Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. But Troy Malfoy is my invention, thanks.
And more astrology stuff in here. If I'm wrong about it, someone correct me because I'm a bit of an idiot. And yes, the thirteenth house is deliberate, so don't correct me on that because I put that in there myself.
Enjoy the story!
The October Hollow
Be Careful What You Wish For
Sunday, October 25
Hell was a place described in many books, in many theories. The inferno, searing flames, where the damned live; Hell.
But no one knew, no one at all.
Searing flames was the Welcome mat of Hell when you stepped to its front door. It was only just the beginning. No one had lived long enough to get inside.
Souls: burning, disintegrating, disappearing all too quickly. Only those with the inhuman power to feel the fire licking at their soles and still want to go on went through, but never came back. It took more than just the Seven Deadly sins to realize the torment and excruciating nature of Hell.
If one got in, they weren't demons. They weren't evil spirits, nightmares wandering the world, knocking over dream catchers and throwing bad dreams into the head of an innocent. They didn't do any of that.
Because of the rumors, the spitefulness of the angels, the mockery of Halloween, and the banishment by God, Hell was nothing anyone could imagine. One wasn’t who they thought they were – everything was a lie. Every bit of food that they miraculously tasted was sludge in disguise. One thought they were eating something delicious, but in the meantime they slowly wasted away, their internal organs dissolving, killing them from the inside out.
No one has any idea.
And once one died after they entered Hell, they left and joined the millions of other slaves working to create a bigger fire to shine at the Gates of Hell. The fire didn't hurt, oh no, but the ground was shining with the blood of the many sinners. The ground they would walk upon burns into the feet of many, pulling them deeper into the pit of the earth, the fiery molten lava slowly mixing, slowly burning, getting bigger, and threatening more and more life.
Hell isn't the fire and eternal torture everyone imagines. It was made from every bit of pain that anyone and everyone has ever experienced. If someone sinned, they felt the pain of the entire world, a thousand times worse. One could call it torture, but it was more the truth than anything.
They faced it, and it hurt more than anyone thought.
For every malicious remark, every snide comment and hateful insult thrown, the emotional pains create the burning apocalypse underneath the surface of the earth. For every slap across the face, sharp kick, punch and any kind of abuse, one felt it down there, in Hell. For every stab to the side, every blow to the face, every time blood trickled away, one felt it. No one can escape the pain.
One felt it forever.
They knew the truth, the ugliness of the world, the horrifying painting blazing before their eyes. They knew then who had deceived them, who had been trying to help, who acted a certain way and why, and what you did to deserve it. They found out the mortifying and horrific things about themselves that no one knew.
Sometimes, the truth hurts worse.
No one could get away.
No one would live.
"What are you doing here?" Hermione asked as Troy walked through the door, shutting it quietly.
He was carrying what looked like a paper bag; when he saw her interest he smirked and tossed it to her. She ripped it open to reveal two apples, and with a ravenous appetite, she devoured them within minutes. He sat down at the table and watched her, looking mildly disgusted.
"You look much better by wand light, you know," he said thoughtfully after a moment. She scoffed, crumpling the paper bag. The two pieced of fruit had not ended her hunger, but they had diminished it, breaking her dizziness.
"What a surprise," she said sarcastically.
Troy had a dark grey jumper on with a thick black cloak over it; his cheeks were flushed, his hair falling askew over his forehead but he looked joyful enough. Something apparently had him in a good mood. If he didn't resemble Draco so much, she would've said he was almost attractive.
"In this light, you look dreadful," he said, no hint of guilt in his voice. She gave him a cross look but remained silent. "You're covered in filth, Granger. Really, do you just roll around on the floor all day?" He smirked at her wry look.
"I'm not a dog, for your information. But no, I guess a bloody week without proper washing would get a person a bit dirty, don't you think?" she snapped. He smiled.
He actually smiled.
"No need to bite, Granger, I'm just saying—"
"Well don't. I can't help it if I'm covered in grime, but from living in this bloody place for eight days do you blame me? Either let me do something about it, or shut your mouth," she retorted angrily, crossing her arms over her chest, and ignoring the painful twinge.
