Greetings, my dearies! It's been a long time, eh? Well, here's the next part of the story, enjoy! Many thanks to my reviewers, especially shadowofadoubt72 and Astronema! Wanted to tell you that without you, this story would've been taken down, no questions asked.

Well, once again, this story was written with you two in mind J And yeah, Harry will have a good ending.

Pwomise.

Drusilla was furious. More than furious, actually, because if she'd ever stopped to analyse the sudden wave of emotions that swept through her with the force of a tidal wave, the feeling of betrayal and helplessness was more overpowering than fury. But then again, she decided that she didn't want to think about it anymore. It was like a scene out of a Muggle horror movie. Well, hers, anyway. To see the boy she loved swallowing another girl's tonsils in front of the entire world.

And she, unable to do a single damned thing about it. Not a thing.

After all, she wasn't his girlfriend. What they had together was lust. And that did not constitute as grounds for a relationship. She loved him, well, at least she thought she did, but what mattered was whether he loved her back or not. But even as she considered it, absurdity came to mind. A Gryffindor and a Slytherin? Ironies of ironies. Her friends would surely die of shock if they found out.

Harry said nothing as they entered the Great Hall. They were just in time for dinner, and many of the students who had gone to Hogsmeade had returned, chatting gaily among themselves and comparing little trinkets they'd bought at respective shops earlier. He glanced again at the silent girl beside him, and saw that despite her expressionless features, something unreadable and intense was obvious in her eyes. Not for the first time, he wondered at the change that came over her so suddenly. She'd fled out of the Three Broomsticks as fast as her legs could carry her, and he could have sworn that he saw her wiping a stray tear from her eye. Harry was dying to ask her what was wrong, and what happened to change her demeanor so drastically, but thought better of it upon reflection. It was better to not pry when Drusilla was clearly already not in a good mood; he could always ask her later when she was feeling better.

"Come on, I see Ron and Hermione," Harry spoke, and headed towards the pair. Hermione was once again buried in her books, while Ron was gleefully looking through his bag of purchases. Drusilla followed him soundlessly.

"Hi, you two. About time already." Ron flashed them a smile as Hermione simply nodded a greeting to the two of them before going back to her book. "Want to see what I got?"

Drusilla stared at her plate, not saying anything. Sensing something was wrong, Ron looked to Harry quizzically, and the latter shrugged, raising his eyebrows.

"Are you quite all right, Dru?" he ventured. "You look a little pale."

"I'm fine."

Harry shot him a warning glance, and he wisely left her alone after that. After that, the two boys had engrossed themselves in their purchases, and it was just then that Drusilla realized she'd left her things back at the Three Broomsticks! She'd been so upset that she'd clean forgotten about them until now. With a mental groan, she noted that fifteen Galleons of things she'd bought—some basic necessities, too—were gone. And that blackened her mood further. It seemed like when bad luck arrived, it arrived in an army.

But she was pulled out of her bleak thoughts when she heard Hermione's sudden outburst.

"Can't you two keep the peace and quiet for a while?! Shut up about the stupid Cannons already!!" she almost screeched, and Drusilla realized that Harry and Ron had been engaged in a very animated discussion about Quidditch and the Chudley Cannons. Obviously, their discussion had grated her nerves, and even Drusilla knew how to stay out of Hermione's way when she was studying in the Great Hall, a sure sign of desperation since she normally did her studying in the library or the Common Room. Woe to anyone who pisses her off here.

Looking up, momentarily distracted, she watched as Ron's face flushed scarlet. Hermione had never directly insulted his favorite Quidditch team before, and he was shocked and appalled.

"'Mione, what in the blazes are you saying?!"

"I'm saying that you can take your argument somewhere ELSE! Can't you see that I'm studying? I've had enough of this rubbish!" By now, most of the Gryffindors were already glancing curiously in their direction, wondering what the sudden outburst was all about. Hermione looked seriously close to breaking down, while Ron simply looked angry. No one had ever insulted his beloved team before, much less Hermione, his own girlfriend.

"They are NOT rubbish, Hermione! Just because you're—"

"Well, they are, to me! You can shove those stupid teams where they belong! I've bloody had enough of you going on and on about them!" With that, she grabbed her books and fled out of the Hall. Drusilla stared after her, then at Ron, whose face was still flushed with angry bewilderment.

"WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!?" Ron bellowed at the spectators.

The Gryffindors, and the other tables in general, began looking away and going back to their own conversations after awhile, albeit soft snickers could be heard at the Slytherin table.

