Tag Archives: Draco Malfoy

Love Is The Darkest Art 29

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione fanfic serial

Scene 47:

“Damn, that had to hurt,” a voice said from behind her in the darkness. Hermione spun, already taking aim with her wand when she realized it was Draco. “Looks like I’m a little late to this party,” he added. He shook his head. “Good thing, too.”

She wanted to fling herself in his arms, but she held her ground, waiting to see what his move was going to be. And then the thought came to her. He hadn’t spoken to her in awhile because of the Ron thing, and now suddenly when she’s under attack, he shows up. Why exactly is that, the suspicious side of her wondered. “What brings you here, Malfoy? Here to lend your friend a hand in paying me back?”

She didn’t mean to sound so angry, but in essence she was. Draco had given her hell for pecking Ron on the cheek. He had gotten her boys in trouble, abandoned her, and hadn’t given a care whether she had cried over him constantly since.

“Oh come on, Hermione. You actually think I would attack you, or help someone else to do it? It ticks me off you kissed Ron, but….hey, where’d he go?”

Hermione looked at where her assailant lay on the floor. Except he was no longer there. “Oh no,” she said. “He’s getting away. We have to tell…”

Draco drew his wand and pointed it high in the darkened room. For a moment Hermione thought he was going to put a spell on the ceiling, or more likely restore the lights. Instead he mumbled an incantation that didn’t even sound familiar to her. Where did he learn that, she thought, though she wasn’t even sure what “that” even was. Sparks flew across the top of the ceiling, scattering in all directions. Draco grinned. “There. Let’s see him get through that,” Draco gloated.

Her anger momentarily forgotten, she couldn’t help her curiosity, though she certainly wasn’t ready to forgive him. “What is it?” she asked.

“It seals off all entrances and exits in the room. He can’t get out.”

Suddenly there was a furious sound, like that of a gathering wind, from the front of the library. “Well crap,” Draco muttered. “I think he knows that one. I guess that tells us who sent the eater this time.”

“Who?”

He looked at her with a sorrow in his eyes. “My dad.” And with that declaration, he took off down the aisle towards the entrance.

“Your dad? Draco, wait!”

Hermione took off after him, her wand gripped tightly in her hand. She tried to think of a charm that would help either herself or Draco defeat an experienced death eater. Sure, she had fought back and stopped his attack mere seconds ago, but then she’d had the element of suprise. Now, the villian would be ready.

It was still dark in the room, and she lost sight of Draco within moments. But she could hear the enchanted wind ahead as it built up in its fury. She ran down the aisle and came out in the library atrium to find Draco confronting the death eater. At first it seemed Malfoy had the best of him, holding him nearly immoble with a conjured lasso at least six inches thick. But then the wind threw Draco aside, and the Slytherin crashed on top of a table that cracked beneath him.

“No!” Hermione screamed, and then looked up. The sparks that Draco had sent across the ceiling to trap the death eater in the room were fading. Twinkling out as if the hands of an invisible giant was snuffing out each one like candle. And with that came the same effect on Draco. Pinned to the table top as if a giant foot was crushing him there, Draco coughed and thrashed, the diminishing sparks reflecting in his terrified eyes.

She drew her wand, but the death eater disarmed her easily. She had been right. Now he was prepared. And this time as her wand skidded across the floor, he didn’t grab her from behind. Instead he pointed his own wand, his face distorted in anger. His hand shook as if he were having trouble containing his fury.

“Stupid little girl,” he hissed. He glanced at Draco who now seemed barely conscious. “And little boy.” Another wand materialized in his other hand. “If you were anyone else, you both would be food for the Dark Lord. But as it is, my instructions are simply to deliver a message.”

Draco groaned and tried to sit up.

“Do not move, young Malfoy. Just because you are who you are doesn’t mean I’m forbidden to hurt you.” A quick glare at Hermione. “I am not forbidden to hurt you however. What is forbidden is this. Your little secret rendezvous days are over.”

“You..” Draco started to say, before a flash erupted from the tip of the Death Eater’s wand and sent him into fits of writhing discomfort and pain.

“Shut up and listen, for I will not repeat myself. You have already been told once by those who rule over you. Don’t make them turn to more drastic measures for you to heed their instruction. You will cease from your little trysts with this mudblood.” He looked at Hermione. “And you, little firecat, when you see Draco coming, you best just go the other way. You are not friends. you are not…” He snickered. “Lovers.” With a threatening jab of his wand at Hermione he added, “You are not anything.”

In a quick movement, Draco rolled off the table and attempted to get up. A shower of flame shot from the Death Eater’s wand and his body contorted and twisted, as if an unseen puppeteer were jerking his limbs one way and the other. Draco screamed.

“If I am sent to deal with either of you again, the visit will be fatal. Your instructions are simple. Stay away from each other. Hate each other again as you once did. Anything else is forbidden and will end painfully for both of you if you persist.”

He released Draco from his mad fits and the Slytherin boy collapsed on the ground, still and unmoving. The man turned to take in Hermione with his intense, darkened eyes. “Remember, I can read your thoughts when I am near.” He took a step towards her and she backed away. He kept coming. It was obvious he loved the fear. “There is no way out of this, Miss Granger. You either obey…or you face worse consequences than watching Draco…sleep.”

He directed a wand at Malfoy and there was a quiet hiss that passed from the tip to Draco’s lips. A look of quiet peace passed across the boy’s face. “He truly cant save you now.” He licked his lips. “Another time and I would show you the rewards for those who serve the right side. But as it is, everyone knows you will not change. And so here we are just watching Draco sleep. Sweet dreams.” And with that, he jabbed the wand. It hissed and within seconds she eased to the floor unconscious. The last thing she saw before succumbing to the spell was Draco’s still form, and for a second she wanted to try and crawl to him as they do in the movies when lovers wish to die together.

Scene 48:

Hermione came to with the sensation of someone shaking her. Fighting the grogginess, she opened her eyes to the sight of Cho Chang kneeling over her. The pretty Asian student had a look of fear and worry in her eyes.

“Hermione, please wake up, please,” she was pleading. Another shake helped dislodge the dreary after effects of the spell.

She sat up. “Oh my God,” she muttered, holding her head. She looked around the room, her gaze now becoming desperate. “Where is…” she began, but stopped herself. No one could know she and Draco had been in the library together.

