“You didn’t have to kill him.”
Draco took a long swig of his drink, closing his eyes only briefly from the burn of the whiskey in this throat. It was a celebratory drink, a job well done, another successful day.
She stormed around the hotel room, throwing clothes into her magically extended bag and red in the face. This had been a point of tension since the beginning of their working relationship some odd years ago.
He, a former Death Eater, with a bank of knowledge of his former companions and an unflinching ability to kill at whim.
She, the personification of justice.
“He was charging at you,” he replied simply, holding the glass just millimeters from his lips. “Would you rather I let him kill you?”
Hermione slammed her bag closed, her eyes slits as she faced him. “He had no wand, Malfoy—”
“He had two hands and a clear path to your neck. You’re welcome, by the way.”
Hermione grumbled, her teeth grinding against each other so hard Draco could hear it from across the room. He rolled his eyes.
After the war had ended, the general public had assumed that Draco, like his father, would earn himself a rightful life sentence in Azkaban for his crimes. Even Draco had accepted his fate. He didn’t cry, he didn’t yell, he didn’t even protest his imprisonment. It was the cost of his actions.
But then, an offer was laid out for him. Help the Ministry round up and dispose of the last of the Death Eaters in exchange for freedom. For a second chance.
They knew. They knew when they released him who he was, how he’d work. He was the perfect hunting machine; fearless. Relentless.
She was his opposite in every way. The angel on the other shoulder of fate and the absolute pain in his ass.
She held him back, just as they knew she would when they assigned them together as partners. She, who believed in the value of every life; even the scum that they hunted on a daily basis. She, who disapproved of his rather effective method of disposal.
Draco narrowed his eyes over the glass, watching her nose crinkle and her lips thin in simmered anger.
They would be good together, if she was different. If she was less forgiving. She had quick reflexes, a sharp tongue, a brilliant mind. All the makings of the perfect assassin.
“You know,” she began again, not through with this fight. “There are more ways to disarm than… than that.”
Draco took another sip. “I suppose it’s a good thing I wasn’t trying to disarm him, then.”
She was beautiful when she was angry. Wild hair and flushed cheeks and eyes that burned as if they would set the world ablaze. His lips twitched slightly, hidden behind the glass of amber liquid. Not that he’d ever tell her that. Not that she’d ever care.
“You should try it sometime.” His lips lifted in one corner and he quickly took a sip to smother it.
The bottom of one of her eyes twitched. “I should try… I should try murder?”
“If that’s what you’d like,” he shrugged casually. “I personally call it delivering retribution.”
Her fists flexed at her sides, her magic sparking from her fingertips. Draco licked his bottom lip, his pulse racing. He loved her power. It was wasted, wasted behind a wall of righteousness and morality. She was pure, not a notch on her wand. Not one body rotting somewhere with her name on it.
She took a calming breath that shook on the exhale. “We’ll be going to Mongolia next. There’s been a spotting of the Carrow siblings in Ulaanbaatar. We’ll leave as soon as the sunrises.”
She threw her bag over her shoulder, making her way to the door joining their separate rooms. Before she closed the door behind her she paused, assessing him curiously.
“Malfoy,” she licked between her lips in thought, “How do you sleep at night? Knowing that you’ve killed people?”
Draco threw back his head, downing the rest of his drink in one go and hissing at the burn and the slight watering of his eyes. He smirked.
“Very well, actually. Better if you were here. Care to, Granger?”
Her shoulders sagged defeatedly and she closed the door gently behind her.
With only 965 kilometers of paved roads in more than 600,000 square miles, and a population of fewer than 3 million, it’s easy to hide in Mongolia. Especially in the winter months such as these, where temperatures drop to below freezing and everyone is bundled tightly, scarves covering their faces to protect them from the unforgiving weather.
Even with multiple layers of thermal, cotton, cashmere, and fur Draco could feel the cold penetrating and digging into the nerves of his spine. Granger was in no better state, shivering and chattering her teeth loudly.
