Fallen From Grace

Chapter One: Never— nevermore.

Once upon an autumn dreary, whilst he wandered weak and weary

Across many a vast and curious land of forgotten yore.

Whilst he stuttered, shivering, shaking, suddenly there came a waking,

As of something gently quaking, quaking in his very core

"T is my muddled mind, "he muttered, "twisting at my inner core—only this and nothing more."

"I'll be in soon, Blaise, just go ahead."

The dark-haired Slytherin boy nodded his head curtly in acknowledgment before swiftly snatching up his Nimbus 2002 and jogging back up to the large crowd of Slytherins ahead.

Carefully smoothing out his Quidditch robes, the blond-haired Slytherin deftly leapt onto his broomstick and kicked-off into the ominous autumn night sky. The chilling air seeped through his sweat-dampened robes, pricking faintly at his pale skin. Hiding cunningly behind the mass of darkened, grey-black clouds, the blood moon shone sinisterly with a dark crimson colour, casting a glowing reddish shadow across the grounds.

His sleek broomstick cut through the bitter breaths of wind that whipped his pallid cheeks, painting them with a faint rosy hue. Pausing in mid-air, the Slytherin listened hard into the night; hearing only silence in return, save for the rapid thudding of his heartbeat. Hovering unsteadily, he peered out a full 360; but as he'd suspected, his eyes met only the looming darkness.

"Don't be an idiot," he muttered quietly to himself. "No one's out here but you."

Shirking off the irritating chills, the boy angled his broom downwards and sliced through the crimson blackness, determined to leave the feeling far, far behind. Staring hard below him, he could glimpse the rich greenness of the field. 150 metres from the ground; he was nearing. 100 metres; he gripped tightly onto his handle,preparing to pull out. 40 metres; dexterously he began to pull up his handle, but the dampness of his hands causedhim to slip, and before he could get the chance to regain control, a hurling black object collided with the back of his head and he fell.

His limp body spiralled down with incredible velocity, his broom, alongside him. He could feel the wind rushing down past him; his vision became blurred from the impact of the object with his head, and all he could see was a whirl of black and rougeand the forthcoming doom of his body clashing with the solid, green pitch.

SLAM

He felt every bit of air burst out from his lungs as his body crumpled helplessly beneath him. Feeling amazed he was still conscious and alive,the boy attempted to turn his body over, but soon discovered he possessed neither the strength nor the determination to do so at the time. A searing pain gripped his right arm;without even looking, he knew that he'd fractured a limb, and now a splinter was jabbing out through his skin making any movement whatsoever an arduous and excruciating task. Attempting to take in a deep breath, he found several ribs to have been broken, pressing agonizingly against his lungs, severely restricting his airway. He could feel his warm, sticky blood, trailing down the bare nape of his neck, leaving behind it a streak of red, shortly meshing together with the dark, emerald colour of his robes, forever staining it. Within his head was a crisp, painful throbbing that echoed continuously. Paying no heed to the pain, he slowly turned his head, not caring that the dirt streaked his face as he did so. He blinked several times, trying to rid his vision of the blinding flashes that obstructed his view. When the stars at long last subsided, he could clearly make out a familiar pair of crisp, black leather boots that seemed strangely unsoiled despite the fact that they were standing in a muddy Quidditch field. His eyes travelled up from the man's feet to his equally immaculate velvet-lined cloak, and finallyto his hardened, bloodless visage that seemed a mixture of pure white along with a trace of indigo which contrasted violently against the darkness of the surrounding night. The man's sleek, charcoal-coloured hair blended into the surroundings,giving the illusion that the man's face was floating upon its own volition in mid-air.

"Young Mister Malfoy, we meet again. What a striking resemblance you have to the senior," hesaid in a sharp, clear voice with a bare hint of an accent Draco couldn't put his finger on, enunciating the 's' with profound clarity.

He could now feel blood trickling down from the side of his lips, but he made no attempt to stem the flow. His vision was blackening once again, and he could feel himself losing consciousness. "Dr-Dracula?" Draco managed to choke out.

The intimidating man leered at the young boy and raised three bony fingers. "Strike one" he said, slowly bringing down his ring finger. "Do you really believe that Count Dracula, lord of the Vampires,has the time to go out and carry out such menial deeds? Try again."

The Slytherin boy glared up at the man with as much ferocity as he could muster, but soon gave up as the task required a fair amount of strength, and at the moment he possessed a bare amount. This man was toying with him while he was an inch away from his death bed; what the bloody hell was he playing at?

"Satan." He tried again, choking on the blood that now streamed out in short spurts from his colourless lips.

