Chapter 1 : Paramour
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“I told you... that’s it. It’s done.”
Hermione shook her head in disbelief. “Just like that?”
Draco’s fists were clenched. Yes. Just like that. He walked to the large bay window on the far side of the room. It was night. The moon was nothing but a small sliver in the sky above them. There were no stars. He braced his hands on the window beams and closed his eyes.
“So what is it we do now, Draco?” Hermione interrupted him. The firelight caught the corner of the large emerald set in silver on her ring finger and she looked away with mild disgust.
“I hope that stupid ring you put on her finger is so poorly made it turns it green,” her voice reached his ears. It was cold and whispery.
A shiver ran up his spine. Her presence was intoxicating. “We leave,” he said without turning around. “We need to leave as soon as possible.”
“You know what else? I hope when you're in her bed - in her arms-” he turned away from the sound of that voice, “you think of me.”
“No.” Hermione’s legs gave way beneath her and she settled onto the couch behind her. “How can you say that?”
Draco took a heavy breath inwards. They had to get out before things exploded here. They had to get out before they were caught and dragged back. Or rather, before he was caught. “We have no choice left, Hermione.”
“You know, I would never have thought of someone who wished horrible things on others,” that other voice said with mild amusement. She was settled on the settee on the other side of the room, across from Hermione. Her mouth was twisted in a sardonic smile. Her eyes looked sad and angry all at once. “but I don’t wish you well.”
“That’s cruel! Are you alright, Draco?” Hermione stood, looking at him peculiarly. Her arms were crossed against her chest and a frown weighted her brow.
He looked back to the settee but the girl had moved from that spot. He ran a hand through his hair. “I’m fine. We need to leave.”
“You said that once before. But we are not going anywhere until you answer me,“ she took a breath and then took the plunge. “I found one of the notes you tried to hide in your room,” she said after a moment of silence.
“Idiot," she mocked. "You kept them?” she was by the window, leaning casually against it, examining her fingernails. She laughed. “I burned yours.”
Draco turned abruptly. “I never wrote any letters. Not even to you,“ and then he added, “You went through my room? You were in there alone?”
Hermione’s fists clenched. “Apparently she was too. Although, most likely not alone.”
The girl across the room snorted in a very unladylike way.
“I can’t pretend like this anymore,” Hermione declared.
“Pansy and I are done,” he ground out. His eyes flashed with an emotion she didn’t recognize as he imagined his room: the sanctity. The door that led to his bathroom suite. Inside that bathroom was a large freestanding tub that had gold inlay and griffin claws for feet.
“I know that’s a lie!” Hermione cried in despair.
“Go ahead, Draco,” Pansy quipped from the fireplace. "Give her that answer you always gave me." The firelight danced in her eyes in an unusual way.
“Shut up!” Draco roared.
“Does it break your little heart to know I won't be here anymore?” Pansy asked. Her hair fell across her eyes on the left side. Her mouth pouted in a tight frown.
“Tell her, Draco! Tell her you don’t want to be with her!” Hermione demanded. She was standing across the room from him, her hair in a loose ponytail with a few wisps slipping out to breeze about her face.
“I told you I took care of it already, Hermione! Please stop,” he sank against the wall in defeat.
Hermione’s eyes remained cold. “Your solution is just to run away,” she said in horror. “You want to just run. How can I know that when we get wherever it is you want to run to, she won’t be there too?”
“I bet you will see my face everywhere you go. You will never scape me.” Pansy sat down on the couch between them. Unlike Hermione, her hair hung loose about her shoulders. It was so long it fell well past her shoulder blades. It was wet as if she had just gotten out of the shower. Draco’s stomach contracted.
“I hate her,” Hermione declared. “I hate what she is doing to us. I hate how you come to me when she turns you away.”
“It’s her own fault she is where she is,” Draco mumbled to his self.
“What?” Hermione asked, not having been able to hear him.
“My fault?!" Pansy jumped up from the couch, anger dripping off her in waves. “You knew exactly what you were doing! You knew it!” she cried in realization.
“Hermione,” Draco moved so fast she had no time to react before he had her firmly in his arms. “I got lost. What I really want is right here. Right now.”
“And Pansy?” Hermione asked in a low voice as her eyes cast about the room.
“He'll pull you in. You'll see. Then you will end up just like me." Pansy mocked. “I can see it in her face!” She was horrified. Her voice sounded pained. “She believes you!” She turned on her heel and disappeared like a wisp of smoke up the staircase as Draco’s lips fell with a crashing force on Hermione’s.
