Tag Archives: YA

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.

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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…

Love Is The Darkest Art 21

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione fanfic serial

Scene 31:

The afternoon was growing overcast, though there were still a few hours left. Darkness seemed to be descending on the driveway leading to Malfoy Mansion. Not that Hermione or Draco noticed. They couldn’t see anything other than the back of their eyelids and the dreamscape that danced in their heads. Eyes closed, lips mingling moist kisses, melting like snow on a warm hearth, they were in their own moment and world. Having been seperated by unfortunate choices and pride for days, the time apart had brought them crashing against one another in intense joy and a desire neither of them understood.

Hermione could have stayed right there forever, at the beginning of the Malfoy driveway, inside of Draco’s embrace, but it was getting colder outside and the events of the day had exhausted them both. They needed the warmth of the house and to get off their feet for awhile.

“We should go inside,” Draco said. “They might be looking for us. If they followed…”

Hermione grabbed his hand. “Come on, let’s go.” She certainly didn’t want to be standing in the middle of the path if a slew of Death Eaters should apparate in front of them.

They both walked up the drive and to the house. A dog howled in the distance again. Was it the same one Hermione had noted on her arrival, or had perhaps another joined it to stalk them from some spot hidden in the woods?

“Wolves,” Draco told her, noticing her trepidation. “We get them around here sometimes.” He squeezed her hand. “Of course, most of them are friends of my dad.”

She gave him a sharp quizzical look, and he laughed. She punched him playfully in the arm, and they went up the front steps to the large ornate door of the mansion.

Once inside, Hermione was taken back by the size of the place. High ceilings, a large foyer, and when Draco led her to the dining hall with its immense fireplace, she was already thinking the place was more suited for giants than people.

Draco pulled a seat out for her at the table. She sat down in the high backed chair and glanced over at the fireplace. No flame burnt in its hearth and though they were inside now, she could see her own breath.

“How did you know where I was?” Hermione asked, as Draco sat in the chair beside her.

He looked at her with a confused look. “What do you mean?”

“When you saved me from your…um double?”

He hesitated. But only slightly. “Umbridge.”

Her jaw dropped. “Professor Umbridge sent you to save me?”

He laughed. “Hardly.” Getting up, he walked to the fireplace mantle, his back to her so he wouldn’t have to look in her eyes. “She sent me to spy on you.”

Now she stood up too. “Spy on me? For what?”

He sighed. “She says someone told her there was an unauthorized secret meeting going down and she wanted to know what it was. I guess she thinks you’re a real rebel.”

“Maybe I am,” Hermione replied proudly.

“I didn’t always think so, but I’m beginning to see that. I’m just not sure how far you want to take this rebel thing.”

“What’s that mean?”

He turned towards her. “Well…are you here to stay the night or….?”

Her face registered surprise, but it wasn’t shock. It was blushing embarassment.
“Draco, we can’t stay the night. We have to get back.”

“That’s true, but we both have afternoon passes. And the afternoon isnt over yet.” He looked around the room. “And there’s no one here but us.”

She smiled slyly. “What are you suggesting?”

He touched the side of her face. “A warm fireplace. David Bowie on the radio. You curled up in my lap. Me kissing you all over.”

“I think I get your point,” she replied breathlessly. She put her hand against his chest as if trying to feel his bare skin through the fabric. With her other hand she produced her wand and pointed it at the fireplace. Whispering the proper charm, she ignited the logs, which produced soft blue and red flames that seemed to dance to the beat of her own heart.

Draco placed his hand gently upon her chest as well, moving his hand slightly to feel the spot of her heart. Resting on the swell of her breast, he felt as if the blood within his hand was growing warmer, causing a gentle tingle that moved through his arm and on to other parts of his body.

Her kiss arrived softly against his face, lips slowly parting to allow his tongue to play across hers. Hermione leaned into him, her body pressed against his. She moved her hands to his back and allowed them to slide down his frame and squeeze. He smiled beneath their sweltering, passionate kiss and did the same with her, pulling her as close as he could with a soft caress upon the lowest part of her back. In each other’s hands they committed themselves to the flames of the fire, eventually sinking to the hearth where, she climbed onto his lap and took his face into her hands pulling it down to her throat and neck. His kisses landed there, wet, warm, and bent on sweet exploration of her skin. With nimble fingers he began to unbutton her blouse as the crackle of the fire seemed to grow with their attentions.

