A Dragon and a Phoenix

Chapter 8

With a confused glance from Malfoy to me he nodded slightly and said, "Uh, sure I'll tell her for you." With that he grabbed his books and walked past Draco without so much as a glance at him on his way out the portrait hole. Crabbe and Goyle had disappeared ahead of him, clearly sensing that they're presence wasn't welcome.

No sooner than he was out of the room had Draco crossed the distance between us in few quick strides. He backed me up against the wall and held me there. "How dare you. I will not be made a laughingstock. No girl of mine will embarrass me like that. How dare you think to let another touch what belongs to me," he said in a dangerous whisper.

With a passive expression firmly in place I replied, "Relax Draco he didn't even know that I'm trapped in this ridiculous relationship with you. It was my fault, so don't even worry about going after him. I couldn't help enjoying a moment of real affection. I'd forgotten how much fun it was to have freedom to go after any guy I wanted. So I took the opportunity as it presented itself. I don't doubt that you'll make sure the possibility of a repeat isn't available. Now, if you'd be so kind as to let me go I need to see Madam Pomfrey for the migraine you've given me." I knew I was playing with fire, but if I could make sure that he was so angry at me that he forgot about Blake I didn't care. I would suffer the consequences. I felt bad about what I had said about Blake only being an opportunity. I knew that was a lie. He was really nice and I couldn't deny the weak in the knees feeling that his kiss gave me. And not the sort of dangerous thrill that came from Draco. I'd find him later and apologize.

With a look of pure rage he hit me. As my head snapped to the side with the force of the blow I caught a glimpse of his hand as he reached for his wand. Before I had a chance to counter his attack or even move I heard the spell.

"Crucio!"

It felt as if my very bones were on fire. It was all I could do to keep from screaming. I refused to give him the satisfaction. After what felt like an eternity he raised his wand and looked down at me. "Get up. We have another class to go to. You will be there. You will make sure that no one even thinks anything is wrong." He sat down in a chair as if nothing had happened. "You should go upstairs and make yourself presentable. You look like a wreck."

With an effort I picked myself up off the floor and lifted my chin in defiance. I turned on my heel, picked up my things and walked to the portrait hole. I went straight to my last class for the day. It was the one class that I didn't have with Draco. Arithmancy had become my safe haven from him. I sat down in my usual seat and straightened my hair up a bit.

After class was over I went out onto the grounds. I wandered out far away from the castle. Knowing that I wasn't supposed to be out that far alone didn't stop me. I didn't want to be anywhere that I could be found by Draco. Still aching from the Cruciatus curse I sat down on a large boulder and began to weigh my options. If I told anyone what was really going on then there was no doubt that Malfoy would harm my friends before anything could be done to stop him. But if I didn't there was little hope that I would survive the remainder of the year. As I sat in misery and hopelessness someone approached.

"What are you doing out here?"

I turned to find Blake looking at me in bewilderment. "I don't know. I just left the castle and started walking. I wanted to be able to think. What are you doing out here?"

He sat down next to me and replied, "I come out here a lot to do the same. It's quiet out here."

I turned to look at him. "I'm really sorry about what happened earlier. I shouldn't have done that."

"So I take it you and Malfoy are dating?"

"Yes and no. It's a very complicated situation that I can't seem to get out of no matter how hard I try. And believe me I've tried, but I'm not the only one concerned.

"Well, why don't you try to explain things to me? Maybe I can help."

"I don't want to drag you into the situation too. It's a dangerous game I'm in and I don't want to be responsible for so many others. This is just so unfair. Although, when dealing with Draco, I don't expect anything less than unfair and dangerous."

"Look at me Kim," he said as he gently tilted my head up so that I was looking directly into his eyes. "I'm not afraid of the little git. You don't have to worry. It's not like I'm going to go and tell everyone what's going on. And I won't go to the professors either. That's not my place. That's up to you. So just tell me what's going on. I want to help you."

I could see the sincerity in his eyes. I wanted to tell him what was going on, but I didn't want to risk his safety too. But it's just so difficult to deal with something like this alone. It all came out in a rush and in less than five minutes I had summarized the happenings of the last few months. Eyes glistening with tears when I finished, "And at the risk of my friends' lives I can't tell anyone in a position to do anything about it what's going on. I'm trapped like a caged animal, and now I've put you at risk too, just because I'm too weak to deal with this alone."

I sat looking down at my knees. There was a brief moment of silence and the Blake gently lifted my head so I was looking straight into his eyes. He wiped away a fallen tear as it streaked down my cheek and said, "You're not weak. As a matter of fact, you're probably the strongest person I know. We'll figure something out, but in the meantime you'll need to avoid him as much as possible. Spend time with Kat and Sara. Surround yourself with people as much as possible. There's no way he's going to hurt you with a crowd of witnesses. He'll go straight to Azkaban for it after all the things he was involved in. I'm still trying to figure out how he managed to weasel his way out of it in the first place."

"I don't think any of us will ever really know exactly how he did that. But I do know that it's a relief to have someone who knows what's going on. Thank you," I said.

He smiled, stood up and offered his hand to help me up. I took it gratefully. I was now extremely achy from my earlier torture. As soon as I was standing properly he wrapped his arms around me and gave me a gentle hug. He obviously knew that I was sore all over.

After a moment he took a step back and looked back at the castle. "I suppose we'd better get back. It's almost time for dinner. I'll wait around so he won't see us walk in together."

"You don't have to worry about it. I'm not really hungry. I think I'm just going to go back to the dormitories and try to get some sleep. He nodded and said, "Alright then. I'll just see you tomorrow. Don't worry I'll make sure to catch you when Malfoy and his pets aren't around."

All the way back to the common room I felt strangely happy. It was a nice change. I suddenly realized what it was a relief it was to have the help of someone else. I passed the tide of students on their way to the Great Hall. Everyone else seemed so carefree. "Before the holidays…that will be me again," I mumbled to myself.

Once back in the common room I made use of the peace and quiet. I went straight to the girls' dormitories and grabbed my things. There was no one to disturb me so I took a relaxing bath. It was great to be able to let everything go and just enjoy the moment. When I finally got out I could hear the distant sounds of people returning from dinner. Reluctantly, I got out and got dressed. Drying my hair with a simple spell as I walked to my bed I noticed a note on my pillow.

I was dreading the worst when I realized that the note was on top of a plate of sandwiches. There's no way Malfoy would be considerate enough to care that I didn't eat anything. I picked up the note and saw that it was from Blake. Smiling, I read it.

"I know you said that you weren't really hungry, but I thought these would be welcomed in case you changed your mind. I know it's not a gourmet meal, but hey it's the thought that counts, right?"

He knew me too well for someone that didn't really know me at all. I was starved. The day had taken a lot out of me. I sat down with a sandwich and my Arithmancy book and tried to finish up my homework. Just as I reached for a second sandwich the door opened. Kat walked in and saw me. I smiled as she walked over and sat down.

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