Title: Logos, Ethos, Pathos
Summary: "Why aren't I dead?" Hermione asked. Draco sneered in response. "I think we all know why you're still breathing, Granger." Hr/D, Hr/Theo
Rating: PG-13 for violence
Notes: I'm thinking of making a prologue to accompany this piece; it'll focus on Hermione, Theodore and Draco during school, before the war, and show how things developed between them and why they are the way they are now. What do you think?
Word Count: 1,445 (for now)
Logos—the voice in her head that told her to run.
She saw red. Thighs stinging, lungs screaming; heartbeat quickening with every step, her entire body in anguish—
And yet, she didn't stop.
A bright blue ray of light sizzled past her. She had no time to be surprised. Her reactions had to be honed, specific, in order to keep her alive.
Beyond the corner, a boy—a boy in a black robe, hood up, arm extended, Dark Mark shimmering under the hallway's lights—fired a curse in the opposite direction. Colin Creevey hysterically screamed out a protection spell in defense. Neither noticed Hermione. She flung her arm out, wand ever the ready, still running, and screamed—
The junior Death Eater fell to the ground, shocked and frozen. Colin—poor Colin—watched the Death Eater—Crabbe? Was that Crabbe?—in horror. Hermione grabbed Colin as she ran, turning his attention away from the two bodies crumpled on the floor.
"We've got…to find Harry and Ron," she yelled breathlessly over the explosions. Turning another corner, she muttered "lumos" and kicked open a door to a nearby classroom. It was empty.
"My brother," Colin frantically whispered. "My brother—"
Convinced they were safe, Hermione tugged Colin into the room, extinguished her light, and closed the door.
Hermione caught her breath before speaking. "Listen to me, Colin." She placed her hands on his shoulders, shaking him. "You need to stay alert. Focus on surviving. Can you do that?"
Colin didn't move.
"Can you do that, Colin?"
Silence. And then—
"My brother, he's…"
"Dead." She paused. "I'm sorry, but we've got to survive!"
An explosion in the distance seemed to shake Colin out of his shock. "What do we do?"
"We stick together, that's what," Hermione answered authoritatively. "If we get separated, meet the rest of the Order in the Room of Requirement. Find any stragglers and run for it." She shook Colin once more for emphasis. "Got it?"
He nodded; she felt it rather than saw it.
Taking a deep breath, Hermione opened the door. At the end of the hallway, a blond Death Eater fired off curses into the distance. Hermione hoped to the gods that whoever it was didn't notice her and Colin. For precaution, she turned to the boy and spoke quickly.
"When I say run, you run, no questions asked."
"No questions asked!" She silenced him with a stare.
They made their way into the hallway, walking—creeping—as fast and as quietly as they could.
Colin turned around. Hermione cursed before sprinting into a run. Both Gryffindors took off at top speed.
He fired curses; they deflected them. The Death Eater gave chase; they managed to reach the staircase unharmed.
"We're almost there!" Colin yelled. Hermione, sweat dripping down her brow, could make out the familiar corridor in the distance. She inhaled deeply through her nostrils and forced her legs to carry her faster.
The Death Eater landed at the end of the stairwell and fired a curse at Hermione's back. She turned around and successfully deflected it; unfortunately, she lost her balance in the process and fell backwards.
Colin came to a slow run. "Hermione!" He yelled a curse in the Death Eater's direction, knocking him backwards.
The young Griffyndor scrambled towards Hermione. She saw, at the other end, another dark-robbed, hooded figure.
Another Death Eater.
"Colin," she gasped. "Run!"
The look in his eyes spoke of resistance. A split-second felt like minutes ticking by as she watched the dialog taking place within his irises. First, the voice of passion, of emotion, begged him to sympathize with his fallen comrade. Second, the sound of principles, deciding what would be fair and what would be right. Finally, reason in all its glory took control.
He ran. She could have smiled.
Hermione got up and shot a spell at the newcomer. Colin cursed the new Death Eater before narrowly escaping.
Hermione gauged both opponents, calculating her options, watching as they both made their way towards her from opposite sides.
"Give it up, Mudblood," the Death Eater said as he lowered his hood. Draco Malfoy. She should have guessed. He laughed bitterly and wiped his face. There was a bloodied wound underneath his left eye, making his smirk look awkward and misplaced. "You're surrounded."
She didn't give up. She pointed at the other Death Eater and shouted.
The Death Eater deflected it. "Expelliarmus!" he yelled back, pointing at Hermione's wand. Immediately after she deflected his curse, Draco snuck up behind her and wrapped his robe around her neck—when did he take that off!?—trying to choke her.
