Draco Malfoy was casually meandering round the Grand Entrance looking the part of chaperon as tittering students made their way excitedly into the Great Hall. He caught sight of himself in one of the large ornate mirrors and stopped to view his appearance.
He was impeccably clad, in new tailored dress robes of the finest wool and cashmere. The suit was black of course, and his shirt of white silk was accented marvelously by his silver satin tie. His necktie presented with the perfect dimple directly below the middle of the knot, his platinum cufflinks shone in the torchlight and his silver blond hair was understatedly perfect in every respect. The fringe that made its way into his eyes so often was swept away to the side. A glint of smile tugged at his lips. Not only because he admired his flawless hair, but because he recalled, with much ardor, how Hermione Granger’s hands fisted it so desperately that very morning while he had feasted on her luscious bosom.
Draco was aching to see her again and had anticipated watching her descend the Grand staircase all afternoon. Already, he had decided to put on his charming, blasé face in order to hide his anxious need for the evening to be over. Over—so he could sweep Hermione back to his suite and pick up where they left off. She was his undoing. He had been with quite a few girls in school, and various women while on the run, but never had he felt such unrelenting desire for a woman as he did for Hermione. Their little teaser that very morning had left him churning inside all day. He nearly thought he was going to lose himself with that first unforgettable stroke. The need, the hunger, which rose within him, was nearly suffocating. He simply must have her tonight or he’d be sure to self combust.
Pleased as he was with his apparel, he couldn’t help but wonder if he should have worn some green. As he continued to contemplate, something caught his eye moving behind his reflection. Hermione came into view and a sharp intake of air caught in Draco’s throat.
“Please, don’t stop admiring yourself. There’s much to be admired.” Her velvety tone broke over him as he watched her in the mirror move closer.
Finding his voice, he spoke in a low, throaty tone, “You take my breath away.”
“Well don’t pass out on me. I fully expect you to be standing at attention for a good part of this evening.”
He smirked at her attempt at sexual humor while taking in her figure. She wore a deep emerald green satin gown that flowed like liquid silk down her body. The dress was sleeveless and form fitting as it caressed her hips and flared at the ankle. Best of all it featured a slit up the side that had his mouth watering. The plunging neckline revealed a tempting little peak of her breasts which teased him unmercifully. He turned from the mirror to see the real vision before him.
“You wore green.”
She smiled at him and he felt complete. “Come to me,” he beckoned and she floated toward him. She wore silver satin elbow length gloves which Draco noticed matched his tie perfectly.
He took her gloved hand and pressed his mouth to her fingers, never tearing his eyes from the deep brown pools that flickered and danced with merriment. Draco lifted her hand leading her in a pirouette, so he could appreciate a full view. The rear of the dress plunged as well, giving an outstanding view of the gentle curve of her back. The effect was truly alluring but still tasteful for the evening as a chaperone.
“You’re a vision.” He breathed, embracing her in his arms and pulling her to the shadows under the staircase. The heat from his whisper tickled her ear.
Hermione gazed longingly up at him. “And you are as well.”
“I had some very nice visions of you earlier this morning…in my shower.” He kissed her cheek, her temple and buried his nose in the curls that were piled high on her head.
A faint blush appeared on Hermione’s cheeks. “And how does the real me compare to your visions.
He drew away to gaze at her. “There is nothing on this earth that compares with you, warm and welcoming, in my arms. Not one damn thing.”
His lips were a breath away and before she could protest, he kissed her deeply. His mouth consumed her, hot and hungry and his wanton groan sent spirals of sensations to her center. She felt her neck and chest flush, felt the heat rise in her cheeks. Draco angled his head to the other side, his tongue, enticing and tantalizing, gave the promise of pleasures to come. He was pulling her very soul into him with this one, adoring kiss.
With a will of the mind, she pushed at his strong chest and gasped, “Draco, the students…”
“What strange magic do you beguile me with, Granger?” He played with the soft tendrils of hair the spilled from her coiffure and nuzzled the crook of her bare neck biting down playfully, and then tasting with a flick of his tongue. He seemed oblivious to the fact that a fellow teacher or a student could, at any moment happen upon them in the shadows under the staircase.
“Merlin, but you are sweet…you must let me taste you tonight, Hermione. All of you. Don’t make me beg. I know you’ll like it.”
A pulsing heat coursed through her veins, threatening to overcome her. An aching, empty feeling settled in her lower belly and she pressed her body flush to his. The full hardened length of him pressed into her stomach and his breath hitched.
