Chapter 10 : A Dreaded Moment
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Chapter 10: A Dreaded Moment
As Hermione spun through the floo network, she felt herself stopping in front of a tiny fireplace. She quickly pushed through and dusted herself off, her eyes taking in the scene in front of her.
The room she found herself in definitely belonged to a man. There were Quidditch posters on the pale cream walls, clothing littered virtually every available surface as well as the floor, and dark wooden furniture was placed sparsely along the walls. It was homey, but far too orange for Hermione’s taste.
Hermione made her way into what she presumed was the kitchen. There, seated (cowering, is more like it, Hermione thought) at the small round table were her two best mates, Ron and Harry, each with a chipped orange mug of tea in their hands.
What surprised Hermione was not only the additional presence of Molly Weasley, who instantly swept her into a fierce hug, but none other than Pansy Parkinson was pulling a tray of freshly-made scones out of the oven!
Without using magic!
Hermione shook her head. She decided to deal with the apparent end of the world as she knew it at another time. Right now, she intended to give the men a piece of her mind.
Before they had a chance to react, she pulled out her wand and swiftly muttered, “incarcerous” at both men. Two sets of startled eyes looked at her pleadingly, though she could see that they had both accepted what was coming to them. As the ropes bound them firmly together, the mug fell from Harry’s hand and shattered on the tile floor.
He winced, but ignored the hot tea now spilled down his front.
After magically cleaning the remains of the ceramic mug off of the floor, Molly held out her hand to Pansy and both women silently filed out of the room. They knew this was something they could have no part in.
Hermione placed sound-proofing and sealing charms over the door and locked eyes with Harry. As she slowly stepped toward him, she sucked in a deep breath.
“HARRY. JAMES. POTTER. I OUGHT TO REPORT YOU TO THE MINISTRY FOR THE STUNT YOU PULLED. HOW DARE YOU LEAVE ME LIKE THAT IN YOUR HOUSE! COWARD! I AM ASHAMED OF YOU! HOW DARE YOU NOT ANSWER THE QUESTIONS I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO KNOW THE ANSWERS TO! AND HOW DARE YOU FOR LETTING ME BELIEVE THE MAN I LOVE HAS BEEN DEAD FOR NEARLY SIXTEEN YEARS! I OUGHT TO HEX YOU IN A WAY YOU WILL NEVER FORGET, BUT I WOULD NOT WANT TO DO THAT TO POOR GINNY!”
Hermione paused, her pulse now racing faster than she had ever felt it. She was boiling in fury. She turned to the redhead now, who was clearly struggling not to laugh from Harry’s left.
“And YOU, RONALD WEASLEY! IF I SO MUCH AS HEAR ONE GIGGLE CROSS YOUR LIPS, I SHALL CALL GINNY OVER AND HAVE HER DEMONSTRATE THAT BAT-BOGEY HEX FOR ME! MERLIN HELP YOU, IF I FIND OUT THAT YOU HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH KEEPING DRACO AND I APART I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU!”
And with that, Hermione crumpled to the tile floor, tears flowing freely from her eyes as the stress of the situation finally took hold.
She lifted her head a few moments later as Ron softly uttered, “Mione. Please. Let Harry explain.”
Hermione turned her eyes on Harry, willing herself to feel the same anger she had only minutes before. His emerald eyes held nothing but pain and remorse. She stood and sighed.
“I gave you a chance to explain earlier, Harry. You chose instead to stun me and come crawling to Ron. But because I NEED to know the truth, for Annie’s sake as much as my own, I will ignore the instinct to go back to America and never speak to you again. I trusted you. You had better have a bloody good explanation for this.”
Harry glanced down at the ropes binding his hand in front of his mouth, where his cup of tea had been poised earlier. Hermione frowned and undid the spell, the bonds disappearing. The men stood and silently resumed their places at the table. Hermione sat across from Harry, her wand and eyes still trained on him.
He took a deep breath. “I am so sorry, Mione, for not allowing you to ask your questions earlier. I was a coward, you are right about that. I should never use magic on you against your will. I do love you, I need for you to know that before I go any further.”
At that, Harry stared intently into Hermione’s eyes. He saw her give a small nod, so he let out the breath he had been holding.
“Thank you. Now, I know there is a lot you need answers for, and I will do my best to give those to you. Some of this, however, is classified and I will need Kingsley’s permission to disclose the details to you… but, I can tell you that, yes, Draco is alive.”
