In Flames

A/N: This chapter is rated R just in case, but there is no sex or anything in it. All characters belong to JK Rowling.


I am going to kill those Weasley bastards.

That was the single most prominent thought on Draco Malfoy's mind as he heavily tramped through the grand corridors of Hogwarts at three o'clock in the afternoon. When he left his Defence Against the Dark Arts class, he had been fully clothed and quite at ease. Why not? It was a beautiful day, and he had just witnessed that simpering Hannah Abbot chick earn herself double detention for nearly hexing her classmates into the next dimension by accident. He himself earned Slytherin a few house points because he had managed to summon a quick counter-curse and stopped any disaster from happening. In all honesty he had not been trying to be heroic (that is an idiot Gryffindor trait) or selfless in anyway. It had been purely a reaction to danger, causing him to act without thinking, and in this case, such was a good thing.

But by the time he reached the Heads' common room portal, he was in the foulest of moods, and he was standing in only his uniform pants and a loosened white dress shirt. His black school robe, sweater vest, tie, and books were all placed listlessly under each arm. And he was sweating more profusely than he ever had in his entire life. Even Quidditch matches and exams did not merit this much moisture.

There was hell to pay indeed. Malfoys never sweat. Not like this.

Whatever it was that possessed those damn Weasel twins to unleash a whole kilogram of steam bombs in every hallway in the school, Draco would never fathom. Perhaps they were trying to rekindle their notoriety throughout the school. Perhaps it was some low standard of humour only found in the very meagre homesteads overflowing with underfed and undereducated children. Either way, the whole bloody school's climate changed completely into that of a goddamn rainforest. He had just known that they would cause trouble the moment they showed up for a visit.

The air was thick, heavy, and humid, like a wool sweater soaked in hot water wrapped around your head. Beads of condensation dripped off every smooth flat surface, even on the stones of the floor, making his trip back to the Head common room a very trying matter. The windows and mirrors were so fogged up that one could see virtually nothing beyond a wall of mist. It even took a certain amount of willpower and effort to breathe, as the atmosphere was so uncomfortable and exhausting.

If I ever get my hand on those dolts, I will make them suffer in ways they can't even imagine, he thought to himself grimly, blinking slowly. Merlin's beard! Blinking was a challenge now?

Draco came to an unsteady halt in front of the oil painting covering the entrance to the Head dormitory. The Lady in Black, who was normally so vigilant and alert as she perched on her throne of marble, was slumped against the chair in the most undignified manner, fanning herself sluggishly with a pale, aristocratic hand.

"Good heavens!" she wheezed, glaring at Draco as if this was entirely his fault. "What on earth is going on? Why doesn't somebody fix the blasted heat? It's like a jungle in here!"

"Well, why don't you take your little complaints up to the Headmaster? I'm sure he hasn't already heard five-fucking-hundred by now!" Draco snapped, having zero tolerance for anything that stood between him and what was hopefully a nice cool, humidity-free common room. If that insufferable mudblood Hermione Granger (who just had to be smart enough to become Head Girl) were to be absent, life would only be that much sweeter.

"Carpe Noctem!"

Upon hearing the password, delivered in a menacing snarl through clenched teeth, the Lady in Black rolled her eyes but agreeably swung open to admit him. Almost groaning in relief, Draco dragged himself up the stone steps towards the common room.

The Head common room was spacious and richly designed, having been made a blend of Slytherin and Gryffindor style. It had a slick, sophisticated edge with its dark green marble floor and high arched windows at the back wall, which were flung open to admit a cool breeze and sunlight. The walls were dark oak and layered with various tapestries depicting important events in Hogwarts history and the couches and chairs were made of a soft red fabric. The drapes were long and crimson with a gold drawstring, billowing and fluttering in the gentle wind pouring in from the windows. The fireplace was made of heavy granite in the design of a curled up dragon. There was even a large grand piano that the Head Girl frequently liked to bang on every now and then (although, he had to grudgingly admit she was quite talented). Off to the right was a short spiral staircase that led to Granger's room, and one leading to his own room at the left across the common room.

To his chagrin, the Head dormitory was just as hot as everywhere else in the school. But as soon as his eyes registered something in particular, he froze in place and felt his stomach tighten with shock.

Suddenly, a temporary heat wave seemed to have a very surprising benefit.

Granger was, as a matter of fact, in the common room, as the last class was her free period and she usually came back to take advantage of the unused time for some studying. However, for the first time since he could ever recall in his stay at Hogwarts, Draco found absolutely nothing to complain about.

