A/N: Ha! Chapter 14 up, in record time! I hope you like it (I had fun writing it)! Naturally, J.K. Rowling is the genius behind the Harry Potter books (and I hope my book five arrives soon—dying to read it!). And the title of this chapter is stolen from the movie Fight Club.

Defeated We Rise

Chapter 14: This is Your Life, Good to the Last Drop

"Shit! Where the bloody fuck are we?" Only I was used to seeing this side of the Minister of Magic, and despite our situation, I let myself smile a little.

"Well, Ron, it looks like Draco set up a trap specifically designed for his favorite Minister of Magic, didn't he?" I looked up at Ron, who was halfway up a tree by now, and surveyed the spiders which coated the forest floor. We certainly weren't at Malfoy Manor.

By this point Ron was turning green as he watched the spiders crawl up the tree trunk towards him. I decided I'd better help him out. "Leviosa!" Even I felt a little ill stepping on all those spiders as I levitated Ron out of the forest. In the far distance I could see a magnificent looking house, made of dark gray stone with a brilliant red sun setting directly behind it. "I'd say that was one of the more life-threatening port keys, eh?" I laughed a little at Ron and removed my spell.

"I wasn't really that scared. I've been going to counseling and I've really come a long way with my arachnophobia."

"Is your counselor pretty Ms. Wright? She'd convince anyone they were doing great, but, uh…"

"Hey!"

            I looked at the bottle of scotch and decided to discipline myself. I'd been in the death eater business for six years now and I knew only an idiot would think they could lock Hermione in the dungeon and not expect some extra visitors. Voldemort would never forgive me if I let her escape, and I knew Harry and Ron would be arriving shortly. It was a given.

            The first place they would look would be the dungeons. Granted, it was difficult to get down there, but they could conceivably find her. I let a small smile flit across my face. My house never failed to impress me. I'd have to put her in my mother's chambers.

            My father was very fond of the Imperious curse, and kept my mother under it at all times. When she began to fight it, he didn't want to have to deal with her outbursts, or the potential humiliation those outbursts could cause him. He also didn't want her dead, because, as he remarked once to me, 'she was a good fuck'. So he redesigned her chambers. They were sort of like the Leaky Cauldron, because you had to be a Malfoy to see the entrance. Once inside, you could not leave unless a Malfoy decided to remove you. They were nice rooms, and there were still two house elves who took care of the rooms and any occupants. At this moment, there were no occupants.

            I apparated down to her cell, not wanting to waste any time. She was asleep and looked entirely spent. Looking down on her, my life flashed before my eyes and I remembered the last thing my mother said to me. "Life is precious. Don't live it for others. Be your own master, and live life according to your own beliefs. Please, Draco. Don't suffer like your father, and don't put her through my hell. Promise me, Draco." I had promised, then my father had locked her back in her rooms, and a few hours later, a house elf had found her on her bed, dead. She had poisoned herself and ended her misery. And I had made a promise.

            I went into Hermione's cell, shut the door behind me, and shook her awake. She looked at me with surprise in her eyes, and she cringed a little. I gave her back her wand, and pocketed my own.

            "I'm sorry, Hermione." She looked at me and didn't seem to quite believe me. "Look, I know I've been acting like a psycho…its just, I'm caught between what I want and what the world expects from me. But it all boils down to the fact that I made a promise to someone and I've got to stick by it."

            "Who did you make a promise to? I…" she was clearly apprehensive.

            "My mother. She made me promise to be my own master. She made me promise not to follow, and not to put you through this hell. I just…I just wanted the mess to be cleared up before we…I thought things would be different. I didn't want to be caught in between like this."

            "Oh, Draco…" She sighed and stood up, then hesitantly wrapped her arms around me. "I just don't know…six years ago, I thought, no problem, we just kill Voldemort and alls well. But it hasn't worked like that. We'd have to run, and no one has been able to successfully run from him."

            He grabbed my hands and looked earnestly into my eyes. "Hermione, no one has succeeded yet, but together, I think we just might. Do you remember all those years ago, how I said I thought you would be the best match for him? My opinion hasn't changed."

            I couldn't help but let a little sob escape my mouth. The past 24 hours had been the most emotional and trying in my life, because I had felt my previous pain and loss, happiness and bliss, on top of everything happening to me now, and I was, quite simply, overwhelmed. "I didn't want it to be this way, Draco, I just wanted a simple life, I wanted to love and be loved. Why did we have to end up so much like bloody Romeo and Juliet?"

            He tightened his arms around me, and whispered "I'm determined we won't end like that, alright? I don't want to wear this bloody mask anymore. I loved you when I was sixteen and I love you now and its never changed. It never will. Life isn't worth wasting. I want you by my side, and I want us to live blissfully, grow old together, enjoy a simple life, raise beautiful, intelligent little children, get rid of this bloody hell on earth. So are you with me, or not?" He searched my eyes, and there was a little mischief mixed in with the seriousness, a slight smile, and I nodded my head and let a grin spread from cheek to cheek.

            He wrapped me in his cloak, placed his arm over my shoulders, and opened the cell door. We didn't bother apparating; we were both so deep in thought, in love, we were oblivious to the prisoners around us, the hallway before us, the muffled expletives coming from somewhere ahead of us.

            "We're never gonna fucking find her in this bloody maze! We're such idiots!"

            "Ron, be a little quieter. And look ahead."

            Two figures were walking towards us, and I could vaguely make out his platinum blonde hair, and her laugh. They looked like two lovers on a honeymoon, only they were walking in his dungeons. I pushed Ron up against the wall, because they hadn't seen us yet, and I wanted to hear what they were saying before we made ourselves known. This wasn't at all what I had expected.

            "Draco, do you have any sort of plan? I mean, we're not sixteen anymore, and we've wasted six years of our lives because we didn't have a plan."

            I saw his hand squeeze her shoulder as they passed.

            "Mmmm…well, I have a sort of vague idea. I need help hashing the actual plan out. I'm just waiting for Harry and Ron to arrive. I hope they got out of the forest alright…"

            "Harry and Ron? Why would they be coming?"

            "Hermione, you're only their very best friend. They're obviously coming to save your life."

            "And what is in the forest, Draco?" She had stopped a few feet ahead of us, hands on hips, eyebrow arched, looking every bit formidable.

            He ran his hand through his hair and shifted from foot to foot. "Ah, well…we, ah, had to give the Ministry a port key to the manor…so I, ah…tailored it to the Minister…"

            "Which means?"

            "Listen, Hermione…uh, well, it leaves you in a forest, infested with spiders…I'm sure Harry got him out of it just fine…just a little shock, really…"

            "Draco! He's a complete arachnophobic! Oh, poor, poor Ron!"

            I motioned for Ron to step forward at that moment.

            "Don't worry, Hermione. I'm quite fine, really. You see, I've been getting counseling…"