For three long years, the only home he had known was the wet cell he shared with none but his self. At seven, noon and six, a tray of cold porridge and slice of bread were shoved through the slot at the bottom of his door. When he had first arrived, the sight of those scabbed, oozing hands of the dememtors handling his food had set his stomach on edge, bringing bile to his lips. But hunger eventually won and he greedily ate each meager portion.
Once a week, the prisoners on his block were taken to a community shower where they were given ten minutes to scrub themselves with a tiny piece of soap and rinse under the icy water. They were then shuffled through, naked, to an adjoining room where they were doused in talcum powder and blown dry by a huge, fan, providing an ounce of warmth before they were taken to the next room, given fresh robes and clean bedding and started the beginning of another long week of loneliness.
He spent most of his nights in sleeplessness, wondering when it was that he would be released, if ever, and wondering, despite his will to stop, if she would ever come to visit him. The screening of his mail prevented them from contact with one another, however much his mother wrote to him, ensuring him of their love and loyalty and that they, at least, were working tiressly to see him freed. Any mention of rape was conspicuously left out of each letter. It hung heavily between each line, anyway, an unwanted guest in his shame.
All around him, the men cried out in their sleep. He imagined that when he too slept, he cried out as well, though his pride ensured himself that he, Draco Malfoy, would never show such cowardice. That didn't stop him from wondering just what it was he called out in his sleep, or who for.
They called out for lovers, and parents. Sometimes they simply cried to do something at all. To feel something at all.
Perhaps he did the same, calling her name.
Draco learned of each man by the sound of their groans, and once he heard them no more, he knew that they too were now another grave amongst the many others on the outer walls. A small bit of freedom. Some days he agreed it would be the best freedom, if only to escape this place.
Time began to meld and blend into a smooth continuation. Every day was as bleak and grey as the one before it and made it impossible to keep track of the days. He tried to mark tallies on the wall for each day that passed but often he would forget if he had added one for today, or was it for yesterday, or perhaps he hadn't added one at all?
His grey eyes were rimmed with deep purple circles. His once sleek blond hair had grown past his shoulders and fell in matted clumps. Draco was glad there wasn't a mirror for him to see his appearance for he was quite sure he would hate what he saw. He had always taken such pride in petty things such as appearances.
The dementors seemed to be attracted to his cell far more then the others after a while. He held onto his longing for Hermione and thus, wasn't filled with joy per se, but an emotion the dementors couldn't very well decipher. They wondered why he did not cry out as much, why he was harder to feel. In many ways, it seemed they had to check that he was still there. After Sirius Black, an escape would throw the prison into chaos they could not afford.
At night, he would lie in bed and imagine her body lying next to him, keeping him warm. His eyes would drift closed and he could almost feel her hands on him, touching him. He imagined it was her hands instead of his. What he wouldn't give to go back in time and do it all over again. How he wished that he would have caught up to her sooner, pulled her deeper into the library. Placed a spell around the area that would've warned them quicker of an intruder.
One day he would be free. One day he would be able to kiss her lips once more. And it was this small certainty he built in his mind that gave him hope to live another day.
"Prisoner 56597, you have hereby been released to serve your civic duty in the perils of war. Albus Dumbledore has personally vouched for your removal from Azkaban and has assured the Minister that you will never once be out of his sight, or that of one of the Order. Do you have anything to add for the record?"
Draco looked about him, his eyes burning from what he would only admit to be the brightness of the room and not angry tears from three years of unjustly being imprisoned. He cleared his throat and shifted his weight; the heavy manacles clanked together at his ankles and wrists.
"Only- only that I-" he stopped and swallowed heavily, his throat feeling constricted as he caught sight of his parents, clutching at each other, tears streaming down his mothers face. He attempted to speak again. "Only that I am so grateful for this opportunity to prove that I am a changed man."
The courtroom burst into a sound of scratching quills as the reporters scribbled his words into notebooks, no doubt itching to be the first to have it reported in their newspapers, theirs being the better of any other. The long fall of the Malfoy heir. He could almost read the headlines now.
A loud crack from the gavel sent the manacles at his wrists and ankles falling to the floor, and Draco Malfoy was in the next second a free man. A loud shuffling filled the small courtroom as everyone stood to their feet, ushering to be the first out of the door. Two guards led Draco from the prisoner's box and over to his parents, where he was allowed a brief hello before Albus Dumbledore appeared at his shoulder, a cool hand gripping his shoulder.
