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La Femme de la Mer by MajiKat

Format: Song fic
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 9,035

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse

Genres: Romance, Angst
Characters: Hermione, Draco
Pairings: Draco/Hermione

First Published: 03/30/2007
Last Chapter: 08/27/2010
Last Updated: 08/27/2010

perfect banner by Lady Malfoy at TDA!!

Why was he so obsessed with her? Was it because she did not want him? He had actually been finding women a bit of a bore lately, not that he liked them any less. He was just sick of girls fawning over him, so enamored all their dignity vanished the moment he opened his mouth or flashed them a smile. She did not. She treated him as she had always done – as if he was not worth her time.
edited 23/8/10

Chapter 1: Floating
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La Femme de la Mer

Water fell in rivulets down his face. Silky fingers traced the delicate surface of his skin, winding along his cheeks, trailing ever downwards, caught in a journey of pure gravity. Tilting his face to the sky, he closed his eyes, letting the rain flow over him, replenishing his soul, cooling the turmoil that rested there until it merely sizzled instead of burnt. He shivered with delight as the rain slipped beneath his collar, tasting his flesh with its soft tongue, as sensual as the kiss of a lover.

Water. The source of life, from which all things are born. Constantly shifting, fluid and graceful, powerful and menacing. Creator and destroyer. The essence of emotion…

Daughter of the beautiful ocean
I feel your wave arrive on my shore
Bearing gifts of tangled emotion
Feelings that I cannot ignore

It was raining on the day she crashed back into his life, a memory of a time passed by. Standing on the street corner with the rain tumbling around his face as the cloud strewn sky flashed with brilliant sheets of white light above his head, their eyes met through the crowded sea of people. A waterfall of conflicted emotions assaulted his senses, and automatically he sneered in her direction, his lips twisting of their own accord, programmed by reminiscent conditioning. She looked right through him, as if he wasn’t even there, a phantom of the past she no longer troubled with remembering. Her hair clung to her skin, snake-like and delicate, curling against her ivory cheek. Her eyes were focused inward, her concentration set on something she obviously valued, and he gave a little smile to see her vainly attempting to shield her armful of books from the teeming rain. Her aura of indifference gave birth to something he had not felt in a long time – curiosity.

After that moment, he seemed to see her everywhere. On the street: her chestnut hair capturing perfect beams of sunlight as she hurried past him, her head down, not bothering to acknowledge his presence. On lunch breaks: her soft melodic laughter tinkling against his ears across the crowded café on the corner. He began to look for her, his eyes scanning the faces that floated around him, preying for a glimpse of her. Hoping that the next body that bumped against his in the elevator would belong to her. At night when he lay his weary body down to rest, his head falling back against the soft pillow in the bed he shared with no one but the empty darkness, he would see her face, a constant ghost pressed against the walls of his brain. He could not escape her.

He had no idea why she was plaguing him. A little voice rose from deep inside him and suggested it was because he owed her an apology. He had laughed scornfully, telling the voice to shut the hell up, and burying it in the most forgotten parts of his mind. Still, she would not leave him alone, and he snapped at everyone around him, crankier than usual, irritated that a stupid girl from his past was befuddling his finely tuned senses. Drink did not help, random girls did not help, and the stupid Muggle drugs he brought from a guy in a neat business suit on the street outside his apartment building did absolutely nothing to help. Furious with himself, Draco took a week off work, hoping that by not seeing her, he would forget. It did not work, and within two days, he was back, sitting behind his desk in his comfortable leather chair, feeling like pins were being stuck in his head. His eyes burnt, his lungs burnt, and he felt like screaming.

The situation worsened when, unexpectedly, he was told he was getting a new research assistant. The last one had quit, the memo had said, and Draco felt a sense of smug satisfaction. She had been an idiot anyway, and torturing her had been part of his daily ritual. One Monday morning, as he sat lounging in his chair, his feet resting on the expensive mahogany desk, the door opened slowly. Draco glanced up, his eyes widening at the sight before him. She stood in the doorway, sunlight streaming through the window behind her, casting her face in shadow, haloing her head with burnished copper and gold. The glowing splendor before him scowled, a deep creasing of her delicate face, and he felt his heart stop beating, noticing the prim skirt that clung to her hips and legs, reaching to the knee, and business-like shirt, pulled in tight around her tiny waist. No doubt she felt they were practical; he thought they made her look as sexy as hell, and he swallowed, his mouth dry. Without a word, she walked into the room, her dainty little heels clicking sharply on the polished timber floor. She dumped a pile of scrolls and parchment on his desk, next to his leather-clad feet. He watched her carefully, enjoying the way her slender body moved around the room. She sat opposite him, perched on the edge of the seat, her back straight, her eyes fixed on his face, glinting with cold anger.

“You’re my assistant?” he assumed, raising an eyebrow. She smirked at him, and he felt his heart flop over like a fish out of water, gasping for air.

“Unfortunately, yes,” she replied lightly, although the look in her eyes betrayed the animosity she was feeling. Draco sighed, sitting back in his chair, removing his feet from the desk.

“Well then,” he said softly, his voice dropping into a husky baritone, the voice he usually reserved for the women he met in the bar across the street. “Here’s to the start of a beautiful relationship.” She snorted at his tone, and he blinked in surprise, her eyes never leaving his, burning holes into his skull. Draco shifted uncomfortably in his seat, his hands gripping the armrests until his knuckles turned white.

