Kiss Me At Midnight
Hermione slowly made her way up the stairs, a single piece of parchment clutched tightly in her hand.
The peculiar note had arrived at lunch—a large grey barn owl flying low to drop it next to her plate. Looking skyward, her eyebrows knit over he eyes in confusion, and she watched as the great owl retreated, its massive wings carrying it high into the eves until it disappeared from sight.
Finally, she tore her eyes from the ceiling and dropped her gaze to the thin envelop that lay haphazardly on the table top. Folding her copy of The Daily Prophet carefully, she lay it aside and took the letter between her fingers.
She flipped it slowly in her hands. It was sealed, plain—save for her name written on the front in simple script:
Curiously, she slid her finger along the flap, opened the packet, and gently pulled a single piece of parchment from inside. It was folded once and looked to be nothing special—just regular school parchment.
Slowly, she unfolded it and silently read what was on the paper:
I need to see you. Meet me atop of the Western Tower at dusk.
Hermione read, and then re-read the words, her eyes tracing the unfamiliar handwriting.
She didn't know who had sent the mysterious memo and soon, without much thought, her gaze was darting around the Great Hall, trying to catch sight of any suspicious looking culprits.
But her schoolmates were blissfully ignorant her glances—talking and laughing loudly with one another.
Her eyes suddenly fell on the Slytherin table and her mouth abruptly went dry.
He wasn't sitting at his normal spot. In fact, she hadn't noticed him in the Great Hall at all, but it was suddenly as if he were right there because his face materialized in her mind.
She had hardly thought about him since their encounter in the hallway after the dance. But now, with his image so vivid in her head, she couldn't help but remember it n palpable detail:
His smoky eyes, filled with lust, slowly moving up and down her body—undressing her before he even touched her.
His hand on her elbow . . . on her waist, dipping beneath the fabric of her dress as he teased her with his breath . . . with his lips.
She groaned as she thought of his lips ravaging hers, how his tongue tangling with hers as his hands palmed at her breasts.
She could feel her face begin to flush as she thought of him filling her in the hallway. How they had moved, caught up only in the pleasure—and not in the fact that they were dire enemies.
How he had slowly refastened her dress, his fingers gentle and light against her spine—his lips falling soft between her shoulder blades.
Lost in her reverie, her fingers slowly moved over the letters that formed her name, tracing the handwritten letters. She stopped as she suddenly realized that she had never seen his writing up close.
Could this have been from Draco?
She was surprised when her heart skipped a beat.
"What have you got there?"
Hermione looked up with a start, her face flushing hot. Hastily, she folded the paper and slid it beneath The Prophet and nonchalantly, placed her hand over the hidden message, sandwiching it tightly between the newspaper and the table.
Clearing her throat, she forced a smile on her face. "It's nothing."
Harry narrowed his eyes at her, studying her face momentarily, but soon shrugged offhandedly before he swung his leg over the bench and sat down.
Ron stayed standing, frozen in the isle—his eyes trained on where the letter was hidden beneath the paper. He looked slightly ill.
Hermione's eyebrows angled over her eyes in concern. "Are you feeling alright, Ron?"
Ron's eyes snapped up and he swallowed thickly. "Yeah, I'm fine. Why?"
Hermione gestured toward an empty seat. "Would you like to sit?"
Caught, Ron's face flushed scarlet and he sat down hastily. Immediately, he turned his attention to the plate in front of him, and began shoveling food into his mouth—anything to keep his eyes away from Hermione.
Throughout the rest of lunch, Hermione kept one concerned eye on Ron as she and Harry talked about their classes and laughed about the most recent Hogwarts gossip.
Ron remained silent, his eyes trained, for the most part, on the tabletop. Occasionally, he cracked a small smile, but it appeared forced and out of place on his face.
Worried, Hermione made a mental note to speak with him later, in private. He looked like he had a lot on his mind.
But, even though she had the best intentions in mind for her friend, she found that as the day went on, Ron's problems slipped further and further away.
The mysterious note was weighing heavily on her consciousness—and she found it difficult to concentrate, even in her classes. And soon, her attention turned more readily on the clock, as she willed it to travel faster.
