A Dragon and a Phoenix

Chapter 6

Catching me by surprise he leaned down and kissed me, only this time with much more force than he had in Hogsmeade. Then he lifted his head mere inches from mine, looked me in the eye with a cold gaze and said, "You'll meet me at the bottom of the stairs in one hour to go down to the Great Hall."

With a faint rustling of his robes he was gone, and my whole world had a new and bleak direction. This could not be good. I know what a hunted animal feels like now. I rose with a fatalistic determination to get through this disgusting ordeal with at least my dignity intact.

I went back to the girls' dorms to find Kat and Sara deep in discussion. As soon as they heard the click of the door closing again they fell silent and looked at me with worried expressions.

Kat was the first to recover from the silence. "He didn't hurt you, did he?"

"You really think that he could?" I asked.

"It's not that we think that you can't take care of yourself. It's just that we know he's not known for playing fair," Sara put in quickly.

I gave them a reassuring smile before taking a deep breath and starting the show. "It's not what you guys think. Things didn't even go that way. Actually things went in quite the opposite direction. I won't go into detail with everything, but let's just say that I've changed my mind about a few things."

I can't let them know what's really going on or they'll run straight to the nearest teacher. There's no way I'm going to let them get hurt. It would be my word against his, not that it's really worth anything anymore. But still there's no telling the amount of trouble he could cause for them; not when you consider the type of people that are actually in charge of the world these days.

They gave me confused looks as if to say, 'I think he's put her under the Imperious Curse'.

"I'm fine. He didn't do anything to me. So if you're both through looking at me as if I've sprouted another head then I'm going to take a shower before we go down to dinner."

Leaving them in ignorance of what really happened I grabbed my things and went to get my shower. Once in the bathroom I locked the door behind me and sank to the floor. This wasn't going to be easy. My friends aren't stupid and they're going to know something's up. They're also going to be hurt that I'm not going to be spending much time with them.

Getting up from the floor I took a quick shower, dressed, and applied some make-up. When I walked out Kat and Sara were waiting on me.

"You guys should go on without me. I'll be down in a few minutes."

They both gave me a strange look and a thin smile before leaving. Sighing I made a final check in the mirror and found that I looked much the same as always, but for the shadow hovering in the depths of my eyes.

At the foot of the stairs I found Malfoy waiting for me. Leaning casually on the stairs looking up at me with a smirk he said, "Well, well, it looks as though I may have taught you a bit of obedience."

My face expressionless, I replied, "You know as well as I do that the only reason I'm putting up with you is because you're threatening the well being of my best mates. Please don't push your luck with me. I'd hate to lose control."

"You'll do as I say for as long as I want you to do so. Now, I think it's time we made our grand appearance in the Great Hall, don't you?"

I followed him out the portrait hole and up the corridor leading to the Great Hall. This was going to be interesting. There were a couple of guys that I had been flirting with and considering as boyfriends for a while now, but this was going to destroy all prospects of a fun relationship. Then there were the jealous females. Ugh, they can have him that's for sure.

At the doorway he brought me out of my thoughts abruptly. "Smile Kim. Remember, convincing performance."

With a sigh I put on my best fake smile and tried to pretend attraction instead of revulsion.

While lying in my bed I tried to remember how I had made it through everything. The only thing that was clear was the feeling of detachment. It was sort of like being on auto pilot. I just had to keep reminding myself what was on the line.

The weeks have flown by. For the most part I've been here, but strangely not here. It's like my body is moving out of habit. All of the conversations I've had with friends and the agonizing moments spent with Malfoy have all been like a dream. I'm beginning to feel trapped in my own mind. It's sort of like watching my life from a distance. I know my friends suspect something. They can tell that my smiles are fake and my laughter is hollow. There's no denying that something isn't right when they've known me for so many years. I'm running out of ideas to keep them from figuring everything out. I've plead study stress for so long that it's starting to wear thin.

With a sad sigh I sat up on my bed and looked toward the door. The quiet knocking was incessant.

"Come in."

