Kitty Neko: Yup, your eyes don't deceive you! It's chapter two! Hey, I rhymed...

Chapter 02

Hermione was tired as all get out. Try as she might, she had been unable to get a full night's rest since The Incident with Draco Malfoy. It had almost been a week and Hermione was exhausted. Every time she closed her eyes, she would see his hands roaming her body, his lips on her neck, his tongue, his head dipping down below her legs…

Needless to say, she had been left tossing and turning in her four poster bed, unable to shake the frustration - a frustration that was physical as well as mental.

If you think her body reacted just by remembering what happened, it was nothing compared to what occurred when she saw him in person. Her brain would begin imagining all sorts of scenarios and she was powerless to stop it. It was so bad that she had been forced to take matters into her own hands, so to speak.

Malfoy, for his part, wasn't acting different at all; at least not in a noticeable way. He was quiet most of the time and when he did talk he was still a prat. Occasionally, Hermione would feel like someone was looking at her but she could never tell if it was him. He always seemed to be minding his own business - and it didn't really seem as if he had just looked away either. She really must be paranoid, like he said. Hermione was forced to conclude that he wasn't at all fazed by what happened. He didn't even seem to be thinking about it.

That was just incomprehensible to Hermione. She couldn't STOP thinking about it. That was the mentally frustrating part. Not only was she obsessing about a boy (which she didn't ever really do), but it was DRACO MALFOY. Enough said.

"Need help with that?"

Hermione started guiltily and flushed from the roots of her hair to the tips of her toes. Just hearing those words was enough to mortify her. They brought with them the remembrance of her shameful question after The Incident.

"Ah, no. That's alright. Thanks, though," Hermione answered Harry's question and continued preparing their potions ingredients. She needed to focus.

Just by coincidence, Hermione happened to glance at Malfoy while she was busy chopping up root. She froze. Was she imagining things? Halting her movements with the knife (she liked her fingers intact, thank you very much) Hermione whipped her head back up and blatantly stared.

Yup. He was smirking. It was barely discernable, but the corner on the left side of his mouth was definitely turned upwards.

"Is something funny?" Hermione demanded.

"Nope. Nothing." Draco met her eyes evenly. "Are you SURE you don't need help with that?"

Why that SON OF A…

So he WAS thinking about it. It was a small relief, but she had bigger fish to fry.

"I'm sure," Hermione replied and added the roots to the potion delicately. "Besides, if I DID need help, I would let Harry do it."

Draco's smirk got even bigger. Hermione pretended not to notice.

"Oh, sure you would."

"Am I missing something?" Harry interrupted, looking back and forth between the two.

Before Hermione had a chance to lie, which she was normally terrible at, Draco started speaking. "Potter, I'm sure you're missing a lot of things. At the top of the list would be a brain."

Harry furrowed his eyebrows and said pointedly, "At least I'm not missing talent on the Quiddich Field."

"Did you hurt your head thinking of that comeback?"

"Hey, hey!" Hermione interjected before the argument could escalate. "Can we finish this class without any incidents?"

Harry opened his mouth, thought better of it, and snapped his teeth together with a click. "Only for you, Hermione."

"Thanks Harry."

Hermione turned her attention to Malfoy so see if he was planning on ignoring her request. She need not have worried. He was already back to examining the potion and turning the ladle counterclockwise.

Why did he insist on being so difficult and picking fights?

Just as that particular thought went through her mind, Draco peeked at her out of the corner of his eye and winked.

Hermione was taken aback by the gesture. What possible reason could he have for winking at her… OH! With dawning realization, it occurred to Hermione that he may have intentionally picked that fight with Harry to change the subject.

And it worked! How devious and just plain SLYTHERIN of him.

The small smile that she couldn't suppress didn't go unnoticed by her blond partner.

The next morning at breakfast found Hermione even more exhausted than ever. Her only salvation was the fact it was Friday and she would be able to avoid Malfoy for a couple days soon. Another plus was that it was a Hogsmeade weekend. She needed some more reading material and a visit to Flourish and Blotts seemed like just what the doctor ordered.

"Have some more bacon, Hermione," Ginny said and placed a few more slices on Hermione's plate before she could reply. "You could use the protein. You're looking a bit peaky."

"I'm just tired," Hermione answered but shoved another piece of bacon in her mouth anyway. Really, what was it with people telling her that lately? Of course she realized that they were showing concern for her wellbeing, but she wished they would phrase it different. In Hermione's book, saying someone looked peaky was the equivalent to saying they looked like crap.

Which, to be honest, she probably did.

"You're going to need your strength tomorrow," Ginny continued.

"Why's that?"

Ginny fixed Hermione with a level gaze from across the table. "Don't tell me you forgot?"

Hermione shifted in her seat uncomfortably, wracking her enormous brain for whatever it was the fiery redhead was referring to. "Um… maybe?"


"What?" Hermione tried not to shrink under Ginny's penetrating glare.

"You promised you would go shopping with me at Hogsmeade!"

"I don't remember agreeing to that!" Hermione sputtered. She was pretty sure that was something that she would remember – shopping wasn't exactly her thing.

"But you did!" Ron spoke up, reaching across Hermione's plate to grab a slice of toast. He stuffed it in his mouth and continued talking, crumbs flying about. "It was last week."

"What day… exactly?" Hermione was beginning to feel a bit nervous. If she really did say she would do it, there was no getting out of it.

"I think it was Saturday." Harry shrugged at her. "Tough luck."

Well that explained it. After The Incident with Malfoy, she had been out of it the rest of the day. If Ginny sprung it on her then she wouldn't have noticed. Damn.

"I was going to go book shopping," Hermione started and tried not to make eye contact with Ginny. "Why don't you go with Luna?"

"Luna?!" Ginny asked, her expression incredulous. "Are you kidding? I mean, I love Luna to death and everything but as far as her fashion sense goes…" Ginny shivered.

"It's not like I'm great at that sort of thing either," Hermione argued, determined to make her case.

