Hellooooo! How are you all? I am quite well. I am in an absolutely fan-TAB-ulous mood! I am done with my freshman year of college. I acquired an internship for the summer with a starting salary higher than most people hope to have upon graduation. By my calculations I can finish my two majors in four more years exactly. I have 100% completion on Portal 2. I have – oh wait! Are you still here? Most importantly, I have a NEW CHAPTER! Lol. I also have 1000 words typed for the next chapter….sadly it is the last 1000 words which means I have to find 1500 words to fill the first part….grrrr. Oh well. I love you guys so you know I'll figure it out.

Disclaimer: (To the tune of 'It's Raining Men' originally sung by The Weather Girls. Yes I have to disclaimer my disclaimer.) I've got a pen! Hallelujah, I've got a pen! But no men! I'm gonna go out and try to write, but I don't own a man to-NIGHT!


Snowflakes arced through the winter air behind the double pane window Hermione leaned against. She was curled up in her favorite spot in the house, a window seat on the east end of the living room. A thick foam cushion covered in an old fashioned floral tapestry sat under her, protecting her from the wood of the bench.

Hermione cradled a steaming cup of tea in her hands, raising it ever so slightly to waft the scent of Raspberry Zinger toward her nostrils. Her eyes slipped closed, head falling back against the deep green of the living room wall. She'd been on break for almost a week. It was Christmas morning. The large fir tree in the corner of the living room was piled high with packages wrapped in paper glittering from the lights on the trees. The cat was happily soaring around in dreamland laying sprawled in front of the fire. Everything was as it should be.

Except…at night. As thrilled as Hermione was to be back between her own sheets, her slumber was assaulted by visions of passion and ecstasy in the arms of a man she hated. No, she shook her head slightly. Hate in its purest form was not what would describe her current emotions toward him. She had been sitting alone for long enough over the past few days to know she couldn't hate him as much as she supposedly did without having some other emotion mixed in as well. And it certainly wasn't hate when her visions were writhing with him on green satin sheets, gasping for breath.

Hermione had never been afraid of sex. She had never been squeamish about it or viewed lust as a shameful sensation. However she never treated the act lightly either. She knew that the action had the possibility to be entirely all-consuming and erotic beyond compare. It just had to be gifted to a worthy recipient.

"Good morning, darling. Did you sleep well?" A voice forced its way through her reverie as so often happened to her in moments of contemplation. Her mother smiled at her from across the farmhouse kitchen table. Hermione opened her eyes, forcing her face into a look of relaxed contentment.

"Yes, mother. I slept very well. Yourself?"

Her mother began chattering to her about a bird that had nested above their room that had kept her up all right. Hermione watched her quietly. She loved her parents, she did. She knew they were happily married and knew they loved each other enormously. However, she had a very hard time imagining them having any truly passionate intimacy between them. There was no thrill in their marriage, no lust, no narrow-minded physical desire. It was sex purely for procreation and marriage consummation.

She had been comparing that to her own ideals, her own desires, and her own intellectual philosophies. She didn't want that. She knew she wanted more than that. Hermione had been contemplating what such a creature worthy of loving her would look like, what he would say, what he would do, how he would behave. As aggravating as the conclusion was, she knew he was that man. She knew he had the capacity to satisfy her every desire – for the mind, for the body, and for the soul.

However, she didn't have to do a thing about it. She was damn bound and determined to stay as far away from love with that man as she could – ever.

"Honey? Are you alright?" Her mother looked at her concernedly. Hermione smiled lightly.

"Yes mother. I'm wonderful. Shall we get on with Christmas?"


Draco sat in his darkened study, the deep ebony wood paneling of the room sapping the faint early morning light slinking through the heavy velvet draperies. A crystal glass filled with a deep crimson liquid hung loosely from the tips of his long fingers. He had been sitting in this pose for around an hour. He hadn't slept this night. He had an appointment bright an early and had simply chose to stay awake rather than risk the plague of sleep.

There was a knock at the door.

"Come in." His voice growled harshly, gruff with lack of use.

A house elf pushed its way in to the room. "Master Draco. A man is here to see you sir."

"Thank you. Please show him in here."

The house elf bowed himself out. Draco stood up, finishing the last swallow of his drink in one fluid gesture. He moved forward to the fireplace, staring hungrily into the flames. The bright orange chemical explosion licked the logs with wild abandon, not restrained by any taboo or barrier of any kind.

Draco's movement was sudden, an eruption of physiological energy. The hand holding the drink glass reeled back, fingers white with the grip on the clear container. The glass smashed against the back of the fireplace, exploding against the brick into a thousand pieces. The fire fluttered slightly, fanning in the gust of air brought in with the glass. He laughed dryly. Of course the fire continued. It could do whatever it wanted. It was free.

