a/N: Hello, everyone! So, due to request, I've made this as a sequel to The Love of a Death Eater. If you haven't read that oneshot yet, I suggest doing so before you read this, otherwise it might not make complete sense! For this oneshot, I recomment you all listen to Bloodstream by Stateless. Anyways, I hope you enjoy, and as always, review please. Thanks for reading, you guys are great!
He constantly worried about her; thought about her. He hated having to keep her locked in that cold and rotting dungeon underneath the floors of Malfoy Manor, but it was the way things had to be. It had never been his plan to fall in love with the Mudblood—with Potter's Mudblood of all people, and yet he was too far gone to stop himself. He was always the first to offer to go and check up on her, just to make sure that the others wouldn't be so cruel on her. He lied for her; he sacrificed his life for her. He did everything he could to ensure that, although she was his family's captive, she would remain unharmed.
It was a dizzying concept to realize that he'd rather die protecting her than allow her to sacrifice her life, one which Draco couldn't wrap his head around. And yet…it was almost worth the internal struggle he succumbed to every day. Almost.
He stalked through the corridors of the spacious building, faintly recognizing the house he was currently occupying. It didn't feel like the Manor, but it felt…familiar, somehow. Ridiculous; he'd been locked inside the Manor ever since the War, sent to take care of the prisoners—sent to take care of Granger. He walked down a narrow corridor, wondering when this had been installed into his house, when a harsh voice erupted him from his thoughts. Startled, Draco jumped and stuffed his hands in his pockets, searching for his wand. Shit. It wasn't there! Panicked, he moved to hide behind a curtain, but the voice soon spoke once more.
"Draco," It urged, and the youngest Malfoy strained his ears, trying to decipher just where exactly he'd heard the vaguely familiar voice once more.
"Draco," It continued, more gently. "It's me, Blaise. Draco, come out from behind the curtains." Zabini? What was Zabini doing here? Confused, Draco allowed his old friend to coax him out from behind his hiding place, and he looked around the deserted corridor frantically. He was…confused; where the hell was he? This wasn't Malfoy Manor—he wasn't stalking down a dark corridor lined with dark wooden floors or emerald rugs. This place smelled of disease and decay; the polished wooden floors were replaced with scuffed tiles, and the beautiful paintings on the wall had been long forgotten, and beige paint served as its substitute.
"How did we get here?" Draco cried frantically, looking around with wide, silver eyes. "Where's my wand? How come I'm not at the Manor? Where's Granger? Where's mother?" He began heaving shuddering gasps for air, panic overwhelming him. He hadn't visited Hermione in three days; he had to make sure she was okay. If anything happened to her, he'd never forgive himself.
"One question at a time, Draco," Blaise said softly, and gently began to lead Draco down the hallway. It had never been normal for Blaise to be affectionate in the least, and so the sudden gentleness he handled his fair-haired friend with frightened him. He shrugged out of his friend's hold, turning to face him with an ice cold glare.
"Answer me now, damnit!" He spat, his lip twitching to curve into a sneer. "If you haven't guessed, Blaise, we're in the middle of a sodding War, and we've got things to do!" Most specifically, I've got things to do. Draco thought bitterly, clenching his hands into fists and digging his nails into the supple flesh of his palms.
"Draco," Blaise said sternly, but slowly, making sure his frantic friend had his attention. He seemed uneasy, and so Draco temporarily diverted his frantic and hysterical attempts to locate his mother and Granger in favor of listening to his friend. Perhaps he had news of their whereabouts.
"Draco…the War ended five years ago."
It was as though someone had taken his skull and rammed it upside a brick wall. He didn't…it just didn't…what? Five years ago? No, no, he was bluffing. True, it wasn't known for Blaise to have a sense of humor, but he had to be lying. Why, just yesterday he'd been preparing silencing charms for the next time he was going to check on Granger! Granger…while Blaise was sitting here making jokes, she was freezing and rotting in that damn dungeon. He had to find a way back to her, and in his desperation he was willing to ask for help.
"Don't be ridiculous," He scoffed, trying to shove past the tall and dark man who stood in his way. Blaise placed both of his hands on Draco's shoulders, pushing him back and forcing his grey eyes to meet Zabini's dark ones.
"Look at me," He said, and there was a hint of desperation in his tone that Draco had never seen before. He blinked twice, perplexed, and allowed the corners of his mouth to tug into a slight pout.
"Don't go down this road, mate, not again. I'm trying to help you; I'm trying to save you, and you're just making this harder on yourself," Blaise said calmly, but Draco could detect a hint of desperation lingering in his words.
"What the fuck are you on?" Draco spat, shrugging out of his friend's grip. "You're sitting here talking about shit I don't give a damn about, and I have things that need to be done. Unlike you, Zabini, we don't all possess the ability to remain neutral in this War. Some of us don't have a choice. Now, are you going to tell me where the hell I am so I can get back home, or not?"