Hermione lost in the feel of Draco’s lips on her bare throat, threw her head back. As she did, she grabbed his shirt and pulled it open. She didn’t bother with his buttons. They popped loose from the cloth and scattered across the floor.

Perhaps it was the sound of the buttons skittering across stone that broke her thoughts of giving in to Draco and having him give in to her, but she found herself pulling her kiss from his and begging for breath. She felt as if the color was leaving her flesh and imagined she must now appear as a pale ghost in his eyes. “Draco…I..” she whispered, catching her breath in her throat and holding it there.

“I’m sorry,” he interrupted. “I..just…I..” He didnt know how to finish the sentence, and so just hung his head, not daring to look at her.

“It’s okay,” she reassured him, lifting his chin with her hand so his face was level with hers. Suddenly she felt as if she were ten years older, instead of just one. “I started it. You were just following my heart’s music. Speaking of which, what happened to Bowie?”

Draco had forgotten. In their almost love making, he’d forgotten to put David Bowie on the radio as he suggested. He rectified that with a quick charm. A song began to play seemingly from nowhere, it’s first lyrics bursting forth from a speaker cabinet she could not see. “The hand that wrote this letter sweeps the pillow clean…”

Hermione instantly recognized the tune. It had been playing in her classroom daydream, that first fantasy she had had of Draco. Had it been a prophecy of this moment? Of this day and all its possibilities?
“What’s this song?” she asked.

Draco grinned. “Letter to Hermione.”

“No, I’m being serious.”

“I am too. It’s called Letter to Hermione. Mom used to play it when I was little. Father hates it of course.”

She snickered. “Yeah I can imagine. Bowie is a muggle, isn’t he?”

“Actually, I think he’s The Goblin King.”

She looked at him, skeptical. Then laughed. “Very funny. I saw that movie too.”

The song continued to play in the background, and Draco took Hermione’s hand. He spun her around in a pirouette as if they were at a formal dance. Then he pulled her into his arms. “You know, this is a pretty sad song. He’s in love with a girl who is now with someone else. He’s not supposed to have her anymore.”

“Yes, that is sad,” she agreed in a whisper.

“Are we supposed to have each other, Hermione?”

The question surprised her, though she’d asked herself the same thing many times. “I try not to think about things like that,” she lied. “I try to just live in the moment.”

“You seem to be the kind of girl who thinks of the future, always planning ahead. Living in the moment isn’t you.”

“It is when I’m with you. Nothing else seems to matter. I mean, normally I’m worried about my studies and what’s happening at Hogwarts. I’m thinking of helping house elves, hoping my friends have good days. I worry about Harry. Ron, and Hagrid..”

He scowled and muttered, “Weasley is our king…”

She gave him a scolding look. “That wasn’t nice, by the way. You should stop teasing people so much.”

“I can’t help it, Hermione. It’s who I am, I guess.”

She shook her head. “No, it’s not who you are. I have seen the real you, Draco.”

“Then tell me who I am, because I don’t know.”

She put her hand up and touched his cheek. “You are beautiful,” she said. “Strong and brave, loyal to your family and friends. You are a planner yourself. For you it’s more than the moment. It’s a stepping stone to bolder, greater things. You have a loving heart but do not always allow it to shine.”

He opened his mouth to say something but she put her finger to his lips. “You have a kiss that sets me afire, Draco. You find all my secret desires and bring them to the light. I know you see yourself as something dark and lonely, but you are the brightest thing in my sky right now.” She kissed him lightly. “I want you to make me shine.”

Draco looked in her eyes, so deeply it was as if he were falling inside of her. “You already do, Hermione Jean.” He returned her soft kiss. “It is I whose sky is empty.”

“Not anymore, Draco.” This time, her kiss lingered full upon him, and did not fade until the last strain of the song was no more.

