Chapter 9 : Trust Issues
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It was funny how life could toss you around like a toe rag.
He was standing in a group of seven, feeling very out of place. There was a girl standing next to him, a girl he didn't particularly like, and the six others he liked even less. He was pretty sure the feeling was mutual.
It wasn't quite clear to him why he was there. The others were trying to figure out what the Death Eaters had wanted and why they had left so suddenly without claiming any casualties.
They were currently in a round tower room. It had a distinct smell to it, almost like all the blood that had once been wiped off the sharp blades of the swords - which were now leaning uselessly against the walls - had stained the air with fear and death. The twelve arched windows let in the heavy darkness outside and the six burning torches sent light and shadow dancing around the wide open space. The only furniture dominating the Spartan-like room was a round oak table with its thirteen high-backed chairs. Everything about the room was intimidating, almost depressing, but it was supposed to look like that. It was a room for studying the art of war.
Were they going to win? He didn't care. Right now the only thing he cared about was his growling stomach and the fact that he hadn't eaten properly since yesterday.
He wasn't listening to their conversation, not until someone mentioned a captured Death Eater. In his mind's eye he saw his father sitting in an uncomfortable chair, his broken wand lying on a table nearby. He knew they wouldn't put a sack over his head, but in that image, the man had been defeated completely - a rope painfully tight around him and even the aforementioned sack on his head. The goody-two-shoes would never make him suffer until he was thrown back into Azkaban.
"Mr. Malfoy, do you know him?" It was the bearded old fool, but Draco had no idea about what he was speaking.
"Sorry, Sir?" Damn, old habits die slowly.
"The Death Eater, Maximillian Metzger?"
Had he ever met the man? Probably at one of the dinner parties his mother so loved to arrange. Metzger, Metzger... didn't it mean a butcher? "I've met him once. The man is an idiot after drinking too much firewhiskey." The bastard had tried to take a feel of his mother like she was some kind of a harlot. It had infuriated him so much that he had been able to pull the pig off his mother with all the strength of a thirteen-year-old. He hadn't been brave; it had nothing to do with bravery. They had just looked so utterly disgusting together that his mind had gone red with fury.
The memory still made him almost shake.
But the worst part was his mother's words: "We're not going to tell your father, dear. He wouldn't understand." It was the way she had said it - like she had been ashamed of herself.
"What can you tell us about him or his relations with the other Death Eaters?" It was almost a civil conversation between him and the old goat. What had changed in those few short days? The last time he had been face to face with the Headmaster, he had screamed his lungs dry. Never kill the messenger, they say... but he hadn't been ready for the knowledge of his mother going crazy and burning the Malfoy Manor. He hadn't known how to handle the cold truth. For some reason, it was easier to carry it now, though.
Was it because of her?
"Not much. He thinks he's the ladies' man. He has a loud mouth and he brags about the things he's seen - not done, but seen." His voice seemed somehow hollow like he was shouting from a distance. "He knows everyone, but everyone doesn't know him. He's a leech, a hang-around."
Dumbledore gave him a short smile. "You seem to know quite a lot after just one meeting."
Draco shrugged. "I keep my eyes open. A Slytherin trait."
The carrot-headed Weasel snorted.
"Something funny?" Draco turned his eyes to the other boy, urging him to pick a fight. He needed to ventilate his stale emotions.
"You. You are funny. What the hell are you doing here?" Ron took a few threatening steps towards the blond boy. "You'll sell us out!"
Harry grabbed him by the elbow. "Ron, let him be." He sounded exhausted. Draco noticed that he was leaning on one of the chairs and there seemed to be something wrong with his left leg; he didn't put any weight on it.
"Let us sit down. We have a long night ahead of us." Dumbledore pulled a chair from under the table and sat down. The others followed his lead.
Draco sat next to Hermione, but nobody sat on his other side. He felt like the outsider he really was. It didn't matter if Dumbledore thought he might be able to offer something to their cause. They would all still hate him.
Ron kept glaring at him over the table and he winked at the other boy, smirking, taunting him. At least he knew how to handle the Weasel. Potter was a different story. It had been the third time the boy had shown decency towards him that day. It puzzled him. Why did he do it?
