Skinny Love

She had often read the phrase "blanketed by snow," but she'd never really understood it until now. Staring out at the silent white grounds, she understood. It was as though life was put to bed for the moment, covered and coveted by the alabaster fall. And it was so bloody quiet.

Her son was somewhere. The manor was still huge. Just empty now. So much of the fine furniture had been destroyed by the Dark Lord and his cohorts. But some of it… Some of it she simply couldn't bear to see any longer.

She turned away from the window, away from the condensation her breath left on its heavy pane. One bare foot rubbed the top of the other. Freezing. The floors were so cold. Stone, wood and marble had no heart, no warmth to share. She rubbed her arms as her frozen feet patted down the long hallway. No, this was not a warm place, at all.

Her thumb caught on a tear and she paused. There, just beneath her armpit was a shredded seam. She blinked, twisted awkwardly to see it. She remembered a time when she would have a new frock for every day of the year… but that hardly seemed to matter now. Let them wear thin. Let them fall apart like me.


At the hoarse voice, she straightened. Must have looked a sight – like a dog trying to bite at a flea on its rib. "Draco."

He stood in the drawing room's open door. His head cocked. "What the devil are you doing?"

She paused before raising her arm, pointed with her other hand. "I've a hole."

He approached. His fingers were skeleton fingers. They nearly tickled. He poked at the hole and she lurched away. "I think it's time to retire this frock, mum. You could probably use some new clothes."

Yes, they both could. "I can mend it." Much was unspoken but understood. Draco nodded. She wasn't ready for the eyes yet – the eyes of all the others. The non-Malfoys. And her son couldn't leave the house for a year – his probation. Potter had spoken for them, made Draco a prisoner of his own home and her husband a prisoner of Azkaban (again).

But she was free.

Though free of what she knew not.

"There's soup for lunch." His grey eyes were dull in this dimness.

"I'm not very hungry."

He stared at her for a moment, forehead creasing slowly. Just as slowly, his hand extended and he touched her side, pressed those invasive fingers into a rib. "You're getting very skinny."

"You're one to talk," she snapped. They were both right. Neither ate really. Picked at their food. Barely tasted. Slid it around on the plate until it looked somewhat eaten. They stared as though daring one another to speak.

Draco surrendered, sighing. He rubbed a hand over his face. "We have to try, mother."

"I'd say we've months ahead of trying." She whispered. "And then years after that."

Draco turned away briskly. "Starve, then!" His sudden rage was not unexpected. It was borne of their isolation, she knew, their stress and desperation. "I don't bloody care anymore. Let's just die here and make beautiful corpses. They can fit us both in the same box when the time comes. It'll be just like now!"

"Draco!" It was a half-hearted attempt to stop him, at best. But he was already down the hall, slamming a door as he passed and taking the steps to the second floor two or three at a time. She rubbed at her own face, staggered into the drawing room. Yes, there was soup on the coffee table. Her head swam. She dropped onto the chaise lounge and let the tears come, rubbed at the stupid, stubborn tears and spoke the accompanying mantra. "Why? Why?! Oh, Lucius…Lucius. Why?"

Need cracked open her breastplate. It wasn't so much that she missed her husband, although she did. Perhaps they'd never had a great love, so to speak, but he'd always at least been there. He'd held her together. Told her what to do. What to say. How to feel about things.

But now he was gone for the gods knew how long and it seemed all her seams were slipping…

There was a paid elf they rarely saw, so it hardly counted as company. It cleaned and prepared meals and left after the warming charm fell over dinner. And truthfully, Narcissa avoided it if she saw it. Any contact meant possibly speaking, and speech was a vulgar rarity now, as was almost any sound. She felt as one would feel in a tomb - reluctant to disturb the solace of the dead.

So when she woke one afternoon to the sound of the piano, she was momentarily stunned. She'd fallen asleep in the library. When the music jolted her awake, her book tumbled from her chest to the rug. She sat on the edge of the settee, listening.

