Chapter 14

The Darkened Corridor

Malfoy did not return to he and Hermione's shared common room that day. Hermione, who had a mountain of homework to get started, ploughed her way through that throughout the day, but found it difficult to concentrate as she was always wondering when Malfoy would finally walk through the door.

At about half past six, Hermione finally put her books away, getting ready to leave for Snape's office. Just as she was about to leave, however, Malfoy sauntered in, followed by Blaise Zabini.

"Well hello Granger," Blaise said, casting her an odd smile.

"Hullo Blaise," Hermione replied dully as she pulled on her school robes over the comfortable tank top that she had been wearing.

"Don't you look lovely." Blaise continued, walking up to her and throwing his arm around her. "Very lovely indeed."

"Blaise, knock it off." Malfoy said carelessly, although Hermione could hear that familiar flicker of anger in his tone.

Hermione shrugged Blaise's arm off of her shoulder, then said to Malfoy, "I've got a meeting with Professor Snape. I won't be too long."

"What, now she's got to report to you?" Blaise asked Malfoy. "Nice job mate, next it'll be a leash and a whip."

Hermione bit her lip, choosing to ignore Blaise's comment. Malfoy was acting as though he hadn't heard it at all as he turned and pulled out some of his own homework. Seeing that he obviously wasn't going to acknowledge her presence, Hermione left the common room, feeling somewhat angry at him as she left.

What was he playing at? Sure, he wanted to keep what had happened the night before on a low profile. But to allow his mate to talk so indecently to her? It was almost disgusting. Yes he had always allowed them to do so … but on the other hand, he had never liked her before the way that he claimed to now. Maybe this was all a ploy. Maybe he didn't even like her, maybe it was some ludicrous conspiracy between him and the other Slytherins to make her look like a fool …

Before she knew it, she was standing before Snape's classroom in the dungeons. It hadn't really occurred to her until that very moment that she had no idea what it was that Snape wanted. She didn't think it was school-related, seeing as she had been pulling E's out of his class ever since the start of term. Did it have to do with Draco? Did he know? Was he going to lecture her? Threaten her?

Her hand shaking slightly now, she knocked loudly on the door.

"Come in," a sharp voice said, and Hermione was more than relieved to see not just Snape, but Hagrid there with him as well, both of them sipping down what Hermione suspected to be Firewhiskey.

"Well hello, Hermione!" Hagrid greeted merrily, seeming a little happier than usual. "What are yeh doin' here?"

"I … er … was asked to come," Hermione said. "by Professor Snape."

"Ah, well I won' be stayin' too long! Just came to borrow some stuff that yeh can only get from the Potions master … ain' that right, Snape?"

Snape pursed his lips and nodded ever so slightly, his drink almost to the brim compared to Hagrid's, which had hit the bottom already, most likely more than once.

"Hermione, why don' yeh pull up a chair and have a drink with us!" Hagrid said as he began pulling a mug towards him and filling it with the same substance that they were drinking.

"You fool, she's not even of age!" Snape barked at Hagrid, performing a Vanishing Spell on the mug Hagrid was holding and conjuring up a new one. He turned around to what looked like a tea set behind him and poured the mug to the top, then handed it to Hermione.

"Pumpkin juice." He muttered, not even looking at her. "Now Hagrid, if you would kindly leave, I have some business to attend to with Ms Granger."

"Hope yeh weren' causin' him trouble, Hermione!" Hagrid said, but then laughed at his own words and said, "Well of course yeh weren', yeh never do!"

And with a sweep of happy good-byes, Hagrid swaggered out of the Snape's office.

Hermione took a sip of the pumpkin juice Snape had given her, noticing that it tasted a little off. More than likely it had been in Snape's cupboards for far too long. Not wanting to be rude, she took another sip.

"Do you know why you are here, Ms Granger?" Snape asked coldly as he surveyed her drinking.

"No, Professor." Hermione replied, her hands starting to shake slightly. He can't know about Draco and I, not this soon …

"Are you sure, Ms Granger? Perhaps you would like to think it over before you answer once more."

