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Otherwise Engaged by majamariamaja
Chapter 15 : There's Always A Next Time
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 64


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amazing CI by rockstarkisses @ TDA!

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Chapter 15. There's Always A Next Time






«He just died.»

His words echoed in my head, still not making any sense.

After Draco had finally expressed the reason to his uncharacteristically pained and gut-wrenching behaviour, he had stormed off. The ghost of his prescence was still hanging over me, and I hadn't yet realised that he'd been here just a few moments ago - it had all happened so quickly. I hadn't even posessed the ability to clear my mind quickly enough to stop him before he left. Something I regretted now.

I was paralyzed for what seemed like forever, and when I finally did move, it was to the refridgerator – feeling that I had to eat something, even though I wasn't hungry. I then slowly made my way to the sofa and sat down, eating my sandwich in the choking loneliness that surrounded me.

I do believe I'd managed to fall to sleep, because I awoke suddenly at the sound of an irregular, loud knocking on my front door. With stumbling feet I worked my way to the entrance, yawning before I opened the door. I found Draco heavily leaning against the door frame, eyes clouded.

«Eeeey!» he exclaimed when he saw me, angry that I'd removed some of the support that was carrying his weight. «You could warn a man before...open-opening the, ehm, the door,» he muttered drunkenly.

«Draco, what are you doing?» I asked and tried to help him keep his balance by taking his arm, but he jerked away. This caused him to almost fall backwards, but in the last minute he grabbed onto a lamp that was fastened to the wall in the empty hallway. Once again, I tried to help him but he jumped away.

«Don't touch me!» he slurred. «I don't know wh-where you've been.»

«All right, but why don't you come in? Maybe have a cup of coffee,» I said, and added quietly to myself, «or three...»

Draco obviously found my offer to be acceptable, and took some vast and unsteady steps into the apartment. I rolled my eyes while I closed the door behind him.

«Draco,» I said, being careful not to sound judgemental, «have you been drinking?»

«No,» he said and turned around to wink at me. «But I took some Pain Relief elixir from when I broke my back a year ago.» He giggled, then suddenly found something very interesting on my face and basically ran toward me and caught it with his hands. I guess he didn't care anymore about 'where I'd been'.

I had trouble keeping my balance seeing as he was swaying threateningly back and forth.

«You know,» he muttered, and I could smell the strong smell of elixir on his breath, «you have beautiful eyes.»

My cheeks reddened, and I looked away.

«Look at me so that, so that I know you're list-listenen-lening.» He lifted my chin, and I was forced to meet his gaze. «Beautiful.»

Then all of a sudden he almost fell to the ground, and if it hadn't been for my sober reflexes, he would have crashed down to the floor.

«Whoa, easy there Wobbles.» I helped him regain his balance, if only for a short while. «How many viles of that elixir did you drink?»

«Well, there was one after I left your-this ap-apartment this morning, one before, ehm, I came here-back...» He counted on his fingers and then looked down at me. «Eight.»

«I don't think you're supposed to do that,» I reasoned with him and tried to move his swaying body to the sofa I'd just vacated.

«Pff.» He waved his hand as if that would reassure me. «I feel fine.»

«Yes, I bet you do,» I muttered, and successfully put him on the sofa. He immediately fell against the soft cushions, but didn't remove his eyes from me. I sat down next to him and pressed the button on the remote in order to turn on the TV. For several minutes we didn't say anything, and if any of us did talk, the conversation wouldn't have made much sense, for the simple reason that Draco was completely smashed.

But when I caught a glimpse of his arm, I suddenly remembered something, and curiosity got the best of me.

«Draco?»

«Yes, m'lady?»

«I-I was wondering...»

«Pray continue, schweet angel.» He grinned, probably thinking he was vastly charming. Sorry mate, but slurring isn't that attractive.

«Roll up your sleeve,» I said, and realised that it wasn't a question – it was a demand.

«Take off your shirt,» he demanded back, smirking.

«I'm serious.»

«As am I.»

«Come on.» I tried to grab his arm but he jerked away, but due to his momentary lack of strength, he didn't get far. A few inches, at the most.

«Hey!» he exclaimed, holding his arm in an attempt to keep it away from me. «This ride ain't free, lady! It's tit for tat.»

I leaned over, my right breast grazing his shoulder, and grabbed his arm before rolling up the sleeve on his left hand.

«Oh, yeah,» he muttered, he cleared his throat before dragging his eyes away from my chest. «I-I don't have that anymore.» I touched the skin where the Dark Mark used to be, pondering about it, and was just about to ask when Draco continued. «It sort of went away after He, ehm, after the wa- you know, after He...died, or whatever you'd call it.»

