Draco Malfoy prided himself on not being controlled by anything; he saw what passions did to his father, a once-respectable man now almost completely politically crippled, exiled from the Dark Lord, exiled from the Wizarding community. Draco refused to go that route. Which is not to say that he considered himself to be unfeeling -- only that he felt nothing inappropriate, and nothing to excess.
Therefore, it follows that he wasn't watching Blaise watch Hermione Granger eat her plum pudding. And because he wasn't, he was well within his rights as Head Boy to kick Blaise under the table.
"Stop watching that Mudblood," said Draco. He kicked Blaise again to make sure Blaise wasn't ignoring him. "I mean it, Zabini."
"Technically, she's not a Mudblood," said Queenie from further down the table. Draco looked at her, and silence rapidly descended over the table. This annoyed Draco; Slytherins should not be so obvious in their desire for blood.
Slytherins should also not be predictable, so Draco only replied, "Shut up, Queenie," and turned his attention back to Blaise.
"Do you ever think about what it must be like to be Hermione Granger?" Blaise asked him, and stirred his coffee.
"No. And neither do you. All you think about, I'm sure, is getting into her filthy Muggle knickers."
"And into her Arithmancy notes, obviously." Blaise sipped his coffee delicately, and Draco suppressed the urge to break every one of Blaise's long, slim fingers. That was not within his rights as Head Boy, although it should be. Draco made a mental note to talk to Snape about the reinstitution of corporal punishment at Hogwarts.
"I'd like to get into her knickers," said Queenie. "Muggles wear leather knickers."
Against his better judgement, Draco said, "What's leather?"
"The skin of babies," replied Queenie. She bit into a plum thoughtfully. "That can't be comfortable."
"Baby skin is very soft," said Blaise to her, but he was looking at Draco.
"You'd fuck anything," replied Draco scornfully.
"So will you," said Blaise.
Queenie raised her eyebrows at Mandy Brocklehurst, and Draco scowled.
"Slytherins do not shag Gryffindors," Draco announced. "Never."
"Not even Harry Potter?" Blaise's smirk became something slightly more sinister, and Draco felt a prickle in his spine. "Not even George Weasley?"
"I'd shag George Weasley." Queenie cocked her head to the side and the beads woven into her hair clicked against each other.
"Me, too," said Mandy, but she didn't look at Draco. "I hear he's a master at engorgement charms."
"Maybe that's why he has such a fat head?" suggested Draco, pushing the rest of his plum pudding away. Discussions of Gryffindors always made him lose his appetite.
"That was weak, especially for you," said Queenie. "Just because there's a ban on Gryffindors doesn't mean we can't fantasize."
"Yes," said Blaise. "We all have hidden depths."
Draco raised his eyebrows and glared witheringly at each person sitting near him in turn. "Blaise, your ass is not hidden, nor very deep. If you are going to fantasize, don't do it at the supper table. From here on, all fantasy discussions may only take place during lunch -- and if Gryffindors or Hufflepuffs are involved, save it for your private chambers."
"Do you remember Zacharias Smith?" asked Queenie. "He understood the -- "
"We hear and obey, o lord Malfoy," said Blaise, but that funny smirk was still on his face.
"Malfoy? This is the Head Girl's bath, you know." Granger slunk down under the bubbles in her tub until only her face and toes were visible. She had pink toes, Draco noticed, and they were kind of plump. Maybe she did wear the skin of babies for knickers, but probably not. She was far too Gryffindor for something like that.
"Malfoy," Granger repeated. "If Dumbledore catches you in here -- "
"Does Dumbledore often come for a visit while you're taking a bath? How utterly perverted," said Draco. He leaned back against the door. "Is that why you and Potty and the Weasel never get into any trouble? Because you seduc -- "
"Malfoy, you are absolutely mad, you know that? I realize it runs in your family, and your father -- "
"Excuse me," said Draco. "Do not talk about my father. You know nothing about the Malfoy family -- "
"Except, of course, that you're all Death Eaters, absolutely stark raving nutters, and... What are you doing?" As spoke, Draco rolled up his sleeves. She shrank back into the bubbles -- as though that would save her if Draco were there to kill her? This is why you're not in Ravenclaw, he wanted to tell her, but instead he displayed his forearms.
She frowned. "Where's -- don't you -- ?"
"Not your business, is it, Mudblood?" Draco rolled his sleeves back down.
"Did you want something other than to stun me with your lack of etiquette?" she snapped.
"If I wanted to stun you, Granger, I would use my wand." Draco sighed, and leaned his head against the door. "This is so embarrassing."
"Then by all means, tell me," replied Granger.
"What are you working on in Arithmancy?"
"You heard me. Unless you're going deaf, in which case you should talk to Madame Pomfrey, and -- "
"Why do you care what I'm doing in Arithmancy? You're in the same class!" Granger brought her knees up to her chest, and tucked her chin between them.
"I just need to know." Draco lifted his chin. "But if you won't tell me, I'll hex my way into your rooms and just take your notes for myself." And, of course, if Draco had thought of it, so had Blaise, and Blaise was probably doing that already. Bollocks.
"It's standard, NEWT-level Arithmancy," replied Granger finally. "Nothing else.
"And for your silly mock-army?" Draco raised his eyebrows. "Nothing special for them?"
"Just because you don't wear the Mark doesn't mean you aren't an evil bastard, Malfoy. I'm not going to tell you a thing about DA."
"Except that it exists." Draco smirked at her.
"You know it exists, you idiot. Get out." Hermione lifted a long, pale arm from the water and pointed at the door behind Draco.
Draco bowed to her, and hoped she realized it was ironic.
"Well, well," said Blaise. "Fancy seeing you here. In the mood for some Mudblood lovin'?" He affected a strange, flat accent at the end.
"Have you been listening to Muggle music again?" Draco squinted at him. "What's wrong with your hair?"
"This is called a pompadour," said Blaise grandly. "It used to be very popular."
"You look like a Muggle," replied Draco, and pushed past him, down the hallway. Let Granger deal with Blaise herself. If she wouldn't help herself by helping Draco, Draco certainly wasn't going to help her by deterring Blaise.
Although... if Blaise was at her bath, then neither of them were in her rooms. Draco abruptly changed direction and walked toward Gryffindor Tower.
"I don't understand." Draco threw the parchment across the room. "What did Blaise want with these? There's nothing here but what's in every text we've ever studied!"
Queenie Greengrass watched Draco coolly. "Do you know what your problem is, Draco?"
"No one respects me because my father went insane?" Draco pursed his lips and lifted one eyebrow to show that he was joking, even though he wasn't.
"You don't plan ahead on many levels," said Queenie, ignoring him. She picked up the parchment he threw, reorganized the pages. "For example, if you were going to write secret documents, you would probably hex them so no one but you could touch them, and make them very small, and hide them in your shoe."
Cufflinks, thought Draco, but didn't say anything except, "What's wrong with that?"
"It shows everyone you have something to hide." Queenie shook her head sadly. "Just because the Dark Lord shunned you doesn't mean that you can't be an evil bastard, Draco. You just need to try a little harder."
"I am an evil bastard," said Draco, scowling now.
"No, you're just mean. You're not even cruel anymore." Queenie took out her wand and held it over the parchment. "Arithmancy is not my best subject, but I think I can use a charm... Maybe we ought to ask Blaise."
"No," said Draco. "I came to you because you can do it, not because I want Blaise to do it."
"Fine." Queenie took a deep breath and Draco had to blink several times, because it looked like she turned transparent. He must have just had something in his eye, though, because when he blinked again, she was back to normal.
"What spell did you use?" Draco asked.
"Here," she said. "It's -- hm."
Draco peered at the parchment. "What is that?"
"It's a map, Draco."
"I know it's a map. What sort of map?"
"This is a map of the world." Queenie turned it to the side.
"What sort of world?" asked Draco.
"It's our world," replied Queenie. "But it's the Muggle world too."
"What does it do? Can we hurry this up? Granger is probably pruning by now."
"If Blaise is in there with her, I'm sure pruning is the last thing on her mind." Queenie tapped her wand to the parchment again. "This has to be some sort of advanced Arithmancy..." She shimmered again, and Draco was sure of it this time.
"You're -- " he began.
"And it was Arithmancy?"
"It was a charm, I think. But this -- this is Arithmancy. It must be keyed to a specific code, to show specific people." Queenie considered the map for a moment. "Gryffindors aren't subtle." She tapped her wand to it, and said, "Death Eaters."
"Remus Lupin." Nothing. Queenie paused thoughtfully. "Mooney."
Draco eyed Queenie on that last one, but it was what did the trick. Lupin's name showed up on the map, and the map zoomed in on his location.
"He's just... floating," said Draco. "Between two houses."
"Looks like he's somewhere unplottable in Muggle London," said Queenie. "I need a copy of this. Blaise is right -- this is worth seducing a Gryffindor for."
"Well, I didn't have to seduce her, did I?"
