Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (2024)

Chapter 1: The Sign of the Devil

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (1)

Montrose.
God, I love it here.

The frigid gale bites at my cheeks in the dewy morning as I walk across to the stalls, my wellies sinking into the muddy ground. Above the rustic-looking manor, the half-moon is almost sinking behind the roof. My eyes to the bedroom window, noticing the oil lamp remains unlit. Ron is still asleep, of course.

It’s still distinctly dark outside, so much so that you would think the land has remained in the domain of murky night.I like to rise early to feed the animals and nourish my spirit before sitting at my desk for hours on end, crafting manuscripts and updating journals until our helper, Sofia, calls me for breakfast and lunch.

Have I always craved a quiet life in the countryside of Scotland?

Yes

My library is a quarter of the way to being as thorough and impressive as the one I begrudgingly abandoned at Hogwarts. The mahogany desk at its centre is large and brimming with overstuffed tomes about science and magic, with a modest computer screen raised on a pile of more books.

I have persuaded Ron to update our lives to accommodate the growing technical world. We are still connected to the wizarding world through a reliable floo network, and I can travel to Hogsmeade at will. I spend so much time alone (with Ron being pulled away to the Ministry due to his obligations as an Auror) that I hardly mind it anymore.

It's easy.

And simple.

The days are filled with wildlife, writing and stillness. The Atlantic Ocean fringes our coastlines, blowing powerful winds that I swear can talk.

The cold and crepuscular days are some of my favourites.

Oftentimes, when I walk in the woodlands, I feel the long shadows pulling me in or caressing my cheek. It’s a gentle prompt, and I almost give in. Ishared the sentiment with Ron, and he teased that I should have been a Slytherin.

I can appreciate the haunting Scottish landscape because the death eaters are gone. And yet, I have come outside on the cusp of dawn because the dreams have commenced.

The dark ones.

They pull me into their murky depths, and I have to leave my bed lest I sincerely drown.

Half sinking into the mud, I finally reach the stables, hearing a faint commotion. I open the wooden doorway, the rusted hinges shrieking to life as a long curl sweeps over my eyes, momentarily obstructing the fuss that has quickly died with my arrival. It’s eerily obscure inside.

‘Lumos,’ I declare. Immediately, the charmed lanterns come to life, not needing a wand.

My gaze darts over the stalls of tall horses and small mares that I step on my tiptoes to spot, seeing nothing amiss.

‘What is it?’ I say aloud, not expecting a response.

Their big eyes stare at me, seeming confused at my unclear distress. It’s as if I have walked in on a secret, and not a single soul is willing to entertain my prying. It’s common to receive visitations from the mischievous sprites, who braid the horse’s tails or hide my equipment. I have not needed to bring my wand for some time, and I appreciate the divide from my magic for such mundane living.

'You've come to me unarmed?'

I shiver at the terrible laughter that ensues.

'The heedless doe is looking pitifully vulnerable.'

My heart beats faster.

'What did you think would happen, Granger?'

'...I am the starved wolf who does not care if you are sweet and begging on your knees.'

I shouldn’t let it torment me anymore. In the end, he listened to me.

He helped us win the war.

On instinct, I pull at my sleeve, brushing the soft cream cotton on my wrists. It’s been almost five years since the Battle of Hogwarts. Everyone is breathing easefully in their lives—hopefully not bound to their nightmares, as I am.

My husband sleeps with childlike ease.

As if we are breathing different air: his teeming with bliss while I am thrashing for my life.

If Ron only knew what I had to do for us to have a good chance of winning against Voldemort and his armies...

How low I stooped...

'Open wide, little bird.'

A loud bang startles me.

I twist around to see the door swinging from the force of the gust, bursting open to reveal the growing dawn behind the hills in the distance.

‘I suppose you’ve barely had any sleep,’ I say softly to the nearest steed. ‘The wind is howling like a ferocious beast.’

The brown creature blinks in response, and I smile, reaching a hand towards it. He nuzzles my hair, breathing hot air into my scalp. We nestle like this for some time as I imagine the dreadful dreams seeping out of me, losing themselves to the land and its animals who have sustained me for so long.

Now that all the peril is gone.

Once I have checked and refilled each stall with grain and hay, cleaning away any manure that is at a minimum this early in the day, I return to the open air, basking in the growing birdsong, and inhaling deeply before needing to finish my remaining chores.

Glancing up, I see that our bedroom light is finally lit. My husband is rising for the day. With an air of satisfaction, I scale the steps, discarding the dirtied wellies beside the front door.

Sofia should be driving up the long, rural road in an hour after dropping her teenage children at school. We are so far from the local town: the streetlights grow fewer and fewer towards us. It takes me about forty-five minutes to reach the supermarket, and that’s when I feel safe enough to push on the peddle if the weather is generous enough to provide a dry and clear road.

‘Mione?’

Ron calls down at me from the top of the stairs just as I liberate the last arm from my thick, white coat, hanging it beside the rainbow-like fabrics of my other coats. I enjoy wearing bright colours in the countryside. I feel like a little exotic bird flitting around, darting between the trees or riding on horseback with a red cloak that could almost be a long cape.

‘Good morning, darling. What is it?’ I shout up from the bottom of the stairs.

‘Are the owls in yet?’ he replies hurriedly.

I can smell the shower gel he uses, wafting powerfully down the corridor. I peek closer and spot his wet, reddish hair swaying over the balcony, but I can’t see his face.

‘No, not yet. It’s too windy. Perhaps you should try the two-way mirror with Harry to see if he’s received any word,’ I offer.

‘Good shout! I’ll be down in a few minutes,’ he says, rushing off.

I wait for a heartbeat, hearing the bathroom door shut.

Ron doesn’t wait for Sofia to arrive. I eat my poached eggs with avocado on a bagel with her, catching up on errands and family gossip. He managed to contact Harry—who relayed the ins and outs of a recently enlisted assignment: Ron will be gone for a few days, lodging somewhere in Cornwall where a Fire Crab outbreak threatens highly populated beaches.

If I hike into the highlands, I could find a waterfall to plunge into. Or a stony lake, pretending it's late spring even if the ferns haven’t unfurled. It’s the middle of spring, but it never feels like a warm awakening of the season in Scotland.

‘Aren’t you due a phone call with your parents?’ Sofia asks, cloth and antibacterial spray at hand.

I finish biting the last of my bagel before answering. ‘I’ll be giving them a call after dinner.’

Obliviate

We’ve had to rebuild our relationship from scratch.

It was a nightmare to rationalise and convince them that they had a wizarding daughter who was forced to wipe their memories.

No, it’s not the same as it once was.

They still talk about my childhood holidays as if I was never a part of them, or the birthdays they attended but couldn’t remember for whom. They watched yearly nativities from my primary school, recalling teachers’ names and my old friends, but not me.

‘Are they improving?’ she asks, and I look up from my breakfast to her.

The sun is blooming behind her.

‘I’m sure our upcoming holiday will help,’ I say quickly, standing up to clear the table.

Sofia is a middle-aged woman with braided, long brown hair. Her fine lines give her an elegant air—the crow’s feet pointing upwards instead of vice versa. She wears vintage dresses with patterned tights, and today her outfit is a blue floral dress with yellow stockings and emerald Doc Martens.

I adore her style.

Her vibrancy.

When I told her this, she started clearing out her wardrobe to gift me pieces that no longer fit her.

And yes, she knows all about me and Ron...

Sofia was born into a family in the wizarding world but decided to continue a muggle’s life after losing her muggle husband. Her children haven’t inherited any magical abilities, and she is glad for it.

For some unknown reason, I agree with her.

Once Ron left, I changed into blue mom jeans with a grey vest and a heavy, red woollen cardigan. I still find myself buying pretty red outfits from charity shops. It’s a Gryffindor habit that is hard to kill off.

I think like one, dress like one, and at the end of the day, I sit in the dusk and find that my heart and bones are filled with something that is definitely not Gryffindor.

Sofia sighs.‘It’s a slow process, but I have known it to happen with recovering loved ones years after an obliviate spell,' she reassures, spraying the table with a citrus-scented cleaner.

She starts wiping it away, and I only stand there and watch her. ‘You keep frowning this morning. Care to share what’s troubling you?’I also like Sofia because she is straight to the point.

I muster a perky grin. ‘My husband has abandoned me to my writing for a few days.’ I raise a brow at her, ‘I am mostly alone and undisturbed. What more could I ask for?’

Sofia rolls her eyes.I know she finds it strange that I enjoy Ron’s absences.

But it’s true.

I have never been co-dependent.

‘That’s what happens when you’ve had one boy your whole life,’ she begins, walking to the cutlery drawer. ‘My sister was the same.’

One boy...

I swallow on a dry throat, reaching for the black coffee.

'Do you like what you taste?

Nod for yes...

Open wider for no.'

I manage to leak some of the coffee onto my chin.

‘Here.’ Sofia comes to my side, extending the towel towards me.

‘Thank you.’ I take it, wiping the liquid trickling down my neck now. ‘I’m just knackered. The roaring wind kept me up,’ I say as a means of explanation.

It’s half true, at least.

'Why don’t you take the day off?'

I snicker. ‘I’ve never heard of such a thing,' I say, playfully slapping her on the arm as I pass with my empty dishes.

Later that night, I nearly reached for my wand and obliviated myself...

The bed feels callous and unwelcoming like its frigidness is trying to force me out. When I first woke up, I could still sense the imprint of a hand on my neck, pressing into my throat.

I will lose my mind if this continues.

Instead of toiling to sleep, I decide to drag myself to my study and work on my latest manuscript. It feels like such a waste to lay in the darkness, bedevilled by recollections of my past.

They return to me every so often.

Some months are worse than others, and one year, I even took up the habit of smoking herbal blends before bed. While this time, I reached for my wand, a terrible spell waiting on the tip of my tongue.

To bury what he left me with.

'Fraternising with the enemy'

That’s what Ron calls the wizards and witches who married the children of death eaters. I had to sit in countless friendly gatherings where many of our friends expressed their agreement.

They called it an ‘inexcusable crime’ to pardon the families of the guilty. And even worse, to allow them to roam free. When they talk about it, I have to nod fervently in agreement when they preach on having won the war with honour and integrity.

As if I am not tainted.

I swing the blankets off in a dramatic reveal of my cat-covered pyjamas.

Perhaps I am in dire need of a break, after all.

When I reach my workplace, the lights come on as soon as my foot breaches the threshold. My trepidation is haunting me through the empty corridors.It’s as if something uncanny follows me at every turn.

On countless instances, I have walked through this house in complete darkness, with the windows open and the doors unlocked, and still, I was not anxious.

Sitting on the velvet chair at my desk—the first thing I do is bind my hair back with a claw clip, followed by navigating through the mess of files and papers to unearth my glasses.

As I do, a sense of ease overcomes me.

This is my place.

If there is one safe place in the world—I am already here, and there is no more room for foreboding. However, I have a habit of abandoning my work mid-task and strolling to the window, pondering and daydreaming while considering the vast landscape beyond.

Something is always there to distract me, like a humble blackbird sitting on the fence, and I’ll remember that I need to drink water or catch up with the hostler when I see him taking the horses out.

At nighttime, I will open my window and—

I abruptly swivel in my seat.

I could’ve sworn I felt an icy breeze tickling my neck.

The darkness outside is indistinguishable. Look at the glass, the top of my curly bun just about juts out over the reflection of the study with the tomes stacked on the windowsill.

If something is outside, I would not be able to see it.

My gaze catches beside me.

My journal, teeming with articles and scraps, waits for me to allow it its daily dose of open-air, like unfastening your jeans after a filling meal. It’s so dense that I often feel bad adding an extra folded up note.

I pry it open and—

I can smell cigarettes.

Deliberately, I turn back to the window, and for some reason, it takes me five pitiful seconds to process what’s changed. The window is ajar, breaking the mirror of my study and allowing me to see the shapeless night outside in a wide gap, where a faint trail of smoke wafts in.

It’s like staring into the slit of an endless void.

My brows draw together in confusion and concern. Are the animals ok?I don’t hear anything besides the crickets and cicadas.

Suddenly, a bright red cherry glows to life, revealing a hooded figure leaning against a tree only a few metres from the window. He’s wearing a black mask that ends just above his fleshy lips, grinning widely as he sucks on the cigarette.

He's ashen, ghostly and terrible.

When he exhales, I screech, scrambling on the wheels that croak against the wooden flooring. In my panic, I revolve back to scour the desk for my wand—which is always to my side in any given room.

My heart is hammering painfully, making my hands tremble and unsteady. I seize the reassuring vinewood in a few seconds, anticipating any impulsive struggle behind me that may indicate the intruder is breaking in while my back is turned.

Whirling on my feet, the chair slams into the metal cabinet, and I face the trespasser, wand at hand, my lower back digging painfully into the edge of my desk for support.

He’s gone.

The window is shut, and the latch is drawn. The gasp that leaves me is audible, breaking the abrupt silence. Even the insects have ceased humming.

I can still smell the smoke.It envelopes me like the reminiscence of a curse, in the same way the imprint of the Dark Arts is retained.I stand there for so long, probing the impenetrable night, waiting for any movement that will prompt me into action. There are several spells on my tongue: stupefy, incendio, confringo, petrificus totalus.

Settling back on my chair, the skin on my neck prickles again...My gaze catches on the door in front of me, a blood-curdling feeling mounting.

Did I shut all the other doors and windows?

Chapter 2: Bird Bones

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (2)

The wedding ring on my finger twirls absentmindedly. No—I’ve been turning it while distantly listening to Ron, my eyes skimming the tree line below, preoccupied with my anxieties.

‘…We slipped into a cave…’ Ron continues to lecture.

I ensured every window and door was tightly closed before eventually resigning to my cozy, crimson wingchair in the living room, staring at the shadows as if they would suddenly lunge towards me.

Walking the house felt like being on display.

The darkness outside had a thousand eyes, none of which I could see but all of which were carefully watching me. Sitting by the fire until the first light of dawn with a blanket keeping me from trembling while concealing the wand in my hand, you could say that it was a long night.

The wind slapped the branches into the window, their skinny fingers skimming the glass to prod me awake whenever my eyes slipped.When I did finally crack them to receive the bright light of day—it was to hear the gravel crunching outside that signalled Sofia’s arrival. I ran upstairs, feigning to have been in the shower, and when I appeared for breakfast, I forced a smile on my face, suppressing the hundreds of yawns that threatened to slip out.

‘…We are supposed to be staying until the ministry sends…’ My attention catches on a doe slipping back into the dense thicket of low-lying Oak trees. ‘…At the end of the week.’

I tune back into the call after routinely murmuring my engagement. ‘Pardon?’

‘We might be extending our stay, but I will let you know for certain tomorrow,’ he replies, sounding breathless from walking while talking.

We talk via mobile phones, providing the signal works when I reach a specific hill. ‘Right…’ I breathe out without thinking.

‘Don’t you have a signing at Flourish and Blotts tomorrow?’

His words startle me back to reality. Almost. ‘Oh god, yes!’ I say, suddenly winded at the reminder of the forgotten signing.

‘I will be preparing for it tonight.’

I stare at a dark opening between the trees.

'I'm crying out through the pain, wanting to bite the hand that is keeping my mouth shut.'

‘There are no gods here...’

He chuckles sinisterly.

‘Just you, and me, and your screams.’

‘I could sit through it for a few minutes?’ Ron asks.

I smile at the thought, grateful to be startled from the darkness at the sound of his voice. ‘You ought to do something better than sitting through my tedious speeches,’ I say, attempting a light-hearted air. ‘I’ll be fine. I prefer it with fewer people.’

Despite my abundance of layers, my spine grows cold. I was sweating only moments before through the thermal shirt from the intensity of the hike paired with my lack of energy. And, of course, fretting and dripping sweat at the thought of sharing what had happened with Ron. Just thinking about the black, ornately decorated mask, and the full lips enclosing the cigarette.

I couldn’t see their eyes or any other shred of skin. My dread was induced by what I could see: the figure was tall, broad-shouldered, and smiling at me like my fear was the most enjoyable sight.

I can still taste the smoke.

When I hike back down the hill, I breathe deeply, trying to uncoil my twisted insides. I’m not sure why the memories before the war and the dreams that shadow that period have resurfaced with this unexpected prowler.

All the death eaters are gone.

Perhaps it was only expected that my demons would eventually develop blood and bones, hunting me through the night until I am thoroughly humiliated and disgraced.

‘You vile—'

He's crowding me into the wall until I can scarcely breathe. ‘And you keep coming back...’

Thank goodness he’s dead.

Thinking the words makes my throat choke up.My life would be a living nightmare if he stayed alive.

‘Ms Granger!’ Arthur, the hostler, shouts at me from the gate that separates my land from the open forest and knolls.

He used to call me Mrs Weasley before I amended him, and every time he did, I could only imagine Mrs Weasley herself: the matriarch and my second mother by nature.

‘Arthur?’ I jog down the track, meeting him at the gate. ‘What is it?’

‘Nae to worry about,’ he says in a thick accent. ‘Paddock’s had a pile of bird’s bones scattered in th’grass. Thought I’d tell ye.’

‘Birds bones?’ I say, raising a brow while crossing my arms against the chill.

‘Could be a tod or summat,’ he says. Tod means ‘fox’, as I have come to learn over the years of Scottish discourse. He waits for me with his small, green eyes and thick, brown beard that drowns half his face.

‘Let’s take a look,’ I suggest.

Inside the paddock where the horses roam, the aura feels peculiar. I glance at Arthur, who is squatting low to grab a hold of the small, bleached skulls. There is a concreated gathering of them that he directed me towards.

The longer I look at the grass, the more tiny bones poke out of its healthy, green blades.

They are everywhere.

It’s bizarre because they are not from freshly killed corpses but rather from foraged bones that have been sitting dormant for some time, letting the elements strip them of their former skin.

Of course, it’s not a fox.

In Arthur’s bewilderment, I suppose he thought it better to reassure instead of worrying me with elusive, bone mysteries that would likely lead to a dead end.

‘Would you like help cleaning them up?’ I suggest.

The sky is glumly overcast despite the vivid blue that painted my morning.

My hands are desperate to burrow deeper into the pockets of my white coat. I’ve had to put my Gryffindor scarf on, unknowingly matching it to the red yoga pants that are doing little to keep me warm.

‘Shud manage on ma own,’ he assures.

I’d usually insist.

Going to bed for a prolonged nap seems far too appealing to staying outside a moment longer. I’ve barely slept all week. I wake up with the same thoughts I was thinking before dropping off.

If I continue this way—

I’ll be stumbling at my book signing tomorrow.

Or…I could always brew up a Vitamix potion.

Wormwood, Root of Asphodel and Monkshood.

I haven’t made one for some time, but the ingredients and method are engrained into the vast archives of my thoughts. Gathering the measurements from each to drop into my copper cauldron, I watch Arthur from the kitchen window in case he stumbles into my witchery.

Sofia has already left.

The idea of Arthur finishing in an hour makes me shiver.

If the intruder emerges, I will have my wand ready this time!

There is a trickle of time between now and nightfall when I can nap without fear of consequences, recovering any morsels of vitality. I am stirring the contents when a ping from my phone pulls my thoughts away. Arthur is still squatting in the paddock, except now he has a bin beside him, which he is scooping and dumping the carcasses into.

I ignore my phone lest I blunder the entire potion by being distracted.

Ping!

A curse flies out as I extend my right arm towards the lit screen.

My heart lodges in my throat.

Unknown Number:

I love it when you look into my eyes.

Unknown Number:

From the kitchen window, I can almost taste you.

Another message pings the exact instant I finish reading the last one.

Unknown Number:

Should we have some fun tonight, Birdie?

Chapter 3: Playing Fair

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (3)

My eyes shoot up to the window.

No cloaked man is waiting to puff smoke towards the barred glass. Or with a phone in hand to send tantalising texts—of course! If it wasn’t for Arthur, I could scream with equal rage and frustration. Who does he think he is? Prowling around the property of a young, married woman!

Am I expected to call the Muggle Police or the Magical Law Enforcement? I can hardly distinguish whether it’s a man or a wizard by the pixilated letters alone. The ordeal reminds me of the TV shows I have glimpsed Ron watching, where the girls die because they ignore the signs. Even my parents brought me up to be cautious about stalkers—obviously without specifications of their mystical or mortal blood type.

Did they mention anything against retaliation?

I’d imagine they’d frown upon it if I had suggested it.

Me:

f*ck off, you sick f*ck!

Me:

I will blast you to the other end of the highlands if you come anywhere near me!

I dread to imagine what blasting may translate to in a muggle’s mind. At least if it’s a wizard, they will understand that I am certainly not willing to have some ‘fun’. I stare at my phone for so long, to no reply. I’ve reread each of his words until a burning smell catches my attention.

‘No, no, noooo!’ I protest.

The liquid inside the cauldron has turned a grubby colour and is rapidly evaporating into deadly fumes that curl towards the ceiling. The spoon is still in my hand, and I nearly drop the phone into it in my bid to act fast and fling the window open before the fire alarms reveal my predicament to Arthur. It looks heedless since I have a prowler nearby, watching me.

Maybe this is what he wanted: to keep me exhausted and paranoid so I slip up, giving him an easy target.

I am tempted to send him an onslaught of threats. To warn him against playing games with me! Instead, I scoop the sticky sludge into a mug, where I can dispose of the toxic mixture someplace away from animals and muggles. I will have to remake the whole thing again. This time, I will concentrate wholeheartedly even if said stalker decides to put me off again.

Or…I can make myself an espresso later this evening.

Hiding the cauldron and my plant allies, I grab my wand, lock the front and back doors, and climb the stairs two at a time, determined to get enough sleep while the light keeps the creep at bay. Should I warn Arthur about it? Except, if I did, we would all be involved with the muggle police. Ron and Sofia Included.

I should keep quiet.

He’s leaving shortly, and last I checked, he was walking the bin back to the office adjacent to the stables. It’s not as if the stranger can just kidnap a burly Scotsman, right?

I’m undressing when I realise that I abandoned my phone. I consider grabbing my dressing gown and seizing it quickly, but I have never needed it beside me in bed until now. In a way, I am glad for the slip-up. If the stalker disturbs my sleep, I may turn feral and hunt for him with my wand across every inch of the property.

I’m flitting in and out of sleep, wondering how the cold air has reached my legs from beneath the generous duvet and pelts covering me. I stir, grazing my bare feet against the soft bedding. I would run back into a burning house for my sheets: the Egyptian cotton against my naked skin is one of my favourite feelings in the world. Skimming my legs against it, I think again about how the chill can be so apparent when I am dressed in a full-body pyjama set and woollen socks.

My eyes shoot open.

The room is warmly lit by a tall lamp in the corner.

I violently rub my eyes to disperse the tiredness toiling to pull me under again. There are vital thoughts I need to have—who turned the light on? My feet clench into the mattress—where are my socks?

The duvet is missing.

With a terrifying soberness, I wait for the black dots to clear in my vision. When they scatter, I see that my legs are bare to the elements: wearing nothing but my silky, black shorts that I garb in the heart of the summer, matched by a revealing, black vest. I reach for my wand on instinct, bursting out of bed.

Almost immediately, I trip over the duvet bunched up on the floor, falling belly-first into the messy strew of bedding. I am panting heavily when I land, heaving myself up as quickly as possible with unceremonious panic. I stumble towards the wardrobe by sheer luck, pressing my back against the cherry wood while I scour the entire room, trying desperately to recover my breath.

I don’t.

My phone pings.

No one appears to be in the room with me unless they could be hiding on the other side of the bed. The key at my door is turned, and the window is latched in place.

Resolving not to leave any rock unturned, I edge around the queen-sized bed—wand pointed at the ready.

When I flank Ron’s side, there is not a single thing amiss.

Abruptly, I fall to my knees.

‘Lumos!’ I squeal, my voice still hoarse from sleep. The darkness under the bed vanishes as soon as the tip of the wand comes to life, and again, no intruder waits for me in all the anticipated places.

My phone pings again.

My stomach drops when I recall I left it in the kitchen before taking my nap. I rise on unsteady legs, slowly rounding the bed and approaching my bedside table, where my locked screen glows with a mocking life. The picture of the Edinburgh Central Library is replaced with a grey display, revealing two messages.

Unknown Number:

Are you ready for me now?

Play fair, or Arthur dies.

Rules:

1. Take the entire draught on your vanity.

2. Find Arthur before I catch you.

Unknown Number:

No shoes. No coat. I want to see your pretty naked flesh darting past while I hound you.

My entire body goes cold.

I look at the vanity, seeing a green glass bottle waiting. Does he think I’m stupid?

Ping!

I look down.

Unknown Number:

I know you’re good at swallowing.

Drink. It. I won’t ask again.

I could clout myself in the head for neglecting Arthur while a psycho is lurking about. If this bastard does anything to him…I dash towards the vanity, pulling the cork off the elusive bottle and lifting it to my nose.

I inhale cautiously.

Right away, I pick up the familiar notes of Lovage, Scurvygrass and—

My bedroom door clicks.

I wait for several heartbeats in silence. The handle remains untouched. Not a breath or a footstep can be heard from the other side. I remain frozen. Tears have started welling in my eyes, threatening to unleash. I smear them away with my bare arm, hating how vulnerable and cold I feel.

Arthur.

The gentlest, most humblest man.

He has an entire family at home. He practically beams with pride when he talks about his wife and seven children, who have given him three beautiful grandchildren with whom he spends his days off with.

f*ck this motherf*cker!

I suspect what the drink will do. I received a distinction in my O.W.L.S. for Potions, after all. At least I have my answer: he is definitely from the wizarding world. Do I know him? Has Ron insulted someone? I can’t possibly rationalise why this would be happening.

He must be insane.

How dare he warn me about playing fair when I could be poisoned just enough to hallucinate?

I swallow a lump.

It’s far too late to make arguments when a precious life is at risk. I will have to save the retribution for when I confront this lunatic. I down the drought, renouncing a gag that threatens to spit it all out. Wiping my mouth, I welcome the rage that simmers beneath my flesh. My hand grips my wand with newfound conviction as I power walk towards the bedroom door, pulling it open, ready to assault any entity behind it.

But there is only darkness, except where my lamp reaches.

It casts a long shadow on the railing that winds around the stairs, vanishing into more obscurity.

The house is completely dark except for my bedroom.

I try the hallway switch.

Nothing

‘Lumos Maximus!’ I throw the spark overhead, casting luminosity above the entire landing and stairs.

‘You vile piece of sh*t!’ I bellow, stepping out into the corridor. My hand finds the rail out of habit, and I trail it to the stairs, glancing down to see the foyer sufficiently lit but empty. ‘You’re messing with the wrong f*cking witch. I promise you that much!’

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Is that right?

‘I’ll scorch this f*cking thing! I’m done talking to you,’ I yell in response.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Oh, Birdie. If you keep teasing me, I will have to oblige you.

My pace is frantic by the time I step into the foyer.

The front door is wide open. An invitation? I hardly care at this point. I can’t even feel the icy wind that grasps my skin in glacial tendrils, raising goosebumps and tickling the loose strands that have escaped my braid.

It’s the draught taking effect...

He’s using magic to hide himself, following me about and taunting me with texts when he knows precisely where I am. I’d scarcely call it being hounded.

‘You're sick,' I say bitterly, knowing I don’t need to yell to be heard. ‘If you want to play games, play them with me. Involving innocent people is a coward’s game.’

My feet skim my muddied wellies as I step outside.

Ping!

My phone remains in my hand, ignored.

Instead, I glower at the darkness surrounding my property. All appears as it should be: the gravel road is empty, and the dim light above the office is on, casting a faint glow on the path towards the stables. I muster a straight spine and walk down the porch steps as if the unforgiving ground doesn’t affect me.

Several small rocks have started burying into my soles when I’m halfway to the stables: my jaw is so firm, I fear it could crack a few teeth if I don’t find Arthur soon.

‘Arthur!’ I scream into the hauntingly quiet night.

Stopping, I do a quick full-circle sweep, noticing that the front door of my house is still open. I turn back to the stables. ‘ARTHUR!’ I shout with all my might.

‘Ms. Granger?’

A low, hesitant reply sounds from somewhere nearby. I start running. ‘Arthur?! Where are you?’

My tender feet take me towards the barn door. I haul it open with an earsplitting shriek.

When I peer inside, the lights are already lit, and a gust of wind howls from the opposite end, crashing into me. The sliding doors for the paddock are drawn, and all the horses are gone. ‘I’m here, Arthur. I’m here! You can come out,’ I say through a sob, having stepped on something that feels like a small spike.

I’m breathless with panic.

Small stars have started to frame my vision, purposely crowding in. It’s been five years that I haven’t had to struggle for my life or for the ones of those I love. When I walk in this land, it’s slowly and mindfully, and when I’m here in the stables, it’s healing and nourishing.

This is all wrong.

‘Arthur!’ I chance, sensing myself lapsing. As soon as I start running towards the open entryway, my legs become gruelling as if I’m endeavouring to sprint through a ruthless ocean, but I break out into the opening, on the verge of collapse.

The draught...

I have to breathe. I need oxygen.

My hair is blowing around my face. It’s like a storm out here, though it’s unclear what’s causing it. When I look up, trying to find the same stillness of minutes ago, I see a thousand black bodies flying around me. At my notice, they grow condensed: some of them parting to accommodate me while the wings of others slap against my arms and cheeks.

I’m hallucinating. I tell myself.

It’s a whirlwind of birds.

My feet are searching the softer ground, discerning the gentleness of earth that is meant to be trodden in. This is where the steeds and stallions rekindle and bask in their freedom. I am in the paddocks now, stepping into the amiable ground.

Where are the horses?

Ms. Granger'

Arthur’s muffled voice travels over the tumult.

He’s so close!

Ping!

When I glance down, I can barely read a single word on my screen—even the time is blurred.

I lift the phone closer to my face, squinting.

Unwnkow Nurmber:

Boo.

My knees buckle, and I nearly lose the phone.

f*ck off!’ I roar, desperate to recover my wits.

The tears torrent down my cheeks, but I don’t care if he sees my anguish. My thoughts chime Arthur’s name on repeat.

Where is he?

He has to be nearby.

An idea forms in my mind, a solid thought, and I don’t hesitate to consider it further. I lift my phone through the haze, squinting at the screen, disobeying my limbs that have started to give into the drought. By sheer mechanical memory—I think I am successful in pulling up my call log. My eyes go cross-eyed looking at each name. In the struggle, I think I dropped my wand.

'Aruthr'

The birds start croaking loudly as I bring the phone to my ear, waiting for an endless ring. Finally, he answers, and I almost choke with joy. ‘Arthur! Where are you? Come out, I’m here in the paddock!’ I yell over the clamour.

There’s a pause. ‘Ms. Granger? What ye doing doon there? I’m at ma hoose...’

Suddenly, footfalls develop in front of me.

‘…Should I come there? Is the summat wrong?...Ms. Granger?’

That’s the last thing I hear from Arthur before the call drops.

The footsteps stop.

‘You found him,’ a deep, unfamiliar voice mocks.

Beholding my stalker, I can only perceive a dim silhouette in front of me, a foot away. I want to curse at him. I need to scream at him. I have to reach my arms forward as he starts swarming me deeper into the recessing blackness that threatens to consume me. But I can’t. I can’t do anything but gawk at him vacantly.

My hands release the phone just as my shoulders liberate their strength, and I bow in front of this terrible man, my hands buried in the mud.

I open my mouth, and nothing comes out.

‘I don’t play fair, Birdie.’ His voice is so close like each word is warming my ear. ‘That’s how I get what I want.’ Then, he leans closer to taunt, ‘And the hunt has only just begun.’

My head is being lifted, though I can't feel with what or from where. I am forced to confront him again, and he snickers at my weak attempt at a glower. Of course, this is funny. It’s precisely how he wants me: pathetic and vulnerable.

I want to slit my eyes at him, but instead, I stare.

As if made of something lustrous, his opaque mask is patterned with a shimmering film: it’s the only thing I can see, or perhaps, it’s the only thing he is letting me see. I am desperate to know his face: to see a shred of something human. He is spellbinding: a solitary entity in this bleak, misty world created around me.

I think he smiles at my evident gawking. His full lips catch my gaze, and I watch them move. ‘Give me your mouth willingly, or I will take so much more unwillingly,’ he warns with a silky tone.

How can something so terrible sound enticing?

I blink.

The birds are still storming around us.

It’s perfect, really. It’s what I imagine my mind looks like. I have dreamed of raging seas and vengeful cyclones for as long as I can remember.

My lips part.

Before I know it, the mask and the gathering stars of my diminishing vision have become one. There is a suppleness that presses into my mouth. It’s soft and inviting, and I cannot form a single thought to contest it. But all at once, it grows thrusting and urgent, and I am held firmly in place as heat and wetness part my lips, lapping hungrily into my own. There is no more gentleness. He is devouring me, and fingers are gripping my neck, stealing the last of my breath.

‘Mmmm...you taste so sweet, don’t you, Granger?'

'How have you kept this devastating sweetness from me.’

I gasp at the memory.

My stalker grins, and a goading chuckle leaves his throat when a husky sound escapes me.

But it drowns, and I sink further into the moans and growls until the cavernous night takes me.

Chapter 4: Racy Tights 4 Clever Girls

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (4)

Knock!

My head is thumping violently as if a nerve is throbbing out of place. I wrench the covers over my face, even though the curtains are somehow drawn, casting the room in a perpetual eclipse. All night, I dreamt that swallows were striking my window, thrashing wildly as if possessed. There was something ominous about their chirping right before they beat into the glass. I couldn’t shut them up, even when I became conscious inside the menacing vision, as Professor Sybill once taught in Divination on Lucid Dreaming.

Their shrieks haunted me all through the night. At some point, I was yelling for Arthur, and I hoped to the gods that I wasn’t doing it aloud.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

‘Hermione?’ Sofia mutters from the other side of my bedroom door. ‘Are you not feeling well?’

I groan.

‘Just a minute!’ My voice is grating. It’s as if I chewed on nails in my sleep.

I desperately need to quench it with water. But I couldn’t get up to unlock the door for Sofia even if a Hungarian Horntail threatened to scorch my bed.

There is a long pause, and I think she is gone.

‘Ok, well…breakfast is on the table. Do you need anything from me?’ Sofia asks finally.

Ping!

What is that? ‘I’ll be down in a minute,’ I croak again, burying my face into the duvet.

I hear her footsteps travel down the hall as the annoying chime reverberates through my skull, and I roll to my bedside table, seeing a bright glow through my closed lids.

Opening my eyes feels like gashing them with a blade. Reaching the phone with weak fingers, a sinking feeling ripens at the thought of Ron probing me for a phone call.

There is no way in hell that I’m hiking a hill—

Unknown Number:

I love it when you look into my eyes like this.

(Image)

My fingers fight with the passcode, suddenly forgetting the pattern I am so used to drawing. The sinking feeling only intensifies as I sweep over the conversation, seeing the fragments of my dreams in a physical manifestation.

The blue light is blinding, but I endure it. There is a picture attached to the latest message. I click on it, but it’s murky at first glance. There’s a white blob in the centre surrounded by blackness. I have to rub my eyes, waiting for them to refocus. When they do, I sit up so brutally fast that my head protests like I’ve been gouged in the skull.

It’s a picture of me.

I’m on my knees in my skimpy black pyjama set.

My arms and legs are soiled with streaks of mud, and my boobs are almost jutting out of the disarranged fabric. I’m looking up at the camera, hazel eyes clear in the flash and a mane of wild curls framing my face. The whites of my eyes are bloodshot, while the skin around them is rubbed red. They are tear-streaked, and the wetness is smeared down my cheeks, bypassing my plump and flushed lips.

My countenance is abandoned.

I’m peering up at my stalker, vacant and helpless.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

I can’t wait to taste you again tonight.

I roar into the empty bedroom, thumping my fingers against the keyboard.

Me:

I WILL f*ckING KILL YOU!!!!

I get up abruptly, plotting all the despicable things I will do to this psycho when I find him. I land with a thump on the timber flooring, rattling the standing mirror and the bottles in my vanity.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Careful with your pretty threats, Birdie. The temptation to send the souvenir to your pitiful husband is too tempting.

Me:

GO AND f*ck YOURSELF!!!!!!

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Try again.

Me:

LEAVE. ME. ALONE. AND GET f*ckED!!!!!

Ping!

Unknown Number:

You’re begging me to make the next one more explicit for him.

I pinch the bridge of my nose, exhaling forcefully.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

;)

Before I can form a coherent thought, I throw my phone at the headboard, and it leaps off the ornately carved wood, crashing with a satisfactory crack on the floor.

f*ck him.

And f*ck the phone.

Hammering down the stairs, I remember to muster an air of casual indifference, and I slow my steps a notch, hearing Sofia switching the hoover off at my arrival.

The fury grips my throat from the inside.

I feel like sprinting into the forest to snarl and bellow my rage. But my feet ache, and yet, when I started dressing, I realised that I was wearing the full-body cat pyjamas I went to bed in. My woollen socks covered my unblemished feet.

The psycho is healing and undressing me himself!

‘What were you fighting upstairs?’ Sofia asks from the threshold of the living room. She is leaning her right shoulder in the stone arch, watching me with woeful eyes. She’s wearing something bright: a yellow dress, but I can scarcely focus on the details.

‘You look pretty.’ I smile so brightly at her—it hurts. I make sure my words are sharp and gaudy when I say, ‘I was trying to Stupefy a rodent. Nasty, nasty little thing it was. Don’t worry, though. It will be dead soon.’

She raises a brow, clearly confused at my out-of-character response. ‘Thank you…’ her eyes drop to my legs. ‘They’re lovely! Oh, and I put your breakfast in the oven so it wouldn’t get cold.’ Her eyes skim over my jumper. ‘Is something going on, Hermione?’

My book signing at Flourish and Blotts. ‘I have to go to Diagon Alley in the afternoon for a signing. Can you remind Ron if he happens to call? Tell him I’m busy with preparations all day.’

I can’t imagine anything worse than talking to my husband right now.

Sofia voices her concord, and I take her cordial response as my encouragement to go to the kitchen and grab the warm cup of coffee beside an appealing bagel from the oven. I don’t think that my stomach can handle any food about now.

Glancing out the window while I drink, staring daggers into the trees, I notice a figure moving in the paddocks.

Arthur.

Without considering how strange it looks—I walk to the front door, still sipping my coffee in my slippers, without grabbing my coat. I undoubtedly look the part of a crazy cat lady: the ginger cat slippers resembling Crookshanks (who passed away last year) paired with my remarkably messy bun. I’m wearing floral fishnets beneath a bulky black jumper that says ‘Calamus Gladio Fortior’ in an edgy, elegant font, with a nifty long sword detailed between my shoulder blades at the back.

The Latin phrase translates to; The pen is mightier than the sword.

I haven’t worn it since I bought it.

But today, it looked exceptionally appropriate.

Stepping onto the porch, I immediately feel eyes on me. It could be Sofia glancing out the living room window, concerned at my odd behaviour. Yet I suspect my prowler is about and witnessing my carefully curated parade.

I hope the snidey pervert can read Latin.

I'm not scared of you, asshole!

Taking the steps at a leisurely, easeful pace—I suppress a shiver when I involuntarily evoke the picture he sent me. I have never felt so humiliated in all my life. The forbidding reality is that I don’t remember him taking it. Not one second of it. There was a flash because my eyes were bright and dotted with red, like every family picture from my childhood taken on a disposable camera.

Everything was so raw.

I looked like a victim of sexual assault.

It feels strange sauntering in the serene path I was sobbing over in my attempt to find Arthur, feet pressing into the jagged gravel, living a literal nightmare.

He’s sick.

What kind of man takes pleasure out of torment?

My lungs refill with relief when I spot all the horses ambling merrily around the enclosure, untouched by whatever corruption altered my perception. As I step into the lush field, I don’t notice any remnants of blackbirds or swallows through feathers or bones. Arthur doesn’t even look when I approach. He’s got a clipboard in hand, jotting down any observations he makes about the horses and their habits.

‘Good morning, Arthur,’ I say cheerily, pretending that coming outside in such a fit with a mug that reads: ‘Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read,’ is what I do on a daily.

His eyes glide to me over the clipboard. ‘Ye’re lookin’ jolly this morning,’ he points out. ‘Yer lad back?’

I ignore how his awareness lingers on my provocative tights and feral slippers. ‘Not yet.’ I sip my coffee. ‘But my husband will be back soon,’ I state with subtle emphasis, leering at the trees around us. Then, glancing up at Arthur, I ask, ‘Did you receive a call from me last night?’

He frowns, his bristly brows meeting in the middle. ‘Nae, why? Did yer need summat?’

Just as I thought.

We talk for a short time. As I walk back, I inconspicuously check the perimeter for any sign of my wand. The vine wood and heartstring core would definitely stand out.

But it’s not here.

‘I don’t play fair, Birdie.’

My heart could break at the thought of it being in that lunatic’s hands. At least I’ll be going to Diagon Alley soon, and I can purchase another one in the meantime.

Garrick Ollivander has since been replaced by his son, who is a quiet and timid fellow. It suits me well on occasions like this, where an explanation seems too personal to disclose. I think about what to wear: my cute tartan skirts with a whole array of turtlenecks to match. It complements the picture on the dust cover of my books.

When I look down at my outfit, I see someone different, wearing the evidence of the darkness that haunts her. I don't know whether I'm trying to provoke him or myself.

