Light on a Dark Horizon

Pairings: Draco/ Asteria (my personal spelling preference over Astoria), mentions of past Draco/Pansy

Rating: Mature/ NC-17

Warnings/Contains: Under-age, graphic sex, mild language

Length: 7,026

Summary: In the Christmas holidays of his sixth year, Draco Malfoy finds himself in need of solace and a place to escape, as the worries of serving Voldemort weigh him down. Entering the Room of Hidden Things, he finds a dismayed Asteria Greengrass, who is also seeking an escape from her problems. Together the pair find away to combat the darkness that is constantly looming in the Wizarding World.

Disclaimer: I don't won Harry Potter, the world its set in or any of its characters. These all belong to the wonderful JK Rowling and I'm merely borrowing them for entertainment purposes.

Author's Notes: Thanks to Ali for the beta and advice, and also to Kim for the beta and bouncing ideas around. You two are awesome. This piece was originally written for a prompt on the LiveJournal exchange deflower_draco. Thanks to whoever this wonderful prompt was from. I had a lot of fun writing this. I hope anyone reading enjoys it.

Draco closed the common room door behind him, shutting out the music and the noisy chatter as he stalked off along the underground dungeon corridor.

It wasn't until he'd passed the Potions classrooms and Professor Snape's office that the sound of the party fully died away.

It was Christmas evening and Slytherin House had decided to celebrate. The wizarding wireless had been magically amplified to carry the sound of a popular rock music station – who heavily featured well known bands like the Weird Sisters, Howling at the Moonand his own personal favourite Regnum Dracones – the entire common room, and some seventh-year had procured a sizeable quantity of alcohol, including a bottle of fire-whiskey.

Draco, however, was not in the mood for partying. He'd only stayed at Hogwarts for the Christmas holidays because going home really iwas not option.

The Dark Lord had charged him with a mission, and he had to complete it. Leaving the castle, even for a few weeks, would only hinder his progress.

Not that completing the Dark Lord's assignment seemed possible anymore. first attempt had failed when Katie Bell had fallen victim to the cursed necklace and his latest offering - a bottle of poisoned mead that he'd asked Professor Slughorn to pass onto Dumbledore - had vanished to Merlin only knew where.

Professor Snape wasn't helping matters, either, and by trailing his every movement had become more of a hindrance than anything else.

Then he had Potter's suspicions to deal with. Draco was just thankful the rest of the "Golden Trio" hadn't taken Potter's concerns seriously. Granger was far smarter than any Mudblood really had a right to be, and what Weasley lacked in brains he made up for in tenacity. Draco knew that if those two had been on the case as well, Potter would have worked out what he was up to weeks ago. Thankfully, as it stood, "The Chosen One" remained oblivious to Draco's plot.

Lost in thought, Draco had walked aimlessly through the corridors and now, he wasn't really sure where in the castle he was. Then he turned a corner and found himself face-to-face with the all-too-familiar image of Barnabas the Barmy teaching trolls to ballet dance.

Inevitably, he'd reached The Room of Hidden Things.

Draco had spent countless weeks in there, trying - and always failing - to repair the Vanishing Cabinet in order to reconnect it with its twin in Borgin & Burkes. It was an integral part of his overall plan.

For a moment, he contemplated making another attempt to fix the Cabinet, but decided against it. He'd worked on the damn thing all day yesterday, and he needed a break. In fact, he needed a break from the whole damnable situation.

With that thought in mind, Draco paced backwards and forwards in front of the blank wall three times, chanting silently to himself 'Give me a place to escape my problems. Somewhere comfortable and quiet with no one else around to bother me. Somewhere with enough food and entertainment to distract me from my worries, but somewhere I can relax, too.'

To Draco's delight, a door appeared where moments before there'd been nothing but blank wall.

Turning the handle, he entered the room. It was decorated in the same silver and green, but the colours were subtler and more subdued. There were two huge, plush sofas, several cosy-looking armchairs, and a round table situated between two armchairs, with a wizarding chess set laid out across it. The Room had furnished him with at least three full bookcases, a low table covered with tea, coffee and snacks and a deck of Exploding Snap.

Light music filled the air, and after the raucous din that had blared from the common room when he'd left, it was a relief for his head and his wrought nerves.

