hit him again, furious that he knew enough about language to know such a thing. He laughed, fending off the blows when she began repeatedly swatting him in annoyance. Hermione huffed when he rolled them both until she was pinned under him, heedless of his trousers being around his ankles or the fact she wore only his Quidditch jersey.

"I hate you," Hermione declared when he pinned her hands to the bed above her head.

"Is that any way to talk to your boyfriend?" he smirked.

"Get off me before you accidentally become my husband," she said, squirming when his groin brushed against hers. "I'd hate to have to kill you."

"You'll fall for me, you know?" he warned, raising one eyebrow in challenge.

"I won't," she assured him. "You just called me a peasant and declared it fine to speak to me like I'm some lowly chav. You're lucky I haven't hexed you."

"Just stating the facts, Granger," he said and Hermione kicked him. "Violent little thing, aren't you?"

"You have no idea," Hermione replied.

"If you're about to tell me you're kinky I might come again," he informed her.

"Urgh. Are you kinky?" she asked.

Draco shrugged. "I usually don't even like to be touched, so I doubt it. But I'm not above spanking you if you get out of line, witch."

Hermione nipped the end of his nose in punishment, startling him.

"Ouch!" he hissed, staring at her in shocked outrage. "I was right. You are a feral little urchin. Who bites someone on the nose?"

"Let me up or I'll bite you again," she warned him, annoyed.

"You're fun," Draco informed her. From the tone in his voice and the look on his face, she could tell it was a bad thing because it was a weakness and he was a shit-stirrer who would thoroughly enjoy baiting her if he knew he could rile her up.

Huffing again, Hermione forced her body to relax beneath him.

"This is… odd," she said when he slowly stopped smirking and simply observed her guardedly with one of those non-expressions of his that gave nothing of his thoughts away.

"Indeed," he agreed. "I don't think I've ever been naked whilst not fucking anyone but still this close to them before."

Hermione snorted. "Well doesn't that just tell tales that you're not a cuddler afterward?"

"I'm not," he warned. "Sweaty and sticky and hot, yes. Wanting to press against anyone whilst in that state after I've come? No, thank you."

"I suppose you don't like sharing the shower either?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

"Never tried it," he admitted.

Hermione raised her eyebrows in surprise. "How could you not have tried it?"

"I'm a spoiled prince and an arrogant ponce most of the time," he said, as though she needed reminding. "The women I've bedded have come at my call and been sanctimoniously kicked out when I'm done. Most witches have attachment issues when I'm through with them."

Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Attachment to your bank vault, maybe," she replied. "Why else would that put up with your snarky attitude?"

"Keep talking and I'll show you exactly why I have to throw them from my bed," he growled playfully, smirking again.

"I'm terrified," Hermione said, rolling her eyes again.

"You should be. If I fuck you, you're my wife, and that means you have to be pulled into line and taught how to behave like the next Lady Malfoy of Malfoy Manor."

"If you think I'd ever pander to the whims of society and play at being some snobby, pompous bitch, you're mistaken."

"You don't have to play at being snobby, pompous or a bitch," he replied. "Mother will be so pleased she doesn't have to un-teach you niceness."

"If only she'd taught you a little niceness," Hermione replied, narrowing her eyes on him again for the insult. "I've got some competition for the queen bitch title with you around."

"King Bitch, thank you very much," Draco retorted with such smugness and the heir of a regent that Hermione actually laughed.

"Merlin, I can't put up with you," she told him. "You'll drive me spare being such a drama queen all the time. You're a spoiled brat and you know it. What's worse is that despite knowing it, you continue to demand to have your way and continue to be a right git about it, too."

"I'm growing on you already," he said.

"Like a fungus," she answered. "One I'm desperately seeking a cure for."

"I've got your cure right here, Granger," he retorted before claiming her lips and snogging her hotly. She snogged him until she forgot what she was annoyed about and Malfoy made a face when he pulled back from her lips.

"You taste like me," he complained.

"As though it's my fault you have no self-control?" Hermione challenged.

He narrowed his eyes on her. "Keep insulting my manhood, Granger, I dare you. Just see where it gets you. Other than locked in this room with me all weekend and well-fucked as my new wife, that is."

Hermione shuddered at the very idea and Malfoy smirked all the more.

"Such a bitch," he shook his head as though marvelling at her ability to be mean when she hadn't said a word. She couldn't help it when she laughed at the way he looked amused, perplexed and annoyed all at the same time.

"Why do I kind of enjoy your company, even when you're being a complete arse?" Hermione asked.

He smirked cockily and bounced one eyebrow at her.

"I'm irresistible," he said.

"Oh, sure," Hermione rolled her eyes. "And I'm the queen of England."

