Disclaimer: Not mine. Just borrowing.

To Be Seen

A lone boy walked quietly through the darkened halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Fists stuffed uselessly in pockets, shoulders slumped low, broadcasting his failure to any who bothered to look. Not that anyone did. He walked on and on, unnoticed and unwanted, his rhythmic footfalls beating out the pattern of his dejection, slow and steady, like the executioner's herald.

His mind wandered over his impossible task again and again; all his waking thoughts consumed by it, his dreams tinted with hopeless desperation. He was aware, in a vague and unacknowledged manner, that no one really expected him to succeed. He had been handed a death sentence of the cruelest design, and all he could do was wait. Wait and try and ultimately fail, and upon failing, die. He was learning, more and more, with every panicked beat of his heart, just how badly he did not want to die.

Draco Malfoy wanted to live.

His mind raced in circles, chasing half-formed ideas and plots, until a second echo interrupted his thoughts. Looking around himself again, he realized two things. First, he had no real idea where he was anymore, and second, that the footsteps he was hearing were rapidly approaching. Turning a corner, he ducked into the first door he passed, locking it behind him and pressing his ear against it to wait for the footsteps to pass. The handle rattled slightly, but the person outside it must have continued on, satisfied that the classroom was locked and, presumably, empty. Draco only realized he'd made the same erroneous assumption when he heard a soft sniffling behind him.

He whipped around, wand raised, and was met with a surprising sight. Hermione Granger sat atop a desk with several small, yellow birds quietly flying circles above her. Her face was flushed pink and her eyes suspiciously wet. She was still dressed in her clothes from the quidditch match; muggle jeans and a red and gold jumper, and her hair lay loose in windswept curls on her small shoulders.

She looked at him, her large brown eyes shifting from his face to his extended wand, but the only emotion registered in her features was exhaustion, or possibly defeat. Draco thought that it felt a bit like looking into a mirror.

He lowered his wand, tucking it absentmindedly in his pocket and pulling a green silk handkerchief, crossing the room and offering it to her wordlessly. She accepted it, patting her cheeks dry and sniffling into it while he lowered himself to sit on the desk beside her.

A few minutes passed in moderately comfortable silence before he spoke, addressing her without ever turning to look at her, his tone flat and lifeless. "Why are you crying?"

She also avoided looking his way, instead focusing her eyes on the irregular patterns of the stone floor. Her voice, however, was not lifeless. It was small, sad and resigned, and that, more than anything, got Draco's attention. "Because I'm a stupid girl."

Draco gave a small scoff. "You are many things, Granger, but 'stupid' is not one of them."

She sighed, her delicate fingers twisting and winding the green silk between them as she struggled to put her thoughts into words. "There are many things I'm not, it seems. I'm not normal. I'm not fun or exciting. I'm not beautiful or alluring…" And then, so quietly he could barely make it out, "I'm not what he wants."

Draco listened to her confession, recognizing the hopeless sincerity of her words. He wrestled with himself a moment, torn between his natural inclination to torment her and the new, compelling sensations building in his chest. At that moment, he felt a strange kinship with the girl. He saw his own defeat, his hopelessness reflected in her, and he felt the undeniable urge to sooth them, to comfort her as he wished someone would comfort him. Taking a deep breath, he steeled himself against a potentially very unwise move.

"You're not normal, no. You're extraordinary. You're brave and intelligent; you've faced so many terrifying situations head-on, and that is exciting. And you…" He faltered for a moment, aware that she had turned to stare at him, her doe-eyes wide and focused on his profile. "You are beautiful, and you are alluring, to anyone who has even the most rudimentary appreciation for such things."

The room was suddenly stiflingly silent, but Draco kept his eyes glued to the far wall, cleared his throat, and carried on. "There's nothing forced or overdone about your looks; you obviously don't try as hard as some of the other girls, nor should you. What you have, your subtle femininity and understated gracefulness, it's not something those girls will ever be able to fake."

He was painfully aware of her continued study of his face, and he could feel his traitorous cheeks burning pink under her gaze, but he took another deep breath and plunged forward, letting out his final comment in a rush of air. "And if he's too thick to see that, then he doesn't deserve you."

She turned her head away, sniffling quietly again, and Draco surprised himself by turning towards her and placing a hand on her shoulder. She responded to the contact by twisting to face him, and they were both momentarily stunned by their sudden closeness. Draco could smell the soft, clean scent that seemed to originate from her wild hair. He could count the freckles across her nose, could see himself reflected in her wide, glassy eyes. He brought a hand up, cupping her cheek and gently wiping away a stray tear with his thumb. Her breath hitched as color flooded her cheeks, warming the skin beneath his palm.