“What are you doing to me, my little vixen? Let’s get the hell out of here. I need you so much— I can’t wait any longer.” Draco’s eyes were dark and glazed, mirroring Hermione’s heavy, desire induce stare.
She pulled from him and clasped his hand with hers, pulling him from the darkened stairwell and briskly moved to the flight of steps.
Minerva McGonagall’s clipped voice halted their next strides. “Professor Granger—Professor Malfoy—into the Hall with the both of you. I need all chaperons in their places. Granger, you’re by the refreshment table; Malfoy, you’re by the terrace entrance. I want no spiking of the punch and no hanky panky in the bushes beyond the terrace.” Fast footfalls echoed behind her as she retreated to tend to some other matter.
“You heard her, Granger. Don’t even think about spiking the punch.”
“Ha! And you don’t even think of taking me to the bushes.”
“The bushes? No, we’re going to my suite. The bushes would have been nice in fifth year…Ouch!”
Hermione pinched his bum.
“Why did you pinch me again? That really hurts, Granger. I already have a bruise from this morning.”
“You were being lewd.”
“You think I’m being sexually offensive?”
“That is the definition of lewd.”
“And you weren’t being lewd earlier, with your ‘standing at attention’ comment?”
Silence and an arched eyebrow were her reply.
“Well then, Miss Know-It-All, come away with me and let me show you some sexual gratification instead.”
“You’re still being lewd, and unless you stop I will be forced to pinch your arse yet again.”
“E-now, if you pinch my arse yet again, I will be forced to think you’re being physically abusive, boarding on sexually abusive and I must say…I like that idea very much.”
Hermione stifled an uproarious laugh to a snorting giggle. “Go. To the veranda with you.”
“I will find you later for a dance. And no dancing with Potter before me. On second thought no dancing with Potter-period.”
Hermione shook her head and rolled her eyes as Draco strode away toward the terrace. When she had seen him standing in the entryway, her toes nearly curled in her silver peep toe pumps. He was drop dead, wet in the knickers, gorgeous. If McGonagall hadn’t stopped them, Hermione knew she’d be with him in his room right this moment doing sinfully wonderful things.
She turned to head toward the refreshment table, contemplating the evening ahead with Draco, when she vaguely heard a familiar voice.
“Hermione, you look fantastic! But … a bit flushed. Are you feeling okay?” Ginny Weasley beamed at her friend. “Wait. Wasn’t your dress ruby colored?”
“Thank you! Yes and … yes.” She was gushing, giddy really. “Yes, I feel fine—I changed my dress color at the last minute—I thought Draco would appreciate the emerald green…” she lowered her voice. “Speaking of Draco, he and I were just snogging under the Grand staircase… and we were heading up to his room to, you know, when McGonagall headed us off and—well, I think tonight’s our night!”
Ginny beamed at Hermione. “Oh luv, I hope you have a wonderful evening. You really deserve to be happy … after everything with Ron … Draco had better treat you well. I’ve hexed him before and I’d do it again, if necessary.”
The girls laughed once more. Suddenly, Hermione turned serious. “Gin, you know everything that went on with me and Ron, ‘the love of my life’? Well, it’s made it hard for me to move on … with Draco and well, I need to talk to him about it. That is before we … go any further in our relationship.”
Ginny nodded sympathetically.
Draco stood listening, concealed behind an ornately decorated Christmas tree. He hadn’t meant to eavesdrop, he had just stopped to admire Hermione’s shapely little bottom swaying beneath emerald green silk. It was then that Little Red showed up and he had enjoyed hearing Hermione gush about their little snogging session.
It was more than he’d bargained for however, to hear her speak of Ron Weasley. Her words had him a bit confused and he wasn’t quite sure what the Weasel King had to do with their almost-relationship. What had happened between the two of them? If they’d been together at one time, she couldn’t still have feelings for him, could she? Draco squelched the renegade questions which raced through head, straining to hear more.
“I really need to tell Draco how I feel, especially if we get into a … physical relationship—oh, hello Harry.” Hermione blushed and Ginny sighed.
“Hermione. You look nice.” Harry leaned in and kissed her cheek lightly.
“Thank you, Harry. You’re looking spiffy as well.” She glanced at Ginny and they both giggled like school girls.
Harry eyed them suspiciously. “Right. Well, then…I’ll be off to my assigned post … see you both later.”
