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A/N: Beta love to AlmondMilkTeaDoubleBoba and LeilahMoon - and a major thank you to lost_poetx!

 

Prepare for cringe.

 

xoxo, carmen

 

-

Red-faced and breathing heavily, Hermione's broken scream echoed throughout the room, bouncing off the walls. How dare he. The indeterminable amount of emotions that were coursing through her were making her head throb and blood sing.

 

Simply too angry to reach down and finish herself off, she cast freshening charms all over herself, trying to calm down. Where the fuck did he get off pulling that shit? She wanted to throttle him. Well, if she were being honest with herself, she wanted to do much more than simply throttle him.

 

Abandoning the work she'd originally planned on doing and grabbing her things, she headed back to Gryffindor tower – so mad that steam was practically leaving her ears. She doubted she'd be likely to get over this one for quite some time. Granted, they'd been playing cat and mouse for quite some time, but she'd never thought he would pull something like this. If she weren't so bloody pissed off, she'd probably be turned on. Well, more so than she already was.

 

After an endlessly long walk, Hermione stormed into the common room, hair wild and eyes blazing. Her face was flushed crimson with both anger and arousal, and she had nowhere to channel the sheer amount of frustration she was currently experiencing. Ginny was still downstairs, and she took one look at Hermione and shot to her feet.

 

"What happened?" her voice was hard, concerned. Ginny Weasley was always ready to go to war for her friends, and this could easily be one of those times.

 

Hermione, who was obviously livid, found it hard to find the proper words through her anger. "I cannot believe the nerve of that little–" she seethed, cutting herself off. Her hands were curling into fists at her sides, looking for somewhere to exert all of the things she wasn't used to feeling all at once - or on such a scale. Her breathing was rattling as it pulsed in and out of her chest, heart pounding with the fire coursing through her veins.

 

"What did he do?" Ginny pressed, seeming aghast at what Malfoy could have possibly done to put Hermione in such a state. Granted, he was awful and irritating at the best of times – but even after all these years, she'd never seen her friend so completely worked up over him.

 

Still bursting with endless amounts of agitated energy, Hermione started pacing. Luckily, the common room was empty due to the late hour, so there was no one to overhear their conversation.

 

"That sick fuck had the audacity to edge me for twenty minutes and not get me off," she practically spat through clenched teeth. "Twenty minutes, Ginny. I cannot believe him." She wanted so badly to go down to the dungeons and set him on fucking fire, he could burn with her and see how he liked it. With just how peeved she was, she'd probably laugh as she did it and then proceed to happily dance around his body as it burned.

 

After all, she was still burning everywhere because of him, so it was only fair.

 

Ginny had already known about their tryst between the metaphorical sheets from weeks back, and was all for it happening again – mostly, she'd claimed, for Hermione's benefit. But this was behavior she hadn't foreseen, even from him.

 

"And what's more," she continued, somehow getting visibly more angry as she relived the experience, "is that he said it was a punishment." She barked out a laugh. "As if that sod has any right to call out my behavior. He should really take a look in the mirror."

 

"Did he say what it was for?" Ginny asked as she sat back down, waiting for her to spill.

 

Hermione's anger morphed suddenly and into a wry, sarcastic smile. "The kiss."

 

Ginny gasped, eyes wide. "What?"

 

"He said it was retaliation for my 'misbehavior.'" Hermione finally plopped down onto the couch, arms still crossed indignantly.

 

"Do I even want to know what he means by misbehaving?" Ginny asked, conjuring a cup of tea and handing it to Hermione. Her eyes glittered as she rolled the thought around in her head. "Okay, yes, I definitely want to know what he meant by that."

 

Hermione chuckled in spite of herself. "He said it was for kissing him and then walking away."

 

If Ginny had been drinking anything, she would have spit it out at her words. "He said that? To you? To your face? Was he under duress?"

 

Rolling her eyes, Hermione took a long sip of her tea before saying, "Shut up, Ginny."

 

"I'm sorry, I can't help it. It's just so ridiculous. I can't imagine that Malfoy would be that angry about metaphorical blue balls," She paused, propping her hand up on her knee to rest her chin on it. "I mean, it is technically true," she acquiesced.

 

"Even so, what right does that give him to pull something like this?" And, like the flip of a switch, Hermione was back on her feet, angrily pacing the room. Ginny's eyes followed her, convinced she would wear a hole in the floor by the time they were done speaking.

 

"So... you still haven't..." she let the sentence trail off, leaving the question to be inferred by Hermione.

 

"No!" she half screamed.

