A/N: I just own the plot. Set around 6th year.

Characters Involved: Hermione/Draco, Ron, Harry, a bit of Seamus

Rating: M for minor sex scenes, language, and violence

Let me know what you think! Reviews are greatly appreciated!

Chapter One: Help

. . .

" 'Mione, where'd you put my damn books? I hate when you try to tidy up! I can't find anything!"

Hermione flinched as he yelled but took a deep breath and closed her eyes, grateful that her back was facing towards him so he couldn't see her face. She put on her somewhat dressy button-up shirt and pulled her hair gently out of her shirt before she began to pull on her pants, feeling mental and physically exhausted from their night together.

"Your damn books are in your bag over by your dresser, Ron. If you just took better care of your things…"

Hermione didn't have to finish her sentence though when she heard hard footsteps stomping towards her and then felt a sharp pain in her cheek. She let out a soft cry, but she wasn't that surprised that he had acted so violently towards her. She looked up at him and then stood up before she finished buttoning her jeans and then looked at him with fearful eyes.

"Did that make you feel like a man, hitting me?"

Ron grabbed her face with his hand and forced her to look up into his cold eyes. "No, what we did last night made me feel like a man. Hitting you is just an extra bonus that helps me with the anger."

Hermione cringed in pain and forced herself out of his hold, going into the bathroom and making sure her hair wasn't in such disarray that people would be asking questions. She walked back to get her bag and put on her shoes, not daring to look at him.

"I'll see you in Divination…" With that, Hermione grabbed her bag and then hurried out of his dormitory before he could object and then started walking quickly to the girl's dormitory so she could fit in a quick shower before breakfast.

Hermione could still feel the pain in her face from when he had hit her but by now, she would've thought that she'd eventually get used to his abuse. She knew it was the jealousy Ron apparently seemed to always feel whenever she was around Harry that had made him this possessive and angry.

She was a few feet from the dormitory when she bumped into Ginny, who had caused Hermione's bag to fall on the ground. She reached for it quickly but Ginny knelt down and grabbed it first before she finally looked up at her friend.

"I'm sorry... god, I'm such a klutz…"

Hermione gently took her bag from her and kept her face down, having not applied her makeup to cover up the redness and bruising on her cheek. "It's fine, Gin. Thank you…"

When she finally looked up, Ginny's eyes widened and she leaned in to take a closer look but Hermione looked away again.

"Did he do it again…? I'm going to kill my brother…"

"No! Just… just forget it, Ginny. It's alright. Promise me you won't even mention this to him," Hermione spoke firmly, knowing what Ron was capable of.

Ginny's eyes looked confused and frustrated but she nodded reluctantly. She bit her lip now and she leaned in to whisper. "Hermione, you need to talk to someone about this. What he's doing isn't right. You should talk to Harry about it."

Hermione shook her head and chuckled in disbelief. "He knows. He's too scared to do anything. He's part of the reason that Ron's doing this in the first place. Harry's already too involved."

Ginny was beginning to look desperate. "Maybe if you tell Pomfrey, or McGonagall, maybe they could help you - "

"NO! Will you just drop it already? Please, just leave me alone!" Hermione yelled, causing Ginny to jump. She quickly hurried up to the dormitories and into her bathroom before she threw off her clothes and jumped in the shower, making a long attempt to wash the ugliness she felt off of her.

Once she had finished, she got changed into another pair of clean jeans and a long sleeved shirt and then grabbed her wand. With a wave, she instantly dried her hair so it looked halfway decent but not as curly as she normally had it. She grabbed her bag of books and then walked down to the Great Hall for breakfast, regardless of how hungry she didn't feel.

She sat in between Ron and Harry, only because she knew Ron would start a fight if she didn't sit near or next to him. Hermione put a spoonful of scrambled eggs on her plate even though she had lost her appetite and did every time she looked at Ron. Hermione made a point of looking down at her plate the entire time Ron and Harry talked so he couldn't accuse her of looking at other men. She poked at her eggs thoughtlessly, wishing she could will herself away from here.

"What's your first class, Hermione?"

She didn't even have to take her schedule out to answer. Hermione had made sure that she only had one class with Ron so she could keep her sanity. "Divination."

She watched out of the corner of her eye as Harry glanced at not only Ron's schedule but Seamus', Dean's, and Neville's schedules as well. "Hmm, at least we all have one class together this year," said Harry positively.

"Aye, but it's a shame that it's with crazy Professor Trelawney," Seamus laughed, more so to himself than to anyone else.

Hermione didn't let Ron see but she smiled slightly, realizing one of the reasons she had always liked Seamus. She didn't even make a note to criticize Trelawney's teaching methods and how she disagreed with them. Since the beginning of this year two days ago, Hermione had been a lot quieter in speaking her mind about things; Since Ron and her had started going out in the summer, she had learned to make herself small and agree with whatever he says.

