Chapter 19 : Steeled Hearts
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CHAPTER 20: Steeled Hearts
“So, how did you get here?” Ron asked Pansy as he leaned against the open window of the abandoned town house. He rubbed his wrists together, feeling the small sores on them from when he had been trying to get away. He looked at the girl standing beside him, still slightly curious about what she was really up to.
He hated her. He could feel it in his blood. She was everything he was supposed to be. Yet, he was her polar opposite. She was royal, he was a traitor. She was a pirate, he was general. He was Ron Weasley. She was Pansy Parkinson.
She looked ragged and tired, he observed. He could tell that the strong pretense was exactly what it was: a pretense. She was exhausted. He could have assumed that she hadn’t slept in a regular bed for a while, and he would have been right.
“Well, I was on Malfoy’s ship, and I did something that the captain didn’t particularly like.” A corner of her lip lifted, and she tossed him a look. “So I got put in the brig. Technically, I’m not even supposed to be here. You killed me, as you--”
“I know,” Ron said, crossing his arms. “Hence my debt to you.”
Pansy gave a small nod. “Touche.”
For a moment, everything was silent. Their plan had been laid out. It was all just a matter of time before Draco came back, and then their plan could be set into motion. It was a devious plan, something that must have taken Pansy a while to cook up, Ron had mused. But then again, she ’s a Slytherin. It’s what they do.
“I got back to the castle, fuming, as you could well imagine. And well, I wasn’t to be admitted back into the game. I was hung as a pirate. By all rights I was out for good. I got sent back to my dormitories immediately, and as you can imagine, it got boring really quick.” She shrugged lightly. “So I wrote a letter to my parents the next day, and they sent me a vial of Dragon Blood. McGonagall was conveniently bed ridden the next day, and Snape let me back in. Simple, efficient--”
“Cunning, devious, and completely Slytherin,” Ron finished for her. “You all really aren’t as complex as you make yourselves to be.”
“It’s about time someone figured that out.” Pansy sighed, and pushed away from the window and walked back into the bare room.
“Your family is just a little messed up is all. You can’t help how you were raised.”
“I wouldn’t change it either,” Pansy shot back, suddenly defensive again. Story time was over, apparently. Ron didn’t question. He was at her mercy, and like they say, ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman, a Slytherin woman, scorned.’
Ron crossed his arms and looked her dead on. “If you want me to help you, you’re going to call me Ron. Yes, I killed you, and for that I deserve your wariness and respect. Of course, I would never ask you to call me Mr. Weasley. I think just ‘Ron’ should do.” His grey blue gaze met hers hardy.
She stared back for a moment, clenching her jaw. “Fine, Ronald," she gritted. "Happy, now?”
He grinned into her furious green eyes. “Yeah. I am.”
“You know you’re not really in the position to negotiate, right?” Pansy asked, voice angry.
“Yeah. I know that too.” Ron sighed. “You were saying?”
Pansy looked away from him for a moment to reach down into her pocked. She pulled out a little black box and looked up at him, a sudden, sly look creeping on to her face. She tossed the little box up into the air, and caught it nimbly.
“What is that?” Ron asked, looking pointedly at the box. It had to be something significant. Else wise, she wouldn’t be treating it like a bouncy ball. Slytherins, trying to be so… so…”Well,?” he asked, when she didn’t reply the first time.
Pansy smirked, lush lips curving. She had bait, he was a fish. This was just too easy….
“Now, Ronald, wouldn’t you just love to know?”
Hermione didn’t even have time to blink as Draco rushed towards her, a look of pure determination on his face. He wasn’t relaxed this time, he wasn’t playing around. This time, he really would kill her. He didn’t have any reason not to.
Hermione barely had time to deflect his blow as she danced away and her steel met his steel. She turned around, arm throbbing, and took a lunge at him, but immediately she knew: she was on the defensive.
