Disclaimer: Obviously the characters, setting, etc. belong to J.K. Rowling. If they were mine, Severus wouldn't be dead.

Hermione sighed as she touched the quill to parchment, wishing the chairs in the library were more comfortable. She supposed that was why students often chose to do their homework in the common rooms-or not at all-rather than in the library. 'But,' she mused to herself, 'the library is quiet.' She needed the quiet space more than usual, this week. She couldn't deny that she was distracted and couldn't begin to explain it to herself, much less to anyone else.

Feeling out of place in a library was not an emotion Hermione was familiar with, but she had to admit that the chair didn't feel quite right, the room felt too open, and the thought of continuing to grade papers at the table quite obviously designed for the height of a first year was hardly appealing. She sighed, placing the parchment and quill into a grey bag she knitted while on holiday with her parents several years ago in Wales. Then, she pushed her protesting body up from the tiny chair and began the walk to her office.

"Ah, Professor Granger, dear." The familiar voice of Minerva McGonagall echoed in the dim hallways outside the library. Hermione paused, turning expectantly to address the Headmistress. What Hermione was not expecting, however, was the familiar smirk on the face of tall man trailing behind McGonagall.

Seemingly unaware of the mental exchange between Hermione and the man she was escorting, the Headmistress adjusted her glasses, pushing them an alarming distance further up the bridge of her nose.

"Professor Granger, I am certain you know the newly acquired Professor Malfoy." Hermione stared, dumbfounded.

"Granger." It was a statement of begrudged acknowledgment. Her head snapped to full attention at the hint of contempt in his voice, still present after years of separation.

"It's Professor, now, Malfoy." she hissed, eyes narrowing in suspicion at his unwelcome presence.

Draco Malfoy raised an eyebrow at her statement.

"Likewise, Professor."

McGonagall handed Hermione a key with a bored expression, ignoring the bushy-haired woman's gaping mouth.

"I have a meeting with the Ministry of Magic to discuss new school policies." she said in a slightly bored tone. "Please show Professor Malfoy to his quarters. They are just beyond yours, the room with the etching of a Chinese Fireball on the door."

The next thing she knew, the Headmistress was gone and Hermione Granger was left alone with Draco Malfoy in the hallway. She sighed in a resigned sort of way, handed him his key, and began to walk towards the staircase. Though his face quickly returned to a smooth, blank expression, Hermione could not mistake his slight surprise when she began to walk down the stairs, rather than the expected up.

They walked in silence as they approached the dungeons. Though she did not make eye contact with the striking blonde, she could feel his eyes shifting over her body, trying to make sense of his former classmate. They may have lingered a bit too long at the place where her legs disappeared into the soft grey fabric of her dress, but to reprimand him would call his attention to the fact that she too, was paying attention to him warily.

He was taller than she remembered, less obviously muscular than in his quidditch years, and the war had aged him in an unmistakable way. There was a tiredness in his eyes that his mask of indifference could not cover-they were no longer a cold grey, like his father's eyes, but dull and lifeless.

She cleared her throat, squaring her shoulders slightly when she reached a door at the bottom of two staircases. He could tell they were a floor below even the potions classrooms.

"You have quarters down here?" He phrased it as a question, but she didn't offer any more information than was necessary.

"Yes."

A tarnished brass door-knocker in the form of an irritated snake opened its eyes.

"Password?"

"Severus."

Draco could not help but show his surprise. Hermione pursed her lips and turned slightly to look him in the eyes with her eyebrows arched in a challenge.

"These were formerly his private quarters. It seems appropriate."

Draco nodded silently and followed Hermione into a small but cozy-looking common room. Two faded black and over-stuffed armchairs faced the fireplace alongside a green couch that looked as if it had been re-stuffed and upholstered many times. There were white shag rugs scattered strategically over the hardwood floors, and bookshelves covered every open inch of wall space. At one side of the room was a door with an etching of a sleeping lioness, and directly across lay his own door with the Chinese Fireball. There were two desks, stocked with quills and parchment, and a red tea kettle with a green knit tea-cozy was cheerfully puffing steam from its place on the coffee table.

"There is a bathroom in your room. Just tell the house elves what you require, and they will make sure you are adequately accommodated."

Hermione set her bag down next to the tea kettle, and with a wave of her wand a large mug appeared. She settled into one of the armchairs as she poured herself some of the peppermint tea.

Draco glanced at the woman, realizing he was clearly dismissed, and walked without a word into his quarters.

Hermione Granger awoke with a start. She sat straight up in her four poster bed, snatching the down comforter up to her chin. There was someone moving about in her common room-she could hear papers shuffling and the scrape of wood against wood as a chair was shifted along the floor. Closing her eyes briefly, Hermione gathered herself together and tentatively pushed the deep blue curtains of her four poster bed open with her left hand. With her right, she reached beneath her pillow for her wand.

Pushing past the blue velvet, she softly touched her bare feet to the floor. They moved quietly, almost on their own, to the heavy door. With a deep breath, she steeled herself, then stepped into the common room with her wand arm raised. To Hermione's complete and utter shock, she stood facing a pale-skinned, shirtless man.

His back was to her as he hung a tea kettle-her tea kettle!-in the fireplace. Her eyes widened as she watched muscles that might once have been intimidating ripple beneath shoulders that somehow managed to be masculine and slender at the same time.

Not realizing her left hand no longer held the door to her chambers open, she jumped as it slammed closed behind her with a loud thud. Those shoulders tensed, then relaxed as the owner turned and caught sight of the flustered witch pointing her wand square at the center of his chest. To her surprise, he smirked, and she was reminded of the same look he often gave her in school when Snape had deducted points from Gryffindor for her correct (though albeit too enthusiastic) answers in Double Potions with the Slytherins.

"Professor." he drawled, somehow turning her title into an insult. "Is that what you always sleep in?"

Her eyes instantly flew to her legs, which, she knew before looking, would be bare. Malfoy's eyes followed hers, taking in a grey pair of panties and a slightly too-small pink tank top.

"I'd have pegged you for the cozy flannel type, Professor Granger."

