Draco Malfoy was an evil git. Strutting around Hogwarts like he owned it, sneering at those he considered inferior…which was pretty much everybody. He was cocky and rude and self-centered. He was annoyingly intelligent. Hermione hated that she had to struggle to keep ahead of him in her studies. He didn't even care. He didn't even try, and she had to work twice as hard as he did just to make sure she beat him.

What drove her craziest was the wondering. Was he smarter than her? Was the only reason she stayed ahead because he didn't try? Sometimes she just wanted to scream at him, to challenge him. Just to know. But she didn't think that she could bear it if she lost to him. So she studied and she wondered and she watched him goof off.

Brutally cruel to her when people were around. He'd even called her a Mudblood on more than one occasion. He constantly antagonized her friends. He had a special sneer just for her. A particularly malicious evil sneer. If there was trouble, Malfoy was at the center of it, and inevitably he would attempt to pull Harry and Ron in with him.

Oh yes, Draco hated the three of them, her especially, with an all-consuming passion. At least that is what it looked like to the outside observer. But Draco was anything but simple, anything but easy to understand. Sometimes he hated her, and sometimes he looked out for her.

First year, Hermione had fallen off her broom. It was the first and last time that she had ever flown. No one had noticed her falling, and she had never been more terrified in her life. The ground was rushing up to meet her when suddenly her arm was almost jerked from its socket. She had looked up into the face of none other than Draco Malfoy, his hand firmly grasped around her wrist, tight as a vise.

He had lowered her down, set her gently on her feet, and flown away without a word. She had stared after him like an idiot, massaging her shoulder, and gaping stupidly. She had thought about approaching him after class, but she hadn't known what to say. The very next day he had gotten in her face and called her a filthy little Mudblood for the very first time. The saving of her life was never mentioned.

She remembered one particular instance of being cornered by Crabbe and Goyle in a dark corridor during her second, or maybe it was her third year. Anyway, like a complete and utter idiot she was out and about without her wand. She hadn't noticed before just how mean and big the two Slytherin boys were.

Somehow, they were a lot more threatening when she was alone with them in the dark. She had been frantically trying to decide whether to run or stand her ground when Malfoy had appeared at the end of the corridor. He had called for his goons, and when they protested, he had snapped at them to hurry it up. She had never known for sure whether it was accident or design that he had saved her.

Then there was that terrifying night of the Quidditch World Cup. She had been separated from Harry and Ron and had been creeping along, Malfoy's dire warning about her knickers ringing in her head when she had been grabbed from behind and pulled into a thicket of trees. For a moment, she had felt blind panic and tried to bite the hand that was pressed up against her mouth ruthlessly.

In retaliation, she had been pulled up flush against a muscled chest, an arm wrapped intimately against her middle. "Do you have a death wish?" Malfoy had asked softly, his hot breath in her ear, his voice a distinctive drawl that crawled over her senses.

She had never been so close to him before, and even now she can still remember the way he had smelled. Like expensive cologne and mint and some indefinable scent that she associated with Malfoy. A clean warm man smell that was unique to him.

He had shortly removed his hand from her mouth, and her skin had felt cold where he had touched her. "Be quiet," he had whispered into her ear, and then she had seen them: A group of masked wizards moving into the clearing where she had been. They seemed to be talking and laughing, but she had heard no sound, they must have used a silencing charm.

Malfoy had placed his hand at her waist and squeezed gently. "Go back through these tree's; about thirty feet North, you'll run into your friends."

He had released her and stepped into the clearing ranting and raving about having seen Mudblood Granger head off South and why hadn't they found her yet? She had stood frozen for a long second, remembering the way his touch had felt and mourning the loss of his warmth, before her brain had kicked in, and she had rushed off to find her friends.

That was the first time that she had realized that she was physically attracted to Draco Malfoy.

At the time she had thought it was just because no boy had ever touched her that way before, so she was bound to get fluttery. But now, all this time later, she had been held and kissed by other boys. She knew that bone melting wobbly feeling was attuned just to him.

There were other incidences. Small, odd, abnormalities in her life. Things that made no sense in her well-ordered existence. Things she didn't talk about. Sometimes, she would watch him across the Great Hall and think about it. Observe him answering his mail, animatedly talking with his friends, making big gestures with his fine hands, laughing out loud.

