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There is a moment that passes as quickly as it arrives, just a fleeting echo in the screams as she stares at the ornate ceiling over her head. Her arm is burning, and she knows if she is too curious, if she flies to close to the sun, that she will be viciously burned.

Hermione has always been curious.

Her head falls to the side while her insides twist, and her blood catches on fire. "Get off," she hisses.

The mad witch hovering over her grins, her manic laugh tumbling from her lips as her hair crackles around her. Hermione thinks, just for a split second during the reprieve as the knife is brought away from her, that she has never seen hair spark.

The moment shrivels into nothing as the knife comes back down.

She thinks she screams, but she realizes all too quickly that the world ripping apart inside of her head is too painful to realize anything else.

And the world she had known shatters.

The bed is soft below her, but it could have been nails for all she would care. Her blood hasn't stopped burning yet; she's not so sure it ever will. Still not opening her eyes, she listens to the world around her.

She wasn't foolish or whimsical enough to so much as hope the world might pause for her. It was physics, she reassured herself. No matter how she defied the laws of physics herself by being a witch, Hermione knew the earth stopped for no man. It was always spinning, and in a poetic sense — which was complete and utter bullshite — it explained why it felt as if everything else was spinning.

Hermione can hear them, but it's all too clear they don't realize it.

Ron's voice is booming. She can imagine him waving his arms frantically, his face flushing red, and a harsh crimson akin to his hair colouring the tips of his ears. She can imagine the freckles that dust his face, and Hermione can remember everything about her life right at that moment. Her friends, her family, and it's why her heart should have surely stopped dead in her chest at his rant.

"We don't know that she's Hermione anymore," Ron shouts, and she wonders if he's stopped waving his hands, if they're clenched into fists at his sides instead. "Harry, don't look at me like that."

Harry, desperate to save the world and everyone in it, is furious. She's undecided if she's ever heard his voice morph into a roar, but she doesn't have time to ponder that. "Do you realize what you're saying? She hasn't woken up, Ron. It's barely been a week."

"Bellatrix might have tortured her into insanity. You've seen Frank and Alice Longbottom, haven't you?" Ron hisses, and there is a bang that follows it, the table to the right of her crashing into the floor.

Harry and Ron are standing on either side of her bed, and Harry's hand finds her own. She has to control herself to not slip her fingers through his, to say, 'I'm here. Please don't give up on me.' Brilliant as she is, she's no stranger to loneliness, or the crushing she'd felt in her chest as a child when the pair of them couldn't stand her. And just as Hermione thinks to open her eyes, she is startled to discover she can't.

She can't even open her mouth in a silent scream.

She's paralyzed in her own body, and there's nothing she can do. At least for the moment. She's too engrossed in the argument right over her head.

"And if she is?" Harry growls, sliding his fingers through hers.

She's so much angrier that she can't squeeze them. Previously she'd just told herself she wouldn't, but discovering she couldn't only fueled her anger.

"Or if she's been fucked up beyond repair? I don't want to lose her either, and you know that. She's everything." Ron replies, and she has to stop, a breath catching in her throat though they can't notice it.

It's not a genuine statement. Maybe Harry notices, or maybe he doesn't, but Hermione doesn't get to find out as the door opens. Silence settles over the room, broken by a long sigh that she would recognize anywhere.

"Ron," Molly begins, and it's clear she's heard everything. "I think you should help Charlie downstairs."

Beyond shuffling, and a muttered, "We could regret this." Ron offers nothing else. The lock clicks into place behind him.

She's screaming in her head. How could he say these things about her, much less think them? To believe that she would fail the Order.

But she knows this is war, and that you're only as strong as your weakest link.

In a moment that she later determines is the moment is a series of moments that lead to a cataclysmic event, Hermione Granger can only think one thing.

As soon as she woke up, anyone who thought she might be their weakest link would regret it.

And there was a crack beside her head.

"Oh," Molly gasps quietly, her hand smoothing Hermione's matted hair down. "Her hair...sparked. Did you see that, Harry?"

The-Boy-Who-Lived saw nothing.

The October night is carried by wind and rain that soaks her clothes, chilling her to the bone. It's no matter. She supposes she could have cast a warming charm beneath her clothes as she had during her winters in Hogwarts. However, the cold wouldn't kill her.

Hermione sits on the roof of the newest safe house, completely alone, and not likely to be bothered. A week ago she was tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange in Malfoy Manor for a second time. Over what would have been her Easter break, it had been terrible, but the second time?

There is a fissure in her mind, one the size of a canyon, and while she thinks there may be a way to repair it...Hermione is not certain she wants to. The second round of torture with a crazed Death Eater, following the fall of her most beloved master, had not been kind to her. Hermione grits her teeth, not bothering to pull her cloak tighter around her as the wind rips past her.

She stares at her hands, cut and mangled from the fight of her life. One could not say that Hermione Granger was just a schoolgirl who was playing a part in this war. As if she was ever less than a vital cog in the machinery that kept it running. If she believed in Divination, she might have thought the slice that went along her heart line meant something.

It means nothing.

She is not the one who is meant to die, not even close.

Hermione smiles to herself as she feels the full brunt of Remus' transformation from the basement. It shakes the very foundation, and there is something to be said of how she does not flinch. It's nothing to her, just like the howls that pierce the night.

She considers how there is nothing stopping her from dropping off the roof and disappearing into the world. There's the option of fleeing this war, and she truly has no qualms with leaving the Order anymore. Not when they've already turned against her. They're foolish enough to think that she sees nothing.

She almost pities them.

She twirls the wand between her fingertips. It's not hers. It's not vine, and familiar, and oh so light. It's darkness, and it's seeping into her blood it seems. She's heard the whispering behind closed doors, how Molly is beginning to share Ron's concerns, that there is something wrong with Hermione.

She's nothing like herself, you must admit that.

She's...darker. I'm not sure how to explain it, but it would seem that Bellatrix's torture has done more to her than knock her down.

She smiles, a subtle and haunting curve of her lips, as a laugh that certainly isn't hers bubbles up. She's heard it before, right over her head as a cursed knife was dipped into her flesh as if it were a quill and an inkwell. How funny to hear it from her own mouth.

Harry, I don't think it's safe to have her on missions.

A worthy thing to mention is that while Harry Potter is the Chosen One, he should not be guiding the rebellion if they want to win. He's brave, flinging himself headlong into whatever is inherently right, but her friend is no strategist.

She could have offered her help. It might have saved lives the night before in a skirmish that broke out in the middle of Diagon Alley. Tonks was dead, her life snuffed out like a candle by Antonin Dolohov.

Hermione has started to see the world differently as if it was dismantled and put back together two inches to the left. And inverted. One must not forget that.

As one formerly fighting for all that was right, she shouldn't just begin to see all of the ways someone could die. She knows that she's not meant to see the deaths of her friends. But are they truly friends now? Doubtful.

She's not a horrid person. Not really.

Maybe a bit.

But Hermione could rise from her spot, take the illegal portkey in her pocket that she's been saving, and send Harry to safety. He might not ever forgive her, nor Remus, but she knows full well that she botched the Wolfsbane potion this month.

In the morning, it will be considered a simple mistake. She can hear it in her head then, her voice lowered and timid, as if she's scared, "I'm so sorry." Hermione would sob. "I'm just out of sorts after…" she would hiccup, salty tears rolling down her face. Harry would rush to her. Remus would forgive her.

