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A Secret Thought ... Hermione and Draco Chapters 9-16

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Chapter 9 - Tears, Secrets & Polka Dot Boxers

Hermione reached the Quidditch stadium. It was a beautiful afternoon with few clouds in the bright clue sky and a light breeze that tossed her hair about playfully. She continually tried to get it to stay down but gave up after her fifth try.
She watched as the team soared through the air. Unfortunately, Ginny was no longer on the team because Harry was no longer suspended. This was a disappointment to her, of course. She loved being part of something like that. Still, looking at Ginny sitting in the stands hovering over something, Hermione couldn’t help but notice she didn’t seem too happy… but she didn’t think it was over Quidditch

“Hello Ginny,” Hermione said with a smile as she approached the redheaded girl. Ginny looked up at Hermione, tears spilling over her eyes. Her lips were trembling and a shudder ran through her body. She held up a piece of parchment with messy writing covering it.

“Her… Her… Herm…” she began, but she was filled with sobs. Hermione came to Ginny’s side and she wrapped a comforting arm around her, drawing her in tightly.

“Ginny, what’s wrong?” Hermione asked quietly. Ginny looked up at Hermione with depressed, tear-glazed eyes and for a moment she was afraid Ginny knew.

“Billy broke up with me,” she said quietly and lowered her head in defeat as another sob came over her. Hermione hated the relief that swept over her. She had to comfort her best friend in the time of need. Hermione sighed and rubbed the back of Ginny’s neck.

“Oh Ginny. It’s going to be alright,” she whispered.

“No it’s not!” Ginny said stubbornly and thrust the letter into Hermione’s hands. Hermione unfolded it quickly and her eyes browsed over it quickly, a frown etched into her face as she read it.


How’s school going for you? Everything is pretty good here, you know. Everyone is real nice at the new school. I don’t mind moving here for my brother so he can go to Hogwarts. I’ve accepted the whole magic thing, you know?

There is something that I haven’t gotten used to and I don’t think I can. I’m not very good at these long distance relationships. I mean I really like you and al but you’re away at a sort of boarding school. I won’t be able to see you for months, and that will only be briefly. We can’t even talk on the phone. I know letters travel fast, but bloody hell Ginny it’s hard to keep a relationship through writing. We both know it won’t work out. It was a summer fling and it was fun. Maybe we can pick it up again over the summer if things go that way.

I hope you don’t get mad at me for doing this. I mean, if my friends asked me about having a girlfriend what was I supposed to say? Oh she’s away at a year-round boarding school where she learns how to be a better witch. We both know that sounds silly. I don’t like all the lying. I’m not saying I care about what other people think, but sometimes it just gets too much, you know?

I really do like you, Ginny. It’s just we both know that things won’t work. I’m sorry.

Your hopefully still friend,


Hermione set the letter aside and looked at Ginny with pity in her eyes. Tears were falling less steadily. She knew Ginny to be emotional, but also to be strong. She would get over this fast and find someone else to fill up that special place in her heart.

“It’ll be okay,” Hermione whispered again lightly. Ginny nodded and rubbed the tears from her eyes, seeming to believe her more after reading the letter.

“It’s just, he seemed so willing to commit to me over the summer. I kept on reminding him ‘I’ll be going away all year, you up to it?’ He almost seemed thrilled. He couldn’t even handle a week!” Ginny shook her head and sighed. Hermione sighed.

“Maybe something else is wrong. It seems like there’s something he’s not telling you in the letter. Maybe there’s a different reason,” she tried to explain quietly. “Look how he tried so hard to say it nicely, but then was just a jerk in the end with a complete out there explanation. That shows a sign that he wanted an excuse to get out,” Hermione sighed. Ginny shook her head.

“No. I know Billy. He’s just like you. Straight forward and honest about everything,” she said with a sniffle. This further made Hermione think that Billy had some sort of hidden reasoning for ending the relationship with Ginny. Hermione didn’t say anything more though in fear of raising suspicion towards herself.

“What are you ladies all sniffling about?” Ron asked as he approached them. His cheeks were chapped from the wind and his hair was tossed about in a permanent standing up stance. Hermione giggled inwardly. And she thought she had been having a bad hair day.

“Men. They’re so stupid,” Ginny grumbled.

“Complete idiots,” Hermione piped in.


“Slobbering boars!”

“Worms from the bowels of syphilitic weasels!”

Hermione stared at Ginny for a moment. That was definitely an insult she liked and had never heard before.

“Can weasels get syphilis?” Ron pondered. Then revelation came across his face. “Hey! I’m a man!” Ginny rolled her eyes.

“Well, I always thought you’d look adorable in a skirt!” Ginny laughed. Ron’s ears turned bright red.

“What’s so funny?” Harry asked, his hair in the same state as Ron’s. Hermione started laughing out loud at everything.

“Ron’s manliness,” she said. “Apparently it has come into question,” she said with a wink at Harry. Harry took a sideways step from Ron.

“Eh, if you want to be all girly and play dress up that’s your choice. If I find you fondling me in my sleep don’t think I’ll have mercy cause you THINK you’re a girl,” Harry said with a laugh.
Ron began to bat his eyelids and he made his voice go as high pitch as he could manage.

“Oh, but Harry, I always thought you were SO adorable… give Ronnie a kiss!” he said and threw his arms out as if to embrace Harry. Harry jumped backwards and held up his broom as if it were a weapon.

“Eh! Ron, I’m warning you!” he said with a laugh. Ron swung his hips overdramatically from side to side and puckered his lips, pretending to be seductive.

“Oh Harry, don’t deny it! You know you can’t resist me!” Ron said and then ran at Harry, diving and tackling him. Harry had of course tossed aside his broom as Ron gently but still firmly ran his shoulder into Harry and tackling him to the ground.
Hermione and Ginny couldn’t stop laughing as the two boys rolled around on the dirt, wrestling like a couple of maniacs. Hermione cheered them on in turn. Soon they would run out of energy. Some of the other players on the team laughed and joined in the cheering, but were anxious to shower and relax so they left the boys to their game.
They pulled apart with no winner, both boys dirtier and sweatier than they had been in the beginning, and their hair was a hilarious sight. Harry’s glasses were perched on his nose crooked and Ron was missing a shoe. Hermione was breathless from laughing so hard and Ginny’s tears were long ago forgotten.

“God, it’s so hot out!” Harry complained.

“Oh no Harry, I think it’s just you,” Ginny said with a playful wink. They all knew that she had no feelings towards the green-eyed lad, but her long-forgotten crush was an ongoing joke between the group.
Harry nodded with such a serious face Hermione let out a snort when she tried to repress her laughter.

“Oh, I know,” he said seriously. “You know no girl can resist my sexy body,” Harry laughed.

“What sexy body? I don’t see ANY sexy bodies around here,” Ginny challenged. Harry looked at Ron with a fiendish smile and then began to de-robe.

“Harry!” Hermione gasped. “Put your clothes back on!” she insisted.

“Oh come on, Hermione. Where’s your sense of adventure? It’s not like I’m going to run around stark naked… unless you want me to…” he said with a wink.

“NO!” all three of them shouted in unison, causing Harry to laugh. The black-haired boy was down to his boxers. His shoulders were strong and wide, his chest seemingly chiseled out of stone. Hermione glanced at Ginny and noticed that her eyes were wide with surprise at what lay beneath the red and gold practice robes.

“Join me Ronald?” Harry asked. Ron glanced at Ginny awkwardly and then Hermione with a coy smile. Hermione couldn’t help but blush at the unwanted attention from her best friend.
Immediately, Ron began to yank off his robes. Hermione watched him closely, too closely in Ginny’s opinion. He was a good five inches taller than Harry and was broader in the shoulders. You wouldn’t notice it because it just brought balance to his figure.
He didn’t have as many featured muscles as Harry but the soft indentations of firm muscle were visible from where they sat. He yanked his pants off, revealing a pair of red boxers with gold polka dots. Harry wore just a plain pair of gray ones.

“Wow, looks like my brother has more school spirit than you Harry,” Ginny said with a laugh. Harry was staring at Ron’s boxers.

“Polka dot?” Harry asked. Ron shrugged with a laugh.

“I thought they complimented my hair,” Ron said and ran a hand through his hair. Hermione let out a laugh as she watched him struggle to do so from all the knots both the wind and the wrestling match had caused.

“Were you planning on stripping for someone?” Harry laughed. Ron’s ears turned a dark red once again.