Luckily, Cho didn’t catch it. But the Patil sisters did. They were both standing behind Cho and looking on the scene with horror. “Someone attacked you,” they simultaneously asked.

“Yes,” Hermione replied, with a dizzying nod of her head. “I think it was a Death Eater.”

The three girls looked on her with shock. “A Death Eater?” Cho helped Hermione to her feet. “We have to tell someone.”

Granger shook her head quickly enough. “No,” she said.

“Why not?”

“It will endanger too many people,” she lied. She knew the only ones threatened were she and Draco. Death Eaters would never dream of attacking the whole school. But where was Draco now? Did the Death Eater take him? Or had Malfoy awakened and taken the first step of carrying out the villain’s instructions that he abandon her?
Oh Draco, she thought. Please dont leave me.

Love Is The Darkest Art 28

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione fanfic serial

Scene 45:

Draco Malfoy passed the dark man on his way to Umbridge’s office. He was already nervous over what he wanted to ask of her. Seeing the tall stranger just made it worse. It was quite obvious he was a death eater. He could see an edge of the identifying tattoo on his forearm, and when he spared a brief look towards Draco, there was a knowing sneer, as if he were gloating over something. Malfoy turned and watched him go around a corner, thinking that despite the changes at Hogwarts, death eaters shouldn’t be here. Your dad is a death eater, a little voice inside his head said. Exactly, Draco replied, before shrugging it off and continuing on his way to see Umbridge.

“You want me to what???” Dolores wasn’t just suprised, she was also offended. And angry.

Draco swallowed hard. “Yes Mrs. Umbridge. Kicking them off the team was awesome punishment, and a stroke of your genius, but if they could have their brooms back, at least they could…”

“Do I need to punish you too? Just whose side are you on? Is your loyalty in question?”

“No mam. I am on the ministry’s…I mean your side.”

She looked at him hard. “I don’t know why you are behaving differently, and more dissapointing I might add, but perhaps you just have too much time on your hands. Maybe you need an extra task or two.”

“Whatever you need me to do,” he replied, hoping at least it would be something to make others fear his position as prefect and Umbridge’s enforcer. He might have changed feelings and attitudes here lately, but inside he was still Draco Malfoy. Troublemaker.

Suddenly the woman’s face lit up, as she turned a note over and over in her hand. “I have just the thing,” she nearly cackled, thinking she could damage two little dragons in one fell swoop. She smiled at Draco. “Go to the library and fetch me this book.” She took the note, folded it, and handed it to him. “Now excuse me, I have work to do.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Umbridge.” Draco got up to leave, but she stopped him with a wave of her finger. “I may consider the brooms. Well maybe not Potters. But the others.”

“Thank you. I think Weasley could benefit from having his returned. He’s a terrible player.”

Out in the hall, he thought it could have went worse. Maybe she’d return Ron his broom and help Draco get back in Granger’s good graces. Perhaps he could salvage this after all. Now, what stupid book could the old biddy want?

Draco unfolded the note she had handed him. He noticed right away it wasn’t Umbridge’s writing. It was his father’s. On it were written two words: Hermione Granger.

“Oh no,” he cried, and took off down the hall, thinking of the dark man he had passed earlier. Thats why a death eater was here. For Hermione. Draco wished it were possible to disapparate within the school, but the builders of Hogwarts had chosen to make this one of the spells you couldn’t do inside the halls of education. Instead, he had to rely on speed and hope that he wasn’t too late.

Scene 46:

Hermione was still sitting on the floor in the library, her back against the bookshelf. Luna had left, and now she was alone with her thoghts. She closed her eyes a moment, trying to work it out in her head, how to get Draco to understand the kiss she’d planted on Ron’s cheek meant nothing. Suddenly there was the sound of a door slamming and her eyes shot open. She was in darkness now. Someone had flipped off the lights. Before she could rise to her feet, she heard a clacking sound as if someone were walking in the library with metal tipped shoes. Tap. Tap. Tap.

She withdrew her wand and stood stock still. Whomever it was, she didn’t want them to hear her moving. Something told her this was not right. Someone wanted her at a disadvantage in the darkness. Either that, or they just wanted to scare her. Regardless, it was working. She was frightened. For a moment, she entertained the notion of lighting the room with her wand, but she thought better of it.

The tap, tap, tap continued. Hermione was pretty astute at determing sounds, and so she knew the shoe was a boot worn by someone with a heavy step. Someone who was not a student. The stride between steps signified the stalker was tall, perhaps six foot or more. Could it be Snape? He was tall and older. But why would he be lurking in the library in the dark?

Another rhythmic sound came to her. Snap. Snap. Snap. Someone was snapping their fingers. It sounded in sync with the tap of the boots. She couldn’t take it anymore. “Who’s there?”

Her voice caused the boots to stop, but the finger snapping continued. Rhythmic, sharp, nearly echoing off the rows and rows of books. Oh no, they are in one of the aisles. And then she felt it, a chill through her hair on the back of her neck. That’s why the snapping sounded so sharp. It was right behind her.

She spun, bringing her wand up, but a hand grasped her wrist, squeezing it so hard she dropped her weapon. Now there was no tap, tap, tap. Nor a snap, snap, snap. No, there was a towering man in black before her, his long coat nearly dragging the floor. His eyes were malevolent in the darkness as he held her wrist in his vice like grip. Before she could scream, he covered her mouth with his other hand.

“Hermione Granger,” he hissed, and it sounded almost like question, as if he wasnt sure who she was. She shook her head urgently, and he laughed low in his throat. “Of course you are.” He drew a long fingernail across her brow. “I can hear you in there. All your thoughts, fears, desires.” He chuckled. “I wish someone would save me,” he mimicked in a high girly voice. “Oh Draco my love, where are you?”

Hermione struggled against him, but he only held her tighter. His hand over her mouth kept any scream from being heard. He had read her thoughts as if she were an open book. She hated the intrusion. What kind of defense could you have against this kind of enemy?

“None,” he whispered, hearing it all as if she’d spoken it aloud. “You are a weak, defenseless little child next me. I love that.” A snicker. “It’s funny how your mind goes in hundreds of directions when you are scared. Always expecting, no, always needing someone to intervene and rescue you. So weak is a girl’s will. What would you do without boys?”

A laugh. A snort, then his high girly imitation again. “Oh Draco, I need a man because I’m too worthless to take up for myself.” He leaned close and whispered, “Perhaps you should think like a man. Go for the sex right off the bat to distract your opponent. Use your body as the weapon.”