But tonight?

Hermione knows herself.

It's no mistake. She is not half-brained. Her eyes are not half closed, rather they are opened all the way, and it would be incredibly simple to meander down to the basement, and let a feral werewolf, agonized by the loss of his mate, rip the Order to shreds.

But she won't do that.

It would cause her problems.

It comes to her as an idea that sends her shooting up in her bed. She wakes from the dream, one that had previously been a nightmare of a black haired witch with crazed eyes hovering over her, liquid threats dripping from her lips. It's a better dream now, one that makes her smile upon waking. Imagining all of the ways she is going to break that bitch is enough to improve her mood.

Despite hearing Mundungus through the walls before sleeping. He was of the same brain as Molly Weasley. Hermione isn't Hermione anymore. Maybe she's broken, or maybe she's as dark as she lets on.

It would be easy to creep down the halls under a silencing charm, casting an imperious on someone in the house to carry out her plans. But, she sighs, that's half of the fun, and she's not going to ruin her own mood.

It's too dangerous to create a physical list. Those who are suspicious of her regularly dig through her beaded bag, and her room when they get the chance. They discuss digging through her mind, but Harry stops them as soon as he gets wind of it everytime.

Half of her wants it to happen.

She might snap.

It puts a grin on her face.

She finds her way into the sitting room, collapsing in the arm chair. She flicks her wand, watching it as she traces the charm, and the fireplace roars to life. Hermione enjoys the moments alone. Being with the others is so taxing anymore, and she's finding she's tired of pretending she can't slaughter them all.

Of course, she's always been capable. She just thinks of it now. She wonders if it was a strategy made by Death Eaters, carried out by the crazy bitch that continually creeps into her thoughts. It was an interesting thought. Hermione relishes the darkness as if it were an addiction.

If it was a scheme for her to tear the Order apart from the inside out, it might work, but of course, it would backfire just as well.

She has every intention of whittling Death Eater ranks.

A board creaks behind her. She glanced over her shoulder, her eyebrows drawing together at the sight before her. "Malfoy?" Her tone is incredulous, but she offers little else.

Maybe he expects her to insult him as she always has. He waits for it, for something as he drags his fingers through his hair. "You look like shite."

She snorts, tapping her fingers against the arm rest. "Oh, so charming. What are you doing here?"

His eyes widen. "I defected. Potter brought me in a few days ago."

She thinks someone may have mentioned that to her a day prior. Or perhaps she heard it through the walls like everything else anymore. "Interesting." Hermione shrugs, turning away just as his mouth falls open.

"You didn't know that?"

"Slipped my mind."

There is the sound of the fridge opening not even fifteen feet from then. She doesn't know who's there, but they make no sound to give their identity away.

Malfoy doesn't let it go. "If you didn't know I would be here," he splutters, "why the fuck wouldn't you hex me?"

Hermione laughs, standing from her seat. She sees Ginny from her vantage point, her eyes wide with curiosity as she doesn't make eye contact. "Oh, I wouldn't hex you."

He hesitates, shooting a look back at Ginny. "I don't understand."

"Obviously, I would kill you." Hermione says flatly, not flinching at the sound of the glass that slips from Ginny's hands, shattering against the wooden floor. "What a shame that would be. I'm having such a quiet night."

Ginny squeaks, her footsteps heavy as she sprints up the stairs.

Hermione doesn't have much time left.

She doesn't spare Malfoy a second glance.

They only give her a chance at Harry's urging. Sweet, sweet, unassuming Harry, Hermione thinks to herself as she listens to the mission. It provides a perfect in for her first victim, but she's not made up her mind if she's ready to put her plans into motion yet.

Bill Weasley eyes her carefully, casting questioning looks her way as she taps her fingers against the table. He opens his mouth, and she thinks he's about to ask her if she'd bored. His tone would be laced with dry sarcasm, and he truly wouldn't like her answer.

Hermione waits, and he says nothing. She leans forward in her seat, bracing her elbows against the table. Malfoy sits across from her, a harsh scar still fresh on his cheek. It looks as if the corner of his mouth was ripped open, slicing a line all the way to his ear. Which is exactly what happened. She's familiar with Fenrir Greyback, and his preference for playing with his food before he feasts.

It's not a good fate, she admits. It's a wonder that Malfoy survived the encounter. She's naturally curious, but she asks nothing. She's not sure if she truly cares, or if she has just lost the filter from her brain to her mouth.

It's probably the latter.

"I'll go," Hermione volunteers, and the Weasley matriarch sighs in what can only be relief. No one else notices but Hermione. It's interesting that Molly is so pleased with the outcome. One could say that she was only happy her own children weren't going on what was nearly a suicide mission.

It's not why. Molly isn't hiding anything, nor is she concealing the fact that she's hopeful Hermione doesn't come back at all. Hermione doesn't mind; she doesn't mind much of anything anymore, but she realizes one thing.

If anyone does come back, it would be her.

Infiltrating Malfoy Manor is absolutely out of the fucking question. Hermione is sure to make that clear. While she's ready to get her hands dirty, she has no desire to die before she's even begun. In the middle of the night, she finds herself on the roof once more, her ankles crossed as she listens to the night. To her right, there is a bird that won't stop chirping.

She glares at it, and shoos it away.

She isn't alone for long before footsteps sound behind her, and it's obvious who it is.

"'Mione?" Harry's voice is riddled with exhaustion. His footsteps are light as he pads to her, carefully taking a seat beside her on the slanting roof. "You haven't been sleeping for a long time."

He's not wrong. It's been two months since it all began, since she woke to find herself paralyzed in her own body, and her mind seemingly broken. She sighs. "I'd hoped you wouldn't notice." It's the truth, a rare occurrence these days whereas she's concerned. "It's hard to sleep with the dreams."

Not a lie, but she's not going to tell him how visions of torture makes her antsy to break out of the cage she's in. She twirls the wand—her wand— between her fingers, a nervous tick.

"Ginny's noticed."

Oh, right. The little red headed Weasley that had never annoyed her before, but now Hermione imagines blasting her through a wall whenever she looks at Hermione with wide, fearful eyes. "Figures." She snorts. "It seems she's just as suspicious of me as the rest of the Order now. Are you sure she wasn't tasked with stalking me?"

Harry bristles at the comment, but she already knows that he's not angry with her. "I've told her there's nothing to worry about."

Her lips curve into a smile. On some level, she thinks it's a bit pitiful that Harry refuses to see what's right in front of him, but she's grateful. While he might be oblivious, and there's a good chance it was the reason he never suspected her before, she knows it's because he can't imagine a world where Hermione Granger is a monster.

It's an ill conceived notion that monsters are born rather than taught, but she's unable to linger on the thought before he catches her attention once more.

"It was going to be Malfoy that went with you." Harry says, his voice barely heard over the wind. "But I disagree with that."

She knew it was meant to be Malfoy; the poor bloke was just as expendable as her now. Who else would be better to send with her into a Death Eater hideout? "I don't like the look you have on your face."

She didn't. She knew it well, and she knew it signaled that Harry fucking Potter was going to do something tremendously stupid.

Harry smiles, and her stomach drops. "I'm going with you."

Her eyes shoot open. "Absolutely not." Hermione shakes her head. "Harry, no." She splutters at his cheshire grin, the way his eyes light up with all of the wrong types of mischief.