Draco had just taken a seat on a sofa, and helped himself to a cup of Earl Grey when a distinctly female voice startled him from his mental retreat.

"What are you doing here?"

Draco looked up, and it took him a moment or two to locate the speaker. Sitting with her knees drawn up to her chest, and a veil of dark hair covering her face, she was perched on a large bay window sill, a green cushion supporting her back, as she looked out of the open widow and across the moonlit castle grounds.

"I'm sorry, I thought I was the only one in here," he explained. Then his eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Wait, what are you here?"

The speaker turned to him with dark blue eyes, and he could see her face was stained with tears. Although he didn't know this girl, she looked vaguely familiar to him.

"This is my place, and you're not welcome here. Would you kindly leave."

"But … But, I need to be here. Besides, this my room. I created it with my thoughts. The chairs, and the relaxing music, and the soft lighting, all these books, and the table laid with refreshments, they're all my."

"No, they're not. I had the room create them and then you just barged in here."

"No, I didn't," Draco argued back. "I asked for somewhere quiet, where no one would bother me, where I could come and relax."

The girl on the window seat looked astounded, and then a small grin crept over her face.

"That's what I asked for too. We must have shaped this room together because our desires were so similar."

"Then this room belongs to both of us," Draco reasoned, sitting back down on the sofa and picking up his cup of Earl Grey.

"Yes, I suppose it does. Just keep the noise down, alright?" Another grin spread over her face. "And pass the biscuits."

Draco grinned too now, the first time in weeks he'd cracked a smile, and he rose from his seat, grabbed the plate of biscuits, and crossed the room to pass them to her.

Up close Draco noticed the girl's eyes were red and puffy, like she'd been crying all night, and that she had a small diary and quill perched on her lap.

'Probably lamenting over the fact some boy broke her heart,' Draco thought to himself, assuming no-one's problems could be worse than his own.

"Thanks," the girl replied, taking a Bourbon biscuit from the plate Draco offered her.

When she smiled the vague familiarity drifted back to Draco's mind. He knew he recognised her from somewhere; he just couldn't put his finger on where.

"Yes, yes. I know. I look just like my sister," the girl said after she noticed that Draco had been staring at her for few moments longer than what was considered normal. "No one ever remembers my name, just that I'm Daphne Greengrass' little sister."

The name triggered a memory in Draco's mind. Daphne studying in the library with another girl so similar to her they could have been twins if it weren't for the obvious age difference.

"It's Asteria, isn't it?" he asked.

The girl's face lit up and she smiled in delight.

"You remembered?"

"Yes, because it's derived from the Greek word Astraea, "star-maiden", isn't it?"

Asteria's blue eyes widened and her smile spread at this.

"How did you even know that?"

"Mother's family name their children after stars and constellations. We're taught astronomy from a very early age. Why else do you think I do so well in Professor Sinistra's classes? I've had this stuff drilled into my mind since I was old enough to hold a star-chart."

"Well, I'm impressed. No one even remembers my name, let alone what it means," Asteria commented.

Draco merely shrugged and returned to his place on the sofa. However, the fact that he knew and remembered Asteria's name was enough invitation for her to join him, and moments later she left her window seat, crossed the room, and sat down on the couch opposite him.

"Do you fancy a game of Exploding Snap or something?" she asked.

Draco and Asteria continued meeting in the Room of Requirement in the evenings that followed. Even though they'd only met once or twice before, they soon found they got on very well.

Talking with Asteria was easy, Draco found. Even though she seemed interested in what he had to say, she wasn't hanging off his every world like a simpering puppy, as Pansy so often did, and she cared little about his family status, as Crabbe and Goyle so clearly did.

Her easy questions about his favourite Quidditch team, or what music he liked, or the last fun holiday he had taken, allowed Draco to forget his worries, and the pressing task he had at hand.

Likewise, Draco's presence seemed to distract Asteria from her troubles. On the night that they had first met, and bonded over round after round of Exploding Snap, Asteria hadn't been able to stop sniffling and she'd constantly wiped tears on the sleeve of her robe. Whenever he arrived at the Room of Hidden Things after Asteria, Draco found her sitting in the window seat, looking pensively at the landscape and writing in her diary.