And just like that, her entrancement with the shirtless man ended. He was undoubtedly, unfortunately Malfoy-annoying and staring at her in her underwear. Knowing he expected her to squeak (or some other undignified sound) and run back into her chambers in embarrassment, Hermione simply walked across the room and sat cross-legged in her armchair. She spoke matter-of-factly to the now open-mouthed man.

"You woke me up. The least you can do is pour me some of the tea you are making in my teapot."

Draco quickly closed his mouth, replacing the surprise that was becoming an all-too-familiar feeling around Granger with his practiced look of indifference. He poured two cups of tea, placing one in her slightly trembling hands-the only sign of insecurity he could observe from the petite woman he now shared his quarters with.

"Do you frequently greet new Professors in your underwear, Granger?" he finally asked, when he could no longer stand the feeling of her eyes peering at him from beneath long, delicate lashes.

She crossed her arms, wishing she had indeed grabbed a robe (or better, a bra). Though she would never allow him the satisfaction of watching her squirm, she was all too aware that the curves of her breasts were more than visible through her top. She briefly considered tossing the tea into his lap and returning to her room, but reconsidered when she heard the genuine amusement in his voice. Instead, she answered his question mockingly.

"Of course not. I greet them with topless belly-dancing."

Until that moment, Hermione Granger could honestly say that she had never seen Draco Malfoy laugh-unless of course, a Gryffindor was being injured or humiliated. But there was no mistake the strangled chuckle that escaped the throat of the pale man sitting across from her in front of the fire.

"You have a sense of humor."

Hermione rolled her eyes at the statement.

"Don't go spreading that around. Wouldn't want to let the students know I'm human," she said sarcastically, taking a sip of the tea. When she placed the mug back on the table, Malfoy had to blink suddenly and shake his head as he caught a glimpse of her breasts moving freely beneath her shirt. Sitting up quickly, and not wanting his former classmate to catch him staring, he got up to pour himself more tea.

"Why did I get threatened by a Charms professor in her underwear then, instead of the customary belly dance?" He glanced briefly over his shoulder as he asked.

Hermione laughed. "I forgot that I now had a roommate, of sorts. Honestly, I jumped out of bed intending to hex you into next week."

Draco sat down again, wishing that the fabric of his sweatpants did more to hide the effect his new companion had on him. Her hair fell softly in mussed curls to the small of her back, grazing her face whenever she leaned forward. The firelight danced, skimming shadows softly over attentive eyes and inviting lips. He had never noticed…and now, it was impossible not to. She was no longer innocent. But then again, she was no longer uptight. He could tell that the new Hermione did not seek anyone's approval or acknowledgement of her intelligence. The woman who sat across from him now had a quiet confidence-one that no doubt explained her seeming comfort as she sat in her underwear, having tea with her former enemy.

"Why are you up?"

Draco shook himself out of his reverie, cursing as he remembered what he had been doing before Hermione had interrupted him. "I was getting my things together. I need to come up with a decent lesson plan before…" Draco glanced at the bewitched grandfather clock behind her. "…well, today."

Hermione realized suddenly that he had known somehow that she was the Charms professor-yet, she still didn't know what he had been recruited to teach. As if sensing her confusion, he stated quietly, "My godfather asked that I take over his position if he was one day no longer able to teach. I haven't had the stones until now."

With that statement, the smiling Draco was gone. Haunted Draco was back, shoulders slumped, face frozen, eyes distant. Hermione set her mug down and walked back to her room quietly. The newest Hogwarts Potions Master didn't even notice that his companion had retreated to her rooms, so intently was he staring into the fire.

When Hermione Granger awoke the next morning, the first thing she noticed was that the curtains of her bed were uncharacteristically open, and her wand was not under her pillow. Swearing softly as she pulled a pair of worn jeans over her hips, she fumbled around in her drawers until she found the white tank she was looking for. The grandfather clock in the common room chimed something that sounded like "late…late…late…" as she rushed around the small space, throwing her half-graded papers from the night before into her bag and remembering to snatch her wand from its place on the coffee table. The location of her wand and the two cups sitting out were the only evidence apparent that last night's conversation had occurred, and a red stain appeared on her cheeks as she remembered her feigned confidence at Draco Malfoy seeing her in her underwear.

Draco Malfoy was not a morning person. The students eyeing him as he picked at his food from the Professor's table was hardly helping. The Gryffindors eyed him warily while the Slytherins looked excited. Draco knew they would be disappointed-he was not the death eater they expected. He never had been, and he did not intend to be their head of house, regardless of Snape's previous occupation.

When the clocks chimed for the students to begin their dispersal to their classes, Draco begrudgingly dragged himself from his chair and took his place behind his godfather's desk in a still familiar classroom. A classroom of Third Year Hufflepuffs and Slytherins watched him with curious eyes as he returned their gaze, equally curious. When he realized they were waiting for him to speak, he shifted uncomfortably. After an uncomfortable silence, he shook his head.

"Bollocks."

Muttering beneath his breath, he kicked off his shoes in an effort to make himself more comfortable, and, to the shock of every one of his students, sat cross-legged on his desk.

"Alright, you know I am the new Potions professor. I would be naïve to believe you have not also figured out by now that I am Professor Malfoy. Yes, my father is in Azkaban, yes, former Professor Snape is my Godfather, no, I do not intend to become a dark wizard, and no, I have never killed anyone, contrary to what you may read in the Prophet. Any questions?"

Malfoy was greeted with wide-eyed stares.

"Right then. We're brewing something simple, Murtlap Essence. The instructions," he waved his hand dismissively at the chalkboard, "…are fairly straightforward. I'll observe your working styles for today, and perhaps tomorrow we can move on to a more challenging potion."

To his mild surprise, his students followed his directions unquestioningly. Malfoy wondered if they would still behave so well when they realized he had no intention of giving detentions.

On the opposite side of the castle, Professor Granger was not having a good day. She'd dashed into the classroom at the same time as the tardiest of her students, broken several quills, and had a headache that was quickly beginning to feel more and more like a migraine. Though her students liked her, it was clear that they were not paying attention to their Charms. Finally, when a particularly squirrelly Fifth Year named Clarence accidentally charmed his desk to periodically morph into a toilet, Hermione was exasperated.