The music was familiar, but the instrument was badly out of tune. Bella had been known to play it maniacally at all hours, and truthfully, Cissa had wondered if it was even worth salvaging. But she'd sacrificed so many of their belongings already - bloodstained or cursed. The Black family piano had seemed too much to ask.

And now, someone was playing it, soft and muted. She heard the thumping echo of the foot pedal as she walked down the corridor to the drawing room, raking her fingers lightly along the lacquered wall. Her bare feet made not a sound, so she stood unnoticed in the parlor door, watching him.

He'd lit a fire. It made the otherwise empty room seem full somehow, or at least more alive. Because even though he played the piano, Draco was still as a mannequin save for his fingers on the keys. Her eyes settled there, watched his skinny digits caress the ivory. He played with a re-awakening confidence, and she knew he was probably drawing on lessons she'd given him as a boy. Amazing that he remembered, but then again, Draco had always possessed a prodigious mind.

He was brilliant. She leaned weak in the doorframe, watching the orange glow of the fire create hollows in his long, thin neck. He was also beautiful.

Perhaps it was the pervasive chill. Or if she was honest with herself - the music. Something wet her eyes and nose. She sniffed and he stopped. He turned toward her with no expression. "Mother." She closed her eyes in response. "Come play with me?"

Her toes tingled as she crossed the warmed rug of the parlor. All her extremities felt warm blood's surge. She sat beside him, waifish forms leaving room to spare on the cherry bench. Even the keys were warm. They harmonized well together, played somewhat sad things in minor keys, elbows brushing occasionally, sniffling or chuffing soft laughter. After the third improvised song, Draco paused. "Lunch should be ready," he whispered.

She dropped her head onto his angular shoulder. "I'm not hungry."

He said nothing. His lips touched her temple. They played again.

Often, she forgot when she bathed. It would take a clump of oily hair to remind her that she hadn't washed since Tuesday - and she had no idea what day it was now. Everything seemed to happen on one infinite string of minutes culminating in a handful of hours which equated to a number of days. And nights were just the dark times in the middles.

She felt strange this particular night, fingers swirling eddies in the murky bathwater. It had gone cold, but she couldn't be arsed to leave it. There was a wand nearby, and warming charms, but she couldn't muster the energy for that, either.

This night, she felt as if she looked at everything through a shimmering veil. If she held her hand aloft before her face, the fingers seemed to vibrate. And her head ached a little more incessantly than usual. She clenched her eyes closed and wondered if her cycle wasn't approaching. Then she tried to remember when she last had a cycle...

But the only memories were odd ones - completely uncalled for. Her wedding day. The yards of tulle and satin and heavy crystals that felt like sandpaper beneath her hands. The overwhelming stench of narcissi in her bouquet. Her mother's wide, sickly grin. And Lucius.

"Lucius..." She stood. Reached for her husband's steadying arms. Then black.

She was choking on fire and someone was holding her down. "No!" What should have been a shout was a weak groan.

"Hush," he whispered. "Shhhh."

She blinked and shivered and looked up. "Draco." Awareness settled. Her bedroom. They were on the floor before her fire and she was naked save for a hastily grabbed throw. "Draco."

He held her between his thighs, kneeling. There was a vial in his hand. "It's a strengthening draught," he said. "You need to finish it."

She nodded. "How did I -"

"I didn't see you for dinner. Or lunch. So I came looking." He stroked her cheek and it hurt. She flinched. "You must have fallen out of the bath." His face worked to maintain. "I saw you and I thought..." He failed to maintain and bent over her, clutched her awkwardly and too tightly. "Mum, please," he sobbed. "Please be fine."

She raised a hand and stroked his neck, tucked her fingertips beneath the crisp collar of his shirt. "I am fine, son." He shook his head. She felt tears soak through the throw and onto her breast. "I will be then." He shifted and the potion vial was folded into her free hand. He collected himself and pushed her up. Seated against his chest, precariously covered, she drank the foul-tasting concoction with a grimace.

