A Day and A Night

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Chapter 24: A Dare and A Desire:

“Is that good?” Draco asked Hermione as she continued to chew the same piece of ‘something’ that she had been chewing for a good five minutes. He crossed his right leg over his left and leaned across her to grab some of the white stuff from the plate.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m still chewing, and I haven’t decided yet.”

“You put it in your mouth a while ago,” he pointed out. “You should know by now if it’s good.” He looked at the white, doughy ‘thing’ and put it back on the plate. “Why are you still chewing?”

She shrugged and continued to chew. “If it’s that tough, spit it out, for Merlin’s sake,” he said. He held out a napkin, placing it under her chin.

“No,” she said, placing her hand over her mouth. “It’s getting better.”

“Crazy,” Draco said. He took a drink of wine and then said, “Are you still cold?”

“No,” she answered, finally swallowing, “the combination of your jacket and the warming charm did the trick. Who packed this dinner for us?”

“Cat arranged it,” Draco admitted, “Hence the weird food.” Hermione looked at him questioningly, and he added, “Weird girl, weird village, weird people, and weird food. It all adds up.” Draco pushed the basket aside, took her wine glass right from her fingers, as she was about to take another drink, and he said, “What shall we do now? I suggest we kiss a while. That’s what I usually do on a date.”

“Oh really?” she asked. She leaned over him, which he liked, and picked up her glass again. She placed a hand on his leg while she took a swallow, so he placed a hand on her back. She finished the wine, letting it make her warm and tingling, or perhaps his hand on her back made her warm and tingling. She sat back again, pulled the lapels of his jacket tighter under her chin, and inhaled deeply. It smelled like him. She handed him the empty glass and said, “I say we read some of the book.”

He sighed, made of sort of a snort noise, and said, “Have you ever been on a date? Is that what you and Adrian did when you first dated? Did you read? How fun.”

“Shut up,” she said as a response. “I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories in that book.”

“You’ll have to wait, because I refuse to read on a date,” he retorted. She opened the book and he immediately took it from her hand and put it directly under his bum, on the floor of the tower. “I dare you to get it.”

“I will, you know I will,” she said.

“I hope you will,” he said seriously. “That might lead to the snogging I suggested a moment ago.”

“Let’s just read one more,” she begged. “I’ve already read the story about Milo, so let’s read the one that’s about his parents.”

“Granger, none of these stories are really about these people here!” he said. He removed the book from under his buttocks and held it in front of her. “It’s a book of fairytales, fables. It’s old and the stories within are even older. Tomorrow we’ll go to the village, and I bet some of the old folks there will be able to recant the exact same stories. Even if your theory is right, which I doubt,” she frowned, “and Violet wrote this, she wasn’t writing about people from today. She was still just telling the ancient story of her ancestors, in the context of a fable so that she could get around the curse.”

She had to concede that he had a valid point. She said, “But the name Milo isn’t that common, and there’s a story called ‘
Milo and the Maiden Fair’. It’s not a Gaelic name; it’s English in its origin, being a form of Miles, though it’s not especially modern.”

Draco shrugged and said, “You’ve made my point for me. Perhaps it’s an old family name. Don’t make fun of the poor man for having a strange name,
Hermione.” He said her name loudly, drawling out each syllable.

“I wasn’t making fun of anyone’s name,
Draco,” she said his name with disdain. He opened the book and began to read. She looked over his shoulder and saw that he opened it to the same story from earlier, the one that she said was about him.

“The Lost Prince,” he said aloud. “This is the one you think is about me?” He looked at her, and suddenly, she looked anxious.

She held out her hand and said, “Give me the book. You’re right. I’m being silly. This is just a book of old stories and it’s not about any of these people, or us. Don’t read on a date, Draco. That’s rude.”

He narrowed his gaze and said, “What happens in this story that you don’t want me to read it?”

“Nothing,” she said. “Give me the book.”

“You’re a terrible liar,” he concluded, but he handed her the book. “What happens, does the prince kill his one true love in the story?” He tried to say it lightly, but he was worried.

She wondered if she should tell him that the story ended the opposite way. Instead, she said, “You know, perhaps there’s just something about this place that causes perfectly sane people to act in insane ways.”

“I don’t think so, because you’ve always act this way,” he joked. He laughed, though she found nothing at all funny about that statement.

She hit him hard, with the book, on the shoulder, and then said, “What I meant to say was that you’ve never had thoughts of hurting me before we came here, so it could be a curse on outsiders who come here, or some type of dark magic, that makes you think you want to hurt me.”