“NO! I just… you know… um…” he murmured and the three others laughed at him. “Ah sod off,” Ron remarked with good humor. Hermione smiled and laughed. Ginny looked over at her and smiled quietly. She hadn’t said anything, but she had noticed how sickly Hermione had looked lately. She was pale, underweight, and concern, fear, and desperation were always rooted deep in her mysterious chocolate brown eyes.
So as Ron and Harry linked arms and sang ‘Weasley is our King’ and skipped in circles wearing nothing but boxers on this warm September afternoon, Ginny couldn’t help but notice Hermione’s rosy cheeks and warmed face with light and sparkling eyes.
Ginny joined in the laughter, happy that her friend was better. She had been getting worried about Hermione’s health.

She was obviously telling the truth. Hermione IS perfectly healthy.

Isn’t she?



Chapter 10 - Sick

Hermione walked into the Head Boy/Girl Common Room, laughing, her eyes twinkling.

“You look better, Granger,” Malfoy said coolly. He lay on the couch with a book propped on his knees. As usual, he was shirtless. Hermione froze when she saw him, the laughter slowly draining.

“You’re still here?” she asked. He sneered at her.

“Don’t sound so happy!” he snapped, angry at the tone of voice she used. She had no right to disrespect him after what he did for her. She shook her head.

“It’s not how it sounds,” she said quietly and opened her mouth to explain, but three bodies burst into the room. Malfoy was of course incredibly angry at the sight of Potty, Weasel, and the Weaselette. Granger had just been trying to warn him that these three were on their way into the Common Room. He had to give her a bit of credit for doing so.

“Nice place you got here… oh,” Harry said when his eyes found Draco lying half naked on the couch. Draco raised his eyebrows and sneered.

“I was just leaving,” he hissed and stood, walking towards his bedroom door. Ron was stand awkwardly as red slowly filled his face. Ginny, however, was giving Malfoy an appreciative look. Only slight revulsion was in her eyes, the rest of the look was admiring Draco.

“Nice view,” Ginny giggled and Hermione saw a small smile appear on Malfoy’s face as he disappeared into the room. Hermione blushed darkly. A strange feeling began worming around in her stomach? Jealousy? No, of course not, never!

“Get dressed!” Hermione hissed and motioned at their clothes. The boys had come up to the room still dressed in boxers.

“Relax, Hermione. Its just Malfoy! Remember how little he was wearing?” Ginny asked. Hermione blushed.

“That’s different. He’s always like that…”

“You’re telling me the ferret walks around half naked?” Ron asked through clenched teeth and pointed at the closed door. Hermione brushed it off.

“This is different! He lives here! I don’t exactly want it going around that I had too nearly naked boys in my room on the third day of school!” Hermione hissed. Ron and Harry rolled their eyes and began to get dressed, but Malfoy reappeared before they could even turn their robes right side out. He was fully dressed and a sullen and impassive expression was playing across his pale face.
He shoved by the boys, but paused as he passed Ron. He looked down and then back up again, almost as if he were checking the boy out though no looks of interest or care were in his full-moon-on-the-water eyes.

“Nice boxers,” Draco said simply and left. Hermione sighed a breath of relief. Having Malfoy out of the room was like lifting a dead weight off her shoulders. Hermione waved her arms around.

“Well, ahem, this is my Common Room. Go anywhere you like, just not HIS room,” Hermione made her point clear.

“Even your underwear drawer?” Ron asked with a wink. Hermione couldn’t help but laugh. Ginny looked at her brother and rolled her eyes before turning to Hermione.

“See, I told you. Pigs.”

“Slobbering boars,” Hermione agreed and laughed. Ron and Harry joined in the laughter. The two boys quickly made themselves comfortable on the couch. Hermione looked at Ginny and the two had a silent moment where they knew exactly what they other were thinking.


“Hermione, where’s your bathroom?” Ginny asked quickly after the moment was over.

“What, you going to throw up after seeing Malfoy half naked? Cause I know that’s what I want to do,” Harry commented from his seat. He and Ron then began to pluck candy from a bowl on the table and toss them in the air, trying to catch them in their mouths.
Ginny gave them an appreciative laugh at the comment. Hermione smiled and the moment went between them again.

“It’s the second door to your right,” Hermione said, pointing. Ginny looked and nodded, leaving Hermione alone with the boys.
Hermione walked over to them and sat in between them, because that was where there was the most room. They were quiet for a moment, staring at Hermione. She laughed when she realized she was sitting in between two VERY handsome and almost naked boys.

“This is awkward, don’t you think?” Hermione asked. Harry and Ron had that fiendish look in their eye again. Hermione didn’t trust that look at all. “Umm… guys?” she asked. They were inching closer to her. “Guys…” she said more sternly this time.

“Hermione sandwich!” They cried at the same time. Ron leapt on top of her just as she had turned her back to him, trying to escape. Harry pulled her forward. She was squashed under Ron’s weight as his body pushed against her back. She was pressed down on Harry. She pulled up a little, so close that she could smell the sweet scent of his breath… that was definitely the only thing sweet about them.

“You smell horrible!” Hermione gagged. She buried her face in the curve of Harry’s neck as she tried to block out the stench. He was breathing into her ear, trying to hold back laughter.

“That tickles!” he finally laughed. Ron sat up, straddling Hermione’s waist.

“Ha! I am the king!” he shouted and raised his arms in triumph.

“Ugh! Ron, put your arms down!” Hermione laughed. Ron blushed and immediately put his arms down and then burst into laughter. “Don’t you know what hygiene is?” Hermione exclaimed and then the boys began to tickle her and she was wriggling and laughing, begging them to stop though the smile couldn’t be wiped from her face.


She walked into the bathroom and checked her makeup. Minimum smudging from crying, she noticed. She still used a tissue and dabbed at it a bit. She smiled in the mirror. Didn’t look too bad.
Poor Hermione. She had to live with that prat Malfoy. At least he wasn’t exactly the ugliest boy in all of school, Ginny smiled to herself.
She smoothed down her hair a bit. Her eyes flickered to something at the corner. Five orange bottles half-filled with pills stood there. They were almost haunting. Ginny could just barely make out the name on the white prescription paper.

Granger, Hermione

Ginny shivered. Since when did Hermione take medication? She reached for the bottle but recoiled. It was none of her business whether Hermione took medication or not. It was probably just allergies or something.
Still, seeing the bottles, she couldn’t help but look at what they were.

She held the first one in her hand and rotated it slowly, listening to the pills rattle around. The sound was eerie, almost a sound you expected a ghoul to make. Ginny looked closely. It was a name she couldn’t even pronounce. Then again, she had heard it before. It was familiar to her. For what?
She pondered this and rolled the bottle around in her hands. She remembered it being advertised on television. She licked her dry lips.
It came to her all of a sudden.

This was a type of pill that helped you manage your weight. Ginny remembered how much weight Hermione had lost. She nodded. That did make sense for her to take. That still didn’t explain the four other bottles.
She picked up the next bottle and read the name. She recognized it immediately. It was used to calm hysterics. It mellowed people out. Why would Hermione need something like that?
She set the bottle down carefully and picked up the next one, a chill going up her spine as the pills shook and clacked into each other.
She also recognized this one immediately. It was an anti-depressant, and a strong one at that. Didn’t this and the other medication just cancel each other out? No, she figured, because certain forms of hysteria are signs of depression. Ginny supposed it made some sort of sense.
There were still two more bottles.
The next name she didn’t even recognize. It was completely strange to her. What it was for, it’s origins, and all of it was a mystery. She set it back down and then reached for the last one. Would this one explain Hermione’s illness? She didn’t know, but she supposed she had to try to figure it out.

She picked it carefully and was hesitant to read the label. She took a shaky breath and focused her eyes. She was disappointed when she didn’t recognize this name either. It sounded heavy duty though.
She set the bottles down and feigned a smile. She walked quickly from the bathroom and saw Hermione trying to get out of a pinned position between Ron and Harry. She just seemed so happy. So at ease… was that because of the medication or because she really was happy?

“I can’t leave you boys alone for one minute!” Ginny laughed.

“Ginny! Help! They SMELL!” Hermione laughed from between them. Ron jumped up and lifted Hermione up, placing her over his shoulder as if she weighed barely anything. Then again, but the look of her, that did seem about right.
Harry stood and began to creep towards Ginny, smiling.

