A/N: So, this started as a drabble that I wrote and forgot about for a few months. When I found it, I had no outline or much memory of writing it. I stewed about it for a few days and suddenly inspiration struck. I have more than half of this story written and edited already. I hope to update at least once a week, maybe more when I get it finished. I hope you enjoy. More notes at the end.
Dying wasn't at all like what Hermione expected. It wasn't cold, dark, or lonely.
When the familiar flash of green light erupted from Draco Malfoy's wand, Hermione braced for the worst.
Instead, she felt warm all over, like she was snuggled up in her favorite blanket on her favorite comfy chair in the Gryffindor common room, right next to the fire.
Instead of darkness, a comforting golden light enveloped her as the world fell away to nothingness.
Instead of her life flashing before her eyes, every memory of Draco Malfoy flooded her senses.
But these memories were different than how she remembered them. She felt acutely aware of Malfoy's feelings in each glimpse of time.
You'll be next Mudblood.
She remembered him almost spitting the words at her, as if he couldn't wait to see her dead or petrified body in the hallways. But now, she felt how scared Draco was in that moment.
Have you ever seen anything so pathetic? And he's supposed to be our teacher!
She remembered the palm of her hand making contact with his smooth, cool skin and the feeling of smugness that momentarily overpowered her sadness for Hagrid and Buckbeak. But now, she felt sick with Malfoy's guilt and a twinge of desire she didn't understand.
She saw Malfoy draw his wand as Harry turned his back and Mad Eye/Barty Crouch Jr. transfiguring him into a ferret. She heard the laughter and remembered her own amusement at the scene — despite how she felt about a teacher transfiguring a student. But now, she was experiencing the scene through Draco's eyes, and she felt his fear, anxiety, and humiliation.
More moments flashed in her mind, one after another after another, each holding their own bit of information about the blonde man that she never really knew. While she hadn't ever given Malfoy's feelings much thought, she always imagined they were very binary. He only seemed to shift between varying degrees of anger and smugness.
As she began reliving the past few days — when she'd been tortured in his drawing room, ripped apart from her friends and held prisoner — she felt something she never imagined Draco Malfoy could feel.
Love toward her.
The horrified look on his face when Voldemort demanded he just get on with it and kill her was the last thing she saw before everything went black.
"Don't touch her," Draco hissed, hoping his words sounded territorial over his kill instead of conveying how he really felt in that moment. "She's mine; I'll be disposing of the little mudblood."
The youngest death eater levitated the body of his former classmate and turned to the snake-like man standing in the corner of the room who was twisting his hands gleefully as he looked upon the lifeless girl, the brains behind the Boy Who Lived. He won't last more than a week without her, he thought to himself triumphantly. "Is there anything else you need from me, My Lord?" Draco's voice was silky, and he was thankful for the first time in a long time that as a Malfoy he could expertly hide his emotions.
Red eyes scanned his features before Voldemort nodded. "You've done well, Draco," he said, his usually hissing voice was softer, proud. "Honor has been restored to your family today."
Draco bowed his head. "Thank you, My Lord," he replied before he turned and walked out of the room with Hermione's levitated body bobbing behind him.
Once Draco reached the hallway, he wrapped a hand around Hermione's arm. He apparated them first to an empty field several miles from the manor and then to multiple points around the country to hide his true destination until he appeared with a soft pop in Spinner's End.
Severus Snape was sitting perfectly straight on a tattered chair in the room in which the blonde and his companion appeared, as if waiting for Draco, with his elbows resting on his knees and his fingers steepled under his chin.
"This better work, Snape," Draco said sharply in greeting, levitating Hermione to the couch a few feet away and lowering her softly to the cushions.
The potioneer stood and crossed the room with a swoosh of his black cloak. He stuck a slender finger under Hermione's nose and looked to his former student. "She's alive. Barely," he spoke finally.
Draco let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "When will she wake?"
"I don't know," Snape sneered. "No one has ever attempted this and documented the process."