"Do you wear radish earrings?"


"Alright then."

Knowing she was stuck, Hermione slumped in her chair. There went her afternoon of book shopping.

Ginny must have sensed her friend's unhappiness because her expression softened somewhat. "I promise it won't take long, Hermione. And then I'll leave you alone with your books."

"Really?" Hermione snapped her head up, hardly daring to believe it. They NEVER left her alone, insisting that it wasn't safe. That wouldn't be a problem except that they always got bored and she could never spend as much time in the book store as she wanted. Hermione glanced up at Ron and Harry and was unsurprised to see that they didn't seem thrilled with that prospect.

Whatever protest they were about to make was swiftly interrupted with the rustle of wings and the whoosh of air that announced the arrival of mail. Hermione surruptiously pulled her plate towards her body to try and protect it. If she got owl droppings in her eggs one more time there was going to be tiny little drumsticks on the menu for dinner…

Sometimes she really wondered about the wizard system of mail. Could they not think of anything more efficient than bloody owls? Really.

Hermione paid the owl for her daily prophet and, as it was leaving, one of the school barn owls landed in its spot. It was clutching a square package wrapped in ordinary brown paper and tied with string. Hermione fed the owl a bit of toast and it was off. She was left to turn the package over in her hands. Strange – it didn't say who it was from.

"What's that?" Ron asked, already pushing his mail to the side in lieu of Hermione's much more interesting package.

"Give me a second," Hermione muttered as she picked at the double knotted string. When she finally got the parcel unwrapped, she was left to stare at its contents. She couldn't move. Her heart rate was accelerating but she couldn't even tear her eyes away from what was sitting right in front of her.

"500 Spells for Daily Use by Milda Herring," Ron read out loud and promptly lost interest. He reached for his mail and began sorting through it.

"Did you order that?" Harry asked. Hermione wasn't sure how to respond.

"There's a note."

Ginny reached into the discarded brown paper and pulled out a small piece of parchment. "'Thought this might be helpful as reference material,'" she read out loud and then passed the note to Hermione. "It doesn't say who it's from. Do you know who sent it?"

Hermione looked from the book to the note written in unfamiliar slanted writing and back again. She knew exactly who sent it. The only question was – why?

With dawning horror, the words 'REFERENCE MATERIAL' flashed through her mind.

Ginny furrowed her eyebrows and picked the book up. "If you don't know who this is from, you should probably be careful."

Ginny started to open the cover and Hermione panicked. She quickly snatched it back, knocking over her orange juice in the process. Her friends just stared at her in shock.

"Sorry, it's just…" Hermione thought on her toes quickly, trying really hard to come up with something they would actually believe. "It's from Krum and he… he leaves notes for me about his favorite spells and I don't want them to fall out of place."

"Maybe you should introduce him to sticky notes," Harry suggested, breaking the silence from her friends.

"You know, you're right." Hermione laughed nervously. "I think I'll do that. But for now, I'm going to take this book up to my room before class starts." And she was off, bolting off of her seat and out of the Great Hall before they knew it.

Hermione walked through the halls quickly, her book bag bouncing off of her leg almost painfully. She didn't really have the time to go to her room and she didn't want to be late to class, but she REALLY didn't want to carry that book around all day and risk another close encounter. She hated to think of what would have happened if Ginny had opened the book and realized exactly what it was. She would die of mortification.

She was passing by an open door and not really paying attention when a hand shot out and grabbed her upper arm. She was yanked into the room and the door slammed shut before she could even figure out what was happening. Hermione's heart was pounding in her ears at that point as she frantically groped in her pocket for her wand, her book bag slid off her shoulder and onto the floor in the process.

How could she have been so careless? The war hadn't even been over for a year and she was already letting her guard down too easily. She could only imagine what Harry would have to say if he ever knew. That was, of course, if she made it out of this alive.

"Calm down, Granger!" A familiar voice barked the order at her. Hermione's body tensed up.


"Lumos," Malfoy muttered and the tip of his wand erupted with light. Hermione blinked until her eyes focused and came face to face with the one person she really wanted to avoid at the moment. She diverted her gaze and finally realized where they were.

"Malfoy… are we in Filch's broom closet?"

"We might be," Malfoy answered and had the decency to sound a bit sheepish.

"And just what exactly are we doing in a broom closet?" Hermione whispered fiercely, only just realizing that she had been whispering the whole time.

"We're having a conversation," Malfoy said, a bit of his usual cockiness returning.

"And we have to be in a dusty, moldy closet to do that?" Hermione asked, dropping the whisper but still keeping a hushed tone.

"Only if we don't want to be seen," Malfoy said and took a step towards her. In the cramped space, Hermione could only take a half step backward before her back was against the wall. Malfoy's lips descended upon her and she was powerless to stop it. Not that she was sure she exactly wanted to, but still.

Hermione responded to his kiss without even meaning too. There was something about him that just made her get swept away in the moment. She was pretty sure that wasn't exactly a good thing.

Hermione was surprised that he was keeping his hands to his self. Instead of groping her like she thought he would, his forearms were on either side of her head against the wall, his left hand still clutching his wand. He was using his arms to hold him up against the wall without pressing his body flush against hers.

He didn't allow the kiss to go very far before he broke it and pulled away. His face was still close to hers and his eyes were burning holes in her retinas. It made her squirm uncomfortably – only on the inside, of course. She would never let him know exactly how much he affected her.

"Meet me tomorrow," he commanded, his tone of voice leaving no room for argument. Not like that stopped her. Hermione's brain was still feeling a bit cloudy, but she could still catch the implications. There was only one reason he would want to meet up with her, as far as she was concerned.

"And why would I do that?" Hermione asked, not wanting to let him push her around. Half of Malfoy's mouth curved upward.

"So you're going to be difficult?" he asked.

"I already have plans tomorrow," Hermione continued as if he hadn't said anything. His smirk only got bigger.

"Cancel them."

