Disclaimer: I will not own nor have I ever owned any of the Harry Potter characters.. they all belong to JK Rowling and Scholastic.. sigh but any other character not mentioned in her books is the soul property of my twisted imagination.. enjoy.. heh..
The stone cell was cold and damp, water could be heard dripped off the ceiling and echoing off the walls. The cell itself was so dark that if someone were to look in they would hardly notice the figure of a young woman huddled in one of the driest of the four corners. Hermione Granger sat with her knees pulled to her chest in a feeble attempt to stay warm. Her tattered Auror robes barely concealed her dirty and bruised skin. Her body still ached from the several times she was placed under the Cruciatus Curse and she was somewhat surprised that she had held on to her sanity for as long as she had. She hadn't seen the light of day for what felt like ages and without a calendar or window she could not tell what if it was day or night nor could she tell how long she had been held captive.
She lifted her head as she heard footsteps coming towards the door. 'Oh no, not again.' She suppressed a whimper as she heard the lock click. Burying her face in her knees as the door swung open she pulled her knees tighter to herself. What she wouldn't give to have her want with her. She stiffened as she heard the door close for she knew that whoever had opened it was still inside the room with her. The rustling of robes alerted her to their closeness and she waited for them to use their wand to light their path to her but they didn't. Whoever it was smelled of sandalwood and soap. A clean smell that almost made her eyes water after living in the dirt and dampness of the cell for so long. She tried to keep her body from shivering but with the coldness of the cell and her sparse covering it was impossible. Suddenly a pair of strong hands grabbed her arms and hauled her up to stand on her two shaky legs which had gone numb from the cold.
She seemed to come alive at the person's touch and started to fight them with the meager strength that she had left. The iron grip of her capture however was strong and unrelenting. Against her will she gave in to exhaustion and collapsed into her capture's arms. "Merlin Granger she smell like you haven't had a bath in weeks." That voice she knew that voice, had grown up listening to it and now hearing it coming from the faceless figure holding on to her she felt cold hard dread creep into her chest. "Malfoy?" She managed to whisper the question, her parched throat making it difficult to speak. "Who else would be calling you Granger?" His tone was unusually teasing and Hermione stiffened in his arms. 'What is he playing at?' She wondered to herself, "And why is he here?' Taking in a shaky breath she inhaled the clean scent of him and felt herself almost swoon. After living in filth he smelled divine. "What are you doing here Malfoy?" She asked ash she looked up into his face which was darkened by shadows. She felt his chuckle vibrate from deep within his chest before she heard it. "Rescuing you of course." Hermione couldn't believe her ears, Draco Malfoy rescuing her, the thought was so far fetched she almost laughed out loud.
Gripping her shoulders he pushed her a little ways away from him and looked down at her. "We don't have much time, I petrified the guard and soon they'll find that I'm missing from my quarters. It's now or never Granger, do you trust me enough to help you?" She knew she shouldn't, she wasn't sure if this wasn't another one of there tricks like the time that they had Ron visit her, which turned out to be one of them in disguise, how could she be sure if this was really Malfoy that was holding her and if it was why would he be helping her? "How can I be sure it's really you?" She saw the outline of his smirk and felt her heart sink. "You honestly think I would let someone take a piece of my hair for a Poly Juice potion? Come off it Granger, the sooner you learn to trust me the sooner you'll be away from this hell hole of a prison." For some reason she believed him and nodded in agreement. On unstable legs she stumbled behind him as he led her to the door. Pausing she listened closely for any sound coming from the outside. As he opened the door she shielded her eyes from the brightness of the torch light. As her eye sight focused she look beyond him to the guard who was as Draco said, in a petrified state.
