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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

But I do own Troy Malfoy. Super!

So on with the story I say!

The October Hollow
By Darkwing731

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((--Chapter Fifteen--))
I Don't Know What's Worth Fighting For


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October 26
Day 9



She was going to be in the lead, and she was going to win; she was going to beat him, override him, and shame him like he did her.

It was just another test. She would be victorious at last.

Just to make it clear who was ahead this time, she fisted his collar and snatched him forward, kissing him forcefully.

Taken by surprise, he staggered, and with a hard blink that assured him yes, this was happening, he kissed her back. Before their actions reached its pinnacle, she pulled away, hovering below his lips. He looked smug, but it was nothing compared to her expression.

"Just to let you know, Malfoy, I'm going to win."


Her statement caught him off-guard, and in the moment that he pondered its meaning she shot him a smirk before she pressed her mouth hard against his.

Bruises and marks he had left the previous day remained, flowering her skin; nothing would quell her desire for vindication more than hurting him the same way.

Hermione shoved him backwards, their mouths only breaking apart for a second or two while Malfoy stumbled, but she diverted the attention from his feet back to her mouth instantly. Kissing fiercely, energy throbbing through the pair of them as if it were a duel, she dug her nails into his bare skin, taking every possible second to breathe.

But she didn't want him to breathe.

If Malfoy could breathe, then he would be able to concentrate. If he concentrated, he would overcome her, and she would lose.

By the time Draco Malfoy managed to finally understand what the Mudblood was implying, Hermione Granger was holding him against the wall, her body pressed tightly alongside his, her mouth powerfully invading his, taking what oxygen he had left.

It took longer through to grasps the holes in what she had said, the contradictions in her own logic: why would Granger take part in this? Hadn't he, Malfoy, broken her successfully, cornering her into a situation she could refuse, gaining a shadow of trust and steering her in the wrong direction?

Instinct took over before his mind could find a solution; heat seeped through his veins in a powerful throb, and lust conquered logic.

Malfoy smirked against her lips, and clutching the balls of her shoulders, heaved her back with such force that she nearly fell over. Seizing her under the elbow, Malfoy swung her back to her feet, and grabbing a fistful of hair, slammed his mouth to hers before she could even gasp.

Hermione understood that Malfoy was now a worthy adversary again; she dug her hands into his shoulder blades, and her attempt to pull him away was shattered as Malfoy slid his hand under the remainder of her shirt. She acquiesced, and found herself up against the wall, almost willingly, moments later.

She and Malfoy had fought many, many times before this, but nothing was as demanding. The physical necessity in this particular fight though was almost exhausting, but the need to rise above him, shame him, was an adrenaline rush from the gods. It was a gift, granted from above, and even though Hermione had never been the best in this area of expertise, she knew how to fight.

Foot wedged between leg and wall, Hermione threw all of her body onto Malfoy, and it caught him off guard. Malfoy released her, but not unwillingly; he grabbed her arm and pulled her too, but Hermione resisted. Their kiss was broken momentarily, but like a cat, she pounced on him, knocking him to the floor and wreaking revenge on his mouth before he had a chance to breathe.

It wasn't kissing to her, it was fighting. Fighting for whatever there was left to take back from him; he had stolen her faith in everything, it appeared. Malfoy thrived to inform Hermione constantly about her flaws, basking in her humiliation afterwards.

Anger was something they each liked to provoke in each other. It was a mutual interest that was sure to bother her when she had a moment to wonder about it.

He made himself kiss harder, more viciously, anything to dominate her. But it seemed that Hermione felt content fighting, just as he did. She appeared in fact, more energetic than he was, though Draco couldn't figure out how that worked out when they gave her next to no food.

Their fighting moved back and forth as they threw each other off, against the wall, fell to the floor. Draco shoved her up against the wall what seemed like hours later, pressing her shoulders to the wall, taking a gasp before thrusting his tongue back to her mouth, through she met him halfway. Hermione growled, pressing her fingers around his throat and throwing her weight onto him again.

Malfoy was ready for this; he caught Hermione around the waist, and held her tightly as gravity and momentum forced their fall to the bed.

Due to the bounce on the mattress, their kiss broke abruptly; an involuntary gasp escaped her lips as he paused, hovering over her face. Her eyes were bright, but distant, little pants slipping from her throat as he breathed shallowly himself. Her body quivered beneath him, and he could feel every curve press against him as she gasped for oxygen.

She gazed at him, hair askew, lips parted as he adjusted himself gracefully over her, elbows perched above her shoulders, body resting comfortably, suggestively, over hers, and back arched so that he seemed to float over her, casting her into shadow. Whitish hair fell around his sculpted face like a curtain, but no amount of darkness would dim the gleam in his hungry silver eyes.