It was almost sickening. He ws nearly drooling in her ear. Not only was he the enemy, but a freaking pervert to boot. One hand slid dangerously close to her breast. “Come on darling, let me have a squeeze.”

Hermione closed her eyes in a long sigh of seeming surrender. “Okay,” she breathed, and her voice sounded inviting with the promise of…

A scream. Long and anguished, like a beast caught in a trap. Yet it wasn’t hers. She was silent, teeth gritted in determination, her hand squeezing his manhood through his clothes, so hard that it was as if a steel trap had snapped on his lower parts and locked. Hermione twisted her wrist, wrenching him forward in anguish, then slammed her head backwards into his face. There was a crack, but she wasnt sure if it was his nose breaking, or teeth being dislodged from his mouth. All she knew is he was letting go of her.

She dropped to the floor, rolled, and retrieved her wand. “Girls aren’t weak,” she said, as the tip of her wand exploded a shower of sparks towards the man. Any other time and the death eater may have been prepared, but he had underestimated his prey. He’d thought her weak. Defenseless. A girl who would cry in the face of fear. Wrong on all counts. She was Hermione Granger, and she had just hit him with a defensive spell she’d learned last week in lessons with Dumbledore’s army. He dropped like a sack of wet sand and was still.

Love Is The Darkest Art 27 v.2

Paul’s note: Had to re-upload this from yesterday. For some reason, stats and comments weren’t working. But hey, if you read this yesterday, there’s nothing new added to this one, but I sure would like your like again 😉

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione fanfic serial

Scene 42:

Hagrid returned to school, and with him came the snow. With the snow came bitter winds, signaling Christmas was on its way. Hermione had been waiting for the holidays so she could buy Draco a present to show her undying affection, but their last fight seemed to have changed all that. They’d had disagreements before, as all couples do, but until now it had only affected them. This time though, friends had been caught in the middle. Not only had Harry, Fred, and George been kicked off the Quidditch team, they’d had their brooms taken also. She felt so bad about that. They were her friends and because she’d given Ron a good luck cheek kiss, Draco’s jealousy had kicked in full swing and caused her world to fall apart.

It was a few days after Hagrid’s return when Luna found Hermione in the library, crying in the spot where Draco had first kissed her. It seemed like years ago rather than…just how long had it been now? Hermione couldn’t even remember. It was as if once she started to fall in love, all sense of time had ceased. And when she looked up from where she sat in the floor, her back against the towering bookshelf, legs drawn beneath her, time began again.

Luna looked down at her and apologized. “I’m sorry, Hermione. I truly am.”

“Sorry for what?”

“Casting the silencio spell on you. I just wanted you to be quiet before you said too much. I know you want to keep your secret.”

Hermione nodded. “For what it’s worth, thanks. But I don’t think it matters so much anymore. We’re over.”

Luna smirked and shook her head. “Magic has no end. Some spells you just never get over.”

“This one is especially bad.”

“I know. I got it too.” When Hermione looked at her, Luna added, “Not with Draco, of course. He doesn’t really do it for me.”

Granger smiled. “I thought the same thing once. But now…”

“He really does it for you,” Luna finished. “Bad.”

Hermione, realizing she was so close to giving her most secret thoughts a voice, stammered, “Not that bad.”

“Yeah right,” Luna agreed, kneeling in front of her. “Don’t worry, I’ll never tell a soul. Even if you forget, I won’t tell.”

Forget? How could she ever forget what she and Draco had been through? The things they’d experienced, the times they’d shared. How could they be lost to memory, save an obliviate spell? Even if she wanted to forget Draco, such a spell would erase far more than that. Professor Gilderoy Lockheart was living proof of that outcome.

“I could never forget,” she said, more to herself than Luna.

“I know I’m not supposed to know, but I can talk to him if you want.”

Hermione shook her head sadly. “No, just leave him alone. It’s obvious that’s what he wants.”

Lovegood shrugged. “It’s your choice. But I don’t care who you are, no one wants to be alone.” She offered a reassuring smile. “He still wants you, you know. Look at you. How could he not? You’re Hermione Granger, Gryffindor dream.”

Coming from anyone else, Hermione would have thought it to be sarcastic, but from Luna it was a genuine statement. And it made Hermione feel better knowing her peers thought she was pretty. Still, what really mattered were not the thoughts of other girls, but the thoughts of her beloved, lost Draco.

Scene 43:

Draco was lost. But not in the way Hermione imagined. No, Draco Malfoy was lost in a dream. Right in the middle of the day. In the Slytherin common room, there was some activity, but not enough to keep him awake. Stuck in a funk he couldn’t get out of (thanks a lot, Hermione), he’d fallen asleep in a cushioned high back chair and slipped off into the world of dreams. For Draco, this was usually a wonderful place, where he picked on those beneath him, or ruled his own island, or was a powerful, and famous, wizard of great importance. But not today. Not here. Instead his dreams were the stuff of nightmares. Death Eaters chased him through his own house, yelling “traitor!” His mother scowled, preparing to send an owl to him, carrying not delicious sweets, but curses for forsaking the family for a mudblood. And then, the worse dream terror of all: Hermione in a passionate embrace with Ron, her tongue shoved halfway down his throat, clutching his bare back with beautifully painted fingernails…

“Hey,” a girl’s voice interrupted. At first he thought it was Hermione within dream, but when the voice spoke again, this time a little more loudly, there was no mistaking the irritating tone of Pansy Parkinson.

His eyes fluttered open, and sure enough, her face was looking down into his. Pansy Parkinson smiled, as if to be this close to him was her every dream. “You have an owl,” she breathed softly, as if what she was really saying had something to do with lust, rather than messages from home.

“No,” Draco said, leading her to wonder if he meant her thoughts or the news. He got up from the chair and brushed past to her where the Malfoy family owl awaited, a tiny rolled parchment attached to its back. He didn’t greet the creature, but removed the scroll and began to unroll it, noticing his father’s perfectly coiled script right away.

Before reading it, he glanced around the room. Nearly every Slytherin was watching. Even his peers knew he rarely got owls from home. He scowled and retreated to his room to read the message, thankful that it wasn’t a howler.

