Authors Note – WARNING! This chapter is DARK! Like DARK, DARK! I know this fic is supposed to be fluffy, AND IT IS! But we have to get through the darkness before we can hit the dawn again! And let's face it, we all knew dark shit was coming, it's been leading up to it for awhile! But it's darker than I thought it would be… But I promise, if you stick with me through this, there will be so much fucking fluffy shit on the other side that I'm going to have to open up my own fucking "build-a-bear" workshop. Lol


Chapter 12

"Don't Hit Women"

Dear Mister Potter,

I regret to inform you that the article that I had interviewed you about the other day, will in fact not be published this afternoon in the Breaking News Edition of the Daily Prophet, as we had previously discussed. It appears that some higher-ups have had a bit of a problem with some of the names you mentioned in your account of what happened during the War.

Hoping all is well,

Rita Skeeter

"Dammit!" Harry growled as he reread the letter over and over. This wasn't good; Pansy had already assured him that Ron had planned to carry out his revenge on Hermione and Malfoy that very day. Now without a safety net, they were up a creek without a paddle. 'Bloody hell, the shit's already hitting the fan…' and that wasn't even considering the fact that Ron had unforeseeably left Pansy completely out of his planning for revenge… Harry knew that they were all walking into a trap blindly, and now there was nothing that they could do to protect their backs.

Hermione was running down the corridor as fast as she could, looking back behind her every so often to make sure that he wasn't still following her. She felt the tendril of magic heat against her skin for the thousandth time that day and it emotionally unraveled her all over again and sent her back into a downward spiral of hysterical crying as she uselessly tried to rip it off the hundredth time. But just as the tendril had done countless other times, it held on stubbornly – no matter how hard she clawed at her wrist, no matter how much she bled, it wouldn't let go. It wouldn't let her forget what she had once had with the man, the love that she had felt – had she really only experienced it for the last time that morning? It felt more like a lifetime ago rather than a few measly hours.

How easily he had managed to do it – to revert right back to his old ways the second he broke up with her. How quickly he had ripped the rug out from under her and sent her flying straight into hell. And there was no confusion that that was what this was – hell. She was his puppet to play with in this nightmare of his own creation. He was bigger than her, faster, stronger, and – as much as it killed her to admit it – he was a hell of a lot more skilled with magic than she was, especially wandless magic.

Just as she rounded the corner at the 5th floor corridor, someone grabbed her wrist and used her forward moving momentum to swing her around and slam her into the stone walls that lined the dark halls.

"Where did you think you were going?" he growled huskily into her ear as he shoved her harder against the wall, pressing his body into hers.

"Please" she begged as tears continued to stream down her face, "Please, Draco, please just stop." she sobbed.

"That's not what you were screaming last night baby." He shoved his hips painfully into hers, causing her to cry out.

"Please! I don't know why you're doing this!"

"Oh you don't know why?" he pushed her skirt up until it was hitched up at her waist. "Because you're a filthy whore, that's why. A fucking Mudblood whore that will open her legs for anyone, even a fucking Slytherin –"

'Mudblood,"Hermione froze, and stopped listening to whatever else Draco was about to say... 'Mudblood.'

"Hey bitch!" Draco drew his hand back and slapped her across the face, "You're not listening!"

Hermione gasped out in pain as the force of his hit rocked her and she slammed her head back against the wall. She tasted blood and knew that her lip had split. She lifted her hand to the tender spot at the back of her head and winced as her hand came back slicked with bright red blood. "How dare you." she whispered.

Draco smirked, "How dare I? Like there's anything you could do to stop me."

Hermione's hand slashed out at lightning speed and racked her nails across his face, mixing her own blood with his. He let her go suddenly and pushed her away from him with a cry. "Don't ever fucking touch me again, you fucking bastard!" she screamed.

"You crazy ass bitch!" he yelled as he clutched a hand to his face and glared at her. Then he smirked and she became distracted by her confusion. So much so that she didn't see it coming; he backhanded her so hard that she saw bursts of light explode across her vision. She stumbled backwards and caught herself on the cold rock wall.

It took her a few moments to find her balance, but when she did, she turned right back towards him – no way in hell was a man just going to hit her and get away with it. She was Hermione-fucking-Granger.

"Back for more, Mudblood?"

"You know," she said as she wiggled her jaw to make sure that it wasn't broken, "you keep saying that."

"What? Mudblood? That's what you are." He smirked, "or did you forget?"

Hermione smiled, her eyes flashing sinisterly as she stared him down. As confused as she still was about the whole situation, one thing was becoming clearer and clearer to her. "Who are you?" she asked, her voice low and threatening.

She watched as Draco's face blanched and he stared at her in shock, his eyes beginning to flick back and forth with nervousness. Hermione felt the tendril heat up around her wrist again – and suddenly a warm bubbling happiness spread throughout her at the thought of him – the real Draco, not this douche bag imposter. Realization began to dawn on her – Draco's magic had been protecting her the whole time, warning her of danger.

