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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37. Flaws

Draco wasn't sure if he'd woken up with a headache, or if it was the headache itself that had caused him to stir not long before five in the morning. Either way, it was there, hammering against the backs of his eye-sockets, and he gritted his teeth against the pain.

While he couldn't remember anything specific, he knew he'd been tormented by nightmares for the majority of the night — could feel the ruthlessness of them in the cold sweat dribbling down his back — and instinct told him they'd most likely revolved around Granger, his parents, and Voldemort. It was probably why his arm was wrapped so tightly around Hermione's midriff, and why her hair was tousled at an odd angle, disturbed by his heavy breathing.

He released his hold on her and sat up, trying to ease away his headache by clicking his neck and massaging the bridge of his nose. At the foot of the bed, Crookshanks was curled up into a tight ball, one eye peeking out from under his paw and studying Draco curiously.

"Bugger off, ugly," he whispered, tossing back the covers and leaving the bed.

As expected, he was parched, and he pulled on some clothes and collected his wand before he left the bedroom, intending to grab a drink from the kitchen and hunt for a vial of Dreamless Sleep potion. But when he collided with something that felt very much like a human just outside the door in the dark hallway, he jumped and barely managed to stifle a bark of surprise. Fumbling with his wand and casting a Lumos, he rolled his eyes when the light caught the offending person's lopsided grin.

"Fucking hell, Theo," hissed Draco. "Are you trying to scare the shit of me?"

"Well, I wasn't trying," he quipped. "But it was certainly an amusing accident."

"What the hell are you doing out here?"

"I'm assuming the same thing as you. I can't sleep, and I'm thirsty. Or are you just going to the bathroom?"

"No, I'm going to the kitchen," he said, heading towards the stairs. "Come on then."

"So, why can't you sleep?" asked Theo. "Does Granger snore?"

"No."

"Does she fidget a lot?"

"No."

"Does she-

"It's nothing to do with Granger!" he growled as harshly as possible in a hushed voice.

"Nightmares then," he said in a knowing tone, shrugging at Draco's confused look. "We all get them. Blaise used to have really bad ones; used to wake up screaming his lungs raw and puking for hours. It's kind of inevitable, I guess. No one ever really sleeps during war."

Draco was still contemplating how he could rationally reply to Theo's remark as they reached the kitchen door, and had either of them been paying attention, they might've heard the muffled voices on the other side. Ron and Harry were sat at the table, their heads snapping up and their mouths falling shut as Draco pushed open the door and interrupted whatever conversation they'd been having. Ron was on his feet in a second, straightening his spine and glaring at Draco, his lip curled back in anger and his hands fisted at his sides. Taking a few nonchalant strides into the room, Draco simply cocked his head and flashed Weasley a condescending smirk, eyeing his rival up and down for effect.

Ron still possessed that slightly disorientated and frazzled air about him, like someone had flipped him upside down and he was unsuccessfully trying to adapt to a topsy-turvy world or, Draco thought, that Muggle metaphor about a fish out of water. Despite an improvement since the last time they'd quarrelled in this very room, Weasley still looked on edge, and even from a distance, Draco could make out his bloodshot eyes and gnawed fingernails. Judging from Potter's exasperated expression and Weasley's flushed complexion, Draco deduced that he and Theo had interrupted a rather intense discussion, not that he particularly cared.

"Great," remarked Theo flatly from behind him. "It's the tactless twosome. No, wait. I can come up with something better than that-

"What the hell do you want?" demanded Ron, his stance hostile and his teeth bared in an semi-snarl. "I said, what the hell do you want?"

"I fucking heard you, Weasley," Draco scowled. "Calm down, you'll give yourself a nosebleed-

"I'll give you a fucking nosebleed," he threatened.

"Wehey! Weasley's got his wit back," taunted Draco, taking a few cocky steps into the room. "Someone alert The Prophet -

"I am warning you, Malfoy, I will break that sodding pointy nose poking out of your face-

Draco scoffed. "I'm terrified-

"Come on then, wanker!" the redhead spat, jerking his body forward aggressively. "I'll smack that bloody smirk off your face-

"Ron," said Harry, rising to his feet and stepping into his friend's path. "Just relax a minute, mate-

"No! We were here first!"