He didn't have to ask. The Flamed Wonder did it for him.
"Why are you defending him? He's evil. He's not on our side - he said it himself." Ron tried to hide the hurt in his voice, but didn't quite manage. He was really upset about his two best friends being kind to the cunning Slytherin. He knew exactly what type of a person the cold bumptious idiot sitting opposite him was. He would never care about anyone if he didn't gain a thing from it.
Harry lifted his tired eyes from the table, looking straight into the eyes of the Slytherin in question. "He's not going to betray us and," he paused for a moment, as though emphasizing his point, "we really need everyone we can get."
Why was Potter so sure? Had he ever given them any reason to believe in him? Did he even want to? Maybe he didn't have a place to go to anymore, but he certainly didn't want to end up on the losing side either. Would Potter lose?
"If you promise me a victory," he mumbled, and suddenly it mattered a whole lot more if they were going to win or lose.
"Now that we are all settled," Dumbledore began. "I would like to thank Professor Snape for his quick thinking. Without him we would have a very dead Death Eater on our hands. Voldemort has given an order to his underlings; all captured Death Eaters must end their lives before any information can forcefully be taken from them. Mr. Metzger tried to oblige."
Dumbledore's eyes travelled around the table, searching the hearts of his allies, the young, the old and the ageless. There was Minerva, his closest friend and confidant. There was Severus, the man he once saved. There was Amadeus, the hope they so gravely needed. And there were the children, their future. Harry Potter, living up to the prophecy; Ronald Weasley, true friend to the very end; Hermione Granger, a kind-hearted and strong scholar; Draco Malfoy, a bit of a mystery but hopefully proven worthy.
"Since Veritaserum is useless against the followers of Voldemort, we had to use a different method. Amadeus," Dumbledore gave the longhaired wizard a small nod, "managed to extract an image from Metzger's mind, an image of a book. As of yet, we do not know what this book is about nor do we know why it is so significant to the Dark Lord. We hope to solve that now."
Draco glanced at Hermione and noticed that she was looking at him intently. Her eyes were questioning if he knew anything about the book or Voldemort's intentions. Actually, he could feel all their eyes on him, shooting similar questions in his direction. Did they really think he was a Death Eater? That his oh-so-proud father would ever tell him anything, especially after he was sentenced to Azkaban?
Dumbledore coughed and then continued, "They didn't take any lives, but it doesn't mean they didn't cause us losses. The Restricted Section of the library has been destroyed almost completely. All the precious knowledge for defeating the Dark Lord that was planted in those books has been taken away from us."
Hermione gasped and Draco could instantly feel her pain. He knew she loved books, he knew she yearned for knowledge; losing her precious books was like a stab to her heart.
Without thinking he took her hand under the table and squeezed it gently.
Her sharp breaths slowed a bit as she felt his touch and she turned her eyes to him, bewildered. He kept his eyes directed to the Headmaster, acting like nothing was happening under the table, like he wasn't comforting her. She squeezed him back and after a few moments of holding each other, he let go.
It was hard for her to control her expressions. She almost felt like blushing, but mostly she just wanted to... what? Smile? She felt idiotic. Had he really changed? Would he be worth her trust? She wished that more than ever.
"I would like all of you to try and remember if you have encountered any such books that might interest Voldemort, any new or old editions? We need to find out if he already has it or if we still can hide, destroy or use it ourselves. It is most-"
A knock on the door interrupted his monologue. Without waiting for an answer the person behind the door pushed it open and came in with a huffing and puffing air around her. Madam Pince looked like she had cried a river, drowned in it and then been woken from the dead. Her dress was torn and her hair was sticking in all directions.
She was mumbling to herself, "Six thousand and thirty-five. Six thousand and thirty-five," as she limped to the Headmaster's side.
"Dear Ms. Pince," Dumbledore said in an affectionate way.
"Six thousand and thirty-five," she screamed, sounding rather crazy. "We lost them all. Burned. Stolen. Lost. Lost forever. My books." She fell to her knees, weeping into the Headmaster's robes.