“Draco,” the missive demanded, “as per our previous discussion I thought it was made clear that you would stay away from Mudbloods, in particular one of the female persuasion whose name I will not bother to put in print for the distaste it leaves in my mouth. It has come to my attention that despite your mother’s request, as well as mine, you have continued to be seen in the girl’s company, sometimes in an attempt to do so in secret. Nothing is secret, boy.”

Draco stopped reading for a moment, suddenly aware that his father or his agents may have been spying on him, cataloguing moments that Draco believed had been hidden from prying eyes. Had his father known of the moments shared within the Malfoy mansion, as well as without? He returned to the letter, fearing it’s outcome.

“I will not let a girl, let alone a mudblood, destroy our house or bring our name to ruin. And that’s what will happen if we alow this to continue. She will tear this house in two. She is not a friend, girlfriend, or whatever. Remember she is not pureblood, and as such, she is on the side of the enemy.
Because you have refused to believe this and have repeatedly disobeyed direct orders, it pains me to have to punish you this forcibly, but if YOU will not remove her from your presence, then I will find someone who will.”

Draco thought on this a moment, trying to figure out what this meant. His father’s threat was there and Draco knew he meant what he said. But what did the threat imply? Remove her from my presence? That could mean a great number of things, none of which would be good for Hermione. Draco pulled his wand, uttered words under his breath and watched the message light afire. It burned up in his hand, its edges crumpling inward until it was just ashes in his palm. He rose to his feet, tall and resolute. No one was taking Hermione from him.

He walked back into the main room of Slytherin. Once again, all eyes were upon him. Crabbe and Goyle stood up. The pair seemed to be ready to offer support in whatever news his Owl had delivered. But they couldn’t help in this, thought Draco. “Sit down,” he told them. “You’re embarrassing me.”

He passed by Pansy Parkinson, and lay a hand on her shoulder. “Thank You,” he said, and before she could ask a bewildered question, he leaned down and kissed her on the cheek. She blushed, and he laughed a little under his breath. Hermione was right. It didn’t mean nothing. He didn’t feel a thing for Pansy, just as she didn’t feel a thing for Ron. He had made a mistake, several in fact. And now he was going to fix them. Hopefully before his father found out the real truth that all the spies in the world couldn’t tell him. He was helplessly in love with the enemy.

Scene 44:

The man stood in front of Umbridge’s desk, silent and somehat menacing. Dolores had nothing to fear from any of Hogwart’s students, but this visitor wasn’t a child. He was a messenger. A death eater. And as she read the note he handed her, she didnt know whether to smile or be fearful. Finally she looked up into the man’s cool eyes and said in a grim tone, “You have fifteen minutes.”

The man nodded, his face almost blank, as if he were no longer there, but seeking out his prey in his mind.

Love Is The Darkest Art 26

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione fanfic serial

Scene 40:

Hermione was crying. It had been only a few days since she’d stormed out of The Great Hall and met Draco on the front porch. But as wonderful as that rendezvous had been, now things had changed. Draco was angry and spiteful. Hermione was hurt, confused, and mad for what had happened to her friends. Harry was kicked off the Quidditch team. Ron was…well, Ron was Ron. But it all had begun with him, though at no fault of his own. All the blame lay with Hermione. It was she who had kissed Ron.

So it happened like this. Because Ron hadn’t been doing so well as part of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, she wanted to encourage him so Slytherin taunts wouldn’t distract him on the field. So before the day’s match, she’d given him a kiss. On the cheek. For luck.The effect on him was near miraculous. At first he was surprised. Then he blushed. Then he played one of his best games ever.

The effect on Draco wasn’t as pleasant. Though he’d witnessed it from afar, he still saw it. His Hermione kissing someone else. The smug, adoring look on Ron’s face. To say he was furious was an understatement. Granger was his girl. The only one she should be kissing was himself. And so, his revenge, his jealous retribution, was enacted onfield and after the match, resulting in three members getting kicked off the Gryffindor team. Harry. Fred. George.

The loss would most likely cause the Gryffindor team to disband. After all, how do you replace that many players? Still, that wasn’t Hermione’s thought when she confronted Draco outside the library just an hour after the game. “What the hell is wrong with you?” she demanded.

His look was smug and pleased with himself. “What is wrong with you?” he countered.

“I’m furious is what’s wrong with me. You got Harry kicked off the team! George and Fred too.”

He sneered. “I didn’t plan it that way, but they deserved it.”

“Deserved it? Why?!”

He shrugged. “Maybe I’m just tired of being made the fool.”

Hermione was flabbergasted. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“How long you been kissing Weasley behind my back? Hmmm. What, you didn’t think I’d see? Or maybe you wanted me to see? Make an even bigger fool out of me? Or is that how you keep us secret? Make out with Ron where everyone can see?”

Now she truly was furious. And hurt. “No one is making out with Ron!” For a moment, she turned to walk away, but changed her mind. She wasn’t going to stand for this kind of jealousy from anyone. “You jealous little punk, I gave him a peck on the cheek for luck. And now you act like I’ve been cheating on you or something. Well, to hell with you, Draco. I don’t need you in order to feel miserable about myself.”

“Yeah, that’s right, you never needed me. You just wanted me to be like your other boys. Well guess what miss perfect, I’m never going to be like you or your Gryffindor boys. I am me. I will always be me. Stop trying to change me.”

“Draco, no one wants to change you. I like you for you. Yeah, some of the stuff you do to others irritate me, but I love…”

“Love? Ha! If you love someone you don’t go around kissing someone else. Just the other day you said all your kisses were for me, liar.”

“Damn it, Draco,” Hermione replied. “It was just a good luck kiss on the cheek. For luck Malfoy, not love. After all we have been through, do you honestly think….”

Hermione stopped. It wasn’t anything about Draco, nor Ron, nor even that hateful Dolores Umbridge. It was something else entirely that caused her to stop speaking. Her mouth was still moving. But nothing was coming out.

Draco was confused, but then looked beyond her. Luna Lovegood stood there, arm oustretched, pointing her wand at Hermione’s back. Tears were in her eyes. “You need to shut up,” she whispered. Draco drew his own wand and stepped back.

Then Harry, Ron, and Neville arrived. All three realized at once something was wrong. For one, Hermione was speechless, trying to move her mouth but unable to bring sound forth. Two, Luna stood with her wand out, pointing at the enemy. And three, Draco, the very one who had caused Harry to lose his position on the team that afternoon, was taking an attack stance. Harry drew his wand. “Why you…”

He let loose a spell and the energy left the tip of his wand. Draco blocked it easily, and then sent one right back. But it wasn’t aimed at Harry. Instead it struck Luna, knocking her off balance. She tumbled backwards.

