A Feeling Unknown

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Chapter 31: Tedium and Inventory:


“Can we go somewhere? Do something? Anything at all? I feel cooped up in this house and I’m bored to tears.” Hermione had her knees on his couch, facing the back pillows, her hand holding back his curtain, peering out the large picture window at the grey day in front of her. The snow had finally stopped, thus the ground was covered in the proverbial blanket of white. The sky was an eerie translucent grey colour. It was a cold, ugly day, but Hermione Granger thought it was colder and uglier inside.


It had been 24 hours since they had told the other that they were still in love, yet no further progression had been made. Hermione was confused by his lack of affection. This wasn’t how she had envisioned being in love with Draco would be. She always imagined that on a grey, cold day such as this, they might light a fire, have hot chocolate, read with either her head in his lap or his head in hers, or perhaps they would cuddle on the bed, solve a crossword puzzle, and huddle together against the cold. Handholding would also be a must.


She thought they would slowly get to know each other again…talk about their wants for the future, kiss a bit, touch a bit, and perhaps make love. She imagined it so many times in her head over the years. She wanted to make love to him again, but she must repulse him for some reason. He seemed hesitant even to be near her. She initiated exactly two hugs since they had told each other that they were still in love, and both resulted in a big fat zero.


She even purposely touched him when she passed him the salt at the breakfast table, but he withdrew his hand so fast it was as if she had acid on hers, and he had been burnt.


She thought she knew what love was, but gee, did she ever have it wrong.


Not that her wants and wishes were that far off the mark from Draco’s wants and wishes. He too had envisioned declaring his love to Granger, spending long winter days in bed together, arms and legs wrapped around each other, bodies slick with a fine sheen of perspiration from the hot amazing sex they had just had. And after they made love, and they were basking in the soft afterglow, they would of course do it again.


He never visualized it like this. He pictured sleeping with her so many times and in so many ways over the years that his body actually ached with need for her. Her closeness was close to painful to him. She was still sleeping with him, but just sleeping. They hugged twice in the last twenty-four hours, but hadn’t kissed once. There was slight touching, but no exploration of hands. In fact, the slight touching happened when he asked her to pass the salt and their fingers touched, but that was all.


He wondered if this was what it was like being in love, because it rather felt like it did before they declared their feelings.


Was he the one holding back or was it her? Perhaps she was waiting for him to make the first move. He tried to make the first move when he tackled her and rolled her over in bed but the look on her face cooled him quicker than a tub of ice cubes down his trousers.


She looked scared. Of him. He never wanted to scare her. If he scared her, he might lose her, and he would rather have her near, yet unattainable, than far way, and unattainable.


“I’m bored, Malfoy,” she finally said. He stood in the doorway, having already heard her earlier ramblings about being ‘cooped up’ and bored. The fact that she was bored here with him ticked him off a bit. She was supposed to WANT to be here with him, not sick of his company and thinking up ways to leave him, only twenty-four hours after they had declared their love.


She plopped her bum back on the sofa seat and looked up at him as he still stood in the doorway. “Draco, did you hear me?”


“Of course I did, and you know, this isn’t my idea of a honeymoon, either,” he said. It came out with a bit more vinegar than he wanted, but he couldn’t take back his tone of voice anymore than he could dye his hair red.


Now she looked pensive and he felt bad. Damn her and damn him and damn their being in love, anyway.


She stood up slowly and walked into the bedroom. He thought she was probably going to throw herself on the bed, start wallowing in tears, and he would have to go and apologize…wait, was that a pillow that just hit him on the head?


He turned around and saw that she had the second bed pillow in her hand and she said, “I’ll hit you with this one too if you don’t start acting normal.”


Normal? Did she know the meaning of the word? Anyway, wasn’t acting, ‘normal’ a subjective thing? Before she could throw the other pillow at him he picked up the first one and threw it at her, and it hit her square on the face and he laughed. He laughed at her and it felt good. It felt, dare he think it? Normal.


Hermione smiled and said, “Let’s go to my mum’s house.”


“Are you nuts?” he asked. “Wait, that one’s a given, I meant to say, no.”


“Ha, Malfoy thinks he’s a ruddy comedian now,” she said, throwing the bed pillows on the couch. “I just meant that it’s time for me to see to some things, and I feel ready, you know, more emotionally stable, and it will break up this tedium.”


“No,” he said again.


“I’ll go without you,” she challenged.


He laughed and said, “I’d like to see you try. You know, I still have your wand hidden from the other day.


She gave his an ornery grin, walked over to the kitchen, got a chair from the table, brought it to the living room, and much to Draco’s chagrin, she placed it in front of the fireplace, stood up on the chair, pushed a loose brick, and when it moved slightly, reached in blindly, and pulled out her wand. “Ta da!” she said. “And I did it without magic.”


