Joined: 02 February 2014
Joined: 12 April 2012
Chapter 2: Revelations
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter series belongs to J.K. Rowling. No copyright infringement intended.
Draco Malfoy's life was a game; a series of cleverly-planned and subtly-executed actions. He was merely a pawn, somebody whose worth equalled his use in this game of hypocrites; a pawn--dispensable and insignificant.
Draco had learnt how to play this game, how to manipulate the odds, from a very young age. At first, it was just that--a game; nothing serious, one of many efforts to make his father be proud of his son. Because all Draco had ever wanted was to make his father proud.
Lucius Malfoy was an influential wizard--presumptuous, often over-bearing, and a narcissist. He was discreet and cautious, a master strategist. But, a proud father he could never be.
Draco could never be good enough for his father.
This revelation had thrown him to the winds. Life was now a jumble of actions and emotions, of clarity and confusion, of imposing rules and small freedoms.
Swirling black robes and hoods; wisps of blond hair, a warm, motherly smile; stark-white, expressionless masks; the stench of Knockturn Alley; cruel laughter and cruel, red irises; pain, searing through his arm; screams, pleas, guilt, so much guilt, oh god, too much of it, and then--
Twinkling, blue eyes.
Draco looked up, startled.
Warm eyes, dark and concerned.
Nice. Real suave, Draco.
He shoved the disturbing flashes to the back of his mind, locked and out-of-reach. Clearing his thoughts, Draco restrained his emotions.
Cool and indifferent.
"Yes, Granger. What is it that you want?"
"You seem...I was..."
While the witch in front of him fumbled with her words--the moonlight, cast across one half of her face, accentuating the normally soft features to sharp, harsh angles--Draco observed Hermione Granger.
She was fidgeting, constantly and relentlessly. Her hands were crumpling the folds of her skirt into those small palms, her--was it Vinewood?--wand held loosely between those slender fingers. Sweeping his glance upwards, he noticed her breath quickening, her parted lips exhaling puffs of air into the space between them.
Draco stopped closer towards her.
A draught--surprisingly warm--blew a lock of her hair into her face, whilst ruffling his.
Her eyes, betraying her restlessness, weren't flitting across the Tower. Oh no, her gaze was steady.
And she's looking right at me.
Bemused, Draco tilted his head to one side.
Do I make her nervous?
Sixth year at Hogwarts was a year of revelations, indeed.
The Warming Charm didn't seem to be working. Hermione trembled, trying--in vain--to control her pulsating heartbeat.
Deep breaths, Hermione, deep breaths.
The rapid reappearance of the palpable tension between them disconcerted her. One moment, she was facing a startled boy, eyes brimming with confusion and so many questions; lost, helplessly lost. And in the next, an emotionless man--screaming indifference from each side, each hardened angle--stood before her.
"What is it that you want?"
Hermione Granger, perhaps for the first time in so many years, had nothing to say. All her words of concern, all her plans of confrontation--everything was lost, scattered to the dark corners of her mind, rendering her speechless at the sudden onslaught of Malfoy's piercing gaze.
She could feel his eyes on her self--her hands, her neck, her lips. She could almost taste his curiosity, his desperation. His need.
All she could do was look right back--unwavering, even when he took a step closer, meeting her gaze with his; steady, even when those frigid orbs flooded with questions again, gleaming with some dark intent that melted her insides.
"Draco...," she whispered, helpless against the overwhelming waves of desire.
He was so close, so bloody close; she could reach out, grab his lapels and pull him towards her.
Her instincts told her Malfoy wouldn't resist.
But she couldn't.
She could not do this, not with this boy, never with him--to hell with the infamous Gryffindor courage.
"Draco...," she repeated, indecision lacing her low voice, as she glanced up at him through her tousled curls.
A hand lifted up, tentative and hesitant, to her face, cupping her cheeks with his cool palms. She trembled, clenching her jaws against her immediate reaction. She felt helplessly vulnerable, her emotions erratic and uncontrollable. She shut her eyes, agitated, fighting the disconcerting sensations churning in the pits of her stomach.
Hermione felt one slight finger nudging her chin gently, urging her to look up, up at him, into his eyes. She shook her head, hoping against hope Malfoy wouldn't ask--
"Look at me, Granger."
