A Dragon and a Phoenix

Chapter 19

It cut me like a knife to be dishonest to them, but if things turned out the way I hoped, they would never have to know the truth. Things between us wouldn't have to change. We released our holds on each other and resumed the project of collecting all of my possessions. Most of the things in the pile belonged to the two of them, so the process of returning them was the easiest part. After we had collected the few stray items I'd left in the common room and finished putting them away, I closed the lid of my trunk and gathered the small stack of library books off of the bed before turning to face my friends. "Well, I suppose the last thing I need to do is return these or Madam Pince will have my head. One of the houselves should be up to make sure everything gets to the train. I'll meet the two of you down at the entrance," I said as we walked down the stairs.

They both murmured their concurrence and we parted ways. Across the common room I notice Blake watching me surreptitiously over the top of the book he'd been reading. With a nearly imperceptible nod of my head, I motioned for him to follow me. Putting his literature aside, he casually got up to trail after me. Only when we made it into the library did he catch up to me. We ducked between the rows of bookshelves and wended our way to a secluded corner. I abruptly sat my books down and spun around, throwing my arms around him in a fierce embrace.

He was momentarily startled by my sudden movement but recovered quickly and pulled me tight against himself. "Kim, is everything alright? I know you had to be scared with the dementor attack, but everything is okay. You're fine, and I'm here."

Leaning my forehead against his shoulder, I took a deep breath, inhaling his familiar scent. "Everything is going to be fine. I just wanted to see you again before I had to leave."

Confusion evident in his voice, he asked, "Leave? Why are you leaving?"

I leaned back and looked up at him. "After what happened our parents made a big deal about wanting to pull us out early for the holidays. I'm about to go down to the entrance hall now to leave for the train."

He raised an eyebrow and inquired, "Our?"

I sighed, "Yes, our. Malfoy is leaving as well. We're due to catch the train back to London."

"I'm sorry you'll be making that journey with only him for company. I wish you weren't going. I thought we'd have a few more nights to sneak out to our spot. But if you have to go, at least I can owl you over the holidays. And since you're leaving, there's one more thing before you go," he trailed off as he dropped his head to kiss me.

Stepping back, I smiled up at him. "I should return those before I go," I stated, motioning toward the books lying forgotten on the table.

He squeezed my hand before stepping aside to let me pass. I gathered the books and found my way out of the maze of shelves without a looking back. Lost in thought, I wordlessly returned the books to Madam Pince and left the library.

Why on earth did I pull away from him? It's still almost an hour until I have to be on the train. It's not like I didn't have time to spend with him. Something just didn't feel right. There was something different about the way he held me, kissed me. He didn't seem any different, though. There was nothing that I could put my finger on anyway.

I resolved not to worry about Blake. It had just been a very long day and I needed sleep. In the entrance hall I found Sara and Kat talking quietly in a corner while they waited on me. A flicker of movement in the corner of my eye alerted me to the presence of someone lingering about. Draco leaned casually against the far wall. His gaze zeroed in on me, studying my movements as I walked toward my friends.

Ignoring him, I went over to them to say goodbye. Since both of us were here, there was no reason to delay. We could go ahead and leave to board the train. Kat and Sara looked up as I approached. I smiled at them and resolved to hold the memory of my two best friends in my head to help get me through the coming days. "I suppose we should be going. It's been a long day. At least I can get a nap on the train. I'll miss you two! I'll send you an owl tomorrow. I'll see you in a few weeks. And don't either of you go off having any adventures without me," I said.

They both grinned and hugged me. "I don't think you'll have to worry about that. We never plan the adventures. You're always the one dragging us along for the ride," replied Kat.

"We're going to miss you too. It's only a few weeks until we come back. I'm sure we'll all be bored out of our minds and ready to get back here before we know it," Sara chimed in.

Professor McGonagall could be heard clearing her throat from near the doors. "If you're ready then, the carriage is here. You're things have already been taken to the train."

Giving them one last look, I turned and walked past Malfoy without a glance. Pulling my cloak protectively around me, I stalked toward the waiting carriage. It felt like every step was leading me further from my old life and deeper into the unknown.

I slid into the warm carriage and nestled into the soft velvet seat. Draco slid in gracefully, taking the seat next to me. Although unexpected, I was too tired to question this. Casually, he draped his arm over the back of the seat and I glanced away so he wouldn't see me roll my eyes. There wasn't even an audience around for this show. He could drop the possessive act already.

The ride to the train station was brief. Once on the train, I intended to settle into a compartment alone and sleep until we arrived in London. Draco, apparently, had different ideas.

I entered a compartment and made myself comfortable so I could get a nap, but before I could close my eyes, there he was standing over me. "There are a few things that you need to know about the manor before we get there," he stated.

"You'd better be glad I don't have anything at hand to throw at you. Even if you tell me something right now that could save my life later, I'll never remember it. I need to sleep. I'm exhausted and there's no way I want to deal with this now. All I'm asking is that you let me rest until we're an hour away from London. You can wake me up to impart these pearls of wisdom then," I snapped.

He nodded curtly saying, "Fine," before turning to take a seat. At this, I realized that he was planning on staying. Could I get no peace?!

"You don't have to stay and babysit me, you know. It's not like I'm going to jump out of the damned train or anything. I'd like to just enjoy the peaceful oblivion of sleep. Can't you go read a book or something in another compartment?" I fumed.

He sat unruffled by my outburst. "I don't think you're going to jump out of the bloody train. I just see no reason why I shouldn't sit here. I'm perfectly comfortable, and you sound a bit like a lunatic. I'll wake you when we're an hour away so I can teach you the important things," he calmly replied. Removing a book from inside his cloak, he propped one ankle across the opposite knee and settled in for the trip.

"I...you...what...but...," I sputtered in response.

"How very articulate of you," he remarked, without looking up.

With a hassled groan of irritation, I gave up and turned my back to him. Let him do whatever he wanted. Fighting about it now wasn't going to gain me any ground, so I ignored him and was finally able to get some much deserved rest. Although I had wanted 'blissful oblivion', that wasn't exactly what I got.

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