By the time dinner was over, Ron was completely absent from Hermione's mind.
She hardly ate, her stomach twisted in nervous excitement.
As soon as she could, she excused herself from the Great Hall.
Now, as she slowly ascended the stairs to the Western Tower, she couldn't help but shiver in energized anticipation.
At the landing, she cracked the door open, cautiously stepped through the entryway and breathed in the cool night air. Turning her head, first to the left and then to the right, she looked around . . . and was surprised at the disappointment that suddenly flowed through her when she realized that there was nobody else up there.
She wondered if she was early, but she knew that she was right on time.
There was no mistaking it. The sun was just beginning to set, and as it moved lower in the sky, inch by inch, it brought with it an unmistakable briskness.
Hermione shivered and wrapped her arms tightly around her torso before crossing the short distance to the railing.
Rubbing her biceps lightly, she stared out across the Green. The sun had dipped just below the horizon, splashing the sky like an oil painting—the colors blending and twisting in majestic brilliance.
Her eyes turned skyward, she silently watched as the sun slowly disappeared—the light replaced by a sliver of a crescent moon.
Stars began to poke through—tiny diamonds shining in the cloudless, navy sky—and her breath vaporized in front of her face, opaque condensation that was a visible reminder that the temperature was dropping.
Pulling her arms closer to her body, she rubbed at her flesh briskly, suddenly wishing she had worn more layers.
A noise sounded behind her and she jumped violently.
She turned, and her heart leapt to her throat.
Draco was stepping casually through the door.
He caught her eye and he froze—his silvery gaze boring into her.
With his eyes trained on her, Hermione felt utterly exposed, as if he could see directly through her. But, with each passing moment, she no longer felt cold as a flush rose up her neck and settled into her cheeks.
"It was you . . . ." Her words were quiet, shy . . . incredulous.
A look crossed Draco's face, his eyebrows tilting over his eyes momentarily, but Hermione couldn't place it.
He opened his mouth to speak, but Hermione silenced him with an outstretched hand.
His mouth closed as she took a step toward him.
Draco stood his ground.
Carefully . . . meticulously, she moved closer. One step . . . then another, but Draco refused to budge, his eyes trained on hers.
Finally, she was standing so close to him, his scent wafted to her nose and her head began to swim.
Lifting her head, she searched his face, her eyes probing. She was finding it difficult to breath, her chest rising and falling deeply, her mouth parted slightly.
Her mouth went dry and she swallowed thickly, her tongue darting out and wetting her lips.
She watched as Draco's eyes traced the glistening plumpness of her mouth and she couldn't help but train her gaze on his own lips, wishing that he were just a little closer.
There was sudden movement out of the corner of her eye and, with a heavy heart, she tore her eyes away from Draco and turn her gaze toward the doorframe.
Magically, a single beautiful mistletoe was appearing directly above their heads—blooming brilliant green in the dusk of the evening.
A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. She watched, enraptured, as small golden flecks suddenly began to descend from the charmed plant. They fell in a twinkling haze, glittering in the last light of the day, shimmering as they drifted downward like snow, dancing a tantric waltz, landing gently in her hair, settling lightly on her cheeks and eyelashes.
Hermione laughed—her eyes bright—captivated in the enchantment of the evening. "Mistletoe . . . ." She spoke in amazement as she turned her attention to Draco once more. "It's beauti—"
Her words were abruptly cut off as—in one smooth motion—Draco suddenly closed the space between them, his hands reaching out to gently grip either side of her face, as he captured her lips in his.
Hermione moaned in surprise, but soon relaxed into the kiss, wrapping her arms tightly around his thin frame and reciprocating her mouth against his.
She felt dizzy—this kiss was nothing like the one that happened in the hallways last night.
Last night was rough, spontaneous . . . full of animalistic need.
But this one . . . .
This one was unhurried . . . erotic . . . and Hermione felt her body ignite—her nerve endings tingling—as Draco tightened his hold on her, his hands twisting into her thick hair as he deepened their kiss.