He glared at her. Then he asked, “Are you afraid of me?”


“I’m afraid for you because your skill at hiding things is so lacking,” she said as she took the chair back to the other room. She walked in twirling her wand and said, “But I would never be afraid of you.” Hermione pointed her wand at him, closed one eye as if she was aiming and then brought her wand back down to her side.

“Are you afraid to touch me?” he asked.


“As in you might have a transmittable disease or something?” she asked back with a straight face.


“I mean it, Granger. We shouldn’t be bored here. I’m just as bored out of my mind as you are, and that’s just wrong on so many levels. We love each other still, or so we declared, and so boredom shouldn’t even be in the picture.”


She placed her wand on the end table and walked up to him. She said, “You mean we should be kissing, and holding hands, and kissing and talking and kissing?”


“Well, more like, kissing, holding hands, jumping bones, and the like,” he said with a smirk.


“I wouldn’t mind that, but you seem reluctant. I thought perhaps it was because we had been away from each other for too long, and we had to get to know each other again,” she explained.


“Hey, it’s you that’s been acting distance and aloof,” he said, injured.


“No,” she said, drawing the word out. “It’s you.”


“You act like you’re afraid of me,” he finally admitted.


“I’m not,” she answered honestly. “You’re the one person I’ve always felt the safest with, even back in Hogwarts, at the final battle, I was almost glad it was you that came upon me with those Death Eaters, instead of someone else.”


The fact that she was initiating a conversation that had anything to do with that night was a good sign, so he sat on the couch, patted the seat beside him and said, “Why was that?”


“I thought since you were who you were, and your father was who he was, perhaps it would sway them to leave me alone. I knew you wouldn’t let them kill me,” she said.


“How could you have known? Why would you assume otherwise?” He was curious to know.


She reached over and took his hand. She turned it around in her hands and looked at the palm. His hands were nice. He had strong hands. Hands that could comfort. She said, “When Harry, Ron and I were captured and taken to Malfoy Manor, you never once gave away our identity to your father and aunt, not outright. Also, when your aunt was torturing me, I looked at you twice. Once you looked me straight in the eyes, and I knew you felt remorse for what was happening, and you felt helpless to help, and that you felt badly for what was happening, which meant you had a conscience and a moral sense of right and wrong.”


“You said you looked at me twice,” he reminded, as she continued to hold his hand, now with only her left hand, her right hand busy rubbing up and down his arm.


“The second time was when I had almost collapsed in pain, and I had just screamed what I thought was my last scream, and I looked over at you, and you had turned your head and you winced. You had to look away. A person without scruples would have watched. I knew you wouldn’t leave me that day in the dungeons. I know I told you to run, and you told me once that you wanted to leave, and Theo wouldn’t let you, but I think even if Theo had said, fine, let’s leave, you wouldn’t have left me.”


“Even I didn’t know that I wouldn’t have left, not back then,” he said, “But I’m glad I didn’t. I’m thankful someone had faith in me back in those days. I guess that perhaps the barrier between us is of my making. I don’t want you to be afraid of me, and I don’t want you to regret falling back in love with me.”


“I didn’t fall back in love,” she said, dropping his hand. He frowned. “Oh don’t be stupid, Malfoy,” she chastised, picking his hand back up. “I never fell out of love. I was just lost for a while. I’m back, and I hope I’m back to stay, and you know, if sometimes unpleasant memories come back because of a certain way that you touch me, or kiss me, then that’s an obstacle we’ll climb over, okay?”


“Fine, let’s kiss,” he said with a smile. He pushed her over on the couch, and held his body on top of hers, his arms supporting his weight. He let his weight drop suddenly, she pushed him off her just as sudden, and he landed on the floor by the couch.


She looked over the edge and said, “Sorry. That reaction wasn’t because you dredged up an unpleasant memory. It’s just that you’re a bit heavier these days.”


He frowned for the umpteenth time, and she rolled off the couch, and on top of him. “Oomph,” he exclaimed. She pulled down a couch pillow; put it under her head to lie down beside him.


He reached over and with his index finger and he traced her eyebrows and then down her jaw. He said, “I think I need to take an inventory of you, Miss Granger. For my permanent records, you understand. Kind of like you did for insurance purposes when you lost all your things in the explosion. If I ever lose you, I want to know what I need to replace.”


“I understand,” she said.

He propped himself over her with one arm and stroked her hair with the other hand. He said, “Hair, soft as silk, bouncing and brown, with gold streaks. Check.”


She laughed and said, “Should I be keeping a tally?”


“No,” he answered. “I’ll keep a running tally in my head.” He stroked her face with his fingertips, down one side, up the other, back down with his knuckles. He said, “One pretty face, with the mandatory two eyes, one mouth, one nose, check.”


