InuYasha Fan Fiction / Crossover With Non-anime Series Fan Fiction ❯ Bumps in the Road ❯ Part III ( Chapter 3 )
The whispers continued, even weeks later, and Draco could not help but sneer in the direction of the witch flapping her gums excitedly. Many of the overly zealous witches had stretched the truth to the end and back, claiming that Higurashi Kagome had rejected him due to his Slytherin past. They even made the ridiculous claim that he avoided her shop due to a powerful enchantment that repelled him, as they believed that he would descend upon the little shop owner in all his Slytherin fury once given the chance.
It was all absolute rubbish.
He would not dare step foot into that shop again even if someone put him under the Imperius Curse.
There was an odd twist inside his chest, as he swiftly turned down another lane in an attempt to remain as far away from the little shop as possible. It had become too ingrained in him, he told himself. He had stupidly let it become a habit, and now it was so hard to make certain that his feet did not wander straight back to the shop front.
Draco narrowed his eyes a bit more, watching as witches and wizards scattered at the sight of his agitation. He paid them little heed, even as he began to scowl heavily. It had already happened once, and it would not happen again. So long as he lived and breathed, he would not allow himself to show up again on that shop's doorstep like he had that night.
She had not even been there.
No, she had probably been off entertaining Potter.
The Malfoy heir growled under his breath with the thought, quick to push it aside. What did it matter to him what that little… little… what she did with Potter? She could skip down the bloody street throwing roses and singing praises for Potter, and he would not care. He had his damned pride, after all.
The Golden Boy could have the blasted woman, anyway. They could be a shining, heroic pair together. The next best thing since disgustingly horrid purple locks! He could almost see the headline in the Daily Prophet, as Rita Skeeter declared them as "Gryffintasticly Matched!" despite knowing full well that the foreign witch had never been sorted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
He scoffed to himself.
As the weeks droned on, it appeared that the journalist was actually losing her touch. He had never considered her particularly bright, despite being as Slytherin as they come, but he had not once seen any mention of Potter's newest flame. He was not looking for it, of course, but he had grit his teeth each time and expected something. Some small hint to justify his—
His stride lengthened, as he wondered why he did this to himself every single day. He could easily apparate from the office and be done with it. There was absolutely no reason for him to wander the streets of Diagon Alley when he had no business there for the day, even if he found it equally as ridiculous to wander the muggle infested streets of London. He could easily return to Malfoy Manor at any given notice, but the way his stomach plummeted with the thought left a nasty taste in his mouth.
There were still too many haunting memories filled with Death Eaters wandering those halls.
He had hoped—
"Bloody hell," Draco spat. He instinctively sneered at a nearby witch who hrmph'ed at his language, and nearly rolled his eyes when he realized that it was one of those that thought turning her hair olive green was going to attract anyone with half a brain. He swore he was going to hex one of those potions the next time he ever saw one, if only to imagine the way the witch screeched when her hair came out disastrous.
"The rumors aren't all wrong, are they?" a voice drifted from the crowd. "You really are wandering the streets looking like someone stuck a stick so far just your arse you can't even walk straight."
Turning on his heel, the Malfoy immediately straightened himself to his full height and narrowed his gaze onto his fellow Slytherin. "Nott," he said simply, watching as the other pureblood dipped his head in greeting. He briefly wondered what Theodore Nott was doing in Diagon Alley, considering the last he had heard from his father, Theodore had been left to pick up the pieces of his noble bloodline after his father's death during The Battle of Hogwarts and had vanished shortly after.
"I visited your little shop earlier."
Draco glared at him venomously, feeling his heart skip at the mention of her. Theodore had always been a bit more clever than him, so he was not surprised that he had put together the ridiculous rumors floating around. But, to go there? What reason did Theodore have to do that? Had he come back to Britain simply to mock him?
Theodore stared at him impassively, saying, "She's pretty."
His throat felt dry suddenly.
"A bit too much Gryffindor for my taste, from what I could tell," he continued.