Love Is The Darkest Art 20

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione Fanfic Serial

Scene 29

For Draco and Hermione, their escape was part quick thinking, part luck. A few inches to the left and the charm from Draco’s wand would have been ineffective. The solid construction of the sewage tunnel would have stopped the hastily conjured bolt.

The two landed on their feet with a jolt. If they hadn’t been holding on to each other they might have collapsed to the floor. But as it was, they both landed in a half squat that sent shudders up their legs. Draco clutched Hermione and didn’t let her fall.

“Draco,” she began, nearly out of breath. “I’m….”

“Later,” he interrupted her grimly. He grabbed her hand and started leading her down the dank, smelly tunnel. At first, she heistated. She didn’t want to venture away from the light of their escape into the unknown darkness. Who knew what kind of creatures lurked in the shadows?

“Come on,” Malfoy urged. “They’ve called more Death Eaters. They will be here any min…”

A muffled pop came from the corridor ahead and they froze. Something or someone had just apparated in front of them. Both Draco and Hermione took a defensive stance with their wands.

Out of the shadows came a figure. Tall and cloaked in black. It’s face hidden beneath a hood and cowl, it almost hissed at the sight of them. Hermione’s first thought was Voldemort. Draco’s was his father. Neither of them were right.

“Fools,” the figure mumbled. “You can’t fight a death eater.”

“Watch me,” replied Draco bravely with a slight tremble to his voice.

The figure laughed in a low sinister tone. “It is beyond me why you are protecting a mudblood, but we all have our faults.”
There was something familiar about the voice, but it was being purposedly disguised. “Against my better judgement, I’m here to help you.”

“Oh yeah? What you going to do, disapparate us out of here?”

“I can’t take us all,” it replied. “One of you must stay.”

“Well fat chance of that. I’m not leaving Hermione.”

“You have a few seconds to stick by that. You both can be captured and possibly tortured by the other Death Eaters, or Draco, you can give me…the girl.” This last part he uttered with distaste in his mouth, as if Hermione was the last person he’d want to rescue.

“What do they want?” Granger blurted.

“Why Potter, of course,” came the man’s reply.

“Ha!” Draco explained. “I can’t stand him either. So why would…”

“They don’t want you, idiot.”

A series of thuds came from behind them. Three Death Eaters had just plopped down through the hole in the street. Draco spun, wand at the ready, and it was all the distraction their would-be rescuer needed. He reached out with a bony, gnarled hand and grabbed Hermione by the wrist. Before she could even scream, the figure disapparated, dragging Hermione with him.

Draco realized too late what happened. The Death Eater had teleported, vanished and reassembled somewhere else. And Hermione was his captive. Confronting the other Eaters who had crashed the party, Draco was struck with the notion they’d been working together all along to kidnap his girl. There were no good guys here. Not even him.

“Expelliarmus!” he shouted, thrusting his wand towards the Death Eaters. They easily deflected his charm and turned it back on him. His wand dropped from his hand as if someone had bent his fingers back to the point of breaking. He screamed and clutched his hand as the three figures bore down on him. “No,” he began to plead. “My father is…”

A muffled pop sounded from beside him. The hooded figure who’d taken Hermione was back. “Stop!” he commanded. He held his wand in a fighting stance, and the even though they unnumbered him three to one, there was something about his posture, his very height, that warned the death eaters a fight would be devastating to their ranks. “The boy is mine,” he further asserted. “He’s been promised to me…to deal with.”

There was some hesitation. One of the death eaters seemed unsure and made a lunge forward, waving his wand. The hooded figure uttered a few words low in his throat and a bolt of grey light erupted from the tip of his wand. It struck the death eater’s arm, engulfing his hand and wand momentarily before turning to dust and dissipating into the air. The death eater cried out in alarm and stopped his charge. Looking at his arm, he saw it had turned to stone. His hand began to crack and his eyes grew wide in terror. The wand broke and crumbled, its pieces tumbling to the floor of the tunnel. “No,” he moaned, watching his fingers start to do the same thing. He turned to his companions, his eyes imploring them to help him, but they’d never seen a charm attack like that. So they retreated and ran, leaving their companion to crumble alone.

