I Do.

Chapter 5 Black and Blue.

Hermione Granger had never really understood her species' fascination of the opposite sex. Over the years, in the same dormitory as Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown, she had sat aside, legs tucked to her chest, observing her roommates in amusement as they swapped pictures of various Hogwarts schoolboys, as well as wizarding celebrities, gossiping heatedly over the supposed best-looking ones and their statistics. Her detachment, she had conceded, must be traced to the fact that she had been best friends with two of the most prominent boys in the school.

And now, 'married' to one.

Too much exposure indeed.

But Hermione retained a deep appreciation for the aesthetic values o her boys. Her beautiful, beautiful boys; Harry, with his slight slouch hiding his lean, muscled body and his oddly determined shuffle when he walked. Hermione never tired of putting her book down just to cup her head in her hand and admire the smooth line of his neck that exploded into Harry's mussed, ebony hair.

Ron was another matter. He had an easy, loping stride that betrayed his comfort with his gangly body. He had an aura of gentle, relaxed flames that would, at times, flicker and crackle dangerously when he was agitated. Sometimes, when he slept (like a log, from the fire) she would lean over and trace his perfect, sloping jaw line, up to his crinkled eyes.

Her beautiful, beautiful boys.

The odd thing was, which Hermione realized, was that she observed and loved the two boys, in the case of their looks, as she had done the exquisite sculptures in Greece. But her boys were filled and overflowing with life, and the love of it, accounting for the irresistible aura that drew girls to sigh and break their hearts over them. They would look at Hermione jealously at times, envying Hermione her 'privilege' of basking between the two. The two in question were, of course, completely oblivious to their effects, which probably made their appeal all the more adorable.

Draco Malfoy, however, was as cold and ruthlessly flawless as the marble statues themselves. The boy had matured, his pointed chin becoming more chiselled and refined, as the generations of supposedly cultured and untainted purebloods blessing him with the qualities that other scrambled for. He sauntered like and haughty prince that he was, any invasion of his personal space was quickly remedied by the perpetrator with a glance of his slanted, icy orbs.

So it was odd, then, that the eyes of Draco Malfoy, despite Hermione's proximity, were wide, unguarded, and startled. He had knocked into her (laughing apparently constituted a shaky wand arm) and the two of them had rolled unceremoniously downhill.

She was lucky that he hadn't Avada Kedavra'd her then and there.

It was luckier that his wand that rolled a few metres away.

Something occurred to Hermione, as she stared at Draco's dark eyelashes. The boy smelt of mint and snow, and his skin was nearly as pale as it. Perfect. His was the kind of beauty that was cold, ornamental, and never meant to be loved.

Hermione had once had a doll like that. Long, silken hair like spun sunshine and enormous glassy eyes, a pouting petal mouth.

She had hated it.

Hated the doll its perfection. What she could never be. Hated the doll so much that it had hurt, but she loved it so much that when her cousin had knocked it down and torn the lacy frock, Hermione had made a new one made of satin, stitching long into the night until she had pricked her finger and drops of blood seeped into the scarlet material.

If it were perfect, if something could be perfect, Hermione would want it to stay that way.

She couldn't help it, now. She touched.

A miniscule smudge darkened Draco's lower lip. She lifted a hand, hesitantly, brushing against his robed chest as she did so.

While Hermione kept her gaze fixed on the offending smudge, Draco's eyes followed her every minute move. His eyes still looked large and surprised, first by their closeness, the hill that they had rolled down tangling their garments, hair and limbs into a whirlwind, and then by her daring.

Her fingers brushed against his bottom lip. She rubbed.

Hermione's deliberate touch sent an electric jolt through them both; Malfoy's eyes turned stormy with a swiftness that stunned her and his tongue darted out to lick her finger.

And the Hermione's eyes widened in horror as she saw his skin suddenly darkening, trails of black and blue where her fingers had been, where her fingers had bee, disfiguring his face. She blanched, froze.

Malfoy sneered slightly. "You see, Granger, it was true when I said that Mudbloods were filthy."

Draco knew perfectly well what was happening to his skin. It hurt, after all, quite badly too, although a good Crucio render this pain no worse than an ant bite in comparison. His father had cast this curse on him, when he caught Draco flirting with a pretty, Mudblood barmaid. From then on, if anyone with a drop of Muggle blood in in would leave bruises wherever their bare skins touched.

Draco had made sure that Hermione had been too preoccupied before to have noticed the bruises she had… uh… inflicted on him. But she did have to find out sometime.

He was dragged from his musings by the Mudblood's horrified gasp. "Merlin, Draco! What did I do? You can't possibly have an allergy to… to my kind, I've never ever heard of it. Oh damn, it must've been in the Restricted Sect… Why didn't you tell me? We have to see Madam Pomfrey about this, we have to tell Dumbledore…"

At this, Draco let out a low growl and rolled onto Granger, hearing her splutter in shock and disgust under him. HE dragged himself deliberately against her body, lifting up her blouse somewhat so that her stomach brushed against his robes, till they were face to face.

"Listen here, Mudblood," he hissed between his teeth, his breath fanning out onto Granger's white face. " We- you- don't have to tell anyone and there is no need to publicize my allergy, as there is no chance that it will act up again. Is there, Granger," he glared into her eyes, lowering his head so that pain exploded in the tip of his nose. "Tell me. Is there?"

Granger stared back into his eyes, hers a defiant mix of anger, fear and uncertainty. "No, Malfoy." Then she lifted herself up, and pressed her lips against his. "No, Malfoy," she murmured into him. "I won't listen to you."

Hermione did not really know why she kissed him. All she knew was that the pain and fire that swirled in Malfoy's usually implacable eyes were exactly what she wanted him to feel, to know that the pain he felt mirrored her own hurts due to him. And then all thought vanished as she moved against Malfoy's rapidly hardening lips, and she tasted blood.

Blood. He was bleeding.

She broke off the kiss violently, while Malfoy tried to prolong it, making sure that she tasted his blood, making sure she knew what she did to him. Making sure they both felt the danger.

Hermione gasped, horrified, and the suddenness with which she jerked threw Malfoy off her. His lips were quite, quite black; the area around it stained scarlet, and indeed, he looked like a cross between a Veela and a Vampire.

And then, smiling in an incredibly ghastly way to the shell-shocked hermione, Draco Malfoy fainted.