Chapter 1 : No Fear, No Regret
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A single feather fell and floated to the ground but, in an instant, it was swept away by the dress of a dancer…
He remembered the very night even to the present day; how could he not when the memory played his mind? Every hour of every day he anticipated answers, whether it be in the middle of class or perhaps during dinner, but as he lay awake in his dorm, he slowly began to realize she wouldn’t come back to him.
Draco Malfoy was neither kind nor considerate, but people seldom realized this, for it was easily concealed by a mane of blond hair and eyes flooded with different shades of silver. He caused heads to turn, there was no denying it, but he ignored all of their petty glances as the ladies licked their cherry red lips while debating if they should go over and strike up a conversation. He darted from their sights before they got a chance.
Days morphed into weeks, and soon Draco’s D-Day was a couple months behind him. The snow steadily fell from the heavens and coated the rotunda in a thin blanket; the wind was both frisk and brisk; the marble that constructed the Ministry of Magic was sure to be cold beneath his feet. Nevertheless, he did not cease from his search.
She had decided previously that getting lost in the dancers would be the safest route to go. After looking down upon the massive crowd, her decision was ratified. It was certitude that unless he was dancing right next to her, there would be no evidence that Hermione Granger was even there.
But he knew she was coming. Because the secret-keeper told him.
It was puzzling; she thought she ended their mess at the Malfoy Masquerade. But she had been continuously dodging him in the halls, making sure their schedules wouldn’t be identical. Was this behavior normal? Obviously she still feared him, and unless and until she felt completely safe, she couldn’t be liberated from his firm hold.
So why was she at the Winter Solstice in the first place? There was no doubt he’d be there, and since the secret-keeper told, there was no doubt she’d be there. She supposed it was because had she not gone, she would have to do a lot of explaining, and to explain meant to admit what happened all those months ago. She, Hermione Granger, was not up to that, nor would she ever be.
She wished she knew somebody at the Ministry’s party; she recognized the face of some of her peers’ parents, but besides that, nobody and nothing striked a resemblance. All besides him. But she didn’t want to see him. Instead, she went along with her initial plan and joined the dance.
It was a lively and festive winter ball, and as she switched from partner to partner and dance to dance, she began to find herself unwinding and, eventually and inevitably, forgot the boy with blond hair and striking eyes. He himself was also going along with the wave of dancers, but after half an hour, he was becoming frustrated, seeing that he still hadn’t set eyes on her thick, curly hair and peachy lips. Nevertheless, he continued swaying to the waltz with his partners, dance after dance. She had to be there; he knew she was there.
And if by miracle, he felt a satin-like material sweep across his ankles. Looking up, she had twirled right past him, oblivious to the fact that he was, indeed, there. A sly smirk fell upon his lips. How lovely her chestnut brown curls cascaded down her back, how the blue and green of her dress shimmered against the predominant silver base.
Draco smiled again and spun his partner away from him, a girl with ebony dark hair, and strode towards the girl with the garden-like dress. He watched for a moment or two as Hermione waltz with her partner, but then was spun away right into Draco’s arms. She gasped slightly at his presence, but regained her composure immediately and casted her eyes downwards.
“I can’t help but think you’re avoiding me, Granger,” he whispered softly in her ear.
Those peachy lips he so loved formed a straight, indefinable line. She didn’t want to answer; she didn’t even have a retort for him. Instead she resorted her eyes to an overly large fern along the walls of the ministry.
“Hermione,” he murmured again. “You’ve been looking the other way whenever we’re in the same room and you won’t venture much further than the Gryffindor common room. I’m practically begging on my knees; how long will you make me feel guilty?”
She scoffed and stared him directly in his grey irises. “That is just like you, Draco.”
She broke their fingers apart, being consumed by the frostiness of the room instantaneously. She marched away from his deadly stare, the stare that seemed too genuine, too merciful. But, as expected, he followed.
Down she fled across the floor of dancers and the hall of people mingling about. It wasn't until she had wandered a couple departments from the initial crowd that she was completely and totally alone. All but him.
"Why must I always be the bad guy?" she demanded. "It wasn't my responsibility, Draco, but by you whining 'How long will you make me feel guilty,' only makes me feel awful. You have no right to do that."
"Oh, but Hermione," he countered, "you figured out. You can step in and say anything at any moment. So why don't you?"
She couldn't produce an answer for him, but rather wrapped her arms around her body to shield herself from the cold of the winter night.
A coy smile crossed his mouth. "Unless and until you confess of my plans, you are just as much responsible as I."
"That's a lie," she hissed.
"So will you just stand by as the Death Eaters enter Hogwarts? Will you allow them to kill the people you know, some of whom may even be your friends? Will you stand defenseless as they try to kill you?"
She heaved a sigh. "It's not that simple, Draco."
"Why isn’t it? You knew very early in the year what my intentions were, and you had several opportunities to go to Dumbledore. It's your responsibility now, too."
"So what are you saying?" she yelled. "That you want to be turned in? That you want to be locked up in Azkaban?"
"Not at all," he said, "but by doing so, you're sparing yourself from a lifetime of guilt."
Her eyes glazed over in tears, but she was not ashamed or embarrassed. Their eyes locked on one another’s, intertwining in a harmony that couldn't be understood by anybody but themselves. But then all was lost.
The sound of glass shattering lingered in the air like fireworks in the night. Several streams of a black fog cascaded through the broken windows of every angle of the Ministry, yelling curses, aiming to kill.
Hermione didn't know which way turn, which way to run, for Death Eaters were sure to be lurking wherever she went. The sound of people's screams deafened her, and for a moment her mind was completely bogged with terror. It was inevitable: she was going to die.
The grasp of his hand around her bony wrist diminished her thoughts. Her instincts kicked in and she tried terribly hard to break away from Draco Malfoy, a Death Eater himself.
"Let go of me, Draco Malfoy!" she screamed. "Let go of me this instant!"
Of course, he never compiled, but continued to let her struggle for a few more moments.
"How could you?" she demanded. Despite the coolness of the night, her face burned fiery red and the reflection of curses could be seen in the colour of her eyes.
"I didn't know they would be here, Granger," he said harshly. "This wasn't by my doing. Now be quiet; I'm trying to save your life."
A/N: This is the sequel to a story I previously posted called Masquerade. I wrote this over a series of months, so I apologize in advance if it is somewhat... choppy. But I hope you like it anyway and fill free to leave a little review. c: