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Dramione Duet
tori_gingerfox and rivertempest 
8th-Oct-2018 09:23 am
dramione_duet_mod
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling and Warner Bros. All fics posted at this community were written entirely for fun, not for profit, and no copyright infringement is intended.

Title: Drampire State Of Mind
Author: tori_gingerfox
Rating:T
Word Count:7825
Summary:Hermione, Harry and Ron all go back to Hogwarts after the War to complete their education. So does an unusually pale Draco Malfoy, who has been acting very strange lately. Almost...nice. Hermione’s determined to get to the bottom of it. But will she be able to live with what she finds? 8th year AU.
Warnings:none
Author's Note(s):Thank you to ningloreth for hosting this exchange. I’m a first timer and I loved it so much! The prompt I’ve chosen is I won’t let you go into the unknown alone (Bram Stoker). I hope my partner likes what I came up with. It has been a lot of fun writing it! Furthermore a HUGE thank you to my alpha Akashathekitty and to my beta Maloreiy. Without them I wouldn’t have made it. They were perfect, and I feel truly blessed for having had two of the best writers in the fandom helping and supporting me.
Last but not least thanks to AlexandraO for the enlightening chat and to my husband for helping me come up with the best title ever!



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V——V


"--elling you he is! Look at all the bloody signs!"

Ron Weasley banged his fist on the table, as if to underline his words.

Hermione was a few steps away. She had no idea what he was so worked up about, but she’d witnessed the same scene one too many times.

The War had ended in their favour, true, but it had left suspicion and a lot of conspiracy theories (and theorists) in its wake.

Hermione had had enough of Ron’s crazy ramblings to last a lifetime. From ‘Snape is still alive and escaped before someone could see him,’ to ‘Bellatrix isn’t dead, there was no body so we can’t be sure,’ to more Luna-like stuff such as Nargles, Wrackspurts and whatnot.

Why he’d become so...gullible, was still a mystery to her. At first she’d tried to argue using logic, only to give up after a couple of nasty rows. Logic wasn’t something that could be associated with one Ronald Wesley.

Deep down, she knew it was a way for him to cope, to think about something other than the Battle—and the dead.

Ron had never been good at dealing with feelings, and a feeling so devastating and totalling as grief was too much to handle. She suspected that had been the reason why the boys had decided to come back to Hogwarts. Auror training at the Ministry would’ve meant living at the Burrow, and she was pretty sure seeing George withering away, and Molly bursting out crying while cooking, didn’t help in the recovery department.

Hermione sat down, trying to be inconspicuous. She had learnt to be as silent as a Jobberknoll to avoid drawing attention to herself during those crazy arguments. She hadn’t quite caught who the subject of Ron’s passionate speech was, but she was sure it was another crazy theory with no facts backing it up.

She turned her attention back to her friends and saw Harry scratch back his unruly black hair, half confused and half resigned.

He was probably trying to find a way to shut Ron up without incensing him further.

Quite the task.

"Ron, look, I am not saying that you're not right. But, I’m not sure...I mean there could be other...explanations. Honestly, he is a twat, and I still don’t like him even if he did help us during the Battle, but...a vampire?! That’s a little far-fetched."

Oh, not him again.

"Harry, come on! You can’t deny the Ferret has been acting weirdly lately! Maybe it happened during the Battle, and that’s why he disappeared for three and a half months afterwards!"

Hermione was watching her friend closely. Surely Harry would shut this nonsense down before it even sta—

"Ok, let’s listen to what you have so far, mate."

What?!

Ron beamed, happier than the Easter Bunny, while Harry sighed in defeat. Hermione rolled her eyes so hard it nearly hurt.

She was about to (silently) leave the table and head to the Library—a much safer place, if someone asked her, a place where she was sure not to run into Ron and his nonsense— when Harry turned and spotted her, relief washing over him.

Please don’t. Please don’t. Please don’t.

"Hermione! I hadn’t seen you arrive, come join us!"

Her eyes shot daggers at her so-called best friend. "I was actually heading to the—"

"Ron has some very interesting things to share with us."

"Yeah, I heard the gist of it," she grumbled.

She silently promised him eternal damnation and a couple of well-placed hexes.

Ron was beyond himself with glee and scooted over, so she could sit next to him.

"OK, listen to this, Hermione. In the past few weeks, I’ve been keeping a close eye on Ferret Boy."

Hermione opened her mouth to speak, only to be blatantly interrupted.

"Look! I know that he helped us. I know he’s not an evil git, but actually just a regular git...but listen to this. Even you won’t be able to deny it!"

Hermione pursed her lips and nodded at him to continue.

Harry relaxed in his seat, clearly happy not to be alone for this, and ready for the show.
"OK, so, have you noticed how he quit the Quidditch team for good?"

"How is that related to him being a vampire?"

"Wait a second, will you? Not only the Quidditch team, but also Care For Magical Creatures!"

"Well, it was about time. After the incident with Buckbeak, anyone could see he wasn’t properly talented."

Ron tore at his hair, frustrated. "Don’t you see? He can’t go out in the light!"

Hermione laughed in his face. She couldn’t help it.

"Ronald, are you aware of the fact that vampires are nocturnal beings, but that they can go out during the day? They only risk getting bad sunburns or skin reactions if they forget a screening potion or charm."

"Exactly, Hermione! Wouldn’t a nasty skin rash be a dead giveaway?"