"No!" Hermione said, her voice quickly losing its hushed quality. "Besides, don't think for one second that I don't know what you're up to. You want to get me alone and do… things."

Draco moved forward again, his lips moving against the lobe of her ear as he talked. "Mmm... this is true." Hermione shivered.

"I won't do it," Hermione said, sounding much firmer than she felt. It was true that she had let her inhibitions down around him a week ago, but she really wasn't sure if she ever wanted to do that again. The fact that it was Draco Malfoy just made things even more complicated.

"Yes you will," Draco continued, his hot breath blowing into her ear. "If you want your knickers back."

Hermione froze. She had somehow been able to forget about that small detail of leaving her white panties with him by mistake. She couldn't believe it. "Are you blackmailing me?"

"I guess you could put it that way," Malfoy said after a moment of consideration. "But if it makes you feel any better, you could just think of it as me doing you a favor by returning your lost item."

Hermione felt rage boil in the pit of her stomach. "I can't believe you! You're willing to stoop so low as to blackmail me for… sex?" The last word came out as more of a squeak, she was ashamed to admit. Still, she refused to allow her eyes to fill with tears, despite the awful situation she was currently in.

Draco jerked away from her in surprise. "Of course not!" His voice was offended. "Who said anything about sex? When have I ever forced you to do something sexual that you didn't want to?" he asked, his eyes never leaving hers.

Hermione was feeling a bit rebuffed. He did kind of have a point, but so did she. "So what's the deal with the blackmail?"

"I just want to guarantee that you will at least meet up with me." His eyes shifted up to the left slightly. "…to talk."

"To talk," Hermione repeated, recognizing what the shifting of his eyes indicated. A lie. "Sure that's all."

"Well…" Malfoy shrugged slightly, not seeming the least bit ashamed of himself. "You can't blame a guy for wishful thinking."

Despite herself, Hermione let out a small bark of laughter. "Yea, well, don't get your hopes up too high."

"I'll try to remember that."

Hermione sighed, realizing that she had lost this battle. The more depressing part was realizing that she never had a chance at winning to begin with, despite her best efforts. "Where did you want to meet up?"

Hermione really couldn't believe herself. What had she agreed to do? Meet up with a former enemy in a secluded place without telling anyone where she was going? Only an idiot would do something like that. She was an idiot.

"What do you think about this?" Ginny asked, doing a little twirl for Hermione's sake. Her question saved Hermione from her mental abuse of herself.

"Um, it's nice," Hermione answered truthfully, as she had for the last few items Ginny had tried on. Her lack of an enthusiastic response seemed to finally be getting to the redhead.

"Oh, come on! You will be alone with your books soon! Just humor me a little longer." They had been at it for hours, losing the boys about thirty minutes in. Not that it was a big loss – their responses were even duller than Hermione's. Ginny was starting to get fed up with her. If only she could find some way to make shopping fun for Hermione… like if there was a certain item that would catch Hermione's interest.

It was as that particular thought was going through Ginny's head that she spotted a section in the store that she usually never bothered with.

"Hey, Hermione, what color is your underwear right now?"

The sudden question startled Hermione so bad that she almost couldn't respond. It was too close to her train of thought that morning for comfort. When she had gotten dressed she had briefly considered wearing some cute panties. Not that she was planning for anything to happen when she met up with Malfoy. Of course not. It was just a thought. You know, in case she got in a car wreck. That was what her mother used to say anyway. It was then that she realized that she didn't own anything that could qualify as cute underwear. Everything she owned was comfort based and nothing else.

"W-what?" she finally sputtered out, hoping that Ginny hadn't become a skilled Legimens recently.

"Your underwear. What color is it?"

"Why does that matter?" Hermione asked, wondering if Ginny had gone off the deep end.

"Just answer the question!" Ginny demanded, but with a grin on her face. It was fun to fluster the normally composed Hermione.

"White, I think."

"That's what I thought!" Ginny said triumphantly.

"Is there something wrong with white underwear?" Hermione asked, thoroughly confused about where she was going with this.

"Of course not. It's just boring." Ginny stated matter-of-fact. Hermione just blinked at her.

"I think the word you are looking for is 'practical'," Hermione finally responded, and Ginny sighed in exasperation.

"Oh, come on! Don't you want to have a little fun? You're a Gryffindor, aren't you? Take a walk on the wild side!"

"Hey now," Hermione said before Ginny could keep going. "Don't think for one second that I don't know you are trying to manipulate me."

Ginny's face was the picture perfect innocence. "Manipulate you into what?"

"I'm not sure," Hermione said, but was still sure that she was right. Something about the redhead's pretend sincere expression was sending chills down her spine. And not the good kind.

"I would never!" Ginny said in mock outrage. "Paranoid much?"

"Why do people keep saying that?" Hermione grumbled under her breath, reminded of a certain blond Slytherin.

"Someone else called you paranoid?" Ginny asked curiously, bringing Hermione's attention to her slip up. "Who?"

"No one important," she said and changed the topic quickly. "So why do you care so much about my choice of underwear?" Luckily for her, Ginny was on a mission and let it drop.

"I was just thinking that maybe you should try something different. You know, to spice things up."

"And I can do that by changing the color of my underwear?" Hermione asked skeptically. She really did wonder about Ginny sometimes.

"Yes!" Ginny exclaimed happily and then clarified more for Hermione's bewildered expression. "Think about it – on the surface you are the prim and proper Hermione in the modest school uniform, but underneath you are wearing…" Ginny practically skipped over to the lingerie section of the store and held up a black lacy thong "…this!"

Hermione blanched. That was the only response she could muster.

Ginny's face fell slightly. "Hermione?"

"You are insane."

Ginny's laughter filled the small shop and caught a couple people's attention. She didn't seem to care. "Okay, so maybe not that dramatic, but you get the gist. Come over here and pick out something you like."

"I'd rather not," Hermione declined.

So it seemed she was going to be difficult. It was time for Ginny to pull out the big guns. "If you do this, you can leave."