Draco, shocked by the sight, nearly ran himself, but the hooded figure clutched his hand on his forearm. The last thing Draco noted before they both disapparated was that of the thin hand, it’s fingernails painted black, clutching his arm so tight it drew blood. There was something about that hand…

Scene 30:

Hermione Granger stood in the cold alone. The wind blew through the tall trees overhead, bare branches creaking so much she’d thought the limbs would break and come crashing down on her head. She stood in someone’s driveway. She didn’t know who’s. She didn’t even know where she was at. She’d been left here by the hooded mystery man who had disaparated her away from Malfoy and the attacking Death Eaters. When they had appeared in the drive, she’d looked up the lane, trying to determine who’s house they’d arrived at. “Don’t worry,” he said. “No one is home.” Then he vanished in the very same way they had appeared, leaving her alone, but apparently rescued from danger. For the time being anyway.

A dog howled in the distance and it sounded angry and agitated. The sound made her wary and she held her wand in front of her in case the animal rushed from the surrounding woods. A little voice inside warned her that maybe it wasn’t a dog she was hearing, but a wolf. Wolves attack from behind, the inner voice added, and she turned quickly, jabbing her wand in the air. But there was nothing there. No wolves. No dogs. Just the house at the end of the driveway.

The man must have intended she take refuge here, but was she ready to trust him? Just because he rescued her from the other dearh eaters, it was apparent he’d been one himself. When they’d aparated here she’d caught a glimpse of the mark on his forearm, and there was something dark about his very presence as if his very being was permeated by shadows. And he had taken her away from Draco. Seperated them. Left her alone at a dark mansion that looked anything but accomodating.

There was a popping sound from behind her and she jumped. The hooded man was back. And with him was Draco. She nearly dropped her wand as she ran into his arms. Draco clutched her just as tightly as she clung to him, and his kiss on her cheek seemed to make her forget there was a death eater in her midst. It wasnt until the figure spoke that she came out of her dreamy sense.

“The enemy is everywhere,” he spake darkly. “There won’t be many safe places. Go home Malfoy.”

Draco seemed to realize where he was at now. He looked around him and grinned. “Well, Hermione looks like you get to spend the weekend at my house anyway.”

“Your house? This is…”

“Malfoy Mansion,” he confirmed. “Why did you bring us here?” he asked, turning to the one who’d rescued them, but he was gone. He had vanished just as quickly as he’d arrived.

“Who was that?”

Draco looked at Hermione. “I’m not sure. Must be a friend of Father’s to know who I am and where I live. And he knew you too.”
He flashed her a devilish smirk. “But not the way I do…Hermione, I’m…”

“No,” she interrupted. “I’m sorry, Draco. I am so sorry I hurt you. I didn’t mean to. I just didn’t want you to go too far in trying to convince others that we weren’t together. When I saw you heading after Neville, I panicked and…”

“Hermione Granger,” Draco said, cutting her off. “Don’t you ever shut up?”

She looked at him in shock and surprise. Did he just…

His lips were on hers before she could even finish the thought.

Love Is The Darkest Art 19

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione fanfic serial

Scene 28

The doppelganger Draco sneered. “Unlike this little morsel, I am not afraid of you. I fear no one. Certainly not you, pathetic boy.” He glanced at Hermione. “Ah, to have your hands on such beauty and never doing a thing about it…”

“Let her go. This is your last warning.” To assert his meaning, Draco jabbed his double’s cheek slightly with his wand. “You don’t want to push me.”

“Push you? Ha! I’ll do more than that.” His eyes locked on Hermione who was still being held to the wall by his strength. “Ditch this clown, girl. I’ll show you a real man.”

The silencio curse was starting to wear off. Hermione moved her lips, her jaw trying to work, but still she could produce no sound. This made the villian laugh and she looked away from him. He looked too much like her Draco. Exactly like him to be sure.

As if knowing what she was thinking, Draco leaned toward her captor, his mouth at the doppleganger’s ear right next his wand. He whispered something she could not hear. It almost sounded like another language, and the resolute tone caused her to open her eyes.