"Maybe if you did, you'd be a little more relaxed." Queenie ignored him as she chanted words under her breath that Draco didn't recognize. When she was done, there was a copy of Granger's map. Draco was getting used to her blinking in and out. He let Queenie put the original back to Hermione's plain old Arithmancy notes, and he rolled the parchment back up.
"I'll bring this back to her," he said.
"Don't accidentally fall on top of her and shag her while you're there," said Queenie. "The Head Boy's said that Gryffindors and Slytherins can't fuck."
"Shut up," replied Draco.
"Don't be hacked off at me about your rule." Queenie turned her back to him, and he debated hexing her, but he needed her to figure out the secret of the map and the Arithmancy Granger used.
"This is not your entry point back into the Death Eaters," said Queenie as he left her room, and he ignored her.
Granger cornered him after Potions. "You were in my rooms," she hissed.
"This is not an appropriate place for you to speak to me," replied Draco. "People can see us."
"We're the Head Boy and the Head Girl. We can conference in the hallway." At Draco's raised eyebrow she sighed impatiently. "Fine. Where?"
"Dungeon Five, tonight. seven p.m. Don't be late or I'll hex your face off." Granger walked down the hallway, her robes swirling about her legs in a manner much the same as Professor Snape's. Draco watched her and was annoyed. What did Blaise see in her? Puffy hair, sallow skin -- maybe she reminded Blaise of himself, that prat.
"Mister Malfoy?" Snape was at the front of the classroom, shuffling homework parchments into a neater stack. "Are you going to stand there all day?"
"No, sir," replied Draco, and left.
Blaise was lounging against the wall. "Lunch?" he said.
"Not with you." Draco glared at him. "Couldn't you have healed that thing on your neck?"
"I kind of like it," replied Blaise. "Who would have thought Granger was so wild?"
"I know perfectly well that after Granger threw you out of her bath, you went to Looney Luna." Draco didn't bother to look at Blaise as they talked. "So -- "
"Whatever, Draco." Draco knew Blaise was rolling his eyes.
"Whatever, Blaise," replied Draco, and thought about the different hexes he could put on Luna. Maybe he could charm her to give Blaise the pox the next time they fucked.
Draco felt like maybe Queenie was right, and he was losing -- had lost -- his nasty. He used to be evil. People used to cower when he walked through the halls. Now, Slytherin first years came crying to him when they missed their mommies and daddies, and Hufflepuff girls blushed when he looked at them. Was he always never quite evil enough? Didn't he used to strike fear into the hearts of losers everywhere, especially in Gryffindor? Now even Hermione bloody Granger was threatening him with second-year hexes.
The entire world was going to pot, and Draco had no idea how to fix it. He didn't even want to fix it. Let the world fall apart -- he didn't care. He just wanted to go back to being cruel and debauched and kicking puppies.
Draco crossed his fingers and made a wish that the next time he found himself watching Hermione Granger walk down the hallway, his eyes would fall out and squish onto the floor so he could step on them, or burn them, or otherwise destroy them.
This was all Blaise's fault.
"How could you do that?" Draco asked Queenie furiously.
"Well, you didn't tell me not to," pointed out Queenie. She peered around Draco's shoulder. "Everyone is in class; we're going to be late."
"Who cares? If Blaise has the map, I am never going to be able to -- " Draco sucked in a breath and ordered himself to calm down.
"I told you that the map wasn't going to be your ticket back into the Death Eaters." Queenie tapped her foot. "You should listen to me."
"I'm going to hex your face off," Draco snarled.
"No, you aren't. You can try, but it will just bounce off the wall and hit Professor Snape."
"Professor Snape isn't even in the corridor." But Draco looked over his shoulder just in case.
"If you hit Professor Snape with a face melting hex," continued Queenie, "he will make you scrub all his phials with a strange Muggle device called a 'teeth broosh'."
Draco tucked his wand back into his sleeve. "I am sure Professor Snape knows nothing of Muggles, you slanderous bitch."
"Please, Draco, not everyone keeps themselves as closeted as you. And I mean that in as many ways as you can think of." Draco had no idea what she meant by that, but assumed it was something nasty, and snarled. Although perhaps she was referring to Bogarts? Draco could be someone's worst nightmare... While he was pondering that, Queenie pushed away from him and brushed off her robes. Seaweed green today, which Draco found hideous, but it somehow looked good on her. "Snape can consort with anyone he pleases."
Draco groaned. "Queenie, I do not want to think about Snape consorting with anyone."
"You always did have a weak stomach. Don't be late to meet Hermione tonight." Queenie walked down the hallway, but her robes didn't swish.
There was only one way to handle this. If Draco couldn't use the map to prove to Voldemort that he was evil enough to overcome his father's weaknesses, help take over the world, kill Mudbloods and Muggleborns -- all of it -- then nobody could. Blaise Zabini certainly wasn't going to. Blaise didn't need to prove to anyone how evil he was; Blaise didn't care about stuff like that. Blaise was bored by it all, Draco knew, and was really only interested in fucking anything that moved, doing a lot of weird Muggle drugs, and being left alone with his Arithmancy books.
That was not acceptable. Not at all.
Draco considered being late deliberately, because he didn't take orders from Hermione Granger, but she might have been serious about hexing his face off. He didn't want to take that chance. Face-melting charms could go horribly awry; there, Draco had just explained the Weasel.
He was halfway through modifying a batch of Dreamless Sleep potion to give its taker nightmares when Granger showed up.
"You're late," he said. "But being you is already punishment enough, so I won't do something childish like -- "
"What are you doing?"
"Not your business, is it?"
"Are you adding -- you are! You can't do that!" Granger slapped her hand down onto the worktable. "Stop that right now."
"Oh, shut up. What did you want, anyway?" Draco carefully measured the deertongue -- too much, and the potion would render birth control useless and could possibly lead to male pregnancy. Which would be funny, especially if Draco dosed Blaise with it before Blaise went off for one of his sick assignations with Gryffindors, but that wasn't the point.
"You were in my room." Granger hopped onto one of the tables, crossed her legs. "You know, too much of that will lead to male pregnancy. Which theoretically shouldn't be possible, but -- "
"Yes, I was in your room. I stole your stupid map. Blaise has it now." Draco added the deertongue, stirred three times counterclockwise, and added one half-drop galangal.
"You stole the map." Granger nodded. "And copied it?"
"Queenie Greengrass copied it." Draco turned the heat up to medium, and stood back to let the mixture come to a boil. "I just watched."
"And did she figure out how it worked?" Granger opened the phial of lavender essence and dabbed some on each wrist.
"Only how to use it. Not the Arithmancy behind it." Draco shook his head when Granger offered him the phial. There were some scents he liked, and lavender wasn't one of them.
"The Arithmancy is easy. I'm sure Blaise will figure it out in no time." Granger nodded, and hopped down from the table. "All right. I'll leave you to your cunning plans to impregnate all the homosexual men in school."
"That's not the point of -- aren't you angry?" asked Draco. "I stole from you. I handed your hard work over to the enemy. Blah blah blah, Gryffindor honor and loyalty and -- " Draco stopped himself. "Unless that was exactly what you wanted."
Granger smirked at him. "Not really your business, is it, Pureblood?"
Draco scowled. "Everything is my business. So which is it? Did you want us to steal it because it's going to eventually blow up and take all Purebloods with it? Or is it something more complicated?"
"But I'm a Gryffindor, Malfoy. We're shallow and -- "
"Shut up, Mudblood," said Draco. Granger let the door slam behind her.
Hogsmeade weekends had become Draco's least favorite days. He used to love them -- Hogsmeade meant butterbeer, practical jokes, throwing mud at Gryffindors, watching Crabbe and Goyle drool over ugly girls, and George Weasley. Of course, after the middle of Draco's sixth year, Hogsmeade weekends meant that all the other evil Slytherins got to go to Death Eater meetings while Draco visited his father in St. Mungo's.
Draco was embarrassed to see his father in such a state, but he went anyway. Malfoys always had family loyalty. Of course, everyone in the Malfoy family was crazy, so Draco could deal with that, but not everyone was crazy enough to have to be committed. It was embarrassing that a Malfoy was crazier than a Lovegood or a Longbottom.
Invariably, Lucius would call him Narcissa at least once, stroke his hair, ask after "that lovely Pureblood girl, Blaise," and demand to be reinstated as the Minister of Magic.
Draco sometimes thought that his father was his number one weakness. His father's break with reality had made Draco acknowledge that he did have weaknesses, and the potential for absolute raving insanity was one of them. But the biggest one was his father himself. Because Draco never, not once in a year, told his father that he'd never been the Minister of Magic, that Narcissa was dead, that the Dark Lord had excommunicated him, that Blaise was a male, or that Draco hated when people touched his hair.
This particular visit was made even more difficult, because Draco really wanted Lucius's crack evil logic skills on this whole map problem. If Granger wasn't playing him, and there really was something wrong with the map that would advance the Gryffindor -- and now, obviously, the first through third year Slytherin -- agenda, the Dark Lord needed to know about it before Blaise bollocked everything up.
