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The Hero Within by Jemione
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
A/N: I had a lot of fun writing this chapter. I really hope you enjoy it, too! :)
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot.
Warning: There are l o t s o f s e x u a l i n n u e n d o e s in this chapter – don't like it, don't read it.
In the end of Chapter Six:
”So...I take it you're staying?” Hermione asked and raised her eyebrows expectantly.
Draco shrugged. Even though she knew what Ginny would think if she ever found out, the brunette decided to play the damsel-in-distress card. “You know, I might have another nightmare some time, and who would I turn to if you left? You're like a knight in shining armour for me.”
”I'm afraid I don't have my armour with me,” he chuckled as he rifled through his bag. “D'you think silk boxers will do?”
Hermione grinned. “I'm sure you'll make a great hero in your silk boxers.”
Draco raised his brows and zipped his bag, a mischievous grin on his face. “If you’d ever like to test that theory, let me know.”
The kitchen was quiet save for the clatter of the dishes Hermione was busy washing. The whole house actually seemed quiet with no Weasleys or Harry there to make noise. Hermione welcomed the change with gratitude – she still felt a bit tired at times, and it was good to have some time to herself. The fact that they had been moved to a new safe house, and a Muggle house to boot, helped her relax even more.
She and Draco had arrived at the house the day before, and, luckily, they’d be able to enjoy the peace and quiet until the next afternoon. They had already eaten dinner, which meant there wasn't much of the day left. She was looking forward to finishing the dishes and talking to Draco. He had been in a good mood since they'd had their long conversation a couple of days ago. There had been glimpses of something she had yet to determine in his eyes, but they'd been in the company of their guardians and she had been unable to ask him what it was about. She had a hunch that it wasn't something she'd want other people to know about.
Hermione inhaled deeply and caught a whiff of the citrus detergent she was using to wash the dishes. She thought about the young Malfoy and suddenly there was an unexplainable tingling sensation in the pit of her stomach. She couldn't understand what had caused it - was she subconsciously waiting for something to happen?
Her train of thought was interrupted as someone opened the kitchen door. Hermione looked up to see Draco enter the room, sporting a mischievous expression, and she instantly felt suspicious. He came closer, scrutinizing her figure with his hungry gaze. Her breathing grew erratic as he settled behind her, his arms taking up positions on either side of her body, trapping her between himself and the sink quite effectively.
“Granger... I could just eat you up,” he breathed in her ear in a low, sultry voice. “If you want some fun, come upstairs when you're finished.”
“Excuse me?” Hermione gasped, her eyes as wide as the plates she was washing. He was barely touching her and her skin was erupting in tingles all over. The suggestion in his words made her feel decidedly flustered.
“I think you know what I'm talking about.”
“I'm not sure I do,” she replied breathlessly. It was hard to think when he was so close.
He let out a small chuckle. Her reaction amused him to no end, but he decided to let her off the hook. “I found that Draughts game in the attic.”
“Oh,” Hermione sighed with relief. “Sure. I'll be up as soon as I get this done.”
“Good girl,” Draco murmured in her hair.
He let go of the sink and stepped away from her. She was surprised to find herself disappointed at the loss of his warmth, but luckily she was too dazed to say anything. She slowly looked at the blond who, before leaving the kitchen, turned to shamelessly wink at her in the doorway.
She shook her head as he disappeared, mentally scolding herself. What had she been thinking? That he was offering to indulge in guilty pleasures with her? That was just crazy. They were friends and that was it, and he had been talking about the game all along. Although that didn't explain the tone of his voice. It had been heated. Had his voice always been so alluring? And more importantly, when had she started to think that any part of him was alluring?
It was definitely Ginny's fault. The girl had planted stupid thoughts into her head, the worst being that stupid vision of her and Draco ending up together. Well, she would just have to dispose of those silly ideas. They were only something her friend had created in that delusional head of hers, so it should be an easy task.
However, when Hermione finally appeared in the upstairs bedroom, she found that it would be more challenging than she had initially thought. Draco was sitting on the floor, leaning on his bed, looking extremely relaxed. And cute. He'd probably leaned on his hand or something because there was a red mark on his cheek. For some reason she thought that was awfully sweet, and she couldn't shake the warm feeling that was spreading through her.
“There you are, Granger,” he noticed her standing there looking at him. “So, are you ready to do it?”
“Uh...do it?” She gulped, trying hard to get rid of the R-rated image that had just presented itself.