Pansy tore through his room in a hurricane of anger. She started on one side and made her way to the other pulling things off of shelves, toppling chairs, and ripping sheets of parchment. “If she really knows whats going on,” she stormed as she began pulling shirts from their hangers, "then she deserves every ittle bit of what she is about to get!” She made her way to the large trunk at the bottom of his bed and threw the lid back. Inside was a plethora of crinkled pieces of parchment and pictures. She reached in and grabbed a handful, throwing the contents of her fist onto the bed, which had been stripped of its sheets. As she went for another fistful, a flash of color caught her eye and she stopped to pick up the picture.
She ran her fingers over the image. Her eyes closed and she sank onto the bed. “She can be like a trophy snitch,” she said as she stared at the two of them, dancing across the photo. “You can mount her on the wall and stare at her expressionless face all day.”
She put one hand on each side of the photo and in a violent action ripped the photograph in half. “That bitch has no idea!” she cried as she grabbed a pile of photos from the bed and threw them in the air.
She picked up one of the crinkled notes, seeing it was addressed to Draco. She began to read, recognizing her brunette rival’s handwriting. “But when its her turn,” she said to the penned name at the bottom of the letter. “And you finish your game with her,” she laughed; a painful ripping from her throat that verged on tears. “You'll find yourself standing at the end of an empty road,” she crumpled the letter and made her way reverently to the fireplace. ‘Love Hermione’ it had said. “You can meet me there on the other side!" she cried as she thrust it into the flames. She made her way back to the trunk and sank to her knees as tears came to her eyes.
She took another picture out to find a startling blonde man staring up at her with a smirk. “I didn't keep your letters,” she cried to the occupant of the image. “Because I wanted your words! But you couldn’t say them to my face!”
Feeling she was getting nowhere fast she stood and grasped the trunk’s handles, hauling it towards the roaring fire. “Give me some answer that will take this pain away!” she mocked the contents of the wooden box as she tipped them over the hearth. “Make me be okay!”
“I’m in here!” Pansy called as she heard footsteps enter the room.
Draco entered the bathroom with a frown on his face. “What are you doing in my tub?”
Pansy smiled coyly at him, bubbles dripping off her body as she extended her arms to him. “Bathing,” she replied innocently.
He didn’t move forward. “We’re done,” he said coldly.
Pansy felt a rush of blood through her veins at his words. “What do you mean?” she whispered.
“It’s you or her. Hermione is threatening to leave me if I don’t leave you. I need her or the Order won’t accept me.”
“You’re going to leave me because that bitch told you to?”
“Did you hear me? If she leaves me then the Order will throw me out and the Dark Lord will kill me as I will have no further use to him.”
“I’ll tell,” she whispered to the bubbles.
“I’ll tell her what you are,” she threatened. “I’ll tell her you’re double crossing her if you leave me.”
“Shut up, Pansy. You and I both know those are empty threats,” he turned to the rod next to the sink and grabbed the towel draped there. He held it out for her to take. “Now get out of the tub and I’ll help you dry off.”
She didn’t move, her eyes glittering. “You’re not ending this: I am.”
“I said get out, Pansy,” his voice was low and rumbled in his throat.
“Do you think it will hurt-?” she asked as she absentmindedly played with the bubbles that were slowly beginning to pop and disappear.
“I don’t have times for your games. Get out now.”
“-when you realize that I'm not going to be here?” she continued, ignoring him. If he wanted to get under her skin, she’d get under his in the only way he had left her. She had so little power left over him to wield. “You won't forget me. You will never wash yourself of me.”
“I’m not besotted. You have your means, and that’s it. Get. Out. Of. The. Bath,” he was beginning to shake with the anger her defiance caused him.
She noted his reaction and played off of it. She knew she was toying with fire, but her heart was breaking, and she wanted to bring some emotion to life within him equal to the one within her. If that emotion was anger, so be it. “You know, this isn't my fault,” she reminded him, implying he should not be so upset over her reaction if it was what he truly wanted. He had, after all, said they needed to break it off.
“If you don’t get out now, you will regret it,” his voice was demonic.
“I can't help wondering, though,” she said quietly. "Why it is that I am the last one to know." There was no way out. There was no way she could meekly stand up and wrap herself in the towel he held out. No way she could let him lead her into the next room and fall onto his bed in his arms. Not now. “You knew,” she said, “exactly what you would do last night.” She was crying now. His excuses piling up in her mind. “You knew from the moment I slid under your sheets.”