"You have to eat," Draco said.

She nodded, felt his ribs at her back. "You, too."

He put his arms around her and squeezed. "Alright." The embrace sped her heart. "We'll do this. And it'll be better after. Just this year, mum. We can last this year at least."

She turned her head into the crook of his shoulder. Kissed him through shirt and jacket. Yes, for her son she could do better. She inhaled his scent and ignored his mouth on the sharp jut of her collarbone. For him, she would do better.

At first, she felt like fresh hell. The days after her collapse were spent curled on her bed, wracked with cramps and nausea. Draco brought her potion after potion; invigorating draughts, strengthening tonics, vitamin supplements. He plied her with cups of hot, salty broth and strong teas with heavy cream and honey. He hand-fed her bits of dark chocolate and fresh fruit. She was spoiled and doted on, but it was hard to keep anything down.

She dreamed while awake, it seemed. Saw things and people who weren't there. Shades and spectres. Shadows cast by her fire became snakes, eyes and the masks that once lined her dining table, hungry in their blackened eye sockets. She shouted at them and threw whatever was handy. Many a night she clung to her son and he rocked her to sleep as she'd once rocked him.

She pitched feverish fits. Her magic spluttered and often failed her completely. There'd been an ugly scene when she attempted to break her own wand and Draco had fought her over the instrument. She was newly invigorated by numerous strengthening draughts and had been difficult to subdue, leaving her son heaving for breath with a burst lip.

He staggered away from the bed, clutching her wand. "I'll give it back when you're better, mum." he nearly tripped over a tossed pillow. "Hell," he muttered. "We're cutting out the strengthening draughts." He stared at her oddly for a moment, crouched on her bed like a feral thing - the gown she'd worn for days torn from one shoulder. Finally, he left on a hissed 'good evening.'

If their wrestling match had convinced them of anything, it was that she was now capable of getting about. "I'd like you to get a bath," he told her that morning. She was eating melon and watching him from beneath a heavy brow. "And brush your teeth. No offense, but your breath is rank."

"What d'you expect?" She asked with a scowl. "I've been a prisoner in my bed for nearly a week."

"Hardly a prisoner." He refilled her tea. "I'm really glad to see your appetite is back."

She downed the tea and flopped into her pillows. Stretched like a cat in the sun. "You've fed me like a sow for the spring slaughter. Of course, I have an appetite." She ran hands over her body, rucked the dirty nightgown. "I'm getting fat."

He perched beside her and looked away. "You look...much better."

She reached out for him. Poked his ribs through his grey oxford. "And you? Are you filling out, too?"

He squirmed. Slapped at her hand. "Stop it!" When she grinned and poked harder, he leapt from the bed. "Get a bloody bath!" He told her. "And then go for a walk. I'll send the elf for your tray."

"You've seen the elf?" She sat up and watched her toes wiggle.

"I've had to send it for all your potions."

"Oh." A bath sounded delightful, really. She felt quite good. "Would you like to play with me a bit today?"

He gave her a double-take. "What?"


"Oh. Right." He headed for her door. "Yeah, we can...we can play a bit later."

She smiled and scrambled out of bed. Her bathwater was disgusting. She emptied it and ran it again. The several clumps of hair on the surface of the water were unsettling, so she conditioned it well and wrapped her head in a towel.

Clean and pleased, she posed before the mirror over the bathroom's porcelain sink. "Gads," she murmured. Yes, her teeth were quite yellowed. She performed some calculations while she brushed. She'd been in bed for nearly a week. Or was it a week? Or more? But how long had she really been this way? How long since she'd eaten a proper meal or stepped into the sun?

She spat into the sink and froze. Gasped and put a hand to her lips. She looked at the fingers, at the blood there. It sluiced thickly down the insides of the sink. Her fearful eyes slid to the mirror - to her reflection. Her mouth was a bloody mess. Blood coated her teeth, dotted the usually sparkling veneers.