“Hermione …” he began gently, wanting to start things off right.

“Don’t call me that, Malfoy,” she snapped, her face hard. “You have never called me that in your entire life, so don’t start now. We have to work together, that’s all. I intend to do my job, and I expect you to do yours. I did not ask for this position, so do not flatter yourself. I think someone is playing a cruel joke on me. I know about your reputation, Draco Malfoy. This is one girl you are not going to have the satisfaction of breaking.”

Draco watched, feeling strangely vulnerable, as she climbed gracefully to her feet, before turning and walking out the door, the sway of her slim hips mesmerizing him as he watched her disappear down the hallway. If anything, her passionate little speech only made him fall a little deeper under her spell.

Daughter of the beautiful ocean
Knowing all when all is unknown
Shifting line between dream and illusion
Like a wave dissolving the stone

She moved with fluidity, the line of her body flowing like water, so seductively innocent and unaware of the power she had over him. His eyes, silver as the icicles that hung from the lowest branches of the trees in winter, followed the curve of her waist, the graceful arch of her neck, the slender shoulders and arms that narrowed to delicate feminine wrists and long tapered fingers. She was like a painting thrust into the moment, dropping into his reality in a flash of color and softness. Her ivory smile could light the darkest of nights, and yet he knew she would never turn that smile on him. Her laughter and pleasure was reserved for others like her – beacons of light in the smoldering evening twilight. A reformed sinner did not glow bright enough, and whenever he watched her with her friends, his former enemies, he was painfully aware of the dark streak that marred his soul. Jealousy reared its ugly head, bringing with it another torrent of emotion Draco was not equipped to deal with.

“I saw you with Scarhead and the Weasel,” he stated quietly as they sat side by side, their shoulder’s almost touching, the table in front of them piled high with scrolls, parchment and dusty old books. She sighed in exasperation, reaching across his body to snatch a blank piece of parchment from the far side of the desk. Her hair brushed his cheek and he felt his eyes close, inhaling her scent deep into his lungs. She smelled like vanilla. His head swam and he felt a light sweat break out on his forehead. This was pure torture. They had been stuck together for over two weeks, working late into the night and arriving early in the morning, irritated and cross at having to endure each other’s presence. Being so close to her on a continual basis was counter-productive. Draco was distracted by the sight of her hair, falling in soft waves over her shoulders, or the color of her creamy skin, milk and honey blended together in a perfect palate of porcelain beauty.

“I wish you wouldn’t call them that,” she snapped at him, sinking back into her seat, taking her intoxicating vanilla essence with her as she moved. Draco opened his eyes regretfully. He had been enjoying his daydream. She had been naked and moaning his name.

“Well, what I am meant to call them? They refuse to talk to me,” he muttered, busying himself with papers, trying to hide the blush that was steadily creeping into his cheeks. She sighed, dropping her quill and turning to face him.

“Can you blame them? Malfoy, you’ve been a complete bastard to them, to everyone, for as long as I can remember. I know you’re helping the Order out with this research, and Harry is grateful for that,” she replied rolling her eyes when he scoffed, glaring at him disdainfully, before she sighed and shuffled her papers. They sat in silence a while, the only sound the soft ticking of the silver Muggle watch she wore around her delicate wrist. After a while she sighed again, turning to look at him, her expression tense and strangely sorrowful.

“Why can’t you just be nice?” she asked softly, her beautiful brown eyes pinning him to his seat. “You’ve been nice enough to me, and I know how much that must have cost you, but why not be nice to everyone all the time? This cool-as-ice, nothing-can-touch-me façade of yours is unattractive, Draco. Perhaps if you were a bit more pleasant, people would like you more.”

“No they wouldn’t,” he heard himself mumble sullenly, and she shook her head, turning her attention back to their work. He scowled at the book in front of him, his eyes skimming the pages but reading nothing. There was no room for anything in his head except her. He loved to watch her. Her eyes, two pools of the deepest honey, were compelling, enchanting and mesmerizing. They cast a spell over his senses whenever her bright gaze captured his face. In those moments, he was frozen in time; a statue of flesh caught between neither here nor there, a ripple of a heartbeat in stasis.

“Hand me the Sources of Power scroll, please,” Hermione asked, holding out her hand while her eyes remained fixed on the parchment in front of her. Draco automatically reached for the scroll, passing it to her quickly. She grasped it without looking up. Something childish awoke inside him, and he held firmly to the end of the scroll, tugging it gently away from her. She looked up, fixing him with an irritated glare, and tugged back. Draco felt himself smile as they enjoyed a brief tug of war over the scroll, feeling pleased when her eyes lit up, a smirk lifting on the corners of her mouth. They did this sometimes, played with one another as if they were children. Draco had no idea where it had come from; even as a small child he had never acted with such innocence and glee, but he enjoyed it all the same. She began laughing, giving the scroll one final tug, and Draco smiled, releasing it into her hands, letting her win, like he always did.

“You really need to be more careful, Malfoy. This,” she said with false reproach, waving the scroll in his face, “is very valuable.”