Hermione was scandalously half-clad and gleaming with sweat, slung lethargically on the scarlet plush couch next to a (mercifully) bare fireplace. She was dressed only in a pair of shorts that barely reached mid thigh, and a gloriously revealing white t-shirt that hugged close to her body. The sweat between her now very noticeably ample breasts had caused a dark patch to appear on the middle of her chest.

Her mass of russet hair, which normally resembled an unmanageable mop of wavy tendrils, seemed to deflate a little bit with the soggy heat, and she had tied it back in a lazy ponytail at the back of her head. Some of the strands escaped and clung stubbornly to her face and neck in a manner that would have normally been considered unappealing, but for some unknown reason, was suddenly alarmingly attractive.

One knee was bent up, while the other foot was resting on the marble floor so that her legs were spread in a very compromising position. Her right arm was slung back over the arm of the couch, where her head was resting, and the other arm lay limply on her stomach (which was quite visible due to the t-shirt that appeared to be at least two or three sized too small). Her eyes were closed as if she was in a deep, relaxed sleep. Her entire figure was glistening with sweat, but even so, Draco Malfoy decided right then and there, that he had never seen anything more sensual.

Bloody hell! When did she get breasts like that? When did those legs become so smooth and sleek and long? When did she get those curves? Had she always had such cute little feet?

The room's temperature must have raised a few degrees, because now the sweat was practically dripping off him. God, this was bizarre. This was torment in a whole new category. It was like some sick twisted punishment that was supposed to be painful but turned out to be incredibly pleasurable.

His entrance seemed to have very little effect on Hermione. She opened those mahogany brown eyes, framed with long thick lashes, and regarded him indifferently. No words were spoken, no change occurred in her expression. Nothing. She just gazed at him with an unreadable look on her face.

Now, this came as a surprise to the Slytherin Prince for multiple reasons. The first being that he was a goddamn Malfoy, and his presence should demand some kind of acknowledgement, especially from a lowly mudblood like Granger.

Secondly, he was quite obviously the sexiest human being ever to grace the halls of Hogwarts, yet she seemed to be the only girl alive immune to his looks. It had always been this way, much to his frustration. Every girl in Hogwarts would come running at the snap of his fingers, but no. Not Hermione, the saintly Gryffindor Golden Girl, Harry Pothead's Muggle-born lapdog, the apple of Dumbledore's eye. She was far too clever and virtuous and absolutely brimming with integrity that she would never stoop low enough to admitting that she too was secretly enamoured with him. Not that he wanted her to fawn over him and sigh dreamily at the mere thought of his smile. In no way did he ever want her to scream out his name in fits of ecstasy or moan against him in the midst of lustful night time embraces. Of course not. The very idea of it was positively ludicrous . . .


Thirdly, the circumstances of their relationship had thus far been hostile and unfriendly. They rarely spoke to each other, but when they did (or were forced to because of Head Boy/Girl business), it was usually nothing more than a brief and fiery exchange of sharp words.

Fourthly, she was normally a modest and downright prudish girl to the point of being absurd. Even in the sixth months since school started up again and the two of them found out they'd be sharing a dorm, he never once caught a glimpse of her naked or half-dressed in anyway. It was as if she paid extra attention not to be found in such a state just because it was he of all people who happened to also inhabited her living space. It was bloody unfair. Inferior and annoying as Granger was, she certainly was easy on the eyes, and Malfoy had looked forward to at least one perk about being her roommate.

Well, here it was. The perk he had been casually anticipating with no amount of remorse or shame. And it was fucking marvellous.

He smiled.

Meanwhile, there were two ideas currently battling each other for dominance in Hermione Granger's mind. A) Get up, walk quietly and gracefully to your room, shut the door, lock it, and tell yourself fervently that Draco Malfoy did not just see you baring yourself in front of him with hardly any clothes on. Or, B) Play it cool and try not to stare at just how damn gorgeous he looks.

Well, the first one took too much physical effort. Moving was definitely not an option in this sweltering heat. It did not take a lot of guessing on Hermione's part to come to the conclusion that this sudden intrusive climate change was no doubt the product of another Weasley Twin escapade. How it managed to invade the Head common room, she would never know. Perhaps the sweat bombs were spelled to move through walls. Perhaps the heat travelled through the ventilation system. It had all happened very fast, really. One moment she had been on her way to the bathroom, and the next minute she was flopped on the couch in hardly any clothes at all, half-comatose and shockingly uninhibited because of it. There was very little connection between the two events.