Whatever her troubles were, they weighed on Asteria heavily and yet Draco noticed that when they talked, and he regaled her with tales of his childhood, her mood seemed to lighten and the brightness returned to her eyes.

Knowing that his silly stories helped someone else boosted his own mood too. He knew only too well how it felt to have worries on his shoulders, and he hoped that, even if it were just for a few hours, their time together helped distract Asteria from her problems — whatever they might be.

A few days later, he stopped having to wonder.

The night before they had been talking about a holiday Draco and his family had taken to Paris.

At his mother's insistence, they had visited the Catacombs of Paris, an underground ossuary that held the remains of around six million people, where the bones and skeletons of the dead had been built into the very walls of the tunnels itself.

Draco had told Asteria about the numerous photographs his family had taken of the Paris Catacombs, and she had wanted to see them. Before going to bed that night, he had written an owl to his mother, asking her to send him the photos.

The pictures arrived the following evening in a flourish of bird feathers and owl hoots, just as everyone was finishing their dinner.

Draco had been so pleased when the photos arrived, and he'd been excited to show them to Asteria as soon as possible.

However, when he looked along the Slytherin table in the Great Hall – where those students who had remained at Hogwarts over the Christmas holidays, and were now finished their evening meals, and opening their owl post – and spotted Asteria opening her own letter, his hopes fell.

Asteria's face had dropped from excited to utterly heart-broken as she had received the letter, opened it, and then read the page.

Obviously, it wasn't good news.

Moments after folding up the letter, and slipping it into the pocket of her robes, Asteria ran from the Great Hall and out of Draco's sight.

He knew exactly where she was going, though. The Room of Hidden Things.

Draco followed Asteria out of the Great Hall soon afterwards, and headed to the seventh floor.

He paced the corridor outside where the door to the Room should be, all the while muttering under his breath.

"Allow me entrance to the place where Asteria is. Allow me entrance to the room where she's hiding to escape the world. Allow me to find her now."

Eventually, after pacing backwards and forwards no less than fifteen times - the Room, or perhaps even Asteria herself, obviously not wanting him to enter -the door appeared.

Draco grabbed hold of the handle, and tugged it open.

The room was exactly the same as it always was when they went there together, and Asteria had taken her usual position on the large window seat by the open bay window.

In her hand, she clutched the letter she'd received earlier, and tears streaked her face now, making her blue eyes seem glassy and marble like.

"What happened?" Draco asked gingerly, hovering by the doorway so as to not intrude too much.

"I received an owl," she stated simply.

'No kidding,' Draco thought to himself, but he asked aloud, "What did it say?"

"My dad has moved out of the family home," she sobbed in reply, and then the whole tale tumbled out.

A week before Christmas, Asteria and Daphne had written home asking what the plans for the holidays were. Their mother had replied telling them to stay at Hogwarts, and had then gone on to explain that she and their father were going through a rough patch, and it was best that the girls weren't at home while their parents sorted out their differences.

Understanding, thought not liking the situation, Daphne and Asteria had done as they were told, and had opted to stay at the castle for the Christmas holidays.

On Christmas Day, the Greengrass sisters had received another owl from their mother, saying that their father had asked that they file to the Ministry of Magic requesting to end their marriage.

Daphne had dealt with the news in the only way she'd known how; she'd gotten drunk. It turned out the party in the Slytherin common room on Christmas Day had been her idea and it had been her boyfriend, Terence Higgs, who'd provided the alcohol.

Asteria, however, turned her pain inward, and wanted nothing more than to escape the noise and excitement of the Christmas Day party. The last thing she had wanted was people plying her with alcohol and ambushing her under the mistletoe that had appeared from Merlin only knew where.

Hearing about the "Come and Go Room" from an older student some months earlier, Asteria had thought of the place in her time of need, and hastened to the seventh floor.

However, upon finding the curious tapestry of ballet-dancing trolls and its opposite wall blank, she assumed it was a lost cause.

Desperate for some silence and solitude, she had paced the corridor on the seventh floor, wishing for a place where she could forget her worries, escape the world, relax in comfort and find a distraction from her problems.

And that's when the door to the Room had appeared.

Delighted, Asteria had entered and found a place that was seemly tailored to her liking; with decoration in keeping with the styles she favoured, and enough books, board games and snacks to take her mind off her problems.