Never thought I'd see the day where there'd be trouble in Rosy Love land. Drusilla thought, returning to her food. But then again, the path to true love isn't always smooth and all that. She was a living example.

Already she could hear Harry speaking to him in low tones, most likely asking him to give Hermione some space and leave her alone. Or something. She wasn't too interested in that fight at the moment.

Suddenly the bite of pudding she had put in her mouth tasted like cardboard, and she had an urge to go and visit Hagrid. For some reason or another, being around Hagrid and his crazy pet-monsters while she was troubled seemed to have a soothing effect on her. Maybe it was because she was the only one beside the friendly half-giant that his pets really loved. As usual, her affinity with animals was an Elven thing.

Rising from her seat, she flashed a faint smile at Harry before heading for the doors. Maybe being with Buckbeak today would do her good.

***

It was cold outside, and the sun had already set. Regretting that she didn't wear warmer clothes, she trotted quickly towards the familiar hut. Her heart sank a little when she realized that Hagrid wasn't in, but felt happy again when she saw Buckbeak moving around behind the small house; he'd gotten too big to be let inside, apparently.

The giant animal saw her approaching, and tossed its head in approval, snorting its welcome. He was always glad to see the Elf-girl.

Drusilla made her way to him and stroked its strong neck, offering it the apple she'd snitched from the table earlier. Buckbeak crunched into it enthusiastically and nuzzled her when he swallowed it.

Drusilla stroked the beast lovingly as it moved closer against her, sensing her chill. "How are you, melamin?" she whispered softly. "Ta'an coiasira amin elee lle. Lle an ten'amin?" It's been a long time since I've seen you. Do you miss me?

Buckbeak snorted again and made a curious growling sound at the back of his throat. Drusilla smiled; it meant that he was pleased. She stroked its neck slowly, sighing as she sat down. Buckbeak settled down beside her, realizing that his friend was troubled. He snorted again, and Drusilla understood what it meant.

"Uma, mela. Amin rashwe adome, aminirma coiasira'ereb." Yes, love. I'm troubled tonight, I need some time away from everyone.

It was true. Maybe all she needed was some time to think. Hugging her knees close to her chest, she leaned against the Hippogriff beside her and sighed once more, looking up. It was a surprisingly clear night, and the stars twinkled overhead beautifully like diamonds against black velvet. They seemed so peaceful and so high up there, and for a moment, she didn't feel so alone.

"Tira tingilinde, mela? Ronea vanima'adome." See the stars, love? They're beautiful tonight.

The Hippogriff, bored and annoyed by the fact that she hadn't paid as much attention to him as she should, tugged peevishly on her robes and harrumphed. "Mani na taa?" What is it?

He glared at her and snorted once more, and she got the message. She giggled and rubbed his snout before laying a soft kiss on it. If there was one animal who could wholly take her mind off things, it was the bark-worse-than-his-bite Hippogriff. "Silly Beaky," she laughed softly, then wound her arms around the giant creature in a bid to hug it. Strange how Buckbeak only allowed her and Hagrid to embrace him so. "Lle sinta amin mela lle." You know I love you.

It was then that she remembered an Elven song, sung to her as a lullaby all too long ago when she was just a child. An very beautiful Elf who had tried to take her away from her evil mother to somewhere safe had sung it to her before she had been attacked, ambushed by Orcs. She had sung of stars, and till now, she had still not forgotten the words as they flowed back to her once more.

O mor henion i dhu

Ely siriar, el sila

Tiro! El eria e mor

I 'lir en el luitha uren

Ai! Aniron…

Buckbeak grunted softly next to her, enchanted by the song, too, as the song washed over them, calm and soothing in its wonders. And for the time being, she was happy, lost in her own world of dreams and misty beauty.

***

It was already almost nine when she finally ventured back into the castle, and by then almost all the students were already in their respective common rooms. The corridors were silent, save for the gentle crackling of the fires that were perched on the walls, throwing shadows about the place. It would almost be eerie if Drusilla paid any attention to where she was going. It was as if coming back to the school brought back memories of Draco kissing Pansy crashing down on her once again.

Well, it's about time I should deal with it, she thought to herself. The question is, how? I don't even know what I'm going to do, much less say.

"Drusilla."

The voice was smooth, calm, and measured, and she immediately knew who it was. Her stomach clenching as anger seeped into her once more, she whirled around. Draco Malfoy was leaning against the wall behind her, his face expressionless, but his gray eyes were intense.

Very intense.

