Fear is perpetrated by the inexplicable control one thing or person has over another thing or person.
Love is a factor that develops out of desire for an object or person.
When the two combine, they prove to be volatile entities that fight for control over one another. Neither can be equal with the other. One must consume the other and rule with a mighty fist. It's the law of human emotions.
Hermione felt sure that she was neither fearful or in love when it came to the green eyed Slytherin girl who often sat at Malfoy's side as his right hand, even more so than his slow-witted bodyguards, Crabbe and Goyle. The young woman feared little as a brave Gryffindor, was smarter than a Ravenclaw, and was more of a friend than a Hufflepuff.
Yet some things lie in a realm all their own and it didn't matter what house you were sorted into.
Hermione can feel the pull of Pansy's eyes, following her as she moves through a room. There's words not being spoken but being heard like ghostly whispers and the Gryffindor is sure that she's being haunted.
In a lot of ways, she is.
She stares into mirrors, for hours on end, waiting to see if she can catch sight of the entity that seems to be haunting her. So long she sits that she can picture the mirror eventually cracking, small spiderwebs forming on the smooth surface, blossoming larger and larger. Hermione has to look away then, walk out of the room to any place that is far from the mirrors.
She fears the glass shattering into tiny shards, cutting into her soul with their sharp edges and flaying her alive. In her mind, Pansy's laughter is caressing her skin like ice as she is ripped into pieces.
Hermione will not admit that she is afraid. Fear is only perpetrated by the control of one over another one and she does not fear Pansy.
"You've been stirring your soup for the last thirty minutes straight," Ginny said in concern. "You've barely eaten lately. Are you okay?"
Hermione looked up at the redhead, faking a smile that felt superficial and mechanic as she wondered what lie to offer her friend.
"I'm fine. Just been studying a lot lately. You know how I am."
"Have you been sleeping much then? I know you barely sleep when you get into your studying modes," Ginny said lightly, reaching for her friend and brushing stray strands of hair from the lately pale face. "I don't want you killing yourself in the pursuit of knowledge. It's unnecessary."
Bringing the spoon to her mouth, Hermione took a large bite of the soup that was cold and tasted disgusting in her mouth. Food had lately lost its appeal and taste as her mind spun in odd patterns seeking a reason for the cause of her recent panic and insecurities. The dark haired teen smiled at her friend as she reluctantly swallowed the soup, hoping to ease Ginny's worries.
"You sound like your mum. I told you I'm fine. Maybe I'm just coming down with a bug or something," Hermione paused, seeing an escape from her current situation. "As a matter of fact, I think I'll go over to the hospital wing now and have Madam Pomfrey give me a quick once over to be sure it's only fatigue."
Hermione was already on her feet and reaching for her bag when Ginny offered to go with her. Without meaning to be forceful with her objection, Hermione quickly said, "No, I'll be quite all right." Catching herself and seeing the slightly hurt look on her friend's face, she managed a genuine smile. "Don't worry about me, I'll be fine, Gin."
She was out of the Great Hall in less than five seconds, her legs moving faster than she intended them to. Once she cleared the doors and was out of eyesight of her fellow schoolmates, she was running, her legs pumping faster than she'd ever felt them move. Up stairs, down stairs, through corridors and rooms she had never seen before - Hermione moved through them all like a spirit possessed. Until finally she came to the Owlery, confused how she had come to stop here when she was sure she had passed it. Seeing it as a place for a momentarily quiet sanctuary, she entered the Owlery, climbing the steps as a flutter of wings and hoots greeted her. There was a smell of owl droppings here, but it wasn't overwhelming, perhaps elves had cleaned the space in the last day or two. She sat on a small bench that was situated against a back wall, cleaning the wood surface with a quick scourify spell as a precautionary.
Resting her head against the wall, Hermione closed her eyes and listened to the hooting of the owls as they went about their business, not caring in the least about her. It was a feeling she welcomed at the moment. Of course she was thankful of Ginny's concern, but she felt guilty of making the redhead worry about her. After all, Hermione was fine, or so she kept chanting in her head to keep her sanity.
Below, the Owlery's door opened and footsteps moved against the stone steps and Hermione hung her head because she didn't want to be bothered. Then the footsteps came to a rest and for a long while there was only silence. Confused, she peeked her head up to see a very familiar face watching her with calm eyes, arms crossed.
"What do you want, Parkinson?"
"I saw your little tiff with your best mate and thought I'd come to check on you," Pansy answered with a cool smile.
"Why would you care about me?" Hermione's voice was cautious and low.
