A Romantic Reunion
Emily stood in front of the mirror, scowling as her untamed thoughts wandered down the same, old rehashed path like a mantra. ‘This party will be fun, I shall have a good time. I will think happy thoughts … I shall whoop for joy and throw confetti - I will grin inanely and dance, and be very pleased for Luna and Harry, and shall ignore bigoted blonds who skulk in corners before pouncing on you with their wily Slytherin ways….’
Frowning at the way her mouth twisted into ugly, pursed pout, Emily paused.
Just what am I doing? Shaking her head, she closed her eyes and tried to push her blighted thoughts away. This just won’t do! Snap out of it! It’s an engagement party … I’m going to have fun and be happy for my friends.
This was not time to be dwindling on half-forgotten memories and ancient schoolgirl woes, this party was about looking to the future and toasting new found (so George told her) friendships ... and the meeting of old ferrety enemies who glared at her in such a way that made her shiv-
“Snap out of it!” This time out loud. “Think merry thoughts, Emily, think of Luna’s beaming smile, of other things, about anything but that sneaky git…”
Admonishing herself, Emily turned away from the polished glass, suddenly, as if she was afraid of what she’d see reflected there. Shoving her unwanted feelings aside, she wandered aimlessly into her kitchen. Her hand hovered listlessly over a forlorn kettle which was in dire need of refilling.
I need to step out of myself, I need to….
Yes, she’d finally remembered she was not Harry’s girlfriend anymore - that was now Luna’s job and she freely admitted was happy for the pair of them. She no longer held any lingering feelings for Harry, of any sort, good or bad. They’d flown, fleeing her mind like dust motes in the air. The downside, though, was the refound thoughts that had flickered back into her dark corners of her muzzy, tumbleweed full, sorry excuse of a newly functioning brain. Slowly memories returned to mind, which caused her to blanche as she recalled black hair metamorphosing into the shimmer of silver, bright green eyes fading into troubled grey.
Sardonic lips twisted into a delightful smirk. Thin and taut ... as the memory whispered at agonising thoughts so recently forgotten.
“Dear, Merlin!’”Emily exclaimed in a loud whisper, “Draco bloody Malfoy - I still hate you!”
“Talking to yourself again, Em?”
Startled, Emily swung round and addressed her microwave severely. Really, there was nothing worse than a smart mouthed kitchen appliance, especially when said appliance had George Weasley’s face bang smack in the middle of it.
“George,” she said, scowling at his image that zig-zagged across the heat resistant glass of the upgraded nuking device, looking much like her telly when it was on the blink. “Honestly, don’t you have anything better to do than popping up and bothering me at inappropriate times?”
“Just checking in on you,” was the disembodied reply, “so you’re definitely coming then?”
“Yes, yes - a thousand times, yes!”
“Well, I must say I thought you looked just a tad too dressed up to be pottering around your kitchen and mumbling to yourself…”
“Looking mighty slinky, too…”
“I think I know a certain Sytherin who’d appreciate the way the dress clings to your bum, and that slit at the side is--”
“Go away and bother some other unsuspecting witch,” Emily interrupted, picking up a teaspoon and waving it threateningly at the cooking contraption. “Or I’ll have you up against the Wizengamot for sexually harassing young, magical practitioners without a licence…”
“Oh, wouldn’t I?” Emily raised a determined eyebrow. “Are you quite sure about that?”
“Dumbledore would never allow such an injustice,” George protested (and although his image flickered erratically, Emily thought she could see him smirking happily through the warped picture projection of her microwave oven). “That fine man, that wondrous master of the wizarding world, one of a kind is he--the greatest advocate for goats, jesters and various unnameable--”
“And you forgot to add recently retired and currently front-cover star of ‘Wizardly Wicked Knitting Patterns,” she snapped pithily back, cutting him off as she advanced (spoon held firmly in hand) to the magically adapted off-switch on her microwave that rapidly blinked and advised her with the words disconnect all conversations now.