The sneering man let out a hollow laugh that reminded Draco vividly of the Dark Lord's own. "Strike two." He put down another finger. What would happen upon strike three? Draco did not wish to find out; but surely he wouldn't leave him to die, would he?"I believe the prince of Darkness is vacationing in Bulgaria at the present. Last chance, Mr. Malfoy. For such a bright young man, you are rather thick, no?"

"Son of a Bitch," Draco spat out, his voice cracked and croaky.

"That is strike three. Tut, tut, now we're just being plain nasty now, aren't we, dear boy?" Purposely disregarding Draco's fractured ribs, the man tossed the blond-haired boy over his shoulder as if he weighed nothing more than a feather rather than as much as a 16 year old adolescent boy and lugged his wounded torsoto the edge of the forest. In the near distance, Draco spotted the faint glowing of a window belonging to the half-blood gamekeeper. For a moment, he considered crying aloud for help, but thenhe realized that the stranger would most likely have killed him before the giant oaf got anywhere near Draco.

After his body had been lobbed heedlessly onto the forest floor, the man stood above Draco once more. The crimson moonlight peeked though the various volumes of forestry and shone upon the man's figure, creating a supernatural aura around him.

"I, Draco Malfoy, am Count Mordechai," he said almost inaudibly as he knelt down to shorten the distance between the two.

Suddenly, imaginary bells went off within Draco's mind, drowning out the painful throbbing. Mordechai was one of Dracula's henchmen. Silently, he damned his father for defrauding the King of Vampires that previous summer. He had vowed to make Lucius pay, but never in his wildest dreams had Draco thought that they would come after himthe one thing Lucius prized above all; no, not his son, but the purity of his bloodline.

Terror flooded though his veins; there was no way he could defend himself against the vampire without his wand, even if he was at full strength. "No—no, please don't, " he rasped, attempting to edge backwards. But it was useless. His fate was sealed.

"Give my regards to your father, Mister Malfoy." Those were the final words Draco heard before he felt two sharp fangs pierce the side of his neck, embedding themselves within his tender flesh andsending a searing pain, like scorching metal upon bare skin, throughout his body.

vVv

"G'night, 'Ermione! Tell 'Arry 'n Ron t'er drop by sum time!"

Harry and Ron were both still up at the castle occupied with a stupid game of Wizarding chess. After losing to both Ron and Harry five times consecutively, Hermione had decided to go down to visit her old friend that night. Smiling politely, the bushy-haired Gryffindor waved at her friend and called back, "I will! Good night, Hagrid!"

Hermione turned her back when she saw his door click shut and began to edge her way to the Forbidden forest, eager to rid her pockets of the numerous rock cakes she had accumulated while having a cup of tea with Hagrid

Had she known what a twist this very decision would have upon her life, Hermione Granger would have never gone out that particular night or even perhaps for the rest of her life.

She hummed softly to herself as she began flinging the cakes haphazardly into the darkened woods, hoping them to be a late dinner for some poor creature. It was then, at that very moment thatshe spotted a dark figure, hovering over a second. It appeared to her as if the larger creature was eating the helpless little being alive. Forgetting that she was all alone and rather defenceless, Hermione plunged her hand into her robes to retrieve a particularly large rock cake and flung itfull force ahead, hitting the creature square in the head. The animal hissed venomously and abandoned its prey, lunging full speed at the reckless Gryffindor girl. Shrieking loudly, Hermione stumbled backwards, whipped around, and began to run in the opposite direction. Having never taken physical education, Hermione had never had to run in all her life; and especially not at her current speed. To her dismay, the creature caught up to her in less than a minute and pounced on her, bringing her tumbling to the ground. A second ear-splitting scream erupted from her voice box when she caught sight of the creature's bloodied face.

"Such a loud little thing," he said smoothly "But oh, so full of life," he added as he gave her a sniff.

Hermione cringed at his actions and tried to throw him off, but found that he was at least ten times stronger and heavier than herself. "Get away from me!" she cried, wriggling beneath him. Her heart pounded wildly as she tried to regain her steady breathing.

"I don't think so, my little witch. One never does turn down a free meal, especially when it comes wandering about so willingly."

Witch

His words sparked a glaring memory within her mind. She was a witch! As indiscreetly as possible, the Gryffindor girl snuck her hand into her robes, careful not to draw any attention from him, and gripped her wand tightly.

"Hermione Granger," she said quietly, but enunciating each letter, "-is nobody's meal. EXPELLIARMUS!"

The hulking vampire was blown from atop her feminine frame and hurled through the air until it hit a blockade.

Which just happened to be a tree.

SMASH

His body crashed forcefully into the tree trunk, sending a streak of cobalt-coloured liquid trickling down the side of his head. Hastily, Hermione clambered back up upon her feet, positioning herself in the standard defensive stance. "Don't-make-any-sudden-moves." Her tone was as lethal as her wand work.