After a few seconds, his eyes were drawn back to my slight cleavage. His hand slowly crept onto my thigh and made its way between my legs, I gasped for air when I realised that he wasn't stopping. I jumped up from the sofa and laughed, a fake and horribly awkward laugh. It was high pitched too, and Draco was giggling at the unnatural sound.

«You're really drugged, aren't you?» I said, trying to steer the situation onto some safe ground. That this was the first thing that came to my mind was actually quite pathetic, but I'd never claimed to be good at handling awkward moments – rather the exact opposite.

«Absolutely not,» he grinned while getting to his feet, and this time accepted the help from my outstretched, steady hand. «But you know what I-I think you are?»

«I'm sure you're going to tell me...» While muttering, I tried to lead him back to the sofa, but he wouldn't budge.

«Yes. I will.» He paused for effect and bit his lower lip while smiling seductively. «I think,» another pause, and I rolled my eyes this time, «I think you're incr-erede-dibly stunning.»

«That settles it then,» I sighed. «You're drugged. Heavily.»

«No, I'm telling you the truth here, and you..you, don't even, you're not even listeni-» All of a sudden he leaned too much to one side, tripped on his own huge feet and fell head first onto the floor. I yelped as I knelt down beside him.

«Draco?» I said, my hands fluttering helplessly over his firm figure. «Draco? A-Are you okay?»

«I'm fine,» he laughed, and tried to get up, but fell back down due to dizziness, though still smiling. «Totally fine.»

«No, you knocked your head pretty good,» I muttered, and retrieved the wand from my back pocket, but all the healing spells I once knew were washed away from my memory. «I-I think I'll have to ask you a few questions. I mean, that's what they tell you to do in situations like these, right?»

«I dunno...» Draco's pupils were huge, and his eyelids were fluttering.

«All right, ehm...» I had no idea what to say. «Ehm. Oh, I know!» I cleared my throat while tapping his chest in order to get his attention. «Knock, knock.»

«Who's there?» he croaked, smiling sheepishly.

«You know.»

«You know, who? Ah, very funny, Brownie...» His voice was trailing off.

«I know, I just -» I noticed how his eyes were closing, and my heart froze. «No, no, no, no!» I shook his limp arm, but being careful not to move his neck - that much I remembered. «Don't fall asleep!» I then chose another tactic and smacked his chest, hard. «Listen to me, Blondie, for once in your life! Don't fall aslee-» And he was asleep. I continued for a few seconds to get him to wake up, but it was no use. There was only one thing left to do, one place left to go:

St. Mungo's.






I wasn't sleeping. I was just resting my eyes for a second. No more than a second. So that light snoring I heard in the distance wasn't me; no siree, not a chance. Because I wasn't sleeping, I'd made a deal with myself to not sleep. I had to be awake in case something happened, in case someone needed me.

Then some stirring noises cut through my non-sleeping state and I reacted on complete reflex when I jerked upright in the uncomfortable chair I'd been sprawled across for the last seven hours. On the bed beside me, a groggy-looking Draco was looking at me with his eyes half closed.

«Hi,» I breathed, and wanted to grab his hand because of the relief I was feeling. Draco didn't move, didn't say anything, didn't even blink. If it hadn't been for the small rise and fall of his chest, I'd be worried. Correction; more worried than I already was.

«I'll go get a Healer and tell them you're awake,» I whispered, and I didn't really know why. He and I were the only ones in the room, so there really wasn't any reason for me to lower my voice. With shaky and stiff legs I arose from the plastic chair, and yawned before moving away from Draco's bedside.

Ring. Ring.

It was my phone. I could have sworn that I'd turned off the volume.

Ring. Ring.

Searching through my purse annoyed me because of all the uneccessary stuff that were in there. I'd luckily created a separate, magic, pocket inside it for all of the wizarding-books that Draco had bought me, something I was happy about now. After several seconds of searching and growling, I found my phone, flipped it opened it and put it to my ear.

«Yes?» Maybe I shouldn't sound so annoyed?.. Nah. I didn't care.

«Ehm, Miss Hermione Granger?» a deep male voice muttered nervously.

«Yes, this is she.»

«Oh, Miss Granger. I'm so glad I finally reached you; I've been trying all day and-»

«Mr. Lipman?» I interrupted, shocked.

«Yes, I-I probably should have mentioned that, shouldn't I? Well, yes, this is Colin Lipman from -»

«I know who you are.» I was angry now. How dared he call me after he'd so coldly sacked me just a few days ago! «What I don't know is why you're calling me. What do you want?»

