Chapter 12 : Accidents.
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Draco looked up from the sofa before the fire, his features golden as the flames reflected on his porcelain skin. He slowly placed the emerald quill and crumpled parchment of his Potions essay on the antique table between him and the flames. His lips cautiously curled into an apologetic smile, his hands wringing together in his lap.
“Hey.” His voice was quiet as he returned her greeting.
Hermione awkwardly placed her bag by the door and approached the sitting figure. She carefully moved the freshly placed parchment and sat on the wooden surface of the table before him so their eyes were level. She looked down and sighed.
Hermione bit her lip and nodded. “Sorry, I was seeing Ginny. I just needed to think.”
Draco closed his eyes. “I need to talk to you.”
“I know. And I need to apologise for my reaction this morning. I’m sorry.”
Draco laughed bitterly. “You have nothing to apologise for. I am the sorry one. I didn’t mean what I said; I don’t even know why I said it. And that scared me actually, the fact that it was all too easy just to slip back into being someone so evil and unthinking. And it made me think, I don’t think this...” He paused, his hands motioning between the two of them before continuing. “I don’t think that whatever we have is going to work. You are this phenomenal person and I every time I think I’m even becoming half decent, I revert back to this undeserving individual who isn’t worth you. I see it in you, the pain I’ve caused. And because I can’t promise that I will never hurt you again, I can’t do this. I can’t hurt you anymore Hermione, it kills me to see you like this.” His voice choked. “Because of me.” He reached out and wrapped his fingers through hers. “I’m sorry.” He whispered.
She shook her head and looked up to meet his burning silver eyes. “Don’t say that. I’m not going through this with you again Draco.” She pulled her hands from his and reached out to cup his face. “I think I’m in love with you Draco Malfoy.” His eyes widened. “Merlin knows I shouldn’t be, the amount you’ve put me through but I’m not perfect either. Look at today, I should have been fine with it, I knew it was an act but I still got upset. I’m too nervous that I’m not going to be enough for someone and no one has ever risked their life for me before.” She smiled. “We...well, I think we can safely say, are in a relationship. And I don’t want you to promise me that everything is going to be okay because I don’t want something safe and generic. I want you; I want to feel how you make me feel every moment of every day for the foreseeable future. I don’t want false promises Draco, and I’d rather have you call me mudblood every single time you address me than be without you. Because being without you would hurt so much more.”
“See what I mean, I don’t deserve you.” His hands grasped her waist and pulled her onto the sofa next to him.
“Shut up.” Her lips met his softly.
Draco pulled back and looked at her. You make me want to be a better person. And that’s a good thing...I think.” He felt her smile against his chest as she settled down to watch the flames flicker. His arms circled her and he let his head rest on top of hers.
“Anything I catch from you would only improve me.”
He felt her shaking with laughter and he pushed her up with a quizzical expression on his face. Hermione clutched at her sides, her face screwed up in mirth. “Hermione, what?” She held up a hand motioning him to wait. He clung to her shoulders in concern, shocked by the sudden outburst the girl before him had developed.
“Oh Merlin.” She gasped with tears escaping from the corners of her eyes. “I had a mental picture of you as me; and let me tell you, I don’t look good in green.” She giggled. Draco rolled his eyes.
“I don’t get it.”
“Yeah, I don’t really know why it made me laugh so much. The point is, my whole life people have teased me about being overtly obsessed with good grades and rules and books. People have always expected me to conform and I’ve always been secretly jealous of people who bend the rules and are free enough to let loose. I struggle with that, and just imagining you being so self conscious...well, you’d be useless at it. And kind of...boring.”
Draco smiled. “Then it’s a good thing I’m not you. You’re the only un-boring bookworm I know.”
Hermione yawned as he brushed a strand of hair off of her face. In the firelight, the crack on her cheek seemed to glow silver. His fingertips gently traced the shape, his heart heavy in his chest; the guilt an iron weight in his gut. Somehow, the smile remained on his face, although the light fell from his eyes.
His voice softened, “let’s get you to bed. We can’t have the head girl tired for lessons tomorrow can we?”
Hermione smiled tiredly, oblivious to Draco’s concern. Instead, she crushed her lips to his, drawing a moan from his throat; holding him to her tightly as his tongue slid across her lower lip, as he sought entrance in an attempt to drown his thoughts.
