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Chapter 2: Uneasy
Made by obviously394 at TDA
She could taste her desire to beat Malfoy on the tip of her tongue like some tangy fruit. Many times before she had wanted to shove it in his face that he wasn’t the master of everything, much to his disillusion, but this time she had a fantastic excuse. A game, he had said. A game of deceit. Surely others could be just as deceiving, if not more so, than the great Draco Malfoy. And she was determined to prove just that. Yes, Hermione Granger wanted to beat Malfoy at his game so badly she was willing to bet anything that she could. Of course she was aware that certain bets were bad ones and she couldn’t help but wonder if this was one of those times that it would have been safer to just walk away.
As soon as their host had left the room she had taken the opportunity to glance around the room at the people who had been her friends for many years. Could each of them lie their way through this game? Or would they all fall under the waves that Malfoy was undoubtedly trying to create and fail at their ultimate goal?
Neville, for one, was a person she couldn’t actually imagine being good at this game. As meek as he had always been she was sure that the moment he had to prove he could deceive others he would stumble over his words and be found out. Of course, the was always the chance that he could surprise her and in fact be good at this little game.
And what was Malfoy’s ultimate goal? Was it, like Harry insisted, that he wanted to prove himself a better liar than the rest of them? After all Malfoy had always been one to try to show people up at every turn. Or was he hoping to rip apart each of their lives? With lies, she reasoned, often came hidden truths. Would this game in fact reveal things about each of them they were all desperate to hide?
Malfoy wanted to destroy each of them in his own way, of this she was certain. How, however, was he ultimate question. One that she couldn’t seem to find an answer to.
When Malfoy had first left the room there had been a hush that had fallen over it. Now, with his presence long gone, the room had errupted into lively discussions on how the hell the game was to be played to begin with. Surely there had to be rules, right? But if there were they had not been privy to them. The next day, perhaps, they would be let in on the fundamentals on what was and was not allowed.
Or maybe there were no rules. That, she figured, was much more Malfoy’s style. Simply to have a goal and no boundaries when it came to how you could go about accomplishing said goal. It would make this game so much more fun for him if he could see just how far people were willing to go to win. And who would go beyond their usual selves to prove themselves more apt at lying than Malfoy himself? Harry obviously wasn’t in the mood to lose to him, and with Ron’s hatred for the Malfoy clan she couldn’t see him backing down either. She herself was looking forward to trying to gain an advantage over them, trying to figure out how to get into each other their head and make them believe whatever lies she could manage to come up with. Would she be able to accomplish this? She herself couldn’t even be absolutely certain.
Once the sound in the room had reached a point where she was beginning to get a headache she decided it was time to excuse herself. She carefully slipped out of the room, sliding herself through the small she made as she pulled the door open, hoping not to attract attention with her departure. Even going that far the noise level seemed to dull itself.
“Going somewhere, Granger?” Her gaze fell on Malfoy, leaning carelessly against he wall across the hall. Had he been listening in to the dull chaos he had started in the room? He must have been deriving great pleasure from all this. “I thought you were going to play the game.”
“I am going to play.” Her voice left little room for argument. “I just don’t want to sit and listen to them all talk at once. I’ll wind up with a headache.”
“Of course. And then you wouldn’t be on top of your game in the morning, would you? And I so want you to be able to do your best.” It was hard to tell whether or not he was being serious. “So, you decided to explore instead of sitting there?”
“I just wanted to get away from the noise.”
“I see.” He pushed himself off of the wall with a fluid grace that startled her. He was like an animal stalking prey. Was he sizing her up, trying to see if she was worthy enough to call competetion? Or was he just trying to make her feel uncomfortable enough that she wasn’t going to be able to play the game to the best of her abilities? “Would you like to have a look around?”
“I have nothing to hide, Granger. And what kind of a host would I be if I weren’t nice enough to show my guests around?”
“You’d be yourself”
“Very true. Come along then.” He beckoned her over with a smooth flick of his wrist, long fingers curling in an unmistakable motion that meant for her to follow him. “I’ll lead you to the room that was set up for you. The others will be lead to theirs later.”
“Not by you, I take it.”
“Naturally. But since you so rudely abandoned your friends I think you should be rewarded by a personal escort. Come along now. I’m not going to wait forever.”
She set her jaw, determined not to let him get to her. She knew it was entirely impossible not to get annoyed by Malfoy’s mere presence, but she wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction of knowing he annoyed her so much. So she straightened her back and with as much of her pride as she could muster up she strode over to him in even steps, not allowing herself to even look half as annoyed as she felt.
The edge of his lip curled as though he were rather amused by the fact she was putting on a show for him. He turned to lead her down the long corridors, the length of his hair moving with each step he took. She wondered, very briefly, if it was soft or not. It looked shiny enough to be, but looks could be decieving and she certainly wasn’t planning on finding out the answer to said question.
“Here you are, Granger.” He stopped in front of an open door making a sweeping motion, putting it on display. “Your temporary home, as it were. I’m sure you’ll find it to your liking.”
She ducked around him to peer into the room. As dark as it was she could make out heavy maroon drapery on the windows and a huge wooden bed in the room. It was, she admitted, a lovely room. But she wasn’t about to offer up that opinion.
“Does it meet your standards, Granger?”
She stepped into the room, gazing around as though she were intent on deciding whether or not it was in fact acceptable. Then, clasping her hands behind her back she turned to look at him, face blank. “I suppose this will do.”
