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Chapter 1 : As the Rain Falls
| ||Rating: 12+||Chapter Reviews: 20|
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The blue sky was flecked with clouds, but the horizon line was an angry dark gray. A warm wind rustled the trees in the park as Hermione Granger sat calmly on a picnic table, a nostalgic look on her face.
How did it come to this? she thought sadly, reflecting on the past few months of her life.
The hallways of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were dark. Hermione stormed past slumbering portraits and creaking suits of armor, heading for the Room of Requirement. She needed a place to vent: to scream and cry and let out all the emotions that were plaguing her. She couldn’t stand to see Ron and Lavender hanging on one another anymore. She’d had enough.
As she walked past the blank stretch of wall for a third time, a door appeared. Grabbing the handle, she pulled it open and stepped inside.
But someone else was already there.
Her eyes locked with Draco Malfoy’s and he raised his wand, but Hermione was faster. She disarmed him and caught his wand as it flew in an arc towards her.
“What are you doing here, Malfoy?” Hermione asked, noting that he wasn’t wearing his school uniform. She tried not to shudder as her eyes fell on his exposed arm: the Dark Mark shown black against his pale skin.
He’s going to kill me… she thought desperately, glancing behind her at the door.
“Get out,” Draco replied coldly, but Hermione saw a flicker of fear behind his eyes.
“What are you afraid of?” she asked, ignoring his command.
“I said, get out,” Draco replied, advancing on her. Hermione began to shake. His wand dropped from her limp hand and she raced from the room.
Every shadow seemed like an enemy as Hermione sprinted to Dumbledore’s office. She no longer cared about getting in trouble for being out after hours; she needed to see the headmaster.
The gargoyles seemed to understand her urgency and leapt aside as Hermione ran towards them. She took the revolving steps two at a time and pounded on the door to Dumbledore’s office.
“Headmaster! Professor Dumbledore!” she called, panic distorting her voice.
The door was thrown open and the professor ushered her in.
“What seems to be the problem, Miss Granger?” he asked, taking a seat behind his desk and surveying her with mild curiosity.
“Sir, it’s Draco Malfoy. He’s a Death Eater,” Hermione replied, panting and trying to catch her breath.
“Hermione, are you aware that Harry has been trying to tell me this all term?”
“Yes, sir. I didn’t believe him either, but I’ve seen the Dark Mark. I swear to you, I have…” Hermione trailed off as Dumbledore held up a hand.
“I know, Miss Granger. I’ve known since the moment Draco was inducted into Lord Voldemort’s army.”
“What? Sir, you have to do something, he’s--”
“Please, swear to me that you won’t tell a soul what you’ve learned. I need you to trust that I am dealing with the situation and that everything will be fine.”
Hermione nodded reluctantly and turned to leave.
“I’m sorry to have bothered you, sir…” she murmured.
“It is not a problem, Miss Granger; now run along to bed.”
Hermione blinked back tears. Dumbledore had been wrong. Things hadn’t turned out fine. Death Eaters had invaded the castle and killed the headmaster. Nothing would ever be “fine” again…
A bird flew overhead on its way home to its nest and Hermione fell back into her memories.
An owl swooped down on the Gryffindor table well after the other post owls had left, dropping a small note in front of Hermione.
She blinked, confused. Lifting it, she looked around to check if anyone had seen the mysterious delivery. Luckily, it seemed that the students were still too tired to notice much of anything.
She unfolded the slip of paper and read:
Meet me by the Quidditch Pitch at the beginning of dinner tonight. I have some things to explain to you. Please come alone. I swear on my family’s name that you won’t be harmed.
It wasn’t signed. Yet, Hermione knew exactly who had sent the note and she began to shake at the prospect of being alone with him.
She just wouldn’t go. She would eat in the Great Hall and be safe.
However, she knew she needed to go. She knew that she needed to hear what he had to say. Pocketing the note, she left for her first lesson.
The day passed like molasses, Hermione’s mind never far from the note weighing heavily in her pocket. She had decided that there was no way he would try anything on school grounds. She knew she would be at least semi-protected from harm.
