Warning: Rated M for explicit language, violence, and sexual content. This story is Canon Divergent. For further disclaimers and warnings, make sure to read my profile. [Updated Jan 2017.]
A/N: Written for #SpookyScaryDulceWeen 2016. Undead is the sequel to my submission from last year, Alive.
Broken but better.
Or at least it felt that way for a while.
Draco watched her as she cried fat tears, watering the ground in front of her. His beautiful, brilliant, broken Granger. Had the war not happened, had they been born into different lives, a different world . . . Had she not fallen prey to the allure of Dark Magic, and had Draco actually been alive, he would have made her a Malfoy by now.
But that was never in the cards for them. The moment that the Dark Lord was rebirthed into the world, their lives were set in stone. Raised in war, the need to fight and scratch and cling was repetitively beaten into them due to circumstances.
The war had been over—and Draco had been dead—for a year when they finally came out of hiding. That year alone had been one of healing for the both of them. Secured away in a castle that Draco had to have figured was Muggle, because despite Granger making the place unplottable, the type of magic she performed would have set off alerts in whatever might have been left of a Ministry. It was cold, but he did not care much seeing that his senses were different since he had died. That, and for some ridiculous reason he had developed quite a distaste for fire.
But she was warm, and he knew that. Relished it. Treasured it.
"Warm," had been his first word after he died. Talking was difficult. He was certain that not all of his nerves were properly reconnected, especially since he could not feel pain. Strangely, he could still feel pleasure, and she took advantage of that as often as possible. Enveloped by her, inside of her, Draco made grumbling and grunting noises until finally, one day he moaned out exactly how she felt. "Warm."
Granger grinned proudly down at him and pivoted her hips, sending an electric shock through his spine that reminded him of his rebirth. It did not feel like it had before he died, of course, but it was a different sort of pleasure that he became dependent on. He stopped being angry at her for what she had done within the first month. The wire stitching around his neck and the other bits of him that she had needed to sew back on eventually stopped itching as well.
His craving for her only increased.
Draco wondered if it was a part of the magic she used to bring him back to . . . well . . . not exactly life.
They left their castle and refuge under the strongest disillusionments he had ever seen, which was saying something because Draco had watched up close and personal as the Dark Lord and Death Eaters evaded the Order and Ministry for well over a year as the war grew legs. Granger's spells were so strong, he partially wondered if she had slaughtered a goat in some sort of sacrificial ritual to gain the magic necessary. He would not have put it past her these days.
Granted, she had regained a semblance of her previous sanity over the months of solitude, locked away tending to his wounds and actually resting without the fear of battle and death looming over them like a grim, foaming at the mouth. Granger—Hermione—had good days and bad days.
It had been a good day when Ginny Weasley opened her door to find them standing there. Granger had embraced her and broken into sobs, and Ginny cried, muttering, "We thought you were dead."
Of course, when she set her gaze on him, she screamed and drew her wand.
"Don't!" Hermione screamed. "He's not—"
"He's a monster! Hermione . . . what have you done?"
Lacing her fingers with his, Hermione pressed herself against his side, and Draco breathed her in. Warm. "I saved him," she said defensively. "I had to use some Muggle methods, science and such, with a little bit of hope and . . . He's not an inferius. Believe me, I thought about it before I settled on this."
Ginny, shaking, refused to drop her wand. "Prove it."
Annoyed, Draco threw her a rude hand gesture.
They stayed with Ginny in the Burrow for a few weeks. The cramped home was much less so with only the witch living in residence. Molly Weasley, with her husband dead and too few children left alive, had died months after the battle at Hogwarts, unable to carry on. Charlie, like Draco, had been killed in the final battle. Unlike Draco, he stayed that way.
"Fleur moved to the continent when she found out she was pregnant just after the battle," Ginny said over a cup of tea. "I don't blame her. Bill died here and . . . Britain is an endless graveyard. Children shouldn't have to grow up here."
"How's George?" Hermione asked.
Ginny sighed. "Holed up in the shop. He doesn't leave. Diagon Alley is still being repaired, but slowly. What's left of the government started working on the Ministry first, bunch of sods. Never mind that people were starving. What few Healers are left relocated from St. Mungo's to a smaller office."
"Who else survived?"
Hermione looked over the very short list that Ginny gave her. She offered it to Draco, but he refused to look. He did not enjoy the idea of hope. He had his Granger. Beautiful, brilliant . . . and broken. He was hers, and she was his—which was why it was so irksome that she began spending too much time in the room at the top of the stairs, crying over the memory of a long dead friend. Maybe boyfriend. Draco had not given it much though since he was the one she had been fucking since Weasley died.
When he grunted his displeasure and angrily growled out, "Weasel," she laughed and kissed him soundly.
"Silly man," she whispered in his ear. "You're mine, and I'm yours. I just miss my friends."
She missed them.
Draco sighed and looked away from her, sobbing on the ground. Hogwarts had been abandoned long ago. No new school system had been reestablished, and parents were opting to send their children to Beauxbatons instead of waiting. Hogwarts was a blood-soaked battlefield, and that would never change. Draco could still smell the death all around them even though the bodies had been buried for years. Death and Darkness; the stench was overpowering. Draco wanted to steal her away from it all, return to their unplottable castle and spend the rest of their lives—her life—in solitude.
But she needed closure.
"I miss them," Hermione cried again and again. "It's not fair. It's not fair. Voldemort and Death Eater took them away from me, and I couldn't . . . I couldn't save them."
Draco put a hand on her shoulder, trying to comfort her, trying to say, You saved me.
As though she heard him, Hermione mumbled, "You're right. I did save you."
Relieved, Draco took a step back, ready to have her Apparate them back home. He was looking forward to crawling back into bed in a cold room without a fire, Hermione the only warm thing within reach. His beautiful, brilliant—
"Ah!" Hermione screamed and dug her fingers into the ground, cracking her nails and bleeding.
Draco panicked and tried to stop her from hurting herself, but magic hit him like the crack of a whip and he stumbled backward, watching in horror as a black aura enveloped her body. As though summoned from the sky—which was not entirely impossible, all things considered—lightning struck the ground over and over, splitting it open. Draco, drawn to the light, moved forward only to be stopped when a bolt struck him down, pinning him to the ground as though it were a giant's hand.
The stench of death grew worse, and then there was nothing at all. The pressure on his back was released, the brief storm that had been summoned faded, and Draco looked up to see Hermione laughing.
"I knew it," she whispered. "Isn't magic amazing?"
No, Draco thought as he stared at the moving corpse in front of him. The inferius stumbled a bit, looking pale and sickly and covered in blood. It had not rotted, however, which was damned near impossible considering it had been over two years since the man had been slaughtered. And yet . . . No, magic is a terrible thing.
Draco groaned, trying to say words, but none would form.
Hermione smiled back at him. "Now don't be like that," she said sweetly. "You know that I love you."
And he loved her. But what had she become?
Sighing happily, Hermione turned back to the undead creature in front of her. "Besides, Ron is just a friend."