“Yeah,” Draco gave her a predatory smile. He could see that his choice of words hadn't been wasted. “Get down to business. Play the game.”
He gestured towards the pieces he'd set on the board that lay on the floor. Apparently, she'd been so preoccupied in watching him that she hadn't noticed them at all. Annoyed at herself, she made a small huffing noise, sat down on the floor and nodded firmly.
“Sure. Let's play.”
She pushed her mass of curls out of the way and waited for Draco to make the first move. He was the dark side again, she thought to herself sarcastically. How fitting. There was something about him that felt like a magnetic pull, she observed as he moved his piece. She responded, fighting the urge to reach her hand out to touch him as she gently pushed her light piece. She was forced to learn a whole new type of self-control in order to play the bloody game.
There didn't seem to be enough space. The five feet between their bunk beds had seemed convenient enough, but that had been before she'd sat down to play with him. They were both leaning on their respective beds, but Hermione still had to be careful not to brush against his long legs with hers when she switched her sitting position. She didn't really know what she was so afraid of.
She feebly thought about sleeping in the third bunk bed, the one closest to the door, but knew it wasn't a good idea. Her friends would be joining them the next day and she thought it was best for her to be in the middle in order to keep Harry and Ron (mostly Ron) as far away from Draco as possible. The accommodations clearly weren't on her side. The room already felt crowded with just the two of them in it – how bad would it get with three more people? She'd just have to work with what she had. And a big part of that was to put herself on the line to form a wall between the boys.
Time seemed to drag on and fly past at the same time as they played. Hermione had lost track of how many matches they'd had, but she was fairly sure she was winning. She'd found some quite miraculous ways to save herself when it had looked like there was no hope. Even though she'd been lost in her thoughts at times, she had to admit that her game was flowing effortlessly. It was easy. Almost...too easy.
“Malfoy,” she frowned as something dawned on her. ”You're not letting me win, are you?”
“What, me? Why would I do such thing?”
His expression was way too innocent, and she growled in frustration.
“That's it. I'm not playing anymore,” she announced and got up. “I'm going to bed.”
Yanking open her bag, Hermione took out her pyjamas and bag of toiletries. She headed for the en-suite bathroom without sparing a glance at the boy. Contrary to her thoughts back in the kitchen, she didn't feel like talking to him at the moment. Instead of answering her questions he would probably just make her feel more confused.
She'd barely settled in front of the huge mirror in the bathroom and picked up her toothbrush when she got company. She should have closed the door.
“You don't mind if I brush my teeth quickly, do you?” Draco grinned at her. Her answer was a seething glare. “I figured I should get it over with in case you decide to move in here.”
Hermione took a deep breath to calm herself down and then focused solely on the task at hand – brushing her teeth. She was immensely glad that there were two sinks in the bathroom. That meant she could stay on her side and not worry about the annoying creature next to her. Fortunately he was finished soon, but he tested his luck – and her patience – once more before leaving her alone.
“I'm going to change now, so no peeking, alright? No matter how much you want to do it,” he winked at her.
He ducked just in time to avoid the hairbrush she'd thrown at him.
“Wow, no need to resort to violence,” Draco rolled his eyes. “I'm sure you like to dominate, but can't you wait until we're in the bedroom? Okay, okay... I'm going!”
This time, her shampoo bottle hit the door just as he closed it behind him.
Hermione went on with her evening routines, trying to control her anger. Her head filled with razor sharp comments she would throw at Draco when she was finished in the bathroom. That would teach him not to play games with her. She was not interested in peeking at him while he changed his clothes, thank you very much! He would have to learn to keep his mouth shut about such preposterous things if he wanted to keep his pretty face. (Not that it was pretty – it was just a saying.)
Changing into a matching t-shirt and shorts, Hermione prepared herself for scolding the boy. She put her things back in her toiletry bag and took one last determined huff of breath. With angrily narrowed eyes she stepped back into the room.
Her resolve faded with one look at him.
He was wearing silky pyjama pants of slytherin green and no shirt. His upper body wasn't anywhere nearly as muscular as a body builder's, but it was easy to see he'd been taking care of himself. Hermione saw a trail of hair starting from his navel and disappearing below his waistband. It fascinated her, and made her wonder if there was some sort of treasure hidden in the other end of the path.
Not that she was interested in what could be found inside those pants, obviously. It was just a passing thought... Or was it? If she couldn't even convince herself she wasn't interested, how could she make him believe in her lies?