Yet somehow, I feel comfortable like this.

By not subduing what’s inside, I feel more powerful than ever.

I’ve spent the hours before my departure gathering papers and rehearsing important lines I want to include in my presentation. Besides that and my lack of preparation, I’m eager to see how a more casual approach will fare. Occasionally, talking academically for too long is dulling and dispiriting, and I’m willing to try and step out of the mould for once.

When I go to my bedroom, the curtains are drawn, and by the looks of it—Sofia has amended the chaos from this morning.

Just seeing my phone on the bedside table makes me feel like I'm in the vicinity of that lunatic.

I decide to remain with what I’m wearing, which will raise a few brows. Sitting at my vanity, I apply the lipstick (my only form of makeup), allowing myself a heavier hand when coating the brownish rogue with my finger. It daubs on smoothly, and I suck my finger lightly to ensure none of it settles on my teeth.

Ping!

‘I hope you trip from a very tall cliff,’ I say aloud while spraying perfume on my neck and wrists.

Ping!

I pretend to be unconcerned about his annoying pressure. Instead, I put my black Doc-Martens on with unhurried leisureliness. When I’m finished, I pretend to look for something on my bedside table before entertaining him. I’m surprised it doesn’t ping again while I riffle through random pieces of paper and indulge in an over-the-top nostalgic moment when I come across a few pictures from a holiday with Ron’s family.

Feigning to glance at the time, I see three messages:

Ron:

Good luck! Love you! X

I don’t swipe it open.

Unknown Number:

Good luck! Love you! X

I roll my eyes. Very funny.

Unknown Number:

I can’t wait to watch you talking cleverly in those racy tights.

I scoff before typing back a reply.

Me:

YOU ARE NOT COMING, ASSHOLE!! And I expect my wand back when I’m home!!

I silence my phone, carrying it over to my bag on the end of the bed.

How he knows so much is beyond me. There are limitations even to magic. It’s like he’s all-seeing, a presence that shadows me but doesn’t breathe or slip up.

Checking my phone once more, I grin.

My stalker hasn’t replied.

Clearly, following me in the wizarding world would be way too obvious. There are some wizards and witches who are attuned to invisible enchantments. It would take someone exceptionally dark to go unnoticed in a public, magical place.

Thankfully, those given to the dark mark are gone.

Sofia watches me leave, and I nod in her direction just as I throw the powder at the foot of the hearth, shouting my intended location. The emerald flames consume me, transporting me to Diagon Alley.

Chapter 5: 'Be a good girl for me'

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (5)

The two-story shop of Ollivanders looms painfully vacant.

I peek through the windows, yearning for an indication of anything: a warm seepage from a backroom light or even a sulking pet. There is a sign on the door, but I’m trying to ignore it. The moving portrait of Ollivander feels like a gibe, considering the futile words scribbled above his bust.

Any queries or complaints: Speak to the portrait!

‘Ten and three-quarters Vinewood with a dragon heartstring core… Miss. Hermione Granger from the House of Gryffindor! Ten and three-quarters Vinewood with a dragon…’ he keeps parroting in a loop.

I tune him out while I press my forehead into the glass.

My line of defence is gone.

There will be no time for tears—I tell myself while pressing the backs of my thumbs into my eyes, forcing the helplessness back to sorrow in some other part of my body. I have a signing, for god’s sake! And bursting out in tears in the bookstore would surely make it to a strip in the Daily Prophet, knowing my luck.

My stalker is probably laughing right now.

It’s a good thing he can’t taunt me with texts here.

The signal is dead.

Why are you not telling Ron about him?

The accusing thought resurfaces. In truth, I’m terrified of what this stranger knows. He talks to me like he knows me. He replies to me when the response is half-forming in my thoughts. That damned picture he threatened to send to Ron looks like a cutout from some perverse p*rno. But worst of all, what if he knows about what I did—

My head whips around to the left, where footsteps echo in the cobblestone.

It’s a Wednesday.

Of course, it’s mostly empty.

The wizard is probably on their way towards the same place I should be, setting up a stand and preparing to sell my book. Though, at least in my perpetual state of panic, I haven't thought about that particular death eater who haunts my dreams with all the malevolent words and acts he was capable of. Not once today did he cross my thoughts. But it's hardly reassuring when a very real monster has replaced him.

I've hardly thought about Ron, too...

My husband.

Who deserves so much better than me.

The young, charming man in Flourish and Blotts has alleviated my evening.

Muddled in his faraway place—he just disclosed a store security measure while preparing my cup of tea, ranting about a group of students who tried to sneak in with powerful invisibility charms.

‘It’s impossible! The spell is a part of the foundations: as old as the structure itself!’

So my stalker won’t be able to watch me like he claimed.

I scour the crowd thoughtfully before I forsake my fears and start talking, seeing if anyone catches my eye. I only recall that he was pale, broad, muscular, and with abundant lips straight from hell. It’s a very vague image, to be honest.

I can hazily remember the assault on my mouth before I blacked out.

It’s not enough to justify why my hands are growing clammy. My hormones have been stirring wildly with all this mounting lack of sleep and constant state of paranoia.

Putting my purple-framed glasses on, I abandon the comfort of the squeaky stool, clearing my throat before I welcome everyone with a beaming smile, noticing several familiar faces.

It’s dusk when I arrive home from the Leaky Cauldron.

The presentation went so well: a group from the crowd gathered after it was finished for a prolonged conversation, carrying it over to a large table in the crowded pub. My belly is warm with mead and wine, and as the author, I was offered several drinks, forgetting my grief in the friendly discourse and hearty cups. I grew heady with excitement, recalling what it felt like to be surrounded by people. Yes, I know they are wizards. But at the end of the day, I have become more used to the company of birds and horses and any token of my temporal desires: interacting with a community or being heard by like-minded people is a welcome one.

I shrug off the light spattering of rain that I somehow picked up along the floo network. When I look around the vacant space, it takes me a moment to realise that everything is plainly normal. Sofia has left the lamps on for my arrival, and the curtains are all drawn.

There’s no sign of that menace, at least.

I discard my bag on the sofa, plopping myself into a footstall and reaching for my shoelaces. I’m sloppy, and it takes me a few minutes to shuffle my feet out of the taut leather. When I do, I immediately reach for the band of my fishnets, relieved to feel them rolling down my bare legs.

I'm half-dressed when I go to venture upstairs, spotting a picture of me and Ron in front of my hardback classics collection. Then, leaping back to the plush footstool on my toes, I rummage through the notepads and pluck out the white device, thinking I should tell Ron about my successful evening.

It’s still turned off.

But I daren’t check it. Yet.

It would be nice to shower in ignorant peace, even if the creep is moping about outside, sizing me up. Perhaps I have grown careless or stupid, or it’s the lulling liquid in my system, swirling around as I take the stairs one at a time—following the cherrywood rail the entire journey, basking in my small figment of ease. Reaching the top, I notice how lovely and clean the house is, and I’m struck with immense gratitude for Sofia. There have been days when the nightmares leave such an impression: I forget to eat.

When Arthur isn’t around, she’s been known to levitate food towards me, reminding me to stay nourished if she notices I haven’t touched the cupboards or fruit bowl.

I hardly think Ron would notice. He adores his work and spends abundant time with Harry, seeing all his family, too, when they take lunch breaks at the newly-built Burrow.

I pull my phone up, turning it on while locking the door behind me in the bathroom.

There are no texts.

Me:

Thank you, darling! I had a wonderful time :) I went for a few drinks afterwards, and I’m home now, about to shower. Any idea when you will be back? X

I send the message, not expecting a response tonight. I venture away from the conversation, and my finger roams over the chat with the unknown number. Unable to resist the urge, I open it, and I’m immediately drawn to the picture of me.

My stomach coils at seeing my sparkly, tear-drowned eyes. They are glossed over with fear. Yet, there is more to my gaze…something akin to astonishment. I recall him wearing a mask, but the details are still nebulous. He may as well have shown me his face, and I wouldn’t have remembered it the following day, anyway.

Maybe this is why I’m petrified of Ron seeing it.

Thinking about the power this stranger has over me is making my hands itch for the security of my wand. I twist the shower nozzle and wait for the steam to beckon me. Liberating my tousled bun, I run my fingers and nails through my scalp and moan at the simple pleasure.

Opening a drawer, I find my hair comb and quickly untangle the curls with coconut oil before styling them in a milkmaid’s braid.

The shower felt so good: I could weep from the release it offered.

After brushing my teeth, I dress in my oversized jumper again, realising I left the dressing gown in the bedroom. With my phone in hand, I step outside the bathroom and skip barefoot down the hallway, heading to fetch my underwear, socks and pyjamas.

I grasp the bronze doorknob and push—

It’s locked.

‘What…’ I murmur to myself. Maybe Sofia locked it with a spell by accident? It can only be locked from the inside…

Don’t be so stupid, Hermione.

From somewhere in the house, there is the sound of a light switch being turned off.

And then another.

And another...

I scramble towards the guest bedrooms, Ron’s office and the second bathroom.

They are all locked.

A chill tickles the back of my neck, shifting my baby hair, and I turn abruptly.

At the other end of the corridor, my bathroom—whose door is still agape—the extractor fan purring—is the only light left when the one above me turns off.

My hand clenches around my phone. ‘What the f*ck are you doing?’ I bristle out, knowing he can hear me.

But my phone remains silent.

The droning of the extractor fan is the only sound I can hear over the pounding in my ears as I approach the top of the landing, glimpsing into the darkness at the foot of the foyer.

I need a weapon.

I need something.

If I’m fast enough—I could grab my keys and sprint for the car. I should drive to Sofia’s house, seeing as I’m utterly naked beneath this jumper. Though with the floo network, I don’t need to leave the house! I could grasp the powder and quickly transport myself away from this psycho and his perverse games.

My feet are light when they meet the stairs. Thankfully, I amended the creaky steps with an old housewife charm. I’m as quiet as a prowling predator when I round a turn, stopping as I try to navigate the impending obscurity below.

Nothing.

Not even an open front door like last night.

Without a second thought, I practically jump the last steps and dash straight for the fireplace.

‘sh*t!’

I can’t see anything!

My left leg hits something—

The footstool!

I can vaguely make out the fireplace beside it. I feel around with my hands, breathing heavily, my free fingers dipping chaotically into the pot with the powder. Clenching my fist in the ash-like substance, I grab a handful and raise a foot onto the stone slabs of the hearth, still feeling around its hollow body.

I think I’m in...

Gripping my phone tightly so I don’t lose it while travelling, I think about the rebuilt Lovegood’s house, where Luna resides alone.

I toss the powder at my bare feet and proclaim: ‘My house in Montrose!’

What the hell?

My mind is churning in bewilderment at what I just said…I was thinking Luna’s house, right?

I reach down into the dim outline of the pot, picking up more powder. ‘Lovegood house in Ottery St Catchpole…’ I recite aloud. ‘Lovegood house in Ottery Catchpole.’

Throwing the powder again, I declare, ‘My house in Montrose!’

Nothing happens.

Not a single green flame licks at my dust-covered feet.

How is he tampering with my words?

Ping!

A ball the size of a crab apple forms in my throat. My phone’s light is blinding, and I turn the brightness down as I lift it to my face, seeing a lone message waiting for me like a dreadful curse.

Unknown Number:

Put your tights back on.

My tights?

The ones I left on the footstool...

I start typing back an abusive response when a movement to my right catches my eye.

Glancing over at the living room window, I see the curtains are drawn. Outside, the sky is overcast with muted grey clouds that render the land in a strange light. My eyes adjust to the shapes: the knolls in the distance, the rooftop of the stables…a black figure on the other side of the glass.

My stomach barbs. ‘I’m calling the muggle enforcement, you sick bastard!’ I yell in a frenzy before swiping our conversation away and clicking the green phone symbol.

Tap!

Nothing

Tap!

Nothing

Ping!

I guise at the window.

Although faint—I can see where the light of his phone screen meets the skin below the mask: his plump lips are grinning, holding a cigarette between them that is unlit. His mask has a faint shimmer, but the rest of him is wholly obscure and shrouded in a black hood, not even a strand of hair slipping out.

I can sense he’s watching me, even if I can’t discern his eyes from the mask.

I look down at my lit screen.

Unknown Number:

Put. The. Tights. On.

I nearly lunge the phone towards him. ‘OR WHAT?!’ I bellow.

He only smiles wider while typing out a reply.

Ping!

I’m boring daggers into him before resolving to check his response.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

(Image)

Unknown Number:

Or your husband can see how much you like me.

I’m shaking when I press on the image, gasping in horror when it finally loads.

It’s almost identical to the other one…taken on the same night. I’m on my knees still, wearing the same skimpy black pyjamas, my arms and legs marked in grime. My cheeks are damp with tears, reddish against the flash. I’m looking up at the lens with hooded eyes that make it seem like they are rolled back with pleasure.

This time, my mouth is puckered around a finger.

His thumb.

A strapping and tatted left forearm is stretched towards me, his fingers holding my cheek as I suck the digit willingly. His black tattoo spirals the entire extent of the visible skin, ending towards the thumb…

It’s a snake.

The tattoo of the serpent disappears in my mouth, where my lips are wet around it.

Suddenly, a glow from the window prompts me to lift my head in his direction.

There’s a small blue flame on the tip of his wand, and he’s raising it towards his cigarette, igniting it. The act makes his mask shimmer brighter where, for a split second, I see his black eyes burning into me. Then, the flame vanishes, and all that’s left is the bright red cherry that he sucks in one long pull, exhaling the smoke in haunting swirls before resuming on his phone.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Be a good girl for me and follow my rules. And again, no shoes, no coat...

I'm trembling as I anticipate the three dots.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Then come outside and get your wand.

My wand?

He’s using my wand!

‘f*ck YOU!’ I yell at the window while leaving the fireplace, angrily swiping the tights on my way out. ‘Give me some f*cking privacy then, you disgusting pervert!’

I can feel his eyes on me the entire journey to the kitchen, even when I veer out of sight.

How does he do that? I dread to conceive the magnitude of his abilities. There is something inconceivably baleful about him, and I need to breathe as the fear of it grips me. I’m struggling to retain oxygen, and it’s making me lightheaded.

My knees are weak.

I could faint.

In the kitchen, I start violently pulling on the patterned fishnets, feeling wrong about tugging them over my bare folds and cheeks. I swipe a trickling tear before feverishly delving through the cutlery for a knife: a long and sharp one. I pull one out and fasten it to my hand like I do with my wand, prepared for combat. I remind myself to breathe like it’s a chant.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Deep ones!

Swiping my car keys from the counter, I worry I’m carrying too much in my two hands as I step into the foyer, where the front door is open, and the glacial breeze sends a paralyzing shiver down my spine.

Chapter 6: Come and Get It

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (6)

There is a parting in the clouds where the waxing moon blinks at me through a hazy film. Outside, it appears exactly how it feels: menacing. There are even tendrils of fog seeping through the open doorway—

I sniff the air, inhaling the ashy scent of cigarette smoke. No. Not fog.

I’m gripping the knife handle so tight that I could bruise myself before being given the opportunity to swipe at him. Treading onto the porch with equal trepidation and resolve, I’m grateful that my eyes are better adjusted to the dimness. Straightening my spine, I abandon the false sense of safety, releasing the doorframe that feels like a clutch, and straightaway turn my attention towards the trail of smoke.

What I don’t expect is to see him.

My stalker is at the far right of the porch, where the living room window looks out.

My nerves fluster as I process the unlikely surprise: the man is so tall and broad, it’s foreboding. He’s leaning languorously against the railing—long legs stretched and crossed at the ankles. The warm glow from the cherry he’s sucking reveals his evident delight.

He’s grinning like the lunatic he is.

‘What will it take to make you sincerely go f*ck yourself?’ I say, suppressing a tremble.

But he only watches me thoughtfully, unmoving.

It’s ominous how he loosely resembles a Dementor when releasing the white wisps of smoke, masking his enigmatic disguise and penetrating eyes.

‘I’m married...’ I accuse, realising belatedly how pathetic it sounds. 'My husband will be back soon.'

When he exhales this time, it comes out with a jeering chuckle, and I shift uncomfortably at his response.

Why is he so disturbingly silent? His predatory intent alone could devour me.

‘Where's m-my wand?’ I stammer after a prolonged hush.

When I think he doesn’t plan to respond, he abruptly flicks the cigarette butt out of the porch, releasing another long and lingering exhale before indulging me.

‘Come and get it,’ he says in a low throaty voice.

What does that entail?

‘Roll it to me,’ I retort, clamping the knife harder.

He must be using a spell of some kind to shroud himself with. He’s too grim—the shadows are overly professed around him. It’s as if he absorbs the nocturnal, radiating it from his robes and ashen skin.

‘I said: come and get it, Birdie,’ he purrs.

My backbone is crumbling. ‘I’m not coming anywhere near you!' I croak, fighting to keep the looming shiver at bay. sh*t! I feel like pissing myself!

He reaches for his left hand, slowly tugging the leather fabric from his strong and pronounced tendons, revealing the meandering snake that lives on his thumb and wrist. Then, he repeats the process with the other hand, never once diverting his brooding consideration of me. I almost believe he is obliging me: the serpent extending into the obscurity of his clothes. He pulls out something…

Another cigarette.

Bringing it to his lips, my mouth is gaping when I view the tip lighting itself: a tiny spark provoking, highlighting his intense jawline. He inhales and exhales again, deliberately, as if we have all the time in the world, even though my toes are on the verge of frostbite.

I clench my jaw. ‘Can you—’

‘You have ten seconds to get out of my sight and attempt the portkey on the hill,' he cuts me off, flicking his head towards the direction of the knolls behind the stables. ‘Or you may as well get on your knees now, and accept your reprisal.’

My insides buckle.

He discovered our portkey!

‘A reprisal for what?’ I accuse hoarsely as the suppressed shiver finally racks my spine. 'You're a pig, and I'm sick of your rotten games!' I sense my cheeks flushing. 'I'm going back inside before I get hypothermia.'

His cruel grin resumes at the sight of my shudder. ‘Nine,' he growls.

My body is screaming at me to run. ‘And what of my wand?’ I shift on my feet as a frigid chill sweeps beneath my jumper.

He drags the tip to life. Then, on an exhale, he says, ‘Seven.'

Following his words, the knife flies out of my hand, a terrifying crack announcing as I look down to see it buried in the wooden foundation.

The shadows intensify. ‘Five.'

My hand vibrates as the car keys soar into the bushes on cue. ‘You ghastly—'

The darkness around him ripples, seeming to close in on me, and the rest of my words dissolve on a choke as he brings the cigarette to his lips, speaking with it in his mouth.

Four…

My feet move of their own accord, hammering down the timber steps, imprinting themselves into the gravel with a punishing force. The effort is gruelling: my frantic intake of icy breaths prickle my skin just before reaching the lungs.

I can hear the horse’s disturbance in the distance as if something has abruptly roused them when I break through the trees, gasping and with a few toes uncomfortably poking out of the frayed fishnets. The wind has intensified regardless of the densely packed pines and oaks that should obstruct it, sending chills to my perspiring neck. I navigate the trail from distant memory, nearly spraining my ankle on several potholes and mole mounds. There are things I don’t anticipate: twigs that feel like bramble, the bursting slimy body of a slug.

Ron!’ I cry out.

He’s in Cornwall.

My husband can't save me from him.

It’s like the monster is here, on my heels, breathing pitiful reminders down my shoulder. Rounding a corner, I sprint on a stretch of flat ground that feels as if it goes on forever. The trees congregate around me, locking in the sounds of my pants and wheezing. I’m still gripping my phone in a sweaty hold, hoping that if I get away from him—the enchantment will break, and I can call for help. The nausea is bubbling. Around both of my hips, a cramp forms, eroding my strength.

Where is he?

I can’t hear anything over my terror and all its multi-faceted voices.

Ping!

I whimper as the wind roars above the tree line.

I’m almost at the end of this godforsaken path!

Suddenly, a loud croak like a caw bellows from behind, unnervingly close. I’m slowing down dramatically from the cramps. Seeing something pursuing me will give me a heart attack, so I don't look back. The ascent is only on the other side of the fence, which is finally in sight, a beacon of triumph.

I muster a surge of momentum that will likely kill me.

Arghhhhh!

The unexpected blow to the back of my head sends me hurtling towards the fence, crumpling into the frame that only creaks at the collision. My ears are ringing, and the left side of my face is numb from the harsh, direct impact, where it feels as if a tooth has jagged itself into my cheek.

I may have shattered the tooth, too.

My mouth is filling up with blood.

In my dazed and faint state, I’m tempted to remain here—slumping for dear life, where he can find me and kill me, offering me that final relief.

Please...

I nearly plead into the forest, swallowing a mouthful of the blood, the crow shrieking overhead. My phone has flown off somewhere beyond the fence, and in its place, my fingers are raw from reaching out into the splintered wood and lessening the impact. They are stinging, and somewhere or everywhere, a stinging nettle is grazing my skin.

The subsequent caw comes from immediately above me, and I glance up just as talons imprint themselves into my skull.

‘f*ck OFF!’

The bird is plucking my f*cking hair out!

I’m battering my arms at the enormous creature, gripping and pulling feathers into the darkness, screaming like a banshee.

The bastard is relentless!

It feels like it’s trying to lift me by my braid, and I can scarcely get a hold of it to wrench it away. Its fluttering wings are violent, thrashing into my head like I ate all its newborn hatchlings. I triumph in getting a hold of its foot. A crunch rings when I yank the frail bone, lashing my hand back into the fence when it strikes with the other foot, threatening me away.

The knuckles crack.

Or maybe it’s my fingers…shatteringone by one.

The infernal creature evaporates, not even a gust of air in its departure. I sit here, against the post of the fence, paralysed to my bones and sincerely wondering if I died. One of my hands is throbbing, while the other is scathed with claw marks. I’m probably semi-bald, and my mouth still oozes fresh blood.

Ping!

I'm definitely in hell.

An ugly and desperate sound that could be a rusted door hinge rattles as I begin laughing.

My body shudders when I look at the trail I had come from.

I thought I heard a footstep—

The bright light beside my foot makes me wince.

My phone.

The terrible little device travelled to me from its solidarity beyond the fence.

I’m shaking as I pluck it with the scored hand.

Unknown Number

Unknown Number

I don’t read the two messages waiting for me.

Chapter 7: Feast for Devil's

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (7)

‘Can I just lay on the b-bed?’ I’m shivering profusely while surveilling his slim back that ripples when he laughs soundlessly.

I’m on the floor, where he ordered me to bow, pleading until the tears had run their course.

As if the stuffy air around us has suddenly developed hands, the blanket I’m using to cover my bare body is torn from my hold. It’s harsh wool fibres maiming my skin.

I sense something despicable in his gaze as he sprawls himself on the emerald leather wingback, observing me like a predator, opening his stout legs and grazing the ringed finger across his lips.

His eyes turn completely black as if a shadow has swept across them.

They keep doing that…

I focus on the ‘M’ engraved in the silver ring instead.

His presence is unsettling…

‘Crawl to me,’ he bids.

His white hair is ruffled at the front from when I fought him. We struggled on the floor until his hand was on my throat, my eyes rolling back.

I gulp. ‘Why?

His eyes revert to their penetrating blue. ‘Crawl. To. Me.’

I can still taste the evidence of our arousal at the back of my throat.

This is the third time I have come to see him.

The second was like a war. When he told me of his intentions, I attacked him until I was bound to the bed, agreeing to his terms with a shriek, a hot black substance being poured in a pattern on my back and belly.

He licked my maidenhood blood from his lips, those eyes turning bottomless and sinister.

I had bruises all over my skin when I returned to our hiding place, and I have been trembling ever since like a glacial entity is permanently residing in my spine. But I've managed to keep them hidden.

Ron and Harry were jubilant all night at the arrival of an unexpected payoff that disclosed what the Death Eaters were devising for the foreseeable days.

It was brought by a bird—whose feathers moved the night and drowned its stars when it came down.

A massive raven.

The ink on the scroll was so black—I could feel the eyes boring into me from the cursive font.

Suddenly, I’m obliging on my hands and knees, slinking towards him with a fire in my eyes. This is not the same boy I went to school with.

I am terrified of him.

But he will perceive my vehemence every second I have to play his twisted games. Even if he punishes me for it.

My eyes break open, and what awaits me is not my bed.

It’s not my home…

It feels like a hundred things are piercing into my back while the wintry chill bites my cold nerves. There are rocks beneath me, and my hand is numbly grasping onto something. Above me, the tree canopy breaks to receive the stars. There are a thousand bodies twinkling down at me. It reminds me of the hill where our portkey is, littered with daisies and the bright suns of dandelion faces.

Portkey!

Ping!

I’m convinced I have died.

In my purgatory, the stalker is still taunting me, and I wonder what terrible things I did in my life to merit this torment. I’m teetering on the edge of blackness as I try to sit up, holding onto the longstanding frame that has both supported and tortured me.

In the morning, I may even ask Arthur to burn it.

If I'm alive...

I sob through the limbs that protest at my movements. I should stop. I may as well sit here and await my retribution. And yet, there is a part of me that recalls something lovely enough to make me muster a semblance of fortitude—Though I could not tell you what it is.

As soon as I get my wand. Or any wand…

He is f*cking dead.

I lift the throbbing hand towards my face, squealing at the brightness that burns my eyes.

Unknown Number:

Be wary of the big birdie.

The times of the texts are spread apart. The next one is minutes after…

Unknown Number:

I warned you, didn’t I?

My body crawls at the most recent one.

Unknown Number:

Now, I’m going to eat you alive.

The trees groan.

A menacing force is provoking the forest...

Suddenly, a warm feeling travels from my feet to my navel, continuing towards my chest and shoulders. It’s like the first breath of spring air when it seeps down to the tips of my fingers, caressing each one before journeying to kiss my cheek and scalp.

Has some magical hearth engulfed me in its flames?

The bottomless pain is subsiding.

And I am being lifted…

‘NO!’ I bellow.

My body is being compelled by some invisible force, dislodging the tiny rocks imprinted on my back. Then, before I can anticipate the ground at my feet, I am being turned towards the fence. My arms are spreading out like I’m preparing for a sacrifice.

Being drawn towards the wood, they clasp onto the barrier, obliged to hold it. Nothing is binding me to the wood. There are no shackles or chains.

Yet, I am restrained by it.

Captured.

Arrested.

I’m leaning forward, my back arching, and I’m jutting my ass towards the road I had come from. The darkness is closing in, like it did on the porch just before I ran. Something snarls behind me. It echoes through the trees.

It’s a growl.

‘Mm,’ he says.

His voice is all around me.

‘What an enticing invitation.’

Then, something caresses my hips. No, not something. His fingers.

They graze around the curve of my cheeks, drawing circles on the rim of the sizeable tear that exposes my bare ass to him. It feels like he’s goading me with his touch, sending tremors through my body as they tease the area, creeping up and down the cleft.

‘I love that you put these on for me,’ he croons.

My jaw clenches.

He’s pushes the finger between the folds. ‘It was torture watching you on the stand with your purple glasses...’ He is so close, and yet, I can’t feel him. There is only darkness. ‘How the pen is mightier than the sword...’

His chuckle is wholly derisive.

The psycho was at my book signing!

‘Go f*ck yourself,’ I snarl, clenching my thighs to prevent him.

‘Shall we put it to the test?’ His fingers graze my puckered hole, and I have to bite my lip to prevent a squeal. ‘I could turn my fingers into both and see which makes you cry the shrillest.’

I’m shuddering as my muscles fight to overpower his enchantment.

‘You heinous monst—’

My lips fasten.

He tsks. ‘I didn’t heal you so you could contest me.’ I can only grumble the rest of my words, and I sense a smile when he says, ‘Try again.’

My lips unfasten, and I continue the onslaught ‘—Nefarious and ghastly—' Until my lips abruptly clasp as the tips of his fingers venture to the warmth between my legs.

I grouse with a whimper.

Then, all at once, I can feel his body as it overpowers me like he just divulged himself. He is so thawing, and yet, his proximity is wintry. My muscles judder to escape him while my thighs betray me.

He finds my folds easily, breathing into my ear. ‘Despite your resolve to overcome me…’ he slides a fingertip on the slick entrance. ‘I can feel how you are partial to the sword breaking you open.’

I growl in objection.

‘Here’s what’s going to happen.’ His finger slides on my deceptive inclination, covering me in my wetness. When I think he’s pulling away, the damp fingers travel back to my cleft, grazing the evidence against the hole.

I whine pitifully.

My feet are shaking.

If his power didn’t support me, I would collapse.

‘I’m going to feast on my little Birdie until she claws through the barrier…’ I glance down at my fingers, noticing for the first time that they have been scraping the wood.

But he doesn’t finish his avowal.

The silence is deafening as the shadows ripple, grazing my quivering chin like they are an extension of him, mocking and luring my submission.

‘Your husband is here,’ he says with a chortle, pressing the tip of his finger into my ass…

Ron? Itry to glimpse through the darkness beyond.

‘Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t drag him at our feet so he can watch his wife break before I slaughter him,’ he murmurs in my ear, moving his finger in and out.

I wail into the magical fastening.

One reason,’ he warns.

My lips unfasten.

‘He will f*cking kill you—’ I shout.

Abruptly, I’m being crudely turned to face him, the finger leaving my hole, and holy sh*t…

His eyes are terrifying. There is something monstrous about the way they glow through an absence of light. Their colouring is shocking with the lethal glower he’s giving me.

Tomblike, murky and raven-black.

God’s. He’s beautiful.

There is a little white around them. But it’s not even true white. It’s like he’s absorbing the starlight, swallowing it in a boundless and malevolent abyss.

One reason,’ he repeats. ‘He’s coming down the path now.’

Without thinking, I spit into his face, watching the saliva tracing his fleshly lips.

f*ck.

His delight is perverse as he beams with a ravenous intent. The snake sentries me as his corded hand reaches for the spit, swiping it with the snake's head on the tip of his thumb and straight into his mouth, watching me the entire time with a severe glower as he groans.

This close, I see the patterning on his mask.

It’s alive.

Images are moving around it: Talons, people, carnage, beasts, massacre, and I shudder when I hear a distant screech. He looks over my shoulder, the cruel grin intensifying as if he’s spotted something wildly mirthful. ‘He’s almost here…’

Before I can think of what I’m doing, my feet oblige to let me reach him on my tip toes. Sinking into his scent of smoke, I feel like I’m being smouldered alive.

I don’t let my hands touch him, even if the magical bindings would let me. 'We will.'I can hear them echo in my thoughts.

I merely break the small space between us and crush my lips into his, indulging him with minimum effort. Tears want to unleash with what I am doing as he reaches for my neck, overwhelming my lips with the force of his lecherous carnality.

I refrain from giving it to him, pressing my lips tight.

‘Open wide, Birdie.’

His voice booms in my head.

My mouth parts on cue, receiving the onslaught of his tongue that brushes feverishly into mine. Against my will, a whimper escapes at the feel and taste of him: how he moves with such languid deliberateness. He’s overwhelming me with his racy taste. I feel his devastating strength detaining me into the barrier, his cloak stroking the holes where my skin is bared. It ignites a fire somewhere in my bones, and I’m trying desperately to quench it. There is no world in which I will warm to this demon because he knows how to kiss.

It’s too intense.

I want to scream at my body.

The sound of our wet lips is too erotic for what we are doing. What an abysmal, loathsome thing to do when my husband is in the same forest, and I’m pandering to this lunatic with something that should only belong to him.

He has ruined kissing for me.

There are distant footsteps emerging.

Panicked, I try to push him at his chest, but he will not yield.

He’s grinning into my mouth, savouring me, making me weak, and I’m rattling with foreboding. Ron will f*cking catch us!

I force him harder.

The footsteps are maturing—he’s so close!

I bite his lip with unkept force, feeling the cold blood coating my own. But he doesn’t pull back. He spreads the evidence all over my lips, painting us both in the assault.

Then, he apparates with a glacial breeze.

My body is wobbling with the absence of him.

‘Mione? Is that you?’

I look over my shoulder, seeing Ron emerging hesitantly from the bend, a bag over his shoulder and his wand clutched daringly in his hand.

Chapter 8: Of Barbs and Snakes

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (8)

The crackling of a cigarette echoes through the opaque pines.

‘So let me get this straight…’ Ron begins, staring down at my tights with brows drawn. I’m in his arms, pressed closely to his chest—being carried back to our home. ‘You heard a scream from the forest and thought you’d run towards it without your coat and shoes on?’

It’s a weak attempt at a lie—I will admit.

‘There was a ruckus coming from the stables too, and I panicked,’ I say, subtly piercing daggers into the trees with my gaze, pointing the wand tip towards any disturbance.

He’s here.

He’s always here...

Yet no one but me can hear the dreaded cigarette.

Holding Ron’s wand to illuminate the endless way home is the fiercest I’ve felt in days.

The thick willow wood imprints strangely in the palm of my hand, and I miss the slim vinewood that has kept me alive since my first term at Hogwarts. The reassurance of a weapon is the most I’ve had in days since I plunged to my knees in the mud and lifted my doleful, poisoned face towards his waiting mouth, and I can hardly recall a second of it.

But the kiss we just shared…

It was diabolical. When Ron wasn’t looking, I spat into the barrier I was chained to, releasing the taste of him while Ron plucked out a flask from his bag to offer me, distracted and concerned about my state.

My husband is so good to me.

He’s so pure.

The sharp taste of that demon is still clawing at my throat: his coppery blood, his smoke, an underlying sweetness to his tongue.

‘Honestly, Hermione…’ Ron lets out a long breath, considering my face, which is still flushed from the terrors of my night. I can’t see my hair, but I’m sure it’s equally a sight for sore eyes.

The magnitude of that demon’s powers is bloodcurdling.

In all my books, I have never known a wizard to be like him. Apparating once can drain you, yet he seems to do it even under an invisibility charm, moving anywhere and everywhere—susceptible to my thoughts like he’s a god, making the night and long shadows of the day do his bidding. He controls the floo network, my phone…God, I dread to think of what else.

Suddenly, an animal scurries in the underbrush, startling me.

‘I missed you,’ Ron says at last, his tousled red hair hanging like strands of saffron over his blue eyes.

A feeling that is both rotten and nauseous stirs in my stomach.

But I don't allow it to hinder me as I reach my cold hands towards my husband’s freckled cheeks, bringing our faces together as I press a chaste kiss to his lips.

The contrast is glaring…

It must be his heinous influence that makes me believe the shadows are cackling at my twisted heart as I force my eyes closed for just a second, basking in the innocence that has been my life for nearly five years. I love this. I have always loved this. Ron has faithfully grounded me since the beginning, and I would rather die than be under the influence of a Veritaserum, forced to admit all of my crimes.

Releasing my husband, I whisper through a lump, ‘I missed you so much.’

This is the truth, and It’s an easy one.

I will continue to live in blissful ignorance with him rather than disclose the extent of the ghouls and night prowlers who hound me. I will always choose to continue our idyllic existence because to see Ron’s face churning with disgust at his ghastly wife would only confirm that I am as corrupted and ruined as the black snake tattoo engulfed in my eager lips would suggest.

One whole day.

I’ve lived an entire day without the shoe dropping at any given second, snuggled up into Ron like he was my lifeline, even when I fell asleep during a movie yesterday—clutching his chest through the nightfall of my dreams, and all night he embraced me, even when the shadows wouldn’t let me sleep and I kept fidgeting.

It’s a new day, and I still haven’t received a provoking message.

He’s sorely slacking.

I hope he’s fallen off a mountain somewhere stalking in the highlands. ‘If Ollivander’s isn’t open…’ I start, tying my laces on the cream footstool, trying to keep the desperation from my tone.

Ron is lounging on the sofa wearing his grey dressing gown, a cup of tea and remote in hand, a true crime series paused on the TV screen.

‘Where did the clothes come from?’ He says, and I look up to see him sipping the drink with wrinkled brows. I’m wearing a lace-trimmed mossy-coloured top with a short denim black skirt and a pair of lace-patterned fishnets (thicker and less provocative than the previous one). I couldn’t tell you why I’ve been exploring the undisturbed side of my wardrobe: the pieces I buy but am too scared to wear. I almost put on a pair of snake-patterned tights—but determined that It may come across as inciting him for a reaction, and the thought makes me queasy.

‘I’ve always had them,’ I say with a chirpy tone. My mouth opens to defend myself further, and it shuts again quickly.

I don’t have to explain myself. I’m just being me.

I may be becoming a wayward Gryffindor at this stage of my life.

‘Fancy going to the shop when you get back? I’ve got a parcel at the sorting office,’ he says in a ductile tone that usually works to make me run errands for him.

Ron never gets his parcels or goes to the shop. After his dad’s enchanted car, he swears they will all start flying as he squirms beside me when I drive to town.

‘Fine,’ I retort. ‘But you’re making dinner over the weekend.’

We have a brief goodbye kiss before I step into our fireplace, plucking the floo powder. With a small smile at Ron, I exclaim, ‘Diagon Alley!’

The emerald flames crackle beneath my black boots.

When the bell rings above me as I tread into Ollivanders, I gulp down my giddiness and saunter straight for the counter, drinking a take-away butterbeer while feigning an air of wonderment at the refurbishment. It’s not much changed, and the details are more personalised: the lampshades are green, the counter is a light oak, and the few paintings around feature countryside scenes.

‘The place looks wonderful, Dedalus! It’s good to see you doing well,’ I say to the short, slim figure behind the counter whose impeccable appearance makes him look like a scholar. He gazes beneath thick brown lashes and through generous circular lenses, golden and much loftier than Harry’s.

‘Ms. Granger,’ he nods curtly. ‘How can I help?’

Dedalus isn’t one for conversation.

I retain my cheerful smile as I place my half-empty cup on the fresh counter, noticing him frown at the sight as if it may spill without needing a prompt.

‘I’ve lost my wand…’ I start, unsure of what to say. ‘Can I get another ten and three-quarters vinewood with a dragon heartstring core, please.’

He stares at me, a wand he’s polishing paused in his hand, and places it silently on the counter before saying anything. ‘You are aware that the wand chooses you?’

I meet his eyes, slightly bewildered at his sombre tone. ‘Of course?’

He continues staring. ‘Very well.’

Without another word, I watch his back vanish into the inventory that is no longer stacked to the ceiling but labelled with immaculate precision, and from what I can see, he has extended the stock into the next room. Sipping my drink, I wait tensely for him, which takes several minutes, and I almost expect him to return and announce that no wand wants me.

‘Here we are,’ he paces back to the counter so quickly the wind whistles behind at his urgency.

He starts unwrapping the dark brown box, lifting the blackened wood out and making me squeak at the sight of it. ‘Eleven inches of Ebony with a Thestral tail hair core.’

I’m just gawking as he extends it towards me.

‘Don’t you…’ he says, startling me from my shock. ‘…want to look at it?’

My hands tremble.

‘What the in the world is that?’ I say, reaching for it like it’s infected.

The wood is coal black throughout, unphased by the sunlight streaming through the glass that should settle on its wooden body, setting it alight. It deflects it—remaining solid, only shimmering slightly where a speckling of faint reflective particles begins from the tip down, vanishing into the thorny design part scales and prickly branches.

Barbs and serpent’s body.

‘The shimmer, I believe, is produced from an Augurey stomach, which retains the magic of its prey like fairies. Perhaps its ink was used to darken the wood, a method that is no longer in practice,’ he narrates over my tumult. ‘It’s a peculiar wand, this one—hiding for hundreds of years in the furthermost part of our collection—its origin remains cryptic. Though, in my opinion, its enigma should be thoroughly explored as you work with it.’

Outside, a crow shrieks noisily.

‘I don’t want it.’ I declare with a high-pitch similar to that of a spoiled child. ‘Can I just have something similar to what I had?’

Again, he stares at me with a dismal intensity. ‘The wand has chosen you, Ms Granger.’

Gaping at it, something is oddly foreboding about it. It looks like the wand of a dark wizard. One that would be carried by my stalker or one of the death eaters. ‘There must be a mistake—’ I start just as the door opens and the bell dings.

Dedalus packages it in an emerald velvet drawstring, placing it in the paper bag with the shop’s logo.

His patience has evaporated, and I am forced to open my purse with a terse smile.

When I’m outside, I dread to even look in the depths of the bag.

It amounted to about ten times more than the average wand, and if it weren’t for my recent royalties, I would have been willing to walk out without it—keeping me defenceless.

But It’s not worth it.

Because of the absence of my wand, I’ve had a finger forced in a hole where previously nothing had entered, with my husband strolling the same path towards us. Just thinking about it makes me want to pull the wand out from its pretty casing.

What is Ron going to think when he sees it?

Taking a deep breath, I plunge my hand into the bag and awkwardly strip the packaging away. Despite its hefty cost, I don’t mind being rough with it. Unlike when I held it in the shop, I pull it out into the street, and it feels…

Perfect.

It fits into my hand like it was designed around each mound of skin. The thorns are forgiving when I squeeze. They have a reassuring jaggedness as if reminding me that I am powerful when I have felt so powerless for so long. It feels steadying, silken and mellow for such a dark thing.

I twirl it around—admiring the masterful handiwork.

It’s a masterpiece.

A twisted, raven and baleful thing.

From its place on the passenger seat, I keep staring at the wand as if it may suddenly grow fangs and lunge at me, even if its presence fills me with warmth.

It suits the darkness: the growing dusk.

