This was my gift to my partner RZZMG in the 2017 Dramione Duets. I'm so glad you liked it and hope the rest of my readers do as well.
All thanks goes to my beta, Mahawna. I couldn't have done it without her.
September 24, 1997
There was a terrible storm raging outside of Grimmauld Place and Hermione was enjoying the sound of the rain pitter-pattering on the roof when the alarm was tripped. It only took a few seconds for a group of four tense Order members to gather, pointing their wands at the back door. Harry moved to the front of the group, gesturing for the others to get back. "Steady." he whispered, listening to the wind howling. He thought he heard someone coughing on the other side, but couldn't be sure over the raging wind. No one moved a muscle as he reached forward, turning the knob slowly, letting the door creak open, and allowing a shadowed figure to step into the hall. When the figure took off their hood the room filled with groans.
"Don't act so happy to see me," Draco Malfoy quipped as he cast a drying spell on his cloak and kicked the door shut behind him.
"We weren't expecting you until tomorrow night." Harry told him, pocketing his wand.
Draco moved past them, already familiar with the layout of the headquarters, "That was before I got word that one of your safehouses is compromised. I thought it imperative to let you know before you send one of your little friends on a mission and they land themselves in one of our traps."
"Dammit." Harry cursed, following after the blond as he made his way to the meeting room. As he passed through the hall he called out, "Emergency meeting!"
At his shout, Alastor Moody, Remus, Tonks, and five Weasley's appeared from various rooms. They all poured into the drawing room, which was now their main meeting place, and slumped down into chairs as they waited to find out whatever was so bloody important it required a meeting immediately.
Malfoy didn't bother sitting down, instead, he went to the map on the wall that had all of the safehouses marked. With a quick movement Hermione could barely make out, he circled the one closest to Hogwarts. "There is going to be at least one Death Eater stationed there from now on. If any of you had been sent there, they would have had the jump on you. You need to make sure all tokens connected to that safehouse are deactivated. So, whomever is in charge of that needs to do so immediately."
Hermione rose from her spot by the door. "I'll take care of it."
He locked eyes with her for a moment before nodding. "See that you do."
"What else do we need to know, Malfoy?" Harry asked as Hermione stepped into the hall.
She didn't hear his response as the door shut behind her, but it didn't matter. Harry would brief her later tonight. She needed to make sure that all the spells to Safehouse 1H where deactivated.
She made her way into the den and stepped in front of the magicked cabinet where all the tokens were held. She tapped a pattern on its wooden surface causing the doors to pop open, revealing all the corded necklaces with spelled galleons hanging from their assigned hooks. She grabbed the two hanging from 1H. Quickly, she dissolved the bond and ripped off the label above the hook. They would have to find a new safehouse to put in its place.
By the time she came back the meeting was over but Malfoy still hadn't left. He was calmly standing in the corner talking to Ron which was odd but not surprising considering the nature of his arrival. When he caught sight of her he waved her over.
"Everything in order then," he asked her, his words serious but his face soft.
"Of course," she scoffed, annoyed at his obvious teasing, "Would you expect anything else?"
"Not from you, obviously," he replied, looking over at Ron as he continued, "But for some…."
Ron huffed and Hermione scowled. They'd been doing so well.
"You keep frowning at me like that, Granger, and I may start to think you don't love me anymore," he laughed.
He was in a rather playful mood despite his intensity ten minutes earlier. "In your dreams, Malfoy."
"Oh, don't worry. You're in my dreams nightly." He winked at her and she fought the urge to roll her eyes.
Ron's face scrunched up in disgust. "Gross."
"What's wrong, Weasley? Never heard of foreplay?"
Ron's face reddened and Hermione lost her resolve, rolling her eyes as she said, "Ignore him, Ron. He's just trying to get a rise out of you."
"Well, it's bloody working," he muttered, getting up and stomping out of the room.
Draco watched him go. "Your boyfriend really needs to learn how to take a joke."
"He's not my boyfriend, Malfoy."
"Oh? Does that mean you're on the market?" he asked, giving her a sly smile. "Interesting."
"No. Stop looking at me like that." She shook her finger at him. "It isn't interesting. Most people around here are in the same boat as me. Now isn't exactly a great time to be looking for a relationship."
"Who said anything about a relationship? I'm just talking about a one off."
"Really?" she asked incredulously, her face warming slightly. "Have you no shame?"
He shrugged. "What can I say, you bring out the worst in me."
"Then remind me to run the other way every time I see you." She quipped back. "We don't need you acting up on the battlefield, now do we?"
Instead of a frown his smile only widened. "There's the Granger I know and love."
"Spare me your banter, Malfoy. Don't you need to be getting back?"
