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We Cannot Win

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I stand in front of the open cupboard, my teeth making short work of my bottom lip as I consider the contents within. I have several choices this evening, having stopped at a Muggle supermarket on the way home and stocked up considerably. I figure the injury to my wallet is vastly outweighed by the gravity of the situation, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

After another few minutes’ consideration, I go for what many would consider to be the most obvious choice – The Echo Falls chardonnay. Not a bad drop as far as I’m concerned, but certainly nothing to write home about. What disturbs me more than anything else is that I am now able to tell the difference between supermarket-brand wine and a bottle of Don Perignon’s finest. I miss the days when I could ask for wine and not have a snooty voice in my head telling me I have made the worst possible choice to accompany my filet mignon (which, by the way, I used to be able to call ‘steak’ and have done with it).

Bottle and mostly-clean glass in hand, I adjourn to my living room, pour myself a generous serving and take a seat in my favourite chair. One sip of the Echo Falls informs me that I should have gone with a red and put all the bottles of white in the fridge to be enjoyed from tomorrow onwards, but I can’t be arsed to get another bottle. It is not as though I am drinking the wine for its taste. Not this evening.

I gulp down about half the glass relatively quickly and, taking a deep, steadying breath, hold my left hand in front of my face. The ring looks back at me, several tiny diamonds twinkling softly in the dim light. For something that is so significant and holds so much meaning, it is amazing how innocent it looks on my hand.

If I were to be completely honest with myself, the proposal had not been a surprise at all. Harry had been making hints about proposing for some time. Not obvious hints, exactly, but we had had conversations about diamond rings, favourite types of elaborate cake, and our opinions on church weddings (as it turns out, neither of us wants one, and Harry had looked quite relieved when I had expressed my views on the subject). All right, perhaps the hints had been obvious, but in an indirect way. That is Harry’s style.

Nevertheless, I had been surprised. The two of us have been going out for several years, and I had obviously figured that marriage would happen at some point down the line. But it seemed too soon. Sure, we’ve been together for ages. And yes, Ron proposed to Hermione months ago. And, okay, a lot of our friends and classmates are either engaged or married, but I had figured that Harry and I would wait a while longer, maybe spend a few more years focusing on our careers, before getting married. I guess Harry had other ideas. Which is fine, I suppose. Like I say, I had been sure we would eventually get married. And if I were concerned about my career, being married would hardly be a detriment to me. Especially considering the identity of my future husband.

I consider the ring again. It is clearly quite pricey, what with all the little diamonds embedded in the gold. Even though Harry can easily afford such expensive gifts, I would object to him spending so much money on me. In fact, I did object when we first started going out, but Harry would hear none of it, telling me that he had the money and he wanted me to have everything he could give me. 

And he always did give me everything. He continues to do so. Not only does he buy me pretty much anything I express a vague interest in, or offer me sweet gestures and caring, thoughtful comments, but he’s also always there, no matter what. If I ever need him, he comes to me. He takes care of me when we’re out together, when we make love, when I’m at work and he brings me lunch. And I know for sure that, when we have children (something else he has obviously-but-not-obviously hinted at being interested in), he will be the most attentive, loving father in the world. 

There is no doubt about it; Harry Potter is every woman’s dream man. I know it, and I love him for it. What bothers me more than anything else is that he never seems to take the time to care about himself, or let me look after him. He does everything for me, but sometimes I want to do something for him. I want to be needed, too.

A loud knock at the door interrupts my musings. Setting the empty wine glass on my coffee table, I hoist myself off my lounge and pad down the short hallway to the front door of my small flat. Without bothering to look through the embedded eyepiece to see who it is, I throw the door open.

“Oh Christ,” I say, adopting the Muggle expression both Harry and Hermione occasionally use when they get frustrated. I try to close the door, but it is held open and I know from many previous door-related struggles with this person that it is pointless to try and out-muscle him. For someone who looks like skin and bone, he is surprisingly strong.

Knowing that I am now going to have to speak to him, I decide to try and be polite. 

“What the bloody hell do you want, Malfoy?”

Try does not necessarily mean succeed. At least I phrased the demand as a question.

“Is it true?” Draco Malfoy asks, muscling his way into my flat. 

“Is what true?” I inquire. “If this is about the Fairbrothers case, you can fuck off until Monday. The last thing I want to think about right now is work.” I really wish somebody had told me before I had decided on a career in law, that doing so would mean that I would spend a lot of my time in close proximity to Draco Malfoy, one of the most prominent young lawyers Wizarding England had ever seen. If I had known that, I would have hightailed my way over to a career in Healing faster than you can say ‘guilty as charged’. As it happens, I am now so interested in law that giving it up is not an option. Even if it means working with Malfoy.