Harry, who’d been silent until then, chimed in. "He did skip the last Hogsmeade Weekend, to be fair."

Hermione couldn’t quite believe her ears. "Harry, not you too! He probably didn’t feel like coming since everyone is always so welcoming when he’s present. Honestly, I understand you don’t like him, but he’s been providing information to the Order and he and his mother helped a great deal during the Battle. How would you feel if you’d risked your life only to be treated like someone infected with Dragon Pox?"

Ron shook his head vehemently. "I’m not saying he didn’t help, I’m just saying that if he’s somehow been turned, he shouldn’t be here, that’s all."

An unreasonable anger coursed through her. "You and your bloody double standards! A werewolf is fine, but a vampire is not?"

"Aha! So you do admit he could be one!" He looked triumphant.

"I admit to no such thing! I’m just appalled that you would consider exposing him in order to have him expelled—in the totally unlikely case he was a vampire, which he is not!"

Hermione had had enough. She didn’t want to waste a perfectly fine day convincing Ron that Draco Malfoy was not a vampire, so she got up, ready to leave. She only shot a quick (venomous) glance at Harry, who was sporting that kind of sheepish look on his face that clearly indicated he was aware he shouldn’t have involved her.

Ron was stubbornly shaking his head, his ears crimson red, but had the grace to keep his mouth shut until she was out of earshot.

She looked back only once, and her two friends were leaning towards each other, whispering conspiratorially.

Honestly, what a ludicrous idea! Vampires couldn’t stand garlic, were insanely pale and tall—which Malfoy was, sure—as well as nocturnal, with scars where they’d been bitten, and freaking fangs, for Godric’s sake!

She was so distracted by her mental list of vampiric traits that she wasn't paying attention when she rounded the corner and-- "Ooomph!"

All of her books scattered on the ground, alongside a scornful Draco Malfoy.

She wondered, ruefully, if you could summon a vampire just by thinking of him, before she dismissed the question with a shake of her head.

Hermione turned scarlet. "I’m sorry, Malfoy. I didn’t mean to...I was just—"

"It’s OK, Granger, no need to get your wand all knotted. I’m not hurt."

Was he being...nice?

Hermione was the first to champion his rights, and to remind people that in the end he was on their side, but she was also aware of the fact that they’d never been particularly civil towards each other, let alone friendly. His calmness baffled her, but maybe he was as tired of fighting as she was.

Or maybe he’s luring his next prey., a voice that sounded suspiciously like Ron echoed in her head.

She snapped out of it and noticed he’d risen up and was holding out her books.

Hermione rushed to get them, with as much grace as a Blast-ended Skrewt, and their hands touched briefly. She was shocked to notice they were colder than a block of ice, but managed not to drop the books.

"Well, thanks, Malfoy. And sorry, I really didn’t mean to hit you like that," she said, finally meeting his eyes.

Grey and piercing. She didn’t remember his gaze being so...deep.

"Not a problem, Granger, but try not to decimate the entire student body on your way to the Library."

He turned to leave, and that’s when she saw...something.

It was probably the light playing tricks on her, but she could have sworn she’d seen marks on his neck. No, that was just silly.

"See you around then," he said.

See her? Hermione couldn’t quite believe the absurdity of the whole exchange between them.

She found her voice at last. "Yeah, OK...see you."

But he had already turned the corner.

V——V


The next day, after a late breakfast, Hermione grabbed a book and snuggled into her favourite armchair.

It was a bright day and everyone was spending it outside. The Common Room was quiet, and she was thoroughly enjoying the peace.

Which, of course, didn’t last long.

"Hermione! Hermione!" Harry looked positively frantic while running towards her, the Marauder’s Map in his left hand.

She had the sneaking suspicion Ron had actually managed to brainwash him with regards to the Drampire thing.

"If it has to do with Ron’s idiotic theory, I’m not interested," she replied.

"No look, this is important! He might be onto something for real."

Hermione put her book down, all hope of actually leaving the previous night’s crazy theory behind, lost. "Let me guess...you stalked him with the Map. Again."

Harry had the decency to look guilty. "Well, I thought it could give us some insight. I mean, it did help on—"

"No. Don’t you dare bring up Sixth year all over again."

Harry mulishly went on. "But I was right! And listen, he stayed up nearly all night yesterday! He was pacing up and down his room, for hours! How do you explain that?"

"Uh...insomnia? You will agree it’s a far simpler explanation than having been turned into a vampire."

"OK," he conceded, "but if you add it to the fact that he barely goes outside during the day, that he looks insanely paler than before, that we never see him eat in the Great Hall...that’s quite a list, Hermione!"

Hermione refused to believe what she was hearing. This theory was even worse than Snape being one. At least Snape looked like one.

The night before Malfoy had been so…different.

And cold, added her inner Ron-voice, which was increasingly more difficult to ignore.

Yes, he was inhumanly cold, true. But a lot of people had a very low internal temperature and that didn’t mean they were Undead.

His eyes were quite mesmerising, though, and his skin was really pale...but NO! Impossible!

The only tangible thing she saw (probably, possibly) was a bite on his neck. But the corridor had been dark, and she had been all flustered because she’d just bumped into him, dropped all her books on the ground, and he had been ...nice.

So the chances were the bite was just a figment of her imagination.