And she was pale. She was always pale, yes - but not the ghost that stared back at her. She pinched her cheeks roughly to color them, then rinsed her mouth with water cupped in shaky hands. I didn't realize... No wonder Draco worried.

At her vanity, she brushed her hair slowly, cautiously. She was afraid it would fall away in folds, litter the floor. But it seemed fine - just lacked the lustre it generally possessed. She sighed. A drying charm would lift the chill from her shoulders, but her son currently had her wand. Hopefully, he would surrender it back to her. She felt far more in control of her magic.

She dressed deliberately, wanting to convey her health. She chose a less frayed frock in a light blue, knowing the color complemented her eyes. She pulled her hair into a loose chignon, wanting to accentuate her now coloured cheeks. She was still a bit sunken beneath her eyes, but without a glamour charm, this would have to do. She scowled at her shoes and opted for slippers.

She peered into two rooms before she found Draco in the drawing room. He sat at a small table before the window. A tea service steamed and his face was obscured by a Daily Prophet. He flicked a corner over and let his eyes slide blatantly over her body. "You look much better."

She was warmed by the words and came to sit across from him. "Thank you. For everything."

He folded the paper and set it aside. "You're my mother. Should I have let you die naked on the floor of the loo?"

She flushed. She'd nearly forgotten about that. "Well...sometimes we lose sight of our health in light of..." She shrugged. She didn't have any excuse, really.

Draco was nodding, looking at her thoughtfully. "I didn't realize you missed father so very much."

Narcissa set about making a cup of tea. "Of course I miss him. He's my husband."

Draco slid a scone closer to her. "I have to confess...he's my father. But I don't miss him very much, myself."

She blinked. Was this some challenge, some test? She chose her response very carefully. "I suppose your relationship with him was somewhat...strained. But Draco your father does love you."

His face darkened. "Loved me enough to offer me up to his master in lieu of himself?"

"Draco." She could sense this was something that had plagued him, daunted him for some time. "We were in an impossible situation -"

"Which he placed us in." He took up his paper again as if to halt any further conversation on the subject.

Narcissa didn't argue. She drank her tea in quiet contemplation. She ate half of her scone, then pushed away from the table.

Draco peered at her again. "Alright, mum?" She nodded. He produced her wand and she smiled as she accepted it. "I'm sorry I took it. I just didn't want you to break it or...blow the windows out of the house."

The smooth, slick ebony in her fingers hummed. She shifted in her chair, and faced her son squarely. "Do you know what I miss most about your father?"

"I can't imagine," he muttered.

"His guidance," she answered.

"His control." Draco slid abruptly from the table. "I think in time, once you remember your own mind, you'll find you miss that not at all. Care for a walk?"

"I..." It was taking a moment to process his comment. But his outstretched hand was inviting. She took hold of it. "I'd love one."

Draco brought her hand to his face, kissed her knuckles. "Put on some proper shoes, then mother. There's too much snow for those."

Mildly flustered, she went to obey him. Her hand tingled where he'd kissed it.

Her strength returned exponentially with her son's attentions. The house remained quiet as ever, but now they talked or read or played the piano together. They defeated the silence.

And with the return of her appetite, came the return of Narcissa's former beauty. Her hair gleamed again, and her more filled-out face held the color that accompanied contentment. Her magic, sure and powerful again, mended many a frock. But a few were beyond repair. She sighed in the doorway of her wardrobe. A few whisks later, the magically expanded cabinet was nearly empty.

Draco brightened to find her perusing a witches' clothing catalogue one afternoon. He peered over her shoulder. "What?" She smirked up at his smirk.

He pointed. "I like that one."

"You must be larking about."


"It's yellow!"

"I like yellow." His hands fell on her shoulders.

"When have you ever known me to wear yellow?"

His smirk settled to a grin. "You're a witch, aren't you? Change the bloody color. I like the cut of it."

Her lashes fluttered for a moment. When had he started noticing such things? "Well. Perhaps in a dark blue." His fingers stroked lightly against her neck and she realized he was gathering stray strands of hair that had escaped her bun. Her muscles tensed.