Although I can’t lie and say there haven’t been times when I have fantasised about switching careers. Such fantasies always tend to end when I remember that Malfoy is just the sort of git who would switch careers at the same time, because it would piss me off.

“It’s not about bloody work,” Malfoy says. “I’ve just been Flooing with Granger about Department of Mysteries correspondence, and she happened to casually mention that Potter has popped the question. Naturally, it being none of my business, I had to stop the Floo and Apparate over here immediately, to ask if it’s true. Is it?”

“I think ‘it’s none of your business’ is an accurate enough assessment of your involvement in the situation,” I reply. Nevertheless, I hold up my left hand. Malfoy grabs it, inadvertently pulling me closer to him. I immediately step back. Malfoy smells of some ludicrously expensive man-perfume, and the smell of it nauseates me at the best of times.

“I have to admit,” Malfoy says, inspecting the ring, “I’m impressed. I wouldn’t have thought Potter would know that women like diamonds.”

I take advantage of Malfoy’s slackened grip on my hand and yank it back. “Some of us do,” I say, turning back toward the living room. “Some of us prefer emeralds, or sapphires, or some other stone.”

“I see.” We have entered the living room now, and Malfoy does what he does every time he invites himself into my home – sneeringly inspects my admittedly humble décor. “Which stone do you like, then?”

I sit back down and pour myself another glass of wine. “That’s none of your business, either,” I tell him.

“No, I suppose it isn’t.” Malfoy turns back from the little wooden elephant he is inspecting, and notices, inevitably, what I am drinking. “Echo Falls? Really, She-Weasel?”

“It’s five pounds a bottle,” I explain.

“It’s also unicorn piss,” he counter-attacks. “Or whatever the Muggle equivalent of that expression is. I’ll bet you didn’t even chill it before drinking it. Have I taught you nothing?”

“You’ve taught me more than enough, Malfoy,” I say. “Thanks to you I can’t enjoy a glass of shitty wine anymore. For some people, the ability to enjoy shitty wine is a beautiful thing, and it takes your particular breed of arsehole to take that enjoyment away from people.”

“I humbly apologise.” If sarcasm has density, Malfoy’s voice would be the equivalent of lead. “Clearly, introducing you to fine wines is the worst thing I’ve ever done to you.”

I can’t think of an adequate response for that. Malfoy seemingly takes my silence to mean the end of that conversation and starts considering my possessions once more. He picks up one – a porcelain teapot, once belonging to my grandmother – and inspects it.

“How many times have you thrown this at me?” he casually asks.

I shrug. “Five or six? You can see some of the Reparo cracks on the bottom.”

He turns the teapot over. “Oh yeah. Fancy that.”

I have another sip of wine. I know what he is doing. Whenever Malfoy starts looking at my stuff and making odd comments, generally revolving around the numerous altercations between the two of us in the past three years, he is working out the syntax of the next question or comment he wants to fling in my direction. I am sure that, whatever he is about to say, I’m not going to like it. But it is not as though I will be able to avoid it, so what else can I do but sit and try to imbibe as much alcohol as possible before he starts speaking again.

I manage to finish my second glass by the time he turns around. While certainly not drunk, I am at least sure that I’m not entirely sober.

“I am quite surprised, you know,” Malfoy says.

“At what?” I ask, pouring my third glass.

“At your saying ‘yes’ to Potter’s proposal.”

“Why wouldn’t I say ‘yes’?”

“Well,” Malfoy answers. “Maybe, because you don’t love him?”

“What?” Malfoy has said some ridiculous things to me before (the time he said I suffer from a severe inferiority complex for being the only girl in a seven-child family ranking high on that list), but this was surely one of the nuttiest things he has said to me, by far. “I do love him, actually. Being with someone for seven years does that to you.” Harry was admittedly absent for one of those years, but by including it my argument sounds more concrete.

“Yeah, OK,” Malfoy replies, clearly not believing me.

“I do.” I repeat. “And anyway, even if I didn’t love him, why would that stop me from marrying him? It’s not like you love your wife. From what I’ve seen you barely like her.”

Far from appearing embarrassed or offended by my accusation, Malfoy nods in agreement. “That’s true enough, but you Gryffindors are the sort for whom love must be a given before matrimony. You marrying someone you don’t love, but who happens to be quite wealthy and sickeningly caring of you, as well as the saviour of the Wizarding world, is quite Slytherin-like. I’m almost impressed.”