«Yes, yes. Ehm, what I wanted to call you to say is that, well, it's actually more of a proposition.»

What the hell was this?

«I'm confused,» I admitted and sat my bum back down on the hard chair. «What proposition?»

«I-well, we all want you back, Miss Granger. I sincerely regret -»

«Sacking me for no apparent reason? Yeah, well, common mistake.» My voice was painted with anger, and I bet he could hear how I would rather have screamed at him. I would if it hadn't been for Draco. And the fact that this was a hospital. «I'm sorry, but I'm actually in the middle of something, and I -»

«No, please!» Lipman interrupted me, and he sounded almost scared. Was I that intimidating when I was mad? I think I liked this respect for a change. «I'll give you a raise.»

«It's a matter of principles, Lipman,» I said rudely, «and if you don't like my principles -»

«And you'll get that corner-office on third floor.»

My jaw dropped. «...then I have others.»

«Does that mean you accept?»

I thought for a second, and sighed. «Fine. Add my own coffee machine to my office and I'm in. And not the outdated, cheap sort! I want the expensive, automatic one.»

«Of course, Miss Granger!» Lipman exclaimed. «And let me just apologize for the-the..our previous meeting, the, ehm misunderstanding.» I rolled my eyes and was just about to give Lipman a piece of my mind despite the fact that I was in Draco's fragile prescende, but then he beat me to the punch. «And please tell your friend, Mr Malfoy, that we look forward to seeing him on Monday as well, and that we'll have his new office ready for him. I-I'm glad that we've cleared up this situation, and I hope tha-»

«Hang on.» My brain was buzzing, and I looked over at Draco. But he was still without an expression. «What are you saying? Are you saying that both me and Draco are getting new offices? How did this happen?»

«I, ehm, we all thought that you both deserved a proper promotion for all the hard work -»

«That's a load of -»

«I apologize, Miss Granger, but I have to be going,» he quickly said, evading my questions. «Just, ehm, just tell Mr Malfoy that everything's fixed now, and that I'm glad we've cleared this up.» He was just about to hang up when I heard a shuffling on the other end. «Oh, and, if you want a long weekend, then that's perfectly fine. You deserve a couple of days paid leave after the difficult situation we put you in. You-you both do.»

«What in the bloody -»

And he hung up.

For several moments I just sat there, staring at my phone without getting any wiser. Had I just got my job back, a new office and a raise? Oh, and several days paid  leave? What-how-why...?

«Who was that?» Draco's hoarse voice sounded strained, and I looked up to check if he was all right.

«That,» I began, dumbfounded, «was Mr Lipman,» I muttered, and right then I caught a strange glint in Draco's eyes.

«Draco?» I pulled my chair closer to his bed, but his face was still expressionless. «Did you by any chance have anything to do with that?»

«I have no idea what you're talking about.» His voice was scratchy, and his arm lay limp on top of his stomach.

«So Mr Lipman gave me my job back along with a raise, a corner office, my own coffee machine and several days paid leave just because he felt like it?»

«You got your job back? Congratulations, Brownie.» Draco's smile was a little bit too innocent, and I made up my mind to interrogate him later when he was feeling better.

«Thanks,» I whispered.

Draco tried to sit up but just fell back against the plump mattress, letting out a complaining groan as he did. I didn't want to impose by taking his hand, even though I wanted to. I needed to let him know that I was here for him, but had to find another way of doing it, I suppose.

«How are you feeling?» I whispered and prepared myself for a snappy retort.

«Empty,» Draco grimaced, and my breath caught in my throat. Was he actually going to admit what he was feeling? Hm. Progress.

«The loss of a family member can -»

«No, I mean literally empty,» he croaked, and rubbed his belly. «And hungry as hell.»

«Oh, yes.» Of course he wasn't going to talk about it. I was stupid to even, for a second, think that he was actually going to tell me how he really felt. «The Healers had to empty your stomach.» I cleared my throat. «Because you sort of overdosed on that elixir.»

«Oh.»

Suddenly the door swung open, and a huge, female Healer came waltzing in.

«Hello!» she chirped, and went smiling over to Draco. «How are we feeling this morning?»

«Grand,» Draco muttered and I noticed how his face had changed back to the hard, cold expression like the one from last night.

The big Healer turned to me with kind eyes. «Would you excuse us for a moment, my dear? I have to examine this gentleman, and then you can come right back in.»

I nodded and smiled to Draco as I passed him, but he'd turned away from me, and with a heavy heart I walked out of the room.

