Author's Note: This is a continuation from my fic Glad Day, but it can be read alone, so don't worry if you haven't read the previous one-shot. It's a multi-chapter story, but I'm hoping to get it done in a few short chapters. Now, onto the story!
Summary: The war is over and forbidden love is tested. . . HGDM. Can be read alone or as a sequel to Glad Day.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. Anything you recognise belongs to the fabulous JK Rowling, though it pains me to admit it.
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o 0 o Through the Valley o 0 o
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Mouths melded together softly with the sigh of skin whispering into the humid night; bodies entangled like sibling vines.
White hot fire consumed him as salty beads of perspiration clung desperately, knowing that the end had come.
She pushed him over with a final moan, her eyes glittering in afterglow, luscious lips pouted; bruised and well loved. Her ample chest heaved as he kept her bushy curls tangled in his fist, just like the finest, most supple wool.
He could barely find the strength and will to pull himself out and away.
Gods, she was like a drug. So addictive, so wanton. . . Like nothing, nothing he had ever come across before. This filthy, dirty, muddy girl had somehow burrowed herself so deep into him. So deep that he could feel her moving restlessly beneath his skin - trembling inside his pounding organ. The one people called a 'heart'.
Filthy, dirty, girl.
But she wasn't a girl. Not any more. She was a young woman. A beautiful, alluring young woman that he had fallen for, despite every bone in his body screaming at him that he was wrong. That he was a traitor. That he would burn in hell for his sins.
Did she have any idea of the sacrifices he had to make in order to be with her? In order to touch her?
He didn't think so.
He didn't think she would care. After all, this had started out as a convenience. For both of them.
But somewhere along the dark fumbling line, it had stopped being a convenience. It had stopped being a game of cat and mouse; of pureblood and mudblood.
It had stopped.
o 0 o
She was singing.
Softly and quietly; a sweet, lilting song. A lullaby dirge she had learned from her mother. It was a familiar haunting anthem, a ritual that wrought a quiet peace unlike anything he had ever felt before. The sound conjured thoughts of lush emerald fields, endless and infinite. Of spring rain and yellow buttercups. Of contentment; like the fragile stroke of a butterfly's wings against a silent wind. It was glorious. . .
As he stared at the ceiling, the afterglow of their coupling slowly fading, his stomach churned. It was now or never. He would have to do it in this quiet stillness. In this fragile peace. The war was over, the side of Light victorious, and he knew that no other time would be more appropriate.
Slowly, he sat up and stared at the open French windows that stood beyond the foot of the bed. If he concentrated, he could hear the gentle summer rain against the balcony floor, sounding like the soft pitter-patter of steps belonging to an excited child. He almost smiled at the thought.
But instead, he sighed, unable to break his gaze from the mountainous view beyond the French doors, even as he spoke. "Marry me."
The words lingered in the air, like a billowing flag of his proclamation.
She stopped singing abruptly, her arm lowering to her side as she halted the motions of her finger as it traced the carvings in the ceiling.
And he waited. Waited for an answer that would change everything. Everything.
With an almost painful slowness, she turned her head and stared up at the profile of his naked, lithe form as he sat ram-rod straight and gazed out of the large doors.
From the corner of his eye, he watched as she sat up and stared out of the window with him. He would have smirked, knowing that this was the first time he had ever made her speechless, if the situation hadn't been so serious.
". . . Why?"
"Because. . ."
A sigh fell from her lips, like the sound of dead leaves blown before the winds of an on-coming storm. She clutched the dark silk sheets to her bare chest.
He reached sideways, blindly, and tucked a loose strand of cinnamon hair behind her ear. He almost laughed as she flushed cherry red with the intimate gesture. It was the first time he'd ever done anything like that and he. . . enjoyed her reaction to it. She was deliciously adorable when she was flustered.
"Do you know what you're asking?"
"If I didn't know, I would not have asked," he drawled, a sickening flash of nervousness passing through him. It was preposterous, of course. Malfoys didn't get nervous; it wasn't in their blood to be nervous and yet here he was. . . Holding his breath as he waited for her answer.
"Everybody will find out," she whispered morosely. "They won't approve."
A chill and a deep, atavistic ripple of unfamiliar fear went shooting through him. He clenched his jaw at her words and he couldn't help but sneer, still unable to look at her. "You mean that your so-called friend Potter won't approve!"
