*~* Another Calm *~*
"Willow, are you not coming to bed?"
She was so deep in her thoughts, she didn't even hear him.
"How do things get so messed up?"
Severus sighed. He hated when she despaired. That was his department, and he usually didn't look so wretched when he did it. Plus it left him with this feeling of needing to do something and desperately not knowing what it was exactly he should do.
He stalked over to her and lifted her into his arms. Willow let out a squeal of surprise. He rarely initiated the touching. He had few complaints once they actually got to the touching... but he just didn't start it. Usually.
"There is no good without evil, no light without darkness, no love without hate, no happiness without sorrow." He nuzzled her cheek. "Do not despair, my little red, this too shall pass."
"I'm just so worried about Tara... and Fred... and Remus... and-"
"Worry about nothing for now. You are not sleeping correctly. Do not begin to think I have not noticed."
She held him tightly. "Don't leave me."
"Wild dragons could not carry me off. I am afraid once you court this disaster, you are truly trapped. I prefer to stay caught."
"Especially by me."
"Insufferable." He muttered.
Harry didn't have to be a genius to know something had passed between Tara and Remus. He didn't have to be a genius to know what it was either. He saw the looks that passed between Tara and Winifred Burkle. Harry liked her well enough, he supposed. Miss Burkle had always been very nice to him, but he was pissed off at her on Sirius's behalf. As much as he was pissed off at his godfather for being a big baby and running off to go play hero.
Why did other people insist on doing crap like that? Harry had been there. He could tell them going off to play the hero often sucked balls.
A giggle broke his musings. Harry looked up. Honestly. Who did Ron and Hermione think they were fooling? Harry didn't even want to know what was going on under the table they were seated at in the library. He looked out of the corner of his eye at Connor... who was scowling.
Someone kissed the side of Harry's neck as they slid into the chair next to his. Harry smiled. Her perfume had tickled his nose. Funny that Harry was getting to where he could know her scent. Then again, no one wore perfume that smelled quite like Dawn's did to him. His smile widened a bit. Until Draco Malfoy threw all his books loudly on the table, disturbing Ron and Hermione.
Dawn turned to glare at Draco as she scooted closer to Harry. "Behave."
Lily snorted right before she leaned down and lightly bit the back of Connor's neck. Connor howled in surprise earning them a VERY stern look from Madam Pince. He also threw an elbow back that Lily expertly dodged.
The group was starting to get back to things... and why not? No one had tried to kill any of them in a few weeks. The snow was starting to thaw. Tara's belly was getting a teeny bit bigger. Snape was acting almost affable. Almost. Sure there was tension... mainly from Ginny who was worried about her OWLs. Ironically, Draco had been helping her study for them quite a bit. Hermione had even remarked how proud she was.
Draco had told her to go get stuffed... by Ron.
A comment which caused a lot of cackling and blushes.
The group of them crowded around the table started pulling out book and scrolls and whispering about assignments. It was odd. No one was Gryffindor or Slytherin when they studied like this. Each even had a point that they were stronger at and could help the others. Not too long after they had started, Neville joined them. Finally. Hermione had been pestering him to do so for weeks now. He'd become so antisocial it was beginning to scare a lot of people. Not to mention that blowup with Pansy Parkinson. Everyone was STILL talking about that.
Lily draped an arm about Neville's shoulders and pulled him close. Connor glared until she reached out and patted his knee with her other hand.
"Look." Lily said quietly. "I'm going to visit Alex today. You guys wanna come with?"
Everyone looked away. Alex's insane whimpering and nonsensical talk made most of them pretty uncomfortable. Especially since vicious killer Drusilla was right there doing the same and making it worse.
"I will." Connor said flatly. Not because he WANTED to go, but because he wasn't about to let Lily go there alone.
Suddenly, Raven Hope was walking VERY CLOSE to their table. She locked eyes with Draco and jerked her head towards the deserted stacks. Draco raised an eyebrow. No one seemed to have noticed her. He did though. He was always acutely aware of her. Must have been some sort of familial bond or something.
"Need a book." Draco muttered before sliding from his chair and discreetly following the blonde girl.
Ginny pretended not to be interested, but as Draco walked off, she looked up with narrowed eyes. She waited a few minutes for him to return then rose to follow when he had not.
"Ginny?" Connor said when he noticed the murderous look in her eyes.
"Need a book."
He nodded, but as soon as she was gone he looked at Lily. "Gonna go keep Ginny from acting crazy."
"Don't worry. Back in a minute." He started to rise, but she grabbed his wrist and yanked him back into his chair. "Lily-"
She pressed her lips to his roughly. "A minute. You are being timed."