As dinner began, Hermione excused herself from her friends, pretending she needed to visit the library. She left the Great Hall and hurried out of the castle and towards the Quidditch Pitch. As she reached it, a silhouetted figure nodded to her and set off around the far side of the pitch, clearly expecting her to follow. Hermione’s eyebrows knitted together and she reluctantly set off after the figure.
Several minutes later, she caught up to him in the shadow of a large tree.
“What’s the deal, Malfoy?” Hermione hissed, clutching her wand in her pocket.
“You haven’t told anyone,” he accused in response. Hermione stiffened and didn’t reply. The cool night air rustled the leaves of the tree, but all else was silent.
“Say it,” Draco whispered. “Ask what you want to.”
“What do you mean?” Hermione asked, confused again.
“Ask why I became a Death Eater. Ask why I haven’t killed you.”
Hermione closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
“Are you okay?” she asked in reply.
The shadows played across Draco’s features as he glared at her.
“Why do you care? I’m a Death Eater.”
“Malfoy…I don't think you're like the other Death Eaters…you’re too young to be,” Hermione said tentatively.
Draco’s hand lashed out and grabbed her wrist.
“You don’t know anything about me,” he hissed.
Hermione forgot about her wand. She was terrified.
I knew I shouldn’t have come…she thought desperately. Suddenly, Draco released her, his shoulders drooping.
“I’m sorry, Granger. I didn’t mean to act like that,” he muttered.
Bewildered, Hermione took a step back, massaging her wrist.
“Please don’t leave…” Draco said, his eyes pleading, “You know what I am…you’re the only one that knows. I need to talk to someone.”
Hermione nodded uncertainly and sat beneath the tree, leaning her back on its broad trunk and cursing her Gryffindor courage.
“Talk Malfoy. I’m listening,” she said, patting the ground beside her. Slowly, Draco sat down and began to talk.
“I’m afraid to die…” he murmured.
That was the first time Hermione had ever spoken to a Death Eater as if they were equals. She doubted that she would ever understand why Draco Malfoy hadn’t just killed her on the spot or at least modified her memory.
He’s so young… Hermione thought sadly, swinging her feet below the table. So young and so scared…I wish I could have helped more…
It had been several weeks since she had first spoken to Draco by the Quidditch Pitch. They had been meeting in secret to talk, and when another note was delivered during breakfast, Hermione was nervous and excited.
Tonight, Room of Requirement, nine o’clock
She sighed and pocketed the note as she did every time one was delivered. She was getting used to meeting with Draco. She wouldn’t say they were friends, exactly, but they had an understanding. Hermione had spoken to the headmaster again and he had assured her that meeting with the young Death Eater might help him to rethink his decisions.
So nine o’clock came and Hermione snuck to the Room of Requirement.
She moved quickly, darting around corners and hiding in alcoves. It wouldn’t do her any good to meet Filch or Peeves on her way to see Draco. Finally, Hermione reached her destination and slipped into the secret room. Draco was already there, sitting on a couch in front of a roaring fire with his head in his hands.
“Draco?” she asked tentatively, approaching him. He didn’t respond.
When Hermione reached the couch, she sat beside him and put a hand on his arm.
“Draco, are you all right?” she murmured, gently pulling his hands away from his face. There were tears coursing down his pale cheeks and his eyes were rimmed in red.
“No, Hermione. I’m not all right…” he replied, his voice hoarse, “I can’t do this…I don’t know how else to handle this…he’ll kill my family…”
Hermione was used to Draco’s ramblings. She knew he wouldn’t explain what he meant, so she just soothed him with soft coos.
“Shh…it’s going to be okay, Draco…You aren’t in this alone. You can go to Professor Dumbledore if you need to…”
He glared at her, silently telling her not to try to make him ask for help. She nodded and put her arm around his shoulders, pulling him against her and comforting him. After a while, Draco stopped crying and pulled away from her grasp.
“Hermione…are we friends?” he asked suddenly.
Unsure of the answer herself, Hermione shrugged.
“Do you think we are?” she replied evasively.