Removing his finger from Hermione's face, Snape gestured toward the hallway leading into the rest of the house. "I've set up a room, warded it extensively, of course, and arranged a selection of potions to give her in a few hours. We'll check on her progress then, but her body has endured endless torture. It's best that we let her sleep."
Draco looked as if he was about to protest, but Snape raised a sharp eyebrow, and the young man backed down. "Muppy," he called defeatedly, as Snape retook his seat near the fireplace.
A house elf wearing a bright pink tunic appeared beside Draco with a crack. "What can Muppy do for Master?"
Draco placed a gentle hand between the elf's floppy ears. "Muppy, Miss Hermione needs to rest. Please take her to the room Snape prepared and make sure she's comfortable."
"Yes, Master." Muppy nodded and moved toward the witch.
"And Muppy?" Draco called after her. "Do not leave her side no matter what. I will be coming to check on her in a moment."
The house elf nodded enthusiastically, ears bouncing back and forth, before disappearing along with Hermione's body.
Draco turned to his former professor and plopped unceremoniously onto a chair across from him. It seemed like a lifetime ago that he'd come here, emotionally broken at the prolonged torture Hermione had been through. Sometimes Voldemort made him join in. They were attempting to get information out of her about Potter's whereabouts. What was he looking for? What were his plans?
The woman held out for days, and Draco would sneak into her cell when the death eaters were preoccupied and attempt to comfort her. He would bring food and try to keep her talking about anything other than Potter. He wanted Hermione to know that he wasn't trying to get information out of her, that she was safe when it was only him. He engaged her in a battle of wits to keep her sane, but as days turned into weeks, she started deteriorating faster, and he was sent on more missions, unable to visit her for longer periods of time.
When he couldn't get a coherent word out of her, he finally snapped. Though he didn't quite understand why he cared so much about Hermione, he couldn't let her slowly and painfully wither away into a shell of her former self. It wasn't dignified. She at least deserved an honorable death, but he hoped to save her somehow.
After coming up with several possible escape plans, the only sensible option he could think of was to enlist the help of his godfather. He'd been so bloody annoying sixth year, attempting to help him fulfill Voldemort's wishes. Though he felt betrayed when Snape did his job for him, his mother set him straight once he arrived back at the manor after Dumbledore's death. She demanded her son thank Snape for saving his soul. It brought him closer to Snape, who showed a softer side with him after everything they'd been through together.
Snape felt guilty over Draco's predicament, marked before he was of age. He said it was practically rape. He wasn't old enough to consent, so even though he didn't object to taking the mark, it still wasn't his own choice. Draco told him that he only did it to save his mother. And that's when Snape realized Draco had a heart much like his, buried under years of emotional rubble but still beating, still loving in its own way.
"I need to save her."
Draco's words had recalled a similarly desperate feeling Snape had felt after the prophecy was told and the Dark Lord set his sights on Lily Potter. Thinking of her still caused his heart to clench painfully. He would die the most painful death to bring her back, to bring her light back into the world. When Draco came to him, he could see that look in his eyes. Though Draco couldn't put words to it yet, he knew — and perhaps always had — that the most eligible pureblood heir in Wizarding Britain had fallen for a mudblood. It was even more scandalous and dangerous than his own secret love for Lily.
Though he could never bring his red head beauty back, maybe he could help his former student from suffering the same cycle of helplessness and grief he had endured.
"Do you think this will work?" Draco finally asked, breaking both men from their reveries.
Snape sighed, running a tired hand through his long, black hair. "It could. It's the best chance she had."
Draco nodded and stood, tipping his head toward Snape, putting an end to the brief conversation. He disappeared into the hallway without another word, leaving the double agent to his memories.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this first chapter. Fanfic writers don't get paid in anything other than reviews, so if you enjoyed it (or not), please drop me a note. I hate the messaging system on ff, but you can find me on tumblr at dragonsandotters-dh. I can not thank JadePresley enough for her beta reading and unlimited support! She's got an amazing story in progress, a Dramione mystery, that you should definitely check out.