“I do love him!” It is the third time I’d told him as such, and I am getting a little sick of it.

“Say that more loudly, She-Weasel. People might start to believe you.”

I finish my third glass and stand up. “Fuck you, Malfoy. You always do this. You can’t seem to stand the idea of other people being happy, so you bully them. You put these ridiculous ideas in their heads to try and make them as miserable as you. Well, that shit doesn’t work with me, and it never has.”

This seems to touch a nerve. At any rate, his posture changes from its previous casual-to-the-point-of-lazy, to its more serious you’re-saying-something-I-do-not-enjoy. “Inspiring words, She-Weasel,” he says quietly. “Although, I suppose I should start calling you ‘She-Potty’, now. You Gryffindors are all about your speeches, aren’t you? The way you say words you don’t mean, you could almost pass for a Muggle politician.”

That does it. I grab his arm, pull him back toward my front door, open it and shove him out.

“Don’t you dare come back here,” I say.

He raises one pale eyebrow. “Are you this hostile with everybody who tells you uncomfortable truths?”

I try to slam the door in his face, but again, he blocks me. 

“I hate you, Malfoy,” I say, glaring at him.

“The feeling’s mutual, Weasley,” he replies, matching my glare with one of his very finest. The sort of glare he gives to opponents he particularly despises in court. It seems that I’m one of the few non-job-related people who can inspire such dangerous eye contact from him. “It is so, so mutual.”

How long we maintain that eye contact, I have no idea. I also could not tell you who moves first. Either way, the next thing either of us knows, we are kissing each other.

~*~

It always starts like this. One of us goes to the other’s house with some grievance (hers mainly related to me making some ‘incredibly selfish and not even able to see the realms of “fairness” from where it’s sitting’ decision at work, mine normally about some aspect of her personal life), we talk about it, we get pissed off, sometimes to the point where ornaments (cheap in her case, priceless in mine) get thrown about, our anger climaxes when we say we hate each other, and then we start kissing.

I am sure that, every time one of us goes to the other’s house, at least one of us is hoping that maybe, this time, we won’t start kissing. Mainly because we know that, once we start, we won’t stop until we go all the way. It’s been like this for three years, and it doesn’t appear as though her being engaged is going to stop it from continuing. Not that I really thought it would. We declare that we hate each other often enough, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t constantly hot for each other.

I back her against the wall, and she bites at my mouth while we rip off each other’s shirts. She grabs at me through my trousers.

“Pretty bloody eager for an engaged woman, you are,” I say.

“Shut up.”

She massages my crotch and it salutes her to the point of discomfort. It is a move she uses a lot, and I cannot say I like it much myself. 

“If you’re going to keep doing that, undo my trousers and stop being so safe and Hufflepuff-like about it,” I say, trying my hardest not to growl. She should not believe she is winning.

She rolls her eyes, but starts unzipping my trousers. “Come now, Malfoy,” she says.

“No no, I’ll wait for you first.”

“That wasn’t what I—!” She-Weasel removes her hand from my trousers and, head in other hand, seems to count slowly to ten. I wait, unable to hide a slight smile. She hates it when I make sex jokes. Merlin knows why – it’s as though she wants to deny what we’re doing, even while we’re doing it.

“I think,” she finally says, opening her eyes, “we all know who wears the Hufflepuff dunce cap here.”

“Indeed,” I reply. “Although, at least you can put it on Potter’s head without remorse when the two of you fuck.”

I half expect her to close her eyes and count to ten again, but instead she scoffs. “Believe me, Malfoy. Harry and I have never, and will never, ‘fuck’.”

“Oh, Merlin.” I cannot see myself in the mirror at this moment, but I am prepared to wager that the face of revulsion I am pulling is enough to make even this side of perfection look like the ugliest of Hogwarts’ stone gargoyles. “You mean you two do all of that ‘make love’ crap?”

“Yep.” She pulls my trousers down, and before I can say or do anything she squeezes me, hard. My eyes well up, just a little, from the pain. “And when he makes love to me, it feels so much better than this.”

“Is that so?” I grab her by the shoulders, and my abrupt action causes her to loosen her vice-like grip on my nethers. I turn her and push her against the opposite wall. I then slide—actually, ‘thrust’ would be the more appropriate word here—one hand into that fiery-red, distracting-inducing hair of hers, while my other hand worms its way into her unzipped jeans. “Then how come you keep coming back for more of this?”