Hermione stared at him, though her thoughts did not betray her unknowing expression. "I'm sorry Professor, I don't know."

Snape glared at her. "Could it be, perhaps, because you seem to think me a fool?"

"No, Professor!" Hermione exclaimed, horrified.

"So I suppose you thought your little visit to my office the other night would go unnoticed? That I would not have realized certain ingredients of mine have gone missing---"

"But I didn't---"

"Do not lie to me, girl!" Snape cried. "You thought I would find it a mere coincidence that the night my stores are stolen from, you are out of your bed past curfew!"

"I didn't steal from you, Professor." Hermione lied, draining her pumpkin juice so that she wouldn't have to look him directly in the eye, knowing full well he was an expert Legilimens.

"Very well," Snape said. "Stick to your story. But if I find you have been lurking in my office again, stealing from my stores, you will have a much worse punishment to endure than a simple conversation. Good night, Ms Granger."

Hermione hastily put down her empty goblet and hurried out of Snape's office, shaking like mad.

Almost the moment she closed the door behind her, a sudden strangeness overcame her. Her mind felt as though it were drowning in the middle of the ocean as she struggled to take control of it. She could hardly walk straight, let alone think straight. Her vision felt blurred, and yet she could see quite clearly. She couldn't think of where she was supposed to be going, nor where she had just came from. She began to walk, to nowhere in particular, perhaps looking for a place to sit down.

Without knowing how far she had walked, she suddenly found herself in a darkened corridor. She could not tell if it was actually dark, or if it was her mind fooling her into believing it was dark as she still struggled to get control of it. But as she stumbled along the corridor, unable to walk straight, she could hear footsteps approaching her from the other direction. Her mind would not allow her to feel scared --- in fact, she felt nothing at all regarding the footsteps. She was so entranced by her mind, trying so hard to walk straight, that being unable to see even a foot ahead of her did not seem to bother her at all …

Suddenly, a hand placed itself gently on her cheek. She reached out, searching for a means of support, and found herself resting on a familiar chest …

"Draco?" she asked.

She let her hands wander as though she were not controlling them at all, and they rose to touch the strangers face as she found a sudden comfort in feeling the familiar curve of Draco's pointed nose, the sleek blond hair that she knew even by touch …

"Draco … something … something is wrong …" She said, her words sounding distant and muffled as though someone on the other side of a door were saying them.

"Shhh," he shushed softly. "It's okay."

He helped lower her to the floor, which she was grateful for as she felt more secure sitting down and leaning against the cold stone wall.

She closed her eyes, and was surprised to feel his lips press against hers as she did. She could not concentrate, could not focus on him, but still seemed to be lost within her own mind. It was as though he was kissing somebody else, for she could barely register what was going on.

However, she seemed to be kissing him back, though she did not realize it. She felt his hand rest upon her leg, but as she struggled to open her eyes, it seemed as though she did not have the power to do so. His hand moved up her leg, under her robes, but she was too preoccupied with trying to lift her eyelids that she did not seem to care.

He reached to pull her knickers off of her, and her mind began to register what was happening.

"You … you want to do it … now?" She asked, smiling a silly smile.

He kissed her neck and pushed her robes off of her, and she continued to smile though it still felt as though it were someone else whom he was kissing. Her body began to slide down the wall until she was lying on the cold floor, though she was unsure of how she had come to be in this position.

Though her eyes were closed, she felt no shock or surprise when he suddenly plunged into her. She did, however, feel the pain, seeing as her body hadn't been ready for him to enter.

Her face suddenly cringed as she said, "No Draco … no, it hurts …"

But he continued to thrust, and her mind continued to struggle as everything within it seemed hazy, everything except for the pain she was feeling as he plunged deeper still inside her, thrusting faster regardless of her wish for him to stop …

She did not know how long he had gone on for. She lost focus after the first minute or so, her concentration aimed solely at willing her mind to open her eyes so she could see what was going on. But suddenly, after not knowing how long, light swam before her eyes. She could not remember opening them … had they been open the whole time, unknowingly so in the darkness of the corridor?