 

"Okay, let's think about this logically," Ginny tried to placate her friend. "I'll do that part this time, since you're so... you know." She at least had the decency to look sympathetic.

 

"Oh, you're so kind," Hermione said sarcastically, rolling her eyes.

 

Ignoring her attitude completely, Ginny replied, "So clearly, Malfoy thinks he has some kind of control over you, some kind of power or something. I say you have two options here."

 

"I'm listening," Hermione said as she sat back down.

 

"Option one," Ginny held up a finger, ticking her first idea off her list. "You play into it. Lean into the fact that he needs to hold something over you, and just act like a lost puppy until he caves." She shot her a knowing look. "But you'd have to become a supremelygood actress in order for him to buy that. I can't picture you ever voluntarily listening to Malfoy."

 

"No, not happening," Hermione shook her head. "That's the nice option, so I'm assuming there's a meaner one? I want that," she said.

 

"Ah, you know me so well. Of course there's a meaner option," Ginny rolled her eyes. "Option two," she popped up a second finger, "is that you take what control he thinks he has away from him. You need to show him who's really in control here."

 

"I'm almost scared to ask what you have in mind," Hermione eyed her warily.

 

A sinister grin grew on her face. "Well it's obvious isn't it? You fuck someone else." Ginny shrugged nonchalantly, as if this idea wouldn't blow Hermione away.

 

Hermione's eyes blew wide, inhaling a sharp breath. "Well, that seems a bit counterproductive, don't you think?" she was too shocked to form a coherent argument.

 

"You'd think so, wouldn't you?" Ginny smiled. "But clearly, he thinks he has some kind of... ownership over you, so if you want to go down this path, you need to make him question that."

 

Hermione rolled the idea around in her head, a bit uneasy with the prospect. "That could work," she said slowly. "I don't really know how I feel about that – I'd want to think about it some more." She regarded her friend nervously. "Who did you have in mind?"

 

"Oh, I'm so glad you asked." A purely maniacal smile grew on Ginny's face. "There's a Gryffindor party coming up this weekend, so who can you think of in our House that would gladly let you use him and brag about it afterwards, so that Malfoy definitely finds out?

 

Oh, and the cherry on top is that I happen to know for a definite fact that Malfoy hates him."

 

Considering the men of her year, there was only one who fit the criteria Ginny was listing. The blood drained from Hermione's face. "No," she whispered, "no, you can't possibly mean–"

 

"Oh, but I do. You, my sweet Hermione, are going to hook up with Cormac McLaggen."

 

-

 

Draco had expected Snape to call him into his office much sooner than he had. It had been weeks since their last meeting, and it was slightly concerning, all things considered. He'd been tiptoeing around his superior since their last chat, as if he were expecting to get yelled at.

 

He made sure his Occlumency shields were up and strong before stepping through the door. There was no way he wanted Snape to see the absolute mess that was happening inside his head. As it turned out, it seemed that his suspicions weren't all that far off. He had an educated guess as to what he was in for by the look on Snape's face when he walked in.

 

"And how have you been progressing?" he asked as Draco walked in, chin lifted up just slightly.

 

Defiantly rolling his eyes and sitting in the chair with his back ramrod straight, he bit out, "Fine." He wanted to skip the formalities and cut straight to it so he could be out of there as soon as possible. After all, he had to meet Granger. And if he said he weren't positively itching to see her after his little stunt the other day, he'd be lying.

 

"Elaborate," Snape prodded, drawing the word out, clearly unwilling to relent.

 

Draco sighed. "We've started to... get closer," although he knew that wasn't the right word, "I suppose. I daresay it's going well." He thought. "I still have time, so I'm not all that worried about it," he said as he checked his shields again, schooling his face into that of a disinterested - and borderline bored - expression. Of course, he was worried - he had less than five months to make her fall head over heels for him.

 

And that was about as likely to happen as it was for him to fall for her.

 

Shifting in his seat and wrapping his fingers tightly around the armrests, he met his Godfather's probing stare. "You're not... concerned?" Snape steepled his fingers, pressing them together and peering at Draco from over his fingertips.

 

Very suddenly, Draco was well aware that he'd chosen the wrong words. "I've got it all under control," he said offhandedly. "Granger still doesn't seem to know what hit her." After last night, he figured that much was true at least.

 

Snape's eyes narrowed and he stood, hands pressing into the desk as he leaned onto them. Draco stared up at him, suddenly uneasy. "Need I remind you what lies at stake? I shouldn't think I have to, but clearly, you lack the common sense to take this seriously. Self-preservation is a Slytherin instinct, is it not? Have you been missorted? Shall we place you with the Hufflepuffs? Or perhaps the Lions' den would suit you better considering how overconfident you're acting."

