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The Darkness and the Light 10
A/N: This chapter originally got lost in the server crash and I had to respost it. That meant I had to give the chapter a title as well. I couldn't remember what it was to brgin with, but now I have and thus changed the chapter back to the original name. You lovely folks are asking for a more on this story and there will be, so please don't read too much into the chapter titile. Thanks! :) Hermione awoke not knowing what Draco had hit her with, but she had a feeling that she had been out for quite some time. As she struggled to hold her weight on her own hands, she opened her eyes and focused them as best she could; they were met with a peculiar sight: Wherever she was, there was no longer a night sky but a regularly lit chamber. Not too bright, but not too dim, either. There was an ebony framed canopy bed with a black satin comforter and matching trimmings off to her left. A water basin with a mirror on the wall above it was to her right and a few posters of various Quiddich teams decorated the wall. Hermione dully thought what a pitiful room this was as she turned her head and saw something else on her right: an open door. It must have happened while she was out cold, she decided. She looked to see that she was still shackled and began to wonder if she could possibly somehow wriggle out of her shackles or be fortunate enough to break her bond from the floor when she heard it: That unmistakable roar that she had been hearing outside the room; the same roar that Narcissa seemed to give into so often. “Draco!” Lucius Malfoy yelled from a corner out of Hermione’s sight. She was behind the open door and guessed that he had come in while she was unconscious on the floor and walked right past her. She could do nothing but be silent although she had mixed feelings about his presence. If he saw her there, would he help her? Probably not, but she saw no harm in hoping this just a tiny bit. If he saw her there, he might carry out whatever Draco’s intentions were tenfold. This was the thought that sent Hermione’s heart racing faster than she knew it could. Her heart was thudding madly in her ears and her face was hot when a tall man with long blonde hair came into plain sight and whipped around, staring directly at her. “I know you,” he growled as he raised an eyebrow at her, trying to figure out the purpose of her presence. Hermione found she could do nothing more than nod. “You’re that Muggle-trash that hangs out with that damned Potter boy.” I have a name, Hermione seethed inside her head. But you wouldn’t care about that. I know you wouldn’t. Lucius’ frustration at Hermione’s silence became apparent when he drew his wand at her with a look on his face that she could not decipher as anything other than total disdain. “Speak, Mudblood!” he yelled in the manner of someone who was shouting a command at a dog. “What exactly is it that you are doing in my manor, in my son’s bedroom?” It took just a moments hesitation from Hermione before she finally mustered the courage to find her voice and tell him what his son had been up to although she knew he would have no care of her plight. When she was finished, he took a few short steps to the door and was met by his son, whose face quickly registered fear when he saw his father and Hermione in the same room. “F-Fa-Father!” stammered Draco, looking down on the floor at Hermione and then at his dad, his eyes wide. “What is the meaning of this, Draco? You dare to bring a Mudblood into Malfoy Manor?” Lucius made no effort to control the anger in his voice as he yelled at his son. Draco stood frozen staring up into his father’s eyes as he madly searched his mind for an answer that would satisfy him. Nothing came; nothing but a swift blow across the face with Lucius’ wand after he had decided that his offspring was not giving up any information. Hermione scooted herself back into a corner, not knowing who to be more scared for, herself or Draco. It didn’t matter that they had been sworn enemies, even through all of the events of the last month; she never once thought that Draco deserved getting hit by his own father. “Father, I…” Draco began and was met with a blue flash of light from Lucius’ wand that sent him off his feet and out into the corridor. Hermione heard his body hit the stone wall with a heavy “thud” and there was a moment of silence. “Speak, boy!” “Father, do you know who she is?” Draco asked, sounding weak. “She’s that Muggle born that’s always causing me trouble! She’s the one that hangs out with Potter and Weasley-she thinks she’s so great because she’s so smart! She needed to be brought down off her pedestal, Father! That’s why she’s here!” “She tells a different story! She says you’ve been raping