Hermione pushed open the heavy oak doors of the library and slipped out into the dark moonlit hallway. Glancing at her clock she hurried her stride as she realised she only had five minutes left before curfew started.
Ignoring her rumbling stomach, she made her way silently past the portrait of the Old Scholar and Candlestick and turned the corner. She had been so absorbed in the Charms essay she had been set earlier this morning that she had completely forgotten about dinner. Not just dinner but also her after dinner plans which involved refereeing Harry and Ron's chess tournament.
As her stomach gave another little rumble, she sighed and thought about how close she had come to finishing the essay before Madame Pince had interrupted her to close the library. Even though the tiredness that she had pushed away over the last few hours bore down on her, Hermione wondered if it was worth finishing the essay tonight thus leaving tomorrow free to proof read her Potions essay. Maybe she would even get a few hours free to do some campaigning for the newly reformed S.P.E.W?
More people seemed interested in the organisation than her previous attempt at raising awareness four years ago. Hermione wished it was because they suddenly saw the horrible way in which house elves were treated but deep down she had accepted that it was due to her increased status as a war hero and somewhat of a celebrity since the war ended.
Oh well, despite the reason they took her leaflets or came to her informative weekly meetings, at least her message was spreading.
As she heard an owl tooting in the distance and a wind howling through the hallway, she snapped out of her thoughts and felt the first prickle of awareness settle over her. It caused the fine hairs on the back of her neck to rise.
This is what she hated. Hermione had never been one to be afraid of the dark, even when she was younger. She had prided herself in the fact that she had never needed a nightlight when she was a little girl unlike every one of her Muggle school friends.
She had always thought that the night was simply a time at which another world came to life. One which was mystical and special.
Now she knew what the dark held. She had seen the horrors that took place under the shrouded blackness and though she knew she was safe, that Voldemort was gone along with his Death Eaters and evil feral creatures - she couldn't forget.
The irrational tingles increased and Hermione shifted her bag nervously as her hand hovered next to the pocket containing her wand.
"Don't be stupid Hermione. There is nothing there for Merlin's sake. You're in Gryffindor. Don't be stupid." She muttered under her breath.
Glancing at her watch again, she shifted her hand when she couldn't see the time in the little light available. As she turned the corner, a glint of moonlight reflected off the surface and hit a body two feet away from her.
Hermione gasped but didn't even take one second to react. Her bag dropped to the floor in the same instant that her wand was pulled out of her pocket and moved in front of her. Her heart was now beating in her throat and she swallowed convulsively.
The Conjunctivitus Curse on her lips was about to be spoken when she heard the form in front of her speak.
"You shouldn't be out in the dark Granger. Who knows what dangerous things are creeping around."
Hermione stepped back as her mind instantly recognized the drawl and with a Lumos charm, she lifted her head to face Malfoy's steel eyes. "Malfoy. What are you doing out in the hallway? Curfew starts in a few minutes. Get back to your common room."
Malfoy's lips twisted into a hidden smile and Hermione tightened her grip around her wand. As if he had somehow noticed this, his twisted smile widened and his eyes glinted amusedly. Hermione raised her jaw in a show of defiance.
"Shouldn't you be safely tucked away by now? I'm surprised Potter and Weasley," he spat the names out, "allowed you out of their sight. I'm sure they'll have already organized a search party and will be knocking on the Slytherin common room door any minute now."
He said the words with such hate that it took Hermione a few seconds to reply. "I'm not under their watch." She lied stubbornly. Harry and Ron's overly protective behaviour had initially pleased her. Now it was a constant reminder that she had needed them to feel safe during the war and she didn't like it. She had been independent before Voldemort and she damn well would be after him.
His harsh laugh made it known that he knew she was lying and she angrily looked away. That was her mistake. With a swift move, he knocked her wrist out of the way and moved the two steps towards her. His towering form over her combined with the loud clattering of her wand dropping to the floor, made her breath catch in her throat.
"Aren't you?" he said.
She could feel his warm breath hitting her face and her mind went momentarily blank.