Her hair flew into her face: That wasn’t good. She couldn’t afford any distractions, none. So, I’ll have to make some for him. It was the only way to get even. She needed to get him somewhere so that she could put her hair up.
She almost laughed at the absurdity. Here she was, worried about her hair, when there was a bastard who wanted to kill her right in front of her. How girly.
She side stepped another blow warily and slashed back, biting her lip. They twirled backwards, meeting shoulder to shoulder, blades above their heads, almost like they were dancing.
For a moment, they just stared into the others eyes. His lips lifted into a grin. “You know, I never thought I’d find you again.”
Hermione narrowed her eyes and broke the hold of their swords above and slashed towards his stomach. “Yeah,” she gritted sarcastically as she fended off another of his impossibly strong blows. “I missed you, too, obviously.” Her tone was sarcastic.
“No, really,” Draco answered, his stance becoming more relaxed. That wasn’t good at all. He was at his best like this, Hermione reasoned. Draco just lifted his lip in a smirk at her and kept going, “It was pureblood luck that you were just sitting there,” he stepped back from a blow to his shoulder and deflected it, sparks flying into the air, “like the little Mudblood duck that you are.”
“Stop,” Hermione said quietly, slashing at him, “calling me,” she rushed at him again, cutting a hole in his shirt, “a Mudblood!” She spat, catching his sword at the hilt.
“Let me think about that,” Draco said, freeing his sword with a strong twist, “Hmm...No.”
Hermione bit her lip and cut at him again. Suddenly, their maneuvers were speeding up, leaving no time for chit chat. She dove in, weaving, twisting, trying to find that one opening that would allow her to have him at her mercy…
Draco twisted away from her biting steel. He wasn’t scraped yet, and he didn’t want that to change any time soon. His brow furrowed slightly as the pace picked up. She wasn’t leaving him any time to insult her… Pity. It was just so much fun. He blocked another of her blows, noticing that the more that she stayed on the offensive, her lunges got weaker…
He stepped away for a moment; he could feel the sweat beading on his back. He looked at her with a smirk. “Take a second to catch your breath, Granger. I’m not ready for you yet.”
Hermione narrowed her eyes; sweat was beading on her forehead. She could feel it waiting to trickle into her eyes. She reached up and wiped it off. “I don’t need a respite.”
Draco lifted a perfect blonde brow, that disappeared into his long bangs. “Well, I’m giving you one. So deal with it.”
Hermione shot him a glare, and took his ’gift.’ Keeping her peripherals on him, she looked around, listening to the yells, the metallic twang of cutlass hitting swords, gunshots, cannons… Yet she and Malfoy had their own little circle. She looked at the point of her fury: Draco Malfoy stood before her, skin shining slightly in the smoky air. His white blonde hair was mussed. It had grown since the last time that she had seen him, hanging into his now, hot grey eyes. His face seemed to have gotten slightly more hollow, his cheekbones more pronounced. His lips were twisted into that smirk as a snake of anger reared up in her body. She didn‘t think before she spoke this time, she just let it all out….
“I hate you,” Hermione whispered into the air, honey eyes narrowed. “I don’t know why I put up with you. I hate your smirk, your stupid blonde hair, your ridiculous pureblood standards, your name. Where I’m concerned, you’re just another extra, here to torture me to death.”
Suddenly, his good mood vanished. Here he was, looking forward to a fight… And now he thirsted for one. His blood roared through his veins, the scar in his back was throbbing lightly. “If you hated me so much, you would have shot me in the cabin.”
His cold, calm voice cut to her soul.Something about it confused her. It didn't make any sense... "You're wrong," Hermione said and then raised a brow, mouth twisting in a sneer. “I would have shot you gladly, had Parkinson not beat me to it.”
Draco took a step towards her, their circle going with them. His eyes were gauged on hers, refusing to let go. He held her in a virtual cage, and he wasn’t going to unlock it for just a moment. This moment was his. “You know what, Granger? I don’t think you would have,” He said, eyes still locked with hers. “You’re too nice to have done that.”