She noticed the fierce edge to his kiss and retaliated as if arguing. Her legs came around his waist and her hands slid across his chest. His hands glided along her thighs to her waist and up to her neck where they tangled in her hair and drew her as close as he could. She bit at his lip before opening her mouth to him. She shivered as his tongue delicately entered her mouth to taste; the blood from his own lips lost within her mouth. Her back arched as he began to run his fingertips from her neck to her collarbones and back. As her nails bit into his back, he let out a strained moan against her.
He began to follow the route his fingertips had taken with his mouth, pulling at the skin gently with his teeth. She began to unbutton his shirt. He tugged at her top in response, easing it over her head as she began to kiss his chest. Draco captured her lips as she paused for breath, holding his hands at her waist.
He pulled back and looked at her, both panting.
She nodded. “I’m sure.” Then she laughed. “But I think both Head students may be tired tomorrow.”
Draco grinned and stood, holding her against him. She tightened her legs and pressed her lips to his once more.
He kicked the door to his room shut behind them.
A shriek pierced the quiet of the dark room, flooding Draco’s head and roughly dragging him from the depths of sleep. Against him Hermione’s body thrashed, her face contorted in agony. Her limbs flailed in the bed, one colliding with Draco’s chest as he sat up to try and constrain her.
“Hermione.” He shook her shoulders, “Hermione, it’s me. Wake up.”
This time she screamed, a strained scream filled with fear and pain. Tears began to slide from under her eyelids. Draco pulled her to him, rocking her back and forth; his hands stroking her head. “Wake up, come on Hermione. Wake up.”
She twisted violently in his arms, her eyes roving behind the lids. Her lips twitched and her body shuddered as if exposed to a deadly cold. Draco held her closer,
“Hermione? I’m here Hermione. It’s okay, it’s just a dream. You can wake up now.”
Hermione continued to struggle, her body twisting in response to imagined curses. Her legs kicked out the side of the bed, colliding with the bedstead. As the dull ache from reality spread along her leg she awoke with a final shudder.
“Finally.” Draco sighed with relief and lay down next to her, stroking her cheek gently. “Hey. You okay?”
Hermione wiped at her eyes, her cheeks blooming with red as she remembered the lack of clothes between herself and the blonde before her. She nodded slowly. “It was just a dream right?” Her voice shook in the night. Draco smiled cautiously.
“Of course, just a dream. Want to talk about it?”
She shook her head. “No. Just...don’t ever leave me alone with your father again.”
Draco’s face paled and he hugged her tight; burying his face in her hair.
“Never.” She clutched him in the darkness, feeling safe despite the chaos raging in her mind.
They lay together in the darkness, their entangled limbs warming each other from the world outside their bed. The couple remained silent for a while, the sound of breathing uneven and awake. Outside an owl hooted softly as it glided silently through the air, its shadow chasing around Draco’s room. Hermione flinched against his muscled chest as the dark shape interrupted the calm of the silver light. He cradled her closer and kissed the crown of her head in comfort.
“I can’t sleep.” Her whisper was full of shame.
“Everyone has nightmares Hermione.” He felt her fingertips begin to trace their favoured route along his marred forearm as he spoke. “It doesn’t make you weak. In fact, I think the courage to allow yourself to relive some of your most terrifying experiences when you are in your most vulnerable state of sleep; well frankly, it’s commendable.”
The figure in his arms stayed quiet for a moment. She looked up into his eyes. “Thank you.”
He chuckled softly. “No problem. So now we’re both firmly awake, do you want a drink or something?”
“No. I’m good.” She settled back into his chest. “Do you mind if we just lie here for a while?”
Draco’s lips curled up gently at her words. “I’m good with that.”
Until the sun brushed across the sky at dawn, the pair held each other in their gentle embrace occasionally breaking the silence to share their thoughts. Somewhere in the castle a bell rang for the elves to waken and begin the breakfast preparations. The sound made Hermione shift against Draco and she sat up in the bed. Draco rubbed her back as she yawned and stretched. She smiled and bent to kiss him before sliding out of the bed and making her way to the bathroom.
As the heady scent of lavender filled the bathroom Hermione was aware of the bathroom door opening. Through the steam a coughing blonde approached with a disgruntled expression on his face.
“You could have opened a window to let the steam out. Here, let me help. You’re so tired you might fall over otherwise.” He grinned wickedly and she laughed as he stepped into the shower to join her.
As the rest of the castle roused themselves from their slumbers the Head Students dried each other with thick cream towels and gathered their belongings for the day.