Harry was livid, as he prepared to launch another blast at his foe. “It wasn’t enough to get me kicked off the team so you could finally win, was it? Now you want to attack my friends!?” He let the spell go and it sailed from his wand.

Draco spun and dropped to one knee to avoid getting hit. Hermione was shaking her head back and forth. Even he could see she was mouthing him to stop. He got to his feet, unsure of what to do, and that’s when a blast from Ron’s wand got him. He was knocked back on his butt, bringing his wand up in retaliation. He had been prepared to let this go and escape. But not now. Ron, his new rival, was going to pay. Draco knew he was better at the dark arts than Weasley. So he hit him hard enough to send him skidding across the hall to hit the opposite wall with a breathless “umph.”

His victory was short lived however. Neville socked him right in the mouth. Not with a spell. Nor with a charm. But with his fist. Which he now held in pain, but it was worth it to watch Draco’s head reel to the side for hurting Luna.

Draco rolled and came to his feet, shaking the dizzy spin from his head. He raised his wand, the worst curse imaginable springing up into his mind. Before he could utter it though, Hermione’s voice returned. “Draco!” she screamed.
He turned to her, a painful, hurt look in his eyes. Then he sent a spell that caused all the dust from inside the library to gather and come forth like a wall between he and his attackers. When it all came down and cleared, Draco was gone.

Now in the Gryffindor girl’s dorm, Hermione lay on her side in her bed, so the other girls wouldn’t see her tears. She just wanted to be left alone. They’d all tried to talk to her when she arrived in tears. Despite the silence curse having worn off, she still chose not to speak. She shook her head, retreating to her corner, ignoring their whispers, to cry alone.

Scene 41:

Draco too was in tears, though he wasn’t in his dorm. He had abandoned Slytherin’s area to walk the hall like a ghost in his invisibility cloak. His friends, Crabbe, Goyle, and Pansy had driven him crazy with questions until he had told them all to shut up. He stormed out saying he had a meeting with Umbridge. Once outside, he threw on the cloak. There was no meeting of course, though he had imagined one would come soon. After all, because of his taunts at Ron during the game, some of the Gryffindor players had physically attacked him. Dolores, seeing an opportunity, had taken away his attacker’s playing priviledges, including their brooms. He had to admit it gave him smug satisfaction to see Potter lose his broom, but that was overshadowed by the argument with Hermione. He hadn’t meant to get so angry. It just bothered him to see her lips touch another, even on the cheek.

Now, hours later, he berated himself with his tears over how he had reacted. He couldn’t help it, he told himself. He loved the beautiful mudblood. He loved the way her mousy hair felt between his fingers, her hands caressing his chest. He loved feeling her heartbeat in his palm. Tasting the sweet-like-sugar kisses from her moist lips. He loved how she fit in his arms, how his body ached for hers as he fought the urge to take them further in their passions. For all these reasons, his tears fell, and a little voice inside his head whispered, wouldn’t you like to forget it all? To stop this pain, this jealousy, wouldn’t it be best to have it all erased? For a moment he found himself gliding to the dungeons and Professor Snape’s dank office.

He raised his hand to knock, then stopped. No, this can be worked out another way. With the back of his hand, he wiped the wet from his face. He didnt want to forget Hermione. He wanted her. He needed her in the way a spell needed a wand to work its magic. Without her, the darkest art, if that’s what love was, was nothing more than an empty cocoon with nothing inside. Draco was tired of being empty. He’d been that way his whole life. But she’d changed that in recent days, and now, despite the way things had fallen apart between them, he loved her. Covered in the cloak, he moved away from Snape’s door and went back up the stairs.

On the other side, in the cold, dark office, Severus sat, contemplating who it had been outside, knowing that whomever he’d detected, it undoubtedly had something to do with muggles and their way of weening their way into wizard’s hearts…

Love Is The Darkest Art 25

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione fanfic serial

Scene 37:

“Why are you looking at Malfoy?” Ron asked. They were sitting at dinner in the Great Hall, and Hermione nearly choked on her food.

“I’m not,” she replied. In fact, she wasn’t even sure if he came down to eat. She’d seen some Slytherins, but he hadn’t been amongst them.

“I don’t mean now. Today at practice.”

Hermione looked at Ron, a look of surprise on her face. “What are you talking about?”

“I saw you. Eyes glued to binoculars and watching his every move.” He looked over at Harry, who was smirking in between bites.

“Well, um…I was spying. Trying to see how good their team was. Looking for flaws you guys could exploit.”

“Oh,” said Ron, deflated just a little. But he still wasn’t convinced. He flipped his hand through his ginger hair. “So what did you find out?”

Hermione wasn’t expecting a follow up question, and she stuttered for a moment. “Well, Bletchly is a fairly decent keeper this year, but he seems to hang…um…left a lot. Crabbe and Goyle are ruthless beaters. They’ll probably try to cheat if they can.”

She looked at the boys. Ron looked stunned and was rendered silent. Harry was biting his lip, but soon nodded. “What about Draco?”

“He seems distracted,” she responded quickly.

“Probably because he saw you ogling him more than Pansy Parkinson does,” Ron mumbled.

“I wasn’t ogling anybody. I was just trying..”

“Yeah, yeah, we got it. Spying for us. Do you think we are that bad of a team?”

“No, Ron, I don’t. You know what, just forget it. I won’t help next time.” She scooted her chair back and stood up. It was almost scaring her how easy it was to act defensive over Draco. She was playing it off a little too well, but she kept running with it. “You know, you seem to be the one obsessed with Malfoy, not me.”

As she stormed off, she heard Ron ask Harry, “Jeez, What did I say?” She smiled to herself. It was fun keeping secrets. Exciting to hide the forbidden.

Scene 38:

Draco had been at dinner, but rather than sit with his usual pals Crabbe and Goyle, he had moved about unseen in his invisibilty cloak. As a prefect this had its advantages in seeing who was breaking rules and who wasn’t. Dolores Umbrudge had given him a quota to meet in how many students he got in trouble, so this allowed him to single out kids he didn’t like for future point reductions at the hands of the Professor.