Her warm cheeks were now cradled between both of Malfoy's hands, his slender fingers--tangled in her hair, caressing her skin--sending quivers down her back. She could feel him tilting her head up, her face open, susceptible to his ministrations.
Cautiously, her eyes fluttered open. A gasp escaped her lips, her throat feeling patched all of a sudden.
Her face was perfectly aligned with his, their lips perilously close, his eyes dazed--almost drugged--and delving straight into her eyes, her soul.
Doubts assailed her, even as her heart beat so thunderously she was sure he would hear it. Her heart beseeched her to give in to her yearning, spurring her on, while her mind berated her on her absurd and absolutely daft desires"the war between her irrational and illogical sides relentless and persistent.
And then, soft, warm lips brushed against hers.
To Draco, Hermione Granger was an enigma, always had been. As a child, she was a Mudblood witch to be scoffed at, someone who didn't belong. At least, she didn't belong in his childish, bigoted, Pureblood world. She was Granger--the annoying, bushy-haired bookworm who piqued his curiosity, the tomboy aloof from all the other giggling wenches.
Growing up, she was proud--with her nose seemingly stuck up in the air--and snide with him in her vicinity. Yet, she exuded warmth and affection around those two dunderheads; a Gryffindor with Slytherin tendencies.
Nevertheless, here they were, mere inches apart, the haughty witch trembling in his arms.
His gut had clenched at her whispers, those luscious lips murmuring his name, his name, for the first time--void of the usual venom, and laced with promises of sinful passion.
Heady with the warmth seeping languidly into his blood, the magic of mutual desire crackling between them, Draco lost all track of his actions.
Her hooded eyes, shadows dancing across her visage; her clean, sweet scent, redolent of dewy lavenders and blooming lilies, of a lazy afternoon spent sneaking away to a Muggle neighbourhood with Father's House-Elf, Dobby, the aroma of confectionaries wafting through the warm, summer air; her soft, supple skin brushing against his, thawing him--he just wanted to feel, to taste. He wanted her.
With a tenderness that betrayed his indifferent facade, Draco Malfoy--for the second time in his wretched life--followed his heart.
Light, teasing, undeniably insistent, Malfoy's lips moved against hers, again and again and again, until she felt stretched taut, her nerves frayed against the unadulterated waves of pleasure, of warmth, suffusing her lips. She couldn't breathe, couldn't think, her eyes clenched shut"all she wanted was more, more of those delectable--
Malfoy's tongue, sweeping against her sensitive lips, scattered all semblance of reality clinging to her mind. She was lost to her senses--the soft touch of their lips; the possessive grip of his cool hands; the musky scent of the frustrating Slytherin, reminiscent of lush grass and wet earth after days of cloudburst.
Hermione stood up on her toes, mindless with the sense of urgency, the need for more, winding her fingers through his velvety hair--distractedly noting the clatter of her wand falling to the ground. Clutching at him like a man drowning, she bit his lower lip desperately, the shy teasing and light brushes inflaming her body with want.
A wanton growl escaped his throat, his wicked hands brushing against her neck, her chest, to reach her waist and encircle her in those strong, pale arms.
Oblivious to all, Hermione kissed Malfoy with all the fervour and rage hidden in the depths of her heart, with passion that was heartbreaking to behold. With that kiss, she let go of her stranglehold on her emotions, her grief. On her self.
After ages, Hermione Granger felt unfettered, unrestrained. Content.
A shadow flitted across the grounds, robes billowing behind the figure hurrying towards the darkness of the Forbidden Forest. The garb, its hem soaked wet from the waters of the Lake, hung heavily from his frame, hindering the frantic pace. A frown adorning the pale face at the restriction, the wizard's grip on the Chestnut wand tightened.
Locks of ebony stuck to the heated skin, perspiration and rain drops running down his neck, and as a belated Impervius Charm was cast on the dark robes against the drizzle, the lithe form slipped a crystal phial inside his trouser pocket.
Casting a glance back towards the Castle, a sneer unfurling across the face hidden under the up-turned hood, Theodore Nott walked towards the beckoning silence of the Forest, ignoring the sense of foreboding weighing down on his shoulders.