Theo snickered behind Draco. "Ten points to the Gryffin-dick for stating the obvious."

"And you can shut your bloody mouth and all, Nott! You lanky prick-

"Oh, come on now, Weasley," he said, rolling his eyes. "That almost hurt my feelings-

"Why don't you just piss off back to your fucking father?" Ron spat coldly. "Oh wait, Daddy won't have you without a Dark Mark stamped on your arm, bent over and kissing You-Know-Who's feet!"

Draco cocked an irate eyebrow and twisted his head to Theo, just in time to witness all the humour drain from his face, and then his expression turned hard and sharp with rage. Draco could see the flashes of fury sparking in his friend's eyes, a vein bulging in his throat, and his nostrils flaring with the early warnings of a looming outburst, but before Draco could even consider a calming word, Theo erupted.

"DON'T YOU DARE MENTION MY FATHER, WEASLEY!" he yelled, heaving in a few sobering breaths to steady himself. "You talk about my father again, and I swear-

"You'll what?" challenged Ron. "What the hell will you do, Nott?"

"I'd break your fucking jaw if I didn't think I'd catch something, like rabies or poverty!"

"You think you're better off than me without Daddy's inheritance?"

Theo charged forward a few steps. "I TOLD YOU NOT TO MENTION MY BLOODY FATHER!"

"WELL, I DID!" Ron shouted, shoving aside Harry. "Touched a nerve there, have I, Nott?"

"Fuck this," Theo mumbled, digging his hand into his pocket and trying to remove his wand, but his fingers were shaking with impatience, and Weasley had his wand out first.

"Stupefy!" yelled Ron, but his aim was off, and the incantation was weak.

The spell caught Theo at an odd angle, not precise enough to knock him unconscious, but it kicked him off his feet and sent his body flying, skidding across the floor. Glancing behind to check Theo was alright, Draco then hastily withdrew his own wand and hurled an Impediment Jinx at Weasley, successfully catching him right in the chest and throwing him backwards until he crashed into the wall with a loud thump. Before Draco could even take a moment to smirk as Weasley groaned with pain, he heard Potter shout, "Expelliarmus!" and he watched his wand leave his grip and land in Potter's ready hand.

"Give my bloody wand back, Potter!" he snapped.

As he marched forward and glared down Harry, he was vaguely aware that both Theo and Ron had risen from the floor and were stalking towards each other with clenched fists and adrenaline-fuelled tempers. They were all charging at each other, set to clash in the centre of the room like warring stags defending their territory, but before they could collide, a new voice was calling out a spell.

"Dispersum!"

And Draco felt the force of the spell in his stomach, picking him up off his feet and lifting him upwards until he was effectively pinned — half against the ceiling and half between two walls — locked in place in one of the room's ceiling corners. Lifting his head, he discovered that Theo, Weasley and Potter were in similar predicaments; all wedged in the room's ceiling corners, squirming with unease like flies tangled up in cobwebs. Twisting his body and trying to break the spell's seize on him, Draco's eyes settled on the caster, and he paused his struggling.

Hermione was stood near the door; her arm outstretched with Bellatrix's wand sitting somewhat awkwardly in her hand. Her hair was wild around her face, tousled by sleep, and her expression was tense, fixed in a disapproving frown with her cheekbones enhanced by her pursed lips, and her eyes half-lidded in scrutinising slits. Barefoot, still wobbly on her feet, and clad in a tattered, purple bathrobe that was probably two sizes too large for her (possibly Tonks' from her pregnancy, Draco concluded), she still somehow managed to look intimidating.

"Hermione!" exclaimed Weasley. "Let us down!"

"No!" she fired back. "You should all be ashamed of yourselves! There are people dying because of this war, and you lot can't get over your pathetic school rivalries? Do you honestly hate each other that much that you are willing to let it potentially affect the outcome of this war?"

Draco cleared his throat. "Granger-

"I am not finished, Draco!" she cut him off with a firm look. "You are not boys anymore! You are men! So bloody act like it and show some maturity and dignity!"

