Blind My Eyes, Sew Them Shut
"I shut my eyes in order to see." - Paul Gauquin
Chapter One: Darkness and Fear
She was being carried.
Who knew where, but she could feel wind on her skin, her limbs hanging, and the warm, living bind that held her weight. Were her eyes closed?
Hermione blinked. More darkness. Why was it so dark?
The realization hit her so hard she couldn't breathe.
She was blind, and being carried off by someone she didn't know.
Where was her wand? She tried to move her arms, but they wouldn't respond, as if they were held down by an un-liftable weight. The brunette witch tried again, fighting through her fatigue and desperately trying to command her limbs, but she simply couldn't summon the energy.
If she had her wand, she could be out of this predicament in two seconds! Even her wandless magic couldn't help her now, as she wasn't strong enough to use it; the time she needed the buggering stick of wood the most, she didn't have it.
"Just kill me," she rasped quietly, her throat burning. She tried to move again, but simply shivered.
"I'm not going to kill you, stupid."
Her breath caught. She'd know that voice anywhere.
Despite the sliver of relief she felt, Hermione wrinkled her nose as a familiar sense of irritation settled over her, one that in the past only he could cause. His voice was so close to her face it was only feasible that he was actually carrying her. Her heartbeat quickened as she tried to gain control of her limbs again, feel where her legs were in relation to her hands. Could she stretch out suddenly so he would drop her?
"Stop moving," he whispered angrily.
"What's going on? What are you doing?!" She coughed and gasped, her throat feeling like she had swallowed sand. "What…"
Hermione's dark eyes filled with tears as she was overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness. The more she tried to breathe to calm her heart, the more the deep frustration and agony felt from years of dealing with him weighed down on her. As she let the fatigue engulfed her, the only sensation she could feel was the weirdly warm stretch of fabric under her side, moving back and forth.
All she could do was run.
She had no wand, no help, no Harry, no Ron, and they were gaining on her, throwing hexes all around her. Where was she? She didn't know this city very well. Her only concern was to put distance between herself and the dark shapes behind her.
As she continued to run, she became aware of breathing above her, next to her, and warmth and cotton around her. The street faded slowly to black as a voice pervaded her senses.
"Stop it. You're creeping me out," Draco snapped, his breath warm against her cheek. Hermione flinched against it, bile rising in her throat as she collapsed backwards onto her elbows. She was no longer running; she tried to move her legs, realizing immediately from the nausea that her perception of up and down had reversed.
She still couldn't see, no matter how many times she blinked.
"I don't think so."
Hermione's heart fell as she realized that she had not been running; her hands and feet were bound with wiry shoelaces. She fought them by rubbing her wrists together, but her muscles hurt too much for her to attempt to break free with any real conviction.
The dampness from the ground below her began seeping into her jean clad knees. She tried to shuffle on the gritty layers of dead foliage. "What's creeping you out?"
"Your bloody eyes. They're pitch black all around. Now shut it."
She must have looked like an insect. "Where - "
"I said shut it," he spat, pushing her. She lost her balance and collapsed onto her stomach.
Her throat closed up as grainy mud mashed against her temple. "What's going on? Why are you doing this to me? Where are we?!"
Of course he wouldn't tell her where she was - she must have been captured. Oh gods, it had happened; she was finished. It was only a matter of time before she was killed.
No. She couldn't think like that, not when there was still an opportunity to escape, not when she had only been captured a short time before. She breathed deeply, forcing her heart to calm its furious beating.
She cried out in surprise as her arm was yanked backwards and she was dragged across wet leaves.
"Stay here," her captor said, and she felt a rush of biting air as he got up and moved away from her.
Draco Malfoy looked outside of their shelter, catching his breath and grounding his nerves. He'd been hiding there for days, following the two men sent to capture her and waiting for them to strike. After running all the way through the many suburbs and then down a rural road, he needed to make sure that they had not been followed in any way, for there was not as much tree cover here as he would have liked for a hiding spot. In the distance, even through the trees, he could see the glittering lights of the outskirts of Edinburgh. And though he'd taken care of the blokes that were after her by hand (or fist,) he wasn't absolutely sure they were alone. Draco had no wand to defend them if more came.
