Isolation

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.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6291747/1/Isolation

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11. Doubt

Fucking hell.

This was hard.

So hard...

After the longest night of his life, during which he hadn't managed one second of sleep, he was basking in the morning sun seeping in through the window. He felt blurry today; still confused and agitated about the incident with Granger, and weary with insomnia. In a random moment of spontaneity, he'd stripped away all his clothes to see if the cold air or the warm rays would make him feel more alive; more real, but he felt like a ghost.

A flimsy creature on the crest of reality, but not quite there.

It must have been pushing into sociable hours because he could hear Granger starting to stir, and a pained cringe stole his face. This was what he'd been dreading and yet waiting for all night; his favourite part of his degrading routine. A sheer gloss of sweat broke out across his naked skin as he listened to her move into the bathroom, and when he thought he caught a dash of her taste in his mouth, that sensitive spot under his stomach twitched. A-fucking-gain.

It was so hard...

He tried to shove it away, but his head was too muddled to really resist the pull on his body. He heard, what he assumed, was her clothes thudding to the floor, and he gulped down a throaty swallow. Closing his sleep-deprived eyes, his imagination inflicted him with colourful and dangerous images of her. He succumbed to them quickly; too tired to put up a decent fight and too captivated by the fantasies to ignore them.

He was hard...

Having indulged in many a sexual fancy, this one was different; simple and without unnecessary exaggeration. In his head, Granger was exactly how she should be, with her mussed curls around her shoulders and a thoughtful expression on her familiar features. Her body...well, he had no idea if the image matched the subject, but he would guess he was close as his subconscious began to discard items of her clothing. He heard the shower start to run, and he inhaled a shaky breath as his hand shifted lower.

He was too far gone to heed the Slytherin voice in his skull and realise what he was doing; and any whispers of doubt were kicked aside as the first of her bathroom purrs reached his ears. Keeping his eyes firmly shut and focussing on fantasy-Granger's lips, he grabbed the steel-stiff length below his navel.

Merlin's Soul...

Draco needed this. He needed it bad.

In his head, Granger was in the shower now, and he tightened his fist and began to pump away his tension. Weeks and months without this release let him know that he wouldn't last long, but he didn't care. He didn't give a shit that his head was full with forbidden thoughts of her, or that his room was, as always, clogged with her addictive scent. It didn't matter that the witch was the catalyst to his lustful strain right now, nor did it matter that he made his fantasy-Granger slip her hand between her thighs to accompany her next moan.

The image sent him over the edge, and a husky sigh-come-roar thundered out of his throat as the hot fluid splashed across his abdomen. His eyes fluttered open and fantasy-Granger simmered away from his mind, leaving him satisfied and panting like an Arctic fox who had snagged his prey or a mate. His heart was drumming against his ribcage as he tried to gather his wits; blinking away some beads of sweat tucked between his lashes.

The high didn't last long, but then it never did.

And what was left behind was self-disgust that was physically painful. He wiped away the remains of his orgasm with a pair of boxers and turned over; curling up into a defeated semi-foetal position. He could feel the cold clawing over his skin now, but he didn't cover himself with the blanket. There was no excuse for what he'd just done, and the cold brought reality back that little bit quicker.

The worst thing was, he had no idea if he wanted to slam his skull against the wall until his imagination tumbled out of his ears, or give himself another ride.

He didn't cover his head with a pillow to block her out. He should have done, but he didn't. Instead, he let her shower sounds numb his brain and distract him from the reality.

He'd just masturbated to Hermione Granger.

The Mudblood.

"Fuck."

He rolled over and grabbed the nearest thing to him; the Muggle book by the King bloke. He turned it over in his hands and analysed the cover for the hundredth time, recalling their discussion about prejudices and the trap he'd walked straight into. Curse her to the Veil and back, but it had made him think, if only for a moment.

He had wondered how he would see her if it weren't for her dirty heritage, and now he was doing it again.

Double fuck...

.

.

