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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I do however, own Troy Malfoy.

This chapter, err.... well there isn't any sex in it. But this is one of the extremely heavy snogging scenes, just for warning.

And now, I'll leave you with the story....

The October Hollow
By Darkwing731

((--Chapter Twelve--))
I Realize This


Sunday, October 25
Day 8


"Answers?" she whispered hoarsely, her attention caught. He nodded slowly.

She licked her lips, still lost in uncertainty. 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; 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 fear in the pit of her stomach, she looked up at him. He was closer than ever, his silver eyes pouring 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."


Draco smiled in triumph, and she felt her skin begin to crawl, feeling as if he knew a very nasty secret about her. She felt nauseated, and surely she hadn't agreed, surely it was just a vision, a dream. Her sight was blurry, her blinking made the world fuzzier and her body started to weaken beneath her. But as she watched Draco in almost slow motion lean down to claim her lips, everything suddenly started flying back at her.

What had she agreed too? A relationship with him? Then the disgust, the overwhelming self-hatred started to seep through her, and she felt more violated by the proposition he offered than by his actions. He leaned down to kiss her, but with all the aversion in her body, she shoved him away.

"This is ridiculous, Malfoy. I—forget about it. I won't do this," she spluttered, shuddering.

"You won't, but I will," he spat. "You agreed, Mudblood, so don’t forget your place!"

"You can't make me do anything," she growled. "It was a moment of stupidity, and God knows that we all have them, maybe you more than others, Malfoy."

"We both know I can make you do anything I want," he said slowly, his voice cold and his face stony. "I've got a wand, and you're weaker than me. Don't argue."

"You're such a coward," she accused him, trying to shove all this self-humiliation on him. "Attacking lesser beings—what, did you torture bugs when you were young, too?"

Snarling, he grabbed her arm and with a thrust, she tripped and fell to the floor beside him. "We had a deal, so don’t be as stupid to think you aren't getting what you want out of this, Granger."

"I'm aware of that, but I don’t care," she retorted, glaring up at him. "I don’t need to know everything there is to know to stay alive in here. I know how to survive, and surviving doesn’t involve you."

He smiled, his eyes holding no humor but dark amusement. "So ignorance is bliss, now? To you, it doesn’t matter the way you die because, in fact, you'd rather not know? You’d rather stuff your head with so many possibilities that when your death comes you won't be able to sort them out in time to save yourself?"

She was still for a long moment, her eyes sharp but her heart faint. She ignored the quivering inside of her, and focused on keeping calm. "I'm not going to die, Malfoy," she said in a low voice at last. "Voldemort needs me; he wouldn’t kill me, so I needn't worry."

Malfoy's silver eyes gleamed. "There is more than one way to die, Granger. Death does not always mean dead," he said in a quiet voice, malice in his stare. She suddenly felt inferior to him, sitting on the floor in the dirt, and didn't like it. "Surely you must know that."

She stood indignantly and walked away from him, fighting her conscience. Malfoy had an annoyingly logical point; torture, both mental and physical, would eventually kill something inside of her, if not her life.

But then, Hermione had already suffered a great deal, and not only just there, in the hellish prison she was in. So many times she had to endure taunts and jeers, fights and arguments, that her mind was already well acquainted with dealing with things like torture.

Yet had she ever experienced pain at a higher level? Could she be in for a worse fate than she thought, a sojourn in immense, excruciating pain? Or would she be dangling from a thin thread between insanity and miserable pain, one she could not escape? The possibilities were endless, and she hated that. Staying here, she was at least aware that no matter what went on, she would be in a perpetually uncomfortable situation.

Could she actually take the chance to sidestep that, and be free of the pain she might experience?

She hadn't realized how violent her internal struggle had been; the raging twists of emotion had instigated a quake to take over her body. Unable to stop shaking, she clenched her body as tightly as she could and breathed, purifying herself from worried thoughts and clouded conclusions.

