Author's Note: This idea has been in my head forever. I sat down and wrote it fairly quickly. I don't know how well it's turned out and I know it's the shortest thing that I've ever written, but I'd love to know your opinions. :D
Ron and Hermione stood back-to-back in the middle of the corridor firing well-aimed jinxes and hexes at the oncoming Death Eaters. The hallway was dark, the only light coming from the moon that was shining through the windows. A large hole in the wall allowed a view of the grounds. Giants, Death Eaters, and horrible, monstrous spiders battled against the Order of the Phoenix and the students of Hogwarts as bursts of multi-colored light shot from wands to illuminate the darkness. A tremor rocked the castle and the combatants stumbled a bit.
Hermione recovered quickly and dodged a curse shot at her by a Death Eater. Suddenly, the world exploded. A large chunk of the ceiling caved in, crushing a few Death Eaters and separating her from Ron. She let out a small scream and hurried towards the rubble, keeping her wand raised. Dust rose in clouds around her and she coughed a bit before regaining the use of her voice.
“Ron!” she shouted hoarsely over the sounds of the battle outside. “Ron, are you all right?”
“I’m fine, Hermione! Keep a look out around you, we’ll meet up later!” Ron’s muffled voice called back.
“Okay, I’ll see you soon!” Hermione shouted, turning away from the tumble of stone. She wiped her sweating forehead on the sleeve of her robes and noted a bleeding gash on her forearm. Sighing, she composed herself and began to run.
As she jogged down the hallway, Hermione kept her senses on high alert, focusing on any sound or sight that would hint at approaching danger. She slowed as she reached the end of the corridor and raised her wand, inching around the corner, hoping to avoid the detection of anyone in the next hall.
A shout met her ears and she cursed under her breath, stunning the Death Eater who stood a few yards away from her. However, he had alerted the others and Hermione’s eyes widened as three Death Eaters approached her at a run. Stunning a second one, Hermione sprinted back around the corner, desperately searching for an escape.
I’m done for… she thought morbidly, reaching the dead-end where the passageway was blocked with rubble. She backed up and leaned against the wall, looking out the smashed window to the battle below. Small jets of red and green light illuminated the scene. For a moment, she wondered what death would be like, though she knew she would fight to her last breath.
Everything went black.
The wall behind her had opened and she was dragged into a hidden corridor. Struggling against her captor, Hermione tried to scream, but a hand covered her mouth instantly.
“Be quiet,” a voice hissed. “Do you want the Death Eaters to hear us?”
Hermione instantly stopped struggling as her mind worked quickly, trying to remember where she had heard the voice.
Outside, in the hallway, a Death Eater was speaking.
“Where is she?” he growled, “I’m sure that was Potter’s Mudblood friend. If we kill her, we’re sure to get some praise…”
The other Death Eater responded, but Hermione couldn’t distinguish his words.
Breathing as quietly as possible, Hermione closed her eyes and prayed the Death Eaters would just leave.
She heard rubble shifting and the first Death Eater that had spoken cursed loudly.
“She must have gone out the window, though I don’t know how. Let’s go,” he said angrily, and Hermione could hear the two of them running down the corridor. Her eyes had adjusted to the darkness, but Hermione was facing the wall and couldn’t see who held her from behind.
A small sigh escaped her lips as the hand was removed from her face. She turned around slowly to face her rescuer.
Her jaw dropped and her eyes grew wide.
“Malfoy?” she whispered.
Draco Malfoy stood before her. His usually immaculate blond hair was sticking out at strange angles and his face was ashen. His gray eyes were dull and a dark line of blood ran down the side of his face. His black robes were covered in dust and torn in several places. Hermione had never seen him look less put-together.
“Wha- why?” she whispered, trying not to shake visibly. No matter if he had saved her life or not, he was a Death Eater.
“Not now. Follow me,” Draco said forcefully, leading her down the narrow corridor. They reached a staircase and descended with care. Hermione put her hands on either wall to guide herself in the near-darkness.
After a few moments, Draco halted.
“Here’s the exit. This leads to McGonagall’s old Transfiguration classroom. You should be able to reach the entrance hall without a problem, but stay on your guard. The Death Eaters have infiltrated the school, as you saw,” he turned to leave, but Hermione stopped him with a hand on his arm.
“Before you go…why did you help me back there?” Hermione asked quietly, “You didn’t have to do that…”
“I’m sick of this war, Granger. I don’t care if you’re a Mudbl--a Muggle-born. That doesn’t even matter to me anymore. I was foolish. I thought that this war was the right course of action. I thought that somehow, helping the Dark Lord would save my family. I’m sick of fighting. I’m sick of people dying,” Draco had begun to let out everything that he had kept inside him for years. He took a deep breath before continuing, “The Dark Lord’s plans aren’t succeeding. Everyone that I care about is in danger. I don’t even know if my parents are dead or alive. This isn’t how I want to live. I’m not just going to stand by and watch innocent people being killed.”
Hermione was staring at him, her hand still on his arm. He continued to speak, his voice a hoarse whisper.
“I honestly don’t care what you think of me, Granger. I know that you’ve got this idea in your head that I’m some sort of evil murderer, but I’m not really. Yeah, I’m a Death Eater. So what? I made a decision that I hoped would bring me glory. So far, it hasn’t brought me anything but trouble. I’ve got to look out for my family, though. That’s all that matters at this point,” Draco concluded, sighing and finally looking down into her eyes.
Gray met brown and held. For several long moments, nothing was said. Wordless understanding passed between them. Finally, Hermione spoke up.
“Thank you for saving me,” she whispered. “Good bye, Draco Malfoy.”
She turned and pushed the wall to open the exit from the hidden corridor.
Spontaneously, Draco grabbed her hand and spun her around, staring into her eyes for a second.
Hermione looked at him questioningly.
Without a second thought, Draco kissed her. There was passion and intensity radiating from him and briefly, Hermione kissed him back. After a moment, she pulled away. She looked up into his smoldering, gray eyes, an inquiring look on her face.
“I told you that I didn’t care about your blood anymore…” Draco whispered. Hermione smiled. “Now, go,” Draco murmured, reaching around her to push the door open the rest of the way.
Hermione nodded and left the passageway. As Draco reached to close it, he called after her.
“If we both make it through this…”
She looked back, her hand on the doorknob to the hallway. She nodded, a determined look on her face.
“I’ll see you on the other side,” she called back quietly.
They exchanged a smile and Hermione pulled open the door, running into the corridor.
She sprinted towards the Entrance Hall and returned to the raging battle.
AN: How was it? Reviews only take a moment and I would simply love to know what you thought of it... sorry that it's so short, but it truly is one of my favorite stories that I've written... Edited as of 8-15-11