"Potter never lets you talk to anyone he deems unfit whilst Weasley just pathetically salivates around you whilst keeping you in his sight."
His words against her friends jarred her from the fogginess. "That isn't true." She said as she brought her hand up in front of her in preparation to push him off if it came to that.
"Yes it is Granger. We both know it's true."
"It doesn't matter whether it's true or not Malfoy. We need to get to our respective common rooms. Curfew has already started." She said trying to reason with him.
"You're Head Girl. You're allowed to be out after curfew." Malfoy stated.
"You're noth-." Hermione stopped when she realised what she was about to say. "You're not a Prefect Malfoy. You have to be back in your common room before curfew or you'll get detention." Hermione caught sight of his evil smile and wished that she had left the library at a dinner time.
"And who'll give me that detention then. You Granger? I doubt it."
Indignant at his words, Hermione lifted her chin higher. "Yes me Malfoy. I'm not afraid of you."
He moved closer and Hermione's hand hit his chest. "Really Granger? You sure look scared. Like a little rabbit caught in its prey's path…looking for a way out…knowing it's going to die. It's not the first time you've looked at me like this. I remember the last time." He moved closer. "In the forest." His whispered voice was like a trance; transporting her to the memory of that day over a year ago.
Hermione ran through the thick trees, ignoring the branches that scratched her body.
Her lungs felt like they were on the verge of collapse but she forced herself on.
Her screaming muscles ached and she stumbled over a branch. Righting herself before she fell she pushed on, sobs ready to be spilled from her throat. Keeping them contained was painful and Hermione stopped running in an effort to carry out the action.
It was no use.
As her brain stopped buzzing, the terror she had been over-riding with adrenaline bubbled to the surface and the tears fell. In that moment, she lost all sense of sanity and blindly yelled out for Dennis without caring on how she was revealing her position.
She had been fighting a masked Death Eater when she had seen the youngest Creevy brother running into the Forbidden Forest, a male Death Eater trailing manically after him.
In her panic to help the young Gryffindor, Hermione had forgotten about her own Death Eater and made to run after them. Before making it two steps she had been blown six feet into a tree. Luckily Merlin had been looking down on her and her wand was still in her hand. With a quick Reducto charm aimed at the Death Eater, Hermione had pushed herself up against the tree trunk and ran into the deep forest.
Not two hours ago she had seen Colin fall in the Great Hall when he was hit by that fatal green light and somehow, after witnessing his death, Hermione knew she had to save Dennis. She had to save this one. She had failed Colin but she wouldn't fail Dennis.
Only she couldn't see anything but dark tress surrounding her. Suffocating her with their denseness.
She had to save him. And so she had screamed out his name.
It was a hoarse sound. Similar to a mother's cry when she loses her baby. Hermione had to save him. She had to find him.
He found her. Dennis had miraculously popped through the trees to her right. Along with him was the Death Eater.
Her Stupefy charm was dodged by the Death Eater and her following Protego charm was only enough to shield her own form and not Dennis's who was still twenty feet away from her. The shield faded into air at the exact moment that Hermione saw a Crucio curse coming her way.
For the second time in her life, she fell to the floor as her muscles were stabbed with thousands of white hot knives and screams were ripped from her throat. She heard Dennis screaming but the sound was quickly swallowed up by her own wails.
Hermione had no clue how long she was under the curse. After an eternity she felt the knives stab her for the last time and she trembled, crumpled on the ground unable to do nothing but watch the boots of the Death Eater come her way.
When her hair was pulled back, pain exploded throughout her body at the unwanted movement. But it wasn't the pain that Hermione would later remember. It would be the wild face of Augustus Rookwood, his yellow teeth and stale breath as he moved his face within centimeters of hers.
"Well, well, well. Look what I caught. Oh, the Dark Lord will be very pleased indeed. Very pleased. He'll reward me nicely for you Mudblood." His wand had now come to jab at her throat and Hermione waited for him to finish it. To end her life. Her eyes closed in preparation and the last thought that went through her mind was how she had failed to save Dennis.
She had failed.
