Title: The Beginning

Email If You Should Wish To Review Or Something Else Thrilling: el_erzulie@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: Harry Potter does not belong to me. I am not JKR, will never be JKR, and will never imagine myself to be JKR.

Rating: PG-13 [Whipped that out my ass, I assure you. If anyone has any idea what this SHOULD be rated, feel free to inform me. *grin*]

Summary: H/D [slash] – Draco POV. Features two lonely boys, and one art project.

Author's Notes: This is written for Arwena on her birthday [*cough* two days later…] for being my lovely beta and friend. *schnoogles* Thanks for everything, and hope you like it.

The gorgeous Evie [phoenixwhitebirch] beta'd this for me – thank you so much. I couldn't have Yo beta her gift, so I'm eternally glad that you agreed to help! *L* Evie's fics can be found at http://www.yearwheel.org/phoenix/HP/index.html. I'm loving Catharsis and I recommend click, click, clicking it.

***

For Yo…

Gold meets creamy white, meets brown, meets hazel, meets black. My paintbrush lingers on her pupil, ensuring a perfect, round circle. Sitting back, I tilt my head to examine the painting.

My mother's eyes gaze back at me, the hazel rings flecked with amber. Her poise speaks of elegance and yet something in the way her eyes don't quite meet mine shows a nervous disposition. However, she looks perfect. Too perfect. There is nothing to add interest, just perfect features, perfect body, perfect hair. Everything a Malfoy should be, I remind myself.

I sigh, running a hand through my hair. The blonde strands fall back against my forehead as I pull my hand away with a frustrated grunt. Streaks of hazy red and brown meet my gaze as I flick my eyes up.

Partially covered canvases lay scattered on my floor, pastel, oil and charcoal figures standing incomplete. At the beginning of this year, which was to be my last at Hogwarts, a new, optional class had been offered - Art. Never before had Hogwarts offered anything of this sort and without thinking I had scrawled my name on the list.

My latest attempt at a portrayal of the human form lies flat on my desk. Every inch of the canvas is splashed with colour, every detail complete. Yet somehow it's missing something. Something to distinguish it from the others, to make it more than a simple portrait.

I rise from my chair, stooping to collect the rejected artworks. My hands, partially covered with paint, leave dirty smudges as I grip them between my fist. Settling back into my chair I peer down at the first one.

Pansy smiles up at me, her white teeth flashing as her fingers twirl a lock of golden brown hair. She looks pretty as usual, but without her usual confidence. Her actions are one of serious self-consciousness, a constant seeking for approval. I sigh and put it to the back of the pile.

The next portrait is black and white, highlighting the stark differences in tone. Charcoal, of course. My favourite. Black is streaked through hair, down the nose and along the strong jawline. It's Blaise's proud face, set in concentration. Still, the portrait is barely passable.

I flick quickly through the others, bypassing Snape's sneer, Goyle's scowl and Dumbledore's infuriating, all-knowing grin. None of them are good enough. I've successfully wasted hours of my time without producing one piece that I actually like.

Deciding I've had enough for tonight I cross to my bathroom, thankful for the fact that Prefects get their own room. My reflection stares steadily back at me from the mirror, disregarding the tired slump of my eyelids. I pinch a red strand between finger and thumb and drag them down it, watching as it becomes taut. Grey eyes peer at each other, before my eyelids fall shut.

With a yawn I step into the shower, turning the knobs until hot, steaming water pounds against my shoulders. It runs in wavering tendrils down my back, pausing to dip into my spine, swirling down my waist.

The water calms me, beating away the day's problems. I lift my head, closing my eyes as the spray caresses my face. It runs down my face, across my forehead, over my cheeks, until it drips onto my bare chest. With each drop of water goes a little red and brown paint, my hair dragged into my eyes with the water's weight.

Spying the soap I grasp it in a fist, then run it over my chest. It lathers, leaving a thin covering of foamy white. I drag it down to my stomach, swirl it in a circle and put it back. With a small yawn I rub my hands over my abdomen, then closer to my sides. Like the water, the soap falls in rivets, sweeping down my thighs, knees, then shins, and finally landing in the small puddle beneath me. After a while the water being pulled down the plug is clear, with no signs of soap or paint.