“I don’t think so, on either case.” She turned to look at him in question, and he explained, “Because I’ve wanted to hurt you plenty of times before we came to this place.”

“Not seriously,” she said.

“Yes, pretty much,” he said back. “I think I’ve wanted to strangle you, throttle you, (which are the same thing), slap you senseless, shake you until your teeth rattle, hit you upside the head, knock some sense into you, pinch your bum, and pull your hair out by the roots…and all before we set foot on Glendora’s soil.”

“Yes, but I’m not talking about when we were children,” she harped.

“Neither am I,” he said with a mocking grin. “I’ve wanted to do each and every one of those things just since leaving London earlier this week. Most of them on the ride from London to Dorchester, a few of them in our hotel room that first night, a couple when I discovered you climbed out that pub’s window, and one of them in that bookstore. Do you see a pattern?” He smiled at her.

“Yes, you want to cause me bodily harm, and it has nothing to do with a possible curse, dark magic, ancient spells, or Glendora,” she droned on, acting bored. “When did you want to pinch my bum?”

He wasn’t aware she had heard that one. “Right now,” he said. He pushed her over and reached under her to do just that. She pushed against him, put he managed to pinch her before he quickly stood. He walked over to the ledge and sat on the wall, laughing.

“That was degrading and rude, Prince,” she said, rubbing her behind. “And get down from there, you might fall.”

“I won’t fall,” he said. He swung his legs back and forth and said, “Come join me.”

“I’d rather not,” she said, standing up and slipping her arms in the sleeves of his jacket.

“I thought you thought it was beautiful up here, or was that just some sentimental rubbish, heralded for my entertainment, to make you sound all prosey and poeticy?” he asked.

“Prosey and Poeticy are not words, and I meant everything I said,” she argued. She walked closer to him and explained, “When I’m on solid grown, like the floor of the tower, I can appreciate the beautiful landscape below, the lovely night sky above, and the partially pleasant company in front of me.” He rolled his eyes. “That doesn’t mean that I want to walk along the stones of the turret, or watch you do that. I’m still slightly afraid of heights, when there’s nothing solid under me, or there’s a chance of falling.”

“Who said you had to walk the turret?” he asked. “I was just asking you to sit up here with me, not walk the turret, like this.” He hoisted himself up and stood on top of the ledge. He walked around the narrow wall. She backed up, toward the center of the tower, her hand over her heart. He continued to walk around the turret, and she continued to follow, her back not leaving the inside wall.

“Draco, come down, please,” she urged. “You’re acting like a child.”

“I like it up here,” he said. He stood with his back to her, spread out his arms and said, “I wish I could jump, free fall, and take to flight. I envy those stupid Valdes and the fact that they can become birds. I’ve always wanted to become an animagus.”

“Draco, please, I’ll put the book away, and we can kiss,” she said, half-joking.

He turned to face her and said, “Join me up here, Granger.”

“You’re cruel and mean and selfish and you have a disdain for all that is important to me, don’t you?” she pouted. “You said you know me, but you don’t know a bloody thing about me, except what you want to know. If you really knew me, you would know that right now my heart is beating wildly, and that my palms are sweating, my mouth is dry, and it’s not because I’m excited or happy, it’s because I’m scared for you. Why would you want to cause me undue fear and alarm?”

“Oh, you’re being silly,” he said, stepping over a jagged rock, and then almost skipping across a rather large edifice that jutted out from the stone. He turned back to look at her, still thinking this was a game, thinking that she was overreacting, but she was frowning. He said, “Oh, have fun, Granger. Take my hand.”

“I’m not coming up there!” She huffed in anger, took off his jacket, threw it on the ground and said, “The date’s over. I have work to do. Goodnight.”

“Boo Hoo, Hermione’s not getting her way,” he said. He didn’t know why he was suddenly being cruel, but he had only wanted to lighten the mood in the beginning, and when he found that he was actually distressing her, he felt ashamed, so he did what he did best, turn it around to fault her. He had acted that way all his life, never taking responsibility for his own actions, or even his own cruelty. “Hey, Princess,” he said, as she opened the door to leave the tower. She turned to look at him. “What would you do if I jumped?” That wasn’t what he was going to say. He was going to jump down and say that he was sorry.

“I would say good riddance to bad rubbish,” she said seriously.

She turned to leave again, but again, he called out to her, “Hey, Princess.”