He had seen her looking at him, of course. He raised a challenging eyebrow as if to say, “Well?”, but thankfully he didn't comment aloud. Hermione quickly scrambled to sit down on her bed, her back facing Draco. She busied herself with putting her toiletry bag in just the right corner of her big bag. In the short time she'd looked at him, she couldn't have helped noticing the defined line where his lower abdominals led towards his pelvis. The V-shaped crease had created a silhouette that reminded her of an arrow that showed her exactly which way she should go.
She tried so hard not to think of how tempting it looked, how bad she wanted to touch it. How bad she wanted to feel it curve in the direction of great adventures. She was really glad he couldn't see the prominent blush on her cheeks.
“Granger?” came the silky voice of the blonde.
“Mm-hmm?” She didn't trust her voice enough to speak.
“I'm feeling kind of lonely in this big bed... I wouldn't mind if you joined me.”
Her head whipped around. It was a good thing Draco had his eyes closed, because her blush deepened even more at the sight of him lying on his bed with his hands behind his head. When had he lied down? Did he know how good he looked like that? The smirk on his lips suggested he did. He'd probably been practising his position in front of the mirror for endless hours, that sneaky little devil.
“Thanks, but I'm fine here,” she replied and got up to switch off the lights. She tried not to think of how he'd rolled his eyes when she'd explained how lamps and electricity worked.
Hermione settled down on her bed, happy to be able to fight her blush away in the darkness. She had a feeling they weren't done with the discussion yet, and she was right.
“You do remember having a nightmare a few days back?” Draco asked a short while later. He received an affirmative sound in response. “You asked me to stay with you, and I did. So...technically you owe me one.”
His logic made sense, sort of. It would indeed be polite to return the favor. But what would he get out of it? Was he just playing her again? She found she didn't really care.
“Well, obviously I don't want to owe you anything.” With that, she grabbed her pillow and cover and made her way to Draco's bed.
He moved closer to the wall to make some room for her and pulled his covers over himself while he was at it. The bed was big, Hermione noted as she settled down next to him. It had probably been widened with magic. But even though it was larger than the average single bed, there were only a couple of inches separating them. She tried to think of something to say in order to distract herself. It would be dangerous to let her mind analyze the inviting warmth that radiated off of Draco's body, because she knew she couldn't do it.
“So... You don't think you'll be able to sleep alone?”
“If that'll make you stay here, then sure,” Draco murmured. There was a hint of a smile in his voice.
That didn't exactly help Hermione in her task to divert her attention. She could have slapped herself for thinking of how his voice was seductive in its soft roughness – she was stronger than that! She wasn't some silly bint in a romance novel, she could and she would resist him. Yet her heart was thumping so loudly it shouldn't even be possible. She was sure he could hear it, too. Anyone within a ten mile radius could probably hear it, for crying out loud.
She didn't understand her reaction to the closeness. Nothing was even happening between them, they were only lying down next to each other. On the same bed. Sure, it had been a while since she'd done that with a guy, but she didn't remember her heart beating like this. Draco probably did that sort of things a lot, she thought to herself. How else could he be so calm and collected?
What Hermione didn't know was that the cool exterior was just a façade. Internally, Draco was dealing with emotions just as turbulent as Hermione's, but he'd had more practise in keeping them to himself. His heart was beating just as loudly as hers was, he could barely hear his own thoughts. He'd been playing with the idea of having her in his bed all day, but hadn't thought it would actually become reality. And now that it had, Draco had to keep his eyes closed to restrain himself.
The girl was still suffering from the weight-loss caused by her time at the Manor, but she was quite a lovely sight in her modest nighties nevertheless. So lovely, in fact, that covering himself with his blanket had been a precaution in case he couldn't control his bodily reactions. There was something about this girl that pleased his extremely selective taste in women. She wasn't any ordinary girl – she was challenging. She was fiery, confident, loyal, caring, intelligent, sarcastic, playful... She was letting him close, and he couldn't believe his luck. Hermione Granger was more than everything he could ever have hoped to find in a woman, and she was in his bed.
Draco's eyes shot open at the thought. He wanted to make sure it was really happening. It took him a moment to adjust to the darkness. When his sight was as good as it could be in the dark, he turned to look at the girl next to him. She was staring at the bottom of the upper bunk. He frowned.
“Everything alright there, Granger?”
“Huh?” She startled a bit and then shook her head. ”Yeah, I'm fine. I was just...thinking.”
“What were you thinking about?”
“Everything...and nothing,” she sighed.