Well, that's it, she thought, her breath catching, despite herself. He's come to tell me that he prefers Pansy Parkinson, after all. Instead of dread, though, all she felt was anger. No one ever took advantage of Drusilla Fontaine and walked away unscathed. Not even Draco Malfoy. When she next spoke, she made her voice steely. "Malfoy." She could almost swear that she saw him flinch. But then again, he was a Malfoy. Malfoys weren't really supposed to feel. Were they? What about that time when Draco looked so vulnerable? It so wasn't an act…

Telling that annoying little voice to go to hell—she wasn't about to cut Malfoy any more slack, not after what she'd witnessed. Draco KNEW she would be there!—she crossed her arms over her chest as her eyes met with his own. He took a step forward, and she took one back.

Surprise flashed across slate-gray eyes, but was quickly mastered. Drusilla felt a tinge of hurt; he was back to old Malfoy again. But then again, why should she care? For all she knew, the "new" Malfoy had been an act after all, and this was his true self.

"I didn't know we regressed to a last name basis, Drusilla." he said smoothly, giving none of his feelings away, although inside—he wasn't ready to admit it to himself yet—he was hurt at her cold attitude. Here he was trying to explain things and the stubborn little chit wasn't making things easier for him.

How would you like it if you saw her making out with Potter in the Three Broomsticks? A snide voice asked him. You'd react even worse than her.

With a shock, he realized that it was somewhat true, to say the least. For the millionth time, Draco regretted not offing Parkinson when he had the chance. It was all her bloody fault he was in this mess.

"This is the Gryffindor corridor, Malfoy." She said coldly, her eyes, now an icy sapphire, seemed to bore through him. "I'd suggest you leave. Now."

"No." he met her gaze straight on. Despite herself, he could see that she was very upset about everything.

"Fine." She spun on her heel to walk away. She didn't need this. Not now. Not ever. But then again, people in Hell want ice water too, doesn't mean they're gonna get it.

But before she knew what was happening, she was already off balance and collapsing roughly against his broad chest. The pleasant smell of his cologne attacked her senses almost immediately, bringing back memories of when he was kissing her. Angered at the sudden invasion of her personal space, she fought against him, but Draco was strong.

His arms were wrapped around her like iron vices, pressing her tightly against his hard body, so much so that she couldn't breathe. "Let go of me!" She pushed against him again, determined not to fall under his spell once more. She had already done so more than once, and she hated herself for it. Maybe after a while she'd fall for him all over again, but not now. Her pride would not allow herself to.

"Not until you hear me out."

"What's there to hear?" She snapped, almost going breathless at the lack of oxygen. "You kissed her! And I can't breathe, let go of me!"

He relaxed his grip on her, but did not release her totally. She glared up at him, trying valiantly not to think about how exquisite he looked up close. "What part of 'let go of me' do you not understand?!"

He looked down at her, an amused light in his slate gray eyes. "I distinctly remember saying 'Not until you hear me out'. I only relaxed so you don't suffocate." He drawled. Anger clenched in her stomach. How dare he still stay so cool after what he'd done to her?

"You've got five minutes."

His lips curled into a smirk. It was actually fun toying with her, and she was so particularly lovely when fire blazed in her eyes. It made him wonder what that fire of passion could really do when he actually ravished her. A Malfoy would always be a Malfoy, after all. He had to keep up his image; already he knew that he was vulnerable by coming specially to see her and make things clear, and he didn't want her to know that she had a hold on him. "Did anyone tell you how beautiful you look when you're furious?"

"Did I say five minutes? I meant five seconds." She looked even more furious. "Now get your hands off me or I'll scream."

His arms locked around her, and he looked down at her, the smile fading. "Listen to me, Dru. She's my girlfriend."

At those damnable words, she burst out of his grasp and shoved him away with a burst of energy she never knew she possessed, fire roaring in her ears. He came here just to tell her that? "Is that what you fucking want to tell me?!" Her voice rose shrilly, and in that moment, she didn't care who heard her. This bastard made out with her and had the fucking guts to tell her that Pansy was his girlfriend?!

"Will you keep it down?" his eyes were narrowed. "Do you want anyone else to know?"

"I don't care," she snapped angrily. How dare he use her that way! Shame and betrayal rose within her. To think that she actually trusted him, and he could tell her that without batting an eyelid? "I've heard enough."

"Not bloody enough!" he lost it at once and grabbed her shoulders, shaking her roughly. Dammit, why couldn't she give him a chance to explain himself?

"Then tell me, Draco," her gaze was openly challenging now. "Do you love me? Have you ever loved me?"

