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The Truth is Found in the Eyes by chd1026

Format: Novella
Chapters: 9
Word Count: 26,798
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Horror/Dark, Romance, AU
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Lucius, Voldemort, Draco, Pansy, Ginny
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 02/11/2007
Last Chapter: 01/20/2008
Last Updated: 01/20/2008


She thought she had it all: insurmountable wit; steadfast and affectionate friends; a powerful love. Yet there she was, standing, wand raised over the body which lay crooked, sprawled on the floor, eyes void of the life they had held moments before.
Hermione Granger had finally given in to the Dark Side.

How will she escape?

Chapter Nine - Promises and Short-Lived Peace - VALIDATED 1/20/08

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Chapter 1: An Attempt
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The dark liquid ran down her arms, trickling over her fingers and staining the purity of the white tiles below her. She watched as her blood burrowed into the crevices in the tiles on the bathroom floor. The initial pain she had felt when her veins had been sliced open was gone now, and was replaced by the long lost feeling of serenity. She felt a small smile flicker onto her skeletal face; the summer had changed her. The dimly lit bathroom was becoming darker, and the girl felt herself begin to slip into the unconscious. When the blood had almost entirely drenched her clothing, a piercing voice rang through the girl’s frail body. Someone was shouting, and then everything was black.

Hermione Granger opened her eyes groggily and peered at the unfamiliar room she had found herself in. It was mostly white. She thought bitterly of the color that used to be her favorite, which was now stained a deep red. There were white curtains drawn around her bed, in which she was tucked tightly under snowy linens. She tried to push herself up into a seated position, but was greeted by an overwhelming pain. Hermione’s gaze flew to her wrists as she collapsed back on the mattress, and with a sharp intake of breath, her eyes traveled over the white bandages wrapped securely around her forearms. It all came flooding back into her mind:

She had finally cracked, the Dark Lord had made her kill the man she loved; she’d lost her best friends. Then she saw the bathroom, she was digging through the drawers. The razor blade had never looked so enticing. She remembered her feelings of disgust when she rolled up her left sleeve to find the Dark Mark burning on her fair skin. She had gasped in pain as the cool metal cut deep into her, but the satisfaction soon followed. She had felt her life slipping away, but then that voice was with her again...

Hermione tore her eyes from the bandages on her mangled wrists to the hand clasped in her own. She immediately recognized the jet black mess of hair of the sleeping boy sitting in the hard chair beside her, for he was the boy who used to be her greatest friend.

“Harry?” she whispered tentatively.

Harry Potter stirred in his slumber, mumbling incoherently. Though soon he seemed to have realized where he was, and his head jerked up from the mattress to look at his old friend. The first thing Hermione saw in his eye was a flicker of hatred and revulsion, but they were soon covered up by concern. This summer, Hermione had become extremely talented at reading people’s eyes, because in these days everyone was an Occlumens.

“Hermione! Are you alright?”

“Harry, what are you doing here?”

“Well” Harry trailed off, he couldn’t finish his sentence.

“I tried to kill myself.” Hermione finished it for him, noticing his eyes glue to her bandaged wrists. The harsh truth was what Hermione had come to expect after the summer, and handing it out had become a habit.

Harry flinched and Hermione instantly felt badly for her coldness. “But how could you do that to me? To Ginny? To Ron—” Harry caught his breath.

Hermione’s eyes filled with salty tears, and all the pent up emotion from the summer poured out of her tear ducts. “He was controlling me Harry. Not through any curses, but through my deepest, darkest desires. I tried to fight it, Harry. I tried so hard to keep him out of my head, but he was too strong,” Hermione’s shoulders began to shake uncontrollably as she sobbed, “I couldn’t fight him anymore, I didn’t try hard enough...” Hermione’s fat tears fell onto the white bedding, darkening it with each heart wrenching cry.

Harry put his arm around his friend and whispered softly into her ear until her shoulders steadied and her tears stopped falling. “Hermione, don’t ever tell yourself that you could have done more, because you did everything in your power to save Ron. I know you loved him, and I don’t want to push this, but I do need you to tell me why. Why Ron?”

“Oh Harry, I can’t tell you.” Hermione cried, “Harry, if I told you anything, he would take me. He would kill me.”

“But how would he know?”

“He knows all. He sees my thoughts, my emotions, my entire life is open for his viewing.”

“Then we can hide you, protect you.” Harry said passionately.

“He will find me, and he will call me” Hermione said, Harry heard the slightest twinge of terror in her usually confident voice. Harry’s eyes flew from Hermione’s left wrist to her forearm.

“Do you...have the mark?” Harry asked, mustering his last bit of courage.

“Yes.” Hermione said shakily.

“May I see it?”

Hermione nodded and slowly rolled up her sleeve, grimacing. Harry nearly fainted in disgust. A great, black serpent was twisting through the mouth of a skull, hissing and snapping its fangs. “He has been calling since I first disobeyed him. I try to remain strong but it is difficult...his calls are so painful, Harry. So painful...”

Hermione was drifting into sleep, and though he had so many more questions for her, Harry decided to let his old friend rest. He slipped his hand out of hers, bent over and kissed her cheek. But when Harry pulled away, he noticed the bruises. Long stretches of purple ran down Hermione’s neck and continued down her back; Harry reached out a finger to touch them. His finger had barely grazed her skin when, screaming, Hermione bolted upright, flinging her arms around him. She buried her mead in his shoulder, and Harry felt a tear trickle onto his robes. He soon heard her even breathing, and though the shock of the last two days was still plaguing him, Harry held on tight to his remaining friend.

A/N: Hey guys! I hope you enjoyed my first EVER fan ficion!
This is more of an I promise more excited things are in store.
Reviews are definitely appreciated!

Chapter 2: Recovering and Returning
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A/N: Chapter edited on April 28, 2007. I mark the edit with a star, it's a signifigant detail that comes into play later in the story. Enjoy!

Recovering and Returning

Hermione was allowed to leave St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries in two weeks time. Harry had stayed with her for the rest of her stay, and she was eternally grateful to have her old friend back. She was also grateful that Harry had yet to bring up the subject of Ronald since her first night at the hospital.

The wounds that his memory ripped open were still very fresh, and Hermione was not willing to accept that she would never see his face again.

The past two weeks had been a total haze to her. Blurry memories of the lime green robes of the Healers, the scratching of the psychologist’s quill, and the quick flash of blood as they swiftly wrapped fresh bandages around her wrists flipped through Hermione’s mind. She thought of the latter in disgust. The St. Mungo’s staff treated her condition as if it were shameful, and though Hermione certainly wasn’t proud of what she had done, covering it up and referring to her attempted suicide as “her little accident” was appalling.

But having Harry back in her life had made everything bearable. Once she had spent a few days in his company, she remembered what it felt like to have a best friend. Hermione swore to herself to never do anything to loose his friendship again. Whether they were staying up late talking or just sitting around together, Hermione was beginning to put the past year behind her and actually look forward to returning to Hogwarts in September.

The only thoughts that put her down were any of Ron. When even a glimpse of him appeared in her mind, tears welled up in Hermione’s eyes as she thought of all the things they would be facing this year without him. For the first time, she and Harry would be riding the Hogwarts Express alone; there would be no treacle fudge in Hagrid’s hut after hours, no stupid jokes or annoying arguments, and no freckled arm wrapped around her at night. They would never make love again; he would never whisper her name into her ear at the height of their passion, or pull her into his loving arms. It was at these moments when she realized she would never see his smile, that she wished Harry had allowed her veins to bleed out.

But Hermione tried her best to avoid all thoughts of her first love, and appreciate her time with Harry. They returned to Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, where Harry was now living, as he had come of age and living with his aunt and uncle wasn’t protecting him anymore, and settled into the room she had inhabited in the summer before her fifth year at Hogwarts. Harry still couldn’t bear to enter Sirius’ room, so he remained in the guest room above her.

Their Hogwarts letters arrived later that week, and as Harry handed her the letter addressed to her, she felt it substantially heavier than usual. Hermione ripped it open and a shiny gold badge tumbled into her lap. Her mouth fell open in shock. The glimmering badge had the words “Head Girl” emblazoned in red across it. Harry noticed her astonished expression and hurried over to Hermione. A wide smile spread across his face as he hugged her.


Soon September 1st arrived, and Hermione and Harry were lugging their trunks down to the entrance hall.

On their way down to the ground floor, they passed the drawing room. With a pang Hermione felt her memories threaten to crash down on her, but she was distracted by the sight at the foot of the stairs.*

Several members of the Order of the Phoenix stood by the door to see them off. Lupin, Moody, Kingsley, and to Hermione’s surprise, Mr. Weasley were smiling up at them at the foot of the stairs. Mr. Weasley’s smile disappeared when he saw Hermione; apparently he was just as surprised as she to find her there. He quickly turned on his heel and stormed out of the room, leaving her and Harry frozen on the stairs and the others looking ashamed.

After a few moments, Harry spoke. “How did you let this happen?”

Hermione was shocked to hear the pure hatred in Harry’s voice, but it wasn’t enough to fight away the intense feeling of guilt that was flooding back into her body. But Hermione refused to let her emotions show anymore, she had already become way too vulnerable with Harry, and though she fully trusted him again, some things would never be the same.

“Harry, please, it’s alright.” Hermione begged.

Harry ignored her, “You people know what she’s been going through! How could you possibly allow that to occur?!”

However, the Order members did not have a chance to reply, for they were interrupted by the massive silvery, gaseous dog that had come bounding into the room. It was Tonk’s patronus. The great dog ran a lap around the group and disappeared. No more words were spoken; Lupin put a hovering charm on the two trunks and they all hurried out of the house.

Ministry cars were waiting for them on the corner and they all piled in. Once she sat down, Hermione rested her head in her hands and silently cried. Harry began to rub her back soothingly, just as he had on her first night at St. Mungo’s, and she buried her head in his arms. She was very tired...

Hermione awoke with bright sunlight blinding her. She heard Harry’s voice somewhere calling to her, and when she finally came to she understood him.

“Mione! Wake up, we’re here.”

Hermione drowsily pushed herself up to stare at the entrance to King’s Cross Station, and quickly pulled her things together and stepped out into the sunshine. She, Harry, and their escorts walked to the wall between Platforms 9 and 10, and ran through it. In the space between the Muggle world and the magical one, Hermione realized that this would be her final time walking through this barrier. She stepped onto Platform 9 ¾ and gazed upon the magnificent Hogwarts Express.

The gleaming red train was surrounded by throngs of people saying goodbye to their families and boarding the train. Hermione checked her watch: 10:57. They had to hurry. When everyone had arrived on the platform, she and Harry waved goodbye and quickly jumped onto the train.

The train started moving a few minutes after they boarded the Hogwarts Express, and Hermione and Harry moved down the aisles, searching for a compartment. Hermione became suddenly aware of the bandages wrapped tightly around her wrists, and began nervously pulling the sleeves of her shirt down.

Harry noticed this and came behind her, “Don’t think about them. Let’s just find some seats.”

Hermione nodded and they continued past rows and rows of full compartments. They finally came across an empty one and they settled in. They talked a bit until an awkward silence fell upon them. Hermione knew that they were both thinking about Ron and his absence. They sat in this silence for a few minutes, each lost in their own thoughts, until Hermione remembered she had a meeting in the Head’s compartment very soon. She told Harry she had to go meet up with McGonagall and the Head Boy, said her farewells, and whipped out of the compartment.

Hermione hurried down the aisle. She was anxious to find out who the Head Boy would be, seeing as she would be living with him for the next year. She brushed past a head of auburn hair and heard a small, “Ouch.”

Hermione turned around. She stared into the face of her old friend, Ginny Weasley. Her first instinct was to turn around and continue walking, because she hadn’t talked to Ginny since she joined the ranks of the Death Eaters last year. However, Ginny caught her by surprise by grabbing her wrist. Hermione felt a jolt of pain, and, wincing, turned to look into the brown eyes of the youngest Weasley. She saw pity and sorrow instead of what she had expected: hatred.

“Hermione, can I please speak with you?” Ginny pleaded.

“I...I really need to be going...”

“Come on Hermione...please?”

“ Perhaps...perhaps later?” Hermione managed to mutter before hurrying away.

This encounter was very strange, and Hermione pondered as to why Ginny would be so kind. She was the one responsible for the death of her brother after all, she thought with a pang of guilt. But before she could give this matter any more thought, Hermione realized that she had reached the Head’s compartment.

She stepped towards the door, reaching out her hand to twist the doorknob, and looking up to steal a peek at the Head Boy inside. But what she saw made her stomach churn. What she saw was a flash of white-blonde hair.

A/N: Bum-Bum-Bum!!
Haha I hope you enjoyed the second are very much appreciated!!
I promise that this story will get better and better with more reviews!

Chapter 3: Memories and Denial
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A/N: WARNING!! This chapter contains a scene of a sexual nature, so if that offends you, please skip over the big italics section that begins with "Hermione looked up into his big blue eyes"...

Memories and Denial

She stepped towards the door, reaching out her hand to twist the doorknob, and looking up to steal a peek at the Head Boy inside. But what she saw made her stomach churn. What she saw was a flash of white-blonde hair.

Hermione stood rooted to the spot, her hand frozen on the golden doorknob, and her eyes glued on the slicked hair inside the compartment. She exhaled. Shaking her body out she reassured herself, “Don’t jump to conclusions Hermione. There is bound to be more that one person at Hogwarts with blonde hair!”

She pushed the door open and took a deep breath, but it caught in her throat. The blond head of hair looked up, and a smirk spread across its pale face.

“Hello, Granger,” Draco Malfoy sneered up at her.

Hermione’s insides tightened and her hands balled into fists at her sides. “What are doing in here Malfoy?” she asked in an icy tone.

“Well, I’ve been appointed Head Boy, and I’m assuming by your presence here that you are Head Girl. Am I correct?” Malfoy replied coolly. He cocked his head to one side and raised one silvery eyebrow.

Hermione let out a grunt and sat down opposite the Slytherin Prince. She avoided his gaze, fully aware that he was the only student besides Harry that knew she had been a Death Eater. She had been hoping to put that life behind her and enjoy her final year at Hogwarts, but now that Malfoy was Head Boy this idea was becoming less and less likely.

Hermione found herself trapped yet again in a silent compartment, but in this case she was pleased that it remained quiet. Draco Malfoy was her sworn enemy after all. The silence lasted until Malfoy said something that made her snap.

“Don’t you think it’s funny,” Malfoy said carefully. “That old Dumbledore put the two Death Eaters in school as Heads?” His face broke into a malevolent smile.

Before she knew it, Hermione was standing over Malfoy with her right hand clenched around her wand in the pocket of her sweatshirt. “I am NOT a Death Eater Malfoy!” she whipped out her wand and pointed it at his heart.

In a matter of seconds, Malfoy had wrapped his fingers around Hermione’s left wrist and yanked up her sleeve.

“Oh yeah? Well let’s just see about that, you filthy mudbl—”

Malfoy trailed off as he noticed that white bandage bound around her wrist. His eyes flew over the thin red line that ran through the center of the bandage. Hermione cursed Ginny as she noticed his shocked expression when he saw the line; when Ginny had grabbed her earlier she must have reopened the wound. All the while the Dark Mark was twisting and writhing above on Hermione’s forearm, but Malfoy didn’t seem to notice it.

They stood like this for a few moments, until Hermione broke away.

Yanking her arm out of his grasp, Hermione shoved her sleeve back down. Malfoy did not object, and he sat, frozen, with his mouth hanging open.

“You’re such a git, Malfoy,” Hermione whispered in a stony voice.

Professor McGonagall chose this moment the burst into the compartment. She looked first and Hermione, who was clutching her left arm, then to Malfoy, whose mouth was still forming the words it had tried to speak earlier. The only sound was the soft rumble of the train.

“What has happened here?” McGonagall demanded.

“Nothing, Professor,” Hermione managed to murmur.

“Is this true Mr. Malfoy?” she looked expectantly at Draco.

Malfoy was yet to utter a single sound, but he attempted a nod.

McGonagall decided that that was a yes, so she began her speech on their responsibilities as Heads.

“You will have the same privileges as you had as prefects, but you will have the ability to send students to the headmaster and dock House Points. Use your authority sensibly though, for if House Points begin flying out of the Gryffindor hourglass,” she gave Malfoy a meaningful look that he did not seem to notice, “I will have to limit your abilities. You will be sharing the Head’s dormitory located behind the portrait of Harold the Headless on the seventh floor. You will set your own passwords. If you have no further questions, you may return to your compartments and change into your robes.”