Too tired for any more of the classic cleaning ritual I mutter a spell to clean my teeth and step out of the shower. My feet meet the plush bathmat, which soon becomes damp. I absently rub my green towel over my face, then my neck, chest, until my body is dry. My hair, still wet, drips onto my shoulders. Quickly getting rid of the droplets I rub my towel through my hair, fingers clenching and straightening.


With the art task in the back of my mind I pull on my boxers and tumble into bed. The mattress sinks, cradling my body, the blanket above forming a cocoon over me. Utterly exhausted I shut my eyes and let my mind rest. My body soon follows.

***

"Draco!"

I bury my head into my pillow, determined to ignore whoever it is.

"DRACO!" Thump, thump. The walls of my room actually shake.

With a frustrated groan I pull my face out of my pillow and drag my bare arms out from under my blanket. The cold air hits them instantly, turning smooth skin into some sort of miniature bubble wrap; identical bumps lying down the length.

"DRACO!"

"I'm up, for fuck's sake!"

The thumps stop.

Dressing quickly I wrench open the door to meet Goyle's blanched face with my own, very-pissed-off face.

"Sorry," he says weakly. "Breakfast ends in fifteen minutes and last time we let you sleep through it…"

He doesn't complete his sentence; he doesn't need to. Let's just say I consider breakfast a vital part of my day.

"That's OK," I say, quite graciously. He smiles nervously at me; hideously large teeth exposed by a slight lift of the upper lip. I try to ignore the loud grumbling of his stomach.

Goyle looks at me, tilting his head. "Are you alright?"

This is exactly why I don't thank people; all I have to do is not get angry and they think something is wrong with me. I can just imagine their reaction if I thanked them for something. I'd be dragged, kicking and screaming, to Dumbledore's office.

As we walk into the hall student's and teacher's heads alike turn to meet mine. Most look away quickly, some going as far as to roll their eyes and whisper something to their neighbour that results in a bout of laughter. I can tell you exactly what they're thinking. They're thinking that this is an attention ploy; arriving fashionably late to get noticed. However, as I come closer there is an undeniable mixture of confusion, apathy and concern. Worst of all, some eyes linger longer than usual.

"Draco?" Pansy asks, as though my identity isn't obvious.

"The one and only," I reply dryly.

With what can also be described as a miffed sniff she turns to speak to Blaise, neglecting to inform me why everyone is acting so odd.

I shovel some scrambled eggs into my mouth, pausing only to add more salt. By now most students have left and I suspect the majority of seventh year Slytherins only remained to find out what was keeping me. If they expected some sordid sex scandal they were left sorely disappointed and completely in the dark. Who knew that the great Draco Malfoy could do something so ordinary as sleeping in? Truly horrifying.

Blaise stands up, brushing a strand of dark hair out of his face. This seems to stir a response as more Slytherins stand to leave. I may be their 'unnamed leader' but they've evidently decided I'm in, and I quote, "one of my moods".

"You coming?" Crabbe grunts, grabbing a piece of toast in his beefy hand.

I shrug apathetically, signaling that I won't Crucio their asses if they leave. As they do, a few glance back, and the usual Slytherin mask slips, showing concern. Again.

Increasingly curious, I sip my orange juice and as I do so realize that I'm the only one in the hall. Empty plates, bowls, cups and cutlery lie discarded and waiting for the House Elves. The four long tables suddenly seem so much larger, as though I'm back in my first year. Back then everything had seemed so much larger. So enchanted, so magical. Special, I suppose.

With a yawn I stand and step over the long bench chairs, a long trained art that still evades a select few. Almost instantly the tables are cleared, as though the House Elves had anxiously been waiting for me to leave.

Unable to avoid my own curiosity I find myself in the boy's bathroom, once more in front of a mirror. I begin to understand the looks; large, purple bruises lay under my eyes, which are shot through with red veins. My hair hangs in messy clumps over my forehead. Perhaps I stayed up later than I thought, because frankly I look hideous.

Realizing that if I take any longer I'll be too late even by Snape's biased standards I make do with splashing some water on my face and running my hands through my hair. It's not much of an improvement, but at least I don't look quite so disturbing.

True to character Snape lets me off with a reprimanding look as I slide into my chair, fifteen minutes late. Scarily enough, he too seems to have noticed my less than ideal appearance.