"Such passion for this sport," Malfoy murmured, voice husky, lowering so that their lips were only just apart. Her own brown eyes, flickering between his almost uncertainly, suddenly narrowed with anger.

Malfoy only had to tilt his head slightly to kiss her, but the ghost of a kiss was not harsh like the rest had been. He stared down into her eyes, his cool composure almost daring her to change it, to cancel out that this had been the first gentle kiss between them.

The other night, Malfoy had been brutal with his mouth but soft with his hands. Hermione couldn’t help but wonder if this, this tender kiss, would make the rest of his body because brutal and cruel. But the rest of Draco Malfoy was still, and Hermione was having trouble reading the situation before her.

She wasn't aware of Malfoy pulling away, but when he dipped his head and kissed her gently again, nothing she could do would stop her eyes from sliding closed. Things flooded through her, emotions she didn't want, a burning desire that ignited her skin that would mean tyranny if she dared to acknowledge it. Hermione's confusion kept her mind still, and her reluctant curiosity kept her body quiescent.

It was starting again. He was kissing her lightly, stroking her cheek and naked neck, and she felt all too aware of her feelings. A gush of self-disgust screamed for her to stop this, to make him return to the brutal kissing and his fighting disposition.

But he wasn't; Malfoy was being soft, kind, his hands traveling over her exposed body, making her shudder unwillingly in pleasure. She could hear him chuckling in the back of his throat, and the desire to have an answer burned her skull. Why was he being like this? Hermione would rather hear him sneering Mudblood! than have him do this to her, make her feel so… alive.

When his hands slowly began to cradle her jaw, lightly fingering the hollow beneath it, Hermione realized that wanting him too, craving his light touches and nimble hands enabled her to fight again, though in an entirely different way.

Perhaps her prize was reachable, after all.

Slowly, she encouraged his shoulders closer to her, sliding her willowy fingers beneath his shirt and across his taut chest. She started to kiss hard, fighting again, pushing lips against his mouth. Fingers gliding across every ounce of skin they could reach, she wound her arms around his neck, and pulled him closer, Hermione kissed as fiercely as she could. It would work, she thought, if he would fight back, but he wasn't.

So she tried harder: she was kissing so violently that she was biting; her hands were gripping his scalp, digging her nails in. She was being rough, she would admit, but only because he wasn't. Somehow, she found herself making up for his lack of effort.

All at once, Hermione sensed him pulling away. Was it for a breath? Was it to make a cruel remark? She wasn't about to let it happen. He tried pulling his mouth off hers but she wouldn't let him. Hermione pressed her palms behind his ears and held him firmly to her mouth as she kissed him, almost hungrily. He wasn't about to get away, she wouldn't allow it.

She had to win, and he was doing something to stop her.

In one almighty wrench, Malfoy broke away, severing their kiss. Hermione had underestimated her power, because his normally groomed persona appeared windswept and unkempt: hair stuck up and fell into his face, shirt pulled hard over one shoulder, so much that it ripped and left angry red marks in his neck.

And Malfoy's expression normally did not look like this. His smirk was gone, replaced by a wary, almost frightened look, lines by his mouth and breath gushing loudly through his nose, as if he were afraid to pant normally, for fear of Hermione attacking his mouth again.

Malfoy struggled to control his voice, though it came out hoarse and cautious. "Granger…"

Hermione Granger had been... positively wild. It aroused him more than exercising complete control over her, enjoying when she cowered against him, because this time Granger had been mean, aggressive, recalcitrant. Granger was almost... almost like him. Had it been Draco himself that had given Granger the idea to be so vicious?

And her behavior was not the only thing out of place: she was scowling, a hint of belligerence splashed across her face, eyes bright with malice. The remainder of her shirt was wide opening, throwing away all modesty, and she seemed not to care. In fact, Malfoy could almost swear that her back was arching unnaturally high as her breasts, round and full, rose against him as she rapidly regained breath…

"Surprised that I'm not so innocent?" Hermione said quietly, but Malfoy could see how angry she was.

"Why are you doing this?" He couldn’t stop himself from asking, he needed to know.

Hermione smiled faintly, but Malfoy saw the triumph in her brown eyes. "What, Malfoy, you don't want this?"

He hesitated, but then a smooth smile slid onto his face. "This and nothing else."

-x-x-x-


October 27
Day 10


It was an unusual day for Hermione, waiting almost patiently for Malfoy to come back. She sat in the brightened room when she guessed was around noon, fiddling with the corner of the pillow, thinking about what happened the day before.

