A/N: Before reading this it's definitely advisable to read the latest update of By Any Other Name, which is chapter 10 technically, but labelled as nine due to the prologue. I hope you enjoy seeing a slice of this fic from Draco's POV, because I certainly enjoyed writing it. And check out my Tom fic if you have time as well please. I can't seem to stop writing today.
He watches her, between the railings of the staircase, duelling Dolohov - one of the Dark Lord's most competent servants - and managing to hang in there, even if her curly hair is starting to frizz a little, and her hands are starting to shake. He can see why the Dark Lord wants her. Though she is muggleborn, she is more competent than most of his servants put together. He'd need a strong imperius to hold her down though. A very strong imperius. And if Potter can throw off the imperius, Granger definitely can.
To say he is shocked, when she throws Sectumsempra at Dolohov is an understatement. Terminal do-gooder Granger using dark magic is surely a sign that hell is about to freeze over.
The staircase shudders and Draco falls, grabbing on to the banister to keep himself from tumbling all the way down the stairs. Deciding he should get onto steadier ground, he scrambles up the stairs, wand raised, because after all, Dolohov is still conscious and the Lovegood girl is staring at him wide eyed.
He shoots a tickling jinx at her and she falls to the ground, clutching her sides.
Dolohov's eye twitches, and Draco makes the decision not to come to his aid. He doesn't know whether he could if he tried, all that blood, the colour draining rapidly from his features, his inability to move. He wonders whether Granger has sliced him clean in half and the thought makes stomach acid rise in his throat a little.
At last he stuns her, and she collapses in slow motion, with the careful guidance of his wand. He lets her head rest on her arm, providing at least some comfort.
"Are you two friends, now?"
He turns to the Lovegood girl and sneers at her. "You heard what she said. Don't say a word."
"I was just curious."
"Curiosity killed the kneazle, so stop asking questions."
"I suppose you'd better stun me as well, to make it seem like I am really out of it."
"Well, it might as well be believable, I'm not exactly incapable of providing a true account as to what happened."
Draco nods, stuns her, and lets her fall onto the pile of freshly laundered towels which have been displaced by Dolohov and Granger's duel.
There are loud clanging footsteps, racing up the stairs. Draco turns around, wand raised. At the sight of red hair, he knows he must disapparate. It's one of the Weasel twins.
Draco finds himself looking down the end of the Weasel's wand, while the Weasel takes a look around at the damage. Draco takes the opportunity to turn on the spot and vanish with a loud crack.
"You have failed again. All of you!"
None of them look up.
Draco tries to breathe steadily but can feel his entire body shaking with fear. So many attacks attempted and failed. He clears his mind, imagining a blank space, and begins to feel slightly calmer.
"Give me one good reason not to kill all of you, this instant!"
"Lord Voldemort only has so much patience. You have been defeated by children, several times now. Not even graduated from Hogwarts! Mere children! Draco is the only one who should have any difficulty, he is, after all, a child himself."
Draco feels like he should resent this comment, but perhaps it will save his skin this time.
"Nevertheless, he has been receiving training from my most trustworthy servant, and coming from such a noble family as he does, I would expect better. Would you agree, Draco?"
"Yes, my Lord. I shall beat them next time."
"Will you all try to do better next time?"
There is a general murmur of agreement but Draco keeps his mouth shut tightly. He knows better than to answer to a question which involves the word 'try'.
"Is that it? You will merely try? Draco is the only one who did not answer that question, and he has assured me that he will do better. There is no try involved. Draco, you may leave us."
Draco gets up and leaves the room quickly, running as fast as he can through the stone corridors, up the stairs to the main area of the house. He pulls off his Death Eater robes, slings them in a drawer and disappears out of the kitchen door, wanting to outrun the screams which he knows he will soon hear.
Once outside the boundaries of the house, he disapparates, and finds himself on a chilly beach.
Taking a seat on a rock, he stares out into the horizon, trying to make out where exactly the sea turns into sky. He shivers as the breeze wraps around him, a blanket of coldness. The half moon is reflected in the still sea. There are no ships, no disruptions, just the gentle lapping as small, barely noticeable waves break on the shore.
His hands are shaking, and he tells himself that it's because of the cold, even though he knows it is much more likely to be the effect of what he has just gone through. Duels with some of the most competent wizards followed by an interrogation with the Dark Lord.
He shivers again.
At twenty five minutes past twelve he disapparates, and can clearly see the outline of a petite female, walking towards to woods. Her face is slightly illuminated by the half moon, and he recognises the features as belonging to Granger. He sits down, and waits for her to come to him.
She calls him by his first name, and it is the first time in a long time that the name has been said without a patronising tone attached to it, or with a sneer. It is being said with something which seems unfamiliar. And it makes him shiver.