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Chapter 9: Life Seems Different
The wizarding world is in shock this evening the Daily Prophet read as three bodies have been found in an abandoned field. So far, the bodies have not been named but one demand was made: Unknown dark wizards wish for the release of Lucius Malfoy, a highly dangerous death eater. Aurors have interrogated his wife in her country home and nothing suspicious has been found. Her son, however, was not located for questioning. As soon as the identities of the bodies are know, the families will be informed. Ministry members, on the other hand, are working on striking a deal with the anonymous wizards.
The room was unfamiliar and dark. How did Hermione get herself into these situations? There she was, again, in a cellar.
When she tried to move, a loud noise sounded, a loud clatter and she felt the weight of heavy chains on her ankles. Her wrists were also chained, secured in the wall by a bracket and chains.
She felt like giving up and telling the death eaters to kill her now. She was tired of being taken here and there and she supposed that Harry and Ron were tired of her being captured all the time. She hoped that they would give up and stop wasting their time. They would never find her.
A voice beside her sounded, quiet and monotonous.
“Draco?” she asked the air. He coughed and then breathed heavily. “Are you okay? Did they hurt you?”
“No, but the Weasley girl…”
“What?” He didn’t say anything. “WHAT?”
“They’ve killed her.”
Hermione broke down into tears, sure she was next. What would Harry say? What would Ron say? This was all her fault. Ginny was dead and if she had not escaped she would have been alive.
“This is your fault,” she whispered through tears. “You should have left me there. You should have let her kill me.”
Draco bowed his head in the darkness. “Do you think I could let her…?”
Hermione turned away from him, with her face buried in her knees. “What are you in here for anyway? She wouldn’t hurt you. You’re her son.”
“I gave up their location, didn’t I? And I saved you.”
“Why did you?”
“I don’t know. Probably because you didn’t deserve it.”
“Ginny didn’t deserve this!”
“THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU SAVE HER!!”
“I COULDN’T!” Draco breathed. “They took her out as we came in. You were knocked out.”
“You saw it happen?”
He nodded and Hermione looked away, ready to cry again.
“I won’t let anything happen to you, Hermione.” She stared into his eyes. “I know you’re scared. I am too.”
“More terrified than I’ve ever been.”
“Even more terrified than when he was in my house. I’m scared for you. I made sure you were okay before, but I’m not so sure this time.” He held onto her hand tight and she gripped back.
Hermione breathed heavily. “As…as long as we’re together…”
“…we should be okay,” he finished.
Leaning down, he placed his lips on hers and felt their tears merge on their cheeks. They continued, holding onto each other, hearing the chains move noisily and their hearts race.
“I like you, Hermione,” Draco finally admitted. “You’re not so bad.”
“You too, Draco. And thank you. Thank you for helping me and thank you for everything.”
“Everything? What about school?”
“It made me a stronger person.”
“You make everything sound so much better than it is.”
“Why not?” she whispered. This phrase counted for a lot. Why should she not like Draco? Why not fear her demise? She spent so long becoming accustomed to death near the end of Hogwarts sometimes she wished that it would hurry up and happen.
On the other side of things, she was glad she had been reunited with Draco. He made her realise that she did not like Ron as much as she thought and if she lived through this, she did not want to spend the rest of her life living with his mother. It was not enough.
She kissed Draco again and bravely asked, “If we…you know…make it out of here…can I stay with you for a while?”
She could just make out him frowning, thinking it over.
“Yeah, I suppose. I don’t know where, but…”
“I don’t care where. I just want to get away from Harry and Ron…and magic.”
“Just for a while.”
“I see what you mean. Plus, no one will find us in the muggle world.”
“Exactly.” She let him kiss her one more time while she gripped onto his torn shirt. Draco let his fingers rush through her hair and she messed with his blonde locks while staring into nothing.
Dragged out of their sleep, the two prisoners were pulled up into the drawing room. Hermione’s heart nearly stopped when she realised that she was back in Malfoy Manor. Their chains were magically bound to the wall, but were longer. About four metres in length. Although they could move a bit more, they did not even dare to stand. The room was dark and only three people stood around them, one being Narcissa Malfoy.
