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Sinners by ciararose

Format: Novella
Chapters: 18
Word Count: 39,570
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Genres: Drama, Romance, Angst
Characters: Draco, Pansy
Pairings: Draco/Pansy

First Published: 11/12/2006
Last Chapter: 01/21/2008
Last Updated: 01/30/2011

Summary:

Gorgeous banner by silv3r_ic3 @TDA





3 years have passed since Graduation, and the war continues. The line between good and evil has become blurred and wearied. In a battle that has changed each participant in a different way, can there be a beautiful side to evil? No matter how tainted or regretful, can love exist among the cruelest of Dark followers? Through love, grief, joy, fear, and death, this is not the story of the saint. This is the story of the sinners.


Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven - One Moment














“Pansy Parkinson. I’m afraid you’ve made a grave mistake.”

 




It only took one moment.

Pansy had learned this lesson a thousand times. Reality doesn’t give a warning. Reality doesn’t give you a chance, or clues, or the opportunity to go back and change. Reality doesn’t promise anything. Reality tempts and teases and changes its mind.

In one moment, reality was different. In one moment, the moment you thought you were living was past.

That was all it took.





Flashback




It was one of the missions that occurred early in the war; the kind that promised to be exhilarating and exciting. They had sent the youngest, the Death Eaters just out of school, in a group. The mood was thrilling, the tension buried. Pansy’s heart was pumping fast.
 
Tracey Davis, Blaise Zabini, Crabbe, Goyle, Theodore Nott, Draco and Pansy. They moved through the sleepy town casually, occasionally stilling as a light in a window burst into life. If they were nervous, they hid it, because after all, lying was what they did best.
 
“Scared?” asked Blaise in a taunting voice, reaching out to nudge her side.
 
“Only of your aim, Zabini,” she said slyly, smirking up at him. “I’ll be sure to stay well out of range.”
 
He laughed, and Crabbe and Goyle chuckled dimly. Draco shot them a look.
 
“Be quiet,” he hissed, and they fell silent.
 
Draco was tense; his hand was tight around the wand in his pocket. Even his steps, which Pansy knew so well, were tight. He was the only one of them who had been in the service of the Dark Lord for more than a few months, and he always seemed a little more serious. Pansy wasn’t sure what was wrong- they’d been ready for this, after all, since their sixth year. She could still remember his words the day she had been Marked: “Its not what you want.”
 
But wasn’t it?
 
Pansy felt a nervous twitch in her stomach at the sight of his stiff posture and tensed neck, and also a twitch that had nothing to do with nerves. He was graceful and prowling, his eyes fixed on their destination. She dropped back a step and slipped behind Tracey and Blaise to join his side, striding to keep up with his longer legs.
 
She moved one hand to his shoulder, touching him only briefly before letting it drop. To her surprise, his hand snatched her wrist as it fell, exerting a grip that was powerful and possessive. In response, she maneuvered her hand upward and circled two fingers around his wrist, squeezing briefly before pulling away. He looked at her for a moment, saying nothing.
 
The main street was running out quickly, but they weren’t concerned. Their destination lay ahead; a large farmhouse on a hill just beyond the village. It was lit by the moon from behind, and it was this that kept their tensions invisible. They were creatures of the night, of shadow, of deceit and desire. The moon was their companion, silvering every beauty and hiding every lie.
 
They rose slowly out of the village, toward the luminous house. The breeze was growing harsher, less inhibited by buildings on either side, and they could hear it rushing through the trees. The eerie noises didn’t alarm the group; they knew too much about true fear, about reality’s hauntings, to give into the imaginary.
 
Without a command, they spread out, circling around the house and keeping one another in sight. There was no motion within, no lights gleaming at the window. But someone was inside- someone they had been sent for. Pansy wondered if they felt different today than any other day. Had the world warned them that time was running out? Had it been a particularly beautiful summer’s day; had they looked at the stars before going to bed? Pansy hoped they had felt the wind on their skin; that they had kissed someone; that they had savored this day without knowing why they should. She wasn’t ashamed of her wishes for this stranger, because she recognized in them a wish for herself. Time is man’s keeper; the lead pulling onward, of which there is never enough. Humans are destined to live with the past, and fear the future.

That night, Pansy denied mortality. She drew her wand and glanced to each side; first at Tracey, who nodded slightly, then at Draco, who stood still. She had, not by accident, taken her position in front of the front door. She stepped forward, up the two steps to the wooden porch. It didn’t creak.
 