She'd taken to sitting on the windowsill of the bay window, where a bench and numerous comfortable cushions had appeared, and distracted herself by looking out over the castle grounds; contemplating what her life would be like once her parents separated.

Thinking of her mum and dad living in different houses; having to divide her time between them; and holiday separately, the tears had started rolling down her cheeks.

Wanting to do more than sit and stare out the window, she'd wished for the diary she'd left in her trunk.

The Room had answered her request and seconds later, the diary had appeared on Asteria's lap, along with a quill and a pot of ink.

It was then that Draco had entered the room, sat down on the sofa and helped himself to a cup of Earl Grey. Her Grey.

"Best coincidence to happen to me in a long time," Asteria told him, finishing off her tale with a lop-sided grin. "You've really helped distract me these past few days."

"Until today," Draco pointed out, coming to sit on the window seat besides her. "What changed?"

"This," she told him, handing Draco the crumpled note that was the letter from her mother.

"Are you sure I should be reading this? Isn't it private?"

"What do I care? It'll be all over the Daily Prophet enough anyway. An old pureblood family like mine breaking down doesn't stay quiet for long."

Draco knew first-hand what it was like to have his family's personal concerns plastered all over the Daily Prophet, to have people look at you and gossipas soon as you turned your back. Taking the letter from Asteria, he gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze.

He scanned the note, written by Asteria's mother - a Mediterranean woman he vaguely remembered from social gatherings at Malfoy Manor - which explained that the divorce had gone through, and her father had since moved into an lavish bachelor pad in the city centre.

"He's giving up the family home?" Draco blurted, having a hard time imagining his own father happily relinquishing Malfoy Manor should things between his parents ever turn sour. "But as patriarch, it's his birthright."

Asteria snorted at this. "Typical. I wouldn't expect a Malfoy to understand."

Looking affronted, Draco turned to her with narrowed eyes. "What? You know I'm right, and if this was about anyone else, you'd be agreeing with me."

Asteria gave him a death glare that said not to push the subject any further.

Draco sighed and handed the letter back to Asteria. "I didn't mean to offend you; I just can't comprehend why he'd happily give away a home that has been in his family for generations. A house his ancestors built."

"Because he's not giving it to Mother. Didn't you read the whole letter?" When Draco shook his head, Asteria continued. "He's handed custodial control to my older brother Alexander, so that he, Daphne and I still have somewhere to live. Mother is allowed to stay there too, as long as we all agree, and as long as she doesn't re-marry. Once father dies, it will then legally pass down to Alex as part of Father's will."

"Oh, I see. That's slightly better," Draco acquiesced. "At least you and Daphne won't have to worry about being kicked out on the streets."

"I suppose, but that doesn't make things any easier."

"I understand; it must be really tough for all of you."

"Do you really understand, Draco? Your parents are still happily married; how can you possibly comprehend what I'm going through?" Asteria demanded, the pitch of her voice rising a few notches, as the emotions of the situation overtook her, and tears welled in her eyes.

"Of course I understand. Okay, so my parents aren't divorcing, but my family has still been torn apart. My father is languishing in jail, or have you forgotten?"

Looking taken aback, Asteria choked down a sob that then turned into a hiccup.

"I had, actually," she admitted.

"How is that even possible? It was all the Prophet about during the summer."

"Yes, but then there were all those attacks, and Scrimgeour replaced Fudge as Minister. Then between studying for my O. and with everything going on at home, I haven't really thought of anyone but myself for weeks."

Draco blinked rapidly, and for a moment, Asteria thought he was going to say something, then he merely shrugged.

"I know things haven't been easy for you, either," she said finally.

"Haven't been easy? You don't even know the half of it. At least you'll still get to see your father. Mine will probably die in Azkaban, or have his soul sucked out by Dementors. And that's not even the start of it. If you knew what I was going through, you'd be thanking Merlin that your parents divorcing is the worst of your troubles."

"Well, I'm sorry we can't all have convicted Death Eaters as parents. Apparently, I was wrong for thinking the world doesn't revolve around one Draco Malfoy," Asteria spat back, turning her back on him.

Draco huffed out a frustrated breath and rose to leave.

He didn't need this. He had enough on his plate without having to deal with Asteria's problems, too. And if she wasn't even going to bother talking to him properly, why should he stick around and try to help her out?

