(The warning I gave at the end of Chapter 5 still applies, and I am repeating it here. This chapter contains adult content. If you don't like smut, don't read this. I repeat, if you don't like smut, don't read this. Or, skip to the double rows of zeros, that look like this-)
Things progressed quickly from there. The wand was quickly discarded, after being used to renew the pain-alleviation spell Hermione had placed on Draco earlier; all sorts of clothing were discarded shortly thereafter. Frantic kissing- the sort that left lips bruised and swollen- resumed. Hands roamed everywhere- Draco used just one of his to unclasp Hermione's simple, modest white bra with a swiftness and dexterity that unnerved her for a moment- but it vanished from her mind an instant later, along with all other semblance of rational thought, as his warm hands pushed the straps down her arms and then moved to encompass her newly liberated breasts. And Merlin, did he know what to do with them.
The only comment she could think to make was something along the lines of, "mmmhh…ohhhhhhhh!" as she arched into his warm, undeniably skilled hands. A small corner of her brain was screaming at her that she ought to be highly indignant of just how skilled those hands were- but she quashed it. Take-charge attitude aside, she was still very much a novice in the area of physical love- and if there was one thing Hermione Granger accepted the value of, it was a good teacher. She needed someone more knowledgeable than she to guide her through this experience… and the easy, practiced manner in which Draco was thumbing her nipples at the moment recommended him as just such a person.
"Mmmhhh," she whimpered again, and brought her lips crashing back down on his. A long moment later, when they both came panting up for air, Draco reluctantly let go her breasts and hooked his thumbs into the waistband of her pants- then yanked. With some willing assistance from Hermione- a wriggle, a shimmy, a kick- the pants ended up halfway across the room. Which was just fine- they had suddenly become far too constraining anyway.
A second later, though, realization crashed in on her of just how exposed she now was- more so than she'd ever been with any other man- and she found herself suffering from a sudden and powerful bout of shyness. Flattening herself along Draco's length, she buried her face in his chest as both his hands, unrestricted, petted up and down the length of her body from shoulders to hips and back again. Breathing hard, deep draughts of his scent, she allowed herself to be soothed by these gentle and repetitive motions, until she became aware of two things simultaneously- first, that the attentions of Draco's hands were slowly becoming more localized- confining themselves to the curves of her hips and her bottom, through the white cotton fabric of her panties- and second, that pressed down hard against him as she was, she couldn't help but become aware of what was pressing back up into her; something so amazingly rock-solid and hard that she could barely credit it was part of a human body at all.
She moaned again, into his chest, caught now between nerves and incredible arousal. Without giving any conscious thought to what she was doing- her body was taking over once more- she began to move her hips in slow circles over his; pressing- grinding herself down against him, feeling a sudden warmth she hardly understood, blooming low in her belly.
Draco, for his part, responded to this with an explosive exhalation of breath, arching up toward her and using one hand to grab her hip nearly hard enough to bruise, holding her down against him; his other hand flying up to tangle in her hair and pull her face back to his- her mouth, lips parted in surprise at his sudden, frantic near-violence, granting him immediate access with his tongue, which penetrated her as roughly and completely as- well, as another part of him longed to do.
"Mmmph-!" her tiny sound of surprise traveled directly from her mouth into Draco's- who thought it tasted absolutely exquisite. He held the kiss for a long moment, then released her lips only to drag his tongue over her chin, down her throat and then back up to her ear, planting hot little kisses all the way.
Hermione's entire body was now tight and shivering- hot and cold all at once- a feeling that wasn't helped any by what happened next; Draco shifted abruptly beneath her, a calculated move that caused her to shift as well- and all of a sudden, without any opportunity to prepare for it, she was caught in a wave of sensation more intense than any she'd ever known before… as Draco, still with one hand fisted in her hair, ducked his head and pulled her nearer breast into his mouth, teasing the nipple with his tongue and teeth, while his other hand pushed her panties decisively down, over the swell of her bottom, then darted into the super-heated space between their bodies, and found-
ah… ah… AHHH...
Hermione, who had never been touched there by a man before, tried instinctively to slam her legs shut- but was considerably hampered by the fact that she was still straddling Draco. She dragged in a deep, hitching breath, buried her flushed face in the juncture of Draco's shoulder and neck- and let go of her last inhibitions, relaxing the muscles in her thighs, inasmuch as she was capable of relaxing any part of herself at the moment, that is- she still felt rather like a clock wound too tight; trembling from head to foot- and went with what her body was telling her it wanted. And what her body wanted was more of what Draco was doing.