Panting, Hermione snaked her tongue out. It slid slowly against Draco's—slipping sensually around the moist cavern of his mouth.
He groaned, his hands sliding from her face, to her neck and shoulders, and finally, to her back—his fingers digging into her flesh as he pulled her more tightly against his body.
Pulling back, Hermione broke the kiss suddenly, her breathing heavy and ragged. She stared into his eyes, searching for answers, but was too scared to ask the questions.
Draco's pale face was flushed, his lips slightly plumped.
Gently, he brushed a strand of hair away from her face, and Hermione couldn't stop her eyes from closing at his touch. He cupped her cheek tenderly, and when Hermione opened her eyes again, she was met with his deep charcoal gaze.
Slowly, he traced her lips with thumb. Hermione sighed as the soft pad of his finger ran gingerly against her sensitive flesh.
He paused and she kissed his fingertip lightly.
Draco smiled and the edges of his mouth softened the harsh pointed angles that made up his face.
He leaned closer gradually . . . leisurely . . . deliberately . . . and, with a moan, claimed her mouth once more.
"Okay, Mate . . . now you remember what we told you?" George looked over his shoulder at Ron as he led the way up the stairs.
Ron swallowed thickly and nodded in response.
Fred chimed in. "Right, so just make sure that you're under the doorway and—"
Rolling his eyes, Ron cut him off with an impatient wave. "Yeah, yeah . . . I got it."
His face, however, was just a little paler than normal. Nervously, he brushed his shaggy red hair from his face. He felt ridiculous.
Why did he let his brothers talk him into this?
He knew that it was a stupid idea . . . just another stupid notion from the perpetually dimwitted minds of his stupid twin brothers.
And yet, here he was . . . believing that this would work. Silencing all sense of logic, all because of her. And, unfathomably, he found himself believing that this would work.
However, the closer they got to the top of the stairs, the more uneasy he became.
What if this didn't work?
What if she rejected him?
Or worse . . . what if she laughed at him?
He didn't think he could bear it.
He tried to push the poisonous thought from his head, but found that he couldn't. Because, with each step, he could feel his heart beating heavier inside of his chest, drumming against his ribs until the sound filled his ears and caused his palms to grow sweaty.
Hastily, he rubbed his hands against his pant legs.
George rolled his eyes at Fred—a small gesture that escaped Ron—but a smile was playing on his lips. He cleared his throat once. "Right . . . so, she's already going to be up there—"
"Fashionably late. Right, Ron?" Fred guffawed loudly as he slapped Ron hard on the shoulder. "Nothing like making her wait to get her hot!"
Ron glared at his brother, suddenly feeling quite ill, but George continued without skipping a beat. "So you just have to do what we told you. Easy as that."
Ron nodded woodenly.
They had reached the top of the stairs. The door that led to the outer portion of the tower loomed like an unsurpassable barricade.
He felt like he was going to vomit.
Grabbing his brother's arm, George gently pulled Ron before him, presenting him to the entryway. He leaned forward, his voice low. "Are you ready for all of your dreams to come true?"
Ron stared blankly at the door, ready for it to open, yet terrified at what was on the other side.
"You just gotta turn that knob, step through, and face your destiny."
"Destiny . . . ." Fred echoed amorously.
Reaching out, Ron found that his hand was shaking as he placed it on the doorknob. The metal was cool beneath his clammy hands and he took a deep breath to calm his nerves.
"Go get 'em, Tiger!" Fred slapped him hard on the back and Ron jumped—his apprehension apparent.
He exhaled, then swallowed thickly, before turning the knob. It squeaked lightly beneath his grasp and, with each degree that it turned, his heart throbbed harder—nearly to the point that he felt it may explode.
Closing his eyes, he inhaled one final, relaxing breath and slowly pushed the door open.
The cool breeze of the night air hit him in the face, and Ron was glad for its briskness. He filled his lungs with the fragrant air and allowed his eyes to open—prepared for what his eyes would see.
He was wrong.
The door had just barely cracked open, and suddenly, he froze—heat building in his neck before rapidly traveling up to his face, lighting his ears on fire.