Everyone around the table was looking at the disheveled woman, some feeling sorry for her, some watching her in disgust, some feeling totally indifferent.
"Now, now. We'll find new ones. Good ones. Those treasures you haven't been able to find anywhere. Amadeus here has promised to send his collection to us. It's over four thousand copies. Isn't that wonderful?" Even though Dumbledore was good at handling upset people, this was a bit out of his league. She was hardly listening, her screams of despair filling the room with echos. Madam Pince had just lost her true love.
Argus Filch peeked from the open doorway and then walked in quietly, stopping only for a second to pull up the mess of a woman. "My apologies, Sir." He quickly escorted her from the room.
"What was that all about?" Hermione mouthed to Draco and the boy shrugged, not caring enough to think anything of it.
"Ahem," Dumbledore cleared his throat. "I want you to talk openly about any books you've found interesting lately, preferably new books that you haven't seen before. Talk. Take your time. In the mean time, I will talk to Mr. Graveriver and find out what kind of books he sent us months ago. We should have anti-hexed those book boxes ages ago."
The Headmaster walked out of the room, leaving the others in quiet uncertainty. There had been hundreds of books in each of their hands since the beginning of the school year. Where to begin? What to look?
"It's probably this." Draco pulled a black leather-covered book from the back pocket of his trousers.
Hermione looked shocked. "You stole that, you creep. How dare you?" She tried to snatch the book back but he wouldn't let her. He just lifted the book above his head, hid it behind his back, threw it to his other hand and dodged every move she made.
"Give me that, you idiot."
"What is it?" Harry interrupted their quarrel.
They turned to watch him, Draco smirking and Hermione blushing with anger. "It's nothing," she said quickly, but Draco threw the book to Harry, saying, "Look for yourself."
Hermione hit him in the arm, but he didn't care. Seeing the girl furious made him feel good; she was so charming when angered.
As he watched Harry flip the pages, he also noticed that the professors had left the table and were now standing in front of one of the arched windows. They were whispering frantically, a few words here and there getting a bit louder than others. They were clearly disagreeing on some issues and it was rather easy to detect that Amadeus and Professor Snape didn't particularly like one another. Their argument intrigued Draco slightly, but not enough to keep his attention.
Potter had a curious expression on his face, almost as though he was reading something forbidden. He very well was. How could Hermione get her hands on a book full of Dark Arts? No wonder she hadn't wanted him to hand it over to her best friend.
"What? How?" Harry asked both of them, sounding very confused. "Where did you get it? Whose is it?"
Draco watched Hermione for a second and as she didn't seem to want to give an answer, he decided to share his thoughts. "It's hers." He pointed at Hermione with his thumb. "She brought it with her to my bedroom."
Ron and Harry both stood abruptly, sending their chairs clattering to the stone floor. "WHAT?" they screamed as one. It was the first time Draco saw Potter lose his facade that day.
"No you don't," Hermione said determinedly. "You shut your mouth now or I will dig your eyes out with your wand." She turned to look at the two boys who were shaking with fury. "Listen. He's an idiot. He's mixing things to make everything sound weird and... and... just forget about him."
"Forget?" Ron continued to scream. "He... you... in his bedroom. You? Hermione, what's going on?"
Draco looked at them, an amused expression on his face. How he loved to raise a havoc. "Didn't she tell you we've been sleeping together?"
Okay, now he might have gone a bit too far.
Ron jumped on the table and with amazing speed rammed him down, landing on top of him. Two huge fists were now pummeling him with a greater strength than he could have ever guessed. That had never happened to him before. No matter how big his mouth was, people were always afraid of him because of his family. The Weasel was way beyond caring. Did he love Hermione? The thought seemed somehow depressing and made him finally realize that he could actually do something about his current predicament.
His nose was broken. He could hear Hermione screaming for Ron to stop. And Potter, he was standing a bit further away, arms folded and eyes burning. Draco had never seen such disgust in his eyes.
"Ron!" Hermione yelled. "Get off him. He's good with wandless magic; he can hurt you."