“Harry… no… no Harry… bad Harry… sit!” Ginny tried but Harry bent over and scooped her up. She was over his shoulder. The boys stood back to back so Hermione and Ginny could see each other.

“Resistance is futile,” Hermione laughed and Ginny silently agreed. Hermione furrowed her eyebrows. “Ginny, are you alright?” she asked quietly. Ginny nodded, not trusting her own voice.

“I’m hungry,” Ron grumbled. “God, for such a nice Common Room you have no food, Hermione!” Ron laughed. He set her down gently and she looked at him with a smile. “Harry and I are going to go get some food. Want to come?”

“I’m up for it!” Ginny said as Harry set her down lightly.

“I guess I am too cause Ron said I was before I said I was,” Harry said with a shrug. “Hermione, you coming?”

“No, I’m sort of tired. I’ll see you all later, alright?” she said. They nodded and quickly pulled on their robes just as Hermione caught them off guard and covered them with cologne. “I don’t think Draco will mind,” she laughed and waved the cologne bottle in the air. They smiled and waved, leaving Hermione alone as they stepped out of the portrait.

Ginny slapped Ron’s arm.

“Ouch! What was that for?” Ron snapped and rubbed his arm. Ginny glared at him.

“You exhausted her!” Ginny snapped and began to stalk away.

“Is that a bad thing?” Ron asked.

“Yea Ginny, what’s up?” Harry asked as they followed her. She spun around on her heal and glared at them angrily.

“I was right, men are complete idiots. Hermione is incredibly sick! You probably just made her worse!” Ginny hissed. Concern filled their faces. It had never crossed their mind that she was actually ill after the train ride.

“What do you mean by incredibly sick?” Ron asked, his voice cracking. Ginny covered her eyes for a moment, afraid that her emotions and self-control would betray her.

“Hermione is on at least five different prescriptive medication, guys. She’s losing weight fast and she barley even looks strong enough to stand!” her voice was watery with tears. Harry ran a hand through his hair and mumbled to himself as Ron shook his head in denial.

“How… how bad is it?” he asked.

“Bad enough so she doesn’t want her best friends to know,” Ginny said curtly before spinning on her heal and leaving the boys guilt-ridden in the corridor



Chapter 11 - Painkiller

Hermione lay down on the couch, a small grin playing across her lips. The weekend and half the week had passed flawlessly. She was feeling better than ever and had written quick, sincere and still lie-filled letters to her parents, reassured her best friends that she was feeling better than ever, and she hadn’t had a single run-in with Malfoy. Ever since the incident with the boys in their boxers, he seemed to have disappeared completely.
Sometimes she heard him rustling about and cursing in his bedroom, or showering in his bathroom, but that was the extent of it. He no longer lounged on the couch half naked reading the morning paper as if he really cared what was going on in the world. He read it for cryptic messages hidden in the text. He was constantly searching for articles that had to do with his father, Voldemort, and Death Eaters in general.
He thought he hid this well by pretending to read some strange human interest story about how a woman raised three troublesome witches on her own while withholding the job of a waitress, or some equally unusual piece for someone like Draco to read.
Hermione’s eyes had glanced over the pages the couple times she had peered over his shoulder before he disappeared into the depths of his bedroom. On the same page there was an article about the further investigation of suspected Death Eaters, or about how the children of former/current Death Eaters were getting along and/or being treated.

Hermione knew that Malfoy had not been mentioned in the article for the amount of money and power his father held. He could simply erase any reporter who flawed his name further from the face of the world, and no one would say boo to stop him.
So she while she lay there on the couch, resting her eyes, she couldn’t help but be alarmed at the sound of heavy breathing.
She opened her eyes and saw Malfoy hovering over her, his eyes bearing into hers with an intensity that could have fried an egg.
With a cry Hermione shot up. When she shot up, she accidentally rammed her head into Malfoy. His nose, to be specific, and he bled quite profusely.

“OW! Oh my…” he let out a string of curse words that made Hermione’s eyes widen. Here she had been thinking mudblood was bad!

“Oh… Malfoy I’m so sorry!” she said and reached out towards him. Blood dribbled down his chin and he tried to pinch his nose but just winced.

“Look what you’ve done, Granger! You stupid mudblood!” he hissed, though sounding rather funny with his nose clogged and/or plugged but his red fingertips. Anger filled Hermione.

“Just stay still! I’m trying to help you!” she said and reached out for him again. He swatted her hands away.

“You’ve done enough already!” he snarled at her. He began fumbling around. “Where’s my bloody wand?” he mumbled to himself. Hermione rolled her eyes and reached into her robe.

“Malfoy, here, let me…”


“It’s a simple illusion charm! I don’t want to take the chance of messing anything up, seeing as you’re being so stubborn!” Hermione snapped. Malfoy swatted her away with his free hand. “Stop being such a prat! Stand still before I shove this wand up your nose! I don’t think it can handle much more, either!” she hissed at him, ignoring the lump forming on her forehead.
He groaned and pulled his hands away.

“May I?” she gestured and she shrugged. She touched it delicately and he winced, tears brimming his full-moon-on-the-water eyes. She sighed. “Well, luckily it’s not broken. Very close, though. It’s going to be very painful,” she sighed. She reached up and muttered a charm. Malfoy’s nose shrank immediately and took on its previously perfect state, but blood still covered his face. “Now come with me,” she said and sat him down on the couch.

“What are you going to do?” Malfoy asked nervously, his voice still a little plugged up. Hermione hadn’t healed him, after all. She had simply made him appear to be in perfect state.
She rushed to the bathroom and her eyes skimmed over the bottles before she snatched one. She then took a roll of toilet paper, filled up a small pail of water, and came back into the Common Room, where Malfoy still sat.
Hermione took a seat next to him and then quickly undid the lid to the bottle.

“What is that?” he asked again, forgetting his first unanswered question. She pulled out a single pill.

“Here, swallow this. Do you need water?” she asked him. He shook his head and held the pill in his fingertips.

“What is that?” he asked again. Hermione sighed.

“It will numb and relieve what you feel now,” she answered him quietly and started to roll up some tissue. He stared at it strangely.

“Are you talking about a pain killer?” he asked in surprise, his voice sounding very humorous because he sounded so strange and still tried to be serious. He had such a funny look on her face.

“Yes, now take it already!” she warned him, her hand wrapped in toilet paper. He popped it into his mouth and swallowed, eyeing her suspiciously. Why did Hermione need painkillers?

“Don’t you need them though?” he asked. She shrugged.

“I can go without one, tomorrow. It’s my fault you’re in pain right now, anyway,” she said simply. She lightly dipped the paper in the water and began to wash his face off gently. “Now just hold still,” she said quietly and began to nibble on her lip as she concentrated on avoiding his hurt nose. He felt strange letting her clean him up like this, but he really didn’t mind being taken care of.
Still, he couldn’t bear the awkward silence.

“You’re right, it was your fault,” he said simply. Hermione shot him a death glare.

“You’re supposed to assure me that it was your fault, which it was,” she said and then continued to wipe off his chin. She had to admit it was firm and strong. She imagined just for a moment what it would have been like to kiss the soft curve of it. She shuddered when she realized she was fantasizing about making MALFOY shudder with pleasure.

“But it wasn’t my fault. Even you said so,” Malfoy pointed out. Hermione had cleaned up his face, but unfortunately (though it wasn’t broken) she had damaged the nose very badly and it had dribbled down his neck and spotted his bare chest.

“If you weren’t hovering over me like that I never would have jumped in surprise,” Hermione said in annoyance. Malfoy craned his neck gently to the side and let her gently rub away the blood. Why did he just have to look so attractive in that position. His head was craned back so lightly. She could almost see the pulse in his throat, throbbing wildly. She wanted to press her lips against it, let her tongue explore the throb of his heart in his throat…

“And you called me a mudblood!” Hermione spat as she tried to force the thought aside viciously. The medication did such horrible things to her. ‘Sexual side affects’ was an understatement. She furrowed her eyebrows and bit her lip as she tried to think of all the horrible things Malfoy had said to her in the past.
She also tried to ignore the fact that, though she had the best intentions at heart when she gave him the painkiller, it was that in which caused the sexual side affects. Actually, almost all of them caused sexual side affects according to the warning. Three out of the five, at least! So now she was hyped up on medical induced hormones with a boy whose testosterone was naturally on an unusual high with a little help of happy in what she had given him… illegally at that! She had just distributed a drug!
Oh the thoughts made her grimace.