"Or red," he murmured. His low voice was very near her ear. Then he straightened and was gone.

Narcissa sat in the chair, catalogue clutched to her chest. An unnamable and startling sensation ribboned up her spine.

She loved boxes. She positively had a rebirth of spirit when they started to arrive. There were usually five or six opened on her bed, and a little witch practically prancing about in front of her mirror. She criticized, admired and considered. Still thinner than usual, perhaps, but she was gradually filling her dainties again. Recalling how her breasts had hung on her skeletal form brought a pouting moue to her recently reddened lips. She straightened her shoulders. The sharp cut of this frock would require a bustier, probably... She unbuttoned it briskly.

"Having fun?"

"Merlin!" She spun to see her son leaning in her doorway. "Are you trying to frighten me into an early grave?"

He shook his head. "You look lovely."

"Thank you."

"You should go out. Shopping or something."

She bit her lip. "I have no intentions of leaving this manor until you can leave it with me."

His jaw tensed. "Hardly fair for you. And shouldn't one of us keep in contact with the outside world?"

"Why?" She walked toward him, fussed at his collar where it had flipped up a bit. "What's out there that's so fascinating? Gossip and resentment. Staring eyes and wagging tongues. I abhor the thought." She patted his chest. Yes, he was filling out again, too... She felt his eyes and met them. "Are you stir crazy, son? Running mad in here?"

He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Pulled her hand away from his chest. "I must be." He rubbed at his face, ran the hand through his shaggy white blonde.

Narcissa fretted. "Shall we take a walk? Would you like to play for a bit? We could work on that duet -"

He slid away from her, shaking his head. "I'm going to read for a bit, mum. Perhaps have a lie down."

"Are you alright, darling?" She reached for his forehead but he caught her wrist. The grip was sudden and sharp. "Oh!"

There was a warning on his face. "Don't, mother. Please."

She watched uncertainly as he walked away. He'd disappeared from her sight before she realized she'd been standing before him in a lacy brassiere with her dress unbuttoned to her waist. She winced at her own folly and turned to redress.

But Draco hid himself away well for the rest of the day. She didn't find him at lunch. He wasn't in the library, drawing room, parlor or solarium. She stepped out for a walk and found no fresh footprints in the snow. He didn't appear at supper either. When the elf popped in to clear away plates, Narcissa addressed her. "Pepper. Has Draco eaten today?"

"Master took his meals in his room, Mistress." The creature curtsied.

"I see. Thank you." Pepper popped away and left Narcissa staring at an empty table. He found me nearly dead on my lavatory floor... She stood quickly and headed for his room. "Draco?" She knocked softly. When no response came, she bit her lip. Her fingers curled uncertainly against the cool wood. There were no wards, so she knocked louder and squeezed the latch. "Draco?" She called to him as she entered, hoping not to startle him.

But there was no sign of him in his bedchamber, and his lavatory door stood open. She peered inside, but the room was empty, a drip echoing from the bathtub's elaborate taps. Slightly vexed, she turned to go.

And stepped directly into her son's tall, hard form. "Draco!" She gasped.

"Narcissa." Her given name was odd on his lips. He steadied her with hands on her shoulders.

She was flustered looking up at him. "I'm sorry. I came looking for you and when you didn't answer -"

"You worried I might be unconscious in my lavatory?"

She looked down. "I just worried. Where were you?"

"I stepped out for a book." He gestured to his bed, to the green leather tome that lay there.

She moved back an inch or so, out of his space. He seemed in no hurry to reclaim his personal space himself. "I hadn't seen you all day."

"I needed some time to myself."

She wanted his honesty, so she tried to ignore the sting. "Oh. Of course. I'll just leave you, then. I apologize." But she couldn't step past him. His arm stretched across the doorframe, effectively trapping her. He leaned further into her, and she felt his uneven breaths against the side of her face and neck. "Draco. If there was something I could do...anything...I would. To make this year easier for you." Her voice trembled.

