Chapter 1 : Broken
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Hermione’s cry was a soft silhouette in the night, encased and muffled by the soft whipping of the wind around the cemetery.
Draco allowed his reign on the spell to loosen, and Harry choked as a gasp of air escaped his lungs, finally free of the bonds of the crucifying curse.
“I gave you one simple instruction!” Draco yelled to Hermione, anger flashing in his mad eyes. “I told you to do one thing, and you couldn’t even do that!”
A tear escaped Hermione’s eye as she gazed at Harry. She was afraid. Afraid that this would be the last time she would see him alive. All because of her.
“You deceived me,” she said sadly, her voice merely a whisper. “I gave away everything I had for you. It wasn’t even my choice!”
“You disobeyed me.” He spat out the words as if they were venom.
Harry choked as the spell was strengthened again. “Hermione, don’t give yourself up for me. Let me die!” He pleaded, his voice a mere croak, struggling for breath as he writhed on the ground in pain.
Draco strengthened the spell even further. “Silence, fool!” he boomed.
Hermione screamed as Harry’s yells increased. “Please, Draco!” She begged.
Draco shook his head vigorously. “I trusted you.”
“I used to trust you!”
Draco dug his glowing wand into Harry’s chest to warn Hermione. “I taught you what you know, and this is how you repay me?” Fury dripped like syrup from each syllable.
Hermione gazed sadly into the eyes of the mad man before her. All that was happening now was all that she had tried to prevent. But even after she had unwillingly given – sold – herself to him, Harry, the one she loved, was staring death straight in the eye.
“You deceived me.” She whispered again, another tear escaping the wrath of her eye and parting with her face at her chin.
Draco stood to his feet, releasing the curse that bound Harry to pain, and stared Hermione in the eyes. “Stay with me, or Potter dies,” he said in a low voice, madness in his eyes. “Make your choice.”
Hermione took a deep breath as another scene came into view. It was a dark and dank dungeon, dripping with water that resided metres above. She glanced at the dimly lit torches along the stone walls, and shuddered as one blew out. There was no air. It couldn’t have blown out itself.
He was here.
“I was wondering when you would come again.”
His voice startled her, but she did not jump. She did not want to show him she was weak. She needed more than that to get her through what she was about to do next.
“Show yourself.” Her voice cracked. She didn’t know what to expect. For three years she had not seen or heard of him, and here she was, standing in the middle of his deep, dark lair, in his lure. She couldn’t help but feel vulnerable. Would he show mercy?
A figure emerged from the shadows in a hooded cloak. She could see nothing but the points of his shoes materializing from his cloak as he slowly walked toward her. He had a slight limp, emphasising the person he had become after all these years.
“Well, Granger –” there was a sneering pause –“what a pleasant surprise.”
She stared into the mass of darkness where his face should’ve been. “I said show yourself.” She couldn’t help but allow her fear seep into her voice.
He laughed haughtily. “Be patient, Granger,” he said, mock apparent in his tone. “We mustn’t get too eager. All will be revealed in good time.”
Hermione retreated when he stopped before her. Now, she could see two blue-grey eyes staring at her, but nothing else. There was a glint in them; an emotion Hermione couldn’t quite get her head around.
“I want to see who I am talking to.”
Hermione’s manner surprised even herself. But he seemed unaffected.
A moment of silence followed, before an output of air on his part. “Very well,” he removed his hood, and Hermione didn’t know what to expect.
As his face was revealed, she was not shocked at all, as she had anticipated. She gazed at his smooth, flawless features. “They said you had scars – terrible scars.” She said softly, refraining from reaching out and touching the lips that looked so rich and full.
He smirked, his brilliant, electric eyes flickering over her appearance. “They said a lot of things. But I don’t see any scars – do you?”
Hermione didn’t reply. She was shocked at how much he had changed since she had last seen him. He no longer had those boyish looks she used to hate, but instead his face was handsome and dominant.
“Why did you leave Hogwarts, Draco?” She found herself asking unexpectedly.
He hardly even blinked. Though he turned away from her, she could still see the flicker of surprise in his eyes. It disappeared as quickly as it had come. “I had to get away from that blundering fool who called himself a headmaster.”