Hermione didn't care, in all honesty, because when the portal swung open and in walked the Prince of Darkness himself, coherent thought seemed to have abandoned her.

Sweat was not supposed to be sexy. But now that Draco Malfoy was standing before her in a soaked white shirt that showed off his toned body in ways that were both torturous and wonderful, she discovered that it inarguably was. The logical, scientific, inquisitive part of Hermione knew that there were pheromones involved in sweat, and that the attraction was probably based off the insinuation of certain . . . carnal acts that cause so much perspiration.

The illogical, irrational, primitive part of Hermione could only concentrate on that one droplet coursing its way past his angular jaw line, down his gleaming neck, and disappearing past that beautifully shaped collarbone beneath his white shirt. His dampened flaxen hair was loose and unruly, and the heat made it hang nonchalantly across his face, and damn it looked good.

Oh God, the heat is making me delirious, she thought with an inward cringe, forcing herself to mentally slap her hormones back in place (with very little success). I'd have to be blind and deaf and dumb not to know how handsome he was before, but THIS is just plain ridiculous. I mean, he's not even nice or charming or sweet, yet here I am, panting at him like a dog in heat.

The analogy nearly made her giggle with unexplained giddiness. No, wait. It was explainable. Blame it on this humidity. She knew that warm climates often had this effect on people's moods and usually resulted in some unforeseen frivolity.

Why could she not stop looking at him? Hermione was not exactly the most promiscuous of girls. Hell, she'd never even gone past innocent kissing! Of course, like any other teenaged female, she occasionally felt those little secretive 'twinges', but they had never been this rampant before. Why the sudden enthralment with Malfoy of all people? What was it about him that abruptly seemed so desirable? Was it all just a side effect of this damned inferno? There was absolutely no excuse for her behaviour. It was disgraceful! Malfoy was conceited, rude, vain, spoiled, cruel, scathing-

Smart, witty, talented, hot-

No! Focus on the negative parts. Must ignore good qualities.

Only it was very difficult to ignore how clever Malfoy really was. She had seen hints of his humour while he sat with his friends and was unaware of her presence. She watched the way he would tilt his head back to laugh at something particularly stupid said on Goyle or Crabbe's part and then throw back some amusing tongue-in-cheek remark. She watched the way he would huddle over his work during class so that his hair fell over his eyes, scribbling down notes and listening intently to the teachers. His grades were no secret; they were second only to hers, and by a very thin margin. In fact, a small part of the reason why Hermione worked so hard in her studies was to ensure that she always remained one small step ahead of him.

It was his wit that made arguing with him so interesting. Upon reflection, Hermione concluded that she only let Malfoy get under her skin so that she could exchange words with him. She knew that he too seemed to reserve his most intelligent comebacks for her, as if he was also interested (grudgingly) in what she had to say. In a way, it was as if they both shared a mutual fascination with each other, and from that fascination spawned a peculiar breed of respect.

And let's not forget how gorgeous he is.

Did we cover that already?

She could tell her face was devoid of any emotion (and by God she was going to keep it that way), but why was it so damn hard to look away from him? Worst of all, that damned git was smirking back at her, his frosty blue eyes meeting her gaze with unabashed delight.

The stupid ferret had the gall to consider all this funny? He wasn't disturbed? He wasn't weirded out or confused or even turned on?

Asshole. She'd have to punish him for being so casual.

She sat up slowly, her dark eyes never leaving his icy ones. A small half smile crept onto her lips.

"Hello, Draco," she said sweetly, hoping to grasp his attention by using his first name for once. Clearly he could detect some kind of game going on. The smirk broadened ever so slightly as he apparently decided to go along with it.

"Good afternoon, Hermione," he replied in a cat-like purr that made her want him to pounce on her.

It had not escaped her notice that he was moving closer to the couch. She felt her heartbeat quicken for inexplicable and yet not so inexplicable reasons as she forced herself to remain calm and speak neutrally.

"Our rooms are even warmer than it is in here," she told him, gesturing fluidly towards her door. "I came out to the common room to enjoy the breeze for a while."

"Looks like the Weasels are having a bit of fun today," he supplied, apathetically dumping his supplies on the floor.