 

He kept going, not letting up on his verbal lashing. Draco resisted the urge to curl into himself. "The Dark Lord himself assigned this to you. If you fail, not only will you be killed, the rest of your family will as well. He is eager to find a reason to punish you all, especially with your father's recent failure, so it would be in your best interests not to give him one."

 

Slightly recoiling away from Snape, he gnawed at his cheek as he feigned impassivity – even though he was sure he could see right through it. "Why do you care so much?" he pressed. Draco knew it wasn't his brightest moment, but he simply couldn't find it in himself to care.

 

Snape's voice lowered so it was deadly quiet. "Need I remind you that I took an Unbreakable Vow for you? There are no contingency plans if you fail this, Draco. Contrary to what you may think, I am not fond of dying just because of your disinterest in this project."

 

Fucking hell. It was so easy to get caught up in this, in his own little bubble with Granger – to get caught up in her – and forget about why he was doing this in the first place. Everything he could possibly give two fucks about is entirely dependent upon his victory over her stubbornness. In a way, he was almost jealous of her. If he had the option to turn his back on this, to walk away with no consequences, he would.

 

The realization surprised him. Hermione Granger had become much more important than a pawn in his game. And the kicker was that she probably always had been.

 

As Draco opened his mouth to answer, he heard a knock at the door and immediately pursed his lips. Snape shot him a warning look. He suppressed a snort - as if he needed to be told to shut up about this subject.

 

"Enter."

 

The door swung open, and behind it stood Graham Montague.

 

Something about the look on his face set Draco on edge, and he decided then and there he didn't trust him for a second. His eyes narrowed imperceptibly at the intruder.

 

"Sorry to interrupt, Professor," Graham said smoothly. "I had an important matter that I needed to discuss with you. I find that it's quite... pressing." His eyes flickered back to Draco, and they seemed... knowing. As if he had heard every word of their conversation.

 

And who's to say he hadn't? The Weasley brothers' products were doing quite well, and he knew for a fact that Extendable Ears were quite popular. He could only hope that Snape had put privacy wards up.

 

"That's fine," Snape said, sitting back down and giving Draco a nod of dismissal. "Mr. Malfoy and I were just finishing up here."

 

As he stood up to leave, Draco couldn't help but feel that somewhere during the conversation, it had shifted from a disappointed lecture to something that almost sounded akin to a desperate plea.

 

-

 

Granger was late. Again.

 

Draco twirled his wand in his left hand. His right hand was tapping a rhythm against the table incessantly as he waited for her.

 

Finally, she walked in leisurely, taking her sweet time. It only angered him further. "You're late," Draco deadpanned, pushing his tongue into his cheek to keep from biting it.

 

Granger adamantly avoided his piercing gaze. "You're early, not my fault," she shrugged. She slowly pulled out her notes, almost as if she were hoping that he would cancel the session or walk out on her before it started. So he simply refused to give her that satisfaction.

 

His brow raised at her flippant tone, lips curling into a sneer. "My time is very valuable Granger, I don't appreciate it being wasted."

 

"Well I think it would do you well to remember that I'm the one doing you a favor here, so keep that in mind when you're trying to chastise me for being 'late,'" she said, clearly hoping to dismiss the matter entirely.

 

He rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest, not missing the way her eyes quickly flitted over to take in his biceps. Draco smirked, but kept the realization to himself and said, "Well, next time you're late I might have to take matters into my own hands."

 

"What, like punishing me again?" Her voice whipped out harshly, and it seemed like she hadn't considered her words before she said them. Her cheeks flushed and she looked away from him.

 

A smirk stretched across his face, and his entire body language changed. He started twirling his wand in his fingers again in order to draw attention to them. He wanted her to remember what they could do to her. "Why, did you like it? I wouldn't be surprised if you did." His voice was silky smooth and full of insinuations.

 

Her face flushed deeper and her fingers twitched, as if she were trying really hard to not slap him. "I refuse to dignify that awfully invasive question with a response."

 

Draco Malfoy knew full well what denial looked like on her by now. "So... that means it's a yes." He wanted to hear her admit it, but he knew that it was more likely that she'd admit she was in love with him right then and there.

 

Granger quickly opened a book to a random page, barely skimming through the words. "I never said that." She was clearly aiming for an aloof tone but failing miserably.

