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Schadenfreude: Chapter III - a harry potter fanfic/fanart community

didi posting in a harry potter fanfic/fanart community
User: sadistic_hpfic (posted by pyrogrl)
Date: 2007-02-18 16:13
Subject: Schadenfreude: Chapter III
Security: Public
Tags:angst, chaptered fic, draco/hermione, schadenfreude
Title: Schadenfreude - Part One, Chapter Three
Author: Didi (pyrogrl)
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Angst
Word Count: 3675
Warnings: Heavy angst, character death
Summary: Hermione attends the trials of ex-Death Eater Draco Malfoy and learns that she has a darker side: a side that takes pleasure in Malfoy's suffering.
Author's Notes: Big thanks to Beth, who helped me choose my beta-reader, and HUGE thanks to my beta-reader, Kristin! I like comments. I'm really proud of how this fic turned out, and I'm sad to be saying goodbye to it after so long.
Link to previous chapters: Chapter One | Chapter Two


Schadenfreude
Part One - Chapter Three


“Come to finish me off?” he asked coldly. Hermione frowned and shook her head.

“No,” she said. “I’m not the type to torture someone before killing them. If I wanted to kill you, Malfoy, I would have done so ages ago.”

Malfoy smirked at her. “No, you wouldn’t. You don’t have it in you to kill someone just for the sake of killing them. I know about you, Granger: you’ve only killed four times. One was an accident. The rest were killed because it was necessary.” He leaned forward. “Or do you feel that killing me would be necessary?”

She let his question linger before answering simply, “Yes.” He blinked at her, obviously taken aback by her answer. “I think that you are a danger to the wizarding world, Malfoy, and that many people will sleep at night knowing that you are gone.” Including myself.

“Well,” he said gravely, “at least you’re honest.”

Hermione brushed that comment aside. “What did you mean at the trial when you said ‘you let me catch you’?”

“Granger,” he began, uncrossing his legs and lowering his voice. Hermione had to lean towards him to hear him. “I was at the house for at least ten minutes before you arrived. I was staring at the girl’s body. Even I was shocked at what I’d just done. I’ve killed before and it hasn’t affected me the way she did.”

“Because you killed innocence,” Hermione snapped. “I’ve heard this before, Malfoy. Come up with a new story.”

His nostrils flared in impatience. “Do you want to know why I let you catch me or not?”

She leaned back and folded her arms over her chest. Malfoy took a deep breath before he went on.

“When she died, I felt like I’d been hit over the head with a club.”

“You realized what you were doing was wrong and therefore you wanted to be redeemed,” Hermione interrupted sarcastically.

“Not at all.” He seemed to sense that she had something to say, so he stopped and allowed her to speak.

“You realized you had killed a pureblood?”

“She wasn’t truly pure, so no. Now Granger, shut up and let me tell you. When I saw her lying on the floor, looking up at me with those big, frightened eyes – Potter’s eyes, as I’m sure you noticed – I realized that I couldn’t take it back. And you know what, Granger?” He rose and made his way over to her. He knelt down and grabbed the bars of his cell. “I honestly wanted to take it back. It hit me then that everything I’d done was done; I could never be forgiven and I could never be redeemed. And what did it accomplish? It made your side stronger.”

“Yes,” was all she could say.

“I’ve gone through life as a spoiled brat who’s had everything handed to me on a silver platter. I’ve never looked at the consequences of my actions until I killed the girl. So I gave up. I waited for someone to arrive, then made it look like I was trying to escape.” He peered at her closely, taking in everything: her soaked clothes, her tangled hair, how exhausted she seemed even in disguise. She was a sign of life, the first true life that he’d seen in days. “I suppose you’re wondering why I’m opening up like this, to you of all people.”

“Because you have no choice,” said Hermione.

“Granger, I do have the choice. How will it look if, on the day of the trial, I let slip that Hermione Granger paid me a visit in disguise? I thought you were smarter than that.”

“I wanted you to know that it was me.” She sneered at him. “I came here on a personal mission.”

He leaned his forehead against the bars. “I’m opening up because I know it won’t make a difference. You can’t use any of this in court because it will prove that you were here illegally.” He paused, then said, “Having trouble sleeping, Granger?”

She jumped slightly, not expecting the question. She scolded herself after; he didn’t know that she was having nightmares about him. Anyone could tell by her posture, and if they were able to see the rings under her eyes. But she’d given Malfoy exactly the reaction he wanted. A glint came into his eye that she hadn’t seen since their fifth year at Hogwarts.

“Tell me about your dreams, Granger.”

“You’re in them,” she said. “You’re dying. And I’m…” She hesitated. Malfoy could use this against her in court.

“You’re happy,” he said. “I can see it in your fake blue eyes, Granger.” His legs were trembling, his muscles strained after so much misuse. He sat down on the floor. “I do wish you’d drop the disguise. It’s revolting, not to mention cowardly.”

