Chapter 5 : The Hooded Man.
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Hermione slowly opened her eyes to find she was in a room decorated in bright colours, mostly white. The walls were so bright that her eyes hurt by looking at them, it took her a while to get used to the sudden intensity. “Where am I?” She wondered sleepily, looking around the room. A female healer approached to her.
“You’re at St Mungo’s dear,” she said with a calm voice.
A rush of something cold went through Hermione’s body as she remembered why she was at the hospital. She made an attempt to get up from the bed but she couldn’t move a single muscle. Her body was so weak that she barely could lift her hand. She felt the panic rise inside of her; she had to move… she had to get out of there. She had to get up and find Becky. After another attempt to sit up the healer placed on hand on Hermione’s and looked at some kind of machine next to the bed. “Miss Granger, how are you feeling?”
“I can’t get up, I have to get up… it’s my daughter,” she whispered. Apparently her voice was as weak as the rest of her body. Suddenly the door opened and a red haired young woman stepped inside. “Ginny,” Hermione uttered.
“Oh Hermione, we’ve been so worried about you,” Ginny exclaimed, making her way past the healer and up to Hermione’s bed. The healer kindly stepped aside to allow Ginny to say hello. “You’re so pale! How are you?” she asked eagerly and took Hermione’s cold hand in hers. “How is she?” Ginny asked, turning her head to look at the healer.
“She’s very weak at the moment—”
She was interrupted by Hermione; “Ginny! Becky—is gone…”
Ginny’s facial expression changed drastically from looking quite cheery seeing that Hermione had finally woken up to looking worried… even scared. “I know honey,” she stated quietly, squeezing Hermione’s hand supportively. “Everybody we know is looking for her… Aurors, friends… Your parents even contacted muggle police,” the red head continued. “Don’t worry, it won’t be long until she’s right here by your side again.”
Hermione really wanted to believe in every word Ginny said, but she simply couldn’t. She had a bad feeling inside of her that something terrible had happened to her daughter. That vision she’d had right before she fainted… with that hooded man carrying Becky in his arms. Oh, this wasn’t good. She knew she had to get up from that bed really quickly. She didn’t trust anyone right now; she wanted to be out there herself, looking for her precious daughter.
“I am more worried about you Hermione, you don’t look well at all. How’s the baby?” Ginny asked and looked from Hermione to the healer.
The baby. Hermione had totally forgot about the little baby boy she was carrying. Both Ginny and Hermione was now looking at the female healer, waiting impatiently for her to answer Ginny’s question. The brown haired, middle aged woman was silent for a brief moment… she almost looked like someone had just died. Then she looked straight into Hermione’s eyes and said, “I’m not going to lie to you Miss Granger but it’s a miracle that your little boy is still alive.” Ginny gave Hermione’s hand another friendly squeeze to show her that she was here for Hermione no matter what would happen next. “His condition is very critical… it was critical before because of all the dark magic he’s been exposed to, but it’s even worse now.” The healer continued without taking her eyes off Hermione, she too wanted to show her support for the pregnant woman, she wanted to prove that she would do anything in her power to make sure that the baby boy wouldn’t get more hurt. “Normally we would make a caesarean section straight away but seeing as you both are so weak it’d be dangerous for both of you.”
“So what’s she going to do now? What going to happen?” Ginny asked worriedly as if she’d read Hermione’s mind, those were the exact questions she wanted answers too.
“The best solution to this is to wait at least two weeks and then see if the baby has moved into a better position”
“And what’s going to happen if it doesn’t?” Ginny asked.
“Then we will have to make an immediate caesarean section, but don’t worry about that now Hermione. All you have to do is to really focus on yourself. You need to relax and use a little magic as possible. When you’re relaxed the baby will automatically feel better because there’s a bond between the two of you already,” the healer explained. “No matter how much your baby has lived through already you don’t want to put him at more risks because then you would loose him.”
Relax? Great… How exactly am I going to relax when my other child is out there somewhere all alone with god knows who, Hermione thought, felling the tears burn under her eyelids. Ginny moved her hand to Hermione’s swollen stomach and rubbed it slowly back and forth over it, giving Hermione a look that said; ‘everything is going to be alright’. Hermione still didn’t believe her of course, even if she badly wanted to, right now it felt like all hope in the world had left her body.
“Alright, I’m going to leave for a while, I have to check up with another patient but I will be right back,” the healer told the two friends. “Try to go back to sleep again,” she said and smiled sweetly at Hermione before she left the room.
