I'm breaking the habit tonight…

She knew this wasn't the time for it, but Hermione was mentally berating herself as she sat, tied up against Ron. All of their planning, and they hadn't left any room for the fact that they might meet up with other Death Eaters.

"I knew your father was mistaken, Draco," Bellatrix said, "He's been going on for days about how he hoped you hadn't disgraced him. And here you are, trying to find Potter for your master!"

"Yes, Aunt," Draco said, "Only he's not here. He was supposed to be hiding here."

"Draco, you two faced bastard!" Ron yelled, "You wait till I get my hands on you!"

"Shut up, Ron," Hermione said sharply. She wasn't in the mood…

"Yes, Weasley, please do close your mouth," Draco rolled his eyes.

"Now," Bellatrix said, "Where's Potter? He's all we want, you know. No one need get hurt if you hand him over."

"Yeah, right," Ron said, "Because I'm sure you'll let us skip off home after this…"

"Ron shut up!" Hermione said, "And we don't know where Harry is," she told Bellatrix.

"Aunt?" Draco said, "I'll go stand watch, shall I?"

"Yes Draco. Make sure none of the Order decides to come up here."

He left, waving his wand over the door.

What was that about? Hermione wondered.

"I'm going to ask you once more," Bellatrix snarled, "Where is Potter?"

"We told you! We don't know!" Hermione said.

"Fine," Bellatrix said, untying them.

Hermione and Ron looked at each other in shock. But no sooner had they stood up, than Ron was tied up again. He struggled against his ropes for a moment, and then fell to the ground.

The next thing Hermione registered was considerable pain. She stayed trapped in the pain for what had to be hours. She wasn't sure if she had been set on fire, or if she was being held under ice water. Either way, she was sure she was dying. Unfortunately, her last view of the world was going to be the psycho bitch that was currently torturing her. Bellatrix's countenance seemed to radiate menace throughout the room. A dark shadow seemed to be filling the room. She heard a bang, and thought her bones were breaking. That would explain why the shadows were starting to swim…

Wait a second…

The pain had vanished. Hermione felt someone helping her to her feet. She collected herself enough to realize that the "shadows" were really Order members. Disillusioned, of course. After Draco, Tonks, Kingsley, Moody, and Harry had lifted the charms on themselves, Hermione noticed that Moody seemed to be struggling to hold onto something. That something was putting up one hell of a fight…

"Calm down, boy, and hold still," Moody grunted, hitting the person over the head with his wand. It was Neville…

"Let me go!" he yelped.

"You've stunned her! That's enough," Kingsley said.

"The hell it is," Harry, Ron, Tonks, and Hermione said in unison.

"Not helping you four!" Moody barked, "You don't want to sink to her level, do you son?" Moody said, keeping a good hold of the sobbing boy who wasn't fighting too hard anymore.

"Yes, I bloody well do!" Neville cried, "And let go of me…"

Moody unfolded his arms from around Neville, but kept one gnarled hand on his shoulder.

"I know son, I know…"


The next day, part of the Order of the Phoenix, Harry, Neville, Hermione, Ron, and Draco were all congregating in Dumbledore's office, recounting their nights…

"I snuck out after you guys," Harry explained, "Sorry Professor, but I couldn't just stay up there and listen to you all fighting! I wouldn't have been able to take it, not knowing what was going on…"

"No Harry, I suppose you couldn't," Dumbledore said with a small smile.

"What's happened to Lucius?" Draco asked.

"Azkaban has happened to him, along with your dear aunt. Of course, they will get out soon, what with the Dementors having deserted the prison. But we don't have to worry about that now," Dumbledore smiled at the Slytherin, "What matters is that that awful curse has been lifted."

The students in the room beamed.

"Tell me," the Headmaster said, "what did you do after Bellatrix found you?"

"She thought I was up there trying to find Pott- Harry," Draco said, "I played along so I could run find help."

"What did you cast on the door before you left?" Hermione asked curiously.

"Just disguised it in case Bellatrix turned around and saw us coming. She wouldn't have been able to see through the door with that spell on it." Draco said.

"As a matter of interest," Dumbledore asked him, "what exactly did you will your father to do? It had to be extremely out of character for him, or else it would not have worked."

At their headmaster's words, both Draco and Hermione dropped their heads and turned bright red.

"Oh, this is gonna be good," Tonks grinned.

"Quiet, Nymphadora," Moody said, the sides of his mouth turning up a little. She glared at him for the use of her first name, but was quiet…

"I umm…well, IwilledhimtoacceptmyrelationshipwithHermione…" Draco answered.

"Didn't catch that last bit, cousin," Tonks grinned.

"I willed him to accept my relationship with Hermione," Draco said clearly. Both he and Hermione were now the same shade of red as Ron's hair…

"Well," Dumbledore smiled brightly, "I see why the spells dueled each other so strongly."

"Studying in the library, eh?" Harry teased, "Knew Draco couldn't be that studious…"

Both Hermione and Draco slugged Harry in the arm amidst roars of laughter from the Order. Old habits die hard…


I don't know what's worth fighting for,

Or why I have to scream.

But now I have some clarity

To show you what I mean.

I don't know how I got this way,

I know it's not all right;

So I'm breaking the habit

I'm breaking the habit

I'm breaking the habit tonight…

-Breaking the Habit by Linkin Park