Sprawled onto the table, Hermione's books and scrolls lay scattered and opened. The sleeves of her jumper were scrunched upwards and her hair, a frizzy mess, tickled her cheeks as she scribbled away on a piece of parchment. The quill's feather danced around the faster she wrote, sometimes grazing her nose or lips the closer she leaned towards her homework. Nearly done…
Twenty-five arithmancy problems done in under twenty minutes, all of which were double checked and, if her calculations were correct (which they almost always were) one-hundred percent right. Hermione looked upon her work, smiled a satisfied smile, and began to roll it up. What was next? Ah, yes, transfiguration. McGonagall assigned some practical studying, a bit of hands on work. Now where was that jar of ladybirds she needed?
Hermione reached under the table, her arm shoulder-deep in her bag as she felt for the insects she needed to transfigure into a handful of marbles. It had to be here somewhere… Ah-ha! She fished out the glass, placing it on the table and retrieving her wand. Just this and she'd be done, all before eight in the evening! New record, she was sure of it! She went to undo the lid, but lost herself as she stared at the little bugs climbing on top of one another, clinging to the walls of the jar as they searched for the exit. It reminded her a bit of Rita Skeeter…
Except, of course, she transformed Skeeter into a rather ugly beetle. These bugs were adorable, with their red exoskeletons, black polka dots and were as tiny as the tip of her pinky. There were so many of them, she could just get lost counting them, their dots, their blonde wisps—Blonde? Blonde! A disfigured platinum blob could be seen through her jar the longer she stared. She scrunched her eyes, trying to determine what could be the source of such a strange color when a heavy realization came upon her. Hermione sat up, breaking her gaze away from her tiny bugs and looked towards the edge of the library. She scowled.
Draco. Lucius. Malfoy.
His stupid blonde hair and his stupid, emerald jumper just ruined her view of the vacant library and of her ladybirds! There he was, unpacking his stupid bag on the table near the stupid window. The sunset's last rays blared in from behind him, showering him in stupid oranges and pinks and purples. Ugh! She huffed angrily, gave his back one more glare for good measure and shifted her attention back to her transfiguration homework.
As her hands undid the jar's lid, she glowered. Of course, he'd sit there again, two tables away from hers! The prick was incapable of sitting as far away as possible! And he did this on purpose, just to tap dance on her nerves. One would think Hogwarts's most unfathomable git would settle for average marks, but no, here he was, studying in the library just as he had been doing every evening since third year. Sitting near her was just his new hobby apparently. She reached into the jar and retrieved one insect. Just one evening, one evening away from his stupid hair and stupid jumpers! That's all she asked for!
Hermione pointed her wand at the scurrying ladybird.
She missed. Her spell missed by three inches, singing the desk with purple sparks.
Hermione snapped upwards again, her homework skirmishing towards the edge of the table. The Slytherin met her angry stare with a smirk, his own silver eyes enjoying the flustered mess his presence created within Gryffindor's Princess. He had his own jar of ladybirds, three of which were already turned into glass marbles. Smoke nearly erupted from her ears at his progress and she was sure a red blush of frustration was creeping into her cheeks. She forced her sleeves higher, grabbed the mass of her hair and jammed it into a messy bun. She was not about to be bested by Slytherin's ferret! No. Not. Today.
Three attempts later and Hermione amounted seven marbles which were gathered neatly at the edge of her desk. Forty-three more to go. Fifty ladybirds, fifty marbles. She stole another peek at Draco and his smirk had faltered. She was winning by two marbles! Ha! Their eyes lingered on each other a second longer, their ancient Gryffindor and Slytherin rivalry swelling so fast that they nearly drowned in the tension yet neither of them faltered in their stare-down.
"Granger," he spat from his table, his own infamous scowl plastered on his sharp features.
"Malfoy," she returned, her amber eyes in angry slits.
