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Chapter 13 : The Most Beautiful Thing
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I couldn’t believe it. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I’d be kissing Hermione Granger. Alright, maybe I had. Once. But it was more of a nightmare rather than a passing daydream. The kiss, it was just indescribable. It was as if we were one, like we fit and complemented each other so much so that it was almost as if there was no one around and just the act of kissing each other was the most natural thing in the world to do. The most beautiful thing.
The feeling was too perfect for words, and I could go on and on like this. Except it turned me to a bumbling fool. And almost as gay as Zacharias Smith. Still, I felt murderous to see my mum pop in, looking at us uncomfortably.
“Mum!” I exclaimed.
“Erm, er… Hermione, is it?” she asked, turning towards Granger who was deeply embarrassed. I didn’t have to be a Veela to sense it; her cheeks were burning as bright as Weasley’s hair.
“Yes, er, good afternoon Mrs Malfoy,” she answered, unable to look at her in the face.
“Hullo, mother,” I said. “What are you doing here?”
“I just wanted to check up on you. Healer Lyttleton said you’re skull fracture is doing better now and you may leave as soon as all the paperwork have been signed for.”
“I’m fine, mum,” I said, and looked pointedly back at the door, indicating that she can leave us alone again.
She rolled her eyes at me. My mother rolled her eyes at me! “I think I’ll go have another chat with Healer Lyttleton and I’ll be back for you in a few, alright sweetie?”
I groaned inwardly. Being referred to as ‘sweetie’ by my mother in front of Granger was not something I would have wanted. The seconds ticked by and I was feeling even more nauseous than ever.
I glared at her. “Yes, mother.”
She gracefully exited the room, and Granger looked at me with a half-smile on her face. It was as though she wanted to burst out laughing; only the look on my face was enough for her to stifle it a bit.
“You’re mother wasn’t at all what I expected,” she told me, still sitting on my bed, and still in very much near proximity to me.
I felt better already, having noticed that.
“Yeah?” I asked, and reached for her hand. She didn’t protest. She didn’t even give it a passing glance, as if it was only natural for me to reach out and hold her. Her hand, tiny as it was, fit mine just perfectly. “What did you expect from her? Dragon fire coming out of her mouth?”
She pretended to think it over. “No, just a little steam coming out from her nose and ears,” she replied and started playing with my fingers. “Seriously though, I thought she would physically remove me away from this bed and tell me never to come near you again. Surprisingly, she sounded even… friendly.”
I arched an eyebrow. “Malfoy’s are known to do that every now and then,” I said indignantly.
“Right,” she said sarcastically. “That’s why you have so many friends outside of Slytherin House.”
I shrugged and grinned at her impishly. There wasn’t anything I could say to that, she did have a point after all. I looked at her and smiled even more. She was the most beautiful thing to happen to me, and I don’t think I’ve come to realise this only because of my Veela blood. Her hair was a mess, sure. And she wasn’t exactly dressed as elegantly or as refined as some purebloods (maybe it’s a muggle thing?), but she was beautiful. The contours of her face made it exquisite. And her personality and intelligence surpassed that.
And I couldn’t believe she’s mine. I must have done something right in my past life.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” she suddenly asked, narrowing her eyes at me.
I laughed. “Must you always be so suspicious of me?” I asked.
She shrugged. “With you, I’ll never know.”
I smiled. “With me, you’ll never have to second guess,” I said and pulled her hand to my lips. “With me, you’ll know I’ll always be true to you. If not for my Slytherin credentials, then for my Veela blood that binds me to you.”
I frowned. “What? Too mushy? I know, I thought so too. Maybe when I’m feeling a bit overly cheesy, I’ll just shut up and you should just know what that means.”
“No, it’s alright… I suppose. It’s just –“
“Weird?” I asked.
“Exactly,” she said, surprised I knew what she wanted to say. “Can you read my mind as well?”
“Not at all, I wish I could. You’re bloody hard to understand most of the time. Half the time, it seems like I have to decipher Morse code just to understand what you’re trying to say. And it would be an advantage for me during Transfiguration exams if I were able to read your mind,” I smirked.
She glared at me. “Well I’m glad you can’t read my mind then, you cheater.”
We looked at each other, not knowing what to say. I knew she wasn’t really that angry at me, given the circumstance that I don’t feel any sort of anger.
“Anyway, I better be off now. I promised to meet Ron and Harry in George and Fred’s shop in a few minutes.”
“Oh honestly,” she said, exasperated. “You still can’t be jealous over Ron, can you?”
“Given that you can kiss him whenever you want to just to spite me? I’d say yes,” I retorted. “I’d rather you just stay here with me.”
“I promised I’d meet them there. Besides, no matter how friendly your mother may be, I’m still not completely comfortable being in the same room as her.”