She hadn't been in such a good mood when she had woken up, and her burning hunger hadn't helped either; but having him tell her that she was completely covered in rubbish just pissed her off.
"Do you want one? A bath?" he asked. She looked at him strangely. "There isn't anyone here today, everyone's off completing pla—, well just off doing things. Draco isn't even here. Just the minors today. But since I'm in such a good mood," he flashed a handsome smile; "I wouldn't mind doing something to your convenience. It isn't like its hurting anything, is it?" he asked mischievously. She continued to look at him in an odd way.
"Are you saying that you're willing to do something for me? But why?" she asked suspiciously. He shrugged.
"I dunno. I'm not as cruel as the rest of my family. Sure, we've all got the same impulsive behavior, but I don't keep being mean for the hell of it. It's too hard a job, being a bully," he said simply.
"Yeah, tell that to Malfoy," she muttered darkly to herself.
"Why do you call him that? Malfoy?" he inquired. Hermione thought for a second, trying to summarize why she hated him in as few words as possible. She realized she could do no such thing, and settled for something else.
"Because it's just a mutual thing. He calls me Granger, I call him Malfoy. He hasn't once called me Hermione in my life, and I'm trying my hardest never to say Draco," she said, and then shuddered. She didn't want to think about the day before when Draco had cursed her with the worse spell of her life.
Quickly pushing him from her mind, she said, "Okay, so getting back to the previous subject." She smiled hopefully.
"Yeah, that. So, how about an hour then? I mean, I reckon you could use it," he said lightly, running a hand through his hair. A gracious smile spread across her face.
"If you weren't a Malfoy, I'd tell you I loved you," she breathed. He started to laugh.
They were walking down the long, hollowed-out hallway in the midst of the mountain. Although Hermione barely had the energy to walk, Troy still kept a firm grip on her arm.
To her amazement, the hallway was lit up, almost bright, with the daylight. She guessed it was the afternoon, but wasn’t exactly sure. It could always be artificial light, just there to trick her. But why would they go through so much trouble just so she couldn’t determine the time of day?
"So why are you in such a good mood? I haven't seen you for a while, and you just kind of, well, turned up out of nowhere," she cautioned to say, unsure if this would provoke anger, or worse, trouble. She didn't know what could happen to her now, and anything she might do might make her forfeit her good fortune.
"Well, my girlfriend was in Russia for two months. She got back earlier today around eleven. I gave her a bit of a treat, if you know what I mean," he boasted, sounding impeccably proud.
Hermione rolled her eyes; apparently all the Malfoy minds worked alike.
There was a minute of tense silence before she said anything else, though it was completely off topic.
"So, is the plumbing any good here?" Hermione asked in quiet wonder. Troy pulled out his wand, and waved it in her face.
"A little magic never does anybody any harm," he said with a smirk.
Their path started slanting upwards, and for ten more minutes they climbed up the slowly ascending path. Finally, he stopped her in front of a door.
"Don't be afraid to gasp because I'm even surprised they got this working," he admitted. He reached for the doorknob, and just for the suspense he looked at her, his eyes taunting her, and she gave him an impatient look. He smirked, and swung open the door, and she peered in.
It was almost like a regular bathroom: a large, deep white marble bath, the sink with its mirror, and a toilet. That was about it, nothing spectacular about it. The pipes coming out of the wall looked like they could use a bit of fixing; several were leaking from the sink, and there was a small pool around the feet of the bath.
But to her, it didn't matter. She just stood there, frozen as a statue as she looked in. Subconsciously she felt Troy take the bag from around her wrist and look through it. He took out something long and thin, and instantly it caught her eye. She looked at it, both amazed and feeling extremely stupid.
It was her wand.
At least, it looked like it. The only difference was that it had three clear rings around it. Holding the counterfeit wand, (which Hermione figured was an imitation anyways) he murmured a spell.
A quick burst of dim blue light hit the fake wand and it momentarily glowed blue, almost absorbing the color before returning to normal. Troy handed the phony one to her.