Bloody hell, the bint was only interested in the welfare of the Weasel while he was the one being pummeled to death. And it was frigging painful too. With great effort he kicked the other boy off him.
"What part of sleeping didn't you understand?" he asked as though the whole misunderstanding hadn't been his fault. "Sleeping as in 'My eyes are so closed and my mind is so full of moving pictures that I haven't even noticed that there is a girl beside me.' Sleeping. Do I make myself clear?"
"Why?" It was Potter, the hero. Had he ever done anything wrong? Was he always this bloody perfect?
"Because we hate each other, because I wanted to get rid of her, because the knitting class was so tiring. Bloody hell, the girl just barged in to my room with a knife in her hand. She's a vile creature, you know. Didn't even ask if I wanted to give her any of my precious pure blood." He swallowed with difficulty and then spit out some of that precious blood. Hah, he was getting used to the pain.
"What is he talking about?" Potter asked Granger as though he wasn't clear enough.
"The separation process. I needed his blood for the potion. He wouldn't come out of his room, so I had to go there - we needed to be connected while the process was still active." Hermione sighed. "It's over now, though. We lost the process and now we have to work together again. You can probably see why I'm not particularly happy about it."
"You didn't... you know... sleep with him then?" Ron looked up at Hermione, blushing heavily.
"No, Ron, I didn't. I can't believe you are asking me that."
Oh, aren't we chaste now. He could remember with absolute clarity how chaste the girl had been last night. How she had pushed him against the sink and kissed him with those perfect lips, how she had purred in his arms. She couldn't believe, eh? Maybe he would have to remind her.
"Don't worry, boys. I wouldn't touch the Mudblood with a ten foot pole." Draco pushed himself up, almost falling over because of all the spinning that was occurring inside his head. "Now, where were we?"
Hermione looked at him with utter disbelief. Her eyes were dark brown, almost like velvety chocolate, and the hurt was evident on her face. Like she hadn't hurt him first.
At that moment Dumbledore returned, looking sombre and somehow older than just mere minutes ago.
"Quiet," he said wearily, getting all the attention in the room. The professors gathered around him, too, forgetting their earlier argument. The sudden feel of doom filled the room, making all of their hearts heavy with fear. Even Draco felt the weight on his shoulders.
"Oscar Graveriver was once the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts - just before Professor Quirrell. He had more knowledge on Dark Wizards than any of us did. He fought with the first Order, but has now retired completely. As his farewell gift, he sent his book collection to us, thinking wisely that those copies might be useful in this war. The Restricted Section was full of book cases sent by him.
"In one of those cases was a book, which I believe is the very same the Dark Lord is looking for. And if he has it... if he got it..." He didn't have to continue, everyone in the room knew what it meant.
"But sir, how will we know if he did get it?" Hermione asked. It was agitating for her to see all the powerful people she knew quivering.
Dumbledore was about to answer when Harry suddenly fell to the ground, screaming in agony. He was clutching his head, turning from side to side in frantic motion. For a few seconds everything else froze except the boy in pain.
Hermione ran to Harry, trying to hold him, keep him safe, but he was convulsing uncontrollably and she could do nothing to help him. Ron took hold of her, letting her bury her head to his chest.
Draco watched everything move in slow motion. Harry falling to the ground, the light crack of his elbow as it hit the stone floor, his glasses askew. Hermione running to him, getting a well-directed kick to her chin, Ron's arms around her. Amadeus pushing past everyone, kneeling beside the black haired boy and pushing Harry's hands aside, revealing the lightning bolt scar, screaming red, bleeding badly, sending red streams running down the boy's face.
Amadeus placed his left hand on the scar and suddenly there was a complete stillness.
Draco exhaled, realising that he had just held his breath.
"Is he all right?" Professor McGonagall asked, concerned and weary.
Harry sat up abruptly. "He's going to kill Metzger!" He looked directly at Professor Snape who took a few long steps towards the room where Maximillian Metzger was held captive. He pushed the door open, only to find the man lying on the floor, his skin green and his eyes open, revealing the horror of his last moments.
"He's dead," Professor Snape said plainly.