"You'll be queen of the wizarding world if you fuck me," he pointed out.

"Yeah, right," she scoffed. "More like I'll be the girl the mob all tries to rescue from the terrible dragon, wanting to save me my wretched fate and assuring me that good girls like me don't associate with the likes of you dangerous criminals."

Draco made a face and Hermione realised she'd taken the joke too far by pointing out that right now his family were not well thought of in the magical community and that no amount of money would undo servitude to Voldemort. She tried to stop him when he rolled off her and sat up, leaning his elbows on his knees. Hermione winced, sitting up too and leaning against his side despite the way he tensed.

"Sorry," she apologised quietly. "I took it too far."

"You don't say?" he said coolly.

"I said I was sorry," she sniffed.

He didn't answer, sitting there rigid like he was just waiting for her to get up and leave until she was ready to grovel at his feet for his forgiveness. She imagined that before the war, he'd been very used to people grovelling for his attention or forgiveness because he was rich and his family was old and powerful and extremely influential politically. Now he was more likely to be spat on in the halls than he was to be treated with respect. Last night's feast had proved that.

"This will never work," she sighed, running a hand through her hair and getting to her feet when he didn't say anything else. "We're already fighting."

"Of course we are," he sneered coldly. "It's no secret that we're both haughty and snobby. I wasn't joking when I said that you're a pompous bitch, Granger. You are. I am, too. We're going to clash all the time."

"Then I suppose even trying to make this work is a waste of time," Hermione said. "I'm sure there must be some way to get these chains off. I'll have a look in the library and see what I can come up with."

As she began gathering her clothes into her arms once more, intending to leave and return to her room, Draco simply watched her from the bed. Were he someone like Harry or Ron, this would be the part of the argument where things would either be made worse by either of them being pushed too far and telling her to shove it; or it would be the part where they scrambled to apologise and made sure she wasn't going to quit their friendship.

Not Malfoy. He didn't say a word or make a move to stop her as she pulled her knickers back on and peeled his jersey off over her head, laying it over the back of his chair and beginning to dress herself respectably once more. He didn't speak, he just sat there, those intense grey eyes fixed on her, watching her every move. She supposed that he was waiting for the grovelling, and Hermione wouldn't do it. She was too proud and she refused to humiliate herself that way.

When she was completely dressed she put her hands on her hips and raised her eyebrows at him, meeting his gaze.

"Are you leaving, or not?" he asked after continuing to stare at her in silence for several long heartbeats.

"Do you want me to leave?" she asked. "You're the one pouting because I said the wrong thing even though I immediately apologised. And after I didn't take offence when you called me a crofter, too."

"You just referred to my family as dangerous criminals the likes of which the masses would flock to rescue you from, Granger," he pointed out, obviously stung.

Hermione huffed.

"Malfoy your family were dangerous criminals. I know that things weren't entirely as they seemed during the height of the war, but don't delude yourself that until Riddle turned on him, you father wasn't involved in the Dark Arts or thrilled to be among the Death Eater ranks. Don't pretend he wasn't up to his neck in it long before Riddle went public. You probably don't know what a horcrux is or what effect they have on those who interact with them, but let me tell you're they are the foulest form of Black Magic known to wizardkind. They're wretched cursed objects and your father thrust one into the care of Ginny Weasley when she was eleven years old. He almost used the Killing Curse on Harry at the end of our second year when Harry tricked him into freeing Dobby, too. I'm sorry if it offends you, but you don't get to be huffy and upset just because I stated the facts, Malfoy. Until you all defected, your family were dangerous criminals, the likes of which the mobs would've rushed to save someone like me from."

Draco narrowed his eyes on her.

"If I was such a dangerous criminal, would I have given you that bloody necklace hanging around your pretty little neck?" he demanded. "I didn't have to risk my life to help you, Granger, but I fucking did it."

"You did," she agreed. "And I'm grateful, no matter the mess it's landed us in as a result. But don't you dare sit there like you didn't hear the way your father begged you to confirm it was Harry before that Stinging Jinx wore off, chittering about how all would be forgiven with the Dark Lord if you were the ones to hand Harry over to him. I understand that he's your father and that you love him, Malfoy, but if you cannot see that he was wrong and that he was and still is dangerous, then you're a fool."

"He's changed," Draco insisted. "I've changed. Would I really be arguing about being in a relationship with you if I hadn't?"

"For all I know, Draco, you've made up everything you've told me about the necklaces and are only showing an interest in me because if you were seen to be dating Britain's currently-most-famous muggleborn witch, it would go a long way to making the Malfoys look reformed and repentant."