She struggled. Oh, did she struggle. She kicked, bit his hand, threw her head back and head-butted him, clawed at the robe used to suffocate her. As her consciousness gradually began to flee, she watched as the other Death Eater took off his hood.
"Theo," she choked out in a gentle whisper.
Theodore Nott slowly readied his wand at her. Her squirming stopped as she took in a deep breath. He looked away from her, wrist starting to flick as he opened his mouth to speak—
Hermione used whatever upper body strength she had left to hold on to Draco and kick Theodore with both feet. He tumbled backwards, surprised at her force. Hermione and Draco fell to the floor.
She scrambled away from her assailant and reached for her wand. Theodore blocked her path and looked down on her with a carefully masked stare. He pointed his wand at her and uttered a spell she could not hear.
Draco's growl was the last thing she heard. "Mudblood bitch."
Hermione woke up cold. She got up quickly, too quickly—the blood rushed to her head and made her woozy. Her hand reached for her forehead instinctually, her upper-body strength feeling weighed down.
She looked at the deadweight cuffed to her wrists. Chains. Looking around, she wasn't surprised to find herself in the dungeons of Hogwarts. For a moment, she hesitated. This could be anywhere. Is it really Hogwarts?
Hermione closed her eyes and held her head. "How long was I out for?"
Theodore, hidden in the corner of the room, spoke without moving. "Three hours. Maybe more."
"Are we still in Hogwarts?"
No answer. Hermione licked her lips, swallowed; tried to get the dry taste out of her mouth. "Why aren't I dead?"
It was more of a statement than a question. A moment passed. Draco, stepping out of the shadows, stood in front of Hermione and sneered. "I think we all know why you're still breathing, Granger."
She narrowed her eyes at him before spitting on his shoes. He retaliated by kicking her in the stomach. She doubled over and wheezed heavily just as Theodore stood up and shoved Draco aside. "Watch it, Malfoy," he muttered to the blond.
Draco made eye-contact with the witch. "See?" He glared at Theodore before making his way to the door.
"Have they gone yet?" Theodore asked his fellow Death Eater, his eyes on Hermione. She pretended not to notice.
"No," Draco answered, looking through a small hole in the door. "It looks like they're trying to surround the perimeters, get everyone cornered."
Theodore quietly cursed, running a hand through his black hair. Hermione spotted her wand tucked away in his robe. Her heart began to beat swiftly in her chest, commanding her to action.
She studied the pair carefully as Draco and Theodore spoke in muted tones. Draco with his platinum blond hair; Theodore with his almost-black brown locks. One pale, one slightly tanned. One deathly immature, the other too mature for his age. Arrogance met quiet contemplation; obnoxiousness met cryptic and mysterious behavior.
Both, however, were tall and lanky. Wealthy purebloods. Slytherins. Death Eaters. Was that all they had in common?
No. She had forgotten, or perhaps she did not want to remember.
They continued to talk. She couldn't hear anything. Hermione furrowed her brows before she spoke.
Draco and Theodore stopped mid-conversation to look at Hermione. She had whispered it tenderly, as she would to a lover.
"Theo," she said again, stronger this time. A pause. "Why?"
"Why what, Granger?" Draco sneered. "Why are you such a bloody annoyance? Why are you so pathetic as to risk your life for that creepy Creevey kid? Why—"
"No need to dodge the question, you wanker, if it isn't aimed at you," Hermione spat. She sent a cool glance at Theodore, waiting.
Silence. And then—
"I had no choice."
Hermione stood up slowly, body aching. "There's always a choice. Own up to your decision, Nott. You made your choice perfectly—"
"I had. No. Choice." Theodore spat the words out quite vehemently. "I needed to survive, Granger."
"I needed to survive," she responded, anger rising. "We all needed to survive." A pause, and then, a silent plea. "I could have ran. I could of have hid in the Muggle world. Instead, I chose to fight."
"As did I."
She strode purposefully towards him; the chains yanked her back. She didn't let Draco's laughter imprison her passion, her fury. "Fighting?" she asked. "What exactly are you fighting for? Do you fight for the same reason as Draco? As your father? As Voldemort?"
Draco moved forward and struck Hermione with his hand. "Don't you dare utter the Dark Lord's name upon your ungrateful lips," he said, almost inaudibly. Theodore tensed. Hermione wiped the back of her hand across her mouth, tasting blood.
"What's the matter, Malfoy," she asked. "Don't like it when a Muggleborn trash-talks your beloved Mudblood?"
Draco lunged. Theodore grabbed him by the shoulders and attempted to restrain him. Neither Theodore nor Hermione noticed Draco reach for his wand.
Hermione flung backwards, her body hitting the wall with full-force. She blacked out for the second time that day.