The Darkness and The Light
Disclaimer: The plot, but nothing more, is mine. Characters are the brilliance that Is JK Rowling.
Spoilers: Previous chapters of this story.
A/N: I mentioned this in the previous chapter, but just as a reminder: Instances where Draco is talking to someone and they suddenly disappear are all inside his mind. There doesn’t seem to be any real confusion about that, but just in case, I wanted to clear it up. I tried to set the scenes in his head as best I could (the empty darkness that surrounds Draco in his scenes with Lucius, Narcissa, Ron and Hermione, etc). Just looking out for my readers, is all. =)
A huge thank you to all of you who have read/reviewed this story making it what it is. FINALLY, GRATUITOUS BLOOD IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS CHAPTER! IF THAT BOTHERS YOU, THEN YOU MIGHT WANT TO SKIM/SKIP AHEAD!
Now on with the show!
“I’m not going to kill you, Draco,” Hermione said. “I…I just…I just want you to bleed.”
He felt her wand go a little deeper and this time it did penetrate his chest. He could feel the burning trail that her wand-blade left as she slowly drug it downward and stopped just a few inches under his diaphragm.
He wanted so badly to play this off as though he wasn’t feeling anything but could not. It hurt too much. He finally gave into the urge that was welling up inside of him to scream and was answered with a series of echoes as tears of pain flowed from his eyes.
“Why?” He screamed at Hermione.
She replied to him with a cruel but throaty laugh and took a few steps back from him, inspecting her arms.
“You know the answer, Malfoy,” Ron growled.
“It’s your worst nightmare come true,” Hermione said and she brought her wand-blade up to the top of her other forearm where she made a cut that immediately began to bleed.
Draco watched her curiously as she walked towards him, he thought she was going to get in his face again but instead she went behind him, so she could talk to Ron. He could do nothing but stare ahead, his life draining out of him as they spoke.
“Don’t be offended, my love,” she said to Ron as she took his face in her hands and gave him a deep lingering kiss. “I loved you first.”
She broke their kiss and was now standing in front of Draco again, aimlessly running her fingers through the blood that flowed down his chest. She drew her hand away and looked at the blood that was now covering the tips of four fingers with a strange sort of interest.
Hermione began to turn her fingers over in front of her face as though she were trying to get a better inspection.
“What’s so pure about it, Draco?” she asked finally, still staring at the blood on her fingertips.
“What?” he squeaked.
“It’s just that you’re always going on about how regal you are; about how pureblood is the only blood worth having. I don’t see a difference in your blood, so I wonder what makes it so pure?” She brought her bloody hand to Draco’s face and smeared four red lines down his left cheek as he felt a shiver go all over his body.
“I-I don’t know,” he said, his voice wavering. “Father just-Weasley, you explain it to her.”
“There’s nothing to explain as far as I’m concerned, Malfoy. I told you, I don’t give a damn about blood.”
“That’s right, he doesn’t,” Hermione said softly as she cast a smile at Ron. She then turned to Malfoy and said, “That’s why I love him. That’s why I wanted him to be my first. He loves me. He would never make me bleed as you have.”
She took one last look at her bloody fingers and brought them over to her other arm that she had cut earlier. Draco looked on in horror.
“What are you doing?” He bellowed.
“Mixing your blood with my blood,” she said simply. Then she brought her fingers up and rubbed them over the cut in Draco’s chest. “Now I’m mixing our blood together.”
“Not so pure now, are you, Malfoy?” Ron asked.
Draco was stunned speechless by her actions, all he could do was stare down at the wound on his chest in horror.
Hermione wasn’t sure how long she had lay in her four poster bed just staring up at the ceiling. She was so distracted with thoughts of Ron that she couldn’t sleep no matter how hard she tried.
Being careful not to wake her roommates, she pulled on her robe and slippers and made her way down to the Gryffindor common room only to see Ron sitting alone. For some reason, this surprised her a bit; she had expected Ron to go to bed hours ago.
She came up behind him and placed her hand on his shoulder and he gave a slight jump, but he smiled up at her when he realized who she was.
“Have you been to bed yet?” She asked as she bent down and kissed his cheek.
He took her hand in his and she gave it a loving squeeze before she came to sit down beside him.
“No,” he said. It was evident that he was tired and seemed to be having something of a rough night. “Draco’s Mum was here not long after you left.”
Hermione’s eyes went wide. “You’re kidding me!” She gasped.
Ron shook his head and ran a hand through his hair. “No. I told her everything. She said she was going to St. Mungo’s to save Draco’s life.”
Hermione was silent for a moment, so proud of him for doing the right thing that she could no longer contain herself. She let impulse overtake her and kissed Ron square on the lips, deeply.
When she broke away, he said:
“Not that that wasn’t nice, but what was it for?”
“I’m very proud of you, Ron,” she said honestly as she stroked a cheek with her thumb. “You did the right thing. I knew you would.”
Once again, she kissed him deeply and made no move that showed she had any intention of breaking it soon. He kissed her back just as passionately and before Hermione fully realized what was happening, Ron had managed to sneak one hand inside her robe and place it on her breast.
