Welcome back, everyone. Just so you know, I haven't started work on Chapter 6 yet, so it might be a bit.

Hermione wanted to talk to Luna. Correction. She needed to talk to Luna, and then she had to talk to Theo. To do this, though, she had to find them. Luna would be a breeze to talk to. She knew what she wanted to talk to her about. Theo would be harder, and she still had no idea what she was going to say. Better to start with the task you know how to do so that it doesn't get pushed to the side, she supposed.

She felt utterly powerful in her outfit of the day. Something about lacey stockings combined with heeled combat boots just made her feel like a badass. She was truly herself when she dressed this way, edgy but soft. She also felt extremely proud of the fact that Draco had found her breath-takingly beautiful. She had smiled to herself when he had emerged in his standard black trousers but had inadvertently gotten dressed in Ravenclaw's colors. Blue really was his color. It deepened his complexion and brought out the blue in his eyes. She had to focus on breathing in order to not push him back into his dorm room when he had emerged. They had walked in comfortable silence to the Great Hall, his calloused hand embracing her own slightly less calloused one.

When she walked into the Great Hall, scanning for Luna, she saw the person she never wanted to see again, Harry. To top it off, she had to deal with Ron's attempts to sway her to his side. She stiffened at the memory of how awkward the kiss they had shared was, a feeling only she had felt apparently. She was so angry that Harry was here, that she ripped her hand away from Draco. She immediately regretted her harsh move when she felt his emotions in the back of her mind. She shut them out, though. He would be immensely proud of her in a moment.

She grabbed a fork from the table and stared at it for only a moment before holding it to her neck. Draco couldn't see what she was doing, but he smirked and glowed with pride when she pulled her hand away and turned to smirk at him. She had transfigured the fork to become an ornate choker and made it appear as a dragon wrapped around her neck. Not only did she know have his name symbolically around her throat, the dragon held a sparkling emerald in its jaw.

He automatically put his hand to Hermione's waist when she leaned into him.

"I think I might get this actually made for me. It is rather gorgeous." She felt his fingers grip her waist a tiny bit tighter as her lips brushed against his neck. "Harry won't know what hit him. He was never very good at dealing with snakes."

With that, Hermione placed a light kiss upon his cheek and turned away from him with a deep breath.

"Ron! Harry! Why didn't you tell me you were coming?!"

Draco's jaw dropped as almost everyone in the Great Hall turned to look at her. He instantly felt the room grow hostile as they realized that he was in the vicinity that they had to look. When Ron turned a puce color and Harry turned pale, he smirked and sauntered off towards the Slytherin table, for he knew that Daphne and Pansy would be sitting there. He couldn't help to keep an eye on Granger, though.

Hermione jogged up to Harry and Ron, throwing her arms around both of them and pulling them into a tight hug, one that they hesitantly returned.

"I've missed you two! You should have come this past week. I'm sure McGonagall would have loved to have seen you or let me out of classes if you had told her that you were coming."

Hermione released the boys and stepped back, purposefully lifting a hand to play with the faux emerald at her throat. She watched as their eyes jumped from her face down to her hand. She tried to brace her face to not smirk, even though she was laughing on the inside.

"I… I thought you weren't… I thought we weren't… You hate me."

Hermione rolled her eyes at Harry's stammering and stupidity. Of course, she did hate him, but was he truly this dense?

"Oh, Harry. We were best friends for seven years. We went through a war together. We may not see eye-to-eye on everything," Hermione fought her instinct to look over at Draco, "but one disagreement won't negate everything that we have been though."

With that, Hermione simply stepped up to the table, and gracefully plopped herself down. The fact that neither of them had mentioned her outfit yet honestly surprised her, but as Ron slid in beside her, way too close for her comfort, she realized she didn't have to wait long as she felt Ron's hand fiddle with the lace of her shirt. She tried not to squirm as she felt his eyes rove over her body.

"What the hell are you wearing, 'Mione. Don't get me wrong… I mean… It looks good. But… aren't you scared that someone is going to… I don't know… get the wrong idea about you?"

