~ Draco and Hermione ~
"The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters.
We've all got both light and dark inside us.
What matters is the part we choose to act on.
That's who we really are."
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters and settings belong to J.K Rowling.
Narcissa looked up at him, her face eloquent with despair.
"Yes, Severus. I — I think you are the only one who can help me, I have nowhere else to turn. Lucius is in jail and…"
She closed her eyes and two large tears seeped from beneath her eyelids.
"The Dark Lord has forbidden me to speak of it," Narcissa continued, her eyes still closed.
"He wishes none to know of the plan. It is… very secret. But —"
"If he has forbidden it, you ought not to speak," said Snape at once. "The Dark Lord's word is law."
"Severus," she whispered, tears sliding down her pale cheeks. "My son… my only son…"
"But what help do you require, Narcissa? If you are imagining I can persuade the Dark Lord to change his mind, I am afraid there is no hope, none at all."
Narcissa began to cry in earnest, gazing beseechingly all the while at Snape.
"The Dark Lord will not be persuaded, and I am not stupid enough to attempt it," said Snape flatly. "I cannot pretend that the Dark Lord is not angry with Lucius. Lucius was supposed to be in charge. He got himself captured, along with how many others, and failed to retrieve the prophecy into the bargain. Yes, the Dark Lord is angry, Narcissa, very angry indeed."
"Then I am right, he has chosen Draco in revenge!" choked Narcissa. "He does not mean him to succeed, he wants him to be killed trying!"
"I haven't got any options!" said Malfoy, and he was suddenly as white as Dumbledore. "I've got to do it! He'll kill me! He'll kill my whole family!"
"I can help you, Draco."
"No, you can't," said Malfoy, his wand hand shaking very badly indeed. "Nobody can. He told me to do it or he'll kill me. I've got no choice."
"Come over to the right side, Draco... you are not a killer..."
"Well, Draco?" said Lucius Malfoy. He sounded avid. "Is it? Is it Harry Potter?"
"I can't – I can't be sure," said Draco.
"But look at him carefully, look! Come closer!"
"There's something there," Lucius whispered, "it could be the scar, stretched tight... Draco, come here, look properly! What do you think?"
Harry saw Draco's face up close now, right beside his father's. They were extraordinarily alike, except while his father looked beside himself with excitement, Draco's expression was full of reluctance, even fear.
"I don't know," he said, and he walked away towards the fireplace where his mother stood watching.
"No," agreed Dumbledore. "You are a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff. You know, I sometimes think we Sort too soon…"
He walked away, leaving Snape looking stricken…
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
"Come on Hermione, why are you so determined not to admit it? Vol-"
"-demort's after the Elder Wand!"
"The name's Tabooed!" Hermione yelled, leaping to her feet as a loud crack! sounded outside the tent. "I told you, Harry, I told you, we can't say the name anymore! If we say it they'll find us. We've got to put the protection charms back up! Quickly!"
But she stopped talking and Harry knew why. The Sneakoscope on the table had lit up and begun to spin, and they could hear voices coming nearer and nearer. Rough, excited voices. Ron eyes were wide as he pulled the Deluminator out of his pocket and clicked it, causing all of their lamps to go out. Darkness engulfed them. It was a cold dawn and the sun hadn't yet risen.
"Come out of there with your hands up!" came a rasping voice through the darkness. "We know you're in there! You've got half a dozen wands pointing at you and we don't care who we curse!"
Harry looked around at the other two, now mere outlines in the darkness. He saw Hermione point her wand, not towards outside, but towards him and Ron; she murmured a very quiet 'Petrificus Totalus'. Suddenly his body went rigid and he fell backwards, hitting the ground quietly. He felt Ron land right beside him, just as quietly as he did. He attempted to move, to scream, to call out to Hermione, but he couldn't move a muscle. A second later and a cloak was thrown over them both, and he realised that it was the Invisibility cloak.
He felt both frantic and powerless to do anything. Harry remembered the last time this had happened to him. Dumbledore had used the full body binding curse on him, with the Invisibility cloak to hide him from the Death Eaters, on the Astronomy tower before Dumbledore had been killed. Hermione just did the same thing, she did it to hide them both... was she going to be killed too? Hermione cast another spell on herself, which made her hair turn blonde and her eyes a bright blue colour, in a hasty attempt to disguise herself. Harry felt himself screaming he watched Hermione from his invisible hiding place, yet not a sound escaped him. She looked in their direction one last time, as if in goodbye. Then, a second later, her wand shot out of her hand and she was pulled out of the tent.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" said the same rasping voice from outside. Harry's stomach turned over. It was Fenrir Greyback, the werewolf.
