Run, boy run. The sun will be guiding you,
Run, boy run. They're dying to stop you,
Run, boy run. This race is a prophecy,
Run, boy run. Break out from society.
—"Run Boy Run", Woodkid.
It was dark.
Almost pitch-black, even. Nothing was visible, not even the shadows hidden amongst the curtain of black smog. But he knew they were there. Fuck, they were always there. He had been down there too long, waiting, waiting. The hollow where his soul should have been, only—
—wait. What was that—light? Light!
A sliver of sunlight seeped through a crack in the wall. There was a wall. A crack.
Draco Malfoy awoke to the sound of screaming.
It was a distant, vaguely familiar screech that pierced his ears. He counted the scratches on the ceiling, waiting until the high-pitched shriek droned out. Ten seconds. It was longer than last night. They were hungry for blood.
The clock by his bed struck twelve, and not a moment later, he was out of the covers. His feet landed softly on the prickly carpet. Lumos was muttered into the empty room, instantly illuminating it a bluish tint. The curtains were drawn, the windows bolted shut.
A prison. His prison.
No one could see as he crouched down, reached under the bed and pulled out a rucksack.
He shook it generously, the contents creating a soft racket dulled by the thick material. He had it enchanted to disguise itself in its surroundings. It'd come in handy. Shouldering the bag, he mentally checked off the necessities. Tent, clothes, food, water, a map and various potion books —all shrunk to fit into the carry-on.
The hallway outside was unlit, and the elves had avoided his room as per vague request. He could hear cold laughter thread from the meeting room downstairs.
He pulled the door closed behind him, shutting with a faint click. His fingers lingered on the cool copper of the intricately engraved handle, the cold metal prickling his skin as he tried to breathe.
This was risky, fuck, this was suicide.
But he had to. He had to try. He wouldn't be able to live with himself, however short those remaining days may last, without knowing what if.
Hitching the bag higher up his shoulder, Draco carefully tread down the corridor. Half-standing, half-crouching and clinging to the walls. The stairs were fairly difficult, with the creaking floorboards threatening to betray him, but he'd managed it, allowing the shadows to envelope him on his route. He saw the doors. Right there. Calling out to him, practically opening for him to run through.
The voices and cynical laughter became louder. This was his chance. To leave while they were torturing yet another Mudblood.
The thought sent a faint shiver through his spine, as if Aunt Bellatrix has raked one of her long nails down his back. He looked over his shoulder, just in case.
Nothing. No one knew. He'd made sure none of them suspected a thing.
He was so close.
Cursing under his breath, he turned and made for the Malfoy cellars.
The soft sound of sobbing was the only sound in the underground room.
"Granger." He hissed, his wand ahead of him to guide the way. Something in his chest tightened, and he quickly remembered himself. "Mudblood?"
The crying stopped, and after a gentle hiccup, a voice spoke. "Who's there?"
The voice cracked.
Judging by the direction of the sound, he headed towards the far end, dodging a pillar and finding her curled up into a ball by the corner.
"Get up. We're leaving." He ordered sharply, the lowness of his voice threatening and misconstruing.
She scrambled away, pushing herself further into the stone wall.
"No." She whispered, but it echoed in the empty cellar. "No, no, no. I'm not letting you take me. I'm not letting you hurt me, you Death Eater scum."
Her words turned hysterical, and she pressed her head into her arms.
Her bruised and bloody arms.
His breath hitched.
He didn't have time for this. The blood pumping in his ears and the constant ticking from the grandfather clock above ground level only put him on edge.
"Staying will only cause you torture, Mudblood. Either get up and follow me, or wait until it's your turn."
The momentary pause had filled with a shrill cry from above, further punctuating his words.
"What do you want?" She said, cowering, so unlike the Gryffindor she was. "Why are you here?"
He didn't know.
His hand started shaking by his side. He shoved it into a pocket of his robes before yet another sign of weakness would be exposed to ridicule.
"I—I'm leaving—" The stutter was unforgivable.
She noticed his bag, eyes widening in eventual realisation.
