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Chapter 20 : Choices
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“What the hell happened at the mansion?” She asked immediately. “Where’s Chris? Where’re the twins? You two look awful!”
“We’re fine.” James said as he and Alex hugged her. “Everyone’s fine.”
“Everyone except for my dad,”
Alex and James recounted the story, telling of the struggle and how the men had taken Malfoy. By the end of it, Hermione was sitting on a chair by the kitchen counter with her head in her hands and sobbing louder than she’d ever cried before.
“Bastards..!” She shouted as she banged her fists on the countertop. “What could they possibly want with him..? I mean- Oh, this has Clara written all over it…”
“Clara?” James asked confusedly. “What does this have to do with Clara?”
“You remember my talking about Nate?”
“You mean that client you can’t stand?”
“Yes, and apparently he works for the Ministry and your lovely sister sent him to spy on us.”
“Clara did that?” Alex said unbelievably. Hermione nodded and wiped her eyes.
“Hard to imagine, right..? Well, she did and I went to her to talk about it. She’s hell-bent on exposing your father and me and I’m not surprised that Draco’s been taken.”
Just as Hermione finished talking, an unrecognizable owl flew through the window and dropped a letter in front of her. She quickly opened it, her eyes becoming watery once again as she read it:
By now you should have realized that your husband has been captured. If you want any chance of getting him back, you will be at the following address tomorrow afternoon at three.
“What are we going to do?” James asked after his mother finished reading it aloud. Hermione looked up at him and shook his head.
“We’re going to do nothing, but I’m going to the address.”
“Hermione, it could be a trap.”
“It probably is Alex, but what choice do I have? Tomorrow I’m going, and I want none of you to stay in this flat.”
“Where should we go?”
“Draco and I keep emergency money in a safe behind the painting in the living room. Take it and buy a small flat anywhere that’s far from here. I’ll owl you when everything is alright again.”
“And what if nothing’s alright?”
Hermione stared at the two of them and took a deep breath. She raised her chin and swallowed.
“Watch over your sisters and brother and raise them well.”
The next day Hermione was on edge. She didn’t know how things were going to turn out and by all rights she was being a complete pessimist. She spent the entire morning biting her nails and spending time with Christina, Marissa, and Avery like as if she was never going to see them again. At around two, Hermione sat Alex and James down, telling them of all the money she and Malfoy had stashed away, giving them the vault numbers and keys, ordering them to sell the flat they were in at the moment, the Marais Mansion, and all of the business merchandise. James told her she was making it like as if she was going to be killed. Hermione in all seriousness told him that that was what might happen. And at three, she said goodbye to them all and Flooed over to the address on the letter she had received.
Hermione half expected to walk into a place resembling a dungeon. She was more or less surprised that she entered a very spacious room of a very large mansion like her own, and that the only person aside from her was a woman whom she recognized instantly.
“You’re that talk host woman from Wizard Live.” Hermione said as she crossed her arms.
“You’re a fan?”
Delilah shrugged her shoulders and conjured a cup of tea as she motioned for Hermione to take a seat.
“Would you like a cup?”
“I’d rather have my husband, thanks. Where is he?”
“Relax, relax, you’ll get him back.” Delilah told her calmly. “That is if you cooperate and don’t try anything stupid.”
“My husband’s life is on the line. What makes you think I’d do something stupid?”
“‘Stupid’ is the wrong word. I meant brave. I, well the whole world really, know your track record. Always ready to save someone and act without thinking.”
“Fine,” Hermione admitted. “So, you know what I might do. Let’s just get away from the small chat and have you tell me what my daughter’s coached you to say and do.”
“…You know that Clara’s planned this?” Delilah asked surprised.
“I wasn’t named the ‘Brightest Witch’ of my age for nothing. But what I’m more curious about is what’s in it for you?”
“Well, aside from the fact that I’m getting paid handsomely, with you on my show my ratings will fly through the roof.”