He was definitely mocking him.
"And I cannot imagine how in the world you managed to put up with the nitwit she's hired as a waitress for so long." Theodore tilted his head slightly. "She started flirting with me the moment I walked through the door. Probably thinks I still have money, no doubt."
"Shut up," Draco hissed back at him suddenly. He had heard more than enough. He did not need to hear what came next. No doubt Theodore had walked into the shop and found her sitting there all cozy-like with Potter. He could almost see the way she would wave her hand through the air as she told him of the way she had fallen unconscious after she accidentally grabbed onto the Shikon no Tama in her third year. The way her head would tilt back slightly as she laughed, showing off the elegant curve of her neck, as she told him about Kohaku thinking that the Ministry of Magic would break his wand at the first hint of magic. The way she would—
"You love her," Theodore stated bluntly. "You know that, right?"
"Shut up," Draco demanded again, "You don't know what you're talking about."
Theodore shrugged a little, replying, "Maybe I don't, but I'm sure you do."
The anger and the frustration he felt bubbled to the surface, as the Malfoy snarled, "You don't know a bloody thing about what you're saying, Nott. That woman isn't as fit for Gryffindor as you seem to think she is. Hell, with the way she's got Potter wrapped around her little finger, I'm surprised he hasn't caught on to how manipulative and heartless she really is!" He huffed after his rant, before adding, "I don't think I've ever seen anyone more fitting for Slytherin than her."
"Heh." Theodore clicked his tongue, lifting his gaze toward the sky. "You've got it bad. Pansy would be jealous if she still had a thing for you, you know."
Draco lifted his lip slightly in disgust, knowing that he had often allowed Parkinson to believe there might someday be more between them than there ever truly was. He had appreciated the affection and concern she showed him, and had known that the relationship, what little there was, would please his father greatly. "Parkinson would probably be standing here mocking me alongside you," he said.
"Is that what you think I'm doing?"
The other Slytherin laughed quite suddenly at the prospect, surprising Draco with the sudden sound that shook through him. Theodore Nott neverlaughed. At least, not like that. Confusion crossing his face, Draco wondered again where Theodore had disappeared to these past few years. He was different.
"Isn't it funny how they try to avoid us knowing that we're from Slytherin house." As he brushed his hand along his robe, Theodore seemed to brush away the conversation topic entirely. He turned his attention to the crowd attempting to stay as far away from them as much as possible. "Despite that, though, I'm sure this will be the next conversation starter. I can imagine it now. 'Mysterious Theodore Nott returns from his long absence to berate Draco Malfoy in the street. Says he's in love.'"
Draco scowled once more, knowing that he was probably right.
His dark eyes shifting, Theodore caught Draco's out of the corner of his eye. "Who knows, maybe that'll get back to your little shop owner."
"I could care less," Draco spat. He felt an odd pang in his chest at the thought, but quickly snuffed it out. That woman did not care about him in the slightest. If she had, she would have come out of her little shop and attempted to find him. But, why would she? The Boy-Who-Bloody-Lived was probably a much better profit turner, bringing in hordes of women hoping to catch a glimpse of the up and coming Auror that defeated the Dark Lord.
"You really need to loosen up," Theodore sighed.
"And you need to stay out of other people's business." The Malfoy did not bother with a goodbye, as his wand slipped from his pocket. He did not need to listen to Theodore Nott, of all people, prattle on about something that he just did not understand. So, with a set destination in his mind, he flicked his wand and felt the world pull away from him as he finally apparated back to the Malfoy Manor.
He could have sworn, though, in that last moment staring at Theodore, that the other Slytherin had actually smiled at him as if he had done something for someone that he cared for.
- - - - - -
The rain was heavy and thick that day, as Draco found himself drifting silently through the streets of Diagon Alley. Witches and wizards alike were using charms to keep themselves dry as they scurried about, finally keeping to themselves in the heavy downpour until they were safely locked away inside whatever shop they were seeking. It had been two weeks since his encounter with Theodore, and he was glad to have finally been given a reprieve from the constant whispers that followed in his wake wherever he went.