“Well if you hadn’t fallen asleep on my shirt, I wouldn’t have hovered over you while trying to wake you up!” Draco snapped back and yanked his shirt from underneath Hermione and pulled it up. This gesture caused Hermione to fall forward, her hands catching her balance on his chest. She could feel his hot breath on her forehead.
She leaned back instantly, red with embarrassment. Malfoy just grinned at her, a new agenda in his sparkling eyes.
Hermione could see it and could recognize it. Why had she given him the painkiller?
She had to act as if everything was normal and nothing fazed her, but as a matter of fact she wanted nothing more than to kiss Malfoy until his full-moon-on-the-water eyes turned a burning red with a desire that Hermione would more than happily fulfill.

“Fine, it was both our faults,” she murmured. She changed the toilet paper again and dabbed it in the water. There were several spots on his chest where the blood had dripped. They had dried so she was going to have to pick at it a little. She was afraid to touch him, but knew that he would get suspicious or make some sort of comment if she didn’t.
She rubbed at his chest, amazed at how it felt as if it were carved of stone. His eyes were locked on her, a coy little smile on his pale face. She refused to look him in the eye. She could feel her face growing warmer and redder. She cleared her throat and continued to rub the blood off his chest.
Why had she felt so responsible as to clean Draco up in the first place? Maybe it was because he was so immature he reminded her of a little boy she babysat that had gotten covered in fudge. She had done just this, only she had thought of it merely as cleaning him up.
Hermione’s imagination was going wild with things she wanted to do with Malfoy. This caused her expression to harden and she focused more on getting the dry specks of blood off.
Draco reached up and played with a bang that had fallen into Hermione’s eye. No matter how much she enjoyed the feeling, she swatted the hand away. It just returned and began to play with her hair again, this time more sensuously.

“You’re pretty when you concentrate… or are you angry? Either way it’s very… fetching,” he whispered quietly and leaned in closer. Hermione leaned back, her breathing heavy and shallow at the same time.

“Draco… it’s the painkiller… sometimes it has weird effects… but you have to fight it,” she said in a half whisper. The medication was soaring through her blood ever more than his. What was the difference? Why could she slightly manage to control her urges and here Malfoy was, practically on top of her?

“I don’t want to fight it,” he mumbled, his eyes entrancing. He pressed his forehead against hers and continued to lean in, causing her to lean back farther. She had been sitting cross-legged and facing him when it started, and she now cursed herself for her choice of sitting.

“It feels good,” he added and nuzzled Hermione’s cheek. The feeling made Hermione’s eyelids flutter. Senses came to her.

“Draco… we can’t do this. We’ll just regret it tomorrow…”

“That’s tomorrow, this is today,” he mumbled. Sadly, Hermione understood his sense so perfectly right then that as he stole a kiss from her gently, she let him take it. His lips were so soft at first. It was as if she were barely kissing a flower.

“Malfoy…” she whispered against him and somehow that set him off. He leaned into the kiss with such dominance and strength that she had no choice but to give in against him. He lay on top of her, the firmness of his body against her making her insides scream that this was right; this was the way it was supposed to be.
The lust and attraction she felt for him was rooted deeper than anything medication could do, though she refused to admit it.

She was trapped beneath him, but she didn’t mind the feeling. She felt so safe between underneath his body and in the grasp of his strong arms. He kissed her so softly and yet so passionately Hermione wanted to cry. She felt everything she had desired to feel for so long. She had cut herself off physically and emotionally from everyone, and she could practically feel Malfoy’s mind reaching out to her just as his body was. He was yearning for something deeper than physical pleasure. She knew it, because she felt the same.
Was she imagining this? Of course it was all the medication’s fault that she let him deepen the kiss. It was the medication that made him do it in the first place! She took a fistful of his hair and kissed him with everything she had, making sure he knew that she wasn’t one to be taken lightly.

“Granger,” he whispered roughly against her lips and slipped his arms around her waist and placed his hands at the small of his back. Hermione was a seventeen year old girl who had barely even kissed a boy. The hormones stored inside of her, the incredible skill of the boy who dominated their actions at this point of time, her desperation for love and the medication making all of this set a fire deep within her that she thought would never burn out.
One of his hands traveled up her back, causing delightful shivers to spread up her spine. It reached the base of her neck and massaged it gently. How was it possible that someone could be so good at something? Did Malfoy really have so much experience that his touch made her burn with such a fire she was melting even herself?

His fingers brushed across something along the scalp of her neck. Something thick and swollen with thread running in and out.

Whatever high Hermione had been on, that simple touch brought her crashing down to reality. Back to Hogwarts. Back to hell.

She shoved him off of her and scrambled backwards as far as she could. He was left there, breathless. His eyes looked at her with everything she had felt just moments before.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. Hermione could see the place where she had so firmly taken hold of his hair. Shame rooted so deeply in her heart. She was filled with a pain and loneliness that made her feel as if the few moments of pleasure she had just experienced was not worth it.

“It’s not real,” she whispered and turn, fleeing from Malfoy’s confused stare. He glowered and stared at his hands, his nose still throbbing painfully.

The painkiller hadn’t kicked in yet.



Chapter 12 - Fight

Hermione was leaving her last class of the day. Thoughts of what she had done with Malfoy earlier that morning were still haunting and pleasing her. It was a strange feeling. Thinking about Malfoy and his kiss was like watching a horror movie. It was like sitting at the top of a roller coaster ride, the first drop, and the quiet clacking of the wheels preparing you for the thrilling ride ahead.
Or had she already been on the ride and was now just having the coaster-leg that follows almost everything. Would she become steady again?
She knew the answer was no. When Malfoy had kissed her like that, held her like that, said her name like that…

“He said my last name,” she mumbled.

“Pardon, Miss Granger?” a familiar voice asked. Hermione’s eyes flickered up. Sir Bentley had raised an inquisitive eyebrow at her. She smiled. For a portrait he was such a charming man. He acted as a father: A dad away from home. She wasn’t sure if that was what she needed.
She needed Malfoy…
What she needed BESIDES that boy.

“Oh, it was nothing,” she said and waved her hand about. Sir Bentley had a smug smile on his face.

“If you say so. Now say the password and hurry on in. I’m late for tea with Lady Matilda…” Hermione couldn’t help but smile when a small blush touched the man’s face, “and I’ll be gone until suppertime. I’ve already warned young Mr. Malfoy of the same. He’s inside right now, as a matter of fact,” Sir Bentley said. “It had to do with him, didn’t it?” he asked.


“Whatever is troubling you so? As soon as I said your name you… you changed,” he said and cocked his head. “Maybe I’m imagining things.” She laughed and shook her head.

“Charlatan,” she said through her giggles.

“I say, I am not!” he replied, looking almost hurt. This caused Hermione to giggle even harder. “Oh right… it’s the password,” he said and blushed even more. “I do say I feel like a nitwit. I’ll just be quiet now and let you be on your way. See you this evening, Miss Granger,” he said and swung upon with a very light squeak.

“Bye, Sir Bentley!” she called up to him. She didn’t mind the distraction he had proven to be. Not thinking about Malfoy for a few moments had been a needed break from inner turmoil. She liked not having to think about Malfoy’s exciting touch, sensuous lips, and arousing skills…
She cursed herself as she stepped into the Common Room. She really had to get a handle on her thoughts.
Sure enough Malfoy lay there on the couch, shirtless as usual. Except this time, he was also missing pants. He wore nothing but a pair of silver boxers. Hermione’s heart went wild at the sight of him. She was afraid to move. She did not want to draw attention to herself, because she knew she wouldn’t be able to resist him if he made a move for her.
That’s what she found so charming about him.

Shaking her head she took a step. The floor creaked beneath her foot and she froze. Draco did not move from his relaxed place on the couch. He simple lay there, still as a rock.
After a few moments she took anther step, this time as quiet as Crookshanks. She crept to her bedroom as quietly as she could, biting her lip. She hoped not to disturb Malfoy. After what happened… she was not prepared to deal with the consequences.
She went into her room and put her things away as quietly as possible. She was going to go off about the castle for the rest of the evening. Maybe spend time with Harry, Ron, and Ginny. She’d probably go to the library and check out that new book Professor McGonagall recommended.
She looked in the mirror, nodded approvingly at her appearance, and headed out the door.
She froze when she saw that Malfoy was no longer napping on the couch. Had he heard her? She didn’t move. She listened to see if anything else moved. She heard nothing. She was surrounded by silence. She could hear her heart beating wildly and her breath shaky in her chest.
She rushed for the door. She could make it. She was so close…

She felt a pair of strong hands grab her shoulders and pull her backwards. She let out a small yip as she was pulled around and pushed forcefully against the wall. She only caught a glimpse of Malfoy’s full-moon-on-the-water eyes before she felt a pair of lips mesh against her own.
Hermione trembled and melted into his arms. She wrapped her arms tightly around his neck and kissed him with everything she had. She was squeezed between him and the wall. She was afraid of this. She knew she wouldn’t be able to control herself if Malfoy kissed her again.
God he was just so good!

