Hermione was woken gently by movement beside her. It seemed that Draco was trying to escape her and she wasn’t quite ready to let his comfort go and so she pushed herself closer. She reasoned that had she been fully awake and aware of her actions, they would have stopped right there, but at the moment she was quite happy to lay blame of her lapse in judgement to her lack of sleep. It didn’t matter that she clung tighter to Draco, he still persisted to remove his arm from under her head.
“Hermione,” he whispered to her. She opened her eyes a little to look at him. His hair was a mess, his eyes sleepy, but still there was something quite fetching about him, almost like an inner beauty that was reflected from his amazing blue eyes. “Come on, I just need to move my arm – it’s dead!” he smirked sleepily. Once she knew that he wasn’t trying to leave her, she surrendered his arm back to him. She tried to smile, but the bruise that covered much of her left cheek was sore and so turned her smile into more of a grimace.
“Oh! That hurts!” she groaned, raising a hand to the spot on her face. Draco did the same, his soft hand running over the dark and bruised bit of skin delicately. They both understood the depth of this gesture, but Hermione didn’t pull away and neither did Draco. There was a long and meaningful look between the two of them that most likely would have lasted quite a time if the Professor hadn’t of jumped onto the bed between them and scared the wits out of them.
Coming back to reality, she realised that she had to get up soon enough to join the Malfoy’s at breakfast. She grudgingly pulled herself out of bed and walked over to the bathroom where she wanted to check how bad the bruise was. She could see the one around her wrist well enough as it shone with a blue-black glow. Stepping in front of the mirror, she gasped when she saw her reflection. The entire left side of her cheek was turned a blue-black splotchy shade. It ran from a dark circle under her eye, all the way down to the edge of her lips. She definitely looked a sight!
“Pretty bad, huh?” asked Draco from the other room. Only a small choking/gurgled response was heard from Hermione, as she was too shocked to form anything more understandable. Muffled movement from the other room followed her response, and soon enough Draco was standing behind her, staring into the great big mirror as well. He looked directly at her reflection and frowned. “Definitely has gotten worse . . . you’ll need to clear that up before going down to breakfast!” he stated plainly. It only took one glance at his reflection and she gasped.
“Draco! Have you had a look at yourself?” she gaped. His gaze flicked from her face to his reflection. His frown deepened a little as he surveyed the deep bruising and cuts that ran all over his form.
“Oh.” was all he said.
“You’ll need to be cleaned up as well, I suggest!” she stated. He rolled his eyes at her quite obvious statement and wandered back into his room to get changed.
“I suggest that you go and get changed so we can go straight from fixing up all this to breakfast!” he stated blankly. He heard a slight squeak from the bathroom and Hermione rushed back out in her tiny nightgown.
“I . . . I don’t want to go . . . back . . .” she muttered nervously. Once again, Draco rolled his eyes at her mere stupidity.
“Oh for goodness sakes Gra-“ he stopped mid sentence as he realised his blunder. Choosing to ignore the verbal communication aspect of his retaliation, he just waved his wand at her and with a simple spell transfigured her clothing into something a bit more suitable. He mouth formed a small ‘O’ and a slight blush crept up her cheeks (but only on one could you see it).
“Oh yeah . . .” she mumbled embarrassedly.
“Right then. Let’s go. I trust you’ve got a batch of anti-bruising potion ready?” he asked. She waved the question away.
“Oh yes – I’ve got plenty!” she stated confidently and together, they left his room. It was still very early and so no one was awake yet – except the house elves that were busy making breakfast. Hermione and Draco passed them without a word and made their way over to Hermione’s potion stock. Pulling the large barrel of anti-bruising potion down from the shelf, she left it to rest on the small table. Opening the lid, the intoxicatingly thick and sickly sweet aroma reached their noses, causing the both of them to gag slightly.
“Ergh! You can go first!” Draco groaned. Hermione sighed and scooped out a handful of the goo. It was slick and slimy, but what didn’t gooze off her hand she slopped onto her cheek. It began to warm in the spot where the bruise was healing. She smoothed the goo over her cheek, but apparently she had missed a spot as Draco took over her job and started spreading across her cheek. She let him do it. She wasn’t about to complain about his help since he wasn’t arguing! When he had finished spreading it across her face he proceeded to take off his shirt. Once again Hermione was greeted by the sight of Draco’s bare chest. It wasn’t something to cringe about. He was very fit and she imagined that without all the ugly bruises covering his skin that the sight would have been very pleasing indeed.
