~ 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.
Earlier the day before, Harry and Ron arrived at The Burrow and spread the news of what had happened to Hermione. No matter how much Ron urged them to take action, many of the Order members insisted that they think of a proper plan, like Harry had. So they spent most of their time at The Burrow discussing what they could do, and it was only when Hagrid arrived that they finally thought of something. Lupin had been insisting that the Manor was far too large to break into and find Hermione without being caught. Mr Weasley had done Ministry raids on the Manor years ago, when he was searching for dark artifacts - and suspected that the cellar was the most obvious place that prisoners would be kept. But even so, it was risky to try. There was only one certain plan that would work, and Hagrid helped them figure it out.
"They would definitely have anti-Apparition enchantments on the cellar," said Lupin when Ron suggested to apparate.
"Apparatin fer wizards won' work, but creatures magic is diff'rent," said Hagrid, reminding them that he was a Care of Magical Creatures professor. This got the others thinking, as they looked at him thoughtfully.
"Hagrid do you - do you mean like elf magic? Dobby once told me that elf magic was different to wizards," said Harry curiously.
"'Course it is, how do yeh think all the house elves apparate round Hogwarts when us wizards can't? It's diff'rent magic," said Hagrid proudly. He'd never been the most intelligent of the Order, but when it came to creatures he knew a surprising amount.
"And Dobby used to live at Malfoy's house... he'll know where the cellar is and everything!" said Ron incredulously. The two best friends suddenly had a spark of hope - this was their chance to save Hermione. Without telling the others, Harry knew exactly what he had to do.
"Dobby!" Harry called, and an instant later the small house elf appeared with a loud crack, in the middle of the room. He looked very much the same as he always had, although because of Dumbledore passing away, he was wearing less socks. Clearly Snape and the Carrow's didn't believe in paying house elves like Dumbledore did. But no one paid any attention to his socks - they were all looking at him in urgency.
"Harry Potter, sir! It is wonderful to see you again!" squeaked Dobby, as he looked around at all the strained faces.
"It's great to see you too, Dobby. Listen, can you apparate into the cellar at the Malfoy Manor?" Harry asked, crouching in front of the elf.
"Easily, sir. Why must Dobby go back to his old masters home?" asked Dobby nervously.
"Hermione is stuck in the cellar, she's a prisoner. You have to save her and bring her here, okay?" Harry asked, and before he'd even finished the sentence Dobby was nodding.
"Yes sir!" replied the elf in determination. Before anyone else could interfere, he had clicked his fingers and vanished on the spot. It had all happened so fast, and Harry sat back with a wide smile as he looked at Ron. Dobby really was a life-saver.
"It's only a matter of time now," said Hermione, breaking the agonizing silence once more.
"You've said that for the past four hours. Shut up!" Draco snapped, getting into a more comfortable position. He was lying on his stomach, attempting to get to sleep. He firmly believed that no house elf was coming, otherwise it would have happened earlier. And even if an elf did come, why would that matter to him? It wasn't like the mudblood would let him escape with her. Besides, the Order probably abandoned Granger, and he couldn't blame them. She was annoying as f-
"You're just angry because I figured it out," Hermione continued smugly. Draco rolled his eyes for what felt like the millionth time.
"Whatever," he muttered in reply, "you little nerd."
"See! You can't accept being wrong so you have to insult me to make yourself feel better," said Hermione exasperatedly. It had been going on for quite some time, a constant back and forth bickering to pass the time. It was a very dull cellar, and the only thing to do was talk – no matter who the conversation was with. After spending the previous two days talking to Mr Ollivander and Luna, there wasn't much to talk about with them. And since they were enemies, frustrating Malfoy seemed like the appropriate thing to do.
"I'm sick of talking to you. I don't socialize with mudbloods and Gryffindor's," Draco said as he closed his eyes and tried, once again, to block her out. But there was a sudden 'crack!' and his eyes shot open in alarm. There stood Dobby - his old house elf.
"Miss Hermione! Dobby has been sent by Harry Potter to rescue you from the cellar at Malfoy Ma-" Dobby began to say, a bit too loud.
"I know, I know! Shh, we don't want anyone upstairs hearing," Hermione said urgently.
"We must go at once!" said Dobby as he moved towards her.