Malfoy sure laughed a lot for someone who was so unpleasant. Sometimes, much more rarely than she watched him, his eyes would meet hers. She never failed to look away first, hot in the face, and breathless for no reason.

Which was why when she found herself pulled into a dark classroom, pressed hard up against a wall, she felt not a twinge of fear. Malfoys clean masculine scent washed over her, and she found herself breathing deeper, trying to inhale more of him. She was acutely aware of her messy hair and her minimal makeup.

"Aren't you going to scream?" he asked her, his voice husky and warm. He was alarmingly close to her, his body a hair's breadth away from hers, aligned with her from shoulders to knees, without touching her at all.

"No," she said, much more bravely than she felt. Not that she feared him, but her whole body was trembling in awareness, and her stomach was doing disturbing flip flops. His eyes almost glowed in the shadows, his hair a white spot in the darkness. She forced her hands to stillness, a disturbing desire to touch him momentarily causing them to twitch before her mind caught up with the impulse.

"Aren't you afraid, Granger? All alone with the big bad Slytherin?" His hand ghosted out of nowhere and touched her hair. She was surprised when she didn't flinch and didn't lean into his touch. Surprised and pleased with herself. She did however tense when his hand slid back to the nape of her neck and cupped her throat, his rough thumb brushing over her pulse.

"No," she repeated breathlessly and was ashamed of her inane reply. Where were all her witty quips? This close to him she was suddenly inept and tongue tied. His thumb travelled across her throat, up her jaw line, and caressed her lips. They parted instinctually, and before she could shy away in embarrassment, he groaned and swayed into her.

Hard flesh brushed against her and she groaned, too. This close to him she could see his features clearly, drawn tight over high cheeks and fine bones. His eyes were like molten silver in the dark. Her hands stayed resolutely at her sides in response to a sane voice in the back of her mind gibbering at her that this was Draco freaking Malfoy, and she ought to want to slap him, not touch soft flesh and hard muscle.

"Why do you enchant me?" His lips ghosted over hers, more a mingling of shared breath, a light brush of flesh, than a kiss, but more powerful than even her most intense kisses with other boys. "Did you cast a spell on me?" he whispered before touching her lips for real. He kissed her once, twice, a soft meeting of cool lips against hers.

His tongue darted out and tasted the fine line of her lips, as if asking for permission, before he tugged at her bottom lip with his teeth, gaining entrance to her mouth and moaning deep in his throat.

Hermione's world spun out of control, and she found herself sliding her hands around his back to pull his body closer to hers. It was as if he had launched an attack on her senses. Her mouth was alive with his taste, she was inhaling his scent, and her nerve endings were exploding with the reality of his touch.

His tongue pushed up against hers, and his hand fisted in her hair, tilting her head the way he wanted it. His mouth was warm and wet and her lips tingled as he was first rough, then soft. Warm hard body pressed against her firmly, pushing her into the wall with a bump, sliding a hand down her spine to her behind, cupping her familiarly, like he touched her this way every day.

He pulled her into his body in a decidedly more intimate way, and she felt her whole body flush when she realized what was pressed up against her pelvis.

He rocked into her, a decidedly carnal motion, his tongue mimicking his pelvis, and her whole body overheated. No one had ever touched her like this. Without hesitation, none of the hesitant fumbling of her limited experience. He touched her like he owned her. Like she was his and he was hers and they had kissed like this a hundred times.

His hand slid down to her knee, cupping her there, before he twisted them and brought her leg up over his hip so he could fit himself more snugly between her thighs. Jesus, her head thumped back against the wall as her shifting hips threw her off balance and she knew she ought to be protesting this intimate touching, but she really didn't want him to stop.

His lips left hers and she cried out in protest, but he bent his head to her neck, and she arched into his touch, tremors of pleasure racing through her body. His hips rocked relentlessly against her, and it was so much better than her own hesitant touching in the privacy of her room at home. She'd had no idea that her neck was such a map of quivering nerves. He knew just how much pressure to use to keep her on the edge of too much, each sucking warm kiss sending spikes of pleasure sparking through her body. She hadn't realized that kissing could make even her toes warm with awareness.

His rocking hips tantalized her, just barely brushing her most sensitive and private of spots. She ought to be embarrassed. She ought to be more modest. Instead, she tilted her hips and pushed back at him to get firmer contact. Couldn't even find a shred of control when she let out a cry as he thrust harder turning his hips and holding her tighter. Her center wound tighter and tighter until it was almost painful with want. She writhed against him, clutching at his shoulders and kissing his neck almost feverishly.