A/N: Read and review, lovely readers, as constructive criticism shall be appreciated. Posted the chapter for two crazy ladies [you know who you are!]. I hope you like it! Thank you for reading! :D
Joined: 02 February 2014
Joined: 12 April 2012
Joined: 02 February 2014
Joined: 12 April 2012
Joined: 12 April 2012
Chapter 3: Fate (Part 1)
A/N: This chapter has gotten really long, so I have decided to split it into two. Apologies for the delay, my muse is just as moody as I am! And I hope this update covers up for it all? Enjoy!
Aconite (n. aconitum apellus) is a perennial herbaceous plant causing delirium when its leaves are ingested and used by Seers (human and beast) over the centuries with Belladonna in ointments that prolong the opening of the Inner Eye.
Hunched on his bed, the deep red curtains separating him from his snoring dorm mates, Harry peered down at the book on his lap with a narrow beam of light emanating from his wand tip. He had, typically, postponed writing the Potions essay, and now he was blearily glaring at his blank parchment hoping that words might just pop into it. Trying to fumble through his homework wasn't routine, but he was sure Professor Slughorn wouldn't exactly mind. Maybe.
Where is Hermione when you need her?
Shoving aside the confusion and the unexplainable, nagging guilt at not being there for a friend"especially when he knew what she had been going through since Ron started dating Lavender"he tried to concentrate on the assignment on Golpalott's Third Law.
"Right, so Golpa-what's-his-face had a Law," he whispered to himself, quoting verbatim from Advanced Potion Making, "stating that the antidote for a blended poison cannot simply be created by finding the antidotes to each separate poison in the blended whole and mixing them together, but by finding a single antidote for the poisonous medley."
He paused for a moment, a comically befuddled expression blooming across his face. "Merlin's beard, what does that miserable, old, gargoyle want? To confuse the bejeesus out of us?!" Sighing, he read and re-read the stupid thing before his eyes caught onto familiar scribbling on the page margin.
"Bleeding Bowtruckles! 'Mixed-up poisons can't have a mixed-up antidote'"that is all what this means? Oh Circe, this is pathetic."
Muttering sullenly under his breath about 'Aconite's blithering antidote' and 'can't even write three foot on bezoars', Harry pushed aside his bedside curtains to tiptoe around the central stove and on to the bed opposite him. "Neville...," he whispered.
No answer. Of course.
Prodding the figure buried under the covers with his wand, he hissed, "Neville, you dozy, wake up!"
"Huh, what...where...how!" Neville sprung up agitatedly, his sleep-addled eyes shooting across the room. Finally he looked up, noting Harry's sheepish grimace before relaxing back onto the headboard.
"Harry! What...why are you up so late?"
"I need your help, mate."
"You are not welcome here, human."
Theodore Nott froze, his brisk pace coming to an abrupt halt, as the gruff voice reached out from the darkness behind him. A triumphant smirk played along his lips.
"Is that so, Ronan?" he drawled.
Slowly, Theo turned on his spot, his eyes tracing the faint silhouette hidden in the bushes. The squelch of wet leaves under his feet jarred the quiet severity of the Forest, successfully rousing the figure from their hesitance and caution. His smirk widened, glee coursing through him at this small victory, as a dark figure stepped out from the shadows. He'd found those half-breeds, and nothing could stop him from finishing his task. He would do it, if not for family, but for the one person who had been there for him, always.
"You have no business here, human. Leave now, before Magorian or Bane find you."
His head snapped towards the source of the strange, lilting voice, absently registering that there were two of them while he was alone.
No matter, no matter. I'm the one with the wand, after all.
Refusing to answer to that subtle threat, Theo stood his ground and watched as two Centaurs stood before him, pale moonlight glistening off of the beads of water on their torso and hair. Towering over him, their hooves stomping on the Forest ground threateningly, they had a physical advantage. He recognised the one with the flowing red hair cascading down his body, and those forlorn green eyes, as Ronan. He, however, failed to identify the other one"clearly a female if that unbound bosom was to be the judge"and frustration made him grit his teeth. He couldn't afford to be uninformed. Information meant leverage, an advantage, which could be the difference between life and death in this time of war. The female had pale features, in contrast with her dark, ebony hair, rumpled and dirty due to years of wandering in the wild. Her tawny eyes shone against the reflecting light, her alert and unwavering gaze fixed warily on him.