“Tell me about putting on the Death Eater masks,” she said, ignoring his comments. He raised his eyebrows.

“Why? Have you secretly wondered what it would be like to wear one?”

Hermione answered with a glare. “Like I said in the courtroom, it’s liberating. Whenever I put one on, I felt this intense sense of freedom. I felt powerful. I felt like I could do anything I wanted, especially after Potter killed the Dark Lord. There were no restraints.”

“If you want to talk about cowardice,” she spat, “then we could just as easily say that you were hiding behind your mask. Did it, perhaps, cover your eyes when you cast the Killing Curse? So you wouldn’t have to see your victims?”

Malfoy narrowed his eyes, but said nothing. There was a long silence between them. At last Hermione nodded, satisfied with his “answer”. “I thought so.”

“You’re shivering,” Malfoy said, and Hermione noticed that he was right. Her warming charm had worn off. She pulled her jacket tightly around her.

“It’s raining in London,” she said simply.

A strange sort of buzz rang throughout Azkaban. Hermione jumped at the sound and stood up, reaching into her sleeve for her wand. Malfoy chuckled.

“It’s dinner time,” he said. Hermione pursed her lips and sat back down. A food dish appeared in the middle of Malfoy’s cell, containing cheese, bread, an apple, a slice of cold meat and water. “It’s not much,” he said, reaching over and dragging it towards him, “but we get the four basic food groups each day.”

Hermione pitied the other residents. But as she watched Malfoy pick the mould off his bread, the sick, happy feeling returned to her. A tiny grin played about her lips. Malfoy caught it out of the corner of his eye.

“They have a word for what you’re feeling, you know,” he said.

…schadenfreude…

Hermione had been living in her flat for three months before she returned to the Burrow. Ginny was on her fourth date with some Quidditch player and the Potters were at home with the baby. Luna had brought Rose home a mere two days ago; she and Harry were left alone to bond with her. Hermione knew that tonight Ron was alone.

Good.

She knocked on the door. It sounded strangely hollow to her. Maybe that was because of her nerves. Or the two glasses of rum and coke she’d had before coming here.

Hermione had never been able to hold her liquor. She knew this from the first celebratory party thrown for Harry; the twins had kept on refilling her champagne glass and she’d been too absorbed in the celebrations to notice. Since then, she only drank when she was at a fancy dinner, and always limited herself to one glass of wine. She had alcohol at her flat in case she had company and they wanted drinks, but she stayed away from it. Tonight, though, she had craved a drink.

Hermione was not one to crave a drink.

Maybe it was the stress of her job. She had attended the trials of seven Death Eaters in the span of nine days, though had never testified for or against any of them. But simply being there, being in a room engulfed in darkness and loathing, was exhausting. Today, one of the Death Eaters on trial had recognized her and began to shout insults and curses and foul words that Hermione dared not utter. He was silenced, but his outburst had taken its toll. Hermione wanted something more than a Cheering Charm. She wanted a drink.

Her rum was a lot stronger than champagne. She reckoned she mixed a bit too much of it in with her diet coke. And look where it got you, she scolded herself bitterly. Tipsy and standing outside Ron Weasley’s house, ready to pounce back into his arms.

Ron opened the door a crack. Hermione smiled and began to walk inside, but he stopped her.

“What’s up?” he asked, sounding rushed. Hermione looked behind him.

“Why’s it so dark in there?” she asked. “Can I come in?”

“I’m…busy…” He shifted his gaze. Hermione saw his ears turn red. “Can it wait?”

A pale hand tussled Ron’s hair. Moments later, a young woman was standing beside Ron, opening the door wider. She was tall, with dark grey eyes, raven-black hair and lips so shiny and red that Hermione’s first thought was that they were bleeding. She wore a black mini-dress and held a wine glass in her hand. Hermione felt her stomach plummet.

“Can we help you?” the woman asked. Hermione blinked at her a few times, wondering who she was and why she was touching Ron’s arm like…like a girlfriend would; her brain, so sharp, seemed quite fuzzy.

It clicked then as she saw Ron carefully avoiding her gaze. “Oh,” she breathed. “Oh, no, I’m sorry. I’m at the wrong address.” She turned and walked away. Ron might have called after her, but she wasn’t entirely sure. There was a buzzing sound in her ears and she absently swatted the air as if there was an insect buzzing around her head.

Ron had a date.

Ron wasn’t home alone.

Ron had a date.

Oh god, oh god, oh god.


She Disapparated as soon as she felt out of sight of the Burrow.

…schadenfreude…

“What?” Hermione asked sharply. Malfoy looked up at her, flicking a bit of mould into the far corner of his cell.