The words were a charm and Hermione could see the effects working across the evil Draco’s face. His cheekbones seemed to shift, his chin dropping lower. His eyes, no longer silver grey slits, became blue tinged, bulbous orbs set in a head who’s very shape was changing. The change didn’t seem painful, for the face still leered at her, the lips pulling back and then resetting themselves against a set of teeth much larger than Draco’s. What had been the beautiful visage of Malfoy now revealed a scarred face she recognized. It was the man who had been in The Hog’s Head earlier, sitting across from the barman and laughing at an apparently baudy joke. Even then she’d found his gaze intrusive. Now it was downright invading.

The man, for the real version of him was clearly an adult, shifted on his feet so fast it caught both her and Draco off guard. In a series of twists, he was out from under Draco’s wand and drawing a deadly gnarled wand of his own. “Expelliarmus!” he shouted, pointing it directly at Malfoy.

Draco’s wand was pulled from his hand and it skidded across the cobblestones. The scarred man turned to Hermione who was reaching for her own wand. He uttered a command and jabbed his weapon in her direction. Before she could react, her feet were skidding across the alley carrying her towards him. Like a magnet pulling steel towards it, she was drawn to him and he wrapped an arm around her struggling form.
“No darling,” he said. “You’re coming with me. Someone wants to meet you…” He glared at Draco, who stood helpless with the villain’s wand pointing at him. “…after I’m done with you, of course,” he taunted.

Wrapping Hermione up in his cloak so hard she dropped her wand, he spun around and began to carry her off down the darkening alley. Draco cursed and reached down, picking up a loose cobblestone. He heaved the brick piece. It sailed through the air like a runaway snitch on a quidditch pitch, and found its target.

The scarred man grunted when the brick hit him in the back of his head. He released Hermione and spun angrily towards Draco. But the Slytherin was on him before he could raise his wand. Crack! A right hook across the bridge of his nose made it snap with a spray of blood, but he didnt go down. Even when Draco attempted to tackle him, it didn’t knock him off his feet. It however did knock him into the wall, where Draco released him and landed three hard blows to his Solar Plexus.

Hermione scrambled away from them both, her hands reaching on the alley floor for her wand. To her surprise, and despite the scarred man’s bulkier form, Draco was landing blow after blow to the man’s face, rocking the villain’s head back and forth. It was almost scary, the fury that exuded from Malfoy’s clenched fists. “I told you… to get… your hands… off her,” she heard him growl between blows.

She finally grasped her wand, raised it and took aim. Somebody grabbed it out of her hands and she screamed. A cloaked and hooded figure stood towering over her. He stood over six feet and out from under his dark cloak she saw the tattoo on his forearm. A skull and snake. The Dark Mark of a Death Eater.

“Draco!”

Malfoy turned to her screams and lost his furious advantage. The scarred man clocked Draco across the side of his head. The man wore ornate rings which cut into Draco’s skull and made his head swim with blackness. Before he hit the ground, he saw a second hooded figure come out of the shadows and grab Hermione, lifting her off the ground in its inescapable grip.

Scarface kicked Draco in the ribs, leaning over him and pointing his wand into his face. Looking up, Draco saw the Death Eater mark on his arm. “She’s mine now,” the man said. “Don’t bother trying to follow us.”

“I’m going to kill you,” Draco promised.

The Death Eater threw back his head and laughed. “On the contrary, boy,” he snarled. “I’m going to kill you.” He glanced over to Hermione, still struggling to escape the other Eater that held her. “Want to know what I’m going to do to her?…”

Draco whispered something so low it was unintelligible.

Instinctively, the man leaned down. “What’s that?”

Draco replied in a sinister hiss, “Nothing.” Then he raised his head and bit the man’s ear off. Blood splayed across the man’s cheek and he howled, dropping his wand.

Hermione screamed again. The two Death Eaters were on the run, dragging her down the alley.

Pushing the injured man away, Draco bounded to his feet, recovered his own wand and was in pursuit. He didnt even look back to see if Scarface was going to hurl a curse his way. He had to get his girl from those goons.

They were ahead of him, getting ready to pass through a black door of an unmarked building. He hurled a bolt from his wand and it went by them, striking the stones at their feet. A shower of blinding sparks shot up and it made them stop. They spun around, with Hermione in front of them like a shield.

