Chapter VIII - Fire

27 December 1999

The war's intensity grew with each passing day; it was clear that it would not be ebbing anytime in the recent future. With each additional piece of news regarding his father, the pit of guilt and shame in Draco's stomach grew. He frowned when he read in The Phoenix that the Death Eaters had taken up a hideout in the Inner Hebrides; his mother used to take him there when he was a child. Most of the isles had been mostly untouched by man; he knew that the isle of Ulva would be far from untouched by the time that the Death Eaters left it.

To make matters worse, they had killed the Muggles living there to take it, and cast Muggle Repelling Charms. His scowl deepened at the realization that just three years ago he would have seen this as a victory, as something that he should be overjoyed with. Sighing heavily, he threw the paper into the fireplace, not wanting to know anymore news. This was the state of things, and it was all growing more and more dark as time went on.

"I don't see why you read it anymore, mate," Blaise chimed in, patting him on the back. Draco had been so trapped in his thoughts that he hadn't heard his friend enter the room.

"I like to at least have some idea of what's going on on a larger scale" Draco shrugged.

His companion sat down beside him on the sofa, setting two mugs of black coffee down on the coffee table and yawning lazily.

"It's the same shit every day. More death, more darkness. It feels like there's never going to be any good news."

"There's a meeting tonight, in case you've forgotten. This death and darkness is exactly what we have to plan for if we're going to have a useful discussion. Knowledge is the only way we're going to win."

"It's kind of hard to know anything when we're all spending most of our time locked up in a safehouse," Blaise countered. "I don't think that we really know anything. It would be better to talk to the people who are actually out there fighting, camped up in tents."

"Maybe," Draco agreed. "But reading about it is still better than going in blind."

"Not if you want to sleep at night."

"I haven't gotten a good night's sleep in two years unless I get pissed out of my mind, mate. There's not much sleep I have left to lose."

.

Hermione found herself wishing that she could disappear the instant that she entered the meeting that evening; it was the first time she would be stuck in a room with Draco Malfoy since the Christmas incident, and he had always been a wildcard. She hadn't even considered what the aftermath would be, really; she had been so absorbed in the things that he was doing with his skilled hands and tongue… She swallowed, attempting to keep her heart rate under control.

Brilliant, Hermione. He isn't even here yet and you already can't keep yourself in check. Everyone's going to know you shagged him if you don't get it together.

"Is everything okay, Hermione?" Luna's singsong voice asked, only worsening her mental state.

"I'm just feeling a bit ill, that's all," she replied, her tone uncharacteristically high. "I just have a cold."

"Right, a cold to go along with your nightmares," Zabini replied, and she glared across the table at him. "I hope that you feel better soon, Granger."

"Have you been having nightmares?" Luna sounded concerned now.

"No!" Hermione threw her hands up in exasperation. "I've been taking the Draught of Dreamless Sleep lately-

"I thought you had a nightmare the other night-

"What other night?" Cho Chang asked, joining in the conversation. "How do you know that she had a nightmare?"

"Now are we going to talk about something important, or can I go get wasted with Blaise now rather than later?"

Hermione sucked in a breath and winced, closing her eyes and attempting to will herself into invisibility. When she opened her eyes, half of the table was looking at her like she had gone mad. Hell, she had gone mad. She had slept with Draco sodding Malfoy. She looked over at him nervously as he sat down beside Molly Weasley, but he didn't look at her. His eyes were cold steel.

"Thank you, Draco," Molly patted him on the back. "Now I'm assuming most of you have been reading The Phoenix?"

"The only people who I've seen reading that are Hermione and Draco," Luna answered innocently. "Most of us prefer not to read such things unless we have to."

Hermione studied him, half praying for him to continue to ignore her presence and the less rational part of her still prayed that he would acknowledge her existence. But his light grey eyes stayed fixed on the clock on the wall, as though he was counting the minutes before he could leave. Some of the hickeys covering his neck were from her, and others were fresh and probably from Pansy Parkinson. She noticed that he had a slightly flushed complexion that he got when he drank, but they weren't quite as flushed as they were when he… She shook her head and averted her eyes, trying to rid herself of the dirty thoughts that she was currently having about Draco Malfoy.