"You're working with Potter," he says, pointed a long finger to a table at the back. The figure is hunched over, hair spilling erratically over his face. I sigh, making no attempt to my displeasure.

As I arrive at Potter's table his eyes lift, then widen. Perhaps my bathroom trip didn't help all that much.

"Potter," I snap, breaking his trance. "What are we doing?"

He looks almost relived as he begins his spiel; he mightn't like me, but I am the best potions student. His skills, however, aren't at all spectacular. "We're making that shrinking potion he told us about last week. I've chopped the asbaral and rushes but I'm not sure which to add first."

I sigh, looking decidedly bored. I seem to be the only one who reads potions books in the entire class. No one else has gotten past the chopping either. No one is willing to admit to Snape that they don't know what to do. "The asbaral. It has to be left to simmer for three minutes before adding anything. You can't add asbaral straight to anything else or it will cause an explosion. You could add it later, if you left it simmering in something else, but there's no point."

Potter nearly smiles, but seems to remember who I am and stops. Typical. Word spreads from Finnegan, who overheard, and soon all cauldrons are being loaded with asbaral. Even Snape looks relieved. Honestly, the man just can't cope with people who don't enthuse over potions and explaining simple things to them annoys him beyond belief.

After three minutes I pick up the rushes, check the measurements by eye and once satisfied, drop them onto the asparal. Gripping my wand loosely I perform a simple spell that adds more water to the cauldron. Using the wooden stick, laid carefully next to the cauldron, I stir the potion seven times anti-clockwise.

Potter glances down at the book, obviously noticing that I didn't. Once assured that I am doing the right thing he moves down the list and reaches for the green powder. His movements are almost nervous; he's no doubt wondering why I haven't done anything to him yet. Honestly, I can't be bothered. I've noticed that if I make any fast movements my left temple begins to throb.

Once our potion has everything in it we both sit down, having to leave the potion for another three minutes. As I wait my eyes slide to the left and I gain a glimpse of his profile. He sits with both elbows on the desk, one finger tracing old graffiti and the other hand cupping his cheek. His skin, much darker than my own, is clear, bar a few freckles scattered down his arm.

He turns his head slightly, green eyes meeting my own. They narrow slightly before he shakes his head and resumes staring into space. I've noticed that people looking at him really makes him nervous, as though he still hasn't gotten used to his boy wonder status. It makes me wonder about his life before Hogwarts, however frustrating that curiousity is. It's about as frustrating as the fact that my eyes always seem to have a mind of their own when it comes to him. With a sigh I shake my head.

I realize that our potion is bubbling furiously, as it should be, and I reach for the wooden stick. As my fingers reach for it they brush against Potter's, who evidently also noticed that it was time to complete the potion. I drop my hand, uncomfortable with the knowledge that I noticed the texture of his fingers. Very smooth, but hard and almost callused. Worker's hands, so different to my own. I glance down, noting absently that Potter has completed the potion. My fingers are long and slender, as pale as the rest of me. I run my thumb along my fingertips, with are smooth and soft to the touch. There are slightly discoloured parts, determined smudges of black, and fragments of charcoal caught beneath my fingernails. My mother calls them 'Artist's Hands' and I suppose they are.

Snape checks our potion, gives his grudging approval and moves onto the next desk. Class is soon over and I walk out the door without waiting for the others and without looking back. The rest of the day speeds by like this, with me choosing to be alone and everyone else choosing to leave me that way.

I make it to dinner on time, after sleeping through the afternoon. I now look somewhat like my normal self and most of The Looks stop.

"You look better," Pansy observes. Over the years she's become the most daring of all Slytherins when it comes to me. Of course, she's not the most daring of all. That would probably go to Potter, who disregards my heritage and subsequent power entirely. I sometimes wonder if he realizes just how influential the Malfoys are.

I realize I haven't responded to Pansy and quickly do so before she gives me another concerned look. "I was just tired. I slept." End of story.

She accepts it as such, shrugs and bites into a bread roll.

My eyes wander, my mind back on the art project. Pale skin, bronze skin, features both dark and light, all blur together. I'm beginning to realize that I may have to settle on someone, perfect or not. Well, not perfect, as my mother's portrait is just that. I need someone whose imperfections only serve to improve them. Make them real.

