My heart threatened to burst from my chest, beating harder than if I'd run a marathon. If it wasn't because I could very clearly feel his lips against mine, his body pinning me to the wall, I never would have believed it was happening. Although tight, my grip on his shoulders was feeble compared to how he held me. How had we even gotten to this point? One moment, we were at each other's throats, angry over the usual things – bloodline slurs, emotions carrying over from the war – and then next he was grabbing me, hands roaming, kissing me breathless. I gasped when one of his hands slid under my shirt, up my back, and he took the chance to deepen the kiss.
"Draco – what are you – ?" It escaped me that that was the first time I used his given name.
"Don't." His lips and that one word stopped any further protests. How could one word hold so much? There was emotion there I had never heard – let alone seen – from my former classmate.
How far would we have gone, if his mother hadn't chosen that moment to walk in? When we heard the sound of her heels clicking towards us, Malfoy ripped himself from me. Both of us breathless, we tried to regain our bearings before Narcissa walked in.
"You should…um…" Malfoy gestured to the bathroom, and I took the hint, rushing to the door just as Narcissa walked into the kitchen. With a sigh of relief, I shut the door behind me, my breathing still ragged. What had come over me? What had come over him? I realized I was shaking as I made my way to the mirror, coming face to face with my messier-than-usual hair and smudged lip gloss.
Hiding in the closet with him, it was hard not to let that particular memory crawl back out of the hole in which I'd buried it. Soon after we left the dungeons, the thunderous footsteps of more Death Eaters than either of us bothered to count could be heard throughout the building, and we weren't given a ton of time to find a place to hide. Desperate, Malfoy had simply grabbed me by the wrist and picked a random door. Thinking quickly, once we were inside the closet, I cast a concealment charm, hoping it was enough to keep the Death Eaters at bay while we waited for Harry.
I was brought out of my thoughts by a warm weight that landed on me, and it took me a moment to realize Malfoy had taken his cloak from the cell, and had now given it to me once more. "You should cover up."
"Thanks." I slid my arms into the sleeves, putting it on properly now that I didn't need it as a blanket.
"How long ago did you send Potter that message?" In the darkness of the closet, I could only just make out his outline as he sat across from me. Although I could hardly see him, I felt his eyes on me, intense as usual, making me more uncomfortable by the second.
"Fifteen minutes? Maybe? He should be here soon, I hope." Please be here soon. I wasn't sure how much more of these closed quarter confinements with Malfoy I'd be able to take. Curling my legs up, I wrapped my arms around them, linking my hands at my shins and trying to contain the amount of room I took up in the small space.
He didn't say anything in response, and although I was uncomfortable, the silence wasn't helping. Knowing he was there, within reach, made every emotion I'd gone through after his disappearance return tenfold. Here I'd thought I'd managed to get over whatever it was we'd had for such a short period of time. Clearly, I'd been wrong. Without realizing what I was doing, I whispered, "Why did you leave?"
"Really Granger? You want to talk about this now?"
"As good a time as any. We're not going anywhere – not until Harry gets here." I shrugged, even though I knew he couldn't see me or the expression on my face. "So. Why?"
"Because I had to. Acquitted or not, there's nothing left for me here." His voice was cold – detached.
Although I was loathe to admit it, his words cut deep. A pain I hadn't felt in my chest for some months now came back, my lungs constricting as the vice tightened.
"Oh." I was going to ask about Narcissa, when I remembered she'd left for Italy some time before, to live with the Zabini's, one of the few families that had maintained neutrality during the war. "I see."
Silence fell over us again, and I felt like we were back in that cell. We might as well have been, since it didn't seem we'd be getting out of this closet any time soon. I sighed, letting my head rest against my knees. This was turning out to be a much longer night than I wanted it to be. Why could Harry just hurry up?
"Hermione?" The sound of my first name coming from him would always be strange to me, but this time was worse than others. Unlike the cold detachment he'd shown before, there was almost a plea in the word now, some unspoken question. He'd only ever used my first name once before, but I preferred not to think about it.
"What?" Did I mean to snap at him? Probably.
"Never mind." There was shuffling on the other side of the small space, and I figured he was getting uncomfortable. Suddenly sorry for having snapped at him, I spoke again.
"Sorry, it's been a long few days, Malfoy." Despite my use of his last name, my voice was softer than before, gentle. It took everything I had not to be upset.
"Try a long year." He chuckled, but there was no humor behind the sound.
"Is that how long you've been stuck here?"
"Unfortunately." So he'd tried to leave England but was captured in the process? That explained why no one had heard from him – not even Narcissa. She was the first person I'd gone to after he disappeared.
After another moment of silence, I spoke again, "You could have told me, you know, that you were leaving, or that you wanted to. We could have set something up for you state-side. Made the transition safer so this wouldn't have happened…" He muttered something, and I couldn't really tell what it was. "What?"
"I said, I didn't want to leave. I had to, there's a difference." His voice softened at his last words, and I tried to ignore the curiosity that was piqued by them.
"Because I just did, alright?" He snapped at me, his disposition completely changed from only moments earlier.
"You could have still told me! I was your attorney, remember? We kind of need to know these things. And…" I sighed, struggling with what I was going to say next. "I thought…thought that we were at least friends."
The silence that followed my statement was heavier than anything I'd ever felt between us. Is that what we were? Friends? Could Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy ever be friends? My impulse was to think no, of course not – but not for the reasons I would have cited in school.
"Friends…" He spoke the word as if he were tasting it, trying it out. I thought he wasn't going to say anything else, but he surprised me by moving, and in the dim light I realized he was reaching over to me, taking one of my hands from my shins and pulling himself closer. "Somehow, I don't think that's possible."
It wasn't until he spoke that I realized exactly how close he was. His legs were on either side of me, effectively closing off any route I might have had to escape. This close, the darkness was no longer an issue; I could see him clearly, his eyes looking deep within mine, almost giving off their own light. There was conflict there, though, confusion. I'd only ever seen that look in his eyes once before, at least, once in real life – the rest were in my nightmares, nightmares of him watching me get tortured. He was fighting something, and it looked like he was losing. "Damn it to hell."
His words were spoken to the air, brief and soft, so soft I wasn't sure I'd heard him right, before he closed the small space between us and met my lips with his. His hands slid down to my legs, straightening them out over his, pulling me closer. If I wanted to, I could wrap my legs around him. Instead, I was frozen in place, shocked by what he'd just done. After moving my legs, one of his arms slid back up and to my hip, holding me still, while the other slid into my hair, gripping my curls firmly but gently, tilting my head back to kiss me more fully.
When I responded, it wasn't the way I'd originally intended to. I should have pushed him away, should have jinxed him into the next century. Instead, when he tugged at my bottom lip, begging for entrance, I let him in, a moan escaping my throat before I could stop it. My hands acted on their own, and it was almost like an out of body experience as I let myself lose control. I dug my fingers into his hair, pulled him closer, responded to his kisses with a passion and hunger that matched his. I knew all too well where this was going, and there was nothing I could do to stop myself.