Chapter 20: Captured

The Great Hall was filled with a dense forest of trees, and the competitiveness in the air was so thick that it was equal to any Quidditch match held at Hogwarts. Both the Gryffindors and Slytherins had deployed their offensive teams along with their defense protecting the hidden house flags. Viktor had instructed the Slytherins on where to hide the silken green banner, and led the offense out to capture the enemy's maroon banner. While the lithe, black clothed teens snuck between the trees in pairs, Draco sat next to Hermione, comparing their likes and dislikes. The list had gotten quite long as they worked their way through it.

"Ocean or mountains?" asked Draco.

"Definitely ocean," answered Hermione confidently. "It's so powerful and alive, and yet one can get such a peacefulness and serenity from just sitting and watching the waves ebb and flow."

Draco stifled a fake yawn, which made Hermione want to walk up to him and give him a friendly slug in the arm, but she resisted.

"Wrong again, Granger. You're not very good at this are you?" he joked. "It's the mountains that are majestic and powerful in nature. Their strength is rock hard, as they reach for the heavens, lifting us up with them, to give a glimpse of everything that surrounds us. They remind us of how insignificant we are, yet they truly make one feel as if you're on top of the world."

She grinned at him, and her eyes reflected a sparkle. He amazed her. This was the same boy that she was cursing only weeks ago. Yet here he was, calmly discussing their favorites in life.

"Add another to the lenthy list we have of things we don't have in common," she jested.

Before Draco could respond, they both jumped as a voice hollered, "Mobiliarbus!"

They both turned to observe the trees closest to them begin to uproot, and move towards them, giving the spell-holder more room for her search. There was still plenty of space between the slow moving trees and Draco and Hermione, but suddenly the trees stopped their gradual movement, and again rooted themselves into the floor of the Great Hall.

The slender, smiling Ginny popped out from behind one of the trees and waved conspiringly at Hermione, before giving her a 'thumbs up' and ducking back behind the dark trees, and rushed further into the fray of battle.

"What was that?" queried a confused Hermione.

"You're asking me? The Weaslette is your mate, Granger. Only you could have the slightest idea of what goes on in that scary gingerhead of hers."

Hermione glanced sideways at Draco, noticing that he wasn't speaking with malice or ill-intent for the first time when he mentioned a member of the Weasley family. He was an utter mystery tonight, indeed.

"Let's give it another go," he prompted. "Favorite season?"

She pondered momentarily before answering.

"I suppose you think I'll say Spring, because it brings renewal and beginnings of new life, etcetera, etcetera. And I also suppose you'll say Winter, because you're just that sort of fellow that likes everything cold and bleak." She watched him for a response but all he did was raise an eyebrow at her. She continued, "But my answer is Autumn. I like the colorful leaves, and the way nature sheds itself from the old before awakening the new. I like the briskness in the air that keeps you alive and awake, no matter what time of day it is. I like the way the rain saturates everything while I watch it from inside, from a nice, cozy window. And yes, I even like All Hallow's Eve, so don't act so surprised."

He grinned back at her and shook his head and looked out toward the forest to see if he could make out any movements of the battling teams.

"You know, I wasn't going to guess Spring. I would have guessed Summer for you." When she cocked her head at him in question he explained. "You get to return to your Muggle world in the summer, don't you? You get to be home with your family, visit with your bosom buddies and all that rot." He shrugged. "Yeah, I would have guessed summer." He moved his gaze from the faux forest to hers. "But you're spot on with Autumn. My favorite isn't winter at all."

Hermione jumped when she heard two voices scream loudly and then heard Fred Weasley's mocking laughter. He seemed to be ribbing someone, and knowing Fred, it couldn't be good. Hermione instantly felt curious as to what prank he had pulled on the unsuspecting Slytherins.

She looked over at Draco and shrugged.

"I'm not sure we even want to know, although if it's one of the Weasley twins, you can bet that one of your housemates is the on the receiving end of his lark."

If they could venture into the forest, they would have seen Gregory Goyle and Millicent Bulstrode, both dangling in the air, captured in a net that was made of tree vines woven together.

Fred had explained to Angelina, his teammate, that it wasn't cheating if they used Mobiliarbus to inter-twine the vines into a net. The captives seemed to be putting up quite a bit of ruckus but Fred immediately noticed how advantageous this sort of position could be.