 The door swung open at a tap of her wand, in sync with the rhythmic pounding of her heart. She stepped into darkness broken only by the moonlight streaming from large windows into a large front room. She beckoned the others, and each of them stepped forth and into the room. Blaise, Crabbe and Goyle moved toward the stairs, but Draco flung out and arm and gestured to the rest of the house. They didn’t yet know for certain where to find their quarry.
 
Pansy moved from the large room into a silent kitchen, neat and silvered by the night. She heard the others moving softly from room to room, betrayed only by the passage of air. The downstairs was empty.
 
They moved back to the front room and Draco turned swiftly toward the stairs, followed closely by Blaise and Tracey. Pansy lingered only a moment on the front doorstep. She observed the broken sky, stars blinking deceptively, before pointing her wand skyward.
 
"Morsmordre", she whispered. No screams announced the arrival of the ghostly image in the sky. The world slept on.
 
She moved away from the wind-rustled night to the stillness within. She followed the heels of the others upstairs. The house was spacious and welcoming, but cluttered and imperfect; so unlike the homes she was used to. She reached the door at the end of the hall, around which the others were clustered. Someone’s hand stretched out and touched the doorknob, hesitating for only a moment. It only took a moment. The world was calm. The world exploded.
 
They were blasted backward from the door, which burst out in a rush of heat and debris. Pansy’s back hit the wall; she felt the others land in similar situations. She scrambled to her feet, but the floor was unstable and pitching. Figures were emerging from the door, five or more, each clearly wizards. Pansy drew her wand, she saw one of her companions beside her do the same but their curse was drowned out in a rush of noise- yelling; wind rushing, another great blast as a part of the wall blew apart. One of the wizards now firing curses at them was cut down.
 
Pansy turned to the person beside her; it was Tracey, now firing curses at the figures moving toward the stairs. Pansy didn’t look for the others; the air was smoky but she could see figures rising beside her. She moved after the fleeing wizards, flying down the stairs with others at her heels. She heard a yell from behind and something heavy falling but she didn’t turn- she cursed one of the escapees as they reached the foot of the stairs and he fell heavily, forcing Pansy to leap over his prostrate form as she reached him. The other wizards had halted, the were yelling for their colleague and firing curses at the young Death Eaters, blasting apart the walls around Pansy’s head as she dodged rapidly. She was fed on fear; they on honor; and the more primal instinct was winning: she was close to them now, and the others had reached her and were joining her spells with theirs. The wizards fled through the open front door. The Death Eaters pursued.
 
Outside it had grown chillier as the wind grew fiercer. The yells of the men didn’t reach the village but the fire that had started in the house drew the townspeople’s attention, and there were figures emerging from the houses, pointing upward to the symbol in the sky. Men were running toward the house and the fire, drawing wands.
 
Yards away, at the outskirts of the forest behind it, the three remaining men were still fighting the forces of the Death Eaters. Pansy didn’t know where Crabbe had gone, and as she watched, Blaise was blasted into a nearby tree. Sparks were drifting on the wind from the burning house and her eyes caught a flicker of flame in the needles of a tree. Draco cast a well-aimed curse at the nearest man; he fell forward, motionless. With a cry of fury, one of his companions slashed the air with his wand, but Pansy had already turned her wand on him. In the midst of his spell, he turned, and the light that shot from his wand was redirected- just as Pansy turned to see if Draco had been hit, she felt it connect with her midriff.
 
At once, searing pain paralyzed her. She drew in a ragged breath and struggled not to drop her wand, but she couldn’t lift it. Her hands clutched her stomach, and when they came away they were wet with blood.
 
She looked up and found that her wand had dropped from her hand. She felt heavy, her knees were sinking of their own accord. She landed hard in the grass and heard, above the rush of the wind and the roar of the fire, a wordless, meaningless yell, a snarl of piercing but human depth. With effort, she raised her head and saw a flood of green light. Her attacker lay on the ground, cold.
 
She felt rather than heard his approach and she let her head rest, fatigued from the effort of holding it upright. She was shivering despite the blistering heat of the fire, and the voices around her were deafening one moment and hushed the next. Her eyelids were heavy; she was tempted to let them fall but denied herself the pleasure for fear that they would prove too heavy to open again. She turned her head and saw Draco kneeling beside her, his gaze not on her face but fixed intensely on her torso, which was rapidly becoming numb, though she could still feel the sticky flow of blood. He slipped his arms beneath her shoulders and legs and lifted her easily, and at first she thought it was this that made her so dizzy and disoriented, but then she recognized the familiar squeezing, airless sensation- they were leaving.