“This is for the other day,” Draco shouted, and hurled another bolt. Right at Hermione. It struck her in the stomach knocking the wind out of her and effectively shoving her into the death eater that held her. They both fell, she on top of him, landing on the rough stones of the alleyway.

Draco was already hurling a charm at the second death eater, who couldn’t believe a kid was attacking him. What kind of boy attacks one of Voldemort’s own. He soon found out when the charm struck, a curse that spun him around several times and smashed his face into the wall. It was surprising move, as it was one known only to Death Eaters. How the hell does a kid know that one, the figure thought before losing consciousness.

Hermione found herself being hauled to her feet. Still coughing from the bolt blow, her eyes were watering up, but she could still Draco’s determined face as he thrust her behind him and faced the Death Eater he’d liberated her from. The figure snarled underneath its hood and laughed.

“Enjoy your freedom for a few more seconds,” he hissed.

Draco looked up to the sky with fear and then back at the death eater. “Too bad we won’t be here to witness it.”

He spun to shield Hermione in his own cloak and aimed his wand at their own feet. There were sparks against the pavement, a blinding light flashed, causing the death eater to shield his eyes. The alley collapsed beneath Draco and Hermione, dropping them into a newly formed hole in the street, down into the depths of the village sewers.

Love Is The Darkest Art 18

Love Is The Darkest Art

A Dramione fanfic serial

Scene 26:

Hermione thought the meeting had went well. In fact, she was very happy with the turnout. There had been more students than she thought interested in learning Defense Of The Dark Arts the right way instead of Umbridge’s heavily watered down lessons. Hermione had spent many hours secretly telling others about this gathering. But attendance had exceeded expectations. She felt most of this was due to Ginny’s boyfriend Michael Corner and his connections in Ravenclaw. Regardless, the word had spread, and though there some concerns and squabbles she felt a leap in progress had been made.

A few things had stood out to her at the Hogshead gathering. One of course was the fact that she, Harry, and Ron were not the only ones unhappy with the new curriculum at school. Another was that getting involved in this took her mind off Draco. At least, for the most part. She did think of him and missed him greatly. She’d wished he was the type of person who would have wanted to be a part of this. Despite the affection they had secretly shared however, she knew deep down this wasn’t him and he’d never be in the same room with Harry exchanging pleasantries. Draco was a part of her life she couldn’t share with anyone. Or at least he had been.

While the meeting had gone well, and Draco’s presence would have created division, it did have its moments of uneasiness. The venue hadn’t exactly been the safest place for kids to be hanging out. It was a dingy, dirty place that catered to all manner of questionable patrons. It was the place to go if you didnt want to be seen. And there were plenty of shady characters there in the midst of their meeting.

A hooded witch, their face completely hidden under veil in the shadows, sat in the corner. There was no telling if the figure was listening in but it made her uneasy. A man with a scarred face sat at the bar laughing with the bartender over some unheard yet undoubtedly baudy joke. A few times he had glanced in Hermione’s direction and she’d quickly averted his eyes as his gaze was so penetrating she almost felt naked. And then there was a hag of a woman who kept casting hateful glares in her direction as if youth repulsed her. Perhaps it was just her imagination, but it seemed that everyone was staring at her and it gave her a claustrophobic feeling. The only thing that put her at ease was returning her attention to the meeting and ignoring the rest.

Afterwards, standing outside the Hogs Head, she didnt see any of the ones that made her feel uncomfortable. She and Harry and Ron discussed the great turnout, while Ron had been in shock over the news his sister was dating someone and he was the last to know. Hermione wanted to say she was glad she found someone to be happy with. After all Ginny had crushed on Harry like forever and he paid her no mind. Hermione couldn’t blame her for giving up on Harry. It was clear he had eyes for Cho Chang anyway. Hermione had seen them casting quick glances and nervous smiles in each others direction and it made her miss Draco even more. She had to try and make amends with him somehow. Perhaps she’d get him a gift.

She told the others she was going to do some shopping before hesding back to Hogwarts, the boys look less than thrilled. “It will be okay. I think I can manage by myself,” she explained, much to their apparent relief.
Something about boys and shopping just didn’t seem to work unless you were at Zonko’s Joke Shop. But she had something else in mind. Though Draco could be a prankster, for this occasion something more special was required. She wanted to go to Madame Boffery’s, a shop of mature men gifts. She didn’t know what she was looking for exactly but it sure wasn’t an exploding whoopee cushion.

