In Times of Trouble
Disclaimer: I am not profiting from this story.
Anything you recognize belongs to the great and mighty JKR.
The night before Christmas, Draco sat in his mother's chambers and sipped at wine as they listened to music. The pitch black sky blocked his view of the grounds. Nevertheless, he kept looking, his mind wandering incessantly to Hermione as he wondered what she was doing. He knew he wouldn't find her out there. He knew there were no answers, but he looked for them anyway.
Her thick sense of unease had been palpable most of the night, permeating him in a way that was new and frightening. Something was going on. She hadn't warned him of anything. She hadn't hinted that they were going to be doing something stupid or risky. They had spent another night together, testing the limits of their patience, exploring each other's bodies, and she had said nothing. Possibly, she was keeping things from him, but why?
Surely, she trusted him. How could she not? The bond between them made it clear to him how she felt about him, How she felt about most things. He knew she was speaking the truth to him every time she opened her mouth without having to second guess her in the slightest. Perhaps she thought she was protecting him from something. He knew she and Harry were doing something, working on something. It was possible she thought that she couldkeep him safe by keeping him in the dark. She clearly hadn't learned that keeping people in the dark never resulted in anything but pain and regret.
Regardless of her intentions, it didn't change the unease festering inside him, rotting in his stomach as his mother smiled softly at him. His mother was trying very hard to make Christmas normal, to look happy, but he couldn't believe that either. It was all a facade. The only thing that mattered anymore was survival. That was all they had now, the ability to survive.
Draco glanced back at the window, but it mocked him, staring blankly back. "Draco," his mother said, and her tone gave him the impression this wasn't the first time.
"Yeah," he tore his eyes away, taking in the sight of her again. She was wearing a new dress. It was probably a Christmas gift from his clueless father. There hadn't been many new dresses in the past couple of years.
"Are you okay?" she asked, concern etching the lines in her face. He had never really noticed them before all of this. Before the Dark Lord had decided to use their home as his base of operations, his mother had always seemed young and vibrant to him. Now, she seemed to have aged considerably each time he laid eyes on her.
"Of course," he replied, sipping at his drink again. His heart raced, but he had no idea why. He just knew that Hermione was extremely nervous about something. He couldn't get anything else from the situation but that. The emotion was incredibly intense. It mixed with his own concern for her and the combination was overwhelming. It was one of the most distracting sensations he had ever felt in his life. For the first time, he began to really understand why she had passed out last year when he and Potter had fought.
"Severus," his mother said then, smiling beyond Draco to the doorway.
"Happy Christmas, Narcissa. Draco." He gave each of them a curt nod before he sat down in the other arm chair.
Narcissa stood, moving toward the towering tree in the corner of the room. It sparkled brightly in steep contrast to the mood that filled the Manor. "Thank you for stopping in. I wanted you to have this." His mother reached down for a small package, a gift for Snape, and Draco felt a rush of hot terror shoot through his soul.
"Shit. I have to go," he said suddenly. He pushed up from the chair, his knuckles white as they gripped the wood.
"Draco, You certainly are not."
"What is it?" Snape asked.
"Something is wrong. Very, very wrong." He checked his pocket for the small bag of supplies he had packed and pulled his wand out from his other. "Mum, I love you, and I'm sorry.'
"You aren't going anywhere!" she snapped, but Draco ignored her. There wasn't time. There was no time at all to explain, to tell her anything at all, to truly apologize.
"Be careful,' Snape told him.
"It's really bad," Draco said. The words made him even more afraid of what he would find as he felt her fear growing and expanding inside of him.
"Go!" Snape told him. As Draco closed his eyes, he saw Snape's arm moving to block his mother from grabbing him. Draco concentrated on brown eyes and wild hair, the bond he felt with her, the tie between them felt almost like a string that he could grab and follow to her. Hermione. He needed to be with Hermione.
He turned in place and vanished.
Draco landed and immediately knew something was wrong. As he opened his eyes, he heard Potter's voice screaming. "He's coming! Hermione, he's coming!" Who was coming?
The next thing his mind registered was the wild hissing of a giant snake and utter chaos. Nagini. They were locked in this room with Nagini. Shelves were smashed from the walls, china few through the air, and Potter jumped towards him, his eyes wide. The Dark Lord was coming.
"Malfoy?" Potter screamed as he bent down to grab at a dark shape at Draco's feet. The shape shrieked with pain, and Draco realized it was Hermione.
"Hermione!" He moved quickly to follow Harry's movements as he tried to pull Hermione across the bed. Behind Harry the giant snake was rearing again, but Potter seemed distracted, shaking his head.
Hermione cried out again, but turned towards him, opening her eyes. "Draco?" She whispered, but the snake lunged at the three of them as they leapt away, and Hermione turned towards it. She seemed to summon her strength and screamed, "Confringo!" Her spell flew around the room, exploding the wardrobe mirror and ricocheting back at them, bouncing from floor to ceiling. Draco grabbed at her clutching her arm tightly as Harry leapt from bed to broken dressing table before leading them straight out of the smashed window.
Draco felt the pull at his navel and prayed that they would all make it to the other side in one piece.
"What in the hell were you thinking?" Draco screamed at Hermione. They were inside the tent Harry and Hermione had been living in for months. Harry Potter lay unconscious on the bottom bunk of the beds, and the pair of them were standing feet apart from each other, each with a look of stubborn anger across their face.
"I was thinking that Harry and I have a damn job to do!" Hermione snapped back at him.
"Oh, a fucking job? A job? Was that job to get bloody murdered?" he asked her. He wanted to shake her. She had almost been killed by fucking Voldemort.
"We were doing just fine without you!"
"She was going to kill you, Hermione! HE was coming."
"I was handling it." Hermione insisted.
"You were not handling it. If you would have just told me …"
"I can't just wander around telling everyone where Harry and I are heading, Draco."
"I'm not everyone. You know that."
"You're just mad that -"
"That you were all the sudden so terrified that I thought he had found the two of you and was going to murder you?! Yes. I am actually. I'm livid."
"We're fine. You should have stayed with your mother."
"I can't do that."
"It's very easy. You just sit on your pompous ass and don't interfere."
Draco gripped her then, pulling her roughly towards him and kissed her hard. "I can't just let you wander around with Potter while I sit on my pompous ass you idiot."
"Go home," Hermione told him.
"No," he hissed. "I'm not leaving you."
"Why? This is no place for you to be! You're putting yourself and your mother in danger."
He kissed her again, pulling her hard against him, their bodies connecting in a hard rush of limbs fighting for domination. Her back hit the pole in the center of the tent, and it shook in response. He pulled his lips away, moving them to her ear. "I can't leave you. You know why," he told her huskily. His fingers dug into her hip and hair with bruising hardness.
"No. I don't," she told him, but she was lying. She could feel his anger radiating inside of her, coursing through her blood. Behind the anger, a heavy dose of terror urged it on.
"You're mine," he told her. "You're part of me. You're my soul outside of my body. I can't … fuck, Hermione. I don't even understand it, but I can't lose you."
She shuddered at the intense ocean of emotions she was feeling, his and her own, a mixture of their fear, anger, confusion, need, and something she couldn't even admit to herself. "I know," she told him. He kissed her again, their lips melding as their bodies relaxed. They kissed softly as tears began to roll down her cheeks. Draco's hands became soft and reassuring, trying to comfort her as he held her.
"I'm not leaving," he whispered against her lips.
"Good," she whispered back. Her arms moved behind his neck, pulling him closer.
"What … the bloody hell … is going on?" Harry asked, barely rising from his place on the cot. Hermione pulled away from Draco and moved to his side quickly.