Neville had pretty much dragged her to dinner in the Great Hall, ignoring her protests and insisting that some time amongst friends would cheer her up. Apparently the distress about her flashbacks of Malfoy's lips was scrawled blatantly across her face, as Neville usually left her and her melancholy alone. He'd commented that she looked worse today, and she'd eventually agreed to join him and the others, reasoning that some lazy banter might distract her from the ugly truth.

And an ugly truth it was; brokenly beautiful in an odd way though. Like Draco.

How could I have kissed him?

She was sat on the outskirts of the small crowd, finishing a paragraph of an assignment that could have waited until later. She lifted her head and glanced around the group, moving her distant gaze across Ginny, Lavender, Dean, Seamus and to Neville at her side, frowning when she realised that someone was missing.

"Neville," she mumbled quietly, keeping her voice low to avoid interrupting the others' conversation. "Where's Luna?"

"We noticed that too," he told her. "She disappears at lunch sometimes, and I don't think she stays here at weekends either, you know. One of the fifth years said she saw her leaving the grounds last Saturday."

"Where does she go?"

"I don't know," he shrugged. "None of us do actually. She must have permission from McGonagall though."

"That's odd," she sighed, turning away when one of the other boys said something that caught her attention. "What did you say, Seamus?"

"I was talking about the rumours going around," he answered with a whisper, leaning in so only the six of them could hear. "A lot of people think that Voldemort is going to infiltrate the Ministry soon."

Hermione raised a sceptical eyebrow. "Rumours are sometimes just that, Seamus. I wouldn't pay too much attention-

"It could be true though," he insisted. "And if they get control of the Ministry, they get control of Hogwarts, and we will all be fucked."

"Emphasis on the if," she said calmly. "If McGonagall thought Hogwarts was at risk, she would have figured out an alternative location for us by now-

"Who's to say she isn't thinking of that?" he shot back quickly. "And where else would we go? My Mum said it could happen-

"And your Mum also believed all that rubbish they wrote about Harry in the Prophet," Hermione reminded him, rising from her seat. "There are a lot of rumours going around at the moment. Let's just stick to what we know."

"Where are you going, Hermione?" Ginny asked, looking a little disappointed as the brunette gathered her things. "You haven't finished your food."

"I'm not that hungry," she offered weakly, giving her friend an apologetic look. "And I need to see McGonagall."

"Well," the redhead continued. "If you like, you can pop up to the Tower tonight? Or I could come visit you-

"No," Hermione argued too quickly, cringing at the urgency to her tone. "No, my dorm is a complete mess. I'll try to come and see you later."

She gave the other Gryffindors a polite nod before she turned away and left the Great Hall, calculating she had a good thirty minutes left to see the Headmistress before her lesson started. She walked with long and quick strides to McGonagall's office and muttered the password to let herself in, knowing the older witch usually stayed here during the dinner hour.

"Miss Granger," the older witch greeted from her desk. "This is unexpected. Is everything okay? You look a little down today."

Malfoy...

Hermione hesitated and settled in the seat opposite; pursing her lips in thought. "I'm not sure," she murmured. "I guess I have some questions I need to ask you."

"Very well," McGonagall nodded, leaning back and giving her student her full attention. "What is bothering you?"

"Well," she started awkwardly, wondering where to begin. "Seamus mentioned that there was talk about Voldemort infiltrating the Ministry, and I was wondering if there's any truth to that?"

The witch tensed her mouth and exhaled a long and weary breath. "There have been talks about that since Dumbledore died," she admitted carefully. "However, not much detail is known. All I can tell you is that it's a possibility."

Hermione felt something in her chest sink. "And if it does?"

"Then we will have to evacuate many of the students," she supplied with a sad tone. "Particularly Muggle-borns like yourself-

"Oh God-

"Try not to worry so much about it," McGonagall advised warmly. "As far as we can tell, the Ministry is holding fine against the Death Eaters, and we have precautions if the worst were to happen."

Hermione folded her arms around herself; suddenly feeling very cold and alone. A part of her had always suspected that the Ministry could be effected by Voldemort, but it was easy to lose track of everything outside of Hogwarts when she was buried in her books or involved with confusing lip-locks with someone she shouldn't be.

