Author's Foreword: It's been great fun writing this little story, if a bit of a scattered experience undoubtedly. When I left for Panama in July I had only done about half of it and then a month later when i returned I nearly finished it but only now got around to editing and finishing it correctly because I started my college fall term a week after I got back. Some of you will probably be dissatisifed with the ending but be mindful that I chose it very specifically for I strongly believe it is the most fitting regardless. Enjoy.

Mudblood of You Dreams: Part 6

"And I can tell that you have come to burn me down,

And I am at your feet in ashes.

"And this will end in tears with all lost and none found -

But I will have my revenge." "Sunset Marquis", Courtney love

Hermione was seized by the surreal take of circumstances appropriately: In a rush exceeding time and reason, Harry and herself were storming towards the Slytherin dungeons to "save" Draco. Somehow, anyway. Needlessly said, their being without clue or direction drastically lowered the chances of success, logically speaking anyway, not that that had any bearing on their mode of pursuit. Rather, Hermione interpreted Harry's extraordinary bout of moral regard for the enemy second only to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Draco Malfoy in crystal fact, nothing more than that intoxication to save others that Harry was vociferously noble for. Be it as it may, it was of little matter that Draco Malfoy was the endangered victim, and that was simply because Harry was the most moral person she knew all the time, not at his own convenience; hence, the matter of conflict was merely that there was a victim in endangerment. Harry had broadcasted bluntly how appalled he was by her recent track record clearly, but once Hermione got to explaining the mysterious, malignant peril spawning Draco this evening, it did not withstand Harry's instinctive dash to save Draco's life. He, Harry, was compelled by shock and utmost vigor, or so Hermione noted appreciatively. Immediately, the two had evasively sped around the Great Hall and inconspicuously made their descent into the dungeons.

And it was not long into their tip-toe creep through the dimly-lit stone passageway before their antagonist became a three-dimensional barricade that unideally demolished their infiltration:

Lucius Malfoy towered the shadows of the corner ahead tyrannically, a mere thirteen feet to their forward, visibly gleeful rather than bothered by the enemy disturbance at hindsight. Suspending their lives with a point of his wand, a loss of fearlessness for a catch of fearfulness inundated in them instantaneously as they struggled to face the fifty foot giant afront. Hermione and Harry separately shuddered at the paradoxical pulse shouldering Malfoy's harsh, inhuman hiss, catching them off guard. "Throw your wands aside NOW! If you want to live that is. Potter, you filthy half-breed, we meet again - " Lucius turned to Hermione and spouted a bulge of laughter at his own sarcastic options, arrogantly continuing his mockery even more maliciously. " ...And how nicely we are joined by you, Granger, his filthy little Mudblood sidekick." Lucius spared few a moment to appreciatively survey the profiles of his terrified, dwarf-turned hostages, and it visibly greatened the liveliness already ignited on his features; no more did he beam, though, than in his murderous and maddened, delight-stricken smile. His eyes rolled between them slyly in a pulverizing moment that felt as though they were being looked through, like Lucius' grey eyes were two dissenting x-rays.

They were the eyes of Satan, no doubt.

He maintained a firm, perfect grip on his wand and scoffed arrogantly to show for it. "I would guess stupidly if I were to assume this was some sort of bizzare coincidence, Potter, am I correct?" Lucius blazed his shiny white teeth at him, arching his left eyebrow with very sarcastic affection. "I rather venture the three of us were chanced with this lovely surprised meeting because you were up to something no good!" Lucius sharpened the tone of his hiss, enunciating himself with a clear of his throat that was still gracious, if swayed contentiously; psychologically, of course, Malfoy seethed his grey eyes through them again, blazing as if they were a lightning rod that sparkled in hazardous rampancy. "You scum, Potter, don't tell me you dare try to interfere with my plans tonight?"

Harry had froze some time ago, now taken from his feet at the direct interrogation, the surprise struggling him indecisively; he weighed whether to find a helpful response somewhere in his mind, alongside whether he should give a response at all, if he were assuming either option could be less terrible atall. Harry attempted to compose himself calmly, settling his trembling nerves and muscles mildly, if at all truthfully. This was not custom for Harry to so pridelessly cower to anyone so egocentrically evil, which Harry felt only a supernatural drawing allowed him to succumb this. Thus, in a raspy tone at the persuasion of a divine power or otherwise, in a raspy tone Harry said evenly (somewhat), "Maybe." That was all he could think to say, far from clever. Luckily, the first bout sufficed the second, "Expecting to just stroll on out through the front door, Mr. Malfoy?" Harry tried to return Lucius' sardonic smile but failed pitifully to equalize a match.

