Disclaimer: All characters belong to J. K. Rowling. Just my idea. Thanks to my new beta for this story Tessa Cresswell who has gone through and edited all the chapters to date! 7/23/2012. Enjoy :)
a/n: A random story that's been in my head for a while and that I decided to write while stuck on another. Do you like? Hate? Can you guess yet what's wrong with her? Let me know, and I might update lovelies!
Draco Malfoy didn't like the cold air of the Manor's dungeons. He liked the dungeons themselves far less. In fact, the youngest Malfoy avoided them at all costs.
Today however, was an exception.
It had been a few days since Harry Potter and his friends escaped from the Manor. His father had snatched the Granger girl's arm at the last moment and thrown her back onto the stone floor moments before his aunt threw her dagger and the group disappeared, leaving Potter's Mudblood friend to defend herself without magic.
He knew very little of what happened to her after that, just that he had been able to hear her screams for a while afterwards, even in the confines of his room. Without a silencing spell, her cries had carried through his home for hours. Voldemort himself had come to see the Mudblood, and discreetly handed her over to Bellatrix Lestrange for interrogation.
Draco was quite thankful to not be that girl. His sadistic aunt could come up with multiple, twisted ways to squeeze the answers out of her.
From what the blond had heard, and that was a very minimal amount of information since she was moved to the dungeons, Granger had yet to cave. He had to give her credit; the girl had some major tolerance to pain and serious self restraint, no matter how foolish it was. Why sacrifice her own life for Potter's? At this rate, Draco doubted the Wonder Boy could win.
Most days, he took to staying in his bedroom. Lately, the Dark Lord had very little for him to partake in. After his refusal to kill Dumbledore, and his resistance to tell Bellatrix that it was Harry Potter in their very home a few days prior, the pale bald man only ever called on Draco to punish him now. That first night, when they had moved Granger down to the dungeons, Voldemort himself had turned his wand on the blond and crucio-d him until he couldn't stand. Since then he had been avoiding the Death Eaters all together; even his own family.
It was day number five, and Draco wondered what condition his aunt had left the Gryffindor in. Aunt Bella had left just yesterday morning with her husband and his father Lucius, to go off on some mission for their precious Lord. Voldemort had been gone from the Manor too since placing Hermione in his aunt's care, apparently planning to gather something and confront Harry Potter soon. This was his chance to go and see the girl, and probably his only one at that.
The blond stepped onto the stone floor of the dungeons, walking down the long hallway that ran under the majority of the manor, glancing through the windows of the cells. He recognized few and far faces, but some were students he had gone to school with; people he had sat beside and studied with since his first year. And now they were being tormented in his home.
Draco shuddered, pushing that detail from his mind. He was there to find Hermione Granger, not the other unfortunate souls stuck here in his home.
Four cells further, he peered in another room and spotted a mass of brown dirty curls sprawled out on the floor, the girls head turned away from him. Using Voldemort's alternated spell, he unlocked the door and pushed it open, staring down at the figure in the dim light.
That was definitely Hermione Granger, or whatever was left of her. He clenched his jaw and silently lit his wand, watching her weak hands claw at the ground.
As light filled the dirty space, he registered that the girls back was rising and falling slightly. A mop of messy brown hair, matted in what he could only imagine to be blood, clung to her back. As the sound of his entering footsteps she had tried to crawl away, but now her hands were clawing uselessly at the stone, and he could see that her fingernails were torn and bloody from her past efforts. He swallowed, wondering what had happened to her.
"Granger," he asked, not sure at what he was seeing. This couldn't possibly be the girl from a few days ago.
"Get away from me," she screamed, rolling on her side, and bracing her arms in front of her. "Just leave me alone! I don't know! I don't know!" The last few words dissolved into sobs, slurring her final words so he could hardly understand them.
"Calm down," he snapped, not sure why she was acting this way around him. Potter's friend had been brave even when his aunt was carving words into her arm. What else could Bellatrix have done to make a paranoid, blithering idiot out of the smartest witch from school?
And why does she have her bloody eyes closed? If she opened them she would realize it's just me; pathetic, cowardly Malfoy. He scowled at the thought. There was no point denying it-he was afraid of the growing war and had no interest in being involved, but it was a little late for that. Now though, it seemed he could weasel his way out, what with Voldemort hating him and all.
The girl on the floor apparently found some strength and scrambled further back from him, arms still in front of her. "Stay away from me!"
He was becoming a bit irritated. Soundlessly shutting the door with his magic, he put up a silencing charm so no one would realize he was down there with her. Wand still held in front of him, he scowled. "Will you calm down Granger? It's only me, and I didn't even come down here to bother you. Quite the opposite actually if you would fucking listen."
She didn't lower her arms, but stiffened. "Malfoy," she asked hesitantly, eyes still closed.
He rolled his silver ones, wondering why she still had yet to turn her harsh, Gryffindor glare on him. "Yes, and if you opened your eyes you would already know that."
The girl flinched and moved further away from him, further into the wall she was already against. He watched her attempt to scramble helplessly away from him, before she started moving to the right, against the wall, apparently realizing that she wasn't going to get anywhere that way. Once she hit a corner, she paused and whimpered, "No."
"Well stop running around on the floors like a bloody animal. It's low, even for you." He let the comment slip in, when his heart wasn't into it. He wanted an answer now as to why she was persistently running around blind.
"Nothing's too low for me," she murmured, hugging her knees.
He scoffed. "Since when do you agree to things like that? Come off it Granger, this isn't you so stop acting like a wimp and try looking around maybe? This is pathetic."
She shook her head, her bottom lip now quivering. "Get out."
Despite the situation, he couldn't help but chuckle. "You have no place telling me to get out. If you haven't noticed, you're the captive here, not me. Learn that already Mudblood, and I'm sure things would be a little bit easier on you."
He watched her cringe again. So what if he was cruel? She was being difficult and refusing to open those stupid, brown eyes of hers, so why should he be kind? Fuck, he hadn't even come down preparing to be kind! His sole and only purpose was to see if his aunt had done away with the girl yet. He knew, so now he could leave.
And yet he was still standing there, waiting for her response.
It came, a few minutes later when she sniffled as he turned to go, tired of waiting for her. "Nothing's easy on me Malfoy. I can get over that."
"Yes, you're doing a brilliant job of it, sitting here scrambling around a stone cell with your bloody eyes closed." He glanced back, noticing her sudden jump at his words and shook his head. "Whatever Granger, have fun rotting away."
He turned again and stormed out in a gruff manner, slamming the girl's cell door shut as hard as he could. It echoed through the quiet place, and gave Draco a satisfied smirk. She was stubborn, stupid, and running around in there like a blind woman. Oh well, it wasn't his problem and he wouldn't dwell on it.
Besides, the Dark Lord and his father would lose it if they found him hanging around that Mudblood too much.
And as Draco Malfoy walked out of her cell, Hermione opened her eyes into the same terrifying blackness. She let out a sob and covered her mouth, horrified at what she couldn't see.
She knew one thing though; that had been Draco; the Malfoy she had gone to school with. His arrogant tone wasn't quite in place like it had been last time she saw him in school, and that made it hard to tell who he was instantly, but he certainly wasn't Lucius.
Lucius was as vile as Bellatrix.