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The place reeked.

That’s all that Draco could think of as he curled around Hermione, shivering desperately and vainly attempting not to think of what was on the other side of the counter. He was currently failing miserably.

Inferi had surged out of the Forbidden Forest as the Order of the Phoenix finally ended up killing the last Death Eaters that spotted the grounds of Hogwarts. But these weren’t normal Inferi. . .at least, as much as dead people were normal. They were particularly vicious, clawing and biting saveagely, and they had quickly scattered the Order. It would not have been so bad if those they attacked had just been injured, but everyone who they attacked fell down as if dead. Then, not a minute later, they had risen up with a glaze of magic and something strange in their eyes, and joined the masses of shambling Inferi.

Draco and Hermione had barely escaped with Luna, Harry, Neville, and Ron on their heels. The six of them had to split up when a particularly large group of the Inferi gave hot pursuit, and so it was that Hermione and Draco found themselves crammed beneath the counter of the Three Broomsticks, only inches away from an inn full of ravening dead people.

Why Hermione had chosen to go with him instead of one of her bosom buddies was beyond him, but Draco was far from complaining. Just before she had turned seventeen, her body had blossomed beautifully, and after she turned twenty it had been all he could do to keep from staring during Order meetings (since the rest of her time was spent with Potty and Weasel). The only thing that kept his (still overly hormonal) mind from fully appreciating her body pressed up against his was the thought of what awaited them if he let himself get out of hand. Regardless of how good she smelled, it was overpowered by the strong stench of dead bodies.

Draco snapped out of his meditation on his acquaintance’s. . .finer traits when said acquaintance moved, readjusting her body carefully, and then -- her eyes flew wide and she bit her lip to keep from crying out, pain evident on her face. Immediately alarmed, the pale blond tipped his head to one side, looking at her quizzically. She grimaced at him and looked down at where her feet were. He followed her gaze, and found a jagged shard of firewhiskey bottleglass laying on the floor, stained with crimson. He could see the slash on her right leg that was slowly leaking blood, and it already didn’t look healthy.

Hermione gasped and stared at Draco, eyes wide, as he slipped his hand inside her open robes and moved his hand slowly towards her calf. His hand against her side was strange and unnerving, and then it reached the bottom of her skirt and fell onto her bare skin. Shivers raced up her spine as his smooth, silky hand, marred by only one callus, slid down her leg. It paused right behind her knee, and then he applied pressure. Her leg slowly slid away from her body, her mind too dazed to halt its rise, and up - up - and finally her thigh came to rest on his hip.

Her brain finally cleared a little, enough to realize what he was doing, and she opened her mouth to speak. Not even the first sound made it past her mouth before she was interrupted by his lips on hers. Hermione’s poor brain promptly short-circuited. All she could think of was that Draco Malfoy was kissing her, and that his lips were thin but not unpleasant and ohMerlin tongue mouth mmm.

Fuzzy warm feeling spread through her leg and her body, and her hands moved from where they were curled up against her chest up to tangle in the ends of his hair and tug him closer to her. An abstract thought floated across her mind that his hair was really getting long now; it nearly touched his collarbones. It was replaced by the thought that he tasted like saliva and sweat, and the feelings that rushed through her body intensified as she pressed even closer to him.

Slowly, the stench in the air faded from their perception as they kissed frantically, his hand clutched around the now-healed cut on her leg. Even the noises of the dead bodies shambling about the tavern faded away as they lay beneath the counter, Hermione with her back to the inside of the counter and Draco curled protectively around her. His other hand crept up and tangled in what little of her curls it could reach, and one of her hands ended up drawing tiny circles on his back.

“Hermione!” The feverish shout brought her back to her senses, and Draco snapped back just as fast as she did, pulling away and listening with bated breath. Harry’s voice, accompanied by Luna’s airy tones, echoed through the Three Broomsticks as they dispatched the room full of dead people. After a moment, Draco pulled away and rolled out from under the counter, gingerly peeping over the edge. Then she saw half of a grin and he kneeled down to pull her out, careful to avoid the piece of glass that had sliced her up.

“What’s the grin for?” she whispered to him, but then Harry fell upon her, hugging her fiercely. It wasn’t until they were creeping out of Hogsmeade, wands at the ready, that she could speak to Draco again. “Why did you kiss me?” was the first question she hissed.

He grinned, a lopsided relaxed thing, and answered quietly, “If I didn’t, would you have stayed quiet while I healed your leg?” Then he walked off, and Hermione just knew somehow that if it was safe to whistle he would have.

At least it doesn’t reek anymore. Draco mused as he strutted away, a sly grin on his lips.