She circled the two of them.
“You and this filthy mudblood?” she screeched. She thrashed Draco around his face and he rolled facedown onto the ugly brown rug. It must have been the death eaters and her will to get her husband back that made her so mean.
“Disgusting,” a male death eater uttered. He kicked Hermione in her stomach and she screamed. This gave Draco the energy to leap off the ground and charge at him. But the chains pulled him down before he got within reach of him.
Instead, Draco spat on the death eater. In return, the Cruciatus curse was used on him.
His mother did not even flinch.
Draco mumbled, trying to call her, asking her to help him…
Narcissa finally leaned beside him and brushed his cheek. “It’s either us…or her.”
“You…you c-can’t ask m-me to choose,” he stuttered, still torn with pain.
“Of course I can. I am your mother.”
“W-would my mother let me get t-tortured?”
She ignored him and said, “Me or her?”
He looked at Hermione, who looked so terrified that the image would stay in his head until he died. She was shaking uncontrollably but her eyes were not wet with tears. It looked as if she had done so much crying she could not do any more. At times, her eyes would close as if she was praying.
Hermione shook her head, telling him not to choose her, but in doing so, gave him his answer.
It was so loud in Hermione’s head that she collapsed.
A few minutes later she awoke in the same spot, the same people around her.
“We were waiting for you,” a death eater said. “We didn’t want you to miss out on the fun.”
Hermione threw up. It didn’t have much substance as her stomach was empty, but the smell was enough to keep her from passing out again.
Draco was lying on the ground staring at her. Everyone saw it. The death eaters grimaced, but Hermione smiled. It was quick, but it changed Draco.
He sat up and said to his mother, “If you’re going to kill me, do it. Just let Hermione go.”
“What would be the point in that?” Narcissa said. “Three people dead and he’s nearly out. They won’t let more people die after we kill her. They’ll know we are deadly serious. He’ll be out in no time.”
“And after that? You’ll have to go back into hiding again. He’ll be a fugitive. Is that any better than before?”
“He’ll be with me!”
“And you’re willing to do all of this again for love?!” Draco shouted.
“I am! Just as you’re willing to choose this girl over your own family, over yourself, I am choosing your father over everything I have! I love him, Draco. More than I love you and more than I love myself. I don’t know what I’ll do without him. He didn’t want to do those things for the dark lord. Nearer the end he was terrified of what he did to us. And now the Ministry have locked him up and he needs me. He needs you too.”
“He doesn’t give a damn about me. You don’t either.”
“Don’t say that, Draco.”
“You just said you love him more. So kill me. KILL ME!”
Hermione held her breath. She wanted to scream but couldn’t. Nothing came out. It would be pointless anyway.
Draco had not corrected his mother when she guessed he loved her. Hermione had not even thought he could, but their recent situation had changed her mind. It was possible that she loved him. Not in the way she loved Harry as her best friend. Not in the way she loved Ron as her boyfriend. But in the way that as her enemy, they put aside their differences, helped each other and were willing to leave everyone. In the face of death, Hermione’s life seemed so different.
“I love you too,” she said.
Draco, tears in his eyes, stared at her as if his ears were lying to him. Only a few days ago she was pushing him away for Weasley and now this?
“No you don’t,” Narcissa said. “You’re only looking to save your neck.”
“I do. I love you for wanting me to live.”
Draco’s face did not alter, but it was better than him saying he didn’t love her back. Hermione was quite satisfied with the silence. She knew it would be a lot for him to admit it straight away, when only a few weeks ago she had been a prisoner in his home and just ‘that mudblood from school.’
Looking at the ground, he said, “I do want you to live.” He turned to his mother. “Let her go.”
Draco kept chanting in his head.
She doesn’t deserve this. She doesn’t deserve this. She doesn’t deserve this.
His mother cast her eyes down.
“Think about it,” he continued. “He’ll be let out and they’ll come for you. Both of you. Do you want a life like that?”
“I love him,” was all she said.