"Have you done your art yet?" Millicent queries, looking smug.

"Not yet." There's no need to ask the same of her; from the look on her face she'll tell me regardless.

"I have." I'm such a good judge of character. "Want to see?"

I nod. Do I have a choice?

She hands it over with a maniacal grin. I unravel it, holding it at top and bottom as I examine it. A sick feeling comes into my stomach as I look at it. The disturbing thing is that last year I would have laughed. She obviously expects me to.

The drawing, done in a fine black pen, shows a circle of black robed magicians (guess who?) surrounding a figure with bright green eyes. The green she used in his eyes is brighter than the paper, which is a rather vibrant shade of green. The Death Eaters' wands are all pointed at him. Two words hover over the figures unsaid: Avada Kedavra. He is cowered on the ground, his wand dropped uselessly at his side. Millicent isn't a fantastic artist, but she's good enough that it's obvious who the lone figure is. Harry Potter.

I throw the parchment across the table, striking her in the face. "Are you completely stupid?" I spit out, trying to keep my voice down. "I know several people who would just love to see this. Do you realize how much trouble this could get us into?" She doesn't respond. "A lot of fucking trouble. It's one thing to obviously dislike him, but drawing his death? I obviously grossly over-estimated your intelligence, Bullstrode."

Her eyes have welled up and her lip wobbles as she responds unsteadily. "It's just a joke, I'm not handing that in. You seemed odd this morning so I thought it might cheer you up. I did it in class. I'm sorry, I didn't realize."

I drop my head into my hands, fingertips rubbing circles against my temples. "Did anyone see you?" I ask, somewhat calmly.

She sniffs indignantly. "Of course not. I'm not stupid, Draco."

I raise my eyebrow, this action saying so much more than a few words stringed together. "Well make sure you get rid of it. You know better."

I turn away, disgusted with her and myself. I know there is near to no chance that anyone who shouldn't see the drawing would. She knew that, before I steadfastly changed her mind. Sometimes I wonder what they really think about me. What sort of person gets off on seeing someone being killed? A future Death Eater, I suppose. My complete lack of sleep certainly didn't help my temper either.

The Gryffindor table erupts in laughter and I turn my head to see what's going on. Finnegan is standing on his chair, waving his arms around animatedly. There are tears running down many cheeks and hands clenching stomachs. First years look up quizzically from the far end of the table and grin when they see Finnegan, who is apparently a house favourite. The group of seventh years seated around Seamus are a blur of activity. Except one.

Potter sits between Weasley and Thomas, a smile on his face and an occasional vacant laugh escaping his lips. Everyone is too busy to notice that, out of everyone in hearing range, he is the only one not laughing. At least not really laughing. He seems to be attempting to go unnoticed, his eyes downcast and his teeth occasionally nipping his lower lip. I think there may be a lot of things people never notice about him. They're too busy focusing on who they think he should be instead of who he is. Then again, I've spent the previous six years tormenting him for just that. I snap my eyes away as he reaches to brush his hair back from his face. He does that so often I'm beginning to think it's a nervous habit.

After dinner I retreat to my room, returning to the disarray I created. I have to make a start on my project or I'll never get it done.

The sun has long since sunk in the sky, a faint glow the only sign of its former presence. I light the Wizard's lamp, which flushes the room with a clear, strong light and drives out almost all of the shadows. My desk chair, plush and well worn, is a welcoming haven.

My hands dart over the paper, experimenting with charcoal first, then moving onto pastels. I pick faces out from memory, attempting to find something interesting.

As I pull the green pastel across the page my mind snaps me back to a photo-like image of Potter, the corners of his lips twitched into a smile but his lower lip caught between his teeth. His eyebrows are furrowed, his green eyes obviously hiding something. I shake my head, dispelling the image.

The portrait I'm working on develops gradually, the first year's face scrunched in excitement. Their first day at Hogwarts, the day when your excitement doesn't depend on your history. Nothing can prepare you for finally entering your Wizarding education, nor the buzz of magic that seems to surround the castle.

Still, it's average at best.

I move onto something entirely different; a couple. As much as the whole idea of sappy love disgusts me, there's a part inside everyone that envies that for themselves. To have someone so dedicated to proving their love is surely an ego boost, though many would argue that's not something I need. Obviously not, because being a Malfoy is all I need to place me on a pedestal, built by myself of course. My temple begins to throb, barely helped by the firm circles I rub against it.