I reach her knickers. Lace. Maybe she predicted I was coming today, because I know for a fact that she never wears these for Potter. That was one long story about how her loving boyfriend doesn’t care what sort of underwear she wears and only utter bastards such as myself do (even though I’m pretty sure I never have claimed a preference) that I would have rather not listened to. The knickers she is currently wearing are soaking, as I knew they would be.

I look at her, one eyebrow raised. She knows what I’ve felt, and if looks could kill… I would have been wounded, at the very least.

“Just fuck me, Malfoy,” she says. 

“I’m never one to deny a lady,” I reply. 

“Unless she’s your wife.”

That was mean, and untrue. I consider hitting her, but I’ve never been the type to do such things, and hitting She-Weasel seems particularly scandalous, somehow.

~*~

We stumble toward my bedroom, losing the rest of our clothes along the way. We are really good at being naked by the time we reach the location of consummation, wherever that may be. It’s very different to being with Harry. Harry is the epitome of tender loving. He holds my hand and we walk to the bedroom. When he undresses me, he does it like he’s unwrapping a present he knows is very delicate. He marvels at every new bit of revealed skin. He takes his time, considering each body part in detail before moving to the next one.

Malfoy is not like that. He wants all of it really quickly. While Harry carefully lays me on the bed, Malfoy practically throws me on there. While being with Harry allows me to do things like look at the ceiling, think about what I have to do tomorrow, and wonder if Harry will not wonder out loud whether or not I am now pregnant this time, it is impossible to do anything with Malfoy other than feel the sensations.

Unfortunately, Malfoy is well aware of this difference. As he crawls on top of me and starts sucking at my neck, a low moan escapes my mouth. He comes up and says, “Better than Potter?”

“Do you measure your worth solely by how you compare to my boy—my fiancé?”

“No,” he replies immediately. “I just like knowing I’m better than him.”

“Well,” I say, my hands trailing down his chest, “I keep telling you he’s better than you, so I don’t get why you think otherwise.”

“Because actions speak louder than words.” His hand grazes my right nipple, and I have to bite my lip to keep from moaning again. 

He grins. “If Potter makes you feel like I do, you wouldn’t keep fucking me, would you?”

I refuse to let him win this argument.

“Whatever,” I therefore say. “The point is that I love Harry. That’s more than you’ll ever get from me.”

“Ahh, you Gryffindors,” he murmurs, inches away from my breast. “Always thinking that love is important.”

I would have responded, but he latches his mouth onto my breast, and words are impossible. I push my chest out, and no amount of lip-biting can stop my moaning now.

~*~

She has amazing breasts.

They are everything you would expect them to be, if a fully clothed Weaselette were to stand in front of you and you were to allow your mind to wander into that territory. They are on the larger side, freckled, pert, and so sensitive. Sucking on them is one of my favourite things to do.

My wife’s breasts, or what I’ve seen of them, are pretty different. They’re quite small, and the skin on them is all a fairly flat pale cream colour. They’re certainly quite nice, but she won’t let me have any fun with them. She won’t let me have much fun with her at all. Maybe that’s why She-Weasel and I started shagging – we were both bored and we excite each other.

Not that she claims I do. Excite her, I mean. Or rather, she doesn’t say either way whether or not I excite her, but she insists that Potter excites her more. It’s kind of cute, how she continues to hold on to her fiancé like she does. As though admitting that I am in any way better than him would confirm that she is the worst sort of person.

It’s cute, because I’m pretty sure that in current society, an adulterer is one of the worst sorts of people anyway.

I suck on both breasts equally, not being particularly careful but knowing she doesn’t want me to be. Her hands rake along my chest and back as I do this, and by the time I’m thinking of moving on, her legs have fallen apart, granting me entrance.

“Are we wanting to end this quickly?” I ask.

“I can’t look at you for too long without getting a migraine,” she explains.

I bite back a laugh. She can be quite funny at times, can She-Weasel. 

“I have heard that looking at really beautiful masterpieces does render some people catatonic after a while,” I say. “It’s probably a good thing you’re the one lying down.”

She rolls her eyes. She does that a lot with me. “Did your mummy never tell you that modesty is a virtue?”

“I am being modest.”