Her mind quickly returned to normal as, for a fleeting moment, she saw Draco before her. But as she blinked, Draco was gone, and in his place was … Blaise Zabini?

Hermione looked down at her body as it lay on the floor, and embarrassment rose to her cheeks as she noticed her knickers at her ankles.

She hurriedly pulled them up, then reached for her robes, still trying to piece together what had just happened.

"Where's … where's Draco?" She asked, her voice wavering slightly.

"Draco?" Blaise smirked. "Who knows? Probably in his common room where I left him."

"No," Hermione replied, shaking her head as her eyes fought to register the light that was now pouring from the lit torches. "No, he was just here. We … we were…"

"Well, I must say, I'm quite offended!" Blaise interrupted, though he showed no signs of offence in his features. "I should like to get credit when I give a shag as good as I've just given!"

"You?" Hermione asked. Then she got to her feet instantly and cried, "YOU!"

"Yes," Blaise said, smiling a truly evil smile. "Who did you think it was?"

"I thought … I thought it was Draco! It was Draco! He was just here! Something happened to me, he comforted me, and then we--"

"Do I suddenly seem incapable of giving comfort?" Blaise asked, still smiling. "Clearly you were overcome by a case of stress, due to what I would have thought was homework, but now I see that it must have been due to our friend Draco--"

"I was not stressed!" Hermione cried, feeling rather exposed although her robes were pulled tightly around her. "You … you did something! You jinxed me or something!"

"There is no jinx that I can put on you to make you sleep with me, unless of course it is the Imperius Curse, of which you should know is highly illegal."

"Not the Imperius Curse!" Hermione cried, frantic as the realization of her sleeping with Blaise dawned upon her. "But something! You must have done something! There is no way I would shag you! No way! No way …"

"You think I did something to you?" Blaise asked as his lips once more curled into an evil, terrible smile. "Why don't you prove it?"

Hermione pulled out her wand in an instant, but Blaise was quicker than her. Before she knew it, they both had their wands raised and pointed directly at one another, Blaise grinning as Hermione glared fiercely at him.

"Dueling in the corridors, are we Ms Granger?" A voice drawled from behind her. Hermione turned to see Snape, barely withholding his glee as he walked in on the scene. "Twenty points from Gryffindor. Now get to your dormitory!"

………………………………...

Hermione's mind was still reeling by the time she returned to her common room, and she felt exceedingly thankful that Malfoy had retired to his bedroom for the evening. She felt … contaminated. Disgusted. Repulsed by what she had just done. But surely Blaise was lying? It was Draco there, it must have been. She had seen him, it wasn't her mind playing tricks on her … or was it? Something had happened to her, she had gone all funny, as though she'd been Confunded.

Was that it? Hermione asked herself. Was I Confunded?

She had no way of knowing. She still felt slightly off -- she lost her balance several times on the journey to her common room, but she could think much clearer than before, so that was a positive sign. Had Blaise Confunded her, and then took advantage of her in her weakened stage? No, he couldn't have. He was a Slytherin, yes, and he was creepy at times, but he would not stoop that low just for a shag. That was borderline rape.

Perhaps he and Draco were playing tricks on her? Maybe her earlier suspicions were true, that Malfoy was playing with her mind and did not truly care for her as he said he did.

But Hermione could not focus on all of this. The only thing she could think of was Blaise touching her … Blaise entering her in that forceful, unexpected way …

Before she knew it, she was crying. She felt so dirty, she could not even stand to look at herself in the mirror. If this wasn't a trick of Malfoy's … if Blaise had Confunded her on his own accord … what would Malfoy say? Surely he would not let his friend get away with something so evil. But Hermione was not even sure she could bring herself to tell him. For one, he may very well have been part of the scheme. But if he wasn't, if he had nothing to do with it, how would he react? Would he be angry at Blaise? At Hermione? But above all, Hermione just felt … embarrassed. She felt like a tramp.

But I thought he was Draco … she thought, tears sliding down her cheeks. Surely you'll understand … I thought he was you …