I sighed, forgetting that my mother was coming to fetch me in a while.
“Fine. If you must. Can you promise me you won’t be kissing anyone just to have me crying out in pain, though?”
“You’re such a baby.”
“No,” I said slowly. “I’m just trying to stay alive. Something that I’ve been trying to do all year and something that you really don’t want to help me with, apparently.”
“Alright already. I promise I won’t go lip to lip with anyone.”
“Except for me, of course,” I said with a smile.
She rolled her eyes comically. “Whatever you say, Malfoy.”
“Finally, you agree with me!”
“Just enough to make you shut up,” she replied calmly and started to stand up from my bed. I quickly grabbed hold of her wrist again.
“Need I remind you that I know every feeling you have? And it’s taken a while, but I can somehow distinguish them already. So I know that you quite like me – in fact, you like me so much it makes you feel all… I don’t know. Weird and girly, I suppose, for a lack of a better term. So really, you don’t have to fake it. Say it with me: I agree with you, Draco, because I really, really like you and wouldn’t dare kiss anyone else because they’re all uglier and stupider than you. Go on, say it.”
“You’re such a dork,” she said and started to pull away.
“I know,” I said, still grinning. “But you like it anyway.”
I pulled her back towards me again until we were face to face. She stopped breathing as she looked at me. Slowly, I kissed her again. And this time, it was even better than the first, leaving me breathless. It was usually the other way around, but with Granger, well, I suppose everything just gets better as time passes.
“I’ll see you around… Hermione,” I said.
For once, she was at loss for words. She looked down at me, still shocked and held her hands to her mouth.
“Er, right, good bye,” she said and all but dashed out of the room.
Five minutes have passed and still there were butterflies fluttering around in my stomach. As to whose butterflies those were – mine or Hermione’s – I wasn’t sure. And I didn’t care either. It still felt nice, either way.
“Draco?” my mum called out as she knocked on my door. For once in her life, the woman learnt how to knock.
“Come in!” I yelled back, a smile still on my mouth.
She peeked in, saw that Hermione was nowhere in sight, and breathed a sigh of relief. “How are you doing, dear?” she said as she walked into the room and took a seat next to my bed.
I shrugged. The act of doing so didn’t hurt anymore. “Alright, I suppose. I’d be feeling better if you didn’t walk in on me and Hermione.”
At that, she had the decency to blush and apologise. “How was I to know she’d be visiting you? The last I’ve heard about your progress with her, your life was still hanging on a slim thread of hope.”
“It was, until a few days ago. I just wasn’t able to write to father about it.”
“Speaking of which, we have serious matters to discuss.”
I arched a brow. “What is it this time?”
She looked round the room, and even went so much as to get up and check outside the room to check if the coast was clear. Finally, she sat back down next to me and handed me a note.
The Dark Lord is about to make his move. And so must we. Don’t say a thing, act as blasé as possible. You’re father is thinking of a way to protect you and the girl. We’ll talk more about it during winter holidays.
I frowned at her. She grabbed the parchment back from me and burnt it with her wand.
“Anyway, I’ve done the paperwork and you can return to Hogwarts. Study hard, do your best or I’ll have your father take away half your spending allowance for the following year, you hear me?”
I rolled my eyes. “When have I not done well?”
She shrugged and started magicking my things into a suitcase and helped me up to my feet. “Go on and change, you still have to study for your exams.”
Guilt gnawed at my conscience. I had nothing to do with the accident, but I somehow felt like I was indirectly connected. The one to blame. Crazy, I know. I wasn’t even there at the pitch when it happened.
That Sunday was Hogsmeade day. But I got special permission from Professor Dumbledore to visit Malfoy at St. Mungo’s. And all the way there, my nerves wouldn’t take it easy.
Approaching the hospital room had my heart pounding harder against my chest, somehow I felt like I shouldn’t be there. I wasn’t thinking straight, my hands clutched at the box of cake, as I stood frozen outside the door. It was only then I realised that Draco’s parents could be there. And Lucius Malfoy was one person I definitely did not want to see.
But it was too late, I supposed. I was there with a gift at hand. It would have been utterly foolish to just turn around and leave. Yet there was no helping the pounding of my heart and the sweating of my palms.
Somehow I got myself to knock softly on the door. And upon hearing Malfoy’s voice, I slowly opened the door. I peeped inside to make sure the parental units were not in the room and upon seeing that it was only Malfoy there, I slowly pushed my way in.
He smiled at me from the bed. He smirked, actually, if truth be told. I almost bolted out the door then. But he called me back. And I complied.
What I saw, when I got a good look at him through the fumes of my slight irritation, was that he looked tired and yet glad to see me. He wore a quilted robe of silver-blue satin, and the rest of his lower body was covered up by a cream-coloured eiderdown. The trouble was, seeing Malfoy on a bed was doing disturbing things to my senses. Bloody hell!