Hermione tried not to look hurt by his words. “That blundering fool just so happened to be the greatest man that ever lived.” She said boldly, her eyebrows furrowed in anger.
Draco rounded on her, knocking down a tall candelabrum with his hand. “Lord Voldemort was the best man that ever lived, until Hero Potter had to go and kill him!” Anger flashed in his dark, fierce eyes.
Hermione shrank back, away from the fury emanating from the man that had become so distant to the world. She kept herself from saying anything else, watching as he calmed down slightly and turned away from her yet again.
He proceeded to sweep off down the corridor, and Hermione followed cautiously.
“Why are you here, Granger? I thought I got rid of you long ago.” He had reverted back to his old ways.
She inspected the back of his silvery-blond head. They turned into an even darker dungeon room, and Hermione glanced around. “So this is where you’ve been reduced to?” She asked, delaying her reply to his question.
Draco ignored her as he swept up onto a new level and sat before a blazing fire of dark flames.
Hermione sighed and sat next to him, leaning forward in the seat. It was now or never. “I need to talk to you, Draco.” There. She said it. It was out.
Draco avoided her eyes. “What is it this time, Granger? I’ve left you alone. I’ve stayed away from you even though I didn’t want to. What more could you possibly want?” His voice was cold, and Hermione didn’t blame him in the slightest for feeling bitter toward her.
She burned the side of his head with her gaze until he faced her, his eyes empty and emotionless. “I need a favour.”
Draco stared at her, not a single word leaving his mouth. She waited in anticipation for his reaction, hoping it was not one where he ended up throwing her out for good. She had long ago ruined any chances of him trusting her again, but things had changed in the past three years. At least she hoped they had.
“And why would you, the great Hermione Granger, need help from someone like me?” His voice was cold again, and Hermione winced.
She stared at him for a moment longer before replying, “Because you’re the only one who can.”
“What about your precious Potter?”
Hermione narrowed her eyes. “This has nothing to do with him. I made the mistake of getting you two involved three years ago, but I certainly won’t make that mistake again. This is between you and me only this time, and if you can’t live with that, then I guess I’ll just have to leave.” Her voice did not waver in the slightest this time.
Draco’s reply was delayed, “I’m not stopping you from leaving, Granger –” there was a pregnant pause –“You walked out of my life once, and I’m sure I won’t fall to pieces if you do it again.”
Hermione couldn’t believe this. “Don’t make this about us, Draco.”
“I was only doing what you did.”
Standing abruptly to her feet, Hermione stormed over to the fireplace and pulled from her pocket a small ring. She held it over the blazing hearth, the heat of the flames licking near her hand. “I don’t want to have to do this, Draco.”
Draco didn’t move. “I’m sure you won’t,” he said confidently. “When I gave that to you, you never took it off. You wore it for an entire year, Granger. I know you won’t throw it.”
Hermione observed him, hating how he could be so calm. She hesitated, pulling her hand away from the fire and stuffing the diamond band into her pocket. “I need a favour.” She repeated.
Draco seemed amused as he stood to his feet, coming to rest before her. He gently eased his hands around her wrists and spun her around so that her back was facing him. He pulled her body into his and draped his arms around her waist. “Give me one reason why I should help you.” He whispered into her ear from behind.
She shuddered at his touch, the feeling familiar after years of being deprived from it. “I know you will help me. You always do.”
Draco said nothing as he rested his chin at the nape of her neck and gripped onto her hands, trailing them up her body and feeling her grow tense. She had always loved the way he did this to her – made her feel void of any sanity – and he sensed that even though times had changed, she still did.
Hermione tried to contain herself as pleasure filled her body. “I love Harry.” She whispered the words as if they meant the world to her, and just saying them assured her they were true, and she no longer felt anything toward the man that had once made her life heaven.
Draco immediately froze. Seconds later, he slid his hand into her pocket and pulled out the glinting ring he had given her as a vow of his love all those years ago. He inspected it, and felt her head move to get a good look at what he was doing. She wanted to protest, but refrained herself.
“You belong to me, Granger,” Draco said in a husky voice. “Whether you like it or not.” He unexpectedly slipped the ring onto her finger, and it immediately glowed blood red. Hermione gasped as the light proceeded to cast itself around her entire body, and Draco stepped back, coming to stand before her again.