That wiped the smirk off his face. It must have dawned on him that over forty minutes had passed. "Right as always, princess." He moved past her and out into the hall. "Someone may have noticed my absence by now. So we'll have to continue this some other time."
"Or we could not?"
He pulled on his coat and gave her an unreadable look before stepping out the back door. "See you later, Granger."
She watched him go and wondered why she felt lighter than she had in quite some time.
October 18, 1997
Draco landed hard on his arse where the portkey deposited him. He groaned and looked down at the mess that was his shirt, covered in dirt, soot, and blood. He let out a heavy sigh. It was completely ruined, and it had been his favorite.
He gently stood, careful not to touch the blazing burn on his torso, and headed toward the camp Potter had set up in the Forest of Dean. If he hadn't made it to the portkey on time, he'd have been toast.
The first one to see him was Finnegan, and he grimaced when the wizard ran up to him and immediately tugged him deeper into the camp. Draco obediently followed him until a large beige tent came into view.
"Hermione! We got a patient for you!" The Irishman called.
A moment later he saw her open the flap of the medical tent, hair pulled up in a frizzy bun and a look of exhaustion on her face. "Well, bring them-" she paused when she saw him standing there, hand raised in greeting and blood dripping onto the ground beneath his feet.
"Malfoy. I should have known," she said, pulling him inside, taking off his coat, and shoving him down on the nearest medical bench.
"It's lovely to see you as always, Granger." he grunted when she began cutting away his shirt.
His poor shirt. Such a waste.
"I'd say the same," she replied, her nose wrinkling, " but I don't particularly like seeing you covered in filth and bleeding out."
"They're not as bad as they look," he insisted, straightening up a bit when the cleaning process began. It stung like a bitch, despite the pain potion she poured down his throat beforehand.
She frowned at him. "You have a knife wound in your side and third degree burns on your chest and back. It's exactly as bad as it looks." He thought her face looked kind of cute with that pouty frown as she worked on him. "What were you even doing?"
"Would you believe me if I said I was facing off against a dragon and accidently stabbed myself in my attempt to flee?"
"Knowing you? I just might." She said, depositing the red gauze into the trash receptacle and picking up a salve. "Though it begs to wonder why you would be doing that exactly."
He laughed, "A double agent never reveals his secret missions."
"So something Harry had you do?"
"Maybe. Maybe not. I'm not telling."
"Just...why is it always you," the witch groaned, sounding rather put off as she rubbed the solution on his burn. "Do you have a death wish?"
He grit his teeth as the pain flared. "Maybe I do it to get the attention of pretty witches."
She gave him a withering glare. "Flattery doesn't work on me."
"Flattery works on every woman."
"Well, not this one."
He could have left the conversation at that, but this was the most fun he'd had in weeks, as pathetic as it was to admit. He was bleeding all over her and in pain, so what did that say about the rest of his life if this was fun?
"Are you sure? I could have sworn," he hissed as she poked at the knife wound, "that you smirked a little bit."
Her mouth twitched and he knew she was trying diligently to keep a straight face. "Maybe I need to check your eyesight as well. Did the Dragon blind you with its breath?"
"Denial isn't just a river in Egypt." he retorted, waiting for the comment to throw her off.
Her head shot up and she stared hard at him.
"How do you know about the Nile?"
"You know you're not the only muggle-born I'm familiar with, right? I can have other friends."
"It was Harry wasn't it?" She stated plainly.
He shrugged innocently, the movement making him wince. "I don't know. Maybe, I don't reveal my sources."
"It's one of my better personality traits."
"What's another one? Suicidal tendencies?"
"No, too much Slytherin in me for that, but everyone knows you love a thrill seeker, Granger," he replied, motioning to his scorched torso. "And obviously I fit the bill."
He didn't miss the way her eyes lingered on him a moment before focusing back on the task at hand. "Everyone, huh?"
"Alright, maybe that one was Potter."
That earned him a smile but she turned her attention back to his wounds, working quietly for a few minutes, using a mix of spells and old muggle procedures to heal him.
He watched her as she worked, because, really, what else was he going to look at? Not that he'd have looked at anything else anyway. She may have thought he was simply teasing her to get a reaction, but the truth was, Hermione Granger was intriguing and beautiful in her own way. She may not be what people considered a classic beauty, and she definitely wasn't beautiful by pureblood standards, but he liked that about her. Everyone had flaws and she had no qualms about hers. So what if her hair was unmanageable and she was a little on the short side? It meant little when all was said and done. It didn't stop him from thinking about her and sure as hell didn't stop him from wanting to see how far he could push her buttons.
She sighed and he gazed up at her face. Her brows were knitted in concentration and she was chewing on her bottom lip which did nothing to help his growing infatuation.
Suddenly she pulled back and sighed, "You need to be more careful, you know."