"You're running away?" Her voice was thick with emotion, most of which was surprise. The rise in her voice didn't aid his circumstance.
"Keep your voice down!" He hissed harshly, narrowing his eyes at the girl beneath him.
Beneath him, that's where she belonged.
Draco couldn't help but let the silence hang in the air for a few long seconds, as he searched the darkness for any intruders.
When he set his eyes on her again, a frozen tear had settled on the curve of her cheek.
"This is pathetic, Granger. You can come with me, or you can stay. It's your choice, I really couldn't give a fuck."
A voice in his mind threatened to argue, but he'd stopped listening to what most called a 'conscience' a while ago.
She stared at him wide eyed. She was wasting valuable time. He could have been out by now.
"Harry and Ron are coming for me." Even with the impending threat of death constantly ringing in her ears, she managed to keep lace her words with confidence.
Draco almost scoffed, but it would have been too loud of a sound to make.
"They'll never make it in time."
"You don't know—"
"Face it, Mudblood. They're too late." He tilted his head slightly, calculating her change in expressions at his statement. He had struck close to home. "They were meant to be here hours ago. Long before you were imprisoned. Am I correct?"
She didn't answer, but her silence was reply enough.
Bellatrix had tortured her for minutes on end, before throwing her into the dungeons. He would know, he had heard every one of her ear-piercing screams. It was only a matter of time before they played with her some more, in an attempt to get information but also satisfy their needs.
The thought left a bitter taste in his mouth.
"I've already wasted my time with you. I'm leaving—fuck, I should have already left." He turned briskly, walking to the exit. He didn't look at her, only directly at the wall. "You better choose quickly, Mudblood; you're next."
"Why are you helping me?"
She watched as he opened the door without a creak escaping. Practise.
The question mingled with the tension in the air between them.
He glanced at the corner once more, still refusing to answer, only to find that she no longer occupied it.
She'd appeared behind him, keeping her distance as she didn't trust him as yet. The questioning voice continued to circle his head. He couldn't pay attention to that now; there wasn't enough time to think.
He'd swiftly escaped the dungeons, Hermione at his back.
They'd made it across to the main corridor, almost at the entrance. He was about to take Granger's arm — he wasn't going to let her slow him down — and make a run for it, since Apparating wasn't possible within the Malfoy wards, when a pang shot up his chest.
He halted, making the girl behind him bump into his back before adjusting herself.
"What are you doing?" She whispered with venom.
He held up a finger, eyes darting around to scope their surroundings.
"I don't see—" Panic rose up her throat, threatening to close her airways.
And in that stilled moment, he knew they were caught.
His steely eyes thorned with tears as he turned around slowly, looking past the witch behind him.
Thanking whatever deity was listening, he cleared his throat lightly, relaxing his shoulders as if to change the dynamics of the situation with body language.
"Mother, I was just—"
The older woman's eyes darted from her son to the witch by his elbow, clinging onto his bag as if her life depended on it. Hermione was not one to act so helpless, but under the eye of a Death Eater so close to Voldemort, she recoiled in uncontrollable fear. Finally, Narcissa's wandering eyes narrowed on the rucksack held tightly beneath pale fingers.
"You're leaving." She said smoothly, not inquiring or outrage leaking into her controlled voice. "With her."
Draco's mouth opened but his mind hadn't chosen any words, much to his distraught.
Narcissa nodded shortly, pulling out her wand from her robes. Draco squeezed his eyes shut, expecting an Unforgivable to hit the girl.
"Take this. Trust me, it will come in handy." She murmured in hushed tones, facing Hermione. His eyes flew open. The Gryffindor, having gained her courage back, reached out with a slightly trembling hand, wrapping her fingers around the smooth wand held out for her. She was tentative, eyeing the woman with barely concealed distrust.
A trap, she expected a trap.
The older witch clasped her fingers over the cold ones of Granger's, giving them a squeeze. "Take care of him. He'll need you."
She said it so surely, the brunette couldn't help but nod slowly in reply. She wasn't sure her mind had registered her words through the haze of uncertainty. "Mrs Malfoy—"
"Shh. You haven't much time. They're finishing up in there." Her wary eyes glanced at the room by the opposite end of the passageway. "You must hurry."
