A Dragon and a Phoenix

Chapter 12

The next morning Kat, Sara and I woke up late. We ate breakfast in the Great Hall and went back to the common room for a day of lazing around talking about the night before. They both wondered what had kept me out so late and I told them that I'd had too much energy left to just go to sleep so I had went for a walk. I felt bad for lying to them, but how could I tell them the truth? This wasn't something that anyone else was to know, especially Malfoy.

Oddly enough he had been absent all morning, but Blake hadn't been.

When I woke this morning I found that I had a note in my hand. I opened it quickly before any of the others were awake enough to notice.

I know I didn't get to spend any time with you at the actual dance last night, but I much preferred our private party. I'm looking forward to seeing you later.

As we were discussing what everyone else had been wearing Draco came in and sat down beside me. I was a little startled at his sudden appearance, but he didn't say anything he just sat and listened to us talk. Kat and Sara gave me questioning looks but I shook my head almost imperceptibly. I would have to discuss his sudden change in behavior to them later.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully. That evening we went down to the Great Hall for diner, but Malfoy didn't come with us. He said he had something to finish up and he would just see me later. I shrugged and went with Kat and Sara. It was just as well that he stayed behind. I needed to tell them what had been going on anyway.

When we got to the Great Hall they each took a seat on either side of me and gave me a look that clearly stated 'Spill it'.

"Okay, I know what you guys are wondering. So here it goes. Malfoy was being his usual self until the feast last night. He complimented me on my dress and we just talked. I know it was kind of out of character for him, but it was a really nice change. Then today, well you were there for that. I have to say it's been a really interesting change. So what do you make of it?"

Kat looked at me and smiled, "First of all, 'kind of out of character' is a serious understatement. It's out of the same universe as his normal character. But you're right it is definitely a good change. Personally I think that you're working your magic on him, so to speak. It seems that he's falling for you. Only something like that could make a guy act so differently."

Sara nodded her head in agreement. "I think you're right, Kat. I don't think he thought that he would at first but it seems that he got caught in your web. I know that for you this is probably just a continuation of your serial dating, but for him, and who knows how many other guys in the past, this is turning serious."

I took a moment to mull over their opinions of the situation and discarded the idea almost immediately. I couldn't tell them why, but I was sure that this wasn't the case. He must be up to something else. I know that he told me he was just trying to not push me too far, but I had the sneaking suspicion that there were ulterior motives.

I looked at each of them and said, "Maybe you two are right. Maybe he is falling, but I hope for his sake that the ground is soft where he lands. You've already pointed out the truth of the matter Sara. I'm just a serial dater with no intention of really falling for anyone myself." Least of all the aspiring Death Eater with the hidden agenda, I thought to myself.

We finished eating and went back to the common room to finish up some last minute assignments. I only had a few translations to do for study of ancient runes, but Sara and Kat both still had potions essays to finish. When I was through I excused myself for a walk. I was bored with sitting in the common room, so I retrieved my cloak and went out for a stroll on the grounds. I knew I wasn't supposed to be out, but what's life without a little breaking of the rules?

I went to the same place where I had talked to Blake. I was surprised to find that someone was there. Whoever it was also had their cloak on and their hood up. Being cautious I held my wand tightly under my cloak as I slowly and quietly approached. When I was only a few steps away he turned his head and looked at me. I relaxed, immediately recognizing it to be Blake. He held out his hand and I took it, stepping forward and closing the distance between us. He pulled me into a warm embrace and kissed me.

"I wasn't expecting to see you here," I said.

"Well, I had hoped you might go for a walk and come here, and it looks like it was my lucky day," he replied.

He conjured up a comfortable looking chair and sat down. I put my hands on my hips and said, "Well that's not very nice. Are you going to make me conjure my own chair?"

He gave me an innocent look, "Honestly, I had hoped that one would be enough."

I laughed and sat down in his lap, propping my legs on the squishy armrest. He wrapped his arm around my waist and held me close. We sat and talked and looked for shooting stars.

"So tell me," I began, "how did you end up in Slytherin? You're pretty much the exact opposite in every trait associated with our house."

A thoughtful look was on his face when he replied," Well when we came to Hogwarts, I was a different person. I used to be everything that our house stood for, and then some things changed one summer and I grew up a lot. I realized that I didn't want to be that kind of person anymore. Actually, the Sorting Hat did consider putting me in Ravenclaw as well, but I was proud of my Slytherin traits at the time and insisted that was the right house for me."

I nodded and smiled, "I like who you are now. It seems like this is who you were meant to be." With that the conversation drifted to lighter topics. I found it easy to be in his company. I didn't have to think about my answer before I gave it; I could just be honest and uncensored.