“Could you be a bit more specific?” Draco smiled crookedly.
Hermione glanced at him briefly, but then went back to staring at the bottom of the upper bunk. “I don't really feel like it. Besides, we should probably try to get some sleep.”
“Yeah, you're right,” he admitted and flashed a grin. “You know, you can always come closer if you get cold or something. I'm pretty hot.”
She rolled her eyes in response, and turned her back to him. It was clearly a signal for him to shut his mouth.
* * *
Hermione woke up curled against Draco's body. They were nestled in a spooning position, his arms wrapped around her in a possessive manner. It felt surprisingly comfortable, but she was a little stiff from being like that for so long. She stretched herself just a bit, inadvertedly moving her butt closer to Draco's groin. Her whole body tensed as she felt something rather hard pressing against her.
“That is so rude.”
Draco chuckled. “Good morning to you, too.”
“Oh, is that your way of saying good morning?”
“Technically, it's not my way of saying good morning... Something in this bed has a mind of its own,” he chuckled. “Besides, you should take it as a compliment. This morning is...ahem...quite obviously a better one than the average.”
She could feel him smile against her neck. She shook her head in disbelief. “You're a pervert.”
“Oh, me? Look at the pot calling the kettle black. I haven't seen you move an inch,” Draco pointed out. “Someone might think you're enjoying this.”
“Oh, me?” she huffed, throwing his words right back at him. “I think it's quite obvious that you are the one who's enjoying this.”
“Aww, come on, that's not fair. Just because my reaction is visible doesn't mean I'm the only one who likes being like this.”
Now that he said it, Hermione realised that her body was reacting to the situation visibly, too. She quickly crossed her arms in front of her chest to avoid getting caught. She actually wasn't against spending the rest of the day right there with him, listening to what her body was telling her to do, but he didn't need to know that. It would put him at an unfair advantage and, quite frankly, she was already having troubles thinking straight. She didn't want him to blur her thoughts every time he wanted something done his way.
“You still haven't moved that much, Granger.”
“I'm getting up right now,” she announced indignantly and proceeded to do just that.
“What's the rush? We could have a little fun before breakfast...”
It had always been easier for him to go with the familiar playboy role, but as he watched her gather her pillow and blanket in her arms and carry them back to her bed, he knew that was about to change. He couldn't ignore the new feelings that were brewing inside of him. The ones that made him want to show her he wasn't just some rich jerk who was after one thing and one thing only. In a brief flash of memory, he saw the faces of the Death Eaters who were preparing to rape the girl. He would never be like them.
He sat up on his bed as she came to a halt at the bathroom door and turned to look at him. With an exasperated growl, he grabbed his pillow and put it in his lap to hide the tent that was set up there. This wasn't the time for wrong impressions.
“I just wanted to tell you that I would never force anyone to sleep with me,” Draco told her sincerely, shaking his head and hoping she didn't doubt his words. “I've never felt the need to do that.”
“I believe you,” she replied. Surprisingly, there was a teasing smile on her lips. “I mean, why would you need to force anyone? Who wouldn't want a piece of that?”
The amazing sound of his laughter followed her as she entered the bathroom. She looked at herself in the mirror, and saw her eyes twinkling and her mouth curving to a silly grin. She didn't know about other girls, but she sure as hell wanted a piece of Draco Malfoy.
* * *
If Alastor Moody had been paying attention to what the two were doing that morning, he would have found himself in world of confusion. Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy had never been friends at school, and they had only spent a little more than two weeks in the constant company of each other at various safe houses. Yet they seemed to have a lot of private jokes and shared experiences. The unlikely duo exchanged meaningful looks and knowing smiles all through the morning, entertaining themselves with something only they knew.
Yes, that would have made just about anyone confused. But Alastor Moody wasn't paying attention. He had been extremely busy keeping an eye of every inch of the Muggle house ever since he had started his shift after breakfast. Any evidence of anything out of the ordinary was completely lost on him.
* * *
“You studied Arithmancy back at Hogwarts, didn't you?” Hermione questioned Draco at lunch. They were alone in the kitchen.
“Yeah, I did. Why?”
“Well, I was just wondering if some of it could be applied to real life. Variable analysis, for example.”
He prompted her to go on with a nod of understanding.
“If you think about human behavior... Do you think it's possible to understand the reasons behind it if you observe separate actions carefully?”
Draco straightened his back and leaned against his chair. “What kind of behavior are we talking about?”