He stood stock still, stunned at the question. It was one question he had always asked himself, and had always deemed the answer unspeakable, simply because something like that never happened to him. It had never happened to a Malfoy before. "What?"

"Do you love me?" she repeated herself, searching his eyes for the answer.

The word 'yes' died on his lips. A Malfoy had never, ever said "I love you" and meant it, because those three words were always lies. He had told enough girls that to detest that simple phrase, and here Drusilla was, needing to hear those words. The words he could never give her, because he was afraid that once he said it, she would be just like them, a nameless, faceless entity that he'd used and thrown away. No, he couldn't demean her, bring her down to the level of the sluts who'd bedded him. No, she was worth so much more than that to him…

Apparently, she misread his reaction, and it killed him to see the pain and betrayal on her beautiful face. Say it, dammit! He wanted to force himself to speak, but nothing came out. Nothing would.

Her heart shattering upon his silence, she fought once more to twist out of his grasp, her eyes lidded and closed off from him. "Let me go, Draco. I've had enough of this."

"Never. Dammit, Dru, I have to tell you—"

That punch came out from nowhere. Pain exploded in his jaw, sending his face flying to the left. She took a few steps away from him, furious. Apparently, she had found the leverage to punch him. "Touch me, Malfoy, and that hand will never touch anything else again. And you can keep those stupid white roses, they make me sick."

Someone could have knocked Draco over with a feather. What? He blinked, confused. But already he could see Drusilla fleeing down the hallway, and all he could say was, "What white roses?"

***

Pansy was reclining luxuriantly on her favorite armchair in front of the fire in the Slytherin Common Room when Draco entered, in a very foul mood. Already jealousy was overcrowding his senses. He couldn't help but mull over who the stupid git was who sent her roses. Did the sod sent her one? One dozen?

Definitely more than one, he decided. She said 'roses'. But who could it possibly be?

His eyes narrowed as his brain already found the answer. Potter, he thought, his fists clenched under his cloak. You stinking git.

Absently, his hand flew to his jaw, which was still throbbing. By Merlin, that girl could pack a punch. Who knew?

"You little girlfriend did that to you?" Pansy's seductive voice wafted over to him. She was dressed in a barely-there nightdress, exposing all her generous curves. When Draco's eyes met with her, his gaze was nothing short of murderous.

"This is none of your business, Parkinson."

"You know, darling," she started to get up, sashaying towards him. "You've still got me."

His eyes were icy cold. "I don't want to have a dead fish for company, thank you."

Her eyes shifted into a molten glare. "You know I can make life very difficult for you."

He looked at her derisively and chuckled. "Who do you honestly think you are?"

"You know I can." She refused to back down.

He smiled, a predator's smirk. "Can you, Parkinson? Haven't you learnt anything at all?"

"You're all talk," she sneered. "All bullshit, and you know it."

"Trust me, you don't want to see me when I act," his voice was silkily menacing, but Pansy involuntarily started back a little as he grabbed her chin in his hand and lowered his face to hers. "I've learnt a lot from my bastard father. When I bury someone, they stay buried. Mess with me and Drusilla and you will be tasting my wrath. I will promise you this."

With that, he pushed her roughly away, sending her stumbling back into her armchair as he swept away from the room, eager to be alone.

***

Bloody hell, Drusilla, was all he thought as he slammed the door to his room. Why won't you fucking listen?

His frustration had already reached the boiling point and was ready to spill over. She'd hit him before he could fully explain himself, explain that Pansy Parkinson was, in all essences, still officially his girlfriend until he dumped her first thing tomorrow, and he had seriously not wanted Pansy to know that there was anything between him and Drusilla. And bloody hell, he'd forgotten that she was going to be at the Three Broomsticks at the same time!

Come and lay right on my bed, sit and drink some wine

I'll try not to make you cry

And if you get inside my head, then you'd understand

Then you'd understand me

But damn his Malfoy pride, he'd always withheld what he really meant to say, and it'd made things worse. All he had wanted to do was take her in his arms and kiss her senseless, then, in his own way, reassure her that the only person he'd ever love was her…

Wait a minute, he thought, stiffening. The only person I'd ever love? Malfoys didn't love; they didn't have the capacity to. Love was something a Slytherin never did, much less a Malfoy. Because Love took into account the other party's feelings, something that he had always found appalling, and put it before self. How could he even manage to do something like that? He'd had years of people falling all over themselves to try to please him in every way possible, and didn't even have to lift a finger to try to change what other people thought of him. He simply didn't care. Love cared.

Love was one thing his father had taught him expressly not to do. Malfoys did not love. They took, they schemed, they pillaged, burned, killed, to get what they wanted.

