They sat at the table together in utter silence. Draco looked around at the windowless room and its white unremarkable walls, and clutched his hands nervously in front of him. After briefly scrutinizing the room, his eyes came to rest on the figure across from him.
Lavender sat pouring over his file making the odd note here and there, and biting her bottom lip when something particular puzzled her.
‘Merlin,’ he thought to himself, ‘her lips are maddening.’
He took this moment of quiet between them to think over again what he had to do. He was not looking forward to this, but it was necessary. He only hoped that she would be able to forgive him one day.
She looked up from her notes, sighed deeply shaking him from his introspection, and gave him a warm, open smile. She began to gather her things, and stood from the table.
“Well, it appears you’re recovering nicely from your breakdown. However, I believe you still have a long way to go before we can safely say you’re beyond it.”
She began to move toward the door when he called out to her.
She turned backed to him, and took in his pensive state.
“I haven’t been completely forthcoming with you,” he said uncertainly.
“What do you mean?”
“I… I’ve remembered a great deal more.”
She took a small step forward and regarded him curiously.
“How so?” She questioned.
“Well, as you know, I’ve only really been recalling images, and memories up until now.”
“Yes.” She said encouraging him to continue.
Suddenly, a completely different expression swept his face replacing his reflective mood. His whole being took on a playfully lazy, sensual feel. He stood from the table slowly, and with an elegance she hadn’t seen in him since his arrival, he slowly sauntered over to her causing a nervous energy to course through her at his nearing presence.
“I’ve begun to remember feelings, and emotional impressions,” he said, his voice low.
As he came closer, she unwittingly began to back up until she abruptly bumped into the wall behind her. Finally ceasing what felt like a stalking of prey, he stopped mere inches away from her.
“Really? What kind of feelings?” She stuttered out breathlessly.
He reached up, and his eyes enviously watched his right hand lightly finger a strand of her long honey blond hair. Tearing his eyes away from his hand’s activity, he brought them over to lovingly rake over her china doll like features.
“Oh, everything really,” he murmured softly. “Anger, joy… lust.”
Lavender stood stiffly, her breath laboured and ragged. She clutched her files tightly to her chest, and watched his eyes as they studied her closely. She lightly cleared her throat to ensure no trace of her own excitement at having him look at her in such a way came through.
“That’s… That’s wonderful. Is there any one emotion that is pushing its way to the surface more so than any other?” She asked holding her breath slightly.
Suddenly, his hand released the strand of hair, but moved to cradle her jaw instead, his fingers brushing against the nape of her neck. She inhaled sharply at the sudden intimate contact, and a small smirk graced his lips at her reaction to him.
“Yes,” he whispered against her lips.
In the next moment though, his expression grew serious, and he quickly brought his mouth down to claim hers in a hungry kiss. As he did so, his left arm snaked around her waist, and drew her closer to him eliciting a light moan from her.
The files forgotten, she let them drop to the ground opting instead to wrap her arms around his neck, and pulled herself more flush against him. It was his turn to moan reveling in the feel of her curves pressed tightly up against him.
Their kisses grew more aggressive as they became more wanton. This encounter was quickly spiraling out of control. He hadn’t intended to let it get this far, but she just tasted and felt so good. He only wanted to have something to remember when… He didn’t take into consideration how hard it would be to let her go once he had her in his arms.
Reluctantly, he pulled his lips away from hers, and she whimpered at his withdrawal. Holding tightly to one another, neither made a move to release the other.
He swallowed hard to wet his suddenly dry throat. He kissed her again, then pulled himself out of her arms completely, and walked away before he got too caught up in her again.
Feeling the loss of him instantly, she called out to him. “Draco?”
Keeping his back to her, he ran his right hand through his hair, and began to laugh without an ounce of mirth.
Thoroughly confused by the shift in his mood, she asked him cautiously. “What’s so funny?”
“Would you like to know what emotion has come most strongly to the forefront?”