 

"Well you're denying it, so I can only assume that, since you're avoiding the question, it's a yes." He set the quill down, leaning forward to try to get her attention. "It's really not hard, Granger, I have you figured out pretty well by now if I do say so myself."

 

"Well excuse me if I don't take your word for it," she huffed, slamming her book closed and putting it down more loudly than she should have. She finally met his gaze as she looked up at him, irritated. "You don't know the first thing about me."

 

Oh, now this was just amusing. She was purposely baiting him and didn't even realize it. "You really think I don't?"

 

He wanted control. Craved it, thrived on it, needed it, got off on it. If it wouldn't come to him, he'd seek it out. And he was going to do that by pissing her off some more, taking matters back into his own hands just like he had last night. He was going to poke a sleeping Lion and he was going to milk every second of it.

 

Here's your chance to run, Granger. You should take it.

 

Granger looked him dead in the eye, jaw clenched and hands balled into fists. "No, I really don't."

 

Don't say I didn't warn you.

 

"As much as you say you feel comfortable here, you don't. That's why you overcompensate with... that," he gestured to the book in front of her. "You also definitely have major imposter syndrome–"

 

"How do you even know what that is Malfoy?"

 

Draco continued as if she hadn't spoken. "–so you insert yourself into every experience you possibly can in order to validate your feelings. And I do mean every experience." He shot her a knowing look.

 

"You have it all wrong–"

 

"And, not only that, but you also told me that you would never 'soil yourself with the likes of me,' but then immediately turned around and let me fuck you. Now how's that work, Granger?"

 

"I just–"

 

"See, I always knew you'd like it rough too. You always have to be in control of everything, so it would only make sense that you'd be submissive in the bedroom," he calculated.

"Malfoy–"

 

"Not to mention the fact that you practically beg people to tell you how well you did on assignments, how great you are at magic. I'd be willing to bet that you have a praise kink. I'm also speaking from experience, don't you forget."

 

"Stop it, or I'll–"

 

"And," he continued casually, "from the way you've always responded to my insults, I bet you have a bit of degradation kink too." He lowered his voice conspiratorially. "Tell me, would calling you Mudblood right as you start to come tip you over the edge? I bet it would," he whispered at her.

 

She gasped lowly. It wasn't a sound of disgust or anger, but more one of shock – and if he didn't know better – twinged with a hint of desire. Her arousal was just as easy to spot as her denial. The girl was as open a book as the one she was clutching in her hands like it was her salvation.

 

A grin slowly split across his face. "Oh, so you would like that, yeah?" He leaned back in satisfaction, taking in the way she was shifting in her seat and how flushed her skin was. "I'll keep that in mind for next time."

 

"There won't be a next time, Malfoy," she hissed out at him.

 

"Oh?" he asked, standing up and leaning over her. He bent down, lips brushing against her ear. Feeling her shudder, he whispered, "I just proved that I know more about you than you do, Granger. There will definitely be a next time." He grabbed his bag and made for the exit. "That is, if I let you have it," he called back to her, ignoring the looks he got for it.

 

Now he understood why she kept walking away from him. It really was incredibly satisfying to feel her eyes watch him as he left her there.

 

-

 

The Gryffindor common room was booming with vibrant energy. There had been no Quidditch match this time around. However, Gryffindor House were happy to use the slightest excuse to party and let loose – including the fact that they just wanted to get drunk and have fun.

 

Hermione though, considered herself to be anything but loose. She was tightly wound, considering the current state of her to-do list – pun fully intended.

 

She could see Ginny across the room, continuing to shoot her encouraging glances. Grimacing at the thought, she tipped the entirety of her drink into her mouth, and swallowed. She pulled a face - that had never gotten any easier.

 

Continuing to drink until she felt drunk enough to do what she needed to, she had the simply fantastic idea to start up a game of truth or dare. Hermione decided it would suffice as an in - Cormac was never one to pass up such an opportunity. He was annoying like that, always trying to show off his conquests.

 

Ginny, of course, knew to go along with it and helped Hermione corral a small group together. They were both giggling the entire time, tripping over their own feet.

 

Plopping down in a circle with Ginny, McLaggen, Dean, Lavender, Parvati, Seamus, Harry, and Ron, Hermione kicked things off, daring Harry to go and kiss the portrait of the Fat Lady.

 

The game continued, much of which Hermione wasn't paying attention to, until Ginny called her name. "Hermione," she smirked, eyes glinting, "I dare you to snog McLaggen."