"Hermione," tried Harry. "Let us down, and we can-

"No, Harry, you will all stay where you are until I am done!" she ranted on, changing the tilt of the wand slightly so that the pressure holding the four of them in place bordered on painful, and they all grunted with discomfort. "I will not have you lot bickering and arguing like a bunch of second-years! I refuse to be a referee to my friends and boyfriend anymore, so you will just-

"Granger," Theo interrupted, and Draco rolled his eyes at his friend' s apparent death wish. "I would just like to point out that as I am not your boyfriend and technically not one of your friends either, I shouldn't be included-

"Shut up, Theo," she snapped. "I am done trying to reason and play peacemaker to you all! I am not asking you to be friends or even get along, but I am telling you to put aside your ridiculous issues and tolerate each other, or so help me, I will give you boys hell!"

Draco's eyebrows shot up high on his forehead and he wondered when he'd last seen her like this; so flustered and infuriated that she was practically vibrating with the heat of her outburst. He glanced at the others, finding matching expressions of disbelief on their faces as they regarded the furious witch and the ominous grip she had on Bellatrix's wand.

"I will say this one last time," said Hermione, her voice eerily steady now. "You will tolerate each other, you will put aside any resentment from Hogwarts, and you will do it now. Is that understood?" The silence that replied to her was so deep it rumbled, and she sucked in a harsh breath, bending her wrist slightly and altering the slant of Bellatrix's wand in a foreboding way. "I said, is that understood?"

"Yes," Harry rushed out. "I understand."

"Yeah, got it," nodded Theo. "Blah blah blah, hug a Hufflepuff. Can we come down now?"

Hermione ignored him, her eyes darting between the two wizards who had yet to respond. "Ron? Draco?" she prompted impatiently. "Well?"

"Fine," Ron forced out through grinding teeth.

"Whatever," grumbled Draco, licking his teeth stubbornly when Hermione narrowed her stare at him. "Fucking fine, yes, just let us the hell down!"

"Good," she said in a clipped tone. "We are all verbally agreed then."

With that, she lowered the wand and released the spell, crossing her over her chest as the four wizards slid down the walls and dropped to the floor in graceless heaps with heavy thuds. Draco groaned as he climbed to his feet, reaching behind himself to nurse his bruised coccyx, and watching Hermione warily as she seemed to consider the situation with that pensive look of hers that usually led to a decision he didn't like.

"Harry, Theo, Draco," she addressed them when they were all standing, moving her hands to her hips. "Go to bed. I want to talk to Ron."

Draco's face morphed into an incensed scowl before he scoffed loudly, ignoring the bemused glances exchanged between the other three as he shook his head and tensed his jaw. "Are you fucking kidding me?" he asked her. "Granger, there is no way-

"It was not a request," she told him, tilting her head to fire him a stern glare. "I'm serious. You three, go to bed."

Draco was speechless for a moment, watching her while she offered Potter a grateful half-smile as he made to leave the room without argument. Theo followed but lingered by the door, evidently waiting for Draco, and trying to catch his attention — not that he noticed. He was too busy frowning at his girlfriend and exercising all his restraint to not throw his fist into Weasley's gloating face.

"What the hell do you think you are playing at?" he demanded, stepping towards her. "You expect me to-

"You just agreed to tolerate-

"I never agreed to leaving you alone in a room with him!"

"Draco, do not test me tonight," she warned under her breath. "I need to talk to him and I want to do it alone, so go to bed, and I will be up when I am finished-

"I don't bloody think so-

"Draco, I am serious," she said stiffly, and something about the hardness in her features told Draco that this was an argument that he was not going to win. "This needs to be done and it will be easier if you aren't here. Now, for the last time, go to bed and I will be up shortly. I won't say it again."

He growled behind his teeth, flashing Ron a menacing scowl for good measure before he turned to Hermione with a pointed look. "We will discuss this after you're finished," he hissed.

He brushed past her in a purposefully cold manner, striding towards the door and almost knocking Theo over as he barged out the room, slamming the door behind him with enough force to make the hinges screech. He was seething. Completely and utterly enraged; all his muscles rigid and taut with anger and his blood rushing through his system as he stormed down the corridor with Theo close behind.