"Harry, yes," he sings, and bumps her shoulder with his own. "Malfoy has switched sides, I know that. But I don't trust him to watch your back and keep you alive."

She can't tell him how she pities the next Death Eater who mistakes her as a little girl who is only playing with a wand. She certainly can't say how she'll make them beg for death before they meet it. Hermione swallows, taking in the determined set of his jawline. "It would be a mistake. They need you here.'ve already defeated You-Know-Who, Harry. You're the motivation that keeps your side going."

She doesn't say our side, but it goes unnoticed.

"Absolutely not."

In the end, the Order doesn't send her. They scrape together a lie; they claim it's not right to pit her against Bellatrix Lestrange. It's laughable.

Bellatrix would die screaming soon enough. Hermione isn't in a rush.

It's unfortunate when Mundungus Fletcher is found murdered, his throat brutally slashed, but diagnostic spells reveal that he hadn't bled to death. Hermione performs the diagnostic spells herself since their regular healer is flitting through safe houses throughout the English countryside.

It's not a coincidence.

If she thinks about it, Hermione knows that he didn't have to die. Though he'd been a regular pest, even more annoying after she'd woke, there was no excusing his hands on hers. The memory is still fresh; she's back in her body under a state of paralysis, and he visits her. He tells her how she's so bright, it would be a shame for the Order to lose her, for her to lose her life.

His hand settles on her lower belly, slowly moving down. And while he might not have done anything, there is no mistaking the intention, and she knows that not everyone on the Light side is well within their soul.

"Merlin," Ginny breathes over her shoulder, her eyes blown wide open like doors. "Who could have done this?"

No one answers, but Hermione can feel a glare burning into her back.

She glances down at his corpse once more, his face still frozen in terror. It's a pretty picture.

A month later, a raid decimates a safe house.

Only it's not any safe house. It's Shell Cottage, and she knows that even though they're already in a war, the Weasleys declare a personal war. Hermione hides her indifference. Beneath a thick layer, she does care that Fleur and Charlie were slaughtered. Bill had been suspicious of her from the start, and his death didn't affect her so. Could she be angry that he was right?

It doesn't matter considering he's dead, but Hermione puts a hand on Ron's shoulder. It's the first time in months that they've looked at the other for more than a moment. "We'll find them." she says quietly, a foreign feeling settling in her chest as Ginny's stoic facade splinters and she collapses to the floor across the room.

Ron's nod is shaky at best. "Malfoy's certain it was the Lestranges. Are you sure that you're...I don't doubt your ability. She tortured you."

It's a mix of trepidation and concern that she mildly appreciates. Hermione nods. "I pity the witch if she dares raise a wand to me again."

"I want to kill them." He means it in the moment, but Ron isn't so far jaded that the notion will stay for longer than it takes to snuff out the accused Death Eaters. "You'll help me?"

Hermione stares at the room before her, the brokenness as a family grieves not so silently. She gives a slight dip of her head, her fingers tightening around her wand. "I'll hold them in place for you. Bellatrix is mine, yeah?" She glances up.

There's a fractured look about him, but he agrees nonetheless. "What will you do?"

It's solidified in that moment that after this she won't be staying with the Order. She won't let the opportunity slip through her fingers. Hermione levels a stare at him, cold and unforgiving, and she ignores the shiver that rolls through him. Her voice is a low murmur, "I'll make her beg a Mudblood for her life."

Ron flinches. She's not sure if it's the way she referred to herself, or the bold claim.

She quietly excuses herself, and climbs the stairs. She needs to prepare, to shrink all of her belongings, and ready her beaded bag. Someone is staring at her, and she turns to see Malfoy leaned against the bottom of the stairs.

He says nothing, and neither does she.

In the midst the surprise infiltration of the hideout, Hermione confunds Ginny Weasley and Harry Potter before she hisses, "Incarcerous," and it's quickly followed by a silencing charm. "Don't look at them, Ron. I'm going to Obliviate them after."

The redhead gawks at her, and it's absurd considering three Death Eaters are standing in front of them. Hermione casts a shield charm over Harry and Ginny, but only because it would cripple Harry to lose her.

"Hermione, they'll just check my memories as well."

"What do you take me for? I plan to Obliviate you just as well." Hermione shifts her stance, eyeing Rabastan as he moves forward. "I wouldn't do that."

The fuss is all very dull, and while Bella croons, "Ickle Mudblood, whatever will you do?"

Hermione is sure that she still has a heart, but then she's not so certain as she rips her wand through the lightning shaped movement, and growls, "Avada Kedavra." The man crumples like a piece of parchment, his wand rolling across the grimy stone.

Bella shrieks.

"That." Hermione says simply. "Which one of you killed Bill and Charlie Weasley?" Unsurprisingly, there is no answer. She looks at Ron. "Are you going to kill him or what?"

The colour has drained from his face. Hermione doesn't have the heart to look for Harry's reaction. "'Mione, you killed him."

She blinks. "Obviously. We don't have time for this. Are you going to — nevermind," Hermione lunges forward. She casts, "Bombarda!"

Bellatrix is thrown into the wall with a crack that Hermione hopes isn't her neck as it would be a shame.

Hermione offers a saccharine smile that is reminiscent of the man's wife before she kills Rodolphus. The killing curse slides off her tongue so easily that she sees it's no wonder it's used so frequently. "Well," she murmurs, turning to Ron, "you understand why you can't remember this, don't you?"

"You're…" he stumbles over his own feet as he scrambles away from her. "What the fuck happened to you?"

Hermione doesn't offer a response as she sets to work. After Obliviating all three of them, she pauses over Ginny. In truth, the girl has been a pest for months now, but Hermione lets it go. She's kind enough to ward the hideout, and she knows within the hour the Order will storm in.

Two Death Eaters will be dead — it's a public service really — and one will be missing.

And Hermione Granger will be a fugitive whether they have proof or not.

Her childhood home is a beautiful brick two story with pretty wooden shutters that have been meticulously painted each summer. She'd checked to be sure it was still vacant after sending her parents to Australia.

It's warded, and while the Order may eventually think to look for her there, she would be in the wind once more by the time they did.

Hermione is sitting comfortably in an adjacent chair when the black haired witch stirs. She immediately strains against the magical bindings, her lip curling in disgust as her gaze lands on Hermione. "Give me my wand, and I'll let you live as a slave, Mudblood."

She laughs, and it's a clear sign of how far she's fallen. Hermione raises Bellatrix's replacement wand. "Oh, this?" she asked, sarcasm dripping from her voice. "I'm afraid I can't do that. Besides, you won't be needing it." Hermione takes both ends of the wand in either hand, and then snaps it.

Bellatrix wails. "You stupid, stupid bitch."

Hermione doesn't move from her spot as she lets the pieces fall to the floor. She twirls her own between her fingers. "I've found that I like your wand more than my old wand. It's so much easier to use with Dark Magic, wouldn't you say?"

"You don't deserve —" Bellatrix's shriek dies in her throat.

"Crucio," Hermione whispers lovingly.

Her body slips into the floor, writhing underneath the effects of the curse. Hermione is surprised, she has to admit. "I would have thought," she speaks as she stands, circling the witch, "that your master would have taught you how to withstand torture better."

"You'll regret this," Bella snarls.

"Oh, I don't think I will at all." Hermione wordlessly summons a knife from the kitchen. She kneels beside Bella, watching in delight as the witch's eyes widen. "Incarcerous. It just won't do if you try to escape. I'm sure you remember this? You were in my place last time. You know, I think I understand why you enjoy torture so much now. It's all rather thrilling to hold a life in your hands, isn't it?"