“It’s Clara’s new plan to expose you and your husband. Have you on my show divulging how you and Mr. Malfoy ruined perfectly happy marriages to have each other and of course the details of your growing Dark Arts business. Two birds with one stone she said. Letting the world know how terrible you were to the people you claimed to love and, to specifically the Ministry, by the full extent of the law you should be punished.”
“What in her right mind, or yours for that matter, makes her think I’m going to go on your show to do any of what you just said?”
“If you want your husband-”
“Draco would rather me let him rot wherever he is than do that.” Hermione snapped at her. “Merlin forgive me for letting him suffer, but it’s going to be done.” She immediately stood and made her way to the fireplace when Delilah stood as well.
“Mrs. Malfoy, I hate to do this but-”
Delilah snapped her fingers, and standing in front of Hermione were two men holding a very weak man by the arms. With a closer look, she let out a small gasp, realizing that it was Malfoy.
“Draco…” She whispered with her eyes tearing up. He feebly shook his head.
“I’m fine, you need to-”
“Mrs. Malfoy do you recognize this?”
Hermione turned around and stared wide-eyed at Delilah who was holding Malfoy’s journal. Her heart skipped a beat, hoping to Merlin that they didn’t have hers as well.
“O-of course I do.” She stammered. “It’s Draco’s journal.”
“Yes, it is. And after a bit of research, Clara’s told me something quite amazing about it. She told me that Mr. Malfoy over there mingled a bit of his blood with it. Would you care to tell me why?”
“…We like keeping journals.” Hermione told her. “But our lives have become busy, and by mixing blood with a journal, it becomes alive, more or less, allowing it to write itself with our thoughts and what we did so we don’t have to.”
“Clever,” Delilah said as she opened the journal and fingered the first page. “But do you also know what happens if a page is ripped?”
“The person whose blood is mingled with it will become hurt.”
“That’s right, and Clara has instructed me to rip page after page of Mr. Malfoy’s journal until you say yes to coming on my show.”
Hermione stared at Delilah and looked back to Malfoy, who stood there (barely), shaking his head, his silent way of telling her not to give in. She looked back to Delilah, following her head and not her heart and said boldly:
“Fine,” Delilah muttered and ripped out the first page. Malfoy’s shouts echoed throughout the room and gnawed at Hermione greatly. “You still say no?”
Hermione nodded and heard another rip, another scream, another two rips, and yet more screams. She couldn’t take it anymore and was about to raise her hands in the air to tell Delilah to stop and that she’d do it when the tearing of the pages stopped.
“You’re a strong one, aren’t you? Alright, let’s see how strong you are about saying no when it’s your children who’ll be screaming like he was.”
“What! Draco, I thought they were in our safe!” She shouted to Malfoy, but Delilah’s laugh drowned out what he was about to say.
“Clara’s found the best Ministry officials. They can break into any safe. Now, do you still say no, Mrs. Malfoy?”
Hermione watched as Delilah took up Christina’s journal and fingered the first five pages. There was nothing she could do. She and Malfoy had once talked that if something were to happen, that they’d sacrifice themselves, but when it came to the children, they were priority.
“Stop, I’ll do it.” She said reluctantly. Delilah smiled and nodded.
“Good, because the show starts in less than ten minutes,”
The room was well-lit, and magic-cams (or to a muggle, cameras for filming) were on and ready to record. Delilah, the hostess of Wizard Live, was waiting anxiously for the time for Hermione to be on center stage. Soon the crowd became silenced and Hermione was swallowing hard, completely in disbelief that this torment was happening.
“Well, we’re here with the infamous Hermione Malfoy who is going to tell us her life story.”
The crowd roared and Hermione shot them all death glares that quickly silenced them.
“Don’t let her intimidate you,” Delilah said to the audience and then turned back to her guest. “Are you ready, Mrs. Malfoy?”