"Mr. Malfoy?" An old, smooth voice came from behind him. Draco turned to see a short, frail man standing before him, impeccably dressed holding a large dark green briefcase. Draco straightened himself, running his fingers through his hair. "I received your letter, sir. I am Mr. Marcus from – "

Draco held up an elegant hand. "I know who you are, sir. Forgive me for my temper. It was merely the result of a long night. Do you have what I asked for?"

The old man nodded, touching his briefcase lightly with the hand not wrapped around the handle. Draco gestured to a claw foot desk on the other side of the room. Mr. Marcus inclined his head, walking to it, and set his case on the table.

With two sharp snicks the clasps on to flipped open. The case unfolded smoothly, revealing a mechanical masterpiece of cubbies, doors, and display cases.

"I understood your wishes, Master Malfoy. However, I made you several options, and I do hope you will pick the one that most suits your liking."

"I shall try my best. Please, continue."

Mr. Marcus's hands shook slightly as they approached the top-most drawer in the briefcase, weathered skin appearing almost translucent in the cold light. His spindly fingers delicately extracted the drawer's contents, gathering the item together before extending it to Draco.

"This was the first. You see the fine detailing in the metal. It was – " As he talked, Mr. Marcus watched the young Malfoy's face. The cold blue eyes examined the glittering object in his hands with an intensity rarely seen in the modern world, as if assessing whether the object was worthy of its purpose. He had heard little of the Malfoy heir. In his youth the boy had been cruel and cutting. However as he aged, he fell more and more out of the public eye. Mr. Marcus had to wonder what on Earth was so important that the young Mr. Malfoy would call on his services.

"No." The note was cool and exact. "It is too simple. Show me what else you have."

Again and again Mr. Marcus revealed the contents of his bag and again and again Draco reject each in turn.

"I'm afraid I have misinterpreted what the young Master had in mind. Perhaps I should leave now and come back with a better selection for you." Mr. Marcus hesitantly watched for the reaction. Blue ice seemed to interrogate him without saying a word.

"Is that everything you brought?" Draco's voice was calm, collected.

Mr. Marcus glanced down slightly. "No sir. There are two more items. However I really think it would be best if I –" Draco cut him off.

"Show them to me. I want to see everything you brought me. Then we can discuss other options." Mr. Marcus nodded silently, turning back to his collection. He fiddled momentarily with a latch holding closed a embossed ebony door in the side of the container. He reached his spider's hands into the compartment, lifting the contents from three tiny nails driven into the back. He transferred the object to Draco who took it, a quiet fire lighting in his eyes.

Draco held the object between his hands, running over the details with a master's touch.

"Like I said sir, I am not sure this is –"

"This one." Draco looked up at Mr. Marcus, certainty bringing a steel to his eyes. "You will sell this one to me. Whatever the price."


Hermione lifted her foot up over the last stair with a weary figure. It had been a long, wonderful day. She and her parents had spent Christmas morning together opening and exchanging gifts, spending much needed family time together. At four o'clock there was a knock at the door. It was an owl from the Weasley's inviting all three of them over for Christmas dinner. Her parents had been reluctant to go at first, but ended up laughing harder than all of them as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley recounted their humorous journey to Wales.

Hermione had been delighted to see Harry and Ron, both of whom were at the Weasley's for the holiday. Harry had given her a magical dictionary that changed languages at the will of the owner. Ron had produced a box full of candied plums. Simple, perhaps, but they were Hermione's favorite treat and hard to come by in her town.

She opened the door to her room quietly, slipping inside without a sound. Moonlight fell across the room, striping various pieces of furniture as it poured through the window.

Hermione went to her closet, slipping the thick turtleneck she'd had on over her head as she went. She eased herself out of her jeans, pushing them down over her hips with a sensuality borne of exhaustion. She pulled out a black nightgown, to the hip with a large, loose bow tied on the front. She walked to her vanity on the wall in front of the foot of her bed. She took off the black earrings she had on, refastening the clasp and hanging them on the rack next to the mirror.

A glint of silver caught her eye, a glint that shouldn't have been where it was. In the mirror, a thin, dark box sat on her bed, bathed in a single strip of moon light. Hermione turned around curiously. There most definitely was a box sitting quietly on her floral comforter. She walked to it, sitting down and picking it up lightly.

The box was black velvet, about half the width of a text book but just as long. A silver ribbon tied it closed and the initials "M. O." were monogrammed in the upper, right corner in stylized cursive fonts.

"M.O." Hermione muttered to herself. She knew of only one shop with that name. Marcus Ornaments she knew was a wealthy jewelry store in Diagon Alley. She had never had any reason to enter before, and the prices were rumored to be unstomachable.

