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Hermione didn't know how to react, Draco was kissing her. And then, she felt herself kissing him back. She reached around his back and pulled him closer. Draco moaned, and twisted his hands into her hair.

Hermione knew it was crazy, foolish even. He was a Death Eater! But she didn’t want him to stop, for the first time in a long time, she was feeling… something! She pushed all her hesitations out of her mind, and slipped her hands under Draco’s shirt, feeling his muscular back.

Draco lifted Hermione onto his lap, without breaking the kiss. He didn’t know when this would end, when she would come to her senses and realize that it was all wrong. He teased at her lips with his tongue, and to his continued shock, she opened her mouth and deepened the kiss. Draco slid a hand under her sweater, losing all thoughts of control, he tugged it over her head. She was wearing a silky blouse under the old sweater.

Good God. Draco thought, she’s smart, gorgeous, and she tastes like Fire Whiskey. That stopped him short, and he pulled back.

“What?” Hermione asked.

“These violent delights have violent ends.” Draco said, squeezing his eyes shut.

“Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind. And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” Hermione responded, catching her breath.

“So we’re either a tragedy waiting to happen, or we’re under the spell of a mischievous fairy?” Draco asked. “Which is worse, do you think?”

“I… don’t know.” Hermione admitted.

“Well, we’re not finding out while you’re drunk!” Draco said, lifting Hermione off his lap, and sliding back.

“For the last time, I am not drunk!” Hermione insisted.

“Try again, Princess, I can taste the Fire whiskey.” Draco said.

“Well, so what!” Hermione exclaimed. “So I had two shots of Fire Whiskey two hours ago.”

“So… I’m not the kind of guy who takes advantage of inebriated women.” Draco said, his expression growing dark. “I might be a Death Eater, I might know every dark magic spell there is, and I might have the mark of true evil on my arm… but I am not that depraved.”

“You know,” Hermione said, pulling her sweater back on, “Most guys quote Shakespeare to try and get girls to start making out with them, not to stop them.”

“Well, I’m not like most guys.” Draco said, leaning over and resting his head in his hands.

“Yes, I think that’s true.” Hermione said softly. She reached over and took his hand, and began rolling up the sleeve of his shirt.

“What are you doing?” Draco asked, trying to pull his arm away.

“Hush.” Hermione said, rolling the sleeve up until his Dark Mark was completely visible. Then she rolled up her own sleeve exposing the scar that Bellatrix had left on her arm.

“Look, we’re both marked by something from our past we couldn’t control.” She said. “It doesn’t mean it dictates who we are for the rest of our lives.”

Draco tried to pull his sleeve down, but Hermione kept hold of it and continued, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

“The Lord of the Rings?” Draco laughed, “You pull out The Lord of the Rings on me. At least choose a muggle book if you’re trying to confuse me!”

“That is a muggle book!” Hermione insisted.

“It’s not!” Draco said, “Tolkien was a Wizard.”

“Well, I stand by the quote.” Hermione said, stubbornly.

“Hmmm.” Draco replied, and ran his hand over the word carved into Hermione’s arm. “They couldn’t heal this?”

“Well, I had a lot going on after that happened.” Hermione explained. “By the time I got to a real healer, it was too late. Apparently Bellatrix had cursed her knife somehow. The healers couldn’t figure out what it was.”

“Likely it’s the Permanens curse.” Draco said, “She used that one a lot. But the healers are right, it can’t be charmed away.”

“And what about yours?” Hermione asked, taking Draco’s hand.

“Nope, that one isn’t going anywhere.” Draco said sadly. “When you take the mark, you make a sort of unbreakable vow, for lack of a better term.”

They sat in silence for a few moments, and then Draco continued quietly. “I’ve never been as scared as I was that day. I just wanted it to be over. The Dark Lord was staring down at me, and I’ve never been so glad to be an Occlumens.”

“He did it himself?” Hermione asked, curiously.

“Yes, he had to, or he wouldn’t be linked to us.” Draco shuddered. “I knew he was gone when it stopped moving; before, it was always crawling under my skin. I’ve never been so relieved to see someone die.”

“Did your father teach you Occlumencey?” Hermione asked, still holding Draco’s hand.

“Yes, I think it’s the one thing he taught me that wasn’t Dark Magic.” Draco said, looking away from Hermione. “And it was also the most useful.”

“It is useful.” Hermione agreed.

“Are you an Occlumens?” Draco asked, surprised.

Hermione nodded. “Harry taught me… it, well lets just say it became a necessity.”