“I’m switching you off now,” she warned him with a devilish wink. “You’re yesterday’s leftovers, Weasley, goodbye ... adios …”
“Oh … and I’ve sent someone over to collect you. Expect the doorbell to ring at any moment--”
“Wh-at?” She exclaimed out loud, but was too late, she had already terminated the call: the microwave come magically enhanced videophone was just a dull, blank … ordinary microwave. “No! Oh no no-oo!”
Please, Merlin, no! He couldn’t have, surely he wouldn’t, oh yes he would … NO!
That malicious and scheming, conniving Weasley wouldn’t have invited Malfoy over on her behalf, would he - how on earth would she ever cope with Draco in her small and pokey flat … again?
Memories scurried hastily back in. Her eyes misted and her head ached with the suddenness of their onslaught. Too many for her to cope with - a smirk, a spark, a darkened hallway. Heated embraces, a doorbell ringing. An insistent trill. Her eyelids fluttered wildly open.
Oh, Circe, no! Just who was at the door?
Taking a sharp inhalation of breath, Emily exhaled slowly, trying to dredge up some inner courage and calm. Could she face him--could she? Was she up to this most taxing of tasks? The doorbell chimed out once again, haunting her with a sense of deja vu. She had done this before, so she knew that she had it within herself to put one foot after another and open the door that loomed ominously at the end of her short hallway.
Then, feeling a dulcet peace gently settle over her, Emily, as if she was in some sort of reflective trance, stepped onward into the future (even though, with every footstep forward, it felt like she was descending rapidly back into her past) and opened the front door.
The party was in full swing: people chatting loudly and animbly, witches and wizards dancing without a care in the world, the music booming and couples flirting, and Luna smiling beatifically while Harry looked on sheepishly. Her brother swaying drunkenly as a crowd of Aurors (Seamus being the worst) shouted jovial insults at him over the thrum of drumbeats and excited conversation.
Ginny grinned to herself. Really, she had never seen her Ron quite so … intoxicated. She glanced around, her eyes searching for Hermione, certain that she’d find her friend nursing a small glass of elder wine as her mouth pursed in disapproval. So when Hermione sneaked up on her and gave her a friendly hug, Ginny was delighted to be proved wrong.
Hermione smiled at happily at her and her eyes shone.
“He’ll never live it down, will he?” She giggled, looking at Ginny for confirmation.
Ginny laughed. “‘No, he won’t. But he deserves it. I can finally get him back for that prank he pulled on me last month.”
“He deserves a break, though,” Hermione said, suddenly looked thoughtful, “in fact we all do. After everything, well…”
“Yes,” Ginny agreed, watching Hermione biting down on her bottom lip tentatively. “I think we’re all in need of some fun times. Afterall, we’ve had to grow up so fast--to be adults before it was our time.”
Ginny wasn’t quite sure where that sombre thought had come from, but she caught Hermione nodding sagely at her in agreement.
“You’re absolutely right, of course” Hermione concurred, while casually blowing a stray curl away from her face. “Everyone needs a chance to blow off steam occasionally, especially after that’s what’s happened.”
“Even if blowing off steam means making an utter fool out of yourself by doing some funny muggle birdy dance?”
“Oh, you,” Hermione huffed, glancing sideways at her smirking friend. “What about your Zabini then--isn’t he over in the corner with George and the gang, taking bets on the outcome on whether Draco will show up with Emily or not?”
“I’ve twenty sickles on Emily turning up with Malfoy in a jar,” Ginny retorted before questioning Hermione with a dry smile. “Don’t you think he’d make a fine cockroach then?”
Ignoring the wicked gleam in her friend’s eyes, Hermione decided to take the high road.
“Gambling is wrong and … besides … even though I don’t like the ferret, I hope for Emily’s sake that things go well. She’s always had a thing for him and,” Hermione continued rather breathlessly, “as well as wanting a happy-ever-after for her, I’ve got five galleons riding on them turning up late and being very much in--”
“Love?” Ginny finished for her, looking at her friend dryly. “I didn’t think you were such a romantic, Hermione…”
“I’m not!” Hermione stated firmly, her brow furrowing slightly. “I’m not romantic at all. It’s just, I wish, I want … I guess I just want everybody to be … happy.”
