"Starting with Dry Lips" By LizieVamp

Disclaimer: JKRowling started it all, I just wanted to play.

Dedicated to Inell, who writings of love and passion stirred my fingers to typing again, which I haven't done in a long time.

Hermione stumbled with sudden desperation as she almost executed a perfect turn in the opposite direction from him. She could feel her face flushing, her muscles tightening and her lips drying just from the sight of him. A sight which had held true in her fantasies for several years now, since she'd been a young teenager, confused and far too naïve for the conjured images her minds was throwing at her.

It was always the same, she didn't understand why, but one glance at that instantly recognisable profile drove her body and subconscious into a raging hormone factory. And it wasn't as if she hadn't tried to forget about him and his dark smouldering, her stride hitched and she paused, just ever so slightly at the feel of a hand on her shoulder, swinging back about face those same unwavering eyes.

Gulping, she froze like a deer in headlights as he laughed and engulfed her in an enormous bearhug.

"Herm-i-nee." he sounded out, pulling back, his hands still engulfing her shoulders. She laughed nervously, her lips quivering uncertainly, her eyes roving the room. Anywhere. Anywhere but at his face; she spotted a pale flash of white-blonde curls and scowled in irritation, the one person she'd ever entrusted with her feelings towards this hulk of a man before her and Malfoy had had to invite him here tonight, maliciously, insidiously, and with intent.

He would be punished, but right now gentle fingers had grasped her chin and she was staring, drowning in those deep brown eyes. A bubble of silence consumed their small corner of the room and she couldn't, wouldn't, didn't want to ever be anywhere else in the world but standing so close to Viktor Krum.

"Why you run from me?" he asked, and vaguely she realised he had already asked that same question several times, each louder than the first. Swallowing she backed out of his hands and managed to cast her eyes downwards.

"I wasn't, running…" she managed to stammer out, "I realised I needed a refill. I. A. Refill." She glanced down at her full glass, up at Viktor's amused gaze, swung her glass up to her mouth and swallowed it. Gasping from the assault the alcoholic punch played on her nerves and the fire still burning and yearning in her low belly she clasped a hand to her mouth and turned to push her way unceremoniously through the crowd.

Making it to the corridor, she opened the first door to her left, dropping the wine glass as she pressed her back to the nearest wall.

Frozen, she watched in avid fascination as it cut her hand, slipped through her fingers and shattered into tiny crystalline fragments splintering out across the floor.

"Ha… Malfoy will kill me." She observed in a dazed shocky way as her head bobbed and her face flamed even more. Damn, but she hated parties. She stood there for a good two minutes gazing at the blood dripping down her hand onto the nice, unassuming dark green carpet, which uncannily hid the stains.

The door open and closed quietly behind her and she didn't even blink. Her silent reverie was not broken until strong arms lifted her suddenly from her awkward danger, causing her hand to throb and burn with unexpected pain. They both heard her gasp of pain as he cradled her to his chest, knocking the palm against his stiff lapel. Cursing smoothly in his native Bulgarian, Viktor lowered her to the soft comfort of what appeared to be one of the many guest beds that were scattered throughout Malfoy Manor.

Stepping back he gazed at her with a silent sorrow. His eye barely flickering as he pulled his wand out of his pants and flicked it once, twice, thrice, gently, causing the wine glass to fly back together, shining with her dark crimson stain. He sat down beside her then, his gaze seemingly more hesitant as their locked eyes expressed untold words and their hands met, connected and were clasped together.

It didn't hurt and Hermione shook her head, her brow furrowed in sudden concentration at this sudden display of wandless magic. Pulling her hand back, she cradled it to her chest, gazing at the smooth skin of his healing.

A large hand engulfed hers once more, but this time it was pale and veined, rather than tanned and callused. Startled she turned her head to see Malfoy… Draco, old habits died hard, gazing at her too. He lifted her hand to his lips, kissed it and then rubbed it as they both turned to Viktor who was watching them with a quiet contemplation.

"Herm-i-nee?" he said, making her name a question, his lips barely moving as he watched Draco and Hermione touching each other so casually.

She didn't understand.

"She's not mine." Came from Draco beside her and she turned toward him, confused. Chuckling, his other hand came out to smooth her brow, which had creased adorably as it always did. She was his muse, his love, his bloodsister and he wanted her to know true happiness again.

From the bottom of a firewhiskey bottle or two draco and Hermione knew almost everything about each other. He knew that her eyes lit, and her body burned when she caught a glimpse of Krum, even in the newspaper. He also knew she was fragile, not sleeping well and had never been able to pursue any sort of relationship since the death of Harry and Ron in the defeat of the Dark Lord.

He had taken her in, cared for her, but he couldn't love her like she needed. Hence he held these parties, threw unattached men at her and sighed as she walked through the world in a daze.

Until now.

"Mione," he grinned down at her questioning gaze. "we both know you want him." Her outraged gasp made him chuckle and he clasped her to him as he gazed over her unruly curls at Krum, showing steely determination and humour to the man he thought might just be her saviour.

"You always run… from me…. Herm-i-nee…" Viktor chimed in.

And slowly, Hermione tilted her head until she could peer around Draco's arms and her hair to look at me… it seemed to take an age, this slow admittance to these men who already knew her better than she knew herself.

Draco slowly withdrew, leaving the two alone, it wasn't up to him anymore and his soft, surefooted steps led him backwards to the door, his fingers swooping down to grasp the recently dismantled wine glass.

He paused at the door and he watched them lean towards eachother silently with their bodies.

"Why?" Viktor asked again.

And this time Hermione let him draw her into his broad arms.

"Because you deserve better than me." She murmured softly, ducking her head and making Draco freeze with sudden grief at the horrors she had been tormented with, to make her belief such a travesty.

"My-ione." Viktor, said, his voice warm with quiet dignified amusement as he adopted Draco's easily said nickname for her, "there is no bet-ta than you." And he swooped her mouth with an all consuming kiss which made her shudder against him as his hands curled in her unruly hair and his mouth whispered words of undying love and passion against her wet lips.

Draco, meanwhile passed through the door with a self appreciating grin and a happiness for Hermione spreading throughout him like warm honey as he felt something, finally click into place.

It was a start.