"But how?" Professor McGonagall voiced the question they all harbored.
Amadeus leaned on the doorframe. "It's the Mark."
Their eyes found the burning Dark Mark on the left forearm of the late Maximillian Metzger. It was oozing a green liquid, quite like poison. Dumbledore and Snape looked at each other, their hearts heavy with worry.
"He's dead?" Harry came to stand beside Hermione and Ron, looking like he had just experienced something far worse than a mere Cruciatus curse. Draco felt the urge to ask him what had happened. He wanted to know. Was this part of being a hero?
Dumbledore put a hand on Harry's shoulder. "Yes," he said and then added quietly, "there was nothing we could have done." It was too true. What if Lord Voldemort found out about Severus Snape, his most trusted follower? If he could kill a man through the Mark, what would stop him from killing Snape?
Harry sighed, resting his hands on his knees. "At least he didn't get the book."
"He didn't?" There was hope in the old mans voice again. "Harry, he didn't?"
"No. He's never been this angry before. He didn't even protect his mind. He was... he tried to kill me, too. He... thank you." Harry looked straight at Amadeus. "I fought him, but you vanquished him. Thank you."
It was weird to hear the great Harry Potter thanking someone. It was almost absurd. Draco tried to remember how he had seen Potter before, how much he had hated the boy, envied him. Now, he just saw someone who was trying very hard not to fail everyone.
"It was stupid of me," Amadeus replied harshly. "He knows I'm here now."
"Why is he here anyway?" It was Snape, close to losing his temper. He was talking straight to the Headmaster, ignoring everyone else. "You know who he is. Why is he here, then?"
Draco was very surprised to hear the next person say, "I agree, it's not suitable for him to be here. He's danger to us all." McGonagall's voice was strict to the point of being almost impolite. The blond boy was pretty sure he now knew what the argument had been all about. So, the professors didn't approve of Amadeus' presence. Why? Wasn't it more dangerous for all of them to fight each other than the real enemy, Lord Voldemort?
"He is not his father," Dumbledore argued, taking a few steps towards the young wizard in question. "I asked him to come, he came. That should be enough. You of all people should know and accept that."
The trio looked as confused as Draco felt. How many secrets did the grown-ups really keep from them?
Amadeus had held his head lowered until Dumbledore answered McGonagall. He pushed himself off the wall, glaring dangerously at Snape. "You want to poison me, don't you? Am I really that much worse than you are? At least I'm innocent to it all, unlike you."
"Innocent? There's nothing innocent about you, Immortal. How did you get your powers? Tell them." Snape kept his voice low even though he was clearly feeling other than just distaste.
"Enough!" The old fragile man was gone. Dumbledore stood in front of them, powerful, worthy of the legends, all the endless tales of his heroics. His eyes burned with determination. "Both of you, we need to concentrate on what is vital. We need to find the book before Voldemort does. We need to teach the children how to survive. We need to learn to live with our weaknesses." He covered the body of Maximillian Metzger with a blanket he had conjured from the thin air, locked the door behind him and walked back to the oak table. "Sit down. It's still a long night ahead of us."
Everyone else obeyed except Amadeus. He stood quietly, hands clenched into fists at his side. "Why should I stay?" It was a mere whisper. He looked at all of them and suddenly screamed, "I'm not staying. I hate you all. I'm not staying. There is no reason. I'm not..." He took hold of one of the chairs and threw it on the table, startling Hermione and Professor McGonagall.
Draco was fascinated by him. The man was acting almost the same way he wanted to act. He wanted to scream at them, how stupid they all were. They didn't understand how difficult it was even to stand on your own, even to breathe on your own. They could never understand... but Amadeus seemed to know. Who was he?
"Calm down," Dumbledore said without any anger in his voice. "Otherwise you'll cross the line."
Amadeus leaned over the table, spitting the words out of his mouth. "I don't care. I promised to teach, nothing more. I'm not giving you anything else, old fool. Why do you collect us half-breeds? Why do you think he will redeem himself?" Amadeus pointed at Draco, "He's even worse than the greasy Death Eater you took under your wing. They're going to betray you. I'm going to betray you. He's far stronger in me than you could ever predict." He fell to his knees. "He's going to betray you."