“Do I have a choice?” She snarled at her.
“No, not really… Let’s start off with how long you have been married?”
“Three years this August,”
“Hmm, such a young marriage… How many children..?”
“Five? In three years?” Delilah feigned interest. Hermione rolled her eyes.
“You know as well as I they’re not all Draco’s.”
“Remind me and my viewers, shall we? Their names..?”
“Clara and James Potter; Christina, Avery, and Marissa Malfoy…”
“My, you managed to get around, didn’t you?”
Hermione tried to lunge at her, but the magical restraints on her chair prevented her. She felt the ropes around her wrists tighten and was sure that they were constricting blood flow, for her hands were turning slightly pale.
“Now, now, wouldn’t want to do something you’d regret on live telemagivision, would you?”
“They’re plenty of things I’d love to do, but I’m restrained.” Hermione scowled.
“Ah, there goes the Malfoy in you. You’re completely drenched in the traits, isn’t she audience? But I suppose that’s because of the marriage. Or was it the affair that did it to you?”
It went on like that for what felt like to Hermione for hours, even though it was only an hour long show. There was a short commercial and that was where it was time for Delilah to shut up and let Hermione talk; to tell of how she was married to Harry Potter, and how she met up with Draco Malfoy, had an affair for eight years and a child who was magically changed (felony number one by Ministry of Magic standards). She told of how the affair was found out, how Malfoy bribed a judge so Clara couldn’t get custody of James when he was seventeen (felony number two) and how he bribed the same judge a second time so Hermione could get full custody of James when he said he had wanted to live with her (felony number three). She mentioned the business, what they did and how they did it which raised the number of felonies to above ten.
By the end of it all, the number of felonies against her and Malfoy was about fifteen and visible tears were rolling down her cheeks. Finally the show was over, and the restraints on her wrists were gone. Malfoy was released to her and the two of them were backstage, holding onto each other, sobbing like the biggest babies in the world. There was a gagging noise behind them and Malfoy had to hold Hermione back from attacking Clara, who stood there smirking.
“What the hell kind of daughter are you!” Hermione shouted, trying to push Malfoy off of her. “How could you do this!”
“The better question is what the hell kind of mother are you,” Clara replied with crossed arms. “I did what was necessary.”
“Necessary? You did what was necessary?! You nearly cost Draco his life! You risked your brothers and sisters’ lives!”
“I knew you wouldn’t let any harm come to them. They were merely a bargaining chip.”
Hermione had nearly escaped Malfoy’s arms when Ministry officials apparated around them. Clara, though slightly forced, grinned and nodded to the men who appeared.
“Draco Scorpius Malfoy, Hermione Jane Malfoy, by the authority of the Minister of Magic, you both are hereby arrested.”
“Miss Potter, shall we keep them in separate cells as you first requested?”
“No,” Clara said with a sigh. “Keep them together. After the trials are over they’re never going to see each other again, so they might as well enjoy the next few months.”
Hermione was in amazement of what was happening. The Ministry officials were arresting her and Malfoy, making sure they were magically bound tight before the mass apparation. Before they left Hermione glared at Clara with as much hatred as humanly possible, but deep down there was hardly enough (or any) hate there to overlook the pity she had for her daughter. And if she wasn’t mistaken, she could see a single tear falling down Clara’s cheek before being apparated away.
Ginny stood in her kitchen magically chopping onions and other sorts of things. Dean and Dennis were out having “father-son” time and it brought a smile to her lips at the thought of them being so close. Just as she was about to head to the refrigerator the Daily Prophet owl flew through her window and dropped a very thin paper. She gave the owl a bit of money and watched it fly out with a confused look on her face. The Daily Prophet only gave one edition per day, and she had already gotten it early that morning. The second thing that had her puzzled was that it was so small. It usually had tons and tons of articles while the one she just received seemed to only have one or two.