"Ron wouldn't have approved either," she murmured, grief lacing her voice as it was cast outwards like a trembling ripple in a soulless pool.
He almost winced.
Not everyone had survived the Final Battle. The one that had ended the war and the Dark Lord's reign of terror. The one that had killed many of their childhood acquaintances and her friends. Friends she loved with every breath in her body. But somehow, they had managed to survive. Two lovers brought together by desperation, despair and desire. Brought together by the urge of wanting to feel, - feel anything but the overwhelming solitude that had claimed many in such dark times.
They were the ones that survived and it was time to move on; five months had passed and people were beginning to rebuild their lives, reforge their broken past but she couldn't. Wouldn't . . .
He knew that she still mourned the deaths of her beloved friends. And he could understand that. He could understand that her heart was bruised and hurt, but it was time that she allowed it to heal.
"He would have wanted you to be happy."
She laughed bitterly. "That just proves that you know nothing about Ron. I would bet all the gold in the world that he would want me to cry over him for the rest of my life."
He couldn't help but chuckle at her dry attempt at humour.
She clutched at his forearm desperately as they both stared out at the breath-taking view, still immersed in sweat-soaked, stained sheets. "This. . . This thing between us wouldn't work. There are too many complications."
He snorted. "You mean you're afraid."
And she grew angry at his words. "Of course I'm afraid!" Her snarl was that of a proud lioness and he couldn't help but fall deeper for her. "Of course I am - " she choked, "but I'm also angry. . ."
"I don't know," she ran a frustrated hand through her hair. "I'm angry that so many are dead, so many who deserved to live. I'm angry that we're alive and that they're dead and I can't help but feel that we have no right to be happy."
A cold fist of ice locked around his heart as he drew back his arm. "We do have the right. You're dishonouring their sacrifice - "
" - Sacrifice," she spat, interrupting and laughing hysterically. "That's the crux, isn't it? Sacrifice for the greater good. Ron's gone, Ginny's gone, Neville's gone, Luna's fucking gone, and nothing I can do will ever bring them back again," her voice trembled as silent tears began sliding down the slopes of her cheeks. "So you tell me; how the fuck can I not be angry? I feel like a piece of me is dying every single day - "
" - Be angry," he hissed, moving onto his knees to face her, going through the motions like an agile snake. He cupped her face in his hands and stared ruthlessly into her teary chocolate jewels, his grey eyes flashing with passion and something else she couldn't quite name. "Be furious and be afraid, but it only proves that you're still here. You're still alive, Granger!" He stopped suddenly before forcing himself to speak again. "And I need you. I need you to keep me from falling back to the way I was."
Her eyes darted back and forth as she fearfully gazed into his hardened grey orbs. "I hate you!" She moaned, pressing her forehead to his as he held tear-stained face. "I hate you so much for what you've done as a Death Eater; I hate you for how you make me. . . how you make me l-love you."
He froze, unable to tear his gaze away as she continued whispering. "But there's a dark place in the human mind, I think. . . where, when hate becomes a passion as intense as the hatred I feel for you, it distils into pure passion. And it's in that black, unnameable pool in the darkest part of the heart, where the line between hate and love is razor thin. And, God help me Malfoy, but I do love you. I just - I just can't marry you."
And with her words, he could feel himself falling; falling down an immeasurable pit of desolation. And he felt lost. He pulled away and rose from the bed, silently, unflinchingly, gathering his strewn clothes before disapparating from their secret villa. The villa they had run to after the war, the villa where their bodies had joined a countless number of times. The villa where he had left his heart, broken into a thousand pieces, within the hands of a woman that denied him the only thing he wanted.
We all begin out with good intent,
When love is raw and young.
We believe that we can change ourselves,
The past can be undone.
But we carry on our back the burdens time always reveals.
In the lonely light of morning,
In the wound that would not heal.
It's the bitter taste of losing everything,
I've held so dear. . . I've Fallen.
- Sarah Mclachlan.
Extra Notes: This story is not over! Did you think I'd leave you with just that :) hee. Reviews are most welcome, concrits will be welcomed with enthusiasm. And remember, it won't all be doom and gloom like this first chapter.