Chapter 3 : Chapter 3: Apology Accepted.
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Chapter 3: Apology Accepted.
Draco sat on the floor of Snape’s new office watching Granger while she was blissfully unconscious. He sighed and sat back, leaning on his hands.
Hermione was still. Had been all night since Bellatrix had ended her torturing session and left the room, Snape following close behind. It wasn’t much of a surprise, Bellatrix wanting Draco present. She seemed to want Draco to learn as much possible from her and Snape.
Draco remembered his Aunt yelling at him the night before.
“Draco, how many times do I have to tell you? You do not play with your toys... or your pets!”
He had always hated his Aunt. She really was mad as a hatter in the middle of March...
Hermione stirred and Draco’s attention snapped back to her. He had food and water next to him. He’d been waiting a long time. It was nearly midday. Usually she didn’t stay out of it for so long...
Hermione opened her eyes and saw slanted rays of sunlight before her and then a blurred figure sitting cross legged on the floor in front of her. She blinked a couple of times and the blurred figure came back into focus.
It was Draco. He didn’t say anything, just pushed the food and water towards her.
“Why are you helping me?” She whispered hoarsely and coughed. Small flecks of blood splattered across the floor between them.
Draco didn’t reply for a few minutes. He was letting her recover, sort of.
“Can’t have you going back to Potter damaged, can we?” He said in a very quiet voice. “He might get suspicious and start demanding answers to a question that I’m pretty sure will be, ‘Where the hell do you keep running off to when I most need your goddamn help, Hermione?’ Yeah, like the answer to that question will make him really happy.” His tone had turned sarcastic by now.
Hermione struggled to sit up straight without coughing up more blood or making it even more painful to breathe than it already was.
“Yeah,” She muttered. “He’d so say something like that....”
Draco sighed and snagged a crust of bread off of her plate since she hadn’t touched it.
“I know him too well,” Draco muttered tearing off a piece and popping it into his mouth.
“We know him too well,” Hermione added sourly.
Draco just about choked on the bread. He coughed trying to clear his throat.
Hermione shot him an annoyed glare and starting picking at the food. Gee, she felt really hungry all of a sudden.
“Well, you know Harry,” She began in an almost-whisper. “He’s likely to throw a fit over my disappearing acts... Just like when we were still at school...”
Draco put the crust down and picked up the cup sitting beside the plate.
“He’d throw a fit over almost anything,” Was Draco’s snide remark.
Hermione slapped him. Weak as she was it still stung.
“That’s Harry for you.”
Hermione took the water off Draco and sipped it slowly. Draco stared, transfixed.
“Yeah, I know,” He snapped and jerked his hand away from the cup of water. “Harry freaking Potter, The Boy Who Lived.” He crossed his arms over his chest and hung his head. “We all know the story, Granger.”
Hermione sighed and said for what seemed like the hundredth time, “Its Hermione, Draco. Please use my first name, not my last.”
Draco’s head shot up and he glared at her.
“Fine,” He snarled, “Hermione.”
“Whatever you say, Draco,” Hermione shot back, irate.
“Care to fuck me while we’re at it, Hermione?” He jaded.
Hermione froze, staring at him in mid-sip, shocked.
Draco grinned and uncrossed his arms, leaning forward and scaring Hermione into backing away.
“Or are you just here for the scenic route?”
Hermione dropped the cup and water sloshed over the floor, soaking the knees of jeans.
Draco smirked. He knew he had her backed into a corner now.
“No,” She snapped pushing him back. “I would not fuck you even if you were the last man on earth, Malfoy.” Draco backed off, trademark smirk still gracing his face. “And I see nothing worth looking at here.”
She crossed her arms and turned her face away from him.
“I stick around for you to wake up, give you food and water and this is the thanks I get?” He muttered, exasperated.
Hermione slowly turned her face back to him.
“The insults really helped,” She muttered, voice dripping with sarcasm.
Draco turned his trademark smirk back on her and mimicked her position.
“My insults?” He asked, frustratedly. “How about the insults you throw my way for a change? They stick, Hermione. It’s like mud that doesn’t come off. You know what they say, once a ferret, always a ferret.”
Hermione sat staring at him for a long time. He shifted uncomfortably a few times and then dropped his arms when she finally broke the heavy silence, hands resting in her lap.
“Um, Draco?”She hedged uncertainly.
“Hmmm?” Draco wasn’t really watching her, his eyes were on the floor between them. He was tracing the pattern, over and over again with his eyes.
“I’m sorry for, you know, what I said before,” Hermione whispered softly and Draco suddenly looked up, startled. “I didn’t really mean it, you should know that...”