"Who were you talking to, girl? Are there others inside the tent?" Greyback demanded suspiciously, looking inside wearily and expecting there to be others.
"No, I'm travelling alone," Hermione stammered.
"Check the tent!" Greyback growled, not trusting a word that she said. Harry squirmed as he waited to be found. A man walked into the tent and began searching all over the place, but he didn't see Harry or Ron lying on the ground in plain sight, underneath the Invisibility cloak. In a strange way, Harry wished the man would find them, so that at least Hermione wouldn't be captured and taken alone. But after a few moments, the man in the tent shouted, "All clear!"
"So, travelling in the woods all alone are we girly?" Greyback rasped quietly, as if he was whispering it in her ear. Harry felt sick to the stomach.
"Careful Greyback. We should be careful with who we're attacking," a man named Scabior warned.
"I won't bite just yet. Let's hear her name first," the werewolf rasped. There was a pause before Hermione replied.
"Penelope Clearwater," she said the first name that came to mind, sounding frightened. Penelope Clearwater was a blonde haired Ravenclaw girl. It fitted, since Hermione had changed her hair colour to blonde. But attempting to lie her way out of trouble seemed like an impossible feat at that moment.
"Half-blood," Hermione answered.
"Keep checking the tent! Search everything!" Greyback roared, and the man hurried back into the tent again, searching every inch of it for something valuable. Harry heard the sounds of parchment being rolled over and realised they were searching for Hermione's stolen name.
"So, thought you'd go camping alone and use the Dark Lord's name just to see what would happen, eh?" Greyback mocked, getting snickers from the others.
"No, it was an... accident," Hermione lied. She was answered with jeering laughter, which stopped as Scabior began speaking again.
"Searched for your name missy, and it seems Penelope Clearwater is in her last year of Hogwarts as we speak. So who the hell are you?" he shouted. Harry's heart thumped harder and harder as Hermione began to panic. What on earth was she going to say? The snatchers were waiting impatiently, but she couldn't think of an answer.
"You better tell us the truth, cause if you don't... well, I won't be able to resist your delicious, soft skin much longer," said Greyback, an obvious hunger in his voice. Suddenly they heard a shout from the tent and the man who was searching it ran out carrying Gryffindor's sword, and the Daily Prophet. Hermione saw them and felt her heart drop an inch or two. She was in trouble now, enormous trouble. She knew her face was on the front page of the Daily Prophet, and Gryffindor's sword was no ordinary thing to carry around camping.
"Hey! Look what I've found!" said the man happily, showing them the sword and reading the prophet.
"Very nice indeed, that sword looks goblin made. Where did you find that, girl?" demanded Greyback, there was a pause again as Hermione tried to think of something.
"Um, just in the forest," she answered, which was actually the truth considering Harry got it from the frozen lake in the Forest of Dean.
"Just in the forest? You're a lying little brat," Greyback spat, his temper flaring.
"Greyback, also look what I saw in the Prophet," said the snatcher. There was a pause as all the snatchers read the paper silently, and looked at the picture. Then Scabior began to read it out loud so that Hermione could hear.
"Hermione Granger," Scabior read, "the Mudblood who is known to be travelling with Harry Potter." There was a heavy, intense pause. It lasted only a moment, and then Harry heard the crunching of leaves as someone moved closer to Hermione.
"You know what girl? This picture looks a hell of a lot like you."
"It isn't! It isn't me!" Hermione squeaked, but it was useless. None of them were going to believe a word she said.
"... known to be travelling with Harry Potter," muttered Greyback quietly. There was another long, heavy pause as everyone was deep in thought. Her situation was growing worse with every passing second.
"Well, this changes things, doesn't it?" whispered Greyback. "Where is Potter?"
The question hung in the air, the question that the entire wizarding world had been wondering. The only question Voldemort needed answering to, and it would all be over. Hermione knew that no matter what happened, she couldn't tell them where Harry was. She had to do anything possible to make sure that he escaped and survived, because only he could defeat Voldemort in the end. If she became a prisoner of war like others such as Ollivander the Wandmaker, the only way she would survive was if Voldemort was defeated.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Hermione lied quickly, perhaps a little too quickly.
Smack! Hermione gasped in pain from the harsh slap.
"I'm warning you, if you don't answer truthfully now you'll suffer much worse where we take you," said Greyback threateningly.
