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Chapter 15 : A Family Reunited
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Chapter 15: A Family Reunited
Harry paced the length of the Potters’ tea room, glancing at the Muggle clock on the wall every few seconds. Where are they? They were due here twenty minutes ago! Damn Malfoy, if he has chickened-out now…
Hermione glanced up in annoyance from her seat at the table and set down the Prophet, finally deciding she could no longer sit silently as Harry wore a hole in his own floor. Ginny would have her head.
“Harry. You insisted on tea. Sit, please, or at the very least, leave this room so I can read the paper in peace. Ginny will be back from the Burrow shortly – I am sure she is fine,” Hermione stated, incorrectly assuming his tardy wife was the one causing his duress.
“Its not Ginny, Hermione, its Malfoy. I am waiting for him to bring me… erm… something important,” Harry said, lowering himself finally into his usual seat at the table. He glanced at his friend’s face to gauge her reaction to his statement.
Not able to hide her surprise, Hermione stood and said, “Well, then, if Draco is once again coming here to speak with you, perhaps I should leave you boys to whatever it is and rest my eyes for a bit. Do tell Anneliese she may join me if she likes.”
“Granger. Please, stay,” came a voice from behind her.
“Malfoy, it is about time you showed your ugly face. Did you…” Harry trailed off, glancing anxiously behind the blonde into the hall.
Deciding to ignore the stab at his fine features, Malfoy merely stated, “Yes. Give her a moment, she is not quite used to the sensation of flooing. She is visiting the loo and will join us shortly.”
Harry hesitated, glancing from Hermione to Draco. “Malfoy, I am afraid you are on your own for the time being. I am needed at the Ministry, as I find myself not quite knowing whom I can trust anymore. Had you arrived on time, I would have been able to help you explain. I am sorry. Excuse me.” And without waiting for a response, Harry briefly lowered his wards and disapparated on the spot.
Draco glanced at the petite witch who had sunk back into her chair in confusion. She glanced away from her tea and frowned at him. He found himself frowning back. “Good to see you too, Granger.”
Suddenly a woman’s voice called from the dining room, “Draco, dear? Where are you?”
Hermione was puzzled. That voice sounded familiar… yet she could not place it. It was as though the timbre was off, somehow.
“We are in here,” Draco called back, his eyes never leaving Hermione’s face.
A woman with deep brown eyes and shoulder-length honey-colored curls stepped into the room, dusting soot from her turquoise-colored sundress.
Hermione stared. Her mind suddenly filled with a vision from the past, of her mother on Christmas day, the year Hermione had received her Hogwarts letter. This woman looked incredibly similar, though she was quite a bit more thin, and her hair much longer than she had ever worn it.
Draco, being able to recognize the emotions flickering across Hermione’s face, realized that his witch did not believe her own eyes. Glancing at Jane and seeing a similar expression, he decided introductions were in order.
With as much care and tact he could infuse into the words, Draco softly stated, “Hermione, this is Jane. Jane, this is your daughter.”
Hermione’s vision swam with tears as her eyes immediately sought his. He understood her unasked question and simply nodded.
Hermione stood from her seat and flung herself at her mother, who had tears running down her own cheeks. “Mum, Mum. I have missed you so much. I love you. I am so sorry for everything!” She began sobbing harder now, and Draco heard Jane murmur, “Darling, it will all be alright. I will explain what I can soon, but know that none of this would be possible if it weren’t for Draco. I love him like a son, and he loves you dearly.”
Deciding the two women needed a bit of time alone, Draco quietly began to retreat from the room. Just as he was about to cross the threshold, a brilliant stag patronus bounded through the walls to stop him in his path.
Harry’s voice announced, “Malfoy. Prove you are worth all of my trouble and report to the Forbidden Forest. NOW, you git! The entrance near Hagrid’s house. Those responsible for your situation have been spotted. I will join you shortly.”
*** Somewhere Within Ministry Corridors ***
Meanwhile, in the Ministry, a dark figure lurks near the Auror holding cells. Imbecile. Got himself caught. Now I fear I will soon have to get my hands dirty…
After casting a quick Disillusionment charm, he steps in front of the first cell and mutters a dark spell not taught at Hogwarts. The wards and restraints fall from the cell. He pulls back the hood on his robe, cancels the charm, and reveals his face to the man slumped in a chair in the corner.
Dean looks up and is visibly relieved. “Seamus, mate! I knew you would figure out a way to help me. Thanks, I owe you.” Seamus does not speak. He ushers Dean out of the cell and grimaces.
Dean and Seamus quietly disillusion themselves as they approach the lift. Once they enter the small elevator, Dean lets out a deep breath and turns to face his silent companion.
He nearly faints. Instead of his longtime friend, Seamus Finnegan, the man in the lift is Cormac McLaggen!