"So...," mumbled Theo. "No points for guessing who wears the trousers in your relationship-

"Shut it," he spat.

"Just an observation," he defended. "I have no shame in admitting that I am a bit terrified of your girlfriend. She's scary when she's all bossy like that-

"Damn it, Theo, fuck off!"

.

.

Hermione winced to the harsh bang of the door, but the silence that followed and wedged itself between her and Ron was even more disruptive.

She studied him intently, her heart sinking when he refused to make eye contact or give any indication that he was aware of her presence. He simply stood there; his gaze focused on the floor and his posture stiff with uncertainty. Sighing heavily, she moved forward and sat at the table, tucking Bellatrix's wand into the pocket of her bathrobe before she leaned forward and clasped her hands together in rather business-like fashion.

"Ron," she said gently. "Sit down please-

"I don't bloody want-

"Sit down, and calm yourself," she told him in an authoritative tone. "We need to talk."

If it was possible, his body appeared to seize up even more, but he lifted his gaze and peeked at her between the untidy strands of his red fringe. "I'm not sure what I can say to you."

"You can say anything to me. You know that."

"Well, that was before all this," he frowned. "Before I knew about your...thing with him."

"I'm still the same person, Ron," she said. "I'm still me."

"Are you?"

She flinched at that, nervously tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "Look, I understand that you're angry with me-

"That's the thing," he stopped her. "I'm not angry at you, I am...I don't know. I just don't know, Hermione."

"Please just sit down," she bade, feeling a small wave of relief when he actually did so this time. He exhaled as he dropped down into the chair opposite her, resting his hands on the table. She tried to reach out and hold them, but he pulled them away from hers before she could even graze his knuckles. "Ron," she tried. "Please, talk to me-

"Hermione, it's not that easy-

"If you just try," she pleaded with him. "Just say something, and it-

"I think you were right," he rushed out, almost too fast for her to absorb. "About us, I mean. I've been thinking about what you said for the last couple of days, about how we wouldn't work. I was imagining what it would be like to be in a relationship with you, and you know what I thought? I thought it would be nice, and then I remembered that nice is the worst word-

"In the English language," she finished for him with a knowing nod. "I'm sorry, I just don't think we're...designed to be together like that."

"No," he agreed in a slightly distant voice. "No, maybe we're not. I thought we were though. Hell, everyone did."

"If the majority was always right, there would be no progress," she murmured, more to herself. "Sorry, I just mean that...people see what they want to see sometimes."

"I do love you," Ron told her sincerely. "But...I don't know if it's as a friend or as something more. It's confusing the hell out of me, and maybe if I don't know, that means it's not what I thought. Does that make sense?"

"Yes, it does," she assured him. "It makes a lot of sense actually."

"It's like..." he tried awkwardly, rubbing the back of his head in that endearingly clumsy fashion of his. "It's like, when I thought you were dying, I wasn't thinking, 'that's the girl I love,' I was thinking, 'that's my best friend,' and...when I was thinking about it afterwards, it just sort of hit me, you know?"

"I know," she said, and when she reached to grab his hand this time, he didn't resist. "I know what you mean."

"We really wouldn't have worked, would we?" he muttered sadly. "It's like you said, we would be too convenient. And you and me-

"You and I," she corrected automatically, but she covered her mouth and grimaced. "I'm sorry, it's not the time-

"But that's who you are," he shrugged. "And there's another thing right there. I don't understand what you're on about some of the time. If we were together, I'd spend half the day with my head in a dictionary trying to catch up."

"Ron, you're not stupid-

"But I'm not on your level, and I never will be," he went on. "You see, I get that, I really do. I'm not angry that we aren't together. I knew there was always a chance that could happen. I'm angry because...because it's Malfoy. I just...I can't understand that. I don't feel like you've dumped me, I feel like you've betrayed me. As a friend."

"It's difficult to explain," she breathed. "I mean, I lived with Draco for months. I got to know him. I promise you, he's not that...that prat he was-

"Seems like it," he grumbled. "He still acts like a complete tosser."

