The Broken Road, Chapter 14 :: Eclipsed

Ginny awoke sore, but blissfully sated, to the smell of coffee drifting into her bedroom. She smiled softly and pressed her face into her pillow to suppress the giddy laughter that wanted to escape her. Malfoy had woken her no less than three times during the night, and even though she’d been tired, she’d been happy to oblige.

She stretched languidly, and when her hand met warm flesh, her eyes flew open in surprise. She turned her head to see Malfoy lying beside her beneath the coverlet, sleeping soundly. Panic filled her – if he was in her bed, then who had started the coffee? She started to sit up, clutching the coverlet to her breast.

“Sleep,” he commanded tiredly.

“But the coffee – someone’s here,” she whispered fiercely.

“I charmed the coffee pot to start on its own, since you don’t have house elves to do it for you,” he explained, mumbling. Relief flooded through her, and she laid back down, snuggling beneath the coverlet. She shivered as she pulled the blanket up to her neck. “Cold?” he mumbled.

“A little,” she admitted. He surprised her by reaching out and yanking her towards him. She was going to protest, but when the heat from his chest warmed her back, she clamped her lips together and snuggled into him. To her surprise, he groaned.

“I’m trying to be nice and keep you warm, here,” he said, his breath warm on her ear. “So stop trying to get into my pants again.”

She giggled as he slung his right arm over her. “You’re not even wearing pants,” she pointed out. “And I’m too sore right now for what you’re suggesting. Anyway, if I wanted to get into your pants, I wouldn’t have to try, I’d just do it.”

“Are you always this feisty the morning after?” he asked, his tone light.

“I thought you wanted to sleep,” she pointed out, closing her eyes. “Neither one of us got very much rest last night.”

“Are you saying that you didn’t enjoy it?”

“I’m not saying that at all,” she said, feeling the heat rise into her cheeks, even though he couldn’t see her face. “I’m just saying that neither of us has rested properly.”

“Not really something I’m concerned about,” he murmured, his eyes slipping shut. Only when his breathing had steadied and she was sure he was asleep did she let herself drift away as well.

The second time that Ginny woke up, the first thing that she was aware of was that she was alone in the bed. She frowned and rubbed her eyes before stumbling out of bed and into the bathroom. She washed her face and brushed her teeth, and moved back into her room. She had just slipped on a pair of knickers when he startled her.

“You must have been more tired than I was,” he drawled, fastening a button at his wrist. She jumped and let out a startled cry, and then rolled her eyes at his arched eyebrow.

“You scared the wits out of me!” she exclaimed, digging through her dresser. She stopped with her hand in a drawer and shot an accusatory glare at him. “What are you still doing here?”

“Expecting someone else?”

“No, I just wondered – I mean, I thought – well, I guess I thought that you’d be in a hurry to get out of here, once you realized where you were,” she admitted candidly, withdrawing a green t-shirt from the drawer.

He ignored her comment and turned his nose up at the garment she’d chosen. “You can’t wear that.”

“Why not? It’s clean, and it fits. That’s all I’m worried about.”

“You can’t wear that where I’m taking you.”

She stopped and turned to stare at him. “You’re taking me somewhere?”

“It’s nearly time for lunch. Neither of us has eaten, and you don’t have any food here, either.” She was mortified. He’d looked inside her icebox? All she had was milk and a box of leftover takeout food!

“That doesn’t mean you need to feel obligated to feed me,” she protested.

“I’m sure you’ve worked up quite an appetite,” he said coolly, his eyes dropping to her uncovered breasts. “I know I have.”

Despite the heat that rose into her cheeks, she was aroused. Why was it that every time she was around him, all she thought about was sex? He tilted his head as though he could read her thoughts, and he smirked at her.

“Relax, kitten. After lunch, we can come back here and satisfy a different type of hunger.” If she could have sunk into the floor at that moment, she gladly would have done so.

“Why do I feel like a complete nymphomaniac right now?” she wailed, turning her back to him so she could filter through the clothes in her closet.

