Chapter 35 – Resistance


Quick Note: I do not own anything from the wonderful world of Harry Potter by JK Rowling. That includes any scenes I may have derived or paraphrased from the original text.


Hospital Wing

Throbbing pain from a headache made it hard for Draco to open his eyes, much less attempt to speak, so he stayed quiet at first. As the minutes ticked on, the silence led him to believe it was night time. Slowly opening his eyes, he felt immense relief to see darkness and the soft, flickering glow of a candle. Shadows were cast along the ceiling of the hospital wing, and everything slowly came into focus as he blinked. The headache became more insistent as he surveyed his surroundings, wondering what time it was. Harry was fast asleep on the bed across from him and to the left, and Draco instantly relaxed. The realization that Harry had survived and was safe as well was all he needed to know. The rest could wait until he had slept and his head wound was better healed. As he glanced to the right, he paused.

Hermione was draped over the side of his bed and fast asleep, her hair mussed. One of her hands was laying close to his and he surmised, with a rush of warmth, that she must have been holding his hand until she fell asleep.

Deciding he didn't want to wake her, he became comfortable against the pillows once more and drifted.


06/25/1995

This time, he woke to yelling.

Initially wanting to wake up slowly and carefully, Draco cracked one eye open apprehensively, but the scene that met him in the wing jolted him awake. He regretted it instantly as his head began to throb angrily at the movement.

"Are you implying my godson is lying, Fudge?" Sirius's voice was dangerously low, and Fudge eyed him apprehensively. There was a moment of silence which allowed the strained voices from the other side of the room to be heard. Draco turned to see Hermione and Snape arguing off to the side, and his curiosity piqued.

"Karkaroff confessed!" he snapped back, his face turning red, "He confessed to creating the portkey–"

"That does not detract from what Harry and Draco saw," stated Dumbledore calmly.

Fudge shook his head and took a few steps back, "What they claim to have seen! They were under duress, Dumbledore! Karkaroff tortured them, look at what happened to the boy's head! Their memories of that night cannot be trusted!"

"Crouch Jr. confessed to working for Voldemort!" shrieked McGonagall, "You cannot simply claim he is not back when there is overwhelming evidence–"

"You think I should believe a madman?!" he retorted, offended, "Lunacy clearly runs in the Crouch family, Minerva! I will not believe him and I will not believe a boy who–"

"I SAW HIM COME BACK!" yelled Harry, causing everyone around him to jump. He flew off the bed, shrugging off Mrs. Weasley's concern.

"I saw him come back! Rabastan and Rodolphus Lestrange were there! Lucius Malfoy–"

Draco could see Hermione and Snape's conversation pause at the mention of Lucius. Mrs. Weasley instantly tried to usher him back onto the bed.

"The Malfoys are a high-ranking, esteemed family, Potter," said Fudge, cutting him off, "They have committed no crime–"

"Voldemort said Malfoy placed the Imperius on Crouch Snr., he released Crouch Jr., he admitted to–"

"Lies! How could you even speak ill of them when Ms. Malfoy is in the same room–"

"Avery was there! He begged Voldemort for forgiveness and was tortured along with Macnair, Crabbe, Goyle–"

"Lucius Malfoy took me to the dungeons under Malfoy Manor," began Draco. The room silenced instantly at his voice, which was deep and raspy from disuse. No one had realized he was awake. "That was the only way we could leave. If he had not, neither of us would be alive right now, so you would do well to listen to us."

"Oh, is that right, boy?" began Fudge angrily, "Ms. Malfoy, what do you think about these accusations against your father?"

Hermione froze as everyone turned to look at her, and for the first time, Draco truly saw her. There were deep circles under her eyes, and her skin was frighteningly pale. His stomach twisted with concern. Snape was standing next to her and sneering at Fudge.

