Hello! I'm currently hiding from angry readers who are wishing for this next chapter! I'm REALLY sorry, but I had writers block and I really tried to work on it! So last night, I finished this chapter and… here it is!

(Throws chapter at readers)

(readers stop and take chapter, leaving D14 alone)

YOU BETTER LIKE IT!

Chapter 9: Don't let your fears consume you

Draco opened an eye, taking in his surroundings. A familiar aroma overwhelmed his senses. He glanced down to see a familiar Gryffindor sleeping soundly in his arms. A smile played on his lips as he kissed her on the forehead. Once he pulled back, he released her and clambered out of bed. Rubbing his eyes, he stumbled over to the dresser to pick out some clothes. Hermione, who had noticed that his presence was gone, had awoken too.

"I'm taking a shower." She said before exiting the room. Draco didn't pay attention, though. He was still half-asleep.

Hermione ran into the bathroom (wielding her wand, of course) and closed the door. Knowing Draco, though, she decided to be a little extra cautious and locked it as well. Once she shed her clothes, she turned on the tap and waited for the water to heat up. The Gryffindor climbed in, pulled the curtain across the front, and waited patiently as the tub filled up to the rim with water and bubbles. She let out a small sigh of contentment and let her hair soak in the steamy liquid. Oh, how she wished she could stay in there forever!

But she knew that forever wouldn't happen. She knew that someday soon, that door would unlock and they would have no choice but to leave. And when they left, they would have to return to their normal lives of hating one another. It was a scary concept to grasp. (A/N: Sheesh… it sounds like something from Inuyasha! )

Draco would most likely forget about this incident and go back to his normal, pushy, self-centered, arrogant self! Then again… he had been pushy, self-centered and arrogant the entire time here as well.

But in here, he had opened up to her a little more. And besides, if he ever picked on her, she could poke him in the side with her wand as a warning that she remembered his weakness. He would know… who wouldn't forget something as critical as that? She could cast a tickling charm on him and completely embarrass him in front of the whole school!

But did she really want to do something so cruel still?

Well, he had stolen her first kiss! She had been saving that for someone special, but then it was used as means of escape!

"Stupid Malfoy…" She growled, letting her hair sink into the warm water once again. She popped a few bubbles and watched in amusement as several new ones magically appeared. She smiled and shifted so that she could stand up. She reached for the curtain to open it, but somebody managed to open it before her. There stood Draco, his eyes now wide and his face beet red. Despite his embarrassment, he could not tear his eyes away from her. Hermione, on the other hand, was too shocked with the fact that the Slytherin was wearing not but a towel to do anything.

Hermione was the first to react. She let out a shriek, ducking back into the water and snatching her wand at the same time. A flame shot out of the end, hitting Draco and causing him to fall forwards into the water. His towel had come loose due to the charm, leaving them both stark naked in the same tub together.

After a couple of moments, Draco finally resurfaced, taking in a deep breath of air.

"Bloody hell, Granger!" Draco fumed. "Why didn't you tell me you were going to be in here!"

"I DID tell you!" She snapped, silently thanking god that there were bubbles on the surface that wouldn't fade away. "You just didn't listen!"

"No… I just didn't HEAR you!"

"You were ignoring me, and you know it!"

"I was half asleep!"

"That's nice… but who's going to get out first?" Hermione asked. Draco snorted.

"Obviously you, of course." This caused Hermione to frown.

"No… I think you should go."

"Ladies first." He teased, gesturing for her to get out of the tub.

"No way, you peeping tom!" The Gryffindor cried, sinking deeper into the tub. "You would stare!"

"I've just saw you naked! What's it matter?"

"I'm uncomfortable about guys staring at me! That's what's the matter!" The Slytherin rolled his eyes.

"Don't flatter yourself! Like I'd want to look at you any more than I already have!"

"Well, at least I haven't seen you yet! You can get out first! I don't plan to look at you!" Draco laughed.

"Face it, Granger." He teased. "You want to and you know it!"

Hermione had had enough. She raised her hand to hit him, but Draco caught it quickly. He jerked her towards him, their faces inches apart.

"You don't want me to do anything rash… do you?" He asked in an almost taunting tone. Hermione blushed and tried to pull away, but Draco wouldn't let her go.

"Draco!" She cried. Draco smirked and let his lips brush against hers. Hermione's face went a bright red as she pulled herself away. "W-what are you doing!" The Slytherin laughed and reached for a towel.

"Well… it's obvious that you aren't going to get out first." He sneered. Hermione shielded her eyes as Draco stood up and wrapped the towel around his waist. He took one last glance at the blushing Gryffindor before taking his clothes and leaving the bathroom. After the door closed, a red-faced Hermione sank further into the tub.

Note to self: Never hit Draco with a spell if he's only wearing a towel.

& & & & &

Hermione let out a small sigh as she sat on the foot of her bed, studying the latest homework that was sent to the room earlier that morning. She snuggled into the blankets that she had found as she continued to read.