"I'm not having much luck with trying to figure out what the other Horcruxes are," she whispered with loud disappointment. "I've been trying to see if I can find a link between the Diary and the Ring with any other objects that would make sense. And we know the Locket is one but we just don't know where the real one is and-

"Miss Granger," the Headmistress interjected her rant. "I am well aware that you are trying your hardest, as are Mr Potter and Mr Weasley. I'm sure it will come eventually. You must not get too stressed-

"There's going to be a war soon-

"We have technically been at war for months, Miss Granger-

"Well the final front then," Hermione clarified with frustration and unease. "I can feel it coming, and I don't know if we will find all the Horcruxes in time-

"We are all doing our best to prepare," she interrupted again, giving the young witch a sullen look. "Hermione, there's only so much we can do. Remember that you are human, dear. You are doing brilliantly and I could ask no more of you. Please try not to get so stressed. It won't help."

The hazel-eyed witch released a forlorn sigh but yielded to McGonagall's logic and soothing words. It wasn't the first time she'd had a pseudo-panic-fit in the Headmistress' presence in recent months, and it probably wouldn't be the last. Most of the Order members and some of her fellow students had been subjected to mini-breakdowns as of late; it was only natural considering the current climate, and Hermione was grateful that her professor could always calm her volatile thoughts. Even if it was only temporary.

"Do you feel better now, Miss Granger?" McGonagall asked. "Or do you have another question?"

"I have a thousand questions," she breathed, pausing to consider before a thought fluttered in her mind as she remembered what Neville had told her. "Actually, there is something I'm a little curious about."

"Go ahead."

"Neville mentioned that Luna has been leaving Hogwarts on the weekends," she explained, frowning when the Headmistress averted her eyes. "Can you tell me why?"

"I'm sorry, but I can't," McGonagall said after a pensive pause. "I can confirm that Miss Lovegood does sometimes leave the premises at weekends, but she told me her reason in strict confidence, and I assured her that I wouldn't tell anyone."

"Is she okay?" Hermione questioned. "She's not in any trouble or anything?"

"She's absolutely fine," the witch replied. "I can assure you that she is completely safe."

"Then why is she-

"It's a personal matter," McGonagall finalised brusquely. "If you want to know more, you shall have to ask her yourself."

.

.

The Hogwarts pupils were scattered randomly around the library, squeezed between the aisles and shelves, and huddled a little closer than normal to fight the cold. They sky was already winter-dark at seven o'clock, and Madam Pince had lit a few extra candles and cast a rather weak warming charm to accommodate the forty-or-so snug students.

Hermione sat by herself in the dark corner near the restricted section; lost in a lonely bubble that silenced the surrounding noise. She tried to focus on the scribbled pages in front of her, but she couldn't stop thinking about Malfoy and what had happened.

How could I have done it?

Every method of distraction she'd attempted had failed and left her with itching lips and more confusion. She wanted to know why and how it had happened, but she could hardly suggest a discussion about it with her Slytherin dorm-mate. What made it worse was she felt like everyone was staring at her, burrowing into her head and stealing her naughty secret and secretly despising her for it.

Paranoia is such a parasite.

But that wasn't even the worst thing. No matter how much she tried to reject the absurd notion, she couldn't help but think she'd been cheated in some way. It hadn't been a real kiss, and she felt like she'd missed out on some kind of conclusion or...climax.

It was like she'd been to Hell and not experience the lick of flames.

She shouldn't have wanted to, but she really, really did. Her curiosity was getting the better of her and she wanted more. She wanted...

"Hermione."

She started with a harsh gasp and gave the source of the interruption a sharp look. "Merlin's grave, Michael," she mumbled. "You scared me to death."

"Sorry," he chuckled casually in a way that made her think he wasn't sorry at all. "I was just wondering if you'd finished the list of duties for the prefects?"

"Oh," she breathed absently, shuffling in her bag for the requested list. "Yes...sure. Here."