The silence that filled the room was deadly. Hermione took a deep breath and tried to stay calm, but the panic was rising more and more inside of her as more time went by. She wanted Becky right here, right now and Draco… With the both of them by her side, she knew she would be able to go through this. But now, she felt more lonely then ever and she had no clue of what to do next. “So everybody’s looking for her right?” Hermione asked quietly after a while. She needed to make herself believe that everything really would be okay…
“Yes, everybody… George even apparated in from Hawaii, he was devastated when he heard what had happened… We all were,” Ginny explained. “We thought something had happened to you and the baby when we got that phone call in the middle of the night from your father.”
“He called you?”
“Yeah, he had no clue what to do… He wasn’t sure if he could take you to a muggle hospital, since you’ve only had your check ups here at St Mungo’s since you got pregnant… and he didn’t know what to do about Becky,” Ginny said seriously, still with her hand on Hermione’s stomach.
Hermione wanted to cry again, her parents, she must have scared the crap out of them. “Do you know where they are now? My parents?”
“They’re in the cafeteria, eating lunch, I just met them,” Ginny replied and shot Hermione a warm smile. Hermione wanted to smile back at her friend but she simply couldn’t. “They’ll be right back,” she continued and then they both fell silent for a while. Hermione came to think about the vision she’d had at Honeydukes and her nightmare… Somehow they seemed to be connected; both to each other and also to reality. The same hooded man had been in both of them and she remembered that Harry had told her about a hooded man that they thought had attacked Narcissa. Who was he? And why did he seem so familiar? Yes, Hermione couldn’t quite put her finger on it but the man had seem very familiar even though she’d never seen his face. The brown haired girl sighed deeply and felt the tears sting in her eyes again, if she only would’ve paid more attention to Becky then this wouldn’t have happened.
“What are you thinking about?” Ginny asked after a while. “Oh, that was a stupid question,” she added quickly assuming that Hermione was of course thinking about Becky.
“It’s all my fault,” Hermione replied with tearful eyes. “I should’ve seen this coming, I could’ve stopped it from happening.”
“Don’t blame yourself—”
“Ginny, listen, none of this would’ve happened if I’d given her more attention… Attention that she has to get from me because she’s my daughter…”
Once again Ginny was interrupted by her friend; “I’ve been so obsessed with getting Draco back that I’ve left Becky in the shadows. I’ve been so selfish,” she said quietly as a tear escaped the corner of her eye. “When I should’ve cared about my kids I buried myself in self-pity… and now…” She was crying now and she had to stop talking and dry some tears away from her cheeks before she continued; “I took everything for granted, assuming that they would be there no matter what and now I might loose both of them,” Hermione sobbed, referring to Becky and her unborn son.
Ginny didn’t know what to say, she could tell Hermione that she wouldn’t loose anyone to try and cheer her friend up. But she had a feeling Hermione wouldn’t believe her anyway and she could understand that… it all seemed kind of hopeless at the moment and she wanted to cry with Hermione, but she couldn’t. She had to be strong for her friend’s sake. She grabbed Hermione’s hand again and smiled at her, then something happened that made Ginny’s heart break.
Hermione turned her head away from her and closed her eyes.
Truth is; Hermione was very ashamed of letting this happen and she didn’t want to look into Ginny’s eyes. She did not want to receive Ginny’s beautiful smile or concerning looks… she didn’t deserve it. She was a bad mother, a bad, bad mother and soon she would pay for it.
Ginny removed her hand from Hermione’s, not sure what to say or do next. Maybe she should just leave her friend alone? Then the door opened and her husband, Harry Potter, stepped inside. “Harry,” she exclaimed quietly and walked up to him. “Any signs of her yet?” She asked after greeting him with a peck on his lips.
“No,” he replied shortly and looked over at Hermione who’d opened her eyes again and was staring straight at him. “But we found her backpack…” He added. “So at least we have a clue of where she could be,” he said and shot Hermione a tired smile. He’d been out all night long, ever since he’d gotten that phone call from Hermione’s father.
“But that man could’ve brought her anywhere… maybe he’s a wizard too? He could’ve apparated away and they could be on the other side of the world,” Hermione said, her voice sounding both dejected and somewhat angry.
Harry and Ginny looked at each other, then they both walked up to Hermione’s side. “What man?” Harry asked seriously.
Hermione realized that she had yet not told her friends about the dream she’d had… and not about the vision either. She hesitated for a while, did she want to tell them? Maybe they’d think she was completely mad…but then she realized that if her dream and vision really was reality then maybe it could help the search for Becky. “I had a dream… and a vision,” she replied quietly.