He was moving. Smelling her? Gooseflesh broke across her chest and neck. When his free hand settled over her hip, seemed to stroke the velvet of her frock coat, she jumped. "Would you?" He asked, distracted. He stepped closer to her and she shifted away, stopped short by the door jamb at her back. His hand was right beside her head, holding to the wood and she looked at it. She'd never realized how long his fingers were, how rough the skin over his knuckles was. "Would you...Narcissa?"

"Draco," she whispered. But then the thickness of his thumb was stopping her lips, and his lips were so very precariously close to her own. "Oh..." The utterance was weak, like the rest of her. She wanted to call it terror that struck her dumb, but it was something much more base, wild and malevolent. He'd hurled a spear to the core of her - a sharp violent lust.

It sliced open a part of her that had healed shut these last years and a sudden hot, spreading wetness that wasn't blood shocked her. An addictive plume of want danced in her abdomen, fluttered with his every breath like a candle's flame. When his thumb tugged down on her bottom lip, she turned into it. Her teeth scraped it and an animal shed her son's skin.

Draco surged against her and his mouth closed over hers. She whimpered into the sloppy kiss, breathed past his eager tongue invading her mouth, couldn't control her body's instinctive arching into him. He dragged his wet thumb from between their lips and down her jaw, cupped and tilted her head to rape her mouth. The hand that had caressed her hip groped her arse painfully.

Narcissa groaned and he answered, still not releasing her from the brutal kiss. Her hands scrambled helplessly up his back before settling around and over his shoulders. She clutched him more for stability than anything else. What was transpiring between them couldn't be called an embrace, after all. She shifted and felt the stoney evidence of his desire prodding her hip. At the firm brush, he broke away, cursed and lifted her in the doorframe.

It was too easy to wrap her legs around his too thin hips. The thick velour of her new skirt bunched at her lower back while her upper back scraped up the rough wood, both sensations vying for dominance but neither winning over the lush devil mouth devouring her neck. "Draco, don't!" She gasped. "We can't!"

And she knew what she said was true. That what was unfolding in this dark lavatory doorway was wrong - dreadfully, horribly, genetically wrong. But her body refused reason and even as her mouth spoke 'no,' her cunt tightened and wept 'yes.'

Draco didn't seem to hear her, anyway. His hands had moved on with a deft pragmatism, bent on baring her. He'd managed the buttons of her blouse, but whined in frustration at the unreachable clasp of her skirt.

His teeth bit hard through the lace of her brassiere, firing a twinge of pain and ecstasy from her nipple to her stomach. "Draco!" He spun them from the doorway, hefting the ten stone of her as though she was a parchment roll and she realized they were headed for his bed.

Panic set in and she struggled, dropping ungracefully to the floor. "Stop, son!" She fought for her breath and her sense. Their feet tangled as he marched them forward and she attempted to flee. He didn't let her go. In fact, he wrenched her against him for another bruising kiss. The bed hit her hip and he tried to bend her. "No!" She freed an arm and went for her wand, but Draco was quick. He tugged it from her waist and sent it flying across the room.

"Don't fight, Narcissa." He pressed her to the bed at last, climbed atop her back.

"Draco we should think! We should stop now and think for a moment!" She spoke quickly, pushed up on her elbows to look awkwardly back at him.

He worked open the buttons on her skirt. "I can't really think right now," he said. His hands worked roughly the material over her hips, pressed her back into the mattress when she attempted to roll over. She balked when he brought her knickers and stockings down with the skirt.

"Draco, please..." An amazing calm settled over her. This was her son, after all. He would never hurt her. And perhaps they were both out of their minds at the moment. If she could just make him see her {He pulled her blouse off of her and flicked easily the clasp of her bra.} then surely she could convince him to consider. "Draco, let me see you!"

His pawing slowed. The fingers gently pulled her barrette from her hair. He didn't release her entirely, but propped over her on all fours. She rolled beneath him, finally able to take in his face.