That seemed to do the trick. Hermione was at her side in a heartbeat. It was already the appointed time that she had agreed to meet with Malfoy and she didn't want to be too much later. It wasn't that she cared about making him wait, but he had insinuated that if she didn't show up he would find her and just give her the panties back. No matter where she was - including in the middle of the always crowded Honeydukes. She didn't really think he would do it, but she also didn't want to take a chance. He really was a prat.

"How about these?" Ginny asked, and held up some red silk panties. Hermione just arched her eyebrow. "What? They're red – Gryffindor's color!"

"Oh yea," Hermione murmured and took the underwear from Ginny. "I still don't think so. It seems like too… loud a color."

"Fine, fine." Ginny snatched the underwear out of Hermione's hands and shoved them back on the table. Something else caught her eye. "Hey, look! Scratch and sniff!"

Hermione sighed. "I'll take the red ones."

Hermione hurried out of the store, her newly purchased merchandise in a sack and clutched tightly to her chest. She couldn't believe that Ginny had actually bought the red knickers for her, whether she liked it or not. She was supposed to consider it a thank you for spending most of the day shopping with the redhead. To Hermione, a real thank you would have been leaving her alone.

"Puh," Hermione grouched when she noticed that the sky was covered in gray clouds, threatening rain. Great. As if her hair wasn't bad enough. Thunder rumbled close by.

She was ashamed to admit it, but Hermione had stayed up late to finish the book that had gotten her into this whole mess. She couldn't help it – it had captivated her. Knowing that Malfoy had read those same words strangely only added to its appeal. She couldn't help but wonder what went through his mind while he read it.

Scratch that. She could imagine it… too well.

Unsurprisingly, she hadn't gotten very much sleep. In fact, she had to be shaken awake by Ginny that morning in order to leave the dorm on time for Hogsmeade. She had gotten dressed in a hurry and didn't even spare the humidity or her hair one thought until she was outside of the castle. By then it was too late. She had the sneaking suspicion that she was beginning to resemble Mufasa from the Lion King.

Oh well. She didn't have anyone to impress.

Glancing around to make sure no one was paying attention to her, Hermione left the path to the bookstore and made a detour for the trees. The plan was to meet far from where people would see them, so they were meeting at the place where Harry had thrown snowballs at Malfoy and his cronies back in the good old days.

Malfoy hadn't been too thrilled about that, but she told him that was the best place, other than inside the Shrieking Shack. That had shut him up.

Once in the coverage of the trees, Hermione quickened her pace. The sooner she got there, the sooner she could leave. That was the plan. In and out. Er… perhaps that wasn't the best way to phrase it.

At any rate, the plan was to get her underwear back and to leave. She wasn't naïve enough to actually believe it would be that easy, but she at least had a plan. Even Malfoy couldn't argue with the fact that Harry and Ron would probably go to the bookstore to check on her and get worried if she wasn't there. They would raise the red alert and then all hell would break loose! No, this would be a quick transaction and then she would be done with him forever. She would.

As Hermione first approached the meeting place she couldn't see him anywhere. Just as she was wondering if he had given up on her and left, she caught a glimpse of his blond head. She could barely see him since he was on the other side of a tree and facing away from her, but she was positive it was him. Who else had that color of hair? Well, besides his parents.

Hermione moved closer to get a better look but he didn't budge. His arms were crossed and his eyes closed, giving her the impression that he had been waiting for a while. It felt a little strange to see him like that, with his guard down and everything. It almost seemed too personal… or intimate.

Not liking the direction her thoughts were going, Hermione intentionally stepped on a stick so it would snap loudly. Draco's eyes flew open at the noise and he quickly turned to look at her. Their eyes met and she froze.

Hermione had expected him to look annoyed at her lateness or just smug that she had showed up at all. Instead, Draco's face was completely blank for a second until his lips twisted up into a small smile. It wasn't his usual smirk and it caught her off guard.

"You came," he said.

The silence that ensued was promptly interrupted by simultaneous booming thunder and lightning. The sky opened its floodgate on their heads.

Despite the mild temperature of the fall day, the rain was icy and Hermione was shivering in seconds. It was pouring and she was soaked to the bone. All she cared about was being out of the downpour, and without thinking she closed the distance between her and Malfoy and grabbed his wrist.

"Come on!" she yelled, and tugged on his arm. Her plan was to get to the closest form of shelter available. Draco let her lead him in silence until their destination was in sight.

"Oh no! I'm not going in there," Draco said stubbornly and dug his heels into the ground.

Hermione was jerked to a stop and she spun around to face him, blinking water out of her eyes the best she could. "Oh for goodness sake! It's not really haunted! Stop being a baby!"

Draco's mouth snapped shut and his eyes narrowed. He somehow twisted his hand around so that he was now holding her wrist and took the lead. They entered the Shrieking Shack with no more argument.

It was dim inside and smelled of dust and mold. From what Hermione could see, they were in a sitting room of some sort. There was a couch, but it had been torn to pieces long ago.

Draco released her wrist and eyed the sofa wearily, but said nothing. Instead he loosened the tie from around his neck and pulled it over his head. He then proceeded to undo the buttons on his shirt and took it off as well. Hermione found herself staring at the pale skin on his naked chest.

"W-what are you d-doing?" She asked through chattering teeth.

Draco arched an eyebrow at her, his usual smirk back in place. "My clothes are wet. They need to dry and I need to warm up. You should probably do the same."

Hermione stared at him for a few seconds, trying to decide if he was being serious, before pulling out her wand and performing the complicated hand movements for the hot air charm to dry herself off. Once that was accomplished, she felt a whole lot better. She left her hair alone, knowing that it would take too long to dry, even with a spell.

Draco sighed with fake sadness. "You're no fun. You know the best way to warm up is with body heat, right?"

Hermione's only response was to summon fire and shoot it in the old fireplace. Draco laughed, apparently expecting that sort of response. Hermione noticed that he still didn't dry himself off, but made no move to do it herself. If he wanted to catch pneumonia, that was his own business. She wasn't going to get any closer to him than was absolutely necessary – especially when he wasn't wearing his shirt.