He then placed his lips onto hers, ensuring she couldn’t escape. The familiar tingle of his kiss filled her body once again, and it was hard for her to stop. She was being unfaithful to Harry. She loved Harry, yet here she was kissing the man she had vowed to herself she would never get involved with again. What had become of her?
Draco then pulled away, and the light instantly faded from around Hermione. “You belong to me.” He whispered into her ear.
Hermione’s heart fell. She felt betrayed. She knew the spell he had used was one that bound him to her, no contracts needed, and the only means of escape for her was to do what he wanted. There was no way she would ever be able to commit such terrible crimes she knew he would have in mind. She was bound to him for good – she belonged to him.
“I can’t believe you . . .” she whispered, her voice scarce.
Draco laughed bitterly. “There’s nothing else left for you, Granger,” he said, amusement dancing in his eyes. “Now there’s something I want you to do.”
Hermione glared into the eyes of the man she had once trusted so blindly. “What?” She spat venomously, knowing there was no way she could back out of doing what he asked of her. She was his property.
Draco smirked, twisting the ring around Hermione’s finger.
“What’s troubling you, Hermione?” Harry asked as he rolled over onto his side to face her.
Hermione raised her eyes to his and sighed. “Nothing’s troubling me.” She lied, rubbing her eyes wearily.
Harry placed his fingers under her chin. “Hermione, I know when something’s wrong so don’t bother trying to hide it.” He said softly but sternly. His green eyes flickered with silent concern.
Hermione looked away and felt Harry’s fingers leave her chin. The warmth she had felt when his skin had been in contact with hers ebbed away as soon as it had come. She didn’t like lying. Especially to Harry.
But what was she to do? She had been bound to Draco, and nothing could stop him from punishing her if need be. He could even punish Harry if he wanted to. What was she to do?
She shifted slightly on the bed and came to rest her head on her elbow, facing Harry once more. She smiled slightly and placed her hand on his cheek, trailing it down to his neck. “Harry,” she whispered.
Harry placed his lips on hers in a soothing embrace and she willingly kissed back.
But then her mind clicked on and she pulled away.
“Hermione?” Harry asked, confusion and worry apparent in his voice.
Hermione avoided his eyes as she tried to hide the ring that remained stuck to her finger. “I’ve done something terrible. Something I can’t get myself out of. Something we can’t get out of.” A tear sidled down her cheek as she said this.
Was she really following through with the sick and twisted plan that had been set before her? Was she really so selfish as to ruin Harry’s life just to save her own.
No, she assured herself, I’m doing this to save Harry.
Harry looked shaken. “Hermione, what’s going on?” His voice was soft and concerned.
Hermione stifled a sob that had appeared in her throat out of nowhere. Could she do this without breaking down? Could she follow this through without ruining any chances she had left?
“I don’t . . . I don’t love you anymore.”
The words as they left her mouth felt like sandpaper scraping against her throat. Her mind was racing, and her heart was beating out of her chest.
Harry looked heartbroken. “I don’t believe you.”
Hermione tried to stay strong, and with the tears threatening to pour like a waterfall, she knew that wouldn’t be easy. She took a deep breath. “Believe me, Harry.”
Harry shook his head. “I don’t believe you,” he repeated. “I won’t believe you.”
Hermione sniffed, keeping her eyes open in fear of the tears escaping against her will. “I’m sorry, Harry.”
Harry sat up in bed. “What about these three years we’ve spent together? Do they mean nothing to you?” he took a deep, shaky breath. “Do we mean nothing to you?”
Her face scrunched up, Hermione couldn’t help but let a tear fall. “Not anymore,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry.”
Harry shook his head, disbelief on his handsome face. But within seconds, she was in his strong arms and he was kissing her like there was no tomorrow. He wouldn’t stop, and Hermione couldn’t resist. She kissed him back with as much passion as she could muster, wishing there was a way she could show him just how much she loved him. Words couldn’t describe how she felt about him, and even the kiss they so urgently shared didn’t sum it up.
“Harry,” she breathed as he continued to ravish her mouth with his own. She placed her hands on his neck and groped for more pleasure. She wanted – needed – more.
