Hermione paced her dormitory room. Thankfully, everyone was still hanging out in the common room so she had the space to herself. She kept glancing at the clock; it was very nearly an hour before curfew. Do I go, or don’t I? she thought for the hundredth time as she continued to pace. I know what he has in mind, so why in my right mind should I even consider going? He doesn’t care about me; he just wants a snogging partner, she thought angrily. No, that wasn’t exactly true, Hermione admitted to herself. Out of everyone she had met since coming back to Hogwarts, Malfoy seemed to be the only one who truly understood her. In his own odd way, he had gotten her to open up, cheered her up when she was down, and even got her to laugh on more than one occasion. That was something that had happened very rarely since the War.
However, this being pushed into broom closets and such had to stop. She wasn’t his plaything and she had no intention of becoming a notch in his belt.
And then a phrase echoed in her head: Meet me in the hallway between Slughorn’s office and the painting of the drunken monks if you’re as brave as I think you are.
She had made her decision. Before she changed her mind, she bolted out the door and quickly headed towards the hallway in question.
Malfoy had chosen well. The hallway was utterly deserted. Hermione was looking at the floor, debating whether or not she had made the right decision when a shadow fell across the floor. She looked up.
Malfoy was standing at the other end of the hallway with a mischievous grin on his face, his arms folded across his chest. “Ah. Granger, the brave little Gryffindor.”
At that moment, she decided that she wanted nothing more than to wipe that smug and diabolical grin off his face. He had gotten it into his head that she was a source of entertainment for him, and she wanted to make it abundantly clear that she most definitely was not.
She started to walk towards him. “See here, Malfoy,” she spat, pointing an accusatory finger at him, “I didn’t come here to snog you, if that’s what you think. I’m here to tell you that what happened between us was just an accident, nothing more. And it won’t be happening again!”
His eyebrows went up in mock disbelief. He was still grinning at her. “Is that so?”
“Yes, it is! I have a boyfriend, if you remember—“
“Oh, right, the Weaselby, your knight in shining armor who can’t be bothered enough to write a decent letter to his supposed girlfriend who fought alongside him during a Goddamn War. That’s rich.”
The remark totally disarmed her. Malfoy had effectively summed up exactly how she felt about the situation with Ron. She stared at him blankly, unable to refute what he had said.
He wasn’t going to allow her to retreat. “Am I right?” he demanded.
“Yes,” she admitted quietly.
“It’s like I said, Granger, people change. And maybe you could do a little better too, you know?”
Hermione continued to stare at him. Malfoy really did have the measure of her, she realized. He not only saw her for what she was, but he also saw what she was trying to hide and refused to let her do so. He continually demanded nothing less than one hundred percent honesty from her and always gave it back in return. She took a deep breath.
“I guess I should thank you for the letter,” she began.
His expression was shuttered. “Better than the Weasel’s, then?”
She looked down at his feet. “Yes,” she answered softly. She owed him the truth, so she looked back up at him and said in a rush, “I liked it, Draco.”
That did it. Saying his name seemed to ignite Malfoy; he grabbed her and pulled her close to him, kissing her passionately as his hands tangled through her hair and slid around her waist.
Hermione gave herself over to it and responded with equal enthusiasm. As his mouth opened against hers, she was the one to tentatively slide her tongue against his. Her hands wound around the back of his neck and in his hair; it was as soft as it looked. “Hermione,” she heard him moan softly as they both came up for breath. He pulled her even closer and he began to kiss her neck as she felt his hand gently squeeze her bum.
Hermione jumped away from Malfoy as if he were a troll. He had bent over and was trying to detach Mrs. Norris’ claws from his leg. “Ow! Bloody cat, get off!”
Hermione couldn’t help it; it was so ridiculous that she started to laugh. Malfoy was now attempting to kick the cat across the hall, but Mrs. Norris was holding fast onto his calf. “Don’t just stand there laughing, damn it! Help me!”
She was now laughing so hard that tears were rolling down her face. “Okay, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she said between giggles, flapping her hands. She pulled her wand out of her pocket and pointed it at the cat. “Expelliarmus!” she gasped, still giggling.
The cat’s claws retracted immediately. She hunched her back at Malfoy and Hermione and hissed loudly, then skittered off down the hall.
Hermione instantly sobered. “That means Filch won’t be far behind,” she turned to Malfoy. “We’d better get going.”
Malfoy had an evil grin playing at the corners of his mouth. “You sure?”
Hermione blushed furiously, but refused to let him goad her any further. “We also have curfew to contend with,” she added. It was getting to be a little too much for her—she had to go before she did something she’d really regret.
Malfoy sighed and then nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. Come on, you'd better back to your dorm, like a good girl.” With a smirk, he took her hand and together they hurried off down the hallway.
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