Lucius, as expected, had nothing helpful to say. He recited from the Malfoy Rules of Engagement, rules thirteen through thirty-six (which included Draco's favorite: "A Malfoy's chocolate must always be pure chocolate, never tainted with milk, cream, eggs, or any other disgusting substance. Except for, in certain instances, blood. See rule forty-seven for acceptable blood types."), and told Draco to make sure he never touched a Muggle sidewalk, because Muggles spit upon them.
"I am feeling particularly evil tonight," Draco announced to the Slytherin common room that evening. "Where is everyone?"
Blaise looked up from his book. "Not here, obviously."
Draco surveyed the room: sixth and seventh years, mostly, except for a select few. And some were missing -- like Crabbe and Goyle, who hadn't been around for a while. Well, Draco wasn't just being nasty to them anymore -- he was ignoring them outright. So maybe they went off to find someone else to minion for; Draco didn't like that idea at all. He would have to think of a suitable punishment. Maybe he would cut off their hands.
"Thank you, Blaise. I never could have figured that out on my own."
"Yes, Pansy?" Draco turned his head to look at her, and suppressed his wince. Not even the strongest of glamour charms could make poor Pansy as beautiful as she thought she was.
"What's put you in such a delectable mood?" She smoothed her hand over his arm and shoulder, and Draco stepped back.
"Well, Pansy," he replied, "I'm just feeling particularly cruel and nasty today." He pointed his wand at her. "Canicula."
"Very clever, Draco," said Blaise. "Who's going to take her for walks now?"
"You," replied Draco, turned on his heel, and stalked out.
Blaise caught up with him as he was entering the Head Boy's suite. "I looked at the map," he said. "The Arithmancy is rather complex, but I've figured out how to access pieces of it. I added Pansy's name as a test, and it worked fine. Did you know she's shagging the Patil sisters?"
"Both of them? Good for her," replied Draco. Blaise slid between Draco and the door, and Draco clenched his teeth. "Step out of the way, Zabini."
"Don't try to play me, Draco. I know what you want." Blaise pressed himself against Draco and snarled into Draco's ear.
Draco allowed this for a moment, debated what to do, and finally stepped back and pushed Blaise away. "You're so common and obvious," Draco said as he readjusted his robes.
"I am common and obvious? I beg your pardon?"
"Yes, you are." Draco cracked his knuckles and they made satisfying crunching sounds. Then he drew back his fist and punched Blaise in the face. Maybe his muscles weren't quite so developed as a Beater's, but the Seeker must be sly and quick, dart in and out, and Draco thought he pulled it off perfectly. He punched Blaise, Blaise doubled over, and Draco neatly sidestepped him to enter his rooms. "I told you I was feeling evil tonight," Draco said to him, and closed the door.
Fisticuffs were quite satisfying. No wonder Muggles engaged in them so often. Not quite as satisfying, perhaps, as taking Blaise up on his offer, but Draco just wasn't in the mood. No, he wanted to be evil and scare someone, and not even the roughest bloodplay would scare Blaise.
Maybe Draco would hunt up Potty.
"So this is where all my Slytherins are." Draco leaned against the doorjamb and watched the chaos in the room. Hogwarts students of all ages and houses were hexing each other, and being detangled by Granger and Potty. The Weasels were demonstrating hand-to-hand combat, much like what Draco had engaged in with Blaise.
"What are you doing here?" sneered Potty.
"Unfortunately for you, Potty, you don't get to interview me," replied Draco. "I am the Head Boy and you are merely -- well, you are merely the Boy Who Lived."
Potty lowered his head, and Draco thought he might be engaged against his will into fisticuffs, but Granger stepped in. "Harry, can you please help Neville? His Imperio is still wobbly."
"Fine, but I want him out of here," said Potty, and he sneered at Draco one last time before he walked away.
Granger waited until Potty was across the room with his back to Draco before she turned to him. Stupid. If this was an alternate universe that sucked mightily, and Draco was a Gryffindor, he would never put his back to a Slytherin, not even if he had a special scar on his forehead.
"What do you want?" Granger asked him.
"I just wanted my Slytherins," replied Draco. "But I can see they're otherwise occupied."
"How did you get in here?" She peered behind him into the corridor, pulled him inside and shut the door.
"What are you worried about? Everyone here is on your side. Even Snape."
"How do you know about that?" she said furiously. "Come on." She led him around the outside of the room to a small door. "Luckily no one has needed the infirmary yet today."
"Haven't you memorized Hogwarts: A History?" Draco asked her. The room was awfully plain, with simple cots, and trays of potions and bandages. "The Head Boy will always be able to find the Head Girl as long as they are both on grounds."
"Where does it say that?" she snapped.
"Chapter seventy-six, which only Hogwarts staff and the Head Boy and Head Girl can read."
"Does that mean that the publishers know all the secrets in the book? Are there other secret chapters?"
"Don't be stupid. The replicator charm is very complicated and calls for a specific type of magic, but it doesn't allow the repliceditor to see everything being copied." Draco sat down on one of the cots and bounced. "This isn't very comfortable."
"It's not for convalescence; it's just for convenience." Granger sat down on the bed opposite Draco's. "I didn't reread it this year anyway; Prefects don't get their own chapters."
"Prefects don't need to know anything," said Draco dismissively. "So this is Dumbledore's Army?"
"This is the secret chapter of the Order of the Phoenix?" Draco raised his eyebrows. "Seems a little lackadaisical."
"How do you know about the Order?"
"How do you think? The Dark Lord may not be the smartest, most clever bloke, but it's not like I am quite that stupid. Think what you like about Slytherins, but our marks are second only to Ravenclaws."
"And me." Granger crossed her arms.
"I beat you in Potions."
"Only because Snape fancies you." Granger burst into giggles.
"That's disgusting," replied Draco. "I don't like to think of Snape in terms like that."
"You always did have a weak stomach," she said, and giggled again. He clenched his jaw and felt a muscle behind his ear tick. When she caught her breath, she asked, "What do you really want?"
"A CloudCatcher 21, but one must be of legal age to ride them. What in Morgana's name do you think I want? Ugh, Gryffindors."
"You want Gryffindors? That's rather a shock."
"Only if you let me practice my new hexes on you." Draco stood up. "Don't keep my Slytherins out past nine p.m."
"Sir, yes, sir!" Granger made a funny gesture with her hand and forehead.
"Is that how Muggles flip each other off?" Draco asked. It looked nothing like the Wizarding symbol of one palm up and one palm down, thumbs touching.
"No, it's -- well, it doesn't matter what it is, because I was just making fun of you." Granger stood up too, and walked past him to the door.
"You're not a very nice person for a Gryffindor," said Draco.
"Well, you're not a very evil person for a Slytherin," replied Granger. "You haven't tried to hex me once."
Draco frowned. "That wasn't a very nice thing to say. Now I am honor-bound to hex you."
"Don't be stupid. If you hex me, you'll have everyone in those rooms out there on you in a moment." Granger put her hand on the doorknob.
"Fine, then. I'll just tell you that I know a secret, something you don't know, and I am not going to tell you."
"Ooh, I'm really scared. You can leave out of that door on the other side and it will take you back to the corridor." Granger rolled her eyes and left the room. Draco kicked one of the tray stands, and it fell over, and he didn't pick any of the supplies up.
Yup, still evil.
Granger was squatting on his legs, her wand at his throat.
"You read chapter seventy-six that quickly?" asked Draco.
"I find the idea of using thoughts of people as Portkeys extremely interesting." Granger wasn't wearing robes, but some sort of dressing gown over Wizard pajamas.
"You know, most Witches wear nightgowns," said Draco.
"They tangle around my legs."
"You can't use the Portkey charm on the Dark Lord," said Draco. "Is there a better reason why you're in my room at -- " He glanced at the clock on the wall. " -- four a.m.?"
"What's the secret?" She pushed her wand further into the soft skin under his chin.
Draco admired the chocolate brown of her nightclothes. There was lace at her collar in off-white ivory. And she had cleavage. If she wasn't a Mudblood Gryffindor, she might have even been attractive. Even her hair was prettily tousled instead of its usual wild bush. The flickering light of the candle she had lit cast shadows on her face that were almost appealing.
"You should wear that color more often. Much better for you than that muddy Gryffindor red." Draco rubbed a bit of the material between his fingers. "Good quality. Surprising."
"What is the secret, Slytherin?" Granger put her face close to his, and he swallowed hard. She was kind of intimidating, especially in this position, when she could either fuck him or kill him. Draco wasn't quite sure which he would prefer; both options were rife with opportunities for his own public humiliation.
"There isn't a secret, Mudblood." He paused, smirked. "Unless you mean the one about you and Blaise."
"There is no secret about Blaise and me," she said. Her breath smelt of myrrh.
"There is." Draco stopped himself from peering down her shirt. Nice breasts, for a Gryffindor.
She sat up, pushing against his chest, and took her wand away from his neck. "What is that?"
"He was going to seduce you, obviously. For your Arithmancy notes."