Ron looked over at Hermione, having expected to see her schedule out but instead just saw her looking down at her eggs. He elbowed her a little harder than she expected, but she assumed that it had been on purpose.

"What's your schedule like today? I want to know when you're free again."

"Double Potions after Divination, History of Magic until two, Advanced Charms until four, Arithmancy until six, dinner, and Transfiguration from seven until eight."

Ron looked at her in disbelief and she could see the anger rising in his eyes. He placed his hand under the table and then grabbed her thigh with his hand before he tightened his grip on it, making her wince. "How could you take so many classes knowing that I want you to spend time with me?"

She felt tears of pain rise in her own eyes as she felt the unbearable death grip on her thighs tighten. Hermione just shook her head and whimpered softly, wishing he would stop. "I-I'm sorry… I-I just wanted to get a h-head start in hopes I could f-finish school early…"

He leaned over closely and she could feel his hot breath on her ear. "It's alright. We'll work around your insane schedule somehow," Ron said darkly before he finally let go of her leg and started eating his breakfast again.

Hermione relaxed now and gently rubbed her leg, mentally willing the pain away. She looked up when she knew it was safe and was surprised to see Draco Malfoy staring at her with curious and almost worried eyes. She felt her stomach flip as she stared back at him with soft desperate eyes before she looked quickly back down at her eggs, afraid to be hurt by Ron for looking at Draco. She fought the temptation to look back up at him, feeling like she should signal for him to help her. Then a thought entered her mind.

No. You will not get him involved in this mess you call your life. He's a jerk but he doesn't deserve this anguish. Did you forget how Ron is now? Did you forget that he might go as far as to actually kill anyone he sees as a threat? It's a miracle he hasn't already finished Harry off. Don't you dare get him or anyone else involved in this. You made your grave, and now you have to lie in it.

These thoughts made her lose the high hopes she had and she pushed her eggs away, eager to get to Divination so she could go to Double Potions and be away from Ron. She was just grateful she had enough sense to lie to Ron about the other classes she told him she had as well. Hermione decided that she would hide in the library until those classes would be over with.

The first bell rang and she stood up before grabbing her bag and followed the gang to Divination where they sat in the hot classroom and listened as Trelawney spoke airily.

"This year, it is foreseen that you will have fresh beginnings and a new appreciation for Divination. We will once again examine the futuristic telling of tea leaves. First, open your books and read Chapter Four on good omens and the myths that surround them."

Hermione looked over at Ron who looked blatantly bored as he opened his book and shook his head. She had already read this chapter but decided that it prevented her from having a conversation with Ron. They all took extra long to read on purpose so they could take up the entire time. She felt excitement rise up in her when she heard the second bell ring throughout the castle and then shoved her book inside her bag before she started to head for Potions. The excitement was shirt lived though when she felt someone grab her forearm roughly and pull her back quickly.

"Hey! Where do you think you're going all too quickly, eh? You're my girlfriend, Hermione. I would think that you would at least pretend you're going to miss me," Ron said under his breath to her but managed to sound cold as ice.

"I-I am going to miss you…"

She felt his short nails dig into her arm sharply and squeeze her forearm so tight she thought for a moment his intention was to break it right off.

"You're a fucking liar. Kiss me goodbye, Hermione," Ron demanded, pulling her in closer.

She watched as all the students had emptied the classroom and then watched as Trelawney soon walked out as well before Hermione gave Ron a kiss on his cheek. Without warning, Ron suddenly closed the door so they were both in the classroom and he pinned her against the wall before he ran his hands under her blouse to caress her skin. She tried to shove him away, to get away from him, but he grabbed her hips and slammed her against the wall harder.

"You're such a fucking tease. How do you expect me not to be all over you when you wear shirts like this? It compliments your… figure… all too perfectly," he said as he ran his hands over her bra under her shirt.

She whimpered and tried to shove him harder but he was too strong for her. She reached in her pocket for her wand as he was occupied and then pointed it at him threateningly.

"G-Get off of me! Don't touch me…"

Ron laughed and then stepped back, but she knew that he could just as easily jinx her if he really wanted to. He had her where he wanted her though, and that was scared. He looked at her with a sneer that Draco Malfoy had been known so famously for.

"You think… that you can give me orders? You're forgetting who's in charge in this relationship. I think it's time for a reminder."

Ron suddenly stormed over to her and grabbed her hair before he slapped her hard and then threw her on the floor before he kicked her back. "I'm in charge, you ungrateful bitch! You're sleeping around on me and I know it! You thought that you had hidden it well, did you? Well you're wrong!"

Hermione let out a cry when he kicked her back a couple more times before he knelt down and grabbed her hair once more, forcing her to look at him. "Now listen here, you whore. If I catch you around another man, so help me, you're going to wish that you've never been born, Hermione Granger. And don't be so eager to run off after this class because I'll find you somewhere throughout the day and we can skip your overachieving classes and you will stay with me during that time. I will get what I want and deserve from you. Don't forget that for a second."