Why the sudden urge to fight back? Why the unexplainable amount of energy? Why had she been so aggressive? And why, why, did Hermione have the feeling that she enjoyed it in such a way that it was indecent?

It was questions like these that she could not ask Draco. Hermione did admit to herself that she wanted answers that were about as likely to come from Malfoy as Ron. The Slytherin knew just as much as Hermione did about her current situation, or so it seemed.

The fruitless thinking forced her mind to switch to a different subject, something she could prepare for. Hermione Granger thought about the question-and-answer feature that was going to happen as soon as Malfoy walked into the room. Last time, before the first snogging session, any vital information she could've attained was lost because she questioned stupidly.

But this time would be different, she would see to it herself.

Hermione wanted answers to questions that she was sure she hadn't thought of yet. Hundreds of questions, all burning to be satisfied, all just important as the next. But there was something Hermione knew would give her a great deal of satisfaction, if not relief, to prepare for as Halloween drew ever closer: the Lumerous witch.

Hermione bit her lip, a sudden thought crossing her mind. What if he didn't answer? What rage would consume her then? What could she possibly do to get an answer, a reasonable answer that she could believe, from him? She couldn't throw a fit and cry, because all that the spilled liquid meant was weakness. It was just another match, another round of fighting that stood ahead. Maybe, if she stood up for herself, they would leave her alone.

It was a possibility, wasn't it?

Wasn't it?

Distant voices Hermione's head snap towards the door in mid-thought. A sudden desire to be alone with Malfoy made her think, and hope, that Troy wouldn't come. But something snapped down on the thought like a bear trap, the sound sharp and like a slap in the face. Hermione wanted Troy to arrive with Malfoy because then he wouldn't be able to carry out his stupid little deal.

There was a scrape on the floor as the door swung open. For a moment, Hermione's heart pounded in her throat, fire seeping through her veins as Draco walked in, grinning, guffawing at something Troy said. Draco turned, kicking the door shut, and looked directly at Hermione.

Her heart seemed to stop.

Hermione wrenched her eyes from him and stared at the floor, fighting away the blush in her face. She knew he was smirking, a stinging gibe already crafted. His eyebrow was probably quirked too, making him look even more appealing than he already was…

Wait...

Surely... surely she hadn't just thought that he—the arsehole, the git, the Slytherin cold-hearted jerk… was appealing? What universe did Hermione live in all of a sudden? Malfoy… appealing? Even slightly attractive?

No, there wasn't a possibility of that at all.

The drumming of her heart slowed, and she realized that Malfoy was speaking to her.

"Your enthusiasm overwhelms me," Malfoy said dryly, and when Hermione narrowed her eyes at him, he grinned.

"Forgive me if seeing you dampers my mood slightly," she retorted flatly, waiting for the comments that were sure to come.

He quirked a pale eyebrow and Hermione knew this was it, what she had been waiting for. "That didn't happen yesterday, did it Granger?"

She let out an annoyed sigh. "I cannot help if my sanity was affected by the dearth of nutrition." Malfoy was quick to reply, but Hermione cut across him before he could do so. "But then again," Hermione said as her eyes flickered momentarily to Malfoy's trousers; she smirked. "It probably isn't the only thing lacking, is it?"

"Mudblood knows how to play," Malfoy crooned mockingly, and Hermione's lip curled.

"I've always been playing, Malfoy, but you've always chose to ignore due to me being extraordinarily wittier than you are," Hermione sniffed. .

"Wittier than I am?" Malfoy laughed.

"Can't buy knowledge," Hermione said softly. "Best run along and inform daddy, shouldn't you?"

Malfoy's face darkened. "You’re a fool to still think I rely on my father," he hissed.

"Not what the Quidditch team said," Hermione shot back swiftly, and Malfoy snarled.

"You think—"

"Why yes, in fact, I do think," Hermione interrupted coolly. "Because I'm not a blithering idiot like you, Malfoy."

The slow, twisted smile that crept onto his face sent a shiver up her spine; Malfoy knew something, and whatever it was, Hermione didn't like it. "You’re scared, aren’t you?"

"Of what?" she asked scathingly. "There's nothing in this room more terrifying than the dirt under my nails."

"Facing yourself," Malfoy answered quietly. He did not need to smirk at her, but the pointed, knowing gleam to his eyes was enough. "Because I made you feel, didn’t I? Was it a nice upgrade from Weasley?"

"Shut up!" Hermione screamed at him. She quivered, hating how Malfoy revealed the truths that should've stayed buried.