"Are you truly attempting to drag my goddaughter into your idiocy, Minister?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. "I believe she's been through more than enough without the added bonus of being a ploy in your attempts to deny the truth. Come, Hermione." Snape swept away without another word, the girl in question following closely behind him. Her eyes met Draco's for a split second – she looked more tired than he'd seen her since the war – before the door closed behind them.

As the arguing continued, the throbbing in his head became worse. Deciding he'd heard enough, he grabbed the Dreamless Sleep potion on the nightstand next to him and gulped it down. Whatever hell had been raised along with Voldemort could wait another day.


06/26/1995

As Draco slowly came to once again, his eyelids felt heavy and his body was completely relaxed. The throbbing in his head was at a minimum and as he opened his eyes, he realized it was evening. The sun was slowly beginning to set on the horizon, and the hospital wing was bathed in an orange glow. As he began to sit up, movement to his right caught his eye. Turning, he saw Hermione sitting in a chair next to his bed with a book in her hands.

"Hey," she began, a relieved smile on her face. She placed the book on the nightstand quickly before pulling the chair forward to be closer. Her hand immediately grabbed his in an almost painful grip as she examined him. "How's your head feeling?"

"Fine," he shrugged, "It doesn't hurt much right now. What happened? How long have I been out?"

"Almost two days," she said, running a hand through her hair, "It's been an exhausting two days, Draco."

He couldn't help but smirk, "I heard. How bad is it?"

She took a deep breath, "Well… you and Harry sort of reappeared in the front of the stands. Fay was still invisible, so no one quite knew how you both appeared there. Dumbledore obviously doesn't want anyone to know it was my elf, so they decided to say it was a portkey that brought you both back."

"And Karkaroff?"

"He claims he was responsible for creating the portkey that took you to Little Hangleton–"

Draco snorted disbelievingly. "He confessed? Just like that?"

"That's not the end of it, though," she grimaced as her eyes flashed to his, "He's taking full responsibility for what happened that night."

"Full responsibility…" Draco reiterated dumbly, the words slowly sinking in.

Well, that explains the arguing.

"We think Fudge is behind it," her voice dropped as she leaned in, "Professor McGonagall saw him interrogating Karkaroff on his own before that huge fight you witnessed yesterday. He might be persuading Karkaroff to plead guilty on all charges in exchange for a shorter sentence."

Draco scowled. Of course Fudge would do whatever he could to deny Voldemort was truly back, even if it meant committing a crime.

"What a fucking coward," he spat, his mood taking a nosedive. Fudge being resistant was going to make this harder, especially if he was willing to resort to shady tactics to ensure no one would believe them.

"Some things never change," she agreed, rolling her eyes and sitting back in her chair. "Harry said a lot occurred after you were taken to Malfoy Manor. Voldemort... or Tom, I guess I should say," her voice soured, "regaled the Death Eaters with how exactly he'd been resurrected. Apparently, as suspected, Lucius was the mastermind behind a lot of it – he set Crouch Jr. free, he placed Crouch Snr. under the Imperius, he broke the Lestranges out of Azkaban, he's responsible for Rita Skeeter's disappearance… virtually everything."

"When did Harry get out?"

"Perfect timing, thankfully," Hermione said, her eyes meeting his again. "Fay got to him just as his and Tom's wands connected. The shock of seeing the people he'd killed come from that wand was exactly the distraction she needed to grab Harry and disapparate back to Malfoy Manor. She said you'd passed out from blood loss when they appeared in the dungeons."

"And you?"

She looked at him in surprise for a moment.

"What about me?"

"You look dead, Hermione. Have you been sleeping? Or eating, for that matter?"

She shot him a strange look.

"You're the one who fractured part of your skull and nearly died," her voice cracked, "from blood loss and you're asking me if I'm alright? Draco, we all thought you were going to…" she trailed off, her grip on his hand tightening.

He could feel a lump form in his throat and slowly moved to the side on his bed.

"Hermione, come over here," he patted the sheets.

She got up instantly and wrapped her arms around him as she slid in next to him. A strong wave of tenderness swept through him as she buried her face in his chest.