"Look, I know he can rude, and short-tempered-

"To name a few-

"But that doesn't make him a bad person," she continued persistently. "You have quite a temper yourself, you know. And I know I can be bossy and stubborn, and I always have to be right, and Harry is stubborn too when it comes to accepting help, and it makes him reckless. We all have our flaws, Ron, it's what makes us human. Draco might be a lot of things, but he is not who he was. He's not bad. The fact that he's here proves that."

"But everything he did to us. To you," Ron argued. "How can you just forget all that?"

She hesitated and rubbed her lips together, contemplating how she should even begin to rationalise her reasoning to Ron. She stretched across the table to grasp his hands again, and the words that settled on her tongue felt bizarre and a little heavy, but they were falling out of her mouth before she could attempt to stop them.

"Draco's like...snow," said Hermione quietly, her gaze absent and distracted. "It's cold and cruel to begin with, but it's somehow beautiful, and you miss it when it's not there. And if you hold it in your hands close enough and long enough, it changes. It melts."

She inhaled, and the sound of it snatched her from her trance. Lifting her head, she caught Ron's puzzled eyes, and her cheeks began to burn with embarrassment. Even in the company of the people who knew her best, she didn't like losing her usual control and logic, but the wistful metaphor had been so persistent. She was preparing what to say next, planning to regain her composure and appropriate prudence for their discussion, but Ron beat her to it.

"You really love him, don't you?" he asked. "I mean, you really do."

"Yes, I do," she replied, trying to stifle a smile. "I think this might be it for me."

Ron frowned. "But why him?"

"I...don't know how to explain it," she confessed hesitantly. "I just do. Some things just are, I guess. Perhaps you're not supposed to try and reason things like love."

He grinned, and the familiar compassion in his expression instantly comforted her. "Even you won't try to reason it?"

"Even me."

"And he loves you?" asked Ron, looking slightly uncomfortable with the question. "He's told you?"

"He hasn't said it, but I know he does," she said honestly. "The fact that he's here is proof enough for me."

Lowering his eyes to their linked hands, he remained silent for a moment and chewed his tongue with thought. "You know, Lupin came to see yesterday morning."

"He did?"

"Yeah," he nodded. "He talked to me for a while; told me about how hard it was for Sirius to separate himself from his family, and that Malfoy would be going through the same thing. I'd never really thought of it like that, but...as much as I hate to admit it, it did make me think."

"Good," she mumbled, uncertain what else she should say. "That's...good."

"And after the whole Malfoy Manor thing," he said reluctantly. "The way Malfoy reacted to seeing you like you were...he completely freaked out, and that made me think too."

"Sounds like you've been doing a lot of thinking," she commented with a brief smile.

"Yeah, it's been giving me headaches," he joked half-heartedly, but then his expression turned serious. "Look, Hermione, I can't stand Malfoy-

"I know-

"And I'm not making any promises that that will change," he told her bluntly. "I doubt I ever will like the prick. But..." he sighed, pausing to rub at the faint stubble on his chin. "If Tonks and Remus and Luna can stomach him, I guess I can...try to get used to him."

"You will?" she gasped, trying to reign in her elation. "You mean it?"

"Yeah, I'll try," he repeated. "I promise you, I will try. I'll have to, won't I? It's not worth losing you."

She tightened her hold on his hands. "You could never lose me."

"And you have to promise you won't lie to me again," he insisted. "I mean it, Hermione."

"I swear, I won't," she agreed quickly. "I'm sorry. For everything."

"I know. I'm sorry too. It's been weird, not talking to you these last few days," he admitted, giving her hands a slight squeeze. "It's like I've been missing a limb. A bossy limb that talks too much and corrects my grammar, but a limb nonetheless."

She laughed, but it was a short laugh of relief more than anything, and meeting his eyes across the table, she asked the question that had been making her brain sweat since she'd fallen for Draco. "We're going to be okay, aren't we?"

"Yeah," he said, offering her a reassuring smile. "Yeah, we'll be fine."

.

.

Draco stopped his pacing to check the clock again, swearing under his breath when he realised its long hand had barely moved two ticks since the last time.