Hermione immediately bristled. Not only had Ronald basically just said that she would be construed as a whore, but she could also feel Draco's emotions starting to rise as he saw Ron touching her. With a tilt of her head to Ron, she sent a cooling breeze across Draco's face and also willed the water in his goblet to swirl. She let a smile grace her features when she felt his ire lower a bit in mirth at her antics. When Ron kept staring at her like she was a mad woman, she felt it time to address his question, with a question of her own.

"What idea would that be, Ron? That I'm a girl?"

"No." She felt Ron's fingers curl around the lace of her shirt. If he messed up her shirt, she was going to be furious for a lot of different reasons. "Because you look like you are open for business and belong in Knockturn Alley. Can't you see how every guy in here is looking at you!"

All the students in the vicinity froze what they were doing as they heard Ron's voice grow louder. Draco was too far away to hear what had happened, but by the look on Hermione's face, he just hoped that she wouldn't get herself injured with whatever she would do that night in order to blow off the anger.

"Ron…." Harry begged out. Naturally, he was taking Ron's side and calming him down. Harry never did get in the middle of a fight between Hermione and Ron. If he did get in the middle, he would just tell Ron to calm down, never that his male best friend was wrong. Hermione was always the one that was in the wrong.

"RONALD BILLIUS WEASLEY!" Ginny's voice screeched into the hushed Great Hall, and thus causing everyone that hadn't heard the commotion to freeze and crane their necks around to look at the Gryffindor table.

"Ginny. Honestly, don't. He isn't worth it."

"NOT WORTH IT! Hermione, do you hear yourself? He might as well have called you a prostitute!"

"Ginny… Ron didn't mean that." Harry was still standing, having never sat down after Hermione's dismissal of their fight, but he hadn't come here just to fight with everyone. In truth, he missed Hermione, but if she was going to pick fights… that was her prerogative.

"No, Harry Potter. You listen here." Ginny was standing up now, which only spelled trouble for everyone. If anyone thought Harry or Ron were safe because there was a table between them and Ginny, they would be sorely mistaken.

"Ginny. Sit down. They really aren't worth…"

Before Hermione could finish her sentence, Ginny was curling her hand around a goblet and letting it fly at Harry's head. For Harry's credit, he did catch it, but he was drenched in pumpkin juice.

"In case you forgot, Harry. You're siding with Ron over everything got you dumped. You are a rotten friend. I fancied myself in love with you, but I could never, repeat, never be with someone who allows his friends to OBJECTIFY WOMEN!" Ginny reached for another goblet then, but Hermione reached her hand out to grab Ginny before she could let fly another beverage.

"Ginny. Thank you. I know you've always had my back. But let's be honest here." Hermione smirked at Ginny and noticed that Luna had started over towards them. "You dumped Harry for more reasons than to support me in my decision to do what's right. Don't you remember all the amazing, earth-shattering orgasms Harry gave you?" Hermione tipped her head as she turned to look at Harry. "Oh… that's right. He never could make you orgasm."

Ginny howled with laughter while both Harry and Ron fumed silently. Ron had released Hermione's shirt, but he still sat possessively close to her. It was time to remedy that. It seemed that Hermione was addressing many things today that she was over dealing with in general. So, she reached down to twine her fingers through Ron's.

"Ron, just because I dress like this doesn't mean I'm open for business." Hermione shifted even closer to him and had to close her mind off to Draco as she felt him getting angrier. "In fact, I would say I'm very much closed to business, to all but one person."

It was extremely obvious that Ron thought she meant him because he started to beam. That's when Hermione adjusted her hand to curl her fingers around Ron's middle finger.

"Afterall, I did spend my weekend in my dorm with a guy. I must tell you. I celebrated my birthday in high fashion. Ginny, I'll have to tell you all the juicy details later."

Hermione winked at Luna and couldn't help to laugh as Ron and Harry both froze. Ginny, on the other hand, had started prattling on about how of course she had birthday sex and hadn't told her immediately. Ron didn't stay frozen for long, though, because after what she had said sunk in, she yanked Ron's middle finger back before releasing it. He stifled a yell, and then cradled his hand to his chest.

