Her eyes burned with the heat of the tears that were threatening to make their trails down her cheeks had she shown enough weakness to shed them.
Of course, such a thing was not an option for her. Instead, she blinked repeatedly so as to keep them hidden in the recesses, in the corners of her eyes. Pride was never limited to purebloods alone, and Hermione was not stupid enough as to allow herself to cry in front of one.
She remembered that she was sleeping quite peacefully when the world crashed around her. Cries, howls, and screams pulled her from her dreams and pushed her right into a nightmare that was the reality of that night. She awoke to find that she could detect a faint, acrid smell of smoke in the air. Immediately, she got out of bed and roused Lavender and Parvarti from their slumber. Only then did she learn that Padma was there too, as the Ravenclaw had decided to sleep with her sister that night.
The four girls grabbed their wands and made their way to the door. There was no more time to collect any of their things; what only matters was that they got out of the castle, which by then was a place filled with terror and panic, with burning and chaos.
As Hermione pulled open the door, she distinctly remembered the caution that Dumbledore has always given them: Voldemort has risen, and his Death Eaters can come and attack their school at any time. They had been practicing a route that the students should take when that time comes. It always pays well to be prepared.
But as the door opened, never in their life could they be prepared for a sight such as this.
The corridor that led to one of the exits of the school was littered with students, both dead and alive. Those that were alive were the reason why there were those that were dead.
And Pansy Parkinson was one of those who were alive. The Slytherin became aware of the presence of the Gryffindors from behind her. With agility Hermione never knew Pansy possessed, she disarmed the four girls of their wands, and now there was no way they could protect themselves from the inevitable, from the fate that befell the other students that lay dead on the floors of Hogwarts.
Pansy smiled brilliantly at them, pointed her wand at Lavender, Parvarti and Padma, and cursed.
And that left Hermione alive, and alone.
"What?" Pansy inquired of her, as the Slytherin witch tapped her wand against her open palm. She grinned triumphantly. "No words to say to me, Mudblood? Not that I'd blame you, after all, you must be cowering in fear just about now."
Hermione lifted her chin, dignity filling her face as she stared at the other woman with nothing but contempt. "Cower? I will never do such a thing," she said through clenched teeth. "I will never fear you, Parkinson. You are nothing but a vile bitch who feels powerful just because you have a wand and I don't."
Pansy's nostrils flared, and her eyes flashed brightly with ill-concealed hatred towards the other woman. "You… you filthy plebian!" she shrieked. "How dare you insult me, when you have nothing in your hands but a prayer and my mercy! It's just your luck that I am a very kind person, and that is the only reason why you are still alive and breathing, unlike some of your disgusting friends." She vaguely motioned on the floor with her wand, where the bodies of Lavender Brown and the Patil twins lay on their backs.
The Gryffindor sneered at her. "I never had the impression that I was under the mercy of one Pansy Parkinson," she said in a low tone. "If I had known, then I would've used the prayer I hold in my hands and pray for my death, because I would very much want to rot in hell rather than owe my life to the likes of you."
"That's it!" Pansy howled, her eyes now blazing with fearsome fury. But just as quickly as it contorted into an angry mask, her face smoothened out, and a beatific smile graced her lips as she stared at her enemy. She now looked as though she had just been granted her most fervent wish. "Looks like your luck ran out, Hermione." She pointed the wand she held at her, and whispered, "Prepare to die."
Hermione closed her eyes and waited for the killing curse, waited for death to claim her in its swift wings.
Indeed, she felt her skin crawl as she heard the words Avada Kedavra as they were muttered, but despite the loud pounding of her heart, she heard that there was the sound of another body falling as the result of the curse.
But wait… wasn't she the supposed recipient of that curse? She opened her eyes, and she gasped at the sight of Pansy sprawled on her stomach, the wand that she used to kill so many lying innocently on one side.
Hermione raised her face, and gaped at the sight of Draco Malfoy standing close to where Pansy was only moments ago. "…Malfoy?" she whispered, bewilderedly and almost too low to be heard.
But he did hear it. Draco lowered his wand and looked at her hard. "Go," he barked. "Go on, get out of here."
She blinked furiously as she glanced at Pansy, and then at him. "What…" she trailed off, completely confused at the events that unfolded. "…why?"
Draco shook his head. "There's no time to explain," he told her. "You need to get out of here, Granger. Go on, I'll watch your back."
"Watch my…back?" Hermione then closed her mouth, and glared at him. "You, Malfoy, are going to watch my back?" She laughed. "Do you really think I'm an idiot that I would willingly turn my back on you, and give you the opportunity to kill me while I'm at my most vulnerable?"
He seethed visibly, and clutched at the wand he held. "You do know, Hermione, that I could attack you now, seeing as you have no means of defending yourself against me," he stated bluntly. "I could curse you and hex you with every little spell I know, and you can do nothing but receive it. But I am doing no such thing, as you can clearly see. I do not attack my enemy while we are not on equal footing."
"Seeing as you've just killed Pansy while her back was turned on you, forgive me for not believing your words, Draco Malfoy," Hermione told him.
"Stupid, stubborn Gryffindor…" Draco launched himself at Hermione, his actions so fast he might as well have disappeared from his spot and appeared in front of her. He grabbed her arm and began to forcibly pull her towards the door.
"Malfoy!" Hermione demanded as she was dragged against her will. "Let me go! Where are you taking me?"
He ignored her words, but her incessant struggling did slow them down a bit. With a vile curse thrown in the air, he released her arm, grabbed her by the waist, and literally lifted her off her feet. He continued running towards the door.
"Malfoy!" she shrieked indignantly. "I demand that you release me this instant!" She pounded her fists against the arm that held her to his chest, but she might as well have been punching a wall. His arms were lead against her body, his grip as hard as steel around her waist. "You… where are you…" Just as she was about to start another rampage, he clamped his hand on her mouth, and tightened his hold on her. She quieted down, but to her surprise he halted his movements and simply listened.
In the eerie silence, she could hear no more screaming, or struggling. In the frightening silence, she could only hear the pounding of his heart, and of her own.
Moments later, she heard the sounds of feet moving, the sounds of robes swishing.
"They're coming," Malfoy whispered, as if he was talking to himself. "They're coming here." As though it was possible, he lifted and brought her body in closer contact with his. His grip around her waist was so tight she could hardly breathe, but she couldn't talk because his hand was still covering her mouth.
He looked around them, as if trying to think of a way to escape. Seeing as he couldn't go back to where they came from, and he cannot advance to where they should be going, he looked at the side, and spotted the window.
Hermione's heart pounded even louder than before. Surely he wasn't thinking… was he? "No!" came her muffled protest. "Nooo!!!"
But her protests were ignored, as Malfoy ran towards the window, and with her in his arms, he jumped out, and fell into the abyss.
Author's Note: I know, I'm cruel at leaving it here (sadistic laughter echoes in the background) *AHEM!* but please review ;) I'll appreciate it if you do!