This was my submission for the 2012 HP_PRISONERFEST. Here was the prompt I worked from:

Draco Malfoy x Hermione Granger (Theodore Nott, Blaise Zabini appearance), war-time fic, A/U, consensual sex, seriously explicit and yummy sex scene, believable plot, Hermione a virgin, pregnancy, snatched, dark vs light.

To misselizabeth12: I hope you liked this story that I wrote for you!

To Unseenlibrarian: Thank you once more for betaing a story for me! You are fantasti-wonderful-terrifi-awesome!

Thank you to the HP_Prisonerfest Mods – this was a wonderful fest to participate in!

DISCLAIMER: "Harry Potter" is the property of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. This fanfiction was written entirely for fun, not for profit, and no copyright infringement is intended.

TIMELINE: Post-Hogwarts (Summer, 1999). Novel compliant up until the Final Battle of Hogwarts (May 2, 1998). After that, it is completely Alternate Universe (A/U). The war has gone on for an extended period, and some major characters died in the interim (implied).

MAIN CHARACTERS FEATURED (alphabetical order, last name): Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Theodore Nott, Blaise Zabini

SECONDARY CHARACTERS FEATURED (alphabetical order, last name): Kreacher, Lucius Malfoy, Narcissa Malfoy

SUMMARY: "I knew someday you'd end up here in my home again." Captured by Blaise Zabini and Theodore Nott, Hermione Granger is brought to Malfoy Manor to be thrown onto her knees at the feet of her former childhood tormentor, Draco Malfoy. A man changed by the insanity of war, Draco has had to play the role of the loyalist for the last several years despite his own disdain for the Dark Lord he serves, or risk his parents being murdered. Yet, he finds that as he looks down into the face of the woman he'd once delighted in harming that causing her pain is the last thing he wants to do. In order to save Granger and to turn his life around, Draco has to dig deep and find the meaning of bravery. But can he, or will his cowardice lead to her doom? Sometimes it takes the right moment to find one's courage…

RATING/WARNINGS: NC-17/MA (Heterosexual Sex – Consensual with Loss of Virginity (explicit); Prisoner!Hermione / Redeemed!Draco; Pregnancy; Profanity; characters are a bit OCC because of the plot)

**IMAGES for this fanfic can be found by going here (remove all spaces from the URL to make it load properly): http:/ / s905 . photobucket . com / albums / ac260 / RZZMG / To%20Be%20Brave/

TO BE BRAVE (alternatively, "Prisoner of Her Heart")


Summer, 1999

On her knees, bound and gagged, Hermione Granger's spirit was still untamable.

The witch's dark amber eyes spit fury and disdain at Draco and his two companions, both of whom were drinking from his father's reserve Hebridean Black Firewhisky in the background, snickering and watching her futile attempts to free her hands and legs from the ropes that bound them. Theo didn't Silence her with a spell, so her gasping and snarling were clearly audible around the cloth restraint… as were the vulgarities she occasionally spat.

In the face of evil, Draco thought his former childhood enemy was the personification of bravery.

If only he had such courage…

"Let's have a game of it, shall we?" Blaise offered, putting his glass down and clapping his hands together with anticipation. "We'll throw bones to see who gets to shag her first."

Draco adamantly shook his head. He may not have ever liked the Mudblood, but he'd watched her tortured under his Aunt Bella's hand, here in this very room back before the war erupted into all-out hell, and her terrified, pain-filled screams still haunted him some nights. The last thing he needed was to add the vision of her rape to such sounds.

"Just lock her in the dungeon for my parents to deal with when they return. She can remain a prisoner until then."

Theo laughed, and it was a twisted, ugly sound. "Cold feet again, Drake? Why am I not surprised? You never had the stomach for war – more Hufflepuff than man."

Like that, Draco knew the game that was in play already. His 'friends' – spies really, left behind to monitor him and the situation on the British front - were going to rape the shite out of Granger here tonight, and he was going to either participate or be made to watch. There would be absolutely no choice for him - or for her. After, they'd most likely kill her after and leave him the task of burying the body.

fuck, Fuck, FUCK!...

What should he do? What could he do? He was outnumbered two to one, and had no wand; his punishment for having lost it to Potter last year was to be forbidden by the Dark Lord to ever have another. All he had was his wandless magic that he'd been diligently working on for the last year and a half, but he couldn't cast much with it, and the spells were greatly weakened.

What would his father do?

The old snake would play along, manipulate the other two into a position where their wands were either out of reach or forgotten, and then he'd grab one and kill them both. Except Draco didn't know if he could ever cast the Avada Kedavra spell. You had to mean it to use it, and his heart had never been behind him in that endeavor, even when ordered under pain of death by Voldemort.

Maybe he could just cast two Stupefy hexes and follow it up with Incarcerous spells. And Silencio to make sure neither could use wandless magic on him, of course. Yes… yes, that's what he'd do.

But how to get them away from their wands?

Bloody hell, he'd have to play their sick game, wouldn't he? He'd have to wait until both of them were preoccupied with assaulting Granger – fully naked and hands all over her, cocks sunk deep - to have a shot at pulling something like this off. Otherwise, the plan could fail, and then both he and Granger would die.

Double shite, he couldn't just leave them alive once he'd gotten the drop on them, could he? If they reported to the Dark Lord what he'd done, his parents would pay the price… No, wait: what the fuck was he thinking? He couldn't do ANY of it, or else his mother and father would be murdered for his traitorous duplicity!

He had to let Theo and Blaise torture and murder their prisoner.