"Aww, are you worried?"
"Not hardly," she said a little too quickly, "It's just that we'll lose our eyes on the inside if you die."
"Right." A part of him struggled to not be disappointed by her admittance, and the other part wondered just how much of that was actually true. "And we can't have that now can we?"
Her hands stopped. "I didn't mean it that way."
"It's fine," he insisted, hand clenching around the edge of the bench. "I know I'm not your favorite person. You don't have to humor me if I make you uncomfortable."
"You don't make me uncomfortable," She replied, wrapping a bandage around his torso to cover the raw skin. "...most of the time. And maybe you're not my favorite person in the world, but I don't want you to die."She dug into the cabinet to her left and pulled out a shirt to give him. It was much too big for him, but at least it was clean.
"Thanks. For the shirt and for liking me at least enough to not rejoice at my demise."
"Of course I wouldn't rejoice. I mean, how sad would it be if I couldn't put you in your place anymore?"
The light feeling from earlier returned and he found himself smiling at her as he pushed off the metal table. "It would be a sad day indeed."
"Exactly, so please refrain from fighting any more Dragons in the future, Mr. Malfoy."
"I can't make any promises….but I'll try."
She handed him a roll of clean bandages. "That's all I ask."
"Thanks for patching me up, Doc."
She didn't say anything else in response, but he could still see a smile on her face when she turned away from him.
Maybe getting burnt to a crisp wasn't such a bad thing after all.
December 2, 1997
"Why is it always me that meets with Malfoy?" Hermione asked Alastor from across the table.
"Because you're the only one that gets along with him."
"I wouldn't exactly call it getting along." She grumbled, remembering all the times they'd argued over the last couple of months.
He ignored her protests and handed her Harry's cloak. "You need to be be careful, girl. Their numbers are up. Get the potion from the Malfoy brat and get your arse back here. Got it?"
"Yes, I got it." She sighed, pulling the cloak over her coat and walking to an apparition point.
As soon as her boots landed on hard pavement she began looking for him, walking quickly and quietly up and down the alley.
She finally found him outside of a muggle bar, leaning against the brick wall like he hadn't a care in the world.
Oh, how he irked her.
"Malfoy." She whispered his name as she came to a stop beside him. He didn't startle or give any indication that he hadn't been aware of her presence.
"Granger, I think it's safe to come out now. I've taken all precautions."
Hesitantly she lifted the cloak off of her head. "Do you have it?"
Merlin, this sounded like a bloody drug deal.
"What do you take me for, Granger," he replied, "Of course I have it."
He pulled it out of his pocket to show her.
"Wonderful. Now if you'd just hand it over I'll be on my way.." she moved to take it from him but he pulled back at the last second. "Malfoy."
"Ahh ahh, Granger," he clicked his tongue, "Where's my payment?"
Anger quickly gave way to anxiety as she stuttered, "Pa-payment?"
"Well, you can't expect to get anything for free," he told her seriously. "I am running a side business here."
"I don't have anything with me, Malfoy. Alastor never said-"
"Fine, I'll let you off easy this time." He held out the vial. "It doesn't have to be money. Just give me something I want and it's yours."
The atmosphere between them swiftly changed and she felt the heat rising up her chest and into her cheeks. "What are you playing at?"
"I think you know," he replied, leaning into her. "Things get a bit lonely when you're playing turncoat."
"What do you want?"
"Don't look so frightened. I promise it's nothing scandalous."
"I'm sure your definition of scandalous is quite different from mine, Malfoy. What wouldn't you do?"
"Well, I don't suspect I'd be too fond of shagging next to a rubbish bin and freezing my bollocks off, if that's what you're asking."
She shook her head and tried to banish that vivid picture from her mind.
"I think a simple kiss would do."
"No way," she refused.
He sighed deeply in defeat, opening his palm. "Fine. Take it."
She grabbed it out of his hand but as she did he pulled her into him, lips colliding with hers as she struggled in his grasp. The kiss, while a bit forceful was still surprisingly soft and she found herself melting into it. It felt like he kissed her for a lifetime but it couldn't have been more than a few seconds before he was letting her go and stepping back, a satisfied smirk planted on his face.
But what she felt was the furthest thing away from satisfied.
"Malfoy…" Her fingers touched her lips and she stared at him in shock. "What the hell was that?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "Apologies, I really couldn't help myself."
She backed away from him, cheeks aflame."You know, for someone in your precarious situation, you sure like to have your fun don't you?"
"Of course," he replied. "If I'm to die in this war, I'm going wherever it is we go afterward with the memory of that kiss on my mind."
"You're such an arsehole, Draco Malfoy!" She huffed.
He only smiled back at her before sauntering away. "Love you too, Granger."