“Stop calling me that!” she snapped, walking up to him. She looked up at him, he looked down at her, and he jumped down, landing right in front of her.

“I don’t know how to be with you. Just ‘be’, you know? I don’t know how to act with you, treat you, behave, or talk, or anything. I’m horrible at interactions with the opposite sex. I usually just sleep with women, I don’t date them, not really,” he said as a way of explanation.

“You’re seriously lacking in the social graces, Malfoy,” she said. “But then again, I knew that about you. You see, as much as you keep spouting that you know all about me, you don’t. You just don’t. I, however, really do know all about you.”

He barked a laugh, placed his finger on her chest, and pushed her against the inside wall, a gleam in his eyes, a smile on his lip. “You know nothing about me, but I know everything there is about you,” he challenged.

“Tell me, oh Rude One, all about me,” she challenged back.

He pressed her against the stones of the wall and said, “I know about your mouth. It’s soft, pink, and inviting.” His finger traced the delicate outline of her mouth.

“My mouth?” she asked. “Malfoy, that’s not what I meant,” she tried to explain, but he silenced her with a brief kiss then he smiled.

“May I continue?”

“Carry on,” she said, acting bored, though her insides were turning into mush.

“Here’s another thing I know,” he started, his fingers skimming her cheek, as her eyes fluttered shut. “Open your eyes, because I’m about to tell you that they’re the warmest shade of brown I’ve ever seen.” She opened her eyes and he continued. “They have gold and green specks, and you have the longest eyelashes.” His fingertip skimmed her right eyelid, feeling the eyelashes.

“Your skin is so pure, and the colour of ivory,” he said. “I wish I could see all of it.” His nose skimmed her cheek, to her jaw, to her neck, where he sucked on her pulse point. Her hands went to his shoulders, and held on tight. “You have adorable freckles on your nose, across the bridge, and to your cheeks.” He took his fingertip and touched a few of her freckles.

“You have a mole on your back and one on your shoulder,” she leveled.

“Good to know, I’ll have the Healer check those when I get home,” he teased. She smiled. “Your smile would light up the darkest night, Granger. I dare say I wish I had seen more of that smile growing up. It could have made the coldest day in the dark dungeons of Hogwarts warm, radiating heat, love, friendship, caring and every other emotion, which you wear so proudly on your face.”

Her lips parted.

He took a deep breath in, and said, “I’ve stayed awake nights, for years I have, thinking about you, wondering what you taste like, wondering what it would be like to have you underneath me, or on top of me, or beside me. I’ve wondered what you taste like, but not just your lips, but also every bit of you. Your scent calls and beckons to me, and makes me hard with want.” He braced his left hand beside her head, his right hand resting on her heart, over her jumper.

The night suddenly seemed warmer, the air thicker, the tower higher, and Hermione felt dizzy. “I want you so very much, Granger. It’s too late for me, you know. It’s too late for you, too. We’re in over our heads. I want to kiss you, touch you, and love you.” His lips kissed across her jaw, to her ear, where he pulled on her earlobe with his teeth, and she shuddered. He pressed his whole body against hers; so that his want for her could not be mistaken…she could feel it pressed against her hip. “Do you feel how much I want you?”

His tongue drew a line down her throat. Both hands went to the neckline of her jumper, pulled slightly, and he kissed the hollow of her neck, nipping with his teeth as he went from one side to the next. He slipped his knee between her legs, and she clutched at his shoulders, in order not to fall. One hand went down slowly, to her hand, then back up her arm, to her waist, and he cupped one of her breasts over her sweater, the weight and feel of it his final reward.

“I want to make love to you, Hermione.”

“Not here,” she whispered.

“Fine, not here,” he said. He expected her to say no. He was glad that she hadn’t. Hermione pushed him away, only so that he could grab her hand, pull open the door, and drag her down the stairs.

“Our things,” she started.

“Will be here later,” he said, impatiently.

He ran with her toward his bedroom, but they both stopped dead when they saw Cat running toward them from the other end of the long hallway. There were tears streaking down her face. She said, “I take it you’ve heard?”

Draco looked at Hermione, who looked from Draco back to Cat, before she asked, “No, what happened?”

“Some of the men from one of the other clans found another body. You both were right, it’s of one of the other missing girls, the ones from years ago, from Dorchester. They’re downstairs now, and they’re demanding that Milo turn over Iver. Milo is ready to fight to the death. They think that Iver’s the murderer!” she cried.

Hermione and Draco looked at each other, and then hand in hand they followed the younger girl down the stairs.

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