Before she could reply, Narcissa turned to Draco. A small smile lifted the corners of her lips.
"Mother—" He tried, baffled with her behaviour.
Something appeared in her hands. A fairly sized, heavy sack tied near the top. "This will be enough." Was all she said, before slipping it into his bag with ease.
His shoulder slouched with the added weight.
Her slender hand extended to place on her son's cheek. "Stay safe. I love you. Always remember that."
"—go." She told them sternly, creating distance between them as she stepped back. "Go. Now."
Draco didn't give her a chance to change her mind, as he was taking the Mudblood's arm and pulling her away with him.
He turned his head to see Granger point his mother's wand at the various portraits lined on the walls, blindfolding them. If he wasn't out of his fucking mind with fear, his mouth would be taken over by an impressed smirk.
She glared at him, before her eyes dropped to her arm just above her elbow, where he still held her.
He jerked his hand back, as if he'd been burned. He might as well have, touching a Mudblood.
They were against the wall, at the last corner before their exit. The portraits started murmuring, whispering about not being able to see. They had to make it out before they threw fits and disrupted the Death Eaters.
"On three." She said.
He rolled his eyes, whispering harshly, "Three," before she had the chance to object.
They ran because their lives depended on it.
The sound of whooshing wind filled Draco's ears as his feet hit the ground hard and fast. He lengthened his arms out, and pushed open the brooding doors, to the dark, gloomy weather outside. It wasn't a burst of sunlight and singing birds, but it was freedom nonetheless.
He knew there were wards, but he had practised the counteracting spells for weeks.
The towering iron gates were locked. Their final frontier.
His feet slowed to a stop when he approached them, clutching at the rods until his knuckles turned white. His lungs were threatening to explode.
Hermione was doubled over next to him, clutching her knees, her breaths hard and rapid.
"Climb." Was the raspy voice that sounded over their harsh breathing. He didn't realise his voice could be so hoarse. Not giving it another thought, Draco threw his sack over the gate.
It landed softly on the other side, letting him know of the lack of spells around the entrance, or in this case — escape.
The gate was cold and slippery, but he felt himself reach the top. He straddled the peak, moving to jump down, when his palm clamped down on a makeshift pike for balance, tearing through skin. He groaned, but didn't allow himself the leisure of inspecting it.
There was a large woods by the Malfoy Manor, as he'd discovered months before.
Blood trickled down his wrist, but he paid it no heed. Already picking up the baggage and barely checking to see if she was with him, he took off down the left path.
He felt her catch up to him, assume his destination being the woods, and disappear into them a split second before him.
Draco muttered a concealing charm, so at least they wouldn't be found in the woods, if anything. Later, yes. But that was not his concern for now.
Bracing a tree trunk, quite far into the forest now, he tried to regain his breath. His lungs were on fire, his hands were on fire. From the corner of his eye, he saw her annoyingly bright clothes, slumped against a nearby tree.
He'd done it.
He was out.
Disclaimer: Everything but the plot of this fanfiction belongs to JK Rowling.
It's me again.
This is my first attempt at a dramatic/angst-ridden story. So I should warn you, at times, I will go completely off my rocker and, oh I don't know, stuff some fluff in somewhere or something just as ridiculous.
To avoid any misunderstandings or confusion, I should come right out and make a few things clear:
o I am not going to stick to the plot. Quite the opposite. It will be there, as some sort of basis, but a lot of things will be untrue to the story and practically whatever my mind comes up with.
o This is set right after Hermione is tortured by Bellatrix. Remember that? Yeah, me too. *shudders*
o In this, the Golden Trio split up right before Hermione's capture. They are supposed to come for her, but obviously, don't make it in time. Hermione is kept as a sort-of pawn to lure them to her.
o Draco is running away around the same time, his feelings on the War still unclear as yet.
Shoot me your questions if you have any. Though, I hope the upcoming chapters will tie up any loose strings.
All of that aside, what did you think?