The tiny dots shimmer like stars. It’s like a mistress of nightfall and the last stars before dawn.

I release a long sigh at the strange turn of events. I haven’t even shown it to Ron yet as I have about fifteen minutes to reach the sorting office, and I left home in a flurry.

The stunning landscape passes rapidly in shades of gold and bright emerald leaves from the first trees emerging with spring. The window is agape enough to listen to the howling wind grazing the tip of my ear with its icy touch. It’s mollifying, and with so few cars filling the bareness, it reminds me that I’m not solitary in this primordial setting.

It's quiet when I park outside. With so few cars—I can hope to get in and out, then speed across to the supermarket before it shuts.

Once inside, the slow-moving queue does little to reassure me.

I’m juggling Ron’s parcels as I pry the door open with my foot. I’m the last out, and the door is callous as it tries to shut me back in because it’s so stiff. With a grunt, I shoulder into it and step outside into the punitive wind that has turned into a light rain. I’m carrying three large parcels, all of them ridiculously weighty.

I thought he said one parcel!

I'm trying to navigate for the steps when suddenly—the wind rips the customs sheet from between two of the parcels. Glancing over the box, I see it tumbling beneath a car.

‘Really!’ I exclaim aloud.

I put the parcels in the boot, shutting the door harshly with my frustration. Walking to the other side of the parking lot, I kneel beside the car, peeking my head underneath it like a weirdo.

‘Are you looking for this?’

I swing my head to the opposite side so fast I feel it pull the muscle at my neck. It takes me a second to focus on the shadows beneath the overhang, where a man in a black t-shirt and matching cargo pants walks towards me with the visor open on his charcoal grey helmet. He extends the paper as he reaches me, the gravel crunching beneath his bulky boots.

‘That’s it! Thank you so much,’ I say, lifting from my knees to my feet, meeting the stranger head-on. ‘I was just about to give up—’

His eyes…

There is something unnervingly familiar about them. Yet, as I take the damp sheet from his gloved hand, I realise it must be my paranoia. They look warm, not wholly dark. I assume that beneath light—which is currently absent—they would be brown or even hazel.

I can sense his smile through the helmet. ‘If you don’t pay them soon enough, they amount interest,’ he says in a husky voice. Not his voice, thankfully. I almost sigh with relief. ‘They can be nasty surprises.’

‘Oh, I know,’ I say with an eye-roll. ‘I’ve been caught out before.’

He unbuckles his helmet at the chin, and I watch his impressive and tatted arms as they lift the grey thing free of his head.

There is no serpent tattoo or enclosing darkness...

He leans forward slightly to tug it harder, and I see his messy jet-black hair unfurl atop his head in short waves, faded at the side. He’s like the men described in the guilty-pleasure books that Ginny lends to me: the ones with bad boys, motorbikes and grim attitudes. Though, this chiselled man appears to be anything but uninviting.

‘Where do you come from?’ he asks, ruffling his hair.

Brown eyes. Full lips. Strong jaw. Robust figure…

At least one of those things isn’t connected to my stalker.

‘About an hour to the left,’ I reply with a smile, clutching the paper to my chest to prevent it from getting drenched. It’s a vague reply, and I’m absolutely not about to disclose any personal details when I already have one prowler to deal with. ‘What about yourself?’

He grins. ‘So you’re a little way off.’ His voice is definitely more British than Scottish. ‘I’m visiting my family. I grew up nearby, next town from the right.’

I readjust my stance.

I’m too anti-social for this! ‘I’m just about to head there…’ I sway on my feet a little. ‘I’m hoping to make it to the shop before it shuts,’ I say, followed by a polite laugh.

He raises a thick, black brow. ‘You better hurry then. They close in thirty minutes.' Then, glancing down at his silver watch where a barb tattoo spirals around his wrist, he says, ‘I may even catch you there if you’re lucky.’

His dimpled smile is dangerous. I’m confident he doesn’t face any problems charming the local girls at the pub. ‘You probably could with that thing.’ Ilaugh, flicking my head towards his motorbike. ‘See you there, maybe.’

I stroll towards the driver’s side, rounding the hood when he says, ‘What was your name?’

I glance over the car, meeting his intense eyes.

‘Hermione…and yours?’ I could pat myself on the back for maintaining the conversation without any awkwardness for this long.

‘Virgil,’ he replies while glancing at the road beyond when the first car since the start of our conversation passes by. ‘It’s nice to meet you, Hermione.’

‘You too, Virgil,’ I say, opening my car door and lowering inside. ‘Thanks again!’

I put the keys in the ignition, and I swear I can still feel his presence next to the car as I ready myself quickly, turning the heat on full blast and basking in the warmth before releasing the handbrake. When I look to the side and in my rearview mirror before stepping on the clutch, he’s walking back towards his motorbike, a tall shadow in the dusky light.

Chapter 9: The Big Bad Wolf

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (9)

My feet crunch an ugly, bone-shattering sound.

Arthurs disappeared to fetch the bin, scratching his head on the way. We are on the southernmost side of the property, where freshly planted flowers and herbs occupy the raised beds.

His bewilderment is severe, and I sense it’s upsetting him that he doesn’t have the answers. Being a local who has watched the streetlights being erected into his undisturbed world one by one, he feels obliged to have the answers in his calloused, land-imprinted hands. Instead, we stare at the ghastly pile, arms crossed, speculating into the ether. When he returns, we stare at each other, a grim air between us, until he reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out the most unexpected thing.

‘Cig?’ Arthur offers, bringing the bleach-white twig to his dry lips.

I glance up at Ron's office window, feeling the rebellious teenager about to commit a crime. I couldn’t tell you why I ignored the refusal on the tip of my tongue. ‘Thank you,’ I say, accepting the instrument of my stalker’s obsession. ‘I’ve never tried it before.’

These are entirely different from the herbal equivalent in the wizarding world.I twirl the peculiar thing between my thumb and forefinger, sniffing the end that exudes chemicals.

Arthur raises a brow, struggling in his denim jeans for the worn copper lighter that looks vintage and faded with time.

‘Nae?’

I shake my head, following his instructions; I place the filter between my puckered lips, realising that I’m treating it like a lollipop, and I readjust it to the side, awaiting nervously for my turn of the flame.

He stretches it to me. ‘Ye’ll choke at first,’ he murmurs while puffing out a cloud of smoke that smells like toxic ashes. ‘Hold it steady…’ I suck weakly, the crackle from the tip reminding me of the other night. ‘There ye go.’

My choke is instant and brutal.

The cigarette in two fingers as I bend over to cough. A large hand is patting my back, helping me to recover breath. ‘I’m fine,’ I rasp as if speaking through a tin of nails. I’m leaking tears when I straighten, swiping them with the sleeve of my cardigan. I glance back to Arthur, sensing a teasing smile beneath his generous brown beard.

‘Amusing, am I?’ I mock, taking a hesitant second drag and managing to stomach it with a suppressed cough. ‘It tastes vile.’ The smoke I blow out is weak as if I swallowed half of it. ‘Why do you do it?’

He chuckles. ‘Yer a wee thing yet, Ms. Granger.’

My brows shoot up. ‘What does that mean?’ I ask before taking another drag that feels like an assault on my throat.

His eyes sparkle. ‘Yer never liked suman bad for ye?’

His words make me choke again, and I’m buckled over, coughing for dear life.

I hope my stalker does the same on his next cigarette.

‘Wee people or witches,’ Arthur states when my breathing turns shallow. ‘Is what my ma would say bout the bones.’

My eyes widen, and thankfully, he can’t see my face.

‘Arthur…Mione?’ Ron calls from the backdoor.I drop the lit death stick into the damp grass, and it doesn’t go out.

‘Mr. Weasley!’ Arthur hollers as I stomp it with my boot. I make a mental note to retrieve it later to dispose of it.

‘Is Hermione alright?’ he yells back.

‘Fine!’ I squeak. ‘I just choked on a fly…’ I swallow drily. ‘What is it, darling?’ Arthur chuckles to himself, and I throw him a playful glare.

‘Harry’s…’ Ron hesitates, probably because Arthur is here. ‘We are being called back to the job.’

My heart. It plummeted from existence. ‘Ah…’ I breathe out, realising that only Arthur can hear me. ‘Right! Well, I’ll come see you off then.’

Should I fall to my knees and beg? To reveal everything and f*ck the consequences. I bite the inside of my mouth at the thought.

Would Ron even stay If he knew the extent of my horrors and betrayal...

My hand falls into my pocket, where I grasp the thorny handle of my new wand for reassurance. Nodding at Arthur, I begin trailing the stony path towards my husband, who is abandoning me to the prince of darkness.

My hands quiver while I type out the three words: See you tomorrow.

The green bubble turns white, and I click away from Mr Maleficand our agreement through a marketplace for selling horses. I’ve recently listed one of our Clydesdale who has been carefully trained and looked after by Arthur and his equestrian partner. The fellow with a laughable username will be stopping by tomorrow, and I’m eager to have the deal finalised after a week’s back and forth.

I watch the knolls behind the stables at my desk chair for too long. After seeing Ron off from the start of the portkey trail, I could taste my fear like a living, breathing thing.

He asked several times if I was ok when my lip would involuntarily tremble or if I stared absentmindedly over his shoulder when he spoke. I cried in secret while he got dressed and readied his bag.

I’m still crying now, a warm tear trickling down my cheek, and I wipe it with the soft cotton fabric of my grey cardigan.

You have a wand again, for goodness sake, Hermione!

I gulp.

My phone has been eerily silent for days.

Watching Arthur loading up his van, I switch off the monitor and abruptly go around the house, turning everything off and locking the doors and windows before I leave.

The keys are on the kitchen counter, and I snatch them rapidly in case they resolve to fly off again. Securing the front door behind me, I wave to Arthur as he climbs into the driver’s side of his van and turns the engine on.

Ping!

I don’t stop. My spine is growing colder and colder the nearer I get my pickup truck.

What If I come back and he’s eaten all the horses?

I’m not sure if it’s a reasonable thought to consider. The wizard is unpredictable and disturbingly baleful; I shouldn’t put it past him to assume such a frightful task.

I check the phone.

Unknown Number:

One by one, they go.

Ping!

I unlock the truck and practically dive into it, securing the doors. Arthur is still parked ahead, and I sigh at the realisation.

Unknown Number:

Hurry up. I can’t wait to see what that wand can do ;)

A few days ago, I would have replied. It would have been an angry onslaught. If he wants retaliation—he can step out of the shadows and straight into my waiting hand. I throw the phone into the passenger seat, pulling the hand break while keeping the wand securely at hand regardless of what Arthur sees. Let him think that I collect strangely shaped sticks!

The mundanity of the supermarket is striking.

It’s as if I’ve been in limbo, clutching onto the normality of Ron, living in terror before he returned. Thankfully, the sign from yesterday about closing early because of supply issues was absent from the double doors. The simple pleasure of food shopping is amplified, and I don’t refrain from filling the trolley with fruits and vegetables, but also luxurious-looking yoghurts and a cake mix for a carrot cake.

Looking for a quick dinner idea, I can feel the chill from the frozen isles tickling the inside of my thighs—beneath my black embroidery dress and crimson fishnets with a velvet floral pattern. I’ve worn my hair down for a few days after the first wash of the week with Ron around. If I attempt to do it up, he will keep tugging the band off, telling me that it’s perfect this way.

It reminds him of falling in love with me at Hogwarts.

But he isn’t here now... I reach for the crinkled hairband on my wrist, and through the obscure reflection of the freezer doors, I pull my hair into a high and messy bun, leaving two strands of curls on either side of my face.

I can’t tell if my stalker is following me anymore. His darkness is all-consuming—regardless if it whispers down my neck. I reason that it could also be my paranoia. I’ve become embarrassingly skittish, and any man wearing dark clothes in my peripheral summons a tremor from me.

I look down at the tips of my fingers growing cold: pizza.

My hands are dormant on the sliding doors.

‘Please tell me you aren’t a pineapple girl.’

I startle on the spot, quickly summoning a friendly chortle. I turn to the voice. ‘Although there’s nothing wrong with pineapple—'

Hazel eyes. Not wholly brown. ‘Virgil!’ I try to recover quickly, plastering on an expression of pleasant surprise at the strapping muggle before me. He’s wearing a dark brown t-shirt that strains against his physique, and I have to raise my eyes back to his face before falling distracted by the many pieces of art framing his arms.

‘Hermione?’ he teases with a smirk as if it’s funny that I threw his name at him like an accusation. ‘If you are trying to decide on a good brand...’ He points his finger at the glass. I follow the tip of his finger, seeing a stack of boxes with an Italian flag on them.

‘Will you personally refund me if I don’t enjoy it?’ I tease with a raised brow, sliding the door open to retrieve the box. But before I can get my hand on the top one, his tatted hand grabs it first.

‘I’ll get it for you.’

I look at him in surprise. ‘Of course you aren’t! I’m only teasing. I won’t hold it against you if I don’t like it.’ I reach for another one, but he stops my hand—maintaining a hold on it by the wrist.

‘Uh-uh. That one’s for me.’ He releases my wrist.

‘Virgil, seriously. You don’t have to get it for me.’ My tone is firm, and I extend my hand to the box he’s holding.

‘I’d like to,’ he reaches into the freezer again. ‘How many do you need?’

I straighten my shoulders, crossing my arms against the synthetic chill. ‘My husband is away for work…it’s just for me. But seriously—’ I reach for the box again, and he jerks a shoulder back.

‘Let. Me,’ he utters in a way that has me know he won’t budge.

He is wholly unphased by the comment about my husband. If anything, the glee on his features is burning brighter. Lucky for him, he is abnormally striking. Without the darkness, there is an uncomfortable beauty about him: the kind that stops girls mid-word. Perhaps he knows the charm works so well—that there is no threat of a husband where most women are concerned.

I look down at his basket, seeing a brown bag poking out. ‘I’ll get you this, then.’ My reflexes are no match for his frustrating determination. I pull my hand back, tucking back into the warmth of my cardigan. ‘Fine,’ I raise my chin. ‘But the next time I see you—I’ll be taking that lovely motorbike for compensation.’

His head swings back in a laugh, showing me the entirety of his neck, where a black-inked bird is mid-flit on the left corner, towards his collarbone.He looks wolfish when he retains the smile while meeting my eyes. ‘Would you like a ride to see if you can handle it?’

I tense.

Or blush.

Or probably both. ‘I don’t…’ I think for the appropriate expression. ‘…do riding through the highlands with a stranger. Thank you for the offer though.’

He puts the pizza boxes into his basket. ‘Good girl.' His gaze flicks up and down the length of me. ‘I’ll wait for you outside then.’ He winks before walking past and towards the empty tills.

When I hear the grumble of a bike starting up, I’m bagging up my shopping, the friendly cashier talking a life story into my ear, and I resolve to leave him with the pizza and get into my car with a friendly wave. He’s only in town for his family, anyway. I may never see him again. I won’t be coming back into town anytime soon for more shopping.

When I push the trolley through the doors, my heart drops. He’s leaning against my truck, pizza at hand, biceps winking at me, and his black motorbike vibrating next to him.

I press the button to unlock the boot and lower my eyes, displaying a saccharine smirk as I approach. ‘So here’s the thing, pretty boy.’ I keep my tone cool and sharp. ‘I appreciate the pizza despite my grievance. But I will not be charmed to do anything else…I’m married.’

He co*cks his head a little to the side. ‘Is that right?’ he says, unruffled and grinning through it all. ‘I’m moving back into town, so it would be nice to know some new people. That’s all it is.’

Oh. ‘Right…’ I pretend to notice something slipping out of a bag as I round his motorbike to reach my boot. ‘That’s nice to hear. It really is lovely here. You’ll love it.’

I smile brighter, and he raises a brow.

Pat yourself, Hermione. You’ve recovered so well.

I’m unloading the shopping silently, waiting for him to approach with the pizza, but he doesn’t. When I retrieve the last bag from the trolley, I turn back and almost jump out of my skin.

‘Here you go.’ He extends the box towards me, eyes boring through the open visor. ‘Enjoy.’

Then, he walks to his motorbike without another word.

‘Have a good evening!’ I have to raise my voice over the engine as he straddles the huge thing I would almost certainly never get on. My tone is sweet and polite as I salvage my good manners from the awkwardness of my accusation.

He glances over his shoulder. ‘You too, pretty girl,’ he mimics my earlier words, slipping the visor over his eyes before leaning forward and twisting the handle. I watch him until he turns out of the car park, fading into the fog down the road, leaving me disorientated and berating myself for my unwarranted distrust of a friendly, muggle man.

Any other day, I would swing my head back to watch the stars glimmer to life, one by one, the rosy sky and fluffy orange clouds making my heart warm. It’s dusk when I get back from the shop, and the porchlight is on. My eyes are lowered in a perpetual glare as I carry each bag from the boot to the bottom of the steps, taking two in one hand. I point my wand into the shadows with the other.

Peace is a luxury that was robbed of me.

The reality makes my muscles jittery to throw a spell at something: him.

I want to open my mouth and bellow at him: come out and play big bad wolf! Instead, I keep my lips pressed firmly together as I gather the bags and repeat the process in the kitchen.

At least the front door is still locked.

Jingling the other set of keys, I stare at the corner where he stood a few nights ago, seeing it unfilled. The wind blows through the teeth of the railing, blowing loose leaves and debris towards me. Unlocking the door, I step into the darkness and murmur for light. Only the enchanted lamp on a table at the end of the foyer turns on. I fist a switch on the wall when I pass it, having to still clutch tightly onto my wand.

On the second trip outside, the shadows have grown deeper. Nightfall is a breadth away.

I’ve convinced myself that my life is still ordinary—this is just another late trip into town, and I’ll get cozy on the sofa with dinner on my lap after a shower.

God. I miss those days.

Scurrying about in the kitchen, I’m still aware that I have one more trip to the porch, but I don’t rush it. I turn the kettle on and unpack one bag before something falls from it and rolls towards the entryway.

I glance at my wand, pointing it at the tin of green beans. ‘Accio!’ It flies straight into the open cupboard, sitting neatly on the shelf.

Picking up the last two bags, I’m still in awe that it’s just me outside with the distant hooting of owls and the sudden throaty shriek of a muntjac. I breathe in the air deeply before locking the car, watching its lights illuminate the perimeter, and I’m halfway to the kitchen when I realise I forgot to shut the front door behind me.

I lean the bags against the dining room table and skip to the door, finding it strange that the porchlight has gone off. I spare a cursory glance outside.

Nothing.

Returning to the kitchen, I pour myself a chamomile and mint tea, leaving it on the side for when I get out of the shower.

I’m quiet the entire venture upwards, half expecting the lunatic to be waiting for me with his dick in hand at the top of the stairs.

All the doors to the are unlocked and open.

When I enter my bedroom, the old boards creaking in the comfortable silence, I change my shoes for the feral slippers and grab the long-sleeve Gryffindor top that belongs to Ron. My eyes are hot, and it’s only in the shower that I let the tears run. Pressing my forehead into the blue-patterned tiles, I bask in the hot water caressing my ailing soul.

I need touch.

I want my husband’s reassurance.

But Ron is never f*cking here!

I haven’t minded it until recently. My dream was always to be alone: isolated, left to my work and studies. To live in a place where my demons couldn’t find me.

A gust of wind hits the bathroom door.

I pull the curtain back, relieved to see my wand still by the sink. ‘Can I wash in f*cking peace, YOU NEFARIOUS BASTARD!’ My yell echoes in the small, tiled space.

Nothing.

Even the phone is behaving.

He sure had a lot to say when his finger was edging my ass!

Recalling our kiss makes me turn off the shower with an angry fist to the large button. I step into the bathmat and dry myself with a force that may be a self-inflicted punishment or a burning desire to inflict suffering on my stalker. Either way, when I’m dressed in the baggy top and slippers, I open the door with my wand pointed.

I’m certainly not surprised to see the entire place is dark.

How original...

I roll my eyes.

When I take a step into the landing, my foot squashes something. It’s a black bundle of fabric. Picking it up with two fingers in case it’s a Horcrux, I unravel it to the light from the bathroom, seeing the serpentine patterning of my tights.

Ping!

I glance in my hand.

Unknown Number:

Come and show the big bad wolf what you sound like when you cum.

An enraging warmth fills my belly as my fingers type frantically, even while holding the wand and tights in both hands.

Me:

You’re D.E.A.D.!! I HAVE A WAND!!

Ping!

There were no dots. His reply was as instant as if he was right next to me, speaking the words into my ear.

Unknown Number:

Mmm. My good girls turning bad ;)

My hand tightens on the device that has become the orchestrator of my living nightmare.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Put the tights on and smoke with me.

Chapter 10: Angel of Carnage

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (10)

‘What do you see when you look at me?’

Through the tears—I see nothing. I shake my head in response.

His chuckle is dry, callous and derisive. ‘What you will see is the devil that can kill every member of your pitiful order with my hands tied behind my back.’

He lifts my chin to his face, but I still can’t see anything.

My chin involuntarily trembles. ‘She saw m-me walking here,’ I stammer through a sob. ‘To you. T-that’s all.’

His hand encloses my neck. ‘If you put anyone in my path to prevent me from you…’ His grip is bruising, and I squeal. ‘I will f*ck you in their blood. Do you understand, little bird? I will bury your pretty face in their crimson remains and make you scream my name like I am the god of the highest order.’

Silence.

Spine-chilling, hollow, stillness.

My hand grips the wand tighter. ‘Come out, wolfie,’ I say with a snappy tongue. ‘Hiding like the sick coward you are…how pathetic.’ My wand is pointed at the corner of the porch, where my stalker was smoking when he lured me outside the other day. Unlike that night, I’m wearing my boots, and I’m ready to run and fight until he is cold and lifeless at my feet.

In the forest beyond, the distant glimmer of a warm light breaks through the trees like the perfect ensnaring trap it is. Maybe I’m stupid. But a giddy desperation to finally overpower him possesses me to move—I’m so f*cking close!—and then my life with Ron will be back to normality.

I don’t feel the chill as I forsake the shelter of my home that keeps the wind at bay. It presses Ron’s long-sleeve shirt snuggly against my body. When I step through the nettles to enter the grisly woods—I welcome the irritating sting that makes me feel alive. They graze the snakes coiling the entirety of my legs: the last thing he will see when I’m standing above his dying body.

For once, I can pretend to be formidable: a witch that's a little terrible, imposing, and someone who is not a Gryffindor.

Looking down at my jumper, he says, 'The only red you can wear is the one I cover you in.’

Before he burns the fabric from my body.

The haunting words send a shiver down my spine. If my phantom wizard was still alive, I’m sure he’d discover a like-minded kindship with my stalker. Hell, they’d probably be holding hands while tormenting me.

Snap!

My steps are as quiet as I can make them, but they still crunch on the forest floor. ‘Come out, kitty cat,’ I taunt, glancing over my shoulder—making sure the last snapping was definitely mine...

Ping!

The bright screen makes me squint.

Unknown Number:

Should we play a game?

Unknown Number:

Let's start with truth or dare.

Trying to catch any movement from the impenetrable darkness, I snicker, realising he's just messing with me. ‘There is no f*cking way—’

Ping!

Unknown Number:

I’ll pick for you.

Unknown Number:

Truth…

I nearly trip on a fallen branch while stepping over it.

Unknown Number:

Does your puss* like the sound of getting f*cked on a pool of your husband’s blood?

My thighs clench, and I stop walking from the sheer horror of his words. ‘You sardonic rapist!’ I howl louder, ‘I WOULD NEVER ENJOY—'

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Liar ;)

Unknown Number:

Truth or dare?

My wand glides in the sweat of my clenched hand. ‘NEITHER!’ I roar, my voice penetrating the eerie hush.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Dare...

Unknown Number:

Keep walking towards the light.

Looking up, I see I’m almost nearing it. I really am stupid, aren't I?I think as my feet glide over the dead leaves of their own accord.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Next one is Truth.

My laugh is half-crazed. ‘You sly cheat! That’s not how the game works!’

Ping!

Unknown Number:

It’s how my games work.

Unknown Number:

Truth: Does your spine shiver when I promise to devour both your holes while your husband watches with a blade buried in his skull?

My back prickles, and I shudder. I’m ready to throw every unforgivable curse at him.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

That’s my good girl ;)

The utter repugnance of him. I bite a gag at the possibility of the words, nearly tripping again at my flustered distractedness.

Thank goodness that Ron is far away.

When the light draws closer—I see a fire burning in the centre of a small clearing, crackling and threatening the dry spruces. The clearing is empty when I bend beneath an oak to enter it. There are two logs on either side of the fire. I know this forest well. I have never seen this clearing before—not the smooth fallen trees that frame the makeshift campfire or the opening that reveals a cloudless and breathtaking sky.

‘Truth,’ I declare aloud. ‘I played into yours…now answer mine.’

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Ask.

I clear my throat, doing a circle on myself with every step I take towards the fire.

‘Who are you?’

The fire hisses.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Revenant.

Unknown Number:

One more before it’s your turn.

I’m too distracted by his answer to respond right away. Revenant? Is that his name?

‘What do you look like without your hood and mask?’ I say, letting my curiosity get the better of my other, more burning questions.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Do you want to see?

Behind me, something cracks, and the fire sizzles, spitting tiny sparks towards me. I jump, landing awkwardly on one ankle and almost twisting it.

‘Y-yes,’ I blurt out.

The wind gathers, making me feel cold for the first time since stepping into this terrible game we are playing. I plant my feet and notice that the fire is not affected by it—even when it becomes so ardent, I have to shield my eyes from the dirt and leaves blinding me.

The trees groan, and the pine needles and cones disperse around me.

Arghhhh!

I fall on my back as a great gust knocks my chest.

I lost my wand! Despite the gale blowing me back down, I get on my side and search frantically for the dark wood.

Why did it have to be black?

Another crunch sounds, and I cry out as a boot settles on the back of my hand, pressing the limb into the earth—compressing my bones.

The gust breaks at his entrance.

'You want to see what I look like?’ the deep, thick voice taunts above me.

My vision is impeded by the black dots forming from my agony. I roll on my back when he releases my hand, not caring that I can’t see him. The pain is excruciating, racking my arm and shoulder and rendering me speechless.

I’m gasping for breath.

I’m going to black out…

‘Shhhh,’ he assures. ‘I’m here.’

With his words, I feel that familiar warmth growing from my fingertips, wrist, forearm and finally, my shoulder. It’s so pacifying; I start crying and shaking with relief.

I still don’t see him.

With my sanity and voice returning, I have it in me to scoff at his shocking contradiction. ‘YOU f*ckING PSYCOPATH!’ I yell, getting to my elbows. ‘You hurt me in the first place!’

A singular gust clouts me back down, and I stare skyward, winded, petrified, watching the stars blink at me.

There are thousands.

A big, black cloud is about to obstruct them—

‘Do you like what you see?' Two inhuman eyes stare back at me. 'Because you'll be worshipping the sight of me for the remainder of your days.’

My eyes find him.

They slowly adjust to him…and my breath is stolen.

His hair is black. As dark as the unpolluted sky above him. Yet there are a few fading strands of white—as if it may have once been blonde but now overridden. He’s looking down at me through hooded, frightful eyes glittering like starlight beneath thick and shapely black brows drawn in a glower. Every feature on his striking face is sharp and defined, mimicking the seductive nightmare of a succubus. He’s ashen and startling, like a marble statue of a beautiful yet all-devouring kind of angel.

One that’s fallen—lured and loved by the darkness.

He’s not a muggle or a wizard.

His perfect lips part. ‘Kitty cat got your tongue?’

I blink.

The breeze sways the overhanging waves on his forehead. The sides are short, and the style is broken up by white scars marring the side of his head.

I gulp, consuming dust and nothingness. ‘You’re terrible,’ is all I manage to rasp out.

He smiles, his eyes dangerously darkening. ‘Good. I want to watch your nightmares painted with this face.’ He squats down beside me, and my body starts juddering as if sensing the despicable in his aura.

A predator that could crush me without lifting a finger.

I notice he’s wearing a black t-shirt beneath a dark leather vest unfastened to reveal his robust form. This close: he smells like ashes, wood and musk that is underlying but sweet.

I open my mouth and close it.

‘How, how…’ I stumble, the words not coming. His darkness is choking me, I swear. ‘How…’

He co*cks his head. ‘How how how what, Birdie?’

I laugh drily at his mockery of me. I can only watch his eyes scour my face.

‘How do I render you powerless?’ his tone is inviting, like an enticing lover. ‘How is it possible to know, wield and command all things?’ He reaches a hand to my neck, stroking the rapidly moving pulse. ‘How badly will I ravage you by the end of our night…’

I writhe through the magical binding.

‘Please,’ I say, wanting to wipe the tear that’s about to leak. ‘No bindings or…overpowering. Can we play fair?'

He chuckles. ‘Fair?’

My tear leaks, and he moves his finger to capture it, bringing it to his lips.

‘Mm.’ He licks the entire tip, eyes turning completely black for a second. 'And what does fair look like?'

Please,’ I plead, hating how weak and vulnerable I feel. ‘Let me have my wand, at least. That's fair.’

His gaze flicks to where I assume my wand is, somewhere close to my feet. ‘Smoke with me, as I asked, and I’ll think about it.’

His hand reaches into his vest, and I watch the blank ink on his arms move. Like the mask, his tattoos are animated. But with all the darkness and movements, I couldn’t tell you what is being depicted.

‘Take it, sweetheart.’

My hand moves against my will, accepting his invitation and bringing the cigarette to my lips. The end lights itself, and I inhale with a grumble, feeling my throat scald. He gets to his feet, his own cigarette in his mouth, and gives me his back, walking towards the bonfire.

I watch him until my entire body is suddenly released, and I can sit up.

I inhale, welcoming the poison as I shamelessly admire the strong lines of his back. A tattoo covers the entire spinal of his neck—climbing to become one with his hair. His solid and thick legs in the dark trousers stand a little apart, and he lounges in a standing with his arms crossed—deliberating something in the flames, who flurry out towards him.

When he looks back at me, the flares are in his eyes. ‘Come, sit.’

I glance between him and the fallen trees, then down at my feet, where my wand is anticipating.

‘Bring the wand,’ he says, a finality to his tone.

I don’t need to be told twice.

My legs are shaky when I get to my feet, and holy sh*t, seeing our height and stature difference is filling me with nausea as I advance to the log farthest from him. Sitting down, I keep my wand on my lap, smoking restfully while considering him.

He will kill me before I even land a spell on his forbidding, god-blessed body.

‘Let me see you enjoy it,’ he says, observing me with a burning attentiveness. ‘Isn’t that why you tried it this morning? To remember what I taste like?’

I glower. ‘f*ck you.’

‘You will,’ he retorts, stepping towards me. ‘Whether it’s tonight…or…’ He stops in front of me. I lift my eyes, still glaring at him with all my quivering might. He beams and grasps my chin, lowering his hold to my neck and clutching harder. I squirm, reaching my free hand to prevent him. ‘Let me see it.’

I almost went to grab my wand. In the end, I oblige to lift the cigarette to my lips, closing my eyes at the sensation and opening them again to release the smoke towards him.

‘Happy?’ I mock.

The smile doesn’t leave his lips. ‘Truth or dare?’

I swallow, the movement sorely restricted. ‘Truth.’

Dare,’ he retorts. ‘You’re too sweet for a dark game. So, I’ll decide it for you.’

I inhale, keeping my eyes low and broody. ‘It’s not how it works—’

‘—It’s how it’s going to work,’ he growls, the sound vibrating my body and the makeshift seat. ‘Let’s see…’ he pretends to think. ‘I dare my little birdie to burn her husband’s clothes,’ His eyes flick towards the flames. ‘Then, she's going to run into the trees and hide. If I find her…’

The black in his eyes agitates, but he doesn’t finish his avowal.

‘What if you don’t?’ I input breathlessly. His hold on my throat will definitely leave a bruise.

He raises a brow. ‘I’ll let you point your wand at me,’ he says, stepping away and leaving me to clutch at my abused neck. He stands a few feet away, hands in his pockets, and his gaze falls skyward, seeming to bask the same way I did before he imprinted himself into my thoughts. ‘Does that sound like a fair game?’

Now I know what he looks like…

Am I insane to admit he’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen?

I nod inaudibly.

It almost appears gleeful and innocent what he’s doing. Stargazing. Absorbing the light into his skin...

Until the skin suddenly ripples like he’s overcast with an enchantment, and beneath it, I perceive someone covered in blank veins that pulse and create shimmering currents.

His skin flickers with blackness, moving and beckoning the night.

The darkness...shimmers?

When he meets my eyes, anticipating me to make the first move—I lift Ron’s shirt over my head like my survival instinct has willpower against my own. Under his scrutiny, my modesty and backbone have crumpled, and when his judgements lower to my chest, I realise why.

He is darkness.

Sovereign and enslaved by it.

And I’m about to play a game of hide and seek with it…

Chapter 11: The Devil is All Over Me

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (11)

My nipples are firm against the chill.

I don’t hide them from him. Despite the lunacy of the monster before me—my insecurities are abandoned with the rest of my qualms and better judgments.

‘What do you want from me?’ I grimace, hoping the fire will oblige to render me the same terrifying light it’s been favouring to him. ‘I’m a happily married witch. I have been for years and your intrusion will not divert me from my husband! You are harassing and tormenting me to no end but to rape me?!’

I cross my arms over my chest when he doesn’t look at my face. ‘You need to leave or fly away to whatever ghastly hellhole you come from...’

His eyes skim to mine.

My words are taken by them.

He is burning me from the inside…

‘Do I?’ he asks with a mocking tone. ‘Why don’t you make the big bad wolf go away?’ He lifts a brow as if enticing me to try. ‘Or will you finally tell your husband about me?’ He reaches into his vest, pulling out another cigarette while his eyes resume on my half-nude form, devouring me as if I belong to him.

The cigarette lights itself. ‘Why don’t you see what he will do?’

I pout. ‘He will destroy you. That’s what he will do.’

His features are overcast in a lethal shadow. He inhales and exhales, watching me with a fevered grin. ‘Would that turn you on, Birdie? Dispatching him for slaughter and getting f*cked in the gore with his limbs tangling in your hair?’

My mouth opens and closes like a fish for water.

I am too stunned for words.

I have never heard a more deranged and dreadful thing in all my life.

'You have three minutes to hide, little bird,' he murmurs. 'Yourfair games starts...' He flicks the cigarette.

'Now.'

My legs start moving towards the forest as he inhales and exhales deeply, enjoying the outcome of whatever loathsome thoughts he’s having. I start sprinting the way I came, deciding to divert my route once I realise I’m heading towards the house.

My hands are shaking from the words and terror he instils. Pressing my hand to my chest, I feel my heart hammering like a doe in the heat of the hunt. I’m running like I ran from the snatchers all those years ago alongside Ron and Harry in the Forest of Dean.

My focus is solely on navigating the darkness that offers me no reprimand. Keeping a hand to my chest to prevent the harsh bouncing of my breasts, I jump over branches and boulders that materialise abruptly, heading in the direction of a river that converges into a waterfall.

It’s been three minutes—surely.

I dare not look over my shoulder for him as the willows that herald the nearness of water brush my back and shoulders as the forest stoops into the riverbank, grazing my exposed skin with branches that puncture upon impact.

What the f*ck will he do to me?

If I consider the possibilities, my list would be sad*stic and endless.

He is downright unstable. A menace that requires putting down or being shackled in Azkaban to decay as a basic kindness.

I am sweating and seeing stars when I slide down the muddy slope, landing clumsily into the pebbled bank. I don’t think twice before dipping my booted feet into the glacial waters and dragging them across the strong current to the other side. I cry at the paralysing cold, and my hand shoots to my mouth to belatedly stifle it. My wand and my phone are in one hand, virtually slipping through my shaky grasp.

I reach the other side, falling on my hands and knees on the soft stones.

I force my thoughts to form strategies: survival instincts or ways to overpower and outsmart him. Instead, I’m shivering and crying, grasping my wet tights to rip them off me.

I know he can feel where I am.

It will only take seconds for him to find me, and I summarise that he must be toying with me. I give up on the tights and shake my boots that have accumulated a pond, staggering to the rise in the bank that will return me to the woodlands.

Without a second thought, I twirl my wand around my body, casting the elusive disillusionment charm I’ve only read about. The words leave me in a gravelly incantation. Surely enough, my body replicates the murky environment like a chameleon.

I’m a shadow darting between the trees.

With my phone in hand, I pull it up and on trembling fingers, unlock the screen whose bright light has also been concealed, and tap on the call log where Ron’s name is the first on my most recent contacts.

I dial it.

Ring! Ring! Ring!

My heart is thrashing for the words I need to bellow out.

Dispatching him for slaughter, getting f*cked in the gore with his limbs tangling in your hair. Do you want him to die, Hermione?

Ring!

Silence.

‘Mione?’ Ron says through a weak signal.

My hand is to my mouth and I silently sob and scream into it.

‘Are you alright? It’s late,’ he murmurs, and all I can manage Is a squeak.‘...It’s a bad signal. I can’t hear you...I’ll call you back. One second.’

The resolve to save my husband crumbles.

‘Ron, wait!’ I yell abruptly. ‘You have to contact Wizarding enforcement and get them to find me in the forest around our home...’

I am hysterical, wiping the tears angrily and almost twisting my foot as I bypass a hole.

‘...I’m on the other side of the river. I’m being hunted by a wizard who is trying to kill me but you mustn’t come.’ I sob into the gravelly call. ‘Please, send help,’ my voice breaks.

Silence.

‘Why don’t you wait for me by that big tree in front of you like a good girl?’

My body freezes. ‘Ron?’

‘Try again.’ His voice is so deep and clear as if he is right behind me.

‘How—’ I cut myself off. ‘Where the f*ck is Ron YOU SINISTER f*ckING LUNATIC?!’

The call ends as my battery dies and I swallow, sensing the shadows enclosing me.

My feet are hammering and spraining over the unstable forest floor. I’m running so carelessly and fast, that I’m biting back a pain in my left ankle and I can taste blood. I know I’m drawing near a cliff whose jagged ends can be descended with the appropriate gear and a rope. I’m practically naked but willing to take the plunge—even if it will cost me my life.

I’m f*cking sick of this.

If it’s not my nightmares then it is a literal nefarious entity hounding me through my nights. I have been haunted since Hogwarts. Everyone has moved on after the war…

Everyone except me.

I can still see his blue eyes boring into my soul. Sometimes, when I look at Ron, I see someone with blonde hair and a defiant set of his jaw looking back.

As if I should belong to a wizard who is dead because surely, it’s what I deserve. And fate has robbed him of me.

‘Look at me.’

With teary eyes, and his co*ck touching the back of my throat, I open my eyes. He’s staring at me so intently, eyes downcast with pleasure but with their habitual wicked light still burning.

‘Your soul is as soiled as mine,’ he croons.

I slit my eyes.

He pushes deeper. I slide my mouth back and forth to accommodate him, summoning a groan from him before he says, ‘You can look at me with your burning insolence, believing you are better than this. Yet you came to me. Dressed prettily and willing to spread your legs for the wizard who will be so much worse than the Dark Lord.’

The opening to the cliff’s edge is like stepping into the mouth of the unrelenting northern winds. I limp to the edge, staring at the endless void of darkness.

If I try to ascend it, I will die.

I step towards the ledge where the ragged steps begin. My foot searches and finds the first, but I’m shaking so much, I have to squat down and support myself with my hands holding onto the rock face that is promising to send me to my death. My wand is in my mouth, and I have abandoned my phone on the side. I can grip the jutting roots now, and my feet manage to find the succeeding steps. The next one feels metres away. I dart my foot into the darkness and I still feel nothing.

f*ck it.

I push down, holding my body weight on my hands that grip a dry tree root. I find the ledge, but just the tip of it. Suddenly, the root gives with a shower of rocks pushing me backwards. I’m screaming and falling into the darkness, my wand barely pacifying the sounds—

Until I’m not.

The darkness catches me.

It’s lifting my body back towards the slope that is growing and growing until my flailing feet hover above it, and I am dropped onto the harsh rock floor, sinking to my knees in a slump that is partial relief and terror.

I wanted to die, didn’t I?

The darkness titters.

‘You think death can save you from me?’ his voice is all around me. ‘Tell me, my clever little witch, what does revenant mean?’

The night lifts my chin with warm fingers, prompting me to look at the stars. He is not here. The wand falls from my mouth. It lands in front of my knees as I gasp at the vault of starlight that is both lovely and winking at me in mockery.

I clear the buildup in my throat, my teeth aching from biting the wood so firmly. ‘A person who has risen from the dead,’ I reply with a shiver that racks my spine.

I can smell smoke. Yet, I can’t see any vapours of its evidence. My hair is blown out of my face with it, the wayward curls being lifted like a curtain to reveal my frightful state.

‘You look beautiful when you're soiled and corrupted.’

Blackness overwhelms my vision until I breathe in the smoke instead of the glacial breeze, and velvety lips and a hot tongue engulf my senses.

I am shivering as the darkness claims me.

An electrical fire begins in my stomach as his tongue devours me, lapping up my fears and trepidation, and all I can do is open up to him with a broken heart. Our tongues are tangling, curling, sliding, and the wet fleshy sounds bruise the stillness. My tears mingle with our lips, joining our lecherous feast. It’s as if we have kissed a thousand times. Like his essence is imprinted in the cavern of my being, and even if I want to scream at the onslaught...I couldn't.