Michael Corner accepted the sheet of parchment and gave it a quick scan before he turned back to give her a concerned stare. "Are you okay, Hermione?" the Head Boy asked. "You seem a little distant."

"I'm fine," she shrugged, bowing her head to hide her uncertainty. "Is there a problem with the rota?"

"No, it looks good," he replied. "I just thought you might like some company."

"I'll be leaving in a minute," Hermione answered, trying to be as polite as she could, despite her foul mood. "Sorry, I'm rather tired."

She made a mental note to apologise to Michael for her sour behaviour at a later date. She normally enjoyed a light conversation with the Ravenclaw, who had matured exponentially in the last year, particularly after he'd broken up with Cho. Initially, Hermione had been extremely wary of working with him, having heard some rather unflattering comments from Ginny, but he was nice enough, if a bit too competitive at times.

"It's no worry," he offered weakly, clearing his throat. "We need to organise a meeting to discus the Christmas dance soon-

"Is that really necessary?" she groaned, slamming her book shut. "There are more important things we should be thinking about than some silly little Ball-

"I think McGonagall's just trying to keep spirits up," Michael reminded her. "Come on, Hermione. It wouldn't hurt to have a bit of fun at Christmas. The people here need cheering up."

"I guess," she sighed sceptically, packing everything into her bag and rising from her seat. "We can discus it in Hogsmeade this weekend then. Is that okay?"

"That's fine," he nodded. "Would you like me to walk you back to your dorm?"

"No, don't be silly," she dismissed with a wave of her hand. "I think Terry and Anthony are trying to call you back anyway. I'll see you Saturday."

Hermione turned away before he could answer and stalked towards the exit, keeping her gaze low to ignore the looks of the other students. She would swear they were casting her suspicious glances again, and she hurried away with a heavy heart. Despite her desire to avoid her dorm – or more precisely, the blond Slytherin who was lingering inside – her strides led her there anyway. She trembled with anxiety as she whispered the password and slipped inside; her nervous hazels scanning every inch of her quarters critically.

As always, the room gave no indication of his presence, and she quickly concluded that he was in his room. With a relieved sigh that any confrontation would be postponed for the time being, she rushed towards her room with every intention of hiding away until morning, uncaring that it could be considered cowardly.

She stopped short when three steady knocks tapped against the main door, and she released a startled yelp. Merlin, she was on edge...

"Who is it?" she called, her voice wavering slightly.

"It's Michael."

She frowned at his insistence and fired a cautious look at Malfoy's room, wondering if it was wise to have a visitor when he was supposed to remain unseen. "What do you want?" she asked loudly, keeping her eyes fixed on Draco's door. "I'm a little busy."

"You left one of your books behind," the Head Boy explained. "Are you okay?"

She grimaced and slowly headed towards his voice, casting a final glance over her shoulder before she cracked open the door; just enough to prop her head against the frame and keep her body hidden.

"I was just about to have a shower," she lied when he gave her a puzzled look. "I'm in my dressing gown."

"Sorry," he grinned sheepishly, holding up the book for her to take. "Are you certain you're okay, Hermione? You've been acting a little off today."

She managed to force her mouth into an uncomfortable smile as she plucked her book out of his fingers and chucked it to land on her table. "I'm just really tired," she told him, closing the door a little and hoping he would get the hint. "I think I'm going to have an early night, but thanks for bringing me the book."

"Are you sure?" he persisted, and she fought hard not to get irritated with him.

"I'm sure," she said bluntly. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight, then. I'll see you Saturday."

Hermione released a haggard breath and rested her forehead heavily against the door, willing the oddly loud thuds in her chest to simmer. She knew that Michael's intentions had been completely innocent and her reaction had been too defensive, but she just felt like everyone was trying to corner her today and delve into her thoughts; her secrets, and she didn't want a soul knowing what she had done.

"Who the fuck was that?"

Her head whipped around so quick she almost lost her balance, and her chest felt ready to tear open when her heart recommenced its wild pounding. She subconsciously retreated until her back was pressed up against the door, and she placed a hand over her heaving chest; fixated on him as he leaned against the doorframe with a thunderous expression. His features were contorted into a fascinating mixture of scorn and resentment, and something else that she couldn't quite identify that made her breath clog her throat.

