Author's Note:

One line in this chapter during a memory flashback scene is borrowed from "The Chamber of Secrets" novel by J.K. Rowling. I've also head-canon'd a novel scene from "Prisoner of Azkaban".

Remember, Severus Snape was born in canon on 9 January, 1960. That makes him 40 years old by the time of this fic. That means he'd gotten Theo Nott's mother pregnant when he was just out of Hogwarts (the same time as James & Lily hooked up). Just FYI.

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE: Crawl Beneath My Veins

The Fortress (formerly Hogwarts Castle), Scotland

Tuesday, October 31, 2000 (five minutes before eight o'clock P.M.)

Chained and magically bound by compulsion not to attempt escape, Jeremy could only watch as Lilitu inspected a naked Astoria Greengrass, specifically, the small, rounded bump of the younger girl's belly. She circled the insensate woman like a shark, considering which angle was best for biting.

"Out of curiosity, how old are you, really?" he asked his 'host'.

"Don't you know it's impolite to ask such things of a woman," Lilitu replied, stroking a reverent hand over Greengrass' distended tummy, then reached up to cup the girl's breasts, weighing them in her palms. She hummed in approval.

"But you're not a woman. You're a monster," he reminded her.

His captor bent down and leaned her ear to Astoria's abdomen, as if listening for something inside. "Keep provoking me, little boy, and I just might take offence, and then… Well, you don't need arms or legs for what I have planned for you. In fact, it might be easier all around if they weren't attached to your body any longer. No chance to attempt an escape then."

"That so?" he asked, wondering what her grand plans entailed. She'd hinted and threatened at something life-changing, but had yet to explain a bloody thing.

Frankly, he was beginning to suspect she was making the whole thing up, and that he'd been brought here simply because she was bored and needed someone new to entertain her, as her other toadies were all too easily enthralled to offer her a challenge. Not that he was any better off when she turned on the charm. His Vampirius was completely enamoured of its progenitor, and provided absolutely no help when it came to resisting her.

Speaking of resisting…

He flexed the muscles in his shoulders and arms again, but the magical bonds that held him in place were still too strong to break. He'd been trying to get free for hours, in between his 'host' molesting him with her powers. She hadn't yet hopped astride him and rode him to glory, but she seemed to like discovering new ways to make him come just by touch alone, as if he were at the centre of some twisted sex experiment and was the unlucky lab rat of the day.

"So, what you're really saying," he continued to goad her, "is that you're a dried-up, old granny under Megan's pretty, young meat suit."

His insult struck true, as expected; Lilitu was the vainest creature he'd ever encountered, after all.

With a snarl, she moved away from Greengrass and launched herself at him, baring an impressive set of fangs and claws, grown post-haste as if she were some sort of shifter. "You impudent, little wretch! I am a GODDESS! You will worship me, beg me for love, serve me as I want...and that includes shutting that irritating mouth of yours right now!"

He smirked at her. "Sorry, babe, but I'm an atheist. Wouldn't know how to worship properly, even if I wanted to."

That day in Blessington's church had sealed that deal for him. As he'd stared up at the shattered altar, he'd decided then and there that there was no invisible man puppet-mastering the universe, only personal choices…and a whole lot of gravity.

His jailer's face morphed several times, vacillating between incredulity, anger, and finally settling into a cunning expression that unnerved him, honestly.

"You will when I'm finished with you," she promised, reaching for his cock again.

Jeremy rolled his eyes…and then gasped in combination pleasure-pain as he was once more bewitched by the Succubus' power.


Raithlin Island, Northern Ireland

Tuesday, October 31, 2000 (eight o'clock P.M.)

Hermione Granger had a pretty, bow-shaped mouth, and when she smiled—really smiled, not that tight, carefully crafted guise she frequently gave to the others to cheer them on, but the kind of expression that split her face and lit her up from the inside out—Draco had always, even back in their school days, had a tendency to stare and to forget what he'd been about.

Like now.