“What did you do to me?” he asked gruffly as he kissed her. She opened her eyes and saw him staring at her. She pushed his lips away and caught her breath. He was still pressed firmly against her and she made no move to push him back.

“That’s why I stopped this… why it shouldn’t happen! The painkiller I gave you, it has sexual side effects,” she said, her face turning red. She looked at him, his lips so kissable. He was so close, so in reach… she shook her head. “You actually think I’d let you kiss me on my own account?” he glared at him and dove in, kissing her again. She couldn’t help but let a soft moan escape her lips. It was inhuman for someone to make her feel this way.
He pulled away this time, his lips so close to hers. He was teasing her, leading her on. She was so ashamed that she liked it.
Her breathing was heavy against his lips.

“Granger, you’ve wanted me before the medication,” he told her and kissed her again, not letting her object. Her eyelids fluttered. It wasn’t right. It just wasn’t right!

“No…” she whispered against him but just kissed him more. His hands held her so tightly; she was pinned to the wall. She had no escape. If she did, would she want to escape?

“Yes… you can’t resist me,” he told her again. Hermione tightened her lips causing Malfoy to withdraw slightly. It didn’t stop him from kissing her though.
He was right. She couldn’t resist him. Then again, she always loved challenges. Just because she couldn’t didn’t mean she wouldn’t.
She shoved his entire body backwards, freeing her. Both of them just stood there, out of breath, hormones raging. They clenched their fists, staring each other down. They tried to hold themselves back. They had to. There was no way they’d EVER touch each other again.

“Malfoy, I think you’re a foul disgusting slithering ferret! You think that you rule the world and you’re horrible to others just so you can feel better about yourself!” she spat at him. Anger filled his eyes.

“Oh yea? You’re a filthy little mud blood. The thought of you kissing me makes me want to gag. You’re an insufferable know-it-all who distracts herself from the knowledge that she’s worth it by studying and reading until your brains leak out your ears!” Hermione turned red and took a step closer, her eyes flaming.

“Your father is a Death Eater. People hate you. You think it’s respect but it’s just because they’re frightened of YOUR FATHER. You can’t even defend yourself! You have to bring around cronies like Crabbe and Goyle just to protect you when Daddy’s not around!”
Malfoy took a step closer, anger seeping from every pore in his body.

“You are the most god awful wench! You’re desperate for attention so you string along any boy who THINKS he can have you and then just shove them away! You do the same thing in class by always knowing the answer! You’re desperate and you’ll never be loved!” Malfoy screamed at her.
Hermione took a step closer, her eyes almost red with anger.

“I’m desperate for attention? I string along people? You must be in denial!” Hermione laughed. Malfoy sneered.

“God, I hate you!” he screamed in her face.

“I hate you too!” Hermione screamed. They were silent for a moment.

Then Malfoy dove in and kissed her again, pushing her up against the back wall. She kissed him with everything she had, loving every second of it.



Chapter 13 - Remember The Viagra

Hermione sat in her bedroom, wringing her hands. She was trapped inside the dormitory with Draco. She and him had been… they had been… conversing for so long that Sir Bentley must have run off to tea before letting her out. She sighed, growling at her misfortune.
She could hear Malfoy cursing and throwing things around in his bedroom. The wall was thick so he must have been making quite a racket. She sighed, the memory dancing across her mind distractingly.

‘God he’s such a good kisser,’ Hermione thought as her lips played with Malfoy’s. What had happened to their argument? She didn’t care anymore. This was just too good. He was just too irresistible.
She whispered something against his lips though she didn’t hear it. It made him responds, pulling her ever tighter against him. She felt like melting against his arms. She wished she had superglue smeared over her lips so they would be forever stuck like this.
She giggled at such a silly thought.

“Are you laughing at me, Granger?” Malfoy pulled back and hissed before commencing to kiss her neck and collarbone erotically. She hummed and ran her hands through his hair, breathing heavily against him.

“Because it feels good,” Hermione mumbled. He hissed laughter against her skin and Hermione leaned down and began to kiss him again. Stupid medicine. Stupid sexual side effects. Stupid Malfoy. Stupid Sir Bentley. Stupid Professors.
She realized that all of her chap stick that she had applied earlier was not on her lips anymore. It was on Draco. It was on his lips, his skin. A smile hooked her lip at the thought.
He reached up and ran his hand through her hair, genuine surprise coming across his face when he felt how silky it was.

“Just because it sticks out doesn’t mean it’s snarled,” she said to him as she furrowed her eyebrows. He snickered and grabbed handfuls of her hair, causing her to give him complete control. She loved the feeling. Malfoy being in authority as he kissed her… she wrapped her arms tightly around him and kissed him deeper.
Then he began to unbutton her robes. She furrowed her eyebrows and smacked his hands away and then continued to kiss him deeply.
He tried once again moments later. She recoiled, pulling back and glaring at him.

“What are you doing?” she asked. He kissed her chin, the fine bone of her jaw, and her neck. He was still pressed tightly against her. Why did he have to feel so good? Why couldn’t he have been really bad at kissing? She could barely mask her pleasure.

“You did this to me, Granger. Now you have to deal with the consequences,” he mumbled against her skin and cut off her objection by kissing her deeply again, unbuttoning her robes and slipped his hands beneath her shirt and on the soft skin of her stomach.

She shoved him backwards violently.

“Stop it, Malfoy!” she snapped at him. “I let you kiss me, I didn’t say that we could…” she went a deep crimson color. Malfoy slapped his knee and began to laugh.

“Oh please, as if I’d want to do that with YOU!” he couldn’t stop laughing, causing Hermione to blush even darker and fumble with her robes, buttoning them back up quickly.

“Then what was all that with the consequences?” she snapped at him, smoothing down her ruffled hair. He shrugged, the cocky and smug appearance back in his posture and appearance.

“You asked me what I was doing. What was I supposed to say?” he asked. Hermione glared at him.

“You’re despicable!” she snapped at him.

“You’re a really bad kisser!” he snapped back.

“The thought of you just touching me makes me sick!” she snarled at him.

“I think I AM sick after that!” he said, fanning him.

“You cocky son of a…” she started, but before she could finish he thrust himself upon her, his tongue plunging into her mouth. “Ugh, get off me!” she snapped, this time having no attraction towards the boy with the full-moon-on-the-water eyes. When he didn’t, still sure that he could win her over as he did last time…
She buried her knee in his groin.
He let out a strangled cry and fell to the floor, holding himself and curled up into a tight ball.
She leapt over him and to her room, slamming the door tight behind her. She didn’t even offer her a painkiller this time.

So now Hermione was left in her bedroom, listening to Malfoy storm about in his room. She hated the thought that Malfoy had been her first kiss that was… well… French. He was just so good at it. That was a plus. He was Draco Malfoy. That was a minus big enough to cancel out the plus.
She groaned and rubbed her temple, the memory of him and his awful behavior running through her mind.
She knew that she had to leave sometime. Looking at the clock, she realized that Sir Bentley should be back by now.
She quietly crept to the door, listening to Malfoy scream out a bunch of curses that made her cringe. She hoped he was just cursing cause he was angry, and that he wasn’t saying those things about her.
She opened it, looking around. She stared at Malfoy’s door for a moment before getting the courage to tiptoe over to the exit.
She did so quietly, listening to him storm about in his room some more. That boy had to get control of his temper!
The floorboard creaked beneath her foot and she froze. No more noise was coming out of Malfoy’s bedroom. She stood there, breathing heavy. She listened to him storm angrily to his door. She couldn’t move. She watched him swing open the door, his clothes a mess and his hair ruffled. His eyes were darting, and they focused on her. She still couldn’t move. She was entranced by him.
Then she realized that she was really digging herself deeper. She had to get out of there.
She ran for the portrait opening. He ran for her. They were running so fast that before they could stop, they collided.
Hermione tumbled to the floor.
Draco had managed to stay standing.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled and reached down to help her up. She looked at it warily before taking it, letting him help her stand. “And not just for knocking you down. I wanted to say I’m sorry for how I acted earlier,” he said, not looking at her. She watched him clench and unclench his fists. She sighed, remembering that was exactly how she had been when she had been caught off guard by the effects of the medication.
She reached out and touched his arm.