That should have been a sign, I suppose, to get the devil away from him. Ever since… well, blind me, ever since the beginning of the new term, Malfoy had been toying with my emotions and I didn’t suppose I could handle any more.
But I was in too deep now to get away. I think it was at this point that I realised that he had a hold on me.
And eventually those words embodied themselves literally and physically. I don’t remember what brought it on. Or how it started. All I remember was that he was teasing me, the usual thing I would have expected from him, then I was plumping up his pillow… then he was kissing me.
To save my soul, I couldn't find the will to object as his arms drew me closer and closer still. Then I felt his lips, warm, enticing, pressing ever so gently on my own, and my eyes closed, accepting the unavoidable. For the moment, nothing mattered but the taste of him. And I knew at that instant that I was his.
I sighed in his arms, his lips still pursuing mine. He had slowly brought his tongue into play, teaching me the lovely sensations it could invoke, using it to open my mouth, to taste me within. He eventually enticed my tongue to explore as well, and once it timidly passed between his lips, he wouldn't let it go, gently sucking it deeper and deeper into his mouth. I was groaning into his mouth, my face flushed scarlet and my hands clutching his shoulders, when the door burst open.
I didn’t know whether to be sorry or happy for the interruption. Malfoy was drowning me with such feelings I was not accustomed to and it baffled me. But at the same time, I have to be completely honest with myself, I welcomed the bafflement.
But for right then, I had snapped right out of it, for no other than Narcissa Malfoy broke us from the spell that had bound us together.
Embarrassment is an understatement for what I felt at that moment. I was mortified and horrified to be caught in such a compromising situation.
I felt Malfoy stiffen beside me at the sight of his mother.
But Narcissa Malfoy was different and not as I expected her to be. She was almost… friendly? I’m not sure if that’s the correct word to describe her. But she seemingly was so.
However, it wasn’t long before she exited the room and left Malfoy and myself to our own once again. This made me slightly nervous.
Yet, talking to Malfoy this time around was much more pleasant, albeit sarcastic. And I was a tad bit sorry to have had to leave right away. But I really had to. Harry and Ron were waiting for me at the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes in Hogsmeade and I didn’t want to be late. Otherwise, those two oafs might think I was being detained against my will and might come rushing to St. Mungo’s to attack Malfoy. And you know that wouldn’t be a pretty sight.
Using the grate at the hospital to get to Hogsmeade was a faster and more viable choice of transport, since I really did not like Apparating. And within minutes I found myself walking along the street towards the Weasley twins’ joke shop, the freezing cold air bringing coldness to my warm cheeks. I don’t think I stopped blushing for even a minute since Malfoy’s kiss. And I kept smiling like a total fool.
As I entered the joke shop I saw Fred standing near the front of the store. He was watching a little boy who was perusing through the shelf filled with magical joke stuff. Fred wore a suspicious look on his freckled face, tendering the younger boy nerve wrecked.
“Stop pestering the boy, Fred,” I complained good-naturedly. “He’s not going to steal anything.”
“What’s with the smile, Hermione?” asked Fred with a teasing grin, ignoring the boy, as I walked up to him.
“Nothing,” I lied, seeing Malfoy’s face clearly in my mind.
“Hmmm… Hair mussed up, cheeks rosy red, lips bitten,” an approaching Ron said with a smirk that would have given Malfoy’s own a run for his money. “Ickle Mione got kissed?”
I rolled my eyes. Leave it to Ron to be so immature about it all. “It’s cold and windy outside.”
“Kissed?” George asked as he joined us at the front of the shop. “And who, may I ask, has been kissing our little Hermione?”
“Little?!” I asked incredulously. Then I shot Ron a defiant stare. “And what the devil are you blathering about? What do you know?”
Harry burst out laughing at that. “No need for you to be so defensive, he was just teasing. You know that, don’t you, Hermione? But now that you are defensive, now we know it’s true.”
“It’s not,” I said defiantly as I crossed my arms across my chest.
“Stop lying,” Ron said and guffawed when I frowned at him.
“So who did you kiss then?” asked Fred, a belligerent look on his face. “Anyone we know?”
Harry and Ron exchanged amused looks. And simultaneously said, “Malfoy.”
“What?!” George exclaimed.
Fred took a step forward. “Malfoy? Draco Malfoy? That little loser?”
“Can you guys keep your voices down?” I grumbled.
“Yes, if you explain why the hell you’d be kissing that silver-haired ferret,” George said. “We’d stop being so loud about it.”
Fred tapped his foot and crossed his arms over his chest. “Well, we’re waiting.”