Her face was flushed, her cheeks tinged with rose, her eyes dancing. She smiled again, a true, open smile, and Draco felt something melt in his chest. A wall of ice came tumbling down, and before he could contemplate what he was doing, he pushed the scroll away, reaching up to stroke a loose strand of her hair from her face. His fingers lingered on her soft cheek, his body slowly filling with her warmth. Hermione froze, her eyes snapping to his face, wide and shocked.

“Have dinner with me,” Draco murmured, sliding his hand down her neck and letting it rest on her shoulder, forgetting for a moment that she loathed him. Gently, she reached up and removed his hand, pushing it away from her body.

“No,” she replied bluntly, turning her face away. “It’s not a good idea.”

Vexation rose with powerful force in his chest and with a snarl, he pushed his chair back and stood up. Hermione’s face registered shock, and a tiny fluttering of fear, before she lowered her head and focused once again on her work. Supremely annoyed and pissed at himself for falling for her subtle charms in the first place, Draco stalked from the office, leaving her lost amongst a sea of ancient texts. He could not be near her anymore. She was suffocating him, drowning him in waves of repressed desire and emotions he thought he would never feel for anyone. He cursed himself all the way down the hall, snarling at a tiny witch in bright purple robes who stepped out of a doorway and into his path, hitting the button for the elevator with such force he was certain he’d broken the damn thing. Once the doors opened he flung himself inside, glad to finally be alone. As the elevator sped towards the ground, Draco lent against the cool metal wall, his thoughts churning. Why was he so obsessed with her? Was it because she did not want him? He had actually been finding women a bit of a bore lately, not that he liked them any less. He was just sick of girls fawning over him, so enamored all their dignity vanished the moment he opened his mouth or flashed them a smile. She did not. She treated him as she had always done – as if he was not worth her time.

That night, like the last and the one before that, Draco drowned his sorrows in the bar across the street, his misery pouring from his body as the numbness of intoxication sank further into his blood. Sometime after midnight, he crawled home, enjoying the way the dark empty streets curled around his body. It rained again, and Draco found himself sitting on a bench outside a corner coffee shop, smiling as the rain flowed over his body, extinguishing the pain in his heart, at least for the moment, drowning him in beautiful forgetfulness. He smiled, entertaining the idea that he was losing his mind. Every raindrop that splashed onto his skin seemed to echo her name, his body absorbing her, soaking her into his blood as the water soaked into his skin. Every clap of thunder that rumbled overhead was filled with her laughter, ringing through his skull, tormenting him with the knowledge that he was a fool for loving someone who would never love him back. Draco closed his eyes, letting his head drop so that his chin touched his chest, his sopping hair hanging across his forehead, water dripping from the ends of his fringe, rain tickling down the back of his neck. He was drowning, and he was powerless to stop it.

Pulling himself from bed as the sun rose golden in the dusty grey of the dawn, Draco cursed loudly, shaking his head. Her face. The body he would never touch, the delicate curves he would never run his fingers over, knowing her every pleasure. The hair he would never bunch his hands in, pulling her mouth towards his for a kiss. Staring at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, he saw her eyes looking back at him. Swirls of chocolate flecked with amber, alive and on flame. She was haunting his waking life as surely as she tormented his dreams, and he was certain he was going insane. He was a hostage to a fantasy world, unable to walk away, unable to tear his face away from his dreams. He had no idea why she was affecting him so much, why he had allowed her to slide a sneaky arrow painted with her own image under his skin, piercing his heart.

Enraged with his own emotional weakness, he raised a hand, curling his fingers around each other and smashing his fist against the glass. Draco stared at his hand, and back at the mirror at his broken reflection, patterned with crimson. Blood dripped from his stinging knuckles into the sink, juxtaposed with painful simplicity against the marble whiteness. He cursed again, annoyed at his stupidity, and turned on the taps, watching the water as it tumbled into the sink, swirling around in a furious dance, before vanishing with purpose down the drain. He held his mangled hand under the tap, the cool liquid penetrating the gashes, the blood running clean, melting into the water.

Returning to the bedroom with his hand wrapped in a towel, he sank into the softness of the bed, feeling the mattress rise to meet his aching body. Groaning with the combined pain of his hand and his heart, Draco closed his eyes, willing himself to disappear. To shrivel up and vanish from this earthly plane. She had infected him, a disease of his own making, infusing every part of him. There seemed to be nothing he could do to rid himself of her. The fiery redhead he had followed home two nights ago had done nothing to alleviate his sickness, and he had trudged home to his cold and dark apartment, feeling empty and alone, his body screaming.

“Damn you, Granger!” he yelled to the morning sun streaking across his face. He reached for his wand, flicking it irritably at the window. Heavy curtains zipped forcefully into place, shutting out the light, and Draco sighed in relief, letting himself sink into a pit of blackness. He was unbalanced. She had upset the very center of him. Not once had he yelled at anyone over the last week. Not once had he made anybody cry. It was as if the very thought of her, of her goodness and purity of spirit, had washed away some of the taint that was him. The fire in his soul was slowly drowning. The spark that made him Draco Malfoy was awash with alien emotion. He was moody, moodier than usual, falling deeper into despair whenever he saw her face.

