Squick warnings: swearing, oral sex, bondage, dub-con, voyeurism. Slightly AU - ignores Books 6 and 7, assumes that the Trio is in Hogwarts during Seventh Year. And Snape's not quite as much of a jerk as he might be. ;)

"THIS IS NOT," said Professor Snape, "the normal curriculum for the Potions class."

Seven all-too-gifted-and-didn't-they-just-know-it seventh-year students watched with at least a semblance of attentiveness. That was probably just right. It wasn't that he loathed them, as such; he didn't care enough about them to loathe them. Snape was not like the other Hogwarts' professors, chatting casually with their young charges, smiling, laughing, feigning interest in their impossibly small lives - what was that old word? Relating to them. Hunh. Snape had no relationship with his students.

Well, all right, that wasn't quite true. In this classroom, he was Master, the font from whom all blessings and wisdom flowed... and they were imperfect vessels, unworthy of his gifts.

And even that wasn't quite true. Much as he hated to admit it, the young woman just to his left, Hermione Granger, was a gifted scholar and witch. Not born to magic, she had worked almost obscenely hard to successfully acquire it. Everything she had, she had earned. Not that Snape would ever caress her ears with so much as a whispered, "Not bad, Granger." Oh, no.

She was too close to Potter.

Harry Potter. Sitting next to Granger, watching Snape intently, almost suspiciously. Growing up to be that most dangerous of all types of wizards, the Crusader. Snape fancied himself the Hermetic Master variety: cautious, quiet, secretive. Not to be taken lightly, not to be trifled with, ideally to be left alone. But Potter, the whelp, had been front-row-center at some of the most frightening events in the history of wizardry - all in only the last fifteen years, in the best trouble-magnet tradition - and had not only survived, but had made an annoying habit out of complete or near-complete victory. In so doing, he had become quite the hero, inspiring others to great acts of courage and selflessness, and apparently believing himself capable of, and even chosen to, Save The Day whenever necessary.

Again, Snape had not been honest with himself. Potter, he loathed.

"This advanced class," he continued, "is only for those of you who have proven exceptional in both Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts. One of the truths of Magic is that, the more you work or deal with a type of spell, the more likely it is that you will encounter it."

"Oh," came a drawl from the back of the room. "You mean like, plate of shrimp?"

Snape blinked. His gaze shifted to Draco Malfoy, sitting upright at his desk yet somehow conveying precisely the air of someone lounging with his feet up. "What do you possibly believe you might contribute to this discourse, Mister Malfoy?"

"'Say you're thinking about a plate of shrimp'." Malfoy's power and arrogance had grown dramatically over the past few years. He was feeling his freedom, not all that many months away, and very little could restrain him, even from his occasional flights into idiocy. "'Suddenly someone says plate, or shrimp, or plate of shrimp. Out of the blue. No explanation. No use looking for one either. It's all part of the cosmic unconsciousness.'"

As Snape's brow furrowed, Potter spoke up. "It's a quote from a mov- a Muggle entertainment, Professor. Called Repo Ma-."

" I am quite aware of the existence of motion pictures, Mister Potter, indeed, I have seen Repo Man not once but twice. I have a certain sympathy for the character of Bud, if not the objects of his distaste." He paused, sweeping his gaze darkly across the room. "Ordinary... fucking... people."

No one moved. No sound, no nervous shuffling, no muffled gulps. A corner of Snape's mouth twitched. "A phrase which, of course, does not apply to any of you. If I believed you were not ready for this material, you would not even know it exists." The hidden meanings of this registered on the faces of the students: Snape was actually praising them, however obliquely; and nothing in this class was to be discussed outside this room. "It is, indeed, to be hoped that most of you will never need it. If such an unhappy circumstance should ever arise, however, any deficiencies you may exhibit will not be due to the inadequacy of your instruction."

Now one or two of them squirmed. Not Malfoy, not Granger.

Not Potter.

Pressing his lips together, Snape went on. "Over the past six years, you have learned a great deal about potions, and about spoken spells. Allow me to refresh your memory about something you learned early on, and perhaps have not thought about in a good while. The primary advantage of a spell is that it may be cast quickly. All that is needed in most cases is a wand, a word, and the proper state of mind.

"Potions, on the other hand, require elaborate preparation – sometimes months, and usually exotic ingredients - but their effects can be more subtle, detailed, much more difficult to counter... and longer-lasting. This does not, I am sorry to say, mean that potions are always superior to spells." The class would have laughed appreciatively at this had they dared. "It does mean that, given time, careful planning, and a delivery method, someone using potions can wreak substantially more havoc than someone, no matter how much more dangerous-looking, using only a wand.

"The potions you have learned up till now have all been based on the ingredients and processes used to make them. Each thing has its own effect to contribute, in smaller or larger proportion; each preparation method refines one quality or another. But one type of ingredient has never been brought to your attention until now." He smiled very slightly. "Magic itself."

A satisfying collection of murmurs shook the students. Granger raised her hand. "Professor... do you mean, working a spell into a potion, so you could, for instance, have a Wingardium Leviosa you didn't have to concentrate on?"

"That is precisely what I mean, Miss Granger. Five points to Gryffindor." There, that was a reasonably safe way of rewarding the girl. It was a tricky enough concept to grasp. Unfortunately, it seemed that Malfoy hadn't even got his hands near it until Granger said it aloud in small words. Stupid boy, fancied himself a Death Eater already. Snape's eyes flickered over to Potter, nodding to himself. Damn him, he got it quickly enough.

Now Snape walked slowly around the lectern, beginning his patented Up-And-Down-The-Aisle Stalk. Fun. "Much of the preparation is still standard mortar-and-pestle work. But, rather than for producing effects directly, the choices of physical ingredients and preparation methods are made with three things in mind: encouraging the type of spell you wish to capture in the potion, discouraging any effect which may nullify or weaken the spell, and actually capturing the spell and its energy in the potion."

A hand shot up. "Professor, does that mean we have to actually know the spell?"


"Know it!" Snape was hovering vulturelike at the boy's shoulder in an instant, and at least the youth had the good sense to flinch away. "You have to actually cast it, Mister Goldstein, hasn't that sunk into that wad of treacle you refer to as your mind? Five points from Hufflepuff." What was Goldstein doing here, anyway? Oh, yes, right, there had to be at least one member of each House in this class. Snape hated affirmative action.

After a small pause, Granger raised her hand again. Bold girl. Just enough of a wait to not make it look as if she was trying to divert Snape from his disgust at Goldstein. "Can any spell be put into a potion? Or a combination of spells?"

"Provided that the potion is prepared correctly... yes." Strange, how hard it was to admit that. Snape's job was to reveal trade secrets, after all. Hermetic Master, indeed. "However, the more you ask the potion to contain, Miss Granger, the greater the potential for unpleasant and unpredictable side effects. Not the sort of thing you usually get a second chance at."

"What about Curses?" said Malfoy.

Snape glared at him. "While it is possible, Mister Malfoy, it would be highly stupid to do so. Such a potion would simply reek of Dark Magic, as well as foul-smelling smoke, a bitter metallic taste, bubbling, and all that. Most potential victims would, I presume, request some sort of chaser." Two students actually snorted. "And the chance of misstep increases exponentially. While the theories you learn in this class may be applied to any spell, I do not encourage the use of Dark Magic in the creation of a potion." Again, the sparest smile touched his lips. "Or at any other time, of course."

"Now then. Open your Spore: Herbs and Fungi to page seventy-one..."

Three weeks later, they had absorbed sufficient theory that Snape deemed them ready to begin preparing their first spell-potions. "Something simple at first, and something you are willing to take yourself," he cautioned them, "no Exhibitionus Aphrodisia, Mister Malfoy, if you please."

