Category: Harry Potter
Genre: Drama/Romance/Action Adventure
Ship: Hermione/Draco & Hermione/Theo
Warning(s): Contains profanity, Strong Volence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Spoilers
Summary: With skin forbidden to be touched by others, Hermione considered herself cursed. Albus Dumbledore, on the other hand, saw her as an asset to the Order; an asset that could easily become a weapon if ever in the hands of the Dark Lord. She needed to remain a secret, and she did…until Draco Malfoy touched her.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter does not belong to me and I am making no profit in the creation of this story.
The chaos in the air was disorientating. The Department of Mysteries was designed to effect those who dared enter its mystic halls in such a way, but Hermione still couldn't quite believe how thrown off she was. She couldn't tell which way was up and which way was down. Spells were flying from all over the place, stoking the fire of her confusion. She had split up from all of her companions in order to divide the Death Eaters' attention between their groups. Now she saw a flaw in the plan: how was she going to find the others again in this maze?
She ran full speed ahead through the Hall of Prophecy, throwing countless Stunners over her shoulders at the masked figures in pursuit. She was sure to aim at the thousands of glass spheres around her, hoping the collision of the spells hitting such powerful magic would create large enough explosions to keep her under a constant cover of smoke. The glass pelted down on her as shards rained from the sky, though she felt nothing through the thick waves of adrenalin coursing through her blood.
The entire situation was going about as poorly as she'd suspected when she'd tried to warn Harry not to go after Sirius earlier in the day. Hermione'd felt the wrongness of his vision in her gut the moment he'd explained himself; however, if there was one flaw in her best friend, it was his bull-headed devotion to those he loved. It made him reckless, which Voldemort knew. The thought made chills dance up her spine until she forcefully pushed it from her mind in favor of more productive ones. Hovering on how naively they'd strolled into an ambush wouldn't get her friends out of this mess they were in.
Hermione threw another glance over her shoulder, noting in relief that her spells had managed to knock various stacks into the aisle behind her. There wasn't a Death Eater in sight. She stopped running then, looking around for the others. The path ahead of her was dark, but she could see flashes of spells all around her lighting the gigantic chamber in periodic bursts. From where she stood, they looked like fireworks: some purple, some red, and some a chilling green that could only mean one thing. She reckoned the Death Eaters needed Harry alive, but the rest of them were expendable.
There was a course shout from her right, most likely just a few rows down from where she was catching her breath. Hermione pressed her face to the stacks, peering through the small band of openings until she could make out a familiar pair of figures in the shadow of a red jet of light. Harry and Neville were running side by side, taking turns throwing defensive spells behind them.
Quickly, as to not lose track of them, she made her way further down her row. Hermione kept her eyes alert for any breech in the towering walls that would allow her to intersect their path. She struggled to keep Harry and Neville in her sight while also looking for a way out of the maze. The absurdness of running through such library-like aisles for her life wasn't lost on her. For a moment, she thought of all the times when she'd accidentally lost Harry and Ron in the stacks of the library in Hogwarts. It all seemed so innocent now.
It was that thought alone that had her heart giving a painful tremor in her chest. For the first time in a very long while, she realized she was still just a child. While she may have been through a great deal more than most in life, that didn't mean she was ready for what lay right in front of her. She watched anxiously out of the corner of her eyes as a hooded Death Eater brought up the rear behind the two boys, wand at the ready.
The reality of the situation finally hit her: she was in a battle for her life. This wasn't some sort of duel with Ron in the Room of Requirement. This was war. And she'd been absolutely insane to think she was in any way prepared for it. Yes, she was certainly more prepared now than she'd been before the creation of Dumbledore's Army, yet that didn't alleviate any of the fear that suddenly overwhelmed her. The threat they faced wasn't of some minor injury, it was of potential murder.
"Look out!" she exclaimed then, coming upon Harry and Neville at a dead sprint just as the cloaked figure reached out for the aforementioned boy's arm.
Harry struggled to yank free as Neville hurled himself out of the way at her prompting. Hermione's breath was coming in gasps of panic as she frantically waved her wand towards the Death Eater, unable to wait to make sure Harry was completely clear of the blast before she sputtered the incantation. The Stunner seemed weak yet effective. She exhaled a sigh of relief as the masked man released his hold on Harry and was thrown off of his feet. The Death Eater careened with a harsh grunt into the shelves behind him, causing them to immediately collapse in under his weight.
"Bloody perfect timing," Harry gasped, struggling to catch his breath as she and Neville attempted to do the same. "Malfoy almost had us."
"Thanks," she murmured in return, spinning away from the man who she now knew was the father of one of her schoolmates. "I didn't know who it was."
"He seems a bit quicker to anger than Draco," Neville commented absently through his wheezes, gesturing vaguely at the unconscious man. "Didn't know it was possible."
Hermione would have laughed at the unexpected remark if she wasn't so exhausted. She shared a wide-eyed look with Harry and Neville as they all released a long sigh at once. She reckoned the look said it all: the fear, the nervousness, and the disbelief. Even after all of these years of blindly following her best friend into the rashest situations imaginable, she was still in awe of it. Their adventures would make for a great story one day, but right now she was wondering if she'd survive that long.
