Out of the Shadows
Chapter 3: Instinct
Writter: fall shadow
Summary: Harry has been raised to follow a path of darkness, but when he meets Hermione things start to change and he finds out everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Now, with a strengthened resolve, he must do whatever it takes to stop the one he once considered his master.
Harry heard Bellatrix’s dangerous threat about him not knowing how to tie a bloody knot, and what the result of that would be, but he barely registered it. His eyes were fixed on the girl’s face. She had managed to break free from the poor bondage during the last wave of torment Bellatrix had put her through, and was now pinned to the floor by the deranged interrogator. The fight left in the prisoner seemed to be diminishing as Bellatrix pulled out her ornate knife. Harry was surprised how strong-willed the girl had been so far. She hadn’t given any information through several Cruciatus curses and had visibly fought off the urge to scream as much as she could.
“Oh, you don’t like to talk, hmm? Well then, let’s make it easy for everyone to know what you are! No talking.” Bellatrix pulled the girl’s sleeve up and sliced through it near the shoulder, ripping the rest of it off her arm violently. She then cast a quick spell on the other arm to hold it down, put her wand back in her robes, and grabbed the sleeveless arm with her free hand. With the other, she pressed the blade of the knife against the bare skin of her victim’s arm.
“Change your mind yet?” Hermione remained silent. “Good, that wouldn’t be any fun! Right, Mudblood? Now everyone will know! Even after I kill you, it will be engraved on your body.”
Harry could feel himself tensing even more. He should have been expecting something like this. These interrogations were never clean. He had struggled through them before, watching, trying not to be sick. The girl’s eyes were scrunched up in pain as she bit back a cry when Bellatrix started to carve into her skin. He was shaking. He couldn’t watch, but he couldn’t look away from her. The strangled whimper that she failed to hold in dug at his heart. Glancing away from her face for just a second, he saw blood just starting to seep out of her forearm where the knife cut, which was moving agonizingly slow.
“Don’t worry, Mudblood. As soon as I am done, you will die.”
Suddenly, she forced her eyes open, and after blinking a few times, she sought him out. In a moment, her eyes locked on his, pleading, and he froze. Another noise of pain left her lips as Bellatrix moved her knife and said something, toying with the girl again, but Harry didn’t catch the words. All of his focus was on her eyes, which she was still fighting to keep open and locked on his.
Something inside Harry snapped. In half a second, his shoulder was slamming Bellatrix off of the girl as he whipped out his wand and instinctively cast Protego in the direction of the Malfoys, who had been watching the scene silently. A sharp pain registered in his shoulder and upper chest, but almost immediately faded from his notice as adrenaline took over and he watched several spells repel back off his shield charm and away from them. He was on his hands and knees over the girl, one knee between her legs and a hand on one side of her as he held his shield charm up to the other side to protect them.
“Expelliarmus!” he shouted toward the Malfoys, glimpsing Draco’s wand fly out of his hand as Harry scrambled to his feet, pulling the girl with him.
“Stupefy!” He heard her say, and before he had time to wonder how she had gotten her hands on a wand, a spell flew by him. Turning, Harry blasted one of the large windows in the Malfoy manor open. He raced toward the window, pulling her along as fast as he could, and leapt out the moment she had caught up enough to come with him.
“Accio wand!” Harry yelled as they dropped, hoping it would bring him the right wand. Thankfully, the window wasn’t that high. Harry saw a jet of green light streak past the girl’s hair as they landed on the ground. She stumbled, but he kept her on her feet. He snatched the wand that zoomed toward him and thrust it into her hand, which instinctively dropped the other she had picked up inside.
“Fifteen meters and you can apparate! Go!” Harry told her, luckily deflecting another spell coming toward them.
Harry felt himself jerked sideways as she pulled his hand with her determinedly as she ran. Harry felt his eyes widen as a green light advanced on them rapidly.
He barely registered a slight tug behind his navel and suddenly the green light was gone.
He landed on cold, hard ground with a thud. She was lying on the ground next to him, breathing as hard as he was, her hand still clutching his tightly. For a few moments, neither of them moved as they looked up at the sky.
What the bloody hell did I just do?!
Then Harry sat up and asked in a heated voice, “Why did you bring me with you? They’ll find us!”
The girl sat up, too, and answered in a somewhat raspy, but annoyed voice, “I couldn’t just leave you there, after you did that!They would have killed you!”