He grabbed ahold of Angelina's hand as he headed forward with her into enemy territory.

"Get off me, Gregory!" Millicent protested. "You're smushing me! I can't breathe!"

Goyle attempted to stretch his arm in order to extend his wand, but it was no use. His arms were tightly plastered against him, and the more he attempted to move, the closer he was pressed against Millicent.

"Easy, girl," Goyle said softly, "You'll not be wanting to fidget too much."

Millicent was about to reprimand Goyle for not trying harder, when she noticed a familiar gleam in his eyes, and instantly smirked.

Fred and Angelina had come up behind Harry and Fred whispered, "Oi, Harry! We're going to work our way forward, together, so Angie can watch my back. You'll need to be keeping an eye out for Krum, he's a slippery one!"

Harry didn't need reminding of just how slippery Viktor Krum was. He was all too familiar with the other Tri-wizard champion, and couldn't wait to best him. He was sure that Krum was probably thinking and plotting exactly along these same lines, knowing his possessiveness of Hermione. They had never really settled things between them since the tug-of-war during the last dance practice.

If Harry could have seen Viktor, he would have indeed seen him, along with Blaise, working their way slowly into Gryffindor territory. They had not yet found the enemy's house flag, but they were determined to do so. He agreed with Draco Malfoy on this, Harry Potter needed to be brought down a few pegs. Viktor knew that Harry still needed to know his place as Hermoine's friend, and realize that he was no more than just a friend to her.

Blaise followed closely behind Krum, on his heels. He had been given the mission by Draco to make sure that Potter was captured, and that Slytherin won. The fact that his best mate had entrusted this to him made him feel proud. He was a bit surprised that Draco didn't want to do this himself. It was usually just the type of game that Draco would have excelled at. Strategizing against Gryffindor and Harry Potter! But he seemed content to be a jail warden, along with Granger. Strange.

Then again, Blaise pondered, maybe the potion wasn't completely responsible for his previous actions after all. It had been days since the potion had worn off, and yet Draco actually selected himself to work with Granger. Odd. Very odd indeed.

Blaise must have been caught up in his thoughts, because when he heard two screams directly in front of them, he bumped squarely into Viktor Krum's back.

Krum swung around and glared at him, and then placed a hand on Blaise's shoulder.

He gave him a slight push backwards.

"Not so close! " He eyed Blaise from head to toe. "On second thought, don't walk behind me at all. You stay where I can see you."

"Bloody hell, Krum" Blaise whispered furiously. "This is not time for you to get suspicious of my sexual orientation! It was an feckin' accident!"

Viktor shrugged, nonchalantly and then gestured for them to move forward, silently.

They peered from behind a large tree to see one of the Weasley twins and a Gryffindor female Quidditch teammate tied up together in a net made of vines. Viktor looked at Blaise questioningly, but the tall Italian lifted his hands up in response.

"I can't believe we didn't see this!" yelled Angelina. "Gods, how moronic are we to be caught in the same trap we laid for them!"

Fred squirmed, trying not to smirk as he pressed himself completely against the tall, pretty girl that was plastered against him.

"Angie, have a care with the wand, love," he said too jovially, "it's not exactly in a comfortable position, and I may want to have a brood of little Weasleys someday!"

"Fred, you great git, stop pressing against me, I can't move with you squirming around."

The twin leaned in so that he was only a few centimeters away from her face. He grinned wickedly at her, and then took her by complete surprise and kissed her.

When he felt her suck in her breath with astonishment, he pulled away momentarily.

"Sly, sly Slytherins," he whispered. "How do you reckon they used the same idea as us?"

Blaise rolled his eyes and tapped Krum on the shoulder, then inserted his index finger into his mouth, mocking a gag reflex. The things couples did for a bit of groping. The fact that it was part of the game, and obviously a trap set by Weasley himself, made Blaise realize that there was no extent young lovers wouldn't go to, in order to be together. Let them enjoy their thrill while they could. The professors couldn't do anything about it, since it was all a part of the game.

Maybe Weasley had a smidgen of Slytherin in him after all.

Blaise and Krum moved stealthily forward, in search of The Boy Who Lurked.