An icy glare encompassed Blaise's cold features, and he pressed his lips into a thin line as he assessed how to answer Draco's question. A heart-stopping minute of silence ensued before he deigned to speak, leaving Draco tense and angry.
"You're at St. Mungos," He said quietly, slipping back into that brooding and impassive mask that reminded Draco so much of the Blaise he'd attended Hogwarts with. But the location that the man had just uttered left Draco confused and a bit fearful. St. Mungos…? But, he had no injuries; he was perfectly well health-wise, aside from the nightmares he was constantly having. But a trip to the Wizarding World's Hospital wasn't likely to clear that up, nor was it necessary.
"Why the hell are we here?" He spat, charging down the corridor. He threw open the doors and soon found himself in what appeared to be a small sitting room, filled with Wizards and Witches that looked only vaguely familiar to him, and the small box of a room possessed the slight aroma of disinfectant. Yes, this place was undeniably St. Mungos, but…the question as to why he was here or how he'd gotten here still remained unanswered.
"You live here," came a voice behind him, and Draco jumped, startled to realize Blaise had followed him silently down the hall. Lived here…? What the—what the fuck?
"What are you playing at, Zabini?" Draco growled, but the malice intended to inflict pain upon his friend was devoid of any real emotion. He was perplexed and terrified, more than anything else; how come he didn't remember coming here? And if that was the case, was his statement about the timeline shifting vastly from what he'd remembered it to be different as well…?
"Blaise," Draco whispered, uncertainty seeping into his pores and corroding his vision. He craned his neck slowly to face his friend, desperately seeking the truth. "Where's Granger?"
Blaise paused, shifting around to move out into the small room in which other inpatients were settled. He seemed nervous, almost, which surprised Draco more than anything else—Zabini hardly ever showed that he was unsettled about anything. Cocking his head to the side slightly, Draco knit his pale blonde brows together and listened attentively.
But nothing could have prepared him for the acidic words that dripped from his old Housemate's tongue.
"Hermione Granger is dead," Blaise stated. "She died five years ago, in the dungeons of Malfoy Manor. She died protecting you, and you wound up here protecting her in return."
It was as though someone had taken a hammer to the delicate glass world that Draco had enclosed himself in and shattered the thin protective film to pieces. His chest began to ache as his heart fluttered dangerously with the realization that the weight of Blaise's words had to be true—there was no other explanation. Hot tears flooded the corners of his eyes, and he felt his legs give out underneath him. The white hot bursts of fury and resentment blotted out his vision, and in a flurry of rage Draco began wreaking havoc on the sitting room that occupied St. Mungos. He banged his fists harshly against the walls until his knuckles bled, screaming at the top of his lungs. He squeezed his eyes shut to bite back the salty tears that threatened to pool from his eyes, and he lifted his trembling leg back to kick an end table on its side. A lamp that had rested on the table came crashing to the ground, the glass it was made of shattering into thousands of glittering pieces and grinding to dust at his feet. He grew wild, screaming and cursing and yelling her name until his voice was hoarse.
He'd barely released a fraction of the emotions surging inside of him before two employees of St. Mungos grabbed him firmly by the arms. He jerked and writhed in their grasp, hissing between broken and inhumane sobs that wracked his body and shook him to the core.
"Granger, Granger no! Hermione, where are you? Hermione, come back, please, I'm sorry I didn't let you leave! I'm sorry!" He cried, his body heaving inwards as the choked and strangled sobs evacuated his body. Someone yanked on his hair and jerked his head back, forcing his mouth open and shoving a potion down his throat. He gargled and choked on the bitter liquid, but soon swallowed it, his body continuing to shudder with sobs.
A sense of calm soon began to wash over him, and Draco felt drowsy and cold all of a sudden. Gone: she was gone. He hadn't been able to save her, despite his desperate attempts to. Hermione Granger was forever lost to him, decaying in the ground and living in a different world without him. He licked his swollen and salty lips as the unfamiliar hospital officials dragged him to a small room and dropped his body on the bed. As if in a different state of thinking; a dream-like world in which nothing made sense, Draco fumbled around for the covers, still shuddering silently as he wrapped the warm quilt around his body. The last thing he remembered was Hermione's face, her hair matted and her eyes sunken as she waited for him on the floor of the dungeons…
Some time, although Draco couldn't have been quite sure how long, had passed before he felt a prickling sensation at the base of his neck. He opened his heavy eyes slightly, his vision blurry from the tears that had taken a toll on his body. He was about to sit up and croak for assistance when he heard the murmur of two voices by his bed. He grew still, deciding to listen intently.
"Have you made any dent in restoring his memory full-term?" came the anxious voice of someone he didn't recognize…a Healer, perhaps? Draco craned his neck forward slightly, desperate to hear more of their exchange.
"I think I've done all I can," Blaise admitted pessimistically, heaving a great sigh. "He wakes up every morning the same—he doesn't remember anything from the last five years. He's unable to encode any more memories; he's forever thriving on the past. The last thing he remembers is the War, and his duties watching the Muggle-born girl in the dungeons of Malfoy Manor."