Pansy trembled like a child, her head tucked into the crook of Draco’s elbow, her breathing ragged. She felt a curious sensation in her left arm; then she realized that he had held it toward the gates of Hogwarts, admitting them entry to the grounds. He was striding up the path now, whispering to her, and she strained to hear his words. They were not tender promises or gentle declarations; instead, he gave her whispered but fervent instruction.
 
“Fight it, Pansy,” he said in a firm but quiet tone. She struggled to obey, but she felt only comfort steeling over her. It didn’t even hurt any more. She sank closer to him, dark curls blending with the black of his robes, obscuring the blue eyes that threatened to drift shut. It was only when she heard him curse loudly that she realized they were inside the castle. She felt him shift her weight and grab her wand; his was still in his pocket. She heard a distant bang and took a moment to contemplate that he had blown the lock apart.
 
She was lowered onto a bed- her bed. She felt colder without him, but he was distracted, pulling back her robes to reveal the source of her troubles. She heard him curse again, but he sounded farther away now. He was speaking; weaving spells with his wand clutched tight in his hand. Her eyes were sliding slowly out of focus and then back in; her thoughts were confused. She wondered if he was cold- his hand trembled.
 





It was only when she opened her eyes again that she realized that time had passed. Draco was no longer at her side; she saw his blurred form standing somewhere nearby, his back to her. She longer felt cold or comfortable and her vision no longer blurred; she could see perfectly but feel perfectly as well. She seemed to be afire, excruciating pain wound its way up her back, and in a few seconds she realized she was scorching hot. She threw the blankets that covered her to the ground; they seemed to be made of lead. Her movement attracted Draco, who crossed the room in strides carrying a flask, which he tipped quickly into her open mouth. It scorched its way down her throat and she coughed and sputtered, and her wound seemed to blister worse than ever; she felt her vision waver and she stilled. Evidently Draco thought she had fainted again; he sat on the ground, his back leaning against the bed, one hand clenched around the empty flask so hard it could shatter, the heel of the other hand pressed tightly against his forehead.  







 
She awoke stiff and sore and still in considerable pain, though not the fire-whipped agony of the night before. The blankets she had tossed away lay over her again, and her hair had been pulled across one shoulder. She felt a stiffness restricting her movement; she peeled the blankets away and saw a thick white bandage wrapped securely around her waist. When she lifted her hand, it was white and trembling.
 
Movement caught her eye; she looked up to see Draco, still in his clothes from the previous night, pacing the room. He didn’t see her awake, and she watched him change direction with no meaning, apparently unsure what to do with himself. This was uncertainty she rarely saw in him, but it didn’t last long: he glanced to his right and saw her, then turned to walk instead to the bed.
 
He didn’t say a word to her; indeed, he looked as blank as the foggy windows behind him. She tried to sit up, but he shook his head.
 
“Stay still,” he told her, in a low and hoarse voice. She stopped moving, but the robes covering her (his, she realized, hers must have been filthy) shifted, exposing a corner of the white bandage beneath. He leaned closer, inspecting it with wide and fixed eyes. His hands swept over the length of the clean white material with a kind of reluctant fascination; he looked nauseated.
 
“Draco…” she said in a soft but dry and cracked voice.
 
 “You should have been more careful,” he snarled at her. She stared at him indignantly. Was he actually going to be angry with her? Hadn’t she already suffered the punishment?
 
“I didn’t-“ she began, but he cut her off.
 
“You didn’t think!” he growled at her, unintentionally tightening his hands on her torso. She hissed in pain and he jerked away as though burned, looking at his hands with a half-horrified, half-sickened stare. She sat up straighter and rose from the bed on unsteady limbs; this time, he didn’t protest but stepped backward slightly as she moved cautiously toward him. She drew the too-big robes closer to her, covering the bandage. It was only now that she was closer that she saw how disheveled his hair was, as though it had seen the company of his hands too many times; or how his eyes were wide and pink from lack of sleep.
 
“I’m still here,” she assured him, feeling slightly dizzy from standing.
 
“Almost,” he said, his hands twitching, as though afraid to touch her. She raised an unsteady hand and curled it into the collar of his shirt, pulling his forehead down to meet hers.
 
“Always,” she whispered




One moment; one instant, one frame. The scene had changed.

 
As out of one hell stepped Draco, so into another fell Pansy.









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