"Why do you think I wouldn't care about you?"
"Because you hate me."
Hermione glared at the Slytherin girl, her fingers were grasped tightly between her knees and she was secretly glad that Pansy couldn't see them shaking.
"Sod off and leave me be," Hermione growled. "I don't feel like dealing with your venomous personality right now."
Pansy came closer and Hermione sat stock straight in her seat, watching the other girl with weary eyes.
"Why do you flinch when I approach?" Pansy asked as she came closer still, eyes locked with the Gryffindor's. "Are you trembling with anticipation for me?"
"No, leave me be Parkinson or I'll make you sorry."
The words tasted right coming from Hermione's mouth, but they held no strength or power behind them and she could see that they made no effect on the other young woman. Leaning over, Pansy reached out and let her fingers glide against Hermione's cheek before placing her hand against the wall behind the Gryffindor. The other hand followed suit, locking Hermione between Pansy and the wall. If she could reach her wand, Hermione would've tried to blow a hole through one or the other to escape.
"Do you fear me, Granger?" Pansy's voice whispered against Hermione's lips. "Do you see me around every corner, lurking like some kind of boogeyman?"
"No." It was a lie, but Hermione would not give the other girl the fuel she wanted. She concentrated hard to keep a look of contempt on her face and even reached up to try and push Pansy away, but she simply clutched at her robes in hesitance.
"I want to do things to you. Things that are so dirty and horrid that you'd beg me for death."
Hermione tried harder to push the other girl away, but her hands were muscleless as she began to grow wet between her legs by the combined proximity of Pansy and the whispered words.
"I want to paint your body in your blood and lick it all off. I want to hurt you until you shrink at the very sound of me..." Pansy's lips pressed against Hermione's for only a second before pulling back into a wide grin. "And I want to make you come so hard that you'll be lost without my touch."
Hermione mustered the strength then to push her captor back and stand. "Fuck you, Parkinson!," she exclaimed and flew down the steps. Pansy's laughter slid against her skin, making her shiver.
"I'll come for you soon enough!" The words bounced off the walls behind Hermione as she bolted out of the Owlery.
It wasn't fear.
It isn't fear.
It could not be fear.
And yet it was.
Hermione was now bound to Pansy by fear alone. That, and the strongest desire for her. It flooded her with guilt to find herself tossing and turning at night, aroused by dreams and memories. Some real, some imagined. Her hand between her legs, trying to cool the flame Pansy had lit there, to little avail. There was no reprieve to be found. Only the real thing could cure her.
She was sick and Pansy had made her this way. Pansy had the antidote that Hermione could not find on her own. The Slytherin had born a disease in her so horrible that it changed how she thought and felt about many things.
The fucked up thing was that Pansy hadn't even lifted a finger to do it. Only planted a fuse and lit it with the tiniest sparks in the form of a kiss.
At least Hermione wasn't in love.
Hermione still managed to graduate with top honors from Hogwarts. Pansy had only spared her the littlest of glances in the four months since their encounter in the Owlery. It was maddening.
Summer brought a variation of celebration and distractions for Hermione, and she embraced each moment with a relevance that was over the top at best. At summer's end, she and her friends would depart to parts East for a small travel session. A road trip - Hermione and Harry had to explain that was to Ron. August would find her in her hometown, spending time with her parents after all the celebrations with her friends. Harry and Ron had been understanding of her want to be with her family and they did the same, bunking down at the Burrow - Harry's only real home in the world, at least for the time being.
The day had been hot, but clear and pleasant. Hermione walked down the road, wishing she could ride her broomstick to enjoy the day, but muggles would see her. Besides, she was only so-so on brooms despite all her smarts. Out of absolutely nowhere, the coldest chill raced up her spine, making the brunette freeze to the spot and look around in panic. Across the street, she saw a familiar face and Hermione literally broke into a run, rounding a corner and quickly cutting up through a back alley. Of course, fear made her momentarily stupid - she could've easily Apparated to safety, but the fear that had been fairly silent the last few months, knotted her stomach, distracting her.
Wincing and doubling over slightly, Hermione didn't see the other young woman walk up to her. She did, however, feel when Pansy grabbed her hair and forced her against a wall. The pain in her stomach dissipated at the sight of green eyes, almost as if it had been hypnotized away.
"Missed me. Granger?" Pansy said, pressing into her captive. "Did your skin crawl to see me again?"
"Let me go, Parkinson. We're no longer in school and I could jinx you horribly without getting in trouble."
