The meeting in front of the exec Aurors and the Board Members was to be the first of the many in the upcoming months. It was supposed to last for an hour, no more and no less; enough time to ask some very important questions and get Malfoy back to the safe house quickly. The less time he spent outdoors the better.
Malfoy stayed in bed until eight-thirty because that was the time Hermione stormed his room and began tapping him incessantly for him to wake up. He groaned angrily at her prodding and Hermione couldn’t help but feel that she was someone’s mother, trying to get her son up to go to school.
“Will you stop being such a baby and get up already? I want to get there by nine-thirty so we can prep.”
“Prep for what..?” Malfoy said groggily as he pushed his bed sheets off of him.
“For the types of questions they’re going to ask…” Hermione said nervously as she bit her bottom lip. Malfoy looked at her in confusion. He didn’t know what she was so worked up over.
“It’s not a test, Granger, where there’s a right or wrong answer. I just have to be honest.”
“I don’t want you to be honest.” She said quickly.
“…You’ve completely lost your marbles.”
“It’s not like that. I just want you to omit a few things. Remember our conversation last night? Well, I still have my doubts and I don’t want the Ministry using what you say as a weapon against you. Tell the truth, yes, but if they ask you questions about one of the Death Eater’s personality or their daily habits…fudge it a bit, okay? Just until my mind stops being fogged…”
“Well, look at you.” Malfoy sneered mischievously. “Good Girl Granger is rising up against the Ministry.”
“Don’t say that!” Hermione said with wide-eyes. “It’s a precaution. Like I said before I’m probably just reading into things too deeply. But anyway, we’re wasting time. Shower, dress, and while you’re eating breakfast, I’ll do the same.”
With the talk they had at the safe house, there was no need for prepping. Malfoy got the idea Hermione had put into his head and he was going to follow through. Despite how much she drove him off the deep end, he learned to trust her judgments. This was “Know-It-All-Granger,” and really and truly, she definitely knew it all.
They used to visitor’s entrance to break off suspicion. Hermione had Malfoy walking so close to her that anyone would think that they were conjoined. He rolled his eyes every time he took a step away from her and she pulled him back.
“And I thought living with you was torture.” He huffed.
“Believe me, Malfoy I hardly want to be this close to you.”
After a series of secret passage ways Malfoy had never seen before (for he thought he had known them all), Hermione ushered him into a fairly large-sized room with Aubrey Mattock sitting on what looked like a podium, with a few Board Members and exec Aurors. Bur what made her curious was the fact that Harry wasn’t there.
“Where’s Harry?” She questioned, not yet releasing Malfoy from her grasp.
“He won’t be joining us for this meeting.” Mattock said sternly.
“Why not..? He’s one of the exec-”
“Mr. Potter will be in on the next meeting, as will you, Miss Granger. Don’t worry.” One of the Board Members told her in a tone Hermione found strange. Having no choice but to leave, she let Malfoy go, but not before whispering in his ear, “Remember what I told you.”
Malfoy gave a subtle nod and went to sit down in front of what looked like a grand court room.
Hermione left Malfoy in the hands of Mattock and frowned. There was a sickly feeling in the pit of her stomach, and she knew that it wouldn’t go away until he and she were back at the same house until the next appointed time. Sighing, Hermione spotted one of her coworkers and flagged her down.
“Hi, Jessica, have you seen Harry?”
“Oh, yeah, he’s in his office – Oh, I don’t think you want to find him. He’s a bit ticked for not being in on the meeting with Draco Malfoy.”
“Well, that’ll make two of us.” Hermione told her as she silently thanked her coworker and walked down the hall. About thirty seconds later, she was stepping into a rather large office without being noticed by Harry. She pursed her lips and shook her head at him. He was busy writing something– a natural enough of an action –but he was holding his quill much tighter than was needed.
“If you hold that quill any tighter, you’ll break it in half.” She told him. Harry looked up and then glanced to his hand. He set the quill aside as if from sudden embarrassment.
“Shouldn’t you be at the meeting?” He asked her. She shrugged her shoulders and sat in the chair in front of his desk.
“I would be if I was invited.”
“But that doesn’t make any sense.” Harry said confusedly. “I can partially understand my being not allowed. If I saw Malfoy right in front of me, I’d want to kill him.”
“And if the Ministry is as dirty as I think it is, they could’ve definitely benefited from you at the meeting.”
“You shouldn’t say something like that aloud.”
“You know very well I’m not afraid of the Ministry.” Hermione told him plainly. Harry stared at her wryly, got up and shut the door.
“Fright is something you should have if your theories are right, ‘Mione.” He replied as he casted a silent Muffilato Charm. “…How hard do you think they’re grilling him in there?”
“Pretty hard, I expect. But, if I’m right, Mattock and the others won’t get anything beneficial.”