"I understand that you are all distracted and I'm not doing very well myself. Rather than continue to work on our Charms for the day, perhaps you'd like to tell me what has you so flustered? Before my classroom begins to resemble an uninviting muggle bus station bathroom?"

Clarence looked relieved when she fixed his desk with a distracted wave of her wand.

"It's the new Potions Professor. He's…well, isn't he a former death eater?" Clarence asked bluntly, knowing that Professor Granger did not appreciate vagueness.

She leaned back in her chair.

"It was never his choice to take the Dark Mark…" she began, unsure of how much information was public knowledge. She herself didn't know very much. Draco Malfoy had kept to himself in the years since the war.

"He was very young when the Dark Lord sought his assistance. It is my understanding that he did not act entirely of his free will. Obviously he has been cleared of any charges or Minerva-or your Headmistress would not have seen fit to hire him. If she trusts him, I trust him. You should as well."

Hermione was aware that she sounded unsure, but hoped that the simple explanation would be enough for most of her students. Luckily it was, although se determined to speak with the mysterious Malfoy again, as soon as the opportunity permitted. And this time, she promised herself it would be a fully clothed, dignified experience.

Draco Malfoy was greeted with an unexpected sight when he returned to his quarters that evening. The perfectly poised Granger was sprawled out haphazardly on the floor in the dark, legs up on the sofa with an open book covering a good part of her face.

"That's a very professional position, Granger."

"Come off your high horse, Malfoy. I'm dying."

Malfoy's eyes crinkled at the corners at her over-dramatic sigh as she curled into a ball on the floor.

"Perhaps you picked up a muggle illness from those trousers you're wearing."

"They're jeans, git."

"Aren't they against dress code?"

"No one can see them beneath my robes. And I prefer to be comfortable."

"You don't look very comfortable now."

Hermione sighed again, covering her head with a pillow.

"Can you please shut the door? The light from the hall is making my headache worse."

Malfoy complied, sitting on the sofa and eying the witch who was still sprawled on the uncomfortable-looking floor. After a few moments of silence, he spoke awkwardly.

"I can help with the headache."

Hermione sat up in the darkness of the common room, suspicious.

"I don't particularly feel like being messed with, Professor."

She spat the word, just as he had during their first encounter in the hall outside the library. Malfoy just glanced at her with a bored look on his face.

"I am no longer a sniveling schoolboy. I did not intend to 'mess' with you."

They sat in silence for another moment, before he truly lost his patience with the witch sitting on the floor in obvious pain in front of him.

"Sit next to me." It was an order, but there was no malice in his voice. Only impatience.

"Place your head in my lap, Granger."

Hermione nearly snapped her neck as her head spun to look at him in horrified confusion.

"I b-beg your pardon?" she sputtered.

"Relax, Granger. I'm helping you. Consider it an apology for calling you mud blood for seven years."

Knowing better than to acknowledge his apology, Hermione decided to comply-albeit warily. Soon, she felt long, calloused fingers rubbing soft circles around her temples. She settled more comfortably into his lap after that, and an hour later, an intruder would have walked in on a strange sight: the Charms Professor half asleep in the lap of the Potions Professor, with his fingers running languidly through her unruly hair.

While grading papers in front of the fire one evening, Hermione heard an unmistakably frightened scream come from Malfoy's quarters. After a moment's hesitation the Gryffindor hero complex kicked in, and Hermione burst through the door of Malfoy's room, wand at the ready.

She was greeted with a sight that made her heart skip a beat, then speed up until it felt like it might jump through her ribcage and continue pounding at record speed on the floor of Malfoy's chambers.

The sight of shirtless Malfoy was nothing compared to the sight now before her. He was standing in the middle of the room, dripping wet, clad in a towel that did nothing to cover anything but the essential bits. Soap suds dripped from his hair. She could tell that he had once been an incredibly handsome man, and though he was now chiseled and worn, he was still strikingly beautiful. His grey eyes flashed in her direction, but Hermione did not look away. Instead, she nodded curtly.

"Right, thought you'd hurt yourself. I'll just be going now."

"Wait." His voiced was clipped as she turned back to him. From her position in the doorway, she could see a hint of-was that pleading?-in his eyes.

"There's a fucking snake in my shower."

For a second, Hermione thought she must have misheard the man before her. When she realized he was serious, she began to laugh. Instantly, she strangled the sound when she saw genuine hurt flit across the usually indifferent face in front of her.

She nodded again, and walked into his bathroom.

Surely enough, a small green snake was curled up on tile floor in the corner of the shower. Hermione charmed a towel to scoop up the creature, charmed the snake to sleep, and gathered the now slumbering bundle into her arms.

"I suppose I should take this to Hagrid."

Malfoy just nodded curtly and narrowed his eyes. After an appraising look, he stalked into the bathroom, slammed the door, and restarted the shower. A very bewildered Hermione looked at the snake in her arms and wondered what on earth had caused Malfoy to scream at the sight of the harmless garden snake.

When she returned, Malfoy was sitting quietly on the couch, waiting for her. His blonde hair was still wet from the shower, and he was shirtless again. She was beginning to resent his aversion to wearing shirts in their private quarters-she could not think when she could see the muscled expanse of his chest and shoulders.

"Hermione."

His voice was cold. This was not the amused tone she had gotten used to, as they quietly lived in the same quarters. This voice was calculating and measured, devoid of any emotion he did not choose to include. It sunk through her skin to leave an empty feeling at the bottom of her stomach.

She froze briefly, wondering why the eyes of the man before her were so wary to make eye contact. Then she shook her bangs out of her eyes, and leaned against the wall of the door frame, choosing to acknowledge the obvious.

"I apologize for rushing into your room uninvited, Professor."

She said it quietly, as if it were a fact, unquestionable.

"I do not frequently scream like a child, Granger…"

Malfoy's response trailed off as he saw the interest in her eyes, interest she quickly covered with the familiar confidence she'd exhibited when he spoke to her in her underwear that first night.

"I do not respond well to snakes," he stated through gritted teeth.