But they aren't thoughts anymore, are they? she reminded herself. They're memories.

"I didn't read today's issue," Hermione replied, her voice shaky. "My mind was on… other things."

Everyone looked at her to acknowledge she was speaking except for Malfoy. Typical. She would much rather he was cold to her like he normally was than to feel he had discarded her. It made her feel… used. And sure, that was exactly what she was, but she did not like to feel that she was used, not in this way.

"The Death Eaters have taken Ulva," Molly explained. "It's a small isle off the coast of Scotland, the population wasn't more than fifty at the time it was taken. Naturally, they murdered all the Muggles and cast Muggle Repelling Charms around it."

"All of them?" Dean Thomas looked aghast.

"That's what she said, isn't it, Thomas?" Malfoy drawled impatiently. "All of the Muggles who lived there were killed, their farms were taken. I read it myself. We don't have time to ask daft questions. We need to plan action."

"Merlin, Malfoy, he's allowed to be upset. He's a Muggleborn for Godric's sake," Hermione snapped, scowling at the blonde.

She had said this mostly to get a reaction from him, to see if he would snarl at her, or at least look at her.

He didn't.

"Have you talked to any of the strategists about what we should do, Molly?" the Slytherin questioned, acting as though he hadn't heard her.

"We need to take the island back from them before they get a stronghold," the eldest of the group sighed. "We just need to figure out when to do it. We've lost all of our best strategists to the war. Most of the ex-Aurors are dead. We lost Alastor, and then Tonks…"

There was an uncomfortably solemn silence for a few moments, and many of them grimaced. Death was something that many people didn't openly discuss in the heat of the war, at least purposely. Molly looked uneasy at her mistake.

Sod it.

"I can figure it out."

All eyes shot towards the blonde Slytherin, their eyes suspicious, questioning, or both. His confidence didn't waver; he was used to being looked at like he was part of a freak show. He found it almost amusing.

"We shouldn't trust him," Cho Chang protested. "He could still be a Death Eater. He's going to lead us into a trap! He'll-

Draco glared at her with so much intensity that she shut up. Clenching his jaw, he spit out his retort. "I'll have you know, Chang, that I'm not a Death Eater, and that I've proven myself plenty to the people who weren't too cowardly to fight up until our conscience ate away at us."

"What do you know about conscience?" Hermione snapped, and even she was surprised at the words as they left her mouth. She had officially lost all control of herself when it came to Draco Malfoy, apparently.

"Apparently not enough, as I don't feel the slightest bit guilty for telling you to fuck off."

She grimaced. He hadn't bothered to meet her eyes. She wanted to throw something at him, or hex him, or maybe push him into a table again; perhaps then he would look at her. She always knew he was a prick, but she had been beginning to doubt that he was cruel, or that he was a coward.

"I think the fact that Draco used to be affiliated with Death Eaters is quite beneficial, actually," Luna chimed in. "It gives him the advantage of knowing the enemy."

"Thank you," Draco nodded appreciatively at the eccentric witch. "I'll start working on the plans tonight, unless there are any moral objections? Is anyone's conscience weighing heavily enough that they want to risk going in without a plan?"

He could feel Granger's glare on him again. Good; he was glad he was getting under her skin, the same way she had gotten under his when she called what had happened between them a mistake. Stupid? Most definitely; but mistake was a blow to his pride, to his - Salazar forgive him - feelings.

He smirked when no one else said a word, and the inhabitants of Shell Cottage all got up to go to bed, bidding each other a good night. He remained seated, looking to Blaise. "Can you get the firewhiskey out of the pantry?"

"I'm exhausted, mate. I think the drinking games will have to wait until tomorrow evening."

"Fair enough," Draco shrugged, trying to appear as though he was nonchalant. "Goodnight."