At this rate, the Carrows were more likely to be locked away in a warm hut rather than exploring the village shops, but Granger had insisted they’d be here anyway.
“Fletcher said they were spotted around here just yesterday,” she pressed herself against his shoulder and whispered, pretending to peruse the various stands of cooking meat and goods. “They’ve put a magic trace on the area, but there hasn’t been an alert of any magic used in a few hours.”
“They’ve probably already left then,” he murmured back, tucking her into his side as a man stumbled past them and knocked against her shoulder.
“Sorry, thanks,” Hermione blushed, turning her face away and stepping away again. “Anyway, they’d have no way to get out. With the amount of snow, no trains are running and the trace would have picked up an attempt at apparition. They’re still here.”
Draco hummed. For how brilliant Granger was, she was so naive. If the Carrows wanted to skip town, they’d find a way. They had been hunting, no, searching for them for months now. And each time it was a slip through the fingers that they escaped.
It practically made Draco foam at the mouth with how badly he wanted them. Throughout the last few years as a Ministry appointed assassin he had disposed of practically all the remaining Death Eaters who had fled after Voldemort’s demise.
It was rare that they escaped once he had his sights set on them, even rarer for them to survive long enough to beg for Azkaban instead of what they knew Draco would give them. Draco never gave the chance for last words. He wanted them to die with the regret of things left unsaid, it’s only what they deserved.
And perhaps it was his own obsessive need to add the Carrow siblings to the notches on his wand that he continued to follow Hermione’s movements through the street vendors. If they were still here, perhaps convinced they were well concealed, they would find them.
“Malfoy,” Hermione whispered, slowing her movements and nudging his shoulder with her arm. “Across to the left. Good deal?”
He craned his neck slowly, pretending to consider a kebab stand, but kept his eyes to the side.
Amycus Carrow was older than the last Draco saw him. A thick strip of grey running through his significantly longer hair, but the prominent nose and scar that cut through his lip was undeniable. He seemed to glance around him, as if feeling Draco’s eyes on his back, and pulled his hood tighter around him before turning on his heel and walking swiftly away from the vendors.
“Good deal. Follow behind me and stick close.”
He moved through the shoppers like a maze, splitting his attention from following the back of Amycus’ head to making sure Granger was still close behind. Her eyebrows were pulled together, her nose crinkled just slightly at the bridge in concentration. It reminded Draco of a lion sniffing out its prey. How beautiful, how deadly.
Amycus’ head ducked into an alley, his coat billowing behind him. Draco picked his pace up, hoping Hermione would be able to keep up with his long strides. She followed obediently, her wand raised just above her hip.
They pressed themselves against the wall outside the alley, Draco ducking his head around the corner.
“He’s inside, I think,” Draco whispered, turning over his shoulder to quirk a brow at her. “What am I going to say to you?”
“Keep out of the line of your wand.”
Keeping his back to the wall he snuck around the side, creeping slowly to the door. He could feel Granger’s presence next to him and he tapped his nose with two fingers before quickly unlatching the door and kicking it open.
He pressed his body into the entryway, his wand drawn to his shoulder and his eyes flickering back and forth scanning the room.
Granger’s spell was faster, intersecting Amycus’ and sending him flying backwards to the wall, his wand flying through the air, landing somewhere amongst the clutter of the room.
“Stupid Mudblood bitch,” Amycus hissed, his spit flying red with the blood from his mouth.
Draco stalked forward, bending down to balance on the heels of his feet. Amycus was slumped forward, his chin tucked against his chest. Draco reached forward and grabbed a fistfull of his hair, pulling the man's head up to meet him at eye level.
“Now, Amycus, is that really what you want your last words to be?”
“Thought you didn’t give last words, Malfoy,” he spat. Draco’s eyes narrowed into slits and he gripped Amycus’ hair tighter, pulling violently on his scalp until the man hissed and whimpered.
“I’ll make an exception if it’s to apologize to the lady.”