And more and… oh God, please… more.
Her hips began to rock with the motion of Draco's fingers- driving him practically to distraction. Breathing hard through clenched teeth, he ran the hand that had been caught in Hermione's hair down the length of her body, dragging his fingers hard against her skin, and used it to unfasten his own trousers, removing the last barrier between them.
Hermione's eyes, which had fluttered shut as she'd attempted to cope with the multitude of new sensations invading her all at once, now flew open again in surprise as she felt Draco's fingers withdraw- only to be replaced by something a lot more substantial. Her breath now coming in shallow, rapid bursts, she opened her mouth to speak- and then promptly forgot what she'd been going to say as the Polyjuice potion chose that particular instant to wear off and Draco, with a single, great shudder, reverted back to himself right there beneath her.
If anything, the part of him that now lay hot and hard between her thighs, which she'd thought impossibly big mere seconds ago, grew further with the change, causing a shocked little gasp to escape her… but it was his eyes that held her; mesmerized her- his own eyes again, only she'd never seen them like this before- not the color of arctic ice as they usually were, but dark- a deep, smoky gunmetal- dark with lust.
They stared at each other for a long moment, both breathing as if they'd just run a marathon.
Finally- "Draco," Hermione whispered- it was little more than an exhalation, her tongue darting out to moisten bruised lips that felt suddenly parched.
And Draco, his eyes still locked on hers, heard her- something in the transformation back to himself had apparently knocked his hearing back into whack- the volume was turned way down; her voice faint in his ears, but it was there- and it seemed the most beautiful sound he'd ever heard. Still, that wasn't where most of his attention was focused at the moment; no, most of his attention was focused… lower. He made a quick, adept adjustment between their bodies that was lost on her- her focus continued to be captured by his eyes alone- then rested his hands lightly on her hips, his thumbs spanning her taut stomach to almost meet in the middle, tracing circles on her skin there, mindlessly, lightly.
"God, Hermione," he said, and his voice was his own again too, and it was hoarse; gritted out between teeth that were clenched with the effort to hold himself in check, belying the gentleness of his hands- "I need you… I need you so damn much it hurts-"
And then he took her, driving himself up and in with a single powerful thrust, his hands steadying her hips and pulling her down to meet him. For Draco, it was bliss beyond imagining. For Hermione, it was… something else. Her body reacted as if to a violent shock; back arching, limbs tightening, hands, where they rested on Draco's shoulders, balling convulsively into fists, scratching him in the process.
Incapable at that second even of screaming, so great was her shock as her virginity gave way, the only sound she made was a small, sick little exhalation- the sort of sound one might make when having all the wind unexpectedly knocked out of one, for instance- followed by a little, double-hitching intake of breath.
And Draco, who had maintained eye contact with her through all of this, suddenly registered the dawning pain and shock in her expression, and realized just exactly what it was that he had done. "Oh, shit," he breathed. "Bloody, bloody hell."
Forcing himself to stay very still so as not to cause her further hurt, he let go her hips and brought both of his hands to her face, very gently pulling her down until their noses were nearly bumping. She still had not made a sound, save for those wounded, hitching little breaths. "Hermione," he said, his voice ragged as he continued to fight for self-control against his body, which wanted nothing more than to flip her onto her back and shag her senseless, right into the floor- "Hermione…?"
She let her eyes fall shut and slowly- very slowly- her head dropped until her forehead clunked gently against Draco's shoulder. "Ow," she whispered. "Ow, ow, ow…"
Draco, in response, wrapped his arms around her, hard; one cinching her waist, holding her body as motionless as his- the other across her shoulders, his hand coming to rest against the back of her head, beginning to stroke her hair.
"Shit," he ground out again, "Hermione… why in Merlin's name… didn't you tell me…?"
She managed at last to pull in a reasonably deep, albeit shaky, breath. "I… I showed you," she said, her lips moving against his skin, "Draco, I… showed you… everything."