She was about to say something else when he disapparated, leaving her completely alone in the alley.
"What a git," she cursed into the frigid air before wrapping herself in the cloak and heading back the way she came.
And if the others noticed how her rosy cheeks didn't disappear despite the warm house, no one said a word.
February 25, 1998
Draco knew he wasn't alone the moment he set foot in the safe house. A mop of messy brown curls blocked his view of the room and he silently rejoiced. He'd much rather be stuck here with Granger than one of the sodding Weasleys.
He coughed to make his presence known and she spun around, wand raised and prepared for a fight, but lowered it when she saw who it was.
He smirked and gave her a small wave. "Granger, what a marvelous coincidence."
"Is it?" she asked, narrowing her eyes at him.
He rolled his own. "You know as well as I do that we can't always control which token we get."
Instead of responding she trudged into the small kitchenette. He followed closely behind her. Just because he hadn't planned on this didn't mean he wasn't going to take advantage of the time he'd just been given with the witch.
He watched as she went through the cabinets to retrieve a glass and fill it with water.
"What? Not going to offer me a drink? I'm afraid your hostess skills are sorely lacking."
He said it in a playful manner but she didn't seem amused. "You have two hands. Get your own bloody drink."
She was obviously in a feisty mood but that didn't deter him at all. "My my, what a mouth you've got on you."
"If you even think about making sexual innuendos all night-"
He grinned. "Whatever do you mean? I was simply making an observation."
She set the glass down a little more forceful than necessary as she glared at him. "Fate must have it out for me." She sighed, leaning against the counter.
"Why? Because you keep ending up in the presence of a very witty and attractive man?" he asked, coming to a stop beside her. "I'd say fate finally got something right for you."
"You're not as witty as you think you are." she scoffed.
"Oh?" He grinned, "Then you admit you think I'm attractive?"
A splash of pink rose on her cheeks. "I didn't say that."
"But it's true, isn't it, Granger?" He claimed, stepping into her space. "You can admit it. No on else is here." He leaned near her ear, lips close enough to almost touch her. "Just say it. You fancy me."
He didn't have to look at her face to know it was probably flushing red now. "N-no I don't."
"You can lie to yourself if you want, but we both know you enjoyed our kiss that night."
"So, what if I did? That doesn't mean anything."
He looked into her eyes. "Doesn't it?"
She licked her lips, unconsciously it seemed, and kept eye contact with him. "Why are you doing this?"
"Shouldn't that be obvious?" He raised his hand and ran his thumb along her bottom lip. "I want you, Granger."
"But...why? Why me?"
"I doubt you're aware of this, fourteen year old me hid it well, but I've always found your intelligence and snarky attitude a complete turn on."
"Normally I have the opposite effect," she murmured, eyes still searching his for any lies.
"If you're thinking about the bloody ginger, fuck him. That git wouldn't know sexy if it hit him in the face."
She chuckled at that. "He's not that bad."
"He is if he gave you up."
That wasn't exactly what he'd meant to say but Merlin, he never could stay on top of his game when she was around. All he wanted to do was kiss her until her lips were red and puffy. All he could think about was getting her out of her clothes and bending her over right here...
It wasn't just the tension that thickened between them as his free hand slid to rest on her hips. If he was reading this situation right, it was going to be a better night than he thought.
"You don't want to do this, Malfoy."
"Oh, believe me, Granger." He lowered his voice as he leaned into her, grinding his erection into her. "I really really do."
She gasped and then he was kissing her, hard and dirty as he pressed her into the counter. Her hands flew up around his neck and in his hair as she furiously kissed him back.
This was nothing like the kiss in the alley. She'd been shocked and probably a bit embarrassed then, but now? She was burning up. She moaned into his mouth as her hands pulled at his shirt, popping a few buttons off as she attempted to undo them.
He broke away from the kiss to help her. "You know...this is the second time you've ruined one of my favorite shirts." He grinned.
"Shut up and kiss me." She demanded, lifting her shirt over her head and throwing it on the kitchen floor. The fire in her eyes as she stared at him made him shudder. There was nothing more he wanted to do than shag this woman into oblivion. Everything that had held him back before was suddenly tossed aside. He nearly growled as he lifted her off the floor and set her down hard on the counter, stepping between her legs, grabbing a fist full of her hair. He didn't waste another moment and did as she asked, pulling her head back and sucking her bottom lip into his mouth as he unclasped her bra, pushing the straps off her shoulders. He was still kissing her when his fingers pinched her already pebbling nipples.
"Oh god." She groaned and leaned her head back against a cupboard, exposing the soft flesh of her neck. He sucked until a love bite formed on her skin and reveled in the sounds she was making. "Malfoy,"
"Yes?" He asked between kisses.
"Let me down." She said, out of breath.