He didn't want to be alone in his thoughts; his conscience would get to him again. The conscience that Granger seemed to forget he had, or perhaps that she never believed he had all. The second thought made him wince.

"I think you should talk to her."
"Who?"

"Granger," the other Slytherin snorted. "Who else would I be talking about?"

"Perhaps someone who actually matters to me."

"So you've been brooding for the past two days because you don't fancy her. Right," Blaise rolled his eyes. "Goodnight, mate."

And then he was alone, left to think about Granger, to wonder if he did fancy her. Fuck, he admired Blaise for not laughing at the irony of it all, or at least to his face. What if he did fancy the girl he tormented throughout school, the one that he so casually called a Mudblood… the one that he said he wanted to be killed by the basilisk during his second year?

He winced at the last thought. Bollocks, he really was going soft. "Get a bloody grip" he muttered to himself.

Normally, he would have grabbed the bottle of Ogden's and downed the lot of it so he could return to his apathy, but tonight, he had to make plans on which their lives depended. Spiffing.

.

"Malfoy," he heard her say.

Maybe if I ignore her, she'll go away.

"You're a real prat, you know that?"

"Try harder, Granger," he sneered, still staring at the map he had drawn out. "If you're attempting to get my attention you're going to have to goad me with something more infuriating."

"Your attention?" she laughed mirthlessly. "You think that's why I'm going to yell at you, because I want your attention? I want you to treat me like a human being! I want you to stop pretending that I don't exist after… after what happened on Christmas! And you wonder why I think that you don't have a conscience? Bollocks!"

"Don't act like you have high moral standing. You aren't above me-

"At least I gave you the benefit of the doubt! But you're the same git that you were in school. You're the same twisted bastard that you were before! Fucking look at me! You may not be as bad as the wizard who gave you the mark on your arm, but you still took it! You were still a Death Eater."

His eyes shot up at her, and he stood up, stalking towards her. She had wanted him to look at her, but not like this. The way he was looking at her now made her insides turn, and not in the pleasant way that his gazes had in the past.

"Well then tell me, Granger, oh pious saint, queen of the concept of conscience," he grinned as she backed further away from him. He took a pause, approaching her and raising his hand to stroke her cheek. This was all semantics. "Why is it that you were so quick to bed the one person that your dead boyfriend hated the most? Tell me how you are so high in conscience when you slept with someone who you ridicule for being a Marked man."

Her next movement happened too quickly for him. He certainly hadn't been expecting her to hex him. But she did, and her magic threw him against the kitchen counter. He cursed.

"Didn't your mother ever teach you how to treat a woman, Malfoy? Or was she too busy teaching you how to torture Mudbloods-

"Don't say a word against my mother, Granger!" he shouted, leaping to his feet, drawing his wand. "I'd hex you if everyone wouldn't take your side."

"Because I didn't make the decision to put a Dark Mark on your arm-

"You sure didn't mind it when I was inside of you!"

"It was a one off, Malfoy! You didn't mean anything to me-

"Then why are you so hell bent on speaking to me, hmm? Why are you so keen to harass me all the time! Maybe not everyone wants to speak with you! You aren't perfect, and you're not exactly desirable! You were just the easiest fuck in this-

She slapped him. Perhaps he had gone too far. He didn't care; she had brought up his mother. Sure, he had riled her up. But he had told her that his mother didn't hate Muggleborns the way that his father did. He had told her that his mother was tortured on a daily basis. And still, she mentioned his mother.

It wasn't until then that he noticed that she was crying.

"How dare you, Draco Malfoy!" she shrieked. "After everything I've told you, after what I told you about Ron, after I opened up to you, you are the same evil-

"You don't fucking know evil, Granger!"

"I've been tortured-

"By your own father? By your-

"Not everything is about you and your father! We've all suffered! But apparently you haven't suffered enough at his hand to know that you shouldn't act like him! You would've given me the same treatment that your father did just a few months ago-

"Would I?" Draco uttered.