Anger suddenly boiled up in her at the thought of what this asshole had done to him. Before she could even reign in her thoughts and realize what was happening, however, the imposter was on her. He shoved her to the ground and just as he reeled his fist back and sent it flying into her gut, the heat around her wrist disappeared and a bright purple light exploded all around them. Draco was thrown backwards off his feet and slammed into the stone wall. His shocked, wide eyes were unfocused and he slid down the wall into a crumpled heap on the floor as he lost consciousness.

Hermione struggled to regain her breath from the punch that she had just received as she watched in breathless amazement as the tendril's light particles re-gathered and floated back to her and wrapped itself around her wrist again.

She sat up slowly, trying to regain her bearings, when suddenly a gut wrenching spasm overtook her abdomen and she doubled over again, gasping for air and clutching her stomach. As wave after wave of unbearable pain overtook her, she began to see a pool of blood forming on the floor around her.

Hermione heard fast footsteps running in her direction down the corridor and then a sharp gasp, but she couldn't even look up to see the person's face – she was in too much pain to even think clearly.

"Stupefy." whispered a sad female voice, and Hermione slumped to the floor motionless.

Pansy tried not to run as she stepped into the Great Hall; the last thing she wanted to do was draw attention. She hastily glanced around and froze when her eyes landed on a head of pale blonde hair at the Slytherin table. Confusion wracked her brain as she tried to make sense of how he could already be down at the Great Hall for dinner.

"Any news?" asked a deep, nervous voice. She lost her train of thought as she turned and looked into big green eyes, the ones that had been plaguing her dreams for the last few weeks.

"Yea" she whispered hesitantly, people's eyes were already beginning to wander towards them in curiosity – why was a Gryffindor and Slytherin talking to each other? "She's… in the Infirmary." Pansy said slowly.

Harry's eyes went wide, "WHAT?!"

"Shut up!" she warned with a gasp as she swung her head around to the Slytherin table, but Draco was still staring off into space with a smirk on his face. 'Thank Merlin!'

"What did he do?" Harry growled dangerously.

"Don't worry about it," she told him, "you need to get to the Infirmary. Now. Hermione's bad… I'll deal with him." She could tell that there was an internal war being waged inside Harry, and she felt sorry for the decision he had to make... Actually, there was no decision to be made, it had already been made for him, he just needed to find it in him to accept it. "Go. She needs you. And we got this, don't worry."

"'We'?" he asked, suddenly distracted.


Draco Malfoy was in the Great Hall, sitting at the Head of the Slytherin table, with his feet perched up on the huge slab of oak. He was leaning back in his conjured chair, and was staring up at the magicked sky of the Great Hall. There was a wicked grin across his lips, as well as deep, purpling scratches along his cheek. The witch in question who had managed to give them to him had disappeared before he had gotten a chance to pay her back in kind. That didn't matter, however – he reminded himself – he'd find her again eventually.

"Draco, what the hell are you doing?" sneered Blaise as he shoved his friend's feet unceremoniously off the table, causing Draco to almost lose his balance on his chair and fall backwards.

"Who the hell do you think you are?" growled Draco as he regained his balance and whipped his wand out at Zabini.

Blaise eyed the wand in his friend's hand with an unimpressed look. "A wand? Really? What, are we suddenly 13 again?" at Draco's look of confusion, Blaise rolled his eyes and sat down on the bench next to him. "What the hell's gotten into you? First you're late to class, then you're sitting here acting like a stuck-up arse again, and now you're using a wand? Who the hell are you and where's my mate?" Blaise looked away just as he saw his friend's face blanch.

"Oh for Merlin's sake!" Blaise growled, "Put the wand away you idiot before you draw attention to us!" when Draco continued to sit there frozen, Blaise turned back to him and glared. "Put. It. Away. Malfoy." He growled softly, "the teachers are starting to stare, and the last thing my wolf and your tiger needs is to have the professors watching our every move… because I am about to blow your bloody hand off… Put it away. NOW!"

"Y-you can't tell me what to d-do." stuttered a very pale Draco, who nonetheless lowered his wand with shaking hands. Blaise paused with a forkful of food on its way to his mouth, "That's right, I'm Draco M-Malfoy… and n-no one tells a Malfoy what to do… you-you son of a whore."

Blaise's eyes flashed with rage, but he remained calm and gently laid his fork down as he stood up. "Get up." he whispered, and the authority behind the command alone was enough to make chills go up and down Draco's spine. When Blaise saw that his friend made no sudden movement to stand, he leaned back over the table and into Draco's face, "I said get up." And Draco felt a sudden searing pain grip his spine, forcing him to stand up. "Walk" he hissed into his ear, and with a burning sensation that threatened to rip his leg muscles in half, Draco found himself putting one foot in front of the other against his own accord.

Once outside of the Great Hall, the fire left his veins, and Draco's muscles suddenly went lax and he fell to the floor in a heap of limbs and robes. Gritting his teeth in furry, Draco quickly pushed himself up and regained his footing and turned to Blaise just as he was shutting the great oak doors behind them. "What the fuck was that?!"

"I could ask you the same question" growled Blaise. "What the fuck do you think you're doing, challenging me?"

"Challenging you?!" Draco repeated in surprise, "I'm a Malfoy, I can do whatever I want!"

