A/N: *Scuttles in, sniggering*

*hides the new chapter in your left shoe*

*cackles maniacally*

*dashes off into the night*


Tip of My Tongue

By Kittenshift17

Chapter 44

The sensation of being held after so long simply burning with the need to do something; to fix it; to make everything better; completely overwhelmed Draco. For the longest time, it seemed, he'd silently looked on at his sons and this slender witch from beyond the magical barrier erected to protect his health while they suffered and it had been torture far more profound than any he'd endured before, even during the height of the war when he'd displeased the Dark Lord with his cowardice and his terror.

To finally be able to hold Granger now felt a little surreal and Draco feared that any moment now, he would awaken in his big, empty bed at the Manor, alone once more and suffering, still. Squeezing her even tighter, lest she slipped from his arms like some wraith when the illusion shattered, Draco crushed the petite witch to his body, desperate to keep her just a bit longer, to hold her just a few minutes more.

"Mmmpphf… Malfoy," she gasped, one of her hands beginning to bat at his shoulder in protest. "Can't… breathe…."

Draco gasped, loosening his hold and letting her sit back as she panted for the oxygen he'd briefly robbed, her eyes red and puffy, her cheeks damp with tears when she balefully met his gaze.

"You're really here," he murmured, frowning into her face, not sure he even believed it; still terrified that any second now, he would wake.

She nodded.

"They let me out," she said, her voice scratchy from crying. "And…. What have you done to your face?"

She reached a careful hand for the gashes littering his face from the fight, her brow furrowing heavily.

"Is this… from a dragon?" she frowned at him.

Draco sighed, nodding. "I went back to work this morning."

"Oh," she said. "And they sent you after a dragon on the first day back?"

He nodded. "A starthorn."

"Oh, for pity's sake!" she scowled. "Really? That is just… ridiculous! As though you're in any state to be gallivanting after vicious creatures when you're stressed out of your mind? Unbelievable!"

Draco's lips twitched when she proceeded to examine the wounds she could see, first upon his face and then the nasty burn across his shoulder, her language growing more and more colourful as she cussed about Scamander, and the department, and how the other Hunters were all useless if they couldn't have caught a starthorn all these months while Draco had been rescuing Astoria and recuperating from the duel and now struggling daily to keep from losing his mind while the mothers of both his sons, along with both of his boys, were all fighting for their lives. And that was to say nothing on the ongoing media frenzy surrounding the first-ever Malfoy heir to have divorced a spouse – though there'd been an article speculating on the suspicious deaths of many a Malfoy wife in generations gone by.

When she launched into an attack on him, personally, upon discovering the extent of the wounds he'd suffered, and learning he'd got the dragon anyway and dragged it back to the office just the same, she started walloping his chest and cursing him for fifteen kinds of a fool because he'd promised that if she died, he would mind the boys. He'd promised, and there he was, thinking she was still bed-ridden, almost getting himself eaten by a bloody dragon.

"Are you a complete and utter moron or have you just given up? How dare you go traipsing off into the wilderness like a total block-head and nearly get yourself killed when our sons are fighting for their lives and you're the only healthy one for miles around who can look after them if I didn't recover?! Of all the selfish, idiotic, dunderheaded, slack-jawed, pea-brained, soft-skulled moronic…mmmhpf!"

Draco cut her off with a sound kiss, planting his lips on hers, unable to resist when there was hope streaming into his heart and relief so palpable, it left him breathless. He reached up, tangling his fingers in her messy curls and holding her to him, his lips moving over hers ravenously, desperate to feel her; to reassure himself that she was alive and healthy and wasn't going anywhere any time soon. She struggled only for a moment, good and frothy in her fury with him and annoyed at being interrupted before she was finished cussing him out, but Draco held her firm, kissing her soundly.

Leaning into the sensation, he practically begged permission to deepen the kiss, his tongue tracing the seam of her lips until it parted. His heart began to pound when she opened for him, allowing him entrance, her tongue darting out to meet his own, and Merlin's beard, it'd been so long since he'd laid a desirous hand on a woman. When her hands came up, cupping the back of his neck, her fingers knotting in his hair and a little whimper tore from her throat, Draco knew she was feeling it too. The desire. The desperation. Gods, he wanted her. He had to have her. He couldn't go on if he didn't ravish her right this very second.

"Granger?" he practically begged, breaking from her lips to trail a line of burning kisses and nips down her neck, his hands smoothing down her back to rest on the curve of her bum where she sat on his lap, encouraging her to roll her hips against the growing bulge in his pants.

"Oh, god, please," she moaned, her head dropping back and it was all the encouragement he needed before twisting her off his lap and back to the couch cushions where he'd found her, this time crawling over her.