“Because you’re thinking about sex right now, despite the fact that you’ve been shagged good and proper four times in less than twenty four hours,” he said matter-of-factly. She smacked her forehead with the palm of her hand and shook her head. “No shame in that. You’ve got a healthy sexual appetite.”

“Is that what they call it now?” she snapped, yanking a silk blouse off of its hanger.

“Don’t worry, I’ve a healthy one as well.”

“No, you’re a man. Men are supposed to be full of lust. When a woman is, she gets labeled with all sorts of unflattering names.” She pulled a pair of black slacks from their hanger and pulled them on.

“Who’s going to label you?” he asked interestedly.

“Everyone,” she sighed, slipping the shirt on.

“Unless I’m very much mistaken – which I rarely am – there’s only two of us here, and I’m not labeling you anything. How is anyone else going to know what’s going on behind closed doors – aren’t you going to wear a bra with that?”

“No, I’m not. I like the feel of the silk against my skin, and besides, you have a reputation, you know. It’s not like people are going to see us together and not draw the right conclusions, you know?”

“And those conclusions would be what, exactly?”

“That we’re sleeping together,” she said, as though she were speaking to a toddler. He watched as she began pulling the brush violently through her hair. “They’re going to wonder how much you’re paying me, or at the very least what else you’re getting out of it.”

“You think that people are going to see us together and automatically assume that you’re my whore?” he asked, surprised. “If that’s the case, why-“

“Because I wanted to,” she answered softly, not meeting his eyes. “And as long as you don’t treat me like a whore, we’ll be fine.”

“Are you ready to go, then?” he asked, her words echoing in his mind. She nodded and stood before slipping her feet into her shoes and following him to the fireplace.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

“Last night was terribly romantic, Harry,” Hermione gushed happily, giving her lover a warm smile. She didn’t tell him that the reason she was happy was because she’d had him home for an entire night. He grinned back across the table.

“It was the least I could do to apologize for accusing you of something you didn’t do,” he said, shaking his head. She blushed and looked down at her half-eaten salad.

“You don’t have to apologize to me,” she said quietly. “You don’t owe me any explanation for your actions.” We’re not married, so you don’t have to tell me anything. I’m just grateful for what you do share with me.

“You know I have to apologize to you,” he said, leaning forward and giving her an intense look. “You’ve been my closest friend for a long time, and I don’t like keeping things from you.”

And that’s why you kept it from me that you’d been following Ginny? She wondered. She gave herself a mental kick for allowing the thought to surface – she was doing her best to try not to judge Harry for his actions. She loved him too much to entertain any petty grudges against him before their relationship had even really begun.

She forced a smile and looked up. As soon as she did, her smile froze in place, and her heart sank into her stomach. Walking through the door of the restaurant were the last two people she wanted to see – Draco Malfoy and Ginny. Harry frowned at her expression and turned to see what she was looking at. When he did, his back stiffened and his eyes narrowed. His glare shot daggers in their direction, though they never even so much as glanced in his direction.

“Harry,” Hermione whispered, discomfort roiling around in her stomach like a riptide, “why don’t we go ahead and leave? I’d like to stop by Honeydukes’ on the way home, to pick up some Sugar Quills, since I’m out. I’ll even throw in a box of chocolate frogs for you, my treat.”

Harry didn’t answer, and only continued to stare at his ex-wife and his most hated enemy as they were escorted to a private booth by the hostess. Once they had been seated, Ginny leaned across the table and pushed some of Malfoy’s white-blonde locks away from his face. Hermione thought that they looked like a couple who were very much in love, though she wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t seen it with her own eyes.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

“Is this your favorite restaurant, then?” Ginny asked, glancing down at the menu. The prices were outrageous, and she wasn’t sure that she was comfortable with Malfoy paying for her meal.

“Not my favorite, but definitely one of the few that I prefer,” he drawled coolly, his eyes focused on her. She looked up and smiled. “What?”

“Your hair,” she said, shaking her head. She reached forward and used her fingertips to smooth one unruly lock away from his eyes. He stared at her, his gray eyes darkening.

“You know, for someone who doesn’t want the world to know that we’re sleeping together, you’re certainly putting on a good show for the other patrons.”

