|Killing Us Quietly
Author: plotweaver PM
Post HBP- As the trio searches for Horcruxes in a Death Eater infested Hogwarts, Hermione finds herself searching for answers in someone else. Dramione.Rated: Fiction M - English - Hermione G. & Draco M. - Chapters: 13 - Words: 20,121 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 18 - Updated: 02-01-12 - Published: 09-18-11 - id: 7393696
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Hurry! It's a new chapter! Read! We'll talk at the end.
Hermione woke on the cold, hard floor. Keeping her eyes closed and rolling on her side, she opened her mouth to get in the first insult of the day with Draco. She felt herself smiling as the words formed in her mind. Hermione knew Draco would return immediately what he thought was a wittier insult, and she had come to look forward to their sleepily exchanged, good-morning insults. She stretched the kinks out of her neck and froze.
The subtle cracking of the dried blood on the back of her neck alerted her to the difference in her situation. The memories of running down corridor after corridor surged to the forefront of her mind, and she thrust her eyelids open.
Hermione's eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness. Squinting, she began to make out the low, sloping ceiling and the dirty walls. A black iron door leading to a staircase and the dirt floor made her heart sink. She was no longer in Hogwarts.
Screams echoed from above. Hermione rose to her feet quickly. She closed her eyes for a minute as the dizziness that blossomed in her head injury swam through her entire body. Pushing past the spots in her eyes, she began to roam through the basement. The horrific screams persisted, making her feel ill. She found support against a near wall. As her head settled against it, Hermione noticed the inconsistency of the cool surface. It poked uncomfortably at her wound, and she spun around to determine why.
An inevitable sharp intake of breath as she took in the carved, stone serpent entwined around the menacing "M" eliminated the silence. She had heard him speak of this place many times before, but never did she imagine its walls would ever contain her.
"This castle is nothing compared to Malfoy Manor. How wonderful it will be to go home for holiday and be in a proper residence."
Hermione nearly scoffed as she looked at her gloomy surroundings. This was no proper residence. It was a prison. Her only comfort lay in the grim satisfaction of the blood from her wound smeared over the Malfoy crest.
"See them get the Mudblood out of that."
Her sudden bravado was lost when the yells of pure agony from above brought on another wave of dizziness. Hermione sunk to the floor clutching the back of her head. Soon, a ringing in her ears masked the painful cries, and the world around her grew fuzzy…
Familiar faces and smells burst through her mind. Her father smelling of peppermint. Her mother's tight hugs. Harry smirking at her from behind Ron's back. The Great Hall at Christmas. Ron's blush as she complimented his spellwork. Wave after wave lapped over her until she began to drown in the memories. Gasping for air, the memories began to slow their pace and she arrived at one in particular…
"Welcome home, sweetheart!"
Her mother's voice filled her with comfort. It had been her first time away for school, and the separation had taken its toll both on her and her parents.
The powerful smell of peppermint and pine hit her like a troll's club as she walked into the parlor. Hermione loved Christmas.
"You can unpack in a bit," Mr. Granger's voice came breathless from the cold. "But, first, tell us all about Hogwarts."
Tea was poured and Hermione spouted everything she could remember about her beloved school.
"Exactly like how I read in Hogwarts: A History… The paintings can be very rude… Professor McGonagall says I'm progressing at the rate of a fourth year!... Once I learn to Apparate I expect I won't have much use for brooms anyway…"
"Did you make any friends, dear?" her father inquired, interrupting her spirited explanation of the obvious distinction between Locomotor Mortis and Wingardium Leviosa.
"Oh, yes!" Mr. and Mrs. Granger relaxed subtly. "Harry is perfectly agreeable and Ron… Well, Ron is Ron."
"That's wonderful, sweetheart. So nobody has been giving you any trouble?"
Hermione's thoughts instantly turned to white-blonde hair shaking with laughter. Just when she thought he exhausted his pension for mockery, he found another flaw with her. Recalling his most recent taunt, her hand absently covered her mouth, home to her large front teeth.
"Oh, sweetheart, no," her mother soothed when she noticed the familiar gesture. "How many times must we say it? Your smile is beautiful. You have lovely, healthy teeth."
Hermione made no response.
"Hermione Jean," Mr. Granger said firmly. "If someone bullies you, you should know that—"
"They're only doing it because they're insecure and they feel threatened by my intelligence," she finished, irritated. "But not this one! He has everything, and I'm sure a lifetime of experience helps him in the classroom—" Hermione halted out of fear that she offended her Muggle parents.
