Blind My Eyes, Sew Them Shut
"I shut my eyes in order to see." - Paul Gauquin
Chapter One: Darkness and Fear
She was moving. Who knew where, but she could feel wind moving over her, feel herself bouncing, and feel the warm, living bind that held her up. Were her eyes closed?
She consciously made herself open her eyes.
The realization hit her so hard she couldn't breathe; she was blind and was now being carried off by some Death Eater.
Who knew what they would do to her once they reached their destination? The Death Eaters came back full force not two months after the Dark Lord's demise, with a new leader and a new murderous purpose. By killing her, they would be delivering a major blow to the other side, which would lose a valuable thinker and possibly set Harry Potter over the edge. But what did they want with her if they didn't want her dead?
If she had a 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, not even struggling. How could she when she couldn't move? Her body felt so unbelievably tired; her throat was still burning.
"I'm not going to kill you, mudblood."
She'd know that voice anywhere - it was the snarling drawl of Draco Malfoy. Despite her fear, Hermione wrinkled her nose in repulsion. She would have preferred someone else to be carrying her off - Malfoy held a personal grudge that could only worsen her situation. Hermione tried to quell her rapid heartbeat as she realized that he was actually carrying her - which meant that he had more control over her than she would have wanted.
The fact that he was carrying her also meant that he didn't have a wand either.
"Stop moving, you're touching me," he said as she touched his arm.
Hermione's dark eyes filled with tears. Not only was she being carried off by Death Eaters, but she was also being carried off by someone who hated her. There was no sympathy for her anywhere now - she was completely alone and helpless. "Just shut up for now, or I will kill you." He spoke in a harsh whisper this time.
Hermione cried silently, letting the wind dry the tears and create a dirty mask to hide her face in.
All she could do was run.
She had no wand, no help, no Harry, no Ron, and they were gaining on her, throwing spells all around her. Who knew where she was running - she didn't know this city very well. Her only concern was to put distance between herself and the Death Eaters behind her.
As she continued to run, she became aware of breathing above her, next to her, and warmth and fabric around her. The street faded slowly to black as a voice pervaded her senses.
"Stop it. You're creeping me out," Draco said, his breath warm against her cheek. She flinched against it, bile rising in her throat as she collapsed backwards onto her elbows. She was no longer running, yet she felt dizzy, as if she had been hung upside down. She still couldn't see, no matter how many times she blinked.
"I don't think so, Granger." Hermione's heart fell as she realized that she had not been running; her hands and feet were bound with 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.
She wanted to cry, to be alone. It was freezing wherever she was; the ground below her was damp moss covered with gritty layers of dead foliage. She tried to roll her shoulders to ease some of the discomfort. "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 onto her stomach with his foot.
Her throat closed up as grimy dirt mashed against her forehead. Of course he wouldn't tell her where she was. She was a prisoner, not worthy of anything but contempt.
I am going to die here, in darkness and fear.
No. She couldn't think like that, not when she still had 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. Death was not something she should think about now, especially since adrenaline wasn't making her feel self-sacrificing.
She cried out in surprise as her arm was yanked backwards and she was dragged across wet and gritty ground.
"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 almost a full week, following the two Death Eaters sent to capture her and waiting for them to strike. After running all the way through the many suburbs and then down a busy road that turned into a rural one, 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 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 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, sitting against the remains of a cracked stone fence.
She immediately stopped and rubbed her eyes against her shoulder. "What are you doing with me?"
"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 - 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 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 from 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 at him, 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 understand 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 in thick mud and fallen branches. Hermione was wearing sandals, brand new ones, that were completely ruined at this point, but she'd regained enough strength to walk. 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 trip 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.
Of course, 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 villiages 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. Blinded and alone with Malfoy in the woods.
Hermione was no stranger to camping, and though she was being held against her will, she could be certain that Malfoy was not accustomed to this sort of thing. That meant a lot of different things. How was he going to get food? As far as she knew, Malfoy probably had no idea how to cook, having relied on house elves for his entire life. He was also not likely to know the types of plants they could eat, magical and regular, nor was he one to forage around in the dirt. 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 just had to trust him for some things. And she was not big on trusting him with anything at all.
He would also need other supplies, like water, baths, toilet breaks, and all sorts of other private things that would now be harder to obtain since they were away from civilization. She would rather have had her eyesight to ensure her safety during such tasks, 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.
Of course, she still had no idea where he was taking her or who they were running from. Though she knew that they were alone in the forest, and he had apparently not departed on his journey with the other two Death Eaters 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 cannon, 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, which was a good sign - at least he knew that. 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.
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 two days 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 into the darkness, pausing in her tree-feeling to rub some life into her abused wrists. She licked her lips, wondering if her chapstick was still in her front pocket.
"You have no idea," he said, his unsteady breathing apparent. "Fucking pricks."
Besides being taken aback by his potty-mouth, she was surprised that he placed the blame on the Death Eaters 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 trust you?"
"I don't need your bloody trust," he said, picking her up unexpectedly. She squeaked and squirmed, causing him to clamp her arms at her sides with his arm and chest. "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.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor am I profiting off the display of this story in any way.