READ THIS: This story is a sequel to my story "Break Me Down" (rated M for violence and language) Though the first story can be enjoyed without the sequel, the sequel will not make sense without first reading "Break Me Down" as this picks up immediately where the other leaves off. Hope you enjoy. ^^
The front door of Aunt Muriel's Manor was thrown open with great force as Harry and Ron stormed into the house with their wands raised. The house was still dark, only lit by the mid-morning sun. They surveyed the front room nervously as though poised for attack.
"You take upstairs," Harry instructed. Ron gave a curt nod and raced up the main stairwell towards the bedrooms, throwing open every door as he passed. Harry ran down the hall to the left and burst into the kitchen, after a quick glance he continued through to the dining room.
"Oh! Harry! You startled me! Is everything-?"
"Sorry, Andromeda," Harry apologized quickly. "But where's Hermione?"
Andromeda Tonks, still looking startled looked at Harry's disheveled appearance with concern. He was even thinner than she'd seen him just a few weeks ago, his baggy clothes filthy and ripped, a few blood stains on them. His hair, though always a bit on the messy side, had grown longer and was now caked with dirt, a few tiny twigs and a bit of grass in it. Though she never felt threatened by the boy, her protective instincts arose and she held the baby in her arms closer. "I think she was going to the library."
Harry gave a curt nod and raced back the way he came, racing back the dark hallway that ran on the opposite side of the house. He ran past several doors and stopped at one near the end, throwing the door open. His wand instantly fell on his target, a young man with white-blonde hair, sitting in a high-backed armchair with a book in his lap. The boy looked up and simply looked annoyed.
"Ron! He's here! The library!" Harry shouted through the house.
"Harry!" A surprised cry rang from the other side of the room. In her excitement, Hermione dropped the book she had just taken from the shelf unceremoniously on the floor and flew across the room. She gently pushed Harry's wand arm down as she threw her other arm around his neck in a one armed hug. Harry wrapped his free arm around her waist in an almost crushing hug but never taking his eyes off of the boy in the chair. Hermione stepped back, one hand cupping his face while the other kept his wand pointed down. She smiled at with such relief as she surveyed him carefully. "You're okay?"
"It's not me I'm worried about," He said flatly, taking only a second's glance at her.
Hermione sighed and firmly pulled his chin in her direction. "Harry. He-"
A second figure burst into the room, his wand also falling automatically on the blonde boy. He quickly shook his shaggy red hair out of his eyes, glanced at Harry and Hermione, and looked back at the pale pointed face of Draco Malfoy, daggers in his eyes.
"Ron!" Hermione shrieked with enthusiasm, throwing both her arms around his neck, pulling him down awkwardly. He wrapped both of his arms around her, closing his eyes for just a second to truly appreciate the safety of his missing friend. But when his eyes opened, he immediately returned to his angry stance, his wand pointed at Draco. "Oh, stop," Hermione said with gentle exasperation. "Put your wands down."
Harry and Ron completely ignored Hermione's request. "Get out," Harry growled.
Draco did not move or speak. He sat straight in the chair, his face solid and his grey eyes cold as ice.
"Stop it, Harry," Hermione ordered with more force. "He's not going to do anything. Lower your wands."
"I said, 'Get out.'" Harry repeated angrily, ignoring Hermione again.
Draco looked up at Hermione in question.
"No," She said firmly. "He's not leaving. Now lower your wands!"
"Stay out of it, Hermione," Harry replied, not even giving her a glance. "This is the last time I'm going to say it, 'Get. Out.'"
Draco glanced at Hermione once more and stared at Harry, not intimidated in the least, his face as stone. "I won't leave until she asks me to," Draco answered.
"It's not up to her," Ron growled. "This house belongs to my family and you're not welcome here so get the fuck out!"
Draco sank back into the chair in defiance and Ron's eyes flashed with rage, a spark of blue light leapt from the end of his wand shattering the teacup on the table at Draco's elbow. Draco didn't flinch.
"Stop it!" Hermione roared. Harry shot the next spell at the chair directly next to Draco's ear. "I said stop it! Leave him alone!!!"
Hermione stepped in front of them, blocking Harry's wand.
"Stay out of it, Hermione!" Ron yelled, roughly grabbing Hermione by her arm and pulling her out of the way. At this move Draco shot to his feet.
"Don't touch her like that!" Draco said angrily.
"Draco, sit down. And you leave him alone! He's not going to do anything." Hermione commanded shoving Ron's hand off of her. She started walking toward Draco and Harry grabbed her shirt sleeve.
"I said, 'Don't touch her.'" Draco growled. "Vectignis." Blue flames leapt to life in Draco's right palm.
"NO!" Hermione swatted Harry's hand away and rushed to Draco, placing both hands on his chest. "Stop, please."
The fire in Draco's hand weakened and withered away. Hermione pouted and tenderly took his hand in hers. "Now it's red again... Does it burn?"
"No. It just gets hot," Draco assured. Harry and Ron watched them in utter confusion and disgust.
"Hermione, what the hell are you doing?" Ron spat.
"I'm trying to tell you! Draco's not a threat. He doesn't even have a wand," Hermione glowered.
"He doesn't look like he needs one," Ron said bitterly, his face scrunched as though he were smelling something foul.
"Well what do you expect him to do?! You're casting spells at an unarmed man!" Hermione admonished. "He's not who you think he is and I'm not going to let you just throw him out."
