A/N: Thanks to dracosgem for beta reading this chapter. :)
Warning: There are s e x u a l r e f e r e n c e s in this chapter. Don't like it, don't read it.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot.
In Chapter Ten:
What really mattered was that the mere thought of Hermione being hurt caused him pain. The fact that he wanted to forget all about his previous life, they way she made him feel, now those were things that mattered. And if he was ever going to have a shot with her, he needed to apologise to her as soon as possible.
Draco finally got his chance to talk to Hermione that afternoon. The Wonder Boys were nowhere in sight – she was sitting in the living room with Ginny instead. He hesitated at the doorway long enough for the girls to notice his presence. The redhead glanced at Hermione, who gave a nod to assure it was alright to leave her alone with him. Ginny exited the room and closed the door behind her.
Draco slowly made his way towards the brunette sitting on the sofa. Now that he could talk to her at last, he didn't know where to start. He stopped a few feet from the sofa and looked at his feet, his hands in his pockets.
“Why don't you sit down,” Hermione suggested.
He did as he was told. At first he just sat there awkwardly, looking straight ahead, his hands fidgeting. Then he made a sudden movement that had him facing the girl next to him.
“Look, Granger, I'm sorry,” he blurted out. “I really didn't know.”
“There was no way you could have known, I don't blame you.”
“Yeah, but I still shouldn't have said anything... I'm just really bad at this kind of stuff.”
“It's alright, really,” Hermione assured him. “And it wasn't so much about you telling them what I had to wear at the Manor. I just wasn't expecting you to rush in when I...wasn't dressed. I might have overreacted a bit.”
Draco was surprised to hear that. He wasn't sure if he'd be able to admit he had been wrong just like that, but then again he had been in Slytherin...and she probably hadn’t been placed in Gryffindor without reason. He was also surprised that he had barely even spared a thought to seeing her in the cutest pair of lacy, burgundy red underwear. Was he losing his touch?
“For what it's worth... I thought you looked quite foxy,” he told her with a crooked smile.
Hermione made a huffing noise, but she seemed pleased nevertheless. Draco was relieved to see a small smile on her face. This lighter teasing was what he did best.
“You know, you can squeeze my butt if it makes you feel better.”
“Ha ha, very funny,” she rolled her eyes.
Draco grinned. It was crazy how such small things made him feel so ecstatic. Hermione wasn't yet as open as she had been before, but it seemed she had forgiven him and was smiling at something he had said. Should he test his luck with something more?
“So... I'm not exactly familiar with the etiquette in these kinds of things, but would this be the place for a make-up hug?” he asked hopefully.
“I suppose now would be the time,” she laughed.
They scrambled closer to each other on the sofa. As Draco wrapped his arms around Hermione, he was hit with the scent of her hair. It was intoxicating. He really wanted to nuzzle her neck, but at the last moment decided it might have been inappropriate. It was just so hard to resist her when she right there, so warm and petite in his arms. He could have held her like that forever... Or the rest of the day, at least.
There was a knock on the door and they broke apart reluctantly. Ginny peeked through the door.
“Is it safe to come back?”
”Yes, come on in,” Hermione called.
They were still adjusting their sitting positions to something that didn't look like they'd just embraced when Ginny walked over to the sitting area. They didn't put much distance between their bodies, however.
“I see you two have made up,” Ginny grinned.
Hermione smiled easily. She knew her eyes were shining brightly, revealing just how happy she was, but she didn't care.
“I suppose you could say that,” she admitted.
“That's good... Anyways, I was thinking if maybe you guys wanted to play something? There were some board games in the second floor library –”
“Library?” Hermione squealed. “I didn't know there was a library here!”
“Maybe you shouldn't hide in your room all day,” Draco quipped, smiling at her. “Even I knew there was a library.”
“You can explore the library later, Hermione,” Ginny rolled her eyes. “So do you want me to go get something? Yes? Alright, I'll be back in a bit...”
The redhead skipped out of the room. It only took Hermione a fraction of a second to realise that she was once again alone with Draco. She was very aware of how close he was...and he was really close. There were tingles all over her body, and when she risked a glance at him and saw him smiling to himself, it only got worse. Or maybe it was better. She honestly couldn't tell, for all rational thoughts seemed to be escaping her.
“What are you smiling at?”
“You reminding me about seeing you in sexy lingerie,” he winked at her. “You do realise that's all I'm going to think about tonight?”
“Oh,” she mumbled, looking away and trying very hard to keep from blushing.
Draco smirked and casually swung his arm around Hermione's shoulders. “Am I making you uncomfortable, Granger?”