As he moved down the line of tables, he was careful to avoid other professors as much as posdible. Though he was invisible, the adult teachers seemed to be able to sense his presence at times, and they’d almost sniff the air as if trying to latch on to his scent. But moving among students it was a little different and he couldn’t help but take the opportunity for prsnks and aggravation. He tugged on Pansy’s hair as he passed behibd her, moved Neville Longbottom’s cup to the edge of the table so the clumsy boy would accidentally knock it off. Brushing by Luna, he spun the trio of glittered pinwheels perched upon her head, and he even pinched Goyle in his side so hard the larger boy accused Crabbe of the offense. Draco snickered loudly and almost got caught. But then he saw Hermione Granger and smiled.

He passed by both Harry and Ron with a degree of stealth, though it was tempting to whop both of them upside the head. Especially Ron, who was grilling Hermione about watching someone. Who was Weasley going on about? Then he heard his own name mentioned and realized it was he they were talking about. He grinned even more at this and slunk up behind Granger’s chair. Ron was saying something about binoculars when he leaned close to Hermione’s ear. “I watch you too,” he whispered so quiet only she could hear. He could see her feeeze, her body stiffen slightly. Her friends took it as hesitation in answering Ron’s questions and smirked.

“I watch you so close I can almost taste you,” Draco whispered. Ron had just asked her another question, when Draco’s tongue lightly grazed her ear.

“He seems distracted,” Hermione blurted quickly, in answer to Ron’s question about Draco’s Quidditch skills.

“Oh you have no idea,” Draco said in a hushed voice. Again, this behavior stopped her halfway through her next statement in the conversation, but neither friend realized what was going on right in front of them.

Hermione felt a finger trail against her lower back and knew it was Malfoy’s touch sending chills all over her. She couldn’t take much more of this. She wanted his touch even more. On her face, her neck, down the front of her trembling frame. She suddenly scooted her chair back. It nudged the invisible Draco and he stumbled a second, before grabbing the back of her skirt to steady himself. He took the opportunity for a playful touch across her backside. She did her best to play it off by berating Ron for his questions.

“You seem to be the one obsessed with Draco, not me,” she declared and stormed away from the table. Draco followed her, whispering “liar” playfully in her ear.

Scene 39:

The early evening air was a little chilly, a slight breeze tousling Hermione’s mousy brown locks. She had stepped outside before the night’s curfew could take effect, a practice that no other students took this time of the year without a coat. But Hermione needed to cool off big time. And before she could even register the fact it was cold out, she was wrapped up in Malfoy’s arms.

“You are so mean,” she said, as he removed his invisibility cloak and tucked it safely away inside his clothes. “And bad,” she added.

“I know,” he grinned. “Don’t you just want to eat me up?”

“Draco, you can’t be doing stuff like you did back there. We’ll be found out.”

His grin diappeared. “Aren’t you tired of hiding?”

“Yes, but…”

“Would you be ashamed or embarrassed if everyone knew?”

“No, I….”

“I think if someone saw me holding your hand, or taking you in my arms like this, you would push me away and accuse me of throwing myself on you.” Before she could answer, his lips grazed hers for just a brief moment. She didnt know if he were teasing her or offering a challenge, but she took it.

Her mouth collided with his in a furious, dangerous kiss. Dangerous because she reached around and squeezed his butt with both hands. He smiled within their kiss and returned the gesture.

“I’m guessing you’re not going to scream for help then,” he whispered.

“No,” she sighed, staring into his silvery eyes. “I can help myself, thank you very much.”

“Good for you,” Draco replied with a kiss against the nape of her neck. “Because I can’t help myself.” Another graze of the lips. “I think of you every moment of the day. There’s not a time you’re not on my mind.”

“Likewise,” she agreed, turning her face to his so she could playfully bite his lip. “But I’m still not rooting for your team to win.”

This brought a laugh that was pure mirth and joy. “Hermione, that’s not what this is about. It’s not about gaining a sexy cheerleader for Slytherin House.”

She raised an eyebrow and blushed a little. “Oh it’s not? So what is this about then?”

“It’s about me…”

“You?”

“Me being so madly in love with you I can scarcely breathe when we’re apart. Me wanting you like I haven’t wanted anything before.”

“More than the Nimbus 2001?”

“More than anything. And certainly more than a broomstick.”

Knowing how much the Slytherins loved their super sleek Nimbus 2001’s, a gift from Draco’s own father, made Hermione give him a questioning, unsure look.

“You kiss a broom, you get bristles in your mouth,” Malfoy asserted.

“What do you get when you kiss me?”

Draco smiled. “I get crazy.”

“Well then,” Hermione replied with an adoring smile. “All my kisses are for you.”

“Better be,” Draco muttered weakly as they clutched each other for another kiss, born not just from longing, but of a promise.

And in the shadows of the porch, unseen by the amorous couple, a figure shifted uncomfortably, wishing they’d stop and move on so he wouldnt have to see the youthful desire that had eluded him his entire life. He’d come out here to escape the maddening crowd of irritating students, to lose himself in his own memories of almost happiness. He didn’t want to see lovers entwined in heated kisses. Severus Snape just wanted to be alone.

Love Is The Darkest Art 24

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione fanfic serial

Scene 35:

Dumbledore’s Army was growing. The group of students were now meeting regularly in The Room Of Requirements. This room, hidden from all others not part of their gathering, was becoming Hermione’s favorite place. Not only for their meetings, where Harry was teaching them defense against the dark arts, but for solitary time as well. On evenings when no meeting was held, she slipped away to be alone and ponder the most darkest art of all: being in love.
In her mind she still tried to convince herself she did not love Draco, though with her mouth she had confessed so. But Draco was different than her, and there were some things she couldn’t tell him, leading her to reason that what she felt couldn’t be love. After all, when you loved someone, weren’t you comfortable sharing everything with them? If you had to hide things, then what did that mean for the relationship? And yet having to hide her feelings for the Slytherin bad boy was a large part of the allure. The excitement of the thought of being with Draco was because she wasn’t supposed to. The differences between their houses made that clear. No Gryffindor girl had ever been so enamored of a Slytherin guy before. It was almost forbidden. And there it was. Draco was the boy she wasn’t supposed to have.
The more she thought that though, the more determined her heart became. And with that she found reasons to be close to him.