As Hermione watched an exhausted Draco fumble with his badge she walked over and took it from his hands.
“Here, let me.” She smiled and carefully secured the shining badge in place. “How about we go to the kitchens for breakfast this morning? They have the best coffee and the muffins are sure to bring us to our senses.”
After Draco’s agreement to her plans, the pair set off for the Kitchens and the smell of freshly brewed coffee. As they walked their hands linked together, a show of unity to the world around them.
The kitchen was alive with bustling elves preparing food and drinks for the thousands of hungry students and teachers within the castle walls. As the couple passed through the fruit portrait that guarded the entrance Sparky seemed to appear from nowhere and guide them to a secluded corner out of the way of the working elves.
“What can I get you this mornings, Miss and Sir?” She squeaked with a bow.
Draco smiled in greeting. “Two mugs of very strong coffee and any food you would recommend Sparky.”
“Of course. I wills be back rights away.”
Hermione pulled a book from her bag and leant against Draco as she began to read the words of the novel before her. He wrapped an arm around her waist and sat contentedly watching the elves chopping and slicing a variety of marvellous foods.
Within a few minutes Sparky came back into view holding a laden tray in front of her. She placed two gigantic mugs of coffee in front of the pair followed by a selection of pastries and two bowls of steaming porridge.
Hermione thanked the elf as she placed her book back and reached for the bitter coffee. Draco selected a cinnamon swirl with apples and raisons to accompany his porridge and coffee in an attempt to bring his senses to top form. They ate in silence, grateful for the energy the pastries provided and the well needed flood of caffeine.
The morning’s lessons seemed to pass the pair in a flurry of notes. Hermione followed Draco’s lead and charmed her quill to take transcripts of the Professors’ lectures as her brain struggled to keep up. The pair sat as far away from each other as their seats would allow but their hands remained clasped together under the concealment of the tables.
Draco reluctantly left Hermione as her friends converged around her in concern at lunch. He slowly approached the Slytherin table and sat as close to the entrance hall as he could. With concerned eyes he watched Hermione laugh and joke with her closest friends at the Gryffindor table. He sighed as he served himself a baguette from the selection on the table and endured the time spent eating alone and ignored.
Across the hall Hermione excused herself as the Head Boy left the Slytherin table and slipped into the entrance hall. With a knowing wink from Ginny she blushed and followed the retreating Slytherin.
“Hey.” His voice made her jump violently as he appeared from behind a suit of armour.
She laughed and stood on tiptoe in order to press her lips to his in greeting. He tucked her hair behind her ear and leant his head against hers.
“I hate having to be so secretive.”
“I know, but it’s to keep you safe.” He rolled his eyes as she bristled in response.
“I can keep myself safe.” He chucked as Hermione became indignant.
“Humour me?” He pressed a finger to her lips. “It makes me feel all...manly.”
Hermione couldn’t help but laugh against him. “You do know I’m going to be late for next lesson if I don’t leave now.”
“What’ve you got?”
“Astronomy. Which is mad, it’s not even night time. How are we meant to see the stars?”
“I think it’s going to be a theory lesson then.”
She smiled at his logic and shrugged. “You go first, Muggle Studies right? I’ll see you later.” Draco nodded and hungrily kissed her lips as she pushed him along the corridor. “Go!”
She was still giggling as she set off for the Astronomy tower a few minutes later. She span round as she heard footsteps hurrying close behind her. She stopped and frowned in recognition.
An overpowering floral scent filled the corridor as Pansy Parkinson trotted forwards in her heels. She smiled sweetly in greeting. “Granger.”
“Parkinson.” Hermione nodded and began the long climb to the top of the Astronomy Tower. As the pair approached the landing at the top Pansy coughed poignantly.
Hermione paused and turned to face her. “Can I help you?”
“I’m just wondering what makes you so special. What is it about your dirty blood that makes Draco want you so badly?”
Hermione laughed darkly at the expectant expression on Pansy’s face. “That’s really none of your business Parkinson. Now if you will excuse me, I have to get to class. We’re late already.”
As Hermione turned for the door Pansy spoke, her voice dark and dangerous; no longer falsely sweet but as cold and sharp as a knife. “Imagine that, no one would be walking around the castle or able to find you. They’d all be in lessons.” As she spoke she moved between Hermione and the door and back her up to the top of the stairs.
Hermione smiled cautiously, “Nice. Point made, now can we go?”
