Author's Note: Please don't kill me! A semester of high school with college classes AP courses and college applications is no piece of cake. The song "Cold" from Crossfade was a great influence on this chapter. Also, some reviews told me that I have not quite specified in this chapter, so some revisions have been made.
Previously on Shadows of Light:
The castle was bright. The torches were lit. The library always tended to have a calming effect on her frazzled nerves. Cool logic began to wash over her, and for the first time in four weeks, she felt like herself. Suddenly, a thought that rejuvenated the old Hermione more than anything else jumped to mind…schoolwork! She probably hadn't gotten a thing done during her span of unintelligible obedience! She must be behind in all of her work!
Before Hermione knew it, she was racing up to the Gryffindor tower, shouting the password and stumbling up the steep stairs to the girl's dormitory. Hermione grabbed her books and rushed back down to the common room. While she was scribbling furiously, biting her lip in concentration, and flipping pages with such fervor that she actually ripped a few right out of the spine, a very confused Harry and Ron were standing in the bottom of the boys' staircase, blinking uncomprehendingly at the sight of their friend working in a way that they had not seen in so long.
Harry turned to face who had spoken to him, his green eyes resting on Hermione. "Er… hey Hermione, what's up?"
"I need to talk to you and Ron. I know I've been acting a bit strange over the past few weeks…" She could see Draco's face, even though he was nowhere around, she shook her head and continued, "I just thought you might like some answers, and I know exactly who to ask."
The Shrieking Shack was a small way from the bustling town of Hogsmeade and that was the way Draco preferred it. He came up there to think while the other students got caught up in the hustle and bustle of Hogsmeade. It was always like a Malfoy to be on guard at all times. But Hermione tended to bring out this relaxed trusting person from deep inside of Draco, a person he never believed to exist. It was perhaps because his mind was on her, that he did not hear the crunch of footsteps in the soft, white snow behind him until it was too late.
"Someone's in a lot of trouble!" Draco swiveled around at the sound of Pansy Parkinson's cackling voice. There standing in the shade of the forest that surrounded the shack was Pansy Parkinson and a tall cloaked figure. The cloaked figure reached out a thin, dirty hand and grabbed Draco by the cuff of his cloak. Draco felt himself being pulled roughly so that he was nose to nose with the cloaked figure and gave out a cry of astonishment to see that it was his father's malevolent eyes looking out from under the hood.
"Come with me," Lucius spat. Draco shuddered against his father's harsh grip and wrinkled his nose against his foul breath. Lucius did not let his son down; instead he pulled harder on the cloak until Draco could feel the air leaving his lungs. "If you scream, I will kill you. Mark my words; I have no qualm with dealing death to traitors who love Mudbloods!" He let go of Draco then, who fell to the frosty ground, sputtering. Pansy grabbed Draco's arm and hoisted him up. Before Draco knew what was happening, a large hand was on his back forcing him towards the Shrieking Shack, over the rough, rusty fence and into the haunted house; Pansy trailing along after them. None of them seemed to notice a shadow in the woods or the confined footsteps of three people under one cloak appearing in the unblemished snow behind them…
Disclaimer: If I said I owned this, would you believe me? If so, then Joanne Kathleen Rowling is just a 17 year old girl who hates Beauty and the Beast and writes fanfictions based on my work. Idiot.
Summary: Draco Malfoy had always hated that Harry Potter and his two best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and the hatred had magnified since they had landed his once highly-esteemed father in the wizard prison Azkaban. That was why nobody would put it past him to feign injury in order to torture Hermione Granger into doing his work for him in the name of vengeance on Potter. But what happens when an emotion much stronger than revenge begins to take hold? Could it be that fate has other plans?
Shadows of Light
The Shrieking Shack was just as ominous and eerie on the inside, as it was from the outside. A thick layer of dust, discolored by something that looked horribly like dried blood, muffled their footsteps as they ascended the rickety staircase. Lucius nudged Draco in the back with his wand, forcing him to stumble further and further towards his unfathomable doom.