He recommenced his agitated steps, marching back and forth across the length of the bedroom like a caged dragon and with as much fire scalding the tip of his tongue. It had been close to half an hour since Hermione had dismissed him so abruptly from the kitchen to be alone with Weasley, and the heat of the resentment had been swelling up inside of him like a blister set to burst. Grinding his teeth and wondering how many more minutes he could endure waiting, he was just about ready to stalk back downstairs and intrude on their little reunion when the door opened.

His head snapped up as Hermione slipped into the room with her chin lifted defiantly, her steady gaze skimming him, analysing him like one of her books. His mouth was already open, ready to release a livid tirade, but she turned her back to him as she shut the door, mumbling incantations under her breath and slowly waving Bellatrix's wand.

"What the hell are you doing?"

"I'm locking the door and casting a Silencing Spell so nobody will hear me yelling at you," she said matter-of-factly. "Almost done-

"You're going to yell at me?" he scoffed. "You were completely out of line!"

She spun around with an affronted expression. "Me? I was out of line? How in Merlin's name did you reach that conclusion?"

"The way you fucking dismissed me like that!" he snapped harshly. "You made me look like an idiot!"

She rolled her eyes. "You accomplished that all by yourself."

"Don't bloody patronise me-

"I am completely serious!" she shouted irately, stepping towards him and prodding his chest with her finger. "You were behaving like children! I mean, honestly. Bickering like kids and starting pathetic fights, and you-

"Hey!" he interrupted. "Weasley was the one who started getting all agitated-

"Oh, that's a great way to contradict my point about you being childish, Draco; saying Ron started it!"

"Did you shout at him like you're shouting at me?" he questioned suddenly. "No, of course you didn't! You mollycoddle Potter and Weasley, and it's fucking ridiculous!"

"I do NOT mollycoddle them!" she disputed. "They're my best friends, Draco! We look out for each other-

"Oh, come on, Granger! I know you didn't bash Weasel's eardrums like you're bashing mine!"

"I treated you all the same!" she defended sternly. "I used the same spell on you, Theo, Harry, and Ron! I'm more angry about the way you behaved when I asked you to leave Ron and I alone! You had a tantrum-

Draco inhaled sharply. "I did NOT have a tantrum!" he barked. "The way you brushed me off made me look like a sodding tool, and that was out of order!"

"This isn't about your pride!" she retorted stubbornly. "I needed to talk to Ron, and I asked you to leave, and you refused-

"Of course I bloody refused!"

"Without good reason!" she argued, poking his chest again. "You should trust me enough to be comfortable with me talking to my friends alone!"

"It has nothing to do with trusting you!" he shouted, huffing out a frustrated breath. "Of course I bloody trust you! You know, for being such a know-it-all, you're as thick as Longbottom sometimes!"

"Oh," she sighed knowingly. "So it's the typical argument of you don't trust him around me?"

"No shit, Granger, of course I don't trust Weasley!" he snapped. "And yes, I am possessive, and I will always regard Weasley with suspicion around you, but that's not the point!"

"Then what the hell is your point?"

"YOU TOOK HIS SIDE!" he yelled, raking his hands through his hair. "You shot me down, and in front of him!"

"I did not!"

"Yes, you did! And you didn't even consider for a moment that Weasley goaded the fight! You just walked in there, and then...," his voice simmered out, and he pulled back to drag his stare from her toes to her crown. He lingered on the pretty, red flush tinting her cheeks, and the fiery spark in her dilated pupils, feeling a flicker of heat in his gut before he looked back down to her legs. "Wait a minute-

"Even if Ron did start the argument, you shouldn't have retaliated like that!" Hermione went on, oblivious to Draco's probing eyes. "And another thing-

"You're walking," he stopped her, gesturing to her legs. "You can feel everything again?"