He rolled his eyes, and focused on the ceiling. Thank goodness he had his back to her, and she couldn’t see his face because he still hadn’t pulled himself together enough to do it.
Through her addled mind, Lavender had to retrace their recent conversation to remember her question.
“Yes,” she said breathlessly.
He quickly turned to her in response, and the look on his face was chilling. Her breath caught, and she took a small step back landing her once again against the wall. There before her stood the old Draco Malfoy: the vicious sneer, the haughty indifference in his eyes, and the attitude of superiority.
“Disgust.” His coldness tore through her.
“Excuse me?” She gasped out.
“What’s the matter Healer Brown?” He drawled at her.
“Draco, what are you talking about? What have you remembered exactly?” She asked suspiciously in a trembling voice.
“Everything, and nothing Miss Brown. As I said before, I remember every image, memory, and feeling including who I used to be. Or, should I say who I really am.”
His eyes pinned her with such hatred.
She shook her head, and tried to make sense of the incredible shift in him that had seemed to have just taken place.
“What are you saying?”
“I remember you Lavender. I remember who you were in school. You were nothing more than a mindless tart that had a thing for redheads. But from what I recall, it really didn’t make that much of a difference. You would pretty much throw yourself at anyone. Anything for a good shag, eh?”
Her mouth dropped open slightly in shock, but then she slammed it shut, and swallowed hard to keep down the visible emotion gripping her.
“That was a very long time ago, Mr. Malfoy.” Lavender gritted out through a clenched jaw.
“Well apparently, not long enough. Thanks again for the lovely snog by the way. I’ll let my mates know you’re still open for business.” He smiled at her roguishly as he wiped his thumb across his bottom lip.
Lavender could only shake her head at him in disbelief, and back her way out of the room. As she pushed her way through the door, he heard a sob tear out of her, and it pierced him to the very core.
Once the door was firmly shut, he breathed out deeply running his hands through his hair, and willed himself not to let the tears that were threatening him fall.
‘I had no choice,’ he tried to convince himself. ‘I’m a monster. She deserves so much more than the nightmare she’d have to live through with me.’
Ron sat at his kitchen table, a bowl of cereal in front of him. It was the best he could do for dinner. He just didn’t have the energy to pull something more together. Suddenly, he heard a loud ‘pop’ sound from his living room.
“Hello!” He called out.
When no response came, he instinctively reached for his wand. He had stood, and was slowly making his way toward the kitchen door when something solid connected with his face, and sent him hurtling to the ground.
Clutching his jaw, he looked around the still empty kitchen.
“Harry?” He called out tentatively.
Without warning, Harry’s head appeared followed by the rest of him looming over Ron.
Harry threw his invisibility cloak over a kitchen chair, and glared down at Ron.
“Blimey, mate. What the hell was that for?” Ron sputtered.
“You know damn well what that was for.” Harry growled at him.
“No, I don’t,” he supplied lamely.
“Oh, shut it, Ron.” Harry yelled.
“Can you back off a moment so I can stand up at least?”
Harry turned abruptly, and strode over to the fridge for a butterbeer. Ron rubbed his jaw gingerly, and took his time getting up. What the hell had gotten into Harry?
Harry began to pace around the small kitchen like a caged animal while Ron stood motionless watching his every move.
“What in Merlin’s name were you thinking Ron?” Harry finally barked.
Ron’s brow creased in confusion, and he began to shake his head back and forth.
“Don’t play dumb, Ron. I’ve already spoken to Ginny. She told me all about her little run in with Percy.”
Ron groaned, and rolled his eyes.
“In future reference, you might also want to consider having sensitive conversations some place a little less public.”
Ron’s eyebrows drew together indicating that he had fallen even deeper into confusion.
“You and Percy weren’t the only ones in that hallway.” Harry spat.
Mortified at being found out, Ron’s eyes widened in realization.
“I thought you were trying to win her back. She’ll never forgive you if you get Malfoy sent to Azkaban.” Harry berated.
“You don’t understand.” Ron mumbled quietly.
“You’re right, I don’t. Why don’t you try, and explain it to me.”