Sara walked in and looked at me with an assessing gaze. "What is really wrong with you? You haven't been yourself for more than a month now. Ever since you and Draco started dating you've looked as though a dementor stole your soul. You haven't been eating, you haven't been sleeping, and you haven't been acting like the real you. It's like someone else has taken over your body. I know you too well to think he could force you into dating him under normal circumstances, but I'm starting to wonder if something didn't happen. Kat and I have been worried about you, and it's time you tell us what's really going on here."

Standing up, I walked over to Sara. "I really am fine. You know that there's no way that he could get the better of me. I just finally realized that all of my animosity toward him was just me fighting the natural attraction. You know things have been hectic lately. I promise everything is going to get better."

She gave me a worried glance before releasing a defeated sigh. "I suppose you're right. After all, who knows you better than you know yourself?"

Apparently Malfoy knows me better. I thought to myself with a shudder.

This weekend is Halloween. I'm so glad that we won't have any classes on Friday. They're letting us go to Hogsmeade. Half of the professors are going with us, but at least we'll be out of the castle for a while. That seems like a wonderful reprieve, but only for everyone else. I'm going to be stuck with Draco all day. He's barely let me out of his sight since we've been "together". I've become so detached. I don't even know what's going on anymore. I still hang out with Kat and Sara, but they know that something's different with me. I wish that I could tell them what it was. I thought that by now he would have grown tired of me. Instead he seems to be getting some sick pleasure from forcing me to go about my life like some living doll bent to his will. My misery feeds his amusement. His joy at this is heightened by the fact that he has all of the control.

All I have to do is make it through the rest of the week. I'll find some way to make this weekend better even if I have to make myself sick to get away from him. I found a rather useful potion the other day that will do just the trick. A few days in the hospital wing should be relaxing.

I finally got out of bed to get ready for class. Walking to the bathroom I passed by the mirror and noticed the wraith-like appearance that stared back at me. I need to get control of this situation. I have to get myself back. Putting on some make-up and changing clothes, I readied myself for the day. As I reached the bottom of the stairs I found Draco waiting for me as usual

"I'm going to go to breakfast with Kat and Sara today," I stated with a steady glare at him. I was daring him to tell me that I couldn't.

He looked me over with a calculating stare, seeming mildly amused at my demand, and then replied with a shrug, "Whatever. I have other things to take care of this morning. You'd just be in the way. But I expect to see you after class."

It was a compromise. I'll have to take what I can get at this point. "Fine I'll see you then." I started to walk away but turned back to ask, "What exactly do you have to take care of this morning?"

"Things that you shouldn't worry your pretty little head over. Oh, and speaking of your pretty little head, you need to be getting ready for the Halloween feast. We're having a ball this year. It's a formal affair. You'll be needing a suitable dress. If you don't already have one then you'll have to find something in Hogsmeade."

Ignoring the snide remark I replied, "Of course. I'll see what I have with me and if there's nothing I want to wear then I'll buy something. I'll see you after class."

With that I turned and walked away, leaving him to his mysterious business. I found Kat and Sara in the common room. They were just about to leave when I called out to them. With surprised looks they stopped to wait for me. When I got to the portrait hole Sara was the first to speak. "You're not going to breakfast with Malfoy?"

"I wanted to go with you guys. Besides he has something else to do this morning. I know that I haven't been able to spend as much time with the two of you lately, but I'm about to change all of that. I miss the both of you."

Kat gave me a wary gaze. "We miss you too, but what's changing now that makes a difference? How do we know that you'll be around more often? You've been so stuck to Malfoy that we've barely seen you. And you look so thin. What has he done to you?"

"He hasn't done anything. I've just had a lot on my mind lately I know that it doesn't seem like anything is changing, but it's about to. I'm not going to be spending as much time with him."

Sara glanced at Kat and then gave me a hug. "Well, it's good to see you back with us. Let's go get some breakfast and talk about the Halloween ball. I want to know what you plan on wearing," she answered, unknowingly echoing Malfoy's earlier comment.

I smiled at her and nodded in agreement. We made our way to the Great Hall and sat in our usual places. I grabbed a couple of pieces of toast and some bacon and searched for something to talk about. Things were still a little uncomfortable considering my long absence from their company, but I knew that all of that would smooth out eventually.

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