Chapter 12:

Someone Saved My Life Tonight

A bloodcurdling scream ripped from Hermione's throat.

Sitting up, her heart pounding heavily in her chest, she covered her mouth tightly with a shaky hand.

Panting, she strained her ears, listening intently and when she heard Ginny stir gently in her sleep, she closed her eyes and cursed herself silently.

"You okay?" Ginny's voice was thick with sleep.

Cracking an eyelid, Hermione glanced in her roommate's direction.

Illuminated in the soft glow of Hermione's bedside lamp, she could see Ginny propped up on one elbow, her red hair a tangled fiery halo around her head—her eyes still closed in sleep.

Hermione dropped her hand to her lap and swallowed. "I'm fine. Just go back to sleep."

Ginny grunted drowsily, "M'kay."

With a sigh, she dropped her head back to her pillow heavily.

Leaning her forearms on her knees, Hermione scrubbed her face roughly with her hands.

It was a nightmare—a nightmare she knew well . . . because it was the same nightmare that plagued her sleep every night: A nightmare about darkness, and cold, and creatures lurking deep within the decrepit crypt that was now her mind.

She had come to expect it.

And yet, night after night, she woke up screaming—trembling and gasping for breath, her face often wet with tears.

Her roommates had been her rock . . . her solace.

With each whimper, cry, or scream that exited Hermione's mouth, they were instantly by her side—comforting her, reminding her that everything was okay and that she was safe, reiterating the fact that she couldn't be hurt.

Quietly, they calmed her until she was able to get back to sleep.

Sometimes their calming helped, and she was able to fall asleep once more—her nightmares just thin memories.

And on those nights, she dreamt of Draco.

But soon, even their words didn't help.

She knew they were right—knew that nothing was going to harm her—but she couldn't help the terrors that plagued her dreams, invading her head and causing her body to react in violent, involuntary ways.

And she hated it—hated that she couldn't control her actions; hated that she was bringing her anxiety and irrational fear to her closest friends.

So, it didn't surprise her when their physical worry and comfort soon became only words—spoken from the warmth and security of their own beds.

And she didn't blame them when their mercy slowly began to dissipate, when even their words of support began to disappear . . . until finally, just as she expected, they left her—seeking a quieter, more peaceful solitude.

So now, it was just Ginny . . . and to be honest, it blew Hermione's mind that even she had stayed.

But she had.

She had endured it all—the screaming and restlessness, the light that always had to remain on, the distance and depression—but never fully getting an answer that she deserved.

Because Hermione herself didn't have that answer.

The only answer she had was that she was broken—permanently disabled, both emotionally and mentally, and she couldn't find closure, no matter how many friends were by her side.

She couldn't even believe that any friends remained by her side.

And as the moths passed, bringing with it new seasons—fall rapidly changing into Winter—she could feel the rumors beginning to die down.

People weren't talking about it as much . . . .

Instead, they were slowly getting back to their own lives, pulling away and leaving her to battle her demons alone . . . or at least she felt utterly alone.

The dreams provided insight into what had happened deep in the earth . . . but Hermione couldn't be sure if they were real, or simply her subconscious' way of dealing with the trauma.

Without confirmation of her thoughts, she found that she was still unable to distinguish dream from reality. But she knew that confirmation would never come, as Draco hadn't spoken another word about their days spent in the Earth since the morning outside of the Great Hall.

Looking up, Hermione glanced at the clock and sighed heavily. At this hour, she knew that she wasn't going to be able to get back to sleep. The sun would be rising soon and her nerves were still on edge.

Throwing the blankets back from her legs, she swung her feet to the ground, dressed quietly, and padded silently from the room.

Yawning, she slowly made her way down the stairs, her eyes burning.

Crossing the Common Room, she sat heavily in a chair by the window, her eyes tracing the frost trails that kissed the panes of glass.

It was getting colder out—the snow beginning to blanket the ground, creating a wispy, whimsical land of enchantment. The holidays were nearing, but Hermione didn't feel the usual excitement that came with them.

She felt out of sorts . . . like an out of body experience, slowly watching her life slip by as the world around her continued on in its normalcy.


It was a word that Hermione once took for granted.

But now . . . .

Now, she would give anything to only achieve it once again.

Leaning her head back, she watched as snowflakes fell lazily, swirling circled patterns across the darkened sky.

They danced and shimmered before her and suddenly, her eyes were getting heavy.

Relaxing, her eyelashes fluttered lightly until they finally came to rest against her porcelain cheeks.

The ground was hard and she was cold.

Turning her head, she stared into the sky—squinting toward the small hole that broke through the earth, producing the small amount of light that dimly lit the area around her.

Snowflakes fell, twisting and twirling like drunken ballerinas—beautiful in their chaotic movement. They fluttered and floated, until they came to rest gently on her face, hair, and clothing.

She watched, mesmerized, as they slowly melted—disappearing as they transformed into small liquid droplets.

