He can't leave the room. Her room. And it's all the Order's fault. Confined to a small space with only the Mudblood for company, something's going to give. Maybe his sanity. Maybe not. "There," she spat. "Now your Blood's filthy too!" DM/HG. PostHBP.


3. Doors

She woke too quickly.

Her eyes snapped open and went wide, darting nervously around her room. She sucked in a short gasp and covered her face with her palms; blinking away her sleep and gulping back her dry throat. She felt disorientated and muddled, like an imp had skipped through the caverns of her mind and fiddled with her thoughts. She rubbed away the cold sweat on her forehead and sat up, looking around her room and ensuring that everything was where it should be.

Her nightmares had been so vivid recently.

She couldn't for the life of her decide if last night had been a trick of her subconscious or if everything had been real. Perhaps there'd been no Snape. No Malfoy. No secret. Maybe she was still the sole inhabitant of her dorm. Maybe. Her tired gaze fell to the rope burns on her arms and she exhaled a disappointed sigh. She'd wanted so bad for it to be a dream; so willing to delude herself. Call it the brain's defence mechanisms or call it hope. Hell, call it whatever you wanted; the fact of the matter was, it hadn't been a nightmare.

It made her feel sick. She could actually feel the contents of her stomach churn as she contemplated just how close he was. Just her small bathroom between them. Just two walls.

She glanced at her clock and wanted to scream when she realised she'd only managed three hours sleep. Hermione had honestly thought that she would have managed to gain a little more rest considering how exhausted she'd been. But no. Evidently, her insomnia was here to stay. Joy.

It was pushing nine in the already miserable morning, and she could already hear the usual raindrops tapping against her window. She knew that it was futile to try and get any more sleep, so she slowly eased herself out of bed, grabbed her bathrobe and wand, and headed for the shower. Keeping as quiet as she could, she peered out of her bedroom warily, catching sight of Malfoy's discarded and scuffed shoes.

The remains of her optimism fluttered away with that final damning observation, and she quickly slipped into the bathroom.

Shrugging off yesterday's clothes, she muttered a quick spell to flick on the shower at a high heat. The witch turned to look at herself in the mirror, brushing her knotted curls away from her face and fingering the shadowy crescents under her eyes. There was too much torture on her face, and it was tucked into the creases of her permanent frown. She looked like a tracing-paper version of herself; paler and almost translucent. Like frosted glass.

She focussed on her eyes and thanked Merlin when she saw the familiar glint in them, the spark of fire and determination that had always lingered; that had yet to be beaten.

She was fine. Just tired and wondering exactly how she was supposed to coexist with Malfoy.

The mirror started to steam so she turned away from her worrying reflection and released a content moan as the steamy water soothed her shape. She closed her eyes and massaged the soap into her skin, inhaling the vanilla scent with a calming breath. She lathered her arms first, then her shapely chest and flat stomach, and then bent down to stroke the length of her legs.

This felt good. Like normality, and she basked in the sensations. She could feel her muscles easing and it was wonderful, relaxing enough that she allowed her ever-crowded mind to cease thinking, if only to shield the memories of last night. If only to forget that someone she despised was sharing her dorm. A Death Eater.

It took a bit more soap, but she let it all go and allowed herself to escape, because she knew it would only get harder from here.

Merlin, forgive her for pretending it didn't exist for some stolen minutes.



Draco lifted one heavy lid when a feminine moan seeped into the room. The whispers of running water had started to stir him a few moments ago, but it was the strange sighs and mews that woke him completely. His brow furrowed when he didn't recognise his surroundings, and he raised his head to eye the room suspiciously.

He remembered then. He remembered that he was in Hogwarts. Remembered he was sharing a dorm with the Mudblood. Shit.

He gnashed his teeth and his eyes went to the window. Draco knew it wouldn't work, but he tried anyway; flinging himself off the bed and and trying to shove it open. The clasp wouldn't budge. He drew back his fist and smashed it into the glass as hard as he could, but it didn't even crack. He growled as a small trickle of blood slithered across his knuckles. It hurt, but he'd had so much worse.

Yes, definitely trapped. Definitely his new prison.