When neither spoke, McGonagall gave Hermione a small smile, nodded to Malfoy, and swept out of the room in a flash of tartan.

Hermione sat in the quiet for a few moments before leaping up and hurrying out of the compartment.


When Hermione slid back into her seat next to Harry, he had a pile of treats on the bench in front of them. He smiled at her but Hermione noticed a flicker of worry in his eyes.

“Are you alright? You look a bit peaky,” Harry asked.

“What? Oh, yes. I’m fine.”

“Okay then. Who’s the Head Boy?” Harry had managed to bring up the subject that was plaguing her so quickly, that Hermione was still red in the face from the run back to their compartment.

"You’ll never guess,” she groaned.

“Somebody bad?”

Hermione nodded.

“Um...Zacharias Smith?” Harry suggested.

“No. Much, MUCH, worse,” Hermione said, closing her eyes and banging her head back against the seat behind her.

“Fine. Who then?” Hary said, giving up.

Hermione sighed, “Malfoy.”

Harry’s face immediately hardened. It was common knowledge that Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy despised each other, and were not afraid to show it.

“What did he do to you?” Harry asked seriously.

“Nothing, Harry,” Hermione lied. She wasn’t sure why, but the whole thing had felt like an extremely private experience. Also, Malfoy now knew two of her deepest, darkest secrets, and telling Harry about what happened might provoke Malfoy to spill them. And everyone knew that Malfoy could be dangerous when provoked.

“Are you positive?”

“Harry, will you please drop it? I’m fine. Actually all I want is some of these treats," said Hermione as she picked up an acid pop. Staring at the small red candy, she swore that if Harry let go of the subject then she would name her Head’s dormitory password after it.

“Fine," he mumbled, sitting dejectedly back in his seat.

“Why hello there, acid pop!” Hermione whispered under he breath, as she popped the sour candy into her waiting mouth.


An hour later, Hermione was heaving her things out of the train when somebody crashed into her shoulder.

“Ouch!” Hermione turned around and came face to face with Draco Malfoy.

“Get out my way, you filthy little mudblood—” Draco was cut of the fist colliding with his jaw. He fell to the ground as Harry shook his hand in pain.

“Harry! What are you doing?!” Hermione exclaimed.

“Kicking that little shit’s ass.”

Draco shoved himself up, and, much to Hermione’s surprise, instead of punching Harry back, Malfoy stuck face very near his.

“Watch your step, Potter,” Malfoy spit out Harry’s last name as if it was infected, turned on his heel, and exited the train.

“Well that’s not what I expected at all...” Harry whispered to Hermione as everyone else on the Express rushed into frantic whispered conversations.

“Then you should be glad that Malfoy at least had the sense to abandon violence. You could be in detention before we’re even back at school.”

“Now that’s the Hermione I know,” Harry said, and for the first time in a while, Hermione really smiled.


Hermione jerked awake as the Great Hall erupted into applause; the Sorting Hat had finished its song. She managed to fit in a few, half-hearted claps before the noise died down. As Professor McGonagall began calling out the names of the new first years, Hermione took the opportunity to survey the grand room.

Hundreds of students lined the four house tables, looking quite as bored as she, and only jolted from their reverie when excited cries from their house welcomed a new member to their ranks. She glanced at the ceiling. It was a perfect night: a dark, cloudless sky contrasted with the bright crescent moon. Thousands of stars twinkled in the moonlight, winking at Hermione and whispering secrets to one another.

But Hermione’s thoughts were interrupted by the boisterous applause that had exploded from her own table, and once again she was able to squeeze in a few claps before returning to her trace. This time she explored the faces around her. Harry was sitting across from her, smiling and enjoying his final Sorting Ceremony. To his left sat Neville Longbottom, looking a bit more confident then usual, and on his right was Ginny. Ginny had been trying to catch Hermione’s eye for the first half hour that they had been sitting there, but Hermione had refused to catch it. She had decided to try to sleep instead, and her plan had succeeded. When Hermione awoke, Ginny had transferred her attention to the ceremony, and only slipped her hand out to Harry’s to clap wildly for the new arrivals.

After what felt like hours, the Sorting finished and McGonagall picked up the Sorting Hat and the three legged stool that it rested on and exited the Great Hall. Dumbledore rose from his seat in the center of the staff table.

He looked over the school slowly, and then cried, “Tuck in!”

Piles of food appeared on the plates in front of Hermione as her stomach gave an angry rumble. She immediately grabbed some of her favorites and piled them high onto her plate. She ate quickly, realizing how extremely hungry she had become. When her stomach was filled and her mood significantly better, Hermione looked up from her pumpkin juice.

The first thing she saw was a pair of glowing, sliver orbs over Harry’s shoulder. For two, infinite seconds, Hermione’s honey brown eyes locked with Malfoy’s cloudy grays.

Hermione was the first to realize that the eyes belonged to her foe, and she quickly looked away, feeling rather embarrassed. However, she stole a peek back at the Slytherin table, where she saw Malfoy looking just as uncomfortable. Hermione smiled, but then quickly replaced it with a frown.

“What am I smiling about?” she wondered to herself.

But before she could give it much thought, the plates were cleared and a silence fell upon the hall. All the students turned in their seats to look at their headmaster.

“Welcome back to another year at Hogwarts!” Dumbledore exclaimed merrily to the school. “I hope you are feeling satisfied...”

“That’s what she said!” she heard Dean Thomas whisper to Seamus Finnigan. The pair erupted into giggles. Hermione rolled her eyes and returned her gaze to Dumbledore.

“New students at Hogwarts should know that the forest on the grounds is strictly forbidden,” Hermione gave Harry a meaningful look, while he stifled a laugh. “And Mr. Filch has asked me to remind all of you that Fanged Frisbees will be confiscated if used in the corridors. Also, the Head Boy and Girl have been given a new privilege this year,” Dumbledore paused as the school erupted in to a quiet chatter. “They will be able to deduct points from the houses.”

Hermione felt the eyes of at least half the school on her and for the second time that night, blushed like mad. She became very aware that the golden Head Girl badge fastened to the front of her robes was shining brightly in the candlelight. Harry raised his eyebrows at her, and she shot him a nasty look.

“This is just a warning; you all should watch what you say or do around the Heads. Well, if you all are as tired as I, then you really must be getting on to your dormitories,” Dumbledore said with a twinkle in his eye. “You are dismissed.”

The scraping sound of benches being pushed back resounded across the hall, as the clatter of silverware was drowned out by old friends animatedly telling each other about their summers. Hermione rejoined Harry, and they made their way out of the Great Hall, and they began ascending the stairs to the Gryffindor Common Room. It was only when they reached the fifth floor that Hermione realized she would not been returning to her old dormitory. She became very quiet.

Harry pulled Hermione away from the massive crowd scrambling through the Fat Lady’s portrait.

“Hermione, please relax. I know it’s Malfoy,” Harry said through clenched teeth. “Trust me, I hate him too, but you are stronger than this. I know you are.”

Hermione nodded, and Harry pulled her into a tight embrace. He then turned away from her and retreated into the portrait hole after his fellow Gryffindors.

But Hermione did not feel like she was stronger than how she was acting at the moment. Actually, she didn’t feel like a Gryffindor at all that night. As she made her way up to the seventh floor, all Hermione felt like was a coward. How could Harry say she was stronger than anything? If she was so brave, then why would she have slit her wrists in the first place? She looked down at her arms; pulling up the sleeve of her robe, Hermione fingered the bandages. Just as she was about to start unraveling them she crashed into something hard.

Hermione fell to the ground, and when she looked up she saw that the something she had crashed into was Draco Malfoy. She peered into his silver eyes, and saw a flash of something she couldn’t quite make out, but then cringed at the hatred and fury she saw cover it up.

“Watch your step, mudblood,” Malfoy sneered.

He didn’t offer her a hand, so she painfully pushed herself up and stood next to the Head Boy. They were looking at a huge portrait of a rather fat man holding his head under his arm. The oddly placed head was grinning stupidly, and the hand that wasn’t supporting the head was waving jollily.

Hermione could tell she was not going to get along well with Harold the Headless.

When he spoke, her predictions were confirmed, “Why hello there my new roommates!” Harold said.

Hermione stole a sidelong glance at Malfoy, and had to suppress a laugh when she saw the size of his scowl.

“You must be so excited to get into this fancy new room of yours!” When he was met by silence, Harold continued. “Well first you have to set your passwords! You both will have to decide on one password for my portrait,” Harold smiled importantly. “And you each will set one for your individual portrait inside the Common Room. Well, go on then! What will it be?”

Hermione looked at Malfoy with an eyebrow cocked. He smirked. Returning his attention to Harold and said, “Harold the Heinous.”

Harold looked shocked, but swung open with a frown on his face. Hermione smiled at Malfoy’s form as he climbed through the portrait hole; at least they agreed on one thing.

Hermione climbed into the Head’s Dormitory and her breath caught in her throat.

The Common Room’s magnificence rivaled the Great Hall’s. The high, vaulted ceiling had a majestic mural of the four founders splayed across it, and Hermione watched as Godric Gryffindor conversed with Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff sat in a wooden rocking chair cooing a piglet, and Salazar Slytherin lurked in the corner. Two grand staircases wound in half spirals from either side of the room, and at the top of each there was a portrait. To the right, up the marble staircase was a golden frame in which a regal lioness prowled in a sea of red, and to the left, a silver frame held a slithering snake on an emerald stage. A massive fireplace crackled directly in front of Hermione, and comfortable looking white couches were lined around it.

Malfoy was already winding his way up the left staircase to the green portrait, he murmured something to the snake and the painting swung open. He stepped inside without a word and the portrait closed behind him, leaving Hermione utterly alone.

She stood there for a moment, savoring her surroundings, and then began to maker her way over to the right staircase. She ran her fingertips over the couches until they jumped over to the banister. The marble stairs were cool to her touch, and as she slowly walked up the curved stairway, she enjoyed the clean white color. She had come to hate the color white over the past year, but somehow, in this room that was completely new to her, it was calming and beautiful.

She reached the lioness’ painting. Hermione watched as the lioness stalked towards her.

“Password?” she purred.

“Acid Pops,” Hermione said firmly. Hey, she made a promise!

The lioness stood aside as the portrait swung open, and Hermione entered her bedroom. For the second time that day, Hermione was gazing upon an amazing room. The walls were painted a deep red, and the mahogany floorboards creaked just as if she was in an old house. Two brilliant windows hung with chocolate brown drapes overlooked the Black Lake. Between the two windows there was a mahogany desk piled high with parchment, quills, and ink, which were all lit by tiny candles floating above. An enormous armoire stood on the left wall, surrounded by rows of bookcases.

Then Hermione turned to her right, where the grandest bed she could ever have imagined stood before her. The king sized four poster was made of the finest wood, with hangings of the same fabric that covered the windows and startlingly white bedding. The thick headboard was carved with intricate patterns, and the same tiny candles illuminated everything.

Hermione glanced to her left, and saw a mahogany door that she assumed led to the bathroom, but she was too tired to even brush her teeth. She opened the armoire, and pulled on whatever her hands found first, some small candy striped boxers and a black tank top. She walked over to her gigantic bed and collapsed onto it.

She took a deep breath. The smell was intoxicating; it seemed to be a mixture of all of her favorites. Freshly mown grass, fresh parchment, and something she couldn’t place. But when she realized what the last smell was, she felt a tear trickle down her cheek.

It was Ron.

As the smell of Ron surrounded her, all her memories of him began stampeding back into her brain, breaking through all the barriers she had put up to keep them out.

    She was eleven years old. She walked into a train compartment, searching for Neville’s toad, and she came upon two boys in her year. One, with messy black hair, was watching excitedly as the redheaded other was attempting some silly charm on his rat. She had come in to watch, but of course, the spell was fake and nothing happened. She stood up to leave and looked back at the pair. “You’re Harry Potter,” Hermione had said to the raven haired boy, “I’m Hermione Granger. And you are..?” The redhead looked up, “Ron Weasley...”

    She was twelve. She remembered seeing the great yellow eyes of the basilisk in her hand mirror, and then her memory was quite fuzzy. But one thing she did remember from her petrified state was the feeling of a hand wrap around her own and a flash of red hair...

    She was thirteen now. She was seeing Ron, Ron the boy she was beginning to love, being dragged by the leg into a cave in the Whomping Willow by a huge black dog. She was remembering her terror at that moment, the terror that she might never see him again...

    Fourteen. The Yule Ball was approaching. Viktor Krum had already asked her three times to go with him, but she was holding out for Ron. However, he didn’t seem to understand that she wouldn’t wait forever. When he finally asked her, it was as a last resort, and his actions had hurt her. She had run to Viktor and accepted his invitation. The night of the ball she had made herself look the prettiest she had ever appeared in her life, for she hoped that when she entered the ball with Viktor at her side, looking beautiful, Ron’s jealousy would be maddening. Her plan had worked perfectly, and the image of Ron’s desirous expression would always be with her...

    Now she was fifteen. Her love for Ron was becoming ever stronger. It was Christmas time, and they were all at Sirius’ house. She woke up on Christmas morning and found a tiny package poorly wrapped with purple wrapping parchment and Spell-o-tape. She tore it open, excitement eating away at her insides. A note fell out, it read: ‘Happy Christmas Hermione! Love, Ron’. She stared at the last word. Love. Ron Weasley said love, in a serious way, to her, Hermione Granger. She peered inside the box to find a bottle of perfume. She had used it until the day it ran out...

    She was finally sixteen. Ron was going out with that tramp, Lavender Brown, and God was Hermione angry. She had thought everything was beginning to work out between her and Ron, and maybe, just maybe he might be getting the hints she had been sending out. Harry had assured her that Ron was just doing it to make her jealous, but it had not been easy for her to have to see him flailing around like a git with “Lav-Lav”. It had made her sick. Then came the joyous day when “Won-Won” had had enough with Lavender. The night when he broke up with her, she and Harry were there to support him, but Hermione couldn’t hold back her excitement.

Harry left the room to head up to the library, and as Ron was leaving the dormitory, Hermione had let out a squeal of happiness.

Ron turned around, “What?”

She began stuttering, “Um...well, I guess I’m happy you’re not with Lavender anymore...”


“ can do better then her,” Hermione said.

Ron strode towards her. She became very aware that she was sitting on his bed, wearing only a tiny candy striped boxers and a flimsy black tank top.

“Like who?” he whispered. He was very close.

Hermione looked up into his big blue eyes. Their noses were almost touching. Her breath had become shallow. And slowly, Ron brushed his lips against hers. She ran her fingers through his hair and pulled him closer, deepening the kiss. They were kissing with such intensity that Hermione was having trouble breathing. She edged backwards on the bed, making space for him. He crawled towards her, closing the hangings around them, his lips never leaving hers. He was on top of her now, ardently pressing his body against hers as his tongue pleaded for entry. Hermione quickly obliged, and she let out a tiny moan as his tongue massaged her. He pulled his tongue back out and traced the outline of her lips until Hermione responded with her own.

Ron moved his lips from hers and began kissing up her cheekbone to her ear, he nibbled on her lobe and then continued down her neck. Hermione tilted her head back to allow him better access. She grabbed the hem of his t-shirt and lifted it over his head, her eyes widening as she took in his muscular build. She rested her hands on his smooth chest and he lowered himself back onto her as they resumed their feverish kissing. Ron put his hands on her stomach and began inching her top up. Hermione pushed herself upright, and, never breaking contact with his lips, lifted her arms into the air. With anyone else, she would have thought that they were moving far too fast, but with Ron she felt like she had been waiting years for this moment. Ron pulled the tank top off of her body and broke away from her lips; kissing down her body.  Hermione sighed in pleasure.  She had never wanted anything more than she wanted Ron, and now that she had him it was completely surreal.  Ron returned his lips to hers, kissing her tenderly with every ounce of love in his being.

He held her small frame close to his body, enjoying the feeling of their bare skin touching, and they kissed until the dim light of dawn filtered through the hangings on the four-poster. Hermione had never felt safer than she did at that moment, lying in the arms of somebody she had loved for so long.  “I love you, Ronald,” Hermione had murmured before drifting into sleep. Ron held her tightly, “I love you too, Hermione.”

