Hi guys! I don't own Harry Potter or any of the characters involved, all of that belongs to J K Rowling. This is my first fanfic, I don't have a completely solid idea of where it is going yet but hopefully you stick around for the ride. Slowburn bellamione. Not completely alternate universe/timeline but it doesn't completely stick to the original timeline of the series. Reviews are welcome.
It was a little warm for early February. The skies clear and windless, bringing with it a lethargic warmth that preferred to lazily kiss the noses of petals as they drifted to the ice laced river below. This simple, relaxed nature of the world that surrounded Hogwarts could be felt throughout each person as they strolled leisurely to and from classes. An inescapable feeling of joy that seemed to dance through the air as seamlessly as the petals outside. At least, that's what people seemed to be acting like. For one particular student, this atmosphere of unbridled laxness had once again found her holed up in the library, comfortably reading 'Hogwarts, A History: By Bathilda Bagshot'. Hermione Granger, it seemed, was for once in complete serenity. However, if one was to cast an inquisitive eye they would notice the frantic way her heavy lidded eyes darted across the room, aimlessly trailing across the text in front of her; her foot tapping incessantly against the tiled floors. Because to Hermione, this level of undisturbed calmness was not normal. Yes, there had been no word of he-who-shall-not-be-named, and yes there had been no signs of death eaters prowling the streets for a few months. But there had been deaths. Tortures. People had been scarred, shouldn't people be mourning? At these few errant thoughts, Hermione subconsciously ran her fingers across her arm, rigid and raised skin meeting the pads of her fingertips. Yes- people had been scarred. So why the hell were people acting as if the war was over-
"Blimey, Hermione. I don't know how you read those things, let alone read them as fast as you do." Ron approached her cheerfully, his cheeks as red as a bullfinch's breast from the mild air of the quidditch field.
"And I don't know how you manage to stay on a broom long enough to play quidditch." She chuckled, the ginger haired boys' bashful grin easing some of the tension that had been building in her shoulders. Hermione sighed softly, closing the text and placing it back onto a pile of discarded books. "Speaking of the game, I thought it didn't end for another twenty minutes?" A frown pulled at her pink dusted lips.
Almost immediately Ron's grin stretched into a bitter scowl. "Umbridge." He said simply. Understanding dawned upon Hermione and she offered her friend a sympathetic smile, patting the empty chair beside her to which Ron unceremoniously slumped into. A peaceful silence followed, both teenagers enjoying the warmth that arose from being in each others company. Ever since being on the run, Hermione felt that her relationship with Ron and Harry had bloomed into something that required no analysing on her part, she had never felt closer to them. Their presence calmed her senses as easily as Crookshanks had during fitful or lonely nights.
"Hey... Hermione? How are the nightmares?"
And just like that, it was as if someone had raked a jagged piece of glass through her defences, exposing the fleshy vulnerability and fear beneath and then proceeded to slowly squeeze basilisk spit into the wound. Her arm burned.
Her chest tightened. She barely registered anything other than the hammering of her heart against her ribs, the thrashing muscle pounding relentlessly; her lungs felt starved for oxygen, as if salt was lining their veins, blocking any of the desired gas from reaching its goal, harsh breaths flew past parted lips.
Suddenly, she was back in Malfoy Manor. Legs clad in leather, squeezing her sides; poisonous full lips whispering deranged and possessive words into the shell of her ear. An equally possessive knife carving up the skin of her arm, as if a lover breaking into the bark of a tree to engrave initials captured in a childishly drawn heart.
"Listen very closely muddy. You. Stole. From. Me. So now I... am going to steal from you." Black curls. Sparkling silver like the reflection of the pale crescent moon over Black Lake - the glint of her knife.
"Tell me how you got into my vault!" Obsidian eyes. Bottomless. Monstrous. Angry- angry and devastatingly haunted.
"FILTHY MUDBLOOD!" Cackling. Blood and dirt. Both stained her clothes and her skin.
Mudblood. Mudblood. Mud-
"HERMIONE!" Ron bellowed, his voice echoing in her ears louder than the vindictive laughter that suckled at her will mere seconds ago. Hermione opened her eyes, unaware that she had even shut them in the first place, or that she was now on her knees, hands knotted in her hair with her chest heaving. Looking up she found concerned blue eyes. 'Ron' She thought. Releasing a breath, her shoulders relaxed and she slowly allowed her hands to fall into her lap, shame and humiliation colouring her cheeks a darker shade of red than what her shaking body had tinted them.
"I'm sorry. I... please don't tell Professor McGonagall or Harry. Please, Ron." She whimpered softly, rivulets of tears sliding down her cheeks, to her chin and then into the gold and red trimmed jumper hugging her frame.
"You can't keep hiding these attacks from them, Hermione. You have to tell them it's not getting better, that you're not getting better! Hermione, luv... you were screaming. I had to put a silencing charm on this part of the library." Ron murmured softly, wrapping his arms around the trembling brunette tightly. 'Luv' She tossed the word around her head a couple of times, unsure of her feelings on its use by the redhead. She understood it as a term of endearment, something Harry had called her once or twice during a particularly hard night when Ron had left them and all they had were each other to comfort and rely on. Although with Harry, she knew it flowed along the river of friendship, perhaps even a familial one. But with Ron? It tumbled carelessly down a hill with a thousand stop signs that she wasn't sure he knew about, or perhaps was too ignorant to acknowledge. Nonetheless, she appreciated the embrace and his attempt to console her. He was right of course, she couldn't keep hiding her nightmares, or her panic attacks that could be brought upon by even the mention of her sleepless nights. Some days were easier, most days were hard. Harry understood that and so knew instinctively when she needed space and when she needed his presence. Ron, didn't always understand this need to console herself, to be within her own privacy, alone. Whilst she appreciated his efforts, they could be more harmful than helpful. Hermione, in her silence, mulled over the correct words to say to the boy before simply saying 'Thank you.' This appeared to be the correct way forward as Ron's smile fell back into place and he gave a gentle nod in return, helping the girl to her feet. Once settled, Ron waved his wand dismissing the spell before turning back to the recovering brunette.