"You… 'Mione… what…"

"Honestly, Ronald. You are a grown man. You have a real job. You should really learn how to speak in complete sentences." Hermione stated as she sprinkled some brown sugar over her blueberry oatmeal.


The entire hall flinched as Ron's voice rang out through the silence. Hermione couldn't help but notice that Theo and Blaise had appeared by Draco's side since she last looked, and they obviously heard Ron's comment for they were staring at Draco like he had some dirty secret. She groaned not only at Ron's outburst, but also at the panic that was rolling off of Draco. She sent him a breeze, but it only caused him to stiffen up even more.

"Is that… Is that why you are dressed like that, Hermione? Because you want the attention? Does HE make you dress like that?" Hermione rolled her eyes at how innocent Harry was trying to sound though his voice was dripping with accusations. She had reached her limit for ridiculousness this morning.

"Though it is none of your business, Harry. I happen to like how I'm dressed quite a lot. In fact," Hermione started to stand and pulled the straps of her bag over her shoulders. Why the wizarding world had such a distaste for traditional backpacks she would never understand. They were very stylish sometimes. She adored the black leather one she had on her back right now. "I feel more myself than I have in years. McGonagall really did something great with allowing Eighth Years to wear what we want. There is nothing more powerful than a woman dressing herself with confidence every morning."

Harry stared at her as she bent over to pick up her bowl of oatmeal and a spoon. Ron was still an atrocious shade of red but had not seemed to gain his voice back yet. When she went to stand, she discovered that he had discovered how to move, and he yanked her down unceremoniously onto the bench and pulled his wand on her. There was a collective gasp through the hall as they all saw the rash movement.

"You cheated on me. You're nothing but a WHORE!" Ron's wand arm was trembling in rage, and no one seemed to want to get in front of him or confront him.

Hermione rolled her eyes and just placed her elbows on the table behind her and tried not to laugh at Ron. Luna, apparently, thought that riling Ron up would be humorous, for she decided to speak.

"So, Hermione." Luna's airy voice rang through the room, and many of the eyes started to shift quickly between her and Ron's wand pointing at Hermione's throat. "Do you think the professors are going to let you make up your work. I know that you were… out of commission after your birthday… celebration."

Hermione sighed as she felt Ron's wand jam into her throat. How the professors had deemed they needn't get involved was beyond her. As it was, she could see Poppy talking to Hagrid as if nothing were going on. Occasionally, their eyes would flicker to them, but they would just shake their heads. Hermione supposed that they were right. Ron would never actually curse her. Little did anyone know that Hermione could simply make the air refuse entry into Ron's lungs and cause him to asphyxiate. She would never do that, but the point was that she was able to.

As it was, Ron had been standing with his wand digging into her throat for over a minute, and Hermione was too busy thinking of running with the pack and curling up with Ostana to see that there had been movement in the hall. She did not cover her surprise well when she heard Pansy's voice behind Ron.

"Would you mind not getting blood on my necklace?"

Everyone's jaws dropped. Leave it to Pansy to make her involvement seem completely vapid.

"You can't be serious." Ron all but dead-panned over his shoulder, inadvertently digging his wand even deeper into Hermione's throat, causing her to give out a quiet gasp.

"Oh. We are completely serious." Daphne chimed in while pulling her wand out from a pleat in her skirt. "Would you like to see what Slytherin girls do when they are… disgusted with a snake?"

With that, Ron spun on the two Slytherin girls. Before he could do anything, though, Hermione snatched his wand and immobilized him. She walked over to Harry and lightly placed her palm against his chest.

"Obviously, Ron and I are not okay. That doesn't mean we can't be, even though I think you have some serious groveling to do for not stepping in when he had his wand to my throat." Hermione glanced up at him through her eye lashes to see that Harry was dumbfounded by everything. "I'll catch up with you later, yeah? Maybe for dinner? I hear they are having shepherd's pie tonight as one of the dishes. Your favorite."

With that, Hermione finally did grab her oatmeal and walked the few feet towards Daphna and Pansy.