"It's what I call a one-use wand. See, it has the basic essence of a normal wand, but it can only perform one spell." he explained as she looked at him like he was insane. "Siccus is just a simple drying spell. Because I supplied a spell for it, it's the only charm it can perform at all, so you couldn't use it to stun me," he finished. She took it from him curiously, feeling suddenly overwhelmed.
He shoved the bag into her hands, pushed her into the room, and backed out. "I'll be locking you in here. An hour, at most, so try to keep the time in mind, Granger," he said as he shut the door. She nodded slowly, and as he sealed the door shut with a squelch and she listened as he walked away.
She turned and looked at her surroundings again. How had she gotten so lucky? Was it just an extremely fortunate coincidence, or was this planned? She tried to think about it, but she just couldn't. None of it seemed to matter more than sinking into hot water and relaxing.
Slowly, she walked over to the mirror over the sink and looked at her reflection and almost shrieked. Her hair was wild, frizzy and caked with blood and grime. Her face was streaked with both blood and dirt. She thought she still might've had the bruises, but she couldn't see them at the moment. Her shirt was ripped and dirty, and she could see the slight pulse of her original wound as it shined white.
She looked down at her hands, still wrapped up in the cloth. There were large blood stains on it, nearly brown with two days’ age. She glanced at her skirt and legs. The skirt was ripped, as was her shirt, and her legs were just as dirty as the rest of her face and body. She could also make out some faint outlines of bruises under the grime.
She frowned; it was worse than she could've imagined. She was treated like dirt, but now she was given the off-chance to clean herself up. She didn't know what to expect of it, and she wasn't sure of the outcome. But she figured she might as well just take the chance.
An hour later Troy came back and knocked on the door. He waited until he had heard her say it was alright before unlocking it and stepping in.
She scrubbed furiously every inch of her skin twice, some parts three times to get her body cleaner than it had ever been. She had washed her hair twice, and then washed all of her clothes.
The fake wand Troy had handed her could perform countless Drying Charms over and over, and since she had items in the bag to clean everything, she could clean herself and her clothes without being wet from the water. Her hair was long and sleek, easily tamed and pulled back in some string she had found. The bruises on her legs were dark, but fading quickly, and the one on her cheekbone was a light yellow, but nearly gone.
As Troy looked her over with an expression of approval, she smiled, her teeth brighter. She was grateful for all that she had been given, but still, she was extremely suspicious.
What was with the sudden gifts? Weren't the people that had kidnapped her all Death Eaters? Weren't they supposed to be evil? And yet, here were conveniences and personal items to her joy, all collected and waiting for her use. None of it added up, and she was still missing vital pieces of information before she could deduce a logical theory as to what the hell was going on.
She had removed the bandages from her hands. The deep gashes she originally had were gone now, but in their place were marks the size of dimes on both the backs and palms of her hands, pulsing dimly white. She wondered if she'd be getting anymore strange cuts like that from nightmares, but she hoped not.
Troy looked her over, commenting she looked good enough to fool around with, but she just rolled her eyes and laughed. She was in a good mood also; the steaming hot water helped her to relax.
Troy brought her back to the room with little conversation, and she somehow found her situation a bit brighter. It wasn't so bad at the moment; after all, she had just received a token of good luck. But even she knew better than to expect that for long. Even in Hogwarts if one or more days went unexplainably well, you were bound for something horrible in the future.
Troy opened the door noiselessly and pushed her in.
"Good luck," was all he said with a sly grin as he pulled the door shut. Hermione could hear him walking down the corridor.
"Good luck for what?" she asked herself, puzzled.
Still suspicious, she sat down on the edge of the mattress and stared at the floor. Now she had nothing to do. She had plenty of free time to herself, and silently she decided to just think about everything she knew so far.
What she knew about herself: she was a Lumerous witch, nothing more. Her only discovered power was her healing tears. And what did she know about being a Lumerous witch? She would most likely be making an Elixir of Life somehow for Voldemort, though she still had no clue how they would force her into it. She knew the ceremony had a lot to do with astrology and astronomy, divination and myths. It was confusing. She sighed; she wanted that journal back with all the notes about the ceremony. She could've occupied her time with that.