Before Bella can speak, another crucio is cast.

"I can keep you like this for days. I'll cut you open and let your blood coat the floor before I heal you and do it all over again."

Before the knife digs into Bellatrix's arm, Hermione thinks she sees fear enter the mad woman's eyes.




Chapter Text

Welcome to part two. I only intend for the to be one more part after this, which I don't anticipate going over 5k. Grammarly was my beta here, so I apologise for any other errors. I hope you'll enjoy and leave me your thoughts.

Chapter Two

The house is trashed. Furniture is overturned, and there is the lingering stench of death that he's all too familiar with. It's bullshite that the Order was sending him around as if he were an errand boy, but he doesn't expect much more than that considering he'd once been on the other side.

He still has the blemish on his arm to prove it.

In a safe house that's been moved since Granger went missing a week earlier, Potter, Weasley and Weaslette are struggling to remember what exactly had happened. It was a fool's errand for them to rush after the Lestranges, but it was clear something happened.

He'd known his uncles in his youth. Rodolphus was a cruel son of a bitch and the fact that he was dead, and there were no defensive wounds… Draco is certain of what happened, but he's kept his opinions to himself. It seems the faction that he's allied himself with has a good idea of what happened, even if they're still lying to themselves.

Granger had been the one to cut them down, he's sure of it, and he's also certain that the stench of death belongs to his aunt.

Not that he's found her yet, but he's hard pressed to believe Hermione Granger left the Order only to die in her childhood home.

Draco doesn't raise a hand to cover his mouth as he comes into the living room. He's not surprised to see Aunt Bella dead. He sighs as he takes in the sight of her. She's carved up, and upon a closer look, he can see that there are scars beneath the decaying wounds. "Merlin, what did Granger do to you?"

The corpse doesn't respond, but it's evident that Granger took her time with her plaything. She'd tortured her, possibly even to insanity, he thought, before killing his aunt. It wasn't so upsetting; the world was better off with one less Lestrange.

He sighs again before summoning a sheet from inside the house. He covers the broken woman, drawing his wand, and Apparating back to the safe house.

It's chaos, and he can't fucking stand it.

"Bellatrix is dead?" Molly snaps, slamming her palms down on the kitchen table so roughly it shakes. "You're sure?"

Draco nods, bored, despite that he's so looking forward to telling them what their beloved Golden Girl had done. She'd taken a sharp dive into the deep end, succumbing to a darkness of the likes he wasn't sure he'd ever seen before. There were traitors that had received kinder punishments from the Dark Lord. "Oh, she's definitely dead."

The mother of the Weasley brood stares at him in quiet astonishment. "And you mean to tell us that she's dead in Hermione's house?"

He nods. "Oh, Granger violently murdered her. I'd say that Aunt Bella regretted torturing the girl before she died. Granger went after her with a vengeance."

There is a single moment of silence before everyone is talking at once. It gives him a headache.

"I knew—" Weaslette shrieks, her face draining of all colour. Her fists are curled at her side, and she rips away from Potter.

Potter is the first, the only, one to defend Granger. Draco expects it, of course. "Everyone, stop talking at once!" Potter snaps. He rakes his fingers through his hair, blowing out a harsh breath. "This is Hermione you're accusing. She wouldn't—"

Draco drums his fingers against the table before he pushes away from the table. "I'm not going to sit here and listen to this. Whether you want to admit it, or not," Draco hissed, rising to his feet, "she's gone off the deep end. She's more dangerous than some Death Eaters."

"You would know," Harry fires back.

Fighting the urge to roll his eyes, Draco says, "That's the point here, you narrow-minded twat,"

"Language!" Molly interjects.

Harry whirls on the woman, clenching his jaw violently tight. "Shut up."

"Don't speak to Mum that way," Weasley growls, and he appears to be seconds from strangling the Wizarding World's saviour. "We all know that Hermione was different before…" He trails off, his mouth opening and closing to the likeness of a fish. "Merlin, when we lost—I was angry, and I asked her for help. She said she'd be the one to hold down the Lestranges while I killed the one to murder—"

A sob tears free of Molly Weasley's throat.

Draco's grip tightens on the edge of the table. "I'm the best judge of her viciousness here, considering I was a Death Eater." His voice is hard, the memories of the bloodbath he'd found still fresh in his mind.

"Is she dangerous, do you think? You were the one to find Bellatrix." Molly is barely able to look at him when she asks, and she fidgets with a stray strand on her apron.

He's only been in the safe house for a few weeks, and he doesn't expect to ever not feel like an outsider. The very least this woman could do was make eye contact if she was going to ask for his opinion. Draco dipped his head, white blond hair dropping into his eyes. "Inherently dangerous. She's far too dangerous to ever be allowed back into the Order." The words leave a foul taste in her mouth.

There's a crunch that he only slightly realises is his nose. Potter's face is red, his breathing coming in short pants as someone—one of the Weasleys, judging by the red hair—is attempting to hold him back. "Harry, stop!" Ron Weasley snapped, slipping his arms under his arms and trapping Potter in a headlock.

"What is it?" Draco hisses as he wipes his mouth. "Can't stand the fact that your best friend fucking left you without a word? You can't defend her—"

"Fuck you!" Green eyes centred on Draco and Potter strained against the redhead's grip. "You don't even know Hermione. How are you fit to make any sort of decision about her, especially whether or not she can—this is her home."

"Really?" Draco shot back, a cruel smile curving his lips. "Funny how she left it all behind then, isn't it? Left here, left you, left everything."

It takes two months for the Order to start to realise just what was happening. At first, Draco assumes it was the higher tier of the Order who was ordering the hits on several heads of those high in the Death Eater's ranks.

It's Thorfinn Rowle first. He's found with his organs removed from his body, but he was held beneath a stasis charm. A charm that had lasted long enough for him to be found in the middle of Diagon Alley. He'd lived just long enough for a healing student apprenticing at St Mungo's to attempt to save him. Lifting the charm had led to his death, drowning to death by his own blood that had flooded his lungs.

When Draco took the time to consider it, it was an interesting way to murder someone. Clearly, whoever had done it hadn't cared to stick around to see the end result of their handiwork. According to rumours, Rowle's last words had been uttered through his gasping, just "—blood."

It's Dolores Umbridge second. Her death is even more publicized, something Draco wouldn't have expected. Still, there is no denying that the woman's death had been violent and she had fought for her life. Still, there is no mistaking the picture plastered across the Daily Prophet. Her face is scarred by a long jagged line that slides down her face. She'd been tortured, and there is something that only Potter and his pet weasel notice.

Written across her hand in almost translucent ink, cursed ink he was sure, was I must not be a heinous bitch. Potter pulls down the sleeve of his tattered shirt, covering his hand, but he says nothing when the Order deliberates who could have done this.

Draco has his own suspicions, but they're only that. Until the third grisly death that is too violent for him to believe it's not the same person.

During a skirmish regarding the Ministry and the fact that Death Eaters had now put a bounty on Hermione Granger's head, Harry Potter is nearly killed. There's a hefty amount of galleons that accompanies the witch's head now. The other side had come to the same conclusion as Draco.

She was the one dropping bodies all over Wizarding Britain.