I see, I want, I take, I have, I forget was something that was ingrained in him from the beginning, and he had already seen it as a way of life. But why, why of all people did Drusilla always managed to worm her way into his heart, under his skin, and blind him so that he only had eyes for her? Why was it that everything that had once seemed impossible for him happened when he was with her? Why couldn't he let her go and push her out of his thoughts for once?

Why I've felt so alone, why I kept myself from love

And you became my favorite drug

So let me take you right now and swallow you down

I need you inside

Frustrated with himself, he slammed a hand against the wall. He'd been through this already, and seriously, it was proving to be one hell of a headache. Apparently, his sodding heart had a mind of its own and did not even bother to take into account what his mind seemed to be yelling at him.

He smiled bitterly. Why did he even bother, anyway? She refused to listen to him at all and then had the gall to punch him. He could do without crazed women like that.

But then again, Drusilla Fontaine isn't any other woman, is she? A voice whispered in his mind. Is she?

Damn, what was wrong with him? Why was he even willingly sucked into the maelstrom of trouble and headache he was very sure Drusilla would cause? What drew him to her, time and again? Why did he even care? He had his fun with her, however short, and by all means, it was supposed to be over, but…

Do you think that this is right, or is it really wrong

I know that this is what we've been wanting

And all this burning in my soul, it fills up to my throat

It fills up till my heart is breaking

Now we can both learn

Somehow, you'll see it's all we have

Love, it keeps us together

And I need love

But why was he even more obsessed with her now, more than ever? Why had he had the unpleasant sensation of ripping pain when she fled away from him?

It all bored down to down answer, an answer he was not ready—no, didn't want to— accept. No, not at all.

The answer was Love.

He loved her.

It wasn't a simple game anymore. He had known that he couldn't simply extricate himself from her, but had held on to the confidence that somehow, he just would, but now, that confidence was dashed. The realization that he loved her had been hovering just out of reach for days now, but now, in the silence and coldness of his room, it was when that simple fact truly crashed down on him.

What have I gotten myself into?

When I wake up without you, knowing you're not there

I'm only feeling half as good

Well, I'm gonna find a way

To wrap you in my arms, you make me feel alive.

***

That was it, she could sleep, try as she might.

After the first hour of tossing and turning, and the occasional sting of her knuckles—damn, it hurt! Was Draco's face made of steel?—it was blatantly obvious that she would not find peace tonight. Throwing her covers off peevishly, she swung her legs over her bed and stuffed her feet into downy rabbit slippers. Might as well go to the Common Room, she thought, heading out of the door. Staying in the room for one minute more would make her scream, since her damnable conscience was so busy nagging at her about that punch. The phrase 'He deserved it' was already long overused. But then again, she was angry, he was using her, and so he had it coming.

It's easier to run

Replacing this pain with something numb

It's so much easier to go

Than face this pain here all alone

But he wanted to say more to me, she thought fleetingly, unable to help her innate curiosity. I wonder what he was about to say. She dismissed that thought the next minute. He most likely was going to elaborate on how he enjoyed using her or something.

But what if he wanted to tell me something else? A small voice at the back of her mind asked. He did say that she kissed him, after all.

Something has been taken from deep inside of me

A secret I've kept locked away

No one can ever see

Wounds so deep they never show

They never go away

As soon as that thought materialized, she rolled her eyes and scoffed at her own naivete. I seriously need to get a grip. She thought to herself, frustrated at her inability to grasp the cold, hard fact that no matter how she tried, she simply couldn't bring herself to not care about him.

Not to love him.

Sometimes I think of letting go

And never looking back

And never moving forward so there would never be a past

Just washing it aside

All of the helplessness inside

Pretending I don't feel misplaced

Yes, she hated him now, but she loved him more. It was as if her bloody heart had a mind of its own. All in all, it was very irritating. What the hell was wrong with her?

If I could change I would

Take back the pain I would

Retrace every wrong move I made I would

If I could stand up and take the blame I would

If I could take all the shame to the grave I would

Bringing back these memories I wish I didn't have

It's so much simpler than change

It's easier to run

Replacing this pain with something numb

It's so much easier to go

Than face this pain all alone

Padding towards the warmth of the Gryffindor Common Room, she was happy to see that the fire was still blazing, and surprised to see an all-too-familiar figure hunched in an armchair in front of her, his head bent over his homework, and the quick movements of his quill. She smiled, already feeling her heart warm up. Everything was always all right when Harry was around, no matter how bad things got.

"Harry?" she called softly.