Half-human, half-animal"the filthy creatures are despicable, disgusting!
"You know why I am here," he said, keeping the other Centaur in his peripheral vision, "and I won't leave without what I want, savage."
A sudden movement caused him to whip out his wand, aiming it at the manky female's heart without further thought. He glared up at her, not intimidated by the arrow aimed at him. He'd had to suffer through worse in his childhood. Much worse than a puny bow and arrow.
"Nephele, stand back."
Immediately the minger"Nephele"relaxed and retreated to stand behind her red-headed peer. Theo dropped his hand, clutching at the wand guardedly; the warm crackle of his magic was reassuring to him.
"If he dares to talk to you in that manner," she spat, "then I can't be held accountable for my actions."
"My apologies," Theo quipped, "but can we get past the chit chat?"
"I cannot help you, human. I shall not. What you suggest is dangerous, improbable." Ronan sighed dolefully, before continuing, "Star gazing is a familial art, with members of the herd watching the skies together for signs of disruption, change. We do not indulge in it for self-obsessed Dark wizards who need to flatter themselves, fan their ego, every once in a while."
"And, we have already lost one of our own to the humans." Nephele was fierce in her response, unwilling to bend, whereas Ronan seemed resigned. She was angry, traces of it lingering in her bright eyes. Theo looked on, intrigued. "Firenze will always be a source of constant misery."
"It is the truth I speak, Ronan!"
"The Herd does not mention his name"Magorian's instructions are clear, Nephele. We shan't speak of him tonight either!"
Theo observed, his quick eyes noting the tension rippling between the two beasts and unravelling it within the vaults of his mind. It seemed like the Centaurs had some dissension in the ranks, didn't they? He could use that information to his benefit. Feeling chuffed, he said, "Well, fancy that! Professor Firenze is bloody brilliant"or so I've heard. Seems terribly chummy with some of the students, though."
Apparently, he's said the wrong thing. The fem"Nephele had her blazing eyes trained on him now, disgust and loathing radiating off of her. His cagey side discreetly noted her fingers tightening around the crude bow, while his reckless alter egoshot her a conceited smirk. He just couldn't help but rile her up.
Playing with fire there, Nott? She could easily snap you in two.
Scoffing at his thoughts, Theo shook his head at the duo in front of him. He should've known this was going to happen. How could he expect cooperation from this herd of dunderheaded dreamers? Life was just spiffing, sometimes.
This is going to be a long night, isn't it?
Severus Snape was feeling particularly perturbed at that inopportune moment. His daily rounds around the Castle were a tiresome chore, wherein encountering wandering students - from Houses not his own, of course - were the only highlights. Yet, he hadn't come across Potter even once, his robes weren't billowing behind him as per his usual taste, and his collar seemed suffocating and tight. What a waste of his time.
He needed alcohol, preferably some Ogden's.
Rounding the corner past the Entrance Hall and down the dungeons, Snape decided to visit the foolish young Malfoy boy whose responsibility had been thrust upon him, much like that of a certain green-eyed Gryffindor.
Pretentious prats, the lot of them.
Unable"and unwilling"to eradicate the House rivalry instilled in him since his school days, Snape sneered at the bare stone wall that was the entrance to the Slytherin Common room before spitting out the password, 'Anguis'. Stepping inside, he barked at one of Draco's lackeys - Crabbe, Goyle, too similar to differentiate, in his opinion - to summon the blonde Slytherin immediately. He added in a scowl, for good measure. It did the trick, as both the dimwits scurried off of the plush green settee and into their dormitories. Minutes later, Snape found the thickheads approaching him with apprehension and fear brewing in their eyes.
"P-pro-professor S-snape sir-r," stuttered the taller of the duo, "Dr-draco is n-not in""
"Quiet," he warned the blubbering boneheads, "Draco, I believe, is...indisposed at the moment? Ah, a nod would be perfectly sufficient, not too taxing for you lot." Snape glared down at them, his earlier irritation creeping into his already darkened mood. The boy was already in trouble, and Snape did not need additional problems from the blonde's Housemates. He knew his students, and in Slytherin, walls often did have ears. Draco's absence need not be publicised.