The problem with Ron and Harry, and their quests, was that she always felt compelled to help them. If only to prove them wrong. So, even though her internal alarms kept going off, she decided to step in.

"Look, Harry. Before you do something stupi--"

She couldn’t even finish the sentence before Ron barged into the Common Room, making a beeline for Harry, a victorious look on his freckled face.

"He’s in the Hospital Wing! Harry, he ended up in the Hospital Wing! I knew it, I knew it!"

Harry paled when he saw Hermione’s face, and was clearly torn between asking Ron for more details and disassociating himself from whatever idiotic thing they had done.

"What have you two done now?" she asked through gritted teeth.

"Nothing against the rules! We offered him food, Hermione."

"You...what?"

"OK, so...you know how Dean is partners with Nott and Malfoy for the latest DADA project, right?"

She nodded.

"Well, we noticed that they always meet at lunch on Saturdays—"

His use of the plural didn’t go unnoticed. How long had Ron been stalking Malfoy?

"—and I told Harry we should offer him something after lunch, to see if he refused food. It had to be something handmade and undeniably appealing, so I pleaded with my mum to send some of her pastries, which are to die for. But then Harry had this brilliant idea of adding garlic to it, while charming it to taste like a regular sweet!"

Hermione zeroed on Harry, who was looking guiltier by the second. "Quite advanced magic. How did you two manage, if I may ask?"

Ron still hadn’t noticed her icy tone, or if he had, he chose to ignore it. "We asked Luna if she could help, of course. She seemed quite enthusiastic about it!"

Of course they’d ask a Ravenclaw for help. And Luna had once tried to convince everyone that poor Scrimgeour was a vampire, so she was definitely aboard the conspiracy train.

"Merlin, you two are crazy."

Ron resumed his story. "Well, we had mum’s pastries and they were delicious. Who says no to a pastry, right? So we asked Dean if he wanted one. He recognised them straight away and said yes. As we were hoping, he launched into a praise of mum’s cooking and since we’re polite, we offered one to Nott and one to Malfoy. They both accepted, and to prove our good faith we had one too, lest they think we were trying to poison them."

"Which was exactly what you were trying to do, by the way," she added.

Hermione didn’t need to listen to the rest of the plan to know what had happened next, but she let him speak nonetheless.

"Well, he felt sick straight after eating it! Like...really sick. The Puking Pastilles are nothing compared to how sick he was. It was disgusting, and it happened right after he had the pasty. Greenish. All over the fl--"

"Enough with the detailed description of Malfoy’s vomit, please. I get your point. He ate garlic and he felt sick."

"You bet he did! Mate"—he turned to Harry, his eyes gleaming—"you see? I was right! He must be a vampire!"

Harry must’ve had very high survival instincts, since he swiped the smug look off his face as soon as he noticed Hermione’s disapproving glare.

She had to give them credit: the plan was well thought out, or at least foolproof with regards to rule-breaking.

Apart from the tiny detail where they sent a fellow student to the Hospital Wing.

"What if he’s allergic to garlic? You could’ve killed him!" she said, albeit a little unconvincingly.

"Oh, come on Hermione!" protested Ron. "Deep down you know it could be true."

The worst thing was that he was right. The signs were there, but the rational part of her brain kept reminding her of all the more plausible explanations: stomach bug, allergy to garlic, charm gone wrong...and, yeah, vampire.

He could very well be one, but they had to be sure before accusing him.

"Look, let me help you. Maybe we can find out without sending him to Mungo’s next time, OK?"

"Do they even treat vampires at Mungo’s?"

"RON!"

"Ok, ok. What’s your plan?"

Hermione sighed. She kept repeating to herself it was to prove them wrong. Just to prove them wrong. Not because she actually believed Malfoy was a vampire.

"Theodore is my plan."

Harry, who’d been silent until then, finally spoke. "Nott?"

"Yeah, Theo is Malfoy’s best friend, and it so happens that he’s also my partner in Arithmancy. We’ve been partnered up since third year, so we are on very good terms," she explained.

"You were partnered with a snake for all this time?"

"Ron, really? And yes, I was. He’s a nice bloke and we get on well. He likes studying, and he’s quiet when we sit at the same table in the Library—both alien concepts to you, I am aware."

"Oy!"

Harry intervened before they could start their usual banter. "OK, enough. What are you planning to ask Nott?"

"I will ask him if his friend is feeling well, and that I noticed he looked sickly the other day. If Theo knows something and lies, I will know. I reckon he’s the worst liar ever. Plus, he’s quite chatty. He might inadvertently disclose information all on his own if I mention Malfoy."

The boys gave her the green light, and they all went to the Great Hall for dinner.

V——V


Thankfully, during dinner there was a big debate on Quidditch, so she could zone out. As much as she didn’t care for Quaffles, Bludgers and Feints, the sport talk was a relief, since it meant no vampire talk.

Against her will, she found herself scanning the Slytherin table. She spotted Theo, who saw her and waved, but no Malfoy. Did he ever actually eat? She was trying to remember if she’d seen him eating in the first few weeks of school, but she honestly hadn’t paid enough attention to the blond.

After pudding, all the ‘8th years’ plus Ginny were still talking about the Quidditch National Cup, and she knew their talk could go on for hours. Since she had no intention of boring herself to death while waiting for Harry and Ron, she bid goodnight and left the Great Hall.