Exhaling, her breath formed foggy puffs above her mouth—a visible indication of the temperature. Silently, the veil churned and coiled, snaking almost demonically toward the sky.

She felt alone—knew she was alone—and it terrified her.

Curling tighter on her side, she shivered as tears brimmed in her eyes, threatening to spill over.

Suddenly, she felt pressure pressing lightly against her back. Slowly, an arm reached out, draping across the curve of her waist and pulled her tightly against a warm body.

She felt breath—hot and even—blowing gently across her neck. Shutting her eyes, she focused on the feeling of the person behind her—how she felt in the tight embrace: warm and secure—and without looking, she already knew who it was.


She didn't know why, but without warning, she was lightly dragging her fingers up Draco's arm, feeling the contours and ridges of his well defined muscles.

His lips began to nibble lightly on her neck, teasing as he tasted her flesh until they found her ear. Carefully, his teeth gently grazing the sensitive lobe.

Sighing, she tipped her head back, allowing him better access and rolled her hips into his lap.

He groaned, burying his face into her neck, and she felt his body harden against her.

Moving down her jaw line, Draco's hands roamed her torso, pulling at the fabric until he was able to slip his hand underneath her shirt. His touch was warm and slowly, he trailed upwards until he cupped her breast—palming it lightly through her bra.

Turning her head, she caught Draco's eyes and gasped at how dark they were—dark with unfathomable lust.

Softly, she pressed her lips against his.

He tasted sweet, his lips soft and warm, and she gasped—heat rushing to her lower abdomen—when his tongue gradually slipped from his mouth to tangle lightly with hers.

Moaning against her mouth, he deepened their kiss.

Hermione spun in his arms, pressing firmly against his body as she twisted her fingers in his hair. Rocking, she undulated against him gasping as new sensations and pleasures pulsed through her body.

Draco rolled, his body easily slipping on top of Hermione's.

Wrapping her leg around his waist, Hermione pulled him closer, shivering as his hardened length pressed against her aching core.

She lifted her hips up against him—wanting more . . . needing more.

Abruptly, he pulled away.

Hermione's eyes opened. Panting, she stared at him.

"This doesn't change anything. You know that, right?" Draco's voice sounded odd.


"This isn't going to change anything . . . now or later . . . it's all just going to stay the same."

Hermione shook her head. "No. It doesn't have to be that way."

Draco's eyes looked sad. "No. It does. We agreed."

"Agreed? Who agreed? I don't remember agreeing! Why won't you just talk to me? I need you. Can't you see that?"

"I'm sorry . . . but it's better this way. Please . . . just forget this ever happened."

Hermione's voice cracked. "I can't."

"You have to."


"Because it's time to wake up."

She gripped at his cloak. "No . . . no please, don't leave me. I don't want to be alone . . . I can't be alone anymore."

Draco leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose gently. "Wake up, Hermione."


"Wake up, Hermione."

Hermione's eyes fluttered open. Harry was standing above her, his hand gently on her arm.

Disoriented, it took her a moment to gather her bearings.

She was still sitting by the window in the Common Room. The sun had risen, illuminating the brilliant snow outside.

Her Housemates were beginning to make their way from their dorms, dressed and ready for their morning classes.

Laughing and talking, they barely glanced in her direction as they bustled from the Common Room and to the Great Hall for breakfast.

Harry looked at her in concern. "Are you alright?"

Hermione swallowed thickly. Her body felt weak, her head throbbing.

She didn't know what she had just experienced, but she knew that it wasn't just a normal dream.

Looking outside, she silently watched the snowflakes fall.

And suddenly, it was as if time were moving backwards.

The flakes were falling away from the earth—disappearing back into the sky. The ground slowly uncovered, exposing the dead, bare ground.

She stared in confusion, trying to understand what she was seeing, but abruptly, she was walking through the woods, leaning heavily against Draco—broken and bleeding.

No . . . she was being carried—gripping Draco's neck tightly, shivering against his body.

But now, it was dark—and they were stumbling through the murk, blind and looking over their shoulders in apprehension.

Hermione felt her stomach twist in memory. She didn't want to be here anymore.

As if on cue, they were suddenly in the opening deep within the earth, shivering against one another, trying to find warmth and comfort. She was trying to focus, but her head was throbbing too much—her body sore, her stomach empty and hollow.

Draco was hurt . . . his ankle swollen and hot to the touch. She touched his leg, her fingers so cold against him.

And they were twisted within each others' arms, grasping and groping in animalistic need.

This isn't going to change anything.

They were fighting . . . yelling and blaming one another—separated across a wide, open space.

Snow fell steadily, covering them, and she was pressed against his body, wishing her warmth into him as he shivered beside her.


Their wands drawn, the earth opened up beneath them . . . and they were falling.

Hermione paled, her stomach churning violently.

With a gasp, she pressed her hand to her mouth and tried to swallow the bile that threatened from her mouth.

Harry gripped her arm tightly. "Hermione? Hermione, are you okay?"