Another female purr leaked into the air and he instinctively reached for his wand to silence the irritating sounds. But, he didn't have his wand, did he. Didn't have a bloody thing. Not even a set of clean clothes to put on.

"For fuck's sake," he muttered, heading back to the bed.

He hadn't had enough rest; his movements were sluggish and his sight blurry. He had five months of sleep to catch up on after all, and it would have been so easy if her incessant shower noises weren't polluting his atmosphere. He snatched the pillow and covered his ears, but it only muffled her.

He had a sinking and scratching feeling that she did this every morning.



Her imagination only managed to distract her for fifteen minutes or so, before reality clawed its way back in. With a dejected breath, she stopped the water and left the shower, returning to the mirror and palming away the condensation. She gave this new reflection a ghost of a smile, deciding it was notably better. The warm water had roused a healthy blush to her skin and she felt more human. More present.

She wrapped the fluffy and practical bathrobe around her, and spared her damp and blurry reflection one last look before she grabbed her wand off the sink to mutter a quick drying charm for her hair, and then left the bathroom. Her fist had just closed around the knob to her bedroom when she heard a small knock at the main door. She cringed slightly but sorted her wits and crossed her sitting room to answer it, and a genuine smile graced her features when she eyed her visitor.

"Hello Dobby," she grinned, noting the large trunk behind him.

"Morning Miss," he nodded meekly, ever the nervous little soul. "Headmistress said for Dobby to bring you this."

"Thank you," she said, knowing they were probably things for Malfoy. "Could you do me a favour, Dobby?"

"Yes Miss!" the House-elf chirped merrily. "What does Miss want Dobby to do?"

"Could you possibly sort out some extra food for me?" she requested. "And I can come to collect it later?"

"Dobby can bring it here."

"That's okay," she told him with a delicate wave of her hand. "I'm going for a little walk later so I'll pick it up. Honestly, it's fine."

"Yes Miss," he mumbled, obviously a little disappointed. "I go now. Must help clean after breakfast."

She wanted to tell him to stay, feeling substantially...safer with someone she knew around, but he was gone with a snap of his fingers. She did some quick calculations in her head and realised that she hadn't seen any of her friends for five days, having spent all of her free time in the library doing what she could to assist the Order. She glanced behind her at Malfoy's door and concluded that she would need to meet with them soon.

They were another dose of something normal. Another escape.

Hermione pulled her robe a little tighter around herself as a chilly breeze swept up the corridor and invaded her dorm. She jerked her wand to levitate the chest into her sitting area, and let it crash to the floor with a loud thud just outside Malfoy's room. She considered giving him a shout to explain that he now had some belongings, but reasoned with her commonsense that the Hogwarts motto was there for a reason. It really was best to let sleeping dragons lie, especially a prejudiced, psychotic Dragon who was caged against his will.

She jumped when the Autumn breeze shoved her door closed with a piercing clap.

And then she could hear movement coming from his room, accompanied by heated and masculine muttering that sounded like venom; even if it was just muffled nonsense behind the door. She considered running for her room to avoid the hassle, but the stubborn lioness within her wouldn't allow it. She squared her shoulders defiantly and narrowed her eyes, preparing for the inevitable theatrics.

His door was flung open with an agitated tug, hard enough that it bashed into the wall, but she beat the instinct to flinch. The frustrated Slytherin came into her sight, his tall body filling the doorframe and clumsily clad in his trousers and his unfastened black shirt. But she didn't notice. She refused to let her eyes wander lower than his bottom lashes, knowing that eye-contact was power. It was control.

"You are doing my head in!" he roared, his upper lip curled and his cheekbones high with irritation. "Could you make any more sodding noise? You-

"You want me to make more noise?" she replied, innocently cocking her head to the side. With a swish of her wand, all the doors in her dorm opened and then slammed close again, and she refused her instinct to blink at the heavy bangs. "Better for you, Malfoy?"

"Very mature of you, Granger," he sneered, and she could feel the intensity of his stare from across the room. "You think you're so fucking clever-

"I think we can both agree that I am fucking clever," she cut in, a little uncomfortable with her swear word, but she covered it well. "As you so eloquently put it-

"STOP making so much noise," he growled, his voice a foreboding rumble that lingered between them. "Stop banging things, stop talking, stop moving-

"I can do whatever the hell I want in my room," Hermione argued, faltering when he sidestepped the trunk and stalked towards her. She backed up against the wall and raised her wand, but he didn't cease his long strides. "Don't come near me!"

