Chapter 1 : Wicked Game
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He watched her play his captive. For once, he had control over her. Disobey him, and he could do anything he wanted to her. There was nothing in her power that she could do to be freed – she had no power here.
He glanced at her, watching her struggle with the cords that bound her. How weak she was without her wand and her precious books! She was his to devour if he wanted to. And the best part was, she wouldn’t even resist. She knew what would happen if she did that.
For Draco, this simple task of watching over the Death Eaters’ latest pawn was turning out to be much more appetizing than he had thought it would. The very sight of Hermione Granger helpless made his heart pound. How he had longed to be there when that finally happened. Now his wish was fulfilled, and he lazily stretched his arms, content to the bone.
Now that his authority had been established, he really started looking at her. At the soft curls of her hair, their brown glowing golden in the light from the cellar’s torches. The fear in her eyes as she looked at him, knowing she was at his mercy and afraid of what he could do to her. Her parted lips, her heavily escaping breath. His silver eyes raked over the beads of sweat appearing on the tantalizing glimpse her robes gave of her breasts.
Draco smirked as she caught him looking and hurriedly jostled her robes higher up. She turned her face away from him, as if loss of eye contact would keep him away from her. Not likely. Just because he couldn’t see it anymore didn’t mean he didn’t know what he had before him.
Still smirking, Draco stood up.
At once, Hermione’s eyes flashed to his. He detected a look of derision in them, like she couldn’t take anymore. Which, incidentally, what exactly what Draco wanted. He wanted to break her down, either till she was begging to be freed or till she submitted to him willingly.
“Don’t touch me.” Her voice was broken, but the command in it rendered him speechless for a brief moment. Looking in her eyes, Draco saw something more than fear. He saw fierceness. Even in this condition, knowing he was seconds away from destroying her, she had the nerve to tell him what to do.
He moved his fingers from her curls to the canvas of white they lay upon, covered with a slick sheen of sweat.
“And if I do?” he whispered, moving close to her pale face.
She hesitated. That one pause was enough to confirm that the show of bravado was merely a show. Hermione Granger knew perfectly well that for once, Draco Malfoy had beaten her. He watched her with a piercing gaze; he could almost see her mind whirring.
Finally, Hermione sighed.
“I can’t do anything,” she whispered.
Draco smirked. “Glad you’ve caught on, Granger.” He could feel her pulse quicken as he slithered his fingers over the front of her robes. He could also feel her trying to resist what he was trying to do. Hermione’s teeth were gritted, her eyes fixed at the wall behind him. Her fists were curled up tightly, and her body tensed. Now, Draco couldn’t have that.
“Look at me.” He caught her face between his hands. Taken aback, Hermione looked into his eyes. Brown met silver as they gazed at each other, both momentarily dazed with the intensity between them. Without missing a beat, Draco grazed Hermione’s parted lips with his own.
Hermione gasped at his touch, and responded his probing lips by kissing him more deeply than he’d ever been kissed before. In return, Draco pushed against her body, fighting to regain control over his own self. He was shocked by the emotional high he felt at that moment; a high that was making him forget that this was supposed to be a game. He reached out and, with a wave of his wand, untied her wrists.
“I don’t want to stop.” Draco was surprised at the hoarseness of his voice. But he was even more surprised at what he had just said to her. She was too, judging by her suddenly widened eyes and open mouth.
“Oh,” she said softly, looking at him with a million unsaid things in her eyes. “But we should stop. If they find you here…”
Draco shrugged. “I was sent here to watch over you anyway,” he said.
Hermione looked at him like he was daft. “Yes, to watch over me. Not to…do what we were just doing.”
He cocked a perfect platinum-blond eyebrow. “So?”
“So, obviously, if anyone walks in right now, they’re not going to think you were watching over me. What would you have thought if you found me here with someone else?”
Draco felt his heart thud faster when she said that. Of course no one else would be with her. She was his.
No, I don’t want to fall in love.
For the second time, he caught himself thinking about Hermione as though he cared about her. Draco shook his head, like a dog trying to get water out of its ears. Physical, he thought. That’s all it was. Physical. He was only human, and a man at that. He couldn’t be held responsible for what had just happened a moment ago. Hermione was a woman, a womanly woman underneath those bulky, unbecoming layers she called robes. Anyone in his place would have lost their control, and for self-control challenged people like Draco Malfoy, that feat was harder still.
He watched as Hermione fidgeted slightly, feeling his gaze boring into her. She looked up and caught his eye, and saw the intensity of his gaze. He could see the clockworks of her brain whizzing and whirling behind her eyes.