“Of course.” Pansy smiled and took a step back. Hermione relaxed and moved forwards just as Pansy suddenly rushed towards her and forced her down the stairs.
Hermione’s eyes widened and her mouth formed a soft oval of surprise. The attack was so sudden; the scream of air rushing from her lungs was given no volume and her body arched backwards with her arms flailing.
Pansy watched with a smirk as her head collided with the stone wall, her eyes jarring with the dull thud. Her body twisted as gravity took grasp and dragged her down the steep spiral staircase, her limbs striking the sharp edges of the stone steps. Her eyes slid shut as her body began to split with the impact; the stones became red with the liquid escaping her body. Her bag came undone and the heavy tomes of learning continued to traverse the steps.
As the heavy crashes of the escaping books resounded up the spiral Pansy grinned and entered the Astronomy classroom apologising for her lateness with a content heart and a wink at Blaise.
“I hate Astronomy Theory. I swear it’s pointless.” Ron grumbled as he escaped the classroom first.
“I know mate, so much easier to see it in practise. They only needed to put it back one hour, it’s getting so dark in the evenings these days.” Harry agreed with a nod and fell into step behind Ron as they began to make their way down the staircase.
They had only taken a few steps before Ron stopped. His voice shook.
Harry sighed, “Yes Ron?”
Harry heard a gulp in the darkening staircase. “I think that’s Hermione.” He looked around his frozen friend’s shoulders and gasped.
“Hermione! No wonder she wasn’t in class.”
Ron nodded and crept forwards. “Lumos.” The staircase swelled with light and Harry shivered at Ron’s sharp intake of breath. “Bloody hell; look, Harry...there’s blood everywhere.” Ron stepped over her lifeless form and cupped her chin, a trickle of blood escaping from her mouth and dousing his hand. “Hermione?” He whispered, his hands clumsily trying to shake her awake. His face paled. “Harry, I can’t feel a pulse.” Hermione’s body lay limp, her limbs shredded from the stone and placed at disconcerting angles. Ron wretched as the heady scent of iron rich blood engulfed him. Harry climbed carefully to Ron’s side.
“She must have fallen from the top. Her bags empty and I can see books. She must have been weighted back or something. Merlin, I told her she carries too much. Let me pick her up. We need to get her to Madam Pomfrey.” He nodded at his own words, the confidence of them not quite reaching his panicked face.
Ron shook his head slowly as other students began to filter out from class, their laughter and chatter an invading hum. His voice was a whisper as they approached.
“What if she doesn’t make it?”
Harry bit his lip. “It’s Hermione, she’ll be fine.” He gently wrapped his arms around one of his best friends and pulled her into his chest. “Get her things.” Harry began to stagger down the staircase leaving Ron to hastily gather her belongings into her blood soaked bag.
Someone screamed. Ron looked up to see Lavender Brown clutching Parvati Patil at the sight of the pools of ruby droplets and the lifeless Head Girl in Harry’s retreating arms. The hum of conversation ceased instantly as other seventh years gathered at the top of the Astronomy Tower stairs, the blood stained steps imposing on the scene, the sound of Harry and Ron’s heavy steps were all that could be heard.
Perhaps it was because of this that made Pansy’s entrance to the stairwell so impressionable. The door crashed open causing her classmates to glance around. Upon seeing their stricken faces she giggled and pushed through them to the steps. With a twirl of her wand the blackening blood vanished and she began to saunter down the steps.
“How clumsy our Head Girl is. I wonder if the damage is permanent.” Blaise dryly remarked as he followed Pansy’s lead. The rest of the students followed the pair down the stairs. The scent of iron still hung in the cold air, the speculative whispers of the disappearing students echoing up the spiral staircase.
“I’ll get Ginny.” Harry squeezed Ron’s tense shoulder as he stood to leave the hospital wing. He stood for a moment and regarded Hermione’s still body and deathly pallor. Her face was the colour of ivory, her eyelids purple with the shock of impact, her lips tinged with blue, and the hairline crack on her cheek prominent against the lifeless skin. Her broken limbs had been reset but whole sections of her body were bandaged where her skin had ripped, the white dressings holding the blood inside her but it was visibly blooming onto the gauze. Her breathing was shallow, her chest rising and falling slowly with a faint huff of air.
Ron clutched at her hand, staring at her unconscious face in worry. His forehead was creased but he nodded at Harry’s words.