Meanwhile Ron was shadowing Harry, and nearly flew out of his own skin when Harry bellowed, "Expelliarmus!" Vincent Crabbe's wand went flying from his hand, but Pansy quickly stepped from behind him and aimed her own wand at Ron. She cast the same spell on him, while both sides dashed behind the nearest trees they could find, fending off further attempts. Knowing they could not use Accio, both teams needed to either figure out a way to unarm each other, or recover the expelled wands.

Meanwhile, Hermione furrowed her brow, and turned to Draco. "You know I can't see anything going on in there, can you? Now that Ginny moved the trees, I can't see a thing!"

Draco smirked for the first time and straightened up from his leaning stance.

"If we can't see them, that probably means they can't see us either, Granger."

He moved slightly closer to her and lowered his voice a fraction before continuing, his gaze growing more intense.

She cleared her throat and searched for a diversion to break her away from the captive hold he had on her eyes.

"You were talking about winter, Malfoy."

He was now standing directly in front of her, only a foot or so away.

"I've nothing against a warm fireplace," he leaned in toward her, "or a friendly snowball fight." She smiled at his statement, remembering the exact event in the Great Hall a few days prior when Slytherin and Gryffindor houses pelted each other with snowballs.

"So, from the list of ten items so far, we've agreed on one. Who would have guessed?" she said cheekily.

Her smile faded immediately when she saw the grey eyes darken. He was no longer grinning at her, and his features were unreadable.

"Granger," he said suddenly sounding very serious, "I'm sure before the night is over, we will discover at least a few more things we can agree on if we only put our minds to it."

Hermione swallowed hard and felt an instant nervousness wash over her. She was already surprised as it was that the two of them had spent who knows how long discussing uncommon interests, uneventfully as if they were long lost mates. She began to look around, and fidget her weight from one foot to the other. She was no longer suspicious of him. Nor could she could not mistake the attraction between them.

She knew it wasn't imaginary. This time Draco wasn't being blatantly perverse or overbearing, the way he had been with her in the past. He wasn't threatening her in the least. He had been chatting, and enjoying her company as she was his. It was almost surreal. It was almost as if they truly were friends. Only now, the look he was giving her was not exactly one of friendship.

"Malfoy," she said in a hesitant response. "Listen, I'm not sure what's happening here. You know I can't think of two more polar opposites in all of Hogwarts."

He nodded at her and reached for her hand. He turned her palm up and traced the lines on it with his index finger. "You zig and I zag," he admitted while still softly moving his finger down her lifeline. She wasn't expecting him to actually touch her and she looked around the room quickly while attempting to pull her hand out of his grasp. "Exactly," she said, letting out a suppressed breath.

He held onto her hand, and then closed his over it, holding it between the two of his.

"It doesn't have to be that way, you know," he suggested, never taking his eyes off hers.

When she tugged again on her hand, he noticed that she did so with less certainty, almost half-heartedly. He continued, "Where's that Gryffindor courage, Granger? Or is it all talk, and no action?" He lifted her hand up to his lips and lightly kissed her knuckles. "You know what I want to do right now?"

She felt her knees weaken as she looked at him. At the same time, she felt excited by the intensity in his eyes, and the electricity that sparked between them. The chemistry was almost palpable, and she was sure they were emitting pheromones galore! If anyone even glanced in their direction, they would see that she had not resisted in the least.

She couldn't find her voice. They had been talking about such innocent things only moments ago, and now she could feel his breath as he opened her hand and he placed a soft kiss on the center of her palm. She shivered with an instant chill that ran up her spine with a current that shot up her arm and throughout her body.

He hadn't anticipated being this open with her. He knew that Hermione Granger was not expecting him to truly flirt with her, in such an honest way. He wasn't demeaning her, or mocking her; he was genuinely and hopelessly attracted to her. He wanted her to see what she did to him. He decided at that very moment, he wanted her know how he felt.

He placed her hand that he was holding on his chest, and then closed his eyes while he concentrated on his own heartbeat. He could feel the pounding, and the adrenaline that rushed through him while she was so close. He hoped she could feel it as well.

"Read between the lines, Granger." He opened his eyes and bore into hers. "This is what you do to me. I don't know how else to say it."

She had never felt more excited or aroused than at this very moment. The past few months had brought her a myriad of emotions. She had feelings of confusion, encouragement, anger, the joy of receiving her first kiss from Viktor, guilt, happiness and an intense, newly awakened, completely unexpected attraction to the bane of her existence. She had snogged her best friend, and enjoyed it. But at this very moment, the trees behind Draco seemed to disappear from her view. The Great Hall appeared to evaporate around them, and all that was left standing there was Draco Malfoy.

