Author: The Spangled Pandemonium

Title: Stronger than Desire

Chapter Title: Lashed

He didn't screech and run away as he should have. He turned to me, earlier mocking attitude gone. His expression was unfathomable.

"What do you see?"

"This is the Mirror of Erised, isn't it?" He said tonelessly. "Yes, it is. The inscriptions are rather obvious." He turned away.

"What did you see, Malfoy? Tell me!" I seized the sleeves of his robe and tried to shake him. Tried to shake the truth out of him.

He grabbed my wrists roughly and forced them away from him. His gaze was steely.

"What I saw—should be known to me only. You have absolutely no business poking your nose into my life."

His eyes searched mine, for what I do not know, but whatever he saw there seemed to disturb him.

"You're hurting me, Malfoy." I yelped.

He seemed to realize he was gripping my wrists too tightly, and let go of them hastily. Draco didn't bother to conceal his rage. It was as clear as the image I saw in the Mirror.

"What was your purpose in bringing me here, Granger?" His derision was obvious. "What did you want me to tell you? Is this an attempt to figure out where I stand in the War?"

"No! I—I don't know." I answered lamely.

He sat down on one of the dust-covered chairs. The moonlight glinted off of his white-blond locks. His strong aristocratic features seemed to be carved from fine alabaster.

"Then can you tell me", he said slowly, "What you saw in the looking glass?"


I saw a shadow flicker on his face as he blinked a spiky eyelash.

"You are intelligent, Granger, but you are not wise…" He stared at me haughtily, "What use is all that courage if you haven't the insight to back it up? Do you really expect me to take that as an answer?"

"I cannot believe I am hearing this!" I exclaimed, incredulous, "Malfoy telling me I haven't got a lick of sense!"

"I never said that, fool. I said you lacked sagacity." His eyes narrowed, "What did you see in that Mirror?"

I gazed at that hard, unsmiling mouth and those damn-the-authority eyes. How could I have gotten myself into this mess?

"Nothing. I apologize for wasting your time." I turned away.

"I'll say it again: do you really think I'd accept an answer like that?" He scolded, "Insight, Granger, insight!"

He whipped out his wand and pointed it at me. His arm was steady, and I barely had enough time to react before he yelled a spell that resonated throughout the chamber.

I was only vaguely surprised as I felt cold cords of magic slither their way up my body. Crying out softly in surprise, I became conscious of my constrictions. Green tentacles that were glowing faintly had lashed me to the spot. A slight hum filled the thick air, and Draco's face shone in the dim light.

"Bastard," I mumbled quietly, unable to take my eyes off of him, "What will the pretty Slytherin do now that he's gotten a Gryffindor at his mercy?" I sneered, attempting to wriggle out of the bondage. Useless, I knew. Magical ropes would not be undone with mere fidgeting.

He smirked, and I was incredulous to see humor flash across that pale face. "Whatever I want, Hermione."

Surprisingly, I felt no fear. Malfoy may have been evil, but he was methodical in his wickedness. He knew what the consequences of his actions would be if he harmed me. He would not do anything that he would not get away with.

I was always too stupid to know when to be afraid.

He paced around me, with feline grace in every step. The faint swishing of his robes filled my ears as he circled.

"Well?" I said scathingly, "Are you done?"

I could feel his presence behind me, and a shot of unexpected anticipation coursed through my body. My thoughts flicked to the image I had seen in the Mirror.

I shivered.

"Tell me, Granger. Desire is such an untrustworthy emotion. What is it that makes us abandon our reason to lay with a feeling that will make you implode from within? Are we that self-destructive to chance with desire?"

"I suppose some people cannot help themselves." I said, rolling my eyes. "Logic has no true meaning to them. Emotions are part of their philosophy. They cannot resist the temptation. Like the lure of the Hinkypunk." I scowled. "I believe that it is a ridiculous thing, to succumb to measly cravings."

"And yet you follow your friends blindly into the unknown…" He whispered.

He was in front of me; the full strength of his will focused on me, and me alone. I realized at that moment that Draco was not the same snippy brat that I had despised years before. This boy—this man-child had grown up.