Mechanically, Hermione shook her head. "I need to talk to Draco."

Harry's forehead creased.

Nervously, he bit his lip, his eyes adverting Hermione's gaze.

"What? Harry . . . what is it?"

Harry licked his lips. "Malfoy's in the hospital wing."

Hermione blanched. "What?"

"He freaked out yesterday in Divination . . . I mean, completely lost it."

Hermione gripped Harry's arm tightly. "What happened?"

"He fell asleep and just woke up screaming. Nobody could calm him down. I don't even think he knew where he was . . . he had this look in his eyes . . . like a trapped wild animal. And then, he just collapsed."

Hermione inhaled sharply, tears filling her eyes. "Why didn't you tell me?"

Harry shrugged. "We didn't think it was that important . . . and we didn't want to worry you."

"I need to go."

"Are you sure you're okay?"

Hermione nodded woodenly. "I'm fine. Thank you."

Standing, she pushed her way past Harry and quickly made her way to the door.

She didn't remember her feet moving, but soon, she was standing outside of the Hospital Wing.

Her heart was beating painfully against her ribs and she suddenly felt apprehensive. But she couldn't turn back now . . . not after what he had done for her.

Quietly, she entered the room.

The room was vacant, the beds pristinely made, except for a bed in the back corner. A curtain was drawn around it, and even though the sun had just risen, a bedside lamp illuminated the fabric.

Softly, she padded across the room, her feet noiseless on the tile.

Reaching out, her fingers gripped the curtain.

Ignoring the way her stomach twisted, she took a deep breath and ducked behind the material.

Draco was tucked into bed. His hair was disheveled around his face and, although his breathing was calm and even, his eyes were squeezed shut—his forehead creased in worry.

Stepping forward, Hermione gently sat on the edge of his bed.

She placed her hand on his face, gently cupping his cheek.

Sleepily, his eyes fluttered open—they were hazy with confusion.

Blinking rapidly, he struggled to focus.

"You look so pained as you sleep." Her voice was soft . . . gentle.

"What are you doing here?" Draco's voice was husky.

Looking down at him, Hermione studied his face in worry. "It's still the nightmares, isn't it?"

Draco swallowed thickly, licking his lips before answering. "No."

But she could tell by his body language . . . by the way his charcoal eyes were glistening that he was lying.

She ran her thumb lightly over his skin and he pulled back—recoiling in suspicion.

"What are you doing?"

Pain and understanding filled Hermione's eyes. "I remember." She took a deep breath and released it shakily. "I remember everything."

Even in the dim lighting, Hermione noticed that Draco paled visibly.

Clenching his jaw, he turned his eyes from hers and stared blankly into the open room. "I'm sorry."

Brushing his hair from his forehead, Hermione shook her head in confusion. "Why are you sorry?"

"You shouldn't have to relive that."

"And you do?"

Draco nodded once. "Every day."

"It doesn't have to be like that. You don't have to be alone."

Draco averted his gaze from her and a single tear escaped the corner of his eye. Trailing slowly down his cheek, it shone brilliantly against his skin in the dim lighting. "Yes . . . I do."

Wiping the tear softly with her finger, Hermione gently gripped his chin and forced his gaze back to her.

Her eyes soft, she shook her head slowly. "No . . . you don't. I'm here. We can do this together."

Draco bit his lip. "You don't owe me anything. You saved my life down there and that's enough. I can't drag you down with me—I'm broken." His voice was thick with emotion.

Hermione smiled, her eyes glistening. "That's where you're wrong. We saved each other . . . in more ways than you know how."

Leaning forward, she placed her lips lightly against his.

Draco pulled back in surprise, but soon his lips worked gently against hers. Slowly, his hands twisted in her hair, pulling her closer.

Breaking their kiss, Hermione pressed her forehead against his and caressed the side of his face warmly. "We can do this, you know . . . we can fight this together."

"You won't leave me?"

Hermione laughed lightly. "Someone once told me: 'Not for a second. I'll be with you . . . the whole way.' I just need you to trust me."

Bringing her feet up, she curled up next to him.

Wrapping her arm tightly across his body, she laid her head on his shoulder tenderly.

He reciprocated, leaning his head on hers, his lips kissing the top of her head affectionately as he smelled her hair.

Closing her eyes, it was if a weight had been lifted from her and it was the first time in months that Hermione didn't dread going to sleep—because she knew that she was finally safe and that nothing more was ever going to harm her.

The End

A/N: Woo-Hoo! We made it! Thank you all so very much for all of your continued support. Thanks to all of your feedback, it ended much differently than I had originally planned, but I really like the twist of fate. It just seemed to work. I hope that you all have enjoyed it and thank you again for all of your patience with my little "slumps." If you liked this, please keep you eye open for my other stuff (new and old). I seem to have caught the writing bug again . . . at least for a little while But, no matter how long, I promise more Dramione goodness! Thanks and take care.