The hallway at the top of the stairs was covered in cobwebs; Draco could see bits and pieces of furniture strewn over the floor as if some powerful entity had crushed them in an insatiable rage.
An iridescent light flickered on the walls as they neared the end of the hall. There was a tall door which was slightly ajar, and Draco could see instantly that a fire was burning in the grate just inside. His mouth felt dry. He knees were shaking.
Lucius held out a hand and pushed the door open.
The room was empty save for the brightly burning fire and a rickety bed near the far wall. Draco scanned the room for exits, other than the door through which they had come; there was a small circular window in the center of the room. Draco realized with a thrill of horror that it was highly unlikely that both he and his father would exit this room alive. One would have to relinquish power to the other or perish.
For a moment, blind panic dictated his thoughts. He was outnumbered. It would be very unlikely that he was the one who would triumph. But what did he have to lose? Hermione's smiling face danced in front of his eyes though he was sure she was far, far away from him. In that moment, he realized that the only thing he had to lose was never his to begin with.
Draco felt an odd, tingling sensation snake up his spine robbing him of the ability to move. In horror, he realized that the time to act had passed. Pansy stepped forward holding a vial of clear liquid. She dangled the potion in Draco's face, so that the weak rays of the sun shining through the cracks of the decrepit shack could dance in its crystalline depths. There was a deafening silence as she unstopped the clear vial, grabbed Draco's neck with one long-nailed hand, and held the transparent liquid to his mouth with the other. In an instant, Draco was sputtering and the vial was empty.
"Now that you have taken the Veritaserum, we are going to find out how deeply that Mudblood has poisoned your reason," Lucius sneered beaconing Pansy to wait by the door for further instruction.
Draco opened his mouth, made a slight, strangled sound, and began to speak in a low, mechanical monotone. The story seemed to flow from his mouth in a voice that was not his own: the bludger he bewitched to attack him at his command during that fateful Quidditch match, so that he would have an aneurysm in his arm, the only thing Madame Pomfrey did not have the ingredients to heal. How he had had the antidote all along, allowing the entire student body to believe him fatally injured. How he used his "disability" to his advantage when Hermione was punished to write for him.
The wind howled furiously, beating against the rickety walls of the shack, but Draco droned on, unaware of the world around him, aware only of the truth; the truth that he was now forced to face.
Draco admitted that he was shaken, that there was something about Hermione Granger that originated the first night in the library that stirred something deep within him. He refused to admit that it was attraction, refused to believe it. He decided then to do something, anything that would put her in her place. The next day in Care of Magical Creatures class he used the Imperious Curse to force the squid to attack her. He wanted to watch her squirm, wanted to make her feel the dizzying, horrifying sensation she was making him feel. He hadn't meant for it to get out of hand, but the squid was dragging her under water. He did the only thing he could think of. He jumped in after her. He knew he would arouse suspicion, but it didn't seem to matter anymore, as long as she was safe.
The lack of emotion in his words strangely seemed to add to his sincerity. A slight rustle sounded from the doorway but no one seemed to notice. The weak sunlight had vanished behind dark clouds leaving the hissing fire in the grate as the only light in the dilapidated shack. Draco continued his voice filling the emptiness of the room.
Harry Potter stood rigid in the doorway of the Shrieking Shack, his green eyes fixed on Lucius. Hermione's heart pounded painfully in her chest next to him. The invisibility cloak over her head rustled in the breeze. She could feel Harry's and Ron's hands on her arms as if they were holding her back from running to Draco as he told his tale.
Harry squeezed Hermione's hand when Draco mentioned the Bands of Bovioria. Hermione remembered only too well the loss of self, the sound of Draco's voice telling her what to do, what to say. Ron stiffened on her other side and made a soft hissing noise that she alone heard.
"When I arrived at Hogwarts, the sun had set. I heard a noise from above me by the lake. I could see two people, one was smaller, a female, the other was unmistakably male. I saw a flash of bright blue and I realized that the man had his own vial of Ditoritius. I ran towards them, but when I got there, the man had gone. I realized that it was Hermione Granger who had taken the potion and that she was released from the spell. I don't know who the other man was." Hermione snapped her head up, an uneasiness settling in the pit of her stomach. Someone knew what was going on, someone, they didn't know who, had saved hers and perhaps Draco's lives.