His fork hovered halfway to his mouth as he watched Granger's face transform, feeling his chest hitch as her cheeks and eyes softened, reflecting a rare and beautiful innocence…

Now there was a word he hadn't used in a long time. The concept itself was as foreign to a sinner like him as a deluge to a desert creature. Granger, though, still resonated the stuff, most likely because her early childhood had been filled with nothing but pink, sweet smiles and lots of hand-holding, and completely free of experiencing the real world's ugliness–

–until the day she and Draco had locked horns the first time, and he'd introduced her to the heart of all Slytherin spitefulness.

"No one asked your opinion, you filthy, little Mudblood."

Later, he'd heard she'd gotten teary-eyed over the incident after talking about it with Professor McGonagall during private office hours. Daphne Greengrass had overheard their conversation and, of course, had reported it to Pansy, who had reported it to him. He'd laughed at the time, thinking it funny that he'd made her cry.

Merlin, he'd been a nasty shit to her, hadn't he?

Shame burned in his gut at the memories of every time he'd hurt her, and he dropped his eyes to his plate, uncomfortable with the truth. It had been he, not McLaggen, who had really been the one to steal away Granger's naiveté and purity, hadn't it? He'd dug at her and caused her pain years before that blond bastard had ever touched her.

Pansy lightly elbowed him in the ribs. "Scowling at her isn't going to win you any points."

Draco blinked. "I wasn't scowling," he hissed back in a matching whisper.

His friend rolled her eyes. "Yes, you were, and I can guess why."

He frowned, not liking that Pansy could still read people—him—as quickly and accurately as one of her books. "No, you can't."

She sat back in her chair and gave him a look that screamed, You did not just say that to me of all people. Me, who has been your female confidant since we were in nappies. Me, who was the one to see your ridiculously smug, 'I've just lost my virginity' face. Me, the girl who has always been your friend despite your foul temper and your stubborn ways. ME.

Draco answered by shoveling his food into his mouth. There, he couldn't bloody well scowl if he was busy chewing, now could he?

Pansy gave him a wry smirk, knowing she'd won. "You've got that same look in your eye my father occasionally had when he looked at me: regret," she pointed out in a low tone, so only the two of them were privy to the conversation. "You can't undo the past, Draco, so let it go. Everyone was different then. We're grown-up now, and the war has made us all wiser to the world. At least, it should have."

She pointed her fork at him and gave him a matronly glare. "You're her man, or would be if you'd get your head out of your arse, lover-boy. So, stop eye-fucking her and get to the real thing while you can."

Draco considered that around another mouthful of pasta, glancing across the table at Granger again, watching as she came to life around her friends, letting her defenses down and opening her heart to them.

God, she was beautiful. He really didn't deserve her.

His left eye began throbbing again, and the hazy film that was always present wavered and his vision went dark for a moment. Draco rubbed at it until the dull ache receded and sight in the eye was restored.

"All right?" Pansy asked in a conspiratorial whisper, noting him flinch. "When did you get that scar, anyway?"

"I'm fine," he dismissed her, and returned to his dinner.

As he took another bite, he peeked up across the table once more.

No, he didn't deserve Hermione Granger's love.

Still, Draco was a selfish bastard—that, at least, had not changed over the years. As such, he had absolutely no intention of letting her feelings for him get away, especially now that he'd somehow, miraculously procured them.

Pansy was right. It was time to make his move.


Raithlin Island, Northern Ireland

Tuesday, October 31, 2000 (half-past eight o'clock P.M.)

Penny sat at Neville's side, holding his hand, exhausted by the last few days.

They were supposed to have gotten married this morning. Instead, she'd drugged him into near unconsciousness and dragged him hundreds of miles northeast of where they'd been, settling him into a new, temporary home.

He was resting now as the montage of pain potions Daphne had dosed him with had knocked him out.

Nauseated again, she stood up and began pacing, rubbing at the same time over her abdomen with one hand and speaking softly to the sprog growing in her belly. "Daddy will be fine. Just calm down. He's healing well."

And he was. That hole in the back of his skull and the fractures in his arm had healed up nicely, thanks to the Skele-Gro, and even drugged out, he'd been able to partially stand with her and the Captain's support, which indicated his spine and collarbones had also benefited from the healing potion. The only issue that seemed to remain was the extent of neurological damage. Morag hadn't been able to be precise there, although the consensus was Nev's left arm would be completely useless now and he'd never be able to run again, most likely. Walk, sure, but not run.