Cursing Potter under breath, Draco stalked to the terrace doors. What was this business with the Weasel? He decided to put it aside for now, and wait for Hermione to bring it up. Nothing was going to keep them apart. Not Potter, not Weasley, and not his bloody mission either.
Hermione drifted away to the punch table and Ginny to the Hall entrance. The Hall was gloriously decorated. Silver and gold candles floated high overhead. The enchanted ceiling resembled the aurora borealis as streams and arches of colored lights washed above like a giant moving watercolor painting. Tiny fairly lights glittered here and there, as sparkling glimmers shone all around.
The Head Girl and Head Boy began the formal dancing and soon the other students joined in. The dance lessons from Neville and Luna proved adequate; the students did a fine job. Hermione smiled to herself recalling the lesson. Draco had danced her into a stupor, almost kissed her, then chased her down and told her loved her. She shifted her eyes in the direction of the French doors leading to the terrace to find Draco gazing intently at her. She knew he must be thinking of the same thing as she.
Without breaking eye contact he strode to her through the throng of students, clasped her hand and led her to the dance floor. Sweeping her into his arms, he kept them in a formal dance hold, with quite a respectable amount of distance between their bodies.
“Granger, you are once again, the loveliest girl at this ball.”
“Thank you, Malfoy. And you are, once again, the best dressed boy at this ball.”
She smirked at him and he chuckled, “Touché.”
His tongue darted out to wet his bottom lip; he was itching to kiss her, she knew, and the way his fingers were stroking the small of her back ever so slightly was driving her mad.
“What are you thinking, Hermione?” His grey eyes held a yearning, rivaling the craving need that shone in her brown ones.
“I’m thinking of how much I want to kiss you …” she leaned in and in a thick whisper continued, “… and lick that spot right below your earlobe that makes you crazy …”
With a groan Draco pulled her close and brushed his lips against her ear. “Your going to cause a very public display of affection, that may just get us both fired, if you keep teasing me like that. Let’s take a walk on the terrace and see if the bushes are unoccupied.”
Hermione laughed and followed him out on the terrace as he requested. It was a beautiful, chilly evening. The bare limbed trees were glazed with ice, giving the illusion that they were made of glass. Even the evergreens had a frozen coating making them seem like crystal statues. Fairy lights, shimmered silvery glints against the night sky, but Hermione did not notice. She only saw the silver shinning in Draco’s eyes.
“Alone at last …” His lips brushed her bare neck sending shivers done her spine. “Cold?” he whispered, wrapping his arms round her tightly.
“A bit …” she murmured into the warm hollow of his throat.
“Here …” Draco took his wand, cast a warming spell around the two of them, and asked, “Better?”
“Almost.” She replied placing her satin-gloved hands on each of his cheeks and pulling his lips to her waiting mouth, she gave him a light, teasing kiss. “Mmm, that’s much better now.”
“Granger, you are going to come to my suite tonight, aren’t you? I want you to spend the night with me. I want to wake up with you staring at me holding a steaming mug of—ouch!” She had smacked him in the shoulder—hard. “You are so violent. Are all Gryffindors’ this vicious?”
Ignoring his silly questions, she implored, “Are you asking me to be your girlfriend?”
Draco looked bemused. He thought that went without saying. He was silent for a moment, recalling briefly the conversation he’d overheard. Speaking with caution, he prodded, “Is that what you want; to be my girlfriend?”
Hermione scowled and began to draw away from him. She knew he was teasing her, but she wanted this to be a serious discussion.
Draco’s mind shifted into overdrive. Oh shite. What did I say wrong? He tightened his embrace. “Yes, I’m asking you to be … my girl.” He tilted her chin up, forcing her to look in his eyes. “Hermione Granger, will you be my girl? My only girl?”
Her face softened and she sucked in her bottom lip trying to hide a brilliant smile. She coyly averted her eyes, making him wait for her answer.
“Well? You minx, you seductress, you vixen … you’ve reduced me to begging.” He lowered himself down on one knee clasping her hands in his. “Please, Granger, be my girl. Come back to my room and stay the night with me. I promise to do mad, wonderful, unspeakable things to you and …”
“Get up!” She looked embarrassed and tried pulling him back to his feet.
“No. Not until you pledge your undying love for me.”
“Draco, please …”
“Oh … I remember those very words from your mouth just this morning …”
“Draco! Get up!”
“Just tell me you love me and I will.”
