A/N: I'm editing this chapter as I write chapters 11 and 12. We're looking at about 15 chapters I think. This chapter is one of my favorites; our heroine will only be asleep a little longer. More notes at the end. Warnings: Torture, murder — the usual death eater antics.
"What are you doing?" Draco screamed, kicking his feet against the ground in an attempt to plant them there. "I'm fine. I was just about to finish off that muggle."
"Give it a rest, boy," Snape growled as he hoisted Draco up further, adjusting his grip, and making his way to the extra room in Spinner's End, where Hermione still laid unconscious.
Draco's usually blonde hair was plastered to his face with a mixture of blood, tears and sweat. He could barely breathe, and his sectumsempra scars throbbed, pushing pain throughout his body.
He could still smell the fear and piss that clung to the air on the street Snape had apparated them from. Bellatrix's laugh echoed in his head, despite the silence of the house they'd come back to. He'd been expected to perform spectacularly at the revel that night, the first since he'd killed Potter's mudblood. He could still feel the innocent and desperate eyes boring into his skin, pleading for their lives as he was told to take them. Their fear seeped into his very bones.
After the first kill — which Draco performed while everyone watched — the death eaters went about raiding the other homes in the muggle neighborhood, pulling people from peaceful sleep and into a situation more frightening than any nightmare they could've otherwise dreamed up. Snape stayed close to Draco, watching as the boy tried to hide his fear and revulsion at the scene around him. Bellatrix was tending to the wife of the man he'd just killed, torturing her by defiling the dead man's body.
Draco eventually made his way out of the house and into the street, Snape at his heels, who blew things up in their wake, causing noise and chaos without hurting anyone. The scene on the street might've been worse than the damage Bellatrix was causing. People wearing pyjamas and slippers were running, screaming, and crying. They cowered together even as men in dark robes and silver masks closed in around them. One by one they dropped to the ground. The cries and screams only grew louder even as fewer people were alive to join in the horrifying chorus. Draco could feel the contents of his stomach boiling inside of him, building up in his throat as the revel played out around him.
Muggles ran by him, but he barely noticed. Snape watched in fear of him being spotted letting them get away unharmed. The potions master continued blowing bits of sidewalk to pieces around them, attempting to portray death and destruction to anyone who might be watching — the Dark Lord in particular. He didn't want to see what the evil wizard would do if he knew a death eater had gone soft. Death would be the best and least probable option in Voldemort's arsenal. Snape waited until another group of muggles passed by the boy who stood as a statue amongst the mass murder. He cast spells that were just dark enough to blend in with the other magic that sparked in the air, and with a flick of his wrist, he hit Draco with a stray hex.
He didn't twitch a single muscle as he stalked toward the boy who'd fallen to the ground screaming. Grabbing a jerking arm, Snape ducked down to his level and apparated them away as spells flew all around them.
Snape magically doubled the size of the bed Hermione'd occupied for the past week and a half and placed Draco on the empty side. The boy curled in on himself immediately. Exasperated, the potioneer attempted to re-heal the wounds of Draco's sixth year. Muppy sniffled in the corner of the room, and she pulled her large ears over her face, as if it wasn't real if she couldn't see it. The word "master" tumbled from her lips amidst a string of incoherent mutterings and squeaks.
With a couple of healing spells and a Pepper Up Potion, Draco's hysteria mellowed into a soft cry. He wanted out of this life. He didn't want to be apart of or around any more death. He couldn't meet Snape's angry gaze. "You need to get it together, Mr. Malfoy," he spoke softly but coldly. "If you want to survive this, you must learn to compartmentalize your emotions." Snape helped him from the bed and turned him in the direction of the bathroom. "Clean yourself up. Get some rest. Be ready to return to the manor tomorrow and act like nothing out of the ordinary occurred tonight." With a final nod of his head, Snape turned in a circle and disappeared with a pop!
Draco turned the hot water on in the shower after closing the door behind him. He peeled his robes away and dropped them to the tiled floor. Steam filled the room and fogged the mirror, distorting Draco's view of his body. He stepped under the flowing water, and the warmth shocked him momentarily before his muscles melted against the heat.
Once he was clean and in more comfortable clothes, he re-entered the room where Muppy sat in a chair beside Hermione's side of the bed. The house elf looked up when he gently fell against the mattress beside the sleeping witch. Hermione didn't stir while he adjusted himself next to her, careful not to even graze her skin with his. As he drifted off to sleep, fighting tears like only a Malfoy could, he thought to himself how he hoped she would wake up soon.
It was as if Hermione woke up instantly from a deep sleep without ever having realized she'd lost consciousness. In one moment, she was not. In the next, she was again.
Water fell in small drops against her skin, and she realized it was raining. Hermione looked around; she was in the same field as before, though the animals had sought shelter. The foliage contrasted even more beautifully now than in the sunlight. The boy from before was still playing gleefully with his face thrust up toward the sky, drinking in the cool water flowing from it. He giggled and squealed in delight.
The bushy haired woman sitting in the grass watched with a smile. Here even the rain was a joyous experience. The water was comforting and refreshing in the same trickle against her skin. Hermione breathed in the damp air and ran her hands through her slicked back hair. She knew this wasn't real life when her hands slipped right through the locks. Though, as if something was tugging her thoughts away from her, she couldn't find it in herself to care this vision wasn't real.
Draco woke up suddenly on a cold, damp stone floor. He pushed his palms against it, rising to his knees. As he assessed his situation, he realized with despair that he was inside of a cell. A single candle hung on the wall to light the small space he now occupied. It looked peculiarly like the cell underneath the manor. He spent many an early morning on the other side of those bars. Squirming to get to his feet, Draco took off toward the walls, brushing his hands against the stone. He searched frantically for a crack, or some kind of clue as to how he got here or why he was here.
He stopped suddenly, realization dawning — he'd been found out. Hermione was probably dead, for real this time, Snape locked away in some other part of the manor. Voldemort was going to kill him; his father, his name, his money couldn't save him now. Choking on his own breath, Draco pushed away from the walls. He grasped the bars like they were a lifeline, hoping beyond hope that Narcissa would feel her son's presence within the wards and come searching for him.
A door he couldn't see creaked as it opened. He held his breath. Barely audible steps didn't give away the identity of the person coming toward him, but the distinct slithering of something large against the ground did.
A/N: Thank you all for your continued support; I hope you liked this chapter! And, as always, the lovely JadePresley deserves my unending gratitude for helping with this story. Don't forget to read The Letters From Everyone and Ghosts. I'm horrible at responding to reviews, but every one fills me with unending joy. If you want to discuss anything, I'm available on tumblr at dragons and otters - dh . tumblr . com. ALSO. It's MereWhispers' (her username on FF, go find her!) birthday, and this chapter is dedicated to her.