No! No, he couldn't do that either. He couldn't allow another innocent to die here, in his ancestral home, where he lay his head every night to sleep. There were too many ghosts walking these halls as it was… To see Granger among them would unhinge him.

This was wrong.

It was all horribly wrong!

These connected thoughts passed through his mind in seconds, almost causing a panic attack on the spot. It took Nott's cold, calculating voice to draw him back to the here and now.

"Do you have dice on you?" he asked Zabini as calmly as if he'd asked to borrow his quill.

Blaise snickered. "Don't I always?"

Nott laughed heartily and came to Draco's side, draping a leather-clad arm over his shoulders in a mocking friendly manner. "Want to throw first, Drake? It's your birthday, after all, and I'm feeling generous."

Zabini crept up along his other side and held out a hand. In the palm rested a pair of dice.

No, he couldn't do this! He… he…

He had to do this. The other two Death Eaters in the room wouldn't let him get away with it. There was an implied threat in Theo's 'brotherly' embrace, and Draco understood in that second that if he didn't do what they wanted tonight, he would have a fatal 'accident' by morning. Hell, even if he did go along for the ride, it was a pretty even bet that a trip down the stairs was imminent in his near future. He wondered if Voldemort, himself, didn't put his two former mates up to this game, as it definitely seemed his style; old Viper-Face repeatedly fucked with the Malfoys as a means of reminding the others what the price of failure ultimately was.

Cornered, seeing no other viable plans before him, he knew there was only one way to win: play by his own rules.

Reaching deep inside to find the spoilt, rotten child he used to be, he found him lying dormant in the cobwebby part of his brain and pulled him out kicking and screaming into the light. That smirk of arrogant supremacy that had been so prevalent across his features for most of his boyhood climbed slowly up his cheek, the familiar mask of assured primacy graced his countenance once more, and his voice was an instrument of scathing haughtiness. "Cold feet? Hardly. I just didn't want to catch her Mudblood germs. But now that you mention it…" He let his eyes leisurely roam up and down her scrunched figure with something of a sinister leer. "She cuts quite a nice figure. I suppose I could overlook her blood just this once. It is my special day, as you say, and I think I deserve a present this year."

Slipping back into the role of the Pure-blood Prince, he scornfully cast a contemptuous sneer down at the woman at his feet, not seeing her any longer, but instead the young, swotty, know-it-all he'd despised. "On your knees before me, right where you belong, Granger. I knew someday you'd end up here in my home again." He put his foot on her shoulder and pushed with just enough pressure to unbalance her and knock her back. "No house-elf or Saint Potter or the Weasel to save you this time, though."

He knelt down before her, grabbing the front of her hair and pulling slightly up, forcing her to look him in the eye. "Tell me, are you a virgin?"

Her eyes widened, and in them he saw the truth, even though she shook her head in a lie of denial.

Shite, that made this a completely different game now. He couldn't let Blaise or Theo take that from her, knowing how awful they'd go about it. They'd probably just crudely ram their wands up her twat so they wouldn't have to deal with the trouble of breaking in an untouched pussy. Or worse, they'd cast Engorgio on their dicks so it would hurt her even more. He knew them to be sexual sadists, having been forced to watch them during the revels that he was never allowed to participate in by order of the Dark Lord.

Thank Merlin for that small blessing.

Grabbing the dice from Blaise's hand, he turned his back on his friends and headed for the long dining table that stretched from one end of the room to the other. "I'm rolling first." Before either could stop him, or cast a charm on the dice, he threw them and cast his own silent, wandless magic upon them. His "friends" came to his side right as the numbers ended on a five and a six. "Eleven." He gathered them up and passed them to Blaise, casting a silent hex on them in the hand-off. He'd been practicing just this type of magic, and now he was thankful it was coming in handy. "Your turn."

Blaise threw a four and a five.

Theo collected the dice, and tossed them, and he caught the murmur of a spell just as he did. Draco's silent hex though was a time-delayed spell, and it had precedence, and so Theo's dice landed on a six and a two.

Draco tsk'd in faux surprise. "Looks like she's mine first."

Reaching for the dice, he swept them up and quickly cast a silent "Finite Incantatum" to remove all trace of his hex. He held them out for Blaise to take, knowing the man would cast a spell to check if they'd been tampered with when Draco's back was turned, but would find them 'clean.'

Crossing the room, he grabbed the prisoner's arm and hauled her to her feet. Pressing into her close, he sneered into her face. "You're all mine, Granger – finally."

He dragged her struggling and screaming, muffled through the sound was by her binding, to the side opposite the stairs, where the drawing room met the hallway leading into the rest of the Manor. He moved swiftly, not wanting to give the two Death Eaters time to catch up, hoping for a moment when he could let her know somehow that he had a plan.

Granger sunk her heels into the hallway carpeting, making it hard for him to pull her along, so he increased his pressure, moving behind her and pushing. Sensing the other two behind them, he shouted loudly for their benefit. "Move that pretty arse of yours, Mudblood!" His voice echoed through the high ceilinged corridor.

"Give her a good swat," Theo laughed, clearly convinced. "Like a horse at the races."

"I've a better idea," Draco snarled. "Why don't you just levitate her and make it easier for everyone?"

Blaise shook his head, and raised his wand, casting "Mobilicorpus" on Granger, and in an instant, she was in the air and moving ahead of them, still struggling, but unable to do anything about it now.

"Excellent," Draco cheerfully commended, and stepped in front of the pack, leading them towards his private residential wing, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. Along the way, he intentionally took them past the portrait of his grandmother, Madeline Malfoy - his father's mother – and gave her the prearranged signal to prepare her and the other portraits for the trouble to come.