She was debating whether she should pop to the Library to get a book, or if she should put it off and just climb up to the Common Room, when she saw Malfoy walking down the other end of the corridor. He looked positively translucent.

Once they were closer, Malfoy looked her straight in the eyes and said, "Glad you started paying attention to your surroundings, Granger."

She met his eyes and blushed. Why did she blush?!

It was that stare, like he was peering right into her very soul. It wasn’t normal. Why would she turn into a mess at Malfoy’s presence? Maybe it was supernatural, because she couldn’t explain the warm feeling in her belly and the fuzziness.

She couldn’t deny he was nice-looking, especially now that he had finally stopped sneering anytime he saw her, but the effect he had on her was inexplicable.

"Cat got your tongue?" he asked after a while.

"Oh no, no," she giggled, "tongue is still here."

Really, Hermione?

"I was just a little...distracted, sorry. Arithmancy, you know."

Perfect, now the sexy vampire would think she was boring.

Oh, and he wasn’t a sexy vampire! More like a nice-looking maybe-vampire.

Hermione suddenly remembered that he’d probably just been discharged from the Hospital Wing, hence the unhealthy colour.

"Oh, Malfoy...I’ve heard you’ve been unwell. How are you feeling?"

He looked baffled, but replied, "I’ve seen better days, to be honest. Nothing against Weasley’s mother, but that pastry didn’t quite agree with me."

That was her opportunity. "Maybe you were allergic to an ingredient?"

"I do have a couple of...intolerances, but I highly doubt she added--"

"Draco!"

It was Theodore Nott, with strangely impeccable timing.

"You could’ve told me you’d been discharged! Pomfrey wasn’t pleased when I barged in. Next time I’m admitted she’ll purposefully give me something foul to drink now!"

"I was on my way to the Great Hall, you git. I only stopped for a chat," Draco said, nodding to indicate Hermione.

Theodore’s eyes bulged. "Oh, Hermione! Sorry to interrupt, didn’t see you there."

Now she would never find out what Malfoy was about to say. Because what weirdo would bring the conversation back to ingredients and allergies?

"Not a problem, Theo. I was on my way to the Common Room, actually. I’ll see you tomorrow morning for Arithmancy, right?"

"Wouldn’t miss it for the world. I have the brightest partner one could hope for, after all."

"Flatterer," she joked.

Then she turned towards Malfoy, who was looking like he had just eaten a toad, and bid him good night. At the last second she added, "Maybe you should get some rest too, Malfoy. Sleeping makes healing quicker."

"So they say," he replied half-smirking, those eyes piercing her again.

She felt him staring at her right until she turned into the next corridor, and as much as she tried, once in bed, she couldn’t stop thinking of his silver gaze.

V——V


The following morning, Hermione found Harry waiting for her in the Common Room. He was still holding the Map, so she braced herself for another dose of vampire nonsense. Which might not be nonsense, after all. But no reason to tell him until she was sure.

"Hermione! He did it again, but he wasn’t in his room last night. He spent a good part of the night on the Astronomy Tower. At least until 3 AM."

"Then what happened?"

"Well...I fell asleep."

"Of course you did, you’re clearly sleep-deprived. Stop spending your nights staring at the Map, Harry!"

He stuck his tongue out in reply.

"If only the press could see how mature The Boy Who Lived is," she mock-threatened while heading out.

"Let me know if you find out something!" he called after her.

Once in the Library, Hermione occupied her usual table, and started reading the assignment. Her Arithmancy partner was rarely late, but that morning he was nowhere to be seen, so she opened her books to get started on her own.

"Hermione, sorry I’m late, it’s been a strange morning!" Theo sat down gracelessly, clearly very upset.

"What happened?" she asked, genuinely concerned at his flustered appearance.

"I probably shouldn’t talk about it," he hesitated, as he pulled out his supplies.

"You're clearly out of it, Theo. Is everything OK?"

"Well…" he started, "It’s Draco. It’s kind of weird...but never mind."

"Oh, you can tell me," Hermione was quick to reply. "I won’t say anything to anyone."

"It’s just, he was supposed to have breakfast with us this morning. You know he doesn’t eat much in the Great Hall because of…reasons." He paused, and then rushed on. "But I’d convinced him it was okay, and was waiting for him this morning, but he never showed up."

Because of…reasons? Maybe because sucking someone’s blood out their neck wasn’t appropriate for breakfast?

Or, because he might not like the suspicious stares of those who didn’t believe he had switched sides, Hermione, she had to remind herself.

"I’m sure there’s an explanation," she said aloud. "Maybe he overslept."

"That’s what I thought, too," Theo said. "So I went to his room, you know he has a private room this year."

Hermione did not know, and she wondered what would grant such a permission. A special condition?

"When I got in, he was sleeping," Theo continued. "The only thing was, I couldn’t wake him up, Hermione. Nor could Blaise. We had to shake him for 5 minutes, and even then his eyes were all bloodshot, like they didn’t even see us. He gave us a scare. Looked like a body in a freaking coffin."

He said that last part quietly, his eyes with that same shadowed expression everyone seemed to have after the War. He shook his head to clear it. "Anyway, sorry I’m late," he ended lamely.

Hermione was gaping at him, shocked at more proof that Draco Malfoy might actually be a vampire.

Theo misunderstood her expression and rushed to apologise. "Sorry, Hermione. I know we’ve mainly kept our friendship on an academic level, but…" He looked down, almost ashamed of his chatty retelling. "He’s my friend, and I know he’s a git, but I care about him. And I know these past few months have been hard on him."