"I...what?" she stammered, blinking when it dawned on her. "Oh, right. Yes, I took some potion and I can feel everything better...anyway, look, Draco, you acted like a complete-

But she was cut off when he practically charged at her, slamming his body into hers with a haste-clumsy impact that broke her balance and knocked her off her feet. But that was okay. The wall caught her back and Draco pinned her in place, his hands roughly gripping her sides before his mouth was latched onto hers, kissing her hard and frenziedly between shallow breaths. His lips were hot and wet from their argument, and she could feel his staccato heartbeat buzzing against her own chest as he pressed himself as much into her as he could, until she thought the wall might crumble under the force of them.

She grabbed his upper-arms, her fingers digging into the taut muscles beneath the sleeves of his t-shirt, and she absently wondered if her nails would leave crescent-shaped dents despite the thick fabric depriving her of that skin-on-skin friction she suddenly craved. There was a damning desperation is his kiss that was too urgent to resist, like they hadn't kissed in months, and she guessed they hadn't. Not like this. Not like they were a whirlwind of lust with their limbs and lips locked around each other and simply drowning in the rush of the moment.

"Wait," she blurted, tearing her mouth away and trying to regain some of her irritation towards him. "Wait, I am still angry with you-

"You are always angry with me, remember?" he shrugged, dropping his mouth to her neck. He parted the lower half of her robe and settled his hand against her inner-thigh, curled his fingers, and dragged his nails up until he felt her shiver. "Can you feel that?"

"Draco," she said breathlessly. "We were discussing-

"Can you feel it?"

She swallowed. "Yes, but I-

"Leave it, Granger," he mumbled. "If you're really so intent on having a go at me, then you can-

"God, you are so bloody incorrigible," she told him, but she titled her head to kiss his temple, and her fingers were clawing at his shoulders again.

"At least I can spell it," he quipped, pulling back to admire her pink cheeks and the erratic rise and fall of her chest. "Are you still angry with me?"

"Furious," she said.

"Good," he grinned, giving her thigh another stroke, and then her nails were practically stabbing his shoulders as her body tensed up. "You're uninhibited when you're angry."

Hermione gave him one her obstinate looks, her eyebrows drawn together with defiance, and for a fleeting moment, Draco though she might actually shove him away and recommence screaming at him, but then she smashed their mouths back together. Her fingers were in his hair then, nails dragging across his scalp and gathering his hair into small fistfuls as she pulled him as close as she physically could. Draco naturally obliged to the frenzied pulls of her lips, and his hands sought the tie of her robe, tugging it loose and then pushing the garment off her shoulders until he heard it fall by their feet. Clad now in just a small pair of bed-shorts and a baggy vest, Hermione's skin begged to he touched, and Draco wasted no time in doing so.

He ran his hands down the length of her arms and then slipped them beneath her top, gliding his knuckles across her ribcage and the underside of her breasts. He felt her breath hitch in her throat and he adjusted his head to suck at her jaw line as she released a small noise of pleasure. That little sound was like a catalyst, sending a wave of hot blood to his groin, and his actions became more urgent and heavy. Yanking her top over her head, he melted their lips back together, grabbed her waist, and picked her up, stepping sideways until her backside was perched on the rickety chest of drawers near the bed.

The wobbly piece of furniture shifted and groaned as Draco guided her legs to fall either side of him and stood in the space between, knocking his knees against the wood as he tried to get as close to her as possible. He helped her remove his t-shirt and exhaled huskily when she kissed his chest, pausing to retrace the line of his Sectumsempra scar with her tongue. Absently grazing his teeth against the scar on her shoulder, he felt her ankles jab into the backs of his thighs, just below his buttocks, forcing their pelvises together, and they both moaned at the friction. Draco's erection was full and swollen, straining against his loose-fitting trousers and rubbing against her spot as they grinded into each other, guided by instinct and the intense static sparking between them, like hot shafts of lightning.

When Draco tucked his thumbs under the hems of her shorts and underwear, she looped her arms around his neck and hoisted herself up so he could drag them down her legs. His actions were fast and impulsive, but as he scraped his fingers up her inner-thighs again, she felt like each move was significant and measured to hit the right nerves to build up the anticipation. She accidentally clamped her teeth down onto his bottom lip when his fingers finally stroked the swell of her clit, and Draco circled his free arm around her wait when she jerked her hips forward.