Quidditch was about to resume. Afternoon practices were going on daily. Thankfully her friend Harry was being allowed to play again, his detentions with Dolores Umbridge having come to a close. Hermione, in a show of support attended the practices, cheering for both Harry and the sadly inept Ron, whom she hoped would improve by the time of the first game. But she wasn’t just there for them. No, there was a certain boy in robes of green and silver, practicing with his team close by. She could pick him out at times, his pale blonde hair waving in the breeze. Though she would never admit it, she loved how agressive he played. There was something urgent, almost animalistic, in the way he flew on his broomstick, or practiced grabbing the snitch. Briefly she imagined him being that aggressive as a lover. It made her muscles ache, put a tingling in her stomach, thinking of the two of them wrapped up together, bodies entwined in throes of…

“Ron’s a horrible player,” a soft voice said from beside her, and it jolted her out of her sensual wanderings. She turned red as if everyone knew which gutter her mind had to clamber out of.

“I don’t say it to be mean,” Luna Lovegood continued. “He’s just the weakest link on the team.”

“He’s not that bad,” Hermione replied, regaining her composure and coming to her friend’s defense. Luna was right of course. Ron did seem to be lacking in the concentration needed to be an effective player, but one does not talk bad about friend. “He just needs encouragement,” she said out loud, though whether it was for Luna’s benefit or her own remained to be seen.

Again, her eyes turned towards Draco practicing in the adjoining field with the Slytherin team. She felt something bump her arm. She turned and saw Luna was holding a pair of small binoculars out to her. When Hermione didn’t take them right away, Luna said, “Don’t worry, I wont tell anyone.”

Hermione was caught by surprise. “Tell anyone what?”

Luna gave her a look that spoke volumes. “You and Draco.”

Hermione laughed. “Draco? You must be out of your head.”

Luna look confused for just a second, but then replied, “No, I’m well inside my head. I know you were with him in the greenhouse that day. When you saw me and Neville.”

Hermione didn’t know how to respond. Whether to verify the truth in Luna’s observations or to play it off as plain silliness. After a few moments she made up her mind.

“You’re mistaken. I don’t like Draco. I like….” She looked at the players on the quidditch field and blurted out the first one she could think of. “…Ron Weasley.”

Luna raised an eyebrow and lifted her binoculars to her eyes. Directing them towards the Quidditch goal she nodded. “That could work, I suppose. My dad says things aren’t going to work with Neville and me. He says he’s going to marry Hannah Abbott one day.” She shook her head. “As if.”

Hermione wasn’t sure why she was yelling her all this. She and Luna hadn’t been close friends. In fact, she often had ridiculed and sometimes insulted Lovegood. And now the strangest girl at Hogwarts was opening up to her on the Quidditch bleachers.

“Hannah Abbott?” Hermione asked, incredulous. “I cant see that either.”

Luna looked at her. Her face held a knowing secret. “Well, there are many who wouldn’t believe you like Draco either, so you’re safe. Mum’s the word with me.” Shecaet the binoculars down beside Hermione. “You can return them to me later. No sense straining your eyes.”

Before she could protest or deny things further, Luna was up and gone. She watched her go and the realization hit her. Someone knew. The secret wasn’t quite hidden anymore. For a moment in her quiet panic, she thought of casting a spell towards Luna, to ensure she’d never speak of it to anyone else. But instead she looked on the bleacher beside her. She picked up the binoculars and put them to her eyes. First, she focused on the Gryffindor team. Harry on the pitch. Ron at the goal. But she soon found herself seeking out that flash of green and silver. Draco. Her Draco. Forever.

Scene 36:

Malfoy was having trouble concentrating. Usually he did well at practice, but he found himself being more aggressive and he tried to curb his heightened emotions. Save it for Gryffindor, he told himself. It was just a dream, nothing more.

The dream in question had occurred the night before. In it, Draco had found himself looking upon his father’s stricken face. Lucius was afraid. Very afraid. Dementors swirled around him, seeming to feed off the elder Malfoy’s fears. Draco tried to go to him, but could never quite reach him. There was an invisible barrier between them, as if his father was a prisoner and he was free. He called out and Lucius looked up. “I told you to stay away from her,” he moaned at his son. “Now look what you’ve done.”

Draco, now on the field, looked up in much the same way his father had done in the dream. Except here, someone was watching him. Someone with binoculars in the stands. Even from where he stood he could see who it was. Hermione Granger. His heart’s desire. His secret love. His father’s doom.

But Malfoy wasn’t the only one who saw Hermione with the binoculars. Ron Weasley had looked up from the goal to see his friend checking out the practice. The problem was she was looking at the opposite team. Slytherin. Why was she checking them out? Worse yet, she was smiling. When he saw the direction of her amplified gaze, his jaw dropped. She was grinning dreamily. At Draco Malfoy.

Love Is The Darkest Art 23

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione fanfic serial

Scene 34:

Draco and Hermione hadn’t spoken for weeks. Not in public anyway. And certainly not nicely if others were around. Though they had been threatened with harsh punishment upon their nighttime return to Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall interceded on their behalf, declaring for all to hear that Hogsmead could get quite confusing to navigate, and a wrong turn down a dark alley could get you lost easily. Dolores Umbridge didn’t agree with this defense until Snape spoke up on Draco’s behalf with the explanation he had asked the Slytherin student to pick up some items for him and then failed to give him proper directions. Eventually, it was Dumbledore’s arrival, asking Hermione if she had delivered the letter to his brother for him, that got her off the hook. When she replied confused, “Um, no…I’m sorry,” he smiled.

“Oh well,” he said. “I’m sorry that my task got you lost.”

After that, Dolores put on a show of being annoyed, despite knowing it was she who had sent Draco to Hogsmead in the first place. Eventually, the whole incident was forgotten, though Ron and Harry both picked on Hermione for having to ride on the night bus with Malfoy.

“That must have bern torture,” Weasley said.

“Absolute,” Hermione lied.

In the days following, both Draco and she made up tales about each other to keep anyone from finding out they had spent the whole day and part of the evening together. “He smells like a wet river rat,” Hermione declared over lunch in the Great Hall one day, to which Luna Lovegood remarked, “He reminds me more of a Blibbering Humdinger.” To which nearly everyone rolled their eyes. After all, no one had ever seen most of the creatures Luna talked about.

Draco was just as insulting when he told everyone at his table that Hermione had foul breath comparable to an unbathed mountain troll. Both Crabbe and Goyle laughed loudly, but Pansy Parkinson seemed suspicious. “How do you know what her breath is like?”