He paused his ministrations and backed up, letting her slide to the floor. His eyes widened in shock when she quickly shoved her jeans down her legs and stepped out of them before grabbing his belt and undoing the buckle.
"Whoa." He said, "Not that I'm not thrilled that you're as into this as I am..but you can slow down. We have plenty of time."
"No," she muttered, pulling his zipper down. "We don't. We only have until the alarm goes off."
"So we'll be a little late."
She smiled up at him as she sunk to her knees. "Do you want me to suck you off or not?"
He swallowed audibly when she put her hands around him and gave a small squeeze. "Is there any other answer to that besides yes?"
"That's what I thought," She smirked up at him before she took him into her mouth, sliding her tongue along the underside of his penis as he stared at her.
Merlin, she was beautiful. Her flushed cheeks hollowing out around him and those lips working him over. Fuck. He was so screwed. "Circe, I knew your mouth was good for something other than sassing me." He groaned, holding her hair up out of her face so he could watch unimpeded, as she swirled her tongue around the tip. Periodically she'd glance up at him and it took all his self control to keep himself from pushing her down onto the ground and slamming into her. "We've got a problem. I don't think I can let you go after this, Granger, I may love you too much."
She pulled off of him with a pop and smiled. "Save the "I love you's for the bedroom."
"Fuck," he hissed and pulled her up off the floor, "You drive me crazy."
She maneuvered his hand between her thighs and with a sly smile replied, "The feeling is mutual."
Yeah, this was happening now.
He picked her up and wrapped her legs around his hips, kissing her again as he stumbled into the bedroom he'd took notice of upon his arrival. He threw her down onto the bed, pulling his trousers off quickly before climbing on top of her, kissing his way up her stomach and between her breasts before stopping at her throat. He loved kissing her, tasting her on his tongue. Merlin, she was devine.
Slim hands threaded themselves through his hair as she whimpered.
He really liked the sound of that.
Slowly he moved back, yanking her knickers down as he went, before pushing her legs apart, spreading her wide before him. He'd been fantasizing about this moment since fourth year. He didn't give her any time to protest as he licked her pretty little cunt. The breathy moan above him was more than enough encouragement to continue. Slowly he laved and sucked before slowly sliding a finger inside of her. She shifted her hips and met his motions as he pleasured her, sucking her clit into his mouth his finger keeping a steady rhythm within her.
It wasn't long before her legs started to quiver, her moans becoming louder and more frequent. She was close. He rose to his knees and stroked himself with his free hand for a moment, watching her face as she squirmed beneath him. He slowly pulled his finger out of her before entering her in one quick thrust.
She felt so good he had to pause a moment, not moving as they both adjusted.
"Move, Draco." She urged, pulling him down and kissing him thoroughly.
He didn't need to be told twice.
He fucked her like it'd be the last time he'd have her, and it might very well be. He held her down thrusting hard until she started panting and begging but he refused to let up until he tipped her over the edge as her orgasm ripped through her. By then he was at his limit. He followed a few moments later, collapsing beside her as they both lay there panting, trying to catch their breath.
"So...there may have been some truth to your assumptions that I wanted you." She said and he shook his head in disbelief.
"Go to sleep, Granger." He replied, cuddling up behind her. "Who knows how long we have until you need to be back…"
"Fine...just don't do anything weird."
"Like what? Shag you?" He laughed.
"Shut up, Malfoy."
He smiled into her shoulder and let himself drift off to the sound of her breathing.
They'd only been asleep for an hour or so when her watched dinged, signalling it was time to regroup. He found himself a little disappointed that their time had been cut short. He wouldn't have minded another go.
"Time's up, Malfoy," she told him, rising from the bed as she began searching for her clothes. She found almost everything in record time, but one item in particular seemed to be conspicuously missing. "Malfoy have you seen my-"
He twirled her knickers on his finger and she rolled her eyes, snatching them from him and quickly sliding them up her legs.
"Aw, and here I was hoping to keep them as a souvenir," he pouted.
"Sorry to disappoint you, but," she gestured between them, "This never happened, so no souvenirs."
"Whatever you say, Granger," he drawled, moving lazily from his spot on the bed to join her in the living room.
"I mean it." She frowned at him, trying to keep her eyes on his face instead of trailing down his still naked frame. "You can't tell anyone."
"Don't worry. Our incredible shag session shall remain a secret for as long as you deem it necessary."
"Which will be...hmmm...forever."
"So says you," He replied, "You'll soon realized that no one else quite fucks like a Malfoy. You may be singing another tune when you get that itch again."
"If I do, I won't coming running back to you." She waved her wand and activated the floo."
"Ah, I see. You're going to go about denying your feelings."
"This wasn't...it was a one off. There were no feelings involved!"
