Numb Without You (Draco Malfoy)

08

Living with Draco Malfoy was not as horrible as I had once anticipated it to be. It wasn’t ideal, but it beat the alternative. Pansy had left for the time being, alleviating my stress tenfold. Whether her departure was voluntarily or by force, I still didn’t have the answer. It was the one thing that Malfoy refused to talk about.

With Draco starting his volunteer work at St Mungo’s the past week, I had found myself with lots of down time that, to my dismay, Theodore Nott was desperate to fill. At one point in time Theo was my best friend in the entire world. I think that’s why he was trying so hard to get me to like him again. He wanted us to pick up right where we left off, but so much had changed since then. I had changed so much since then that I wasn’t sure it was at all possible.

“All I am saying is that you are not that fun anymore, Rory.” Theo scowled as he followed me through the flat. I couldn’t get away from him, “You don’t want to do anything except mope around here. It’s sad.”

“You go into Azkaban and try to see if you come out the other side fun.” I snapped.

“Let it go, mate.” Theo rolled his eyes, “You weren’t there for that long.”

“Shut up.” I seethed. He didn’t understand, not that he ever could. “I also just had my boyfriend and best friend cheat on me with each other. I think I’m entitled to some wallowing.” I reminded him.

“Aidan and Camille both suck. Get over it.” Theo groaned.

“Will you two ever quit arguing? It’s been two weeks straight of this.” Draco complained as he walked into the apartment. He looked exhausted and his hair was disheveled which was a rare sight for the boy who always looked perfectly put together. Working at St Mungo’s was not an easy job, and as a former Death Eater, it can be really demoralizing because none of the patients there want anything to do with you.

“It’s her fault.”

“No it isn’t.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No-”

“Quit acting like children!” Draco snapped at the two of us. “I’ve just had to worst week of my life and I don’t want to hear this anymore.”

“Really?” Blaise raised a brow as he joined our group in the foyer, “The worst week of your entire life? There’s been nothing worse?”

Draco turned red in both anger and embarrassment, “Well, maybe not the worst, but...” He trailed off and looked out the window to calm himself. He didn’t want to keep bringing up the past. I think my presence in his life again was enough of a reminder for all of us here.

“Whatever. It doesn’t matter.” I rolled my eyes, “Get ready to go, all of you. We’re having a night out. I think it’s needed.”

“We are?” Theo asked excitedly, “Are we finally going to go see some underground troll wrestling? I’m ready to place some bets and win some galleons. I’m feeling lucky.”

“Absolutely not.” I scoffed at his absurdity, “I’m planning the night out, and all you need to know is you should dress nicely. Understood?” The boys all nodded and headed to their respective rooms to get dressed. I sighed and went to my own just as well. I took my time getting ready to go out. It was still so early in the evening, and I wanted to look my very best. I desperately needed a night out more than anything, and I wasn’t the only one in the flat feeling that way. Theo reminded me of that fact far too often.

I was finally ready to stop sulking and to start letting loose a little bit. I put on a silk slip-dress that hugged my every curve, and a matching set of heels. I did my makeup, and added a sultry, deep red lip that I knew would be irresistible. When I finally left my room, all three mouths of my roommates dropped open in awe. That was the exact reaction I was hoping for. There was no need for amortentia when you looked this good.

“Are we ready?” I asked as I clutched my small purse in my hands. Hermione had taught me her little trick with the extension charm and I was forever grateful. There was no way to hide a wand when you were wearing as little clothing as I was.

“Where are we going?” Theo asked eagerly as he walked towards the fireplace in anticipation of using the floo network.

I shook my head no and pointed towards the elevator, “It’s not far. We can walk.”

“I don’t like the secrecy surrounding all of this.” Draco glared at me as we entered the lift. He messed with the buttons on the sleeves of his shirt. It was a nervous twitch that he had since we were kids, “Why won’t you just tell us where we’re going?”

“I’ll only tell you if you promise not to back out of it.” I sang as I kept my eyes trained in front of me. I knew better than to look at Draco directly in the eye, though I could see his reflection in the gleam of the metal doors. I took their silence as an agreement. “We’re going to a nightclub.” I told them. “A proper muggle nightclub. It’s right here in the neighborhood, actually. I used to go to it all the time.”

Draco made a wrenching noise, “No. There’s absolutely no way I’m going to be around that many sweaty muggles.”

“Refusing to mingle with muggles. I’ll be sure to write that up in your weekly report, Malfoy.” I grinned knowing I had him. He couldn’t say no now. He wouldn’t dare get a poor mark on his now pristine record.

“I really don’t like you right now, Aurora.” He scowled at me. I led the way out of the building and down the street. It was a short walk. Only about two or three blocks until I saw the line forming outside the door to what was obviously a nightclub.

“Just follow my lead and don’t say anything, you got it?” I ordered them. They all nodded. Blaise seemed disgusted by being so close to muggles, but his face always looked like that so who knows what he was really thinking. Theo looked a little fearful, but was trying to put on an air of excitement, and Draco just looked annoyed because he wasn’t the one in charge.