And, as if agreeing to a duel telepathically, the pair turned and flustered over their insects. Mild flashes of purple and fierce pronunciations of the spell littered their lonely part of the library. Magic crackled through her fingertips as Hermione casted spell after spell, some missing, most landing and morphing a simple little insect into a marble twice its size.
"Shoot," Hermione whispered, as three ladybirds flew onto the ground, she went to collect them, when suddenly—
"Colloshoo," muttered Draco.
Hermione's shoes were immovable. She yanked at her legs, urged them to move, but her feet were glued so strongly to the ground that not even the edges of her soles peeled upwards.
"Malfoy!" She shouted in a whisper, her brows furrowed angrily together. The blonde was chuckling, a dark and mischievous glint in his eyes as he stared at the raging lioness. Curls sprung loose from her hair tie, framing her pink cheeks and chocolate glare.
Freeing herself from the magic he casted, she threw herself onto her knees. Her hands swept across the ground, hoping to feel a tiny bug before she could spot it, but only managed to rescue two. The third was closer to the leg of a chair that separated her and Malfoy. She crawled over, ready to place it carefully in her palm, when a polished, oxford shoe came down upon it. Hermione whimpered, saddened to see the death of her homework occur before her, but as she followed the shoe's leg, she growled.
"WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, MALFOY? MCGONAGALL GAVE US FIFTY EXACTLY—"
"Miss Granger!" shouted a flustered Madam Pince that popped out from around a bookshelf. The librarian's deathly stare made Hermione cower as she mouthed a string of apologies until the bookkeeper left.
"Yeah, Granger. Shush," Malfoy winked. "We're in the library."
Frustration bubbled inside of her so feverishly that her fingers itched to wrap themselves around his throat. She imagined punching him again, just like third year, and hammering his stupid, pretty, little face into a purple pulp. Her lips thinned into a line, her face turning all sorts of hues as she swallowed her screams. He was... was a downright wanker! A horrible, horrible person! There was no salvation for this git, none at all, and now he had cost her a point on her homework!
Hermione Granger never scored anything less than a perfect ten.
"You know," Malfoy began, that sneer of his curling his lips upward. "I rather like you on your knees."
Hermione rose slowly, her hands wrapping into tight fists at her sides. If Malfoy was intimidated by her he didn't show it. Instead, he stood chest to chest with the raging Gryffindor, only centimeters separating their threatening stances. A scent of apples and parchment radiated from his tall form, his broad shoulders towering over her as a loose curl of hers grazed his chin ever so slightly. They stood there, their homework ignored but years of rivalry—both social and academic—unraveled between them.
"You're a git, you know that?" said Hermione in a hushed shout. "You're this horrid, disgusting ferret that likes to ruin my evenings every evening!"
"Me?" he scoffed. "That's my favorite window! YOU started sitting next to ME! I've been minding my own business—"
"Ha! Please, minding your own business, my arse!"
"Granger! Language!" he mocked, feigning offense as that cheeky grin took to his features again.
"UGH!" she groaned, pushing past him and stomping towards his desk. Three lady bugs left.
"Hey—hey! What—give that back, Granger!"
"A bug for a bug, Malfoy!" Hermione said as she swept one of his ladybirds onto her palm. She held it gently, but hurried towards her desk as he lunged towards her. She barely missed his grasp, his hand grazing her jumper, but she managed to stumble towards her destination, snatching her wand in the process.
"GRANGER!" Draco shouted, throwing himself towards the squealing lioness again. She jumped away from him, bumping her desk and spilling her marbles onto the ground as she ran towards the maze of bookshelves. Her heart pounded as she hurried through the labyrinth, the ladybird still flittering about in her closed hand. She did not dare look behind her… If she could just reach the Potions section she might shake him off. Hermione glanced over her shoulder, just to make sure when—
She stumbled onto her bottom, her wand bouncing a few meters away from her, yet the insect was still alive and thriving. She held it close to her chest as she jumped to her feet, a disoriented Draco regaining his own balance after their collision.
