Summary: Oneshot. 'I just don't want my first time to be with her,' he said dejectedly. 'Will you be my first?' 'It needs to be someone you really love,' she whispered. 'I know,' he said. 'That's why I'm asking you.' HGDM, sexual content.

Rating: R, for sexual content. You have been warned.


It was mid afternoon, and the bright rays of spring sunlight were streaming through the tall windows of the Heads' Common Room. A fire burned in the hearth to counteract the chill still lingering form the melting snow on the lawn outdoors. The Common Room was small, but comfortable; it was decorated with neutral colours and tastefully arranged. Two armchairs and a couch surrounded the hearth and a table with two chairs sat under the large window on the other side of the room. The table was currently occupied by the Head Girl; Hermione Granger sat engrossed in a large book, quill and parchment at her side. A stray curl fell into her eyes, and she brushed it away impatiently, only to have it fall again.

"For heaven's sake, Granger, do us both a favor and find yourself a clip," the Head Boy snapped as she reached up to push the unruly bit of hair away again. Draco Malfoy was flopped in one of the chairs, his feet propped up on the arm of the nearby couch, a book balanced casually on his stomach.

"Can't right now," she muttered, frantically turning pages. "I've almost got it, almost… There!"

"What is it now?"

"I think I finally understand Donahue's Theory of Elemental Magic," she exclaimed, bouncing up and down in her seat like a six year old on Christmas Day.

Draco didn't look surprised, only skeptical. "Is that even in our syllabus for NEWT's?"

She grinned sheepishly. "No, but I thought it might come in handy…"

He snorted. "If you were half as smart as people say you are, you'd spend your spare time studying subjects that will actually be in our NEWT's."

Hermione blinked. "What's got your wand in a knot?"

She watched as he scowled and glared and tried to avoid the subject. "Nothing," he finally snapped.

But Hermione knew him too well to believe that. Sighing, she set her quill down and moved toward the fireplace. Seating herself in the opposite chair and folding her arms across her chest, she said, "What's the matter?"

"Nothing," Draco attempted again, but she sent him a look.


He remained silent.

"Does it have anything to do with the letter from your father?" Hermione asked gently. She had seen the snowy hawk deliver the crisp parchment sealed with the black Malfoy crest, and she had only to guess the contents.

She could see immediately by his face that she had hit the mark, though his expression was quickly masked with one of indifference. "What if it did?" he challenged, returning her concern with a defiant look.

"You know full well that doesn't work on me," Hermione retorted coldly.

He glared at her for only a moment, then his shoulders seemed to slump. "My father…he says things have at last been finalized," Draco said haltingly, his face an expressionless mask. "They're planning the wedding for this summer."

"Wedding?" Hermione echoed, not comprehending.

"To Parkinson," he spat bitterly. "I'm to be married to that cow."

"Parkinson," she murmured disbelievingly. She hardly knew what to think, much less what to say. Draco? Married to Pansy? No wonder he was so upset. Pansy Parkinson might have the largest bra size at Hogwarts, but her IQ was equivalent to her shoe size. She was selfish, manipulative, and a host of other derogatory adjectives. Hermione couldn't imagine that horrible girl engaged to funny, sweet, witty Draco who might act like an arse sometimes but really had a heart of gold.

It had only been a year since she and Draco had become friends. The going at first had been rough, but once they'd gotten over their prejudices, the friendship had progressed rapidly. When they'd both been appointed as the Heads their seventh year, they'd been ecstatic. Of course in the open, they both kept up a front for Harry and Ron, who would flip if they knew that she and Draco were best friends.

Yes, best friends. It'd been only a few months before when she'd finally realised that she was closer to him than she was to Ron and Harry. Goodness knows she never thought that would happen. Their friendship was kept a secret with the help of a few close friends: Ginny Weasley, being one, and Blaise Zabini, Draco's closest guy friend.

"Arranged marriages?" Hermione blurted out, knowing full well that her face was betraying her horrified feelings. "It's so…so…"

"Archaic?" he filled in, not meeting her eyes.

"Barbaric," Hermione said firmly. "You're sure it's set in stone?"

"He told me they signed with Blood Quills," Draco said, and she shuddered.

"But why?"

Draco turned to her, his eyes cold as ice. "Let me make this simple, Granger. Purebloods—my type, not Weasley's type—are married as soon as they graduate from school and turn seventeen, so they can enter society and receive their inheritance and begin populating the world with little pureblood babies. If we're lucky, our parents will give us those seven years at Hogwarts to look around and find a nice Pureblood girl we wouldn't mind marrying. Then we tell our parents and the two families begin to work out the arrangements. Except in my case, where my father and Parkinson's father have been talking about this for several years now."

"Why can't you just…"

"Just refuse?" He laughed bitterly. "I wish. If I refuse, I'll be disinherited, and then what will I do? I'll have nowhere to go, no relatives to live with, no money at all. Money is power. Do you know how much my inheritance is, Hermione? Fifty million galleons, not including the businesses and companies my father owns or has invested in."

"You can't just pick someone else, though?"

"Parkinson's dowry is ten million and when her parents die she will inherit their entire estate," Draco said shortly. "My father only cares about the money, and the fact that she's from one of the oldest Pureblood family lines in Britain."

"What about divorce?"

"Rare in higher society circles, but if that's what it comes to, I'll do it after my inheritance is secure or my father dies. Either way, it'll be years. Unless your lot happens to kill him in one of your battles," Draco finished hopefully.

"Draco! That's not funny!"

"It would be if I weren't completely serious," he replied, his grey eyes burning into her.

Hermione stared at the floor. "There's really no way out, is there?"

"No. No way out."


Hermione slumped against the couch and Draco watched her carefully, feeling a mixture of emotions. Damn his bloody parents… Before now, he had been resigned to his eventual fate, but somehow, after explaining it to Hermione, it seemed so much worse.

"Dammit," he hissed, bringing down his hand on the side table with a resounding slap. Hermione shrank back a little, her eyes wide and frightened as she stared at him.

"Dammit," Draco said again, feeling the rush of anger. He was pacing back and forth in front of the fireplace, though he couldn't recall exactly when he'd left his seat.

"Does she know?" Hermione asked timidly.

"She will tomorrow," he ground out. "And then she'll gloat to high heaven, and if I completely ignore her, it'll filter back to her parents and the deal might be off… Oh god."

Hermione watched him with large tortured eyes. "I'm sorry."

"And that's not even the worst of it."

"It isn't?"

"No." He stopped abruptly, standing only inches away from her. "Remember that chat we had at the beginning of the year?"

She shook her head.

"About that name you called me that I hated…"

Understanding flooded her eyes, and she nodded numbly.

Draco turned away coldly. He well remembered the day Hermione had made a flippant joke about his role as the sex god of Slytherin after entering the common room to find him snogging a Ravenclaw sixth year. For some reason, that day it hadn't been funny and somehow in the course of their argument, he'd blurted out his deepest, darkest secret: the fact that he was still a virgin.

To his utter amazement, she hadn't mocked him; she hadn't even laughed, or showed outward astonishment, though he knew she must be surprised. She'd merely waited for him to continue. And when he'd finished talking, she had simply told him that it was a good thing—after all, she was a virgin too.

He had been slightly surprised. After all, she had dated Weasley for a few months, and Draco knew how many girls he'd banged up. He'd overheard some Hufflepuffs comparing stories. And that Bulgarian Seeker back in fourth year…he'd been sure something had happened there.

"Oh, god," she muttered, the full implications of the marriage sinking in. "Oh, Draco, I'm so sorry…"

"I just…" he began, then stopped. "I just don't want my first time to be with…with her."

Hermione's gaze was sympathetic in a gut-wrenching sort of way. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I wish there was something I could do."

He sighed. Then, suddenly, he looked up. "There is," he said in a hopeful, yet reluctant voice. "Could you…could you be my first?"

She stared at him for one long shocked second. Then she jumped to her feet, her face flushing red. "Is that all you care about, Malfoy?"

Draco flinched at the use of his last name. She only used it when she was particularly riled.

"You pretend to be friends for me just so you can get me in bed," Hermione spat. "Well, here's news: I'm not going to be your little Mudblood bitch, ever!"

"Hermione!" he shouted. "That's not what I meant!"

"It's bloody well what you meant," she snarled. "Friends! Ha. The only 'friends' you have are the ones you hope will be good for a shag one day."