He jumped in his seat and looked up at her, frowning slightly. "Dru? What are you doing up?"

She gave him a small smile as she sank into the soft armchair opposite his own. "Can't sleep."

He waited expectantly for the explanation, but none came, and he inclined his head slightly with a smile, respecting her privacy. "Do you want me to head down to the kitchens to get some warm milk for you?"

"No, it's quite all right." She replied, touched by his concern. "I don't like milk much." She glanced at the parchments on his lap. "What homework are you rushing for?"

"McGonagall's Transfiguration essay,"

She frowned. "But it's not due until two weeks later." She suddenly looked horrified. "She moved the date forward?"

"Relax, Dru." He grinned, amused. "I just wanted to get a headstart on this since I can't sleep tonight."

"Wow, being around Hermione is definitely rubbing off on you."

"Hey, I've got nothing to do. Might as well start on it."

"True," she conceded, as she slouched deeper in her seat, propping her feet on the table before her. "Well, go ahead, don't let me disturb you." She angled her feet so that it seemed like the fuzzy bunnies at the end of her slippers were conversing with each other.

Harry looked at her intently, seemingly able to see through her. She looked at him quizzically. "What?"

"Do you need someone to talk to?" he started to put his work away. "Because if you wanted, I could—"

Talk was the very last thing she felt like doing. Besides, what could she probably tell him? That she had a few illicit rendezvous sessions with one Draco Malfoy, his biggest nemesis in the whole of Hogwarts? She waved a hand. "No, it's okay. I just need the quiet. You can just continue on your work, I'll be fine."

He looked doubtful, but did what she said, and within a few seconds, he was already deeply engrossed in his work. Snuggling into the comfortable chair and delighting in the warmth of the crackling fire, she found her gaze wandering to the dark-haired boy just opposite her, and she was struck by how handsome she was. Sure, she knew all along that Harry Potter was a very handsome boy, but had never really noticed. Actually, it was more borne along by the fact that the only things Draco had in common with Harry was that they were both Seekers for their teams and that they were tall, and that was the end of it. Ironically, the dark-haired Harry was a very nice guy, while the platinum blonde angelic Draco was the entire opposite.

Black against silver-white.

Good against evil.

She studied his sparkling green eyes closely. Such a contrast. Green against silver… Honest against closed off.

Why did I like Draco? She found herself wondering. What made me like him? What drew me to him? These were things she had no answers to, and it annoyed her immensely. Of all people, why someone as cold and callous as Draco Malfoy? She should've known that such a thing would happen, should've seen it coming, but she'd stupidly played along with his games.

The one he really loved was still Pansy.

But she was broken out of her thoughts when she realized that Harry was looking at her, Not staring, just looking. In the firelight, the shadows that danced across his face made him look older, wiser, and the way his eyes twinkled with something, something familiar… Despite herself, her heart skipped a beat. Why hadn't she seen it before? He was handsome, as handsome as Draco. Almost, anyway. And he was coming closer, his eyes an intense green. With a jolt, she realized what was going to happen. He was going to kiss her! To her surprise, a part of her really wanted it, but the larger part, the one with the common sense, screamed at her to back away.

Her feelings, her real feelings for Harry were still very unclear even now, but she knew, subconsciously, that they seemed to be more than friends, and seriously, she did not want to get into that matter and complicate things further; just one issue with Draco Malfoy was enough. She wanted to keep his friendship, and subconsciously knew that once his lips met hers, they would not be friends anymore.

They would never be just friends anymore if that happened, and she was going to stop that. She cherished him too much to allow either of them to make what looked like a blatant mistake. And besides, if he was to kiss anyone, it should be Ginny Weasley, no one else.

Following that, she backed away quickly, and that moment was over. Drusilla forced a smile and pointed to his work, feeling bad for the look of disappointment that crossed his eyes. "If you're going to stare at me all night, you're never gonna finish this."

"Oh. Right." He lowered his head to his work.

Drusilla opened her mouth to say something, anything, to get rid of the awkwardness that had popped up between them, but couldn't. What exactly, could she say?

Sighing softly and wondering what she could have gotten herself into, she pulled her legs up against her and snuggled into the warm and cosy armchair. Maybe for now, words were not needed.