There was a long pause as the woman evidently allowed for the bleak outlook of Draco's situation to settle inside of her. Finally, she heaved a great sigh and, as though nervous about her inquiry, spoke in a small voice.
"And what…what happened to him in the Manor? Do you know what happened that night?"
Blaise hesitated to answer, clearly debating on whether or not it was right for him to convey the depth of his closest friend's loss to an outsider's ears. Draco prayed that he would explain what happened, just so that he could remember—he wanted to remember; he needed to remember.
"They say that the Dark Lord found the two of them in the dungeon, wrapped in each other's warm embrace. It was foolish of both of them to give into silly lusty emotions in the midst of the Wizarding War, but I suppose I'll never understand the naïve hearts of lovers. Lord Voldemort apparently became enraged by Draco's 'Blood Traitor-esque' ambitions, and sent to fire a hex at the Granger girl. A memory charm to Obliviate him from her mind, to start the torture off with, I presume.
"From what Malfoy and the other witnesses have told me from that night, he stepped in front of her and shielded her from the Dark Lord's attack. He protected her, and the curse rebounded on him. And now here he lies—forever stuck living day after day in the past; memory after memory. He'll always think that he's stuck in the War, I believe. I have no hope of him coming out of this."
"And the girl?" The woman urged in a hushed tone. "What of the girl?"
"Naturally, once Draco had been hit and fell unconscious, she ran to his side to protect him. His mother's testimony said she went out fighting—she held Draco close and told Voldemort that he wouldn't live to see the end of this War, and that he'd never be half the Wizard that Draco was.
"Voldemort finished her off right then and there."
Draco felt his body trembling, his breath growing ragged as he desperately tried to recall that day. What felt like a distant memory groped at the edges of his consciousness, and all he could hear were the screams of a girl very much in love and very much desperate to make it out of the War alive.
A girl who wound up dead on the cold dungeon floor of his Manor, cradling her lover in her arms.
"They said she died holding him," Blaise continued, cutting Draco off from the sliver of a memory threatening to shine through the blank slate that was his mind.
"Merlin! That's awful!" The woman breathed, horrified. "Can't anything be done? Can't there be some way to save this poor boy from living these horrendous moments over and over again?"
"I'm sure there's some sort of solution, if we only looked hard enough," Blaise commented finally. Draco's brows furrowed together, wondering why the hell his friend hadn't searched high and low for this fix! His thoughts were mimicked as the strange woman asked the very question that was lingering on his tongue.
"Why haven't you found the solution yet, Mr. Zabini?"
"As twisted as it sounds, I think he's happier this way," Blaise began sadly, the emotion sounding odd and foreign coming from his lips. "Because at least in his deteriorating state of sanity, she lives—"
"Do you really think that's healthy, though?"
"Healthy? No. Pleasant? Yes. I have never seen a love like that of Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger's. I'm quite confident that—should the girl have lived—she alone would have been able to bring back his memories, just with her mere presence.
"For there's nothing stronger than a Death Eater falling in love with a Mudblood. It was, I believe, a love that shook the foundation of nature. To say it was extraordinary is an understatement—it was proof that magic exists beyond our realm of understanding."
Draco found himself unable to stay awake and attentive for the remainder of the interesting conversation. His limbs grew limp and his eyes fluttered closed: the rest of the world fell to silence.
Draco bolted upright in bed, realizing he'd overslept. Slipping out of the unnaturally hard mattress and sliding over to the dresser, he threw open the drawers and scrambled for his best black suit. Hermione had waited for him long enough, and so he wanted to make sure that he looked his best when presenting himself to her. Throwing his freshly-ironed black trousers on and fixing his black jacket, he checked himself in the mirror, making sure he looked suitable. He noticed the Manor seemed a bit different today, but that was all fine and such—he didn't care about the state of his house. He only cared about her.
He quickly exited the room, stalking down the corridors in search of the dungeons. A woman with a friendly face stopped him, and he blinked in shock. Who the fuck had gotten into his house…? He was about to demand she leave his property immediately when she spoke, and he noticed how…familiar her voice sounded. She appeared to be a Healer of some sort, but he couldn't quite place a finger on where he'd heard her. Maybe in a dream, perhaps…?
"Draco Malfoy, where are you headed?"
"The dungeons—I've got to take care of the prisoner," He lied quickly. The less people knew about his affair with Granger, the better. A pained expression settled onto the woman's face for a moment, and she parted her lips as if to speak; as if to blurt out some unknown fact that he found himself already itching to learn. But just as soon as the expression had molded onto her face, it soon vanished.
"I think Hermione will like that," She managed in a soft voice. Draco recoiled, shocked at her sudden statement. How did she…? He gulped, watching her for a moment. She seemed benign, and Draco nodded once, exhaling. A small whisper of a smile broke out on his face and he nodded yet again, shoving his hands in his pockets.
"Yeah, I think she will too."
For Draco, ignorance truly was the sweetest bliss.