18: DiscoveryMature

Mr. Malfoy and I emerged into the blinding sunlight like a scene from a movie. Our arms shielded our eyes from the overwhelming glare of the sun, and I coughed from the sudden rush of clean air into my lungs.

As my eyes finally adjusted to the light, I looked over to see Mr. Malfoy beaming at me. He swooped me up in a bear hug and swung me around in a circle, a strangled whoop of joy caught in his throat. I realized that we must still be in danger, but he was just as thrilled to be out of that tunnel as I was. I would ask him more about what that thing actually was at a later time.

I blushed when he finally set me down, feeling light-headed for a number of reasons. He secured my hand in his once more, careful not to lace our fingers. I figured this was an innocent enough gesture. There was nobody around. We were in Diagon Alley. This alone made me let out a sigh of relief.

He covered my mouth with his hand for a brief second before removing it. I got the message (not to mention a few more knots in my stomach). Glancing behind me as we raced toward the Leaky Cauldron, I saw that there was no dark, foreboding door standing where we'd just emerged from. There was nothing but the endless stretch of quaint little shops and eateries. Oh, how the wonders of magic never ceased to amaze me.

We continued walking for a few minutes. Then, we turned into a brick alley and came to a halt. "I think it would be best if we altered our appearances for the time-being. I know a few spells. I think I'll go for the tough-guy look."

He twirled his wand once over his head, and his features immediately began to change. His hair darkened a few shades, some 5 'o clock shadow appeared on his chin, his eyes turned green, and his physique became a little shorter, a little more broad. The look suited him nicely enough.

"Now, what look would you like to try out? The red hair is a bit too recognizable, so that will have to change. How about . . ." He trailed off, looking at me in confusion.

I had been concentration very hard on changing my appearance into something sexy and mysterious. Then, a peculiar sensation washed over me, like I was spinning.

"Sid . . . how did you do that?" he asked.

"Do what?" I said.

"You look different. Did you do a spell?"

I opened my robes, showing him my wand still tucked securely in my pocket, and shook my head. "Of course not. What's wrong?"

Mr. Malfoy gave me one last curious look before saying, "I'll show you what I mean in a minute."

The quaint pub was as grungy as ever, I noticed after Mr. Malfoy had tapped the appropriate configuration of bricks on the alley wall. He walked up to Tom, the bartender and asked for a single room with twin beds. My heart couldn't help but speed up a bit at this. I couldn't share a room with my teacher for any amount of time. That would be inappropriate!

I found myself not caring. All I knew was that I was very excited. I suddenly felt empowered. We'd just escaped a serial wizard, and the way Mr. Malfoy kept looking at me . . . something had happened to my appearance. It must have been an improvement.

"Right this way," Tom muttered, coming around to take our bags until he saw that we didn't have any.

Mr. Malfoy patted his robes. "Deep pockets, you see."

"Ah, of course. Magic, and all that. Your room is down this way," he stalked off in the other direction, and we followed the toothless man. I was but one step ahead of Mr. Malfoy, but he had his hand on the small of my back. He need not worry. I wasn't going anywhere. Not now.

The room was small and cozy. Tom turned to us with a wink and said in a low voice, "These walls are soundproof, you know?"

The two of us laughed as he closed the door behind us. Mine was carefree and teasing. His sounded a little uncomfortable.

Hand still at my back, he led me over to the floor-length mirror that stood alone in the corner. What I saw made me gasp.

I was beautiful. I had never looked so happy, or so attractive in my life. There was like a strong aura around me. This was not Sid. The breathtaking girl looking back at me in the mirror was not me.

My mouth was slightly agape in shock, and Mr. Malfoy now had his arm securely around my waist, as if afraid I might pass out. I was in no danger of fainting, but I liked the way his hand felt on me. Warm, reassuring, masculine, safe. This was all too complicated. I didn't want it to be. I just wanted it to be easy. He and I, together. That's what I wanted. Maybe I didn't even want that. I just wanted him. Right here.