“No, not at all,” she shook her head vigorously.
It was a downright lie. Her heart was beating like crazy and his touch was making her feel faint.
“Are you sure about that? Look at me,” he purred in a dangeriously sultry voice.
Gliding his finger smoothly across the side of her face, he tricked her into following the movement. She fell right into his trap and suddenly found herself looking straight into his eyes. Time seemed to slow down, and she couldn't look away – his stormy grey orbs were so mesmerizing. He looked like he was waiting for something. Had he asked her a question?
“Uh... I think I'm a bit nervous,” she gulped anxiously.
“There's no need to be nervous, honey. I don't bite,” he gave her a very predatory smile, “hard...”
Hermione's eyes widened significantly and her mouth fell open a fraction. She could see it very clearly in her head, the things he could do to her... Have her sit in his lap and leave tiny marks all over her... Her breathing was quickly becoming labored, and Draco's mouth curved into the most deliciously crooked smile.
As she watched the blond, she noticed him slowly lower his gaze to...her lips. There was no mistaking it, he was clearly looking at her lips. It only lasted for a moment, but when his eyes met hers again, he looked like he wanted to devour her. She suddenly felt very light-headed. She had seen something similar on TV, and she knew what it meant. He wanted her.
He was going to kiss her, she was sure of it. And she would let him do that and anything else he wanted to do to her, and she would bloody well enjoy it, too. How could she deny anything from him? Try as she might, she couldn't resist him. He had to know that, too. It was so unfair.
Was her head spinning or was he slowly leaning towards her? Oh God, he was. Hermione tried to brace herself for what was to come. Her lashes fluttered a bit, and then...
Draco wrenched himself away from her, his arm quickly sliding off of her shoulders.
“Act normal,” he breathed.
She blinked slowly. Act normal? What the hell?
“I got it,” Ginny exclaimed just then as she entered the room, waving a Cluedo box and dragging Harry along with her. “I thought it would be more fun with four players, I hope you don't mind.”
Harry seemed to mind quite a lot, actually, but he didn't say anything. Hermione tried to focus her attention on her friends, but found it rather difficult after what had just nearly happened. She shook her head a bit to forget about the heated staring contest she'd had with Draco and stared at Ginny as she began to set up the game.
The redhead placed the board on the coffee table and began setting the pieces. It was a bit easier for Hermione to concentrate when she and Ginny explained the rules to Draco. He rolled his eyes when he saw the miniature weapons.
“Why can't they just use wands,” he muttered to himself.
“It would hardly be a Muggle game if they used wands,” Hermione pointed out.
“Yeah, whatever... Anyways, why don't we just play Truth or Dare? I know how much you like a good dare,” Draco grinned at her.
“Let's just focus on this game, alright?”
The brunette shuddered a bit at the thought of playing Truth or Dare with the blond. If she didn't want to do his ridiculous dares, he could ask her some pretty revealing questions. Surely he was aware that she had some kind of feelings towards him, but the magnitude of them... That he couldn't possibly know, and she wasn't quite ready to tell him either.
The group started their game of Cluedo. At first Hermione felt a bit wary, and she carefully watched each of the players to see if there would be any trouble. She was afraid that the boys might get into an argument, but then Harry gave her a reassuring smile and she was able to relax.
She was glad to see Harry was giving his support, but she quickly noticed something else, too...curiosity. It made sense, for this was the perfect opportunity to watch how she and Draco behaved when they were together. Every now and then he threw a sneaky glance at them and exchanged knowing looks with Ginny. Hermione was starting to feel a bit panicky. What if Draco noticed what was going on? She tried to hush her friends with a warning look, but they only grinned in response.
Next to her, the oblivious blond was lost in his thoughts. He couldn't believe he was playing a Muggle board game with Harry freaking Potter. The two shared a history of hostility, and it was crazy how Potter seemed so composed. He wasn't clenching his teeth or anything like that. As a matter of fact, he almost looked like he was having fun... How was that possible? Draco could understand that the Weasley girl might be alright in his company – he had figured that Hermione had probably confided in her while they hadn't been talking. She was probably interested in seeing what the situation between he and Hermione was, too.
However, Potter was another matter entirely. He remembered how the boy had interrupted his evening conversation with the brunette a couple of weeks ago and warned him that his behavior wouldn't go unnoticed if anything happened to Hermione. What could be the reason for this change of heart?
The explanation was quite obvious... She was sitting right next to him. Potter and Granger were close friends and because they were Gryffindors, he would most likely do just about anything for her. But how would a board game help her? Or was this about keeping an eye on him? Would Potter try to put him in his place if he got too close to her?