"When you came back, we thought you were dead, Draco," Hermione said brokenly, causing him to freeze. He could feel the wetness of her tears on his shirt as she spoke, and although he'd never been great with emotions, hearing Hermione cry over him made his stomach drop. He pulled her closer. "Harry refused treatment until you were stable, and I couldn't see you or him because Blaise wouldn't let me out of his sight just to torture me." White hot anger swept through him at the mention of Zabini, and he clenched his left hand tightly to try and quell it. "I didn't know whether you'd made it until I snuck in here late that night to visit you. Thankfully, he left the next morning, and I've been here ever since." She glanced up at him then. Their faces were so close, he could see the tears still stuck to her lashes, and he wiped it away. The side of Hermione's mouth quirked in a half-smile.

"Well, you're still stuck with me," he replied, returning her smile when she gave him a playful swat on the chest, "And what do you mean he's left?"

"He never mentioned why to me," she frowned. "I assume it's something to do with his mother."

Draco nodded absentmindedly, his eyes flickering to the windows across the room as the sun dipped below the horizon. It was serene being here with Hermione, and he glanced down to see her eyes on the sunset as well. Feeling his gaze, she looked up at him, and before he realized what he was doing, he placed a finger under her chin and kissed her gently. She froze for a moment before melting into the kiss, her soft lips pressing against his. Just like the time she'd approached him in the Room of Requirement, the movement of his lips over hers just felt right. Intending it to be as innocent as possible, Draco pulled away. A small noise of dissent left Hermione's throat as her mouth followed his to prolong the moment. Their eyes met for a brief second, and before he could utter a word, she straddled him and captured his lips again. Her hands moved to his shoulders and down his chest as she pressed against him. It was magnificent, and Draco let out a groan, feeling lightheaded as her fingers danced mischievously along the waistband of his shorts and under his shirt. She smiled as he gripped her waist tightly.

"You minx," he growled, breaking away to look at her. They were both breathing heavily, and he could feel the dazed smirk on his face as he surveyed the lust in her eyes and curiously wild hair. He was beginning to harden at just the sight of her. Although he'd always been the dominant one in bed, he found it quite hot when Hermione took control. "Are you trying to take advantage of poor Draco when he's injured and can't defend himself against your lecherous advances–"

She rolled her eyes and laughed before cutting him off with her mouth again. She slid her tongue between his lips and he opened immediately for her, the slickness of it giving him goosebumps. The kiss heated up quickly as they played with each other, and the temperature in the room rose.

As he pulled her lower lip between his teeth, she gasped, and the sound went straight to his groin. His hands moved from her waist to her shirt, and he deftly began to unbutton it, pulling away momentarily to watch as he slid it off her body. It was twilight now, and the last rays of sun reflected beautifully off the smooth skin of her torso. He could feel his mouth water as he eyed the pretty lace bra she was wearing, and slowly, he moved forward so he was sitting straight up and at eye level with her. Desire coursed through him – intense and heady – and if he wasn't injured, he would have flipped them over to take control.

She was watching his face for a reaction, and he could almost hear her brain working as the moments ticked by and he said nothing. He realized that even if she decided not to go any further, he'd be perfectly content with laying here with her like this because despite how much he desired her, he felt whole by just being near her. Her presence was calming, and she was someone he could depend on, even if the rest of the world had gone to shit.

"Were you planning to have your way with me the entire time, then?" Draco asked, teasing her to get her to relax once again. His index finger deliberately moved down the middle of her chest from the base of her neck – just a ghost of a caress – before stopping at the band of her bra. Hermione's eyes fluttered shut and she held her breath at the sensation, her hands grabbing onto his shirt tightly.

"Were you planning on talking and being a tease the entire time?" she whispered back, her voice deeper than usual as her lips barely touched his.