He looked at his Slytherin classmate and scowled. “Because she was breathing all over me, duh…”

Unconvinced, Pansy pouted. “Why?”

Now Draco rolled his eyes. “Because she likes me, you idiot.”

Now everyone laughed. Goyle fell out of his chair even. No one even suspected Draco’s last statement had been the truth. Such was the beauty of having been enemies for years. Of course, calling Pansy an idiot in front of everyone had its own effect, and the girl got up crying and fled the room.

Crabbe leaned close to Draco and whispered, “Now, she likes you.”

Draco looked after the departing Pansy and shook his head. Girls. You needed an open pensieve to even know what they were thinking half the time.

In between studies, Hermione pondered what to tell Harry and Ron, if anything. The fact that Death Eaters had come to attack her, and do God-knows-what after, bothered her greatly. It had been suggested Voldemort staged the attempt in order to get to Harry, so didn’t he deserve to know something? But if she said anything then he’d know that she and Draco getting lost in Hogsmead was more than just blind coincidence. So she didn’t say anything. Harry already knew Voldemort was trying to get to him. That was no secret ,to him or his inner circle. Even if the rest of the school didn’t. She tried to justify in her head the reasons behind her silence, and it all boiled down to her desire to keep Draco a secret from everyone. but that in itself posed questions. How far would she be willing to go to keep others from finding out?

This question plagued her for the next few days as both she and Draco eased their way back into their roles of prefects. Hermione, true to herself, used the position to try and help others and steer them in the right direction, while Draco took the opportunity to hold his position at Hogwarts over everyone else’s head. it bothered Hermione that he seemed unchanged by their times together. Perhaps it was really good acting in secret keeping, a role he was playing to avoid suspicion, but day by day she asked herself which was he acting. Which was the real Draco? The one she knew when they were alone together, or the one that aggravated and ridiculed students, most particular her own friends?

Sitting in her room one evening after dinner, she contemplated this over a shoe. It was Draco’s, left behind in the greenhouse as he’d made his secret escape when Luna and Neville had almost caught them. She thought it had been some really quick thinking that had prompted him to leave it behind when he slipped away under his invisibility cloak. After all, it gave her an excuse, though a flimsy one, for being under a table in the greenhouse. Why she never gave it back to him, she wasn’t quite sure. Part of her reasoned, “well, he never asked for it.” Another part told her she had kept it as a souvenir of her first serious, and intimate, love. But how serious was it? She’d heard it said before somewhere that the greatest love was one in which you’d lay your life down to protect the other. With all their secrecy, just how far was she willing to go in her admiration? How could she have the greatest love and yet never tell a soul? She turned the shoe over in her hands, thinking of Draco and she, of where they’d be in ten years. A fleeting thought escaped her that made her blush. A bedroom, dishevelled blankets, an older she and Draco in their underwear curled up together after having made love. Their face flushed, but smiling. Their bodies aglow, glistening sweat across his bare chest. Her fingers tracing lines in the moisture of his skin, wanting him again and again and….

“Hey, whose shoe?” somebody asked, shocking her out of her imaginings and into the real world. It startled her so much she nearly flung Draco’s footwear into the corner. She spun towards the voice.

“Ginny! Oh my, you scared me!”

“I see that. Sorry.” She took a few steps toward the shoe. Hermione was faster and snatched it up off the floor.

Ginny wrinkled her brow. “What are you doing with a boy’s shoe?”

Hermione looked at it in her hand. “Um, I found it outside our door.” She turned it over nervously, hoping Ginny wouldn’t discover who it belonged to. It wasnt like anyone spent much time checking out Draco’s feet. “I was just getting ready to take it to McGonagall,” she said. “Let her sort it out.”

“You dont have to do that,” Ginny replied. “Filch is tight out in the hall. You know he’ll find out what stupid boy can’t keep his shoes on.”

Hermione laughed. “That’s for sure.” She slid past Ginny, not daring to look at her for fear she’d see the truth in her eyes. “Be right back.” She hefted the shoe in her other hand and went out the door. Going down the stairs that seperated Gryffindor girls from boys, she walked briskly through her house’s common room and into the hall. She glanced behind her, wondering if Ginny had followed. She sighed in relief when she saw she hadn’t. Then she collided into someone so hard it nearly knocked them both down.

“Slow down, Granger,” Draco sneered. “Before I recommend points be taken from you.” He saw the shoe in her hand. She saw his sidekicks Crabbe and Goyle by his side.”You have something of mine it seems.” He reached out and snatched the shoe out of her hand. He stepped closer to her, a menacing look on his face. “It’s my heart,” he muttered low so only she could hear.

“What?” Hermione asked. She had heard him exactly, but part if her wanted to hear it again, only louder and in front of his friends.

He didn’t fall for it. Instead, he turned to his buddies, waved the shoe, and exclaimed, “See boys, I told you she had an insane crush on me.”

At first, she thought he’d gone on and told them. That he’d let their secret out to someone, but then she realized he was playing the game again. The “let’s pretend we’re enemies still” ruse.

“You wish,” she came back at him. “I’d rather crush on…Peeves.”

“Oh God, Granger that is just too gross.” Goyle and Crabbe guffawed. “You need me to take you to the infirmary?”

She looked hard at him, her eyes not leaving his own. “Yes I think you might have to. I’m suddenly not feeling well.” She made a gesture as if she were going to throw up. She put her hand over her mouth, and both Crabbe and Goyle backed up.

“Go get McGonagall,” he commanded them, and like dutiful servants that obeyed, running off down the hall. Anything to get away from a possibly hurling girl. Draco grabbed Hermione by the arm. “You better come with me. You look like you might faint any minute. Don’t hurl on my feet.”

He dragged her in the opposite direction of Goyle and Crabbe. “Madam Pomfrey is going to want to get a look at you.” Around the corner, out of sight of everyone else, he pushed her against the wall. “And I want to look at you too,” he said in a hushed tone.

Hermione smiled, her fake sickness vanishing in an instant. She grabbed the sides of his face with her hands and pulled him to her. Their lips collided, fulll of want and hungry for affection.

“I’ve missed you,” Draco whispered against her tongue. A thrill of excitement went through her. She wanted to say she felt empty and alone without him, but she didn’t. Instead, she welcomed his mouth so fully against her own, onlookers, had there been any, would have thought someone had thrown a “two become one” charm at them.