Amycus chuckled, a dribble of blood falling down his chin as he bared his red stained teeth. “You know as good as I do, Draco, that we don’t apologize to scum.”
Draco used his grip on his hair to throw Amycus’ head against the wall, the man howling in pain. “There is no we, Carrow. I’m not one of you.”
“Ah, that’s right. You’re good now. Let’s be honest now, Draco, we’re more alike than you choose to believe. What good man kills people?”
“You’re not people . You’re monsters . In some cultures, the ones who slay monsters are heroes, are they not?”
“I see,” Amycus cackled mockingly. “You want your Mudblood girlfriend to see you as a hero.”
Draco growled, pressing his face closer until their noses were just touching and he bared his teeth. “Keep going, Carrow, see where it gets you.”
“Malfoy,” he heard Granger whisper behind him, but he kept his focus forward. “Don’t.”
“What kind of woman would want a man like you? A killer to warm her bed? Can’t you hear her begging for my life, Draco?”
Draco snarled, pressing his wand so tightly to Amycus’ throat he could see the erratic beat of his pulse around the tip of his wand.
“As long as monsters like you are still alive, the world isn’t safe for her,” he whispered, too quiet for Granger to hear. “And if this is who I have to be to give that to her, so be it. Avada Kedavra.”
Amycus’ last breath puffed against Draco’s face. His face falling, his lips losing its color rapidly, his eyes glassy and blank. Maybe it was concerning how quickly, how natural that spell came to him now.
He closed his eyes. “I know, Granger. I know. But I had to.”
“Malfoy,” she whispered again, this time a wobble to her voice.
“ He was dangerous, Granger, you know—”
He turned to look over his shoulder at the sound of his given name and he sucked in a heavy breath.
Alecto Carrow, her arm slung around Hermione’s neck and her wand to her temple.
“I’m sorry, Malfoy, I—I didn’t see her… I—I—”
“It’s alright,” he consoled smoothly. It would only make it worse if she got hysterical. He needed to keep the situation controlled, even though his heart began to thurm rapidly in his chest.
He decidedly did not like the sight of Granger with a wand to her head.
“Get up,” Alecto commanded. “Drop your wand.”
Draco pushed up off his heels, raising slowly with his hands up and wand visible. His eyes flickered to his surroundings, trying to find some means to get Granger out of her hold. Besides the door they had come through, there was a turned over table and several hundred old papers scattered around the floor. A counter which looked like at one point was used as a kitchen and a large, but dusty mirror just behind Hermione’s back. Fuck. Nothing useful.
“Alecto—” he began.
“Drop it,” she hissed and Hermione whimpered as the arm tightened around her neck.
“Okay, okay.” He bent slowly, making sure Alecto could see his intentions to place the wand down. Fuck. Disarmed.
Before the wand even stilled on the floor after he dropped it, Alecto yelled out “ Incarcerous!” and thick roped wound their way around Draco’s midsection and calves, drawing them together and causing him to topple to the floor. He groaned and blinked harshly. His head hit the floor with nothing to catch his fall and he blinked away the colored spots in his vision. His head throbbed and the nerves in his spine tingled.
He thought he could hear Granger yelling for him in the distance. It sounded so far away. He turned his head and winced at the shooting pain. He turned up his chin and blinked until he caught Hermione’s eyes. Her mouth was open, like she was screaming, but he couldn’t hear her. Nothing but the rush of blood in his ears.
Alecto pushed Hermione to the ground, onto her knees. Draco could see her duck her head forward and her curls spill over her face, but could see the outline of her shoulder shake in her sobs. She was scared. He didn’t want her to be scared.
“No,” he heard himself say over the muffling in his ears. “Stop, please. No—”
Alecto stepped forward, looking down her nose at him. “You think I’ll let her go? Either of you? With my own brother’s dead body sitting right next to you?”
“Not her. She didn’t do anything— never did anything. All me. I killed them. Not her. Not her.”
