"M-Malfoy – stop, I –" My lips were free, but his were trailing along my jaw, down the length of my neck. Every brush of them against my skin sent a shock of electricity through me, making it harder to think with every passing moment.
"Don't call me that." His voice was almost a growl, angry but pleading at the same time.
"Draco." His name was a sigh, my own plea, though I wasn't exactly sure what I was asking for. I took a deep breath, trying to ignore my chest pressing to his, the sheer proximity, and spoke again. "Stop. Please."
The last word seemed to do the trick, making him pull back. It was only then I realized he hovered above me, and I was lying on the floor of the small space. I blinked, once, then twice, and it seemed to break whatever had come over us. We were frozen in that moment, his silver eyes locked onto mine, neither one of us really breathing. I regretted stopping him almost immediately as I watched him move back and away from me, his eyes suddenly unreadable. He wouldn't even look at me, his attention suddenly going to the door.
A breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding suddenly escaped me as I sat back up, pushing away and as close to the wall behind me as I could. Again, I hugged myself, pressing my legs close, as if they could keep him away. My heart was doing double time, and I thought by shutting my eyes and pressing my forehead to my knees, I'd be able to keep its noise away. It was all I could hear, pounding in my ears, in my chest. What was wrong with me? Why did I even let him?
"I'm sorry – I"
"Don't. Forget it. Forget it happened." His voice was detached again, but there was something else there – something I recognized. Before I could say anything, there was an explosion on the other side of the door, voices floating over to us above the noise.
"Hermione! Malfoy!" It was Harry's voice, though I had no clue how he knew Malfoy was here, too. Both of us stood, and I had to step back to avoid colliding with him again. I let him unlock the door and lead the way out, holding onto Flint's wand, prepared for whatever battle had broken out. "Hermione!"
Harry's call was relieved, his eyes smiling at me from behind his glasses as he ran over to us. Behind him, I could see Death Eaters and Aurors fighting, the different flashes of lights signaling the various spells being used. I wanted to stay and fight, suddenly thrown back into my years at Hogwarts, but I let Harry lead us out. We were hostages, not Aurors.
An hour later Malfoy and I sat in one of the ministry's many halls, waiting for our turns to give statements, and tell them everything we'd experienced between getting capture and being rescued by Harry. Despite how much more space there was around us now, and the fact that I'd made the conscious decision to keep at least one foot or chair between us the entire time, I felt as claustrophobic as ever around him.
It was a relief when they called me in first, allowing me to leave soon after.
"Are you alright?" Harry was escorting me home. Though the threat was done and over with, he felt it was necessary. Now, we stood in the living room of my small flat. I sat on the couch, simply staring at my hands.
"Yes, I'm fine." I looked up at him, trying to smile.
"You don't look it, Hermione." He sat on my coffee table, directly across from me. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"Not really, no." I covered my face with my hands, leaning back onto my couch and closing my eyes. "It's been a long couple of days. I think I just need to rest." I sighed, "Why was he there?"
"Yeah. Why was he there?" I assumed he had some idea. He hadn't been surprised to see him – he'd even expected it.
"After his trial, the ministry approached him for help. We asked him to approach Flint." My hands dropped from my face and I sat up straighter, staring at Harry.
"What? You said you didn't know where he'd gone!" Harry was the second person, after Narcissa, I'd approached when I was trying to find Malfoy. While I'd been his attorney, Harry was the Auror assigned to his case. So the entire time, he'd known.
"Hermione, it was classified – neither one of us could tell you." The fear in his eyes only helped me feel slightly better. It didn't help the glare I now shot his way.
"Who else knew?" I struggled not to lose my temper, trying to focus on the facts.
Harry wouldn't look at me, which was answer enough. "Hermione, I'm sorry. If it got out to too many people, the mission could have failed."
"It did! He was captured! Probably tortured…" I couldn't help the way my voice softened, the ache in my chest at the thought of what they might have done to him. "You could have told, me Harry. I could have helped."
"I wanted, to, I did. But…" He looked away again, his hand going up to rub his neck, a nervous gesture he'd developed over his time at the ministry. "I guess it's over so there's no point in keeping it from you any longer…"
"What? Spit it out, Harry."
"It was Malfoy's idea. Only way he agreed to do it was if you were kept out of it completely. We couldn't tell you because Malfoy didn't want us to." His words didn't register right away. Why wouldn't he want me to help? "He didn't want you to get hurt…"
"Guess that failed, too, didn't it?" My head was beginning to hurt, and I had to rub my temples to keep the pain away. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to kill him, punch him in the face repeatedly after what he did to me.