"No, it's not," he began, but she was already storming away toward the Portrait Hole. He lengthened his strides to draw near her and caught her wrist with one hand. She jerked, but he held tight.

"Let go."

"No," he said firmly, his mouth a thin, straight line. "Not until you listen to me."

She made a little enraged sound of anger in the back of her throat, but finally seemed to realise that he wasn't letting her leave until she heard him out. "Talk fast, Ferret."

"I'm sorry. I…" He paused awkwardly, not sure what to say. "I didn't mean it like that."

She snorted.

"OK, I did, but I didn't mean it the way you took it. You of all people know how hard I've had to work to keep up a reputation and still remain a virgin these past seven years. I mean, you're still a virgin too." He paused. "At least I think you are."

"Git! Of course I am!" she said, blushing red. But now, at least, she was listening.

"We've both made it this far. But you've got to admit, I've had it harder than you. You haven't exactly had every bloke in the school practically begging you for a shag."

"Thanks a lot!"

Draco rolled his eyes. "It's the plain truth, Granger, accept it. You know how hard it's been for me to say no to all of them. Not just for simple reasons, but also because…" He could feel his face reddening. "Because blokes are wired a little differently than girls."

She still had a scrunched up look on her face, but she seemed to be listening more intently. Draco took courage in the fact that she might actually comprehending what he was saying, and continued. "So here I was, thinking I was saving myself for the right person at the right time; no girls ever came along who felt…right, I suppose. I never found someone I connected with. And now, here I am, thinking I've been saving myself all along for her, and it ends up the first girl I'll ever have to sleep with will be Parkinson."

Hermione shuddered a little.

"The first time is supposed to be special, you know?" he said softly, and she gave a tiny nod. "I don't want my first time to be with Parkinson. I want it to be with someone I adore and admire; a girl who makes me feel giddy every time I'm around her. Someone I can respect and remember for the rest of my life."

"It needs to be someone you really love, Draco," she whispered, shaking her head.

"I agree," he replied, just as quietly. "And that's why I'm asking you."

Her head jerked up, and she stared at him uncomprehendingly for a long moment. "You love me?" she said skeptically, her eyes wide.

"Yeah," Draco said honestly, locking into her eyes. "Yeah, I do."

She stared at him disbelievingly for a moment that might have been a century. Then she started to the door, but Draco reached out and caught her wrist again. This time, she didn't try pull away.

"Hermione, I meant every word I said. Think about it. Promise me you'll consider it. I…I promise it wouldn't be one of those unfeeling one night stands. It'll be special."

Another moment of complete silence passed, even longer than the one before. And finally, when he was sure she would storm out, she said, "OK."


"OK, I'll think about it, not OK, I'll do it," she corrected.

They stood there for another awkward moment before Draco threw her a smirk. "You've at least got to give me credit for asking. Any other bloke in Slytherin wouldn't have been so courteous; they would have just…" He trailed off, letting her finish the sentence for herself. It was risky, joking like this, but if it broke the ice…

Hermione's face reddened with anger, and then she saw his good natured grin and hit him lightly on the arm. "You prat!"

The awkwardness was gone, and the mood lightened considerably. A few minutes later, they went their separate ways after making plans to meet to study for Ancient Runes later that night.


One month later

The scratching of quill on parchment filled Hermione's ears as she scribbled furiously on her last inch of essay. Words rushed through her head as she wrote the final sentence of her conclusion. With one last flourish and dot for a period, she sat back and began to shake the writing cramps out of her hand. Another O, for sure, she thought as she proudly surveyed her essay. It was late; she yawned and stretched, wondering where Draco was. Usually, his Wednesday night rounds were completed by eleven, but it was nearly midnight. Absently she wondered what was taking so long; she didn't worry, though—he was fully capable of taking care of himself, whether it was defending himself from Gryffindors who were, to Hermione's embarrassment, always on the warpath, or from the members of his own House, with whom he often had conflicts.

Unbidden, her mind leapt to the conversation that had occurred between them a month earlier. Since that day, Draco hadn't spoken of the subject again, and she certainly hadn't brought it up, but somehow she knew that his proposition was never far from both of their thoughts.

Her words were forever running through her mind—It needs to be someone you really love, Draco—as well as his reply: I agree. And that's why I'm asking you. At first, she'd been completely nonplussed; then, the denial had set in. He didn't know what he was talking about. Perhaps he had an infatuation, but nothing more. She didn't see how he could like—let alone love—her anyway. Even Parkinson, revolting as the girl might be, was by far prettier than her. Hermione fingered one of her unruly curls; it didn't take much imagination to picture herself at that moment. Most likely her hair was a frizzy mess from hours of raking her fingers though it as she puzzled over difficult parts of her essay; her shirt sleeve was speckled with ink from furious scribbling; and her knee socks were askew from the odd habit she had of rubbing her feet against the leg of the table as she studied.

But after his startling confession that he loved her, she had started to pay more attention to things that before she had taken for granted as normal for their friendship. It took some time, but she eventually began to notice the difference. The little things he'd do for her like bringing her breakfast when she'd spent a late night studying had deeper motives to be simply friendly gestures. He knew exactly the way she liked her eggs, what toppings she preferred on pancakes, which jam was her favorite, that she liked toast but detested bread. If Harry or Ron had tried to bring her breakfast, they would have certainly gotten it all wrong; not that she would have minded, but the fact that Draco thought her important enough to memorise her preferences meant something.

It was more than just that, though. Sometimes she would catch him watching her as she studied, a look of intensity in his eyes that almost frightened her. He still smirked and insulted and sneered his way through the days, but gone was the cruelty, the sharpness and edge she'd come to associate with the Slytherin king. Outside the privacy of their dorm, they frequently scheduled arguments to keep the student body under the impression that they were mortal enemies, but even his jabs had no malice behind them, only an ironic humour. It'd been a year since he'd called her "Mudblood," and lately, she couldn't even recall the last time he'd called her Granger apart from public settings. When he said her name, Hermione, it rolled off his tongue naturally, rather than forced, as it had been the first few times she'd insisted he could call her by her first name. There was something in his voice, though—a tenderness she couldn't quite put her finger on.

Frankly, all of it scared her. She had had her share of crushes before, as well as blokes who liked her back, but never anything like this. Never had she had an admirer so infatuated with her, so attentive and…well, sweet. And never before had the feelings been mutual.

Yes, mutual. The feelings, she had finally realised, were going both ways, and that admission alone had cost her more than anything else.

But she couldn't deny the facts: she loved him back.

The transformation had been so subtle that she'd hardly noticed the feelings growing within. She hadn't noticed until the day she'd looked over at Draco as he studied and felt a surge of something, and realised that she absolutely loathed Pansy for taking him away from her.

The Common Room door burst open and Draco stomped in, his face a mask of anger. His clothes were rumpled and his hair was a mess. He stormed over to the high backed chair and threw himself into it, muttering things under his breath.

"Is everything alright?" Hermione asked timidly, apprehensively moving closer and seating herself on the edge of the couch. "Draco?"

"Damn Parkinson," he said vehemently, and Hermione's heart sank.

"She cornered you again, didn't she?"

"Worse," he said. "She switched with a Ravenclaw again so she could do rounds with me, even after I expressly told the Prefects they were not to alter our schedules. She got me alone, and then she threw herself at me."

"I'm sorry," Hermione whispered.

"Well, aren't we all," he said harshly, glaring at the fire.

Hermione leaned back against the sofa and stared into the flames as well, sympathy swelling inside of her. She knew how hard he tried to avoid Pansy, especially since the Slytherin girl was like a leech now that the news was everywhere that they were engaged. The girl was horrid before, but now she was downright unbearable. At least the Common Room was safe—both Hermione and Draco had agreed never to let their friends into their quarters. In a way, it was their sanctuary. If Hermione wanted to study with Harry and Ron, she went to the Gryffindor tower; if Draco wanted to spend time with Zabini, he went to the dungeons. The Common Room was off limits, and that was proving very useful in repelling Pansy.

Draco let out a hopeless sigh, and Hermione snuck a peek at him from the corner of her eye. His head was in his hands now, and his shoulders had slumped in despair.

Hermione let her breath out in a long, steady stream. On the mantle, the clock ticked methodically. "Alright," she said at last, and Draco looked up, puzzled.

"Alright what?"