"If we're talking about being a tease, I'd say you're winning that battle," he countered, his thumb coming up to brush against her bottom lip. She playfully nipped at it, causing his eyes to narrow. "Could you stay the night, Hermione?" his voice was a mere murmur, but the lust in it was nearly tangible. "I don't expect anything, I just want you to." He leaned in to place a kiss on her jaw, his hands coming to rest on her bare waist.

"SHE MOST CERTAINLY WILL NOT!" came a familiar, enraged voice from the right side of the room.

Draco jolted immediately, a string of expletives flowing out of his mouth, as a blood-curdling scream ripped from Hermione's throat. She tore herself off him and flew to the ground in an attempt to cover herself with the left side of the bed.

"THERE WILL BE NO SEX IN MY HOSPITAL WING, DO YOU HEAR ME?!" yelled Madam Pomfrey, her eyes glaring at the two of them in acute dislike.

Blood pounded painfully in Draco's veins as he dropped back onto the pillows, suddenly incredibly tired. It wasn't so much that he was embarrassed – he'd been caught doing worse in the past – but the combination of Hermione's screaming, and the fact Pomfrey had seen them, nearly gave him a heart attack.

"We weren't going to have–" he began tiredly.

"Do you take me for a fool, Mr. Granger?" she asked shrewdly, her eyes boring a hole into him as he passed Hermione her shirt. She shot him a grateful look. "You should be focused on getting better! Not making your way under a girl's skirt! And as for you," her gaze locked onto Hermione, who was quickly buttoning her shirt and still hiding next to the bed, "I believe you've given me more than enough trouble! In my decades of working here, I've never seen a couple more hell bent on making my job harder than it needs to be!"

Pomfrey shooed Hermione away angrily and before he knew it, she left without another word, embarrassed beyond belief.


Great Hall – 07/02/1995

Hermione sat at the Slytherin table and clenched her hands in frustration. On either side of her were Crabbe and Goyle, who had been keeping an annoyingly close watch on her since Blaise left. Unfortunately for her, exams finished last week, so they followed her everywhere. The luxury of having different class schedules and therefore getting time away from the two was one she was not able to enjoy, and it was a struggle detaching herself from them long enough to speak to anyone outside of Slytherin. It seemed that although the pair of them were complete idiots, the one thing they were good at was stalking her.

Relief washed over her as Dumbledore stood up to address everyone at the end of year feast. The faster he addressed the school, the faster she could separate herself from them. She scanned the Gryffindor table casually and caught a sight of a familiar pair of grey eyes staring back at her.

"It is the end of another year," began Dumbledore, his voice echoing off the walls of the hall, which silenced instantly at his voice. Looking away from Draco, she watched as the headmaster stood at the podium, his face grave. "This has been a year filled with joy, laughter, and triumph… but also one of sadness, fear, and worry. I want all of you to remember the happiness shared with your friends and loved ones as we move ahead and look to the future, however… I also wish to remind you that two of your fellow students endured horrors at a time when they should have been celebrating their achievements. The Triwizard Tournament was intended to bring us together and help us move past our differences – whether those differences are looks, language, or tradition – and unite us in fun and healthy competition." He paused for a moment, before raising his glass. "I would like to raise a toast to Harry Potter and Draco Granger, both of whom showed us their incredible courage and determination, and the true meaning of friendship."

There was a moment of silence as everyone raised their glasses, and despite the overall reluctance of her house, she did so immediately. She could feel the eyes of those around her glaring at her behavior, but she held her head high.

"To Harry Potter and Draco Granger," murmured the students, their glasses raised and their eyes on the two boys.

"Now, more than ever, we need to stand united in the face of evil. Although the ministry would not wish for me to say this, lying to all of you and claiming Lord Voldemort was not responsible for what transpired during the Third Task would not only be a mistake, but would show a complete disregard for the lives that were nearly lost that day."

Whispering broke out immediately as shock and fear rippled through the crowd.

