A/N: I know I'm supposed to work on something, but I can't not write this. The second part of Courage is still coming along, so… Anyway, this is, I think, a different take on the dark side. I hope you enjoy.
He entered his flat, immediately feeling her presence. He stiffened and clutched his wand tightly from his robe. The moon was the only thing that illuminated the room. He stood there in the shadows, waiting for her to make the first move. Beads of sweat were starting to form on his forehead; cold chills were traveling down his spine. He should've called for back-up the moment he sensed her, he should've…
"Hello, Harry." she said, her voice calm and collected.
"How did you get in here?" he snarled. He brought out his wand for effect.
She eyed it carefully from where she was sitting on the couch, with her feet on top of the coffee table. Her dark colored clothes were disheveled, and parts of her jeans were tattered.
"I'm a smart witch. I figured out your spell configuration. You wouldn't want the wrong people to know that your wards are easy to get into," she smirked.
"What are you doing here?" He gritted his teeth in anger.
She slowly got up from the couch and approached him. His breathing came in short intervals as she took each step. She came so close that he could feel her sweet breath on his cheek.
"How are you?" she smiled at him.
"What. Are. You. Doing. Here." He seethed.
"I came to see my ex-best friend." She said as she played with his collar. He wanted to flinch away from her touch. "Or my ex-more than best friend."
Then she disappeared without a sound. Panic flooded him for a split second. What? How—? Just as he started to think she was just a figment of his imagination, he realized she reappeared by the display table.
"You and your wife," she said as she picked up a picture frame. "You both looked happy."
In two long strides, he was in front of her and shoved her roughly on the wall behind her. He lifted his wand and pointed it directly at her cheek. For the first time in a long time, he couldn't read her face. He could see the strong wall she had built up around her, and he knew it was impenetrable.
"Put down the frame or I swear I'll—," he started. He couldn't imagine what he would do to her if she would do anything to that photo.
"You'll what?" she challenged. "You know with one flick of my finger, I can break your wand in two."
"I can break your fingers with my own two hands."
"Try me, Harry." she said, her confidence was palpable. He stared at her for the longest moment, but he knew it was a lost cause. He lowered his wand as he stepped away from her. She made a disapproving sound at the back of her throat as she gently replaced the frame on the table. She looked at him once more before disappearing.
He could hear her moving around his bedroom but he still couldn't move from his spot. Call them. This is your chance! Call them now! A voice in his head shouted. He wanted so badly to do what his inner conscience ordered but he just couldn't bring himself to do it.
"You didn't change this place after all these years," she shouted from the bedroom. He stalked into the room and saw her stretched out on the bed. His breathing hitched. "I miss this bed," she sighed.
He didn't say anything. She looked up at him and laughed softly. With a blink of an eye, she was right in front of him once again. "I could always read you like an open book." She smiled at him, and she vanished. He almost didn't want her to come back but he knew she wasn't finished with him.
"I'm going to call them!" he shouted, not knowing where she was.
"No, you're not." Her breath tickled his ear. He didn't turn around when he sneered, "I'll call them."
"If you'd call them, you would've done so the second you knew someone broke into your home. You didn't. Surprise, surprise." She laughed softly. He took deep calming breaths knowing she moved once more. He searched for her, and he wasn't surprised when he saw her on the balcony.
He leaned on the door frame and heard her as she took a deep breath. He felt as if time turned back and it was five years earlier when they first moved in together in this flat. She always stood here at night with him, the cool breeze of the air calming them both. She turned to him and he was brought back from his musings.
"I hope you're well," she said quietly.
"What are you doing here?" was his reply. The anger from before was still there.
She sighed and looked directly at his cold eyes. "I wanted to see you," she whispered.
"Believe it or not, it's the truth," she said serenely. "I know I miss you. I know I love you."
At her words, his heart shattered even more. He physically took a small step back at the impact of those words.
"Sorry," she said, but he can tell it was just for the sake of it. He knew she wasn't at least bit of sorry. She can't do that.
"Miss me? Love me?" he mocked. "You're incapable of feeling."
"That's why I said, 'I know.'" She looked straight at him, her eyes even darker with the pale moonlight. "I wanted to see you," she repeated. "I wanted to know if you hate me now. I certainly got my answer." She was gone again, but he knew she was right behind him.
He turned around, cold blood running through his veins. "You killed innocent people, Hermione!"
She stood there, not at least bit perturbed. "If you could trust me at one thing, it's this. I wouldn't call them innocent."
His face was set in stone. He can not, would not believe anything she said.
"You don't believe me?" she looked at him. "I wouldn't blame you. But really, those people were the scum of this planet. You wouldn't want them walking around, starting revolts, and killing the real innocent people."
"What are you talking about?" He spat, his anger continued to boil with every word she said.
She gave an exaggerated sigh. "Yes, I killed. But it was worth it."