Lucius laughed lightly at Harry as though he were half-impressed by the secondary. "Indeed I was, Harry Potter, but I must thank you for making yourselves a bit of fun for me. What a nice gestured reward, only moments after I formidably completed such a mission!" He folded his hands together excitedly.

Hermione bravely interrupted without invitation, surprising herself more than them. "What have you done

with Draco, Mr. Malfoy?" Hermione lashed out angrily, showing the true colors inside herself, her compassion. "Don't you touch him!" It was a bout of cheek beyond belief, if not just a bit reckless.

Harry looked over at her desperately, frustrated by the uncontrollable situation, and wondered why Hermione chose now to act so uncharacteristically stupid. Now, Lucius actually flinched slightly at her proud and threatening words that had been brutally launched at himself. His smiled faded away completely in the dozen or so moments following, replaced by calculative, observing x-ray eyes. Studiously, he deadlocked at Hermione sharper than ever, it disputable whether he was at all blinking. Finally, Lucius let out a barbaric sound that was half a scoff and half a hollowed laugh. "It's too late for that, Mudblood, filth like your kind do not scare me hesitant with frivolous threats. Stupid little girl, dare you speak to me like that!" Lucius bowed triumphantly at how crestfallen Hermione became at these cold, too clear words.

"He''s done his job ... Draco's ... no, he can't be ... where is he?" Hermione cried out, bursting into reluctant tears as her heart raced like a marathon; it was nothing, however, like the one crippling her mind with panicky thoughts. This was Lucius Malfoy they were dealing with, and Hermione would be a fool to assume anything but the worst. "Where's Draco?" Hermione exclaimed her demanded , recklessly acidic, speaking out of turn for the second time in a single minute, despite her flood of unstoppable tears. Lucius just folded his hands together calmly, visibly much too pleased with himself. Unsurprisingly, this apparentness again brought Hermione into a blanch of fury, "TELL ME! Tell me if you're so proud of your fine work, that of which you sickly consider an accomplishment! WHERE IS DRACO!" Her tone was was so ill-intentioned it was as if Hermione had planned the occasion precisely - the announcement of her death wish perse.

Harry immediately felt as if somehow struck his stomach with a ball-and-chain torture device, alarmed beyond his imagination. Reflexively, Harry waved a warning hand at Hermione, begging her to stop despite his hopelessness-stricken face. "Hermione -" he murmured at the corner of his mouth subtly, or seemingly anyway, tilting over eye-to-eye pleadingly so only she could hear, and then understandably half-choked when his try was cut off by Malfoy.

Quicker than time would have allowed, Lucius vocally made his notice clear by a very complicit response. "Well, well, well, isn't that a bit prideless for the famous Harry Potter, the hero, the boy who lived to tell his defeat of The Dark Lord? Tell me something, Mudblood, what brings you here anyway? That is the first question that needs an IMMEDIATE ANSWER, mind you, any of yours are irrelevant obviously, that you know already." Lucius smiled diabolically in an intentionally painful pause, then dramatically voiced his anger for the first time. The passionate tone released his own strike of fury much worse than Hermione's, not unpredictably. "By what DISGRACE be it that Draco Malfoy would ally with his worst enemies, his inferiors! Why, Potter, Mudblood, why were you trying to save Draco tonight, what the bloody hell has possessed your apparent rashness to this extent? Though his infuriated tone was anything but kind, Harry got the impression he would share his partake in this after they'd explained theirs. It was strange and not explainable, obviously, to Lucius' dismay and it might have seeped vulnerability into his tone.

Hermione, impressed by the ultimatum, obediently opened her mouth to explain some strand truth greatly stretched, but nothing came out. Her wretched state must have interfered bafflement, because all the words she'd planned on saying rearranged themselves in a jigsaw of perplexity. Sensibility, Hermione thought sarcastically, was the apparent disintegration to her mind flow. There was no passable lie thinkable, not even close , so making up something would heighten the intent of Malfoy's fury. There was only a void of unrecovered speechlessness in the succeeding moments, neither summoning elaboration nor serial, reluctant responses. Thus, she abashed an eyeing plead for mercy in her fight to conceal their deadly secret, despite pride, reluctantly whimpered.

And yet Lucius was satisfied, temporarily anyway, entertained by apparent appeasement. He was less intensified by impatience now, folding his arms at his chest loosely, and momentously appreciated the succeeded reaction: superiority was the twisted reaction Lucius had undoubtedly hoped for, saying as much himself. "Cat got your tongue, Mudblood? Fine, have it your way then. I'll tell my story, mine and Draco's as of moments ago." He again cleared his throat theatrically before beginning the revelation. "I alerted Draco that tonight his actual schooling would begin, the training to become a Death Eater of course, a few days ago through owl post. He knew it was coming and I did not care about any reluctance Draco may or may not feel, considering Draco had never failed me diligence and obedience. I expected I would make a success of Draco just as I promised The Dark Lord." Lucius spoke calmly as if he were reciting a public address, a man without shame or wor worry about the reception to his words. There was a disregarding apathy for Draco completely, too clear in his mirthful tone.