Hermione was annoyed at his words, he could tell. Sparks were flashing through the usually calm amber of her eyes, and her arms were crossed erratically over her chest. She was furious at the flippancy of his remark; had expected some sort of emotional confession.

"I quite realized that," she snapped back. "Do you plan to tell me why?"

"It is none of your business."

"Neither is seeing you half naked all of the time," she said disdainfully, frowning in the general direction of the exposed flesh of his chest.

"Clearly, our proximity is making me privy to far more information on your personal life than I would prefer, Professor."

The tired man looked at her frankly. "I quite enjoyed seeing your…personal life," he said, eyes flickering from the dip between her breasts to her thighs.

"H-how DARE you!"

She was sputtering now, indignant and flustered. Hermione stomped across the room and placed her small nose just inches from the elegant jaw of the insolent man before her. She regretted letting him see her in a vulnerable state-or worse, knowing he was leering at her body.

"I will not be spoken to in that manner by a man who cannot even grant me enough trust to explain why I am keeping it a secret from the rest of the world that he screams like a frightened pygmy puff when he sees a harmless garden snake."

Malfoy's eyes narrowed in embarrassment and rage at her jibe to what was clearly a sensitive subject. Unfortunately, Hermione's fury had increased her breathing rate, causing the breasts he had been trying so fervently to ignore to heave angrily just inches beneath his face. He glanced down, sucked air in a little too quickly, and shot his eyes up to stare into Hermione's again.

To Hermione's exasperation, when Malfoy's mouth finally formed words, they were not the apology she expected-but they were an apology of sorts.

His narrow lips curled into a graceful smirk and his long fingers rose gently to snake along her jaw. He leaned his face closer to hers, and Hermione's breath caught in her throat and the next thing she knew, her lips were covered by the mouth of the irritating man in her common room. And then-the room spun.

Hermione sat with a muffled thud, her bottom hitting the floor as her head reeled.

Her hand rose to her lips as she stared at the man on the couch above her. She was sitting between Malfoy's bare feet, searching his face for a sign of emotion-any emotion.

He was looking back at her in shock, like he couldn't believe he had just touched the flabbergasted woman looking up at him from the floor. His chest was rising and falling heavily. His grey eyes were wide in horror. She could tell her was struggling to maintain his usual indifferent demeanor. For a moment, he looked as if her were about to make an excuse for his unexpected action. Instead, he rose abruptly, slamming the door to his room as he disappeared from her sight.

Hermione was left to stare back and forth between the closed door and the now-empty couch, unsure of what had just happened. She couldn't move. One moment she had wanted to kill the man for staring at her breasts, and now she was fairly sure she was angry because he wasn't. So, she did the only thing her body seemed capable of doing-she began to cry.

Draco slid down the heavy oak to sit against the inside of his now-closed door on the floor in his room. He could hear Hermione's muffled sobs through the barrier, making his stomach twist uncomfortably. He hunched his shoulders, head in his hands. What on earth had he been thinking?

He hadn't. He'd seen her breasts and her lips, and suddenly, he wasn't thinking. The witch had some sort of dizzying effect on his brain and he simply couldn't bear not to kiss her. He was furious at his lack of self-control. He hadn't kissed a woman since his Hogwarts days, since before the war, not wanting to invite anyone else into his own personal circle of hell. His life was the furthest from easy, as only the life of an ex-follower of the Dark Lord could be in the new, lighter England. Not that he wanted to invite Granger into his arms, much less his life. The lust she stirred within his hips was no different than any other witch, he told himself. No different at all. This was Granger, after all, the bloody brain of the Golden Trio.

He groaned into his palms, hitting his head against the door. Kissing Hermione Granger was the last thing he wanted to do. The sap would probably think it meant something.

When Hermione finally stopped crying, she was emotionally exhausted. Images of Malfoy's lips pressed to hers were racing through her mind, mingling intermittently with memories from Hogwarts-punching him in the face, him tripping her in the hallway, his face whenever she bested him in potions. Wiping her eyes angrily, she got up and headed for the shower in her room.

Peeling her clothes off and dropping them into a pile on the floor by the shower, Hermione started the water and examined herself in the mirror. Her face was blotchy and streaked with mascara, but that did nothing to detract from the rest of her body. She knew for a fact that men liked her petite curves, knew her breasts fit perfectly in most hands, knew that they preferred the contrast between her small waist and rather larger bum. So why on earth had Malfoy looked at her in such disgust and horror after he kissed her? She shook her head, climbing into the shower and letting the water wash over her, wiping the dripping mascara from her cheeks.

She would not let this indifferent, irritating git slip under her skin. The kiss was obviously an accident he did not want to happen. It didn't mean a thing. She pursed her lips, remembering the disgust she saw in his face when he realized he had not only touched, but kissed a filthy mud blood. In her anger, Hermione forgot about the small voice in the back of her mind that reminded her of his cool fingers massaging her scalp just weeks before.

Draco Malfoy had become the perfect replacement for Severus Snape. He rarely allowed himself to show emotion, he didn't share anything about himself to combat the rumors that circled the school, and as a result, his students were terrified of him. He never allowed them to observe the subtle smirk that appeared on his lips whenever one of them cursed him under their breath or wondered if he would turn into a bat at any moment.

The bat rumor was his favorite. Draco could remember Potter and Weasley musing that Snape was secretly a bat, once upon a time. This made him feel like he was doing his godfather proud, or at the very least, somewhat filling very big shoes.

The mysterious potions professor could often be found in the dungeons late into the evenings. To outsiders, he seemed intently focused on his work. Hermione knew that he was simply avoiding his return to their shared common room until he could be sure she was in her own quarters. They hadn't spoken in almost a month, not since he had shocked them both with his bold kiss.

Hermione was furious. The longer he avoided her, the more she seethed in anger. As the month progressed, her patience with her students wore thin, and her tone became clipped and tense, even when addressing the Headmistress. Hermione was sure that Draco refused to acknowledge what had happened because he was ashamed of kissing a mud blood, and she was determined to make him admit his actions-and hopefully, repeat them.

