Chapter 11 : Trapped
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Desire and Demise
Fifteen minutes later, Draco came to a halt. He did not let go of Hermione’s arm, or turn around to look at her. Following his gaze, Hermione saw what appeared to be a ray of light slicing through the sheet of darkness covering them. Without warning, Draco pulled Hermione through another patch of trees, and this ray of light soon became a haze of rich color. Peering past Draco’s shoulder, an unexpected sight came into view.
There was a large stone structure, illuminated by the light of the moon, standing in the center of a wide open clearing that was lined with dense trees on all sides. A small pond had been carved into the earth directly in front of the structure; dark, motionless water almost like ink seemed to ward off all those who stumbled upon this spot. It was impossible to determine what was lurking near the bottom of the pond, if there was a bottom at all. For all Hermione knew, it was a bottomless crevice in the earth, leading straight down to the depths of the underworld.
The building itself seemed to be older than mankind. Deep cracks ran down the sides and ivy grew over every square inch of the wall facing the inky pond. Crumbling pillars strained to hold up a roof that was also in a terrible state of decadence. There was no door to speak of, only a low arch way which led the way into blackness.
“What is this place?” Hermione asked, half curious and half terrified.
Draco placed a long, thin finger against his lips and continued leading her towards the antiquated dwelling.
The two walked carefully around the eerie pool of water. More than once Hermione was overcome by a strong desire to jump headfirst into the motionless pond, but Draco’s grasp remained firm around her arm. That alone kept her from succumbing to the powerful dark curse hidden just out of sight.
He led her through the narrow archway, at which point Hermione had to bow her head for fear of smacking it against the cold, hard stone. The sound their feet made as they collided with the ancient stone floor of the building was all that could be heard as they walked, side by side, down a dark hallway. Hermione felt a wild sense of doom begin to creep up within her, and she inched closer to Draco. He didn’t seem to notice.
Hermione now knew that Draco was leading her closer and closer to an imminent death. Her worst fears were confirmed. He didn’t love her. He had never loved her. It was all just a conniving little game to gain her trust and, in the end, fulfill the order given to him by Voldemort.
Draco was leading Hermione directly to the darkest wizard ever to walk the face of the earth.
Draco took a sharp turn and pulled her through yet another archway. Once through, Draco came to an abrupt stop, but did not let go of her arm. Pitch blackness pressed against her eyes. Hermione knew something was going to happen to her, but she made no attempt to free herself. She had lost her will.
‘I was beginning to worry you would fail me, young Malfoy.’
These words seemed to burn themselves into Hermione’s mind. She hadn’t heard them, but yet there they were, dancing around in her skull. It was terrifying.
“Of course not, Master,” Draco responded, letting go of Hermione’s arm and dropping into a low bow.
‘Bring her to me.’
Hermione turned to look at Draco, her mind racing and her heart thumping. Surely he wasn’t going to just give her over to Voldemort… was he?
‘He doesn’t love you, remember,’ Hermione thought to herself before the familiar pressure of Draco’s grasp squeezed around her arm.
The fear clinging tightly to her stomach and the hurt lodged deep within her heart stole away Hermione’s will to fight back. As Draco led her through the deep blackness surrounding them, no doubt towards Voldemort himself, Hermione did not struggle.
Before she knew what was happening, Draco had thrown her forcefully to the ground and had taken several steps backwards. She had had no time to brace herself for a fall. Her knees slapped against the stone floor, as did her skull seconds later, and an immense pain seemed to shoot through her entire body. The pain would have been blinding had she been able to see.
As she felt herself slowly slide out of consciousness, seven words flickered into her mind:
‘Send word that Hermione Granger is dead.’
Hermione awoke, feeling groggy and confused. Blinding light completely enveloped her. Even after blinking several times, her eyes had not adjusted to the light.
“I’m dead,” she told herself. “I died and went to heaven. Voldemort killed me.”
With a shaky hand, Hermione slowly managed to pull herself up into a sitting position. Her entire body ached.
“If I’m dead, why do I feel like I’ve been ripped in half,” Hermione questioned, hoping God would swoop down and answer her.
“You’re not dead.”
Hermione looked up and a familiar face immediately came into view. Despite the fierce glare she was receiving, it was a comfort to see something that reminded her of the life that had been stolen from her that night she had been brought here. Wherever ‘here’ was.
“How long have I been here, Draco?” she asked, suddenly remembering waking up several other times and groping around for the food and water that had been set down beside her.
“Why am I still alive?” Hermione asked in a transparent voice.
“You have information we need.”
Draco’s tone of voice was cold and uncaring. He was sitting upon an old, wooden chair and staring down at her as though she were a disgusting bug squished upon the soul of his shoe.
“Harry,” Hermione whispered.
Slowly, the events of the past week and a half were coming back to her. She remembered now the first time she had woken up. It had been dark, and there were voices. She’d been asked if she knew where Harry was… what Harry was doing, but refused to tell them anything. That was when they had beaten her – smacked her hard across the face, kicked at her shins, wrung her tiny wrists.
This sequence of events had repeated itself again and again each time her eyelids had fluttered open. This was the first time she had awoken in peace.
“Potter,” Draco repeated, nodding his head slowly.
