Chapter Four

Hermione lay on the cold, hard ground. She curled herself in a ball to keep warm since Draco had not thought to bring even a tattered blanket. The occasional hoot of a messenger owl hunting could be heard above the chattering of her teeth. They would be testing the potion soon and Hermione had a sick feeling that she would be the one testing it.

She worried at what it would change in her mind. Would it possibly make her betray Harry to the Dark Lord? She could not drink that potion and she could definitely not let Draco slip it to the Minister of Magic, for it would be utter chaos if he did. Her mind raced with ideas, but none seemed logical. If only she had her wand. Drifting to sleep, the worry began to slowly edge away as calm washed over her. A small plan began formulating in her mind.

She could feel the eyes on her before her own were open. There he stood above her, Draco's icy blue eyes appeared to be laughing at her maliciously. His pale face was unreadable.

"Today is the day," He finally exclaimed. "It will be ready when the moon rises."

"I know," Hermione glowered at him. "And after that what will become of me?"

"Excellent question," Draco grinned. "I could let you go sniveling back to your dearest Weasel and Scarhead, but I fear that may be impossible."

"And why is that?" Hermione retorted.

"Well you see, Miss Granger, if the potion works, which you should hope it does for your sake, Harry Potter should be vanquished shortly after." He gazed at the family ring on his right hand.

"Vanquished?" Hermione echoed the word quietly to herself.

"Yes, it means dead," Draco drawled insultingly.

"I know what it means you stupid ferret."

"Now, now, let's not call names," Draco laughed at his sarcasm. "What a wonderfully loyal friend you are to Mr. Potter." Draco reduced the space between the two of them. "He is out there, trying so hard to save this pathetic world of yours, and here you are helping me in his destruction." He whispered the last word near to her ear. She stiffened at his closeness, his words stabbing her with shame.

"I was forced," Hermione fumbled with her words as Draco's cold hands softly slid around her waist. Looking into his lust filled eyes, she began to quiver with fear. She stepped back, but he pulled her forward.

No longer could she take what his touch was doing to her. Hermione raised her hand, and before she could even stop herself, she slapped him hard across the face. He staggered backward, yelping like a wounded animal. The frosty eyes looked clearer than they had a few seconds ago.

"What do you think you are doing to me!?" Draco shouted, clutching at the red hand print on his pale face.

"What am I doing to you?!" Hermione shouted, outraged that he could possibly think she would have wanted him so near her with his eyes fogged over in lust. "What kind of sick game are you playing at, Malfoy?"

"What makes you think I would play a game that involves touching slim like yourself?" Draco growled back.

"You didn't seem to be feeling that way a few seconds ago, you stupid git!"

"You've done something to me," Draco furiously stomped about. "Haven't you, Mudblood! You are trying to make me fall for you so that I will set you free!"

"Ludicrous!" Hermione blanched. "Never! You are despicable!"

"It will not happen," Draco stormed to the door and slammed loud and hard behind him, while Hermione—flabbergasted—rolled her eyes at his spoiled and childish ways.

Draco spat several times on to the ground. It wasn't like he had kissed her, but something had happened. He had touched her and from it he received a guilty sick pleasure. She had felt so warm in his hands. He couldn't push it out of his head.

Numbly, Draco seated himself on his four-poster bed. What was wrong with him that he had touched her? There were plenty more beautiful girls that he had touched and liked it. But there was something different about her and he couldn't quite pin point it.

In a few hours he would have to go back up to that room where she sat waiting. He vowed that he would not lose control of himself. Draco closed the curtains in the dormitory so that he could sleep.

It was lack of sleep and that was all it was, he convinced himself, before closing his eyes.

Hermione sat against the wall, fuming. How dare he say that she wanted that! A cloud of guilt washed over her as well. He had been right that she was sitting by and letting Draco Malfoy get away with conquering Harry Potter. How she hated that boy—despised every in place white blonde piece of hair on his head.

The small window that omitted the little light she had was suddenly blocked. Glancing up, she noticed a gray owl with a piece of parchment in its beak. The owl's dark eyes stared at her than wiggled its way into the room. It dropped the parchment just out of her reach. The owl turned its head a few times than moved back and forth. She could see that on the top of the parchment was her name, written in the sloppy handwriting that could only belong to Ron.

Desperately, she tried to reach the letter from where she sat. Cursing was not something Hermione normally did, but she couldn't help but be angry at the owl for not bring the letter closer to her. Stretching out her foot, Hermione began to inch the letter, ever so slowly, towards herself. The owl stared at her with amusement. Finally, she held the letter in her hands. It felt thin and the ink looked water-washed, but she didn't care. Carefully she opened it.

Hermione! Where have you been? We are searching for

you everywhere?! The Order is looking for you too! Please

if you get this, Hermione, know that we haven't given up

hope on finding you.

Yours, Ron.

A tear slid down her cheek. For the first time happiness filled her and another thing: hope. Frantically, Hermione searched for anything she could use to write back. The owl had stopped pacing, looked at her impatiently, and tapping its little claws against the stone ground.

"Hold on. Hold on," She said to the owl. Grabbing a small pebble, she urgently tried to write on the paper, but all it did was tear. She growled in frustration, which startled the owl and it opened its wings.

"No, please don't go," But before she could do anything to stop the owl it raised into the air and out the window. Hermione shrieked, not believing her luck. "Stupid owls!"

She began to cry hysterically for the first time; throwing the little pebble against the opposite wall. The light from the window had all but disappeared as the new night began to take its place. It wouldn't be long before Draco came back into the room—mocking and teasing her. Hermione slipped the little letter into her pocket to cherish it for another time.

Draco was giddy with the idea that what he had set out to do was almost accomplished. Nothing could stand in his way. The Malfoy family name and honor would be restored and he, Draco Malfoy, would become the Dark Lord's favorite servant, which would give him great power. Draco rounded the corner and the grin that was painted so elegantly on his face, slipped away rapidly. The tall, dark figure of Severus Snape stood before him.

"Out for an evening stroll, Draco?"

Draco froze and quickly began to concentrate on his thoughts very cautiously, for he knew that Severus Snape was excellent at Legilimency.

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I am, sir. I heard that a few third years were planning a duel on this floor," Draco said. "So I came to investigate."

"Ah, I see," Severus smirked. "How very noble of you to think of the school's welfare."

"I don't know if you can call it 'noble', sir," Draco said, bowing his head slightly.

"What a pity that you were not made Head Boy," Severus clucked his tongue to the roof of his mouth and shook his head. Draco glanced quickly out the nearest window. It was still dark, which meant the moon had yet to rise. But time was drawing up fast and panic began to creep into him, but he pushed it aside.

"Well, Mr. Malfoy, if you would also keep an eye on my personal store rooms," Severus said. "Someone seems to be helping themselves to whatever they please in there." His dark eyes stared directly into Draco's own eyes. Did he know?

"Yes, sir," Draco bowed his head again. Severus nodded and scowled, before striding past Draco, his black robes bellowing behind him. Draco watched, his heart slowing down, not daring to move yet. After he was sure that Severus Snape had completely left, he began again on his journey to the Room of Requirement.

A/N: Sorry for the long wait. Please read and review. :