"The road ahead is not easy, and soon we will all have trials and tribulations we must face, but do not allow the truth to go unheard. Stick together and follow the right path – the path that leads to peace and love… not hatred and violence. And so… in the face of Lord Voldemort's return… I ask all of you to remember the friendships you've made with people from different walks of life. I ask all of you to cherish your loved ones, and above all, I ask you not to allow – for even a second – the cruel, harsh thoughts that anger and hate harbor, for that is what he wants. Above all, Lord Voldemort desires to divide us and cultivate our negative emotions to win. Do not allow him that victory. Fight for what is right, not what is easy… and remember that despite what the future holds, Hogwarts will always be a home for those who need it."


Hogwarts Train – 07/03/1995

The silence in the compartment was tense. Crabbe and Goyle were monitoring her once again, in addition to Theodore Nott and, to her utter dismay, Pansy Parkinson and Daphne Greengrass.

Originally, she'd believed it was going to be a long train ride filled with insults and fighting, but instead it felt as though everyone had been holding their breath for the past hour. Her eyes flickered from the scenery outside the window to the other occupants in curiosity.

Theodore was lounging across from her with a book in his hand, Goyle was asleep, Crabbe was pigging out on sweets, and Daphne and Pansy were acting as though they'd never been friends. Hermione knew there was a story there – one that most certainly involved Blaise – but she was afraid to ask.

Deciding to go to the bathroom, she rose, and Crabbe instantly followed. She clenched her teeth in aggravation before glaring at him.

"Do you mind?" she snapped, "I need to go to the bathroom!"

"Blaise–"

At the mention of his name, she could swear something in her snapped.

"FUCK what bloody Blaise said!" she shouted, her eyes boring into him. Goyle jolted awake in an instant, confusion on his face. When he noticed Hermione looming over the two and fuming, he shrunk back instantly. That was when she noticed Crabbe had done the same. Her eyes flickered over him and Goyle before realizing they both were watching her in fear. Slowly, she looked at the rest of the compartment. Everyone else had frozen as well. Guilt washed over her in an instant. She hadn't meant to yell at them. They didn't deserve her ire, Blaise did. Lowering her voice and trying to look more civil, she continued, "I've had it up to here with you and Goyle following me around. I don't give a damn what he says."

There was a moment of silence as everyone stared.

"Crabbe, Malfoy can handle this one on her own, I think," began Nott slowly, "If Blaise gets angry just redirect him to her."

"Why would he get angry?" she retorted, "There's no reason he needs to know anything that goes on in my life, and if he's being cruel to both of you, then there's no reason for you to tell him the truth, either. Alright?"

She looked between the two of them and they nodded quickly.

"I'll be back."

Opening the door, she moved from the compartment and began walking quickly to the bathroom on the train. There was something off about the way everyone was acting, and she had a sinking feeling they knew something she didn't. Crabbe and Goyle had reacted in fear to her, which she didn't think she'd ever seen them do. On top of that, Pansy hadn't said a single rude word to her.

Odd indeed, she thought, her brows furrowing.

Just as she opened the door to the bathroom, a pair of arms snuck around her waist and propelled her forward and into the small space. Fear gripped her heart, but as she opened her mouth to scream, a hand covered it. Struggling, she tried to move them backwards.

"Merlin, Hermione," muttered Draco, "It's just me, calm down."

She turned around to glare at him as he released her. The bathroom was such a small, cramped place, there was almost no room to do so.

"Did you really need to sneak up on me?" she huffed, looking completely frazzled as she crossed her arms over her chest. "And how did you know I was here?"

He raised his hands in surrender.

"What has you so worked up?" he snarked, lifting an eyebrow. "I saw you walking down the aisle so I decided to follow you."

She sighed before sitting on the lid of the toilet seat.

"Something is wrong, but I can't…" she trailed off, glancing at him in thought. His sharp, grey eyes watched her carefully as he locked the door and leaned against it. "Did Crabbe or Goyle ever… fear… you…?"

There was a strange moment of silence as he stared at her.

"Sorry," she sighed, "I know it's an odd question–"

"No, I can answer it. I just want to know why you're asking."