Hermione tentatively put her hand on his arm, to comfort him. "Theodore, you can talk to me anytime, and I am sorry for the scare. The War has been...hard on everyone. Things will get better, just give Malfoy time. His choice during the War landed his father in house arrest, with no wand. I bet his home life hasn’t exactly been sweet."

Theo nodded in agreement. "But enough of us Slytherins, let’s read the assignment and then compare notes, OK?"

Hermione agreed but could only stare at her book. The words didn’t register. As much as she’d been able to act calm and collected when Theo had dropped the news regarding Malfoy, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong, and that something awful had happened.

Like...a couple of fangs to the neck, sucking his blood and turning him into an Undead?

Something had changed for sure. Draco had always taken it upon himself to make her life, along with Harry and Ron’s, a living hell. He was always sneering, calling her names, ever the pompous pure-blood prat.

Which made his behaviour in the past few encounters yet more suspicious. He’d been so mild, even nice.

The War had surely played a role in changing him. She was sure he couldn’t be the same bigoted git he was in their first school years, but still she couldn’t find a valid reason why he would be so nice to her. Unless it was the whole vampire thrall thing.

What Theo had just told her only added to the list of suspicious behavior.

After ten minutes of ‘studying,’ she hadn’t written a single calculation yet, but there was an alarmingly long list on her parchment. Hermione loved lists.

Evidence for Drampire:
1. Insanely Pale
2. Bites on his neck
3. Taller than last year
4. He doesn’t eat in the Great Hall
5. Reaction to garlic!
6. Doesn’t sleep at night
7. Difficult to wake during the day (bloodshot eyes)
8. Doesn’t go out in the sunshine

Unverified:
1. Vampire thrall (Mesmerising eyes?)
2. Requires invitation to cross thresholds

Hermione didn’t have the guts to add the vampire thrall to the list of verified facts. She wanted to show the list to the boys, and she couldn’t very well tell Harry and Ron that she felt all warm and fuzzy when Malfoy looked at her.

The truth was there, though, clearly written on her piece of parchment. She only needed one more bit of proof, and then she’d be sure.

But that meant that Malfoy had been nice to her because he wanted to...bite her?

Why her?

Maybe she was overreacting.

Maybe he just needed friends.

She couldn’t imagine how scary being turned into a vampire would be. She could understand why he was hiding it.

After all he’d been through since their Sixth year, now that life seemed normal, he risked being ostracised, or worse, expelled. Not because he was a Malfoy, but because he was a Malfoy and a vampire.

Hermione’s moral compass told her that she had to find a way to help him, to make him see that his condition didn’t define him.

Still lost in thought, she jumped out of her own skin when a cool voice said, "Mind if I join you?"

Oh, shit! Malfoy!

Hermione all but ate her piece of parchment, crumbling it as fast as lightning and winning a surprised stare from Theo.

"Sure, mate, sit here." He gestured towards an empty seat and turned his attention to Hermione. "Did you mess up your calculations?"

"I...uh..no?"

Charmingly expressive, Hermione.

"Then why did you destroy your parchment?" he asked, pointing at the paper ball she was currently shoving into her bag.

"I, uh...well, it was my list of Christmas presents. I like to...be prepared."

Stupidest excuse ever.

Malfoy still hadn’t said a word. He was merely observing her with his (unnerving) silver eyes, a smirk plastered on his face.

"Granger, as commendable as being prepared might be, isn’t the 26th of September a little early, even by your swotty standards?"

Hermione was almost relieved by Malfoy’s dig.

"I am not a swot. For your information, I was hit by sudden inspiration and I had to write down my ideas," she replied lamely.

"One would think you were writing an academic paper on Dragon Blood, instead of a Christmas present list," joked Theo.

If only he knew how close he was to guessing what was on that piece of parchment.

She ventured a glance at the blond, and he was scrutinising her with that mysterious look...and yes. She was blushing. Again.

That was it, Hermione had to find Harry and Ron.

She couldn’t tell them about the effect Malfoy had on her, but she could definitely show them what she had and they could plan their next move.

She came up with an excuse on how she had forgotten she was supposed to help Harry with a last-minute Potions assignment, hastily collected her books and bid the two Slytherins goodbye.

"Feel like breakfast after all, mate?" she heard Theo ask behind her.

"I could sure use a bite," was the reply.

Hermione didn’t turn around, but she knew Malfoy kept his eyes on her the whole time, cementing her certainty of his vampiric nature with every second.

The corridors and stairs passed in a blur while Hermione rushed back to their Common Room. Harry and Ron were lounging on one of the sofas, eating sweets and playing Wizard Chess.

Hermione unceremoniously interrupted them by placing her (crumpled) piece of parchment on the board.

"The bin is over there, Hermione."

"Ha, funny. Read it already, Ron!"

She had no time for his jokes. They had to plot, and her plan involved the aid of the Invisibility Cloak, the Marauder’s Map and a great deal of rule-breaking.

V——V


"Ouch! Stop stepping on my feet, Ron!"

"It’s not my fault this bloody Cloak is so small!"

"Shhh, lower your voices!" whispered Harry. "Do you want Filch to hear us?"

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Hold the Map out, Ron! Where’s Malfoy?"

"Still on the Astronomy Tower," grumbled the redhead.