With an anguished growl, Draco sat up, clutching his hand. He needed to get out of the house, feeling constantly suffocated by the foreboding of his spirit, the darkness that seemed to exist within the walls of his apartment. Struggling into his clothes, he ran a hand through his hair, tidying it roughly with his fingers, not bothering with a brush, or gel or even water to tame the cowlick at the back of his head. Draco looked down at himself, noticing he had thrown on a pair of old black slacks and an emerald green t-shirt. He shrugged. It was not what he usually wore to work, but today he didn’t care. He felt conflicted, he felt confused, lost and misplaced. He may as well look it.

Do I fear you?
Do I willingly drown?
If I love you will your wave hold me down?

She was already in the office when he arrived. Engrossed in whatever she was reading, she did not notice him. Draco lent against the doorway, folding his arms while he studied her. She was curled into the black leather lounge that took up one whole wall of the office, her head buried in the enormous text she had spread over her knees, her face flushed with concentration. A bewitched quill and piece of parchment floated in the air above her head, jotting down the words and phrases she mumbled. Her hair was loose around her shoulders, cascading down her neck in relaxed curls. Draco raised an eyebrow. She looked different than usual, and it took him a minute to release she was not wearing her typical stiff blouse and skirt, but was looking comfortable and casual in jeans and a red jumper, the sleeves bunched up to her elbows, the color glowing against the black lounge and dark green walls. She was a vision of peace and contentment, and he smiled.

“You’re here early,” he remarked, striding into the room, trying to seem unaffected by her presence. She jumped a little, snapping the book closed, and shrugged delicately.

“I thought I may as well come early; we have so much to get through. Yesterday was a total waste of time,” she added pointedly, sitting up and swinging her feet to the floor. Draco blushed, remembering his irrational outburst.

“Sorry about that, Granger, I don’t know what I was thinking asking you out,” he replied simply, sinking into his chair and lifting his feet to the top of the desk. She raised her eyebrows mockingly, her eyes twinkling, but said nothing. Momentarily disconcerted at her calm acceptance of his flippant apology, Draco let silence sink between them. She stood with a sigh, motioning to the large table in the far corner of the room.

“Should we get started then?”

Two hours later, they were hot, sweaty and irritated. It was a stifling day, the air thick with moisture and the promise of rain. Draco had removed his shoes and socks, trying to make himself a little more comfortable, and Hermione had followed suit a few minutes later. She sat beside him, her legs tucked up underneath her small body, her discarded jumper draped on the back of her chair. A tendril of hair was stuck to her forehead and her face glistened with a light sheen. Draco wanted nothing more than to reach out and brush that hair away from her creamy skin. Instead, he took out his wand and cast a cooling charm on the room, earning a grateful look from Hermione and a twisting of his heart. He vowed to cool the room every half an hour.

As the day wore on and the heat increased, Draco felt his mind wandering, drawing him far beyond the walls of his office. He was lost in his daydream, featuring a semi-naked Hermione, exquisite black lingerie, and the large mahogany desk in his office, when she slapped him on the arm, sighing in frustration.

“Honestly, Malfoy. Snap out of it,” she said. “I’m sick of doing all the work around here.”

“Sorry,” he muttered, feeling incredibly breathless. Out of the corner of his eye, Draco watched as she peeled another layer of clothing from her body. She dropped her shirt to the ground with her shoes, and Draco gulped, trying hard not to stare. She was now wearing nothing more than a skimpy black singlet top, the dark fabric showing off her honeyed skin. Her arms were slender and delicate, and he watched in slow motion as she reached up and bunched her hair onto the top of her head, tying it with a band, exposing her long, slender neck. A few wispy strands of her curls had escaped the assault on her hair, and they hung down her back, lying gently between her strong shoulder blades. Draco tried to focus on her face, but his gaze kept returning stubbornly to the gentle curve of her breasts, outlined through the tiny shirt. Suddenly he could stand it no longer. Tearing his eyes away, he stood up and crossed the room, the walls feeling like they were closing in on him. She gave a little cry of surprise, twisting in her chair so she could see his face.

“What’s wrong?”

Draco shook his head, trying to clear the fog that rested there. “Granger,” he choked, falling back onto the lounge, “I’d like it if you’d put your clothes back on.”


“Please, Granger, put your shirt on,” Draco muttered, mortified at himself. He closed his eyes, lifting his hands and pulling at his hair in irritation. He felt ready to explode. All the dreams he had had of her body wrapped around his came flooding back behind his eyes, and he groaned, turning and lying face down on the lounge, burying his body against the soft leather cushions, trying to ignore the flames racing through his blood.

“Has this got anything to do with me being a Mudblood?” he heard her ask softly, and he gasped and shook his head.

“No, Granger, not at all. It’s not that,” he whispered to the cushion. His body felt like a rubber band, ready to snap. Every muscle was screaming at him to get off the lounge, cross the room and grab her in his arms, tear her clothes off and run his hands and mouth over every inch of her subtle body.

“Draco, sit up,” she commanded, and again he shook his head, groaning. He wanted her so badly it hurt. “Get up,” she said again.

“I’d rather not,” he replied tartly, loud enough for her to hear him. A puzzled silence met his ears, until he heard her utter a soft ‘oh’, followed by a tinkle of laughter. He raised his head, looking at her through red-rimmed eyes. She was sitting sideways on her chair, her legs dangling towards the ground, her eyes dancing, a smile on her lips. Sudden anger flowed through him, and he hoisted his body upright, every part of him smoldering with dangerous fire.