"Wait, Dobby! Take Mr Ollivander, Luna, Dean and Griphook first, okay? Then come straight back for me," Hermione said, pointing to the other prisoners. Dobby obeyed instantly, and he quickly held Griphook's and Dean's hands - a moment later, all three of them vanished on the spot. Mr Ollivander stood up weakly as his eyes began to water with tears of happiness.
"I can't believe it, two years I've been here!" said the old man, overjoyed.
"Goodbye Luna, goodbye Mr Ollivander! I'll be right after you," Hermione said happily, hugging them both warmly. Dobby returned and swiftly left again with a crack, this time vanishing with Luna and Ollivander. It all happened so fast, and all that remained was Hermione and Draco, staring at each other in silence. Draco didn't know what to say - he knew Hermione was going to leave without him. She was part of the Order, and he was part of ... nothing. They barely knew each other, they still hated each other, so it wasn't like he could say goodbye. There was an air of awkwardness, as neither of them knew what to say.
"What are you going to do?" Hermione asked, breaking the silence.
"I don't know. Die here, I suppose," Draco answered, moving into a sitting position against the wall. He looked miserable, and almost embarrassed. Hermione couldn't blame him, he was a prisoner in his own house, and she was going to leave him there to die. She imagined what it would be like if she was left in the cellar alone, and knew that it was a horrible thing to imagine. The act of leaving someone else was even worse.
"Come with me, Malfoy," said Hermione firmly. He looked up at her in surprise.
"You can't be serious?" he asked. There was yet another crack, and Dobby appeared in between them.
"I'm serious! Come with me!" she urged, offering her hand. Dobby looked back and forth between them, his ears flapping - even the elf was surprised.
"I don't belong there, Granger. I'll just be a prisoner of the Order as well, and they'll probably hand me over to Azkaban," Draco muttered, staring at the ground.
"They wouldn't do that, and besides, you don't even deserve to go to Azkaban. You haven't killed anyone, Malfoy," Hermione insisted. Draco considered it, running his hand through his blonde hair. He knew this was his only chance of survival, but what would happen to his mother and father? Unlike Hermione, he didn't have an Order of friends and people that loved him. All he had was his parents, and if he left, their lives would definitely be in danger. As he thought about all of this, he made a promise to himself that if he ever got the opportunity, he would come back for them. With that, he secretly thanked god for Hermione's sympathy at that moment. Perhaps it was a good thing that she was a Gryffindor.
"Fine then, I'll go with you," he said as he stood up. Hermione smiled slightly and quickly turned to Dobby.
"Before we go, Dobby, we need to get a few things from upstairs. Our wands, and the sword of Gryffindor - it is incredibly important that we get them, Harry would want that," Hermione said as she moved towards the entrance.
"Very well, miss! Dobby will protect you from harm!" squeaked the elf. He grabbed Hermione's and Draco's hands and disapparated out of the cellar. They re-appeared upstairs, and were engulfed in complete darkness. Luckily it was night time, the lights were out and nobody was in the drawing room.
"Where are our wands? And the sword?" Hermione whispered to Draco in the darkness. He had to know where they hid the prisoners items, and Hermione wanted to be as fast as possible.
"One floor up, in one of the rooms. Follow me," Draco muttered as he began moving. Dobby only followed Hermione, since he was probably still weary of his old master. Hermione tried to follow Draco, but it was so dark she could barely see her hands in front of her.
"I can't see you, slow down!" she whispered, feeling rather scared. They were stumbling in the silent darkness, and whispering was loud enough to catch someones attention from upstairs. Suddenly she walked straight into Draco, who had stopped and turned around.
"Damn it Granger, you said slow down," he growled from in front of her. Hermione slipped her hand into his, holding it tightly.
"Go now," she said quietly. Draco felt kind of awkward holding her hand, but he nodded and they all began moving again. He must have known the house very well to know where he was going in the dark - Hermione had no idea where they were. They began walking up stairs, and she had to concentrate not to trip. They moved down an upstairs corridor, and Draco stopped in front of a door.
"This is it. It's locked," he said, fiddling with the door handle. They heard footsteps, and turned to look down the corridor in shock.
"Lumos!" hissed a voice, the light filling up the corridor. The person holding the wand was Bellatrix, her eyes fixed on them. Hermione stiffened in fear.