When I finally looked at my watch I realized that it was really late. I had left the common room at eight, and it was now midnight.

"Oh no! We've got to get back before we get caught out this late."

We got rid of the chair and hurried back to the castle. When we got to the portrait he checked to make sure that the common room was empty before we entered. At the foot of the stairs I gave him a kiss and whispered, "We'll have to do this again sometime." He nodded and smiled at me before turning to go to the boys' dormitory.

When I got upstairs Sara was still awake. "Where have you been? It's after midnight and you've been gone for a long time. I don't know what you're thinking. You could get into serious trouble if you get caught being out of bounds this late!"

"Calm down Sara. I didn't get caught so what's the problem? There's no reason to worry about me. I'm fine. I just went for a walk and lost track of time, that's all. What did you think had happened to me?"

She gave me a look of suspicion before saying, "It's not like you to be gone for so long. I wasn't really sure what to think. Malfoy hasn't been around either and I guess part of me was worried that he had done something to you. I know you've told us that he's not the bad guy that we all think he is, but it's hard to forget all of the things he's done in the past. I guess I just got worried that he'd fooled you and done something horrible. I'm sorry I thought that about your boyfriend. I hope you can forgive me."

I sighed, "I'm not mad at you. Thank you for being concerned about me, but I promise I'm okay. I haven't even seen Malfoy since before we went to eat dinner. He said that he had some things to finish up. Anyway, I think it's time for both of us to get some sleep. I know I'm tired and you've had enough stress for one night."

I needed to figure out a way to stop lying to my friends. I knew that being honest was out of the question when it came to this, though. I may be a serial dater, but I've never been a cheater. I didn't really consider what was going on with Draco and me a relationship, though, so I don't feel guilty about being with Blake, but I know that if I tell the truth that Kat and Sara would give me away even if unintentionally. They wouldn't be able to resist the sly remarks when he was around, or the looks. So I would just have to continue with the way things were. This double life wasn't easy, but it was worth it.

The next morning I found another note in my hand when I woke up. Through a crack in the hangings of my bed I could see that it was still dark out. I had woken before the sun had even come up. I lit my wand and read what Blake had written: I'm really glad that we spent time together last night. Next time we'll have to be a bit more careful about the time, though. I hope you slept well. See you later.

I got out of bed quietly and went to get a quick shower. I was out and dressed in twenty minutes. Everyone else was still asleep. I took this chance to sneak into the boys' dorm with a return note to Blake. All of them had the hangings of their four posters closed. When I got to Blake's I pulled them back to find him lying on his back with his hands folded behind his head. He turned to look when I appeared. A smile was on his face as soon as he realized it was me.

"What are you doing here? What are you doing awake so early?" he whispered.

"I just woke up and decided to return your note. I can leave if you'd rather I not be here though," I whispered with a mischievous glimmer in my eyes.

He reached over and pulled me toward him. Once I was on the bed he pulled the hangings closed again and I snuggled close to his bare chest.

"I take it you don't want me to leave then. You know, it's quite dangerous for me to be here. If we get caught we're in more trouble than just detention," I said.

"I'll take my chances. I think it's worth it. Besides, the rest of them won't be awake for at least an hour yet. I'd rather spend that hour with you than alone just wondering what you're doing."

I ran my hand over his bare skin and leaned over to kiss him. We spent most of the hour without talking, but I enjoyed it. I snuck out before the rest of the guys woke up. I went back to my own dorm to get the books I would need for my first couple of classes and then to the common room to wait for the others.

Draco was the first to come down the stairs. He saw me sitting on the couch by the fire with a book open on my lap. He walked over and sat down next to me. "You're up awfully early this morning," he commented.

I looked up from my reading and replied, "I slept very well last night."

He merely nodded and I returned to my reading. He was obviously resigned to wait for my friends with me. As soon as they came downstairs we made our way to breakfast. There wasn't much conversation this morning. Everyone seemed to be lost in their own thoughts. I was so busy thinking about Blake that it was a few minutes before I noticed that Malfoy was holding my hand. I glanced at him. He didn't even seem to realize he was doing it. At least, he wasn't acting any different than normal. He had to know that he was holding my hand. It's not something you just do without even noticing. But before I had time to think about it anymore he let go and instead moved his hand to the small of my back and gently guided me to our usual places at the Slytherin table. It was different than normal. Usually he didn't even touch me. He just acted as though he expected me to do what he wanted. I was a little thrown off by what was going on. Could Kat and Sara be right? Was he really falling for me?…..No! Impossible. There had to be something else going on here. He must be trying to lull me into a false sense of security. He was definitely up to something.

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