"As if I would fucking touch you," he growled, stopping only when the end of her wand prodded his chest. "I would sooner die-

"Be my guest," she retorted quickly. "It would be worth it-

"I'm warning you, Granger," he sneered. "I refuse to put up with this! It's like having a dyspraxic Giant in the room!"

"Deal with it," she snapped, adding more pressure to his chest with her wand, although she would swear it only pushed her further against the wall. She quickly tugged her robe a little tighter around herself, but if he'd noticed her post-shower attire, he gave no indication whatsoever. Thank Merlin.

"I mean it, Granger," he scowled. "Stop making noise or put a silencing spell on my room-

"As if I would waste my magic to accommodate you-

"Then shut the fuck up!" he yelled, slamming his fist into the wall beside her head. The castle's magic ensured there would be minimal damage, just a small dent, but the vibrations of the hit skimmed across the shell of her ear and roused a reluctant shiver. "I need rest! And I can't get any if you won't shut your Mudblood mouth!"

She drew her free hand back with the intention of hammering it into his creamy face, but maybe she was getting too predictable. Her angry eyes shifted to the long fingers tight around her wrist and she felt her blood bubble like sun-stimulated acid.

"Let go of me-

"You've reached your punch quota for now," he told her quietly. Too quiet. "You're going to have to wait another four years-

"Let go of my arm," she advised, biting out each syllable. "Or I swear I will-

"You'll what?" he challenged, tightening his hold and thrusting her hand against the wall, right next to the dent his fist had left.

Her next move was instinctive and quick, and her wand was at his throat, stabbing the space between his Adam's apple and a vein that spasmed with his rage. Her eyes locked onto his defiantly, daring him to goad her further. Hermione didn't doubt for a second that she would hex him to Hogsmead and back if he continued to tease her fragile temper, but his iron-grey eyes barely flickered, and the grip on her wrist remained firm.

"Go ahead, Granger."

And it was his confidence that rattled her the most; that stirred her magic to pour out of her wand and scorch his skin.

"You fucking bitch!" he shouted, stumbling back and clutching the fresh burn on his neck. "You'll pay for that-

"I've had enough of you," she told him, her wand still trained on the blond. "Go back to your room and get some sleep-

"Don't you even try to boss me around you filthy-

"I'm going out," Hermione explained steadily, even if her anger was begging to skip into her words. "So you will have a good few hours undisturbed sleep. I suggest you make the most of them-

"Then piss off already," he grumbled, turning his back to her and heading to his room.

Another door slammed, and she allowed herself to grimace this time.

She needed to get out. The living room was tainted with new and uninvited scents, and she felt like a hunted badger being smoked out of her set. She tore her gaze away from his door and rushed to her bedroom, changing as quick as she physically could. Fully dressed in her jeans and a comfortable jumper to fight the cold, she swiftly left her Head Girl dorm and started for the Library.

The walk was so much longer than she remembered, and the students that were littered sparsely in the corridors were watching her. She would swear it. But they couldn't know about her vile houseguest...could they? Their lingering stares said otherwise and she quickened her paranoid steps until she was racing with burning thighs and slapping footfalls. And then she smacked straight into a tall wall of flesh, but at least it was polite enough to catch her before she fell.

"Neville," she gasped, regaining her balance on his outstretched arms. "Oh, thank God-

"Hermione," he breathed with evident concern. "Are you alright? You-

"I'm fine," she rushed, tucking a stray curl away with trembling fingers. "I'm sorry, I wasn't looking where I was-

"You're really pale," Neville commented. "Are you ill or something?"

"No, not ill," she shook her head, offering him a false smile. "I just haven't had any breakfast yet."

"We haven't seen you in ages," he told her, and she realised then just how much he'd matured. "Ginny and Luna were saying they missed you yesterday and-

"I know I've been rubbish recently," she sighed, her eyes downcast. "I'm sorry, I've just been trying to help Harry and Ron-

"You need a break, Hermione," he told her. "Its not good for you, and you really do look ill. Just come and meet us for dinner later?"