"Maybe you should go back to the dorms, get an early night." He said, scratching the ginger stubble that was beginning to bloom along his shin.
"But my books-"
"Can wait till tomorrow." He grinned, mirth swimming in his ocean tinted eyes seeing a pout take place, reinforcing the defiant folded arms of the brunette before she huffed and stood. Collecting her things and waving her hand as she stalked off; a wave of magic placing all of her discarded literature back into their rightful places in the library, leaving a very stunned, and very enamoured Ronald Weasley in her wake, blood rushing to his cheeks, stealing their paleness with a jovial bemusement.
As a blanket of night fell upon the castle of Hogwarts, a cool breeze found Hermione curled up on the windowsill of her room. Its chilled fingers exploring the girls exposed skin, delighting in the goose bumps raised and resulting shiver. Rubbing her arms, Hermione, drew her cloak closer to her. It wasn't an unpleasant cold, in fact it was a chill that was welcomed, for it calmed her haywire senses, sharpening them as she organises her thoughts.
"Lumos." She whispers, the tip of her wand lighting with a honey-tinted glow to reveal the spell-book cradled in her lap. She had been pouring over this same particular tome for at least a week now and still had only made little progress with the spell she wanted to perform. It involved a series of complicated gestures and runic symbols she had yet to decipher but Hermione had been determined to master it, as well as every other spell possible. Sometimes she had to remind herself to take it one step at a time. Turning the page she lets out a breath of irritation before directing her gaze to the moon hanging leisurely above the lake. Skeletal trees adorning its edges like a cracked frame. Relaxing, Hermione rolled her shoulders and allowed the haunting beauty of nature to ease her tension, the sight accompanied by the gentle sound of Crookshanks purring eventually lulling her to sleep.
The morning that followed had an air of peace. Despite the cool air, Hermione slept extremely well, better than she had in months. Nature, it seemed, had coiled around the girl with a tender grasp that not only brought her a sense of harmony and content, but allowed some part of its feral nature to linger around her. It could be seen in the way her brown eyes, that currently resembled scorched earth, bore into the open textbook in her lap with the intensity of the first sip of fire-whiskey. Today, that wild aura warded off many of the student population, except for one Draco Malfoy, who as of recent seemed determined to pester her.
"Oi, Granger! You got a minute?" Green eyes stared patiently at the brunette whose guttural huff would normally send first years sprinting for their dorms.
"You've got a minute exactly, Draco." Relenting to his desire, Hermione reluctantly closed her book to stare back at the boy whose blonde hair had been combed back enough to cause his angular, aristocratic features to be sharper than usual.
"I just... wanted to-"
"Well um yes, actually. This war took a grisly turn and what happened to you-"
"Wasn't your fault" She quickly intercepted. The boy had been apologising for weeks and frankly Hermione never blamed him in the first place. It was nice at first, and she took the first two apologies with gratitude and sincerity. However, once Draco had spoken of his guilt and genuine woe for the one hundredth time she became quite sick of it.
"But still I-"
"Draco. Please, enough. You've been apologising ever since the incident happened and I've told you it wasn't your fault. Thank you though, really." She flashed him a small smile and his cheeks began to colour furiously.
"I suppose I have bothered you quite a bit, haven't I?" He chuckled, losing some of the arrogant and prideful façade that he built up for other students. Running a hand through his hair he smiles genuinely. Despite it all, Hermione Granger had quickly broken his walls... as well as his nose a couple of times. With all their squabbles and issues, the two had managed to find comfort in their arguing which had eventually turned into bantering. Draco no longer saw a mudblood, but a witch of great company, and after watching his friend tortured he had quickly changed sides.
"A bit? Draco you have been worse than a cat in heat! Can you go back to throwing insults at me please? Anything than your endless pitying." She grinned slyly, sarcasm lacing her words easily and allowing the blonde to relax. "So, was there anything else you needed to see me for?"
"Well, actually..." The boy began to wring his hands nervously. " My... family would like for you to attend Aunt Bella-... Madame Lestrange's trial. Justice and that. After Voldemort vanished at the end of the war she immediately went down without a fight... " For a breadth of a moment, Draco didn't think Hermione would respond, the girl staring with a faraway look, her breathing tightly controlled to the point it looked like it pained her. Draco bit the inside of his cheek, worrying he had overwhelmed her with his family's offer before she drew a quick breath and met his gaze with a look of steel.
"When is the trial?"
"I... you're right it is suspicious. To let his right hand go down without a fight is definitely a play." She mumbled, the cogs in her mind whirring quickly.
"You're telling me, she didn't even seem to register what was happening."
"How do you mean?"
"As in... she just... allowed herself to be taken. No fight, no curses, nothing."
This received silence. Bellatrix Lestrange going down without a fight? That was short of absurd and the statement left Hermione more than stunned. She knew the dark witch had been captured after her fight with Molly Weasley but that was all was mentioned. After an uncomfortable minute of weighty silence, Draco coughed nervously, drawing the witches attention to the matter at hand once more. Hermione blinked a few times before straightening up to look Draco in the eyes.
"Okay?" He repeats unsurely.
"I'll be there."
Hey guys, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I know it's a little slow and no real bellamione interaction but as I said it'll be a bit of a slowburn! Hope you enjoyed will try and update as regularly as I can. Thanks!