“I don't know where he is. So you might as well just kill me,” Hermione replied, turning away from the boy who had stolen all feeling from her.
“Have it your way,” Draco responded. “But I wouldn’t take anything for granted, Granger.”
“That threat was rather unnecessary, Malfoy. Don’t you think I’m already aware of the scarcity of food and comfort here? I’m being held captive by Voldemort, after all,” Hermione replied, her voice weak but sarcastic.
Draco did not respond. His lips curled into a scowl and he walked briskly out of the room.
Tears began slowly and silently, but soon evolved into loud sobs of despair. She hated being so cruel to Draco. She hated him for being so cruel to her. She hated being away from her friends, away from comfort, and wondering what was going through their minds now that she was presumed dead. But most of all, she hated the fact that she still loved Draco.
All those years of pretending to hate him had taken a toll on her. The love that she had refused herself to accept had welled up inside of her and exploded into a frenzy of hatred. But now that she had allowed herself to succumb to its wonderful embrace, now that she had finally given in to her feelings for Draco, he had deceived her.
When the tears had subsided, Hermione turned her attention towards the small plate of food and cup of water placed at her side. The old, moist piece of bread tasted disgusting, and the water wasn’t as transparent as it should have been, but the pangs of hunger forced her to consume both. After doing so, she felt worse than she had before, which she hadn’t thought was possible.
For a long stretch of time, Hermione drifted lazily between sleep and consciousness. Darkness began to steal away the light as day became night. But Hermione didn’t notice or care.
A stern voice ripped her from her slumber. Hermione didn’t bother sitting up. She remained sprawled across the ground, barely lifting her head to stare into Draco’s eyes.
“What is it you need?” Hermione asked, her eyes only half open.
“I need you to tell me what you know,” he told her. There was an urgency in his tone that hadn’t been there before.
“You’re not getting anything out of me,” Hermione repeated.
“I was afraid of that,” Draco said, his eyes falling from Hermione’s gaze. “I regret to inform you that this is your last chance to tell us willingly. Next time, we won’t be so kind.”
Hermione opened her mouth to respond, to ask him if he thought that the beatings she had received were ‘kind,’ but instead of words, a wave of vomit expelled from her and splattered over the floor. Her sleeve and hair were soon damp, having been in the direct path of the stream of vomit. The strong odor burned her nostrils.
“God, Granger. Are you sick, or are you purposefully trying to make me angry?” Draco asked, clearly annoyed.
It was possible that she was sick. After all, she hadn’t bathed in over a week, she’d been eating food that was filled with bacteria, and malnutrition had left her immune system far less capable to fight off intruders. Now that she thought about it, of course she was sick. If it was something unfortunate, it was bound to happen to her.
“I’m purposefully trying to make you angry,” was her bitter reply.
She proceeded to pull herself into a sitting position, leaning against the wall for support. Draco didn’t say anything at first. He merely stared at her with disgust as her entire body began to shake.
“You’re pathetic,” he said finally.
Hermione dragged herself towards the plate of food set before her as silent tears fell from her mud-colored eyes.
“I hope you didn’t think that would distract me from my intentions,” he said, crossing his arms against his chest.
“Certainly not. I’m not an idiot,” she responded quietly, forcing herself to eat the moldy bread that had been laid out for her. Now that her stomach had been emptied of its previous contents, she was that much hungrier.
Draco stood up and began pacing. Hermione couldn’t be sure what was going on in his head, but based solely on his expression, she guessed he was annoyed, but also terrified. Why he was terrified, she couldn’t be sure.
Hermione clutched at her chest. She felt her heart beat firmly beneath her ribcage, and knew that her life would never be the same… if she lived through this.
“It’s obvious you won’t listen to me,” Draco began, speaking more to himself than to Hermione. “So you leave me no choice. Next time you see me, I won’t be alone.”
Draco stopped pacing and slowly walked towards her. Her heart skipped several beats as he bent down and stared heavily into her eyes. For a split second, Hermione could see through those eyes and into his soul. She saw a love burning brightly through him; a love that he wanted so very badly to share with her, but couldn’t. He was a captive of Voldemort just as she was. But when that second was over, the window to Draco’s soul had closed and all she saw were two ice cold eyes staring back at her. That small glimpse into Draco Malfoy’s inner being faded away into the corners of her mind, and she couldn’t be sure whether it had been real or imagined.
“This is your last chance,” he said to her, grabbing her shoulders firmly.
The sudden pressure on Hermione’s shoulders caused her to drop the last bit of bread she had been holding. “Look what you made me do,” she growled at him, lunging at the moldy, and now filthy, piece of bread.
“Are you listening to me, Mudblood?” he asked, shaking her.
“I heard you the first time, and I told you that I don't know where he is. What makes you think I’ve changed my mind?” she responded coldly before blowing the dirt off of her food.
An agitated sigh issued from Draco’s mouth. “Fine then,” he began, pulling away. “Don’t get too comfortable.”
Hermione bit at her chapped lip, saying nothing. She longed to throw her arms around his neck and never let go. But before she had time to do so, he had exited the room with the swish of a cloak and she was alone again.
Author’s Note: And there you have it. Chapter eleven. I’ve got the rest completely done, so be expecting a new chapter as soon as the previous one is validated. And then comes the sequel!
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