"Give me the bug and nobody gets hurt," he said, a threatening glare on his face.
"What are you gonna do, hex me?" she tossed back. A surge of immaturity waved through her which was maybe why she stuck her tongue out at the ferret. What was this? Second year again?
"Yes," he said, a roll of his eyes and exasperated tone clinging to his words. "I will. Give me. The bug."
"Make me," she offered, her own threatening tone dripping from her mouth.
"You shouldn't have said that, Granger."
Malfoy's hand stuck out towards her and she flinched, afraid that it was going towards her face but quickly realized that he went for her hand. He tried to pry her fingers open, searching for the tiny bit of his homework she stole, but upon realization of the non-magic assault, she pushed into his chest. He tripped backwards, losing his footing and slamming into a bookshelf as he fell onto his back. A groan escaped him. He massaged his head but seeking escape, Hermione pivoted on her heel, ready to run down the Herbology aisle. Maybe she had enough time to collect her bag and marbles; she'd come back for the books—there was simply no time!
Hermione took a step forward, but Draco was too quick for her. His hand wrapped around her ankle, bringing her down with a brusque thud. She landed on her chest, her chin slamming into the ground as her hair sprang free from its tie. Her hand was still securing the ladybird though, and Merlin forbid Malfoy get his hands on it. A moan of pain left her as she tried to sit up, and Draco, still disoriented and winded from his own fall, managed to throw himself onto her, forcing her onto her back. He wrestled the witch for his captive insect, a few squeals escaping her as she fought him.
"Get off!" said Hermione. "OFF!"
"Give me my homework!"
"You give me my homework!"
"YOU killed it!"
The pair kept struggling, unaware of the fact that Hermione's jumper was pulled upwards, only enough that Draco's hand grazed it as they fought, sending Hermione into a fit of frustrated giggles.
"St—stop!" she laughed, yet her eyes grew wide with pleading.
"Really, Granger? Ticklish?" he mocked, a bored frown on his face.
The blonde snake on top of her led a hand to Hermione's stomach as she squirmed, and just by barely hovering over her bare side, he sent Gryffindor's Princess into a fit of struggles and laughs, a strange mix of a frown and grin consuming her features. Her hand flew open, releasing the ladybird into flight and as Draco caught sight of the tiny, red runaway he lunged above Hermione with an open hand.
Hermione's legs wrapped around his waist as he went for the freed creature, securing him in place right above her and ruining his chances at securing what she accidentally freed. They wrestled for freedom from one another, but Hermione managed to wiggle from underneath him just enough to aim for the bug perked on a book about Gillyweed.
"Malfoy, if you don't get off, I'm going to kill it!"
"You wouldn't dare!"
Hermione slammed her hand onto the book, revealing the corpse of an innocent bug resting on the ancient book's film of dust. Draco's jaw dropped in disbelief.
"Karma's a bitch, isn't it?" she hissed, staring up at the blonde. He looked down at her with a frown, his body still heavily draped onto hers. "Get. Off."
Draco froze for a second, digesting the events that transpired within the past few minutes. Realization rained over him as he became painfully aware of the witch's legs wrapped around his waist. A chestnut curl of hers stuck to the sweat on his face and her panting breaths pressed against his lips. He had two options. One was to get up and return to his homework, pack his belongings and storm out of the library, indignant (which he was) at Hermione's murder. It would be the normal, smart thing to do. But his other option… His other option was different.
If Draco went through with this second choice he concocted, which he knew he'd desperately regret, it might succeed in flustering the brightest witch at Hogwarts for, well, forever. It would be sweet, sweet payback for killing his little bug… Every time Hermione would see him, she'd grow red and he'd sit there, smirking, knowing why she was so overwhelmed with irritation and stutters. And besides, maybe, just maybe, if he went through with this just once, he'd stop seeing her scrunched over her homework every time he closed his eyes. He'd stop picturing her nibbled lips and her focused gaze, her massive curls, and her stupid, crimson jumpers.
