The cut required stitches. Draco only found this out in passing several days later—he'd deposited Granger in the sanitarium and promptly left her there, unwilling to spend any more time with her than he absolutely had to. The fact that they hated one another was only making their bond more difficult to deal with as neither could find any redeeming qualities in the other.

She wasn't too keen on him either, missing classes several days in a row pleading an incapacitating headache. Draco was man enough to admit that he missed her, but only because her absence gave him an unimpeded view of Weaselby, who looked even more morose than usual with Granger gone.

Potty seemed to be a little more aware of the situation, or perhaps Hermione confided in him since he had more brains than Weasley. He maintained a hostile, furious attitude directed at Draco, who merely smirked every time Potty's bespectacled eyes landed on him.

He did catch some interesting byplay between Chamber-pot and the Weasel, affecting not to notice Ron's distinctive, plaintive voice asking, "But if she's got a headache why is she studying so hard?"

Potty shushed him, but Draco had heard enough to get suspicious. He was vain enough to think the research had something to do with himself, and cunning enough to realize that his vanity was probably one-hundred percent correct in this matter.

That night as he lay in bed staring at the curtained ceiling of the canopy, he again let that power unfurl to find her.

She was awake still, and anxious. All it took was for him to drop the conscious walls he'd built against her and he could feel exactly what she was feeling, like touching living flesh through gauzy netting—almost there, but not quite.

'What are you up to, mudblood?' he wondered, trying to ascertain her actions from her moiling emotions.

There was a flutter of awareness, a sudden fury tinged with curiosity as she realized he was there with her, using their connection.


He didn't so much hear her as felt her like a physical touch—like the barest brush of fingers down his spine.

The next touch was not so kind. He was forcefully evicted from her, the connection clamped down on at her end as her determination erected a rather formidable barrier.

'You are not welcome here…'

The hunger woke to her presence, even with such little contact, bubbling beneath the surface with the slow, threatening assurance of becoming more demanding. Bound to Granger as it was, it wanted her, and constantly—regardless of Draco's personal preference.

He laughed a little to be so expelled, to feel the power curling inside him, knowing that she would answer when it came time. He thought of the things he'd seen in the darkest portion of her mind—those secret desires harbored in silence by every person alive, things that would never be spoken of, never be shared. Such degrading depravities that so frightened her she scarce examined them, fearing to be lost to such things. Secret desires were just that—secret; there was no real hope or danger of them coming true.

Except now he knew. They were secret no more. And every humiliation, every horrifying terror, every cruel need that made her shrink in on herself and whimper like a bloodied animal he would wreak on her. He knew Hermione Granger better and more deeply now than even her own muggle parents, than Weasley or Potter or anyone. And the power was content to know that he would have her laid out on a table like a pagan feast and doing such things to her as would give her nightmares and heated dreams for years to come.

He guaranteed it.

Okay, as I have the attention span of a fruit fly, I've decided to break this story up into two parts, so look for the next installment. I would say I'm going to get creative and name it something awesome...but don't be shocked if it's something lame like Play My Game Part II. Sorry, it's just that the longer an author makes a story, the less likely people are to bother with it.