"Snakes defending a lion. Who would've guessed it?" Hermione laughed as Daphne and Pansy fell into step beside her as they walked to the Slytherin table. She turned around and made eye contact with Luna and gestured her head towards her destination, all but telling Luna to join them. Apparently, Luna got the message because she breezed over to the Slytherin table faster than Hermione would have thought possible.

"So… you and Draco did the deed then. Is that why you were so… volatile this morning?"

Hermione pinched her nose and huffed out a sigh before lifting her eyes to look at Theodore, for after this morning, he was back to being Theodore.

"I'm trying to focus, here, Theodore. I want to get this done during our free period, which is now if you were wondering."

"Don't get me wrong, Hermione. You are absolutely free to do anything you want with Draco. I just didn't know you guys were serious." At that, Hermione barked out a laugh.

"And sex signifies the seriousness of a relationship?" Theo stared at her as she scoffed. "Please. We both know that's not true. Or we would be all but engaged." She watched in pleasure as Theo's face paled. "Or are we technically engaged by pureblood standards and that's why you want to know if I slept with Draco."

At Theo's sputtering reply, Hermione continued talking.

"See, I was under the impression that sex was often just a way to blow off steam or to clear your mind so that you can focus. Afterall, two friends banging it out against a library stack doesn't equal seriousness does it? Although, you were quite good. I was always glad that we were both so advanced in our wards and silencing spells. I never could be quiet with you."

Hermione laughed as Theo finally found his voice, though it was hushed and rushed.

"I thought we were never speaking about that time again."

"Theodore, saying 'that time' makes it seem like it only happened once. We were sixteen and spending all hours of the day together studying. I seem to remember that the history section was our preferred section for our… apparently declaration of seriousness towards each other."

"Would you stop!? Do you want everyone to know?"

"Well, apparently I'm a whore. Haven't you heard? I imagine the whole school heard this morning. Oh, and don't worry. I didn't cheat on our super serious relationship… That is what it would be, right? Super serious… since we declared that in so many positions and in so many different locations. And, just to be super clear, I was never with Ron. Romantically or physically. Except that one Merlin-cursed kissed during the Final Battle."

Hermione tried to contain her laughing when Theo continued to open and close his mouth as if he were a fish. She failed to contain it when he slumped his head into his arms. She could barely hear that he was questioning why he ever blew off steam with her. At his choice of words, she decided to mess with him just a little bit more.

"Theodore… come off it. You loved how we cleared our heads. I distinctively remember how much you loved it when I blew you… What does that mean, by the way? Is all sex a declaration of serious intentions? Or is oral sex something different?

She tipped her head and concealed her smile with a hand as she watched Theo's ears turn red and he started to hit his forehead against the desk.

"Alright, alright! I'll stop." She reached over to ruffle his hair as she spoke. "You truly are so easy to rile up. To answer your question. No. Draco and I did not have sex. We merely talked, then slept, then talked, then slept, and then we were rudely interrupted this morning by a certain someone," by this point, Theo had lifted his head and had the decency to look embarrassed.

"About this morning, Hermione." Theo reached up to rub the back of his neck. "I swear I didn't actually call Potter. I wouldn't do that to you. I know that you hate him. Which brings me to… what the fuck were you playing at this morning?"

Hermione sighed and put down her quill. Here was the conversation she didn't want to have.

"Listen, Theo…"

"Oh, goodie. I'm back to Theo." Hermione shot him a glare that had his sarcasm dying on his tongue.

"I'm really sorry if I scared you or hurt you this morning. I…" She grimaced at the memory of what she had done to him or what he could have seen.

"Don't, Hermione. I'm the one who should apologize. You sacrificed one of your best friends to do what was right for my best friend. I should be thankful and not rub salt in the wounds." Hermione moved to interrupt him, but he waved her off into silence. "I mean… I would swear your eyes turned red, but magic is also super weird. You were obviously emotionally vulnerable… I… I'm so sorry about your parents, Hermione. I wish you would have told me. I would have gone with you to Australia."