"You don't like heat?" she questioned, secretly astonished at how easy it was to make her voice go low and seductive, the way she often heard Lavender Brown speak to Ron. Vaguely she wondered what Ron and Harry would do if she ever spoke like this in front of them. No doubt they'd each have aneurisms, as the two of them probably never even considered her as anything more than the frizzy-haired bookworm with absolutely no ties to the erotic. They weren't allowed to think of Hermione that way, as she was their best friend and practically a sister to them. The idea probably never even occurred to them that she was even a real girl at all.

"I never said that," Draco told her, raising an eyebrow at the double meaning she obviously laced in her words. Damn, she's come along way. "I like heat fine. I suppose I'm just over dressed for it."

Promptly he pulled off his dress shirt and stood before her in a white undershirt that was practically transparent.

"Mind if I join you?"

Hermione swallowed invisibly and found it unusually difficult to keep her eyes from roving over his body. It was unfair how attractive he was, borderline mind-boggling.

She forced herself to smile back and nod, meeting his smouldering gaze equally. With that same damn grin on his face, he slid himself onto the other side of the couch, leaning back and flicking his hair out of his eyes, the way she had often seen him do with his friends.

So, he thought he could intimidate her, did he? Well, we'll see about that. She was not going to turn into a tongue-tied sap over him. At least not so easily. She was going to fight back and win this thing, whatever the hell it was, and prove to him that she was not going to be stared down by the likes of him. Mentally she prepared herself to do the unexpected.

"That certainly looks comfortable," she said in that deceptively innocent voice of hers. Draco blinked in disbelief as she started to . . . no, no she couldn't be.

Oh God, she was.

The t-shirt slipped over her head and in the next second it was tossed over the back of the couch. Hermione Granger was sitting no more than two feet away from him in her goddamn bra and a pair of tiny shorts.

Where the hell did she get the nerve? This is Granger, for Merlin's sake! She is not supposed to look that way, she is not supposed to flaunt the way other girls do, he thought almost frantically as she flashed him a lethargic smile. Her stomach was flat and smooth, but it somehow looked firm with undetected muscle. Her bra was dark red and lacy with rose patterns sewn into the cups. He had always imagined her with a training bra or even a bloody corset under her robes, but never something so sexy or feminine. It was proving most complicated not to stare at a bead of sweat sliding down between her glistening breasts. Now that he was so close and was provided such a lovely view, he could see the faint golden hue of her complexion, and the faded flush in her cheeks. Part of him suspected (and hoped) it had little to do with the heat.

So, that's how the game was to be played, was it? Fine; smile and play along like a good boy.

"You know, I still don't think I'm quite at ease," he said with a dramatic sigh. He saw a flicker of some kind of emotion cross her face, but she extinguished it immediately. At least, she tried to. When he removed the undershirt and sat next to her completely naked from the waist up, she started to have a bit of trouble breathing. Her blush deepened, confirming his earlier suspicion.

Oh, he was really pushing his luck. Damn those chiselled abs. Damn that firm chest of his, and those wide shoulders too!

"I wonder if I am too," she said in a slightly high-pitched tone. She cleared her throat and tried again with a weak smile. "I mean, I wonder if I'm really settled as well."

His eyes enlarged. No fucking way.

She lifted her rear up off the couch and arched her back, languidly moving her hands down her thighs to push her shorts down. His chest seemed to constrict around his heart. This was not happening. This could not be the real Hermione Granger practically stripping (no, she was stripping) in front of him.

And so she kicked off her shorts and fixed him with a smug look, now only down to her dark red lace knickers. He hadn't been expecting her panties to match.

Good Lord, had she always been this attractive? Where was all this kinky behaviour coming from? Why had he never noticed the little deviant residing inside of her this entire time?

Time to bring out the big guns.

He noticed a glass of water perched on the table next to the couch, mocking him from behind Hermione's gleaming shoulder. Without another second of thought, he suddenly shifted and leaned over her to grab it. She stiffened and went still as his body grazed against hers. He reached over her, careful to keep his throat bare inches away from her face. Her warm breath was almost excruciating against him. His stomach was almost pressed right against her, and he could practically hear her heart pounding. One of his knees found its way between her thighs. He placed one hand on the couch right above her shoulder to support himself as he took a huge swig of water, not bothering to move away from her until he finished. She remained motionless the entire time, staring transfixed at his neck and chest hovering so sumptuously close to her face. With an arrogant leer, he pulled back and set the glass over on the table next to him to await her next move. And it gave him no small amount of satisfaction to see how shaken she really was.

Taking a deep breath to calm the fuck down, Hermione licked her lips (failing to notice the way his pupils dilated when she did so) and made a rather vain attempt at blocking the flood of ideas rocketing through her brain. He had practically draped himself around her, the jerk! How was she supposed to compete with that? And worst of all, he had managed to make her breath catch in her throat for a full five seconds.

