Published: August 29, 2015
Rare are people who truly enjoy black liquorice. Most of the time, simply imaging such inky treat is enough to bring people to gag as an immediate reflex. Maybe they never even got properly acquainted with it; they just assume the quote on quote 'revolting' flavour is not to their sheltered taste buds.
They are often right, after all.
Though, for those who do appreciate its subtlety, they often proclaim it's their favourite kind of liquorice, as is the case to you for the purpose of this story. Its sharp, tongue-numbing bitter-sweetness caresses soft, tender skin with such care that it can practically send shivers down your spine. And what about its smell, intoxicatingly stagnant and blissful when combined with its deep taste.
There you sat, a bag of Dutch salmiakki drops comfortably nestled into your lap, sitting comfortably onto one of Hogwarts' many windowsills. Music was blaring through headsets muggles so affectionately qualify of 'bluetooth' and you stared aimlessly into the pouring rain.
Why all that sudden deep contemplation about something as simple as liquorice? Easy; your childhood friend as well as housemate, Draco Malfoy, was currently passed out on an infirmary cot, that hubris-blinded blockhead having just been recently mauled by an indignant hippogriff. Childhood friend was a strong term, now that you thought about it... Time-killing buddies seemed more appropriate. But I digress. To you, he embodied black liquorice so well it practically became pathetic. Just re-read the beginning, roughly replacing 'black liquorice' and the likes with 'Draco Malfoy' and you'll see it, I promise.
You popped another numbing salty drop in your mouth, glanced at the poor fool, and meekly smiled at yourself. What wouldn't you do for your best friend, no matter how much of a prejudiced ass he often was... At least he wasn't like that to you -- he wouldn't have any reason, anyways, seeing as your respective families were on great terms.
You had to admit he looked quite dashing, with his short, dishevelled beach blonde locks of hair and the refreshing serenity relaxed onto his features. No smirk, no sneer, just peace. It had been a while since you have last seen such a peaceful look on his face. You felt your cheeks grow warm at the stupid thoughts you entertained, and forced your gaze to tear away from him, lest you delve too deep into these weird... things.
Rain was very interesting, after all...?
Yeah, let's go with that.
The first thing that came to his mind as he woke up was that he didn't remember living hurt that much. He repressed moans of pain as he shifted a bit, muscles highly disapproving of his decision. The mattress under him was obviously thin and cheap -- it wasn't his. Instincts then dictated that he silently raise his arm to his throbbing head, though Draco frowned when he realized it wouldn't obey him. He hated it when things didn't do as such. Yet, he settled for slowly opening his stinging eyes first. He was confused for a second, before the events of his last waking moments came rushing back to his mind.
He snarled at empty air, vowing to put down the vile beast that dared attempt -- and nearly succeeded, mind you -- to butcher him.
He thought about calling for the nurse, seeing as she obviously wasn't doing her job watching over injured patients, though he closed his mouth the second his gaze caught some dark fabric haphazardly strewn across the bedside chair. He frowned in confusion, recognizing it as robes, though now something else caught his eye as you shyly came into his peripheral vision. He allowed himself a soft lopsided smile at the sight before him, his sour mood immediately neutralized by your sweetness.
You were curled up on the windowsill, headphones hanging off halfway from your head, as your head softly rested against the rainy glass. Your eyes were blissfully closed and you were faintly smiling in your sleep. He noticed the bag of retched sweets, if he dared call them that, carefully contained in your lap. He never understood how you could fondly love such a... horrible thing.
He cringed, that one time you had encouraged him to taste the soft tube-like candy you always brought along with you surfacing to his mind. You had assured him over and over again that it was the best thing you had the pleasure of knowing. After a whole second, he had spat out that demon-spawn, washing his tongue as best he could with only his hands at his disposition all the while hurling the worst muffled insults a seven-year-old could know at what was supposed to be candy. You had simply shaken your head in amusement to his clearly exaggerated reaction, nonchalantly popping another piece in your mouth.
Still, he ended up smiling at the memory.