“Something really big must’ve happened.” Ginny said as she picked up the paper. Her eyes grew wide and her mouth dropped as she saw the headline:
Draco and Hermione Malfoy: Arrested on Criminal Charges
Harry was coming down the stairs of his flat humming a tune that he couldn’t get rid of. He was feeling rather joyful, but it was replaced by worry when he went into his living room and saw Ginny in a much frazzled state.
“Gin, what’s wrong?”
“Have you seen the Daily Prophet?”
“Yeah, this morning like always. Why are you-?”
“But you haven’t seen this one.” Ginny said as she shoved the paper into his hands. Harry scanned the headline and couldn’t believe his eyes. He stood motionless for a while until he finally managed to sit down.
“How on earth could this have happened?” Harry asked in disbelief.
“I don’t know. I mean, neither one of us has kept in contact with her to know what’s going on, but Merlin this is Hermione we’re talking about. Criminal charges..? This is the woman who’d catch a hissy fit if you jay-walked!”
“This is also the woman who walked out of a happy life for an old enemy. She’s been with Malfoy for about eleven years now. Who knows what’s rubbed off on her?”
“…You don’t believe that.”
“How do you know? Don’t you remember what she’s put me through?”
“Yes, unfortunately,” Ginny sighed. “I remember what she did to you. But I also remember that you once loved her with all of your heart. Something like that doesn’t just go away. I know you still care about her just as I do.”
Harry stared at his friend and groaned inwardly. He knew she was right. Even though he didn’t think he could be near Hermione with a ten-foot pole, he didn’t hate her. The only person he ever hated in his life was Voldemort and on no levels was Hermione anything like him. Harry sighed and ran his fingers through his hair.
“I care more than I should.” He finally said. Ginny put a hand comforting hand on his shoulder and nodded gently.
“You know, I don’t think Hermione did anything.” She told him. “I think they’re just nailing her because she’s married to Malfoy. They probably think she’s in cahoots with him. It’s all possibilities.”
“We wouldn’t know that for sure unless we talked to her.”
“Maybe we can… Or at least you can. You’re a Ministry official Harry. You can request a visit with her.”
“I don’t know Gin,”
“What have you got to lose? It’s just to talk. Harry, she can’t go to Azkaban; not just because we still care about her, or because we have pity for her. Chris is only ten. And then there’re her twins. They need her.”
On the brink of Harry’s words there was a pop, and Clara, wearing a small smile, walked up to him and Ginny.
“Hey you guys. What’s with the upset faces?”
“Your mother’s been arrested.” Harry told her. He was expecting her to look surprised and begin rambling off loads of questions, but neither of that happened. She merely grinned and crossed her arms.
“You know?” Ginny asked confusedly. “Why do you look so happy then if you know?”
“Aunt Gin, that’s the reason for my being happy. She’s finally getting what she deserves for doing what she did to us. And it wasn’t an easy feat making sure that that happened.”
“You caused Hermione to get arrested!”
“As far as I’m concerned it was all her doing.” Clara said stubbornly. “I merely helped.”
“Clara, this is insane!” Harry nearly shouted at her. “It’s one thing to be mad at your mother but to do something like this?”
“Two years ago you would’ve been thrilled.”
“The hell I would! Your mother may deserve a great many things but no one, and I mean no one, deserves Azkaban. Clara, that’s where she’s going to go if the courts find her guilty!”
“And it’ll be her fault and not mine. But I’ll tell you what… When she and Mr. Malfoy’s trials come, I’ll be sitting front row with Sandra.”
Harry and Ginny stared unbelievably at Clara who brushed past them and ventured further into the flat. Wasting no time, Harry magically changed his clothes and donned a coat.
“Where’re you going?”
“To catch a visit with Hermione,”
Author's Note: chapter 20 folks!! hope you like it and thank you all for reading my fic and reviewing! *gives hugs and throws kisses* lol i really appreciate it!! :)
p.s only one more chapter left!! :(
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