Harry didn’t respond, and instead stood up, letting go of her hand.
“You have to get out of here. They will find me.”
The girl stood, too.
“I’m not leaving you alone to get caught after you saved me,” he started to open his mouth to argue, but she cut him off, “I can put up wards so that they can’t find us. Do you really want to go back?”
“Fine.” His answer was curt, but he couldn’t argue with that.
“Then I will take us somewhere else and we can find an area to set up the wards,” she said matter-of-factly as she walked over to him.
She took hold of his hand and quickly apparated them somewhere else. Wherever it was, it was freezing. Harry barely had time to notice this before she was pulling him away from where they had appeared.
“Where are we?” Harry asked, the anger gone from his voice. He was genuinely curious. It looked like a snowy forest from a fairytale.
“France- a mountainside to the north- my parents and I went skiing here years ago,” she answered, still clearly focused on finding a decent spot. She seemed to have decided on one because she stopped and let go of his hand.
“I will put up the wards around here and try to transfigure that rock formation into a tent for now. We’ll need to get out of the cold while we figure out what to do.”
Harry watched as she went to raise her wand, but stopped short, looking at it curiously.
“How did you get my wand?” she asked, glancing at him as she raised her hands to start forming the protective barriers.
“Snape gave it to me after he locked you in the dungeon.”
Harry watched silently as she finished the incantations, trying to note the perimeter she had set up. When she was
done, she looked worn-out.
I can’t believe she’s still standing. After being locked up for three or four days, being fed only scraps, and just getting tortured by Bellatrix…
She seemed a bit wobbly, so he walked over to her.
“Are you alright?” He asked, surprised that he did feel concerned.
“Yes. I will be fine. I just need to get this changed into a tent and lie down for a bit.”
“I can do it,” Harry told her, and without waiting for a response, he cast a spell on the rocks that transformed it into a decent-sized tent.
She looked mildly impressed as he led her into the tent.
“It’s not much, but it’s better than outside, at least,” he offered, unsure of himself. The tent was not much bigger on the inside but did have a few small room sections and some basic furnishing.
“This will do just fine,” she told him, in a kind, tired voice. “Oh!” she suddenly exclaimed, her voice much more focused, “Your shoulder, it’s bleeding!”
Harry looked down and he did seem to have a slash in his clothing across part of his shoulder and chest. While concentrating on everything else, the pain must not have caught up to him.
“Here,” the girl said, reaching out and touching his jacket, “I can heal it. Sit down.”
“It will be okay until morning. It isn’t bleeding that badly,” Harry tried to tell her, but she wasn’t having it.
“It will only take a few minutes to heal it enough to work with better in the morning. I’m sure it will feel better, and heal better, if I treat it now.”
Sensing that arguing would do him no good, Harry relented. She must have seen it in his face, because she reached up and started slowly pulling on his jacket. Realizing what she was trying to do, Harry helped her remove it, and, to his embarrassment, his shirt. Her eyes almost immediately dropped to his left forearm.
It only took a few seconds to register why. He couldn’t blame her. For a second he wondered if that was partly why she was insisting on healing him now before she went to sleep.
“Expecting to see something there?” he asked, certain that she was. But she didn’t look all that surprised.
“I wasn’t sure. But honestly I don’t think I was.”
Surprised by her words, he looked down nervously at his thin, smooth bare chest and the jagged line of red running across it.
That doesn’t look great, but at least it isn’t deep.
He chanced a glance at her face again, which was now completely focused on his injury, her wand pointed just to the side of his heart. As she started to say a spell he had never heard before, Harry felt warmth in the area of the cut, followed by a refreshing, cool sensation. Watching her face as she healed him, he was amazed by her concentration. When she stopped, he noticed again how tired she looked.
“You should get some rest,” Harry told her as he pulled his torn shirt back over his head. “We can talk and sort things out when you wake up.”
“Thank you…” she trailed off, moving to lie down on the small cot-like bed closest to where they had been sitting.
“Harry,” he finished for her, realizing that she wanted him to fill in his name.
“Harry,” she repeated, her eyes closing slightly. “I’m Hermione Granger.”
“Hermione,” he tested out her name as she had done with his. “I will try to keep watch until you wake up.”
“Thank you, Harry,” she told him again.
As Harry watched her drift off to sleep, he wondered how in the world he had gotten himself into this very strange situation.