"The Prophet is wrong! It's just a rumour, I don't know where he is!" said Hermione, her voice shaking in fear.
"So be it. Tie her up. We might have a well-known mudblood, best friend of Potter, and possibly information on his whereabouts, this should pay well," said Greyback greedily as Harry listened to Hermione being tied up.
"Where should we take her? To the Ministry?" asked Scabior.
"To hell with the Ministry! They'll take the credit, and if she knows where Potter is we might get paid a little extra. I say we take her straight to You-Know-Who," said Greyback, an excited snarl in his voice.
"I'm in. He's using the Malfoys' place as a base. We can take her there," said Scabior, the other snatchers muttering in agreement.
"Good. Take everything of value from the tent and leave it there, it's of no use to us. Let's move, I'll take the mudblood," said Greyback hungrily. Moments later when the tent was searched a final time, Harry and Ron heard a bunch of crack!'s and then silence, as they were left alone. But they still couldn't move: it seemed Hermione wanted to make sure they didn't try to rescue her.
Harry lay in shock. Shock and guilt. If he hadn't said Voldemort's name aloud, if he'd remembered the Taboo spell on it, then none of this would have happened. He didn't want to imagine what awaited Hermione in Malfoy Manor, yet all he could do was lie there silently, with his thoughts.
Hermione was dragged and then finally thrown onto the floor in Malfoy Manor. The room was large and dark, and she guessed that it was the drawing room. The snatchers, Greyback, Lucius, Narcissa and Draco Malfoy were all present. Although, once Draco recognised the body on the floor, he desperately didn't want to be there at all. No matter how much he disliked the Gryffindor's, especially Harry, Ron and Hermione, he wanted nothing to do with witnessing the torture or murder of classmates he'd known since he was eleven years old. Draco stayed beside his mother at the fireplace, determined to take no part in Hermione Granger's fate.
"We found her in a forest, camping alone," rasped Greyback to Lucius Malfoy.
"And you're sure it's the mudblood Granger? How can you be sure?" Lucius demanded. Hermione's hair was still blonde and her eyes a bright, sparkling blue. These two changes were enough to make her look remarkably different. Although, having known her for six years, Draco easily saw through the disguise.
"Well she looks similar to the picture in the Prophet," Greyback growled in annoyance.
"The picture in the Prophet is in black and white, you fool!" Lucius shouted, snatching the paper from Greyback's hands. He stared at the picture, then looked down at the terrified girl in front of him. Lucius' hair was a long, dirty and shabby, his eyes were sunken and dark underneath, and he looked as though he hadn't shaved in weeks. He also had no wand that Hermione could see. He looked desperate. When he couldn't be sure about who she was either, he shook his head in frustration.
"Draco! Come here, is this the Granger girl? Is it the mudblood?" Lucius whispered, pulling Draco closer. Hermione tried not to make eye contact, her blue eyes filling with tears as she attempted to look away. Her heart was not beating, but smashing against her chest. Draco would definitely know it was her if he got a close enough look. And she knew he would not hesitate to have her dead. He'd always hated her at Hogwarts, he'd always bragged about his pureblood status and her mudblood lowliness. Lucius grabbed her chin and pulled her face towards him and Draco roughly. Before she could look away, her eyes connected with Draco's: sparkling blue of tears, steel grey of reluctance.
"I can't be sure. She never had blonde hair," Draco muttered, standing up and looking away.
"But that can easily be a disguise! If we are the ones to hand over one of Potter's closest friends to the Dark Lord, he will forgive us! Things will go back to the way they were, Draco. We have to be certain that it's her!" Lucius hissed in urgency. Draco sighed, looking down on the pathetic body in front of him again. He pretended to look closer for a few moments, but shook his head.
"I don't know, it could be. But I can't be certain," was his final answer, and with that Draco walked over to where his mother stood at the fireplace. Hermione was beyond relief at that moment. Had he simply not recognised her? It was unlikely, when they made eye contact she had a feeling he knew who she was. But he seemed so reluctant with the entire situation. Narcissa, his mother, said nothing. Hermione was also puzzled by what Lucius meant about them being forgiven... why was Lucius so panicked? Were the Malfoy family being punished by Voldemort? Bellatrix walked into the room a moment later and saw Hermione on the ground.
"What is this?" she hissed, moving closer. Greyback repeated where he found her, and who he thought she was. Bellatrix rounded on Draco, demanding him to figure it out. Draco had a pained expression on his face as he had no desire to be on Bellatrix's bad side. He was determined to not get involved with anything however, which was fairly common for him nowadays. Ever since being ordered to kill Dumbledore, he was reluctant to participate in Death Eater activities. He was afraid of Voldemort, desperately afraid, just like his mother and father.