And then what was to become of his pathetic scheme to smash - or marginally disrupt - the big plans that the Death Eaters had?
He shivered with fear, as he had done many times in the past few weeks, at the thought of being found by them. The consequences were unspeakable. Whatever they were planning was big, potentially world-altering, and he was the only one who could stop it, the only one who knew. He shook his head, his hair falling into his eyes, and concentrated on steadying his breathing for a few seconds.
He could hear Hermione Granger crying from here, and her hollow pain offended him. Had he not saved her? So he had gotten fresh with her, so he had no intention of being friendly. She'd understand, even thank him later. Draco rolled his eyes and made his way back to her. "Shut it," he muttered, plopping down against the remains of a cracked stone fence.
She immediately stopped and rubbed her eyes against her shoulder. "What are you doing with me? Why can't I see?!"
"Look here," he said vehemently, "if you don't be quiet, we could be found by them. So for once, I need you to just shut your trap and do what I say."
Hermione tried to look at him, see his face, but she could only see darkness. Who was after them? The Order? If that was the case, then she should scream as loud as she could and try to break free.
But no. The Order didn't even know that she was in trouble… the Order didn't really exist anymore. Besides, she was supposed to be on a short holiday right now.
Who was he talking about?
Hermione shook her head, feeling her ruined shirt shift stiffly around her. Her clothes - a casual blue shirt and pair of jeans - were soiled through with sweat, dirt, water, and mud, and her hair had probably taken the worse of all four things. She could feel a cold itch on her scalp that she couldn't scratch and a rip in her sleeve that was letting dirt in underneath.
She choked up again, thinking of how she must look. She knew that Malfoy would be even more inclined to treat her like dirt now that she looked like it.
Though his master's back was turned to him, he could still feel her cold glare. He shuffled his feet, waiting for her reaction, waiting for her wrath to come down on him. He hadn't said a word to her yet, but he knew that she liked to operate without words. His master preferred to go and retrieve the information she needed from her subjects' brains, not their mouths.
Images from the night floated under his vision, and he tried in vain to repress them. The mudblood's back, running, turning corners, her brown hair a tangled fury behind her, spells flying all around her. As a black spell fringed with blue hit her on the back of the head, he'd peered around her to see the Malfoy boy, glaring.
He was shaking now, the memories becoming choppier as he felt his master's anger, her urgency to know how it ended. There was the Granger girl's eyes, staring blankly, inky black like an animal; his mate's twisting neck and the splintering sounds of bone; searing pain in his back and legs; Malfoy's retreating form, her legs hanging freely to his right, her head to his left...
And then there was nothing.
He came back into consciousness, his eyes settling on the skin of his master's luxuriously clad and creamy white shoulders. He dared not let his eyes linger for more than a moment.
"What happened next?" she asked quietly, her voice flat and crisp. He cringed and tried to hide what he did not want to say. It was no use.
"Define 'disappeared.'" Her hand clenched around her glass.
At first, Hermione could not figure out why he was carrying her - surely it was tiring him out, and surely he did not like the idea of touching a muggleborn, let alone carrying one. But when he'd set her down to pee, she understood.
He had no choice.
They were still in the forests, and the ground was covered with thick mud and fallen branches. Hermione was wearing sandals, brand new ones, that were completely ruined at this point, but she hadn't regained enough strength to hike. It was early summer, so the air was fresh around her, and it had definitely rained recently enough to keep the ground moist. Of course he still could have had her walk by herself, but he must have been trying to make good time - helping her pick through the forest would have taken three times as long, and when he carried her, it was much safer.
It also gave her an opportunity to think.
