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Questions by blackroserei
Chapter 3 : The Darkest of Times
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 14

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The Darkest of Times

The next day Hermione couldn't help the guilt growing in her gut like some sort of parasite. Guilt because she'd willingly let Draco Malfoy kiss her twice...guilt because she'd liked it enough not to stop him. She'd decided as she lay awake in her bed the past night- tonight would be the last night that she answered any of Malfoy's questions. She had a sense that it was getting more dangerous than she'd originally thought.

Last night...the look in his eye- it sent chills down her spine.

Hermione purposefully kept her eyes ahead and away from the Slytherin table as she walked into the Great Hall. There was no way that she'd let her attention slip to Malfoy. When she sat down, she noticed that everyone was looking at her worriedly.

“Whats wrong?” Hermione said softly to Ron as she sat down.

The redhead turned to look at her with such sadness that it made her breath catch. “Hermione,” he breathed. “I'm sorry.”

“Ron,” Hermione asked, her voice louder with a note of urgency. “Ron whats wrong?”

He didn't answer and just slid his large hand over her own. Hermione looked at Harry, her eyes wide.


His green eyes held an anguish that Hermione had only seen after Sirius' death. He didn't say anything, only slid the Daily Prophet across the table. Her eyes quickly devoured what was on the front page.

Parents of Muggle Born Head Girl Attacked!

Hermione Granger, Head Girl at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry and famed best friend of Harry Potter, was targeted in a vicious Deatheater attack. While school is currently in session, this didn't prevent a small group of Deatheaters from targeting her parent's home in London early this morning.

Neighbors quickly called the muggle law enforcement when they noticed the group of Deatheaters surrounding the Granger residence. However, by the time law enforcement arrived, the house was already destroyed. Muggle firemen, who put out fires, also arrived and tried their best to put out the fire with traditional methods- due to the magical nature of the flames, ordinary methods were of no use.

According to a squib who lived in the same neighborhood as the Grangers, “The house was unrecognizable after they were through with it. It was razed to the ground. I doubt that anyone inside could've survived.”

Aurors arrived on the scene after the Dark Mark was seen in the sky above the destroyed home. After an investigation, it appeared that the Deatheaters first lit the house on fire before bombarding it with spells that quickly collapsed the outer walls.

“Basically,” commented Alastor Moody. “The house fell flat in on itself.”

When asked if there was any idea of who the attackers were, Moody sent out this warning.

“We know exactly who the lot was. And believe me, we will find them and give them the Dementor's kiss for this.”

The status of Hermione Granger's parents remain unknown- if there were any remains in the house, they were devoured by the fire. According to neighbors, the Grangers were seen in their home only hours before the attack so its unlikely that they somehow managed to escape.

Our condolences go out to Ms. Granger who is still at Hogwarts. Our deepest apologies for your loss in the darkest of times.

There was a moving picture of her house on fire with what were presumably muggle firemen trying to put it out. Aurors could be seen in the background, looking up at the Dark Mark glowing brightly in the night sky.

Hermione saw her tears drop on the newspaper before she even realized that she was silently crying. There didn't seem to be enough air in the room and Hermione was soon struggling for breath, clenching the newspaper in her hands. Ron's arm was around her and he was dragging her to crush her against his chest but she was still in too much shock to even physically feel what was happening to her.

Harry was grasping one of her hands. He was speaking but she couldn't hear him over the blood roaring in her ears. His face was grim, determined, and angry and he shot a venomous look at the Slytherin table before speaking to her again.

Hermione didn't know what to do- she felt as though the ground had dropped from beneath her feet and she was struggling to grasp onto her sanity. All she could see in her mind's eye was the picture of her house on fire, an inferno of flames that shifted in the wizarding picture like a macabre dance.

Suddenly, the world came crashing back down around her and she was painfully aware of everything. The hushed murmurs, the apologetic looks, the sincere condolences of her classmates who began to crowd around her in an attempt to comfort her. She was aware of a tear falling into her hair and realized that it was not her own, but Ron's. She felt sick to her stomach and everything around her started to spin.

“Hermione,” Lavender Brown said. “We'll help you get through this. And we'll help you find whoever did this. I swear.” She'd never heard the girl sound more vehement. Everyone around her nodded in agreement.

Ginny was also by her side. “Oh Hermione,” was all she could say softly into her hair. “Oh Hermione I'm so sorry.”

Hermione managed to inhale a deep shuddering breath and forced a very small smile, a ghost of the ones she usually wore. She stood up, Ron's arms falling from her like dead weights.

“Thank you,” she murmured softly. “Thank you all. But...” She broke off, struggling to swallow back a sob that was about to escape. “But...I need some time alone. For just a little while.”

With that, she swiftly dodged the growing crowd and walked out of the Great Hall with her head held high. She could feel the entire Slytherin table turn to stare at her as she past. She didn't know how they felt and she wasn't courageous enough at the moment to look and see for herself.