Connor rolled his eyes and took off... unaware that Lily had cocked her head to the side to watch the way his school slacks moved along the curve of his ass as he did.
"Why don't you just eat him?" Neville remarked dryly without looking up from his Potions text. "Then at least you'd be satisfied."
Lily glared. "I think I liked you better when you were sweet."
"Yes, and look what sweet has gotten me."
"Sorry, Lily. I'm just..."
"I know. I feel the same way most days."
Meanwhile Draco Malfoy was glaring at Raven Hope with one brow raised. "What?"
"You could me nicer to me, Draco. Considering we're related."
"Considering I don't know which relation exactly you are, I think I'll stick to haughty for now."
She snorted with laughter. "You are so your mother."
Draco snorted in response to that. "Yes, except I would not attempt to kill my own spawn as she has. I may be a wicked boy, but she's a fucking evil bitch."
"You only say that because you don't really know her. She loves you."
"To death." He added. "Emphasis on the death."
"She really does care for you though."
Draco rolled his eyes. "So I keep hearing."
"Cut the crap about my mum, Hope. I'm in no mood to hear of her imagined virtues. What's the meaning for this little meeting?"
"You're in trouble."
"So is Pansy."
"You think I give two shits about Pansy Parkinson? She's a beast. Heartless scum has more heart than her. I wish Longbottom had done it that day."
"You don't mean that."
"Let me guess... if I really knew Pans, I wouldn't... wait... half a mo, I do, in fact, know her. Have my whole life. She's a bitch, and she's never done anything that didn't benefit her or make her Death Eating father proud."
"She's supposed to kill you."
Draco raised a brow. Well, that was... unexpected. He snorted. "She'll try."
"Draco, if we talk to her, it doesn't have to be like this. Merlin, she doesn't even know there's another way to be. I'm not saying you have to be her friend-"
"I should say not. Bloody bitch thinks to murder me." He tried to walk off.
Raven grabbed his arm. "Draco..."
"What's all this?" Said Ginny's rather shrill voice.
Draco blinked. His girlfriend looked about ready to start hexing. Was she... jealous? Couldn't be. He wasn't doing anything. Raven Hope was only touching his arm where she'd grabbed him to keep him from leaving.
"Nothing, Ginny. I was just leaving."
Raven tightened her hand on Draco's arm. She had an awfully strong grip for her size.
"Malfoy, don't brush this off."
"Take your hands off him." Ginny hissed, stalking forward.
Connor came from nowhere and wrapped an arm about her shoulders to stop her movement.
"I think you should do as the lady asked and let loose of Draco." Connor said in a lazy smirking way that made Draco think of Spike.
Raven rolled her eyes and removed her hand. "Your mates are a bit annoying, Draco."
"They're Gryffindors, what do you expect?"
"Stay away from him." Ginny growled. "He's mine. He's not interested in YOU."
Draco grinned. Ginny was very attractive when she was being out-of-control possessive.
Raven snorted again. "I should hope he isn't interested." She shivered. "Because that's just... ill-making."
Ginny's brow furrowed. How could she not be interested. It was Draco. He was so... handsome. Sure, he was also very Malfoy, but he'd grown out of that a bit in the last year or do.
"I don't mind if you tell her." Raven said as she walked away. "Especially since Spike says she's as good as part of the family."
Then she was gone.
Connor leaned over to Draco. "Is she the cousin or the aunt?"
"Haven't figured it out yet. Cousin Nymphadora runs into everything, and Hope hasn't bumped a thing, but she holds herself just a bit differently than Aunt Andromeda does, so I can't be sure. I thought it was my mother at first."
Connor sighed. "Their scents are so close. But then they would be, being mother and daughter, I suppose. She's not your mother... that I would have known right away."
"Are you saying I smell like my mother?"
"Sort of. It's the blood-"
"You are really beginning to worry me, Angel."
"The benefits of vampire parents." Connor smirked. "And if you weren't worried, I'd be concerned."
"What ARE the both of you babbling about?" Ginny snapped. "And why on earth WOULDN'T she be interested in you Draco? You're the prince of Slytherin."
Draco smiled down at his girlfriend. "Because she's either my Aunt Andromeda or my cousin Nymphadora in disguise."
Ginny blinked. "Oh." It all clicked into place.
"Why did she risk being seen having this little chat with you?" Connor asked.
"Pansy Parkinson's going to try to off me. Nothing too serious."
"What?!" Ginny and Connor shouted at the same time.
"The hell she is." Connor added loudly. "I'll break her into little pieces first. Literally. I can, too."
"Useful. Disturbing. Likely unnecessary."