A ringing silence filled the hut. After a while, Lucius spoke, "Pansy, you will return to the school and do a simple tracing charm by the lake. It seems to me that not only Draco has betrayed our lord." Pansy nodded silently and left the shack. Lucius did not speak again until her footsteps died away completely.
Lucius walked towards his only son. The dirty black cloak he wore hooded his face so that only the cruel line of his mouth was visible. He stood in front of Draco for a few moments drinking in the sight of his immobile, half-drugged son.
"Pity," he whispered, "I had grown rather attached to you despite myself." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a long black wand. "AVADA…"
For a split second, there was silence as if Lucius was taking his reluctant time with the spell.
Instantly, Hermione Granger appeared out of nowhere followed closely by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley.
"Finite incantatum!" The sticking charm Lucius had used on Draco's feet evaporated and he fell to the floor. Draco might have been able to join the three Gryffindors plight against his father had it not been for the effect the Veritaserum had on him.
Lucius glared at the trio, his cruel eyes resting on Harry, Ron and then on Hermione. "One day," he snarled pointing his wand at Hermione. Harry and Ron pulled their wands out defensively. Hermione also had her wand out. Lucius sneered.
Hermione realized with a thrill of horror that Lucius' wand had not been aimed at her, but at the crumpled heap on the floor that was Draco. Hermione dropped to her knees beside him.
"Draco?" she whispered turning him over. His eyes were closed and his breathing was rhythmic. Hermione shook him. "Draco!"
Lucius' sneer turned quickly to a scowl and with an echoing crack he had vanished.
The walls of the Shrieking Shack shuddered as if made of water. Small tufts of snow entered through imperfections in the wood. A strong burst of wind put out the fire and the four were cloaked in semi-darkness. Harry looked at Hermione.
"We have to leave," he whispered.
"Draco! Wake up! Please wake up!"
Ron, who had stayed silent the entire time, suddenly spoke up. "Hermione, we should leave." His voice was oddly stern and his expression cold as he looked at her. Hermione did not seem to notice. The walls gave an untimely lurch.
Ron grabbed her by the shoulders, pulling her to face him. His face was very red and his voice cracked as he spoke. "Hermione, he put you under a spell. He bloody used you!"
Hermione stared at Ron unflinchingly. "It doesn't matter," she whispered. Her eyes brimmed with tears. The Shack shook violently under the pressure of the screaming wind asunder.
Harry rushed over to Malfoy and pulled him up. Draco's head lolled strangely from side to side as the Shrieking Shack received another tremulous gust of wind that made the walls shake.
Ron let go of Hermione as if burnt. Immediately, she ran to help Harry hold Draco steady and the two of them clambered towards the door. Ron trudged behind them, his wand aimed at the back of Draco's head.
The wind made furious rasping sounds against the feeble wooden walls of the precariously built shack. The entire building shook violently as if the pull of the blizzard would unearth it.
"The place is going to collapse!" Harry shouted as they slowly descended the staircase.
Hermione gasped. "Bloody hell!" Ron shouted as the stairwell lurched ominously.
"We'll have to go out through the tunnel that leads to the Whomping Willow!" Harry instructed.
He and Hermione lumbered under Draco's dead weight; he groaned softly but made no other sound, still unconscious.
The howling of the Shrieking Shack grew softer as the four clambered along the sullied tunnel underneath the Whomping Willow. The secret passage seemed never-ending and no one was willing to break the deafening silence, making the journey to safety lengthy and awkward.
Finally, they came to the opening. Ron went first, prodding the knot on the trunk of the Willow, effectively stilling the thrashing of the tree. He climbed out followed, with difficulty, by Harry, Hermione and the comatose Draco.
The wind and snow whipped their faces. Harry, Ron and Hermione shrunk closer together attempting to shield themselves from the biting cold of the wind and snow.
