Title: Dangerous Games
Disclaimer: It's not mine. Shocker there.
Author's Note: Thanks for all the reviews, everyone! You guys are pretty much awesome.
Yeah, angsty/defeated!Draco isn't my fave either, and I'm trying to somewhat rectify that with this chapter…although…well, nevermind. You'll just have to read the story :-p
And sorry for the delay in the post! I was out of town, and then right when I got back school started again (blah), and all my AP teachers apparently don't seem to care that I like to have a life (even though my free time is spent at my computer writing stories for whatever. I'm aiming to get at LEAST one chapter up a week from now on.
Hope this chapter doesn't disappoint.
"Don't you dare touch any of my things, Granger."
Hermione whipped around. She had been asked (very reluctantly) by Missy to clean Malfoy's bedroom after helping clean the kitchen, and he was now leaning on his door frame, his chiseled features twisted into an expression of deepest loathing. For a few moments she was petrified, her heart thumping wildly against her chest, feeling ashamed in the same way she had when she was scolded by her teacher in second grade for correcting her in front of the class.
Then she squinted her eyes determinedly and rose to the challenge.
"I was instructed to clean your room, Malfoy. Forgive me if that displeases you, but I think it will require me to touch a few things."
He glared at her furiously, his grey eyes flashing dangerously.
"I'd watch your tongue if I were you. The Dark Lord will not act kindly if he hears of you mouthing off to your superiors."
The emphasis he placed on his last words made her blood boil. She resisted the urge to slap him as she had in third year. This sudden outburst of animosity confused her; he had not exactly been kind before, but he had been tolerable, and almost treated her with pity. She wondered if it had anything to do with her witnessing him being belittled by his father and Snape. Probably, she thought to herself, inwardly rolling her eyes.
Suddenly flooded with an intense amount of weakness, she turned away from the fight and began making his bed. "Get over yourself, Malfoy. I have work to do." As she smoothed out the wrinkles in his black silk sheets (go figure), it struck her how arguing with Malfoy as if they were back at school and involved in a silly battle of wits was very childish and pointless, given her current situation.
Enraged by her dismissal, Malfoy lunged forward and gripped her left arm tightly, swinging her around to face him. She stiffened instinctively, her eyes flying open in surprise as he sneered at her, mere inches away, his teeth bared menacingly. He held both her arms firmly, his nails digging into the soft flesh on her upper arms. She winced.
"Don't you turn away from me, filth. If I say don't touch my things, that means don't touch them." He growled the last words, and then flung her away forcefully.
She stumbled backwards into a black leather chair, her heel catching one of its legs, sending her crashing into the floor. Malfoy sniggered cruelly as she fell. She threw her arms out, trying to grab onto something to help steady herself, but all her hands found were the sheets on Malfoy's bed; they came off and joined her on the hardwood floor as her butt smacked it painfully. Feeling her face flush crimson in both embarrassment and resentment, she pushed herself off the floor and leapt toward him. She balled her hands into fist, still gripping the sheets in one hand, as he stared down at her with a mixture of amusement and vague interest.
Hermione was not aware of how much taller Malfoy was than her. The top of her head barely reached his chin, and she had to tip it back to be able to look into his eyes when she was so close. She raised an angrily pointed finger and jabbed it in his face. He leaned back almost unconsciously, as if to make sure she didn't touch him.
"Malfoy, don't you ever touch me like that again. I don't give a damn that you think I'm worthless filth just because my parents are muggles, and that I'm at your mercy, and Voldemort's mercy, and your bastard father's mercy since I'm your prisoner in this retched house, but I refuse to take that kind of abuse, especially from a silly little coward like you." Fuming, she threw his sheets at him.
"You don't want me to touch your things? Fine. Clean your own damn room."
She marched out, adrenaline rushing through her veins, but her small victory over Malfoy was overshadowed by the fact that her "outburst" would probably not be taken lightly. She was unable to keep visions of Bellatrix Lestrange's ecstatic expression at being allowed to torture her out of her mind as she made her way back to her cell, and although she fell asleep immediately upon entering, the images still haunted her in her dreams.
"Are you ready?"
Harry was staring at her intently, and she could tell the anticipation was driving him mad. He could not bear just standing back and waiting, while who knows how many of their friends were getting tortured, murdered…
"Just give the word, Harry."
He looked around at everyone, his emerald eyes revealing mixed emotions: concern and determination. Hermione was familiar with this look by now; he looked that way every time they were about to duel with the Death Eaters. His determination was fueled by his desire to take as many Death Eaters down as he could, while his concern was brought about by his anxiety for his companions (especially, although he would never say it, Ginny).
"Alright, let's go."
There was a collective intake of breath as everyone prepared to enter the dark building before them, and Hermione jumped as she felt someone squeeze her hand reassuringly.
"You drool a little when you sleep, Granger."
Hermione awoke with a start, shooting up into a sitting position, and discovered that there was indeed a bit of drool running down the side of her face. She wiped it off quickly with her hand, and then looked at Malfoy contemptuously. He was standing outside of her cell, smirking in a self-satisfied way.
"What the hell do you want?" she asked irritably. He tsked at her.
"Not much of a morning person, are you, Granger."
She glared at him, waiting for an answer to her question.
"I've reconsidered my statements from the previous night. I will allow you to touch my things when you are cleaning my room, as long as you take care to touch everything as little as possible. So you may proceed to my room to commence the cleaning you began yesterday." He looked at her contentedly. She stared at him, her mouth half open in surprise and exasperation, her eyes narrowed, incensed.
"Are you kidding me?"