When out in the hallway, I marched back and forth and breathed heavily. I didn't like being separated from him at a time like this. The second he was unconscious I hadn't left his side, and I now felt like someone had stretched my arm like a rubber band, seeing as I was mentally holding his hand. Restlessly, I sat down on a chair but then jumped up when I thought I heard a noise, and then marched for a few minutes before repeating the same pattern.

«Miss?»

I snapped my head around and then ran to the Healer that had just walked out of Draco's room.

«Yes?» I breathed. «Is he okay?»

«He's fine, dear,» she smiled, her kind eyes shining. «But I have to ask you,» she cleared her voice, «does he have anyone he could stay with for a few days? According to his papers he lives alone, and I recommend that he stays with someone in case there would be any more difficulties.» While putting her wand in the pocket of her white overalls, she looked at me.

«Me,» I breathed quickly. «He can stay with me.»

«Magnificent. That's very kind of you, dear.» The Healer patted my shoulder. «Just keep an eye on him, and don't let him eat any particularly salty foods, okay? Make him drink lots of water.»

I nodded, and just now started to comprehend what the hell I'd agreed to. Draco. And me. Staying together, sleeping together, eating together - for several days.

«I gave him something to help him sleep, but when he wakes up you're free to leave. Please sign out before you exit, though, alright?» I nodded again. «Good luck.» She blinked at me and then waltzed down the hall and vanished around a corner.






«But I want the crisps!»

«No,» I said firmly and grabbed the box of Pringles from Draco's hand. «The Healer said th-»

«Well, then the Healer is stupid,» he muttered and stretched his arm out to take it back, but I was quicker than he was and jumped out of the way. «Brownie!» he complained and pulled his face into a pout. «Don't you feel the least bit sorry for me? Don't you think I deserve a box of Pringles?»

I raised a brow at him before demostratively opening the cupboard, putting the box of Pringles safely inside and then closed it. I even pulled my wand from the pocket of my pants and flicked it at the cupboard to securely lock it, just for good measure.

«Are you always this mean or do I just bring it out in you?»

«Both,» I smiled, and went back to unpacking the rest of the groceries. «And how did you get the crisps in the bag, anyways? I sure didn't buy it.»

«I didn't do it. Must've been that spotty cashier,» he muttered innocently and sat down on a chair, breathing heavily. All day he'd been easily out of breath, and was forced to sit down a lot. «Damned elixir shit,» he mumbled. «Why did I have to chug it down like that?»

I didn't answer, and I think he appreciated that. After regaining his breath, he sighed and rested his head on the palm of his hand. He was leaning against the table and tapping his fingers rythmically on his chin, bored senseless. I didn't mind him, though, and just went about the kitchen. Putting the groceries in the correct cupboards and drawers kept my mind and hands busy.

«Brownie?»

«Mhm?»

«Is it odd that I don't feel anything?»

I was struggling to rearrange the mess in the refigerator so the Sprite would fit, and didn't really listen to what he was saying. After spending the entire day listening to him chatting about nothing of interest, and staring gloomily at everything in sight, I'd started tuning out the neverending mumble.

«I mean,» he continued and put both his palms on the table counter, spreading his fingers as he began speaking, «I should be feeling something, right?» he asked my back. «Anything.»

«Uh-huh.» I stuffed the empty bags in the trash and went to make a pot of coffee, not really noticing how Draco looked drawn and tired.

«Why can't I feel anything? I mean, he was my father.»

I froze.

«And he just died. Like that,» he snapped his fingers. «After all of his wrongdoings, fighting in two wizarding wars and after all the hell he's put me through over the years... After all this, what kills him is not a curse, no, it's bloody heart attack.»

I turned around only to see a frustrated Draco, wringing his fingers.

«Such a weak thing to die from. That's what he'd say, you know. He'd be disappointed in his own death.» He looked up at me, but his face didn't reveal any feeling other than that empty frustration. No wet eyes, no furrowed brows, no quivering lip.

The light on the coffeemaker turned off and signalised that it was done, so I got two cups, put in some milk and sugar and poured the divine liquid into them. With gentle movements I put one of them on the table in front of Draco, and sat down on the chair opposite him.

«Are you disappointed in his death?» I asked softly, moving very lightly into the subject.

«I don't know, maybe.» While absentmindedly touching the contours of his coffee cup, he chewed on his bottom lip. «I mean, you've got to understand, Lucius Malfoy was the worst father you could ever imagine, he was exceedingly strict and firmly believed that tough love made you a better person. Not that he cared about being a better person...» his voice trailed off, and he took a sip of the hot beverage. Our eyes usually met a million times per second, but right now he was avoiding me and stared in the opposite direction instead.

