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Chapter 10 : Comfort or Conflict?
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Comfort or Conflict?
Hermione wandered around the library, not really paying any attention to where she was going. Her head was spinning, her stomach so tight she was surprised she had not vomited. Five days had passed since she had seen her boyfriend with his arms around another girl, and since she had chopped her hair off to just below her ears. Harry, Ron and the rest of her Gryffindor friends had reacted with shock and horror, before Hermione glared at them, causing them to mumble she looked fine. The more she thought of what she had witnessed between Blaise and Marla, the more scared and hurt she felt, repeatedly questioning her judgment. Even after so much time together, she had to confess to herself that there were still many things she did not know about her boyfriend. There was still so much he kept hidden, and she, being caught up in the wonderful feeling of his body and his lips, always forgot to ask. At first, Hermione had told herself not to panic, that Marla was just a friend, because how many times had she been in Harry or Ron’s arms in the past. Sighing and feeling close to tears again, she let her feet carry her into the furthest corner of the library, her body dropping into a soft lounge chair, concealed by shadows. She just wanted to disappear.
She let her head drop into her hands, her fingers going to work on her temples, her chest constricted and her eyes burning with unshed tears. Shock had slowly given way to rage, which had in turn morphed into pain. She did not know what to do. Confronting Blaise with accusations would get her nowhere, but she could not say anything at all. Hermione sighed. There was no clean and pure way to ask your boyfriend if he was cheating on you. Their argument was still fresh in her mind, and Hermione choked back tears, wondering if she still had the right to call Blaise her boyfriend. He had made it clear that she had no right to question him, something that caused Hermione a great deal of pain and anger, especially since he knew she was keen on honesty. They had not spoken since that argument, both being too proud and stubborn to make the first move towards apology. The whole thing was tearing Hermoine in half. She wanted nothing more than to run to him and fall into his arms, telling him she was wrong, but the image of him holding Marla burnt into her skull whenever she thought about apologizing.
Hermione lifted her head, hearing Madam Pince begin to move around closing windows and extinguishing lamps. Not wanting to be disturbed, Hermione sank further into her chair, willing the fussy librarian not to notice her. She held her breath, waiting, as Madam Pince walked straight past her in the darkness, her sharp little heels clicking on the floor, her robes swinging. Hermione let out a short sigh of relief. She was perfectly contented to stay where she was for the rest of the night. Eventually, she heard the library door close, and she was left alone in the dark silence. There was something comforting about the library at night, and after sitting a while, Hermione climbed to her feet, deciding to walk, hoping to clear her head. The shadows were long, the moonlight shining in gently through the thick, leadlight windows, catching her in a world of blacks, greys and husky blue and white. Her footsteps echoed softly around her ears and she smiled, enjoying the rhythm of her feet. Hermione wandered towards one of the windows, wanting to gaze on the full moon and take in its beauty. She rested her hands on the windowsill, taking a deep breath. She was still undecided about what to do, but she somehow felt calmer.
“Granger,” a soft voice acknowledged at her elbow, and she squealed in shock, jumping away from the window and staring into the moon-tinged darkness, her wand in her hand instantly. Someone unfolded themselves from the shadows, and Hermione’s temper sprang into life as a pale face and familiar blonde hair slid into view.
“What the bloody hell are you doing in here?” she hissed, stepping closer to him in her anger. Draco raised an eyebrow.
“What are you doing in here?”
Hermione felt her cheeks heat up and she mumbled something under her breath, sliding her wand back into her robes and folding her arms over her chest. She looked at Draco quickly, finding him watching her expectantly. The silence grew between them until eventually, Hermione sighed, pulling her fingers through her cropped hair irritably.
“Just thinking,” she whispered, drifting back towards the window, deciding she may as well talk to him. He would not leave her alone until she did. She felt Draco move to her side, and she turned to look at him again. He stood with his hip resting against the wall below the window, the moonlight dancing across his face, making him look mysterious and alluring. His eyes were on her face.