He kissed her again, peeling her out of her jumper and going for the button on her jeans while she wrestled with his Hunting garb, wrenching them off him despite his hiss of agony when doing so tweaked the nasty burns on his shoulder. Merlin, it seemed like every time he shagged this brilliant, infuriating witch it was in a flurry and he was thinking that he needed to change that one day soon, but not today. Today he was too on edge; too amorous, too desperate for friction; for sensation; for assurance that she was alive and well and would be for many long years to come.

"You can't just…. Silence me when I'm…. cussing you just because…. You don't….want to hear… what I have to say," she managed between delirious kisses but Draco only laughed, lifting off her long enough to wrench her jeans and her knickers from her body.

For a moment, he eyed the occasional scar left from the dragon pox she'd barely survived, drinking in the sight of her, cataloguing the weight she'd lost through the illness and the sharp lines of her bones showing beneath her skin, but before he could worry himself sick, she was on her feet, yanking his trousers down his legs until he was naked, too. She didn't waste any time after that and Draco was only too relieved for the distraction when she pressed herself against him, the warmth of her body almost overwhelming his cold form.

Gods, how he'd longed to touch her these past weeks.

Draco wasn't entirely sure how they ended up on the soft rug in front of the fireplace, but he didn't much care when she wrapped her legs around him as he slid inside her, her heat searing him, her welcome choking him with emotion. Merlin, he didn't think he'd get the chance to do this again. It'd been a long time since he'd bid her goodbye in France and left her and the boys and her mother behind to rescue his ex-wife from a terrible fate.

"Gods, Draco," she breathed against his bandaged shoulder when he rocked in deep, desperate to feel her, to touch her, to claim her, to hold her forever. He wanted to crawl inside of her completely and never come out. He wanted to hold her like this forever.

Closing his eyes against the overwhelming emotions, Draco took his time relearning the lines of her body and the sounds he could pluck from her lips. Every stroke felt like it touched his very soul and she clung to him desperately, moaning into his neck between kisses and bites, nipping him and licking away the sting, urging him on, craving it too.

When she shattered, she cried out, keening softly and he felt the wetness of tears upon his skin as she held him so close, clinging to him like he was the only anchor in the turbulent sea she rode. Draco didn't blame her. His cheeks were wet too, but he buried his face in her hair and squeezed his eyes closed, chasing his own release, hungry for it now. When he found it, the sound he emitted resembled a sob rather more than a groan of completion, but Draco didn't care.

All that mattered was that she was alive and she wasn't going to leave him to explain to their son what had become of her and the unfairness of the world.

"Don't go," she whispered when he moved to lift off her and roll away, spent.

Draco smiled into her neck.

"I'll crush you," he replied. "You're still weak, love."

She whined unhappily and struggled to hold onto him, but Draco rolled to the side just the same, before scooping her against him, curling his arms around her snugly and stretching on his back in front of the fire to catch his breath. She burrowed into him, snuggling her cheek into the hollow of his uninjured shoulder and curling one of her legs around his, her arm snaking across his ribs as she cuddled into him.

She offered no conversation, but Draco preferred it that way. Such an outlet for so much of his stress and fear had left him practically mute and all he wanted to do was hold her and maybe ravish her again when he got his breath back. He traced idle patterns across her shoulders with the tips of his fingers as he held her, still a little fearful that this was all a pleasant dream from which he would soon be startled, but for now, he would enjoy it as best he could and try to focus only on the witch in his arms and not on anything else.

"You really do smell terrible, you know?" she murmured sleepily after what felt like hours, snuggling her face into him again.

Draco startled only a little, having thought she'd drifted off.

"Like dragon?" he guessed.

"Mmm," she hummed. "And burnt hair and melted skin."

"I did almost get burned alive," he reminded her.

"Idiot," she muttered.

"I suppose I should wash up," he sighed, though the idea of leaving her side for even a moment filled him with dread. What if she was gone when he came back? What if it was just a dream?

"Mmm," she hummed in agreement.

Before Draco could make a move to do just that, thinking he'd simply use her shower since he had no intention of returning to the Manor when it would just be big and empty and lonely, she slipped her leg further across his hips before sliding over him, straddling him slowly. He reached for her hungrily when she bent forward to claim another searing kiss, rolling her hips and coaxing his body back to life beneath her.

"Hhmmm," Draco groaned quietly when she lifted far enough to impale herself upon him, sliding down until he was buried within her once more, joined deliciously.

"Oh, god," he heard her whisper when she rose before sliding down once more.

She took her time, riding him slowly, rocking her hips, circling them on the downward stroke, her mouth on his again and again. Draco wasn't sure he'd call any sexual encounter he'd ever had with a woman making love, but blimey, there on that rug with Granger riding him so gently, it sure felt like it.

At least it did until the Floo roared to life before his mother stepped out of the flames and into the room.