This time it was Ginny’s time to nod agreeably to this sentiment. “Yes, I do to,” she agreed, her thoughts wandering to her friend and what was happening to her now. “I do hope it works out for Em, she deserves some peace of mind. I honestly do hope that Malfoy is the one for her….”
The music pounded on; both of them fell into their own silent thoughts and sighed wistfully as their imaginations danced with different romantic scenarios which ignited their own individual consciences.
Just what was occurring between Draco and Emily at this very moment?
Giving the doorbell one last, lingering ring and the doorknob one clanging rat-a-tat-tat, Draco turned to go. The sudden energy that had urged him to Apparate in front of her door was slowly disappearing. Whether it was from the fumes of that nasty muggle pub which he’d been dragged along to, or from the constant harassment from his so called friends, he was still unsure as to just what quite made him show up here.
All he did know was she wasn’t answering, that she was ignoring him again, and that he was suddenly quite certain that he needed to get away from that barred doorway as quickly as possible.
Merlin, he thought. Surely it hadn’t come to this: standing there, looking forlorn, once again rejected by this Mud--Muggleborn?
Rejected by Emily. Draco frowned, and his mouth turned downwards into sulky pout that marred his otherwise fine features. This was useless, he’d might as well go, right now. Just what was the point of all this anyway, he thought warily as he dredged up his inner Malfoy, the silly bint wasn’t worth his time or energy--he had better things to do. He could use this wasted time to go and spend some rare and precious moments with his mother, for instance.
Draco snarled and turned to leave.
The door behind him opened and (although he couldn’t see her) he knew that she was standing there, waiting for him. His heart unwantedly skipped a beat. Merlin, would this uncertainty never end? He slowly turned to face her with his trademark smirk automatically siding into place.
“Hello, Emily,” he asked simply, lacking his usual laconic drawl. “Can I come in?”
Emily watched him for a few moments, distractedly; then, without any words, she welcomed him in by opening the door wide and stepping into shadows of the hallway beyond, her hand beckoned him onwards with an unspoken invitation to follow.
Merlin, he thought with some intrepidation ... was it a play of the light, or did she look more pale and vulnerable than ever? Concealing a foreboding shudder, though, Draco squared his shoulders, masked his troubled thoughts and followed her straight into her flat.
Once inside, however, his worries dimmed some what. The soft glow from the overhead lampshade seemed to soften her features into those of someone he once knew well and, although, it even seemed absurd to himself, the once so familiar surrounding walls seemed comforting and to welcome him in.
He found himself feeling oddly at home.
“Have you come to take me to the party then?”
“Yes,” he replied softly, remembering his friends advice to take things slowly. “Only, that is, if you really want me to?”
A silence fell ... and Draco found he could only look on helplessly, watching Emily as she nervously nibbled at her nails. Great Circe, what was this girl doing him? He struggled to pull himself together, back into supreme Malfoy mode--this place was playing tricks on him - bringing back too many memories and playing with his mind.
“Emily,” he faltered, somewhat uncharacteristically, “Emily, I just want to speak with you for a moment. Please, hear me out this time?”
Looking pensive, Emily nodded her assent.
“I know I’ve behaved disgustingly towards you in the past … and I know you memories are still not what they were--”
“I have the memories, Draco,” she spoke gently. “A lot of them, they’re coming back. All too quickly, actually…”
Emily smiled a wry, little smile. “Yes,” she replied, “I’m remembering things, I’m remembering you … and … other things.”
“Other things?” Draco couldn’t help but quirk a quizzical eyebrow. “What other things, Emily?”
“Well, I remember you being a total git and being quite awful towards me…”
“Was everything so very awful?” He said, taking a hopeful step closer to her. “Was I really that bad?”
Emily took a couple of considered paces back, her spine coming into contact of the stairway bannister behind her.
“No, not all bad, but,” she sighed, “it’s just … everything just seems so unreal to me right now.”