The edge of his mouth curled into what threatened to be a smile, yet he resisted. “Good to hear it.” He stepped into the room like a panther, all elegant and stalking movements. “This room belonged to the mistress of my great-great-grandfather.”
“His mistress lived with him?”
“Of course. Then he could go to her whenever he wanted.” The edge of his mouth twitched. “Why would he have let her live somewhere else?”
“Most people don’t bring their mistress into their home.”
“His wife knew he had a mistress, of course. But he wanted her to be close to him. He enjoyed her being around.”
“You mean he enjoyed shagging her?”
“Well, yes, I’m sure he did, but that wasn’t what I meant, Granger. He actually enjoyed her being around.”
“He cared for her then?”
“Yes. You might even go so far as to say he loved her.”
“A Malfoy loving another person? I didn’t think that was possible.”
“It isn’t as though we don’t feel things.” He faced her, pressing his back against the big wooden dresser next to the door. “We actually feel all the emotions that everyone else feel, Granger. We just don’t show it as often as other people.”
“But a Malfoy in love? Honestly.”
“My father cares for my mother a great deal. Perhaps he even loves her.”
“You don’t know if he does?”
“It has never been an issue of great concern to me, to be completely honest.”
“Is this all part of the game?” She folded her arms across her chest, eyes narrowing in on the arroagant man in front of her. “Are you starting out your lies already?”
“No, Granger. This isn’t part of the game. And if this had been a lie, surely I could think of a better one.”
“Then why tell me all of this if it isn’t part of the game?”
“I thought this room would suit you.”
“Is that your subtle way of calling me a whore?”
He shrugged elegantly, like the answer didn’t really matter. “Take it how ever you wish to, Granger. It doesn’t bother me.” He ran his fingers along the dark wood of the dresser, eyes locked intently on hers. “No one mentioned a whore but you yourself. Guilty conscience? Shagging Potter and Weasley are you?”
“Who I am or am not shagging is none of your concern, Malfoy.”
“I’ll take that as a yes then.”
“And you’d be wrong.”
Now his trademark smirk curled his mouth up. “You just answered my question, Granger.”
Shit, she thought. The prat tricked me. “I was defending myself,” she hissed. “No girl in her right mind wants to be called a whore when she sure as hell isn’t one. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Being so sensitive you’re going to lose this game, Granger. If someone can get to you that easily how do you expect to make it very far?”
“I’ll hold my own.”
“I’m sure you’ll try. So…tell me, Granger…” Malfoy pushed himself away from the dresser, moving towards her in a motion that could be described in no other way except gliding until he was right in front of her, cold eyes locked intently on her face. “Who was your first shag?”
She set her jaw, refusing to give into her desire to slap him. He was trying to get a rise out of her and if she hit him then that would mean he won. And she’d be damned before she’d let him win. Not then and certainly not that little game of his. No, she wouldn’t hit him, nor would she let him know how much his question angered her. She would remain civil, level. Maybe if she did it would unnerve him. “That’s none of your business, Malfoy,” she answered evenly, meeting his eyes with open defiance.
“Humor me, Granger.”
“I think not. Some things should remain private.”
“Does that mean you’re still a virgin, Granger? Couldn’t find anyone who’d shag you?”
“Still not your business,” she reminded him. “My sex life is not open for discussion.”
“I think you’re ashamed to admit you shagged the weasel. Am I right?” His gaze was intense enough where she took a deep breath, trying to control her emotions, her breathing. She hated that he was standing that close to her, his breath warm on her face and making the strands of unruly hair that refused to stay off of her face rub against her face. “You and Weasley, right?”
“Stop asking me, Malfoy. I’m not going to answer you.”
“And that is an answer enough for me.” His hand slowly moved towards her face, eyes remaining locked on hers. “You’re ashamed. I would be too were I you. Then again, were I you I never would have let Weasley touch me.” He turned his hand just in front of her face and pressed his thumb against her bottom lip, dragging the pad of it across. It was such an intimate touch that she gasped, making that insufferable smirk come back onto his face. “Problem, Granger?”
“Not at all.”
“Then why do you look so flustered?”
Do I? she wondered. Do I look flustered? No, he’s just being a prat. There is no way that Draco Malfoy flusters me. “I’m not flustered,” she said. “You must be hallucinating things.”
“Oh, I assure you, Granger, I’m not hallucinating anything. You’re flustered. Rather amusing actually.” The pad of his thumb ran over her bottom lip again, his eyes faling down to follow their trail. “You normally would have pulled away from me by now. You do hate me, after all.”
“You normally wouldn’t have touched someone like me to begin with.”
“Oh, but I do love seeing your reactions. Touching someone like you is worth it for that amusement. Now, why aren’t you pulling away?”
“Practicing?” Slowly his face was getting closer to hers to the point where she wondered how their noses weren’t brushing. “Practicing for what?”
“The game. Trying to figure out how to keep my composure when the others are going to make me angry.”
His head tilted to the side and the panicky side of her brain screamed that he was going to kiss her. Well, that and that he had obviously gone nutter since they were in school together. “Granger?”
She gulped, his mouth a breath away from hers. “Yes?”
“There’s no way you’re going to win the game.” He smirked and turned his head quickly, his lips barely brushing against hers and strode out of the room never even glancing behind him.
She pressed a hand against her chest, feeling her heart pounding against it.
He had won this round.
She was determined to win the war.