He faintly heard glass shattering behind him. Harry wanted to scream, to throw something, anything that he didn't realize that his magic had done that. What happened to you? "Get out. Now," he growled.
Hermione emerged from the shadows to step in front of him again. She lifted her hand lazily, and with one flick, little pieces of glass started to form the vase Harry destroyed. "That was one of my favorites."
"Get out, while you still can," he said, looking away. He couldn't stand this person—this monster she had become. Deep down he knew he was weak. He was giving her a chance to escape, when he knew she had killed, had turned to the dark side.
All because he loved her.
"Harry…" she said as she took a step forward towards him.
He recoiled. "No. Get out." He wished more than anything that she would do just that. "You're not the Hermione I used to know."
Her expression changed, and he could see anger in her eyes. "Well guess what, Harry! The Hermione you used to know is still right here!"
He suddenly stiffened at her words. He desperately wanted to believe her, to hold her close, but he knew he shouldn't, wouldn't. "What?" he said softly.
She closed her eyes, and he could see real emotions pass through her face. "She's still here, Harry!" she shouted. "Some part of me is still here!"
She stepped in front of him again, this time closer. Now, he noticed how pale she was, how thin she had become. The light brown eyes he used to stare at were gone; they were now dark, lifeless.
"Hermione?" he breathed. It was a silent request, a prayer.
She stared at him for the longest moment before stepping back. "No," she said. He didn't know if it was directed at him or at herself. She reached into her coat and produced two pieces of parchments. "Take these."
His brows furrowed at what she said. It could be a trap! Don't take it!
She rolled her eyes at his hesitation. "For the love of—if I wanted to kill you, I would've done so already!" she sighed. "If I wanted to kill you, I wouldn't portkey you to some death eater hide-out. That would be insulting! I would kill you, the Chosen One, and get the glory all to myself. Besides, I wouldn't wait for three years to do something that would take me three seconds to do," she said, emphasizing on her last words.
"You haven't given a great thought of killing me," he said sarcastically.
"Just look at the damn paper," she said, clearly irritated as she shoved the paper roughly into his hands.
He looked at the first parchment and saw that it was a map. "What would I do with a bloody map?" he scoffed.
She closed her eyes for a brief second, obviously composing herself. "That bloody map will help you in locating every single remaining death eater."
His eyes widened. "What?"
"You'll have them at the palm of your hands by the end of the week. The next paper," she said, pointing at the other piece, "is a list of their names. Just tap the map with your wand and say the name. It'll appear where they are at that moment."
"How?" he asked lamely.
"What do you think I've been doing for the last few of years? Drinking tea with Draco?" she said incredulously. "Just finish the job, Harry. I've already crossed out a few names there. You have to kill them all. Dark magic would never, ever, get out of their system. It's a curse that only death can set free. I'll be waiting for the MLE and the best aurors in town. But I can't promise I would go easy on you." She started to move away but Harry grabbed hold of her arm.
"Why?" he pleaded softly. "Why are you doing this?"
"I already told you." She gave a small bitter laugh. "Just do as I say, Harry."
"Hermione, please…" he said weakly. "Don't leave again. We can fight this. We can do something just please, don't leave me again."
She looked at him, and he could see the pain in her eyes. "I can't fight anymore, Harry. I've tried, I really did. I've looked for a counter curse or anything to get this… darkness in me to go away. And there isn't any. I can't fight this. It's consuming me. I don't recognize myself anymore." She gently removed his hand from her arm, and rolled up her left sleeve. "You see this, Harry? This mark isn't just on my skin. It's in me. It's devouring me inside, and I can't do it anymore. I don't belong anywhere."
"You belong here," he said fiercely, "with me."
"I know, Harry. Make this the last good thing I'll ever do. This is my payback to them for doing this to me," she smiled, "to us."
"I'll come with you. We'll go anywhere. We'll escape!" he cried.
"I can't do that. I won't do that to you. If you come with me, it'll destroy us both. I would never let that happen to you. This is for the best."
"No! I promised to be with you, it wouldn't change anything! Let me come with you," he begged.
"If you love me, if you truly love me, you'll let me go," she said quietly. "Harry, please… I'd rather die than turn into a monster. I'd rather die," she stressed, "than make you suffer."
She brushed his tears with her thumb, and kissed his cheek. She poured all the feelings, all of what's left of her being into that kiss, and they both felt it. "I love you," he whispered in her ear. She slowly pulled back and started to walk away. She turned to him and gave a small smile. "Remember to start with the number one on the list," her smile grew somber. "Please take care of yourself. Goodbye, Harry." I love you. And then she was gone.
His knees gave way to his weight right away. His anger, his cries of anguish were the only ones heard in his empty flat. On his hand, one name stood out at the top of the list.
A/N: So, what did you think?