"Let’s go and see what he’s doing, then."

"You reckon he’s trying to turn into a bat?" asked Harry.

"Harry, he’s not Dracula."

The trio started climbing the Astronomy Tower staircase, hoping to find Malfoy doing some vampire-like stuff.

Picking at his fangs, drinking a warm glass of blood under the moonlight, polishing his coffin.

They were carefully putting one foot after the other, when Ron abruptly stopped.

"What now?"

"Problem! Malfoy is coming back down!"

"Quick, turn around!" she whispered.

There was a moment of utter confusion, where Hermione couldn’t quite tell whose feet she’d stomped on, or whose arms had inadvertently hit her in the rib cage. She managed to keep her balance through it when Ron, who was now behind her, all but screeched, "Fiiiilch!"

Madness ensued.

Harry started backtracking. Ron, in fear of running straight into Malfoy, pushed in the opposite direction, down the stairs. Hermione got caught in the middle, unable to think, walk or breathe.

In the dark, she heard Ron curse, and before she could even process what was going on, the three of them fell down the stairs quite spectacularly.

Filch was holding his lantern in front of him, and looked like a child on Christmas morning.

"Well, four students out of bed, if this isn’t exactly like old times."

Hermione’s panicked brain took a minute to process his words.

Four students.

Dread washed over her, and she slowly turned back.

Malfoy was glaring at Ron, who in turn was almost growling at the Slytherin.

"Thanks," Malfoy gritted out, "for landing me in detention along with your sorry arses."

"Language, Mr Malfoy," sang Filch. "Follow me to the Headmistress's Office, you lot."

V——V


Hermione was studying in the Library, when she heard someone sit down opposite her.

"So, you managed to lose your House 150 points, huh? Just like old times."

"Hello, Theodore," she deadpanned.

"Draco wouldn’t stop complaining about it. He told me you’re all to serve detention tomorrow night in the Forest."

"Yeah, like you said...just like old times." She sighed.

Hermione would rather not think about the previous night. McGonagall had been furious. She’d gone on and on about how she’d thought they’d grown up. How she knew they were of age, but that they were all required to follow the rules, that the fact that they were famous all over Wizarding Britain didn’t mean they were above them. And of course, she’d given them detention.

It was almost déjà vu, with Malfoy complaining and McGonagall pointing out that he, too, was out after curfew.

She felt so guilty. If he knew why they were really out of bed...he’d be even more furious.

Not to mention the fact that they were back to square one, with no further information regarding Malfoy’s vampirism, apart from the fact that he had adamantly refused to serve detention in the afternoon, claiming he had to attend an extra class.

Which could’ve been true under normal circumstances, but to her ears sounded like an excuse not to go out in the sunlight.

Harry and Ron had spent the whole journey back to the tower bickering, trying to blame each other for the epic failure that was their mission.

Hermione had been walking behind them, when Malfoy had fallen into step with her. "Granger, looks like you enjoy trouble a little too much," he had said.

Predictably, Hermione had blushed, and when she’d dared a glance, the blond was eyeing her as if she were….cake.

Or a blood-flavored lolly.

"Why are you being so...civil, Malfoy?" she enquired with the usual mix of discomfort and awe.

"I wasn’t born a monster," he replied, irritably. He turned to watch her closely. "No reason not to be civil among good company."

Hermione could feel heat creeping up her neck, surely colouring her cheeks pink.

As much as she had hoped to prove Ron wrong, she was almost certain that she found Draco's skin so perfect, his hair so smooth and his lips so...enticing...because he had unleashed his glamorous mesmerising powers on her.

He was Draco Malfoy, and the only plausible reason Hermione Granger might consider him as an attractive specimen of the opposite sex was because she was under the effect of a potion, a spell or...the vampire thrall.

Even the next day, Hermione kept replaying the conversation in her head, and feared he might’ve guessed the reason for their after-curfew shenanigans. Or maybe he had vampire superpowers and had sensed them approaching the Tower.

Or maybe he found her attractive and was vampirily flirting with her, which was both thrilling and scary.

And totally ludicrous, of course! But more than anything...scary.

She had studied enough about vampires to know what they might do to the object of their desire, and she wasn’t sure she’d like to experience it firsthand, but a part of her desperately wanted to help him.

To show him, and every single person in the Wizarding world, that she practiced what she preached.

That she wouldn’t ostracise him, or discriminate against him, for something beyond his control.

V——V


Filch was waiting for them in the Entrance Hall, and in Hermione’s opinion he looked entirely too happy to escort a bunch of teens to a forest full of dangerous creatures. Clearly the Wizarding World had to review its standards for hiring people to work in Education.

Right beside Filch, Malfoy was leaning on the wall with his eyes closed, the poster child of resignation. In the dim torchlight, he looked even paler than normal, which meant he was scarily ashen.

When they were close enough, the Slytherin opened an eye, and after spotting them, he pushed himself off the wall, barely nodding in acknowledgment.

Filch grumbled something unintelligible, motioning for them to follow him, and the four students started their trek to Hagrid’s Hut. Once the Half-Giant’s home came into view, Filch barked at them to continue alone.

Harry and Ron rushed to Hagrid’s door, happy to serve detention with their friend rather than cleaning cauldrons or sharpening quills. Hermione hopped down the hill in a fruitless attempt to keep their pace, while Malfoy seemed to gracefully hover on the grass.