My tyrant thighs clench.

I hope he dies choking in my f*cking mouth.

With that thought, I kiss him harder: consuming him more fervently, fighting his mouth with my loathing.

Taste how much I f*cking hate you.

He grins at my determination, letting me live out this fantasy where my tongue could kill him, and our joined air will be his last breath.

He bites my bottom lip, and I snarl.

My mouth fills with blood when he pulls away.

Enough,’ he growls, and the night around us trembles. ‘Lay on your front.’

I tense. ‘I got away from you! You f*cking cheated! It's not my fault—'

Suddenly, the side of my face is being forced into the hard cold ground. I shriek, feeling a weight like a knee pressing between my shoulder blades, stealing the breath from my lungs. My breasts ache from being forced so punitively, and my arms are being pulled behind my back, settling on my lower back.

Imprisoned, again.

He is silent behind me as I cry.

The smoke finally has a form. It blows to the side of my unscathed face like a poisonous taunt.

‘What have you learnt so far, Birdie?’ he says, letting his fingers trail the length of my spine. ‘You should know to behave by now…’ the fingers graze beneath the elastic band of my tights. ‘Perhaps, you like being punished, and it’s why you can’t keep that sweet mouth compliant.’

‘You said you’d play fair!’ I scream.

My joined hands tighten by some invisible force.

The elastic band of my tights is being pulled down by his fingers, slowly and deliberately, revealing my bare ass. ‘Did I?’

The tights are being ripped. Gradually and painlessly, my puss* and thighs are being exposed to him.‘Please, stop! I don’t f*cking want this. I don’t f*cking want you!’

His weight leaves my back, and I gasp at the relief. But I am still shackled to the ground, unable to move a muscle.

My legs are parting.

‘NO!’ I yell, bawling. ‘Don’t! PLEASE STOP!’

‘Now this is playing fair…’ I feel his hot breath close to my puss*. ‘Lift.’

My knees oblige him, scraping on the ground to give him better access. ‘What did you learn today, little bird?’

I snivel. ‘I-I don’t k-know!’

He inhales deeply. So close to my puss*, I feel the vibrations of his groan.

My ass cheeks are being spread, and his nose grazes against the puckered hole before he presses his lips to it, darting a tongue out to taste it.

He grunts. ‘Maybe I should f*ck you here, then? Only allowing you the tip...’ He presses the tip of his tongue against it as if for emphasis, and I squeal, inwardly buckling at the sensation. He licks the length of it once, twice and says, ‘Do you think that would help you to remember what you learnt?’

‘I-I learnt that you don’t play fair,’ I chance.

He laughs.

The sound is too pleasant for such a ghastly being.

‘Here’s what’s going to happen…’ he kisses the inside of my thigh, only a breadth away from the mound of my puss*. ‘I’ll give you ten seconds to convince me to change my mind by offering me a tempting diversion...’

I rack my brain in desperation.

‘...Seven’ he says, darting his tongue out to the slick entrance of my puss*, gathering the mounting wetness and spreading it upwards to my ass where he kisses and licks it with the same languid fervour he showed to my mouth.

I wail. ‘Let me point my wand at you, like you promised!’

He circles the tip of his tongue around the hole, making me cry out before pulling away abruptly.

‘What do I get in return? If you fail to kill me—’

‘—Anything!’ I swallow a sob, hating how vulnerable and exposed I feel. ‘Eat my puss* if you want. f*cking choke on it for all I care you sick asshole!’

His thumb grazes the hole, pressing it in slightly. ‘Persuasive enough. Though you could try to be more poetic next time.'

He doesn't do what I expect. My tender cheek and breasts are being lifted from the ground, and he releases whatever hold he has on me as I am brought to my feet.

I lunge forward to grab my wand, straightening once I have it firmly in my grip. I turn around quickly, shuddering at the sight.

He’s here now.

He is still unmasked and commanding the night with his terrible beauty and a cigarette glowing against his full lips.

‘Get on your knees,’ I order, pointing my wand at him.

He raises a brow before flicking the cigarette off the cliff’s edge. He drops slowly to the ground with a deranged smile on his face. ‘Keep going, Birdie. I like where it’s going—’

I break the distance in two strides and slap him in the face with all my strength.

He turns to face me with a wild light glimmering in his eyes, seeming unphased by my assault.

‘Again,’ he says.

I oblige and slap him hard enough that my palm and fingers prickle and burn.

‘Good girl,’ he comments. ‘Keep showing the big bad wolf how f*ckable you look standing in your power.’

I press the wand into his cheek.

My breaths are coming out in harsh and angry puffs as I consider all the terrible spells I have read over the years. Meeting his eyes, I see how perfect every feature of his ungodly face is. The short dark waves hanging lazily over his forehead, giving him a carefree and almost boyish impression.

He is the most despicable and profane creature I have ever encountered, and staring up at me, I notice no trace of fear in his eyes.

They are sinful and intense.

‘You have made my life a living hell,’ I utter. ‘Tell me what you want from me. NOW!’

His eyes dance with mirth. ‘You.’

‘You’re not having me!’ I yell, my voice bouncing off the rocks.

‘I wasn’t asking,’ he retorts cooly.

My hand is trembling and when he clutches it. I attempt to pull it free, but he is firm. Lifting my hand to his eye, he makes me point the tip into the tear duct.

‘Here.’ His voice is low like he’s guiding me to do the right thing. ‘Kill your demons. Let your nightmares remind you that you are haunted, and always will be.’

I twitch. ‘What did you say?’

He lets go of my hand. ‘Become it, or be eaten alive by it. We are the same, little bird. It’s why you’re mine. It’s why I will haunt you until every single star above your pretty head dies out.’

f*cking kill him, Hermione!

My hand visibly shakes.

Just do it! Be rid of him!

Cobalt blue eyes flash before my eyes. They were drowning in black the last time I saw him. The demon before me has no semblance to the wizard who plagues my dreams.

The one who has haunted me since the Battle of Hogwarts.

I stare at his bottomless eyes beneath shapely eyebrows that look at me expectantly.

Does he want to die?Why is he letting me kill him so easily?

‘What do you really want from me?’

His expression turns wolfish. ‘You.’

‘And if you don’t have me?’ I chance, expecting the answer.

He smiles lazily. ‘There are no ifs in my world, sweetheart. I will destroy everything standing in my way until I occupy and possess you, wholly and utterly mine.’

With a spell on the brink of my tongue, I open my mouth and a great burst of light alights the tip of my wand wand and the face of my stalker, who will finally fall to my feet, lifeless and taking the darkness with him.

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (12)

Inspiration for this chapter. Artist: Gathkal

Chapter 12: The Promise (Flashback)

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (13)

(In case you missed the title. This is a flashback :))

My heart is in my throat.

Draco Malfoy.

I follow Theodore Nott through the snug cobblestone passageways that snake into Diagon Alley, leading me past establishments I have never seen.

I can't reassure myself enough that I trust Theo.

We became friendly in secret after bumping into each other in the Hogwarts library for years until Irma Pince entrusted us as casual library assistants. In our demanding jobs, we formed a kinship that defied the separation between rivalling houses.

Though we have always kept at arm's length. When I considered contacting a death eater in the safest possible way: there was only one person for the job.

‘So…’ I begin hesitantly, almost shouldering into a menacing-looking wizard who steps out of an equally spine-chilling door. ‘He lives around here?’

‘Indeed,’ Theo replies dejectedly.

‘And his family…’ I search my thoughts, ‘…aren’t aware of this secret residence?’

‘That’s right,’ he replies with equal lack of spirit, not turning once to consider me trailing behind him in my raucous heels. ‘Any more questions, Granger?’

I try not to fidget with my bag strap. I reach for my unbound hair, fretting over a lock that is more frizz than shapely curl. I readjust the ugly headpiece Fleur is making me wear: a bright red bird matching the dress.

I bite my lip with apprehension. ‘You truly aren’t showing me to an early grave?’

Theo glances over his shoulder for the first time. ‘I thought you trusted me?’

I stop fretting with my hair. ‘I do.’

Yes, I have to trust him.

I approached Theo about meeting with Draco on Monday. It’s now Friday. Harry and Ron are at the Burrow, helping prepare for Bill and Fleur’s wedding. I’m wearing the red dress that I’ll be wearing for the ceremony, and I’m hoping this meeting with Draco won’t take long. Then, I can get back in time for the rehearsal.

Completely unnoticed.

Because no one notices when Hermione disappears.

‘He agreed to meet you, albeit after some careful consideration,’ he says, wiping the sweat from his brow. ‘I’d say he’s open to the proposition, although…’

I startle when he doesn’t finish. ‘But what?’

‘But…’ he brushes his brown hair back, seeming nervous. ‘Draco isn’t the same boy we once knew. Let’s leave it at that.’

Oh, god. I have seriously f*cked up, haven’t I?

‘So, he’s changed?’

He swallows, making his bony jaw work. ‘Something like that.’

After a prolonged silence—prompting me to shudder with fear—we loom in front of a red door with a silver-plated number ‘06’ on the side wall. The door handle is engraved with a worn, golden raven whose beak is open in a scream.

It’s so old, the details are few.

I stare at it for some time after Theo knocks in a particular sequence. The weather is unrelenting, and my back is dripping with sweat. I feel like someone is watching me. If I lift my head to consider the two-story residence, will I be met with a shadow by the window?

The door opens, and a reluctant house elf frowns at us.

‘What business do you have with my master?’ the creature inquires, wiping down his surprisingly well-kept attire.

‘Theodore and Hermione are here,’ Theo intercedes before I stumble over my nerves.

‘Absolutely. Yes,’ I nod in encouragement.

The elf looks us up and down, focusing keenly on my dress before lifting his attention to our faces. He says, ‘I am to bring inside only the witch, master says.’

I gulp, looking at Theo for a course of action. He nods at the elf before turning to me with a weak grin. ‘Very well. Good luck, Granger. I’ll wait nearby to walk you back when you’re finished.’

‘Thank you, Theo.’

The words are all I can manage to utter before shakily stepping into the foyer. Immediately, I smell something in the air that resembles incense. The door shuts firmly behind me, and I jump, making my heels pound on the wooden floorboards.

It’s a dark space. There is a lack of sunlight streaming through the windows, creating a sombre air better suited for an abandoned place. Regardless, the green glass lamps paint the simple abode with a pleasant light that compliments a rainy day. There are few paintings, but the scenes are amiable instead of ominous. In them, blackbirds are darting out of forests or sitting peacefully in pasture fields surrounded by cornflowers.

‘Up the stairs and to the right, mud-blood,’ the elf says, stepping beside me.

‘Excuse me?’ I move to the foot of the stairs. ‘You will mind your tongue, creature, irrespective of who your master is. My name is Hermione Granger, and you will address me as such.’

The creature fidgets with his tiny fingers.

‘My apologies, Miss Granger,’ the elf says somberly. ‘Master used to call you mud-blood.’

That bloody bastard!

I am seething as I take the steps, one at a time, hammering them with my heels. When I reach the murky landing, I do a sharp right and head towards the only door at the far end. It’s slightly ajar. I barrel into the room. My prior nervousness has completely subsided, and I distantly notice his whereabouts, standing at the foot of a green wingback chair.

His back is to me, wearing a form-fitting white shirt and pleated black tailored trousers. His expression is focused someplace beyond the window overlooking the street below.

‘Keep calling me mud-blood, Malfoy, and I will bloody discharge you to Azkaban myself—’

He tilts his head in my direction, making me swallow the remainder of my threats in a long gulp that I struggle to push down on a dry throat.

He has a lengthy and violent scar across his right cheek. It splits the skin into a dark gash and ends down his neck, merging with the blank ink that seems to devour his fair skin. Even beneath his white shirt that is rolled up at the arms—I can see where the ink continues.

His blue eyes are hauntingly bright, though downcast.

There is something about him that is disarming, like standing before an ancient being whose moral compass is jarringly wayward.

A tumbler of amber liquid rests in his hands. When I notice it, I see a silver ring on his forefinger engraved with an M, winking at me in the weak light.

His jaw works.

‘Is that any way to address the wizard you were so overwrought to meet?’ His voice is lower than I remember, and his hair is slightly dishevelled. It's a strange contrast to the tidy, proper boy who tolerated no strand blowing astray.

This is not Draco.

Each line of his face is severe and defined. His shoulders have substantially broadened. I briefly lower my eyes to see the exposed forearms corded with veins and defined muscles.

Who the f*ck is this?

My back prickles.

It’s like there’s something in the room with us. The shadows are pronounced on every corner, even at my feet; they seem to ripple. I can feel their cold fingers on my ankles, making me shift on my feet anxiously.

‘Don’t confuse despair with eagerness, Malfoy,’ I counter harshly. ‘Did you read the terms of my letter?’

Draco doesn’t say anything as his glacial blue eyes bore into me. It’s hard to look at him, and yet, it seems far more difficult to look away.

They lower on my dress.

It’s glowing painfully bright against such a dreary room.

He grins in a cruel and predatory way that makes me want to run. The shadow tickles my leg as it trails a path towards my thigh.

‘D-did you…’ I stop and bend to swat the annoying sensation away. ‘Are you doing this?’ I accuse, lifting my head to glare at him.

His grin intensifies. ‘What will the order think about their beloved Granger willingly whoring herself to a Death Eater?’ His tone has a menacing bite. ‘No wrong answers.’

My shock is palpable as I stare at him with a gaping mouth.

‘What an atrocious assumption—’ On instinct, I retrieve my wand from my purse, remembering with a tremor that I left it with Theo upon Draco's instruction. ‘—How dare you accuse me of such a loathsome thing?’

His bleak eyes only blink once, twice, and he is upon me like the stroke of lightning. He swings me around and presses me against the wall. The air is knocked out of my lungs. I'm seeing stars by the force that my cheek is crowded into the hard surface.

I try to push him away, but my arms are locked to my lower back, forced to receive the hardness of his body that holds me captive.

‘You’ve come to me unarmed?’

I shiver at the terrible laughter that ensues, vibrating frostily through my spine.

‘The heedless doe is looking pitifully vulnerable,’ he says, breathing hotly into my neck from his proximity. ‘What did you think would happen, Granger?’

‘Theo said—’

‘—I don’t give a f*ck what Theo says. This is between me and you, and you won’t speak another man’s name while you’re in this room with me. Have I made myself clear?’

What the f*ck?

He releases me, and I drop on the floor in a heap. I can’t recover my breath quickly enough to form a word.

‘What are you willing to do to keep your pathetic little order alive?’ he utters darkly over my shoulder.

I massage my neck, rasping out an appropriately gravelled, ‘f*ck. You.’

The sound of pacing footsteps fills the silence. I don’t see where he goes to. It seriously unnerves me.

‘Didn’t you r-read my t-t-terms?’ I grit out, turning my body to regard him.

He’s back to flanking the armchair, extending a hand to a small table where a pile of cigars sit in a neat arrangement. He brings it to his lips, and the embers burn brightly, lighting themselves. I hear the sound of crackling tobacco as smoke curls around his face.

He pulls it away after a long exhale. ‘I’ll ask you again.' He inhales a quick drag. ‘What are you willing to do to ensure the order survives?’

My breathing is not returning.

I panic and slump into the door, severely panting while following his movements with heavy eyes.

What is happening to me?

This place feels like it’s draining me—slowly but surely poisoning the air I try to retain. He starts pacing towards me, and his feet stop in front of me.

I sense the bird on my head twitch as it’s being toyed. ‘Answer me, little bird. Or I’ll find a creative way to pull the truth out of you.’

What am I willing to do?

I would do anything for those I care about. The witches, wizards and muggles I love flash before my eyes.

Harry believes there is a way to overcome this evil without getting our hands dirty.

There isn’t.

And I have realised this for some time.

The ministry will fall.

My vision was clear. The cruel outcome of the war came to me one night about a week ago with such vividness that I woke up screaming and crying.

We will all die…

‘Anything,’ I reply firmly despite my trembling voice.

As if a spell is lifted, I can finally breathe. I rise without a second thought, my back finding the door for support. Looking at his form, I feel threatened by his menacing presence, and I purposefully avoid his eyes.

‘Take your dress off.’

I lift my eyes to his. ‘Are you delusional?’

His brooding gaze darkens. ‘How would you like to leave without your final lifeline?’

My body grows completely cold despite the summer heat, and I’d like to believe that’s why I’m sweating profusely.

Considering his eyes, I try to plead my case. But they are void of sympathy, and I bite my tongue and chance, ‘My terms were communicated in the letter—’

‘—Your terms are insignificant,’ he interrupts. ‘The only words that hold value in this room are my directions and assurances...’

He sits in the chair and lays back, letting his head loll to the side of the window as he smokes. His long legs fall open, and he rests the drink on one knee.

In the subdued daylight, he closes his eyes, a perfect picture of nonchalance.

A beautiful f*cking monster.

They open slowly as if hearing the accusation in my thoughts, and he looks at me through slitted lids.

‘…I am the starved wolf who does not care if you are sweet and begging on your knees. You will be wise to remember that when we proceed.’

If we proceed,’ I correct. ‘I haven’t agreed to your terms.’

He lifts a brow. ‘I wasn’t asking, little bird. Nor am I alluding that you do what I ask.’ His gaze lowers to my chest. ‘Take the dress off if you want to keep it intact.’

I glower at him in response.

What a disgusting pervert!

If he’s so desperate to glimpse my naked flesh in exchange for his help, then so be it. It’s not as if I have anything spectacular to show—he will be sorely disappointed once he sets his eyes on me.

He will avert his gaze and agree to my original terms, surely.

Gritting my teeth, I pull one strap away from my shoulder, letting the other fall of its own accord. It doesn’t, but an elusive breeze prompts it to fall.

I lift a brow as if to say really?

I reach for the zip that begins on my ribcage, wishing I had picked the dress that required Ginny’s assistance.

The zip is halfway before my breasts fall out.

I hope he lets me stop.

Any minute now…

‘Keep going,’ he says, and I am far too ashamed to perceive his reaction.

The zip sees its finale.

The bright red dress falls to the floor, bunching at my feet.

I’m not wearing a bra—only a pair of frilly red underwear. It’s my last defence against full nudity that I am hoping to salvage.

‘Happy?’ I complain. ‘Can I put it back on now?’

‘No,’ he replies sternly. ‘You’ll get on the bed and discard the rest.’

With his words, a door flies open somewhere to my left. I lift my eyes to the intrusion. I see an enormous, perfectly made white bed waiting for me in the adjacent room.

‘No. f*cking. Way,’ I object, crossing my arms to conceal my chest. ‘This is enough. You have sufficiently humiliated me, and I’m finished here.’ I drop to my knees to gather the fabric.

It slithers from under my feet, magically bypassing my heels and scrambling beneath a black baroque wardrobe and out of sight.

‘MY f*ckING DRESS!’ I bellow, getting to my feet. ‘I’m done here. I’m not doing this with you!’ Looking at him, I see that my outrage is lost on him.

His smile is derisive. ‘Is that so? Why don’t you try to run then, little bird? See how far you get.’

Huffing and glaring, I storm past him to the other side of the room with unkept irritation, falling to my knees to find the runaway fabric.

‘Are you holding me hostage, Malfoy? Is that what this is?’ I dart my arm into the darkness, finding nothing. ‘So you and your nefarious family can ruin me and slaughter every other innocent in your path—’

An ugly sob bypasses my lips.

Why did I think I was brave by coming here?

Why did I think I could save them all?

I’m not the chosen one.

I’m the stupid friend who believed she could help from the shadows.

‘Are you done?’ he says to my back, sounding impatient. ‘Or else you may miss your wedding rehearsal if you insist on testing my patience.’

I freeze. ‘How do you know about the rehearsal?’

Did I tell Theo?

I did…

But how could Theo tell Draco when he didn't come inside with me?

‘You’ll get your dress back when we’re finished,’ he says cooly, disregarding my question.

I get to my feet. ‘Finished what?’

He flicks his head to the bed, giving me his devastating side profile. ‘Making you scream until you swear a blood oath on my terms.’

WHAT?!

‘Go f*ck yourself, Malfoy.’

I storm to the bedroom, swiping the white duvet covers from the bed and wrapping them around myself. ‘Keep the dress, you revolting menace!’

He’s still lounging on the chair when I try for the door.

‘Unlock the f*cking thing!’

I violently rattle the handle, but he doesn’t do or say a thing while I exasperate over the knob, hoping it will break from my manhandling.

‘f*ck!’ I yell, turning back to him.

I break the space between us, ignoring his sardonic expression, and swipe the drink from his hand.

The glass shatters beyond us in a piercing crack.

‘Let me out!’

He smiles, taking a drag that obscures his face.

With a frustrated groan, I turn to the window, searching for a latch or anything that reveals an ingress. In the struggle, I drop the duvet.

‘Arghhhhh!’

There’s nothing here! There’s no bloody exit!

I turn to him again, not caring to cover myself, and I see his eyes focus on places they shouldn’t.

It makes me rage more.

I break the small distance and hit him in the face, hoping to dislodge that terrible grin and the cigar he is so determined to kill himself with.

‘LET ME OUT!’ I echo, sensing the tears slipping free.

f*ck.

Oh, f*ck no.

The blue in his eyes morphs into a deadly black, only for a split second.

I squeal at the terrifying sight.

It’s like I’ve awakened a monster, and he’s staring at me with a wild lethality, tittering at my pathetic display of physical strength.

His jaw ticks. ‘Follow my orders willingly or unwillingly,’ his tone is dire. ‘It doesn’t matter. Because you will get on that f*cking bed…’

My body is being hauled backwards by some invisible force. I scream and try to grasp at the door frame, but it’s too late. The force throws me against the flush pillows. I’m positioned perfectly in his direct line of sight.

He remains on the armchair. ‘…And you will show me that pretty puss* and hate every second of it. Have I made myself clear, Granger?’

My legs part of their own accord, and his lazy expression lowers to consider the sight while taking a long drag of his cigar.

I bite out, ‘No, you haven’t, Malfoy.’

He blows out the smoke, still staring at my puss* with his terrible scar and nefarious eyes.

‘Pull the fabric to the side.’

I try to scramble off the bed, but something binds me to it, and I return to my back.

‘YOU’RE INSANE DRACO!’ I roar, pounding into the bed with a wordless scream until my body slams into the pillows.

I flail my legs pathetically in the air.

‘Do I have to remind you that you assured me you’ll do anything for the order?’

I squeal, biting back a sob. ‘I won’t be your whor*!’

It’s as if I am looking at him through a misty forest. The smoke has encompassed the entire space. But I don’t need to see him to perceive the sinister in his face.

My hand is moving without my consent, fingers grazing my trembling leg as they settle next to the fabric of my underwear.

His voice is sharp and thawing, clearing the smoke in its path to reach me. ‘My terms are this: you will come to see me twice a week in this exact location, regardless of what’s happening in your life or your whereabouts—you will find a way, or I will find you.’

I sense a smile when he says, ‘And you don’t want me to find you.’

‘OR WHAT?’ I yell, trying to pull my hand away when it grazes the coarse fabric.

He snickers. ‘You don’t want to find out.’

My fingers skim beneath the band, stroking the softly-shaven flesh and sending a shiver down my spine.

‘Stop,’ I mumble.

The fabric is being pulled aside, revealing my puss* to him.

My fingers begin massaging the area, skimming lightly over my cl*t, and I audibly weep. They lower with a taunting slowness. The tips of my forefinger and middle finger plunge into my slick entrance, using the wetness to draw a circle.

‘Stop!’ I wail.

My arousal is evident, and I want to scream in shame.

‘If you’re a good girl, I’ll deliver you the information you seek,’ he continues. I have to close my eyes to avoid him—to pretend that I am not pleasuring myself in front of his lunatic. ‘And what does a good girl do, Hermione?’

My fingers firmly press on my cl*t. ‘I don’t f*cking know!’

They circle the exposed mound, making me squeak to subdue a moan.

‘Try again,’ he says.

‘They let you live out your sick fantasies,’ I squeal against the mounting pressure. I'm sweating from head to toe. ‘YOU’RE SICK DRACO! YOU'VE GONE MAD!’ I manage to yell with appropriate venom.

He laughs, and my body responds to it, curving my back. ‘That’s right, my clever little witch. Good girls let their captors watch them come undone.’

My fingers develop a devastating rhythm. Good god. Someone send me to Azkaban.

I bite my lip. ‘Stop…’

They slide up and down the slit of my puss*, plunging in again to retrieve the betrayal that is my wetness.

‘Good girls are bound to their masters, and if I so much as taste another man on your lips…’ My puss* clenches ‘…I will decapitate every person that you care about. And you will watch me do it.’

My org*sm is on the verge of release. I am so desperate to quench it, but my hand doesn't stop and my legs won't clench.

My head falls back as the rapturous feeling consumes me.

‘Let go of your pride, little bird. Show the big bad Death Eater what his whor* looks like when she comes undone,’ he says. ‘Then, when I come over there to taste the evidence…’

I scream.

‘…You’ll be mine from the moment my mark is burned into your soul,’ his voice is so close, echoing in every forbidden corner of my psyche.

The stars drown the blackness of my vision when I release, scrunching my face as the moan rips out of me. The shadows laugh as I slump, lifeless, anticipating the inevitable.

‘Open your pretty mouth and swallow my promise.’

I feel the tip of his thumb push past my lips, and the coppery tang of his blood coats my tongue.

Chapter 13: As Above, So Below

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (14)

A long time ago, I fell in love with a boy who would leave me secret notes folded into the shape of a blooming rose. The paper was always red, and the ink was a shimmering gold that reflected the light. I would find them atop the books of the restricted section when I was alone in the library at the heart of night. They started as simple words. At first, I reasoned that I was being toyed with because they made no sense.

Until I came across the word from the very first note in an old charms book.

‘Anguis’

Serpent; dragon; draco.

The notes were in Latin.

As the months progressed, they developed into lines in English with more words like:

‘Secret and sweet and forbidden’

Tempestuous and luminous and holy’

It became clear that they were about me. Though in a somewhat vague and elusive way.

Whenever I met the eyes of the suspected culprit in the hallway or outside classes, they were sharp and mocking. I convinced myself it could not possibly have been him. He hates me.

But then I slapped him in front of Harry and Ron in our third school year, and the next day, the red rose note said:

‘Violent and pretty and haunted’

It was definitely him.

In our fourth year, after the Yule Ball, Victor Krum snuck me down to the lake, and I eagerly followed, expecting my first kiss in the place I adored. He was leaning into me when Igor Karkaroff’s voice bellowed through the trees, calling for him, and like a startled child, he jumped up and promised to return shortly. I waited patiently on the log, watching the mirror surface reflecting the full moon, a haunting selkies song filling the frostiness.

From the instant he vanished in the trees, a hand cruelly yanked my hair, forcing my head backwards to face the sky.

I nearly fell off the log.

But I was caught by a solid body staring down at me with a spiteful glint in his eyes.

His grip was severe, and I thought he was trying to pull my hair out.

You are begging me to drown him, Granger.’

I can scarcely focus on anything through the discomfort. ‘What the hell are you doing, Draco? Get off me!’

‘Get up and leave,’ he barks. ‘Or I'll make you hold his head under until he draws his last breath. It’s your f*cking call before I make it for you.’

He releases me.

I fall back into the gravel, landing painfully on the rocks.

He vanished.

Before Victor could return, I ran away.

I should run right now.

Instead, in my shock, I dropped to my knees.

The light of my magic died.

Through it all, his terrible eyes never blinked. Not when the spell left my lips, illuminating the end of the dark wood. Not even when I was convinced he was about to die—the spell was so powerful and blinding—I thought it was inevitable.

Crackling tobacco reminds me where I am as he looms above me. Suddenly, I feel something being forced past my lips, and without a second thought, I receive it, sucking his thumb into my mouth.

It tastes salty.

I grimace up at him.

He's watching me through a dark, smoke-billowed face, releasing the fumes, and his voice is throaty when he says, ‘How does it feel?’

I only scowl deeper, forgetting about my nudity and the cold that bites at every goosebump-raised layer of my skin.

‘To realise that you can never be rid of me.’

I refuse to entertain him, even when he pushes the digit in and out of my wet mouth, coating the black serpent with my saliva.

‘Change of plans,’ he says, resting the cigarette on his lips. Using his free hand, he reaches into his leather vest and pulls out a black-cased phone.

He urges the finger into motion, and with his prompt, I suck his disgusting snake with hatred in my eyes.

He flicks his thumb on the screen.

I’m blinded by a flash of bright white light that is horrendously revealing.

‘I want you to demonstrate to your husband who truly owns you…’ he stops to smoke, removing the flash for a moment, ‘…who his beautiful little wife is whoring for, all sullied and tainted, on her knees like a good girl for the big bad captor.’

I stop sucking.

An ugly cavity forms in my stomach.

‘You're going to show him what you look like with my co*ck buried in your throat.’

I pull away from him, sharply releasing the wet suction.

‘You can shove that notion into the depths of the f*ckING HELL HOLE YOU CAME FROM!’ I bellow before spitting out the remnants of his taste, making a point of doing it at his feet.

He takes a long drag, inspecting my angry face beneath the flash. ‘Did I give you the impression of being a harbinger of empty threats?’

‘It doesn’t f*cking matter, because I’m not—’

‘—You would rather discover him hanging from your bedroom window? Because I will drag him by a noose all the way from Cornwall, just in time for your morning coffee.’

‘You…’ I try to breathe through my stifling horror. ‘Can go f*ck yourself,’ I grit out. ‘I will bite it off AND SPIT IT BACK IN YOUR FACE!’

My cheeks are being pinched firmly together. It’s painful, and I squeal.

His mass occupies my entire vision as he lifts my face towards him, speaking an inch from my lips, ’Keep pissing me off, Hermione. You don’t know how much I’ll relish severing your husband’s head and presenting it to you in a bloodied box.’

He releases me harshly.

‘Scream and cry. But you’ll soon be begging me to split you open with my tongue before I f*ck you senseless…’ he inhales, and when he exhales, it’s all over my face.

He smiles. 'Just know, the pleasure will be blinding. Your puss* will weep if you ever try to spread your legs for anyone who isn’t me.’

My rage shudders throughout my body.

He hums, beaming to himself at my silence before flicking the cigarette away and switching hands, holding the phone with the serpent hand that stirs with the movement as if it’s alive.

It is alive.

I observe its scales ripple with the motions of the tendons.

I hear a zip come undone, followed by a belt buckle, and my attention falls to the free hand pulling out his enormous erection.

I gape at it.

The flash is baring the silky flesh. It's so close; I can almost taste the precum beading on the tip as he pumps it once, twice, before saying, ‘If you so much as think about biting it—I will break a finger for each tooth mark you’ve etched.’

I gulp, instantly regretting the saliva lost.

How am I meant to get this monstrous thing comfortably in my mouth?

‘Have I made myself clear, Birdie?’

I look up at him, meeting the flash face-on. I lower my brows in a severe, I will f*cking kill you for this, type of way.

He laughs, the rich sound spreading a thawing warmth in my constricted chest and tense spine.

‘Stick your tongue out and nod your agreement,’ he orders.

What the f*ck am I doing?

I shiver, nodding slowly with slitted eyes.

I used to be strong. Right?

Before Draco, I could stand my ground and affirm my power.

Hesitantly, I dart my tongue out and place it flatly against the velvety tip of his co*ck. My instincts override, and I lick a slow trail, gathering the juices, starting from the bottom of the slit to the top, making him groan.

I swallow the salty taste.

Knowing the phone is pointed at me makes me want to die.

I refuse to look at it.

‘Why don’t you look at the camera, sweetheart,’ he croons. ‘Don’t be shy about showing your husband how much you enjoy it.’

I lick it again, but lazily as if I don’t know what I’m doing. I look up at the camera with a doleful expression.

He snickers. ‘Take it in your mouth, or reap the consequences of pretending that you don’t know what you’re f*cking doing.’

I leer at him some more before parting enough to accommodate his size. I dampen my lips, capturing the entire head and tasting it with my tongue before suctioning it.

‘Just like that…’ He murmurs.

In some f*cked up praise-abiding corner of my mind, I feel encouraged to continue, sucking a little more of him in with each languid motion.

He is so overwhelming. I breathe deeply through my nose as I keep going, following the instinct I know all too well. I lather my tongue against the silkiness, trailing a path up and down the underside, following the veins and ridges. He makes a few shallow thrusts, but otherwise, he lets me find my rhythm.

Hollowing my cheeks, I suck him harder, fighting the urge to wrap my hand around his length for better reach.

He grunts as if reading my thoughts.

‘Put your hand on it.’

I don’t obey him.

I let him see the rebellion in my eyes.

He snarls. ‘I f*cking dare you to defy me. Watch Sofia and Arthur join in the hanging fest.’

His hand buries in my hair, and I grab him back just as hard.

I begin twisting my hand from the base, pushing his foreskin down. The spotlight on me alights the wetness coating his co*ck. My mouth has grown so moist that it makes a noisy lathering sound when I build momentum—determined to overcome the halfway point and take his fullness to the back of my throat.

He growls.

I venture a glimpse at him, seeing his head lolled back towards the stars.

The sight is disarming.

It’s like beholding a god.

In my delusional state of wonderment, I almost forget the recording phone pointed at me, and I scoff.

To conquer the fullness I want, I have to clutch the end of his belt, urging his hips towards me. The action reveals a slash of his waistline from where the trousers are pushed aside.

A tattoo is there, but I can’t make out the details.

I suck so much more of him as a result of my absentmindedness. He audibly moans, and I look up in surprise, meeting his eyes that observe me with rapt devotion.

My mouth pulls back to swirl my tongue on the sensitive ridge of his head.

‘You’re too good at that,’ he groans in a guttural, animalistic way like he’s annoyed.

He starts thrusting, encouraging me to relax my jaw as he presses on a gag. My eyes are watering from the pressure, and the tears slip out when he drives the devastating length to a blinding spot.

I need to remember how to breathe.

It’s too late to save me from grace.

I’m beyond spoiled and corrupted. I may as well allow him to force his stupid supremacy down my throat. My head is immobilised as my mouth receives the onslaught of his co*ck, stuffing me full of him.

The moan that slips out of him when the point of my tongue flicks at the base makes my thighs clench.

Stupid f*cking thighs.

He exhales noticeably louder, and I suction harder.

f*ck,’ he says hoarsely.

I smile inwardly, relishing the sick satisfaction gained from sensing him tense.

I wish I could stop.

To let him perceive the power I have over him—

That I can just as easily withhold.

‘Why don’t you tell the camera who owns you, Hermione,’ he bids. ‘Who gets to f*ck this tight little mouth?’

I flare my nostrils.

He pushes deeper until my eyes bulge.

‘Say it,’ he barks.

I try to pull back, but he doesn’t let me.

‘Yuhhh,’ I say, failing to form a coherent word.

He pulls out just enough to let me speak.

I graze my teeth on his skin before repeating, ‘You.’

The grin that develops on his beautiful lips is deranged. ‘That’s right. You belong to me, and if you attempt to give anyone what is mine…’ his thrust to the back of my throat is punitive, ‘…I will feed you their flesh. Do you understand, Birdie? I will make sure you swallow every piece of your betrayal.’

What the f*ck? I’m married!

I'm trying to express the confusion by pinching my brows together.

He only smiles wider. ‘Nod your agreement to the camera.’

I bob my head, slurping the spit that threatens to slip out.

‘Good girl,’ he growls on a moan.

Holy f*ck. My thighs slide against each other from being thatslippery.

If an earth-sized cavity appeared before me, I would happily plummet into it. I am becoming just as disturbed as he is.

His rhythm is brutal, and my jaw is beginning to hurt. I am almost glad for his force, regardless of the pain. For the first time in my life, my mind is silent. Ron is like a distant memory. The war and all its casualties may as well have been from a past life.

A moan slips out of me.

f*ck my life.

If Ron sees this video…

‘He will see it.’ I meet his downcast eyes with my watery own. He grins before saying, ‘If you misbehave or resist me…’ He beacons the stifled gag, and more tears slip out as he violently f*cks my mouth.

I can’t even glare at him.

He’s suffocating me with his monstrous fullness.

‘...You don’t want to see the extent of my reprisal. I've been waiting a long time to ruin you.’

My heart misses a beat.

His hand leaves my hair to wipe a tear from my cheek, lifting it to his lips.

He licks it with a tongue that appears to be forked like a snake. What the f*ck?

‘For now, you will swallow every last drop of my cum and walk back to your comfortable existence, thinking about how you're going to abandon it.’

I want to protest.

Before my mouth fills with the hot taste of him, he presses me close enough to see the shape of his murky tattoo.

It’s a snake coiling around a blackbird—forcing its way through the aperture of the bird’s beak.

‘The Serpent and The Blackbird’

Those were the words in one of Draco’s last notes to me.

Chapter 14: Red *Special Chapter*

Summary:

Here is your first introduction to my special chapters, which will be titled only 'Red' going forward. They are in Draco's POV and are flashbacks that are not intended to progress the story's overall plot. They are unique because they are purely here for you! With your love and support, I will include more of these every so often so you can have that *extra* long and juicy story that will give you an intimate glimpse into Draco's deranged and obsessive mind.

The picture at the end of the chapter is my vision of the present-day stalker/Draco or 'The Shadow' ;)

Anyway, I hope you love it!

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (15)

Important: Please read the chapter summary for an introduction to this chapter so you understand what it is and how it fits into the story!

Rough Timeline: Order of the Phoenix/ Half-Blood Prince.

The fury thrumming through my veins is astronomical.

‘…Bulstrode will have a fat chance getting away from me…’

My wrath strums like an ocean eclipsed by darkness, its waves violent and unrelenting. What if I fractured Crabbe’s skull instead? If the bastard keeps gabbing in my ear, I just f*cking might.

‘I’ll get her in an empty corridor…’ Goyle snigg*rs at Crabbe’s words. ‘… She doesn’t wear tights either…’

The rainwater drips from my jaw, doing nothing to subside the fissures of lightning burning entire forests inside of me. I’m on the other side of the wall, in the courtyard, my head raised to the storm; Crabbe and Goyle are sprawled lazily on the open window.

The students raucously filter into the empty corridors, disturbing my semblance of stillness in the eye of the storm. If I allowed my dark thoughts to prevail, I would massacre them all.

It’s cold, and the hail begins.

I drop my head, focusing with bleary eyes between the pair chatting about stupid sh*t.

If I see him, I will eradicate him.

It’s all I can think about.

Instead of my next victim, I notice an all too familiar redhead. His grating voice finds me, and I consider unleashing my rage on the waif dog-looking Weasley and the tragic ‘chosen’ one to lessen this intensity that won’t cease.

Ah, there she is.

Always with them.

The water trickling from my lashes couldn’t obstruct my vision. The sight is like a warm lantern to my soul's eternal, nefarious darkness. Her wild, curly hair bobs with her animated words. She’s always so f*cking loud and insufferable—it makes me want to shove something down her throat to humble her.

Her eyes always find me.

No matter where or how many people separate us. Either I find her eyes already on me, or I beackon hers, like now.

I am boring daggers into her, and she quickly averts her gaze.

Good. You’d cry like a little bitch if you knew what I was about to do.

‘What are we waiting for, Malfoy?’ Crabbe asks the first sensible thing that has left his mouth since they found me.

I don’t reply as I depart the courtyard, intent on a receding tall blonde head. I shoulder my way through the corridors, hands in my pockets, letting my darkness simmer.

The wooden bridge is in sight.

We are alone.

I am stalking closely behind, waiting for an opportunity. The barrage is fierce above us, hitting on the wooden roof like it wants to pierce through.

Pierce me, kill me. Let this blackness seep out and abolish the light—the voice inside me chants.

I see him sometimes when I look at myself in the mirror: raven black hair and a deranged smile; he is my shadow. Because of him, I left my wand in my room—because of him, I’m pulling out a thick chain from my back pocket.

There’s no fun in cruelty and suffering if you aren’t getting your hands dirty.

I hardened my steps just enough to announce my presence, and as Ernie Macmillan is about to glimpse over his shoulder, I let my chain swing over his head, catching it at his neck.

I cross my hands, tightening them, and he falls to the floor, a scream obstructed by the stolen air. I squat above him, keeping the metal tight in my unrelenting hold.

‘Macmillan,’ I say, grinning at the sight of his watery eyes and tortured expression.

‘Malffff,’ he grates out, eyes crossing in his struggle.

I smile wider. ‘I thought we could have a friendly catch-up. Just you and me and my gracious weapon.’

The chain blisters into my skin.

I f*cking love the pain.

I live for it.

Leaning closer to his face, I echo, ‘How about it, Macmillan? Should we have a friendly little chat?’

He’s trembling with fear.

‘Nod for yes. Or keep thrashing, and I’ll tighten my grasp,’ I warn.

He nods frantically.

God, I want to f*cking kill him. ‘How would you like to repeat what you told Parkinson during Charms? I’m all too f*cking excited to hear it coming from you.’

His blue eyes bulge with bewilderment. His hands fuss to grip the chain, which is suffocating him.He can’t speak, and I don’t want him to.

He keeps nodding, trying to please me. ‘I could garrotte you to death and make it look like a spell went wrong,’ I begin, grinning wider when the droplets from my sodded hair start trickling into his eyes. ‘It’s tempting.’

His face is turning purple.