“A vision?” Ginny asked eagerly. Harry gave her a look that said let Hermione tell her story…
“Yes,” Hermione answered, taking a deep breath. “When we were in Hogsmeade yesterday and I was standing in line at Honeydukes, all of a sudden I started to feel really weak… Like my legs couldn’t carry me anymore and everything was spinning around, and even though the people around me were talking I could not hear them. Then suddenly everything went black in front of my eyes and then I saw a man… a hooded man, walking down a lonesome street in the middle of the night, blood dripping from his fingers… and I saw a woman, lying face flat on the ground… she looked dead and then I heard this painful scream, it was a little child screaming… And without warning, I was snapped back to reality, back at Honeydukes… that’s when I rushed out.”
“Maybe someone’s after you again…” Harry said with a troubled look upon his tired face.
“Mike,” Ginny gasped, placing a hand over her mouth worriedly.
“He’s in Azkaban Gin,” Harry told his wife.
“Well, are you sure that he’s still there? What if he’s escaped?” Ginny asked.
“I know he’s still there, believe me,” Harry replied while looking at Hermione. “He’s where he belongs and the dementors make sure to stick around longer then usual outside his cell; only to make him suffer for what he’s done,” he continued.
“Can you tell me why he hasn’t received the dementors kiss yet?”
“Not now Ginny,” the raven haired man said, sitting down at the edge of Hermione’s bed. “Tell me more about your ‘visions’ Hermione,” he said calmly. He didn’t quite understand why but somehow he felt like he needed to hear about them. He thought that hearing about it would help, he wasn’t sure about what it could do to help though…
“Well…” Hermione said quietly, thinking about Mike. Maybe he had escaped? How could Harry be so sure that he hadn’t? And Ginny was right, he had not received the dementors kiss yet and he was supposed to have received it months ago. Maybe he was the hooded man? Maybe he had Becky now… She could feel the tears sting under her eyelids once more, this time she couldn’t fight them.
“Hermione, you don’t need to tell us right now, we can wait.” Ginny, who was on the verge of crying herself, said. Harry nodded his head in agreement and grabbed hold of his best friends’ hand, letting her know that they would be there for her no matter what.
“It’s alright,” Hermione sobbed. “I want to tell you…” She continued as the tears kept running down her pale cheeks.
“It’s really no rush,” Ginny told her. “And the healer said—”
“I don’t care what she said! I have to tell you, it could be important!” Hermione exclaimed angrily, she was tired of everybody feeling sorry for her all of the time. Yes, she’d been going through a lot lately. Yes, she was in a lot of pain; both mentally and physically… but she didn’t need, nor want, people to constantly tell her how sorry they were about her situation. In fact, that only made things worse. Harry and Ginny, who were both taken aback by the angry tone in Hermione’s voice, looked at each other and then back at their friend.
Hermione took a deep breath to calm down before she said; “I had a dream last night… Becky was in it, she was walking in a dark forest and it was really foggy outside. She had her pink backpack on and she was carrying a map that she’d drawn herself, a map she showed me before we went to sleep… She said she wanted to find Draco for me,” she told her friends and another tear slowly made its way down her cheek. She gathered strength inside of her by taking another deep breath and continued; “She was singing a lullaby as she was walking there, all alone… a lullaby that I always used to sing for her. She asked me to sing it yesterday, but I said no.”
Harry gave her hand a friendly squeeze and said; “If it’s too hard for you talk about it you don’t have to tell us right now Hermione, we‘ll be here.”
“Then suddenly she heard noises and she understood that someone was following her; so she started to run,” Hermione sobbed as if she hadn’t heard what Harry just said. “She ran… and ran… until she tripped and fell face first to the ground. When she looked up, he was standing right in front of her…”
“A man… a hooded man… red eyes, she screamed and then I woke up and I went to check on her… she wasn‘t there. Her backpack and the hand drawn map were gone,” Hermione told them and sobbed loudly. “She’d tied together sheets as a rope… it’s all my fault, I’m a bad mother… a bad, bad mother…” She was crying so much now that her entire body started to shake. All of a sudden she felt somewhat strong and she took a firm grip of Harry’s hand; “Help me, please, you have to help me!”
“Try to calm down Hermione,” Harry said as he watched his friend with worried eyes. He felt bad for asking her about this, it had made her so upset and that wouldn’t be good for her or the baby. “Hermione? Look at me…” He said trying to keep his voice as calm as possible. She didn’t seem to hear him though, it was like she was in some kind of trance…
…and she was. It was like someone had turned off the light in the room because it all turned black in front of her eyes. She could still hear Harry’s voice but it was very distant as if he was talking to her from another room. She panicked and felt how it got harder and harder to breathe.