"I'll do it," she said softly, and he cocked an eyebrow at her for only a moment before understanding filled his eyes, accompanied with genuine shock.

"Hermione," Draco said slowly, his expression undecipherable. "It was wrong of me to ask you to do that."

"No, you weren't wrong," she returned levelly. "You were doing what anyone would have done in your situation. It's not wrong for you to want the first time to be special—for the first time to be with someone you…you love."


"Let me finish," she said stubbornly, crossing her arms and fixing her gaze on him. "What you asked me to do was inappropriate and presumptuous and quite honestly I was mortified at first. But that was before I thought it over and decided to accept."


Hermione thought for a moment, then looked back at him. "A number of reasons: perhaps I feel bad for you; you're my friend, and friends do things for friends, though I'll be completely honest—Ron and Harry have asked me for loads of things, but never for sex." She paused a moment, and laughed a little at the mere idea of Ron or Harry asking her so candidly the same question Draco had asked. "Anyway," she continued, "if I were you, I'd want to have a first before Parkinson as well, though I can't imagine why'd you want me—it's not as if I were as pretty some of the other girls…"

"You're beautiful," Draco said with such a raw honesty that it completely unnerved her. "You're the most beautiful girl in the whole school."

Hermione faltered mid-speech. "Draco…"

"I mean it," he said stubbornly. "But I'm not going to let you do this."

She sighed, frustrated. "You don't get it, do you? I'm trying to tell you that I'm not agreeing to sleep with you just because of guilt or pity. I want to."

He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. She read the unspoken question in his eyes.

"Why?" Hermione said softly. "That's a funny question, Draco, but the answer is pretty straightforward: I think I love you too."

His eyes lit up. Hermione smiled fondly at him, yet sadly at the same time.

"But are you sure….?"

"Yes," she said. "My decision is made. But Draco…I'm doing this because I care about you and I want to do something for you to show you how deep my affection really runs, but we both know it can only be a one time thing. You're engaged, and I know you're not the cheating type, no matter how you feel about her."

He nodded solemnly. "I know."

"And we'll have to go slow," she said, reddening as the full realization of to what she'd just agreed hit her. "I'm not…I'm not exactly experienced, if you know what I mean."

He nodded, his eyes full of something—she couldn't tell what.

"So," she said, taking a deep breath. "So. I guess the only other question to answer is when."

"When?" he echoed.

"When we'll plan on…well, doing it," she prompted, her cheeks blushing scarlet.

Draco seemed to pull himself together. "How about a week from Friday? It'll be the weekend. We won't be interrupted."

"Next Friday works," said Hermione faintly.

"Dinner first?" he asked, watching her carefully.

"Dinner would be great," she said, nodding and trying to look composed, though it felt as if her stomach was filled with butterflies.



After a long, rather awkward silence, Hermione muttered something about being tired and after saying goodnight, fled to her room and shut the door behind.


At three o'clock on the following Friday afternoon, Hermione decided that if she paced in her room one more minute, she'd go mad.

Classes had ended early, unfortunately, leaving her plenty of time to brood, worry, and fidget. And wonder what on earth she should wear. And consider the option that she might have made an awful mistake in her decision.

The days following that night in the Common Room had been forcedly normal. Since the last conversation, Draco hadn't mentioned the dinner and the—er, activities to follow—not until that morning, anyway, when they'd left the Heads' Common Room and gone their separate ways to classes. "See you tonight," he'd said softly, and before she could reply, he'd disappeared into the rush of students hurrying to their classes.

Hermione quickly pulled on her cloak and peeked her head out her door before slipping out into the main room. She hadn't seen Draco yet; what was exactly he planning? Dinner at the Common Room, or dinner in Hogsmeade? Or had he only meant eating in the Great Hall? Surely "dinner" meant more than that.

She left the Common Room, resolving not to return until seven that night. Her wandering footsteps brought her to the Portrait Hole of the Gryffindor tower, though she wasn't exactly sure why she'd come here. Surely the library would be a better place to pass the time.

Still, Hermione told the Fat Lady the password and entered the nearly empty Common Room. No wonder most of the students were absent. Outside, the weather was perfect; the sun was shining brightly on the lawn sprinkled with tufts of emerging grass. A slight breeze was blowing through the open windows and ruffling the heavy scarlet drapes, and for a moment Hermione thought she smelled the scent of newly budding flowers.

She crossed the room to stand by the window. In the distance, she could see the red specks of the Gryffindor team slipping in yet another practice before the game with Hufflepuff on Sunday. She knew she'd be required to attend, being Head Girl and all and needing to support her House, but in all honesty, she'd much rather curl up by the fire with a good book.

The thought made her smile a little. Draco, for one, shared this sentiment with her. She remembered how surprised she'd been the day he admitted that it hadn't been his idea to be on the Quidditch team at all—his father had insisted that he join. Though Draco enjoyed flying, it wasn't by any means his strong point, and he'd rather have those hours spent practicing free to study for N.E.W.T.'s which were a constant source of worry for him, as Hermione well knew.

She had lost track of time, for sure. A noise behind her made her turn, and she saw a few of the Gryffindor team members trekking in, a few still with wet hair from their showers. Ron and Harry were strangely absent, but a flash of red hair alerted her to the presence of the youngest Weasley.

Ginny spotted her and immediately separated herself from the crowd. Hermione watched her approach with mixed feelings. Ginny still remained her closest girl friend, and Hermione had doubts as to whether it was possible to hide anything from the sixth year. Perhaps that particular talent had come with years of putting up with six older brothers. Hermione shuddered a little, thanking her lucky stars that she'd been born an only child.

"Hermione!" Ginny exclaimed, eyebrows shooting up. "What brings you into the realm of us mere mortals? Finally came out of your elevated Heads' dormitory, have you?"

"I've missed you too," Hermione said dryly, though she knew a twitch at the corner of her mouth had already betrayed her amusement. "Where's Ron and Harry?"

"Still practicing," said Ginny, rolling her eyes. "I swear, they'd skip meals and sleep to practice if they could. They're obsessed with winning this next game."

"And every other game they've ever played," Hermione muttered.

"Come, find a comfortable seat," the other girl urged, and Hermione followed her to the overstuffed couch in front of the fireplace. "So, where have you been lately?"

Hermione shrugged. "Well, you know that N.E.W.T.'s are only a few months away…"

"Oh, posh," said Ginny. "You know that excuse doesn't work on me. What's really been going on?"

"Not much," Hermione said untruthfully.

"How's Draco doing?" asked Ginny predictably, and for the first time since she'd told her friend about her friendship with the Slytherin, Hermione regretted her decision.

She quickly turned to look at the window and fought to keep the blush off her cheeks. "Oh, as well as can be suspected, I suppose," she said, shrugging. "He's upset about the marriage plans."

Ginny winced. "I heard about that. It's all over the school by now. Poor bloke…"

"What about you?" said Hermione quickly, anxious to get the topic back to safer ground.

Narrowed eyes let her know that the topic had not been abandoned, though Ginny complied and began telling her the latest Gryffindor gossip and the progress of her own relationship with Harry.

Hermione listened half-heartedly, but her mind snapped back when Ginny said, "…and I was a little embarrassed, walking in on Harry with his shirt off and all, but he just said, 'Like what you see?' so I told him that I did and I wouldn't mind seeing more, and pretty soon he was snogging me and then… Well, you're smart; you can guess what happened," she finished, wiggling her eyebrows at Hermione.

Hermione gaped. "You two…you…you did it?"

Ginny grinned like a Cheshire Cat. "Yup."

Rendered temporarily speechless, Hermione said the first thing that came to mind. "Was he good?"

"Hermione, you dirty-minded boyfriend-stealer!" Ginny exclaimed, pushing Hermione a little. "He's mine!"

Hermione immediately reddened. "You know I didn't mean it that way…"

Ginny laughed. "Joking, Hermione, joking." She leaned close. "It was amazing."

Hermione tried to think of a tactful way to ask whether Ginny could teach her a good contraceptive charm, but in the end she merely said, "Good for you," and left the conversation at that.

"Yeah, he's taking me to Hogsmeade next weekend," Ginny said. "But I haven't the slightest idea what I'm going to wear."

"Bloody hell," Hermione gasped, and Ginny recoiled a little. "Bloody hell, I don't have a thing to wear…what on earth am I going to do?"

"Something to wear to what?" Ginny said, recovering a little from her friend's blatant use of Ron's sort of language.