Ron seemed to struggle with himself for a moment, but then, as if coming to some kind of resolution, the uncertainty playing across his face vanished.
He turned away from Harry, jammed his hands in his pockets, and said in a quiet voice, “I just don’t trust him.”
“That’s not good enough Ron. You lied to me,” Harry accused.
“I never lied.” He shifted awkwardly on his feet. “I just didn’t tell you what was going on at the Ministry.”
“That’s still a lie, Ron.” Harry shouted.
“What was I supposed to do? The Ministry thinks you’re a liability when it comes to Hermione and Draco.”
“They felt you shouldn’t know about the investigation because you would be biased against it.”
“You’re telling me they think I would stand in the way of them prosecuting Malfoy?”
“Yah.” Ron said nervously.
Harry paused to think on that.
“Their right,” he finally answered.
“Now you see my point.”
“No Ron, I don’t. The Ministry is full of tossers. But that still doesn’t explain why you didn’t tell me, and why you went along with it in the first place.”
“Harry, it’s not what it looks like.”
“Obviously you have no idea what this looks like. Would you like to know what it looks like?” Harry bit out becoming more agitated.
Ron stayed quiet. He knew this was going to come eventually. Harry wasn’t stupid.
Harry’s chest was rising, and falling with ragged breathes. He wiped at his mouth, and shook out his hands to release some of the tension.
“Ron, it looks like you’ve been conspiring with your Dad, and that git of a brother of yours to put Draco away for a very long time. That’s what it looks like.”
Ron still didn’t answer, but kept his eyes downcast.
“Well, is that what this is, or are you really just going for a lovely picnic along the Thames?”
For his own part, Ron really wished Harry had actually figured the whole thing out. He really needed him. But apparently, Harry had only made it part of the way, and Ron couldn’t tell him the rest without risking everything.
“I guess you have me all figured out.” Ron finally offered sullenly.
‘Why is he being so obtuse?’ Harry wondered to himself.
“You selfish prat.” Harry growled. “You just can’t share her with anyone, can you? You just can’t stand it if someone other than you makes her happy. Well, guess what. This latest stunt of yours is going to push her so far away, she’ll probably never want to see you again.”
Ron flinched but stood stock still.
“You’ve done some stupid things in the past Ron, but this… this takes the cake. And before you ask, it’s a muggle turn of phrase.”
Harry regarded him for another excruciating stretch of silence before realizing Ron was no longer a part of the conversation. He was staring down focusing on some invisible spot on the ground.
“Aren’t you even going to try to defend yourself?”
“Why should I?” Ron offered softly. “You’ve already made up your mind.”
Harry shook with rage. Was this git actually going to stand there and try to make him feel guilty after what he did?
“I can’t be around you Ron. You’ve changed. I thought things would get better once Hermione came back, but you’ve only gotten worse. The man I knew would never put himself first. He would never let another man suffer just to satisfy his own needs. I… I think it best you stay the hell away from me.”
Ron’s eyes shot up to meet Harry’s.
“What? For how long?”
“How long? How long? I don’t know. A week… a month… maybe even a year. I need to get to the point when I don’t feel the urge to do you bodily harm.” Harry ranted.
“I need to leave.”
And with that, Harry grabbed his cloak off the chair, and disappeared with a “crack”.
Ron was stunned. Lost in thought, he stared mindlessly at the spot where Harry had stood only moments before. His inner dialogue was running rampant making his head spin.
Could he do this? He was on the verge of losing his two best friends. But it would be worth it to ensure Hermione’s happiness. If only he could have been honest with Harry. Let him know exactly what was going on. He really needed someone to talk to about the whole thing. It had been a month of this now, and he felt himself being worn down by the pressure of the secret he was keeping.
Ultimately though, he knew it was better this way. Better that Harry, Hermione, and even the Ministry thought he was still avid to get Malfoy. Better that Harry assumed he was working with the Ministry to take Draco to trial. This way, if anyone were to question them, they wouldn’t have to pretend to know nothing, or lie to protect him.