“I think we could be,” Draco said, picking up her hand. “I think we should be.”
Hermione’s breath caught in her throat.
“I’m scared for you, Draco. I don’t know why. I don’t know what could hurt you, but I’m scared…” her voice cracked as she looked into his eyes. Tears pooled in her own eyes as she noticed the look of trust he rarely let show.
“Please don’t cry, Hermione…” Draco whispered, reaching up to wipe a tear from her cheek.
She took several deep breaths and attempted a smile.
“Think what everyone would say if they could see us now…” Hermione murmured.
“Exactly why they can’t know about this,” he replied. “I don’t think we need that sort of publicity.”
Hermione nodded and they lapsed back into silence.
Draco watched the girl beside him for some time, noticing every miniscule detail about her appearance, wanting to remember everything. As he gazed at her, Hermione’s eyes roamed the room, until they finally came to rest on his face. She smiled sadly and shrugged.
Draco was seized by an unknown feeling and reached up to brush a strand of hair behind Hermione’s ear. Their eyes were locked together and after a moment, Draco leaned towards her and lightly pressed his lips to hers.
Hermione gasped and backed away, her eyes frightened.
“I’m sorry!” Draco said hurriedly, standing up and retreating to the far side of the room. “I don’t know what came over me…you were just sitting there and I was confused and…I don’t know what happened. I’m sorry, Hermione, please don’t leave.”
Hermione sat where he had left her, a bewildered look on her face.
“Don’t apologize, Draco,” she finally said, standing and crossing the room to where he was. Now it was Draco’s turn to back up. He was legitimately scared that she was going to hex him...but she didn’t.
When Hermione reached Draco, she lifted her hand, pausing with it in the air in front of him. Tentatively, Draco placed his own hand against hers. Hermione closed her eyes for a moment, and when she opened them, she was smiling. She closed the short distance between them and hugged Draco tightly.
He was taken aback, but quickly placed his arms around her, hugging her back. After a moment, Hermione drew away and smiled sheepishly at Draco.
“Would you like to try that again?” she asked shyly. Draco smiled back at her and cupped her cheek in his hand.
Their second kiss was more tender and exploring than the first had been. Their lips moved slowly together and when they parted, they were both grinning ridiculously.
“So I take it that we are friends then, right?” Draco asked.
Hermione simply nodded and kissed him again.
Tears were dripping slowly down Hermione’s face. A cool breeze had begun, causing the wet trails from her tears to sting with the cold. She wished that night had never ended. She wished things hadn’t had to change…She wished he had never had to give her that letter…
The first night that Hermione and Draco kissed, he walked her back to Gryffindor Tower around midnight. After kissing her goodnight, Draco pulled a sealed envelope from his pocket.
“Hermione…” he whispered as he held her, “I have to give you something…”
He placed the envelope in her hands.
“This is very important. You can't open it yet, though…Please, promise me you won’t open it until the end.”
Hermione looked down at the paper. Her name was written in flowing calligraphy on the front.
“What do you mean, ‘the end,’ Draco?”
“Just…just promise me, okay?”
“I promise,” Hermione whispered, and threw herself back into his arms, holding onto him like he was her anchor to life.
“Good night, Hermione Granger,” Draco replied, kissing her forehead and disappearing into the shadows.
Hermione went to her room and placed the envelope in her bedside cabinet, putting it out of sight and out of mind. If Draco wanted her to open it at “the end,” she hoped she would have a long time to wait before then.
I never thought it would come to this… Hermione mused sorrowfully as the wind picked up and whipped her hair away from her face. She shivered slightly, her mind wandering back once more.
The Death Eaters were swarming through the castle. Spells were flashing everywhere, their multi-colored lights casting an eerie glow among the rubble of collapsed walls and caved-in ceilings.
Hermione was holding her own in the battle, but she was terrified. She hadn’t seen Draco among the students that were fighting. She was worried something might have happened to him.
Suddenly, Professor Snape darted past.
“It’s over!” he shouted before turning to disappear down another hallway. Hermione turned towards his voice in time to see Draco as Snape dragged him past. His pale face was streaked with dirt and his gray eyes were wide and frightened.