She was still wondering about the journal when a thought drifted across her mind. She remembered reading somewhere in the entry with the smudged writing that the thirteenth house opened on October 31, or Halloween. But... there were only twelve houses on the earth. The Earth was divided into twelve sections, like a clock. There couldn't be any room for another house. So what could possibly be the thirteenth house? And what did it represent?
She realized she was getting too worked up over her thoughts. Calmly, she thought to herself how she could get answers, and at the moment the only thing to do was to rack her mind for what she knew about the houses. Houses were distinguished by where they were on the earth, when and how the sun dawned on them, and the house planets that rose with their dawn.
She thought hard about the information she had. Where else did the sun hit that wasn't already claimed as a house? What unnamed planets rose with the thirteenth dawn that wasn't already taken? How could she possibly figure this entire problem out?
As the day passed by, she got herself more and more frustrated over the subject. She just tried to stop thinking about it, because she had no evidence to help point her in the right direction. Although she had never let a problem alone before, this time was an exception. She had no books to help her along, no one to question and use their opinion to help her think. No, she had no one; she couldn't ask for theories, and she could barely think without proper information. So she let it go, like it was nothing, even though inside she was letting herself down immensely.
She leaned against the bars of the window, watching the sun sink into the hills, a blood red sunset quickly dissolving into the clouds. If she listened hard enough against the crickets and noises of the mass forest hundreds of feet below her window, she could hear voices, talking, laughing, and yelling. Voices of many people, their ages mixed from youth to mid-life. She didn't know who exactly they were individually, but together as a group she knew.
They were the Death Eaters, back from a day of their life, doing whatever they had to for the Dark Lord that day, carrying out plans, as Troy had nearly said outright. But she knew what he was going to say, there wasn't much to hide from her anymore, because her life was condemned. Even if she had secrets, they wouldn't be of any use to her anymore. She had no one to hide behind anymore.
She really was alone.
She laced her fingers around the bars and pressed her face between the shafts holding her in. There wasn't any use, the hole was too small anyway. The chilly breeze whipped lightly at her face, and she closed her eyes and relaxed. The rare moments like that were perfect: everything was serene, calm and peaceful. She wondered briefly whether Hogwarts was in a frenzy or peaceful with her absence. There wasn't anything to break the silence, or the quiet reverie she was in.
"Granger, think fast!"
Hermione turned around just in time to duck and shriek as a paper bag flew at her. She shot Draco a glare, who had a smug look on his face. She snatched it, and like Troy had brought to her, there were two apples, though bruised. She sighed and grabbed one, devouring it while leaning against the window again. She was completely ignoring Draco for the time being, who had sat down at the table, a grin on his face.
Wiping the dripping apple juice from her cheeks, she tried to act as if he did not intimidate her. So she asked, "So where were you today? Troy said you weren't here."
She kept looking out the window as she said this, not wanting to look at him. The sun had completely gone down now, and the room flickered with the dim torchlight. Even if the hidden fear deep inside her was on her face, he would not be able to see it in this poor light.
"Lumos," he murmured, getting up from the table and walking towards her. "Nowhere in particular, just off doing things," he answered lightly. Still, his casual, slightly amicable words did not fool her; she could hear the deceit behind his voice, and she knew something would be happening tonight.
She noticed the wand light getting brighter, and she knew he was moving closer to her. Her heart hammered against her ribcage, in fear or something else, she couldn’t tell, but she determinedly kept her gaze out the window. She felt Draco put his hand on her shoulder, gripping it gently, and warmth started to spread down her arm. Unable to assure herself that her heart wasn’t as loud as it seemed to be, she turned and looked at him, finding him gazing intently at her, his face looming close to hers. If he listened closely, maybe he'd be able to hear her heart roaring.
"You look decent, Granger, what happened?" he asked. She couldn’t look at him, not into his intense gaze where he would rip apart her mind and find the answers. She looked away quickly, breathing jaggedly, but answered smoothly.
"Troy let me wash up, is all. He said it wouldn't do any harm." Draco had taken his hand off of her shoulder, but she could still feel his lingering gaze stronger than the cold spot on her shoulder.
