By: I've Got Another Confession to Make
DISCLAIMER: let it first be known that I am receiving no monetary gain from this fiction, and that the characters, settings and everything pertaining to Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros, and all others, including the publishers. The title Atonement was borrowed from Ian McEwans novel of the same name, along with certain themes and scenes, all of which are used without monetary gain.
ATONEMENT (n.) 1. Satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury. 2. Amends, reconciliation; agreement.
It's been sixty years.
Sixty years of pain, and struggle, torment and pleasure, love and hate. In all of her seventy six years of life, she'd never felt the need to write as clearly as she did in that moment. The feeling that just maybe if she were to write those fateful seconds down, it would give her some form of release from these long years of anguish. It itched at her fingers, clutched at her heart and begged for the voice she had stifled so hatefully on that night when she was sixteen and stupid; when all she saw was betrayal and hurt and not things for the way they were. The truth in a single touch.
She sat heavily on her velvet window seat, cradling her chin in the palm of her hand, exhaling deeply as her memories came upon her tenfold, in a way she had never felt them before. Torment. Betrayal. Unrequited love. And love so profoundly requited it almost brought tears to her eyes at the horror to which she had first handedly caused. The deaths on her conscience.
Flashes of pictures in time bombarded her whenever she closed her eyes. A flicker of soft, tan skin. A pale hand in chestnut locks. The shadowed library where it had happened. His blue eyes when she had told him, her ultimate betrayal. A moan, so deeply sensuous she'd felt embarrassed by merely being present to hear it.
When at last the final image passed by her irises, her eyes opened, immediately blurred with unshed tears and her breath hitched in her throat. The pain never slackened.
Why had she been so stupid? Would she ever feel better about what she had done? Would the pain always be there, lurking? Would she always dream of them, on that night, in the library? She didn't want that, didn't need that. She had her own pains, and longings without adding the pain and guilt of them.
She resented them for that. For always cropping up and ruining what little of a life she still had. For invading her dreams, for making her life hell.
But when she thought about it, she allowed them this invasion of privacy, perverse or not.
It was only later, after the anger had subsided, and the sadness had returned that she was graced with a revelation that, after years, no longer surprises her.
They didn't do it on purpose. The dead never did.
"Every true, eternal problem in an equally true eternal fault, every answer an atonement, every revelation an improvement." – Otto Weininger
It was night, close to midnight and the halls were unusually crowded. The match that had started at eleven that morning had just ended five minutes ago. Her classmates were anything but tired as they trekked to their respective common rooms, eagerly sharing their opinions on the game.
Her brown eyes were heavy as lead, but her mind was as active as ever, keeping her from falling asleep on her feet.
Mandy Brocklehurst, a seventh year Ravenclaw, was in front of her, Mandy's shrill voice grating on her nerves and echoing round her head. She felt a murderous rage building in her chest with every word that spilled from her fellow Ravenclaw.
They were on the fourth floor, just coming to the library when Mandy started laughing hysterically, even clinging to her friend, both girls in peals of laughter. And suddenly, she understood spontaneous murder. But she was sixteen: too young to go to prison, so instead of wringing Mandy's neck and ridding Hogwarts of one of its many annoying blonds, she found herself slipping through the library doors and into a silent haven.
She'd never been in the library at night, had never wanted to, but at that moment she knew why people found such great solace here. Dark shadows played over the walls and shelves from the dimmed lamps and she found herself drawn to the darkness, like a moth to the flame. She loved the dark, craved its solidity and the way it hid what she didn't want exposed. Her many dark secrets.
The foremost shelves were dim, but she could still see the outlines of her hands, the details of the butterfly her best friend had tattooed on her skin in class. For reasons she couldn't decipher, she found her craving for the darkness insatiable and took off at a brisk walk through the shelves, winding and winding, making turns until she was farther and farther in, farther than she'd ever been before, farther than she would guess anyone had been before, quite possibly even Hermione Granger. Past sections she had never before seen, or even heard of, into uncharted territory, into the unknown. It was painfully obvious that no one had been this far in ages. The books near cried with their unuse and solitude, their brittle pages lost to the eyes of students.