I didn't say anything. If he was finally opening up, then I was surely not going to interrupt him.

«So all my life I've been taught that 'we Malfoys', especially my father, were the strongest, most honorable and the best at everything, second only to 'The Dark Lord',» he spat out his former leader's name, his finger caressing the warm cup with surprisingly tender movements. «Now I learn that my father was not the demi-god he gave the impression of being, he was a mortal, just like me. But he still never acted like it, ever. It didn't matter how much his five-year old son craved his father's love and attention, that didn't mean anything.»

I wanted to reach out my hand and touch him. Comfort him. Even though he didn't show any particular feeling of sadness, I could see that he was really mourning his fathers death. Minutes flew by us, and I felt my pulse slow down unnaturally when he turned to meet my gaze. He was in such pain, and he didn't even achnowledge it himself.

«When was the last time you spoke to him?»

«Before he died?» he asked, answering a little too quickly. He shrugged his shoulders. «I dunno.» He suddenly got to his feet, and I regretted breaking his focus by asking stupid questions. With long steps he walked over to the kitchen counter and got the carton of milk. «More milk?»

«No, thank you,» I whispered softly, waiting for him to sit back down on the chair. I needed him beside me, needed him near.

Ever since he'd stormed into my apartment after his father died, the butterflies in my belly had turned into more of a mellow feeling swimming in my veins. Not as intense, but still immensely powerful. Granted, I knew they'd appear again when I least expeccted it, but I quite enjoyed the change of pace. But when Draco suddenly crashed to the floor, unconscious, I'd felt something different entirely. I don't think I've been so afraid in many, many years. I didn't even want to think about the last time I'd felt that stabbing adrenaline cut me in half, my heart pounding and stopping at the same time.

«It was...» he sighed. «It was, ehm...» he muttered, sat down and put away the carton of milk.

This time I sat perfectly still and didn't say a word, I simply let him have my whole attention. What more could I give?

«He threw me out after I refused to join him in creating another army, and we hadn't talked in years. But then, out of the blue, he appeared outside my door... I don't even know how he found out where I was, because I'd been undercover for a month in Indonesia, trying to find this one ex-Death Eater that was particularly well-hidden, and especially dangerous.» He swallowed hard. «Well, that aside, let me just say that I was surprised, then I got angry and hit him square in the face. He didn't fight back, he just let me throw punches, not even saying anything to make me stop.» Draco drew a sharp breath. «When I stopped, he got back on his feet and just looked at me without saying anything, when I asked what the hell he did there, and he said that he was giving himself up.»

He looked up at me, and took a sip of his coffee.

«Giving himself up?» I asked, confused. «Why was he doing that?»

«I guess he was sick of hiding.»

«Why was he hiding?»

«Well, after the war, the Ministry looked everywhere for him in order to send him to Azkaban, but they never found him. And, obviously, they never wanted me to look for him, and it hadn't matter how much I helped, anyways – he was very well hidden.»

«So he gave himself up? Just like that? What did you do?»

«I did what he told me to do.» Draco shrugged his shoulders and took a sip of the coffee. «I took him back to the Ministry and they locked him up. He was in Azkaban the rest of his life.»

«What about your mother?»

«My mum had apparently had an affair behind my father's back -»

I gasped. «That's why he gave himself up!»

Draco smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. «Yes. I think it was.» He cleared his throat. «And she and Carlos are very happy toghether, living in sunny Mexico.»

«Wow,» I smiled. «Carlos. That's impressive. Good for her.»

«Yeah... She actually had a baby with him too, so -»

«So you're a big brother?» I giggled at this. «Really? But... But isn't your mother a bit, I dunno, old?»

«Nah, she was forty-three when little Sophia came along, and I think that's when I really distanced myself from them all.»

«Why?»

«I dunno... Maybe it was being reminded of what I didn't have, and that hurt too much.»

«I'm-I'm sorry...» My voice trailed off, and I suddenly felt awkward. I mean, what would one say to that? I sure as hell didn't have any idea.

Neither one of us said anything for a while, we just sat there floating on the infinite silence. Draco's breathing suddenly fastened considerably.

«He died there.» He was talking to himself. «Alone. In that cell.» I could hear his words choking him, and he cleared his troat. «I never even... I never got to say that -» He stopped himself mid-sentence, and clenched his jaw, his whole body tense.

I then took his hand, and just let the chips fall where they may – I just had to do it. To my surprise, and relief, Draco put his own hand on top of mine and held it tightly. His shoulders were shaking, unnoticeable at first but then they grew, and now he bent his head down.