Hermione had just reached her friends, who were about to open the door, when Malfoy appeared right behind her.

"Has no one told you," he said with his cool, almost bored tone, "that being invited before barging into someone’s...dwelling"—it was clear from his face that he didn’t classify the hut as a residential space at all—"is not only good manners, but also common sense? Honestly, what are you, peasants?"

Harry stopped mid-action, weighing Malfoy’s words, while Ron shrugged his shoulders, blatantly ignoring him, and opened the door.

Hermione heard Hagrid’s voice inside, talking to Fang.

He probably hadn’t even heard them approach, since she heard no invitation to join him. Ron was inside before she could intervene, Harry followed suit, and Hermione turned towards the blond, eyeing him uncertainly.

He had mulishly planted his feet on the mossy ground, adamantly refusing to go into the cabin.

Hermione would’ve loved to peg it on his prissy pure-blood upbringing, but she couldn’t help ticking another item off her Drampire list.

She was internally debating over her feelings regarding the fact that Malfoy was without a doubt a vampire, when finally the Half-Giiant’s voice reached them, urging them in and interrupting her fretting.

"Hermione," said Hagrid amiably, "you look a wee bit little shaken. Here, take a biscuit."

Hermione politely refused and plastered a tentative smile on her face in response, hoping that vampires couldn’t actually read minds.

"Come on, then. Harry and Malfoy, take Fang and head into the right side of the forest. There’s talk of a lost baby unicorn. We need to retrieve it so the Centaurs can escort it to its mother," he said, gesturing towards the door.

"No offence, Hagrid," said Harry, with the most serious expression, "but the last time I ventured into this forest with Malfoy and Fang, looking for a unicorn, I found myself in front of Voldemort himself. I think this lineup needs some refreshing."

"Then join me and Ron, and Hermione can go with Malfoy and Fang," said Hagrid, unknowingly condemning Hermione to a stroll in the forest with the Prince of Darkness himself.

Harry shot a glance at Hermione, belatedly realising what he had just done. He couldn’t backtrack now, after his passionate speech, so he reluctantly followed Ron, who was unnervingly oblivious for someone who had championed the whole Drampire thing since day one.

Malfoy grabbed a lantern, cast a quick Lumos with his wand for added light, and gestured at her with his head to follow him.

Fang was hiding under the table, and no amount of pleading made him move from his hiding place.

"That dog’s such a Lionheart," commented the Slytherin drily, his trademark smirk on his face.

"You look extremely pleased for someone who’s about to spend half of the night in a dark and dangerous forest, Malfoy."

"Can you blame me for preferring your company to Potter’s, Granger?" he replied, almost melodically.

Hermione could practically feel him mesmerising her.

Not only with his eyes, but with his voice now too.

He must’ve been desperate and lonely to resort to his powers like that.

He had no guide, no outside help, no friends to support him, and he was probably facing the horror of having become a vampire without his family’s knowledge.

The injustice of it all nearly burned, and she acted before thinking, grabbing his arm. "Malfoy, wait!"

He turned around, eyeing her suspiciously. "Granger, we’ve barely walked ten steps. Don’t tell me you’re already afraid and want to quit because, so help me, I’m going straight to McGonagall to complain. I’m not cleaning cauldrons because a bunch of Gryffindors weren’t brave enough to stay out in the dark!"

Hermione shook her head. "No, no, listen! I, ehm...I just wanted to tell you that I know how you must be feeling."

Undead, Hermione.

He feels undead, you idiot.

He frowned but didn’t say anything, so she continued her mess of a speech. "Well, of course I don’t know exactly how you are feeling, but I understand having to bear a stigma. Being afraid of people thinking you are less only because of, well, ironically only because of blood."

He went from frowny to confused in a matter of seconds, but Hermione was determined to let him know that she knew, and was still fine with it.

"Malfoy, what I’m trying to say is…I won’t let you go into the unknown alone." She cringed, realizing he probably wouldn’t recognize the words. "I mean, I’ve been reading up on vampirism, and while there’s no cure, it’s still a perfectly manageable condition."

She said it fast, without drawing a breath, and his expression shifted towards irritation, to settle on baffled realisation.

Hermione was so preoccupied with what she’d just told him that she didn’t notice him getting closer until he was inches from her. Their noses were almost touching, and their breaths were mingling.

Startled, she backtracked right into a trunk, pinned by his stare alone.

He took two purposeful steps towards her, and was again standing right in front of her.

"Granger, Granger." He leaned closer, and Hermione’s heart started racing.

Why wasn’t she bloody moving? She couldn’t react, couldn’t think, and couldn’t stop inhaling his cologne. She turned to the side to draw a breath of fresh air, in a desperate attempt to clear her head.

He didn’t waste time and delicately rested his lips on her neck, whispering seductively, "What’s with you and trouble? Has no one told you to be careful with your promises?"

He started playing with her unruly curls, and a moan escaped her lips before she could stop.

"Won’t let me go into the unknown alone, you said. Are you offering yourself, then? Shall I bite you and make you my mate? Or maybe you think your blood will actually save me."

He moved his left hand from her hair to her throat, while his right one rested on her hip, and Hermione had difficulty breathing. She wanted to beg him to please, please, please touch her, hold her, kiss her—but at the same time she was aware of being prey in front of a lethal predator.