She could live with that. An arm loss was easily compensated for; her own father, a retired Auror, had lost his arm from the elbow-down during the First Wizarding War and he'd worked around his handicap. As for the running…well, their baby would run enough for the both of them once he or she learned how to amble about.

Their baby.

Merlin, was she really pregnant? How was it possible, and why hadn't she miscarried yet, as she'd expected to? Not that she was looking a gift horse in the mouth, but seriously, how had it happened?

Maybe it was all the sex magic in the air. There was certainly enough of the mojo to go around, with so many Sex-Witches and Sex-Warlocks in their group…

Which seemed odd, when she really stopped and thought about it, as the heritage of sex magic was supposedly very rare. Even if one carried the gene for the gift, the chances of it emerging had been infinitesimally small. She remembered her former Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin, had spoken of it in class as if it were a lost talent, and recalled sitting up in the Ravenclaw common room one snowy night in January to write three feet of parchment on the disappearing phenomena within the wizarding world's bloodlines, in fact. Yet, here she was, practically surrounded by Sex-Witches and Sex-Warlocks, many of them people she'd gone to school with, who had never displayed the ability until last year. It was kind of freakish.

...As if something or someone outside in the world had suddenly reactivated that lost magical talent in all people, everywhere who possessed that ability.

Whatever the cause of her pregnancy, it was definitely wreaking havoc on her system. She could hardly hold down food in the mornings and ate like a horse the rest of the day, she was tired all the time, and the strangest smells either made her ravenous or nauseous. Honestly, she was tired already, and she wasn't even fully into her pregnancy like Faye.

But she'd grown to love the idea of this baby in such a short time, that the thought of not having the child—Neville's child—seemed impossible to fathom.

Faith, all she needed was a little faith that it would happen for her.

For them.


Raithlin Island, Northern Ireland

Tuesday, October 31, 2000 (nine o'clock P.M.)

Blaise held up to the light the coin the Weasley girl had dug (literally, with a shallow Slicing Hex, which she'd healed quick to keep from bleeding out all over the carpet) from her skin after she'd finished her dinner. It appeared as just another golden Galleon, but he knew from what he'd been told that a powerful Protean Charm had been cast on it—a clever ruse devised by Hermione Granger back during their fifth year at school.

The witch had a little Slytherin in her after all, it seemed.

...And if the way Draco had been eyeing her at dinner earlier meant anything, that wasn't just a statement, but a prediction, too.

Speaking of his best friend, after Granger had straightened Draco's pale, skinny arse out for him, the bastard had shown up at Blaise's new room and apologised to him for dumping him in the ocean. As if an apology was all it would take to make them even for seaweed finding its way up the crack of Blaise's arse. Feh.

In the end, he'd traded his best friend his forgiveness for Draco's secret stash of Firewhisky.

Guilt was a many splendoured thing.

"What's that?" Pansy asked him, reaching out to snatch the shiny thing from his hand. Quick as a whip, he palmed it, however. She tsk'd. "Gimme. It's gold. I want."

"Sorry, dove." He kissed her cheek to earn her clemency. "This is our only means of talking to the American cell."

"And how did we come by such a wonderful, little gem?" she asked, throwing herself down on the edge of the mattress and leaning back on her hands to stare up at him with the most adorable, fox-like expression on her face.

"The She-Weasel brought it with her from California. Hid it under her skin, if you can believe it."

Pansy's eyebrows shot into her hairline. "How very...cunning...of her."

"And it was Granger who invented the spell to communicate over long distances, using a Protean Charm." With his thumb, he flicked the coin into the air, and then caught it on the tumble back down. "Created these to thwart Umbridge during fifth year."

"I'm not nominating either of them for honourary Slytherin, lover-boy, no matter how impressed I may be by that," she stated with a snobbish sniff. "There's just too much red and gold in their hearts for any sane person to respect."

He sat down next to her on the bed. "Besides, there's only room for one Queen of Slytherin House, right?" Grinning, he lifted one of her hands to his mouth and placed a reverent kiss to the back of it.