Hermione bit her lip. She had absolutely no nice clothes at Hogwarts; besides, even if she did, she didn't want to venture back to her dormitory just yet. What if Draco was there? Ginny was her size. But if she told Ginny about the dinner, she knew the girl wouldn't settle for less than a name.

But what other options did she have? She certainly couldn't show up for such an important night wearing her school uniform.

Hermione leaned close. "You've got to promise not to tell a soul, Ginny, and I mean it. Especially not Ron and Harry."

"I swear on my honor as a Gryffindor and a Weasley," Ginny said with a straight face. "Now tell me!"

Hermione took a breath. "I'm, uh, going to dinner with someone tonight."

"Really?" Ginny squealed, her voice suddenly several pitches higher. "Who?"

"Shut up," Hermione hissed. "You're going to tell the entire House!"

"Sorry," said Ginny, not looking repentant at all. "Who is it?"

"I'd rather not say," Hermione hedged. "I need something nice to wear, though, and I was wondering if you had anything."

Ginny pursed her lips and gave Hermione a critical look. "I might have something. Let's go see."

Once they were in Ginny's room, the sixth year opened her trunk and dumped an armload of clothes onto her bed. "Nope, not this…that's one's small on me…too dressy…too casual…too slutty…too blah…" she muttered as she threw clothes back into the trunk.

"But that one looked nice," Hermione began as yet another blouse soared in a graceful arch and landed in the discarded pile.

Ginny cut her off. "Hermione, try this on," she commanded, throwing a skirt at her.

Hermione just barely caught the article of clothing. The knee-length skirt was black and made of stretchy, flowing material, and it bunched up on one side causing some of the material to fall in a cascade of graceful folds. She quickly slipped it on and surveyed herself critically in the full length mirror hanging on the back of the door.

"I like it," said Ginny encouragingly. "Try this top with it."

The top was black as well, but it didn't fit well. The next one Hermione tried was too low, though Ginny liked it. The next one after that wasn't dressy enough to go well with the skirt.

"What kind of dinner is this?" Ginny asked after several more tops joined the abandoned pile of clothing. "Fancy restaurant, or private meal?"

"Private," Hermione divulged reluctantly.

"Here at Hogwarts or elsewhere?"


To Hermione's relief, Ginny didn't press for more information—yet. She merely nodded and handed Hermione another blouse to try on.

Five shirts later, Hermione was about to admit defeat when Ginny tossed her a lacy blue top with tiny pearl buttons up the front.

She loved it.

"That one suits you," said Ginny, smiling. "It'll go perfectly with that skirt. Now all we have to figure out is what to do with your hair."

"My hair?" Hermione squeaked. "But…"

"What time is your dinner?" Ginny asked.

"Seven, but…"

"We've got loads of time," Ginny assured her. "Sorry if I offend, Hermione, but your hair looks like you just escaped a tornado. "

Begrudgingly, Hermione finally consented and allowed the other girl to begin the tedious process of brushing her hair. Ginny applied an anti-frizz cream, but when she offered to straighten it, Hermione declined. "I think…I think he prefers it curly," she said shyly.

Ginny grinned. "Sounds like you've got a keeper there, Hermione. Any chance you'd tell me who he is?"

Hermione shook her head.

Ginny sighed. "Too bad. I'll just have to guess, won't I?"

Hermione didn't reply. Ginny surely didn't have a chance at guessing the right bloke—not when there were loads of choices… Did she?

"And while I think, I'll do your makeup," Ginny decided, pulling out a bag of tubes and bottles and brushes.

"Makeup?" Hermione protested. "But…"

"Just a little around the eyes," said Ginny. "It'll make a world of difference. So, is the dinner in Hogsmeade?"

"No, it's here," Hermione replied carefully. "I think."

"It'd be kind of hard to sneak to Hogsmeade without Harry's cloak anyway," said Ginny. "I should know. Michael and I tried it once, but we ended up with a month's worth of detentions from Filch."

"Mmmm," said Hermione, trying not to blink as Ginny applied the mascara.

"So, have you two gone out before?" Ginny pried.

Hermione shook her head.

"Talked? Hung out? Spent any time at all with each other?"

"Now you're just being nosy," Hermione said reproachfully. "I'm entitled to my secrets."

"And I'm entitled to a healthy measure of concern when it comes to the blokes you date, Hermione," said Ginny, pausing with the foundation brush for a moment. "I mean, Viktor Krum was taking advantage of you, but still you kept writing him for a whole year after he left. Ron, on the other hand…well, I don't need to tell you how much of a bastard he is. How many times did he pressure you to sleep with him? How long was he seeing that sodding Hufflepuff behind your back?"

Hermione looked away.

"Don't get me wrong," said Ginny. "I love my brother. He's not a bad bloke—I've met worse, anyway, but he's definitely not good enough for you. Not in this lifetime, anyway. I admire you for still being friends with him after all the stuff he did. Close your eyes."

Hermione did, and a second later, a soft brush was applying layers of eye shadow. "You're going to make me look like a whore," she complained. "I never wear this much makeup."

"Don't judge too hastily," Ginny reproved. "You haven't seen yourself yet. So, if he's setting up the dinner here in the castle, he must be on good terms with the House Elves, huh?"

Hermione snorted. "Not in this lifetime… Ginny Weasley!"

"Ha," said Ginny smugly as Hermione brooded, mentally berating herself for not being more observant and seeing exactly where Ginny was going with her questions.

"OK, take a look," Ginny chirped at last, and Hermione took the hand mirror.

To her surprise, Ginny had not only done a marvelous job, but had also done her make up in way that was noticeable, but not overbearing or flashy. Her eyes were accentuated with brown eye liner and mascara, and just a touch of sliver eye shadow on the lids. Her lips were just a shade brighter than normal, and her cheeks just a little more pink. She studied herself critically in the mirror.

"You look gorgeous, hon," said Ginny, grinning widely. "My beautiful creation."

"I'm not your creation," said Hermione testily. "Thanks, though."

"No problem," the younger girl sang, depositing all her makeup back into the bag with one swipe of the counter. "Anything else I can do for you?"

Hermione hesitated. There was something, but she was positive she didn't want to reveal her…er…need to Ginny… But if she didn't... She should have had the good sense to think of it earlier, but the thought had only just popped into her head during the makeover.

"There is something," she said slowly, reddening. "I…uh…wouldn't ask, but I honestly don't have any, and I can't go to Hogsmeade on this short of a notice, and you're my absolute best girl friend in the world…"

"What d'you need?"

Hermione blushed scarlet. "A bra and knickers," she whispered, not meeting Ginny's eyes. "Nice ones."

Ginny squealed. "'re…Hermione, are you…you know…doing it…tonight?"

"It's a definite possibility," hedged Hermione, wishing that she hadn't brought up the topic.

"But…it's you we're talking about…"

"Did you expect me to be a virgin when I left Hogwarts?" Hermione snapped, glaring at Ginny.

"Well, no, but…"

"Conversation finished, then," said Hermione firmly. "If you don't have anything you'd let me borrow…"

Thankfully, Ginny said nothing as she turned back and began digging through her trunk. At last she pulled out a lacy black bra and matching knickers that didn't cover very much at all. "Will this do?" she asked.

"They'll work fine," said Hermione, blushing as she snatched the lingerie from her friend. "I'll, uh, just put these on in the bathroom."

When she emerged, a minute later, Ginny had thrown on her cloak. "I'm going to the Great Hall for dinner with Harry," she said. "He's waiting in the lobby for me, and Ron's probably there too, so I'd suggest not making an appearance until after they're gone unless you want to answer a lot of questions about why you're dressed the way you are."

Hermione shivered at the thought. "I'll just wait here."

Ginny started to the stairs. "Thanks," called Hermione, and Ginny stopped in the doorway, grinning widely and winking at her friend.

"No problem," she said. "Have fun with…Draco."

Before the word "Draco" even had time to register in her mind, Ginny was gone, leaving a very shocked Hermione standing frozen in the middle of the room.

It was two minutes till seven when Hermione approached the portrait of Leo the Loud that guarded the entrance to the Heads' Common Room. She stopped at the portrait for a moment, trying in vain to calm her beating heart. It was no use, though. Her stomach was overwhelmingly queasy with her apprehension, and she nearly lost her nerve and bolted back to the Gryffindor tower.

Hermione wasn't sure how long she stood there before finally uttering the password and stepping inside.

