Tag Archives: fantasy

50 Word Story #15

Looking at the beautiful asian girl sitting across from me, I took a sip of my coffee. I thought to myself even if I didn’t believe in magic, magic would believe in me. “Harry,” Cho said, “I wish it were me you were marrying instead of Ginny.” I kissed her.

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50 Word Story #12

50 Word Story #12

The sun rises and casts its bright gaze across the molten landscape. The fires of the battle before still burn, fallen bodies drying out in the heat and drawing scavengers to the smoking field. Barren from the war, nothing grows here and no one moves. Everything is dead except memory.

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.

Love Is The Darkest Art 22

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione fanfic serial

Scene 32:

Draco and Hermione took the night bus back to Hogwarts. They sat in the back so they could have their privacy, yet it didn’t really matter. They were the only ones onboard. Hermione held Draco’s hand in her lap, her fingers curled around his. Her head lay over on his shoulder in perfect contentment. She wished the bus would drive far past the school and take them far away to where no one knew them.

Draco looked at her and smiled. Kissing the top of her head, he too imagined the night bus would carry them far from familiar surroundings and deposit them somewhere they could start life anew. Returning to Hogwarts brought the realization they would be a secret once more.

The afternoon had been amazing. Though it had included being attacked by death eaters, they had spent the late afternoon alternating between cuddling by the fire and slow dancing to music within the empty solace of Malfoy Manor. At one point Draco had revealed the secret piano, an ancient musical instrument hidden by a charm. It had sat invisible in the corner but with a wave of his wand it appeared and began to play a beautiful song. Hermione loved the melody it played and she allowed Draco to sway her around the floor, his cheek against hers, warm sweet breath in her ear. The fact he hadn’t replaced his then buttonless shirt and instead left it open made the dance even more wonderful. Despite being sorry for ripping all the buttons off earlier, her hands rested on his exposed chest, tracing her name on his skin. When the sweet melody finished, she sighed, “That was beautiful.”

“One day I’m going to learn how to play it with my own hands,” he promised.

“I believe you can do whatever you set your mind to do.”

“What about what my heart sets to do?”

She smiled. “I believe the heart may be a little more fickle than that.”

Draco laughed in her ear. “Yes, I suppose you’re right. When I graduate I’m liable to get married to Pansy Parkinson.”

Hermione raised an eyebrow. “Oh God no. I think you’d be more compatible with Daphne Greengrass.”

“Well, Daphne is a true blood,” he replied, thinking of his Slytherin classmate. “And she comes from an old, respected wizarding family.” He put his hand on his chin as if lost in thought. “Hmmmm…”

“This mudblood is going to kick your butt,” Hermione replied with a smirk across her face.

Draco laughed again. “Mmmm, that’s what I like.”

The late afternoon had been like that. Joyful teasing, playful picks on each other. With their time at the Malfoy Estate, things seemed natural. Their relationship took on the feel of real boyfriend and girlfriend, and found them kissing madly whenever the conversation lagged.

“I wish it could always be this way,” Hermione remarked at one point.

Draco sighed. “Me, too.”

But somewhere inside, Hermione felt it was a wish that would never be granted. There was no charm or spell that would change who they were. No bottled genie was going to appear and change the world around them. The stars above would always be crossed while fate laughed at them from across the street. Even the darkest arts couldn’t find a place for their affections to dwell.

“It’s getting late,” Hermione said, trying not to sob over these realizations.

Draco pulled away from her to look in her eyes. There was no hiding the fact they were tearing up. “What’s wrong, Hermione?”

“Nothing,” she quickly answered. “It’s just…we better be getting back. We’re going to be in enough trouble as it is.”

He looked at her, trying to determine the truth as if it were hidden on her skin somewhere. When she didn’t explain her emerging tears further, he kissed her eyelids. “Whatever is wrong, you can tell me whenever you wish to, and we’ll find a solution together.”

“I know,” she replied. “But I don’t think any solution will make us happier.”

“Hey,” he said lifting her face to his. “I’m happy now.” He gave her a brief kiss on her trembling lips. “Aren’t you?”