"Your place was with Draco. He wouldn't have survived without you." Hermione's voice was small. She didn't want to talk about her parents again. "I guess you're right. My emotions were haywire this morning. I didn't… I'm sorry my magic overwhelmed me… I could have seriously hurt you." She stared at her hands until she heard Theo's laugh.

"Don't be sorry! I was a complete ass to you. Eventually, I want to know everything about why you are so enamored with Draco, but for now, I want to know what you are playing at with Potter." Hermione couldn't help to laugh and reach up to the dragon necklace she still wore around her neck. "I know you still hate him. So… what gives?"

Hermione sighed and launched into her plans for the evening. She did still hate Harry. Nothing would cut Harry deeper than knowing he had lost Hermione's friendship completely because of his inability to see the good in Draco when he was so blind to the bad in Snape.

Hermione was humming to herself on her way to her dorm when she was accosted in the Eighth Year Common Room by Daphne and Pansy.

"Granger. We need to know." Hermione stared at Daphne as she took her left arm in her own.

"Who did you sleep with?" Hermione's head snapped to Pansy as the girl took her right arm. Hermione just went with it as she was led to a chaise in one of the more secluded corners of the room.

"Pansy! That is not what we need to know." Hermione snickered as Daphne shot a glare at her friend. "Hermione… what we need to know, is what the plan is. We both know you aren't the kind of witch to let what he did go unpunished."

"I'm always partial to a long-lasting, non-reversible shrinking charm myself, but I feel like you can cook something much better up. The brightest witch of our age has to have bloody brilliant retaliation schemes."

Hermione looked at both girls and their eager faces, and then, she broke out into a wicked smile. Sometimes, being a lioness was everything. To call on her house to give her strength to do what was right was comforting. Looking at the two Slytherin girls, she knew that the path she had chosen was one only a snake would take pride in.

"Ron isn't the problem here, ladies." Hermione crossed a leg over her knee and leaned back. "The lion we are taking down is none other than Harry Potter. Ron is brash and an idiot. Harry could be brilliant. But he is too blinded by personal bias to see the truth. And the truth is, Harry didn't win the war by himself. Harry won the war because everyone sacrificed everything for him. I sacrificed a lot for him. I cut off pieces of myself to fit into the image that he had of me." Her eyes glittered with mischief as Pansy and Daphne shared a look over her. "I am not a witch to be trifled with, you had that right Daphne. And we are going to make Harry believe that it is his choices that sent me into the arms of a snake. And that snake is going to be none other than the one he hates the most, Draco Malfoy."

Daphne and Pansy openly gaped at her. Pansy was the quickest to recover.

"Wait. You actually slept with Draco this weekend?!" Hermione laughed as Daphne tried to hush her friend and looked around the common room in a panic.

"No, Pansy. I haven't slept with Draco. Although… with our sexual tension, I imagine that the sex will be amazing when we get there. I have to make this clear to you girls," Hermione searched both of their eyes. "Harry had nothing to do with me befriending all of you. I've been friends with Theo for years, sometimes more than just friends if I'm being honest. I befriended all of you because I see the good in you, and you all deserve the chances that were denied you before and during the war."

"Just spit it out Hermione. What do you have to be super clear about?" Hermione turned to Daphne.

"The Hermione Granger you knew is dead. The Hermione Granger you see in front of is a girl even the Devil is afraid of."

Daphne and Pansy's mouths dropped yet again at the implication of Hermione's words. Hermione leaned forward, placing her elbows on her now un-crossed legs.

"I am no longer going to coddle him and try to convince him that my existence is essential and nothing but my own to do with. He has had every chance to accept that I am not his owl, just waiting to do his bidding." She stood up and placed her hands on her hips. "I will not apologize for defending those who needed it. I will not apologize for having beliefs that are different than his. Tonight, I will watch his anger overtake him. Tonight, I will watch as he finally combusts." Hermione turned slightly to look at Daphne and Pansy. "I will burn him for trying to burn me."

Hermione walked into the Great Hall with Daphne and Pansy shadowing behind her. She smirked as the vision of Charlie's Angels flashed through her mind. She scanned the room and saw Harry sitting at the end of the Gryffindor table and twirling his wand in his hands. Her steps faltered, and Pansy must have noticed.