George copied his brother’s stance and tapped his foot matching Fred’s beat. “Well, Hermione, what do you have to say for yourself?”
I tried to bite down a smile that was slowly creeping to my lips. The twins always had a knack of creating a blithe atmosphere, blithe enough for them to find out all your deepest secrets.
But then I sighed and turned to Harry and Ron. “Do I really need to go through the whole explanation again?”
Looking at the twins, “Let’s just say that things are different now between Malfoy and myself and there’s nothing that I say or do that could change that.”
“I wouldn’t say nothing,” Harry said with a smile. “You do have a choice, but that means Malfoy dies.”
Fred and George glares jumped from me to Harry then to Ron, they were still dumbfounded.
“What?” asked Fred.
“Can’t we just leave it at that?” I asked them exasperatedly. “It’s a really tedious process, trying to explain the long sordid tale. Let’s just say that he did kiss me and I didn’t find myself slapping him afterwards. And Narcissa Malfoy was even friendly to me.”
Harry and Ron looked at me curiously, but Fred and George were just left stumped by the overload of information.
“You let him kiss you?” Ron asked curiously.
"Ron, you're forgetting how unique my circumstances are,” I said matter-of-factly. Then I turned to Harry and said, “Shall we go then? How about getting something warm to drink at Madame Puddifoots?”
Harry nodded curtly and he followed me out the door and into the cold. Ron, I suspect, was being detained by his brothers for more questioning.
“How unique are their circumstances exactly?” I heard George ask Ron before the door to the shop swung close.
“Why can’t they believe that I like Malfoy now,” I asked impatiently, as Harry and I walked down the street towards the quaint little tea shop.
“Well, possibly because he’s been the greatest git ever to set foot in England and made our lives a living hell ever since First Year,” Harry answered bluntly. “So you do admittedly like him now?”
I shrugged. I wasn’t even sure yet what I was feeling. Whenever I was around Malfoy, it just seemed to be the most natural thing in the world, having him close, letting him kiss me, and allowing him to hold my hand. But when I’m alone, or not around him, it suddenly seems strange and then reason just goes against all of it.
“I think so, but I’m not quite sure,” I answered Harry. “Maybe it’s just inevitable that I will like him… maybe even lo – hell, it’s so hard to say it.”
“Are you saying that you don’t find it hard to imagine yourself… loving him?” Harry said bravely, trying to boldly confront the matter despite the blush that crept up to his cheeks.
I sighed and gave Harry an apologetic smile. “Amazingly, not in the least. He’s really kind to me now. He even makes me laugh. And you can’t deny that he is intelligent and good looking.”
Harry grimaced, at which I only reacted with a laugh.
“He is rather pleasing to the eyes,” I insisted as we entered the warmth of Madame Puddifoots. “And best of all, when we’re not trying to rile each other up, I realised that we do get along well.”
Harry sighed and squeezed my shoulder. Looking at me seriously, he said, “’Mione, I know that the past few months I’ve treated this not as seriously as I would have in the past. But that’s because I know you, and you’re the most rational person I know. And I trust your instincts, even right now with this issue.”
“Thanks Harry,” I smiled at him. “You’re easier to talk to about this. Ron would have been quite a headache.”
Harry scoffed at that remark. “Very well. I know you've got the sense to distinguish the good from the bad. How about a cuppa then?”
“I’d love one,” I answered as I slid into one of the chairs that surrounded a small tea table in the corner of the shop. Harry nodded and walked over to the counter to get us some tea.
“So how is Malfoy doing?” Harry asked not a moment later as he returned with a pot of steaming Earl Grey tea. He set the pot down on the centre of the table, along with two dainty tea cups, fresh lemon slices arranged on a plate, a bowl of white, granular sugar, and a small pitcher of milk.
“He’s healing quite well. Bet he’d be back in school by tomorrow.”
“Your future’s looks quite bright then,” he said as he took his seat across from me.
Notes: Apologies to whoever found Draco’s part too sickeningly sweet. I was in the middle of a romantic novel when I was writing his part to a fault that he may have been extremely out of character. Please don’t hate me for it. On the other hand, this story is completely AU anyway, so I don’t suppose it matters much? At any rate, I still hope you’ve liked the entirety of this chapter. Cheers, yo! – Sloane
Sorry that this took ages to be uploaded. I don’t remember what took us so long to start writing. Anyway, now that we have, we hope you enjoy this chapter and please do leave a review. We really love all your little comments. And thank you so much for those who have left comments before. They’re absolutely wonderful. Love you to bits for each and every one of them. Oh, and I hope you don’t mind that I backtracked a bit and wrote Hermione’s POV of The Kiss. It seemed fair, you know? Anyway, hope you enjoyed that bit as well. Kisses then! Ciao. - Skye
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