Grinning nervously in spite of himself, Harry glanced at Hermione at about the same time she was glancing at him, and, to their surprise, neither was quite sure what they saw in the other's expression.

After an hour or so of new and bizarre aromas permeating the air, and one relatively harmless yet tremendously loud whoomf when poor Goldstein confused the proportions of a tincture and a decoction, everyone held a small vial containing, they hoped, a successfully created spell-potion.

Snape turned his back on the class. "Place them all on the table." When he had heard seven vials clack onto the wood, he said, "Miss Granger, move them around."

After Hermione had finished shuffling positions of the vials on the table, Snape made them return to their seats before he turned around again. The potions' coloration was similar enough that even he could not tell which was which, at least not with a cursory glance. He picked one up, regarding it for a moment, then looked sharply at the class. "Entwhistle."

Gulping slightly, Kevin Entwhistle, a gangly Ravenclaw youth with a shock of brown hair almost as unruly as Potter's, rose from his chair and approached the lectern. Snape handed him the potion. Entwhistle looked at it as if he expected it to bite him, then at Snape, his eyes huge with sir-you-can't-possibly-mean.

"Drink it," said Snape.

To his credit, Entwhistle opened the vial and drank quickly, before he could think about it or risk losing points for his House. Even Snape wouldn't allow someone to be outright murdered in his class, and everyone had made their potions expecting to drink them themselves, so it shouldn't be too dangerous...

Abruptly, Entwhistle spun in place, thrice widdershins, before lurching to a halt facing a far corner of the room. Snape raised an eyebrow. "And what is so suddenly fascinating over there, Mister Entwhisle?"

"I don't know!" the bewildered boy stammered. "I just - I started moving!"

"Did you." Snape noticed that Granger had the tiniest smirk on her lips. "Turn and face the front of the room again."

After a few moments of flexing, thrashing, and grunting, Entwhistle had actually moved a few paces forward, then two back, then one forward, but not a degree had he turned toward Snape. "I- I'm sorry, sir. I can't!"

Hermione's smirk was now a suppressed grin. "Miss Granger," said Snape, "something to contribute?"

"It's a four-point spell." She managed to hide most of her elation at success. "To face north."

"What!" Entwhistle thrashed all the harder, for all the good it did him. "For how long!"

"Oh!" Hermione raised a hand to her mouth, still laughing even as she realized what she'd done. "I thought you'd just know which way was north, not actually face that way. I filtered it twice, and ran it through the calcinator."

"What!" Entwhistle exploded again. "That's - wait, twice through the filter? That'll last all week!"

"Well, Mister Entwhistle," said Snape, "I suggest you employ some classmates and a hand truck to get you from Point A to Point B for the duration." A simple Finite Incantatum would free the idiot at the end of class, but there was no need to mention that yet.

"I'm sorry," laughed Hermione, placing a hand on Entwhistle's arm. "I really am."

"Indeed," said Snape. "I'm sure we'll soon see. Goldstein."

Hermione's eyes widened, as did Potter's. Of course Snape was taking them in alphabetical order. She was next.

Goldstein took the proffered potion, looked worriedly at his classmates, and then drank. The nature of the spell became evident almost immediately. The boy began to glow like a bonfire. He looked at his hands in dismay. "Lumos?"

The rest of the class began to laugh, mostly actually in delight. "Oh, no!" blurted Goldstein. "How long is this going to last?"

"Sorry, Anthony," said Harry. "I thought it would just make a small light that would follow you around. I only filtered it the once."

"It would seem, then, that Mister Goldstein shall enjoy reading his favorite pulp adventures under the blankets tonight and tomorrow without the need for a lamp." Snape glanced at Hermione. "Granger."

Hermione looked up at him, neither so far nor so frightened as she had in her first year, then stretched out her hand. Snape picked up a potion and handed it to her. Still meeting his gaze, Hermione opened the vial and drank it down.

For a few moments nothing happened. Snape folded his arms expectantly; Hermione clasped her hands behind her back and lifted her chin like Napoleon about to review the troops. She started to say, "I don't -" but she jerked as an enormous tension gripped her, like a trap about to be sprung, and then her entire body stiffened, so suddenly that she almost teetered. Her joints locked in place, hands now secured behind her back as if she were bound, and she looked straight ahead, eyes wide.

"Hermione?" said Harry, concerned.

"Can't - can't -" Move, I can't move, she thought, I can barely speak, it must be Petrificus Totalis, but who'd put that into a potion they thought they were going to drink themselves -

And then she felt the fingers.

Or what seemed like fingers. A few at first, along the underside of her arms. And a few more on the sides of her ribs. And some on her belly. And a couple along the undersides of her -

Oh my god. Rictusempra. Petrificus Totalis and Rictusempra.

Hermione tried not to panic, but her limbs were held utterly still, she couldn't even tremble, and the invisible hands were gently digging into her flesh, under her arms, her waist, her stomach, and the insides of her thighs, and my god along the bottoms of her feet, and the Full Body Bind kept her from drawing more than a shallow breath, from crying out, oh please from laughing -


no my god not there

oh please not there oh my god I can't I can't

can't take it not there no oh help can't move trapped can't move helpless and all these fingers my god everywhere fingers on my on my

oh god they're tickling teasing digging into my my my stomach my breasts my feet the backs of my knees aaah under my arms oh god under my left arm it's digging in ohh ohh oh no no no aaah

ah shit ah oh god no they're they're they're all watching me all watching me being tickled Harry Snape oh no I'm

ohh ohh aah Snape watching grimacing glowering he could he could reach out and and ahhh no no no Malfoy oh my god Malfoy hiding a grin Harry

so hard now tickling so hard fingers feelers digging in stroking scratching squeezing my belly my no no god my breasts oh shit oh shit aaaah right there no no no aah oh Christ something like

like a single drop of sweat sliding over my left nipple like a kiss aah god going down the underslope of my oh oh oh down the ribs no can't can't no no down my belly almost exploding can't even even aah belly can't even flutter no no no that drop down my hip just to the left of oh oh oh fingers guiding it down aiming it toward oh oh oh no can't oh god every single drop of sweat slowly sliding stroking caressing careening down my throat arms breasts belly thighs aah faster no no not no not yes oh god faster they're oh oh oh oh god oh no can't mustn't not aaah not in front of aaaaah –

"Finite Incantatum!" shouted Snape.

"Harry!" Hermione screamed as she collapsed.

"Hermione!" Harry was right there to catch her, lowering her gently to the floor. She was trembling, drenched with sweat, swallowing air in huge gulps. "Hermione, are you all right?"

"Couldn't - couldn't -" Hermione closed her eyes and held her breath in an effort to regain some control. "Couldn't move, I couldn't move, and, and - oh, Harry -" She clutched at him.

Harry looked up accusingly at Snape. The Potions Master spread his hands innocently. "I'd thought she was trying to say something."

Grimacing, Harry turned his attention back to Hermione. "C'mon - I'll help you up."

"No." Hermione wrenched herself up from the floor, and all but ran to the door. She didn't think anyone saw her glance hard at Malfoy before vanishing into the hallway.

"Leaving without permission before the end of class," intoned Snape. "Five points from Gryffindor."

It was only two days later that Draco Malfoy heard the tentative knock on his door.

He did not move at once, except to look up from his studies. He was expecting no one. Crabbe and Goyle wouldn't have knocked in any case.

And it was such a... timid little knock.

He got up and crossed the room slowly and quietly. Folding his hand around the doorknob, he yanked the door open, startling a scream out of -

- Hermione Granger.

Draco's eyes narrowed. "What the bloody hell are you doing here?"