His stomach churned in knots and he now he really felt like he was going to be sick.
Behind him, Fred and George watched as Ron's demeanor changed—how his back broadened, suddenly filled with visible strain, and they exchanged an identical bewildered glance.
Ron stood, frozen in place like a statue, his hand still gripping the doorknob tightly—but it was shaking. But it wasn't shaking anymore from the nerves.
Releasing his grip, he took a sudden staggering step back, as if he had been shot in the chest.
Stumbling, he turned—a slow jerky, broken movement—and his face was white, expressionless.
His eyes were wide, yet unseeing, glistening in the dim lighting of the hallway, his mouth slack.
He stood motionless for a moment . . . then two . . . before he sluggishly began to focus. He turned an unbelieving gaze to his brothers, his eyes unusually moist.
Slowly, his mind began to process, and his eyebrows knit together tightly as he shook his head, at a loss for words.
"What?" George took a small step toward him, concerned.
Ron shook his head acrimoniously and took a step back, distancing himself from his brothers.
Without warning, a sarcastic laugh escaped his mouth—a single, dry expulsion of air that filled the air with tension and hurt. He turned his gaze to George, maniacal smile suddenly twisting at the edge of his mouth. "Fuck you."
George reeled like he had been slapped. "What?"
Ron shook his head again.
The smile disappeared, his face hardening as a look of pure hatred covered his face, filling his normally vibrant blue eyes with malice. "No . . . fuck you."
"Ron," Fred's voice dropped in warning.
Ron turned on his other brother, his attention snapping like a rubber band—his finger an accusing arrow. "And fuck you."
Fred took a step toward him, anger flashing in his eyes. "What the hell, Ron?"
Ignoring Fred's threat, Ron turned his eyes toward the wall, lost in his own mind. "I knew that I shouldn't have listened to you. I knew it . . . but no . . . I just had to fall into your stupid little scheme."
He laughed incredulously at himself. "But you know what? Not anymore. You are never again going to get the change to try to make my life better."
He bit his lip, his composure slipping. "Because you can just stay the hell out of my life. Both of you."
George's mouth dropped open as he floundered for words, his mouth moving like a fish out of water.
But Ron cut him off with a wave of his hand. "I'm outta here."
Before either of the twins could stop him, Ron brushed past them, and began to descend the stairs at a rapid pace—racing down them two at a time.
Fred watched him retreat, his mouth hanging open in shock, until he was no longer in view.
Finally, he turned to George, a look of confusion on his face. "What the hell just happened?"
But George wasn't paying attention.
Instead, he was at the top of the stairs, facing the door and frozen in time. It was still cracked open, exposing the dim dusk of the early evening.
But he wasn't looking at the beautiful night.
He turned—his eyes wide, mouth slack.
"What is it, George?"
But George couldn't seem to find the right words. Instead, as realization hit him, he simply gestured absentmindedly, looking slightly pale.
Finally, with a sigh, he dropped his arm in defeat.
Fred could see a look of anguish cross his brother's face but, before he could stop him, George pushed past him without a word and ran down the stairs.
Fred watched him go, a new layer of confusion forming.
He found himself turning his attention from the stairs, to the door . . . and then to the stairs . . . and finally, back to the door.
It loomed before him like a nightmare, and he was ashamed to say that he was actually fearful of what lay behind the door. His imagination was suddenly running wild—manifesting horrible images of large, demonic dragons or other magical beasts that would be waiting for him . . . that would be able to hurt him and he couldn't stop his mouth from going slightly dry.
He knew it was a stupid idea, but he actually had to force his feet to move.
With slow, even strides, he began to ascend the remaining stairs, nervousness building with each passing step.
Pausing on the landing, he braced himself—mentally preparing himself for the worst—before silently creeping to the doorframe. Holding his breath, he slowly leaned forward and peered outside.
He had not mentally prepared himself for that.
It felt like he had been punched in the gut—and it nearly knocked the wind out of him.
He felt physical pain for his brother and he pinched the bridge of his nose tightly between his fingers.
Shutting his eyes, he exhaled heavily, his shoulders drooping.