She had told Harry about the kiss in a letter. He owled back almost instantaneously, with such enthusiasm for her "finally getting some action" that she hadn't the heart to tell him that she hadn't experienced a repeat performance, and didn't expect to. Harry knew that Hermione had rather given up on love when she and Ron grew apart. Hermione had just never bothered to tell him that this didn't mean she'd given up on physical comfort. Hermione often snorted and shook her head when Harry made allusions to trying to set her up with men-she was perfectly capable of pulling one night stands without the help of the-boy-who-lived. Her fame after the war had settled, but whenever she felt lonely, it was an easy way to strike up a conversation. She was not ashamed for her actions, but was often left unsatisfied in the morning. She wanted more, and she wanted it from the pale, guarded man with the ghosts in his eyes who was currently refusing to acknowledge her presence.

On a less than spectacular December evening, Hermione grew antsy grading papers. She picked up the quill and put it down again multiple times before finally giving up altogether. Sighing in defeat, she rose from her bead and rummaged through her closet. Pulling a pair of heavy black woolen tights on under her dress, she decided to brave the light snowfall and sit in the Three Broomsticks for awhile. She slipped black boots over her feet, pulled her cloak over her arms, and remembered to grab the cashmere hat and scarf Ginny had given her for Christmas before stepping out of her room.

Draco, too, was antsy. He could only organize and reorganize the potions store-room so many times before he was left with nothing plausible as an excuse to keep him in the dungeons any longer. Rather than sit and stare at the wall, as he usually did, he decided that perhaps stepping out for a drink would be an acceptable alternative, just this once. He smoothed his grey slacks with his cool palms before rising from his chair, pulled a black cardigan over his t-shirt, and buttoned his cloak up to his neck. He could feel the ridges of the cobblestones beneath his feet as he walked to Hogsmeade, choosing to feel the moonlight shifting over his pale skin rather than simply apparate once he'd left Hogwarts grounds.

Hermione dropped her cloak and settled into a cozy corner booth in the Three Broomsticks.

"A large cup of coffee with cream and just a touch of fire whiskey, please," she told Madam Rosmerta.

Grading papers was much easier in the calming, smoky atmosphere of the pub. Hermione was grateful for the coffee, and the fire whiskey warmed her insides deliciously. She gazed out the window as the snow began to pattern the trees like a fine layer of lace had been draped through the branches.

Draco Malfoy stood at the bar for a moment, watching the witch. The sight of her grading papers in a bar was incredibly amusing, though it looked like, in typical responsible Hermione fashion, she was drinking coffee rather than something stronger. His smile dimmed when he remembered their kiss and the month of avoidance. This brought a slight scowl to his normally impassive face, but he couldn't help the warm feeling that began to spread through his belly when he recalled the way her lips felt as he brushed them with his own.

After ten minutes of gripping the glass of elderflower wine in his left hand until his knuckles glowed white under the dim lighting of the Three Broomsticks, Draco gave up. Hermione's booth looked incredibly comfortable, the others were taken, and some part of him wanted to speak with her again.

He slid in to the booth next to her, the wool of his pants snagging on the worn leather. She broke her dreamy gaze out the window to assess her new company with a barely noticeable start of surprise. Her eyes narrowed distrustfully.

"Professor Malfoy. I was unaware that you had dragged yourself from the dungeons this evening."

He set his wine down on the table and cocked one eyebrow in her direction.

"And I was unaware that you knew how to function outside of your room or a library. It looks as if we both learned something this evening."

"Is there a particular reason you are sitting in my booth?"

He waved a hand dismissively around the room. "Oh, the others were taken."

She snorted, knowing full well he could have chosen to sit alone at the bar. Deciding to give him a taste of his own medicine, Hermione turned back to the papers she was grading and paid him no attention whatsoever.

Draco struggled to cover a grin. She was so feisty. She made him feel like a weight was lifted from his shoulders whenever he was around her, though he'd never let her know that he secretly enjoyed her company. Trying to get a rise out of the bushy-haired witch on his left, he reached out to take a sip of her coffee.

It was Hermione's turn to smirk as he spluttered in surprise.

"Th-that has fire whiskey in it!"

Hermione couldn't help but laugh.

"Yes, it does. Perhaps you should have asked before drinking a beverage that was not your own. I could have put almost anything in it!"

Draco was looking at her in pleased surprise. "But…it's a Tuesday!"

Hermione was confused. "Is that relevant?"

"I would not have expected you to drink anything stronger than butterbeer. Especially not on a school night!" Draco sputtered. "You aren't as prim as you want everyone to think."

"No, I don't suppose so."

She was so matter of fact, Draco wasn't quite sure what to say. She let him mull this new information over in his head for a few seconds before interjecting quietly,

"You aren't as mean as you seem, either."

It was Draco's turn to look confused. She explained.

"Your students fear you. Even the other professors give you a wide berth because you seem cold and unfeeling, like your father. But you laugh around me-granted, at me, most of the time, but it still counts. You clearly have a sense of humor behind your pretend indifference."

He tensed a little as he thought about what she said. Then he answered, slowly, calculating his words guardedly before he spoke.

"I am not…indifferent."

"No, you are not."

"You just said I was!"

"I said you pretend to be. Honestly, Draco, pay attention."

"What makes you think you know a damn thing about-did you just call me Draco?"

Hermione sighed and gazed softly out the window again. She'd done it now, talking to him like he was an old friend. But that's what it felt like they were-old friends, rather than ex-enemies or two people awkwardly sharing living quarters. Not speaking with him had been torture, and this just felt right. So, she turned with a new determination and looked him directly in his eyes.

"Yes."

He struggled with this bit of information. For some reason, this was the hardest for him to comprehend. Then he spoke, tentatively, a question.

"Hermione?"

Hearing her name fall from those lips in the soft, unsure tone sent a small shiver down her spine. She didn't think he had ever spoken her name in any tone but one of mockery or polite indifference. The word sounded incredibly personal in this tone. She could almost feel it spill from his mouth and waft through the smoky air to caress her cheek softly. When she blinked, she was suddenly aware that the soft sensations along her cheek were the result of not a word, but…fingers. Long, graceful fingers.