“About what?” he asked, sliding his body a little closer to her. Hermione resisted the urge to move away, simply to be out of reach of his long arms, not liking the way her body was responding to his nearness, and to the way he looked bathed in moonlight. Her face felt hot, her throat constricted and her breathing shallow. She gulped, tearing her eyes away from him, forcibly reminding herself he was in the past. A shiver passed through her and she closed her eyes, taking a deep, steady breath.
“I like it,” Draco said suddenly, and she frowned, looking at him again. “Your hair,” he added, his eyes moving to her head briefly, before he turned away. They stood in silence, both staring out at the night, watching the stars wink overhead. Draco shifted beside her, and Hermione felt his gaze on her face, causing her to shiver and close her eyes.
“Hermione?” Draco whispered, reaching out and touching her shoulder. She jumped, his touch jolting her with a thousand volts of the purest electricity, heat flowing through her, racing along her veins and burning her blood. A small smile played on his face as she turned to look at him, feeling tears blur her vision as he trailed his finger gently along her neck, and over her jaw, stopping at her lips. She stood still as he traced her lips with the tip of his finger, barely touching her. Her body trembled and she knew her hands were shaking, but she did not take her eyes from his. A strange sob escaped her lips as he let his hand fall.
“Sometimes,” Draco whispered, “I just want nothing more than to kiss you again.”
“Sometimes, I just want to let you,” Hermione whispered back, surprised at the heated truth that rose from the very depths of her mind. Draco was familiar territory. She knew him, much better than she knew Blaise. She could read him, and she always knew where she stood with Draco. She saw his eyes widen and he stepped closer.
“Is now one of those sometimes?” he asked, reaching out to gently touch her face again. She shook her head, dropping her eyes.
“There can never be another sometimes, Draco, you know that,” she replied softly, although she wanted nothing more than to fall into his arms, just so someone could hold her. She felt terribly vulnerable in the darkness with Draco, not quite trusting her own strength of mind, still feeling hurt and betrayed by Blaise. “I can’t let there be.”
Hermione looked up, finding him standing so close it was a wonder they were not touching. Draco’s eyes walked over her face, the sight of him staring at her as if he wanted her setting a fire in her stomach. Slowly, he reached up and cupped her face, lowering his head and catching her lips with his. She closed her eyes, her lips coming to life, kissing him back gently. Draco’s hands moved to her shoulders, and she shrugged in assistance as he pulled her robes down her arms, letting them tumble to the floor, before he wrapped his arms around her body. Their kiss intensified, Hermione’s hands weaving through his hair, pulling him closer to her, feeling as if she was drowning in him. She barely felt his fingers as they deftly started to undo the buttons on her shirt, and she groaned into his mouth when he touched the sensitive skin above her breasts. Confusion and guilt slapped at her head, and Hermione broke away from him suddenly, pushing their bodies apart, furious at her weakness. Draco watched her closely through eyes clouded with lust, making no move to catch her in his arms again.
“I should not be doing this,” Hermione mumbled, dropping hastily to her knees and searching around on the floor for her robes. “This is wrong.”
“Why? You know he doesn’t care,” Draco replied, sounding bored. Hermione glared up at him, her eyes narrowed. Draco smirked as she climbed to her feet, his eyebrows raised and Hermione felt herself redden as she realized he had a clear view down the front of her half-open shirt. Growling, she clutched the fabric tight, hastily doing up the buttons and flashing Draco a nasty look, hating him as much as she hated herself at that moment.
“You don’t know anything about us,” she snapped, folding her robes and draping them over her arm. Draco laughed softly and leant back casually against the wall, his eyes dancing.
“I know a lot, Granger. He’s been my best friend for as long as I can remember. You really think Blaise is in love with you, that he would do anything for you? Go on, go and ask him then. And while you are at it, why don’t you ask him why he had his hands all over Marla Corson. Ask him why he has not talked to you in a week.”
Hermione froze, the blood draining from her face. She took a deep breath, blinking the tears from her eyes, staring at Draco defiantly. His smile faded, a sad look coming over his face. “How do you know about Marla?”