"Exactly. Competition for the throne brings out the murderer in me." She gave him a haughty look. "So, do you plan to sit around all night staring at that magical coin or use it sometime this century to call in the cavalry?"

He chuckled. "Oh, definitely use it. Tonight, in fact." He held it up between them. "You ready to make history, my vixen?"


Raithlin Island, Northern Ireland

Tuesday, October 31, 2000 (nine o'clock P.M.)

Theo tucked his father into the bed, assuring the blankets met his chin and covered his feet. Then, he set about casting Warming and Drying Charms, turning the room into a miniature desert, something he couldn't have done while inside the tents, which seemed to absorb the moisture from the very air into the canvas, keeping it damp.

When he'd finished, convinced that Severus was comfortable, he turned to the pasta dish Daphne had brought him earlier and took the chair by the window to eat his dinner alone.

"You shouldn't be here. You'll get sick," his father weakly said, his breath coming in short wheezes through his nostrils. "Fool boy. Get out."

Theo smirked around a mouthful of food, and quickly swallowed. "Already exposed, so it doesn't much matter, does it?"

...Which was his way of saying, 'I love you, old man' without the need for mushy emotions in the way.

Besides, he and Severus didn't talk like that to each other. It was a tacit understanding between them now that the secret of their biological link had been aired. He knew his father loved him back, and that was good enough for him.

Sometimes, knowing a thing was all that mattered.

The old man resignedly sighed. "You're as stubborn as your mother was, rest her soul."

Theo wanted to ask about their relationship, how they'd come to be, why they'd decided not to stay together, but that was another conversational black hole that was probably better to traverse rather than tackle. The fact was Theo's mother had cheated on Theo's adopted father to be with Snape, even knowing he was only a half-blood. He guessed that meant she'd loved the old codger, too, enough to risk her husband's wrath and the world's censure.

And she'd kept him, their illicit love child, despite the fact she'd known the risk to reputation and life. Further proof that whatever Severus had built with her had been real and deep. Meaningful.

Sometimes, knowing a thing was all that mattered.

"Some would say it was one of my father's troublesome traits as well," he pointed out.

Severus coughed once, but thankfully, it sounded shallow and less phlegmy, and no blood followed it to the surface. This time. "Don't get cheeky with me, young man," he hissed and slumped back into his soft pillow, burrowing under the thick, warm blankets Theo had transfigured for him.

Theo softly chuckled. "Wouldn't dream of it, dad."

His father snorted once...Which was his way of saying, 'I love you, too, my son'. Then, the old man drifted off to sleep, his medicines finally kicking in and taking him under.

Theo waited until Severus was out before wiping away the tears in his eyes. His father wasn't going to make it. He knew because, even if by some miracle, they successfully treated the Tuberculosis currently ravaging his system, the Stage Four, Emphysema he'd developed over twenty-five years of smoking and hidden so well with various potions over the last few years would get Severus in the end. In fact, the illness was aggressive now that it had reached it final life stage, and was why his father been able to contract TB so easily. He'd confessed as much yesterday to Theo, before falling into an uneasy slumber.

Smoking a single pack of Muggle cigarettes a day since the age of fifteen...that's all it had taken to develop lung disease. And wizards and Muggles alike knew that treating such a thing was impossible, regardless of magical might or technological advancement.

His father was going to die. Soon.

Sometimes, knowing a thing was a horrible burden.


Raithlin Island, Northern Ireland

Tuesday, October 31, 2000 (fifteen past nine o'clock P.M.)

Angelina smoothed the hair back from Fred's cheek. It had grown shaggy over the last several months, and was desperately in need of a trim. "Ginny came to see you tonight," she murmured to his unconscious form. "She's changed. Tougher now. Got her spine up, finally. I think you'd be proud of her."

Tears filled her eyes and she sniffed, hastily rubbing them away.

"Sorry, love, it's been a shit few months." Her glance turned to the lone window in the room, where she noted her reflection in its glass. The flickering of the bedside candle cast shadows around and through it, reminding her of how the darkness always smothered the light in the end. "We never should have come back," she whispered.

Outside, the wind howled in mournful agreement.

