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08 June 2010 @ 08:38 pm
Fic: Broken Wings  
Title: Broken Wings
Word Count: 2000+
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Draco/Hermione
Hermione has a secret.
Genre: Angst, AU, h/c, established relationship (sort of), post-war
Warning: A rather sensitive subject matter, but very much a spoiler! So highlight to see if you absolutely need to --> Abortion
Unbetaed, sorry. Written for metrekone
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all its characters belong to J.K. Rowling.

Many historians would argue that the turning point of the Horcrux Wars came with the death of one Harry James Potter. Heralded as the antithesis to the First Overlord’s widespread terror campaign, the so-called ‘boy-who-lived’ embodied the wizarding community’s best hope. Thus it is unsurprising that his death marked the deterioration of the opposing Order of the Phoenix, hitherto crushed by the early predecessor of the Night Hunters - the Death Eaters. Henceforth began the reign of the First Overlord and the period we now call Noevu Nox, or New Night.

From The Empire, a History, D. Ashford

“Draco, you have performed admirably.”

“Thank you, my Lord.”

He’s done what he had to do, hadn’t he? He’d went with the winning side. And it wasn’t cruelty. And it wasn’t bloodthirst. It was survival. Pure and simple.

Which was why he is here today and Potter isn’t.

“A reward is in order, I think. Wouldn’t you agree, Draco?”

He nodded hesitantly, careful to keep his face blank, mind numb. It was now or never.

Clearing his throat to speak, he let the words slide out in a rush, “Granger…Hermione Granger.” Please don’t let this end now. He’d tried so hard. For it all to come down to this…her life or death.

“Yes?” The Dark Lord waited, amused. Now that his rule was uncontested he could well afford to be generous.

Draco swallowed. He hadn’t spent the last several years keeping her safe, even against her will, for nothing. It can’t end now, it just can’t. Licking his suddenly dry lips, he bowed his head, “If it pleases you, my Lord, I’d like her for myself.”

A pause, and his heart thudded painfully hard, but then Voldemort’s lips stretched to a thin smile.“A Mudblood, Malfoy?”

Draco barely kept from flinching as a skeletal hand landed on his shoulder.

“Very well, my Dragon. You may have her.” A mocking squeeze on his shoulder. “See that you keep her out of my way. And I still expect you to report for duty tomorrow morning.”

Voldemort swept out of the room with his robes billowing behind him and Draco relaxed slightly, counting his good fortune that the Dark Lord was in the mood to be humored today.

Two Years Later

It was nighttime and he should have been asleep hours ago. He has a case in the morning, after all. Hard to explain why he was lying awake now and staring restlessly at the ceiling. Oh, he usually knew why of course, some stubborn, lingering bit of conscience that he hadn’t meticulously cut out of himself long ago. Though it begs the question of how anyone who spent years doing all the wrong sorts of things could still have a conscience. It’s what kept him up most nights, though not tonight. No, tonight it was a different reason altogether.

Rolling over, he curled one arm underneath his head and let his gaze land on the sleeping figure next to him. Faint silver streaks of moonlight barely penetrated the darkness of the bedroom, but it was enough to make out the light contours of the body next to his. Shifting closer, he fitted himself against her back, but not touching. Whereas once they would’ve slept pressed close to one another, close enough to feel the gentle vibrations with each breath taken, their nights were now divided by an invisible gulf between them as tangible as any physical barrier.

He chanced a touch, curling forward as he rested his forehead against the curve of her shoulder. When did this distance grow? Why?

She was different. So cold. It scared him, this frigid silence on her part.

Reaching out a hand, he uncertainly grazed her arm, but even this light gesture prompted her to roll away from him. The unconscious action squeezed something in him and let her go, gave her her space. Turning to stare at the ceiling once more, Draco tried his best to distract himself by going over the convoluted details of the case again. Ready or not, he was expected to march into that court in a few hours with nothing less than the full-blown arrogance and sneering confidence as befitting his status.