The sun has now completely departed, so that when I look out my window the only thing I can see is an inky blackness. There's something so endless with black. Although I can't see anything, I know that there's an entire world behind it. The lack of light is deceiving yet hints at something so much larger than our superficial world.

I stare down at my fingers, which are stained with charcoal. The drawing in front of me is almost mocking; showing me something I know I'll never have. There is openness between the pair, as though anything the other says will be accepted. Not only would my thoughts chase others away, being so different to what they'd imagined, but I would never trust them enough to expose 'the real me'. I don't even trust my own mother, who is probably the person closest to me.

"Incendio," I mutter, my wand poised carefully in front of the parchment. It erupts in a burst of flame, dancing for a moment in the air before a thin sheet of ashes falls in its place.

As I lean back in my chair, thinking about burning the entirety of my previous attempts, a boy with raven hair falling past his eyebrows comes to mind. Once more, I see the image of a lonely Potter, surrounded by people who will never understand him. It's as though I've captured the essence of him and my fingers itch to draw it.

My charcoal pencil lays before me, strewn at an angle and with smudges down its length. It, in itself, is tempting; the charcoal itself so soft, and yet producing such a bold image. Then again, a part of me - a very cautious part - remains apprehensive.

When you draw someone, especially when the focus is entirely on them, you have to really understand the emotions behind what they do. You have to examine their shape, the lines of their body, the tones and the texture. Everything about them has to be investigated, memorized, and put to paper. I don't know if I'm willing to get to know him that well, because if I do I might find that we're more similar than I like to admit.

Disregarding all caution I pick up my charcoal and open my desk drawer, full to the brim of clean parchment. I pull out a piece and lay it flat in front of me. There is no mark on the parchment, just a mass of white waiting to be filled. I shut my eyes, envisaging the captured image.

I lower my pencil, pressing the tip against the parchment before pulling it down. The line extends at his cheek, then retracts to form his chin. I complete the face shape, then fill it with his nose, mouth and finally two very basic eyes, deciding to save those for last. Tilting the charcoal I run it lightly down the side of his face, which is partially captured in shadow. I gradually lessen the pressure as I complete another few lines. I do the same down his nose, gradually bringing the face to life. All the while, the captured image flashes before my eyes.

His shape forms under my fingers, a slight raise for his Adam's apple, the small segment of exposed collarbone capturing the light, the gentle slope of his shoulders visible under the black robe. Soon, he's complete. The table obscures a lot of his body, but most of the expression is captured in his face.

The faces around him are my next focus points, but I apply a much gentler pressure. The result is that your eye is instantly drawn to him, but the situation is obvious. You can see the others' laughter and Seamus' jubilance, just as you can see the somber expression on his face.

Aches in my arm and eyes are the first signs that I've been working on it for hours. It doesn't feel like it at all, but from what I can gather it must be getting quite late. Too late. I don't want a repeat of today, but I can't leave the portrait like this. It's too close to being complete.

I make a few finishing touches before sitting back and examining it. Everything is as it should be, matching the image in my mind. I bite my lower lip between my teeth, examining his figure. It's exact, right down to the freckles on his arm. It worries me that I notice these things about my supposed enemy.

His eyes, lightly sketched, will have to use colour. The fact that Millicent had the same idea makes me cringe a little, but it's such a distinguishing feature. I've never seen any other eyes that are quite so bright.

The eyelashes become darker, framing his eyes. I frown and alter his eyebrows a little; rounding them and making them darker to match the bold strokes of his hair. Finally, I work on the iris and pupil. Once I have the charcoal down I open another drawer and sort through the rummage before finding a green pencil. Although I will have to charm it for it to be the right green it's a lot easier if you start with the same basic colour.

I alter the colour a few times until I'm satisfied that it reflects his eyes perfectly. I run it over the black, skimping past the defined edges, letting the pressure increase and decrease. No eyes are perfect; there is always something odd about them. Harry's have lighter segments through them, which almost gives them the effect of movement.