"I bet you've never felt like that before," Malfoy said, and Hermione glared at him, but could not fight the scarlet in her face. "Never felt your skin heat up, come alive—"

"Stop it!"

"—Or your body ache, have you, Granger? An ache that only one thing can fill—"

"Shut up, Malfoy!"

"Or the longing to just plunge headfirst into the fire, anything to keep the throb going, to explode with desire—"

Hermione had clamped her hands to her ears and pressed her forehead to her knees, humming to herself, stating over and over into her mind that Malfoy was playing games with her, trying to mortify her, trying to belittle her… but even she could not ignore the urge inside of her, the ache that Malfoy had spoken of, and that fact that he was right, she wanted more.

Nothing she could do hid that she was hastily wiping tears off of her cheeks, a chagrin that would haunt her until the day she never saw Malfoy again. Hermione did not want to look at him, but found that her eyes moved against her will; Malfoy appeared contemptuous.

"Such a little virgin," he murmured, and Hermione flushed with humiliation and glared at the floor. "And it's all true, isn't it, Mudblood?" It was too much already to hear the glee in his voice, so she couldn't bear to actually look at him again.

"Some things," she managed to choke out, still gazing angrily at the floor, "come much later in life. I can't help it if I'm not a whore like you."

"I do what I can," Malfoy sighed. He paused, then chuckled. "Or who."

"You're disgusting!" Hermione spat, finally overcoming her feelings and glaring daggers at him. Malfoy cocked his head, smiling at her, and Hermione sneered at him. "You'll never be happy, not with the way you treat women!"

"Don't need love," Malfoy said offhandedly. "I'm filthy rich, remember?"

"Money does not buy happiness, Malfoy!"

"Oh, it doesn’t?" he questioned. Malfoy leaned forward in his chair, closer to her, and stared deadpan at her. "Why not?"

It took only a moment to register that Hermione had spit in his face; a moment of shock was followed with a howling disgust as he scraped the slime off of his face, jumping out of his seat.

"No amount of money in the world can make you forget that!" Hermione shouted triumphantly. "Nothing can make your life perfect, because you've messed it up from the beginning!"

"Don't preach to me," Malfoy snarled. "Mudbloods don't know anything."

"Then why do I know an amazingly large deal more than you, Malfoy?" Hermione spat back. "Why am I always ahead of you?"

But instead of becoming furious, like Hermione had hoped, Malfoy calmed as he sat down in his chair and regarded her silently.

"School means nothing in times like this," he replied flatly. "Are you ahead of me here, Granger?" Hermione remained silent, but her stomach filled with a dreadful, heavy feeling.

He was right.

"I have more questions," Hermione said abruptly, still glaring at him, wanting more than anything to move onto another subject. Malfoy smiled maliciously, and she knew he wouldn't let it go that easily.

"Admit that I'm right," he demanded, "or else nothing. And I'll just do what I want with you."

"You little—"

"Do you want answers or not, Granger?" Hermione struggled to handle his request; when it came to survival, was knowledge or pride more important?

"You know more than I do," she said quietly, and her blood boiled with the fury and indignation of saying that.

"That was surprisingly fast. I thought I'd be here all day," Malfoy muttered. "Now, what questions have your filthy, narrow-minded mind come up with?"

"Are you calling me narrow-minded?" Hermione asked, disconcerted, and Malfoy nodded. "You… how are you going to explain to the school your absence?" Hermione asked suddenly.

"Vacation," Malfoy said. "Anywhere we go, hiring tutors for the occasion is not out of the question. The rich can do what they please." Hermione grinded her teeth at the smugness on Malfoy's face.

"What about Azkaban?" Hermione shot at him. "When I get back I can send all of you to prison, because the Ministry knows I'm missing." Malfoy guffawed openly at her.

"When you get back?" he repeated with a jeering laugh. "You're never going to see your pathetic little friends again, Granger. You aren't going anywhere."

"You can't hide me here forever!" Hermione snarled. "And anywhere else, the magic is sensed! I can be found very easily!"

"Then why has no one arrived yet?" Malfoy pointed out, and Hermione's face fell. "We have plans. Informing you of them, however, is not one of them."

"That still says nothing of how you’re going to escape Azkaban," Hermione reminded him.

"They cannot send us if they cannot convict us," Malfoy drawled. "They'll be able to prove nothing, because no one will be able to find you, so therefore, you will just cease to exist."

"I'll be searched for until they find me!" Hermione yelled, almost hysterically. She was getting frightened now. "They won't stop looking!" Malfoy said nothing, but continued to smile maliciously at her.