Draco Malfoy was dangerously quiet, and Hermione knew she had stirred something inside of him that she shouldn't have. It was when he was quiet that he was the most angry, and when he was the most ruthless in showing it.

"Listen to me, oh lord of us all, Hermione Granger," he whispered, standing far too close to her for comfort. "I could've sold you out to the Dark Lord. I could've sold you and all of your friends out, that day in the manor eighteen months ago. But I didn't. Sure, they figured it out anyways, but I didn't give you up. Because I didn't want any of you to be tortured, or to be killed. I have nightmares, Granger. Of what it sounded like when you were screaming. But if you had captured me, you would have sold me out in a heartbeat. You would've let them have their way with me. You wouldn't have minded if I had been tortured-

"It's different," her eyes widened. "It's-

"How is it, that I'm the evil one, and I still didn't sell you out? You wouldn't have given a damn if I were killed."

"No, I wouldn't have. But it's only-

"Because of the things I said when I was fourteen? Because of what I was taught? I tried to warn you at the World Cup, Granger. I didn't want you harmed. I may have called you a Mudblood, but I still told you to keep your head down."

She was perplexed; with herself, and with the enigma that was Draco Malfoy. The perspective he gave her shook her to the core. Would she have saved him and his friends in the Room of Requirement if Harry hadn't told her to? No, a voice in the back of her mind told her. What did it say about her that he had tried to save her when she wouldn't have done the same for him?

"You didn't want to save me until you saw that we might be on the same side. And while I may have been a cruel, spoiled prat-

"Still are-

"I didn't want you dead. Not really. I cared whether you lived or died. This isn't a heroic statement, Granger; it's simply human decency. We all have our strengths and weaknesses in that area. I may have hated you because of your blood, but I never really wanted you dead, and I would have cared if you had been killed. While you may outshine me in courage and moral fiber, and perhaps almost everything else, but there was one area of human decency in which I had you beat, wouldn't you say?"

"You were a Death Eater-

"I never killed anyone," Draco interjected. "I never tortured anyone. I injured some, but it wasn't intended-

"You let Death Eaters into the school-

"What choice did I have?" he shouted, and she could see that he was shaking now. "He would have killed me-

"There are bigger things than ourselves-

"He would have killed my mother," he choked on the bile building in his throat. He hadn't properly talked about what had happened at Hogwarts with anyone yet. No longer meeting her eyes, he regained composure. "I didn't want my mother to die."

"Well more people could have died than you and your mother! You were foolish!"

"Of course I was foolish! I was sixteen, Granger! It's not that simple. It's never black and white-

"You put Madame Rosmerta under the Imperius Curse-

"I know what I've done!" he bellowed, slamming his fist into the table so hard that the glass resting on it was knocked over. "But yes, thank you for the reminder-

"You're never going to be able to move past anything if you don't recognize-

"You think I haven't recognized it?" he sneered. "What do you think I think about when I shut myself away for days, Granger? Do you think that I reminisce about the beloved memories with my friends, the light-hearted days? Because nothing in my life was ever that simple. I'm not like you. Any nostalgia I might have for Hogwarts is because of the happiness I saw in other people, not myself. I don't think about that shit. The only time that my conscience isn't eating me alive is when I'm pissed out of my mind."

"But you haven't analyzed any of it," Granger said boldly. "You've just let it haunt you. You haven't thought about what happened, and you certainly haven't accepted it if you can't even talk about it-

"Not with you," he jeered. "And I assure you that when I am ready to overanalyze my past, you will not be the person I talk to. I will not talk about any of that shit with someone who still says that I'm a Death Eater, and still says I'm like my father."

"Draco-

But he had already turned to leave, and the arm she had stretched out to try to pat him on the back was left hanging pathetically in midair.

.


.

28 December 1999

Hermione had grown accustomed to going outside whenever she felt she was in danger of breaking down. She would sit down at the picnic table on the patio and look out at the sea, watching as it's unruly waters hit the edge of the bluffs. Her mind was still whirring from her most recent argument with Draco, and she frowned at the troubling realizations he had given her. He had tried to save her, even at the peak of their rivalry, and she had not done the same.

