A/N: I haven't written stories in a long time. This is another idea I'm throwing out there to see how people respond and to dip my toes back into the water of writing. This story could be sensitive, so please adhere to the below warnings. This chapter was edited 10/26/2018.
Warnings: Mentions of abuse, physical, emotional and substance. Some mentions of sexual abuse and harassment. Since I don't know how I want to carry on the story if I continue, the story could take a darker path. Please abide by warnings and do not read if any of the above bother you.
He hated patrols.
If he wasn't still on such bad terms with the new Headmistress then maybe he would be assigned less nights to wander these bloody empty halls. No one bothered going to the corners of the seventh floor, not at this blasted late hour. He was wasting away time he could be using on half a dozen other things, but maybe that was the point. McGonagall wanted to keep him occupied to keep him out of trouble.
He hated that, too.
The fact that he was even in the running for Head of House blew his mind when he returned to school that fall. After everything that transpired with the war he assumed that his previous good grades would be stripped away and anyone else would be given the position. It wasn't like he was in anyone's good graces after the war. He didn't do a damn thing to help, not in the end.
Maybe it was a challenge, to see how long it took before he gave the position up for one reason or another. He wasn't good at staying focused on what he needed, not when other things drew his attention. He could be tempted by all sorts of things if the pros outweighed the cons. Placing him in the position as Head Boy was a big honor, if he had any reason to feel honored about it. Heads were watched closely by everyone; they were expected to help younger students and set good examples, getting good grades and organizing all sorts of school rubbish for the student body.
Being Head Boy wasn't a luxury, dorm excluded. He was pretty sure this was a punishment; it was the only way people could be assured eyes were on him literally all the time.
It might be a consolation if the Head Girl was someone fun, but he knew from the start that it would be Granger. If someone else sauntered into the dorm that first day, he would've been surprised.
She was surprised to see him though, and although she clearly hated the arrangement she didn't fight it nearly as much as he expected. In fact, only one particular point in the conversation actually gripped his attention.
"Since when are the dorms co-ed? This is going to inspire students to get good grades for all the wrong reasons. It certainly wasn't like this last year."
Leave it to Granger to think of things in such a black and white, stiff perspective. No one else in the bloody school complained about it, except maybe her good for nothing friends.
Thankfully, he got to do patrols alone. No one wanted to work with him anyway. If he was lucky he could just skim the halls and get to bed early.
He was so distracted, imaging climbing back into bed when he returned to the dorm, he nearly jumped out of his skin when a cry pierced the silence.
Draco swore, glancing back the way he'd come. He didn't check the alcoves down the hall, didn't see a point. He hadn't gone left at all, deciding there was never anyone up here anyway. The one bloody time he didn't check…
He swore again, starting back towards the sound. He couldn't exactly ignore it, even if his bed was beckoning him. He'd be expelled for sure if he didn't check it out.
Another scream came down the hall, and he slowed his steps at the sound. At first it sounded like someone was scared, but now the tone was different, shifting from scared to angry. It was certainly the same person, but the sudden mood change startled him. The voice, though high and echoing in the halls, was distinctly female.
Rounding the corner he froze altogether.
Draco stared down the hallway, unable to believe the sight before him. It seemed so odd and out of place, he actually rubbed his eyes to see if he was imaging things.
He couldn't quite believe they were arguing, no matter how amusing it might be. They were both heated, cheeks flushed, staring at each other. They didn't even seem to notice he had appeared in the hallway, despite the additional presence of light and his echoing steps.
Draco snapped himself back to the present, crossing his arms tightly as he dimmed his wand and stared at the two. He'd been so surprised by their presence there, he hadn't started listening right away when she started screaming again.
"-it wasn't my fault! It's no one's fault Ronald, and you can't keep taking your anger and pain out on others. I'm so sorry about what happened, but I refuse to be your rebound for pain. I will not be your punching bag."
He took a step back at her words, slipping into the shadows while he was still unnoticed. He should probably break them up, it was his job while on patrol after all. But they weren't younger students; they were his peers, veterans of a war. He'd have to put up a fight to break them apart, and he didn't want to do that yet. He wanted to know what she was going on about.
Weasley's face was redder than hers, matching the ginger pigment in his hair. His hands were balled together, trembling. But his eyes betrayed the fury, heavy fat tears slipping down the bright cheeks. "I told you… I told you I was sorry."
"Sorry doesn't change it Ron," she snapped again, her own eyes shiny too. "I know why you did it before, and I told you I would forgive you, once. Not again Ron. It was a mistake to trust you."
His eyes hardened, and he reached towards her wrist. She managed to dodge the swift movement, swinging her wand arm around to press the wood tight to his chest. Draco arched an eyebrow, monitoring the exchange from the shadows. Weasley was usually faster than that, if for no other reason than Quidditch.
His eyes flashed, and he clenched his jaw as she spoke again. For the first time, Draco noticed he was without a wand. "I didn't mean it."
"Because you're so damn forgiving now."
"You know it's hard for me Hermione," he snapped, stepping closer again, pressing the wood further into his chest. She didn't flinch, letting the wand slide deeper into his skin.