Mulciber is the one to cast the curse at Potter, made to eat away at his flesh, and kill him over twenty-four hours. Fortunately, they have a brilliant healer, and the Boy-Who-Lived survives. And then two days later, Mulciber is found hanging in the middle of Diagon Alley, and it's a clear message. Draco wonders if Potter realises it now, if he's accepted the fact that his childhood best friend truly was a cold-blooded killer.

He doesn't.

Draco is hardly surprised.

The Order decides that the time to act is only after Rita Skeeter goes missing. Clearly, Granger is not loyal to a side. Not to the Light, or the Dark, and she is prancing down a thin line that belongs fully to her.

Rita Skeeter is missing for two more months before her body is found. This time the body is not mangled beyond repair, but there is an air of extremely dark magic around the corpse. Draco knows because he'd found it while scouting with Neville Longbottom, a partnership that isn't fruitful to anyone.

The Order, namely Kingsley Shacklebolt, decides that Hermione Granger needs to be brought back to one of their safe houses. Everyone agrees, save for Potter. Draco can't decide if he's truly so stupid that he can't see what Granger's done, or if maybe Potter just doesn't care. Maybe he'll take Granger no matter how fucked up she is, and for a moment, he wonders about that.

He wonders what that must feel like to have someone care about you like that.

Kingsley sits Draco down at the beginning of the month. Kingsley's mouth is pressed into a thin line, and his hands are balled into fists on top of the table. "Malfoy, I think I have a mission for you."

Draco blinks, his heartbeat slowing in his chest. Nothing about the tone leads him to believe that the mission is expected to be a successful one. "You've briefed Longbottom then?"

The shake of the man's head is slow. "He's not to go on this mission."

It sounds completely not promising. Draco clears his throat. "You're not expecting me to come back, are you? It's the reason you wouldn't send Longbottom. Only one of us is expendable. That's how it goes here, isn't it?"

The dark skinned man clenched his jaw. "No, you're just the only one who wasn't close with her before she vanished."

Draco's eyes shoot open. His mouth dries, and the tapping of his fingers against the table quickly stall. "You want me to go after Granger," he deadpanned. "No, absolutely not. She's a fucking psychopath now."

"It's not a request."

"I'll take my chances with Death Eaters before I take my chances with Hermione fucking Granger. Have you not seen what she's done recently? She leaves bodies wherever she goes."

"Your mother is still alive," Kingsley says, his voice hard. "I've followed through on my promise to keep her safe. Have you forgotten your own promise? You came to us, bloody and raw. You begged for the chance to keep her safe, and promised to do anything in order to keep her safe."

Draco grits his teeth. "You're lording this over my head, my mother's life?"

"We are a war. Hermione could shift the war dramatically. Clearly, she's breaking into Death Eater hovels, and she's dragging them out. If she came to our side—"

"You're a fool to believe that she even has a side anymore. She could slaughter us all without blinking." Draco argues, his stomach rolling over. "It seems I hardly have a choice. If I die, my mother will be protected?"

Kingsley gives his word.

Draco isn't sure it's worth anything.

Draco is able to say goodbye to his mother before he takes the rucksack he's packed and sets off on a trip that he's not sure how will go. Narcissa is gaunt, strikingly pale, and weeping when she learns what he's leaving for.

"The Mudblood?" Narcissa whispers.

Draco raises her hand to his lips, clutching her bony hand in his own. "Shh, don't ever let anyone hear you say that. Whether she returns or not, she's incredibly dangerous."

"Oh," Narcissa rolled her eyes. "She's hardly going to murder me because I called her a Mudblood."

"No, but considering they've sent me to bring her back by any means necessary… Being Bellatrix's sister likely doesn't help you either." Draco mutters the end to himself. He pulls her into a tight hug, smoothing her hair down. "I'll return before you know it. The Order will continue to keep you safe."

She snorts. "I'm not worried about my safety."

Draco presses a kiss to her clammy forehead. "You ought to be."

Tracking her isn't easy, not that he expected it to be. If it were, Snatchers would have already caught her months ago.

Draco learns within a few days that it's likely the witch is constantly jumping from place to place. He's certain that she doesn't stay in one place for more than one night, and she doesn't revisit her former haunts. It's sickening how she's eluded everyone, her victims serving as the only proof she's even alive.

It seems so simple for her, a prospect that is interesting when he stops to think about it.

She's been to Bristol, laying low in a pub overnight, he learns and it's one of his first stops. It comes out to reveal nothing beyond the fact that a man had attempted to handle her too roughly, and she'd dispelled his tongue from his mouth. The owner of the pub trembled when he spoke it, claiming that he would never forget. "She was...cold. I didn't realise who she was then. She must have been using Polyjuice. She left a sack of galleons for me to keep my mouth shut."

Draco had left the man as he panicked that the violent witch would return when she leaned he hadn't kept his mouth shut.

Then he goes to Norfolk, only to see that like in Bristol, Granger has left a lasting impression. She'd apparently disembowled a rapist in the middle of the street. By witness accounts, she hadn't used her wand at all, but a dagger that she'd pulled from a sheath beneath her cloak.

One thing is clear. Granger is frequently using Polyjuice, morphing into locals that were later found to be killed by the killing curse. She'd been covering her tracks well, and he thinks the dark magic may finally be seeping into her bones.

Suffolk, Surrey, and Wiltshire blur together in the same steady stream of violence. Some of her crimes are righteous, some that were also probably considered righteous by her considering she'd left a team of Snatchers dead.

Draco is in the middle of Devon toward the end of the month. He's exhausted as he tosses his bag onto the middle of the bed. The inn is shabby at best, but it's not like the Order had sent him with enough money to not sleep in a hovel.

He strips his jacket off, flinging it over the chair in the side of the room. His wand is still nestled in its holster. Droplets of water slide off the ends of his hair, and he's soaked to the bone from the rain outside. The rain is still pelting against the glass window pane, and lightning streaks through the sky, shortly accompanied by a clap of thunder.

Draco doesn't care about the storm. What he cares about is the fact that he hadn't imagined the shadow in the corner of the room, seated in the chair where he had just thrown his jacket. He swallows, his wand silently being summoned to his harsh grip.

There's a snap of someone's fingers, and candles in the room are lit instantaneously. "Hello, Malfoy."And Hermione Granger is there, seated in the chair, having already made herself comfortable in his room. She's twisting her wand in between her fingers.

"Granger." He replies evenly. It was difficult to not take in the sight of her slowly, though he was worried she'd raise her wand so he wouldn't be a loose end. "You know that I was supposed to find you, right? Not the other way around."

Granger laughs, tilting her head back, and her pale pink lips parting as she giggles. "Yes, I heard you'd been looking for me."

Chapter Text


She knows that there's a manic look about her. Her hair is wild, her curls twining together, and Malfoy's gaze drops from her face to her wand back to her face, and interestingly settles on her lips. A smirk curves her lips, a smug little smile as she crosses and uncrosses her legs. "Who sent you?"

His reply is instant, rolling off the tip of his tongue and she likes that he hadn't hesitated even a second. "Shacklebolt."

Hermione laughs. "Oh, Kingsley? Tell me, how long did it take him to realise it was me leaving a trail of bodies." His face pales, and she continues while crossing her legs, still comfortably sitting in the armchair. "Really, Malfoy, I'm only curious. It's impolite to keep a lady waiting."

He swallows, his hand falling to his side, and God, does he think he's inconspicuous as he reaches for his wand? Malfoy's wand sails from his hand as she flicks her own, rolling across the old wood floor. "You're admitting it then?"