She clicks her tongue. “You’re so…”

“Charming? Hilarious? Sexy?” I don’t bother listening for her answer, choosing instead to slide further down her front. I dip my tongue into her navel for a moment and feel her tense up beneath me. She likes that more than she likes to let on. I then go even further down, to the apex of her thighs. The thatch of ginger hair, forever unkempt, greets me. I think she knows I would sort of prefer it if she got rid of it, because she resolutely keeps it there. If anything, it has gotten more unruly since we started this. It is a petty move on her part, and you would have thought she would know that no man is ever particularly concerned with what’s going on down there. Even picky men like me.

I insert a finger into the top of her slit, and within maybe half a second locate her centre of pleasure. I often wonder why other men struggle with finding clits. One look at a diagram, and another look at the change of expression on the girl’s face when you press it, is all one really needs. Sometimes, I swear my wife’s is broken, because it doesn’t seem to do much for her. Whenever I touch She-Weasel’s, though, she melts.

“Ohh, Merlin,” she murmurs now, and I don’t bother to hide my satisfied grin. It’s great to watch her come undone, because she never pretends like she isn’t turned on. She tries, certainly, for a while. But once you get past a point, everything she is feeling is right there for me to see. And even while she’s trying to appear unaffected, she is never doing it because she is concerned with appearing sophisticated and ladylike. When she’s with me she will be as primal as she wants. There’s a genuineness about her that I find refreshing, and it makes having sex with her more amazing than sex I could hope to have with Slytherinly aristocrats.

Not that I would ever tell her that.

~*~

Harry never goes down on me.

He never sucks my tits either. 

I can’t say for certain whether or not he wants to. Based on fumbling experiences with other men during my teenage years and the romance novels I used to read under my covers at night, I would have thought that all men like doing both of those things. I would say that he maybe does want to but figures I wouldn’t like it.

Not that he’s to blame. It’s not as though I’ve ever specified either way. And to be honest, I’m not sure if I do want Harry to do it.

I’ve got no problem with Malfoy doing it, though. No problem at all. 

When he starts using his tongue to massage my clit, I cannot be entirely sure, but I think I may squeal, just a little. It is hard not to squirm, but somehow I manage it to the extent where I won’t accidentally kick him in the head. He keeps using his tongue on me, and my breathing gets heavier. I grab at the headboard and thrust against his face, the squeaking of my bed loud enough to wake any possibly sleeping neighbours. It doesn’t take long for me to come, and when I do, I feel a wave of pleasure sprouting from where he pleasures me, spreading like ripples in water to the tips of my fingers and toes. It is amazing, and compared to Harry it is just—

No. He mustn’t win. If he wins, it’s all over.

~*~

When I come back into her line of vision, she immediately pulls me towards her, kissing me like she needs oxygen and I’m the only thing near enough to her with a ready supply. She does this often – there’s something about tasting herself on my lips and tongue that pleases her. 

As we kiss, I feel her hand brushing against my cock, which is now about as hard as it’s going to get.

“Almost as big as Harry,” she says, grinning against my mouth when she feels me stiffen with dislike.

“I refuse to believe I’m smaller than Potter,” I respond. And I do. It goes against all logic. I know she only says it to annoy me, and the really annoying thing about that is that she always succeeds. 

“You men and your penis envy,” she says now, chuckling.

“I am definitely not envious of Potter’s penis,” I tell her, covering her hand with my own and guiding it and my cock towards her entrance. “And anyway, even if Potter was more endowed than me, he definitely does not know how to use it as well as I do.”

“So you admit that he may be bigger than you, then?”

“Certainly not.” At that, I thrust into her. Her breath stills, and I feel her legs widening in what is sure to be an attempt to fit me in deeper. 

“See?” I say, pulling out, and then pushing in again. “He can’t fill you up this well.”

“You’re right,” she says. “He fills me better.”

“Liar.” I repeat the out-in motion and she gasps. She’s already getting hot for me again. “I bet you have to fake it with him.”

“Who’s to say I don’t fake it with you?”

I laugh at that. I have to. 

“While I’m sure that you’ve had plenty of practice faking it,” I say, “you cannot fake the reactions you have to me.” I thrust again, and she gasps once more. 

“Maybe,” she says, trying to control herself (and failing, in my humble opinion), “I’m a good actor.”

“I would be willing to believe that,” I say, reaching above her to grip that cheap wooden headboard of hers. “Except I know you, and I know that you can’t fake this.”

“You don’t know me,” she replies. I feel one leg snaking its way around my waist. “You don’t know me at all.”

I grin at her. “Saying what you wish were true doesn’t make it so, She-Weasel.”