Immediately she was overwhelmed with a flood of sights and smells. The entire room was lined with hovering white candles that cast a white glow about the room. The two armchairs had been pushed into the shadows, but the couch remained as well as the table which was now unrecognizable. The table was covered with a white linen cloth and set with plates and utensils that appeared to be pure silver. Two crystal goblets stood next to the plates and in the middle of the table were three tall candles in silver stand. That wasn't all, though, for the entire table setting was sprinkled with moonrose petals—a rare magical plant whose petals glowed when the moon came out.

She stood, entranced and caught up in the magic of it all. It faintly registered that soft violin music was playing in the background. Vivaldi—her favorite. Why am I not surprised?

There was a soft noise and Hermione turned to find Draco standing a few feet away. He was wearing dress khaki pants and a linen black shirt unbuttoned at the throat. His hair was immaculate, as always.

"I thought you'd decided to back out at the last minute," said Draco, stepping forward and holding out a single Moonrose. "For you."

"Thank you," Hermione murmured, and as she accepted the flower, Draco leaned forward to kiss her. Immediately, she felt herself stiffen, but he tilted his head and planted a light kiss on her cheek. She felt a tingle run down her spine and slowly her shoulders relaxed.

"You look stunning," Draco said softly into her ear, and she smiled shyly as he took her hand and gently led her to the table.

"You won't mind if I take these horrid shoes off before dinner, will you?" asked Hermione, pausing uncertainly in front of her seat.

Draco looked at her feet, then smirked. "High heels. Classy."

"You wouldn't think so if you had to wear them," she grumbled as he pulled out the chair for her. Inwardly, she was glad, though. A lighter mood would definitely help her nerves.

"May I?"

Hermione realised he was asking permission to remove her shoes. "Uh, sure. Go ahead."

Draco knelt and fumbled with the straps and buckles for two whole minutes before finally undoing them and sliding her feet out of the heels. "Bloody hell," he said, wiping mock sweat off his forehead. "That was much harder than I thought it would be."

"Another reason why you should be glad you weren't born a girl."

He snorted as he slipped into his own chair and leaned back, causally draping one arm over the back. "As if I don't have enough reasons already. Would you believe my mother was going to name me Capricorna had I been born a girl?"

Hermione shivered. "I think I prefer Draco."


She grinned. "Well, there is one reason I'm glad I'm a girl."

"Only one?"

"More, you prat, but one in particular. I don't have to wear ties to formal events. By the way, you seem to have forgotten yours."

Draco looked down, muttered another "bloody hell," and jumped up, scanning the room for the forgotten tie. Hermione laughed.

"Sit back down, Draco. If you did know everything about me, you'd know that I detest ties, even on blokes. I'm surprised you didn't know that. You seem know every other detail about my preferences." She gestured at the Wizarding music box in the corner (an equivalent to a CD player or radio), and the moonrose petals on the table.

"It wasn't that difficult," he said, looking pleased with himself. "I was just observant. D'you want to eat now?"

She smiled and nodded, and took her cue when he told her that the food would appear when she tapped her plate. The first course was salad, tastefully prepared and without carrots, which she detested. The real surprise came with the second course, however. She couldn't withhold a little cry of delight when a tap of her wand revealed spaghetti and meatballs.

"Draco! How did you know?"

He grinned bashfully. "You told me once that it was your favorite food and that they didn't serve it here at Hogwarts."

She didn't say it, but she could tell he knew exactly how much this meant to her. She couldn't even remember ever telling him her favorite food, but somehow he'd picked up the information and stored it away, and that alone was more than any regular friend would do.

Unsure of what to say next, Hermione concentrated on her spaghetti. Fortunately, Draco filled in the silence by telling her an anecdote of several Hufflepuffs he'd caught the day before trying to sneak love potions into Harry's and Ron's drinks. Hermione laughed delightedly. "What did you do?"

"I took off points, of course," said Draco, looking offended.

"No, but did you tell Harry and Ron?"

He snorted. "And inflate their already-large heads even larger? Not in this lifetime."

Hermione snickered. "Poor Harry."

"Poor Harry?" Draco exclaimed. "I'd say he's got it pretty good, actually."

"Why do you say that?"

"That Weasley girl does a pretty good job keeping the girls away, from what I've heard. Did you hear about that Ravenclaw who tried to corner Potter?"

Hermione burst into horrified laughter just thinking about it. "I'm pretty sure it took two weeks in the hospital wing for Madame Pomfrey to remove all the poor girl's tentacles and hair, not to mention the long-lasting Bat Bogey Hex."

"I hope to Merlin I never get on her bad side," said Draco solemnly.

When the spaghetti and meatballs were gone, Hermione tapped her plate again to find a steaming brownie topped with mint chocolate ice cream. Again, she felt amazed. Not only did he know her every weakness, right down to her favorite dessert, he knew exactly how much food would satisfy her.

Unable to wait, she dug her fork into the brownie and ice cream and closed her eyes as she savored the minty chocolaty flavors.

When she opened her eyes, Draco was watching her. "Do you like it?" he asked.

"I love it," she said fervently. "Draco, this is amazing. How on earth were you able to pull this thing off? All the decorations, and the food…"

He laughed softly. "You'll never guess," he said teasingly.

"What? You convinced a house elf?"

"Actually, yes."

Her expression must have betrayed her disbelief. "I'm serious!" he said, pretending to be hurt. "I paid Dobby!"

"Dobby made the food?"

"He only has a thing against my father, not against me," said Draco defensively. "He always liked me. And he was more than willing when I offered to give him some money like a free house elf."

Hermione chuckled, taking another bite of dessert. "Well, I would have never expected it."

"You forget that I am known for being impulsive and unpredictable."

She conceded the point.

As Hermione finished the last of her dessert, she felt the butterflies returning. What next?

"More meade?" Draco offered lightly, and she shook her head. The amber liquid was delicious, but slightly alcoholic and she wanted to be completely alert tonight. Draco merely poured himself another half glass. If he was nervous, he wasn't showing it. She wondered how he could feel so calm at a time like this; already her heart was pounding wildly in her chest.

Suddenly she felt a warm hand lightly touch her cold one. "Join me on the couch?" Draco invited, and she let him lead her gently toward the fire.

Upon reaching the sofa, Hermione immediately released his hand and curled up on one end of the seat, tucking her skirt between her legs and bringing her knees up to her chin. Draco didn't seem to mind. He didn't even try to sit close to her, she immediately noticed. Instead, he positioned himself on the opposite end of the sofa, leaning back casually as the glass of meade hung loosely from his fingers.

She studied him, for lack of anything better to do. She had never before noticed how defined his jaw was, how the light reflected off his smooth skin. His blonde-white hair fell into his eyes, and she wondered what it felt like. Was it soft? Or did he use gel like some of the other boys had taken to doing?

For god's sake, I'm wondering what his hair feels like! she chided herself under her breath. But then another thought pushed its way into her mind: By the end of tonight, I'm sure I'll know.

Draco took another sip of the meade and she shivered at the thought of his lips on hers. Doubts filled her mind. Was she ready? Was he? The decision had, despite her worries, had felt right in some way, but now… Now the objections came flooding back, all at once. They were too young…he wasn't thinking straight…and the selfish objection, why sleep with a bloke that she couldn't have for more than one night? What was the point?

She found herself fascinated with his long fingers. She studied them, first taking in the right hand curling around the goblet, then the left hand, which was draped casually over the back of the sofa. She wondered what it would feel like to have his hands running all over her body, touching her in places no one had ever touched her before, then immediately blushed at the thought.

"What are you thinking?" Draco said suddenly, turning to her with a trace of a smile curving across his fine features.

"Why me?" blurted Hermione; it was the underlying question that'd been lurking in the back of her mind ever since .

His eyes softened, and he thought for a moment. "You were the only one who really cared. I still remember that day you pulled me aside after Potter and Weasley had been saying some really horrid things about my father in Azkaban. I thought for sure you were going to scream at me for calling you 'Mudblood' again, but instead you actually apologized. Apologized. I didn't know what to think, much less what to say, so I just sneered at you and said things I wish I hadn't. You want to know why I love you, Hermione? Because you never gave up on me. You kept trying, and it didn't take long for me to realise you were real—you were genuine."

"I was genuine?" she repeated, trying to comprehend what he was trying to say.