He broke the kiss again, keeping their faces close enough that he could feel her eyelashes catching with his between blinks. "You can feel it, right?" he asked, pushing his fingers inside of her. "You can feel that?"

"Mhmm," she managed with a nod. "I can feel everything."

And she really could. She had no idea if it was because she'd had limb-block, or if it was because she hadn't been caressed by Draco in this way for months, but each intimate touch was like a powerful jolt of sensation, and her insides were burning within minutes.

She let out a soft whining sound and yanked his head down to resume their kiss, craving the contact as her arousal inflated, like a warm and tingling bubble. His thumb was rubbing over her clit in fast swipes, and the two fingers inside of her worked in and out with a deliberate pattern and speed. She shifted her pelvis, and the movement against Draco's hand sent a powerful shock of pleasure shooting up her spine, and she dropped her head back against the wall to let out a strangled groan, watching Draco watching her through hooded eyes.

"The bed," she said between pants. "The bed, Draco."

He flashed her a cocky smirk, pausing the thrusts of his fingers so he could pick her up again, steering her legs to wrap around his torso, and his erection was grinding against her again. He speckled her breasts, shoulders, chest, and throat with lingering kisses as he carried her across the room, dropping her onto the bed a little rougher than he'd intended before he stepped out of his trousers and boxers.

Covering her body with his, he positioned himself between her legs and pushed his length into her tight and wet warmth. He felt her thighs clench around him and her back arched off the bed with those first few rocks of his hips, and he buried his face into the crook of her neck to smother a groan. He knew he wouldn't last long; it has simply been too long since his body had been buzzing like this for him to physically resist reacting to the sensations coursing through his blood and muscles. It was why he had ensured she would be close to bursting before seeking any pleasure for himself, and judging from her laboured breathing and the shorts spasm beginning to flutter around him.

Draco slowed his frantic thrusts when an odd urge overtook him, and he tenderly grazed the backs of his fingers across her cheek, studying her parted lips and her lusty eyes. She peered back at him and almost smiled as she reached up to brush her fingertips along his jaw, craning her neck to melt her mouth back into his.

The pace of their love-making escalated again, with Draco pushing in and out with an urgent rhythm, and the sounds of sweat-drenched flesh smacking together mingled with their loud moans and gasps. In a bold moment of spontaneity on her part, Hermione hiked her legs a little higher, and the pumps of his erection felt deeper and so much more concentrated. She held onto him like her life depended on it as those final few powerful drives sent her flying, and her muscles went taut and rigid, and then she was shuddering without control, trembling and quaking as the heat of the bliss sunk into her bloodstream and swept throughout her entire body. She half-purred, half-whined at the peak of the orgasm, and when it subsided, she felt light-headed but completely content.

The ripples of her muscles around his length had brought Draco that much closer to his own orgasm, and he waited until she had absorbed all she could from her release until he jerked his hips once, twice, and a third time before his heartbeat was pounding in his ears and he was shaking too. He growled hoarsely by her ear and absently pecked his lips against her temple before all the energy left him, and he carefully rolled onto his side. Tossing his arm around her waist, he pulled her to him, resting his chin against her forehead as she began to stroke absent-minded circles against his chest, as their rates of their breathing began to return back to normal.

"Give me a bit and we'll go again," he rasped out.

She tilted her chin to shoot him a curious look. "How do you know I don't intend to continue our argument?"

"Come on, Granger, don't piss on my fire," he sighed. "Besides, didn't we agree that once you were all healed, we would shag until our bones were sore?"

"What? No, I don't think we did."

"Oh," he shrugged. "That must've been in my head then."

She laughed softly and kissed his chest, feeling his pulse pound against her lips. "Okay, no arguing about Ron. You will stick to your word though, won't you? You will refrain from confronting each other?"

"If Weasley keeps his distance, I'll keep mine," he agreed stiffly. "Happy?"

"Very much," she smiled. "Thank you. I love you."

He frowned and licked his lips with consideration, pulling her a little closer into his body. It wasn't the time, but the need to say something made his tongue itch. "Granger," he started hesitantly. "You know that I-

"I know, Draco," she assured him. "It's okay, I know."

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