Summary:Draco thought her lips were pink and delicate and even as he kissed her arm and hand. He knew that come hell or high water, or even torrential rain, he would taste those pink, rosebud lips before the day was done. Her lips really did remind him of a rose… pink, slightly open, engaging and delicate. He was sure they were just as sweet. The old adage about a rose by any other name and all that rubbish came to mind, but it left his brain just as easily as it came when he answered the call to kiss her by placing his lips next to hers and pressing down gently.
A Rose by Any Other Name
The sun started to hide behind dark ominous clouds as rain began to trickle down on the small gazebo where Hermione Granger was hiding. She was reading under a tree, but then thunder struck, and lightening followed, and she sought the only safety that this small Muggle park offered: a wooden gazebo, complete with a concrete block floor, a metal roof, and a wooden bench in the middle.
When it rained like this, some people called it a nice summer shower. Other people called it a heavy deluge. Hermione called it a torrential downpour that showed little signs of stopping. Splashes of water bounced off the puddles already forming on the ground and she decided that the heavy summer shower was a tell-tale sign of one sure thing. It didn't matter what a person called something - for no matter what, Hermione was still going to get wet once she stepped off the platform of her little wooden edifice down to the ground below her.
Much to Hermione Granger's surprise, a familiar man ran toward the same little wooden covering as soon as the sky darkened and the first raindrops fell from the dark clouds above. Draco Malfoy was walking around the circular, semi-enclosed structure of the gazebo, his hand out to catch the rain, and he wasn't uttering a single word to her. Instead, he was quietly studying her calm consternation and of course, the rain.
Why Draco did all of that, Hermione was trying to figure out? Why Draco Malfoy was in this Muggle park, in this rainstorm, and in the gazebo, in the first place, was another thing all together. Taken on a whole all of it was odd. All of it left Hermione wondering... why?
Beads of condensation were beginning to form on Hermione's arms. The air outside the building was cooler than the stagnant air inside, even though the building was mostly open-aired windows. A thin layer of fog lay lightly on the ground and Hermione cursed the fact that she couldn't Disapparate away as soon as the midst turned into something resembling the large raindrops that were now dinging the tin roof and wooden railings. However, she couldn't risk having a Muggle see her 'disappear', hence her current predicament.
Hence the reason she was here. Now… why was HE here?
She moved to sit on a bench in the middle of the large gazebo and sighed loudly enough for Draco to hear her. Really, why was he here? She didn't want to know why he was just here in this park. Why was he here in this gazebo? Furthermore, why hadn't he left when the rain started? As if he was about to answer her silent musings he walked toward her, slipped off his jacket, placed it on the seat beside her, but then moved toward the rain-soaked entrance to stare up at the sky.
She didn't want to be caught staring at him, so with the toe of her shoe she began to draw designs on the hard concrete floor with the puddles of splashing water, taking great care with their designs and oblivious (or so she wanted him to believe), to his returning stare, which had moved from the sky above to her as an alternative.
Draco expelled a long breath. His chest clinched, and he placed a hand up to his throat, because he felt as if he could barely breathe in the humidity of the enclosed space. He wanted this woman before him, but she didn't even know it. She never noticed him. The thought of her sent heat to his soul – enough heat that he could surely stop the rain if he tried. He wanted her with a passion and a promise that he dare not admit aloud to anyone, not even himself. Watching her, he noticed that she had her head bowed, in deep thought, or silent prayer. Smiling, he realized his mistake. It was neither. Her head was bent because she was dragging her foot through streams of water on the concrete floor. He took a step closer, then another step closer still, and she lifted her gaze to his.
Then she looked away.
Would she think it was odd that he had followed her here today? Perhaps she wouldn't notice. Perhaps she would think it was a random meeting. Did she feel the things that he felt? Did she harbor the secrets passions, hopes, and dreams that he harbored deep inside his soul. Did they wait to burst free from her, feeling as if they might burst from her heart every time he was near just as surely as the rain burst free from the clouds this afternoon? He turned back away from her, looked out at the rainy landscape and cursed every romantic notion from his head. Of course, she didn't feel that way about him.
She didn't feel real and actual loss every time she parted from him.
She didn't feel anguish and pain every time she knew she wouldn't see him for more than a day, a week, a month.
She didn't worry about what he would think, what he would say, what he would do when she saw him again. She wasn't a lovesick fool… no, that was only him.
He looked back up and she was staring right at him. What did that mean? Walking back over to the bench, he noticed how quickly she averted her eyes when he pretended to look for something in the pocket of his jacket.