"I –" Hermione had taken a step back, but now stood her ground. "I know about the potion. All of it."

There was the slightest cooling in Draco's expression. "Do you, now?"

Hermione inhaled, steeling herself. "Shall we continue this in private?"

Warily, Draco backed up and opened the door to allow her inside. He watched her watch him close and bolt it behind her.

After a few more moments of sullenly regarding each other, Draco raised an eyebrow. "Well?"

Hermione did not shy from his gaze. "I remember your first duel with Harry, back in Second Year. He cast Rictusempra on you. I remember the look on your face afterward."

"Astounding, Holmes," Draco sneered. "How do you do it?"

"Save it, Malfoy, I'm not done. That potion of yours I took the other day in Advanced Class -"

"My potion?" he said with mock surprise. "What makes you think it was mine?"

"I asked everybody else what their potion was. And the only one no one claimed, the one I took, was much too powerful for you to cast yet."

"Oh, you think so?"

"I know so. And for all his many faults, Snape would never help you make a potion. I'm betting you got your father to make it for you. He probably told you that Snape might have us exchange potions. You saw a safe chance to get at Harry, with magic too hostile to use directly, but too innocuous to get you into serious trouble if you were caught. The first shot in a new form of duel. So you had two potions: the one you made in class, to take in case Snape made us drink our own, and one you made earlier, in case he made us pass them around.

"And I'm betting you have a few in reserve."

Draco snorted, not even a laugh. "And if I did?"

"Hand them over." She held out her hand. "Now. Or I go to Dumbledore. And Snape."

A light seemed to go on in Draco's eyes. "No."

"... What?"

"No," Draco repeated, smoothly, dangerously. "I don't believe you will." He took a step towards Hermione, who didn't give way as yet, but looked as if she knew she might soon. "You could've gone to Dumbledore and Snape right away. But then, if I had those potions, they'd be taken away. And that would be that.

"You want them, don't you?"

Hermione's face flushed, possibly with anger, and she turned away. "That's absurd."

"Is it? Then why aren't you in my face, snarling What are you babbling about Malfoy? Got your own secret to hide, hmmm?" Draco moved closer, and now Hermione shied away, but it was only another step or two before she was up against the wall, and didn't that fit in with what was going through Draco's mind right now. "I've been wondering if you'd show up. I saw your face after you drank that potion."

Hermione tried to escape, but Draco pursued her to the wall, caging her arms with his, and pressed his lips to her ear. "You were trapped." She flinched, and Draco knew he was right. "Frozen in place. Mercilessly tickled. No end in sight. And I think you liked it."

"No!" Hermione burst free of his arms. But she only went a few steps, rather than lunging for the door, and stood there, hugging herself. "You're wrong."

"Am I?" Draco did not pursue her yet. He didn't need to. His presence engulfed her. "All that drive, all that self-control and self-denial. You enjoy struggling. And of course you're such a good girl that you'd never indulge yourself in anything naughty."

"Shut up," Hermione breathed.

"And, suddenly, there you are, helpless and on display in front of your friends and classmates, not to mention Snape -"

"Shut up!"

"Oooh," smiled Draco. "Fancy the Potions Master, do you?"

"Of course not, you stupid prat!"

"No, I bet not. You yelled Potter's name. Did you imagine his hands on you while you were frozen there? Or maybe tied to his bed, or perhaps chained to the wall, his fingers running delicately ov-"

"That's it!" Hermione whirled to face him. "Don't you dare say anything about Harry!"

"I bet that's why you didn't come here right away. You've been trying for the past two days to duplicate that potion, recreate that special moment." Draco's voice raised to a snarl. "And you can't, can you?"

"I will, you -"

Hermione's face turned ashen, and her hands flew to her mouth.

"Astounding, Holmes," Draco murmured, grinning. "How do you do it?"

"You bastard," Hermione whispered. She ran for the door.

Draco cut her off.

He caught her around the shoulders, pinning her arms to her sides, and used her momentum to push her against the door. She struggled, but nowhere near as hard as she had only moments earlier. She trembled in Draco's arms, as if she were about to cry.

"D'you want it, Granger?" Draco hissed. "You want to feel that again? Do you want the potion?"

Hermione grew quite still. "You do have it."

For almost a full minute, they stood there unmoving.

Then Draco felt rather then saw her tiny, hesitant nod.

He released her. She stepped away from him, humiliated, subdued. Draco went over to his armoire, rifled around in a drawer, and produced a small vial. He held it up like a precious stone to catch the light, and noticed how Hermione deliberately only glanced at it. Time to go for it all. "There's a price."

"What price?" she snapped, even though feared she knew.

A smile flickered across his lips. "I get to watch."

"No!" Hermione tried her best to look outraged and disgusted. Hell, perhaps she even was, which didn't stop the delicious, luminous wetness in her eyes and the clawing of her fingers. "Draco, you sick -"

"You want it, or not? I'm not just going to give it to you. Besides -" he took a step closer "- part of the fun is having an audience. Isn't it?"

She blushed furiously - oooh yeah, he was starting to really enjoy making her do that - and her mouth opened to protest; but after a moment she merely glared at him contemptuously.

"Right," he drawled. "So we'll have no more of who's 'sick', shall we?" He held out the vial.

After a moment, she took it, but looked at it suspiciously. "How do I know this is it?"

"You don't." He raised a hand to cut off her protest. "You trusted me enough to think I'd have it, and to think I could be bullied into handing it over. I don't want to lie about this, Granger. We both want what's next."

"Not with you."

"I bet not. But it'll do for now. Won't it."

Hermione closed her eyes to suppress a shudder. Oh, yeah, it would do for now, wouldn't it, Granger? Draco watched as the girl slowly opened the vial, looked at it in - defeat? - and then drank down its contents.

She then dropped the vial to the floor, looking at Draco as if to say I'm not going to clean this up if it leaves a stain, and quickly put her arms behind her back. Interesting.

When her body stiffened with the Petrificus Totalis only a few moments later, it had the effect of thrusting her breasts forward, so that the normally shapeless Hogwarts robes highlighted her shape rather nicely. "Damn, Granger," Draco breathed.

Hermione didn't answer, except to twitch oh-so-slightly as the Rictusempra took hold. Her eyes were wide and staring straight ahead, and her gasps were low and coarse.

Draco walked slowly around her. Hermione had pulled her arms behind her in almost a double hammerlock, wrists crossed. Oh, he'd pegged her precisely right. He ended up standing in front of her, knuckles set on his hips. "Helpless, immobilized, tickled, and on display. Who'd have thought? Still," he went on, "while the knowledge of what you're feeling has its own satisfaction, I'm not getting all I could out of this, not just watching you stand there."

Somehow, her eyes managed to register more outrage. Draco grinned, and extended a hand. His fingers began to scratch at her robe, just below the ribs.

Her breathing quickened, and he dug in a little through the layers of clothing. He fancied he could see her move, see her react, but it was only an illusion, born of his sudden desire to see exactly that. Her body, writhing under his touch... With both hands now, he began to work on her ribs, moving down to her waist. Again, she seemed to stiffen further without actually moving. He tickled her across her stomach now, feeling the slightest roll of baby fat on her tummy, and that was what actually did it.

He reached down and began to pull her robes up.

A strange bleating sound came from her throat, the closest she could manage to a protest while so paralyzed. He rather liked it.

It took only a few moments and a little negotiation of her rigid limbs to pull her robes off over her head. She was wearing a white button-down shirt and a plaid skirt - blues and greens, right, Clan Granger.

