It was an uneventful morning, with most of the Hogwarts students at the Quidditch pitch for a game between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. The Gryffindors were cheering for the Ravenclaws, determined to see them win for a good match against Gryffindors’ own team. Only, Hermione wasn’t there. Why spend time in a sea of raging hormones cheering for people on brooms? Well, she used to be enthusiastic- but…she just had a change of heart. A harsh change of heart.
She was alone, brooding as she conjured flames from her wand, changing the colors every now and then to suit her taste. First it was blue- then it became a fiery red…and then purple…and she scowled. Purple was as close to Lavender! She put the flame out and angrily threw rocks at the water near her instead.
They created ripples and in the ripples she saw distorted faces of those who had hurt her. Distorted to the point of never seeing them regain their true faces- she stopped and told herself to calm down. She screamed to herself that it was a childish matter, holding grudges and hatred… but being childish suddenly felt good to the ego.
“Fancy meeting you here. How convenient.“
She looked around and saw the Slytherin prince clad in a dark coat and black slacks. He looked fresh- fresh from sex, that is.
“You look impressively full of yourself,“ she said simply.
He pretended to be hurt, clutching his chest in opera-like manner. “ But- but Granger- I’ve just had the most wonderful moment in my juvenile life.“
“A shag with Pansy?“
“How predictable. That’s all you ever do, aside from everything else. “
He felt infuriated. “The hell- what do you mean by predictable? Someone like you? Now that’s what I call bloody predict-“
“Either shag or snog. When you don’t do that, you make others feel miserable, when you’re not doing that either, you challenge everyone to a childish game of name calling-“
He smiled hearing that. Recognition was everything. But the childish part stung a bit. Leave it to Granger to challenge him…” But I don’t start it. They provoke me. You provoke me.“
“Tell that to Harry.“
He laughed aloud hearing that. Finally. Someone who challenged him. Someone nearly equal…but not quite. And he wondered what shagging would be like with a feisty bookworm…he shook his head and grinned. “I like you,“ he said without much feeling. “ You’re different.“
“I like you too. You’re the perfect example of what I should hate.“
He suddenly grabbed her and skimmed his lips over her cheek and she could feel her body responding to something she had never felt before. He was breathing on her neck- and he resisted the urge to kiss it. This neck had to be his. He didn’t know how longer he could stand the thought of not having her, not owning her. Images of passion flooded his mind, replacing everything he had done with Pansy. Only of Hermione. Everything was Hermione. And reality came back like a slap to the face. He let go of her, his breathing suddenly ragged just like hers. He took a quick step back, unable to believe the thoughts inside his head.
“I don’t know how long I can take this,“ he muttered, still staring at her lips, her eyes…her…
She said nothing as her fingers found its way up to her lips. “I don’t know what to do anymore…” she admitted. “ This has got to stop.“
His eyes glared red now. “Stop? “
She was telling him to stop? How could he? How could he stop when everything he saw- even when he did it with Pansy- was her now?! “You’re asking me to do something I don’t think I can.“ His words were controlled but the rage was there.
“You have to. This is going to-“
He grabbed her again, wanting to see the words come out of her mouth closer to his eyes. “This is going to what “ he whispered on her lips.
“Going to destroy us both…” Hermione mumbled, unable to take her eyes off of his pale, silvery ones.
“Then let it,“ he said in one breath. Without another thought, he kissed her and she resisted initially but then started kissing back. Her hand fisted on Draco’s chest and he held it, squeezing it softly with his hand as he kept on kissing her.
She didn’t resist this time.
Harry busily scanned the other areas of the Quidditch pitch, determined that Hermione was with other Hogwarts friends. Perhaps she was with a close prefect from Ravenclaw. But she wasn’t there, no matter how many times he had kept scanning the sea of faces. He eyed Ron who was enjoying the game as much as Lavender. Harry suddenly felt awful.
