Chapter 2 : Dinner with the Devil
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"Weasley?" Draco asked, staring at Hermione incredulously. "Weasley told the authorities that you killed Harry Potter?"
"Yes," Hermione said weakly, staring at her hands. "I suppose I should tell you the whole story. I warn you I'm in a right emotional state right now, but if you want to listen to it, you can." Draco stared at his former school peer, hardly believing the events that were unfolding before him.
"You still haven't told me why exactly you are here. How did you even know where I live?"
"Let me start from the beginning," Hermione said slowly, pausing for nearly a minute to gather her thoughts. "It all begins on a dark and stormy night-"
"You're kidding me, right? A dark and stormy night, how cliché," Draco sneered at the woman. "Honestly, if you're not going to be serious about this-"
"I am being serious. It really was a dark and stormy night, three days ago, actually. I'd been shopping all day in Diagon Alley......."
"Honestly, Hermione, why would you want orange robes?" Ginny Weasley asked her, giggling at her best friend. They were in Madame Malkin's robe shop trying on different colored robes. Ginny was set to wed Colin Creevy, who had never quite outgrown his camera obsession but had managed to make quite a name for himself. He worked at the Daily Prophet taking front page shots, and he also worked as a freelance photographer. The girls were trying on dress robes for the occasion.
"What, you don't think they go with my hair?" she asked, laughing at her complexion.
"You might want to stick with colors that...aren't orange. And besides, I’ll be damned if I’ll let my maid of honor wear orange!" The girls broke down in fits of laughter, much to the dismay of the shop owner, who threw disapproving glances their way. After thoroughly annoying everyone in the shop, the two stepped out side into the warm summer air.
"Looks like it might storm, we might want to think about heading back home. Do come over to the burrow tonight, though. Mum's been driving me nuts trying to get me to convince you and Ron to come over," Ginny said.
"Yeah, I'll talk to Ron about it when I get home. I think we may have some major news to convey to the family!" Hermione smiled at her friend. "Until then, see ya later!" Hermione waved and then apparated in front of her small house outside Godric's Hollow. She barely had time to get inside before the rain started to fall down to the parched earth. She shut the door loudly and put her packages down on the kitchen table.
"Ron? I'm home! I've just spent all day with Ginny, and it was magnificent! I got some more floo powder, just in case, and a new cookbook- why do you have a fire going, it's nearly August!" Ron sat quietly in front of the fire, his back to her. "Ronnie? Are you okay?" Slowly he turned, and the look in his eye was unfamiliar and frightening.
"Did you think you could hide it from me?" he asked quietly, not moving.
"Hide it? Hide what, dear?" she asked cautiously.
"You know what I'm talking about. He told me all about what you did. I'll not stand to have you here."
"Wh-what? What are you talking about, Ronald?" she asked, anger causing her voice to rise higher than usual.
"He said I shouldn't allow you in my presence, you filthy mudblood. You know what you did, you disgraced me and my name! Get out! Get out of here!" He rose now, staring menacingly in his direction.
"I demand to know why you seem to think you can kick me out of my own house! Now who came to see you and told you-told you whatever it is he told you." She tried to stay as calm as she could, but as far as the situation was concerned Ron had just smacked her in the face with his words. Since when did he ever use the term 'mudblood,' especially to her!
"Harry," he said, his voice barely above a whisper.
"Harry? Ron, we don't know anyone named Harry. What are you talking about?"
"Harry Potter." Hermione's eyes widened and she stepped backwards as Ron came toward her.
"H-Harry Potter? Ron, you know as well as I do that Harry is dead."
"Oh yes, he is dead," Ron said, the foreign glint in his eye becoming more violent. "Because you killed him!"
"RONALD WEASLEY! How can you suggest something so vile!" Hermione was close to tears. Ron continued to advance on her, and Hermione reached the kitchen and pulled her wand.
"Harry told me what you did. He told me you killed him."
"When did he tell you that?" Hermione asked, eyes darting wildly. She was playing along, and she was also trying to plan.
"Harry has been dead for five years, Ron. You were at his funeral with me, you know-you know how he died. You saw it. There is no way Harry was here talking to you. What are you on about?"
"No. It's wrong. You killed Harry, and now I'm going to kill you." He lunged at her, wand at the ready.
"RON! Please, what the hell has gotten into you? You saw how Harry died! Please don't make me say it out loud!" She screamed, as Ron tried to shoot curses at her, although he wasn't using anything unforgivable.
"You did it! You did it!" He chanted, taunting her as he moved about the kitchen shooting badly aimed stunning spells at her.
"Ron, Harry killed himself! You know that! Tonks, Charlie, and McGonagall got in the way of the killing curses he was trying to send at Voldemort, and after he finally defeated Voldemort, he couldn't live with the fact he killed his friends and mentors, and he turned his wand on himself and killed himself! Why are you making me relive that? Why are you playing this game with me?" She asked tearfully, staring at the murderous glare in Ron's eyes.
"NO! NO! That's not how it happened, you wench, you know what you did! And now I am going to kill you and everyone is going to know what really happened!" Hermione knew she had to get out of the house but she didn't know how to hold Ron off. He continued to scream stunning spells at her, and she blocked them all. Finally, she sighed and sent three very quick stunning spells at Ron. He blocked the first two but the third hit him and he fell to the ground. Hermione ran outside into the rain and apparated to the first place she could think of- the burrow.