"Well he was right. It did no harm at all. In fact..."
He moved towards her quickly, and Hermione knew at once what he was about to do. She shoved him away at once, not trusting herself to do anything but get away from him.
"Don't even try to touch me," she hissed, a storm of emotions rising in her chest. Confusion danced across his features for only a moment, before he was smirking again. He stepped up to her again, closer than before, and she watched him through narrow eyes.
He lowered his face to hers. "Who do you think you're joking, Granger? You want me," he whispered, leaning in to kiss her.
She swallowed the fear in her throat, and pushed him away.
"Stop lying to yourself, and listen to me," he said suavely, taking a step closer to her.
She gave him a horrified look as she realized his intentions. She knew this meant trouble; part of her had been starved for so long, and this primal fear of Malfoy ran so deep. She uttered a petrified noise and turned to spring away from him, but he had sensed her thoughts and stepped in front of her.
"I don't know why you resist me, Granger," he whispered, smirking. She shuddered, both scared and revolted, and tried to find a way to escape, but only backed against the wall.
"Just go away!" she shrieked, wanting to rush past him.
"Come on, stop being so finicky. There isn't anyone else you'll be seeing more than me. Why not just give it a try with me?" he suggested in a whisper. She trembled, and he saw it, but she only felt the disgust evident inside of her.
"Forget it Malfoy," she spat. He laughed softly, sending shivers up her spine.
"A bit more persuasion, then?" he drawled. This was challenge to him; he enjoyed a problem just waiting to be solved. And to his leader, she was the biggest problem of all.
He took a step closer to her, and her eyes became round. "Why not? Our relationship wouldn't change. I still hate you, you still hate me; no differences, none at all. You'd be getting back at Weasel-bee, making him jealous. There wouldn't be any ties to me at all, since it would be a way to spend your time. And since you've got a lot of time, I presume, we would enjoy ourselves," Malfoy whispered suggestively.
Hermione was stuck, and terrified. She had spent her energy, and now, she was trembling against the wall. She despised him, yes, but that wasn’t the matter at hand. He would be relentless, suggesting this until he found himself too impatient to wait, and he would force himself on her.
She could not respond, finding herself lost in confusion and fear, and some fiery feeling deep inside her. Malfoy wanted her, and she knew that. And Merlin how she hated him, how she did not want him or this subject anywhere near her. But it was in her face, and so was he. There was only one choice, and it was one that she refused to make. She was too weak to stop him, both physically and mentally.
He laughed softly at her quiet, sob-like noises of distress. She was determined to find a way out of this, but couldn’t.
"A purely physical relationship, nothing more," he repeated softly, whispering to her persuasively.
He took her hand, and lowered his face to hers. Hermione refused to look up at his looming face but not able to find the strength to pull her hand away from his.
"Think about it. Stop being such a goody," he said, sneering slightly.
It was all she needed. She ripped her hand away, and he looked almost as angry as she felt. He should've kept up with the niceties, she thought dryly to herself.
"It isn't about being a goody, Malfoy! It's about where my loyalties lie! I vowed never to do anything with you!" she said fiercely. He sensed her discomfort, and smiled darkly.
"So to whom are you still loyal, Granger? You won't be seeing anyone at school ever again," he reminded her sharply. She opened her mouth to protest, but he cut her off; "And don't even think about saying Weasley. He's probably getting it on with the Patil twins at the moment, so I wouldn’t pretend to dream that he still cares about you," he said harshly.
"Ron would never," she said in a low, trembling voice, staring angrily into Malfoy's sharp silver eyes.
"How would you know?" he sneered. "He ditched you because you're a goody! He wanted someone he could bed easily and apparently it wasn't even going to be you! If he loved you—"
"You don't know anything about love, Malfoy!"
"Whatever. Let me just say that from everything I've heard about it, most of the time, it's shit! You never end up happy! He claimed he loved you? Well, then why'd he ditch you for some floozy? Face it Granger, he didn't love you at all!"
Hermione's emotions were raging, and she felt too many things at once to pick out a certain feeling for the moment. "So don't tell me your loyalties are still with him, because both of us know it isn't true!" he spat, wishing he could shake her silly. She glared up at him, and he knew too that she still didn't accept it as the truth.
