Let's play a love game

Play a love game

Do you want love?

Or you want fame?

Are you in the game?

-Lady Gaga

Hermione sat at the Gryffindor table, unable to stop herself from seething as she watched Ron Weasley smile soppily down at his new girlfriend. His new, sixteen-year-old, tall, skinny, blonde girlfriend. Carly Jameson. Oh, she wasn't as smart as Hermione, everyone kept repeating that as if they thought it would comfort the Head Girl. Instead, apparently Carly made Ron feel smart – Of course, Hermione thought viciously, she'd have to be brain-damaged to do that. Perhaps someone transfigured a blow-up doll to life, that'd do it.

"Hey," Ginny said sympathetically, sitting down next to Hermione. "How are you doing?"

"Perfectly fine," Hermione replied stiffly. "Your brother can date anyone he wants. I have no claim on him at all."

"But I thought you two were pretty much together after that kiss last ye -" Harry said as he grabbed a seat on the other side of Ginny, giving her hand a squeeze. From the way he cut off his sentence, Ginny had squeezed back harder than necessary.

"I'm fine." Hermione growled. She tore a roll apart viciously, imagining it was Ron's head. She was furious with him. Even if, she was forced to admit, she probably didn't really have a reason. So, last year they had shared a kiss in the heat of the moment, so what? Immediately after she had taken off to find her parents while Ron spent the summer grieving with the rest of the Weasleys – and, apparently, bonding with the attractive daughter of the Grief-Assistance Healer.

Which didn't mean he couldn't have damn well warned her before they got back! Instead of leaving her to jump up and hug him on the train platform, only to be disengaged as he said apologetically, "Listen, I know you like me, 'Mione, but I'm kinda into someone else. Maybe next term, okay?"

And there on the platform, as people flowed around them and owls hooted, Hermione had to fight not to cry. And then she had to watch as the love of her life enthusiastically kissed a model-esque blonde girl who radiated satisfaction at having snagged a war hero…

Screw this, she did have a reason to be furious with him.

Maybe next term? Hermione practically exploded as she recalled his slightly smug expression as he'd said that. Jerk! She was not going to stand next in line. Oh, she wanted Ron back, but not like that – she wanted him back on his knees, admitting that Hermione Granger was the only girl he could ever truly love. His habit of taking her for granted, acting like she would always be around, was beginning to irk her. However, she had no idea how to change it.

Luckily for her, Draco Malfoy did.

Draco entered the Slytherin Common Room and abruptly attempted to reverse direction. However, it was no good, she'd spotted him.

"Drake-eee," Pansy whined, immediately descending on him. "You've been ignoring meee."

Draco rolled his eyes. "We're over, Pansy. We've been over for more than a year, for Merlin's sake! I'm allowed to ignore your incessant whining and annoying voice now."

Pansy chose to ignore this – just like Pansy, Draco thought uncharitably, only noticing what she wanted. Last night he'd been practically screwing a blonde Hufflepuff right next to her, and she'd kept talking about how they should spend next holidays together. What was that blonde girl's name again, anyway? He'd been planning to keep her on for a few more days, but that didn't seem like it would work if he called her by the wrong name.

"Listen, Drake-eee -" Pansy started to say, but was unexpectedly cut off by the diminutive girl behind her.

"Oh, do shut up, Parkinson, I need to talk to Malfoy."

"Isabelle," Draco said with relief. "Thank Christ. Come on, let's go to my room."

Isabelle Mulciber was in the year below Draco, and quite attractive with her cloudy black hair, tiny pale face and huge grey eyes. However, Draco had no intention of sleeping with her – making her practically unique among the attractive upper-year girls. He'd first met her at the start of his sixth year, when he'd heard a rather stupid Ravenclaw boy mocking her family, saying that they'd all be in jail soon. Her response – "Well, yours will all be dead." – had only briefly amused him, but when the Ravenclaw boy had humiliated himself by voiding the contents of his stomach out of every orifice the next day in the Great Hall, he'd realised the younger girl possessed a mind much like his. Twisted, cunning, as sharp and dangerous as a knife. Over the past couple of years she had gradually become something of a younger sister to him – though she'd refused to talk to him for quite some time after she found out he'd kept her out of his plans to kill Dumbledore in sixth year.

"You can't leave when I'm talking to you -" Pansy's screech was cut off as Draco closed the door behind them.

Isabelle wrinkled her small nose. "What on earth did you see in that girl?"

"Like eating escargot," Draco replied coolly. "You sample it once, you feel sick, and then you never try it again. It's not my fault this particular snail seems glued to me. What's up, Isabelle?"