“What makes you say that? What did you do?”
“Nothing, I just…told Malfoy to leave a few things out if they ask too personal of questions about the Death Eaters.”
“You did what?!”
“Do you have any better idea to make sure that he’s safe?”
“…No.” Harry said eventually. “It’s a good idea now that I think about it. Have you told them that the two of you’ve changed safe houses?”
“Not yet. I figured after today I’d tell them.”
“They’re going to want an explanation as to the reason why.”
“I’m a good liar.” Hermione chuckled. “Don’t worry, I’ll think of something.”
Hermione sighed and she and Harry spent the time talking about something that didn’t give them headaches. Pretty soon, an hour had passed, and Hermione told him that she’d talk to him later. She walked down the hall and up a flight of stairs to the conference room where she had left Malfoy. However, when she got there, she was confused and began to panic.
“Where’s Malfoy?” She asked Mattock. He was still sitting on his podium-like seat and the Board Members and exec Aurors were slowly piling out of the room.
“Oh, we sent him with two guards to take him to you.”
“What? Why did you do that?” She said, completely forgetting she was talking to someone in higher ranking than herself.
“You don’t think that was a plausible idea?”
“Of course not… You didn’t even know where I was!”
“They would’ve found you.” Mattock told her with an odd grin of satisfaction. Hermione backed out of the room and hurried down the hall, stopping everyone she saw and asking them if they had seen Malfoy with two guards. All of them said that they hadn’t and now she was frantic. She stopped by Harry’s office and dragged him out of there, briefing him along the way and still asking people if they saw Malfoy.
“What kind of stupid idea was that?” Harry said as they scoured the ground the floor. Hermione was on the brink of losing her mind.
“It’s not even Ministry protocol!” She said madly. “Where would they take him?”
“’Mione, what if the guards weren’t really guards?”
The two of them took a quick glance at each other and soon they were searching each and every floor more furiously than ever.
Malfoy wasn’t stupid and apparently Hermione wasn’t stupid either. As he sat there in front of those fourteen people, the questions he was asked were general, things he was expecting, but as the time slowly passed by, the questions had gotten crafty. Sometimes he asked Mattock to repeat his question several times, and realized, sickeningly, how they would change ever so slightly, like as if he were thinking of them on the spot or to slip Malfoy up. The questions were asked about specific Death Eaters, that was fine, but when they went down to their daily habits, Malfoy quirked a brow and remembered what Hermione had told him. Damn brilliant witch… Malfoy thought as he laid the information out quite lightly. Mattock seemed bored as he did so, and the others seemed disappointed, like as if some giant secret hadn’t yet been spilled.
The hour was up and Malfoy let out a sigh of relief. He wanted nothing more than to just find Hermione and get out of the Ministry as fast as possible. The door opened and he turned around, surprised that two large guards were standing in the doorway rather than Hermione.
“You’re finished here for the day.” Mattock told him.
“I thought Hermione would be picking me up from here.” Malfoy said with a puzzled look on his face and tone of voice.
“They’ll take you to her.”
Malfoy hesitantly stood from his seat and faced the guards. One of them gave him a smirk that he didn’t like, and he suddenly cursed himself for absentmindedly leaving his wand at the safe house.
“Hurry up, will ya?” One of the guards said. Malfoy could sense trouble in the very near future, but what could he do? Either he was paranoid from Hermione’s theories, or there was definitely some mischief going on. Sighing, he walked out with the guards, and eyed them heavily as one stood on either side of them.
It was a quiet walk down the hallway. In fact it was quiet as they ventured through all the floors until they finally reached the ground floor. Malfoy cleared his throat and got the guard on his right’s attention.
“I’m pretty sure Granger’s office isn’t on the ground floor.” He said. The guard huffed and shook his head. The other one was quiet, and holding his stomach. “So,” Malfoy smirked and stuffed his hands into his pockets. “Which one are you?”
“What are you bloody talking about?” The guard on his right asked. He was getting edgy, and also holding his stomach while the other looked like as if he was ready to vomit. Malfoy’s smirk turned into a full grin, and prepped himself for what was going to happen within the next couple of minutes as they went down a small corridor and began descending to the bottom floor beneath the Ministry.
“Let me guess.” Malfoy took his hands out of his pockets and held them at his side. They were walking slowly, very slowly now, in a deserted hallway. When they came to a stop, he turned to the two guards who were beginning to look like a warped image. “Donohov..?”
Malfoy stood in front of them as they changed. The clothes they were wearing suddenly became too big and there stood Donohov and his cowardly associate Dayton. Donohov gave an evil smirk to give Malfoy’s a run for his money.
“No one will hear you down here.” Donohov said with a bit of a chuckle. Malfoy kicked out a laugh too, and nodded.