Free. Yeah, right.
"There will be much time for visiting, but here is not the place I am afraid," Dumbledore said quietly to the three. "I can promise that you will see your son as often as is possible, Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy."
He gave his mother one last hug and gripped his father's cold hand tightly in his own before he allowed himself to be led away. He felt like he was eleven years old again and leaving his home for the first time for Hogwarts. He had cried most of the first week at the jolt of unfamiliarity, and now, after three years in a dank, dark prison where all of its prisoners cried themselves to sleep as dementors swept the corridors, he felt heavy with the pressure of trying not to cry. He was a man now. Men didn't cry at such things as leaving prison. If anything, prison hardened a man.
"I will be taking you to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix," Dumbledore said as they reached the lifts to take them up to the atrium from the courtrooms. "You will be quite safe there. There is always a member of the Order there so you won't be alone for a minute."
Draco nodded his head as a lift noisily made its stop before them and the golden grilles sprang open.
Dumbledore cleared his throat uncertainly as they stepped in. "I feel now would be as good a time as any to tell you that Miss Granger will also at times be present at Headquarters."
He felt his heart skip a beat. He had spent every night since he had been parted from her dreaming of her, of her warmth and caresses. Of feeling her soft hair in his hands and her smooth skin under his palm and now the very real fact that he could possibly be seeing her in less then an hour sent him into a panic.
"Will she be there when we arrive?" Draco asked as calmly as his traitorous voice let him. Filled with emotion, his voice cracked like a schoolboy and he felt his cheeks redden with embarrassment. Dumbledore, however, looked completely unmoved as the lift clanged to a stop and this time the grille opened out into the cavernous atrium.
Stepping out, Dumbledore guided Malfoy over to the office where Draco would be given back his wand and said softly, "She, Mr. Weasley and Mr. Potter are away on a mission. They should return late tonight, after we are all in bed."
The headquarters were dingy, and dark, not at all what he had been expecting. Draco sighed as he stepped through the front door and looked about in obvious displeasure. He had hoped for a place more like home. Bright and airy and with a house elf waiting to take his cloak the moment he stepped inside. Here there were obviously no house elves by the state of the chandelier covered in cobwebs and some knobby thing he could only assume was once part of a troll filled with tattered umbrellas.
Laughter was tumbling up the stairs at the end of the hall and with a gesture of Dumbledore's hand, Draco found himself strolling confidently down the carpet and sweeping down the stairs into a warm kitchen where a troupe of redheads, a woman with pink hair and a man he recognized as one of his teachers were gathered around a scorch marked table.
His grey eyes stared each occupant of the room down, daring them to say something, anything. An older man with thinning red hair stood from the head of the table. Clearing his throat he said, "Welcome, Mr. Malfoy. We are just about to eat dinner. Would you care to join us?"
Mr. Weasley's voice was strained and a sheen of sweat was growing over his upper lip. His children and the other occupants of the room looked about at one another but said nothing to disagree. Dumbledore followed Draco into the room and took a seat at the table, an obvious mediator should the need arise.
"Thank you," Draco said, taking a seat at the far end of the table. A plump woman with red hair, Mrs. Weasley, began to dish out bowls of hot stew and as she placed his portion before him, he lost all decorum and practically swallowed the hot liquid and chunks of meat in one gulp. His tongue burning, he asked for seconds, and ate and ate till his belly was gloriously full and he felt another bite should make him sick.
With a great yawn he looked about the room and noticed with pleasure that not one person was paying him any mind. They were all engrossed in Dumbledore's words and pouring over maps of things he couldn't possibly care less about at the moment. He took another swig of butterbeer, gazing about his surroundings.
Sometime later, Mrs. Weasley suggested it was time for bed, and everyone stood with a clamor, yawning and stretching, rubbing their full bellies.
"Mr. Malfoy?" Mrs. Weasley said, her voice strained with politeness. "If you'd like to follow me, I'll show you to your room."
They climbed the main staircase to the very top floor, down the narrow corridor to the very last room. Mrs. Weasley pushed open a heavy wooden door and stood aside to let Draco into the room.
"I know it's probably not what you're used to," Mrs. Weasley began. They both knew what it was that she meant. It wasn't as sumptuous as Malfoy Manor. But after three years in Azkaban, this small room with it's moldy hangings and dust clinging to every surface was a paradise in and of itself.
"It'll do just fine, thank you," Draco said, looking about.