Muttering a tired curse to himself, Draco turned on his side and closed his eyes.

He must have been more exhausted than he’d thought. When he next awoke, he was alone, and the empty space beside him held the barest hint on an impression.

He sat up, pulling the bedcovers up with him and shivered in the chilled morning air. The grey dawn casting its first light through the window did nothing to calm the unsettling feeling in his stomach or the desperate thumps of his heart.

Malfoy’s position as the Dark Lord’s Leading Prosecutor- judge, jury, and executioner, if you will -afforded him both wealth and power and certainly an exorbitant amount of fear, but in matters regarding Granger sometimes he was at a complete loss.

A glance at the balcony let him know where she was. But of course. It wasn’t the first time he’d found her out there.

He threw back the sheets and stood, toes instinctively curling against the draining cold of the hardwood floor. It’s bloody freezing in here. Pulling on the charcoal robe draped on a chair to ward off the chill, he treaded barefoot across the bedroom to the balcony.

She stood staring out into the distance with only a thin sheet wrapped around her, the edge of which has already slipped down one shoulder.

The soft snick of the balcony door sliding open must have alerted her, but save for the wind ruffling her bronze tresses there was no movement, no acknowledgment from her end. He came up behind her, close enough to warm her with his body but a far cry from the intimate lover’s embrace of old. What was she looking at? There’s nothing out there.

Bowing his head to drop a kiss on her bared shoulder, he whispered into her ear, “Come inside, Granger. It’s cold.”

She shook her head and leaned forward away from him, tousled locks falling forward to hide her face from view. Draco refrained from a sigh and directed his gaze to where she appeared to be staring at. He could see nothing but the grey. Endless, lolling stretches of it.

What’s on your mind Hermione?

The clouds loomed ominously. It was probably going to rain soon.

He slipped off his robe and draped it about her shoulders before he turned and went back inside. She was still out there when he left for work.

When Hermione finally came inside she was thoroughly chilled to the bone and feeling each sharp pinprick against her skin as warmth seeped back into her. She welcomed the heat that greeted her inside, the jagged flickers of the flames that blazed in the fireplace and cast the room in a pale orange glow. Draco must’ve lit it before he left.

She tugged the sheet higher around her and leaned a shoulder against the wall, closing her eyes with a soft sigh. Missing him, wishing things could go back to the way they were before. No, not before, she couldn’t let herself slip away into the old mindset nor dwell in a past that had long washed away or a future that didn’t exist – she’s had to let go of it all, to survive – but this latest rift in their relationship was as much her fault as…well, it wasn’t really his fault at all if she was being honest.

Hermione let herself slide down the wall, knees drawn up and an arm curled over her stomach. Resting her head on her knees, she took several deep breaths to try and ward off the tremors that she wasn’t sure were caused by nerves or the cold.

Today’s the day. It can’t go on any longer, it just can’t.

She hadn’t realized the tension strung between them like steel wires, thin enough to go almost unnoticed but near impossible to break, shuddering with stress.

She’d ignored the signs, refused to realize that she was slipping deeper and deeper into her own thoughts and shielding herself from Draco’s growing concerns and frustrations. Her hand slipped down to rest on her abdomen and a single tear trailed down her cheek. She’d wanted so much to tell him, about their unborn child, about what she was planning, but he never would have let her go through with it. He’ll hate her for this. And she can’t live with herself for not telling him. But he can’t know. He can’t know.

A sob hitching in her chest, Hermione staggered to her feet. She leaned against the wall again for support as she stared into the fire and willed herself to find the resolve she spent all morning trying to build up. But it was just so bloody hard.

The ache in her chest throbbed painfully again as she thought of what she was about to lose. It was theirs. Theirs theirs theirs. And she didn’t want that to be taken away, but the alternative is unthinkable.

Their child, promised in service to He-Who-Must-Not-be-Named. Raised in this dark and forsaken world and destined to be a pawn to the Dark Lord’s evil whims. No, she could never allow that to happen.

