The following morning Hermione was much more jittery than normal. She went through the motions of getting dressed and heading down to breakfast, but gave little thought to any of it. There was little she could think of aside from the dream she’d had. It seemed much more forbidden in the light of day. She felt like everyone who looked at her knew what was going on in her mind. It made for a very tense morning.
While down at breakfast, she tried to be discreet as she checked out the far end of the Slytherin table. She half hoped he would skip breakfast again, but no. There he was in his usual spot alone at the table. As if he knew he was being watched his eyes latched onto hers from across the room. She blushed furiously and looked down at her empty plate. Intrigued by her reaction, Malfoy filed it away for later. He’d be sure to ask her that night in the library, because of course he was going back tonight. Try as he might to convince himself if was wrong, he just couldn’t stay away from her.
Fortunately for Hermione, she had no classes with the Slytherins that day. She dragged herself through Ancient Runes and Arithmancy before lunch which she opted to skip rather than face Malfoy again. She couldn’t go to the library either for fear he’d come looking for her there. She chose instead to spend lunch in her own dormitory.
Her afternoon classes did not fair much better than the morning. She knew she was acting oddly, but she couldn’t shake her nerves. How on earth was she going to make it through the evening? She considered avoiding the library altogether, but quickly discarded that idea. She’d told him she’d be there. Her answer to the problem finally showed up while she was having dinner with Ginny.
“Hermione?” Ginny asked. Hermione brought her gaze up to Ginny’s. She’d been staring hard at the wood grains in the table to avoid catching the eye of a certain Slytherin. “Are you alright? You seem a bit on edge.”
Damn, she cursed herself. Of course people had noticed she’d been acting oddly today. Laser focused Hermione was clearly not focused.
“Oh yes, I’m fine I just can’t seem to calm down today. Maybe I’m excited about our girl’s night tomorrow.” She was trying to play to the most effective distraction, but Ginny wasn’t having it.
“We’ve had plenty of girls nights before and you’ve never been this worked up. Maybe you should see Madame Pomfrey?” Her friend looked concerned and she sighed.
“I’m not sick Ginny. I’ve just got something on my mind that I can’t seem to shake. It’s nothing bad I’m just not sure what to do about it,” She admitted. The other girl looked thoughtful before pulling a small vial out of her bag. It was filled with a pale blue liquid.
“Here drink this,” Ginny offered it to her and she eyed it skeptically.
“What is it?”
“It’s just a calming draught. We brewed it the other day in potions and Slughorn let us keep some of the best ones. I promise it’ll help. It’s not good to be so worked up. Even mum uses it,” Ginny said pushing the bottle towards her when she hesitated.
Hermione, not one to usually look for magical solutions, hesitated for a moment before reluctantly taking it from the other girls hand. Molly Weasley was as straight laced a witch as she had ever met. If she approved, it had to be acceptable. With no more thought about it, she unstopped the bottle and swallowed the contents. She did not regret it.
Within moments her heart rate began to slow. Her thoughts seemed to organize themselves back in her mind. She was now able to rationalize the dream and process it. She felt more in control than she had in days.
“Better?” Ginny prompted her noticing her obvious mood shift.
“Much, thank you Ginny,” she meant it with her whole heart. Her only thought was that she should have come up with it on her own this morning rather than spending her day like a crazy woman.
“You’re welcome, are you going to the library after dinner? I need some help on my arithmancy essay,” Ginny asked her.
Hermione was reluctant to say yes. She knew if she went to the library with Ginny Malfoy would not want to talk to her. Then again she did owe her for the calming draught. Perhaps she could help her get her essay finished early before Malfoy showed up. He usually waited until she was the only one left in the library anyway.
“Sure,” she finally relented and the two of them finished eating and set off to get their work done.
Now that she was calm, she was eager to see Malfoy again. She and Ginny sat at one of the tables in the middle of the room as opposed to the private corner she usually shared with Malfoy. She pulled out her own arithmancy book and essay. She reluctantly let Ginny read her own essay to give her some ideas. She really just wanted to be finished. Much to her chagrin, arithmancy was not Ginny’s best subject. By the time she wrote her conclusion and headed off to bed, it was nearly eight thirty. The library would be closing soon. She picked up all of her things and walked back to her private aisle in the back. To her surprise, Malfoy was waiting for her already.
“You’re late,” he said grouchily.
“I’m not. There was no meeting time.” She stepped over his outstretched legs and took her seat beside the window. Time would be short, but she’d take what she could get. “Besides you never said you’d be here.”
“Of course I’m here. How could I not be after the look on your face in the great hall this morning?” He gave her a hard stare and she knew she was blushing furiously.
She thanked Merlin for the calming draught. Her blush was her only giveaway. She quickly gathered herself and returned his look. She willed herself not to think about the dream. She would not think about Malfoy half naked in his presence. Her inappropriate dreams were not his issue, and she would not allow herself to die of embarrassment.
“What did I do to make you look like an overripe tomato?” He pressed on.