Shaking the gloom off, she glanced around at the tidy room she and her husband had been assigned, impressed with the magic used to expand it and to transfigure items for their use. It was sparse of furniture, but there was carpet on the floor and the walls were a lovely shade of bird's egg blue.

"You know, it's about as nice as our flat back home. Too quiet, really, but lovely."

Thinking about what they'd left behind to escort Ginny back here, to reach this small pocket of resistance to give them the news of the global efforts to defeat Mort, honestly, she regretted it now. She'd never wanted to return to England in the first place, having lost too much here, seen too much evil committed by a false prophet and his army of death-dealers. Let the place rot, she'd decided long ago, right along with the society that had spawned such a monster. And now...

She glanced down at her slumbering husband.

Starting over in another country had been good for her relationship with Freddie. Her miscarriage had nearly torn them apart, but when they'd hopped that ship bound for America as refugees, they'd agreed to leave the past behind, too. They'd been given a second chance, and they'd made the most of it, falling back in love and making a home together on Russian Hill, overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Far from the war's front lines, they'd even decided to try for another child.

But then Bill had asked for volunteers to go back, to tell the British freedom-fighters that help was on its way, and Ginny had raised her hand. There hadn't really been much of a choice for her Freddie then; he'd always felt responsible for baby sis. Besides, it wasn't as if George could have gone, given his mental state. And Bill had been required to stay put to coordinate the Americans, Charlie had been missing, Percy and Ron were dead. Really, there had been no one else to act as her sister-in-law's protection detail.

...This was the price they'd paid for that reckless bravery.

She ran the tips of her fingers over her husband's cheek in a soft caress. "Come back to me, babe," she whispered, hoping somehow he could hear her and would obey. Freddie always gave her what she wanted, after all.

Someone knocked at the door.

Angelina wiped the tears from her eyes again and rose to answer it.

Charlie Weasley stood in the hallway. "I'll take first watch," he offered, nodding his head towards his brother's prone form. "You get some sleep."

The man looked as exhausted as Angelina felt, but she knew Charlie was as sturdy as an ox, and twice as strong. He could probably hold the roof in place with his bare hands, should it decide to spontaneously collapse in on them right then.

Okay, maybe not, but he was bloody solid, that much was for sure.

She remembered him well from those few weeks before Potter had fallen, when the Weasley clan had all come together to strategize over worst-case scenarios and how to survive them. She'd been invited into that privileged circle, despite only being a girlfriend at the time, and that's when she'd come to know and love this family as if it were her own. Charlie, she recalled, had been the sturdy one of the seven siblings, the one to lend a helpful hand when needed and to remind the others to take breaks when necessary, all without receiving much praise or thanks for it. He'd seemed to Angelina to be much like his father, Arthur in that respect, acting as the glue that held the others together with quiet, unobtrusive strength.

Until she'd arrived at Wicklow, she hadn't seen him in two years, and yet here he was once more, stalwart and supportive.

A godsend, honestly, because she was swaying on her feet and ready to crash.

"Thanks," she said, stepping back and letting him in. "I appreciate it."

He crossed the room to take the sole wooden chair, positioning it into a corner, where he'd have the advantage of facing the door and the bed both. Then, he sat back and he did exactly what he promised he'd do that night: he watched over his little brother, wand at the ready.

And for the first time in weeks, Angelina was able to fall into a deep, restful sleep.

She dreamed of her former teammate, Harry Potter, reliving the day he'd caught his first tournament Snitch.


Raithlin Island, Northern Ireland

Tuesday, October 31, 2000 (half-past nine o'clock P.M.)

After the meal and the clean-up, and Blaise once more reiterating that he had the security shifts well in hand, Hermione decided to call it a night. She wanted a bath and a long, restful sleep.

She waved to the others, wishing them all good dreams, and then dragged her tired body up the stairs. She made it to her room and beyond, into the private bathroom she'd conjured when setting the cottage up earlier. Once there, however, she almost reconsidered her plan. It seemed too much work to get undressed, to clean up, and to pat down afterwards. As it was, scrubbing her teeth with the toothbrush was taking it out of her.

Practically falling asleep on her feet, she brushed for only a few more moments, spit the foamy paste into the sink, rinsed her mouth, and then made the mistake of looking up into the bathroom mirror.