She was too tired to protest. "Alright," she mumbled, earning a pleased smile from her friend. "I'll meet you in the Great Hall later."

She slipped past him without waiting for a reply and continued her urgent pursuit for the library, shuddering when a hungry growl of thunder shimmied along the corridors. But it was okay; she could see her target now. She threw herself against the doors and savoured a deep breath to still her jittery chest.

Her cider-tinted gaze flickered around the empty chairs and abandoned desks, instinctively knowing that the vast space was only hers yet again. Even Madam Pince had spent less and less time amongst her precious books and tomes, instead passing most of her time with the professors.

Company could do that for some people; distract from the fear and grief.

She supposed that most people found it more appropriate to enjoy the company of loved ones instead or preparing for exams that might never come to pass. Perhaps even she would have snubbed her favourite hobby if she could actually see any of her loved ones. But she couldn't...

Hermione went straight to her usual table, right at the back in the restricted section. Her desk was tucked away amongst the seldom-used bookshelves, with the perfect amount of seclusion for her to toss aside her troubling notions and swim away with the paragraphs. This was her sanctuary.

Lost with the seductive ink-kissed pages, she could forget almost anything.

She Accio'd her most recent text on Horcruxes and started to read, praying that Malfoy's sneering features would be erased from her mind. At least, for a little while.



Draco dragged the trunk into his room and quickly examined the contents with a critical eye. Well, it could have been substantially worse. While the clothes consisted of items he would have never picked himself, at lest there were no horrid hints of red or gold amongst the fabrics. There were a few pairs of black trousers, some white and black shirts and then three or four polo-jumpers in black and grey too. At the bottom of the chest were some simple vests and a set of standard wizarding robes, accompanied with some black shoes, socks and extra underwear.

It was more than he'd expected, but less than he'd hoped for.

With a bitter grunt, he started to organise them in the provided wardrobe the Muggle way. Merlin, he missed his wand. McGonagall may as well have ripped off one of his limbs, the sodding cow.

His wand had managed to keep him occupied when he'd been confined to the shed with Snape; whether he'd simply stretched the extent of his conjuring and transfiguration skills or practised new spells, it had always encouraged time to go that little bit quicker. And now that scraggly old hag had confiscated the only thing he could use to divert himself from hollow hours of nothingness.

He changed his clothes and simply sat on his bed for Merlin knew how long, trying to think of something to do.

He was no idiot; he knew that his inactivity and the imprisonment would do damaging things to him. His sleeping pattern was already buggered, and it was only a matter of time before his mind would start to close in on itself. He'd read the countless stories of foolish wizards who had locked themselves in closets and eventually gone insane after staring at the same four walls and having nothing to do.

He needed a deterrent; something to concentrate on and provide him with a goal, not matter how insignificant it seemed.

Draco headed into the main area of the dorm and steered himself toward the small kitchenette, pointlessly plucking open the cabinets. They were full of the expected products, but he had no idea how to prepare them without his magic.

He settled on two green apples and slowly scanned his surroundings, his stormy eyes settling on a set of shelves practically buckling under the weight of various books. He stared at them for a long minute, rationalising that reading would be an ideal way to keep him engaged.

But no. They were the Mudblood's. He didn't want to touch her things if he could help it.

He continued to study the room as he gnawed away at the ripe fruit, and absently started counting.



She didn't meet her friends for lunch.

It was a conscious decision, and one that she regretted a few hours later, but she'd honestly thought she'd found something interesting. However, she'd forgotten that the French and Latin translations for the word crux were two entirely different things.

She'd made a quick trip to the kitchens to collect the extra food she'd requested and grab a simple ham sandwich, but otherwise didn't leave the library. When the day had finally started to simmer into the evening, she'd barely noticed. Time was an irrelevant mess amongst the creaking bookcases, but when night blanketed the sky and her Lumos started to waver alongside her concentration, she decided it was best she return to her room.

A sad glance at her watch informed her that it was midnight, and it had been yet another disappointing day without any progress. She blamed the echoes of her argument with Malfoy for her inability to engage completely with her task, but accepted that her insomnia probably didn't help.