However, he'd barely even reached half-way across the room when he heard a muffled sob and his resolve broke.

Non of this was her fault, and he couldn't just walk out on her while she was upset.

Besides, comforting Asteria kept his mind of the pressing matter of the Dark Lord's task, and that was something he really did not want to think about.

Since meeting Asteria he'd been putting off working on the Vanishing Cabinet more and more. He knew he'd have to get back to it eventually, for for now he just wanted to enjoy the Christmas Holidays in piece.

"Asteria, I'm sorry. I didn't mean that," he said, returning to sit next to her on the window seat. "I'm just … you wouldn't understand … it's so … just know I'm sorry, and I didn't mean to upset you."

"Well, you have. The damage has been done now, so you can leave."

She turned to him then, her face once more streaked with tears, and her eyes glassy from crying.

Only this time Draco knew it was he who had caused her pain, and not her parents. Just days before he had been thinking how great it was that he had managed to take her mind off things and brighten her mood, even if it was just for a few hours. And now here he was being the cause of her tears instead.

Asteria glared at him, letting him know with her angry blue eyes that he was no longer welcome here, but this time Draco made no effort to move.

"Please Asteria, I'm sorry. I am genuinely upset to hear about your parents, and if there's anything I can do to help, I will. I didn't mean to take it out on you just now. I've been under a lot of pressure recently and talking about my father bought it all back."

Asteria wiped her tears on the sleeve of her robe and shrugged her shoulder.

"It's okay. I probably overreacted too. I'm just not dealing with all this very well. All I've known my whole life is Mother and Father together, and now that they've separated, I'm not sure what to do with myself."

The tears were falling down her cheeks once more, and she looked so tiny and helpless that despite himself, Draco reached forwards and pulled Asteria against his chest. She wrapped her arms tightly around him and tucked her head under his chin, as he ran his fingers through her long dark hair.

It was soft, smooth and silky. Not unlike Pansy's hair, only longer and with a little wave to it. However, unlike Pansy's hair that always smelt of honey and musk, Asteria's smelt like camphor wood and parchment, as though she usually spent large amounts of time in the library.

Holding her closely, Draco inhaled Asteria's scent, and whispered soothingly to her.

"It'll all be okay," he promised, and then not knowing why, he added, "I'll look after you."

No one ever offered to look after Draco anymore, not even his own mother, who spent more time alone since his father had been sent to Azkaban. He wanted to do something, anything, to stop the pain Asteria was in and make her smile again.

And so he continued to hold her close to him as she sobbed out her troubles.

Finally Asteria moved back slightly and looked up at Draco with glassy eyes and tear-stained cheeks.

"I'm sorry; I've gotten your robes all wet."

"It's okay," he assured her, reaching out to wipe a tear from her cheek with the pad of his thumb.

"Thank you. Thank you for letting me cry it out, and thank you for being here to reassure me that it'll be okay. I know there's every chance it might not be, but hearing you say it could be okay is enough for now."

Then, without warning, Asteria leant forwards and crushed her lips against Draco's. The kiss was hot and wet and desperate. Despite himself, despite Asteria's age, and despite his "relationship" with Pansy, Draco allowed the kiss to deepen and slipped his tongue into Asteria's mouth.

With her clinging to him for dear life, and her breath becoming fast and ragged, Draco forgot everything for a few moments. The Dark Lord and his mission ceased to exist and all that mattered was this moment and their tongues battling for dominance.

He allowed his fingers to run through the tangle of her long dark hair, as she looped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. His own breathing quickening to match the rate of hers, as their hearts hammered in their chests.

With no conscious thought, Draco slid his hands down to caress her breasts.

Asteria's body went rigid, and Draco pulled back from the kiss, abashed.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that."

He was so used to Pansy letting him grope her that he'd forgotten himself in the heat of the moment.

"It's okay. It was actually quite nice," Asteria assured him sheepishly, a coy smile playing on her lips. "Just stay on the outside of my robes, okay?"

"Okay," Draco promised, leaning forwards to capture her lips with his own once more.

The night breeze drifted in through the open bay window, and wafted around them, bringing with it the smell of the castle ground and the Forbidden Forest just beyond. The scent of snow mingled with pine needles, and the aromas of festive herbs and spices. The Hogwarts House Elves were apparently cooking up something special for tomorrow's New Year's Eve celebrations.