Ginny blinked. “I just pushed your hair out of your face,” she protested, feeling the heat rise to her cheeks. She focused her attention back on the menu, which was on the table in front of her.

“It was a very intimate gesture,” he insisted, glancing casually around the restaurant. When his eyes met burning viridian orbs that emanated waves of hate, he smirked and inclined his head. Turning his attention back to Ginny, he saw that she hadn’t been paying attention, and had no idea that her ex-husband was present with his own lover. He leaned forward and extended his hand, palm up, on the table top. She stared at it uncertainly before putting her own hand in it.

“Now who’s initiating intimate contact?” she asked, her heart fluttering wildly.

“Nonsense, I’m just holding your hand,” he replied, arching an eyebrow at her.

“Holding hands is a very romantic gesture,” she pressed, trying not to swoon when he began stroking her hand with his thumb.

“Is it?” he asked, amused. “Am I not allowed to be romantic with you after last night, then?”

Her blush was so profuse that she was afraid he might be able to feel the heat from it across the table. “I didn’t say that. I just meant-“

“You just meant that you thought when you offered yourself to me last night that I was only going to use you for sex,” he finished, enjoying the way she shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “But you’re wrong. I told you I wouldn’t keep our affair a secret any longer, and I meant it. I think it will be rather enjoyable to have a ready escort to parties and other affairs without having to worry about how the evening will turn out.”

“So that’s it, then,” she said, disappointment flooding through her. “You’re going to flaunt me in public as a respectable date, and then just use me at night?”

“I thought you didn’t care what happened today, as long as I stayed with you last night,” he said, throwing her words back at her. She flinched. “Isn’t that what you said?”

“You know it is,” she said stiffly, resisting the urge to pull her hand away from his. “But I also told you this morning that I won’t be just your whore, either. I won’t tolerate you treating me like one, and you’ve already started.”

“How is that, pray tell?”

“You’re taking me out to a very expensive restaurant after a night of sex to show me off to people – don’t think I don’t know why I’m here. I smelled his cologne the moment I walked through the door,” she said, startling him. “And now you’re telling me that you’re going to take me as your date to parties with the expectation of sex afterwards.”

“So?” he asked, still reeling from the revelation that she’d known her ex was present.

“Don’t be obtuse, Malfoy. I know what the high class whores in Knockturn Alley do for a night’s wages – Merlin knows that I’ve interrogated more than a few,” she said bitterly.

“Let’s get a few things straight right now,” he said, his eyes turning cold. “You came to me, not the other way around. I told you repeatedly that I would not hide this from anyone, least of all Potter. And if I wanted a whore, then I would go and get one, because I assure you that a whore would be less trouble than you.”

“Perhaps,” she said, her temper spiking, “but a whore wouldn’t provide you with the opportunity to goad Harry the way I have, would she?”

“What exactly is it that you want from me?” he demanded, his grip on her hand tightening.

“A little common courtesy would be nice,” she said, yanking her hand out of his. “That is all I have ever wanted from anyone. I realize now that it may be too much to ask of you.”

“Do you really expect me to walk around opening doors and pulling out chairs for you?” he sneered.

“No, because those are romantic, considerate gestures. Those are things that people in love do. I only expect you to treat me like a human being, Malfoy. Not simply as an object to get back at someone you hate.”

“And while we’re on the subject, since I’m fucking you, call me Draco. No more of this ‘Malfoy’ nonsense, now that we’re on more intimate terms.” He rose from his seat and slid into the booth beside her. She stiffened and glared at him.

“What in the hell are you doing?”

“I’m shielding you from the inevitable. Potter can see you perfectly from where he’s sitting. With me here, he can’t see you at all.”

“I thought you wanted him to see me with you,” she said bitterly.

“He has. Now that I’ve moved over here, he’ll think I just did it to get closer to you, and it’ll drive him mad.”

“How long do you plan to use me like this?” she whispered dejectedly.

“As long as it’s fun,” he said simply.

“You’re despicable,” she said, turning her head away from him, so he wouldn’t see the tears that had spilled over onto her cheeks.

“And yet you wanted to sleep with me, so what does that say about you?”

