Chapter 1 : Prologue- The Kidnapping
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Harry, Ron, and Hermione walked cautiously through the graveyard. Numerous grey headstones loomed above them, and many smaller ones filled the expansive area as well. The Final battle had happened more than a year ago, and the graveyard was filled with a large number of casualities. It had been only four years since they had left Hogwarts, but it had felt like forever.
The trio tried to visit and pay their respects often, but it was usually only Ron and Hermione; Harry was busy with his and Ginny’s one-year-old twins. Their daughter was named Lily, for Harry’s mother; and the son was Arthur, for Ginny’s father. He was one of the unfortunate casualties of war.
"Harry James Potter!" bellowed a voice.
Harry recoiled and looked guiltily towards the window that the voice was coming from. The graveyard that the trio was walking in happened to be part of the newly refirbished Potter Manor. The dead were buried, and those whose bodies were not found, had a monument erected in their honor. In the fight against evil, no person was too minuscule to be left unrecognized.
When Harry escaped the battle alive, he did not take it for granted. He realized just how lucky he was. So, in honor of those less fortunate, he hade offered use of graveyard. The first thing that Harry had done, when the Manor had been put into his ownership, was expand the black gates of the cemetery.
"Yes?" answered Harry.
"Harry, I need help with the kids," Ginny said; her voice sounded tired.
"Sorry guys," mumbled Harry, before dashing back to the house.
As soon as Harry was out of earshot, Ron and Hermione cracked up. Ginny definitely had Harry wrapped around her finger; but under that was love, it was obvious.
Ron and Hermione were quiet as they walked around the graveyard. When Hermione came across the graves of her deceased parents, she dropped to her knees and hid her face in her hands.
Hermione tried to hide her tears from Ron, who had always seemed so strong about the death of his father.
Voldemort, while the war was still in full blow, had stopped as low as to attack a Muggle town - specifically, the one where Hermione’s parents lived. Many of the defenseless Muggles had tried to escape in their cars, when they heard the news of a ruthless killer on the loose; but Hermione’s parents lived right in the center of town, and seldom watched television. John and Jane Granger didn’t know about the murders until they were faced with death themselves.
It had been two years since the death of her parents, and Hermione had still not come to terms with it. No one expected her to, though. Ron felt the same was about his father, though he refused to show the weaker side of himself; he never cried when in company. He had no problem, however, comforting Hermione when she did.
He wrapped his arms around her and she buried her into his chest. Her body vibrated with sobs as the tears dripped from her body to Ron’s shirt. Not that Ron minded at all; he loved Hermione, and in more than just a platonic way. He nuzzled his head to hers and held her a little tighter.
Ron’s grip on Hermione was rather strong, but Hermione had no problem with that. As sure as Ron loved Hermione, Hermione loved Ron. Not that either of them knew it. They’d been going since their Hogwarts days with sexual tensions flying through the air; it was finally catching up to the pair.
"Are you alright?" Ron asked softly, running his hand over her still-bushy hair.
Hermione gave a small nod and wiped the tears from her face.
She gave a bitter laugh. Swiped at her eyes a bit more. "You’d think that I’d at least be able to control my tears by now."
"Don’t say that, Hermione," Ron protested. "There’s nothing wrong with you crying, honestly. It’s called grief. It will never leave you; it’s a part of you now."
There was a silence between the two, but it was comfortable.
"Listen, Hermione, I’m going to go see my father’s grave." Hermione found Ron’s face oddly pale. "Are you coming?"
"No, I think I’m going to stay here," answered Hermione, quietly.
Ron walked off and Hermione watched him kneel down in front of his father’s grave. Hermione was shocked to see a few tears slip down Ron’s pale, freckled cheek. For the first time, it occurred to Hermione that maybe he had cried; maybe Ron just hid his tears.
Hermione was about to repay his kindnesses and go over to Ron when she heard a crack behind her and wheeled back around. It was the distinctive sound of Apparation. No one was there, but Hermione was sure that she had heard someone. The aftereffects of the war made Hermione wary. She constantly whipped her head in all directions, searching, as she crossed to Ron in a slow jog.
Hermione gasped as she saw Severus Snape’s scared and mangled head appear in mid-air. Only his head.
He’s wearing an invisibility cloak, thought Hermione. Before Hermione could even pull her wand out of her pocket, Snape pulled the cloak from his body, displaying his own wand.
"Ron!" Hermione called frantically.
Ron looked up to see Hermione running towards him, being followed by the wretched ex-Potions Master, the killer of Dumbledore. Though the chase worked to Hermione’s advantage. Severus Snape was chasing Hermione by Apparating to wherever she had been, and he wasn’t chasing her on foot. Ron had his wand out of his pocket just in time to see the distressed Hermione trip over a tree root.
Hermione looked up at Snape. Her fall was going to cost her, and she knew it. Snape slashed his wand through the air and Hermione was hit with a powerful wave of energy. Her world slowly blackened as she slipped into unconsciousness. Ron ran towards Snape, firing an angry stunning spell, but it never hit its mark. Snape had long since Disapparated, taking Hermione with him.
"Harry, Ginny!" Ron screamed.
Tears were once again cascading down his face, but this time he didn’t care who saw. Hermione was gone, and right before his eyes as well. He was angry, terrified, and frozen all at the same time. He didn’t know what to do.
"What’s the matter Ron?" asked Ginny, who had appeared at the window. She took one look at Ron’s face and knew that something was wrong.
"Hermione. Snape. Evil wanker. Has her," Ron answered through his raging anger. He felt as though the world was crashing down around him. The trees seemed to cave in, the tall monuments and grave stones seemed to loom above him even more. The soft grass below his feet tried to bite at his ankles.
"Harry," Ginny said, shakily, as she turned from the window. "Go down to Ron, now."
Harry stayed on the sofa with a frown on his face. "Ginny, love, I’ve got to have a break. I understand you’re tired but I am as well and -"
"Hermione’s missing you bloody idiot ," Ginny said, already in tears, half screaming.
Harry’s face fell as he bolted up and ran out of the room. Ginny soon followed him, after making sure that Lily and Arthur were safely in their cradles.
Although he didn’t feel it, Harry needed to be brave for Ron’s sake. He watched his best friend and felt Ron’s pain. Harry knew that Ron’s life had fallen apart in seconds.
"Don’t worry, Ron. We’ll get her back."