Hermione watched as the Prince of Slytherin let his eyes flicker towards her lips. The observation was so tiny that she convinced herself she imagined it, but suddenly, the silver in his eyes was… sickeningly captivating. She became aware of her leg lock and the bare skin of her tummy his hand was grasping. It didn't tickle anymore. Just the thought of what they looked like sent a new rush of blood to her cheeks, her ears burning with embarrassment. Draco's stare did not falter though—no, in fact, his eyes were so transfixed on her lips again that this time, there was no doubt in her mind as to what he was staring at.
"Shut up, Granger…" he said, locking their lips.
Draco's kiss was deep, one that Hermione returned as a wave of confusion and ignorance swept over her. She let her arms wrap around his neck while his hand went from grasping her side to wrapping around her waist. He breathed into her, allowing their breaths to synchronize as sweet sighs and delicate movements melted into their kiss. Hermione's tongue traced his bottom lip, sending a shiver down his spine accompanied with surprise. Who would've known the bookworm wasn't a total prude?
Draco pulled her upwards, bringing them into a sitting position. He was pushed into a shelf, his back pressing against books on Herbology while Hermione cradled his hips with her thighs. He cupped her face as her fingers pulled ever so lightly at the front of his jumper. He went for her hair, entangling his fingers in the curls he had made fun of since their first year at Hogwarts.
"What are we—" she mumbled against his lips.
"Shut up," he answered as he deepened their kiss.
Draco's tongue met hers as their breathing became heavy. His hands went from her hair to her hips to underneath her jumper. His fingers rested around her small waist, the warmth of her soft skin sending an electric jolt into his fingertips, up his arms, and into his chest. His thumbs drew circles on her ribs as he roamed even further up, but the witch grew tense when he located the beginnings of her bralette. She tried to break their kiss as she felt his fingers dip into the fabric on her back, searching for a clip to free, but instead, Draco—begrudgingly—removed his hands from underneath her clothes and went back to cupping her face, making sure that she remained there with him.
Salazar strike him down if Granger began to think things through now.
This was not the reaction Draco Malfoy was expecting from the Gryffindor, absolutely not. In fact, he was relieved he didn't go through with unclipping the lace that held her breasts because what was he going to do? Shag her in the middle of the library? This was not the plan at all… Yet he wanted to melt into her, immortalize the kiss and never let it stop. He wanted to hold her so tightly that nothing would separate them, not even the horrible yelling his conscious was having him endure. Nothing, not even the thought of a disappointed Lucius Malfoy could stop him now.
Draco's mind glitched to an image of Hermione Granger's undergarments thrown haphazardly on the ground and her jeans pooling at their feet. Just the thought of this happening made Draco's pants tighten and the witch's tiny whimpers as he trailed kisses down her cheeks and towards her neck did nothing to lessen his enthusiasm. He shifted, hoping that the fully-clothed (much to his dismay) Hermione wouldn't feel his erection through his trousers.
Their lips danced, sparks flew about his head and into his ears, through his brain and into his chest as he breathed in her scent of warm vanilla and old books. Her lips were sweet against his, she was delicious, with her subtle movements and nails that raked through his hair. The moment was perfect, everlasting, nothing would—
His witch pulled away so quickly at the call of her name that Draco was left with an empty feeling and cold lips. Her caller shifted awkwardly at the end of the aisle, his face redder than the couple's flushed faces combined. He held a tiny, potted cactus in one hand while his books tumbled onto the ground at the sight of the frisky pair.
"Neville!" Hermione shrieked, jumping onto her feet and straightening her hair. She stole a worried look at a severely annoyed Draco before walking away sheepishly. She attempted to help Neville with his books, but Longbottom was frozen in place, staring dumbfounded at Draco as the Slytherin sent daggers with his silver stare, his hands now cupped in front of the crotch area of his pants.
