All characters belong to JKR

A Restless Distress

By:

Anne M Oliver

Chapter 1: Discreet:

He was a prisoner in his own home. Not literally, but figuratively. He was an outcast and a menace to society. At least, those were some of the nicer things people said about him. He didn't care. Really, he didn't. Let them talk about him in hushed tones. Let them hide their children's eyes when he walked by. Let them never forget, and by God, never forgive. It didn't matter to him. He wasn't distressed by this in any way, shape, or form.

He was lonely sometimes, but then again, wasn't everyone? He was paying for the sins of his father and for his own reckless youth. The loneliness went hand in hand with the contempt and hatred that most people felt toward him. Again, he didn't really care.

This particular night he decided to go out to eat at one of his favourite restaurants. The reason he liked this restaurant so much was that the son of a former Death Eater owned it. Therefore, Draco Malfoy was welcomed with open arms. No one would point and stare at him there. He liked his privacy. If he could change into someone else, even just for a day, he probably would, but he couldn't. As he walked to the restaurant, he got his usual points and stares. For goodness sakes people, it's been five years. Give it a rest already.

He knew he would always be known as the son of a Death Eater. He would always be remembered as the boy who let Death Eaters into Hogwarts. He would always be blamed for the death of their headmaster. There was no use complaining, because he couldn't change his past. All he can do was dictate his future.

He was wealthy. That was a bit of an understatement. He was filthy rich. Therefore, to redeem himself, he gave away a lot of money, all the time, to numerous charities. He wanted to make the Malfoy name respected once more, as if it ever really was.

He never dated. He had sex sometimes. Money can buy all sorts of things. If you offer a slag enough money, she'll pretend you're the love of her life. He didn't need love. He had done without it for so long, he wouldn't know what to do with it if he had it.

He finally reached the restaurant and opened the door to enter. The hostess sat him at his usual table. The owner came over and shook his hand. He told him to try the special tonight. It was supposedly very good. He ordered the special and a glass of the house wine.

He was sitting at his table, starting his meal, when his attention was drawn to a table at the far right hand corner of the restaurant. A man and a woman were apparently in an intense argument. The woman, who had her back to Draco, tried to get up from the table, but the man pushed her back in her seat. Soon, other patrons were watching the blatant display of lack of manners. People should keep their dirty laundry at home. Soon, the owner and one of the waiters went over to the arguing couple and asked them to be quiet or leave.

The wizard stood up and pointed his wand toward the owner. 'That's not very nice,' Draco thought. The owner told his wait staff to call the Wizarding Police. The woman tried to stand again, to leave, to escape, when the man took her by the arm and tried to make her leave with him. She tried desperately to get away. She was even pleading for him to let her go. Now Draco was wondering if they were really even together.

Just then, the man sent a hex at the owner of the restaurant. Several patrons screamed. Others drew their wands. Draco stood to leave; he didn't need to be involved in anyone else's fight. He thought it was best to be discreet. He wouldn't want his name in the papers, after all. As he walked to the door, the woman that was in the middle of the debauchery stood to leave at well. Suddenly, she looked toward the door and stared directly into Draco's eyes. The restaurant was dark; that was one of the reasons he liked to go there; so he had to strain to look at her, but he was sure he had seen her somewhere before. Before he could figure out who she was, she ran out of the restaurant and left the man there.

Soon, several Aurors appeared and escorted the unruly man out of the restaurant. The owner told Draco he could finish his meal, everything was fine now. No, Draco told him. He was no longer hungry. As he left the restaurant it dawned on him why that woman seemed so familiar. It was because he went to school with her for so many years. It was Hermione Granger. He knew that was who that was. She must have recognized him as well. He knew that from the way she had looked at him.

He started walking back to his flat. He lived in wizarding London, not far from the restaurant. From the outside, his building looked deserted and abandoned. From the inside, it was beautiful and luxurious. His apartment had two bedrooms, not including the master suite. It had three baths, a large kitchen, dining, lounge, and study. It also had a large outdoor balcony. He had ample servant quarters for his two house elves. He still owned his families estate, he just preferred to stay elsewhere. After all that went on in that house during the dark reign of Voldemort, well, it was better that he didn't stay there. There were too many bad memories for him and too many bad connotations for others.