Ron and Hermione dated for the rest of their sixth year, becoming the power couple they were always destined to be. However, her happiness was interrupted. It was the night Harry and Ron had left her alone, to fend for herself against the Death Eaters, that Hermione had joined the ranks of the enemy. But Ron managed to repair the damage he had afflicted, and, unknowing that his girlfriend was now one of Voldemort’s followers, Ron and Hermione became just as happy as they had been on their first night together.

That was until their last night came. Until she had spoken those two little words, the two words that kill. Avada Kedavra. I shall destroy as I speak. And destroy she did. With those two words, Hermione destroyed her life, her only chance to escape the Dark Side, her only love. She lost everything after those two words: Harry, Ginny, and the entire Weasley family, which she had begun to think of as her own.

It was on the night that Hermione had whispered those words that she had tried to leave the world forever. That night, no matter how hard she tried, would never leave her mind. The flash of Ron’s shocked expression was lit by a blinding green light...

Hermione’s eyes snapped open. She had tears running down her face, and her shoulders were heaving with the power of her sobs. She let out a shrill cry and buried her face in her hands.

She heard a crash and the door to her left burst open. Standing in the doorway, blond hair messily strewn across his eyes, in nothing but a pair of silky black boxers, stood Draco Malfoy.

She looked up. Malfoy took in her tangled sheets, tearstained, blotchy, red face, and disoriented expression. His eyes traveled over her bound wrists and the twisting Dark Mark that were exposed in her tiny black tank top.

“Merlin, Granger.”

Malfoy strode over to Hermione and put his strong arm around her frail frame. She threw her arms around his neck and buried her face into her his shoulder. Malfoy stood shocked for a moment, then scooped Hermione up and carried her towards the bathroom.

“Let’s get you cleaned up,” Malfoy whispered in a voice Hermione had never heard before. The voice was so unrecognizable that she chose to pretend it belonged to someone else, someone she had loved and lost.

“Thank you, Ronald.”

A/N: So! What do you think? I’m planning on revealing a lot more about Ron and Hermione’s tangled past together, and Hermione’s little stint as a Death Eater.
This chapter is hella long! I'm sort of proud...
Sorry there has been such a long wait between the first three chapters, this one got rejected twice...and I'm really very sorry! As compensation, here's a sneek peek at chapter four,
Showers and Eavesdropping:

Malfoy looked down at Hermione, who was now nuzzling into the crooks of his bare body; and she turned her head up as their eyes locked.  Malfoy gasped; her honey brown eyes, usually so full of life, were dull and expressionless.  He searched them for answers anyway, but Hermione did not seem to have understood her mistake.  Returning his thoughts to the task at hand, he slowly walked into the bathroom, clutching Hermione’s frail form, and crept over towards the shower.  Malfoy set her down on her feet; she was shaking.  He pulled her into a tight embrace just as her knees buckled underneath her, and, not knowing what was coming over him, began stroking Hermione’s long, golden brown hair.

REVIEW if you have ANY comments please!!!

Chapter 4: Showers and Eavesdropping
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A/N: Sooo sorry that the last chapter took so long! There was a problem with the content, so I had to re-submit it...hopefully that will never happen again. So here’s the next chapter, guys! Thanks to everyone for the fantastic feedback! Please keep it coming!!

Showers and Eavesdropping

Malfoy strode over to Hermione and put his strong arm around her frail frame. She threw her arms around his neck and buried her face into his shoulder. Malfoy stood shocked for a moment, then scooped Hermione up and carried her towards the bathroom.

“Let’s get you cleaned up,” Malfoy whispered in a voice Hermione had never heard before. The voice was so unrecognizable that she chose to pretend it belonged to someone else, someone she had loved and lost.

“Thank you, Ronald.”

Malfoy looked down at Hermione, who was now nuzzling into the crooks of his bare body; and she turned her head up as their eyes locked. Malfoy gasped; her honey brown eyes, usually so full of life, were dull and expressionless. He searched them for answers anyway, but Hermione did not seem to have understood her mistake. Returning his thoughts to the task at hand, he slowly walked into the bathroom, clutching Hermione’s frail form, and crept over towards the shower. Malfoy set her down on her feet; she was shaking. He pulled her into a tight embrace just as her knees buckled underneath her, and, not knowing what was coming over him, began stroking Hermione’s long, golden brown hair.

When her legs stopped quaking, Malfoy released Hermione and turned on the shower.

He gazed uncertainly at the bandages on her wrists, but then began unraveling the dirty strips. When both of Hermione’s wrists were bare, Malfoy looked down, feeling a shiver run down his spine. The clean red line was faded now; but the bruising remained. The purple and blue patches that stained her pearly skin made him feel ill, though he didn’t know why. He’d seen far worse scars than these, yet the ones adorning the mudblood’s arms made the color drain from his face. Perhaps it was the loss of her innocence, or of the golden sparkle in her eyes, but Malfoy couldn’t get over Hermione’s attempt.

“Come on, lift up your arms,” Malfoy murmured, and Hermione obeyed.

He undressed her, and, averting his eyes from her privates, once again let his gaze scan over bruises. But this time, the bruises ran all over her back, not just over the small patch on her wrists. Malfoy’s eyes flew down to the small of her back, where the purple marks intensified. He reached out a hand and gently brushed her skin with the tip of his index finger. Her head snapped towards him, and Malfoy was immediately trapped in the depths of her eyes. He felt his memories being ripped through, but at that moment, all Malfoy could think of were Hermione’s bruises.

It was the summer after his fifth year. Malfoy’s father had told him that they were going on a family trip to the beach; Draco had been so excited. Lucius strode over to the back door of the Malfoy mansion and held it open for his son. As Draco passed under his father’s arm, he thought he caught a glimpse of a smirk on the man’s face, but shook his head and continued into the sunlight.

He turned around and peered at his father, asking, “Father, where is Mother?”

Lucius sneered down at him, “She won’t be making the trip with us, Draco.”

Although he was still confused, Draco dropped the matter and clasped onto his father’s wrist as he felt his body materialize.

They landed on the beach, but it was not one of the bright, warm beaches of storybooks, but a dark and dreary patch of sand. The ocean lapped wearily at the shore, and a sinister cave loomed overhead. The sun, it seemed, hadn’t managed to reach this particular beach in many years, and instead shone in vain in the distance. Lucius turned on his heel and began walking towards the mouth of the cave.

“Father,” Draco said with a quiver of panic in his voice, “why are we going in there?”

“Shut up, boy. Follow me.”

Going against his own judgment, Malfoy followed his father into the cave. Huge stalactites hung from the ceiling of the fissure, and Draco soon found himself in complete darkness. But he could still hear his father’s ringing footsteps ahead of him, so he trudged on, blindly feeling his way into the depths of the cavern. Suddenly, Lucius’ footsteps halted. Draco paused, peering desperately into the shadows.

A figure was slowly pushing its way through the gloom. A light filled the space, catching Draco unawares, but something else was also permeating the room. Overwhelming power was seeping through every bone in Malfoy’s body, suffocating him, causing him to fall backwards in shock. Lord Voldemort stood before him. The Dark Lord pointed his wand at Draco’s chest, and Malfoy was pulled upright by the same force that had knocked him back.

“Welcome, young Malfoy,” Voldemort whispered. Draco felt several shivers run down his spine like icy waterfalls. “Are you prepared for what awaits you?”

But Draco couldn’t move, nor bring his lips to form a word. He stood, frozen, in front of the greatest dark wizard of all time.

In one swift movement, Voldemort had grasped Draco’s sleeve, yanked it up, and begun examining his left forearm. He ran a jagged nail over the pearly white skin that was stretched over his veins, and Malfoy shivered once again.

“Is he ready, Lucius?” the Dark Lord asked.

“He will be ready whenever you need him to be, my Lord.” Lucius whispered, falling into a deep bow.

Voldemort returned his gaze to Draco, and his crimson eyes locked with the young man’s silver ones. He raised his wand, and pressed the tip roughly onto Draco’s skin.

The pain was overwhelming. It seared through every bone in his body, every particle of his being, he felt as if it would kill him dead. But, almost as suddenly as it had begun, the pain stopped. Malfoy opened his eyes to find himself lying on the floor of the cave, sweat tickling his forehead, breathing shallow, trying hard to regain his composure as he clutched his burning left arm.

“Get up, boy. You’re making a fool of me,” Draco heard his father murmur from somewhere in the distance. He blindly shoved his body up from the ground, and glanced down at his smoldering forearm. The sight made him sway in his steps, for the Dark Mark was blazing fiercely on his pale skin...

Malfoy tore his gaze from Hermione. He’d let her far too deep into his thoughts...shaking his head, Malfoy remembered why Granger was standing before him, completely naked. He eased her into the warm shower, and she stood under the steaming jets of water, staring into the empty space ahead of her.

“Granger?” Malfoy whispered tentatively. Hermione turned her head, peering at him with that same vacant stare, “you’re going to be fine...okay?”

Hermione nodded, and slowly returned her gaze to the wall in front of her. She carefully lifted her arms up to run her fingers through her hair, as she tilted her head back into the falling water. Malfoy closed the door.

He backed away from Hermione and turned left, towards his room. As he shut the door, he heard a muffled whimper from behind him, but he knew that the Mudblood would be okay. When the door closed, the sounds of the rumbling shower were silenced. He sighed, leaning his head against the cool wooden surface behind him.

Malfoy glanced at the clock: 1:45 AM. Well, since he definitely wasn’t going to be able to fall back asleep, he walked over to the chestnut wardrobe and pulled out a fresh set of robes. He pulled on his clothes and slumped into the large emerald armchair that sat next to one of the magnificent windows. He gazed over the Black Lake, into the horizon, and pondered what had just happened.

Granger had seen his memory, and it was not a very pleasant one. Draco smacked his forehead. “What has gotten into you Malfoy? This is Granger! Granger, the one you’ve hated since first year, the one who was best friends with Potty and Weasel, the one who helped send your father to Azkaban…” Malfoy scolded himself.

“But she’s also the one who you were just worried about, who you just held close to your body, who you just comforted...” Draco hit himself again. “Don’t be stupid, Malfoy. She’s just an insignificant Mudblood.”

But in the next room, Hermione Granger was listening to Malfoy’s thoughts, and she was smiling.


Hermione turned the water up, so that it was scalding hot, and as it beat down on her bruised back, she closed her eyes. Her tears had been overwhelmed by the force of the water cascading over her body, and she escaped to a peace she hadn’t felt since her veins had been sliced open. No thoughts entered her mind, and all the broken barriers that Ron’s memory had torn down earlier were repairing. But when she had heard Malfoy voice drifting into the bathroom, her eyes had snapped open and her attention was focused once again.

Hermione wasn’t quite sure what about Draco’s comments had pleased her, but the smile could not be wiped from her face. Soon her logical brains kicked into gear, and a mental battle ensued.

This is Malfoy! The little ferret that has made your life a living hell every chance he’s got. Why are you smiling? You’re from completely different worlds; you’re complete opposites.

Satisfied with her conclusion, Hermione stood under the water for few more minutes, then turned off the shower and stepped out into the massive bathroom.

The entire room was coated in white marble. The shower she had just exited stood on the left side of the bathroom, and its glass doors reflected the candlelight. A vast counter stretched along the length of the room on the front wall, and on the back there was a bathtub. The grand tub was situated in front a huge tapestry. This painting was also of the four founders, standing before a giant Hogwarts’ crest, waving merrily. But the tapestry only depressed Hermione, and it managed to erase the grin from her face, for she knew the fate of those four, brilliant people. They started out happy; all of them were the best of friends. But then, when Slytherin had insisted that only pure-blood witches and wizards be allowed to be taught, and the other three had refused the concept, he had left the school. Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff had held up the school just fine, but one block of the foundation would always be empty.

Hermione thought of her friendship with Ron and Harry, and how last year, if she had heard that she would be standing here, with her life in shambles, she would not have believed it. She would tell anyone who suggested that she would join the ranks of evil, commit a murder, and then a sin, that they were out of their mind. But at that moment, standing in the middle of the Head’s loo, with scars on her wrists, bruises on her back, and a crack in her heart, the harsh reality of her situation hit her full blast. Hermione felt a tear trickle down her cheek, and she turned to face the mirror.

She was almost disgusted by what she had become. She stared into her honey-brown eyes, which once flickered with gold when she smiled, and noticed that they had become dull and emotionless. Her cheek bones were extremely prominent now, but her once full face was sunken and unresponsive. Her hair, once frizzy and charged with personality, hung cold and limp against her naked body. Her hip bones protruded from her once healthy stomach, and her breasts no longer held the tingle of passion she had felt when she had been with Ronald. The Dark Mark twisted on her forearm, and her exposed wrists declared her attempted suicide. She had even failed at that. She had failed at protecting Harry and Ron from Voldemort, from who she had become, and from the harsh truth of her other life. She turned around, and turned her head to examine the bruises.

The purple stretched along her entire back, and as her eyes traveled over the longest one, the one that journeyed from her shoulder to the small of her back, and remembered the night when she had received it.

The Dark Lord’s calls had been getting ever stronger. She was at a point where she would have to pause in her sentences to draw a deep breath; the pain was unbelievable. Eventually, there came a night when she couldn’t take it any longer. It was during the spring holidays, and she, Ginny, Harry, and Ron were staying at the Burrow. She had bid her friends goodnight through clenched teeth, and retreated to the bedroom she shared with Ginny. Once she was alone, Hermione immediately apparated to the Dark Lord’s side.

She landed in a graveyard, one she had visited twice before. She allowed her eyes to wander her surroundings, until they fell on the figure in front of her.

“Welcome, Hermione. I thought you’d never answer my calls,” Voldemort said in greeting. “Are you sure your Mark is in order?”

Hermione nodded.

“Are you sure? Perhaps I should check on it...” Hermione was shaking her head, but nothing could be done. The Dark Lord grabbed her wrist and pulled up her sleeve, exposing the snake, which was slithering excitedly on her forearm. Voldemort pressed his wand to the Dark Mark.

An explosion of pain was upon her, a light had burst behind her eyes and it was consuming her, destroying her. She writhed in agony on the damp grass beneath her, but no screams escaped her lips; she refused to give him that satisfaction. He tortured her for a few more moments, and then released her. She lay on the ground, her breathing shallow. Hermione pushed herself up, so that she stood before the Dark Lord, legs shaking slightly beneath her.

“Very good, Granger. Now, are you going to tell me how to find your little friend, Harry Potter?” Voldemort growled.

Hermione shook her head once again.

“Fine then,” Voldemort said in a bored voice. “Crucio!”

The pain was with Hermione again, this time even more agonizing than the last, but she knew that she could never forgive herself if she caved. She took the pain, and when Voldemort lifted this spell, she pushed herself right back up again.

“ seem to have gotten stronger, Granger. Very well, we’ll just have to try something else then, won’t we?” Voldemort held his hand over the earth, palm outstretched, and Hermione watched as a tiny vial of dark purple potion rose out of soil and soared into his hand. He returned to Hermione and held the glass up to her face. “Do you know what this is?”

Hermione’s eyes widened as the potion’s potent smell wafted into her nostrils.

“Ah-ha. Your potions skills never cease to amaze me, Granger. Well then, are you sure you don’t want to tell me about Mr. Potter?”

Hermione glared at Voldemort and whispered, “I will never betray Harry.”

“Oh really? So you wouldn’t mind drinking this then, would you?” the Dark Lord snarled.

Hermione knew that the vial in front of her contained the Drought of Agony. It breaks you from the inside out, destroying your senses and emotions, for there is no room for any other feeling but pain. She began edging away from Voldemort.

“Oh no, Ms. Granger, you’re not going anywhere.” He drew her back towards him with a flick of his wand. “Yes, I think you really must try this...”

But Hermione kept her mouth clamped shut.

“Going to be difficult then? Aperio!” Voldemort pointed his wand at her mouth and it instantly flew open. Hermione tried to fight the spell, but it was no good. The Dark Lord uncorked the vile. “Bottoms up, Granger.”

He poured the bubbling, purple liquid into Hermione’s mouth, and she was forced to swallow it before it burned a hole in her tongue. However, the effects of the potion after it flowed through her body were devastating.

Hermione could feel her bones becoming brittle and cracking inside her. Her muscles were spasming over and over, and as her legs gave way underneath her, she felt both of her ankles snap. It was the most excruciating pain she had ever felt. It had been this pain that had made her crack.

