DMHG. Both Draco and Hermione are keeping dark secrets that threaten to destroy them. But when the two find there is more to each than meets the eye, an unlikely and forbidden bond begins to form. Can the two enemies save each other from their personal demons? When a plot threatens everything, even their lives, can love conquer all? Some very dark themes and mature content, including, but not limited to, sexual assault.
Disclaimer—Most of the characters and a lot of the setting belong to J.K. Rowling. The rest is mine.
A/N: (Last updated Mar. 1, 2015) After having to put the Saving You aside for an uncomfortably long time, I am finally finishing what I hope is the last revision. Therefore, I am in my fifth and hopefully final edit of this story. Pages may be added or subtracted from this point. The final chapter-Chapter 20-will be added at the end of my revision. Thank you so much for all the love, support, and patience.
Things hadn't always been the way they were now.
She'd lived in a rather lovely house situated in the outskirts of Greater London, slept in an always-tidy room with clean ivory trim. She'd had doting parents who dedicated their time to straightening out anything that wasn't perfect, from a crooked frame on the wall to their patients' crooked teeth.
Life had made perfect sense—had moved on a track in a circle, like clockwork. Neighbors routinely tipped their hats as they passed her on the sidewalk; teachers put gold stars on the homework she routinely turned in on time. Everything around her had been that way. Routine. Predictable. Reliable. Living had been an altogether straightforward business, with nothing for her to worry about and nothing to truly be afraid of.
She'd been perfectly content in that version of the world—the one that always turned at a measured speed in the right direction. The one full of hopes and dreams that she'd never once doubted would come true. The veneer of pleasant perfection had disguised any cracks beneath the surface, and when she'd looked at her life, she'd noticed nothing out of place: no peeling paint; no wrinkles; no mosquito bites, no mosquitoes.
Things had been so simple then. She had been so innocent. She had been happy.
But that life, so pleasant and so simple, now couldn't feel more far away.
Change plummeted into her life on the wings of a barn owl. She'd been accepted into an elite school that no one in her quaint world had ever heard of, a school with an unusual name and an even more unusual curriculum.
A school for magic. A school for witches.
That owl, with its talons holding tightly to that letter, had been the first unusual thing to ever meet her gaze. And it changed her vision instantly, entirely—forever. After that day, she never saw ordinary again.
As if by some spell, her mother began to disappear. As if by some curse, her father began to transform. And it wasn't long before this strange magic had turned everything upside down, shattering the straightforward life of before, with all its smiles and certainties.
At Hogwarts, she'd worked to be the fastest, the smartest, the best—partly to prove to her parents that she was worth something and partly to prove it to herself. But she quickly learned that not even magic could conjure what had been lost to her—within her. There were some curses-some truths-that could never be undone.
So in time, she grew used to the changes—grew so used to them that the surprises ceased to surprise her. She grew accustomed to this new life, this new world that was always stopping and spinning and changing—grew accustomed to the volatility until it too became like clockwork. She grew numb to the bloody lips, to the swollen bruises—to the fingerprints on her thighs; became familiar with the many masks her father wore to frighten her. It was her magic, he insisted. That was what infected him. That was what made him say and and do all these horrible things that he would never in his right mind do.
But she was numb to even that now-to his explanations, his accusations. Numbness is what happens when pain becomes the routine.
And she knew that she was slowly fading away—felt fractions of herself drifting off, dissipating like smoke. The razor blade reassured her that she hadn't vanished completely—that she was, in fact, still here; that she was still flesh and bone. She could not feel, so the scars and scabs would be her humanity. She could not cry, so the drops of blood would be her tears. She watched—silent, impassive—as the dark red flowed out of her, draining as much of the filth and as much of the past as she could.
And she was clean. She could start tomorrow clean.
And not even Harry or Ron knew the terrible truth. Not even arrogant Malfoy suspected.
Things had always been the way they were now.
He'd lived in a majestic manor situated on acres and acres of property—slept in a grand four-poster bed, priceless masterpieces on his wall. He'd been surrounded by luxury so extravagant that it would make a king green with envy: raised in grandeur, dressed in finery, showered with more gold than even twenty men could spend. There was no object he couldn't obtain, no person he couldn't control—nothing and no one he couldn't make his with a single command. It wasn't a power he'd learned, but one he had been born with. He'd inherited it from the generations of aristocracy and affluence that had come before him—from the purest, bluest blood, which had coursed through the centuries and into his veins.
His parents didn't hate him, but they didn't love him either. Over time he'd learned to appreciate the freedom of distance. He could do what he wanted to do and go where he wanted to go, so long as it didn't sully the pristine Malfoy reputation. It rarely did, though, for he found his surname was something of a magic word—saying it meant he could get himself in and out of whatever trouble he desired.
His magical abilities were countless, his skill unsurpassed—his father's harsh lessons and severe schedules had seen to that. But the strict regimens intended to make him dutiful had only succeeded in making him defiant. Learning the rules inside and out had also helped him learn how to break them.
And so he did break them—easily, endlessly. He surrounded himself with every delight—every distraction—a man could devise. The parties, the power, the money, the women—they gravitated in his sphere naturally, like planets did the sun. But he knew his freedom could only stretch so far, for so long. Beneath the opulence and privilege, the cold expectations remained. One more thing came with the Malfoy name—a catch in the contract-one he couldn't forget, no matter how much whiskey he drank. One he couldn't escape, no matter what games he played.
The Death Eater...
He dreaded his duty as if it were death itself. What power was there to live in fear? What freedom was there to call another man master. There was none, and he knew it. He suspected his father knew it, too, probably a moment too late. For once the Dark Mark was melted into your skin, it could never be removed.
So he went through the days as every prince does: with a charming smile and a superior attitude. He hid his dread away, made it so nothing could touch him—turned his focus to the glitter of life, which only a fortune and bloodline like his could afford. He spent the fading nights drinking, gambling, fucking—trying to forget the life that waited for him when the night ended and the party was over. He spent the endless hours steeped in decadence and pleasure, bitterly reaping the benefits of being born a Malfoy—waiting for the day when he would have to pay the consequences.
And sometimes, amidst the ambient noise, he would stare into his drink—into his hand of cards—into the lust-hazed eyes of his distraction for the night—and think about that time in the not-so-distant future when this little game would be over. When his turn would come in a far more deadly game.
And not even Potter or Weasley knew the truth. Not even that know-all Granger suspected.
A/N: Please, please, please review and read on. Chapters are much longer from here on out. This was just a short little something to start things out. Hope you like it. —free annabel