‘Here’s what's going to happen…’ I lower my voice to a deadly fraction. ‘… You’re going to abandon your touching proposal about asking Granger out, or you’ll eat my other barbed chain, sh*t it out, and eat it again and again until you're sh*t-covered and limp at my feet.’

His eyes focus vacantly, and I lessen the pressure slightly.

‘Have I made myself clear, Macmillan?’

He nods hysterically again, a trail of blood seeping out his nose. I seriously consider ending him right here, right now. But a distant drumming of steps catches my attention. I lift my gaze to see a pair of girls entering the bridge. I release the pathetic excuse for a wizard.

‘You played around, and the spell almost choked you. Isn’t that right? If Draco didn’t help you, you’d have killed yourself. What a misfortune, hmm?’ I slap him on the cheek to prompt him back to lucidness. ‘Silly, clumsy you. You’ll know not to mess with things you don’t understand next time.’

His nod is feeble, but at least he heard me. I get to my feet, lifting him with me. The bastard is so limp that his body slumps weakly into the barrier, looking as if he may topple over the side.

He’s breathing heavily, and when the third-year girls pass us, they are too frantic to get out of the rain to notice anything. I leave him there—collapsed over the side, hoping the ruthless wind pushes him over and into the jagged rocks below.

Staring into the pines beyond the outlook, I let my mind wander to keep myself from throttling the next student who chances a glance. Instead, I am deliberating when this fascination with the half-blood began.

It could’ve been on the Hogwarts Express when we were starting our first school year, and she beamed at me after I crudely shouldered into her, introducing herself like the stupid people-pleaser she is. Perhaps it was after she wished me good luck when I joined the quidditch team.

Though from what I recall, she became an all-consuming disease when I had to visit the library in the first few years to keep up with the schoolwork. She materialised beside me like the shining saint of the library—ready to help me even if she hated me, even after she clouted me in front of her friends and thumped a hardback journal into my hand the next day when I sat down to resume my covert studies.

I love that she loathes me—

Helping me behind her friends’ backs.

Keeping a secret like that, a secret all mine.

Like a good girl.

‘You missed lunch,’ Zabini says, appearing beside me.

I don’t respond to him. My eyes catch on her as she emerges at the end of the hallway, heading towards me.

No, not me.

Our class.

He huffs, joining me in leaning against the wall outside Herbology.

‘What’s up? You’re acting shifty lately…’ He begins as Hermione approaches, joining the queue beside me, lost in conversation with Longbottom. I glare at the half-wit Gryffindor until he lowers his eyes. ‘… You seem tense.’

I am f*cking tense.

I’m hounded by a shadow that wants to eradicate everything that moves. I’m haunted by a Gryffindor girl who should be crying and begging, biting and clawing, covered in her blood and sweat as I spoil her sweet and dignified façade.

Mmm, that’s it. I can smell her, at last.

She wears sweet scents—girly fragrances. sh*t that’s bottled as ‘Unicorn Kisses’ and ‘Peachy Beachy Party.’ It’s sickening and heady. I’ve seen them lined up in her vanity; I’ve watched her spray them on her naked body, the shimmering particles floating everywhere.

I murmur offhandedly, ‘Same old.’

She perks her head to the side whenever I speak. The conversation with Longbottom is dominated by him now; she’s withdrawn her attention ever so briefly. I notice the minute details: her receptivity to me, her body responding in contempt of her better judgment.

Zabini sighs. ‘I’m inclined to agree. Sprout’s got me lined up for extra work after the lesson.’ He snickers. ‘What you got planned for after, anyway?’

‘f*ck if I know,’ I retort, not caring to assume politeness. ‘I’ll find a first year to drown if I get bored.’

She sucks in a breath.

I knew it.

You can’t help but eavesdrop, can you?

I leer at the Potter Urchin as he advances with his dog in tow. They crowd around Hermione like a flock of eager hens, and she steps back, breaking the little distance between us.

I don’t budge to prevent her.

Come closer.

Fall at my feet and show them who your god is.

She freezes.

Sensing our proximity, goosebumps rise on her exposed forearms, and she abruptly steps forward.

‘In you come!’ Sprout shouts, startling everyone into motion. Zabini leaves the wall, and I push my foot into it, joining the queue behind him and straightening. I feel the tension in my shoulders, and I roll them back, eager for the release from a good workout.

She likes what she sees—the shadow croons.

I’m not wearing my cloak, and I can feel her eyes lingering on my form, shamelessly dissecting me while her friends are preoccupied behind her.

I grin, resuming my hands in my pockets.

Keep your eyes on me, sweetheart.

As we enter the Herbology classroom, I notice the tables and chairs are lined up in rows. I follow Zabini to the back, evading the beaming professor, searching for someone to hand out her pile of scrolls.

‘You’ll be my star today, Miss Granger!’ She bellows. ‘Would you be a dear and hand these out for me.’

‘Of course,’ she replies in her charming, amicable voice. ‘And the theory test? I’ve got all the questions and answers for the—’

‘We will be continuing the practice questions for the theory,’ Sprout booms, cutting her off. ‘Again, review your textbooks with your partner. There is no glossing over the hard questions this time. If you have any queries, my star and I will help you through the gritty and difficult parts.’

Taking my seat, I keep my eyes on ‘the star,’ watching as she travels to each desk, stopping to smile and chat with her friends before gliding to the next one.

‘You’re not inconspicuous enough for a sly crush, ' Zabini says, opening the textbook and navigating to the last page we attempted. Then, lowering his voice, he says, ‘Macmillan looked a sight.’

I only smile wider.

I don’t care if Zabini knows. He’s the only one who does. We both have secret obsessions; his fixation happens to be a timid Hufflepuff girl who can barely meet his eyes without shuddering.

I glance at him, noticing how his eyes have darkened while absentmindedly staring at the room beyond. He’s probably thinking about doing the same to the guy who keeps sitting next to his girl in the Great Hall, making her laugh when she’s always quiet and reserved.

Nothing like my girl who's approaching our table right now.

Hermione doesn’t meet my eye. ‘Zabini…Malfoy,’ she says my name scornfully.

Placing the two scrolls in front of us, I notice her hand slightly tremble when she pushes it towards me before hastily swivellingon her feet, trying to get away from us.

‘Hey, Granger!’ Zabini hollers to her receding form. ‘I need help!’

Sprout glances in our direction, stopping Hermione in her determination to avoid us. She turns back slowly, plastering an annoyingly bright smile at Zabini.

‘Sure. What is it?’ she approaches the table.

I don’t even hear what he asks her.

Her curls billow over Zabini’s book. ‘That’s strange…it might be a misprint.’

Sprout materialises behind her, leaning into the desk and herding us in. The overcrowding forces Hermione to go behind Zabini, and she awkwardly settles between us, trying to keep her body turned away from me.

The professor’s voice is giving me a headache, repeating the question several times before finally leaving and finding Zabini another textbook.

‘Your book?’ Hermione asks, still not looking at me.

‘Hmmm,’ I pretend to think. ‘Must’ve left it on my bed.’

I feel her tense. ‘Why?’

‘Go and find out.’

‘You should’ve brought it to the lesson,’ she sighs.

‘Should I?’

Her jaw ticks. ‘If Sprout realises that you don’t have it on you, she’ll make you stay for a whole week after lessons.’

I grin. ‘So why don’t you shut the f*ck up and fetch it for me like a good girl?’

I don’t need to see her face to perceive the shock.

Her silence gives me sufficient satisfaction as Sprout returns to drop off the book before darting towards a table at the front.

She huffs in frustration, skimming to the page.

‘So…’ Hermione leans closer to Zabini, her elbows on the desk. ‘… Does the question still confuse you even when it's amended?’

While they’re occupied, I lean back in my chair, feigning nonchalance and hoping to glimpse the suspected sight. Her skirt is hiked up, revealing a picture-perfect view. The black tights are not opaque enough to mask the flushed pink fabric of her thong. There’s a hole in the tights that begins somewhere between the mound of her cheeks, and I'm eager to see its end.

Little Miss Granger hasn’t even had her first kiss. She and Ginny talk about it enough—though surprisingly, she hasn’t mentioned to anyone that I hindered her first opportunity with Krum Scum. Or about the notes I leave her in the library.

By the sounds of it, Zabini is being thoroughly lectured in the history of Mugwort, so why don’t I just—

I lure my shadow forth, using its power to get what I want.

The shadows congregate, and invisible, murky hands pull the fabric up just an inch, exposing more of the baby pink fabric. She doesn’t move, and I decide to venture further. The shadowy tendrils skim higher, revealing the large opening of the enticing hole that opens to another, more intimate hole obstructed by the pink material. Somewhere in their conversation, I hear her stutter on a word.

Her muscles constrict, but still, she doesn’t impede or accuse me. Is it just me, or can I smell her arousal? Maybe I should keep going…

Her hand slaps harshly on the wood. ‘If you feel confident, I’ll leave you t-to it.’ She straightens abruptly, shaky hands tugging her skirt's fabric down, dispersing the shadows. ‘I’ll b-be around if you need help with something else.’

In her flustered getaway, she bumps punitively into the back of Zabini’s chair, urging him forward.

‘What the f*ck was that?’ he protests with a groan.

I watch her rattled form speed walk to her desk, pulling the chair back with a piercing shriek.

‘Girls,’ I retort bluntly.

He huffs. ‘The bane of my existence.’

The textbook slams in front of me just before Sprout reaches our table. It crashes into the wall next to me from the force, and I raise my attention to a scowling Hermione.

She finally meets my eyes with a frown.

‘It’s mine. I’ve copied all the questions in my notebook already,’ she says, trying desperately to suppress a blush.

Of course, you have.

‘I expect it returned to me.’

I say nothing as Sprout reappears, beaming at mine and Zabini’s work. For some unknown reason, the fact she gave me her textbook is grating on my nerves.

People-pleasing, insufferable little bitch.

She should know better.

Sprout is still sprouting her annoying bullsh*t, fawning over Zabini’s notes that are probably an exact copy of Granger’s schooling. It’s frantic in here, and I’ve grown disturbingly impatient in recent months that anything is bound to spiral me.

I close my eyes, willing all the nuisance and chaos to tamper.

Finally, the lesson is dismissed, and as I leave Zabini behind, I roll up the textbook and place it in my back pocket, leaving the room without a backward glance.

‘Malfoy!’ she shouts behind me.

I keep walking, maintaining my ruthless pace. I’m pointedly ignoring her, letting her tiny legs trail me while my long strides cover the sufficient distance. I disregard the looks thrown our way by students, and when a professor passes by, I notice that Granger remains remarkably silent.

‘Hey! My textbook! MALFOY!’

She starts running, advancing on me quickly.

I pull the book from my pocket before she can grab it, increasing my step to a gruelling speed.

‘What in Merlin’s beard has gotten into you,’ she grates, trying to recover her breath. ‘Just give it back!’

She’s been trailing me for some time, exasperated and hindered by her ridiculously overpacked shoulder bag. I sharply turn into the dungeons, where the Slytherin common room and dormitories are. The stone walls around me are rough and dark. It's a warm welcome, and not one that she will be eager to explore.

For now...

She halts at the boundary with a sniffle.

Is she f*cking crying?

I chuckle.

That's right. Weep at your stupidity.

Her kindness will be her death if she doesn’t realise it soon enough. There is no strength in benevolence. When the time comes for strife, her friends will bury her and give her bullsh*t titles like ‘admirable’ and ‘selfless,’ throwing dirt on her grave while gushing about her heedless valiancy.

There will be no valiant efforts on your part, Little Red.

The big bad wolf will make sure of it.

I feel her gaze boring into me in the Great Hall. I stare back at her, unflinching, waiting for her to submit.

Look away, princess. Surrender those pretty eyes and render me triumphant.

But she doesn’t, and I drop my indifferent expression to wear a deadly smirk that says, you are so f*cked.

She glowers at the sight, and her fury is beautiful. It's truly a sight. I can taste it from across the room, a most delectable feast. I’d live on her vehemence and fear for the rest of my life and never starve a day. Her attention is determined and persistent as if she could intimidate me with her annoyance alone.

I’ve eaten a few forkfuls of the food, and so has she. But I’ve decided to preserve my energy for more pressing and punishing activities. I hope that, in her case, it will make her weary and weak.

I grin wider when a wretched state passes by my line of vision.

Macmillan really does look like sh*t.

She notices him pass by, and her eyes widen.For a moment, I imagine it was her beneath me, wearing the metal in her captivity, unable to escape me. I can picture it so vividly: the shrieks and flailing. I would lick her wounds once the iron bites through her skin, lowering my tongue until she pleads me to do what I like.

When the glittering night sky appears above us, she leaves my eyes with a frown to glimpse it, entirely captivated by it. We've seen it a thousand times, and still she does that—always gawking at pretty sh*t.

You have no idea how many stars I will make you see.

The Weasley Hound leans in to say something to her. I am debating turning his fork on him and making him shovel out his own eyes, digging deeper until he reaches the brain and digs out the rest.

She smiles at his words, and suddenly, the fork slips and buries into the back of his hand.

The scream is thunderous.

There is a great upheaval as bodies horde around the scene. And yet, I’m more focused on Hermione as she tries to help her friend, covering her hands in blood.

It paints up her forearms, and the spectacle is arousing.

She’s leaving, trailing behind the professors with Potter Pest and more redheads.

When I get up to leave, Zabini gives me a sidelong glance with a raised brow. I shrug. It was only the tip of the iceberg of what I really wanted to do to the Weasley.

The pine trees embrace the frigid fog as if they live and breathe it. The mist is permanently suspended above the canopy, cascading down the trunks and blanketing my line of sight. The forest voices are few, and what howls and whimpers is something of the spectral kind.

It’s a treacherous place to run, but it’s exhilarating.

Even with the intensity of my exercise, I can still smell her sweetness; it occupies every corner of my darkened senses, overriding the forest scent of damp moss and upturned earth.

It’s midnight.

The distant warm lights from the castles’ windows are so few. It's isolated, and her scent is so close; my shadows instincts throb at the thought.

When I break out of the trees, the hillside clearing is empty.

I walk to its halfway point, shaking off the sweat from my hair. I turn my back to the castle and face back towards the forest, admiring the haunting sight that offers me my only semblance of solace.

Shrugging off my grey t-shirt, I use it to wipe the sweat from my face before reaching into my shorts pocket for the packet of cigarettes.

The black lighter is inside, and I pull it out before pressing the muggle pleasure to my lips.

Its toxicity is addictive, and I groan at the taste.

I drop the shirt onto the moist grass and place my free hand in my pocket, straightening slightly to accommodate my sloping posture from the knoll.

Ah, here she is.

Her trepidation makes me enjoy the poison entering me all the more.

‘What are you doing out here?' She begins with a low voice. ‘And are you smoking—’

‘—Tell me what you want and f*ck off.’

Her steps slow.

‘Charming,’ her sarcasm is palpable.

Passing me, she’s trying to tread carefully on the slippery slope, getting in front of me. She’s wearing a thick white coat over her pyjamas, which appear to be her black shorts and vest set, judging by her bare legs from where the coat ends at the knees.

I lower my eyes at her.

She straightens, appearing pathetically smaller than she already does when her average head height just about reaches my chin. Her eyes desperately dart to my face; she’s flushed and struggling to keep a straight face when I’m standing half-naked and sweat-slicked above her.

‘I want my textbook,’ she declares, blowing out a cold puff of air with her words.

I inhale and exhale slowly, thinking about what I could do to her as punishment for her stupid demands. ‘Is that so?’

She ignores my blunt reply. ‘I want it back. Right. Now.’

I titter. ‘Do I look like I’m carrying your f*cking book right now?’

‘Go and get it, then.’

I inhale, throwing the finished cigarette at her feet. Breaking the small distance between us, I loom above her, and she has to lift her face from my chest to meet my eyes.

I blow the smoke in her face. ‘What do I get for giving you what you want?’

She doesn’t budge from the smoke. ‘Are you serious? It’s my book! I was generous by lending it to you; you’ve just thrown my kindness back in my face, and it’s insulting.’

Her legs tremble.

‘I’m not a nice guy, Granger. If you wanted nice, you should visit one of the swine you call your friends.’

She huffs. ‘What is up with you? I was being nice to yo—'

‘—And look where it’s got you,’ I mutter, skimming my eyes over her face. She’s flushed with frustration, and this close, I can smell her minty breath. ‘You’re shaking and scared, clutching onto your crumbling bravery. I could eat you alive, and no one will hear you scream. You don't have the upper hand to make demands.’

Her shuddering sets my body on fire.

‘Tell me what you want, and I’ll think about it once I’m back inside.’

I chuckle. ‘That’s not how this works.’ Her hot breath is deeper now, puffing warmth to the skin of my chest. ‘If I demand it, I get it. Right. Now.

She takes a step back, and I eat the distance. ‘Wa-what is it then?’

‘Hmmm,’ I pretend to think, grinning at her unease. ‘Something you haven’t given to anyone.’

'Like what?' Her face is contorted in confusion.

I give her a wolfish smile, increasing my pace as she walks backwards, nearly tripping. ‘I want to taste your lips.’

Her breath catches. ‘Are you being serious right now?’

My voice is hoarse, ‘Deadly.’

The sound of frustration that leaves her is delectable. She’s got herself all worked up, panting and sweating in her coat.

‘You’re insane! Why am I having to bargain after something I f*cking own!’

I can’t help the laughter that escapes me. Granger’s finally allowing herself to use big words.

I’ve stopped herding her in, waiting to see what she will do as we stand on the boundary of the forest. I don’t say anything, and she uses the moment of silence to think.

I watch as the resolve seeps out of her, joining the night and being swallowed by my shadow who shudders at tasting her loss of power.

She takes a step towards me.

That’s it.

Come to the big bad wolf, Little Red.

Her jaw is firm, holding back her chattering teeth. ‘Fine,’ she says, taking another step. ‘But no tongue, just our lips…ok?’

My smile is half manic as I say, ‘I didn’t specify which lips I wanted to taste, did I?’

The blood leaving her face is the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.

‘Wa-what?’ she stutters again, taking a step back. ‘I’ve never…we aren’t doing that, Draco.’

I crowd her in again, feeling the dead leaves crunch beneath my feet as we step into the forest floor. ‘Yes, we are.’

‘Draco—’ her back presses into a thick, gnarled oak tree.

She squeals, ‘I’ve never done this before.’

As if that's going to f*cking stop me.

I don’t respond as I reach for the top of the coat’s zipper, tugging it down, revealing the pyjama set I knew was waiting for me.I’ve watched her put it on so many times after her baths. I’ve seen it twisted from sleep, exposing a breast or the side of her puss* as she kicks the duvet away when it gets too hot.

Her firm nipples are poking into the fabric.

‘I-I’ve…Draco…oh my god…we can’t!' She’s breathless, and when the zipper comes to its end, her hands dart to cover her breasts.

‘Drop them or lose them,’ I bark. ‘And shut the f*ck up before I’m tempted to take more than we agreed.’

I get on my knees, glowering up at her. ‘Spread your legs.’

With a squeak, she obliges.

The fabric of the shorts is pathetic, really. Just one tug to the side would expose her to me. She doesn’t even wear underwear to bed.

I dip my head into the gap, finding the valley of her mound and inhale the scent of her puss*, which smells fleshy and with a hint of her fruity sprays and coconut creams.

She slaps a hand over her mouth.

I dart my tongue out, tasting the area slowly before growing impatient. She shivers, and I reach a hand to the elastic band of her shorts, pulling them down. Just as they reach her knees, she begins another onslaught of half-word protests.

I growl. ‘Keep testing my patience, Granger. I have so little of it, and my co*ck is painfully hard.’

The shorts pool at her feet, and she stops. Her silence let's me absorb what I'm seeing...

I’ve seen her puss* countless times without her knowing, but the sight before me is still disarming.

It’s grown out a little from her last shave a few days ago. I press my lips to it, guiding the tip of my tongue through her soft folds, making her whimper. I lap slowly at the slit, and her moan is devastatingly loud.

‘Shut the f*ck up,’ I warn, flicking her cl*t ever so slightly. ‘Make another sound like that, and you’ll be swallowing your puss*’s taste from my mouth after. Have I made myself clear?’

She’s silently shuddering.

f*ck.

Her puss*’s weeping for me.

I use my tongue to dip into her hole, circling the slick wetness before travelling back to her sensitive stop, flicking it firmly.

She lifts her leg, offering better access. Her juddering muscles almost make me laugh. Herbody is so responsive. I'd be inclined to believe she's always wanted this with me.

I eat her, not caring about a rhythm.

This part is for me.

She's kept me so f*cking starved. My obsession, my girl. My little red nightmare.

Tasting her thoroughly, I repeat the process until she squirms, and I have to grip her thighs to keep her steady.

f*ck. She tastes so good.

The sound of my wet tongue and desperate mouth feasting on her hot flesh breaks the silence of the night.

I'm f*cking her with my tongue, dipping in and out of her entrance, teasing and tasting.I taste and taste, drawing out her sweet flavour until I decide on a languid rhythm against her sensitive bud. She clenches her thighs and cries out, louder than before, and I smile into her slick flesh, my lips soaked from her arousal.

I hope you’ll like tasting your puss* on my tongue after you're finished.

I could punish her forever.

She would be a fool to think she could ever escape me.

Her moans drown out the darkness—she’s stopped suppressing it. Her hand sits lazily on her mouth, but she may as well drop it. The gulps of air and squeals are priceless.

I’m circling every corner of her pretty c*nt. She likes a slow rhythm, one that is torturous and steady.

Little Miss Granger wants to be eaten alive, and at the same time, worshipped with careful consideration.

‘D-d-draco,’ she utters. ‘I think…I think—’

Hmm. So soon?

She will need to build up more experience and practice to handle what I want to do to her and for how long. But for now, I suck slowly on her cl*t, and she screams, trembling in my hold.

Her org*sm is music to my ears.

My tongue starts frantically tasting all her wetness—taking it all for myself. My mouth is soaked with it, and with one final lick, suck and kiss, I get to my feet. Her eyes are unsteady as I obstruct her vision. Tilting her head, she tries to focus loosely over my shoulder as if embarrassed to meet my eyes.

‘I told you to shut the f*ck up, didn't I?'

She drops down shakily to pick up her shorts.

‘I couldn't help it,’ her voice is husky as she lifts the fabric to cover herself. ‘Just a kiss, right? No tricks or...’ Her eyes meet mine when she says, ‘Manipulating me.’

You haven't seen anything yet, sweetheart.

In time.

Give it more time. It’s too soon.

If her friends and the professors get a waft of what I’m capable of…

That won't happen.

Breaking her resistance and power slowly, but carefully, will be the sweetest blessing. Just seeing the anxiety in her eyes when she looks at me is enough to give me a glimpse of what’s to come.

Without a word, I lift her quivering chin to my face. She will know that I am not gentle. That I am not here to reassure her. I can taste her fear as I lean into her big brown eyes, keeping them in line with mine. I want her to see my predatory intent.

I capture her lips.

She doesn’t move at first as I kiss, taste and claim her, just as I did with her puss*. I expect she doesn’t know how to, and feeding her the taste of her climax before she can grasp my taste is making me twitch in my shorts.

My clever little witch tastes like redemption. My blood is singing at the effect she has over me.

Her power.

Subtle and graceful and catastrophic.

Unexpectedly, she begins kissing me back, following my movements, and I’m struck by how receptive she is to my touch and how eagerly she follows my lead. I open her mouth with my lips, letting her feel and taste my tongue, and she laps it up, twisting into me like a vine. I urge her hands above her head, arresting her with a grip on the wrists, keeping them secured.

I said that she was f*cked, didn’t I?

Then, I bury my free hand into the roots of her hair and tug until she shrieks.

Her cold hand comes to my chest, but it does nothing to hold me back as I devour her mouth, not taking care to be gentle or passive.

I take and take and take.

All of it is mine.

This is the second of her firsts, seeing as I claimed a different set of lips first. It fills me with glee to know that this is what she keeps gushing about with her girlfriends—what she’s giving to me, and no one will know about it.

Her first kiss.

But it’s only the beginning of my claim.

Because, like a marauder, I will pillage her pretty little soul and render her mine.

From bones to blood, to heart and soul.

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (16)

Chapter 15: Sinister Realisations

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (17)

The sweet smell of hay being raptured and nibbled on stirs me from my dreadful dreams. I open my eyes to see Misty, the small and friendly mare, enjoying the dry straw that collects around the corners of her mouth. She’s watching me with one big black eye, wondering what I’m doing, gathered in a fetal position in her stall.

That was the worst night of my life. It's like staying in the dream you are thrashing and sweating to wake up from—but never do.

I am completely and utterly powerless, and I’ve never been more scared in my life. My wand may as well morph into a bloody child’s toy around him—it offers me no upper hand or protection.

How in the holy f*cking god do I get rid of him? And fast!

The wizard has a video of me sucking his monstrous co*ck, and I’m not utterly rash to disregard the fact that he may actually kill Ron, Sofia and Arthur to ruin me further.

sh*t.

My eyes are dry and raw from crying.

I close them and count to three.

When I do, I see a glimpse of white. It’s like the skirt of a spirit—billowing on a balcony overlooking the sea, skimming the slightly rusted rail with its purity.

It’s my wedding day.

I am looking over the balcony of the seaside venue, realising that the sparkling blue water is breaking my heart. In the distance of my room, voices are floating around me—my mother’s. She’s anxious that the hairdresser won’t arrive on time.

That her baby girl’s day will be ruined—

But it already is.

The ocean knows my secrets. It carries the exact colouring of his eyes, promising to drown me. To never let me rest a day, even if he is dead.

It makes me realise with a heavy heart that I’ve always wanted to live by the ocean even if we settled on Montrose. I think it was because I knew I could never bear to see the blue looking back at me each day. To be reminded of Draco every instant I'm moving on, becoming a wife to another.

We should have moved closer to the sea, I now realise. The dead wizard haunts me regardless of where I am. And since my past, a terror has replaced it. Someone who feels far worse than what Draco was capable of.

‘I’ll be filling up that pretty puss* next,’ my stalker murmurs, tucking his still-hard co*ck away before buckling up his trousers. ‘How amusing will it be to explain to your husband how our child came about? All the grim and beautiful details. Maybe I should just f*ck you right now and make it happen.’

He chuckles at my evident horror.

‘Soon, sweetheart. Go home nowcall your husband and tell him how much you love him with my promise trickling down your throat.’

My eyes open.

Misty is puffing hot air in my face. She’s so close I can smell the previous day’s grass on her breath. My legs are bare, and I’m wearing a riding fleece zipped up to the neck while covered in one of the horses’ winter coats—wrapped snuggly around me like a duvet. I eventually stopped shaking when the sun finally broke over the horizon. If anyone saw me right now, I’d imagine they would call the muggle police. Maybe I should…

I chuckle hoarsely.

I can almost hear my stalker laughing at the notion. He would say something like: That’s right, Birdie. Crowd yourself in a false sense of safety and watch me eradicate them one by one, stacking their heads at your feet.

God, it’s like he’s always with me.

I look at Misty, showing her the fear in my eyes, and she puffs, reaching her nose to my hand.

I needed her.

I didn’t want to return to my lonely house with its wedding, graduation and holiday pictures, where I was smiling while inwardly rapturing next to my husband.

A ticking sound has me raising my head. The plain white clock on the wall says I have half an hour before Sofia and Arthur start their shifts.

With a tight knot forming in my stomach, I realise Misty will be leaving soon. Mr Malefic will pick her up sometime today. It’s the painful burden about rearing horses—you have to let them go when they become profitable. Arthur will be happy to see it; he’s proud of the work he’s put into Misty.

I, too, have my work to do today.

Groaning, I get to my feet and wipe the hay from the fleece, kissing Misty on her brow before abandoning the warmth of her stall. I hear a distant grumble, and I reason that one of the farmers must be passing through to get to their fields.

The shed door cries open as I step outside and into the blue sky morning. It’s such a peaceful, almost innocent day. The magpie that’s been pecking at the tin roof has taken to cackling, and I watch it fly from the gutter towards—

A black motorbike whose rider is pulling off his helmet and shaking his black hair.

He’s wearing a leather jacket, which he pulls off to reveal a dark brown T-shirt hugging a strapping form.

It’s…

No.

Oh f*ck!

I look down at my bare legs and feet.

What was his name again? My mind tries to disperse all the recent trauma to focus on the simple task of remembering a f*cking name. This is the worst timing in the world. And what the hell is he doing on my farm?

I tuck my phone and wand in my pocket before stepping out.

My feet loudly crunch on the gravel; he notices, turns, and salutes in my direction with a hand to his brow, military style. With a bright, what the f*ck is happening, smile, I swallow my anxiety and pretend it’s just another morning—one where I ran out half-nude because I heard a commotion coming from the stables.

Yes, that story should work!

' Morning!' I yell.

Approaching the road, his eyes lower to my legs and feet. ‘Good morning, Hermione?’ I pretend not to notice how his greeting sounds like a question. ‘So, you’re Dainty Darling, I take it?’

‘And you’re Mr Malefic?’ I clear my gravely throat. ‘How unexpected. Well, good to see you!’ I say, slightly too chirpy. ‘I-I just ran out of bed…small emergency. I should be getting dressed before we begin, though.’ I laugh in a way that makes me internally cringe. ‘Are you okay with waiting?’

He raises a brow. ‘Mm, sure,’ he leans into the motor, crossing his legs at the feet. ‘I apologise for arriving so early,’ he flicks his head toward the main road, ‘I could only book a trailer for this time.’

He smiles in return, appearing amused at my unlikely state. Reaching the path’s end, I am struck by the proximity of his wild beauty. It makes me feel like sh*t when I've been hounded through a forest; forced on my hands and knee's. Looking at him in the light, I think he could almost be related to…

‘That’s fine. I’m usually dressed at this time.’ I followed the direction of his head to see a distant glint of silver, indicating a pickup truck climbing the ascent towards the house with a large trailer in tow.

‘So, how have you been, pretty girl?’ he says teasingly, pulling my attention back, and I notice his dimples.

He’s playing with me, I realise.

From when I called him ‘pretty boy,’ I grudgingly remind myself. f*ck. I’m so used to the constant taunting of my stalker that my first inclination was to bark at him for calling me that.

Virgil!That's it. I could almost weep at my sanity returning and forming coherent thoughts that aren't overcast with my stalkers infliction of trauma.

‘Tired,’ I admit to him with a huff. ‘Very tired. What about you, Virgil?’

I feel his eyes on my messy hair as the trailer pulls up.

‘You look…hmm…did you hurt yourself?’ his thick brows draw in concern as they focus on my forehead.

I raise a hand, grazing the entire area until I feel the rugged gash. Pulling my hand back, I cringe at the torn skin. ‘It was probably when I tripped on my way to the stalls,’ I say, smiling shyly, ‘I forgot to put my shoes on when I ran out.’

Brushing away the strands that are stuck to it, he keeps watching me as the pickup parks up with the trailer. It makes me feel so…tense…and giddy?

Am I smiling too much? My lips feel so dry and torn; I probably look half-mad.

‘Well, I should be going to get dressed before the driver comes out and gets a fright at the state of me,’ I announce, walking past him.

He darts an arm out, catching me by the waist. ‘Let me help you with the cut.’

‘W-what?’ I look down at his arm nervously. ‘I can manage, don’t worry about it,’ I reach for his strong arm, trying to dislodge him subtly. When he doesn’t budge, I think of the first thing at the top of my head, ‘How about a cup of tea or coffee for you and the trailer man hm?’

He remains firm. ‘I can do that too.’

I meet his eyes, struck by their steady softness.

‘Oh. Ok. Thank you,’ I relent, and he lets go of me. ‘I’ll just go and get dressed then?’

He nods before turning to the trailer driver’s side door, which is opening.

‘Mr Wilder!’ a burly man bellows. ‘You flew past me and left me in bloody Caterthuns with the sheep fields!’

I smile broader and skip to the house, bypassing the old fellow as quickly as possible. ‘I’ll be out to meet you in just a minute!’

The man looks at me, mouth agape, and I dart quicker towards the front door.

Good god. Could my life get any worse? I’ve been trying to recall what it was like before my menace of a stalker infiltrated every corner of my peace. It must've felt like a holiday!

Thankfully, the front door is still unlocked from when I abandoned its safety for the night's horrors. Taking the stairs, I unwillingly evoke the memory of his slick flesh forced into my mouth.

How sick do you have to be to record something like that? It’s so bad. It’s so deranged. And what if he…

Oh, god. Ron.

Reaching the top of the upstairs, I dash to the bathroom and fall to my knees in front of the toilet. What comes up is mostly bile from an empty stomach…and probably his…I start heaving at the thought of the salty taste, trying and failing to disperse the memory of the exact moment his hot liquid entered my throat and the way he held my head in place as he watched my face the entire time.

Rising on unsteady feet, I gasp when I see my reflection in the mirror. My hair has taken to homing the forest and all its plant bodies. Dead leaves and elusive florae are tangled in the frizzy knotted mass, and what I thought was raised skin on my temple is encrusted blood mixed with earth and tiny rocks.

Washing it out, I see that the skin has scraped off. It must've been from when he forced my face into the harsh ground as he ate my f*cking ass.

At least brushing my teeth feels like a cleansing ritual, and I close my eyes at the small benediction it offers.

When I step into my bedroom, I glance distractedly at the bed, wishing I could collapse into it—hiding from Sofia, Virgil, Arthur, the trailer driver and the rest of my responsibilities. I empty the pockets of the riding fleece with my dreaded phone and useless wand before I begin to untangle my hair, which makes me teary from the pain. I use the brush to guide it back into a firm bun at the base of my neck, and when I dress, it’s in a dark green knitted jumper and tight blue jeans that flare out over my black docs.

It's more me than who I’ve been the last week.

More Ron’s wife.

And the Hermione whose heart dropped when the sorting hat started speaking into my head in the first year’s ceremony.

‘Mmmm…clever…far too clever for a Gryffindor…and your dreams…you would do well as a Slytherin...this darkness…it needs to be relinquished,’ the sorting hat murmured.

‘No, no, nooo!’ I screamed in my head. ‘The dreams are nightmares! They will kill me if I can’t escape them! Please! Put me in Gryffindor; I’ll work even harder if you do!’

‘Hmm…you may be right…but escaping them is also not the solution...’

My heart dropped.

‘Gryffindor!’ the hat declared aloud.

The cheering was thunderous, and my delight was infectious as my tense shoulders dropped, and I joined the table I had prayed to sit at.

I remember Harry once admitting that he was about to be sorted into Slytherin. He and I were sitting by the lake in the summer, and I nearly revealed my secrets to him during that rare and heartfelt moment. But I didn’t, and I’m glad I stopped myself when I spotted Draco’s white head in the distance between the trees.

Bypassing the bed, I notice a pile of papers that I must’ve moved from my office—

No, not my papers.

They are newspaper cutouts, a whole pile of them with moving pictures of the now deceased whose faces are a mystery to me.

‘Death Eater Slaughtered’

I pull it away to see the following page.

‘Death Eater Found Mangled’

And again.

‘Assumed Death Eater Found Dead’

And again.

‘Death Eater Drowned’

‘Death Eater Executed’

‘Presumed Death Eater Found Hanging’

‘Death Eater Incinerated’

‘Death Eater Crucified’

There are so many pages, some even in different languages.

Where did this come from? I don’t remember seeing these articles during the war.

‘Death Eater’s Dropping Dead Like Flies. Who’s Behind The Terror?’

The sound of the cooker clicking to life downstairs startles me.

Virgil.

I pick up the pile and put it in my bedside drawer lest Sofia finds it. Taking the stairs, I can hear the sounds of cupboards being opened and closed and when I reach the threshold into the kitchen, I'm struck by the sight. From behind, with his tattoos, Virgil could almost be my stalker making us coffee.

Despite the large kitchen, he occupies the space like the laws of physics adapt to occupy him. His back is to me as he scoops sugar into three cups. ‘One, two?’ he asks.

I stammer, ‘T-two, please.’

Joining his side, I watch as he adds milk only to two cups with a sly grin forming on his lips.

‘Why don’t you wear your wedding ring, Hermione?’ his tone is serious.

I’m so struck by the out-of-context question that I open my mouth and close it before attempting to answer him. ‘I just don’t…I’m not sure why. I have to take it off so often...I suppose I just get used to not wearing it.’

Virgil hums while reaching to the stove to turn off the grumbling moka pot. It’s nice to see it being used. Sofia prefers the expensive machine Ron picked up on a whim, swearing that the Italian machine is far too complex for her liking.

He still doesnt look at me when he says, ‘I lied to you.’

His sudden admission startles me. ‘About what?’ I ask, drumming my fingers on the counter.

He swiftly pours the black espresso into the cups before saying, ‘About thinking of living here.’ He sets the moka back on thr stove and stirs the cups. ‘In my defence, I thought about it and then decided I love the warmer weather too much…’

Why am I focused intently on his tatted forearms?

‘…Much to my family’s dismay, I acquired a villa in Italy in a small town near Naples. I'm renovating it.’

I abruptly return to the conversation after ogling his distracting masculinity. ‘Oh, that’s wonderful!’ I almost frighten myself with my shrieking tone. ‘But what about Misty?’

He gives me a sidelong glance, chuckling before saying, ‘Misty? Is that her name?’ he offers me the cup with the same forearm that has a detailed blackbird on it. I accept the steaming cup with a nod and a smile. 'I’m purchasing Misty on my parent’s behalf. She will be fairly local to you; you can visit her whenever you like. They won’t mind.’

I swirl the coffee in the cup. ‘Does the same courtesy apply to staying in your Italian villa when you’re away?’ I tease, taking a sip.

He leans his left hip into the counter with his cup in hand, turning to face me fully and giving me a thoughtful look. ‘You’re welcome even when I’m there, all alone. You needn’t ask.’

His grave expression and outright words make me stop mid-sip.

‘Hm. You’re very kind,’ I recover quickly, sipping the coffee that I realise is delightful and exactly how I like it. ‘Perhaps my husband and I will get one of our own if we ever decide to sell the farm.’

He smiles, lifting a suggestive brow before taking a sip. Is he…? No, Hermione. Relax. Taunting and mocking is what my stalker does, not Virgil, who made us all coffee and offered to clean up the wound inflicted by my sociopath stalker.

‘Why don’t you sit down while I give Arnold his coffee before looking at you.’ He doesn’t wait for a response as he darts out the kitchen with the other cup in hand.

When he's out of sight, I release a pent-up breath, wanting to shake off all this strange and unfamiliar energy settling in my body.

Before sitting down, I retrieve the first aid kit from the sink cupboard, and I wait at the dining table, hearing Arnold's laughter breaking the silence of the morning. Whatever Virgil is saying is really getting him going. It’s a pleasant sound—the liveliness of having men around.

I sometimes forget how often Ron is absent.

He doesn’t bother about the ins and outs of the farm and what happens with the horses when he is here. He doesn’t breathe down my neck at what I do and what I like to invest my energy into. The things that are mine belong only to me...

‘Why don’t you tell the camera who owns you, Hermione…who gets to f*ck this tight little mouth?’

My heart flutters.

The dark eyes that penetrate my thoughts are evil and possessive. And yet, seeing my stalker’s unmasked appearance offers me a strange solace. It helps to know I'm not imagining him; that he exists in all his menacing glory. God’s, he’s beautiful in a wholly terrible way. Besides the obvious, there’s something awfully wrong and familiar about him. I will have to visit Theodore and—

‘Something on your mind?’

I look up from musing into the black mirror of my coffee, giving Virgil a nervous laugh while watching him approach the table. ‘I have a lot to do today. I’ll probably have to leave you with Arthur when he arrives,' I glance at the clock above the stove, ‘Very soon.’

He kneels before me, grabbing the red box and opening the first aid kit on my lap, atop my thighs.

‘No worries,’ he mutters, picking out a packet of sterilising wipes. ‘No bandage then? If you'll be going out...’

‘Just a small one, please,’ I encourage, and he picks out a brown dressing. Staring at his head bowed in front of me, I nearly drift back to the previous night again.

‘When does your husband return?’

I hum. ‘I can’t be sure. He reappears when the jobs are finished, mostly by suprise. I’ll probably call him to see how he’s doing later today.’

He tears the plastic, pulling out the damp wipe and unravelling it.

‘If he’s still busy tomorrow, maybe I could take you somewhere? I know a few spots that would take your breath away, and we could get something to eat.’

Virgil lifts the wipe to my forehead, our faces a few inches away, and I flush as my expected reply waits on the tip of my tongue.

‘It’s just friendly, Hermione. You have nothing to worry about when it comes to me. I’m a good boy,’ he reassures, grinning wolfishly. This close, I smell his overwhelmingly heady cologne and something sweet in his breath underneath the coffee. ‘You seem lonely here, and admittedly, I would like some company too before I return to my ruined villa.’

I don’t even feel the cold bite of the wipe. I’m too hyper-aware of our proximity and his up-close features. His eyes flick to mine, and I quickly avert them.

‘That’s very thoughtful…’ Should I be asking Ron for approval? I don’t think he’d even care. ‘You know what, I’d usually say no, but in this case, I could do with a change of scenery. I'd be happy to take you up on that.’

He smiles—that sinfully dimpled look—discarding the wipe into the empty packet and using small silver scissors to cut the brown dressing.

‘Mm, you're such a good girl, Hermione, trusting me...letting me take care of you,’ he mutters, shaping the bandage to my requested size. ‘I’ll pick you up just before lunchtime. Sound good?’

