Chapter 14 : The Mission
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Lord it takes a lonely one to wish that she had never dreamt at all
Oh look, now, there you go with hope again
But I'll be sure your secret’s safe with me
Oh, you're so sure I'll be leaving in the end
Treating me like I'm already gone
But I'm not, I will stay where you are always
I will stay, I will stay, I will stay
~Dashboard Confessional: Carve Your Heart Out Yourself
Hermione woke up with tears already sliding down her cheeks. She looked over at the sleeping man beside her whose blond hair tangled over his eyes. A new realization seemed to knock the life from her chest. Draco woke feeling slight movements beside him and noticed her sitting straight up in the bed.
“Hermione, are you alright?” He whispered propping himself up on his elbows and shook the sleep quickly from his mind.
“I just had a bad dream, that’s all.” She reassured him, but knew that facing him would immediately show how broken she felt inside.
“What was the dream about? Hermione...?” Not getting an answer back, Draco reached his hand up to her cheek and felt the warm dampness brought on by slow tears. He sat up along with her moving his hand to her chin so that she would face him. “Please, tell me what you’re so upset about.”
“My parents.” Hermione said weakly while memories jolted her mind and the dream of a blissful future cracked her heart. “They were at our wedding.” Draco couldn’t understand why she was so unraveled by something that sounded like a wonderful dream.
“I’m sorry Hermione, but why are you upset about that?” He asked slowly afraid to make things worse for her.
“They’re dead Draco...gone forever...” Hermione’s voice was dangerously low causing Draco to strain his hearing for each word escaping her lips.
“Don’t do that to yourself ‘Mione, they would want you to be happy, not mourning them all your life.” He knew his family ties were thin and maybe even nonexistent, but he knew Hermione loved her parents and they loved her, even after death they would want her to live life out to its fullest.
“What if something happened to you?” Hermione finally turned to face him in the morning darkness surrounding them. “I don’t want you to say ‘nothing will happen to you ever’. Too many people have said that to me.”
“I’m not sure, but I promise to take care of myself, for you and the sake of our future.”
“What if promises aren’t enough?” Hermione knew she was acting stupidly, but she couldn’t stop the worry and doubt in her.
“They will be, I love you and there isn’t a person in this world that is insane enough to try and test that.” Draco was happy and relieved when she relaxed a great amount and softly crawled back into her spot in the bed.
“I love you too Draco.” Dawn passed unnoticed as the two slept silently clutching to each other for comfort.
The servant threw himself to the ground before his master in fear of punishment.
“Please my Lord, do not let anger cloud your judgment.” The pathetic excuse for a wizard squirmed in his own skin.
“My judgment Wormtail has never been clouded!” Voldemort swept himself around the hunched figure before him pleading silently to himself. “You bring me news of the latest raid. The group that I handpicked failed, and you have the courage to order my anger to be control in fear of clouded judgment.”
“Forgive me my Lord, I am far lesser than you, I know my place and it resides far from telling you how to act.” Wormtail whimpered praying his apology was worthy.
“Stop your pathetic display, it disgusts me.” Wormtail slowly got up, but not before he had bowed several times and his lords mercy.
“Thank you my Lord, thank you.” Voldemort’s thin smile crept into place as a menacing glint flashed through his eyes.
“Crucio!” Wormtail fell to a clump on the floor, wriggling violently as pain beyond recognition surged through him. Sobs of terror and sheer torture sounded through the room for minutes until Voldemort lifted the curse. “Now get up!” Wormtail hurried to his feet gasping for much needed air. Voldemort grabbed fiercely onto his arm and shoved the robes concealing the dark mark on his grubby arm. Pressing his wand forcefully into the mark, the loyal followers were called to their master.
Pounding echoed through the Head’s Tower waking Draco and Hermione up from their light slumber. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Draco got from the bed to see what the ruckus was being caused by. Hermione soon followed to find him talking quickly with Professor Snape and the Headmaster.
“What’s happening?” Hermione knew at once that when Dumbledore came to visit them, especially accompanied by Snape, it meant something came up with either the Order or Voldemort.
“Please Miss Granger, this is urgent and we haven’t the time to explain now.” Dumbledore answered softly as Snape continued with Draco. She glanced around the Headmaster and saw Draco lift his sleeve showing the dark mark on his arm. Silently the snake slithered and the skull opened and closed its mouth ominously.
“No, no, no this can’t be happening now.” She said running to him.
“Miss Granger, please keep out of matters that do not concern you.” Snape growled.
“This does concern me!” She shouted grabbing onto Draco’s arm and pressing her hand to cover the horrid mark.