For a moment, he thought he had her pinned. Her personality, her very essence. He thought he had corked up in a little genie bottle; his to do with what he wished. His delusions were broken in sheer milli-seconds when he felt a sharp heat blossom on his arm. He felt the blood trickling down his arm before he saw it. “Why you little witch!” Draco hissed at her, after looking at the cut. It was deeper than he expected it to have been. She had really hurt him; she drew his blood.
“I just wanted to see if your blood was pure,” Hermione hissed, jaw clenched. “But I can see that--”
“Shut up," Draco rasped, stepping up to her and grasping her arms, blade against her arm, pointing up into the air. “You want to fight, Granger?” He asked her, cool breath fanning her face. He grasped her tighter and shook her violently. “Do you?”
Hermione struggled to keep her eyes on his as he shook her. She narrowed her honey eyes as she watch his lips ask a question. “Do you?” Hermione retorted, struggling to get away. She jerked one arm free, and then pried his fingers away with her free hand and freed her other arm.
He stepped back from her and put his sword in front of him, eyes dangerously cold. “I won’t show any mercy this time.”
“Mercy?” Hermione barked out a laugh. “You don’t even know what that is.”
He tapped her sword with his. “By the time I‘m through with you, you’re going to wish that I did.”
Steel flashed in the air, sparks flew from the clang, fleeing the sharp, deadly steel. They danced around each other, parrying one for one, a block for any attack. They were relentless, moving in a blur, so fast that it was hard to know exactly what was going on.
Hermione did her best to keep her eye on his moving steel. His fighting was so unconventional. He had no particular style, stuck to no particular rhythm. He was dangerous, unpredictable, but he was smooth as a snake. The thought made her grin slightly, but that little bit of amusement was lost in his next attack.
His blade roared after hers, and before she could help it, she made an opening. She cried out as his steel sank into her elbow. She bit her lip till it bled and leaned backwards to find that she was right in front of the mast. She leaned back into the wood and looked at Draco, who was standing there, face not even flushed. A cold, merciless sneer was perched on his lips. Merciless.
He took a step forward, an insult on his mouth, but it stopped. He watched as she slowly, painfully, with a gasp, transferred her sword from her right hand to her left. He watched her bite her lip as a small tear fled from the corner of her eye… She wouldn’t..
Hermione closed her eyes for a moment, to compose herself, to separate herself from the pain in her arm. She couldn’t let it stop her. She willed herself to carry on. She braced the sword in her left arm and got ready to fight. “Bring it on, Malfoy,” she said with strength. She wasn’t going to let him beat her. But he saw the length of steel that she held in her hand waver…
Hermione looked him in the eye, knowing that she was toast, yet trying to be ignorant of that fact. She held the cutlass as steady as she could, trying to distract him and make up a plan… quickly. Her eyes locked with his. His grey eyes were indecipherable, his brows furrowed in an expression that she couldn’t decipher. Then, he was a blur. In a movement that she barely registered, he pulled his wand from inside his coat and pointed it at her elbow. A spell flew from his lips.
Hermione cried out as heat licked the cut that he had given her. She felt the skin sewing itself back together. The muscle mending. She bit her lip as the fire raced through her elbow.
“Now, put your damned sword in your fighting hand, and fight me,” Draco snarled, hitting her sword from her dumb left hand and to the ground.
“Why are you doing this?“ Hermione asked. There was no reply. His grey eyes cut into hers, unreadable.
A rush of fear flooded through Hermione’s person. What lengths would he go to kill her on fair terms? Keeping her eyes on him, she bent down warily and picked up her sword. She was barely upright as his sword came crashing down towards hers.
Hermione hastily blocked his, and leapt back, only to be attacked again. Block, block, block, block. Hermione kept on blocking, on the defense. His sword was a blur, she could barely see it coming until it was almost too late. He had already slashed of lock of her hair from her face, which made her slightly angry, and caused her to slash his shirt open, making a small scratch. Unluckily for her, she also bared alot of his chest.