"Neville, please, please don't—" said Hermione again, attempting to hand him his books but he wouldn't take them.
"Please?" erupted Longbottom, his hands flailing at his sides. The cactus nearly rolled out of its home. "Please what? What are you doing? Are you mad? That's Malfoy, Hermione! What would Harry say? What would Ron—"
"Don't 'Neville' me! Hermione, he's a git! If you don't tell Harry—"
"Neville," the witch interjected again, her chest puffing out. Draco recognized that look of indignation creeping into her eyes. He got a full view of it every evening when they battled over homework from their respective tables. "Harry and Ron will not find out about this. Nobody will. Are we clear?"
Neville fell silent at Hermione's sudden outrage, cowering slightly before the tiny witch.
"I said," Hermione continued, pressing the books into his chest. "Are we clear?"
Neville stared at her. He stared at Draco. The redness of his face was less from embarrassment but more from a suppressed anger at this point. Neville huffed, sighing and shaking his head as if Nargles were flying about his ears. He shuffled away after accepting his books, throwing the pair a look over his shoulder until he disappeared from sight.
"What is wrong with you, Malfoy?" whispered Hermione. She stomped towards him, but only went for her wand that lay forgotten during their little session.
"Me?" said Draco, his eyebrows furrowed. He was still heavily annoyed and especially more so because he had to rise and follow Hermione back to their study spots. The Gryffindor collected her marbles with a wave of her wand.
"Yes, you! You just—you're mental!"
"Oh, me? Just me? Last I checked you kissed me back!"
"Shhhh!" whispered Hermione, moving closer to him as she hugged two textbooks into her chest. "Shush! We did no such thing!"
Draco smirked, crossing his arms over his chest.
"You sure? It could accidentally slip when I'm talking to my mates…"
Hermione fumed in place, her jaw grinding and nostrils flaring.
"Malfoy, I swear—"
"You could always buy my silence," he grinned.
"What do you want?" she whispered, glaring.
"I want a marble."
"No! Absolutely not! You're stupid if you actually think I'm going to give you a marble!"
"I'll wrestle you for it," he added with a wink.
Hermione turned on her heel, stomping towards the library exit.
"Same time tomorrow, I'm assuming?" he called after her, ignoring the shushing order from Madam Pince.
The witch pushed past the doors, her insides knotting and the palms of her hands sweating. Tomorrow. She just shouldn't come back! If this was going to continue, if Malfoy was going to ruin her evenings even more so then she should just never step foot in the library again! Her anger began to squander the farther and faster she walked. Instead, her thoughts began to fill with reminisces of soft, supple lips and confident hands. The smell of apples and parchment inundated her senses and she was sure his cologne, musky and subtle, lingered on her jumper. The thought of his mouth on her neck made her breath hitch and eyes widen.
Oh Godric. What did they do?
"You alright, Hermione?"
She jumped, her thoughts pulled into the present as Harry and Ron caught up with her in the hallway. She cleared her throat.
"Oh, hi, yes," she managed in a squeak.
"How was the library?" asked Ron.
"Oh, you know," she said, a very, stupid blonde with his stupid jumpers loitering in her thoughts. "The usual."
"We're planning a friendly match against some Hufflepuffs tomorrow," said Harry. "Wanna come watch?"
Hermione hesitated. She fiddle with the strap on her bag, avoiding her friends' expectant stares as they walked into the Gryffindor Tower.
"Well?" pressed Ron.
"I… can't," she answered, a newfound, raging blush, staining her cheeks. "I'm going to the library tomorrow."
Her friends rolled their eyes as they plopped into armchairs near the fireplace. Her face was as hot as the fire that lit the room. She groaned internally, realizing what she was in for the next day. Stupid Malfoy with his stupid jumpers and stupid hair. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
Stupid. Draco. Lucius. Malfoy.
What an actual idiot.