And it wasn't at all what she expected; no feral insanity, no abandoned desperation. Instead, his gaunt features showed her sorrow, hope and need. Yes, there was want...but it was so thickly veiled by compassion she barely recognized it. Her breath caught and she reached up to stroke his cheek. "Draco...?"

His eyes closed and she heard his breath rattle past a lump in his throat. He dropped his forehead to hers. "I'm sick..."

"No." She insisted. She held his face tenderly, made him meet her eyes. "Darling. What is this?"

"I just need this...this love." He broke and sobbed into her neck.

"Oh, my love." Tears clouded her vision and thickened her voice. "We need to think of tomorrow. Because...we'll still be here. But different."

"I know." He suckled at the hope in her light brassiere. Snot and tears streaked her chest.

"Oh, Draco..." Her fingers stroked through his hair, caressed his neck. Who will love you? She thought beyond the walls of their prison. Beyond the year ahead. When names and reputations remained the same. Who will love us?

Mothering instinct and self-preservation made her decision. She gently pushed at his shoulders until his sat up, straddling her hips. She shed her bra and began undressing her son. His earlier fervor muted to eager wonder and earnest gratitude. His hands skated over her as if he couldn't believe he was touching her.

And perhaps he couldn't.

She placed his wand on his bedside table and encouraged him to climb beneath his thick duvet with her. The room was chilly, and Draco took a moment to send an incendio into his fireplace.

Warmed and reckless, Narcissa let her nearly forgotten excitement re-emerge as they slid and surged against one another.

"This feels so good, Draco!" She murmured in his ear. The confession felt safe, protected by his arms and their very isolation. And she'd missed this, too - another of Lucius' uses she'd not realized was remiss.

He smiled against her mouth, explored her yielding folds with curious fingers. He was rigid hard and pre-cum dotted her pelvis. "I want to be inside you," he whispered. "Please..."

She was tensed and saw no reason for them to wait. Let the inevitable happen. Cut the ropes and let me fall... She nodded, tugged his lips back to hers. He swallowed her groan as he pushed into her. He stretched her, challenged her and filled her.

Thin as they were apart, together they must have seemed a whole. Like two skeletons sharing bones, they knew how to move together, how to interpret each other's pleasure. Perhaps it was in the blood, in the knowing; the re-joining of entities long separated. Whatever the case, he demanded her orgasm and she delivered it, felt him slick her insides with his own gift. This was how they balanced.

And then they wept, Draco the hardest. His mother stroking his sticky back. "Oh, my my my..." she sang softly something like a lullaby. "My my my my my..." She kissed him, let him suck her tongue and rut at her hip.

He squirmed when she traced the prominence of his vertebrae, the sharp jut of his ribs and shoulder bones. "Still so skinny, love." They settled into feather pillows.

Snow was falling again. Blanketing the manor. Silence sat hungry to their table, but Draco banished it in the dimness. "This is how we will last this year."

She smiled and squeezed him. He nuzzled her breasts. "Is it?"


"And after the year?"

"We'll be patient," he said softly. "We'll be kind."

Makes sense. He would show her...remind her how to feel. She tilted his chin up, took in his sleepy eyes. "Sounds simple enough." She kissed his pouty lips. They were exhausted. Heavy with sullen love and slow.

In the morning they would be different, she knew. In a year, they would change. Would they fight? Probably. Would he move on? She hoped.

And would she fall?

Yes...far behind.

AN: This little piece was simply insistent upon itself. I had to write it. I know it's made me neglect other projects, but... These things happen. There's a lovely soundtrack for this piece in the form of a song called (yep) Skinny Love. It has two guises - an original by Bon Iver and a gorgeous cover by Birdy. It is written by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. As a matter of fact, this piece has an entire pervasive and depressing emo soundtrack. If you'd like to hear it, try pasting the following into your browser without spaces: www. media fire (forward slash) ?fd01b 4p2tulv bz9