But she needed to believe it, and it was up to Draco, and Draco only, to make her consider it true. And the only way he could do this was to hurt her, bad, and blind the light from the truth.
"If he loved you Granger, he would've been here by now, don't you think?" he hissed sharply, cruelly.
The magic words.
The thought had been haunting her from some time now; was she ever going to be rescued? Weren't Harry, Ron and the Order going to come bursting through these cavern walls and bring her to safety? Was anybody even trying? She had no way to know, and yet, she realized the fact that just because they hadn't the opportunity to contact her didn't mean they weren’t looking didn't change how she felt: neglected. Abandoned. Alone.
In a split second she fell against Malfoy, sobbing miserably in acceptance. He gave her the small comfort of his arms around her, and she collapsed against his shoulder. He smiled to himself; he might've been forced to do this, but he felt like it was more of a fun challenge than anything. He soothed her strained noises with exact duplicity, and she sniffled a bit. With a finger under her chin, he lifted her eyes to his.
"So how about my proposition?" he whispered.
She shook her head; "No," and there was a spark of impatience in Malfoy's eyes.
Her voice was thick with anger and sadness alike, but no matter what, even if Malfoy caused her see the truth, she wouldn't be sucked into his seduction, no matter how enticing the foreign feelings were to her.
"I don't care if you confirmed what I already knew, but I won't take part in anything that involves you!" she snarled, now overcome with anger. He was deceiving her, and she was falling for this innocent, helpless façade, and she hated him for it, how easily he could trick her.
He was at the end of his rope, he truly was. Anger flaring from his eyes, he pushed her away in frustration. She stared up at him in fear, her eyes wide, as he came a step closer, a snarl on his lips, eyes bright with malice.
"How much more do you want me to put you through before you give in, Granger? There isn't any use denying me anyways; it isn't like you can run away," he said dangerously.
She was having difficulty breathing, or thinking, or anything at all, quite frankly.
But then he smirked, a brilliant thought blooming in his head. "How about a deal?" he asked, trapping her where she was weakest.
That certainly caught her attention… as he knew it would.
"What kind of deal?" she croaked, her voice slow and scared. The corners of his lips twitched into a sly smiled.
"I'll do something for you, if you partake in this with me," he explained calmly.
She swallowed, thinking. He wasn’t going to give up, not now, not ever. When Malfoy wanted something, he got it. She wouldn't say yes to him unless he truly had something good enough to offer.
And this deal sounded pretty close to that idea. An opportunity to secure facts for herself, to dam the helplessness that was gushing out of her. To give her hope, mercy, security.
Anything and everything, really.
"If I say yes, IF, then along what lines will you do for me?" she asked cautiously, still deep in meticulous thought. Obviously she knew she wouldn't be able ask him to set her free, but maybe, just maybe, she could get what she desperately wanted.
"How about answers? You seem pretty eager for those," he suggested offhandedly.
"Answers?" she whispered hoarsely, her attention caught. He nodded slowly.
She licked her lips nervously, still in uncertain thought. What she wanted most, answers to all of her questions, was right in front of her. She had the opportunity to reach forth and grab it, yet the only thing standing in her way was Draco Malfoy. And he was right; their relationship wouldn't change, they would still hate each other. There wouldn't be any ties to him at all, because frankly Hermione didn't think herself capable for feeling anything for this Malfoy.
Taking a deep breath to rid herself of the fearful feeling in the pit of her stomach, she looked up at him. He was closer than ever, his silver eyes poring into hers, a smug smirk on his face. He knew exactly what she was thinking, and he knew she was going to give in eventually if she got what she wanted.
With a shuddering breath she said, "I'll do it."
Author's Notes: That's done!
I know that this has moved pretty quickly, and it's barely only a week that has gone by and lookie what we have here! A lusty relationship with Draco already! I know this story just throws things in quickly, but from what I've heard people enjoy it. Please, I'd like YOUR input too!
Thank you to A Roses Innocence for betaing this for me! I wouldn’t have made it this far without her! Yaay!
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