Thick Gossamer

He slams down his drink, roughly dragging the back of his arm across his mouth. Reeling a little from the force of the alcohol, Draco clutches at his bedpost and takes deep breaths to calm down. Feeling the fiery substance burn through his veins just enough to give him confidence to exit his chambers, he pulls his head high and strides forth.

Draco takes his customary seat at the Slytherin table and glares defiantly around him, as is his custom. From this place, he has a perfect view point to the table across from him. He watches her furtively, refusing to let his emotions become visible on his face. If he could do as he chose, he would stare at her without pause, like a man dying of thirst staring at water. She looks up suddenly and for one painful, ecstatic moment, their eyes lock, grey on brown. Then she frowns and turns back to her friends. Draco's hand clutches his knife until his knuckles turn white.

Spun silk and gossamer hide what she is feeling as she gazes through her veil and tells you she cannot love.

Walking to his class, he finds himself caught in a crowd of students, all seemingly pulling in opposite directions at the same time. Jostled, he glares down at the trembling first year that accidentally fell into him. The eleven year old, panicked, backs away quickly as Draco's eyes bespeak a challenge.

A pause in the crushing movement catches his attention and he cranes his head a little to see what it is, even though he already feels it. She is there, standing perfectly still as she waits for the students to disperse around her, surveying them all with impatience. He should have known better, Draco reflects, than to assume she would be so undignified as to push her way through the melee. It would not befit her type of solid grace.

Purposefully, he strides towards her, making sure that he does not look in her direction. As he passes, his shoulder catches hers, disturbing her balance and causing her to glare at his retreating form. His body tingles where it touched hers. Later, when they gather in the Hall for lunch, he sees her again and his shoulder throbs.

And can you feel the pain of her, moving in the shadows, creeping through the darkness and the everlasting light?

At night, he wraps silk and satin around himself and tries to drown in whatever he can. He uses Pansy and she uses him back, the war between them extending to the bed. When it is over and he lies gasping ever so slightly for breath, as the blonde leaves with a smug smirk, he will mull over the touches and the fleeting glances more than the glares and the insults. Her face is cloudy in his mind, with only her eyes starkly clear. Draco rolls onto his stomach and buries his face in the suffocating pillows.

And somewhere there is beating a heart that is not weeping as the world falls to silence and the grieving lay at rest.

In class he concentrates on nothing but the tone of her voice as she answers a teacher, as she admonishes her friends, as she laughs with them. At mealtimes his ears are pricked, trained to pick out her sound from the hundreds of others. When one day, he cannot hear her, his composure breaks slightly and his flings his head upwards, his eyes desperately searching the other table.

She is there, but something is different. Her eyes are cast so firmly downward that he cannot hope for a glance today, her fingers idly twirling silverware as she ignores her food. Draco feels the silence and the lack of her with less clarity now that he is able to gaze upon her and hear her presence. He too ignores his meal in stolid quiet as he waits for the hour to end.

Through it all she is still whispering and the silence holds no meaning as do the stars whose spaces glitter down haunting on your head.

It is weeks later when he catches her alone at night, sitting on a window ledge, her eyes and her mannerisms that of a trapped animal, her usual confidence gone and the scared girl revealed. He desperately wants to approach her, but holds himself back as he always does. Draco leans against the wall, seemingly casual, though the tension through his body is potent.

She must feel his presence somehow, because she turns her head around, her brow furrowing as she seeks the person who disturbed her reverie. Her body stiffens as she catches sight of him, and her expression becomes guarded and cold. He wishes that just once, she can look upon him without disgust.

Draco whirls and leaves the corridor, her piercing stare burning on his back. He can feel the hatred and animosity emanate from her, but he thirsts for nothing more than to take her in his arms and force her to look at him until she sees beyond what she has been trained to see.

Then there is a shuddering, a painful subtle muttering, and somehow you can see her through the dimly lighted lace.

A month goes by before he runs into her at night again, and this time he does not let the chance slip by. She is standing alone, once again gazing out a window. She sees him as he walks nearer, and her vulnerability disappears. Her stance reminds him of someone preparing to engage in a duel, and really, Draco muses, it may not be much different.

He is now standing nearer to her than ever before, so close that he can smell her and hear her frightened breathing. Her eyes speak of terror and guilt and Draco takes advantage of her stricken state to bend down and kiss her.

The kiss is gentle, the kiss is has always needed to give her. Through it, he can tell of his feelings more eloquently than any words could. Her lips are soft and sweet, and he leans into them. He breaks away, afraid to scare her, but does not move from his position in front of her.

"Hermione…" He gasps softly, finally daring to speak her name. It rolls off his tongue so perfectly and except for her voice, there is no more beautiful sound in the world. Draco waits and watches as she is frozen in shock. Then, he realizes with a breath that is more painful than anything he has ever known, that her features slowly school themselves once again into hatred and disgust.

She glares up at him and spits on the floor, daring him to do anything else. Draco is perfectly still before some other force in him takes control.

He grabs her wrists roughly and pushes her into the wall, ignoring her cry of pain. Pressing his body against hers, trying to pin her struggling form into place, he smashes his lips against hers and plunders her unwilling mouth with his tongue. Draco can taste her tears as she whimpers and attempts to fight him off. Finally, unable to drown himself in her, he releases her abruptly and pushes her away from him, towards the floor.

She is sobbing, holding her bruised arms around her, her bruised lips a testimonial to his lust. The look she directs at him is full of such loathing and pain that he wants to sink to his knees and scream and cry for her forgiveness. Picking herself off the ground, she hurries away, the sound of her footsteps and weeping echoing in the hall around him.

Draco slumps against the wall, squeezing his eyes together to force back the stinging feeling. He slides against the stone until he is sitting on the hard floor, and he lets a strangled cry escape him. He can still taste her on his lips, and the sweetness is so bitter is almost makes him choke.

And then her whispers tease your minds and then her whispers touch your mind and she is fading and disappearing in the darkness and the light.

A/N: There's a slightly darker fic for you. Hermione doesn't always have to love him back, though I wish she would! Anyway, I hoped you enjoyed it, and even if you didn't, reviews are always appreciated.

Also, because it will soon be Christmas break for me (I love college!) I'll have a fair amount of time on my hands. If anyone has an idea for a fic that they'd like written, any particular pairing, just review or e-mail me and I'd be happy to give anything a shot.