Chapter 11 - Vexo
She’d always been rather unassuming in his eyes before, but maybe the blood-supremacy he’d been raised on had been acting as an antithesis to rose-coloured glasses. Now he knew better. Granger was fucking intimidating.
You wouldn’t think it by her big brown doe eyes, or by the way her robes were wrinkled and her knee socks were slightly uneven. Nothing about the way she had ink on her lip was even slightly daunting. But sitting across the library table from her, Draco could confidently admit to himself that he was thoroughly intimidated by her.
She wasn’t exactly scary, but every single one of the hairs on the back of his neck was standing straight up. His leg was bouncing incessantly under the table as he stared down at the parchment in front of him. Her presence was immensely distracting. He could smell her shampoo from where he sat -fucking vanilla-and she kept rolling her quill in between her lips like a muggle cigarette in a way that was utterly captivating, he had to actively look away every few minutes or so.
He’d woken up to another one of her notes on his bedroom door, requesting his presence in the library after dinner to work on their project. He’d spent far too long looking at the note considering it was comprised of only six words. He’d read it enough times that he’d been able to note that her handwriting was an atrocious combination of cursive and print that made it nearly illegible. He also noticed that there were slight ink smudges around the edges of the paper, as though she’d had ink on her fingers when she’d written it. Draco had stared at the note long enough that he had decided it worth putting in a drawer in his desk instead of the waste-bin.
“Malfoy?” It was the first thing either of them had said to each other since he found her in the library. More specifically, it was the first thing either of them had said since he’d kissed her. He still didn’t know if he wished he could make it so the kiss never happened, or if he wanted to do it again.
“Yes Granger?” his tone was flat, his occlumency walls were heavily layered today in preparation for having to spend time with her, though they were doing him little good with his runaway thoughts.
“Are you okay?”
“You sure?” she sounded almost nervous. He just hummed slightly in response, not wanting to interact with her more than necessary lest he do something stupid, again. “It’s just” -she never fucking knows when to stop talking- “you seem quite unsettled and if it’s about what happened the other day-”
“Go on Granger, wondering if there’s a repeat performance in the cards for our little study date?” Why was he provoking her? Not a bloody clue. He knew damn well nothing good could come out of taunting, but it was a familiar defense mechanism for him.
“That’s not what I was going to say.” Her tone was sharp and her words clipped, she was clearly annoyed with being interrupted. I’m already playing with fire, he thought to himself it won’t be worth it if I don’t get burned.
That’s how he justified to himself that getting up and walking around the table was a sound decision. It’s also how he convinced himself that he wasn’t being self-destructive when he leaned against the table beside where she was seated.
Self-destructive or not the image of her looking up with that innocent wide-eyed look is well worth it. He had to agree with himself on this one. Granger looked a sight seated in her chair; head tilted up to look at him where he stood lounging beside her.
“Hmm,” he hummed as though he was thinking “if that’s so, what were you going to say?” He cocked his head slightly as he looked down at her, flashing her a derisive smirk. She blushed, her mouth opening slightly as though to speak. He reached out impulsively and hooked his finger around a lock of her hair.
Malfoy twirled the curl around his finger a few times before he let it fall back down onto her shoulder. This movement reminded her that he was in fact waiting for her to respond.
“You’re far too cocky for your own good Malfoy, it’s quite presumptuous of you to think I would want to kiss you again when I didn’t even want to kiss you the first time.” It was her turn to give a cruel smile, not even bothering to look up at him as she spoke. Instead she made a show of capping her ink pot and putting it into her bag.
His only response was a displeased growl before she felt a hand fist into her hair aggressively. She opened her mouth to ask him just what exactly he thought he was doing when the hand pulled up, lifting her from her chair and turning her away from the table so her back was pressed against his chest. He smells like coffee she noticed, and when he spoke right next to her face she could also smell mint on his breath.
“Here’s the thing Granger, I think you’re lying to both of us.” One hand was still firmly entangled in her hair, the other reached into her sleeve to retrieve her wand and surprisingly, placed it into her hand. “There you’ve got your wand, feel free to hex me, but I have a feeling you won’t.”
He lifted the hand holding her wand and aimed at himself for her. Her heart was beating so loud she was certain he could hear it, but it wasn’t out of fear. He leaned his head down close to her ear and whispered encouragingly “go on, I’m sure you’ve got a dozen spells on the tip of your tongue right now.”