“It’s okay,” she said. He tried to pull her in and kiss her, but she pushed him backwards. He blushed and stepped back.

“God, you have to feel like this constantly?” he asked, rubbing his neck. She sighed and nodded sadly. He shook his head. “I should have known. You always have that look on your face like you want to jump me,” he said with a smirk. Hermione rolled her eyes.

“You know what, I think it’d be best if I just left for now. By the time I get back the side effects should have mostly warn off,” she said.

“You know they should make this drug illegal! It may help with the pain and stuff, but the other side effects are just plain evil! Stupid Muggles!” he called out. Hermione laughed.

“Then I guess you’ve never heard of Viagra, have you?” she asked as she managed to leave the room, finding Sir Bentley looking rather content from his cup of tea with his date.
Malfoy furrowed his eyebrows, confused and talking to himself.

“What’s Viagra?”



Chapter 14 - Torture

“Patronum,” Hermione said to the Fat Lady who swept into a curtsy before opening. Hermione was glad she still had the password to the Gryffindor Common Room. She had nowhere else to go and she was surely not returning to anywhere near Malfoy while his hormones were still on a rampage.
She climbed inside quickly and listened to the portrait shut behind her. She saw that Harry, Ron, and Ginny were all hanging out in the Common Room. She gave them a brief smile and approached them.

“Hello,” she said and sat down next to Ginny. They all said hi to her, and then they were silent. They were awkward in behavior. Hermione was growing tired of their odd ways when she was around. What had happened? Why was everything so strange with them now?

“So how are things?” she asked. They shrugged and mumbled some answers. There was another awkward silence as they all adverted their eyes from Hermione’s expectant ones.

“How are you?” Ginny asked and placed a hand carefully on Hermione’s. Hermione furrowed her eyebrows. She looked Ginny deep in the eyes and saw that worry and concern was practically rushing from them in waves.
There was no way that she could know. It was impossible.
She looked at Ron and Harry; both of them eyeing her with the same care and hurt. This wasn’t right. She had worked so hard to avoid stares like this. She wasn’t going to let her friends treat her as if she was admitted into the hospital on her death bed.

“What’s wrong with you three?” she asked and tried to be clueless. Her voice betrayed her and gave away the fact that she was nervous. Ginny took a shaky breath.

“We know that you’re sick,” she said quietly. Hermione pursed her lips tightly and her eyes narrowed. She lost all color in her cheeks and even her hair seemed to go flat. She looked almost defeated.
They were silent, watching Hermione slowly grasp the idea and not even saying a word. Ron opened his mouth several times to say something. He planned on saying something sweet and funny. Something that would let Hermione know that he was there for her and always would be, no matter what was wrong. Still he was afraid that his voice wouldn’t come out as calm and reassuring as he would want and would instead crack with fear.

“How?” Hermione asked quietly, ringing her hands in her lap anxiously.

“I saw your medicine,” Ginny said. Hermione looked up at her and narrowed her eyes once more, only this time it was with anger.

“You went through my things?” she asked, her voice seething with anger and frustration. Ginny paled and looked down, taking her hand from Hermione’s and avoiding looking at her. “How dare you?” Hermione growled through clenched teeth. She shot venomous looks at Ron and Harry who sat silent and dumbfounded.

“Hermione,” Harry started to say.

“I don’t want to hear it, Harry!” Hermione snapped, surprised at the anger and strength in her voice. “You three had no right to invade my personal life!” she hissed. Ron shook his head, staring at Hermione in disbelief.

“It’s called being a good friend!” he objected. Hermione shot a death glare at him and he cowered at her anger. He mustered up his courage and didn’t back down from her icy glare again.

“No, it’s called invasion of privacy. It’s called being nosy,” she snapped back at him. “I didn’t tell you three for this EXACT reason!” she cried out, grabbing fistfuls of hair and staring at the floor. She could feel the tears welling up in her eyes and her shoulders trembled as she held back the tears.
Ron stood and walked around the back of the couch and placed his hands on her shoulders. The pain and tension in them was so obvious he was surprised she hadn’t broken yet. Hermione was so beautiful and so strong. Whatever was happening to her she didn’t deserve.
He rubbed her shoulders carefully and she lowered her head farther as if she wanted to curl up into a ball and hide from the world. As if she wanted to disappear.
That’s when he saw it. His eyes widened and his mouth opened in shock. He couldn’t believe his eyes and didn’t realize he looked like a beached fish. A deep slash followed along her hairline perfectly, purple and swollen, black veins making him feel nauseous. Black stitches went along through the slash, sealing it tightly together, causing the skin to pucker. It almost looked as if someone had scalped her and then re-stitched it back on.
He grimaced but did not falter in the motions his hands made on her shoulders.

“Hermione, please just tell us,” he said quietly. His voice quivered like a leaf in the gentle fall breeze. Ron couldn’t even look down at the angry slashes along the back of her head. It was the most horrific sight he had ever seen.

“You don’t understand, Ron. I can’t. You don’t know what’s wrong with me… you don’t have the slightest idea,” she said and felt her body shudder again as she held back the tears.
She then sat up straight, her hair hiding the cut as if it were never there. Her silky hair rushed against Ron’s hands and he continued to knead her shoulders.
She put a hand on his and gave it a gentle squeeze in thanks.

“Hermione whatever you think you have to hide from us, you don’t. We’re here for you,” Harry reassured her and leaned in. “But we can’t help you if you don’t tell us what’s wrong,” He said simply.
Hermione looked up at him sadly and he got a good look at her. He could tell whatever was happening to her was getting worse as the days went by. She had looked slightly troubled and underweight at the beginning of the school year, sure. He had just figured she had problems at home. Now the bones in her face were slowly beginning to jut out of her skin. The swollen dark circles beneath her eyes were puffy and purple. Her lips looked swollen… only… he shook his head, getting rid of the thought that she had been kissing someone. She looked alone and frightened, and as if she were hiding so many secrets in those dark brown eyes and she refused to let any of them out.

“I… I’m… I’m… I can’t,” she said and covered her face to hide a sob as she rushed from the Common Room. Ron stepped back, shudders overcoming him. Everything he had held back when he first saw the back of her head sliced open was now spilling out.

“In the name of Merlin… oh god… oh dear lord…” he said nervously and hugged himself, trying to stop the shaking. Harry stood, staring at his best friend oddly.

“What’s going on? What happened?” Harry asked. Ron looked at Harry, looking rather sickly.

“Hermione…” he mumbled and then squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed at them as if trying to rid himself of some sort of dream or vision.

“What?” Ginny demanded of her older brother. He looked at her and then at Harry. He swallowed the dry lump in his throat.

“She had… this thing on the back of her neck…” he said and traced a line across his hairline. “It was… oh my god it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen. It almost looked as if someone had scalped her and then sown it back on!” he said. He then went pale, his eyes bulging from his head. “You don’t think… you don’t think that she was tortured over the summer, do you?” he asked.
Ginny gasped and Harry let out a terrified groan.

“Is that what she could be hiding? I mean, she never actually said she was sick. She just asked how we knew… I mean… what if… what if she was captured by Voldemort or something…” Harry mumbled and then took handfuls of his hair and yanked out it, letting out an angry cry. “That must be why she doesn’t want me to know! Because of what Voldemort has already taken from me… she knew that if I knew what had happened I’d never forgive myself…” he groaned again.
Ginny let a terrified cry escape her lips as tears pricked at her eyes.

“Oh Harry… imagine what might have happened to her…” Ginny gasped. Ron hid his face in his hands to hide the tears from his best friend and baby sister. The girl he loved, captured and tortured by Voldemort and his foul followers… the thought made sobs rush through him.

“We can’t rush to conclusions,” Harry said though tears brimmed his eyes and he could feel it down to his core that it was exactly what had happened to her. How could he have let this happen? How? He was supposed to be the one to protect Hermione! Now she was being tortured by Voldemort while Harry spent his entire day moping about because the Dursley’s had made him lock Hedwig up again.