"No," he replied, in increasing frustration, though his hands remained steady and gentle against her- "no, you did not- bloody well- show me everything. You showed me up until the end of school, which I'd like to point out, was three bloody years ago! I just assumed that… between then and now…" he trailed off for a moment, got his own breathing and emotions under control. She was in pain because of him and he hated that; that was the true source of his frustration. He'd been with plenty of virgins; he knew the rules of engagement, as it were, when dealing with them. Hermione, though- she'd fooled him but good; she'd seemed so confident, he'd never imagined… and now he'd taken something from her, something precious, something she could never get back, and he done it lightly because he hadn't even known that that was what he was doing, and… shit. Just, shit.
He was still hilt-deep inside of her, still unbearably aroused, as her body slowly began to relax around him- to accept him. And dear God, he didn't want to stop. But that was her decision. Hers and only hers.
"Hey," he murmured at last, "Hermione. Look at me, all right?"
She raised her head fractionally- their eyes met again. Hers were bright with unshed tears. Draco moved one of his hands to the side of her face, cupping it, his thumb stroking her cheek. "I'm sorry," he said. "If I had known, I would never…" he paused. Swallowed. Continued. "I would have done this differently. But from here on out, you're calling the shots. So do you want to keep on… or stop?"
"I… um…" a single tear spilled over; Draco caught it with his thumb, rubbed it away. "I think I… just need a minute… to, um… adjust. This just feels so… strange."
"Strange-bad?" Draco asked, frowning.
"No," she said, surprising him, "just… strange-strange. I mean, it's hard to explain. It… hurts, but I think… I was just caught off-guard, and now it's really almost… almost like…" she paused and swallowed, and if he'd been surprised a second ago, she just about blew him away with what she said next- "like it could be nice… if we take it kinda slow?"
"Wow," Draco breathed reverently, "you're bloody amazing, Granger, did you know?"
She smiled at his reversion to her surname. Then, "I wanted this," she said. "I made a decision… to share this with you. And I'm not going to second-guess it, not now. I started this; I want to finish it."
"That," said Draco emphatically, "makes two of us."
Heavy-limbed and lethargic with afterglow, they at least had the presence of mind to separate long enough to dress again, Hermione mending their ripped and bloody clothing magically with Draco's wand- it had, after all, been half-a-day since their distress signal had first been sent up- rescuers must be closing in on them, they told themselves optimistically, and they certainly couldn't allow themselves to be discovered in a decadent tangle of sticky, naked limbs. As soon as their clothes were on again, though, they came back together as if magnetized, arms and legs draped over one another, face-to-face so close their noses bumped, and now, for lack of anything else to do, they simply talked.
"You'll have to do the same for me sometime soon," Hermione said, in a sleep-slurred voice, with a yawn and a smile; "it's only fair, you know."
"Do what?" Draco asked, after a moment- it was taking a moment or two, now, for her words to penetrate his mind, which was swimming with exhaustion. God, how he wanted to sleep- sweet, peaceful sleep with this amazing woman, this woman he'd known for half his life but had only just discovered within the past few hours- wrapped up in his arms- but she still wouldn't let him.
"Draco, are you falling asleep?" she asked, her voice suddenly anxious, raising her head an inch or so from where it had been resting on his shoulder, bringing a hand to his face to push his silver-white hair (his own color again! Thank God!) back out of his eyes- "you can't do that Draco, you have to stay awake- I'm so scared I'll lose you if you don't, and I couldn't bear that, not now and-"
"Ssshhh," he hushed her. "I'm not falling asleep. Do what?"
"Make a pensieve," she murmured, her lips moving against his skin, "show me everything, like I did you… I want to see…" she trailed off, and he realized that she was doing the exact thing she'd forbidden him to do… drifting off to sleep. He smiled drowsily into her hair. The little hypocrite.
"Whatever you want," he said, realizing dimly that he too was beginning to slur his words. "Hermione… I think I love you."
He felt her lips curve up. "Don't fall asleep," she whispered again, as he breathed in her scent and let it begin to carry him away. "Don't you dare, Draco. Don't… fall…"
They were both asleep, of course, when the rescuers finally arrived. Or at least, they looked asleep, there in each other's arms, Hermione's head resting on Draco shoulder, her dark hair stirring with his every breath, arms and legs entwined in a pose that was (to the complete, open-mouthed shock of Harry, Ron and Snape, who were among the six-person team that burst into the little subterranean chamber, wands at the ready, Snape having cut his own assignment short when word had reached him of a mission having gone disastrously wrong- a distress signal, Draco missing in action-) for all that they were fully dressed again, completely and undeniably intimate.