It didn't help that he seemed to have regressed back to having as much hatred for her as he did in school, only this hatred was even more callous. She felt nauseous at the thought that he might have just wanted to sleep with her all this time, and that now he might be done with her all together; she had revealed so much of herself to him, even the ugly parts. It was also a pity that she wasn't as strong as her attraction for him, for she couldn't even manage to act detached from their situation. She wasn't really sure if he was staging his indifference about what had happened, and was somewhat frightened at the fact that she hoped he wasn't. Certainly, it would've been easier if he didn't care about what had happened, if he wasn't emotionally invested in whatever thing they had, but she had never wanted the easy way out, and she supposed that now she wanted to have a friendship with Draco Malfoy.

But could she call it a friendship knowing that her mind still wandered to how he looked when he came, how he looked when his skin was gleaming with the thin layer of sweat that had been created by his frantic thrusts? Something stirred below her navel at the memories, and she shook her head to snap out of it. She certainly didn't want a relationship with him, but she didn't just want to be his friend, either. She supposed that she wanted somewhere in between, somewhere that she could avoid too many entanglements with romantic emotion, as there were already too many emotions raging inside her in the war; there was no room for love in war.

He wouldn't want a relationship with her anyways, and for this she was grateful. Draco Malfoy did not seem to be the type of man that would either give or receive romantic love. She had heard of his conquests in Hogwarts, and she had seen the way that he had treated Pansy in the past few days. If he could not love Pansy, someone he had known for the majority of his life and slept with throughout Hogwarts, he would certainly not be capable of being in love with her.

All she knew was that she was deliberately playing with fire, something that she scarcely did, being cautious by nature. But he was the most enticing fire she had ever seen, and she didn't really care if she got burned… or rather, froze to death from the icy behavior he had proven himself to be capable of. He had actually mocked her for sleeping with him, something she had never thought that anyone would have the audacity to do.

She sighed at the knowledge that he was Draco Malfoy, and that he was cold, twisted, and despite the fact that he was changed, his cruelty would likely never wane. She sighed even heavier at the knowledge that she didn't care at all, and that she would gladly go to bed with him again anyways.

.

He would've washed away his anguish with firewhiskey, but he had already tried for the past few days, and after two attempts in the past few days, he found that nothing soothed the ache in his chest that Granger had left him with. So tonight he had decided to go for a walk with Blaise and Pansy instead. When they had reached the nearby woods, they sat down under the trees, which sheltered them from the snow and wind to some extent.

Initially, he had been content to stew in self-pity, but he felt the need to at least vaguely discuss how he was feeling. Blaise and Pansy were the only people who knew of his conquest on Christmas, at least concretely; he was sure that Lovegood was at least suspicious, as she had always been alarmingly observant.

"Talk to her," Pansy suggested. "Tell her how you feel."

"I don't know how I feel," he replied, and it came out harsher than he had intended it to. "Sorry… I just, I can't pinpoint how I feel about Granger."

"You fancy her," Blaise snorted. "The fact that you haven't admitted so makes it all the more obvious. You've always gotten weird and touchy about the girls you've fancied, mate. You've never been one to openly admit you feel something aside from rage, even if you're asked."

Draco said nothing, instead opting to pull a cigarette out of his pocket and light it. He offered one to Blaise, and then to Pansy, but both refused. He forgot how odd it was that he was a Pureblood who smoked cigarettes, as that habit was usually confined to Muggleborns and Half-Bloods within the wizarding world.

"I heard you two shouting the other day," Pansy stated. "I figure that if she's yelling at you it means that there's at least some passion there. I can't say if the passion you have is healthy, though."

"Passion is never healthy," Draco said evenly, taking another drag of his cigarette. "It always leaves you in a state of constant obsession with the object of passion, human, object, or idea while it exists and leaves you destroyed after it dies ."