"They're acting very… off… I yelled at them not too long ago–"

"You yelled at them?" Draco smirked.

She rolled her eyes.

"I didn't mean to. You know how they've been following me and I just sort of… lost it, I guess. I felt bad afterwards, but Crabbe and Goyle just stared at me like…" she frowned, picturing their faces in her head. "Like they were afraid of me… like I'd do something to hurt them in my anger."

"You are pretty frightening when you get thoroughly pissed off, Hermione," he pointed out, snickering.

"Draco, I'm being serious!"

"Alright, alright," he conceded, composing himself. "My relationship with them deteriorated during the war. When I left after that night on the Astronomy Tower, I didn't see them for months. We grew further and further apart because of Voldemort. He took a sick pleasure in seeing his followers claw their way over each other and tear each other down to gain favor with him. They've never feared me, per se…" he continued thoughtfully, "it was more that they saw me as someone who'd been chosen by Voldemort – like being branded with the Dark Mark was an honor. That was in our sixth year. As our family was treated like shit and my father's wand was taken, the way they treated me changed as well. I was considered weak and not worthy to be a Death Eater after my failure."

"But they never feared you?"

He shook his head, "But then again, I'm not Zabini. Blaise is psychotic," he spat, "who knows how he's acted towards them, especially when it comes to you–"

"Pansy, Daphne, and Theodore are acting like this, too," she added slowly.

He paused and looked long and hard at her.

"They must know, then."

"Know what?" she hedged, not liking the way this was going.

"That Lucius is currently the most favored Death Eater. They might not fear you, Hermione, but Slytherins are smart. They wouldn't put themselves in a disadvantageous position with Voldemort. They all know he's back – their families are entrenched in pure-blood philosophy. You'd be hard pressed to find a Slytherin that doesn't know he's back."

She let out a long-suffering sigh.

"What do you think I should do?"

"Keep up appearances," he shrugged. "Don't give them a reason to dislike you. Like I said, Death Eaters will step all over one another to curry favor. If you're on good terms with them, you're more likely to have their support… especially if Blaise is treating them like shit."

Just as she was about to reply, three loud bangs sounded loudly in the small room, causing them to jump.

"Malfoy!" came an annoyingly familiar voice, "The hell are you doing in there?!"

Draco leaned against the door again, a smirk plastered on his face as Hermione groaned in aggravation.

"I'm in the bloody bathroom if you couldn't tell, Parkinson!" she snapped.

"For 10 minutes?"

"I'm… I'm taking a dump, alright! Now can I do it in peace?" she gritted out.

Draco pressed his lips together to silence his laughter.

"Fine, but if I see you cavorting with those blood-traitors and that mud-blood, I won't hesitate to tell Blaise," she warned.

"Goodbye Parkinson!"


Platform 9¾

Hermione stepped off the train with her luggage, Crabbe and Goyle following closely behind her. After giving Draco a quick, heated goodbye in the small bathroom, she'd left to her compartment and had barely spoken to anyone for the rest of the trip.

Her stomach was churning with nerves as she scanned the station for the familiar bright hair of the rest of her family. Looking to her left, she caught sight of Draco getting off the train elsewhere and, as if he felt her gaze, his eyes flickered to hers. He gave her a small nod before nudging Harry to do the same. They'd all promised to write each other over the summer, and… well… they had quite a lot to talk about. She knew she'd be watched like a hawk, so getting around that would be a pain. She wasn't looking forward to it.

Finally catching sight of Narcissa, she charmed her luggage to follow her as she made her way to her mother. It felt like it had been years since she'd last seen her. As she walked closer, she saw her staring at something off to the side – unaware that Hermione was moving towards her – and she frowned before turning to see who she was watching.

On the other side of the platform stood Draco and her parents. She swallowed uncomfortably as she got closer and recognized the fury directed at them in her mother's eyes.

"Mother?" she coughed to clear her throat.