I shook my head to make my hair fall right into place and adjusted my dress so it was nice and revealing as I walked up to the bouncer at the front door. “Nigel, darling!” I greeted him like an old friend. His face perked up at the sound of his name leaving my lips, but he was immediately disappointed by my choice in company.

“Rory!” His gruff voice echoed across the street. “It’s been too long. Where have you been hiding?”

“Oh, you know.” I let out a flirtatious giggle, “Here. There. A bit of everywhere, really. I’ve missed your handsome face.” Nigel’s hand had already lowered the velvet rope to let me inside. I looked back at my roommates and then to Nigel. “Nigel...” I rested my hand on his chest and I could feel his heart racing excitedly, “Could you do me a favor and let my friends come in with me? Just this once?”

Nigel looked over at the three of them jealously and shook his head, “I don’t think so, love.”

I batted my eyelashes and jutted out my bottom lip, “Please. For me?” I leaned in close and whispered in his ear, “The blond one is a big tipper.” I could feel him beginning to cave at the feel of my touch. He was so easy to manipulate.

“Fine. But only this once.” He warned me. I kissed him in the cheek before ushering the trio inside with me. I was trying to get them to move quickly before Nigel came to his senses and changed his mind.

“Bloody hell.” Theo laughed gleefully once we were all in the building, “Who even are you, Aurora? That was something else.”

I rolled my eyes and fixed my lipstick that had gotten a bit smudged when it left a mark on Nigel’s face, “That’s how it’s done in the muggle world.”

“It was kind of hot.” Blaise noted with resounding approval. “What did you say to him?”

“I know what I’m doing, Zabini. It’s not important what I said. All that matters is that it worked.” I assured him with a smirk. Draco was still rendered speechless and was staring at me incredulously. I rolled my eyes and grabbed his arm, “Let’s go get a drink, Malfoy.” Draco followed closely behind me all the way to the bar. The music was pulsating loudly and Draco already looked like he was absolutely hating it. We got to the bar and I motioned for him to order something.

“Firewhisky?” Draco asked the bartender, shouting over the music.

“Do you mean Fireball?” The bartender suggested as an alternative. He had no idea what Draco was talking about. I had forgotten to mention to Malfoy that the alcoholic drinks would be different from what he was used to.

“Yeah, he’ll have that.” I shouted, “And I’ll have a vodka soda. Make them both doubles.” I put up two fingers to make it more clear since it was so hard to hear in the club. The bartender nodded and got to work on our drinks. He handed them to us rather quickly, and Draco paid. He was getting the hand of the muggle money thing much better now.

“Cheers.” I said as I clinked my glass with his own. Draco seemed confused by the gesture, but went along with it anyway. I finished my drink quickly, wanting the effects of the alcohol to kick in as quickly as possible. Draco followed suit and downed his drink. He nearly gagged at the taste.

“That was revolting.” He said as he placed the empty glass down on a table. “Muggles really drink that?”

“Some do.” I shrugged and grinned at him, “But Fireball is a really cheap drink.”

“I don’t do cheap.” Draco’s eyes narrowed at me. He felt betrayed that I would make him drink something that wasn’t top shelf.

“That’s why I didn’t tell you until you drank it.” I laughed, “Come on. Let’s go dance.”

Draco followed behind me reluctantly. He was not the dancing type. At least the Draco Malfoy that I remembered wasn’t. He surprised me immediately as his hands found my waist and he pulled me in close. I could smell the strong scent of his signature cologne mixed with the alcohol on his breath. We moved in sync with the music and my body felt like it was on fire as we kept getting closer and closer.

Draco Malfoy was like a spider pulling me into his web that was tied so heavily to the past I tried to forget. I didn’t want to fall back into my old habits, but he was making it so damn difficult. His hands drifted lower and lower down the backside of my dress, until they weren’t on my back at all. The short hemline of my dress rode up and his skin touched my own causing my body to feel electrified at the close contact.

I went against my better judgement and wrapped my arms around the back of his neck, pulling him in even closer to me. Our lips were mere centimeters apart. I could have kissed him, but I stopped myself. Part of me liked teasing him like this, and part of me wanted to resist him as best I could for my own sake.

But another part of me... a more primal part... wanted nothing more than to take him into a back room and have my way with him right then and there.

I would never admit that to anyone, and certainly not to Draco. He wouldn’t let me live it down. It was just the alcohol in my system, and the fact that I had been so lonely since Aidan betrayed me. I was sure of it. It could have been anyone in this club making me feel this way. Well, maybe not Theo, but a handsome stranger? Sure.

Draco had grown tired of my games and leaned in to close the lingering space between our lips. I let him kiss me, but only for the briefest of seconds our mouths connected until I pulled away from his grasp completely. I shot him one last glance to see the disappointment on his face before I disappeared further into the crowd to dance on my own. I had to shake the intoxicating feeling overwhelming my senses that I knew was not from the alcohol.

“Can I buy you a drink?” A guy asked as he leaned in close to me and put a hand on my waist. I looked up at him curiously and bit my lip as I thought about the offer. He had dark, curly brown hair and a deep complexion, with smoldering, dark eyes that looked black in the dim light of the club. He looked like the complete antithesis of Draco, which was what I needed if I was going to keep resisting the temptation of him for the rest of the night.