"Fine," she heard herself say, and wished that she could take it back. But she had agreed to his proposition, again. There was no turning back now and no matter how hard she tried to see the upside to this, she would never find her actions voided in exchange for reaching a certain destination.

A short chuckle escaped his mouth, and it sent a wave of disgust over her. He approached her slowly, and she grew tenser with each step he took. His fingers brushed her shoulder, tracing the contours of her starving skin, before latching onto her bone and forcing her to turn around.

Refusing to let him see the defeat in her eyes, she turned away from him, hating herself more with each passing second. He clamped his fingers down on her jaw and jerked her head up; he wanted her to know how inevitable it was, that he would win, no matter how she tried. She gave him a sharp look filled with disgust, and his lips curled into a wicked smile.

Prying her jaw apart, she let him ravage her mouth, with such ferocity that it was alarming, as self-punishment. If she had been stronger, cleverer than he, as she had always fought to be, then this wouldn’t have happened. It was her fault that this was happening, and she compelled her mind to be acutely aware of what was happening as punishment.

Malfoy was going faster and becoming brutal in his movement. He was not kissing her, he was biting. His claw-like hands pulled her body against his and then shoved her against the wall, leaving her no room for comfort. She did nothing to fight it, and instead let the strength she wanted to fight overcome her. He dug nails into her skin, scraping them over her sides and gripping her painfully.

He ran his hands up her arms, and she noted faintly the tiny calluses on his fingers. His palms rounded her shoulders, pulling at her shoulders blades for a moment before they went around her neck, as if to choke her. The breath hitched in her throat for a moment, before she strained for breath, unable to breathe due to his fierce kissing. His hands slid beneath the collar of her ragged shirt, and without understanding how he did it, her shirt was pooled around her feet.

She was shivering now, but unable to do a thing about it. Malfoy's hands were at work, his mouth pinning her down more than any other part of him, and her mind was in a panic. She hated him, but detested herself more for being so weak. Still, though, she knew the difference between accepting punishment and accepting abuse. His rough hands and strong will was dancing on the line between them, as faint as it was, and Hermione was at a loss of direction.

He broke the kiss abruptly, and Hermione almost thought he was done before he clamped down on her neck. She took to gasping right away, trying to gain back all the breath that she had been denied while he kissed her. Dizziness fogged her mind, and she steadied herself slowly. Malfoy worked on her neck like a vampire, biting, seizing as much throat as he could in a single bite; his hands kneaded her sides like a cat with claws sharp enough to slice metal.

She wanted to get away, she really did. But no matter how hard she willed herself to move, to just fight, some part of her came screaming back in protest of her decision, claiming that this was what she deserved, she had to allow his advances and take them with as much dignity that she could.

It wasn’t making any sense to her at all, none. She wanted out, and her mind screamed leave! but another part demanded that she stay. It was a furious battle inside of her, and she was shaking in rage at her inept ability to making decisions, before she suddenly came to a conclusion that somehow made sense.

She liked it.

With a gasp of horror Hermione yelped, and her spirit burst with terrifying energy. She threw Malfoy off, springing away from him once she was able to. She trembled, her knees weaker than they had been and her eyes wide and frightened. She clutched her neck, quivering on the spot, forgetting about preserving her modesty or what she could possibly do to keep him away for good.

Malfoy appeared impassive, but wiping his mouth, he glared at her with undeniable anger. He stared at her for a moment, and again Hermione was reminded of a cat, finally having caught its prey and deciding what way to kill it would be most amusing. She was breathing jaggedly, shards of panic creeping into her voice.

"Well?" She flinched at his voice, taking an uneasy step backwards. He grinned, cat-like and sly, and suddenly started flailing his arms. Hermione jumped away, her arms around herself protectively, shielding her torso as if to stop a weapon. Malfoy almost laughed at her edginess.

"It took you long enough to fight," he drawled, walking lazily toward her; she tensed up and was ready to scramble away from him at any moment. "In fact, it was so long that I think you might've enjoyed it."

"Liar," she blurted before she could stop herself. She gulped a shuddering breath. "You're just playing tricks with me, I'm not a fool," she snarled. "I hated it."