her for the last month, she says that you’ve threatened to have her friends killed.” What struck Hermione as odd was that suddenly Lucius’ voice had become calm. She was almost straining to hear what was being said when she clearly heard a small tapping noise up above her head to her left. She looked up and couldn’t believe what she saw on the other side of the window: Harry, Ron, and Ginny each with a finger over their mouths signaling for her to be quiet. She nodded but was unable to contain just how relived she was to see them. She had begun to wonder a couple of days ago if they had noticed her missing. Outside, she could hear Draco and his father still talking. She turned her attention back to them so she wouldn’t accidentally give her friends away, but not before nodding to them that they needed to be quiet because of the Malfoys being so close by. “I thought you would be proud of me, Father,” Draco said softly. “I brought her here to kill her; I was waiting for the right time.” If Lucius had a reply, Hermione didn’t hear it. She heard something off to her left had made a noise; she looked to see Ron landing on the floor, feet first. “Ron!” Hermione whispered, “Be quiet, they’ll hear you!” Ron was quick to rush to her side and hug her, thankful that she was alive. “I put a Silencing Charm on this room, we have to hurry, I don’t know how long we have.” Regardless of the need to hurry, he took the time to put a hand under her chin and bring her face to his; kissing her softly. “Thank Merlin you’re ok,” he murmured. “Now that you’re here,” she said softly and held her wrists up so he could magic her shackles off. Once the steel bindings had clattered to the floor, Ron began to examine her wrists rather closely and curiously. “What’s wrong?” “Draco left a letter…it was written in blood…I need to know if it’s yours.” “It was. He cut me, but he healed me.” Ron was about to open his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by Harry leaning down and waving towards himself, urging them to hurry up. “C’mon!” Harry exclaimed. “We have to…” He stopped and mid sentence, his eyes huge. Ron and Hermione stared at him for a moment, wondering what he was looking at. When they realized he was looking past them, they turned and followed his gaze straight to Draco and Lucius who were standing a few feet behind them, looking bemused. “Well, well, well,” drolled Lucius. “What have we here, a rescue mission?” “How did you find me?” Draco asked, it was obvious that he wasn’t at all scared that he had been caught. “Who would have guessed that you had a pet Thestral?” Harry replied, meeting them all on the ground with Ginny close behind. “What happened to the Silencing Charm?” Ginny asked Harry. “A Silencing Charm does no good when it’s cast around an open door,” Draco sneered. “I saw you and took it off.” “If you’re going to try and be brave, the least you can do is be smart about it,” Lucius said. He and Draco both took a step back at the same time, drawing their wands on the foursome. “We don’t have to try, we are,” Harry said as he tossed Hermione her wand and the four of them formed a straight line in front of the two Malfoy’s and each drawing their wands as well. “Isn’t this cute?” said Lucius, the smile on his face widening. The foursome exchanged looks of disgust but had a common idea and they knew it: get Lucius out of the way. Before he had a chance to react, they all pointed their wands at him, cast a Disarming Charm which sent him not only across the room, but back out into the corridor. He hit the wall harder than Draco had and slid down onto the floor, unconscious. Harry finished him off by casting a spell that bound him with ropes and placed a gag in his mouth. Ginny pointed her wand at the open door and it closed with a loud BANG! Of its own accord, locking them in Draco’s room. “Aren’t you clever?” Draco sneered. Ron took a step from the line towards Draco, being sure not to take his wand off of him. “Four against one, Malfoy, what’re you gonna do?” “I’m not afraid,” Draco smirked. “You should be,” Ginny warned, taking a few steps and stopping when she was by her brother’s side. ”Finite Incatatem!” she yelled and Draco’s wand flew out of his hand as he fell backward onto the floor. He wasn’t about to give up. As quickly as he could, he scrambled to get his wand which had landed with a loud clatter a few feet away. However, he wasn’t quick enough, for Harry had caught his actions and summoned the wand to him. “I guess no one believes in a fair fight,” Draco said sheepishly. It was odd to see him with his guard down for once. When he was caught with no way out, he seemed almost pitiful. He was more scared than he let on. “You leave her alone, Malfoy,” Ron growled, his voice dripping with anger. “What you have done to