She shrugs, tabling her wand. "I don't think there is anything to admit. I've made myself rather clear, haven't I? The Order is terrified, Death Eaters are terrified—"

"Granger, you're fucking insane." He spits the words out, and regret instantly crosses over his face. "To answer your question, it didn't take very long. Not for me, anyway. No one else wanted to believe it." He takes a step toward her, his footsteps heavy as if they're weighed down by lead. "You were their golden girl, Brightest Witch of the Age; you ripped Potter's heart out."

Hermione's kept tabs on Harry. She knows how he is, how broken and grief-stricken he is by her sudden departure and subsequent betrayal. She pretends to swallow a lump in her throat, too delighted by Malfoy's jumpiness.

He thinks I'm going to kill him.

I doubt I will, but perhaps it would be beneficial to keep a tiny bit of his fear alive.

"I know I did," Hermione says, her voice thick while she taps her fingers casually against the armrest. "You were the first to figure it out, weren't you?"

He's a tiny bit smug, and he has no control over how it flashes across his face. "It's only because I discovered Aunt Bella's body. Once I saw the next body, it was only a well-educated guess."

Hermione's drawn to the terrible gaze that adorns his face. It's a terrible thing to be subjected to Fenrir Greyback. The scars are old now, but she wonders… Hermione stands from her seat, pitying the way he flinches and looks for his wand in a panic. "I'm not going to kill you." Her voice is soft as she comes to stand in front of him.

He stares down at her—a full head taller and then some—incredulously. "You expect me to believe that?"

She reaches up, and he catches her wrist. "Stop." Hermione whispers. "I want to help you."

His laugh is harsh and cruel, and she's overcome by the fact that she wants to hear it again. "How the fuck are you going to help me? I'm not going to throw my lot in with another psychopath after I've finally gotten away from another."

Hermione rolls her eyes. "I'm not a psychopath, Malfoy. I have a plan. Once I'm done," she shrugs. "Then I'm done."

He jerks away from her. "What the fuck does that mean?" Panic must be crawling up inside of him because she sees the way his body goes completely rigid. "Both sides are searching for you. You've really gone around the bin if you think you can just leave." His hand is still gripping her wrist. "You're better off if you return to the Order."

She arches an eyebrow. "I thought you said I was inherently dangerous, far too dangerous to ever be allowed back into the Order?" As his face drains of colour, his hand slips, and Hermione gingerly reaches up to trace the scar that had split his face open.

"How do you know—what are you doing?" He doesn't make a move to stop her, and he shivers below her touch. "Granger, I'm not sure what sort of fucking freak you've turned out to be, but get your hands off of me."

Neither of them is surprised when she doesn't let her hand fall away. "Did he punish you by allowing Greyback to maul you?" She thinks that it's the moment where Malfoy is going to strike her, and she'll have no choice but to retaliate.

There's still a taboo on the name, and most people are still too frightened to even think the name, but she's delighted to find Malfoy doesn't care. "Voldemort punished my father for his repeated failures." Or perhaps, he does still care considering the way his head whips around.

"There isn't a Death Eater besides Voldemort himself that could tear down my wards. Scream his name if you like."

"Since when did you have time to put up wards?" He hisses, taking a harsh step toward her.

The backs of her knees meet the edge of the bed. "I've been following you." She admits, her stomach turning as he silently questions the fact. "It was humorous to watch you search for me while I was just behind you. The second you stepped out, I entered this room. As I said, it's impolite to keep a lady waiting, and you did just that."

He grips her shoulders, his nails digging into her skin through the thin jumper she wore. "As said, you're not much of a lady anymore, if you ever were."

Hermione blinks, her eyes dropping toward the scar. She can help if he'll let her. "Yes, I'm a murderer. Might we move past that now? I want to heal that scar."

Malfoy comedically stumbles away from her, his eyes widening. "You'd probably kill me if you got me under your wand. Not bloody likely, Granger."

She takes a seat on the bed, the blankets soft below her palms. "Dittany couldn't heal it."

He shakes his head.

"But I could."

He doesn't ask for an explanation.

He must know she's going to give one anyway. "There's a spell for it." She trails off. "It's dark in nature, I suppose, since it eats away the effects of dark curses. Werewolves are typically considered dark creatures." Except for Remus, she thinks, who had always been kind to her. "It would probably work."

Malfoy scoffs.

The room is silent around them. After realising she wasn't going to leave, for reasons she certainly didn't disclose to Malfoy, he stayed awake until he couldn't anymore.

Hermione wakes the second the bed dips blow her, and she wants to sigh. He's going to try and disarm her, incapacitate her so he can haul her back to the Order so they can use her as a personal dog of war. She rolls quickly onto her side, grinning at the shock crossing his face as she pins him. "I'm not going back to the Order. I thought that was obvious." She mutters.

His wand falls from his hand, clattering to the floor while she holds his hands over his head. "I don't give a shite what you want. You're coming back."

She shakes her head. "I'm not, and neither should you. They're using you. Surely you know that. You're expendable to them, Malfoy, a little boy who just wants to prove himself."

He slams his forehead against her chin, busting her lip.

A gasp tears free of her throat when he gathers her wrists in one hand and holds them down so roughly that it might leave bruises across her skin. "Fuck you," he growls. "I have nothing to prove to the Order."

She doesn't move. She doesn't need to. It's not as if he's going to murder her, and she's sure she can turn this in her favour. "You're right," Hermione says. "That was callous, and I just wanted to get under your skin. Clearly, it worked."

He either muttered 'witch' or 'bitch'.

"Did Kingsley threaten your mother?" She asks. It's a whisper, and she's not worried about pushing him too far, but still, it won't help her to anger him. "It's something he would do. I'm sorry if he did."

Malfoy sighs. "Yes, it's the only reason I'm here."

"I could help."

"You keep saying that, but I'm not sure you have any idea what that means." He let her go, leaning back on his haunches as he still straddled her waist. "Out of curiosity, how are you sure you can help?"

Hermione tilts her head to the side. "It wouldn't be impossible to hide Narcissa. She's as safe with the Order as she is out in the open. You say you don't want to leave Voldemort to end up with the same, but you already have. The Order is threatening your mother if you fail. How is that any different?"

His throat bobs as he swallows. There it is!

"I'm not sure why I care, Malfoy," Hermione admits. "But they don't give a damn about you, or Narcissa. They didn't give a damn about me either when I woke up, and suddenly everything had shifted two feet to the right, and I didn't fit so neatly into their plans anymore."

He bit his lower hip, and Hermione thinks it can't be this easy, but it is. He's been on the cusp of something for months, something darker and twisted, and all he'd needed was a miniscule push to send him right over the edge. "I'm not risking her unless we can get her out first."

That's the easy part. As far as Hermione is concerned, convincing Malfoy to come to her side had been the hard part.

Breaking into Order headquarters isn't exactly easy, Hermione is forced to admit.

So they don't.

Hermione agrees to pretend he's taking her in like a ridiculous prize, but only if he agrees to an Unbreakable Vow. She insists that she can't be too cautious when he's offended. She acts as their bonder since she's not making a single promise to him. In the middle of the forest on the outer rim just beyond the wards, Draco Malfoy swears he'll never turn her over to the Order.

"You're sure about this?" He looks at her, his lips a deep red from his constant chewing. "There's going to be a lot of them, Granger. Can you get us out?"