Hermione was frowning deeply. Nothing made sense anymore. "Please, Professor." She looked at Dumbledore. "Please do something. What's wrong with him?"
Dumbledore smiled. "He's young."
He stood, walked beside the younger wizard and put his hand on top of his head. "You're not going to betray me. And I collect you half-breeds - as you put it - because there can only be chances in life. Without them, nobody can redeem themselves. We must give chances to others and to ourselves. Time after time."
"I don't want one," Amadeus said, sounding quite childish, almost as though he was pouting.
"I know, but I'm giving you one anyway."
"Why?" Amadeus looked up at the only wizard he was even mildly afraid of.
Dumbledore offered his hand and Amadeus took it. "Because you deserve it."
Did the man really mean what he said? Did they all really deserve their individual chances to redeem themselves? And why should they? It wasn't as though they owed anything to the old wizard. "Can I go now? There clearly isn't any reason for me to be here." Draco's words echoed in the room, sounding empty and somehow worthless, like he wasn't important enough to be heard.
Potter looked at him, green eyes flashing with fury. "You'd rather be out there with them? You'd rather be planning the deaths of Muggle-born children? Don't you... hah, bloody worthless. Go! Run away. Be nothing, then." He went to sit on one of the windowsills, looking out into the darkness.
That was a moment of panic for Draco Bellator Malfoy. How many people had ever had any faith in him? Any at all? He could count those people with one hand's fingers - and three of them were in that room.
How much had he wanted to be Harry Potter's friend? Years ago, when he had offered his hand just to be rejected? How much? It hadn't been just because the boy was famous, not just because he could gain something or because his father had suggested it.
"I'm leaving," he stated, fleeing out of the door, which led into the stairway and out of the room that was full of demands.
He ran down the stairs, he ran past the moving paintings that were shouting at him for being so rude and waking them up. He ran, not caring about the people in the war room, people who were trying to save their little world. He didn't care.
He finally stopped just because his legs gave in, just because he was exhausted of the day's events. He fell to his knees, hissing in pain. His nose was broken and his right eye was swollen solid. And the fucking tears, he just couldn't make them stop.
He felt a soft touch on his shoulder. Someone had managed to come that close to him without him noticing anything. The Slytherin in him really was dying.
"Um..." It was Hermione. "What's wrong, Draco?"
Why did she have to come?
"I can't do this." He tried to hide his face but she just pulled back his hair, softly stroking his cheeks and wiping the tears away. Her eyes were so warm not a hint of rejection in them. She always saw him like this, weak and on his knees.
"Play a hero."
There it was, out in the open. He had started to toy with the idea that he could be something else other than just a follower, other than Voldemort's expendable Death Eater.
Hermione pulled him closer, holding his head against her shoulder. It felt awkward. She was in a squatting position and he was on his knees. They must have looked pretty pathetic.
"You can be what ever you want to be." She always seemed to know what to say. She didn't try to read him; she just listened to the things he couldn't say aloud.
"D'you think I'm nothing?" It was pretty desperate of him to ask the acceptance of a Mudblood, but he didn't care. There must be someone who could make him feel better, worthy.
Hermione pushed him a bit further, but let her hands rest on his shoulders, keeping him near. "It's up to you, Draco. You can choose to be someone worthy."
He frowned. She didn't say what he wanted to hear; she was supposed to make him feel better. "I've told you once, I don't have choices." He pulled away from her, standing up. "Go. Run back to your worthy friends."
"Draco..." She reached for him, but he shrugged her hands away.
"You could never understand how difficult everything is. Amadeus is right. I want nothing to do with you lot. I'll study Ancient Magick with you, that's all."
"Dumbledore is giving you a chance. Don't bite the hand that feeds you." The begging tone of her voice made him even more furious. Who did she think she was?
"He never asked me. Not once. He never helped me. His eyes have been following a completely different prat. You know that. Nobody's interested in me. I could jump off the roof and nobody would miss me. Fucking nobody." He kneeled, hiding his face to his hands.