Cormac smirks, using his wand to stop the lift suddenly. “Oops. I guess I relaxed my features too much, eh Thomas? Weren’t expecting to see me, were you?”
“Cormac?! I thought you were… What are you doing here? I don’t understand. Why did the lift stop? Where is Seamus? He was just here…” Dean is looking thoroughly perplexed, peering over Cormac’s shoulder as if expecting his friend to be there.
Cormac merely smiled, a cold look in his eyes. “Actually, Thomas, I think this will honestly be for the best. You see, I am not dead, as you have been led to believe. Funny story, really.”
*** Flashback ***
Cormac had stumbled into a tiny pub in Dublin several years prior, desperately in need of a Fire Whiskey. He had been abruptly let go from his Keeping position in the Irish League, after losing his temper at a match one too many times. Its not like I killed Wood. He will be back to his pretty-boy self after a few visits to St. Mungos.
He looked around at the surprisingly well-kept establishment. Though it lacked in size, it was quite tidy. The tables and chairs were all made of the same fine oak. The lighting was a modern blend of magical and Muggle. There were even flat Muggle televisions hanging on the walls tuned in to some sort of Muggle sport.
He approached the bar; finding no barkeep, Cormac decided to just help himself. As he made his way behind the counter, he was startled to find pub-owner Finnegan at his feet. He was obviously dead, apparently from a bad bit of magic gone wrong – it seems Seamus had been experimenting with his own cocktails and had mixed two toxic potions together which had blown up in his face.
Stepping around the dead man and pouring himself a whiskey, Cormac quickly formulated a plan. My career is over. I have no family. No one will miss me. Maybe it is time for those who wronged me to pay…
Before anyone else could enter the empty bar, Cormac metamorphed into the Irish Gryffindor. Good thing no one outside the family ever knew about this hidden talent…The first crucial part of the plan? Assume Seamus’s identity and get closer to Finnegan’s Auror mate, Dean. However, there was the simple matter of what to do with the body on the floor…
A floo call was put in to the Aurors immediately, who upon their arrival found Cormac’s own transfigured body slumped on a stool in the pub. He was rendered dead on the spot, seemingly due to alcohol poisoning and a Quidditch-related blow to the head.
Realizing this meant he was trapped as the short Irishman for the forseable future (therefore forevermore unable to show his true face in wizarding society), Cormac placed all of his efforts into his plan of revenge.
He sold the pub (including the flat Seamus occupied above) and moved in with his old buddy Dean Thomas in Diagon Alley. Cormac, though he would not speak of it, was always bitter toward Draco for winning Hermione. He used Dean’s blinding hatred against the Malfoy family after the war to his own advantage, encouraging Dean in his pursuit to remove all purebloods from positions of power.
Dean willingly broke Auror confidentiality and revealed Hermione’s last known location (after all, Dean reasoned, Seamus could not possibly mean to harm her). Cormac was determined to draw Hermione back to the wizarding world, so he dropped a particularly useful stolen book in the Muggle library and waited for things to unfold as he knew they would. Curiosity would get the best of his witch, and perhaps she would see reason and run back to him. If he could not have her for himself, there was no sodding way he would ever let that Slytherin git have her – he would be forced to kill her.
*** End Flashback ***
Dean is looking horrorstruck after the man reveals his dark deeds. “Cormac, I think you have gone off your rocker, mate. Lets go back up to Harry’s office, we will both turn ourselves in. I cannot be any part of this; Malfoy is not worth the Kiss.”
Cormac shrugs, “I never said you had to be a part of it. I am getting tired of this leprechaun anyway.”
He mutters, “Avada Kedavra.” Dean falls to the floor with wide eyes. Determined not to leave behind any evidence this time, Cormac transfigures the body into a small bone, places the bone in his pocket, and restarts the lift. Once he has left the Ministry, Cormac enters a dirty alley, smirks and tosses the bone into a nearby Muggle dumpster. After making sure he is not followed, Dean Thomas strolls onto the streets of Muggle London.
*** Simultaneously, at Potter Manor ***
As the silver stag fades, Draco turns, looks one last time at Hermione and Jane who are staring in shock, says “I love you,” and disapparates.
He pops into existence seconds later in front of the hut Hagrid occupied. Still as dusty and run-down as ever, I see. Immediately, he hears cursing and shouting coming from the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Draco runs to the scene silently, not wanting to immediately alert the others to his presence.
Hagrid is to the left, dueling with three slight men, cloaked in midnight-colored robes. Ron is several yards away, fighting his own pair, clearly gaining the upper hand in the duel. A handful of Hogwarts’ professors were dueling one-on-one all around.
Several other cloaked men appeared to be unconscious on the sodden floor.