It was just as that thought had crossed her mind that it happened: Malfoy rose. They must have hovered too long regaining their energy before another run for their lives. Or more likely, Hermione had been too distracted when casting the Stunner at the wizard. Her spell hadn't packed the proper punch for a long-term knockout. No matter the reason, Malfoy had stood and approached the group so rapidly that none of them had the warning needed to react. A streak of vibrant purple sped towards Hermione before she could throw up any defense.
She felt a punch of air leave her lungs as Malfoy's curse slammed into her chest, knocking her off of her feet and sailing her backwards. The smash of her body against the hardwood of a shelf had her collapsing to the floor like a ragdoll, splinters digging like knives along her spine. The side of her face cracked against cold marble as she fell into a heap and her vision went black. Her body felt raw as the heavy weight of the shelf caved in on her.
Her thoughts were tired and confused when a groggy sense of awareness returned moments later. She immediately wondered what had happened to Harry and Neville, tears swiftly filling her eyes as she tried to wearily summon them with her mind alone. She'd been looking right at them before turning to face her assailant. It didn't make sense for them to disappear instead of helping her, but she couldn't see or hear them. Suddenly, the weight that had pressed her so heavily into the ground seemed to lessen just slightly, and a dull light crept into her vision.
Hermione filled with hope as she squinted up into the outline of a person's head. However, as her eyes fluttered fully open, she realized with dread that the face wasn't that of either of her friends. The insight seemed to fully awaken Hermione to her injuries as waves of pain finally overtook her senses. It left her winded from the agony. It felt as though the curse had broken every bone in her body, and she sobbed as the numbness wore off. She was frightened and anguished, a crazy desperation causing her to blindly reach up to grasp the person in front of her as if he was there to help.
Her arm was roughly smacked out of the way by Malfoy as the Death Eater's face came into view. He had removed his mask and she watched as he snarled, his blackened eyes glaring into hers hatefully as his image blurred through her tears. His lips were moving like he was speaking to her, but the sound was coming to her as if underwater. There was a ringing in her ears, preventing her from hearing anything clearly. She felt thankful for it when his lips moved to form the obvious shape of the word "Mudblood." She figured she didn't want to hear what he was saying.
Instead of focusing on his words then, she chose that moment to take in his appearance. She'd never before given him much thought, but as her brain turned fuzzy she suddenly recalled his son. The man before her bared such a resemblance to the sharp-faced boy who sprang to her mind, that she could almost pretend it was Draco who had hurt her. Yet as she continued to stare, she noticed vague differences. Where this Malfoy was bulky and thin-lipped, the other was lanky with a full mouth that was just as prickly as a cactus. She wondered absently if it was possible that the younger Malfoy had eyes as cold as his father's.
Hermione kept her weak gaze on the slightly crooked-nosed Malfoy before her. He continued to breathe hatred down at her, hovering over her broken form as if wondering what to do to finish her off. Hermione was so lost in her pain and confusion at his presence that she didn't fully comprehend when something changed in his eyes. They had widened and a glowing ring seemed to bloom around his dark pupils. She squinted curiously through her tears, her mind narrowing into focus enough to realize that the glow was a reflection.
A reflection of herself.
Hermione used what seemed like the last shred of her energy to tilt her head just slightly enough down that she could see her hand. She felt her neck creak and crunch as she moved, finding her left hand that had fallen against her stomach when she'd landed against the marble floor. Her hand was covered in small cuts and a thin layer of dust, but neither was very visible over what appeared to be an illuminant sheen across her skin.
She wanted to lift the hand and bring it to her face curiously for closer inspection, but she found that her brain couldn't quite put that desire into action. Her mind seemed to be holding onto consciousness by a thread. She didn't know how much time had passed since Malfoy had hit her with the spell, but it had felt much longer than she supposed it really was. Time was slowing down as her mind turned sluggish, and Hermione couldn't bring herself to think much more on the subject. She was slipping, her exhaustion giving way to a numb, dreamlike state.
She closed her eyes then, hoping to slip off and forget all of this had happened. She wanted to be back at Hogwarts with all of the normal students who didn't have to constantly worry about their heroic best friend and the chaos he brought with him. She wanted her bed. She even thought she might want her parents, which was really quite rare nowadays as the wizarding world pulled them slowly more apart each and every day.
A rough touch to her wrist had a scream roaring sharply from her throat and her eyes flying open again. She couldn't hear the scream, but she felt it to her core as she was ripped from her unfeeling paradise, looking up into the older Malfoy's face once more. This time it was different though. His cold features no long looked upon her with hatred. His hand was clenched around her presumably broken wrist still, but his face was contorted in pain. Immediately after taking ahold of her, he began shaking. Hermione watched as the vibration started at his hand where it held hers and seemed to slowly travel through the rest of his body. His arms started to shake, then his shoulders, and lastly his head.
She watched in awed horror as his face ran white, like his blood was draining from his body. Hermione still couldn't hear him, but she imagined a harsh yell of pure agony as blood began running in a trail from his nostrils and his eyes rolled back in his head. It happened so quickly that she couldn't comprehend it. All she knew was that one moment the Death Eater had been staring at her like she was the scum of the earth, and the next he was dead.
All he had done was touch her.
AN: This is the prologue of the novel I'm writing for Camp NaNo! I hope you've enjoyed the first chapter of it. Updates for this should come regularly because of the event. :) Let me know what you think so far! Please review!