"Hermione, I'm sorry." At least he had the courtesy to actually look repentant. "I have to go – Ginny's waiting up for me." He stood, making his way over to my fireplace.
"It's alright." I waved good-bye, leaning back against my couch, unsure if I would spend the rest of the night on it or not. Once the flash of the fire died down, and I knew I was alone, I let myself relax. Instead of winding down, though, my mind started reeling. Draco Malfoy had kept this secret from me for my own protection? Seriously? Did he not realize who he was dealing with? Anger boiled inside me, some of it directed at Harry, but most of it at a certain Slytherin.
Without really thinking about it, I got up, ran into my room, changed into more suitable clothes, and then walked out of my apartment. Outside, in the freedom of the night air, it was easy to forget I'd spent the better part of the last week inside a cell. Unfortunately, it wasn't easy to forget who I'd been imprisoned with. It didn't surprise me when I apparated to the front gates of Malfoy Manor. I couldn't be sure that he'd be there, but it was as good a guess as any.
It was raining, that was the first thing I remembered from that night. Earlier that day, Malfoy had treated me to lunch – a thank you for his acquittal the previous day. His mother had been ecstatic, her own acquittal trial having taken place the previous week. The three of us shared a quiet lunch, and I was infinitely grateful for her presence there. Had we been alone, I wasn't sure what would have happened. We'd had a few encounters alone since that first kiss, but we never talked about it, never mentioned anything.
Except for that night – the night before he disappeared. That night, he showed up at my door – not at my floo, or even apparated into my living room. He knocked on the door to my flat. I didn't have a lot of muggle friends, at least not in the area, so the knock on the door caught me off-guard. Looking through the peephole, I realized it was him. Confused, I opened the door, worried that maybe something had happened, that he needed my help.
"Malfoy? What is it what's wrong?"
But he didn't respond, didn't speak. Instead, his hands came to my waist, pulling me to him as his lips crushed mine. His entire body was freezing, soaked through, and I wondered if he'd walked to my apartment. Despite the cold, or maybe because of it, I allowed my arms to wrap around his neck, pulling him closer. I kissed him back – hard – afraid he would suddenly stop, or that I was dreaming and none of this was really happening. His hands left my waist and began trails up and down my body, following the curve of my back, and sliding back down, cupping my legs and lifting them up and around himself in one swift movement. I couldn't help the small yelp I gave in surprise.
"Draco – what –?" His mouth cut me off once more, and now I was pressed against a wall, though I couldn't say which one. Completely overtaken by him, by this passion I hadn't known existed, I forgot everything. I gasped when his lips released mine in favor of kissing the skin along my jaw, his tongue and teeth grazing every inch he could find, as he made his way down my neck and to my shoulder. My nails dug into his shirt as the tension inside me continued to tighten. I was losing control, quickly, and soon enough I wouldn't be able to think straight. "Draco…" My voice broke on his name, and if I'd been able to feel embarrassed, I would have.
"If you want me to stop, Hermione, I will." His voice was husky as he whispered into my ear, and just the use of my first name was enough. It sounded like a secret endearment between lovers coming from him, "Just say the word."
"Don't…don't stop." I would regret it – I knew I was going to – but there was nothing in that moment that could have stopped me. He didn't need me to say anything else. His hands resumed their roaming all over me, sliding under the loose t-shirt I'd been wearing until they stopped at the edge of my bra, almost as if asking for permission. By way of answer, I apparated us into my bedroom. We were suddenly on my bed, the feeling of vertigo from apparition only enhancing every sensation that coursed through me. His lips found their way to mine again, taking my breath away and somehow breathing life into me all at once, awakening something in me I'd never experienced before. I craved him, more than I thought was possible. Digging my hands into his hair, I pulled him closer, arching my back so our bodies could touch.
He groaned, a hand massaging my breast as the other pressed to my backside, pulling me closer, grinding me against him. My hands slid down his chest, searching for the buttons of the once-pristine white shirt. He was still soaked, and some of the material clung to him, leaving little of his contours to my imagination. As I undressed him, he pulled me up, until we were both upright on the bed, his hands pulling the t-shirt over my head. Once the shirts were out of our way, he was on me once more, shivers running through me at the contact of our skin.