Narcissa relaxed instantly at her voice, and turned to look at her. There was a blinding smile on her face, and happiness radiated from her as she wrapped her arms around Hermione tightly. Letting out a sigh of relief, she returned the hug fiercely.

"Hermione," she breathed, clutching her tightly. She frowned in concern when she realized Narcissa had lost weight. Finally letting her go, she held her at arms' length to take her in.

"You look tired, darling. As soon as we get to the manor, I'll have the elves cook you something and let you rest. We have a dinner party later tonight–"

"A dinner party? Already?"

Her eyes widened in delight and she turned to give Oberon, who looked very disgruntled, a tight hug.

"Thanks, Mum," he mumbled awkwardly, causing Hermione to smirk at the two of them.

He shot her a look before Narcissa finally released him.

"Your father wants to celebrate. Both of our children finishing at the top of their classes? We are so proud of you both," she smiled at the two of them, but Hermione could feel the underlying tension in her words. She attempted to smile back as apprehension filled her at the prospect of a party. Narcissa ushered them closer, and before she could ask who they'd invited, the trio Disapparated with a soft pop.


Malfoy Manor

Hermione sat rigidly in her chair as Death Eaters and supporters socialized around her. She'd made a mental list as they started to arrive a couple hours prior – Crabbe, Goyle, Macnair, Nott… she'd stopped keeping track after that. Their presence left her on edge. She knew they wouldn't hurt her – Lucius would probably kill any of them if they tried – but that did nothing to assuage the nausea she felt. She was in the same room as them, but couldn't do anything. It put her on edge. She felt like she was betraying Harry and the rest of the Order in some way by sitting back and letting them mingle with one another.

Blaise was sitting next to her at the large, circular table. He was casually sipping Firewhisky as they watched the crowd in silence. Most of the Slytherins from their year had come and were all seated around them, laughing and enjoying themselves. He'd offered her the alcohol in an attempt to get her to loosen up, but with the guests that arrived, she did not want alcohol to cloud her thoughts. Oberon was sitting on Hermione's left and chatting with Astoria Greengrass, who looked delighted at his attentions.

Hermione glanced at the young girl and felt a weird stab of guilt. She seemed sweet, and even though it was a somewhat convoluted way of thinking, she was technically helping Draco cheat on her. It didn't matter if that was in a different life, the uncomfortable thought still crossed her mind every time she looked at the girl.

"Hermione, would you stop moping?" muttered Blaise.

Annoyance quickly took the place of her guilt, and she looked at him out of the corner of her eyes.

"We grew up together, you know I hate these parties."

He shrugged before downing the rest of his drink.

"At least try to look happy?" he raised an eyebrow at her before walking away to get another.

She set her water on the table and crossed her arms in frustration. He was back in a few minutes with two glasses this time and offered her one.

"No."

He shoved it into her hands.

"Why not? You clearly need it more than the rest of us."

She glared at him.

"It's either drink this or dance with me, it's up to you," his voice dropped as he leaned in. Hermione tensed as his eyes flickered off to the side meaningfully. She followed his gaze to see Lucius deep in conversation with a few collegues. White hot fury swept through her as she met his eyes again, her own turning murderous. The underlying message was clear.

Grabbing the glass, she brought it to her lips and downed the entire thing. She tried not to gag as it slid down her throat and burned. The effects were almost instantaneous. She could feel the alcohol in her stomach and in her head as it began to cloud her thought process. Placing it on the table, she got up and walked over to where Theodore Nott was sitting on the other side of the table.

Theodore was a relatively quiet guy – he'd never truly fit in anywhere in Slytherin and she appreciated that. He usually stuck to himself. Whenever she saw him, he was either studying or reading books. He never forced himself into anyone's business and was never intentionally cruel like most of her other house mates. Theodore was the complete opposite of Blaise, if she were honest. Maybe that's why she did it.

His blue eyes watched her in slight confusion as she made her way over to him before they flickered to Blaise.

"Will you dance with me, Theodore?" she asked loftily, holding her hand out to him.

He raised an eyebrow in amusement and scoffed.