“Sir, I’ll be in your office once I’ve gotten cleaned up and dressed.” He said casting his glance away from Hermione. Dumbledore nodded in agreement and left quietly with Snape in his wake. “I have to leave...”
“I know...but it’s Voldemort – he - he’s evil and I want you to be safe.” She refused to remove her hand from his forearm and he didn’t try to make her.
“Dumbledore said the Order will be there the entire time to stop the Deatheaters before they can kill anyone -” Draco tried.
“Kill anyone?! Draco what are you getting yourself into!?!” Hermione shouted with her brown eyes bulging in worry.
“I have to go on my first mission to a muggle neighborhood. Snape is leading and he is handpicking the home, but inside Order members are going to be waiting. All the Deatheaters will be stunned, no one will get hurt.” Draco pulled her into his chest and nuzzled into her vanilla scented hair breathing deeply.
“Be safe, please don’t do anything reckless or stupid or -” Before she could finish, he captured her lips in his making any worry or anxiety in either of them melt away before he pulled away.
“I’ll be home tomorrow morning at breakfast. Go to the Great Hall, make sure you eat, if I know you as well as I think I do then you’ll want to stay in your room to wait for me.”
“Of course I would.” She said laughing slightly. “You know me so well.”
“I need to go now, don’t stay cooped up in this tower, alright?” Draco gave her one last kiss when she reluctantly nodded and he sadly left.
Draco wondered the elaborate halls of the Malfoy Mansion as men and women bustled about readying themselves or others for the mission ahead. When he was about to turn into his old room for some time alone a scrawny elf apparated infront of him.
“Our Lord wants Master Malfoy in the study.” The small elf grunted while in a nose-to-ground bow. Without a reply, Draco reluctantly turned from the comforting solitude of his room to meet with his father.
Taking as long as he possibly could hadn’t worked as he hoped. Inside were voices that were almost completely muffled by the thick mahogany doors making Draco ignore the urge to eavesdrop.
“Come in young Malfoy.” Came the jeering voice of Voldemort before he could even lift his hang to knock. The second he stepped into the large study, Draco was on the ground hoping it looked as though respect dripped from him. “Please, stand from the ground.”
“Thank you my Lord.” Draco felt himself automatically say. Looking satisfied, Voldemort gestured to the arm chair in front of him that his father stood behind. Obeying him, Draco moved forward to sit in the chair. “Malfoy, leave your son and I to ourselves. Go tend to the others or something else useful.” Voldemort spat and Lucius immediately exited the room with hurried grace.
“My Lord, is this about tonight?” Draco asked not liking the silence.
“Ah, curious young lad, one of few qualities that can get you into and out of trouble all in the same instance.” Voldemort mused placing his hands in his lap comfortably gazing into Draco’s mind. “This meeting is certainly about tonight. I believe you are capable of leading the mission. I want your orders to determine the outcome of the massacre tonight of those filthy squibs.”
“Squibs? Sir I was under the impression we were going into a muggle neighborhood...”
“My dear boy, I haven’t the time to waste on muggles, they pose no threat to me, but the squibs are damned spies for Dumbledore and his precious Order. They were asking for an attack, and by the end of the night, they will be pleading mercy.” Voldemort saw the odd expression on Draco’s face and continued, “We’ve attacked squibs before, it had a large enough effect on the Order, but this time it won’t be to weaken just Harry Potter.” Draco winced, but it went unnoticed by the Dark Lord.
“When should I begin to prepare for the attack?” Draco asked.
“Now.” Without questions, Draco got up and left the room.
Draco sighed in relief when he stepped inside his room. It was exactly how he left it before leaving for the Hogwarts Express. His green satin sheets had no creases or wrinkles, and the large black feather down draped perfectly over the mahogany bed boards. He walked over to a large wooden desk and snatched a piece of parchment to write on. The only noise filling the room was the constant scratching of his eagle feather quill.
“Now where did I put that – ah there it is!” Draco said after finishing the letter.
He scooped up a red velvet bag and walked over to the fireplace that was taller than he was. Placing the letter into the fireplace, Draco dipped his hand into the bag and pulled out a handful of floo powder. “Headmaster’s Office, Hogwarts!” He yelled tossing the floo into the fireplace causing the letter to go up in green flames and disappear.
“Master Draco?” a small voice squeaked causing Draco to jump.
“What?” he shouted rounding on a small elf that trembled under his glare.
“M-Master’s Lord w-w-wants to s-see him. P-P-Please don’t be angry with Bonnie.” The tiny elf bowed still shaking.
“I’m not mad, you just scared me.” Draco sighed leaving the poor creature in his room.