The lights in the Room of Requirement magically dimmed, and the rays of the moon drifted through the open window, casting Draco and Asteria's pale features in a stark contrast of shadows and light.

As they continued to kiss, Draco made every effort not to let his hands stray down to Asteria's breasts, and as he slipped his tongue into her mouth, he cupped her face in his palms, and rubbed his thumbs across her cheeks.

She snaked her arms around his neck in return and they kissed more deeply as she ran light fingers through his hair. Shivers ran down Draco's spine and despite his best intentions, his hands started to drift.

They tangled in Asteria's thick hair first, then to her neck where a pulse throbbed beneath his fingertips. They settled there for as long as Draco could bear to keep still before he reached the small swell of her breasts once more.

Asteria moaned against his mouth as he rubbed his thumbs over her hardening nipples, and her body ached to feel his touch on her naked skin. Even through the fabric of her robes Draco's actions made her knees weak and her heart race. Imagining what it would feel like if she were naked only made her pulse quicken.

However, moments later Draco pulled away, a panicked look upon his face.

"We shouldn't be doing this. You're too young, and I'm too messed up. And then there's Pansy ..." he trailed off, leaving his thoughts about Pansy unsaid, as Asteria pouted and stuck out her bottom lip.

"Please Draco, just hold me. Life has been so terrible recently, and being with you makes me forget about it."

She leaned forwards and reached out for him, but Draco pulled away.

"Asteria, I want to, but it would be wrong of me to take advantage of you like this."

"Who said anything about taking advantage? Life's too short to worry about consequences now. Can't we just make something good, something beautiful, even if it's only for tonight?"

"And to hell with the repercussions?"

"Yes, let's just worry about those tomorrow," Asteria insisted.

"But … our ages … and Pansy … and ..."

"Shut up, Malfoy and kiss me."

So he did. He did as she'd suggested and pushed all thoughts over whether this was right or wrong out of his mind, and he kissed her. Repercussions could wait until tomorrow.

Earlier when she'd kissed him, it had been hot and wet and desperate, and although the desperation was still there, it was now coupled with passionate urgency, as though Asteria's very life depended on this moment, and this kiss.

And in a way it did, for both of them.

Draco and Asteria had been hanging in the balance, waiting for something to tip the scale towards hopelessness or back into normality, possibly even joy. This moment, with them joined together in passion was it. And even if things turned sour in the morning, they'd have their time together to cling to and pull them through the blackness.

With that thought firmly in mind, and pushing all doubts to the back of his head, Draco gave in to the desire he felt for Asteria, and reciprocated the wanton neediness of her embrace.

Asteria clung to him desperately, her hands wandering freely over the planes of his chest and then dipping down to caress his thighs. The action sent chills through Draco, and only served to ignite his own desire.

So much so in fact that he no longer stopped himself as his hands crept up from Asteria's waist to cup and fondle her breasts; something he'd wanted to do since the moment they'd started kissing.

This time, however, Asteria made no move to stop him and her only response was a sigh against his lips, that caused his cock to harden almost uncomfortably.

Thanking Merlin he was wearing loose fitting robes, Draco continued the assault on her breasts, the touch of his hands becoming rougher as his actions became more desperate and needy.

Asteria returned his actions with equal earnest, her hands now snaking his neck again as she ran her fingers through his hair.

Soon the fact they were both clothed in robes grew frustrating for Draco, who wanted nothing more than to feel Asteria's naked flesh beneath his finger tips, and he tugged on the hem of her clothing.

Asteria pulled away from the kiss and looked at him hesitantly.

"I'm sorry. If this is going too far for you, then we can stop."

Asteria backed off momentarily, her face pensive, as though she were considering something.

"If this war does come, we might not have much time left. I don't want to leave this world with only bad memories. Let's make some good ones."

With that she lifted her midnight blue robes up over her head to reveal the dark underwear she had on underneath.

Draco did the same, discarding his emerald green robes, so that he was clad only in the expensive Parisian silk boxer shorts that had been a Christmas present from his grandmother.