So much for trying to create distractions for him. She was singlehandedly bringing herself down.
Hermione reared back as a cannon crashed into the deck behind her. She flailed out luckily, and blocked a blow that was aimed for her neck. She regained her footing and cut for him, her first offensive move in the last twenty. And he slashed it away as if it was just a mere fly on his Sunday breakfast. She slashed again, this time forcing him backwards. She had been on the defensive for ages, it was his turn.
With every step she took, their moves were getting faster, more complex, harder to keep up with. She shook her hair from her face, and closed in for the kill. Block, Slash, Block, Cut…. Sweat beaded down her back, tickling her back. How much longer can we do this? Hermione thought, catching another blow.
He didn’t even wince as her sword cut a hole in his shirt: turnabout seemed to be fair play. He sidestepped on of her blows, and with a risky move, he stepped closer and wrapped his sword around hers, bringing them hilt to hilt. “You can’t win, Granger.”
Hermione narrowed her eyes onto his. “You’re delusional.”
They glared into each others eyes for one, long, heated moment. His eyes traced her features. He was so close that he could see the honey flecks in her wide eyes, the freckles adorning her little nose. Sheer determination in the form of sweat made her hair stick to her forehead. She was breathing hard, he noticed, and so was he. Later he wouldn’t remember if it he wanted to, or if was impulse: his eyes narrowed on her parted lips, and suddenly, he was on fire…
Hermione breathed hard, keeping her eyes locked on his, refusing to submit, when his cold gaze left her eyes cruelly, and lowered to her mouth. NO! Hermione thought angrily. He is not going to distract me like this again! With a loud yell Hermione pulled back her sword just as he slashed his own away in suprise.
There was a breath of a moment that passed, and then, staring each other in the eye, they dove for the other’s heart. Time stopped in their little circle. It seemed that all of the sudden, the noise stopped, and all eyes were on them.
Hermione glared at him over the piercing metal that he stabbed in her breast. The pain was threatening to engulf her body in white hot flames. He glared back, blood seeping down the front of his shirt, her steel biting at his heart. Neither of them let go of their handles. With an estranged cry, Hermione pushed forward, determined that he died first. He would have none of it. Without wincing as the sword pushed further through his body, he stepped for ward, shoving his own through her heart and twisting it. "Scream my name, Granger."
"No," she gasped, trying to hold on to her consciousness.
He twisted it again. "Scream."
"Never," Hermione bit back at him, looking him in the eye. He twisted it some more.
Hermione gasped in pain, eyes going hazy. He took a further step, until they were chest to chest, and their hands were touching where they hand their sword handles and he twisted his free arm around her waist and pulled her even closer, watching as the tears formed in her eyes, and angrily, he watched her force them back. She shoved her handle in even more, hoping he would just disappear, but it didn‘t happen. Tears didn’t even form in his eyes. He was a cold, ruthless, heartless statue, and his cold grey eyes threatened to hold her forever in their frigid embrace. One last try, Draco thought, ignoring his own pain. He twisted it just a bit, but she didn't even wince. She just raised a brow at him.
Neither said a word, they just locked furious, scolding gazes, refusing to budge. Just when Hermione thought that she had no more strength, she felt him waver as well. His grey eyes possesed a storm of heat that she didn't understand; his gaze bored into hers. But she didn't give in. She wouldn't.
He glared into her eyes, furious at her refusal. He needed to hear her say his name. He had to hear it. Just once. "Say my first name, Granger."
"I won't let you win. I can't. " She conveniently didn't say his name. Never would again, and he knew it.
Then, with hands still on the sword that impaled the heart of the other, they disappeared together in a striking flash of blue.
A/N: ~Love, your very own pirate cupid, me. Happy Valentines!
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