"I have complete faith in you," her father stated. "Faith that you'll overcome any setback thrown at you. You always have. And remember what Dr. Parker said," Hermione cringed at the name of her childhood therapist, "bullies are no longer bullies if you befriend them."
Hermione resisted the urge to roll her eyes, and her parents comforted her by placing kisses on her forehead.
"Now," her mother said cheerfully, "who wants some toast and jam?"
A new memory began to take hold…
Flitwick bumbled past her, already getting lost in the swarm of students as he squeaked, "I'll be back in moment!"
Hermione stared at the back of his platinum hair. She had yet to find an opportunity to follow her parents' advice from two years ago. If she was being honest with herself, she had not been looking for opportunities; he was insufferable. Hermione begrudgingly admitted that this was as good a time as ever. She drew in as much breath as she could and approached him.
"I'm sorry, I don't speak Mudblood."
"Honestly? It's just us and you're still keeping that up? That whole 'Mudblood's are as dumb and useless as mud so they deserved to be treated like mud' bit? You do know why he asked us to stay, right?"
"Are you under the misapprehension that I enjoy hearing your voice?"
"Are you under the misapprehension that you are funny or smart?"
"Now who's forgetting why we've been asked to stay?" Draco smirked.
"We've been asked to stay because we're the top two in the class. A rank I earned by mastering magic beyond normal skill level without a wizarding background."
"Only because you spend every waking second with your nose stuck in a book. Hell, you may even sleep with them like teddy bears. Or maybe it's because you hide test answers in your hair. Who knows what's nesting in that thing."
Hermione huffed, growing more impatient by the second. "If anything I have had more obstacles than you to overcome! Does-"
"Granger, let me save you from embarrassing yourself any further than you already have." Hermione opened her mouth to reply, sucked in a sharp breath, and then pressed her lips together in anger. Draco's grin stretched a millimeter wider. "This isn't going to work."
Hermione felt the confusion manipulate her face.
"Trying to convince me that you're any less of a Mudblood by stating how much of a know-it-all you are isn't going to work."
His smirk vanished and he resisted the temptation to give into intimidation as she took a calculated step toward him with fire blazing in her eyes.
"A real wizard would have his own beliefs and not mindlessly repeat whatever his parents shove down his throat."
"How dare you-"
"Alright, Miss Granger and Mr. Malfoy!"
The two thirteen-year-olds jumped backwards, away from each other. Hermione could not believe they had inched that close together during their standoff. She had almost been close enough to determine if his eyes were pale blue or really silver like all the other girls said…
"As you know, one of Hogwarts' many traditions is the 'Charming of the Armor', given to the third year most masterful with charms. How wonderful for us that two of you have equally excelled in the Locomotor Charm!"
Hermione forced her lips even tighter together. If it weren't for her huge workload dividing her concentration, she would have surpassed Malfoy's skill in charms blindfolded.
"As you have seen in previous years, not only do the suits of armor sing Christmas carols, but they do a sort of jig before the dessert of the Christmas Eve dinner. This jig is entirely up to the design of the charmer. Now, ah, seeing as how we have two charmers…" Professor Flitwick cleared his throat uncomfortably. "You will have to cooperate in your magic for this to work."
Hermione gripped her wand tighter. Cooperation in magic wasn't difficult. Cooperating with the most insufferable boy she had ever met in making hundreds of heavy metal bodies dance in a semi-graceful fashion was a different tale. One glance at his pale face told her that, for once, they were of like mind: this was not going to happen.
Flitwick, ignoring the tension in the room, Wingardium Leviosa-ed a hefty suit of armor to the center of the room.
"The spell is the same we have practiced for the past week. Keep your minds calm, and remember this is only the first practice session. Cast on my count. Ready?"
Now that the challenge was before her, Hermione's mind instantly converted her frustration into concentration.
"One, two, three!"
Hermione nearly dropped her wand in surprise. The armor instantly sprang to life and glided into a sophisticated waltz. Despite its ancient appearance, no creaks or groans escaped the weathered metal. This didn't faze Hermione. She was accustomed to magic easily bending to her will. It was the shock of pleasure that shot through her whole body from her wand arm that caught her off-guard. Draco's magic did not combat her own but enhanced it instead. Pure ecstasy overwhelmed her while she and Draco complimented each other perfectly, moving the metal man gracefully.