Identical fingers reached out to pull the grading quill from her hands, smoothing a thumb over her palm before rising to meet the other cheek. Draco held her face in his hands for a moment, searching her eyes. She could swear that he could see through to the very bottom of her soul.

They sat like this for a moment. It was Hermione who broke the silence.

"Draco." Her eyes held a question hesitantly.

"Yes?"

"Kiss me."

This was most definitely not a question. Draco's stomach flip-flopped, his hands drew her in, and he stretched his face into what his students might be shocked to describe as a smile.

Then, his lips were on hers again, this time moving, nibbling, caressing as she sunk into his hands. Her arms snaked up to circle his neck as she returned the kiss with reserved enthusiasm. He pulled back.

"You are uncomfortable."

She laughed, leaving him to wonder if perhaps he'd lost his touch with those of the fairer sex.

"Not exactly." Hermione blushed. "I would like to return to our common room. I'm afraid that people are beginning to stare and I…I would prefer not to stop."

Draco's eyes widened. Hermione, the know-it-all, supposedly repressed, prim, unattainable Hermione had just ordered her to kiss him, and now she was offering what sounded very much like an invitation to continue in a more private setting.

A part of him tried to find an excuse to say no, afraid to let his guard down. But the rest of him remembered what those lips did to him and all reservations melted away. Spurred by her words and the growing tension below his beltline, Draco swept her papers and quill into her bag, looped it over his shoulder, placed both arms around her waist, and promptly disapparated them both to just outside of Hogwarts gates.

Hermione's heart pounded as they walked through the halls of the castle on their way to their room. She had to practically run to keep up with the quick pace he was setting, taking three steps to match each one of his hurried strides. Dozens of voices were spinning through her skull, each with more reasons than the last as to why what was happening should not happen. However, her palms were sweating, her face was flushed, and a familiar ache had appeared between her legs to encourage her to walk faster.

"Severus," Draco said urgently at the door to their quarters.

He dropped Hermione's bag to the floor along with her hat and scarf, followed quite quickly by the cloaks that were stifling each of the two professors. Then he stood, running his fingers through his hair agitatedly as he watched her breathe heavily, chest rising and falling violently as she stared.

For a moment, she thought he might panic and run, and opened her mouth to explain herself. Before a word could escape her lips, she felt his strong hands gently but forcefully push her back up against the door. She emitted a small gasp of surprise before his lips plundered hers, hot with need. His hands were everywhere, uninhibited. He kneaded her hips, ran his palms up her sides to meet the curves of her breasts, grabbed a fist full of hair and tugged her even closer in to meet his body. Her mouth fell open, partially in shock and partially because giving in to the ministrations of his tongue just seemed like the only possible thing in the world she was capable of doing.

Her head reeled and she instinctively lifted her legs to wrap around his strong waist when he lifted her, kicking his door forcefully open with his foot.

He dumped her on the bed less than gracefully, and soon her shoes were in a pile with his on the floor. His hand pushed her arms up over her head, pinning her down with his body as he trembled. He closed his eyes, burying his face between her breasts for a moment as he tried desperately to gain some composure.

He couldn't.

Draco gasped for air as he stared down at the face of the small witch beneath him. Hermione could feel his arousal pressing firmly against hers. When he looked as if he couldn't decide what to do next, she moved her hips slightly. Her reward was to feel his swollen cock twitch distinctively against her thighs. Draco's sharp intake of breath was enough to tell her that he was not interested in slowing down, though he remained still, showing remarkable self control.

"Hermione," he whispered.

She gazed up at him with wide amber eyes, tongue slipping out slightly as she bit her lip. She could see the ghosts in his eyes, desperately wanted to make him feel. Hermione bucked her hips again.

Draco's hands released her arms, ghosting painfully softly over her curves as he knelt to the floor at the foot of the bed. There were no more questions in his eyes. His fingers drifted firmly up her legs. Draco looped his thumbs firmly under the waistband of her tights, rolling them down as he gazed at the bare skin of her legs in rapture. He planted hungry kisses on her thighs, pushing her dress to pool around her hips.

Hermione gasped at the intimate contact and grabbed desperately at the blonde hair of the man she so desperately wanted. He could tell she was impatient-this was not the time to go slow. He stood, and soon his pants and shirt had joined the pile of shoes at his feet. A few tugs and a moan later, and her dress had joined the pile as well.

Clad in a pair of silk boxers in the same grey as his eyes, he crawled onto his bed to cover the body of his lover. Lover-he shivered at the word. He could call Granger-no, Hermione-his lover.

Her eyes were half closed, tongue snaking along her lips in anticipation. He marveled at the taut skin of her stomach, smoothing his hands from just below her breasts to snake down and tease at the waistband of a shockingly pink pair of lace boy shorts. Her bra matched, barely containing Hermione's full bosom as her chest raised and lowered rapidly. One more thing to add to the list of things that surprised him about the no longer mysterious Hermione.

Draco struggled to maintain control as his erection strained at the fabric of his boxers. He pulled the compliant witch harshly up to meet his kisses once more, holding her in a sitting position in his lap. The curve of her ass pressed against his hardness almost unbearably as he quickly shucked her bra from her shoulders, sliding it down over her arms to join the growing pile of clothing on the floor.

Hermione's neck snapped back and her back arched as he finally tasted her breasts. With his left hand on the small of her back and his right cupping her breast, Draco experimentally flicked his tongue at her nipple. The corresponding moan made him grin wickedly. He took her fully into his mouth, grazing her nipple with his teeth.

"Oh, Draco!"

He bit harder, eliciting a string of filthy words that made him lose any semblance of control he had left.

"You dirty whore! Who taught you to spew filth like that?" he groaned as he ground his erection into her wet panties. Hermione moaned something unintelligible in response. He pulled her hair, forcing her to look at his face.

"Speak up," he ordered as he slipped a finger into her panties, teasingly rubbing a small circle around her clit.

Unreserved, Hermione looked directly into his eyes, and her words sent a familiar shiver down his spine.

"Take off your boxers and bend me over this bed. Now."