Trudging her aching limbs back to her room, she allowed herself a relieved sigh when she found her dorm bathed in darkness and no sign of the Slytherin bastard who should have been suffocating in an Azkaban cell.

Mumbling a spell to illuminate the room, she set about putting the food in the appropriate cupboards and made herself a clumsy cup of tea. And then she could feel eyes on her, rubbing angry splinters into the back of her head.

With a startled gasp, she spun around and knocked over her hot drink to find him loitering in his doorframe again, observing her with fresh irritation. He watched her closely, like a territorial wolf who'd missed two meals. He'd been waiting for her to return after the inevitable boredom had ignited the idea to pick a fight with her the moment she'd walked through the door.

"Little jumpy there, Granger," he remarked quietly, crossing his arms. "Do I make you uncomfortable?"

"You make me sick," she told him squarely, her words crisp with honesty.

"Believe me when I say the feeling's mutual," he snarled. "You're making noise again-

"Shut up and go to bed-

"Put some silencing spells on my room-

"NO!" the witch yelled, her chest inflating as she drew in a seething breath. "I made it very clear that I would NOT waste my magic on you!"

"Yes, you will," he responded calmly, taking a few strides and effectively circling her. "I shouldn't have to listen to you-

"Well, tough luck," she snapped, slamming her palms against the counter between them. "This is MY room! shouldn't have to listen to you, or even look at you!"

"Tough luck," Draco echoed, a crease slicing across his forehead with impatience. "Take it up with the old bitch and do us both a favour-

"Shut up!" she shouted, scrunching her eyes closed and quaking with her anger now. "Just stay out of my way, Malfoy-

"And how the fuck am I supposed to do that?" he fired back. "In case you haven't noticed, I can't leave your little shitty dorm and it's hardly the most spacious room."

Her glare flickered with the glaze of oncoming tears, but she fought them away before he could notice. "Then just stay in your room-

"No," he interrupted arrogantly, placing his own hands on the counter and bringing his face to her level. "No, I find watching you squirm too amusing, Mudblood-

"Do you honestly think that silly little word bothers me any more?" she questioned with lowered eyebrows. "Do you really believe I care what you think?"

"I think you care a lot about how people perceive you-

"You are not people!" she barked, smacking her palms down on the surface again. "You are just...You're just-

"Go on, Granger," he encouraged, his voice deceptively inviting. "How exactly do you feel about me? I'm curious."

She paused and panted out a couple of hot breaths as her glare roved over his sharp and expectant face. His pebble-grey eyes were as hard as quartz; cold and illegible. They didn't waver, just waited for her answer. He wanted to know? Fine, it had been writhing under her skin for longer than he could comprehend and she could stand.

"You're the most spoilt and selfish person I've ever known," she told him quietly, annunciating each tangy syllable. "You have done nothing in your entire life but bully people and you wouldn't know a real friend if they slapped you in the face, because you're too busy looking down at everyone to give a shit-

He snorted. "I'll have you know-

"I'm not finished!" she spat, aiming her wand at him for good measure. "For years you have just managed to avoid becoming exactly like your father; evil-

"You will not talk about my father!" he shouted, too enraged to consider the wand by his chest. "You have no FUCKING right-

"You wanted my opinion!" she retorted. "I always knew you were a vile little bastard, but I never thought you would become so twisted that you would become a Death Eater! Harry knew! Tried to tell us, but no! For some stupid reason, I thought you had a small dose of decency left in you, and I was so wrong-

"First time for-

"And you turned into what everyone expected," she ignored him, pulling away and pacing a few angry steps to the side. "Follower to Voldemort and pathetic excuse for a human, because you couldn't even do that right!"

He growled. There it was, being shoved in his face again; his failure. "Are you quite done?"

She sent him a fierce scowl, and he noted it was so much more intense than any look she'd ever dared to flash him before. Good. Getting her all riled up was bloody hilarious.

"You are sick and spiteful," she hissed, feeling her magic crackle between them as she tried to steady her sparking emotions. "And you always will be, and I find that very sad. You want to know know what I feel for you? Pity. That you could allow yourself to become what you are."