"Do you think I have a death wish?"

She smiled, "Thank you!"

Grabbing his hand, she nearly dragged him over to the dance floor, acutely aware of Blaise's dark, angry eyes on the two of them.

"He's going to kill me, Malfoy," Theodore murmured under his breath as she placed her left hand on his shoulder and her right in his.

"He'll have to go through me first," she retorted as they slowly began to dance to the music. Her father had hired a live orchestra, so the dance floor was in full-swing.

"Do you truly think aggravating him will help you at all?" he replied, grudgingly leading her around the center of the ballroom.

"It'll make me happy, and that's good enough," she smirked as he rolled his eyes.

"At my expense? How Slytherin of you," he said wryly.

Nott was a spectacular dancer, which she found surprising. He was one of the most introverted people she'd ever met. Her mind was muddled, but he managed to sweep them across the floor as if she were perfectly competent. The rounds were much more fun than she believed they'd be, and she attributed all of it to the alcohol. She felt like she was flying with every spin and truly enjoyed herself. It also helped that Nott was a good listener and had a somewhat dark sense of humor. After a few more rounds, they went back to the table and sat down next to each other.

Blaise was glaring at her, and perhaps if she hadn't decided to down that glass of Firewhisky on an empty stomach, the look would have given her chills. However, she merely raised an eyebrow, feeling an incredible wave of satisfaction at knowing she'd thoroughly pissed him off.

"You were the one who told me to stop moping," she continued to give him a challenging look as she picked up another glass of Firewhisky, this time from the middle of the table. "So, this is me, not moping."

His glare settled on Theo, who held his hands up in surrender.

"She dragged me out there despite my protests, so don't pull me into whatever mind games you both play with each other. I had planned on sitting down, drinking, and not speaking to anyone for the night."

"Then perhaps you shouldn't have let her," he nearly snarled, his eyes flashing.

"And risk making a scene?" he replied, appearing unfazed as he stole a glass of wine off a tray that magically floated near their table. "She's drunk, and her father is right there, Blaise. I'm not about to get punished for not obliging her. You know what my father is like."

He gritted his teeth before eyeing her again and downing his alcohol in frustration.

Hermione sat back in her chair and smiled at him sweetly before taking Theo's glass from his lips and finishing it off.

"You might want to slow down there, Malfoy," he shot her a warning look before rising to find a replacement.

Just as she was about to take a sip of her own Firewhisky – her head felt like it was filled with clouds – a small commotion near the front of the ballroom drew her attention, and she turned her head almost lazily to see what had happened.

A couple things occurred at once.

She could vaguely register Blaise's hand moving towards her to take the Firewhisky away as a terrifyingly familiar silhouette came into view and nearly stopped her heart. She could feel the air rush from her lungs as her eyes widened in shock. An elf was attending to his traveling cloak as Lucius bowed his head before speaking to him almost reverently. Every action her father made – from his gestures to the way he spoke – was so demure compared to his usual demeanor.

Her eyes flickered in disbelief to the others surrounding them – Avery, Crabbe, Mulciber… the list continued on as each one of them bowed and spoke a few words before he held up a pale hand and waved them away coldly. Familiar, chillingly dark eyes locked onto hers as the small crowd around him began to disperse, and just as Blaise had his hands around the neck of her glass, it shattered into a million pieces.

-xxx-

~ End of Year 4 ~

-xxx-


This chapter was actually really fun to write lmao. Hermione loses her shit, there's almost sexy times, Voldemort is back... like it can't get much better than that, right? xD Anyway, hope you guys enjoy this update, and I'm actually glad I got this out so quickly... I honestly wasn't expecting to write this so fast, but it all just sort of came to me. Anyway, thank you guys for all the lovely reviews! It's nice to know people are still reading and enjoying this story. It truly is my baby, I've been hacking away at this for five years, like whAT!

Happy Friday and hope you all have a great weekend~

Please do favorite/alert/review!


Tumblr: potterston