Chapter 1 : Forbidden Words
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This one-shot takes place right after page 302 in HBP. If you are not familiar with that page exactly, this is immediately after Ron and Lavender kiss, and Hermione sends her golden birds to attack Ron. Please read and review! Thank you =]
"Gerremoffme!" he yelled, but with one last look of vindictive fury, Hermione wrenched open the door and disappeared through it. Harry thought he heard a sob before it slammed.
Her pattering footsteps treaded on the ancient floor; her feet carrying her away from the rivalry of friendship and love. A minor panic was reaching her nerves, for she had nowhere to run for sanctuary. The muffled laughter in the common room was so distant now; a faint brute that taunted her. The option to return was completely abated.
Her fingers curled and uncurled as she traveled the castle desperately. It was a familiar habit she used to keep distracting thoughts at bay. However, in this particular moment, the silly impulse did little to obscure the visions of Ron’s hands groping Lavender’s hips, and hatred threatened to take hold of her.
She traveled down several floors, wanting more than anything to meet unoccupied grounds, tears tumbling down her porcelain cheeks. She feared the pain tugging at her chest would never cease.
She found herself in front of familiar doors and entered the Library cautiously. The smell of antiquated mahogany and aged books wafted through the quiet air. She passed her respected table she had grown accustomed to occupying, and wished furiously to Merlin that things could go back to normal. Back to when she was the brains, when she almost hated Ron, and Harry was just the boy with a scar.
Things were so far from those times…
She searched for a darkened, secluded aisle to hide her torment as she wiped the tears from her solemn face. As she nestled herself into a bleak aisle, a sickening realization coursed its way through her brilliant mind. Ron is gone. Ron is not mine.
She crawled onto the desk, leaning against the wall and bookshelf, and again drew the scent of dust and knowledge in from the old books. Having hoped that familiarity would be a tonic, disappointment flooded her. The small girl then crossed her arms onto her bony knees, and laid her head there. Her curls casted lazily around her trembling body, shielding her face entirely.
The strangled sound of her sobs expanded the growing hole in her chest; a virus Ron had planted there this evening. She was almost forfeiting, giving up and giving in to despair; allowing her body to liquefy and never be solid. But suddenly, a peculiar sound of clicking against wood was mild in the distance, yet growing more severe with each passing second. She became terrified of being discovered by a consoling friend. Words nearly slipped from her lips to call out to the intruder, but she fought back the urge. She swallowed her breath, forcing herself to make no noise as the footsteps abruptly abstained.
Her slightly pouted lip disappeared underneath her front teeth as she deliberated with herself. Attempting to flee would be pointless, for the prowler would discover her. So instead, she buried her face deeper into her arms, coiling tighter into the corner of wall and shelf like a shaken rodent, hoping that whoever was coming would miraculously not notice her tiny frame huddled there.
And then the clicking commenced once more. She raised her eyes inconspicuously to get a glimpse of the person who was disturbing her self-pity. Just as the boy rounded the corner, a fearful gasp escaped her disloyal lips, giving her away. Draco Malfoy had walked timidly by, his tie hanging clumsily at his neck, his hair disheveled. Regrettably, he heard this slight shock, and wielded back around the bookshelf to see who had made the dreadful noise.
His eyes did not widen, but merely scrutinized her quaint position. She was reluctant to pick up her face, afraid he would notice her tear stained cheeks, but she could not pretend he wasn’t there. It was possible he would even hex her if he was angry enough tonight. She finally drew up her face entirely, and gazed at him warily back.
There was something unsettling and anguished about the way he inspected her. His lack of hostility coated an agonizing silence that was sure to be the death of him. But alas, harsh words did not seem to be boiling inside; just curiosity and despair.
Several seconds passed and he had still not spat at her as he commonly would have. She was itching with anticipation, wondering why he had not cursed her or fled from the scene, as she had wanted to. He continued to remain frozen to the floor, transfixed on her eyes. She blinked back the confusion and tears as he then leant against the desk opposite her. He looked far too casual here, as if they’d been friends for years. It caused her muscles to tense uneasily.
She shifted her body, her feet now on the floor, mirroring Malfoy’s stance. Any words she might have barked at him before, no longer seemed appropriate right now. She could almost feel the vulnerability running through her veins, possessing the fire and bravery that once resided there. And without warning, her suppressed tears dripped heavily from her brown eyes again, and her hands shot up to cover her face. She blubbered into her palms, no longer caring what he thought. She had sought out the Library for redemption and she was determined to have it, whether or not another person was there to witness it. He would not ruin this for her as he had done on so many other occasions. Still, the boy said nothing, but she had noticed his broad body shift a few paces towards her.