Behind him, Theo laughed. "Whistling a jaunty tune in anticipation, Malfoy? It's been that long for you and a girl?"

Draco shrugged, feigning indifference. He turned on his heel and continued walking backwards, hands shoved into the pockets of his robes. "Of course not!" Malfoy joked bitterly, smirking. "This place is crawling with witches twenty-four/seven; I get laid every night around here. Isn't it obvious?"

The truth was that he hadn't fucked a girl since the night of his sixteenth birthday - right before he took the Dark Mark. There hadn't been any interest after that, as he'd been too stressed to even think about sex, and as soon as Dumbledore had died at the end of that school year, everything had gone straight to Hell. Between the war and the incarceration of his person to his home ever since, it was a miracle he hadn't gone a touch mad by now from loneliness. Honestly, it was only the portraits that kept him sane when his parents were gone, as he had been forbidden to have house-elf servants, for fear they could be used to help Draco escape the wards around the property.

Zabini snorted. "Yeah, you're a regular Casanova with the ladies, Drake. Pansy talks about you all the time." It was a cheap shot, as Parkinson had dumped him in the aftermath of the Final Battle of Hogwarts, running right into the arms of next, best prospect instead – Blaise, himself.

Theo grinned and nodded. "I'm betting you last less than thirty seconds inside the Mudblood's cunt."

Blaise held his hand out. "Fifty galleons say one full minute at least."

"You're on."

The two Slytherins shook on it, spitefully laughing.

Draco turned about without another word and made the corner to his apartments. He opened the door the Muggle way, not wanting to let the two halfwits behind him in on his magical abilities, and ushered them all inside. Closing and locking the door behind them, he waited for Blaise to drop Granger unceremoniously next to the large, canopied bed in the center of the room before he moved to the hearth. Using wood he'd brought up earlier from the cellar, he stoked the crackling embers back up into flames manually.

Behind him, he could hear Granger struggling and behind her gag, she was screaming again. He turned just in time to see them rip the last patch of robes covering her, leaving her in nothing but her lingerie. For a minute, Draco looked at the too-skinny, somewhat bony frame, and at the terrified tears in the young woman's eyes, and he felt ill. Could he really do this to her? Could he really rape her? If he didn't, they'd do it instead, and they'd hurt her worse, he just knew it with every fiber of his being.

His eyes moved to his two "companions" and all he could see was their disgusting lust etched upon every shadow and crease in their faces as they disrobed quickly. Unfortunately, they kept their wands in hand as they did so.

Blaise gave him a pointed look. "Losing your nerve again?"

Fuck. FUCK!

Maybe he didn't have to do this. Maybe there was another way… In a flash of sheer genius, it came to him how he could get them all out of this mess.

Draco shook his head. "Just thinking how I wanted to go about it."

Theo snorted indelicately. "Get on top and stick it in her. How hard is that?"

Playing to his role, he raised one golden eyebrow and shot Theo a contemptuous sneer. "I've waited a long time for this chance at Miss Golden Knickers. You think I'm going to muck it up by losing my load too quick? Besides, I rather like the idea of making Blaise richer on your purse. It tickles me pink."

Nott's eyes narrowed into viperous slits. "You'd better not make me lose on purpose, wanker."

"Fifty galleons too rich for your bank vault, Theo, now that dear ol' dad's croaked and left you nothing but his gambling debts?" Blaise jeered.

Theo stripped off his boxers and growled. "Go fuck each other, why don't you?"

Draco removed his robes and set them on the back of the sitting couch near the front of the fire. "You're sexy, Blaise, but not my type, sorry," he dryly commented, undoing his belt as he approached, conscientious of everyone's eyes on him. Granger was spitting mad, but clearly terrified, being held in place by a Sticking Charm on her feet that Blaise must have cast earlier. "I like girls," he tried for villainously seductive, looking her up and down, keenly aware of the hawk-like expressions upon him, waiting for him to slip up.

Reaching behind her, he unhooked her bra, pulling it from her shoulders and down her arms, exposing her breasts.

Merlin, she had a nice pair!

Glancing back up, their eyes met. Frantically, she shook her head, her expression pleading. She was losing her nerve.

Somehow, he had to make her understand... "Remember sixth year, in the Hospital Wing?" he asked. It was a subtle hint that only the two of them would understand, he knew. She'd come to visit him the night her friend, Potter, had cast a wicked curse on him that almost killed him – to apologize, she'd said, and to hope that Draco wouldn't go to the Ministry and report Harry Potter for attempted murder. "Remember what you I said to you, Mudblood?" he prompted.

She'd offered him a chance to tell her the truth about what was really going on, as she'd noted him getting sicker, paler, and thinner as they approached the end of the term. In a moment of weakness, brought on my too many pain potions causing delirium, he'd told her that even though he wanted to tell her, some secrets couldn't be spoken aloud for fear others would hear them. He'd said that some plans were best left locked in your head until they were ready to be sprung.

Slowly, she nodded.

Tossing her bra away, he rested his fingers over her hips, lodging his thumbs under the band of her dark blue, cotton knicks. "I meant it, Granger. Then and now."

Her quaking body was prickled with gooseflesh and tears fell down her cheeks. "Don't," she begged behind the fabric strip, the word muffled, desperate.

Obviously, she was too scared to catch on to what he was trying to do. Shite. He'd have to keep playing the game until he got another chance.

"Would you rather Theo or Blaise go first, then?"

