I don't own anything Harry Potter.
Summary: One act of mercy unsettles Hermione's whole life. Lucius Malfoy won't let it settle down again, however. He pulls her along into his quest for revenge and retaliation. The Wizarding World will be changed for good by this strange and unlikely collaboration, in more ways than one...
She stood in a dark, far corner, watching helplessly Madam Pomfrey's urgent and practised movements. Spell after spell, potion after potion was used to try and save the unconscious boy on the blood-soaked bed.
The Headmaster and the Head of the boy's House were assisting her, faces grim. It could be he wouldn't make it...
She didn't try to offer her help, she would only getting in Madam Pomfrey's way. And she had helped already, even if it only was a little.
She had given the boy just enough time to make sure he survived until the nurse could treat him.
Now all she could do was hope and pray, and that was what she did in her dark corner.
Finally, they were done. Their robes were splattered with small drops of blood, their hands stained with residues of different potions used.
But though there wasn't any relief on their faces, there was still hope.
"We've done everything we could... He has to wake up on his own; we don't know what that curse to his head might have done."
"Agreed. Do you need us for anything else?" The Headmaster asked helpfully, eyeing the exhausted nurse.
"No, but thank you, I can manage it from here. You go and inform the boy's parents... I'll bet they are waiting..." The nurse's voice trailed off.
"We'll do that." The Headmaster and the Head of House swept out of the ward, on their way to the Headmaster's office.
With a flick of her wand, the nurse had cleaned up the bed and her own stained robes. She once more checked the boy with a sad face, before she started to clean up her tools and supplies.
"Is he going to be all right, Madam?" The nurse looked up at the sound of the hesitant voice.
"Miss Granger, are you still here?" The nurse looked with curiosity as the young witch walked over to the sickbed.
"Yes, well, I wanted to know if he would make it..."
"I thought I ordered you to eat some chocolate and get some rest."
"I couldn't, Madam. I'm sorry."
"Never mind, child." She gave the pale girl a firm smile while she directed the student to a chair next to the boy's bed.
"We managed to save his life and to minimise the damage done by the curses. In time, he should make a complete recovery if it wasn't for..."
"The curse to his head?"
"Indeed. Head trauma is even for the most experienced Mediwizard difficult to asses and cure. He is in a coma now, I fear, and I can't say with complete certainty that he will wake up." It visibly pained her to admit that fact.
"All we can do now is wait and hope and pray." A deep sigh escaped the tired nurse as she bustled about the room, putting away valuable potions, while making some hot chocolate for them both.
"Are you sure you'll be fine, Miss Granger? You did say you didn't get really hurt, but are you sure?" Madam Pomfrey asked as she passed the student a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
"Thank you. And no, I'm positive I didn't get hurt. I would definitely have felt being hit by the curses that woman threw around..." She didn't mention the bruise on her side; it was nothing.
"And they didn't even manage to catch her. They didn't even notice her arrival... The Ministry is starting to get really incompetent!"
"It's very possible she came through the Floo Network."
"Shouldn't those accesses to the Network be under surveillance?"
"True. But maybe the attacker escaped being noticed..."
"Hmm! Still, this shouldn't have happened!"
"No, it shouldn't," was her heart-felt response as she eyed the motionless, waxen face of the boy.
"Can I stay a little while longer, Madam?"
"If it pleases you, but, I want you in bed early. You can't fool me, Miss Granger, you are shaken up by it. And have you talked with your friends yet?"
"I have, briefly. I've convinced them I'm fine."
"Well then, suit yourself. But I am keeping an eye on you!"
"Thanks, Madam," she said softly
She should be going. Harry, Ron and the others of her House were probably full of questions. She wondered why they hadn't came to the ward yet to get her.
But this silence was just what she needed to deal with what had happened. To deal with her shock and panic caused by the attack which she stumbled upon... What if she hadn't been curious to what was making those thumps against the wall?
He probably would be dead now. She glanced once more at the unconscious boy and bit her lip.
The expression on his face... She couldn't stand by and watch, paralysed by shock and fear! She had acted and probably saved his life... Her mind went numb and she just acted. And she had came better out of this duel than last year... It gave her just a small slimmer of satisfaction, knowing that her increased efforts at duelling paid off.
She slowly stood up and grimaced when her body protested; her muscles ached. That curse that grazed her side still had some lingering effects, but nothing a hot bath couldn't deal with.
She looked up when she heard murmurs coming from the entrance of the ward. Yes, it was time to go for her, she didn't want to be scolded by Madam Pomfrey!
However, it wasn't the nurse who strode towards the bed. It was the Headmaster, the Head of House and the father of the boy, and one look at him chilled Hermione to the bone.
He seemed terribly upset but most of all his cold grey eyes held a mad fury.
She wanted to get out of here. The sight of that man made her sick. He made her want to grab her wand and hex him into oblivion.
The man made her all too aware of the fact that in both her worlds, Muggle and Wizard, justice was sometimes hard to find. Money could buy a person almost everything...
"Ah, Miss Granger, still here?"
"I was about to go back to my dorm, Headmaster," she said softly.
Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw the father giving her a look that quite puzzled her; it still held the same haughtiness and arrogance, the disdain, but there was beside the fury also a large amount of fear and obvious concern for the boy in the bed.
"Could you stay just a bit longer? Though you have told us what you have seen and done, it was rather done in a hurry and I think it was only a very short and abridged version. We would like you to tell us once again, if that's all right with you."
"Yes. Of course."
The Headmaster gestured to the father who had sat down in the chair she had just left, and had taken the pale boy's hand in his own.
The simple act of affection shocked her almost more than the words he spoke next, while piercing her with his cold eyes:
"Miss Granger, I would like to thank you for intervening and helping my son. You saved him and I am in your gratitude."
Only the manners instilled in her for years were stronger than her startled surprise and she managed to stutter out: "Y-You're w-welcome, Mr. M-Malfoy."