Hermione had no idea how far she was willing to take this game going on between them, but she knew for a fact that she was ready to do just about anything to get that stupid smirk off his face. It was time to fight fire with fire.

Whatever Draco had been expecting in retaliation, this was certainly not it.

She actually straddled him. It had happened to gradually that he did not fully realize what she was intending to do until he suddenly found her facing him in his lap, each luscious thigh placed on either side of him. Their pelvises were touching, their groins divided only by the material of their clothes. Her stomach was pressed against him, her chest nearly brushing against his face. That golden flesh of hers was scorching hot and moist. He seemed to have lost all contact with his limbs.

As if nothing unreal was going on at all, Hermione grabbed the glass of water from the table next to him and threw her head back to gulp down the rest of the drink. A few droplets escaped from the corners of her mouth and slid down her neck and chest. With a luxurious sigh she finished the water and placed the cup down on the table again. She didn't slide off of him.

This was agony. This was unbearable. This was his absolute and utter surrender.

He stared up at her in awe. She grinned down at him victoriously.

"Fuck it," he growled.

Hermione released a short-lived squeal of surprise as Draco suddenly flipped her onto the couch, pinning her on her back with lightening fast manoeuvring. Frozen beneath him, she only caught a quick glimpse of the powerful hunger in his blue steel eyes before his lips crashed down on hers in a smothering, heart-stopping, knee-weakening kiss.

Her first real kiss. The kiss she would ever after compare all others to.

All she could register, all she could comprehend, was the feel of his hot breath against her mouth, closely followed by his skilful tongue demanding entrance. Without thinking she allowed it in, and from that moment on it was only pure instinct that guided her. Both arms came up to clasp him around his broad shoulders and neck, her fingers exploring the texture of his flawless skin and hair. There was no space left between them now, at least none that would be missed. His sweat-soaked weight was unbearably sweet against her, and their two forms melded together perfectly on the couch. She experimented with this interesting new use of her tongue, almost in euphoria with all the unfamiliar yet wonderful sensations coursing through her. The deeper he delved into her mouth, the more eager her body became.

By now the temperature had to be doubling by the second. He was setting everything inside of her ablaze with his wildly investigative touch. His hands roved all over her body with complete disregard for propriety or boundaries. Everything of hers was suddenly his as well. All the intimate details over her figure were his to explore, his to sense and caress and memorize.

In unrestrained rapture, her fingernails raked down his back, causing the most sublime fiery feeling in his heated skin. She moaned into his mouth, nearly making him go completely insane. God, who knew she tasted so good? Who knew his arms could find their natural resting places around her without any effort? Who the impressions of his form could hold her so perfectly beneath him? Kissing was never like this before. Not even with girls like Pansy, who were considered to be quite fierce in these matters. Kissing had never been this intense and exciting and passionate before. Was it because it seemed so taboo, or forbidden? Was it years of pent up anger suddenly venting itself in a totally different way? Was it just the heat getting to both of them?

Neither of them really cared.

Some indefinite amount of time later, when Draco felt he was about to suffocate himself in her mouth (quite wilfully), the two of them broke apart. His lips hovered a hair's breadth away from hers, and their gazes locked. She was breathing heavily, her breasts heaving against him. His arms were still locked around her, and her fingertips still resting against the warm sweat-bathed skin on his back.

For a long while, neither of them said anything. What was there to say? Two sworn enemies for nearly seven years suddenly engaged in the most feverish lip-lock either had ever practised before. Such a situation was bound to be a little bit confusing.

A droplet of sweat, choosing the most inconvenient of times, snaked its way down from Draco's forehead, slithering down the bridge of his nose. He was still too paralysed to move, too afraid to break the searing electrical calm.

Suddenly, in a fleetingly bold moment, Hermione lifted her face up ever so slightly and her pink tongue darted out. He nearly flinched with surprise when she licked the drop off his nose, and then let her head sink back down the crimson cushion. She grinned crookedly at him, and tilted her head to the side ever so slightly to observe him with humour in her eyes.

"So," she said in an amazingly even tone. "Who won that round?"

He couldn't fight the smile that forced its way out. It was the first genuine smile that she had ever seen to grace his features, and her own grin broadened at him.

I need to thank those Weasley bastards.

That was the single most prominent thought on Draco's mind when he leaned back down to kiss her again.