Alecto’s hand came down on his head, pressing it tightly to the ground. “It doesn’t matter. She watched. She watched. She saw my brother killed just moments ago, didn’t she? She doesn’t look too sorry about that. I wonder how she’d feel seeing someone she loves on the other side of the wand.”
Draco swallowed and closed his eyes. Loves. Or, when she inevitably killed him, loved. It was something that went unspoken between them through the years. They cared for each other. He would kill for her, he had killed for her. And she let him, standing by his side and reporting back that it was a clean hit each time. Even if it wasn’t. Even if, maybe, a Crucio had slipped his lips before the killing curse had a few times.
They were loyal to each other. And perhaps they did love each other. Perhaps he did love her. What a pity he’d never be able to tell her now.
He heard a screech come from Hermione, a figure jumping across the floor and knocking Alecto’s foot off his head. He opened his eyes to see Granger’s grip on Alecto’s leg. Draco almost wanted to laugh. His brave, naive Gryffindor.
Alecto shouted something and Hermione was flung across the room into the mirror, Draco could hear it shatter and her body fall into the pieces, slumped forward and the back of her head matted in bloody curls.
He thought maybe he screamed her name, but she was completely still.
Gonna get you out of here, Granger, he thought, his vision blurring, gonna kill her, gonna protect you.
He felt Alecto push her foot under his stomach and kick until he was rolled over onto his back and staring up at her. She got down onto her knees, bending over to tuck her wand under his chin.
“Any last words, Malfoy?”
Ah. Last words. He never thought about what his would be. He was always too busy collecting other people’s. But he never expected this to be the way he went, either. He imagined himself, old and grey, going peaceful with nothing left to say.
But if there was only now, his last words weren’t going to be for Alecto Carrow. He refused to let them belong to her.
“Granger,” he called out. “Granger, can you hear me?”
She didn’t respond. He swallowed. They would be for her. Even if she couldn’t hear him.
“Granger, I want you to know…,” he swallowed, “you asked me why I can sleep at night,” he clenched his jaw. “I do— I can because I know you’re safe. You’re just so fucking pure, I didn’t care what I had to do to keep you that way. I would have... would have burned the world down to keep you that way. I-I’m already tainted. I just never wanted…A-And I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you. Granger—”
He heard Alecto’s intake of breath, the first syllable of the killing curse through her teeth, and he closed his eyes again. There was a certain peace in the moments before death, your body giving into the inevitable. But it never came.
Suddenly, a gush of thick liquid splattered onto his face and he felt Alecto fall forward onto his chest. When he opened his eyes again, her eyes were wide and unseeing. There was a deep gash in her neck that was bleeding steadily, soaking through his coat and shirt onto his chest. Warm and sticky.
He blinked up and looked over Alecto’s shoulder. She stood there, a jagged piece of mirror clutched in her hand still raised above her head, the glass coated in fragments of skin and blood around the edges. Her chest was heaving, her face contorted in fear.
“It’s okay, Granger,” Draco consoled quickly. “You did good. You did a good thing. Don’t look at her, Granger, just grab her wand, okay? Can you grab her wand for me?”
He saw her bob her head quickly and drop to her knees, turning her head away while she felt blindly for Alecto’s wand.
“Got it,” she whispered, her voice shaky.
“Good, Granger, you’re doing so good. I need you to get these ropes off me. Finite Incantatem, got it?”
Draco felt the ropes undo themselves and flexed his hands to regain feeling before pushing Alecto’s limp body off of his and standing on weak knees. Hermione’s eyes were shut tight, her lips pursed like she was holding her breath.
He gently took the wand from her grip and pulled her to him, tucking her head under his chin.
“It’s okay, Granger. I’m gonna get you away from here, just hold on.”
She clutched to the front of his soaked jacket while he pictured the hut they had been staying in and the world began to spin around them until they were firmly planted in the bedroom of the hut.
Hermione’s knees buckled and Draco caught her by the elbows, pulling her to sit on the edge of the bed. He knelt in front of her, between her knees, and grabbed her bloody hands.