"No one in Slytherin is genuine, Hermione," he said softly. "They show you what they want you to see, but nothing more. Everyone's life is a lie. But not you. You showed me both your faults and your strengths. You weren't afraid to be my friend, to stand up for yourself, to be your own person. You're the first true friend I've ever had."

"But that still doesn't explain why you love me."

"Is love truly explainable?" he asked, and she had to admit, he did had a point. "It just happened. I suppose I first realised it when I looked at you and decided that I never wanted to leave Hogwarts if it meant leaving you forever."

She hadn't even realised that she had been edging closer, bit by bit. "But I'm not pretty..."

"Don't say that," he whispered. "It's not true. You outshine them all."

His face was quite close to hers now, his grey eyes intense. She felt a tremble go down her spine, but didn't pull away as he slowly closed the distance. She could feel the soft puff of his breath against her cheek. Oh, god, he's going to kiss me. Draco Malfoy is about to kiss me. Oh, god...

She braced herself, her stomach flying into a fury of flutters as a wave of nervous nausea swept her. I can't lose courage now. The Hat put me into Gryffindor for a reason. Pull yourself together, Hermione!

Another voice whispered, If you really hate it, you can always just pull away. You're the one in control of the situation here; you know he wouldn't do anything without your permission.

The last thought made her relax just a tiny bit. Right, Hermione told herself. One kiss. If I hate it, I'll just tell him to stop. One kiss.

Draco closed the last inch and gently pressed his lips to hers.

To her surprise, his lips were soft and warm, and rather than awkward and uncomfortable, and she found that she didn't mind the kiss at all. In fact, it felt strangely right--as if something in her had been waiting for this moment all her life. She had been kissed before, it was true, but Viktor Krum's rough advances, and Ron's awkward, sloppy tongue-shoving had been nothing even remotely comparable this. This was soft, and sweet, and romantic. And perfect.

She leaned into the kiss, adding just a little more pressure, savoring the feeling of his lips on hers. He kissed her lightly, then did it again, and she felt her eyes fluttering closed as one of his hands settled on her own, warm and reassuring.

This feels nice, she thought, opening her eyes to watch him as he withdrew a little to reposition his head. She copied his movements, tilting her own chin a little to allow him more access to her mouth. Just as she began want more, he withdrew, to plant a soft kiss on her cheek. Then on her forehead, then on her other cheek. She trembled, but something was welling up inside of her, a desire unlike anything she'd ever felt before. She wanted his mouth.

Hermione turned her head back, and caught his lips again in a firm kiss. Slowly, tentatively, his tongue darted out and swept across her bottom lip, and just as shyly, she opened her mouth to him and to a whole new world of sensations and feelings.

He tasted of chocolate and mint, she noted, as they explored slowly, but with a new sense of excitement. Something was beginning to pulse inside of her with every beat of her heart, every movement of his tongue, every stroke of his thumb over the back of her hand in her lap.

She wanted more. Hermione gingerly slid her free hand around his neck and pulled his head closer to her. He groaned a little and took possession of her mouth again; she felt a slight pressure on the small of her back and realised that he was bringing her to him, just as much as she was pulling him to her. He was freely exploring her mouth, now, bringing on a world of new sensations and feelings. The nauseous anxiety was gone, replaced with a giddy excitement. Never before had her knees felt so weak and unstable; never before had she experienced the electricity racing through her body brought on by a single kiss, and the slight pressure of his hand on her back; never before had she wondered what other sensations waited beyond the realm of mere kissing.

His hand was no longer staying still. She felt it sliding up her back in slow, tantalizing movements. Wondering how much other movement she could concentrate on while completely engrossed in the kiss, Hermione pulled her hand out of his own and slipped it onto his shoulder. His muscles were hard, and she could feel them twitching through the light material of his linen shirt. She slowly trailed her fingertips down his chest, and could feel his abdominals tighten a little at her touch.

He didn't stop her, though. In fact, her touch seemed to encourage him even more, for his other hand came to rest on her neck and began to stroke her exposed skin. The light touch of his hand on her skin was strangely satisfying. She leaned into his hand with a soft sigh, her eyes fluttering closed once again as she delved into his mouth once more. Draco groaned again, a noise Hermione found she liked.

She shyly stroked his hair; finding it soft and inviting, she dug her fingers into it, pulling his head even more forcefully down as his lips crashed passionately once again onto hers. The light touch on her back was beginning to move downward again. When his hand reached the hem of her shirt, though, and began to stroke the exposed skin of her lower back, she stiffened and on impulse, pulled away.

He was the perfect gentleman, of course, but she could hear the disappointment in his voice as he apologized. "I'm sorry…"

She closed her eyes. She did want this. She did. It was just a little much to get used to, all in one evening. "No, I'm sorry," said Hermione, looking up at him and biting her bottom lip nervously. "I'm just not used to this, that's all, but I do want to…I do…"

To show him that she did, she impulsively pulled his head down for a kiss, and he didn't argue. Reaching for his hand, she gently placed it on her waist.

Draco broke the kiss. "Are you sure?" he asked.

"Positive," she said. "Please, continue."

He laughed gently against her lips, and the feeling sent shivers down her back. "Did I ever tell you how amazing you are?" he growled, and she felt the rumble of his chest with her fingers which were resting on the spot right below his neck.

"Stop talking and kiss me," said Hermione bravely, and he quickly obeyed.

It was a few more minutes before Draco tentatively stroked her skin under the edge of her shirt again, but this time, Hermione didn't pull back. She forced herself to relax into his touch. She knew he wouldn't do anything she didn't want him to; she was safe here, sitting on the sofa, kissing Draco, leaning into his chest. He wouldn't hurt her.

Softly, lightly, Draco's fingers traced patterns across her lower back and his other hand cupped her face as the kiss deepened once again. Hermione ran her hand over his chest again and felt the hardened muscles underneath his shirt; she wondered what it'd be like to feel them without the shirt in the way, so she slowly, tentatively began to pull a little at his shirt which was tucked firmly into his pants. Up a little, so slowly that he wasn't even noticing… She distracted him by running her fingers through his hair and intensifying the kiss. There. The shirt was untucked, and she could slide her hands up his bare torso…

Draco gasped as her fingers came in contact with his exposed skin. "Gods, Hermione," he said, withdrawing his lips from her mouth and closing his eyes as her fingers skimmed lightly up his chest. The muscles jumped in response to her touch; at least, she thought, there was one good thing about the grueling Quidditch practices.

She suddenly wanted more, and slipped her hands under his arms to the skin on his back, all the while watching him carefully. His face was the very picture of self-control, save for the slight twitch in his jaw. Smiling a little, Hermione raised up a little to meet his lips once again.

Automatically, both of Draco's arms encircled her waist, pulling her until she was pressed up against him, practically sitting on his lap. She tried not to think about that too much. Just surrender to the overwhelming impulses. Go with it. You can do this, Hermione. You can.

She slid closer and pushed him back against the sofa cushions. The shirt was in the way and she was getting increasingly annoyed with the article of clothing by the moment. Go with the impulses. Take the shirt off.

Slowly, inconspicuously, she began to work with the buttons, one by one, kissing Draco even more intensely as a distraction, till at last, the last one was undone. She gave a tiny noise of approval as the flung the shirt open; at last she had his entire chest to herself.

He moaned in approval as her hands roamed aimlessly over his muscles, and his own slender fingers found the top button of her own shirt. Before she even realised it, he'd gotten the first three buttons undone.

"Wait," Hermione said breathlessly, pulling slightly away, her face reddening as she surveyed her gaping blouse. Draco's breathing was ragged, but he didn't try to stop her as she edged slightly away.

"Too fast?" asked Draco, panting slightly; he was watching her carefully.

"A little," she admitted hesitantly. "Just a little."

"D'you want to stop?"

She shook her head. "Don't stop, Draco."

He pulled her into his arms, kissing her tenderly. "Have you any idea how long I've been waiting to hear you say that?"

She smiled, then pulled him to her fiercely, anxious to feel his skin again, to have his tongue delving into the recesses of her mouth, melting her very core.

It only took another couple minutes before it became obvious that the couch was definitely not the best place to continue. She had pushed him backwards, only to hear a pained grunt as he came to rest against the uncomfortable arm of the couch. This made her laugh a little as he pretended to be hurt. Then he chuckled softly and suggested, "Perhaps we should give the bed a go."