He was no father of Draco's.

Hermione and Harry sneered at Lucius together, hatefulyl considering his callous pursuit. Loftiness contained Malfoy's tone before he pronounced a gesture: He cleared his throat with suspenseful enunciation, threateningly lunged a double-take of his sword at them, then redirected it at them more forcefully. "Alas, tell me why you are here for Draco before all else. NOW!" he demanded madly, intimidatingly blanching at them. Once satisfied with their largely increased incredulation, Lucius hissed the ultimate. "Now, or I'll use my favorite curse- the dear old Cruciatus Curse, many a time proven useful in my day. But you mustn't make me use that to compel your submission, aren't I right Potter? That you know too well."

Instantaneously, Harry shuddered chillingly at the sharp memory that first-handed how inconceivably excruciating the Cruciatus Curse was.

Hermione started off balance backward, her own immediate consideration of this apparent as she braved speech, gulping first. "Yes, I know it well and will proudly admit to you that I belonged his very first dose of profound, romantic feelings for anyone." Though these formal words would doubtlessly frustrate him beyond all else, somehow Hermione felt a greater source of courage emerge from her feeling in control of her cleverness. Harry shifted his head to Hermione instantly, full of alarm but not without being moderately impressed by her audacity.

But whether or not Lucius' degree of upset would increasingly do some serious damage to the situation, Harry and Hermione would neither know nor cease to wonder, and why? Because a great interruption proceeded that heatedly caused the transfer of power that changed things drastically: Severus Snape coincidentally left his office and had absently turned the corner two passages later only to witness the marvelous scene. Snape was so stunned it punctured a mark of agility throughout his demeanor the two hostages had never before seen in more than four years previous. Identically feeling perhaps more dreadful that someone's else involvement would likely be fatal, Hermione and Harry were taken aback for the second time within a manner of fifteen seconds; Snape managed somehow to prove his collected, cool demeanor "everlasting" so to speak, because without a moment's waste he immediately whipped out his wand swiftly and gracefully. Despite his animosity, Harry could be more than impressed by Snape's personification of a true warrior. It did not take long for Harry to finally understand how Snape had been an elite Death Eater of Voldemort's league of prestige. Wit perfect geometrical precision Snape threatened his wand by the target of Lucius' cold-blooded heart. "Lucius Malfoy, we meet again!" Snape sarcastically murmured, like Lucius were a well-respected acquaintance of some special kind.

Lucius visibly was by no means lofty alike the millisecond previous, his entire body tremulous by fright. Lucius Malfoy was never characterized without guard, without total (or apparent) confidence of self. Harry and Hermione both speechlessly wondered exactly how ignorant they were about Snape's previous life as a Death Eater. Not to mention what Lucius Malfoy was ignorant about, evidently. Stunned by panic, Lucius unhesitantly threw his hands up , forfeiting, above his head and positioned surrender. He choked humility onto a cajoling smile, demeaning every bit of himself nonthreateningly. Harry and Hermione were faintly conscious of the scene which they themselves were protoganists to, the suspense too overwhelming for human partake; it in principle it was too much for them to hope or anticipate. too paralyzed by terror to feel sensationally swept in any direction. Drowning, still Hermione pointlessly fought it anyway, had been for the last few moments, struggling breathlessly without a distant endpoint in hindsight. Don't give up, Hermione. Feeble words of encouragement echoed from a parallel her. Think of Draco .... No, how will that help us? He's probably dead. Hermione had to confessthe solidarity of that last sentence, that in all liklihood Draco had been murdered for betrayal; then, a feeling far more potent than that which she'd succumbed, the lack thereof that is of numbness, sky rocketed through Hermione and dominated her every followed breath, thought, movement and heartbeat ...