“We’re not RUSHING to anything, Harry!” Ron snapped angrily. “I mean, we’ve been in school for more than a WEEK! I think we’ve spent bloody well enough time thinking this over!” he snapped, ignoring the fact that tears were relentlessly spilling over his paled cheeks.

“We need to see Professor Dumbledore,” Ginny said quietly. They looked at her.

“Do you really think that he’d tell us anything, Ginerva?” Ron snapped angrily. Harry glared at him and Ron mumbled an apology, still obviously flustered about the thought of anyone hurting Hermione.

“I suppose he is our best shot,” Harry sighed. “I hope we can be persuasive enough,” he laughed airily and then shut his eyes tight, blocking out images of Hermione screaming as Voldemort slowly cut off her scalp, stripping her of her bushy hair…
He felt a dry heave come over him.

“Then what the BLOODY HELL are we waiting for?” Ron shouted at them and then stormed angrily from the Common Room, Harry and Ginny tagging along behind.
They were all horrified and disgusted with themselves and what had happened to Hermione… but then again they could be wrong, couldn’t they? If she had been tortured by Voldemort…

How did she manage to escape alive?



Chapter 15 - The Cleverness of Dumbledore

Hermione sat inside of Dumbledore’s office. She was so nervous that her palms had become clammy and sweaty. She had a mild headache and voices rushed through her head, telling her to run away. It was telling her to just go to her room and sleep it all away. When she woke up it would all be gone. It would be as if it were all just some sort of horrible nightmare.
She knew that this fantasy would never hold. Every time she closed her eyes this false hope fluttered through her thoughts and mixed in her blood, pounding through her heart with every weakening beat.
She had to stay strong though. She had come back to Hogwarts this year to prove she was strong. She had come back to Hogwarts to prove that she wouldn’t give in.
Dumbledore stepped into the office, his robes swaying about his feet gracefully. His long white beard covered his chest and his long white hair covered his back. His blue eyes weren’t twinkling very brightly behind his moon-shaped spectacles.
Whenever he was around her, they seemed to lose their shine.

“Good evening, Miss Granger,” Dumbledore said with barely a shadow of a smile.

“Good morning, Professor,” she said quietly, staring at her sweaty hands. She took a shaky breath and felt her body shiver. She got control of her emotions and worries before looking up at the man, pride, strength, and confidence in her eyes and posture.
Still, even Hermione knew that her deep seeded fear and worry was obvious to the naked eye.

“How are you feeling?”

“As well as can be expected,” she answered. “Thank you,” she added quickly as she remembered her manners. Dumbledore smiled and took his seat behind his large desk. He began to fiddle with a beautiful red and black quill. Hermione watched him in silence.

“You remember your appointment at St. Mungo’s?” he asked. Hermione went pale and nodded quickly.

“Yes sir.”

“Will anyone be accompanying you?” he asked. Hermione looked up at him and furrowed his eyebrows.

“No, sir. I’d prefer if I did this on my own,” she answered quietly. Dumbledore sighed and looked at her before turning gently, back and forth, in his chair. The squeaking was slowly getting on Hermione’s nerves.

“Professor McGonagall will be escorting you there. In case the news you receive isn’t exactly… pleasant… are you sure the shoulder you want to cry on is that of a Professor and not of a friend?” he asked, cocking his head. Hermione sighed and shook her head.

“Professor, I know the news will not be in the least bit pleasant. I don’t plan on shedding a tear. I just want to get this over with and then come back to Hogwarts,” she answered simply. Dumbledore shook his head sadly.

“Miss Granger, I can see that you think it’s strong to carry this burden all by yourself. What you don’t seem to realize is that it’s the strong who let others help them. It’s the strong that can admit defeat. It’s the strong that accepts the helping hand of one outreached, not shoving it away,” he told her. Hermione’s lips went tight and she clenched her hands together. He knew nothing of what she was going through, so he should tell her nothing about being strong.

“I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, Professor. But this is something I really wish to do on my own,” she told him once again. Dumbledore nodded deeply.

“Very well, Miss Granger. Your carriage will be waiting for you at ten o’clock tomorrow morning. I suppose you should inform Mr. Potter and the young Weasley’s of this?” he added. Hermione shook her head.

“They know nothing about what I’m going through,” she said quietly. Professor Dumbledore sighed and stared at Hermione sadly.

“I was informed that you would be informing them after your appointment tomorrow,” he said. Hermione paled as she remembered her promise to Hagrid. She bit her lip nervously and shrugged.

“I will tell them, Professor. I just don’t know if it’s going to be immediately after I return. I plan on telling them everything,” she said quietly, lying through clenched teeth. Dumbledore could see the lies. He could see how she couldn’t look him in the eyes. He could see that she was indeed too stubborn for her own good.

“Very well, Miss Granger. It is still in my advice that you bring someone along with you tomorrow. You have the ability to hold it all inside tonight, but there is no telling of tomorrow,” he said with a shrug.
Hermione nodded.

“Yes, Professor. I’ll consider it.” He nodded and waved his hand as he dismissed her. She stood and wrapped her clothes tightly around her figure. She caught sight of her thin hand and grimaced. How much weight had she lost? At least twenty pounds. She shook her head sadly and left the office…
Just to run into the three most unlikely people.

“Ron! Harry! Ginny! What are you doing here?” she exclaimed. They looked at her, tears immediately filling their eyes.

“We need to talk to Professor Dumbledore about something,” Ginny said quickly and brushed by her. Harry nodded, not even being able to look her in the eyes. He followed Ginny.
Ron stood there, staring at Hermione with tears on the verge of spilling. His eyes flickered over her face, studying her every feature.

“Ron?” she asked quietly and reached out, touching his arm. He let out a strangled cry and threw his arms around her, embracing her so tightly that she could barely breathe. She let out a small yip as his grip tightened and he muffled a sob in his neck.
Then, without even saying goodbye, he rushed through into Dumbledore’s office, the stone gargoyle cutting off any way of listening to what they had to say.

“Professor!” Ginny exclaimed to the white haired man sitting behind the desk. He looked up at them quizzically.

“Yes?” he asked innocently.

“We demand to know what’s wrong with Hermione Granger,” Harry said stubbornly. Dumbledore laughed kindly.

“Mr. Potter, do you really find yourself in any position to be ordering me about?” he asked. Harry blushed and took a single step back. Ron stepped forward.

“We know that Hermione was tortured by Lord Voldemort!” he cried out. Ginny and Harry glared daggers at him, but Ron didn’t care. His emotions were pounding in his heart and head. He wasn’t thinking clearly. He just wanted to be there for Hermione.

“Wherever did you get that idea?” Dumbledore asked. Ron rolled his eyes and blurted out about his theory on the scalping. Ginny and Harry stayed quiet, not defending their friend nor objecting to his ramblings.
Professor Dumbledore shook his head.

“You have a very wild imagination, Mr. Weasley. I do assume it was not on your own doing that you reached this conclusion, however,” he said as his blue eyes flickered over to the two standing in the corner, who began to blush.

“So she wasn’t… Voldemort didn’t…”

“No, Mr. Weasley. I assure you that Voldemort had nothing to do with Miss Granger’s current state,” he answered truthfully. The level of relief and happiness in the air after that was astonishing, and Ginny was on the verge of crying from the lift of pressure.

“So… what is wrong with her?” Harry asked, ending his silence. Professor Dumbledore sighed and shook his head.

“She has asked me not to disclose this information. I’m sorry,” he said.

“Why not?” Ron demanded. Dumbledore looked at Ron and shook his head.

“Some things, Mr. Weasley, are not information that need to be known by the entire world. Miss Granger would prefer if she handled this on her own,” he said and stood, pacing around the room.

“So there’s nothing we can do?” Ginny asked quietly. Dumbledore shrugged, something mischievous brewing beneath those bright blue eyes.

“I’m afraid not, Miss Weasley. Miss Granger is leaving at exactly ten o’clock tomorrow morning in a large black carriage with Professor McGonagall exactly where the students who go to Hogsmeade meet. She will be on her way to St. Mungo’s. I told her that she was permitted to have someone accompany her, but she preferred to do this on her own,” he said.

‘St. Mungo’s?’ Ron mouthed to Harry, who shrugged.

“So, Mr. Potter, I would advise that you take advantage of what you have, because I don’t think that Miss Granger sees things as clearly as others,” he said with a wink. “Now, I have some important business to attend to. Hagrid has some new Brandy and I feel that it is my responsibility to make sure that it is only the best,” he said with a jolly laugh before escorting the group out of the office.