Draco crouched in front of her. She did have nice legs, he had to admit - not long, elegant, silky legs, although that perception was perhaps affected by her dark gray knee socks, but very nice indeed. He stroked a hand along the inside of one knee, and was rewarded with a quickening of her breathing. He continued to stroke further and further up her thigh, until at last the back of his hand began to lift her skirt.

The high-pitched sounds escaping her throat were not, he judged, entirely outrage.

He lifted her skirt higher. Her underwear was plain, white, and somehow inviting against her skin. He was aware of a sudden citrusy tang in his mouth.

Still crouching in front of her, he opened the lowest button of her shirt, and then the one above it, and pushed the fabric aside.

Yes. Just the slightest extra flesh at her belly, enough to run his fingers over.

A smile creased his lips as he leaned forward to kiss her, just at the top of her navel, which won him a rasping, anguished groan he would remember for years. The softness of her, even with every muscle tensed beyond belief, was... amazing. So was her ragged gasp, followed by... holding her breath? To see what he'd do next?

He began to gently tickle her naked belly. And then not so gently. She gasped again, and then again. He worked more quickly now, changing his approach from moment to moment, from suddenly vicious to almost soothing to damn near cute cootchie-cootchie-cootchie and back again. He reveled in her exposed flesh, in her helplessness, and in her reactions, surprisingly vivid for someone who couldn't move or speak.

And this is just tickling her tummy a little. I'd better be careful here.

No, I hadn't.

Five buttons later, Hermione's shirt was open and pushed off her shoulders. A single tear began to trickle down her cheek.

She wore a plain white bra with a catch in the front.

Draco released the catch.

Her breasts were just right.

He gave a low whistle. "Damn, Granger." I said that before. I shouldn't be reduced to steaming incoherence by a half-naked girl.

Which means that I'll have to delay incoherence until she's completely naked.

Not yet. Later. Later.

Draco traced a fingertip along the dusting of freckles just below her collarbone, and then slid that finger over her nipple, and along the underside of her breast, and then cupped her in his palm. Every old cliché that leapt to his mind failed to do justice to the sensation of her flesh against his. He caressed her with his fingertips, and then began to tease and to slightly pinch, and then to knead more firmly, and her breath caught in her throat.

The suddenness with which his mouth descended on her surprised him. But he simply couldn't stop himself. He kissed her breasts over and over, pressing his face against them, until at last he closed his lips around her beautiful, rosy nipple and heard a note in her breathing that told him he had not dared too much.

He dropped to one knee, suckling at her, playing with teeth and tongue, until Hermione was damn near crimson, her nipples gorgeous little stones. His hand returned to the inside of her thigh.

He was quite sure he felt a shudder.

Draco slid his hand along her flesh, under her skirt. Her breathing was quick and high-pitched now, and he could almost hear her internal struggle between No you can't you mustn't you bastard and If you don't go any faster I swear I'll scream somehow I'll scream.

At last, his fingertips reached her underwear. He did not slip his hand inside. Instead he caressed her through the light fabric, still able to feel every nuance of the soft curls of her pubic hair.

Her flesh was equally soft. And warm.

He pushed his fingers against her cleft. The fabric grew damp.

And now a full-throated groan erupted from her. Not anguished, either. If not for the Petrificus Totalis, he bet her knees would buckle.

Once again, Draco pressed his face to her, drawing his tongue along the underside of her breast and all the way up to the nipple, while his hand moved between her legs, stroking her more firmly through her panties. Petrificus or no, Hermione was trembling now. His hand moved faster against her mound.

Neither of them knew precisely when the potion wore off. But, quite suddenly, Hermione seized Draco's shoulders, clawing into his robes, thrusting herself against his hand, screaming as she came.

Draco continued to caress her, more slowly, for a few minutes. Hermione shuddered again and again, and her knees did buckle at last, until they were kneeling together, gasping, her arms clutching at his shoulders, his hand still between her legs.

He brushed her lips against hers, and again, and when she responded, he bit her lower lip and sucked on it. She groaned, her arms softening to silk around his neck, and their mouths sealed together.

When they finally broke the kiss, Draco lifted his fingers to trace Hermione's lips. Her mouth opened in response, the tip of her tongue drawing in his fingers in a way that brought to mind a stray fantasy regarding her. Funny how much gentler it seems this time around.

At last, Hermione's lips released him, and she leaned her forehead against his, eyes still closed.

My reputation's on the line here, thought Draco. I should say something sarcastic, insulting, perhaps lascivious. She should snarl indignantly, resist the urge to slap me, pull her clothing back on, and stalk off in a huff. I should smirk.


When she finally wrenched away from him – god, she did, she had to wrench away – Draco did not move. He knelt there on the floor, watching as she fastened her bra, buttoned her shirt, smoothed her skirt and put her robes back on. Then she paused, as if trying to decide what to say.

Interestingly, that was enough to bring his Attitude surging to the fore. Such a little thing, the ever-dramatic pause, trying to think of the perfect exit line. Everything we do is so fucking calculated. His smirk found its way onto his lips. "Three o'clock Saturday, then?"

Hermione's eyes widened in outrage, and she did take a swing at him, although it was rather half-hearted. Draco caught her arm, and pulled her to him roughly. They studied each other, predator and prey.

The only reason they did not kiss again was that he released her.

She was there precisely at three.

Draco and Hermione fell into a routine with disquieting ease. After supper, before bed check was easiest; also late Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning, and before Advanced Astral Plane Theory on Wednesday. At least once a week; sometimes as often as every other night.

There was no easy description of what they were doing when they started, but it had graduated to everything-but-the-shagging by the third time.

Hermione never undressed herself, although she did take off her robes and shoes to make things easier for him to do it: his job. Sometimes she took the potion while pressing herself against the wall, as if menaced. Other times, she stood in the center of the room, where he could approach and examine her from every angle; or else she lay spread on Draco's bed as if shackled there. Twice now he had indeed pulled out restraints and secured her to the bedposts, teasing her mercilessly well after the potion had worn off. His price for releasing her the second time was for her to kiss the tip of his cock. Her anticipated refusal never happened, and she drew him into her mouth as deeply as she could and sucked him with an enthusiasm that no skill could have possibly improved upon.

They did not fuck. Fucking was for lovers.

And that was the thing, wasn't it? So tenuous, this unnamed relationship of theirs. If Draco had pressed the point, it would not have been rape, for Hermione would've agreed. But it would have changed everything.

It would have ruined everything.

In between times, Hermione felt as she imagined an opium addict must feel: drifting through a hazy, unreal world, with occasional moments of razor clarity and overwhelming sensation. Her grades were not suffering, not yet, but her study habits were. She sometimes spent whole hours thinking about the last time, and the next time. And she wasn't talking to people much. Too dangerous.

Especially Harry.

"You're sleeping with Malfoy."

Hermione jumped at the soft voice. She had not heard Harry come up behind her, cornering her trapping her god no don't think like that not now not when he looks at you like that you'll fucking faint in a library alcove. "Aren't you," he said through clenched teeth.

"Shhh!" She glanced past him to make sure no one was nearby.

"Why?" he pressed on, his hurt tangible, his rage frightening. And, oh, fuck, attractive. That glow in his eyes, that growl in his voice... no no no damn it no...

Hermione moved a step closer. She found she didn't dare more than that. "I am not sleeping with him," she said truthfully, keeping her voice steady.

"Oh, sorry, that's right. Sleeping while doing the nasty would be rude."

"We are not -"

"You don't talk to anybody, you don't study with anybody, but now and then you give Malfoy these long, lingering glances, and then you go to the Slytherin wing. Two, three times a week, Hermione! I've seen you."

"You've been spying on me." No, oh, you stupid, hateful bitch! How could you say that?