“I was actually thinking about you,” she replied, moving her knife around her plate casually. “About the way you've been acting lately.”
“And?” he raised an eyebrow. “Have the variables told you why I'm such an irresistibly charming young man?”
“That wasn't exactly what I was trying to find out,” Hermione corrected. “But it is interesting to think of why you would want to present yourself that way. To me, at least.”
“And why do you think that is?”
“It seems quite obvious, actually, but I wanted to gather some empirical evidence before jumping to conclusions,” she told him with a wry smile. “If I've interpreted the variables correctly – especially the rather significant one that...presented itself this morning – there might be an inkling towards some sort of physical interest.”
“That sounds about right,” Draco gave her a crooked smirk. “And if your conclusion happened to be correct... What would you say?”
Hermione considered her options for a moment. The opportunity was an interesting one, that was for sure. Draco was attractive and intelligent, and highly qualified for the job if she wanted to let go of logical reasoning and follow her needs instead. She just wasn't sure she wanted to do that. Surely it would help her relax if she could get rid of some of the tension in her body, but was it worth it? Was that all she wanted from him? Did she want to risk it going awry and spend Merlin knows how long in an awkward atmosphere?
She was just about to give her answer, when a loud greeting came from the lounge.
Neither of them were ready to let go of their time alone, but they had no choice. They barely had time to exchange a restless glance before the voices reached the kitchen.
“There you are, Hermione. Is there any food left?” Ron dropped his bag in the doorway and shuffled to sit down next to Hermione.
“There's plenty. Have some,” she replied, handing Ron the serving bowl.
He needn't be told twice. As he tucked in, Hermione heaved a small sigh and took a look at Harry and Ginny, who had also sat down at the table but weren't in such a rush to get to the food. Ginny had an interesting expression on her face, triumph mingled with curiosity, and Hermione looked away quickly. She knew she didn't want to hear whatever interpretations the redhead had about how she and Draco were sitting or what her sigh a moment ago had meant.
“So,” Harry coughed to clear his throat, “how are you?”
“I'm fine, Harry, thanks,” Hermione smiled.
“You...slept well and everything?”
“Uh... I did,” she assured, knowing her friend was probably worried about Draco hexing her in her sleep or something along the line. “Like a baby.”
None of her friends could possibly know which bed she'd slept so well in, but she was still worried. She risked a glance at Draco. He was staring at his plate intently as he ate, trying to keep the grin off of his face. As a result, he looked quite weird.
“What are you grimacing at?” Ron narrowed his eyes, misinterpreting the look on Draco's face. “You've a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in, that should make you happy.”
“Don't be stupid, Ron. Do you think he enjoys waking up in here?” She gave Draco a meaningful look. The corner of her mouth twitched a bit. “With a bunch of former enemies in the same...house?”
“It really is hard,” Draco assured with a serious nod. “I mean, just this morning... Wow. I really don't think it could get any harder than that.”
Hermione was having difficulties keeping her face straight. “It must have been painful.”
“Extremely so,” Draco shook his head as if trying to forget about the ”awful” memory. “But I'm still standing, so no worries.”
“Yeah...that's all very interesting,” Harry interrupted and then addressed Hermione. “What have you been up to in here?”
“We were actually having an interesting conversation on variables before the three of you arrived,” Draco told him before Hermione could answer. “We didn't have time to finish, though. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject later, Granger.”
“Ugh. I'm glad I never studied Arithmancy,” Ron shuddered.
“It's probably best you didn't – you would have been in way over your head, ” Draco quipped.
“No one asked for your opinion, nerd!”
“Calm down, boys,” Hermione soothed. “And Ron, don't insult people who like to study. It has never done you any good.”
The boy glared at Draco, but obeyed. Even though he didn't like it, he knew who Hermione would side with if he said anything more.
“Much better. I think I'm ready for dessert,” Hermione announced and reached for the dish in question. “Draco, would you like some pie?”
The blonde grinned widely. “Well, yeah – who wouldn't want a piece of that?”
Hermione had a beaming smile on her face as she cut a piece of apple pie for them both. She knew her behavior was bound to arouse suspicions, but at the moment she didn't care. As long as she could keep having her banters with Draco and no one asked too many questions, she would be happy.
A/N: Huge thanks to dracosgem for beta reading this chapter. :)
This chapter is one of my personal favorites, and I would love to hear what you thought about it. What do you think Hermione might do with the whole physical interest thing? Can she control herself, or will there be action? :D
Hope you enjoyed it!