He was almost home when he passed an alleyway that he usually never even noticed. Tonight was different, however. Tonight, he saw a woman lying on the ground, withering in pain, and a man standing over her with a wand pointed at her. At first, Draco hid behind the building. He really shouldn't get involved. But then again, how could he convince the world he had changed for the better and not really change. He snuck his head back around the corner, and he saw the man yelling down at the woman, who was still on the ground.

"Tell me where they're hiding, or I swear I'll curse you again!" the man yelled at her. She didn't say anything. She just whimpered in pain. The man pointed his wand at her again and sent her another curse.

Draco was pretty sure that man had used an unforgivable curse on the woman. He knew it in his heart. He got out his wand and slowly approached the pair, trying in vain to be as quiet as he could. When he was closer to them, he felt waves of anxiety mixed with guilt swirl in his soul. It was the man from the restaurant, which could only mean one thing: on the ground was the same woman, and that woman was definitely Hermione Granger. Draco sucked in a deep breath, which made the man turn to face him. Before Draco knew what was happening, the man sent an unforgivable curse toward him. He fell to the ground in gut wrenching pain. He heard a scream, which he recognized as his own.

He could only hope that the pain would end soon. If it didn't end soon, he hoped that death would come quickly. Before he had a chance to say hello to death, the pain stopped. He looked up and saw Granger standing over the man, who was now on the ground next to Draco. Draco sat up with sweat pouring over him, shivering from the cold night air and from the pain that swelled in every nerve ending of his body. He stood as well and walked over to her. She had Draco's wand in her hand, and it was still pointed at the man on the ground, who Draco was now sure was dead. He went up and moved the man's face with his foot. No reaction. Then he bent down and looked for the man's chest to rise and fall. He was still. Draco stood back up and kicked the dead man in the ribs. Filthy bastard! Draco was glad he was dead. He turned back toward Hermione Granger, who still pointed his wand at the dead man. She appeared to be in shock. She wasn't moving. She wasn't crying. She wasn't responding in any way that would be a normal response, seeing that she had just been tortured moments ago, and then had killed a man.

Draco took his wand from her and looked around the alley for hers. He found it right behind them. He bent to pick it up along with her purse, which was at her feet. He put both wands in his cloak, and said, "You better get out of here." He shoved her purse into her hands. She shook her head no.

"Granger, get the hell out of here now," he repeated. Surely, someone had heard their screams earlier. Surely, the Aurors would soon return. "Listen, Granger, just leave. I'll take care of all this. I'll tell them that I just found him like this. They'll be able to examine his wand and see that he had just performed an unforgivable curses. They'll assume he was in a fight."

"He used my wand to perform the curse on both of us," she finally said.

"Well, then take your wand and get the hell out of here," he implored.

"They might examine your wand, and find that it was the one that killed him," she told him.

Shite, he didn't think of that. They both needed to get the hell out of there. "Then we both need to leave, now, before the Aurors come back. I don't understand how he got away from them. I saw them escort him out of the restaurant," Draco said.

"He is an Auror," she revealed.

"Great, this just keeps getting better and better!" Draco said aloud.

"Malfoy, just take both our wands and apparate out of here. Now! I'll take care of this. I'll think of something. I don't want you involved," she told him.

"Well, it's a little late for that now, isn't it, Granger?" he spat back at her.

They heard approaching footsteps. Without even thinking, she grabbed his arm and said, "Get us out of here." Therefore, he did.

He apparated them directly inside his apartment. He was the only one who was able to apparate or disapparate in or out of his flat. He had many charms and wards up for his own protection. She collapsed on his sofa, and he went to go make them something to drink. He came back with two glasses of scotch. He handed one to her, half expecting her to hand it back, but to his surprise, she gulped it in one drink. She coughed a bit afterwards, but still, pretty impressive, he thought.

He was now pacing back and forth in front of her and he finally spoke. "Who the hell was that man, your boyfriend?"

"Not hardly," she answered.

"Well?" he motioned with his hands.

"As I said, he's an Auror. He had been after me to question me about a case he's on, and I kept avoiding him. Finally, he threatened to bring me to the Ministry for official questioning if I didn't agree to meet him. I thought if we met at a public place, I would be safe. I was wrong." She was trembling. Malfoy took off his jacket and threw it at her. How gallant. She put it over her shoulders and held up her glass to him. He understood, and poured her another drink.

"Why did he want to question you?" Draco asked curiously.