“You’re making this difficult for no one but yourself.”
“She might believe you when you tell her,” her voice was nothing but a whisper as she raised her eyes and saw what was written in his. “But I will never let you go."
His hands were around her throat before she had the chance to register what was happening. He pushed her beneath the water. Never will I hear you. There was no fight left in her, the breath left her body with little difficulty. I won't miss you. She couldn’t push his hands away. I will not run to you She couldn’t break the surface of the water. Never.
His hands would not release from her throat. I won't kiss you. Bubbles erupted from her mouth as it opened in a scream and she sucked in water. I won't want you. All he saw was a searing white. I will never love you. He left her there, in that tub, one leg draped over the side, and ran, Never!
"Draco stop," Hermione pushed him away but he pursued her. He followed her all the way up the staircase that led to his room and then around his bed until she found herself cornered. She backed away from him and in doing so found herself against the bathroom door. He was coming closer and closer, a fire burning in his eyes. In order to get away she reached back and turned the doorknob, falling backwards into the bathroom.
The floor was wet. As she picked her hand up from the marble tile, water trickled off of it. The back of her jeans was soaked through. Draco stood before her with a look of horror on his face. She followed his gaze until it fell on the body floating in the water, black hair circling their face like mist, and screamed.
Draco grabbed her arm and hauled her from the bathroom, slamming the door behind them. He stalked to the fireplace. She remained still, tears brimming in her eyes as she stared at the monster that stood across the room from her.
“I’m going to walk out that door right now, and you will not stop me,” she said with as much courage as she could muster. Her voice was shaking.
“Like hell I won’t,” Draco grabbed for her arm.
She ripped it away from his grasp, her wand appearing in her hand. “Does it hurt?”
“Does what hurt?” he growled.
She moved, putting the couch between them. “Now that you know I won't be here anymore.”
“I’ll get over it,” he replied sarcastically.
“You will see my face everywhere. You will never wash yourself of me.”
“I’m not a lovesick puppy, Granger. Any woman would kill for one night with me.”
“One night is what killed me,” her eyes fell to the floor. “It was you,” she whispered. He had murdered Pansy.
“What was me?” Draco flopped onto the couch, propping his feet on the coffee table.
“I don't understand.” Tears sprung to her eyes. She almost couldn’t believe he was capable of murder. Almost. “Why was I the last to know?”
He envisioned Pansy standing behind Hermione, water streaming off her body.
“It wasn’t my fault,” he said calmly. “She threatened me.”
“You knew-” Pansy’s voice whispered in his ear.
He jumped as her icy breath danced across his skin. He looked around, but she was gone.
“I’m turning you in, Draco,” Hermione said as she grabbed her cloak from his bed. She couldn’t believe what she had witnessed.
“-exactly what you would do,” Pansy’s voice continued in his other ear. He turned in shock to find her sitting next to him on the couch, her hair dripping wet.
“Are you listening to me, Malfoy?” Hermione called to him from the doorway. She was looking right at the couch, but she didn’t see it. Draco turned back to look at Pansy, but no one was there. He jumped up from the couch and slowly backed away from it, running his hands franticly through his hair.
“Just go!” He yelled, his voice turned manic. He meant it towards Pansy, but Hermione, not seeing the demon in his mind, believed it was directed towards her.
“Have no doubt, I am,” she said. “Harry’s on his way. He was afraid for me to come over here to begin with after I told him I suspected you were cheating on me with her.” Hermione’s eyes closed in disbelief as the image of the body in the tub rose to her mind.
“Draco what I are you to do now?” This time the voice came from his feet. He looked down to find her curled up in a ball on her side, her eyes riveted on his. A pool of water about her, soaking his shoes. “They may believe you,” she hissed. “But I never will.”
“I didn’t do anything!” he yelled going into hysterics. “I had no choice! I was protecting myself! Protecting us!”
“They may believe you,” Hermione said. “But I never will.” She had seen the body. She had read the letters. They may think he did it to protect himself, but she knew better.
“I never will,” Pansy whispered in his ear. Her hand cold on his shoulder.
Hermione left the room, the door slamming behind her. He looked to the left, where the voice had come from, only to realize that no one was there. He looked down to his shoulder, where her hand had sat, only to find a large wet spot; water creeping down his arm.
No, never again.