“Hermione!” Ron called out after her, getting up to follow. He was stopped by Ginny's hand on his shoulder.

“Don't,” his sister said, shaking her head. “You heard what she said. She needs time alone Ron.”

“Harry!” he protested, looking to the brunette for back up. “We have to follow her!”

Harry shook his head, his hard green eyes still focused on the Slytherin table. “No Ron. Today we let her grieve. Tomorrow we start to hunt the bastards down.”

This seemed more along Ron's train of thought and he sat down, still looking after Hermione's retreating figure. Silence fell as everyone watched the Head Girl push open the doors and disappear into the corridors.

Hermione went to the only place she knew was a sanctuary- the library. She still felt numb, like when she used to get her teeth done and her gums were delightfully oblivious to the pain. Except the pain was there and it wasn't going away. It was something that would never go away.

The halls were empty and when she realized that she was completely alone, Hermione broke the dam and let her tears flow. Her pace was steady and fast, despite the sobs wracking her entire body. She held a hand over her mouth to stifle the pained sounds coming from her throat.

Suddenly, she doubled over and dry heaved, throwing up stomach acid and spittle as she hadn't gotten anything to eat before she saw the news. She continued to throw up nothing, the strain forcing blood vessels in her eyes to pop. After a moment, Hermione leaned her face against the cool stone wall and vanished the evidence of her anguish.

The library was close and she breathed a sigh of relief through the tears, hoping to loose herself in texts before she had to face the pain of tonight. There was no way Harry and Ron would leave her alone for long. Her pace quickened, desperate to enter sanctuary before anyone could see her.

Madame Pince looked up when Hermione walked past and gave the girl a sympathetic look before turning back around to organize the pile of returned books on her desk. Hermione hurried to the back of the library towards her corner by the stained glass window. It was secluded and totally private and after casting a silencing charm around her table, she was completely free to cry as much as she needed too.

As soon as she finished the spell with shaking hands, Hermione collapsed into the hard rickety chair and buried her face in her arms. Loud, shuddering sobs escaped her and she felt all of the anguish that'd built up pour out in front of her. Her table began to rattle with the amount of magic she was exuding in her intense grief, sending her quills and books tumbling to the floor. The sounds were only a quiet pin drop in the back of her mind as she thought about her parents, buried beneath the burning house she'd spent all her life in.

She'd never ever gotten to tell them...the last letter she'd written them had been a week ago. They hadn't heard from her. They were probably wondering, preparing to send another one of their care packages they sent so often.

Her parents were probably sleeping when it happened. She'd left an emergency portkey just in case anything ever happened but taking into account the speed the Deatheaters razed the house to the ground...they kept the portkey in her room. There was no possible way they could've gotten to it in time.

Hermione bit her lip to keep from wailing. She knew she was only torturing herself with these thoughts but they were thoughts that were in her head nonetheless.

She wrapped her arms around herself, trying to calm her erratic breathing. She was sure she was going to pass out if she didn't get more air into her lungs.

There was a flex in her silencing charm that Hermione felt in her magical core and her head shot up to see who was entering her space. She gasped when she saw Draco Malfoy standing in front of her table, leaning casually against a bookcase. His flinty gray eyes were trained on her wet, blotchy face.

“Go away,” she hissed through clenched teeth, turning to focus her gaze on the stained glass window. “There's a silencing charm for a reason.”

“I can do whatever I like,” Draco replied in a stony voice. “Perhaps I should tell Pince that you're casting charms in the library when its prohibited.”

“I could care less,” Hermione lied. Her hands curled into fists and she ignored the dull pain of her fingernails cutting into her palms.

The blonde raised an eyebrow. “Really? Granger not concerned with the rules? The world must be ending.”

“Get out!” Hermione snapped. Anger roared through her, heating her blood, and she stood quickly, her seat toppling over behind her. “Get out!”

Draco's expression didn't change and he just stood there, looking at her like a specimen in a jar. He said finally, “I saw in the Prophet Granger.”

“Yes obviously. The entire school did, you're no exception. So if you've come here to gloat, spare me.”

“Gloat,” he repeated tonelessly. “You think I've come here to gloat about your parents' death.”

“Aren't you?” Hermione asked accusingly, her voice all venom.

“No. You're mistaken.” Draco kicked away from the bookshelf and approached her.

Hermione whipped out her wand, pointing it at his heart. “Malfoy,” she said warningly. “You wouldn't want to try me right now.”

“I didn't come to gloat,” he continued, ignoring her wand. His voice was soft and deep. “I came to ask a question.”

“A question?” Hermione said incredulously, angrily. “A bloody question? I could give two shits about your useless questions Malfoy!”

He just continued to approach her and Hermione backed up until she was pressed against the wall, making sure to keep the table between them.