"Tell me, are you assuring me or yourself?" he asked in mock curiosity, eyes alight with entertainment.

"Stop it!" she screamed at him, shaking uncontrollably. Logic was escaping her mind and she was spinning out control; she was hanging onto the edge of sanity, nearly swallowed up by a monstrous vertigo. The impossible fact that she took involuntary pleasure his actions scared her to a point of deliriousness.

He took a step towards her, his fingers curling under her arm and pulling her against him, and she knew no more logic. Her mind went swerving out of her control and whether or not he proceeded to do as he liked, she was unaware. Nothing made sense, and she had no more recollection of any event that took place.

She was weak, and that was all that mattered.


October 26
Monday, Day 9

There were hours and hours, minutes on end, perpetual moments when all Hermione could do was mull over her thoughts, dark as they were. She was left to ponder herself, why she was alive, why she wasn’t dead, the hazardous position she was in. But most of all… why.

Why her? Why not some other girl, in a place she had never been, would never consciously go, had never heard of, would never hear of? Why did it have to be her, friend of Harry Potter and smartest witch of the century, as so many had told her?

The question seemed inexplicable and frustrated her beyond belief, and she cast her thoughts to another part of her brain that she would very much like to avoid: Malfoy.

Malfoy was coming today, and he would be here, and she didn't know what she was going to do.

He was going to carry out their deal, and she wanted to mull over that, the possibilities of it. Their previous encounter left her feeling weaker than any sort of helpless creature, and dirtier than the mud that they said was in her veins. She couldn't let that happen again, and couldn’t let herself feel like she did before. But how could she prevent such a thing that escaped her logic?

She had felt so disgusted with herself because he had complete dominance over her, and she had been weak; she hadn't been able to punish herself properly, and it resulted in this nasty situation.

She knew Malfoy was stronger than her. He had physical control over her, over the kissing, over the deal, and he would soon have control over her mind if she didn't fight him.

Fight... the word rang through her head like somehow had struck a bell, its resonance pure and ethereal.


Fight; that was his game, they were fighting. It was all just a game to him. She had lost before, she had let him win. Malfoy had left bruises and bite marks on her as his symbol of victory. When he left that day, she would make sure he had the teeth marks engraved in his skin, not hers.

Her mind drifted automatically to the first few days of her stay. She remembered that when she woke, she had been fit and energized; she had fought Malfoy. Why hadn't she been fighting yesterday? Had she lost everything? She had no dignity, no friends, no love, nothing.

All of it was gone because of her weakness.

What more did she have? Faith? The will to fight? What could she have faith in? Ron and Harry weren’t coming, no one was. She was almost positive that Troy spoke the truth: they were using her as a trap for Harry. Because of Hermione, Harry would meet his death.

Harry would meet his death.

All because of her. It was all her fault. All her fault...

But she ignored the guilty stabbing feeling; turning her thoughts away, she found that she couldn’t handle anything at the moment; she could barely handle that fact that for once, she was beaten. Or the acknowledgement that Malfoy was stronger than her. She had to learn how to fight, and quickly. She would beat Malfoy at his own game, because seeing her lose, seeing her whimper and cower in pain was his amusement. Seeing him lose was her amusement. She had to beat him.

Malfoy would lose.

She was sure of that now. If she pushed herself hard enough, she would beat him. It wouldn’t take that much, and he knew not to mess with her. She had proved herself dangerous when she impaled him, and on several other occasions.

Why hadn't she thought of this sooner? Since when had she known Draco Malfoy to not be competitive against everyone? He was aggressive against Harry when it came to Quidditch, money when it came to Ron, and knowledge with Hermione. This game of his was no different, and it involved her intellect, her logic. Of course, Draco Malfoy had much more experience in this type of fighting, but she was sure, if she tried hard enough, she could overcome him…

Her sudden wave of determination was disturbed by the clicking and workings of the door. She stared as it opened slowly, watching Malfoy stride into the room, fingering his wand slightly as it twirled between his fingers; she gazed at it enviously.