"Unnecessary?!" Connor snapped before hissing. "Malfoy, she's going to try to kill you."
Before Draco could say anything more, Madam Pince popped her head around. "Out. I'll not have yelling in my library. Malfoy, Angel, Weasley, out."
Draco rolled his eyes and stomped towards the table where the rest of the group was. Madam Pince watched like a hawk as Draco, Ginny, and Connor gathered their things.
"What happened?" Dawn asked.
"Do be quiet, Miss Summers, or you'll be removed from the library as well."
Dawn arched an eyebrow higher than what seemed humanly possible. Her spine had straightened, and she went utterly rigid. Harry nearly groaned. He knew what that posture meant.
"Well, allow me to remove MYSELF then!" Dawn shouted as she jumped to her feet and began roughly gathering her things.
Lily followed suit. Only much quieter. Ginny exchanged a wild-eyed look with Connor before they too followed Lily, Draco, and Dawn.
"What on earth is the matter with you?"
Dawn shifted in her seat uncomfortably. Snape didn't look pleased.
"Do you think, Miss Summers, that I have nothing better to do than to be subjected to angry tirades about your lack of respect for the sanctity of the library from Madam Pince?"
"Then allow me to say that you will be serving detention here every night for the next week."
"That's not fair!" Dawn shouted, jumping to her feet.
He lifted one brow.
"Sorry." She sat back down.
"I do believe being such close friends with the likes of Draco Malfoy has had an affect on you, Miss Summers."
"Draco's not a bad influence." Dawn huffed.
"I did not say that he was."
"Yes... oh. Indeed." Snape said. "Now, leave me please. I require some quiet reflection."
"Would that be quiet reflection about your Willow-shaped snuggle bunny?"
"You dance a fine line between a hexing and no hexing."
Dawn held up her hands in surrender and backed out of the office... only to run into Narcissa Malfoy. Literally.
"You're Draco's friend."
Dawn tried to walk past her, but Narcissa grabbed her arm. Severus shouted something as he came from his office. Dawn tried to pull her arm away, but Narcissa held tight.
"Narcissa..." Snape growled in a warning tone.
"You took him from me."
Dawn's eyes narrowed, and she actually leaned towards the blonde woman. She was just inches from Narcissa's face.
"You took him from yourself." Dawn spat.
Snape jumped forward then and pried Narcissa's hand from Dawn's arm. He looked at Dawn. "Go."
Dawn nodded in distraction and hurried out of the classroom.
Severus jerked Narcissa up into his face. "What in the hell is the matter with you?!"
"I want my son back!"
"Then I suppose you should not have tried to kill him!"
"I didn't think-"
"You never do. You always let Lucius think for you." He moved in for the verbal kill then. "I warned you once that it might cost you more than you could bear."
"It must be lovely to be right all the time."
"Yes, actually it is." He paused to stare at her. "Now get out."
"I could make you sorry."
He raised one brow. "Idle threats? Really? Don't you ever tire of this particular game, Narcissa?"
"I could make you dead, Severus."
"And I could make you WISH you were dead." Snape said through bared teeth. "Now leave my classroom."
She passed Giles entering as she shoved her way out.
"Excuse you." Giles muttered.
Narcissa just kept on moving. Giles looked at Snape with a questioning expression.
"She's always been like that." Then he sighed. "What do YOU want?"
"I found something... interesting."
Snape scowled. "So why bother me about it, Professor Giles?"
Lily and Connor wandered off somewhere else. Ginny followed Draco to a place she likely should not have... his dorm room.
"We can study in here, I suppose." He said distractedly.
Ginny noticed his hands were shaking. He was trying to keep them hidden. He kept them in his robes, his pockets, behind his back. Anywhere but where her eyes could see them. But she knew him now, knew those tricks of his that kept him from looking weak. When he turned away from her completely, Ginny reached out with a shaking hand of her own and laid it on his shoulder.
He shrugged out of her touch. "We... we can study here."
Ginny grabbed his arm as tight as she could manage and spun him to face her. Draco tried to get away from her. She understood. He was fearful. He didn't want her to see that. He'd shown her most everything else of him. She wished he'd show her this. She didn't care how strong he was when he was afraid. Everyone feared.
Ginny grabbed the sides of his face and made him look at her. He was a bit amazed by her strength in determination.
"I don't think any less of you for worrying-"
"I am not worried!" He shouted.
"For worrying about Pansy trying to kill you."
"I am NOT worried."
"It's ok. I'm worried about it too."
Her fingers dug into the sides of his face a bit. "But if she touches one silvery blonde hair on your head... she will not live to see the next morning, Draco. I'll hex the life from her body myself... before I tear her to shreds. Literally."