Hermione bit her lips as the thought of vanquishing this life within her sent punishing daggers stabbing into her heart, but she shook off the soul-shattering pain.

Enough. It is time.

The flames had died out by the time she got back from the hospital.

Hermione cast her cloak aside and wearily spelled the fire back into being before curling up on the couch. Even the cackle of the blaze breathing life and warmth back into the room didn’t quite chase away the haunted look in her eye. St. Mungo’s wasn’t what it used to be.

The removal had been as easy as ripping away a piece of her soul. And the sheer cruelty of it didn’t even lie in the magic-aided abortion, but in her knowledge that others in the hospital suffered far worse fates than this, yet all she could do was mourn her own loss. She wanted to scream her grief at the world, but she had nothing left to scream with. Even the tears just wouldn’t come.

Any moment now, she knew, Draco would be home. The hospital was monitored closely these days, to say nothing of the multitude of unspeakable experiments the Dark Lord’s Council kept a close eye on there. Draco would certainly have been notified by now. She hadn’t bothered with a disguise after all. What was the point?

She didn’t have to wait long. All too soon she heard footsteps echoing hollowly from the entrance foyer at the same moment she felt his presence sweep over her like an ice front moving in. Looking up from her position on the couch she saw him round the corner and as her eyes met his, the grey irises reflecting the sky outside, she shivered involuntarily. They were cold, cold.

Swinging her legs over the edge of the couch she rose shakily on her feet and tried not to flinch from Draco’s unforgiving stare. Several minutes later, he hadn’t so much as moved from his position by the door, and Hermione fumbled blindly for something to say to him, anything, but what could she say?

Draco’s sudden movement in her direction startled her into taking an involuntary step backward though she quickly stilled herself to meet his wrath head on. There there was such anger, such hot fury in his face that she felt almost scalded as he neared.

Only a few long strides placed him right in front of her, his pale hands gripping her arms with bruising strength.

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?” he snarled at her, biting each word out with fiery venom.

“I-” the words caught in her throat as she stared up at him, for once truly afraid that he’d hurt her, really hurt her. It was the angriest she’d ever seen him, and the worst part is she doesn’t even have the right to say anything in her own defense.

“No! Why, Hermione? Why didn’t you tell me?” His voice cracked and he shoved her back from him, spinning around so he wouldn’t have to see the broken look on her face.

Knowing he must look as wild as he felt, Draco brought his fisted hand up to his mouth, bit hard on the knuckles until they bled. But even the pain did nothing to distract him from his spiraling thoughts.

“I would have gone with you, Hermione!” He turned and yelled at her, “Don’t you know?”

He was close now, close enough that she could feel the faint puffs of breath on her face as his chest heaved.

“It’s dangerous out there, you know that.” Quieter now, more weary. “I could have lost you too!” He whispered, anguish stealing the soft edge from his muted tone.

“I’m sorry,” She cried, sliding down to sit against the couch and pulling her knees up, silent tears coursing down her face now, liquid pain. “I’m sorry,” she whispered again. To whom?

“Don’t, Hermione.” And he was crouched low right in front of her, tipping her chin up to meet his eyes, his hands gentler than she would’ve thought, and his eyes moody with emotion. “You think I wouldn’t understand?” He rasped. When she shook her head, just once, something broke in his eyes.

He eased himself down next to her, pulled her close, and let her sob against him.

He didn't say anything, because there was nothing to say.

They were still birds in gilded cages, both of them.
margaritaabatemargaritaabate on November 30th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
just lovely
alteraialterai on November 30th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
thank you! :)
burgundyburningburgundyburning on November 30th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
Heartbreaking and wonderful
alteraialterai on November 30th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
thanks for reading!
aalso on December 1st, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
Beautiful <3
Little Dollface: DHr - HBPdollfaced on December 1st, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
So heartbreaking! Nicely done :)