Good Lord, just look at her hair—it was a complete disaster!

And her face and hands, too! She was dirty from head-to-toe with pine sap and earth from helping to take down the tents at Wicklow.

Lifting an arm, she sniffed at the fabric of her shirt.

Ugh. Gross! No way was she going to sleep smelling and looking like this.

Shucking every stitch of clothing, she reached in and started the bath. Pansy and she had charmed the well-water heater in the cottage basement to perpetually work, so the water that came out of the pipes was steaming and felt good on her weary muscles as she stepped in and laid back, closing her eyes.

Just for a second, she thought.

The next thing she became aware of was someone taking her arm and washing it with a soft, wet cloth. The soap tickled...

Blinking, she came fully alert.

"It's only me," Draco reassured her as he leaned over the tub and slowly ran the sponge over her elbow. He was careful not to move too quickly, so as not to spook her further. "You've been in here an hour and you're wrinkling. Time to get clean and get out."

His hot breath brushed against her temple as he exhaled, giving her a case of the shivers. Goosebumps broke out on her exposed skin.

Oh, God… He was really here, right now, while she was fully naked!

Flustered, Hermione quickly covered her chest with her free arm, hiding her exposed breasts from his sight.

"A little late for that," he admitted with a wicked chuckle.

She sighed, realizing he was right, and really, she was too exhausted for a fight anyway. "What are you doing to me this time?" she asked him instead.

"Not seducing you, if that was what you were hoping." He glanced at her through the fringe of his lashes. "You've had a hard enough day."

On my account, was left unspoken, but the apology was clear. He was trying to make up for earlier.

It was on the tip of her tongue to ask if he'd apologised to Blaise yet, but just then he finished with one arm and held his hand out for the other. She stared at the strong, pale fingers and realised she'd have to drop her arm and expose her breasts if she gave in to his silent request.

As he'd said, it wasn't as if he hadn't already seen her au natural, as she'd been laying here in the tub, asleep when he'd come in. Besides, he'd been there that day McLaggen had... He'd been there to offer her his cloak and to hold her naked, shivering form as she'd fallen apart at the seams.

Merlin, he really did love her, didn't he? It seemed almost inconceivable when she looked at it through the lens of their childhood and remembered all the awful taunts and humiliating pranks, and that slap... But they'd changed so much, and in so short a time. Mort had changed them, moving them out of their childhood before either of them had been ready.

And now, the thought of being without Draco cut through her as sharp and painful as a Slicing Hex.

Heart thudding hard in her chest, Hermione dropped her eyes to the tub's rim and reached for his hand, trusting that he wouldn't hurt her.

She felt the tension in the room dissolve as she accepted his offer, and then he began to wash her other arm with the same care as its twin. He was respectful, gentle even as he moved up from her fingertips to her elbow to the smooth slope of her shoulder, washing away not just the day's filth, but in an odd, symbolic way, also her deep-seated fears of this sort of intimacy. And when the cloth dipped over the dainty bones of her collar and down to stroke across a breast, she shuddered with delight, rather than with dread.

Their eyes met as he slid the cloth over her again, and then the pad of his thumb brushed back and forth slowly over her nipple.

"I'm not that tired," she whispered, shaking with both anticipation and growing arousal.

He peered down at her, considering her offer, his thumb continuing to torture her senses. Then, with an amused quirk of his lips, he pulled away and continued to wash her. "Yes, you are." His smirk grew positively devilish as he soaped up the cloth again. "Your hair's gone woolly mammoth, and that only happens when you're exhausted."

With a gasp of indignation, she sat up and began patting her hair down. "It's the humidity from the bath. It's not because‒"

His wicked chuckle brought her sudden temper to a solid halt.

"You're teasing me!" she accused.

He reached into the water and lifted one of her legs, causing her to tip backwards. "I'm not entirely redeemed," he admitted, scrubbing her calf and knee, moving towards her ankle.

So distracted with she with his snarky smile that she hardly noticed when he finished cleaning her toes and began massaging her right foot. In truth, it had been a very long time since she'd seen Draco Malfoy so...relaxed. The effect looked good on him, as it brought out the boyish rascal hidden deep under that oppressive layer of leader that he'd worn for the last two years.