Draco watched her silently; his lips pursed. He noticed the scowl on her face. She was thinking and about something that probably wasn’t good at all.
“Apology accepted,” Draco murmured and stole back the piece of bread he’d abandoned. Hermione’s head shot up. “What? Did you think I wouldn’t?” She frowned and Draco sighed. “Oh, come on, Hermione! What? You want an apology in return?” She didn’t move, didn’t nod. Just stared at him with a look that said what she wouldn’t, couldn’t say. “Fine! I’m sorry, Hermione. I’m a bad person, I hurt everyone around me. People die, Hermione. No matter what, they die. It doesn’t matter what you or I do, they’ll die. I can’t stop her, I can’t stop him either.” Draco choked back some hysterics and dropped his gaze away from Hermione’s. “Sometimes it’s like I don’t even want to stop it...”
Hermione gasped and Draco looked up.
“Tell me I’m not a bad person,” He whispered, “Tell me I’m wrong. That I’m not like the rest of them. Tell me I’m not like him...” He was begging now but he didn’t care. Not one bit.
Hermione swallowed around the sudden lump in her throat and coughed some more. More spots of blood decorated the floor.
“I don’t think you’re a bad person, Draco,” She whispered back and wiped a few unnoticed tears away. “You’re not like them, not like him. You’re better than them, you’re better than him.” She coughed again and more blood splattered the across the floor between them, the water turning into an eerie mix of clear and red liquid on the stone floor. “I know you’re better than most people believe.”
Draco watched as a thin trail of blood appeared on her upper lip. The blood was leaking from her nose and she didn’t even seem to notice it. Draco frowned at it. The bleeding seemed to get worse as he watched.
“Shit, Hermione,” Draco gasped moved forward to wipe the blood away, “Your nose is bleeding and your coughing up blood.” He tilted her face to one side and scrunched up his face at the nasty bruises forming there. She was going to have a black eye now. “I don’t think you’re in any way fit to go anywhere at the moment.”
Hermione chuckled and pushed his hand away from her face, wiping the blood off of her face herself.
“Subtle subject change, Draco,” She muttered and wiped more blood away. “I didn’t know you even cared about me. Aren’t you a Slytherin?”
“Hermione,” He warned and she shut up. “Honestly, woman,” He muttered as he turned her head to the other side. There was a cut on her hairline, thin and long and deep. “Shit. Hermione, you better come back to the head’s room with me. You aren’t going anywhere.”
Hermione protested softly as he slid his arm under hers and pulled her to her feet. She and muttered something about her left shoulder-The one Greyback had bitten.
Draco paused, frowning at her. “What was that, Hermione?”
“My fucking shoulder hurts,” She hissed through clenched teeth, “The one Greyback bit last night...”
“Oh,” He said and moved her slightly so he could peel her shirt away from her shoulder and check on the bite. “Nasty,” He muttered and cover it again. “It’s infected.” He announced and Hermione groaned again. “Come on, let’s go.”
“Won’t there be students around?” She asked, frowning, “And what about Harry?”
“What about him?” Draco muttered as he moved towards the door. “And no, it’s the middle of the day. Everyone will be in the Great Hall having lunch so we should have a clear run to the Head’s rooms.”
“I’m not supposed to be here, Draco,” She explained patiently, “Harry will start to worry about me, about where I’ve disappeared to.”
“Ah,” Draco murmured as he opened the door, “Potter might miss you. I get it now.”
Hermione snorted and let out a curse as she started limping. Alarmed, Draco stopped on the topmost stair.
“What is it?” He asked and Hermione muttered something about her ankle.
Draco sat her down on the step and moved to check her ankle. She hissed when he rolled up the hem of her jeans and gingerly touched her ankle.
“It’s not broken, you know,” He said as he rolled the hem back down. “I think it’s strained. You probably twisted it or something...”
Hermione shot him a glare that he ignored as he got her on her feet again.
“Come on; let’s move before someone sees us.”
“I thought you said that no one would be up here during lunch?” Hermione murmured. Draco chuckled and shook his head slightly.
“I did but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anyone lurking around up here on the seventh floor.”
Blaise was in the Great Hall trying to have lunch when he saw Draco appear in the doorway. ‘What was he doing?’ Blaise thought as Draco spotted him and made his way over to the Slytherin table without making it look like he was headed for Blaise.
The dark skinned Slytherin frowned and turned back to the slop they called food now.
Draco sat down next to Blaise and muttered, “I need to talk to you, upstairs.”
Blaise turned his head slightly toward his friend.