Dark brown eyes shot from one to the other behind him, and now he knew exactly where Zabini and Nott were standing. That gave him an opportunity… He made an expression with his eyes and the set of his mouth trying to convey her to go along with the plan. He had to do it twice before her lids widened and she finally seemed to comprehend.

"I'm a much more generous lover than either of them," he promised her, continuing to throw her warning looks so she wouldn't give him away. "I won't make you scream… much." His fingers on her hips pressed harder and he made a face indicating that she should start screaming as he started to strip her panties from her body. He wasn't sure if it was an act or genuine, but she did as he bade, and even behind the gag, she was loud.

Draco dropped her lingerie to the floor and looked over his shoulder at Blaise. "Want to let her go so we can get to it?" he nonchalantly requested, indicating the charm that was holding her in place.

His "friend" removed the charm, and Draco unceremoniously pushed Granger back onto the bed, crawled over her and pulled her into the center of the mattress. He leaned over her ear and pretended to press a kiss, but instead whispered so quietly that it was hardly a gasp of breath, "Play along."

Sitting back on his haunches, he slapped her – not hard, just enough to get her attention and to make it look good to the buffoons surveying the episode. "Shut up already. You're giving me a headache."

Granger stopped screaming the moment his fingers hit her cheek, her face registering shock and disbelief.

"That was for third year, by the way," he smirked and winked at her. "Now we're even."

She snarled at him and he laughed in true amusement. Turning to look over his shoulder again, he indicated that his "friends" should join him on the bed with a nudge of his chin. "You just going to stand there and watch?"

Blaise and Theo met gazes, clearly surprised.

"Thought you wanted first dibs," Theo hesitated, glancing back at him in suspicion.

Draco shrugged. "I do." He turned back to look down at the witch under him and rolled his eyes at the absurdity of his next statement, but his voice remained as serious as the part required. "But she does have three holes, if I'm not mistaken. I call her quim as my prize."

In a flash, the two other wizards were on the bed next to him, both practically salivating with anticipation.

"I want her arse," Zabini stated with a cold smile.

Theo grinned. "Fine. I love fucking their mouths best, anyway."

In their eagerness to get their clothing off, both of them had been negligent in where they dropped their wands on the mattress, and neither seemed to notice Granger's hand reaching slowly for Theo's. That meant Draco would have to employ his rusty Seeker reflexes to snatch Blaise's.

"Well, witch, looks like we're on," he drawled, pulling her gag from her mouth, and with another wink, they both reached for the wands at the same time, grabbing them.

"Stupefy!" they both called out, and Theo went soaring over the edge of the bed into the far wall, while Blaise slammed hard into the headboard and went down for the count. "Incarcerous!" they bellowed the next set of dual enchantments in simultaneous incantation. "Silencio!" Draco added for the final casting, feeling the magic pour through him once more with something akin to a shivering release, and heard Granger echo him.

"That'll do," he confirmed and slid off her in a heartbeat and regained his feet, letting out a shaky sigh of relief. "You alrigh-?" he started to ask when the girl who had been his enemy threw her body against his, pinning his limbs, and started sobbing.

Caught off-guard, Draco could only freeze in place, utterly taken aback and unsure as to what to do. It took a few long seconds for him to regain some semblance of control. "Bloody hell, Granger, we're not out of this yet," he tried to remind her, pulling her arms from around his neck. "You should get dressed."

He stepped away, giving her privacy, and unlocked the door to the room, leaning out and addressing the portrait off to the left of his room in the hall. "Did any of you find him?" he asked his Great Uncle Nellius.

His grandmother leapt into the portrait from the right, having just run in from somewhere else. "The elf is right where we thought – still waiting at Grimmauld Place for a new Master. I explained that as the last of the Blacks, and Harry Potter's third cousin, you now own him since Narcissa is unavailable. He had to reference the family tree in the sitting room, but it confirmed your suspicions. He's agreed to help you in any way you need."

Draco nodded. Thank the Founders for that! "Have him come here right away, to my bedroom."

His grandmother nodded and took off again. Nellius glared at him, unhappy that he'd been asked to aid in the rescue of a Mudblood, but the man held his tongue, knowing Draco's feelings on the matter had changed over the course of the war. No longer did blood purity hold sway over his thoughts, as he had seen and heard the madness such an ideology created.

Ducking back into the bedroom, he was glad to note that Granger was dressed decently again. She looked up at him with gratitude, and suddenly he felt rather shy and awkward. He wasn't a hero. This wasn't a rescue for her, so much as for himself. He didn't want raping her on his conscience was all.

He kept telling himself that even as he looked down at Theo with disgust.

"I'm sorry," he confessed, waving the wand and levitating Nott over to the bed. "It was the only thing I could think to do to get at their wands." He glanced with interest at the rod in his hands. "I haven't had one in years because the Dark Lord forbade me to use magic ever again."

"So, what now?" she asked, strength returning to her voice and demeanor.

Draco sighed, ran a hand through his long, shaggy hair; he really needed a cut. "I thought, maybe, the best thing would be to stage the room to make it look like we'd… well, you know… and then to alter their memories so they'd believe we'd actually done it to you and killed you after, and I disposed of the body."

When she didn't say anything, Draco looked over at the witch in curiosity. She seemed incredulous to the suggestion he'd just made. "Why don't you just leave? You have a wand now."

He scoffed at her ignorance. "Do you think that's the only reason I've stuck around? I could have left a long time ago if it were that easy."

Granger stepped in closer to him. "Then why stay?"

"Because he'd kill my parents if I betrayed him!"

The witch looked stricken of a sudden, her face sheeting over white, and there was some knowledge in her eyes that conveyed pity - specifically for him.