By all that was sacred to her, she would swear that she was about to kiss him. She felt propelled toward him, forgetting where they were altogether, and not caring who watched. He immediately noticed the flash of passion in her eyes, and recognized that they must be mirroring his own.

"I can manage, until I look in those eyes," he said softly.

Some things could not be forgotten. Draco would never forget the taste of Hermione's mouth, or the feel of her bare skin under his lips. He would never forget what it felt like to be close to her. He shifted as his body reacted to the memory.

Then without thinking another thought, he pulled her to him and kissed her. It was a wonderful kiss that burst free from prolonged restraint. He slanted his lips over hers as he moved his hands to tilt her head to the side, giving him easier access. There was something so familiar about kissing him, Hermione thought as her mind spun around in a thousand different directions. It seemed as though they had kissed before. She had images of him holding her tightly too him, sitting on his lap, embracing him, as they melted together.

It seemed to be a kiss that could have lasted for an eternity, but just as suddenly as it began, it ended. She pulled away from him, and panted for breath. She had kissed him before. There was no doubt now.

She knew the vision in her mind of their previous kiss in the very same Great Hall was real now. She hadn't been fantasizing when she recalled the tender touch of his lips on hers. The problem was, what to do? Had he forgotten? She doubted it was some nefarious reason or plot why he hadn't mentioned it, because she was certain that both of them were sharing the same unquenchable thirst for each other. It was too obvious for her to deny it.

Yet this was so unlike her! What was becoming of her? Her head struggled to put logic before emotion.

"Malfoy, no, this isn't right. I can't believe we did that!"

"Don't," he softly instructed her. "You'll ruin it."

"Where did that come from?" she asked herself as much as she asked him. "I can't believe I did that!" she repeated aloud. Then when she saw the look of disappointment cross his features, she wanted to explain.

"It's always been there, Granger," Draco attested. "You just have never paid attention. So pay attention now!"

He reached down and took her hand in his and pulled her quickly into the makeshift jail cell. After whispering a cloaking spell, Hermione knew that Draco had magicked the area so that they could still see out from the bars, but no one could see them inside. He then guided her back against the bars, and placed his hands on either side of her, holding onto a bar with each hand.

"Trust me," he whispered. His breath caught as he took in her flushed face. His eyes moved to her hair, and noticed a wisp of it hung across her cheek. Her pretty pink lips were parted to allow her tongue to flick out nervously.

Draco observed how her body was taunt, even though he knew she wanted to resist, she didn't. He instinctively lowered his mouth to her neck, and began kissing and tasting the column as she leaned back, giving him better access.

A soft whimper escaped Hermione's lips. Draco held her firmly in place with his hands on either side of her. He claimed her mouth again and watched her thick, dark lashes flutter over her stormy, dark chocolate eyes.

"Tell me to stop, and I will, even if it kills me, I will."

She shook her head mutely at him and with both arms, reached up to embrace him, pulling him closer to her.

"Tell me what you want, Granger. Tell me."

"I c-can't," she said weakly as she shook her head.

"Then I'll make you tell me. I'll make you want to tell me."

She bit her lower lip as he dared to caress her. She dropped her head on his shoulder when he began to unbotton her blouse.

She moaned softly has he lowered his mouth, and kissed his way across her collarbone.

His fingers worked quickly, impatient with need. He felt himself losing his control, and he struggled to maintain it.

"You're beautiful, Granger. You know that don't you?"

His mouth kissed a pathway down to the swell of her breast and her knees buckled.

Before risking the next step he raised his head to look at her. She was glowing, and he knew that she could never be more attractive than she was like this.

"I'm going to kiss you all night, because you need it. I can't get enough of your kisses. But I won't do anything you don't want me to, I promise."

He buried his hands in her dark mass of hair and seized her lips in a deep kiss. The exposed skin on her chest prickled with goose bumps, and she pressed into him wantonly. Draco's hips began to make small thrusts against her, mimicking the movement he was making with his tongue in her mouth. He wanted so badly to relieve the ache he was feeling for her, but he refused to rush her. She was more of an aphrodisiac than any potion could ever conjure up.

"Gods, Granger," Draco said huskily between kisses.