She looked into his gray eyes and offered up a smile. “Yes, I am.” She kissed him back and pushed every negative thing away from her, into the shadows where they belonged.

Scene 33:

Now on the night bus, Hermione’s thoughts were on what she was going to say when they arrived back at Hogwarts. This was going to be awkward, them showing up together after dark. Their passes had only been for the afternoon, and they were late.
They had better be getting their story straight, but neither of them had spoken much since boarding the bus.

“What are we going to tell them?”

Draco didnt look at her, but stared out the window. “I dont know. We got lost perhaps.”

She shook her head. “Together? I don’t think anyone will believe we are hanging out by choice.”

“Then we’ll pretend it wasn’t by choice. We’ve been enemies for years. Shouldn’t be hard to keep up appearances.”

Hermione smirked. “It may be easy for you to do that, but I’m having a hard time pretending now. For us to be so close and yet here we are hiding how we feel.”

He looked out the window onto the night. “I wish we didn’t have to hide it. But you know as well as I do it’s too dangerous and damaging to do otherwise.”

“It’s already dangerous, Draco. We had to fight Death Eaters today. And i still don’t understand why they wanted to kidnap me or whatever. The one who rescued us said it was to get at Harry, but why didn’t they attack Cho? That’s the girl he’s crazy about.”

Draco looked at her. “Cho Chang? From Ravenclaw? But wasn’t she?….”

“Cedric’s girlfriend, yes.”

“Well that makes more sense now. Crazy about, you say?”

“Yeah, he is. After what happened to Cedric…”

“Yeah what did happen to Cedric?”

“Voldemort, he…”

“No, not what Potter’s saying. What really happened?”

“What do you mean, Draco?” She pulled her hand from his. “Are you saying you don’t believe Harry’s account?”

Draco looked so hard at her it was as if he were boring holes into her soul. “I loathe Harry Potter,” he said in a distasteful whisper.

“But why? I have never understood your animosity towards…”

“All my life,” he replied cooly, “All I’ve heard is Harry this and Harry that. The boy who lived they drilled into my head, as if i were the boy who died or something. Next to Potter I have been meaningless. I come from a well respected, prodigious family and where does he come from? Dead parents, that’s where. And that damned scar on his forehead. First time i saw him I wanted to smack it off him.”

Hermione put her hand back over his, though she didn’t like the things he was saying about her friend. But this wasn’t about Potter. It was about Malfoy. “Draco, you have never been meaningless. Not to me. Not now.”

“But i was once. Once upon a time I never mattered to you. And it will be that way again.”

Surprise on her face. “How can you say that? Draco, I…” She stopped before she could say anything further.

“You what?” He waited for an answer that didn’t come.

“I…,” she uttered, and turned her head from him. “Draco, I’m not going to..”

“That’s what I thought,” he said. “I may not be Draco the meaningless, but I’m certainly Draco the distraction.”

“You are not a distraction,” she shouted in frustration. “Draco, I care so much about you. I…”

“See, you can’t say it. You, and all your high and mighty, goody good attitude…”

“Draco, shut up a minute, will you? Would you give me a chance to talk. You are so wrapped up in your own negarive idea of yourself, drowning in self pity and disdain for everyone else you won’t even allow yourself to believe someone could have feelings for you. Damn it Draco, I love you.”

It came out quicker than she intended, and she instantly went quiet, fearing he now knew the greatest secret of her heart.

At her outburst, Draco looked at her as if she’d just said the most incredulous thing. “You love me?”

She hesitated but a second. “Yes Draco, I love you.”

For a moment it looked as if he were going to cry. A tear welled up in the corner of a silver grey eye. He bit his lip to keep it from trembling unti it drew blood. A dot of crimson appeared on his mouth and Hermione gew alarmed.

“Draco, stop it. You are hurting yourself,” she cried out.

He stopped biting his lip and looked into her eyes, letting her be the first girl to ever see tears brought forth by his own hopes and fears. “I have always loved you,” he said, before she kissed the very blood from his lips and wrapped him in her arms.

The night bus drove on…