“Let me ask you a question then Malfoy, since you demand them of me,”Hermione snarled, staring at him through narrowed eyes. “Did you know?”

Again, the Slytherin raised an eyebrow. “Elaborate Granger.”

“My parents!” Hermione suddenly yelled. The table started to rattle on its legs again and Draco looked down at it in muted surprise. “Did you know about my parents? Did you know?” She was thankful for her spell because Madame Pince surely would've heard her screaming by now.

There was suddenly something in Draco's hand and he dropped it on the table. Hermione's eyes darted down to look at it. She did a double take and inhaled sharply.

1984,” she said breathlessly. It was an old copy, bound in leather with the title written on the front in delicate gold script. She looked back up at Draco, searching his face. “You read it?” she asked.

“You said I should,”he answered with a bit of a sneer. “Did you think I couldn't read Granger?”

“No...I just...didn't think you'd actually take the time to read a muggle piece of literature.”

“It was...” Draco trailed off. “Enlightening. Thought provoking.”

“Yes thats what good literature is supposed to be like,” Hermione replied stiffly. Though he'd briefly taken her mind off of her accusation, she still kept her wand on him. She didn't trust him enough to allow a repeat of the previous night.

“Thoughtless, mindless hatred,” Draco intoned. He looked down at the book and then up at her, his eyes like molten iron. “Constant surveillance. No true freedom.”

Hermione gaped at him- was he suggesting that he identified with Winston, the main character in the novel? She shook her head, dispelling the questions she wanted to ask him about 1984. He was distracting her far more than she wanted.

“Malfoy,” Hermione said warningly.

“Granger,” he spoke back, still moving forward.

Hermione couldn't draw the strength to curse him, especially when he apparently had no intention of drawing his wand on her. He seemed to sense her hesitation and placed a large hand over her wand, pushing it down to her side.

“The integrity of a Gryffindor,” Draco drawled. His eyes betrayed the mocking tone of his voice. He drew himself closer until he was pressed against her in a position she'd grown disturbingly used to the past two days.

“Answer the question,” Hermione demanded in a soft voice. The distraction was gone and the pain hit her again full force. She felt the tears fill her eyes and to her horror, one slipped down the curve of her cheek.

“So beautiful when you cry Granger.” His voice was silky, wrapping around her like some sort of lust induced fog.

A long finger traced the path of her tear and Hermione only found enough time to inhale before Draco's lips were moving against hers. One of his hands wound its way into her loose hair while the other wrapped around her waist to haul her closer to his taunt body. Hermione couldn't help but melt into him, desperate to forget all that had been thrust upon her in the morning. His tongue traced her open lips before delving in her hot cavern to caress her own tongue. Her hands grasped his shoulders, caught between pushing him away and pulling him closer.

Draco groaned as she shifted against him and roughly grabbed her thigh, pulling her leg onto his hip so he could settle closer to her core. His grip was so tight that there'd surely be finger shaped bruises in a couple of hours on her skin. Suddenly, his lips were off her own and her head was wrenched back by her hair. He licked his way down the column of her throat before latching onto the soft skin between her neck and shoulder.

The logical side of her urged her to stop him- she'd just found out that her parents died and she was intensely snogging the son of one of the people who very likely killed them. But lust, in heated moments like these, almost always outweighed logic and Hermione felt her hands slide into his silky head of hair. He growled tracing his way back up where he pressed another heated kiss on her lips.

“Malfoy, that shouldn't have happe-”

He interrupted her again, kissing her harshly just to shut her up.

“The answer is no,” he said against her flushed skin in a husky voice. “No Granger.”

Hermione released a breath she didn't know she was holding and tried to move away from him. His arms tightened around her and stilled her movements.

“This has to stop,” Hermione said, her voice tired. Her face was wet and she realized she'd been crying while they were kissing.

Draco's grip tightened further and he roughly grabbed her jaw, forcing her face towards his. “It'll stop when I decide it does Granger.”

She shook her head. “No Malfoy. This doesn't revolve around you. Find some other mindless twit to torture in your free time.”

“I don't think so,” Draco said with a feral look in his eye. “Like I said Granger. This ends when I say it does.”

Hermione felt herself flush a deeper shade of pink in anger and tried to push him away by his shoulders. She briefly managed to slip past but she was grabbed by her wrist and thrown back into the wall. His arms were on either side of her, caging her in.

“Granger, I don't think you get it,” he snarled in a dangerous tone. His grey eyes which were hot with lust were now so icy that Hermione felt the bravado in her drain immediately. “I came to you for a reason. And I'll keep coming to you for that reason. And if you run, I will find you.”

Hermione snapped as nastily as she could, “Why?”

Draco kissed her again, this time gently as his fingers cupped the side of her face. He pulled away, his snarl gone and his infamous smirk in place. “You still have questions to answer Granger.”

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