Right now.

I turned to face him and placed his other hand on the other side of me. How could this feel so right?

"Sid . . ." he warned, but his voice was feeble. My new appearance was doing the job. I might actually be about to seduce my professor.

I placed on hand over his shoulder, and the other against his chest, feeling the contours of his muscles beneath my fingertips. Everything about him invited me in. I couldn't help myself.

Our faces were inching closer. I couldn't suppress my excitement. Then, his breath caught, and he cleared his throat. "Sid, you're not yourself right now."

I sighed, and dropped my hands, walking to the other side of the room. The feeling welling up inside of me was unfathomable right now. I'd never felt such burning rejection. I guess I'd never thrown myself at a man before, either. For the first time, it wasn't much of a success.

"I'm sorry," I apologized. "How do I change back to being an awkward little ginger?"

Mr. Malfoy snorted. "You don't see yourself clearly at all? Being a Metamorphmagus doesn't alter your personality. You've never seemed awkward to me. As for -"

"Did you just say Metamorphmagus?" I interrupted. " I can't be a Metamorphmagus! Don't you think I would have known by now if I was a Metamorphmagus! My parents would have told me if I was a Metamorphmagus. You're making this up."

"No matter how many times you say the word, it won't make it any less true. You are one, whether you want to be or not. It will actually be extremely useful, given our current predicament. My guess is that your parents never even knew. Some Metamorphmagi don't show signs of possessing the ability until late adolescence. There's no denying it now, however," he explained.

I was silent for a moment. "What you're trying to tell me . . . is that I can look however I want for the rest of my life?"

He nodded his head. "Precisely."

I couldn't help grinning. "Brilliant."

All tension forgotten due to my new found power, I raced over to the mirror and began experimenting. Mr. Malfoy say on the bed nearest me and watched in amusement as I played with my appearance. First, I went back to the physique I'd been born with, and tried out different hair colors. My usual coppery shade was really the only color that matched my regular appearance. Then, I changed eye colors and facial structures, body types, heights, skin tone, etc.; I could have gone on for hours.

Finally, I was interrupted. "I think we ought to get something to eat. The food here isn't the best. The pea soup might very well eat you before you get a chance to eat it, so I think we should go somewhere in Diagon Alley, but I still don't think it's safe to expose ourselves."

"I'm not staying here while you bring me back food in a doggy bag," I said.

He smiled at me. " I would expect nothing less. So, let's try out one of those new looks, and get going. I liked that one a minute ago with the big blue eyes."

I shrugged, closed my eyes, and focused. When I looked back in the mirror, I was a new person again. Beautiful. I'd never looked so innocent or adorable. I'd always wanted to be one of those cute girls who could get away with wearing anything they wanted and pull it off fabulously. I did look a little like a vampire though. This look was pale, even for me.

"Cute," he commented, holding out his elbow. I slipped my arm through it and we headed downstairs. He'd done the spell to make him look like the rugged mystery man from before, and I'm sure we looked like a happy couple.

We were passing through the diner section of The Leaky Cauldron when Tom called us over.

"Oi, you lot," he said. "Where's the girl from 'afore? I don't wan'chu 'avin some new tramp in my pub every otha' night, you understand?"

Mr. Malfoy had left my side and was pinning Tom the bartender against his own bar in a matter of seconds. I couldn't understand what Mr. Malfoy was saying to the poor wizard, but Tom looked absolutely terrified as he nodded his head in agreement. Not a minute later, Mr. Malfoy had released the scruff of his robes and was back, leading me out of the pub by my shoulder.

As much as this display of aggression somewhat scared me, I also found it undeniably sexy. I couldn't help myself, as we were waiting for the brick wall to move out of our way, from standing on my tippy toes, and planting a kiss on his cheek.

"Thank you," I whispered.

The End

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