With an almost naked Asteria before him, Draco admired her silk adorned body, drinking in her milk white skin and the contrast her dark hair made as it cascaded down her back. Watching the subtle curve of her spine as she slowly breathed in and out, watching him expectantly, her blue eyes shining in the moonlight.

The gentle rise and fall of her chest as she exhaled caused Asteria's breasts to quiver and that was enough to spur on Draco's desire. He reached for her then and carefully began removing her bra.

The garment slipped away, and Asteria averted her eyes, abashed, though Draco had no idea why she should be. Her small breasts were pert and firm, with raspberry pink nipples just waiting for him to taste. It was a tantalising image.

He lowered his head to her breasts, and took a nipple into his mouth, sucking on it greedily, as she reached out for him and ran her hands across his now naked torso.

When he lightly nipped the nipple, a small squeal escaped her mouth and she swatted him playfully.

After lavishing the same attention on her other breast, Draco sat up and captured her lips with his own, allowing his tongue to caress the inside of her mouth. Asteria's nipples had darkened to a rosy red and had hardened to stiff peaks. Beneath his fingertips he could feel her pulse racing.

"Asteria … ..this," Draco panted breathlessly, as he pulled away from the kiss and removed Asteria's hands from where they were lingering near the hem of his underpants. "You're too young. I can't use you like this when you're vulnerable. And Pansy, she'll hex us both into next week if she finds out."

"Shush," Asteria cooed, reaching out for him again. "You're not using anyone. I'm consenting to this as much as you are. And Pansy be damned; she never deserved you anyway."

"We can't. We shouldn't," Draco insisted, inching backwards, though Asteria just moved closer with his every word. "This isn't right. This isn't how I imagined my first time."

Asteria stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes going wide, and her cheeks flushing.

"You're a virgin? But I heard Pansy telling Daphne you two did it last year."

This time it was Draco's turn to blush deeply.

"We did everything but. Then when Pansy started telling people we'd slept together, I saw no reason to correct her. I had a reputation to protect, after all."

Asteria rolled her eyes and backed away slightly. It seemed Draco's return to usual arrogance had somewhat dampened her desire for him.

"It's not like that now though," Draco insisted, this time him being the one moving close to her, as he reached out a laid a hand on Asteria's bare knee. "I don't want people thinking I used you. I 't want to use you."

"And you wouldn't be. I need this Draco. We this. Show me there's something good left in the world. Show me it isn't all darkness."

"But I'm not sure there is anything but blackness looming out there. And even if there is a tiny speck of light, I don't think I'm the one who can guide you to it, Asteria. I'm too broken for you. I'm no good."

"The world is broken, Draco. War is coming and we've got to choose sides, even though I'd rather just go back to living in blissful ignorance. And soon I won't have a home to live in. Well, not a whole one, anyway. Everything is breaking. I'm breaking. Help me stay held together. Be the one to hold me together, Draco."

And without giving him time to answer, Asteria leant forwards and crushed her lips against his. Draco's lack of resistance, and the warmth of his tongue in her mouth confirmed that he would indeed hold her together.

And perhaps I can return the favour.

This time, Draco didn't hold back. Free from his worry that he was taking advantage of Asteria in her vulnerability, and caring less what Pansy would say or do when she hadn't been there in his time of need, - he returned Asteria's kiss with equal passion.

Asteria's hand didn't hesitate as she reached the waistband on Draco's underpants, and she tugged free his hardening erection.

"Wait," he panted as she stroked his shaft. "What about protection?"

Asteria halted her ministrations momentarily and reached for her wand. Under her breath she muttered a few quick incantations, and then tapped herself on the head, followed by doing the same thing to Draco. In succession a blue light bathed them both.

"All done," she announced with an impish smile, as she leant forwards and licked her lips. "Now where was I?"

Draco's grin matched her own as he captured Asteria's lips, and she resumed her slow caress of his hardening cock.

Trembling, Asteria stroked the shaft up and down.

"Not too tight," he instructed her, coming up for breath.

"Sorry, I'm not really very well practised in this," she admitted with a blush.

"I can teach you." And taking her hand, he guided it gently up and down the length of his erection, squeezing her fingers together so that she applied the right amount of pressure.

"Merlin that's it," he hissed between clenched teeth, as her hand came down to the base of his shaft, in one long, lavish stroke.