her is unforgivable.” He took more steps towards Draco, with every intention of backing him against the far wall, making it virtually impossible for him to escape. “Dumbledore should have you expelled for this,” Ginny chimed in, advancing on the enemy. “Move out of the way, I want a clear shot,” Harry commanded them as he tried to aim is wand at Malfoy without hitting Ron and Ginny. Hermione had suddenly come to a decision: “Stop it!” she shouted and everyone turned to stare at her as though she had lost her mind. “Are you kidding me?” Ginny asked, raising her eyebrow. “Hermione, he needs to pay for what he’s done to you!” Harry attempted to reason with her. She never took her eyes off of Draco as she spoke: “He will, believe me. What he endures here at the manor is worse than anything that we ever have endured. When Lucius comes to and breaks free of his binding, Draco will be in trouble. Not because of what he did to me, just because of the fact that he did it. This will somehow reach people at the Ministry and when it does, it could possibly jeopardize Lucius’ career. There is nothing that he holds higher than that.” She didn’t know how she knew this; it was just a gut feeling that she was relying on. “You aren’t seriously suggesting that we let him go?” Ron asked. “Like I said, his Dad will deal with him and that is good enough for me.” “That isn’t going to stop me from doing this,” said Ron, muttering an incantation that knocked Draco out cold and sent him sliding down the wall into the floor. A few days had passed since Hermione’s rescue and those involved had not seen Draco back at Hogwarts. There were rumors that Lucius had sent him off to another school, one that was something like Muggle boot camp, only for wizards. There were also rumors that Draco was in St. Mungos with a concussion and had to drink twelve different healing potions a day for some reason that not even Crabbe and Goyle knew. Whatever the truth was, Hermione didn’t care. She was just happy to be back with her friends. She knew that if Draco was to ever come back to school, somehow things would be different and she would indeed be safe from any harm that he may try to inflict on her. They would be different because she no longer had to doubt Ron’s feelings for her. She had no reason to go back to the way things were, she had no reason to feel as though she were on the bottom rung. Now, as they sat alone in the Gryffindor common room in front of the eternal fire totally alone, she leaned back against his chest, wrapping his arms around her as tight as she could; she took notice of how content she felt. This was meant to be. Hermione didn’t know just how long they had been there, but it must have been a while because she had managed to situate herself and move in such a way that allowed her to look up at Ron and see that he had drifted off to sleep. As lightly as she could, she freed herself from his arms and kneeled on the couch so she could look at his peaceful face. “Ron?” she asked softly as she nuzzled his neck. “Are you awake?” “Mmm-hmm,” he sounded like he was somewhere between awake and asleep. “I owe you my life, you know,” she said into his ear as she kissed the spot underneath it tenderly. “You owe me nothing, Hermione. You would have done the same for me.” “I just wanted to say thank you.” She leaned back on her heels and studied him for a moment before she leaned back on and covered his mouth with hers in a sweet lingering kiss. “I love you, Ron.” “I love you, too,” he slowly opened his eyes only to see her smiling back at him. “I’ll always be there for you, whenever you need me.” She nodded. “I know.” He raised a skeptic eyebrow at her. “You do?” “I do.” “Good,” he said, sounding satisfied. He was quiet for a moment, silently debating whether or not he really wanted to get into what came next: “Can I ask you something?” Hermione got comfortable on the other end, her legs outstretched, and her feet in Ron’s lap. “Go ahead.” “It’s kind of personal,” he said uneasily. “If you don’t want to, you don’t have to answer me, ok?” “Got it.” “Were you a virgin when all of that started?” She was more taken aback than she was offended. What an odd question for him to ask, she thought. “I was,” she said, a bitter frown escaping onto her face. “He raped me. Repeatedly.” “I’m sorry,” Ron said softly. “It’s over now and it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’re together.” Hermione once again settled herself in between Ron’s legs, her head lying on his chest and his arms wrapped tightly around her. It was more than a comfort to know that she had nothing more to fear because he would be there, like he promised. Neither one said anything more as they drifted off into a dreamless sleep.

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