He watched as she raised a hand, visibly warring with herself, and tentatively placed it against his chest, where she slid it up to his collar and on until it rested against his bare neck. She gently stroked the skin there, trailing her fingers up until she reached the light stubble beneath his chin, then gently dragging her nails against it, seemingly fascinated by the texture.

Draco smiled softly at her curious expression, prompting her to move her fingers to trace his lips. He impulsively wetted them, unintentionally stroking his tongue briefly against her explorative fingers. She gasped quietly at the contact, her eyes darkening and her breath coming harder.

Draco moved the hand still cupping her cheek around to the back of her neck, gently guiding her to him. She surprised him, however, when instead of meeting his lips, she pressed her mouth to his jaw, kissing it once before dragging her lips and just the very tip of her tongue along the sharp line of it to his chin, which she nipped lightly, her teeth scraping softly against the blond scruff there before moving up to finally catch his lips with her own.

His thoughts were a jumbled, incoherent mess as she teased his mouth with hesitant strokes of her soft tongue, lightly sucking his full bottom lip between hers and pulling back ever so slightly when his tongue came out to meet hers. The kiss was exploratory, playful, and maddeningly arousing. Every ghosting of her tongue made him want to devour her whole, and he found his grip on the back of her neck tightening, drawing her in closer. She smiled against him just before he crushed his mouth to hers, claiming her lips with firm, possessive movements.

Draco slid off the desk and turned to face Hermione, placing his hands on her hips and drawing her to the edge of the desk until their bodies were flush against each other. She hooked a leg around his hips, locking their pelvic bones together like corresponding jigsaw pieces and pressing his half-hard cock tight against her. He gasped at the contact, and she smiled against him, slipping her hand into his open robes, gripping his side and rubbing teasing circles against him with her thumb.

He broke away from the kiss to shove his robes off his arms, unceremoniously flinging them to the floor behind him while she reached up to loosen his tie before slipping it over his head. He paused, unsure how far this was going to go, until she bit her lip nervously and grasped the hem of her jumper, shooting him a questioning look before pulling it up and over her head. He watched, mesmerized, as it left her body, spilling her honey locks over the pale skin of her bare shoulders. Bringing a hand up, he ghosted his fingers from one shoulder to the other, tracing her delicate collar bones and studying the smooth texture of her skin. She looked up at him, so beautiful, so vulnerable, and he easily recognized the need in her eyes. She needed comfort, validation, just as he did. She needed to be seen, to be wanted just as she was. Draco knew all too well the feeling of being invisible in every way that mattered.

She was still staring up at him with wide, hazel eyes when he leaned in, answering her unspoken question with a touch of his lips, a sweep of his tongue across heated skin. She moaned softly in response, her small fingers flying to the buttons on his shirt, quickly and methodically opening each one before sliding the material off his shoulders to pool on the floor with his robes.

Draco trailed a hand down her abdomen to the fastening on her jeans. He worked the button and zipper open, and she leaned back on her elbows, lifting her hips so he could drag the heavy material down her shapely legs. He dropped her jeans to the floor and hovered over her where she lay sprawled out over the large desk, wearing nothing but a simple black bra and knickers.

He leaned in, kissing her slowly while his hands leisurely explored her pale skin. She brought a shaking hand up to work open his belt, stumbling slightly in her movements but persevering until his trousers fell to the floor, leaving him standing in a pair of red, silk boxers. When she noticed the color, she quirked an eyebrow, looking up at him with a small smile while her fingers danced across the bare skin of his abdomen, dipping briefly beneath the elastic before retreating again, teasing him with her light, fleeting touches.

He took her mouth in another kiss, this one a bit more frantic in its insistent possession of her sweet lips and pliant tongue. He reached behind her, quickly and silently releasing the clasp of her bra, which he then pulled down and flung away, immediately moving in to kiss her again. When his hand moved between her legs, stroking her through the wet fabric of her knickers, she gasped quietly into his mouth, clutching his hips tightly before boldly moving to grip his erection through his boxers.

Groaning, he thrust into her hand, then pulled her knickers down enough to easily move his hand between her legs, cupping her intimately before stroking her clit with his thumb and slipping one long finger inside her, while he kissed and licked and sucked a line across her jaw, down her neck and further still to the valley of her breasts.

Hermione was able to stave off begging for nearly three minutes of this attention, but a half-gasped "please" eventually escaped, followed closely by a whimper and a violent jerking of her hips.

Draco spoke against her breast, his hot breath fanning over her skin and wracking her body with a harsh shudder. "Tell me what you want."

She whimpered at the sound of his voice, rough and gritty with desire, and fought to articulate her needs. "You…now."