It gave her hope that once the war had ended and they'd won—because they would win, or die trying...there were no other viable options, in her opinion—perhaps he wouldn't be unreachable, wouldn't just drown himself in self-hatred and dark thoughts, as he'd been wont to do during the course of this fight. That like she'd resolved to do, he'd take the pain and use it to start over, to rebuild their world.

To begin again.

His fingers gently slid between her toes, and the result was incredibly erotic. She sucked in a breath, and once more, their gazes met.

His eyes dipped to her breasts, where the tips barely broke the water's surface, proving her interest.

He wet his lips.

The female wolf within her silently padded to the front of her consciousness. "Prove it," she challenged him in a breathy whisper, confident that the heat in his eyes wasn't a misunderstanding this time. No, he wanted her, and more his inner animal wanted her. She could feel the weight of their lust in her mind, pressing like an invisible caress against every nerve in her body. It made her pant with a sudden, sharp want, made her ache...

Pupils blown wide with predatory desire, Draco set her foot back down in the water and leaned towards her. Slowly, he descended upon her mouth. "You're tempting my control," he growled, and nipped her bottom lip in both a wordless marking of intent and in silent punishment. "I'm trying to respect you."

"You are," she promised him, letting her submission to his alpha-ness be known, by dropping her gaze and tilting her head to the side, offering her throat to him in the way of mated wolves. "You won't hurt me."

He ran his nose up the side of her neck, panting hard against her pulse. Her heartbeat followed his timing and she trembled with anticipation.

"I want this with you, Draco," she whispered. "Only with you."

That seemed to flip a switch in his head, because she was suddenly hauled up and was in his arms, dripping water all over the floor as he effortlessly carried her into the bedroom. The mattress dipped as he pushed her back into it, and his mouth was latched onto her throat before her head hit the pillow.

Hot...she was so hot, slick and melty from head to toe as he came over her like a hungry male, ready to dominate his lover at long last. He groaned as she dug her fingernails into his shoulders in encouragement as he palmed a breast and kneaded it, playing with the nipple. Her legs went loose, making room between them for his body to fit, and he notched into that warm cradle, rocking against her core as his mouth, tongue, and teeth licked, sucked, and nibbled exposed skin wherever he could find it.

Gasping, small moans escaped her lips as he nursed at her breast, gripped her hips, slid his hand down her belly to the apex of her thighs. Dipping between the small slit, he found her already so wet and ready for him, and the sound he made at that discovery had her inner walls clenching around the two fingers he thrust up into her.

They didn't speak, didn't need to as he fucked her with his hand, the chorus of his groans and her incoherent mewling that pleaded for deeper, harder penetration filling the room and saying everything that needed to be said. This was about need, about release, about finally coming together in some manner, even if it was just his hand and her sex. It was about the connection, giving into the into each other.

It was glorious.

When he used his thumb to tease her engorged, throbbing clit, circling it with gentle insistence, she finally came. She cried his name with her face pressed into his throat, her arms and legs wrapped around him, her body convulsing uncontrollably for him.

It was a dazzling moment, sublime...absolute pleasure.

As she slowly came down from the high, Draco held her fast to him, strong arms wrapped around her to keep her safe, a steady rock in her rolling world.

"I love you," she sleepily murmured to him as her body slowly went lax, her exhaustion once more taking over, forcing her to finally yield. She gave in without further protest. "Thank you for that. Next time, though, I want you inside me."

He kissed her temple and rolled them so she could rest her weary head on his chest. Under her ear, his steady heartbeat lulled her into a restful slumber.

"I am inside you, Granger," she heard him whisper in the hush of the room just before she went under. "Always and forever."


Author's Notes:

Well, the first sex scene between Dramione...FINALLY. I know, I know. About time, and all that. More sexy times ahead for them and our other beloved characters, but also a lot more war stuff to come.

Warning: we will be losing characters from this point onward, so be prepared for death. It wouldn't be realistic if everyone survived the war, would it? Any predictions on who it'll be, beloved readers? Review and let me know your thoughts!