“Yes, I know. Home to a few of my memorable endeavors… This should be interesting.”
Malfoy knew Donohov well and anticipated him raising his wand and saying the first curse that came to mind. Without wasting a moment, Malfoy ducked and charged at him, knocking Donohov to his feet and making his wand roll away down the hall. Malfoy didn’t spend time punching Donohov no matter how much he wanted to. He just scrambled to his feet, angry that he couldn’t find the wand that was dropped in order to subdue them. Instead he just ran, dodging a curse that was tossed by Dayton, or more than likely Donohov who probably took his wand.
Malfoy was ready to turn a corner, which would’ve led to a secret passage way, but the Cruciatus Curse clipped him in his thigh, and he collapsed on the ground, having the curse move through his body and causing him to writhe violently on the ground. It felt like ages before Donohov and Dayton casually walked up to him and took off the curse. By the time they did, Malfoy was exhausted and couldn’t breathe properly.
“Take the curse like a man, Draco.” Donohov said as he lightly kicked him in the side like a dead dog.
“Maybe he needs a bit of practice learning how to, Sir.” Dayton added. Donohov grinned and spun his wand in his hand.
“Yes, he does.”
Hermione and Harry scrambled all the Aurors in the building. Hermione told Mattock that she couldn’t find Malfoy anywhere, but he didn’t seem too phased by it. Cursing out loud she continued on the search only stopping momentarily when Harry made her.
“They’ve probably gone.” She said angrily. “Two Death Eaters take him and I could do nothing about it.”
“It’s Mattock’s fault, ‘Mione, don’t say that.” Harry told her. Hermione shook her head and ran her fingers through her hair.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if something happens to Malfoy I’ll never forgive myself. Though I’m sure Mattock and the rest will have a giant ball.”
“…I’ll tell the Aurors to start searching outside of the Ministry. For all we know Malfoy’s probably in a room a thousand feet below the ground so he can’t be heard.”
Hermione snapped her head up to Harry in the blink of an eye. She stared at him transfixed, until he began shaking his head in disbelief.
“Death Eaters wouldn’t know about that floor, would they?”
“If they were once following Malfoy, why not..? Malfoy knows the Ministry like the back of his hand which means the Death Eaters do too. Come on, we need to get every Auror below ground now.”
Malfoy was on the verge of passing out and was cursing himself heavily at the fact that his wand was sitting happily on his dresser at the safe house. He had just had the Cruciatus curse performed on him for the fifth time in ten minutes and was surprised that he had yet had a heart attack.
“Your yells are starting to make me deaf, Draco.” Donohov said lazily. “Your father would be a shamed.”
“You have no right to speak of my father.” Malfoy got the energy to say.
“Hit him again, Dayton.”
Malfoy didn’t close his eyes but welcomed it. For the sixth time he contorted on the ground, and felt that his body was on fire. He could feel the world around him go dim and he knew that momentarily he’d be unconscious and at the will of his two torturers. But before everything was black, the curse stopped, and he was staring up at them.
“Pathetic but amusing,” Donohov grinned. Malfoy wanted to get up and spit in his smiling face, and then hit him repeatedly. He would’ve if had any sort of strength in his body. He looked up and wasn’t sure if he was seeing correctly. There was a small square window on the door, and if he wasn’t mistaken, he could’ve sworn that Hermione was there. After staring for a little while longer, he was sure he wasn’t hallucinating and that she was there, putting a finger to her lips in order to signal to him to keep quiet and not let on that she was there.
Hermione and Harry stood outside of a door where they could hear Malfoy being tortured. It was sick to hear, and especially to know that it was going on right beneath the Ministry. It made them wonder how many other crimes were committed under the building said to represent justice. Hermione could see Dayton who was doing the torturing, and before she even had a set plan in her head, she forcefully pushed the door open and shouted the first spell that came to mind when knocked Dayton off of his feet and caused him to the drop the wand. Hermione was satisfied with herself until Donohov cast a spell at her back. She fell hard face first on the ground.
“Amateur,” He drawled, but hadn’t noticed Harry, who choosing not to use his wand as a form of defense, punched Donohov in the face. Hermione quickly got up and went over to Malfoy who looked in the shame shape when she had first seen him.
“’Mione, look out!”
Hermione put her reflexes into full effect, and without being really sure what was going on, said, “Reducto!” and watched as Dayton hit head first onto the cement wall. Looking back Harry and Donohov had abandoned their wands and were fighting the muggle way.
“Harry!” She called as she gathered her wand to help but shouted for her to take Malfoy and get out of there. She bit her lip at the spectacle, but Malfoy was her responsibility and he had to come first. “Damn it,” Hermione said angrily, and disapparated with Malfoy.
author's note: havent posted in a while!! hope i still have my readers and please remember to review!! luv u all! :)