Draco thought he would lose it completely right there. He took a deep breath, heart pounding, and flipped her roughly onto her stomach, yanking her by the ankles to hang half off the end of the bed. He was glad she faced the head board and couldn't see his fingers tremble slightly as he slid the silk boxers down over his slender hips.

He paused for a split second, but when Hermione wriggled those hips impatiently and let out a soft moan, he ran his palms roughly up her thighs, grabbing the panties and adding them to pile on the floor that now contained every article of clothing either of them had been wearing.

The wetness between Hermione's legs throbbed as Draco growled in appreciation of her naked form. She felt a spark as he pulled back a hand and slapped her ass, growling again when it jiggled in response. She would soon discover that he was greedy-Draco was no longer satisfied with soft touches, he wanted handfuls. Soon he had a firm grip on her ass and a mouthful of her neck. She shivered, loving how deliciously taken she felt with his entire body smothering hers. She gasped when he began to whisper in her ear, punctuating every word with nibbles.

"What happened to the proper Hermione Granger?" she could feel his hot breath ghosting over her neck.

"Do you want this, Hermione? Tell me what you want."

Hermione whimpered in frustration.

"What is it, darling? What's bothering you?" he asked as he slid his fingers between her legs. One finger began to circle her clit again, eliciting more filthy words, as he slipped his middle finger into the tightness of her pussy.

Hermione grabbed fistfuls of his black comforter, and let out a muffled scream of her frustration in to the bed beneath her. Draco's head was reeling. The proper Hermione had just screamed. In lust. Hermione had lost all semblance of control. The woman beneath him was completely uninhibited as he slowly pumped his fingers in and out, refusing to speed up. His cock was aching for release, but somehow he couldn't bring himself to seek it. He wanted to see what the stunning witch beneath him would do if he pushed her to the edge without allowing her what she so desperately wanted.

Hermione lifted her head, arching her back as she changed the angle of his fingers for him. Draco pushed it a little further.

"That is not your job," he hissed as he removed his fingers and slammed her back down into the bed. He slid both hands up her sides to grab the edges of her breasts. As he'd hoped, his harsh actions resulted in another muffled scream of frustration.

"If you don't fuck me right this instant, I will hex your bollocks off," she threatened when he shifted enough for her to move her neck.

"Hard to hex me when you can't move, witch."

Draco slid himself between her legs, resting against her wetness. Hermione's legs almost buckled at the unexpected contact.

"Will you just do it already, you arrogant prick?"

Draco smiled into her neck, biting at the skin below her left ear softly.

"Those aren't very nice words, darling," he whispered, running his thumbs delicately along the curves of her breasts. Hermione trembled, desperate for release. He knew she was furious at being denied. After watching her squirm on his bedcovers, seeing the perfect curves of her breasts; the firmness of her ass, Draco was quite sure that she had never been told no by a man before.

"Say please, Granger."

"When pigs fly, Malfoy."

Draco smiled wickedly, releasing one of her breasts to push the very tip of his swollen member into her wetness. Hermione tried to push back with her hips, but his strong arms pinned her to the bed.

"Say please."

Hermione tensed her shoulders, burying her face in the covers in her refusal. Draco merely stayed still, ghosting his fingers over her back, her breasts, her hips. After an agonizing minute of mutual stubbornness, he felt her shoulders relax in defeat. She mumbled a few incoherent words in to the mattress.

"What was that, Granger?"

She turned her face to the side.

"Please, ferret! Please."

Draco slapped her ass in triumph, then grabbed her hips and thrust into her deeply. Hermione cried out in pleasure. He pulled back incredibly slowly, then slammed into her again, this time setting a steady pace in time with her curses.

"Fuck, Malfoy! Oh! It's about fucking time!"

He snaked his arms underneath her, pulling her back up to rest against his smooth chest. Her hands clung to the edge of the mattress for support as he bit into her neck.

"Louder, Granger. Let me hear what I'm doing to you," he demanded.

She replied with a delicious groan, and Malfoy knew he wouldn't be able to last much longer if she stayed as vocal as she was. And God, he hoped she would stay vocal! He pounded harder, reaching his long fingers around to circle her nub softly as he thrust. With a punctuated "OH!" the rapturous Granger threw her head back against his shoulder as he felt her pelvic muscles clenching and pulsing around his cock. She panted for breath as he slowed his strokes, coaxing her down from her bliss. Then, to his disappointment, she pulled her hips away from his, breaking the intimate contact. She turned to face him.

"Lie down."

It was an order. It took Malfoy all of two seconds to recover from the shock, then he crawled quickly onto his bed. Hermione followed. In an instant she had straddled his hips, using his shoulders for support as she lowered herself onto his aching cock. She smiled at him as he tried to sit up and grab her hips to control her thrusts.

"I don't think so, ferret," she hissed as she removed his hands from her hips and pressed him back down into the mattress. "It's my turn."

And when Hermione slowly began to rock her hips against his pelvis, Draco didn't complain. He was used to being in control, but the hypnotizing look in her eyes as she sped up her actions had him gasping, clinging to the blankets. Soon, she bent over his chest, grazing her nipples against his skin. She looked deeply into his eyes as she ran her fingers through his hair, and Draco froze. Something was stirring in his stomach. He couldn't take his eyes from the breathtaking witch above him, couldn't help thinking that he wouldn't mind letting her take control if she would only promise to continue touching him like this.

Without warning, Hermione lifted her delicate hips and forcibly slammed into his cock, breaking him from his reverie. She pounded him much like he had pounded her just minutes before, setting a desperate pace. One, two, three thrusts later and he was grabbing her hips, pressing himself as deeply within her as far as possible as he filled her with his load.

Hermione folded into his arms as she collapsed onto his chest. He squeezed her tighter, palms against her back, holding her close. She could hear his struggle for breath in her ear.

"Damn it, Granger. You're a fucking goddess."

Hermione chuckled, pulling the silk sheets over their naked skin. She rolled them over, settling against his strong body happily. He was surprised at her boldness, but wrapped his arms around her anyway. They held each other in silence for awhile, before she softly spoke.

"I think I'll sleep here, ferret."

Draco couldn't believe it. The insolent (though albeit, naked, and that was very distracting) witch thought she could just…stay? Draco had rules about this sort of thing. He never let anyone spend the night-they might get the wrong idea. They might think it meant something.