Harry apparently felt the same way. He straightened, inhaling slowly. "I thought I was keeping an eye on you. Friends do that for friends."

She was going to do it. She was going to say the worst thing possible, and she couldn't stop herself. "Well, I don't need you to."

It was like a wall came down in front of him.

He closed his eyes very slowly - only for a moment, it could've been mistaken for a blink - and said, "Fine."

And then he walked away.

Hermione watched him, as paralyzed as under Draco's potion. Say something, anything, anything at all, just stop him!

But the only sound she made was a choked "H-".

It stopped him.

For a moment.

He walked out. The library door shut behind him.

Hermione stood there staring at the door for a long time.

Harry sat on the end corner of his bed, smouldering. After a minute, he got up, grabbed a framed picture from his desk, and sat down again.

It was a picture of the three of them - Harry, Hermione, Ron - taken only a few months ago at a very nice lake near the Weasleys' farm. They laughed and made faces at the camera, and - there, just then, that was when Hermione had reached back to surreptitiously squeeze Harry's hand in a way that still made his heart jump to think of it.

He had tried not to think of it.

The door opened, startling him.

But it was Ron.

A frustrated breath puffed out of Harry. "Hey."

"Hey." Ron closed the door and took off his Gryffindor robes, piling them over the back of his chair. "So how'd it go?"

Harry rolled his eyes, and he let his face flop to the bed. "Terrible. She hates me now."

"She does not, you daft git." An overly long pause. "She loves you."

It took a minute for Harry to digest this. At last he looked up. "Ron... I know how you feel about her -"

"Yeah, well..." Ron grimaced. "We tried, for awhile. Last summer."

"What? You mean, while I was there? But -"

"No. She visited again in July. Didn't work."

Harry stared. Neither one had said a word about this to him. "... Didn't work, how?"

Ron walked over to the window. "The usual. Or at least what I understand from Fred and George is the usual. Kissing, touching, holding hands, sharing jokes, sharing ice cream... sharing secrets. The occasional moment of truth."

"Such as?"

"Well... we fell asleep together one afternoon in the hayloft. I woke up with hay sticking through my clothes, poking me every which way, and my left arm numb from her lying on it." He sighed. "But she was so beautiful. I leaned over to kiss her, and she smiled in her sleep and kissed back, softest, sweetest kiss you could imagine... and she whispered your name."

"Ron, that is such a cliché." But Harry's mouth had gone dry.

"'Strue," Ron shrugged. "Sexy as hell, really. I almost took shoe black to my hair, hoping she'd miss it was me."

In spite of himself, Harry snorted. Ron continued. "She said it again, but I think she woke up about then and remembered whose arm she'd put to sleep, and she kinda turned it into 'There you are.' But... Harry, she and I are great friends. But it's not going to be anything else. And I'm all right with that."



They looked away from each other. Then Ron said, "No."

"Well, then."

"Doesn't matter." He sat on the edge of the bed. "It's you she wants. Needs."

Harry seemed to deflate. "She doesn't need me. She's got bloody Malfoy."

Ron scowled. "Hey, I'm fucking delighted, too, okay? But there's more to it than that. You know there is."

"She's probably there right now."

"Maybe. One way to find out."

Harry turned at the odd note in Ron's voice - half mischief, half Time To Get Down To Business. Ron glanced at the armoire, then met Harry's gaze once more.


Harry nodded, a grim smile coming to his lips. Ron grinned back.

Without another word, Harry got up off the bed, took off his school robes, opened the bottom right drawer of the armoire, and got his father's cloak.

No sooner had he got out in the hallway, wearing the Invisibility Cloak, and closed the door, than Harry saw Hermione come round the corner.

Quietly, he backed up, so that she would not bump into him.

She looked as if she had been punched in the stomach. Her eyes were red and puffy, and her every breath seemed an effort.

She made it perhaps halfway down the hall toward Harry's door before stopping, staring off into space for quite a long time, and then turning around and heading away with a purpose.

Harry seethed. He was pretty sure where she was heading. He cast a Silencing Charm on himself and the cloak, and followed her.

He was right.

The Slytherin Common Room was one of the most unpleasant places Harry knew, a place he had been before and really hadn't cared to visit again. Its ancient soapstone walls, designed to resemble a dungeon of the more viciously interrogatory style, soaked up light about as well as Harry presumed they soaked up freshly spilled blood. The walls also reflected sibilant speech well; one would think that numerous plots to conquer the world were being hatched all around, from the gravity of the whispered conversations in a half-dozen alcoves around the perimeter of the room.

The weight of the place beat Harry's shoulders down. And he could not help but be nervous. Gryffindors were Not At All Welcome.

But Hermione had apparently become a familiar sight. None of the Slytherin students did more than glance at her, although a few of the glances were rather disgusted. The Bloody Baron even slipped out of a wall right in front of her as if to terrify a thrice-cursed Gryffindor intruder out of her skin; but he stopped in recognition, and merely glowered as she went by.

Then his gaze shifted toward Harry.

Oh shit, how stupid could I have been, he's a bloody ghost! He can feel me, even under the Cloak! Harry froze, gritting his teeth in anticipation of fleeing for his life. The Baron might not be able to harm him, but all of the damn students in the Common Room could.

But the Baron did not raise the alarm.

He looked right at Harry.

And he smiled.

It was an awful, awful smile. It promised impending misery, and the cruelest enjoyment of that misery.

Harry hesitated only a moment more, then gritted his teeth and moved past the Baron, whom he swore he heard hissing - chuckling? - in the back of his noncorporeal throat.

Hermione was just rounding a corner up ahead. Trusting in his Silencing Charm, Harry ran after her, careful not to bump into anything or tread on a corner of the Cloak. He caught up with her as she stood outside a door, steadying herself with a few slow, deep breaths. At last, she knocked.

Harry heard footsteps from the room beyond. Then the latch clacked, and the door swung open. Draco Malfoy stood there. He looked a bit surprised to see her. But only a bit, dammit. "It can't be Thursday already?"

"You going to turn me away, Malfoy?" To Draco, the pain in her voice must have been like an offering of fine wine - he could smell the bouquet, imagine the sweetly acidic tingle on his tongue, anticipate the intoxication.

... Where the bloody hell did that come from?

Malfoy had opened the door wider and backed up to allow Hermione inside. Harry slipped in behind her, just before the door closed, and took up a position on the far side of the room, crouching next to the armoire.

For a moment, Malfoy stood leaning against the door, apparently lost in thought. Then he turned to Hermione, lips twisted to suppress a grin. "Where to begin, then?"

"Wherever you bloody want," Hermione said as she pulled her robes off over her head and threw them to the floor.

"Ooh, demanding, are we, my helpless little faun?" Draco took a swaggering step toward her. "Take the shirt off."

Hermione sucked an angry breath through her teeth. But the most dramatic reaction in the room was Harry's.

He did nothing.

He was, in fact, holding his breath. A little voice in his head screamed at him, telling him he should be moving, should be hitting Draco or casting a spell at him or pinning him so Hermione could escape.

He did nothing.

Well, not quite true. He watched.

He watched Hermione set her jaw, and begin to slowly unbutton her blouse, looking at Malfoy the whole time. Her eyes were hurt and vulnerable.

Harry was quite angry with himself for his sudden desire to see her looking at him like that.

When she was done, she shrugged the blouse off, letting it pool to the floor behind her. "Very nice," said Draco, and now Harry really hated himself for agreeing. "Now the bra."

Hermione flushed. "No!"

Malfoy moved to her in two very quick steps, and it took everything Harry had not to leap up and pummel the bastard to within an inch of his misbegotten life, and good Christ why wasn't he doing that anyway, what was he waiting for, and of course he knew exactly what the hell he was waiting for and the right moment to attack Malfoy was not it.