"So rather than let me have some fun, you decided to steal them and give them to him? Way to go." Hermione pushed off him and slid off his bed. "Fine."
"You wanted us to have that map, didn't you? Technically, although this thought nauseates me, that puts me on your side." Draco sat up, kicked his duvet off. "So what's the secret of the map, Granger?"
She repeated his words back to him. "There is no secret."
"You would be far more upset if there wasn't. You'd be sneaking around with Potty and the Weasel under that Invisibility Cloak trying to get the map back if there wasn't a secret. Unless, of course, you've always wanted to see my pyjamas. Which is a viable option as far as I'm concerned." Draco stood up. Without her heeled boots, they were nose to nose.
"You're an arse."
"So what is it? Did you sneak in Arithmancy that Blaise won't understand to somehow charm the paper to let you listen to our conversations? Are you monitoring us?"
"You aren't that interesting."
"Maybe not me, but Blaise plans to bring the map to the Dark Lord as soon as he figures out how it works."
"I thought he knows how it works."
"He knows how to use it," Draco corrected. "And he's figured out how to add new people, finally."
"It took him this long? He's so stupid. It's just like Polyjuice -- no wonder I beat him in Arithmancy last year." Granger shook her head, and Draco raised an eyebrow.
"So that's it."
"What's what?" Granger tucked her wand into her sleeve and turned for the door. Yet another Gryffindor turning its back on a Slytherin. Not smart.
"You want us to use the map. You do. And since there's no way you've turned your back on all your ideals about Honor and Loyalty and True Destiny, blah blah, arse arse, fart fart, you've got something else planned." Draco smiled slowly. "You know, that's almost clever."
"Sarcasm is unattractive in a woman."
"Then isn't it good for me that I'm not bound by archaic Pureblood gender restrictions?"
"Whatever that means. Don't let anyone see you walk out," said Draco, and Granger pulled a swath of silvery-grey out of her pocket.
"Not a problem," she replied, and disappeared.
"Gryffindor," snorted Draco, and climbed back into his bed, blew out the candle. He listened for the click of the door, but didn't hear it for another few moments.
"So you like to watch," he said out loud. "How fascinating."
Draco fell asleep trying to think of ways to use that little kink in Granger's nature against her. He couldn't. Just one more sign that his evil was diminishing. He dreamed that night that she hadn't left at all, and woke up feeling dirty. He skipped breakfast to take a long, hot shower, and scrub himself free of all residual Granger-germs.
On his way to the Slytherin House meeting, which was held weekly at his directive, although he usually allowed the Prefects to run the meeting and report back to him, Draco took fifty points from Gryffindor. Five from each of three first years, who were running in the corridor. Ten from the ringleader, who was a second year, for running in the corridor and then using inappropriate language. And twenty-five from the fourth first year, who Draco recognized from the Dumbledore's Army meeting. He, unfortunately for him, tried to hex Draco with Jelly-legs.
Draco made a mental note to talk to Granger about possibly instilling more fear of him in the younger students, and was cheerful when he walked into the meeting.
"Draco, we're ready to start. Where have you been?" asked Pansy.
"Pansy, if you ever question me again, I'll do worse than turn you into a pug dog," Draco replied. No need for her to know that he took a detour through Gryffindor Tower.
Draco took his place at the head of the room, and looked over the crowd. None of the Slytherin Prefects were Death Eaters, although two were the children of Death Eaters. Blaise was in the back, with his feet up on the chair in front of him, and next to him was one of the Rookwoods, the youngest. Draco would wait until he saw bruises to say anything to Snape about that. Looney Luna and Queenie were in the front, sitting under their chairs. Pug-face Pansy had followed Draco to the front of the room, and angled herself so that she stood next to Draco.
He seriously considered saying many things that would cause her to regret her public support of him for so many years, just to get her to stand away from him. Whoever told her that wearing pansy-scented perfume was clever needed to be taken out to the middle of Knockturn Alley and Avada Kedavra'd. But as helpful and amusing as it would be to disgrace Pansy's good name by scandalizing his own house, it would cause more problems than it would solve.
Draco sighed, and then began. "Looney, you are not Slytherin. Please leave."
Luna cocked her head. Her hair was braided like Queenie's. "I'm in the middle of something here."
"Draco, you want me to stay," she said.
Queenie cocked her head the same way, and whispered something into Luna's ear. Luna nodded. "Draco, tie your shoe before you trip on the lace," she said, and left the room. A few first years giggled, but when Draco bent to tie his shoe, they stopped.
"Today," he said when he stood back up, "we are going to talk about inter-House cooperation."
He was gratified to note that several people went extremely pale, and more than a few squirmed in their seats. His good mood was ruined a moment later, however, when he realized that he was becoming more and more like Snape every day, and he didn't even have the excuse of -- well, of being Snape.
The last thing Draco was in the mood to do when he returned from visiting his father (Malfoy Rules of Engagement, rules forty-nine through sixty-two, and, "Does the Dark Lord send word?") was talk to Blaise. And yet there Blaise stood, refusing to leave, in the centre of Draco's study, his sleeves rolled up to reveal the Dark Mark on his inner forearm.
Draco took that as a personal insult.
"And," Blaise was saying, "then that Hufflepuff sixth year -- Megan Jones's little sister Sortia -- actually had the nerve to -- "
"Blaise," said Draco. He looked up from the depths of his teacup. "Blaise, please stop recounting every moment of the meeting, and tell me what you came to tell me. I'm fast losing my patience."
"Well," drawled Blaise. "I don't know that I'm actually allowed to tell you this. Since you don't bear the Dark Mark and all."
"I will tell your mother that you've been wearing your hair in a pompadour again," replied Draco, and took a sip of tea.
"Fine." Blaise draped himself across the chair opposite Draco's, and sighed. "You take all the fun out of -- "
Draco poured Blaise a cup of tea and said, "All right, then. Tell me nothing. Just drink your tea, there, and we can chat about Rookwood."
As Draco had expected, Blaise didn't blush or stammer, but did straighten out his slouched back. "I showed my mother the map," said Blaise.
And took all the credit for everything -- including, possibly, its creation, Draco added mentally. He bared his teeth at Blaise.
"She said the Arithmancy was some of the most complex she'd ever seen come out of Hogwarts." Blaise sipped his tea, his smallest finger in the air. Draco wondered what would happen if he cut it off and gifted it to the Rookwood child.
"All right," replied Draco. "Could she figure out that extraneous code?"
"No, not without taking it to her lab." Blaise pulled it out of his robe. "But. She gave me a piece of the Dark Lord's skin."
"I have two questions for you," said Draco after a moment. Blaise looked up from where he was spreading out the parchment. "My first question is: Why are you telling me this?"
"Don't you want to know?"
"I don't bear the Dark Mark, Blaise." You idiot. "What I want means nothing in the face of the Dark Lord's wrath."
"Yes, well, we all know it's just a matter of time, don't we? Eventually you'll find your way back into his good graces, and when that time comes, you'll need to know what's going on." Blaise looked genuinely bewildered; Draco wanted to punch him again.
"Blaise, that is not proper Wizarding logic!"
"Do you want to know, or don't you?" Blaise pointed down at the parchment. "Look."
There it was, the tag hanging there. Blaise had color-coded the map -- grey for Muggle, green for Wizards, and --
"Red?" asked Draco.
"For George Weasley, your boyfriend," replied Blaise. He smirked at Draco.
"Ha ha." Draco examined the map. "So the Dark Lord is currently residing in -- in the Americas?"
"In Graceland." Blaise nodded. "Now the two of us know."
"Are you ready for my second question?" When Blaise nodded, Draco continued. "Are you bloody mad? No, really, have you gone absolutely nutters?"
"Look, Draco, if you don't want -- "
"If I don't want what?" roared Draco. "You've put the Dark Lord in jeopardy! What was your mother thinking, giving you a piece of his skin! Now anyone who sees this will be able to find the Dark Lord, Apparate to him, and attack him! And without the Dark Lord -- "
"We did just fine without the Dark Lord before," replied Blaise stiffly. He rolled up the parchment and tucked it back inside his robes. "Really, Draco. Just think for a minute."
"Think for a minute? There was no Death Eater activity until the Dark Lord returned. My father complained about it all the time, and -- "
"Who is going to see this except us? My mother believes in affirming scholarly -- "
"Your mother is going to believe in affirming your death when the Dark Lord is done with her." Draco pushed his teacup away. "You have no idea the depths of his -- "
"You have no idea," said Blaise. "None. There's a new order coming, and it -- "
"You are an idiot."
"You have no vision." Blaise stood up and looked down his nose at Draco. "Thank you for the tea."
Draco threw a scone at the door after Blaise left. "Damn it," he said. New world order, his pale arse.
Hogwarts: A History would have the codes to get him in to see Dumbledore. Maybe that old fool would be good for something after all.
"I figured it out," he said to Granger. It was Hogwarts: A History that had given him the clue. He hadn't needed to go to Dumbledore after all, which quite relieved him. Running to tattle was for first years and Hufflepuffs. Running to death was for Gryffindors. Ignoring everything was for Ravenclaws. And, of course, sauntering to a pub where cunning plans for revenge could be made was for Slytherins.