I gulp at the words that are starting to make me think I’m developing a praise kink, and I pray to whatever deity that his smile didn’t just intensify by noticing it.

‘Good morning everyone!’ Sofia bellows, making me jump. I glance over Virgil’s shoulder and see her waiting by the archway. ‘Did something happen to you? Oh, and Arthur’s just turned up, he's asking for you.’

Virgil looks over his shoulder and greets Sofia, who is flustered at perceiving him and his evidently startling beauty. ‘Hermione had a little fall this morning. But it was nothing that I couldn’t take care of, isn’t that right?’

They both look at me.

‘Virgil was too helpful,’ I muse, flicking my head toward the stove. ‘He made us all coffee, too.’

Sofia glances at the stove. ‘Oh! What a darling. How kind of you! That old machine terrifies me!’

They begin exchanging polite conversation while Virgil places the bandage on my cut. He fluctuates between focusing on the task and meeting my eyes with an intensity that leaves me winded when he steps away.

I can tell that Sofia is already falling in love with him.

And the realisation hits me—

I gave this married life my all; somehow, through all the years of knowing Ron, I’ve continuously settled for the bare minimum.

Maybe I should be worried of what tomorrow with Virgil will prove.

Chapter 16: The Serpent and The Blackbird

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (18)

‘Theodore! For god’s sake!’

The dim lamp above his door is flickering ominously. It’s nighttime where he lives, in northernmost Canada, and besides the unfamiliar darkness, I can hear the thunderclouds rolling in. The next burst of lightning is pink, illuminating the giant pines that climb the distant mountains in an ethereal light.

I’m gawking at the bright strikes when the door suddenly opens, and I fall into Theodore's front.

‘What are you doing here, Granger?’ he catches me in his fluffy grey dressing gown. ‘We are all sleeping!’

I straighten before saying, ‘I-I know, I’m so sorry! I need to tell you something urgently, Theo. I’m scared for my life…’ I stumble over myself while trying to recover my bearing and sanity. ‘…I need your help and it can't wait.'

The landing light to the upstairs flicks on. We both turn at the sound of slippers being dragged, and I see a mass of long blonde hair swaying over the mahogany railing shortly after.

‘Hermione?’ a sweet voice croaks out. ‘Are you alright?’

I peer at Amata, Theo’s wife, rubbing her eyes before glancing between us. ‘Hey Amata, it’s so good to see you. I’m so sorry to have woken you. Theodore and I—’

‘—Will be in my study. Go back to sleep, my love,’ Theo intercedes.

Amata smiles weakly at me. ‘Ok, grumpy. We’ll catch up soon, Hermione. I promise,’ she says, suppressing a yawn before shuffling back down the corridor and turning the light off.

Theo’s looking at me as if he’s battling to decide whether to glare at me for waking his beloved wife or admit concern at my abrupt arrival.

‘Come,’ he turns, letting the door shut behind me.

As we travel through the downstairs corridors, the lights come on individually when passing through each area. It’s safe to say that Amata and Theodore live like royalty. Everywhere I glance, hues of rich red and glimmering gold decorate the rooms. Some are more lavishly done while other's have a plainer and subtle influence.

Theo inherited this home from his parents shortly after he and Amata declared their engagement. I can still recall the disbelief and controversy their coupling caused. Ron said that Theo’s actions perfectly befit those of a Death Eater’s son. It made me want to slap some sense into him.

I’ve always loved Amata and Theo; regardless of his somberness, he has a place in my heart. All it takes is one glance at the pair to see that fate had meant to bring them together. Despite Amata being his adopted sister. It makes me want to fight anyone who questions their love.

‘Amata looks well,’ I comment to break the silence when he holds the door open for me to enter the study.

‘She is well,’ he replies bluntly. ‘Tell me what you need so I can get back to her.’

Always the charmer.

‘Does The Serpent and The Blackbird have any meaning to you?’ I say, resolving to start with the tattoo I noticed on my stalker’s body.

Theo clears his throat, releases the door once I’m through it, and dashes towards his private book collection.

‘Actually, it does.’ He pulls out a flowery journal. ‘What does it have to do with your emergency?’

This is it...

‘So…’ I start before sitting on the plush red armchair in front of his desk. ‘I have a stalker—a wizarding…terrifying…demonic…I’m not exactly sure what he is, Theo, but his powers are prodigious! He can manipulate anything.' My hands make a show for emphasis, 'And I can’t f*cking get rid of him, Theo! I need to find out all I can about him.’ I brush a stray curl from my face in my exasperated state.

'So the serpent and blackbird...' he encourages.

‘Tremendously long story short, but he has a serpent tattoo with a blackbird, and I recall hearing the reference back in school,' I say quickly before I admit anything of the sexual kind by accident.

He has his back to me, flicking through the book he holds like it’s the most delicate holy thing on earth.

‘This was Amata’s journal from when we lived together as children.' He flicks several pages. 'She loved the myth of the The Serpent and The Blackbird, and adapted it in her words because she hated the stuffy tone of the scholar who famously wrote their forgotten story,’ he says.

‘Can I read it?’ I ask, half expecting a rejection by how precious it seems.

He doesn’t think for long. ‘Sure. I don’t think Amata would mind…she loves you. Do you know that?

‘I love her too,’ I smile earnestly, almost choking on the words while accepting the floral hardback. ‘I promise my next visit will be to spend time with her.’

He nods, taking a seat behind the desk.

I find the passage almost immediately. It’s the only one bookmarked with a red ribbon with ‘Theodore’ written in a fancy girlish font on the fabric. But despite the calligraphy on the ribbon, the text in the book is carefully written and precise—I smile at the meticulous care Amata took to make it easily legible.

‘It’s supposedly a true story,’ Theo says just as I was about to delve in. ‘Before the wizarding and muggle world as we know it—that tale is a fragment of the countless lost from when we all began in this world. I guess you could call it a genesis of sorts...’

‘The Serpent and The Blackbird’

When the stars still endowed their names to the people and the soil that they sanctified was dredged with charcoal from the eruptions that wouldn’t settle, few sovereignties emerged on the fresh earth, and the ones that had were reigned by families who could trace their lineage to the divinities.

They were animal gods, hawk-faced, serpent-tailed, with taloned feet drenched in pollen that would spread life-giving dust over the nascent florae. As a tribute to their gods, the people’s rulers established themselves in their image.

They burnished their bodies with plant inks, crafting visuals of coiling serpents and birds in flight. Their domains were carved similarly—pillars of full-fleshed maidens holding the beasts that were symbols of virulence and liberation.

All around them, magic was still being born. The dusks were red—crimson as a girl’s first blood, and the dawns were a pale violet—pink as a boy’s rosy cheeks after a brawl.

At the time, the silence between the trees had a voice—Adder.

This being called Adder was innate to any girl born of the serpent-tailed lineage.

This was how Semele knew that she was bound to the sovereignty, destined to her adopted brother’s side, Cadmus, the boy who had loathed her since childhood and whose entire body was scoped with visuals from the forest so dark that even Adder squirmed inside Semele’s body at the sight.

But Semele wasn’t frightened of him.

Semele worshipped the earth and all its elusive paradoxes.

For all her days, she wore white when she walked the land, covering the sheer skirts of her fabric in sticky plants, ochre clay and petite petals of all colours. She wandered the mountains without coverings on her feet, and her soles were firm, allowing her to dance on the burning charcoals when the monthly harvest festivals were celebrated. Her long brown hair would spiral with the wind, and she did not mind that Cadmus watched her grimly, slitting his deadly eyes when one of the other boys asked her to twirl for them.

In their home, he rarely said more than two words to her.And yet Cadmus was never far behind when she meandered through Adder’s forest realms.

He knew the trees would oblige to shelter him; he saw how the shadows favoured him. The people said he had no soul—a king with no empathy. And from stalking Semele, he believed their whispered derisions. He watched her for so long; he knew every dip and curve of her naked flesh. When she lifted her face to the sun-streaked canopy above, he anticipated the exact colouring of her eyes: russet and emerald, his favourite hues.

Semele, bemused to Cadmus, knew that he was trailing her.

She would climb tall trees, waiting to see if he would scale them into the nest of leaves that could bed them. She would strip her robes, hoping he would shadow her beneath the cascades that were foamy enough to keep them secreted.

But he never did.

When their unifying ceremony was upon them, she gathered all the forest’s duskiest shrubs to form a crown on her head—as opaque as his eyes and with flecks of gold that imitated the strands of his blonde curls.

When her time came to be inked, before her vows, she asked her sister priestess to illustrate what Adder had shown her in a dream. It was a serpent forcing its way into a blackbird’s open beak, its body coiling around the modest creature’s innocence. It wasn’t like the pleasing visual Semele had loved to follow on her mother’s skin with her fingertips. But it was her and Cadmus, and Adder had assured her it was beautiful.

She desperately wanted Cadmus to see her in all her dark crown and lovely ink glory. But he never looked, not until, with a smile, Semele repeated aloud her promise to love him for all his days while beholding his hollow eyes, which had no choice but to see her now in front of all their people, broadcasting their vows.

Cadmus didn’t smile back, and when it was his turn to recite the promise, he didn’t state it aloud as he should. He leaned into her ear and whispered, ‘To devour and demolish your loveliness for all your days, little sister.’

Her spine became as cold as the glaciers from the faraway peaks.

Semele thought he was satisfied that he had frightened her, so she leaned into him and, with a barely suppressed tremor, said, ‘Yes. You will.’

Grasping his cheek, she held him close as she solidified her final vow, ‘And you will continue to worship me and my woodland lustre from your tenebrous darks among the trees for all your days, big brother.’

Her smile was steady then, and she knew Adder was right about him. His unfulfilled heart needed her fear, and she wouldn’t give it to him. Cadmus showed no clue of the impression she left him with; his face had always been perpetually sombre, leering at sweet Semele until they had to kiss to bind their union.

Cadmus' lips were not kind. They devoured her like she was the blackbird in her ink that the serpent would not rest until it had wholly swallowed.

That night, when the celebrations and lanterns were still floating towards the sky realms and their people revelling fervently below, he dragged her to the balcony of their new home that overlooked the dim trees beneath a full, milky moon. His hold on her arm was firm, but she followed eagerly.

‘On your knees before your king,’ he ordered.

Semele obliged, her eyes never leaving him, welcoming the cold bite of stone on her skin. Unable to resist, he finally stroked the dark crown atop her head, grazing the soft skin of her cheekbone on the way down. His hand faintly trembled at the connection as the tips of his fingers browsed over her womanly mounds, the same one's he had dreamed of touching from the instant they bloomed.

‘Don’t you think this is wrong? You have been given to a wolf. No one can save you from me now that you’re mine.’

Semele held her chin steady. ‘Why speak of right and wrong when the wolf treads the same grasslands that grow the tender flowers?’

He watched her eyes sparkle with the starlight.

‘If you know who I am, why won’t you say it?’ his voice took on an ominous quality, but Semele felt warm beneath it. 'Tell your big brother how terrible he is.'

‘Adder says you belong to the people of Erebus,' Semele replied simply.

His smile showed his teeth. ‘And you are of the people of Hemera. If your parents knew of my deceit, they would renounce me. I would be executed for my betrayal, and you will be free to love a better man.’

Semele nodded.

‘Why are you not telling them, little sister?’

Semele grinned before saying, ‘Because I know I can love you and not be overturned by your darkness.’

‘Are you certain about that?’ he asked with darkened eyes; falling to his knees, he pushed her back, swarming above her.

His blonde curls formed a halo around his lovely face that Semele received with parted legs. Cadmus crawled into her body, the very aspect of her soul, and she expected his biting and roughness when they consummated the beginning of their life together.

And despite his loathing, Cadmus consumed Semele like she was something holy.

He has never tasted a sweeter fragility—

Her fiery eyes watched him devour the aspect of her divinity, the flush flesh between her legs, and Cadmus, though sharp-tongued and austere, held her amorously by the throat as he buried into her.

Semele was pregnant with Aether by the spring, Eros by the following year, and Gaea and Caelus. Her forbidding husband ruled with an iron fist, but Semele was the voice behind his fairness and empathy. Wherever Semele was, Cadmus would be close behind.

Adder would often catch a glimpse of white fabric darting between the trees, and surely enough, the wolf that hunted sweet Semele was the one who worshipped the young mother’s altar from full moon to blue moon. It was evident to all who minded the king and queen that callous Cadmus could not exist without serene Semele and vice versa.

To honour his darkness, Semele had to love it inside of herself.

To worship her light, Cadmus had to feel Semele’s surrender.

The way that she trusted him when he had never known a gentle thing—forever reflecting the forest heart in her eyes when she knew he was watching from the shades.

They were always her woodland darks, she thought, because Semele was the daughter of life-giving trees and their shadows belonged to her.

'It's the most beautiful story...' I say through a tight throat.

Ping!

'What's that?' Theo asks, glancing at me curiously. 'We don't get a signal here.'

I pull out my phone from the wollen coat I put on before leaving Virgil with Arthur.

'It's him,' is all I manage to say in response.

Unknown Number:

Do you see what you made me do, Blackbird?

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Do you realise now how far I will go to possess my little bird? I'll ink our story all over your body as Semele did for Cadmus.

Chapter 17: Use Your Words

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (19)

I've read the myth of Semele and Cadmus before. But when did I?... Why can’t I remember knowing it…

‘I’ll ink our story all over your body as Semele did for Cadmus.’

...Little bird. Didn’t someone once call me that? Wasn't I remembering it just the other day?

This forgetfulness reminds me of the dismal reality that I'm confronted with a block whenever I pry into my brain about what occurred before and throughout the war. It's not only that. I'll often forget what I did yesterday, and the day before.

Only this time, and in Theo’s fleeting absence, my fingers curl around my throat before grazing my bandaged temple, almost like my body’s offering me an indication of where my trauma originates.

I have been haunted for as long as I can remember. And yet, I couldn’t conjure up an image of whom or what was haunting me. From what I can piece together, I have been troubled since I was little. Back then, I called the entity skulking at the end of my bed ‘Spectre.’

My mother, who has forgotten all the crucial aspects of my life, once brought up Spectre during one of our monthly coffee dates. The recollection shook me—her words quite literally made my body tremble, and I dropped the hot coffee all over my lap as the tenuous entity reemerged in my thoughts after years of absence.

When I got home that afternoon, I completely about it. I ran up to Ron's office with something on the brink on my tongue that vanished.

My mother, who writes my birthday on her calendar, told me about an old ghost who caused havoc in her life during my infancy. It's a strange thought that I've become more of an unreachable ghost to her than my childhood phantom.

Navigating my memories now, I can only trace the entity so far into the timeline of my fragmented life. From what I recall, the ghost and his dark visions are why I was terrified of being sorted into Slytherin in the first place. Though Spectre stopped visiting me when I started at Hogwarts, and I should have felt less haunted, but I didn’t.

Why didn’t you, Hermione?

Why were you so upset on your wedding day?

Those same old questions resurface, and more…

Draco Malfoy.

The boy I went to school with whose memory from my past is in utter pieces.

He used to send me notes, and I can still remember many of them. But there has to be more—the thought of him alone clenches my throat, and my temples persistently itch.

But also my heart.

It begins to beat wildly, making my stomach flutter in that girlish way that all of Ginny’s romance novels describe. I've never once felt this throughout my relationship with Ron.

It makes little sense.

Draco was callous when I went to him during the war, exchanging my body to pleasure him for help with the Order. But even those memories are nebulous and rarely reliable. And what’s worse, our time at school is arguably the most mysterious to me. Whenever I start to evoke him in a way that feels all-consuming—spiralling my depression and anxiety—that little voice in my head reminds me to drink my calming elixirs, smoke my wizarding herbal blends and drink my coffee.

But I have only taken one tincture recently—my stalkers—that second night when he pretended to dangle Arthur’s livelihood over my head. It didn’t occur to me the following days to reach for my usual alleviants.

Why is that, Hermione? Maybe what he gave you countered the effects of all the other things you take.

‘Theo…’ My voice is shaky as he places a steaming cup of herbal tea before me, and I instinctively sniff it, feeling strangely untrustworthy all of a sudden.

Chamomile, Valerian Root, Raspberry Leaf and Nettle.

Sipping his own at the other side of the desk, he murmurs, ‘Mhmm?’ before resuming his seat.

‘How did Draco die?’

He lifts a brow over the rim of his cup, the condensation obstructing his eyes behind the gold-ringed reading glasses.

‘The Dark Lord executed him when he discovered his betrayal. You know this already. It was plastered on The Daily Prophet for a week.’

No. That isn’t right, Hermione.

‘How did—’ I hesitate when thinking about the name. ‘How did Voldemort find out about his duplicity?’

He takes a slow and thoughtful sip before replying, ‘Who knows, Granger. There were so many Death Eaters disappearing and remerging deceased, they stopped documenting the hows and why’s. No one cared as long as they were dead.’

The paper cutouts on your bed.

‘But then who killed all those Death Eaters?’

Theo sets the cup on the dish before shrugging his shoulder, ‘If I knew the answers, I’d likely be in Azkaban, wouldn’t I? Regardless of what my father was; I didn’t conspire with the Death Eaters, or hear about their doings. It was a galling period for my family, and I was only trying to keep Amata safe. That’s all I cared about.’

Keep prodding, Hermione!

‘When I came to you about meeting with Draco,’ I pause, unsure what I'm supposed to be asking. With a short sigh, I follow the instinct. ‘Did I seem off in any way? Was I perhaps…overlooking significant things from our time at Hogwarts? Simple things, even.’

He looks over my shoulder. ‘You appeared nervous if that’s any relief,’ he declares, crossing his arms over his chest, observing me again with his tired grey eyes. ‘Why all the sudden questions? Are you feeling alright?’

Despite my evident fatigue from my stalker's gruelling torment, my brain hasn’t been quite as bewildered since sitting here with Theo. With my stalker's abrupt emergence, the fragments of my and Draco’s time together have arisen with a ruthless determination. Though at home; I only remember them for a split second before they're gone again.

Downing the tea, I feel unsteady as I get to my feet. ‘Thank you so much for this, and again, I’m sorry for waking you and your family.’

Tucking the chair beneath the desk, I dart to the door, reaching for the handle.

‘Hermione?’ Theo’s informality prompts me to look over my shoulder. ‘This wizard stalking you—do you know his name? I may be able to help you if you’ll let me. I could ask around without arousing suspicion,' he encourages.

His sincere, worried eyes almost make me buckle and tell him everything.

You can't tell him, Hermione. You can trust him but don’t tell him this one thing.

Biting my bottom lip, I don’t know why I do it, but I say, ‘I don’t know it. He never said it. However, I'll let you know as soon as I find out. If and when I do.’

The fireplace whirls around me, and I fall to my knees when the floo network returns me home. I can still feel the thunder and glacial wind from the Canadian landscape prickling the back of my neck.

I’m sure an impending panic attack is on the horizon. Every muscle in my body is shuddering, and my heart feels as if it’s about to drop.

Don't panic. Not here. Go upstairs and hide if you need to do it.

Glancing at the ticking clock for a distraction, I notice it’s just after lunchtime, and the distant sound of shuffling feet drawing nearer startles me back to my feet.

‘Hermione, is that you?’ Sofia hollers from the kitchen.

I try to focus on that voice of reason—the one inside that has taken on a slightly different quality. It’s commanding, insistent, the Hermione I used to be before she inexplicably died.

But it's gone.

‘I’m back!’ I reply, obliging the voice's necessity to seem calm and collected. ‘Hopefully, just in time for lunch. I'm starving.’

I glance outside the large window to where Virgil and Arnold parked earlier this morning, noting that they’re gone, and their absence fills me with an inexplicable sadness.

I love being lonely, so why am I mourning the dark-haired stranger who made me coffee?

The shuffling from the kitchen continues until Sofia stands at the living room archway, holding a tray with a bowl of chicken salad and a cup of coffee in my favourite cat mug.

I smile brightly. ‘I’ll have the coffee later, thank you. It doesn’t feel like enough time since I had Virgil’s espresso this morning. I’ll get myself a water instead.’

Her brows knit tightly together before she sways to the table with the tray, her red floral skirt billowing with the movement.

‘Ok. But make sure you drink it later. I’ll leave it in the microwave so you can quickly warm it up before getting back to work. It'll help you focus.’

I’m just about to enter the kitchen when her words freeze me in my step.

‘Drink your coffee, Hermione. Take your herbs, Hermione. The guilt, shame and hurt will fall away when you do. All the Death Eaters are gone, Hermione. You are safe. You are with Ron now.’

I’m in my study when Sofia and Arthur drive away, absently rereading the same line I typed out over an hour ago. I'm growing convinced that I can't think straight when I'm at home.

Has It always been like this?

That inward voice from earlier has completely drifted away; leaving a bewildered Hermione in her own clutches.

What I was toiling about at Theo’s? Was it something about school...

The bright computer screen reminds me that it will get dark soon; that I should eat dinner and get comfortable in bed while that bizarre nagging in my immediate thoughts reminds me that I need to drink that coffee.

Ring! Ring! Ring!

Thankfully, I took a bath after lunch, to distract myself after Ron texted me, asking me to hike up the hill to call him, where the signal is better.

Ring! Ring! Ring!

He keeps ringing me. It's so insistent; I'm growing more irritated with each vibration.

Clicking the bottom for the lock screen, I silence the irritating sound before massaging my head. The soothing action makes me realise just how badly I don’t want to think, talk, or pretend. Instead of returning to my screen, I look down, noticing the writing on my jumper. It’s the same one I wore days ago.

Another item of clothing that I buy and hide away from myself. In the deep darkness of my wardrobe.

Calamus Gladio Fortior—the pen is mightier than the sword.

This time, I’m not wearing tights, and when I slink into my Crookshanks-looking slippers, I do so with bare feet, not even caring that I’m wearing a baggy jumper over nothing. It doesn’t matter what I wear when I get sexually assaulted—it happens regardless. I might as well walk around my lonely house as I usually would.

God...The amount of sexual intercourse I’ve had in the last week is far more than Ron and I will indulge in over two months.

Walking down the stairs, I’m determined to uncover the mystery of my daily coffee. It’s funny that I barely needed a wand until recently; now, I won’t leave a room without it when I’m alone.

I heard Sofia turning the lights off before she left, so at least I’m not startled when I reach the foyer painted with dusk's shadows.

It’s strangely refreshing to walk into the darkness willingly.

I’m going to enjoy my evening—to ignore my stalker if he taunts me and continue watching a comfort movie until it's finished while eating the Chinese Sofia ordered and received for me before she left.

Entering the living room, I find the standing lamp nearest the window, a vintage find I’m in love with, and reach beneath the pink velvet-textured shade to turn it on.

It turns on and off.

Noticing something at the corner of my eye, I whirl to the window and almost jump out of my skin.

Really?! Do I not get a f*cking break to eat my dinner and watch a movie!’ I mutter at the looming dark figure, knowing I don’t need to raise my voice to be heard.

He’s resumed wearing his creepy mask minus the cloak. Instead, his imposing and strapping form is highlighted in a cream linen shirt similar to the one the night before, rolled up to the elbows and with the black leather vest on top of it. He must’ve fallen out of his hell-bound bed and forgot to do up half the buttons; his tatted chest can be glimpsed through a long slit in the fabric.

Is he trying to seduce me so I’ll be more submissive? It’s not going to work, pal!

He only co*cks his head in response, taking a long drag with his other hand in his pocket, leaning further into the railing as if he’s getting comfortable.

Rolling my eyes, I walk to the sofa to retrieve the remote, and thankfully, the screen comes to life in the growing darkness of the room. I pretend he’s not prying into my life as I navigate the options, feeling pressure as if I should be picking something for us both.

Would it be strange to watch a romance? I did fancy a little lighthearted fun.

I decide on Letters to Juliet, leaving it on the play menu before leering at the window where he remains precisely as I found him, and venture to the kitchen where my dinner awaits.

The clinking of the metal spoon, as I dish the vegetable noodles, egg fried rice, and beef in black bean sauce into my bowl, is the only sound in the strange silence. I’m half expecting to fight him with my wand and spoon if it comes to it, but he doesn’t materialise.

In his place, I hear the sound of a lamp switching on.

When I re-emerge into the warmly lit living room, I see that the lamp on the other side of the room is lit—keeping him in the dark by the window—and for f*ck sake, is he still smoking?

‘Such a creep,’ I comment before settling into the sofa with my legs crossed, adjusting my jumper over my nudity and clicking play.

I’m so hungry; I don’t even care that I have an audience. I scoop the delicious food into my mouth as if it’s something holy, forgetting about my qualms and my ridiculous coffee conspiracy.

When I lap up the last grains of rice and juices from the beef, I realise how thirsty I am and watching Amanda Seyfried drinking wine in Italy isn’t helping. Testing my luck, I get up with the empty bowl, meet his eerie presence after a twenty-minute obliviousness, and raise a brow as I pass him to return to the kitchen.

It’s night outside, and I can barely make him out.

‘Want one?’ I raise my middle finger, snickering. ‘As if, you psycho!’

Once in the kitchen, I pour a generous glass of red—and I mean plentiful—before deciding to bring the bottle so I don’t have to keep passing the window for refills. Just before I leave, an idea urges me to quietly pluck my hand into the utensil drawer, and I pull out a small wooden handle.

Returning to the living room, I don’t look at him this time as I settle back into the sofa, bringing a thick blanket over my naked legs and my hand that clutches the handle tightly.

Looking at the main character's sh*tty boyfriend, I realise with a heavy heart that he and Ron have much in common.

Ron also hates this movie.

He usually leaves when I watch anything he deems ‘girly tosh,’ meaning whatever he finds too ‘lovey-dovey.’ It's no surprise considering Ron is the same man who wouldn’t know my love language even if it slapped him in the face. Booking our honeymoon to Greece was entirely my call; even celebrating things like birthdays and Valentine's Day means me organising a dinner date or a weekend away for it.

My throat is taught as I admire the beautiful landscape of Italy.

At this point, I’d even take Virgil up on his offer to stay at his villa, uncaring that he may be there, too. Pour another glass down me and give me his phone number, and I’d arrange it—

Peeping at the window from the sudden intrusion, I see my stalker lighting another cigarette with my freaking old wand!The warm light is illuminating his perfectly chiselled face and devilish grin, observing me with those penetrating eyes.

What an asshole!

I work my jaw before dramatically refilling my glass, lifting it to him in a mocking salute, taking a long sip and feeling giddy at the fire stirring in my belly. I suddenly realise how bizarre it is to have the same man who forcefully licked my puss* and asshole before planting his dick in my mouth perched calmly outside my window while I enjoy a quiet girl time.

Studying him longer than I should, I’m growing increasingly pissed off at remarking how enigmatic he can be. It should be illegal for stalkers to be that attractive, and that cherry is lighting up way more than any regular cigarette should.

My eyes drift down to his open shirt—

When I realise what I’m doing, I quickly wrench my attention back to the movie, pulling a muscle on my neck.

Ping!

The sound makes my spine jerk, but I don’t look out the window to confirm who it is. Still, I retrieve my phone from the pillow, relieved Ron—at least—has stopped for the night.

Some wizards get the hint...

Unknown Number:

Come outside and smoke with me.

Reading the ridiculous invitation, I audibly scoff before replying.

Me:

I look pretty comfortable, don’t I?

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Do as you’re told.

Throwing daggers at the window, my fingers type without needing my attention.

Me:

I’m still watching my movie, so you can kindly go and f*ck yourself. Thank you. BYE.

Ping!

Unknown Number:

I like the thought of f*cking you much, much better.

My heart is hammering out of my chest in anticipation—I swear to god!

Ping!

Unknown Number:

Move it before I fetch you.

‘I’m halfway through the f*cking movie!’ I yell at the window, and glancing back at the tv; I see that they are almost at the part of finding Claire’s long-lost love, Lorenzo, which always brings tears to my eyes. ‘It’s the second to best part!’

He takes a long drag, showing me his glowering expression.

I snicker before getting to my wobbly feet.

I’m fuming as I slip into my feral cat slippers, trudging sluggishly towards the foyer with my wand and discreet weapon in hand.

I wish I’d brought my blanket when I opened the front door.

sh*t. I’m already shaking when I step outside—probably because of the wine. Though looking at him in the corner in all his menacing glory, I realise it’s because he’s effortlessly fear-inducing with his eyes boring into my soul through the semi-darkness.

I leave the door open.

‘Want to talk?’ I grit out, crossing my arms over my chest. ‘Delete. The. Video. Blackmailing me won’t work! It’s revolting that you’re dangling such a despicable thing over a married woman’s head.’

He takes a long, thoughtful drag.

Silence.

He exhales, extending a hand towards me; I notice a cigarette between his thumb and forefinger, and I break the small distance to take it, suppressing my inward good girl who uses her manners when accepting anything.

Just as quickly; I return to my spot at the door before he tries anything, realising too late that I don’t have a light, but just as the realisation strikes, it abruptly lights itself.

Thank you, creepy f*cking stalker powers.

‘Silent game, huh?’ I inhale, watching him with slitted eyes while suppressing a cough. ‘It’s rude,’ I say with a gravelly voice.

He chuckles.

The shiver that racks my spine makes me grit my teeth through the exhale.

I try for a change of subject, ‘What’s The Serpent and The Blackbird got to do with anything?’

In response, he flexes his shoulders, rolling them backwards, and holy hell. I shouldn’t have drank so much wine. He's sexy when he should be as dreadful as his words and actions.

His tone is low and inviting as he says, ‘Like I said. It’s our story.’ He exhales, grinning out, ‘Little sister.’

‘We don’t have a story. You terrorise my life and bring me trauma. The. f*cking. End,’ I point out before inhaling and squirming at how much I absentmindedly took in.

He laughs in a low way that should condemn him straight to hell, where he rightfully belongs. ‘Is that a no to the tattoo I have planned for you?’

‘Are you delusional? There is no way—’ He suddenly straightens and steps towards me.

‘No way, what? That I won’t do what I want with my little sister?’

My mouth is dry from staring at him in horror before virtually slurring, ‘Stop calling me that. It’s disgusting.’

‘Hmm?’ he takes another step, all fire and brimstone, summoning the shadows with his intimidating and deadly beauty. That alluring open chest draws nearer and nearer, and I’m suddenly eager to know what other perverse tattoos he harbours.

Merlin’s beard. I’m way too past sobriety for this.

‘Prove it,’ he declares in that husky tone.

I take a nervous drag, not even noticing the bite as his darkened face crowds me in. ‘Prove what?’

He smiles. ‘That you don’t like it.’

‘How am I meant to prove the obvious?’ I flick the cigarette, and my fingers tremble when he takes another step, allowing me to see the haunting patterns on his spine-chilling mask rippling with their shimmering light—bringing its savage splendour to life. He takes a drag, eyes unflinching, and he’s so close that I can taste the smoke as it leaves his lips.

‘Prove. It.’

I try not to cringe as I bite out, ‘No. I won’t, big brother. Is that what you want me to say? To play along with your sick fantasies? Because I refuse to be as vile as you are.’

His smile widens. ‘See?’ The smoke billows and morphs into strange shapes around us: skulls, flying birds, and serpents snaking through the underbrush. ‘I think little sister likes being bad…’ He takes that last step that crowds me in and forces me backwards, straight into the doorframe. ‘She likes being hounded and conquered.’ His free hand reaches for the wall next to my head as he leans into my ear and whispers, ‘Should I check just how much she likes it?’

My gulp is irritatingly perceptible.

The hand holding a cigarette is now lifting something black towards me. ‘My wand!’ I squeal. ‘How did you—’

‘Clumsy,’ he begins, using the tip to prompt my chin up so I look directly into his eyes. ‘Keep your eyes on me.’

‘NO! I f*cking won’t!’ I grate out and turn away, dropping my lit cigarette, but he forces my face back with the wand, painfully imprinting the tip into my chin.

‘Be a good girl, or little sister gets punished. Understood?’ The wood tip leaves my chin and trails a downward path from my neck to my chest, settling between my breasts. ‘This again?’ he sneers. ‘I’m starting to think you’re daring me to show you how severely the sword splits.’

The wand lowers again, finding the end of my jumper and lifting—

‘Stop it!’ I say firmly, loathing how intense it feels to look at each other this way. It’s intimidating, and I’m confident it’s exactly what he intended.

‘Stop it…what?’ he prompts.

Oh god. ‘Stop it, big brother—what the f*ck is wrong with you; you’re sick! This fantasy of yours is completely f*ckED UP!’ I’m trying to twist my body from his solid hold as my wand keeps lifting until the breeze tickles my bare puss*, making my thighs clench.

I wince when the wood touches my skin until I realise it isn’t wood; his fingers are trailing a path straight to my folds.

‘My good little Semele, doing as her brother says,’ he purrs, and just as he says it, his fingers find my slit, teasing the area before journeying closer to my entrance that’s slicked with the evidence of my arousal. He dips a finger in, returning to massage my cl*t, and my eyes feel heavy as they blink slowly at him while I try to suppress any other indication of his influence.

I release a moan, and when I do, I press the bottom on the small wooden handle, and the blade slides out, cutting my fingers in the process. It all happens so quickly—I stab him in the stomach, burying the metal as far as it will go, he makes no sound, and then I’m spun around with my hands forced together over my head where the steel buries in the back of my hand, trickling thick veins of blood down my arm.

I screamed so loud that the birds startled out of the trees.

‘I warned you, didn’t I?’ His hand starts kneading my ass. ‘If little sister convinces me she can be good, her hand will get healed once we’re finished,’ he murmurs, pulling his hand away.

‘I’ll b-be g-good—’

A punitive slap on my ass cheek makes me shriek, releasing the tears clouding my vision. He draws back, slapping the same area again and again. I’m loudly sobbing when his hand stops grazing the raw area, venturing down the valley of my cheeks and back to my puss*.

‘I’ve never seen a slit this wet, ‘ he croons, withdrawing his fingers, and I hear what sounds like raucous sucking happening close to my ear. ‘Does it turn you on to know how many Death Eaters I’ve killed for you?’

I shudder, and despite the pain, blood and pleasure, I still manage to squeal out, ‘You d-did t-that?’

He chuckles, bringing his hand to the blood pouring down my arms. ‘And I’d do it again…but first,’ he drenches the tips in the red-hot liquid. ‘It’s your husband’s head on the spike.’

I hear the same sucking sound as he did with my puss*’s juices, moaning at the taste or whatever revolting hedonism it gives him to consume my blood.

‘Over my d-dead b-body,’ I assert weakly. I’m shaking so violently from a loss of strength and the cascade pouring down my arrested arms. It makes me feel like a f*cking sacrifice, and I'm almost certain he does it to feed and satiate whatever darkness makes him who he is.

‘Say that again,’ he orders, finding my puss* and playing with it, teasing the pleasure out of me.

‘Over…mhmm.’ I can’t manage the rest; I’m lightheaded, and my eyes roll back.

‘Mhmm, what?’ his hand is ruthless, massaging my puss* in a devastating way. ‘That’s not what you tell your big brother as he’s promising to slaughter your husband.’

‘I’ll—’ his fingers trail the length of my slit to soak in the wetness before returning to my cl*t and increasing his rhythm. ‘Mhmm...’

He snickers. ‘Back to Mhmm, are we?’ Something cold near my left breast makes me shrink— his hand. It begins kneading the flesh, cupping the entire thing before deciding to tease my firm nipple, pinching and flicking it. ‘Will hearing it again help you come?’

I shake my head in defiance, not bothering to try for words.

He laughs out loud again. ‘I want you to drench my fingers, sweetheart, and once we’re finished, you’ll go to bed and get up nice and early for your date tomorrow.’

Virgil? Does he know about him?

‘And when you come home, you can expect a punishment for being such a lying whor*. Have I made myself clear?’

‘Mhmm?’ I try to murmur my question through the blinding pleasure.

‘Mhmm, what?’ his fingers leave my cl*t and plunge straight into my entrance, climbing and curling against my sweet spot. ‘Use your words.’

f*ck my life.

I might pass out any moment now!

The knife leaves my wrist and thuds somewhere behind us. Then, that familiar warmth begins at my palm, encompassing the entirety of my hand and slowly melting the agony away as it did those other instances when he healed me after inflicting the wound.

f*cking lunatic!

‘Such a shame to see all this blood go to waste,’ he comments, breathing hot air into the shell of my ear. ‘Next time, we’ll use it to lubricate your ass so I can f*ck it after I’ve slapped it redraw if you don’t start using your f*cking words. So why don't you try again?’

Holy f*ck. That sounds horrendous. ‘What punishment…’ I’m clenching so hard to suppress the inevitable feeling wanting to drown me in its bliss, ‘…what will you do?’

I’m fighting an agonising battle against my body. I'm so close—

‘You’ll see soon enough.' He bites the soft skin of my ear, 'Now shut the f*ck up and come for your big brother,’ his derisive tone brings me to the edge, and I scream through a ground-shattering sensation that brings me to my knees when it’s finished, and he releases me, letting me fall.

I'm panting and burying my nails into the wooden beams.

'I hate you,' I grit out breathlessly.

‘And that was proof that you don't,’ he sneers, making that sucking sound again that suggests he's licking his fingers clean of me until I scent the familiar poisonous air of smoke.

There is a long silence before he says, ‘Don’t test me again, Hermione. You like to play games, but I’m your god now, and you won't get a repose until I’ve attained what is rightfully mine.’

The sounds of his receding steps are the signal I wait for before getting to my feet and glancing back to the way he left, and I'm not surprised to find him gone. Not a trail of smoke in sight. Instead, the almost full moon above the forest winks at me as a dark cloud passes across it and all I can think about is why the f*ck Semele resolved to love her cruel adopted brother in the first place.

Chapter 18: Her Death Eater (Flashback)

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (20)

My parents—obliviated.

My heart—void.

I’ve been taking Sleeping Draught for months now, ever since the dark dreams returned—but this time, featuring my friends and family falling dead at Voldemort’s feet. Ron’s helped me gather its ingredients, and I’m wondering if something is going wrong with it. Even something as little as a decaying valerian sprig can jeopardise the entire thing, transforming it into something else. My brain is perpetually foggy, so much so that I’ve started writing down the things I need to do in a small planner I keep close to hand. Regardless of the terrible consequences of a sleeping aid, I’m seriously considering substituting it for drops of The Draught of Living Death, so I can sleep deeper.

‘Are you feeling alright, Granger?’

No, Theo, I’m most certainly not okay.

I’ve been keeping it together for so long around Harry and Ron. Without them, I’m visibly shuddering now, added with the tension that has suffocated me since I stepped out of the Leaky Cauldron.

Wiping my sweaty palms on my skirt, I sigh before replying, ‘As good as one can be when Death Eaters harrow the wizarding world, and I could very likely get captured just for being on this street. All is fine and dandy, really.’

I’m so stupid for being here.

Theo remains silent as we walk past dingy shops with misted glass concealing the creepy peculiarities behind them. After the fall of the Ministry, Diagon Alley feels particularly uninviting, as if it was ever inviting in the first place. His pace is insistent, as if he wants to be finished with giving a tour to the half-blood witch that will end at the door of a Death Eater, anyway, and I can’t decide if being captured by another in place of Draco would be any better.

I’m walking as fast as my brown sandals allow—I’m wearing a long, white cotton dress that grazes my shins when I walk. It’s light and flowy—and about as modest as I could go when the scorching temperature is determined to get me in the nude.

I’ve left Harry and Ron under the pretence of buying food, and this time, I have my wand. Getting information about the Death Eaters’ objectives is more crucial now than ever. The attack at the wedding prompted us into hiding, and for now, we are aimlessly wandering until we can settle somewhere secretive.

Maybe I could reason with Draco—

It needn’t go into the realm of sexual favours.

‘Hermione Granger?’ A familiar voice declares from behind us. ‘Theodore Nott?’ Both our heads turn simultaneously to see Nymphadora Tonks in a short dark dress and black boots staring at us through impenetrable red-framer sunglasses. Her head is turned to me. ‘What are you doing at Diagon Alley with Theodore?’

Oh f*ck. ‘Hi tonks. We were just…’

Theo clears his throat. ‘Granger was returning a book to me. We are going to drop it off at my grandmother Josephine’s house. She lives nearby.’

Tonks lifts her sunglasses to study us both. ‘It’s a dangerous time to be wandering the streets, Hermione. Be extra careful, will you?’

‘It’s only a quick trip. I’ll be returning to…’ I almost revealed Harry and Ron’s secret hideout. ‘My friends, soon. Don’t worry about me!' My laugh is painfully nervous. 'You know I’m the most sensible of us all.’

She drops her glasses and gives us a big smile before entering a dark shop. ‘That you are,’ she waves. ‘Anyway, catch you later! And good to see you, Nott. Stay safe, guys.’

Tonks vanishes, and we both release a pent-up sigh.

‘That was quick thinking, Theo,’ I comment as we start walking. ‘My brain turned into slush.’

‘I had it pre-planned,’ he responds curtly, looking back with a worried expression to where Tonks vanished. ‘Right. Well, here we are.’

I glance at the dreaded building with the blood-red door. Oh my god! We were so close to Draco’s house when Tonks found us!

Theo swipes his arm out as if guiding me to my personal hell with appropriate chivalry. ‘He instructed me to retrieve you again after you’re finished.’ His black brows draw together. ‘Will you be alright?’