Draco took hold of Hermione's chin with his thumb and forefinger and jerked her head up very slightly. "I was busy. You want to play today, it'll be extra."

"This isn't play, Draco."

"No, it's never been for you, has it? Well, you're trading one kind of helplessness for another, then. Because right now you belong to me."

Sudden tears welled up in her eyes. "Please."

Draco studied her face for a moment, then glanced - oh shit no - more-or-less in the direction of Harry.

"Fine," he said. "This'll do." And then he started toward where Harry was hiding.

Harry tensed, bracing himself to fight. But Draco went to the armoire Harry stood next to, rummaged in a drawer, and brought out a small potion vial, tossing it up and catching it almost jauntily before going back to Hermione. "Let's get to it. I did actually have other plans today."

She looked at him miserably, but took the proffered vial, twisting off the cap and bringing it to her lips. She had almost completely swallowed the potion when she abruptly choked, dropping the vial to the floor. "God, that's foul!"

"Mm. Is it. Something must've gone bad."

"Draco, you shit!" Hermione's hand was on her chest, just below her throat. "What was -"

"Quiet." Draco's voice was suddenly very firm, very cold. "Not a word until I tell you, not a sound above normal conversational tones. And stand up straight."

To Harry's astonishment, Hermione straightened, and her arms fell to her sides. She stood at attention, silent except for a mewling little gasp. Her breasts rose and fell with her panicked breathing.

Harry realized that he himself had stopped breathing altogether. Do something, do something, do something!

But he couldn't. He couldn't fucking move. And it wasn't because of a spell.

"Now," said Draco. "Take. Off. The bra."

Her face damp with tears, Hermione lifted her hands to undo the catch at the front, and she pulled the cups away from her breasts and slid the straps off her shoulders, letting the bra fall to the floor atop her blouse.

"The skirt," said Draco. "And shoes and socks, while you're at it."

Hermione managed to glare at him, but undid her skirt and slid it down her hips, down her thighs, down to the floor. She stepped out of it, then took off one shoe, and that sock, then the other shoe and sock, adding all to the pile of clothes behind her, and once more stood at attention, looking straight ahead.

Draco nodded, pleased. "Useful thing, Imperio."

Imperio! Harry was aghast. Draco's given Hermione a - a potion casting an Unforgivable Curse on her. That's his fucking life in Azkaban – not that I'll be sad to see him go, but… what the bloody hell is going on here? What did she think she was going to take? What did Malfoy mean by "trading one kind of helplessness for another"?

And why aren't I doing anything?

Because you're not the hero you thought you were, chided the little voice in his head. You're The Boy Who Hasn't Lived Long Enough To See A Girl Naked and it's about to happen and not just any girl but Hermione and if you haven't done anything up to this point you know that doing something now will lead to the inevitable question of Why Did You Wait?

And you don't want Hermione asking you that one.

Because you'll answer.

"This should last for a couple of hours," Draco continued. " So, as I said... where to begin...?" He began to walk around Hermione, enjoying the view. "Spread your legs more." Hermione did so. "Now… put your hands up over your head. Like you were... chained up there."

Blushing, Hermione automatically raised her hands above her head, crossing her wrists.

Harry had somehow not noticed his erection before this moment. No, you prat, that's not true, you've been doing your best to ignore it, because you should be fucking helping Hermione, and what's that adjective doing there trying to pass itself off as a verb, and -

- and oh, Merlin, isn't she beautiful.

And beautiful like that.

Draco had removed his robes, and gone as far as to unbutton his shirt. "Not happy? Maybe something a little more familiar will put you at ease. Keep your hands and feet exactly where they are. You've been shackled, my helpless beauty." He began to tickle her under the arms.

Hermione twisted away, emitting a little cry that would've been a shriek if she'd been permitted - because she's been told not to be loud, thought Harry, the shit - but kept her arms above her head. Draco went on tickling her, going after her ribs and the sides of her breasts. Hermione cried out again, and began to thrash in place, bouncing on her heels but the balls of her feet rooted to the floor.

Then Draco got to her stomach, and it was all over. Hermione burst out laughing, and oh wasn't that a delectable quiet little laugh, as his fingers rolled over her belly, around the sides of her waist, back to her navel, up to the ribs again, and Hermione laughed harder though no louder, and Harry could not believe that he could on one hand be so deeply ashamed of himself for not stopping this, and yet on the other hand know in his hypocrite's heart he must be some kind of hero and a wizard of iron will because he somehow managed not to get up, go over, and help Draco.

Not that Malfoy appeared to need any help. He played Hermione like a dulcimer, his fingers gentle and aggressive in turns. Her thighs, her waist, her belly, up to her ribs, over her breasts, under the arms, inside the elbows... Hermione twisted and sang under his touch, her face crimson, her laughter bubbling, her nipples rigid. "Anything to say, Granger?" he hissed.

"Arrrh!" Hermione's guttural cry of relief at being allowed to speak went right past Harry's brain and shot straight to his crotch. "I - ahh - oh god - ahhh ha ha ha ha haa! I - I hate you, Malfoy - ahhh -"

"You know, I think you do." He hooked his thumb inside her underwear and pulled it down her legs until it stretched dangerously at her spread knees, at which point he gave another jerk. It tore, not very much but loudly, and Hermione gave a desperate inhale, as if her head had been held underwater. Draco tugged again, and the underwear ripped completely away from her. Hermione lurched forward yet somehow still kept her arms above her head.

She's naked, thought Harry. Not just unclothed, but fucking naked.

Oh god.

Draco put his hand between her legs and began to stroke her furiously, his mouth covering hers, and she kissed back fiercely, and Harry was dimly aware of the heel of his own palm rubbing against his groin.

Suddenly Draco pulled away from Hermione. "No," she moaned, thrusting her hips after his withdrawn hand.

"Enough of that for now," he said breathlessly, taking a few steps back. "Shackles off, Granger. On your knees."

At once, Hermione dropped her arms to her sides, groaning . A moment later, she sank to her knees.

"Face low to the floor, ass high, knees spread."

Hermione did it all.

"Quite pretty." Draco sat on the end of his bed. He patted his thigh. "Now, crawl over here and kiss my feet."

Hermione began to crawl. The position should have looked awkward, but the only effect of that awkwardness was to make her crawl slowly, which was without doubt the most sensual thing Harry had ever seen in his life. Her pale, beautiful ass moved like sunlight on a roll of the sea, cresting and falling and cresting again, and her golden-brown hair spilled over her shoulders, and her nipples brushed against the carpet, and Harry could've watched her for hours.

I could. I could watch Hermione crawl for hours.

At last she reached Draco. She pressed her lips to the top of his shoe, then started to pull away.

"You can do better than that," he said in a chiding tone. "And put a little tongue into it."

"You bastard," she whispered. But she began to kiss his shoes lavishly, polishing and caressing them with her tongue as well as her lips. Harry had no idea how long she would have gone on like that, but Draco finally said, "Enough. Open my pants now."

Slowly, Hermione pushed herself up to kneel in front of him. Her fingers fumbled with the catch for a moment, but soon she had opened his trousers, pulled them a little way down his hips, and released Draco's cock from the fabric.

"I didn't tell you to do that," said Draco, bemused.

Now she lifted her face to look at him. "It's what you want, isn't it?"

His eyes flashed. "Oh yeah. And you want it, too."

Hermione shrugged. "You've got me under an Imperio curse. I suppose if you tell me to want it, I will."

"And where would be the fun in that? Now get to it."