“It speaks volumes about me,” she sighed. She lifted a hand to wipe the moisture from her face, but he saw the movement and caught her chin in his hand, forcing her to turn and look at him. Disgust and curiosity mingled in his expression when she jerked away and used her napkin to dry her eyes.

“Why are you crying?”

“Why do you care?” she challenged.

“I don’t.”

“Then why bother asking why?”

He narrowed his eyes at her, but instead of replying, he gripped her chin gently with his hand and pulled her towards him. His lips descended on hers, and she was instantly reminded of the first time they’d been together last night. After they’d both climaxed and were lying still entangled, he’d kissed her in such a way that it had made her dizzy. It was the same kind of kiss he was giving her now; one that immediately dried her tears and sent desire spiking through her veins.

Their surroundings melted away, and all Ginny was aware of was the sensation of his lips on hers; his tongue dancing with hers, and the warmth that emanated from him. His hand moved up to cup a breast through her shirt, and she moaned into the kiss.

“What in the hell are you doing?” Draco slid his tongue against hers one more time before he stopped kissing her and turned to smirk at Harry.

“I know you’re slow witted, Potter, but I would think that even you could see what I am doing.”

The fog around Ginny’s mind lifted just enough that she became aware of Draco’s hand still on her breast. His thumb was tracing lazy circles around the hardened nipple, and it was making her feel weak. Wisely she kept her mouth shut; she wouldn’t have known what to say to Harry, even if she could have found her voice at that moment.

“This is a public place,” Harry reminded him, his eyes wild. “And you’re pawing her in front of everyone!”

“Well, you know me,” Draco said lazily, keenly aware of how Ginny looked to Harry at the moment – her lips were swollen from kissing, his hand was on her breast, and her eyes were darkened by lust. “I never have been very good at keeping my love life a secret – I suppose I could learn something from you on that front. By the way,” he said, his eyes sparkling viciously, “how is the Mudblood doing these days?”

Harry’s hands clenched into fists, and Malfoy sniggered. “Don’t call her that,” Harry hissed. “You’ve no right to talk about her, or even think about her!”

“Just as you have no right to talk or think about my lady friend here, either,” Draco shot back coldly. “She’s not your wife anymore. She’s with me now.”

Harry snorted. “You’re even stupider than I thought if you think that I’m going to believe that you have any interest in her past trying to piss me off.”

The amusement in Draco’s eyes died, and the hand that had been touching Ginny dropped. She bit her lower lip as she watched Draco rise from the booth and stand nose-to-nose with Harry.

“The world doesn’t revolve around you, Potter, contrary to what you believe,” he said, his voice low and dangerous. “And pissing you off isn’t the reason she’s with me – it’s just a fringe benefit.”

Harry frowned at the Restaurant Owner, who was heading towards them. “This isn’t over,” he warned Draco softly. “I’ll find you again, and when I do, we’ll finish this conversation.”

“I look forward to it,” Draco hissed.

Ginny watched as Harry strode away, and Malfoy slowly lowered himself back into the booth beside her. She knew better than to say anything to him with his temper flared as high as it was, so she continued to remain silent. The waitress came and took their orders, and then brought their food. The entire meal was taken in silence, and Ginny wondered how long it would take for his anger to abate.

When they had finished eating and rose to leave, Ginny paused. “What about the check?” she asked.

“I have a tab here,” he said curtly. She nodded and followed him out of the restaurant, wondering what was going to happen next. He didn’t seem to be in the mood for much of anything at the moment, so she stopped at a street vendor and ordered two coffees. He watched her silently as she paid, and then took the Styrofoam cup she offered him. They’d walked three blocks when he tossed the empty cup in a trash can and turned to look at her.

“How did you know I had a headache?” he asked simply.

“Are you kidding?” she smiled. “Harry’s enough to give anyone a headache.”

The side of his mouth turned up in a sort of wry grin. “How did you live with it for so long?”

She shrugged and took a drink of her coffee before answering. “I suppose I was able to block it out because we didn’t see each other very often. I worked at night, he worked during the day, and the only times we really spent a significant amount of time together were our days off or on Holidays.”

“You didn’t make time for each other, then?” he asked curiously.