She rolls her shoulders. "Get yourself and your mother out. Let me worry about myself." Hermione gathers her cloak around her. "You remember the rendezvous point after you get her to safety?"

He nods as he glares at her. "I'm not leaving without you."

"Careful, you might think you truly care."

Narcissa Malfoy is dead.

Draco is going to rip the Order out of the ground, root and stem.

These are both things that Hermione knows within the half hour he leads her into the building. There are several members there to watch her, but Harry isn't among them.

The brutal revelation comes within moments as she sits inside the cell while waiting for a signal to fight her way out. In truth, Hermione would only attach the dark artifact she'd stowed in the pocket of her cloak to a wall and then she would escape through the hole in caused.

Draco slams the door open, kicking it shut behind him. "Shacklebolt is dead. We need to go before they bring the building down on our heads."

She doesn't ask if there are other casualties. She knows there are, and Hermione knows that she likely doesn't care who's died anyway. He grabs the artifact from her pocket, slamming it against the wall so harshly she thinks it might crack in his hands.

Hermione taps her wand to it as he casts a protective shield around them.

It's lucky that the Apparition wards haven't been disabled before he grabs her arm and rips her out of the scenery.

Inevitably, the news spreads. Narcissa had been killed in an Order raid, in which Kingsley used the woman as bait. Branded a traitor from the Death Eaters, it made for easy bait. She wasn't supposed to die, the Order said, but the wind carried away their flippant excuses.

Hotels didn't serve them anymore, not when the Order was actively hunting them both. Draco brings them from Malfoy property to another until one just outside of Sussex strikes something in Hermione. The wards are strong, inter-woven by combined magic, and it'll hold, Hermione thinks.

She gives him space for several days, days that turn into two weeks, and Hermione passes the time by reading ancient books she's never found in the Malfoy library. There are several darker texts, and she smooths down the page on Horcruxes while sunlight pours through the window.

Draco leans on the back of her chair, his finger idly twisting a loose curl around it. Chills spread across her neck as he pulls on the strand. He's pulled too harshly for it to be a mistake. "Horcruxes?" He murmurs, his hand sliding over her shoulder, pulling her jumper to the side as he rubs slow circles into her skin. "You already know all about those."

Hermione tilts her head back, hopeful he won't remove his hand. "Oh, yes,"

He bends down, his breath fanning across her ear. Draco lifts the necklace hanging from her neck. "You wouldn't, wouldn't you?" He's smirking as he lets it fall back to her chest, his fingers drifting up to trace her clavicle. "Who did you murder for it?" Before she can answer, Draco circles the chair, taking her hand in his before leading her to the sofa.

Hermione sits next to him. "Skeeter."

He chuckles before pulling her into his lap. "I thought so. Her body positively reeked of dark magic."

She shivers as his fingers slide up her sides. "You left that book out for me to find."

Draco dips his head down, his lips skimming her jaw, and she desperately wants to turn her head and meet his lips with hers, but he keeps her in place by roughly gripping her jaw. "I did." He admits, and she's certain she's going to catch fire while seated in his lap. "Have you put together why yet?"

Hermione had her suspicions. "You—" A moan left her as he bit down at the hollow of her throat, his hands gripping her hips so fucking roughly that she was sure to feel it later. She grinds her hips down on him, eager for him to rid her of any clothing she wore, and fuck her into the sofa. Distracted by her thoughts, she's only brought down by him pinching her nipple through her shirt, through her bra, and she whines.

His eyes are dark as he peers up at her. "I asked you a question." The last word is accented by him cupping her breast through her shirt, and she's so close to vanishing their clothes herself.

It's been weeks of barely there touches. She's walked in on him while he's in the shower, leaned against the wall while his hair sticks to his forehead and his hand is gripping his thick cock.

"You want to make a Horcrux," Hermione replies, tangling her fingers in his hair. "I just haven't put together why." She assumes it's because dark magic is seductive, but there's a small—much weaker—part of her that hopes if he does create one, they might find something.

His hand presses to her cunt through the denim of her jeans, and she's suddenly furious she hadn't worn a skirt today. "Have you ever belonged to someone?"

She gasps, grinding down on his hand as his fingers wrap around her throat. Hermione holds his gaze, as dark as it is, and she pressed his hand harder to her throat. "I thought I did once." It's a lifetime ago, the Chamber of Secrets with Ron, the way he hated her after she woke up. "I was wrong. I've never belonged to anyone."

It's enthralling—dizzying—intoxicating the way he smiles at her. If it were directed at anyone but her, it would be cruel, but she's addicted to the soft curve of his lips, and she wants them pressed to every inch of her body. "You're mine." Draco's fingers leave her gasping as they close around her throat, and her head falls back as she revels in the lack of oxygen. "You're fucking mine, Hermione."

His hand leaves her throat, and she lunges at him. It's scratching her nails down his back as she tears his shirt over his head. She bites his lip until he rips her head back by burying his fingers in her unruly hair, and his cock is hard, pressed against her inner thigh while she's begging for him to fuck her into the cushions.

Draco laughs, and murmurs, "Not yet."

She wants to argue but decides to climb off his lap instead. Hermione sinks to her knees in front of him, caged in by his legs on either side of her. Her fingers delicately fumble with his trousers as she preens below him. "Have you thought about who you'd like to use? You only have your first time once."

Draco might have laughed at her, had he not been watching her take his cock into her hand. She's unable to wrap her hand all the way around it. "Yes." His voice is garbled. "My father." He mutters.

Hermione strokes him slowly, her tongue darting out to wet her lips. "Do you know where he is?"

"Malfoy Manor," Draco growls. "Will you watch?" His fingers curl into her hair, wrapping the strands around his fist several times.

She nods, leaning forward. Hermione relishes in the long groan that leaves him her tongue swipes across the tip. She takes him into her mouth, rolling her tongue against the underside of his thick cock, until it hits the back of her throat.

"Fucking hell," Draco rasps. "Such a good girl for me." He hisses.

Hermione moans around his cock, swallowing while taking him to the back of her throat until her eyes water. He's telling her how pretty she is on her knees while deep throating his cock like she's so fucking greedy for it.

And she is.

"Will you let me fuck your throat, Hermione?"

She pulls away, wiping her mouth before he can tell her not to. Hermione swallows. "I don't want you to ask." It's a whisper.

His fingers tighten and he yanks her head forward. Hermione takes his cock eagerly. "Play with your cunt." He orders, and she's relieved to unzip her jeans so she can slip her hand inside. "Good fucking girl. That's it. Ride your fingers while you wish my cock was splitting you open."

He says he'll let her come when he does. Hermione's frantic to come all over her fingers, eager to swallow him as he fills her mouth, and she's never wanted someone so badly in her life.

Hermione tips over the edge, sinking two fingers inside of herself while the heel of her palm rubs against her clit.

Draco is smirking when she swallows his come. He leans forward and wipes his come from the side of her mouth and watches darkly as she takes the finger into her mouth, sucking it clean.

She thinks Lucius Malfoy is an absolute fucking fool for not finding a way to remove Draco from the wards that protect Malfoy Manor. Still, Draco is a Malfoy, and they're only blood wards. He holds her hands as the world begins to spin and it spits them out in the drawing room. She recognises it, and the hair on her arms stand on end.