“Nothing, it’s my own issue.” She narrowed her eyes at him in challenge.
“So you won’t tell me then?” He asked her frustrated.
“Not right now,” she answered him honestly. She had no intention of ever telling him anything about her embarrassing dream. So no she would not tel him right now. She wouldn’t tell him later either.
“And if I decide I want to leave then?” He continued on.
“Then that’s your decision to make,” she shrugged indifferently. She was not even remotely indifferent, but she would not beg him to stay either. “I’m sorry but I’m sure you have secrets as well.”
He considered her for a moment, but made no move to go. Convinced he was going to stay, she relaxed against the wall.
“So what were you and the girl weaselby doing all night?” He gave up on asking her questions about her earlier embarrassment.
“Ginny,” she emphasized. “Needed some help with her homework. Homework is kind of my thing.”
“Of course, I imagine she’s more important to you than me anyhow,” his voice was cold once more.
“No, no one is any more important than anyone else. Ginny is my friend and she needed help. We didn’t have concrete plans.” She reminded him not unkindly.
She wondered idly how much progress they could make if they had to work through his cold exterior every time they had to interact. As if sensing her thoughts, he quickly changed the subject.
“Where are your other friends anyway? Potter and the weasel?” He asked. His voice was more inquiring than scathing so she chose to indulge him.
“They went to start training as aurors for the ministry at the end of the summer. Kingsley offered us all jobs instead of finishing school.” She explained and he looked impressed for a second before sliding his cool demeanor back into place.
“Why didn’t you go then?” He asked her.
“I told you I want to study law. There are certain things I have to do first. N. E. W. T.s being one of them.” She told him honestly.
He was sitting closer to her tonight and she watched him twist his long fingers together. Unbidden, an image of those fingers sliding over her body squeezed it’s way into her mind.
“So you didn’t want to come back?” He continued and she shrugged.
“I did and then I didn’t. I considered taking the offer on the train ride, just staying on and riding back to London. I wasn’t sure I could be here without Harry and Ron. Once I got here things got better. They’ll never be what they used to, but I manage.” She wasn’t sure why Malfoy brought out the honesty in her. When she was alone with him, her most private feelings seemed to come spilling out of her mouth against her will.
“You miss those two idiots?” He rolled his eyes and she resisted the urge to punch him in the shoulder.
“Of course I miss them,” she laughed. “They’re my best friends. I spent seven years of my life hardly ever being away from them. They’re like the brothers I never wanted.”
“I’ve never had a brother, but if I did I don’t think I would have the same type of affection you had for Weasley,” he taunted her.
“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She was indigent.
“I don’t kiss my friends, Granger, or I wouldn’t if I had any.” He raised his eyebrows at her.
“Really? I’ve heard differently. Wasn’t Pansy Parkinson your friend?” She felt a bit guilty for bringing up Pansy since she’d been killed in the war, but he’d started this
“Pansy wasn’t my friend.” He gave her a serious look.
“I didn’t know she was your girlfriend,” Hermione said a little shocked.
“She wasn’t that either. She was-” he paused. “Convenient.”
“Is that your round about way of telling me you used her when it suited you?” She guessed. He had the good graces to look embarrassed.
“If we’re being honest, that’s exactly what she was. I had needs. She met them when necessary.” He covered his embarrassment well.
“That’s appalling,” she felt a little sick. She wasn’t sure if it was his dalliance that made her sick or the thought of him with Pansy the way he’d been with her in her dream.
“Are you telling me you and Potter or you and Weasley never found each other convenient last year? I know you had a thing for Weasley and who didn’t love Potter.” He pressed back and she sighed. She hated having this conversation, but he’d been honest and she would be too.
“Harry is dating my best girlfriend. There was never anything there other than a sibling like love. I won’t deny I thought Ron was more than a friend at times. We kissed a few times, but there was no chemistry. It burned out before it ever started.” She told him. He seemed a bit cheered by the though.
Odd, she thought to herself. What did he care of her dating history?
“I always thought Weasley was a bit of a dunce to be honest.” He shrugged.
“Ron is a good person. He’s just not a good person for me. Ron, um, enjoyed his celebrity status this summer. He had a lot of female fans.” She fidgeted in her seat uncomfortably.
“You’re kidding? Weasley was out there getting laid all summer?”
“So it would seem,” she said simply.
“And you? I’m sure you got some male attention.” He said it more as a statement than a question.
“There were some. That’s not really my scene though. I never do anything without thinking it through.” She answered him honestly. The snake within him perked it’s head up again and smiled. He was pleased, though he wasn’t sure why, that she’d found no one she approved of.
“Do you ever stop thinking?” He asked her.
“Not really. It’s hard for me to turn my mind off.” She told him.
“Me too, I can only turn it off during-” He stopped abruptly.
“During what?” She questioned.
“During carnal relations,” he said and she laughed.
“What a very prudish way to put it.” She smirked at him.