A soft groan came from the tangle of limbs that lay at the base of the tree. "I surrender, " he murmured,"Just—just don't hurt me."

She eyed him suspiciously and edged closer, her wand still directed straight at him. "I'm 16,not 6, you evil git. Do you really think I'm going to fall for that?"

Count Mordechai sighed dramatically." I suppose not." And before Hermione could react, he leapt up from the ground and morphed into a bat, flitting off into the crimson darkness that swallowed the creature whole.

She stood still for a while longer, her wand poised for action just in case the vampire decided to come back. When finally she heard nothing more, Hermione remembered the fallen victim and hurried over to its side.

It was far too dark to make out his features, but she could tell it was human. Perhaps even a wizard. Crouching down, she peered closely at the injured boy, but when she failed to make out any distinct features, she quickly whispered, "Lumos."

Her wand clattered soundlessly against the forest floor.

"Malfoy!"

vVv

He lay still, unmoving and unresponsive,having passed out from the attack, she assumed. She stared down at his immobile form, her amber orbs widewith fright. He may have been the bane of her very existence, but never would she wish upon him a fate such as death. His lips were a frightful icy blue and his skin had turned several shades paler than its normal sickening white. His flawless platinum hair was now streaked with earth and hisown blood. Hesitating, Hermione placed a hand upon his cheek and found him to be colder than the night air itself. Quickly, she unclasped her cloak and draped it across his seemingly frail body.

"Oh Merlin, Malfoy! Wakeup! Wakeup, you prat!" she hissed urgently as she gently shook him.

After a good minute had passed without any response whatsoever, Hermione whipped out her wand and pointed it to his chest.

"Enervate"

To her utter relief, there came a loud groaning sound. Ever so slowly, his eyes began to slowly flicker open. Hermione gasped aloud when she found his eyes not to be their normal grey, but instead, tinted with a dark amethyst.

"Can't-breathe—Gran—er" he coughed and sputtered a dark liquid, assumingly blood. Her eyes widened even farther when she brought her wand light near it. She discovered his blood not to be red, but rather, a dark plum. Dragging her wand light across his bodyshe found splotches of crimson blood; fresh and drying. Her mind spun in confusion. What was going on! A second groan of pain from her nemesis broke her trance. Hermione had only taken the St. Mungo's training course recently that summer and she had yet to try out her newly acquired skills on a real live person—or in her case, a half-living, half-person….

Taking a quick breath, she began reeling off her mile-long length of excuses not to heal him. "I've—I've only tried this once before and I'm merely a trainee; well, not even, but-but I have only first aid training and I'm not an expert on this—and –and I only know the basics and it was only a four week course during the summer and there was this really, really, large, pimply, sweaty, ghastly girl that kept getting paired up with me and she always ended up squashing the life out of our living dummy and I never really got a chance to heal it properly and maybe we should go to Madame Pomfrey because I'm pretty sure she's had more than four weeks of training and—"

"SHU-t—up—Hea—heal me!" Draco demanded hoarsely. Her incessant rambling was more likely to send him into a coma than another blow to the head.

She tried again, "But Madame Pomfrey can heal you much better and—"

"No! Sh-shame—me—no—you—you heal" he rasped, in an almost desperate tone now. Slowly, he began to slip back into unconsciousness. If Hermione didn't do something soon, he would surely die.

The Gryffindor blinked stupidly. He was worried about shame at a time like this! Timidly, Hermione raised her wand and began to mutter simple healing charms. Within his chest, Draco could feel his ribs twisting back into their original places. Instantly, he felt his breathing ease,but his head still throbbed with pains and his vision blurred horribly before him,slurring the scene before him into a canvas splattered with brown, black,and red.

Hermione squealed loudly as his eyes began to close and his head slumped lifelessly to the side. "Malfoy! No! You prat! I healed you!" Sheslapped him lightly on the cheek. "Stop! Stop-stop dying!"

Draco coughed, sending a mouthful of grape-juice blood spewing down the side of his face. Hermione cringed at the sight. She wasn't sure what grossed her out more:the fact that it was blood, or that it was purple blood. "Tha-thas—right, Granger. Tell—tell me to—stop dying-tha—always works."

"Oh, you ingrate! I have half a mind to walk away and leave you to die for right this second!" she fumed, crossing her arms against her chest.

Blinking several times, Draco shrugged his left shoulder gently and brought his cheek down to wipe off the trickling blood that made his cheek itch irritatingly. "But you won't. It's—th—the Gryffindor in you. Anything to heal my head? It's hurting like a prick."