As Asteria continued slowly caressing his cock, Draco lifted his hands to cup her breasts. Small as they were, he still had plenty to squeeze, as he rubbed circles around her nipples with the pad of his thumbs. Asteria moaned against his mouth.

His cock now throbbing with desire, Draco knew he had to find release soon, or he'd be spilling his seed across Asteria's lap. He directed his attention away from her breasts, and his hand snaked across her thigh.

Asteria let out a little squeal and fidgeted at his touch.

"Sorry, that tickles," she giggled.

"I can stop if you want?"

"Merlin. no! It feels too good. No one has ever touched me like this before."

"Have you been with many boys then?" Draco asked with uncertainty, his fingers lingering at the apex of her thigh.

"Only the one. But we never got this far. We didn't even get past taking our tops off."

Draco felt oddly comforted by the thought that he would be her first, as she was his.

Spurred on by this, Draco's hand found its way to Asteria's mound, where dark curls covered her cleft. Pansy liked to keep her hair down their magically trimmed, usually in some inane shape like a heart, so it was a refreshing change to see that, while not unkempt, Asteria's hair was more natural.

As gently as possible, he slid a finger between her folds, and slipped it into her opening.

Asteria made a startled sound that was somewhere between a moan and a squeal.

"I'm not hurting you, am I?"

"No, it just took me by surprise."

Reassured that he wasn't causing her discomfort, Draco pushed his finger in a little deeper, and pumped back and forth. When Asteria's breathing became ragged and her body began to tense, he added a second finger.

After another few minutes of pumping his fingers Asteria's body went rigid and she let out a small moan. Draco knew that she was ready from the wetness between Asteria's legs and his prior experience with Pansy, so he withdrew his fingers and climbed on top of her, careful not to push down too much with his body weight.

Asteria looked up at him with heavily lidded eyes. Her pupils were dilated and her expression glassy. Worried, Draco stopped for a moment.

"Are you sure you're okay with this?"

"More than okay," she replied huskily, a faint blush creeping over her cheeks as a smile spread across her rosy lips.

To punctuate her statement, Asteria moved her head forwards and crushed her lips against his, sliding her tongue into his mouth.

This was all the assurance Draco needed. His cock was already aching and he was desperate to bury it inside her.

Using his trembling hand to guide it, Draco positioned his cock at her entrance, and then thrust inside. Her muscles were tight around him, and as he forced the head deeper, Asteria hissed a sharp breath between her teeth.

"I'm sorry, did I hurt you?"

"A little, but I'm okay. Please, don't stop," she whimpered.

Draco thrust again and this time it was a moan that escaped Asteria's lips and her inner muscles clenched around him.

He increased his pace now that he knew Asteria was okay. However, all the while he kept his eyes fixed on her, studying her every facial expression to make sure she was still okay.

Asteria kept her eyes locked on Draco's, their gaze meeting as he thrust inside her, and she laced her arms around his neck and pulled him closer for another kiss.

Their tongues battled for dominance as Draco's thrusts became harder, and his actions faster, while Asteria hooked her legs around his waist, so that her lips rose up to match his.

And still he did not take his eyes off her. Asteria's had fluttered shut now, and Draco watched as she scrunched her eyelids tightly and bit her bottom lip, as her fingers raked along his back.

With one final thrust Draco closed his eyes momentarily and then spilt his seed inside Asteria, as her legs trembled and her core tightened around him. He knew by the soft whimper that escaped her lips that Asteria had found release too.

A moment later he felt the gentle touch of her hand on his cheek, and he blinked open his eyes. She was staring back at him, blue eyes wide and glazed. A dreamy smile graced her face as though she'd just woken from a pleasant night's rest.

"Was that okay?" he asked with uncertainty. Pansy had always told him it was important to make sure the woman was completely satisfied before things ended.

"Yes, that was perfect."

Draco had never been called perfect by anyone before. Even when Pansy was hanging off his arm, simpering over his every ever word, she'd never said he was perfect. Revered, maybe. Gorgeous once or twice. Even admired at times. But never perfect.

It was good to know someone found him perfect, even when he himself felt broken inside.

Or did he…?

The weight of The Dark Lord's mission loomed dark in his mind, but for now, he was content to hold Asteria close and bask in the glow of what they'd shared. He'd found peace at last and the memories of her would light his way when all else failed.