Her chest was cut off from air as Rookwood's body slumped down on hers. At the knock, Hermione's eyes flew open and she saw Dennis standing over her, wand held out.
Muscles still aching, she struggled to push Rookwood's apparent unconscious body off hers and that was when she saw a large rock with splatters of blood to the side of her.
Grabbing onto Dennis as she stood, relief spread through her and she gave out a happy laugh as she hugged him to her bruised body. It was only when she felt his little body stiffen against her that she realised something was wrong. She had no time to do anything to stop the Immobulus Charm that hit her back.
It was the first time she was under the effects of the charm and if Hermione had to pick which of the two was worse between this charm and the Crucio curse, she would pick this one. The feeling of being paralyzed, trapped uselessly in her body, was the worst feeling she had ever encountered. She had been left to count the seconds and hear the crunch of footsteps coming closer to her before she saw a white head.
The moonlight was literally bouncing off his hair and casting him in a halo. It was the first time Hermione had thought of Draco Malfoy as being one of the mysterious, mystical night creatures she had thought she would never see.
He looked beautiful.
Then she saw his wand and the beautiful creature became deadly. His infamous smirk graced his features as he looked down at her immobile form.
Hermione had forced her mouth to speak but her muscles did not even twitch. All she could do was move her eyes uselessly from one side to the other.
She was powerless. And it was then that fear filled her.
Tears leaked out of her eyes as she stared into the cold ice eyes of her childhood enemy. Through the blurriness, she didn't see his smirk falter. All she heard was his soft curse and her mind swirled into the dark abyss.
Both she and Dennis had woken up two days later in St Mungo's. No-one had known what had happened to the two of them in the time that they were cursed to the time that they were found.
"What did you do?" Hermione asked softly.
Malfoy's eyes narrowed. "I haven't done anything…yet."
"I don't mean now. Then. What did you do?"
Hermione saw recognition flicker through his eyes but he didn't speak. Didn't answer.
"Tell me. I have to know. What did you do? Why didn't you kill us? Two powerless, vulnerable Mudbloods? It's your dream come true."
Malfoy moved so quickly that the breath was knocked out of her body as he pressed her against the cold stone wall. His angry pants formed white whispers around her. "Don't think you know a single thing about my dreams Granger because you don't." He whispered harshly against her ear.
Hermione squeezed her hands between their bodies and pushed him away from her. "Don't touch me Malfoy."
Draco conceded and stepped back until he was lounging against the opposite wall, lazily staring at Hermione's shaking body. "You were unconscious for two days Granger. You were unconscious in the forest for four hours before Shacklebolt found you lying there. Four long hours…In that time, I'm the only one who knows what I did or didn't do to you…What I did or didn't touch."
Hermione froze at his words and for a second, it seemed like time had stopped around the two of them. Another owl tooting in the distance broke it.
Hermione stepped forward and her hand lifted to smack him across the face. He caught her thin wrist easily and held it in his grasp as she struggled to free herself.
Eventually she gave up and his grip loosened enough for her to wrench her hand from his. "You're lying you bastard! You wouldn't dirty yourself by touching a Mudblood." She choked out.
A sly smile crept across his lips. "Maybe…But you'll never know either way."
"You bastard." She repeated.
"Curses and hexes will break your bones but words will never harm you." He countered.
Hermione stared at him for two seconds before gritting her teeth and quickly picking up her bag and wand from the floor. "Stay away from me Malfoy or I swear on Dumbledore's grave I will kill you."
With that Hermione walked away from him and once she rounded another corner and was out of his sight, she ran.
Draco listened to her footsteps as she dashed away from him and he smiled in satisfaction. Pushing himself off the wall, his eyes caught a flash of silver on the floor and he reached for it. A small green badge lay across his palm, the yellow letters spelling out vomit. He pocketed the metal before disappearing off in the opposite direction to Hermione, whistling softly at what her reaction would be when he turned up at her next S.P.E.W. meeting.
Author's Note: So what did you think? Not all the oneshot's will be as dark and angsty so if this wasn't your cup of tea hopefully the next one will be! Thank you for reading and until next time, Curiositykils