“Almost everything,” lifting her tremulous eyes to his, she continued. “Everything is just so mixed up,” she confessed. “I remember thinking you had real feelings for me, I remember you standing right where you are now, telling me goodbye…”
“‘Not goodbye,” he whispered, feeling drained of all the proper words he could say. “I said Adieu, it means we’ll meet again--and we have, haven’t we?”
Quickly stepping closer to her, closing the distance between them, he took advantage of the fact that she didn’t flinch away: touching his fingers to her cheek, he aligned himself beside her, before tenderly cupping his hand around her delicate, oval features.
“You kissed me,” she sighed as she nuzzled her cheek against his hand. “You kissed me here, I remember. You kissed me and I felt…”
“What did you feel, Emily?”
Her eyes slowly widened, as if she were returning from some deep dream-filled reminiscences, as if she was coming back to herself, as if time’s hazy indistinct cloak had been drawn away from her shoulders and she was coming back to the here and now.
Staring down at her, as if allowing the intensity of his gaze to penetrate her thoughts, Draco allowed his fingers to trace the curve of her jaw. “Emily,” he repeated gently, “what are your thoughts telling you right now?”
“I’m thinking that you’re, that you have been, a--”
“A sycophantic ferret?” He questioned, quirking his eyebrow. “An intolerable sarky git, perhaps? How about a evil Slytherin prat?” he continued when seeing a small grin twitch at the corners of her mouth. Good, his scheme was working, she was smiling now. “No? Would you prefer a sinister yet strangely sexy--”
“Malfoy,” she cut him off, laughing. “Stop, just please stop.”
Holding her hand up to his chest in a desisting gesture, she placed it against his heart as if hoping to feel it’s erratic beat. Wrapping his fingers round her small hand to clasp it firmly in place, Draco lowered his head to hers.
“Emily,” he murmured, suggestively. “Do you---have you--do you still have any feelings for me? Any at all? Even if it is only that I’m a slimey toe-rag?”
“Dra-aco,” she hitched erratically as her mirth receded and died. “Of course, I still have feelings for you. Many feelings--too many feelings, infact. And, yes, you being a sneaky Slytherin is one of the many…
“But,” she paused momentarily. “I, it’s … more complicated than that. The memories are resurfacing, yes … and, yes, they’re a few lovely ones of you mixed amongst the bad. I need time, though, Draco. I need to collect all the missing pieces back together again. Then I can begin to think about us again. I just need to find myself again first...
“Do you, can you … can you give me that time, Draco?”
Breaking off, she licked nervously at her lips and tilted her head a little, her beseeching eyes locking with his. Looking so very adorable as she did so, he had to admit. Merlin, what did this girl do to him? Why did he want--no, not want--why did he need her so very much? Draco sighed contentedly, his eyes closing, as he inhaled in deeply, savouring her scent.
Could he give her the time she needed? Did he have that much strength within? To wait … to bloody wait and to keep on waiting and waiting.
Emily’s hesitant voice interrupted his revery and he knew what his resolution would be. After all, how could it be anything else? Bringing her enwrapped hand to his mouth, he held it gently against his lips before delivering it a chaste, gentlemanly kiss.
“I can give you time, Emily,” he replied, sounding strangely stiff even to his own ears. “All the time you need. In fact, all the time in the world….
“However, I ask you this--” releasing her warm hand from his, he ruffled his hand over his head, tousling his hair in a nervous and very un-Malfoyish manner before continuing. “Just this one thing. Will you promise me this, Emily? That we can still be friendly, or even try to build ourselves a new acquaintance--whatever your decision may be…”
“Oh, Draco! Of course, I will.” Emily interrupted. “How could you think otherwise, I ca--”
“Ssh, Emily,” Bringing his finger to her lips he hushed her. “Please let me finish before jumping in, if you would, Carlisle. As I was saying...”
“Why the haughty tone, Draco?”
“Haughty? I don’t believe I’m--”
Replicating his previous gesture, Emily covered his mouth with her hands and chuckled daintily.