“I can’t have them sending me to Azkaban for tainting the virgin ears of one of the Wizarding worlds great heroes,” he said sarcastically.
“Virgin ears?” She laughed again. “My two best friends are guys. I’ve heard worse.”
“Not from me you haven’t,” he said seriously.
Hadn’t she though? She thought about the dirty talking Malfoy of her dreams and a delicious shiver ran down her spine. She wondered idly if the real Malfoy actually spoke that way during ‘carnal relations’ before she realized she was not allowed to wonder such a thing. She was sure she was blushing down to her toes now.
“Why do you look like a tomato again?” He asked curiously.
“None of your business,” she said gathering her bags. “We should go. The library will be closing soon and I don’t want Madame Pince throwing us out again.”
“I’m going to find out eventually,” he said following her out into the hall.
“Don’t count on it,” she turned to glance over her shoulder at him and caught the toe of her shoe on her robe.
She tripped and fell onto her back knocking the wind out of her. Malfoy, unable to stop himself went down as well. He landed sprawled on top of her. He looked down at the curly headed brunette beneath him on the floor. Her rich brown eyes were startled and her petal lips were parted in surprise. Where his body was hard angles, hers was soft beneath him. It had been so long since he’d been so close to someone. Particularly someone of the opposite sex. He couldn’t deny that her parted lips looked deliciously inviting.
Hermione looked up into the stormy grey eyes above her. She tried to calm her body’s reaction to being so close to Malfoy, but the calming draught must have worn off. She couldn’t help but draw parallels between her dream and her current situation. Her heart sped up to double time, and she felt that delicious warmth start to spread through her. She didn’t spare a thought to be embarrassed as she looked over his porcelain face. His skin was the smooth perfection girls could never achieve with makeup. The only flaw were the dark faint purple shadows beneath his eyes. His lips were a rich mauve. They practically begged to be kissed. He leaned his face down toward hers a little more. They were mere millimeters apart. Hermione gasped either in shock or excitement, she wasn’t sure which.Her gasp was the catalyst needed to break whatever spell had fallen over them.
Malfoy pulled back and extracted himself from her limbs. She pulled herself together and got to her feet, preparing for another one of his legendary mood swings. To her surprise, he did not appear to be angry. He looked at her uncertainly, but did not speak. Unable to take the weight of his look anymore she broke the silence.
“I’m sorry I tripped you,” she could hear the breathlessness in her own voice.
“You should be more careful,” he said distracted and she silently agreed only she was not thinking about tripping.
“I guess we should be off then?” She posed it as a question.
“Probably,” was all he could manage.
“Well I’ll see you tomorrow,” she moved to step around him and go up the stairs. He reached out for her as she passed pulling her close. His mouth was once again inches from hers.
“Shall we set a time for tomorrow then?” He breathed over her skin as he spoke and she tried to hide the shiver that came over her, lest he notice.
“I-I can’t,” she stuttered over her words. “I promised Ginny we’d have a girl’s night. She’s been worried about me.” She told him regretfully.
“Right,” he said harshly letting her go. “Have fun with the girl weasel.”
“I’m sorry. Saturday night perhaps?” She tried to pull him back from his nasty mood.
“Maybe, but not the library. People are going to start noticing us there. I’ll send my owl.” He said as if that settled things.
“Goodnight then,” she moved to go up the stairs.
“Goodnight indeed,” he whispered behind her.
Malfoy found himself particularly irritated as he laid in bed that night. His interaction with Granger was getting dangerous. His pulse felt like lightening in his throat after their tumble by the stairs. She was doing something to his mind. She was changing everything he’d ever thought about her. She was bright, witty, and quite attractive. She was not a stupid, dirty, mudblood at all. He couldn’t deny the very physical reaction he’d had to laying on top of her. He wondered if she had noticed. He suspected not. Surely she would have been repulsed if she had. She’d made no move to get away until her desperate sigh had made him pull back. He could not lie to himself about what he’d been about to do. He’d had every intention of tasting those delicious looking rose petals lips. He knew for sure he was going mad now. The only thing that had stopped him was their public setting. Now he would have to wait over a full day to see her again. He felt like an alcoholic being denied his drink. He was restless and try as he might he could not get to sleep.
The scene from outside the library seemed to be on replay in his mind. The more he thought about it, the more the muscle below his waist twitched and ached. He’d already let it go once tonight. He told himself if he didn’t tend to it he was sure to be very uncomfortable for the rest of the night. He slid his hand into his pajama bottoms and set to work taking care of the problem. Try as he may to avoid it, Hermione Granger was at the forefront of his mind the entire time. When he was finished he rolled over onto his side spent. He felt mildly disgusted with himself at what he’d done. Not really with what he’d done, but what he’d been thinking while doing it. In his mind he’d undressed Granger there in the corridor and had his way. As if that were ever going to happen. Fortunately, his self loathing could not overpower the exhaustion now consuming him. He always felt sleepy after getting off. His eyes slid closed and he drifted off to sleep.
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