"I don't mean to frighten you, but you're mine." She swallowed nervously. "Forever."
He nodded. "Forever."
"Which one is your bed?"
His eyes bugged.
"Don't get any ideas. I simply would prefer not to sit on anyone else's bed."
"Oh." He tried not to look disappointed.
"Didn't I tell you... you'll be the first to know." She placed her palm over where his heart was.
He put his hand on top of hers.
Anya was jabbering on and on as she straightened up things in Remus's classroom. She was acutely aware that he had not heard a word she had been saying.
"Would you like me to make you some tea?"
"For fuck's sake, Remus!" Anya snapped as she swatted him on the shoulder. "Stop acting like I'm not even here!"
"I know that you are here, Anya."
"You know the most horrible thing about being human again... I can still sense when someone's heart has been broken by the one they loved most. It's like this horrible sixth sense."
"Your best friend broke your baby's heart. I know you love Sirius, Remus, but she needs you. She needs you not to be mad at her... even if you are. And Porcelina needs her wolfie grandpa looking after her since her father left."
"I should go to her?"
"How is it that I can be reasonable about everything in my life except my daughter and Sirius."
"And your daughter WITH Sirius."
"That too." He sighed and got to his feet. "Care to join me in a visitation?"
"You ARE Tara's friend. I think she needs friends around her now as well. After all, you have risked your very life to protect my grandchild."
"That's the first sensible thing I've heard you say since Sirius left."
He pinned her with a look. Remus for the first time wondered what he would do without a friend like Anya. He had a feeling he would wonder that more as he knew her longer. She could give him this sane aspect of friendship that he had never had with Sirius or James or Peter. Remus found himself wondering what life would have been like if he and Lily'd had Anya there to help them talk sense.
Three against three were better odds.
Some sound woke him. He couldn't be sure. Draco pulled his socked feet off of his bed and closed the potions text in his lap. He sat up straight in his chair. Ginny was curled up on her side on his bed. Her cheek rested on her potions book and her notes. He just watched her for who knows how long.
When had they nodded off? He couldn't recall. He remembered looking up from what he'd been reading aloud and seeing her like she was now. Draco thought only to rest his eyes for a moment. He peered out the window. It seemed as if night would fall soon.
Draco rose quietly and removed the book and scroll she was using for a pillow. Ginny sighed in sleep and rolled over. He swallowed nervously because her skirt twisted a bit higher than was appropriate on her legs. As if in a trance, Draco sat on the edge of the bed. His hand moved involuntarily to the area of her thigh just about her knee. His fingers stretched out to touch the gray wool of her school socks before moving up the outside of her thigh. Draco's eyes closed a little more the higher his hand went. How could the skin on a leg be so nice? He was moving into truly dangerous territory as his hand vanished under her skirt.
Then she startled him by being awake.
He snatched his hand back as if she'd burned him. "Sorry."
Ginny rolled onto her back, throwing one arm above her head. "For?"
"The hand... your leg... up your skirt..."
"That was actually ok."
"Lie down with me?"
"What?" His brows furrowed. Just earlier she had been saying how unready she was.
Draco laid himself out on his side. Ginny smiled. She reached up with one finger and traced the sharp slope of his Malfoy nose.
"Say something." She whispered.
And SOMETHING he did say.
"Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took, and each doth good turns now unto the other. When that mine eye is famish'd for a look, or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother, with my love's picture then my eye doth feast. And to the painted banquet bids my heart, another time mine eye is my heart's guest, and in his thoughts of love doth share a part. So, either by thy picture or my love, thyself away art resent still with me. For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move, and I am still with them and they with thee. Or, if they sleep, thy picture in my sight... awakes my heart to heart's and eye's delight."
She didn't breathe for a minute. It wasn't fair that he could just... do that. Draco Malfoy spun words out of his mouth like spiders did webbing. And like webbing they caught sunlight and clung desperately to anything of her they touched.
"I love you." She whispered. It was all she could think to say.
He smiled, not smirked. She meant it. No one had ever meant it like she did with him.
Ginny got a bit nervous when he said nothing in reply to her declaration. He just kept smiling at her.
"Oh... don't worry." He said quietly. "How can I help but love you? You said you'd kill Pansy. You snarled at one of my relatives earlier. You're awfully possessive... of me. ME. Forever, remember?"
"Say that again?"
"All of it?"
"I think you know which part."
"I do love you, despite the fact that I suspect I was incapable of the emotion."
She blushed like a timid little girl and tried to look away. Draco grabbed her arm and pulled her completely against him before kissing her.
end part 45
AN: Draco's reciting Shakespeare again. Sonnet 47 this time.