“Granger,” he cooed softly, rubbing her palms with his thumbs. “Look at me.”
She kept her eyes pressed closed, tight enough to wrinkle the skin around the corners.
“I know, Granger, I know you didn’t mean to kill her—”
“I did,” she croaked, her voice strained and shaky. “I did mean to kill her. I-I wanted to kill her. B-Because… Because she…”
“Because she was going to kill me,” he reached up and ran a thumb across her cheek, a streak of blood smearing.
He couldn’t tell what blood was his or hers or Alectos. He could have laughed at the irony of it all. Considering Alecto would rather die than admitting a muggle-borns blood was just the same.
Hermione bobbed her head.
“You saved me, Granger? Understand. You did good, so good.”
She blinked her eyes open, but they looked empty. Completely numb.
“You’re going into shock,” he whispered, cupping the back of her neck. “You need to get out of these bloody clothes, okay?”
She blinked, but made no other indication that she heard him.
“ Please , Granger, it’s only going to get worse if you sit in it.”
She didn’t answer.
“Fuck,” he hissed quietly. “I’m… I have to take this off, Granger. Okay?”
She blinked. He began to peel back the layers of clothes she had on. First her coat, the grey fabric almost black around the back of her collar from the blood loss. He tugged her shirt over her head, trying not to stare too long at her exposed breasts encased in a white lace that was now stained in splotches.
Her slacks were ripped from the shattered mirror, her knees shredded and bruised. He unbuttoned them and slid them down her legs with little help from Hermione, who blinked and stared blankly at him as he worked to get them off.
He huffed when she was finally down to her underthings and gently took her face between his hands. “It’s all gone now. I promise I’ll wash them. I’ll wash them and this will all go away. I’m so sorry you had to do that, Granger.”
He shut his eyes tightly, his throat feeling constricted and raw. He tried to remember the first time he took a life. Was it so hard for him then? Or was Amycus right and he was a monster, just as they were? Perhaps he was.
He opened his eyes again. “Come back to me, Granger,” she blinked. “Let me fix this.”
She barely moved an inch and Draco’s throat suddenly felt constricted and raw.
“Please,” He gently leaned his forehead against hers. “Look at me.”
She didn’t and Draco felt a sob bubble in this throat. Come on, Granger. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to her flat ones.
“Please.” He tried again, pressing his lips to her unresponsive ones. He was about to pull away again when he felt her tentatively begin to kiss back.
He watched with open eyes as hers began to relax, the wrinkles smoothing into flat planes as she returned his kiss. This was good, distracting her was good. Making her forget was good.
She let her body relax into him, tentative kisses turning explorative. For a moment she ignored her wounds, ignored Alecto’s blood still slick across her skin.
It was she who pressed forward, taking his bottom lip between her teeth and suckling on it until he whimpered. He plunged his hands into her wet hair, his fingertips grazing a small, open cut on the back of her head.
“Vulnera Sanentur,” he mumbled, feeling the wound stick close under his touch. She shivered as the magic wound it’s way through her nerves, her spine straightening and her eyes blinking open.
There you are, Granger.
“I’m not sorry,” she whispered against his lips, gasping when he detached from her lips to bite and lick the sensitive flesh of her neck, clearing it of the drying blood from her wounds. “I’m not sorry for killing her. I would… For you. For you I would.”
Draco groaned, his chest feeling like it was splitting wide open. He nuzzled his nose against a fresh bite mark on her collarbone.
“Too much blood,” she grabbed onto the collar of his jacket that was still sticky with Alecto’s blood. “Take it off.”
Draco swallowed, pulling his hands away to push his coat off his shoulders. Hermione blinked down at his buttoned undershirt which was almost completely soaked. She quickly began to unbutton them, ripping it from his body violently. His chest and lines of muscle on his abdomen were still streaked and stained red.
He stood and she immediately worked on his trousers, which she pushed down to the floor and he stepped out of.