He laughed out loud. "You can try to deny it all you want, Granger, but no one shags like that unless there's feelings involved."
Face bright red she hissed, "Fuck off!" before grabbing a handful of green powder and stomping into the floo. "Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes!"
He watched her disappear, the smile never leaving his face. "Yeah, I definitely love that mouth." he chuckled to himself as he got dressed. He gave the room a once over before stepping inside the fireplace and calling out, "Malfoy Manor!" Disappearing himself, leaving nothing but memories in the empty safehouse.
April 17, 1998
Hermione blinked slowly into awareness. The first thing she noticed was that it was dreadfully dark, she could barely see her hand when she raised it, but she didn't know if it was because of the dull lighting or if her vision was at fault. The second thing she noticed was that her leg was definitely broken and nearly every inch of her body throbbed in pain.
Wonderful. This was just wonderful.
She pulled herself into a sitting position, trying desperately not to vomit from the pain as she turned to get a better look at her surroundings. She'd been laying on a dingy mattress that was shoved into the corner of the small room. Or should she say, cell. Bars surrounded her on three sides.
Panic started rising up from her belly at the realization that she was in enemy hands. How had that happened? She'd been fine. The mission was a rather easy one. How had she ended up in the Death Eaters clutches? Why couldn't she remember?
Her head pounded as she clutched it, trying to make sense of the situation. Tiny fragments of memory flashed through her mind. Being taken down by a body binding spell before she could activate the coin, having her wand snatched out of her hand, a series of Crucio's and finally one of the Death Eaters snapping her leg the "muggle" way. Maybe she was better off forgetting what else happened.
She carefully leaned her back against the wall. There was nothing she could do at this point. Without her wand she was at the mercy of the Death Eaters and unable to heal even the most basic of wounds. She hadn't been in this much pain since….actually she didn't think she'd ever been in this much pain.
If there had been other prisoners in the dungeon with her, she would have probably tried to suck it up to appear strong and resilient. But as it was, she was completely alone. So, alone in her cell she gripped her leg and let the tears flow freely down her face. She was going to die. She wouldn't lie to herself and say she wasn't scared, but the fact of the matter was, she was more afraid of what they'd do to her before letting her die. It all seemed so hopeless, but she remembered Harry disappearing in front of her, and Draco was still alive so she knew they still had a chance to win this war.
It was just a shame she wouldn't be there to see the end of it.
What felt like hours later, but could have only been minutes, voices sounded above her and her ears strained to hear what they were saying. A few minutes after that, the sound of boots on the stairs had her holding her breath. This was it. She was going to die in the most horrific way possible because of her choice in her best friend. She would have vomited if she'd had anything left in her stomach to do so.
When the door to the cellar opened, her heart clenched in absolute relief. Standing in the doorway and moving swiftly toward her was a worried looking blond.
"Malfoy?" Was it really him? Or was her mind already breaking from reality? Was she so far gone that she was conjuring up the person that would comfort her most?
"Yes, it's me." He said, tapping his wand on the bars and muttering a spell to unlock them. As the door squeaked open he rushed to her side, wiping her hair back from her face. "Hermione, what have they done to you?" His voice cracked as he regarded her.
She could feel his hands on her, gentle, not rough. Nothing like the hands that had hurt her earlier. It really was him. He'd really come for her. "Oh god." She would have cried if the situation wasn't so dire.
"Shh, Granger. Keep it down," he told her, putting his finger to his lips. "We don't have much time."
"How are you here," her voice cracked, "how did you find me?"
"I was there." His eyes wouldn't meet hers as he kneeled on the floor and looked over her injuries. "Fucking Circe, they broke your leg in three places." He looked like he might get sick himself as he moved his hands over her body searching for anything else. "Fucking bastards," he cursed. "I'm sorry I couldn't...that I didn't do anything. I just stood there..."
"Stop. You can't blow your cover over me, Draco." She reached out and touched his hand. "And you're here now. So all is forgiven." She told him, hissing in pain when he set her leg right. "Besides, if you get me out of this mess I'll love you forever."
"Careful, I may take you up on that proposal." he told her softly, casting another healing charm.
She didn't even have enough energy to laugh at his attempt to lighten the mood. "Thank you, Malfoy." She whispered, and he frowned at her before picking her up off the soiled cot.
"Don't thank me until you're safe and sound back at headquarters."
She stiffly nodded and tried to focus on his face instead of the pain as he quickly exited the cellar. She didn't know where they were but Malfoy had obviously planned an exit route because she could see two slumped Death Eaters at a table in the corner, and another lying on the floor in front of a door.
"Are they...dead?" She asked, afraid of the answer. If he'd killed them he was thoroughly fucked. Dead Death Eaters and a missing prisoner? Not good for his reputation.