No. It was definitely better this way. He would just have to bear this a little while longer. Once the Ministry had Malfoy in custody then he could put his plan into action.
Draco sat staring at his hands sprawled on the tabletop. It had been over an hour since Lavender had left, and he hadn’t moved. The events of their conversation played over, and over again in his mind. He would bounce between the memory of her horrified expression which quickly transitioned into anger and hurt, to the feeling of her soft lips caressing his own.
This was proving a lot harder than he’d initially thought it would be, and he hadn’t even seen Hermione yet. As angry as he knew she was about her parents, he also knew she would come back to see him. She was loyal to a fault. He just had to be ready for that inevitability.
The sound of the door opening pulled him from his ruminations. He looked up to find Hermione standing just inside the doorway. He hadn’t expected her so soon. He wasn’t sure if he was ready for this. If he thought it was hard to hurt Lavender as he had, this was going to be nearly impossible.
“What do you want?” He snapped at her.
She jumped, but refused to look away meeting his glare evenly.
“I’ve just been with Lavender. She’s crying in her office. What in the world did you say to her?” She questioned.
He flinched slightly, but continued on with his act. “What? The little trollop didn’t gush it out to you?”
Hermione looked at him in shock.
“Draco, what in the world has gotten into you?”
“My right mind,” he supplied darkly.
“What do you…”
But he cut her off abruptly before she could finish. “I’ve remembered who I am, you filthy little mudblood.”
She gasped loudly, and blanched at his profanity.
“You what?” She finally eked out.
“That’s right, Granger.” He stood up, and came quickly around the table. “I know who I am, and I know what you are, and I’m truly sickened with myself for having actually lived with you for over five years.”
She began to shake her head frantically back and forth.
“You… you don’t mean it. Peter, why are you saying these things?”
“Don’t call me that!” He screamed at her. “My name is Draco Malfoy. Peter was a useless moron, and I’m glad he’s gone. I’ll be even happier when you’ve finally left me alone.”
He paused before putting what he knew would be the final nail in the coffin. “I should have killed you when I had the chance.”
She let out a small whimper. Tears began to stream haphazardly down her face, her entire body trembled violently, and she looked like she was on the verge of collapsing. He nearly lost his will to follow through at that point. It was too hard. The pain etching itself across her face was too much. He nearly broke.
“Ron told me it would only be a matter of time before you came back. I defended you. I told him you had changed.”
“That was your first mistake,” he said flippantly.
“I should have listened to him,” she forced out.
“I guess you should have. Strange how the Weasel is the only one who had me pegged.”
He turned his back to her, and walked back to the table. If he faced her any longer, she would see the lie all over him.
She looked down, and wiped at the path on her face the tears had taken. She held there with her head bowed for what seemed like an eternity. Finally coming to some kind of conclusion, she took a deep, shuddering breath, and looked back up to stare at his back.
“I know this is probably the last time we’ll ever speak. And I know you hate me more than anything, or anyone in the world,” she managed to utter through an emotion laden voice. “But you will always be a brother to me.”
And with that, she turned quickly, and fled the room.
He couldn’t even hold off for the door to shut completely. He crumpled on the spot using the table as his only leverage. If Hermione had come back in not a moment later, she would have found him on his knees crying wildly into his hands, and begging for her forgiveness.
The little man sat in his dark office lamenting his misfortune. Things had gone from bad to worse. That idiot, Percival Weasley, had gone and blown the secrecy of their investigation by mouthing off at his sister. He had tried to warn him, but the prat wouldn’t listen. What would they do now? It was only a matter of time before the Ministry’s case leaked out. He was fairly certain Potter already knew. This could get really ugly really fast.
Suddenly, his door opened. The silhouetted figure of a woman stood motionless in his doorway. He looked at her slightly blinded by the light from the hall.
“Can I help you?” He managed.
“No, Mr. Sparkle,” came the woman’s low, even, emotionless voice. “You should ask how I can help you.”