"P-professor Sn-snape sir, may I a-ask what you n-needed to talk ab""
"You may not." With a haughty look and a swish of his robes, Snape left the Common room, leaving behind two quivering Slytherins scratching their heads.
Draco felt confused; utterly and undeniably frazzled. He couldn't, for the life of him, understand what was happening. He'd never felt like this before; never felt this sense of absolute recklessness and this disdain for the rules and shackles in his life. He, quite surprisingly, wanted to rebel. For some peace of mind, for some freedom. For himself.
This wasn't the first time he'd snogged a girl, no siree. Yet, kissing Hermione Granger was a whole new experience in itself.
He wasn't unaware, even in this moment of heightened pleasure, of how wrong this was. They were polar opposites"she was a girl full of light and happiness, while he was a boy struggling with darkness and despair; she was a Gryffindor with unshakeable morals, he was a Slytherin adept at choosing the easy way out; she was everything good in this world, while he wasn't. By Salazar, she was a Muggle-born and he was a Pureblood! Poles apart not just fundamentally but also socially. They just weren't meant to be.
Nothing, however, mattered at that moment as he felt her lips against his, so warm, so urgent. Nothing could denythese delicious tingles running up his arms, or this strange euphoria slowly spreading through his shivering frame. Despite the wrongness of their circumstances, this felt right. Being with her...felt right.
Shocked by the impromptu revelation, Draco stilled. A quiet groan from Hermione in response left him helpless against the ache in his heart, the quiver in his limbs, for a seemingly endless moment. The effect this slight bint had on him was shocking, causing him to grasp at her shoulders gently and nudge her away. He looked down at her, his eyes wandering over her face desperately.
He wanted...h-he needed to understand.
Stepping away slowly, with a trembling hand raking through his messy hair, Draco looked at Hermione as awareness seeped into her slowly. Dread clouded his mind as he saw her eyes widen, his gut clenching at the thought that she might regret their kiss. And then he shook his head, asking himself why it mattered so much. Why was her reaction so important? And since when had he turned into a sissy?
"Don't call me that!" he snapped.
Looking up, he immediately regretted lashing out, as he saw Hermione carefully mask the hurt, a guarded faade he'd come to hate replacing the desire in her eyes. Sighing, he turned away. He just didn't know what to do. He needed to...he just...
He couldn't let her call him by his name. He couldn't. He might just kiss her again, and that would not help. Certainly not.
Turning back to face her, Draco whispered, "Herm-Granger. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I-I...look I'm just as confused as you-"
"Malfoy. I don't need an explanation for what ha-happened. Clearly, it meant nothing."
Flinching, Draco strode towards her, taking hold of her arms almost frantically. How could she...what? What?
"What?" he forced out. "What do you mean? This meant nothing?"
He was met with a stony silence that set his teeth on edge. Shaking her agitatedly, Draco repeated, "What do you mean, Hermione?!"
"The kiss was a mistake."
For a moment, it seemed like the world was crashing down around him. A cold sweat broke out against his forehead, as disbelief blinded him. For a moment, he couldn't breathe.
But surely, that was impossible? This uptight little Gryffindor meant nothing. The kiss really did mean nothing.
Surely, his heart wasn't breaking. Surely not?
Turning away from the Centaurs, shadows of the dark Forest creeping along his face, Theo took a deep breath. He was wasting precious time by squabbling with the fools, and he couldn't afford that. He had to do this. It was the least he could do for his friend.
"Enough." Theo ordered. He reached into his pocket to touch the cool crystal vial, pondering on the next course of action. Shedding his pretence he turned to address the red-headed Centaur, his face blank and emotionless.
"Enough of the pissing around, Ronan. I have a deal for you and your Herd."
A/N: So, Aconite really is an herb mentioned in the series. After some research, all I did was Potter-fy [that should be a word] some of its characteristics. It's, mostly, legit!
Golpalott's Law is one I found on Harry Potter Wiki [I LOVE that site] and isn't made up. Check it out, if interested.
Reviews shall be appreciated immensely, so don't be a miser! Thank you for reading :D
Joined: 24 February 2014
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