“I just do. I know you saw him, Hermione, and I know it must be killing you,” he said softly, pushing himself off the wall and stepping towards her. She snarled and stepped away, keeping as much distance between them as the small space would allow. “And I know you two had a massive fight.”
“You know nothing,” she whispered, brushing her eyes clear of tears. “Don’t try to manipulate me.”
“I know you,” Draco replied, his voice low and filled with concern. “I know how much you give of yourself to other people. I know how much you must be hurting at the moment, Hermione. I can see it in your face. I’m sorry for kissing you, but …” he paused and looked at her, stepping a fraction closer at the same time. Hermione felt her pulse quicken under the look he was giving her. She had never heard him speak so plainly before, and she trembled a little, trying to push reminiscent feelings away.
“Even if he …” she began, swallowing her pain. “Even if he was unfaithful to me, I need to talk to him about it. Find out the truth.”
“You don’t, you know,” Draco responded firmly, drawing even closer. He took the robes from her arm and let them drop to the floor again. “He’d just deny it. I know him, remember, and better than you do. He would have meant what he said in the beginning, about being faithful, but, well, you know you were his first girlfriend? He’s bound to make mistakes, even if he doesn’t mean them.”
Hermione shook her head, utterly confused. “I don’t even try to understand you anymore, Draco. One moment you’re bad mouthing Blaise, the next you seem to be defending him.”
“Forget Blaise for a moment. I would never hurt you again, Hermione,” he replied huskily, reaching for her, pulling her into his arms. Hermione stared at his face, his eyes flicking over her, tracing her in silver fire. “I do still love you.”
“Draco…” she whispered and he smiled slowly, his lips curving gently at the corners. He bent his head and kissed her, tenderly and passionately, so beautifully it took her breath away. He had never, in all the time they had been together, ever kissed her like that, as if he truly did love her. Hermione felt herself melting into him, her lips moving against his, kissing him back, enjoying the taste and feel of him on her tongue. Finding her strength, Hermione tore her mouth away, shaking her head.
“Draco, I can’t,” she moaned, lifting her hands to push him away.
“I want you back. I have since the minute I stupidly let you walk away from me. I can’t stand to see you with someone else, especially when he doesn’t appreciate what he has,” he whispered possessively, tightening his hold on her. “God, Hermione. I want you. I need you. Now.”
Her heart skipped a beat at his words, her breath coming fast and low as she watched a familiar storm roll into his eyes, and she felt a quickening in her stomach as those eyes traced her lips. Her hand drifted to her mouth, her fingers trailing gently over her swollen lips, plump and soft from Draco’s kisses. Gently, his hands slipped down to grasp her waist, resting with comfortable weight against her skin.
“It’s driving me insane, not being able to have you, watching you fall in love with someone else,” Draco hissed in her ear, pulling her to him, their bodies crashing together. His hands slipped beneath her shirt, brushing her flesh, her body filling instantly with a traitorous fire. It started in her belly, spreading quickly through the rest of her, until it flooded into her head, her thoughts infused with desire for him. She wanted to touch him, to believe for a minute that he did still love her, that he could take her hurt away. Even though she knew she should not be kissing him, and should not be thinking of how wonderful his body felt against hers, Hermione pushed him back against the wall, knowing she had taken him by surprise. His hands left her waist, sliding down and gripping her hips fiercely, pulling her against him, their bodies meeting in a fusion of heat and lust and need. They flowed together, lips, hips and flesh melting into one, their bodies acting as though they had never parted. Draco’s lips dropped to her neck, his teeth nipping gently at her flesh, and Hermione felt her head drop back and a moan leave her mouth. His hands moved over her body, showing he had not forgotten anything about her, proving once again he knew exactly where to touch her. His hands gripped her hips, and he spun her around quickly, reversing their positions, so that her back pressed hard against the wall.
Draco pulled away from her suddenly, looking at her in the husky light, a small frown between his brows. “Are you sure? Do you really want this? Do you want me?”