His lips brush the shell of her ear. "I'm going to torture him here." Draco murmurs. "He'll go through everything you were forced to." She swallows, her heart pounding in a vicious delight. His hand slides up her back, cupping her neck. "Wait on the sofa."

Hermione is reminded of the words constant vigilance as she sits there, her wand tightly clutched in her grip. One could not be too careful, she supposes. Hermione hadn't like the plan of Draco leaving her, not when he truly didn't know who else might be inside the manor.

She's relieved when he re-enters the room, Lucius' body floating behind him, and it's clear he's been knocked unconscious. The lock clicks into place behind them, the sound flooding her ears as her heartbeat is terribly loud.

Draco deposits Lucius in the middle of the floor, just where she had been the year previously. "Renervate." Staring down the end of Draco's wand, the man doesn't make a single movement.

Hermione waves her wand. "Incarcerous." Ropes wrench out of the floor, binding the man in place by his wrists and ankles. She plans to stay perfectly in place, as this is Draco's moment, and he nods to her before the first spell leaves him. Her wand lays in her lap, and she brushes the hair from her face.

"Crucio," Draco hisses, tearing his wand through the movements.

Lucius' body seizes under the effects of the curse. He's already so broken, his eyes sunken into his skull, and he's sallow, what colour he might have had already had left him. And Merlin, he screams. She doesn't expect for him to, not when he's likely been put under the curse several times before by the Dark Lord himself.

She knows how it feels for your blood to burn inside of you, for how it feels to have your very soul attempting to claw its way out of your grossly broken body. Hermione watches, biting down on her lip, as Draco summons a familiar knife.

Bile rises in her throat as the memory bubbles up. True, she could have healed her scars, those from Bellatrix and Dolohov, and the rest of the war, but she'd left them. Draco's left his, waving off her offer to attempt healing.

Lucius strains against the the ropes, begging for Draco to stop. Only, his words are slurred together so badly that neither Hermione nor Draco know what he's saying. Until Draco recognises one word, "Mudblood."

The dagger digs into Lucius' arm, dipping just below the skin, and blood begins to openly flow down his arm. Hermione doesn't know what Draco's carving, or if he's carving anything at all. While she'd carved a replica of her own scar into Bellatrix, she has no idea what Draco's planned.

It becomes clear over the next hour, as Draco heals the wounds before cracking them open once more, that there is no word, not at all. She sinks to the floor, wanting to go to Draco's side as the flood below him is drenched in blood.

Lucius begs for death, and he gurgles for it when Draco splits his mouth open, remarking that he truly does look like his father.

He dies too early for Draco's liking, but the Horcrux is made nonetheless, and Draco slides his signet ring onto his finger.

Draco cleans the blood from his hands before joining her in their bedroom. Shortly after their time on the sofa, Draco had asked her to sleep at his side, and she'd never left.

She sits in the middle of the bed in only her knickers and a shirt of his that he'd left hanging over the chair. Still sitting on her knees, Hermione watches as he towel dries his hair, water running down his chest. "How do you feel?" She calls.

The bed dips below his knee and Draco sits on his knees just before her. "Powerful." He murmurs, reaching up to cup her face. "Addicted."

She knew. "No more than one," Hermione whispers.

He nods. Draco reaches down, gripping the hem of her shirt as he pulls it over her head. He stares at her bare breasts, nudging her to lay back across the bed. "Good girl."

She shivers when he presses his lips to the hem of her knickers, slowly kissing up her belly. Her fingers clutch the blankets below her as he nears her breasts. Draco kisses the space between her breasts, moving to take her right nipple into his mouth while he pinches the other. His knee presses between her legs, rubbing against her cunt through her knickers.

"Oh, fuck," she slides her fingers through his still wet hair, her back arching. "Draco, you're teasing."

He shakes his head, water droplets dripping to her collarbone. "I'm enjoying you." His words are muffled by her skin, but she's jarred when he suddenly freezes. "What is this from?" He traces a path of her scar earned in the Department of Mysteries. "Hermione, who did this to you?"

She gulps, nerves flooding her. "Dolohov," Hermione whispers. She moves to cover her chest. She's not ashamed of her scars, but she's—fuck, she's scared he might find it horrifying. Which is ridiculous. "In the Department of Mysteries, there was a battle, and I was hit by an unknown curse. If Neville hadn't silenced him…" She didn't need to say it.

He pulls her arm from her chest, lowering his head and he kisses every inch of the terrible, waxy scar. "I'm going to kill him." Draco murmurs. "I'll split him in half."

She's trembling, wrapping her arms around him. "His name is the last one on the list," Hermione whispers into his neck. "I just want him dead."

Last on the list, she repeats to herself.

The matter isn't forgotten, but Draco tears her knickers from her, slipping his hand between her legs. His fingers find her clit first, rubbing slowly as he watches her eyes flutter shut and she writhes below him. "Fuck." He rasps. Draco bites her lower lip as he kisses her, his fingers tracing her slick folds before pumping two fingers inside of her, and the heel of his palm repeatedly rubbing the sensitive nub.

Her legs fall open as he settles between them, and she urges him forward by wrapping her legs around his waist. "Please, Draco, please." Hermione finds that she doesn't want to wait, not for a second longer.

The head of his cock presses to her entrance, and then he slides into her in a hard movement.

She can hardly complain considering it was what she wanted. Hermione shrieks, throwing her head back and her eyes screwing shut as her walls flutter around him. She pants his name as he stills, giving her a moment, and she digs her heels into the bottom of his back. "Please fuck me."

Hermione doesn't have to ask twice. He sets a punishing pace as she quivers, gasping and digging her hands into her hair while he moves her legs to rest over his shoulders.

He whispers in her ear that her cunt is so tight around him, that he likes the way her tits bounce with each thrust, and Hermione knows that she's going to fall apart any second. She drags his hand to her throat, pleading without saying a word.

Draco's fingers wrap around her throat, and she's gone.

In the early morning hours of Christmas, they decide what to do once her list is finished. Hermione is draped across his chest, still nude from their early morning fuck, and she's already rubbing herself against him for another.

"I don't want to stay here. There's nothing here." Hermione says. There's light streaming through the window, cutting across her back. "It's too risky for us to stay here while the Wizarding World is still in the middle of a war."

Draco brushes hair from her shoulders, dragging his tongue across the bruises that have formed on her shoulder. "Do these hurt?"

She shakes her head. "My arse however.."

He massages the skin there. "I agree. There's nothing here for us, but we'll be considered fugitives no matter where we go."

She's thought of that. Hermione had thought of it immediately after Lucius died, and it painted the headlines. "We'll probably spend the rest of our lives on the run," Hermione admits. "We'll never be able to have true careers no matter where we go, but...what if we were hit wizards? Not here, of course."

Draco's fingers dance along her spine. "Where do you have in mind?"

"America." She swallows a moan as his fingers slip between their bodies and find her sore clit. "Their communications with Great Britain are strained right now due to the war. They believe we're falling apart."

"They are," Draco says, clearly planning to bring her off on his fingers while she's talking. "You've thought about this."

"It's the best option. Eventually, the war will end, and they will patch their relationship, but that's possibly years away. We'll need to assume new identities, but… Oh!" Draco flips her onto her back and slides down her body.

Two fingers pump into her, and his tongue slides across her clit, tracing it until she shatters above him. "America then?" He smirks.

She nods, catching her breath as she straddles him. "We'll need to get our affairs in order." Hermione murmurs, sinking down on his cock.

"Later," he manages.