When Ron had let go of her hair, she winced and whimpered as she tried to move. She watched Ron move towards the door and walk out and only then did she let herself break down and cry.

Hermione forced herself to stand up after several long minutes, knowing that Trelawney would be coming back to teach another class. She tried to fix herself before she limped downstairs to the dungeons and walked quietly into the classroom, feeling only half apathetic that she was so late, but also feeling grateful that Professor Snape had not acknowledged it.

She gingerly sat at her desk and began taking notes as he talked, feeling once again grateful that this day was only going to be a lecture day instead of actually having to prepare a potion. She leaned forward in her seat as her quill scratched notes on the parchment, finding that this was the only position where she didn't feel like screaming in pain.

"Well now that you have all ignored my seemingly mundane lecture on the importance of a Blood-Replenishing potion, I would like you all to partner up and compare notes. If you can add more information I have not yet already given you, please feel free to do so with your partner. You have fifteen minutes."

Hermione had barely noticed how Professor Snape was not being as strict or disdainful towards her this year. She looked around and saw that almost everyone was already partnering up but then saw Draco walking towards her, looking different than in the past years they had spent here together. His hair wasn't oily and looked short and messy. His face looked calm and gentle instead of scornful.

"Do you… do you have a partner, Granger?"

"Obviously not," she said coldly, but then instantly regretted it when she saw his face. "Sorry. Umm… sit down. We can be partners together."

Draco silently took his seat and placed his bit of parchment besides her and the two were quiet for a long time. Hermione was afraid that he could peer into her mind and know what was happening to her. She cleared her throat, not liking the uncomfortable silence and then started speaking.

"Well, the potion works in the cases of snake venom, because of something in the venom itself that keeps snakebite wounds open. I think it's also safe to assume that the potion would work in cases of severe cuts - "

Draco had stopped writing on his parchment and looked at her. "Whatever he's doing to you, you need to ask someone for help," he said suddenly, but in a soft whisper.

She looked at him with confusion in her eyes, not knowing if he was offering to help or if he had overheard Ginny talking to her somehow. She shook her head, thinking of the harm this would cause her. "I'm fine."

"You're not fine, Granger. You're stubborn."

She swallowed hard now and looked at him in disbelief. "You think you know me? You don't know anything about me, Draco."

He bit his lip and began to pretend to write something down on the parchment to make it look like they were working. "I know you're scared. If it were up to me, you'd be in the hospital wing right now," Draco spoke before he could stop himself. There was another uncomfortable silence before he spoke again. "Let me help you."

"Why? Why are you suddenly all helpful towards me? You've called me a Mudblood all these years, spit on me, and done nothing to criticize things I can't help, and now you suddenly want to get involved and help me? What's changed?"

Draco sighed and ran a hand through his hair before he looked down at his arms. "Lots have changed. I know what true pain is, Granger. I know what it's like to be hurt in more ways than one. Blood doesn't matter anymore, I see that now."

Hermione turned on him now and slammed her quill down. "Stop it! Stop pretending like you know what I'm going through. You have no idea, Draco," she replied in a cold whisper.

"He's hurting you, and you need to get rid of him. You want to feel safe, but you can't because he's so damn possessive that if he ever saw you around me, he wouldn't hesitate to hurt the both of us. You think you're the only person here that feels confused and hurt? Stop pretending like you're alone in this. Stop pretending that no one cares about you."

Hermione felt slightly hurt by his comment but said nothing, reflecting on his words until Professor Snape began lecturing again. She glanced over at Draco who was rubbing his arm absentmindedly and then bit her lip.

"I will end class early today but do not, by any means, get used to it. Homework is on the board."

The bell rang and Hermione started copying the homework down. During this time, Draco cleared his throat and looked at her. "What do you have next?"

"History of Magic. You?"

"Same. Looks like we're in the same class," Draco pointed out obviously. He cursed himself and then gathered up his things. "Hey, after the class, do you want to… head to Hogsmeade for a butterbeer?"

Hermione felt utterly conflicted now. She looked down and shoved her things inside her bag before she looked at him. "I-I can't. I just… can't."

Draco searched her eyes and then nodded knowingly. "Of course. I'm sorry for even asking."

She watched as Draco walked out of the Potions classroom and started to trudge towards Professor Binns' classroom upstairs, feeling more confused than ever now. What did Draco expect from her? If Ron found out that she was skipping lunch to go to Hogsmeade, she would pay the price for it, and perhaps Draco would too. She was trying to keep him out of harm's way. Hermione began to feel frustrated that he couldn't see that but she decided to make an effort to try to be nice to Draco again. If nothing else, maybe she could be the one to ask him for help. Maybe she didn't have to feel trapped like this. Maybe.