"You're so selfish." That definitely was something he hadn't expected. "How many times did Harry give his hand to you today? How many? And every time, you spat on it. Did you know that Dumbledore and Snape have been trying to take care of you all this year? They know you're alone; they know about your family. They care. I care." She pushed his hands away, looking into his eyes. "You're too blind to see. You could have so many things if you'd just reach out your hand."
Draco reacted instinctively, touching her cheek with his thumb. Part of him felt giddy, but mostly he just needed to distract her, take her mind out of serious matters. "Like this?"
Hermione looked shocked, but managed to blurt out, "No, you're misinterpreting my words again. You always twist the reality."
He licked her slightly parted lips in a very sensual way - even though it was the weirdest touch Hermione had ever received. "Like this?"
"Stop that. You're changing the subject." She was about to stand when he grabbed her arm and pulled her closer. Her weight was enough to make him tumble over and they fell as a heap of arms and legs. She lay on top of him for a moment, too bemused to do anything other than catch her breath.
A wicked grin formed on his face; he was in his own territory again. He rolled on top of her and nuzzled her neck. "You smell perfect."
Hermione pushed him with her hands. "Get off me, you big oaf. Get yourself a girlfriend."
The smile grew wider. "I don't need one, when I have you." He kissed her earlobe, biting it slightly.
She squirmed under him, making all the blood that was supposed to pump reason into his brain flow downwards. "You. Don't. Have. Me. Got it. I'm not yours to play with. I'm a person. Are you listening?"
He wasn't. The poison that was her scent was making him notice nothing but the beauty of her pulse, the quickening exciting pulse that told him that she indeed liked his assault. Draco wanted to make her crave it - more than she had when the potion had affected her nervous system.
He put some of his weight on his elbows and watched her. She was trying to look menacing, but it seemed as though her resolve was crumbling. She didn't like it, though. Her eyes were blazing.
He kissed the side of her mouth tentatively, savouring the feel of her softness beneath him. Everything about her felt perfect, right even. And she didn't move, she didn't turn her head away from him, she just lay there, hands at the sides of her head.
Those hands turned into fists as he kissed her. It was a slow kiss, almost quiet, but not in any way questioning or shy. It was a claiming kiss, even though he didn't use his tongue. His lips moved teasingly on top of hers, learning to know the curves of her mouth, the softness of her flesh.
She tried not to respond, but when he finally took her lower lip between his teeth, she could not stop herself from reacting. Her back arched to meet his body wholly and she opened her mouth, begging for him to deepen the kiss.
He grabbed her hands, pushing them above her head and mumbled against her lips, "It's not just the potion. You want me." He didn't mean to speak it aloud, but somehow her willingness had clouded his mind. It was an unwise thing to say to a girl who was not so happy about the way things were turning out.
She bit him.
"Ow, what the hell-"
Hermione hit him with her head and then pushed him off her. "You!" she screamed while getting up. "You despicable moron. I hate you. It's always about proving something. Go to hell." She stomped off, leaving him there on all fours, bewildered. Add some insult to injury, he thought and smiled one of the most painful smiles of his life. She had bit him hard enough to draw blood.
Draco touched his lips with his forefinger, following the curve of his lower lip. "But you liked it," he said into the darkness and stood up. "You liked it." He wasn't quite sure if he was referring to Hermione or himself.
In the end, was it about trust? Would she ever trust him? Would he ever be worth her trust? Could he really choose?
He started walking towards the Hospital Wing. His body was carrying quite a few injuries from that day's events, but somehow the deepest wounds were healing, the ones that plagued his mind. His life was becoming quite interesting.
And for the first time in thirty-two hours, he was alone. He missed the bint already.
A/N: Merry Christmas all. :) I couldn't quite finish the whole story, but at least you got another chapter before the holidays. Yay for me.
This chapter is dedicated to my dear friend and beta Vickie (jynx67) who always makes me feel special.
Special thanks go to Crystal (crystal allan), Erin (melihobbit) and Ames (FamosAmos). You three keep me writing these silly little stories. Thank you so very much.
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