Hermione's eyes fluttered closed. Her lips parted and slid around Draco's cock, her small moan lost in his louder one. She cupped one hand around the base of his shaft, lightly squeezing and caressing his balls, and her lips lingered on him, pulling away almost reluctantly. Then she drew her tongue along the underside of him, all the way up to the tip before plunging her mouth around him again, and he fell back on the bed and put an arm over his eyes, and she quickly gained a rhythm, her head bobbing up and down in Draco's lap like a thatch of wheat in a summer breeze, and if Voldemort had tapped him on the shoulder right at that moment Harry would've waved him away with a shush.

Draco gripped the bedclothes, eyes shut, lifting his hips again and again in response to Hermione's attentions. Finally he pushed himself up on his elbows. "Stop, stop."

She did so, looking at him patiently. He was breathing hard, and he blew out a long breath to steady himself. "So, Granger. What were you thinking just now?"

Hermione looked surprised, and not a little distressed. But she couldn't help herself. "How I wish I was doing that to Harry."

Draco's gaze shifted. "Hear that, Potter?"

Harry was so startled he sat down with a yelp. The Invisibility Cloak slid off him, and Hermione shrieked - well, as much of a shriek as she could manage at that volume - and pulled her arms up to cover herself.

"Put your arms down, Granger, and stay put right there," said Draco, and she did, though her face burned crimson with shame.

"Damn you, Malfoy -" Harry flung his cloak to one side, and struggled to get his wand free, argh, wrong bloody metaphor there "- let her go!"

"From what, the potion?" Draco was grinning. "It'll last at least two or three hours, and it's been barely half an hour since she took it. Sorry. Can't do a thing." He ran a finger along a seam of the coverlet. "What shall we do to kill the time, I wonder?"

"Harry." Hermione's sob caught in her throat. "Please leave. Please."

"How did you know I was here?" Why wouldn't his damn wand get untangled from his damn clothing?

"Detection spell, keyed to you. Pretty easy, actually. Just in case you ever snuck in when I wasn't around, I'd know you were here. As it was, me being here too, I knew exactly where you were every second. So." He bared his teeth. "Like the show?"

"You sodding -"

"Yeah, whatever. You watched the whole thing. I'm presuming you enjoyed it, from that tent in your pants."

Harry started to protest - why was he even listening to this, why wasn't he fucking frying Malfoy's brains? - and shifted in a vain effort to hide his erection.

Draco laughed. "Why hide it, Potter? You heard her say - under a magical compulsion of truth, mind you - that she wanted to be sucking it." He leaned forward, curling a strand of Hermione's hair around his fingers. "He saw everything, Hermione. Everything. And he kept on watching." Her gaze was locked on Harry, her breasts heaving, and God save him she was oh-so-slightly squirming, her thighs rubbing together just enough to distract any man alive. Draco went on. "Watching you, helpless. Obedient. On your knees, with your ass presented for a good fucking, or a spanking -"

"Hermione," Harry whispered. But he didn't know what the next thing to say would be.

"Hear that?" Draco hissed in her ear. "Even now, he wants you. Go to him. Crawl to him. Suck him. Please him. Give yourself to him."

A violent shudder wracked Hermione, and she squeezed her eyes shut. But then she got down on her hands and knees, ass high and face close to the floor as before, and she crawled towards a stunned Harry Potter.

She crawled over his legs, her breasts brushing against his knees, his thighs, with only one thin layer of fabric between her skin and his. She paused just shy of his waist, lowering first her gaze and then her lips to the bulge beneath his trousers.

That actually galvanized Harry. "No!" he shouted, scooting backwards - and bumping into the wall.

Hermione pursued him. "Please, Harry," she whispered in a voice more seductive than anything Harry could have ever imagined, "please. I'm yours. Do whatever you want to me. I want you so badly."

Harry shook his head helplessly. Not even a word, Potter, hissed that damnable voice in his head. You don't have to even move. She's primed, ready, and under orders to suck your cock, fuck you blind, do absolutely anything and everything you've ever, ever wanted.

No, dammit, no. Not like this.

Yesss. Exactly like this.

I -


At which point Harry did the most difficult thing he'd ever done. He said, "Hermione, stop. Please stop."

She stopped. Froze in place, actually.

At the same time, both Harry's and Draco's eyes narrowed, then grew wide. Draco inhaled to shout something - but Harry was faster. "Don't listen to him! Don't listen to Draco!"

"Bloody hell," said Draco. "Should've thought of that."

Hermione didn't hear him. Still poised over Harry's legs, she waited, eyes huge, lips pursed and trembling.

Harry had never wanted anything as much as he wanted to kiss those lips.

But he released a harsh exhale, then another, and then said, "Hermione. I have to do this. Until the potion wears off. Don't do what anyone else tells you. Do only what I tell you."

Hermione's shoulders slumped, and she almost collapsed, and for a moment Harry was terrified he'd guessed wrong somehow. But then she looked up at him and said in a small voice, "Thank you, Harry."

"Yeah, thanks, Potter." Draco folded his arms. "Here you come to save the day."

Harry glared at him. "Get dressed, Hermione. We're going."

Embarrassment and relief warring on her face, Hermione pushed off the floor, scurried across the room to retrieve her clothing – and that was enough of a show to revive Harry's flagging erection, except it wasn't flagging at all, was it, O traitorous flesh – and quickly dressed herself. She studied her torn panties for a long moment before stuffing them into her pocket.

Harry got to his feet, gathered up his Invisibility Cloak, and crossed to Draco. Draco lifted his chin defiantly.

"Never." Harry's face was grim. "Touch her. Again."

Draco snorted a laugh. "She came to me, Potter. And what are you going to do when she comes back?"

"She won't."

"Won't she?"

No. He's trying to draw me in, provoke me, and I won't have it. Harry turned to leave.

"Hermione, love?" said Draco, who, since Hermione couldn't hear him at the moment, was speaking for Harry's benefit alone. "Our regular three o'clock on Saturday, then? And you can tell me everything Potter does to you this afternoon." He grinned vilely. "Maybe even show me."

None of them were quite ready for how quickly Harry spun around and punched Draco right in the mouth. The tall boy flew backwards across the bed, almost falling off the other side. He tried to lift his head for a moment, then flopped back, barely conscious.

"Prick," Harry spat. Not taking his eyes off Malfoy, he grabbed Hermione's arm and headed for the door.

Draco lay there for several minutes after they left, testing his sore jaw. Great. Just great. Lost my plaything, got punched out by Harry Fucking Potter, and was too caught up in my own theatrics to let her finish sucking me off.

A sudden grin split his lip further. On the other hand, only I will appreciate their expressions when their grandkids ask them how they fell in love.

Except for a bad moment when The Bloody Baron scowled at them beneath the Cloak, they managed to get Hermione's room without incident. As the door closed behind them, Harry threw the Cloak to the floor, and Hermione threw herself on the bed.

Harry didn't like the way she was curling into a fetal position. He sat on the edge of the bed, but she shifted away from him. "Hermione...?'

"Don't - don't touch me. Please."

Harry waited. When she spoke a few minutes later, it was so muted he almost didn't hear it. "God. You must think - I - I was - what I said -"

He made you, you were under a spell, he wanted to say. But the words that came out were, "You said you wanted me."

"I was magicked to tell the truth!" She rolled over suddenly, her face anguished. "I didn't want you to find out like that."

"Okay, yeah, finding out how much you wanted me while you were -" He didn't finish the description of the scene that burned in both their minds.

She turned away again. "God, it's all gone wrong."

"No." He edged closer, leaning on the bed, his hand near her but not touching. "No, it hasn't. You're still my friend."