Mrs. Weasley nodded and motioned to a door across the hall. "There's a bathroom there, in case you were wanting to shower tonight. We breakfast early, at eight. If you need anything, just let me know."
"Thank you," Draco said again, not meeting Mrs. Weasley's eye. She sighed heavily with displeasure and closed the door. He listened to the sound of her footsteps down the staircase and then there was silence. He had arrived at headquarters with nothing but his person and the clothes on his back.
Sitting heavily on the bed, he took in his bedroom and decided he had traded one prison for another. Here he was distrusted and disliked. At least in prison he wasn't the only one who was hated. They were all together in their distrust and hatred of their fellow man.
Then there was the fact that soon, how soon he wasn't sure, but soon, Hermione would be here with him. They would once again be in the same building and it filled him with a sense of longing. He could nearly taste her on his tongue and he closed his eyes and breathed deeply. His member grew hard, his hands pressed tightly to his thighs resisting the urge to touch himself and find release. Soon he would be able to touch her, and kiss her, and run his tongue along the length of her body, feeling her shiver and sighs of pleasure that kept him on edge. Their brief time of intimacy ran through his mind, image after image and with decision he stood from the bed and walked across the room in two long strides. What he needed was a cold shower and a shave.
The bathroom seemed too small to fit the claw-footed tub and pedestal sink, let alone the toilet, but it was clean and there were no other men in there to watch him bathe. He faced his reflection over the sink and bid himself to not cry out in surprise. His cheeks were gaunt and hollow, the blond beard, matted and a sickly yellow color. The platinum hair he had always prized was in a similar shape and he found hate building inside him. He would never forgive those that had put him away.
It took over an hour to bring him back to resembling a semblance of himself. His hair he left long, though a good washing had returned it to a blond sheen. The beard was trimmed close to his face in hopes of hiding how hollow his cheeks had become. He stood for the longest time just letting the hot water roll over his shoulders, marveling in something those who had not been in prison had the luxury to every day. Draco felt in that moment he would never again take for granted the beauty in washing oneself clean with fresh, hot water.
In the old wardrobe in his room he found a pair of robes not eaten through by moth, and with a quick wave of his wand, smelt of something other then mildew. A small fireplace took up a corner of the room and he conjured up some wood and kindling for a fire. His wand felt warm in his hand and he felt as though a phantom limb had been returned to him. Quickly the room warmed and he lay on his bed, staring up at his ceiling for some time, engrossed in his own thoughts.
What if she didn't want to see him? Perhaps, Weasley and Potter had filled her head with nonsense; how he must have put a spell on her, some ludicrous notion. The fact that he could genuinely be attracted to her, love her even, was just impossible to comprehend. He had had three years to get over his nonsensical upbringing; they had had three years of assuring the other that their female best friend would never stoop so low. Please. As if attention from him wasn't something any woman would desire.
After some time had passed, he became aware of someone, or something, out on the landing. Quickly, he stood from the bed and strode across the room, whipping open the door and pointing his wand into the darkness.
"Who's there?" Draco's question hung heavily in the air. His voice was hoarse from disuse and his grey eyes roamed the dark, trying to find whoever was there hiding. "Who is there?"
Like an apparition, Hermione stepped into the light spilling from his room into the hallway. His wand arm fell heavily to his side.
She was thin, much too thin, and her bushy hair seemed to drown her. Her cheekbones protruded like two sharp planes in the soft light and her full lips were red from being bitten and rolled between her teeth. Brown eyes met grey and both searched the other, lost for words. Draco had dreamed of this moment for years, had imagined taking her up in his arms and kissing her senseless. But now that she stood before him, he didn't know what to do. His uncertainty seemed to be shared by her as well, as Hermione shifted her weight from foot to foot and stared up into his face, at war with herself.
"It's me," she whispered finally and the sound of her voice made his knees weak.
"Yes," was all he could say in reply.
Clearing her throat, Hermione glanced around the hall and then gestured into Draco's room. "May I come in?"
Draco looked behind himself into the small room and then stepped aside to let Hermione pass, her scent filling his nostrils.
Closing the door after her, Draco turned to face the room and found Hermione standing close to the fireplace, looking about the room. "I almost didn't think you would truly be here," she said, looking at the bed and then over to him, her hands gripping the back of the wooden chair before a small writing desk.
"It's all happened so fast," Draco agreed, thinking how only this morning he had been in prison and now he was here. And so was she.