"Don't, Hermione. We've watched him use you our whole education. He didn't even stand up for you today. He is looking like a lost puppy on purpose."

"Pansy… I… I don't know if I have it in me to do this."

"What are you doing, really, Hermione? You aren't doing this to hurt him." Hermione gave Daphne a look. "Okay, so you are making a show of it to get back at him, but you are already our friends. Making him believe a certain thing isn't exactly cruel. He stood by while his friend drew his wand on you. He didn't defend you when Weasley called you a whore, loudly enough that the whole hall heard. He doesn't deserve your hesitation."

Hermione swallowed and rolled back her shoulders while tossing her hair back. Daphne was right. Harry didn't behave like a good friend should. In fact, he didn't even behave like a bad friend. He behaved like someone who didn't care what happened to her, and that was not okay. She deserved people like Luna, who knew her so completely and stood in awe; Ginny, who would fight her own blood just to stand up for her; Theo, who would apologize for her outburst because he might have had something to do with it; Daphne and Pansy, who stood up for her in front of the entire school, who were willing to defend a lion; Draco, who knew her so completely that she didn't know where she ended and he began somedays. She deserved the world, and she wasn't going to cower in fear that Harry would hate her. He already hated her for doing what was right. Now, it was time to make him rue the day that he chose not to trust her judgement.

As the neared Harry, Hermione decided that he deserved to hate himself a bit for pushing her away.

"Oh! Daphne, I completely forgot that you wanted to look at my clothes. I just remembered how much you loved that emerald skirt I wore this past Saturday." Hermione flipped her hair over one shoulder just as she stepped alongside Harry. "With Draco comforting because neither of my so-called best friends owled me to say happy birthday… You know, I'm still kind of shocked that Draco remembered my birthday. I never thought he even knew it. Did one of you tell him?"

Daphne and Pansy both smirked on the inside, but they simply slowed down.

"You're telling me that neither Potter nor the Weasel remembered your birthday? Granger, seriously? They are supposedly your best friends." Pansy had stopped to glare at Harry, and he had the decency to look smaller as he looked over at them.

"No, Pansy. Neither of them bothered to owl me. Do you have any good reason for that, Harry?"

"I… I thought… I wasn't… That is…"

"Oh, spit it out, Potter. What? Now that you don't need her, you simply toss her aside as if she never meant anything to you." Daphne placed a manicured hand on her hip, and if looks could burn, Harry would already be combusting. "I've been friends with Granger for all of a few months, and even I wished her a happy birthday. Afterall, it was the returning Slytherins who threw her birthday party."

Harry stared at the girls and gulped.

"Hermione… I thought… You said… What are they talking about? Draco comforted you? The Slytherins threw you a birthday party?"

Hermione momentarily faltered when she heard how broken Harry was. She knew that he was struggling with all the deaths in the war, but that gave him no right to blame someone their own age for them. She knew he blamed Draco for Dumbledore's death, but honestly, how he could mourn the man was beyond her. Dumbledore raised Harry for slaughter, not knowing if he would truly die or if just the horcrux could die. And besides, it wasn't even Draco who had killed Dumbledore; it had been Snape. Snape's love, no, obsession, with Harry's mother does not mean the man wasn't vindictive and abusive. If anything, that made his treatment of Harry even worse.

"Yes, Potter. We celebrated her birthday with her. We know that she loves to sit by the lake and think. We know that she goes on runs almost every morning and every night. We know that she looks like a complete bad ass witch day in and day out. We accept that she looks like a damn goddess" Hermione smirked at that, if only Pansy knew how right she truly was. "every single day. We have her back. Where were you this morning when your best friend pulled a wand on your other best friend?" Pansy was practically snarling at him by now. "Should I mention that the friend with the wand pulled is a trained Auror? Not only should he know better, you should have gotten involved since you are his partner."