Or Portkeying to the baths of the Head Girl.
"Draco, your disturbing habit of showing up in my baths is... well, it's disturbing." Granger didn't bother sliding down under the bubbles this time, and Draco didn't bother to look at her breasts.
"Blaise knows where the Dark Lord's lair is," replied Draco. "And I know that you know."
"I don't know, actually. Why don't you tell me?"
"I know that you know," said Draco, "because I know how the map works. Death Eaters put information onto it, and then the information is replicated on your map. So we can see what you put on it, which is why only three or four people are there, and you can see what we put on it." Draco leaned over the edge of the tub. "Do you know what happens when the Dark Lord is killed?"
"The side of good triumphs over the horrible evil that -- "
"Do not be an absolute ninny," replied Draco scornfully. "I already spoke with one of those today. Of course not. What happens is that someone twice as bad rises up to take his place -- possibly someone even smarter than he is. Possibly even a Ravenclaw."
"Really?" asked Granger. She stood up and stared at Draco.
Draco swallowed hard. The power of her breasts was not quite so strong as to cause him to forget his own name, but almost. It had obviously been too long since Draco had had an amorous encounter of any kind, much less a satisfying one, if he was finding Granger attractive.
"Oh. Sorry." Draco handed her the robe that he was leaning on.
Thank you." Granger shrugged into her robe and stepped out of the tub. Draco's hand automatically went up to help her out of it. "I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, Malfoy, because you're obviously so proud of yourself, but that's not how the map works."
"No, it's not." Granger shook her head. "Now, if you'd leave?"
"No." Draco moved to stand in front of the door and pulled out his wand. "Tell me how it works."
"Really, Draco, this is silly."
"It's only silly because I have a wand and you do not." Draco pointed it at her. "Now. Tell me about this map."
"Why? So you can run right to your little Death Eater friends and go back to being a snotty little prat?" Granger reached her hands up and rearranged her hair. "No, I don't think so. I also think -- " Suddenly her wand was in her hand and pointed at Draco. "Expelliarmus."
"Was that really necessary?" asked Draco, out of breath from being thrown against the door by the spell.
"Clearly." Hermione tucked both wands back into her hair. "Now. Malfoy. I am not going to help you go back to being evil."
"I think you're possibly a little bit more evil than I am right now, Granger. Does Dumbledore know that you have these hidden depths?" Draco held his hands out. "What's going on here? Are you taking the piss?"
"What's going on here is that you broke into my baths with wild accusations about my Arithmancy notes and threatening me with the Dark Lord." Draco watched as Granger's face sank, and her eyes started tearing, and her lower lip trembled. "What else was I supposed to do? I tried to stop you but nothing worked -- not until -- "
Draco smirked at her. "You do realize this is turning me on?"
"You're sick," she said, her face back to normal. "Ugh."
"Can I have my wand back now? Now that you've proven that you don't need to tell me anything about the map?" Draco crossed his arms. Granger's manipulative, evil side really was hot. Too bad she was in Gryffindor and therefore had a sickeningly sweet core of Loyalty and Honor and True Destiny.
"I'll tell you one thing about the map." She smiled. "Nobody else knows it exists." Granger handed him his wand, and pushed past him through the door.
Looney Luna pushed past him in the hallway and whispered, "You're on the right course."
Queenie Greengrass sat next to him at lunch and patted his thigh more than once. He didn't move away from her touch, once he saw Blaise and Pansy exchange scowls.
Draco warded his room. Not against Granger particularly, but just to let him know when someone else was there, or coming there. Too many people were sneaking into each others' rooms, and it was making him a little nervous. Especially with Looney Luna and Queenie publicly aligning themselves with him. Especially with Her -- that Mudblood, disarming him with a simple Expelliarmus! How did that happen!
Draco knew how it happened. It happened because she was training every day for war, while he thought the whole thing was nonsense. War might be coming, but training wouldn't save anyone. War would come in the form of sneak attacks and stealing maps and that sort. Except maybe not. Voldemort did show a propensity for being more obvious, for ground attacks. He hadn't hit Hogsmeade or Hogwarts, which would have been Draco's first two targets. Even Diagon Alley! Even Wizarding London.
Where was the Dark Lord striking? Certainly not in places that could be seen, if at all. What had he done with all the Dementors? Two years, and no one had seen hide nor hair of them.
Draco had no idea. Sometimes the Death Eaters would raid the houses of Purebloods who hadn't stood by the Dark Lord, and once or twice they raided adult Muggle-borns and Mudbloods, but mostly they all just sneered at each other. How could a bunch of useless wand waving save anyone from some nasty sneering?
But perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to take in some combat training nevertheless.
"No." Potty crossed his arms over his chest. He was beginning to look a bit barmy these days, with his eyes all shiny and his hair sticking up everywhere. Come to think of it, if he had a pompadour, he would look a bit like Blaise. Of course, Blaise was extremely attractive, where Potty was completely ugly, so maybe the comparison wasn't particularly apt.
"I don't know, Harry; this could be useful." Hermione's arms weren't crossed, but her legs were, and the strange Muggle pants she was wearing clung to every curve.
"Morgana." Draco huffed out a breath through his nose and turned to the Weasel. "Forget it. I'm leaving."
"Malfoy, as much as I'd like to get you on my wrestling mat, all members of Dumbledore's Army have to take an oath of loyalty, which is something I am pretty sure that you won't do." The Weasel was also wearing strange Muggle clothes, which emphasized the fact that in the last two years, he'd outstripped Draco in height and in breadth. No wonder the fifth years watched him walk down the hallway!
The was very annoying and more than a little humiliating, and Draco decided that he was so out of touch with what was happening in Hogwarts since he stopped being as evil as everyone else that maybe he should step down as the Head Boy. Except, of course, that it would break the Malfoy Rules of Engagement rule eighty-one, which was "A Malfoy never backs off from anything."
"Weasel, I always knew you wanted me underneath you." Draco smirked, and took a step back. With Potty's eyes glowing strange like that, who knew what he was capable of if Draco turned his back? He took another step back.
"Malfoy, you've always been beneath me." The Weasel smirked a very familiar smirk, and Draco felt his stomach drop out. That's my smirk, he wanted to say. He wondered if he could still prod the Weasel into violence -- in which case he could take points off Gryffindor -- if he insulted the Weasel's ugly Mudblood girlfriend.
Draco addressed Granger. "All right, then, I'll be off, Mudblood."
Granger rolled her eyes, and the Weasel clenched his hands into fists, but no violence ensued, and Draco was at the door.
"Wait," said Potty. "I know."
"What?" said the Weasel. "No. Absolutely not."
"You can be our Snape," said Potty. "You can be a double agent."
Draco stood up a bit straighter. "Shall I say it in Muggle so that you understand? I am no one's stool," he replied.
"That's stoolie," said Granger. "And that wasn't what Harry wanted. I think it's an excellent idea. You swear loyalty to us, and then you tell us what the Death Eaters are doing."
"You think the Death Eaters talk to me? Sure, they say things like, 'Oh, Draco, you're just not evil enough anymore,' and they throw me pitying glances when the subject of fathers come up, and they never invite me to the fun parties with blood and slav -- " Draco stopped himself and flipped them off. "Morgana."
"The first rule," said the Weasel, as though Draco hadn't spoken, "is that you can't make rude hand gestures."
"When the bloody hell did you grow up?" Draco demanded.
"Last year while you were too busy crying over your poor dead mother," snarled Potty.
"It's obvious that you've grown up not at all, Potty, so you'd do well to keep your opinions on my mother to yourself. Shall we discuss your family?" Draco arched an eyebrow.
"Here are the rules," said Granger, and she glared at Potty and the Weasel. "Rule one: Our names are Ron, Harry, and Hermione. Not Weasel, Potty, and Mudblood. Rule two: on the mats, you do what we say, when we say. You'll be a real boon to our cause, Malfoy, if you can behave yourself. The younger Slytherins will follow you. Rule three: outside of the Room of Requirement, you must act the same as you always have, because otherwise the Death Eaters will get ideas."
"The Death Eaters already have ideas." The Weasel snickered. "They think Malfoy is all washed up. And they're right, that poor sod. He's just not evil anymore."
"Ron, you and Harry have to promise not to poke fun at Draco's loss."
"Draco," Granger said. "You don't look dangerous when you do that. You're too short; you just look silly. Oh yes, and you have to promise not to tell the Death Eaters what we're doing."
Draco sighed, and betrayed hundreds of thousands of years of Malfoy history with a single nod of his head.
Draco returned to his room that night feeling rather... defeated. Yes, definitely defeated. It took him a while to figure out what exactly it was that he was feeling, since he hadn't felt that way... ever. In less than a quarter of an hour, he'd managed to align himself with his enemies, betray his entire family and everything he believed in, and grapple with the Weasel on a mat. The Weasel had pinned him each time, although Draco had gotten in a good knee to the balls and the Weasel's face had turned as red as his hair.