"Don't worry, I slipped a sleeping draught in their drinks." He picked up his pace as they entered another room. "I knocked that one out though." He nodded to a bearded man sprawled face down on the dark purple runner as they passed.
She would have asked more questions but she felt the tension in his arms as he held her and the quick thrum of his heart beneath her ear stopped her from speaking.
He was afraid.
So she remained quiet, nearly holding her breath as they moved silently through the house. It wasn't until they were outside in the crisp winter air that she made another noise.
"Almost there, Granger." He was nearly running now, towards a dark wooded area. "Just hold on." She knew they were at an apparition point when he suddenly came to a stop and held her ever even closer to his body. "You know where we're going. Don't get splinched."
She nodded and felt the compressed air as they were sucked away from the cold dark woods and felt a bit dizzy when they landed in a deserted street, that wasn't any less cold, much to her dismay.
She wanted to reply with a witty retort but the exhaustion was getting to her. She just let him hold her as he made his way to Grimmauld Place.
When they arrived, he gave a succession of timed knocks and stepped out of the way as the door flew open revealing a disheveled and crazed Harry Potter. When his eyes landed on her face he stumbled on the stoop.
"Hermione? Oh, thank Merlin!" He cried, immediately motioning for Draco to hand her over. "We thought we lost you."
She wrapped her arms around his neck as she was transferred into his arms. "You almost did," she confirmed sadly.
Harry nodded in understanding and looked to the blond wizard in front of them. "Thank you, Malfoy. I know you're taking a huge risk in retrieving her."
Draco only grunted in response, an array of emotions swirling in his eyes as they regarded her a moment. "Just take care of her."
"Draco-" she started, but he cut her off.
"Potter looks like he has it from here. I better get back before they wake up and realize you're missing."
He turned to leave but she reached out her hand and caught his shirt. He looked at her and she smiled. "Thank you for coming for me."
She could see him swallow hard before saying, "You're welcome," and disappearing into the night.
The door shut and the warm air of the kitchen enveloped her. She hadn't realized how badly she'd been shaking until Harry set her down and called Ginny over to wrap a blanket around her. "Get your mum. I want to make sure she's not going into shock. She's badly injured."
"He couldn't heal me all the way," she found herself saying, feeling the need to defend Malfoy. "He didn't have time."
"I know, Hermione. And if he hadn't you might not have made it here." He wiped at her brow with a towel. "You're burning up. You have a fever and probably an infection. Molly is coming and we'll get you healed up, ok?"
"Did he look ok?" she asked, remembering that he'd fought with at least one of his comrades before getting to her.
"Yes," he said slowly. "He looked fine. Maybe a bit shaken up, but…"
Suddenly she wondered if that would, in fact, be the last time she'd ever see him. An intense anxiety that she'd never felt before washed over her at the thought. She sprang up to a sitting position, ignoring her body's protest of pain. She may not see him ever again and those were the last words she'd ever say to him. Thank you just didn't seem strong enough for the way she was feeling.
"Hermione? What's wrong?" Harry asked her, worry lacing his voice as he leaned over her as she began to hyperventilate.
"He saved me. He saved me."
"Yeah. Yeah, he did." He agreed. "So there's no reason to be scared anymore. You're safe." His hands rubbed soothing circles along her back.
"No, Harry, you don't understand. He drugged them. He knocked one out. They're going to know it was him. They're going to know he helped me. They'll kill him!" Her own frantic voice made her cringe but she couldn't help it. The relief of being rescued just hours after accepting her fate and then realizing exactly how big of a risk Draco took to get her out of there was just too overwhelming. He'd done so, so much for her, it couldn't end like that.
"Malfoy will be fine. He's too smart to get caught."
"I can't lose him." She muttered, holding onto Harry like a lifeline. "He doesn't even know…"
Harry pulled away to look into her eyes. "Doesn't know what?"
Finally the tears that she hadn't been able to shed earlier ran down her dirty cheeks. "That I love him."
She felt almost as shocked by her words as her best friend seemed to be. He looked blankly at her for a moment before pulling her into him, hugging her as tightly as her injuries would allow. "It's ok." He whispered as she cried. "Shh. Everything's going to be ok."
She really hoped he was right.
May 2, 1998
Draco panted over the body of Amycus Carrow, doubling over in an attempt to keep himself from falling flat on his arse as he tried to reassess the situation. He knew Potter was fighting Voldemort in the courtyard but other than that he had no idea where the other members of the Order were. He'd tried to find Granger multiple times throughout the night but every time he'd gotten close to finding her he was stuck battling one of his comrades. They'd gone after him in an almost rabid fashion as they finally realized that he was the reason why so many of their plans had failed. They weren't happy that they'd been fooled by the young Malfoy Heir. The bloody Traitor and whore to the Order.