"What?" he asked, feeling an abyss open up in his stomach. "What do you know?"

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and then met his gaze head-on, without flinching. "The battle in France… Draco, your side is all but defeated. The wizards from America and Japan entered the fight a week ago to help the Euro-Russian front. Other countries joined in as soon as they'd heard. It's a huge coalition made up of thousands of wizards and witches. The Death Eaters are going to be overwhelmed within the next two weeks. They'll be routed - and the orders are to kill them all. There won't be any arrests this time. If your parents are fighting there…"

Silence reigned supreme between them as he processed the information. Voldemort was losing? How did you kill the God of Evil now that The-Boy-Who-Failed was gone?

A crack of Apparition announced the arrival of the house-elf he'd been expecting.

"Kreacher!" Granger cried out in surprise, obviously having recognized the elf.

The grey-brown mottled skinned elf bowed low. "Kreacher lives to serve the Noble House of Black again," he offered. "Mistress Narcissa's son requires aid?"

"One moment, Kreacher," Draco offered, keeping his attention on the girl who'd once driven him absolutely barmy with her annoying habit to spew forth a plethora of detail on any given subject. Now, he was glad she had such a gift… "Why weren't you fighting with the others on the continent if you're part of the rebellion?" He narrowed his eyes in speculative thought, and jerked his chin towards his unconscious 'friends'. "Where were you when you were caught by the bumbling duo?"

Granger blushed a fetching shade of scarlet, and looked down at her feet. "I was… on a mission for the Order. I can't say any-"

He grabbed her arms in a rough grip and shook her once. "Don't fuck with me, Grang-"

The sharp poke of Theo's wand pressed to his sternum shut him up in an instant.

"I can't tell you, Draco," she asserted. "It's secret Order business. Please don't make me hurt you. Not after what happened here. I don't want to think ill of you ever again."

He took a deep inhalation and let it out nice and slow to cool his temper. "You owe me," he cruelly reminded her, exploiting her sense of honour. "They would have taken your virginity and raped you all night, and they would have made it horrible. I've seen them do it to others. These two sick fucks," he indicated his former friends with a nudge of his chin in their direction, "they tear women up, inside and out before killing them. If I hadn't stopped them, they would have done the same to you. So, the way I see it: you owe me a life debt, and I'm calling it in right now. Help me save my parents."

She looked torn and lowered the wand. "Draco, they're Death Eaters. They've killed innocents."

"At his will!" he all but shouted at her. "Don't you think we've been terrified of that bastard since he first reappeared? Do you have any idea what he does to people who disobey? I'm lucky I got away with only a Crucio after having failed him back in school. My father… he took the brunt of the punishment meant for me. And my mother… she's a woman living in a serpent's lair full of eager men just like Zabini and Nott. I have no idea what they've done to her, because she's too proud to ever let me know, but I have heard her screaming at night, and I've heard my father crying and begging for her life." To his mortification, he could feel tears prickle his eyes and he shook her once. "You haven't walked in our shoes, Granger, so don't you dare judge us! Don't you fucking dare!"

A soft, warm hand touched his cheek, rubbing away tears he hadn't even realized he'd let spill. "Okay," she nodded and conceded. "Okay, Draco. I'll do what I can." She looked over his shoulder and down at Kreacher. "I think… maybe… there might be a way to get to them in time." Her eyes narrowed in consideration as that big brain of her turned over ideas. "Yes, that could work." Turning towards Zabini on the bed, her face twisted into a hard sneer. "But first, I have an idea concerning these two. We get to do some redecorating inside their heads, and I'm thinking nice pastel colours - something in pink."

Half an hour later, Granger had Obliviate'd all memories from Blaise Zabini and Theodore Nott about tonight's little adventure, and convinced them, instead, that they'd gone to Nott's home, got drunk, and ended up fucking each other on the study couch.

"Inventive," he congratulated her with some amount of awe, making a mental note never to screw with Hermione Granger ever again. The witch was Class-A scary when it came to getting her revenge. He cleared his throat. "Um, have I mentioned that I was sorry for all the shite in school?"

Maybe if he apologized now, she wouldn't turn her wand on him later and make him into a drooling idiot with the I.Q. of a three-year old.

"No, as a matter of a fact, you haven't," she asserted, throwing him a challenging smirk. "But, you can do so after the war is over… if you're interested."

Wait, was she flirting with him?

He stared at her for a moment longer, considering her words. To his surprise, the sly tilt to her smile and the naughty twinkle in her eyes had his heart beating a little faster.

"Maybe I will," he said, seriously contemplating her dare.

Blood purity didn't mean shite to him anymore, after all, and Granger was rather pretty… and she had a great pair of tits, even if she was a bit on the starved side elsewhere. And, it was an undeniable fact that a smart chick with a twisted sense of humour did it for him every time. He was, even then, beginning to harden in his pants as his imagination took him places it oughtn't.

She retrieved her wand from Zabini's inner robes pockets and they watched Kreacher leave with both men to the Nott Manor House to place them in the study, staging the room to make it look like they'd shed their clothing in haste to get at each other. Draco kept Zabini's wand for his own just as a final 'fuck you' to the bastard, and broke Nott's into pieces over a sharp edge of the stone hearth, throwing the sparking halves into the fire, where they popped and burned.

Without wands, his two Death Eater 'mates' wouldn't be able to get out of Nott's house, which they'd had Kreacher ward off with powerful spells. They would have to sit tight until someone thought to either go arrest them once the war ended, or they starved to death, whichever happened first. All the while, they'd have to walk uncomfortably around each other, believing they'd shagged each other senseless. How he fervently wished he could be a fly on that wall when the gormless wankers woke up!