He then proceeded to take the goo from the barrel and start spreading it over his chest while Hermione fixed the bruise around her wrist. Then without a word, she started covering the bruises on his back and shoulders.
“What are you doing?” he demanded.
“Helping.” she stated with an exasperated sigh. Normally, he would have spat at her kindness but she guessed that he was still in the habit of being nice to her after last night, and for that, she was happy. It was much easier to work with a friendly and pleasing Draco then one who snapped and jeered at her ever minute. Hermione couldn’t suppress the giggle that left her throat as she thought of her current predicament. Girls all over the world would beg to be in her position right now! Apart from the fact that she was married to him, the idea of smoothing a sticky liquid all over the soft skin of Draco Malfoy was heaven to some girls! Draco looked at her queerly.
“What are you laughing at?” he growled. Since she and Draco had finally come to talking terms, she decided to tell it to him straightforwardly. There was no point in saying nothing and him getting all uppity because he thought she was laughing at him. Once she had explained her thoughts to him, he couldn’t help but laugh as well. “You’re right. So, the question is . . . are you in pleased?”
“With?” she asked. He lowered his mouth towards her ear and whispered the next line seductively into her ear.
“Rubbing a sticky liquid all over my body?” Hermione felt a shiver run down her spine. Unfortunately for her, this shiver was not related to her total disgust at his comment.
“Ergh!” she growled, stopping the rubbing immediately. She was going to leave him to finish his own wounds, but as she turned to storm out of the room, he grabbed her upper arm gently.
“I was just kidding!” he explained. She glared at him dangerously, but all she received in return was a soft look of pleading. “Stay . . .” Hermione felt something clasp her heart. What was that? It was the way he had said it. He didn’t want her to stay for some stupid reason . . . he actually wanted her to stay. He wanted her here. With him. Hermione didn’t move another step – but Draco did.
It was the look he gave her. Why was he giving her that look? What was happening here? He was looking at her in such a way that her heart seemed to do a back flip. It was impossible. It was the trauma of last night. There was no way that she and Draco Malfoy were suddenly looking at each other like that. He stepped closer to her, the goo from his chest rubbing up against her blouse. This wasn’t right! Stop! Her mind was screaming ‘STOP!’ but her body wasn’t listening to a word her mind was saying!
His grip softened on her arm and ran down towards her wrist. No! She couldn’t do this! She didn’t want to do this! His other hand ran up around the back of her neck. She wanted to pull away - run away. But her eyes were securely centred on Draco’s as his beautiful blue iris’s burnt into her soul. He quickly and unexpectedly closed the gap between them as if he couldn’t wait a moment longer and pressed his lips on her own. You could say that her mind went blank at this moment. The shouts of ‘stop’ were ceased immediately as her mind was clouded by senseless thoughts.
His hand ran gently up and down her arm while his lips caressed hers. All thoughts of ‘wrong’ were replaced by a strange and disagreeable thought of ‘right’. This couldn’t be right. She wouldn’t allow it! Draco must have almost been thinking along the same lines as he suddenly pulled away with a scared and nervous look in his eyes. What had he done? What had she done? This wasn’t right!
A clatter from the kitchen and the sound of heels on the marble floors made them jump apart nervously, but their confused and nervous eyes never left each other. Narcissa Malfoy then stepped into the room, her face lighting up when she saw Draco.
“Oh! Draco, your father didn’t tell me you were back!” she said gleefully as she quickly placed a kiss on Draco’s cheek. A glass was braced in her hands. “I came down here in search of Hermione to test some of this and let me know what she thought!” and now turning to address Hermione “I didn’t find you in your room so I assumed that you must have been down here!” Hermione smiled nervously and nodded her head. Narcissa seemed to notice the stiffness in the both of them and frowned.
“What is that?” asked Hermione, pointing at the glass of pinkish liquid.
