Chapter 15

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(Draco's POV)

When I appeared in Diagon Alley, I hastily brushed away the tears that threatened to fall. No. I would not cry. I had made my decision and now was not the time to start regretting it. I had other things to do to keep me occupied and I didn't need a girlfriend getting in the way of it. But Hermione was so much more. I shook my head. I would not put up with these questionable thoughts.
First thing: Astoria. Where could I find the bitch?
I didn't have to look for long.
"Well, well, well. I do believe my murderer stands before me." Came a sickly, drawling voice from behind me. Almost paralysed by fear and anticipation, I managed to slowly turn around to face the hooded figure. She was as tall as I remembered her, and her slim frame was hidden behind a shabby, black robe. Her hair had grown longer, the long, tangled waves the only indication of a human under the thin, worn fabric. I felt none of my initial desire for her I felt five years ago, only repulsion at the memories of her savagery and the evil I would see in her dark eyes. Just her presence made me feel sick. She leant her head slightly to the side quizzically and for some reason, I was reminded of Hermione. But of course, Astoria and Hermione were polar opposites, despite any similarities.
At the thought of Hermione, a sudden, reckless courage compelled me to speak.
"You've let yourself go." I stated, hoping it sounded casual, despite the jaws of fear hastily chewing up my stomach.
She let out a disgusted sigh.
"I could kill you right now," she breathed, her voice quiet and broken, as a pale hand brought her black, twisted wand from beneath her cloak, "But it might be wiser to talk out of public view."
She lazily waved her wand behind her, indicating the people shopping and wandering up the street.
"Sure," I said, sounding braver than I felt.
She offered me her hand, almost mockingly. I took it haltingly and had to swallow down the bile that threatened to rise to my throat. A sudden whoosh of cloaks and we were gone.
After the especially uncomfortable sensation of side-by-side apparition, we appeared in a field, full of grazing cows.
"Where are we?"
"Gloucestershire." She said uninterestedly, removing her hood as she bent down to examine the grass.
I watched her with a sick curiosity until she stood up and faced me.
"Good." She said.
"Uh... what?"
"No one will interrupt us here. Or find your body after I rip it to shreds."
I scoffed but, internally, my insides turned to jelly.
"I'd like to see you try." I cursed inwardly as I heard my fear slip through momentarily.
"Oh I will." She said with a grin, "But first, husband of mine, we need to talk."
She twirled her wand absentmindedly between her fingers.
"I'm not your husband." I spat.
She smirked.
"No. I have heard...ah... rumours about you and a particular mudblood."
She looked at me pointedly and I felt my courageous facade slip significantly. She made an animalistic face of satisfaction and screamed aloud in what I could only conceive as delight.
"Oh," She laughed, "I have something very special planned for Little Miss Granger. Once I've finished with you of course." She looked around the rural field, as if distracted.
I clutched at my wand, prepared to attack as soon as she looked away. But even as she seemed to study the landscape, I could always feel half a burning eye on my face.
"Killing you and your mudblood girlfriend, it'll be fun," She continued, "But you're smart enough to realise I have much more important things to do with my time."
"What, like bringing the Dark Lord back from the dead?" I said, almost in a whisper, "You're wasting your time there."
She studied my face curiously.
"Do you think so? I notice how you referred to him as the Dark Lord." She grinned, catlike and feral. "You just can't shake off those Death Eater habits, can you Draco?"
I hissed and clutched my wand tighter.
"I'm. Not. A. Death. Eater." I said through gritted teeth, and without a second wasted, I slammed her fragile body against a tree and pointed the tip of my wand into her neck.
She laughed maniacally, and I almost hesitated as I was reminded suddenly of my deranged aunt. Instead, I pressed my wand further into the skin of her neck.
"Do you really think you can defeat me?"
I brought my wand down the side of her face, opening up a deep gash. Scarlet blood flowed down her neck.
She growled slightly, but her evil smile remained.
"I did so before." I said.
"But I'm stronger now." She laughed, her face moving close enough to mine that I could smell her foul breath.
Suddenly I was on the floor. Astoria stood over me with a demonic look in her eyes.
She raised her wand and swiped it down the length of my body. I recognised the spell she used instantly; I had been on its receiving end before. Hundreds of cuts opened along my body and I could see the blood blossoming, staining my clothes. It struck me that I barely felt the pain, yet I could not move.
"Original." I mocked.
She looked at me with a false pity.
"Oh Draco, I haven't started yet."
With a grin, she lifted her wand, point down, before slamming it into my side. I heard a scream fly from my mouth but was not aware of having done so. I was too concentrated on the wand sticking out of my flesh, blood bubbling up around the injury and the fire it seemed to be spreading around my body. I bit my lip so hard the skin burst and more blood exploded into my mouth.
She laughed.
"Oh you have no idea how long I have waited to do this." She breathed in my ear. She removed her wand but the pain did not subside.
"Let's have some fun with your pretty face, shall we?" She said bringing her wand, now covered in my blood, up to my head, "Then Granger might not like you so much."
She stabbed me then. Right in the face. I felt her hacking at my skin, tearing with her wand. Blood fell. Screams emitted. And all I could do was lie there, hopeless and alone.
Then it stopped. I had no idea how badly she had cut me up, but I knew I was at least still alive. The fiery agony told me that. I was almost blinded by the white hot pain as it ran in waves the length of my body.
She stood back, obviously admiring her work.
I could not speak.
"You know what? I enjoy your suffering. I think I'll leave you here and go find your girlfriend to play with." She laughed once, before disappearing.
I wanted to shout, scream, to go after her. But I could do nothing. I lay drowning in my own blood.
Then, everything went black.

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