She had asked the Dark Lord what he wanted to hear. But he surprised Hermione. He didn’t want to know where Harry was, he wanted to know about Ron. At first Hermione had refused to speak, but he forced more of the potion into her, and she felt a long,  unbearably painful line forming across her back; it felt as if she was being whipped, repeatedly, in the exact same spot. It was at that point when she caved...

Hermione snapped out of her reverie when a knock sounded at the door. She tore her eyes from her reflection and groped wildly for a towel. She had just wrapped a fluffy white one around her frail body when Malfoy stepped into the bathroom.

Seeming strangely concerned, Malfoy looked carefully at Hermione. His stare was full of such intensity that she had to look away. Eyes glued to the floor, Hermione turned in silence and strode towards her door. Grasping the handle, she pushed it open and stepped through the threshold.

Turning back, their eyes locked for a moment before she whispered: “Goodnight, Malfoy.”

She offered a weak smile and shut the door, leaving Draco standing alone.

Once in the safety of her bedroom, she leaned her heavy body against the door and allowed her head to fall backwards on the cool wood. Sighing, Hermione’s form sunk down, back pressed to the door, and lay in a crumpled heap on the ground. She picked her head up, only to let it fall back again, banging into the mahogany, punishing herself for her coldness. She wasn’t quite sure why Malfoy was having such a strong impact on her, but perhaps at that moment, when he was showing such compassion, he really cared about her feelings. The thought terrified and confused Hermione, but what she didn’t know was that in the next room, Draco Malfoy was resting his own body against her door’s pair.

What she didn’t know was that they were actually in very similar worlds; much less opposites than she would think.

A/N: I’ve got a little bit of writer’s block, so unless some brilliant idea comes to mind within the next few days, I think I’m going to send in a one-shot that I wrote. So, if any of you fantastic readers have ideas, please tell me!! I’ll take them all into consideration, and if one sparks a plotline in my head then I’ll pump out chapter five for you. Thanks so much for reading!

Feedback? Complaints? Praise? PLEASE REVIEW! I’d appreciate it so much!!

Chapter 5: Loneliness and Secrets
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A/N: Hello my friends. Guess what? The inspiration came!! I’ve found a plotline that I am extremely excited about…hope you like it. Sorry this has been a little slow on the update, hopefully chapter six is in validation right now! By the way, I've changed the story into a there is a lot more to come! Enjoy!

Loneliness and Secrets

She wasn’t quite sure why Malfoy was having such a strong impact on her, but perhaps at that moment, when he was showing such compassion, he really cared about her feelings. The thought terrified Hermione, but what she didn’t know was that in the next room, Draco Malfoy was resting his own body against the twin of the door Hermione lay upon.

What she didn’t know was that they were actually in very similar worlds; much less opposites than she would think.

The next morning, Hermione rolled out of her bed after two hours of sleep, stretched her aching legs, and crept over to the bathroom. The tiles were cool on her feet, causing a shiver to run up her spine. Gripping the counter, she leaned over the sink, glaring at her reflection. She hoped that perhaps she had undergone a great transformation the previous night, leaving her beautiful and pure, just like in the fairy tales. But when the same dull eyes stared back at her, she shoved her hands off of the marble and slunk back into her room, closing the door quietly behind her. She didn’t want to make a sound.

Then someone might remember she was there.

She changed out of her pajamas and pulled on her loosely fitted robes; she had gone a size up this year, to ensure that her sleeves would always cover her scars. She lazily climbed out of the portrait hole, running her fingers through her hair, but stopped dead in her tracks when her toes landed on the second stair.

Draco was sitting on one of the couches, back facing her, reading The Daily Prophet in front of a roaring fire.

He seemed to sense her presence; his head spun around as their eyes locked. Hermione detected a trace of intense emotion, which was quickly covered by clouds of indifference. He broke the gaze, returning his eyes to The Prophet and leaving her confused. Even though it was way too early, Hermione tore down the stairs and out of the common room towards breakfast, eyes never leaving the tiny hole in her black trainer.

Nothing had changed.


Hermione paced back and forth in front of the oak doors of the Great Hall. Every step to the left she would glance at the huge clock; it still read 7:07. After a few more minutes, students would begin trickling into the area, and she was still debating whether she should eat before they arrive then escape, or wait for Harry. On her 118th pace, Hermione turned around and found herself nose-to-nose with Ginny Weasley. She jumped in shock and flew backwards.

“Merlin, Ginny. You gave me a fright!” Hermione exclaimed, clutching her chest and momentarily forgetting the barriers she had placed between them. But when she saw the surprise in Ginny’s expression, she remembered and slowly turned away.

“Hermione, wait!” Ginny shouted in anguish. “Hermione seriously, you need to let me talk to you!”

“Why?” Hermione cried, whirling around so quickly that her hair whipped against her face. “Why do you want to talk to me? I killed your brother, Ginny! I killed Ron. Killed. I am a murderer; I don’t deserve anyone talking to me!”

Ginny stood in silence; the fiery redhead was stunned.

Hermione turned to leave again, but Ginny caught her right wrist. Cringing in pain, Hermione snatched it away, recoiling from the Weasley’s touch and holding her arm close to her body.

“Just stop it,” Hermione said, holding in the tears that were threatening to fall. “Leave me alone!”

Ginny stared at her with hard eyes. “Let me see your wrist, Hermione.”

“What?” Hermione spluttered. “What…no!”

But it was too late. Ginny had grasped her wrist and pulled up her heavy sleeve. When Ginny’s eyes fell upon the scar, her mouth fell open in shock, and her hands fell limply to her sides.

Cursing the Laws of Magic, Hermione ran her eyes over the thin red line as well. The Healers at St. Mungo’s had told her that they could heal a cut or erase a scar in an instant, but self-inflicted wounds were impossible to remove. The scars would stay with her until she died; by nature’s doing, not by her own hand.

Hermione yanked her sleeve back down and met Ginny’s horrified stare. “I don’t need you’re pity,” she spat.

With those words of hate, Hermione twisted away and made for her escape. When she looked up, however, she was met by a thick crowd of speechless people. Her gaze flew to the clock: 7:15. Breakfast had begun. Eyes dancing from each bewildered face, Hermione felt tears sting her cheeks. Flying through the throng of people, Hermione didn’t allow her sobs to erupt until she reached the safety of the Gryffindor Common Room.


After a long cry, Hermione had told Harry everything of the morning’s events. She finished her tale and lifted her eyes to meet his. She saw pity, which made her stomach boil, but she held in her fury, not wanting to destroy another friendship that morning. Thankfully, she didn’t have to gaze into those pitying green eyes for much longer, for they were quickly covered by sympathy.

Why does everybody feel like they can’t their show true emotion around me? Is it these scars on my wrists?

“Don’t worry, Hermione,” Harry said reassuringly. “I’ll speak with Ginny.”

“No you won’t! Just leave it, Harry. I really must be getting to class.” Hermione began gathering herself back together.

Wiping her tearstained face, she gave Harry a weak smile and swept out of the Common Room before he could say a word in response.

She left him staring at the empty portrait hole, mind spinning with worry.


The next few weeks were uneventful, excluding the constant whispering that erupted every time Hermione walked through the halls. They now knew about one of her darkest secrets. The only solace Hermione found was in Harry, yet she still couldn’t spend much time with him due to their busy schedules and her constant duty as Head Girl.

She and Draco still hadn’t spoken since that night, he did not acknowledge her presence, and she mirrored that technique.

It was a cold Friday night. The seasons had progressed into winter, and as Hermione sat in her bedroom she watched the snow drift by her, catching on the windowsill. She sat until an inch of snow had accumulated on the ledge, just staring at the contrast between the pure white against the gathering gloom in the sky. When it was completely dark, Hermione pushed herself out of the deep, soft chair and padded over to her desk.

Inhaling the sweet scent of parchment, Hermione dipped her quill into her ink pot and began her classwork. In a mere thirty minutes, she was finished. Sighing, she flopped onto her bed, sprawled out on her back; gazing at the candles that floated above her.

Harry and Ginny were spending the evening together, leaving Hermione completely alone.

As the loneliness swept over her, the memory hit her full blast…

She, Harry, and Ron were all sitting around a table at the Burrow. Harry and Ron were playing chess, while Hermione watched with bored eyes, with nothing else to do but wait for the rest of the Weasley family’s arrival. It was the spring holidays; she and the boys had arrived the previous day while the rest of the Weasley clan was due in a few hours. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were on holiday in Romania, visiting Charlie, and would be back the following day.

Hermione looked up at Ron who grinned sheepishly as he ordered his bishop to battle with Harry’s rook. When his bishop knocked the rook unconscious, smugly throwing his spear over his shoulder and smirked up at them, screaming: “CHECKMATE!”, Ron beamed at Hermione and grasped her hand. His touch still sent shivers down her spine, even after two months of dating. They held each others’ eyes, sending waves of love crashing between them, two hearts beating each to each..

Their moment was interrupted by a loud crash outside of the house, followed by another. They jolted apart and the three of them were instantly on their feet, wands at the ready.

Several more crashes sounded in the backyard. Harry spun around, facing the backdoor, and the three friends created a circle, backs pressed each other; protecting one another.

Both front and back doors were momentarily illuminated by a deep red light, before they came smashing out of their hinges and falling to the ground. In a matter of seconds, a dozen Death Eaters had surrounded the trio, wands poised for the kill.

A Death Eater in front of Harry spoke first. “Harry Potter. We meet again.”

It was Lucius Malfoy.

“Well, well, well. Aren’t we in a tight situation?” Malfoy sneered, pulling off his mask. “Twelve powerful Death Eaters against three, poorly trained, teenaged wizards…My, my, we are in trouble.”

“Well this is an all time low,” Hermione cut in. “I’d expect more, even if you are Death Eaters.”

“Don’ you see, Mudblood? You say Death Eater like it is a bad thing! Being a servant to the Dark Lord is honor. One you will soon come to understand…” Lucius cried, stepping forward into the center of the circle.

Though perplexed by his last comment, Hermione continued. “What is honorable about breaking into peoples’ homes, Malfoy? Doing Voldemort’s bidding? I see no honor there.”

“Lies!” Lucius shouted. He flicked his wand and Hermione was caught in his spell. Her wand fell to the ground and Harry and Ron watched in terror as her feet lifted off the floor and she began floating towards Malfoy. She twisted and screamed, fighting the curse, but she only kicked the air as she continued to drift in the Death Eater’s direction. Once she was in his grasp, the curse was lifted but Lucius’ wand was immediately relocated. It was now pointing at her neck.

“Now boys,” he snarled. “Let’s not do something rash.”

Hermione met Ron’s eyes and he was terrified by the horror they were filled with as she struggled against Malfoy’s grip.

Lucius noticed the looks they were exchanging, and glancing back and forth he grinned. “Ah, worried for you’re little sweet, Weasley?” he said.

Ron’s eyes widened in shock.

“Well I can’t say I don’t blame you,” Lucius ran a finger down her cheek. “Such a pretty girl…”

“LET HER GO!” Ron screamed.

“Touched a nerve have I?” Malfoy was playing with Ron now; Hermione was the toy.

“Ronald, stop it! I’m fine.” Hermione managed to say before Lucius dug his wand further into her windpipe.

“Listen to your girlfriend, boy. Even Mudbloods are intelligent sometimes…”

“Ron! Ron, no!” Harry shouted.

But it was no use. Ron whipped out his wand and took a step forward, only to be greeted by eleven other wands pointed directly at his chest. He paused, eyes flying from the Death Eaters’ wands to Hermione’s pleading eyes.

In her mind, Hermione was repeating the same phrase, over and over: Get Harry Out.

She was begging the words to fly to Ron’s brain, when she remembered reading in a spell book about telepathic connections. They required the strongest of emotional connections…

Step One: Picture the words in your mind.

Hermione saw the words being scratched out in her neat handwriting somewhere between her brain and her eyes.

Step Two: Envision them leaping into your partner’s mind.

She saw them inching over to Ron and she shoved them into a gallop.
Step Three: Speak the words again and again in you head.

Get Harry Out. Get Harry Out. Get Harry Out…
Step Four: Picture the words in your partner’s head, each letter filled to the brim with your voice.

Hermione squeezed her eyes shut.

Step Five: See the swollen letters bursting in your partner’s head, ringing through his body.


Hermione’s eyes flew open, only to see Ron stagger and clutch his head. He jerked his face towards her in awe, and she knew that she had succeeded.

The wonder in Ron’s expression disappeared as Hermione gave a tiny nod. He gazed at her with knowing eyes and returned the gesture.

He began slowly stepping backwards, holding his palms up defensively, until he reached Harry.

“Fine…I’ll stay calm. Just swear you won’t touch her!” Ron said.

“It’s a bit late for that request, Weasley,” Malfoy sneered, still clutching Hermione’s helpless form.

“Going to be that way are we? Fine then…Expelliarmus!” he cried, thrusting his wand in the direction of a tall Death Eater to Hermione’s left.

As the man shot backwards, Harry followed suit and began shooting hexes, jinxes, and curses at the enemy. Hermione had no choice but to sit and watch the battle, still struggling against Lucius Malfoy’s grip. She felt a purple jinx graze her ear, singeing her wild hair.

“RON! RON, GO!” she shrieked, now struggling desperately in Malfoy grasp.

Their eyes locked once more before he bounded up to a Harry, who was crouching uncomfortably, and clasped onto his sweater.

“I’ll be back for you Hermione! I promise.” he screamed over the chaos.

“Seize them!” Lucius screamed.

“RON!!!” Hermione shrieked as she saw a green light flying towards her love’s chest, tears streaming freely down her face. But the killing curse never hit flesh, for Ron and Harry had disapparated.

There was a loud crash of the curse hitting the wall, and many shattered bricks fell to the ground. The dust cleared, leaving nothing but silence.

“HOW DID YOU LET THEM GET AWAY? YOU FOOLS!” Malfoy shouted at his comrades.

“Ron, oh Merlin…” Hermione was leaning over now, Lucius gripping her wrists, her knees on the ground and her arms held behind her. Her head was bent over and her chest was heaving with shallow breaths.

“Get up, you filthy little Mudblood.” Lucius jerked on Hermione’s arms, redirecting his attention to his remaining prisoner.

She yelped in pain but pushed herself off of the floor nonetheless.

“The family resemblance is uncanny,” she spat.

“Be quiet, Mudblood. You have no right to speak to me like that,” Lucius growled. “Take you’re seat.” He gestured towards the throne-like chair at the head of what used to be the Weasley family dinner table, and summoned it to him, banging it into the back of Hermione’s knees and forcing her into the seat. With a twirl of his wand, snake-like ropes coiled out of its tip, slithering around her and binding her to the arms and legs of the chair.

“Tonight is a very momentous occasion, Granger,” Lucius began. “Are you feeling nervous?”

“Ron will be back for me,” Hermione said fiercely, fire burning in her eyes. “With help too…you’ve got no chance Malfoy!”

“SILENCE!” he shouted. “I don’t think you can bet on you’re little friends coming to the rescue anytime soon…”

Hermione’s eyes widened.

“What have you done to them? Malfoy! I’ll kill you!! I’ll kill—”

“Yes, I think I’m becoming very tired of this,” Malfoy said lazily, and with a flick of his wand a gag was wrapped tightly over mouth. “Now listen, Mudblood. You’re getting on my last nerve, and if the Dark Lord wasn’t due to arrive in a matter of minutes I would have killed you seven times already.”

A tighter breathing took over, and as she began weakly fighting against her bindings, the clock on the wall struck once…twice…thrice…

Everyone froze.

When the twelfth and final chime rang out, a dark, gaseous form in front of Hermione began materializing. She watched in terror as each particle came together, bonding with each other until a black figure stood before her. A pale head emerged from the smoke, and she realized that the darkness before her was a cloak.

She realized that before her was Lord Voldemort.

As the Dark Lord’s crimson eyes ran over her, Hermione realized that she was shaking from head to toe. He came closer, so that his face was lined up with hers, and she practically felt the power radiating off of him.

“Hermione Granger. How nice of you to join us,” he said.

Goosebumps erupted along her arms. Her panic must have shown across her face, for Voldemort laughed. He waved his hand over her mouth and her gag disappeared.

Hermione glared at Voldemort, and sparks fizzled out of her hair.

Staring at her with interest, the Dark Lord spoke. “Yes, I think you will prove quite useful…”

“No! Ron will come back for me. He and Harry will get past anything you sent for them!” she cried.

