This is a Fanfiction site so I own purely the plot.
This is my first Published Fanfic so go easy on me
"Shit. Shit, Shit SHIT!" Draco screamed out in frustration as he slammed his fists against the dark mahogany of the cabinet. "Why won't you WORK!" The strain in his voice was evident and the dark purple circles around his eyes were a potent sign of his recent insomnia.
But how could he sleep? How could he possibly sleep when there was so much pressure on him to complete this task? His only task and he couldn't complete it. Merlin knows what would happen if he was unsuccessful for much longer. He pushed away that thought. There was no aid in thinking negatively. He just had to knuckle down and try harder.
For over four months now Draco Malfoy had secretly been coming into the Room of Requirement to try and fix this blasted vanishing cabinet. It was a stroke of genius when he had come up with it during the summer. When HE had first given him the task he had panicked. How the Frick was he supposed to get a group of Death Eaters into Hogwarts, undetected, on his own when Dumbledore actually believed potter that He was back? There were more wards up than ever and every bag had been searched upon entry. He had suddenly remembered seeing a cabinet in the Room of Requirement, one day when he was hiding from Pansy, and immediately went to Borgan and Bukes with his mother to look for a twin. Upon finding it he had been overjoyed and thought that his mission would be completed. How naive. As soon as he arrived at Hogwarts he found the cabinet in the Room of Requirement to be broken. Assuming that he might take a little longer to fix it he had thought of a very simple method to continue his mission while stalling the pressure of fixing the cabinet. However, after an accidental incident with a cursed necklace he had decided that a direct attack on Dumbledore wouldn't prove successful.
So here he was, spending the last few days of the Christmas holiday frantically trying to fix the cabinet. Rather unsuccessfully. He had managed to correctly transport an apple but animate objects had proven near enough impossible to transfer. He had told everyone that he had gone home for Christmas to see his parents but the sorry truth was Crabb and Goyle had been smuggling him food into the Room of Requirement all holiday.
"Ahhh! There isn't any way I can do this! I'm good a Potions, not charms. Why can't someone else just find a way?" Draco spat through gritted teeth as he butted his head against the cabinet. The red mist of anger in his eyes began to settle bringing a much less welcome feeling.
A whimper escaped his lips as he turned his back to the cabinet that had brought him so much pain and slid down to the floor "I- I - I just can't do this." His throat felt tight and sore from his outburst and his eyes stung a familiar burn.
"Help" The word was barely audible as it escaped his lips as the first tear threatened to fall. "I need someone to help me" The last word caught on his tongue, knowing that he was inept at completion. Despite it being his only option.
Proud. That was the feeling his father had told him he felt when initially given his task. No, the fear in both their eyes showed that Draco's childhood innocence was at an end, now he was to become a tool like every other before him. His father included. A man he had once felt such respect for, gone, in the instant that he learned of his father's silent on look to the return of HIM. As a child he had never needed help to tell right from wrong.
Pureblood: right. Muggleborn: wrong. It was drilled into his skull since forever.
But knowing that HE was back had changed Draco. Everything in his life had changed- almost beyond recognition. He didn't feel safe in his own home, at Hogwarts or anywhere else. He could never be sure that he was doing the right thing, wasn't stepping on anyone's toes, and wasn't signing his own death warrant. Sure he had played his part brilliantly in the beginning but after actually seeing Muggleborns and Half-Bloods for the first time, achieving things just like he could, his mind became confused. So telling himself that he was seeing it wrong was his only bypass to his weakness.
But those days of denial had long gone. Life just isn't that easy. He was falling and he needed help to get back up. It was like his entire life rested upon him being successful with this God Damn cabinet. "God's can't anybody Help me?" Draco thought as he rested his head in his hands in a vain attempt to stop this bottomless feeling of vulnerability.
The undeniable click of a door handle near him caused Draco's head to snap up. He daren't move a muscle, holding the air in his lungs in an attempt to become entirely silent. The door that had been his only connection to outside this room for the past two weeks was open and shut with a flash of brown hair, its clearly owner eager not to be seen entering the room. "What the? How the hell had this person gotten in?" Draco implicitly remembered asking the room for safety from being discovered whilst he worked on the cabinet. Not even Crabb and Goyle could get in without knocking on the blank wall first. Rubbing the dry tear tracks on his face he shifted his weight on the floor to see who had managed to get passed the security of his sanctuary- which presently felt like a hell.