"I don't deserve to be." Hermione shifted on the bed, and Harry could see her face in profile – so beautiful, so filled with sadness and pain, god, more beautiful because of the sadness and pain. "I hurt you. And Draco..."

"You weren't trying to hurt me. He -" god, it hurts to even think this, I can't imagine what Ron would think if I ever said it "- he was giving you something you needed. A- and besides, what about me? I'm not exactly the paragon of virtue everybody thinks I am." He looked to one side. "I watched the whole bloody thing."

Hermione took three slow deep breaths before she spoke again. "Why did you watch for so long?"

Harry's head slumped forward. At last he said, "Because I was so completely in the wrong. You were there because you wanted to be, and I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to get caught. I thought you'd hate me."

She nodded.

Then he said, "And because I couldn't look away. You were so beautiful, Hermione. I - I wanted to - to - sorry. Just - I'm so sorry." He fell back on the bed beside her. "Please don't hate me."

The tiniest little sigh escaped her throat. "If you tell me not to, I suppose I can't, can I?"

"Oh, God! Hermione, I didn't mean -"

"I know." A small smile flickered across her lips. "I could never hate you. Never." A pause. "You don't hate me?"

"God, no."


"Of course." Harry sighed. "You're trying to blame yourself for - for - I don't even know what for. But so much of it is my fault. I'm so sorry." He puffed a stray lock of hair out of his face. "I just - just -"

Hermione was shocked to see a sob wrack his shoulders. "Harry, what -"

"I've missed you, Hermione," he said, on the verge of tears. "I've missed you so much."

Hermione held her breath for an endless moment. Then she flung her arms around his shoulders. "Oh, Harry."

His arms went around her, and he cried, and she cried, and he whispered I love you into her hair over and over, and she murmured shhh and I love you too, and then they were crying and trembling and twining around each other and the whole world fell away.

They grew quiet after a time, still wrapped around each other, her cheek against his shoulder, him stroking her hair. Finally, Hermione said, "Very smart, telling me to obey only you."

"I'm sorry. I couldn't think of any other -"

"Harry, it's fine. I know you would never hurt me."

Another long pause.



"What now?"

"Well, if Draco wasn't lying, and I actually have no reason to think he was, the potion should run its course in an hour or so. After that -"

"After that."

Hermione looked up at the odd tone in his voice. Harry was looking at her very strangely, as if - as if he'd just had some sort of epiphany. His fingers curled more tightly in her hair. "Answer me truly, Hermione. Did you like being helpless at Malfoy's command?"

She inhaled in shock, but said, "Yes."

"Was it Malfoy, or being helpless?"

"Being helpless." She'd never seen Harry's eyes so cool and implacable. She began to grow afraid, and, damn it, excited.

"Being controlled?"


"Being a plaything?"


"Being used?"

"Yes." Her voice was a whisper.

"And if I say you belong to me for the next hour?"

The hammering of her heart in her chest was surely loud enough to wake the dead. "I'm yours."

"Right," he said quietly. "Stand up."

She did so.

"Take off your clothes."

She did so.

"Go lock the door. Wait," he added as she began to walk across the room. "Crawl. You're my pet now."

A shudder ran down Hermione's flesh. She sank to her knees, crawled across the room, and locked the door.

"Good," said Harry, now sitting up on the edge of the bed. "Now crawl back here and kneel in front of me."

She did, looking up at him all the while, her eyes wet and hungry. Harry was - wait, he was going through her pockets. He pulled out her torn panties. "What are you doing?" she said as she knelt in front of him, sitting back on her heels.

"Quiet," he said, and she fell silent. "Lean forward." She did so, and gasped slightly as Harry tied her torn underwear over her eyes to blindfold her.

When he was done with that, Harry caught her chin in his fingers. She was trembling, almost in tears. "Do you want me to fuck you, Hermione?"

"Yes." She managed not to stammer.

"To use you?"


"To own you?"

"Oh, God, yes."

She felt his hands go to her shoulders, up her neck to gently lift her hair, and then she felt him wrap something, some fabric, around her throat. The necktie from her uniform, perhaps, which Harry tied - a leash, good Christ, he's making a leash. He pulled her up and forward with it, slowly, until she felt his lips brush against hers.

"Get my trousers open."

His voice, the barest whisper, still gripped her like iron. Her hands fumbled up to his belt buckle, and she got his pants open as quickly as she could. His cock, oh god his hard and slender cock, fairly sprang out beneath her fingers.

"Now. Pull them off."

Hermione grabbed the waistband of his pants, and slid them down his hips. He lifted to help her, and the head of his cock pressed against her lips. The only reason she did not open her mouth to accommodate him was that she did not know if that was what he wanted at that moment. When his pants were bunched around his calves, Harry said, "Better get the shoes, too."

She removed his shoes one at a time. Once that was done, she finished sliding his trousers off, then sat back on her heels again and waited.

Harry took hold of her wrists and pulled them above her head, and then kept them there with one hand while running the other down her side, not quite touching her breast just yet. Her goose flesh rose and her nipples hardened in anticipation. "So, tell me what you'd like first," he said. "I want to know what you'd like."

Beneath the blindfold, Hermione licked her lips. "Two things. I want you not to ask. Do what you want to me, Harry. I know a lot of what I like, and I know a lot of what gets me excited, which isn't necessarily the same thing... but I don't know you, any more than you know me. If you're going to - to own me..."

"Hermione." His hands went to her shoulders. She kept her arms in place; he hadn't told her to lower them. "D'you really think I'd own you?"

"You really think you haven't already, all these years?"

She felt him sit back slightly at that, and grinned as what his expression must be like. "If you're going to own me," she continued, "you should find out everything about me. Not be told. And that'll take awhile."

"I bet. What's the other thing?"

"Kiss me. You never have."

She could hear him roll his eyes. "Captain Romance, that's me." He leaned forward and kissed her until they both had to take a breath.

"I don't want Captain Romance." Damn, if only she could slide her arms around his neck. "I want to belong to Harry Potter."

"And after the potion wears off?"

She smiled. "I'm likely to be willful. You'll have to control me somehow."

"Ah. Well." He grabbed the knot of the tie, just below her chin. "Better start now, then."

The next kiss, and everything else, was even better.

"Thank you, Mister Goldstein, for not destroying any furniture this time."

Goldstein tried to look sheepish, even contrite, but could not entirely hide a grin, which Snape supposed he did not begrudge him. It had taken the young idiot a month to get the basic knowledge stuck in his treacle, but it turned out he had a talent for getting healing magic into potions, and God knew you never had enough of that.

Young Malfoy was a disappointment. Oh, his work was good enough. He was easily the third-best of this small group, possibly second. But he spent an excessive amount of time looking, surreptitiously and sullenly and occasionally longingly, at the first.

And she only had eyes for Potter.

Snape examined her potion next. It was a combination of Wingardium Leviosa, Impedimenta, and the Cushioning Charm, the latter two in suspension so that they would take effect just before the Leviosa wore off , and thus would keep you from dying horribly if you were a thousand feet up at the time.

Damn. That's clever.

Snape softly cleared his throat, hardly daring to believe that he was about to say something complementary. But, as he looked up, he saw Granger's - and Potter's - hands fall swiftly to their sides. He scowled.

"Oh, how very sweet. Public Displays of Affection are not tolerated in a classroom environment. Five points from Gryffindor."

Granger and Potter looked at each other, then at him, and then at each other. And then they actually snickered.

Snape's scowl deepened. It wasn't the lack of discipline that bothered him - he knew they both knew who was the real master of this room. It wasn't even the certain knowledge that the words Not bad, Granger would now never escape his lips.

It was the equally certain knowledge that, so long as they had each other, the Crusader and his Lady Fair couldn't have given a toss.