Hermione trudged back from the Gryffindor tower with Harry along also. She decided to keep herself busy by hanging around the Gryffindor tower with all her friends. But sooner than she thought, Hermione had gotten bored and wanted to go back to her room and read to pass some more time. Harry had decided to walk with her because his brotherly side came out ten fold after what happened to her. There wasn’t a single place he let her go without him by her side. And when he couldn’t escort her places, he made sure Ron or Zach was there to watch over her.
“She’s jealous you know...” Harry suddenly said breaking the silence.
“Who are you talking about?” Hermione asked confused by his statement.
“Ginny, she’s jealous that I keep spending all my time trying to keep you safe.” He clarified. She looked over at him and all he did was look straight ahead.
“I’ll talk to her, but you really do need to lighten up, I can take care of myself...well for the most part...”
“But Hermione I -”
“Harry, go back to her, take her for a walk around the grounds. Its snowing right now and she’ll love it. I don’t need you to make it the rest of the way to the Head’s Tower.” Harry smiled wide and kissed her quickly on the cheek.
“Thank you Hermione.” He said running off to find Ginny.
Hermione quickly made it to her room and snatched her newest book from the nightstand and flopped onto her bed to read. Within seconds she was engrossed in the story and time passed unnoticed as the sun slowly faded until the sky was painted a red and purple hue over the mountains. A light tapping on her window was surprisingly able to bring her back to reality.
“Hmm, I’ve never seen you before.” Hermione mused looking over at the pitch black
owl dancing around on the stone ledge. She let the bird in and it did a quick circle about the room and drops its letter in her hands before immediately leaving. “Suppose no one wants a response...” She tore the envelope open and read the letter quietly.
Dear Miss Granger,
Please come to my office as soon as you receive this letter. It concerns both Mr. Zach Hollinger and Mr. Draco Malfoy. I have already notified Mr. and Miss Weasley along with Mr. Potter.
Headmaster Albus Dumbledore
Without needing to read the letter twice, Hermione was racing from her room to the Headmaster’s office.
“Licorice Snaps!” Hermione sighed at the gargoyle, relieved for the air flowing in her lungs. She took the stairs in two’s and burst into the office startling everyone inside. It seemed as though she was the last person to arrive since Dumbledore was waiting patiently, Zach was standing alone in the corner, and the rest were pacing eagerly.
“Now that Miss Granger is here, we can begin.” Dumbledore clapped his hands together and motioned for everyone to sit. Zach remained standing and avoiding all contact with the others, he was being too distant for Hermione’s comfort. “The first order of business concerns Mr. Draco Malfoy.” Everyone’s attention perked up, even Zach’s.
“Why are we here then Headmaster?” Harry asked confused.
“Mr. Malfoy has been sent on a mission for Voldemort along with Professor Snape. I received a letter from him this afternoon of tonight’s plans and it seems as though he was put in charge on the mission instead of Severus. Because of this new turn of events, I felt it important to inform the youngest Order members of this, especially since the success of tonight will determine Mr. Malfoy’s position amongst us.”
“The ferret is an Order member and a Death Eater?!” Ron exploded completely dismissing the fact that he was raising his voice at Dumbledore.
“Ronald, sit down!” Hermione scolded at his behavior. He did as she told but continued to turn different shades of red. Ginny looked reassuringly at Hermione. If Ron was blowing his top about Draco being part of the Order, than how would his reaction be if he found out she loved him?
“Please, all of you, Mr. Malfoy has become a loyal piece to the Order, so you must respect him. He has already earned the trust of many,” Dumbledore gave Hermione a quick wink that went unnoticed by everyone but her, “and I hope you all will give him a chance.” Harry seemed to be contemplating just how loyal Draco could be, and Ron seemed to be contemplating which order to tear his limbs off in.
“Now, my next news concerns -”
“Headmaster, would it be alright if I told them myself?” Zach piped in stepping from his secluded corner.
“Yes, of course Mr. Hollinger.” Dumbledore said allowing him to speak.
“About an hour ago I received a letter from my father,” Zach dug deep into his robe pockets until he pulled out a crumpled letter that looked like it was almost singed completely. “Well you can’t really make out what it says now,” He added flicking some ash from the edge, “but it mainly just says I have to return home...tonight.”
“What?!” each student yelled, but Hermione was the first to form a sentence.
“You must be joking right? I mean, you can’t just leave Hogwarts, can he, sir?” She asked looking to Dumbledore.
“I’m afraid since his father has ordered he return home, we must oblige. There is no reason to believe Mr. Hollinger is in any danger after leaving school, but if he has anything to tell us, it may save him from departing friends.” Dumbledore said looking expectantly at Zach.