“Now?” He asked in a low tone, “About what exactly?”
Draco sighed and stood up again. Blaise looked up at him, his frown deepening.
“You have to see it to believe me, Blaise.”
Blaise watched Draco silently for a few minutes than chuckled.
“What’s this? Draco’s gone all secret wizard business on me?” He asked in mock surprise and horror.
“I’m serious, Blaise,” Draco deadpanned. All the laughter left Blaise’s face.
“Fuck,” Blaise swore and stood up as well. “Can you give me a tip?”
“She has a name,” Draco muttered than span on his heel and stormed out of the Great Hall. Blaise swore again and followed his friend out into the Entrance Hall.
Draco was waiting for him, arms crossed, at the bottom of the marble staircase.
“Well?” Blaise asked as he reached his friend. Draco turned and started up the stairs. Blaise joined him.
“She got bit last night,” Draco said in a very quiet voice. “And Aunt Bellatrix tortured her again. Now she can’t go anywhere because of her injuries.”
“Oh man,” Blaise whispered. “Granger got bit by Greyback?” He asked still whispering.
Just then the person in question walked in through the main doors.
“Malfoy,” He called and both boys span back towards him. “How is she?”
Draco didn’t answer; he just shot Greyback a glare and turned to start heading up the stairs again.
Greyback laughed and called, “I bet she’s in a lot of pain, eh boy?”
Blaise sighed and turned to follow Draco who was completely ignoring the Death Eater at the bottom of the stairs.
Hermione was curled up on the floor in front of the fireplace when Draco and Blaise walked in. She was leaning against a nearby lounge chair, staring at them. Blaise wasn’t supposed to know about her! Nobody was.
“What the fuck, Malfoy?” She snapped as Blaise closed the door behind him.
Draco came and sat down in front of her cross legged and pursed his lips. She looked worse than before, much worse than before.
“Holy shit, Granger!” Blaise exclaimed as he too sat down on the floor near her. “What’s with the black eye?”
“Blaise,” Draco hissed taking her chin and turning her head from side to side. “Shut up.” Blaise shot his friend a glare. “Now, can you help or not?”
Blaise sighed and moved forward to examine her bruises and cuts closer.
“Yeah,” He sighed and pulled out his wand. “I can fix most of these. I won’t be any help with the bite though.”
“No fucking way, Malfoy,” She snapped jerking away from said person’s hand. “No way in hell is he going to use his wand on me! He’ll freaking hex me!”
“Hermione,” Draco said patiently, “It’s either Blaise or the School Nurse.” Hermione blanched. “Yeah, thought so. You’re not supposed to be here, remember?”
Hermione shifted slightly and groaned, peeling the shirt away from her shoulder. Blaise froze, staring at the mass of blue, black and purple bruises surrounding the infected werewolf bite.
“Fuck,” He hissed moving forward, his hand on her good shoulder as he turned her towards the light. “That’s bad, Hermione. This needs immediate attention....” He trailed off as the bite became clearer. It was really nasty. The bite had been bleeding all night and hadn’t stopped until about an hour ago which would explain why Granger was really pale, and her flesh and skin was shredded. Blaise didn’t know how she could stand it. It must really burn.
“Just get on with it,” She hissed bracing herself against the lounge chair she’d been leaning on. “And no hexing me either, Zabini.”
Blaise chuckled and started on the bruises on her face, muttering healing spells under his breath. He paused to move her face slightly more to the left.
“Don’t worry, Hermione,” He said picking a random leaf out of her hair. How that had got there, he didn’t know. “I’m not going to hex you. Draco would kill me if I did.”
“Hey!” Draco snapped offended. Blaise laughed and turned towards him.
“I never said you would actually go through with it.” He told his friend softly. Draco relaxed and all three of them settled in for a few long hours of healing.
Harry paced around in front of the tent. Hermione had been gone for a long time. About a day in fact, which was kind of odd; she’d never disappear on him for so long.
Where was she? Where was she? It was all he could think of. He was getting frustrated with waiting. They couldn’t wait forever. Voldemort would make a move eventually and where would they be? He’d be pacing around waiting for Hermione to show up, that’s where. And she’d never show either.
Harry started to pace faster and clipped his toe on a rock beside the campfire. Cursing, he dropped down to sit on the ground and stare into the flames.
Where was Hermione? They had a lead and they needed to go check it out before their chance at finding one of the Horcruxes passed. They needed to do a lot of things before it was over, before everything was over.
Harry sighed and propped up his head on his fist. It would be a long wait tonight. Harry just hoped that she hadn’t fallen over and gotten hurt or lost out in the forest somewhere...
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