For any new readers, this story is the sequel and companion to my other fic, His Little Bird. To fully understand what will be going on in this story, I suggest you go read that first.
To my old readers, hello again, darlings. You've been waiting for this, and I've been eager to write it.
So let's not delay this any longer, shall we?
WARNING: This story will be pretty dark. Darker than His Little Bird was. This one will contain violence, and non-con, and tons of angst. If these things aren't your cup of tea, I advise you to stop reading now.
Disclaimer: I own nothing of the Harry Potter world. Nothing. Except this plot, maybe.
Now that's over with….
Chapter One: Safe
"You better run like the devil 'cause they're never gonna leave you alone
You better hide up in the alley 'cause they're never gonna find you a home
And as the blood runs down the walls
You see me creeping up these halls…"
House of Wolves-My Chemical Romance
The cold, eerie October night held an eerie fog that rolled mercilessly onto the densely forested school grounds, obscuring everything in its path. The never ending inky expanse of the night sky gleamed softly as the stars burned, so high up in their own worlds.
A persistent chill permeated the walls of the immense castle that stood resolutely in the center of the vast grounds, seeping into every room and into the bones of every living being inside of it. A roaring fire burned away in every dormitory, ensuring that no pupil or staff member would sleep in a miserable, cold state that night.
Indeed, all were sleeping contentedly inside their warm beds on this troubling night.
All but one.
High up on the fourth floor, tucked away inside her room in the Head dormitory, a young woman thrashed in silent, unconscious agony on her bed.
Her beautiful pale, heart-shaped face was twisted in horror; her arms were raised up to the air in a defensive stance, as though she meant to ward off an attacker. Long, dark curls had escaped their confinement in all her frenzied movement, and were spread around her pillow, tangling in her arms. Her pink, pouting lips were open; she expelled harsh pants and curious, broken fragments of sentences that would have alarmed anyone if they could hear them.
"Get away-no!" She mumbled, shoving at an imaginary person who seemed to be trying to grab her. Heavy crimson sheets twisted around her legs as she kicked out, goosebumps erupting over her skin.
"You'll never have me," she whispered angrily, yanking her arms back to herself.
She let out a shriek as she relived a certain memory, clutching at her arm, where a scar in the shape of an ornate M lay.
"Don't kill him," she whispered, a stray tear sliding down the side of her face.
All those awful memories began mixing together. Flashes of each danced in her mind like a strobe light; dizzying and horrible. A glimpse of ocean-grey eyes, staring down at her with a terrifying lust that she couldn't comprehend, pale, long-fingered hands, roaming intrusively and unwontedly over her body, a pair of full lips crashing down onto hers, a smooth, cold voice echoing around her in the dark, following her, hunting her.
Slowly, she quieted in her slumber, her chest rising and falling rapidly but she remained still, her head turned this way and that as though she was searching for something or someone. In her nightmare, she was alone. The pitch black engulfed her, and she could not even see her own hands in front of her.
She knew he was there. She couldn't hear him, couldn't see him, but he was there, following her. The hairs on her arms bristled and she walked away quickly, making sure to become as silent as possible even though she had no clue as to where she was headed.
Step by step she made her way but nothing changed and the scene remained black. The dread seeped slowly from her heart the longer she walked. Still, nothing changed, and she began to worry, and looked around. How far had she gone? It was impossible to tell. She blinked, and the dread was back, pressing in on her, and frightened anew, she began to run. Faster than she'd ever run in her life, she ran, lungs burning, legs aching, heart pounding like a jack hammer inside her chest. And then she heard it. Calm, slow footsteps coming towards her and she knew it was him without a doubt. And no matter how fast she ran into the darkness, he only came closer and closer until she decided to stop moving and stay as still as possible. The darkness would protect her-if he couldn't see her, and he wouldn't be able to hear her either, so this was her best chance.
