AN: This story was originally written for Round 5 of the Dramione Remix (2014). The original couple is Jack Frost/Elsa.
My deepest gratitude goes to my beta, Raistlin, who always puts up with the games of chicken I tend to play with deadlines. Any remaining mistakes are my own. Thank you also to Cali, my always cheerleader.
Hermione dove into the empty room, closing the heavy door behind her. Unable to see anything past her own panic, the witch dug her nails into her palms, trying to focus on something other than her own powerful need to run. The sounds of the fighting echoed in the stone halls of the castle and inside her head, until she was unable to tell whether danger was close or far away.
Forcing her brain to cooperate, she limped away from the door and slumped down in a corner before ripping the fabric of her left leg with shaking hands. Ignoring the dark blood oozing from the ugly gash, she searched blindly for the corked vial she had thought to store away before leaving for yet another skirmish that would prove too bloody, too costly and utterly pointless. Theirs was a war of stalemates and Pyrrhic victories, and she had long ago disabused herself of the notion that that would change anytime soon.
Without giving herself time to think, Hermione poured the contents of the vial over the wound, shuddering as the clear potion scorched the torn flesh. She kicked a nearby chair with her other leg, struggling to keep from crying out. When the sharp pain finally turned into a dull ache, Hermione allowed herself the luxury of closing her eyes for a minute. She knew she needed to get up and go back out there, but she couldn't bring herself to move. She was so bloody tired of the whole thing. She almost envied Lavender, killed at the beginning of the war. She almost envied Fred.
Dragging herself away from the tempting lure of self-pity, Hermione made to get up, but just then the creaking of the door warned her of the arrival of a couple of Death Eaters. She slowly lowered herself back down to the floor, casting a quick Disillusionment Charm on herself and praying the Death Eaters would not look too closely in her direction.
After looking around for a few seconds, one of the masked men left the room, but the other remained behind. With his back turned to her, he slowly walked up to the mirror in the corner. Hermione had not noticed it before, but she would not have cared if she had. The Mirror of Erised held nothing but heartbreak, and she had enough ghosts haunting her as it was.
Oblivious to her presence, the Death Eater pulled down his hood and removed his mask, staring at the mirror. Hermione could not see Malfoy's expression from where she was, but she had no trouble recognising him. He might despise her and everything she stood for — and she couldn't claim to like him any better — but they had grown up together. She would've known him anywhere.
She wondered what he saw when he looked in the mirror. Did he see a version of the hell he and people like him had plunged their world into? Was this the great new world he envisioned?
Wrapping her fingers tighter around the wand, Hermione jumped to her feet, firing a stun. The spell was perfectly aimed, but it never hit its target. Malfoy spun around just in time, shielding it with ease.
"Too slow, Granger," he sneered. "That's the kind of piss-poor reflexes that keep getting you lot killed."
"You should hardly be gloating, Malfoy," she shot back. "I must say, I'm really enjoying living at Malfoy Manor. Such style, such comfort. How could you ever give it up?"
The man paled noticeably at that. "Enjoy it while you can, Granger," he growled. "I'll smoke you rabble out of there if I have to burn it over your heads."
"Well, you'll be happy to know it's quite flammable, as the west wing can attest."
He smirked, a dangerous, cold smile that did not reach his eyes. "How kind of you to share that with me. Shall I share something with you? Would you like to know how your precious Ronald died?"
"Shut your mouth, Malfoy," she warned.
"No? You don't want to hear how he squealed like a pig? How he wet his pants? How he cried for his mummy?"
Hermione cast two curses in quick succession, but they both bounced off his shields. She spun out of the way just in time to avoid his returning fire, and his hexes failed to hit her by inches. They still destroyed a wooden chest and a table in the corner where she was, spraying her with splinters.
"Poor little Granger, always more brains than talent. The only reason you've stayed alive this long is that people keep getting themselves killed trying to keep you alive."
"Shut your filthy mouth, Malfoy." She was too worked up for any fine aiming, and her curse was so off course that it hit neither Malfoy nor his shield, landing instead on the Mirror of Erised. The mirror did not absorb the spell, reflecting it instead towards the witch and wizard. Neither of them expected to be hit from that angle, and the curse hit them at full blast. Hermione looked down surprised, too shocked to feel anything.
After that, there was nothing but darkness.