Draco laid a wet, open-mouthed kiss against her nipple and thumbed her clit roughly, causing her to cry out, before shaking his head against her. "No. You're going to have to tell me…exactly…what…you…want…" punctuating the last four words with several truly wicked thrust and tweak motions, until she was a panting mess, spread out on the table before him.

Hermione growled when he smirked up at her, gripping his cock roughly as she bit out, "Fuck me, Draco. Right. Now."

The harsh, demanding tone of her voice coupled with the dark fire in her eyes was enough to wipe the smirk right off his face, as he abandoned the teasing and jerked her knickers down and off her legs, flinging them behind him into the darkened classroom. Hermione slid his boxers down until they dropped to the floor and stared, unabashedly, at his exposed form.

Draco watched her swallow nervously and bite down on her lower lip as he stepped in between her legs again. "Granger, have you done this before?"

Her already vivid blush deepened as she silently shook her head, her honey curls dancing around her enticingly.

Draco sighed, pulling her to him and resting his chin atop her head. He sucked in a deep breath, practically shaking from the effort and restraint necessary to say what needed to be said. Already wincing, preparing himself for inevitable rejection, he murmured "We don't have to."

Hermione jerked back, fixing him with a stubborn and determined stare. "Like hell we don't. Look, Draco, I need this, and something tells me you do, too. Don't worry about me; I'm a big girl, I'm sure I can handle it."

Draco smiled despite himself at her obstinate expression; her small fists perched on pale hips as though she were lecturing him for being out past curfew. He didn't really understand his newfound affection for the little Gryffindor, but neither did he feel the need to analyze it too thoroughly. All he knew was that she was beautiful and soft and warm, and very much the opposite of everything his life had become, and he wanted her.

Her hard expression melted when he placed a slow, soft kiss against her neck, his hands running lightly over her hips, sides, and breasts before moving to position himself between her thighs. He paused there, momentarily warring with the better nature he hadn't even realize he'd had until Hermione shocked him by grabbing his hips and pulling him forward, burying him in her tight warmth in one deep thrust.

Draco cursed under his breath while Hermione dropped her head to his chest, breathing heavily against his over sensitized skin.

"You…that…Merlin, Granger!"

Hermione laughed breathlessly and hooked her ankles behind him. "Mm, very eloquently put, Mr. Malfoy."

Draco felt an odd weight in his stomach at her words and quickly pulled back to look at her, tilting her chin up with his fingers. "Don't call me that. From now on, it's Draco. Just Draco." He knew it was a stupid thing to be upset about, but he still saw understanding in her eyes as she nodded up at him.


He smiled widely before diving in to capture her lips once again, his hips pulling back and thrusting forward with slow, gentle movements until she grew impatient and once again took hold of his hips, pulling him into her and setting a much faster, harder pace than he would have expected. He complied, driving into her with an almost punishing intensity while she panted against him.

Hermione snaked her hand up and around his neck, pulling him down for a heated kiss that was little more than a meeting of mouths as they both gasped for air. After a moment, she released him and dropped back onto her elbows, propped at a slight angle with her chin tucked down, watching, mesmerized, as their bodies joined again and again.

Draco fought hard to keep from coming on the spot at the heated look in her eyes as she watched him thrust into her, her small, perfect breasts bouncing enticingly with the force of his movements. He gripped her waist with one hand, needlessly holding her in place while the other started at her thigh, then ran slowly over smooth skin to her hips, across her stomach, and up to cup one perfect breast, his thumb stretching across to stroke her small, taut nipple firmly.

Hermione bit her lip and raised her eyes to watch his face, hazel eyes meeting gray in the darkened classroom. Their gazes locked, and she stared breathlessly, fruitlessly studying the unfathomable expression shown in his sharp features. Draco, eyes intense, held her focus while his hand moved to grip her right leg, lifting it up until it hooked over his shoulder.

Hermione dropped down flat on her back while Draco moved his hand to where their bodies joined and began gently stroking her clit with a callused thumb in time with his thrusts. The new sensation coupled with the change in position had Hermione crying out, her body tensing for release.

Her hands flew up to tangle in her hair, giving her something to hold onto while Draco worked her body into sensory overload. Her eyes slipped closed briefly, but jerked open again at Draco's snarled "No!" She looked up at him questioningly, and she could see by the tension in his body that he was a close as she was.

"I want…oh god…I want you to look at me, Hermione. Look at me." See me. Please.

Hermione locked eyes with him, and was rewarded with a series of movements from both his hand and hips that had her crying out as her body was thrown into overwhelming climax. She was just vaguely aware through the haze of pleasure shrouding her senses that Draco had slumped forward; bracing his hands against the desk on either side of her while he gasped what sounded like various expletives spaced randomly about her repeated name.