Hermione held her ground when Draco shot to his feet, his expression indignant. The overall effect of his obvious fury was somewhat lost thanks to his nudity, his pants still around his ankles, but it was nonetheless intimidating to see there was still a powerful and passionate wizard inside the calmer, more polite shell he'd become of the boy she'd known before the war.

"If you really think that, Granger, then get the fuck out of my room," he hissed coldly. "I'd rather not associate with the type of cynical bitch who has such a low opinion of me to accuse me of using her for anything, let alone anything as unimportant to me as reputation."

"You deny that dating me would make you and your family look good in the current anti-blood-prejudice political climate? Hermione challenged raising her eyebrows at him.

"I deny wanting to fuck you for it," he snapped. "Would it help? Of course it would. Eventually. This soon after the war, however, being seen dating you would look like that's what we were trying to do and so we wouldn't fucking consider it. And before you ask, yes, my father is still enough of a bastard that he suggested it before my mother tossed the idea out as being too fucking obvious and brown-nosing. Meaning that if you and I decided to make a go of things, it would be in direct violation of my parents' wishes and suggestions. Meaning that if I decide I want to learn how to put up with your pretentious, patronizing, pencil-necked fucking presence as some permanent fixture in my life, it would be not only political suicide and a guaranteed argument with my father, it would also be because I fucking chose to flick the rest of the world the forks for you. Excuse me if I don't appreciate being reminded that my family made some stupid fucking mistakes and if I don't take kindly to being called no better that a gold-digger for your influence since I obviously don't need the bloody money."

Hermione narrowed her eyes on him, not at all pleased to hear that Lucius had suggested Draco try seducing her to win back some favour for their family.

"And how do I know you're not just ignoring your mother's advice and listening to your father like you've often done in the past, Malfoy?" Hermione demanded. "Excuse me for being a bit cynical about the 'noble' intentions of the boy who used to speak to me in the same sort of tone that one might describe something nasty stuck to a lavatory. I don't mean to come across as a bitch, but the fact remains that chained together now or not, you and I have an unfortunate history."

He glared at her.

"I thought, after what you said during the feast, that you'd gotten over all that, Granger," he said coldly.

"I have," Hermione stomped her foot. "I'm very aware that if you hadn't helped me at the Manor that day, I'd either be dead or a drooling mess cooped up in St Mungo's but don't you dare stand there and glare at me like one noble act in a desperate moment somehow clears you of all guilt. Don't hold it up as some undoubtable proof that you're a better person who would never do anything wretched again. The advantages to you and your family to be seen dating me, either now or in future, are many and the disadvantages are few."

"Aside from having to put up with your personality, that is," he snarked.

Were she a more violent person, Hermione might've hit him.

"You'll have to put up with being hexed by me if you keep being a jerk," Hermione replied coldly.

"You'll find I'm not above retaliating if you attack me, witch," he said, narrowing his eyes once more. "If you have no faith in me to be decent, I'm not going to argue otherwise. If you don't want to try and sort out this mess with the chains by finding out if we can get along enough to be together then get out of my room, Granger. Don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out, because I won't be holding it for you."

With that, he yanked his pyjamas back up his legs so he wasn't standing there and arguing with her naked anymore and for some reason the way he huffed about it made her giggle. He narrowed his eyes on her dangerously when he realised she was laughing and the tension inside of her drained as rapidly as it had come until she dissolved into laughter, clutching her sides and gasping for breath. She couldn't help it. Arguing with him felt so different to arguing with anyone else she'd ever had a fight with. Ron tended to obnoxiously yell and talk over the top of her, knowing she'd outsmart him if he let her get a word in edgeways. Harry tended to just boil over like a cauldron left on the heat, snapping from reasonable to furious and mean in a heartbeat; and Ginny tended to get cutting with her words and then dismiss everything Hermione might say in reply.

Malfoy didn't do any of those things. He was unerringly cold and almost unfeeling as he stated his thoughts on the matter. A little mean. A little angry. Most intriguing to Hermione was that he was content to let the argument continue by letting her leave before it was resolved. That was something she'd never encountered before. Harry would storm off and calm down alone before realising what a ponce he'd been and apologising if he'd been in the wrong, or demanding one if he hadn't. Ron tended to pout and sulk until she gave in and let the silly topic of their fight go. Ginny was mean about her grudges and she had been known to go as far as publicly humiliating those who annoyed her and didn't apologise.

Hermione had the feeling that Malfoy wasn't like any of them. He was too proud to admit he'd been wrong, or that he'd been overly sensitive. He was too cold and unfeeling – or too well trained to feign it, even if he wasn't. She didn't doubt that if she walked out of his room right then, he would dismiss the notion of pursuing anything with her, let her think badly of him, and bury whatever feelings he had on the matter under a heavy layer of arrogance and snobbishness until she faded from existence in his eyes.