There was suddenly the slamming of a door, and both Harry and Hermione’s heads turned toward the entrance of their bedroom. Hermione gasped at the sight.
“What in the Dark Lord’s name are you doing?” Draco shouted, enraged.
Hermione began to sob. She slipped off the bed and fell to Draco’s knees. “Please, Draco! I didn’t mean for that to happen!”
But Draco showed no mercy. He threw her away from him and seized Harry up by the arm. “Be expecting a letter sometime soon, Granger!” he said coldly, anger in his voice. “You’re coming with me, Potter.” And in an instant, they were gone.
Hermione screamed. “No!”
Hermione’s whole body shook as she stared from the envelope on the table to the steadily darkening sky outside. She paced the length of the large room, unsure of what to do. She didn’t know what she would find in the letter. She didn’t want to know. She was too afraid.
She reached forward to grasp it in her fingers, but her hand dropped before it even came close. She couldn’t keep hesitating like this. She was costing Harry his life every second she spent reluctantly pacing the empty common-room. But was she ready to see what was inside? Was she ready to read her fate on parchment?
She shook her head, folding her arms across her chest. She strode over to the window and peered out over the grounds to the cemetery. She could see nothing through the pitch blackness, not knowing how safe she would be if she suddenly went down there to save the man she loved.
She glanced back over her shoulder at the neglected envelope. She pressed the base of her hand to her eye, and contemplated just picking it up and getting it over and done with. But with every second she convinced myself she could do it, another excuse popped into her head and stopped her. She was left to argue with herself, to force her body to move.
But she didn’t have enough will power.
She wasn’t strong enough. Harry was the one that kept her brave and fighting on, but without him by her side, she was weak. She may as well be a vegetable.
But picturing his potential lifeless form in her bruised mind, she knew that in order to save him she had to be strong. But what horrors did the letter contain? What had been concealed from her that she was about to find out? What was preventing her from facing my fears?
There was no other explanation for it. Ever since he had found out about her love for Harry, Draco had become the only source of her pain. Harry wondered why she let him emotionally hurt her like that, why she stood by and let it happen. Didn’t he think she didn’t ask herself that same question everyday since it started?
Sometimes she thought that things would have been better if she had just kept stayed with Draco. Things wouldn’t have been so complicated that way. But then she told herself she was stupid, and that if she had never let herself go from Draco, she wouldn’t be the person she was today.
When they had been together three years ago, Hermione had been so happy. He had caused her to lust after him with no means of escape. She had felt so passionate toward him, and the way he made her feel had just been unreal.
But then things had changed. He had changed. Hermione didn’t know him anymore. Hermione didn’t know if he even knew himself. And that was where everything had fallen apart, and she had gone running back to Harry. Harry had helped her through her time of need, and she had eventually fallen for him, head over heels.
She still couldn’t shake away her love for Draco. Nothing would ever do that. But she needed to move on the from the life that could have possibly killed her. And now she had to move on from the life that could possibly kill Harry.
Hermione numbly rubbed her tired eyes as she stared at the envelope. She sighed. It was now or never, and never was just not an option for her.
She reached out a shaking hand, and was going to grasp it in her fingers, when the door burst open, causing her to jump away from the table. It was dark, so she could not see at first, but as the figure emerged from the shadows the light of the fireplace had not reached, she let out a breath of relief. A mane of red hair.
“Ginny,” she whispered.
Ginny stopped before her, her eyes full of sympathy. She then glanced at the envelope on the table and picked it up in a steady hand. She then handed it to Hermione, giving her an encouraging nod.
Hermione took it from her, her heart beat picking up once again. “I can’t do it.” She told her squarely, staring at the linked, sloping writing that read, My love.
Without a word, Ginny lifted the sagging envelope further to Hermione’s body, and stared at her expectantly with her brilliant eyes. Hermione lightly smiled at her, happy to know she had someone in her life that knew what was right for her, but didn’t rub it in her face. Ginny didn’t need to tell her what to do, and she didn’t need to comfort her. Hermione already knew she could do that.