Only then did I begin to feel slight uneasiness.

I lifted my chin defiantly, pride unfolding within me. He may have had the advantage, but hell would freeze over before I'd allow him to win this. "That is beside the point. You're changing the topic. Desire—desire weakens us to reality. You of all people should understand that!"

"Oh?" He stepped closer, and embarrassingly, I had to look up to retain my eye contact. "Why do you say that?"

I made a face. "Look at you! A Slytherin! Everyone knows that all the bad wizards came from your House! They desired things beyond rationality. Wealth! Power! Status! Their ambition led to their eventual corruption!"

"I'm confused, I must say. Gryffindor bravery should allow you to take chances. To jump over a seemingly far chasm to get what you want. Their bravery also defies logic. Is that not what Potter does?"

His face drew closer to mine, and an intoxicating smell that could only be Malfoy enveloped my senses. It was a scent I could not name, but I recognized—spice and danger.

"'Yes, but his intentions are completely different. He could have been a Slytherin, but he refused to be one! He's a hero because he fights for the greater good! The difference is—he's selflessand you're selfish!"

"It is human nature to want. Why deny our essence?"

"It—it's," My vision blurred, and my lashes fluttered shut. His lips brushed over mine, softly, tenderly. My mouth parted hesitantly before I knew what I was doing. My principles had evaporated, and I reeled with the sensation. His tongue brushed enticingly over the sensitive inner part of my lip and—

I broke away. "We—we can't just let ourselves go!" I gasped, shaking my head with frustration. "It would only cause chaos! We have duty!"

What was he thinking?!

He pierced me with eyes the color of steel knives. He had stepped back.

"Duty!" He hissed, his anger as potent as a bubbling cauldron, "I denied my duty to my father and to the Dark Lord! Don't speak of duty to me! You, Granger, are free."

I said nothing, just watched him rub the bridge of that smooth, aristocratic nose as he calmed down.

"Now what?" I asked, squirming. The green cords had not loosened, but their cool smoothness did not cut into my skin. Some scholarly part of me wondered where he had gotten such a spell.

Slowly, he grasped a curl of my butterscotch hair and watched it trickle between his fingers. His warm presence teased me as he pulled his face near.

"What did you see in the Mirror of Erised?"

I was lost. I had lost. What other choice did I have but to answer? "You…" I said, the words a sigh that I wanted to snatch from the air.

He ran his thumb over my bottom lip, his expression unfathomable. His mouth moved close to my ear, and his breath tickled me with his words, "To be sagacious is to have quick perception, Hermione. It is to be shrewd. That is why I won this round with you. Learn to understand it."

He turned around and walked to the door, without a backward glance. I had to squint to see him through the darkness. "What did you see, Malfoy!" I yelled.

He didn't even bother to turn around.

"The spell I cast will disappear once I leave the room." He laughed an infuriatingly genuine laugh. "Until next time, Granger!" he called out like a cheap-o comic book villain, and with the click of the shutting door, I felt the bondage melt away.

He was gone.

Unsteadily, I wobbled to one of the dusty tables and leaned on it tiredly. I ignored the filth of it as I glanced at the Mirror that had stood so silently as he had so skillfully weaseled his purpose from me.

"Stupid ferret," I cursed. In the reflection, his image was still in there with mine, disgustingly.

What did he mean that I wasn't wise? The rage grew within me. Sagacious! It was said I was the most knowledgeable student ever to step into the school after Dumbledore himself graduated! I knew how to adapt, to be astute! How could have I ever gotten this far if I wasn't clever?

The memory of my mouth opening to his sweet intrusion jolted me back to Hogwarts. I was in a horrible, abandoned classroom, with my wit in shreds.

And the taste of Malfoy on my lips.

Childishly, I swiped at my mouth and hastily stomped out of the classroom.

Apparently, Slytherin had won a victory over Gryffindor for the first time in years.

Author's Note: I am a retired fanfiction author, but as I began reading through my unfinished works, I was zapped by inspiration. And now, you have this. I confess, the timing is really off, since the series has been finished, but I hope you won't mind. I found the idea too delectable to abandon, so I edited my unposted third chapter and voila!