“You think this is funny, Granger?” he yelled, cutting short her laughter. “What the hell have you done to me? You’ve turned me into some sex-crazed maniac!” He heard her sharp intake of breath, and instantly regretted his last comment. Draco pulled at his hair in irritation, tugging sharply. His fingers came away abruptly, silken strands of blonde hair twisted around them. She gave a short gasp and leapt out of the chair, coming to kneel by his side.

“Draco, stop. What are you doing?” she asked gently, taking his trembling hand. She turned it over in her palm, noticing the tiny lacerations and cuts from the mirror, and frowned. “What did you do to your hand?”

He snatched his hand away from her touch, cradling it protectively in his lap. “Nothing. Just leave me alone,” he snapped moodily, and she sighed.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Malfoy.”

“Get lost, Granger,” he snarled, pushing her away from him, his hand burning where he touched the flesh of her upper arm. She fell back a little, but did not loose her balance, her face flushing red with anger as she climbed to her feet.

“Typical male! Hiding behind sullenness and cruelty. You really are no different from the rest of them! What’s so hard about talking, Malfoy? Why is it so difficult for you to tell me something real and true about yourself? Why, whenever someone starts to feel anything for you, do you have to turn into a petulant little monster!” she yelled, her hands balling into fists. Her hair had come loose again and tangled wildly over her shoulders.

“You want to know something ‘real and true’ about me, do you? How about this, Granger – I think I’m falling in love with you!” Draco raged, standing and stalking across the room, putting as much distance between the two of them as he could without leaving the building. He let his body fall back against the desk, breathing heavily, watching her closely. Her face was ghostly white, her eyes wide and shocked, her mouth hanging slightly open. Draco sighed, twisting the hem of his shirt between his fingers in irritation, cursing himself for shouting those words at her, for revealing what he had tried to keep hidden. He had not meant to say it, and he wasn’t even sure if he believed it, but once said, he could not take it back. Those words hung in the air between them, tingeing the atmosphere with tension and confusion. Draco frowned, Hermione’s words echoing in his own ears, swirling through his tired and conflicted mind. Whenever someone starts to feel anything for you. Did that mean she cared?

Carefully, he shifted his eyes to hers, afraid of what he might see. Even if she did care about him, what could they do about it? It would never work. His friends and her friends –especially her friends - would never allow it to happen. He shook his head.

“Granger, I didn’t mean that,” he lied, feeling sick as he watched her stagger back against the base of the lounge, trembling slightly.

“Draco …”

“No, forget I said anything. I could never love you,” he said harshly, deciding to do as she suggested, and take refuge in cruelty. Her eyes filled with tears, and he felt a bolt of lightening race through his body at her fallen face. “Take the day off tomorrow, Granger. I don’t want you here,” he added, before storming from the room, his thoughts a mess, feeling like he was drowning in regret.

Daughter of the beautiful ocean
Water so seductively cruel
You have come like a siren
A spiral
A storm
And I dived like a fool

Draco stalked outside the building, the evening sky purple and streaked with black above his head. The air hung around him, humid and sticky, clinging to his body stubbornly. Thunder rumbled through the mournful sky and he sighed as a drop of rain splashed delicately against his wrist. He scowled up at the darkening clouds, hating the world and everything in it, cursing the weather. The sky responded by throwing a deluge of rain at his head, and he ducked his face away, taking off at a run across the street, heading for the shelter of the shop awnings. He stood and watched as the rain pelted forcefully against the road, steam rising and swirling in a graceful dance like smoke from a fire, the burning stones hissing in relief.

With a sigh, Draco turned to leave, shaking the rain out of his hair. Over the thunder and the din of the rain on the rooftop, a voice called his name, and he lifted his face towards his office building. Hermione stood outside the door, sheltered from the rain. Even from the distance between them he could see her face twisted in anger and her hands clenched beside her stiff body. He saw her mouth open again, and he mimed not being able to hear her, cupping his hand around his ear. She scowled, and he smirked, feeling victorious. Draco saw her stamp her foot and glance up at the sky and out at the teeming rain. She stamped her foot again and he felt his grin widen, amused. With a distasteful glare in his direction, she broke into a run, rushing across the street. He scowled and took off at a brisk walk, obeying the urge to flee.

He was not twenty meters up the street when her hand closed over his shoulder, stopping him in his tracks. She stepped around him, bringing her dripping body to stand in front of his, blocking his escape. He looked at her curiously, wondering why she had followed him out into the miserable weather. He knew she always wanted the last word, and supposed this was just another of those occasions. Water clung to her face, beading her cheeks and lips, her hair flat, plastered to her skin. Her eyes stared back at him, dark and foreboding, her lashes coated in rain. Those eyes flashed fury at him, and he stepped back.

“You’re an arsehole,” she said, her voice low and filled with ice. He stared.

“You came out here to tell me that?”

She shook her head, water flying from her hair, showering him. “Why can’t you just be honest with me, Malfoy? Why do you have to make everything so bloody difficult?”

Draco scowled, and made to push past her, wanting to disappear and get her out of his head forever. She stepped in front of him again, her hand coming to rest in the middle of his chest, pushing him back. He glared at her.

“Leave me alone, Granger,” he snapped, and she pushed him hard, so that he stumbled slightly.