When I look down at it, complete, I realize that I could never hand it in. It's not that I don't like it, nor do I think it's below my usual quality. Actually, it's one of the best pieces, if not the best I've ever done. The problem is that it's too personal. It's as though in that one moment I ripped his mask off. Showing anyone else would be an ultimate betrayal.

Then again, isn't that what enemies do? Years ago, I would have delighted over it. I would have abused the situation. Abused him. But now? I could never hand this in. I know that. For once, I'm not going to deny that my hate for him has slowly been diminishing. Now, when I look at him, I can see a little part of myself. Just a boy, not the Boy Who Lived. A boy who is crying out for someone to notice him. The real him. As corny as that sounds, I stick by it.

I stumble over to my bed, tearing my eyes from him and leaving the parchment on my desk. I flop onto my bed and stare up at the ceiling. I knew doing the bloody portrait was a bad idea.

***

Miraculously, I wake up on time the next morning without feeling like something rather heavy has been dropped on top of me. The wizard's lamp is still shining, which brings a small smile to my face. My mother had said it was a quality lamp and I guess this proves it. Most would burn out after a few hours.

The rest of the day is a blur, with nothing out of the ordinary. I go to class, I take down notes, I eat and I drink. As I said, nothing out of the ordinary. However, the thought of a certain portrait lying on my desk brings a question to my mind. What am I going to do with it?

My portrait is due tomorrow, but it feels as though all energy has been sapped from me. Everything went into that one portrait. The one that I won't be handing in.

***

Tania, as she demands we call her, looks down at my portrait. With a pensive look she runs a finger lightly down my mother's golden locks before she lifts her chin.

"It's beautiful," she says, her voice lingering.

I stare back, saying nothing that might give her the incentive to say whatever she's thinking.

She's come to know me as a perfectionist, and this clearly does not meet my usual mark. It looks good, but it's really quite useless. I've never liked artworks that didn't say anything and were there purely to look good.

Perhaps she understands that there is more to this story, something much more personal, or perhaps she just gives up, but she doesn't pry any further.

I leave the art class, a little disappointed that I couldn't have produced a better portrait but glad that, in the end, I decided what to do with the other portrait. It's a decision that, as yet, I don't regret.

The afternoon is a golden one; the sun shining strongly, enough to warm the skin without leaving you feeling hot, and essentially pissed off. I head outside, into a ring of trees. Inside the grass is plush and it acts like a mattress under my back as I lie down and shut my eyes.

A small amount of light shines through the leaves, leaving my body dappled in sunlight. I throw a hand over my eyes, blocking them completely. After a few minutes the clearing seems to become cooler and as I draw my hand away from my eyes I realize that the sun is no longer hitting them. I open them marginally, peering through my lashes at the figure that is obscuring the sun.

"Potter."

"Malfoy," he acknowledges in turn, his voice slower than usual.

"What have I done to deserve your holy presence?" I ask, sarcasm laced through the words to disguise my shock and discomfort.

"Why don't you tell me?" He lifts his hand to his hair, tugging on it. He's nervous.

"Excuse me?"

He pulls something for behind his back, clenched in his left fist. Using both hands he unravels it and holds it in front of him.

The portrait. I'm beginning to regret that decision after all.

"And what exactly does that," I nod my head towards the drawing, my face blank, "have to do with me?"

"Well, seeing as your own owl brought this to my room, completely disregarding normal mail etiquette I might mention, I'd say it's a fair bet that you did this."

Under the pretense of scratching my arm I lower my eyes from his, letting my fingers linger as the nails scrape against my skin.

"Malfoy."

My eyes snap up again, clearly aggravated. This wasn't supposed to happen. He wasn't supposed to notice me, like I notice him. He wasn't supposed to know my owl, he wasn't supposed to know I was a part of the art class, and he certainly wasn't meant to put all of this together and find out that I was the idiot who drew it. Yes - idiot. I'm sure I could have put more effort into hiding my identity.

"What?" I snap, standing up and brushing the grass off my legs. "Just say whatever it is you're thinking and piss off." My tone is so angry that even I'm taken back a little. This entire thing is my own fault and that bothers me. I don't make stupid mistakes like these; I should have sent a school owl. No. I shouldn't have sent it at all.

This time it's him who looks away. "I don't know."

"Then you won't mind if I leave," I say, my voice slightly shaken and without its usual composure. As I move to pass him, making every attempt to avoid this situation, he reaches his hand out, wrapping his fingers around my wrist.