He had looked for her that morning, determined to end the silent feud between the three of them, and if not for the three of them, then just for his friendship and Hermione’s. He had searched for her everywhere, from the library, to the common room, to the prefect’s office. Hermione was nowhere to be seen. So he resigned himself to watching the game with Ron and Lavender in tow, much to his chagrin- for despite Lavender’s zest, he still preferred Hermione’s biting remarks about the game than Lavender’s estrogen screaming.
“Bloody-! Did you see that Harry? What a pass!“ Ron hollered amid the cheers and boos. “If the Ravenclaws are going to keep up with this game, we might fight against them in the finals!“
Harry nodded and grinned a bit, his thoughts suddenly distracted from thinking of Hermione- to dreaming about the finals. Ron had said it so positively, his enthusiasm was infectious. Dream big, that was how to win…fight hard and that was how to be a champion. If Ravenclaw won this game, then they would fight against Slytherin and if they won against Slytherin, then Gryffindor and Ravenclaw would meet at the finals- unless Slytherin was going to have a few nasty tricks up its sleeve, as always.
“I don’t see Hermione anywhere,“ Harry suddenly said, without second thought. “She should be here to enjoy it with us. “
And Ron and Lavender immediately stopped cheering. Sullen looks replaced their faces and Harry had by then realized why he should have had second thoughts about saying it. Harry looked at each of them for a few moments and then cleared his throat.
“Nice game, huh?“ He said, as Ravenclaw’s seeker caught the snitch. Ron nodded, but there was no enjoyment in it. Lavender’s expression had by then gone acerbic.
The Ravenclaw team had won, but it was as if they never cheered, it was as if they were never happy in the first place. Lavender clutched Ron’s hand tightly, steering him away from Harry. The game had ended and screams were loud, but nothing was louder than the anger present in Ron’s eyes and in Lavender’s. They were slowly moving away from Harry now, away from the crowds and happiness, like they never wanted Harry with them in the first place.
Shock came first. Then it was replaced with anger, as Harry watched Lavender lead his best friend away from him. His brows furrowed at the submission Ron gave to Lavender. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be! Ron would never allow this to happen, not even Hermione could- he stopped. Of course. Lavender was no Hermione.
“I’ll see you later, Harry,“ Ron dully said as Lavender held his hand tightly, with her eyes still glaring at Harry.
Harry nodded slowly, as he couldn’t say anything else. This was horrible. No, wait- not horrible, this was like best friend hell.
Lavender stopped dragging Ron once they had reached the stairs where no one else was yet. She let go of his hand roughly.
“What the hell was that, Lavender?“ he asked, near frustration.
“What do you mean ‘what the hell was that’?“ she said, ready to accuse him. “That has got to stop, you know. All the references to Hermione... it has got to stop!“
“I did not say anything relating to Her-“
“Harry does it all the time! And I think he’s doing it on purpose.“
“Harry isn’t that kind of person, Lavender. It was a slip of the-“
“I don’t like slips! It has got to stop, Ron! Do you hear me? You tell him that! You tell him that!“ Lavender stopped, seeing someone else approach the staircase landing.
Ron spun around to see Harry, his green eyes dark and his facial expression suddenly aloof. He curtly nodded to them both. “I’ll see you later, Ron.“ And he left, just as the rest of the Gryffindors began to exit their stand.
Ron looked at Lavender, suddenly furious. He grabbed her arm despite her protests and led her to a quiet part of the Quidditch pitch, underneath the Gryffindor’s stands. “I don’t like where this is going, Lavender.“
“And what is that supposed to mean?“ she asked him haughtily.
“I’ve already lost Hermione-“
She took a step back from him, pointing an accusing finger. “I knew it! You still have feelings for her! You were lying to me all this time, you-“
He was shouting now. “I meant I’ve already lost her as a friend! I don’t intend to lose Harry too! They’re still my best friends, Lavender!“
“And what about me? Don’t I mean anything to you?“
“Yes! That was why I hurt Hermione…by cheating on her so I could be with you!“ Ron sputtered out.