“Me too,” Draco said, leaning closer to her. Hermione watched in anticipation. “But he was the one who wanted us in this to begin with. If anything, he should pay for what he did to our family. In Azkaban.”
Narcissa cried. “I…I don’t think this is a good -”
“Oh no,” a death eater said. “How dare you change your mind?”
“You heard him. There’s no point.”
“There is every point. Lucius knew some of the dark lord’s plans. He would be a fitting replacement. A leader.”
“You be a leader. I want out.” Narcissa pointed her wand at him as Draco crawled across the ground to Hermione.
She smiled at him while the others argued.
“You’re very handy in a tense situation,” she whispered.
“She’s my mother. I was the only one who could make her see sense.”
“I’m glad you did.” She pulled him in for a long kiss.
“Wow,” he muttered.
“When we get back,” Hermione said, breathless. “I’m going to leave Ron.” Draco kissed her. “I’ll get my things.” He kissed her again. “You can go back to yours and get your things.” Another kiss. “And then we’ll leave.” Draco nodded and kissed her again, holding onto her shoulders.
Suddenly, she pushed him away. “LOOK OUT!”
They both rolled away from a dark blue jet of light. Narcissa had begun duelling with the death eaters.
“Where’s my wand?” Draco shouted at his mother. “WHERE IS IT?”
Narcissa blocked a spell and reached into her back pocket. She chucked it in their direction and he and Hermione followed it as it landed in the opposite corner. As Draco scrambled across the ground, the other death eater noticed and dragged on his chains, pulling him backwards.
Hermione jumped onto the death eater’s back and scratched his face. The death eater fell backwards, landing on Hermione and winding her. Draco dragged him off and fought his wand from him. Draco immobilised him.
Narcissa flew across the room and into a bookcase. The mobile death eater shattered Draco’s wand so he held up the other death eaters’ in his hand.
Hermione whispered into his ear. “The chains.”
“I know,” he whispered back. The death eater circled them and was getting closer. “On three, you run as far as you can towards the hallway, and I’ll do the same in the other direction.”
“But, you’ll walk straight into him.”
“Just do it. One-two-three, NOW!”
Draco sprinted towards the death eater, but then it all went wrong. His mother stirred and she shot a spell at the death eater. He dodged it and charged at her. Draco’s spells all seemed to miss him because his wand was in splinters a few feet away. Then finally, Draco hit him with Expelliarmus.
He held onto his mother while he removed his chains.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I got so caught up in things. I just want to see him again. But not there…”
“It’s fine,” he reassured her. “It’s all going to be -”
The death eater had looked into her eyes with such a bloodthirsty glare it nearly made her convulse.
Draco darted over, wand in hand.
The death eater raised his and Draco copied.
Hermione pulled and yanked as she lay on the ground, the chains stopping her from moving any further.
“Draco! THE CHAINS! THE CHAINS!”
Hermione screamed, but it was as if he could not hear her.
Then it happened faster than she could imagine.
A green light flashed and she held her breath and crouched into a ball. This was it…
Except she was still breathing. Draco lay wide-eyed in front of her. The sound of him hitting the ground was like a sack of potatoes. But she could not scream…she was drained of all emotion.
She had imagined a new life with him…They were supposed to be together….
Behind her, Narcissa wept and chanted his name in a crazed frenzy.
The death eater cackled.
Hermione, in a rage, picked up the wand and tried to shoot a spell at him, but not even a wave of smoke materialised.
She hated him, hated him for what he had done to her life. She wanted to kill him. Never had she wanted to use an Unforgivable so much. Draco was dead. He had given his life for her. He had saved her by blocking the spell and now he had paid the price. Hermione knew she was going to survive this. She was going to do this for him. She was going to do the things she had told him. She was going to break up with Ron. She was going to leave the Burrow and the wizarding world in hope of never being in a situation like this again.
Laughing, the death eater stood watching her attempt to curse him.
From the other side of the room, Narcissa threw a spell at the death eater causing him to stumble, but he was not deterred. Angry and tired, the death eater shot the killing curse at Hermione and it met its target.
She fell to the ground gracefully, her last thought being that she wished she had heard Draco say that he loved her.