A thick dust covered most of the shelves, books and floor. She sneezed twice in a row, the sound reverberating throughout the vast room.
The room started to grow steadily darker and her body began to relax, the headache Mandy Brocklehurst had been so kind as to bestow on her, ebbing away into nothingness. She felt her pleated skirt chaffing her thighs; her heavy school robes felt oppressing, but she dared not to take them off lest they be found and give her away.
The farther she went into the room, the darker it seemed to get, but, also, just ahead there was a light, dim enough to make her pass it off as the sudden transition her eyes made from light to sudden dimness.
She could no longer hear her schoolmates out in the hall. All there seemed to be was a deafening silence broken only by her footfalls. Roaming deeper into the library, she briefly wondered how big the room actually was, fearing that someone could have been trailing her, deeper and deeper into its depths without her knowledge. The shelves seemed larger, more menacing, here in the dark, looming feet over head, causing her to feel surreally like Alice in Wonderland. Her imagination getting the better of her, she found herself running down the aisles, following each curve, zigzagging randomly, farther and farther until she came upon a dead-end and a scene so horribly personal, so ardently betraying, she was frozen in shock.
She already belonged to someone. She had a boyfriend, if one could really call it that, and could bet anyone all her smarts and books from her personal library that she was going to marry him one day. Yes, she, Hermione Jean Granger, who didn't find the logic in believing in Fate, truly and one hundred percent knew that she would one day walk down the aisle and say "I do" to one Ronald Bilius Weasley. How bleak her future seemed.
So what was she doing here, pressed quite uncomfortably into one the many bookshelves in the library, a male body between her legs that most definitely didn't belong to Ron Weasley, eliciting emotions from her that she had never before felt at the apex of her thighs? But somehow, that didn't matter. Ron Weasley was the farthest thing from her mind.
No, as far she knew, Ron Weasley was just another face in a sea of people.
To be honest, she wasn't really sure as to how, exactly, she had gotten in this position, but had to admit that it wasn't completely unwanted.
It had started innocently enough, a burning hatred shared between two people, two hormonally charged teenagers; Hermione was amazed that it hadn't happened sooner. All her life she'd gotten the hate/love speech about how closely linked they were and all that jazz, but she put about as much stock in falling in love with someone she hated, such as Draco Malfoy, then she did the Fates. Because, let's face it, the chances of her falling in love with Malfoy were next to none, in her eyes.
The first incident had inadvertently been the beginning to a very sordid love affair gone horribly awry. He'd been teasing her, something she should have been used to by now, but, for reasons unknown, were causing her to tear up as though she were still eleven or twelve, back when his biting remarks as to her hair, teeth and parentage were still fresh and hurtful instead of just plain annoying.
His face was screwed up in anger, or quite possibly, this is what he looked like when completely and utterly happy, but either way, he looked incredibly angry at the moment, at her, which was just getting to be more and more apparent when she asked, no, more like begged, for him to stop.
And suddenly, his taunts and jeers hadn't seemed like anything remotely degrading, hurtful or anything to fear as the sudden realization that he had her pressed against the wall, his face mere centimeters from her own. His eyes were icy, she decided, staring up at him, neither of them saying a word.
Whenever she thought of Draco Malfoy she thought of Antarctica. Insanely cold, unconquerable, and extremely isolated, a place where nothing could possibly live and survive, not to mention dead. But to feel him against her now, to have his hands on her bare wrists, she found him warm, inviting in a way she didn't think was exactly school kosher in any way shape or form and very much so alive.
He seemed just as surprised as she to find them in this position, but didn't release her, move back or loosen his hold on her lest he be considered weak, or something equally ghastly. She could feel his hot breath on her mouth, coming forth in angry bursts, warming her lips and sending her heart into spastic convulsions.
"What are you doing?" She questioned, her voice drowned in the rambunctious beating of her heart flooding her ears.