“It’s a new cocktail I’m experimenting with. Have a taste!” she said, thrusting the glass at Hermione. Taking the glass without much of a choice, she took a quick sip. It was sweet with sugar but it stung as it finally reached the pit of Hermione’s stomach. She guessed that there was more than any ordinary alcoholic beverage in it. Narcissa, seeming unsure of Hermione’s reaction, thrust the drink at Draco.
“Here, you try it . . .” she said forcefully. Draco wasn’t a cocktail drinker, but from the stern look on his mother’s face he didn’t dare argue. He had the same reaction to the drink as Hermione. Sweet and then stinging. He was going to say something, but his unspoken words were cut off from a loud clatter out in the entrance hall.
“What was that?” he asked instead, a frown creasing his brow. Narcissa just waved his concern away.
“It’s just those damn men suiting up for another mission! I swear, I’ll be happy the day your father stops using our house for all this-“ but her sentence was ignored as Draco started towards the door, leaving the two women alone. “Draco, where are you going?” asked Narcissa.
“Draco?” Hermione asked carefully. Only when she addressed him did he stop and look back at her. In that one look she knew exactly what he was thinking. Her eyes widened. “No! Draco!” she cried after him as he stormed out of the room. She followed him hurriedly, Narcissa following her blindly. “Draco! Not now, please not now!” she yelled after him as he began to run towards the entrance hall.
It was filled with all the men who were ready to go on the latest mission, but her eyes were searching only for one man. Draco’s were doing the same, and he found him before Hermione did. She only saw him when Draco was a few steps away from him.
“RANGEL!” barked Draco. Travis turned around; totally unaware of what was going on until Draco’s fist connected with his nose. An almighty cry filled the room and every eye was on Draco and Travis.
“You bloody idiot!” screamed the other man. Draco made to tackle him, but soon enough he found the arms of the other men restraining him. “You – you idiot! All this for a stupid Mudblood?! You’re a fool Malfoy!” he growled at him. Draco was straining against the many arms that held him, but no one had thought to restrain Travis because he was the one being attacked.
“I’m a fool am I?” growled Draco furiously, “At least I’m not a loser! Can’t accept it when you’re denied?”
“Draco!” barked Hermione but he continued to ignore her. Travis’s eyes flitted over the top of his hand that held his bloodied nose and regarded Draco for a moment.
“She didn’t want you! She’s married to someone she hates, loathes and detests – but she’d still rather me over you! Ha! Loser!” Draco barked victoriously. Travis was still for a moment and Hermione felt the blush of embarrassment run up her face as some of the other men turned to look at her questioningly. This was exactly what she didn’t want! She didn’t want it to be public knowledge. Everyone was too busy thinking over what was just said that they weren’t ready when Travis launched himself on the restrained Draco. This had been exactly what Draco wanted! The tackle was on.
Considering that people who were trying to stop the fight surrounded them, they got quite a few good punches in. Draco even got one of his arms free to loop around Travis’s neck and begin to choke him with. All the while, Hermione and Narcissa were screaming furiously at him.
Soon enough, the band of men surrounding them managed to pull the two apart, and what a sight they were! Draco had a split lip and a cut up the side of his face along with many small ones that covered his bare chest. Travis, surprisingly was much worse for wear. Along with his broken nose, his mouth was full of blood and a tooth missing, his knuckles were red and bloodied and there were several deep scratch marks that ran around his neck.
“Let go of me!” growled Draco viciously, but still none of the large men let go of him. “I won’t touch him! Just let me go!” he yelled as he shrugged off their grip. He stumbled slightly and Hermione unconsciously ran forward to stop his fall. He didn’t fall of course, but he did grab Hermione carefully and allow her to guide him away from the room.
“YOU’LL REGRET THIS MALFOY! THE BOTH OF YOU! YOU’LL REGRET THIS!” yelled Travis angrily after them, but they both ignored him as they started on the steps back towards Draco’s room.
Author’s Note: Hmmm . . . I’m not really sure what I think of this chapter. I know I finally added some romance between the two of them, but to me it still feels very out of place! I don’t know. Tell me what you think! Please continue to be patient while I continue to update. Hopefully I should be able to update at least every two or three days for now – that’s until uni starts, then things might slow down a bit! Until next time . . .