The reality was, however, that Hermione was closer to unconscious… and Draco was closer to comatose.
Night. Hermione was sleeping fitfully half-in, half-out of the large, soft armchair that was pulled up to Draco's bed in a small, private room of St. Mungo's hospital. It had been five days since the rescue, and she hadn't left his side once, not once since she'd awakened in Harry's arms, being carried up and up through winding passageways, back toward the surface of the earth. His face wavery, indistinct above her, he'd felt her stir in his arms and had looked down at her, cracking a smile of pure relief. "Thank God," he'd murmured, dropping a brotherly kiss on her forehead. "Merlin, Hermione, you had us going out of our minds!"
Then had come another voice, from just outside her field of vision- "she awake? Harry, is she all right?" and Ron was leaning over her, his familiar, expressive face drawn tight with worry- but collapsing, in the next moment, into puzzled consternation as Hermione, focusing on him, had exclaimed, "Draco!" and then, realizing her slip a second too late, had blushed furiously and buried her face in Harry's shoulder.
The real Draco, it transpired, had been a short distance away, being carried himself, by a murderous-looking Severus Snape. When they'd reached the surface and Harry had put her back on her feet, holding onto her arms for a moment to steady her, she'd glanced frantically around, seen Snape easing Draco to the ground, shouting for a medic in a hoarse, frantic voice that was completely unlike his normal self-possessed drawl, and had half-run, half-stumbled to his side, collapsing to her knees and pulling Draco's head gently into her lap, tears beginning to fall, repeating over and over again, "I told you not to go to sleep, I told you not to go to sleep!"
She hadn't let him out of her sight since, not even as she'd been tended to herself.
During the day people came and went from the room; Dumbledore and Mad-Eye had held her debriefing in here; she'd given them the secret of the code on that first day, and one or the other of them had brought her updates on the Army's progress with it every day since. Harry and Ron came every day as well (though more for her sake than Draco's- puzzled as they were by her abrupt change of heart concerning their childhood nemesis, they would never deny her their friendship or support), as did Snape, who made her tell him over and over again the sequence of events from the moment they'd gotten on the broomstick to the moment they'd fallen off it. Was she sure it had been Bellatrix? Absolutely sure?
He was obviously nursing a new, deep, and completely personal vendetta against the dark witch. Hermione heartily approved and wished him all the luck with it. She would have liked to collaborate with him, but had a distinct feeling that whatever Snape was planning, it wouldn't fit very well with the Army's stated policy of using non-violent methods whenever possible- so it was best to let him get on with his vengeance in as quiet and solitary a manner as he liked. That was his nature and what he would prefer in any case, and the fewer Army members knew what he was planning, the better- plausible deniability and all that, you know.
Besides, it was more important to stay with Draco. The healers had stated that he would wake within a week, or, most likely, not at all- and as the second option was entirely unacceptable, Hermione was convinced that his awakening would happen at any time. And she fully intended to be there for it.
So now here she was, wrapped in a broken, violent, dream-riddled sleep- it had been nearly a week since she'd slept any other way than this; in fits and starts, usually for no more than forty minutes at a time without bolting awake, terrified that Draco had slipped away from her while her guard had been down… even though logically she knew there was no way that could happen without setting off all sorts of magical alarms.
Sometimes she'd wake to find Snape, silent and morose, occupying the only other chair in the room; it sat in the corner opposite the bed, under the sole window. He'd sit there, scrunched down, for hours at a time, through the watches of the night, with his arms crossed over his chest and his face sunk in shadow, so that Hermione could never tell whether he was awake or asleep. He reserved speech for the daylight hours- in the dark he simply sat there, silent, ghostly, his fury at Bellatrix almost tangible, radiating out from him in waves.
It seemed the only way he knew to show how much he cared.
This night, however, when Hermione started awake, she was alone in the room, save for Draco. She woke with her heart pounding and the unmistakable sense that something was happening… she glanced around the room, but all was quiet and still.
Only then did her gaze settle on Draco, and her heart missed a beat. Because his face was angled toward her, and his eyes, silver in the dim light, were open.
"Hey, Granger," he said hoarsely, and grimaced. Then, "Merlin… head hurts."