 

Hermione knew she was a shit actress, especially when she was drunk, but right now she needed to get him in bed - of course, as long as he was willing. Worst case scenario, a really good snog should do it. Unfortunately, she had a feeling that he would be happy to participate in her little scheme.

 

She didn't have to try to fidget nervously or force the blush to color her cheeks. She was just hoping that he would take it as nervous anticipation instead of disdain of having to do this at all.

 

The look on his face was enough to make her chug the rest of her drink in preparation and fight off a roll of her eyes. He got up, walked over to her, and kissed her.

 

He was a sloppy kisser. His tongue was loose in her mouth, swooping around her own lazily without a sense of purpose. His hands rested lamely on her shoulders, and she knew that when he pulled away that he would have left far more saliva than could be considered normal.

 

Still, she leaned into it, acting like it was the best kiss she'd ever had. Whatever it took to plant the idea in his brain that she was into him.

 

A wolf whistle broke them apart, and she wanted to figure out who it was so she could send them a thank you gift for causing their separation. Ginny shot her a look, checking in on her, and she gave her the briefest of nods in response.

 

"I'm going to go get another drink. Anyone want one?" she asked as she stood up from the circle. Everyone shook their heads, and as she left, she made her hips sway more than would have been normal, shooting a sly glance over her shoulder at him. Hermione caught his eyes rake over her retreating figure as he made to follow her.

 

Gross.

 

She took a few sips of the drink she had just poured, steeling herself as she felt him come up behind her. His hands snaked around her waist, pulling her back against his chest. She took another sip of her drink as he bent down to kiss at her neck.

 

Tilting it to give him better access, she faked a small moan. Feeling his lips curve up against her skin, he turned her around to kiss him. It was just as bad as the first time.

 

After what felt like too long, he pulled away from her and asked, "Do you wanna get out of here?" She resisted the urge to wipe her mouth.

 

Hermione nodded, too worried that her voice would betray her if she tried. Part of her didn't really want to go through with this, but another part was curious to see if he was as bad as everyone said he was.

 

Plus, picturing Malfoy's reaction to this development would be enough to push her through this. She couldn't wait to see how rage would look on him.

 

She followed McLaggen to the top of the tower, contemplating her decision. She'd certainly had enough to drink, but not enough where he could be considered to be taking advantage of her. Rather, she could be accused of taking advantage of him in a way - knowing the reaction that Malfoy was likely to give when he found out.

 

But he was simply a means to an end.

 

Entering his room, he had her undressed and on his bed in no time at all. She would remember to thank the alcohol later for giving her the courage she so desperately needed to go through with this, or else it never would have happened.

 

The inexperienced idiot didn't even try to finger or go down on her before he lined up and pushed in, and he mistook her moan of discomfort for that of pleasure. "I knew you wanted this," he breathed in her ear. He started thrusting, slow at first, and then quickly speeding up.

 

She knew he would be the type to only care for his own pleasure, though she had almost hoped to be wrong. He was making the weirdest noises, saying things that made her skin crawl a bit. Things like, "Gods, Granger, thank you for letting me fuck you, you're unreal," and, "I knew you wanted this just like I did."

 

Not to mention the fact that he was staring down at her and all she wanted was for him to shut his eyes. In a desperate attempt not to snap at him, she closed her eyes and let her mind drift to more pleasant thoughts.

 

In her mind's eye, she wasn't with Cormac at all. She was spread open on a desk, the wood biting into her skin, skirt rucked up around her waist. He wasn't being gentle, but was using her for his pleasure, just like he'd said.

 

His fingers found her heat, and started stroking her clit. She gasped at the memory. Cormac said something to her, but she had no idea what it was. Hermione was somewhere else.

 

Memory Draco took notice of her writhing and replaced his fingers with his tongue. Her thighs tightened around his head, and he pulled away from her just as she was about to come.

 

Finally, after she begged, he slammed into her, bottoming out in one hard thrust. He refused to be gentle with her, pounding her into the desk so hard she would be shocked if there weren't splinters later.

 

She was thrumming with the way her body was coiling around him, wanting desperately for him to let her come. She was begging, the words falling past her lips faster than she could form them.

 

"Come for me," memory Draco whispered in her ear, and she did. She came flying back to the present as she orgasmed around an entirely different man than the one she'd been imagining – the one she'd been wishing it was. Feeling completely thrown off by the whole thing, she waited for him to finish before pulling her clothes back on and walking out.

 

Either this was the most devious idea she'd ever executed, or she'd just created an even bigger storm than the one she was already in. And it was one she feared she may not get out of alive.

 

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