"Well done! Well done!" Flitwick yipped from the corner.
The young witch and wizard ceased their magic and the armor was still once more.
"Wonderful! Simply wonderful! Never before have I seen such unity. It seems to me that practice sessions should be rather shorter than expected. You are free to go for this evening, and we will meet again after your next Charms lesson."
Flitwick bumbled on about how marvelous their magic flowed until they left his classroom. Standing in the deserted corridor, Hermione rounded on Draco.
"That," she said, pointing to the room they had just come from, "in there…" She struggled for the words to convey her thoughts. "Don't ever call me Mudblood again."
She turned and marched off toward Gryffindor Tower, carrying the satisfying look of surprise on Malfoy's face in her mind.
And the memory faded…
"You foul, loathsome, evil little cockroach!"
She drew her wand before her mind caught up with her. They were now outside, months later, his face wiped clean of all mirth by the danger of her wand. All ten and three-quarter inches of the stretch of vine wood in her hand hummed with her rage.
He had been so… different during the "Charming of the Armor". He had, thus far, refrained from calling her Mudblood. She cursed her naiveté for taking this as a sign of muted respect.
Now his snickers were directed toward the man who comforted her when Draco first branded her as a Mudblood. A man whom Draco also thought inferior to himself. A man whose grieving and sorrow was brought on by none other than Draco himself. And Hermione couldn't take it. Draco's cruelty was harrowing, but the hope that he held something more was too much.
The pureblood's shocked face melted away…
Draco's face matured slightly. The warm light of the Entrance Hall torches cast a soft glow on his face. Feeling the multitude of tears on her face, she ducked her head and desperately tried to wipe them away. She'd be damned if she ever let Malfoy catch her this weak.
She fidgeted in her dress, waiting for him to make some degrading remark. He had cornered her immediately after she had sent Ron and Harry off to bed. Finally, she lifted her eyes to meet his, ready for any attack.
The pale eyes held no malice, however, as he reached his hand and lifted it to her face. Despite the draftiness of the castle in winter and her expectations of how his skin would feel, Draco's touch was incredibly warm. His hand still cupped her cheek as he used his thumb to carefully wipe a tear away.
"You…" he whispered.
At the sound of his own voice, he started. His hand jerked away.
"Your teeth look nice," he mumbled and swiftly moved down to the dungeons, away from her.
Hermione stood in utter bewilderment. It was the first genuine compliment she had heard him give anyone.
That thought carried her upstairs toward Gryffindor Tower, forgetting completely her Bulgarian hotshot date in the Great Hall.
"Fairy lights," she whispered to the Fat Lady, a smile growing on her face.
"Looks like you had a very interesting night, dearie," the Fat Lady drunkenly slurred, as she swung open.
Hermione placed her hand over her mouth and felt her slightly shrunken front teeth.
"Yes," she smiled. "Yes I did."
Screams pierced through the veil of memory and shook Hermione's heart. She opened her eyes and found herself back on the cold floor in Malfoy Manor with her hand over her mouth. A ghost of her former smile still lingered on her lips.
A hearty clang reverberated throughout the basement as someone unlocked the gate to the basement.
"Miss Granger," a familiar breathy voice said. "Madame Lestrange will see you now."
As Wormtail's silvery hand yanked her upright and out of the basement, Hermione had only one thought.
Wherever Draco is, let him be safe.
Let him be safe.
A/N: YESSS! Finally updated! I apologize a thousand times a thousand, but school has been so crazy lately. I will promise you this: I will not abandon this fic. It will have an ending one day, no matter what.
I hoped you picked up what I did with the teeth. If you don't remember, Hermione gets caught in the crosshairs of a jinx-match in the fourth book that causes her teeth to grow. Then, when she's in the hospital wing, she has Madame Pomfrey shrink them down to a normal size rather than her normal buckteeth.
I really hope you liked this chapter. I'd have to say it's my favorite so far. I've been trying to work on varying my sentence structure and expanding my vocabulary. So if anything seems repetitive, please call me out on it!
Hugs and kisses to Ol3and3r and im-incognito for adding this story to your alerts list. And even bigger hugs and kisses to Ol3and3r (again!), JaspersEmotionalGirl, and bushyhaired-american-nerd for your reviews! It takes a second to review, and it makes me happy for a very long time. Keep them coming!
Until next chapter!