"Severus, you are one of my oldest friends - Not to mention one of my closest allies in our days together as servants to the Dark Lord." Immobilized, Lucius spoke so very softly in a plea for mercy. Reactively, Snaped indeed dualed his attentiveness to Lucius' words and to his warrior stance in perfect maintenance. Lucius smiled almost compassionately, an impossible evolutionary phenomena manifesting before their eyes, and continuing, "I wonder why you, Severus - You, a former most trusted novelty in the allegiance to the Dark Lord - would have been so empathetic as to pity Dumbledore's minions whom were less pitiful than just unimportant; a thought that has possessed me the last ten years, what an insensible puzzlement." Now Lucius spoke concernedly for Snape alone and completely, looking pensive, wide-eyed with wistful thoughts , his oddness very curious. "The Dark Lord cherished your talents and the greatness you put its use to, Severus, and I'm absolutely certain you resent your status now, the belittling contrast as Dumbledore's pawn: Dumbledore played you his instrument as so but not rightfully, and if you save me and redeem allegiance to the Dark Lord, I promise that united we shall make that old crackpot pay!" Lucius was like Draco in some respects, too obvious to miss now in the way they both exhibited the right skills of provocation when helpless to personify, and it was uncomfortably familiar as Hermione watched the blindsighting, human rehearsal that Lucius instrumented pleadingly.

I've never met such a demonic person. Hermione clenched her firsts spastically against unfamiliar excesses of lividness.And then suddenly - before Severus could do anymore than smirk condescendingly at Lucius - Hermione became possessed by the ultimate: In a momentous bit of superpower, Hermione dodged rationale as she, entirely unnoticed, halfway leaped downward and speedily retrieved her wand off the stone floor, balanced back up with not too much of a stumble and equipped her wand. Unhesitantly, Hermione meticulously held her wand outward at Malfoy in a ferocious gain of esteem, then tumultuously declared, "Petrificus Totalus!" on cue with the sideways notice of Lucius' eye. The spell sent sizzling gold sparks that struck Malfoy paralyzed instantly, knocking him backward onto the dungeon's hard surface and cutting off his reactive, painful cry before it could even sound. Every bone in his body was completely immovable, lay but a human statute really, and the surprised dread that had overtaken him face was the only source of animation that remained on Malfoy.

Obviously, Harry and Snape were flabbergasted beyond belief. Their faces revealed no distinctive qualities but rather were indifferently primitive in a plain show of incredulation, taken aback by some unearthly phenomenon seemingly. Where did that come form, the two bewildered wizards wondered, and how could she have been so clever enough to just be so lucky enough?

No one spoke for several moments as they fathomed the acknowledgment of what had just happened, let it hang in the air as their nerves revitalized. A moment ago they were in the face of one of their worst enemies thinkable after walking right into their own death wish, and it seemed impossible they would have survived. And yet it had ended at their better half, they had not escaped Malfoy's clutches, they had defeated him inexplicably. The fact that she'd been able to inconspicuously regain her wand was itself more than astounding, but of course made trivial by the much greater miracle that Hermione had overcome the most powerful Death Eater of them all, Lucius Malfoy. Understandably, the dispension of the suspense, of the horror, of the hopelessness awarded its moment of aftershock, and which was proceeded by Harry and Snape almost simultaneously snapping back into the moment of things.

It wasn't over yet.

Hermione, meanwhile, was finishing her take of repeated deep breaths while trying to recollect into steadiness, finally managing to gasp harshly to Snape desperately. "Draco, we have to find out about Draco! Professor, please, Malfoy did something terrible to Draco in the Slytherin Common Room! Please take us through the entrance, Professor, he could be .... Malfoy said as much himself ..." Hermione trailed off incoherently as tears trailed down her cheeks copiously, that a battle Hermione Granger could never win. All that mortal strength did not vaporize when confronted by human empathy of the kind that only Hermione could so preciously contain inside herself; no amount of anything could withstand the untouchable, too rare (tonight proven) compassion that Hermione strongly felt for others in pain. And it was that common link, that moral intertwine, that would have driven Hermione here tonight regardless of whether she still hated Draco. It is that pivotal quality that'd sailed Harry Potter and Hermione Granger into these poisonous waters that haunt tonight's blaze of crimson in the skies.

At this, Harry sharply lit up with alarm alike to her own but neither of them measured with the disturbed alertness that engulfed Snape's reaction. He reflexively wide-eyed her prudently, begging to differ. "Granger .... you're sure? What did Lucius say? Never mind it, we shall see what that creature has left for us." Hearing Snape's voice sound so tormented, so solemn, so discombobulated, to witness him in such a disfigured state was possibly as remarkable as encountering a World Wonder, but it lacked the satisfaction that the two of them (and especially Ron) would have idealized.

And thus, without his normal sneer of condescension or disrespect, nor with the presence of any three-dimensional emotion, the three marched together and found what they found in the Slytherins' chilling common room, and for once Harry did not feel so different from Snape after all.

Author's Afterword: I really enjoyed writing this story in the little increments over these past ten months. I planned it to be a bout of creative writing on a Saturday afternoon but it really turned into soemthing pretty substantive, or at least I would think so. I hope those of you who read know that I appreciate your doing so, and that I sincerely wish you took something useful from it.