Playing with Fire

Chapter 39: Angel

Song: I’d Rather Go Blind - Etta James

It wasn’t until Hermione had already swung the door open that she realized she was crying. Malfoy wore a look of pity. I’m pathetic.

He took a deep breath and opened his mouth to speak but she beat him to it.

“I’m so sorry Malfoy I...I had no idea I swear! I’m so so-“, she stopped when he wrapped his long fingers around her hand. Hermione’s hand had been shaking but it stilled, leaving her oddly comfortable when their hands touched. It was like suddenly there was air to breathe and there hadn’t been before.

“Granger”, he said, “don’t-“, but she cut him off again. She needed him to listen to her, to listen to her.

“No Malfoy, listen, I didn’t have anything nice to wear when Lucius invited me to have dinner tonight and this was brought to my room I swear I didn’t-“, she started again but he held a finger to her lips, shushing her calmingly. Hermione squeezed her eyes shut, she was so embarrassed, and her body was electrified being so close to his. It was an enigmatic sensation.

“I said don’t. I didn’t mean to yell at you earlier, it’s not your fault”, he said softly. She slowly opened her eyes to look into the ocean of blue swimming before her.

She stared at him, eyes wide and glistening with her tears. She heard him, but she still felt terrible. I may not ever see my mother again, but at least mine is alive. His isn’t. Immense guilt threatened to overcome her.

“You look lovely”, he told her when she didn’t respond. “My father was right, it shouldn’t go to waste. She’ll never get to wear it again - someone deserving of it should.” I...what...? Did...Malfoy just call me lovely?

Her pupils widened. Hermione stared at him in disbelief. Surely he was going to tell her he was kidding, or follow it up with something mean, but he didn’t. Maybe I don’t know him...at all...

“I...still feel terrible. I just want to take it off and return it...I tried but...“, her eyes went to the ground when she paused, before meeting his once again. “The zipper is stuck, I didn’t want to damage the dress.” So embarrassing. SO so embarrassing.

Malfoy nodded at her in understanding. He stepped into the dark room, moonlight streaming in through the windows, and closed the door behind him.

“Turn around”, he told her, so she did. Her heart was racing in anticipation, and yet, when he touched her, it felt so natural. His hands were impossibly gentle.

Malfoy carefully moved her curls over her shoulder, and dragged his fingertips over her shoulder blades in the process. Goosebumps arose all over her skin.

He found the zipper and slowly slid it down, and it wasn’t until the cold air met her back that she realized she wasn’t wearing a bra with the dress. She froze, feeling the heat in her face growing as his fingers spread across her hips.

Malfoy leaned in until his lips were centimeters from the back of her neck, she could feel the heat of his breath there. He pressed them there, sucking on it slightly, causing her to emit a small gasp. Instinctively her hands went up to play with his hair - that beautiful, soft, white hair. Like an angel.

He swiftly spun her to face him, his eyes immediately locking on her lips as she did the same. Hermione couldn’t help it when her tongue darted out to wet her lips when all she could think about was his. He brought one hand up to her face, cradling it affectionately? Butterflies stirred in her stomach.

It felt like years until finally he leaned in slowly, and met her lips with his. What shocked her wasn’t the kiss, but what was behind it. Tenderness and comfort, as if he was offering it to her without words, and she gladly accepted it. It was all warmth, no desperation or need. Just solace in his kiss.

The rings on his fingers were cold against her cheek, still damp and warm from tears, but she welcomed the contrast. She placed her hand over his, lacing her short fingers through his long ones. Her other hand slid up his arms, feeling the lean muscles underneath his shirt. He brought that hand to her lower back, pulling her waist in, bodies pressed against each other.

Their tongues met hesitantly, exploring with curiosity and nervousness, and they moaned in unison. After a moment, he pulled away and leaned his forehead against hers, still cradling her face with his hand. She struggled to catch her breath, and hated the loss of his lips against her own.

“I’ve never met anyone with a glow as inextinguishable as yours″, he whispered to her. Hermione’s heart skipped a beat. No one had ever given her such a complex compliment, one that spoke to her so deeply at that. Nor did she ever imagine it would come from the lips of Draco Malfoy. But somehow, she couldn’t imagine it meaning the same from anyone else.

Draco pressed a light kiss against her forehead, then turned to leave, closing the door delicately without another glance.

She stood there in awe. Her skin still burned from his touch - her cheek, her bare back, her lips, her tongue. Completely on fire, inside and out. And if that was what being on fire felt like, Hermione would gladly burn for the rest of her life.

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