Laughter, cold and mirthless.
"You want me too much to harm me. You need me," the former Slytherin sneered at Hermione. "I bet you were suffering without my touch."
"Or maybe I'm just not suffering enough yet," the words slipped from shocked lips without meaning to.
Pansy smiled now. "I like that." Releasing Hermione and stepping away, she trailed her eyes up and down the woman before her. "Did you miss me?"
"I didn't expect to see you again," Hermione paused, "Ever."
"You sound like you were hopeful for that."
The former Gryffindor crossed her arms and glared at her enemy hoping that her glare was enough to stop this line of conversation. Instead, the other woman laughed that irritating and piercing laugh of hers, scaring off a nearby pigeon. Then Pansy was crashing lips with Hermione and the former Gryffindor tried to fight back against the intrusion but their was something being pushed into her mouth - a tongue and something else. A pill? She tried to spit it back out, but there was something pointy poking into her ribs and she blanched as it dug into her. Pulling back, Pansy glared hard at her, the wand in her hand jabbing Hermione painfully.
"Swallow it." Not a command so much as a warning.
Unable to do anything else, Hermione did and blacked out.
She dreamt that she had been sick and everything that happened in her life, the good and bad, was a lie. That it was all a lie someone was whispering into her ear, except it wasn't.
The whisper was the lie. The sickness in her wanted to destroy her, distorting reality from the lies.
Hermione dreamt she was bleeding. The blood pooling beneath her in various shapes of her past.
She bled, in the dream, until she couldn't breathe anymore. The lies choked her into darkness.
Candle light was the first thing she saw when her eyes opened.
The second thing she noticed was that her limbs were bound. Wrists were tied to bedposts and her legs, from mid-thigh to ankle was bound in rope, making her skin itch uncomfortably.
She was also completely naked.
Hermione tugged at her bindings, finding they were tight and restricting. There was a cold chill against her body, as if all the warmth in the air had been sucked out of the air. She shivered, trying to move her body to at least warm herself, but the rope bit in roughly, scraping at her flesh. With reluctance, she lied still, waiting. For what though?, a voice in her mind questioned. Not that it needed to - that answer was obvious at this point. She was waiting for something she had wanted for months now, whether she knew it or not.
There was a click somewhere out of sight and Hermione's body trembled lightly as the click was followed by the click-clack of heels.
Pansy's presence was ethereal as Hermione's imagination continuously had plagued her to believe. Though the other woman wore heels, she still managed to appear quite suddenly by the bound woman's side. Fingers touched her naked skin, icy, yet gentle, sending chills throughout the former Gryffindor. A laugh, full of pins and needles, prickled along Hermione's spine and she arched her back against it.
"How badly do you want me?"
No answer, Hermione would still not give Pansy the satisfaction she desired all these months passed. Nails clawed at her cheek, both soft and sharp, leaving four perfect red line against pale skin. Controlling her breathing, Hermione clenched her jaw and inhaled calmly through her nose as she attempted to gather her body's emotions. Her spector would have to do worst to make her react.
"You can't resist me, but that's fine by me if you choose to play hard to get," Pansy said, reaching past dark curls to the moist slit between Hermione's legs and dragging a finger against it. "I love everything about you that hurts so much more."
Hermione gasped and shivered as Pansy's nails buried themselves deep into her thigh then. The pain causing a chain reaction of emotions to flood the bound woman and she buckled against her restraints, upset that her legs couldn't spread open. The nails dragged a path over her thigh, burning her flesh and lighting a fire in Hermione's every pore.
"You would enjoy that, wouldn't you? Such a filthy mudblood whore you are."
Even as the green-eyed woman said the words, her lips were drawn down to trembling lips that refused her at first, biting at her lips. A painfully firm hand on Hermione's chin made the reluctant lips obey slightly, allowing Pansy to slip her tongue past teeth that wanted to harm her. The look that followed stilled Hermione further. Pansy's eyes held a gentleness, just beyond the surface of her dominant facade.
Hermione's heart skipped a beat.
Love slid against her heart, making her wince when it met the fear already there.
The battle of fear and love had begun.
"When you sleep at night, do you think of me?" Pansy asked, her eyes darkening slowly, trying to swallow down her true emotions. It wasn't time for them yet.
"Yes," Hermione finally answered, a blush coloring her cheeks.
"Do you want me?"
The lie hung between them for a second, slowly crumpling and imploding on itself. Fingers pinched at Hermione's nipple, making her grit her teeth in pain.
"Lying bitch, I will not stand for it."