Hermione froze on the inside. The bed. How could a three letter word evoke such an intense fear in her mind?

She could tell that Draco knew what she was thinking, because he took her hands, and his clear grey eyes met her brown ones. "Hermione, you know I won't do anything you don't want," he said softly, and she nodded.

"I know."

"It's up to you."

He was such a gentleman. She melted under the intensity of his gaze, and finally worked up the courage to say, "Then take me there, Mr. Malfoy."

Obviously, Draco didn't need a second invitation. He held out his hand for hers, and kissed it. "This way, my lady."

She'd been in his bedroom before, if only for brief conversations, and that one time he'd come down with the cold and the infirmary had been packed full with students who had an odd illness that had been going around Hogwarts. As she entered the room, she barely recognized it, though. The queen-sized four-poster bed sat in the middle of the room, the dark wood looking stately against the cream-coloured walls. The emerald green bedspread was covered in moonrose petals, and the moonlight streaming in from the window caused the flowers to shine, lighting the room with an unearthly, but romantic, glow. A few candles were lighted in the corners, and the room was free from clutter—and distractions.

The bed, though…it frightened Hermione. I'm being such a baby, she thought needlessly. Just get over it already.

Draco gently tugged on her hand. "Just sit by me," he instructed softly, perching on the edge, and patting the space next to him.

She sat, and he reached over gently to press his lips against hers. And she immediately forgot exactly where she was, and all about her fear of beds, for that matter. All that mattered was the warmth of his mouth, the soft way he said her name, the feel of his skin under her fingertips…

The kissing intensified. He seemed to have acquired a bit more self control since the last time, because when she slid her hands up his chest, he only paused for a second before continuing. His hands were roaming all over her back and across the smooth skin of her stomach, but he hadn't gone near the buttons of her shirt, or her breasts, for that matter. Not yet. He was taking it slow, for her.

One hand had found its way to her knee, and she gasped a little as his fingers gently stoked the inside of her thigh, enough to make her want more, but not moving high enough to make her uncomfortable.

His kisses became more desperate, more passionate, and he pushed her gently back onto the bed. He leaning over her, kissing her, running one of his hands over her face softly as the other stroked her lower thighs… She had never felt this way before—never had the world been one of such intense sensations and feelings—never had she craved someone's hands and lips and mouth like this…

Draco was breathing heavily as her hands worked over his chest and back, neck and face, shoulders and arms. The shirt had somehow slipped the rest of the way off, for which she was glad. It left more of his skin revealed for her to touch.

"Gods," he gasped as she leaned up and moved her mouth to his neck, pushing him back onto the bed as her mouth worked its way down. "Hermione…I swear, if you don't want to go any farther…I won't do anything you don't want me to…"

He was still being so bloody noble. "I'm positive, Draco," she murmured, smiling into his chest. "I meant it when I said, 'Don't stop.'"

"Good," he said, his breath coming in short bursts. He captured her mouth again, but only for a moment before lowering it to her exposed neck. Hermione gasped as he sucked at the sensitive spot right below her ear. A second later, he had rolled her back onto the bed and was leaning over her, kissing her mouth, then her neck…his mouth started moving a little lower…

She felt his fingers at her throat unbuttoning her shirt, but captured his hands in her own before she could restrain herself. She let go almost instantly, flushing at her inexperience and own discomfort in situations like this. She couldn't imagine why Draco was still putting up with her…

But he merely smiled, bending to kiss her once more. He pulled back again, and in the dimly lighted room, his eyes were dark with passion. "Hermione, do you trust me?"

"Of…of course…" she stuttered.

"No, really, 'Mione…I mean it… You know I'd never do anything to hurt you, but do you really trust me?"

She took a deep breath, and looked into his eyes. The answer was simple, but still, it took courage to say, "Yes. Yes, I trust you."


"With my life," she said softly, meaning it.

"I love you, you know," he said as he dipped his head to kiss her once more.

"I know," she whispered before he took possession of her mouth fully.

His fingers were tracing lazy patterns up her sides as he deepened the kiss, and she felt her last shred of reason flying away as she slipped her hands around his waist and pulled him closer to her. When at last he reached for her buttons again, she tensed immediately, but he whispered, "Trust me," and she tried to relax, to keep from blushing or bolting as his fingers worked their way down her shirt. He distracted her, though, with his kisses, and she hardly had time to realise that she was shirtless before his mouth had descended on neck, and he was leaning over her to shelter her from the slight draft that sometimes crept into his room.

Her face reddened anyway, hard as she tried to prevent it. She felt so naked, so exposed. And only her shirt was gone. "Don't," he whispered, as if reading her mind. "You're beautiful."

It was an intoxicating feeling, his skin against hers, unlike anything she'd ever experienced before. Her hair had somehow come unpinned; it framed her face as she desperately returned his kisses. His hands were everywhere—roaming over her face, her neck, her chest, and slowly, his fingers brushed lightly over the outside of the lacy black bra she'd borrowed from Ginny. She felt a heat blossoming inside of her, an aching need that she wasn't quite sure what to do with…

Draco was taking charge, though…thank goodness for that… She gasped as his mouth descended into the valley between her breasts. His hands had moved to her thighs and were tracing fiery trails along the insides of her legs.

He groaned and rolled on top of her, his weight pressing her into the mattress; they were still clothed below the waist, but the layers of cloth couldn't prevent her from feeling the bulge pressing into her stomach, and with a rush of anxiety she realised exactly what she was feeling…

"Just trust me, Hermione," he gasped into her ear, and closing her eyes for just a moment, she banished her fears… This was where she wanted to be…right here with him…with Draco.

With a quick movement, she pushed him off of her and sat up slightly; he started to withdraw, thinking she'd finally had enough, but his eyes widened in appreciation as she started to undo his belt, then the zipper… He quickly pushed his pants down, groaning in relief, and instead of thinking about the obvious, she focused her attention on his green boxers decorated with…

"Galleons?" she snickered.

"Dunno…ask my mum," he panted, descending on her once again. "I think…" he said between breaths, "that you have…entirely…to many clothes…on…"

This time, she didn't protest (though it was a struggle) when he began to slowly slide her skirt down her legs, pressing kisses to her thighs as he went. When he finally had tossed the article of clothing to the floor, he moved back a bit to look at her.

Hermione felt a blush blossoming on her cheeks, and refused to look at him as her body prickled under his scrutiny.

"My god," Draco breathed, and she finally got up the courage to look him in the face. He was staring at her with such an open look of unrestrained awe and amazement that she started to blush all over again. "Don't blush," he said softly. "You're beyond words. Beautiful, gorgeous, dazzling…none of those fit anymore... You're exquisite."


Surely he must have died and gone to heaven.

What had he ever done to deserve this? A gorgeous girl, lying before him, all his.

"Mine," he whispered, and she smiled back, a little of the blush leaving her cheeks.

"Yours," she replied.

He bent his head to kiss her intoxicating lips, trying to pace himself, trying to go slow for her, but the blood was pounding in his groin, and he wasn't sure how much longer he could wait. Already it was taking an immense amount of self composure not to come right here and now…

He had no idea what he was doing, really; never before had he gotten any farther with a girl than moderate snogging. But Hermione, inexperienced as she was, seemed to know exactly what to do. Her hands were roaming over his chest and shoulders, her fingernails glassing over his back. The feelings and passions she aroused left him breathless and aching to be inside of her.

Time to let instinct kick in, he thought, lowering his mouth to her neck again, working his way down her neck sucking her skin as she emitted little gasps of pleasure. He arrived at her shoulders and very slowly began to slide her bra strap down, kissing the spot where it'd once been. Everything was good so far—she wasn't resisting him or pushing him away. He moved to the other side and kissed her collarbone as he freed her shoulder of that strap as well. When he slid his hand under her to unhook her bra, however, she tensed up.

"Trust me," Draco whispered again, locking eyes with her as he ever so slowly released the clasps. It took every ounce of self control not to tear the article of clothing off and discard it, but he resisted the temptation and left the lacy bra lying over her breasts, loosely covering her. Her eyes widened as she realised the meaning of the gesture, and then filled with gratitude.

Still not breaking eye contact, he lightly traced his fingers across the light skin around the borders of the black lace; she shivered under his touch. "May I?" Draco asked between heavy breaths. Slowly, she nodded, and just as slowly, he slid the unwanted article down and tossed it on the floor.