“Answer my question and then you can go and do whatever it is you do when you’re in such a mood,” she replied evenly, her eyes never leaving his face. “That little pub you favor so much is just down the street, isn’t it? The sooner you talk to me, the sooner you can go.”

He gaped at her, disbelieving. “What …” he began, but she glowered at him, pulling her wand and pointing it at him. He narrowed his eyes. “You’re going to hex me? Go ahead. I think I’d welcome the pain right about now.”

They stared at one another, the sky slowly darkening around them, the rain tumbling to the street below, drowning the world in sorrow and regret. Her eyes were huge in the dim light, imminent streaks of lightening reflected in their brown depths. Thunder crashed around them, but neither of them flinched, their eyes locked together, burning with anger and conflict. Draco sighed, running a hand through his sodden hair.

“Why do I make everything so difficult? I do not know all right. I just do. I cannot help it. You’re driving me insane,” he said softly, his body screaming she was so near. He watched a frown crease her face, and he reached out a hand, gently touching her cheek. She flinched and moved away, her eyes suspicious.

“I don’t understand,” she hissed. “You hate me.”

“No, I don’t,” he replied, shaking his head. “Merlin’s beard, Hermione, I want you.”

“Bullshit, Malfoy. You don’t want me, you want release. You just want to get out of your own head long enough to forget what an arrogant, self-serving egotistical maniac you are. You don’t give a shit about me,” she snapped, and he watched, incredulous, as her eyes filled with tears. Confused, he stepped towards her, but she backed away from him until her back bumped against the wall of the shop behind her. A single tear fell from her eye and she wiped it away with a snarl. “Do you find it amusing to play games with someone’s feelings, Malfoy? How could you say that you were falling in love with me, and then take it back? What sort of person does that?”

“Hermione,” he began, reaching for her, desperate to make her understand, but she shook her head. He was so confused. He had expected her to slap him, to curse his miserable ass, but never had he expected her to cry. “Why are you so upset with me? You despise me, so what does it matter what I say to you? Unless you care about me …”

She sniffed and wiped her face, brushing away tears and rain, but did not answer him. Her face was lowered, her eyes focused on her feet, and Draco felt something claw its way into his chest and settle there, curling around his heart. A smile crawled onto his face, and he stepped forward, cupping her chin with his hand, forcing her eyes up to his.

“Am I right? Do you care?” he asked softly, his eyes tracing her face, reading it, watching every flicker of emotion that danced there. Her bottom lip trembled and she took a deep shuddering breath.

“I don’t know,” she whispered, her voice ragged with pain. “I shouldn’t care …”

Draco sighed. This old chestnut. “I’m not the bad guy anymore, Hermione. You know that. God, you are helping me help Potter. You know as well as I do the research we are doing is vital to Potter’s quest for the horcruxes. You’re working for the Order just as I am. This is not something new, Hermione. You know all this. I believe you were the one to convince Potter that I was not such a bastard, that you needed my help,” he replied gently, remembering how shocked he had been when that particular rumor found his ears. Draco lifted his other hand and tenderly stroked her face, pushing the wet hair from her skin. Her eyes misted over at his touch and he smiled. “So why shouldn’t you?”

She said nothing, and a deep silence fell between them, punctuated only by the sound of the rain on the roof, gentle now, its rhythm soothing and tender. Draco stepped closer, his body connecting with hers. She looked up at him, her eyes filled with shining tears.

“Why do I feel like I’m drowning?” she whispered, so soft he could barely hear it. “Why is it so hard to be near you? Why do I care for you, Draco? You’re arrogant, irritating, insensitive, foul, annoying and …”

Draco shook his head. “Stop talking, Granger,” he said firmly, bending his head and catching her lips with his, ignoring her shock. She stiffened, and he held her face gently, their lips barely touching, their breath mingling together. “You talk too much,” he murmured against her mouth and she sighed, before relaxing and falling into him, their lips crashing together, her arms sliding around his body. The creature in his chest purred with contentment as a wall of emotion crashed around his feet, showering him with warmth, the chill in his soul slowly melting away like frost under the morning sun.

Wash me
Wet me
Tangle me in the foam
Wound me
Heal me
Strip me back to the bone

Draco slowly pulled away from her, his breath coming fast and irregular. She made a little noise of protest, moving forward slightly, rising onto tiptoe and trying to keep their mouths joined. Her eyes were closed and her face peaceful and relaxed. He smiled, loving the look of her like that, vulnerable and totally open to him. A frown crossed her face and her eyes snapped open, chocolate brown and accusing.

“Why did you stop?” she demanded fiercely, and he chuckled, stroking her soft cheek.

“It’s stopped raining,” he replied softly, noticing the silence around them. It was as if they were the only two people in the world, and they stood and stared at one another, the silence lengthening until it became uncomfortable. Draco pulled his fingers through his damp hair.

“So, what now?” he asked quietly.

“What do you mean?”

He growled and stepped away from her, putting a little distance between them. “Well, do we show up at the meeting tonight and pretend to everyone that nothing has happened, or do we … hell, Granger, what did just happen?”

She stared at him, suspicion and slight shock on her pale face. “You kissed me, Malfoy,” she stated bluntly.

Draco bristled immediately, not sure why. Maybe it was her tone, or the look in his eyes, as if she believed he had ulterior motives. “You kissed me back,” he retorted, before adding, “and you can’t pretend you didn’t like it, Granger.”