He took in the sight of her breasts and the delicate, femininely pink lace bra. He had often wondered, fantasized what she looked like, but it was impossible to match the vision that stood before him, her creamy smooth skin, and the gentle crevice of cleavage that met between each luscious curve. His hands flexed with need as he nervously reached for her.

"I'm sorry, Hermione, but I need to touch you now... I can't stop from touching you."

There. He said it. He had wondered what it would sound like out loud. But he finally said it. Her name rolled naturally from his lips, and before she could react he lowered his mouth on the swell of her right breast, while taking both small mounds in his hands and firmly massaging them. His tongue laved paths on the contours and he delicately licked, nipped and kissed. He began to urge the lace aside, wanting to take in the straining, hardened nipple in his mouth, but Hermione grabbed him by his hair and pulled him up.

"Mal- Malfoy... We can't."

"Yes we can, and we are," he said before he kissed her.

She closed her mouth, preventing his tongue from entering, even after he nipped at her lips.

"Malfoy, listen," she said emphatically. She closed her eyes so she wouldn't have to look at his dark silvery eyes. She needed to be strong.

"I won't analyze the strange, inexplicable pull we have going on here, that's not what I'm talking about. It's just that..." She began stroking his hair and opened her eyes to face him, feeling so frustrated. "It's just that I'm seeing someone."

Finally Draco pulled away. Her lips were rosey and swollen and wet. He fisted his hands and closed his eyes. It took every bit of his stubborn will to not lower his mouth back down onto hers and resume kissing her. When he opened his eyes again, they were no longer silver, but dark pewter.

"You think I don't know about Krum?" his voice grew hard. "You think I'm unaware of your questionable friendship with benefits that you have going on with Potter?"

Hermione didn't breathe. She was too shocked to react.

"I've been aware of your romances from the start, Granger." And just like that, he had resorted back to calling her by her surname. Damn her for stopping him! She was denying him something that he didn't want to be without. Her.

"I don't care!" he spat at her. "It's just ... tomfoolery." His hand reached up and stroked her cheek. His voice softened. "You're mine, Granger. I've decided, and that's that."

Hermione's throat went dry. She had seen so many different sides to Draco Malfoy recently. She had seen him angry, snarky, stone-faced, and had been quite used to him leering at her, but she had never seen him distraught, never had he been so affected by her that he seemed almost desperate.

"Draco, it's not fair. Not until things are cleared up properly," Hermione pleaded softly.

He hung his head in response, and closed his eyes. Her sense of loyalty and righteousness irked him, but he knew she would not be Hermione Granger had she not stopped him. He would have her, but maybe he would have to wait a bit longer.

"Let me borrow your chest for a moment," he conceded.

Draco lowered his forehead onto her chest. She gently resumed stroking his silky soft blond strands that slid between her fingers. As she continued to stroke his hair, he reached down to clasp her blouse closed. The proximity of her bare skin this close to his was too much for him.

"Say it again, please," he asked.

He didn't have to tell her twice. "Draco," she whispered. He closed his eyes and smiled.

"Again," he prompted.

"Draco, Draco, Draco..." she grinned at the ease of it. She liked the sound of it as well.

"DRACO!" a male's voice bellowed from behind them.

They both jumped at the sound of it, and Draco immediately looked up quickly to see Blaise and Krum heading their way, with a captured Potter and Weasley in tow. Damn. Did Potter have to choose now to fail? He was hoping the game would go on for a while longer, allowing him more time alone with Hermione.

She quickly began buttoning up her blouse and he helped her.

"Listen," he said in a very serious tone, "we are not done here. You'll meet me tonight, right here, after your party, understood?"

"We might get caught."

"You've never let that bother you before on your escapades with Potter. I've got some things I need to tell you, Hermione. We don't have time right now, just be here, ok?"

She quickly ran her fingers through her mass of curls, trying to straighten them down, which made him smile.

He reached for her shoulder and shook his head at her. "Come here, and kiss me." He pulled her to him. "Make it a nice long one, it will have to hold me for the next few hours."

Hermione's mind spun again, and she didn't know if she was about to make the biggest mistake of her life, or the best decision she could possibly make. She grabbed him by his collar and seized his mouth. His smile widened as she kissed him deeply, and the only thing that parted them was the nearing group behind them, as Blaise called for him again.

This was the by far, the best birthday Hermione Granger had ever had.