“Look at you, Granger,” he said. “Look at what you’re doing. Look at where you are.” He paused, possibly thinking it would have some sort of dramatic effect on Hermione, but she kept her face blank. “You came to Azkaban fortress to visit me. Why? I know you’re not trying to bail me out. You’re happy to see me this way, aren’t you?”

“You’re sick,” she spat.

“Am I?”

“You may have some pleasure in watching others suffer, Malfoy, but I certainly don’t.”

Malfoy sighed and shook his head. “You are truly daft, Mudblood. You always were. I was the only one to see it, really.”

She wanted to hex him. She hadn’t been called a ‘Mudblood’ in years. When at last there seemed to be some equality between purebloods, half-bloods and Muggle-borns in the world, Malfoy had to come along and prove that there would always be someone to keep hatred and prejudice alive.

“And let it die with you,” she muttered, not able to keep it to herself. Malfoy heard it and smirked triumphantly.

“Do you want to know what it’s called?”

“What?”

“What you’re feeling. You know, pleasure in knowing that I’m going to die. Happiness in knowing that I’m suffering.”

Hermione stood up angrily, knocking the chair over. “It’s called relief, Malfoy,” she snapped, then began to walk past him briskly.

“No,” he whispered. And then he said something in a different language that sounded either Russian or German, but Hermione didn’t stop to ask him to repeat it. She left as quickly as her feet would carry her.

…schadenfreude…

It was forty-five minutes later before Harry and Luna arrived at home. Hermione had magically bound Malfoy before going their fireplace and contacting Ron at his office. She told him that she had caught Malfoy and that she was at Harry’s house. He didn’t ask her any questions until he arrived with three other Aurors. They took Malfoy away. Hermione explained what she thought happened, and what she’d found when she arrived.

Then Harry and Luna walked in. Luna had had a “bad feeling” all night and wanted to be home as quickly as possible. She took one look at the demolished living room, the two blankets that covered the bodies, and the look on Ron and Hermione’s faces and seemed to know what happened.

“Rose?” she asked. Ron slowly pointed towards the smaller blanket. Luna swayed on the spot; Harry had to grasp her shoulders firmly to keep her from fainting, though he too was looking weak.

“I’m so sorry,” Hermione said. “I couldn’t save them. I didn’t get the message in time. I’m so sorry…” She felt a knot in her throat and couldn’t speak anymore. She went to Luna and hugged her, and both women began to cry. Ron took Luna’s arm and led her to the kitchen so she could sit down. Hermione hung back, staring at Harry, wondering if he would become angry or distant. He ran a hand through his hair, his eyes shut, his breath shaky. Hermione swallowed, waiting for his reaction.

“Who?” he asked.

“It…it was Draco Malfoy. He escaped Azkaban a few days ago and he…he came here. I think he was looking for you. From what I can tell, Neville fought him off until Malfoy killed him. From the looks of Neville, he was tortured by the Cruciatus Curse before murdered. I don’t know exactly what happened to Rose, but I’ll find out. Malfoy won’t get away with this, Harry. I promise.” She wiped her eyes before laying a hand on his shoulder. He nodded, laying his opposite hand over hers.

“I’m sure Neville did the best he could,” he said. “And you, too. You caught Malfoy, then?”

“Yes. He was trying to escape, but I got him.”

Harry walked over to Rose and knelt down beside her, turning the blanket over and gently touching her cheek with the back of his hand. “I picked her up,” Hermione said, “but Ron told me to put her the way I found her so that it would make it easier for us to investigate what happened. But it shouldn’t be a problem; Malfoy’s caught for good now.”

“Thank god,” he said quietly. “I pitied him, you know. When he was supposed to kill Dumbledore and he couldn’t, I pitied him. Will he be…killed?”

“I can’t see any way for him to get out of this alive,” she replied. Something flickered in Harry’s eyes that almost seemed like satisfaction, but then it was gone. Hermione shrugged it off, thinking she’d imagined it. “If they decide to hold a trial, they’ll want me to testify…and they might ask you to testify as well. You’re the only witness to some of his murders, after all.”

“I know. I’ll testify. I don’t see why they’d bother with a trial, though. He’s guilty of…of everything.” His eyes were watering up. Hermione averted her gaze. She didn’t want to see Harry cry. She had seen him cry before, but this was private. She excused herself and went to the kitchen.

schadenfreude…

The rain continued for the next two days. All of Hermione’s belongings were in boxes; she was apartment hunting and wanted to leave as soon as she found a place. She had finally taken her complaints to the landlord, who had nodded along and finally said that he’d received similar complaints from other residents. The city was tearing the place down soon to rebuild it anyway, so there was no use fixing it up.

It didn’t matter how much they fixed it up, Hermione decided, she was never going back there once she left.