Another guttural rumble quivered at the back on his throat. "Predictable as ever, Granger," he slurred. "Always convinced there's good in everyone-

"Not everyone," she hushed him, and she almost sounded forlorn. "Not you. Not any more."

"Well, at least you're learning not to set yourself up for disappointment," he shrugged his bored shoulders, cocking an eyebrow when she took some more steps away from him. "Where are you going?"

"Bed," she muttered, sparing him another golden-spiced glare. "I am done with this-

"Hold on now," he protested, marching to block her exit. "It's my turn-

"I thought I made it very clear," she mumbled past tense lips. "That I didn't care about your opinion of me-

"I didn't care about your opinion of me," he said slowly straightening his back to loom over her.

"But you asked-

"Because I thought it would be amusing," he revealed, indulging in a cruel smirk. "And I was right-

"I know how you feel about me," she argued, trying her hardest to act nonchalant. "Mudblood this, bookworm that. You're rather predictable yourself, Malfoy-

"I may surprise you."

Merlin curse her curiosity for shrouding her commonsense for the umpteenth time. "Fine," she grumbled, eyeing him warily and tightening the fingers coiled around her wand. "How do you feel about me, Malfoy?"

"You repulse me," he sneered with sudden hostility. "The fact that we have to breathe the same air makes me want to vomit. You're disgusting; a rancid smear across the Wizarding World. You don't deserve your magic-

"Repetitive nonsense," she forced her eyes to roll. "I'm going to bed. Move, or I'll make you-

"I'm just building up," he promised darkly, and something untamed and severe flared behind his stony eyes. She shifted her feet but refused to look away. Needed to keep eye-contact. Control.

"I don't-

"You know you don't deserve your magic," he continued, baring his ivory teeth in an accusing snarl. "And that's why you work so hard, isn't it? That's why you spend all your pathetic time studying-

"I happen to like reading-

"But you feel the need to prove yourself," Draco silenced her with a confident and condescending tone. "Because you know your magic isn't rightfully yours." Uncertainty mingled with honey, and he relished his victorious grin. "Because you know you're inferior."

Her lip twitched. His smirk stretched.

"And that's why it still kills you when I call you Mudblood," he finished with delicious smugness, bobbing his head with a proud nod. He could see that Gryffindor tenacity fighting to control her tongue, so he stepped aside and headed for is bedroom door, satisfied that she was suitably rattled. Well, at least the revolting Muggle-spawn had successfully managed to provide some entertainment for this dull-as-dust day.

His fingers had just grazed the brass of the door-handle when there was hot push against his spine, propelling him forward. He smacked head-first into the adjacent wall and released a grunt of discomfort as he slid down the cold surface. The impact was still buzzing across his skin, but he knew the pain would replace it within a heartbeat or hum of breath.

He raised his head with every intention of charging Granger and smacking her into the wall, but he barely caught her blurred shape ghost into her room, before the shrill bite of a blunt door deafened him for a moment. The pain subsided after a few seconds; just a little bump to his head and an ache in his back. He quickly gathered himself to his feet and his eyes did a slow scan of the room, his dilated pupils focussing on the bookshelves again.

Ah yes, his previous distraction before the Mudblood had returned.

He had always been good with numbers, and had decided that counting would be the thing to keep him sane.

Granger had one-hundred and one books in her sitting room; fifty-six of which were black, forty red, three blue and two green. Across all the spines were a total of four-hundred-and-sixty words, excluding the authors' names. He had double-checked this and stored the information away in his head, and Draco's stare recommenced roaming around the room; searching for his next counting project for tomorrow. His next sanity-preserving task.

But his eyes automatically fell to her door, and he felt the rage bristle along the fine hairs coating his body and sink into his pores. Entertaining or not, the girl made his temper churn. He would find something else to count tomorrow.



Hermione slumped against the door and hastily murmured the silencing charms before she released a gargled sob. Dear Merlin, she hated him. Hated him! She roughly smudged away her treacherous tears and stumbled on shaky legs as she made her way to her bed.

She was denied a blink of sleep all night, and the witch's anger at the slimy Slytherin niggled at her until the birds came with the navy morning. She despised the birds.

And that was day one.

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