****

When I pretend

Everything is what I want it to be

I look exactly like what you had always

Wanted to see

When I pretend

I can forget about the criminal I am

Stealing second after second just 'cause I know I can

What was I thinking? Harry mentally berated himself, ducking his head lower so she didn't notice how red his face had become. He'd almost given in to the temptation to kiss her! He could almost see the fear in her eyes when he lowered himself down, and he felt nothing short of horrible. Why was she so afraid of him? He wasn't going to bite her or anything. It was just that she looked so beautiful then, her eyes taking on a faraway look, twinkling and dancing with the flames in the hearth. Her skin was luminous as usual, and her lips was set in the slightest of frowns, a new look he'd never really seen before. She looked unhappy, and suddenly, more than ever, he had wanted to cheer her up, and felt an overwhelming urge to beat away whatever it was that made her sad. And genuinely, for one moment, he couldn't help himself.

But I can't pretend this is the way it will stay

I'm just trying to bend the truth

I can't pretend I'm who you want me to be

So I'm lying my way from you

No, no turning back now

I wanna be pushed aside

So let me go

No, no turning back now

Anywhere on my own

The combined feelings of the past few months was just too much for him. He loved her so, and yet she kept keeping him at a discreet distance, and that gentle rebuttal had gone straight through his heart. A sense of helplessness washed over him once more, as well as the all-too-familiar feeling of heartbreak. What could he possibly do to get her to love him in return?

'Cause I can see, the very worst part of you is me

But the more I push

The more I'm pulling away 'cause I'm lying my way from you

This isn't what I wanted to be

I never thought what I said would have you running from me

Like this

"It'd be simpler if I could just hate him. I think he wanted me to. I think it made it easier to be the bad guy of the story," her words from the other day drifted back to him, and he couldn't help but wonder, was she still stuck on whoever it was? And the most important thing was, who, exactly, was she in love with? Why hadn't she seen it fit to tell either of them? A niggling suspicion rose in the back of his mind, but he pushed it away quickly, deeming it ultimately impossible. She would never go out with any Slytherin. They hated her too much. Malfoy was a prime example, having wasted no opportunity to hurt and taunt her as much as possible, so something as ludicrous as that would not happen. But then again, who was it? Maybe he should ask her.

"Drusilla," he began, before he could lose his nerve. He had to know. If nothing, she owed him this much. "Who—" he stopped mid-sentence as he glanced at her, his morbid curiosity taken over by a moment of genuine affection. She was fast asleep, looking adorable in her overlarge muggle pajamas with a cartoon character called "Spongebob Squarepants" all over it and a white sleeveless top, with her fuzzy bunny slippers pulled up beside her.

Despite himself, he smiled slightly, then stood up, shrugging off the duvet he had wrapped around himself. Wouldn't do to have her catch a cold, he mused as he carefully draped it around her, ensuring that she was warm. Fighting off a slight chill, he settled himself closer to the fire and continued his work. Surely, this was a conversation meant for another day.

***

There was darkness, but out of it, she seemed to feel a gentle, lingering sadness, as if the dregs of pain were already mostly washed away, yet still remained sharp in memory. A voice followed, seeping through her heart, binding her to these words that seemed to be branded into her mind. In her minds' eye, she could see shades of gray, hear a rumble of laughter, a shout of anger, and finally, the bright light that seemed to sear through her eyelids…

When evening in the Shire was gray

his footsteps on the hill were heard;

before the dawn he went away

on journey long without a word.

From Wilderland to Western Shore,

from northern waste to southern hill,

through dragon lair and hidden door

and darkling woods he walked at will

With Dwarf and Hobbit, Elves and Men,

with mortal and immortal folk,

with bird on bough and beast in den,

in their own secret tongues he spoke.

A deadly sword, a healing hand,

a back that bent beneath its load;

a trumpet-voice, a burning brand,

a weary pilgrim on the road.

A lord of wisdom throned he sat

swift in anger, quick to laugh;

an old man in a battered hat,

who leaned upon a thorny staff

He stood upon the bridge alone

and Fire and Shadow both defied;

his staff was broken on the stone,

in Khazad-dum his wisdom died.

It was morning when Drusilla's eyes fluttered open; sunshine was streaming in through her windows, and she blinked for a few moments, feeling disoriented. Hadn't she fallen asleep in the armchair in the common room last night? So how come she was still sleeping in her own room?

Looking down, she noticed that she still had Harry's duvet wrapped around her, and she realized what had happened. He had obviously brought her to her room. When, she didn't know, but was grateful to him all the same.

He tried to kiss me last night, she remembered with a jolt. And I almost let him.

Stifling a sigh at the rotten timing of this thought, she shook her head and threw her covers off. It most likely was a misunderstanding on his part, nothing more. She made her way to the bathroom and looked at herself intently in the mirror, remembering the sad words from the dream—no, it was most likely a snippet from Middle-Earth again—lately, she hadn't had any intense visions, and for that she was grateful, since most of the times, the visions were painful and emotionally draining. She blinked when she looked closer and realized that she had indeed been crying, dried silver tracks marking their way down her cheeks.