Hermione scowled, and Draco knew his mistake instantly. She pursed her lips and screwed up her face, a faint blush creeping slowly into her white cheeks. She took a deep breath, exhaling it quickly, before glaring toxically at him. He blinked at her, not knowing what to say. Sure, he had kissed her, and he had enjoyed it, and he wanted to do it again, but this feeling he had inside, this warming of the blood was alien and uncomfortably pleasant, and it terrified him.

Draco Malfoy had thawed completely, the ice around his heart dissolved into nothing but a puddle of warm liquid, heat flooding his body in exquisite waves of excitement and fear, and he had no idea how to communicate that to her. He could not find the words to tell her how much she meant to him, how his life had seemed devoid of purpose until she had walked back into it, how being with her made him feel complete.

He did not reply to the question in her eyes, and without another word, she turned on her heel and stalked away into the street, the shadows swallowing her body. Cursing, he made to follow her, rain pelting his face the minute he stepped out from the shelter of their bower. Hermione walked down the middle of the road, rain pouring down around her until it looked like she was drowning in a curtain of crystal shot with sunlight. Draco lifted his head as he ran after her, noticing a solitary ray of golden light had pushed its way through the clouds, casting its feeble glow on the dripping street.

“Wait,” he called, watching her shoulders tense and her head turn a fraction. Her eyes were nothing but shadows in her face, her mouth twisted into a parody of a smile.

“I’m done waiting for you to grow up, Draco Malfoy,” she replied, her voice barely audible over the din created by the water streaking from the dark, stormy sky. Draco paused, coming to a halt several feet from her body, and she studied him, watching his every move. “This was a mistake. Working with you. Being around you. Believing that you had changed. I have tried so hard to ignore you, to pretend I couldn’t see you, to pretend that these feelings I have for you are nothing but emotions borne of fantasy, something that’s come about from sharing close quarters everyday, but … I don’t know what I was thinking,” she shook her head, a hollow laugh escaping her lips.

“Hermione …”

She turned to face him, lifting her head, letting the rain wash over her. He saw her close her eyes briefly, and he took a step closer as she raised a hand, reaching towards him almost in entreaty. He hesitated. All he had to do was lean over and close his fingers around hers, close the tiny, insignificant gap that stretched for miles between them, and all his pain would vanish. All the uncertainty, the confusion and the continual sense of drowning would be gone. He stood and stared at her outstretched hand, thinking, deliberating, wondering whether this was what he truly wanted. He knew she offered him more than he asked for, and he knew that if he took her hand he would be stepping into a whirlpool of emotion he was not sure he was ready to deal with.

Hesitation is costly, however, and she opened her eyes, a sad smile creeping onto her wet face when he failed to make the commitment.

“From now on we work for the same cause, and nothing more. You are my colleague, my fellow soldier, but nothing more,” she intoned flatly, looking him in the eye. He flinched a little from the pain he saw there, and again, confusion flooded his body. Hermione sighed, her face set in lines of grim determination.

“Goodbye, Draco,” she whispered, before apparating away from him just as he lunged for her, his arms closing around nothing but rain, misery and air.

Draco stood with his head bowed, his body on fire as the rain fell in sheets around him, blinding and numbing him. With a sigh, he turned and walked away, his heart in pieces, left lying on the soaking road where her feet had stood a moment before.

Wash me
Wet me
Tangle me in the foam
Wound me
Heal me
Strip me back to the bone

Draco sat pressed against the wall in a red leather booth of the tiny bar down the street, a glass of whiskey at his elbow. Part of him wanted to run back out into the stinging rain and find her, but the other part knew it would be better if he just sat where he was, drowning himself in misery, trying to forget what her lips tasted like, or what her hair smelt like, or how her soft, warm body had clung to his, and how her eyes seemed to see past every barrier he erected around himself, straight into the very depths of his soul. He sighed and threw down his drink. She would be at the meeting, with Potter and the Order.

He signaled for another drink, handing over the money absentmindedly when the barmaid brought it over, a suggestive smile on her lips. He waved her away with a grimace, and she flounced off, throwing him a longing glance. Draco felt his thoughts circle back on themselves, and he wondered if it were possible to just disappear for a while, get out of town to escape her face. He had not counted on falling for her, although he knew, when Potter approached him and asked for his help, that he would encounter her sooner or later. What he did not expect was the rush of emotion that clutched at his heart when he laid eyes on the girl he used to torture. Draco scowled, staring into the amber liquid in his glass, swirling it around before taking another sip. Why her? Why Hermione Granger? Why not some other woman? He sighed, knowing he asked himself those same questions on a daily basis, and came up with no answers.

Time ticked forward, until Draco realized he had been sitting there lost in his misery for hours, his body feeling as stagnant and lifeless as his mind. Groaning and slightly drunk, he peeled himself away from the booth, sliding out from under the table, throwing a few coins down on the wooden surface as he left. The bar was dusty and dark, and he glanced out the window, watching the rain tumble down in its merciless assault on the world. Lightening flashed in white streaks across the sky, illuminating the wet street outside. Draco trudged towards the door, his mind spinning. The meeting would be over. Hermione would have presented their research to Potter, who would have most likely been angry Draco had not shown up himself to give the report. He shrugged, not really caring what Potter thought about him. He would get this job done, and then he would leave, sell his miserable little apartment and go away from the hell he found himself living in.