She tried not to think too much about the fact that he was indeed carrying her, because she really didn't know what to make of that. She should have felt disgusted, she realized, having him put his hands on her in such a way, but losing her eyesight and energy in her muscles had rearranged her priorities for the time being. Having gotten over the initial shock of her situation and fear of her captor, Hermione was now only concerned with figuring a way out of her situation that did not require the extra sense, and making the interim as painless as possible by not complaining.
Malfoy was not really talking to her except to tell her to shut it, which suited her just fine. She didn't really like the sound of his voice anyway.
She only spoke a few words to him to gather key information about their location, which she estimated to be somewhere north of Edinburgh. If they were traveling in the trees along the way, it would only be a matter of time before they entered the magical part of the forest, and perhaps came upon some magical villages some time after that. But until they found a village in that magical forest, no map could help him navigate. He would have to pick a direction and stick with it.
She'd also learned that they were travelling alone.
Ugh. Blind and alone with Malfoy in the woods.
Being deprived of her eyesight gave him an enormous level of control over her - she couldn't see him and what he was doing, she couldn't defend herself properly if she needed to, and she still wasn't sure what was going on.
He would also need other supplies, like water, food, shelter, toilet breaks…
Hermione shook her head. She wasn't even really sure where he was taking her, or how long they would be in the woods. How could she think about something like using the toilet?
She would rather have had her eyesight to ensure her safety during tasks such as that, especially with him around. Now that she couldn't see him, she wondered where he was when he set her down and if he could possibly be close to her or watching her when she thought he was far away. One thing he could do was move very quietly when he wanted to.
The fact that he probably wasn't going to let her have things like bathing and food - which in her situation would be a luxury - made everything worse. She'd heard her share of horror stories about being captured; if she was going to escape, she'd have to stop fantasizing about him treating her like a human being.
Though she knew that they were alone in the forest, and he had apparently not departed on his journey with the other two men in tow, she could assume nothing. For all she knew they were running from Harry Potter himself. Perhaps Malfoy was expecting to meet up with the other blokes later? Ha, they should have known better than to leave only one person to watch after her. She was a loose bludger, wand or not.
If only she had her strength and her vision. The vision was gone... the strength would take a few days.
Hermione still had her other senses, which had on account of her blindness gotten reasonably better in a short amount of time. She tried to determine where they were based on the steps Malfoy took; he was avoiding roads, stopping in thickly covered areas, and only setting her down to rest his tired arms. She could also tell if it was daylight or moonlight by the sounds and the temperatures she heard and felt, though she had no inclination of the time.
A few hours later he set her down roughly against a tree and unbound her hands and feet. This was the first time he had done this in the 24 hours that he had been dragging her along. She ran her hands over bumpy roots, trying to figure out where they were now by identifying the type of tree she rested against. They could possibly have crossed over into the magical part of this forest - if they were walking in the direction that she suspected. Taking off her bounds was probably not necessary; her hands gave her a little more of an advantage that was never given to a prisoner.
"Aren't you tired of carrying me?" Hermione asked angrily into the darkness, pausing in her tree-feeling to rub some life into her abused wrists. She licked her lips, wondering if her lip balm was still in her front pocket.
"You have no idea," he retored, his unsteady breathing apparent. "Fucking pricks."
Besides being taken aback by his language, she was surprised that he placed the blame on the men that were chasing her and not herself - surely he wouldn't pass up an opportunity to pick at her? "Who are you running from?"
There was an entire minute of silence as he caught his breath somewhere off to her right. He then responded, "People we don't want to be captured by."
Oh, that was really clear. Now she could include the police and the Russian mafia. Hermione exhaled in frustration, realizing that she couldn't even tell what kind of tree she was leaning against. "Why should I believe you?"
"I don't need you to believe anything," he said, picking her up unexpectedly. She squeaked and squirmed, causing him to clamp her arms at her sides with his arms. "I just need to keep you from them." His voice was full of contempt, but she recognized a statement of protection when she heard one.
Whether or not she believed it was another story altogether.
Author's note / Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor am I profiting off the display of this story in any way. I just like to write :)