Ron was testing the waters. He had not been alone with Hermione properly since everything had happened and he saw this as an opportunity since his act of honesty seemed to be such a turn on to her.
Their kiss deepened a little more and at one point, he gave her a squeeze. This time she realized what he was doing and immediately broke away from him, staring back at him like he had not only slapped her but called her a horrible name.
“Hermione, what is it? Did I do something wrong?” Ron asked, taken aback.
There was now a look of total confusion on her face as she glanced at the eternal fire and then at him. She shook her head.
“Hermione, what?” He asked softly.
“It felt good,” she muttered.
Ron had been worried that it was just the opposite; he thought he had made her mad. A smile of relief came onto his face as he took her hands in his.
“Good. It was supposed to.”
“But it was wrong,” she said, her voice shaking slightly. Now she was staring at the fire and not looking at him at all. She wanted to keep this to herself because she was afraid of how it might make him feel, but found that she could keep nothing from him.
“Wrong?” He asked with a frown. His feelings were hurt, she could tell by the sound of his voice.
“I’m not ready yet, Ron,” she said.
“Hermione, it was just a kiss.”
“If I didn’t stop you just then, it would have gone further and I’m just not ready for that yet…” she explained, hoping that he would understand.
I saw his face when we kissed, she thought, horrified.
He took her chin in his hand and looked deep into her eyes. “Hermione, listen to me. We don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to. All you have to do is say no and I’ll back off.”
“I don’t think it’s that simple,” she said, looking at him sadly and taking his hand away.
“What do you mean?”
There was no avoiding it. She had to tell him that she saw Draco’s face when they kissed just then. If she couldn’t tell him this, then what kind of relationship would they have? She took in a deep breath and let it out, meeting Ron’s patient gaze.
“Ron, you must understand that Draco did a real number on me. I mean, I can’t bounce back,” she snapped her fingers, “just like that. I need time.”
“I understand,” he told her with a smile.
She looked deep into those blue eyes that she loved so much with a glimmer of hope that he really did understand where she was coming from, when she didn’t find what she was looking for, she gave a slight frown.
“I don’t think you do, Ron,” she said softly. “I saw his face when we kissed just then…”
“But, ‘Mione,” he said, looking visibly hurt by this, “I’m not him. I would never do those things to you. I’ve told you this before.”
She now scooted closer to him, the distance between them sealed by their hands that lay rested on top of eachother between them. She leaned in and placed a gentle hand on the back of his neck, drawing him close to her, their foreheads touching.
“I know. Just give me time. When I’m ready, I promise that you’ll be the first to know,” she placed a small kiss on his nose. “Deal?”
He nodded. “Deal,” he whispered as he returned the kiss.
Hours had passed since Narcissa had made it to St. Mungo’s and told the Healers the nature of Draco’s condition. The proper potions had been administered and his color was slowly but surely coming back, much to her relief.
She sat at Draco’s side, holding his hand as she normally did and was overcome with joy when she realized that he felt warm to the touch. A single happy tear slid down her cheek as she leaned up and whispered in his ear, “You’re the strongest creature in all the land, my dragon.”
They had been alone until a Healer entered the room to check Draco’s vital signs. Narcissa waited patiently a few moments and then asked:
“How is he?”
“Well, it’s apparent that the potions have taken effect. Clearly, his color is back, his heart sounds perfectly healthy,” the young woman gave Draco a curious look and then cast an anxious look at Narcissa as though debating about whether or not she should continue talking. “But, I just don’t understand…” her voice trailed as she looked back down at Draco. “It’s the most curious thing…”
The Healer was quiet for a moment and then fixed her gaze back on Narcissa who was staring back at her with concern for her son, expecting an answer of some kind.
“Mrs. Malfoy, your son should have been awake by now.”
Narcissa’s heart sank at this news as she wondered what it could mean. A dozen or more answers flooded her mind. Was she ever going to have her son back?
“Why isn’t he?” she asked tearfully. This was past the point of getting to be too much for her to handle. Something had to give and soon.
The young Healer tried to hide the fact that she was without a response to these sudden changes, but could not. The truth was, she knew the answer, but didn’t know how to break it to Narcissa in her fragile state.
“Well?” Lady Malfoy demanded.
The younger woman stood before her with a grim yet hopeful look on her face. “It’s up to him now,” she said softly. “He has to want to live.”
“N-never again,” Draco pleaded, “I’ll never hurt you again if you just help me get out of here!” He glanced down at the deep cut on his chest and then back up at Hermione who was now healing her arm with her wand.
“Is that an apology?” Ron asked as he loosened his grip on Draco ever so slightly.
“No! I told you I would never apologize to that filthy Mudblood!”
Once more he struggled to get free of Ron and was successful. Before Ron really had the chance to react, Draco had swiftly jerked Ron’s wand from his hand and rounded on Hermione who glanced up at him with wide eyes, surprised that Ron had let him go.