"Why do you have to do that?" she gasped angrily once she'd found her voice. "Do you enjoy scaring the-

"I asked you who that was," he spat between clenched teeth, and she noticed then how tense his muscles were. "And you'd better give me a decent fucking answer, Granger."

She flinched as he pushed himself away from the wall and shifted towards her, with slow and calculated movements that reminded her of a wolf. She'd noticed that Malfoy had a defined grace and elegance that she couldn't help but admire and envy; as though every step was intentional and preplanned to be intimidating, or even seductive. She should have found it disconcerting or unpleasant but, Godric forgive her, she couldn't help but be intrigued.

"Are you bloody deaf, Grang-

"It was just Michael Corner," she murmured, shrugging off her robes and heading to the sofas. "He's in our year and-

"I know who he is," he ground out, his tone still low and dark. "Dull Ravenclaw. Shit Qudditch player. His only redeeming feature is that he's a Pureblood. What did he want from you?"

"He was returning my book," she explained uneasily as he continued to near her; arms folded arrogantly over his chest. "Why do you-

"And why would that sad little prick think you would be meeting him on Saturday?"

She raised her eyebrows. "You were eavesdropping?"

"Just ANSWER the fucking question!" he demanded harshly, slamming his palms against the back of the other couch. "Why would you be meeting him?"

"What business is it of yours?"

He clicked his jaw and shook his head, like he was catching himself before he did something foolhardy. His storm-cloud eyes flickered between her and the floor while he chewed his tongue and seemed to gather a few soothing breaths. She studied him closely and dampened her lips with a flick of her tongue, waiting nervously for his response.

"It's my business when he's inviting himself here," he answered carefully. "If he saw me, he could go shitting that information to anyone-

"He didn't see you-

"And if you plan on slagging it around then-

"HOW DARE YOU!" Hermione screamed, rising from her seat and marching towards him. "You have NO right to talk to me in that way-

"I can talk to you however I want," he countered calmly, craning his neck to loom over her. "If you don't tell me, then I'll draw my own conclusions-

"This is ridiculous!" she hissed. "I told you I was going to Hogsmeade this weekend and-

"And you're going with that?" he growled, as though the notion revolted him and left a sour taste on his tongue. "So you are fucking that repulsive piece of-

"Oh, for Godric's sake, Malfoy!" she shouted, oblivious to how close they were with her frustration. "Michael and I are the only people going because we're the Heads!"

His mouth snapped shut with an audible clap, and she felt like he was stripping her with his glare as his eyes darted over her face. She realised how close he was then; close enough that his breath stirred some of the hairs by her forehead, but she didn't move despite every instinct screeching at her to do so.

Remember what happened last time you were this close...?

If he was bothered by their proximity, he didn't budge, and she would swear that something close to relief washed across his pale features. He tilted his head slightly and dropped his shoulders, and the room seemed to fill with static as his earlier rage dissipated.

"You're telling me that useless dickhead is Head Boy?" he drawled sceptically. "What a fucking joke-

"He's actually very good," she argued, noting his upper lip twitch as she spoke. "Are we done here, Dra...Malfoy?"

He frowned at her mistake, and the witch tried to hide her embarrassed flush with little success. She turned to leave, but his cold grip coiled around her wrist before she could get any distance between them.

Just shove him away...Too close...

"What now?" she asked, refusing to look back to him. "I have answered your questions and put up with enough of your-

"I'm not finished," he muttered, clenching her arm a little tighter. "I have another question."

She scoffed. "I see no reason why I should-

"Why did you make me food this morning?" he rushed out with obvious qualms.

Hermione blinked to herself and slowly twisted her neck to give a confused look. "What-what do you mean?" she mumbled. "I always make you a meal in the morning-

"I thought after our fight last night," he said reluctantly. "That you wouldn't have-

"We fight everyday, Malfoy-

"Last night was different."