As they played, Draco observed the situation inconspicuously. After Hermione had followed Draco's character pawn to the library, the raven-haired boy quickly glanced at the girl and tried to hide a smile. He frowned. Why whould Potter think it was funny that his and Hermione's pawns were alone in a room? Sure, he could see lots of possibilities in the situation himself, but it wasn't like they looked at it the same way.
Unless... Unless they did.
Draco gulped. The look on Potter's face had been close to affectionate as he had watched Hermione move her piece on the board, as if he'd been proud to see her take action. Did he want to see his friend in the arms of their former enemy? And if that was the case, wouldn't he need to know that it was something she wanted? That was the only way it would make sense.
A strange feeling enveloped him when he finally understood. What kind of an idiot was he? Potter wasn't seeing Hermione, he was only supporting her. He couldn't believe it... She wanted to be with him, she really did. And two out of her three best friends had accepted that.
It was good to know that she liked him, it truly was, but...he felt detached somehow. Shouldn't he have been happier? Shouldn't it have been great that her friends were so approving? Draco hadn't thought much about what others might say, he'd only been interested in Hermione. Now he realised that she was a package deal – if he wanted her, he would have to deal with her friends, too. He would have to befriend a group of bloody Gryffindors.
He slowly looked at Potter and the Weasley girl, and then at Hermione. Her friends weren't all that bad, and she was definitely worth it... It could work, right? If he could spend a little time with them every now and then, he would, in turn, get some alone time with her. That wouldn't be too bad.
But when the game ended, he wasn't sure who the real winner was.
* * *
That evening Draco heard an unfamiliar slow tune playing over and over again in the house. It was quiet, but he could hear it as he sat in his room thinking. He listened to it for quite a while before deciding to see where it was coming from. As he made his made his way down the stairs and stopped behind one of the doors on the second floor, he had his suspicions. They were confirmed as he carefully opened the door and stepped into the room.
Hermione was listening to a Muggle song on the sofa. Her eyes shone with unshed tears as she sat quietly, looking at a lonely candle burning on the table. Draco could finally make out the words of the song.
Take my hand
Take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you
“Is everything alright?” he asked softly. He watched the girl startle a bit at the sound of his voice.
“Oh, it's nothing, I'm just being silly,” she shook her head dismissively. Yet she was wiping her eyes at the same time, and she wouldn't look at him.
Seeing her so sad didn't feel good. He couldn't imagine what she was thinking about, but if the song told him anything at all, he knew it had something to do with him. He knew that giving her the wrong impression was selfish and cruel, especially considering what he was about to do, but he couldn't stop himself.
“Dance with me,” Draco murmured quietly.
Hermione lifted her head in surprise, and he offered her a hand. She took it after a brief moment of hesitation and he pulled her up – and straight into his arms. He wrapped his arms around her waist, and her arms went around his neck easily. It was like their bodies were designed for that very position.
They started to slowly move around in a circle. Draco knew it was wrong, but he still pulled the girl even closer and buried his face in her hair. He would never get to hold her like that again, and he wanted to make the most of it.
There were so many things he could have done to make her feel good, to make her long for his touch as much as he longed for hers. He knew it would be great if they were to add the physical to their relationship. He'd seen glimpses of her wilder side and was sure that, if he did the right thing, her inner animal would emerge...boy, would that be a sight.
Yet he knew he couldn't do it. A girl like Hermione didn't do one night stands – she would want a relationship. What did he have to offer? Nothing, absolutely nothing. He couldn't take her out on a fancy date because they were stuck inside a bloody safe house. He couldn't give her nice gifts for the same reason and, to be honest, he only had a couple of galleons to his name. There was no way he could guarantee any kind of future for the two of them. Draco knew that Hermione wasn't really a material girl, but surely she had some standards.
And beyond the material – what could he give her, as a man? Sure, he was good-looking and could keep a girl physically satisfied, but that wasn't everything. Though he was undeniably charming, there were lots of flaws to his character. He was nowhere near as brave or noble as the people she called friends. She hung out with the heroic every day, and he was just some selfish bastard. On top of everything else, he was the son of a Death Eater.
Who was stupid Saint Potter to say he was good enough for Hermione? He could never be worthy of her.
He was no hero. She deserved better.
A/N: The song Hermione was listening to was (obviously) Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley. It seemed so fitting, I just had to use it in this chapter.
Sooo... What do you guys think will happen next? I know that the situation seems bad right now, but don't worry – I won't keep them apart for long. The next chapter is going to be very important.
As always, I love receiving reviews and responding to them, so please let me know what you think! :)
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