The touch causes my breathing to speed up and sends nerves shooting up my arm. The tables turn and suddenly I'm the nervous one.

"Just tell me if you did it. I know it's your owl. I know you're in that art class." At my confused look he explains, "Parvati is in that class. She keeps saying that compared to you, the rest of them are 'bumbling beginners'. I mightn't be an artist, but…" he lets his voice trail away, clearly having said as much as he's willing to. He drops his hand, letting my arm go.

My mind is in turmoil. I'm not quite sure if lying is an option, because it seems like he knows the answer. I stare back at him, completely undecided and caught in a very awkward situation.

"You forgot something though," he says, staring obstinately past my shoulder.

"What?" I raise my eyebrow, tilting my head slightly. I'm sure I didn't; the portrait was perfect.

"Er, you didn't draw my scar." He pushes the portrait into my hands, suddenly returning to his bold, Gryffindor self.

As he said, his scar isn't there. After looking at it for so long, I never noticed. I never even thought of putting it in. So much for the perfect portrait. I reach into my pocket, finding a discarded pencil.

"Awfully sorry," I mutter sarcastically, adjusting the parchment so that it lies against my left palm. I lower my right hand, and peer at his scar.

Before I can draw it in, he snatches it from my hands. "That's not why I showed you."

"They why did you?" I find myself becoming increasingly annoyed, unable to handle this sort of confrontation. Our relationship used to be so easy; I'd taunt him, he would get angry, I would get angry, and a fight would ensue.

He takes a deep breath, then speaks. "I've had people draw me before. Colin, mostly. My scar was always the focus; the first thing you saw. It was vivid red, and practically covered half my face."

I scrunch my nose.

He sighs, clearly aggravated that he'll have to say it, seeing I have no idea what he's talking about. "You didn't even realize it wasn't there. Do you know how…" he pauses, searching for the word, "bizarre that is for me? People think Harry Potter, they think Large Ugly Scar."

I shrug. "It was a stupid mistake; that's all."

He shakes his head. "Why did you draw me?"

How many questions does he have? "For art." I look at him innocently.

"That's not what I meant," he replies, eyes narrowed.

With a sigh, I plunge into trying to describe something even I don't understand. "To be honest, I'm not sure. I didn't plan it. I just saw you, and I tried to draw other things, but the image wouldn't go away."

He nods. "It was my Mother's birthday."

I stare back at him, wondering why he's voluntarily telling me this.

"I know you probably won't understand, but I can barely remember her, or my dad. Days like that make me wonder how different everything would be if they were alive." He smiles softly, a sadness entering his eyes. "But that's not the point."

"Then what is?"

He bites his lip and steps closer. A single ebony lock falls across his forehead, but he doesn't pull it back. Instead, he reaches a hand towards my face and touches his fingertips to my cheek, running them down to my jaw. He draws his fingers back, watching my reaction with large, unwavering eyes.

If my breathing sped before, it has completely stopped now. Still not sure exactly what I want from him, I don't pull away.

His eyebrows draw down, giving him a determined look, as though a decision has been made.

"This," he says, before pressing his lips against my own.

As he moves his lips against mine, I realize exactly what I want. I respond, my lips bolder than his own. They move to capture his lower lip, sucking it before I let my teeth lightly graze over it.

Well, I'm not one to do things half-heartedly.

He moans against my mouth, the vibrations clear and exhilarating. His hands have locked behind my neck, pulling me closer. My own arms are wound around his waist, holding onto him. In a way, I'm making sure he doesn't leave. A large part of me has completely left the realm of logic, too shell-shocked to determine whether this is actually happening.

Eventually, he pulls away. Puffs of hot air ghost across my lips as he draws air in through open, gasping lips. As I catch a glimpse of them, red and thoroughly assaulted, I can't stop the smirk that spreads across my face.

"What was that?" I ask, eyes fixated on his lips.

He speaks the two truest and simplest words possible.

"The beginning."

Owaru!

***

"I'm finished!" ^_^ For good, too, so nobody ask me where the middle and end are or thee shall forever be labeled a smart arse. *L* Anyway, the usual plea of "please review", or I'll grin maniacally at you until you're disturbed enough to do so. Smooch!