“Am I supposed to feel guilty for this? Remember, when people cheat, it just isn’t the action of one. It’s the action of both. You love me better than her, Ron. That’s why we’re together,“ she said in a suddenly quiet voice. “If you love someone, you’re bound to do anything- even if it hurts the others. That’s what’s happening to us, Ron. We love each other; that is why the others are hurting.“
Ron was quiet after she said it. Of course, she was right. He was a willing conspirator to cheat on Hermione. Perhaps…perhaps he loved Lavender this much...but there was still that nagging voice in his head saying that something was wrong. Well of course something was; he just couldn’t prove it yet.
The realization that she was kissing Draco Malfoy came again and she quickly pushed him away, a hand on her forehead, her breathing irregular, her hands were shaking terribly.
His eyes grew wide. And he thought she was enjoying it! The bloody hell of it all! He thought she enjoyed it! “What the hell did you do that for?“
“I- I’m kissing you! I’m not supposed to be kissing you!“
“Since when did that become a rule? “ he said, brushing the hideous sounding comment aside. “You were responding with great pleasure. “
“I was not!“
“Don’t lie to me. It doesn’t suit you at all.“
“Like you weren’t responding with immense pleasure, too,“ she said sourly. “I suppose; I was the only one who made you feel that way, I’m sure even Pansy couldn’t do it.“
It hit Draco like a knife through the heart. The cunning little bitch. “And so you’re correct on that matter. Are you proud of being able to arouse me, then?“
Her face became a bit red. “As a matter of a fact, I- I am.“ She felt disgusted with admitting that. She felt like a nymphomaniac…well, not that she was one…she had never been one! But being with Draco was like playing with fire…
“Does he enter your mind when I kiss you?“
“You’ve only kissed me twice.“
“Ah, you keep track of it,“ he said with a smile.
She immediately regretted saying it. She looked away and breathed in deeply; fearful she would lose her temper and hex the Malfoy’s lights out.
“Well, does he?“ he repeated, suddenly irritable this time.
“Yes,“ she replied.
His eyes burned and the silver in his irises tinged with red. “He does?“ he said in a soft voice. “You love him that much.“
“I loved him. Past tense, if you still recall grammar,“ she corrected calmly.
“Syntax has got nothing to do with love,“ he said through gritted teeth.
“Glad you know your jargon,“ she told him.
“I told you to stop loving him.“
“You’re not the boss of me to keep saying that. If I told you to stop having a relationship with Pansy, would you?“ she challenged him, raising her chin high.
Well that was unexpected, she thought, unable to challenge him further.
“You want me to turn my back on what I believe in? Forget you were a Gryffindor and Potter’s friend? Would you want me to forget that I was a Slytherin too? I would, only to you.“
He saw the change in her eyes, they began to soften, and hell did they look beautiful as they did. He never thought he’d see them change into a different color, but they did.
“You’d do that?“
He didn’t nod or give confirmation. He would not repeat it again. There was no necessity to saying it again. She would either gloat or…gloat, and ruin his plans in the process. All it took was a little easing up to her.
“I never thought you’d say that,“ she whispered, unable to look at him, unable to believe that Draco Malfoy was telling the truth in her face.
“I have. Past tense,“ he said with a tiny smile.
She finally let out a smile as well. Past tense. Yes, it was past. Perhaps it was time to love someone new. It would be a challenge to have feelings for someone difficult to love. Well was he difficult to love?
“I’m difficult to love,“ he said, as if reading her mind. “Trust me, I know myself. Even Pansy hasn’t understood me yet, in all our years of- immense pleasure.“ He sniggered at the last two words.
“I like challenges.“
“I’m not a challenge.”
“If you’re difficult to love, then you are.“
“I wish I had another body, so I could watch this conversation we’re having from the sidelines,“ he suddenly said.
“What?“ Hermione said, baffled by his side comment.