Kreacher reappeared with a crackling entrance and confirmed that he had done as requested, draping the two naked men over each other on the couch, and making sure to leave out spilled glasses of Firewhisky and an empty crystal carafe of the stuff nearby to make the scene convincing. He'd even dribbled some of the foul-tasting alcohol into the two Death Eater's mouths to lend credibility to the idea that it was all done in a fit of drunken lewdness.

After talking to the portraits, and letting them in on the plan, Draco extinguished the fire in his room with a negligent wave of wand. Using magic wasn't something he'd ever forget, no matter how many years he'd gone without it, he noted with some satisfaction. He packed up all of the valuables in the house into a bag charmed with an Undetectable Extension Charm, including the portraits, minus one – Great Uncle Nellius. Him they moved to Lucius' study, just in case the elder Malfoys should arrive home and need a liaison to explain the state of things. He then grabbed his clothing and bedding and things he thought he'd like to take with him and prepared to say goodbye to his family home.

Granger, he noted, took the entirety of the kitchen pantry, every toiletry in the house, plus bedding from spare rooms, and loads of books from his family library in her own charmed bag, the wily thief!

When they were ready, they arranged for Kreacher to take them to Order headquarters: a place called Shell Cottage. His companion explained that they needed to address Draco's predicament to the Order leaders, as well as inform them of her plan to get the elder Malfoys out of France before the final crush against Voldemort's regime.

As the three of them linked hands, he gave Granger's a quick squeeze. "Thanks… for saving me."

"Ditto," she offered back.

Her pretty smile was compressed down as they jumped in a flash.


Three days later…

With Kreacher's help, Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy had been kidnapped right out from under Voldemort's nose, Apparated away from the battlefield in France and to Order headquarters in the blink of an eye. It had been tense at first, until Draco explained what was going on. Then, his mother sagged against his father, and he dropped his wand arm to catch her.

"It's over," she murmured in thankful relief, and Draco could hear the tears choking her raw, exhausted voice. He hurried to her side, and helped his father hold her up; the man had grown physically weak from starvation. Apparently, there hadn't been much of a chance to eat with the constant skirmishes between Voldemort's forces and The United Front, comprised of the allied witches and wizards from all over the world.

With help, Lucius carried his wife up to an empty bedroom, and when he left them, Draco's parents were lying atop the bed covers, already asleep. He took both of their wands - a precaution the Order insisted upon - and had offered them a low-dosage Dreamless Sleeping Draught before locking them in the room to rest.

Draco turned his parents' wands over to Granger, who gave them to Minerva McGonagall, the de facto leader of the Order in England. Then, the witch he'd rescued took him outside the warded chalet for a walk along the beach to get some fresh air. It was nearing sunset by then, and the light reflecting off her curly, dark hair turned it all molten gold and amber-russet. Her eyes were a glimmering bronze and her smile, captivating. Her hand reached out and took his, and it was so warm…

Impulsively, he gathered her close and kissed her.

The first meeting of their lips was hesitant and quick, because he wasn't sure if it was merely the insanity of the moment overtaking his senses, or if he was genuinely starting to like Hermione Granger.

In the awkward moment after, he moved away, confused as to how to act now that they'd crossed one of those unassuming lines that took a person totally out of his comfort zone. Should he say something, or should he play it cool?

This was one of those times he'd wished he'd had more experience with girls. His only solid experience had been Pansy Parkinson for four whole shag-worthy months in fifth year, and all she'd taught him was that females were flighty, moody, and fickle. She'd manipulated him at every turn by using sex and/or tears against him, and then moved on to her next conquest – Blaise – as soon as it had become clear that she'd perfected the art of fucking.

Melvis Greengrass and his daughter, Astoria, had appeared at the Manor last year as newly-branded recruits for the Dark Lord. While his parents closeted themselves away in the study with their old friend, Draco had been left to entertain the daughter. He'd done so on the couch in the music room - twice. She'd left that evening with her father, and he hadn't seen her since.

After that, there hadn't been anyone else in his life, as there hadn't been time, opportunity, or inclination.

So now, here he stood, wondering what the best course of action would be to take next with a girl, unsure if any of his previous experience applied where Hermione Granger was concerned. Should he kiss her again, or pretend it had been a mistake?

His feisty companion took the decision out of his hands in true Gryffindor style.

Leaning into him, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him with passion, sliding her petite fingers through his long hair. The taste was of fire and spice, just like her, and it made everything in his body go instantly hard with need.

Like a starving man, Draco grabbed hold of a good thing while he had the chance, and they snogged out for a good long time. The sun had set and the air temperature had dropped by several degrees, and the moon was already bright in the sky by the time they came up for air.

Fuck a Founder, that had been the best bloody kiss ever!

By mutual, silent agreement, they went in for another round.

As one, they fell to their knees in the sand, lips locked in fierce hunger. It was simply a natural progression for him to eventually lay her back into the soft dune. Their bodies settled together in perfect harmony into the cradling bed that the earth and the sea had mutually created with the ebb and flow of the tides. Their parts fit like lock and key.

Hermione's temperature-charmed cloak kept them both warm as a cool, ocean breeze drifted over them. She elicited sweet, faint whimpers in counter to his low, uncontrollable groans of pleasure as their mouths continued to taste and tease, and as their hands began to wander.