He thought he'd die of delight as he caught the first glimpse of her breasts, round and full…and perfect. "God," he whispered.

She was still watching him. "Perfect—absolutely perfect," he said before roughly capturing her mouth in his, pressing his torso against her chest, wondering how on earth he'd managed to hold on this long…

Draco couldn't stay at her mouth for long, though, before he began kissing his way down her neck, his hands sliding up her smooth sides, and this time not stopping at the lower border of her ribcage… He skimmed his hands over her breasts, marveling at her dramatic curve, relishing the feel of the hardening coral peaks under his fingers… As he cupped her in his hands, the enticement was finally too much—he had to taste her. She gasped when he took one of her breasts into his mouth, kissing and sucking and drawing patterns with his tongue. She arched against him with a soft cry of delight and he moved his mouth to deliver the same attentions to the other breast.

Her skin was addicting, and suddenly he wanted all of it—all of her. His free hand began working on her thighs again, massaging and tickling and rubbing, and her legs began to unclench and slowly spread apart. Slowly, he slid his hand higher, higher, still kissing her chest and savoring the sweet taste of her skin.

As he neared the place where her legs met, he paused, trying to ignore the radiating heat, trying to keep himself in check. "Hermione…" he said, pulling reluctantly away from her chest.

"Mmmm?" she replied between heaving breaths, her chest rising and falling in rapid cadence. Gods, she was gorgeous.

"I'm going to touch you now," he managed to say, though his voice was shaking in the heat of the moment. She nodded. "Just relax," he told her.

When he brushed his fingers over the scrap of black lace covering her core, she sucked in her breath, and he could feel her leg muscles automatically tightening. "'Mione…trust me, OK?" he whispered.

Slowly, her legs relaxed, falling open to give him access. "OK," she murmured, and he began to stroke her harder.

"Oh," she gasped, clutching at his head, pulling it to her chest. Draco willingly kissed her there too, sliding his hands higher and pausing at the edge of her knickers for her permission. She bucked her hips a little, and he took that as a yes, groaning appreciatively as he finally relieved her of her last piece of clothing.

She looked like a goddess, lying there on the bed, her hair fanning out over the pillow as her skin glowed in the candlelight. Her eyes were half closed, her face was flushed, and her mouth was open as she made little erotic noises. He leaned down to kiss her again as his fingers played teasingly over her most sensitive spot. She gasped again as he dipped inside of her and found the bundle of nerves at her core.

"Is that what you want?" he murmured in her ear.

"Yes…god, yes…" she groaned, writhing at his touch, whimpering for more.

Draco knew he couldn't hold out much longer. "'Mione…I can't wait…" he gasped raggedly between kisses. "I can't…"

And then, he felt something fumbling at his waistband. She had trailed her hand down his torso, and now, tantalizingly, she dipped her fingers into his boxers and touched him.

"Fuck, Hermione," he groaned.

"That's the general idea, Draco," she panted, a smile pulling at the corners of her mouth, and he couldn't help the chuckle that escaped his lips before another gasp as she squeezed her hand.

He could wait no longer. She whimpered as he left her, only to return a moment later without the boxers. He parted her thighs with one knee, positioning himself over her, and knew when she was ready for him. "This might hurt," he said raggedly.

Her eyes burned with passion as she looked up at him. "I'm ready," she whispered, and unable to hold back any longer, he entered her with one slow thrust. She cried out a little, and he murmured apologies into her neck as he gently kissed her tears away, staying as still as he could to allow her to adjust.

Hermione's tears were gone, and gently, at first awkwardly, he began to move, and encouraged her to find a rhythm and move with him. She began to rock, at first slowly, and he kept time with her, sinking more deeply into her with every thrust. God…it was like heaven… It was incredible—the way her fingernails dug into his back as she gasped his name, the feeling of being inside of her, the feeling of her insides tightening around him…he wanted to stay like this forever, feeling just like this.

Hermione gasped his name again, and he just about lost it. The rhythm increased—faster and faster as her hips moved against him. "I love you," he gasped as he withdrew for one, final surge. He came with a shout, and she cried out his name as they climaxed together in a passion-filled moment of bliss.

Draco collapsed against her. He could feel his heart pounding as they breathed together. Slowly, he brushed her hair back from her forehead. They were covered in a light sheen of sweat, and he felt her shiver a little beneath him, but didn't want to move just yet and break the magic of the moment.

"OK?" he murmured into her neck, lightly grazing his lips over her skin.

In reply, she turned her head to kiss his forehead, then pulled back just to watch him. "I was going to tell you how amazing that was," she said after a long moment, smiling slowly, "but you look so smug already; I wouldn't want it to inflate your head any larger."

"You little witch," he growled, nipping at her neck as she chuckled, then shivered. Draco rolled off of her, keeping his arms around her thin frame. The chill in the room was undeniable now, and he carefully shifted so he could wandlessly summon the thick blanket lying on top of his trunk. He pulled the blanket over top of them and sighed when she was once again in his arms.

"Now that I've got you, I don't ever want to let you go," he said quietly, kissing the top of her head.

She was silent for a long moment. "Me too," she finally murmured, and he could hear the emotion in her voice.

There was a long period of silence. He wondered whether she'd fallen asleep; her breathing was even, but just when he thought he should try to get some sleep as well, she shifted a little. "Draco?"

"Yes, love?"

"Isn't there any way…"

She trailed off, but he knew where her question had been going. He had been thinking the same in his own mind. "I wish there was," he said slowly, tightening his grip around her, relishing the feel of her skin against his. This was how he wanted to stay forever, but fate had only given her to him for one night.

"But Draco…if you forsook your inheritance…"

"I'd have nowhere to go," he said bitterly. "I'd be an outcast not only among the Purebloods, but also those who follow Dumbledore, Hermione. The Order would never accept me among their ranks. With my father's influence, he could easily destroy my life. He'd keep me from a respectable job and from everything I desired—including you. I have no doubt that if I defied him, he'd have me killed. Better in the Dark Lord's ranks to have a dead son than one who doesn't hold the same ideals."

She shuddered in his arms. "How awful."

"But completely true." He sighed. "Believe me, Hermione, if I didn't believe it would bring more danger to you than either of us is ready to handle, I'd elope in a second."

Hermione lay very still for some time. "Will you be forced to join the Death Eaters?" she whispered at last.

He closed his eyes. It was the question he'd wished to avoid, the ominous truth he'd pushed out of his mind for so long. "It's a possibility."

There was a long pregnant pause. "Draco," she said at last, her voice low. "What do we do now?"

"I don't know, Hermione," he said, staring unseeingly at the ceiling above. "I don't know."


Draco fell asleep not long afterwards, his last words being, "I love you" before he drifted off. Hermione remained awake, though, enjoying the feeling of his arms around her, the sound of his breathing, the soft beat of his heart she could hear with her head pillowed on his chest. She silently cursed the gods of fate for only allowing her one night with him. One night, before they'd be forced to return to being friends and nothing more. And this summer, he'd wed Pansy, and any hopes of future between her and Draco would be shattered into millions of pieces.

She didn't resent him for the decision he'd made, because she knew he was only doing it for her. Behind his words, "Better in the Dark Lord's ranks to have a dead son than one who doesn't hold the same ideals" she'd heard the implied meaning—he'll kill you too.

She pulled away a little and raised up on one elbow to watch him. He shifted a little, but didn't wake. His chest was rising and falling with even breaths, his mouth slightly open. She studied his defined jaw line, his messy blonde hair, and his fine features. She wondered what their future would have been like together, had he not been a Malfoy, and her a Granger. The two most unlikely companions. But yet, somehow, she had found love in him, and tomorrow, she would lose it.

You won't lose it, the voice in her head told her. He'll love you forever. You know that.

And I'll love him forever too.

With a sigh Hermione sank back down onto the soft mattress, resting her head on his shoulder. He moved a little in his sleep and a strong arm snaked around her shoulders and pulled her close.

"I love you," she whispered into his chest. "I love you, and I'll wait for you, no matter how long it takes."

Though she couldn't see it, a small smile flickered across Draco's face, perhaps the result of a dream, or maybe because he'd somehow heard her words in his subconscious. Hermione smiled too, closing her eyes as sleep overcame her, and for a peaceful moment, she truly believed that one day, everything would turn out all right.

Author's Note: I may write a sequel oneshot to follow this, depending on the response I get. Please review, as always.