She wasn't sure she liked the notion that he would actually let her go, even if they hadn't been anything but enemy combatants before last night. She could be proud too, and she'd been known to cut people out of her life if they showed or feigned for long enough that they didn't give a stuff about her. She didn't fancy the idea of being with anyone who would so easily let her walk out of his life. Mostly she didn't like the notion that she could fall into the trap of being the one to give in over the points of their arguments if she chose to stay with him. She'd never been very good at admitting she was wrong, especially since it was a rare thing for Hermione Granger to be wrong about things, but mostly because she was stubborn and a bit pig-headed. She'd been sorted into Gryffindor, after all.

"You'll just let me walk out of here?" she challenged Malfoy when she stopped giggling over the idea of arguing in the nude. "You won't try to fight to make sure we don't both suffer forever as a result of these chains?"

He didn't even bat an eye before saying, "Honestly, Granger, if you're looking for the type of wizard who'll run after you and fall all over himself to win you back if you want to leave, you'd be better off dating the likes of Longbottom. If you want to storm out of here in a strop because you offended me and think so poorly of me to have started this fight, that's on you. If you want someone who's going to chase you, I'm not him. If I fuck up, I might apologise, but don't hold your breath. I'm not noble or chivalrous or sentimental. I'm not emotional. I'm cold, and cruel, and a right heartless bastard most of the time. If it comes to it that we can't get these chains off and can't be together, I will discreetly pay someone to stage your untimely death and move on with my life without a second thought about it, witch. That's who I am. And if you don't like who I am, I'm not going to beg you to change your mind or try to make you stay. Go, if you're going."

"And if I'm staying?" she asked, frowning at him now.

"Then you're a fool," he muttered so quietly she wasn't sure she was supposed to hear him. He shrugged his shoulders at her before jerking his thumb over his shoulder toward the bed.

Hermione wondered if he meant that she should get into bed if she was staying, or that he was going back to bed and she could do as she pleased. She wasn't sure she liked the idea that he could so easily discuss having her killed if she inconvenienced him; or if she liked that he wouldn't fight for her. She wasn't used to it, that much was certain. She bit her lip when he turned his back on her and climbed back into bed, apparently thoroughly done with their row. She narrowed her eyes, watching him get comfortable in the bed and hating the way she felt torn between wanting to scuttle over and join him, knowing it would be warm. She hated that the alternative was essentially a declaration of her thoughts that he was an irredeemable wretch. She hated that he'd somehow manipulated her into having to declare whether she wanted to make a go of things with him right now, or if she was going to take the easy way out and leave.

Most of all she hated that the entire mess was over a poorly thought-out jab and right then she realised with a jolt just how manipulative and sneaky he could be. He probably wasn't even that offended by the notion that his family were scoundrels. He'd just used the opening she'd provided to make her admit some sort of feeling, one way or the other, to figure out how she felt about everything they'd been doing and about her intentions.

Tricky, that's what he was. Hermione didn't like it. Not one little bit. Mostly because she'd realised that not only was he a vindictive prat, he was also, possibly, smarter than her. That notion didn't sit well, at all.

"You know, if you'd wanted some kind of hint or declaration of how I feel about all this, you could've just asked, Draco," Hermione said quietly, glancing down at her feet for a moment and frowning just a little.

When she looked up again his eyes were fixed on her and his expression was one of wicked amusement mixed with annoyance. Hermione raised her eyebrows at him, waiting for him to give some indication that he was sorry for manipulating her or upsetting her. He didn't offer any. His only response was to peel back the bed covers, silently inviting her to crawl back into bed next to him if she wanted to.

She didn't like that, either. How dare he manipulate her into admitting how she felt before offering her a way to express it that would involve slinking across the room and undressing once more? He was a right bastard, Hermione decided even as she began peeling her clothing back off. A right bastard who looked smug that she was going to join him rather than leaving. A right bastard whom, she supposed, she ought to begin thinking of in the terms of being her boyfriend. A right bastard who had the smug audacity to loop his arm over her waist and spoon his body around hers when she climbed into bed and faced away from him, both embarrassed that she was joining him despite everything, and annoyed that he'd so easily manipulated her.

Hermione huffed in frustration when he burrowed his hand up the front of her shirt, his fingers toying with the chain looped around her neck that essentially suggested she would have to put up with him for the rest of her life. She didn't really know what to make of everything that the idea didn't upset her as much as it probably should've, no matter what he'd done or what he'd said. Closing her eyes, she tried to focus on going back to sleep, rather than dwelling on her apparently budding feelings for the git.