Shaking her head, she splashed ice-cold water on herself. Today was a Sunday, but for once, she wished that she could have lessons instead of heading for the Quidditch pitch to note the progress of the Gryffindors later; Wood was clearly expecting her there, since he'd taken over Madam Hooch as Quidditch referee and had a very strong partiality to his own team. He'd had asked her to keep track of the progress for the Quidditch team and offered to give her an extra credit for it, which she gladly took since she totally bombed at the sport and needed all the credits she could get. Well, at least that would take her mind off subjects she really didn't want to dwell on just yet.

***

Making her way to the stands of the deserted Quidditch pitch, she was surprised to find Ginny sitting there, watching as the players zoomed and weaved in and out of each other, the Quidditch balls flying around and around. Wood was on the ground, yelling up at them and pacing, not looking very pleased.

Relieved that she could get company at last—Hermione and Ron were having a making up session somewhere—she sat next to the redhead. She'd grown a lot since the last few years and had blossomed into a true beauty, with an innocent sensitivity that sent guys flocking to her in droves, not to mention that she had had a to-die-for body. But she still hung faithfully on to her crush on Harry Potter, refusing to even look at any other boy. And in her book, that was indeed true love.

Honestly, Drusilla thought in exasperation. What had Harry been thinking? Is he blind or something? Hell, if I'd been a guy, I'd go for her at once, no questions asked.

"Hey, Drusilla." Ginny spotted her and flashed her a friendly smile.

"Hey yourself," she replied, seating herself beside her and whipping out her notebook and quill, ever-ready to make notes on the formations. "How's lessons?"

She wrinkled her nose. "I'm in for a detention by Snape next week. All because I had to see Professor McGonagall during his lessons. It's not even my fault."

"I heard Dean Thomas sent you a bouquet of Mystic Roses last week. Very romantic." she winked. Mystic Roses were beautiful roses which changed color depending on the romantic intentions of the sender, and the last she heard, Dean's roses were a very deep pink, sending titters throughout the female population. Dean was indeed one of the good-looking boys at school.

Ginny flushed scarlet and ducked her head. "I uh—"

"Oh, I know. You're not interested in him that way." She winked. "Light teasing, there." Her gaze ticked to Harry, who was a scarlet blur in the sky, whooshing around, searching for the Snitch. Her superior eyesight caught it at once, fluttering next to one of the stands. The Snitch seemed to be bouncing around slightly, mocking the Seeker. She hid a smile.

Ginny followed her gaze and gave an almost inaudible sigh.

"Don't worry, Gin." Drusilla said finally, interpreting her expression. "He'll notice you, one day."

"No, he won't." She said softly after a long moment, before she trained her light green eyes on her. She looked very sad and very disappointed. "Not when you're around him."

Me? Drusilla blinked, momentarily at a loss for words. "Who, me?"

Her sentence was simple. "He likes you."

"He does?" She echoed, aware that she sounded like a dim child. Harry, like her? That was a statistical impossibility. It was so ridiculous she had to laugh. The kiss yesterday had already been explained away, and even now, she could see no sign that he liked her more than he liked a friend, and maybe Ginny was seeing wrongly, since she had a huge crush on him and all. "Don't be silly, that's impossible."

She looked serious. "It's not. He told me that himself."

"Hah, he told you he liked me?" she asked, disbelieving. "He would've told you he liked Hermione, too!"

Ginny looked momentarily confused. "He would?"

"Of course. They're good friends, too. Good friends kind of have to like each other." Drusilla heaved a mental sigh of relief. She'd heard wrongly, that was all.

"No, Dru. He told me he was in love with you."

Her chuckle died on her throat, which immediately went dry. "Ha-what?"

"You didn't know?" Ginny looked more surprised than she was, if it ever was possible.

"That's not possible, really." She shook her head, still slightly amused. He was one of her best friends, for Merlin's sake! Friends never fell in love with friends; it was practically a rule.

"Why not?"

"Why not? He's my best friend. He's seen me at my worst." She reasoned. "No one would find my worst a turn-on." Drusilla put a hand on Ginny's shoulder reassuringly. "Don't worry, he'll notice you. Trust me. And besides, he was most likely having you on. A joke or something."

The petite redhead nodded slightly, and glanced over at Harry once more, comforted, and not for the first time, filled with hope.