Draco hears a soft pop right next to him and is immediately engaged in battle with none other than Dean Thomas. I thought Harry arrested this bastard? Draco is about to place anti-apparition wards to prevent any further unwelcome visitors when Dean smirks and disappears.
By the time Harry and his crew of Aurors arrive, the battle is fully raging. There are nearly 30 hooded figures still standing. Draco does a quick calculation and sees that the ‘good guys’ are clearly outnumbered, 2 to 1.
Without Harry’s knowledge, Draco enlists the help of the one man he knows can outsmart the darkest of the dark. He mumbles instructions to his dragon patronus and then, as it soars into the air, returns his attention to the battle. Now this should get interesting, he smirks.
Not more than five minutes later, Draco senses his father’s presence. Muttering a quick “Stupefy,” his opponent drops to the floor. He turns his head slightly to the right in search of the eyes he now feels scorching the back of his neck. He walks forward. “Father. Thank you for coming.”
Harry fells another attacker, and rushes to Draco’s side after spotting the elder Malfoy looking on the battle with obvious distaste. Harry looks at Lucius as if questioning his own sanity, but when his emerald eyes meet the elder man’s steel gaze, Harry’s decision is made. Without uttering a word, Harry reaches into his pocket and pulls out a familiar object. He states, “Use it well,” tosses it to Lucius who is gazing back at him with a touch of visible relief, and then runs back into the thick of battle.
After what seems like several hours, the last of the outlaws are bound and Harry orders a wounded Ron and the other Aurors back to the ministry to jail and interrogate. The others head for the Hospital Wing of the castle, Hagrid carrying a limping Flitwick. Soon, only Harry, Lucius and Draco, remain in the Forbidden Forest.
Harry looks at the two Malfoy men. “Draco. Lucius. Let’s have a look around the campsite. Maybe we will find something interesting that will alert us as to who in Merlin’s name these ruddy bastards are!”
Draco snorts and walks further into the Forest, his now quite-dirty blonde bangs falling across his face. I am in desperate need of a good meal and a bath. And Hermione. Not necessarily in that order. As he runs his fingers through his hair, out of the corner of his eye he sees movement in the shrubbery. He draws his wand. What is this? He pulls the branches aside and is surprised to uncover a familiar object. These filthy animals have been quite busy gathering Malfoy Family artifacts! Draco picks it up and decides to take it to his father.
The other two men are now in deep discussion near Hagrid’s hut, a few confiscated objects at their feet. Draco joins them, adding his own object to the pile. Casually leaning against a tree trunk, he drawls, “Father. Does Mother know your half is missing?” As the words leave his lips, the men watch as a green dragon flies into the painting and alerts the listless grey dragon. Lucius and Draco stare at each other in shock. Harry shouts, “Malfoy! Does this mean Hermione is in trouble? And Jane? They are at my house with Ginny!”
Draco does not answer. He casts a pleading look at his Father and turns on the spot, his mind on one thing. Hermione. I cannot lose her. Not after all this. Not ever.
Without any further thought, Harry grabs the elder Malfoy’s forearm and apparates to the Potter’s drawing room. Lucius pulls away from Harry and snarls, “Do not. EVER. Touch me. AGAIN!” Harry ignores him, and the two men run quietly toward the kitchen, where they hear shouting and spell-fire.
They enter the fray to see Draco and Hermione fighting Dean Thomas, Jane and Ginny unconscious on the floor. Harry is furious at the sight of his bound wife , and shouts, “EXPELLIARMUS!” Dean’s wand flies from his hand. Hermione quickly whispers, “Incarcerous,” and the darker man is once again bound. She kisses Draco on the cheek and then rushes to revive her mother.
Draco nods his thanks to Harry and his father, and states, “Potter, I do not believe this man is actually Dean Thomas. When I arrived, he was in the process of unveiling a rather sinister-sounding plot involving that sod McLaggen and Seamus Finnegan.”
Harry looks at the bound man, who smiles and suddenly morphs. Hiding his surprise, Harry states, “Cormac. I believe you have a bit of explaining to do.”
Hermione stands from her mother’s side and walks calmly over to McLaggen. Looking him in the eye, she punches him in the jaw with all the strength she can muster from years of heartache and stress.
“There, Harry. Metamorphmaguses cannot heal themselves – if he morphs again, you will be able to look for the lowlife with the broken nose.”
Harry cannot help but smile at his friend’s logic. After kissing a now-revived Ginny, with a low chuckle, he nods to Lucius, pats Draco on the shoulder, and apparates to the Ministry with his prisoner.
Draco grasps Hermione in his arms and kisses her full on the mouth, ignoring the roll of the eyes his father sends his way. “That’s my girl – if I recall correctly, you always did have a solid left hook.”
A/N: Whew! This one took me a while to sort out, but I had fun writing it. :) One more chapter to go (the epilogue)! Your questions should be answered soon. :) As always, happy reading!
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