"I can't tell you that. I really can't," she said as she took the drink from him.

"Well hell, Granger, I think I deserve to know, since I'm up to my chin in all this shite, you know?" he said with a sneer.

"Well hell, Malfoy," she mocked, as she stood and threw his jacket back at him, "no one told you to get involved."

"Oh yes, Granger, because you were handling it all so well lying on the ground in pain and all," he retorted back.

"I'm sorry you got involved. I promise I'll never tell anyone of your involvement. I won't even tell anyone of my involvement. Just give me my wand and let me get the hell out of here." She reached for his cloak, which he had thrown earlier on a nearby chair, but he was quicker.

"Now, now, Granger, don't be stupid. I can't just let you leave. I deserve an explanation, so I'll know what I'm up against," he said as he walked around her.

"Fine," she said defeated, "sit down and I'll explain everything." She sat back on the couch, and so did he. He threw his cloak, with the wands, back on the chair. She then said, "May I get another drink first?"

"Merlin, Granger, are you an alcoholic now?" he laughed with spite. "I'll get it for you."

"No, I can get it," she leveled. She stood with her glass and walked over to the cart where he had earlier made their drinks. She poured herself another drink and started to approach the couch. Then, she did something that was so low down and dirty, that someday Malfoy would probably admire her for it. She threw her drink directly in his face, and as he wiped at his eyes, she rushed for his cloak and withdrew her wand. "I'm sorry to do this, Malfoy," she said, and she stunned him. He fell backwards, momentarily disoriented and confused. She took the opportunity to try to apparate away. If only she could. She didn't know about his wards and anti-apparating charms. She couldn't leave.

It only took her a moment to realize that she couldn't leave by apparating, so she tried to leave the old fashion way, by the door. By the time she reached it, he had reached her. He jumped at her and knocked her to the floor. "You stupid whore!" he yelled. "First, I'm cursed because of you, and now you stun me? You'll pay for that."

He straddled her body as she kicked and screamed for him to get off her. She raked her nails up and down his face and arms, which made him yell in pain, and made him angrier than he had been in a long time. He managed to turn her to her stomach and he held both her arms behind her back. He was bigger and stronger than she was, so she couldn't escape. He managed to stand, while still holding her. He threw her as hard as he could on the couch, and he retrieved his wand from his cloak and pointed it at her chest.

They were both out of breath. He wasn't only out of breath, but he felt as if he had just been literally tossed off a broom while it was in the air. Every muscle in his body hurt.

He finally sat in the chair that contained his cloak, and said, "Start talking bitch, because otherwise, revenge is sweet and I'll not hesitate to hex your arse halfway across my living room."

"Leave me alone you pathetic little excuse for a wizard," she said to him with a hiss.

He stood up and said, "I think you need to be taught some respect, Granger." He started to hex her, and she buried her head in her chest, waiting for the onslaught. He wished he could hex her. He really did. The old Malfoy would have. He couldn't have changed that much. After all, she cursed him. He still had his wand leveled at her and he took another step closer. She shut her eyes.

He stared at her, for what felt like hours, but was really merely seconds. He threw his wand across the room and said, "Get the hell out of my house, Granger, and don't ever tell anyone we even saw each other tonight. Understand?"

She looked up from the couch, were she was previously cowering. She stood up, picked up her wand and purse, and walked toward his door. He was still standing by the couch, looking away from her. She took the few steps back toward him and reached for his arm. This shook him from his stupor and he looked closely at her. He felt as if he was looking at her for the first time in his life. She still had her hand on his arm when she said, "I really am so sorry you got involved with all of this, and I'm sorry you were cursed tonight, but more than anything, I'm sorry I hexed you. I promise no one will ever know we saw each other tonight." She gave his arm a little squeeze and started back toward the door. He turned to watch her leave and she said, "If you're lucky, maybe we'll never have to see each other ever again," and with a sad smile, she opened his door and left.

He sat back down and picked up his drink from earlier. He started to take a drink, but instead, he slammed the glass back on the coffee table, where the tumbler proceeded to shatter. He leaned back on the sofa and stared at the ceiling. The only real problem he could see, as far as everything that had happened tonight, was the fact that he hoped very much that they would see each other again.

(Coming up in Chapter 2, Draco finds Hermione at his front door, but is not at all pleased to see her.)