She felt some of the tension leave her as they hurried down the hall towards the stairs. "We'll never make it past the front door so we'll have to take the secret passage." He told her in a whispered voice as the stepped behind the stair case and stopped in front of what appeared to be a solid wall. With a flick of his wand the wall changed and became transparent. "Come on." He said as he pulled her through the wall and to the other side. The passage was just as damp and dark as the cell she had just left and she felt herself begin to shiver again. 'Will I ever be warm again?' She thought sadly to herself as she allowed Draco to drag her down the unlit passageway. It seemed to her that they were descending further and further underneath the dungeons and she was beginning to wonder of the passage way would come to and end. Suddenly she heard the sound of waves crashing against rocks and couldn't help the feeling of relief that swept through her. 'We're really going to get out of here.' Although she knew it was too soon to get her hopes up she was despite herself. Draco stopped abruptly causing her to collide into his back. She heard him mumble an oath in front and felt herself smile despite herself. "This is it." He told her in a hushed voice as she heard the sound of a locking clicking in front of her. She winced at the sound of rusted hinges being moved as the door opened. The smell of sea air was the first thing to hit her as they stepped outside the doorway. Trudging behind him she stumbled on a couple of sharp rocks and bit her lip to keep from crying out in pain. "Watch yourself Granger, the rocks are sharp and slippery." He said as he tossed a look over his shoulder and her. "That would have been very informative say oh about 30 seconds ago." She shot back at him in a hushed voice.
Making a tisking sound Draco shook his head and chuckled. "Same ole Hermione I see." At the use of her first name Hermione raised a curious brow. 'No I'm not the same ole Hermione.' She thought bitterly to herself. During the time of her captivity she had changed. Gone was the smiling girl that was so clever and fun loving. In her place was just a shadow of what she was. The new Hermione was bitter, with an emotional coldness in her that she feared would never thaw. "Where are we going?" She asked him after they had been walking for several minutes. "To the boat." Thousands of questions came to mind but she knew then wasn't the time for them so she simply replied, "Oh." The boat was moored a mile away from the castle which had been her second home for years and her prison for what seemed like centuries. Hogwarts was no longer a school for Witchcraft and Wizardry but the head quarters for the darkest of witches and wizards. After Dumbledore's death the school had been closed and then once more attacked but Death Eaters along with Lord Voldemort. Without Dumbledore there to protect them and Harry Potter off on his quest to destroy the Dark Lord the inhabitants had fled for their lives leaving the castle unprotected. Even the ghost that had roamed the halls were now gone as was Hagrid the grounds keeper and keeper of keys.
That had all happened two years ago. Hermione along with many others had been forced to complete their studies early and with the great need for Aurors Hermione had been accepted at once in the Ministry. Hermione had an incredible knack for being an Auror and excelled easily in the job, capturing and bringing down dark wizards until one night she had went alone to meet one of the Ministries spies which turned out to be a dark wizard themselves. She had been captured and taken to Hogwarts where she had been tortured endlessly. They wanted to know the Ministries' along with the Order of the Phoenix's plans and above all the location of Harry Potter. She would not tell them of course even when they attempted to give her the truth potion for she did not know Harry's whereabouts and the plans of the Order and the Ministry classified therefore she was unaware of their plans. Little did the Death Eaters know that Hermione was to be briefed the morning after her capture, therefore it was unlucky for them to capture her when they did.
Now as she followed Draco Hermione wondered once more why he was helping her and made a mental note to ask him when they finally arrived at their destination. When the reached the ship Hermione's eyes widened in surprise. The ship reminded her of the one the students and head master of Durmstrang had arrived on five years earlier and she wondered briefly if this one went under water also. As they neared the gang plank Hermione stopped and eyed it warily. Draco seemed to sense her apprehension and with a small smirked lifted her up in his arms and carried her over. Slowly he lowered her to the deck of the ship his eyes never leaving her face. "You're safe now Granger. I have business to attend to so I'll show you to your quarters where you can bath and change your robes." Hermione expected to be lead down stairs to the lower deck and was surprised when Draco headed straight for the captain's quarters. The door swung open to reveal a lavishly decorated cabin. A fire that had to be magical was blazing in the fire place in front of a claw footed tub filled with scented water. She turned to give Draco a questioning look as he cleared his throat. "I shall leave you to your toiletries." He told her matter-of-factly before closing the door behind him.
Turning around Hermione gazed wide eyed at the splendor before her. The cabin was decorated in dark wood furnishing and deep wine velvet upholstery. She had half expected it to be decked out in Slytherin's signature silver and green and was pleased that it was not. Walking to the floor length mirror she grimaced at her reflection.