"That's right, sweetheart, cum for me," he begged breathlessly into her hair before he kissed her again. This time, it was more of a frenzied exchange of nips and sucks, and she thought she might break if this pressure on her body didn't end soon. The spiral of pleasure between her legs finally ricocheted through her body in mind swamping waves, and she heard his fine silky robes rip under her hands.

He'd called her sweetheart.

Her body was boneless and weak, and if he hadn't been holding her up, she might have slid into a heap on the floor. Her breathing was irregular, and her whole body still thrummed in aftershocks.

He released his grip on her thigh, and her leg slid down his in an intimate tangle. He kissed her throat and shoulder, gently now, almost reverently. She realized distantly through her haze of satisfaction that her mind blowing release had been a one sided affair. In a moment of reckless clarity she found herself contemplating how she would give him the same pleasure as he had given her.

He lifted his head and she gazed up at him dazedly, realizing she would let him touch her any way he pleased. The thought scared her back to reality and she blushed profusely. He kissed her again, once more, the soft press of his mouth on hers decadent and sweet.

"Don't do that," he whispered against her swollen lips, "Don't be embarrassed."

"You don't know what I was thinking," she murmured hesitantly, shyly initiating another kiss, tentatively running her hands up his muscled chest. His sharp indrawn breath, the slight tremble beneath her hands gave her confidence, and she swept her hand up to cup his neck and kiss him more firmly.

He let out a ragged, breathless sound and kissed her back. She didn't know how long they stood there, caught up in the dance of lips and tongues and touches. But when she undid the clasp of his robes and reached inside to touch firm flesh, he pulled back from her.

"Don't tempt me too much, Hermione." He leaned his forehead against hers, and she took ragged breaths trying to calm her racing nerves. He wanted to stop? Her spinning feelings were hard to grasp, but she reached out and latched onto hurt. Why did he want to stop? He'd never said her name before, it sounded almost like a dirty endearment in his roughened husky voice.

"Where are your parents?"

Her parents?

Hermione pulled away from him sharply. What was this all about? What did her parents have to do with anything? Who the hell brought up a person's parents at a time like this? She went from intoxicated warm fuzzy feelings to anger in the space of a heartbeat. Was this just some kind of sick game? Did he suddenly remember that he was wrapped up in a hot lip lock with a filthy muggle? Hot tears stung her eyes, but she brutally kept them at bay.

He didn't let her pull away completely, gripping her arms and keeping her close to him. She might bruise. His eyes were angry and sharp, his voice harsh and low. A complete one eighty from a few moments ago. "The Death Eaters are angry. Harry Potter got away and is wrapped safe as a bloody babe in the arms of Dumbledore. He's not the only target, they want blood. Voldemort wants blood. Muggle blood."

His hands loosened their grip, slid down her arms to her hips. Again no hesitation, just complete confidence that he had every right to touch her however he pleased. "Half the Death Eaters are in prison, including my father. They want someone to pay. There's talk. You need to move your parents, tonight. Have Dumbledore stash them somewhere safe."

"My parents don't have anything to do with the war," Hermione whispered, horror struck at what he was implying. "They're just dentists, they wouldn't hurt anyone."

Her breath hitched as he leaned in close to her ear. But her body's reaction was lost in the wave of dismay that washed over her when he recited her parents' names, her home address, the address of her parents joint practice, her grandmother's home address, the number of the subway train her father took into work, that her mother preferred to drive, what time the office closed… She pushed him away, appalled at the accuracy of what he knew, the calm detachment in his voice as he listed details about her life. He knew because the Death Eaters knew.

They must have someone watching them she thought frantically. She had to get to Dumbledore! She ran for the door, but his voice stopped her cold.

"Granger, don't forget: you're a target, too. Watch your back."

She stood there for a moment, just looking at him, as he stood alone in the shadows. His robe hung open part way, there was a rip in the shoulder of the fine black material, and his fine hair was mussed from her touch. Her sense of urgency overwhelmed her, and she flew down the hall.

Authors Note:

This fiction was began many years ago and branches off after book five. It is not compliant with Half Blood Prince or Deathly Hallows. When I began writing this fiction, those books had not yet been published.