Draco Malfoy stares into the flames, watching the sweltering, red fingers dance and thrash within the confines of the fireplace. The Slytherin common room is dark and deserted, the students having retreated to their dorms for the night. The only light comes from the roaring fire that blazes within the hearth. The light flickers on the pale face of the boy, reflecting off of the glassy surface of his eyes. Eyes that are so lost in contemplation that they cannot see the inferno.
His face is a mask; no one would ever be able to guess the thoughts that are running through his mind. He is carved from stone, oblivious to the world around him. His mind is for one person. And that simple fact makes him hate himself. He will only think about her when he is alone. Isolation is what he needs in order to allow himself thoughts of this kind. He would never allow his friends to know how he feels. He would sooner die. They would never understand.
He doesn't want to think about her. That Weasley girl with her flaming hair. Flaming. The word brings him back to consciousness to realize that the flames that now burn in front of him remind him of her. He can see her hair, the movements of her limbs, the red of her lips all reflected in the movements of the fire. He closes his eyes, trying to shake these thoughts away. It's impossible. He shouldn't be thinking like this. A man of his status can and should do much better than the likes of a blood traitor like her. He will give up these foolish thoughts and forget all about her. If only the passion that smolders in his mind would agree to this decision…
He knows that his parents would be horrified if they ever discovered he was contemplating the Weasley girl in this manner. And for good reason. She is just one of a family of blood traitors. A father with a ridiculous obsession with things that shouldn't concern him. His mother and brothers don't even warrant thinking about. He remembered feeling something resembling satisfaction when his father told him of the Ministry position of one of her elder brothers. At least one of her brothers saw the light and decided that he didn't need to conform to the expectations of his family. The girl wouldn't be like that, he felt certain. She was too friendly with Potter. No, it was impossible.
And yet, this argument becomes increasingly more difficult to maintain. He tells himself that there is no reason for him to have any feelings for her. Her family makes it impossible. But he doesn't want it to be like that. It's possible that he could forgive her for her family. One can't help who one's parents are. But she could decide to break away from their influence, just like her brother had done. She didn't have to be like them.
The argument begins to deteriorate. It is a decaying ruin of a great castle that is centuries old. The foundation has cracked and crumbled, making the entire structure unstable. Until the entire structure collapses. When it does, he feels a great weight lifting from his lungs. He hadn't realized that he had been suffocating under the weight of this feeling. He feels the air rushing into his lungs; it feels glorious. He stands, realizing that this was surely the right choice. He wants to tell her. He wants her to know. And he doesn't care anymore.
Outside the common room, he feels the cold night air flow over his form. He pauses, his mind beginning to race once more. Not caring was one thing. But if word of this were to get out… he shakes his head, trying to get himself to understand. This was wrong. It was wrong of him not to care. But his mind ached at the thought… a passion suffering was enough to make him want to scream and curse in pain. No. Not pain. Agony. He can't just strike up a relationship with the Weasley girl. People would talk. People would laugh. His father would find out soon enough. The thought was horrible. The conflict in his mind screamed out into the darkness.
He finds himself in another hall. He frowns, for he had been unaware of the fact that his feet had been moving. He realizes that he is very exposed. It wouldn't do for him to be caught out of bed at this hour. His vision is swimming as he attempts to clear his mind of the agony and the conflict. There is a sound. It is a very quiet sound, almost so unobtrusive that his mind doesn't register it. He feels a hand on his shoulder. His vision clears. He sees her. Her majestic, fiery hair stands up around her head, wild and tangled from sleep. She blinks weariness out of her eyes, obviously not quite sure what to make of him. She doesn't speak. She just looks at him, waiting.
His mind explodes at the sight of her. The train of his thoughts screeches to a halt, falling off of the rails and crashing into the ground, leaving him dazed. There is nothing. Nothing. He blinks back at her, wanting to say something but finding that words were impossible. He realizes that he is drenched in sweat as a draught sweeps through the hall, causing him to shiver despite the heat of his heart. He can't speak. He wants so desperately to tell her.
She looks him up and down, a soft smile on her face. She nods knowingly, looking over her shoulder as though making sure that they were the only ones in the deserted hall. She stares into his eyes, waiting for permission. He can only nod. And she leans in, pressing her lips against his. They burn at her touch, he feels such a tremor, and yet he doesn't want her to stop. He leans into the kiss, closing his eyes and hungrily embraces the affection love that she offers him. He wants the moment to last forever.
The moment is over before he realizes it. She is gone, disappearing back into the portrait hole that leads into Gryffindor tower. He is left in the hall. Alone. He stares at the spot where she had stood only seconds before. He puts a finger to his lips, stroking them, feeling where she had been. And he feels a desire. A desire for that kiss to become a scar. He takes a deep breath, looking back at the path that leads to the dungeons. It's time to return to the common room.
The memory will last him for the rest of his life.