His fellow Slytherin had stirred up enough trouble with his need to proclaim to anyone wanting to listen that he was in love. What a ridiculous notion. He was not in love with that lying little… that woman. He had simply had a lapse in judgement as his brain decided to start functioning from inside his trousers, and now he was being forced to sit idly by as witches and wizards alike laughed at his expensive.
If it would not have raised alarms, he probably would have hexed one of them by now.
The Malfoy heir sighed then, wishing that he could just stop thinking about her. He told himself that he could not get away from it, and that that was the only reason she still strayed into his thoughts after so many weeks of not even a glimpse of her pretty face. The rumors had spread so far and so deep that it had even found its way into his office the other day, and he had been rather surprised when he arrived the next day to find that his secretary had not quit from his outburst.
Then again, the little twit was probably the reason he had had to stay an extra hour to listen to his boss reprimand him for improper work conduct. That little smile she had given him as he walked out for the day was all too knowing. He would need to fire her as soon as possible.
Lifting his gaze to the sky pouring down heavily around him, Draco wondered for a moment if maybe he should just apparate to Malfoy Manor and be done with it for the day. Why was he even here? In the rain, no less. The sinking feeling in his stomach made him quickly dismiss the thought, however, and he briefly wondered if he would ever be able to stand in the halls of Malfoy Manor without hearing the screams that echoed throughout the place.
His feet carried him aimlessly, while he listened to the rain and the occasional complaint from a shop door that the weather still had yet to let up. The world was quiet otherwise. He found an odd sort of peace in it, knowing that at least today he would not need to worry about finally catching the latest gossip from a witch that did not understand purple was not a proper color for her hair.
His chest ached, though. Would today have been that day? The day that everyone finally started flitting about in excitement over the heroically Golden Duo? Would it have finally reached the Daily Prophet?
He scowled at the very thought, part of him hating himself for even allowing the thought to cross his mind. He was… bitter, he had come to realize a few days ago. He was a Malfoy, proud and true, but he was bitter. What was it about the Boy-Who-Bloody-Lived that had taken her heart so easily? Had it even taken more than an hour before she was falling over herself to please him? Had she even thought about all the days they had sat together and laughed over some forgotten memory from their childhood before she had let it happen?
How many days had he dared allow some small part of him to hope that she might turn a corner, spotting him scowling at a nearby witch flapping her gums, and… and…
The Malfoy heir paused for a moment, clenching his fist as he stubbornly pushed the feeling away. He did not love that woman. He did not care that she had happily skipped out of his life and fallen into Potter's lap. He did not care because he… he…
"Bloody weather," Draco muttered darkly. He suddenly found himself hating the silence, and frowned with the notion that he would rather listen to the hustle and bustle of Diagon Alley simply so he did not have to think about her. The constant movement of people allowed him to focus and direct his anger, instead of wallowing in the knowledge that he could not even receive the affection of one bloody woman without Potter flaunting around his fame and glory.
The faint chime of a door echoed into the silence, as Draco stuffed his hands deep into the pockets of his robes and moved to continue his trek. This was ridiculous, after all. He was the heir to the Malfoy family, and he certainly did not wallow. Especially not over some bloody—
His head snapping up with the call of his name, Draco felt something between elation and dread rush through him when he caught sight of herstanding in the rain ahead of him. The stupid woman had not even cast a charm to protect herself from the rain, as it started to seep into her robes and drench her hair. She looked so small after weeks of not seeing her, so innocent, and Draco felt his lip lift in a familiar sneer.
He had taken the wrong street, that much was obvious, but had she finally come out of her little shop to gloat? Had she decided that she would grace him with her presence simply because he was in the area?
He felt the hot anger he was becoming all too familiar with since he had seen Potter kiss her rush through him then. If she had decided to leave her quaint little shop simply out of pity, he was not going to give her the satisfaction of throwing her nasty little plot in his face. It was all too obviousthat she had only taken the time out of her day for him in hopes that Harry Bloody Potter would show up on her doorstep one day, after all.