She smiled as his fingertips touched her mouth. She said, “You already took inventory of my mouth.”


“Your face was a category, and your mouth is a sub-category, pay attention,” he said. She decided that she would pay close attention. She liked this. She liked the attention he was paying to her, too. It felt good. Right. Almost challenging, as odd as that sounded. She felt warmth in her midsection that spread to her fingers and toes. She tried to relax at his touch, but it felt anything but relaxing.


His index finger went around her mouth twice, and then with the pad of his thumb, he rubbed her bottom lip twice. Her mouth parted slightly. He slipped just a fraction of his thumb inside her mouth, and then he leaned down. He kissed her lips lightly, said, “Top lip, above satisfactory.” Then he kissed and slightly pulled on her bottom lip and he said, “Bottom lip full and delightful.” Then he angled his mouth directly over hers, kissed her full and hard, and when she parted her mouth, and her tongue came out to touch his before he could initiate it, he pulled away and said, “Tongue, wow, check.”


She couldn’t suppress her giggle when his hand went down her chin, to the hollow of her throat, and then across her collarbone, slightly under the collar of the shirt. He said, “Neck is perfect, long and graceful,” and he leaned over and actually bit her neck slightly, before sucking on it and then swiping his tongue across it. It was one of the most sensual feelings Hermione had ever felt. Her Henley styled shirt had five buttons in the front, which ended over the swell of her breasts. She only had the bottom two buttoned, which showed just a hint of cleavage.


He unbuttoned the fourth button and then the last, exposing her lacy bra. He raised his brows up and down and said, “Nice.”


“You picked it out,” she said, referring to her bra.


He snickered and said, “I meant something else entirely, although if I had to pick out what I was referring to, you would still be perfect.” He leaned down and kissed her chest, right above the opening of her shirt, then he pulled aside one side of her shirt, and kissed the slight swell of her breast above her bra. He uttered, “Left breast, excellent.” He pulled aside the other side of her shirt, kissed the right breast, just the top, the same way, but his time, his hand came to cover her left breast while he kissed and nuzzled her right one, and he said, “Right one’s great as well.”


His hand went from cupping her breast, to the flat of her stomach. His little finger was on bare skin, from where her shirt had ridden up as she lay on the carpet. He rubbed her stomach, making her laugh slightly, and he said, “Ticklish, check.” He skimmed her side, from her rib to her hip with his knuckles, and leaned down and kissed the exposed skin over her jeans, between her shirt and the waistband of her pants. His lips grazed lightly over the skin of her stomach, raining five small kisses on the same exposed skin. He looked up, both hands on her sides, his chin resting on her stomach, her head tilted up to look at him and he said, “Stomach, rumbling a bit, but besides that, check.”


He was about to go farther when his blasted mobile phone rang from its place on the kitchen table.


“Draco, your phone,” she said as he was pushing the knitted material of her shirt up slightly so he could kiss her side.


He straddled her body, and tore off his shirt. He leaned down to kiss her mouth again when she turned her head and said, “Get the phone first.”


“I’m not done with my inventory,” he said, seriously.


She pushed him off her. He lay on his back, beside her, his arm draped over his eyes, and he said, “Is it too much to ask for a fellow to finish his inventory once in a while?”


She climbed over him, kneeing his groin (he was sure on purpose) which hurt on so many levels and for so many reasons that he almost cried out, and then she ran to the kitchen table and found his phone. He pulled his shirt back over his head. She opened the phone quickly, and before she could say hello, she heard Harry’s voice on the other end.


“Malfoy, I think your theories may be right. We got the magical imprint back from the curse that killed Hermione’s mother, and it definitely points to your suspect. I think your theories as to why are correct, too. It’s probably revenge against Hermione, although I don’t want you to tell her that. She feels guilty enough. Draco? Did you hear me? Draco?” Hermione heard everything and as Draco walked into the kitchen and held out his hand for the phone, the confused look on Hermione’s face told him she had heard too much, and he knew it was Harry who had called, because Harry’s ring tone was ‘The Death March’, and that was the ring that proceeded the call.


He withdrew his hand, refusing to take the phone from her. He heard Potter’s voice on the other line calling his name. He was shaking his head no. “Hermione, let me explain,” Draco started, “It’s just that I thought I knew who it might be, but I didn’t want to tell you until we were sure.” She threw the phone at him and stomped off to the bedroom.


He caught the phone, and as Potter was still asking, “Is anyone there?”


Draco yelled into the phone, “Potter, next time you call someone, let the fucking person on the other end say hello before you start blabbing your mouth! Hermione answered the phone, and now she’s angry and hurt, and we haven’t even finished inventory yet!” He slammed the phone shut and threw it against the wall.

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