"You're the best one I know at manipulation," she said with no preamble. "And I want to play a game. Not your usual, mind – I know normally you just play to get laid -"

Few people knew the extent to which Draco manipulated those he knew. There was a reason why he'd had every girl he ever wanted: a reason why he had everything he ever wanted. He played these games for sex, for amusement, and for revenge.

"I seldom need the help," Draco said with a complete lack of humility. He smirked as he remembered the blonde Hufflepuff's dizzy expression. "How big is this game you want to play? How many players?"

"I don't want any players," Isabelle sat down on his bed. "I want the rest to be pawns, with no options at all." She drew a deep breath. "The Golden Trio – it's time they learned a few lessons."

"You don't care about the Golden Trio. You don't even know them."

"I don't have to!" Isabelle exclaimed furiously. "Look at us, Draco. Us Slytherins. Our families are in jail, or dead – some of us younger ones are even in jail or dead. We need to get back our influence, and the fastest way to be important to the wizarding world is to be important to those fucking Gryffindors. These days they could say the sky is green and get a worshipful entry in the Daily Prophet." She stared up at him, grey eyes certain. "I want Harry Potter."

"Want Harry Potter what? Dead, in prison, embarrassed?" Draco said impatiently.

Isabelle smirked. "I want him as my boyfriend, Draco, you idiot. Think of it – the Chosen One, mine. I have plans after that, of course."

"Knowing you, they involve him being outed as impotent in the newspapers," Draco said absentmindedly, his mind racing. "What's my part in this? Go flash him some boob, or something. You're better looking than the Weaselette."

"Please," Isabelle said, oozing purebred disdain. "Even Pansy is better looking than the Weaselette. But I don't just want to screw over Potter like that – I want to wreck the whole Golden Trio. I want none of them to ever talk to each other again. Complete separation so that Potter has no influence but mine. I want each of them miserable and alone – I want the world to know that Slytherins always come out on top, and Gryffindors don't." Isabelle grinned. Draco, looking at her, realised Isabelle was, in her own way, much more vicious than him…

"Ambitious," Draco grinned back wolfishly. "I am, of course, in. I'll work on destroying his friendship with his little buddies… that should be easy. After all," he said, suddenly seeing in his mind's eye Granger's curvy little figure. "I already have an idea." His grin widened, his boring year beginning to look up. Granger might be filthy, but… he played these games for sex, for amusement, and for revenge, and with Granger it would be all of those. He was looking forward to this.

Isabelle rolled her eyes. "You're going to sleep with her, aren't you."

"Oh, yes," Draco said, still smiling. "If you taking Potter is a coup, then me sleeping with Granger and then dumping her will be a coup d'etat magnifique."

"Oh, don't you French off at me," Isabelle said rudely. "Just do your part. The Weasel, the bookworm." With that she flounced off.

Draco quickly moved to open the door and follow her. He was reasonably sure he knew where Granger would be at this hour… where she always was. In that little alcove in the library which you couldn't see from the entry.

Ten minutes later Draco was in a position in the library where he could watch Hermione Granger without her seeing him. And she was a sight, indeed.

Her warm brown eyes were so utterly focused on the book she was reading, with such a fierce desperate enjoyment, that it was very nearly sexual. In fact, when licked a finger and quickly flipped a page before burying her head back in the book, Draco found his mouth got a little dry. She was so intense about this… he found himself wondering what she would be like in bed.

Most of the girls he slept with had been a little bit cold. Oh, certainly, they folded quick enough when he touched them just right, but there was always that uncertainty right at the start. It wasn't that they fought him, nothing like that, but it was more like they were calculating what they had to gain.

Sometimes he got the impression that nearly every one of them believed that they could trade sex for something else. Gifts, a relationship, even just notoriety. One, that slutty Gryffindor girl with the flowery name, had even slept with him because she felt left out and behind the fashion. He hadn't known whether to be amused or insulted – which hadn't stopped him giving her what she wanted, of course.

Granger would be different. He had experienced her fierceness – a slap that left him winded, a wand to the throat. He just knew that she would be the same in bed. That if you pushed her, she would fight for control, trying to take charge; that if she really wanted to, she would be in it fully and completely…

Suddenly Draco realised what he was doing and gave himself a mental slap. Of course she won't be like that, he scolded himself. She's a snotty, stupid little virgin. Personality won't make a difference. She'll be lousy in the sack.

What was important – why he was watching her – was to find his way in. Oh, he knew he wanted to fuck Hermione Granger. And while he was doing it, he'd make sure she told him every single weak spot he could use to make the Weasel hate Harry Potter. Getting Potter to hate Granger, now, that would be simple. Potter would hate her as soon as he walked in on a scene where his best little friend was gasping under Draco Malfoy, begging him. A scene that Draco would be sure to organise.