“No, sir, I don’t have anything to tell you.” He said quietly. ‘Tell them that your father is a Death Eater, that he was part of the Granger’s murder! Tell Dumbledore and you won’t have to go home!!’ His conscience screamed, but he was able to suppress it. ‘I can’t tell Hermione that her parents were murdered by Death Eaters...it’ll hurt too much, for us both.’ He reassured himself.
“Very well,” Dumbledore stood from his desk, “now I expect you all have much to discuss before our dear friend leaves tonight, so I will let you on your way.” The students urged themselves to leave as Zach lagged far behind, not one of them spoke.
“I’m sorry...” Zach whispered after a long silence loud enough for them all to hear. They knew he was sorry for leaving, but no one could begin to image what else he was sorry for.
Draco pulled the heavy cloak over his body as men around him stood tall and fierce watching his every move. They all had high expectations for the young man, but above all they wanted him to succeed tonight because it was their necks too if he failed.
“Are you ready?” Snape asked stepping up beside Draco and putting a hand on his shoulder. When he was sure no one was listening anymore he turned to his professor.
“Sir, I haven’t a clue which house to pick. You were the one meant to lead this
mission.” He was sure not to mention Dumbledore or the Order, incase wandering ears stood around him.
“You’ll do fine. Just count to 3 and pick.” Snape said winking and patting him on the shoulder. ‘Count to three?’
“Count to three with what?”
“It’ll calm you, and it’s a lucky number when started from the right.” Snape walked away hoping Draco understood what he meant. Finishing up his cloak and hood Draco nodded to a burly man in front signaling that they were set to leave. The big man grunted orders to the others and each apparated away. Draco took a long sigh and followed.
Draco appeared onto a deserted street with identical homes lining each side. He watched as lights rhythmically turned off in the homes leaving him and the Death Eaters alone with the darkness.
“Alright, a couple more...” Draco said to himself waiting for the last few lights to extinguish. ‘There! Ok, now one, two, and three.’ He pointed to the third house on the right signaling to the others that was his pick. They all nodded and made their way towards the door. Three of the men, including Snape, snuck to the back so no squib inside could get out. Draco and the last two men stationed themselves at the front door waiting for noises inside. “You watch the street,” Draco said turning one of the men around, “and you get the door unlocked.” He said to the other pointing to the door knob. He looked up while the others were preoccupied and saw Tanner sweep the white window curtain open then closed. The door squeaked open and Draco pushed to be the first inside. He waved for Snape and the other two that it was clear.
“You both take the upstairs. You come with me to check this floor and you go with Draco to check the basement.” Snape whispered to the men and they all nodded in silence. Draco took his partner toward the basement door and quietly made his way down with the other man in front of him.
After a few minutes of silent searching, Draco heard a loud crashing sound and shouts from the second floor.
“Ambush! The Order is here, get out!” He could hear the burly Death Eater shouting before a blunt thud sounded. Draco assumed he was stunned, but suddenly remembered his job. The man with him was already running up the stairs to help.
“Stupefy!” He shouted causing the man to collapse down the stairs. Snape appeared at the top of the stairs startling Draco.
“They’re all taken care of.” Snape said simply and disappeared. Draco left the stunned Death Eater and walked outside the house where Ellen was waiting.
“Are you alright?” She asked. “All new members get a bit shook up after their first mission.” She added putting a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“Yeah I’m fine, I just want to get back to school.” Draco saw Order members levitating the four Death Eaters to the front yard and then apparating away. “Are they going to Azkaban?” He asked.
“For now, then they’ll be put to trial. We need to get all possible information from them. After that, they get the Kiss. They’re Death Eaters for sure, and Azkaban won’t waste space on obvious cases.” Ellen said. “Draco, Dumbledore just arrived, he’s going to take you back to Hogwarts now.” She walked away without saying goodbye.
“Mr. Malfoy, I assume that you wish to leave.” Dumbledore said from behind him.
“Yes sir, thank you.” The two apparated to Hogsmeade where Hagrid was waiting with a horseless carriage to take them back to Hogwarts.
Author's Note: ah sorry the ending to this one was pretty lame, I will admit, and also there was a formatting issue so this chapter is now extrememly spaced, but HOPEFULLY the rest of it is good enough for a sweet little review? yes, yes?! lol well I just started my summer vacation from school and that means I'll be writting more often! yay! I always write freakishly late at night during the summer, and it's the best work I can do, I think.... anyway, please review like always and tell me what u think!! :D
Preview for chpt 15!
Someone stormed from the entrance of the alcove as the two secret lovers straightened their clothes and made themselves presentable again. Ocean blue eyes flashed furiously as obscenities escaped his lips lowly. “There is no bloody way that just happen.” He whispered to himself clenching his fists as he walked from the scene.
Hmmmm, can you guess who the people are?!?!? :P
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