The rain poured harder outside. Hermione was watching it absently, resting her chin on her palm as she sat at her kitchen table, her notes on Malfoy laid out before her. Yesterday she’d gone to work early and magically fixed up her appearance to make others believe she’d rested. Ron had managed to write down events in Malfoy’s life up to his first capture and had given them to Hermione at lunch. She’d finished them off, writing what happened in his life up until the trial.

As she looked over them, she felt as though they weren’t complete. They were only describing what happened. Hermione wanted more than that. She wanted to know why they happened. But that, she realized, would only be discovered if she visited him again. She couldn’t do that. So far Malfoy was quiet about their conversation, but if she went again he might let it slip.

Well, she couldn’t very well decide that Malfoy was guilty unless she understood the reason behind the murders. After thinking this, she shook her head. Of course Malfoy was guilty. He deserved to rot behind bars for what he did. He deserved whatever punishment he would receive. He killed so many people that he could never be forgiven or redeemed.

There was a knock at Hermione’s door, jolting her back to reality. She neatened her papers and quickly shoved them in drawer on her way to answer. “Yes?” she said, opening the door a crack.

“It’s me,” came Ron’s voice. Hermione smiled, opening the door all the way. “I came to see if you were alright.”

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Hermione asked, letting him in. He was holding a damp-looking paper bag.

“You haven’t looked very well lately.” He placed the bag on the table and looked around. Hermione’s flat was still very neat (with the exception of boxes taking up space in the living room), proving to him that she hadn’t lost her mind yet. “I brought you some chicken soup.”

“Did you make it?” Hermione asked teasingly, looking as though she was preparing to defend herself against it.

Ron smiled. “No, Ginny did.” He opened up the bag and pulled out a Styrofoam bowl with a fogged-up lid. Hermione looked at the labels on her boxes; finding the one labeled “Kitchen Supplies”, she opened it up and pulled out two spoons before sitting down at her table across from Ron. “Have you found a place yet?” he asked, hesitantly taking the spoon.

“No.” Hermione opened up the lid, steam gushing out from under it. For a moment, the lovely aroma of the soup covered up the foulness of her carpet. Then it was gone, but Hermione dipped her spoon in anyway.

“You know you’re always welcome at the Burrow,” Ron said, setting his spoon down. “We do have another room.”

Hermione swallowed a mouthful of soup and sighed. “I don’t know about that, Ron. I don’t think it would be a good idea. It might…what if we think about us again?”

“We won’t,” Ron said simply. “We both agreed that it was better to stay friends.” Hermione kept silent. She and Ron had never discussed the night she arrived on his doorstep, wanting to rekindle whatever had been there years ago. She vaguely wondered what happened between he and his date, but didn’t ask him.

“Well, I just think that now isn’t the right time. I’m so busy with the trial, and I don’t want any…distractions. No offense.”

“None taken. I guess that’s fair.” He twirled the spoon in his fingers. “Hermione, have you ever actually been on a date since then?”

Hermione blinked at him, surprised at the question. “I – well, no, I haven’t.”

He raised his eyebrows. “You’re nearly twenty-five,” he said. Hermione scowled at him as if to say, “So?” Ron sat back, setting the spoon back down on the table. “There’s nothing wrong with that,” he said quickly. “I find it…touching. Anyways, what have you been doing that’s got you so stressed out?”

“Working,” she said. She took another mouthful of soup. It burned her tongue, but it already seemed to warm her up. “This sounds crazy, but I want to know as much about Malfoy as I can. I don’t want to know just the what and the how, Ron. I want to know why, too.”

“It does sound crazy,” he agreed, “but only because it’s Malfoy. Besides, Hermione, we already know the why: he’s an evil git. He always has been. You knew him in school, always calling you a ‘Mudblood’” – he seemed to stumble over the word, having only said it a few times in his life and never directing it at someone – “and trying to get Hagrid sacked, and when he tried to kill Dumbledore; he’s just a prat, Hermione. That’s all there is to it.”

He stayed for a while longer. They switched topics and talked about happier things. They lingered on the topic of Ginny and her boyfriend. Hermione was almost certain he would propose to her soon, while Ron denied it in his typical brotherly fashion. Hermione finished her soup and thanked him for it. It truly did make her feel better, and she wondered if he slipped a pinch of Euphoria Potion in it. Whatever he did, it was working.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said as he left.

“Definitely,” he said, kissing her forehead lightly. He squeezed her shoulder gently, then left. Hermione was alone again. She stood in her doorway for a few moments before sighing and going back inside. She pulled her notes out of her drawer and skimmed over them quickly.

It didn’t make sense. According to Harry, Malfoy could barely hold his wand, let alone kill Dumbledore, when he first became a Death Eater. Hermione had always thought he was all talk and would never be capable of murder, even with his family’s reputation. What had changed?

Well, she decided with a grim smile, if she wanted to know, she would just have to pay him another visit and hope he kept it a secret.
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