Harry turned his head towards Ginny, who was crying in fear, “Go get the healer!”
With tears streaming down her face Ginny hurried out of the room… it felt like eternity for Hermione but it was less then a minute before a few people rushed into her room. She could hear the voices of her parents… the healers… She was so confused. Why couldn’t she see them? Was she about to have another vision? She tried to block all thoughts out so that her head would be clear for any kind of visions that could tell her something about Becky. But then, all of a sudden she felt something sting in her left arm and then she started to feel drowsy. Before she drifted in to sleep she could see the worried faces of the people around her bed, then it all went black again.
“What did you do that for?” Lydia Granger exclaimed at the healer that had given her daughter the injection. “What was that?”
“We had to calm her down, she’s just asleep… It’s nothing to worry about, she’ll wake up again in about twenty hours,” the healer explained.
“Twenty hours?” both Ginny and Mrs. Granger exclaimed at the same time.
“Believe me, she needs it,” another healer said. “Panic attacks like this could hurt, or even kill, her unborn child. The injection we gave her is not at all dangerous, it‘s just a sleeping potion. It‘ll be good for her and the baby to get some rest.”
A while after that Harry and Ginny left St Mungo’s to pick up their kids from Ginny’s mother, then they all went home to their house. It was already 8 pm so shortly after they got home they put the kids to sleep and sat down in the kitchen to have a talk about the day.
“I just hope we’ll find Becky soon, poor Hermione, she had a hard time going through every day even when Becky was around. I can only imagine what she’s going through right now,” Ginny sighed.
Harry looked thoughtful; he’d been thinking about something ever since they left St Mungo’s. About Hermione’s dream… and her vision. Hermione wasn’t the type of girl that would make things like that up, heck, she was the one who least believed in premonitions and visions that professor Trelawney had taught them about in school. No, there was something about those things Hermione had seen that just seemed oddly familiar. Like the hooded man… Could that possibly be the same hooded man that had broken into the Malfoy manor a few days ago?
“Oh, sorry Ginny, I was just thinking about those visions Hermione told us about,” he said and looked into his wife’s eyes. “I don’t know but somehow I think they’re important, I think they can help us in the search for Becky. I wish I could talk more about it with Hermione,” he continued.
“I wish Draco could step in through that door with Becky in his arms and then they could both go to Hermione… she’d be so happy,” the red head said as tears filled her eyes. “Harry, she’s been through so much… loosing Ron, raising Becky alone, meeting Draco, meeting Mike—”
Harry interrupted her, “Everything is going to be alright.”
“I sure hope so.”
“Ginny come here,” Harry said and leaned forward and kissed her lips. “Everything’s going to be alright, Hermione’s strong, she’ll make it through this,” he whispered before kissing her again.
“I love you Harry.”
“I love you too,” he said and kissed her a third time before they both heard something tap on the window. It was Hedwig, Harry’s owl, with a letter attached to one of her legs. Harry got up from the chair and walked over to open the window and let her in, then he took the letter and read it quickly.
“Who’s it from?” Ginny asked nervously.
“Neville,” Harry replied shortly. “They found Becky’s map, I have to go.”
Ginny gasped and thought about the fact that finding Becky’s map and backpack could be both a good and a bad sign. It could mean that she was somewhere in the area where they’d found it and there could be other traces around that place… but it could also mean that the backpack was all that was left of the little girl. Ginny shuddered a the thought and stood up. Harry walked over to her and gave her a long and warm hug.
“Be careful,” she whispered as they pulled away from each other. “And bring Becky back home,” she continued and watched her husband apparate out of their kitchen.
The very moment Ginny was left alone, she went into the living room and sat down in one of the armchairs in front of the fireplace. The fire was dying, but Ginny didn’t care, she wasn’t cold anyways. She just had to calm down a little bit. The past twenty-four hours had been crazy and she just needed to sit down for a while and think about everything that had happened. She would never be able to sleep anyways, not when Becky still wasn’t found and now Harry was somewhere out there looking for her. James was sleeping on the couch and the twins were sleeping in their perambulator next to the fireplace. Ginny wanted to have them close to her, especially now. Just as she was about to drift in to sleep she thought she heard something or someone move outside the backdoor, on the porch. She looked out through the windows but it was quite dark outside so she couldn’t really see much…
She closed her eyes and tried to relax, maybe sleeping for just a couple of hours would do her good. She had after all been awake since they found out that Becky was gone. She yawned and started to feel really drowsy. Then suddenly she flashed her eyes open; she’d heard something again. This time she was sure, there was someone or something on her porch. She almost didn’t dare to turn her head around to look out through the windows again. She grabbed her wand and turned her head slowly, very slowly, to look over her shoulder; but she still couldn’t see anything out there in the dark.