She made to walk away but he grabbed her hips holding her in place. “Granger, I’m just joking …” He stood, trailing his fingers up her sides and round her back. “Don’t be so serious all the time.” He dipped his head to nip her lips but she turned and pushed against his chest.
“Well, to me sex … and love are serious … and they go together in my book.”
“Hey … you own a book? Do you like books, Hermione?”
She let out an exasperated strangled sound and pushed harder against him. “Can’t you be serious?”
Holding more tightly, Draco searched her face with concern. “Remember what I said about waiting for you? I meant it. I just thought after this morning … well, I thought you were ready to be with me. And I assure you, I’ve never been more serious about anything.” Suddenly, he was struck by the most unpleasant thought.
“You don’t want to sleep with me, do you? Because you’re not in love with me—is that it?”
“No. I mean, yes … I mean, I don’t know … I … it’s just …” Her eyes filled with tears and she turned away for him ashamed of letting him see her cry.
He should have been gentler with his words, more understanding but he wasn’t. “Well, what the bloody hell is it then? Why are you stringing me along!? For Merlin’s sake, Hermione—I’ve made no pretense about wanting you! Now I deserve some answers. What the hell is keeping you from being with me? Is it Potter? What?”
She turned back to him with her arms wrapped round herself. She was shaking but not from being cold. It was from the apprehension of what she was about to tell him. “It’s … It has to do with … Ron.”
“Sorry?” Draco couldn’t have heard that right.
“What! That stupid shite, Weaselby?” No. No, he could not lose Hermione to that soddy wanker who didn’t deserve her.
Hermione closed her eyes and nodded, more tears spilling done her cheeks. “Yes, but just listen to me—”
“You’re still in love with that stupid bastard, aren’t you?!”
“Draco, no, look—”
“This certainly clears things up a bit for me.” He gave her a nasty glare and sneer. His face clouded over with darkness and for the first time in a long while, Hermione saw the reminiscence of the Draco she knew in school.
“Wait, Draco, you misunderstand me.” She touched his arm.
Draco recoiled from her touch, no longer listening, his anger was paramount. “Far be it from me, Hermione, to ask you to choose me over the pathetic ‘love of your life.’ In fact, I’ll make this choice easy for you.” His voice was clipped and haughty. “I’m walking away; before you can walk away from me again—or should I say run away from me.” He snorted with disgust.
“Draco!” She grabbed his forearm and he jerked it from her grasp.
“Don’t touch me!” He glared at her and she dared not touch him again.
“I don’t want to choose …,” she whimpered, shaking her head violently.
Draco’s face now hid all emotion and he glared down at her with well practiced indifference. “I’m weary of this game, Granger. As far as I’m concerned you’ve already made your choice. The wrong choice, but it’s your loss.” He made to stalk away into the Hall from the veranda, but not before Hermione had her say.
She was incensed with his ignorance and stubbornness and she exploded. “And WHAT would you know of RIGHT choices, Draco Malfoy! YOU—who chose to attempt murder on Albus Dumbledore; YOU—who chose to ally yourself with Death Eaters breaching Hogwarts, endangering the lives of so many innocent people! Tell me, would you have, if Snape hadn’t beaten you to it— would you have committed murder? Or are you too much of a coward to even do that? Running away and hiding for the last five years … hiding— while we fought the evil that your family helped resurrect!”
With a snarl and bared teeth Draco lunged forward grabbing her arms with such force Hermione cried out and fresh bruises marred her creamy skin.
“Shut your bloody mouth! Is that what you think, then?” His eyes were full of furry yet his sneering, mask of a face hid the searing pain her words had inflicted upon him.
She refused to answer and obstinately turned her head away. It infuriated him and he shook her with barley controlled rage.
“Look at me!” He grabbed her face in one hand, forcing her to meet his gaze.
“DO YOU THINK ME A COWARD, CAPABLE OF MURDER?”
She now glared back at him, capturing the intensity of his stare, magnifying it back into his eyes. “Are you? Are you capable of murdering a defenseless man?”
Draco let her go instantly as if having just touched fire. He ran a shaking hand through his locks and turning from her, he chuckled then, laughed. “This is the real crux of it, is it not? That night on the Astronomy tower, the night I made the biggest mistake of my life?”
Her eyes narrowed as she tried to catch his meaning.
“I told you, I knew I couldn’t do it. I’ve told you I’m sorry for all the terrible things I’ve done … and darling,” he added sarcastically, “I’ve NEVER told another soul—alive or dead—that I was sorry.”