"What's in the bag?" Draco asked, startling her.

"It's just something Ginny bought me today," Hermione said and set it on the floor to demonstrate how unimportant it was. It wouldn't do for him to get too interested in it. She didn't think she could handle that at the moment. It was on to the task at hand. "Can I have my underwear back now?"

"Sure." Draco leaned against the back of the shredded sofa and reached in his pocket. He pulled out the white cotton knickers but made no move to give them to her. "Come get it."

"No," Hermione said immediately, knowing it was just a ploy to lure her close.

Draco just shrugged and made to stuff the item back in his pocket. She knew it – he wasn't going to make things easy. Hermione sighed in exasperation and crossed the room in three long strides. She stuck her hand in his face and waited, expectantly.

True to his word, Draco placed the item in her extended palm. She was just about to retract her hand when he grabbed onto her forearm and pulled her face down to his. He didn't kiss her, but they were close enough for her to feel his hot breath on her face.

"Did you do your homework?" Draco asked, his eyes searing into hers. Hermione was confused. What was he talking about? She always did her homework!

"Did you finish the book?" He clarified, realizing that she had no clue what he meant. Realization dawned on Hermione.

"No, I didn't," she lied. "I had more important things to do."

The words had barely left her mouth when his hand fisted her hair at the back of her head and brought her forward in a bruising kiss. She gasped in shock, unintentionally allowing him access to the inside of her mouth.

She didn't want to like it. She didn't. But she couldn't help it. If there was one thing Draco Malfoy knew how to do, that was kiss. When she wasn't responding to ferocity, he slowed his actions and gently moved his mouth against hers.

Every pleasure sensory in her body was telling her not to, but Hermione made herself push away from him. Draco allowed her to by releasing her arm.

"I didn't come here for this." Hermione was telling herself that as much as she was him. She brought her arm up and roughly wiped her mouth with the back of it. Draco shrugged and she took a few steps backward.

"Fair enough, but it's raining and it doesn't seem like we're going anywhere for a while. You might as well get comfortable."

"I don't think I will," Hermione said stubbornly and walked back over to the door. She stared through the cracks between the boards on the window and willed it to stop raining. "Besides, if I'm gone too long Harry and Ron will worry."

She turned back to look at him just in time to catch him rolling his eyes. "Strict babysitters you got there, Granger."

Hermione felt her feathers ruffle. "They are not my keepers! They're called friends and they actually care about me. Not that you would know what that's like." As soon as the words left her mouth, Hermione regretted them. That was too mean – hitting below the belt. The few friends that he had prior to the war that weren't dead had abandoned him. Draco was all alone this year.

For his part, Draco didn't seem too bothered. He tilted his gaze toward the ceiling and snorted. "That's probably true."

Even though he didn't appear to be upset, Hermione couldn't help feeling rotten. He was making her grumpy but that was still no excuse! She was Hermione Granger! Compassionate to everyone! She really shouldn't have allowed him to affect her like this.

"Sorry," she mumbled awkwardly.

Draco didn't say anything to that, and instead asked a new question. "So you really didn't read that book? I find that very hard to believe. You practically inhale any book that comes within a ten foot radius of you."

Well, there really was no denying that. "I might have flipped through it," Hermione finally said evasively.

Draco smirked triumphantly and Hermione sucked in a breath. She could practically feel his dark eyes burning into her and it made her feel squirmy.

"It didn't make you want to try anything out? I know how eager you always are to learn," he asked suggestively. "Perhaps in an old abandoned building with a half naked man? He could be all naked, you know."

The way he said it put a mental image in her head that was completely unwelcome. Hermione had had enough. "Why are you doing this?" she demanded. "And for goodness sake, put your shirt back on!"

"Why am I doing what?" Draco asked, and to her surprise picked up his discarded shirt. He still didn't dry it out, but slipped his arms into the sleeves while it was still soaked. However, he didn't button it up. It still made Hermione feel marginally better, but she could still see his pale skin. It was tight from the cold and goose bumps had broken out. His nipples were hard and Hermione was both fascinated and horrified with herself for noticing.

"This," she said, managing to keep the hysteria out of her voice. She stared ferociously at the wall, only sneaking a glance back at him. "I'm assuming that you're not a virgin."

Draco raised his eyebrows at her. "You would assume right."

"Then why are you doing this to me? Why don't you get one of your slags to entertain you?"

Draco only seemed amused. "And just how many girls do you think I've had sex with?"

It was still strange for her to hear him say 'sex' so easily, but that wasn't what gave Hermione reason to pause. She turned her attention toward him again. That was a really good question. "I-I don't know."

"Take a guess."

"Erm…" She felt so silly. "Maybe ten?"

Draco was smirking at her again, making her feel stupid. "Lower."

"Five?" she squeaked. She was never any good at this game.

"Try 'one'," he said, ending her misery.

Hermione was thrown for a loop. "One?"

"Why so shocked?" Draco asked, tilting his head to the side.

"I don't know," she repeated, but that wasn't entirely truthful. He had seemed so experienced that day under the tree that had just figured he had a lot of practice.

"Don't get me wrong," Draco said, interrupting her train of thought. "I've had a lot of sex. A lot." Hermione's face flamed bright red. "It was all just with the same girl."

"Who?" Hermione asked before her brain had even completely sent the signal to ask it. Her mouth was betraying her! "Uh, erm, you don't have to answer that."

"Pansy," he said simply. "When we were growing up it was pretty much a given that we would be married some day. So, we figured we might as well start practicing for that wedding night. And before you ask – no, I don't sleep with her anymore."

"I wasn't going to ask that!" Hermione grouched. How was he able to read her so well? Right now she was itching to ask why they weren't together anymore. Draco seemed to read that off of her as well.

"Think about it for a second, Granger. My family betrayed our side. That didn't exactly earn us any fans from either side."