Draco took a step towards her and opened his mouth to say something, anything. He desperately wanted to tell her how glad he was that they were finally here together, that it was the very thought of her that had kept him going for all this time. But he suddenly felt unsure of himself, of the way he looked, of the way she avoided meeting his gaze again. Maybe she hadn't thought of him the same way. Maybe she didn't long for him the way he had longed, no, more like ached, for her.
Hermione's chest was rising and falling rapidly and Draco could see tears pooling in her eyes. She took a deep, shuddering breath and said, "So much has happened. So much has changed."
Draco didn't say anything, but stared hard at her, willing her to look back at him.
"Ron and I are engaged," She spilt out suddenly, a torrent of tears cascading over her cheeks and yet Draco stood frozen, rooted to the floorboards. Hermione wiped the back of her hands angrily across her cheeks and continued. "After you were taken- taken away- he and I sort of rekindled and I- I felt so alone. I missed you so terribly. They wouldn't even let me write to you; every letter I sent came back unopened. I thought perhaps you had requested that my letters not be allowed through. Then, Ron asked me to marry him and I couldn't find a reason to say no."
"Because you love me, perhaps" Draco spat suddenly.
Hermione looked up at him, the tears falling in earnest. Her nose was red and snot was dripping from the tip. She knew she must look terribly unattractive but she didn't care in that moment. Draco was looking at her with such hatred in that moment, so much like he used to look at her, it was tearing her heart from her body.
"I do, I do love you Draco-"
"You just couldn't wait for me," Draco interrupted, taking a step towards her. Hermione shrank back, away from him, fear in her eyes from his anger. "I came back to you, Hermione. I came back."
"Draco- I- I'm sorry. I'm s-so sorry," Hermione whispered, reaching out her hands to him. "I wish I could take it all back."
Stung, Draco shoved her hands away. Take it all back. Take back every touch, every thought. She didn't want him anymore. He hated her in that moment. He hated everything about her. He hated even more that he had dared to hope, dared to dream that she would still be as in love with him as ever. He hated Weasley for being there to corrupt her against him. Potter, too, he was sure had something to do with this.
"Get out," the words but a whisper fell like a boulder between them. Hermione searched his face, taking another step towards him.
She touched his arm, only for him to jerk away. "What? Draco, why?"
"I said, get out," he said again, turning away.
"I thought- I thought you would want me here. I thought you still loved me," Hermione whispered her voice thick with tears. "I thought-"
"What? What did you think?" Draco yelled, turning to her. Gripping her shoulders roughly, he drew her close to him, shaking her slightly in his rage. "Did you think that I would just be accepting of the fact that you chose Weasley over me? Did you think I spent the last three years thinking of anything other then you, dreaming of you, only to come back to you to be told you wish you could take it all back?"
Hermione opened her mouth to speak but Draco shoved her forcibly away from him so she fell to the floor, knocking her elbow against the wooden chair. She cried out, holding her arm to her.
Panting heavily, Draco sat on the edge of the bed, holding his head in his hands. White, hot anger coursed through his veins. He wished he were at his parent's home. Hell, he wished he were in Azkaban of all places, somewhere away from Hermione, away from his shame.
So engrossed was he in his own emotions, he was surprised by the two soft hands that placed themselves gently over his own. Hermione was knelling before him, tears welled in her eyes, but not falling. In her face was a look of determination. Her hands came under his chin and brought his face up to meet hers, her chest rising and falling rapidly with their close proximity.
"I would never want to take back a single second I've spent with you," She whispered, caressing his cheek. "If I could have I would have spared you every bad thing that's happened. I would have gone with you anywhere."
Draco felt himself cave despite his best efforts. Her breath was warm on his lips, bringing back memories of a dark alcove in the library and he felt himself ache with renewed longing. Reaching out, he clasped his hands on her hips and drew her to him, pulling her down onto the bed. Willingly, she drew him to her, kicking off her shoes and grabbing fistfuls of his robes.
Her body felt even better then he could have possibly imagined, and he found he couldn't control the wandering of his hands.
"I thought about you every day, since you've left," Hermione whispered, running her fingers along his lips, shuddering as his fingers traced the curve of her breast.
"Every day," Draco reiterated, burying his face in her neck and breathing deep her scent. "Every damn day."
Hermione arched her back, pressing herself into him and sighed at the feeling of his lips on her skin. He kissed his way up her neck and finally to her mouth, capturing her lips in a greedy kiss. And it was in this kiss that he lost himself.