It was good to see that the enemy was almost as unprepared for a physical war as Draco was. After all, Potty had stood there and lectured him on fair combat. "If you think," Draco had replied, "that the Death Eaters are going to play fair with you, you are madder than everyone believes."
Sweating, Draco decided, was gross. He stepped into the shower, and turned the spigots to cold; the Room of Requirement had absolutely no ventilation, and he smelt like a fourth year who hadn't learned the body modification charms. Ugh.
It was when he was soaping his hair that he felt the wards go off. His neck tingled, and the ward spelled out the name of the person on his hand. Granger. But when he peered through the glass of the baths into the open door of his room, there was no one there. The ward only encompassed his bedroom, so that was where she had to be, but -- oh, Potty's Invisibility Cloak. Of course.
Draco wondered if Potty knew that Granger used his Cloak to spy on unsuspecting Death Eaters in the shower, and then had to remind himself that he was no longer a Death Eater. And then, to console himself, he thought about Granger in those tight, shiny pants. They'd been the same chocolate brown as her nightclothes. Come to think of it, the Weasel had been wearing black, and the rest of Dumbledore's Army had been color coded. Very smart -- no House affiliations allowed. That must have been Granger's idea.
She'd also been wearing a small, sleeveless shirt. He swallowed at the thought of her breasts, and rinsed the rest of the soap out of his hair. He blinked through the glass of the shower stall and she still wasn't there. He lifted up his wand from its safety holster -- if he was going to attack someone, the shower was certainly an optimal place to do it, since most people aren't expecting an attack while they're relaxing in the baths -- and pointed it at the door. She was probably waiting in his armchair, the only thing he couldn't see from the shower, and she didn't need to watch this.
Once the door was closed, Draco turned the water onto hot, and breathed in the steam that began to fill the room. He rubbed himself down with the first soap that was handy, which happened to be the peppermint. It had a nice fizz to it, made his body tingle, and between that and the thoughts of Granger's legs, and rolling around on the gym mats -- maybe there was something to be said for physical activity of a non-sexual sort.
Except, of course, all physical activity made Draco feel sexual, and it had been too long since he accepted an invitation to the Astronomy Tower, or had his dick sucked after Quidditch. About a year, actually, but he didn't need to think about that now. He braced his legs apart, and one hand against the wall, and leaned forward under the shower spray. His other hand rubbed the peppermint soap around his chest, down, and grabbed his dick.
He moved the soap over himself, pleased with the tingle, the slight burn, the tiny pain. He thought about Granger, and how when her shirt rode up, he could see the soft, pale skin of her stomach. He thought about the way she looked when she demonstrated a move with Potty, and how Potty looked so much like Blaise, they could be cousins. Granger with Blaise, pinning Blaise down, and riding him the way Pansy once had -- the way Draco had done, but never at a party like Pansy. Granger's hair loose, flowing down her back, curly the way it had been in the baths, her voice sharp and --
He worked his hand faster, twisting it up over the head the way Blaise used to do, in the Quidditch showers after everyone else had left and gone back up to their rooms, whispering in Draco's ear about defeating everyone, and taking over the world, and wreaking death and destruction across the planet, making Muggles worship them as gods, and having everyone... at their feet. Having Granger at his feet -- so strong and sharp and powerful at his feet, doing what he said, focused on him, that glint of nastiness he noticed days ago in her eye --
He came with a cry, his eyes closed, not quite sure whether it was the thought of Granger or the thought of power or the thought of Granger as evil. It didn't matter; it felt good and it was release, and that was what mattered. He wouldn't think about the fact that last year he had never jerked off -- if he needed to come, someone serviced him -- but if he had, it wouldn't have been to thoughts of Granger's pink toes and long legs. It would have been thoughts of blood, and nails raking down backs, and maybe whips, and maybe being held down, and -- and taking over the world.
These thoughts depressed him, and as he rinsed off and toweled dry, he started to feel angry. Where was his evil, damnit? He flung the towel to the other side of the room, shrugged into his dressing gown, and stomped toward the door. Although his stomping was ineffectual on thick carpet, which made him even angrier.
He was going to take this out on Hermione come hell or high water.
On Granger; he was going to take this out on Granger.
But his towel hadn't hit the floor, he realized a split second after. He spun around, and marched back toward the far side of the bathing room. "What's going on?" he called out. "Granger, are you in here? You perverted freak, watching me wank in the shower. Show yourself!"
"Don't flatter yourself, Draco. I faced the wall the entire time." Granger's head appeared, and part of her neck. She was flushed and sweaty, but that could be from the steam... or that could be from watching Draco.
"I'm sure you did," Draco said. "I really believe that."
"I did," she insisted. "I just didn't want to embarrass you by saying something."
"Not quite as evil, then, as you would have me believe?" Draco reached out a finger and traced one of the curls framing her face. Soft. Perfect. Oh yes, he wasn't sleeping alone tonight.
"Oh, stuff it." Granger knocked his hand away from her head. "Don't even bother, Draco; I'm onto you. You can't seduce anything out of me."
"That wasn't a challenge," she said hastily. Draco ran his finger down her throat, and tugged at the clasp of the Cloak. When it came undone and pooled on the floor around Granger's feet, and Draco saw she was still wearing her tight shirt and shiny pants, he almost cried.
"Everything is a challenge," he replied, slipped his arm around her waist, and kissed her. Her breath still tasted like myrrh, and she smelled sweaty, but there was a faint musky odor. It took him a moment to place it, and in that moment, she kissed him back. "So," he said as he pulled away, "you faced the wall?"
"Maybe I peeked," she replied, a little breathless. He took a step toward her, and she stepped back, and he kept moving until she was pressed against the wall. "Just a little. I meant it, though, Draco; I won't tell you anything. And there's a rule now, haven't you heard, that Gryffindors aren't allowed to consort with Slytherins."
"I have heard about that. Be quiet now." Draco kissed her again, pressed her between the wall and his body, and tucked his hand between her pants and her skin. She was soft; he knew she would be. Someone like Granger might not have all the creams and potions that Pansy or Draco or Blaise did, but she'd be vain enough to keep her skin smooth and pure.
Draco didn't think about his father, or Blaise, or blood, or taking over the world. He just tugged Granger's pants down far enough so that she could kick them off, and pushed her shirt up over her breasts, and --
"It's Muggle; don't touch it. You might get cooties." Granger grabbed the hem of whatever it was and pulled it over her head, then pulled him to her by the lapels of his robe. "Let's see how you measure up to Gryffindors and Ravenclaws. Make it good, Malfoy; you're my first Slytherin."
Draco smirked. "I'm always good."
"Oh? That was pretty quick work in the shower. Make it last a long time," she ordered, and kissed him. She pushed his robe off his shoulders, and for some reason he wished he had a physique like the Weasel's. A Malfoy should never look to other families for inspiration, but should instead set the fashion, he told himself, and lifted her legs around his waist.
"Was that the Malfoy Code of Conduct or something?" Hermione asked sleepily.
"It's called the Rules of Engagement," said Draco, and yawned. Twice in the bathroom -- once against the wall and once on the floor with her on top -- and then once on the bed, with him on top and her face in the pillows. She had stamina; more than he did, he had to admit, because it seemed like she could be ready to go again if they didn't fall asleep, whereas he was just going to fall asleep. Used to be that he could go forever, but that was in particular situations with particular charms, and not at all -- "What?"
"You were talking," she said, "that first time. Chanting something to yourself."
"You said to make it last a long time," Draco finally said. "Sex is mostly intellectual."
"After all the Ravenclaws I've been with, you don't have to tell me that. Did you know that Cho likes -- "
Draco raised an eyebrow at her. "Cho?"
Hermione lifted her head from Draco's shoulder and raised her own eyebrows back. "Blaise?"
"A Malfoy never -- "
" -- turns down sex from an attractive Pureblood, unless otherwise Oathed," finished Hermione. "You said that one."
"Morgana." Draco rolled his eyes. Hermione put her head back on his shoulder, and let one of her fingernails scrape his nipple. He shuddered. "You can't stay here."
"I don't plan to. I'm just -- " She yawned. " -- tired."
"We could hook our fireplaces up to the Floo," said Draco. "I -- "
"We have to have Dumbledore's permission," replied Hermione. "Chapter eighty."
"Even when you're trying to be evil, you still can't break the rules." Draco tugged one of her curls.
"Don't fool yourself, Draco. Dumbledore knows everything that happens in the castle." Hermione scraped his nipple again, harder.
"Not everything, surely, or he'd -- no, he wouldn't."
"No, he wouldn't," agreed Hermione. "I don't know what his problem is, but he's not going out of his way to make sure that we all win the war."
"At least he and Voldemort are evenly matched." Draco yawned and his jaw cracked. He stretched under Hermione. "They're both barmier than bats."
"In belfries?" asked Hermione. "No, nevermind."