Taking a deep, calming breath, Hermione slipped her fingernail under the seal and slowly tore at it. Closing her eyes, she pulled out the tidily folded parchment, the envelope dropping to her feet. Her hands were shaking uncontrollably as she forced herself to open her eyes and read over the letter. Her heart was racing as she did this, and she was doubting whether it was strong enough to hold.
The letter slipped from her hand as soon as she had finished reading it and joined the envelope on the floor. “Merlin,” she breathed.
Ginny, who had been reading over Hermione’s shoulder, clasped Hermione’s hands in hers to comfort me. “We need to go down there. They’ll be killing each other, no doubt.” Hermione could tell she was panicking, although she hid it in her voice.
“I should never have put off reading it. It’s been half an hour since I first saw it. I’m such an idiot. One of them could be dead by now and it’s all my –”
“Hermione, hush.” Ginny said, dragging her across the large room by her hand. Hermione allowed her to lead her out onto the grounds, where they both stopped.
She turned to her best friend. “Ginny, I can’t let you come with me. This is something I have to do alone.” She said softly, a tear escaping her eye and winding its way down her rosy cheek.
Ginny shook her head. “I can’t let you do this alone. You could get killed.”
Hermione shook her head, her mind made up.
Ginny sighed, defeated. “Be careful down there, Hermione.”
Hermione pulled her into a brief hug. “I love you, Ginny. Thanks for being there for me.” She said sadly.
Ginny gave her a little nudge. “Go and save your boyfriend.”
Hermione smiled lightly before taking off at a run down to the cemetery. She didn’t want to know what she would find, and she was afraid that when she did, she was going to be inconsolable. And to think things had started off normally.
A tear slipped down Hermione’s cheek and came to rest on her outstretched hand. She glanced at the diamond band on her finger, the one that signalised who she belonged to. She felt betrayed, like everything she had ever worked for had been taken away from her.
She gazed into Draco’s mad eyes, and watched him as he breathed heavily, his wand still at Harry’s throat.
She clutched her ring finger as she slowly made her way toward Draco. He stared at her, wondering what she was doing. His confusion showed in his eyes, and as Hermione watched him, she knew there was nothing else she could do.
She stopped before him and placed her hands on his chest. “You don’t have to do this, Draco,” she whispered into his ear as she trailed her hands down his chest. “I know you’re better than that. You always were and you always will be.”
He said nothing, staring at her through empty eyes.
“What happened to the man I loved?” She asked him, placing her hand on the side of his head and running her fingers through his soft, dishevelled hair.
He gazed down at her, and she up at him. And that was when she pressed her lips against his, pulling his body close to hers. It wasn’t long before he kissed her back, and the two former lovers were caught in a whirlwind of emotions as they held each other under the piercing moonlight.
Hermione slowly pulled away. It was then that she saw Draco was crying. It was soft, not loud, and subtle, not distinguishable.
She pressed her lips against his again, and this time he willingly kissed her back. But it didn’t last long.
Hermione pulled away and gazed into his eyes. “There he is.” She whispered softly.
Draco’s eyes were now filled with love, shock, and hurt. He suddenly dropped his wand, and turned away from Hermione.
“Go!” he bellowed, covering his eyes with his hands. “Take him with you! Don’t worry about me! Go!”
Hermione quickly grabbed hold of Harry’s hand and led him up to the castle.
He stared into the fire, the flames reflecting in his blue-grey eyes and illuminating his tear-stained face. She watched him from the door to his lair, unable to find the words to say.
“I love you, Hermione.”
His voice startled her. She hadn’t realized he knew she was there. She slowly walked forward, watching as he continued to stare into the fire.
She knelt before him and took his face in her hands. He gazed into her eyes, giving her that look of love he had so often shared with her years before. “I never stopped.” He whispered.
Hermione pressed her lips against his, taking hold of his hands and squeezing them tightly. He kissed her back, not wanting the moment to end.
But it did, and he was forced to watch her leave. “Goodbye, Draco.” She said, and then she disappeared.
It was then that Draco noticed she had put something in his hand. He stared at it, and suddenly a wave of sobs overcame him. It sparkled before him, and reminded him of the times he had shared with Hermione.
The diamond-band ring.
Disclaimer: This story is inspired and loosely based on the movie The Phantom of the Opera and I take no credit for it whatsoever, except for small parts you may notice did not happen in the movie.