A slim hand reached out to her body. Immediately, she jerked away and tore her hands from her eyes incredulously. There had been nothing more shocking than this moment that Malfoy was trying to comfort her. That couldn’t possibly be what he wanted.
His hands were in the pockets of his slacks again; his white button-up was wrinkled around the sleeves. His pale face was as hard as ever, as if the feisty emotion that once dwelled in his soul had been ripped away. Those silver eyes that taunted her for years, now just looked empty, swollen, and puffy. There was nothing magnetic or cruel about them anymore.
He drew his hand from his pocket and approached her again, much slower this time, as if his touch could break her. When she did not resist his impending caress, he moved his body along with it. His hands went to either side of her, resting on the desk, pinning her gently to it. His cool breath emanated from his lips, tickling her skin. The gas lamps cast a shadow on his face, defining his cheek bones. She had never, in all the years of knowing him, been this close to his face. She had never been able to see the baby fine hairs that formed his pale brow.
She searched for the words neither of them would speak, and he must have noticed her inquisitive look. He smiled delicately at her with his even, white teeth, and she realized for the first time just how beautiful he really was. But she wasn’t sure if she should feel terror or be intrigued by the Slytherin boy’s mystique. Her heart pounded in her throat and sweat beads collectively gathered in her collar bone. At any moment he could kiss her and break that estrangement between them that should remain forever untouched. Her instincts were screaming at her to turn and run, but in that second that she could almost taste him, a weak, foreign part of her wished he would just kiss her.
He bent back to his side of the aisle with a vacant expression and shaking hands. He appeared to be in more distress than she, as he kept running his fingers through his messy blonde hair. She still couldn’t fathom what he wanted or why he was even here at night in the Library. The silver serpent on his necktie gleamed suddenly in the candle light, flashing perilously, and he averted his eyes to his polished shoes. The room was growing dimmer from the swallowing darkness past the castle walls; along with it, her pain.
Their positions abruptly changed but it was she who moved into him this time. She was coming in just as slow as he had with a strange incitement. The illicitness of their actions swept from the room with the entire moral, and all that was left was their two troubled hearts, aching and beating as one. Someone had hurt her, of that he was certain.
Her fingers gently draped the white cotton on his stomach and eventually found his hand. She was trembling all the while but he took her grasp and placed his other hand at the small of her back, pulling her into him. The planes of his chest flexed underneath his shirt and he wondered if she knew just how nervous he was.
His hand caressed her face, cupping her chin and wiping the last of her tears away. “Draco –” she tried to say but his fingers found her lips, hushing her speech furthermore. He feared her voice could shatter this brief moment. He swore he could feel her veins pulsating more prominently in perfect sync with his breathing. As if they were one soul. As if they were whole again.
There might have been a split second that he felt this was a mistake, but whatever it was, he was not letting go. He only hoped he did not look as vulnerable as she. He feared he was on the brink of collapsing from standing there, taking her into his arms, for he had grown unnaturally weary from his task. All he wanted now was a pure soul; a comforting mind to compose himself in.
His lips found hers unexpectedly, and he tugged at her bottom lip with his teeth. His breath was cold, mixing with her warm; a prohibited combination. She responded quickly, sliding her tongue into his mouth and a small groan formed in the back of his throat. He was satisfied.
Her hands traveled into his hair, pulling at his platinum locks. She kissed him with an urgency she had never felt before. He gripped her hips tighter, almost violently. Ron’s face flashed critically in her mind and she wrenched herself away from him, falling back against her side of the aisle. A small frown formed between Draco’s brows. A long, pale finger moved to his swollen lips, pressing tenderly. He did not look angry, but broken.
She gasped for oxygen, now avoiding his eyes. He sighed heavily in irritation, and was soon an inch from her again. He cupped her pretty face and tilted her gaze to him, for he towered above her. His hand molded into the skin on her cheek. He said no words. He stroked her cheek with his thumb once more before releasing her, and turned abruptly away, stalking off back through the Library. She could hear the ancient doors being forced open and clanking shut behind him.
Silence. She stood alone in the darkened aisle; it seemed almost black here now that he had gone. The place where his hand once held her face burned dangerously as if his touch had forever scarred her. She raised her hand to her cheek to feel for anything unusual but to no avail. She was warm and tearless. But the invisible strings that seemed present when he looked at her, holding her up, no longer existed. As if they had never been there in the first place. And she was collapsing.
In that moment, she couldn’t reason with herself as to why it happened. Why Draco, the vilest creature, had been her vice, her cure. She couldn’t understand why he had charged in uncharacteristically, and healed the gaping wound in her chest. Why he had caused her tears to desist.
She gathered herself before attempting to flee from the Library, wanting more than anything to forget and crawl into bed now. She rounded the aisle and thought of things she might have said to him; things they would have shared. She thought of the words he could have spoken; those forbidden words.