Hermione sucked in a sharp breath and felt tears prick in her eyes. She had of course glimpsed Draco earlier, but hearing Harry acknowledge this as truth made it more real to her somehow.
Harry continued, “It is not easy to explain… All those years ago at Hogwarts, two rookie Aurors uncovered a plot against Draco’s life orchestrated by the remaining Death Eaters. There are those who consider the Malfoys to be the reason their side lost the War. It is no longer a secret that Narcissa Malfoy saved my life in the end. Mione, Draco never wanted to leave you. The Auror team physically had to restrain him while they disclosed the danger he was in. He of course was a stubborn git and insisted that he could take care of himself. He wanted to run off with you, he mentioned… (at this Harry winced) he had asked you to marry him. After realizing that you would be in danger as well, the Aurors managed to convince him to give them a bit of time – a few months at the most – to round up what remained of Voldemort’s minions while he laid low. He insisted that for good measure, they protect you as well, so…”
Harry looked over at Ron, who was watching Hermione’s reaction intently. She appeared so distraught, Harry felt his heart drop to his stomach as he realized what he had yet to tell her.
Surprisingly, Ron cleared his throat and began, “So… we had to act quickly. We felt the only way for you to truly be safe was for you to leave Hogwarts so we would be able to round up the bastards without having to worry about you joining what was sure to be another battle. We knew you would not leave quietly; I mean, you are the smartest witch of our age, so we had to allow you to believe that the Death Eaters had murdered Malfoy.”
Hermione turned her anguished eyes to Ron. “Those two rookie Aurors… they were you, then? You and Harry? It was YOU, my closest mates, who chose to put me through the HELL of losing my fiancé? I COULD HAVE HELPED YOU! I WOULD HAVE GLADLY GIVEN MY LIFE FOR HIM, HAD IT BEEN NECESSARY!” Hermione was once again seething with anger.
And then her heart stopped.
A voice answered from behind her, “And I knew that, Granger. That is why I couldn’t allow it. It was my idea; these two could never have come up with a plan so clearly Slytherin. You had to believe I was dead, and I had to go under cover with these two sods while we rounded up old Voldy’s gang.”
Draco Malfoy was back from the dead.
But no matter, the look Hermione Granger was sending his way was going to land him right back into his grave.
Draco sighed as he lurched forward and pressed her to him. He knew he was not forgiven – none of them were – but if the tears he now felt on his robes were any indication, she would soon understand why they had to act as they did.
With Draco’s bastard of a Father being held at the Ministry, Golden Boy and the Weasel would soon be able to save the world again. His family would finally be safe.
Because this time, Draco would be fighting on the right side.
Annie sat on the couch staring at the smoldering embers of the fireplace in the little sitting room for what seemed like days. Ginny came by to sit with her every so often, offering tea and biscuits, which Annie ate without really tasting anything.
I need Mum. I have to know what is going on. She has been gone for such a long time. I know Uncle Harry has checked in with Ginny at least twice, but I don’t think I will really believe that Mum is okay until I can see her for myself. Annie sighed.
Suddenly the fireplace glowed green. Annie leapt off of the couch and flung herself at her soot-covered mother without hesitation, not noticing the man who stepped from the flames shortly after Hermione.
“Oh, Annie, darling! I am so sorry for just leaving like that. I have so much to tell you, I am still sorting through it myself. We will need to stay here at your Aunty Ginny’s for awhile, it seems we are in a bit of danger and your Uncles Harry and Ron will need to take care of it. I will tell you as much as I can soon. But first… Annie, I would like you to meet someone.”
Hermione gestured behind her to a tall man with pale blonde hair and somewhat pointed features. Annie was shocked to see her Mum clasp the man’s hand in her own, smiling at him shyly. “Annie, this is Draco Malfoy. Your father.”
And then Annie’s world went black.
Hermione and Draco heard loud chuckling behind them.
Ron stepped through the fireplace and laughed as Hermione gently placed her daughter on the velvet settee, “I guess fainting is one of those hereditary traits, eh, Ferret?”
A/N: So... what do you think? Now, Hermione has not forgiven them that easily, don't worry; she just has a lot to take in, and needs Annie with her to maintain her sanity. She does not know the whole story yet, but she is willing to see their side. There will be more to come shortly! Thank you, and happy reading!
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