It was lunacy, this feeling in his chest that was suddenly making his heart pound a million miles a second. That he was feeling such a thing for the girl he'd once confessed to despise, who he'd previously believed to be beneath his station, who he'd even boasted to want to see erased permanently from the world, seemed so unreal. He'd hurt Granger with hexes, he'd hurt her with cruel taunts, he'd hurt her by pushing her around and tripping her up. He'd been horrid to her in every manner, and yet here he was, slowly falling for her charms.

Her kisses were engaging, provocative, and entirely too tempting. It had been a very long time since his last sexual exploration with a girl, and his blood raged through his body, refusing to be swayed by logic and reason.

Gryffindor's former Princess was on the same page, it seemed.

There wasn't time for a gradual, romantic divesting of clothing; they both wanted it too much for such propriety. Unspoken understanding had belts quickly undone with trembling fingers, her Muggle jeans, and his slacks, and their undergarments were tugged away with urgency. Fully naked, he slipped inside her, finding her surprisingly ready. Her warmth and tightness squeezed about him as, with an easy thrust, he buried himself within her to the hilt.

Her small cry against his lips reminded him that she'd been inexperienced, but she gave him no chance to pause with doubts or regrets over having taken her innocence, gripping him with her thighs and nudged her hips up and down instead. "Draco," she mewled in pleasure, and her voice brought him back into himself, into reality.

He pinned her down with his weight to halt her grinding, to give them time to pause and think. This was really happening. He'd just taken Hermione Granger's virginity. He was having sex with her.

"You all right?" he asked.

She nodded with enthusiasm and kissed him with a mouth full of hot, potent desperation. "It feels good, so don't you dare stop, Malfoy," she warned, gripping his shoulders in a tight hold. "I need you. I need this with you. Please!"

That was all the permission Draco needed.

He took it slow, not wanting to hurt her again, and trying not to come too quickly. It had been a while since he'd fucked, and the animal part of him was screaming for him to just pound away. But, honestly, he wanted to savor the feeling of being connected to another human being – specifically, of being with her, this girl-woman he'd always been torn-up and tormented by. He wasn't sure if making love to her was destined to be no more than a reckless, impulsive one-off or not, so he wanted to enjoy it and remember every nuance.

Watching her through the half-lidded fringe of his lashes, he noted as her face changed with newly discovered sensations. With each thrust, her pink, swollen lips parted wider and her dark eyes glimmered with increasing awareness. Occasionally, she licked her lips. It was heady, having this kind of power over this witch; teaching her about the amazing feelings that came with sex was an aphrodisiac unto itself. Their mouths met and they shared every swelling, frantic breath as they drove with deliberate, determined intensity towards climax together.

When the fiery burn in Draco's belly signaled the end was hovering around his senses, and he knew he wouldn't be able to hold on much longer, he pulled the two of them up into a sitting position and readjusted her over his lap. Not only did this give him deeper penetration, but Pansy had said this position felt best for a girl, as she bounced up and down on his lap and he hit her in all the right places. Clearly, Granger liked it as well, as she threw her head back and let out a lusty cry.

"Are you close?" he asked as she rode him, feeling his bollocks tighten and his belly burn.

She nodded, her breath shuddering on an exhale. "It feels like… I'm going to… to melt into you… and maybe fly away, too. I want… Draco… oh, I need!"

He grabbed the back of her head and brought her mouth to his, kissing her with a ravenous desire that ripped through him like a hurricane. Positioning himself just so, he was able to thrust up into her at the same time as she came down on him. He sunk into her faster and with greater pressure, rubbing his abdomen against her sensitive clit with each stroke.

"I want to feel you let go, Hermione. Do it. Let go."

As if his words freed her, she slammed down onto him with a scream of delight. Her back arched in his embrace, her thighs tightened around him, and her fingernails sunk deep crests into his upper arms. Shaking from head to toe, she came in a glorious rush of silken fluids and clasping inner muscles.

Her relief was his undoing.

"Oh, fuck, Granger!" he shouted as the first wave of his seed was released up into her with a jolt that straightened his spine. Fierce, thrilling sensations continued to rock his system for long seconds as he reveled in the ecstasy, finding at the end of it a satisfaction the likes of which he'd never known.

In the aftermath, Draco stayed connected to his partner, not yet ready to pull out and away, enjoying for the first time ever the glow without the fear or awkwardness of being caught and rushing about to redress. They rode out the calming of their hearts and lungs, holding to each other tight.

"Did I hurt you?" he murmured, truly concerned. It had been her first time, and he'd done it better than he had with Pansy back when he'd been fifteen and a virgin himself, but it was hard to know if it had been a really good experience for his current lover unless he asked.

Hermione shook her head and pressed a soft kiss to his cheek. "It was wonderful," she assured him in a shy whisper, her fingers stroking through his hair.

Her touch felt so nice, and he felt so relaxed that he almost fell asleep right there, his bare arse hanging out for the whole world to see. It was with effort that he shook off his exhaustion and laid her once more back upon her cloak. Up on his elbows over her, he became aware of how tightly he was still being held within her body, despite having gone soft, and that her legs were still cradling him close, as if she wasn't quite ready for him to withdraw yet. Strangely, it felt good.

"Why?" he asked aloud.

She blinked, her fingers twining his longish strands around her knuckles. "Why what?"

He felt the heat creep up the sides of his face in sudden regretful embarrassment. "I've been rotten to you for years. I've never given you a reason to trust me. Why give me something this important?"

Granger was quiet for a long while, considering his words. "Do you want to hurt me, Draco?"

He shook his head, meeting her gaze head-on with uncharacteristic earnestness. "No, I don't want to hurt you."