With wide eyes, Hermione watched the former Slytherin move away, studying her for a moment. Then with a cruel smile, she bent toward Hermione's hip and bit down on flesh. Teeth dug deeper into the skin, until it literally had moved through it and Hermione was crying out - screaming in pain. Satisfied by her work, Pansy stood upright again and licked her bloodied lips clean, enjoying the tears that were running now from Hermione's eyes. Without a word, Pansy slipped her fingers forcibly between Hermione's legs, feeling the excess wetness there and smiling triumphantly.
"Next time you lie to me, I'll bite you some place it will really hurt," the green-eyed woman said, removing her hand and licking her fingers.
Pansy used her wand to rearrange Hermione so she was on all fours, her ass sticking up to give the green-eyed woman easier access to what she wanted. Hermione was mute the whole while, until the other woman removed a phallic object from the bedside table to her left.
"You wouldn't...," Hermione began.
Something slapped her thigh, biting into her flesh. A whip, Hermione figured since she couldn't see it. It was definitely leather and stung her flesh though. She bit her lip to keep from crying out in pain.
"Don't speak unless I tell you to."
Hermione nodded in understanding and bit her lip to blood when Pansy slipped the object into her. It filled her up completely and made her grip the head board tightly as Pansy pushed it in until Hermione couldn't fit any more of it in her. Then she pulled it out and slammed back in making Hermione cry out in pain. Several more times this happened before Pansy relented and moved the object at a softer pace, but the damage had been done. The former Gryffindor groaned and cried as her body slowly reached an orgasm, blood and come trailing down her bound thighs.
The pain was something Hermione could take, it was the humiliation of the whole thing that sat uneasy in her stomach. She had been expecting Pansy to be a cruel lover, but she was also hoping that Pansy would show a different side, a slightly softer one.
When she came, the whip bit into her behind and thighs. Punishment for nothing in particular, only to make Hermione wither and twist against her bindings, eventually bringing her to another orgasm.
It was night when Hermione was unbound and Pansy allowed her a meal and some clothing.
Hermione couldn't look into the bathroom mirror as she cleaned up and dressed. Her skin was raw in several places from bites and scratches, but she was intact otherwise. The disease Pansy had sowed in her months before was gone now, cured and forgotten. It had worked it's purpose and had left Hermione in a state of mixed feelings, perhaps another part of its purpose.
Love and fear still battled within her.
Dressed, she sat on the toilet and cried into her hands. The tears did nothing to help her mental state, nor did she feel better afterward. A knock at the bathroom door made her scuttle to the sink and wash her face. Breathing heavily to compose herself, she dried her face and opened the door, stepping out without a word. Her eyes couldn't even meet Pansy's.
"Granger...," Pansy for once seemed to be at a loss of words.
"Why didn't you just leave me alone?" Hermione asked, staring at the floor.
"NO!," the former Gryffindor shouted, finally meeting Pansy's eyes. "Why didn't you leave me alone from the beginning? Why put me through all this emotional bullshit?"
An angry Hermione was a fearsome thing, to both wizard and beast, but Pansy did not fear the woman. If she did, none of this would have been possible.
"I wanted to tame you. Break you down and build you back up."
"So I was just a project for you? Something to pass the time?"
Hermione was fuming and it was clear that she was beyond reasoning and understanding in her current state. Grabbing her wrists, Pansy struggled with the angry woman for a moment, both falling to the floor in the struggle. Hermione finally triumphed and pinned Pansy down to the ground, punching her as hard as she could. The punch connected with Pansy's cheek and jaw, making it red and swollen.
"I deserved that," Pansy growled, rubbing her cheek with one hand and attempting to keep anymore blows from contacting with her face with the other hand. "Stop and listen for a minute!"
"No, for once, you shut up and listen, Parkinson," Hermione fumed, "This is insanity and I will not be your toy for a second longer."
"I love you!"
Hermione blinked blankly at the other woman. The words echoed in her mind, trying to finding a meaning in all the chaos there.
"I wouldn't waste so much time on you if I didn't. Do you know how much of my reputation I'm putting on the line for even talking to a mudblood? Use that brilliant brain of yours!" Pansy shouted.
Disgusted, Hermione stood up and stalked away from the former Slytherin. Apparating as soon as she could, Hermione sat down on her bed and broke into tears again.
It wasn't fear. It wasn't love. It wasn't anything.
Sometimes, when the emotions are too overwhelming, they cancel each other out. It was perhaps an even worst feeling than love and fear combined.