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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!!

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