"Morgana," said Draco. He fell asleep before Hermione left. When he woke up, just in time for a quick shower before breakfast, she was gone, but the imprint of her head was still on his pillow.
Queenie sat next to Draco at breakfast and traded him her toast for his sausages. "Some people," she said, "don't like to eat meat. Isn't that strange? As though anyone's karma could get any worse at this point."
Draco covered the toast in boysenberry jam and bit into it.
"Magic destroys the fabric of the universe, you know," she continued, and threw one of the sausages at Goyle, who punched Crabbe. "It's manifested in the stupidity of -- "
"Do you know what the secret is?" Draco asked her.
"We know your secret," said Blaise. He sucked butter off his finger, and winked at Queenie, who shook her head.
"Be careful," she said to Draco. "Don't lose any hair in public places."
Blaise leaned over. "We don't need to put you on the map," he told Draco. "You never go anywhere anymore. Perhaps what you need is a potion that will make you evil again."
"Evil like you?" Draco took another bite of toast. "Evil in that really-not-at-all sort of way? I'll pass, thank you."
"It's so nice to see my Head Boy and Girl getting along." Dumbledore folded his hands together and smiled blandly at them from across his desk. "Anything that needs my attention?"
"All quiet on the home front," said Hermione. She didn't look at Draco.
"Everything has seemed fine to me," said Draco. He didn't look at Hermione. "No Dark activity. No one dying. No strange, unexplainable incidents. Possibly this is the most uneventful year since 1990."
"Well, good." Dumbledore lifted the lid of the jar on his desk. "Lemon sherbert?"
"No thank you." Hermione paused. "Sir?"
"Yes, Miss Granger?"
"Is there something you'd like to tell us? Something -- something about the Dark Lord?"
Draco still did not look at her.
"No, I don't think so," replied Dumbledore. "He's been rather silent lately, hasn't he? Draco? How is your father doing?"
"Well," replied Draco. "Sir," he added, when Hermione kicked his ankle.
"Very good, very good. Are you sure you don't want a lemon sherbert?"
"Dumbledore is completely dotty," said Draco. He kept pace with Hermione as they walked toward the kitchen. "Couldn't we have had that meeting after supper?"
"Apparently not." Hermione sighed. "I hate the kitchens. Those poor House Elves."
"They enjoy what they do." Draco shrugged. "Let them do it."
"They enjoy what they do because they've been enchanted to!" Hermione glanced at him. "Do you know anything about how it was done?"
"No, and I don't care to," said Draco.
"Good, because I wasn't going to tell you." Hermione knocked three times on a wall Draco had never noticed before, and it swung open.
"Instead of the kitchens, then, maybe we could have a House Elf to bring something up to us?" suggested Draco.
"You are not suave, are you?" Hermione smiled. "Okay. You do it. I'll meet you in your rooms."
Draco turned to watch her robes swish as she walked away. She was plotting something. Draco himself was a master plotter, so he knew when something was being plotted, and that Gryffindor had something up her sleeve. Draco could feel it.
When Draco placed his order with Dorrie the House Elf, he realized that he had no idea what Hermione liked to eat. "Every lady Witch likes strawberries!" said Dorrie, so Draco asked for a platter of chocolate covered ones, and tea, and scones with blueberries, and a few meat pies.
"Miss Hermione is being a vegetarian," said Dobby disapprovingly.
"Hello," said Draco. "Do you know what she likes?" Draco blinked, and he was surrounded by a gaggle of House Elves, all wearing very strange, mismatched clothing.
"You go up," said Dobby. "We'll fix it all."
Draco looked around, back to Dobby, and bowed before he left. It just seemed like the thing to do. He scowled all the way back to his rooms, where Hermione was waiting on his desk, swinging her legs.
"Do you ever sit in chairs?" he asked her.
"No. Where's the food?" She'd unclasped the front of her robes, and was wearing Muggle clothing underneath. Draco wanted to examine it -- she seemed to be wearing some sort of heavy trousers, and a tight shirt with a plunging neckline.
"The House Elves are bringing it. Do all Muggles dress like that?" Draco stepped in closer to her and fingered her shirt. "What is this?"
"Cotton," replied Hermione. She opened her legs to let him step between them. "Are you going to fuck me then?"
"You're so common." Draco flicked his eyes down her body, back up to her face. "So Gryffindor."
"And you're a prejudiced arsehole." Hermione undid the clasps on his robe. "Point?"
Draco ripped her shirt down the middle. "Point." He lowered his face to her neck and sank his teeth into her shoulder. She cried out, threw her head back, and wrapped her legs around his waist. Her fingers went to his trousers and unbuttoned them, pushed them down.
"Draco, please," she gasped. "Please." She raked her fingernails over his hips, dug them into his skin. He licked his way into her mouth, bit down on her lips until he drew blood, sucked her bottom lip between his teeth.
"Yes," he said. "Yes."
He dreamed of Queenie and Luna, braiding each others' hair.
"We told you not to," said Queenie. "You just don't listen."
"That's your problem," said Luna. She flicked a glass bead at him. "You don't plan ahead."
"No, his problem is his weakness for sex."
"No, he hasn't had sex in a long time." Luna shook his head. "Your standards are too high sometimes, but not high enough at others."
Queenie frowned. "Yes. Blaise? Really, Draco. You might as well have fucked Harry Potter himself."
"What? No!" protested Draco. "It's not like that."
"It's always like that with you Slytherins." Luna flicked another bead at him. "Draco, you need to look out."
"Yes, look out," said Queenie. "Pay attention. Don't let them put you on the map."
"If they put you on the map, you'll never get free."
"I don't need to get free," said Draco. "I'm going to leave school and live off my fortune."
"You need to be free," insisted Luna. "Don't let them put you on the map."
Draco dragged Hermione into his shower and washed underneath her fingernails before he washed the chocolate off his chest and her legs.
"What's going on?" she asked sleepily. Her arms were looped around his neck and she was leaning on him. He would not give in.
"What do you use the map for?" He shook her firmly. "What do you use it for? Tell me."
"Draco, being a good shag doesn't mean you get to know my secrets." Hermione brushed sodden curls out of her face. "I don't need your skin for my map."
"Tell me," he said. "I need to know."
"Draco, you're just not -- you can't know. It's my map." She stood up straight, her legs wobbling. "Oh, Merlin, my thighs."
Draco didn't take the time to smirk. "Hermione, I need to know. I'm not fucking around. This is important."
"Draco, no one knows except me." She took a deep breath and lifted her head to the shower spray. "Can I have some of that peppermint soap please?"
Draco rubbed the soap in his hands, turned her around, and lathered her hair for her, then bent her back into him so the spray rinsed her hair. She closed her eyes and leaned against him again, and he took another handful of soap.
"It tingles," she said.
"That's the point."
"What does it -- " His hand went between her legs and she moaned. "Ohh."
"Yes, oh." He pushed her into the wall, and rubbed the soap on himself, pressed into her from behind. "Tell me."
"Draco -- " Her voice broke.
"Tell me," he ordered, and pinched her nipples as hard as he could.
"Please -- "
"Tell me." He thrust into her, hard, and her head banged into the glass. Her hands were scrabbling for purchase, but the further apart she spread her feet, the deeper into her he went. "Tell me."
"Pllleeeeeaaaa -- " she broke off and shrieked when he withdrew. He thrust in again, and she screamed again, and he fucked her until she came hard, spasming, shaking, and her knees collapsed. He turned the water cold and rinsed her off, rinsed himself off, too angry to come too.
Still, he wrapped her in the softest towel he had, made of four layers of silk, and two of linen. She cried softly into his neck as he dried her off, and he didn't feel evil, just petty and boring.
"Ron, I knew you've always wanted to get your arms around me," panted Draco. The Weasel had him in a headlock, and was scowling.
"Let him go," said Neville, and the Weasel backed off.
Draco brushed off his shoulders and knees as he stood up and faced the Weasel again. He had refused to wear the grey of the trainees, and was instead in a black outfit that matched the Weasel's. "Again, please. Show me how you did it this time."
"No," said Neville. "Enough for today. Draco, get some water."
Draco opened his mouth to object, but Neville shook his head slightly. "Fine," said Draco. "Thank you." He bowed slightly to Neville, nodded at the Weasel, and walked to the corner where one of his first years -- Melisande Greybeard. Greyhound. Greywalk. Grey-something, he knew -- was handing out goblets of water.
"Thank you, Melisande," he said, and drained it in one go. He handed it back to her and she refilled it from a large, ugly bottle that sat near her.
"You're welcome," she said, and blushed.
"Are you afraid of me?" he asked.
"N-no, not exactly." Her face grew redder.
"Draco," snapped Hermione. "Stop terrorizing poor Melisande, and come over here."
Draco winked at Melisande as he turned to walk away. "What can I help you with?" he asked. She was wearing those shiny pants again, and another sleeveless shirt.
"I need someone to demonstrate the verberis curse." Hermione tapped her wand against her leg.
"Let me just get my -- "
"No, I'll cast it on you." Hermione smiled icily at him, and he scowled back at her.