With just as much need, she pressed him to her, wrapping her legs about his waist and raking her hands through his hair. Their tongues met and a deep moan escaped her throat, spurring him into a frenzy. His hands pulled at her clothes, yanking them from her body and he kissed and licked at every inch of newly exposed skin.
He kissed her roughly, as though afraid that this was only a dream and he'd wake up panting, back in Azkaban with a throbbing cock and wet sheets. Hermione met him with intensity, shoving his shoulders so he rolled onto his back. She climbed atop him and pulled her robes over her head, completely naked now except for her knickers. Her sex ached, throbbing with her desire and she guided his hand between her legs, groaning in pleasure at his touch. In the next moments, she had pulled off her knickers and began to pull at his robes, roughly undressing him.
"You're so wet," He said, bringing his fingers from her sex to his mouth, tasting her.
Hermione took his member in her hand, stroking the length of him, eliciting deep moans of pleasure. Draco's hands brought her face back down to his and he kissed her deeply, his heart pounding beneath his chest.
With sure movements, she positioned herself above him, and brought herself down over his cock, sighing deep as he filled her. Ron was never able to make her feel this good, Hermione thought rather guiltily. She had never been able to get rid of her feelings for Draco, true enough, but that didn't mean Ron was a bad man. She was the worse person for having led him on.
No, Hermione told herself. I refuse to let Ron ruin this.
It was almost too good to be true, Draco thought as he looked at the witch positioned over him, her eyes dark with lust. True, he had dreamed many different scenarios along these lines, but to be fulfilling them was something else entirely. Her lips were moaning his name, her hands were roaming his body and by the way she felt like putty, he could only assume she had wanted this just as much as he had, perhaps more.
There was no way she could have possibly wanted this more then him.
He pushed up into her and had to keep himself in check and she gasped with pleasure. At this rate, he would be lucky if he lasted longer then thirty seconds. Hermione moved faster, sitting up over him and staring down at him, watching his reactions to her movements.
"You'll be the death of me yet," He whispered, placing his hands on her hips and flipping them over. He needed to be in control; he couldn't cum in less then a minute. That would be terribly embarrassing.
Hermione smiled devilishly and pulled at his hair, arching her hips up into him for deeper penetration. He sucked in a gasp of air and rolled his hips into her, the pain in his scalp temporarily bringing his mind off the fact of how good it felt. She released his hair and pulled his face down for a kiss, relishing in the feel of his tongue against hers. He bit her lip hard, causing her to cry out only to be soothed by soft ministrations from his lips.
She felt so close, her body slick with sweat and need. She needed him more then ever. He hooked his hand under her knee, bringing it up, allowing him to access her deeper and lost himself. She was making such delicious sounds, spurring him on. Her walls felt tighter and slick; he wanted nothing more then to cover them in his hot cum.
He placed his thumb over her clit and rubbed fast circles, causing her to practically spasm in ecstasy. She stared deep into her eyes as her orgasm hit her hard and he let himself go, spilling himself into her with a moan, his toes curling as waves of pleasure rocked both their bodies.
Neither spoke as their orgasm began to subside. Soft kisses and caresses were all that were needed. He wrapped her tenderly in his arms, vowing to never let her go again.
And she sighed contentedly. Tomorrow, she decided, tomorrow was the day to sort of any problems she may have left. Tomorrow she would figure out what to do about Ron. For the first time in three years, as she drifted off to sleep, tomorrow didn't seem quite as daunting as before. She kissed his hands and snuggled back into him, relishing in his bare skin on hers. Happiness, it seemed was theirs at last.
She put the pen down with a resigned sigh.
Her tea had long grown cold, but she didn't get up to make a new cup. The rain had stopped and the night sky looked fresh, clean.
If only she could feel that way.
The bedroom door opened down the hall and she immediately shuffled her papers, blocking the written words with an unblemished piece of parchment.
Draco appeared in the doorway to the kitchen, blinking in the light. "What are you doing up so late?"
She wasn't quite sure what to say at first. Their large kitchen felt small, and she breathed deeply to rid herself of the feel of claustrophobia.
Finally she looked over to her husband, old in age, with grey hair to match his grey eyes.
"I'm atoning for my sins."
What, I'm still alive?! Draco is still alive in the future?! WHAT IS THIS MADNESS. It's all a part of my brilliant plan. Let's hope the next chapter won't take me years to complete as this one did.