With her back pressed against the door, eyes scanning the room eager to see what had allowed her to enter. Her mass of hair flowing around her face creating a curly mane stood the last person Draco would have expected to have laid eyes upon.
Hermione F-ING Granger.
"Hello?" Her tiny voice rang out in the silence and Draco was hit by a sudden fear that his heart was beating loudly enough to give his position away. What the hell was he supposed to do now? There was no way he could leave the room, he would be seen, and there was no-way he was lucky enough for Granger not to see him.
"Who's in here? The door appeared as I went passed and as I wasn't really looking for something I guess you wanted something?" Damn it. Why did she have to be so darn logical? It just wasn't natural for someone to be so quick witted. She may have been a detestable know-it-all but her powers of deduction were something of a marvel.
"Hermione Granger" He had meant to just say 'Granger' but he panicked and rather than not say any name at all when standing up he went with the flow. Her name rolled off his tongue, his tone rich and knowing. "You know if you weren't such a despicably nosey Gryffindor then I would admire your deducing but I can't". As soon as Draco had risen to his feet her right hand flew to her wand which was tucked into the waist band of her skirt. This action was a clear sign to Draco that he still held a power over her- intimidation. Just seeing him was a threat to her and he knew, better than others, how fear can cause you to make foolish mistakes.
"Malfoy" Her voice was sharp and calculating "Aren't you... aren't you supposed to be at your parents house?" What? How did she remember that? Trying to brush it off, shoving his hands in his pockets nonchalantly, being relaxed but both of them could see him straighten up and the subtle twitch of his eyes was a tell tale sign that he was uncomfortable with her recollection of his apparent where-bouts. "Sorry to disappoint you Granger but my parents decided to visit my relatives in Europe so I elected to stay at Hogwarts over the Christmas break"
"Well Malfoy I... Is that a..." Draco watched as her eyes flicked from his face towards the cabinet behind him. 'Ah Shit. Only Hermione Granger would be able to recognise a magical vanishing cabinet'. He could see the cogs ticking in her brain as his time counted down. With her eyes still flicking between him and the cabinet he made a decision.
He took three long strides towards her so that they were only centimetres apart. "Granger" Draco's voice was a low questioning growl, testing her to speak a word. He hadn't noticed until he was this close that she was nearly a head shorter than him so that his gritted teeth were exactly in her eye line. He saw a shudder flow through her entire body. "Malfoy... why..."Without warning she gasped and faltered back a step. He was busted. He had wished for help and the room had let in the only person in the ENTIRE school who could figure out his objective.
"Now, now Granger. Don't jump to any conclusions now. We wouldn't want you to have made any mistakes". He could feel her breath against the opening of his shirt. Despite his dislike for her Gryffindork traits the heat made him uncomfortable. "Granger?" His tone could have been mistaken for caring but he knew that she would never hear it that way. Her eyes had stopped shifting and she was staring directly at his tie that hung limply around his neck. "Listen Granger, you are not helping either of us by being here. Tell anyone of what you saw and I will make you regret it". Draco's voice was calm, as if he had just asked her about a homework task but there was an underlying malice that she wouldn't miss.
She swayed her weight till she was stood on the tips of her toes. Her cheek brushed against his as she leaned towards his ear. His pulse increased in his ear to the point where he was worried that his blood would all rush to his head.
"You have no means of hurting me Draco" He stopped breathing at the use of his first name. She was trying to intimidate him! Well no-one intimidated a Malfoy.
"Oh dear, There are far more interesting ways of getting my own way... Hermione"
He heard a squeak from the back of her throat. He lifted his right arm to touch hers just as she dropped back onto her feet. With that she spun on her heel and ran straight towards the door.
It wasn't until her curls had disappeared behind the door and the sounds of her footsteps running from the corridor were gone that he realized he had been holding his breath.
Oh God. What on Earth had he gotten himself into?
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