Everything In Its Right Place

Chapter 8

The Sunday before Christmas, Draco arrived as usual. When Hermione opened the door, he stomped in without waiting for an invitation, clearly agitated.

"Are you going to McGonagall's Christmas…thing?" he asked. She could smell whisky on his breath.

"Yes," she answered cautiously. "Are you?"

"Oh yes," he spat. "It would be incredibly rude not to turn up at the Headmistress' party. And we musn't be rude…"

"You've been drinking. "

"As clever as always, Granger," he said with an arched brow. "It's Christmas holidays, all the wee children have gone home to their mummies, what else am I meant to do?"

"Malfoy…what's wrong?"

"What isn't? I hate that bloody school, I hate the students, I hate the corridors! Everywhere I turn, reminders of the past. I'm haunted, Granger. I can't escape. Not even when I'm alone." He ripped of his cloak, and tugged at his shirtsleeve. "Look – look….still here." He pointed at the remains of his Dark Mark. It was faded, but still easily identifiable. "Oh sure, it's fading," he continued, "but it's still here. I've tried everything, everything I tell you, and nothing works! Here it is, always there, always with me." He clawed at his arm, as though he could scratch it off.

"And you," he demanded. "Still have your scar? I know that you do! I saw it, that first morning, when you cooked breakfast. How could you have taken me into your home, hmm? Handed me food with that monstrosity on your arm, it came from my aunt, in my house, I didn't help you…." He covered his face with his hands.

"Because it doesn't bother me, Malfoy. I'm not afraid of the past, and I've never blamed you."

"If that's true, you're a fool." He had taken his hands from his face, and looked at her in disbelief.

"It is true, and I'm no fool," she said quietly.

In a step, he was in front of her. "I watched you, you know. In school. When we went back. There you were, carrying on. I saw your arm one day, in potions class." He leaned in to her, close enough that she could feel his body heat. She found herself trembling at his closeness. "It shamed me, shamed me in a way that I knew not possible. You aren't a fool, Hermione…I am."

Her eyes widened. "You've never called me by my name," she said.

"You've never called me by mine." He was looking down into her face, and she was caught in his cool grey eyes.

"Draco," she said in a whisper.

He put his hands on either side of her face, and kissed her. It tore through her body like fire.

His lips were full, soft. He tongue made a gentle exploration of her mouth, and his breath was smoky from whisky. It was intoxicating. He was intoxicating. She felt like she was falling, she'd never been kissed like this and it was wonderful, oh, this what was kissing should be but she couldn't breathe…

She pulled away from him, to catch her breath. For a brief moment, she saw his faced flushed, his eyes intense with passion, and then…nothing.

Without a word, he backed away from her, picked up his cloak, and left.

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