I can’t tell if Theo has grasped the nature of what ensued with Draco during my last visit. Theo was waiting outside for me when the he finally lifted his enchantment on the door, and the red dress reappeared next to it. I sprinted out without another word, dressing as I thundered down the stairs and ignored the rude house elf who asked me if I’d had a pleasant visit with a mocking smile.

I didn’t utter a word to Theo as he guided me back to the Leaky Cauldron. How could I? Masturbating at the will of a Death Eater wasn't the outcome I had hoped for...

My neck suddenly prickles.

I feel his eyes on me.

I’m tempted to lift my gaze to his window. But I don’t.

‘I’m sure it will be fine,’ I breathe out, taking the first step to the red door with its golden raven caught in a perpetual scream. ‘I’ll see you later, then. Thanks again.’

When Theo’s steps echo down the cobblestone path, I lift a hand to knock against the wood, but it opens before my skin makes contact. The well-dressed house elf stands in the foyer with a scowl.

‘Master says you're tardy,’ the house elf grinds out. ‘Master says you have to be here on the clock.’

What a rude piece of—

‘I’m to check your bag, Miss. Before you are permitted inside,’ He gestures at my shoulder bag. ‘Master says—'

I grip the bag when I feel it shifting from my shoulder. ‘Your master will have to get used to waiting. He doesn’t pay for my time. And as for my bag, no thank you,’ I say while placing a foot on the doormat, determined to stand my ground.

The creature snickers before stepping out of the way and opening the door wider to let me in. ‘Master will not be pleased with your insolence.’

Oh, dear god. Please give me strength!

‘Quite frankly, I don’t care what your master thinks. I hope you relay to him the exact wording of my sentiment.’ The foyer is eerily chill as I settle both of my feet on the rug at the bottom of the stairs. ‘Am I to go straight up?’ I gesture my head in the direction of the dark stairwell.

He bows his head in a nod, and when he lifts it to deliberate me, there is a devilish grin curling his ugly lips as he says, ‘Master will make his toy obedient if she insists on misbehaving. You have been warned, Miss.’

What the actual f*ck?

I swivel on my feet, tempted to march out when the door swings closed with an ear-splitting crack. I whirl on the elf, ready to fight him if it means my departure. He’s still grinning with his hands behind his back, appearing the perfect little servant when he declares, ‘Master says you aren’t to leave until you’ve concluded the business. His orders, Miss.’

‘Miss Granger,’ I correct at his condescending use of my title.

He lifts a lip to show his pointy teeth, ‘Miss.’

Instead of replying, I roll my tongue around the inside of my mouth, gripping my wand with a punishing squeeze that makes my teendoms throb. I’ve never struck to kill a creature of the wizarding world, but I sure as sh*t feel tempted to break that pattern starting today.

The elf lifts his face to the ceiling, his sharp ears stirring as if listening despite the uncanny quietness. His head suddenly lowers, eyes unblinking as he says, ‘He’s waiting. Master doesn’t like to be kept waiting.’

You’re better than this, Hermione. Don’t stoop to the stupid little creature’s bait.

‘How kind of him,’ I bite out through a gritted smile. ‘You’re such a good house elf; I’m sure you’re dying for more work to please your master.’

Don't stoop...

Reaching into my Mary Poppins bag, I pull out a bottle filled with a green smoke-like substance before switching hands and reaching back in. ‘Isn’t that right?’

His expression appears forcibly vacant as he waits for the shoe to drop.

You're better than petty acts of revenge, Hermione...

‘Such a good little servant to his Master…Ops!’ I drop the bottle that shatters, and the green smoke spreads swiftly around our feet. ‘Oh dear! I’ve always been so clumsy, you see!’

Not the jar, too...

I pull out the hand-painted jar I found at a market that violently rattles at being handled. ‘Look at that! What a pretty jar…I wonder what’s inside—’ I throw it at the creature’s feet with a broad smile when it, too, explodes in a thousand pieces, freeing the hundreds of brown bodies that flurry out and scatter across every ingress of the floorplan along with the green mist whose putrid smell is starting to ferment in the open air.

‘Clumsy me,’ I sneer before taking the stairs. ‘I’m sure you’ll be occupied for a while. Your master will certainly be pleased. Anyway, have fun!’ I take the steps quickly before the green mist makes me lurch.

The termites will undeniably keep him diligent; they are the nastiest nuisance in the wizarding world, borrowing in every nook and cranny, quickly building nests to multiply as they aim to chew through the wooden foundations of the property. Not to mention that once the green mist settles, it will imprint itself into the walls like a sticky sap you have to wash off with water from a very particular and well-hidden stream in the Tibetan Alps. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself for wiping the grin off his face.

Reaching the top of the stairs, I notice the door at the far end is ajar, and before I can stop myself, I utter, ‘Alohom*ora Immobulus!

The door to Draco’s room swings open and freezes against the wall.

There will be no locking me inside this time. f*cker.

Wavering at the threshold, it takes me more time than it should to notice he’s moved the wingback chair to the opposite corner, next to the fireplace, where he is lounging with a crystal glass filled with emerald liquid balanced on his knee; the other hand occupied with a cigar that is billowing thick veins of smoke. He’s wearing a similar fitting to the last occasion—a white shirt rolled up at the sleeves, unbuttoned at the chest. His legs adorn thigh-hugging black slacks as if he had just stepped out of a board meeting for some multi-million cooperation.

And he’s fairly tanned?

What’s more, the scar marring his face is completely gone.

He’s lazily watching me through heavy, leering eyes while clasping the cigar in a mock grin between his teeth.

I glare back. ‘Your creature is vulgar and inhospitable,’ I begin, leaning into the doorframe. ‘Oh, and I’m done. This thing between us has proven fruitless. You’ve given me no information after practically forcing me to—’

‘What do you want to know?’ he asks, releasing the grin to suck the end of the cigar; the action pinches his cheeks, defining his cheekbones.

‘What do you think?’ I counter, rolling my eyes at the obvious. Is he playing stupid? ‘Things like…hmn...Voldemort’s future objectives.' I pretend to think. 'Where the Death Eaters are stationed and patrolling. You know, like places we should avoid and all that.'

He takes a long drag, releasing a massive cloud of smoke that hangs like a thick curtain between us. I can’t see him as he retorts, ‘Done.’

My brows pinch together at the proposition of his singular-word reply. ‘Done? Done what?’

‘You’ll get your information soon. That’s what done means.’

I cross my arms. ‘I want it now.’

He chuckles. ‘Try convincing me, then.’

My stomach drops, and I utter, ‘Convincing you how?’

‘Take your dress off and crawl to me; beg for it.’

f*ck that!

‘Are you insane! There is no way that I am entertaining this again!’

With a growl, I go to storm out of the room, but not before the door shuts in my face, grazing my right arm and making me shriek back in pain. Tears begin streaming in my eyes while I try to focus on the gash that is foaming with red at the base of my right shoulder.

‘You’ll remember who commands here, Hermione. Because it isn’t you…’ The armchair groans as he gets to his feet, breaking the distance between us in a few long strides, one hand in his pocket as he forces my back to the wall. ‘You can wave your wand and show me your prettiest, most pathetic performance…’ His symphony of scents encapsulates me: rum, smoke, musk. ‘But in the end, you are defenceless, sweetheart. In this room, you’re mine. And what’s mine is always at my mercy.’

My teeth are clenched so tight I fear I may crack the back ones. ‘I’m not yours.’

He titters, brushing a strand of hair behind my ear. ‘Leave your bratty act where it belongs, back with your wretched excuse for friends.’

‘Don’t t-talk about my friends like that!’ I cry out.

‘They aren’t your friends.’

I swallow a dry moan; the pain is blinding. ‘What are you saying? Of course, they are!’

‘They aren’t your friends,’ he echoes. ‘Admit it, and I’ll stop the pain.’

He’s been making it worse? ‘f*ck. Off! I won’t! You can’t make me d-do anything!’

His mocking chuckle echoes through the room, urging me to turn my head from him. But just as swiftly, he commands my chin back with a punishing hold, back to the blurry sight of his dark eyes and tight-lipped grin. ‘Can’t I?’ he taunts, grazing a thumb against my bottom lip. ‘Will skinning Nymphadora from limb to limb inspire you to say it?’

I clench my fists. ‘Have you gone m-mad? What are you saying? She was just passing by—’

He presses into me with his suffocating intensity and muscular physique. I try to lift the hand with my wand, but his body is barricading me in such a way that I can only lift a finger, nearly dropping the sleek wood.

His smoky breath is so close I can almost taste it when he whispers against my lips, ‘Will her decapitated head say the same thing when I enchant it to reveal the truth?’ His shocking words almost startle me into silence. I try to say something, but a sob escapes me in place of words.

‘Are you trying to set spies on me, little bird?’

I shake my head at the absurdity of his paranoid accusation.

‘Are you guaranteeing the execution of your order just as we're starting our agreement?’

I shudder my head from side to side again.

He starts grazing my cheek at my silence, wiping the tears in his thumb’s path. The act is almost tender in the way that lovers caress each other. It’s a terrifying contrast to how his body detains me.

How he ridicules and hurts me.

The tears keep coming, and I can’t stop them. His hold on my chin has slackened, and I use the opportunity to focus on the window behind him, seeing only a blinding light that envelopes the water gathering at my tear ducts.

He stops grazing my cheek to force my attention back to him. ‘What do you see when you look at me?’

Through the tears—I see nothing. I shake my head in response.

His chuckle is dry, callous and derisive. ‘What you will see is the devil that can kill every member of your pitiful order with my hands tied behind my back.’

He lifts my chin to his face, but I still can’t see anything.

My jaw involuntarily trembles. ‘She saw m-me walking here,’ I stammer through a sob. ‘To you. T-that’s all.’

His hand encloses my neck. ‘If you put anyone in my path to prevent me from you…’ His grip is bruising, and I squeal. ‘I will f*ck you in their blood. Do you understand, little bird? I will bury your pretty face in their crimson remains and make you scream my name like I am the god of your highest order.’

I shiver at the sudden chill as if an entity possessed with carnage has passed between us. It’s summer, as hot as coals, yet my skin feels like it’s about to freeze. The sweat coating my neck turns glacially cold. My tears suddenly dry, and I’m desperate to rub my itchy eyes. I was even tempted to ask him—to plead for some reprimand or mercy, but the thought of that icy being has petrified me into more silence.

‘Let’s play a game, shall we?’

I shake my head before he forces my head to nod.

‘Do this when I’m telling the truth, hmn?’

I glare at him in response.

He smiles. ‘See, you can be a good girl,’ his free hand explores the curve of my right hip. ‘First truth: did you know it was me sending you those notes at school?’

Despite my resolve to not entertain him, my head bobs in yes.

‘That wasn’t so hard, was it?’ He mocks, flicking his gaze up and down my face, focusing intently on where his thumb sits close to my lips. ‘Second truth: you liked me, didn’t you, Granger? You wanted me to hunt you down a dark corridor and to corrupt you against a wall, taking anything I wanted?’

My head shakes from side to side. No.

‘f*cking liar,’ he seethes, pressing his body closer until I feel his insistent erection in the valley of my thighs. ‘Third truth: you loved watching me eat your puss*.’ His grin is wide and cruel, ‘You couldn’t help watching, could you? It made you come to see me on my knees for you.’

I shake my head for no, knitting my brows together at the evident lie. Perhaps it transpired in the exact way he claims in my dreams, but it has never been enacted outside of my fantasies—but I will certainly not be admitting that truth to him.

‘Another lie?’ his thumb dents my bottom lip before his eyes flick back to mine. ‘Admit it.’ The digit suddenly parts my lips, forcing entry into my mouth. ‘You’re a lying slu*t who’s always wanted the big bad Death Eater to force his way with you so you can reassure yourself that I am the enemy.’

I still shake my head for no, even when he rests his thumb on my tongue, moving it around.

‘Such a brat,’ he breathes that smoky scent close to my lips, moving his thumb in and out of the suction before biting out, ‘Tell. Me. The. f*cking. Truth.’

I blow out of my nose in frustration at his ridiculous game. He’s obviously making it up so he can continue forcing his way into me while convincing himself that I want it.

His thumb abruptly leaves my mouth with a loud, wet sound. When I think he’s about to pull away, his fingers pinch my cheeks harder than before, lifting my face unnervingly close to his. Dark eyes flick between mine, and I’m panicking at their deadly intensity as he bores into me, inspecting for something—I’m not sure what.

He titters, releasing me before stepping back and returning his hands to his pockets. He’s silent as he approaches the armchair and picks up his tumbler of rum and the cigar from the ashtray, which relights on its own.

‘No more games. Get on the bed.’

At his words, my arm begins to warm—he's healing me.I look down to see the blood gradually vanishing, and I don't hesitate to flick my wand at him, ‘Depulso!

The repelling spell leaves the top, striking blue lightning at his back. Instead of forcing him into the wall, it bounces against an invisible shield that ripples black when hit.

What the—

He turns back to me slowly, unscathed, watching me through slitted eyes.

CONFRINGO!’ I bellow out.

The red fire bolt leaves my wand, striking the black shield and waning.

DIFFINDO!’ I howl.

Nothing.

PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!’

Nothing.

GLACIUS!

He takes several steps towards me, and I dart to his left, lunging out of grasp. ‘DESCENDO!

He captures my arm, and I shout, ‘CRUCIO!

When nothing happens, I throw my hand holding the wand at him, awkwardly propelling a punch at the side of his face that only makes his jaw clench when it lands on his temple. I keep striking him with my hands, screaming and scratching at his face as he walks me backwards until the backs of my knees press into the bedframe.

‘f*ck YOU! YOU’RE A f*ckING RAPIST, DRACO! YOU’VE GONE MAD! THIS AGREEMENT IS BULLsh*t!’ The words leave in a frantic flurry as I fall back into the bed.

He’s on top of me before I can kick at him, straddling me and putting his hand on my mouth to stifle the screams before he dips his head into my neck and starts kissing my sensitive spot. I scream into his hand when I feel his teeth graze the skin before biting, and I'm screeching something that sounds like ‘God’ beneath the obstruction of his hand.

I’m crying out through the pain, wanting to bite the hand that is keeping my mouth shut.

He stops devouring my neck to croon, ‘There are no gods here…’ He chuckles sinisterly. ‘Just you, and me, and your screams.’

I urge my legs to overpower him—to knee his balls or lift him out of the way as his tongue travels the length of my collarbone, growing upwards to my chin.

When his mouth advances to mine, I try to repel him like a rabid animal, snapping my teeth and trying to bite at his lips. But the moment he captures them, the brunt of my fight falls away. Holding me hostage with his mouth does not harbour the expected reaction I was hoping for.

It should feel ghastly.

It should make me sick...

The heart I had deemed void before coming here begins to echo with something.

You felt whole after he kissed you all those years ago.

Draco was your first, the first of many firsts.

The first boy to own your heart.

I try to quiet the strange voice booming in my head. It doesn’t make sense, and yet my body is responding to its assurance as his kiss becomes tender and adamant, waiting for me to drop my resistance and give in to the warm sensation that makes my thighs clench. The suppleness of his full lips opens me up, lapping into me and making me moan when he groans. It’s certainly nothing like the chaste kisses of my childhood dreams.

There is nothing remotely innocent about it—It's wholly unholy.

His lips become greedy and impatient, tasting every corner of my lips before settling back to an agonisingly sweet rhythm.

This is my first. Right?

All those years ago…

The distant voice echoes.

I can almost believe the strange words booming in my thoughts. Opening and closing my mouth to him feels like a flower that wants to bloom with the sun and hide her face with the swiftness of night, eager for dawn to open me up again.

And the dawn arises with him.

His tongue envelopes me; regardless of my inexperience, I know how to receive it. It’s like the curling and uncurling of a vine that reaches for the heights of the canopy, needing the sun to cast its benevolent light upon it. Despite his heady darkness, he tastes like smoke and the subtle sweetness of rum, and I want to drown beneath his greediness whose evidence resounds throughout the room with the slick sound of ravenous tongues and wet lips.

Oh, God.

It should not feel this good to kiss a Death Eater.

Instead of struggling, I allow him to taste and claim: to pillage my mouth for whatever he wants—groaning and rocking his hips into me, and at this moment, I could invite him inside me.

Oh, dear God. No...

I f*cking hate him, and I want to tell him as much when he pulls away, grinning down at me with glistening lips.

‘I hate you,’ I grit out with a husky tone.

His once bright ocean-blue eyes grow darker as he watches me utter each syllable. Were they always this dark? I had the impression they were a vivid blue, and since meeting him again a week ago, they've been morphing in and out like a sea creature diving from the lowest darks to the highest brights in the waters.

Good.'

I grimace at his bluntness.

His lips curve into a small grin, appearing the boyish dishevelled lover instead of demonic leech.

'I want you to keep showing me how much you loathe me.’ His braced arms on either side of my head begin to travel lower as he sinks himself to the floor in front of me until his face is level with my knees.

‘Keep telling me how much you hate this.’ He begins removing my sandals, and I’m captivated by how his strong shoulders move beneath the shirt. My eyes catch on the open fabric, revealing a spattering of blonde chest hair and black ink atop a broadness that makes my body shudder.

I can't make out the ink. It's just labyrinth-like patterns.

Watching him like this, his hair messy and his expression wolfish, my puss* throbs at the prospect of what he may be doing.

‘Pretty dress,’ he teases, settling the sandals to the side before lifting the white skirt from my legs.

‘f*ck you,’ I mutter, watching transfixed as he bares my knees with unhurried languidness and, finally, my thighs, revealing my lacy white underwear. He bunches the dress at my waist, and I don’t contest him as I should.

‘Pretty underwear,’ he says, bringing his hand to my puss* and running a forefinger on the slit of the soaked fabric before hooking a finger and lifting the lace to the side.

His grin is pure sin as he says, ‘Pretty puss*.’

‘f*ck you,’ I echo with less conviction than before, my lids growing heavy.

When he dips his head, keeping his eyes on mine, my moan is devastatingly loud when he licks a path from my wet entrance to the tender cl*t, moving his tongue from left to right on his way back down.

‘Such a pretty liar…’ He dips his tongue in my gathering wetness as if to prove a point, ‘…I’m your worst enemy, and you f*cking love this.’

He starts eating my puss* like it’s a feast, and all I can do is arch my back, urging the needy flesh into his mouth. I’m moving feverishly into him, chasing the blinding release I know only he can give me.

I f*cking hate him.

I’m doing this for the order—I parrot to myself. But the notion seems bizarre and ridiculous when I’m willingly allowing my puss* to be eaten.

‘I hate you,’ I murmur in a throaty voice, and a moan slips out with the harsh claim.

The wet slurping and kissing sounds are dreadfully gaudy when he pulls away to say, ‘Of course, you do, sweetheart.’

I feel a finger grazing into my entrance before dipping in.

My head bows back. ‘I hate you so f*cking much. You’re an asshole!’ The finger curls against a spot that is so sweet I start panting.

‘And you taste so f*cking good…’ He sucks my cl*t before saying, ‘My delectable little brat who's desperate to come on her Death Eater’s mouth.’

Her Death Eater.

The statement nearly topples me over.

He’s careful with his fingers as if wanting to evade my untouched hymen. He grazes the walls, but never deep enough. But I’m too frantic to form a coherent sentence about it. ‘Why…why are you—'

He chuckles, the vibration spirals me into a desperate frenzy to ride his mouth more. Holy f*ck.

‘Why this?’ he twirls his finger against my walls. ‘I’m saving your blood to coat my co*ck. Then, I’ll lick the remainder clean from your puss* while you swear your final blood oath to me.’

The absurdity of it! And all I can think about is: that’s not how a blood oath works…

As if reading my thoughts, he says, ‘It’s how his blood oaths work.’

Himwho?

I glance down at him, knowing I should be pressing him about it. But watching my hips rock into his mouth and his dark eyes unwavering on me like a predator transfixed by its prey send me over the edge. My scream will probably be heard several houses down the semi-detached street. His ugly little f*cking elf is probably taking notes to goad at me about it later. And yet, in this moment, trapped by my captor, I have never felt more alive, and I couldn’t care less about my pride.

When my head falls back, and I’m violently panting, I hear him get to his feet, pulling my skirt down over my throbbing puss*.

His words are beautifully husky when he says, ‘Our oath means you can never escape me,’ he begins, his voice sounding like it’s travelling from a great distance. ‘Every time you come here, we solidify that bond.’

My breathing is so loud; I still see stars when I close my eyes.

‘It means nothing can come between us…even death himself.’

I want to ask him the obvious—the reason I’m here. But I need a moment to recover, for f*ck’s sake.

‘You’ll receive word from me soon. Like I said,’ he assures.

Can he actually read my thoughts? Is that possible—he's proving it could be. Suddenly, a knock from somewhere in the house resounds; somehow, I know it’s for me. It's Theo.

‘You’ve been a good girl for me. So now, you get to leave,’ I sense a smile at his words.

I should be protesting and bellowing. But all I can think is:f*ck my life.Giving in to this sick game is unforgivable—getting off on his mouth can not be explained away.When I lift my weight onto my elbows, needing to rebalance the playing field, I expect to see him sneering at me with a goading smile from the end of the bed. But it's only me, the painfully white and crumpled sheets and the four-poster bed.

Chapter 19: Riding with Sexy Strangers Isn't a Crime

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (21)

Hermione age 6

My mummy takes forever to talk—gossiping with her friends, or in this case, Jane. My school friend, Lucy, isn’t with her today, which makes me sad. She’s with her daddy for the weekend in York, where Lucy told me the Vikings landed. I really wanted to show Lucy my new doll. My mummy got it for me at the garden centre when I was a good girl for helping to pick out pink, orange, and yellow flowers for their beds—and mummy says we will put them straight to bed as soon as we get home and shower them with the watering can.

‘Can I see the ducks?’ I jump up and down on the spot, pointing to where a line of baby ducks follow behind their mummy.

‘Very quickly, but be careful! Stay away from the edge of the pond,’ she shouts as I start running, following the babies into a tree with long hair that mummy calls ‘Willow.’

The ducks start running, but I’m faster! I reach them inside the tree and squat in my yellow dress to show them my doll.

‘My mummy got me this! She’s a little girl.’ I stroke her brown curls, which are the same as mine. ‘Like me! I’m going to name her…’ I try to think about a name I like. Maybe one from a cartoon. But I can’t think when the baby ducks are so cute, jumping over the side one by one to get into the water.

‘You should name her Birdie.’

My head turns to see a man leaning against the tree trunk. My brown braid catches on my shoulder, and I swing it over as I say, ‘That’s a pretty name.’ I look down at Birdie. ‘Thank you!’ I remember to say.

Mummy would be so pleased to hear me using my manners!

‘You’re welcome,’ he says in a deep voice before stepping out of the shadow and into a curtain of sunlight. He is the most beautiful man I have ever seen! With his dark hair and lovely face, he is like an angel from the book covers my mummy reads with her glass of wine in the evening—the ones she says I'm not allowed to touch.

‘Look over here. This is why I picked it,’ he points with his arm, which has black drawings all over it, to the base of the tree trunk where a bird hops around in the grass. ‘That’s called a blackbird. The brown one is a girl, while the black one with the yellow beak is a boy. If you listen to her song in your garden—she has the most beautiful of all the birds.’

‘She does?’ I ask, pulling out the grass to keep my hands busy.

He nods, smiling. ‘She likes to sing after it’s rained.’ He takes another step towards me, hands in his pockets. ‘And she makes bright blue-green eggs to put in her nest. They are very pretty, like a stone called turquoise. Have you ever seen a stone with that colour?’

‘Blue and green…together?’ I search my thoughts. ‘Like the ocean! I love going to the sea. My mummy and daddy take me every year. We are going next week!’

His smile grows. It’s very beautiful. My mummy would think so; he would make her blush like daddy does when he brings her flowers sometimes after work.

‘I like the seaside, too.’

I reach over to pull out a daisy with a big face, nearly falling forward when it doesn’t pull out. ‘I’m Hermione. What’s your name?’

He lifts his lovely face to the tree, where the tiny birds hop on the branches that sparkle with golden light. ‘I have many…’ His face returns to me with an even brighter smile. ‘Too many. Would you like to give me one?’

A name for a boy?

‘Hmn…’ I twirl the daisy around before getting to my feet. This is so hard! I want to give him the perfect name so he will be happy with me. ‘My daddy likes reading a book called The Aeneid.’ I break the distance towards the man in three hops. ‘This is for you; it’s my favourite flower.’

He pulls out one hand from his pocket to receive my gift. ‘That’s very kind of you. So you want to call me Aeneas?’

I drop the flower in his open hand, trying to see the doodles on his arms. ‘No, silly! The name of the man who wrote it…it’s a handsome name. I always forget it even though my daddy teaches it to me.’

‘Virgil?’ he asks, rolling the flower's stem between his fingers.

‘That’s it!’ I turn around when I hear a duck shouting. ‘Oh no! The duck and her babies are all gone.’

‘HERMIONE!’

My mummy’s angry voice is shouting so loud that my spine shivers.

‘It was nice to meet you, little Hermione,’ the man says before returning to the tree. ‘Be a good girl for your mummy and take care of yourself, will you? Don’t talk to strangers next time. Even if they are as friendly as me.’

‘HERMIONE!’

I’m about to run when he says, ‘Promise?’

I bob my head before saying, ‘Promise!’ while darting out of the tree's hair with Birdie in hand. ‘Bye, Virgil!’

My heart is beating so fast that it might explode. I don’t want my mummy to be angry at me! But when I break out of the tree’s long hair, my eyes burst open, and I’m on the floor, on my back, my mummy and Jane staring down at me with worried faces as if I’ve been here a long time.

‘Oh my god! Are you alright, sweetheart?’ Mummy says, and Jane says the same thing. ‘You fell over and didn’t open your eyes for a while.’ Mummy’s voice is loud and panicky. ‘Should we take her to A&E?’

She and Jane are talking about it, but all I can think about is the tree swaying above me with the beautiful man at its trunk, who I really want to tell my mummy about. I’m convinced he’s an angel, like in her books, but if he had wings, they wouldn't be white.

They’d be as black as night.

Present day

My eyes crack open into the impenetrable darkness of our blackout curtains. I’m breathing so severely that my eyes begin to water with the mounting pressure as I stretch a blind hand to my bedside drawer, bursting it open and reaching inside for the familiar-shaped bottles. When I don’t immediately find them, I turn the lamp on to see only the Death Eater cutouts morbidly staring back at me.

Where are my calming vials?

In all my years of taking them, Sofia has never moved one, even to tidy up my bedside table. Ron is the first to remember to pack them for our getaways and holidays. But even he wouldn't misplace one. I’ve never needed it this bad, even when the stalker first appeared.

Instead of panicking and going on a frantic pursuit that will leave me breathless, I press my back flatly into the headboard and try to recover my breathing before it gets out of hand. If I can avoid a panic attack, I have to hold this godforsaken breath and keep the oxygen in—

A throaty grumble like a motorbike begins somewhere down the road, travelling towards the house. The distraction helps me to even out my breathing until my heart resumes its tranquil rhythm.

What a strange dream...I remember vaguely telling my mum about a man I met beneath a tree, whom she called my ‘imaginary friend’ after she found me passed out next to the duck pond in Central London.

Though I don’t recall having a doll named ‘Birdie,’ like the name my stalker gives me.

Then there’s—

Virgil.

My heart increases for a second.

Dear god. Have I been manifesting dark-haired, tatted strangers since childhood? From the day my menace of a stalker infiltrated every aspect of my life, nothing has been making sense. Even poor Virgil is seeping into my dreams in bizarre ways.

Everything is changing.

My thoughts are not my own...

I’m beginning to feel unfamiliar sensations like doubt and resentment…

Ron is absent all the time…

Where the f*ck is my husband?

My stomach drops just as the door knocks.

Springing to my feet, I swing the curtains back and crank the old window open by the latch, which could use a good greasing by the sound of it. My eyes take a moment to adjust to the blinding morning, and I’m pleased to discover infinite blue skies as far as the eye can see.

Today is going to be beautiful!

‘Good morning!’ I call down at the porch roof, obstructing Virgil from view. ‘I’m just about to hop in the shower. You’re welcome to wait inside. The spare key is in the flowerpot!’

His warm, husky chuckle travels to my core before he exclaims, ‘Take your time.’

Twirling my wedding ring, I almost convinced myself not to wear it, and I'm not sure why.

I follow the strong smell of the worryingly contagious espresso—which may become a problem for my mild coffee addiction. I should really start using the Moka more, as Virgil has proven why it’s superior. Even the thought of starting the habit of making my own coffee in the morning is making me giddy.

When I enter the kitchen, dropping my bag by the door, I pause at the sight. Good god. Mother of the heavens—save me from my sins. He turns to me just as I wrench my consideration of his form-fitting biker trousers, meeting his keen hazel eyes framed by windswept hair.

He extends a cup towards me, and I furtively try to swallow the welling saliva at the sight of his dark brown t-shirt against his sinful form.

I really, really need to get used to him.

His one-dimpled smile should be a crime as he says, ‘Good morning. Slept well?’

I break the distance to retrieve the steaming cat mug. ‘You didn’t have to make coffee again! But I appreciate it. Thank you,’ I smile before taking a sip, murmuring my approval. ‘And no, not really. I don’t often sleep well. I’m used to it, though. I've tried all the methods under the sun, and nothing seems to help.'

His lips curve. ‘I’ll make sure you get a good night’s sleep, then.’

And that means… ‘Long walks sometimes do the trick,' I say in a chirpy voice while desperately looking for a distraction from my growing nerves and heated face.

I look down at my outfit: a short cream puffer jacket above an almost knee-length baby blue floral dress with gym shorts underneath and cream Converse at my feet. ‘Am I dressed alright for where we’re going?’

He gives me a thoughtful and excruciatingly drawn-out once-over before settling on, ‘It will do. Have you got a swimming costume?’

I pinch my brows together. ‘Swimming?’

‘Yes, swimming,’ he retorts with a teasing tone. ‘You’ve never swam in the highlands before?’

‘Of course…’ On my own and in the nude. ‘Give me a minute. I’ll be right back!'

Hammering up the stairs, I’m relieved I thought about shaving. I pick a simple two-piece black bikini, a towel from the drying rack, and a hairbrush that won't save my hair from turning into a lion's mane by the end of the trip.

When I return to the kitchen, he’s washing the Moka pot at the sink.

‘You really don’t have to—’

He gives me a smile over his shoulder. ‘I really want to, though.’ He sets the Moka on the draining board, drying his hands on the towel before returning to the table. ‘Don’t tell me you let your man off the hook with modest housework?’

Well… ‘He insisted we hired Sofia. Ron is always tired when he gets back from his job.’

Virgil snickers. ‘Sure.’

I pack the bikini and hairbrush in my brown leather backpack, trying to conceal the fact I’m carrying my wand. Just to be safe. Making sure it’s not poking out, I shut the bag and, like a moth to a flame—the coffee beckons to me with a song as old as time, and I heed the call.

In front of me, Virgil takes a long sip, watching me over the cup's rim as I drink mine, almost draining the delicious contents.

He finishes his own, extending a hand, and I allow him my cup to return to the sink with a half smile. When he turns, I’m brooding on his back, needing to understand this man and his generous intentions, but I always come up short. Maybe he’s just polite, Hermione? A well-bred, well-mannered boy who left gender roles and misogyny where it rightfully belongs: a thing of the past.

‘I’ll just rinse these, and we can go. Have you ridden on a motorbike before?’ he asks, making me conscious of my prolonged staring and silence.

‘We’re taking your bike?’ I ask with an incredulous tone.

His shoulders strain beneath the t-shirt as he scrubs the mugs in the running water. ‘Of course. You’ll love it. It’s exceptionally…’ He stops the tap, ‘Liberating. To say the least.’

I check the clock on the wall. f*ck.

‘Shall we get going then? I can’t wait to find out,’ I encourage him with a playful tone while walking towards the hallway to incite him to follow, and thankfully, he does after drying his hands and straightening the towel.

Good god. What a gentleman.

Sofia begins work in ten minutes, and I don’t want to explain my and Virgil’s ordeal to her. It's a recent development and I have no answers. I should be reprimanding myself for riding into the highlands with a stranger. I'm married, responsible and innately sensible, yet I can’t convince myself to feel remorse for my actions. It feels dangerous to admit such a thing when I’ve always been so good and careful—making sure we all stayed out of trouble at school, and I’ve been nothing short of a considerate and respectful wife to Ron.

‘I’m just going to check on my flowers quick!’ I holler over my shoulder while jogging to the rear of the house to see if they need watering.

When I return to the driveaway, seeing him settled on his bike, supporting it with his strong legs, my stomach begins to churn. He watches me through the visor with smiling eyes when I’m almost upon him. ‘Don’t ruin that pretty face with worry. You’ll be fine; I’m a good rider. You couldn’t be in safer hands.’

My unconvincing smile makes him swing his head back and laugh.

‘Come here,’ he urges me forward with a hand, and I step closer to him. He hooks an arm around my waist, pressing me between his leg and the bike. His hands reach to smooth down my hair, being careful not to brush out any curls.

‘The cut healed well,’ he comments before retrieving the spare helmet. ‘Must be my magic touch.’

I laugh, letting the joyful sensation overpower the feeling of his gentle fingers brushing the loose strands away from my face before jostling the midnight blue helmet over my head.

‘I’m sure it had nothing to do with simple biology.'

‘Nope, nothing at all,’ he teases, slapping my visor down. ‘Climb on.’

He leans the bike towards me, and I have to grasp his shoulders to mount the monstrous machine. When I settle on the seat, jiggling my hips at the unfamiliar sensation, I hesitantly circle my arms around his waist.

‘Squeeze here if you need my attention.’ He guides my hand to his solid abs before gripping my forearms and forcing my hips forward until I’m flush against his back. ‘Hold on tight, alright? I don’t want you flying off because you're worried about wrapping your arms around me.’

The thing roars to life, vibrating beneath me, rattling my bones.

Holy f*cking f*ck!

I’ve ridden a bloody Hippogriff, for gods sake! I ride my broom through the highlands in the summer. It’s not like I haven’t had my fair share of risky transport. But this...and with Virgil's body for security...

‘Ok! Ok! I promise I’ll hold on,’ I shout over the thunderous noise, squeezing him tighter for emphasis. I’m pressing the side of my face into his back, smelling the rich scent of his aftershave—the opulent type made for turning heads, making my eyes roll back.

Good grief woman!

He releases the ground, and we start moving slowly until we are through the gravel and travelling on smooth terrain along the winding lane towards the main road.

At the intersection, we turn right, and I spot Sofia’s silver car on the left, drawing nearer in the distance. My anxiety is swiftly released as we start building speed down the empty highway, the strong wind wiping the breath from my lungs. I let my head fall back to watch the scenery passing by in a thousand patterns and colours—one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.

I’m enjoying myself so much that it feels like little time has passed when he pulls up at a fuel station twenty miles from my home. When he kicks the stand down in front of the shop, dismounting, I remain straddling the bike when he lifts my visor, and I can finally breathe.

He’s smiling at me with his eyes as if sensing my delight. ‘Enjoying yourself?’

I flush. ‘That was incredible.’

I’m distracted by his dark hair curling around his eyes and how they look at me with a warm fire burning in their woodland colouring. He helps me lift the helmet from my head before approaching his own.

‘I’ll get us a drink. Did you want anything else?’

Something sweet like chocolate would be fantastic, but I’m too proud to let him splurge on me. ‘Just a cold drink will be fine, thank you.’ I beam at him through my mane of unruly curls that fall on my face from their release.

Brushing my hair back with my fingers, I watch him walk away and f*ck—

Scoop my eyes out and throw them in a blender. Mother Nature has to be testing just how well my attentiveness is captured by her godly creations. I have to readjust my positioning on the seat when he vanishes through the doors.

I’m flustered and strangely relieved; leaving my home like this feels shockingly freeing. I’m so far away from my qualms and tormentors that I could almost pretend they are nonexistent.

The sky is so blue. So optimistic…

I spare a fleeting glance at the shop’s large window, seeing nothing but the landscape reflected in the glass. Is it just me, or do I sense eyes boring into me? It’s warming my face, the tingle travelling the length of my spine, keeping me vigilant.

Suddenly, Virgil remerges, carrying two drinks and a bar of red chocolate.

It’s a Lindor milk bar, my favourite. ‘Your drink.’ He extends a cold peach iced tea towards me. ‘And a treat.’

‘It’s my favourite,’ I comment, accepting them and placing them on my lap. ‘They are both my favourites. How did you know?’ I tease, reasoning it was probably a wild guess.

He only grins in response, tousling his slick, short waves before taking a long sip of his drink, which is the same as mine. ‘You can climb down and stretch your legs if you like.’

I’m still running gentle fingers through my frizzy hair when I say, ‘It’s remarkably comfortable, actually. I may try taking a nap if you leave me a second time.’

His chuckle should be illegal. ‘You’d be surprised just how comfortable it can be,’ he says in a low voice before reaching to my lap, retrieving the chocolate bar. ‘Eat up; we’ve got a long way to go. It’s another twenty miles.’

I watch him unravel the packaging, breaking a square that he unexpectedly presses to my mouth. Tentatively, I part my lips to receive it, taking a bite before he brings the rest to his generous lips.

There is an odd intimacy about sharing food this way.

Maybe it’s how he didn’t hesitate to eat something I touched despite not knowing me so well. It's something so small, and I've only seen it in the movies or read it in books. Ron doesn’t like to share food; he eats the entire thing, or we allocate separate snacks to avoid bickering.

Virgil sets the chocolate back on my lap, seemingly satisfied with the slight bite. He’s leaning into the bike, staring at the scenery beyond while I try to act coy about stealing glances at him while drinking and eating my fill. In the daylight, his hair isn’t as dark as I assumed. It has a slight brownish tint reminiscent of dusky, ancient trees. He’s cleanly shaven, offering me an appraisal of his impressive facial structure. His nose is that perfect medium shape that doesn’t dominate but amplifies. His thick dark brows give him an air of the Mediterranean and paired with his modest tan, I’m convinced his ancestry belongs to some exotic place.

I’m suddenly not as interested in the panorama as I was once.

I put the rest of the chocolate and the drink in my bag, securing it again to my back. ‘I’m ready if you are?’

'Just waiting on you, princess.' He straightens his back, retrieving my helmet. ‘It’s a bumpy way after the fifteen-mile point. If you need me to stop for a short break, give me a squeeze.’

I tuck my hair behind my ears when he leans forward to squeeze it back over my head, giving me a glimpse down his t-shirt.

Holy...‘So what you’re saying is I should anticipate a good battering on my inner thigh muscles? Like a friendly warning?’ I give him a sly grin as he pushes the helmet over my eyes.

‘I’m sure you can handle it,’ he returns my grin. ‘If not, I know how to soothe the pain. You know, magic touch and all…’ He winks before slapping my visor down.

Chapter 20: Nascent of Night

Summary:

These chapters have *KILLED* me...guys, I am a pile of sleep-deprived mush... I'm going to need a breather after this one! But please, pressure me in the meantime! I have a horrible tendency to spiral into self-doubt (Insecure Writers Society), and you lovely angels filling me with your beautiful words gives me life...URGH! THANK YOU SO MUCH :* Moving on...we've come this far in the story and for those who haven't put two and two together...Virgil/Draco/Stalker are all in the same category. Yes, it's a little confusing, but it will be explained as the story progresses. I did tell you guys to expect the unexpected with this fic! So yes, Draco is technically here in the room with us.

If you don't want to be spoiled in any way, come back to this part of the summary when you're finished :)
(( Translation from Italian: 'Di niente. Tesoro mio' means 'You're welcome, my treasure/darling.'

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (22)

After I squeezed him to stop when the pain became excruciatingly uncomfortable, I fell into the grass next to the bumpy dirt road. My coat has become a pillow for my head, and I can’t convince myself to move. Arms grazing the grass, I’m spread eagle when I open my eyes to see Virgil looking down at me.

‘It’s a fifteen-minute ride or a potential quarter of an hour on foot. Did you want to walk instead? I can push the bike. It’s not a problem.’

I shake my head weakly. ‘Let’s get b-back on.’

He offers me his arm, snaking our forearms together and lifting me effortlessly to stand on wobbly legs. He catches me when I waver into him, and suddenly, I’m being lifted off the floor, my face grazing the hardness of his chest that smells like heat, sweat, and that insanely intoxicating aftershave. My sore butt is placed back on the bike, and I lift my left leg weakly, which he captures at the thigh and helps me to settle it on the other side.

‘Princess treatment, huh?’ I joke in a shaky voice. ‘Thank you, Virgil. I’m sorry for being a nuisance. I promise I won’t hold us up anymore.’

He titters so close to my ear that I feel it resounding on the sensitive skin of my neck. ‘If you apologise to me again, I may have to resort to punishments.’ He leans down to collect my coat and bag, opening it to stuff the jacket inside.

‘I’ll allow it if you go easy on me,’ I retort breathlessly.

He clips the buckle on the bag and gives me a sidelong glance when he says, ‘I told you I was a good boy, didn’t I?’

Don’t f*cking say it, Hermione. ‘Good boys aren’t always good behind closed doors.’

The curve of his lips looks like it should belong on the cover of a smutty novel, one that would be in my hand, paid for, and carried to my bed before entertaining the idea of reading the blurb.

‘Clever girl,’ he retorts with a thick voice. ‘No helmets for this part. The fresh air will feel good on your face, and it’s relatively safe if you keep a strong hold on me.’