“Sure.” I agreed and the man grinned at me. He took my hand and led me back over to the bar. I got another vodka soda and finished it as soon as it was in my grasp. “Let’s dance.” I told him, just as I had said to Draco not too long ago. I looked through the crowd and saw Malfoy dancing closely with another girl. It might have made me feel a little jealous if he wasn’t staring at me and making it painfully obvious that was his exact intention.

We danced just as close as Draco and I had been, but there was less of that electricity between us than I had felt earlier this evening, I noticed. This guy was really hot though, so I ignored it the best I could and continued dancing. I was finally beginning to let loose, and I was feeling amazing as the beat of the music vibrated through me and the alcohol mixed in with the blood in my veins.

“That’s a really cool tattoo you’ve got there.” The guy said in my ear. I felt like it was weird he was trying to spark up a conversation in the middle of dancing, until I realized exactly what he was saying. “Is that a snake?”

“Wait... What tattoo?” I shouted back at him over the music.

“The one on your arm of course.” he laughed and touched my forearm. I nearly screamed in pain as his hand brushed against where my mark was. It was so sensitive and felt raw. I glanced down at my arm in shock. The mark was there clear as it had ever been, and it was no longer just a faint scar. It was black as midnight and it was practically pulsating as pain emanated from my arm. It was a familiar feeling, but not one I had experienced in a really long time. Something was very wrong.

“Does it have a special meaning?” He asked me completely oblivious to my reaction to his touch. “Did a snake kill your dad or something and this is a weird way of remembering him?” The guy laughed at his own poor attempt at a joke, but I was less than amused.

“No- I- uh... I have to go!” I shouted. I left him standing there totally confused as I began frantically shoving through the sea of people surrounding me.

“Wait! Did I do something wrong?” The man asked, but I ignored him. I had to get to Draco, and I had to get to him now. I had no idea where Theo and Blaise had wandered off to, but it didn’t matter. They could manage on their own. They didn’t have the mark.

A wicked grin formed on Draco’s face as I stormed over to him. I had to practically pull the girl off of him where she had been trying to kiss all over his neck. It didn’t surprise me. Draco had this profound effect on women even when we were teenagers. They were obsessed with him. But that wasn’t important right now. I yanked him off of the dance floor and pushed him up against the wall in a more secluded part of the club.

“Look, Aurora, I knew you were a jealous girl, but this is a bit extreme.” Draco smirked at me as if he had won our little unspoken game. But I wasn’t playing anymore. I was more concerned about what could possibly be going on.

“Shut up.” I said through gritted teeth as I nearly ripped the button on his sleeve and pushed it up to expose his forearm. He looked at me wide-eyed in complete shock as he saw me looking at his Dark Mark. I held out my arm to show him mine too.

“What- Why- How?” Draco sputtered as he tried to find the words. I could see him trying to work it out in his brain, but he was just as clueless as I was. “That doesn’t make sense. They’re not supposed to be active. Why is it black?” He winced as the pain shot through his arm. He was starting to feel it just like I had moments ago.

“I don’t know why.” I said, “But we need to leave.”

“To go where?” Draco demanded. He pushed himself off the wall I had been holding him on and grabbed my arm to take a controlling grip on me instead as he pressed me up against the wall instead. He couldn’t stand not being in control of a situation.

“Trust me.” I said. I looked around warily as I led us to the bathroom and shut the door. The bathroom was much quieter than the club, but the music still pulsated off the tile walls and had a more echoey sound that resonated through the room. Draco raised a brow suggestively considering I had pulled him into a private space that had probably seen many other hookups. I rolled my eyes and reached out for him, disapparating us both instantly.

We arrived at a quaint looking house in a very quiet neighborhood. Draco looked absolutely baffled as he tried to grasp the concept of what a middle-class suburb looked like. I, of course, knew exactly where we were. I had been here many times over the past year. I led us up the drive and knocked on the door three times.

We waited, but no one came. I knocked again. There was no sign of movement from inside and I knew they had to be sleeping. I began to knock so incessantly that Draco had to reach for my arm to stop me. “You look like a maniac.” he whispered. “You don’t want to wake the entire street, do you?”

The door whipped open and a crazed looking Hermione Granger was staring at me intently. Her hair was bushy and wild and it reminded me of when we were kids at Hogwarts. We had clearly woken her up. “Rory, what are you doing here? At this hour!”

“Can we come in?” I pleaded with her. She nodded and moved her body to the side for us to enter. Draco stepped through the doorway with a grimace. I don’t think he ever expected to enter a Weasley home in his life. But things were different now. “Thank you, Hermione.” I told her with a grim smile. “I wouldn’t have come like this if it wasn’t important.”

“What is it?” She asked in a hushed tone, “Ron is still sleeping. I think he would murder someone if he saw Draco Malfoy standing in our living room.”

“Honestly, I’d rather be dead than be seen here.” Draco snorted.

“That’s still an option.” Ron Weasley’s voice came from behind us, his wand drawn and pointed right at Draco’s face. “You better have a damn good reason for showing up to my house, Malfoy.”

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