His head continued its path down towards her shoulder, pausing to place an open-mouthed kiss to the space just below her ear. She took in a shaky breath and whispered a quiet muffliato before she dropped her wand onto the library floor. She felt more than heard him laugh behind her.
“That’s what I thought, you want this don’t you? Even though I’m the good-for-nothing ex-death eater, you still want what I can give you. Hm?” The hand currently not entangled in her hair had started moving, trailing gently from her fingertips up her arm and then down her side before stopping at her hip.
She nodded in assent, words seeming to have escaped her entirely at the feel of his touch. She felt his chest rumble again against her back, this time seemingly in an annoyed manner. His hand tightened in her hair again, pulling it tighter so she was looking at the ceiling.
“I asked you a fucking question witch.” His voice was lower now, more menacing, and her abdomen tightened at the sound.
“Y-yes” she managed.
In a movement so fast she barely had time to register what was happening, Malfoy stood from where he was still leaning and moved them both across the small study area so her upper body was now pressed into a bookshelf. His hand had moved from her hair to her neck, holding her in place as his feet pushed hers apart.
The only part of him that was touching her was the hand on her neck. She whined slightly from the need she could feel pooling in her knickers, she felt his other hand trace the back of her thigh where her skirt sat.
The hand around the back of her neck tightened slightly when she squirmed. Her ribs dug painfully into the bookshelf, but she barely felt it, all she cared about was the hand that was trailing painfully slowly up the inside of her leg.
“Malfoy-” she pleaded, unable to form a coherent sentence.
“Is this what you want Granger?” his words sounded rough in her ear when he spoke, his hot breath making her shiver. “Do you want someone to treat you like the filthy little whore you know you are?” Each word was accompanied by the movement of his hand higher up her thigh, painfully close now but not quite where she needed it.
“God, please Malfoy” she was begging now, her pride could recover later. Her hips bucked when his thumb ran along the elastic edge of her underwear. She craned her neck over her shoulder to meet his eyes, hoping that her need and desire was clear to him in her face.
She watched it happen. As soon as she looked at him; his eyes morphed from the bright pools of molten silver, to a cold hard grey in the -literal- blink of an eye. Suddenly the hand on the back of her neck pushed her harder into the shelf so she could feel the corner of a book digging into her cheek. His lips curled into a cruel sneer and he pulled his face away from her as he spoke.
“You’re delusional if you think I would ever taint myself with the likes of you, you filthy little mudblood.” Her skin felt cold when he withdrew his hands from her. As he backed away, she turned from the shelf of books to look at him. He packed his things quickly and walked away from her without another word. Again.
She was fucking tired of the whole hot and cold behaviour, and she was even more tired of the whole walking away from her without a word thing. It was bloody rude.
Draco was pissed. He didn’t know who he was angry at exactly; himself for being stupid and letting himself want her, and her for actually wanting him and saying yes. He was most definitely angry at her for trying with the fucking mind charms again though, especially when he’d allowed himself to almost be vulnerable around her. He’d managed to make his way through a quarter of some bottle of alcohol -that was so old the label had rubbed off- by the time Granger returned to the room, and he was more than itching for a fight.
She hadn’t noticed him yet, too busy closing the common room entrance quietly and divesting herself of her shoes. By the time she noticed him he was standing across the sitting room, glaring at her.
“I have a question for you mudblood, and you’re going to tell me the fucking truth or I swear to Salazar Slytherin I will not hesitate to go back to Azkaban.” His voice was unsteady as he spoke, whether from his intoxication, his anger, or from the fact that his occlumency walls were hanging on by a thread; he had no idea.
She returned his glare with venom, obviously just as irate with him as he was with her. Before he could say anything, she held up a single finger in a wait gesture and walked into the kitchen. She emerged a minute later holding two mugs and snatched the bottle from his hands.
“What are you-” she cut him off before he could finish his question, calmly pouring generous amounts of the mystery alcohol into the mugs and handing him one.
“You seem like you’re about to yell at me, and I most definitely want to yell at you. I believe it’s better we both drink before we start.” Her tone was so matter of fact he wanted to strangle her right then, but instead he watched as she walked over to a couch and took a seat, placing her wand on the table in the middle of the room and indicating for him to come and do the same.
Once they were both seated with their wands safely in the neutral area between them. She looked at him expectantly, gesturing non-verbally for him to resume his earlier yelling. Her unwavering calmness was both infuriating and unsettling. He scowled at the side of her face for a moment as she stared into the fire. With great difficulty, he took a steadying breath and forced his voice to come out calmly despite how very not calm he was feeling.