I start thrusting in earnest now, and it is not long before she is once again gasping and moaning and egging me on. The difference now is that I’m gasping, moaning and egging her on in equal amounts. When she comes this time, I come right along with her. We cry out, but unlike in all of the clichéd climaxes you read about in silly romance stories, neither of us shouts the other’s name. We never do. She because shouting out my name would somehow mean that I’ve won, and me because shouting out her name would somehow mean that she’s won.

I wouldn’t mind her winning, but I know she would.

~*~

He falls beside me, and we spend a few minutes in silence, apart from our heavy breathing. Past experience has shown that he will go within the next ten minutes. With any luck we would be able to stay in silence until then.

“Ruby.”

No such luck. “Huh?” I ask.

“That’s your favourite stone,” he explains, turning towards me. “It’s the preferred stone of Gryffindor, it’s your favourite colour, it’s precious, and, most importantly, it resembles fire and passion.” He smiled. “That’s you all over.”

I stared at him, speechless. Not because he was correct (even though he was), but because he had figured it out by using what he knew about me. It was unsettling. I doubt even Harry would have been able to do it.

He starts to play with my hair. I wish he wouldn’t. There’s something about the seemingly innocent gesture that feels far more intimate than anything else he does to me, or I to him.

“I’m going to Paris next week,” he says.

“Oh?”

“Yeah. A client’s on holiday there at the moment and wants me to go there to meet with him. Lazy arsehole can’t Apparate his way here for an hour or two, it seems.”

He does this sometimes. He mentions some trip he has to make, or some location at which he will be at some point, then leaves it at that. I know he wants me to go, and I know that it’s not necessarily because he’s in a post-sex haze where you may want to spend the rest of the evening cuddling the other person. For one thing, Malfoy isn’t a cuddler. For another, he’s done this at times other than post-coitus.

“Uh-huh,” I say, and leave it at that. He knows I won’t accept his indirect proposal. Accepting it would mean that he has won, after all, and I have surrendered to him. However, it could also be said that his offer indicates I have won, because he is surrendering to me. Or at least, he is admitting to me what he should not be admitting. But I will not call him out on it. My winning would be as bad as him winning. Possibly even more so. 

It is tempting to accept nonetheless. Spending time in France with Malfoy would be… interesting, to say the least. I imagine the small holiday would involve him working for most of the day, coming back, and the two of us then eating as much gourmet French food and drinking as much fine wine as we are able before getting distracted with our bickering and finally fucking each other into the night. Occasionally, there might be a change of pace. Instead of wanting me to fuck him, Malfoy may instead want me to discuss something with him; some challenging case he’s on, or some difficulty he’s having with his wife. He does that sometimes, during lunchtime at work or while we are both working on a case, and whenever he does that it’s almost like we’re friends. Sometimes he comes to my office, saying that he’s got some problem and he has to discuss it with someone, and more often than not these days that someone is me. 

He needs me.

I need to feel needed. 

And sometimes, I need him too.

“I think I’ll be off,” he says now, lifting himself out of the bed.

“Fine,” I reply.

He stands up, walks partway to the door, then turns back to look at me. Then he suddenly comes back and kisses me. It starts soft, and not at all like how we normally start when we kiss each other. There is a tenderness there that I rarely see in him. 

The kiss then gets more vigorous. It’s still not hard, nor does it contain its normal biting. No. This one is more… clingy. More desperate. Before I know it I’m kissing him in the same way. My hands grip at his shoulders, which they have often done. But rather than gripping them in an effort to hurt him, or to overpower him, now I’m trying to keep him here, to stop him from leaving. To make this a reality that we can forever have.

But then it stops. He removes his lips from mine and stands up.

“I don’t know why I did that,” he says quietly.

I say nothing. I just look at him. He looks back for a moment, then turns around and leaves.

I know why he did it. And I know why I responded. It is getting harder for us. Every time we argue, or fuck, or spend an hour discussing some problem client, we give more of ourselves to the other. There is something about the two of us. It’s like we’re kindred spirits, bound by unfortunate circumstances and less and less able to stay away from each other. Whenever we meet we engage in a battle, where we try to make the other person say that they want them in their lives, somehow. And it’s a battle neither of us can win, because if that happened we would have to admit what we cannot admit. If we did, our lives as we knew them would fall apart.

Malfoy and I hate each other. That is what we have always said. And maybe that was true at first. It’s the safe option for us. It’s the status quo. We are meant to hate each other, therefore we do.

But really, that is not true. Not anymore. Not when we started fucking, not now, and even less in the future. We both know how we feel about the other, and we know that the other knows. But we can never say it out loud. 

So instead we continue to do what we do. And that has to be enough.