"She looks different than the mudblood I remember. I can't be certain," said Draco again, shrugging carelessly. If he was pretending not to recognise her, he was doing an excellent job, Hermione thought.
"Well, we have to be certain. Who are you?" whispered Bellatrix, crouching next to Hermione's body. Hermione had no idea what to say. Should she lie again and hope for the best? Or tell the truth? If she told the truth, they'd just torture her into giving information on Harry. She couldn't think of an answer, and they were all waiting.
"If you don't tell me your name, I'll force it out of you..." said Bellatrix in a deadly voice.
"Penelope Clearwater," said Hermione.
"You're lying, Penelope Clearwater is at Hogwarts!" the snatcher Scabior growled. Bellatrix glared at her, and slowly began to draw a silver knife out of her pocket. Its blade gleamed and Hermione had a feeling that it was cursed with some sort of evil magic. Panic began to set in, sending a chill down Hermione's spine. Bellatrix looked more psychotic than ever, and everyone in the room knew that she wasn't settling for anything but the truth.
"No!" said Hermione desperately, staring wide-eyed at the knife.
"Tell me your name! NOW!" said Bellatrix, moving it closer to her.
"I left Hogwarts! My name is Penelope Clearwater," Hermione insisted.
"You're a filthy little liar!" Bellatrix screamed, slashing the knife across Hermione's cheek and leaving a long cut. The cut seared more painfully than usual as though it had left a burn, confirming to Hermione that it was indeed cursed with some kind of magic. Draco looked away from them, feeling sick. He hated being forced to witness the torture that Bellatrix and the Death Eaters dished out. While he'd bullied Hermione at Hogwarts, it was always just that: schoolyard bullying. He never attacked her and never would have.
"Please stop!" Hermione begged, holding her cheek in pain and trying to move away.
"What else did you find with her?" said Bellatrix, standing up and glaring towards the snatchers. They all looked reluctant to show what they'd found, each of them hoping to sell something and get some personal profit. But Bellatrix cared nothing for gold, she only cared about becoming closer to Voldemort, becoming the favourite Death Eater. She looked carelessly at the food and small objects like the Sneakoscope and books, but then stopped suddenly. She'd seen Gryffindor's sword, and it clearly meant something of importance to her.
"Give me that sword," she hissed, pointing to it.
"I found it miss, I reckon it's mine," the man replied reluctantly, but he barely finished the sentence before Bellatrix had drawn her wand and blown him out of the way.
"Are you mad, woman?" shouted Scabior, drawing his wand.
"Stupefy! Stupefy!" shrieked Bellatrix, stunning all of the snatchers before any of them had a chance. No one else challenged her, and it seemed that no one else wanted to either. It was clear that Voldemort had trained her in duelling, and it made Hermione even more terrified. Lucius still appeared to not have a wand, and he wearily stood back. Draco and his mother Narcissa remained motionless. Bellatrix left Greyback standing as she picked up the sword and turned to him.
"Where did you get this sword?" she whispered, her tone low and serious. Greyback glared at her in anger for a few moments before answering.
"It was in the girl's tent. Release my men!" demanded Greyback, but Bellatrix ignored him and turned on Hermione once more, a new hatred in her eyes. Hermione began to desperately crawl away from the crazed woman. She wished she could just vanish, or apparate away from the nightmare she was in at that moment.
"I'm going to make you scream, you little liar!" Bellatrix shrieked in fury as she walked towards Hermione, who began to sob uncontrollably.
"Where did you get the sword? What is your name? TELL ME!" screamed Bellatrix, cutting Hermione on the cheek again and bringing out another scream. Draco winced at the scream.
"I found it! In the forest!" sobbed Hermione.
"That sword was placed in my Gringott's vault by Severus Snape! You stole it from me!" accused Bellatrix, an inch from Hermione's terrified face.
"No! I swear, I just found it!" Hermione sobbed, her voice shaking uncontrollably. She wasn't lying in this case, Harry found it and they definitely didn't steal it from Gringott's.
"Tell the truth! CRUCIO!" hissed Bellatrix. The screams echoed and filled the entire house, causing Draco to look away and close his eyes. But Bellatrix smiled maliciously. Draco wished she would just tell the truth, because he knew that Bellatrix wasn't going to stop until she had what she wanted. When Bellatrix finally lifted the torture spell after what felt like minutes nonstop, Hermione was gasping and shaking in pain as they waited for an answer.