«Why the hell did he go and die before giving me the chance to talk to him?!» While screaming this, he pushed away from me and kicked the chair so it crashed to the floor. «It's so like him. He was always selfish.» He was pacing back and forth, growling as his hands curled into tight fists.

«What would you have told him?» I asked, getting to my feet.

«Leave it, Brownie. This is none of your business,» he hissed at me before marching toward the exit, but I quickly drew my wand and locked the door.

Draco searched for his own, but I still had it from when he was escorted to St. Mungo's, and when he realised this he started pounding on the door.

«Let me out!» he yelled, and my very core vibrated at his threatening tone. «You can't lock me in, Granger! Let me the fuck out!»

«No,» I said firmly. And this seemed to anger him even more, and he took a few steps back only to ram his shoulder against the door, trying to force it open by the impact.

«Let! Me! Out!» He panted now, and I could see how he was struggling with his dizziness. But I didn't run over to help him, he was now like a wounded and scared animal threatened into a corner – and it was better to let him have his space.

«Tell me, Draco,» I insisted, staying completely still. «Tell me what you would have told him.»

«It's none of your damn business, I said!» While ramming his shoulder against the door another time, then he paused for a second and suddenly leaned against it. The door hadn't budged an inch, and I heard how his strained breath calmed down.

«He died before you could forgive him,» I guessed, and I saw how his shoulders sunk, and his legs buckled underneath him. «Before you could say that -»

«Yes,» he interrupted me, closing his eyes as he grimaced in pain. «I didn't get to tell him...»

With sure steps I walked toward him and stopped an arms length away, I wanted to hold him but didn't want to push my luck.

«It's my fault.» His eyes were still tightly shut. «It was my fault... I was the one that put him in there, and that's why he died.»

«No, Draco, it's not your faul-»

«Yes, it is!» Those sad, blue eyes shot open and I could see how the tears were threatening to fall. «He didn't die of a sodding heart attack, he died because he didn't have anyone left. He died of a broken heart, and that's my fault!»

«Draco...» My whisper was no louder than a breath. I took a trying step toward him before gently putting my hand on his chest. With almost violent movements he jerked away from me, gasping for air as if choked. My hand was hovering in front of me, touching the air where his chest had just been.

Raw, piercing, aching, throbbing pain washed over me, and I let my hand fall limp to my side. With shaky steps I turned around. I was trying to swallow my tears before they fell, but I failed and they caused sobs to grow in my chest, threatening to push me onto the floor. If I could, I would have just curled up in a tight ball right now, but I couldn't do that. Not in front of him, I didn't want to burden him further.

Even though time seemed like it was being frozen, and hours had come and gone since turning away from the man behind me, it apparently hadn't been more than a few seconds in real time. I realised this when something caught my arm and I hadn't taken no more than a single step.

«Don't go,» Draco's shaky, hoarse voice pleaded behind my back, but I didn't turn to face him. If I did, he'd see how my weak tears were giving me away, proving how he'd made me feel when he jumped away at my touch. «I don't want you to go.»

My irregular heartbeats were like drums within my chest, and the sobs were pushing themselves to the surface, reminding me of how vulnerable I was. Then, with the lightest touch, Draco started running the fingers on his other hand from the sensitive spot behind my ear down to my bare shoulder. My top had slid down, and now exposed my pale skin, inviting him in.

With the hand that had stopped me in my tracks, he careully moved to my hip, and with the most tender of movements he turned me around. His fingers were continuing its sweet torture down my upper arm. When I now raised my eyes to meet his, I was greeted by those dangerous blue diamonds, sparkling as if racing each other. I think it was in that moment that I officially lost my sanity, and willingly let it fly away from me.

We didn't need to say anything. It's odd when that happens, isn't it? When words are so uneccessary, so useless that even the silence around you seems to agree with your lack of conversation. Words have been described for these moments, but right now I couldn't think of even one. My vocabulary had left me along with my sanity at this point. And because of how my mind was evidently gone, I had no objection, but was more than willing when Draco leaned in in front of my lips and gently kissed me.






«I mean, it's just physical, right?» I asked, slightly out of breath and curled up next to Draco's naked and somewhat sweaty body. He chuckled and put the sheets over us before snuggling his arm under me and held me tightly around my waist.

Most of yesterday and all night was basically just a haze of intense pleasure, and mountains of heart-pounding satisfaction, after which we both fell asleep, exhausted and fully content. Some would have thought (including me), that when I awoke this morning I'd be drowning in regret – but in order to feel regret, I'd have to have a reason for it, and this morning absolutely nothing came to mind. Not until later, anyways.