Hermione hung her head. "Why am I even here? What good is—is a Mudblood to Lord Voldemort?" she asked weakly, ignoring Malfoy's twitch at the name.

"You're worth very much here, regrettably, because I would do so much more to you if you weren't." Hermione fought the heat that rose in her face, trying not to think about his most suggestive remark.

"And how does Voldemort know all of this? How does he know that I'm a—a…" Saying it just didn’t seem safe anymore.

"Just does," Malfoy grunted, now examining his nails. "I only hear snippets of important things, so I'm not very sure."

"Because you eavesdrop on your father, right?" Hermione asked scathingly, and Malfoy shot her an icy look.

"I think you've asked enough, Mudblood," he said coldly.

"No!" Hermione protested. "You're just being touchy because I'm right. I'm not being subject to anymore of your—Malfoy, what are you—Malfoy!"

Her back was flat on the bed all of a sudden, and Malfoy was on top of her, pressing her shoulders, and it struck her as so familiar that Hermione could do nothing to stop from thinking about the previous day, and her heart was squeezed painfully.

Hermione clutched for words that might save her… but from what? Malfoy was leaning over her again, and it wasn't harming her, wasn't scaring her… but doing something quite the opposite that she was almost scared to feel…

Malfoy's leaned down to just above her lips, and her throat closed up; pinned down by simply his eyes, their argument, her furious indignation and all the rage was forgotten. The Slytherin ran a fingertip along her jaw line, down the hollow of her throat and let his hand lay atop her breast.

"Do you really want to question the infinity of things that you don’t know?" he murmured, and despite that he was touching her, that all thought had left her except for the pleasurable knowledge that his hand was very warm, Hermione's mind buzzed back to life.

This was the moment that mattered most in her sojourn, and Hermione regarded it with a growing trepidation. Any answer she could've given him would lead her down unknown, superfluous path that inevitably came across the same destination. The fear in the pit of her stomach, boiling hot and vile, knew what Hermione's fate was.

"I—" Speech died in her throat as Malfoy's nimble fingers cautiously moved the tattered fabric from her chest, and he lowered his mouth. For a dizzying second, nothing mattered more in the world than this moment, than the uninterrupted actions that Malfoy would perform.

His silver eyes flickered to hers, seizing her soul, and Hermione just forgot. Logic slipped away, and the realm between good and evil, right and wrong, Gryffindor and Slytherin, vanished.

Malfoy lifted his head. "You were saying?" Her mind only chanted for him to continue what he was doing, instead of this, talking to her as if her consent really mattered. Yes, she wanted him to go on, make her ache, release the fires within her—

But then— 'do you really want to question the infinity of things that you don't know?'

"No," she whispered before she could stop herself, voice barely more than the smallest noise, more afraid than anytime before. Malfoy smiled faintly, and dipped his head to kiss her.

And as he kissed her, indecisiveness flowed through her like electricity. Should she fight him again? Give him the twisted pleasure of it? No, she shouldn't fight him if it was what he wanted... or at least not fight the same way.

Hermione recalled the day before, when Malfoy had been gentle, and she had been vicious. If her strange behavior confused him, should she not attempt to confuse him again, with even stranger behavior? Hermione smiled to herself, knowing how both to win, and to feel.

She knew how to fight.

All was not lost.

Ron was who she needed to imagine she was kissing, Ron when he hadn't cheated on her, when he treasured her more than his brand new broomstick, more than 50 galleons, more than life itself… not nearly as much as she cherished him, though.

If Hermione wanted to win, she needed a change of tact; Malfoy said desire drove her, but Hermione was going to counter with love, something she knew the Slytherin hadn't experienced before. If she could just pretend, from now on, that Malfoy was not above her, but that it was Ron, sweet, comical Ron, laughing, grinning, freckled and beautiful…

Eyes slid closed and Hermione found herself basking in the image of Ron. She could picture the red hair, the permanent smell of butter beer and firewood. His freckles, the infinite number that could look as if Ron had a tan, overwhelmed her mind for a moment. And his kind features; his smile... his smile that looked more like a smirk... a smirk...?

But there was something wrong. His eyes... they weren't the deep, lost blue Hermione loved. They were very light… grey almost... so grey in fact... they were silver...

It couldn't be happening, it just couldn't.

Who was she picturing in her mind?

Ron Weasley, or Draco Malfoy?

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-x-x-x-
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Author's Notes:
YEAH! Finally done with that chapter! It was fun, and my imagination told me to do it. Its name happens to be Satan.

I hope you all enjoyed this chapter! I'm so sorry it took this long!

And gosh, thanks Weirdly for betaing this for me! I absolutely adore you!

Please Review!

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