“Silly girl, do you really think I managed to send someone to the Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix?” he dismissed her with a condescending tone.

“But…” Hermione trailed off, staring at Malfoy.

Suddenly Voldemort understood.

“Ah, Lucius told you that they were in great danger, did he?” Hermione nodded slowly.

The Dark Lord turned to Malfoy. “That was very kind of you, Lucius. Yet unnecessary.” Lucius bowed deeply and whispered apologies, but Voldemort waved him away. He returned his gaze to Hermione.

“You see, Granger. Lucius here tried to protect you from what was destined to occur,” yet Hermione still looked confused, so he continued on. “Your dear friends aren’t coming back for you, they are leaving you here. Alone.”

As Lord Voldemort said it, Hermione knew that it was the truth. It was at that moment, that she felt the most alone. The most lost.

So when the Dark Lord asked her to extend her left arm, she pulled up the sleeve of her white blouse with dead eyes and accepted her destiny. When Voldemort pressed his wand to her porcelain skin, she felt no pain, only the current of power surging through her body.

Lord Voldemort seemed satisfied, and within a minute of completing the marking, he materialized in a cloud of darkness.

When all the Death Eaters had left the Burrow, Hermione sat in silence, unmoving, in the same chair she had received the Dark Mark in. Staring at the clock.

Tick. Tock.

Tick. Tock.

When it stuck one o’clock, Hermione was jolted out of her trance. She stood and disapparated to Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place.

She walked up the steps to Grimmauld, approaching the door, lifting the serpent knocker and letting it fall with a thud against the hardwood. When it opened, Hermione was immediately enveloped in a strong pair of arms. She buried her face Ron’s shoulder as he stroked her hair.

“Merlin, Hermione. I am so sorry,” he whispered in her ear.

And as the tears began to leak out of her eyes, Hermione realized that she could never tell Ron about what had happened at the Burrow. The pain of knowing what he could have prevented would tear him apart. No. It would be a secret she would take to the grave…

Hermione curled up into the fetal position, pulling her knees to her chest and hugging them as if they were a companion.

But that night, for the first time since the night she had just relived, Hermione was completely alone.

Only her memories were there to keep her company, swirling over her body and seeping through her soul.

A/N: Hey guys! What did you think? A bit morbid, I know. But we had to understand why she did it, right?
I would love to hear anything you have to say about this story, and your reviews have been out of this world…I think the total number doubled after the last update. Keep up the fantastic work!
Sorry if you catch a few movie quotes in this story…I tend to do that subconsciously!
I swear that I will answer every single review. I actually enjoy writing to you guys and I’ll try to answer all the questions you might have.
Without giving anything away, that is! =]

Hoping that chapter six will be completed by the time this is validated.

P.S. Did anyone catch the fact that Hermione was wearing a white shirt when she received the Dark Mark? I’d like to think that it was the last time she wore that color; before her innocence was stolen. Oh, I am a clever one… =]

P.P.S “Two hearts beating each to each” is a quote from the Robert Browning poem, Meeting at Night, and “a tighter breathing” is from Emily Dickinson’s A Narrow Fellow in the Grass. Wow. This is a long author’s note…and I think I just managed to burn my forehead on a light…I’m going to go take care of that! haha

Chapter 6: Discoveries and Tears
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A/N: Hey there! Thanks for the crazy amounts of reviews; it’s so much fun to hear what you guys think. Anyway, the Queue was, I believe, 22 hours long when I sent in the fifth chapter…how amazing is that? Quick updates are brilliant! However, I wasn’t expecting to have such a short amount of time to write chapter six, hence the longer update on this one. Sorry about that.
Shout out to
lupa_mannera for all the amazing reviews. They made my heart swell!

Discoveries and Tears

But that night, for the first time since the night she had just relived, Hermione was completely alone.

Only her memories were there to keep her company, swirling over her body and seeping through her soul.

Hermione’s eyes snapped open as a loud crash sounded downstairs. Throwing off her heavy covers, she swung out of bed, snatched her wand off the nightstand and crept towards the portrait hole. Back pressed to the smooth wall, Hermione took a deep breath and threw open the door.

“Who’s there?” she said in a shaking voice, stepping onto the staircase and holding her wand high. “Lumos.

As the shocking light blinded her, Hermione squinted tightly and shielded her face with her hand. When her eyes finally adjusted to the brightness, she saw that the table was overturned, and was able to catch a glimpse of a blonde head disappearing into the portrait on the opposite staircase.

“Malfoy?” she asked. No response. “Malfoy!”

Sleepiness forgotten, Hermione spun around and dashed through her open portrait hole. Flinging open the door, she ran into the bathroom, bare feet clapping loudly against the marble floor. Reaching the neighboring entrance, she clasped onto the handle and pulled with all her might. The door was locked.

Stepping back, Hermione raised her wand, “Alohamora.


She heard a voice behind the door begin to speak a spell, and with a complicated motion, Hermione twirled her wand and shouted, “Bombarda!

The door burst open, sending dust flying everywhere. When it settled, she found herself face-to-face with Malfoy, who stood with his wand pointing at the spot the keyhole had been in moments before, his mouth still forming the spell he had been casting.


The handle glowed blue as the door flew shut and locked itself.

She stared at him, suddenly aware of how ridiculous she must have looked, having just gotten out of bed. Pushing into the room, she asked, “What were doing?”

Malfoy met her gaze. “I was taking a walk, Granger. Is that allowed?”

“Not at three-thirty in the morning, it isn’t. What were you doing?” Hermione repeated.

“It’s none of your business what I was doing, Mudblood. Get out of my room.” Malfoy spat.

“You scared me half to death with all the noise you made downstairs!” she cried. “Besides, Malfoy, you’re the one who locked me in.”

“What, were you afraid that the Dark Lord sent had come to find out where his most trusted Death Eater had disappeared to?” he said with a smirk. Hermione’s hand instantly flew to her left forearm, where the Dark Mark was twisting underneath her red silk pajamas. “No, Granger. He doesn’t even know that you’re at Hogwarts right now.”

Hermione’s mouth fell open a tiny bit and a confused expression spread across her face.

Malfoy continued. “Yes, that’s how well you beloved headmaster keeps you protected. After the…unfortunate death of your Weasel, security has…well, you can imagine.” He said with an evil grin.

Hermione’s insides turned to ice. Spinning around, she pointed her wand at the keyhole and began repeatedly casting Alohamora. The door wouldn’t budge. She made to move to the portrait hole, but Malfoy side-stepped her, blocking the way.

She glared up at him, and in a hostile tone she said, “Get out of the way, Malfoy.”

“Oh, did mention of Weasley get your knickers in a twist? Feeling guilty, Mudblo—” but Malfoy could not finish his sentence, for he was interrupted by a strong slap across his pale cheek.

Gaping at Hermione, he watched as she strode past him and out the portrait hole, and when the last strands of her hair disappeared down the staircase and out of sight, Malfoy brought his hand up to his face to feel his stinging cheek.

Double Potions. Merlin he hated them. Today they were doing Essence of Lackluster; excellent. Draco sat between Zambini and Nott, who were paying the same amount of attention to the instructions Professor Slughorn was giving as he was.

Malfoy began doodling in the margins of his Advanced Potion Making, working loops and swirls into his carefully constructed letter ‘M’.

Placing down his quill, Malfoy rested his chin in his hand and allowed his Professor’s enthusiastic voice to fade into the background. He was still tired from the previous night. He was going to have to let his instructor know that he couldn’t go on these late night missions anymore. Eyes roaming over the classroom, Draco’s heart squeezed painfully when they landed on the long mane of white blonde hair to his right. He knew that the beautiful hair belonged to a Ravenclaw in his year, Georgia Thompson. Yet every time he laid eyes on it he imagined that, just for a second, his mother had come back for him.

His memories began circling around him, until the most horrible one he had endured enveloped him.

It was the spring holidays. Draco had just returned home to Malfoy Manor after the long train ride back from Hogwarts, and it was nice to be home.

An intruder would have thought the house to be impersonal and cold, but to Draco it was home. He knew every nook and cranny, such as the small door in the back of his closet that led to a room; tiny, yes, but a secret all the same. When Draco was six, he and his mother would go in there to hold Wizengamot meetings with his stuffed owls. Then there was the dumbwaiter. As a child Draco would take rides from the pantry to the kitchen, until one day when he noticed a wooden door in the middle of his trip. On the way back up, Draco had opened the door and leapt out of the moving dumbwaiter. Crawling into the space, he came upon a filled with gold. Until the age of ten, when his father found out about his son’s discovery and forbade him to return, Draco would visit the hidden room every day with his play wand and pretend to make his stuffed animals fly.

Staring at the familiar arched ceiling and grand staircase, Draco rushed upstairs to greet his mother.

Draco and his mother had always gotten along the best in the family. For whether it was his constant absences or his cruel moments of indifference, Lucius Malfoy was not a great husband or father to his wife and child. Malfoy remembered his childhood, and on the lonely nights when his father was away, his mother would always be with him. She would sit on the side of his bed and sing him sweet songs under her breath until he fell asleep, stroking his hair.

Bursting through the doorway, Draco gazed upon his mother with a wide grin.

She sat upon a pink stool, staring at her reflection in the white vanity. Dressed in flowing white robes, golden hair pinned up in a delicate bun, Narcissa Malfoy was the essence of beauty. Yet she was gazing at herself disdainfully, prodding her porcelain skin with her fingertips.

“Mum! I’m home!” he exclaimed.

Noticing her son in the mirror, Narcissa spun around. When Draco saw the fear and sadness in her eyes, his smile disappeared. His mother strode towards him and pulled him into a tight embrace.

“Mother,” he whispered. “What’s wrong?”

Pulling away from her son, Narcissa spoke. “Draco, it’s you’re father. He’s upset the Dark Lord.”

Draco stared in horror at his mother. “What has he done?” he demanded.

“Please, Draco. I cannot explain. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is due to arrive any moment now.” she said.

Malfoy nodded fearfully, the panic alarms in his mind ringing with urgency. “What’s going to happen, Mother?”

At first Narcissa did not speak. She turned to Draco, and as their identical eyes met she whispered, “I love you, my son.”

Before Malfoy could respond, a loud chime sounded from downstairs. Mother and son stared at the open door, knowing that the noise was the house elf announcing the arrival of their guest, and without a single sound, filed quickly out of the room and down the stairs.

When his feet hit the bottom landing, Draco looked up. He was shocked to see the Dark Lord standing alone; no Death Eaters had accompanied him. His father slowly walked out of the shadows, giving the scurrying house elf a kick. The elf cried out in pain, but continued to run towards the kitchen with a slight limp.

“Well it seems that we now have the full family, Lucius.” Voldemort said. Draco’s skin prickled.

“What’s going on?” Draco asked loudly.

Before Lord Voldemort could speak, Lucius cut in. “Quiet, boy! You will not speak to the Dark Lord in such tones.”

“Lucius,” Voldemort spat. “I shall deal with your son in due time. It is you that had displeased me.

“You were to bring me the girl. It was truly very simple. Bring me the Mudblood. But you failed, Lucius, and now you will pay the price.”

Voldemort moved swiftly to Narcissa, who steeled herself for battle. Aiming his wand, he shouted, “Crucio!”

Narcissa screaming in agony as she crumpled to the ground, her body twitching and contorting in pain. Draco couldn’t take it any longer.

“STOP IT!” he screamed.

Voldemort inclined his head in the youngest Malfoy’s direction, and for two agonizing seconds held his gaze. Lifting the curse, Voldemort swept towards Draco and closed his fingers around his throat. Draco struggled against the Dark Lord’s grip, which only tightened with each thrashing movement.

Narcissa was weeping in the background, “My son…my only son.”

“Boy,” Voldemort began. “Do you understand what happens to my followers when they fail me?”

Draco, who’s face was turning a shade of purple, managed to shake his head weakly.

“They are punished!” Lord Voldemort shouted, releasing his grip on Draco’s neck and allowing the teen to sink to the floor, coughing and fighting desperately for oxygen.

Turning to Lucius, the Dark Lord raised his wand and, with a slashing motion, cried, “Sectumsempra!”

A gigantic gash tore across Lucius’ chest, and as his blood sprayed the room, speckling the white marble with red, he collapsed.

“Father!” Draco yelled, pushing himself off the ground and running towards Lucius. Huddled over him, Draco began muttering the countercurse, quickly healing the gaping wound.

Voldemort stood with an amused expression plastered across his evil face. “Oh, no, Draco. I don’t believe that I agree with your actions…Imperio!”

Draco was instantly engulfed in the most wonderful feeling he had felt in a long time. He was floating on air, not a worry in a world. His mother, father, and Voldemort were wiped from his mind, quickly replaced by unbelievable, delirious happiness.

Yet it was interrupted by Lord Voldemort’s voice, echoing somewhere in the back of his vacant brain:
Kill her…kill her…

Draco raised his wand unquestioningly, preparing to strike.

Kill her…

“Draco!” another voice screamed, “Please, Draco. You can do it. You can fight him!”

It was his mother.

Kill her…

No, I’d rather not, said another voice in the back of his head. No, no thanks.

Kill her!

The happiness was clearing now; Draco was beginning to see his mother’s form. Narcissa, her hair falling out of its neat bun, eyes tainted with her inward pain, pushed herself off the ground and rushed towards Draco, arms outstretched.

“Draco!” she shrieked.

Kill her! NOW!

Draco tried to fight the curse, but the power was too strong.

Pointing his wand at Narcissa, his mother, his family, Draco shouted:

“Avada Kedavra!”

The green light shot out of the tip of his wand, spiraling and sparking as it flew towards his mother’s chest. When it made contact with her flesh, her body glowed green for a split-second, before she crumpled to the ground.

The next moment, Draco had returned to earth. A considerable amount of pain erupted around his neck, but it was nothing compared to throbbing he felt in the pit of his stomach.

“MOTHER!” Draco cried, sprinting towards her lifeless form. Reaching her side, he knelt and scooped her into his arms, cradling her broken body. “No…Merlin, no!” he whispered, stoking her hair.

Head snapping upwards, Draco stared into the crimson eyes of the Dark Lord. “You! YOU DID THIS!”

“No, no Draco,” Voldemort said with a twisted smile. “This is all your doing. Your wand took Narcissa’s life. You spoke the words of death.”

With that remark, Lord Voldemort threw back his head a laughed. A bone chilling laugh that rang through Draco’s bruised body as his tears began to fall, dripping meaninglessly on his mother’s cold, pallid face…

Draco jerked back to the present at the sound of a book snapping shut on his left. Peering around, Malfoy saw that everyone in the class was packing away their materials and exiting the classroom; he had missed the entire lecture. Professor Slughorn was saying something to the backs of his retreating students’ heads, but Draco did not hear him. His thoughts were still on his mother. He looked down, noticing that he was shaking from head to toe. A voice was very close to him, but he couldn’t make out what it was saying.

Suddenly, Slughorn’s portly cheeks were directly in front of him.

“Dear boy, are you alright?” he said, concern etched across his face.

“What? Oh! Yes, sir. I’m just fine,” Draco mumbled, attempting to gather his books. His Advanced Potions Making fell out of his shaking hand and lay splayed on the floor.

“Mr. Malfoy! I would like you to go to the infirmary immediately. I shall alert your Professor that you will not be able to attend your next class.”

Nodding numbly, Draco snatched up his book and hurried out of the classroom as quickly as he could, knowing full well that he would not be heading in the direction of the infirmary.

Hermione lay in her bed, spread eagled and staring at the stars that splayed across the canopy of the four-poster. She was desperately trying to connect them, to create a constellation, but they stubbornly remained evenly spaced. Completely average.

She had two free periods that morning; Harry had invited her to go relax by the lake with him, but she had chosen to skip breakfast and sleep in. That too was ruined; interrupted by Malfoy.

The banging of a portrait hole being slammed sounded downstairs.

Speak of the devil.

Shoving herself lazily out of bed, Hermione trudged downstairs. Glancing at her watch, she had about five minutes until Transfiguration.

A shaken Malfoy hurried past her, so quickly that he crashed his shoulder into hers, sending a current of pain rippling through her body. He didn’t even turn back.

“Hey!” Hermione shouted, temper flaring. “You could at least apologize for smashing into me, Malfoy!”

He turned back when his first foot hit the staircase, and glared at her.

Had he been crying?

His eyes were certainly bloodshot. His trembling hand was having trouble gripping the banister.