At first it appeared as though he hadn't heard her, or maybe that he was choosing to not hear her, but finally his eyes shifted, betraying life and curiosity, focusing on her lips and his head moved slightly from side to side. "Granger."
His voice was so different from anything she had ever heard from him before. Deep and soft. Without malice, the one emotion she thought he was completely able of harboring. Emotional, but without greed, his second best feeling. The very sound of it made her already spastic heart beat even faster, skipping beats and causing her head to become fuzzy. What was happening to her? Why hadn't she shoved him away from her, like she should have done from the very beginning?
Somewhere so very far away, her mind registered the fact that they were very much so out in the open, and that her classmates were close by, their voices heard but intelligible. His thumbs began rubbing the backs of her hands, eliciting shivers up and down her arms.
"What?" She breathed, confusion creeping up on her, its bony fingers gripping at her insides.
She knew that he was about to kiss her; she could feel it in her bones. Hermione found herself leaning closer to him though her brain told her that the action it would induce would bring more pain than pleasure. He brought a hand to her neck, tracing her necklace with a laziness she suddenly found alluring. Hermione vaguely remembered feeling the sudden sensation of her necklace coming loose and slipping down her skin, before someone called out
Malfoy let go of her so quickly, backing away till he was almost touching the opposite wall. Hermione found herself on the floor, her robes up around her thighs as Harry and Ron and Ginny came into view, the middle of the three red in the face, staring right at Malfoy, the very bane of his existence. Ginny, on the other hand, was focused solely on Hermione still sitting on the floor, her legs exposed far more than any man at Hogwarts had ever seen, her lips slightly parted and red as if she had spent a great deal of time biting them, and her eyes fixed only on Malfoy, a wild gleam about her.
"What is going on here?" Harry, ever the thinker, asked, his wand drawn but held stiffly at his side as though he were prepared to blast the blond Slytherin into the next century if need came. Ron on the other hand had his wand drawn and aimed, having had already come to the conclusion in his mind that Malfoy had been about to violate his best friend, girlfriend, future wife and mother of his children.
Ginny knelt down next to Hermione and pulled her to her feet, smoothing and straightening out the older girls' robes herself. "What happened?"
"I-I don't know…" Hermione replied truthfully, her eyes now staring pointedly anywhere but at him. "He was teasing me… I think…"
"What do you mean, you think? Don't you know?" Ginny asked loudly as Malfoy said something to Ron and Harry and walked off down the hall without a backward glance, his fists balled, something gold and shiny clenched in his right hand. Hermione immediately reached up to find her neck bare, but unable to say anything about it.
Let him keep it…
What the fuck was he doing? It was one thing to fantasize about shagging Hogwarts' Leading Prude senseless against a wall of his choice, preferably in Slytherin territory where no one would neither question nor curse him, not to forget cause a scene. It was an entirely different matter to actually act upon that fantasy, even going as far as to steal her necklace to ensure the possibility of future encounters.
Running a shaky hand through his hair, Draco was surprised to find her necklace still clenched in his shaking hand. He had thought about stealing it, acted upon it, and now was walking through the halls with the evidence out in the open for everyone to see. The Charger pendant gleamed up at him, its ruby eyes burning something into him. Traitor. Draco balled the necklace up and stuffed it deep into his pocket, his grey eyes sweeping the area for any and all on-lookers who would question his erratic behavior and Gryffindor paraphernalia that had been clenched in his hand.
Once he was far enough away and could no longer hear Deedle Dee and Deedle Dum questioning Granger and her persistent answer of "I don't know" Draco stopped walking and leaned against the closest wall, covering his face with his hands.
What the fuck was he doing? That seemed to be the question of the hour. Hermione Granger didn't even like his very existence let alone the fact that he had now acted upon a stupid fantasy and stolen her necklace, a fantasy he, might he add, shared with just about the entire male portion of the school. So what if he had pinned her against a bloody wall and almost kissed her. He hadn't when it came down to it. He'd just wanted to. Badly. Practically polar opposites.