"Tsk," Draco did not even acknowledge her, as he turned on his foot and prepared to leave.
"Draco…" her voice sounded almost broken. "Where are you going? Are you mad at me? I don't understand what I did wrong."
"You don't know?" Draco hissed, pausing in his flight. His robes snapped with his sudden change in direction then, as he took several threatening steps toward her. He watched her raise a hand up over her breast, and it pissed him off a little more knowing that she was so good at the little act she was able to pull. "Why do you even care? This is what you wanted, isn't it?"
Higurashi Kagome blinked the rain from her eyes, confused and hurt. It had been over a month since she had last seen him, and she had been worried sick when she started to hear from the occasional customer that he was often wandering the streets glaring at people. He had left her shop in such a fury, and she had been convinced that she must have done something to upset him and he did not want to see her. "What are you talking about?" she asked softly.
"Don't play dumb!" Draco snapped. "You have everything that you could ever want, don't you? Your fancy little shop, your friends, your reputation, and now, to top it all off, you have Wonder Boy tucked under your arm to bring in all your customers! I'm sure you're bloody pleased with yourself!"
Kagome's brow creased inward in her confusion, as she asked, "Wonder Boy? Do you mean Harry?"
"Who else would I be talking about, Higurashi?" Draco snarled. He could not believe the audacity of this woman. She had the nerve to look like she was genuinely upset and confused by her own game. "I bet you were ecstatic when you realized that Potter had shown up on your doorstep finally. You probably only had to bat your eyes, and the fool dropped to his knees and—"
"What?" her voice held an edge suddenly, as she frowned.
"How heroic of you to ruin his relationship with Weasel," Draco bit out. The way her eyes had flashed had caused him to pause for only a moment in his tirade, feeling a shiver rush up his spine. She looked so… so beautiful, drenched as she was, in that moment, and he had to remind himself that this was nothing more than a game to her. She had won, and he would not give her the satisfaction of knowing that she had gained more than she had been playing for.
Her form shook with the sudden laugh that escaped her. Her dark blue eyes gleamed with mirth, as she came to the realization of what exactly he thought he knew.
Confused, Draco narrowed his eyes into slits, asking, "What are you laughing about? Do you think this is funny?"
"You know, Harry actually told me that I should just forget about it when you stormed out of my shop." She smiled at him then, despite the way his lip lifted at the mention of the Wonder Boy, as he so put it. "He told me that you might hex me if I wasn't careful, actually. I had wanted to ask you why you had seemed so upset, but he told me that he would go, instead, just in case. He's a little paranoid, y'know?"
"You…" Draco felt the anger he was holding onto dissipate a little, as her words washed over him. She had… tried to follow him? He had hoped…No! She was just… just playing her little game, right? This was… "...did?"
Relaxing then, Kagome stepped forward until she was standing next to him. She felt silly then, noticing the way his robes were pristine, and took a quick glance down at her own soaked attire. "Draco, whatever you thought Harry was to me, you could have just asked me and I would have told you that the only reason I even know him is because he's about to be my in-law." She saw the way his brow creased when she glanced back up at him, and added, "A few times removed."
"What?" Draco's shoulders slumped downward, while he tried to process what she had just said. In-law? How was that even possible? "You're related to the Weasleys?"
Her eyes twinkled a little at the obvious disgust in his tone, as she giggled, "Well, not really. Kinda? It's distant." She knew he was not satisfied with that answer by the way he frowned at her, and she decided that it was probably best to explain a bit further. "I'm not related to them, but my cousin back home is. Her father is a Weasley. They came a few years ago to a family get together that my mom hosted at my family's shrine, and they've just kept in touch ever since. They were the ones who helped me setup my shop when I arrived here."
The Malfoy heir blinked a few times. He was still trying to comprehend the fact that she was related to the Weasel when he felt her hand settle on his arm.
