Disclaimer: this story is written purely for fun. Harry Potter and everything in his world belong to JK Rowling. No copyright infringement intended.
AN. This is my very first fanfic and I have been working on this for almost a year now. This story is brought to you thanks to Poemzie the Phoenix, who convinced me it was good enough to post. I have revised the first chapter, seeing that I hadn't overcome my tendency to make overly long sentences when I started writing this. Sometimes, I still haven't ;-)
I hope you'll enjoy this unusual, but lovely pairing.
On to the first chapter, in which Hermione finds herself another worthy cause in Voldemort's last found victim.
To Save a Malfoy
Ch. 1. The mysterious captive.
"Who is this?" the woman in the traditional soft pink robes asked, aghast. The professional distance she, as a trainee medi-witch, was supposed to keep was clearly gone from her voice as she looked at the still form on the stretcher hovering between Ron Weasley and Harry Potter.
The seemingly lifeless body had the dubious honour of being the most gruesome sight she had seen so far. Seeing that she had spent the last week tending to the wounded from the Final Battle that was saying something. In spite of this, she hurried towards the stretcher and motioned for them to bring the man over to an unoccupied bed at the far corner of the improvised hospital wing.
"He is the last one," Ron replied while hurriedly walking along with the stretcher, "we found him in the dungeons below the fortress, naked and chained to a wall. He didn't seem to be conscious and he hasn't spoken or opened his eyes even once."
Harry looked at the man with a rather dangerous gleam in his eye. "We have no idea who he is, but he must have been pretty important: he was buried in the dungeons so deep, that if it hadn't been for Niobe, we would never have found him."
Before the medi-witch could ask who Niobe was, the young man continued: "The Healer from St. Mungo's will not take a look at him, says he won't be wasting his time on someone who's going to die anyway."
"Put him down here," the woman in the pink robes commanded, pointing to the unused bed. "I'll be damned if I don't at least give it a try!"
"I knew you would, Hermione," said Harry quietly.
"Is there anything more we can do?" asked Ron, when the man had been settled upon the bed.
Hermione had moved to the side of her patient, her thoughts concentrating on him. "I don't know, maybe you could stick around for a while..." Her voice trailed off.
The two men settled themselves on the next bed, as the sheet that covered the man's body, was removed. Even though they had already seen the state this particular victim was in, Harry and Ron still felt horrified and slightly sick to their stomachs at the sight.
The woman in the pink robes gasped audibly. Having already guessed that this man was in particular bad shape after one look at the stretcher, she hadn't been prepared for anything close to what she was seeing.
The man was painfully thin; his knees looked disproportionately big in relation to his thin thighs and lower legs that seemed to consist only of bone and skin. His ribs were too visible beneath the skin of his chest, the gaps between them deepening further with the short gasps of breath the man drew at uneven intervals. His upper arms were thinner than her wrists.
Furthermore, his skin was caked in dirt and what was probably blood. At his ankles and wrists, his flesh was bloody and raw, clearly due to being chained to the wall, as Harry had said. The man's hair lay in lank, dirty strands around the face, reaching almost to the waist. With all the dirt and grime, it was impossible to even tell what colour it was.
Not bothering to waste time with cosmetics, Hermione moved her wand over his body, from head to toe, to assess his injuries.
Ron and Harry watched her movements from their spot on the bed next to the stranger's, Hermione's face set in an expression of deepest concentration. She started murmuring spells, waving her wand over the man's chest first. It seemed his breathing eased just a bit after that. She moved on to his thighs and then his upper arms.
Waving her wand over his stomach, she started muttering to herself.
"Gods I've never seen anyone this severely underweight and still live," she said in amazement. "And from what I can make of it, he has been something like this for quite some time..."
"Niobe said he'd been in the dungeons for as long as she could remember," Harry chimed in, "It must have been something close to twenty-five years..."
Hermione looked at him, aghast. "Who would Voldemort have hated so much, he kept him alive for twenty-five years, just so he could torture him?"
Harry shrugged. "Niobe doesn't know who he is. She and her family kept as far away from the dungeons as possible. They could sense the dark magic was strongest there."
Hermione returned her attention to her patient. "I've mended his broken bones for now, but I need to get some nutrients into his system, or he will, indeed die," she said matter-of-factly, having slipped successfully into her professional role at last. "I am going to try and clean him up a bit, see if I can discover where all this blood on his skin came from." She gently pushed a couple of strands of hair back from the still face before turning to Harry and Ron.
"Go and find Professor Snape for me!" she commanded her two best friends, without a second thought, "I think I am going to need his help with this." She didn't even look their way, fully focussed on casting a warming spell to elevate her patient's body temperature. With his current weight, he probably hadn't been properly warm in quite some time.
Harry and Ron, being rather used to getting bossed around by this particular medi-witch, got up to do her bidding. They had brought this last found victim of Voldemort's to their spasmodically single-minded friend for exactly this reason: when Hermione involved herself into something, anything, she did so heart, mind and soul. Woe the witch or wizard that got in her way.
Hermione cast a cleaning charm on the man's chest and discovered extremely pale skin, marred with numerous scars, bruises and relative fresh wounds. She set to work on healing the wounds, some of which had started bleeding again during transport, repeating her actions on his arms and legs.
He looked fairly clean now although 'better' would not be an accurate description. The removal of the grime on his skin seemed to have only added to the deathly-ill impression, having improved the visibility of his extremely skinny arms and legs and the painfully thin torso. The bruises stood out starkly against the snow-colored skin. The man's breathing still didn't seem to come easy, if the painful expansion and lifting of his ribcage was any indication.
Hermione looked at the man with compassion in her now soft eyes. Nobody deserved to be forced to endure what this man had, not to mention for such a long period of time. She seated herself on the bed next to her patient and cast the final cleaning charm, on his face and hair.
She preferred an old-fashioned bath over the cleansing spells, but unfortunately her new ward was in no condition for anything other than a spell. And it worked just as well, she thought, as the grime disappeared from his face, revealing a couple more bruises and what looked like cuts, across his cheeks and down his throat. A whispered spell later and those were healed as well and she leaned back to assess her work.
Hermione was glad she sat down to cast these last few spells. The cleaning spell had not only revealed the man's face, but also the colour of his hair. Stunned, she took in the long strands of blond hair that was so pale it looked like moonlight on the pillow.
The same, silvery-blonde she had only seen on a person twice before in her life. And both of those had been Malfoys.