Outside, the dark street was inviting, calling him like a lover, and he smiled, enjoying the way the world seemed to respond to his misery. The rain still tumbled down, bounding off the road and echoing off the rooftops in a never-ending rhythm of melancholy and lament. A sudden movement caught his eye, and Draco turned, watching as a tiny figure in a black coat rose from the wooden bench outside the bar.

“I’ve been out here for an hour,” an accusing tone met his ears, and Draco felt his heart twist as Hermione stepped from the shadows, the dim light bouncing over her face.

“Are you following me, Granger?” Draco asked, looking at her intently. She was still wearing her jeans and that tiny black top under her coat, her hair loose around her shoulders again. She shrugged.

“No, but you’re a creature of habit, Malfoy. It was not that difficult to find you,” she replied softly, meeting his eyes. They stared at one another, listening to the rain fall. Draco took a deep breath and stepped towards her, drawn by something he did not understand and could not control. She did not move, and encouraged, he stepped closer, indicating for her to walk with him. She nodded, and side-by-side, they set off along the street, sticking close to the buildings to avoid the rain.

“Hermione …” he began, stopping and turning to face her, his chest constricted, not really knowing what to say or where to begin. He felt like he had been given a second chance, and he knew she would never give a third. She shook her head, motioning him to be silent.

“I have no idea why I am here, only that,” she said, tugging on a strand of her hair, indecision floating over her pale face. “I need to know,” she finished with a sigh, turning to look at him, her expression both wistful and pained. He swallowed nervously, knowing exactly what she had left unspoken. “No lies. No excuses. Just the truth. Can you do that?”

Draco pulled a hand through his hair, before nodding. “I’ll try, but I need to know too, Hermione,” he replied, and she dropped her eyes with a small nod of her head. They resumed walking, letting the silence eat up unspoken words, until she grasped his arm gently, her hand sliding down to nestle in his hand, warm and reassuring.

“Tell me,” she commanded.

“Today, in the office, I didn’t lie to you. I am falling for you, Hermione, and it scares me. That’s why I treated you the way I did. I have no idea where to go from here, or even why it’s happened. All I can tell you is that you, just by being who you are, have awoken something inside me that I didn’t know existed,” Draco replied, his words tumbling over the top of one another, spilling from his lips and into the rain soaked night around them. He held his breath, waiting for her reply, knowing that his little speech did not come close to explaining how he felt. The right words had simply eluded his lips, darting away like wisps of smoke in the palm of his hand, never able to be captured and held.

She said nothing for a long time, until he squeezed her hand, wanting to elicit some kind of reaction from her, even if she hissed at him to get lost. Anything would be better than the numbing silence. It seemed the even the rain had stopped falling, waiting to hear what she had to say. She lifted her head, looking into his eyes, a tear trickling out from the corner of her eye, and he could sense her fear and hesitation.

“Don’t play games with me, Draco Malfoy,” she warned, her voice as low and sweet as the night. “If you break my heart …”

“I would never,” he whispered, moving closer to her, his heart singing. Draco reached out a trembling hand and brushed her cheek. Uncertainty flashed in her eyes, and she flinched and tried to turn her face away, but he cupped her jaw in his hand, bringing her eyes up to meet his. “I don’t know what you have done to me, but I cannot think of anything else but you. My head is so filled with your face I think I am going mad,” he said softly, his hand sliding around to cup the back of her head. She looked at him imploringly, her eyes shining with tears.

“Me too,” she whispered, and he took a deep breath, closing the gap between them, stopping centimeters from her lips. “I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I can’t breathe without you near me. Why is this happening to us? When did we stop hating one another?”

He shook his head, having no answer to the question he had asked himself over and over again since he saw her on the rainy street corner. “It must be fate,” he said huskily, holding her eyes with his own, letting her see straight into his soul. She smiled.

“Perhaps, or perhaps hate became boring. It may be more fun to tease you with love instead,” she replied, her lips twitching. He raised an eyebrow.

“Is that a promise?”

She nodded, moving a little closer to his mouth, her body coming into contact with his own as she pressed herself against him, her arms sliding up to rest on his shoulders. “Only if you kiss me again,” she breathed.

“My pleasure,” he replied with a growl. Gently, he lowered his head, catching her lips with his, tasting again that suffocating sweetness of her skin. She moaned against his mouth as he slowly moved his lips over hers, and with a deep sense of fulfillment, he felt her open herself up, allowing him to kiss her deeper. His tongue swirled inside her, drinking her up, and she kissed him back with tentative passion, the pressure of her lips increasing against his as they lost themselves in the moment. As their kiss deepened, Draco wrapped his arms around her tiny body, feeling her surrender as surely as he surrendered himself to her.

The rain began to fall, gently and lovingly, as light as the touch of a lover’s hand against the skin, a melody of pleasure and promise.

La femme de la mer
La femme de la mer
Tu es la femme
Tu es la femme de la mer
La femme de la mer


Song lyrics, La Femme de la Mer, are by the incredibly talented Wendy Rule!

Translation of lyrics –

La femme de la mer – “The woman of/from the sea”
Tu es la femme de la mer – “you are the woman of/from the sea”.