Why the pretense? He could Disapparate away anytime he wanted! There weren't any Muggles around. Wait. So could she, which begged the question – why was she still here? Realizing how utterly stupid and highly improper it was, he pushed his jacket to the floor, sat down beside her, and reached for her hand.
Now what would she do?
Hermione's hand fit perfectly in his. There was a fine layer of mist on her skin from the air and it hung on the small hairs on her arms. Dropping his head to look closely at her arm as he held her hand, he was transfixed by each small droplet of water on each tiny single hair.
She remained as still and steady as she could, not daring to move, her arm in his hand. It seemed too improper and unlikely that Draco Malfoy should want to even touch her in any way, let alone hold her hand. Without moving her head, she spied him with her eyes, moving them to the right.
His eyes were closed, but he kept her hand in his. In fact, he arranged her hand so that it was encased firmly in both of his hands now. She swallowed hard, and realized she no longer cared how things looked. Realizing her breathing was beginning to become rapid, she opened her mouth to speak, but before she could speak, he raised her hand to his mouth and kissed her wrist.
Right at the pulse point.
She found that very interesting and highly passionate.
He placed a small, gentle, guileless kiss to the inside of her wrist. His lips then moved effortlessly up the inside her of arm. She closed her eyes so she could concentrate on the wonderful feeling it beckoned deep inside her. With her eyes closed, she realized she could only hear the ping, ping, ping of the rain as it splatter on the tin roof, and the gentle breathing of the man beside her.
And he continued to kiss her arm. He placed a soul-searing kiss to the inside crook of her arm and she felt lightheaded to the extreme of wanting to swoon. Moving a tad closer beside her, he placed his right arm behind her back, kept her left hand in his and placed another kiss on her arm, this one near her shoulder.
She was aware of making some sort of noise, be it a groan or a moan, but either way it must have been his undoing, because he stood suddenly and pulled her up with both hands. She stumbled into his chest, her eyes opening abruptly, and she stared up into his eyes, her hands going to his chest, her fingers bunching into the wet fabric of his shirt.
Wrapping his left arm around her waist tightly, he brought her left hand up to his mouth with his right hand and kissed her palm, dropped it, then kissed her cheek, in one, almost seamless movement.
Draco thought her lips were pink and delicate and even as he kissed her arm and hand (and who would have thought she would have let him?), he knew that come hell or high water, or even torrential rain, he would taste those pink, rosebud lips before the day was done. Her lips really did remind him of a rose… pink, slightly open, engaging and delicate. He was sure they were just as sweet. The old adage about a rose by any other name and all that rubbish came to mind, but it left his brain just as easily as it came when he answered the call to kiss her by placing his lips next to hers and pressing down gently.
He kissed her briefly, opening his eyes, and staring into hers. Cupping his face with her hands, her supple fingers crawling up his face to frame it gently, she touched the wing of one eyebrow, and then the soft skin over one eyelid, before she leaned closer, closed her eyes, and with a silent plea asked him to kiss her again.
Of course, he replied with a yes. Moving his fingers down her cheek, then her neck, he reached for her hand, brought it back to his mouth, placed another kiss there, before he turned back to her beautiful mouth to place another longing and lingering kiss there.
With a shaky breath, she placed her head on his chest and stared out at the rain. He stroked her long dark hair, twining it near the end around his index finger. Perhaps it wasn't raining, he thought carelessly. Perhaps he had died and gone to heaven, if such a place existed, and if such a place admitted people like him, for surely this wasn't real.
"Everyone left when it started to rain," she finally said.
"Yes," he agreed. "When it started to rain everyone left."
"You didn't leave," she whispered.
"Neither did you," he remarked, still holding her in his arms.
"I didn't have anywhere else I wanted to be," she admitted.
"Nor I," he agreed.
Moving somewhat to squint up at him with one eye, she said, "Really?"
He leaned down slightly, kissed her gently on her neck as his answer, and then said, "The rain has stopped. Shall we go someplace a bit more private?"
Hermione turned in his arm and looked out of the hazy sky as the sun slowly forced its way through the dark clouds. Feeling a mixture of melancholy and romance, she hooked her hand in his and said, "I think I might be persuaded to follow you anywhere, Malfoy."
He laughed and said, "Don't say things you don't mean."
"I mean everything I say," she promised.
He smiled at her, reached for his jacket, placed it around her shoulders, and then pulled her away from the gazebo, just as the rain gently started to fall once more.