The Forgotten Arch
There will be no memory of what has happened in this room, other than the introduction of the girls and this tedious discussion about the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy's extra burden on the members of this group.
Draco mouthed his spell silently, as he sat in the SUPME meeting and surreptitiously pointed his wand toward the door, tracing an arch under which everyone would pass.
He didn't have Hermione's qualms about altering memories for one's personal benefit, and her hypnotic acknowledgement that she loved him would not be gossip for the school, especially not before she told him consciously.
"I feel constricted by not being able to use magic around my Muggle acquaintances..." one of Hermione's Half-Blood admirers lamented, as Draco began planning the ideal setting for the declaration he wanted to hear.
We'll sneak out to the cottage tomorrow. It really wasn't appropriate to call it a shack anymore since he'd transformed it, with overstuffed furniture, a rocking chair, even ruffled curtains on the windows. (Who would have ever thought that Draco Lucius Malfoy would decorate with ruffles, but Hermione loved the quaintness.) On the second floor he'd created a loft, with a huge, satin-covered bed and roomy shower and bathtub, in a much more sensual atmosphere.
They spent every weekend there and any other time that they could manage to get away from school, and no one was the wiser, since the shack had burned to the ground last fall.
Draco still saw it as his most glorious magic to date. He'd created the fire to look as though it was devouring the building. He'd wandered around it like a young Nero, laughing at the crowd that had come out to watch from a distance, and he'd left nothing, but the appearance of charred remains. He'd done it all to have a secluded spot for himself and Hermione, if he could ever win her.
Now it was the perfect place for her to say for the first time that she loved him, and he wanted it to be real. That's why he'd been so precise in his post-hypnotic suggestion, emphasizing that she would tell him if she loved him.
"I have this third cousin that's always picked on me. If I could just tell him to scare him..." another SUPME member droned on.
Draco rolled his eyes in impatience. He had a lot to do to prepare for the perfect evening tomorrow. He'd manipulated his way into the meeting but was now desperate to get out and desperate for these whiners to walk under that arch.
We'll have dinner there. I'll look up aphrodisiac food in the library when I ever get out of here.
"I'm sure we all have situations in which magic would be beneficial outside of the wizarding community," Hermione said to the group, "but we must remember that a little bit of restraint is a small price to pay for the preservation of secrecy and the protection of everyone that we care about in this world." She threw a small smile in Draco's direction.
I love you, Hermione, he said to himself. Now end this meeting and get rid of all of these people.
"So if there's no other business..."
Draco glared at the fourth year Hufflepuff who looked like he was about to speak. The boy remained silent.
"...we'll conclude this session and meet again in two weeks."
Finally! He could sense the eagerness of the people in the room to leave and tell everyone about the snogging he and Hermione had done in front of them. That kiss, he thought to himself, his body reacting to the memory.
He heard no loud exclamations in the hallway as the students left the meeting room, so his charm must have worked.
"Draco, could you help restore the classroom? I need to speak to Lynette," Hermione said, walking toward the door and the invisible arch.
"No!" he shouted, but she was already outside the door. It was ruined. If she had only the same memories as everyone else, she might not have the recall of the post-hypnotic suggestion. Did she or didn't she? The cottage be damned, he had to know tonight.
He walked to the threshold and stretched his hand out over the arch to pull Hermione back into the room and into his arms. He waved his wand to slam the door shut, locked and muffled, and began a wreath of kisses around her neck. "I need you right now," he said huskily.
"Now?" she asked, not quite succumbing.
"Yes," he answered, pulling her along to the large sofa behind them.
"Yes," he said again, nibbling the top of her ear, something he knew made her melt.
She sank onto the sofa with him. "We might get caught," she said weakly, as her arms went around his neck and his wizard's hands deftly undid her jeans.
"I've put every privacy charm I know on this room," he said, in a muffled voice, kneading her lips with his and her thighs with his fingers, like a chef preparing his most sumptuous dessert.
The oven is near baking temperature, all right, and there's definitely rising. Now all we need is the loaf—ahhh!
The metaphor flew out of Hermione's head with her gasp. There were no coherent thoughts. Now it was just about the blond boy looming over her, asserting himself with a vengeance.
She closed her eyes and lolled her head, her hips keeping time with his ragged breathing and her frantic heartbeats.
"I love you," she heard him say over her moans and panting.
"I...I..." she puffed out, just before she lost all control.
"Say it," he groaned, pressing in at a near super-human pace.
"Ahhh ... Draco!" she sang out.
He pulled her to his chest and laid his head on her shoulder. Now she was in contact with all of him. It felt so good, basking in her euphoria, with his body enveloping her, but why was he so quiet?
Few men, Muggle or Wizard, would ever feel let down at hearing their name shouted in ecstasy, but Draco did.
She didn't say it. He was disappointed. Why didn't she say it? He was confused. Even without the bloody hypnotism, if that's the way she feels, she should tell me. He was incensed.
"Is anything wrong?" she asked in a small voice, feeling the tension in him.
"Hmph, when will it be enough, Hermione?" he hissed.
She pulled away and looked with worried eyes at his brows drawn harshly together, his usually pale face turned red in a scowl.
He began dressing. "When will I have done enough penance? I know I was a bastard when we were younger. I called you names, I tried to hurt people you cared about. I even once said I hoped that Salazar's monster would kill you. But I've changed...for you."
She bit her lip and stared as he rose, then paced.
"When will I have...adapted...enough that I'm worth you're saying you love me? Because I know you do," he said like an accusation as he stopped in front of her. "But you withhold that from me, teasing me with it," he spat out, "so that I give up more and more of who I am to try to be someone that you can openly love."
Hermione sniffled, still with her eyes on him, as she redressed.
"What do you want?" he demanded in a tight, strictly controlled voice, "a Weasley or Potter who knows how to shag?"
She looked down, hating herself for bringing on this outburst.
"I...won't...be that," he said with the clipped intonation that reminded her of his father's speech, "not even for you," he finished, standing over her with his chest heaving.
"You're wrong, Draco." She looked up at him through the blur of tears. "I..."
She gulped heavily and said nothing more.
"That's right," he sneered. "You have great compassion and empathy for others, but you can't handle your own emotions. You can't express them and you can't make others feel them."
Now he'd gone too far. She rose to her feet with a stamp. Emotions he wanted? Emotions he'd get!
He had his back to her though and didn't see the fire in her eyes.
"All this time I've tried to be good enough for you," he concluded with invective as he tied his shoes. "Maybe you're not enough for me."
She gasped as he stormed out. In his fury, he neglected to remove his enchantment, so that on the other side of the door after passing under the arch, he had no memory of his tirade.
Hermione slammed the door behind him. "He's..." she fumed, "he's...right," she realized, collapsing again onto the sofa, where she could smell his essence and still feel his heat.
"I spread my arms wide, but don't hold anyone close," she said with a whimper to the empty room, a classroom, where she'd learned so many lessons. But they hadn't hurt like this one.
And with the dissipation of the arch, she'd remember.