"Draco," Hermione breathed, stunned.
"What're you doing here?" he asked.
Hermione felt as though she'd just been doused in ice water. "What do you mean?" she asked through lips that were suddenly numb, that hardly wanted to obey her. Her mind was screaming, screaming at her about concussions leading to memory loss, sometimes permanent. "How can you say that after everything that happened?"
"What are you talking about? What happened?"
And now tears were springing to her eyes and she was blinking them back hard, and her throat was closing up so she could barely choke out, "We did, Draco. We happened! In that little room! All those hours. And the pensieve. And I gave… I gave you…" she dropped her head in her hands, battling with the sobs that wanted to come, before she had a chance to see the dawning recognition in his eyes.
"Hey, wait a minute," he said, trying to struggle up onto his elbows- failing- "you had that dream too?"
Hermione took a hitching breath and looked up, hope rekindled in her eyes.
"Did you-" she hesitated, swallowed. "Did you like that dream, Draco?"
His eyes searched hers, narrowed- then, abruptly, he looked away. "Best bloody dream I've ever had," he said quietly, looking past her, avoiding her eyes. "But not real." And here his voice turned bitter. "Nothing that good can be real. I was hurt. It was a fever dream. It was delirium. That's all."
When he made no response, she slipped out of her chair and into the bed, easing herself down full-length beside him, cupping his face in her palm and turning it back toward her, forcing him to look. "It was real," she whispered, "and I for one don't want it to end. You owe me, remember? You owe me a pensieve."
"Holy shit," he breathed, and she could almost taste his words, their faces were so close, "no kidding? It's true?"
Hermione managed a shaky grin, even as the tears began to overflow her eyes. "I can prove it's true," she whispered, "if you can manage to stay awake this time," and in a single, fluid movement she was straddling him, right there in the hospital bed, with her wand, accio'd from the nightstand, in her hand. Beneath her Draco stretched, gave an exaggerated yawn. "I don't know, Granger," he drawled teasingly, his mercurial eyes heavy-lidded, but simmering, suddenly, with desire. "It's the middle of the night. You'd better have something memorable planned if you want to keep me awake."
Hermione wasn't worried. His words were belied by his eyes, and by that other part of him, which she could feel, unmistakably, stiffening between her thighs. She flicked her wand toward the door; it locked. And then, never breaking eye-contact with him, she promptly spelled a familiar message in flaming letters in the air;
I know who you are, Draco Malfoy. And one way or another, I am GOING to keep you awake.
And her wand clattered, forgotten, to the floor as he reached up both-handed and pulled her down into an earth-shattering kiss.
000oo The End oo000
(A/N: Thanks to everyone who's read and reviewed this fic! Gosh, I love feedback, even concrit! To those who have felt the romance proceeded too quickly to be entirely realistic, I can only offer my usual excuse when writing an exchange fic; these fic exchanges have time limits, usually between three and six weeks, so when working under a considerable time restraint I have to move things along more quickly than I do in my longer fics. It's certainly not the most canon-centric fic I've written, but I hope you've found it a fun read- I had a lot of fun writing it! Oh, and this story won second place in the Best Overall Fic Award over at the exchange site! Woohoo! If anyone reading this voted for me over there, thank you sooo much!
Now, a word about the next project I'm going to be working on; many of you know of Alex25, she's a terrific D/Hr writer on this site, and I know we have many readers/reviewers in common (if you haven't read her work yet, DO!) Well- she and I have started a new pen-name, "Kyra and Alex" (yes, we're wildly creative) and we're going to be co-authoring a story under the new name. I don't know exactly when the first chapter will be up, but it'll be within a few weeks, I think. She's taking the first chapter, I'm taking the second, she's taking the third, and so on. The thing that will make it fun an unusual for both us and the readers is that neither of us know what the other will write until it's done and published on the site. Once I read her first chapter, I'm going to have to pick up the ball and run with it, and wherever I leave the second one, she'll have to do the same... like a game. We're hoping this will keep things interesting for us and the readers. The only thing we've decided on definitely is the pairing (and I suppose in the interest of being fair to you all, I should disclaim that it is not a D/Hr fic; I repeat, NOT a D/Hr fic. It is a het pairing, though; not slash. And it is, of course, a Harry Potter fic.) I really hope, though, that some of you might give it a whirl anyway! So keep an eye out, okay?)