The room felt like a vacuum, and Hermione would swear she actually felt the air being dragged out of her lungs. Draco's eyes looked softer then; like milky smoke, and she was completely fixated on them. After his infuriated rant and outright denial of their demi-kiss last night, his words had completely thrown her. They both knew what he was referring to when he'd said different, and it crackled between them like dangerous flames; too hot to touch but too powerful to ignore.

The kiss...

"I wouldn't have you go hungry because of...that," she broke the silence awkwardly. "That would just be cruel-

"It would be normal," he argued, and she watched with disappointment as his features returned to the bitter and sharp scowl she knew so well. "And I'm sure you want to lecture me with some tedious Gryffindor moral about kindness or some shit but I really couldn't give a fuck-

"You asked me the question," she protested, tugging her wrist free from his hold and walking away from him. "I'm going to bed. Goodnight Malfoy."

Draco clenched his fists as Granger disappeared into her room, wondering what the hell had caused him to act so pathetically. It was humiliating and unacceptable, and he blamed her for it wholeheartedly. From the moment she had infected him with her muddy blood and swamped him with her scent, everything had deteriorated, specifically his mind. Now, he was being subjected to haunting fantasies of her, and tempted by almost kisses that left him feeling both revolted and yet...starved.

It was breaking his brain into disturbed little fragments that made him question himself, and how far he was willing to go before his inappropriate craving for her taste was sated.

The rage he had felt when that sodding Ravenclaw had turned up had been vicious and explosive, and he had physically quaked, but he had no idea why.

It's not jealousy...

Just rage. Possessive rage, maybe.

His luxuries and stimulants were limited in this prison, and her taste and scent had somehow become some of those...needs, and he would not share them with anyone beyond that door. While his taste of her had been brief, it was his now, even if he never wanted it again for the sake of his dignity. And he didn't want to touch her again. Really, he didn't, but if Michael twatty Corner thought he was entitled to a lick of Granger, he was fucking mistaken.

He didn't understand his dangerous emotions towards her, nor did he like them, but they were powerful and almost instinctive, and impossible to ignore.

He stormed back to his room and silently pleaded with Salazar that he would be rid of his...obsession with the Mudblood soon. It was degrading and mind-sucking, and he feared he would act on it.

I will not act on it...

.

.

The wind was screaming like tortured toddlers tonight, and Hermione was convinced her clock was lying.

If it really was three in the morning, then she had been staring blankly at her ceiling for four hours and that just wasn't healthy. She had secluded herself in her room and adamantly refused to leave, amusing herself with finishing every essay that was due from now until Christmas. That had lasted for three hours, and since then she'd tried desperately to manage some sleep, but it was all in vain.

And it wasn't the wind tonight...

No matter how hard she tried to eradicate Malfoy from her mind, she couldn't; be it stubborn flashbacks of their pseudo-kiss or just general musings about his behaviour. She found herself fascinated by him as much as she tried to reject it, and she'd noticed he's refrained from calling her Mudblood for a while. A month in his presence had effected her and she found herself more determined than ever to tackle his prejudices, although she couldn't help but wonder if it was now for selfish purposes.

She wanted him to view her differently, and she was fairly certain he was starting to.

At least she hoped he was.

She sat up and rubbed her face with her palms, wondering if her interest in him was really appropriate or healthy. Probably not.

A shiver chased up her spine and she grabbed her wand to renew her warming charm when a thought stole her attention. She had three blankets and magic to battle the November chill, but what did Draco have? He'd only been supplied with one blanket...

What if he's freezing?

She realised then that she cared, when she really shouldn't have. She knew it was in her nature, but this was something else; a genuine concern for his comfort that left her questioning when she'd started to actually care.

She left her bed and wrapped herself in her bathrobe, trying to decide what exactly she could do. The options were simple; chose to ignore it and let the cocky prat deal with it himself, or yield to her desire to provide him with some warmth.

"What the hell am I doing?" she whispered to herself as she crept lightly out of her room.

With at least two minutes of hesitation outside his door, she swallowed away her nerves and angled her wand in its direction.

"Alohomora."

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