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: 9/10 Chapters. This chapter: 1400 words.
Hermione was at her wits’ end. She really was. She could see no way out and apparently Harry could see no way in. She was afraid that, any day now, Voldemort would remember her and decide she wasn’t worth keeping. She didn’t want to die. In fact, she very much wanted to live. Her only way of survival would be to somehow get Draco to help her, which, at this point, seemed highly unlikely.
If she couldn’t use her body anymore and she couldn’t appeal to his conscience, then what was there? Greed? He was rich, as far as she knew, so why would he care for money? But then again, it always seemed like it was the ones who had money who wanted more… The point was really moot. She hadn’t access to the amount of galleons that a bribe would take. Power? Yes, he seemed to be a true Malfoy in that respect. She very much suspected that it was this need for power that had him doing his Lord’s bidding. Perhaps, if she could convince him that the Order wasn’t doing as poorly as he seemed to think… But how could she do that without betraying any secrets? And what would then happen? He obviously wasn’t about to change his opinion about the one matter that lay at the heart of it all – blood status.
It stung a bit. Somewhere along the line his act had worked and she had come to believe that he didn’t truly hate her. It was hard for her to understand how he could be so passionate about sleeping with her without caring one whit if she lived or died. She knew, of course, that sex was not love. She knew that sex was not even liking. It had just always been so… intense. So invigorating. Perhaps it was simply a matter of her circumstances. Yet, he’d said he’d felt betrayed by her. If he didn’t feel anything, then how could he feel betrayed?
She shook her head and went to her bed. She felt so confused.
Before she could lie down, the door swung open and Draco was striding in. This was odd; it could barely have been more than a day. He looked thoroughly harassed.
“What now?” she warily asked when he didn’t greet her but just began pacing.
“Things…” he mumbled, shaking his head. “Things just got out of hand.”
“How? What do you mean?” she asked, feeling alarmed and hopeful at the same time. Had they come for her?
He shot her a glance. “He’s not coming,” he said as if guessing her thoughts. “None of them are. They never intended to.”
Hermione was taken aback by this. “You’re lying. Of course they intended to come for me.”
“That’s what we thought. That either we could get him or we could turn you. But since you don’t respond as favorably to kindness as I had thought, I now have but a few options. The most obvious being to torture you into a speedy submission, which is what he wants.”
“I don’t believe you,” she scoffed. “This is another one of your tricks. I’m not telling you anything.”
He stopped to stare at her. “Are you insane?” he asked. “You don’t believe that I would do what I have to in order to save my own hide?”
“No, I believe that,” she said. “And it is what you’ll have to do. What I don’t believe is that nobody cares about me being here.”
He just kept staring at her for a minute, and then he went back out the door mumbling at her to stay put. Hermione blinked. That was different from what she’d expected and… Where would she go? He was back shortly, carrying a stone basin that Hermione instantly recognized for what it was: a Pensieve. She warily edged away from him.
He glanced at her and snorted. “Relax, Granger. I can’t take your memories like this.” He put the basin down on her desk. “And you seem to have taken to Occlumency well enough to resist the Dark Lord himself, so Legilimency has been out of the question for a while.”
“Then what do you need that for?” she asked.
He touched his temple with his wand and pulled out a silver strand that he placed in the Pensieve. “I’m proving something. Look.”
She shot him a guarded look. “It’s a trick.”
“No trick,” he said, holding up his hands and going over to sit down in his armchair. “But do hurry. I haven’t got all night.”
She slowly edged towards the Pensieve, keeping an eye on him. He didn’t move or speak, but merely watched her thoughtfully. Finally curiosity got the better of her and she leaned down to enter the memory.
It was almost pitch dark. Draco was standing alone in the shadows of the woods, his hood drawn to hide his eerily pale hair and face. His eyes were intently focused on what was happening in the clearing in front of him. Two males were talking, arguing even. Hermione gasped as she recognized them. It was Harry and Ron and neither of them were looking too happy. They were so consumed with the argument that they hadn’t noticed the Death Eater listening in on their conversation.
“We know she’s alive!” Ron was saying. “We know they have her trapped at their headquarters. We even know roughly in what room! Why can’t we go get her? It’s been weeks! We don’t know what they’ve been doing to her, what kind of horrible—“
“It’s a trap, Ron!” Harry interjected. “You know I love her as much as you do, but we can’t afford to play into their hands. Who knows how many would be killed in the process?”
“So, that’s it, then? We just leave her there to DIE?”
“Hermione knew the risks. She ALWAYS knew the risks! She wouldn’t want us to lose the war trying to save her.”
“You’ve changed, Harry. There was a time you would have risked anything to save a friend.”
“I don’t have that luxury anymore, Ron! Half the Order is dead and the other half is losing heart.”
“Yes, and I wonder why with such a brilliant and devoted leader!” Ron spat before he stormed off.
Harry stood, for a while looking after his friend, before he sat down on a stump, covering his face with his hands. “I’m so sorry, Hermione,” he whispered, as his shoulders started shaking.
Hermione stumbled back out of the memory, her vision blurry and her legs refusing to carry her. Unwelcome arms caught her as she collapsed.
“I-it’s a trick,” she whispered, shaking her head, knowing the truth.
“You know it isn’t,” he said.
“How would you know where they were? Why wouldn’t you kill them if you did?”
“It was recon. It wasn’t my job to kill them, and I probably wouldn’t have survived if I had tried.”
“Nobody’s coming,” she mumbled to herself.
“Nobody’s coming,” he agreed, helping her over to her bed.
“W-when you kill me, is there any way you could let them know?” she asked, the tears slowly sliding down her cheeks. “So they can stop worrying about me.”
He whipped up straight. “THAT is what you ask of me? To reassure two gits that don’t even care enough to come for you that you’ve found peace when you’re dead?”
She slowly nodded. “They were right. I did know the risks. I chose to ignore them.”
“You don’t have to die,” he hissed. “If you help us, he’ll let you live.”
She shook her head. “I’m never betraying them,” she said, a kind of apathy come over her.
“You ARE insane!” he stated, his eyes growing wild.
She blithely smiled through her tears. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand.”
“Hermione,” he said, his eyes and voice betraying an increasing panic. “Don’t make me do this!”
“I’m ready when you are,” was all she said.
He slowly raised his wand at her. She didn’t even flinch. For a long moment they were just staring into each others’ eyes. He ran his free hand through his hair, making him look disheveled for the first time she could remember without there being sex involved.
“Please reconsider,” he whispered.
She shook her head and closed her eyes. For the longest time nothing happened and then she heard the door slam.