"But it was because of your mother that Harry was able to fake being dead. That saved his life! Surely, there are some people who-"

"There aren't," Draco interrupted her. Most of the playfulness had left his expression. "You have to keep something in mind. My mother didn't do it to save Harry's life. She really couldn't give a rat's ass about him one way or the other. She did it because she wanted to find me."

Hermione really couldn't argue with that. It fit with Harry's explanation of what happened that day. The only thing the Malfoy's had been concerned with was making sure their son was alive and safe.

"But still, thanks to your mother we were able to win the war!" Hermione said.

Draco just shook his head. "Yes, but you're missing the point. That's not the reason she did it. My family didn't switch allegiances and join the light side. They had just finally had enough of the Dark Lord threatening our loved ones. That was his biggest mistake."

Hermione was inclined to agree. Voldemort did the same thing with Snape and Harry's mother. He never understood what it meant to care about another human being and it was his downfall.

Still, she had to wonder if that meant Draco and his family still considered purebloods to be superior to muggleborns. She was afraid to ask and she didn't know why.

Since he was being so loose lipped at the moment, Hermione figured it was okay to ask questions. "So, what happened with Pansy?"

"I think it pretty much goes without saying that the engagement was off. Part of her family is in jail, thanks to mine. And you notice that like most Slytherins, she didn't come back to Hogwarts this year."

Hermione didn't want to feel bad for him. His family had gotten exactly what they deserved for the crimes they committed. In fact, they were lucky that they didn't get anything worse.

That didn't stop her from sympathizing with him just a little bit.

"You still didn't answer my question. Why are you doing this to me?"

Draco didn't answer the question at first, and instead pushed himself off of the sofa and walked the couple of steps up to her. It took everything she had not to back away as he approached.

"We're probably more alike than you would think," he said softly when he was a foot away.

"How do you figure that?" She should have been more insulted, but it was hard to feel that way at the moment. He was just too close for her mind to function properly. His hair was still sopping wet and hanging in his face. As she watched, a bead of water dripped from the tip of his bangs and landed on his exposed chest. It slid down the center of his chest and disappeared in his bellybutton.

"You're alone."

Hold the phone.

"I'm what?" Hermione asked, nonplussed. He really had a screw loose. She clearly wasn't alone like he was! "I am not!"

He inclined his head slightly. "Of course, you still have your friends but that's it. They don't know you as well as you think they do."

"And I suppose you think you do?" Hermione challenged.

He ignored her question. "Potter and the Weasel don't pay that much attention to you. They're content with you being the smart one of their group and nothing else. Everything else about you that doesn't fit that image gets discarded. They don't see you as a girl."

"That's not true!" Hermione argued. "I dated Ron for a while."

The smirk was tugging on the corner of Draco's mouth again and she really wanted to wipe it off the same way she did in their third year. But that would be childish, so she restrained. She would like to think that she had matured since then.

"And how did that work out for you?" He asked patronizingly. It occurred to Hermione that being mature was overrated.

Before she could pull her hand back to strike him, Draco raised his arm and ran the back of his right hand down her cheek. The urge to slap him across the face was forgotten instantly. The contact made her jump – his skin was still cold from the rain.

"You spent most of your school life pining over him and when you finally got him, it lasted what? A month?"

"Shut up," Hermione said quietly. It was true, but she didn't want to hear it.

But he didn't shut up. "You invested yourself in him. You imagined a life together. And it was all for nothing."

"Shut up!" This time Hermione shouted it in his face. He didn't even flinch, instead stared her straight in the eyes.

"No one understands how that feels better than I do."

He said it with such seriousness that in that moment, Hermione knew he had been in love with Pansy. It didn't matter that Hermione had always considered her to be a simpering pug face. Draco had found something to love about the Slytherin girl and that was all that mattered.

Not able to stand the intensity of his stare, Hermione did the unthinkable and turned her back to him. It was a stupid move to show a former enemy her back, but she just couldn't look at him any more. It was stirring things inside her that she didn't want to think about. In front of her friends she acted like the thing with Ron didn't bother her, but that wasn't the case. And Draco had seen through it.

"I should go," she said. He had opened a floodgate of emotions and she didn't want to stick around so he could witness it.

"It's still raining," he said lowly, and moved closer to her. He was almost pressed up against her back. He was close enough that she could smell the rain on him.

"Harry and Ron will be worried."

Draco gathered her hair and flipped it over her shoulder, exposing the left side of her neck. His lips were right next to her ear when he said, "Who cares?"

He immediately slid his arms around her waist and nuzzled her ear with his nose. It tickled and she was about to say as much but he beat her to it. "If you don't want this, push me away right now." He followed it by pulling her earlobe between his cool lips and sucking gently.

Hermione gasped and squirmed in his arms, but she didn't try to get away. She knew she was being stupid and this was exactly what he wanted. That was why he said those things to her, and she was playing right into his hands. She knew that. The problem was that he had hit on something she always tried to hide, even from herself. The truth was that she was lonely and she didn't want to feel that way, even if only for a little while. So instead, she leaned against him and tilted her head to the side so he could have better access. That seemed to be all the encouragement he needed.

Draco pulled her body flush against his and simultaneously yanked her shirt out of the waistband of her skirt. His clothes were still cold and wet where they pressed against her and it sent shivers down Hermione's spine.

Draco slid his hands under her shirt and over the curve of her waist before coming back around and dragging the blunt edges of his fingernails across her stomach. His lips attacked her neck and the contrast of the cold from his clothes only seemed to amplify the heat that was starting in her abdomen.

Hermione wanted his hands elsewhere but was too embarrassed to voice it. Luckily, it seemed that he was still in tune with her thoughts. His left hand left her stomach and moved south over the planes of her skirt.

"Do you want this?" he murmured.

The answer was most definitely 'yes', Hermione was mortified to admit to herself. How much time had she spent that week thinking about his fingers touching her, his mouth exploring her? There was no way she would admit that to him though. She really hoped he wasn't going to push the issue.

She should have known better.

Draco was almost touching the ache when he changed direction and instead cupped her ass. Hermione wasn't expecting that and she jerked. Draco chuckled lowly against her throat.

"Still not going to answer?" Hermione was silent. "Okay then."

After giving her butt a nice squeeze, Draco parted her legs with one of his own and finally slid his fingers against her slick panties. Hermione squealed from the contact and moved against it, wanting more. He sure was taking his time with getting things going. He was probably having too much fun tormenting her. Jackass.

It was then that she became very aware of something hard pressing against her lower back. The realization of what it was made her stiffen in shock but she was distracted by Draco's fingers on her nether regions. He had pushed the cloth to the side and now there was nothing separating his fingers and her skin. All rational thoughts flew out of her brain.

He took his time, his movements unhurried and a sweet torture. He slid his fingers against her, circling and gathering moisture before letting the underwear slide back in place and raising his fingers to her eyelevel.

"Hm… it appears that you do want it."

Hermione didn't want to look, but there was a bit of morbid fascination there. His fingers were slick and while she watched he separated his index and middle finger to demonstrate just how wet she was. It was one thing to know that she was wet down there; it was another to have it staring her in the face. The worst part was that it only served to heighten her arousal. Hermione averted her gaze.

"Shut up," she forced through her clenched teeth, managing to sound a lot less embarrassed than she felt. Unfortunately for her, since she was trying her damndest not to look at him, she didn't notice that his hand had already dropped back down.

Without any warning, Draco pushed the underwear aside and slid one finger into her. Caught completely off guard at the intrusion, Hermione gasped loud enough for it to echo through the house.

While her mouth was still open, Draco used his unoccupied hand to turn her face to the side and covered her lips with his own. It was a searing kiss and this time Hermione refused to give any leeway. She was already in a vulnerable position, and she would be damned if she gave him any more ground! As they battled for control, Draco started to slowly move his finger in and out of her.

They broke the kiss when the need for air became overwhelming and Hermione was left panting. The sound of her ragged breathe was enough to make her face flame with embarrassment. How did something like that manage to bother her when he was currently touching her in a very inappropriate way? She really never would understand herself.

Hermione got lost in the movements of his hand inside her and was left to wonder just how she got herself into this situation. Wasn't this exactly what she had been planning on avoiding? So much for that. It still kind of bothered her though, that she was the only one in the vulnerable position.

Draco was rocking against her in the same rhythm he pumped his hand into her and the added sensation of his solid body against her soft one only heightened the sensation. A wicked idea suddenly occurred to her and she ground against the hardness pressing on her back.

Score one for Hermione. She surprised Draco enough that his hand paused and he groaned deeply, loud and long. The sound was so guttural that it stirred something primal in her and made her want to hear it again.

Before she could come up with something else to do to him, Draco regained control of his self and added a second finger to the first.

"Bad girl," he growled in her ear.

Hermione couldn't respond at first – she was having a sensory overload. Instinctively, she spread her legs further to adjust to the new width and was left breathless. He started slow at first and gradually picked up the pace. Hermione dug her nails into his forearm to try and hold herself up. She didn't think her legs could handle the job on their own at the moment.

Draco gave a particularly deep thrust and curled his fingers, hitting a spot Hermione hadn't had any idea was there. She clenched her teeth viciously to stay quiet, but her body betrayed her when her hips bucked against his hand. She could feel his laughter rumbling through his chest. Well! She was having none of that.

Hermione managed to plant her feet firmly on the floor again and switched gears, rolling her ass against his pelvis. His laughing stopped.

"G-Granger," he mumbled thickly, his grip tightening on her. He pulled her closer and curled his fingers inside again.

She didn't want to admit what he was able to do to her, but it just felt too good to deny at the moment. "There!" Hermione whimpered. Her inner walls were tightening and she knew it wouldn't be much longer.

Draco must have realized that as well because he added the sensation of rubbing his thumb along her clit, making the tightening even worse.

Hermione attempted to continue rocking against him, but it was becoming too difficult. She couldn't think of anything more than needing to release. Right. That. Second.

Her body had just begun to spasm when Draco bit down where her neck met her shoulder HARD. His teeth sank into the flesh painfully and would surely leave a mark. She exploded.

Hermione's whole body writhed and she opened her mouth to suck in much needed air, but screamed instead.

Hmm… if anyone happened to be walking by, she would have just added to the credibility of the ghost stories about the Shrieking Shack.

Hermione's inner walls were still twitching when Draco released his death grip on her and slid his fingers out of her. She wasn't quite prepared to support her own weight and started tilting forward. Draco quickly steadied her. However, Hermione smacked his hand away and turned around to glare at him.

"What the hell was that?!" she demanded, still winded.

Draco arched his eyebrows at her. "I believe that was an orgasm."

"Not that!"

He continued as if she hadn't said anything. "I thought they were supposed to release endorphins, but you're already bitching at me again."

Hermione ignored that 'bitching' remark and stayed on course with what she really wanted to know. She pointed at her neck, where she knew there were undoubtedly some teeth marks.

"I was talking about you biting me!"

"Oh." He laughed. "That."

"Are you secretly a vampire or something?" she grouched, running her fingers over the indention on her skin. He hadn't drawn blood, but the skin had begun to tear.

Draco pretended to look offended. "Of course not! I'm a pureblood, remember?"

Hermione resisted the urge to make an inbreeding joke. "So what's with the biting?"

The devilish look was back on his face. "I just thought you would like it. I was right, wasn't I?"

Hermione immediately dropped her gaze to avoid his knowing stare. Now that she was out of her lust filled haze, she was beginning to feel uncomfortable – especially when he said things like that. However, looking down only added to her growing discomfort. Draco's pants were bulging and seemed to be straining with the effort.

She didn't know how she felt when she saw that. On the one hand, it was kind of flattering that she was able to provoke that kind of response out of him. On the other hand, it was completely mortifying. Especially with the memory of what he had just been doing to her. And what she still wanted to do to him.