"Ginny wanted me to be part of her wedding," Kagome explained. "Harry's been visiting because she's been so busy with the reception planning that she wanted him to tell me when I'd need to come over and have my robes fitted to the style she chose, among other things."
Draco stared down at her for a moment, allowing himself to finally look at her now. He felt defeated, in a way. The anger and rage he had been holding onto for the last couple weeks melted away with the pelting rain, and he shifted his gaze away from her pretty blue orbs when he noticed a faint glimmer in the neckline of her robes. His heart leapt into his throat then, and he dared not think about the slight hesitation he had when he finally reached out to pull the lovely little chain free from her clothes. The little pendant glimmered faintly, nestled perfectly against her bosom after he finally released it, and Draco felt his breath leave him with how much better it looked in person. "Where did you get this?" he asked softly.
Kagome smiled brightly, ducking her head as a faint blush formed across her nose. "Harry gave it to me."
His fist clenched almost immediately, as he sharply asked, "Did he?"
Her dark blue eyes captured him then, as she said, "He rushed off in all his paranoid glory after he refused to let me follow you to ask what was wrong, and when he came back he was carrying it like it was some kind of dangerous artifact that was going to curse him if he so much as touched it. He told me that he had seen you throw it against a wall, and he was worried that you were trying to put a hex on me with it. He doesn't seem to be all there in the head, y'know?"
Draco had to remind himself how to breathe, as her eyes pulled him back under her spell. He cupped her cheek in his hand, stepping closer to her, as he waited for her to finish the tale he so desperately wanted to hear.
"I'd hoped that you would come back the next day to read like you always do, or just talk a little over some tea. I'd hoped that I could ask you if you had…" she blushed a little more with the implication, before she pushed forth, "If you had planned to give this to me."
Draco had not even realized he had leaned into her until he was almost brushing his lips against her own. He could feel the little hitch in her breath when she realized it, too. The suddenly wonderful ache in his heart pushed him forward, and all he could do was whisper, "Yes," before he kissed her. She tasted like rainwater and mint tea, and Draco wished that he could drown himself in her when he felt her hands clutch onto the front of his robes for support.
She released a breathless little moan, following his lead as he coaxed her into opening her mouth enough that his tongue could sweep inside. Her own danced around him, delighting in the faint taste of his toothpaste that gave his breath a chill. It left her weak at the knees, and she was not sure she could have remained standing if it was not for the arm he had wrapped around her waist to pull her closer to him.
The Malfoy heir lingered for a long moment after he pulled away, tempted by the faint whisper of his name on her lips to kiss her again and again and again until he was certain he would never forget the way she tasted in that moment. He rested his forehead against hers, breathless himself, as he stared into those pretty blue eyes he adored so much. He could feel the confession of his heart stuck in the back of throat then, unable to finally set it free after so many weeks of denying it to himself.
"I love you, Draco," and then she did for him. There was a faint line of moisture gathering underneath her eyes, and he was not certain if it was the rain or tears of happiness as he gently brushed them away with his with thumb. Then he kissed her again, attempting to pour his own heart into her and knowing from the way she pressed back that she understood the words he could not bring himself to say.
There was a hint of a smirk on his lips when he pulled away the second time, as he finally said, "Let's get you inside before you melt, Kagome. You seem to have forgotten the charm to keep yourself from getting wet."
"Did you just insinuate that I'm going to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West?" She smiled back at him, shaking her head, as she said, "I can't believe you remember that muggle story. I told it to you months ago as a joke."
He pulled her along then, delighting in the little laugh that escaped her lips. He felt his protective charm give a little as she nestled herself against his arm, the spell unable to prevent the water she was covered in, and felt his heart lift at the sight of her there.
"Y'know," she said, "you're probably going to have the entire Weasel family and the Wonder Boy breathing down your neck once they find out you kissed me."
Draco almost smiled down at her seeing her so happy, as he replied, "I don't really care."
- - - - - -