Love Is The Darkest Art
A Dramione fanfic serial
Hermione stood still, frozen in the most pleasant of ways. She knew it had been Draco. Not only was it his familiar touch in her hair, but for a second she heard his breath exhaled in a long sigh. It was born of a certain wistfulness she too felt everytime she was in his presence. She wanted badly for him to materialize in front of her and take her in his arms as if everything over the past several days were forgotten. But she knew he couldn’t just throw off his invisibility cloak and expose himself. They had been warned. They couldn’t be seen together. The death eater had made that clear. If they didnt heed the message there would be steep consequences. And so all she could was stand there and let the invisible Draco breathe on her neck, “I’m sorry.”
She turned to Ron and Harry. Tears were welling up in her eyes. “I have to go. I don’t feel well.”
Ron frowned. It seemed like they never got to hang out with Hermione much anymore. “Again? Weren’t you sick the other…”
“I’m sorry. I’m going to go lay down.”
“Whatever,”Ron mumbled. If Hermione heard him she made no indication. Instead, she turned and began to walk away. Then she stopped and looked at Harry.
“I think you should kiss her. I know she was Cedric’s girl, but no one needs to feel that lost or alone. And Cho is very pretty.”
Harry looked almost irritated that everyone was trying to push him to that conclusion. “Ok, enough already,” he said. “I’ll get around to it. If you are obsessing about kissing so much, maybe you need to visit Viktor this Christmas.”
For the first time that day it seemed, she smiled. Not at the thought of Viktor Krum, but at the realization her secret affections for Draco were still safe. Neither Harry or Ron knew, and she wanted to keep it that way. They would never, under any circumstances, understand her burgeoning love for the enemy. “Maybe I’ll do that then,” she replied, leaving them with two notions: one being that she too sick to be up and about this evening, and two being she was still all about the Bulgarian Quidditch Seeker and national hero.
As she walked away from them, she heard a low whisper in her ear, “Krum? Whatever happened with Ron? Just how many boyfriends do you have?”
“Shut up,”she hissed back to the disembodied voice. Draco, under his cloak, snickered. Harry and Ron, who heard her last words, looked at each other.
“I didn’t say anything,” whined Ron. “You would think with all the teachers here at Hogwarts, someone could explain girls to us.”
Harry smirked. “Tell me about it.”
Out in the corridor, Hermione tried to put distance between herself and The Great Hall. She didn’t know where she was going, even more so once Draco whispered, “See you soon,” and apparently left her. She could no longer catch his scent, feel his breath, or otherwise detect his presence. She was getting tired of him just abandoning her whenever he felt like it. One minute he is there with his sweet words and the next he’s gone. Irritating. What kind of boyfriend does that? And then, this thing with her kissing Ron. One minute he is so angry he won’t talk to her, and the next he is flirting like nothing ever happened. Does he just like confusing her? Making her feel good one day and then hurt the next? When he finally shows himself, she thought, I’m going to let him have it.
She rounded the corner, not really paying attention to anything other than the thoughts in her head, and almost toppled over Filius Flitwick. The Charms Master and Head of Ravenclaw. “Oh! Professor, I’m so sorry…”
The diminutive teacher smiled graciously, as if people nearly toppling over him was a regular thing. “‘Tis alright, my dear. It is fortunate as it is you , Miss Granger, that I was seeking.”
“Oh really? Did I not complete my last assignment?”
He chuckled. “Why yes, dear. You are always timely with your work.” He paused. “Wish I could say that about all my students. But no, I wanted to speak to you, as somoeone has suggested to me that you appear to be under a charm.”
“A charm? No, I’m…..who suggested that?”
“I’m not at liberty to say exactly, but they are students in your house…um, possibly in your room?”
That definitely narrowed it down. At first she thought Harry or Ron, but no boys were in her room. In fact, none were even allowed with in the girl’s dorm. So it had to be one of her female friends. Before she could dwell on it much, Flitwick spoke again.
“So I was wondering if you would allow me to examine you to see if in fact someone placed a charm on you. It will only take a minute. Even in my opinion, you do seem a bit distracted in class.”
At first, Hermione was upset at this notion, this intrusion on her character. But she realized if she refused that would draw even more suspicion. And what if someone really had charmed her without her knowledge? A charm could be anything. It could be to track her movements. To modify her behavior or affect her emotions. What if someone made her fall for Draco, and that her feelings truly weren’t her own? She hated this thought. In fact, she flat out denied it. I’m crazy about Draco. I’m in love with him. It is real. I know it is. “Of course, Professor. Go ahead.”
Flitwick produced his wand and touched it her forehead. She had to stoop a little to make this happen, but he seemed unfazed. Instead, his gaze was intent on the examination. He nodded his head, shook it back and forth, nodded again, and then removed the wand, stashing it back into his cloak. He looked up at her, but didn’t say a word for a few minutes.
“Um…well Miss Granger. Uh, you do appear charmed, but it is clearly of the natural variety. In other words, no wizard, or even student, has altered you through magical means.” He hesitated a minute when she sighed in relief. “However, if I may suggest, I would practice defense against charms if I were you. My exam has determined you would be susceptible to such magic.”
“Thank you, Professor. I will do that. And I’ll be more attentive in class from now on.”
“You are an excellent student, Granger. Top level. Do not lose your desire for knowledge.”
Flitwick moved on down the hall, leaving her to ponder his last statement. Knowledge. Desire. Lately, it seemed they were two different things, and perhaps once knowledge had filled all her waking thoughts, now her mind was dominated with thoughts of desire. For Draco.
Suddenly, a loud creaking sound split the silence in the hallway. She looked ahead of her and saw the door to the astronomy tower slowly opening on its hinges. Like an invitation, it called to her. Come. Come, let me show you the stars. Without fear or hesitation, she stepped forward and entered the darkness.
A winding staircase ascended the inside of the tower. Normally the astronomy tower was off limits except during classes, she found herself curious about what or whom had lured her here. She put her foot on the first step of the stairs and stopped. She could feel it. The very air around her changing. There was a quiet sound behind her like that of robes swishing towards her across the floor. Her breath caught in her throat, just as she felt something brush her skin on the next. It was like long fingers tracing a nail to her throat, then her chin. Butterflies seemed to hatch in her stomach as the nail touched her bottom lip. Then she was enveloped within the familiar cloak. She’d been under it before, dancing and kissing in the hallway, surrounded by students who couldn’t see her. And just as before, she knew even before his lips touched her ear and whispered, “I have missed you,” that she was home. At last. In Draco’s arms.