Now, several moaning, gasping and shockingly fulfilling (and long) moments later, I was resting my head on top of Draco's muscular chest.

«Right?» I repeated, only now remembering why I should have felt a twinge of guilt. «It's only physical? We're simply good friends who enjoy spending some time in each others company.» I bit my lip before continuing, «Naked company, but nevertheless...»

«So,» Draco said and looked down at me, grinning like a child with a bag of free candy, «we can be friends and also keep having sex?»

«Sure.» I shrugged my shoulders, but it didn't show, I was pressed too tight against the man next to me. «It'll just be something we do together, like...» I thought hard, searching my numb brain for a plausible example.

«You can't think of an example, can you?» Draco snickered, at which I scoffed indignantly.

«Of course I can! Just don't rush me.»

«Fine.»

I could feel the laughter building up in his firm chest as the seconds of silence passed us without me even being close to end it.

«You've got nothing,» he chuckled, and it irked me how he knew me so well.

«Well!» I raised myself to my elbow, one arm still on top of his nude, gorgeous self. «It's not my fault that my brain isn't functioning as it should! It's yours.» I squinted my eyes at him, pretending to be angry.

«I'll gladly take the blame for that,» he murmured before closing the distance between my lips and his own, kissing me with such passion that I found myself shivering in his arms.

Much too soon, he broke off the kiss and got out of the bed, grinning.

«Hey!» I wrapped the sheets around me and raised myself to my knees, shooting Draco an accusing look. «Don't start what you can't finish.»

«I'm sorry, love, but I'm starving.» His grin threatened to rip his entire face apart as he continued, «You've worn me out.»

Redness crept into my cheeks, and I averted my eyes as he turned to me, exposing himself in all his glory. If he hadn't found his pants and put them on in that moment, I'd surely die from blushing so fiercely. He leaned in and kissed my forehead, and if he noticed my tomato-coloured face he didn't mention it. Smart man.







Time didn't matter to me, I didn't even look at the digital clock on the bedside table, in truth it didn't enter my mind even one time. I must've been high on something. On sex maybe. I felt so different, so alive, so... sensual. We went from laughing, to talking, to making love with few second intervalls, and that's exactly what I preferred.

To my surprise, Draco opened up to me about his past, his dangerous adventures underground, his former relationship with Pansy and the death of his father. I don't think I've ever felt that close to any human being in my entire life when I was wrapped tightly in his arms, the air drying our damp bodies when we lay sprawled across the bed. I don't think I even posessed the ability to think about anything other than that blond, mesmerizing man, he really was all-consuming.

It was now one of those moments, our hearts beating against each other, our legs and arms entwined. My head was spinning from lack of sustenance, and I had to breathe deeply to calm down.

«Draco?» I said after he'd just shifted his position a bit, and exposed some of his gothic tattoo.

«Yeah.» I enjoyed how he sounded as out of breath as myself, and I caught myself grinning.

«Can I ask you something?»

«Go ahead, but I can't guarantee you an answer,» he replied, smug.

Too smug.

I lifted my arms only to grab his face and kiss him, my tongue played with his, teasing him. Just as suddenly as I'd leaned in, I was equally quick at letting him go. He scowled at me.

«You're an evil, manupulative, evil woman.»

«You said evil twice,» I corrected him, grinning.

«That's because you're doubly evil.»

«'Doubly'?» I raised my brow, smirking at how I now had the upper hand. Ah, how things change.

«Did you have a question?» he reminded me while sighing.

«Yes, right.» I wet my smiling lips before continuing. «What do the words on your back mean?»

«Oh.»

That was all he said. And it could be defined as more of a sound than a word.

«Draco?» His eyes had gone blank, and now that he was looking at me, he tried to smile. «It's latin right?»

«Ehm, yes. It's latin.»

«And what does it mean?»

«Love conquers all.»

My heart took a glorious leap, and I snuggled closer to Draco, to which he replied by tightening his arms around me.

«That's beautiful,» I whispered, letting my fingers draw cickles on his rippled stomach. I marveled at how much I enjoyed touching him. His skin was so warm, so inviting.

Then my blissful state was interrupted when I heard someone put a key in the lock of the entrance door, and the sound echoed around me.

«Did you hear that?» I whispered, my insides freezing.

«What?» Draco yawned, totally oblivious.

My worst fears were confirmed when I heard the door to the apartment open, and then slam shut.

«Hermione?» Martin's voice was the antidote to my Draco-drug, and I felt my soul rip as I now understood what I'd done. I didn't even notice the naked, rugged body beside me – a sight I'd regard as an invite just a few moments ago.