She tugged his hand until he toppled forward, catching himself on the bed and rolling onto his back. She crawled over him and straddled his hips, her eyes finally open and wide.
“Make me forget, Malfoy.”
He looked up at her, his fallen angel over him with bloody curls falling over her shoulder and her red stained white lace.
He circled his arms around her waist, pulling her until she braced herself on his chest, leaving bloody hand prints on his pectorals.
“Granger,” he whispered, pressing their foreheads together. “You’re so good. Such a good girl.”
She drew in a shaky breath and lurched forward to take his lips again. He let her take all she needed from him; the violent bites of his lip only to be soothed by her tongue. He let her push off his chest and tug his briefs down to his knees. Let her push aside her thong and fist his cock in her hand. Let her sink down onto him, his toes curling and her eyes fluttering and rolling to the back of her head.
“Tell me again.”
He swallowed as she lifted herself up, using his chest as leverage to slide her cunt over his cock before impaling herself on him again. His thigh twitched and a knot formed low in his stomach.
“You’re so good.” She moaned, rocking herself against his pelvis and finding friction against her clit.
“No—” Hermione gave a long, dragged out moan when he thrust his hips up to meet hers. “Tell me what you said— before.”
She was pushing herself against him faster, her chest bouncing and heaving above him. He swallowed hard and looked up, meeting her eyes that were scrunched in pleasure. He used one arm around her hip to pull her from his cock and throw her onto the bed next to him.
She whined, clawing at his neck to try and regain his touch. It was only seconds before he turned and settled over her, his arms encasing her head on both sides. He licked the pad of his thumb and reached between them, pressing it to her clit and rubbing in quick circles until she cried out.
“I would burn the world down for you,” he murmured, watching her head thrash back and forth. Her soaked curls left swirls of blood across the pillow. “You’re so pure, Granger,” he used his other hand to guide his cock to her entrance and thrust forward violently. “I’d do anything to protect you.”
She babbled mindlessly, her nails digging into the soft flesh of his shoulders and he grit his teeth. He let her. He let her because this is what she needed.
But she just felt so good. Tight and warm and everything he expected the cunt of Hermione Granger to feel like. He dug his knees into the mattress and thrust harder, his palm against the wall above her head to keep her from being thrown against it.
He could feel her fluttering around him, her breaths coming in choked pants.
“I know, Granger,” he pressed his face to the side of her head and whispered against the shell of her ear. “I know. Let me take care of you.”
He was about to go mindless. They were slick in sweat and blood and moved against each other, rutting and thrashing and clinging to one another. He could feel every pulse of her inner muscles, gripping onto him and trying to hold him in place. Her face was contorted in pleasure, her eyebrows nearly meeting in the middle and her lips parted in short pants and moans.
He ground his teeth and shut his eyes tight, throwing one long leg over his hip and driving into her harshly, his thumb pressing harder against her clit until Hermione screeched and clenched around him.
He grunted, followed by a short sob as the knot in his belly released and his cock twitched, spilling himself inside of her. His elbows buckled and he fell forward, his face pressed against her neck and he pressed short, wet kisses against it. He murmured praises and promises as her own breath began to slow.
He heard her swallow and he clung to her a little more tightly, afraid she would throw him off her. Instead, she reached up and passed a gentle hand through his hair.
“You’re… You’re crushing me a little.”
“Sorry,” he whispered, quickly pushing himself off and tucking himself into her side. She turned to meet his face, reaching out with her fingertips to trail along his face. “You’re covered in blood. Is it yours?”
“I don’t think so.”
She closed her eyes, humming and burying her face in his chest. “Good. That’s good.”
“Are you… okay?”
“I…” she trailed off. “I never had a reason to kill before, I think. But then, I did. At that moment, all I wanted was to get you away from her. I didn’t even hesitate. Do you know what I mean?”
He didn’t answer. He pressed his hand against the back of her head and pressed her closer to his chest. He did. He did know what she meant. He had done it a hundred times already. And he’d do it a hundred times more.