"I like to think love is healthy," Pansy shrugged. "It's one of the only good feelings we have left to cling to in this war."

"You wouldn't be the type to strike me as an idealist, Pansy," Draco sneered.

"Maybe you should be a bit more idealistic," she snapped. "All you do is brood, drink, and lash out at everyone."

"I've been fighting too much on the battlefield of this war to fight my demons," he sighed. "I don't have any time to deal with things that are in my head. There's too much to fight that's outside of my head."

"Which is why you shouldn't fight with Granger," Blaise chimed in. "We already fight too much outside of Shell Cottage for you to fight with her, too."

"She said it was a mistake, Blaise," he seethed, his anger not directed towards him but towards her, and towards himself. "I shouldn't have shagged her in the first place. I've officially gone mad."

"I won't argue with you there," Pansy shrugged. "But you should still talk to her."

"Why would I talk to someone who doesn't care?"

"She does," Pansy smirked knowingly. "Or else she wouldn't have yelled at you in the first place-

"To compare me to my father-

"Which she does to get under your skin. Granger is transparent. She cares for you, or else she wouldn't care that you're ignoring her."

"Ridiculous," Draco shook his head, putting out his cigarette and heading back to the cottage without his two companions.

Part of him felt guilty for the things he had said to Granger yesterday; the other more vindictive part of him was happy that he had made her feel some of the pain that she had caused in him. She had ignited something within him, a fire that he could not put out as much as he wanted to, and he loathed it. He slammed the door when he went inside, storming up to his room without even looking at Lovegood and Weasley, who were currently sitting in the living room.

He wanted to scream, or break something. He felt like he was going mad. If he had told his younger self that he shagged Hermione Granger, he likely would have thought his future self had gone mad. He could hardly imagine what the younger version of himself would think if he knew that he thought of her so frequently, or that he felt like he needed her around in order to breathe.

He wouldn't call the feelings romantic, not in the classical sense… not yet, anyways. But there was a passion that burned as brightly as the summer sun, sometimes so brightly that he forgot that it was the middle of a war, the middle of winter. He enjoyed speaking with her, as it brought him some sense of peace.

He thought he would apologize if she didn't compare him to his father so frequently; he did not wish to associate with anyone who still associated himself with him. He let out a bark of laughter when he remembered that Granger had told him he had 'daddy issues.' She certainly hadn't been wrong; she rarely was. And that was why it frightened him that she compared him to his father so offhandedly, as though it was the easiest comparison in the world for her.

The fire burning in him did not die down as he grew tired, but only intensified; he thought perhaps it was because his mind wasn't as inhibited when he was exhausted. Had he been more alert, he would have been more capable of controlling where he allowed his mind to wander; not to night. The fire continued, growing in size even as he dreamt.

.


.

29 December 1999

He dreamt of claiming her again, and awoke aroused an unsatisfied. Even as he sat down to consider planning their upcoming mission, the arousal and thoughts of Granger lingered; this was going to be a long day.

.

She found herself disappointed when he didn't come down for breakfast, though she knew she shouldn't have been. She felt an anticipation when she thought of him, and it wouldn't die. She was so lost in thought that she didn't even notice when Luna Lovegood asked her if she was feeling alright, leaving her eccentric friend shaking her head and drawing her own conclusions about what had happened, which she would later find to be correct when she overheard Pansy Parkinson discussing it with Blaise Zabini.

Something had certainly been ignited that night on Christmas, something that Luna tried to believe, if only for the sake of her friend's sanity, would not end in a blaze of tragedy.

.

Draco ran into her in the hallway by his room that night.

She was illuminated only by the moonlight; its pale blue glow reflected off of her fair skin, and even in the darkness, she was radiant. He decided that he had become entranced by her; Granger had become his obsession.

He stared at her as she opened her mouth to say something, and then closed it. There were unspoken words floating between them, unspoken questions. She still wasn't looking at him, but he was sure she could feel his eyes burning holes in her skin.