“No, we didn’t,” she said, pausing thoughtfully. “I guess you could almost say that I loved my job more than I loved spending time with Harry. All he did when we were together was talk about Quidditch, anyway. And while I love Quidditch, it’s not the only thing in the world worthy of discussion.”

“Yes, well,” he said, shaking his head. “At least your significant other had something of some interest to talk about. Every woman I’ve ever dated has wanted to talk about nothing other than me – or her supposed future with me.”

Ginny smiled. “I would think that talking about yourself would be something that appealed to you.”

“Most of the time, yes. With these women? Absolutely not. I remember one date where I was particularly tempted to eat a puking pastille just to be able to go home and go to bed.” He grinned when she burst into laughter.

“You must have been desperate, to use a Weasley product,” she said, her eyes crinkling up in her laughter. “I’m surprised you didn’t just tolerate her long enough to get her into your bed, though.”

“I’m not an easy shag, if that’s what you’re implying,” he said, his eyebrows so high they nearly disappeared into his hairline. “I don’t sleep with just every woman that throws herself at me, no matter how easy they make it.”

Her cheeks burned and she looked away from him. “Just those who have some other use to you,” she commented softly.

He opened his mouth to say something, and then promptly shut it again. That wasn’t what he’d meant, but even if he told her that, she probably wouldn’t believe him. “So how do you decide to sleep with someone, when you do?” he probed.

She gave him a strange look before she answered. “The first time I did it for love. The second time, I did it just to feel again.”

“Are you telling me that you’ve only ever slept with two men?” he asked incredulously.

“I’m not promiscuous,” was all she would say.

“You’re a prude,” he suggested.

“You’ve slept with me. Do any of those encounters lead you to believe that I’m a prude?” He frowned at this. She’d proved to him that she was nothing short of a hellcat in bed, and the thought of any other man seeing that side of her made his blood boil.

“When did you find time to sleep with Scarhead if you never saw each other?” he asked, changing the focus of the conversation abruptly.

“We made time at least once a week. I don’t think he found our encounters very satisfying,” she said, her lips turning down in a thoughtful frown.

“Why would you think that?”

“Well, he found another woman, didn’t he?” she asked reasonably. “Obviously I wasn’t satisfying something that he needed fulfilled.”

“I always knew Potter was a poofter,” he remarked, eliciting a scandalized giggle from her.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” she clarified, rolling her eyes as she smiled. When he yawned, she looked away from him. “I think I’m going to head home.”

“Oh? Ready to be rid of me so quickly?”

“I’m in no danger of splinching myself right now,” she pointed out, smiling again. “And you look like you could use some more rest.”

“Is that a remark about my stellar good looks being less than what you think they ought to be?”

“Don’t be stupid, you’re as handsome as ever.” Once the words had slipped past her lips, she exhaled slowly. Why had she said such a thing? It was true, but still… she didn’t need to be doing anything that would inflate his ego or give him more control over her than he already had.

He looked mildly surprised at first, and then the expression melted into his patented smirk, and she rolled her eyes.

“Goodbye, Draco,” she huffed, shaking her head. She turned to step inside of the building they were standing in front of, but he stopped her with a gentle hand on her arm.

“Don’t go.”

She froze in place as she looked at him with wide eyes. The same words that she’d said to him less than twenty four hours before echoed in her ears.

“What?” she asked breathlessly.

“Don’t go. I don’t want to be alone today,” he admitted softly. Her heart sank, but butterflies still erupted in her stomach. It was one thing for him to want her around just so he wasn’t alone, but it was another thing entirely for him to ask her to be the one to keep him company. She was confused.

“What do you want to do?”

“Would you like to see the Manor?”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” she asked shrewdly. “Your Mother-“

“My Mother won’t mind meeting you, and if we’re going to be appearing out in public together, she might as well meet you now, before the pictures hit the papers.”

“But – aren’t there wards to keep people like me out?” she asked, confused.

“People like you?” he echoed incredulously.

“Blood traitors,” she said quietly, looking away from him. “Aurors. Weasleys. Potters. Take your pick.”