“You just can’t help it, can you?” She asked him wryly. “The Malfoy within always slips out.”
“But, I think I like that…”
“You do?” Draco raised an eyebrow.
“Yes, I do.”
As she stared at him intently, he felt like he was the object of some magical equation… and he couldn’t help but wonder what her summing up would be. Just how well did she know him?
“I think,” she continued, “that you’re are very devious person, Malfoy.”
“What? I protest!”
“Oh, yes...yes you are,” she nodded. “Very sly and devious. Kissing my hand like that, and all that stuff about being friends--”
“Saying the right things, charming with your new found sensitivity…”
“I meant it - I want to be--”
“Friends?” She shook her head. “No, I don’t think so, Draco…. I don’t think we can ever be just friends.”
Draco felt something within him lurch. Because, yes, she was right: he wanted much more from her than just friendship, yet, on the other hand, not having her around at all … well, that thought was simply unsupportable.
And, yes, he’d tried his best with all his wily and cunning charms. Yet, underneath it all, his intentions were … pure: he truly wanted her, needed her even. Was it his fault that he’d been brought up by people who were masters in lies and deception? He couldn’t change the family he’d been born into, he couldn’t change the way he was.
Surely she could see ... that he loved her. That, in spite of it all, he’d do anything to keep her by his side (however sneaky.) That he, Dear Merlin, he wanted a future with her; that her couldn’t give two figs about her Muggle heritage, that he just wanted the chance to start anew.
“Emily,” he began, somewhat willing to spill his inner secrets.” Ems, I can only imagine what you must think about me, but, right now, please believe that I--”
“That you love me?”
“Despite your evil, Slytherin ways?”
“Definitely, Emily I…”
“I love you, too, ferret!”
Ferret? Did she just call him ferret? Overlooking the ‘love you’ part of the sentence, Draco glared down at her, only to see he her staring right back at him with a mischievous smile on her face.
Preparing to give his most snarky response, though, he was cut off by her next words.
“Oh, Draco,” she said. “I love that you’re a sneaky ferret … love that you’re just uniquely you. That you are here right now, despite everything that has happened.
“I’ve asked you for some time, yes…” here she paused, seriously considering her next words. “But, maybe, I should have said that I just need to take things in my stride instead. It’s not that I don’t want you, Draco, because I do.
“Because, believe me, every returning memory reminds me of you and me and what we had to go through … but,” she reached up and cupped his rather pointed chin. “I think, I’m asking you to … to….”
“Well, it’s not what Malfoy’s are renowned for, but I’ll try my best.”
“That’s all I want from you, Draco.”
“Is it?” Quirking his eyebrow, he eyed her skeptically. “Are you sure, Carlisle?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
“And should we seal this deal with a kiss?”
Looking down at her, he saw her eyes ignite with desire: their amber light burning, boring intensely back at him, almost begging him for a kiss. His stomach uncoiled, and he felt his worries unravel.
She still wanted him, still needed the touch of his lips against hers.
He could tell by the way she touched him. The way she looked at him … by the way she, almost unconsciously, raised her arms and twined them around his neck.
“Can this be a ‘hello’ kiss, Draco,” she murmured. “I’d like that - a new beginning for the both of us…”
So a new beginning it was. And it began as all new beginnings should ...with a kiss.
Bending his head slightly, Draco touched his lips to hers: tasting her once again, enjoying the pressure as her lips pressed ardently back against his.
He was just where he wanted to be: here, holding her, kissing her ... looking forward to all their tomorrows to come. Looking towards their future together, plotting their own happy-ever-after, ready to meet any adventures yet to come.
He was here, with her, and he was content.
This was all he needed. Holding her in his arms, he finally realised that this was what loving someone else felt like: the pleasure, the pain … the sheer uncertainty of it all. He finally felt complete.
So, to round his day off satisfactually, he discreetly waved his wand and conjured up the final detail: Him and Emily, with rabbit ears and bobtail in place.
Because, honestly, no fairytale magic ending ended without a little magical help.
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