"Why don't we just leave the sodding git here?" Ron yelled over the screaming wind.
"NO!" Hermione shouted. As if to further defy Ron, she pulled harder on Draco's limp form and quickened her pace against the furious elements.
"Hermione's right, Ron, we can't just leave him here," Harry reasoned matching his pace to Hermione's.
"Why the bloody hell not?" Ron jogged to keep up with the two. "It's not like he deserves to be taken to the castle like a bloody prince! Parkinson?"
They came across the lake, stopping suddenly at the sight of a half-frozen Pansy sitting in the snow gaping at the crystalline black surface of the lake in disbelief.
She looked up at the sound of her name. "Snape!" she shrieked.
"You must be dumber than you look, Parkinson, I'm Ron Weasley!" Ron snapped, furious at the interruption. Harry and Hermione exchanged darkly significant looks and pulled Ron back.
Pansy straightened up pointing her wand at the quartet.
"I don't know how the four of you escaped Mr. Malfoy alive, but I will make sure…" "STUPEFY!" Hermione screamed; her face was very red. Pansy fell, head first into the snow: stunned.
"That was brilliant," Ron muttered.
"We have to get to Dumbledore!" Harry ordered hoisting Pansy up.
He was alive if nothing else. Light danced behind his eyelids causing him to stir slightly. The dull roar of voices penetrated the ringing in his ears. He realized that his head was throbbing steadily. He attempted to collect his thoughts, tried to recollect his last memories, but found himself only drawing a long, confused blank.
He dimly recognized the room he was in as the Hospital Wing in Hogwarts, but how he got there and how long he had been there remained a mystery. He closed his eyes against the blinding white of the lanterns above his head and concentrated. The last thing he recalled was the beginning of the term; he had been… plotting against… someone. He had been so full of anger and vengeance then. He mulled the day over in his head, trying to remember, trying to understand. He could not. Something in him had changed.What had seemed so important to him was now nothing… it was no longer worth it, whatever it was. He was no longer angry, but remorseful for what he had lost. What had he lost?
A small gasp alerted him to his present surroundings. He opened his eyes slowly, gingerly. Someone was standing above him whispering something. All the light in room seemed concentrated behind this person's head turning whoever it was into a shadow looming over his bed.
The person was small in stature and had a distinctly feminine frame. That was all he could see of her. She was darkness, the angel of darkness that lay before him, the darkness he would never escape. Vaguely he could hear her whispering something, a name he almost did not recognize as his own. "Draco…Draco…"
The snow fell in soft sheets over the Hogwarts grounds. Hermione stood in the spot by the lake allowing the snow to wash over her, to cleanse her. Her hair was sticking to her face and her fingers and toes were frozen. She pulled her black robes closer around her. She knew she should move, she should leave, but she could not. Perhaps the cold had kept her rooted to the spot or something else was keeping her there, something much more sinister within her very soul.
She had wanted to cry for him, to express the emotion he was incapable of, but she could not. She could only watch him from afar. He was gone; the person that had needed her, that had opened himself to her, that had loved her was no more. He was an empty shell of what she used to admire.
She could only bear on as she was bearing the stinging cold of the snow on her cheeks. A dry sob escaped her mouth and she fell to her knees, her anguish too heavy to hold up any longer. She buried her head in her icy hands and waited, waited for her heart to stop racing, waited for the pain to subside, waited for the world to right itself, unaware that it already had at her expense.
She stood up able again to take hold of her burden. As she walked back to the castle, the weight upon her grew heavier and heavier but she would endure. She would always have to endure. Her only savior was her tormentor. Her only hope was to trudge on, hoping one day she could defeat the torment in her soul.
Okay, I've been giving a lot of thought to your reviews, thus far,and have this to say: There will be a sequel indefinately, thank you for giving me the momentum I need to continue this story. There isn't supposed to be a sense of closure on the story because there will be a sequel. I never said Draco and Hermione were in love (thank you very much) Draco most definately is not dead, he's just lost his memory. Reviews are always welcome.