"Hermione, I'm not sure…I-"

She cut him off, turning over in the bed to face the flustered man.

"I wasn't asking your permission. I intend to sleep here. I like your sheets."

Hermione was struggling to maintain her mask of indifference. She found it difficult not to smile as Draco flushed, first in anger, then in embarrassment.

"So…you want to stay because you like my…my sheets?"

Now Hermione did smile. Draco felt his heart simply give up on beating when, with a raise of her eyebrow and a roll of her eyes, Hermione replied,

"Of course not. I'm staying because I like morning sex."

At this, Draco simply began to laugh. She joined him with an impish grin, snuggling closer and entwining her legs with his.

"Goodnight, ferret," she whispered with a nibble on his earlobe.

Then, to Draco's confusion and amazement, the most frustrating witch he had ever met fell asleep in his arms.

Draco Malfoy was sure he was having the most amazing dream of his life. He could smell pineapple and pomegranates, and he was holding a very warm and undeniably naked Hermione Granger in his arms. His eyes flew open and his body tensed as he realized it was most definitely NOT a dream. She was in his arms, breathing softly into his neck. The fruity scent was definitely coming from her hair. They were in a bed-his bed.

Malfoy gasped and sat straight up, stirring the lovely vision next to him from her sleep. His eyes were wide in panic as she rolled onto her back and fluttered her eyelashes to look at him. Hermione stretched, taking her time before she spoke.

"Morning," she said nonchalantly.

He glared, trying not to show the panic rising up through his chest. He was sure she could feel his heart pounding through the mattress. He remembered the night before quite clearly, and was painfully sure she did as well. Even if she didn't, here she was. Naked. Wrapped in his sheets. Except, now she wasn't wrapped-when she rolled over, she had bared one of her breasts, just within arms reach.

She caught him staring, and smiled.

"Are you suddenly afraid to touch me?"

Malfoy's head snapped up to stare angrily into her eyes.

"Don't tempt me, witch."

Now it was Hermione's turn to frown. For the first time that morning she looked unsure. The edges of her lips curved down as she pressed them together, squinting up at his face. She spoke slowly, unsure of his reaction.

"You're…upset." Her lip began to quiver. "Are you upset with me?"

He paled, then his face tensed.

"I am upset with myself. I lost control. I should have stopped myself."

She pulled the sheet to cover herself, suddenly shy. Hermione wrapped her arms around her knees, pulling them to her chest as she rose to a sitting position.

"Why?"

Draco was surprised. He had expected her to run from the room upon waking. Instead, she was questioning why he regretted their actions? Well, he regretted his. For a fleeting moment, Draco was filled with an unfamiliar feeling of hope when he let himself believe that she did not regret what had happened. Then he shook his head, and brought himself back down to reality.

"Hermione, I would never want to hurt you…" he began.

"You didn't."

Draco blushed. Hermione hid a smile-she had made the perfectly poised Malfoy turn a very un-poised shade of crimson.

"I didn't mean…well- I mean, not-"

"Physically?" she supplied with a wink.

"Hermione, I am trying to be serious!"

Hermione frowned.

"I was being serious. You didn't hurt me."

Draco ran a hand through his hair and rolled his eyes. This was not going well, he decided. Not going well at all.

"What I mean is-you're…well, naked. In my bed."

Hermione raised an eyebrow.

"I wasn't aware," she said sarcastically.

"HERMIONE!"

Hermione stepped out of the bed at his outburst. One glance at her uncovered skin in the dim light of the dungeon bedroom and Draco was silent, blushing more shades of crimson than he knew were possible on one man. To his complete shock, instead of leaving, she put her hands on her hips and began to lecture.

"Draco Malfoy! If you have some sort of problem with me being naked in your bed, you'd best come right out and say it. You certainly didn't have a problem with it last night when you were fucking me into the mattress!"

Draco's ears were turning a delightful shade of pink at her vulgarity.

"I am a grown woman and can make choices for myself as to whether or not my lovers are mistakes. I do not need you, ferret, to make them for me. As far as I am concerned, unless you have a problem with me joining you, I will be sleeping in here for the duration of the semester."

"You…WHAT?"

"You heard me."

Draco's mouth opened and closed several times without saying anything, giving Hermione the impression that she was staring at a very confused codfish. When he couldn't come up with anything else to say, she nodded decisively and turned to rummage through his wardrobe.

"Stop that!"

She turned to face him again.

"Relax, ferret, I just want to borrow a t-shirt. It's cold."

Draco glanced at her chest instinctively. Yes, her nipples certainly looked cold. Realizing that the frustrating witch had no intention of leaving and was not going to turn into a sobbing mess of regret, he decided to see where this interesting twist led them. He sighed in resignation.

"There's no need for that. Get back into our bed."

Hermione smiled.

"Our bed?"

Draco rolled his eyes, lying down on his back, throwing her side of the sheets haphazardly back so that she could join him.

"You've made it very clear that his is no longer my bed. If you're cold, perhaps you should just crawl back under the damned sheets you professed to love so much."

She slid between the layers of silk quietly, snuggling into the crook between his arm and his side.

"Perhaps you should warm me up," she whispered, trailing a finger down his chest to disappear beneath the cover of the sheets.

Draco groaned. There were a million and one consequences he could think of just off the top of his head for allowing Hermione to share his bed. Unfortunately, he was fairly sure that he was willing to put up with every single one of them.

Hermione and Draco settled into a routine. They continued to teach their classes, though if the students noticed a sudden decrease in detentions and increase in patience, they didn't mention it. In the evenings, the potions lab was no longer occupied by Professor Malfoy into the wee hours of the morning.

Hermione continued to treat the arrangement as if Draco were simply humoring her; allowing him to share his bed because she gave him no other option. It was an unspoken agreement, though she soon discovered that if she chose to sleep in her bed rather than his, she would go to sleep alone and wake up with a companion. He never mentioned it and nor did she, but it was clear that he no longer chose to sleep alone.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I'd love to know what you thought, and if you'd like to see more of my writing.

3 Princess