"Are you going to tell me what I want to know, or shall I continue for a few more minutes?" Bellatrix asked cruelly. The entire room was silent, the only sound being Hermione's sobs. Nobody dared to move or speak against Bellatrix.
"So be it. CRUCIO!"
"It is her! It is the mudblood!" Draco burst out impulsively. His face was a shade paler than usual, and he looked like he was going to be sick. If he could leave the room, he would have done exactly that, but it was the duty of a Death Eater to stay. And if he had to be there, he didn't want to watch anymore of Bellatrix's sickening torture. And if Hermione wasn't going to tell the truth, he would do it for her.
"You're certain?" she demanded. Draco nodded, avoiding eye contact with Bellatrix while he responded. "I can tell by her face. She's just changed her hair and eye colour."
"Good! So we have the mudblood, who was travelling with Potter," said Bellatrix, more to herself than anyone else. Hermione's eyes were filled with tears of pain as her body still ached from the Cruciatus curse. She looked up at Draco, feeling both relief that he had stopped Bellatrix, but also remorse because her identity was known. She was once again confused by his actions. If he'd known it was her all along like she assumed, why did he wait until now to say it? She expected him to be smirking, taunting her, telling Bellatrix to torture her some more. Instead he looked pale, and as if he wanted to be anywhere else but here. She suddenly realised that perhaps Draco Malfoy wasn't evil, perhaps he really was just a schoolyard bully who, by the looks of things, was dragged into this because of his family name.
"And her tent was big, easily big enough for three people," rasped Greyback in excitement.
"Well, mudblood. You are going to tell us where you found this sword, and you're going to tell us where Potter and your other blood traitor friend Weasley are," said Bellatrix, her wand at the ready.
"I don't know where they are, they could be anywhere!" said Hermione frantically, looking back at Bellatrix in fear.
"Liar! Crucio!" hissed Bellatrix, causing screams to erupt into the room once more. The torture went on and on, a constant stop and start of the Cruciatus curse. After at least twenty minutes, Hermione could no longer take it. Draco was relieved when she began to tell the truth. He'd almost forgotten that he was supposed to hate her. But it was impossible to hate someone so unfortunate. Tears and blood stained her face as she began talking through her sobs.
"I cast a spell on Harry and Ron to make them invisible before they caught me!" said Hermione as her tears spilled onto the floor.
"So they're still at the forest? You did that so they couldn't move?" panted Bellatrix, who appeared to be rather tired from the torturing. Hermione nodded weakly.
"Greyback! Go to the forest, find Potter and Weasley!" Bellatrix ordered in excitement.
"You can't tell me what to do!" growled Greyback. He seemed furious. He'd caught Hermione and it seemed as though he wasn't going to be paid for it at all. The other snatchers were all unconscious, and Bellatrix was taking all the glory. That's all that mattered to snatchers and Death Eaters: gold and serving Voldemort. There was no such thing as friends and socialising. Life had become miserable for Draco, being the youngest Death Eater. The other Slytherin's were at Hogwarts while he was at the Manor, being ordered around by Voldemort, being forced to do things he considered inhumane. If he didn't though, it was his parents who suffered the most.
"If you catch them you will get all the gold you can imagine, now go!" shrieked Bellatrix, and with that Greyback left the room with a greedy smile.
"And the sword? Tell me about the sword!" Bellatrix demanded, crouching down and pointing the silver knife at Hermione's throat.
"Harry found it! He got it from a lake! We didn't steal it, someone else must have!" Hermione sobbed, desperately telling the truth once more. But she knew Bellatrix wouldn't believe it, it seemed unbelievable even as she said it. The knife pressed against her cheek again, slicing into the skin painfully.
"You're lying!" hissed Bellatrix furiously.
"I'm not, PLEASE!" Hermione screamed, struggling and trying to desperately pull herself away from Bellatrix. There was a crack! as Greyback re-appeared into the room again.
"They escaped. I was seconds late, but I saw them," Greyback panted.
"You'll never catch them," Hermione sobbed from the floor. Despite what she'd been through, she still had a spark of defiance in her tone.
Thank you for reading! If you liked this chapter, please feel free to review and add to alerts/favourites! :)
Check out my other stories!
Draco and Hermione - s/5661111/1/Draco-and-Hermione
The Soul Connection - s/9868543/1/The-Soul-Connection
The Time-Turner Division - s/12337018/1/The-Time-Turner-Division