He walks over to hide the helmets in the bushes.

‘Yes, sir,’ I say, glancing to my left at the sloping edge that looks like the forest is sliding towards a rocky valley swollen with pointy pines growing around mossy boulders.

Very safe, indeed.

I encircle my arms around his waist, and when we start moving again, I realise I’m falling in love with every aspect of this ride—even the painful parts. With the crisp wind billowing my hair into a wild mess, I’m distracted from the pain on my thighs by the growing landscape that looks as if it belongs in Middle Earth—as enchanting as Rivendell would be if it was brought to the muggle world.Magic within reach,I think, and I can see why people like Virgil require wild places to feel in touch.

We stop in front of a gate. He turns the engine off, manoeuvring off the bike, and I’m about to follow suit when he puts an arm under my legs, the other on my lower back, lifting me off the seat like I’ve broken a limb.

‘Virgil!’ I squeal. ‘This is too much. You’re doing too much!’ I laugh at the last part of my accusation as he settles me to my feet.

‘Maybe I just want an excuse to touch you,’ he teases, lifting the seat to reveal a storage compartment. He plucks out a black backpack, a thick chain that he throws on the floor, and unzipping the bag, he pulls out two baseball hats: a distressed coal grey and a distressed auburn. ‘Take your pick.’

‘What for?’

He lifts a brow, offering me a matter-of-fact reply, ‘Your head?’

‘Why?’ I ask, still bewildered.

He puts the auburn one over his dark waves, dispersing them to frame his face. ‘Grey one for you, then.’ He steps towards me, slapping the cap playfully onto my head. ‘It goes with your outfit.’

‘But why? It’s not—’

‘—It will be sunny as soon as we step out of the trees,’ he reasons, flicking his head toward the trail while slinging the bag over his shoulders. ‘Ready?’

My smile gives him all the answers he needs to offer me his back. He guides us towards the gate and holds the rasping door open for me. ‘Thank you,’ I breathe out as I graze past him, noticing the surreal and fresh beauty that greets us. Wildflowers frame the incline before us in a thousand faces turned towards the sun at the top of the rise. Before I know it, I’m skipping to the top, twirling back to Virgil every so often to find him graciously trailing several feet behind me with a knowing grin.

‘It’s beautiful! It’s so special…’ My thoughts wander to the distant mountains over his head, ‘…can I live here? Do I have to go home?’ I twirl back to the path.

‘I was under the impression you liked the thought of Italy the most,’ he points out.

‘Oh, I do,’ I counter absentmindedly. ‘I just wish…’ I stop short, realising I’m about to speak my thoughts out loud.

‘You wish what?’

I turn my face to the side to avoid his keen perceptiveness. ‘I suppose I wish that I wasn’t alone so often.’ Instead of turning back, I squat down to pick a sprig of pineapple weed. Its fragrance is so sweet—like chamomile, and it alleviates my heart enough to admit, ‘This is lovely. Thank you for this, Virgil.’

I don’t wait for his reply as I finally reach the summit, skipping to its utmost part.

There is something about a mountain—reminding me of strength, resilience, and obstacles conquered. The realisation is strangely assuring. It’s as if the silver birches, oscillating oaks, and the rowans that grow berries with five-pointed stars all assemble to form a different kind of magic. Before me, the panorama is boundless.I’ve seen the land similar to this, close to home, during my summer-time trips on the broom. But here, we are in the middle of nowhere. There isn’t a trace of mundanity in sight. It’s just me, Virgil, the wise trees and the sharp rocks.

‘You haven't seen anything yet.’

I turn to the side, sensing his body drawing close.

His rakish essence is intoxicating to look at. The warmth of his russet eyes reflects the rocks while the green mirrors the freshly leafed trees. Dare I admit that he has bedroom eyes—heady and penetrating. Perhaps it’s the cooling breeze making me brave enough to admit such a thing. If not only for the sun, I’m grateful for the hat he thought about giving to me. It’s keeping the strong wind from blanketing my face with my hair.

‘Let's go. ‘I’ve got some food in a cooling bag. I don’t want it to go bad before we reach the best spot.’

The buzzard's shriek makes me swing my head back to the tree canopy. I watch the large-winged predator circling with a companion in tow, dominating the section of the sky like a deity. My dad loves birds of prey and unintentionally gifted me his fascination. It reminds me of childhood trips by the sea, spotting a rare falcon that was making its reemergence in its native land after years of environmental pressure.

‘Are we likely to spot a golden eagle?’ I ask, slightly winded from the strain of the trek.

We’ve hardly spoken about our private lives in the hour we’ve walked. An unspoken line has been drawn that such things are unimportant and somewhat irrelevant. That was until he started talking about his work in wildlife conservation and land management, I stopped walking to look at him with my mouth cracked open, insisting on more details. I’ve been walking ahead—at his instruction. He knows the way well, and there shouldn’t be any surprise obstructions in the trail. He prefers to keep behind to listen out for wild cats, red deer and wild boars, which can become aggressive during the breeding season.

‘It's possible,’ he assures, sounding unnervingly cool despite the arduous strain of the path. ‘Keep an eye out for red squirrels, too. They’re a rare sight.’

My eyes dart to the Scots pine around us, looking out for a dashing red body through the branches. ‘There’s something so…’ I pause, struggling to find the right word, ‘…ancient and feral about this place. Do you know what I mean?’

He chuckles in a gravelly way that’s probably making all the nearby Forest Sprites blush. ‘Many people don’t know that much of Scotland’s desolate landscape is a temperate rainforest. It’s home to native species of ferns and lichens and the world’s rarest bryophytes. Take a look.’ I turn, following his direction, seeing him pointing at a rock covered in a wet green blanket. ‘This type is called Liverwort.’ Fascinated, I step towards it and squat to stroke it, finding it oddly satisfying. ‘All the thick blankets of moss you see on boulders like this...' He lifts his head, gifting me a view of the blank ink at the slender slope of his neck, '...and the trees coated with lichens. It's a result of these unique tropical rainforest conditions.’

He stops as if for emphasis, and my eyes travel to consider the tree trunks and moss-covered floor. ‘It’s truly remarkable,’ he breathes. ‘Efforts are being made to protect its wildlife and ensure the rainforest’s survival.’

He lowers his face to me, our eyes connecting, and a burst of butterflies explodes in my stomach.

What the f*ck!

The horror of what I’m feeling makes me wrench my attention from him. I get back on my feet, returning to the trail when I say, ‘What type of efforts are they making?’

He follows me. ‘One way would be to control the red deer population...' The Buzzard cries above, prompting our attention back to it. 'Their predators have been hunted into extinction, and deer numbers have got worryingly out of hand. They graze on all the small, new trees, interfering with the necessary growth of the forest that protects the smaller species like the moss and lichen.'

‘Predators like what?’ I resolve to ask. Despite my desperate need for a distraction to keep my nerves in check, I'm genuinely curious. I don't often encounter someone as willing to talk and as insightful as me. ‘Something large enough like brown bears?’

‘Brown bears, Northern Lynx…but we will hopefully see wolves returned in the near future. Their reintroduction is being considered as we speak.’

Thinking about wolves makes me recall Professor Lupin and how he transformed into a werewolf before our eyes. ‘As startling as it sounds, I hope it happens. Based on what you’ve told me, it sounds crucial for the survival of this magnificent landscape.’

‘As long as they are well-fed, the threat to cattle and humans is minimal. There’s plenty of deer for them to hunt, so it’s not as big of a setback as livestock farmers are making it out to be,’ he assures.

Dear God, I could believe everything this man tells me—his silky-toned words sound like gospel. If a wolf stepped in front of me right now, and he told me it was alright, I’d probably stroke it like a house pet. ‘You’re very clever, aren’t you?’ I tease over my shoulder with a sly grin. ‘What a pleasant surprise. You could’ve walked me all this way to tell me your only interest is Star Wars.’

He laughs out loud, prompting me to laugh with him. ‘I’m more Lord of the Rings, myself. The Hobbit, too.’

Me too.

Ron is the sci-fi-loving nerd whose dedication of needing to watch anything with a spaceship could be considered impressive. I find his commitment to our television a considerable waste of time, but who am I to judge what he does in those sparse hours of free time away from his work? Trying to get him outside more, to take long walks with me, or to explore the land as I’m doing now falls on empty promises.

‘When the weather gets warmer…next week, maybe…how about we go away for the weekend to a cabin, and you can walk around the place all you like?’

Yes, Ron. We’ll pay money to visit places filled with nature to keep me quiet even when our home is surrounded. You’ve always been so good at keeping me in the dark and perfectly sheltered, right?

YOU BETRAYED ME!

I stop walking, startled by the shrieking voice that rattled my skull—

Where did all of that come from?

‘You alright?’ Virgil asks, returning me to the forest. ‘Did you want to stop for a minute?’

We were just talking about movies when I suddenly started thinking about Ron, and some unconscious resentment poured into me, freed from its covert dwelling. I've never uttered such words about my husband before.

‘I stepped on something large…’ Lifting my foot, I pretend to inspect for a trapped rock under my shoe. I flick a tiny stone jammed in the ridges of the logo with my nail, trying to keep my fingers from shaking.

‘Done. Let’s keep going,’ I say, suppressing a shudder.

My gasp is audible.

‘Oh my god!’ I climb down the rocks and onto a slope, my excitement choking me for words. ‘It’s—it’s—it’s’

‘Incredible?’ he yells back. ‘Spectacular?’

I turn to look at him, noticing the smug grin he’s wearing. ‘Breathtaking? Sublime? I was thinking earlier that this place could be Rivendell. But this…’ I shout over the roaring sound of the waterfall. ‘This is it! We entered Middle Earth!’

The enormous cascade of water overlooks a valley of mountains—the vale is so open that you can see where the water feeds for miles. It snakes around more miniature forests, and if I squint, I’m convinced I can spot tiny black dots herded together in the open plains near the water.

He’s behind me, so close to my ear that I nearly stagger forward when he speaks, ‘Herds of Red Deer.’

‘Really?’ I say, returning my attention to them. He was right about the hat. The sun is blinding, and paired with the water, it’s straining to keep them open and focused. ‘God! How I wish I’d brought my binoculars...you never think about these things before—’

Something nudges my right arm, and I glance at it to see a pair of lenses framed by black leather winking back at me.

‘You really are perfect, aren’t you?’ The words leave my mouth before I can consider them. I quickly take the binoculars, inwardly dying from shame and second-hand embarrassment of my open declaration. I resolve to utter a playful, ‘Grazie.’

Di niente tesoro mio,’ he replies in what sounds like perfect Italian. He impishly taps my head. ‘You’re one lucky girl to spot so many. If we keep going down, we’ll be able to swim in the plunge pool, too.’

‘Plunge pool?’ I declare, watching his shoulders ripple as he descends. ‘What if there’s a whirlpool? I’m not a great swimmer!’

‘There aren't any whirlpools,’ he says over his shoulder, jumping down onto the next ledge and vanishing. I walk over to the edge, peeking down at him staring up at me. ‘Follow the natural groves of the rock. I’ll be here to catch you if you slip.’

I roll my eyes dramatically. ‘How gallant of you.’

‘It seems I don’t have to try very hard with you.’ His smile is infectious, and I turn my face away to begin descending as he did, realising halfway why he jumped. Thank God I wore those shorts. I’m digging my feet into the rock face, searching for any dent or hollow, but my foot keeps slipping.‘Virgil! There aren’t any—’ I choke on my dread.

‘Let go!’ He hollers over my panic. 'I'm right here beneath you.'

I try to glance down, curving my arm to see past my barrier of flesh, and I spot the top of his head. sh*t! All these years of writing at my desk haven’t prepared me for using my upper body strength! ‘VIRGIL, I CAN’T!’ I scream, losing hold of the rock while trying to hoist myself back up.

‘I’m right beneath you. It’s a tiny distance,’ he says softly and reassuringly. ‘If you let go, you’ll fall straight into my arms.’

‘Ok! ok, ok, ok!’ I say in a panic, checking once more that he’s still there. ‘I’m letting go! Right now!’

My shriek is short-lived when I land safely in his hold, snuggly pressed against his chest. He’s vibrating with suppressed laughter, and I scramble to my feet, flustered and straightening my dress. ‘Is it like this the whole way down?’

I sense a smile to his words when he says, ‘Take a look.’

My question is answered when I edge towards the side, seeing a smaller distance between the ledges. ‘Thank god...’ I inhale deeply, gripping my racing heart, ‘…do you usually do this alone?’

Anticipating his response, I realise how anxious I am to hear his words. Does he do this with a lot of women? Or is it something he does with his mates that he feels comfortable sharing with me? When we first settled, he pulled out a glass container with fresh-cut fruit, two forks, two small bottles of wine, and two cans of berry gin with lemon mixers.

‘Every time.’ I watch him at the corner of my eye, beginning his descent from the rock. ‘You’re the first who’s had the pleasure of accompanying me.’

My stomach flutters again.

The mango from the fruit salad is halfway into my mouth when he suddenly gets up. When we first settled, he pulled out a glass container with fresh-cut fruit, two forks, two small bottles of wine, and two cans of berry gin with lemon mixers. We’ve been lounging around the waterfall's stony pool ever since, watching the water crash into a thousand bright crystals, landing on my bare feet and legs. Virgil was lounging in front of me, his shoes and socks discarded, watching me more than the spectacle he’d brought me to see.

It's too much. He’s too much.

My belly is filled with so many foreign sensations: the sweetest strawberries, mango, papaya, watermelon, a restless hunger and a symphony of flutters.

‘We’ll take the drinks into the waterfall,’ he says, undoing his belt. The mango grazes my lips, and I have to push the fruit inside; the mechanical action is the only sensible thought that’s entered my brain since we've sat down.

He liberates the buckle. ‘A strip show wasn’t part of the entertainment. Though if you wanted one…’ He releases the bottom and pulls down the zip, ‘…all you have to do is ask nicely like a good girl.’

My eyes abruptly lift to his face, finding him grinning down at me in the hottest way I’ve ever witnessed a person looking at me.

sh*t! ‘I’m so sorry!’ I batt my hair back before striking the fork more forcefully than intended into the strawberry. ‘I was…daydreaming.’ I turn my attention back to the waterfall, my face a bubbling cauldron. 'It's just so pretty here, isn't it?'

‘It is,’ he says, and I hear his trousers being pulled away from his legs as I chew shamefully into the strawberry, seeing his hat drop near me at the corner of my eye. ‘There’s no shame in looking, Hermione. You’re a healthy woman.' He kicks the discarded pants to the side. 'It’s a survival instinct. If humans mated for life, you wouldn’t be here today.’

The statement prompts my attention back to him.

Holy mother

His strong legs are parted in an open stance. He stands like a god in the waterfall's shrine, surrounded by what can only be described as the Garden of Eden. He’s pulling his shirt over his head, not noticing my attentiveness. The fabric lifts to reveal the entire expanse of his ripped body. The only remaining material is his tight black swimming shorts, which are doing little to mask the impressive size of his muscular thighs and—

Turning away feels like a crime... ‘You’re right,’ I agree hoarsely. Clearing my throat, I put the fork back in the container before rummaging through my bag for the bikini and towel. My wand is at the bottom—thankfully, still hidden. ‘I’ll get changed behind the bushes if that's ok.’

‘Sure.’ He’s walking to the edge of the rock in all his sun-kissed divinity, strong curved back and good god, what a great ass. I follow the muscles along his spine to a dainty golden necklace around his neck, the oval charm dangling between his smooth shoulder blades. It looks like it may have a sun engraved on it's face.

He looks over his shoulder, ruffled dark hair billowing in the slight breeze. ‘Scream if you need me, alright?’

I nod bashfully before getting to my feet and darting out of sight without another glance.

When I’m behind the hidden safety of a bush, I squat down, digging my elbows into my knees while angrily rubbing my eyes. What the f*ck are you doing, Hermione? The image of his body is burned into my thoughts. Arghhhhh! I scream in my head.

Besides being the best day of my life since childhood, it was the worst idea. Why did he have to be walking eye candy? Would I even have entertained this outlandish idea if he was a middle-aged man with a pot belly? I mean...he’s incredibly charming and enigmatic. He’s surprisingly intelligent and wise—two things I grew up telling myself I needed in a man. Which I suppose was the standard before Ron.

Maybe I’m just frustrated and confused. My stalker has spiralled my world, and I haven’t been the same since. It's virtually impossible to recover from something that is on-going.

And you’re married!

I chant the words to myself while I drop my hat, unzipping my dress from the side and letting the fabric pool at my feet. When I shuffle out of my shorts, I hear a rustling sound emanating from the smaller shrub in front of me, like a small animal is passing by.

I’m about to lower my lacy black underwear when a small feminine voice declares, ‘Hey! Wait! It’s me!’

I rip them back up, about to run back to Virgil when a flutter of glittering emerald wings darting between the leaves stops me in my haste.

‘Hello?’ I whisper shout. ‘Are you…what are you? Some kind of Forest Sprite?’

The leaves sway where I first spotted the wings, and suddenly, they part from two tiny caramel arms, revealing a lovely little lady wearing a Roman-red toga. The rich fabric wraps around her bust and skirts around her waist, giving her an air of royalty.

‘It’s me!’ she waves her arm over her body. ‘Don’t you remember me? I’m Aurora. Princess of the Summer Court,’ her small musical voice rings out with pride. I search her soft face, free of the coiled black hair bound atop her head. She’s looking at me with a curious smile and a somewhat hopeful expression. ‘It is you, isn’t it? Hermione Granger? You used to play with me when you were a little girl. We saw each other last year, too!’

‘I'm sorry...’ My forehead wrinkles. ‘But how do you know my name?’

Her smile drops. ‘We met again just last summer. You asked me to help bury your cat. Crookshanks, was it? You wanted him buried somewhere special.’ She brushes her arm anxiously, the golden bangles singing with the action. ‘You brought him to me, and we buried him together in the meadow on the other side of this mountain.’

What is she talking about? ‘I buried Crookshanks in my garden with my husband, Ron. I’ve never met you before,’ I whisper a little too loudly.

Aurora draws her brows together in concern. ‘Has something happened to you?’ She darts from the leaf, coming unnervingly close to my face and almost making me squeal at the sudden nearness. She’s hovering mid-air, her tiny feet suspended and crossed at the ankles. This close, she’s even more lovely, her brown skin glistening, green eyes sparkling, a modest golden tiara shaped like a vine peeking out of her hair. Her full lips form a frown when she says, ‘Has someone hurt you? Why aren't you remembering me?’

‘Because we haven’t met before,’ I say, peeking over my shoulder nervously to ensure Virgil isn’t nearby.

‘Yes. We have,’ Aurora retorts sternly, crossing her arms. ‘Is it that strange creature swimming in the pool? Is he holding you captive? I can help—’

‘Hermione?!’

Virgil’s yelling startles me into a panic, making Aurora take several steps back. Thankfully, it sounds as if he’s still in the water.‘Just a minute! My costume is all tangled up!’ I cry in return.

I lift my blue towel, gripping it under my chin while throwing a scowl at Aurora. ‘I need to get changed! Can you…’ I drop my underwear behind the towel, shimming into the bikini pants before I finish. ‘Can we talk another time, perhaps? My friend isn’t from the wizarding world. He’ll find it strange that I’ve been gone so long.’

Aurora puts her arms behind her lower back, lowering her eyes. ‘Alright.’ She’s observing me intently as if considering something on my face. ‘Will you accept my gift? I want to give you something that will help you remember me. Otherwise, you won’t know how to return to me.’

I turn my back to her to unclasp my bra. It falls at my feet, gathering with the rest of my clothes. ‘What is it?’ Holding my breasts for modesty’s sake, I squat down to pick up the bikini top, keeping my back to her as I tie it around the middle of my back and neck. ‘I don’t want to be indebted to you. I know how these negotiations work—'

‘—You only have to pay me a visit,’ she intersects, sounding closer than before. I whirl, finding her waiting for me with her arms outstretched and hands shaped into a bowl. ‘You said we can talk another time. I want to make sure you don’t forget me again.’

I look down at her cupped hands, watching as a small blue mushroom shimmering with a white powder suddenly materialises. It occupies her entire hands, as big as a jellybean and large enough that I can pick it.

‘In my court, we call it Nascent of Night.’ Her cupped hands nudge it towards me. ‘You have to eat it right away. As soon as it leaves my hands, its magical cord is cut.’

With a sigh, I gather the rest of my clothes from the floor, taking a brief respite to consider what I should do. Reason tells me that it’s an absolutely ludicrous idea to accept her gift, while a nagging curiosity urges my hand forward.

She’s lovely, and I feel inexplicably at ease in her presence. Forest Sprite aren't known to be devious. They maintain the well-being of the woodland, caring for its plants and animals.

Her name...Aurora…

Aurora. Princess of the Summer Court. She’s your friend! Take it!That confident voice from yesterday returns, and before I know it, I feel a chill travelling up my hand as our skin makes contact, and the mushroom is between my thumb and index finger, bound for my parted lips. It tastes like bird food. Like crisp, pollen-covered leaves and upturned earth and…summer.

‘It will take full effect once you sleep. For now…’ She wipes her hands of the white powder, ‘…I’m not quite sure how it affects witches and muggles, but I’m confident you’ll be alright.’

My stomach growls.

Aurora gives me a small smile. ‘We’ll see each other soon, sweet Hermione,’ she says before waving her arm and summoning a slight wind that carries her away in a flurry of green and gold. 'I look forward to it!' The last of her voice travels as if from the tail of the breeze that carried her away.

Looking down at myself, I see my breasts parted generously from the tight top, my nipples erect. My belly is...alright...and at least my legs look strong from all the horse riding and walking I do around the property.

I return quickly to the rock, holding my stomach beneath the towel, which is stinging as if nipped by stinging nettles. I don’t see Virgil right away. The water is so loud and violent; his clothes are still on the ledge, and I drop mine beside them. Suddenly, I jolt when he breaks through the foamy ripples. He wipes the water and hair from his face, looking around until he spots me. A smile forms beneath the droplets, trickling down his beautiful features and godlike form.

I was about to come back there and help you!’ he says, shaking off the rest of the water from his hair.

‘No need. I conquered the crafty rascal eventually,’ I tease, gritting my teeth and smiling through the discomfort while sitting on the ledge, taking my wedding ring off to place beside my clothes. To prepare myself, I dip my feet before releasing the towel.‘Holy sh*t, Virgil! It’s f*cking glacial!’

‘It’s a little nippy at first, I will admit,’ he confirms, plunging his upper body beneath the surface and drifting slowly towards me. His eyes briefly dip to my bikini before returning to me. ‘You just have to plunge in. Your body will get used to it.’

My stomach threatens another grumble of protest, and I push forward from the rock, meeting the ice-cold water that takes me under. My feet meet the rock-strewn floor, and I push upwards to remerge near Virgil, inwardly squirming at the deepness of the pool. I wipe the water frantically, trying to recover my breath.

‘Oh my god!’

When my eyes readjust, I find him hoisting himself to the ledge, grabbing the drinks before releasing himself back into the water. ‘Feels good, huh?’ he teases, swimming towards me.

My hair is sticking to my cheek, and I’m struggling to wipe it away when his fingers replace mine, pulling strands over my forehead and unravelling them from my eyelashes. ‘Magic touch. Works every time.’

I snort. ‘I’m sure we’ll find their opponent soon enough.’

‘Is that a challenge?’ he incites with a wild gleam in his eyes.

Yes.’ I playfully push his chest to boost me backwards. I start taking off towards the waterfall with long strokes before shouting, ‘Your ego is too inflated for your own good!’

Chapter 21: When She Takes

Summary:

☀︎ THREE CHAPTERS OF VIRGIL!!! ♡♡ I can't believe it!!! I'm pretty sure I've dislocated my shoulder from sitting at my desk too long...welp...an evening of yoga, it is! It's been a beautiful dive into the Scottish Highlands, and I'm madly in love with these chapters.

*Don't read this next bit until you've finished the chapter*

I need to say this but NO, I 100% do not endorse cheating, and I know that many of you probably don't appreciate this trope either (me too!) BUT (big, big BUT), I promise you that by the time the story is wrapped out, you won't give it a second thought :)))

Chapter Text

Bedevil | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance | ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (23)

The cavern is pleasantly comfortable for such a dark and cool place.Virgil guided us down a passage that opened into a hollow, drowning out the thunderous sound of the colliding water. Strange algae at the base cast a faint, whimsical light that ensures we can still see each other from their faint blue glow. Virgil called it 'bioluminescence' algae, a rare sight in a waterfall. Thankfully, my stomach has stopped hurting enough to join it. In its place, a growing faintness has taken over, and in several instances, I thought orbs and shadows were darting in the corner of my eye. I’m leaning back into a smooth rock, swaying my feet with the waves while downing the last drop of wine.

‘Mellow start before the gin,’ I point out, lifting a brow at the curve developing on his lips as he finishes his own. ‘Oh, I know your plan. It’s not as thought out as you hoped. I may not be able to walk back, and then what will happen?’

He licks his bottom lip before settling the empty bottle on the side. ‘Then I’ll have to carry you back. Or we could camp it out until the morning. I have matches in my bag. We could start a fire, watch the stars...' He settles back on the opposite side of the tiny cave, grazing his legs against mine when he does. ‘There are plenty of ways to keep occupied.’

‘Like what?’

He joins his hands behind his head, giving me a spectacular view of his impressive, corded arms and chest, the thin golden chain glinting, the charm still out of view. ‘Like…’ he draws out the word before settling on, ‘Playing games.’

I lift a brow. ‘Know of any good ones?’

His arms flex. ‘A few. But they can only be played at night.’ He drops his arms to crack the cans of gin and mixers open, ‘What about you?’

‘Not really. I’ve always been the good girl type,’ I utter, drawing circles with my arms in the water. ‘I don’t do games.’

‘No?’

I shake my head. ‘Boring, right? You’re probably wondering why someone wanted to marry me.’

His eyes darken slightly at my words. ‘The only thing I’m wondering is why someone would abandon their faultless wife for such long bouts of time.’

I open my mouth, instantly prepared to come to Ron’s defence. But I don’t.

‘You’re right. But I suppose…’ I glance away from him, ‘…a special moment like today almost makes it worth it. I wouldn’t be here with you if he weren't away. And being here with you has been incredible,’ I admit. ‘One of the most beautiful days of my entire life.’

He stares at me with a burning intensity before reaching for the drinks. ‘And we’ll do it again. As many times as you want.’

I smile at the offer, feeling genuinely overwhelmed by his generosity. ‘Please.’

He offers me both cans before saying, ‘Ready to find out if I can carry you over my shoulder for a two-hour trek?’

I laugh, a cheerful sound that echoes throughout the cavern. ‘I’d pay good money to see it. Think you can film it, too? Surely, you don’t need two hands to carry one small woman.’

He lifts a brow. ‘If this is your boring side, I’m overwrought to find out what your fun side looks like,’ he says, flicking a loose strand from his forehead.

My thighs clench for some inexplicable reason. With his heavy bedroom eyes never deviating from mine for more than a few seconds, I’ve begun to notice the cavern warming as if our shallow breaths and the intensity of our stares alone could heat it.

‘Get enough gin down me, and we might both be in for a surprise,’ I say, holding up the two cans to him. ‘How do we mix these?’

He glances at my hands. ‘Any ideas before I show you?’

I look down at them, drawing an instant blank. ‘Take a big sip out of one and use the other to fill it back up?’

He chuckles, pushing back from the wall. On instinct, I part my legs to give him room. There really isn’t enough room in this small space for generous legroom, I reason to myself. His intense aura envelopes me instantly as he steps in between my parted legs, brushing a thigh against my sensitive core. I’m burning alive in this frigid water as his eyes focus intently on mine; unblinking, he takes the drinks from my hands.

‘Lift your face,’ he instructs.

I do.

‘Open your mouth.’

I nod, encouraging him with a faint head.

He brings both cans to my mouth, pouring a little from each simultaneously. ‘Swallow for me,’ he says with a gravelly tenor.

I do, almost choking.

He drifts back a little, remaining close while I lick my lips when a trickle seeps past my chin. I shake my head at the berry taste with a sour bite.

‘It goes straight to the head.’ I wipe my mouth with a wet finger. ‘I don’t want to be a nuisance to you again. If you have to carry me...’ My brain begins thrumming with an unfamiliar sensation. I feel almost wispy like I’ll float away with the current if I don’t hold on. I’m not sure if it’s the Nascent mushroom or the drinks…probably both.

I’m tethered to my body by a fragile thread, and I'm anticipating it snapping.

And Virgil isn’t helping.

Dear God. Just looking at him, darkened by the weak light, his penetrating, errant gaze and his outrageous body, I could melt. My nipples have been permanently hard, and I know it's not just from the icy water.

‘Stop overthinking it,’ he says firmly. ‘I’ll handle everything, remember? I’ll make it all feel better…’ He breaks the tiny distance, and unlike a minute ago, he grazes his hard front into me, dipping his head close to my ear to say, ‘Just enjoy yourself, hmm?’

Oh my f*cking god! I bob my head so weakly I’m not sure he notices it.

He pulls back, breathing hot air into my cheekbone. ‘Can you handle it, or do you need me to help you?’

My heart is thrashing in my chest. I should push him back, but I don’t. I shouldn’t have invited him in with open legs in the first place, but I did. I know what I need to do. I know what I need to say. His intense stare tells me he isn't talking only about the drinks, and the words to repel him are on the brink of my tongue.

‘Can you do it for me?’ I whisper, releasing a shudder that racks my entire spine.

His smile is pure deviousness, and I’m thrilled and terrified to see it. ‘Of course.’ He presses his body against mine, his hardness pressing against the thin fabric of my bikini, and I let the sensation override any doubts that threaten.

f*ck you, self-doubts.

My thighs settle beside his hips as if needing to open up more, and I'm nearly straddling him.

‘Same as before,’ his voice is hauntingly low as he brings the cans to rest on either side of my lips. Watching me with heavy lids and dilated pupils, he pours both liquids into my mouth, softly beginning to grind himself against my puss* as he does. ‘Swallow quickly this time, understood?’

I nod, and the cans vanish.

I feel the instant the cord of my resistance snaps. A fuse is lit in its place, and I’m far too gone to want to quench it. As soon as I swallow, the minuscule space between our bodies is filled as he grasps my chin, crashing our lips together.

And…

The cosmos has come to a standstill.

I moan into the sensation of him: his delicious hot tongue devouring me, eating me alive for every f*cked up thing I want from him. My hips begin swaying into him, and I whimper louder. He captures my sounds with a greedy determination, wolfing my taste, determined to relish every second I give myself to him—every trice I am his.

Only the stars know how badly I want to be his.

I am claiming something forbidden, and it’s the sultriest and most exhilarating thing that has ever happened to me. Relishing this beautiful man feels like spoiling myself with a blessing. His flush lips are persistent on what they need, pleading to me with a devoutness akin to breathing. Our tongues are feverish, and the way his erection is parting the thin slit of my bikini is making me lightheaded. I’ve never wanted a thing more than to feel his hard flesh corrupting the last of my resolve.

My fingers find his soft hair, shoulders, and necklace, and I tangle myself in it all while the heady, wet, and desperate sounds we are making echo around us with the turbulent waves from our relentless rhythm of wanting to f*ck each other into these walls.

Hearing his throaty groans only makes me more frantic. He breaks the kiss to nip at the corner of my lips before travelling down the expanse of my throat, leaving the taint of our crimes peppered all over my neck, finding my sweet spot, and holy mother of everything sinful

He begins demolishing that spot, biting lightly, licking and kissing as he increases his promise against my puss*, trying not to leave marks even though I can sense how badly his teeth want to bite. I moan so loud he recaptures my mouth, grinding against my cl*t as I continue my senseless appeal against his lips.

The bikini parts to the side, revealing me to him and the frigid water, and my sounds turn into hysterical whimpers when he escalates me to my release, my soaking and tender cl*t being roughly grazed. His hand is still on my chin, cupping it, while the other has rooted itself into my neck and hair.

He pulls his mouth away for a moment to groan, ‘Come with my name on your lips.’

My eyes roll back, knowing he's just sent me over. His mouth returns to mine, capturing my scream as I bellow his name like it’s the holiest word—bound to bring heaven crashing down around us. Every atom in my body is trembling as my head falls back against the rough wall, limp and lifeless in his hold, releasing his lips. Just when I think he's about to satisfy my aching hole, his finger sweeps across my puss* to hook under the fabric, bringing it back to cover me.

The sounds of our heavy breaths occupy the silence.

He presses his damp forehead against my own. ‘You are the most beautiful thing I’ve beheld,’ His voice is heavy, brushing his lips lazily against my closed lids and temples. 'A perfect paean of paradise.' He kisses the top of my head, my face pressed into his hard chest that I feel an odd urge to lay my head upon. The fantasy of it—cuddled together, the Tyrrhenian Sea visible from the veranda of his villa—is so fleeting and lovely that it makes me choke.

Instead of pulling away, as I should—guilty and indignant—I weakly grip his chin to return his mouth to mine, giving him one last kiss that feels far more chaste and loving than the feast we indulged in.

‘Thank you,’ I breathe hoarsely, still recovering my voice and feeling like I’m on a high that won’t return me to earth any time soon. ‘I could do with more of that drink. Maybe less gin this time…’ I chuckle, ‘…did you want yours?’

He drifts to my side, his hair wildly tousled by my fingers, nodding lazily before letting me drift to his drinks. I reapproach hesitantly, seeing his head tilted to the side with eyes closed, giving me a detailed view of the blackbird tattoo on his neck.

I clear my throat. ‘Why a blackbird?’ After all the strangeness of my stalker and his obsession with birds, it seems appropriate that I ask. ‘Isn’t it more macho to get a bird of prey?’

He laughs huskily with eyes still closed, lifting his barb-tatted arm to wipe his eyes. ‘It’s an ode to love; only I know what it means.’ He opens his eyes, viewing me beneath their shadows.

I extend the cans towards him, gratified that we’ve returned to our effortless ease despite rubbing against each other like fevered rabbits. He accepts them, letting his fingers graze against mine. ‘Now I know what it means, too.’

‘Now you do, too.’

‘And the barb?’ I follow the snaking pattern to see it join into a floral artwork that travels further up his shoulder into something I can’t quite make out in this light.

‘An ode to what love feels like.’

‘Hmn,’ I murmur, considering his vague and somewhat poetic responses. ‘I think my idea may actually work better.’ I begin pouring the contents of the gin into the lemonade, giving it a whirl before taking the last sips. 'It is.'

He drinks his own separately, taking long drags out of each one with a small smile. 'I'd argue that my touch definitely worked better.'

I flush, squeezing my thighs together while avoiding his gaze.

‘You better start swimming back to the rock before I decide to keep you here until nightfall, and you can find out exactly what kind of things my games entail.’

I choke on my drink, sputtering a bit out. The nerves I thought I had dispersed quickly returned. ‘Jesus, Virgil.’ I dip my hand into the water, bringing it up to clean my chin and chest. ‘Let me have a moment of respite, will you?’

His lips curve. 'Of course.'

‘My wedding ring!’ f*ck!

We’ve walked back, and somehow, I’ve only just recalled that I left it on the rock before plunging into the water. I start moving on the spot, restless, while Virgil is unfastening the chain securing his motorbike to the gate.

‘I’ve got it in my bag,’ he says, gathering the metal in his hands.

Thank God.

Based on what we had done, I almost suspected it was a bad omen. After drying off on the rock, I changed back to my dress in the bushes without the intrusion of a sprite, and when we started walking, everything felt strangely…normal.

Virgil hasn’t changed at all, and with my mushroom trip wearing off, I’m relieved for it. What happened feels like something that doesn’t need to be brought up in the light of day—belonging solely to dark caverns, icy waters and lustrous algae. While we trekked, tired limbs sluggish, he talked more about the flora and fauna of the land, occasionally bringing up the one surrounding his villa.

‘You won't become a stranger once you return to Italy, will you?’ I blurt out suddenly, watching him put the chain back inside the seat's storage. My eyes are so heavy I’m scared of falling asleep at any point on his back once we get moving.

His eyes drift to me, warm and sincere, tinted by the golden light of the lowering sun. ‘We still have some time yet,’ he reassures as if sensing the ulterior meaning of my abrupt declaration. ‘And who knows, you may decide to visit me after all.’ He drops his bag and clicks the seat back into place, lifting his head to the tree canopy. ‘Let’s get going before you fall asleep on the spot.’

By the time we meander the road towards the house, the sunset is in full bloom, and its colours are reflected in Virgil’s visor when I stand beside his bike, holding out my helmet to him. The parking lot of my home is empty, and there are few lights inside—probably what Sofia left on for when I got home.

He turns the engine off, lifting his helmet while straddling his bike.

‘All good?’ he asks, releasing those god-forbidden waves to blow freely atop his head.

I nod, offering him a wearied smile. ‘Thank you so much for today. It was breathtaking…’ Really, Hermione? Could you be less subtle...I graze my teeth on my bottom lip, looking for the right words. ‘We should do it again.’

He brushes his hair from his forehead. ‘We will do it again. Now that I have Dainty Darling’s number, it will be hard to get rid of me.’

My heart skips. ‘You should—’

‘Mione?’ I wrench my gaze away from Virgil to see Ron standing at the front door, still in his work clothes. He abandons the door and starts marching towards us. ‘What’s going on? Sofia told me you disappeared without telling anyone where you’re going! And where the f*ck is your phone?’ His outgrown hair is distressed, probably by the Cornish winds, blowing messily over his glowering eyes that are boring into Virgil, sizing him up and down. ‘Who’s this?’

I open my mouth to come to my defence, my heart plummeting from my chest.

‘The elusive husband, right?’ Virgil says in a cool and subtly grating tone, appearing unruffled by Ron’s hostility.

Ron glares at him and shifts back to me, lowering his eyes to my outfit. ‘What does that mean? Mione? Why are you not saying anything—’

‘This is Virgil. My...friend.' I quip. 'He bought Misty from us yesterday and we decided to go for a walk in the highlands.’ I recover my calm when I meet Virgil’s poised expression. ‘I’m sorry I haven’t told you about him yet. I haven’t had a chance.’ I walk around the bike, straight to my husband who is staring at me as if I’m a stranger turned mad. I lift a hand to his arm, grazing it before he harshly pulls it back.

‘Who the hell is Misty?'

I give him an annoyed look, slightly offended. I've gushed countless times about Misty to him. 'The horse we've had for the last four years.' I look back to Virgil, noticing how his eyes have morphed into icy and almost black mirrors while looking at Ron.'You didn’t tell me when you were coming back, so I went out for a bit,’ I say, not caring to keep the annoyance out of my voice.

‘Out?’ Ron retorts bitterly. ‘With him?

‘Yes, with him, Ron. Will you stop being so rude,’ I snap. ‘It was a bloody walk.’ And dry f*cking into each other until I came bellowing his name. ‘Be nice to our guests, will you?’

I try to ignore the drowning feeling of shame that threatens now that Ron is here, flustered between us, my neck still harbouring the remnants of my betrayal. His expression remains sour as he considers Virgil again. He lifts his brow curiously at the enormous black motorbike, his resistance fading at the sight of a muggle curiosity.

I roll my eyes while he’s not looking, releasing a sigh.

‘Nice to meet you,’ Ron resolves to say, stepping forward and brushing past me. He offers his hand to Virgil. ‘Thanks for bringing my wife back in one piece.’

I turn to watch Virgil accept his hand, something gold glinting in his pinky finger. ‘She enjoyed herself,’ he says, the coldness vanished as if it was never there in the first place as he glances over at me with a mischievous curve of his lips before taking his hand back when Ron pulls away first. ‘That’s the important part.’

‘That’s good,’ Ron comments, appearing slightly taken aback. ‘That’s really good…’ He looks between us two, struggling for words. ‘Did you want to come inside for a drink? Hermione makes great coffee, don’t you, darling?’

Ron stares intently at me, and I notice Virgil lifting a brow behind him.

'Maybe next time. I’ve got a long drive back,’ Virgil says before lifting his helmet over his head and shuffling it into place. He turns the key, the engine roaring to life, and Ron is practically salivating while admiring it.

Virgil opens the visor to look at me, and for f*ck's sake, I hope Ron hasn't noticed how devoted his attention is. ‘Oh, I nearly forgot…’ He pulls the golden ring from his pinky—my wedding ring! Holding it out to Ron. ‘Your ring.’ He drops the well-worn jewel into my husband's open hand.

‘Thanks,’ Ron says, slightly bewildered, holding it out to me. ‘She’s always leaving it about.' He clears his throat. 'Anyway, drive safe.’

I step to take it, feeling my neck prickle beneath Virgil’s adamant gaze.

'Take care, Virgil, ' I mutter with a forced smile, making sure Ron doesn't notice my nerves. 'Thank you again.'

‘Glad you had a good time. Tesoro,’ Virgil says before nodding at Ron with something that looks like a mocking glint shining in his eyes. He shifts his attention to me, fingers to his visor, and subtly winks before slapping the plastic over his eyes and twisting the handle to leave with a roar that disturbs the gravel.

'We need to talk,' Ron says in a low voice next to me as we watch him leave. 'Inside. Now.'

Holding the cold metal ring in my palm, I watch Virgil vanish, wishing more than anything that I was vanishing, too.

Bedevil  | A Dark Dramione Stalker Romance |  ☾ - daisygold - Harry Potter (2024)
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