Hermione smirked as Daphne and Pansy defended her. She knew direct confrontation was not necessarily the Slytherin way, but everything they were saying would cut Harry deep. He would be wounded because just like he failed in saving Dobby, Hedwig, Fred, Remus, Tonks, and so many more, he had failed to defend her when she deserved it. He stood by fucking Severus Snape to the point that he earned an Order of Merlin First Class, but he vilified her for defending someone their own age. He was nothing but a hypocrite, and he deserved to feel as if he had forced her out of their friendship. When he started stammering explanations, she decided enough was enough. She stepped up right in front of Harry, who had gotten out of his seat as soon as they had walked by.

"You listen to me, Harry James Potter. You can blame yourself for everyone's death, but it will never be true. You are not responsible for Tonks or Remus or Fred. The only person responsible for their deaths is Voldemort. I know deep down you know that." Harry took in a breath as if to start speaking, but she cut him off. "You are, however, responsible for losing me. Because you, Harry James Potter, are a horrible friend. And if you bring up when you defended me against a troll, I will remind you that I was only in that bathroom because you and Ron made me sob."


"NO!" Hermione's voice cracked, and she felt a hand on her waist. She didn't need to look to know that Draco had decided to get involved. "The only person you have to blame for me finding a home among the snakes is yourself. You didn't defend me today. You let Ron manhandle me. You stood by when he had a wand to my throat. It does not matter that Ron would never actually curse me. The point is that you stood by, and you did nothing."

She stepped back into Draco's chest, and she felt his arm encircle her. She expected to feel his shirt against her stomach since she was wearing a crop top, but she felt skin. She looked down in shock to see that Draco had rolled up his sleeves, revealing the Dark Mark on his arm, the arm that was now wrapped around her, not in protection, but in comfort.

"You've… 'Mione… You've got to be kidding? MALFOY! That's who you slept with this weekend? Are you insane?! He's a Death Eater."

Hermione shook her head as she rolled her eyes. She was pleased to notice that Draco hadn't even flinched.

"I'm not going to bother denying that Draco was in my bed this weekend. I won't even try to tell you that we stayed clothed because I know you won't listen." She lifted her arm to lay it over Draco's, "But I will tell you that I can do whatever I please. I can do whomever I please. Because I am not your researcher. I am not yours to command. If I lay with a snake, it is only because you drove me out of the lion's den."

Daphne and Pansy turned to walk off at that. Their part of the night had long been gone but standing as pissed off backup to Hermione while she verbally lashed Potter was very fulfilling to them.

"You are honestly going to…."

"Don't, Harry." Hermione had venom in her voice, but she was honestly exhausted. "You have no right to question me. Leave Hogwarts. Unless the Ministry send you here on business, you have no reason to be here. Run along to Ronald. Your preferred friend. Maybe try to remember that he left us to fight by ourselves."

Hermione spun around in Draco's arm, wrapped her arms around his neck, and pulled him down into a heated kiss.

She could hear Harry storming out of the Great Hall. She could hear all the murmurs around her. But she was lost in her own mind.

Draco tightened his arm around her back and lifted a hand into her curls. Hermione was overwhelmed with Draco's emotions, and as she felt his pride well up inside her mind, she nipped his bottom lip. She was met with a low growl, which she met with a hum against his lips. Draco was apparently more aware of the world around them because he pulled a little bit away from her, tugging gently on her hair so she wouldn't follow his lips.

"We should eat, Hermione. You need to eat." Hermione looked adoringly up at him, and he had to concentrate to not get lost in her. "I know you will get up to something with your powers tonight, so please, for me, eat something."

Hermione couldn't help chuckling at how well Draco already knew her.

"Fine, fine. I will eat." She turned to walk towards the Slytherin table and reached back for his hand. "But… I will only eat if you come with tonight."

Draco stared at her, but he gently nodded his head. This year was definitely going to be interesting if the past few days were any indication.

I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I'm not really a Harry basher, so this was hard to write. However, I do think that that Hermione was completely within her rights to be mad at Harry. This may not be the lashing that I sought to do to Harry, but in my mind, this will hurt Harry more than if she humiliated him or hexed him. Nothing hurts more than a betrayal of a friend, and that hurts even more when you think you deserve it.