He could feel the Charger pendant burning against his leg, singeing him of his shame. Dropping his hands from his face and at his side, he pulled the necklace from his pocket and let it rest in his open palm. Tracing his finger along the outline of the golden lion, he swore he'd get the chance to finish what he started. Or at least, give her back the necklace.
All day and virtually all night he lay awake with the thoughts of what had almost happened between him and Hermione Granger. His roommates were sleeping, some, like Crabbe and Goyle, snoring loud enough to take the paint from the walls, had there even been any.
He couldn't stand this. It'd been only hours and yet he was craving more and more, more than merely touching and stealing a necklace could sustain. Right then and there he swore to keep to his earlier promise. He'd get Hermione Granger. A taste to slacken his lust couldn't hurt.
He'd cornered her in the library, quite suddenly, yanking her out of the crowd of their peers and dragging her into the depths of the shelves farther and farther, leaving only a trail of footprints behind.
"Malfoy let me go! Please!" Hermione said, pulling at her hand half-heartedly.
"Shut it, Granger!"
Past shelves of history and mythology, science and potions until some time later they came upon a dead end in the maze of shelves, an alcove with a suspended lamp, dimmed, to light the small area. The orangey glow covered everything. His hair looked bronze.
Her eyes were running over her surroundings, everything but him. He released her hand, staring hard at her face. Finally, her eyes came to rest on him and she took a step back from the sheer intensity of his gaze. Silence stretched around them. Hermione shuffled her feet, sending dust fairies up to dance on the shafts of light cast by the lamp.
"You've felt it too, right?"
He hadn't meant to say it out loud, but couldn't very well do anything to invalidate the question without making himself into even more a fool. Hermione licked her lips; his eyes were drawn to the action.
"Feel what?" Her voice betrayed her, shaking and suddenly she seemed close to tears.
Draco took a step forward, and Hermione took one back, continuing this until she was against a shelf. Her eyes were now glistening.
"It's been there for weeks, maybe even years, Granger. You can't honestly tell me you don't feel it. That you never have."
She did feel it. A part of her had always been aware of it, lurking just behind her subconscious so when she went to bed she dreamt of him, or their encounter, spinning it around so that instead of fighting they were kissing or something even more passionate that made her wake with a cold sweat and a slick wetness over her sex. It was what made her question whether or not the whole hate/love thing were really true or not, and sequentially, the Fates.
"Yes, I know exactly what you mean," Hermione whispered, her eyes searching his face for the typical malice such a declaration of weakness would evoke.
"I felt it most, earlier, in the hall," he continued, this time more confidently, his voice softer, coming ever closer. This time she didn't back away, or even attempt it. Hermione could feel the heat of his body against her own, she reached out and brushed the tips of his fingerswith her own; he didn't pull away as she had previously thought. "Didn't you feel it then?"
"Of course I felt it. I've always felt it." He was so close now Hermione could see almost every one of his long black eyelashes. Her heart beat faster than it ever had before, including every one of her near death experiences with Harry and Ron.
"Always," Draco reiterated, now so close, her hot breath warmed his mouth. He reached over and took one of her small hand in his, massaging the back with his thumb. He lent in towards her and covered her lips with his own, pressing into her soft body, shoving her back into one of the dusty shelves. She seemed compliant, if not a bit hesitant, winding the fingers of her free hand in his hair, pulling gently at the strands as if unsure. He pulled away just as suddenly as he had lent in.
"What's the matter?" She breathed, her lips red and swollen.
"There's something else, isn't there?"
Her lips closed. She looked flummoxed, as though his question, the clear establishment that he had meant someone, made her think about Ron, something she had been avoiding since he had so forcefully pressed her into a wall, and just now when he had reawoken a part of her body she didn't know existed, He released her hand, bringing both of his to cup her face. He could see it in her eyes, the way she felt at that exact moment. Her confusion and annoyance. Her cheeks were warm, dusted with a soft orange glow that caused her blush to seem deeper than the color of the skin of a strawberry.