"I'll kill you! All three of you!" Bellatrix screamed, "Avada-"
"Dobby can apparate inside!" said Dobby before her, grabbing both their arms and apparating again. They re-appeared inside the room, and searched it as fast as they could. Hermione's heart was pounding and her hands shaking. She found the two wands in a drawer, and snatched them up quickly. She helped Draco search for sword, and just as he pointed towards it, the door was blasted open. Everything next went in slow motion. Draco dived for the sword, his hands gripping the hilt. Bellatrix raised her wand, pointing it towards Hermione, her eyes gleaming in triumph.
"Avada Kedavra!" she screamed. Hermione saw the blinding flash of green light, thinking it would be her last memory. But Dobby had jumped in front of her, taking the spell directly in the chest.
"Dobby!" Hermione screamed, as Draco got back up holding the sword.
"Serpensortia!" Bellatrix screeched next, but Hermione had already wrapped her arms around Draco and turned on the spot.
It felt like being pulled through a rubber tube, as they disapparated from Malfoy Manor. A few seconds later, and they were toppling over each other onto leaves and dirt. Hermione opened her eyes to see where they were, and she was confused to see that they had landed in a forest. It was late afternoon, and the sun was just going down. Then she heard a hissing sound, and a shout of pain from beside her. She screamed in fright, drawing her wand - the snake Bellatrix summoned had bitten Draco on the arm and held on through the disapparation.
"Relashio!" she said shrilly. Her spell hit the snake and threw it off Draco - who quickly rolled away from it, holding his arm and cursing in pain. The snake prepared to strike again, hissing viciously.
"Reducto!" Hermione shouted, the spell causing the snake to explode. She hurried over to Draco and kneeled beside him.
"Let me see it," she said urgently, trying to pull his hand away - but he was gripping the snake-bite tightly and refused to let go.
"Don't touch it!" he growled in pain.
"I have to heal it Malfoy! Move your hand!" Hermione insisted. He reluctantly obeyed with his eyes tightly shut in pain.
"Episkey," Hermione murmured gently, healing the wound slowly. Draco laid back slightly, as all that remained was a tiny pink scar - but the pain of the venom remained. The mood began to calm, as they both took deep breaths while lying back on the dirt and leaves.
"Will that stop the venom?" Draco asked, talking about the healing spell.
"Yes, but it will take a few hours at least. We can't apparate again until the venom is out of your system," Hermione answered as she put her wand away.
"How on earth do you know that?" asked Draco curiously.
"I listen in Potions class. Snape has been teaching us all about poisons and venoms since our first year, Malfoy," said Hermione in exasperation.
"Whatever," muttered Draco, not wanting to talk about school with the nerdy mudblood at all.
He turned away and began thinking of Bellatrix - it was amazing how much he hated that witch. Now that he was finally free of Malfoy Manor, he could think freely without fear of Voldemort using Legilimency on him. Originally Bellatrix was his favourite aunt because she encouraged him to become a Death Eater, and in front of the others she stood up for him. Originally, he thought it was an honor, a privilege to become the youngest Death Eater. And it was thanks to Bellatrix. But ever since the Dumbledore mission, it all went downhill. Bellatrix said that he should be proud, despite how scared he was. His mother only wanted him to be safe, and urged him to let Snape do the job instead. But Draco was determined to complete the mission. All his life he was second best compared to Potter. Potter was the best Seeker, Potter had all the fame, Potter was the 'Chosen One'. And now finally Draco felt as though he was the 'Chosen One' amongst the Death Eaters. He finally had a chance to prove himself.
Looking back on it now, he almost smirked at himself. How wrong and naive could he have been? As the sixth year progressed he began to think it was impossible; but the constant reminder from Voldemort was always in the back of his mind. If he failed, his family would be killed. He had no choice, and he began to realize that he desperately didn't know what he'd signed up for. The stress, fear and enormity of the task crashed down on his shoulders - it was beyond depressing. Even Potter had noticed something was different that year. And it all came back to Bellatrix: she wouldn't have cared if Draco had died. As long as Dumbledore died and Voldemort was pleased, no-one else mattered to her.
"I hate Bellatrix," Draco said aloud, after a few minutes of thinking about all this. He'd never said that, and he liked the sudden freedom to speak his mind.
"She scares me. I never, never want to go back to that place again - I still can't believe she killed Dobby, after he saved us!" said Hermione sadly.
Us. The word sounded so odd to Draco when he heard her say it, he even glanced over at her curiously. But to his surprise and complete confusion, she was crying.