"Leithfolds… I can't believe we're doing a project on leithfolds now!" She growled. "Stupid teachers… they've got it in for us!"

"Well, at least you can understand it." Draco growled, slamming one of the textbooks shut. Hermione scowled at the work and eventually pushed it aside.

"I'm so BOORED!" She whined, rolling onto her back. "There's nothing to do here!"

Draco, who sat at the desk at the other side of the room, was busy folding a piece of paper into a crane. Once he was finished, he sent it fluttering towards Hermione. The crane landed on her lap, preening itself silently. Hermione sat up and unfolded it, reading the message inside.

What's a bowtruckle made of?

Hermione glanced at the Slytherin in question. "Why didn't you just ask me verbally?"

Another crane landed on her lap.

Because this is more fun.

Hermione laughed at this, and so, complied with his game.

Wiggentree bark. Come on! We've known that since we were twelve!

Since when have I paid attention in Herbology?

Well… at least you know where you learned it.

What's that supposed to mean!

Nothing… Absolutely nothing…

You'll pay for that one, Granger!

I'd like to see you try!

There was a rush of cold air and Hermione found herself pinned on the bed. Draco loomed over her, a satisfied smirk on his face.

"There." He chuckled. "I win."

Hermione glared at the Slytherin, unsure of what to say. She opened her mouth to speak when something rattled on the closet door. Hermione and Draco turned their heads to stare at it, curious as to what might be on the other side.

"Five Galleons says it's a boggart." Hermione muttered.

"Ten says it's Peeves." The Slytherin replied. Then, pulling himself off of her, strode to the door. He took the handle and turned to Hermione, who still sat on the bed.

"You ready?" He asked with a grin. Hermione nodded, pulling out her wand. Draco smirked and pulled it open, leaving Hermione to take the full blow.

At first, Hermione wasn't sure what was happening. A giant black mass came out through the doorway, enveloping her completely. She let out a scream of terror, but nothing came out. It was as if she didn't exist… along with everything else.

However, Draco, who stood on the outside of the black mass, was able to hear her screams almost too well. Cursing himself for letting Hermione take the frontal attack, he charged into the darkness, ready to take on whatever had attacked her.

Just as his hand made contact with the odd blackness, it changed, moving itself away from the stunned Gryffindor (who Draco managed to get a hold of before she fell). Swirling around once or twice, it soon transformed into that of a human. Its long blonde hair was tied back in a ribbon while his piercing black eyes focused on the young Slytherin, as if boring holes into his soul.

So it was a boggart. Ugh… there go five galleons!

"Pathetic boy!" The man snarled, raising his hand and hitting Draco hard against the face. The blonde boy was knocked aside, leaving Hermione alone again. She could only scream in terror as it surrounded her again.

"Hermione!" Draco charged in again to release her, only to come face to face with his father again.

But Draco wasn't about to fall for the same trick twice! When his hand came around to hit him, he ducked out of the way, taking a hold of Hermione and entering the closet to plan things out.

Once the door was closed, leaving the boggart outside, he turned back to the now shaken girl.

"Hermione… what is it that you fear?" He stared into her eyes, hoping for a reply, but nothing came out. "Hermione! You need to tell me! If we don't know how to face our fears, we'll never get out of here!"

Taking in a deep breath, Hermione finally replied.

"It's loneliness." She replied in not but a whisper. "It's one of the scariest things I've ever felt…" Tears soon started to form in her eyes. "I felt it when I was a little girl… being called a freak for the things I could do." She clutched his T-shirt, crying into it. "Nobody accepted me! I had nobody! I'm alone!"

"No! You're not alone!" The Slytherin argued, holding her against him. "I'm with you… you hear me? I won't abandon you!"

Hermione glanced up at him, tear-stained eyes wide in surprise. He simply couldn't take that face anymore! Screw his conscience!

Taking her by the chin, Draco captured her lips with his own, pulling her into a passionate kiss. Now that he was kissing her, he couldn't believe how good it felt! The last time in the bathroom during spin the bottle was simply pressing their lips together. But this… this was too good to be true.

And for someone so new at this, Hermione definitely knew what she was doing!

The kiss lingered for several more moments, regretfully pulling apart.

"Do you believe me now?" He asked in a mocking tone as he wiped the tears from her eyes. Hermione smiled and nodded.

"Thank you…"

Before Draco knew what had happened, he was pulled into a warm hug. He glanced down at the young Gryffindor and smiled, returning the gesture.

"Now… shall we kick some boggart ass?" He teased. Hermione laughed and pulled her wand out. Linking her free hand with his, she turned to the door.

"Yes. Let's."

TBC…

Yah… ended it sappy. I wanted Hermione to cry so that Draco would kiss her. Yuppers! I wanted a kiss! Lolz!

Well, sorry for taking so long! That had to be the biggest case of writers block EVER!

Please review!