«Oh, bloody bollocks!» I hissed, ripping myself away from Draco and spinning about before summoning myself to pull him out of the bed. «You have to hide!»

«Hide?! Hide where?» Draco let himself be dragged out of the bed, bewildered at the sudden turn of events. «And don't say the closet, tha-»

«I don't bloody care!» My voice almost couldn't be heard at all, and I ran back and forth in the bedroom, quickly gathering Draco's things and throwing them at him. «Just go!»

Without another look, I flattened my hair, took a deep breath and tightened the sheets around me as I opened the door and stepped out of the bedroom. I yawned and squinted my eyes, pretending that the sudden daylight pierced my eyes.

«Martin!» I smiled, as if just realising who it was. «You're home already!» I stepped groggily toward him, and Martin met me half-way, taking me into his arms. After hugging me for a second, he leaned away only to plant a kiss on my lips, he smiled at me and I smiled back.

«I missed you too much. So I got home a day early.» My eyes fluttered unconsciously to the closed bedroom door, and hoped that Draco had found a safe place to hide. «Aren't you happy?» Martin asked, brows pulling away from each other, giving him the look of a lost puppy. «Is it because of how I behaved before I left? I'm so sorry about that. And I didn't even remember to tell you how I loved your new hair! I'm a lousy fiance, aren't I? I was just so stressed out because of this case, but that's not a valid reason, I know -»

«Forget that, Martin. It's fine,» I assured him, giving him another kiss. I pulled away quickly but he didn't seem to notice. «And of course I am happy! I'm just sleepy, that's all. You should know better than to surprise me like that in the middle of the night.»

«But,» his brows furrowed, «it's four in the afternoon.»

I literally gulped.

«Oh!» I then rolled my eyes and touched my still damp face. «I forgot to tell you. I-I've actually been a tiny bit sick. Nothing serious or anything, but I haven't really been feeling too good.»

Martin removed his hand from my waist only to put his palm on my red face, his eyes were so tender as he touched me. «I think you have a bit of a fever, darling,» he muttered and kissed my forehead. «I'll go get you some aspirin.»

Crack!

«What was that?» Martin turned to look at the door to the bedroom, and began walking towards it.

«Oh, it's probably nothing!»

But he was already at the door, and after opening it, he looked around but didn't see anything of interest. Draco had obviously Disapparated, and I thanked Merlin that Martin hadn't noticed anything. Right then, after sweeping the room with my anxious eyes, I saw how Draco had actually tidied up in there. Last time I was in the room, clothes, pillows and part of the mattress was basically torn and scattered all over, but there was nothing of that sort now.

I let out a relieved breath, not having the time to feel guilty about throwing him out for the time being.

«It was probably just a car or something from outside,» I explained, smiling at Martin. He turned around and looked at me, his kind eyes warming me as he finally noticed my lack of clothing. The sheet wrapped around me was barely covering anything, and the bit his lips before meeting my gaze.

«I can't wait to finally marry you,» he said in a hoarse whisper and smiled, but then shook his head slowly. «And I'm warning you, Hermine, that if you keep dressing like that...» He let his voice trail off as he backed away, eyes still feasting on my badly covered body. «Why do you have to be so sexy? Why couldn't you have worn a poncho or something, I mean that'd be most helpful.»

«Stop it, Blondie, you're making me blush,» I muttered, smiling as I felt the redness colouring my cheeks.

«Blondie?» Martin stopped in his tracks. He then touched his hair as if to reassure himself that it was still its usual chocolate brown. «What are you talking about?»

For several seconds I just stood there. Eyes bulging. But then my mind suddenly snapped into action, and I touched my face while letting out a complaining moan.

«Oh, I don't feel so good,» I complained and moaned once more, this time closing my eyes as well, pretending to be in utter discomfort. «I think I need to lie down.»

At this, Martin completely forgot about my previous blunder and quickly went to my side to help me onto the bed. I thanked him as he almost ran to the bathroom to get me some aspirin and a glass of water. When he was out of the room and I heard him rummaging through our medicine cabinet, I let out a long breath, and promised myself to be a lot more careful the next time.

The next time?!


---------
A/N:

There you go! They finally 'did it'. I hope this satisfied your thirst, at least for now :)

Let me know what you think about everything – I know there's a lot to process in this chapter. A lot of new info and things like that.

BTW! What do you think about Mr and (the former) Mrs Malfoy? Did you find it believable? I hope you're now understanding even more why Draco's such a 'loner', why he's charming but never really lets anyone in. Alright, let me know!

*Maria



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