Disclaimer: JKR owns anything that is obviously hers. I own the rest.
Characters: Draco Malfoy, Hermione Granger
Genres: Dark, Post-Hogwarts, Romance
Warnings: Alternate Universe, Dubious Consent, Explicit Sexual Situations, Profanity, Torture, Violence
Overall Rating: NC-17
Summary: Sometimes, your enemy is the only friend you have. Other times, he is no friend at all. When you have absolutely no one to turn to, can you turn to the one who is theoretically the cause of it? Or will he then try and turn you against everything you believe? Birthday challenge.
Length: 2/10 Chapters. This chapter: 1414 words.
Hermione was pacing. She didn’t like this. She didn’t like this one bit. Something was just not right.
For one thing, she was alive.
For another, she was unharmed.
And it had been ten days. Ten whole days! Or, well, she thought it had.
She had expected to be thrown in a dungeon. Somewhere dark and dank with chains. She hadn’t been. She had been given a bedroom. Granted, it was an odd bedroom. It had been stripped of everything but a lamp, a desk with a chair, an armchair, a bed and a blanket. The floors were carpeted, though, even if the walls were bare. She could feel why, as the cold was creeping in at night. There was a small connecting bathroom with a toilet, a sink and a tub. Again there were only the bare necessities – a toothbrush, toothpaste, towels, and a bar of soap.
The soap had lately been employed in doing some emergency laundry. Ten days in the same clothes really didn’t agree with anyone, but Hermione took great care in always staying somewhat decent. You never knew, and she certainly wasn’t about to give anyone any ideas. Not that her antics were likely from keeping such ideas from happening if they were going to… but still.
She couldn’t see anything but darkness when she looked out the window. Some spell had been cast on it to block out the view. She counted the days by her meals and she had been given 29 meals so far, but it didn’t take a genius to figure out that the meals were given at a more or less random interval. In the beginning, she hadn’t touched the food at all, but after a while she realized that she was only punishing herself and, besides, eating was at least something to do.
She hadn’t seen another human being in all of that time. All she saw was a house elf bringing her the tray at mealtimes, or, once, changing her bed linen, but she had given up on trying to communicate with it. It kept its eyes averted and never said a word. She couldn’t get close to it, either; it seemed to have some sort of magical shield surrounding it.
Figuring out that there was no escaping, through neither the window nor the door, hadn’t taken her more than an hour. There were too many wards. Figuring out that she couldn’t smash the mirror in the bathroom, either, had only taken a few minutes. Of course she couldn’t. There was no fireplace, which helped in making the room rather cold, and there was not a lot she could do save from strangling herself with her blanket, which she couldn’t even do effectively. These people were many things, but stupid was unfortunately not one of them.
There was nothing to do with her time. Hermione realized that complaining about being bored wasn’t exactly prudent, but with nothing to do, nothing to look at, nothing to occupy her mind… her imagination was working overtime. Why were they keeping her here? What did they plan to do with her? How painful would her death be?
She was so busy fretting that she almost didn’t hear the door open.
Draco stepped inside the room, closing the door with a soft click. Yes, she seemed more than ready to begin. She looked disheveled, her hair in tangles, her clothes rumpled and… her feet bare? He smirked. Perhaps even oh-so-perfect Mudblood girls got smelly socks if they had to keep them on long enough. She had obviously been pacing, before he entered, and now she looked at him warily. Good. She had reason to be wary.
He sat down in the armchair and looked at her pensively. How to go about this the best way?
“W-what do you want?” Hermione asked.
Draco’s eyebrows shot up. Now wasn’t that a loaded question to ask your Death Eater captor? “Information would be nice,” he suggested.
She raised her chin defiantly and looked him straight in the eye. “You aren’t getting any, so you might as well kill me now!”
He’d suspected as much, but merely tutted. “Inviting your enemies to kill you is not a very wise move, Granger.”
“Are you?” she asked, sadness in her eyes and voice.
“Am I what?”
He leaned back. This might be easier than he’d thought. “Well, that’s entirely up to you, Granger,” he replied.
She shook her head incomprehensively. “How can that be?”
“It’s simple, really. I can make your life very pleasant here or—“
“Or you can make my life a living Hell,” she interrupted. “I got that part. But don’t you people see? I’ll never betray the Order!”
“Never is a very long time,” Draco said. “I wouldn’t be so fast to make those kinds of statements.”
“No, you wouldn’t,” Hermione said with a degree of loathing in her eyes that took him slightly aback.
“I brought you something,” he said, deciding it was time to change the subject.
That seemed to surprise her. He hid another smirk.
“Why?” she asked.
Why and not what? Well, he supposed that women might be slightly different once you took them prisoner and they were under the threat of loss of life and limb. He took out the parcel and threw it at her; she caught it instinctively before it brained her.
“Open it,” he said.
Glancing at him she did as instructed. It was a book. It was actually a very good book, albeit a bit dry. It was about the general wizarding stance on assorted muggle-wars and how some muggleborn wizards and witches had chosen to fight unseen using magic. There were even detailed accounts of the ensuing legal proceedings and inevitable punishments. He knew she’d like it even if it did stress that the muggleborns had been wrong.
He’d considered bringing her other things first, but he knew her priorities and he knew that the book would please her the most. It would even please her more than a hairbrush, which, he made a note to himself, he’d better bring her next time, before her hair grew a life of its own.
She stared at the book for a few long seconds and then she looked up at him again, her expression unfathomable. “Why?” she asked again.
She was beginning to annoy him. He sighed and rubbed his forehead. “It’s a book. You like bloody books. If you don’t want it then give it back.”
She hugged the book protectively to her chest. So she did want it? Good.
“I don’t bite,” he said as gently as he could manage. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t get along.”
“Other than the fact that I won’t help you in any way,” she said defensively.
He made a dismissive hand gesture. “We’ll worry about that later.”
Her eyes grew suspicious and her gaze flickered to the door. He would love to know what was going on inside that bushy little head of hers.
“Nobody will harm you,” he said. “Not as long as you and I stay… friends.”
Her eyes flew back to him as he spoke, and her hands tightened on the book. He thought her glance hardened when he said the word ‘friends’, but her expression went blank so fast that he couldn’t be sure.
“I see,” she carefully said.
He suppressed the urge to sigh. For a first meeting, it had actually gone surprisingly well. She wasn’t in hysterics or crying or trying to claw his eyes out. That pleased him. Unforgiveable Curses really did very little to promote trust and friendship.
He got up. “I’ll leave you to it, then,” he said, going to the door. She made a little sound and he turned towards her with his eyebrows raised.
“That’s it?” she asked in a small voice.
He smirked. “That’s it.” Then he was gone.
Hermione scowled at the closed door. She wasn’t sure what to make of this. Draco Malfoy had never been civil to her even once, so it was more than obvious that he was up to something. It wasn’t quite as obvious what it was he was up to. If he merely wanted information, then there were faster ways to get it than giving her books, that was for sure.
She looked down on the volume in her hands. Wizards in muggle-wars. Drat. Why did he have to actually give her a book that she wanted to read?