“Are you alright?” Hermione asked tentatively.

“What do you care, Mudblood?” he said, before ascending the steps and disappearing into his bedroom.

Hermione stared at his closed portrait, her mouth hanging slightly open. The serpent hissed defensively.

Taking this as a cue to leave, Hermione turned around and sped out of the common room; she could be late for class.

A/N: Hey, guys! May I just say that I love you? Because you really have been great, and I thank you for reading and reviewing.
Sorry for the slow update. School’s been really rough and the Queue’s been really short...two things I wasn’t anticipating! =]
So I know this chapter wasn’t all that exciting, and the whole Malfoy part was horrible, but I really wanted to show the similarities between the two families Voldemort ripped apart.
Anyway, the next chapter is THE chapter...
If you know what I mean =]

Get excited!!

Please Review! They make me so happy!!!

Chapter 7: Tension and Staircases
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A/N: I’ve added a tiny bit to chapter two, and it might clear up a question you may have after you finish reading this chapter. I’ve marked it with and asterisk, so it’ll be easy for you all to find. There is a LOT of stuff going on in this chapter...that's why it's taken so long. Hope you like it!
=] Enjoy!

HUGE EDIT. I've edited a bunch of stuff from this chapter that were extremely confusing for most people. Both of Hermione's memories are completely different, and the ending now includes a significant detail. So, check it out...and make sure to tell me what you think!

She was crippled
But only her body was cracked
It’s not simple
Nor is it an easy matter to explain
“So let’s just leave it at that” she says
As she closes the Holy Book of lies
She covers her eyes
Denying to herself what she let happen

Tension and Staircases

“Are you alright?” Hermione asked tentatively.

“What do you care, Mudblood?” he said, before ascending the steps and disappearing into his bedroom. Hermione stared at his closed portrait, her mouth hanging slightly open. The serpent hissed defensively.

Taking this as a cue to leave, Hermione turned around and sped out of the common room; she could be late for class.

The next few weeks passed in a blur, and when Hermione stopped to allow her vision to focus, her eyes were met by bursts of red and green; it was Christmas time.

She and Draco had resumed their tactic of ignoring each other, which suited Hermione just fine; with her approaching N.E.W.T.S. exams, she was devoting all of her free time to studying. She was actually beginning to feel like her old self again.

Her scars had faded, and though she knew that they would trace her wrists for the rest of her life, even the notion of them vanishing had helped Hermione place her past behind her.

Every student at Hogwarts could sense the change in her. Whether she was walking arm-and-arm with Harry down the corridors, or laughing aloud in the Great Hall, Hermione Granger was noticeably joyful.

Evidently, Ginny had also noticed the difference in her old friend. Yet after her failed confrontation weeks before, the youngest Weasley seemed much more tentative in her approach as she plopped down next to Hermione at dinner one evening.

Harry had just been telling her a particularly funny story involving Filch being followed by exceptionally vicious Fanged Frisbee, and she was laughing riotously when the redhead sat down. Grin still plastered on her face, Hermione spun her head around to stare Ginny in the eye.

“Hermione, would you mind stepping outside with me?” Ginny asked.

Feeling strangely spontaneous, Hermione shrugged, and much to Harry’s surprise, pushed herself up and followed Ginny out of the Great Hall. The moment the two girls turned the corner and out of sight, frantic chatter erupted behind them.

Hermione chuckled. “Really! Do they have nothing else to speak about?”

Ginny smiled weakly, wringing her hands nervously behind her back. Hermione’s smirk faded. The pair reached the old elm tree and Ginny stopped, staring at a patch of frozen grass by her right foot.

Shoving her hands in her pockets, Hermione exhaled, watching her breath spiral out of her mouth like a ghost. “So what’s on your mind, Ginny?” she ventured.

Ginny seemed to snap out of a trance, eyes flying to Hermione’s as they suddenly filled with embarrassment. “I just...I just really need to talk to you know...” she trailed off.

Dropping down to the ground, Hermione settled into a comfortable seated position, while the frigid grass crunched under her weight. She motioned for Ginny to join her.

Complying, Ginny sat opposite to Hermione, gazing at her with fear written all over her face.

“Ginny, why are you afraid?” Hermione asked.

Seeming shocked that Hermione could read her so easily, Ginny dropped her eyes to her black trainers and began picking at the fraying edges of the laces. After a few moments she spoke, “Why did you do it?”

“Do what?” Hermione responded quietly.

“You know bloody well what. You killed my brother, Hermione!” Ginny cried, whipping her head forward so that her eyes met Hermione’s

“’s a very, very long story,” Hermione whispered.

“Well I’ve got the time. You owe it to me to at least tell me why,” the redhead said hotly.

Hermione nodded, and before she realized it the story was tumbling out of her lips. She told of the time she received the Mark, and living as a Death Eater. She spoke until she reached the fateful night when she took the life of her love and tried to take her own. It was at this point when her voice cracked and she tore her gaze away from the saddened eyes of the girl in front of her.

“I can’t relay that night to you, Ginny. There are too many details, so heartbreaking and emotional…I just can’t explain it,” Hermione murmured, still not meeting Ginny’s eyes.

Ginny made to protest, but Hermione cut her off.

“But I can show you,” she said, slowly raising her gaze and searching Ginny’s eyes for a trace of emotion. The redhead’s face was lined with fear, but she nodded nonetheless.

Hermione positioned herself directly in front of Ginny, closing her eyes so that she was staring at the dim redness of her eyelids. She began taking down the barriers in her mind, making it easier for Ginny to get in. That night had been carefully blocked away, so it took some prodding before she was ready.

When the process was complete and Hermione’s mind was open for the taking, she opened her eyes as they locked with Ginny’s. Her vision blurred as the memory overwhelmed her…

“Where is Ronald Weasley?”

“I’ll never tell you!” she had cried, pulling desperately at her bindings. Voldemort was approaching with more Drought of Agony, and Hermione was screaming. “No, no, no. Please stop! No!”

But Voldemort was listening. He poured the vile potion down her throat, and for the third time in her life she felt herself breaking from the inside out.

As her fighting hands tugged uselessly on her bindings, her wrists snapped and her fingers cracked with every excruciating spasm her body was undergoing. Her teeth, clenching her bottom lip in pain, passed clean through, and as the blood trickled down her chin Hermione began to feel the pain subsiding. Chest heaving, she lay her head back against the rock she was bound to and allowed a shuddered breath to escape her lips. With tears streaming down Hermione’s face, she lay before the Dark Lord; bloodied and broken.

“Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop…” Hermione begged, bringing her eyes up weakly to meet Lord Voldemort’s gaze.

“I would love to make it stop, Granger. I’d love to just murder your dirty blooded body. But, alas, you are far too important in this war for me to just slander your use away,” he said with an evil smile.

“I will never tell you anything,” she managed to whisper again, before she was cut off as Voldemort’s strong backhand flew across her face. Knocked sideways, her lips bleeding profusely and her check tingling, Hermione drew a few shallow breaths before forcing herself back upright. Her body was in such pain that she had become numb; just a shell of the human being she had once been.

“Well it’s too late for that, Granger. You’ve already told me about your dearest Ronald, don’t you remember? In any case, it is not information that I seek today,” Voldemort said.

Momentarily forgetting her toughness, Hermione turned fearful eyes towards the Dark Lord. “Then what do you want?” she asked tentatively.

“What do I want? I want Ron Weasley dead,” Voldemort said as Hermione’s eyes filled with tears. “And I want you to kill him.”

“No! Me? Kill…Ron? What? NO!” Hermione choked out, stumbling on her words. “Surely you wouldn’t…couldn’t be so cruel?”

“Never underestimate me, Granger. You know the consequences if you don’t carry out your mission—” he was cut off by Hermione’s screams.

“I don’t care about my life! Take it! Kill me now! Just save Ron. Please, just keep him safe…” she trailed off, too overcome with emotion to continue.

Voldemort’s face tightened. “Silly girl, killing you now would be quite a pity. Such talent you possess…” he trailed off, running a jagged nail down her cheek.

“But why Ron!?” Hermione shouted, shrinking away from his touch.

“Oh, Granger, I thought you were brighter than that! Surely you, of all people, would understand the power of love? Your Weasley loves you with all his heart, doesn’t he? If a love that powerful exists within the Death Eater I have so carefully crafted out of you, how on Earth are you going to commit yourself fully to my biddings? Yes, that would prove difficult, indeed. However, with the Weasley boy gone you will have nothing else to rely on but your devotion to me,” Voldemort said, watching with pleasure as Hermione’s eyes filled with fresh tears; tears of the comprehension of things to come. “Yes, I think you’ve understood me quite well now, Granger.”

He laughed and turned away from Hermione’s pathetic appearance, he was ready to leave when he heard a small, strangled voice from behind him.

“I’ll never do it! You can’t make me!” she shrieked in desperation.

Staring at her frail body, Voldemort sneered. “You’d be surprised by how persuasive I can be, Granger.”

Suddenly Hermione felt a soft breeze tickle her nose and sweep back her hair. It began to pick up speed and whip against her raw skin. She soon felt it rushing in at her from all sides, stabbing into her skin like thousands of knives. As she began to scream out in agony, Hermione could faintly feel a small throbbing inside her head, but just as quickly as the wind had risen, she felt it all disappear.

Voldemort stared down at the unmoving girl before him. Staring at her broken body, he did not feel an ounce of remorse for what he had made her into. Satisfied that he had finally made his point clear, the Dark Lord spun around and strode away from Hermione, who had returned to consciousness and was staring at her shaking hands. When he was about ten feet away, Voldemort turned back to face her.

“You have one month, Granger,” he said, flicking his wand and breaking her bindings. Hermione looked up into those crimson eyes as the body around them slowly dissolved. When she lay alone in that graveyard, Hermione realized her slight lightheadedness, but pushed away her curious thoughts as she wearily pushed herself up, trying to ignore the shooting pains throughout her body. Just as soon as she was up, she crumpled to the ground once more. Her cracked body sprawled uselessly, Hermione lay in the dirt, weakly clutching her bruised arms as her body shook with each heartbreaking sob…

Hermione’s vision blurred as the memory ended, but her eyes were suddenly filled with the one Ginny needed to see…

It was early summer, yet waves of heat had already begun radiating throughout Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. As Hermione slowly made her way up the creaking staircase, she rolled up the sleeves on her black sweater, shutting her eyes tightly and fanning her face with her palms. When she opened her eyes, her heart leapt uncomfortably at the flash of black on her pale skin that had marred her vision. The Dark Mark twisted on her forearm, the great serpent hissing and snapping its fangs at her. Tracing the snake’s path with her thumb, Hermione shivered despite the warmth of the house.

The Dark had been calling again, ever more persistent since he had made his request. Shivering again, she paused on the landing. A creak sounded above her. Yanking her sleeve back down, Hermione snapped her head upwards, finding herself lost in the light blue eyes of Ron Weasley.

“Hermione! Merlin, where have you been!?” Ron cried, taking the stairs two steps at a time as he bounded towards her. Enveloping her in his arms, he squeezed her tightly as his hand found her hair. Pulling away from Hermione, he placed his hands on her shoulders and asked, “Hermione, are you alright?”

“Yes, Ronald. I’m just fine,” she said in an even tone.

“Hermione, you’ve been gone for at least a month. We all thought you were…” he trailed off, not wanting to draw fresh tears after thirty days of worry.

“Dead? Oh no, Ronald. I’ve been near death…I’ve seen death…I’ve even wished for death. But no, I’ve never achieved that.” Hermione whispered with the ghosts of her tortured existence swimming in her honey eyes.

Ron gazed at his love with sadness in his eyes. “Please, Hermione. Tell me everything.”

Hermione nodded as Ron put his arm around her and led her to the drawing room. He was the man who loved her, but she had lost her love, though peculiarly abruptly, long ago. She had tried to go on with her life normally after joining the ranks of evil, but it had become all too difficult to live a lie. She had begun distancing herself from Harry, Ron, and Ginny shortly afterwards, and she had succeeded with the former and latter. It was Ron that did not understand, for his love for her was too great. When she disappeared for that month, she had been serving the Dark Lord as his most trusted servant.

It was the night when she had received her mission that Hermione had broken down. She didn’t quite understand it, but from that night on she had become intensely interested in the Dark Arts and more willing than ever to serve her master. She had spent the last month building herself up for this moment, and now she was finally ready.

As she and Ron sat down on the large leather couches of the drawing room, Hermione launched into her carefully formulated story about the past month. When she was finished they sat in silence.

“I’m so sorry, Hermione,” he said.

“Let’s just move on, okay?” she said, with a strange pang of remorse that she hadn’t felt since that night; attempting to steer the conversation away from what she knew was coming for she knew it was then that she would have to break his heart.

“I’m just so glad to have you back,” Ron said, moving closer to her.


He was by her side now, his arm snaked around her and he tilted her head to face him. She was caught up in his eyes, and she sat, entranced, before he spoke again.

“Hermione, I just love you so much,” he whispered before sending his lips crashing down on hers.

Electric sparks coursed through her body from the moment their lips met. The feelings that had carefully been tucked away suddenly reared their ugly head. But it wasn’t ugly; it was beautiful. Hermione began to return the kiss, finding herself lost in the moment, lost in his lips. But almost as soon as she melted in his euphoric embrace, Hermione felt a large throbbing pain at the back of her head. All the feelings suddenly disappeared, and the kiss that the two were sharing became entirely meaningless to Hermione.

Pushing Ron away, Hermione leapt off the couch and faced away from him.

“What’s wrong?”

“Ron…it’s just that…I don’t love you. Not anymore,” she said, a silent tear escaping her squinted eye from the pain that was now subsiding in her head.

“Wha—what?!” he cried.

Spinning around, Hermione shouted, “Ronald! I just don’t! I’ve changed too much…so much you have no idea. But we can’t be together, Ron. We just can’t.”

“Hermione! What are you talking about?” Ron said, his eyes glistening.

Hermione felt Ginny try to pull away, but she held her close; she needed to see this.

“It’s not fair, Ron! It’s just not fair. But I have to do it…you understand, right?” she was crying now, the tears staining her face as her expression became more and more deranged.

“Understand what, Hermione?” he cried, now standing before her.

“What I have to do. I’m going to do it, Ron. I’m going to do it now,” she heard herself say, pulling her wand out of her pocket. She didn’t know why she was doing what she was doing, why she was saying what she was saying, but it all seemed like the right thing in her head.

“What are you doing, Hermione? Why are you pointing that at me? Hermione!” Ron yelled as she advanced on him.

“I have to do it, Ron! I have to kill you! He’s making me, Ron! I can’t stop him!” she sobbed, holding her wand higher in her shaking hand.

“Kill me!? What are you talking about? Who’s making you, Hermione? Stop it! You’re scaring me!”

“I’m scaring me too, Ron,” Hermione said, her voice suddenly cold and monotonous. “Don’t worry. It won’t hurt. I wish I could stop it…but I can’t. The Dark Lord is too strong, Ronald. You have no idea.”

Ron froze. Staring at Hermione as if she was an entirely different person, he asked, “You—You? You’re with him?”

Hermione whispered, “Goodbye, Ron. I’m so sorry…”

“Hermione, no!”

But it was too late. The bright green flame was already racing towards Ron’s chest. Hermione met his eyes for the final time as his body glowed for a moment, before dropping to the ground.

Ron Weasley was dead.

Hermione stood in silence for a few miserable seconds. She gazed at the corpse in front of her, a sob escaped from the depths of her soul.

It felt as though everything was crashing down upon her at once. She felt so out of control; so full with emotions long absent. She was finally experiencing all of the feelings Voldemort had been keeping from her over the last month: sadness, guilt, loneliness, fear.


Spinning on her heel, Hermione fled the room and dashed up the stairs. She scrambled into the bathroom and slammed the door behind her. Dropping her wand to the floor, she ripped open the top drawer of the vanity.

Ron’s scent overwhelmed her as his aftershave filled the bathroom, causing her tears to fall faster and fatter on the white tile. Her fingers found the razor blade; the cool metal sent a shiver up her spine.

At first the pain was unbearable, but it distracted her from the horror she had just commited. It reminded her that she was alive, after all those months of being dead. Arching her back in agony, Hermione bit down on her trembling lip and squeezed her eyes shut. When the pain subsided, Hermione peeked from behind her eyelids to gaze at the scene in front of her. What she saw should have disgusted her, but she felt nothing. She was empty; broken.

She watched as her blood began to mix with her tears on the tiles beneath her, seeping into the cracks and staining the pristine whiteness of the grout. Panting, Hermione transferred the razor into her other hand and paused, rolling up the sleeve of her sweater to gaze upon the Dark Mark.

“Why?” she whispered to it, driving the blade into her waiting wrist.

As her blood began to course down her hands, Hermione rested her body against the sink behind her, allowing herself to slide down it until she rested on the floor.

Curling her frail form up on the cold tiles, Hermione was beginning to feel her life flow out of her body with her blood. Everything was becoming darker, and her limbs was numb. She was preparing for death.

There were loud screams from somewhere far away, but Hermione couldn’t muster up the energy to search for their source.

In the distance, she could hear her name being called, and suddenly a boy was in front of her, kneeling down and holding her. Then everything was black…

Hermione felt the memory end and she soon found herself facing Ginny once again.

They needed no words; Ginny flung her arms around Hermione’s neck, sobbing into her shoulder as she clung to her with shaking hands. Hermione returned the redhead’s actions, feeling a single tear to fall from her brown eyes and land upon Ginny’s second hand robes, before allowing herself to truly feel.

The pair remained in the grass for what seemed like days, clutching each other and crying until their eyes ran dry and their breathing steadied. When they finally broke apart, the girls stared at each other with newfound respect, before wordlessly standing up and heading in the direction of the castle.


When the pair stepped inside the castle, they found themselves greeted by a disheveled looking Malfoy.

“Merlin, Granger! Where have you been?” he said, bending over and catching his breath.

“What’s it to you?” she replied fiercely.

Looking up at her, he said matter-of-factly, “Oh, did it slip you mind that we had a meeting with Professor Dumbledore scheduled for about…five minutes ago?”

Clapping her hand over her mouth, Hermione stared wide-eyed at Malfoy.

“Apparently so!” he said with a smirk.

“Oh, Merlin!” Hermione squeaked before taking off up the staircase towards the Headmaster’s office.

Ginny stared at her retreating form before sending a searching stare at Malfoy. He shrugged and sneered at her before setting off in Hermione’s wake.


“Headmaster, I am so sorry for my tardiness! It completely slipped my mind and—” Hermione began apologizing when she stumbled into Dumbledore’s office three minutes later, gasping for air. The man before her held up a wrinkled hand to quiet her, and then beckoned her into the room.

Obliging, Hermione stepped forward and collapsed into the wooden chair before the desk.

“How are you, Miss Granger?” Dumbledore asked, his eyes sparkling with laughter.

“Oh, just fine professor,” she panted, clutching the stitch in her side.

Smiling at Hermione, Dumbledore began asking her how her days had been going until Malfoy strode into the office.

“Hello, Headmaster,” Draco said as he took his seat, glaring at Hermione as his body settled into the cushions, a glare which she returned readily.

“Well now that we are all here, if I may proceed?” Dumbledore asked the Heads. They nodded and he continued. “Well, as Head Boy and Girl the pair of you have a long list of responsibilities…something you both know very well. But this Christmas it is vital that you can maintain your power over your classmates and friends, for this break will provide the greatest amount of students Hogwarts has ever seen. You see, because of the difficult situation outside these walls, a vast number of students will be staying at school for the holidays, and I am counting on your two to lend a helping hand to your professors and Heads of Houses.”

Hermione and Draco nodded, promising that they would adhere to their Headmaster’s wishes.

“If I have made myself clear?” Dumbledore asked, and was answered with more nodding. Smiling, he began asking the two about their progress that year, successes as Heads and their nightly rounds.

Hermione had smiled when he had mentioned rounds, for it was she who had conducted the rounds schedule. It ensured that she and Draco wouldn’t have to speak to each other unless it was completely necessary.

Dumbledore and the Heads spoke for the next half-hour, before he let them go and return to their dorms.


As Hermione made her way down the spiraling staircase after the meeting, she felt Draco rush by her and smash into her side, causing her to stagger in her step.

“Malfoy! Malfoy come back here!” she shrieked, chasing after his retreating form.

“Oh, what Granger?” Malfoy snarled as he turned around. “Did I hurt you?”

“No! You just crashed into me! You could at least apologize!” she cried.

“Hmmm…no thank you!” he said with a smirk.

Before he could take out his wand to defend himself, Hermione’s was already poised and directed at his face.

Densaugeo!” Hermione cried, shooting the hex at Draco.

As soon as the spell hit him, Draco’s two front teeth began rapidly growing. They were becoming so heavy that he was loosing balance, until finally he toppled forwards, only to be caught by his own teeth.

Walking by this scene, Hermione smiled down at him.

“Oh, Malfoy. Payback’s a bitch.”

With those words, she turned on her heel and sauntered off to the Gryffindor Common Room, where perhaps she could spend some time with Ginny and Harry, leaving Draco struggling to control his engorged teeth.


The next few weeks had been uneventful. Draco, teeth restored to their normal size, would snarl an insult at Hermione whenever he had the opportunity, but no fights unfolded after their previous one. Trying to keep calm, Hermione had managed to ignore Draco’s futile attempts to make her blood boil, but the word “Mudblood” was becoming increasingly aggravating.

It was Saturday, and Hermione was relaxing on the couch closest to the fire, enjoying her book and the warm tickle of the flames. There was a loud smash from behind her, and as she whipped her head around to see what the cause of the commotion was Hermione found herself face-to-face with Draco.

“What, Mudblood? Afraid?” Draco sneered.

“What do you want, Malfoy?” Hermione asked, turning her attention back to her book. Malfoy reached forward and snatched it out of her hands.

“Hey! Give that back!” Hermione shouted, jumping up from the chair.

Grinning, Draco tossed the book in the fire. Hermione stood, shocked, eyes glued to the book; its pages curling up and turning to ash.

“MALFOY! What are you trying to pull?” Hermione screamed, stepped out from behind the couch and advancing on Draco.

“Granger, I just feel obligated to save you from your own social suicide!” Draco exclaimed. But when his last word left his tongue, his cheeky smile faltered.

Hermione just stared at him. Draco could see the tears that were threatening to fall, but Granger managed to keep herself together. Reaching into her pocket, Hermione she withdrew her wand and shakily pointed it at Malfoy.

Perhaps it was the danger of Hermione Granger pointing a wand at him, but Draco seemed to come back to his senses. “Woah there, Granger! What are you going to do? Hex me again? Because may I just say, that was excellently executed for a filthy little Mudblood like you,” he snarled, lips curling into a smirk.

“You know what, Malfoy? You’re not worth it,” she said in a surprisingly level tone. Keeping her wand directed at Draco, she continued. “I’m not going to waste my energy performing an unforgivable curse on you.”

With those words Malfoy became visually uncomfortable. “That’s…good, Granger! So just put down your wand, and we can just get along with hating each other. There, that’s right,” he said as Hermione slowly lowered her right hand.

As soon as her hand was at her side, Malfoy breathed a sigh of relief. Smirking at Hermione, he turned around to leave. But before he could get very far, Hermione whipped her wand back upright and sent a zigzagging purple spell soaring at him. The violet flames grazed his neck before zooming away and smashing a vase behind him into pieces. Malfoy crumpled to the floor.

Panting, Hermione stared at Draco’s fallen form. She smiled and muttered, “Ennervate.”


Ennervate,” she said was more power.

Still nothing; Draco didn’t stir.

Ennervate!” she cried, panic rising in her voice. No response.

Rushing towards Malfoy, Hermione flipped him onto his back and listened for a pulse; a steady beat echoed through his veins. Pointing her wand at his chest, Hermione shouted, “Ennervate! Ennervate! Ennervate!

Still no response.

Ennervate! Ennervate! Ennervate! Ennervate!” she screamed, the panic now bubbling over and spreading through her body like wildfire.

Hermione felt her eyes begin to sting as she clutched Malfoy’s robes, muttering uselessly under her breath. As she felt his pulse begin to slow under her trembling fingers, Hermione’s eyes filled with panicked tears.

She was going to have to go to Madame Pomfrey and tell her what she had done. Then without a doubt she would be expelled; barred from the only place she was safe from Voldemort’s calculating hands.

Just as she was about to run for help, Hermione felt a tiny tear fall from her eyes, tumbling downwards, full of the truth in her emotions. As soon as the teardrop hit Malfoy’s face, Hermione felt a strange ripple of power encompass her body and his, but before she could consider the matter any longer, Malfoy coughed.

His eyes fluttering open, he stared up at Hermione, who exhaled deeply and smiled. As soon as it appeared, her grin was gone, for she had just realized her position. Draco’s head was in her lap, one of her hands on his cheek and the other on his chest. Jumping to her feet, she let Malfoy’s head fall to the floor and he groaned in protest.

Standing up, Malfoy turned to Hermione. “What was that for, Granger?” he shouted at her retreating form.

Turning back to him, Hermione shouted, “I thought that I’d killed you, Malfoy!”

“Well you didn’t!” he screamed right back at her. “Lucky for you, too! What would that be, Granger? Double homicide?”

Hermione stood, frozen. This time, her silent tears were coursing down her cheeks. Turning, Hermione ran towards her bedroom. Hurrying up the right-hand staircase, Hermione didn’t realize that Malfoy was following her.

“Granger, wait. Hermione!” Draco shouted.

He reached the stairs and quickly began ascending them in Hermione’s wake.

Spinning around, Hermione faced Draco and screamed, “What, Malfoy? What?”

No sooner had he reached the third stair when he felt the marble shift below him. Tearing his eyes from Hermione, he stared down at his feet. The stairs were melting together, and he felt himself loose his balance as they formed a slide. Falling backwards, his back hit the marble hard and he slid down to the ground.

Raising his throbbing head, Malfoy was able to duck before Hermione zoomed towards him and landed on his chest with a thud.

Staring down into Draco’s stormy eyes, Hermione wiped her own tear-filled ones with her thumb. The two lay in silence, feeling the closeness of their bodies and warmth of their skin.

Placing a hand on either side of Draco’s face, Hermione slowly lowered her head, so that they were only inches apart.


Feeling his hot breath on her nose, she closed the distance between them as their lips met.

A/N: AH!!! I’m sorry…I’m really a nice person, I promise!! Let the angry tirade of reviews ensue…
Sorry this update has been insanely slow…I wrote about seven pages of this but my computer decided to freak out and erase them all. I pouted for at least a day! It got rejected a few times for the sensitive issue that is suicide. My despcription was too graphic, but I much prefer it now then how it was before all the edits. Thanks to the staff for all their patience! Also, my final exams are approaching, but I will try to dedicate as much time as possible to this story in the next few weeks.
Anyway, I really hope that that chapter did all the things it needed to explain justice…it took me SUCH a long time to make them satisfactory!
The poem in the beginning is from the film Thirteen. It’s an absolutely brilliant movie, and I highly, highly suggest it. I just feel like it describes Hermione so perfectly in this chapter.
Also, I drew some inspiration from the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. It offers such a vivid and unique perspective on depression…really excellent read.
Okay, so you know the spiel:
Please, please, PLEASE review! I’ll love you forever =]

Chapter 8: Late Nights and Regret
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A/N: Oh my goodness. It has been so long. I deeply, deeply apologize for the humongous delay (it’s been five months!!) I had an extremely eventful and busy summer, and a ridiculously difficult beginning to the school year, all things that caused me to focus my attention elsewhere. But now I’m back. He’s a new chapter for you, and I promise the next few will be much longer. There’s a lot more to come for this stoy. Oh, and regular updates! Thanks so much for reading, I hope you enjoy!
Also, I've edited chapter seven quite drastically, because many were mentioning some unclarity. Check it out, and be sure to let me know what you think!

Late Nights and Regret

Placing a hand on either side of Draco’s face, Hermione slowly lowered her head, so that they were only inches apart.


Feeling his hot breath on her nose, she closed the distance between them as their lips met.

Hermione pressed herself ardently against Draco’s firm build, falling deeper into the embrace as he snaked his arms around her waist. Closing her eyes, she breathed in his scent: the faint trace of peppermint, and the dark, musky smell of his cologne, which seemed to be kept hidden somewhere beneath his robes. Hermione itched to find it, grasping the fabric that was separating her from his sweet skin. Everything felt so different, his taste, his touch, his strength; kissing Draco was a different from every other experience Hermione had ever had…

Suddenly, Hermione’s eyes snapped open. Tearing her lips from Malfoy’s, she stared down at his sharp features and panicked. She sprung away from him like his soft skin was on fire, mumbling incoherently before rushing back up her renewed staircase and through her portrait hole without a backwards glance.


Slamming her portrait behind her, Hermione pressed her body tightly against it, ears filling up with the silence of the room, the sounds of her heavy breaths, and the thumping of her rapidly beating heart. Eyes flying around her bedroom, searching for a distraction, Hermione shoved herself off of the doorway. Her shaking legs gave way, and she collapsed to the ground. She lay in the silence, sprawled on the floor, for a few minutes, before bringing her knees to her chest. Rocking her frail body back and forth, Hermione lifted her head up slightly, only to send it crashing back down onto the wood, stars erupting across her vision.

“What did you do, Hermione?” she asked herself, repeating her actions and biting down on her healing lips as her head began to pound. “What did you do?”

She remained there on the floor, trembling and punishing herself until her breathing finally steadied and her silent tears ceased to flow.

Slowly sitting up, Hermione lifted her hand to gingerly hold her spinning head.

“What did you do?” she repeated, her voice echoing across her empty quarters. She tried to stand, but the room was spinning and she tumbled backwards, landing with surprising grace upon her plush mattress.

Lying on her back, Hermione let the numbness wash over her body and her vision blur.

“Did that really just happen?” she choked out as she rolled onto her side, picking at the fraying edges of her sleeve. Her heart ached and her guts churned, while her head pounded and her limbs shook. Lips tender from Draco’s embrace, Hermione became acutely aware of her body’s many pains. She had never felt this inexplicable mix of feelings before. Fury, longing, regret, shock. What was certain, however, was that she was experiencing confusion. Complete, utter confusion.


The next morning, Hermione rolled out of bed with a resolute plan in her mind. Blinding throwing on her school uniform, she stumbled out of her room without glancing at her unkempt reflection in the mirror.

As she slowly descended the stairs, Hermione’s heart stopped when she saw the blond head waiting for her.

The head looked up from its Daily Prophet. She picked up her pace.

“Hermione…” Draco said, standing up and taking a timid step towards her.

“I…I can’t,” Hermione murmured, speeding out of the portrait hole with eyes glued to the ground. A few moments after she had gone, Draco slumped back down onto the sofa, dejectedly picking up his discarded Prophet and scanning the headlines. He’d only been pretending to read it, anyway.

As he lazily roamed the front page, Draco’s eyes fell upon a small article that caused him to choke on his coffee, sending hot liquid flying out of his mouth. Hurriedly whipping the speckled paper free of the dark stains, Draco sat upright and brought the Prophet level with his eyes, his heart sinking deeper and deeper into his gut as he read.


Late last night, a group of six escaped Death Eaters were spotted on the outskirts of Hogsmeade Village. It is believed that the group consisted of Antonin Dolohov, Augustus Rookwood, Bellatrix Lestrange, Dacian Avery, Walden Macnair, and Lucius Malfoy. These faithful followers of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named broke out of Azkaban prison three nights ago, and the Ministry is doing all that is magically possible to recapture these criminals. The Ministry of Magic cautions you to remain alert during these difficult times, and asks you to refer to the home safety leaflet distributed previously. If there are any sightings of these wanted wizards, please report them to…

The article went on to describe the various crimes of those escaped, but Draco’s eyes didn’t move further than the last name on the list – Lucius Malfoy.

His father was coming.


Hermione sat at breakfast, her heavy head resting in one hand while the other absently stirred her soggy cereal. Frowning, she watched as a particularly sodden corn flake began to disintegrate, desperately clinging onto itself before it broke apart and sank to the bottom of the bowl.

“Morning, Hermione!” exclaimed Ginny as she plopped down on the seat beside her. Hermione’s head jerked upwards at the interruption, dropping her spoon as it clanged against the metal bowl.

“What? Oh – hey, Ginny,” she mumbled, shakily straightening her robes and glancing over her shoulder, avoiding the eyes of the redhead whose friendship she had so recently reestablished.

Ginny peered nervously at the girl next to her. Hermione’s hair was disheveled, her normally clear eyes traced with bloodshot, and her stiff movements showed the sleepless night she clearly had experienced. “Are you alright?” se asked, not able to hide the worry on her soft features.