Hermione could feel his eyes bearing into her, as if waiting to see her reaction. She couldn't move. Her muscles were tightened with anticipation. Draco seemed to make up his mind about something, because he sighed and took a half-step back.

"Don't worry about it, Granger. You're obviously not ready. Go back to Potter and the Weasel."

Something inside her screamed with indignation. She understood what he was trying to do, and that it was almost kind of sweet… in a twisted way. But, she couldn't help but feel like he was treating her like she was a delicate doll. It also didn't seem fair that this was the second time that she was the only one who got a happy ending. Despite her better judgment, Hermione made up her mind in that moment to help him with his… problem. After all, she had already fallen this far. A little more wouldn't hurt.

Draco had already begun to button his shirt, but stopped when she halted his movement with her hand. His head snapped up, and questioning irises met hers.

Hermione swallowed the nervous lump in her throat and reminded herself that she had already made up her mind. With fresh resolve, she got on her tiptoes and pressed her lips to the pulse point on Draco's throat. While she tentatively ran her tongue along his jaw line, her fingers numbly undid the buttons on his shirt.

"Don't ever tell me what to do," she said in his ear. She noticed with triumph the shivers that shot down his spine. Still, her confidence was threatening to dissolve. She wasn't so sure she could do this.

No! Hermione was not a quitter.

Not too sure what she was doing, Hermione slid her palms down his smooth chest and flicked her thumb over his pink nipple. He was staring at her, she knew, but she couldn't bring herself to look at his face. It was one thing to pretend to be the dominant one, but she didn't think she could keep the charade up if she was looking directly into his knowing eyes. This would just have to do. If he was smirking at her right now, she just hoped that she would soon wipe it right off his smug face.

She was relatively steady as she undid his belt and pants button, but she couldn't contain the slight wavering as she slid the zipper down. The room was so quiet except for the crackle of the fire, that she could have sworn that the sound of the zipper seemed much louder than it actually was.

It's like a Band-Aid, Hermione thought to herself. Do it quickly and it will hurt less. Of course, that was complete bollocks…

Not letting her brain run away with itself, Hermione hooked her thumb under the waistband of his boxers and pulled them down at the same time she did as his trousers. Draco's cock sprung free, pointing at the ceiling.

Hermione tried not to stare, but it was almost impossible. She had never seen a penis in person before, and it made her uncomfortable. She wasn't disgusted with him, though. It was more directed at herself. She'd never had as strong the double urge to stay and run both at the same time.

"Like what you see?" Draco taunted, his voice teasing. For his part, he hadn't moved an inch, letting her do everything. He must have figured that was how she wanted it.

"Did I say you could talk?" Hermione responded, as forcefully as she could.

"Did I ask?" Draco quipped. She didn't respond. "You really shouldn't force yourself. I have high hopes that we will be doing this again some day, and the chances of that happening greatly increase if I don't scare you away."

"I'm not scared." It was both the truth and a lie. She wasn't afraid of it in a literal sense, but as he so eloquently put it, he was hoping this kind of thing would happen again. She could tell herself that it was a lie and she would never do it again, but she had said that last time and here they were. No, she was scared of the side of her he was bringing out. It was a side even she hadn't known was there. The romance novels had been an indicator, but they barely seemed to scratch the surface of the thoughts going on in her mind.

"Granger." Draco touched her shoulder. "You don't have to pretend when you're with me."

He unknowingly made up her mind with that simple sentence, even though that hadn't been his intention. Hermione grabbed the hilt of his cock and gently slid her hand to the head. The room suddenly seemed a lot warmer than when they had first gotten there. Her hand was slick with sweat and it moved easily.

Draco gasped in shock, his shoulders hunching forward. Hermione tried to find a pace, but felt a bit ridiculous since she really didn't know what she was doing. Remembering something she once read, she rolled her thumb over the head of his penis. He groaned and buried his face in the crook of her neck.

To Hermione's surprise, Draco wrapped his hand around her own and squeezed, showing her the proper pressure. He didn't stop there, entwining his fingers with hers and setting the pace.

His hips bucked into their hands, his back quivering with the effort. Feeling that he was once again doing all the work, Hermione used her free hand to roam boldly across his body.

It wasn't too long before all the muscles in his body tightened and he shuddered violently, releasing all over their hands and partly on her skirt.

The two of them stayed like that for what couldn't have been more than a ten seconds, but felt like an eternity to Hermione. As soon as she deemed proper, Hermione extracted herself from his arms and moved away.

Not looking at him, she bent down to retrieve her wand and muttered "Scourgify". She cleaned her hands and skirt, and briefly considered cleaning her underwear but thought better of it. She didn't want him to see her do something like that.

The shame was setting in again and she hated it. She shouldn't have been such a hormonal teenager! It wasn't that she exactly regretted what she had just done, but she still felt awkward being in the same room with him afterward.

It was still raining, but it was more of a drizzle now. She was going to brave it.

"Well…" She finished straightening up her clothes and made sure she had the panties she had come there to get. She was very careful not to look in his direction, where she could hear him zipping up his pants. "I should probably be going back now."

She didn't wait for his response and left the Shrieking Shack so fast that she left the door open.

"Granger. Wait! You for-"

She didn't stop. The day has just been too full of new realizations about herself and she didn't think she could face him at that moment. She hightailed it out of there before she could even hear the end of his sentence.

It was only when she was in Hogsmeade that something registered in her mind. While she may have gotten her white knickers back, she had completely forgotten about the bag with the red panties Ginny had bought her. She left it there. With him. That was probably what he had wanted to tell her.

She really was an idiot.

Kitty Neko: A special thanks for everyone who took the time to drop me a line for the last chapter. They were very much appreciated ^^

Ugh, college is sucking my soul! Still, it's nice that I have a smutty story to think about while I'm supposed to be learning haha. I hope you enjoyed reading this chapter as much as I liked writing it! Let me know what you think.