"Fine, then," he said. "Have your petty revenge, darling."
The group of fourth years Hermione was teaching all took a step back and moved closer to each other. Draco braced himself as Hermione pointed her wand at him. "Verberis," she said, and he made himself breath the way he'd learned as a child, when Narcissa would cast on him, before Lucius stepped in.
Draco could feel the blood dripping down his body, his chest and his back on fire. Still, he breathed steadily and stayed on his feet. A Malfoy never shows weakness. A Malfoy never backs down. A Malfoy never loses consciousness during torture. A Malfoy --
Draco woke up slowly, expecting pain. There was none, and he wasn't in his own bed. He was. At Hogwarts. Age 18, not age 8, and surrounded by browns and creams instead of Slytherin silver and green.
"I'm sorry," whispered Hermione. "I didn't mean it."
"Not so easy being evil, is it?" said Draco, his voice raspy. "Can I have some water?"
Hermione silently poured him a glass, and helped him sit up to drink it.
"Alicia Spinnet healed you," she finally said. "We didn't take you to Madame Pomfrey."
"Why didn't you say something?" Hermione asked. "Why didn't you stop me?"
Draco shrugged and handed her back the glass.
"Well. I am sorry," she said. "I am. I hope there are no residual effects."
"If there were, they would have shown up long before now." Draco cracked his neck, stretched his arms.
"I'll tell you the secret of the map," she said.
"I feel like maybe that's too easy," he replied.
"A Malfoy never takes the hard way when someone else can do it for him." Hermione smiled -- a small smile, but nevertheless, her lips curved.
"I see you've been reading the Malfoy Rules of Engagement." Draco sat up straighter, and swung his legs over the side of the bed.
"No, I just guessed." Hermione sat back.
"Good guess. For a Mudblood Gryffindor, you can be quite cunning."
"Is that the best you can do?" Hermione watched him search for his shirt, robe, and wand. "Here." She handed the stack to him from under her chair.
"Right. The best? The best would be something like..." Draco fell to his knees in front of her chair. "Hermione, you have lips like the softest of rose petals, skin like the dewiest daisy, eyes like the tastiest chocolate, a cu -- "
"That will be quite enough, thank you." She cupped his face in her hands. "I would have your oath, Malfoy, that you will keep this to yourself."
"The secret of the map."
"Will it hurt my father?"
"No, I don't think so."
"I -- "
"Your oath. As a Malfoy. As a Pureblood. As a Wizard." Hermione let her fingers slip into his hair, and she rubbed the back of his neck. He put a hand on each knee and eased her legs open. There was no Malfoy family left to be disgraced that he was fucked a Mudblood. There was no Malfoy family left except him. He could do what he wanted, and what he wanted was to bury his face in Hermione's stomach. He wouldn't, of course, but that was what he wanted. A Malfoy always gets what he wants, and if he doesn't get it, he doesn't really want it. Rule ninety-three.
"You have my Oath," he said, and broke the glass she'd placed on the floor next to her. She gasped.
"What -- "
"Have you never taken a Wizarding Oath?"
"Not one that required broken glass," she replied. Her face twisted as he used a piece of the glass to slit his wrist, careful to avoid the largest vein. "Can't you just have said 'I promise'?"
"I am not a silly Muggle. As a Wizard, as a Pureblood, as a Malfoy, I do offer you my Oath to keep your secrets." Draco offered her his wrist, which dripped blood onto the shiny pants. "Drink, stupid."
She lowered her mouth to his skin, and tentatively licked, then pressed harder. He winced, but she continued to lap at his flesh until all the blood had gone.
"Don't heal it," he said, and stayed her wand hand. "You need to say, 'I accept your Oath.'"
"I accept your Oath," she said, and pointed her wand at the wound. "I always wondered why witches and vampires were so closely associated."
"Vampires are something completely different," he said.
"I know, but -- nevermind. That wasn't the point." She healed his wrist, but not until after it had bled more onto her pants. "I still don't know if I want to tell you."
"Tell me right now," said Draco.
"I enchanted it with the same spell used on the House Elves," she said.
"The more Wizards and Witches Blaise adds to it, the stronger the spell will get, the tighter it will weave around them."
"And by the same spell, you mean... You mean the spell that would... Oh."
"Right." Hermione nodded. "Blaise did me the favor of adding the Dark Lord second, so as he adds more people, my power over the Dark Lord will grow. Eventually, I will have control over all the Death Eaters. Not their direct thoughts or actions, but it will be similar to the way the Ministry has control over the House Elves and can tamp down their magic, and not allow them to go certain places or use certain spells."
"That's really quite evil," said Draco. "So you plan to secretly take over the world?"
"Not so secret anymore, is it?" Hermione looked down at Draco's wrist and clucked, began to run her wand over it again. "I'm not so sure I should have told you, anyway. I hear you're losing your evil edge."
"I am not losing my evil edge. Did you hear about what I did to Looney Luna? The next time she has sex with Blaise, he's in for a surprise." Draco flexed his fingers, and Hermione flattened them again.
"I heard, but I'm not sure quite how evil that is."
"You're a Gryffindor!" said Draco. "To you it would be evil if someone peed in your butterbeer. It would be a secret plot, it would require a cabal of Slytherins. In your mind, evil has to be complicated."
"Cunning. Not complicated. And subtle." Hermione bent Draco's wrist back and forth, curled his fingers and then flattened them out.
"I am cunning and subtle. I seduced the secrets out of you, didn't I?" Hermione looked at him and raised her eyebrows. "Maybe not. But I am still -- "
"Yes, Draco, you are the evilest of all the evils. That's why you're sleeping with a Gryffindor -- "
"An evil Gryffindor," Draco interjected, and wished for a brief moment that he could introduce Hermione to Lucius. Of course, with Lucius so off his nut, he would probably think Hermione was some beautiful Pureblood and offer to let her use his library of Forbidden books. Maybe that wasn't such a bad idea after all.
"A Gryffindor," she repeated firmly. "Who is best friends with Ron Weasley and Harry Potter. Who has Honor and Courage and True Destiny in her heart." Hermione tucked her wand away and ran her fingers over Draco's wrist. "Good as new."
"Not quite, but enough," he said. "You need to stop trying to convince me that I am not evil. For example, I -- "
"Draco, I'm just taking the piss," said Hermione. Her thumb rubbed his wrist, back and forth, back and forth. "I know you're evil. You are the evilest."
"Now you're taking the piss. You're such a Gryffindor bitch. Why did you even come up with this plan and tell me about it if I'm not evil enough for you? Why not tell Blaise?"
"Well, Blaise is annoying and has no table manners. He's also bad in bed, or so I hear from Neville. You're rather clever and smart, even if your evil is waning, and you have the family connections I need, and the influence over Blaise. And I thought that if I could just figure out a way to get the Death Eaters to do what I wanted, or if I could get the Dark Lord to do what I wanted..."
"You and all the other Wizards in the world," said Draco. "No one likes him, I don't think."
"Even though I am a stupid Gryffindor bitch, would you like to join me?" asked Hermione. "I don't make this offer lightly, you know. I'm still a Mudblood; I have no honor."
"Pah," said Draco. "All you Gryffindors are obsessed with honor. That's what makes you so boring."
"Would you like to join me?" repeated Hermione. "Obviously I'm not very good at it yet, but I'll try to be as evil as possible if you will."
"You don't think that mind control is evil?"
"Well, it's for the good of the world," she said. "Doesn't that excuse almost anything?"
"Do I look like Dumbledore?" asked Draco. "For the good of the world sways me about as much as 'for the good of England' and 'for the good of the Dark bloody Lord.' Voldemort turned his back on me, turned his back on my family, took away our political power, and now he's off wearing a pompadour in Gracey-land."
"Graceland," said Hermione. "Haven't you ever heard of Elvis?"
"Of course I have. Muggles think he's a Wizard, but really he was just a drug addict. We learned all about him as children. Blaise has become obsessed."
"Is that why Blaise wears his hair like that?"
"That would explain the blue shoes, too."
"It's a sickness."
"I have control over Blaise, you know. He added himself and his mother right after You-Know-Who."
"Can you make him squawk like a chicken and say, 'Draco Malfoy is the sexiest boy in school'?" Draco ran his hands up her thighs, slipped his fingers under the waistband of the pants.
"No." Hermione laughed a little. "But I can make him think that he's a little in love with you. Or with Millicent Bulstrode. Or with Crabbe and Goyle."
"That's too tacky," said Draco. "Make him fall in love with the W -- with Ron."
Hermione smiled -- Draco saw it. But then her face was somber again. "We can only use this power for good, you know," said Hermione. "I'm sure Dumbledore knows about it."
"We can use this power for evil as long as it's for the good of the world," corrected Draco. "I have this plan."
"You have a plan?"
"Well, yes, but -- "
Draco scraped his fingers over Hermione's skin, smiled when she shuddered. He said, "Malfoy Rules of Engagement rule number three: a Malfoy is always prepared with an evil and cunning plan to take over the world."