As Hermione turned her head to face her, Ginny could hear the bones in her friend’s neck creak. “Of course I’m alright. Why wouldn’t I be?” Hermione retorted, reaching forward and grasping a piece of toast.

“Well, I don’t know. You just seem a bit…on edge,” Ginny said.

“I’m fine, okay? Just drop it,” Hermione said coldly, furiously spreading marmalade on her toast, before dropping it with a growl as her knife poked clean through the bread. “You know what? I’ve just lost my appetite. I’ll catch up with you later, Ginny,” and with that pushed back the bench and started out of the Great Hall.

“Wait, Hermione, I’ll come with you!” Ginny cried, her confusion evident in her voice.

As though she had not heard her friend’s protests, Hermione swiftly made her way through the crowd and out of the gigantic room.

Ginny stared at Hermione’s retreating form, wondering what – or who – could have caused this sudden change.

Sniffing quietly, Hermione wiped away hot tears as she swept out of the hall, furious with herself for allowing them to leak out of her eyes. Why was she letting him affect her so? It was only a kiss…

“Oh, Merlin. A kiss!” she cried out, accidentally allowing her voice to escape her throat.

“What was that, Hermione?”

Hermione looked up, finding herself face-to-face with Harry. “W-What? Oh! Hello Harry! Nothing, that was nothing,” she exclaimed, ducking her head and rubbing angrily at the puffy eyes that revealed her true feelings.

“You sure?” Harry asked carefully, reaching out a timid hand to his friend.

“Oh yes, absolutely,” Hermione murmured, still refusing to meet Harry’s eye.

“What’s this about a kiss?” he pushed on with a determined look in his eye that Hermione knew so well. Usually, she loved this about him, but at the moment it made her blood boil and her hair spark.

“Nothing, Harry! What I do with myself is occasionally none of your business, you know? Would it kill you to leave me alone once in awhile!?” Hermione exclaimed in anguish, this time meeting Harry’s hurt gaze with one of fury.

Harry was silent for a moment, before turning his back on Hermione and heading in the direction of the Great Hall. As Hermione watched him leave, the small knot in her stomach tightened, but she fought desperately against the guilt. She didn’t really deserve to feel anything at that moment.

After Harry had disappeared from sight, Hermione turned to make her way up the stairs to her common room, only to see a slightly disheveled Draco Malfoy standing before her, with an expression on his face that suggested he had heard the entire conversation.

They gazed at each other in silence, Hermione mouthing unknown syllables before clamping her mouth shut, Draco standing in confusion. She saw a small flicker of emotion behind those silver eyes, usually so guarded and expressionless, before she hurried past him and slipped through a small passageway that Draco had never noticed before.


Over the next few days, Hermione spent a large majority of her time holed up in her room, submerged in the rapidly growing pile of work that was assembled on her mahogany desk.

On the rare occurrence that she and Draco crossed paths in the common room, they acted as if they were alone, though Hermione had begun to notice the small glances Malfoy had been giving her.

Harry and Ginny had made several futile attempts at talking to Hermione, but she continuously pushed them away. She could feel herself closing herself off, but she was so angry with her decisions and confused with her situation that she simply needed her space.
On one night, Hermione lay in her bedroom, organizing her papers into small (or in some cases, large) piles according to subject. It was a somewhat soothing activity for her, because when everything is neat and clean, you don’t have to worry about things getting lost.

She remembered a night before a horrific academic day in sixth year, when she had had a Potions essay to do, two hundred lines of Ancient Runes to translate, and an entire number chart to memorize for Arithmancy. Ron had stayed up with her all night, until the hour of 4:37 in the morning. She remembered it distinctly, because as they finally had said goodnight, Ron had given her a gentle hug, whispering in her ear, “You’re fantastic, Hermione. I’m sure you’ll be brilliant tomorrow.”

As she walked up the stairs to her dormitory in a daze, Hermione had checked her watch, and those three little numbers had stuck with her ever since. They even caused her to confuse a solution on her Arithmancy exam the following day. The answer, as she had proved, had been 374, but Hermione wrote 437 instead.

Returning to her present world, Hermione glanced around her room, noticing that it had gotten very late since she had first sat down to organize. She must’ve fallen asleep.

She lay there on her enormous mattress for as long as she could stand, before the silence and the loneliness began to overwhelm her; even thinking of Ron made her feel so alone.

Before she knew what she was doing, Hermione found herself creeping though the bathroom. As she approached Draco’s door she took a deep breath in, willing the loneliness to leave her alone for only a few more minutes; before it encompassed her completely.

Bringing one shaking fist up, Hermione knocked quietly on Draco’s door, sending shockingly loud sounds reverberating through the darkness. She heard some rustling from behind the door, and muffled groan. She heard his footsteps resounding on the hard wood, and noticed for the first time how cold her bare feet were on the chilled tiles of the bathroom floor.

She looked up from her freezing toes as the door unlocked and swung open. Draco stood before her wearing those black silk boxers and a look of surprise.

“May I come in?”

A/N: So what’d you think of this one? I feel a little rusty, so excuse me if this doesn’t live up to your previous expectations. But I promise they’ll be more, hopefully soon, so we can get back on track with this little story!
Please review! I’d appreciate it so much ☺

Chapter 9: Promises and Short-Lived Peace
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A/N: Hey everyone! Sorry this took a little longer than expected, school was crazy this week, and it was very hard to put some time away for writing. Anyway, I realize that this chapter is kind of short, as was the one preceding it, but I would like to let you know that I'm going to start picking up the pace with the plot and increasing the lengths of the chapters. At the moment I'm hard at work creating an overlying outline for the whole story, so that will simplify things a LOT I hope! Well, enjoy this one, and be sure to pop me some reviews to let me know if you like the direction things are going in! Thanks :)

Promises and Short-Lived Peace

She looked up from her freezing toes as the door unlocked and swung open. Draco stood before her wearing those black silk boxers and a look of surprise.

“May I come in?”

Draco stared at the girl in front of him, taking in her quaking knees and vacant expression. He found himself drowning in the depths of Hermione’s empty eyes, the honey brown becoming black as he fell deeper and deeper. He snapped back to reality as he became acutely aware of how long he had been gazing at Hermione.

Wordlessly, Draco stepped aside, watching as she walked by him, exploring his room with her eyes. Although laid out like the mirror image of Hermione’s, Draco’s room was different in every way. The pine floorboards were stiff and cold, the silver drapery and emerald walls, which, though encompassing such a large space, seemed to permeate a deep emptiness. He thought he saw a small, though ironic, smile pass over her lips as she glanced at the clock on his bedside table.

Draco, following her actions, frowned at the clock face – 4:37 AM – much too late for a girl as studious as she to be wandering around on a weeknight. Returning his gaze to Hermione, who was pulling back his sheets and climbing into his bed, Draco wondered what could have prompted such an unexpected visit.

He moved closer to her, kneeling beside her sleeping form, resting his eyes upon her closed ones. Her breathing was already steady; she seemed completely at peace. Reaching out a timid hand, Draco allowed his shaking index finger to lightly graze Hermione’s soft skin. A shiver ran down his spine. Gently, Draco moved his finger downwards, tracing the soft curve of Hermione’s jawbone, experiencing the unknown sensations that were occurring somewhere at the bottom of his stomach as a small smile passed across her lips.

Remembering the time, Draco stood up and began to make his way down to the common room; he could sleep on one of the couches. However, he felt something clamp tightly around his wrist.

“Stay,” pleaded the small voice of Hermione. “Please stay.”

As Draco met her gaze, he was blown away by the desperate tone in her voice. She needed someone, anyone, to save her from the emptiness.

Meanwhile, outside of the Heads dormitories, beyond the walls of Hogwarts, in a small cave on the outskirts of Hogsmeade Village, Lucius Malfoy and his fellow Death Eaters were huddled around a small fire.

“Macnair,” Lucius grumbled. “How much longer are we here for?”

“Until the Dark Lord reaches his decision, Malfoy. You know that!” snarled Walden Macnair, a tall, dark man with a large moustache and menacing eyes.

Lucius frowned as he moved his gaze to the fire before him. Macnair was right; he did know that they were confined to the cave until news was received from their master, but he couldn’t help himself from growing restless.

How will the Dark Lord respond when he discovers that Draco, Lucius’ only son and sole heir to the Malfoy name, has been ignoring his calls? His master had taken a large risk by bestowing such an important mission on Draco’s shoulders, and Lucius was fearful that this was the last chance his family had to remain in Voldemort’s favor.

Suddenly, an icy breeze whipped through the cave, blowing Lucius’ long, nearly white hair behind him and extinguishing the fire.

Following the lead of his comrades, Lucius stood, trying desperately to hide the fear rippling through his body from showing on his pointed features.

When he looked up, Lucius saw that the wind had ceased to blow at him, but had instead congregated at the mouth of the cave, swirling in on itself as it turned black and began to take shape. Within moments, the group was gazing upon Lord Voldemort.

A silence fell upon the group, only to be broken by Bellatrix Lestrange pulling herself up from a deep bow to walk timidly towards her master, swinging her hips seductively and muttering quietly under her breath.

“Master!” she cried, falling to her knees and kissing the feet of the Dark Lord. “Master, it has been too long that I have not been in your presence…”

“Later, Bella,” he growled as he moved away from his most faithful follower to observe the rest of them. Swiftly, Voldemort stepped forward, closing his hand around the neck of Antonin Dolohov and pressing his snake-like face to his. “Do you realize you were seen?! It was all over the damned Prophet! Fools, you nearly risked this entire operation!”

They all stood in fear, each glad to not bear the name Dolohov. The Dark Lord held the spluttering Death Eater a few moments longer before releasing him, allowing him to fall to the ground and catch a few ragged breaths.

Crucio!” Voldemort shouted as Dolohov convulsed in silence agony for a few moments, before the Dark Lord broke his curse and turned back towards his audience.

The deep red eyes of Lord Voldemort fell upon Lucius, whose muscles clenched in anticipation. “Ah, Lucius. My dear old friend,” the Dark Lord drawled, approaching Malfoy slowly. “How are things going with your son? Is his training running as smoothly as you promised?”

“My Lord,” Lucius began, “the training of my son has been operating quite proficiently. He has learned almost all of what is expected of him, and I believe that he is nearly prepared for his mission.”

“Oh?” Voldemort said, drawing out the word so that the single syllable sounded like five. “Why, may I ask, is he not completely prepared?”

“Unfortunately, Draco has failed to answer my calls of late, which has prevented me from completing his training.”

Lucius waited in bated silence, watching as Voldemort’s face contorted with rage. Bellatrix let out a shrill shriek of laughter.

“Quiet, Bella. You have your own mission to carry out tonight,” snapped the Dark Lord as Bellatrix shrunk back like a dejected pet.

Turning to Malfoy, Voldemort said, “Lucius, I was under the impression that you understood the importance of your son’s success. However, it seems that I was mistaken. If Draco does not complete his mission by the time the rest of the operation is in place, both of your lives will draw to a close.”

“Yes, my Lord,” Lucius said hurriedly. “It shall be done.”

As Draco eased himself into his bed next to Hermione, he noticed that his heart was thudding hard against his chest with nerves, a sensation long absent in his confident existance. But for some reason with the Mudblood, Draco felt unguarded and therefore afraid of how well she could see the real him.

He could feel Hermione’s even breathing on the mattress; his heartbeat quickened. Slowly, she rolled over, facing Draco, the moonlight spilling over her peaceful face and shining chestnut hair. He longed to reach out and touch her, but his mind was too clouded over with thoughts, and he resisted the urge.

As Draco’s vision began to blur with exhaustion, he felt a memory wash over him like ice...

Draco stepped nimbly through the forest; pushing branches aside and dodging arbitrarily placed roots, wand outstretched and quivering with anticipation. As he neared upon a clearing, Draco tucked himself behind a particularly large Oak to wait, nothing but the sounds of his beating heart and the wind rustling the leaves in the calm April breeze to keep him company.

After a few drawn out minutes, Draco heard a small crack from behind him in the clearing, followed by a second shortly after and muffled voices.

As Draco poked his head out carefully from behind his tree, he took in his surroundings and new company. The newly sprouted flowers of spring added life to the gloomy, overcast day that was encompassing him and the men before him. The first man was short and round, with a large black bowler hat resting upon his silvery hair, which fell down so it just brushed the fabric of his emerald green velvet robes. He carried a shiny ivory cane with the steel head of a Jaguar adorning the top and had small, beady brown eyes hidden behind bushy gray eyebrows. The second man was almost the exact opposite, with raven black hair tied back in a short ponytail at the nape of his neck. He was tall and lanky, adorned in plum silken robes and small, ovular glasses that gave him an air of intelligence. The pair seemed to be gesturing to something hidden inside the stout man’s pocket.

Steeling himself, Draco took a deep breath before turning to right and abandoning the shelter of the Oak. He crept quietly towards the men in the clearing, unnoticed until a small trig cracked beneath his foot. The men turned around, searching in different directions for the source of the noise; Draco would have to work faster.

Leaping out from behind the trees, Draco shouted, “Exelliarmus!” and watched with pleasure as the wands of the two men went flying out of their hands and into the woods. The pair slowly turned around to face him with terrified expressions.

“What do you want from us?” the tall man asked with a quivering voice.

“What lies in your pocket,” Draco replied smoothly, eyeing the wide man, would was shaking from head to toe.

“We’ll—We’ll never give it to you!” he tried to say in defense, but Draco’s chuckles silenced him.

“Listen,” he said with the laughter gone from his eyes. “I don’t want to kill you, if you just give me the vial and with a quick memory charm be on my way. The rest is up to you.”

“No—No matter what you do, I’ll never hand it over!” the little man attempted once again.

“Alright, have it your way, then!” Draco exclaimed, performing a complicated arm movement and sending a spiraling orange flame hurtling at the man, who keeled over in a heap. The other man looked extremely frightened. “If that curse isn’t treated within three hours, he’ll be dead,” Draco informed him. “Now get me that vial or you’ll get the same as him!”

Draco watched as the man slowly bent down to grasp the vial from his comrade’s pocket and handed it carefully to Draco, who pocketed it quickly.

Turning on his heel, Draco walked back towards the forest; he preferred apparition when he wasn’t under pressure. Suddenly, he felt a curse wiz past his left ear and singe his robes, spinning around, Draco found himself gazing at the tall man, who had a look of pure fury in his eyes as he sent another curse flying at Draco.

It all happened so quickly, Draco didn’t even realize that he’d said it until the green flames had smacked the man square in the chest. As he crumpled to the ground, Draco felt a small pang in the pit of his stomach, but the regretful feelings had gotten so much better over the months since he had first started serving the Dark Lord.

Fingering the small vial full of smooth blue liquid, Draco turned on the spot and disapparated…

As his bedroom came back into focus, Draco remembered that he was lying in bed with Hermione Granger, and was shocked that the revelation hadn’t angered him more. But he had little time to dwell of those thoughts, because Hermione’s eyes suddenly snapped open.

“Something isn’t right,” she stated, before pushing off the covers and swinging her legs over the side of the bed. She stood and before Draco could comprehend the situation, Hermione had run out of the portrait hole, her white nightgown billowing behind her.

Pushing himself quickly off of the bed, he ran out in her wake, just in time to see her disappear out of the common room. He followed her out, running faster than he’d run in a long time, the panic in his heart boiling over as it beat with consistent urgency.

Hermione led him down countless corridors, pitch black save for the occasional candle that had yet to flicker out. The sound of their bare feet on the stone floor resounded across the hallways, sending shivers down Draco’s spine. Within minutes, Draco found himself running up the steps of the Astronomy tower with all his might, following the heavy breathing of Hermione a few paces ahead of him.

Draco knew they had reached the top when he heard the sounds of Hermione’s footstep disappear and her sharp intake of breath. As soon as he stepped out onto the balcony, he felt a fist grip his stomach in a tight knot; the Dark Mark was blazing over Hogsmeade.

A/N: Dun dun dun! Ahhh what'd you think? Thanks so much for reading, I'm so excited about the way this is starting to pick up and put itself together, and I REALLY hope guys are too! Leave me a review if you can, even the smallest comments are ludicrously helpful. Lots and lots and lots of love
Oh, and check back either at my author's page or the story's description, because whenever there's a significant occurrence (new chapter in validation, new chapter validated, etc.) I will always post it there. Keep on reading :)