Her hair was knotted with clumps of dirt and her face was scratched and bruised. The robes in which she wore were useless and couldn't mended much less be considered rags. Shrugging out of her robes she studied the damage that had been inflicted on her body and winced as she touched a rather large bruise on her collar bone. Turning away from her reflection she looked down into the tub and wished with all of her might that it wasn't a dream that she was having. 'If this is a dream please don't let me wake up.' She though wistfully to herself as she stepped into the heated water. Sinking down into it's relaxing depths she rested her head on the back of the tub and closed her eyes, a smile of bliss forming on her lips. Her eyes flew open as she heard a popping sound and turned her head to find a house elf standing beside the tub. "The master wishes Celest to help Miss Granger with her bath." the elf told her in a squeaky voice. Giving the elf a curious look Hermione settled deeper into the tub in an attempt to cover her nakedness. The house elf did not seem to notice Hermione's actions and went about her business of pulling towels from one of the dressers and soap from the cupboard. "Celest will first help Miss Granger with her hair." The house elf told her as she laid the soap on a table near the tub and the towel on the bed before fetching a bottle from the same cupboard she had taken the soap from. Hermione stiffened as the house elf came towards her with the bottle.
"Please don't be alarmed Miss Granger, Celest would not wish harm on her master's guest, no ma'am." Pushing up slightly to give the house elf better access to her hair Hermione closed her eyes as she felt the elf's small fingers work their own personal magic. The smell of lilies and honeysuckle wafted through the air as the elf shampooed and rinsed Hermione's hair leaving it clean and untangled. "Does Miss Granger wish for Celest to wash her back?" The house elf questioned Hermione as she held up a sponge along with the bar of soap. Shaking her head Hermione finally found her voice. "No Celest, I believe I can take it from here but I wonder if I could trouble you for something to eat and drink." The house elf nodded her head as she handed Hermione the soap and sponge. "T'would be no trouble at all Miss Granger." With a snap of her fingers there was another popping sound as the house elf seemed to vanish into thin air. Five years ago Hermione would have refused the house elf to help her with anything but she was too tired to argue about the mistreatment of house elves and Celest didn't seem to be unhappy as Dobby had once been when he was with the Malfoys. 'Maybe she doesn't work for the entire family just Draco.' Hermione was shocked at her own thoughts. 'Since when have I started thinking of him as Draco and not Malfoy?' Shaking her head she felt her eyelids become heavy and realized that she had better finish her bathing quickly or risk falling asleep in the tub.
'Wouldn't that be ironic, escape prison just to drown in a heavenly scented bath tub?' She almost chuckled at her thought but resisted the urge, she hadn't really had anything to laugh about in so long. Finishing her bath she stepped out of the tub and on to the thick oriental rug that lay underneath the porcelain tub. Retrieving the towel from the bed she dried off and wrapped it around her before searching for a change of close. Walking to the wardrobe she opened it up and scanned the contents. There were various men's robes contained inside and she wondered if any of them would fit her. Her dilemma, however, was solved when she found a silken piece of lavender fabric on the far right hand side of the wardrobe. Pulling out the article of clothing she gasped in pleasure at the sight of it. It was a lavender night dress made of finely spun silk that felt light as a feather. Removing the towel she draped it across one of the chairs to dry before pulling the lavender night dress over her head. The feel of the silk on her bruised skin felt deliciously wonderful and she couldn't prevent the sigh that escaped her lips as she felt of the material. The sound of Celest returning caused her to turn around her almost dry hair swirling around her to cascade down her back. "Would Miss Granger like to partake of the evening mill before retiring to bed?" Celest asked her as she gestured towards the table which was now laden with various meats, fruits and cheeses.