Time had paused; he waited for her to look at him for what could have been minutes or hours. He might think that she was angelic because of the way she glowed, but he knew her too well to think that. No, Granger was not angelic; she hurled words as dangerous as hexes at him half of the time without taking a moment to pause and consider their detriment.

But there was still something pure in her, something that had yet to be corrupted; something that he wished he had.

Her eyes flickered up at him, the shadows reflecting off their amber pools. They were mournful. "I-

His gaze silenced her, and she knew that that was its intent. Everything he did had intention behind it; he was the epitome of a Slytherin. Everyone knew that Draco Malfoy was dangerous, but it was no longer because he was a Death Eater; it was because he could bend things around him with his intentful words, actions. He looked down again, and it was her turn to study him. He smirked, but he still didn't look at her.

"Don't ruin it, Granger."

"I already have," she lamented.

His eyes fixed on her now, their silver pools burning with something she couldn't place; it wasn't anger, or lust. It was softer, but its intensity was the same.

"We leave in two days," he told her. "We have business to attend to in Ulva. Blaise, Pansy, you, and I."

"You think that's enough for-

"Don't question my strategy, Granger. We're going to scope out the area for a few days and after we know more, we're going to call for more members of the Order."

"Why are you telling me this now?"

"I'm telling you why you shouldn't ruin it," he replied, his exasperation telling her that he expected her to figure this out on her own. Typical. "We're going to be in danger. I may not like you, but I feel more affinity with you than anyone else here. Don't make that dissipate entirely."

"Draco-

"I'm angry with you. You've treated me terribly."

"Oh that's rich," she scoffed. "You wouldn't even look at me after we slept together! You-

"Because it meant nothing," he seethed, and she swore there was bitterness behind his words.

"Because you're Draco Malfoy. Because I'm Hermione Granger. Because if it had meant anything it would've complicated everything," she said desperately; it was her time to act as though he should understand her reasoning without an explanation. "Because we're friends, Malfoy. We're in a war and anything else is self-destructive and dangerous-

"That's not why I'm angry. I don't want to be friends with you, Granger," he paused, and he smirked at the anticipation in her eyes. "I don't want anything to do with you."

"Then why are you so sodding bitter towards me-

"I don't owe you any explanation," he pretended to study his nails, feigning disinterest. "After all, I'm just like my father. Why would you want an explanation?"

She could feel anger coursing through her veins, anger at herself, and anger at him for acting as though he was jaded towards her. If everyone wasn't sleeping in the rooms just feet from where they stood, she would have screamed at him for pretending to be indifferent.

He was hard to read, but she had come to her conclusion; Draco Malfoy was fascinated by her. If there was anything he wasn't apathetic about aside from his father and his own redemption it was her. She wasn't sure how he felt towards her, towards their situation, but at the very least he thought of her; this she was sure of.

So she decided to play his game.

"It doesn't matter," she shrugged, smirking at him when he narrowed his eyes at her response.

"I don't know why I'm bothering with this conversation, or why I bother with you. This is a waste of my time" he muttered, clearly dismissing the conversation.

He brushed passed her, and was just about to slip into his room when her voice filled the night's silence again.

"But you do. And you will."

He cursed under his breath after he slammed the door behind him.

He knew she was right. She had ignited something in him, and maybe he was a masochist, but he had no desire to let it burn out.

.


Author's Note

I know, I'm the worst I haven't uploaded a new chapter in forever; I edited chapter 7 slightly and added a new scene to this chapter and I intend to write my next chapter over the next few days.

I've been horribly busy because I worked 40 hours per week all summer and am now enrolled in university, which is exciting but very time consuming! I'm studying Political Science with a concentration in Comparative Politics and more specifically, the politics of the Middle East. I also live in Massachusetts now, so there's that.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it and I will upload the next chapter soon. I also started a new story with a more dark Draco in it so that should be interesting, but I'm not going to finish the first chapter of that until I finish my next chapter of Shattered Glass.

Best,

amongstthesky