“You’re a pureblood,” he said, shrugging. “And you’re not in uniform, so don’t worry about it. Besides, you’ll be with me, and I know how to lower any wards that would keep you from coming inside.”

“Are you sure that your Mother-“

“My Mother won’t mind in the least, I assure you,” he said dryly. When she gave him a questioning look, he sighed. “You asked me why I never married. It’s because of my Mother.”

“Really?” she was surprised. “My Mum practically dragged me to the altar, she wanted me to get married so badly.”

“My Mother wants me to get married, make no mistake about that,” he said, beginning to walk again. “She just hasn’t approved of anyone yet.”

“Isn’t that your job, since you’ll be the one married to the woman?”

“Yes, but she has to have a say in the genetic makeup of her unborn grandchildren.”

Ginny couldn’t help it; she laughed. When he glared at her, she laughed harder.

“And just what is so funny?”

“I just can’t see you with children.”

“And I can’t see you with anything less than a houseful,” he snapped. The smile faded from her lips.

“So you assume that just because I came from a large family that I want one myself,” she said angrily.

“Don’t you?”

“I think two children would be enough for me.”

“Why didn’t you have children with Potter? Surely you have the legendary Weasley fertility?” When her cheeks turned pink and she didn’t answer, he frowned. “Don’t you?”

“I’m perfectly fine,” she snapped, keeping her eyes forward. Then it dawned on him.

“Potter can’t have children, can he?”

“What business is it of yours whether he can or not?” She threw her empty cup into the waste can they passed as violently as she possibly could.

“Did you know that when you married him?”

“Of course I didn’t know! Do you think I would have thrown away my chance to have children like that?”

“So I take it that the Mudblood doesn’t know, either.”

“She might know – who knows what Harry’s told her. I don’t really care.”

“Didn’t you ever think about having an affair just to get pregnant?” The glare she shot him would have frozen flames.

“I do not cheat – ever,” she said, putting particularly strong emphasis on the last word. “I do not lay down with just any man with the sole intent of getting impregnated. If that was all I wanted, I could have done it years ago. I’ve had plenty of offers – hell, I could even do it now if I wanted to.”

“Now?” he asked, his eyes narrowing. “I hope you’re not suggesting what I think you are.”

“I wasn’t suggesting you get me pregnant, if that’s what you mean,” she snapped. His eyes narrowed further.

“I told you that I would not allow-“

“And I didn’t say I would, either – I said I could, if I wanted to!” she exclaimed.

“What would be wrong with having my child, as opposed to those other men?” he snarled. “I’ve certainly got more money than all of them combined, and I have better genes.”

“Are you seriously pitching yourself as the potential father to my unborn, unconceived child?” she asked, snorting. He stiffened.

“No, I wouldn’t dream of having children with the likes of you.”

“Really,” she said flatly. “I would never have guessed that. Draco Malfoy not wanting Ginny Weasley Potter to bear his children. Wow, you really sideswiped me with that one – never saw it coming.”

There was a deadness to her voice that he didn’t like, though he couldn’t put his finger on just why he didn’t like it. He opened his mouth to speak, but she beat him to the punch.

“Look, let’s just talk about something else, okay? This is obviously a very sensitive subject to both of us, and there’s no point in even discussing it, since I’m using you for sex and you’re using me for revenge. All right?”

He stared at her, his jaw hanging a bit loose. She shifted uncomfortably where she stood. “What?”

“You just said that you were using me for sex,” he repeated incredulously.


“Why don’t we make a stop at your flat before we visit the Manor?” he suggested silkily, surprising her.

“Oooookay – why? Did you leave something-“ her words died as he pulled her flush against him, kissing her with a wild intensity that caused her blood to boil in her veins. When he pulled away, her eyes were wide and unfocused. “All right, but you’re apparating us both. I don’t think I can do it now.”

Three hours later found them both freshly showered and dressed – at Draco’s insistence this time, Ginny had put a bra on. They had just stepped inside the Manor when Narcissa Malfoy appeared in the foyer wearing a brilliant smile for her only child.

“Mum,” he said, wrapping her in a tight hug. He stepped away and gestured towards Ginny. “This is Ginny Wea- Ginny Potter,” he corrected himself. Narcissa smiled politely at her.