At any rate, Hermione was quick to draw her wand on Draco who now had turned his back and had Ron’s wand drawn on him, pointed squarely at his chest. Ron went pale and put his hands in the air in surrender as Draco directed him to stand beside Hermione.
”Expelli-“ Draco began, in a vain attempt to disarm Hermione; she anticipated that he would attack and disarmed him first, sending Ron’s wand far out of sight somewhere and causing it to land in the distance with a clatter that echoed all over for a brief moment.
“You’re back where you started, Draco,” Hermione informed him as she took Ron in her arms and kissed him lightly on the lips.
“Two against one,” Ron said, casting a sneer at Draco and then returning Hermione’s kiss as he ran a hand through her hair.
“Just get me out of here!” He demanded once more. “You said you had the key!”
“We do,” Hermione told him as she nuzzled Ron’s neck. “But with the key comes a price.”
“You know what,” Ron said as he gently broke away from Hermione and then pushed Draco to the ground, holding him down with one knee.
“Don’t do it, boy,” drawled a new, but familiar voice. Draco craned his head upwards as best he could to see Lucius standing over him. “If you apologize to that Mudblood, you’ll be dead to me.”
Draco made his body rigid so as to get some amount of leverage before he tried to throw Ron off of him. Looking downward, he noticed that he was no longer being held down. Ron and Hermione were gone, and Draco felt panic seep into his stomach. How was he going to get out without them?
“I don’t want to, Father,” he said as he rose to his feet. “I don’t have a choice. I have to get out of here. They have the key.”
“You have a choice, Draco. You can give into their incessant taunting and apologize or you can get out of here on your own!”
“I can’t, Father,” Draco said, letting the panic take over his voice. He hoped Lucius didn’t hear it, but when his father raised an eyebrow at him, he had his answer. “I don’t know where ‘here’ is! They do, and they said they would help me get out. I have to use that to my advantage!”
“You pathetic boy,” Lucius mumbled, as he shook his head. “You’ll never learn. You’re stupid and incapable of it!”
Draco looked down at the floor as he spoke softly: “That’s not so, Father. I have learned something. Being your son has taught me more than you realize. Do you want to know what I’ve learned from you?”
No answer. Draco thought he was alone again but managed to look up just enough to see the tips of the black dragon skin boots that his father wore.
“Do you?” He asked, a little louder this time, and he made sure to raise his head so that he was eye to eye with his father.
“What?” Lucius asked, daring Draco with his gaze to say something smart.
That look meant nothing. Draco once again found that he wasn’t feeling afraid of his father at this particular moment. He had the sudden thought that maybe he didn’t need to be free of this place after all, maybe he could stay here. This was the one place that he could be and stand up to his father. This was the one place that he didn’t feel afraid of him.
“I’ve learned that sometimes you have to walk all over people in order to get what you want. I’ve learned that you have to use them like they are no better than house-elves if you intend to get your way. People aren’t people at all, they’re just things. Obstacles, if you will.”
“So?” Lucius smirked.
“So, you’re my obstacle.”
After eating breakfast in The Great Hall, the trio was headed to Professor Trelawney’s class when all of a sudden Ron was met with and knocked down by a tiny brown blur with something red attached to its leg.
After sitting up and recovering himself, he realized that it was Pig with a Howler. Before opening it, Ron cast a nervous look at Harry and Hermione who only looked on in deep sympathy for him.
He didn’t want to open it. He knew it would be no good, no matter who it was from; Howlers never were. Just so he could bide his time, he painstakingly got to his feet and inspected Pig to make sure the tiny owl had not hurt himself.
“Ron, open it,” Hermione said softly.
“Best to get it over with, mate,” Harry chimed in, trying to sound encouraging.
Ron nodded and picked up the little animal, which gave a shell-shocked and half-hearted “hoot” as Ron sat him on his shoulder and opened the Howler up with shaky hands. When it was finally open, it jerked itself away from Ron’s grasp and began yelling in Mrs. Weasley’s voice:
“RONALD WEASLEY! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE CURSING DRACO MALFOY LIKE THAT? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA THE SERIOUSNESS OF WHAT YOU HAVE DONE? YOUR FATHER’S JOB IS HANGING IN THE BALANCE BECAUSE OF YOU! NOT TO MENTION POOR DRACO’S CONDITION! THEY’RE SAYING HE MIGHT DIE, RONALD! YOU ARE TO FINISH OUT THE WEEK AT SCHOOL AND THEN YOU’LL BE MEETING ME AFTER CLASSES FRIDAY IN THE GRYFFINDOR COMMON ROOM TO BRING YOU HOME, NO QUESTIONS ASKED!”
The little red envelope yelled with such force that not only did Ron look terrified, so did Harry and Hermione. Ron stood speechless and looked on, pale faced, as the Howler turned to Hermione and said in a gentle, motherly voice:
“Oh, and Hermione, dear, it’s such a relief to see that you’re safe now. Do take care and I suppose I’ll be seeing you on Friday.”
At that, the red message tore itself into tiny bits and then vanished into thin air. Ron was still unable to move from where he stood.
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