“What?” Draco asked.

“Well, ok… you know how Harry can speak Parseltongue?” Hermione asked.

“Ha ha, yeah. The only Gryffindor Parselmouth in the history of forever.” Draco said rolling his eyes.

“Well, the reason he can do that, is because Riddle transferred some of his power to Harry when he was a baby.” Hermione explained. “Or at least, that’s what Dumbledore thought.”

“You’re kidding.” Draco said, looking nervous.

“Not at all.” Hermione said, shaking her head. “He inherited a few other gifts as well, like Riddle’s temper… and his Legimancy.”

“Potter is a Legimiens?” Draco asked.

“Yeah,” Hermione laughed, “A pretty good one it turns out. Anyway, living in a small tent with a Legimens, Occlumencey becomes a requirement.”

“Who taught him how to control it?” Draco asked, sounding honestly curious. “Dumbledore?”

“No.” Hermione said, “Professor Snape.”

“You’re joking.” Draco said, seriously.

“No, he started teaching Harry Occlumencey in Fifth year.” Hermione explained.

“Wow, he really did have the Order trusting him.” Draco said, sounding surprised.

Hermione giggled.

“What?” Draco asked, confused.

“He was a double agent Draco.” She said with a grin.

“Well yeah, but… a lot of the Death Eater’s didn’t really believe him.” Draco pointed out.

“Well, they’d be right.” Hermione laughed, “He was a double agent… for us.”

“No!” Draco exclaimed, “He killed Dumbledore!”

“Draco, Severus killed Dumbledore, because Dumbledore asked him to.” Hermione said gently. “Dumbledore was already dying, and he knew what Riddle had asked you to do. He didn’t want you to have to follow through with killing him.”

Draco was shocked. “You’re not serious?!”

“I’m completely serious.” Hermione said, squeezing Draco’s hand. “It’ll probably all become public eventually, Harry is trying to get Severus some kind of posthumous award. He was the one who actually told Harry how to defeat Riddle.”

Draco slumped down on the sofa so his head was resting on the back, and Hermione was shocked to see tears in his eyes. Draco blushed, and covered his face with his hands.

“I’ve always been haunted by that day. I know I didn’t actually cast the curse, but I’ve always felt that it was still my fault.” Draco said, in bitter realization. “That old man cared more about me than my own parents, who were just trying to stay in the Dark Lord's good graces.”

“Of course he cared about you.” Hermione said, “You’re not as evil as you think you are.”

Draco sat up sharply and grabbed Hermione by the shoulders, with dark eyes and a terrifying expression he said, “I know exactly how evil I really am. And you need to stop thinking that it is safe to spend time with me.”

With that, Draco stood, rolled his sleeve down to cover his Dark Mark, and fixed his hair. “Can you make it back to your dorm on your own?” He asked coldly, pointing at Hermione’s ankle.

She shook her head no.

“Come on then,” Draco said, not meeting her eyes, he picked her up and carried her out of the room of requirement. He stalked quickly through the halls, until he spotted Neville and Ginny coming back from Hogsmede.

“Longbottom! Weaslette!” He barked, getting their attention. “You need to keep a closer watch on your friends, they could get themselves in trouble.”

“Hermione!” Ginny cried, rushing over “What happened?”

“She sprained her ankle,” Draco said coldly, dumping Hermione into Neville’s arms and walking away. “Next time I leave you there Granger.”

“I fell off the ladder in the Room of Requirement.” Hermione explained.

“Come on,” Neville said kindly, “Lets get you to the hospital wing.”

“Can you still smell the Fire Whiskey on my breath?” Hermione asked, worriedly.

“No, you’re fine.” Ginny laughed. “You barely had any.”

The trio headed for the hospital wing, as they left, Hermione watched Draco stalk his way up the stairs away from her. He never looked back.

“That was weird.” Ginny said.

“You have no idea.” Hermione said, sadly.

At the top of the stairs, Draco ducked into an empty classroom, and slid down to the floor and started to sob. Accept it. He told himself meanly, you can’t be with her, you can’t even be around her. She is too good for Death Eater scum like you.

After a long time, Draco had cried until there were no more tears. He promised himself that he wouldn’t talk to Hermione again. He would keep his head down in Defense class, the only class they shared, and avoid her. Soon it would be Christmas break, and she would leave for a few weeks, and he could clear his head.

Authors Note:

The books quoted in this chapter are Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream(my personal favorite) by the incomparable William Shakespeare and The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien.

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