“I know who she is, poppet. I recognize her from the pictures in the Society pages. It’s very nice to meet you, Miss Potter,” Narcissa said, extending a smooth hand. Ginny shook it quickly and smiled in return.

“It’s very nice to meet you, too, Mrs. Malfoy. You have a lovely home.”

“Why thank you. Draco, she’s just enchanting,” Narcissa cooed. Draco bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing, and nodded instead. “What brings you home, darling? Are you staying for dinner?”

“We’d love to, Mum,” Draco offered. “But first I’m going to show Ginny around the Manor. I promised to.” Ginny bit back her surprise when he held his arm out to her, and she slipped her hand into the crook of his elbow, letting him guide her away from his Mother.

“Let me guess,” she whispered. “The only room that you’re going to show me is your bedroom.” He sniggered and shook his head.

“No, although I expect you’ll be familiar with it soon enough,” he promised. A shiver of anticipation ran down her spine. “I’m actually going to give you a somewhat abbreviated tour – if I gave you the full tour, we’d be here all bloody night.”

She didn’t acknowledge the voice inside of her head that said she wouldn’t mind that one bit, and listened politely as he pointed out various knickknacks and made notes about the architecture of the Manor. When they turned down a hallway that was sparsely decorated, she frowned.

“This part of the Manor doesn’t seem as lived in as the other parts,” she said, glancing around. He shrugged.

“I’m not at home much.”

“This is your wing of the Manor? The entire wing?” she asked, her voice belying her amazement. He arched an eyebrow at her and led her towards the end of the dimly lit hallway.

“You sound as though you can’t believe that I have an entire wing to myself. My mother has two wings, so this is small compared to my parents’ rooms.”

“Oh,” she squeaked, feeling small. He pushed open a door on their left and motioned her inside. As soon as she stepped over the threshold, she smelled his scent. Butterflies erupted in her stomach as she glanced around his bedroom; it was obviously his sanctuary, and she felt like an outsider there.

“This is it,” he said, keeping his eyes on her as she looked around. He watched with curiosity as she stepped forward and ran her fingertips over the opulent bed covering. How different it was to have someone here with him, in his favorite room in the Manor – he’d only ever allowed his parents and two of his best friends inside this room. It was interesting to see it through her eyes.

“Oh,” she breathed, her attention drawn to the view that his windows provided. She stared out at the Malfoy gardens, her breath catching in her throat at the sight of the brightly colored flowers that caught her eye. “This is lovely.”

He crossed his arms over his chest and reclined against the doorframe, content to simply watch her observe. When she finally moved from the window, she glanced at his bookshelf, then moved to run a finger reverently across the polished oak of his desk, and finally stopped to feel the velvety fabric of the drapes that hung around his four-poster bed. She wasn’t surprised that he had a much more expensive version than the beds that Hogwarts had provided. She’d always secretly wished she’d had one when she’d lived at home.

She stopped at the foot of his bed, wrapping one arm around the oak pillar, and focused her attention on him. “It’s a lovely room. If I were you, I’d never leave it.”

“If you were in it, I probably wouldn’t either,” he drawled. Her heart leapt into her throat. Had that been only a sexual innuendo, or had it maybe been something more?

“I don’t know how you can stand to look at my bedroom, when you’ve got this waiting for you,” she said, surprised at how steady her voice sounded.

He arched an eyebrow at her. “I wasn’t paying attention to your bedroom when I was there - or any other part of your flat, for that matter.”

She didn’t fight the blush that stained her cheeks, and met his gaze, feeling that she understood completely. It was easy to lose track of her surroundings when his hands were on her, and she wondered if he was thinking the same thing about her.

“Thank you for showing me around,” she said softly.

“The tour isn’t over yet.”

“There’s more? Are you going to be able to finish showing me around before dinner?”

He took a step towards her, and the familiar look in his eyes made her knees feel suddenly weak. “Don’t worry – Mother likes to take her meals late in the evening. If we’re not finished by the time dinner is served,” he said, reaching for her, “then she’ll wait.”
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