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Love in a Time of Apocalypse

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Love in a time of apocalypse

You have to burn them. Physically burn them. Douse them in petrol and throw a match.

If you use a Fire-making Spell, they just come back to life.

Nobody's sure what happened—whether You-Know-Who deliberately made their bite infectious, or whether his magic simply changed, somehow, like a virus mutating—but his doubly cursed Inferi are destroying the human race.

“For Merlin's sake, Granger, shut up or, I swear, I’ll put it in your mouth!”

Malfoy and I have been heading for this moment ever since Harry and Neville, out on patrol, found him slicing and dicing a bunch of Inferi with an antique sword, and brought him back to the warehouse.

We work together because nobody else will partner him but, tonight, after I kind of let it slip that I might—you know—be interested, he's come into the space-behind-the-pile-of-packing-crates I call a bedroom, and he's straddling me, unbuttoning his fly...

“There are women in this group,” he boasts, “who’ll give me their chocolate ration for a good fuck.”

“That's so romantic, Malfoy.”

He attempts the famous Malfoy sneer, but—given his trousers are at half-mast and he's standing proud beneath his t-shirt—he can’t quite make it work.

“Have you been sleeping through the last few years, Granger?” he says. “D'you honestly think romance can survive an apocalypse?” He sighs. “Look—”

I cut him off before he can give me his 'tomorrow, we might be dead' speech: “I’m just saying that I think sex should mean something.”

“It means we're alive, Granger,” he replies. “It means that, for a few fucking minutes, life’s as good as it gets.”

“But I want it to be me, Draco,” I insist. I know it sounds pathetic, but am I really being unreasonable? “When a man I’m having sex with comes, I want it to be my name he shouts, not...” I shrug. “Or I'd rather not do it.”

To my surprise, he pats my arm. “Your loss, Granger,” he says. “Katie Bell's gain.”

He gets up, tries to button himself into his trousers, fails, and, cursing quietly, picks up his jacket and holds it over his groin. “See you tomorrow. Bright and early.”

I'm checking the oil and water in the rusty old Land Rover when he joins me next morning.

“You okay?” he asks.

“Yeah...”

“You sure?” He cranes his neck to look me in the eye.

“Oh, get over yourself,” I mutter, and Katie Bell chooses that precise moment to sidle past us and cast him a look of bone-melting desire, and—I swear to god—Malfoy grows six inches taller.

“Just keep your mind on the mission,” I say.

...

The mission's a supply run.

The little town’s well off the beaten track, and its supermarket’s still reasonably well-stocked. We break in, and quickly assemble a pile of groceries and other necessities but, as we’re carrying them out to the Land Rover, the weather breaks.

“Bollocks,” says Malfoy.

And, sure enough, every Inferius within a mile radius is suddenly heading towards us—rain brings them out of the shadows.

“What d’you think?” I say. “There’s too many to fight. Drive through ’em?”

“Nah,” says Malfoy. “We’d have to leave half the food behind. Let’s wait it out.”

We retreat to the building, and seal the doors.

“We should be okay in here,” he says, warding windows, “but we’d best go upstairs, to be on the safe side.”

...

Thirty minutes later, we’re still waiting.

“The thing is,” says Malfoy, suddenly, “I just can’t think like you do, Granger. I mean, sex—yeah, big time. But love? Love's too much. Love’s... Love makes you...”

I’m about to protest that love strikes when it strikes, whether you want it or not, when the truth hits me like a sledgehammer: “What happened to your parents?” I ask.

“I burned them,” he replies.

“God, Draco, I’m sorry.” I touch his hand and, the moment I feel its warmth, I realise I’m crossing the line he’s just drawn, and I expect him to pull away, but he doesn’t.

Instead, he takes my hand and, turning it over, examines it, like he’s reading my palm.

“And the other thing is,” he says, at last, “you’re not meant for it, Granger.”

“What,” I say, “casual sex?”

He laughs. “Well, that, too—no, I mean this life... You should’ve—I dunno—gone into politics, or been a lawyer, or an academic writing the definitive work on house-elf culture.”

“What about you?” I ask.

“Me?” Gently, he closes my hand, and lets it go. “I should have turned into my father, so the apocalypse, I suppose, has been pretty good for me.”

Our eyes meet, and I see so much vulnerability in his, so much need...

And, suddenly, I don’t care if the sex is casual.

...

He unbuttons his trousers and frees himself.

I don’t think I’ve ever admired a man before, but Malfoy looks so hard, so ripe for sex, I have to kiss him, and suck him, and feel him between my breasts.

When he thrusts into me, it’s strong and intense; it could almost be my first time. And I understand, now, what he meant, last night, when he said that For a few minutes, life’s as good as it gets.

Except this is more than a few minutes.

And it’s way, way better than good.

I writhe beneath him; his strokes are so hard, they tear me apart—my pussy, my nipples, all of me’s his—I’m clawing the floor—I’m nearly...

I’m there!

I’m coming!

My veins are bursting, hot and red, and—god!—Malfoy’s yelling my name like a curse.

...

Outside, the Inferi are gone, and the rain has washed everything clean. There’s a faint smell of blossom on the air and, for a moment, I can almost believe that the world is still what it was.

Malfoy’s crouching over something he’s found on the ground.

When I approach, he stands up.

“Here,” he says, and gives me a dandelion.

“I suppose,” he adds, as we climb into the Land Rover, “this means I won’t be getting Katie Bell’s chocolate ration any more.”

“No,” I say, twisting the bright yellow flower into my hair, smiling. “I suppose you’ll be getting mine instead.”