Word Count: ~950
Rating: PG (this part)
Challenge: hp_may_madness 2016 Day #11: hands, air, candle, "You'll be back."
Author's Notes: Unbeta'd.
Charlie was in a terrible mood. He stomped back towards the castle, not bothering to gentle his footsteps—it was nearly midnight, nobody was out anyways. The winter air bit at his exposed face, sharp and frigid. Not for the first time, Charlie cursed Hagrid for taking his holidays a week early and leaving Charlie to deal with the suddenly wounded Hippogriff. The bloody beast needed to be checking on every six hours, which meant Charlie got to trek across the grounds four times a day.
Of course, the task might not have ordinarily bothered Charlie so much—not even in the freezing December night—if it hadn't been for the other thing driving Charlie mad: Draco.
Charlie had no clue what could have happened, but something had changed between them. One week they'd been carrying on as normal—exchanging coy looks, having animated discussions, Draco leaning in with curiosity and interest every time Charlie spoke—and the the next week Draco had showed up to class and had purposefully avoided eye contact. He hadn't participated in the discussion on Lethifolds, he bolted off right after class instead of lingering for quick word as usual, and even at mealtimes he was closed-off and distant. Charlie didn't know why Draco had suddenly started avoiding him like the plague, but he hated it.
Deep down, Charlie knew that putting some distance between the two of them was probably the smart thing to do. They'd been becoming far too close, and the force of Charlie's feelings was becoming stronger every day. Which is what made the sudden gulf between them so painful. He missed Draco's soft smiles and sharp tongue, his quiet confidences and the way he looked at Charlie like he was the most fascinating thing in the room. Everybody would both be leaving tomorrow for the holidays, and Charlie hated that he was going to have to survive so long without seeing Draco's quicksilver eyes, especially since things were so uncertain between them now.
The loud snap of a broken branch tore Charlie from his thoughts. He looked up towards the sound and stood frozen when he saw who'd caused it.
"Draco?" Charlie wondered if he was hallucinating. Maybe he'd finally lost it.
Draco's head whipped up from where it had been lowered in thought. "Charlie? What are you doing out here?"
"I could ask the same of you. Shouldn't students be in bed?"
Draco's mouth began to slide into a coy grin, before he caught himself and frowned instead. "As one of the returning seventh year students, McGonagall has allowed me certain privileges. You can ask her if—"
"No need for that, I believe you." It stung a little that Draco thought he wouldn't. Draco turned to leave, as if their conversation was over, and suddenly, Charlie couldn't take it anymore.
"Wait, Draco." Draco paused in front of a poplar, the bark a dark black in the pale moonlight. "What's wrong with you?"
"What do you mean?"
"You've been acting...off ever since Monday. Did something happen? Did I do something to offend you?"
Draco looked pained for a moment as he muttered something that sounded a lot like, "Bloody Gryffindors." He took a deep breath and looked Charlie straight in the eye.
"No, Charlie, nothing happened to me, and you didn't do anything wrong."
"So, what changed?" Charlie pressed, determined not to let Draco slither his way out of answering the question.
"Charlie," Draco began, his voice lingering over Charlie's name like it was something to be savoured. He hesitated. "This—we can't—surely you can see…" He trailed off, his eyes flickering over Charlie's face. Charlie had moved closer as Draco had spoken, like a moth drawn to the flame of a blazing candle. There was barely a breath of space between them. Charlie could see the pale dusting of peach fuzz on Draco's cheeks and the faint tremors that shook Draco's body with each tremulous breath. He remembered what that body had felt like pressed tight against his own, the way Draco had smelled and tasted. Charlie wanted.
"Charlie," Draco breathed again, in both warning and invitation.
Charlie ignored the warning.
With one final step forward, Charlie pressed Draco firmly against the tree behind him. He braced his hands against the rough bark, and then he was kissing Draco for all he was worth. Draco's mouth was unmoving for only a moment before Draco began to kiss back, his lips and tongue sliding against Charlie's with desperate fervour.
It was better than Charlie remembered. This wasn't the drunken half-hearted snog in the club, a token kiss as a precursor to bigger and better events. No, this was Draco alive and present in his arms, his fingers digging into the muscles of Charlie's arm and back, his nose drawing lines of ice against Charlie's cheek.
By the time Charlie pulled back, they were both breathing hard, their gasps crystallising in the frozen night.
"It's cold," Draco whispered. Charlie nodded, though the front of him was pleasantly warm where it was pressed against Draco. "We should get back." Charlie nodded again. Neither of them moved.
"I'm going back to the Manor tomorrow."
"You'll be back. We both will."
Draco sighed, fidgeting until Charlie reluctantly pushed off of him. "We shouldn't—"
Charlie pressed his fingers to Draco's lips. He didn't want to hear all of the reasons why that kiss was a terrible idea. It had been one of the best kisses of his life, and Charlie was reluctant to lose the magic of that moment.
"We'll talk when we get back, okay?"
Draco gave him a dubious look, but he agreed.
"Alright. Until then." Draco leaned up and kissed Charlie softly on the lips before scampering off towards the castle.
Charlie stared after him, his lips still tingling.