What a wicked thing to do – to make me dream of you.
Draco looked at her, shocked. Her former pleading had been noncommittal; she had made it sound like she wanted this too. Now she was hard and cold – distant, even. And he wasn’t even touching her.
“But…” Draco trailed off. Of course, he thought, looking into her dark brown eyes. I’m the enemy.
Hermione looked at him sharply and said, “Tie me back up before someone walks in and kills us both. It’s bad enough I’m about to die, I don’t want someone else’s death on my hands. And get that look off of your face.”
Slowly, Draco stood up and tied her hands once more, his mind racing over what had happened.
What a wicked thing to do – to make me dream of you.
Confusion clouded Draco’s pearly eyes and Hermione saw it. Sighing, she leaned up against the wall, closing her eyes wearily. Draco would have given anything to read her mind at that moment, but he wasn’t horrible enough to use Legilimens right now. And anyway, he thought, you’re a bloody idiot Draco Malfoy. She’s a prisoner at a DEATH EATER’S house with who knows what goddamned fate ahead of her. She’s not likely to be thinking about YOU. Even a Malfoy couldn’t have such an inflated ego.
No, I don’t want to fall in love
No, I don’t want to fall in love
No, I don’t want to fall in love…
“Never mind,” she said, “I can guess.”
“You’ll be okay,” Draco spoke abruptly. “They’re not going to do anything to you.”
Liar, Draco could feel her thinking. No one would believe that they could be set free under Voldemort’s watch, and someone like Hermione? Never in a dozen centuries.
Draco’s eyes widened in amazement. “What?” he asked, shocked to the core that anyone would have the courage to scoff in this deadened house.
“You expect me to believe that? Seriously?” Hermione laughed scornfully. “I’m not an idiot, you know.”
Draco gave an involuntary grin. “No, you’re not,” he said regretfully. “And I was only saying that to make you feel better I suppose. I don’t know what they’re going to do but it won’t be pretty.”
“That’s better.” Hermione smiled. Draco smiled back at her. This felt…different. They were sitting as far apart as possible, with absolutely no physical contact and yet, he felt the same way he had when he’d been kissing her. Only this time, it wasn’t hot desire that was filling him up. It was a strange warmth that he’d never really felt before.
Hermione was watching him as he thought these miserable thoughts over. Her eyes were curious – he knew she could tell he was agitated. He thought like he’d never thought before. What if he did it? Did he have what it took to do so? Could he really do something like that? For someone he’d only just started to know?
But that’s just it, isn’t it Draco, the voice in his head spoke. If you don’t let her go, you might never truly know.
“What’s wrong?” Hermione asked in a hesitant voice.
“Just wondering whether I’ll get a last meal or not.”
Draco smirked. “YOU won’t let me? Since when have I cared if YOU don’t let me do stuff? I do it anyway don’t I?”
Hermione’s voice was sharp again. “And since when have you cared about what happens to me?”
Draco stopped short. “I don’t care. I just don’t think killing you would do any good. You’re too smart to lose like that.” Liar.
“Really?” Hermione questioned him, her eyebrows raised. “And that’s worth basically killing yourself?”
“YES.” Draco said, firmly. “Look, I’m helping you get out of here. Why the hell do you care what happens after that? You’ll be safe, you’ll go back to your friends Potty and Weasel, and then you can go back to hating me forever. See? Everyone’s happy.”
Hermione looked at him steadfastly. He wondered if she’d noticed the one thing that he’d said that he truly didn’t mean. Then she said something that broke his heart.
She didn’t ask for it though, the treacherous voice in his head spoke. It was all your idea. You’re the one pining for her.
He wasn’t pining for her! He was being nice. He was letting her go, giving her a fair chance. That wasn’t pining!
Draco stood at the hidden door of the Malfoy Manor. Hermione was standing next to him. Her eyes were on the open sky ahead of her. He could hear her breathing deeply.
“Go, now.” Draco murmured. “Before someone finds out.”
She turned to face him, her eyes wide. “Will they hurt you?”
“Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine,” he brushed away her concerns. “Now, beyond this threshold, you can Apparate. Go to wherever you’re supposed to be. DON’T come back for God’s sake. GO!”
Suddenly, she flew at him. Her arms wrapped around him as she whispered, "Thank you. Thank you so much. I’m never going to forget this. And…what you said before…I – I couldn’t hate you. Ever. Not after this.” So saying, she walked out, spun around and disappeared with a crack.