He faced her once again, this time the pain and remorse flickered behind his eyes, betraying his façade. “And I’ve … I’ve never told anyone I loved them, only you.”
Hermione dropped her gaze to her wringing hands which plucked at the front of her gown. She stood staring at her shoes, watching as they blurred under the veil of stinging tears that came unbidden.
“Draco,” she whispered, as a chill swept round her trembling body. “What I was trying to say is … I don’t love Ron. He was my first … and he slept with me, and then ended it. He cheated with another wo—”
Hermione had looked up and felt shock ripple through her. She was talking to thin air; where Draco had stood only moments before was only the night breeze and empty space.
It mimicked the aching hole she felt in her heart. The coldness she felt inside mirrored the swirling winter wind that whipped about, biting the bare skin of her arms and shoulders. When Draco had left her standing there alone, his warming spell had been broken, along with her heart. She sank to the cold flagstone floor and cried.
“Hermione, are you out here?” Hermione heard a tinny voice echo in her ears. She was numb, in every sense of the word. She had not known how long she had sat, staring out into the winter landscape of the Hogwarts grounds.
“Hermione!” Ginny rushed to her friends’ side. “Where have you—have you been out here this whole—my word, your frozen!” She rubbed her tiny little hands up and down Hermione’s shoulders vigorously. “What the bloody hell went on with you and Draco? I just asked Neville if he’d seen you and he said no, but had seen Draco had leave twenty minutes ago. Hermione! Can you even hear me?” Ginny’s voice rose with fear.
“Yes.” She replied wearily. How only one word could hold so much defeat and sorrow, Ginny would never know.
“Tell me. What happened?”
Hermione turned her stunned gaze to Ginny at last. “I’ve ruined everything. I pushed Draco away, so far away this time. I … I called him a coward, a murderer, a traitor.”
Ginny’s face crumpled in regret and something akin to guilt.
“What Gin? I really have a way with men, you know that.” Hermione laughed bitterly. “I tried to tell him about Ron and he misunderstood. He thinks I chose Ron over him.”
This time Hermione burst out laughing, like a madwoman.
“Hermione, don’t hate me for … for what I’m about to say.”
The insane chortling seized in Hermione’s throat. “What? Why would I—how could I ever hate you?”
“Merlin, forgive me,” Ginny muttered. “Right, well, Harry … Harry talks in his sleep and …”
“And over the past few weeks, at night … in his sleep, he’s been going on about Draco and the Order of the Phoenix, so I got him to tell me, uh … through my feminine wiles, what on earth he’d been talking about.”
Hermione’s respiration raced and the feeling was coming back into her body. An unpleasant heat seeped down her back and settled in the pit of her stomach causing a powerful nausea that she struggled to contain. She could not speak, for if she opened her mouth she was sure she would retch.
“Hermione, I only just found out. Harry swore me to secrecy- I, oh Merlin; I wanted to tell you as soon as I knew.” Ginny took a deep breath and steeled herself against Hermione’s legendary wrath. “Draco was the spy for the Order during the war; he is the one who helped filter the detailed intelligence that helped Harry bring Voldemort down.”
Hermione jumped up, so fast that her mind spun and everything whirled before her eyes. She stumbled and Ginny caught her arm, steadying her. “I know it’s a lot to take in …”
“Harry. Where is he?” The levelness in Hermione’s voice unnerved Ginny.
“Oh, Hermione—he was only doing what Minerva asked of him.”
“Minerva? Minerva told Harry, but not me? I bloody went to her- asked her myself!”
“I…Hermione, I don’t know what is gong on but—”
“He’s at the table with Luna and Neville. Hermione. Please, Harry would never hurt you…”
It was too late; Hermione didn’t hear Ginny’s pleas. She was rushing inside to find Harry.
“Harry James Potter— get your sorry arse up and follow me, NOW!”
Harry and everyone else at the table stared, mouths agape at the wild eyed woman, who stood breathing down his neck.”
“Are you bloody deaf?! MOVE!” She grabbed the shoulder of his dress robes and yanked him up from his seat.
“What the—” He suspected what was coming. Inevitable as it was he still resented the repulsiveness of it. Ginny had told her, as he knew she would and all hell was about to break lose. To preserve some of his dignity Harry appeased Hermione and followed her into the small room of the Great Hall.
A/N: this chapter is dedicated to my wonderful, fantastic, brilliant beta: BuffyXO. You know I adore you! Thank you for all your time, insight (and eavesdropping idea!!)