James, Riley and Paige were all still asleep and Ginny knew she had to do something; maybe the intruder was dangerous? She got up from the armchair and walked over to the windows, holding her wand with a firm grip in her hand. Everything was so silent… too silent. She opened the backdoor and stepped outside. “Lumos,” she whispered so that the tip of her wand could light her way in the darkness. She searched the porch but no one was there, she sighed in relief. Maybe it had only been her imagination… It had, after all, been a very long day. After closing and locking the backdoor again she turned around to walk over to the armchair she’d been sitting in before, but she wasn’t alone anymore.
Right in front of the fire place stood a quite tall man, wearing a long black cloak, his face was shadowed by his hood so Ginny couldn’t see who it was. She took a step backwards which made her back hit the door behind her. In his arms he carried a little girl… Becky. Ginny wanted to scream.
“Don’t scream,” the man whispered as if he had read her mind.
“Wh-what do you want fr-from me?” Ginny stuttered, she tried to sound strong but she knew she failed.
“I want you to take Becky to her mother,” he replied with a hoarse voice. Then he carefully laid the girl down in the empty armchair in front of the fireplace. Ginny watched her intensely, trying to see if she was hurt… or if she was even alive. Suddenly the hooded man reached down his hand towards Becky’s face and as soon as Ginny realized it she rushed across the floor and pushed him away from the little girl. “Don’t touch her,” she exclaimed as the man stumbled backwards and the hood fell off his head. Ginny gasped.
“Draco,” she stated quietly and looked straight into his grey eyes. He looked away as if he was ashamed of something. “Is it really you?” She asked without taking her eyes off him.
“You weren’t supposed to see me,” he told her.
“Oh my god,” Ginny said and took a few steps closer to him. He turned his head and Ginny could finally get a fair view of his toughened face. He had cuts on his cheeks and on his forehead, stubble covering his chin and his normally pale skin was dirty. She looked into his eyes; he seemed so weak and his eyes looked like they were screaming for her to help him. “It’s… Hermione’s going to be so happy,” she said after a while in silence.
“Hermione’s not going to see me,” he stated quietly.
“What do you mean she’s not going to see you! Of course she’ll see you, in fact I think you should go to St Mungo’s at once and—”
“She’s at St Mungo’s?” Draco interrupted.
“Is she okay?”
“No Draco, she’s not… and your baby—”
“What about the baby?” He exclaimed worriedly. He had promised himself before he returned with Becky that he wasn’t going to start asking questions about Hermione or their unborn baby. In fact he didn’t know if Hermione still was carrying their son. He had no clue for how long he’d been gone; it sure felt like eternity.
“Well his condition is critical… Listen Draco, Hermione really needs you right now, I’m so glad you’re back and she will be too. She’s been so worried,” Ginny told him and placed a hand on his shoulder. He looked into her eyes and she smiled at him.
“I can’t… Ginny, it’s…” He begun but stopped talking the moment he felt the dreadful pain in his arm. He knew he had to get out before he would do something he’d regret later… Like assaulting Ginny… The way he’d assaulted his own mother, he didn’t even know if she had survived but he did not have the time to ask the redhead about that right now. “I have to go, tell Hermione that I—”
“Oh no, no, no, no! You’re not going anywhere, I won’t let you!” Ginny said and tried to block his way. And then suddenly his eyes was glowing red, she gasped as they returned to his normal grey eye colour again. But she still didn’t move out of his way; she wanted him to stay. For Hermione’s sake.
Draco started to panic, he didn’t want to hurt Ginny as well. In fact he didn’t want to hurt anyone. He wanted more then anything to stay with Hermione and with Becky, but he knew he couldn’t. he picked up his wand from his pocket; “Forgive me Ginny,” he said quietly and looked at her with sad eyes. Then he mumbled a certain spell of some kind, Ginny never really understood what he said, she got the feeling that he was speaking another language. Then suddenly she felt a rush of something cold going through her entire body… It almost felt like it was freezing the blood in her veins, it hurt a little bit… but soon she didn’t feel anything as she fell to the floor.
Draco took one last look at her before he pulled the hood over his head once more. It hurt inside of him to do this, but he knew it was for a good reason. Before he left he stroke one hand over Becky’s cheek and whispered; “Take care of your mother.”
A/N: Thanks to Sara and her mom for beta'ing this chapter. They rock my socks :D
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