She pulled at the ribbon and it slithered to the bed's surface, coiling like a snake. Hermione slipped her fingers into the crack of the box, prizing open the spring-loaded hinge at the back. She gasped.

Inside the box was a necklace, a feast of metal and stone. She stared at it, momentarily breathless with the extravagance. She curled her fingers under the chain and lifted it delicately from its box. The jewels dangled in front of her, glittering in the light from the window.

The chain was long and silver, magical to the touch. Instead of a normal linked chain, each piece was a complicated Celtic knot that attached lyrically to the next. Each was so small, the effect from a distance was that of a diamond dust shimmer. As the chain approached the middle, the knots changed from plain metal. Around each side of the center point of the necklace, a row of five progressively larger emeralds hung lightly, wrapped in the same style knots as the links. The emeralds were cut to sharp points that protruded out from the surface of the necklace giving the impression of spikes, a warriors garb.

But the true artwork of the neck piece was the pendant hanging between the emeralds. It was the image of a serpent crafted in the style of the Celtic knots by virtue of fluidity. It's fangs were bared, tongue curling viciously into a coil that connected the adornment to the rest of the necklace. It seemed to hiss at her, eyes glinting with emerald dust detail. The snake's body spiraled tightly, winding itself around a perfectly shaped pearl that lay nestled amidst its deadly embrace. The tip of the snake's tail was tapered to a wicked point, the dagger pointed outward as if to guard the wearer's heart from attackers.

Hermione raised a finger, brushing against the needle-point lightly, and gasped. An almost imperceptible bead of blood was growing on pad of her finger where she stuck it. It was an absolutely stunning piece of craftsmanship, finer than anything she had previously seen.

Hermione glanced down at the box. A metal plate was affixed to the lid. She picked it up, angling it toward the light so as to make out the engraving on the polished silver.

What are you?

The box slid from Hermione's hands in shock, colliding with the floor in a slight bump. She looked at the precious article again. She should have known from the first – serpents, emeralds, the mark of him was unmistakable. He was as present in the necklace as he was in her head. As present as the scent of him was as she pressed her face to her pillow at night, willing it to smell like him. As present as the thirst she had for his taste, swirling and begging to be quenched. As present as the shudders she felt when she remembered them pressed together in a dance. As present as his hand on hers, pulling her to safety from a rock. As present as he was in her mind. Always with her – always around.

Without thinking, she stood up, fingers closing around the gift. She walked to her mirror, not turning on a light. He would prefer the cool touch of the moon's light to the harsh glare of electricity.

She stood looking at herself, alabaster skin pale against the dominant black of her night wardrobe. She took a deep breath and slipped the long chain over her head, pulling her hair out from beneath it. The necklace itself was short, only falling just at the top of her breasts. But the snake extended down much farther, the point ending just in the middle of her cleavage. She thought darkly that he had planned that fit. He had wanted to see her in the necklace like that – just like that.

"No." She spoke the word aloud, a quick declaration against what she saw. This is not how he would want to see her.

Hermione moved suddenly, yanking the hem of her gown up, up over her head, tossing it to the ground in a violent gesture. She reached behind her, unclasping her bra, pulling it away, letting her breasts fall free to the cool air of her room. She pulled the band out of her hair, shaking it and letting her curls fall freely around her face. She felt a shiver run up her spine, as if he could see her now. As if he knew what she was doing.

She paused for the briefest of moments, uncertain whether to proceed. Yes, Hermione. Her fingers slipped under the sides of her lace underwear, pulling shyly until they slipped all the way down her legs. She stepped out of them, dropping them in the pile with the rest of the clothing.

She was completely naked. Taking a deep breath, she shifted her gaze from the thick beige carpeting to the woman reflected in the mirror before her. Hermione gasped. The effect was exquisite. The snake hung aggressively against her skin, seeming to mark that everything on her body was owned by someone. The chain fell fluidly down her bones, dipping in and accenting the contours of her chest. It was an ornamental gift to glorify her figure and her person, glorification and ownership proclaimed by the giver.

This is how he would want to see her – exposed. Every fear, every protection, every doubt, and every security stripped away until the only reality she was left with was the one with him in it. That was the reality that she lost her self to him. That was the reality that made her hands wander at night as thoughts of him assaulted her mind, concentrated only on the ecstasy his touch would provide, the stability his mind would lend, the sanctuary his arms would represent.

And she fell to the floor, tears streaming down her face, coughing in the face of the reality she now saw.

She loved him, more completely and more viscerally than she ever believed she could. But she did. And now she had to live with it.


Whoa now! What just happened there? Like I told you, I have the fun chuck of the next chapter written. If you be good birdies and review lots and lots, you'll get it soon. If not….well. Sad day for poor Draco. He doesn't get any action. You wouldn't want to deprive him would you? Lol. Review loves!



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