"And I'm a Zabini, and I say you can't."

"The name Zabini means nothing!" Draco growled, a look of superiority flashed across his face for a second, before he saw the furry in the taller boy's eyes.

"I don't know what's suddenly gotten into you, but we're a team and always have been. You'll do well to remember that from now on." Blaise growled as he slowly stalked forward until he was right in front of Draco. "And just so we're clear, the name 'Malfoy' means nothing more than a bunch of has-been, Voldemort dick suckers." whispered Blaise, and when no reply came back, he screwed up his face and spat on Draco's shoes.

Draco gritted his teeth and tried to calm himself down before he spoke again. "So what you're saying is that you had no part in the War?" he asked, trying to get some useful information out of Zabini that he could use to nail him with later – the Zabini's had never officially been caught in connections with the Dark Lords.

Blaise took a small step back in surprise, "What the hell is wrong with you?" he asked again, "You know exactly what part I played in it… and you swore you'd never associate my name with the war" Blaise looked around nervously, making sure that no one had been close enough to overhear what had just been said.

"You were a Death Eater, weren't you?" gasped Draco as an evil smile broke out across his face. "You got away with being cau –"

Before Draco could even finish his sentence, Blaise's eyes flashed red and his arm shot up in the air like a snake striking its prey; he clenched his fist tightly and jerked it with a twist. Draco felt his eyes practically pop out of his skull as an invisible force suddenly wrapped around his throat and squeezed until sharp daggers of pain exploded across his neck, signaling that his wind pipe was about to be crushed.

Blaise watched in angered disgust as Draco gasped for air and clawed at his throat and tore the flesh of his neck to shreds with his nails. He watched as the front of Draco's robes began to get soaked with blood, then he stepped forward and whispered to him, "You think you're all high and mighty now because you're fucking a Gryffindor too? Did her pussy suddenly make you forget who you are?" he watched as Draco hastily shook his head, his eyes pleading, and his face turning purple. "I think you did. I think you forgot that we were all grunts in there together; the hours, weeks, years of torture that we endured together. Don't act as if you're any better than me or the other three; we were all there. We were all forced to do shit, to see things, to have… shit done to us.

"We all learned how to become Anamagi together, as a way to mentally escape being fucking Death Eaters." Blaise suddenly opened the fist of his raised hand and watched as Draco began gasping in rattling breathes as he collapsed to the floor, holding his bleeding throat.

Blaise looked down at Draco as he withered on the floor in pain, trying to catch his breath, smearing the tiles and walls with blood. He knelt down and brought himself eye level with Draco, "Your Anamagi may be a tiger, but don't forget friend, that you're not the only one with fangs." And to Draco's horror, he watched as the Slytherin crouched down in front of him morphed into a huge, black Timber wolf. Draco opened his mouth and tried to scream, but no sound came out – his vocal cords had been smashed.

The wolf stepped closer to Draco; the animal's huge body looming over him menacingly as its low growls filled his ears until it was all that he could hear. Draco's mouth was moving a mile a minute as he frantically shook his head and tried to say something, but still no sound came out. Terror filled his eyes and huge tears began to drip down his cheeks. He closed his eyes and began to pray as the wolf bared its fangs at him.

Draco sat there with his hands raised in a futile attempt to protect himself from the ravenous beast's fangs, waiting for the end to come… But nothing happened. Suddenly the animal's growls ceased and relief swept over him – had someone Stunned the beast and saved him?! Just as he was about to lower his hands and thank his savior, he felt an exhale of intensely hot, humid breath against the side of his face, and Draco stiffened. He felt the wolf's wet nose ruffle the side of his hair and heard it draw in a long, drawn-out sniff.

And just as soon as the growling had ended, it started up again, but much more ferocious than it had been the first time; Draco felt the growls vibrate all the way down to his bones. He slowly opened his eyes to see that the beast had backed off him a bit again, but it now had its ears laid back, its head low to the ground, its hackles raised, and it was snapping its teeth viciously.

It knew… The wolf knew that he wasn't Draco…

Suddenly the door to the Great Hall opened, causing the wolf to spin around in surprise to see who it was: and out walked Pansy Parkinson. Relief spread through Ron at the sight of her, and although he couldn't make a sound with his voice, he pleaded to her with his eyes – 'help me, please!' they begged.

Pansy's top lip curled up at the side in disgust at the sight of him sprawled out on the floor covered in drying blood. The huge timber wolf whined up at her, its head coming up well past her waist as it stood there on all fours. She patted the wolf on the head and walked past him and over to Ron. She caressed the side of his bloody face tenderly, and he smiled up at her. "Didn't anyone ever teach you not to hit women?" she asked, fury dripping from ever word as her grip on his jaw tightened painfully. She roughly pushed his head away from her, "Get him outside" she spat, "he's ruining the décor."

Dread filled Ron as he realized that she wasn't there to save him… and then he watched in horror as her eyes began to change shape, her nose elongated and her body started folding in on itself as she began flapping her arms. In a matter of seconds, Pansy had disappeared and in her place, was a regal-looking, brown Hunting Falcon flying in lazy circles around the Entrance Hall.

Authors note – don't fucking hit women.