Taking a seat at the table she gave Celest a small smile as she filled her plate with a few items. "Thank you so much Celest." Nodding the house elf picked up the tattered remains of Hermione's robs along with the towel and turned back towards her. "Will Miss Granger be needing anything else this evening." Shaking her head no Hermione looked down at her plate as the house elf left the room with a resounding pop. She knew that she would have to eat only a small amount due to the fact that her stomach had shrunk from malnourishment. If she were to over indulge it would result in her being physically sick. Nibbling on a piece of sweet meat she poured herself a goblet of mulled wine. After satisfying her thirst and hunger Hermione pushed away from the table and walked to the port hole to stare out at the water. She knew the boat was moving even though she couldn't feel it and was thankfully that the water was calm. A nasty bout of motion sickness was the last thing she wanted. She looked over her shoulder as someone knocked at the door. "Enter." She called out and turned to face the door as it opened slowly to reveal Draco. He had changed clothes and removed his cloak.
The sight of her seemed to stop him in his tracks. "Is this the same filthy lice ridden creature I just rescued or has some one replaced her with this vision of loveliness?" Hermione's eyes narrowed as she stepped towards him. "I did not have lice!" She shot back at him, however, the scowl disappeared from her face as she took in his last words, "Wait did you just call me lovely?" Shouldering the door closed Draco stepped into the room and leaned against it. "Don't let it go to your head Granger." He told her teasingly as he took in her newly cleaned features and lavender night dress. "I was hoping that it would fit you." He told her as he gestured towards the night dress she was wearing. Blushing slightly Hermione turned away from his to look back out the portal. Not comfortable with the conversation she changed the subject. "Why am I here? Why did you rescue me? What do you want with me? And who's ship is this?" She tensed as she felt his hands on her shoulders and stood rigid as he turned her to face him. "One question at a time Granger." He replied, a small smile playing on his lips as he stared down at her. "You're here on my ship because right now it was the only way to leave Hogwarts without being seen. I rescued you because they were going to kill you. And this is my ship."
Hermione listened to his answers as he gave him and took all the information in. "You still haven't told me what you want with me." Releasing her he stepped away and turned away from her. "I don't want anything from you Granger, I was told to rescue you and that's exactly what I did let's leave it at that." He told her, his voice had taken on a slight edge and Hermione had the feeling that he wasn't telling her the whole truth. "Who told you to rescue me?" She asked him as she crossed her arms in front of her, her mind still full of questions. "You'll find out shortly we should be arriving at our destination by daybreak. I suggest you get some rest. You'll need it." Turning back towards her his gaze lingered over her face. "I've got something to expedite the healing of your wounds and bruises." He told her as he reached up and gently touched her check. The physical contact surprised her and she stepped back from his her eyes wide. Dropping his hand back to his side he straightened his shoulders and walked to the cupboard. Pulling out a small silver container and a vial of cloudy white liquid he placed them on the table beside the bed. "You can use the salve on your bruises and the potion will help the pain from the Cruciatus Curse. You'll never be rid of the memory of what it felt like but at least you will no longer be in pain." He gave her one last fleeting look before turning back towards the door. Glancing at the vial of liquid suspiciously Hermione stepped towards the table.
"You can drink it or not Granger it's up to you but believe me when I say I would never do anything to harm you while you're in my protection." And with that he opened the door and softly closed it behind him. Picking up the container of salve she took of the lid and smelled it. She was pleasantly surprised to find that it was odorless. Most of the salves that she had made and smelled in the past had had a horrid scent. Quickly she applied the salve to her bruises before placing the lid back on the silver container. Picking up the vial she studied it's contents for a few moments before removing the stopper. I would never do anything to harm you while you're in my protection. His last statement seemed to echo in her mind as she put the vial to her lips. Without another thought she tipped the vial back and drained it of it contents. The mixture felt warm going down her throat and it felt as if the warmth was reaching every nerve in her body, erasing the pain as it went along. Placing the stopper back in the bottle she slipped into bed and laid her head down on the pillow. 'Ron and Harry would never believe this.' She thought sleepily to herself as her eye lids began to droop slightly. Before she realized what was happening she was sound asleep.
End Chapter 1
Ok.. Heh.. I know I have like a bazillion other fanfics I've got to finish but this one hit me at work. I know Draco and Hermione are somewhat OOC but it's been like three years since book 6 people can change a lot in that amount of time, and there's a reason why Draco is helping her out.. I just haven't got to it yet.. Lol.. I'm writing it as it comes to me. As always reviews are welcome.