Her heart wouldn't stop pounding, though. Frantically she tried to breathe evenly so her heart would go back to normal, but it only got louder the harder she tried.
And then she realized she couldn't hear him anymore. She looked around, but it was useless. Her traitorous heart pounded away, crashing in her ears and the space around her.
"I've missed you, my little bird," came his voice from directly behind her, and his iron arms wrapped around her.
She arched up off her bed, screaming. It took her a second or two to look around her and realize where she was, and that she was safe.
Wild, tired brown eyes took in the dark interior of her room, dimly lit by the subdued fire in the fireplace.
She didn't realize she was crying until she felt for her pillow, grabbing her wand which was hidden safely underneath it. Her pillow was wet with her tears and her perspiration, she cleaned and dried it with her wand quickly before ghosting out of her room in her black night dress and made her way to the little kitchenette in the common room. She filled a tall glass of water, not in the mood for tea, and settled at the window seat, facing out to the school grounds, which were still submerged in a sea of dense fog.
The dark bruises under her eyes were growing more prominent. She did her best to conceal them with what few glamour charms she knew each day. Not for vanity-she could care less, to be honest. But she didn't want anyone to worry.
More specifically, she didn't want Harry and Ron to worry.
After what had taken place at the Astronomy tower several months before, nearing the end of her sixth year at Hogwarts, she had been having these nightmares. Without fail, they came every night. No Dreamless Sleep Potion or any other spell nor enchantment could help, which mystified her and made her anxious.
Harry had found out what had transpired between herself and theMalfoy. The man himself had boasted of the things he had forced her to do to Harry, which lifted his enchantment off of her and once the shock and trauma of the Headmaster's murder wore off, she told him everything.
As they had sat together, hidden by a large tree behind the lake, she related everything Malfoy had done to her; from the first kiss he had seized from her to the harassment afterwards, the possessive attitudes, the ring, and the M on her arm. When she had finished, she perceived Harry to be very white in the face, his solemn green eyes fixated on her.
She'd expected him to break up with her, or denounce her as his friend, even, for allowing such things to happen. But he didn't. He had only reached out and cupped her cheek softly before catching her in a desperate embrace.
"I'm so sorry, Hermione," he'd whispered. "If I'd known…"
"You're not going to break up with me?" she had asked quietly, fearfully.
He drew back. "Why would I?"
"Because I cheated on you!"
He blanched. "Hermione, he forced you to do those things, and all the rest, you weren't willing. You weren't willing, you didn't love him, so it wasn't cheating. What he did is despicable and I promise we will find him and bring him down," he'd promised.
But it seemed that Malfoy was one step ahead of them all, because by the time word had broken out to the Ministry that Draco Malfoy had murdered Albus Dumbledore, he had already disappeared.
The Ministry had launched a fierce week-long search on the Malfoy Manor and all the other properties the Malfoys owned, but had come up with nothing.
Lucius and Narcissa had claimed they had no clue where their son might be. Lucius had consented to be interviewed under Veritaserum (Narcissa was too ill to do so as well), but had not provided any useful information. He truly did not know where his son was.
Aurors were sent to scour every nook and cranny of Hogwarts, every inch of the country and all of Wizarding Britain, but the wanted party was never found.
It was as if Draco Malfoy had vanished into thin air.
And it was the thought that he was still out there that terrified Hermione every night.
There were two things she hadn't mentioned to Harry. Though she had told Harry about the ring, she didn't tell him what Malfoy was using it for, about his plan to force Hermione into marrying him. She also didn't tell him about his promise, the vow he had made before he had been transported away inside the magicked cabinet.
He was out there somewhere.
"Don't think even for a moment that you've gotten rid of me, pet, because I'll be back for you."
His voice cut through her thoughts. She could hear him clearly, as though he was right there with her.
She searched the sky, but could not find the moon. Dark, ominous clouds had taken up residence in the previously clear sky, and as she watched a heavy, crashing rain fell upon the earth.