Seeing as he was in no way fit to stand up, cast weighing heavily on him, he called your name loudly in order to wake you up. After a few tries, you began to stir. Your headphones fell around your neck, making you jolt straight, wide awake, while also making your hands fly towards them, as if you were afraid they would fall further and break. Draco softly snickered at your reaction, finding it both entertaining and adorable.
This made you freeze and tentatively look in his direction. You blinked a few times, even went so far as pinch yourself to make sure you weren't sleeping anymore.
"What, were you hoping to secretly stare at me a while longer?" the blonde jabbed, a proud smirk slowly making its way to his lips.
You rolled your eyes at his antics, though smiled. "Nah, I was actually hoping to be first to dance on your grave, you nimrod," you sarcastically smirked yourself. You elegantly slid off the windowsill, and approached him, sweets in hand. You popped one more in your mouth, smirking wider at the disgusted face Draco pulled at that.
"And you kiss your mother with that mouth?" he then taunted, nose scrunching up as he pointedly peered at the see-though bag of inky candy in your hands.
A short giggle made its way through your lips while you simply shrugged. "She's actually the one who sent these to me; she thought I'd like them," you chirped back, smirk turning into an innocent smile.
Draco never trusted that damn sweet smile, yet he sceptically replied with, "It's not black liquorice?"
"It's salmiakki," you countered, taking out a second piece for the boy. "Want to taste?"
He frowned, not convinced. "What does it taste like?" he drawled out, jaw a bit tense.
You raised an eyebrow, deadpanning, "Salmiakki." He rolled his eyes this time, refusing to dignify that with a response. You decided to bait him with, "What, chicken?" and a growing playful smirk.
He huffed. "Just give it here!" he snapped, free hand jolting your way, palm up. He was glaring at the air in front of him, stubbornly refusing to glance your way. You let the small dark grey diamond lozenge fall into his hand, restraining yourself as best you could from snickering.
Draco slowly raised the piece of candy to his nose, taking a tentative sniff before he glanced at you. His gaze narrowed at your innocent smile, though he brought the sweet to his mouth, making it fall on his tongue. He blinked, not expecting what he tasted and practically smiled at you.
"Hey, it's good!" he exclaimed, eyes wide. "It's like... mint. Slightly salty mint."
"Give it a second," you sang, your smile immediately morphing into a wicked smirk.
Draco, perplexed, frowned, but then his face contorted into pure disgust as he spat out the piece back into his hand. "Merlin, what the hell was that!?" he glowered, coughing afterwards.
"Salmiakki, sal ammoniacus," you sweetly sang once more, which was bone-chilling to hear with that smirk you still had on your face. "Ammonium chloride, in English. It's basically salty black liquorice." Your lips relaxed into a softer, lopsided smile, voice back to its normal tone.
"But it tasted like mint at first!" he still whined, confused.
You shrugged. "Flavouring."
You unceremoniously took the black lozenge from him. He was about to thank you for taking that vile thing away from him, though his face contorted awkwardly as you plopped it into your own mouth while you stole a quick glance at your watch.
"That's disgusting," he immediately spat out, to which you responded with a raised eyebrow in disbelief.
"I'll remember that when you'll ask me how to get your future crush to kiss you," you couldn't help but reply, a small chuckle escaping your throat. You turned back, heading towards the door, though you added, "I've only got one bag per month: my mum's trying to control my addiction for that stuff." You turned around, completely oblivious to the intense blush that had been present on Draco's face merely seconds ago. "I'm not wasting any," you added with a mischievous grin as you wagged your finger in the air.
"Where're you going?" Draco lamely asked you instead, changing the subject.
"Great Hall; I'm starving!" you threw his way before disappearing through the door. Then your head suddenly popped in the room again, a sheepish smile on your face as you added, "Oh, and by the way, I wrote down the notes you missed from Potions twice, I'll give you the extras later. Bye, Draco!" You were gone.
"Bye..." he managed to mumble back, suddenly feeling very much alone. Lonely, even. Just like each time the carriage containing you and your parents had carried you away from his own parents' manor after what seemed to be successful business meetings, in your youths... though his heartbeat had accelerated tenfold this time.