"Not at all-"
She stood up and grabbed the bars of her cell, seething.
"You self-involved pig! I will not clean your room just because you deign to allow me to touch your things-"
"Oh, I think you'd better reassess that declaration, Granger, unless you'd like me to tell my father you are being disobedient."
She could not believe him. And the way he said disobedient made her sound like a misbehaving puppy. A battle raged inside her head as he watched her expectantly, waiting for a response.
Ugh, the stupid little ass. I can't believe this. I never would have expected to be at his mercy, and honestly, it's the worst thing in the world…okay, Hermione, calm down. Your life is a little more important than your pride right now. At least he didn't tell anyone what happened last night, right? Which is odd...just go and clean his damn room, it'll at least give you something to do…
She sighed. "Well, so long as you're resorting to your usual plan of running to Daddy, I guess my options are rather limited."
And grinning to herself at his irate expression, she strode out of her cell and made her way to his room.
Malfoy's room was predictably well-kept; Hermione had always imagined him as somewhat prissy and hygiene-obsessed (what with all the filth comments he directed toward her, it would be blatant hypocrisy for him not to be…sort of), and a neat room would complement that image. She merely had to make the bed with new sheets and do some light dusting, and then she was done.
She had not expected Malfoy to leave her alone in his room, but he had, and although she was disinclined to admit it, her curiosity was peaked. Here she was in the room of one of her greatest enemies, alone…maybe there was valuable information hidden that would be useful to the Order, if she ever managed to escape. What kind of person would she be if she didn't snoop around?
Her mind made up, she checked the hallway to make sure no one was coming, then swept the room with intrigued eyes. The tops of his dresser and bedside table provided nothing of interest; she turned her attention to the bookcase near his door, which was a shock in itself. A hefty portion was devoted to Dark Arts books similar to those in the larger library, and the bottom shelf held all his old schoolbooks.
However, she was taken aback by the number of history books, which were not all obvious. There was the three devoted to the years of Voldemort's previous reign, but also biographies on other well-known, reputably good wizards and witches (like Lyon Locks, who forced Fenrir Greyback into hiding 16 years back), and, most strange of all, The Art of War, which was a muggle novel. Hermione stared at it in amazement, but then her eye was drawn away as she caught a glimpse of a relatively small black book that looked as if it had been shoved hastily between two old Transfiguration books.
She immediately recognized it as the book she had seen on the mantel in the library the other day. She listened intently for approaching footsteps for a few moments, and then, satisfied with the silence, cautiously pulled it out of its place.
It looked older up close. The tips of the book were dog-eared, and it flopped about flimsily in her hand. She let it fall open at random, and was startled to see hurried handwriting scrawled across the page. It was a journal.
Malfoy keeps a journal? she thought to herself incredulously.
Upon closer inspection, it seemed to be more of a strategy book than a diary of his thoughts and feelings and daily occurrences (which would have been quite hilarious). She deciphered the crude drawing that took up half of a page to be the Vanishing Cabinet, and realized with a start that she was looking at his plan to get the Death Eaters into Hogwarts from the prior year.
She flipped ahead a few pages to the drawing of a large, plain square, and read the scribbled notes with fascination:
one shows what you want most, one shows what you fear most, one is just a mirror, still unsure about the fourth. must be sure to think purpose when looking in, can other people see too?
Her eyebrows furrowed, she scanned it once more, wondering what he was on about, until she read the word mirror for a second time.
The Mirror Room! He's talking about the Mirror Room! If you look into the right one and say you want to know your deepest desire it will show you, like the Mirror of Erised, and then another shows-
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of approaching steps. She closed the book rapidly and shoved it back where it had been, then stood waiting, her heart racing. The footsteps were not getting louder, however, and eventually died off. Breathing a sigh of relief, she exited Malfoy's room and walked through the deserted yet ornately decorated hallways until she reached the passage that led to the dungeon. As she approached the Mirror Room, her heart rate began to increase, and she slowed down, stopping in front of its door. Reaching a quick decision, she timidly stepped inside and closed the door behind her.
The room looked the same as it had before, though her reflection look considerably less alarmed. She slowly looked around at each mirror, awestruck, wondering which was which. Gazing into the one opposite the door, she thought with the same concentration that was needed to produce the Room of Requirement: show me my deepest desire.
Disappointingly, nothing happened.
Not deterred, she turned to her right, preparing to state the same demand, when the adjacent mirror dissolved temporarily into a plain black wall and Malfoy stepped through the door.
She was frozen. Her eyes were wide and frightened, and she reached for her wand impulsively, but her fingers found nothing other than velvet. He stared at her, completely stunned by her presence.
"What the hell are you doing in here?"
Author's Note: So that was kind of a cliffhanger, except not really. Anyway, I hope that chapter was enjoyable to read, although I'm worried it wasn't particularly interesting. Anyway, I like chapter spoilers, and in the hopes that they spike your interest, especially in case this chapter was off-putting, here they are:
- How will Malfoy react to Hermione being in the Mirror Room?
- Will she get to see her deepest desire or her greatest fear?
- Will the questions of why Hermione didn't run or why Malfoy hesitated finally be answered?
- Will Hermione escape, get rescued, or be killed by Voldemort?
Oh yeah, and please review! Because I would really like your, as the reader, take on what: 1) Malfoy's greatest fear and deepest desire is, 2) Hermione's greatest fear and deepest desire is, and 3) The answers to the aforementioned questions are (even though your idea of what the one about Hermione is referring to may be wrong (but probably not)). Who knows, some of your ideas may show up! (except for your answers to number three, those are already decided, I just want to know what you guys are thinking).