The moon's silvery light softened her smile, giving it and her skin and her eyes an almost ethereal quality. "Then there's your answer." Her fingertips ran smoothly over his cheek. "We've all changed because of this war. Holding onto the past is destructive to hope. It's time to start over and forget what came before. I'm willing to give you a chance, if you'll do the same."

His long, pale fingers caressed her dusky-honeyed skin, followed the curve of her cheek and across her earlobe. How did he feel about Hermione Granger and the idea of giving her – this between them – a chance?

"If I agree, will you kiss me again?"

He wasn't even sure where the hell that came from, but ironically, he didn't mind that he'd said it either.

She floored him with her counter proposal a second later.

"If I kiss you, will you have sex with me again?"

He blinked, his jaw dropping open. All eloquence dissolved from his brain in the face of her blunt-headed bravado. "W-what?"

Innocent, wide eyes and a nonchalant shrug were her only defense, but neither did a very good job of faking him out. Draco knew a sham attempt to play coy when he saw it. "I'm conducting an experiment," she explained with a completely straight face. "I'd like to try sex again to see if it'll be as good the second time as the first. It's all in the name of science, of course," she continued the ruse in the face of his growing skepticism.

The chuckle rumbled through his chest before he could check it. "Are you sure you were sorted into the right House? For a moment there, you sounded rather Slytherin."

Hermione threw him an impish grin, and at the sight of such a mischievous and wicked thing blooming across her face – and all for him - he felt his arousal return to life like magic. Still secreted inside her sweet, moist body, he rocked his hips back and forth working them both back up in quick order.

"Hell, I'm beginning to really like you, Granger."

She pinched his cheek, all playful and frisky now. "I think I'm beginning to really like you, too, Malfoy." She gasped a surprised, "Oh!" as he surged a little harder into her. "I definitely know I like that."

"Not too sore, then?" he asked.

She shook her head. "A little, but not bad enough to want to stop."

Draco felt his long-lost 'naughty smirk' climb up his cheek at her easy capitulation, feeling more himself in that moment than he had in years. "See, you've got the mark of a good scientist going already. That kind of perseverance eventually pays off."

"Oh? Show me," she challenged him with a matching grin.

He did, until she admitted in a keening whimper that the second time was even better than the first. Then, he made her scream that fact until her pleasure rolled through her like a fiery blast wave, pulling him along for the ride.


The next day, Granger cut Draco's hair for him. He shagged her rotten in thanks afterwards.

The day after that, she'd found him a new wand in the ruins of Ollivander's shoppe. He'd fucked her silly against the scorched wall in thanks, and then again in the shower when they'd gone back to the cottage to clean up.

The morning after that, she'd rode his morning wood to glory, and he'd marveled in the way the sunlight coming through the sheer curtains of the bedroom they'd been relocated to had played across her chestnut-amber hair. A halo seemed to form around her, and he'd been mesmerized.

The fact was they kissed and had sex everywhere at any time a private moment presented itself, both seemingly insatiable to feel the touch of and to taste the other. It was an amazing new learning for them both, and throughout it all, Draco felt warm, affectionate feelings for the witch tighten around his heart. He knew he was in serious jeopardy of falling in love with her, and yet he couldn't seem to stop.

His parents had quietly accepted the relationship, having come to recognize in the last few days that their son was quite taken with the strong-willed, intelligent, lovely witch who was leading a rebellion that seemed certain of success. He was also quite sure that they saw the potential for political maneuvering and advancement in the match should Voldemort, in fact, be defeated. Shrewdly, they kept their mouths closed and smiled in acceptance.

The other Order members hadn't fully trusted his intentions, but it became increasingly clear as the days went by that they were grudgingly accepting the possibility that his defection may have been genuine.

A week later, the war ended with the sound defeat of Voldemort. It seemed that with Harry Potter's death, the last of the Dark Lord's Horcruxes had turned the wizard truly mortal. The man hadn't bothered to go that route again, having learned his lesson the first time around, and that lack of a backup plan had left him vulnerable. Once he died, there would be no coming back.

And died that bastard had. On Sunday, the twenty-sixth of June, Tom Marvolo Riddle learned that no amount of individual power could stand up to thousands of wizards determined to bring him down. He died in a roar of green flame as dozens of Avada's had struck him all at once.

Afterwards, every Death Eater that had survived the trap had been rounded up and summarily executed without benefit of trial – including Theodore Nott and Blaise Zabini, once they'd been released from the prison of Nott's home.

Draco had an all-night celebratory shag-fest with Granger in his own bedroom at the Manor that night, having taken her by Side-Along Apparition with him. They didn't emerge until starvation threatened, and he'd taken her all over his bedroom, in every position possible.

Two weeks later, Hermione began throwing up in the mornings.

The moment it had been confirmed that she was pregnant, Draco presented his witch with a ring, never more frightened or more excited about anything in his whole life. Upon her acceptance of his proposal, he took her back to his bed to commemorate the occasion the right way.

In the aftermath, as she lay sated, asleep in his arms, his ring firmly on her finger, he touched her crazy, curly hair and marveled at how much things had changed between them in less than a mere month. Their relationship had never been a good one as children, and had resumed when they'd grown into adults with her on her knees before him, a prisoner. Now it was beginning another new phase, only this time, he'd been the one on his knees before her. Of course, his surrender had been willing. He was the captive now – a prisoner of her heart.

As he kissed the top of her head and closed his eyes, Draco came to understand that Theo had been wrong about him all along: he hadn't suffered from cold-feet, at least not when it had counted. He'd just been waiting for the right moment to be brave.