“Will you be okay?” Ron nodded at Harry’s question, not daring himself to speak and allowing his voice to thicken with the tears he held back. Ron simply gripped her hand tighter, willing the girl to awaken.
Harry fled the hospital wing and sprinted for the Gryffindor Common Room, his feet pounding the stone beneath his feet. He burst through the portrait into the room of red and gold with a crash; his eyes wild and his face white. Upon seeing no red hair in the room he continued to the bottom of the girls dormitory and bellowed up the stairs.
She appeared within seconds, her face puzzled at the intensity of his voice. She hesitated as she took in Harry’s dishevelled appearance, her heart sinking as she read the pain in his eyes.
He reached out and supported himself with the wall, his chest heaving from his run. Ginny flew to his side, her hands pushing the hair from his face. He pulled her tight and whispered into her ear. “Hermione’s in the hospital wing. She fell down the Astronomy stairs, they’re not sure if she’ll...if she’ll...” His voice trailed away as his eyes became wet. Ginny tensed and he pushed himself to finish the sentence with the last of his breath. “If she’ll make it.” He closed his eyes and buried his face in Ginny’s hair, seeking comfort with her embrace.
Ginny pulled back, her face unreadable. “Go back to the hospital wing. I need to do something. I’ll meet you there in ten minutes.”
Harry nodded and pressed his lips to her forehead, too worried to ask what she needed to do and obeyed her words, hurriedly retracing his steps to Hermione’s side.
Ginny’s stomach had twisted and her heart had gone cold, yet she left the common room and ran in the direction of the Head’s Common Room to pound on the portrait door.
“Malfoy!” She yelled. “Malfoy, I need to talk to you!”
“Malfoy!” Tears began to slide from her eyes. She sobbed into the wall as her hands continued to slap the door. She pulled back as it was wrenched open.
“What do you want Weaslette? Granger isn’t here.”
Ginny bit her lip, tasting the salt from her tears. She looked the blonde in the eye and her voice broke. “It’s Hermione. She’s in the hospital wing.”
Draco’s mouth flapped. “You know?”
She nodded; her face impatient. “Yes, but that’s beside the point. We need to go to the hospital wing.”
His eyes widened in horror and his mouth fell open as her original words sunk in. His already pale skin became almost translucent as the blood left his face to support his stuttering heart. “What?” He asked, hoping his ears had been incorrect.
Ginny’s tears continued to fall; she grabbed his arm and pulled him along with her in the direction of the hospital wing. “She’s hurt. Harry said she fell down the Astronomy stairs.” The pair were sprinting side by side by now, Draco’s lips in a tight line, his forehead pulled together in concern. Ginny began to slow as they approached Madam Pomfrey’s domain. She grabbed Draco’s sleeve. “What about Harry and Ron? They’ll be in there.”
Draco stopped dead and looked at her incredulously. “Do you really think I care about that right now? She’s in there so I need to be there.” He pushed past her roughly and crashed through the doors to Hermione’s side. His breathing stopped as he took in her vulnerable form and images of her covered in blood on the floor of Malfoy Manor swam into his head. His fingertips fluttered over her face, tracing the crack on her cheek and tenderly checking the damage inflicted on her body. Bruises were beginning to blossom over her pale skin and his stomach tightened.
“Hermione?” He whispered frantically, his eyes searching for recognition in her empty face. “Hermione, it’s me.” He took her empty hand in his left one, his right clutching her shoulder. Someone cleared their throat and he looked up in shock.
Ron was staring at him furiously. Harry was simply standing with an impassive look on his face. Ginny went to Ron’s side and pressed down on his shoulder to keep him seated.
“What are you doing here?” Ron asked, his voice shaking protectively.
Draco’s expression softened Harry’s concealed anger. His hair was a mess, his face similar to a rabbit caught in the headlights of a giant truck. His eyes were empty of defence and simply pleading. His usually immaculate appearance was twisted and shabby, his outer robe falling off due to his sprint. But most of all were the tears silently trickling from his grey eyes and the shaking of his bony hands.
Draco looked at Ginny helplessly. She nodded.
His mouth opened, his voice trembling barely above a whisper as he looked back at Hermione. “I didn’t tell her I loved her.” He bent to kiss her icy forehead, his tears beginning to fall faster.
Authors Note: Hello everyone, hope you like this one. Please R&R it makes me feel all lovely and it's nice to hear what you think. A huge thank you to the fabulous enchantress at TDA who has made me a beautiful banner. Anyway, enjoy! Pandaaa x
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