They stood there in front of the stone gargoyle, watching Dumbledore’s retreating figure.

“Come on, we need to make a plan!” Ginny squealed in excitement.

“What are you talking about?” Ron asked quizzically. Ginny rolled her eyes.

“Oh please, you can’t tell me that you two didn’t understand what Dumbledore was saying!” she exclaimed. Harry and Ron furrowed their eyebrows and glanced at each other in a search for something they might have missed.

“Sorry, Gin. No idea what you’re talking about,” Ron shrugged.

“I swear, Hermione must have always been the one who handled the complex thinking.” Ron and Harry glared at her before she continued. “He told us exactly where Hermione was going, when, how, and who was going with her. Then he told Harry to ‘take advantage of what he has’ because ‘Hermione doesn’t see things as clearly as others’. Don’t you understand?” she asked one more time.

“Sorry,” Harry shrugged. Ginny threw her arms in the air in exasperation before continuing.

“He wants us to use Harry’s invisibility cloak and go with Hermione!” she cried out. As she said it all the hints seemed to register with Harry and Ron and they felt like idiots that they hadn’t seen it before.

They were going to find out what was wrong with Hermione, whether she liked it or not.



Chapter 16 - Real

ermione sat there, nervously tapping her foot. Why was she doing this? Why was she being so stupid? She shook her head and rubbed her eyes. She sat on the Common room couch nervously, not wanting to seem anxious but not wanting him to think she didn’t care.
Why was everything so confusing? Did what Dumbledore say get to her?
Of course it didn’t. She was doing this because she wanted to. Because she needed support!
Was she weak? Dumbledore said it made her strong. Did she believe him?
Questions were running endlessly through her mind when he stepped out of the bathroom. Her eyes flickered up to him and she turned a bright red and turned away quickly.

“Oh please, Granger. Stop with the morals,” Malfoy said as he stopped drying his hair with the fluffy white towel and wrapped it around his waist.

“Are you decent?” she asked nervously. He sighed loudly.

“No, but I’m as decent as I’m going to get,” he said. Hermione turned around slowly and her eyes flickered over the damp Malfoy. She was much more comfortable now that his… manhood… was not exposed.

“Didn’t you take a shower this morning?” she asked him as he walked around and plopped lazily on the couch next to her. He did look really very handsome with his usually greasy hair damp and clean. He nodded and shrugged.

“Yea, but I felt I needed a cold shower,” he said.

“Oh? Why?” she asked innocently. He looked at her for a moment; in disbelief she had no idea what he meant.

“Are you serious?” she furrowed her eyebrows, confused. “This is brilliant. Know-it-all Granger doesn’t know about guys,” he laughed. He looked at her, his full-moon-on-the-water eyes bearing into her in a dazzling way. She was entranced.

“Please tell me,” she asked. He smiled at her. He took her hand in his and began to explain.

“Well, when a man has sexual needs that cannot be satisfied and he doesn’t wish to relieve them in… certain ways… he takes a cold shower or bath to… calm himself and get out all of his… tension,” he said. Hermione turned a dark red and stared straight ahead, slipping her hand quickly out of his.

“Oh,” she whispered quietly and awkwardly. He laughed.

“Don’t worry. Not a lot of people know about it. Even boys,” he shrugged. “But I find it much more… satisfying than other ways,” he winked at her.

“I feel really uncomfortable talking about this with you,” she said, her voice high pitched and nervous. Malfoy just laughed at her.

“I know, that’s why I’m talking about it,” he said and patted her shoulder. Hermione glared at him and then rolled her eyes.

“You know what? Forget it. I can’t believe I was going to be so stupid…” she mumbled to herself as she began to walk away from him. Malfoy jumped up and over the back of the couch, cutting her off from the most direct path to her bedroom.

“Forget what?” he asked, squinting curiously. Hermione waved her hand.

“I was just going to ask you a favor. Never mind. It was silly,” she said and attempted to walk around him. He stepped in her way again.

“Then tell me what you were going to ask,” he demanded. Hermione shook her head, frustration beginning to rise.

“No!” she snapped at him and tried to walk around him again. He stepped in her way once more. Hermione clenched her hands into fists repeatedly, trying to ease the frustration and anger he was bringing out.

“Are you not telling me because I said you were a bad kisser?”


“Cause you know you have potential,” he said with a shrug. Hermione turned a beat red.

“Get out of my way you sniveling prat!” she snapped at him and shoved her way by.

“Granger!” he snapped and grabbed her by the shoulder, spinning her around. “You have some serious anger problems!”

“Yes, well you’re an arrogant prick but I’m not holding that against you,” she hissed at him. He rolled his eyes.

“You just did,” he pointed out. “I’m not going to let you go anywhere until you tell me EXACTLY what this favor is… I mean was,” he said with a clever glimmer in his eyes. She stood there, staring at him. Her eyes flickered slowly over him. Why did he have to be so handsome? Why did he have to be so charming? He was such a foul, loathsome creature and yet she wanted nothing more than his arms wrapped around her.

“It doesn’t matter,” she said quietly as she adverted her eyes. He noted all the tension had gone from her frail figure. Her eyes were misting over and she just looked so reserved. What hurt him was the fact that what she was holding inside was pain.

“It matters to me, Granger. We both know that I can be stubborn when I want to,” he whispered, a challenge in his tone. She didn’t have the strength to challenge him as she usually would. She just wanted to rest. She needed to close her eyes. She needed a nice, long hot bath.

“I wanted to ask you if you would accompany to my… appointment at St. Mungo’s tomorrow. I can see now that I was being foolish and you are no where near mature or civil enough to do so,” she said quietly. He sighed, shaking his head.

“Granger I’m going to take you to St. Mungo’s tomorrow, whether you like it or not. I’m stronger than you. Obviously you’re not up for putting up a fight about this either,” he said. Hermione looked up into his dazzling eyes.

“Malfoy, McGonagall told us to be civil to one another. You’re being more than civil. You’re being… friendly,” she said quietly. Her eyes bore into his full-moon-on-the-water eyes. He looked at the floor, just the shadow of a blush creeping onto his cheeks.

“I don’t know… I suppose you’re growing on me or something. Anyways, I may be evil but when you actually put up with my… you know… umm… the side effects of the painkiller I guess you got on my soft side. Thanks again for kicking me… there… or we might have done something that we would have regretted,” he said. All of this was in a mumble and Hermione couldn’t help but let a small smile play across her lips.

“You’re welcome… though we both know that there was no chance I would have let anything happen,” she said with that familiar pride. He rolled his eyes.

“You’ve made it quite clear you can’t resist me, Granger,” he sneered. Hermione opened her mouth to retort, but he cut her off. “Now it’s my turn to ask you something. Why ask me to go with you to St. Mungo’s? Why not ask a Weasel or Boy-Wonder?” he asked. Hermione grimaced at the names that Malfoy called Ron, Ginny, and Harry but did not feel like arguing about her friends that evening.

“Because you’re the only one who knows… sort of…” she said and plopped down on the couch. Malfoy sat down next to her, forgetting he was still only wearing a towel. Hermione surely hadn’t forgotten.

“What do you mean?” he asked, his voice softening and losing all hints of sarcasm. He seemed to genuinely care. Hermione shifted uncomfortably in her seat and then looked away from him.

“That day that Harry, Ron, and Ginny came over, Ginny went through my medication. They had some sort of strange intervention.”

“She actually had the nerve to go through your personal belongings?” Draco asked in almost a hiss, acting as if the thought made him angry.

“It wasn’t her fault. I left the medication out on the counter… I just completely… forgot…” she said, a wistful look in her eyes. Draco smiled at her and took her hand in his own.

“Forgetting seems to mean a lot to you,” he said quietly. She nodded sadly. She looked up at Draco slowly. His eyes were silver and beautiful, his lips soft and appealing. He looked so safe, so adoring, so handsome. She wanted nothing more than to run her hands along his smooth, damp chest and wet hair and kiss him deeply…

“Well… I’m… I’m really tired, Malfoy. I’m off to bed,” she said and stood, walking towards her bedroom. He remained on the couch. She turned and looked at him sadly one last time, hating the fact that he was her enemy and loving the fact that for some reason she didn’t seem to care anymore. “Malfoy?”

“Yes?” he asked, not turning around to look at her.

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For being real.”


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