"You're not the only person who's sad Ron, everyone is. You're the only one dealing with it like this."
His lip twitched, hands clenching tighter. "I told you I was sorry."
"Sorry doesn't change anything Ron. I can't be with you if things are going to be this way, not when you are like this. You need to think about yourself first, not about a relationship. It's obvious that you can't handle both."
Even from a distance, Draco noticed his eyes darkening, and before either of them could react, he snapped out and struck her, seconds before a spell hit him in the chest and sent him tumbling backward. She stumbled, regaining her balance from the blow before he did.
Draco clenched his fists, stepping back into the moonlight of the corridor again. Things had gone far enough. Obviously, the control he thought she had on the situation wasn't there, and he couldn't let things go any farther.
He couldn't risk getting blamed for this after all.
Her head snapped up at that moment, dark brown eyes meeting his from across the corridor. Her eyebrows shot up, hands and shoulders clenching as she realized they had an audience. As he approached she shuffled forward, gesturing for him to slip back into the shadows. He stopped moving several feet away, the urgency in her expression stalling him.
What did he care if she wanted him to stop? It's his stupid fucking job.
Nonetheless, he stepped back into the shadows again, wand in his hand in case things escalated. She had to have her reasons for shooing him back, and he fully intended to ask what they were as soon as Weasley left.
Weasley staggered up, gripping senselessly at the wall as he stood. His eyes were wide and angry, angrier than they were a moment ago. She lifted her wand again, daring him to react. A thin, sliver of a line of blood dripped from his forehead where he cut it in the fall.
But Draco had a hard time focusing on Weasley, not when the red of Granger's cheeks was so distinctly different. He knew to expect a red print blossoming on one cheek, knew it would be there after the slap Weasel delivered before. He just didn't expect there to be a mirror image on her other cheek, bleeding from faint cuts where a ring may have punctured the skin.
The first scream.
He clenched his hands, watching intently. If Weasley reached out again, he wouldn't be allowed to strike her. Draco was familiar with those marks; he'd seen enough before.
"It doesn't change anything 'Mione," he cooed, using an old nickname Draco recalled hearing. Her expression contorted as he spoke. "We're just mad. We'll talk tomorrow, when everything's different."
"Nothing's different Ron," she snapped defensively, "Nothing but you."
He reached up to brush away the line of blood, leaving a thin smear on his head and hand. "You're different Hermione. You know it too. Everyone's different now. He changed everything."
"Yes, he did," she agreed, the resilience in her voice fading. Her wand shook for the first time, the confidence in her stance beginning to waver. "But it doesn't justify anything Ron. Everyone reacted differently. You're the only one lashing out. And I'm not going to be the one for you to take out all your anger on."
"I'm not trying to."
She laughed hollowly, tears pricking at her eyes. "Really? You've done a shit job of proving that Ron. I can't wait around to see how you are going to handle things, not when I can't tell when you're going to lose it. I should've known it was a mistake coming up here, it's just like last time."
"Good luck finding your wand," she snapped, tightening her hands on her own again. "I threw it out the window on purpose. I'm not risking another episode with you."
"But you did," she whispered, eyes larger than before. "And you almost did again. Don't talk to me Ron, not tomorrow or any other day. I don't want your company, and I certainly don't want you."
He was fuming; Draco could see it from the shadows. His eyes danced between the pair, wondering if now was a good time to announce his presence before Weasley tried something else stupid. He wondered if anyone would believe him when he hauled him down to McGonagall's office. You're supposed to get good marks for dealing with upsets, but would the Headmistress believe him if he brought in a member of the Golden Trio, and tried to convince her the boy was less than saintly?
For the first time Weasley backed off instead of getting in Granger's face. He was still angry, the glint in his eyes holding nothing but malice. He backed away from her slowly, eyes burning into hers as he retreated. Draco didn't back into the wall as he passed, wondering if the twit would even look his way. He didn't, not the entire length of the hall. His eyes remained on the girl in question, until he reached the turn, and only then did he pry his eyes from her form, not bothering with a backward glance.
The moment he was gone, Hermione dropped her stance and slid down the wall behind her, arms and legs shaking. She clenched her hands, head bowed as she attempted to control herself. Draco took that as an opportunity to step from the shadows, watching every little reaction with detached curiosity.
He stopped beside her, glancing towards her face. He couldn't see the marks on her cheeks now, not with her hair hanging over them. He crossed his arms uncomfortably, wondering what the hell he was supposed to say to her. As long as she didn't cry, he figured he could at least handle it.
Clearing his throat, he tried to say something snarky about Weasley, but the words died in his mouth. He didn't have the desire to pick on the boy right now, not after that. He wondered if he should've just punched him as he stalked passed instead of letting him go, and he could've worried about the mess later.
Maybe he should try something reassuring. He wasn't sure why he wanted to, but he'd never seen Granger look so downtrodden before, and he'd seen her tortured by Bellatrix at the manor.
Instead, he opened his mouth and a question tumbled out, not at all considerate of her feelings. "What the hell was that?"
A/N: Thanks for reading. If you like it, let me know and I'll hopefully be able to make it into something grand. I appreciate all the feedback.