Oh no… Hermione thought as they passed. This was what he was afraid of…He knew this was going to happen…
Scared for Draco’s life, Hermione began to follow, only to be engaged in another battle with a Death Eater. She could only watch as Draco disappeared from her sight.
I left him… Hermione thought, her tears flowing even more freely now. I should have done something, but I didn’t…I left him…
The rain began to fall and patter around her in cold droplets. It was as if the sky was crying with her, for him. The sky was crying for Draco Malfoy.
My dearest Hermione,
At this point, I don’t know whether or not I’ve told you about my feelings. I planned to do so when we met in the Room of Requirement. I hope I told you…I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I hadn’t.
Assuming you know, then by now you also know about my part in the Dark Lord’s plan. You know that I was supposed to kill Dumbledore.
I don’t know if I succeeded in that either. Part of me hopes that I failed. However, if I did fail, I’m probably not alive while you read this. He would have killed my family, Hermione. You have to understand that. He would have hunted them down and killed them. I had no choice…
I’m so sorry for all the pain I must have caused you over the past year. And for all the pain I’ve caused for as long as I’ve known you. I don’t really know why I did it. I guess it’s just how I am…
I realize now that you aren’t the “Mudblood” I always thought you were. You found out my secret and you talked to me anyway. You found out what I was, but you were still willing to help me through the hard times that I’ve been dealing with all year.
I can never thank you enough for what you’ve done. I can never explain how much it means to me that you were there when I needed someone. If I’ve lived through everything…if I succeeded or somehow escaped…meet me. Please come to Renegade Park at one o’clock in the afternoon on June 29th. I’ll find some way to get there. I’ll make an illegal portkey or learn to apparate…or something. I promise I’ll be there…Please meet me.
Thank you again, Hermione. I’ll never be able to repay you.
Yours, through everything,
Hermione had cried for hours the first time she had read Draco’s letter. She couldn’t explain how scared she was, how worried she was, and how badly she needed it to be June 29th.
She had waited, and now the day had come. The park hadn’t been hard to find. Since she had passed her apparation test, she had been able to appear directly in the park and had been sitting on the picnic table since noon. It was nearly one o’clock now, and her anxiety and hopes that he would come had grown.
As if in answer to her prayers, Draco appeared.
He was mere yards from her when Hermione jumped off the table. The rain was still pattering around her as Draco closed the space between them and gathered her into his arms. Neither of them could breathe because of the tightness of their grips on one another.
“You know I can’t stay…” Draco whispered against her hair, his voice filled with sorrow.
“I know…” Hermione sobbed back.
“I just needed to see you one last time before this war starts…” Draco explained, holding her more tightly still. “Do you regret first talking to me that night all those months ago?” he asked sadly.
Hermione pulled away from him and gazed into his eyes, her tearing mingling with the falling rain.
“I would rather die tomorrow than live a hundred years without knowing you,” she said fiercely.
Draco swallowed hard and pulled her back into his arms, but Hermione had seen the tears pooling in his eyes.
They stood together, getting steadily more soaked as the rain perforated their clothes and hair.
Finally, Draco drew away and kissed her tenderly.
“Promise me you won’t forget…” Hermione whispered.
“Never, Hermione, I’ll never forget,” Draco replied, kissing her again.
She hugged him one last time and stepped away.
“Goodbye, Hermione Granger…” Draco whispered before raising a hand in farewell, turning on his heel, and disappearing.
Hermione stood in the rain, staring at the spot where Draco Malfoy had stood only moments before, and if anyone could have seen her in that moment, the rain poured so heavily that they wouldn’t have known she was crying.
Author's Note: All right! This was originally written for a challenge but the challenge was taken down...So here it is! Angsty, cheesy, and everything in between! How did you like it? I'd love to hear your opinion in a review. This is one of my favorite stories that I've written... [edited as of 1-12-14]
Also: If you have additional questions that you would like answered, please feel free to go to my "Meet the Author" page on the forums. There's a link on my author's page!
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