Malfoy, seeing the longing on her face, thought otherwise.

"Been looking forward to seeing me again, Granger?" he drawled, a smirk on his face. Her eyes snapped up to his, and she stared at him, remaining silent.

He moved towards the table, drawing out a chair and sitting down. He fished something out of his pocket, and like the day before, pulled out a paper bag and tossed it at her. She snatched it from the air and grabbed whatever was inside.

The same cuisine: two slightly rotten apples. She grimaced as she ate one; it was sour. Malfoy examined her while she wolfed down the meal, leaning back the chair and propping his legs against the table.

"So Granger," Malfoy said lazily, inspecting his fingernails, "what've you been doing to pass all the time you've got?"

She took a loud bite out of the apple and threw him a secretive, almost sly look.

"Thinking. Not much else I can do," she replied colorlessly.

"About?" he inquired, not bothering to hide the boredom displayed in his voice. She smirked to herself.

"You." He quirked an eyebrow in interest. "Everything you've said, done, promised," she added in a growl. His face slowly changed into detachment.

"We made a deal, Malfoy. So far, I haven't gotten my end of it. I'll be asking, and you'll be answering. Got it?" she growled.

He laughed lightly in superiority. "And what power do you have over me?" he asked, leering at her. She narrowed her eyes, her lip curling in disgust.

"Let me humor you; what would you like to know?" he asked, the insincerity in his voice rather obvious. Hermione was aware, but she seized the opportunity while she could.

"That book, the one you purposely left out for me to read, the journal with the notes on the Lumerous witch: where is it now?"

"How the hell am I supposed to know? I returned it to its owner, so I have no idea," he retorted, sounding annoyed with her question.

"Tell me about the thirteenth house," she demanded. He rolled his eyes.

"Do I look like a divination Professor?" he asked scathingly. She frowned at him.

"You knew what I was talking about," she pointed out. "You must have some idea."

"Ah, but I don’t," he responded dryly. "Anything else?"

She held up her hands in reply and showed him the pulsing white wounds which she had looked at earlier. He looked at them in a strange sort of curiosity, as if staring at a bug so disgusting that he could not look away. His chair hit the ground properly and he leaned forward, looking mildly bemused.

"What the hell?" he demanded in disbelief.

"What are they?" she interrogated without a moment's pause. He gave her a look, one of irritation that seemed to say 'do-you-actually-think-I-know?'.

"Can we change the subject, Mudblood?" he asked impatiently.

As she started to ask another question, she stopped. She had forgotten the game. The fight. She needed to win.

She sighed, and nodded. His eyes seemed to flash with eagerness.

"About bloody time," he muttered. He moved off of the chair, and she immediately stood, meeting him halfway across the room. She preferred that she wasn't sitting or lying down for any part of their deal.

She was going to be in the lead, and she was going to win; she was going to beat him, override him, and shame him like he did her.

It was just another test. She was going to be victorious at last.

Just to show him who was in control, she grabbed him by the collar and pulled him forward, kissing him forcefully.

Taken by surprise, he staggered, then immediately started to kiss her back. Before their actions reached its pinnacle, she pulled away, an inch from his face. He looked smug, which was nothing compared to her expression.

"Just to let you know, Malfoy, I'm going to win."


I want to let you guys know that this is a combination of two chapters; next chapter will be Sunday, October 25, Day 8 again because it is a sort of flashback. I had to put two chapters together since I deleted a major part of this original chapter because it sucked. Thus, it was like, 3 pages long. So, this chapter consists of Day 8 and 9, and next chapter is completely Day 8. If you are confused, please email me!

I’m incredibly sorry for the long, torturous waiting that I put you guys through! I don’t mean to, but life gets in the way, editing really sucks, and I keep having problems with the ratings and stuff.

Anyway, you will be happy to know that we’re exactly halfway through the story, as of this chapter!

Thank you A Roses Innocence and Weirdly for betaing this for me!

KEEP READING! And be sure to keep reviewing!

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