He coughed and wiped the sweat from his forehead. The air was full of rock particles from the many spells that had blown chunks out of the castle and a thin layer of dust was coating the ground around him. Green, blue, and red lights were zipping through the air, trying to hit their targets as the wizards and witches battled on. It was complete chaos. If anyone was left standing after this he'd honestly be surprised.
He took a step forward but was stopped by the sound of an angry growl. "How dare you!" Someone said behind him say, "You filthy Blood traitor!"
He turned around to see Alecto's furious face as she shot off a Cruciatus curse his way. He blocked it in time and stood to his full height, adrenaline coursing through him once more as he sensed the danger he was in.
"We finally get out of that bloody tower to join the battle and what do we find?" She snarled, shooting more curses his way. "A spy!"
He ducked down at the last second, avoiding the jets of light as he tried to get closer to her. He didn't bother answering her angry taunts. It would be over for her soon anyway.
She was too worked up to think straight and it allowed him to find an opening. "Avada Kedavra!" He shouted, watching the green light spark from the end of his wand, making contact with it's target square in the chest before she could release the spell on the tip on her tongue.
He sighed in relief as Alecto fell dead a foot away from her brother's body. Together in life, together in death.
He stumbled away from them and moved toward the sounds of fighting. He'd seen a Weasley run by just before the angry witch showed her face so he headed in that direction.
He felt something in his ankle shatter as he tripped over some rubble when another killing curse flew just a few inches past his face.
This was bloody ridiculous. He was injured, tired, and almost to the point where he'd gladly just lay down and die, but Hermione's sad face kept flashing through his mind and he knew he couldn't give up. If he ever had a chance of seeing her again he had to survive this sodding war. So with her in his thoughts he trudged on, dueling two more angry Death Eaters before the sounds of pandemonium started to wane. He felt the moment the Dark Lord fell as his Dark Mark immediately started to scar over, leaving a nasty pink outline where it had been black before. The fighting that had been happening around him suddenly stopped as the Death Eaters clutched their forearms. The Order members used the moment to their advantage.
And just like that, the battle was over.
Or so he'd thought.
He was too busy marveling at the destruction around him that he hadn't seen one of his oldest friends slip behind him, aiming his wand at Draco's head. The only warning he had was the intake of breath and then a woman's voice screaming, "Avada Kedavra!"
He spun around just in time to see Vincent Crabbe fall to the ground at his feet. "Who-" He turned his head and his heart nearly jumped out of his chest.
Hermione was staring at him, wand raised at where Crabbe had been standing. Her hair and eyes were wild. He had never seen a sight so beautiful in his life. She'd killed him. She'd killed Crabbe and saved his life. There was no time to second guess himself. He moved, acting on the feeling in his chest that propelled him forward. She'd obviously had a similar revelation because she was rushing to him, bypassing her friends in order to fling herself into his arms.
He didn't care that her hair was in wild disarray or that they both smelled like ash and blood and sweat. It didn't matter that his fractured ankle throbbed and the wound on his back stung. Nothing mattered in that moment but the feel of her lips, and her body molding perfectly against his.
"I love you," he whispered when they broke apart. "I think I've loved you for awhile."
"Me too," She said, tears running down her reddened cheeks. "I love you too. But I didn't...I didn't know how much until you left me at headquarters with Harry. I've been so worried, so worried."
He held her close and kissed her forehead. "I'm fine." He told her but then winced in pain when her arm knocked against his apparently broken rib. "Ok, maybe I'm a little worse for wear but I'm alive. And you're alive. That's all that matters to me right now."
"That's all that matters?" She asked, humor slipping into her tone. "Harry will be disappointed that you weren't concerned for his well being too."
"Cheeky woman." He sighed, pulling away from her.
She cocked her eyebrow. "Stubborn man."
"Yeah, maybe. But you love me."
She smiled up at him and squeezed his hand. "Yes, yes I do."
He wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "So, are we doing this, or what?" he asked, "Because I think you need to know something before we ride off into the sunset."
"And what's that?"
"Well, only that what you see is what you get. If we're doing this, we're going all in. It's all or nothing, Granger."
"I know what I'm getting into, Malfoy. I will have no trouble handling all of you. The real question is, can you handle all of me?"
"I think you already know the answer to that one," He managed to say it with a straight face and a wink, but it still made her face break out in a smile.
"Then I'd say we have nothing to worry about," she replied, leaning up for another kiss.
"Hermione!" Ron called over to them, interrupting what would have probably been another small snog session. "If you're done being gross with Malfoy, maybe you could come give us a hand?"
They shared a look before they limped their way to the Great Hall where everyone was gathered. They'd done it. They'd survived.
They'd finally won the war.