The trouble was… what was his in with Granger? She wasn't the type to fall for a pretty face, and as a perpetual virgin it was unlikely she craved sex.

Draco watched Granger flip yet another page, her brown eyes widening as she scanned it. Could he play on her sympathies? That would be time-consuming. Oh, he could do it, probably. She'd certainly seemed sympathetic enough at his trial when he'd spun a load of crap about how redeemed he was.

But still, that would take weeks. Maybe months, if he was using affection as a tool to try and get her into bed. And though Draco could normally be patient in his schemes, her hot body was definitely putting a time limit on this one.

Suddenly Granger threw the book down and buried her face in her hands, before bringing them down as fists. Draco felt his body come alive with excitement. That's it. Her face may as well have been broadcasting her feelings: anger, pain, and even guilt. Granger was experiencing a cocktail of emotions, and in the mood to be rebellious.

And what better rebellion than screwing him? Oh, not at first. He could wait a week or two.

Draco got up from his hiding spot, and swung into her little alcove. "Hey Granger. The little Weasel hurting you again?" he smirked at her frigid expression.

"None of your business, Malfoy," Granger said, her voice arctic. "Go away."

Draco continued as if she hadn't spoken. "You know why, don't you?"

Hermione rolled her eyes and said in a singsong voice: "I'm a Mudblood, I'm ugly, blah blah blah. Go aw-"

Draco laughed. "Oh, you aren't ugly. One of the hottest bodies in our year." He let his eyes rake over her blatantly. "Your face isn't even that bad."

Hermione was shocked. Him complimenting her was so unprecedented, she couldn't think of what to say. Plus, she was sort of intrigued – if Malfoy didn't think it was her looks, what did he think it was? Then she realised. "My personality. You think it's my personality -"

"Oh, stop assuming, Granger. You can't pull it off," Draco scoffed. Inwardly he was rejoicing. She'd stayed. That meant he was on the right track. It was all Weasel King for this idiot. "He's put up with your personality for years; I doubt that's it. No, you know what it is?"

"What?" Hermione leaned closer to him. She had to know why she was never good enough for Ron, never quite enough. What was it about her that made him want something else?

"You're asexual, practically," Draco said coolly. He leaned into her as well, so that even when she jerked back a little she could still feel his breath on her face. "A hot body, but you don't walk right, you don't talk right. You don't know how to be sexual because you've never been sexual before."

Hermione leapt back, whacking into the nearest shelf. "I am not having sex with you!" she eyed his smirking face, feeling like a deer trapped in the headlights. She was horrified, but she still couldn't bring herself to storm out. "Or anyone else, for that matter!"

"Calm down, Granger, I wasn't talking about having sex," Draco gave her an exaggeratedly innocent look. "I was thinking I could teach you to be sexual. With not even any kissing involved…" Well, for the first lesson, anyway. "Tonight. The old Divination tower."

"What the hell, Malfoy?" Hermione stood up. "I won't be there. I won't be here; I'm going now."

"Granger!" Malfoy called out as she left their tiny space. When she looked back, he smirked. "Oh, you'll be there. Got your little happy ending, didn't you? No one mentioned you'd be bored stiff. You are, aren't you? Last year you were running around masterminding plots for destroying the greatest evil we've known… this year all you have to look forward to is being Head Girl. And you don't have anyone to take your mind off of it, what with both your buddies being too busy having tons of sex."

"I don't -"

Standing up, he moved uncomfortably close to her yet again. He just stared for a moment, as she stood there frozen, and then he ran a finger slowly down her cheek, like a teardrop. "Oh, you can cry your little tears," he said softly. "Moan about how the Weasel doesn't want you, how Potty doesn't need you. You can be the boring little bookworm everyone expects you to be." He smiled, that razor's edge of a smile that made his striking face seem suddenly dangerous. "Or… you can be someone else. You can be someone who makes Weasel pant. Someone who does the forbidden. Someone who meets an old enemy in an abandoned classroom after curfew just because she likes the risk…"

"Malfoy…" Hermione said warningly, but she could hear her voice shake a bit. It sounded so incredible, to be someone different. To be someone interesting.

Draco turned and started walking away, only to glance back with yet enough sharp little smirk. "See you there."

Yeah, this is just something that wouldn't get out of my head. I don't know if I'll continue it, but even if I do it won't be for a few weeks – I have exams.

I know this Draco is a bit darker than my last – well, a lot darker. And a manwhore. But I still love him. Please tell me what you think!