Hermione stared at him, her head spinning, never once ceasing to slow down. She nodded quickly, pulling him to her again. “Yes,” she whispered in his ear, the word escaping as a hiss, her lips brushing his skin gently, causing him to tighten his grip on her body. One of her hands found its way into his blonde hair, pulling his head down towards her neck again, loving the feeling of his lips, silky and warm, against her skin. The other hand slid down his back, pausing at the hem of his shirt, before she gripped the soft fabric between her fingers, tugging it up. Draco pulled away from her, releasing her body to pull his shirt over his head, exposing the lean planes of his chest. A sigh escaped her lips as she ran her hands over his skin, her fingers taking in every detail of his flesh, every curve and sculpted flow of muscle. He was as magnificent as ever. He grinned at her mischievously, reaching out and swiftly undoing the buttons on her shirt, pulling the fabric aside, before returning his lips and teeth to her neck. Hermione’s eyes closed as his hands slid lower, flowing down over her hips and she jumped when the heat of his fingers found her legs beneath her school skirt. The sensation of his hands on her sent a bolt of heat and energy through her body, and her fingers went to work on the button and zipper of his pants. Draco sank his teeth into her ear, his fingers gripping her thighs tightly, her senses turning to water as lust and desire took over in a flash of fire, raw need, and Draco’s strong arms.
Guilt mingled with fluid desire flooded her body, and she choked back a sob, twisting her head to capture his lips with hers, kissing him furiously, her arms tangled around his neck. Draco growled into her mouth, the vibration on her lips causing her breath to catch in her throat. It was over quickly in an explosion of heat and a low whimper from Draco’s throat. Breathing heavily, he let her down gently, his hands still resting on her hips, keeping their bodies close together. Hermione pulled her bottom lip into her mouth, feeling a tear dance down her face and she leant forward, resting her cheek against his chest, listening to his heart beat furiously in her ear. A shudder passed through her body, shame and satisfaction warring so intensely inside her she thought she was going to be sick. Draco murmured something incoherent in her ear, reaching down between them to zip his pants up, his fingers brushing lightly against her belly, causing her to shiver again. Hermione’s head finally caught up, her brain screaming accusations at her for shagging Draco Malfoy, and she suddenly found she was crying, her face buried in his chest, her confused tears mingling with his slick sweat. Strong hands gripped her shoulders, pushing her back gently, and she kept her face lowered until Draco slid his fingers beneath her chin, lifting her head so he could look at her.
“Hermione, don’t cry. Please. It’s all right,” he whispered, kissing away the tears falling on her cheeks.
“No, no it’s not,” she mumbled through her sobs, trying to hide her face in her hands, but Draco gripped her wrists with one powerful hand, the other still resting under her chin. Gently, he lifted her head again.
“I thought you wanted me,” he said, his voice tight and broken, and she nodded, before shaking her head again. “Hermione …”
“I’m just so confused,” Hermione moaned, her eyes littered with tears. Draco reached up and stroked a few strands of hair from her face gently, looking into her eyes.
“Do you truly regret it?” he asked sadly, his eyes searching her face. She stared at him, trying to decide whether she did regret what had just happened between them. A vision of Blaise with his arms around Marla sank into her skull, branding her with pain. Slowly, Hermione shook her head, and Draco smiled and kissed her again, their lips lingering together, tasting each other’s sweat and placated desire.
“Good,” Draco replied simply, letting her chin go. His hands moved to her front, and Hermione stood still as he gently and carefully fastened the delicate buttons on her shirt, before reaching up to run a hand lazily through the tangled mess of her hair. Hermione watched from beneath her lashes as he bent down and collected his discarded shirt from the floor, enjoying the way his muscles flexed and relaxed in the moonlight with his graceful movement. Draco flashed her a smile as he pulled his shirt over his head. Smiling in return, Hermione ran her hands through his hair, smoothing the fine blonde locks down again. Standing on tiptoe, she planted a kiss on his lips, her arms sliding around his back, giving in to the wonderful feeling of his body pressed against hers again. Her knees trembled, and she found she was exhausted, in both mind and body.
“Draco,” she whispered, letting her head drop onto his chest once more. He muttered something in response. “Please find me a bed.”
He laughed softly, planting a kiss on her head.
Ducks flying objects....
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