Hermione huffed, but proceeded to remove her robe and fold it into a neat little square, slipping it gently beneath Draco's wounded skull. She cringed once more and drew away as her hand became smeared with his strange blood. "I don't know how to heal your head. You'll just have to go to Madame Pomfrey."

Draco gritted his teeth, but very soon regretted it as it sent a sharp pain through his head. "I told you—I'm not going to her. No one can find out about this, Granger. No one."

"But why not!" she protested. "Look at yourself! Someone's going to see you sooner or later—it's obvious you didn't just trip."

"Granger—Listen to me. No one can know about this." His voice was hoarse and in his current state he did not look the least bit threatening. "Promise me you won't tell anyone."

Her mouth dropped open, "I can't do that!" she sputtered. "You're delusional, Malfoy. I'm—I'm going to get Dumbledore."

"NO!" Draco clasped his strong hand around her wrist and held her in a vice-like grip. "Granger, my brain is fine. Just—Please, you have to understand. I can't let anyone know about this. Not—not now. Please, Granger. I'm begging you."

His tone was desperate and the haunting look within his eyes frightened her terribly. "L-Let go. You're hurting me," Hermione whimpered, trying to pulling away.

"Promise me!" he demanded fiercely, tightening his hold on her. "Just promise me and I'll let you go."

Her voice quivered and her body trembled "I promise," she whispered. He looked deep into her eyes as if to seek the lies behind her words. But apparently he found none as he soon let go of her. Hermione quickly scampered backwards, stumbling over her own feet. She slowly got up, keeping a steady eye upon him. He laystill, his chest rising and falling at a steady pace. Looking down at him, Hermione bit her lip nervously. She couldn't just leave him there, could she? He was no longer in any terrible pain—at least none that was apparent. "Barnabas," she blurted out suddenly.

His head shifted slightly. "What?"

"Barnabas the Barmy. The tapestry—walk along there three times , concentrate on a safe place to hide."She turned to leave.

"Wait—what the bloody hell are you talking about?" he asked, utterly bewildered.

She gave him a strange, yet firm look. "Just trust me."

Draco lay on the ground and watched her figure until it became wholly consumed by the darkness of the night. "Strange, strange, strange," he muttered. Eventually, the Slytherin got back onto his feet and decided to trust his arch enemy's female sidekick.

vVv

"Ow!"

"Sorry." Lavender kneeled down and began to untangle Hermione's mane from the wooden brush. "You really need to start using conditioner, Hermione. It'll make your hair much easier to handle."

Hermione sighed and blew a strand of hair from her face. "Oh, so it takes longer to comb my hair. So what? I refuse to waste my money on things that aren't a necessity," she said stubbornly. "And besides,"she added, "I haven't got any extra money .I spent the last bit on 118191514 Hexes, Curses and Enchantments. It was an honest to Merlin bargain!"

Setting down her issue of Witch Weekly: Teen Edition, Parvati rummaged through her trunk and fished out a bottle and hurled it across the room.

"Ow!" Hermione cried out in pain yet again as the bottle collided with the side of her head.

"Sorry," Parvati muttered, enthralling herself once more in the magazine.

"Sleekezee 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner," sheread aloud.

"Lather, leave, rinse—do not repeat," Parvati instructed from atop her four poster bed.

Hermione frowned and set it down. "Just leave it, Lavender. I'll get it out. I'm going to the washroom."

Reluctantly, Lavender released her hair and scampered over to join her other friend.

An uncomfortable knot had built up within her stomach, one that—if possible—was even bigger than the one in her hair. Wincing at the sight, Hermione leaned over the sink and brought her hair up close to the mirror. Was it really that bad? Why the hell did anyone care how her hair was anyway? She hated people trying to change her. Why couldn't everyone just leave her be? She was quite content with the way she looked at the present. Taking out her wand, Hermione slowly began to untangle her hair. After fifteen gruelling minutes had passed by, the brush was at long last free. She was even a bit surprised when it did not run off the moment it was untangled.

Looking down at her fingers, the Gryffindor noticed a faint reddish brown substance caked beneath her fingernails despite the shower she had just taken. She recoiled at the flashes of memory that itbrought back. She had left him there—what if he couldn't get back? What if he was still terribly hurt? His death would be on her conscience for eternity. She had to go find out how he was, and maybe even get him to sign a contract assuring that she had not killed him or been a factor in his death if he happened to die sometime in the near future.

vVv

And...? Comments, svp! Review! Big sorry if any Somnio Eternus readers are here, I'll try to get the next chapter out by about next week. Had midterms all week and training courses. I'll try to write some more while I'm up boarding this weekend : D blahblahblah. I hate February. But I had this written up a while ago, so might as well post it. Do hope you all enjoyed this! Now Review!