"Hermione," Harry said threateningly.
"Don't talk to me like that," Hermione berated. "I'm not backing down. You're going to hear me."
"Fine. Talk. But then you back off," Harry compromised. Hermione crossed her arms. "I said I'd hear you." Harry looked at Draco through narrowed eyes which were returned just as sharp.
"No. Not like this. If you can't keep your wands down, then we talk somewhere else," Hermione said fiercely. She stormed over to the door and waited for Ron and Harry to follow. Harry turned sharp on his heel and exited the room, a tight grip on his wand. Hermione followed him and Ron slammed the door shut behind him.
"Defigo," Ron muttered, locking the door so that only he could unlock it. Harry nodded in approval, but Hermione was stiff and angry and started down the hall to the next room. She walked into a small personal study and waited for Ron and Harry.
"What the hell was that, Hermione?" Harry shouted.
"I was trying to keep you from doing something stupid!" Hermione returned with equal anger. "You just burst in there and started attacking an unarmed man! He had no wand!" She gestured wildly to the wall through which Draco waited. "He's not the dangerous man you think he is. He's changed," She insisted fervently, looking from one to the other.
"Damn it, Hermione," Ron cursed. "You act as though you're trying to keep a stray puppy. He's a bloody death eater!"
"That's what I'm trying to tell you: He's not!" she proclaimed.
"Yes he is!" Harry fumed. "I know you refused to believe it last year, but you can't deny it now! He almost killed Dumbledore! I saw his mark! He's a bloody death eater."
"I won't deny that he was, but he's not," she insisted. "He's changed."
"Of course he'll say he's changed now it's over! But he was one of them that imprisoned you!! How can you say he didn't?" Ron shouted angrily.
"I was imprisoned with him! I've been with him for three weeks, I think we can agree that I know him a bit better than you," she spat, even angrier that they could bring up her imprisonment so casually. "He saved me! He healed me and fed me and protected me with great risk to himself!" Tears started welling up in her eyes and her body shook with anger and grief.
"So he healed you and fed you!" Ron yelled caustically. "That doesn't make him a saint. That doesn't make up for everything he's done!"
"And what all has he done?!" Hermione snapped. "He didn't choose to be a death eater. He's never killed or tortured a single person!"
"He let the death eaters into Hogwarts! The Battle of the Tower would have never happened if it weren't for him!" Harry shouted.
"And you saw what it did to him! It broke him! He only did it to save his life and the life of his family!" Hermione protested.
"Then he should have died!" Harry raged.
"Yeah, maybe it's what you or I might have done if our lives were threatened, but not everyone can do that! And you might have died if it were just you threatened. But what if it was me and Ron's lives on the line? Would it be as easy for you to sacrifice us?!" Hermione seethed. "There are dozens of people who have done what the dark lord asks to save their loved ones, and they're forgiven!"
"Malfoy will never be forgiven," Harry growled.
"Because of a schoolboy grudge?!" Hermione accused. "You were so insistent that Stan Shunpike was innocent and just forced into the dark lord's service, but it's your childish grudge that won't allow you to see that Draco's not as bad as you always thought he was!"
"And he talks sweet and feeds you when you're vulnerable so that you'll protect him," Ron reasoned. "I don't care what he's done, he's not staying here," Ron finished in a tone that left no doubt that he was done with the conversation. He turned toward the door, Harry on his heel, with purpose in their step.
"Stop!" Hermione commanded.
"Hermione, we listened like we said we would," Harry said calmly yet firmly. "But we haven't changed our minds. We're doing you a favor by just sending him away instead of letting him wait in Azkaban until his trial date. But we're not going to put up the sod."
"Fine," Hermione clenched her teeth as the tears rolled down her cheeks. "Then I'm leaving too." Hermione started to push through them, intent on going to Draco when Ron pushed her back.
"No. We just got you back," Ron said firmly. "You're not leaving, and especially not with him."
"And what are you going to do to stop me?!" Hermione barked. "I've been locked away for three bloody weeks!!!" Hermione had never screamed so fiercely in her life, her fists clenched, her body almost doubled over as angry tears dripped from he chin. Do you intend to lock me away now too?!"
Harry and Ron stood in complete shock, their mouths open and brows furrowed with concern. "Hermione..." Harry said softly.
"You have a choice! You kick him out or you make me stay. You don't get both," she seethed, forcing her breaths to remain even. She pushed passed them and stopped outside the library door. "Take as much time as you need. Talk to Ginny if you need someone else's opinion. But until then, I'm staying with Draco. Unlock the door."
Ron and Harry glared at her but more out of irritation and concern than anger. Never had they met a more unpredictable or stubborn witch. Hermione waited impatiently outside of the door. Harry and Ron exchanged glances and Ron grudgingly unlocked the door. Hermione opened it quickly and slammed it shut behind her. As soon as the door was closed, she fell to her knees and allowed her tears to flow freely again.
Draco glared at the door as though he could see the two boys through it. he looked down at Hermione, his heart aching for her. He knew this was how it would be and never wanted her to suffer it. His mind wandered to their conversation they had late last night when she came to sleep in his bed. She had begged him not to leave. Can't you see that I love you? Draco took a deep breath. It was the love she had for him that was going to tear her life apart. I should have never agreed to stay. Draco knelt by her side and placed a hand on her shoulder. At his light touch Hermione buried her face against his chest and wept.
Ahh! Drama from the get go!
I hope you like it so far.
Please review! ^^