Immediately following the murder of the Headmaster, Professor McGonagall had become the new Headmistress of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. The funeral had taken place soon afterwards, she had watched from afar as they had lowered his white marble tomb into the ground.
Harry and Ron had asked why she had not gone, but she knew they would not understand if she told them.
She had caused Albus Dumbledore's death. If it were not for her, he would still be alive, and the their side would have a brighter chance at winning the war. She did not deserve to be at his funeral.
If she had just not been such a bloody coward, if she could have found a way to stop Malfoy or even kill him before he completed his task, none of this would have happened.
If she hadn't been so weak, so completely stupid, she would have found a way to overpower Malfoy's Imperius and tell Harry the horrible things Malfoy had done. She was a coward. She had suspected he had been up to something, but never did anything about it. Harry had been too busy and she had known it, she should have investigated what he was doing all those late hours of the night.
Dumbledore wouldn't have been murdered.
Bill wouldn't have been bitten by Greyback.
Harry wouldn't be so lost.
And she wouldn't be having night terrors of the man she despised and feared more than any other she had ever known.
A loud, muffled snore startled her, and she glanced at the Head Boy's door. She found it slightly amusing how Neville (the new Head Boy) only snored on rainy nights. She'd been meaning to look into that for quite some time.
She turned back to the window, looking out through the rain. It calmed her a little, the rain.
It was easy to imagine the dark, turbulent sky was her mind, and the rain drops were her thoughts, falling, falling, until they collided with the ground and disappeared. She could feel the tension slipping out of her limbs already, though the melancholia was still there.
Maybe when the sky was clear and bright again, maybe she would feel better.
The hour was late and her eyes were heavy; her thoughts began to slow down, but she was resistant to the thought of going back to sleep. It took hours for her to be able to fall asleep, and even then she was always worried that the night terrors would come again, no matter how hard she tried to escape them.
This was routine for her now. It had started right after that horrible night. She had had to find ways to hide this from her parents, the Weasleys, and Harry as she had stayed with them over the summer. They had enough to worry about, each of them. She would worry about herself for the time being as she tried to find a way to halt the nightmares. They couldn't last forever, after all.
Now here she was, back at Hogwarts for her final year of education.
You will be safe at Hogwarts, they'd promised her and Harry.
More security enchantments and wards, curses and protective shields had been set up around the school.
Safe, they had told her. You'll be safe. The word had been repeated so often its meaning was lost to her now. It felt empty.
If he managed to get Death Eaters inside Hogwarts once, even with all the complex protective enchantments it had before, how do you know he can't do it again? She had asked dully.
No one had answered her.
Hogwarts had always been her home. All these years she had grown with the naïve thoughts that nothing bad could ever come inside its walls, even when time and time again she had been proved wrong.
Back then, she hadn't known that a person could be filled with pure evil, hadn't known that the pale, elegant boy who had sneered at her for standing with Harry Potter and Ron Weasley would grow into a frightening young man who was as deadly as he was handsome. She hadn't known his hatred for her would somehow spiral into a horrifying obsession.
The rain began to let up, and the clouds oh so slowly made their way out of the scene. She could see the faintest rays of sunlight peeping in through the horizon.
A small patch of light caught on her arm, highlighting her skin just underneath the mark Malfoy had given her. No matter what she had tried, nothing would remove the scar. The best she could do was pull her sleeve over it and pretend it didn't exist.
That's just what she had been doing for the past month and a half. Pretending.
Her marks were just the way they had always been. She completed all her Head Girl duties, did her homework, hung out with her two best friends, and studied for hours in the library. She was a Gryffindor and she would act like one, not allowing her true fear and anxiety to show through.
But wherever she went, whatever she was doing, she was always on edge, always careful, lest there be a monster in the shadows, waiting for her to come closer so it could strike.
She wasn't safe here. She never would be, as long as Draco Malfoy was still out there, hunting her.