“Would you care to enlighten me Granger, why the fuck you’ve been trying at every opportunity to take a peek into my head?” His words seemed to penetrate whatever icy façade she had donned, because the second they were out of his mouth she snapped her head towards him wearing a look of pure panic.
The fact that she looked completely at a loss for words just caused his anger and confusion to grow. “I mean it’s truly quite insulting that you thought I wouldn’t notice.” He continued. “So, are you doing it for the ministry? What the near-impossible parole conditions weren’t enough? Now they want to go digging in my head to look for something to put me back in that hell for?”
His voice had raised in volume significantly as he spoke, the tail end being so loud that Granger actually flinched away from him. She opened her mouth to say something, but he wasn’t quite finished with his rant, so he spoke over her attempts at an explanation.
“Or maybe, they knew I’d catch on and they assumed I would just blindly Avada you out of anger, maybe you’re just the sacrificial lamb.” He went to keep talking but found no sound came out, looking angrily over at Granger he noticed her wand was still very much on the table. Wandless and non-verbal, impressive he noted begrudgingly.
“If you’re quite done with your conspiracy theories, hand me the bottle, I’m going to need significantly more alcohol if I have to explain myself to you of all people.” She sounded tired and resigned. When he looked at her, she was massaging her temples with her fingertips as though she had a headache.
“I suggest you have another drink as well before I start.” Hermione handed the bottle across the table to him after she filled her own mug. She hoped he didn’t notice the way her hands shook slightly, causing the alcohol to slosh inside the porcelain cup. It had been more than 4 hours since her last potion, the longest she’d gone in more than a week and she was feeling the withdrawal.
She wanted a potion, and a cigarette, and about four more of whatever the dark liquor in her mug was, mostly she wanted to not be sitting across from a very irate Draco Malfoy preparing to tell her dirty little secret. When his cup was once again full, she tucked her feet underneath herself and began her story.
“So basically,” she concluded after ten painful minutes “I’ve never once cast or even experienced a legilimens spell in my life and here I am, basically a bloody brain-voyeur.”
He looked confused which Hermione expected, what she didn’t expect was for him to start laughing. Not just a chuckle or a snort at her misfortune; but howling laughter that caused him to double over until he struggled to breathe. She frowned at him from her place across the room, not pleased whatsoever with his reaction.
“You mean to tell me, that every time you make eye contact with someone, you’re forced to experience their running internal dialogue?” He barely managed to get the words out between gasping for breath and breaking down into fits of laughter again.
“Yes, Malfoy that’s exactly what I’m telling you, trust me when I say I don’t want to get into anyone’s head ever again, least of all yours.” He broke out into a new fit of hysteric laughter at her response, earning him another frown and another silencio until he had calmed himself down. When he was no longer silently laughing, she lifted the spell.
“Damn Granger, that’s most definitely hell on Earth if I’ve ever heard it, oh that explains the sunglasses all the time and the semi-hermit lifestyle you’ve adopted.”
She barely heard him over the sudden roaring in her ears. Hermione was sweating now from the withdrawal of her potions, she should’ve re-dosed hours ago. It had been almost five since she last took it now. Standing suddenly, she walked over to her bag and took out a vial, she drank it quickly before returning to her seat. Malfoy gave her an inquisitive look.
“Don’t ask, we both know you don’t care and it’s none of your business.” She downed the rest of her drink to chase away the pine-like aftertaste of the potion. “Can I ask you something Malfoy? How come you seem to be the only person whose thoughts I can’t hear?”
Her question made him uncomfortable, she could see it in the way he shifted minutely in his seat and his eyes adopted the cold hardness once again.
“My family has been known to be talented in mind magic, mine happens to be specifically honed to occlumency” was all he said in return.
“Well, I never thought I’d see the day but looks like all that inbreeding was good for something. You happen to be the only person I can stand interacting with at the moment except for Ginny, and that’s only because she knows and makes sure we don’t look at each other.”
He scowled at her inbreeding comment, but she didn’t much care. Picking up her wand from the table she unsteadily made her way to her room for bed and called a goodnight over her shoulder. Flopping onto her bed, Hermione decided it was for the best they had not discussed what happened in the library. Some things are best left ignored and treated as though they didn’t happen, she told herself firmly as she drifted off to sleep.