Daringly, he moved towards her again, briefly considering the fact that she might slap him or shove him away. But she didn't. She met him half-way, drawing her arms around his neck, pulling him closer until they seemed molded together. With slight apprehension, their tongues met and it was then she made a sighing sound which, he realized later, marked a transformation.
How strange it seemed then, that this girl, whom he felt he had known his entire life, this enemy he had been more than willing to kill, would be the one he desired? It felt awkward; their tumultuous past hindered them this intimate act. But her sigh… that sound he had always considered so intimate, so personal, was enough to spur him on. He shoved her roughly into the shelves, wordlessly guiding her feet to the lower shelf and pushing her robes up round her waist. She, in turn, clawed at his shirt and trousers, tearing off buttons in her haste and biting at his skin, drawing shuddered gasps from him. Taking his lower lip in her mouth, she bit down hard, eliciting a moan. Their kissing became more desperate.
His fingers found her sex, her most sensitive area, brushing against the slickness with feather-light caresses. Her head slammed back, breaking their kiss, at the sudden sensations that engulfed her. He moved to her neck, biting at the tender flesh where her pulse throbbed wildly.
Again, she was tugging at his trousers, unbuttoning them and reaching her hand inside, stroking the length of him, until he, himself, were trembling at her touch. Fumbling, he unbuttoned her shirt, kissed her fiery skin, his fingers kneading her breast through her bra, teasing her. She slipped the strap of her bra from her shoulder, shoving his face down between the valley of her breasts. He found her nipple easily, drawing it into his mouth and biting down on it. She gasped; her fingers pulled at his hair.
And finally, they were strangers, having crossed a point neither had ever thought they would reach. She was inexperienced, but both were too self-less to care.
The act itself was easy. He removed her knickers; she clasped her hands behind his head as he released his sex from his trousers; both didn't break eye contact as he guided himself into her. She gasped, turning her head away, biting hard on her lower lip.
They were still for moments that could have easily been days, hours, minutes or seconds. He brought his right hand up to her face, brushing a curl back behind her ear. She turned to look at him, softly whispering his name, his given name. He loved the way it sounded coming off her tongue. He said hers, a word with new meaning.
"I love you," She breathed, stressing the second word.
He nodded his head slightly, as if he already knew. "I love you."
They began to make love against the shelves. The quietness of the library spurred them on, they lost themselves in it. She felt a pressure building, knowing that he felt it too, and kissed his lips, moaning deeply from the back of her throat. He returned it.
He was reaching the peak, about to topple head over heels into that open abyss when she suddenly became quite stiff, pulling away from him as far as the library shelf would allow her.
"Someone's coming!" She hissed in his ear. And then he, too, heard it; the sounds of someone running and right for them. He dared not move. He brought a hand to her face, running it across her cheek and into her chestnut locks. She kissed him then, one filled with promise, before he thrust into her once more, intending to finish what he had started. She moaned from the unexpected movement, the waves of pleasure it brought.
From behind him, he heard a gasp and Hermione pulled back once more, looking off over his should at whomever had found them. Her eyes were dark with rage. Silently, he pulled out of her, instantly missing her warmth around him and began to straighten out his clothes, using his body to shield her as she did the same. Neither or them said anything, nor did they look at one another. She left first, her quick purposeful strides fading, as did she, into the darkness. He ran his fingers through his hair before turning and leaving as well, never sparing a glance for their intruder.
A/N: I read Atonement on the plane trip to London, Lord knew I had enough time, what with it being just over nine hours, and as I was reading it I couldn't help but imagine it as Draco and Hermione. I know I have another story going. Well, I have like three other stories going, but I had to write this one out. It's been itching at me for weeks. Oh, and it's more than a one-shot, just don't be expecting the next update to be tomorrow. I'll update this one every Monday or so. R&R
Oh, and I've recently gone through and just corrected a few grammatical errors that were bothering me. I don't know why I don't do this from the very beginning. It's save mucho amounts of time.