Hermione fell to the muddy ground outside the burrow. She got up and cautiously made her way to the front door. She knocked forcefully and Molly Weasley came to the door almost immediately.
“Hermione dear! Come in, come in! We’re just sitting down to dinner. Where’s Ron?” Even though Hermione was dripping cold water all over the floor, Molly leaned in and gave her a warm hug.
“Ron….Ron isn’t feeling well, he insisted I come by myself.” Hermione hoped this excuse would suffice.
“Oh, poor dear, well I suppose he’s old enough to take care of himself now….still, you know the motherly instinct in me….maybe I should drop in to see him-“
“Oh no, that won’t be necessary, he’s sleeping as we speak!” She forced a fake smile as fear and guilt squeezed her heart. Her one true love…she’d left him stunned and cold on the floor. She felt tears rise, but she pushed them back down. Hermione performed a quick drying charm and then stepped inside.
“’Lo,Hermione!” Fred Weasley said brightly.
“Fred, what are you- you’re all here!!” Hermione spoke shrilly. All the Weasleys sat before her, save Ron, Percy, and God rest his soul, Charlie. Relations with Percy never quite recovered after his treachery to the family when Hermione, Ron, and Harry will still known as the “Golden Trio.” Each of the Weasleys- and their spouses- smiled expectantly at Hermione.
“Yes, we’re all here, we thought tonight would be a perfect night to get together and share a family meal! Pity Ron isn’t here….” George trailed off thoughtfully. Hermione’s brain was hard at work; she knew something was out of place here.
“Well, go on, child, sit down, we’re having pot roast!” Molly said excitedly, as if pot roast was filet mignon.
“Right,” said Hermione, hesitantly sitting beside Ginny. “What’s going on here?”
“Whatever do you mean, Hermione? We’re just sitting down to dinner like we always do!” Ginny answered sweetly, patting Hermione’s hand.
“Ginny, you know as well as I do that all the Weasleys haven’t all been in the same room since Christmas!” It was well known that Molly Weasley was distressed at the distance that Bill and Fleur Weasley lived. They only came about for big holidays because they resided in France. Fred and George’s shop in Diagon Alley, and most recently in Hogsmeade, demanded constant attention, and therefore it was often hard for them to drop everything at a moment’s notice and show up at the Burrow. Yet here they all were, smiling expectantly at her, as though she had something in her teeth but no one wanted to say anything.
“And here is our main dish! Arthur, would you like to cut it! Oh, I simply slaved all day in the kitchen preparing it, please, enjoy!” Molly gushed. Hermione didn’t know what to make of the situation, but years of research and experience had taught her to use cautiousness where cautiousness was due. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was- the imperius curse, perhaps? But who could use an imperius curse on a whole entire family? Maybe there was a new uprising of dark wizards, and they had learned that the Weasleys were part of the Order of the Phoenix- but if that was so, then why wasn’t Hermione affected? After all, she was indeed a Weasley now. No, something else more serious was going on here.
Amidst all her thoughts, Molly had placed a heaping portion of pot roast on her plate.
“Go on dear, you look famished, eat up!” Hermione’s eyebrows wrinkled in disgust as she looked at the meat. Not at all Molly’s top dish, this meat looked as though it had just been brought in from a farm. Red blood was pooled around the flesh, and Hermione felt bile rising in her throat as she looked at it.
“You know, Molly, I’m awfully dirty, I’ll just go wash up in the bathroom.”
“Nonsense, Hermione, you are fine, now eat!” Molly’s voice had a sudden harshness to it.
“I-I will as soon as I go wash my hands!” Hermione exclaimed, quickly excusing herself. She walked to the bathroom, shut the door, and locked it behind her. She’d come to the burrow to tell them that there was something wrong with Ron, yet the minute she stepped in the house she knew that something wasn’t right there, either.
The meat had to be poisoned with something. Molly was too good a cook to let this happen. Hermione sighed and let the warm water run over her hands. When she was finished, she walked out of the room and decided to take a slight detour to Ron’s room. Her quick reasoning deduced that perhaps seeing his old room might help her concentrate on her task, which was to find out what the hell was going on. She noticed the door was closed, and she turned the knob silently so that none of the Weasleys would hear. Silently, she slipped into the room. Hermione had prepared herself to welcome Ron's scent when she spotted the bed. She sucked in a sharp breath and walked closer, horror grasping her breath.
“It-It can’t be. It’s not possible. No-“ she said quietly. She drew herself up to the bed and the man that was lying face down. She took her wand out from her robes and reached out to touch the man. She rolled him over and then, without meaning to, without any self control, let out an ear piercing scream.
A/N: I know, I know, it's evil to leave you with such a cliff hanger! I promise you won't have to wait long for an update! I update faster when I know people want me to, so please review so I know what I'm doing wrong...or right!!! (7/14/08- I just wanted to point out that my author's note is a TOS violation but I'm keeping it mostly to amuse myself and also because this story is finished so it doesn't make any difference...LOL)
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