She maneuvered her leg off his shoulder and down, then gripped his neck and pulled him to her. He practically collapsed on top of her, just barely missing crushing her with one well-placed elbow. They kissed once, slowly, gently, and then he laid his head down, cheek resting on her sternum, his hot breath ghosting across her breast with every labored rise and fall of his chest.

Draco extended an arm up to twist his fingers in her hair, gently wrapping one long curl around his finger then releasing it, again and again. Hermione smiled lazily, turning her head to nuzzle against his arm, but freezing when the movement brought her just an inch away from the ugly mark marring Draco's pale skin.

Draco felt her tense beneath him and immediately realized what he'd done. He started to pull away, but stopped at Hermione's firm grip on his arm.


Draco laid his head back against her chest, squeezing his eyes shut as she softly traced the lines of the Dark Mark with gentle fingers. He choked out half a sob when she leaned in to place a soft kiss against his wrist. Hermione wrapped her arms around him, holding him tightly while his body shook with silent tears. He turned his head, pressing his forehead against her flushed skin and whispering a thousand broken apologies against her stomach, one for every regret, every stupid decision that had brought him to that place. Hermione stroked his soft hair, whispering soothing sounds and meaningless platitudes while he cried against her.

Some time later, it might have been minutes or hours for all he could tell, Draco drew himself up, immediately pulling Hermione to a sitting position and wrapping long arms around her shoulders, pressing her to his sweat-damp chest. He wasn't sure if he just needed the contact, or if he was afraid of looking her in the eye. Probably a little of both.

"Draco…" Hermione wrapped her arms around him, holding him in place as she spoke, possibly afraid he would bolt at the first opportunity. "Is it true, then? Has he given you an assignment?"

Draco swallowed nervously. "It's impossible. Can't be done. Even if I wanted to…"

"Do you want to?"

He paused, finally turning away to gather their clothes off the floor. "No."

"Then don't."

Draco sighed in exasperation, tossing Hermione's jumper back at her without ever meeting her eyes. "It's not that simple, Granger."

"Oh, so we're back to Granger, are we Malfoy?"

He hurriedly pulled on his trousers, opting to just tuck his boxers in his pocket. He scooped up Hermione's jeans and bra, flinging them back at her with perhaps a bit more force than was strictly necessary.

"You don't understand."

Hermione hopped down from the desk, still incredibly naked and surprisingly comfortable in his presence. "Then why don't you make me understand?"

Draco spun around and, grabbing her arms, pushed her back against the desk. "He's got my parents, Hermione! He'll kill them. And me."

"So let me help you. We can protect you, Draco."

"No one can help me."

"Dumbledore can. We can go to him tonight; I know he'll help you." She was looking up at him, her hazel eyes filled with promise and hope and sincerity. She brought one small hand up and placed it on his chest, over his franticly beating heart. "It's not too late, Draco."

Draco let out a shaky sigh, allowing his eyes to trail down her naked body. "Could you at least put your clothes back on? I feel I'm at a slight disadvantage, here."

Hermione chuckled lightly while he leered at her. "Where are my knickers?"

"Um…" Draco looked behind him at the empty room before pulling his wand and casting a summoning spell, sending Hermione's black cotton knickers flying into his open hand. She went to take them from him, but he held tight. "Trade you?"

She laughed outright, reaching a hand into his pocket and retrieving his boxers. "Fair enough."

He smiled at her, tucking her knickers in his pocket in place of the boxers, but the strained expression returned when she spoke again.

"Come with me, Draco. You don't have to feel trapped—you have options. You have allies, if you want them. Let us help you."

Draco squeezed his eyes shut, hating himself for the tremor in his voice when he spoke again. "I'm scared."

"We're all scared, Draco. But it helps, knowing you're not alone. Knowing you're doing the right thing."

He nodded, quietly processing her words as they both finished dressing. When he turned around, Hermione was leaning against the desk, watching him with warm, sympathetic eyes.

"Would you…" He cleared his throat, struggling to continue, struggling to control his shaking voice. "Come with me?"

And he knew, the moment the smile broke across her face like the first rays of sunlight after a storm, warm and nourishing, that he'd—for once—said the right thing. Made the right choice.

"Of course." She whispered softly, holding her small hand out to him.

He took it, threading his long fingers through hers, taking a ridiculous amount of comfort and encouragement from the small squeeze she gave him. They headed towards the locked door, but he paused just short, turning her to face him again.

"I didn't…I didn't hurt you, did I?"

Hermione's answering smile was brilliant; fond and satisfied and just a little bit mischievous. "Not at all. I really must remember to thank Mum for those riding lessons."

Draco's face screwed up in confusion, which only increased when she laughed softly, pulling him into the dark hallway once more.