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: 10/10 Chapters. This chapter: 1620 words.
This time, waiting for Draco to come back was one of the hardest things Hermione ever had had to do. Making your peace with the fact that you are about to suffer and die is one thing. Staying strong and brave through a long and lonely wait is another thing entirely. She wasn’t sure if keeping her waiting was an intentional way of torturing her or if he honestly cared about her and needed time to collect himself. Somehow, she minded it less when he was the one who had to do it, though. She felt certain that he wouldn’t draw it out unnecessarily.
When he did come back, he was looking pale and haunted, and from the way he was scowling at her, you should think that she was the one who had been having him at wandpoint.
“I don’t know what it is you think you’re doing,” he said, dumping some dark garments next to her on her bed. “Being so bloody stubborn. You could just pretend to cooperate. Aren’t you supposed to be smart?”
She shook her head. “It wouldn’t keep me alive for long, would it? And you said it yourself: They aren’t coming for me.”
“So, that’s it?” he growled, leaning towards her. “You just give up and commit suicide? Bloody brilliant.”
She shrugged. “I’ve had a good run in this war. I’m getting tired.”
“We’re not even twenty-five!” he exclaimed, sounding appalled. When she was about to reply, he held up his hand. “Don’t bother. Put that on.” He gestured towards the garments.
She reached out to find a set of robes and a cloak much like the one she had worn when he had taken her to watch the cruciating. Was that his new way of torturing her? To make her watch others being tortured, maybe even giving her the power to stop it? She paled. If that was the case, she wouldn’t be able to stand it.
“What… what do I need this for?” she asked. “Where are we going?”
“Out. Put it on or I’ll put it on for you,” he threatened in a voice that promised that that wouldn’t be a pleasant experience at all. When he saw the look on her face, he added, “I’m not taking you there again, we’re just going out.”
She did as he asked. Again he pulled up her cloak’s hood so she wouldn’t be recognized.
“When we walk,” he mumbled. “Try to walk like you own the place, but keep your face hidden. And remember: don’t get any ideas!"
He steered her out the door and she let him, but when they were outside he let her go and she was left to follow on her own accord. It didn’t even occur to her not to. It also took several minutes for it to occur to her that he hadn’t blocked out her vision either. This could only mean that he didn’t mean for them to go back. A chill touched her spine.
He took her through long hallways; taking a turn every time they heard voices ahead, so only once did they have to pass someone else. The others nodded at Draco, but didn’t spare her a glance, and he seemed to relax a bit. She briefly wondered why he cared, but thrust it aside. Who knew how Death Eater relations worked? Then they were outside and he was taking her away from the building. She ventured her first real glance at the place and gasped. It was huge, almost like a castle.
“Don’t stare at the place,” he hissed. “Come along, now.”
“Shut up and you’ll see!” His mood seemed to be deteriorating rapidly the further away they were going. And, she realized, they were going rather far. He just kept walking until the building was out of sight.
“What—“ she tried again, as he stopped, but he cut her off by grabbing her arm and, without warning, Disapparating with her.
She stumbled as they reappeared at the edge of a forest. He was gazing pensively at it for a second and then, without preamble, he pulled her close and kissed her. His lips hungrily moved over hers, and when she gasped with surprise, he deepened the kiss, pulling her closer. Then he roughly thrust her away again. Confused didn’t begin to describe what she was feeling.
“Go that way,” he said, pointing to the east. “Your friends will have guards out. Or, they should.”
“W-what?” she asked, feeling like a complete ninny for not understanding what was going on.
“It’s not that hard to understand, Granger. You win. I’m letting you go.” Hermione swallowed, her gaze flickering to the forest and then back to the blond man in front of her. “Go on,” he said again. “It’s not a trick. It’s the same place you saw in my memory, it’s their – your – new headquarters somewhere in there. This was as close as I could bring you. I’m not about to become a sitting duck for them and, besides, they have wards up all over the place.”
Hermione felt a little dizzy. “What about you?” she weakly asked. “If it’s true that this is not a trick, then you can’t go back.”
He smirked at her cynically. “I know.”
“You can’t go back to Malfoy Manor, either.”
“I know, Granger,” he bit out. “So why don’t you just get your bushy head out of my sight already!” He turned his back on her, but she grabbed his arm before he could Disapparate. He glared at her hand.
“You can come with me,” she said.
He rewarded that suggestion with a mocking smirk. “Oh, yes. Why don’t you give them my head on a silver platter while you’re at it? Nothing’s ever enough for you, is it?”
She shook her head. “I wouldn’t let them hurt you.”
He sighed. “And why would they trust me, Granger? Why would you trust me? I don’t want to be spending the rest of my – very limited – days sucking up to Potter to prove that I’ve changed.” The last word came out loaded with disgust.
“You have nowhere else to go,” she insisted. “And whether you believe it or not I think you have changed. You’re setting me free, aren’t you?”
He looked up into her eyes, the intensity in his startling her. “I would manage. I’ve been in tough spots before. I have no reason to come with you… Do I?” His gaze was unwavering, asking her… something…
Hermione felt her face heat up and she was unable to keep the eye contact. “I-I don’t know what you mean.”
“Of course you don’t,” he sarcastically said. “So, if you’ll just let go—“
“Wait!” she said, grabbing him even firmer when he tried to extricate himself from her hand. “You do!” She couldn’t allow him to just wander off to some uncertain fate, she just couldn’t.
He sighed at her again. “This level of pity you’re exhibiting is just… pitiful, Granger. Now, let go of me.”
“Never,” she whispered.
His head jerked up from where he’d been frowning at her hand, shock evident on his features. “You don’t mean that,” he quietly said. “Stop messing around. You don’t want this.”
“I do. Please come with me.”
“Why?” he asked. “Why should I come with you, Hermione?”
She cringed. “For Goodness sake, Draco! You can’t just put me on the spot like this!”
“Oh, I think I’ve earned the right, don’t you?” he asked mockingly.
“I don’t know what it is you want me to say!” she hedged.
“But you do.”
“I have feelings for you, ok? I can’t stand not knowing what’s to become of you!”
For a moment he looked inscrutable as he was processing this.
“You really want me to come along, then?” he asked.
“Yes,” she confirmed in a low whisper.
For a second she thought she saw regret on his face, but then it was gone.
“I might come with you, then,” he said.
She raised an eyebrow. “Might?”
“Well, that depends…” he mumbled as he drew her closer, “whether you kiss me again.”
She did. She pulled down his head and ran her hands through his hair, as she ran her lips over his, kissing him deeply and passionately. She pressed against him, reveling in the taste and feel that was him… until he pushed her away. She frowned at him, unhappy about the loss of contact and about to ask why he’d done that, when she noticed his flushed cheeks and the heat in his eyes. She suppressed a giggle and smirked instead. No, he wasn’t indifferent to her, either.
“I’m going to have my hands full, it seems,” he mumbled, as he took her hand and lead her in to the forest. This time she didn’t suppress the giggle.
Draco turned his face slightly to hide his frown. He had really wanted to just let her go. He had wished to fail this mission. He almost had. She was the Mudblood Granger; he shouldn’t care if he was using her, abusing her feelings, to get what he wanted. To get what his Lord wanted. He shouldn’t feel so damn dirty. He suppressed a growl that was threatening to erupt from low in his throat. Soon, he’d be done and it would be over. Soon, he wouldn’t have to look her in the eye anymore. Soon… He felt her hand in his and briefly closed his eyes, trying to will away the guilt. He had been successful. She had feelings for him, she would rebuff any suspicions about him and… the Dark Lord would finally have his spy in the Order.