“Granger, I was hoping you might have a moment to spare.”
A shadow cast over Hermione’s parchments, and she glared up through her lashes at the intruder for a moment before returning to her work. “Piss off, Malfoy.”
He snorted, hand coming up to clench at his chest as though she’d hexed him. Maybe she should’ve. “This is purely professional, I assure you.”
There was no chance in hell that Hermione believed him. The Incident following their joint chaperoning of the Yule Ball had been regrettable.
Perhaps that was a stretch. After all, she didn’t regret it; in fact, she constantly thought about the way his hands had scorched a path over her dress robes and ripped the pins from her hair as he fucked her over this desk.
“Professional?” She huffed out an indignant breath and splayed her hands over the top and rose to stand. “Fine, what can I do for the Master of Potions himself?”
He had that amused crinkle to his eyes that she detested so much, lips pulled into a charming crooked half-smile. “I need a book.”
“It is a library, is it not? And you, its faithful Mistress of the Tome. Who else would I go to?”
Hermione sighed and rounded her desk, her arms crossing tightly over her chest as she did. “You’ve used a library for some years now, Malfoy; Surely you can sort out how to find a single book.”
“I’ve tried. I can’t.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and sighed in resignation. “What book is it?” she asked as she turned to march into the stacks, hissing at a pair of students to keep quiet.
“I’m not sure.” Hermione stopped in her tracks, Malfoy colliding against her with a groan. “Fucking hell, Granger.”
“Language. Don’t swear in front of my books. And what do you mean you don’t know?”
“I could have sworn I saw a rare edition on the anecdotal properties of Arabian Sun Scorpion’s venom, but I simply can’t remember where.”
“What?” Hermione’s nose wrinkled.
With a long-suffering sigh, Draco rounded on her. “If you don’t know where the books in your library are, that’s completely fine. Just tell me so I can inquire about it elsewhere.”
Her eyes narrowed into dangerous slits, and she stomped further into the stacks and through the doorframe heralding the Restricted Section. “It’s not that I don’t know , you insufferable git. It’s that Arabian Sun Scorpion venom, as you ought to well know, is dangerous. Students would not— should not— be encouraged to use it in a potion until they’ve completed a mastery outside of Hogwarts.”
“Are you suggesting that I don’t have my potions mastery?”
“The book is for you?” she asked as she turned down the third aisle. “Stool.” A small wooden stool shot forward from the darkness, and she climbed up, still needing to lift onto her tiptoes to reach for the top shelf.
“I’m here asking for it, aren’t I? Your arse, though…” Malfoy gave a low whistle. “Is reason enough to climb all those gods-damned steps.”
A gasp tore up her throat, and she reeled on the prat just as her fingers wrapped around the spine of the book in question; her balance faltered for just a splinter of a moment.
She would never be able to prove it, and it seemed quite unlikely that Malfoy would confess, but she swore on her favorite copy of Hogwarts: A History that the git kicked at her stool.
Hermione yelped as she toppled off the edge and into Draco Malfoy’s waiting arms. “Put. Me. Down.”
He held her tighter. “Is that how you thank someone for saving your neck? Because it needs work… Luckily for you, I have a number of ideas on how you could rectify the situation.”
Growling, she scrambled from his arms and shoved the book into his hands before smoothing the fabric of her skirt and blouse. “Why do you delight in tormenting me?”
One hand came up and rested on the shelves behind her, caging her in. She could hear the gentle squeak of the wood under his hard grip, and she swiftly retreated until she was trapped.
“I’ve thought a lot about that.”
Hermione swallowed, finding her mouth had run dry at the sheer proximity of him. “About what?” Her voice was too breathy, and she couldn’t stop her gaze from wandering over the aristocratic planes of his face and the soft curve of his bottom lip.
“About why I enjoy riling you up so much. Obviously, it’s not a new past-time even though I suspect that the reasons I had when I was a child no longer hold true.” Draco took a step forward, pressing her harder into the shelves as she tried to keep distance between them, marginal as it may be.
“Then what is it?”
He smirked. Her belly-flopped. “I think — ” He dropped his lips just over the shell of her ear. “That it’s the only way I get to see you with your skin all flushed like when I fucked you on your desk.”
A treacherous whimper escaped her, and fuck it all, but her hands curled in the fabric of his robes and pulled him closer. His cologne washed over her, hazing her senses and logical thought.
One hand reached around her and gripped her bum, causing her to arch into him. She gasped at the feeling of his erection against her hip and the delicious sensation of his fingertips digging into her arse.
“You’re doing it again,” she breathed, earning only a hum in response. “Tormenting me.”
“Let me torment you in other ways, Madame Granger. I can’t stop thinking about you.”
The confession caused her to suck in a hard breath through her clenched teeth, and when he pulled back to stare at her, she could feel the visceral crumbling of her resolve.
His smirk widened into a grin, and he leaned down again to hover his lips just a breath over hers. “How about right now?”