"What could you possibly be crying about?" asked Draco in bewilderment. Hermione wiped her eyes in embarrassment and sniffed slightly.
"I liked Dobby," she said quietly.
"He was just a house-elf Granger, you can buy another one-" Draco snorted in amusement.
"House-elves have feelings and emotions too, Malfoy. They're not just animals to be bought and sold for profit," said Hermione angrily, as more tears rolled down her cheek. Draco remembered her whole 'S.P.E.W' thing, and her weird love of house-elves from when they were little. It seemed that she still liked house-elves a little too much, and he shook his head at how unusual she was. He also couldn't understand how frail she seemed, just crying over a dead little creature. What did it matter? She's alive and free, shouldn't she be celebrating?
But once again he was glad that she was around, or else he would've died sometime in the cold night from the snake venom. Or maybe if she'd just never been captured, absolutely none of this would have happened. Technically it was still her fault. But would he rather be a Death Eater, still stuck in Malfoy Manor with Bellatrix and Voldemort? Was that better than being in a random forest with a girl on the opposite side of a war? He was relatively free now, but as soon as he ended up in the Order's hands, they were probably going to lock him up in a cellar of their own. He was still unsure about going to the Order with her, and it was kind of lucky that he couldn't apparate - because now he had no-where else to go. Hermione had stopped crying and was wiping her eyes, and Draco felt awkward so he changed the subject.
"Why on earth are we in a forest? I was thinking of Diagon Alley," said Draco in confusion.
"I was thinking of home," Hermione said with a blush of embarrassment.
"Great work mudblood," Draco muttered in frustration.
"Diagon Alley is probably swarming with Death Eaters anyway. You should have just let me think of the place," Hermione said bossily as she stood up.
"If I let you think of the place, we would've ended up at your filthy muggle home," Draco said with distaste from the ground.
"My muggle home is actually quite nice, my parents are dentists," said Hermione proudly.
"They're what?" asked Draco in confusion, "what the hell is a dentist?"
"Oh, it's a muggle job," laughed Hermione, remembering that he wouldn't have any idea what muggle jobs were like. It amazed her how different they really were, how they'd come from completely different backgrounds. Draco shook his head, and decided to ignore all conversation involving muggles.
"Where exactly are we going to sleep?" he demanded. They both noticed that the sun had almost completely gone down, and it was already beginning to get dark. Hermione shrugged, waving her arms around them, looking at the plants, trees and leaves. Draco raised an eyebrow coldly.
"I'm not sleeping in dirt," he said in disgust.
"Why? Is it too mudblood-like for you?" Hermione asked crossly.
"Yeah, it is," Draco sneered.
"Well you don't have much choice. You're lucky, at least you have a cloak and long pants. I'm going to be freezing," said Hermione as she looked down at her ripped and torn clothes.
At The Burrow the four people who arrived - Mr Ollivander, Luna, Dean and Griphook - were taken care of, each telling their own story of how they came to be in the cellar. Mr Ollivander had been kidnapped two years earlier by Death Eaters, and forced to help Voldemort with wands ever since. Luna had been taken prisoner by Death Eaters, in an attempt to force her father to capture Harry Potter. Dean and Griphook had been captured the same way Hermione had - by snatchers. Harry, Ron, Hagrid, Lupin and Mr Weasley waited in the room where Dobby had disapparated from. The mood was tense and impatient. No one said a word. Where was Dobby? He got those four so fast, and now no Hermione?
"She's getting the wands and sword back," said Harry aloud.
"I think so too," Lupin agreed with a firm nod.
"Shouldn't take too long, they'll be here any minute," Harry continued. But the minutes ticked by painfully. Mrs Weasley returned, with Luna who was excited to see Hermione again. But the expected Dobby and Hermione did not return, and the minutes slowly stretched into hours.
"They have to be dead, if they're not here, where else could they be?" Ron said at last, his face very pale and his eyes empty of all hope.
"Don't talk like that Ron!" Mrs Weasley hissed. But they were all thinking the same thing - if Dobby couldn't disapparate, what else could have happened? Unless Dobby died and Hermione disapparated to the wrong place. But the chance was a slim one, and they were all beginning to think the worst had happened.
Thank you for reading! If you liked this chapter, please feel free to review and add to alerts/favourites! :)
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