“I want to watch this from afar. I mean, I can’t believe I’m having a conversation with you, a nice one at that. I want to see this without being near you. It gives it a sort of- flair.“
Hermione laughed. “Draco Malfoy, using the word ‘flair’…“
“Tell that to someone and I’ll hex you good.“
“Threatening me now.“
“No, just warning you.“
“Any other warnings?“
“Well, I’m a damn good kisser,“ he said.
She laughed again and he liked hearing her laugh. It was as if all the problems in the world had gone every time she’d laugh. He wished it would last forever, well forever to his terms of forever. Perhaps it was just a fascination, and he prayed that it would be just that. But something else, that little voice in his head; it told him that this was going to be more than that. That this was going to be something he would either regret or regret. He remembered an old quote, something his mother once shared, no matter how indifferent she may have seemed.
Si vis amaria, ama, If you want to be loved, love.
It was as simple as that, but it was difficult in reality. He wanted Hermione to be crazy for him and not the other way around. He was going to win this, win her love- without loving her too much to the point of hurting himself in the future. Well, he had to think of the future. Even when he was alone, he had thought of a good future for himself…
“Any more warnings?“ she asked, breaking his trail of thoughts.
“Well…I’m a damn good lover,“ he breathed out lamely, unable to think of anything else. But she laughed again, much to his enjoyment.
“I hope to see that, “ she told him. “I have to go.“
“Back to my room,” she replied.
“For what? More moments of boredom? Why don’t you…stay here for awhile?“ he asked her consciously, not looking at her.
He was suddenly interested in this wonderful piece of stone near his shoe. He took it and threw it up and down, catching it with his hand. He finally threw it across the water near them and it skipped he water’s surface five times.
“You want me to stay?“ she said, a bit surprised.
“Well, if you want to,“ he said, looking a wee bit annoyed that she had to ask that and that he had to respond.
“I’ll stay if you want me to stay,“ she replied, suddenly feeling the amusement of teasing Draco. She was trying to hide her smile from him. But he got the gist of it.
“Are you mocking me?”
“No, “ she replied, stifling a giggle. “Just asking. I mean- if you want to be alone- then all you have to do is- “
“I don’t, okay! I want you to stay,“ he spat out. “Is that what you want to hear?“
She was laughing inside, but she pretended to be annoyed. “Well, if you’re that angry at me for just asking-“
“Stop it. Stay,“ his voice lowered and he grabbed her hand. “Stay here and let’s contemplate on our sins and all that crap.“
She laughed. “So you do like me that much.“
“Don’t be too full of yourself, Granger,“ he said as he sat down a tree stump, his hand still lingering on hers. He never let go. She didn’t even notice it.
“I’m not,“ she shook her head innocently.
He finally found himself smiling. “Merlin, you really are full of yourself.“
“Well, look who’s talking, “ she said, rolling her eyes. And she took a seat beside him on the round tree stump, wondering why fate had brought her this. Silly fate.
“Stay with me, “ he murmured all of a sudden, still not looking at her, but his grip on her hand had considerably tightened. His eyes were concentrated on the lake, pools of black and blue mirrored into his silver ones, darkening them with undulating tones.
Hermione did and she just closed her eyes, listening to the wind and Draco’s breathing. Suddenly, she felt that she belonged here. Just right beside him. Not beside Ron, the crummy bastard…but with Draco…
Suddenly he stood up. Her eyes flew open and she saw him grinning. “Well, I guess that’s it.“
“What?“ she said, a bit shocked. What the hell was going on?
He smiled at her, as if trying to say he was sincerely sorry- but the smile turned out to be the ugliest one Hermione had seen that day. It was a smile of malice. Absolute bloody…malice.
“That’s it. The day is done,“ he told her, turning his back. “I enjoyed the moment,“ he added, facing to give her a wink. The wink was scheming. It was vile. She hated him that instant with all of the hate she had stored in the innards of her emotions. “See you.“
And he was gone.
A/N: Happy new year everyone! please give me some more new year cheer by pressing that review button! ^^