Her moans turned into whimpers, and Malfoy took advantage of that very moment to lick her ear.

"Hmm, you taste good Granger." His mouth trailed down her neck, and Hermione was sure that it was over, that there was nothing she could do to delay the unavoidable, and turned her head to look him in the eyes, her Gryffindor bravery finally kicking in.

Just when she’d accepted it, just when she thought his silver eyes would be the last thing she saw as a living human being, he pulled back.

"I’m not a bloody vampire, Granger. No need for your sacrifice today."

Her mouth fell open, and she automatically slapped him on his shoulder. Hard.

"You unbelievable git! I thought I was about to die, Malfoy! How could you—how on Earth did you think that was an acceptable prank? Honestly!"

"Sorry, Granger, I really couldn’t resist. I mean, the Dracula quote? It was too good an opportunity to pass up," he replied, smirking.

"I’ll show you Dracula and all of bloody Transylvania, Malfoy. Just let me find my wand," she said rummaging in her robe pockets.

She must’ve been quite the sight, because the usually composed Slytherin started laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes. He literally collapsed on the ground, and held his stomach while howling.

Hermione’s irritation dissipated just like that.

She’d never seen him laugh so carefree, and she had to admit he looked dashing when he wasn’t smirking like an evil git.

"Get up, you idiot," she said, blandly. "And if you ever tell what happened to anyone, be it living or dead, I swear I will make you wish you really were undead."

Malfoy slowly got up, a genuine smile on his face, and shook his head. "I won’t tell, Granger. But Merlin, I needed this. I had a sun reaction. Temporary photophobia. I had to spend the whole summer holed up in the Manor, away from the sunlight, with my father breathing down my neck. The stupid potions to cure this malady cause insomnia, so I have been sleeping like utter shite. And to top it off, last week I had the worst allergic reaction ever, and I’m not even sure why. It’s not like I ate garlic, because yes, I am allergic to garlic, Granger. But, well, anyway...I sure needed the laugh. So thanks, from the bottom of my cold, undead heart." He laughed again.

Hermione’s eyes widened, but she thought it wiser not to disclose what had granted him a trip to the Hospital Wing. She quite liked his smile, and the mention of her friends would probably wipe it from his face.

"Shall we go look for the unicorn now?" she asked instead.

"Yeah, let’s find the baby unicorn," he agreed, and started walking into the forest.

After a couple of steps he stopped and turned, a mischievous glint in his eyes, "For the record, you do taste nice, Granger."

Her heart skipped a beat, and she blushed furiously. He seemed to notice, and was quite pleased by her reaction.

He slowly walked back to the spot she was rooted to.

He was close, so very close, and she could feel her heart rate increasing, to the point she had trouble breathing. No vampire superpowers meant that he had that heady effect on her all on his own--her last coherent thought before he got too close to think straight.

She could sniff his cologne, and underneath a smell that was so uniquely him. It went straight to her head, and warmth started coursing through her whole body.

He had his eyes on her, and they were so deep it felt like she could read his very soul. The last thing she noticed was a small ring of gold around his pupils, then the next thing she knew, Draco Bloody Malfoy was kissing her like his life depended on it.

All thoughts of unicorns, vampires and the whole collection of fantastic beasts were forgotten in a second.

Wait, were those fangs?

The End


Comments 
8th-Oct-2018 01:13 pm (UTC) - Did I see FANGS???? *squee!*
OMG, I can't wait to read this, Tori_gingerfox! Curses, I'm a work (with no lunch break, alas), but when I get home this evening, I'll devour this lovely looking piece!
8th-Oct-2018 10:29 pm (UTC)
OH. MY. GOODNESS!

That was brilliant! It was in turns touching and hilarious!

I loved Hermione's running commentary in her head, how she was trying to justify Draco's behavior, only to be sidetracked by typical vampy traits.

Ron and Harry were awesome, and the three of them getting caught on the stairs between Draco and Flich was too funny.

And how refreshing to have her and Theo Nott as study buddies! I think he's underused in fandom and this was just perfect.

And the end!!! Mwhahahahha! Methinks there is a bit of bite to Malfoy after all. ;)

Great use of the prompt, dear Tori_gingerfox! I enjoyed it immensely!
22nd-Oct-2018 11:25 am (UTC) - Thanks
I am so glad you liked it! I'm sorry I didn't reply sooner, RL took me away from the fandom for a few days.

10th-Oct-2018 04:09 pm (UTC)
What a fantastic ending! This was a joy to read :-)

I particularly enjoyed Ron's boundless enthusiasm for his theory, and the way Hermione's initial scepticism was undermined until she started to believe that her growing feelings for Draco were evidence of 'Vampire thrall' -- I loved that she made a list!

It was great to read about a Draco who was mature and reasonable, and so human...

LOL!

Bloody brilliant, as Ron would say!
11th-Oct-2018 04:48 am (UTC)
That last line was brilliance! I adore how you've left the truth of the matter to our imaginations! The characterizations were spot on, the mystery enticing, the pacing well done. I really loved this story, dahling!!!
14th-Oct-2018 06:40 pm (UTC)
I finally got to read this story and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Hermione's inner monologue gave me so much life. I was with her the whole time trying to figure Draco out.
Awesome ending and I love the mystery--my imagination is running wild.
Well done!
20th-Oct-2018 09:43 pm (UTC)
This was brilliant! That ending line killed me <3 well done!
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