She watched Harry and Ron saunter away happily. They looked back a few times, and each time she waved. When she couldn’t see them anymore, she turned and made her way in the opposite direction.

Scene 27:

Hermione hadn’t lied. She had every intention of going to the shop and getting Draco a small present to act as a peace offering. But she never made it. As she rounded the corner from The Hog’s Head, Malfoy was already waiting. Wearing his usual black attire and a cloak emblazoned with the Slytherin crest, he was leaning against the wall. It was obvious he’d been waiting for her outside the meeting because he gently pushed himself away from the wall and stepped towatd her, a confidant swagger to his walk.

“Hermione,” he said. “You are absolutely…”

“I’m sorry Draco,” she blurted out, cutting him off. She couldn’t hold it any longer. Her guilt was overflowing inside her, and she had to offer whatever apologies she could to restore things to what they had been. “I didn’t mean to hurt you, really I didn’t,” she tried to explain, her voice cracking.

At first he looked confused, as if he’d forgotten and put the incident behind him already, but then he smiled. “It’s okay,” he breathed with a sigh. “It was nothing really.”

“Nothing? You haven’t spoken to me for days.”

Again that smile of his that made her weak. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

She could have slapped him. Absence what? How dare he put her through all this misery for nothing? She had been distraught and empty without him. If it hadn’t been for the meeting, she’d probably be back at her dorm beating herself up and trying not to cry her eyes out.

“Draco Malfoy,” she scolded, “you are the biggest…”

He took her in his arms and kissed her hard on her mouth. At first she thought of pushing him away as punishment, but she surrendered, welcoming his lips upon hers. He clutched her tightly, opened his mouth against her own, his tongue probing hungrily past her lips. The urgency surprised her. It was a little different than their other times together, but she liked it. Perhaps absence didnt just bring fondness, but desperation as well.

The world seemed to spin in his arms, but then she realized he was the one spinning, turning her, pushing her back against the wall. She felt herself pleasantly pinned and then his hands trailed down her body, across her breasts.

“Draco, wait, what are you…?”

“I can’t wait any longer,” he whispered in her ear. One hand moved down to her stomach and lingered there. “I’ve waited too long to make love to you again.”

She closed her eyes. She knew they were in public, down a side street. Someone would see them. But the sensations threatened to overcome her. This was Draco. Wonderful, sexy Draco. He was kissing her. Touching her. Wanting to make love to her again. Suddenly, her mind snapped awake, as if out of some kind of hypnosis. Again?, she thought. But we’ve never made love. How can we do that again if we’d never gone that far in the first…She struggled in his grasp. “No, Draco. Stop.”

He didn’t listen, but leaned his body against her restricting her struggles. “I know you want to,” he whispered.

She wasn’t sure what she wanted from Draco, but it wasn’t this. She had to admit she’d thought of adult intimacy with him, but never ugly or violent. Lovemaking should be beautiful, not forced upon you. “Stop it!” she shouted. “Let me go, Draco!”

“Silencio,” he commanded, and all sound left her. She opened her mouth to scream but nothing came out. She called for help, but all that came back was a vaccum of quiet. She began to cry and Malfoy grinned wickedly. “Oh yes, cry, Hermione. I like that,” he sneered.

She closed her eyes against the assault, squeezing them shut, wishing more than anything that Draco would stop. And then he did. Not because she had willed it, prayed, or wished it though. For upon opening her eyes, she saw the point of a wand pushed into Draco’s cheek. At the other end, someone demanded angrily, “Get your damn hands off my girl.”

Draco froze. His hands relaxed. He was going to let her go. After all, why wouldn’t he? It was another Draco at the end of the wand. This one grimaced in disgust at the horrible version that had attacked Hermione. “You okay, baby?”

She sighed in relief. She nodded, signaling her yes, for her voice was still stolen.

“You should be grateful she is unharmed,” the real Draco said, his wand hand steady, his silver eyes glaring. “Otherwise I’d have to peel that devilishly handsome face right off you by hand.”